Thursday, June 26, 2008

Moved to Word Press

It's official. I'll no longer be posting here.

I've moved. You can now find Gwyneth's Blog on Word Press.

It's been real, Blogger!

You can find my new blog here:


  • much love and peace,


    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Back with more reviews...

    I made it back from lovely Urbana, IL this afternoon. I'm so tired I need at least a three hour nap. Traveling can be so taxing... :-) Anyway, I found out about two more great reviews for Protect and Serve . APOOO gave it 4 Stars. Here's a snippet of the review:

    Protect and Serve was a real life story that answered the question of whether home is really where the heart is. Bolton addressed many issues that suddenly pop up while preparing for a funeral and some issues that families simply try to hide and not discuss. The story was funny, a bit of a mystery and romantic. Once you meet the Hightower family, I am sure you will look forward to reading the other books in the series. ~ Priscilla C. Johnson, APOOO Book Club 4 Stars

    And The Real Page Turners gave it 5 Stars! Here's a snippet of the review:

    Bolton proves why she is an award-winning author in this captivating story. She stirs in dangers of the hood, mixes in a little dysfunctional family spice, and peppers the story with the breakdown of friendships which cooks up a sensual love story. The characters add to the recipe by using strong emotions that will unveil family secrets that will either tear them apart or bring them together. As in most African American families, Big Mama's spirit helps them - to forgive each other, overcome prideful spirits and love as families should. Protect and Serve is the first part in the Hightower Honors series and if this is any indication of future installments…they are must haves for any romance lover. ~ Deltareviewer, The Real Page Turners Reviewers, 5 Stars

    Check out the wonderful review here and leave a comment if you get a chance:

  • The Real Page Turners Review of PROTECT AND SERVE

  • And the third Hightower book is available for pre-order on Just in case you can't stand to wait. LOL. You can pre-order your copy here:

  • Pre-Order The Law of Desire

  • Now it's time for a little nap...

    much love and peace,


    Tuesday, June 17, 2008


    I'll be gone for a minute. I'm headed to Urbana, IL for work-related travel. I'll check in when I'm back later this weekend. Have fun while I'm gone...

    much love and peace,


    Monday, June 16, 2008

    Three new reviews for PROTECT AND SERVE!

    Protect and Serve is a powerful story about truth and drama in the 'hood.' Ms. Bolton captures the primal essence of the hopelessness prevailing in the inner city while showing the strengths of family, spirituality and love that is essential in overcoming that hopelessness. A truly beautiful love story that will keep you captivated until the end. ~ Lani Roberts, Affaire de Coeur Magazine

    A well written book with thwarted love and a little mystery thrown into the mix, Protect and Serve is a sensual romance with which to while away a pleasant afternoon. The romantic tension and sizzle when Penny and Jason are in the same room make this a book a romance that readers won’t want to miss. ~ Marilyn Heyman, Romance Reviews Today

    Gwyneth Bolton masterfully handles some serious social issues in Protect and Serve without allowing them to overpower the romance.
    ~ Debbie R. Sims, Romantic Times Book Review

    Sunday, June 15, 2008

    Happy Father's Day

    John Pough
    August 17, 1946 - May 4, 2003
    I always loved you more than you knew. Rest in peace, Daddy.

    Luther Vandross, "Dance With My Father Again"

    Happy Father's Day, everyone. If you are blessed enough to have your father still here, give him a hug and appreciate the time.

    much love and peace,


    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Throwback Thursdays

    Deniece Williams has one of those voices that calls to mind all that is sweet and good and pure. I swear it sounds like the clearest of chimes and bells. I've been a fan of her music ever since I was a kid. "Silly" got me through many a grammar school crush... In high school, "Free" seemed like the perfect thing to be when a relationship I thought was going to last forever came to that parting fork in the road. "Let's Hear it for the Boy"... "Black Butterfly"... "It's Gonna Take a Miracle"... I could go on and on listing songs of hers that I love. I wish I could hit those high notes like her. Here's a live performance of "Free."


    Do you remember Deniece Williams? What songtress from the 80s did you love? I could probably add folks like Stacy Lattisaw, Gwen Gunthrie, Shirley Murdock and many more. But Deniece Williams will always be high on my list of female vocalists with voices that just take you there. Who's on your list?

    much love and peace,


    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Links: Big Girls Need Love Too

    Check out K. D. King's hilarious post on Big Girls in romance. I have to say I feel challenged to write more big girl heroines after reading it. It's laugh out loud funny and thought provoking to boot. Check it out and join the conversation over on her blog, No Sex in the Metro.

  • Big Girls Need Love Too, K. D. King
  • Monday, June 09, 2008

    Are You Listening To...

    Algebra Blessett

    If not... you really should be. Her voice is amazing. Her lyrics meaningful and soul-stirring... I could go on and on about how much I'm feeling her debut. I knew I would love her when I heard the single "U Do It For Me" last year. So I anxiously awaited the CD.

    U Do It For Me

    Then I got the CD and realized I pretty much loved every song on it. It is the kind of CD you can play track after track without skipping. And I love that! But my favorite song on the CD is "Run and Hide." Yep, I have a new favorite singer to add to my list.

    Run and Hide

    So what's getting heavy rotation in your CD players and IPods right now?

    Thursday, June 05, 2008

    Throwback Thursdays

    Things that Make You Go Hmm…

    That was an old Arsenio Hall line for those of you old enough to remember the show… Anyway, ever since Mariah Carey married Nick Cannon folks have been wondering what in the heck she could have been thinking. And I have to say, at first I raised my eyebrow because he’s so much younger than her. Then I figured she got a little “Tender Roni.” Good for her! But then I started thinking and I thought Mariah might be on to something... I came up with the a little theory. So bear with me…

    In 1987, Patrick Dempsey was a dorky looking guy who played in the film Can’t Buy Me Love . It was all about a, well dorky guy who paid this rich beautiful girl to pretend to date him so that he could be popular.

    In 2003, Nick Cannon was a dorky looking guy who played in the black remake of Can’t Buy Me Love , Love Don’t Cost a Thing . Now before you start saying so what, Gwyneth… Let me say… Patrick Dempsey went from skinny dork to McDreamy.

    And I’m not saying Nick Cannon is going to all of the sudden morph into a stud muffin in about ten years… although brother is getting cuter and buffer as the years go by…

    But I’m just saying Mariah might be on to something and she might have picked her future McDreamy a little early so that she can watch him blossom… I’m just saying… What do y’all think?

    Monday, June 02, 2008

    I have a new website...

    I'm still waiting for my new blog to match my new website. She still has to upload all of my pictures and move my blog to Word Press. But the website is pretty much done. So go on over check it out and let me know what you think. I also changed my blogger blog to somewhat match the new site while I wait patiently for my new improved--with smiley faces I hope--Word Press blog. Check out my new website here:


  • What do you think of the new site?


    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    Enduring Romance Does PROTECT AND SERVE

    Hi All,

    I know I've been ghost... I've had grades to do and then revisions and life in general. But I promise to get back on track soon. Meanwhile, check out Kimber An's review of my July release, Protect and Serve over on Enduring Romance. You can check the review out here:


  • much love and peace,


    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    A Mother's Love

    Okay, I’ll let you all in on a little secret. Every time I hear “I’ll Always Love My Mama,” by The Intruders it brings tears to my eyes. Every single time . When I was a kid it used to make me cry because I would always feel sad for my own mother. She lost her mom when she was fourteen-years-old and her dad when she was nine-years-old. As I got older the words started to take on a more personal meaning. Growing up and watching your single mom struggle to make ends meet and knowing in your heart that you didn’t always make that easy for her gives the words of that song power, especially on Mother’s Day. I’m old enough--and somewhat wise enough--to know now that the love of a good mother is not something that is automatic or that should ever be taken for granted. My mother didn’t have to make the sacrifices she made for us. I know lots of women who have made other choices. And I’m not passing judgment. People do what they have to do. But I am saying that if you’ve had the privilege of having a mother love you, put you first and raise you with care, devotion and guidance, you should celebrate her every chance you get, not just on Mother’s Day. She deserves all that and more. So, happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there! I’m sending lots of cyber hugs, candy and flowers your way. Enjoy this day and everyday because mothers make the world go round. Enjoy this classic by The Intruders!

    I’ll Always Love My Mama, The Intruders

    Much love and peace,


    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    Back from Romance Slam Jam...

    I'm back! Well... sort of... I have a bunch of grading and other stuff to do so I'll still be visiting the blogesphere a little less frequently. But I made it back from Chicago on Sunday evening. I had a wonderful time at the Slam Jam. I met up with lots of author and reader friends that I only see once a year at the Slam. And I met lots of friends from the blogesphere for the very first time. My workshop on setting the scene went over well. My intimate session with readers was really nice. I only had one weird experience during the reader session. But it wasn't enough to put a damper on an otherwise excellent conference. The highlight for me was doing "Rapper's Delight" during Karaoke at the Ole School Jam. I'll have pictures soon. But if you can't wait for my pictures check out the following blog posts. I have also listed the Emma Award winners below. Congrats to all the winners! I'm happy to announce that the anthology I am a part of, Cuffed by Candlelight won the Emma for Favorite Anthology. Yay! :-) Okay, I need to go grade papers. See y'all soon.

  • Write Black

  • Urban Reviews Day Two

  • Urban Reviews Day Three

  • Urban Reviews Emma Awards

  • Favorite Anthology:
    Cuffed By Candlelight by Beverly Jenkins, Gwyneth Bolton, Katherine D. Jones

    Favorite Hero:
    Reese Anthony Deadly Sexy by Beverly Jenkins

    Favorite Heroine:
    Teresa July Wild Sweet Love by Beverly Jenkins

    Favorite Novel
    Deadly Sexy by Beverly Jenkins

    Favorite Novella
    "Prisoner" by Beverly Jenkins

    Favorite Sequel
    Only You by Francis Ray

    Favorite Steamy
    Whisper Something Sweet by Deatri King-Bey

    Favorite Suspense
    Deadly Sexy by Beverly Jenkins

    Cover of the Year
    Deadly Sexy by Beverly Jenkins

    Debut Author of the Year
    LaConnie Taylor Jones When I’m With You

    Author of the Year
    Beverly Jenkins

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    Off to Chi-town!

    Well I'm on the road again. I'm heading to Chicago for the Romance Slam Jam! I love this conference and can't wait to get there and start chatting about my favorite thing in the world... Black Romance! YAY!

    If you're in Chicago stop by the conference and check me out. I'll be participating in the following reader session and workshops:

    May 1, 2008
    Intimate Session, 1:00-1:50 pm

    May 2, 2008
    Workshop, "A Little More than Location, Location, Location: Setting the Scene in Your Novel," 11:00-12:00 pm

    May 2, 2008
    Reader Session with Gwyneth Bolton and Deatri King-Bey, 3:30-4:20 pm

    May 3, 2008
    Book Signing, 2:00-5:00 pm

    See you when I get back!

    much love and peace,


    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Busy as all get out! (Updated with Pictures)

    Traveling at the end of the semester is always crazy hectic. And with three conferences happening so late this year I'm feeling the crunch. I have so much stuff to do in order to wrap up the semester and get ready for Slam Jam next week, I feel like I'm running to catch up with myself. Running around like a chicken with its head cut off as my mom used to say... Anyway, RT was fun. I was bad. I didn't take any pictures of my own. Sorry, guys. I was too busy being a fan girl... Hopefully my friends will share. Shameless plea for folks to send me the pictures they promised... Please... :-) Because I certainly posed for enough, grinning like a fool the entire time. I did the fan girl squee as usual, just like I always do when I see Brenda Jackson and L. A. Banks. I'm surprised I was able to form a sentence to talk to these ladies. I love their novels so much. And they are such nice down to earth sistas. I just took notes on how to treat readers when you meet them. Not that I have any readers that will fan girl squee and gush like me when I meet my favs. Anyway, I also got to hang out with some of my new favorite authors who I also consider friends. I got to hang with A. C. Arthur, Kimberly Kaye Terry, Maureen Smith and Ann Christopher. I finally met Ann Aguirre and Vivi Anna. And yes, they both rock. I got to hang out with my Central New York Romance Writers chapter members, authors Susan St. Thomas and Nancy Henderson. Susan and I were roomies and danced our behinds off. Well, maybe not our entire behinds, but you get the idea... I went to a panel with J. R. Ward on it and got to see her talk about the Black Dagger Brothers. I also met two sista-authors who I have just recently discovered but so far have enjoyed everything I've read by them, Bridget Midway and Eve Vaughn. The highlight of the conference was meeting my new Kimani editor, Kelli Martin. She was just as cool in person as she has been to work with. She rocks!

    I had a blast even though I didn't dress up for the Fairy Ball or the Vampire Ball. I might dress up if I go next year, because some of those fairy wings looked so-oo cute. I have to say, I wanted me some sparkling fairy wings... Anyway, I now have to finish up the semester, make one possibly life-changing decision, and get ready for Slam Jam... Why did I say I would do a workshop on this topic? Why didn't I pick a topic that I've done lots of times before? Because I'm crazy that's why! I'll be back soon guys. And I'm working on a few changes that might give Gwyneth's Blog a little face lift.

    much love and peace,



    See what begging for pictures on the blog will get you? Pictures to share. ;-) The awesome Kimberly Kaye Terry sent me some pictures and I snatched a picture from the wonderful Ann Christopher's blog. She has a bunch of great picture from the conference over there so you should all go and check them out.

    Here's a picture from the African American Romance Panel.

    Here's the panel again, Maureen Smith, me, Brenda Jackson, Kimberly Kaye Terry, A. C. Arthur and editor Kelli Martin.

    I stole this picture of me L. A. Banks and Kimberly Kaye Terry from Ann's blog. I couldn't help it. It's L. A. Banks... And Ann has lots of pictures over there. ;-)

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    Off to Pittsburgh

    I'm off to attend my first ever Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention in Pittsburgh. And I'm really looking forward to it. I've always looked at the pictures from the conventions in the past when they print them in the magazine with awe and wonder. They look like they really know how to have a good time. And then there's the fact that I get to spend the entire weekend talking about romance with readers and writers. Those of you who read this blog know how happy that makes me. I'm so geeked I can hardly stand it! See you all on Monday.

    much love and peace,


    Monday, April 14, 2008

    About A Book Mondays: Introducing Niambi Brown Davis

    Debut Author Niambi Brown Davis

    GB: So, Niambi, tell us a little bit about yourself. In addition to the standard biography, what’s one thing about you that most people would be surprised by?

    NBD: My kids encouraged me to enter the “Dancing with the Moms” competition on Good Morning America! I did not, but I do plan to train with a former Latin champion to become a student instructor. At one time, I considered Pro-Am competition (an amateur paired with a professional dancer). But in order to reach that level, everything else in life would come to a very expensive and complete stop. And as much as I love dancing, I love writing even more.

    GB: Tell us little about your road to publication. What was it like getting the call? Holding your novel in your hands for the first time?

    NBD: The first words that come to mind are “long and winding.” What I did not know would fill an entire set of encyclopedias. After I won third place in 2003 for the Aspiring Writers Contest at Romance Slam Jam, I was certain it was only a matter of time before my book would be out there. Not! My manuscript was rejected and revised, rejected and revised again, until I came up with the version that was accepted by Parker Publishing. The call was actually an email, and talk about an out-of-body experience - I was speechless; anybody looking would swear I was having a seizure! I have not received the book yet, but when I do get it in my hands, I will be doing some of that dancing I told you about.

    GB: Tell us a little bit about your novel From Dusk to Dawn . What was your inspiration for writing it?

    NBD: It is the story of a man and a woman who are opposites in every way – in faith, in age, in goals for their life. In spite of all their differences, they fall deeply in love. There are obstacles, each of which they overcome, until their love is tested by the greatest challenge of their relationship. In the end, will love or fear conquer all? The inspiration for the story was an African-American woman expatriate I met many years ago in Trinidad. When I had to come up with an introductory paragraph in a writing class, she popped into my mind. Afterwards, I applied the “what-if” test, until I came up with the story of Ayo and Bilal.

    GB: What’s next on the horizon for you? Do you have any other novels scheduled for publication? What’s in the works?

    NBD: Next up is a historical that has been percolating for at least two years. It is the story of a young black woman in 18th century England who finds love halfway around the world. In her words, she has had a taste of love and of freedom, and she will risk everything to get it back. Then there is the story of a woman accused of burning down her home. She seeks refuge in the British Virgin Islands where she owns a boat. She becomes a luxury charter captain while trying to find out who framed her and why. A character from Dusk to Dawn plays a major role in this one.

    GB: What are you reading right now? What kind of books do you like to read?

    NBD: Right now, I cannot wait to get into Pearl Cleage’s new release. Of course, I am the number one fan of a great romance. I love historical fiction and books with magical, supernatural storylines, suspense and mysteries, and those with heroines over 40.

    GB: Do you have any advice for other writers dreaming of their own debut?

    NBD: Be patient, persevere and be prepared. Keep yourself open to opportunity. It can drop into your lap when you least expect it, and may be the stepping-stone that will take you to the next level.

    Book Blurb:

    By the time she was 22, Ayo Montgomery had been an expatriate, a wife, a mother and a widow. Twenty years later, she’s finally at a place of peace in her life. Her son is away at school in Florida. Her soap and body products business is flourishing. She doesn’t know what she’s missing until Bilal Abdul Salaam walks into her life. Bilal has been looking for a woman to love, cherish, have children and grow old with. On the hottest day of the year, he finds her, and she’s everything he didn’t expect. He’s Muslim and she most definitely is not. Ayo is 42 and has already raised a son. He’s 32 and ready to start a family of his own. But both are overwhelmed by a smoldering attraction that refuses to acknowledge their differences. As they work their way through each obstacle, they discover their love is strong enough, passionate enough and deep enough to make every sacrifice worthwhile.

    Check out Niambi’s wonderful book trailer here:

    Find out more about Niambi and her books here:



  • Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Throwback Thursdays

    This is how we do the old to the new…

    Because there’s something about Mary…

    “Real Love”

    Just so you know, I will be a Mary J. Blige fan for life! She had me ever since she came out looking for a “Real Love” in 1992. Hell, I was feeling her when she was singing back up hooks for Father MC in “I’ll Do For You.” There’s just something about a Mary J. Blige fan. We will buy her CDs no matter what. Even those fans grumbling that they don’t like her music now that she’s happy and in love will fork down their cash and purchase each new release. We can’t help it. I’m so happy that her last two CDs have been ones that I can rock track after track after track without skipping. Honestly, I haven’t done that with a Mary CD since My Life . I don’t really know what it is about Mary that inspires such diehard loyalty in us fans. It could be because she’s so real. Or it might be because she makes us feel . It might be because she gave a generation of young women a voice when no one was speaking our pain. And now that some of us have grown up with her, found love, feel content and know that real love and happiness comes from within, we’re all feeling “Just Fine.” Do you think that there’s something about Mary? Has an artist ever touched you the way Mary touches her fans?

    “Just Fine”

    Monday, April 07, 2008

    About a Book Mondays

    No One But You by Michelle Monkou

    Michelle Monkou is starting a hot new series this month! No One But You is the first novel in the Ladies of Distinction Series. After reading the novels in her Masterson Series, I’m really excited about her new series. And after reading No One But You all I can say is run to the bookstore and pick up your copy today! I really enjoyed this novel and I know others will enjoy it as well. It takes one of my favorite romance themes, friends to lovers, and kicks it up a notch. I’m so excited to have the chance to chat with Michelle about her new book and this new series!

    GB: So, Michelle, can you tell folks who haven’t read your amazing new book a little bit about your latest release?

    MM: No One But You is a romantic fiction published by Harlequin Kimani that introduces the first in the Ladies of Distinction series about sorority sisters who pledged together and now face life after university. After college, Jackson Thomas chose his family business over Sarafina Lovell. Now Jackson is back, and Sara plans to give him one sultry goodbye kiss to prove she’s moved on. His sizzling kiss awakens memories of passion too hot to ignore.…I’ll let you uncover the roller coaster ride to the romantic end.

    GB: Roller coaster ride is right. LOL. It was like one of those looping, twisting roller coasters, too!

    Okay, you’re a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated. Did you base your new series on your on experiences being a member of a predominantly Black Greek organization? Do you think having that experience helped you to craft the novels in this series?

    MM: I’ve been a member of Sigma Gamma Rho since 1987 with Zeta Tau Sigma Chapter in Maryland. The new series does not portray Sigma Gamma Rho’s pledge process because the organization banned pledging as a direct result of the hazing lawsuits that all fraternal organizations face. Instead, I used the positive aspects of the pledging experience that I witnessed among the original four black sororities over several years: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Theta Sigma, and Sigma Gamma Rho.

    But true, deep friendships occur with schoolmates, book club members, knitting club, etc., making this bonding universal regardless of race, class, or any other differences. I don’t think you have to be a part of a sorority to write about the experience. However, since my experience was a positive one, I chose to give the African American fraternal institutions and their missions the respect and platform as the founders intended.

    GB: You did a wonderful job. The closeness of the sorors in the novel made me want to run and call each of my line sisters after I read the novel. Anyway, No One But You takes on the wonderfully classic “lovers reunited” romance theme. What made you decide to use this theme in your latest release?

    MM: Lovers reunited is a theme that people can relate to because many of us may have experiences from past relationships that still hold a special place in our hearts. With everything else in place, sometimes timing plays that crucial role that acts as a divider between a couple. And if we had a second chance, we vow not to make the mistake again.

    In No One But You , Jackson has been helped by Sara’s sorority sisters who intervene without her knowledge to get the couple back together. They know that Sara still loves this man, and they take the chance that Jackson will step up and take on the quest to reclaim his college sweetheart. I’m a romantic at heart and could possibly see some of my old college friends reconnecting given the right time and place for the magical moment.

    GB: What else do you have in store for readers with this hot new series? Can you give us some hints and sneak peeks of what we can expect in the forthcoming novels? What else will those sorors of Xi Sigma Theta be getting into? What are the up coming titles and release dates for the rest of the series?

    MM: Each story will focus on the life of a particular sorority sister. There will be secrets to uncover, confessions of past sins to disclose, but also, a deeper understanding and humility that she will learn about herself as she faces life long love with her soul mate.

    Gamble On Love – October 2008 – Denise Dixon is everything self-made millionaire Jaden Bond has come to hate in a woman. The “Black American Princess” is spoiled rotten and a gambler. But with the looks to rival a genuine beauty queen and a sassy attitude to back them up, Denise is a blow torch to Jaden’s cold-hearted cynicism and his legendary self-control.

    Only In Paradise – April 2009 – Athena, a twin, leaves her job and home to work in a school on a small Caribbean island where she gets a daily dose of her elegantly handsome boss, Collin Wadsworth.

    Title To Be Decided – October 2009 – Naomi, the ex-basketball player must re-enter life after a horrendous injury only to be challenged by a no-nonsense plastic surgeon, Sergio Lopez.

    Last Title in Series – In 2010 – This will be Asia’s story, the other twin. At this moment, Asia’s story is not crafted, but she might end up in England.

    GB: What the best way for readers to get in contact with you?

    MM: I’m more accessible by email than snail mail. My email is Another way to keep updated on goings on is my shared reader loop with Gwyneth Bolton, Shelia Goss and Celeste Norfleet at Send an email if you’d like to join this fantastic loop where we have contests, chats and lively discussions.

    Wednesday, April 02, 2008

    Off to New Orleans...

    I'm off to attend the Conference on College Composition and Communication Convention in New Orleans. My flight leaves bright and early in the morning. I'll be away from the blogosphere. See you all when I get back on Monday!

    much love and peace,


    Tuesday, April 01, 2008

    April Interview with Celeste O. Norfleet

    GB: Hi Celeste! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and doing an interview. I’m a huge fan of your work and I appreciate you taking the time to chat! So, first I have to ask my standard time management question. How do you find the time to do it all and do it all so well?

    CN: Hi Gwyneth. Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog and thanks for the great intro although I don’t know about the “do so well” part. Okay, to answer your question, I consider writing a full time job, so when it comes to time management I stay pretty close to a set work schedule. I start right after my teens leave for school and continue until they come home. That’s about seven about hours a day. When I’m unable to get seven hours in, I try to make up lost time by working in the evenings. When I’m on deadline I usually schedule myself to write between 10,000 and 15,000 words a week. Doing the math, I can usually complete a book in 2 months or less.

    GB: What drew you to the romance genre? Were you a reader of romance novels before you started to write them?

    CN: I’m a late bloomer when it comes to romance. I’m often amazed by the stories of authors reading romance at young ages. While they were reading romance I was drawing and painting. What drew me to romance is easy, I read one romance novel and was instantly smitten. That was in 1995. I decided to write romance a few years later.

    GB: Since your first novel, Priceless Gift in 2002, you have published 14 novels and a novella. Congratulations on being so prolific and getting so many wonderful novels published. Has your writing changed over the years? How do you keep it fresh for yourself?

    CN: Thanks Gwyneth. I’d like to think and hope that my writing has changed for the better over the years, but I guess that’s a matter of opinion. I constantly study the mechanics of the craft. There’s always something more for me to learn. Keeping fresh for me means keeping an eye on what’s going on in the world and in the business. I read a lot, and try to stay open to new and unusual ideas. I come up with dozens of story plots for books every week. Some are good and some are absolutely horrible. I’ll get an idea and go, “what if…” My March 2007 release, Love After All , is a perfect example of that. I read a newspaper article about someone getting conned and the ball just started rolling.

    GB: With so many wonderful novels under your belt, do you find that there are any common themes in your work, themes that resurface or topics that you revisit?

    CN: There’s always the enduring love theme. I’m secretly a hopeless romantic, so writing the happily ever after ending is so natural for me. As for topics, I like doing research so my books have dozens of different themes and topics. I like changing up and keeping the books fresh and exciting.

    GB: What has your journey to publication been like? How did you get in print and remain in print? Are there any secrets to your success that you are willing to share?

    CN: Sorry, there are no secrets. Getting published was more a test of patience and perseverance then anything else. I learned very fast that getting published was a Catch 22. You needed an agent to get a publishing contract and you needed a publishing contract to get an agent. I also learned that persistence pays off. After deciding to become a writer I went to the local library and learned everything I could about the publishing business. Afterwards I wrote my first manuscript and sent it in. I immediately wrote my second manuscript and send that in as well. Midway through my third manuscript I received the “call.” In 2001 Chandra Taylor Sparks, editor at BET Books, wanted to buy both manuscripts and also wanted me to write a Christmas romance. She gave me three months to write it. It was my first deadline. I received a three book contract. I wasn’t agented at the time but I did use the legal services of Elaine English, who is currently my agent.

    GB: You’re the author of a widely successful and popular series, The Matchmaker Series which features the always wonderful and sometimes meddlesome, Mamma Lou. I had the pleasure of chatting with Mamma Lou here on “Gwyneth’s Blog” a couple of weeks ago and she was just delightful! She had some really insightful things to say about the series and her mission to help folks find love. As the author of this marvelous series, can you tell us a little bit about what went into creating it? Did you know it was going to be such a long running series when you started it? Any advise to writers about developing and sustaining a successful series?

    CN: The Matchmaker Series came about completely by accident as did all of my series books. Initially, when I typed the words, “the end” after I finished writing Priceless Gift , I expected that to be the end. To my total surprise, it wasn’t. I’m delighted to say that readers adored Mamma Lou and wanted more. I was asked by my editor to start and continue a series featuring her. It was easy enough because Louise Gates is such a great character. I had no idea at the time that the series would continue for eight books (and counting). I think that the key to developing and sustaining a successful series is to writing a great story and creating memorable character.

    GB: I just finished your latest Matchmaker Series release, When Love Calls and loved it. Can you tell folks a little bit about it? Just enough to tease them and make them run out and buy it.

    CN: When Love Calls is part of the Matchmaker Series. It features Senator Randolph Kingsley and Alyssa Wingate. Alyssa is a hopeful DC lobbyist on a mission to sneak into a private reception and get Senator Kingsley to support her cause. They end the evening in a police station with Randolph realizing that there’s something special about her. Alyssa and Randolph are attracted to each other but family secrets and political maneuvering vie to keep them apart. Unlike Mamma Lou’s other targets; Randolph actually enlists her help to win the heart of the woman he loves. But as we all know politics make strange bedfellows. In When Love Calls there are secrets, betrayals, lies, backstabbing, tender romance and hot, steamy, tantalizing sex (after all we are talking politics). Yes, there’s also a bit of humor.

    GB: With all the political sex scandals going on these days, it seems like a very timely topic! You also have a Young Adult novel coming out this month that you co-authored with your daughter. Can you tell us a little bit about the novel and what it was like co-writing with your teenaged daughter? I’ll bet it was a blast!

    CN: Yes, it really was a blast! Hard to believe but it’s true. My daughter, Jennifer collaborated and wrote, She Said, She Said with me. We had such a great time. The actually logistics were simple. I wrote the mother’s character and Jennifer wrote the daughter’s character. We basically took turns, exchanged copy daily and stayed on a very tight schedule and a tight chapter outline and synopsis. She Said, She Said is a Kimani TRU and is the story of a mother and daughter characters that are at odds with each other. Each character talks, but neither listens and when they do they only hear what they want to hear. After a long road trip to the mother’s home town the main characters seem to change places. The teenage daughter begins to act like a mom and the mother begins to act like a teenager. It’s a warm and funny story, a definite keeper.

    GB: It sounds delightful. I could see it as a movie already and I haven’t even read it. LOL. Somebody call Disney… (smile) So, how has your life changed since becoming published? Would you change anything if you had it to do all over again? What changes, if any, do you anticipate in the future?

    CN: I love being a published author but actually my life hasn’t really changed that much. I was a stay at home mom and I’m still a stay at home mom. Only know I write between dusting and laundry. I don’t know that I’d change anything. It’s been a wonderful journey. One definite future change will be writing from more lines, so stay tuned.

    GB: What’s next on the horizon for you? Tell us a little bit about your upcoming projects and give us a sneak peek at some of the things you have in the works.

    CN: I can’t keep a secret. My first Kimani TRU, Pushing Pause , did very well so I’ve been asked to write a sequel to the story. Fast Forward will be out the end of this year with more sequels to come. Also, there’s more in the works for the Matchmaker Series and I’ll be revisiting the characters from Only You and Love After All .

    GB: All right! Congratulations, lady! You are certainly doing your thing. Keep those books coming… So, what are you reading right now?

    CN: Right now, truthfully, it’s the Washington Post newspaper. I just got finished judging two different contests, so my eyes are triple crossed from reading romance. But the top three books in my “to-be-read” pile are – No One But You by Michelle Monkou, Then Comes Love by Candice Poarch, Double Platinum by Shelia Goss. Girl, I read your novella in Cuffed by Candlelight . “Handcuffs Mean Never Having to Say You’re Sorry” was too HOT!

    GB: I just finished Michelle Monkou's No One But You . It was a great read. I am about to start Shelia Goss's Double Platinum . Do you have any advice for aspiring writers about the publishing business?

    CN: Don’t give up on yourself or your talent.

    GB: How can readers best contact you?

    CN: Sure, readers can e-mail me at or write me snail mail at Celeste O. Norfleet, P. O. Box 7346, Woodbridge, VA 22195-7346. Don’t forget to check out my website at, .

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    Throwback Thursdays

    Where are they now?


    I liked the girl group from the 90s, Total. They were a part of Puffy's Bad Boy label when Bad Boy was hot. And speaking of Puffy, or Diddy, or Sean "Diddy" Combs, or what ever the hell name he's going by at this second... Why do they keep letting this fool make bands? Seriously, if MTV airs one more season of Puffy making one more band... But I digress...

    As much as Puffy works my nerves--and trust and believe me he makes me sick to just look at him--he was the hit maker in the 90s. Bad Boy had it going on and Total was one of those rough and rugged girl groups that sisters could vibe to. Sort of like ole school What's the 411? Mary J. Blige ... Anyway, instead of Puffy making new bands, why doesn't he do something with one of the old bands that we actually liked at one point? I think I'll dedicate the next few Throwbacks to girl groups of the 90s that are no longer with us. I want Total to do a tour with SWV, Xscape and 702. That would make my nostalgic self very happy. Until then... I'll just have to check out Total's "Kissing You."

    much love and peace,


    Monday, March 24, 2008

    About a Book Mondays: Chatting with Mamma Lou

    About A Book Mondays: An Interview the Matchmaker Louise “Mamma Lou” Gates

    Today I have the great pleasure to chat with Louise “Mamma Lou” Gates, the matchmaking dynamo from Celeste O. Norfleet’s wonderful Matchmaker Series. She has been hooking folks up since she hit the scene in Priceless Gift and she is at it again in Celeste Norfleet’s latest novel When Love Calls . I’ll tell you after following this series and enjoying reading about the passionate love that she guides folks into finding, all I want to know is where was she when I was in the dating game. LOL. I’m really happy to have the chance to talk to her today and find out what makes this wonderful woman tick. So, welcome Mrs. Gates! And I hope that I am not being to forward by acting like family and calling you Mamma Lou. After reading about so many of your matchmaking missions, I feel like know you!

    So my first question is what made you decide to try and help folks find love? Is it a calling you’ve always had?

    LG “Mamma Lou”: First of all thank you so much Gwyneth for giving me the opportunity to spread the word about my matchmaking. And yes, please call me Mamma Lou, everyone else does. Now, your first question was very interesting. The answer is yes indeed, matchmaking is definitely a calling, one I’ve listened to and acted on for years. Not to sound too full of myself, but I’ve always had the talent to see the spark of love. And before you ask what it is, the spark of love is the innate glow of passion between two people. When you see it, that’s when you know a match is perfect. I know some of my matchmaking schemes aren’t too popular at first, but folks eventually come around to see that I always know what’s best when it comes to matchmaking.

    GB: Out of all of the couples that the talented author Celeste Norfleet has chronicled for you in her telling of your matchmaking tales, do you have any favorites? Which couple gave you the hardest time trying to resist your matchmaking efforts?

    LG “Mamma Lou”: Oh heavens no, I don’t have favorites. I love all my children and all my matches. Each one is special and unique. I’ve joined so many wonderful couples over the years including Celeste and her husband, Charles. What a sweet couple they are. They just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last year. Oh, they fought me at first, most of my matches do, but in the end I knew they were the perfect match. As for the hardest and most resistant couple, I can’t think of a single one. They all come around in time.

    GB: Wow! I had no idea you’d hooked up Celeste and her husband! That’s wonderful. The latest installment in the Matchmaker Series, When Love Calls sounds like another wonderful love story as well. I hear that the hero might have even sought out your help this time. Can you give us some information about this new installment in the series?

    LG “Mamma Lou”: Oh yes, Senator Randolph Kingsley from California is a wonderful man. I met the honorable senator when my grandson’s brother-in-law, JT Evans, got married to the Senator’s sister, Juliet Bridges. Randolph is a brilliant intellect with astute insight. He didn’t really need me to help him. All I did was move a few old memories out of the way and gave love a bit of breathing room. It’s like my garden on Crescent Island, some memories are like tangled weeds and prickly nettles, you need to cut them away to keep the richness of life blooming. Sometimes we hold on when we should let go. A dear old friend of mine learned that just recently. I’m so delighted to say that Randolph and Alyssa are just as happy as can be.

    GB: I noticed that you’ve branched out of late and have moved on from helping just family member, spreading love to friends as well. Do you think you’ll ever branch out even further? Maybe set up a Mamma Lou dating service and help people all over the world find love? Or do you prefer the personal connections that you have with friends and family?

    LG “Mamma Lou”: (laughter) Oh my, wouldn’t that be the limit, me running a dating service. No baby, I think my matchmaking days will be better spent right here in my backyard. I have so many wonderful new and old friends that need my help. At over eighty years old, I don’t think I have the energy to circle the world but, wouldn’t that be a joy to see.

    GB: As I think about the series and how much I have enjoyed it over the years, I can’t help but imagine it as a cool television series. Can you imagine it? A woman going around hooking up couple each week? It would be like Murder She Wrote but instead of helping to find out whodunit you’d be helping people find love. And instead of a little old white woman we’d have a sassy African American grandmother such as yourself. If you had to pick a movie star to play you in a great television show about your life as a matchmaker who would you pick and why?

    LG “Mamma Lou”: (laughter) Sweet child you are too kind to an old lady. I’ve heard this mentioned before and I’ll tell you what I told them, it would be an honor to inspire such a television show. Now as to who might play me, I’d have to say my dear friend Ruby Ann Wallace. We met years ago when she attended Hunter College. She’s so talented and as an Oscar nominated actress, I can think of no one more perfect to play me. You all know her as Ruby Dee.

    GB: I could totally see Ruby Dee bringing your wonderful persona to the screen! What is in the future for Mamma Lou and Celeste Norfleet’s wonderful series and how might readers find out more about the books?

    LG “Mamma Lou”: Well Gwyneth, I don’t know what the good Lord has in store for me, but for right now and the foreseeable future, I’ll be matchmaking. There are still so many in need of my services. Since our first book together (Priceless Gift), Celeste and I have gone on a wonderful journey celebrating my matchmaking in eight delightful novels. I can’t imagine stopping now when there’s so much more to do. So as long as Celeste continues to write, I’ll continue to be right there with her. As a matter of fact, I just told Celeste about a good friend, Trey Evans. Heaven knows it took a while. Trying to catch up with Trey was like trying to catch the wind, impossible. But, he came around. I just wish I was the one he went to for help. He called my dear friend Colonel Wheeler. Imagine that. I believe Celeste calls that novel, And Then There Was You. It’ll be out the end of this year so watch for it. Now, since I don’t know any of that fancy computer stuff you young people talk about, I’m gonna let Celeste take it from here. If folks want to chat with me more about my matchmaking, have them contact Celeste.

    Celeste O. Norfleet: Thanks Mamma Lou and thanks Gwyneth for inviting us to stop by, About a Book Mondays. I love listening to Mamma Lou chat about love and matchmaking. Her insights are truly awe-inspiring. That’s why I enjoy writing her stories. So, to chat more with Mamma Lou send an email to Put “Mamma Lou” in the subject space and I’ll get it to her. Or check out my website at

    GB: Thanks for taking the time to do the interview, Mamma Lou. I appreciate it!

    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    Holiday Greetings...

    Have a wonderful and blessed Easter weekend everyone!

    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Throwback Thursdays

    Old School Movie Memories: Mahogany

    Okay since I was probably all of six years old when this movie was released in 1976, I didn’t exactly catch it in the theaters. I must have seen it for the first time on television. Probably a Saturday or Sunday afternoon… You know back when they used to show those back to back Karate flicks and every now and then you’d catch a movie like Mahogany , Claudine or Let’s Do It Again …. I will say that while I liked Lady Sings the Blues I LOVE Mahogany . After Claudine , it is probably one of my all time favorite old movies. The chemistry between Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams is amazing. And it’s even worth enduring that weird relationship she develops with the character played by Anthony Perkins. Because in the end she “gets her ole man back!” I also loved that even though she becomes this big time model in the film, for a large chunk of it she’s just a regular Chi-town girl. We don’t have nearly enough black love movies. But this one is a classic and it will always be in my top ten. What older romantic movies make your top ten list? And while you ponder that question think about these… “Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know?” LOL. Have a great weekend!

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    New Covers and You Can Pre-Order Now...

    In case you haven't noticed the updates on the sidebar, I have the new covers for the first three Hightower books. I can't decide which cover is my favorite... I think I like the cover for Protect and Serve the best. Anyway, I just saw that Make It Hot is available for pre-order on So go on over and pre-order it if you'd like... ;-) And if you haven't gotten around to pre-ordering Protect and Serve you might want to get both with you're at it... wink, wink... LOL. What do you think of the covers?


  • Pre-order MAKE IT HOT

  • Monday, March 17, 2008

    About a Book Mondays

    Shelia Goss’s Double Platinum

    Shelia Goss has a new release! And if it is anywhere as good as her previous novels, then we are in for a treat. I interviewed Shelia last year. And she has since come out with a few more titles for your reading pleasure. I read and enjoyed Shelia’s My Invisible Husband and Paige’s Web . And I can’t wait to read Double Platinum . That’s why I’m so happy we have her with us today to discuss her newest release.

    GB: So Shelia can you tell us a little bit about your latest release?

    SG: Double Platinum is about R & B mega star Parris Mitchell. To the world, it seems like she has it all. But with a declining career, she has nothing left but disappointed fans and growing depression. Hit Maker and Playboy Casper "CJ The Hitmaker" Johnson is looking for a new sound. He needs her voice. She needs her career back. Their drama from groupies and people from their past becomes the source of plenty of print for the paparazzi.

    GB: I know you have a lot of experience with celebrity interviews. Did the inspiration for this novel come from all those in-depth celebrity interviews you’ve done?

    SG: Yes, that and the fact that I love R & B music. Besides books, music is my passion.

    GB: Who is your favorite character in this novel and why are they your favorite?

    SG: Trick question (LOL). They all are. Since I have to pick one, it would be Parris Mitchell. Parris represents the woman scorned. She gave her heart and soul to a man, only to find herself on the losing end of a disastrous relationship. The only difference is her tragedy is displayed in front of the world. She has to fight to regain her self-respect as well as boost her failing career. I like the fact that she doesn’t give up.

    GB: If you could pick a current hot R&B singer and producer or perhaps some Hollywood superstars star as the leads in a movie about Double Platinum who would you choose and why?

    SB: Below are a few of the people I have in mind if I could cast them in a movie about Double Platinum :

    Parris Mitchell – Vivica Fox (she can play any role…she can be meek or strong) or Singer Lina (she has the look and the sound of Parris)

    Casper “CJ – The Hitmaker” Johnson – Lamman Rucker (been admiring him since I first saw him on Living Single) or Brian J White (not only is he a cutie, he’s a good actor)

    Archie - Idris Elba (talented—he can play the good guy or bad guy) or Terrence Howard (see previous explanation)

    Carmen – Jill Scott (she could pull off the charisma Carmen has) or Victoria Rowell (Her previous acting shows she can play a “take charge” type of role)

    Sandy “The Tabloid Reporter” - Ali Landry (her previous role was on EVE) or Brittany Daniel (reminds me of how Sandy looks in the book…I’ve seen her on The Game and another series)

    GB: What next on the horizon for you? And how can readers find out more about this novel and all your other wonderful work?

    SB: I am currently working on several books in several different genres. To learn more about me or my books, please visit my website at Be sure to click on my blog where we discuss relationships, books, and everything else: If you’re on myspace, I’m at

    Check out the incredible book trailer for Double Platinum here:

    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    Throwback Thursdays

    Those Magic TV Moments…

    Living Single: Maxine “Max” Shaw Attorney-at-Law and Kyle Barker

    Honestly, I like friends to lovers plots; they warm my heart and make me smile. But rivals to lovers plots done right... They get my blood racing and heart pounding every time. I love them! My all time favorite TV couple is Max and Kyle from Living Single . Those two were constantly at each other’s throats from the very first episode. Who knew under all that dislike was a simmering, ready-to-boil-over passion? I’ll never forget when Max lost her job and couldn’t find her best friend Khadijah to drink away her blues. She ended up drinking with Kyle and they ended up doing the horizontal hokey-pokey for the first time. The episode where they woke up and realized that they had gotten drunk and slept together was worth waiting all summer for the new season to see. They were constantly insulting one another, but there was something that just made them seem so right for one another. If they weren’t on TV, I’d say that couple is toxic and should seek help or better yet split up... They certainly took the ‘playful banter’ to the tenth degree and back again. And who can forget the “Funny Valentine” episode when Kyle made his come back after freezing while singing in front of Max. He had the sistah squirming in her seat when it was all said and done.

    I think they remain my all-time favorite TV couple because Max was just my kind of girl. The sistah was driven, sassy and way too commitment phobic to give in to love without a fight. And only a guy as confidant and smooth as Kyle Barker could give as good as he got and keep coming back for more. I loved that in the end neither of them could run from love. Fate intervened and the anonymous sperm donor that Max used ended up being Kyle. I know, that kind of thing only happens on TV, the soaps, or in romance novels… But I told y’all I’m such a girl and I eat this kind of stuff up like cake. So who was your favorite TV couple?

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    About a Book Mondays

    Debut Author: Meet Victoria Wells

    This week on Gwyneth’s Blog we have the wonderfully talented author Victoria Wells. I read her novel A Special Summer and found myself up until the wee hours of the morning finishing the book. It is my pleasure to welcome Victoria to my blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know a little bit more about you and your new novel.

    GB: So, Victoria, tell us a little bit about yourself. In addition to the standard biography, what’s one thing about you that most people would be surprised by?

    VW: Hi Gwyneth! It’s my pleasure. Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity of being interviewed on your blog. I’ve been married to my husband for almost twenty-two years. I’m the mother of three sometimes wonderful, sometimes devilish children. I’ve been a nurse for seventeen years, seven of which I’ve practice as an adult nurse practitioner. And now I’m an author, which I still sometimes pinch myself to make sure it’s true. LOL. My adventurous side that comes out every once in awhile surprises most people. For instance while on vacation in Hilton Head, I went kayaking in the middle of nowhere and can’t tread water! I couldn’t do it if my life depended on it! Talk about God being good! Also, writing a romance novel surprised most people. Especially after reading the steamy scenes! I’m sitting here giggling to myself as I remember going into my pastor’s office confessing that I had written a romance novel. I said, “Listen pastor, I’m telling you myself before anyone tells on me!” LOL. I’m pleased to say that my pastor, his wife and other church members enjoyed the book.

    GB: Tell us a little bit about your road to publication. What has it been like? You decided to take your destiny in your own hands and take the self-publishing route. Can you tell us a little about why you decided to self publish your novel?

    VW: I have to tell you this question makes me a little nervous, downright scurred! LOL. When I first self-published I did a post about being a self-pub author in an online group…Lawd a mercy! I was almost tarred and feathered! However, I’m going to be honest and give you the same response I gave them. I was afraid of having my manuscript rejected. I was all but told in so many words by some members of the group (to be fair other members were supportive and even let it be known that they had also self published) that my fear of rejection and decision to self publish meant that I probably wasn’t a good writer, just because I wrote a book didn’t make me an author, and to develop thick skin to accept the rejection or stay out of the business! I was like… “Say what?!” LOL. I can laugh about it now, but I was angry and hurt at the time. For years I toyed with the idea of writing a book. When I finally decided I was going to make my idea become a reality I did research on self-publishing vs. traditional. I was absolutely terrified of the “R” word. Although I was fearful I knew I had a great story people would enjoy.” I kept asking myself over and over, “Should I allow someone else to crush my dream?” So, I decided to throw caution to the wind and self published my story, which was originally released November 2006. The response I received from readers was overwhelming. I’m not just talking about friends and family. People I didn’t even know were telling me they really enjoyed my book. I must say that this response book gave me the courage to submit to three different publishing houses. Two of three were interested in my manuscript. I’d like to take this opportunity to again thank my publisher Jessica Tilles of Xpress Yourself Publishing, LLC for believing in my story and giving me a chance.

    GB: Tell us a little bit about your novel. What was your inspiration for writing it?

    VW: A Special Summer is truly a story of redemption and forgiveness. It’s about a young woman (Summer) who’s experiencing her first encounter of being in love with an older man (Nick). Because of demons and unresolved family issues from Nick’s past life, Summer is literally flung into a world of pandemonium when he believes she betrayed him in the worst way. When he finally sees things as they really are, Nick is in jeopardy of losing the only woman that ever truly loved him unconditionally. I would have to say reading romance novels inspired me. When I began reading AA romance novels I would always think, if this had happened, would that have happened? I was always thinking of ways to make the story continue on. So one day I said to myself, “I’m going to write me a book about black people loving each other, too!” LOL. I wanted to create my own stories of romance and stop mentally meddling with everybody else stories! LOL. Also reading the various authors backgrounds and discovering they had other careers inspired me as well. I must say I was truly inspired by Francis Ray because we’re both nurse practitioners (smile). Lastly, Tyler Perry was a great inspiration. I saw him on Oprah a few years back telling his story of how he spent all his money on his first play and it was a flop! As a result he lost everything and became homeless. Now look at Mr. Perry! So I pumped myself up and kept chanting daily, “If my book is a flop, I’ll just start all over again like Tyler did.”

    GB: Your debut novel A Special Summer takes the reader through the trials and tribulations of a young couple’s journey towards love. It sways away from some traditional romance tropes and holds true to other, providing a nice remix and a fresh voice to the genre. Can we expect more of these kinds of novels from you in the future?

    VW: Yes! I certainly hope so! What I tried to do with A Special Summer is write about real life situations. Stuff that people have dealt with or know someone who’s dealt with similar drama that would draw the reader in. I think I did that with Nick and his baggage. Everyone dislikes poor Nick in the beginning. LOL. I want to continue to get readers all riled up only to accept that we are all imperfect creatures and sometimes react to situations without thinking them through. And that true love as described in I Corinthians 13 will conquer any mountain we may face.

    GB: Hey, imperfect people need love too. LOL. Do you have any advice for other writers dreaming of their own debut?

    VW: Being so new to this business I feel like I don’t having any words of wisdom. But I would tell them to do their research about the business. If they’re serious about writing take some creative writing classes (which I did in college and I’m planning on taking a refresher course or two) and join some good online groups for authors/aspiring authors. I must tell you Gwyneth, as a new kid on the block, the romance authors I’ve been in brief contact with have been nothing but kind to me. So I want to say thank you to those individuals. Lastly, if you feel like you have a story to tell…tell it! Don’t let anyone crush your dreams.

    View Victoria’s wonderful book trailer here:

    Find out more about Victoria here:



  • Thursday, March 06, 2008

    Throwback Thursdays

    Toys of yesterday...

    These are two toys that I absolutely hated.




    Why did I hate these toys you ask? Because I couldn't do them of course. I could never get that stupid rubik's cube right. Unless I cheated... I remember taking all the stickers off and putting them back on so that it looked like I'd won. LOL. And those kerbangers? Forget about it... I'm lucky I didn't put my eye out trying to get those stupid balls to go fast. My sister could do the kerbangers really well. She was irritating like that when we were kids...

    Yep. I hated those toys. Just thought I'd share. Any toys from your childhood that you hated?

    much love and peace,


    Saturday, March 01, 2008

    March Interview with Author Dyanne Davis

    GB: Hi, Dyanne! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and doing an interview. I always start with the time management question, especially when I’m interviewing an author like your, one who has been so incredibly prolific! How do you find the time to write all these wonderful novels and do everything else you do?

    DD: Hi Gwen, you do know you’re making me laugh and possibly even blush with such an introduction. Incredibly prolific, wonderful novels. You’re so good for the ego. Thank you. LOL. Okay, I’ll stop and answer your question. When Bill and I made an agreement ten years ago that I would quit my job with a steady paycheck to pursue a dream I decided to do two things: Give up the UPS man ( I was addicted to QVC) and to treat writing like a job. Since I take my writing seriously I don’t make time for writing, I write. My internal clock has been out of whack since I started writing and thinking of it as a job and not a hobby. I wake anywhere from 1-3 a.m. If it’s 1 a.m. I try to go back to sleep giving it ten minutes or so. If that doesn’t work I get up and start working. I check emails to see if there’s anything urgent while scolding myself. When I’m in the middle of edits or doing proofs then reading emails comes after several hours of work. It’s my reward. I’m usually on the computer on and off until about 5 p.m. I say on and off because I have a husband whom I love VERY much and I have no plans to have him feel neglected. We’re partners. We do everything together, as he calls it, we do our retired thing, going to the stores, library, post office and wherever, several times each week. LOL. Now maybe you can see why I haven’t tried to retrain my body to sleep longer. The bulk of my writing is done in the wee hours of the morning. And wouldn’t it have been nice if I’d just said that and not took so long to answer the question?

    GB: It wouldn’t have been nearly as fascinating if you hadn’t taken the long way around my dear. And your hubby sounds like a keeper for sure! (smile) Okay, what drew you to the romance genre? Were you a reader of romance novels before you started to write them?

    DD: I wanted to be with other writers. A patient of mine told me of a writers’ group. We initially decided to become writing partners and went to a local Romance Writers of America meeting. After a couple of months I knew I wasn’t part of a writing team. The voices in my head could only be heard by me—and now I believe by Sidney. No, I was not a romance reader. I was an avid reader but romance wasn’t my cup of tea. Susan Elizabeth Philips was and still is a member of my chapter but at the time I had no idea who she was or any of the other published authors in the chapter.

    GB: What has your journey to publication been like? How did you get in print and remain in print? Are there any secrets to your success that you are willing to share?

    DD: My journey has been like most others; years of rejections, writing more, sending out, more rejections, wanting to give up. Bill and I had a deal. I was to take two years off from work to write. If nothing was happening, I was going back to work. Well the two years came to an end and no book contract. I was willing to stand by our agreement. I told Bill I would go back to work. He kissed me and told me no to continue. I think it took about another year. Now you now one of the small reasons why I make sure that man is not neglected. He is so totally my ROCK . As for how I got into print it was when I was on the verge of calling it quits. I had received a contract from Genesis Press for another book, titled Forever and A Day (no not the book that came out with Parker but I used the title) Anyway, from editor notes, I thought they wanted me to write porn. I refused. We both agreed to tear up the contract. I vowed to never send them anything again, ever. Out of the blue, Niani emailed me and after a few emails asked if I was working on anything else. I told her about my vow, yada yada, she told me that she was now in charge and things were being run differently. She again asked what I had and I told her. She asked me to send it.

    When the envelope came back that I knew contained my mss I knew it also contained a rejection. Why? Everyone in the chapter said that if they sent back the mss it was rejected and that you got a business size envelope when they wanted the work. Not true in my case. So I didn’t open it for a few days and was shocked when I opened it and they wanted the full.

    A couple of weeks after I sent the full I got a call from GP asking if I had anything else. I took that to mean that they had not liked The Color of Trouble but wanted something else. Several calls came from them within a matter of an hour. Niani called and explained that everyone in the office loved The Color of Trouble and she wanted to know if I had anything else because she wanted to give me a two book contract.

    Mind you, I need proof and remember I had a notebook filled with rejection letters. I asked her to email me so I could print it out. I wanted all the wonderful things she said in her phone call. She emailed and the message wasn’t as glowing as the phone call so I called her up and said, Sorry, but I want all the glowing praise I want to print it up. She emailed me again and I printed it out and framed it. So right here, right now, I want to thank Niani for putting up with me and understanding. I want to thank Genesis Press for giving me a chance when no one else would. That’s how I got into print. How I stayed in print was because of God’s grace and the acquisition editor, Angelique Justin, and my editor liking my voice. Sidney Rickman has always relayed to others that she thought I was talented. She doesn’t know that I know this but I was told and anytime that I’ve had doubts I’ve used it as my mantra: Sidney thinks I’m talented. The mantra worked because Sidney has told me that IN WRITING many times. I’ve kept everyone of her notes.

    As for secrets, God, I wish there were some. I think it’s all a matter of timing and finding that one person with the power to buy your book that loves your voice. If I did have any I would definitely share them. I’m of a mind that this business is large enough to encompass all writers and that we all lift ourselves up when helping others to achieve their goals.

    GB: The first romance novel of yours I read was The Wedding Gown . And I remember thinking that you seemed to be a bold and risk-taking romance writer that I would have to read more of for sure. Would you classify yourself as a bold, risk-taking author? What do you think is your boldest book?

    DD: Hmm. A friend of mine always tells me that I liked pushing the envelope. And I know some have said that I was breaking all of the romance rules. That wasn’t necessarily intentional. Remember my upbringing and the fact that I was not a romance reader. I have always hated anyone telling me what to do so being put into this little box that you’re put in as a romance writer, well, it was just in my nature to fight against it. I’ll tell you, Gwen, if I had been allowed to keep some of my books the way that I wanted them they would have been bold. The Wedding Gown would have been an entirely different book if I had been allowed to keep it in it’s original form. The secondary characters took over the book and it became a brother sister relationship book. It was where the characters took me. But Sidney brought me back on course and said, “Dyanne, this is not a book about a brother and sister this is a romance. If Mia wants a book then you will have to write Mia a book. Give all of Mia’s scenes to Ashleigh.

    LOL. Okay, maybe those weren’t the exact words but almost. For real. Two things happened: I have never liked Ashleigh because she stole a book that was supposed to be hers in the first place and my editor Sidney Rickman went to Niani and told her that she thought I should do a third book with Mia. Misty Blue . Thanks Sidney.

    As to what books I think are my boldest: If I had been allowed to go with my instincts and my first fifteen pages and make Forever and A Day an interracial that would have been it. Can you imagine what that would have stirred up with what was happening in New Orleans at the time? Okay, maybe I do like stirring things up. I think Another Man’s Baby would be the boldest book. A marine saying that America is not ALL right in the war in Iraq, that the Iraqi people are suffering also, bringing to light the horrors that are done there, the things that are covered up. And then him coming home and being ordered to bring fresh bodies for this war he no longer believes in. Oh yeah, I’d have to say Another Man’s Baby is it. I also had to make sure that it was not the troops that Eric was protesting against but the war itself.

    GB: Like I said, bold and risk-taking! You are the writing renaissance woman. Since the publication of your first novel, The Color of Trouble , an interracial romance, you have written African-American romances, more interracial romances, mainstream fiction and even a hot new vampire series. Can you tell us a little about some of your books? Are any common themes running through the novels? I already know which of your books is my favorite… Do you have a favorite?

    DD: Gwen, I’m trying to figure out your blog space and know that I’ve taken up wayyy too much space answering the other question but there was really no way to give short answers. I promise to give short answers to this one (well shorter) Anyway since I have long admired you and thought of you as a renaissance woman your words are a real compliment to me. Thank you.

    The Color of Trouble —Tons of personal reasons for writing it but I’ll boil it down to this. I wanted to show that prejudice exists in people of color.
    The Wedding Gown —A romance ( I’m still traumatized over the change.) LOL.

    Misty Blue —I loved my original title, Banishing The Ghosts. Sidney said it was the perfect title but not a romance title. This story was about Mia and Damien who stole The Wedding Gown and my heart. It’s the story of a young woman emotionally abused by her narcissist mother and her trying to cope with it. It’s also shows how one woman’s DOG can be another woman’s Prince charming.

    GB: It sure did because Damien was sho-nuff a dog in The Wedding Gown . Ooops… I had to cut in and say that… continue…

    DD: Let’s Get it on —Totally loved this story. I started to make Hamid be from Iran. I decided since I didn’t have another country to move to I’d tone it down. Moslems here were being persecuted in some places after 911. I wanted people to look at that and know it was wrong.

    Forever and A Day —Story about a couple finding love in the midst of Hurricane Katrina. It showed the classism that people of color have instituted amongst themselves, the whole good hair bad hair, yellow is better complex that black people indulge in.

    Two Sides to Every Story —There was and still is so much police brutality going on around the country that I decided to have a story about this. It was also the first story where I didn’t have the couple married or involved in a long-term relationship. Some one actually said I had them get together too quickly. I had to laugh. It had taken months of them irritating each other. Besides I’m usually told that I take too long to get to the love scenes and that I wasn’t writing true romance because the couples were either married, engaged or in a long term relationship. It just goes to show no matter what you do, not everyone will like it.

    In The Beginning —Okay, what can I say but thank you to Mr. Adam Omega for allowing F.D. Davis to chronicle his life. He’s a vampire with bite. LOL.

    GB: He sure is… Mmm mmm mmm…. Love him though… continue…

    DD: Many Shades of Gray —This book tells you from the first page that the woman considers herself a “B.” Hey silly me, I thought that would be enough to let the readers know it wasn’t going to be a typical romance. There are several underlying themes in that book that may have been missed by some. There is the very real issue of trying to save the independently owned African American bookstores from extinction. That’s a very real problem. Then there is the matter of rights. Does a man have the right of a father over an unborn fetus? Is the woman the only one who can make that decision because it’s her body? Generally I don’t say too much too contradict or defend my work but this book was well written and showed a lot of growth in my writing. And yes, I touched on abortion. I guess you’re right. I do keep pushing the envelope don’t I?

    GB: Mmm hmm, you do. But keep on pushing!

    DD: I just don’t do boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. I like writing stories about real people who are flawed and make dumb mistakes. I don’t even like using the words hero and heroine. I guess I’m not really into the HEA. I do try for that but what I really want is for someone to read one of my books and say something like, Ohhh so and so act just like that, she should read this and know how stupid she’s behaving. Did I just call my books stupid? No. I write about people who do stupid things and won’t let me fix their problems. When someone says, that character was whatever, I wonder if they think I don’t know that. That was the point. But then again I guess I’m supposed to be writing romance. So I suppose readers have a right to expect traditional romance. But still I wonder if they’ve read my books aren’t they aware that I don’t write traditional romance. I thought about one of your earlier questions. Risk taking, I guess the answers I’m giving you instead of being politically correct is a definite risk but I’m being honest.

    Another Man’s Baby —I think I talked about this one earlier.

    The Critic —Okay, this book was just plain fun and probably has more of me than any other book I’ve ever written. It’s about a romance writer and a romance critic. It definitely has all of my ideas on the tight little confining box of the world of romance. I have a book trailer on my site that is so cute. Brenda Willis a member of my yahoo group made if for me. If your readers get a chance please go and take a look. And the cover is fantastic. click on books give it a few seconds then click on coming soon give it a few second now watch the video and enjoy. You need to have your sound on so you can hear the typewriter clicking away in the background.

    GB: That book sounds like loads of fun! I can’t wait to read it!

    DD: In Blood We Trust —this is the second installment of the Vampire Series. This is also the first time I’ve ever sent a book to a reader/writer to ask for a preread. This came about after I had done the edits from Sidney. Remember your asking me about that headspace? Well I don’t remember what I was writing before or after I wrote, In Blood We Trust. It must have been romance because it was beginning to read like one. I had taken Adam Omega to the dentist to have his fangs filed. So Gwyneth, Viola and Brenda I would like to thank the three of you for telling me to give Adam back his fangs. Your comments and suggestions were worth more than gold and enabled me to allow Adam to return to his true nature. Poor Sidney is going to pull her hair out when she gets back my revised version. I’ll have to do another edit when it comes back from her in about a month but I’m now in the right head thanks to my friends and colleagues.

    GB: You’re so welcome! I’m just geeked I got to read it before everyone else. I feel so special… So about those common themes…

    DD: The common theme that runs through my books is pointing out prejudices that exist and shining a soft light on them saying we all have it but we can conquer it. Some people totally miss what I’m trying to say. I’ve even had someone say I’m prejudiced. God!! ( Breathe Dyanne ). The other thing that is common in my books is faith in God. After about the third book I began to notice that. No one pointed it out to me and still haven’t. At first I had thought to eliminate it then I realized that my belief in God is a part of me. It’s who I am so naturally it’s going to come out in my writing. Even when writing about vampires.

    GB: Has your writing changed over the years? What kinds of changes have you seen in your work?

    DD: Well, I’m tackling more prominent social issues. Sidney has made a suggestion on a topic she thinks I would do a good job of. I’m not ready for it yet. It would be emotionally taxing. I just thought about this. Sidney would more than likely tell you that I take risks because she’s always telling me that she’s amazed at the things I choose to write about. I’m extremely and happy and proud to have Sidney in my corner I’ve learned a lot from her through the years. When she praises my work that’s the yardstick I measure by. Believe me when she thinks as she puts it, that I got on my horse and rode off in all directions she tells me, or if something is just plain not good she’ll say you can do better than that redo it. That’s why I love, trust and respect her and her editing and why I am always defending the Genesis press editors. One I know for a fact is top notch and professional and that’s Sidney Rickman. And yes this is a plug for Sidney. Read her interview on my site.

    GB: I only worked with Sidney once. She was my editor for Sweet Sensation . She rocked! So, how has your life changed since becoming published? Would you change anything if you had it to do all over again? What changes, if any, do you anticipate in the future?

    DD: Since becoming published I have found myself in the company of so many authors that it literally takes my breathe away to be considered a part of them. I think I’m much busier now than before. If I had it to do over again I would have probably armed myself with the right tools and learned the craft years before while it didn’t hurt my behind to sit for such extended periods of time. The change I anticipate for the future will be buying a laptop so some of my wok can be done from the comfort of my bed. LOL

    GB: You have published mainstream women’s fiction, paranormal fiction and romance novels. Do you find that you have to be in a different mental space or frame of mind to move from genre to genre? And I know this question is one you probably can’t answer, but… Which is your favorite? If you could write only one, what would it be?

    DD: Good question Gwen. You so have to be in a different headspace. I have no problems telling you which genre is my favorite. Hands down it would be paranormal. Your imagination can soar there like no other place. You create your world and you control it. If I could only write in one genre that would be it. Vampires, ghosts, witches, psychics. There are all whispering their stories to me. I’m trying to ask them to please be patient and Lord willing I will get to them.

    GB: Well, I love reading paranormals and I wish we had more with multicultural casts. So, hurry up and get to writing them. What’s next on the horizon for you? Tell us a little bit about your upcoming projects and give us a sneak peek at some of the things you have in the works.

    DD: The only project I haven’t mentioned is an anthology Lotus Blossom . Since I tend to write rather long this will be a good thing for me. I told Sidney a couple of books ago that I was going to start writing shorter books. She said I don’t have a short book in me. (LOL) So when I was asked to be in the Lotus Blossom anthology I jumped at the chance.

    GB: What are you reading right now?

    DD: Right now I’m doing required reading, Books for, RWA, The Rita. Now you have to know how hard this is at this particular time. I am the person receiving the books for Romance Slam Jam. All of these wonderful titles by so many talented writers and I don’t have time to read them before sending them out. (Dang!!) But I do read the dedications. For some weird reasons I enjoy the book more when I read the dedications. Yes, I know I’m strange.

    GB: I hear you about judging! It’s that time of the year. Speaking of Romance Slam Jam… You are also keeping busy as one of the dynamic host authors for this year's Romance Slam Jam. How has it been working with the other authors and the host book club to plan the event? And can you give us a little sneak peak about what we can expect when we meet up this year in the Chi?

    DD: I'm glad to have the opportunity to talk a little bit about Romance Slam Jam. The RSJ has now become an organization and will very soon be a non-profit organization. There is one person who has spearheaded this entire operation and I do not know where she has found the time to do all of it. Maybe youth plays a part in it. All I know is that Deatri King-Bey is a dynamo.

    Initially when our 08 committee got started we had a couple of little brush fires. (okay, a couple of cat fights ) Nothing major then we all said, "Okay, lets get about the business and move on. That was way over a year ago. Since then we've all been in this to make this the best RSJ that we can possibly make it. Everyone has their job and there's cross over when ever any one needs help. That includes the book club not just the authors. WE are all contributing and we all want this to be a success. It also helps that we have a central person to call on and that central person is Deatri.

    As for as sneak peek: Barbara Keaton is in charge of entertainment and all I can said is Lord, Lord, Lord. Bill probably won't let me enjoy it all but if I can put him to sleep I'll be there. Do you remember our D.J. from Miami? I'm actually going to miss him. We're going to have dancing and partying galore.

    GB: Girl, that DJ from Miami was something else wasn’t he? LOL. I know my girl Barb is going to hook up the entertainment. What else do you all have planned?

    DD: Then there are the workshops. Every possible thing you would want will be there. There’s more than enough to satisfy both the readers, writers and everyone else in between. We're going to have a spotlight on Red Sage where Theresa Stevens will tell exactly what they're looking for. It's a wide open market and we're lucky to have her. Michelle from Three Seas Literary Agency will also be doing a spotlight. Spotlight are terrific especially for the shy you get to hear what's going on without being afraid of losing the power of speech.

    We also will be having both editor and agents taking pitches so I hope everyone comes with their "A " games.

    Last but not least we have a de-stressing workshop for everyone. Then there's the books and goodies that will be in each goodie bag. Trust me you'll be happy. I'm going to have a hard time relinquishing them but since the guilt would eat me alive I guess I'll have to.

    I almost forgot. There will be reader sessions everyday will authors that way reader can get to talk to all of the authors. And then we have the special session where some of the authors will talk with ten special readers. These authors were chosen on the basis of who signed on first.

    Add that to all of us being there and just gabbing come on, why do you think it's themed Come on Home . That's what it will be, a big old homecoming. I can't wait.

    GB: Me either! I love Slam Jam and I know you all are going to set it out for us romance loving sistahs! Okay, so do you have any advice for aspiring writers about the publishing business?

    DD: I know this is what aspiring writers hear all the time. I heard it but it still remains true. Persevere, if you give up you will never know what was waiting for you around the corner. Don’t stop writing after you complete your first mss. Send it off and start on the second, then the third and so on. Join with other writers even if it’s just on-line. Having others who know what you’re going through cheer you on is so important. And last but not least, PLEASE develop a thick skin. If you think rejections hurt wait until you get bad reviews. It happens to everyone. I’ll bet the Bible has a ton of bad reviews. Here is one thing to remember through the bad reviews: An editor liked your work enough to pay you money for it. Make that your mantra when the time calls for it. Just don’t ever give up.

    GB: How can readers best contact you?

    DD: Readers can contact me via email Gwen, once again I would like to thank you for interviewing me and for the time you took with Mr. Omega. He’s very impressed by your talent. I’m sure he must have asked you to give me equal time. He can be nice when he chooses but there’s always a price to pay. Who knows what he will ask of me.

    GB: Dyanne this was too much fun! Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the Chi!