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, .