Peekaboo…

I see you!

Spring or maybe it’s Summer (it sure feels like it) has slipped in on us over this past Memorial Day weekend with surprisingly warm temperatures and clear skies in the north east. A far cry from our friends in the mid-west dealing with terrible weather unrest. But isn’t that the way of things? As with our country’s weather I’d say this is the way with just about every part of life. There is always an up/down push and pull to keep you on alert. Letting you know don’t get too comfy in that recliner. A storm can come at any moment, just as the sun can come out and shine when you least expect it.

A little reminder of the hi/low up/ down of life is this hidden bird’s nest my DH pointed out on a tree in our front yard that was just about bare just a few short weeks ago. It’s almost hard to see though the tangle of fresh green leaves. but if you look closely you can see the mama bird sitting in her nest, keeping her babies safe until they are ready to leave the nest and fly on their own.

Bird 3 (2)

Have a wonderful week.

 

All the best,

KMJ

Holding on…as you let go…

This has been both a long time coming and the shortest time ever. Over the weekend our girl aka “little twin A” aka “The DD” graduated from college (with a double major in International Studies and French thank-you-very-much-bring on those jobs please).

It was an amazing, proud and bittersweet moment for both me and the DH. And we’re now in the position of welcoming her back home as a young woman when at the same time (not entirely by choice) we’re sending her out into the “real world” as a young adult. It’s such a strange time for all of us. Not just a new chapter but a whole new story just waiting to be written and the hardest thing is this story I’m not writing.

Try as we might have to hold her tight and keep her our baby she still went and grew up, so with that all we can do is let her know how incredible we think she is, how much we love and care for her and hope that the world will love and care for her at least half as much.

Either way we are here. Still full of love, the love of parents, of family and that never changes.

 

Kayla Grad collage 1

 

Love,

Us

Happy Mother’s Day!

A very Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers and like mothers out there.

What you do and how you care means so much more than is often expressed back to you.

instaquote-09-05-2015-08-52-29 (2)

I’d like to say thank you to my family for these lovely flowers that were delivered to me for Mother’s Day.

I’m so grateful for them.

mother's day 2

I also want to send all my love and a Happy Mother’s Day to my mom.

I love you Ma!

ma and kwana

We all do. And though the look of the family may have changed the love is still here.

Always.

 

Love,

Me and the gang

Hello May!

So it’s officially May and I can’t quite wrap my head around it. But time and desperate circumstances require that I do.

I have to admit that though I’ve been what I think is incredibly busy these last few months (delusional much?), I have not been anywhere near as productive as I’d like to have been and now, once again, I’m feeling backed against the wall to get pretty much EVERYTHING done within the next few weeks before school is done for my twins and summer officially starts.

Oh and while I’m at it can I possibly write a story of two too?

So with that said

Welcome MAY! Good Times ahead.

may quote (2)

Tell me are you, like me, feeling the pre-summer crunch or are you sailing easy into the new season?

All the best,

KMJ

P.S. 

Thanks for all your support of the #WeNeedDiverseRomance  Tee campaign. I have started it up again for new orders so those who didn’t get in on the 1st round can still order and get a tee before Nationals this summer.

Click below to place your orders:

White:  http://bit.ly/1DEVNZl

Black:  http://bit.ly/1GYWvjq

BTW I’m wearing my shirt to RWA Nationals on Thursday, July 23rd which is the day of my workshop. Feel free to join me and wear yours that day too!

diverse tee ad c

Stay Writing… always

The other day, while procrastinating on Twitter, as I’m often found doing, I saw a tweet go by from the amazing director of Selma, Ava DuVernay. It said that she was participating in a talk this past Wednesday for the Tribeca Film Festival. Now I was instantly intrigued and knew I wanted to be there. But me being me I had to go to my usual second guessing and I got to thinking if I really wanted to take the trip down to the city, take on driving and parking and oh who am I fooling, it all came down to if I really wanted to get dressed and put on real pants and shoes and go out.

Well, I’m so happy the pants and better sense won out. It was my dear son’s day off from classes so he was more than happy to go as my “date” and he even urged me to bring along a copy of one of my books and some postcards (I guess paying for all those business classes isn’t for nothing).

The two of us headed down to the west side of 23rd street and upon our arrival we were greeted with a long but patient and enthusiastic line of what seemed to be mostly were writers and film students. And to the horror of my poor DS I went to snapping pics as if I didn’t grow up in the city and attend college at FIT right up the street. Who knows? Maybe I’ve been in the burbs a little too long, but whatevs. They don’t put cameras on these phones for nothing.

Ava 5

Once we were inside there was a short delay as we waited for Ms. DuVernay to make it in from the airport and her red-eye flight. The delay was no big deal to us as we were inside and comfortable and the room was full of fans of her work.

When Ms. DuVernay arrived along with the immensely talented, Q-Tip who was her interviewer for the hour, there was little doubt that the wait was well worth it. Q-Tip was a well prepared and through interviewer asking many of the questions that we all wanted answers to and Ms. DuVernay was just wonderful. She was friendly, thoughtful and candid with her answers. As well as generous with sharing her opinions and advice.

ava 3

ava 7

Here are just a few of her insightful words that resonated most with me:

Her mission: “To magnify the magnificence of black people.”

Wow! I could just stop with there. Isn’t that just beautiful?  I just about gasped in my seat. With all the negative images we have been bombarded with for so long and the awful injustices that have been brought to life recently thanks to social media this just makes me want to stand up and cheer.

But I’ll keep going. She also spoke about her work and her responsibility to it saying, that it’s no one else’s responsibility to make the things she wants to see. Which also spoke to me and the stories I tell. Yes, I write for my readers and my fans, but ultimately these are the stories that speak to me and the ones I want to tell. If I’m not filling my own well then this is all for nothing.

Getting to Ms. DuVernay’s process: I was only too selfishly happy to hear that a genius such as herself also struggles with writer’s block as I do. Now I know there are those that say there is no such thing as writer’s block and try as I might I’ve tried really hard to embrace that philosophy (mostly by searching out articles over the internet when I should be writing) but I just can’t. She also has accepted procrastination as part of her process and recognizes that she is fueled by the deadline crunch. Something else I can definitely get behind and see in myself.

On working and ‘making it’ in a white male dominated profession: I loved Ms. DuVernay’s strong opinion and slightly ‘what of it’ attitude to it all. It is what it is and how we should just do what we do and go for it. She spoke about women too often asking for permission for things we don’t need permission for. I’ll just leave that right here with an amen.

 

Lastly, she spoke about her motto which is “Stay Shooting.” Which means to work your creative muscle. Don’t take breaks and don’t get stagnant or stale by being stuck in one box. Very good advice. I think I’ll take up a version of that and tack onto my bulletin board:

“STAY WRITING.”

bb 2

Thank you, Ms. DuVernay for sharing a wonderful hour with us!

ava 11

Lets not talk about my closed eyes on this pic. Ava is holding BOUNCE here and  that’s all that matters.

#WeNeedDiverseRomance

 

 

All the best,

KMJ

Don’t Let His Good Looks Fool Ya!

So Jack got the ultimate beauty treatment this weekend going from drab to fab with one haircut.

So to celebrate he decided to be really bad and while the DH and I were out at bowling he somehow jumped his little butt up on the counter and pulled all the BBQ down eating chicken, ribs, & sausage. Pretty much ALL our dinner. Thanks, Jack, but that look won’t work, it’s the naughty chair for you!

Jack groom c

Jack groom b

 

 

 

Happy New Week!

 

All the best,

KMJ

Happy Birthday Dear DH!

Thank you all so much for all the kindness and well wishes over my big news yesterday. I was overwhelmed by the incredible outpouring of love.

Please join me today in wishing a very…

 

Happy Birthday to my Dear DH! 

will collage

Always the hero in my heart.

 

 

 

 

With love,

KMJ

If You Don’t Know Now You Know… You Know … The Call!

Those in the know will recognize the nod the Notorious B.I.G. in my blog title. Those who don’t, I’m sorry about that, it’s the lyric that’s been running through my head for the last week or so that along with the probably much more appropriate, gospel lyric, “I’m so glad they prayed for me.” Both are almost equally fitting to my monumental feelings right now.

A little over a week ago, after more years than I’d now care to admit (I’m getting up there ya’ll) I got my first ever CALL. You know the one that all writers dream of and daydream about and make up elaborate stories around. Well, nowadays THE CALL can oftentimes come via email but this one actually did come on the phone.

But before the CALL I did receive an email from my new rock star agent, Rachel Brooks, with the L. Perkins Agency with the subject line: CAN I CALL??? In all caps. And her being the amazing magical intuitive fairy she is, knowing me oh-so-well for the neurotic I am, she put in the email that she had good new and a super fun gif of two women in a lather of excitement because she also knows I love a gif way too much.

The Call

I quickly answered her back, yes, and to that Rachel called and let me know that after so many years of trudging my way, I had received an offer from the amazing Selena James for a 3 book deal plus a Novella with Kensington Book’s Dafina imprint. Hold the phone!

What the- Get. Out. Of. Town!

laugh hi five

 

Here is the official announcement from Publishers Marketplace.

 

Publishers Marketplace Deal 4-14 B

I am over the moon right now and so thrilled to be welcomed into this new publishing home. Not to mention, but to mention, being humbled and honored to be in the presence of so many talented writers who have come before me at Dafina.  Talk about blown away.

I know my late Nana is smiling wide right now. Her prayers and mine plus those of my mother and all my family and friends have been answered and I hope to make her and the rest of them very proud.

Kwana & Nana

Thank you all, and especially my ever patient Dear DH, so much for all your continued support and love.

I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring us!

 

All the best with all my heart,

KMJ

 

 

#WeNeedDiverseRomance

#WeNeedDiverseRomance … The Tee!

As many of you know I have been beating the drum for more diversity in romance creating the #WeNeedDiverseRomance hashtag on twitter in honor of my Nana and her love of the genre. It has also been a way to  thank her for introducing me to the genre, getting me on my career path and always believing in me.

The time for more diversity in romance is now.

So by popular demand the #WeNeedDiverseRomance is here! Show your support for more diversity in the romance genre we read and love with a #WeNeedDiverseRomance Tee

diverse tee ad c

Available in both black and white for a limited time:

Black- http://bit.ly/1GYWvjq &

White-  http://bit.ly/1DEVNZl

Join me in sharing the love by wearing our hearts on our chests.

 

All the best,

KMJ

Slammin’ and Jammin’ at Romance Slam Jam!

So this post is long overdue, but in my own defense I just finally got my bags unpacked last night so there was that. Excuses, excuses. This past week I had the honor of going to Dallas to attend the 20th Annual Romance Slam Jam Conference.

romance slam jam 2

Romance Slam Jam is a fantastic Black Romance reader meet writer conference where you can get really up close and personal. Everyone who goes considers it a bookish family reunion and it really is. I even got to see  some members of my private  fan group, TEAM KMJ  in the flesh. Hey, Sharon, Midnight Ace and Jackie!

The readers get to attend sessions with the writers. Hearing about what that have upcoming, having their questions answered and even playing fun games. And the writes can attend reader sessions learning about what they really look for in the books they love, covers and what keeps them coming back for more!

RSJ Collage 1b

I was so thrilled when at the annual Emma Awards, two of my good friends were honored with wins. First, Piper Huguley with debut author of the year and then the fabulous, Farrah Rochon with Author of the Year. There were big cheers all around our table!

 I had so much fun and can’t wait for next year’s conference in Detroit where the amazing Beverly Jenkins will be the Keynote speaker.

 

RSJ Collage 3b

 

 

I hope to see you all there next year!

 

All the best,

KMJ

 

Sidebar:

Just 1 more day to get BOUNCE for only 0.99 cents! Grab it while you can!