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.

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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.

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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.”

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

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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!

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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! 

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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!

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

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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!

To the Sun

After so many long days and nights buried under the cold cover of snow…

it looks like my little yoga frog is finally out and raising his arms to the sun again.yoga frog

Now, if only it would warm up we’d all be a little happier

(and the grass would be greener and I’m sure little froggy would maybe like a coat of paint. Winter can be brutal).

All the best,

KMJ

Underneath…

This has been a fast winter, but a really long February and early March with the amount of snow dumped on us weekly or bi-weekly.

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But alas there is a light! And this week the forecast is calling for above freezing temperatures for the WHOLE week. Could it be that these piles of snow and ice will start to thaw? I’ve almost forgotten what grass looks like in real life and can’t wait to see what’s unearthed underneath it all (oh great, now I’m singing that song.  Happy Earworm! LOL).

 

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All the best,

KMJ

Seasons

Oh so much snow. This winter has been weighed down with it. Thick and heavy and seemingly never ending.

Poor Jack has barley been out more than a few moments at a time with the temperatures constantly below freezing so all we do are quick runs in and out. As we go along on our dashes we both look back out at the porch with longing. Dreaming of the days to come when we can once again sit out and have the sun shining warmly on our faces.

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But from now on those lovely porch sits will be different forever changed. Our very good friend not by our side but always in our hearts.

Happy Birthday Nana.

With all our love.

Always,

 

KMJ

and the Jackster

No Bull About It… character interview from author Jeanine McAdam

Today on ye old blog we have a different kind of interview going on. I’m talking with Caleb Cooper, general pain in the behind from my friend and RWA/NYC chaptermate’s novel THE BILL RIDER AND THE BARE BOYCOTTER. Let’s go Caleb…

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Thanks for hosting me today Kwana, my name is Caleb Cooper. I am from THE BULL RIDER AND THE BARE BOYCOTTER where I consider myself a villain but others would probably call me a pain in the ass.  But in my own quirky and loveable way I redeem myself in THE BULL RIDER AND THE BABY because I’m the hero of that book.  Not a knight in shining armor sort of hero but a decent guy nonetheless.

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How did you come to your author’s attention?

My brother Logan Cooper is the hero in THE BULL RIDER AND THE BARE BOYCOTTER.  Many, many times in that book I told my brother he was an asshole, an idiot plus all sorts of other rude stuff.  I think the brutal honesty of my words caught Jeanine’s attention.  I don’t think she completely agrees with how I treated my brother but it does create one hell of a story with interesting characters.

 

Did you give your author a hard time when she was writing your story?

 

No, not at all.  I’m not that type of guy.  Unlike my brother Logan, I have lots of potential as a human being.  It just took a little bit of finessing on Jeanine’s part to turn me from a loudmouth idiot into a sensitive man.  But I’m here to tell you, it happened in THE BULL RIDER AND THE BABY.

 

What do you do for a living?

 

Next question. Holy hell, did you read the title of the book?

 

Ok ok! Next question…Who is the love of your life?

 

If I told you that THE BULL RIDER AND THE BABY would be ruined.  It’s called a spoiler.  Look it up.

 

If there is a ‘love of your life’, what was the first thing you noticed about her?

She was pregnant.  Hugely pregnant.

 

What’s your greatest fear?

Falling off a bull, hitting my head and turning into an imbecilic.  Then again maybe that’s an old fear.  If I were to update my fears, it would be Carrie Wang leaving me.  Jesus H. Christ, I can’t believe I just said that.  I hope Carrie doesn’t read this interview, she’ll think I’m a wimp.

 

What is the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Now, you’re really pushing it (rolls shoulders).  Have sex with a woman that I didn’t impregnate. By the way, Carrie was seven months along at the time we got together but I was gentle.  That’s all I’m saying about her, don’t ask me anymore.

 

Will we be seeing you in future books?

 

You betcha.  There’s THE BULL RIDER WEARS PINK.  It’s about my sister Cassidy. She wants to compete against the men.  You didn’t hear this from me but she’s probably a better rider than Logan and I combined.  Her problem is, she’s a lousy Mom.  Then again, she’s planning to work on that and I guess she gets involved with Pastor John.  Talk about opposites attracting, I don’t know what Jeanine was thinking bringing those two together.

 

Blurb:

 

Sexy bull rider Caleb Cooper keeps falling off his bull and hitting his head. Smart neuroscience graduate student Carrie Wang is studying him. There’s just one problem, Carrie’s attracted to her broad-shouldered research subject. But she shouldn’t be, because Carrie is pregnant with Charles Winston’s baby. However, that one-night-stand occurred in a beaker closet and Charles wants nothing to do with her or the child.

 

Besides being handsome in a long-haired, scruffy sort-of-way, Caleb Cooper is kind and quirky. Carrie can’t stop touching him and their unprofessional attraction is mutual. Problems abound when Carrie’s traditional Chinese mother and Charles come to the rodeo. Carrie’s mother wants her to hook a husband and Charles wants Carrie to give the baby up for adoption. Carrie knows she could never let a stranger raise her child. Can Carrie go against everyone’s wishes and raise the baby on her own? Or could Caleb become a father to this child?

 

About Jeanine:

Jeanine McAdam is a writer of twenty-five romantic short stories, a few spicy anthologies and three cowboy books.  Telling stories about imperfect people finding perfect love is her thing.  Even though she lives in New York City she’s fascinated with the American west.  She’s currently writing about bull riders and the spunky urban women who adore them in her Skirts and Spurs Trilogy.  When she’s not writing she spends time with her teenage sons, ultra marathon running husband and two rescue Labrador retrievers named Desdemona (Desi) and Aaron.

 

Find THE BULL RIDER AND THE BABY:

http://jeaninemcadam.com/booklist/the-bull-rider-and-the-baby/

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Find Jeanine at:

Web Site: www.jeaninemcadam.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jeaninemcadambooks

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jeaninemcadam

 

Thanks once again for being here!

All the best,

KMJ