Monthly Archives: April 2015

Author KAI Speaks on Love & Poetry

Author KAI Speaks on Love & Poetry
Poetry is my first love because writing starts with an emotion. Normally, there is an indescribably emotion that I seek to form into words or thought and it becomes a poetic idea or phrase. And from there a character or storyline is born. But, when I don’t have time for a fully developed story, I can still explore that emotion, encapsulate it into a poem.
The following poem is heartbreak, at its peak. I included this in Daughter of the Game Prequel-In the Shadows:

Toxic Love by KAI

How do you stop love’s rollercoaster, when there are no brakes?
How do you get off, when he won’t slow down?
Steady accelerating with each loop and every dive
Spinning and shaking, twisting and turning

Transforming the thrill into a continuous nightmare
Repeating the same pattern over and over and over
Each time more exaggerated and delirious
Each time more dangerous than before

Excitement turns to dread
Adrenaline rush turns to fear
You finally realize that he can’t stop
Won’t ever stop
Making you sick, dizzy, nauseous

Something once so intriguing
Is now nothing more than a death trap
How do you escape?
There is no safe way out, nothing to save you

When you’re finally thrown, or your heart finally gives out
When the spin finally snaps your neck, or your sanity finally breaks
Because on his ride, your death is inevitable
Accept that there is no safe escape

You have only one option
When love’s rollercoaster is at its lowest point
Tuck in your chin, close your eyes, pray
And hope you survive the fall

© 2014 All rights reserved. Toxic Love poem reprinted by permission of the author, KAI. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Check out Daughter of the Game 3 by KAI


About the Author

KAI is the author of the critically acclaimed Daughter of the Game series (Daughter of the Game I, II, III and Prequel) and The Loudest Silence. KAI’s story Twisted Loyalty is featured in Gutta Mamis, published by Strebor in the Streetz (Simon and Schuster). She is also a contributing author to Solo Shivers and That Good Grind by Wilson.

She is a nationally recognized poet and was named AAMBC’s 2013 Poet of the Year for her Peaceful Resolution collection. Her poem Pre-Destiny, was featured in the April 2008 issue of Essence Magazine.

KAI has served as a Guest Reviewer for RAWSISTAWZ Reviewers. An alumni of Hampton University, SUNY Brockport and Georgetown University Law Center, she is a licensed attorney in two states and a proud parent.

Connect with KAI online: 



God’s Timeline by Catherine Flowers

God’s Timeline 
by Catherine Flowers

Often, we look for solutions outside of God’s plan.
We have an urgency that is not compatible with His timeline. It becomes a challenge to wait on God. And so without consulting Him, we make choices that turn out to be mistakes.

And then we expect God to bless something that He has never played a part in, something He has never condoned.

Psalms 127:1 tells us, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain…” That means if God is not a part of our plan, we’re going to have some problems with it whether it be in the execution of it, the structure, or the maintenance.

Waiting on God’s timing is sometimes hard to do. But I have faith in His wisdom that surpasses mine. And it’s worth it because God (the One who created us) knows what’s best for us (His creation). Likewise, He knows when it’s best for us. And I can testify that the reward for waiting is well worth it.

I had been waiting a year and some months for God to answer a particular prayer of mine. While He did not answer my prayer directly, He indirectly answered it by not opening any doors for me or allowing any alternatives that I could see. That clearly said to me, “wait”. And so I did.

Sometimes, though the enemy will throw a distraction at you in the midst of your waiting period. It becomes unclear whether the distraction is God answering your prayer or whether it is from the enemy.

This is when wisdom and spiritual discernment become invaluable tools. As a believer, I asked myself the following questions in order to discern whether the answer I received was from God or was a distraction from the enemy.

– Am I ready and in a position to receive that which I have been praying for?
– Is the answer I’ve received going to require much difficulty and discomfort on my part?
– Does the answer appear to be logical or does it create a whole new scenario of unanswered questions?
– After receiving an answer, is there still a sense of uncertainty within me?

It was clear that the answer I received was from God. It was clear because what once seemed impossible had now become quite achievable. Everything fell into place and the door that had been shut was thrust wide open for me to walk through.

So just when it felt like the last minute was upon me, it wasn’t; it was just God working on His own timeline. He had answered my prayer, and the thing once withheld from me was now mine to have.

Some have no desire to wait for Lord. They exclaim “I know what’s best for me!”, as if they are truly the captain of their own ship…well, to some extent they are. We all are when it comes to the ability to make choices – and even that is a gift from God.

So we can choose not to wait on God and execute our own plans, but if we wait on the Lord and let Him guide our footsteps, we’ll always have a 100% guarantee that everything will turn out fine.

If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, consider turning your life over to Him.
Come before Him in repentance, and stop trying to do it all on your own. It’s okay to look to the Lord for your direction. It’s okay to wait for His guidance. He will never steer you wrong.  Nothing offers a 100% guarantee on all things at all times…but waiting on the Lord truly does!

About the Author

Catherine Flowers
is the creator of, a Christian blog where she shares the word of Christ through her encouraging words and experiences. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys writing on-line content for multiple websites as well as editing the creative works of others. Her leisure activities include reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. A Sad Soul Can Kill You is her second novel.

To learn more about the author, please visit or e-mail her at You can also contact her on Facebook: Author Catherine Flowers

A Sad Soul Can Kill You by Catherine Flowers 

Yesterday’s Eyes by Catherine Flowers


Save for Retirement or Pay Down Debt by Harrine Freeman

Save for Retirement or Pay Down Debt
by Harrine Freeman

Your financial, family or health situation can change at any time so it’s better to have little to no debt. Here are 5 ways to help you plan for retirement and pay down debt. 

1. Downsize or downgrade. Scale back temporarily by making adjustments to your lifestyle by moving to a smaller home or trading in your luxury car for a compact or mid-size car.

2. Retirement. Contribute the maximum amount towards your retirement.

3. Debt. If you’re in debt due to credit cards, student loans or late payments paying those off should be a priority. Focus on one bill at a time starting with the smallest bill.

4. Peer Pressure. Avoid peer pressure from your co-workers, children and friends to buy things you can’t really afford. This behavior results in financial disaster.

5. Automate. Get organized and automated your finances. Use tools to help track your money and pay bills online or use automatic paycheck deduction. This will prevent you from paying late fees, help you easily keep track of your money and help you achieve financial goals.

Here are some helpful links regarding personal finance from Harrine Freeman: 

Purchase How to Get Out of Debt: Get an a Credit Rating for Free 

Meet the Author
Harrine Freeman
is an authority on personal finance. She is a financial counselor, CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises and Author of “How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free,” a self-help book that provides a step-by-step plan on how to get out of debt, increase credit scores and plan for the future.

She has impacted the lives of thousands through speaking engagements and counseling. She helps client’s prepare for financial freedom, by providing useful advice to steer clients in the right direction. 

She is a member of Credit Professionals International, American Association of Daily Money Managers, American Association of Individual Investors and National Speakers Association. Harrine has been featured in: Featured in Market Watch, Wall Street Journal, Forbes,The Washington Post, NASDAQ, Huffington Post, MSN Money, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Ebony, and Woman’s Day magazines.

Intimate Conversation with Lloyd Johnson

Intimate Conversation with Lloyd Johnson

Lloyd Johnson
was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although he has dabbled in the creative arts since elementary school, he rediscovered his passion for writing in 2004, and has been working on his craft ever since.

Lloyd has traveled both domestically and abroad, having visited 14 countries. Besides the relaxation traveling has afforded him, he has found much of his creative inspiration. An avid reader, he enjoys African-American fiction and biographies.  Lloyd Johnson is currently working on his third novel. He lives in New England.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I think just experiencing life has brought me through to where I am today. I like to think that my 20s were the time to mess up in the world; my 30s was intended to learn from my 20s; and my 40s allows me to hit the reset button and take all the lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn and move forward.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I consider E.Lynn Harris a role model. He defined a genre. He had a very simple, unpretentious style of writing. I have secretly coveted his demographic: 60% women; 20% gay men; 20% other, all within the 18-49 age brackets. I’ll be happy if I can crack those demographics.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

I saw the movie “Precious” and subsequently read the book, “Push” by Sapphire. I was blown away and decided to write a book with a female protagonist who encounters adversity, but manages to come out on the other side. Why now? Why not now?

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book, The Dog Catcher?

I enjoyed two things: The art of creating and secondly, writing the story was very cathartic for me. I was able to get a lot of anger out.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your recent work, The Dog Catcher?

The Dog Catcher is the story about Cheryl Greene’s choices in men, and how those choices dismantle her life. She’s someone to root for because her intentions are good. She doesn’t dive into drama just for drama’s sake. There is a lot of growth in her arc. It takes her time, but she gets there eventually.

Plez Jackson is evil personified, though that isn’t what we see when we meet him. But he is beguiling enough to make this woman lose herself to him. He has a method to stripping Cheryl down. Plus, his brutality, anger and unpredictability keeps the reader on edge. I had fun writing this villain because he’s one that many women have known. He stays with you.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.

Sexuality is addressed in this book. Cheryl has two gay friends. Her dealings with them inform her views on homosexuality when the issue hits close to home.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?

One thing I’m proud of is Cheryl’s spiritual arc. When we meet her, she is completely turned off to religion and spirituality because her mother is very hardcore. But as Cheryl moves through the story, she develops her own relationship with God, and calls upon that faith throughout her journey. But she does so in what I think is a realistic way. She doesn’t go from zero to ten, but does the best she can.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book, The Dog Catcher?

I learned that I held a lot of stuff inside and the emotions connected were still very raw. For example, much of what transpires between Cheryl and her eldest son, Lawrence, is based from events that happened to me. To draw from those memories and create fiction was painful at times.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I think the characters in the book are composites of people I’ve known in my life. People I went to school with and worked alongside with.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

I had three objectives, really. First was to write in a consistent female voice. I think I accomplished that. Secondly, I wanted to write a good book that would allow people to get lost in the characters. I think I did well on that also. Thirdly, I wanted to bring awareness to domestic violence. People still behave as though this is something that happens every day, but with other people. Especially in light of Chris Brown and Ray Rice who have sort of become the poster boys for men who like to beat up women . But I think that if people really stopped and paid attention they could find people close to them. In fact, some people need only hold a mirror up.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

I have a computer filled with files of things I could work on. Some things I work on more diligently than others. I have a story called, “The Broken Dolls Club” which I’m debating whether to leave it as a novella or if I could legitimately stretch it into a full novel.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

This is the best part. I enjoy interacting with the readers. They can go to my webpage,; author Lloyd Johnson on Facebook; and my Twitter handle is @lloydjohnson19.

Purchase The Dog Catcher by Lloyd Johnson


Intimate Conversation with Kimberla Lawson Roby

Intimate Conversation with Kimberla Lawson Roby


Kimberla has sold more than 2,000,000 copies of her novels, and they have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Emerge Magazine, Barnes and Noble,, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin Chronicle to name a few, and both BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and CASTING THE FIRST STONE were #1 Blackboard bestsellers for four consecutive months in both 1997 and 2000. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was the #1 Blackboard Best-selling book for paperback fiction in 1997.

Kimberla is a 2014 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the 2013 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the recipient of the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Author of the Year – Female award presented by the African-American Literary Award Show in New York, the recipient of the 2014 Black Pearls Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, the recipient of the 2014 AAMBC Award for Female Author of the Year, the recipient of the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE, the recipient of the 1998 First-Time Author Award from Chicago’s Black History Month Book Fair and Conference, and in 2001, Kimberla was inducted into the Rock Valley College Alumni Hall of Fame (Rockford, IL).

Each of Kimberla’s novels deal with very real issues, including corruption within the church, drug addiction, gambling addiction, infidelity, social status, single motherhood, infertility, sibling rivalry and jealousy, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness, care-giving of a parent, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, and overweight issues to name a few.

Kimberla resides in Illinois with her husband, Will. Her 22nd title, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL will be released June 9, 2015.

BPM: Share with us your personal journey into publishing. Was this a fun time in your life?
Writing was not a lifelong dream of mine, however, back in April 1995 I sat down and began writing my debut novel, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. It took me about seven months to complete, and I then began querying literary agents in search for representation. I was rejected by all of them. Finally, I submitted query letters directly to editors at publishing houses and received rejection letters from them as well. This is when my husband suggested that I start my own company to self-publish my book, and I did. My mom kept telling me not to give up also. As it turned out, I learned a wealth of important and very helpful information about the business of publishing, and I sold just over 10,000 copies within the first 6 months of publication. This was truly a fun and exciting time in my life.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
My mother and my maternal grandmother were two of the kindest and wisest women I have ever known, and they began instilling a certain level of Christian and family values and wisdom in me from the time I was a small girl. Even after all the rejections, my mom told me I shouldn’t give up (I miss her tremendously), and my husband continues to be my biggest encourager and supporter as well.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I believe my literary work speaks to everyone in one way or another. I write about real-life social issues that can and do affect all human beings. Corruption within the church, infidelity, domestic violence, drug addiction, gambling addiction, adult sibling rivalry, care-giving of a terminally-ill parent, childhood sexual abuse, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, social status, overweight issues, and the list goes on. There is also always some level of redemption and forgiveness in every single book I write. I don’t consider myself to be a role model per se, but if someone does in fact view me in that manner, my prayer is that I am able to represent myself well, particularly to young people.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
The latest novel is titled The Ultimate Betrayal, which is my 22nd book and the 12th title in my Reverend Curtis Black Series. It will be released, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. It’s been four years since twenty-eight-year old Alicia Black, daughter of Reverend Curtis Black, divorced her second husband, the most womanizing and corrupt man she has ever known. Since then, Alicia has been dating her first husband, Phillip Sullivan, a wonderfully kind and true man of God whom she’d hurt terribly by cheating on him. Alicia has worked hard to prove herself worthy of his trust once more, and when he asks her to marry him again, she couldn’t be happier.

But Levi Cunningham, the drug dealer Alicia had an extramarital affair with, has just been released from prison, and he has completely turned his life around for the better. Still head-over-heels in love with Alicia, he will do whatever is necessary to win her back.

Remarrying Phillip is the one thing Alicia has wanted for years, but she can’t get Levi out of her mind. Alicia and Phillip aren’t the only ones in the middle of a crisis. Their best friends, husband and wife Brad and Melanie Richardson, are struggling to keep their marriage together.

Workaholic Brad is never home and has begun losing thousands on bad investments. Or so he says. Melanie, who is certain there’s more to the story, is determined to get at the truth. At the same time, her frustration and stress cause her to eat a lot less, and she behaves in an extreme fashion. Alicia worries that she could be suffering from anorexia, but Melanie steadfastly denies it. Their friendship begins to suffer, and it isn’t long before they’re talking to each other like enemies.

Fresh betrayal leads to consequences no one saw coming, and Alicia’s relationship with Phillip might not be the only thing that needs saving. But is it already too late?

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from?
With every book I write, I first decide which social issue I’m really feeling passionate about at the time and then I create my characters around it. From there, I outline the story.

BPM: Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
My books can tend to be both, depending on which title. What I hear most often than not, though, from the majority of my readers is that they can always relate to both my characters and the overall storyline.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your books? If so, discuss them.
In many of my books, there are. One example, is my novella, A DEEP DARK SECRET where I wrote about a 12-year-old girl who was being sexually molested by her stepfather who was an upstanding deacon in the church. She was suffering in silence and so are millions of children in this country who never tell anyone what’s happening to them.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Readers can visit my web site, or visit me through social media at  or 

Purchase The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby



Intimate Conversation with Benilde Little

Intimate Conversation with Benilde Little

Benilde Little
is the bestselling author of the novels Good Hair, The Itch, Acting Out and Who Does She Think She Is? She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Jet, People Magazine, Heart and Soul, More magazine, among many others. She has had numerous media appearances including NPR, the Today Show, and Tavis Smiley.

The Go On Girl Book Club selected Good Hair as the best book of the year. Natalie Cole bought the film rights. Benilde’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Honey Hush and About Face. She was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

A former reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Star Ledger, People and senior editor at Essence, she has been a creative writing professor at Ramapo College. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, two children and dog.

BPM: You are known for your novels, Good Hair, The Itch, Who Does She Think She Is?, Acting Out, why nonfiction, why now?
It wasn’t a conscious, creative choice to write a non-fiction book. It was the place I was emotionally in, where this was all I could write. The feeling of hopelessness, grief and sadness was so all consuming that I had to get it out of me. I suppose I could’ve approached those feelings in a fictional form, but that never even occurred to me; wasn’t a thought. It was not the write format. Toni Morrison has said to write the book you want to read. I believe that, but I also know that this was a book I had to write and I did write it for me.

BPM: Welcome to My Breakdown, the title of your new book suggests a light tone, but the book is anything but. You write that when your mother died you weren’t sure how you would survive. Was it difficult for you to write about your depression? 
Sometimes, but not as much as one might imagine; I wrote this book in pieces, so sometimes when I was writing about it, I wasn’t consistently living with it. When I’d research other writers talking about their depression, William Styron and David Forster Wallace, in particular, but also Terrie Williams, in her book Black Pain (in which she writes about her own depression and others’), I felt less alone. Feeling less alone helped me to feel somewhat better. What was hard was re-reading the descriptions of that time. There were times when I’d scan it and other times when I’d cry and sometimes I could read it at a remove.

BPM: Do you think that this book might encourage candid conversations in all communities, but particularly the African American community about depression? 

That is my sincere hope. I think it will. It’s been said that the book is honest and bare and I think that will give some people permission to take a deep look at one’s self in an honest, and hopefully compassionate, way.

BPM: Clara Little is the beating heart of this book. What a remarkable woman your mother was, a loving, devoted mom, a wife, a political activist, community organizer, a feminist before the word had currency. What was it like to be the center of that much love and affection? 

You don’t know what you don’t know. I thought all mothers were like her. It wasn’t until I was in adolescence when I began spending lots of time at the homes of friends where I got to see other moms, who were very different than mine. I realized and appreciated her as an adult and especially when I became a mother and I could finally realize what sacrifices she made and what a difference in my life all that love and affection made. It’s why I could grow up in Newark and have the life I have now. Her expectation of my brothers and me was that we become productive, college educated citizens of the world. She’s why we didn’t become teenage parents or get addicted to drugs or crime. And we weren’t put in a bubble, either. The downside of all that intense love and affection is that I have a very high bar for what I expect love to feel like. It’s another reason my grief was so great–knowing that no one will ever love me like she did. It’s a somewhat hybrid blessing.

BPM: Clearly you and your husband are more affluent than you were growing up, you live in a wealthy suburb, and enjoy many material possessions that were beyond your parents’ reach. There are hints here that you are an old school, hands on mother like your mother was. Do you consider yourself the same kind of mother as your mother? What’s the same, what’s different? What’s your most important job as a mother in your view? 

To me the most important thing a mother can give her child is a solid sense of self. I’m not sure it’s possible to do this completely but if you can instill in your kids that they are good just the way they are, then they can do anything. They can be fulfilled, they can be secure and can find their purpose. I don’t think our parents were thinking much, if at all, about our psychological health. 

I think my mother was ahead of her time and she was very intuitive, but I know she wasn’t consciously thinking about it. She didn’t belittle us; she would never slap us in the face because she believed that was demeaning (although she did get that strap and put it on the butt). I’m similar in how I’ve raised my kids in terms of being fiercely in their corner, advocating for them, loving them fiercely, but no spanking. I believe that that diminishes them and it’s not effective. I don’t want to rule from a place of fear. I think if they respect you, they want to please you. This is not to say that they won’t mess up and that they won’t do things that hurt and disappoint you, but ultimately disappointing a good parent is not something a child will want to do. When I got older, college age probably, it was hell to me to disappoint my mother. I see a lot of that in my daughter. It’s there with my son, but buried, I think because he’s a teenager. I believe in punishment for bad behavior. Like my mother, I hate lying and go nuts when my kids have.

BPM: Readers will welcome your candor about dating, marriage, family, and children. You are in a long marriage with a child in college and another in middle school. Can you tell us succinctly how the dream of having it all, like your character Alice in Good Hair reconciles with the reality of family, marriage, and children? 

Well, what I know for sure is that there is no such thing. There have been tradeoffs. I began writing fiction shortly after we got married in anticipation of having children and wanting to be home with them. I began a career I could have and still be home with my kids. I quit my job at Essence because, for me, it was too demanding to do and be the kind of mother I wanted to be. I don’t know if I’d make the same decision today, but that’s what I was thinking at the time. There’s no easy, right answer. You give up your job, you give up part of an income, which impacts your lifestyle, which can impact your relationship. I don’t know if one ever truly reconciles. You might be able to “have it all,” but not at the same time.

BPM: We lose our parent, that’s an inescapable truth. Is there anything about the grieving process that you can share with others to help them through grief? 

Give yourself time. There’s no one-way to grieve and there’s no time limit. There are those stages: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, sadness, acceptance. Those things can show up in different order or you may not experience each one. For me, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. It was a wave that simply knocked me down and I was in an undertow. The best was to recover in an undertow is to give in to it. I gave over to it. Now, I didn’t have a job in an office where a boss was expecting me to perform everyday. For people who have to get back to work, I would still advise them to give the grieving process as much time as you need. Do your work and go home and give yourself permission to feel like crap, to cry, to rail, all of it.

BPM: In the end, would you say that there was anything beneficial or redeeming about your depression? 

It made me more compassionate, less arrogant, but also less tolerant of people who sit on the sidelines of their feelings. It helped me get clear about who I wanted in my life. I got in touch with my need for gentleness, gentle people who are also willing to be vulnerable and real. I’m no longer close to people who are disconnected from their feelings, because they can’t truly be aware of others.

BPM: What’s the takeaway? What do you want people to get, to do?
To take off the mask. I look forward to having honest conversations about some of the topics in the book, grief, motherhood—staying home/having a career, depression, mid-life, perfection pressure. So much of what we do in this culture is to soothe our wounds: we buy too much, eat too much, and drink too much. Don’t get me wrong, doing the work, looking at one’s self and examining all those warts is not easy. But I believe, in the long run, it’s the only option.

The epigram I used in Good Hair says this beautifully: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will destroy you.”—Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas

Order Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir by Benilde Little


Intimate Conversation with Janice L. Dennie

Intimate Conversation with Janice L. Dennie

Romance readers everywhere are enamored of Janice L. Dennie’s handsome heroes and feisty heroines as they tumble breathlessly in love among the pages of exciting stories set against the backdrop of California’s Napa Valley Wine Country. With a luxuriant voice and style reminiscent of the great romance writers, Ms. Dennie’s romances are dishes of luscious ice cream with candy sprinkles that keeps readers coming back for more of her smooth literary desserts!

Born to a military family that settled in San Francisco, California, where Ms. Dennie attended elementary, middle and high school. She later graduated from California State University, Hayward, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Ms. Dennie worked for a federal agency until retiring in 2011.

Ms. Dennie wrote and published two novels that launched her into the limelight of the romance industry. Since her retirement, Ms. Dennie has returned to her first love—writing romance novels that have readers reaching for her books time and again as she delivers love stories featuring beautiful, independent women and tall, dark and dangerous men. Ms. Dennie has made a big splash in a big pond—not bad for a woman who read her first romance novel at 21!

Determined to enjoy her life as she writes her way to the top of the bestseller lists, Ms. Dennie enjoys watching football with her husband, Gregory, and fun visits with her family. Yet she still has time to travel, volunteer in her community, garden, and read her beloved romance novels!

Stamped with her signature of excellence, Ms. Dennie’s latest series, THE UNDERWOOD’S OF NAPA VALLEY are heartwarming romances woven into the gorgeous tapestry of the wine industry, its lush vineyards and the elegant men and women who still believe in the power of love! To learn more about Janice L. Dennie and her books, visit and indulge in delicious claret of literary pleasure!

BPM: Family is so important in your books. Tell me a little about your family.
I’m married to Gregory D. Reed, Sr. Together we have three adult children, Gregory D. Reed, Jr., Sharita Reed and James Reed and nine grandchildren.

All of the men in my family, with the exception of my paternal grandfather, served in the military. My maternal grandfather, Albert S. Jackson, of Sapulpa, OK, served in France during World War I. My father Lawrence H. Dennie Sr., served in the Korean War. My mother, Wilma Jean Jackson-Dennie, served as a (WAC) Women’s Army Corp during the 50’s. My oldest brother, Lawrence H. Dennie Jr., served in Vietnam, and my youngest brother Albert S. Dennie, served in the Army after the Vietnam War. My paternal grandfather, Alfred S. Dennie was a Jazz musician in Kansas City, MO. He played tenor saxophone with the Benny Moten Band which included Count Basie and other jazz greats.

My parents moved to San Francisco from Denver, Colorado, where I was born, in the 1960s. My siblings and I attended elementary and middle school in San Francisco, before moving to the East Bay. I graduated from California State University, Hayward with a degree in business administration, and began a career with a federal agency, in San Francisco, before retiring in 2011. My sister Linda lives in Tulsa, OK and my youngest sister, Camille lives in Southern California.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
 Higher education was stressed in my family. My parent’s exposed us to as much as they could when my siblings and I were children. Earning anything lower than a C in grade school was unacceptable and meant automatic punishment. My oldest brother was a straight A student, my other siblings and I were A & B students. Both of my parents motivated me to want to accomplish something in life. My parents always said, if you’re going to stay at home, you must either go to school or work; no sitting around. It was implied that they expected me to make something out of myself. I got to be where I am because of my faith in my heavenly father, and the sacrifices of my family. As a working woman, my mother became a strong role model for me to pattern my life after. 

BPM: Why did you begin to write?
I am fascinated with making “something out of nothing.” “I began writing because I wanted to create my own stories and see myself reflected in the character of the heroine. I’m inspired by writers such as James Baldwin, Walter Mosely and Jane Austin.

News articles also inspire me to write. I was inspired to write ‘Kenton’s Vintage Affair,’ when I read a news article about Dr. Earnest Bates, part owner of Bates Winery in Napa Valley. I never knew there were Black wineries in Napa, and I visited wineries there numerous times. That news article inspired me to create the fictitious Underwood family, and give each member a story.”

There are five books in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series. “Justin’s Body of Work,” will be released in May, 2015. Carter’s Heart Condition, will be released in December, 2015.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
My body of literary work speaks to anyone who enjoy reading romances and learning about Black culture and history. My first book The Lion of Judah introduces the reader to the idea of Black royalty. Since we do not live in a country that has kings and queens, I looked to Africa for inspiration. I read an article in Newsweek magazine that referred to Emperor Haile Selassie as The Lion of Judah. I researched the subject and found out the Lion of Judah ruling dynasty descends without interruption from the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. I was shocked. My book came next. After that, I wrote Moon Goddess, Queen of Sheba.

I’ll never forget the time I took a black history class in college and learned about Black scientists and inventors. I brought that book home and my father, an engineer, took it from me after I finished the class. He gave me the strangest look I’d ever seen on his face. He couldn’t believe there was a book about 19th-century black scientists and inventors. I’ve often wondered why African American’s and their great accomplishments were excluded in our American history books. So I set out on a journey to learn as much as I could.

I do consider authors as role models especially for impressionable youth. It’s amazing how words can hurt or help people. I prefer to write stories that uplift the human spirit. I like writing about how characters transform into different people.

BPM: What inspired you to write The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series?
The News. I was inspired to write “The Lion of Judah,” after reading an article in a news magazine about Emperor Heile Selassie, of Ethiopia. Although we don’t have royalty in the U.S., I thought it was fascinating that he traced his ancestry back to The Lion of Judah ruling dynasty originating with King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The article inspired me to research the topic and write “The Lion of Judah,” followed by “Moon Goddess Queen of Sheba.”

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK? Why now?
President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, and their positive attitude toward women’s rights. Although I don’t consider myself a hard core feminist, I do appreciate when people take up a shield to protect women and children. I decided to write JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK, book 2 in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series because Justin’s book is next in line after KENTON’S VINTAGE AFFAIR. Justin’s story came into sharp focus after Attorney General, Eric Holder went to Ferguson, to help the disenfranchised people. I always root for the underdog. Justin fights for disenfranchised, particularly in cases involving sexual harassment, domestic abuse and equal pay. As a successful civil rights attorney, Justin is a modern day knight in shining armor. A man with characteristics every woman dreams about.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK?
I enjoyed creating Justin’s character. I wanted to create a strong male character that women could look up to and respect. So many modern day single women have had to be the mother and the father in many Black families. I wanted to write a story about a woman who could be a woman, and a man who could be her knight in shining armor. I know this sounds unrealistic or archaic at best, but this is the story I wanted to write. I wanted to create an over the top hero who would save the heroine from a vicious lawsuit in the court of law.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
My book ideas come straight from my imagination and my love for African American culture and history. My creative imagination stems from my childhood when I created something out of nothing. My father was a great storyteller who made up this story called THE HARD BISCUIT, which turned out to be a little scary for a five-year-old. I dreamt about that story and even had nightmares, nonetheless, it was my father’s storytelling that also sparked my creative imagination.

My books are character driven because I enjoy falling in love with my characters. I gave all four brother in this series their own love story and a defining character trait. Kenton is the “protective one,” in his book. Justin is the “strong one,” in his book. Justin carries the disenfranchised with his strength in the court of law.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 
JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK, book 2 in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series, is about a successful Napa Valley attorney, Justin Underwood who falls in love with a beautiful spa owner, Ashley Jacobs, who is facing a serious lawsuit. The book is available in Kindle format and paperback on

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
The heroine, Ashley Jacobs relishes in providing her customers with a soothing and healing environment at her day spa in the Silverado area of Napa Valley. She maintains her even temper and peace of mind, avoiding anger at all costs. But when she faces a vicious lawsuit, from someone she least suspects, her peace of mind comes to a complete halt.

Justin Underwood is a successful attorney with a stellar resume and a body of work that consists of winning civil rights cases for the disenfranchised. The moment he hears Ashley’s sultry voice and feels her gentle touch, he finds comfort simply by being in her presence. He becomes hopelessly drawn to the siren with the sexy bedroom eyes. But Ashley has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. After taking her case, he watches her coast along, with her head in the clouds, turning a blind eye to the facts of her lawsuit. Can Justin get Ashley to commit to him, and open her eyes to the facts surrounding her lawsuit? Can Ashley overcome her family’s secret that prevents her future happiness?

What makes Ashley so special, is why she reacts to conflict the way she does. What makes Justin so special is his love for Ashley and his deep desire to protect women’s rights.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
The issues women face on the job and everywhere, from sexual harassment, equal pay and domestic abuse. All of these issues are discussed in the book.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
Like myself, the hero and heroine are both college educated, Christian, and business owners.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
Several years ago, I sat on a jury in a sexual harassment case. I couldn’t believe how much people lied under oath until I sat on that jury. Writing this book has taught me to scrutinize our justice system and unjust laws such as “stand your ground.” I spoke with the prominent civil rights attorney who represented the plaintiff in the sexual harassment case. After winning the case, she encouraged me to believe that justice is actually possible for the disenfranchised. After viewing that football player knock his wife unconscious in an elevator, I also began researching “adult women of domestic abuse and how it affects their intimate relationships.” I gave my heroine some of those character traits.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goal was to show readers how domestic abuse can affect the way a woman handles her life and intimate relationships.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I am working on Book #3 in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series, coming out in December 2015. Books #4 and #5 will come out in 2016.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? Author Page:


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