In a sharing mood…

My favorite George Michael songs as a small tribute to a wonderful musician. I remember when Wham! came out with their first songs here in the U.S. I was in high school and didn’t miss a Friday night skating to this music. As a musician myself, it always hits home when we lose someone like George…or Prince, or David Bowie. *sigh* This has been an extraordinarily tough year.

UPDATE: Just learned that the links to the videos are not displaying correctly. Working on it…

UPDATE: All fixed!

Freedom ’90

Father Figure

I Knew You Were Waiting

Careless Whispers

Come on 2017

I don’t usually share too much of my personal, day-to-day information online. Today I’m going to make an exception. Why? Because I think it’s important to remember that we’re all human, we all have ups and downs and we all have great and awful times.

My life isn’t much different than yours. I love reading. I love my family. I’m a total geek who loves food and playing with the grandbabies.

I’m also SO happy that 2016 is almost over!

I lost my job earlier this year. It was a horrible and completely unexpected situation. It was the first time in almost 20 years that I didn’t have a day job to fall back on and we almost lost everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. I was totally stressed and while I love writing, it doesn’t pay the bills, so a day job is important for my, and my family’s sanity.

I did a lot of talking to myself this year:

  • “Yo, T.J., don’t flip your wig woman. Things will work out!”
  • “Hey you, uh, I mean me, keep a positive outlook. The money will come. You will pay your mortgage. Everyone will eat and the lights will stay on, damn it!”
  • “Don’t worry about your family. They will leave the house and return again safely.”
  • “Have faith in humanity! Not everyone is shortsighted and full of hate.”
  • “Not all of your favorite musicians and actors are dying this year! Relax!”

And it went on and on. Needless to say, this year has sucked in so many ways that I’m seriously counting down the days to next year. Oh, and I’m not even going to get into the nutball politics this year. I’m glad to say that I didn’t think I’d be motivated to write a single thing, but that’s changing and the plot bunnies are hopping around like crazy *YAY!*

Also to celebrate the landing of a new day job, we are going to feast like there is no tomorrow. This is part of the plan. Ever had it? If so, share your favorite recipe for…PORCHETTA! Click the picture to hop to the recipe.

Oh, and 2017, hurry up already.


30 Day No Bullshit Challenge

…is coming!

I see all these challenges, like the 30 Day Plank Challenge, 30 Day Squat Challenge, 30 Day Journal Challenge. 30 Day Whatever-The-Heck Challenge. How about a 30 Day No Bullshit Challenge? Well, it’s coming people.


A Certified Master Life Coach is going to take us through 30 days of true life-changing challenges to our own status quos. Want to kick dysfunction? Want to better your personal relationships? It doesn’t matter what kind, whether it’s friendship, marriage, family or whatever. She’s prepping…then we’re coming for you.

Stay tuned – start date will be announced soon. ‪#‎30DayNoBS‬

Our coach’s name is Tamara Mays-Sheeley. Her area of expertise is polishing women into the gems that we are. If you want personalized instruction, you can enroll in her classes directly.

If you’re in the Savannah, GA area in August, drop into the Authors After Dark reader convention where we’ll both be signing!

Info on Authors After Dark
Info on The Polished Gem Academy
Link to Tamara’s book on Amazon


Seafood Cravings

The other day I tweeted about a certain need I had. And it was a need that hit me hard. I mean, I was almost shaking with anticipation at the thought of getting this particular thing.

I’m talking about…LOBSTER!

Yes, it’s true that I’m having a forty-year affair with seafood, and lobster is one of my favorites. There are only two things that beat out a good steamed lobster, drenched in real butter — sashimi and king crab.

So what does this have to do with books? From one foodie to another, not a darn thing! However, my Twilight Teahouse series does have an amazing sushi chef named Landon. You can read his story in Luscious, Twilight Teahouse Book Two.

Here’s the book cover, followed by an easy recipe that my fellow lobster-lovers will enjoy!

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stalk finely chopped celery
1 finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
3 lobster tails cooked (about 1 pound lobster meat), chopped
Lemon slices & dry rub, for garnish
Lobster SaladDirections
1) Combine mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper, celery, shallot, tarragon and chives in a bowl.
2) Add lobster meat to mayonnaise sauce and combine.
3) Rub the rim of 4 martini glasses with a lemon. Dip the rim in some dry rub. Divide the lobster salad between the 4 glasses. Garnish with dry rub and lemon slices.

Recipe courtesy of The Neelys and The Food Network:

Music Monday: 20-Oct-2014

I’m in an interesting mood today. Feeling somewhat cranky and romantic at the same time. Now how one does that is still beyond me *smile*, but it’s no less true. And since I’m feeling all romantic-y (I know it’s not a word, but you get me) I’ve watched a few romantic-y movies this weekend. So here’s my Music Monday pick. Recognize it?

I’ve embedded the video from YouTube, but if it doesn’t display, please use this link:
Link to TJ’s Music Monday pick

No Wedding, No Womb?

On September 22, 2010, a movement will kick off. A movement that will spark debate, cause us to question a social issue that we don’t talk much about anymore. A movement that will no doubt bring with it plenty of criticism and ‘how dare they’ comments. But, as a single (divorced) mom, I totally support this movement. And as a black single mom (it shouldn’t matter what my skin color is…but unfortunately it does) I applaud it.

Join esteemed author, Christelyn D. Karazin of the blog, Beyond Black and White, along with a whole slew of authors, television and radio personalities, and most importantly, dozens of moms, as we confront a practice that has decimated black families. No, it’s not a government thing. It a ‘us’ thing that only we have the power to eliminate.

The result of unstable, unplanned homes in the black community has led to the highest high-school drop out and incarceration rates for black males out of all other races in this country. There are more black men in jail than there are in college.

It’s time to say NO to “baby mama” drama. It’s time to say NO to the “baby daddy” madness. We deserve better. Our children deserve better. They deserve being brought into homes where they know they are loved and wanted, where the people who made those babies have every intention of hanging around to nurture them.

I’ll be blogging on September 22, 2010 as well. Check it out here, then hop on over to the other blogs for the shot heard ’round the world ;D

No wedding…no womb.

(commercial by Janks Morton, director of “What Black Men Think”, “Men II Boys”, “We Need to Talk” and other groundbreaking films)

This One is for My Girls!

I know many of you have seen this video before but I just love it. What brought this about? I was in Indianapolis for work at a customer site. As I walked through the cafeteria a woman I didn’t know caught me by the sleeve and asked, “Girl, are those sisterlocks?”

She was a beautiful woman…but her hair was thinning and breaking especially around the edges. She had a receding hairline where her hair should have been.

Been there, done that.

I spent a whole lot of years trying to get my hair to do something that it was never meant to do – be straight. I would go devotedly to the beauty shop, sit for hours (they double and triple booked in case somebody cancelled… but nobody ever did) for them to get to me so they could put a glop of grease on my scalp to try to protect it from burning when they put the lye relaxer in my hair.

Then I would sit with tears in my eyes for about fifteen or twenty minutes while they tried to get to the two thousand six hundred and forty nine women in the shop. I would get a rinse with some really good smelling shampoo followed by a setting solution that stung so bad the tears came back with a vengeance.

Next, my hair was rolled, slicked down or styled into whatever doo I was after, and I was off to sit under the dryer for an hour and a half so my hair could dry to a crackling, stiff-but-bone-straight consistency. After all that my hair was surprisingly soft, smelled great and was straight as I-don’t-know-what. And I did that every six to eight weeks for years.

Why? Because when I was growing up, curly, kinky or nappy hair was SO not in. Women of color were taught to straighten their hair. No doubt my hair was easier to manage when it was straight, but there was one little problem: My self-esteem became wrapped up in my hair. So what do you think happened to my self-esteem when my super-long gorgeous hair, after so many years of being practically burned out by perm solution, began breaking and thinning to the point where I had to wear hair pieces on my ponytails to even HAVE a ponytail? Hummph!

It seems to be a normal thing in society these days to be convinced that what you were born with is nowhere near good enough to be acceptable. If you have thin lips they tell you to go get ’em plumped. If you’re a big girl, you’re told to get skinny. If you’re skinny, you’re told to get some hips. If you’re dark, you’re told you should be lighter. If you have straight hair, you’re told you need some curls. If you have curls, you’re told it should be straight. I mean, DAYUM!

I’d been toying with the idea of going natural for a long time but had no idea how to go about it. Then I met a fabulous author named Kimberly Kaye Terry. She’s a natural hair-wearing sistah who pointed me to some really good resources to research the path I wanted to go. It was encouraging hearing her story on what made her go natural. And it was something I wanted so much.

Me chillin’ in my office

So finally I found an answer to the kind of doo I wanted to wear. I have been sporting locs (no, not dreadlocs ’cause there ain’t nothing dreadful about my hair) for two years now and I couldn’t be happier. My hair is thick, long, strong and beautiful.

Check out this music video about how we women, all of us women, are more than what appears on the outside. I absolutely LOVE IT! If you can’t see the embedded video, visit this link.

Support Diabetes Research With Us

You know, I’d never paid much attention to Diabetes…until I was diagnosed with it during Christmas of 2007. What a present, eh?

I felt fine. No symptoms other than I kept gaining weight no matter how well I ate, how much I walked or exercised. So I decided to go in for a typical routine physical. The doctor called me back into the office a week later to tell me the tests had come back. And that I was just “over the line” enough in my blood work to be a diabetic.

It didn’t make a damn bit of sense. I wasn’t overweight (not by much anyway *smile*). Ate pretty healthy. However, I had allowed myself to totally stress, and I mean stress, over my job for a whole year, getting very little sleep, few days off, and hardly any exercise. And even though we all know stress does all kinds of nasty things to our bodies and causes the secretion of nasty hormones.

It took me a year of keeping my stress to a minimum, taking a blood-sugar control medicine and making my already pretty good diet even better. I went into the doctors office about six months later and received some good news. My blood tests came back non-diabetic. YAY!!

So I shared all that to say I really, really support what Brenda Novak is doing with her auction fundraiser for diabetes. And it is my fervent hope that you’ll participate, too.

So you’re probably wondering who the ‘us’ in the title of the post refers to. Click on the banner, hop over to the auction and take a look at what some of your favorite authors, editors, agents and publishers are doing this year.


Curves Are The New Skinny? Yep! (xPost)

These women are only part of the reason that curves are ‘In’. But I wonder what caused the transition from “stick is it” to “curves galore”?

But here are two women who command the red carpet when they walk down it – Beyonce and Shakira. Others are Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry and Gabrielle Union. I used to include Angelina Jolie in that category but for some reason she’s almost down to twig size. Now is anything wrong with being really thin? Nope. But for a good long while the media made those of us with curves feel as if we were big fat unattractive blobs who should be running to Weight Watchers to get rid of our hips.

And what really gets me is that when someone else (Hollywood? TV? Who?) decided that hips were in, suddenly folks were running to the butt surgeon to have fat pumped into everything from the lips to their backsides. I for one don’t allow anyone to label me or tell me how I should look, act or feel. They can all kiss my big ‘ole…well, you know ;D

My grandma used to say, “Baby, as long as you’re living in that beautiful skin of yours, that booty ain’t going nowhere.” And the woman was right, thank the stars. Those words stuck with me while I was growing up and because of my gran-gran, I learned a long time ago to accept my hips, my lips and all the rest as perfect. Besides, I could slim down to “knock me over by the next stiff breeze” proportions and my ass would still be the biggest thing on my body! Everything on me is where it’s supposed to be (even if it’s beginning to head South now ;D).

Watch this video and tell me what you think. Hips don’t lie and these women look FABULOUS, big booties and all! (Ignore the commercial. Damned Yahoo.)

Beyonce and Shakira Dancing Together
Click HERE if you can’t see the embedded video