RAWSISTAZ reviews A New Kind of Bliss

The subheading of this entry should be called, "It's my blog and I'll brag if I want to!"

Just sharing the RAWSISTAZ review, and wishing you all a good weekend!

"After the death of her father, forty-three-year-old divorcée Emily leaves her contented life in Indianapolis to move back to her hometown to help her mother with her financial affairs. After her divorce, Emily thinks she will never find love again; that is until she meets Dr. Aaron Merritt. Rich, handsome, and a single parent, Aaron exposes Emily to fine things and summer homes, but there is something vitally missing in their relationship. Emily runs into her junior high school crush, Teddy. Teddy is not rich like Aaron, but he gives her what she's missing with Aaron.

A NEW KIND OF BLISS by Bettye Griffin is a well-written story from beginning to end. It draws the reader into Emily's world of confusion. The characterization is very strong, and with each character, I experienced an emotional connection with each of their personalities." - reviewed by Sharon Lewis

Maligned Again

From the Associated Press:

A suburban mother tracked to Disney World after claiming she and her young daughter had been abducted by two black men and stuffed into a car trunk will be extradited from Florida and charged with making false reports and identity theft, a prosecutor said.

Bonnie Sweeten and her daughter, Julia Rakoczy, were taken into custody Wednesday night at the Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando, Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry said.

Henry told reporters that Sweeten borrowed a co-worker's driver's license and presented it as her own when she bought an airline ticket in Philadelphia and flew to Orlando with her 9-year-old daughter.

They had minimal luggage and the hotel was paid through Friday, Henry said. Sweeten had withdrawn about $12,000 from several bank accounts over recent days, but authorities were investigating whether that money had been stolen.

''We believe that there were some domestic concerns with her husband and some financial concerns as well,'' Henry said.

In the frantic 911 calls, Sweeten, said two men had bumped her 2005 GMC Denali, carjacked her and stuffed her in the trunk of a dark Cadillac. She implied that her daughter was with her in the trunk, according to Philadelphia police Lt. Frank Vanore, who listened to tapes of the calls.

Sweeten, who is white, described her assailants as black but otherwise gave few details about their appearance, Vanore said.

''It was pretty generic,'' he said.

Police found inconsistencies with her story from the start, and noted that they could not find witnesses on the busy road in Upper Southampton Township who saw an abduction. The Denali was found early Wednesday on a downtown Philadelphia street, about 20 miles away, with a parking ticket issued shortly after the calls were made. Police knew the 911 calls were made in the same area.

Sweeten has two other daughters, a 15-year-old from a prior marriage and an 8-month-old with her current husband, a landscaper. Julia Rakoczy attended elementary school in Bensalem until she was withdrawn from classes May 1, said Susan Harder, an administrative assistant with the Bensalem Township School District.

Her ex-husband and the 9-year-old girl's father, Tony Rakoczy, described Sweeten on NBC's ''Today'' show as a good mother. He declined to comment to The Associated Press.

A man at Sweeten's home refused to comment Wednesday and asked reporters to leave.

Neighbors said the family had lived in their relatively new development for about two years.

Sweeten, 38, of Feasterville, is listed as a director of a New Hope-based charity called The Carlitz Foundation, run by lawyer Debbie Carlitz. The charity's stated goal is raising money for autism research and for people in Burma. Carlitz did not return e-mail or phone messages Wednesday night.

''Bonnie was a very, very organized person,'' said Susan Cordeiro, secretary of the parent-teacher group at Belmont Hills Elementary School in Bensalem, which Julia had attended. ''She was at every meeting, she was very involved. ... She's on top of her game all the time, even when she was pregnant.''

She's organized, involved, a good mother . . . . and a racist. All right, so she felt there were some issues between her and her husband. But couldn't she have said she was kidnapped by white men???

All I can say is, thank goodness the authorities were suspicious from the beginning and didn't start insanely questioning every black man they saw, which has happened in the past, most notably in the Charles Stuart case over in Boston in the Eighties. I'm sick and tired of seeing black men blamed in attempts to cover up wrongdoing.

Blowing My Own Horn

Romance in Color has reviewed A New Kind of Bliss:

"Emily Yancy is the youngest daughter in the family. She was married, is now divorced and is coming home to Euliss because of the declining health and impending death of her father. She has a successful career as a Physician’s Assistant in Indiana and a home but her mother has never had to take care of the day to day routines of life like paying bills and balancing a check book. Her siblings have taken it upon themselves to let her know that since she is single and has no children, she is the likely choice to move back home with mom. Initially Emily feels like she is being railroaded because she has a life and career. After spending time with her mother, she realizes that coming home it is the right thing to do. Aaron Merritt is a rich widowed doctor who is handsome and appears to have the total package. He is caring and sensitive and when he meets Emily, they act on their attraction to one another. He wine’s and dines her and shows her how the other half lives. He even introduces her to his family but what on earth is missing.

Teddy Simms is Emily’s eighth grade crush. He is a BMW (Black Man Working) but on a very tight budget. He is lacking in wealth but very skilled where it counts. What’s a woman to do when faced with handsome, caring and wealthy versus hardworking and very skilled in the bedroom.

Emily Yancy is in a position that many women find themselves in now. Educated, beautiful, hardworking, single and settling for less than the total package. Emily is back home where everyone knows everybody’s business. Getting together with old friends and schoolmates brings up old feelings of inadequacy, competitions and self doubt. Her first marriage ended in divorce because of her husband’s cheating and then she tries to justify her relationship with Aaron. He’s wealthy and treats her like a princess but she isn’t satisfied and doesn’t know how to tell him the truth. Teddy on the other hand has her toes curling and has her speaking in tongues but he can’t give her the financial stability she has found with Aaron. As a matter a fact, Teddy is looking at her income to boost his life to a better level. Emily has to decide whether she can settle for love and financial stability or sensational sex with a BMW (Black Man Working).

A NEW KIND OF BLISS is a story that gives you a good look at adult life after you have been around the block and experienced a few things. It is a well developed story that gives you characters and experiences that you have had or will have. Married, never married, divorced with, kids, no kids at all. The death of a parent pushes families into new situations. Not only do adult children have to be responsible for their parents, it shows you that parents are human too. Have you ever settled for less in your life? Bettye Griffin will make you want to answer that question after you enjoy this book." - Dianthia Lemons

In Celebration of Authors

As I sit here with my bronchitis, listening to my chest rattle and stuffing myself with a bunch of fattening foods under the guise of, "I'm have to eat to keep up my strength!" while I watch a bunch of old Robert Montgomery movies (he was the father of Elizabeth Montgomery, the star of Bewitched, and quite the movie star in his day), it occurs to me that just about like every day, week, or month represents recognition for something or somebody. Black History Month, Frozen Food Month, National Condom Week, Give a Kid a Smile Day, Poison Prevention Week, and this week, which is Medical Transcriptionist Week (that's me, y'all!)

Anyway, I'd like to declare some recognition of my own and deem today Author Appreciation Day.

One of the nicest things about being a published author is the people I've met over the years. Usually when authors say this they are referring to the readers, and while I appreciate all the readers, in this particular case I'm talking about other published authors. I'm not trying to sell anybody a bill of goods about there being no competition between authors; I think we all know better than that. But my experiences have mostly been good ones, and I'd like to take this opportunity to give a few shout-outs to the following people:

Marcia King-Gamble, who sent me an email of encouragement shortly after my very first novel was published. I'll never forget that kind gesture. I haven't seen Marcia in quite a while now - I think the last time was a lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in South Florida, but we communicate fairly regularly and I have no doubt that we'll cross paths again.

Sean D. Young, who was a reader when she first emailed me about one of my early books (probably A Love of Her Own, she's always said that's her favorite). It's been about 10 years, and she is still a good friend. Sean would come whenever I did a signing in the Northwest Indiana area, and after she became published we did a few signings together. A talented graphic artist in her other life, Sean designed the cover for my upcoming Save the Best For Last.

Reon Laudat, who sent me an e-mail of support for something or other quite a while ago. We have yet to meet face-to-face, and she recently did me a tremendous favor (for which she will be properly thanked once I'm up and about).

Donna Hill, who graciously provided me with a quote about my novel Once Upon A Project, which will be featured on the mass market edition when it comes out late next winter. Another thank-you will soon be on its way to her.

Angie Daniels. She and I shared our excitement and experiences about writing women's fiction for Dafina, which we started doing at about the same time.

Gwyneth Bolton, who regularly visited and posted on my blog when I was establishing it. I'm pleased to say that I met Gwyneth at the Slam Jam in Chicago last year, and she's as charming in person as she is on paper.

I appreciate you all. There are many others who just make me feel good by smiling at me, and so if I've left anyone out, blame it on the bronchitis.

I'm going to be taking it easy the next few days. Enjoy your long weekend. Ill be back sometime next week!

Booklist reviews A New Kind of Bliss

I just noticed this review on my Amazon page and thought I'd share:

"Emily is on her way home to Euliss, New York, to see her dying father. Her brother and sister want her to move back and take care of their elderly mother since Emily is the only single sibling. But to Emily, Euliss is a place you move out of, not to. At her father’s funeral, however, she meets an old friend who sets her up with a very handsome and eligible widower. For an African American woman in her forties, Aaron is a dream come true—successful, intelligent, and attentive. With the incentive of a great catch waiting for her, Emily reluctantly packs up her life and moves in with her mother. But there’s Aaron’s three children and an antagonistic mother-in-law to contend with. And Aaron’s lack of pizzazz in the bedroom. Emily must decide what she wants—a truly wonderful man or a man she cannot live without. Griffin expertly explores the universal search for love and the difficulties that face women of a certain age. --Patty Engelmann"

Elsie B. Washington, Trailblazing Black Novelist, Dies at 66

from the May 17th edition of The New York Times:

Elsie B. Washington, whose 1980 book, “Entwined Destinies,” is widely considered the first black romance novel, died on May 5 in Manhattan. She was 66 and had lived in Yonkers in recent years.

The cause was multiple sclerosis and cancer, her brother, James E. Peterson, said.
The 575th title in Dell’s Candlelight Romance series, “Entwined Destinies” was published under the pen name Rosalind Welles. It tells the story of a beautiful young black woman, a magazine correspondent, who after many travails finds love with a tall, dashing black man, an oil company executive.

In 2002 Black Issues Book Review said the novel was “the first known romance featuring African-American characters written by an African-American author.”
“Entwined Destinies” was Ms. Washington’s only novel. Primarily a journalist, she wrote two nonfiction books, “Sickle Cell Anemia” (Third Press, 1974, with Anthony Cerami) and “Uncivil War: The Struggle Between Black Men and Women” (Noble Press, 1996).
Elsie Bernice Washington was born in the Bronx on Dec. 28, 1942. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from the City College of New York and afterward was a writer and editor with The New York Post, Life magazine, Newsweek and Essence magazine.
An essay by Ms. Washington in the January 1988 issue of Essence attracted wide attention in the news media. In it she deplored the trend among black people to conform to white standards of beauty by using tinted contact lenses to change the color of their eyes, among other things.
Besides her brother, Mr. Peterson, Ms. Washington is survived by her parents, Samuel Washington and Kathleen Peterson Erby.

The black romance novel is today a thriving genre that includes several publishing imprints devoted to it exclusively and that features books by Sandra Kitt, Beverly Jenkins, Rochelle Alers and many other writers.


I'd often wondered why I heard nothing about Ms. Washington's other works. Now I know that she was primarily a nonfiction writer and only wrote one novel. I'm glad she did see what came out of that one novel she wrote so long ago.

Back to the Blog . . . for now

I've barely been around the past weeks. It's been busy.

A New Kind of Bliss was released a few weeks ago, which meant book signings to attend. I only did three of them this year, but in three different cities. Down in Matteson, Illinois, I got to spend time chewing the fat with my pal Donna Deloney both during and after the signing, when we had an early dinner together. Downtown Chicago is always fun. This was my fourth signing at the Waldenbooks Citicorp Center, and they have the same staff now that they had in 2006, which I think is pretty neat. Since it's a lunchtime signing, I bring them pizza from Sbarro.

This past weekend I was up at the Cultural Connection in Milwaukee for my first-ever signing there. I got to see Regina and the other ladies from the book club, whom I first met at the Slam Jam in Chicago last year, and got to chew the fat with store owner Linda Jackson and Radiah Hubbert of Urban-Reviews.com. Radiah is organizing the first of what will be an annual Midwest Book Fest to be held in Milwaukee on July 25th. It was a lot of fun, even with the miserable cold I've had since Thursday. Rubbing sanitizer into my hands with every cough wasn't bad, but try doing a reading with a cold!

All things considered, I've gotten quite a few things accomplished these past two weeks. Aside from the signings and the guest blogs and other promotional stuff, I got Bernard off to Florida for a weekend funeral (leisure travel, unlike business, means I'm the one who has to reserve his car and hotel (he did his own plane reservations), make sure he has sufficient clothing for a funeral and for casual activities, remembering important accessories like dress shoes and a tie), went over the entire house to prepare for an 11-month construction inspection (before the warranty expires and we're responsible for all repairs), got my mother's room ready (she'll be here Saturday for a 3-week visit), worked diligently on my Dafina release for next year, and completed the manuscript for my independent project.

My independent project now has a name . . . Save The Best For Last. It is a romance to be published this summer as a POD (print on demand) book. In case you're wondering why I'm putting out a book myself when I'm already under contract with a major publisher . . . you'll have to stay tuned. I'll be addressing that in a future column.

Anyway, I wanted to surface long enough to tell you I'm still kicking . . . and, coughing. Now, if I can just get the time to clean out the garage . . . .

Have any of y'all completed anything you're particularly proud of lately?

Gone Blogging Again

Today I'm over at Love is an Exploding Cigar. Drop by and weigh in, maybe win a prize. You do have to be registered on their blog, which you can do on the upper left corner of the main blog page. It only takes a hot minute.

Hope to see you over there!

Gone Blogging

I'm over at APOOO today, so while you enjoy your Mother's Day (or the day after if you don't see this until then), please take a minute to stop by.

Enjoy the day!

Yeah, I'm still alive

Just thought I'd let y'all know, since I haven't posted in a bit.