BEGINNINGS

I was born in Conyers, Georgia and grew up in, what was then, a quite rural and small close knit community. Though my parents made a good home for me, I kept a bed at many of the houses in the neighborhood and could lay my head wherever I chose. Growing up in such a way and in such a place provided a spring of experiences from which to gather rich and potentially terrifying stories drawn from the shadows of the wood surrounding our enclave.

As a child, I found I loved books and everything about them–the words, the stories, the feel of the book and the smell. At the age of six I created my own library and made my friends, who did not like books nearly as much as I did, check out books.  I didn’t hone in on horror until the age of 8 or 9, when my grandma Flora and I began to exchange horror novels and listen to scary radio shows.

EARLY CAREERS

Before I came to work as an IT Analyst, I was a soldier, a librarian and adjunct professor at Texas Woman’s University. As a librarian, I authored and co-authored several articles for professional journals such as the Journal of the Medical Library Association, Medical Research Services Quarterly, and the Journal of Electronic Resources. I have presented at the Medical Library Association Conference, the Texas Gulf Coast Healthy Communities Partnership, and the Special Libraries Association Conference. I co-authored the book, Disaster Planning: a How-to-do-it manual, published by Neal-Schuman Publishers in 2005. I perform occasionally in Community Theater.

WRITING

Now, at last, I am a novelist.  I have completed my first novel Progenie which has been 10 years in the making. Now that I have found my footing, I expect to finish the follow-up, Unto the Mother in much less time. These will be the first two in a series following the Zen Slayer along her journey to full self-realization.

My earlier influences include Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker. They lured me away from my literary ‘junk food’ consisting of romance, horror, and thriller and provoked introspection and a new lens with which to view the world.  Then came John Irving and his mentor Kurt Vonnegut whose books changed my life and tastes in literature forever.  I am currently obsessed with Cormac McCarthy and most historical thrillers.

The authors I love and most admire take me beyond the story and make me fall in love with the written word and with the well-form character. However, I still love the thrill of a good story. And so, you may find in my novels a heady brew of all of these influences with a touch of my own spice which I consider earthy, frank and, to an extent, ribald.

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My Mission

The lack of representation in literature,  the perfoming arts,  and film has always been a source of frustation and disappointment for me.  And when represention was present in these media, the image of blacks and other people of color were distorted.  Such deficiencies and oversimplified images of non-whites are damaging to the psyche of everyone, not just persons of color. 

But how do we remedy the lack of diversity? Do we demand that writers who are published and produced  and who tend to be white create black characters? Or demand that the gate keepers (the publishers and producers), who are also mostly white, promote diversity?

Hell, yes.  I can’t imagine these creaters live in a vacuum where people of color do not exist.  Yet, in so many works, there are no blacks in the future. Black have been erased from history or white-washed, or have been included so that they can sacrifice themselves for the white characters.

But I feel as an artist, I have a responsiblity to create works of art that is inclusive and diverse.  More than that, if I want to read books with characters that looked like me, I realized now, I have to create them.  I must create the adventures and worlds in which I would like to immerse myself. And, those worlds should look like the one I live in which is populated by all ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientation.

Persons of Color cannot rely on white artists and the publishers and producers to acqueisce to the demand. We have to be the artists and we have to be the gatekeepers. So that’s what I’m doing.