Sunday, November 29, 2009

November 29, 2009: I Just Won NaNoWriMo!

I just posted my novel, WWB, finishing with 56, 836 words, to the National Novel Writing Month website. I am a winner!

Now I can finally get some sleep! LOL!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

November 4, 2009: Fellow Examiner Does Wendy a Helluva Solid!

DC Books Examiner Camille Tuutti-Winkler wrote a piece on me delivering the Keynote this weekend at the Our Story Conference at Minnesota's Gustavus Adolphus College.

Check it out:

Author and D.C. Publishing Industry Examiner to speak on interracial relationships

Monday, November 02, 2009

November 2, 2009: NaNoWriMo. Day one in Northern Virginia

NaNoWriMo: Day one in Northern Virginia

Posted using ShareThis

November 2, 2009: America's Next Great Pundit. The Waiting Was the Hardest Part

Hello all:

My hometown paper, The Washington Post, held America's Next Great Pundit, a contest designed to select an opinion columnist. Ten finalists would compete for a thirteen-week editorial gig at The Post, to start next year. Sweet, I thought, as I entered.

I wasn't chosen as one of the finalists. I did, though, want to share my entry with you. It is rather timely and concerns the race for governor here in the state of Virginia. Without fanfare, I present The Endurance of the Wedge Issue:

It recently became more evident that Virginia gubernatorial candidate Democrat Creigh Deeds reads the polls – more specifically that he read the October 8 Washington Post poll that showed that his Republican opponent, Bob McDonnell, widened his lead over Deeds by nine points. Before that time, Deeds’ argument for why he would make a better governor was that he was all for a woman’s right to choose. Deeds trotted out a thesis that McDonnell had written twenty years ago, in which McDonnell went hard at working women, contraception, and many social technologies that are interwoven into the bedrock of feminism. Translation: McDonnell is a misogynist who plans to send women into back alleys with coat hangers if Northern Virginians were to elect him governor. This tack probably would have worked twenty years ago, when a landmark decision by the Supreme Court made the abortion debate a matter of states’ rights. Shockingly, an economy circling the bowl, two wars, and budget cuts and record unemployment seem scarier than some old wedge issue from the past millennium.

McDonnell is just as guilty. Though he has been clear about his platforms – questioning their ability to be operationalized aside – he, too, has fallen back on a wedge issue of his own: the dreaded raising of taxes. His most recent ads have painted Deeds as the typical tax-and-spend Democrat, to McDonnell’s fiscal conservative. Here again, a politician conjures up a tried and true tactic, while seeming blissfully unaware of the context in which he employs said tactic. Again, with Virginia trying to contend with over a billion-dollar deficit, how does McDonnell think the state will be able to pay police officers, firefighters, teachers, and other civil servants other than to raise taxes? While not promising outright that he will not, McDonnell painting Deeds as the candidate who will is disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst.

November 3 is Election Day in the state of Virginia. Something tells me that this election is less about who is best suited to govern and more about a referendum on the wedge issue. It is certain that, no matter who wins, the wedge issue used by the governor-elect, no matter how anachronistic it may be, will live to fight another day.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

November 1, 2009: November kicks off National Novel Writing Month

November kicks off National Novel Writing Month

Posted using ShareThis

November 1, 2009: Donaghy. The memoir genre takes another hit

Donaghy: The memoir genre takes another hit

Posted using ShareThis

November 1, 2009: Delta Sigma Theta's Renaissance Woman Virtual Book Tour

To promote their Founders Day Celebration, at which our 22nd National President, Soror Gwendolyn Boyd will be the keynote speaker, my Northern California sorors of Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated are hosting their Renaissance Women Virtual Tour.

From Friday, October 30, 2009 through Friday, November 20, 2009, 22 author sorors will spotlight one of DST's 22 Founders and write a fun, informational, and inspirational blog piece. My piece below for today highlights Founder Edna Brown Coleman, most notably how she married Omega Psi Phi Founder Frank Coleman. Together, they gave birth to Coleman Love.

Renaissance Women Virtual Book Tour: Day Three

Sunday, October 25, 2009

October 25, 2009: Triptych's Kindle Version Now Available Internationally

Great news for all of my Bahamians, Canadians, and other fans who don't live in the US. You can now buy the Kindle version of Triptych. has announced that its Kindle reader is now available internationally. For $259, you have access to over 360,000 books, as well as US and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs (based on availability, natch).

Enjoy Triptych on your Kindle today!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 21, 2009: Wendy Coakley-Thompson to Visit Gustavus Adolphus College, St Peter, MN

Hey all:

Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota graciously welcomes Your Truly. I am the Keynote Speaker at the Our Story Conference, Saturday, November 7. The conference focuses on interracial relationships.

Here's the link, describing the event in more detail:

Gustavus Adolphus College: Our Story Conference

See you in St. Peter!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October 14, 2009: Midlist Author Hateration

Two Saturdays ago, I worked the Capital BookFest. For the uninitiated, the Capital BookFest is held on the grounds of the Boulevard at the Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland, treating attendees to readings, panel discussions, children's storytelling, conversations, and talks by a wide variety of authors from different genres. The Borders Superstore was the center of the action. Inside the store, best-selling authors presented on the Mainstage. The Literary CafĂ© featured authors in a more intimate setting. Other writers were outside in the Write On! Tent. However, the most egalitarian part of the event was the book-signing table in the front of the store, where every author who presented – whether or not they were or had been on the New York Times bestseller list – had the opportunity to put their John or Jane Hancock on their books for fans.

Well, you know eventually, egos would poison the friendly atmosphere. I found myself being looked down on from the patrician nose of a Mainstage author from a major house. Just as I was wondering if this was a racial thing… it happened again! This time, a black author whom I’d met on a previous occasion pointedly ignored me when I spoke to her and walked right past me to her chair. The unspoken question seemed to be how did I and my other midlist compatriots deign to share their rarified air at the signing table?

Now you know I’m sensitive. And I’m prone to checking myself. I’m always asking, is it me, or am I overreacting? However, that day, I had my touchstone with me – my cousin, who’s possibly the most perceptive person I know. She confirmed my suspicion that there was some serious midlist author hateration going on. Naturally, it stung. Especially coming from the sistah author. On an otherwise beautiful day, the episode left a bad taste in my mouth.

But I have to laugh at the counterproductivity of midlist author hateration. Here’s why. In my column, I recently interviewed Les Pockell. He’s the Vice President and Associate Publisher at Hachette Book Group USA. He pretty much confirmed what I suspect we all know – that the publishing industry is in flux and that we all could conceivably be lost in transition. I liken the midlist author hateration to the high society mavens in luxury cabins looking down on the hoi polloi in steerage on the Titanic. We all know how that story ends, don’t we?

That probably wasn’t something that both authors in question were thinking about from their lofty perches at the Capital BookFest. But they should have been...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

September 5, 2009: Another Brilliant Review of Triptych!

Hey, all.

I'm kvelling! Triptych has gotten another awesome review -- this time from RAWSISTAZ Reviewers.

Check it out here:

Triptych: Reading And Writing SISTAZ Review

Much love and a million thanks to Sharon Lewis, the reviewer and Tee C. Royal, who made it happen.

Friday, August 14, 2009

August 14, 2009: Sometimes, the Truth Hurts…

When I signed my book deal, an editor asked me to identify possible markets for my fiction. Dutifully, I included my ancestral home – The Bahamas – on the list. Immediately, the editor, though sweetly, told me that The Bahamas was not a viable book market.

Reflexively, I was offended. Though I am an American, I rep my Bahamian heritage hard, mainly because it’s important to me. I also wave the aqua, black, and gold of the Bahamian flag, because I know how sensitive Bahamians get about other Bahamians who leave, find success abroad, and then seem to forget where they come from. Some quite vocally single out Rick Fox and Sidney Poitier. I guess Poitier winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week doesn’t seem to help his cause any. Anyway, I swore I was going to be different. No Bahamians would be singling me out for such treatment.

In the near-decade since my first book came out, I was fanatical about getting bookstores in The Bahamas, where I grew up, to carry my work – just as they do other authors with absolutely no connection to the country. For all of my efforts, though, I so far only had one taker – the religious bookstore in Nassau for some strange reason…but even then, they’d only sell my books online.

I aggressively set out to change the status quo by making Nassau the first stop for a Triptych mini-tour, scheduling two dates – August 1 and August 6 – at Chapter One, the bookstore at the College of The Bahamas, where I’d once taught journalism. Triptych, as you know, is set in The Bahamas. A portion of the net proceeds from the book goes to the Cancer Society of the Bahamas. The August 1 signing was on the calendar for the festivities for my high school class’ twenty-fifth reunion. My sister, Christina “Chrissie Love” Thompson, a radio journalist and talk show host, arranged radio, television, and print press coverage.

Then someone pulled the pin. A week before the heavily promoted August 1 signing, the powers that be decided to schedule an inventory count for that very day. The glib “Erryting cool, man” attitude about gumming up the works was even more shocking, given the planning that has to take place to accommodate a venue that’s at least a three-hour plane ride and two intrusive security checks away. Everyone who could make an executive decision to salvage the signing had rolled out for vacation, leaving a beleaguered store manager, who could only wring her hands and apologize. My sister called in favors so that the signing could be held at an alternate venue, but only the two older titles – twelve copies of each – were available for sale, apparently preordered before the call for inventory. No Triptych. The second signing on August 6 went no better. All in all, the mini-tour embodied the lyrics from “Small Talk,” a song by the rock group Scritti Politti: “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”

I know; we are all authors here. We’ve all shown up at our scheduled events to find that our books were not in store. For the obvious reason, though, this particular episode cuts more deeply. It’s even worse that when Bahamians tell me that they’ve had to buy my books during daytrips to Miami because they couldn’t find them in Nassau. It stings like a bitch when the dogs from your own kennel are indifferent to you.

So, was that editor I mentioned before right? Maybe not for Janet Dailey, Dan Brown, and the other authors whose books are on Bahamian shelves. But for me, sadly, she was. I am awake – rudely so. Given that rude awakening, I am forced to bite the bullet and focus my time and energies elsewhere.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

August 8, 2009: Much Love and Respect From Urban Reviews

Hey, y'all.

Well, Triptych got a lovely review from Radiah Hubbert at Urban Reviews. She also posted an interview she did with me at the Inside Out section of the site.

Check them out at the links below.

Triptych: New Reviews

Inside Out With Wendy Coakley-Thompson

Thanks, Radiah!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

July 18, 2009: Bosses Behaving Badly

In this twisted economy, a virulent strain of boss is emerging. A recruiter friend of mine, with over 40 years' worth of experience in her field, has even commented to me that some bosses have just lost their ever-loving minds and are bending labor laws in the most egregious ways.

I wrote a piece about it for Alphanista this week. It's especially relevant in these times of powerful search engines and social networking. Read on here:

Alphanista Career Q & A: Crazy Boss

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 14, 2009: Kindling hope or hype?

Last week, Amazon decided to drop the price of its Kindle e-reader to $299. Apparently, they’ve been making so much money on the thing that they were able to pass the savings on to the customer.

In writing for (shameless plug!), I’ve interviewed my share of publishing insiders who herald e-readers in general and Kindle in particular as saviors of an industry floundering because of an identity crisis and a bad economy. More than one insider has compared e-readers and other technological advancements to Gutenberg’s printing press, which, as you know, sounded the death knell to monks hunched over parchment in a scriptorium.

Though Sony makes an e-reader, Kindle has gotten the most ink since its first generation hit in 2007. After all, Oprah called Kindle one of her favorite things; we all know what a ringing endorsement from Oprah can do to pretty much anything. In February of this year, Amazon released Kindle 2 with a sleeker design, longer battery life, and more storage than its predecessor. Then in May, Amazon unleashed Kindle DX, or SuperKindle, on us.

Despite the audacity of Ope, though, no one I know has rushed out to buy either Kindle. At a price of $359 for Kindle and $489 for its supersized sibling, no one in my circle of friends is eager to part with that kind of cheddar. That may all change, though, with the $60 drop in the price of Kindle. My friend and author Karyn Langhorne, with two books available as Kindle editions, has plans that involve Kindle, her birthday, and her husband’s credit card.

I, on the other hand, am a chronic late adopter. I only recently got an iPod. And I’m not alone. The folks at Electronic Village are adopting a wait-and-see approach and soliciting input from others before they commit. The reason? Their love of going to the library and checking out books and DVDs for free.

Even though my latest novel, Triptych, is available as a Kindle edition, I’ll still hold off on investing in the reader itself for now… even with the price dip. Basically, I want to see if Kindle can bear the weight of a publishing industry’s expectations on its 1/3” thin, wireless, 10.2 oz shoulders. Like Public Enemy, I don’t believe the hype just yet.

But that’s just me. What about you…?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

July 2, 2009: Talking About Triptych on Sirius XM Radio

The wonderful Maggie Linton had me on her show.
For folks with satellite radio, here are the times to catch my interview this Saturday and the week of 7/5/09:
The Maggie Linton Show can be heard on Sirius XM Book Radio – Sirius 117 & XM 163:
Saturday – 5pm ET / 2pm PT; Monday – 7pm ET / 4pm PT.
On The Power – XM 169:
Saturday – 6pm ET / 3pm PT; Sunday – 11pm ET / 8pm PT; Monday – 4am ET / 1am PT

Sunday, June 14, 2009

June 14, 2009: Wanted: Romance Writer. V-jay-jay Optional

Disclaimer: I originally posted the diatribe below as a guest at Romancing the Blog. I post it again here for those of you who don't frequent that particular blog. For those of you who do, you'll find that this post is like cold pizza -- better the second time around.

Just like we’ve known that Victoria’s Secret is that “she’s” a man, baby, we’ve known that men have been writing romances since the dawn of time. After all, the Jennifer Wilde that introduced me to Marietta Danvers was actually a man named Tom E. Huff. But what about some of the men inhabiting bookstore fiction sections and bestseller lists? It’s getting harder and harder to separate some of their work from that of the women writing contemporary romance.

For example, Eric Jerome Dickey writes women so well that I swear someone has given him the secret estrogen handshake. No one can tell me that Milk in My Coffee isn’t a romance novel. However, the writer who embodies my thesis by far is the great Nicholas Sparks. I mean, Message in a Bottle? The Notebook? Nights in Rodanthe? If those aren’t romance novels, then I don’t know what romance novels are. Yet, you won’t see Sparks in the romance section of your chain bookstore.

Contrary to what some of my bitter single girlfriends may want to believe, men can actually relate to the themes prevalent in romance – the desire to couple, the journey to finding a partner, the ability of unconditional love to soothe the rough edges of past hurts, for example. As someone so succinctly put it recently, men are the new women. They’ve realized that there’s a life outside of sports. They’ve come to appreciate culture and the finer things in life. They’re plagued by the same insecurities once thought to affect only women. The concept of metrosexuality is a physical manifestation of this point. Just one pass through Men’s Health magazine reveals that men have their own version of body dysmophia (“bigorexia”). Men are whitening their teeth. They’re dyeing their hair. They’re having cosmetic surgery in record numbers. I live near a military base, and it’s common to see battle-hardened warriors in fatigues getting a mani-pedi. In short, we’re more alike than we’re different. The war itself might still be raging, but this particular battle of the sexes is a draw.

Slowly, though, I think that those who use gender to put genres in certain boxes and stock bookshelves may have gotten the memo. A couple years ago, when I read that Devon Vaughn Archer and Wayne Jordan were the first two men to write for Kimani Press Arabesque – without hiding behind girly pseudonyms – I sensed that there was a sea change in the offing. My cynical side asks if this is because maybe pink is the new green. I recently wrote a piece for about how romance is the recession proof genre, that it’s the tide that’s lifting all boats while the publishing industry at large attempts to reinvent itself.

My hopeful side says that, even though I’m not all that stoked about men having to validate the genre with their presence, maybe this is the first step in romance escaping the pink stigma. Perhaps men – both writers and readers – will realize that embracing their so-called feminine side is to embrace the human condition… while enjoying some damned good fiction in the process.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 31, 2009: Guesting on Romancing the Blog!

Romancing the Blog accepted my post for today's Open Blog Night. Here are the Cliff Notes: They open up their forum to potential guest bloggers. If they accepted the piece you submit, they post it on Sundays. They accepted mine -- a piece about how it's okay for men to write romance novels too!

This is very exciting. Romancing the Blog is a well-respected blog that takes the temperature of the romance community.

So, here's the link to Wanted: Romance Writer. V-jay-jay Optional.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May 20, 2009: Alphanista Career Advice

Once again, I posted to MaryAnn Reid's blog, Alphanista.

This time, I write about how to make lemonade out of lemons. I'm dispensing career advice. Wow! I guess I know what I don't like, so that's a start.

Any-hu, here's the link. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May 14, 2009: No advances for writers: Heresy or common sense?

From Cover to Cover radio show hosts ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Pat Tucker discussed the “HarperCollins Experiment” on their May 7 show. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the show. Nor, for some strange technical reason, could I listen to the archived version. I assume from the show’s PR blurb that the “HarperCollins Experiment” they mean is the phenomenon that sent both the MSM and the blogosphere buzzing last April, from writer Roger L. Simon, to the Future Perfect Publishing blog, to as far afield as Britain’s Guardian Media Group web site.

Basically, HarperCollins launched the HarperStudio imprint last April. One key difference from the parent company: HarperStudio does not accept returns from bookstores. But that’s not the part that drove people nuts; this is. In lieu of advances, this radical upstart gives authors a larger share of the profits from their books. Though, it does seem, from this NPR piece posted in January, that they’ve backpedaled a touch, saying that they don’t pay an advance larger than $100,000.

So, does this truly signal the death of the writer’s advance? I interviewed former Kensington Books editor Rakia Clark for my column at, and she says that the advance is one thing that separates publishing apart from other media. According to Clark, “The advance was traditionally set up so the author could live on it, but most books don’t earn out. With a successful book, the profit margins, in relation to that of other industries, are quite low.”

For your average midlist author, I don’t think that this is the tragedy that some envision. Only the Chosen Few of us live off our earnings as writers. Most of us have kept our day jobs. After all, over a year after HarperStudio appeared, my world looks pretty much the same. Just like Obama’s tax hikes will only affect those making a quarter-million dollars or more, this abolition of hefty advances would probably only affect those who could potentially receive them. Like Kathy Griffin, who just sold her memoirs for over $2 million to Ballantine. Or Alaska governor and former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, who won’t even reveal how much she got from HarperCollins for her book, due out in 2010.

Of course, y’all know me; I have concerns. Agent Kristin voices many of them here in her blog, Pub Rants. I’m especially perturbed about #4 on her list: If publishers are not giving advances to authors, will publishers pony up extra money on their end for marketing and promotion efforts? Regardless of whatever new paradigm publishing ends up sticking with, the fact remains that the industry sells books, not drugs. And, unlike drugs according to Chris Rock, books don’t sell themselves.

Of those who weighed in on HarperCollins’ experiment with HarperStudio, writer Roger L. Simon makes a point that resonates for me.

My question then is - what’s the point of the publisher?

Well, there’s editing (which one can get elsewhere) and the fancy publishing house imprimatur, maybe a little help with production and publicity (again available elsewhere - many authors pay for their own publicists anyway). It [sic] this really enough? The author can do much better on percentages, I am sure, by self-publishing. And that same author may know his or her way around the Internet better than the publisher, when it comes to publicity.

To which, like Eddie Murphy in Boomerang when Robin Givens asks why he’s in bed with her instead of Halle Berry, I say… Exactly.

Monday, April 27, 2009

April 27, 2009: Triptych Now Comes in Kindle

Hey, all.

I'm so excited to join the Kindle revolution, with my latest novel. Triptych is now available to Kindle users... at less than half the price of the print version.

Of course, to get the latest version, you'll have to spend $360 on the Kindle e-reader. Those of you who already have a Kindle, it takes less than a minute to download Triptych. For the Kindle-less folk -- myself included -- I strongly suggest buying the printed tale of death and infidelity, straight up, with an erotic twist. Half of my net proceeds goes to The Cancer Society of the Bahamas and 365 Pink Foundation.

Together, we must do everything we can to contribute to the eradication of cancer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19, 2009: Art as Philanthropy. Triptych and the Reasons Behind Donating Half My Net Proceeds

My third novel, Triptych, emerged in December 2008. I have committed half of the net proceeds from the sale of the book to two organizations actively engaged in the fight to make cancer a distant memory.

Why, you may ask. Like everyone, I had a general awareness of cancer itself. Like just about everyone, I had either known someone affected by or who had suffered from cancer. I’d been remotely aware of the cancer statistics. I’d had one scare when I was 26, but after a breast sonogram, my gynecologist advised me to have my first baseline sonogram at forty. Even with all that, I was, admittedly, lax about breast self-exam.

Flash ahead to the fall of 2006. I was thirty-nine, about to have my first mammogram. I had absolutely no qualms about it. In fact, my fortysomething friends who’d gone through the procedure told me what it was like and even shared jokes about it. I think that was to mollify the draconian nature of it. After all, there’s nothing remotely funny about placing a breast between two metal plates, having those plates pressed together to flatten out sensitive flesh, and then having to hold your breath through the pain as a technician takes an image of the inside of the breast. All this while you’re so self-conscious about being half-naked in front of a total stranger and worrying if you’re nervous sweat is producing its trademark funk, because preparation literature told you not to wear any deodorant for the procedure. Nonetheless, I thought I was sufficiently prepared for it all… until the technician told me that I would need to come back. She showed me the image of my right breast and said something like, “I think I see something.” As my mind tried to catch up with the moment, she told not to freak out... that this was not uncommon. She speculated that I would most likely have to return for a breast sonogram. She was right.

I traded cold metal plates for ice-cold gel and a metal probe, kneading my flesh. Another caring female technician confirmed that there was, indeed, something shadowy on the sonogram. Just as her soothing tone lulled me into thinking that this was not a matter of life and death, the radiologist – your typical insensitive male – appeared in the room to have a look at my bare breast and the sonogram, pronouncing, “You know, if this is what I think it is, about 80% of those tumors tend to be malignant.” Not what I wanted to hear, supine and exposed. “You mean benign, right?” I pleaded. As if I was a hardheaded child, he said, “No, I mean malignant.” Just to be sure, though, they promptly scheduled me for another sonogram, this one with a needle biopsy.

Reality set in at that point. I was terrified at the prospect of suffering painful, debilitating surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. I felt weak… vulnerable… diseased. Plus, I reminded myself, I was single. If I had breast cancer, what man would want me after treatments had disfigured me? Then I imagined the worst. What would the world be like without me in it? I discussed fears with my mother, who, as a retired operating room nurse, was cool and calm. She was even eating while we talked on the phone. “You don’t know,” she simply said. “Yours could be among the 20% that’s benign.”

I tried to keep the day of the needle biopsy as normal as possible, booking it early so that I could knock it out and go straight to work afterwards. Typically, they were running behind. I was scared to death, so I wasn’t the most mannerly person on the planet… and that was before the lovely young Korean-American doctor proceeded to stick a mammoth needle in my breast. Guided by the sonogram, she would puncture the lump repeatedly and then take several samples with these loud clicks of the needle. No matter how much she numbed me, I acutely felt every moment of the procedure. Nonetheless, after the doctor covered my punctured flesh with a small pressure bandage, I went to work and began the agonizing wait for the results.
Days later, I was in a thick lather before my gynecologist finally gave me the good news. I didn’t have breast cancer. The lump was something called a fibroadenoma, a benign tumor comprised of glandular and fibrous breast tissue. They appear in 10% of women in general and in 20% of African- American women in particular. There’s no treatment. It’ll be a part of me and has become part of my baseline sonogram. Hearing that news… forget R-O-L-A-I-D-S. This was how I spelled relief!

My struggle was with the threat of breast cancer, but for others, cancer is very real. Just to give you pause, here are some sobering statistics:

  • According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, “one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.”

  • The National Cancer Institute recently decreed that rates for certain types of cancer have not declined, but, in fact, have increased. Breast cancer has increased 4%, as has lung cancer by the same percentage. Prostate cancer in white males has increased 12%; in black males, it is up 14%. Melanoma in whites is also up 14%. Lastly, colorectal cancer has increased 3%.

  • The incidences of brain tumors seem to be increasing across the globe.

I felt like I had to do something. So, I chose to donate a portion of my proceeds from the sale of Triptych, the poignant story of a cancer sufferer’s struggle to protect his family, to the fight against cancer for as long as the book stays in print. I have the base to ensure that I achieve my goals of inspiring readers with a story of the triumph of the human spirit, and of contributing substantively to the eradication of a disease that is one of humanity’s scourges. I was lucky. I had access to medical care, and my situation turned out for the good. However, there are many out there without access to diagnostic facilities. 365 Pink Foundation of Plantation, Florida provides such help for the underserved. Many out there, once they have gotten sick, have to leave their families and familiar surroundings to receive treatment. The Cancer Society of the Bahamas helps provides a safe haven for them to reside, rest, and recuperate.

I chose to make a difference in this small way. That’s how change starts, as a certain man named Barack Obama recently showed us. And even if I, through my experience and my gift, help just one person, to paraphrase an old saying – to the world, I may be one person, but to one person, I may be the world.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 14, 2009: Diversifying My Portfolio

In these tough times, everyone is diversifying his or her portfolio. Actors are now doing political outreach – most recently Kal Penn, who got killed himself off House in order to go work for the Obama administration. Money experts (I use the term without laughing hysterically) show up on cable to dispense advice. Former plumbers-slash-political mascots are doing the talk show circuits.

Authors are no different. In this era of dwindling support for the midlist author from a broken industry, the decreasing relevance of bookstores, and stiff competition for the entertainment dollar, author in ever-increasing numbers are becoming generalists, not specialists, working at least one new and innovative sideline. Some turn their fiction into stage plays. Some have movies in the works. Some have turned to other genres, like YA and the graphic novel, in order to earn some kind of income at doing what they love. I, too, have joined the fray.

To increase my visibility, I've begun making the rounds as a guest blogger at Alphanista, Maryann Reid’s blog dedicated to the “Alpha Female perspective,” as the tagline says. Some of my pieces include some reasons why I’d never be a cougar, recession-proofing your mindset, and things to do once you’ve been laid off. Also, Felicia Pride, famously of The Backlist, asked for my thoughts in her inaugural column for The Root. Well, she asked eight other authors too, but hey... Check out the piece here.

Additionally, in my all-consuming quest to get paid for my writing, I've signed on as the DC Publishing Industry Examiner at, the online version of the Examiner newspapers in key cities across the country. Examiners cover their respective cities. My beat is, obviously, the Washington DC area.

I write locally-focused articles on our industry, from trends, to insider tips and secrets, to timely events, as well as profiles of local people and places of note. The articles show how the aforementioned impact folks in the DC area who are curious about what goes on behind the scenes of the publishing industry. So far, I've written about using art as philanthropy, about how Kindle 2 and e-readers might be the end of books as we know them, and about how mainstream authors are invading and changing the graphic novel genre.

Here's the link:

If you're a local author doing something special, or if you're not local but you're heading our way for readings, signings, or whatever, please shoot me an e-mail. I would welcome the possibility of covering you in my column.

Ultimately, my hope is that these diverse investments in my career portfolio will bear steady fruit, over time, and lead me to my goals – success, security, and surety when I proclaim: YES, I AM A WRITER.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

April 7, 2009: Felicia Pride Quotes Yours Truly in The Root

Hey, all.

As you know, I've been getting around more than a thong bikini on Spring Break. This time, fellow author Felicia Pride recently became the book columnist for The Root. She's the founder of The BackList, and is the author of The Message: 100 Life Lessons from Hip-Hop’s Greatest Songs. Her column will appear on The Root every 1st and 3rd Tuesday. She also gave me this awesome quote for the back jacket of my baby Triptych:

"Triptych is an emotional, yet thrilling roller coaster that proves that life–and everything in between–is far from black and white.”
For her first article, Felicia wrote a piece called If We Ruled the Literary World, for which she asked nine black authors to comment on the state of publishing. I was one of the nine. I's an excellent piece... very thought-provoking.

If you like it, log in and comment.

Friday, April 03, 2009

April 2, 2009: Wendy is the new DC Publishing Industry Examiner at

Every author has to diversify, especially in these tough times.

In my all-consuming quest to get paid for my writing, I've signed on as the DC Publishing Industry Examiner at Examiners cover their respective cities; my beat is, obviously, the Washington DC area.

I write locally-focused articles on our industry, from trends, to insider tips and secrets, to timely events, as well as profiles of local people and places of note. The articles show how the aforementioned impact folks in the DC area who are curious about what goes on behind the scenes of the publishing industry. So far, I've written about using art as philanthropy and about how Kindle 2 and e-readers might be the end of books as we know them. My latest piece is about book trailers.

Here's the link:

I'll still be making the rounds on the blogs of others in the industry. I still post on Blogging in Black, as well as at Alphanista. Check out my most recent piece about recession-proofing your mindset:

Look for me and please comment... just to affirm that I am not, in actuality, just talking to myself.

Monday, March 23, 2009

March 23, 2009: I'm Now An Alphanista, Y'all

Hey, there.

Please don't pass out. I know that you usually hear from me on the 14th of every month, but now I've decided to step up the frequency of my blogging -- all part of my New Year's resolution to make better use of this mechanism to get my message out.

In addition to spending more time on my own blog, I've decided to guest more on the blogs of others. As if sent from heaven, my friend and colleague, author Maryann Reid, gave me a wonderful opportunity to write a piece for her blog, Alphanista. The blog's tagline says that it's "dedicated to the Alpha female prespective." And how!

The tone of the blog is fun, playful, but it spills the tea in the most hilarious ways. It was a great venue for me to get some stuff of my chest. First up -- the slowly-going-past-its-freshness-date cougar trend. Here's my take on it. Enjoy!

Ten Reasons Why This Alphanista Won't Be a Cougar.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

March 14, 2009: A Stimulus Package for the Publishing Industry?

A recent episode of Ugly Betty proved to be rather timely. To give you the Cliff Notes, Daniel Mead and Wilhemina Slater came to D.C. to ask Congress for a bailout of the Mead magazine publishing empire, which was slowly hemorrhaging money. The great Vanessa Williams played her role as Wilhemenia to the hilt. I practically hollered throughout the entire episode at the ludicrous premise. Until my mind took off on its own flight of fancy…

Is a stimulus package for the publishing industry all that ludicrous? If you watched the news recently, you saw every manner of industry bellying up to the government trough to nationalize their losses at taxpayer expense. In fact, John Stossel just did an ABC News 20/20 special called Bailouts and Bull, in which he talked about the very same thing. Ugly Betty explored the stimulus within the context of magazine publishing. I, however, wonder what a stimulus package for the book publishing industry would look like.

After all, it’s no secret that the publishing industry is broken. Imprints have been folding left and right or cutting back. Wednesday’s Publishers Lunch announced that National Geographic recently eliminated jobs in their book division. Reed Exhibitions cancelled Book Expo Canada, the Great White North’s answer to our BEA. Bookstores have been posting sub-par earnings, especially Borders, which is hanging on for dear life. I’m sure publishing industry professionals of all stripes would be in line if President Obama were feeling generous.

Would I co-sign a bailout of the publishing industry? Only if it came with some kind of Truth and Reconciliation Commission. With an ombudsman like the man from my neighbor state of Maryland, Congressman Elijah Cummings. I think he’d approach publishing industry powerbrokers with the same zeal he harnessed to take wayward bank CEOs and auto company chairmen to task. Of course, to get the money, they’d have to explain some of the interesting decisions that they’ve made (for example, the 1.1 million-dollar advance to a certain ex-football player to discuss the murder of his ex-wife as an anorexically veiled hypothetical immediately comes to mind). Instead of giving money to any of the Big Six major publishers, the “stimulus” part of the stimulus package would provide subsidies to small presses that look for unique voices and great stories, not the usual celebrity tell-all or warmed over formulaic stuff that seems to sell well but fails to feed the creative soul. The package would fund small independent bookstores in underserved communities… the ones that folded in the name of progress as Deatri King-Bey discussed here in her February 18, 2009 blog called “Hmm, I Wonder.”

Until some kind of salvation happens, I’m quite happy to sip on my cocoa and watch the happenings from the sidelines. Despite having no mainstream publisher, my book, Triptych, is selling well… so well that can’t seem to keep it in stock. For me, joining the publishing fray again right now, in the absence of some kind of restructuring, would be the equivalent of running out and buying a car made by General Motors. And, as Bill Maher recently said on his HBO show Real Time, the only way you’d get him into a GM car would be if you drugged him and threw him in the trunk.

I second that emotion.