Literary Works

Every Time I Close My Eyes

Release Date March 26, 2013
ISBN: 9780985764708

When newly divorced Shelby Simone meets handsome, talented Jules Brishard, an up and coming neo soul artist, a whirlwind romance develops. It’s quickly put to the test by a vow taken by Shelby to remain celibate until she’s remarried. Former lovers and emotional
demons soon emerge and attempt to further disrupt their beautiful music together.

Are good intentions, lavish gifts, and a creative  imagination enough to save this spontaneous love affair? Jules and Shelby both begin to wonder, “Is this really the love I imagine Every Time I Close My Eyes?”

Daddy’s Big Girl

Release Date 11/22/13
ISBN: 9780985764715

or a lot of little girls their first love story begins with their daddy–33 year old VJ Bassett was one of those little girls. As an only child, she was the apple of her daddy’s eye. As a woman, she will learn that all love stories have a beginning and an end…and in between they’re all filled with laughter, tears, joy, and sorrow. After learning of her parents’ impending divorce, VJ begins to question everything she has ever learned from her father about relationships and love, until she meets Hayes Vishmell, a partner at the law firm where she is an associate.

There’s only one possible problem, though–she’s 19 years his junior. In Daddy’s Big Girl, VJ Bassett struggles with two issues in her life: How should she, as an adult child, be affected by the divorce of her parents and, when you’re in love, does age really matter? Ultimately, she will find out if love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Yet to be Determined

Yet to be Determined
ISBN-13: 978-0-9857647-3-9

When Shae Leslie walks into the lives of three grandmas, sisters Zora, Claudette, and Alaina Roberts, a simple, class project becomes a period of self-discovery. Unbeknownst to her, she has entered the world of three women who are not only pillars of their small community but world travelers and living, breathing history lessons, whose collective knowledge spans from slavery to significant African American events in the 90s. She also learns that no one really knows what the future holds, even when they think they do.

In Yet to Be Determined, Shae Leslie forges a number of intriguingly beautiful and unlikely friendships that provide her with one of the best summers of her young life.

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Excerpt: Every Time I Close My Eyes

Chapter 3
Lately, it seemed like all I did was wait for the next time I would see Julian. I was going on with my day-to-day life, but Julian was always on my mind. I wondered what he was doing, if he was thinking about me, what he was wearing. You know…silly stuff. It was hard to believe almost three months had gone by and I hadn’t told any of my friends or family about him. It wasn’t that I was keeping him a secret. I wasn’t quite ready to share him with anyone else yet. Another strange thing was that he had never been to my condo. That was going to change because he was going to pick me up for the party this weekend. We always spent time at his house, so there had really been no reason for him to come to my place.

Daddy’s Big Girl

Excerpt – Daddy’s Big Girl, Chapter One

The day had started off like any other typical day. As she drove, VJ found herself releasing the day’s woes and, instead, wondering what was so important that she had to stop by her parent’s house before going home. She thought to herself, Mom and Dad are finally going to sell the house. As she exited her car, nothing seemed any different. Once inside the house the atmosphere was welcoming, with a little hint of understated tension. It hadn’t always been like that. She recalled, there was a time when the Basset home was always warm and inviting.

If asked, VJ could tell you exactly when it changed. She entered the house oblivious to the possibility that this visit could be any different than any of her other visits home. Why would it be?

At 5’10”, VJ’s long strides led her quickly through the foyer into the living room, where she found her parents. Her mother comfortably sat on the couch; her father stood as she stepped into the room, a tight hug and a kiss on her cheek from her daddy, and a quick kiss from her on her mother’s cheek.

Quickly examining their faces, VJ asked, “Why so serious? What’s going on?

“What do you mean you’re getting a divorce? Daddy, that’s crazy! Turning to look at her mother, “What is he talking about?”

“Vada Jade, just sit back down and let your father finish talking.

“VJ, baby, your mom and I haven’t been happy for some time now, so I’m moving out. Actually, I moved out last week. I wanted to be the one to tell you, but your mom thought we should talk to you together. I know it’s difficult for you to understand right now, but I assure you, I love both you and your mother. So, it’s not about that. It’s just that we, your mom and I, have grown in different directions over the years and it’s best that we go on with our lives…separately.”

VJ had jumped to her feet when her father began speaking. Sobbing, she turned to her mother. “What is he talking about? This is just crazy; it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Why in the world would y’all be getting divorced after 40 years? Dad, is there another woman?”

“Vada, I’m not here to discuss details with you. It doesn’t matter.”

Unable to contain herself, she raised her voice. “What do you mean it doesn’t matter? It does
matter. Everything matters right now…”

Her mother interrupted her, “Vada Jade, you need to not only lower your voice, but change your tone, as well. You’re still talking to your father.”

Her mom and dad sat quietly, gazing at her. They knew how she’d react and just as they had expected, their 33-year-old daughter, the attorney, ranted, raved, and pouted. Her mother appeared totally detached from the scene. After all, she had known for some time that her husband was going to leave, she just didn’t know when. Years of dealing with emotional, sometimes overly emotional, patients prepared her for Vada’s emotional tirade, and then there was the common knowledge that Vada always reacted dramatically when it came to her daddy.

The look on Vada’s father’s face said more than his words could ever say. He knew he was in the wrong. When he turned 50 years old he began to date one particular woman exclusively; and at 58 years old he had decided to start a new family and a new life. He knew Vada would never understand and he worried that she’d never forgive him, as well. There was no doubt that he was more concerned with what his daughter might think than he was with what his wife thought. He had rationalized, life takes turns, and this is just one of those turns. We’ll all recover from this day. My wife will continue with her career as a psychologist, and she’ll certainly keep herself occupied with her social activities. My daughter will successfully advance in her legal career and soon have a husband and a family of her own.

Excerpt: Yet To Be Determined

Prologue
It seemed like the three of them had been together forever – sisters of fortune, three of a kind. Their ages were now 78, 75, and, of course, the baby, Miss Alaina, at 73. She was the most outspoken; the most garish of them all. Her mouth was pretty filthy for an older woman, but even with that, there was a lively, entertaining ring to her voice. Though the three of them together were what most would refer to as eccentric, the oldest of the three was very tight-fisted and authoritative. The middle sister was reserved and proper, and the third sister, with her bracelets from her wrist midway up her forearm, was straight Bohemian. All of them were still striking beauties and in their day, according to them, could have had men from one end of the United States to the other. I got the impression that each one of them was independent and strong in their own way.

The Roberts sisters were products of parents of the Harlem Renaissance. They had witnessed countless parties, numerous jazz sets, and who knows what else. Even at their current ages, they were artists that produced work that exuded racial consciousness. They were products of a time that produced aristocratic, stately, artistic Negros. The three had found themselves in the presence of Langston Hughes, Jessie Redmon Faust, Zora Neale Hurston, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Bessie Smith and countless other writers, poets, and musical geniuses, the likes of which have not been duplicated. Even though all three of the ladies were too young to completely appreciate the significance of their experiences, they seemed to have reaped the benefits of their associations.

As we spoke, each one of them referred to the other as “sister,” which initially made it very difficult for me to keep up with the conversation. On occasion, they called each other by name or by special nicknames, which only they used, and when they did this, it was almost melodic. Their voices often harmoniously intertwined, as if they had practiced all their lives to speak in tandem.  

I came to know the sisters because of Miss Claudette’s book, “The Emancipation Continuum of the Negro in America.” She argued that in the ‘80s, even after the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ‘30s, the stock market drop of the ‘40s, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and the Black Power movement of the ‘70s, Blacks were still struggling for emancipation to a position of social, racial, and economic equality, even though modern society could not otherwise function without the advent of the countless contributions they had so graciously bestowed upon America.

When I met the three sisters in the late ‘90s, it was long past the Black Power movement that had catered to a strong sense of racial pride, the creation of black political and cultural institutions that nurtured and promoted black collective interests, advanced black values, and secured black autonomy – another, yet, socially enlightening era for Blacks. Even amidst their struggles, as always, Blacks still managed to somehow find a happy medium in their communities. The residuals of the “free love” movement of the ‘60s, accentuated by, seemingly, endless amounts of weed, which, by the way, one of the sisters still partook of on a regular basis, didn’t hurt to keep some things moving in the ‘70s.

Miss Claudette’s book made it clear that many of the characteristics of Blacks, particularly those that exhibited a non-defeatist attitude, were intrinsic of the indigenous people of Africa that we once were. In addition to anything that I might have mentioned about her previously, she was also extremely apologetically Afrocentric.