For this writer anyway, the weather can determine my page output--or lack thereof. Saturday was a great day for me. I got up in the morning, gulped my coffee, headed for my computer and worked like a madwoman--words flying on to the page from every direction. Today, Monday, not so good. The clouds have slowed me down. Like the sun, I’m neither here nor there, unable to form a thought or sentence. At least the snow, now gray and slushy, is disappearing. And if I look hard at the branches of the tree outside my window, there’s a hint of buds.
Written under the penname Savanna Welles, critically acclaimed author Valerie Wilson Wesley has just released "The Moon Tells Secrets," her 2nd paranormal romance. Come and hear an excerpt from her new release and meet the author!
FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 - 7PM
54 Fairfield St
Montclair, NJ 07042
Here I am yet again, sitting by my window looking at yet another snow storm--putting off writing as usual. I've got to get it together and finish up a proposal for YA (haven't written one of those in awhile) and, of course, get back to work on my mystery, which is perking along. Maybe at the end of the day if I get in my page qupta, I'll reward myself with my dear, late father's remedy for snowbound days--pour some rum, honey,lemon juice and cinnamon stick into a mug and add hot water...
Anger over Ferguson and those heart-wrenching scenes of the beatings at Selma have sent me back to the classics. It’s been years since I’d read THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLKS and the MIS-EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO and re-reading them now has definitely put things in perspective. Sadly, the battles we waged then and fight now have the same origins—and the words of DuBois and Woodson remind me that our struggle goes on. Both classics are Kindle editions and cost practically nothing. Shortly after Maya Angelou’s death I re-read I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS and discovered yet again what a truly splendid writer she was. I was chuckling, weeping then laughing out loud sometimes within the same page. These books are definitely cures for whatever political bad news ails you.
My little grandson announced this morning that he had "beef" with Punxcstawney Phil, that furry little creature who predicts a change of seasons. I was shocked that he would have "beef" with anyone at his age, but I had to agree. Yet these days are conducive to writing—and those of us who procrastinate have no excuse…
“It has been six years since you wrote your last Tamara Hayle Mystery. When can I expect a new one?”
I’ve received countless emails from folks over the last few years troubled about the absence of a new Tamara Hayle mystery, but this reader, bless her heart, was the first to actually put a time on it. Six years. Yikes! (A word I never say but love how it looks in print.) Was I okay, the reader wanted to know? Was I still writing? What was going on with Jamal, Jake, Wvyetta…Basil?
Sandra Kitt, a good friend and fabulous writer, had some wise words for her fans when asked why she hadn’t put out a book in a while. To paraphrase Sandra, the sorrows and joys of life happen for writers just like they do for everyone else, and when they do we need to turn-off our laptops and tend to them. As writers, writing is our default mode so we always come back to it.
In the past six years, I’ve become a grandmother, done a bit of traveling, taught creative writing workshops and written two novels under the pen name Savanna Welles. When the Night Whispers, the first Savanna Welles novel, came out from St. Martin’s Press last year, and the second, The Moon Tells Secrets comes out next March. They are paranormal romances, quite different from the mysteries I usually write, so I needed to wear a different writing cap and do a different kind of research. I had no idea there were so many websites dedicated to “demon lovers” (When the Night Whispers) and “Shape-Shifters” (The Moon Tells Secrets). Creating a paranormal setting meant creating a world that reached beyond reason but still made perfect sense. Harder to do than you might think.
So it’s been a joy to return to the real streets of Tamara Hayle’s Newark and tumble into the comforting walls of Wyvetta Green’s Beauty Biscuit. Revisiting Tamara, Jake and Basil is like catching up with good friends you love and haven’t seen in a while and know you’ll never wait so long to talk to them again.
In this new mystery, Pet (remember Tamara’s long lost sister?) drops into town and all hell breaks loose. Petula Hayes is quite a character with a tragic, colorful past—and it’s been exciting bringing her to life. I’ve written five chapters, so I’m about a third way through the book…too early to know too much, even for this writer.
Here are the first few paragraphs:
I was my long-gone sister's one and only call, which shocked the hell out of me. "Pet? Pet, is that you?” I screamed into the phone gripping it so tightly my fingers cramped.
“Ain’t no fucking Pet no more, Angel. I claimed the name they gave me. Petula. Petula Hayle! That's my name.” She scolded me like she used to when I was a kid, with a chuckle that told me she was only half-serious, but there was a meanness in that laugh I didn’t remember, even though decades had passed since I’d heard it. Old memories, the tender ones, came tumbling back: the scent of the Jergen’s lotion she wore like perfume; the soft comfort of the palms that covered my ears so I wouldn't hear my parents fight; the glimmer in her eyes when I read the books she brought back from the library. "Before you get all carried away about hearing from me and shit, let me tell you why I’m calling, better hear that first," she said.
I haven’t come up with a title yet, but you can be sure I’ll have one by the time the book is finished. I’ll be writing about Tamara, her loves and lusts from time to time on this blog. Basil Dupre makes a long-awaited re-entry into Tamara’s life in the chapter I’m working on now. Can’t wait to write that… Stay tuned.
My quote of the day--
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
My daughter sounded hysterical, and my heart leapt into my throat. Smart, composed and supremely cool, she is not one who is easily rattled.
“Did you see how that cop shot Michael Brown? How they left him there on the street!” she screamed into the phone.
In the past six months we’ve lost three of our great ones. There have been so many tributes written in their honor I hesitated before adding my own. How could I possibly say anything not written before with far more elegance and style than I could muster? Yet I couldn’t begin a blog without acknowledging the gifts I received from each of them. So with humility and in gratitude I offer these remembrances: