In Gratitude

We’re in the season of Kwanzaa, and 2022 is coming to an end. Indeed, it’s had its share of challenges; however, it’s also had blessings as well. As an independent novelist and columnist at this stage of my life, I have so much to be grateful for.

First, I give honor and thanks to God for this gift of writing. Truly, our gifts make room for us.

I wish to express my appreciation to Sandra Govan, my English teacher, who is an accomplished poet. She encouraged me to write the stories relevant to my unique voice during my college years of the 1970s. She furthered my knowledge of Black authors, playwrights, and poets.

To Wyatt O’Brian Evans: thank you for your friendship and the opportunity you gave me to write my first column, Old School New Kid. You are a Renaissance man par excellence!

To Cheryl Barton: thank you for being my first Twitter follower, and an awesome romance novelist in the spirit of Black Love.

To Al McFarlane, wordsmith extraordinaire: thank you for opening the door for me to support other Black authors/poets through my book review column in Insight News, Sharing Our Stories. If we don’t, who will?

To Dorothy Nins and De’Vonna Bentley-Pittman: thank you for being the trailblazers and powerful sistahs who created the space for Black authors and poets here in Minnesota through Minnesota Black Authors Expo. Here’s to continued success and growth; I’m so happy to support you!

To Dr. Artika Tyner: thank you for making such a powerful difference in promoting literacy and creativity for children of color over the years. When we change the narrative, we change the perception.

To Rekhet Si-Asar: your Sankofa events are always empowering, embracing the Nguzo Saba beautifully.

To Rayceen Pendarvis: know that your work and commitment to the LGBT community is deeply appreciated. You are a force to be reckoned with.

To Brenda Lyle-Gray: your column is insightful and thought-provoking, and I value your positive energy and space. Thank you for your kind words.

For those directors of public library systems in Minnesota who took up the challenge to address and increase representation of Black authors and poets in their collections: a hearty thanks to you.

To my family of origin, my church family, and my friends on Twitter: your kind words and support are priceless.

You all have been friends, colleagues, partners, supporters, all of the above in your love for the written word and the embodiment of the phrase, “Representation matters.”

Of course, I could not allow 2022 to go out without once again acknowledging the works of the Black authors and poets I have had the pleasure and honor to review for my column this year. Their unique voices are as amazing as they are diverse, and their works can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Minnesota Black Authors Expo, and personal websites:

NONFICTION

Tierre Caldwell (The Art of Sucker Duckin‘, inspirational)

Josette “Jo” Ciceron (Unapologetically Anxious Me, memoir)

Maj. Alphonso Jones and Kim Nelson (Soaring, biography)

Kim Nelson (On Life: Things I Should Have Told You, memoir)

Kevin L.A. Jenkins (Victory Over Kidney Disease, memoir, inspirational)

Latrina Caldwell (I Am “HER”, memoir, inspirational)

Ebony Adedayo (The Gospel According to a Black Woman, inspirational)

Colnese Hendon (Blend In or Fade Out, memoir)

CoWano Stanley (Bet on Yourself, motivational/inspirational)

Kerri-Moseley-Hobbs (More Than a Fraction, historical)

Willie Dean, Ph.D. (Overcoming, memoir, inspirational)

FICTION

Robert P. Dixon, Jr. (Gumbo Joy, children)

Rosemond Sarpong Owens (The Extraordinary Educator, children)

Donna Gingery (Red and the Egg Pie, children)

Dr. Talaya Tolefree (Grandma Sankofa’s House, The Value Packed Superheroes, children)

J. Darnell Johnson (Ol’ Jim Crow’s Jubilee Day Caper, children)

Juliet “Ms. J” Mitchell (Myah Is Introduced to Etiquette, Manners Are Memorable, children/adult)

Stephanie Shaw (Snippets of Love and Other Pesky Emotions, poetry)

Joe Davis (Poems and Prayers for Graduates, poetry)

Mizz Mercedez (Black to the Future Vol. 1 & 2, graphic art, comics

Michael D. Brooks (Destined: By Choice or Circumstance, sci-fi)

Georgina “Gigi” Kiersten (Fall Into You, f/f romance)

LaToya Hankins (SBF Seeking, f/f romance)

Fiona Zedde (Femme, f/f romance)

Frederick Smith and Chaz Lamar (Busy Ain’t the Half of It, m/m romance)

Jayce Ellis (If You Love Something, Solomon, m/m romance)

Kevin E. Taylor (Jaded, m/m romance)

Roslyn Faulk (You Saved Me, m/m romance)

De’Vonna Bentley-Pittman (Savannah’s Inheritance, m/f romantic suspense)

Brenda Jackson (All He Desires, m/f romance)

M. Sydnor, Jr. (Thirty, m/f romance)

In closing, I acknowledge the people to whom I dedicate all my novels with love: my late father Walter, my husband Edward, and my son Walter.

In the words of Toni Morrison, “If there is a story you wish to read, and it hasn’t been written yet, then you must be the one to write it.”

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