Angelia Vernon Menchan, Serialist...

Angelia Vernon Menchan is an avid serial writer. Her goal is to engage readers in ongoing stories filled with people like them, who they can grow to know. Some will inspire love and devotion, others rage and ridicule, perhaps. They will all inspire feelings and generate conversation!


Saturday, July 29, 2017


Walking into the small, stone house felt surreal. Gelia and her mom Glenda lived there from the time she was twelve until she left for college at seventeen. Actually, for her last two years of college because Gelia graduated with an AA degree two days after graduating high school. She was never sure if Glenda was proud or not because Glenda wasn’t given to saying but she had always pushed her to excel. Glenda graduated high school and immediately started working, doing laundry and cleaning rooms at the Hilton. She never aspired to higher education, she was a party girl who worked hard and played harder. Getting pregnant with Gelia at twenty-seven didn’t stop her but it slowed her down. 
In the earlier years, Glenda took care of her daughter by working and the largesse of Genia’s paternal grandmother and a succession of boyfriends; at thirty-nine, and Genia twelve, she bought the small stone home. It was in a community with homes just like it and across from the housing apartments they lived in before moving. It was Glenda’s neighborhood and she didn’t aspire to moving. It also formed Genia as a person who loved who she was and where she was from.
Genia moved as soon as she graduated college. She was offered a job with a growing tech company, she was twenty and brilliant in 1996, and the world was waiting. Ten years later, she fell in love, married and rarely came home during those years. Malveaux didn’t like where she was from, though he was from a worse place. His education and her money made him better than where they were both from, and she had been so in love then... but now Glenda was gone at sixty-seven, and Malveaux was her ex-husband and this little stone house, all twelve hundred feet, was hers. She could live anywhere she chose, but in this season, she needed and wanted to be there. The housing projects was long gone across the street and was now a park and many of the homes were either still inhabited by the original owners and lovely or filled with their children and in differing states of repair but it was home... 
Walking through the house she was filled with memories... 
“Genia, you can do and be anything you want to as long as you work hard and don’t get caught up with the wrong man...” Glenda said the night before Genia flew to Seattle. 
“Mom, I’m not thinking about that. I’m trying to have a career and travel...” Genia said lightly. Everyone seemed worried about her getting the wrong man. What was it about her that made them think that?
“But you will be. I see you and men watching you and I see the men you watch and are drawn to... they’re all handsome as sin and not living up to nothing but pleasure and the streets. You’re better than that. It took all I had to keep you safe... but you’re on your own now.”
Genia didn’t quite meet her mom’s eyes because Glenda knew her. They had in common the attraction to the men her mom just described. The difference was Genia was also driven...
“I know mom, I know...”
Shaking away those thoughts, Genia walked from room to room, deciding what and how to transform the house and her life... she was forty, childless and never had to work again unless she chose to... 
After decorating her home mentally and writing out a list, Gelia’s stomach rumbled and she realized it was almost seven p.m. and she was starving. She wondered if Verna’s Restaurant was still open. 

She knew Ms. Verna was dead, but her daughter supposedly had taken over and refurbished it. She was going to drive there and find out. Her plan was to stay in the hotel a couple of days until she could get some work done on the plumbing and get furniture delivered. When she left Seattle, she had sold her home, furnishings and car before buying a truck and driving southeast.
Getting out of her car, Genia smiled when she saw the sign still read Verna’s Restaurant, but the stone building was painted white rather than its standard gray stone color and an outside eating area had been added with an awning and several table and chairs. Several people were outside eating and the scent of smoked meat filled the air. Several eyes met hers and she nodded in greeting before walking inside. It was still a simple restaurant with tables and booths and the cooks were behind a glassed-in desk cooking. There was also a huge jukebox. A young woman greeted her and took her to a table near the middle with a view of the door.
“Welcome to Verna’s. Are you new here?” the young woman asked.
“I was born and raised around the corner but I’ve been gone for a long time. I want smoked wings, sweet potatoes and cabbage.” Gelia said and the young woman smiled and strutted to place her order. Looking around, she took in the relaxed atmosphere and felt glad to be home. It made her remember bringing Malveaux home to meet her mom eleven years earlier.
Gelia, we aren’t staying at your mom’s, are we?” He had asked with that disdainful air he had about him. That was part of what attracted her to him and his astonishing chocolate, good looks. Malveaux had reeked of bad boy in a suit the day he came to work at the firm as a graphic designer. She was a senior designer by then and worked on the penthouse floor but was known for mixing and mingling with all levels of employees.
Once Malveaux knew who she was, he made a play for her and in a short time she was smitten by his attitude, the way he said things she only thought and his sexiness… Malveaux was a master at lovemaking and Gelia loved that.
“I guess not. She wants us to…” Gelia said. “But we can stay at the inn.”
“Let’s. I don’t know why your mom still lives here, can’t you help her move?” He asked. 
Immediately Gelia felt attacked because she had offered to purchase her mom a house elsewhere and Glenda always refused. Gelia had done extremely well working in Silicon Valley and wanted to share but Glenda wasn’t having it. She admired her mom for it. In other ways, she made Glenda’s life as comfortable as she could.
“We will stay at The Inn, Malveaux.” She said. They spent three days there, most of which Malveaux spent at the hotel while Gelia visited with her mom. She recalled the conversation with Glenda the night before leaving.
“He ain’t shit, Gelia. That boy thinks he is better than others and he will let you pay for him to be better. If you marry him, you will pay for everything and do everything and he will walk around like a cock, taking credit.”
Gelia hadn’t listened and it all turned out to be true. Gelia earned ten times as much as Malveaux, who earned a good salary. At first she was okay with it and thought their marriage was a good one. But over time she discovered Malveaux downplayed her accomplishments and didn’t contribute to her betterment, not to mention their household. The final straw was when he told her he wanted to open their marriage to other sex partners. She had moved out that night and filed for divorce, she knew she hadn’t signed up for that and it confirmed her suspicions that Malveaux was already cheating. He had contested the divorce but she won it, gave him the house and retired from her job at forty and returned home.
When the waitress placed the fragrant food before her, she shook thoughts of Malveaux and the past from her mind, focusing on her food.
Her plan was to eat and rest, and start on her house the next day.

Friday, March 31, 2017


Schooling His Son? April 7. Preorder Now

Watching his son as the sergeant led them through the facility Kent could see Kente was spooked. He had asked a former classmate, Sergeant Walker to provide them with a realistic tour of the facility. He needed Kente to see the real thing. Kent noticed Kente was fascinated with rappers, gang culture and movies and he wanted him to see the repercussions up close. He recalled trying to be hard, thirty-three years ago, when he was fourteen, but times were different. He also noted Kente had gained a desire to wear only blue and black.

When they walked into the huge wide-open shower room and though clean, it was rather smelly, Kente looked ashen. There were also open toilets where one could be viewed as he used the restroom.

“Why are the toilets open like that?” Kente asked.

“Because this is jail not a private home.” Sergeant Walker responded. We want this to be a real jail experience so hopefully some of these knuckleheads stay out of here.”
He then led them into a big room filled with tables and chairs where kids ranging in ages from twelve to seventeen were in line for a meal or eating.

“Get a tray.” The sergeant ordered and Kent looked to his father who nodded for him to obey. Now he looks to me, Kent noted with humor.

The meal was bologna sandwiches, tapioca pudding, lettuce and tomato salad and milk. Kent wanted to laugh out loud at the distaste on his son’s face. He watched him take a seat, and how the other boys sized him up. Kente returned the looks before praying over his food.

One of the young men, said, “Oh snap, we got a church boy in here. He was brought in by his daddy or is that just your mama man?” Kente turned to the boy and said, “He is my blood daddy and he is married to my mom, in fact he was married to her years before I was born. What you got?”
The other boys laughed at their friend, who narrowed his eyes at Kente who didn’t flinch or look away.

He isn’t as soft as I thought, Kent thought to himself. He could see Kente could hold his own; he was just spoiled and privileged. The boy looked away first and Kente focused on eating his sandwich, salad and milk. He refused to eat the pudding.

“He has lots of heart.” Sergeant Walker said to Kent. Kent nodded in agreement.

Later in the car, Kent asked Kente what he thought.
“It’s a jail dad and not a cool place. I guess though that for some of the brothers in there it’s probably better than where they live. Over off Myrtle Ave and some places on the Eastside are worse than that.”

Kent flinched at his son’s words. Kente was very astute, much like Cina in that way. Kent hadn’t even thought of that component.

“Are lots of your friends like that?” Kent asked as he turned down the radio. They were on Interstate 75 headed to Valdosta.

“Some are. Some are like me, some in between. Mama said being from the hood doesn’t make you hood. It’s what’s in your heart.” Turning to look at his son, Kent felt bemused.
“You and your mom talk about stuff like that?”

“Dad, mom and I talk about everything. You know mom; she cares about everything. Me and you the most.”

There was nothing to say to that.

That night they had a meal out and Kente went to bed early. Kent knew the juvenile facility affected him more than he could admit.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

PREORDER YOUNG but Grown... Womanish

Delva Wright, Colonel Wright’s wife, stared at me throughout the indoctrination, umm…I mean meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to welcome us to that particular unit of the military and for us to meet the ‘senior’ wives...

Delva was tall with long, straight hair, almond colored skin, light eyes and thin lips, but full bodied and curvy, dressed conservatively. She looked, to me like Angela Davis, restrained and restricted. She was the polar opposite of me. She was in her fifties, me, my mid-twenties, I had brown skin with masses of curly, nappy hair and my jeans and forest green dashiki was the antithesis of her look and attire. With the exception of Bonne Bell lip-gloss, my shiny face was bare, and I’m sure my feelings showed on my face.

After the introduction, Delva approached me and literally lifted my hair, allowing it to drop.

“All that hair, it’s beautiful but could be constrained.” She said, her light eyes meeting mine. Biting into a brioche, I simply stared at her. She was the same age as my mom and I had no interest in disrespecting her.

“You’re a pretty girl and when you introduced yourself I could hear your intelligence. You would make a great role model for these young military wives but you’re too much.”

“How much should I be?” I asked, unable to restrain myself further. I knew my tone was clipped and proper because that’s how my annoyance manifested. Her eyes lit with a slight smile.

“Your hair could be pulled back and restrained, the jeans and that shirt or mini dress or whatever is entirely inappropriate and you ooze sexy... there’s probably not much to do about that. It’s all in your eyes. Don’t worry, I’ll tutor you.” She said, gliding away.

My only thought, was, Why Me?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

FREE SHORT... HE WAS MINE FIRST: A Story of Justification

This is a short story from the book Womanish... How She Survived

  1. He Was Mine First:  A Story of Justification
    Her feet were on the coffee table, a can of beer beside her feet. Marcel curls covered her small head and she was clearly feeling no pain. There had been the consumption of several twelve-ounce cans of beer. The room smelled of women, black women: that scent of perfume, mixed with the sweetness of hair grease and a curl of smoke from a cigarette.
    "I didn't want to marry him, so he married her. I got married and moved away but when I returned free, he became mine again." A couple of the women nodded but one woman asked ‘the’ question.
    "What about his wife. He's been married to that woman for years. Doesn't she matter?"
    Picking up her beer can, she took a sip, squinting at the audacity of the younger woman to question her. Placing the can on the table, she sat up, removing her feet from the table, squaring her shoulders. The younger woman flinched internally but didn't look away.  She really wanted to know how the other woman felt.
    "He was my man first..." She said emphatically as if that was the only answer necessary. Yet for the next answer she told her story, their story.
    He walked in the bar and I noticed him immediately. He was tall and handsome and very well dressed with dark skin. All the things I like in a man. I knew who he was. He was arrogant and brash and though it was 1947, he had money. I never thought he would approach me, I was dark skinned, short with no curves to speak of but I had nice big breasts and my legs weren't bad. I also wore thick glasses but they were stylish. I was dressed though, always dressed. That night I was wearing a gold straight dress with satin heels and my lips were red. When I saw him stroll towards me, I turned away and picked up my glass filled with beer.
    "You saw me..." He said and I felt his breath on my neck. He smelled like a man of spicy cologne and lifebuoy soap. I didn't turn to him but continued sipping my beer.
    Walking around me, he took my glass from my hand and sat it on the counter before lifting my chin with three fingers.
    "You saw me and you know I saw you. Come on let me take you for a ride." He said.
     I didn't say anything but I picked up my beer and my purse and followed him. He drove to the Pimbleton Hotel, a nice hotel for Negroes. I looked at him and he assured me I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to. After several hours in his presence I did everything I wanted to and he wanted me to. I was twenty-six and enjoyed men but no man ever touched me like that. He told me that night he was my man and I was his woman. He was widowed. His young wife died in childbirth. He also told me he had other women. He said it like it was normal and it was. I had never known a faithful man, not even my father.
    For six years we did what we did how we did and he asked me to marry him. I asked if he would still be him. He said he was offering me the house, the car and him but also what we already had. The women wouldn't stop and I would just be Mrs. So and So. No thanks.
    He married someone else and I married another. For years we were apart but one night, almost thirty years later, we ended up in the same place again. He was still married to her and I was divorced from him. As if no time passed, we were together again until he died twenty years later. He never stopped being married to her. The house he purchased me was two streets over from theirs and we knew who the other was. She ignored me and I ignored her. When he died I didn't dress in black or attend his funeral, he had a wife for that.
     In fact, I sat on my porch in a gold dress, the same color I wore when I first met him and watched the procession drive by.  I knew she was in the limousine behind the hearse that carried his body. I was now in my seventies and had long ago stopped drinking beer or painting my lips red and could not bop or lindy hop any longer. In fact, the last five years of our time together was spent sitting and talking. The love was still there but all the fire that had once consumed us was banked. He was her husband but he was mine, first. That was how I felt.
    In her 84th year I sat talking to her and asked if she regretted her time spent with another woman's husband. She squinted at me in that way she had and didn't answer directly at first. She did ask me a question.
    "Have you ever been a fool for a man?"
    "Yes ma'am. But as soon as I realized I was being a fool I stopped." She nodded smiling.
    "I know. We often talk about you. We are proud. But I didn't stop being a fool for him because I loved him and felt he was always mine even when he was married to her. He married her because he couldn't marry me. You see I could be his woman and accept the other women but I couldn't be his wife and accept it. That part didn't make sense to me. What I said probably doesn’t make sense to you. But I'll say this, if I were twenty seven now I wouldn't settle for any of that; even if I met him first. You and a couple other young women taught this old hen that. Yes you did."
    There is nothing quite like bought lessons and time…



Friday, January 27, 2017

Free SHORT... WE MADE A Deal

This short is from The Womanish Trilogy

We Made a Deal

Shanice Montgomery met Claiborne Philburn by chance. She was a graduate student and he was the Chair of the English department and never taught her. She majored in International Business.
Racing from her late class to her job at Starbucks she ran into him and her bag fell, spilling on the ground. Her eyes actually filled because she was running late and was on probation. She needed her twelve dollar an hour job. Her parents paid for undergraduate but told her she was on her own for graduate school. They were both successful and felt she should work a few years before taking on more classes. But she insisted and worked six hours, four evenings per week to supplement her scholarship.

"Damn!" She hissed in frustration and Claiborne's brow rose. He was a tall man with swarthy skin, blue eyes and light brown hair. He wasn't traditionally handsome but there was something arresting about him and intelligence burned in his eyes.

"My apologies. You were moving too fast. I'm sure it isn't that serious."

"It's extremely serious. I'm going to be fired if I'm late and I need my job. Please excuse me." Scooping up her things, Shanice hurried out, not realizing she dropped her driver’s license. Claiborne picked it up, sliding it in his pocket. There was something about the tall, lean women with wet eyes and wild hair.

Leaving her shift, Shanice was exhausted. She had one more semester and hopefully she would be gainfully employed and no longer in the struggle. She had a couple of job prospects and in one year, at age twenty-four she would receive a significant inheritance from her deceased maternal grandmother. She could have borrowed against it but needed to prove to herself and her parents she could do it on her own and she had but she was exhausted. She needed a shower, wine and sleep. Tomorrow was no school and no work.

Startling awake at the sound of the doorbell ringing, Shanice squinted at the clock. It was nine am and she groaned, rolling over. Her intention was to ignore it but it rang again and she sprinted up, grabbing the damp towel she kept near her bed. Wiping her mouth and face she made her way to the door, snatching it open. She was astonished to see Claiborne standing in her archway. Holding up her license he smiled at her.

"You dropped this last night and I knew you would need it and I wanted to personally return it. I would also like to purchase breakfast for you." His eyes roamed over her and she realized she was dressed in a tank top and boy shorts. His look wasn't especially suggestive but she felt naked. Defiantly, she reached for her license but he stepped back.

"Breakfast with me... "Claiborne said, smiling.

"No thanks. I appreciate you finding my license and even waking me up to return it. However, you could have returned it to the school. It's actually a bit off you returned it here."

"If I returned it to the school I couldn't take you to breakfast."

"You're a professor... I'm a student, this is improper."

"Breakfast is never improper and you aren't my student and never have been. My motives are actually quite pure. I need an assistant for something I'm working on. It is months of work and twenty-five dollars an hour. I checked and you are a stellar student."

Shanice wanted to snatch her license and slam the door but that proposition was too nice to ignore.

"I guess breakfast is okay. Give me few minutes." Closing the door, she left him standing on the porch. He could only smile and take a seat until she was done. Fifteen minutes later she strode out, her hair in a huge pouf, wearing baggy sweats and smelling of peaches.
Shanice followed Claiborne to the Maple Street Biscuit Company. He wanted to drive her but she insisted on driving herself. After ordering, he mentioned her car which was a three-year-old BMW.

"You have an excellent car."

"It's very excellent. Thank you." She said before biting into her sandwich which was fried chicken, bacon, cheese and apple butter in the signature flaky biscuit. Claiborne had three biscuits covered with sausage gravy and over easy eggs. "Are you asking how a poor black, working college student can afford an excellent car?"

Claiborne's brow shot up and he laughed at her dry toned question.

"Not at all. I just think BMWs are excellent machines. I know how well you are doing in school but have no idea of your personal background, though I'm interested. I know you work only because you told me, and I thought of how we could assist each other. I have lots of research and some editing. Much of this you can do from the comfort of your own home and on your schedule."

"Why me?"

"Consider it fate. I bumped into you, you looked near tears and tired, rushing to a job and you dropped your license at my feet. After looking you up, I decided you would be perfect. "

Not to mention I consider you to be stunning and sexy and I want my hands in your hair and your legs over my shoulder. Claiborne thought. Claiborne was forty-nine, divorced three years with a grown son in Massachusetts and he was lonely. After his wife left, he spent months serial dating but for the past few months he was working on new courses and a book and wasn't interested. He knew Shanice was the same age as his son; maybe younger but she fascinated him and there was something about her that seemed settled and mature.

"Let me think about it. I'll let you know by Monday." Shanice said. Standing, she offered Claiborne her hand. He stood and took it and something passed between them. Snatching her hand away, Shanice grabbed her purse. Smiling, Claiborne handed her the license he was holding hostage and watched her walk out.

He probably has jungle fever or something but I can handle that but working from home is very appealing. Shanice thought and she loved research.

Shanice was one of my favorite young women. She was brilliant and worked hard but in my opinion made things harder than they had to be and she had absolutely no personal life. She had incredible resources but preferred doing things the hard way. She was almost done with graduate school and was planning to work abroad for a year in Dubai or Saudi Arabia. Her languages were Spanish, French and Arabic in addition to English. I watched her walk into the room, dropping her oversized bag on the table before working with the students she tutored. The two of us tutored once per week and always tried to work on the same day.

At the end of our two-hour session she asked if we could walk to A Tea Place. She knew I loved tea and conversation with her.

"I have a new job." Shanice announced after we were seated and the tea poured.


"Don't be like that. It's only for the next twelve weeks and it's mostly at home. Professor Philburn hired me for research and editing. He's publishing papers and a book and it pays better than Starbucks."

"You know how I feel, but that's better than racing around serving coffee. Claiborne Philburn is an excellent professor. He once taught African American literature and history and there were waiting lists for his classes."

"Really?" Shanice asked incredulously.

"Yes, white professors can teach AA lit as well as black professors can teach mainstream literature. That's very short sighted."

"I know. Good for him."

"His ex-wife is African American as is his son if you buy the one drop rule."

"Interesting." Was all Shanice could manage. Very interesting.
For three weeks, Shanice worked on research and editing for Claiborne and was fascinated by his writing and the way his mind worked. His papers and book covered Native American history and there was a significant amount of history about free blacks living in the northern states. Her job was to check and research to ensure that his work was accurate. As a result, she learned a great deal. Even better she wasn't as tired and was eating and sleeping better. Often after leaving the coffee shop she was wired and had homework but working from home allowed her time to do her work and her job. She and Claiborne hadn't had much contact but he expressed his pleasure with her work. They were meeting in a few hours.
Watching Shanice walk into the room, Claiborne was entranced by her. He had only ever seen her dressed casually but that day she wore a fitted black dress, just above her knees and her hair was in a wavy look that touched her shoulders. Her face glowed and there was dark red color on her lips. When she neared the table the scent of peaches filled his nostrils.

“Thanks for meeting with me Shanice, your work is impeccable and I thank you. Has it been of any benefit to you?” Claiborne asked.

“It has been great. I am not working as hard and I have learned a great deal, doing your research. What is your interest in Native American and freed slaves?”

“My grandmother, my mother’s mother, is Native American, was Native American but after marrying my grandfather she assimilated into the majority culture of my grandfather and I was the only child of her only child and she spent many hours talking to me about her life and culture. I loved what she told and wanted to know more. I studied African American history extensively and was intrigued by the contributions of freed slaves of which there was a great deal. My ex-wife was born in Maine and her ancestors were freed slaves who owned land, business and her grandfather even had a few trademarks. As an instructor I wanted accuracy in what I taught. Do you have a boyfriend, Shanice?”
The question surprised Claiborne and she looked up at him.

“What does that have to do with anything?” Shanice asked.

“Nothing and everything, I am very attracted to you and though I am much older and probably not your type, I thought you should know that.”

“So, hiring me was ruse to get with me?”

“Not at all, hiring you has been hugely beneficial to me. Getting to know you or getting with you would be above and beyond all of this. So do you have a boyfriend?”

“I do not and I don’t have interest in a boyfriend, currently. I want to graduate and travel and work abroad for a couple of years. Those are my goals. Just that.”

“What about pleasure, companionship, someone to talk to…” Claiborne asked, his eyes holding Shanice’s. “I am not asking for marriage or long term commitment, I just want to know you and share experiences.”

“Sexual experiences?”

“Hopefully…” Claiborne said honestly. Reaching for Shanice’s hand, he held it firmly and she felt a frisson of desire shoot through her before pulling her hand away. She hadn’t spent much time with Claiborne but she was already attracted to his mind and his honesty also appealed to her. It had been a long time since she took time for pleasure or companionship. Slowly removing her hand from his, she glanced up at him.

“This is very unorthodox, professor.” She said.

“It is. Let me take you out tomorrow. There is music on the beach, there is a fusion of jazz, reggae and classical, all of which I enjoy and I am sure you will find something in there to respond to. We can be friends if nothing else. I am giving you a couple nights off.”

“I suppose…”

“Great, it’s a date. I will pick you up tomorrow at seven.”

Shanice considered canceling several times but when Claiborne showed up she was dressed and ready. He was wearing jeans and a polo shirt and she had chosen a casual summer dress and flat sandals.

“You are so lovely.” He said as he led her out to his car, opening the door and being a perfect gentleman.

When they arrived at the venue, Shanice noted Claiborne had reserved seats for them in the VIP section of the amphitheater and she also noticed the stares. She knew she looked her age and Claiborne looked his not to mention she was African American and he was white. Mixed raced couples were not that rare but the AA woman and white man were still the rarest combination and seemed to draw the most stares. Claiborne seemed oblivious.

They took their seats and quickly became immersed in the music. Shanice quickly forgot everything going on around her and was enjoying herself. Springing up to dance she was surprised when Claiborne joined her and was quite good. She smiled at her own prejudices. During a reggae session, he placed his hands on her waist and danced completely in sync, causing desire to build in her. A knowing smile, covered his lips as her felt he relax and give in to the music and the moment.
After the concert, he took her back to his place; a moderate sized home, facing the beach. It was sparsely furnished and there were books and papers throughout.

“Your place looks like you, with all these papers and books.” Shanice said as she perched on a stool in the kitchen as he poured glasses of wine.
“This place is more like me than any place I have. I have a more traditional home that my wife and I lived in. After the divorce she lived there and I bought this place but she decided to move to California and I bought her out of the other home. It is more traditional.”

Placing both glasses on the counter, Claiborne approached Shanice, placing his hands on her face before pulling her lips to his and kissing her passionately. Responding with her own passion, Shanice relaxed into the sweet kisses. She didn’t implode with feeling but he created waves of desire in her and she wanted what he was offering.

After several minutes of kissing, Claiborne pulled away.

“I want to make love to you Shanice. More than anything I want that. I am safe and disease free and I have a vasectomy several years ago but I have condoms if you prefer.” Saying nothing, Shanice stood and offered Claiborne her hand. He led her to his bedroom where he undressed her and she could see his desire and admiration for her body. He spent his time getting to know her physically and she responded to his sure, sensual touch.

“Are you okay?” Claiborne asked as Shanice lay next to him.

“I am…”

For weeks they settled into a routine of work, events, lovemaking and conversation. Claiborne spoke of his marriage, his son and Shanice told him about her parents, her inheritance and her plans for the future. They were great companions but Claiborne was falling in love with Shanice.

I sat with Shanice’s parents the night she graduated and I could see how proud they were of her. I felt their challenge to her had been more to push her to do what she had done. As parents with money, they had wanted to insure their daughter never felt entitled and they had accomplished that. Shanice was one of the hardest working young women I encountered and she was not one of those who felt the world owed her a living or anything. She shared with me that in a month she was taking a job in Dubai and she was telling her parents that night. I knew instinctively they would be proud and happy for her. I knew Claiborne Philburn would not be. She had not shared their connection with me and I hadn’t asked but I had seen them out and about on a few occasions and his feelings for her were clear and apparent.

I watched her approach her parents and the way they swooped her up, hugging and congratulating her.

“We are so proud of you.” Her mother gushed and her father nodded in agreement. “I know we didn’t seem to be but we are and it is wonderful what you have planned.” Shanice’s brow rose and she glanced at me, I shrugged in confusion.

“The job you are taking on has been doing a background check dear and they called us and several of our friends who know you. There are no secrets in the world.”

“Oh wow… I was going to share tonight. Are you really happy for me?” Shanice asked.

“We are thrilled. It is a wonderful opportunity. You are young, vibrant and brilliant.” Her mom said and the pride was so clear in her voice.

“It is a wonderful opportunity.” Claiborne said as he approached and his lips were smiling but his eyes were not. A look passed between him and Shanice before she introduced him to her parents.

“Mom, dad, this is Professor Claiborne Philburn, I have been working with and for him for several weeks. Claiborne, these are my parents, Charles and Vera Montgomery.”
Something sharpened in the look Vera gave Claiborne but they were all courteous before Claiborne nodded and walked away into the crowd. I hugged and congratulated Shanice again before leaving Shanice with her parents.

Once they were settled in at a restaurant for dinner, Vera immediately asked her daughter about Claiborne.

“What is that man to you Shanice?” Charles groaned but he knew Vera couldn’t be stopped.

“He is my friend more than anything.”

“With benefits, that white man is my age!” Vera said.

“Is the problem that he gets benefits mom, that he is five years younger than you or that he is white?” Shanice asked. Charles pushed back his chair and walked away from the table. He was not at all interested in hearing about his daughter’s sex life.

“I know you get benefits at your age but does he have to be old AND white?”

“Mom, Claiborne is a wonderful man who I have shared time and conversation with. He has also taught me a great deal by working for him. I will always be grateful to him.”

Vera exhaled at her daughter’s words. She could hear clearly that Shanice wasn’t serious about him or the relationship.

“I am not being prejudiced but I just think you should have lots of wonderful experiences with men closer to your own age…”

“And hue?”

“I didn’t say that but I hear those Arab men really love black women.” Vera said and chuckled. Shanice could only laugh, her mom was her mom.


“When were you going to tell me you had applied for and gotten a job in Dubai.” Claiborne asked Shanice later that night. He had phoned, asking if he could come by.
“Today, I planned to tell my parents last night and you this morning. I had no idea I would get the first job I applied for. I am very excited.”

“As you should be, I’m happy for you but sad for me. I guess I will soon need another assistant. I got used to how you work.”

“But we both understood this was temporary. I told you I wanted to work abroad a couple of years…”

“And you should. I heard you with my ears but my heart didn’t listen and my heart is very involved with you Shanice. I love you.”

Her eyes widened at his profession of love. They had grown into great friends with good conversation and sex but love?

“Right… I know you don’t love me.” Claiborne said.

“Claiborne, I admire you and respect you and…”

“Please don’t add any more descriptors… I know what we are and what we have. I am an older man who fell hard for a younger woman who had plans and goals and never once deviated from that. I am at a place of winding up my career and you are just starting… we made a deal?”

“A deal?”

“Yes Shanice, a deal. You agreed to work for me and then you basically agreed to go further… now I must agree to walk away.”

Swallowing down a lump, Shanice was unable to respond. Claiborne stood, kissed her forehead and made his way out the door of her apartment. She wasn’t sure how things were supposed to go but the way it did pained her.


Shanice filled me in on her relationship with Claiborne and how it transpired.

“Do you love him?”

“No but it never felt like that was what we were doing. I came to know him through his writing and I admired his mind and who he was as a person and professor. We went out and became intimate and to me it was like an extension of our friendship more than anything else. I admire him, like how he thinks and his mind is unmatched but falling in love never occurred to me.”

“That’s the thing sweetie, falling in love doesn’t ‘occur’ to us. I could see the few times I saw you two out and around that he was very enamored with you and I could also see you were not as enamored but comfortable. I also agree with your parents. You should explore and live more. Claiborne is a grown man, he will be okay.”

“My intent wasn’t to be hurtful.”

“Of course not but sometimes life and love hurts and he had to know. Sometimes we simply hope for that which isn’t real.”

“Should I reach out to him, again?”

“No, I think things are as they are and it is best to leave them there. There is nothing you can say to make this easier for him or for you.”

Thursday, January 26, 2017

She Blogged...nostalgia.

I was once an avid blogger. From 2006 until late 2010, I blogged most days. It was first after prayer, shower and with coffee, often 5 am. Today I received a card in the mail from Idrissa Uqdah, a long time supporter and sister friend. The gist was that I hadn't emailed her in a long time and she missed me... that gave me pause and made me think. Have I become so caught up in social media, I'm forgetting those who read my blog and books in print? There were no Ebooks or Facebook really and though I didn't sell as many books... those were great days and the support was amazing. For about 20 dollars you could advertise on many sites and there was real support and books bought. We chatted and had interviews, book discussions and good old fun. I would be lying to say there was no drama but it was more lowkey and yahoo group moderators kicked you out.

There was RAWSISTAZ, BlackExpressions and others who were lit savvy and so, so supportive. No one was getting rich but we were all making money and having a good time...

My stock photo from 2009.

What had happened was...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Girlish... Signed Copies

Girlish... To Woman

Review by Nikki Michelle

She's done it again, and by she, I mean Angelia Vernan Menchan. She has once again managed to take me through a barrage of emotions. Girlish was so different from Womanish in the sense that it was targeted at young girls and girls coming into womanhood. I know I've said it before when she wrote Womanish, but Mrs. Menchan always manages to show me myself in each of her characters. This time was no different. Let's get into it, shall we?
The first story was about a young girl named Trina. Her mother came running to Angel, desperate for help with rescuing the young girl from the clutches of a predator. When I tell you I hollered when Angel grabbed her glock, I ain't lying. But what took the cake was when she told Darnell she was going to lay him the hell down if he didn't bring her that young girl out of his house!
The next story was about a young girl named Jo and this story touched me deep down in my soul. I felt so many things for Jo, so much so that I can't even name them all. It's like Jo's soul took trips in and out of her body. One minute she was lucid and the next she was just floating, better yet dancing, on air, trying to get by. I feel that life, her adoptive mother and father had failed her in a sense. We've heard Jo's story time and time again and yet nothing is done to ensure these kind of people don't have access to the children. But as with any predator, they are good at hiding their hand.
I'm already laughing to myself because I'm about to talk about Vi. She was something else, but I'm not even going to say much about Vi. I'm going to let ya'll read that and be tickled on your own. I wonder if that smell ever fully went away. LOL!
With Lisa, all I can say is that I'm happy she found a way to live her life freely. Maybe Wanda will follow suit? With Glenda, in the end, I was happy she got something out of the deal because baby when I tell you I wanted to shake the ish out this girl, I ain't lying. Delia came through like a wrecking ball, kicking butt, spitting, and taking names. I felt sorry for her because I know her struggle all too well. And poor Debra... I still wonder what was going on in her home to make her turn to a vice at such an early age.
It was the last story that touched me the most because the author revealed some deep dark secrets of her own. This proves that many times we think we know a person and their story when we really have no idea. I won't speak too much on the last story because I really need people to get into this book and understand that sometimes, no matter how life tries to screw you over, you don't have to become what has happened to you. I want to thank this author for writing an inspirational book that actually teaches you without preaching to you. I know a lot of folk won't get that, but to those of us whom Mrs. Menchan has ministered to, we get it. Angel is the kind of Elder that is so desperately needed for the young girls and us young mothers, especially today. 
All-in-all, I give this book five pages (think five-stars). Nikki-Michelle recommends this book.

Purchase signed copies at right.