New Column!

Hey Peeps, 

Happy Monday! Hope your day is going better than mine. My morning commute to work began with me getting splashed by a taxicab and then having to take off my pants in my office and placing them on a heater so they could dry. FUN TIMES! 😒 But now I have dry pants, hooray!

After some discussion with my editor aka my sounding board, I’ve decided to launch a new column here on the blog. There will be a couple of new columns rolling out in the coming months, but this is the first. If you follow me on most social media platforms, you probably know I consider myself a slow writer. Slow and steady works for me. With self-imposed deadlines, I get to take my time which ensures I put out quality work. 

This weekend, I took some time to reread the stories I’ve previously published, and man, the improvement in my craft is noticeable. *I* think I’ve come a loooong way since 2014. And I think it shows not only in my newsletter exclusives but also in my current WIPs. Anywho, I guess you’ll get to see for yourselves when I roll out new features in the coming months. LOL, I’m such a tease. #noshame 

In any case, today marks the debut of “Shit I’m Digging.” This bi-weekly column will focus on pop culture goodness that’s brought joy to my life in some way. Naming a column “Harper’s Recs” sounds boring as hell but “Shit I’m Digging?” That has an exciting ring to it. A bit of New York flair if you will. 😏

So what am I digging this week? 

Pic courtesy of Instagram

Pic courtesy of Instagram

Pic courtesy of Instagram

Pic courtesy of Instagram


Beyoncé’s performance at Coachella this past Saturday.  I AM STILL IN RECOVERY MODE. Beyoncé was THE FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO EVER HEADLINE THE FESTIVAL!!! Sweet baby Jeebus! 👀 The woman came out in custom Balmain and channeled Queen Nefertiti as no one else could. I get that not everyone is into Beyoncé or her music (which baffles me), but her originality is admirable. 

In a time where anti-Blackness is once again making a comeback, Bey thought it best to serve melanin in Queen form to all the haters. The woman serenaded a crowd of thousands with ”Lift Every Voice and Sing” (aka the Black National Anthem) by James Weldon Johnson. WHO DOES THAT? She is eye-catching, consistent, innovative and hardworking. These are qualities I believe every entrepreneur should strive for when marketing their brand.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. LISTEN, CIVIL WAR ZOMBIES! That is all you need to know. 

Bitter by Meshell Ndegeocello. When I write, I create playlists inspired by my characters and the journey their relationship takes. I’m smack dab in sad territory with my current WIP, and this album is helping me navigate my way through some dangerous emotions. Bitter has got to be one of the most beautifully crafted pieces of music ever created. Don’t believe me? Give it a listen. I’ve been a fan of Meshell’s for years, and she continues to elevate her creativity with each album. If you become a fan after listening to the Bitter record, then my job is done. Adam is linked here, but you can stream the entire album on YouTube for free. 

I’m digging this article I read last week in the Guardian in which Hall & Oates discuss how one of their biggest songs came to be and how Michael Jackson sampled it. I’m usually in the know when it comes to music trivia, but this little tidbit blew my mind. I now listen to both songs differently!


More specifically, the Teddy Perkins episode of Atlanta. HOLY CRAP! If you haven’t watched Atlanta, I highly recommend starting with Season One. Donald Glover is creating funny and relatable television, but this particular episode in Season Two left me staring at my television like… 😨 I wasn’t ready for it. If you’re a fan of the movies Get Out and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, this will be right up your alley. The multiple pop culture references… GENIUS.  

And that’s all folks! This concludes the inaugural edition of Shit I’m Digging! Visit the blog in two weeks to see what new pop culture goodness has captured my attention.

*whispers* I swear this post could have been nothing but me breaking down Beyoncé’s outfits and set list. I’m proud of myself for reeling it in!

Author Spotlight: Melissa Blue

Hi Folks, 

Happy Monday! Hope everyone is doing well this week. Whew, last week was B-A-N-A-N-A-S! I hoped things would be calmer this week, but sweet baby Jeebus I had to log onto Twitter this AM. It’s a good thing I don’t have high blood pressure because MY GOODNESS, THE FUCKERY IS OVERWHELMING*fingers crossed* Here’s to hoping things are a bit calmer the next couple of days. Like last week’s featured author, Holley Trent, I first crossed paths with Melissa Blue back in 2013. Hard to believe so much time has passed! Melissa has always been witty and brutally honest. Did I mention I adore her writing?

Get to know a little bit about this fun lady! Take it away Melissa… 

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

But I am the evil doppelganger already. There’s some nice Melissa out there in another universe who doesn’t curse or collect baes and goes to church.

The dark, embarrassing secret though? After two kids, sometimes I pee a little when I sneeze.

How is writer Melissa from 2013 different than writer Melissa in 2018?

Oooh. This is a tough one. She was a lot more focused on making it. She wanted the accolades and the money. She also worked her butt off to try and attain it. Me, right now. I feel like the queen of the world if I write more than a paragraph.

Would you rather go to jail for four years for something you didn’t do or get away with something horrible you did but always live in fear of being caught?

I’m not made for jail. I have always known this about myself. I’ll do something horrible and get a therapist to deal with any possible sleepless nights.

If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator?

Before this year I would have said Samuel L. Jackson, but now I am one-hundred percent sure Tiffany Haddish is the only choice. She has zero chill but is more than capable to show some vulnerability. And can laugh at herself. I do that so very often.

To piggyback off question 4, what movie genre does your life story fall into?

Good gawd. It would be one of those horrible navel-gazing with no true goal and likely a lackluster ending books, with a touch of romance in it. I am going to die at the end after all. So…a Nicholas Sparks novel.

What book protagonist would make the worst roommate?

From one of my books? Even though I love Wade with all of my heart, I could not live with him. He’d leave the toilet seat up then give a five-hour lecture on why it’s fair. And I’d have to kill him.

What fad have you held on to, even though it isn’t popular anymore?

Ballerina styled-flats. You will have to pry them from my cold dead fingers. Or ya know. They’ll stop making them and I’ll be so screwed.

Do you have any irrational fears?

Absolutely. Dead people and vomit. I would abandon my children, my mother, and friends if I come across either. I refuse to go to a cemetery. Ever. I am convinced the day I do, a hand is going to come out of the grass to grab me. NOPE.

If you had the power to fix one thing in Romancelandia with the snap of your fingers, what problem would you solve?

Just one thing? I would fix the problem Romancelandia has with publishing anything other than white cishet and able-bodied. I believe if we can combat that then we’d have a better shot of rooting out misogyny too.

How to go about that? I don’t know. The first step though, is everyone actually believing WOC when we tell them inequality exists in every level of publishing.

What’s the title of your future memoir?

Fuck Yo Ancestors.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

Most definitely would love to try it one day. I’ve been on Fetlife to see if there was a club or dungeon nearby, alas. Also, I would be a Domme. The very thought of submitting makes me want to fight.  


Melissa Blue’s writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. She penned that first contemporary romance, upgraded to a computer and hasn’t looked back since.

Outside of writing, Blue works as a mail clerk for the federal government, has a paralegal certificate (that she has more use for as a dust pan) and is a mother of two rambunctious children. She lives in California where the wine is good and, despite popular belief, is not always sunny.

Social Media:





Activate your one-click finger and download Melissa’s FREE read, Under His Kilt

Author Spotlight: Holley Trent

Hey Folks!

Happy Monday. Well, I would be happier if it wasn’t snowing… IN FREAKING APRIL. Argh! Mother Nature is playing a cruel April Fools Joke. She’s savage. 

Anyway, this week’s feature spotlights a lady I’ve known for some time online. I think I may have first crossed paths with Holley back in 2013. Becoming a romance author wasn’t even on my radar. I read one of Holley’s stories based on a rec from a mutual friend, and it was the first romance I read featuring a cowboy. LOL, she popped my cowboy cherry. 

If you’re in the mood for a story featuring a rugged cowboy, give Teaching the Cowboy some love. And with that… keep reading to learn a little bit about the lovely Holley Trent!

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

For the most part, what you see is what you get with me. “Holley Trent” isn’t a costume I drape around myself. It’s just a pen name I use mostly so the folks back at home don’t keep me in their prayer lists for heathenry.

If my doppelganger wanted to be a real shit, though, she could tweet links to some newspaper articles about scams a certain ancestor of mine pulled back in the 1930s.

I know you’re married now, but what’s the strangest date you’ve ever been on? Don’t worry, I won’t tell Mr. Trent. It’ll be our little secret.

Not gonna lie, I’ve been married for fifteen years and I’ve successfully blocked out most of my awkward dating trials—I’ve got enough other random memories from my college years to keep me up at nights.

But there was this one time. I agreed to go out with a friend of a friend (should have known better). I assumed nothing would come of it, mostly because of religious differences (meaning I’m not, he was).

It was supposed to be a casual dinner. I don’t even remember what I was wearing. Nothing special, probably. We were going to Applebee’s. (Not even Red Lobster would have salvaged this.)

Dude showed up in full Brian McKnight kit—hair waved and laid, leather pants, shit-kicker Q-dog boots, cashmere-ish sweater.

I was like… “’kay.”

I tried to keep things light, you know—keeping the conversation on platonic things and dropping the occasional hint that we weren’t going to be a “thing.” There was no sizzle there at all.

Fast-forward a bit. I’d been trying to curve the dude for weeks and point-blank told him it wasn’t going to happen. I’m the kind of lady families like his tend to pray a lot for. Also, he didn’t really get my sense of humor, though he tried to play that off. That shit’s tedious. I’m not changing my personality for any dude.

He had the huevos to remind me that he bought me dinner (at Applebee’s).

I think I laughed and blocked him on IM. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. Years later, he finds me on Facebook (under my married name) and sends me a friend request.

…the fuck out of here, dude. At that point, I was wondering if I should PayPal him $15 for the meal just so he’d get the hint.

With the recent closure of Crimson Romance, as a CR author, what advice would you give authors who suddenly find themselves without a publishing house? How does someone navigate next steps? In no way am I assuming that you have all the answers, but are there words of wisdom you want other authors to know in case they find themselves in a similar predicament?

I’m a realist. I always tell people to diversify and to have multiple streams of income if they can. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst, you know? Technologies are innovating. The publishing industry is never going to stop being in flux, and that’s why I’ve been hybrid since 2013.

The blow probably wasn’t as devastating to me because I’d been through the song and dance before with the closing of Musa way back when. Digital first just isn’t as robust a business model as it used to be.

I think the best advice I can give anyone who finds themselves suddenly out on a limb is to not make any rash decisions. Taking a few days to think and sort out the ramifications of one path versus another will absolutely save you time and tears in the long run. Money, too.

Look for information about what you think you want to do next, but make sure you’re getting balanced information. Don’t just look for the angle you want to hear. Nothing about this business is easy, except procrastinating.

That’s easy as shit.

If animals could talk, which animal do you think would be the rudest?

This a trick question? Because there’s no way the answer isn’t “cats.”

If you had your own nationally syndicated advice column, what would the title be?

“Well, you asked.”

What’s the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

Ms. Bev’s Forbidden.

If someone asked to be your apprentice and learn all that you know, what would you teach them?

Lesson one: pay your freelance editors and artists super fast if you like them because you’re going to need them to do some shit for you again. Also because they need to eat.

Lesson two: foam earplugs are plentiful and cheap, and can rescue you from distraction. (And as much as I hate paying the “pink tax” on things, the pink ones really do fit smaller ears better.)

Lesson three: write whatever you can be genuine about. Marketability is a concern, obviously, and that’s something to sort out in the brainstorming stage. This is a commercial business. None of us are trying to starve for our art. #mercenary #KidsToFeed

Lesson four: keep in mind that the industry is small. Reputations matter and memories are long. There’s a difference between forthright and toxic.

Finish this sentence: All romance writers should have ________.

A few peers in their corner who recognize their talent but aren’t going to blow smoke up their asses.

If you could get drunk with any superhero, who would you get drunk with and what liquor would you choose to consume?

Me and Deadpool (is he a hero? Whatever. Don’t @ me.) would have a nice night with a bottle of Mezcal.

If you were transported 150 years into the past without any clothing or anything else, how would you prove that you were from the future? 

Okay, so that puts me at 1868.


Do I at least get a penis? Because maybe that way, I could find 2-3 people with power who are actually willing to investigate my claims.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

*insert polishing nails emoji here* 💅


Holley Trent is a Carolina girl gone west. Raised in rural eastern North Carolina, she currently resides on the Colorado Front range with her family. She’s a best-selling and award-winning author who’s written dozens of diverse paranormal, contemporary, and erotic romances. When she’s not writing, she’s probably waiting for bread to rise or pondering if she really needs to get HOA approval for mulch.

Find her online at her website, on Twitter at @holleytrent, or at Instagram at @holleysees.


Activate your one-click finger and pre-order Holley’s Paranormal Romance, The Coyote’s Cowboy releasing on April 16th!

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