Category Archives: Happenings

Sharing my thoughts, events, joys, and struggles.

A New Look

ImbroglioRevisedFrontCoverDiggyImbroglio has a new look!

Here’s the latest journal entry in the life and times of a self-published author. After much deliberation, I decided to add the subtitle, “The Ties of Love and Lies” to my book to give its unusual title a little more… let’s say… support. A little encouragement for the reader who strangles, chokes, and simply gives up trying to pronounce or spell the title, the new subtitle captures the essence of how both love and lies can bind a person’s heart and will. This addition, of course, required new fonts, and since I was at it I figured, “Why not have the designer update the graphics with a little embellishment, too?”

I used, and although they are a very talented group, it was a difficult process trying to get the designers to understand what I wanted to accomplish via email correspondence. (I had no idea that was the sole means of communication when I signed up for their services––which happens to be located overseas. If you’re thinking about using them, be forewarned.) Anyway, with a little help from some local folks I could reach out and touch and my own Photoshop software, we got the cover looking pretty good. It gives off a different vibe now versus the original, but overall I’m satisfied.


What Would You Say To A Young You?

Dear Little GirlI’m about to be very transparent as I pummel the following prose into submission. So, in the lyrical words of Chris Brown, “Please, don’t judge me.”

If you do, I promise I will… just have to get over it.

(Did you see what I did there?)

Okay, all bad jokes aside. Please, keep reading.

As I was putting the finishing touches on my Imbroglio manuscript, I pulled out my college English notes to refresh my memory on some grammatical rules and came across an essay I’d written. The assignment was to write a letter to me as a youth. I read it and nearly cried. The words were even more poignant in September of 2015 than they were when I wrote them in 2002.

The letter begins, “Hey, little girl! I am so excited to have this opportunity to communicate with you. I would bet that you are sitting in your small wooden rocking chair reading this letter. As I sit here thinking about you, I remember that you are a very busy seven-year–old and I wonder what you were doing before you settled down to read. Maybe you had just hurriedly removed your school uniform, anxious to get to the letter you discovered waiting for you when you got home. Maybe you were outside playing with the neighborhood kids that come by because they like how you can come up with fantastic things to do. Maybe you were in that huge pool in the backyard, letting your imagination take you on a wild adventure, swimming relentlessly except for the occasional break to the kitchen or to eat fruit off of the trees. If you were swimming, I am sure you stopped for only three reasons: your Nana told you to, the sun went down, or you caught a stomach cramp. (Whatever the reason you emerged from the water, I am sure it was long after your fingers and toes had wrinkled up like prunes.) Maybe you just returned home from tap, ballet, or piano lessons. Or maybe you just finished eating some of Nana’s delicious cooking. Nevertheless, thanks for taking some time to hear me out.”

How that imagery sparked nostalgia and made me recall the beauty of endless childhood wishes, sense of possibility, and freedom of adult burdens, as well as the precious moments I’d ignorantly taken for granted back then.

Have you ever seriously considered what you would say to a young you? What advice would you have? Any encouragement? Any admonition? If you haven’t given this concept any real thought, I submit to you a challenge, for as you continue to read (and hopefully enjoy) what I wrote, you’ll see I had plenty to say to me.

In the next paragraph of my letter, I get right to it:

“Let me warn you. This letter is stocked full of advice on things I wish I had known or realized when I was your age. You may not want to hear these things now, but if you would receive my words they would make a world of difference in your life. I wish that I could be there in person to give you a big hug before I tell you these two things: you’re okay and I am proud of you.

No matter what you think others think of you, you’re okay. I do not recall anyone ever telling you that you were not good enough, not smart enough, or not cute enough. I also do not recall when or how you arrive at these conclusions. Maybe it happens because you are the only black child living in a predominantly white neighborhood, and you look different. All of your friends’ hair is straight while your hair is curly. Maybe it happens because the only people you see on television who are supposed to be truly beautiful look nothing like you. Maybe it happens because you do not learn about all of the great accomplishments made by your people until later in life, and you cannot imagine any black role models that are successful, smart, and attractive. (l know that your own family does not count––and will not count until much later. ) Maybe it happens because society has not come around to portraying true images and roles yet, and you are fooled into believing such things as the great Egyptian ruler Cleopatra looking like a white woman with violet eyes. I have news for you. There will come a time when society will openly appreciate your beauty and the beauty of other non-Caucasian people, as well. Most importantly, one day you too will appreciate your own beauty.

When you grow older, you will find that you are your own worst critic. Listen to me. Stop getting in your own way. The worst thing you can do is compare yourself to what others look like, what others have, or what others are able to do. You will struggle with comparing yourself to others even when you are grown, but don’t let it consume you or deceive you into believing you are second-rate. Even if your talent and capabilities are not where you’d like them to be, know that you are talented and are capable. Believe it. Even if it seems that you’ll never be who or what you would like to be, do not give up and do not stop trying. Even if it seems that you should have accomplished some things by a certain time frame, understand that you walk the path of your life at your own pace and no one else’s. Know that God has given you a hope and a future, and that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.

Little girl, you will not be a failure. I know that new tasks may sometimes seem too difficult to you, and you believe that you will fail even before you try. (How do I know these things? I just do.) My encouragement to you is do not make your decision before giving the task a try. You will be surprised at how good you can be and with practice, how much better.

Although you may look back and wish you had made different choices, I commend you on the choices you will make anyway. They are part of what makes you who you are. Also, maybe things may not happen when or how you want them to, but be patient. One of life’s lessons that you’Il learn over and over again is that things may not happen when you want them to, but when they do they will be right on time.

Cherish every moment that you have with your family who loves you dearly. Appreciate the fact that you know both your mommy and daddy and that they are married. Understand that not every little girl has two Nana’s, two Papa’s, and a grandfather. Know that not every little girl gets to meet her great-grandmother. Praise God that you are not abused, starving, or lacking necessities. Unfortunately, there are so many kids that cannot make these same statements. They see and feel so much pain that they do not get to enjoy their childhood like you do. Realize how very blessed you are.

I wish I could take away the pain, personal dejection, and disillusionment you will feel as you grow older and experience life, but I cannot. Some things you will just have to go through. However, I leave you with this song of encouragement by contemporary gospel duo, Mary, Mary:

‘When you get up in the morning
Look yourself in the mirror
And say, “I love me!”
Even with all your flaws
And all of your downfalls
Just do your best
’Cause to Him you already are!
Little girl, Little girl,
God made you so beautiful
Little girl, Little girl,
I just though that you should know…’

P. S. Enjoy all those homegrown fruits and vegetables, and savor Nana’s cooking while you can. In fact, try staying in the kitchen while she is cooking and learn what she is doing instead of running away. And next time, when she is out planting, digging, and picking in the garden, ask her what she’s doing and why she’s doing it. Believe me, you’re going to wish you had in the future. Again, God loves you, and by the way, I love you, too.”

Happy to say, I got an “A” on the paper. But I really got an “A” in life–– “A” for Acknowledgment of my shortcomings and growth and for a prophetic Advisory that would still be relevant thirteen years later. My life has certainly taken some unpleasant turns, and I’ve faced significant failures, disappointments and set-backs. But today, by the grace of God, I’m pressing forward, operating outside of my comfort zone, sharing “me” with the world and being blessed by the responses and the delight people have with my imagination. I’m taking risks. I’m following my own advice.

Is there something you need to say to that younger you, today? Something that will release that gift or talent or wisdom you’ve suppressed and make it available for others to experience? There’s no better time than now.

Perhaps, you should write yourself a letter.

A Call For Help

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 10.53.16 PMOn Sunday, I received an email from Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, with a subject headline that caught my eye. It read, “Help End the Book Embargo Against Cuba” and it included a request to visit the following link and consider signing his petition.

I’m asking you to do the same.

Why? If you care about people being oppressed and mistreated, here is a small step you can take to help in a big way. It won’t cost you anything except the few minutes of your time to click on the link, read the short petition, and sign your name. On March 21 and 22, President Obama will be taking a trip to Cuba, and shortly thereafter, his administration will announce modifications to the embargo that will likely loosen some of its restrictions. We want to encourage President Obama to lift the embargo against books and educational materials.

Here are some of the points Mark Coker makes:

“Cuba has an adult literacy rate of nearly 100%, about 20 points higher than the US.”

“Cuban publishers have difficulty acquiring even the basic raw materials of bookmaking like paper and ink.”

“Cuban readers don’t have easy access to books published by American authors and publishers.”

“Books promote greater cross-cultural understanding, economic development and free expression.”

For those of you who’ve read my book, Imbroglio, you know that I touch on some of the horrible living conditions of the Cuban people as a direct result of their government’s political regime and the effects of the U.S. government’s embargo. Without delving too deeply into the country’s politics, I’ll share just a bit about those conditions for those of you who may be unaware.

With their state-controlled agriculture, the country struggles to feed itself, forcing the government to import approximately 70 percent of the island’s food which, of course, amounts to higher costs. The government employs a ration system for Cubans to receive a portion of food and commodities which they can purchase at their local bodega at subsidized prices. However, these rations are often out of stock or frequently delayed, and since the average Cuban salary amounts to around $20 a month, be the person a janitor or a doctor, many local residents aren’t able to afford the higher marketplace prices. Consequently, many go without, typically consuming one meal a day. The country operates with two different currencies, where many establishments accept one type and not the other, resulting in the broadening of the haves and have-nots, and there is so much more. For those interested in reading further, I have included links at the bottom of this blog.

What you may be asking is, with the much bigger problems the Cubans face, how will ending the book embargo help? History has shown that when people are enslaved, oppressed and otherwise mistreated, knowledge, wisdom and information have been the keys to effecting positive change. With political relations warming up between our two countries, we are primed to do just that.

Please take a moment to join me in the opportunity and then share this with others you know. 100,000 signatures are needed by April, 8, 2016, so time is of the essence!

For more information about Cuban and U.S. relations and their economy, visit:

A Brief History Of U.S.-Cuba Relations

Amid Reforms, Cubans Fret Over Food Rations Fate

Cuba Looks To U.S. Farmers For Help With Food Crisis

Reform On The Range: Cubans Heed The Call To Farm

Ration Book in Cuba


Penetrating the World

IMG_2160I have fantastic news that I’m overjoyed to share! After a string of disappointing attempts to get my paperback on Amazon through CreateSpace (from which I have taken hiatus) followed by a week of confusion about why my novel didn’t display with the correct formatting (for which I recently received an email from Amazon KDP that it was on their end) I can finally say I have gone global! My book is now on Amazon Kindle, available for immediate download worldwide to your phone, tablet, or computer.

On top of this, a reader just shared with me that she enjoyed my book so much that she would sleep with it in the bed. That way, when she awoke, she could continue reading. I’ve added this to my list of special comments, right next to the one where the reader admitted to reading my book on the toilet. That, my friends, says, “I can’t put it down.”

However, the comment that is most uplifting is about a sharp, 85 year-old avid reader who had given up her passion for reading due to an endless barrage of health problems. The woman––who hadn’t picked up a book in years––informed the friend who had purchased my novel for her that my book restored her desire to read and encouraged her to start “living” again. After calling the friend over so they could discuss the book, she closed the hours-long conversation with, “I loved it so much, I’m going to read it again.”

Yes. I’m still doing my happy dance.

God is so good.

Baby Step Encouragement

Have you begun your new year? I have. It started with reflection and was swiftly followed by appreciation for where I was last year and how far God has brought me to date. This time last year, I wasn’t a published author. I had no concept of how to acquire ISBN numbers or even how to get my book printed. I had never built a website, didn’t have a Twitter or Instagram account and hardly knew how to use Facebook. Social media marketing? What was that?

Not to say that I’ve arrived. I still haven’t completely grasped online marketing, but I’m not letting it stop me. Everyday, I’m gaining a new tip or trying something different because technology is constantly evolving, and the greatest achievement in this is how much I’ve learned to value my baby steps.

Case in point: Last year, Periscope quickly became the new social media craze. People began venturing from their familiar Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts and started diving into this new trend of live video streaming. It’s perfect for those who love talking, love to be on camera, or love showcasing what is happening around them. I, on the other hand, am none of the aforementioned and consequently had no intention of getting on Periscope.

However, the Lord dropped a brilliant idea on me to start something called, Heather Dawn’s Book Corner, where I would have a live book excerpt reading and discussion. Of course, the kick-off topic would be––drum roll, please––my new novel, Imbroglio. (Well, whadya expect?)
Anyway, I quelled my inhibitions, stepped out of my comfort zone, and set sail on the concept. I scheduled it, even arranged to have two guests with me for commentary. When the day arrived to go live, I had the process mapped out logically. Although I had never done a single scope, I knew it wasn’t going to be rocket science.

Oh, how swiftly the ship began springing leaks. Things weren’t working the same way for me as I’d seen with others. It was actually quite comical. See the set up for yourself.

Hey, I got 67 live views!

I could’ve shied away then but I didn’t. I tried Periscoping again, and the second one was… better. I even discovered another new app for that app called Katch, making it possible to view a replay of my growth here.

So what happened to Heather Dawn’s Book Corner? When’s my next periscope reading? I get asked these questions a lot, and yes, it seems I’ve fallen off the wagon a touch, but please understand I’m trying to learn another new social craze, Snap Chat, right now.

In all seriousness, I say to that person with a vision, dream or goal who has yet to take the first steps toward making them a reality, as well as to the person who has launched and stalled, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” (Zech. 4:10)

If I can step into many realms of the unknown on wobbly legs, so can you.

Thankfully, I’ve seen a dream come to fruition. I’m selling books and getting rave reviews from my readers who are thanking me for entertainment that is refreshing and unexpected. Through the bumps, bruises, and sidebars along the way toward making it happen, I’ve grown, and the best part of my journey is the relationships I’ve developed all over the world that have blessed my heart tremendously.
So I ask again, have you begun your 2016?

Gotta run. I have a date with CreateSpace.

It’s Done!

MerryThe first chapter of Imbroglio’s audio book teaser is finished! Finally.

After thirteen straight hours of editing what I thought would only take me two or three to do, I confess that I stopped being able to count the time or see the monitor anymore. By the end of the following day, I gave up trying to keep track altogether and simply prayed for my eyes to hold on while my creativity flowed a little bit longer. Then I needed a little bit longer than that.

In other words, I had no idea when I would complete the project, but I’m so thankful for everyone who helped make it happen. Here’s a shout out to Reggie Gaskins for stepping in at the spur of the moment and pulling together the recording session when I didn’t have time. To the talent––Shauntay Tabb, Crystal Coney, Calvin Winbush, and Mr. Robinson––who brought their voices and equipment to essentially a cold reading and laid out the audio within an hour window, I throw roses at your feet.

Happy, happy, happy! One step in the process is done and in place to be gifted to everyone who signs up for my free monthly newsletter, so sign up today to hear a special treat. Now, on to the next phase of “will achieve” goals on my list that is scrolling across the floor. Won’t you pray my strength, please?

Stay tuned for the next chronicle of my journey. On this Christmas eve, may the blessings of a Merry Christmas be yours!

An Unnecessary Expense

IMG_1723Here’s a true, short story that I’ve entitled, “An Unnecessary Expense,” but you may prefer “Take the Advice” or even “Inflation.” Any will work.

This morning, I stood over the kitchen sink pondering what to do about my newly discovered frozen garbage disposal.

This afternoon, I phoned my dad who told me to push a crowbar or something sturdy inside it to dislodge the blades. I replied, “No. I’ll just buy a new one.”

This evening, I went online to price the model I presently have. And now?

That crowbar has my disposal working just fine.

Dedicated to my frugally-minded brethren.

First Book Signing A Success

How exciting it was on Saturday to walk into Zahra's Bookstore and set up for my first book signing! I truly had no idea what the outcome would be, and I was totally amazed at the love that showed up. Family, friends, and total strangers came out to get their autographed copy of Imbroglio. We talked about the book, its inception, its title, and much more. I even had to tag one individual with a spoiler alert. It was a great time, and saying that I am eternally grateful for the support is inadequate. I think I'll still be wearing the same smile from this event a year from now. Check out a few of the moments below, captured beautifully, courtesy of Photography by Elijah. You'll see what I mean.







Unusual Marketing

I received a message this past Thursday on my Facebook Page that I just have to share. It made my mouth gape open.

The sender asked that I share it anonymously.

“Hello, my name is UNDISCLOSED and I just wanted to share with you about how I heard of your name and your debut book.

Thursday night, I received a text message that read: “HEATHER’s Book is out!! BUY IT, READ IT! It’s GOOD!”. After looking at the text and asking who it was from, (they called themselves Aunt Cheryl) I concluded that it was sent to me by accident. I politely let them know that they had the wrong number but, I told them I wished your book well.

I love reading, love to write and I’m always adding new books to my “To Read List” when I got home, I decided to Google the book and your name. I went to your website, read the synopsis and read a teaser. With the teaser alone, I found myself chuckling at where it left off and wondering what happened next. So, your book is now on my “To Read List”. 🙂

Long story short, a text that was accidentally sent to me helped me find a new book that I want to read, inspired me to keep working on my story and getting it published one day… I believe that all of this is God nudging me; reminding me not to forget my dream.”

God is amazing! What I learned? Even in mistakes, there is success and purpose.

Behind the scenes––The Writer’s Imbroglio

IMG_1455An intricate and perplexing state of affairs. That is the definition of the title of my book, but the irony with its regard is that it is exactly what I went through while writing the story.

Imbroglio weaves the beginning tale of a woman traveling along an emotional, moral, spiritual, and political journey among a crowd of others in need of deliverance. I wrote as I was lead, not eschewing sinful aspects of the characters in the story, but taking the reader through their human choices and the consequences of those choices as it relates to God’s design and moral standards. However, as I was trying to write the story the Lord was unfolding before me, the reality is I grappled with doing so.

I was conflicted about the concerns that certain Christians might have about the content. You know, the ones who may not see the vision God had given me or understand the book’s purpose. I was concerned about inciting the reader to sin. I kept questioning, should I include the sinful elements of the world? What about showing the struggles with such? Should I tell this romantic suspense? Now, don’t get me wrong. Imbroglio is not erotica, nor is it a gory war chronicle, but it does contain real life experiences, and even with the knowledge that no novel—regardless of the premise—will ever please everyone, I still shied away from wanting to tell the story.

It was truly an interpersonal battle, until the day the Lord reminded me that in His Word, inside the greatest love story ever created, where the beauty of romance and sensuality is nestled within, are all sorts of sinful conditions––violence, immorality, and immense wickedness. So, I revisited such passages, paying close attention to the seemingly unnecessary mentions in scripture that for me incited the question of why God saw fit to include them, like the numerous accounts of rape and depravity, Onan spilling his seed on the ground (Gen. 38:9), Rahab’s mere mention as a prostitute (Josh 2:1), the graphic story of the two prostitute sisters in Ezekiel 23, and even the heated romance in the Song of Solomon. Admittedly, I’d reread those passages countless times, but the question remained until finally, I got it––the “why” of why He included it. I understood that the lucid descriptions of people’s sin the Bible are there to show us, the readers, ourselves—what we look, behave, and desire to be like. I saw that the accounts were never to glorify the acts, but rather to show how far we are from righteousness and in need of his mercy. I also saw in the Song of Solomon how the Originator of romance intends for it to be.

God turned my focus back to intention. I then asked myself, “Is my intention to glorify those elements or to send a message?” In resounding fashion, my answer was the latter. It was then God confirmed for me what I had known all along: I cannot tell a complete story without the good and the bad, and the only way we as people change is if we can see ourselves. If I was going to stay true to who my target audience is—those who need or desire something different, meaningful and thought–provoking—then I would have to stay the course.

How good it felt to gain peace! I could finally move forward through the labor pains. The result is this book, with thoughtfully selected content and carefully chosen words. Through my own imbroglio, Imbroglio was born. So, when you open the book and turn the pages, get ready.

Meet the Author

Imbroglio is my exciting debut. Birthed as catharsis during a tumultuous time in my life, I penned this story for others like me in search of an undying love. I'm currently working on the next phase of this project to bring to fruition an audio book, a book trailer and, for those who want to watch it on the big screen, a feature film. What's after that? The sequel, of course!... I mean, perhaps... LEARN MORE >

The Story. Defined.

im·bro·glio / im-‘brōl-yō / n. (pl. -lios)
1) A perplexing and intricate state of affairs: Shannon Moore––professional, headstrong, and blazing her own path––starts doubting the solidity of her life and future when a charming encounter and a chain of perplexing events overtake her. Ensnared in love, lust, and a spiritual odyssey among unsavory dealings, she plunges into a heart-racing journey of intricate twists and turns, and her dangerous state of affairs provokes more questions than answers.
2) A complicated situation: She's plagued by the warnings: “Don't get involved in something you really don’t want to be a part of” and “Things aren't always what they seem...” Throughout the imbroglio, she clamors for freedom in the form of salvation and love, both of which have been strangers far too long. SEE MORE

Get Your Copy

• Price: $10.95 plus shipping

• Paperback: 192 pages

• Category: Romantic Suspense

• Book Dimensions: 5.5” x 8.5”

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Also available in-store at:

Zahra's Books N Things
900 N. La Brea Avenue
Inglewood, CA 90302