Although I was born and raised in Chicago, I graduated from Madison East High School, later graduating from the UW-Madison Odyssey Program in 2014 and am currently attending the Odyssey Project’s Creative Writing class. I was part of a dynamic group that put together poems featured in The Cap Times (2013–14) as well as poems written and put into a collage book featuring our Odyssey class. I am a first-time, up-and-coming author, having recently published a debut LGBTQ romance erotica novel called The Warmth of a Woman.
I came into writing as a young child journaling to escape hardships. When I was 11 years old, after reading the Sweet Valley High series, I was captivated by romance and drama. Over the years, I lost my way with writing as life threw many curve balls my way, and in 2005, years after losing my two older children, I began to write short poems about my loss and pain. I submitted them to Poetry.com and received awards for them. In 2008, my life partner was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. I sat with her as the doctor told her they could do nothing. But there was something I could do: I wanted my partner and me to have something together, so I quit my job and began writing. I had no plan of making it a book. I just wrote, thinking about my sexual experiences and how selfish I had been in viewing women as objects and not recognizing their inner beauty. Even with my partner, I didn’t realize her inner beauty until I heard she would no longer be mine. She was dying, and I was losing someone else I loved.
During this difficult time, I woke up in the middle of the night, to find my partner cutting all her hair off. All I could do was hug her as we cried. Afterward, I sat at the computer day and night just typing. I barely slept. The only person I saw was my partner. After a month of non-stop writing, I decided that this could be a novel. It was sexy, and it was hot. It was also transformational, allowing me to finally understand true love and inner beauty. And this is how The Warmth of a Woman was born.
Of course, this isn’t a book I could have written without the experiences I’ve had as an LGBTQ person, pouring in everything I have been through even after my losses. Incorporating my experiences, I decided that this would be an LGBTQ erotica series. I began my sexual experience at the age of 12, still afraid, then, of what others would think. I had many girlfriends along the way, but I often felt the need to hide who I was. Being afraid of what my parents and siblings would think, I began to date a man at 16 years old. We had two daughters before that relationship came to a quick end. I then immediately entered another heterosexual relationship, marrying that man, and having one more daughter with him. During this time, I would still find myself attracted to women and often having affairs with them. After years of hiding my sexuality, I decided in 2000 that I would come out. I was done caring what anyone thought about me. I felt freer being judged by others than I was being judged by my insecurities and fears.
My lifestyle, sexuality, love, losses, pain, and heartbreak along with the stigmas and labels within our community and honestly, even my race, all had a role in shaping The Warmth of a Woman. After 14 years since my first keystrokes, I have finalized the first of this series bringing in all my experiences from my adolescent years through recent adulthood. This story is the first of a two-part series about survival as an LGBTQ person who truly just wanted to love and be loved.
In writing this book, I wanted to show that true love and passion between two women can be sexy. That there’s beauty as well as a true commitment to another. Love can transcend looks or sex. I wanted Julianna and Dominique’s story to be uplifting and inspiring, showing how beautiful sex can be when one person gives themselves completely to the other, trusting their mate fully with their mind, body, and soul. But, as the second novel comes about, you will see that this will not be without the harsh road it took for Dominique to finally find the love she was so desperately yearning for. Love for herself. Stay tuned.