Please Forgive Me

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Please Forgive Me explores the intensities of motherhood, through the lens of inter-racial adoption.  The story centers around Rachel, a white woman who adopts a black son through the foster system in St. Louis, and raises him ignorant of – but slowly coming to understand the depths of – the swirling currents of racism, bigotry, love, and hope that is America today.  The action takes place over a single night, after Rachel’s son, Miles, is arrested by the police.  During the course of this one, very long evening, Rachel questions her competence as a mother, she questions the viability of inter-racial adoption, she even questions her son’s innocence.  As morning dawns Rachel wonders if she will ever be able to ask her son’s forgiveness for everything she failed to do for him as a mother.

Further inquiries into this novel may be made here.

The Coloured Shakespeare

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Continuing on the success of The Other Shakespeare, Lea Rachel has written a new novel, this time imagining the life of William Shakespeare had he been born with black skin.  Research has shown that there were over 360 individuals of African descent living in England and Scotland in the 16th century and working in a variety of capacities including beer brewer, needlemaker, and trumpeter in the royal household.  Slavery was not yet institutionalized and we know of black Londoners that owned property, married other English people, had children, and were baptized and accepted into parish communities.

In The Coloured Shakespeare one of these Londoners of African descent is born with as much talent, as much creativity, and as much love of the arts as the original William Shakespeare.  Initially, he is told he must follow his father’s path as a trumpeter and musician, but eventually William finds his true calling and tries to join the theatre.

Unfortunately, William (or Manu, his African moniker in the novel) doesn’t have it easy.  He is living in a time and in a society where he sticks out, and where he faces an uphill battle against misperceptions and prejudices about everything from his skin color to his history.  This 55,000-word genre-crossing new adult/historical fiction novel gives the reader an unparalleled tale of journey, injustice, and self-discovery.

Further inquiries into this novel may be made here.


Why I Am In Love With My Son

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Poetic posts on motherhood and the love of a child


Guest Blog Posts\Blog+ Interviews

Pretending You’re a Man” at:   Tamara – Traveling with T –

Laughter – But Is It Funny?” at:   Marcie – To Read, or Not to Read –

Traveling for your Writing” at:   Sheila Deeth –

(Some of) The Women of Queen Elizabeth’s Court” at:  English Historical Fiction Authors,

Interview with Jodi Webb at:  Building Bookshelves

Interview with Cyrus Webb at:  #ConversationsLIVE

The Other Shakespeare

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Judith Shakespeare is the fictional sister of William Shakespeare that Virginia Woolf invented in her book A Room of One’s Own. In Shakespeare’s Sister, the character of Judith Shakespeare is brought to life.

Judith Shakespeare is the older sister of William Shakespeare and in the novel she is born with as much talent, as much creativity, and as much drive as her younger brother William. But in 16th century England, as a woman, Judith never has much of a chance to develop her talent. As Virginia Woolf imagines in her 1½ page sketch, Judith could have been as productive and famous as William, except for the fact that she is never sent to school, is pressured into marriage, and is consistently denied her independence and a room of her own. Her stifled literary talent, in such circumstances, becomes more of a burden than a gift as it drives Judith to run away from Stratford, get pregnant by an actor in London, and engage in extreme measures to have her talent recognized.

The novel is in the style of What Happened to Anna K., Ahab’s Wife, and Grendel; where a fictional character from one famous publication is brought to life in another.

Note that all the characters in the novel are real (except, of course, for Judith Shakespeare herself), including the entire Shakespeare family and the actors and writers in London.  In addition, every chapter in the book has at least one Shakespeare quote embedded in the text – some of them are easy to recognize, but some aren’t!

Links to some early reviews of the book:


I Promise

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The memoir, I Promise, is a story about survival. The main character, Lea, overcomes a string of formidable events including her own death sentence by a team of doctors, her father’s murder on the East side of Detroit, a psychotic stalker who follows her every move, and finally, a hit and run car accident on the dusty streets of Istanbul, just three days after lunching with the US president’s daughter. At the beginning of the story Lea is a shy, reclusive young girl afraid for her health; by the end she is a persistent, determined woman tenaciously moving forward. Physically frail she’s mentally rugged and her story of survival, even growth, is inspirational even through the worst of circumstances.

Insidious Red Parasite

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5th place winner (out of over 18,000 entries) of the 72nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition

Small is Beautiful

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Essay on climate change, scarce natural resources, and the relative efficiency of being short

Please, Just Listen

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A Disability Op-ed, inspired by The New York Times disability column

Tigers vs. Cardinals World Series Playoff

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Sports Op-ed on the 2006 World Series playoff between the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals