NEMESIS Giveaway!


All you have to do to play is do what I say!


HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that 2011 was an awesome year for you, but 2012 will be even better! Why? Because I’m going help you kick start your year off RIGHT! You have made the past year one of the best of my literary career, and I just want to give a great big thank you for making it happen.

I’ve launched the NEMESIS GIVEAWAY to show my appreciation. You’ll have the opportunity to win some great prizes, including a Kindle Fire or a $200 American Express Gift Card, and a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Read below for details, and again, THANK YOU!


My newest novel Nemesis is coming out this summer, and I need your help to get the word out. Your good deeds will not go unrewarded. Just do what I say, and you could win a Kindle Fire, a $200 American Express gift card, a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card, a free autographed copy of Nemesis, or a Nemesis t-shirt!

There are two ways to play:
Visit my website: (not accessible on mobile devices)
or visit my Facebook fan page:
and click the “NEMESIS GIVEAWAY” tab on the left menu bar to get started.

The more tasks you complete, the more entries you earn for the giveaway. And you can play EVERY DAY to earn more entries. The NEMESIS Giveaway is only good through January 15, 2012; so get started now to WIN BIG!
1st Place:Kindle Fire or $200 American Express Gift Card
2nd Place: $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card
3rd & 4th Place: One Autographed Copy of Nemesis by Monique D. Mensah
5th-10th Place: Nemesis T-Shirt

SMOKE SCREEN: The Synopsis

BREAKING NEWS: The Man Eater has struck again, catapulting Metro Detroit into a state of paralyzing fear. With six murders to her credit, no man is safe.  The Detroit Police have yet to find a connection between the victims, but the Man Eater’s reign may come to a halt with one small, but unmistakable piece of evidence . . .

Lauren Palmer, one of Detroit’s most prominent and successful defense attorneys, is fed up with the loathsome task of defending criminals. She takes the law into her own hands: the guilty get convicted, even if it means she loses the case. The innocent few are just casualties, taking the fall for the greater good. She can’t set her moral standards aside for a $400,000 salary, winning acquittal after acquittal for the demonstratively guilty. But how far will she go to rid Detroit of its criminal filth?

Lauren’s best friend, Ryan Taylor, is desperate to have a baby, but her husband is vehemently against it. When they first married, they agreed—no kids. But can’t she change her mind? Ryan is willing to do whatever it takes to become a mom, even if it means betrayal. With her biological clock screaming and a shameful ten-year secret bubbling to the surface, Ryan is determined to get what she wants, but she may lose her husband—and her mind—in the process.

Simone Pembroke dedicates her life to counseling sexually abused girls. Having endured the pain herself at the hands of her father ten years ago, she’s the only one who understands them. But her mother, Jessica, thinks it’s unhealthy for Simone to immerse herself into a world of pain and jaded love when she has yet to fully heal herself. A new, unexpected love interest only complicates matters further. Can Simone juggle the burdens of her past while giving her and her girls hope for the future? Simone’s passion for her girls may lurch her into an inescapable realm of insanity—rendering her an eternal victim, forever under her father’s spell.

Lauren, Ryan, and Simone meet again after the tragedy that unwittingly brought them all together ten years ago. With a serial killer on the loose, any one of them makes for the ideal suspect. As their lives collide yet again, forcing them to deal with the tragedies of their pasts, the three ladies regretfully learn that no one is safe behind the thin shield of a smoke screen.

INSIDE RAIN a Psychological Thriller Set for August 2010 Release. Check it Out!


Twenty Years Ago

A cold chill invaded her bedroom.  The windows were closed and the heat was on, but there was still an unjustified frost that nipped at Rain’s skin as she lay snuggled in her twin-sized bed under her Sesame Street blanket. Living in Detroit, frigid nights could be expected in the dead of winter, but this was different than any other chill she’d experienced; it was eerie. That’s what woke her up. It wasn’t the faint sound of screaming in the near distance or the echo of heavy footsteps pounding the linoleum floors. It was the creepy, cold air that bit at her ears, fingers, and toes. Rain rubbed her eyes and lazily threw the covers off her small body. Her tiny feet dangled from the side of the bed as she sat there for a moment, yawning and wondering how long it would be before it was time to eat her usual Crunch Berries and toast for breakfast. It was dark in her room, and the light from the hallway crept through the crack under the door. She could tell it was still nighttime. She opened her curtains and saw the steel moon staring back at her, confirming her initial thought; it was still the middle of the night. Then she heard it again, thundering footsteps followed by a shrill scream. This time she knew—it was her mother.

Rain jumped out of bed and rushed out to the hallway. The light made her squint as her eyes adjusted. She started running down the hall, but quickly slowed her pace to a slow and careful walk.  At five years old, she had the senses of a grown woman. She knew her mother was in danger and that she might be as well. Still, her curiosity compelled her forward to find out what was going on.  As she got closer to her mother’s bedroom, the noise became louder and clearer. She heard her mother again, but this time she wasn’t screaming. She was talking desperately. Begging.

“It wasn’t me, baby. It was Rock. He forced me. He got the money. We can go get it, me and you. We can get it right now. Please, just let me get it and this whole thing will be all over.”

Rain heard a smack, then a crash. The brash voice of a man bounced off the thin walls of the small bungalow. “You think I’m stupid don’t you? I told you last Friday if you ain’t have my money, I was comin’ for you. Gimme my money now!”  Smack!

To Rain, he sounded like a monster. Like Skeletor, his voice was deep and groggy and sent a cold shiver down her spine. Suddenly, she started to cry.  Warm tears staggered down her face, but she managed to remain silent as she kept a slow and steady pace toward her mother’s bedroom.

She heard her mother again, “Rock! Rock got it!”

“Rock dead. You ain’t heard?” The man’s cruel laughter made Rain flinch. “Yup, got himself shot in the head and set on fire.”

“Oh my God! Please! Let me explain. We can straighten this out. I promise. Just let me put some things together fo’ you. I got you!”

Rain finally reached the door to the master bedroom.  It was open just a crack, not wide enough for them to see her, but she could see them—the whole scene. A tall, dark man stood over her mother, as tall as the tallest building she’d ever seen. Her mother was on her knees begging for her life while he yanked her auburn-dyed hair. He was dressed in all black—black leather jacket, black shirt, and boots.  Rain had seen him before. He had been near the house occasionally, but she didn’t know his name. This was the first time she’d ever seen him actually in the house. Usually when he came around, her mother would call GiGi and tell her to come get Rain because she had to take care of some business. GiGi would get mad at her and fuss about how she was too absent from her child’s life, but Rain didn’t mind it at all. She loved going over her GiGi’s house. It was always so much fun. Most of the time she didn’t want to go back home; sometimes she didn’t for a couple of days. When her mother came back to get her, Rain would ask where she had been, she would always get the same answer, “Working. Mommy had to take care of some things, baby.”

But now, that man was standing in their house, in her mother’s room, and he was hurting her. She was crying. Rain had never seen her mother cry before. It made her own tears come down even faster.

“You know what’s ‘bout to happen next don’t you? You know what happens when people fuck with my money,” he growled.

Rain’s mother shook her head, “Please. We got history. You know me. You know I’m good for it.”

“Shut up!”  He pulled a big, black gun from the back of his pants and pointed it at her forehead, right between her eyes. Now Rain hadn’t been on this earth more than five years and a couple of months, but she had seen plenty of guns.  Her mother had lots of friends who were “strapped”, as they boasted. When they came over, they would pull the deadly weapons out of their pants and place them on the coffee table before plopping down on the abused couch in the living room. Her mother would always tell her to go to her room and shut the door until she was called. Most of the time, Rain followed orders, popping in a Sesame Street tape and gluing her eyes to the TV, but sometimes she didn’t listen. Sometimes, she would pretend like she was going to her room, but she wouldn’t really go. She would hide on the other side of the wall, so her mother and her friends couldn’t see, and she’d watch them and listen to what they were saying. She learned enough to know that guns killed people and this man was about to kill her mother. She couldn’t let him do it. She had to do something to stop him—to protect her. The only problem was, she didn’t know what to do. Her mind went blank, and panic took control.

Pushing the door open and running into the room, Rain quickly surveyed her surroundings. It was a mess. Clothes and shoes were sprawled all over the floor. Broken glass from the dresser mirror was scattered throughout the dingy carpet and covered the unkempt bed. The dresser drawers were pulled out and the TV lay broken on the floor.

“Mommy!” she screamed.  Both her mother and her tormentor jolted their heads in her direction.  He dropped the gun to his side as Rain ran to her mother and wrapped her short arms tightly around her mother’s neck. She had to protect her.

“Rain, baby, please go back to your room, sweetie. Everything is going to be alright. We’re just playing a game right now, okay?”

Rain may have been young, but she was no fool. This was no game. It was frighteningly real. “No, Mommy. I’m not leaving you. He needs to leave you alone!” she pointed a short, stubby finger at the man.

“Baby, listen. Nothing bad is going to happen. Go to your room and count to a hundred, and I’ll come in there and check on you. Everything will be fine.”

“Yeah, Rain. Listen to yo’ mama. Go to your room,” he snarled.

Rain shot the gunman the meanest, nastiest look she could manage with her chubby, little face. She looked back at her mother, “Do you promise? You promise you’ll come get me after a hundred?”

“Yes, baby. I’ll be there.”

She looked into her mother’s eyes in search of some indication of certainty. She couldn’t tell whether she was lying or not, but she wanted to believe her.  She wanted desperately for her mother’s words to be the truth, but something in her gut told her otherwise. Everything was not going to be okay. Rain knew that.

Her mother sensed her hesitation and further encouraged her, “Go ahead, baby.”  She begged her daughter with her eyes. “Do this for Mommy. Do this one thing for me. I promise when we wake up in the morning, it will be like none of this ever happened. Just like a bad dream.”

Rain could feel her heart breaking with every word her mother spoke through quivering lips. She didn’t want to let her go, but there was nothing else for her to do. She forced herself to believe what her mother was saying.  She told herself that her mommy wouldn’t promise her that everything would be fine if it really wasn’t going to be.  She made believe that her mother had never lied to her before and that all the bad things she’d overheard her GiGi saying about her mother being a good-for-nothing drug dealer didn’t exist. Reluctantly, Rain released her mother’s neck and slowly backed away from both of them. Her eyes were fixed on the man’s cold stare as she headed backward toward the door. She was afraid of him, but somehow she thought that if she kept eye contact, he couldn’t do anything bad to either one of them. She was right. For as long as she was inside the small bedroom, he remained frozen with the gun still in his hand, resting by his side.  His breathing was heavy. So was her mother’s, and their forceful inhales and exhales punctuated the thick silence in the room. They silently waited for Rain to exit and close the door behind her. She did.

She started to walk back to her room with teardrops pouring onto her feet beneath her. She’d only made it a third of the way down the hall, when the sounds of another bump, scream, and crash made her jump.  Immediately, the feeling of panic was resurrected inside her.  Her heart jumped to her throat and she momentarily stopped breathing. When she heard a second scream, Rain turned quickly on her heels and sprinted back down the hall to her mother’s bedroom. He was going to kill her. She knew he was going to kill her mommy.

Rain barged through the door, just as she had done before. This time the man had the gun lodged in her mother’s mouth. Rain arrived just in time to see him pull the trigger. Just in time to see her mother’s eyes roll backward as blood sprayed the wall behind her and her body dropped heavily, lifelessly, to the floor.

Rain heard herself screaming hysterically and felt herself dropping to her knees. She didn’t know what he was going to do next. She didn’t know if he was going to kill her too or take her with him. All she knew was that her mother was dead and that she couldn’t move. She could only scream. Her eyes wouldn’t stop staring at her mother’s motionless body. She screamed over and over again. She knew he was going to kill her, and he had done it.

The man walked slowly toward the child.  He looked like a robot, a machine with no expression or emotion. Rain’s screams stopped abruptly as she held her breath in trepidation.  Eyes wide and body shaking, she watched in horror as he knelt down in front of her.  He was so close she could smell the sour stench of his cologne, the liquor on his breath, and the smoke in his hair.

“Now, I know that was your momma, Rain, but there’s somethin’ you need to understand.”  He paused as if he expected her to respond. When she didn’t, he continued. “Your momma was a bad woman. She did very bad things, and sometimes bad people deserve to die.”  He stopped again and moved his face in closer to hers. “You’re not a bad girl are you, Rain?”

She slowly shook her head ‘no.’

“I know. That’s why nothing bad is going to happen to you, as long as you don’t say nothin’ about what you just saw. Do you understand?”

He reached out with a large leathery hand and patted her head. She let him, too scared to move.

“As long as you stay quiet, no one is going to hurt you, okay?”

Rain nodded.

“Now when I leave, call your GiGi. You know her number, right?”

She nodded again. GiGi made sure her granddaughter knew her phone number by heart. It was drilled into Rain’s memory at the age of four. She knew to call immediately if anything was wrong.

“Good.  You wait ‘til I leave, and you call her.” He stood up and took a moment to look back at the crime he had committed. His eyes lingered for a few seconds longer than necessary, before he finally turned around and walked toward the front door.

When Rain heard the front door open and close again, she jumped up and ran to the kitchen, snatching the phone from the wall and calling her GiGi. When GiGi answered, Rain’s mouth couldn’t form any words. Her mind was flooded with confusion and horror.  All she could do was hold the phone and cry an ear-piercing soprano. GiGi showed up at the house ten minutes later.

He had told her not to say a word. He had told her that if she was a good girl and didn’t say anything, nothing bad would happen to her. Rain didn’t want anything bad to happen to her.  She didn’t want to end up like her mother, murdered mercilessly after begging for her life. Rain was a good girl; she wouldn’t say a word.

GiGi took Rain home to live with her, but Rain could never really feel safe.  Keeping her promise to her mother’s murderer, she remained silent.  Rain went mute. Two years passed before anyone heard her speak another word. It wasn’t until Carmen and Danny came to live with them that she finally regained her voice.

Pre-order your copy of INSIDE RAIN today for just $10.00

Free Shipping or Delivery

Fix Me I’m Damaged!

I had a disturbing conversation with a friend recently. Our friendship is rather new, we haven’t known each other for more than a month, but from the beginning we have been able to easily share things with each other that we both normally wouldn’t with someone we’ve just met. Granted I have not known her for long, but from what little I know, I was able to form a positive perception of her and I what I believe her to be. What I perceived was a very confident, successful, intelligent, well-traveled, young woman. She came from a decent family and was raised in a loving two-parent household. It’s evident that her parents showed her how to be compassionate, empathetic, attentive, and well rounded. She’s well liked, with several friends and acquaintances that seem to have a high opinion of her. She’s a good dresser too (I just thought I’d throw that one in there). Of course she has some flaws, but who doesn’t? In short, I think she is very well put together and a decent woman. That is why I was so bothered by what she shared with me during our last conversation. In order to keep my promise to her, I cannot share with you the specifics of what she told me, but she described a very troubling romantic situation that has caused her a lot of pain over the past couple of years. Listening to her unfold this heart-breaking story, I was shocked. My heart goes out to her because I genuinely sympathize, but I couldn’t believe that this woman, who seemingly had it going on, would be dealing with such a tough (avoidable) romantic roller coaster. I’ve concluded that this is a circumstance that has just as much to do with her and his mutual love for each other as it does with some serious issues she has with herself. I can only imagine that he is battling some issues as well (which is why he is contributing to the unhealthy relationship), but I don’t have his side of the story, so I can’t confirm that.

After speaking to my friend about this problem, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness. I asked myself why I was so consumed with her troubles and even more so, why was I so bothered; after all I have only known her for a very short time. But, the fact still remained that I was genuinely troubled. After a few hours of contemplation, it hit me; it wasn’t her particular romantic woes and internal issues that affected me so deeply, it was my realization that if even she (someone that had it all together) is dealing with such a situation because of deep-seated internal issues, that means there is less hope for me to ever have a happy, healthy romantic relationship. Assuming that my perception of her is 100% correct, one could stand her and me side-by-side and read the biography of our respective backgrounds and easily conclude that I would be the one with the issues (self-image, self-esteem, validation, acceptance, etc…), not her. Looking back on my life, my upbringing, and my romantic experiences, I would be the obvious choice. So the fact that she is not excluded from such dealings and internal conflict means that I may be worse off than I think!

That revelation brought me to another disturbing line of thinking. I began to cry as I recounted every agonizing memory of the failed, dysfunctional romantic relationships that I’ve had from the age of 16 up until my last relationship that just ended early this year. Believe me people when I say that I’ve been through a lot! I’ve been through some things with the men in my life that were so painful, I have not even shared them with my closest friend (I’m not going to detail them now either). I found comfort in the fact that I was strong enough to get over those instances and bounce back without going crazy or sinking into a depression. But as I sat in my bedroom late that night, wiping the tears from my eyes, I realized that I wasn’t over anything! The only thing I had accomplished was tucking those horrible memories into the back of my conscious so I would not have to actively think about them. I successfully detached myself well enough to the point where I could sometimes relay these accounts to others as if I were describing a scene from a movie or a novel with little to no emotion. In other words, I didn’t deal with it. I can honestly say that I have grown a lot from some of my past experiences. You can bet everything you have that you will never find me caught up in some of the same situations I have endured in the past. As you should expect I am a different person than I was ten or even five years ago. For instance, I am now able to more easily walk away from a potentially harmful relationship than I was in the past. So some things I just won’t put up with, but that does not mean that I am “fixed”. I still have personal issues that dictate the decisions I make and the actions I take with men—some of them are NOT good! So does that mean I’m damaged? Yes, but the question is, am I repairable.

My new friend made me realize that everyone (and I do mean everyone) has internal complexes and/or issues. But there are a few factors that separate us from each other. First, some of us are able to identify our issues, either work on them and accept them, then move on to be happy. Then there are people like me, who are all too aware of their internal issues sometimes to the point that they know when they are doing something ridiculous and potentially harmful to themselves as a result of those issues, but they are unable to stop themselves from doing it. For example, I tend to seek out and pursue the same kind of man repeatedly. My line up of men may look very different in physical appearance, background, and career choice, but they all have one thing in common: They have some quality about them that tends to cause me to develop an unjustified admiration for them and in turn, put them on a pedestal. This causes a dynamic between the two of us that triggers my issue of needing acceptance and validation. I have to prove to him and myself that I am good enough to be with this wonderful man. I don’t know, maybe I have an inferiority complex when it comes to men that may be a result of my dysfunctional relationship with my father. Yeah that makes sense doesn’t it?  I am able to recognize this when pursuing or starting a new relationship and I also recognize when my actions reflect my need for acceptance, but again I don’t know how to stop it. Grrrrr! If that isn’t a recipe for insanity, I don’t know what is. Then there is the third group of troubled people who have just as many internal issues as the next man or woman, but they are completely oblivious to the issues that they have. Therefore they go on to live in blissful ignorance, thinking that their failed relationships are a result of their mate’s inadequacies instead of recognizing those of their own. Now, you can say what you want, but I think I’d rather be oblivious than to be the one to watch her own train wreck over and over again, knowing that all I have to do is step on the brakes to prevent it from happening, but my foot just can’t reach the pedal.

Okay, so I’ve had this epiphany. Now what? How in the hell do I know? If I had the solution to the problem, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post to get this huge weight off my chest. I can tell you what doesn’t work though–wearing a mask to disguise yourself and hiding your problems instead of confronting them. Several people that I’ve encountered have told me that I give the impression that I am hard-core, meaning nothing and no one can hurt me. It’s either get with me and my way of doing things or get gone. They also seem to think that I am overly confident (maybe arrogant). I have to constantly fight off several potential beaus at a time and if one man does not properly meet my needs, it’s quickly on to the next one. Basically, people who don’t know me that well think I have a “Queen Bitch” attitude. I almost laugh when I hear this, bewildered by how they could get it so wrong! I am nothing like that. Let’s go down the list: I am extremely sensitive and emotional so my feelings are hurt rather easily. I may cry at the drop of a hat. I am very open to compromise and can be easily swayed into your way of thinking (if you’re making sense). Although I am confident about some things, i.e. my writing ability, my level of creativity and intelligence, and my looks, I have many insecurities. Most people do not know that I have suffered from self-esteem issues for several years (I’ve only come to that realization myself over the past couple of years). For a long time, I did not like the way that I looked, I questioned my level of intellect, and I held back a lot for fear of rejection. Only recently have I come to love my sleepy, bedroom eyes, my fat feet, and my thin hair (well I don’t love the thin hair, but I no longer hate it). Accomplishing my life long dream of becoming a published novelist has greatly assisted me in securing my confidence in my intelligence and my comfort level with myself so I no longer fear rejection as much as I did in the past (it’s still a work in progress). I do not appoint and dismiss a lot of men with dating potential. In fact, most of the time I will only date one guy at a time and I wish I had the “get with my program or get gone” attitude with those that I do date. Actually, I often compromise myself and my happiness to get with him and gain his approval (we already covered this in the previous paragraph). So just where oh where do these people get this false perception of me from. Easy, they get it from me! The “Queen Bitch” persona is one that I have subconsciously developed over the years to protect myself. If I act this way, I am able to keep people at a distance. If they get too close they may get to know the real me – the fragile me.  Experience tells me that they will take advantage and hurt me. Sad right? Now this is a cool little temporary fix, but nothing that is going to help me in the long run. Like I said, hiding behind the mask of a hard-core persona is not the solution to the problem. What is? Like I said, I don’t know. Maybe you have a few suggestions.

I said a prayer for my friend that night. I asked God to deliver her from this painful and dysfunctional relationship. I asked that God give her the strength to leave so she can heal her wounded heart and eventually find true happiness. Then, I said a prayer for myself. Three simple words, “Fix me Lord”. Now I wait…

Thanks for reading my rants. This blog post was therapeutic and effectively stopped the tears. I hope that it has helped at least one of you too. Peace!

Monique D. Mensah

Author of WHO IS HE TO YOU

The Dynamic Duo: Adra Young and Tracie Christian

Being an author is hard work! If you expect to succeed in this business, Tracie and Adrayou better believe you will have to work your ass off and let the world know that you’re here. That’s why I admire these two ladies so much. They are two of the hardest working author’s in the Detroit area. Tracie Christian and Adra Young are everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I’m talking about the clubs, the coffee shops, the conventions, the bars, the internet, the schools, the non-profit organizations, and anywhere else you can think of (and some you may not). I first met these ladies at a mixer for a non-profit organization we all belong to. Now let me be the first to tell you from a new author’s perspective, approaching seasoned and experienced authors can be somewhat intimidating. I knew of these ladies, but had never actually met them before, but by the way they treated me, you’d never know it. They welcomed me with open arms and readily shared information to help me out. I instantly liked them and wanted to be a part of their movement.

Adra and Tracie have been best friends for years and they are now working together to promote their work throughout Metro Detroit. As if that wasn’t enough work in itself, they also create events to connect other authors and people in the arts and entertainment industry so we can all network and learn from each other. Although Adra and Tracie’s books differ in genre and style, these two ladies definitely compliment each other and their dynamic connection shows in every event that they do. I would like to thank you Adra Young and Tracie Christian, for blessing Detroit with your talent and embracing other artists with kindness and knowledge.

Okay, so I promised to keep everyone up to date on upcoming events so I could let you into “Detroit’s Secret Society” of arts, literature, and culture. I’m keeping my promise by posting the events of the Dynamic Duo: Adra Young and Tracie Christian below. Also be sure to check out their books so you can support a couple of black authors out here doing the damn thing!

The Books

The Every Day Living Of Children & Teens Monologues by Adra Young


The Black College Sabbatical: Winter Quarter by Tracie Christian


The Black College Sabbatical: Fall Quarter by Tracie Christian



Arts & Entertainment

Catch The Dynamic Dual At The Toast- Presented By Shed Events & Crown Royal With DJ Biz Markie

Time:9:00PM Wednesday, November 25th

Location:The Whitney


Coffee, Arts & Entertainment Talk

Time:3:00PM Sunday, December 13th

Location:4601 Woodward Ave BIGGBY Coffee


Authoress Adra Young Ultimate Book & Birthday Bash at Club Eden!

Time:9:00PM Friday, November 20th

Location:22061 Woodward


Catch Authors Adra Young & Tracie Christian On AAMBC Interviews

Time:7:00PM Monday, November 23rd

Location:AAMBC Radio

Unveiling Detroit’s Secret Society

DIAIs it just me, or is Detroit’s arts & culture/literary scene an underground secret society? It seems that everyone on the scene knows or has heard a great deal about everyone else. There are a few well-known authors and artists whose names are mentioned in just about every conversation that has to do with a cool painting, a dope poem, an intoxicating song, or an amazing book, but who are these people to everyone else in the city? Do you know who they are? Do they know you? The talented people that make up Detroit’s arts and culture scene carry themselves as a closely knit family that shows continuous love, support, and encouragement. I have been privileged to be a part of this group, where I am constantly being updated on upcoming events, promotional ideas, or just a great pep talk or email when I’m feeling a little burnt out. The camaraderie and the sense of belonging feel good and the love is shown throughout our interaction and conversation. All of that is great, but what about the outsiders? What about those that have yet to be exposed to the great artists and authors blessing the D with their gifts, therefore they view their only choices of entertainment in the city as Friday night at the club and Saturday night at the local bar? What about those that want to express themselves through the art of poetry, writing, painting, drawing or singing, but don’t know where to go or who to talk to? What about those who yearn to be around those beautiful, talented, eclectic people that make up the arts scene (people like themselves), but have no idea where they meet to hang out and exchange artistry? The rest of Detroit is knocking; it’s time to let them in!

In speaking to several people in the city, I’ve found that a lot of us are painfully unaware of the fact that Detroit has a live and bustling arts and cultural scene. Yes, it is painful! It hurts that many of us are unrecognized for the brilliant contributions we make to the city simply because Detroit is not “known” for arts and culture. It is here, it’s big, and it’s wonderful! When my novel, Who Is He To You (plug) was about to come out, I was a bit worried that I would not be able crack into the literary and arts scene in order to hang with and learn from like-minded people in an attempt to relate to my target audience. “Where are they?” was the question heavy on my mind. How do I find them? I knew there was a lot going on and I was not a part of it. After some asking around and shameless latching on, I found the hidden jewel and I want to spread the word. There is still a lot left to be uncovered, and uncover it, I will. Once I do, I’m blowing the top off Detroit’s secret society and inviting the “outsiders” to see what we have going on!

I want you! As an author, I have been given a powerful voice and I want Detroit to perk up and listen. I have an obligation to introduce you to the beautiful people of the arts & culture/literary scene. Are you an artist, poet, or singer? Do you play an instrument, write books, dance, or create sculptures? Do you? Well, I want to get to know you and so does the rest of Metro Detroit. If you won’t come to me, I will find you and put you out here for everyone to see. Trust me, this is a good thing. I’m starting author and artist interviews in October. I will also be keeping you posted on exciting new events and hang-outs so you can be well-informed about the secret society’s whereabouts. I will get it started, but I hope I am not alone. Join me for this movement and let’s see some changes happen in the D. Peace!

Turning the Introvert Inside Out

Dorian gently, almost tiptoed, into the crowded night lounge. She took each step with precision, giving more time than necessary between each stride. She stood perfectly erect with her head held high. She pushed her shoulders backward, giving her back a question mark-like arch. The way she flung her dark, shoulder length hair as she scanned the room, exuded comfort and confidence. Her hand sat perfectly poised on her thrust right hip. Her left leg, mounted atop a five-inch stiletto heel, was bent at the knee with a defiant arc. She stood still by the door as if she was awaiting a formal invitation to walk inside. A tall slender man, one of the performing artists, gently brushed her arm as he hurriedly scooted himself and his equipment through the narrow archway of the lounge’s entrance.

“Sorry”, he said dismissively without giving Dorian more than a second’s glance.

Had he looked closer, to examine the spicy, but cool woman before him, perhaps he would have noticed the way her chest rose and fell with a controlled rhythm as she took slow, deep breaths to calm her rattled nerves. He may have observed her right hand as it clenched and unclenched her side or her left hand as her fingers did a dance of frantic fidgeting. He may have offered assistance had he been aware that her knees were threatening to buckle under her weight and her glands were threatening embarrassing rolls of sweat down her forehead, through her palms, and under her arms. But he didn’t notice anything at all.

“No problem”, Dorian muttered to his back as he disappeared into the crowd.

It was Friday night and the Lyrical Lounge was jumping. Flo, a local spoken word artist with a heavy baritone and dark chocolate skin, was gracing the mic with his powerful words of love, lust, and broken hearts. When his performance was over, the crowd erupted in a mix of thunderous applause and sharp finger snapping. It was good. Dorian knew it; she had heard him spit before. She stumbled a little to the right as someone pushed past her to get through the entrance and into the congested, dimly lit lounge.

The doorman collecting the ten dollar entrance fee lightly tapped Dorian on the shoulder, “Excuse me, you’ll have to clear this entry way. People are trying to get in.” He didn’t try to hide the annoyance in his tone.

Dorian awkwardly shuffled a little more to the right. She eyed the crowd ahead of her with apprehension. Then she slightly whispered to herself, “Come on, come on. Just do it. What’s the big deal?”

Her right foot moved forward, but then it quickly slid back into place beside her left.

This is ridiculous, she thought. I’m not doing the damn hockey pokey. Just go!

She smoothly wiped the sweat from her clammy palms on the sides of her dress and swallowed the lump that was blocking her air passage. She strolled (coolly she hoped) over to the other side of the tight room, heading towards the bar. Once she reached the bar, she nervously tapped her manicured nails on the counter for a few moments.

You can do this, she told herself. If you can’t do it now, you never will.

Before she could make time to talk herself out of doing what she knew she had to do, she swiftly whipped around to face the two chatting women sitting in the bar stools next to her. She affixed a friendly smile to her face, stuck out her hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Dorian Knight a new author of Dramatic Fiction. If you have a moment, I’d like to tell you about my debut novel.”


To some, the scenario portrayed in this short story may seem ridiculous, but it is a reality for a lot of writers. Although this scene has been somewhat exaggerated for dramatic effect, many writers (including myself) are introverts. Given the choice, we’d rather sit at home immersed in the comfort of familiarity rather than venture out to the realm of uncertainty where the “strangers” roam. When I try to explain my feelings of social inhibition to others, I rarely get an agreeing nod or any confirmation of understanding. “It’s easy”, they often say, “Just walk up to someone and start talking.” Well, guess what: that sounds scary as hell to me! It may be insecurity, I’m not sure, but it certainly is NOT easy for me to just walk up to someone and start a conversation. In meeting more people in the literary world, I am finding that I am not alone in feeling this way. I’ve learned that a lot of writers feel my pain.

Because of my little problem, I feared that I would not have the courage, social skill, or level of aggressiveness it takes to market my book and get it into readers’ hands. Although it is much easier for me to approach strangers and talk about my book than it would be for something else I am not nearly as passionate about, it was still no easy task. But, I have to do what’s necessary to be successful right? I remembered the words of Sylvia Hubbard, the founder of the Motown Writers Network (amongst other things), “Writers are introverts acting like extroverts”. Oh so that’s what I have to do? Fake it until I make it huh? No one would know I was faking except me right? Right! So that’s what I did. I bit the bullet, clenched my stomach to calm the butterflies, and just went for it.

“Hi I’m Monique D. Mensah, a new author from the Detroit area. Do you like to read?” That was my “line”. Although contrived, it worked. It was simple and friendly. As long as I had a script, I could do it with a bit more ease. I kept this act up for a couple of weeks, until…it became natural! That’s right, I’m taking you back to pre-school on this one: Practice makes perfect. So get to practicing. Come up with a personable introduction, slap on a smile, and stick to it. Is this your passion or not? Do you want it enough to push past your fears and go for it? Sure you do. Try it and you may be surprised at the response you receive. Soon enough, it will become almost natural, almost. Turn the introvert inside out.