Vannie Writes

The soul of a poet. The spirit of a warrior.

An Informal Resume

Looking back I can see that my employment history has led me to where I am today; writer, coach and home business owner.

As assistant cashier at brokerage firm, I received cash and financial certificates into proper accounts, issued receipts, and worked in tandem with the Wall Street home office regarding same. Responsible for bank reconciliation and bank deposits. It was my first corporate job, I learned the in's and out's of the world of finance. My job was fast-paced and exacting.

Employed at a small employment placement firm as an employment counselor and resume specialist, my coaching skills were honed. I was surprised to hear the expectations of some of my clients who were not always qualified or equipped to handle the job they were seeking. Others were qualified, but lacked the confidence they needed to ace an interview. I soon discovered that my job was 75 percent counseling, guiding and coaching and 25 percent job-matching.

As staff and assistant to the publisher of a widely-read weekly newspaper group I had to manage the main office without appearing to do so. In addition I received, sent to printer, notarized and invoiced all legal, liquor license and Town Council notices for three newspapers. When dealing with residents and town officials, I often had to call upon the advice given to me by my mother, "play nice with others" and "be polite."  

I retired in 2005 from a 25-year career as senior contract assistant and secretary to the vice president's managing director of a large law department of a health sciences university. I typed letters, wrote letters, reviewed contracts, wrote contracts, made meetings, went to meetings, answered the telephone, mentored, coached, directed new staff; and made decent coffee. Did I mention I typed? It was hectic and we often had tight deadlines, but I did love it. While at the university I received a number of awards. Among them: two Presidential Performance Awards for Outstanding Service and Exceptional Dedication to the Work of the University, The National Women in History Award from university's Board of Concerned Citizens for Service, Dedication and Work of Excellence to the University. I also received numerous commendation letters. Upon retirement I received three additional citations for service and dedication to the university and a final letter of commendation from the university's president emeritus.

I have been a home business owner of a direct selling business since 1995. I specialize in herbs, spices and flavorings which is perfect for me, because I love to cook. I am an editor/columnist at, I write for two sites, Work & Family, a lifestyle site and Hot and Spicy foods, a site that offers recipes with a little heat. 

Although not a paid position, I am the founder of the Romance Noire Book Club (RNBC) I act as moderator of this Yahoo Groups! author/writer group. What started in the late 90's as a sharing group for African American and multicultural writers of the romance genre novels, the group has grown to 300 members. RNBC was moved to the Yahoo Group! board September 2000. The groups name comes from the book Erotique Noire/Black Erotica, edited by Miriam Decosta-Willis (1992.) Originally I bought this book because I was intrigued by the fact that renowned authors such as Alice Walker, Chester Himes and Gloria Naylor, would write stories of an erotic nature. I was not new to this writing, I am a long-time fan of writers Anais Nin and D. H. Lawrence, however, I had not come across this genre written by African Americans of note. While trying to think of a name for the group of writers that had gathered, I realized they wrote every sub-genre of romance. Upon searching through the books in my personal library, I picked up my copy of Erotique Noire and knew I had found the name for this unique group. I used the books' spelling rather than the one we often see, noir. Why? To honor the marvelous list of authors who contributed to Erotique Noire/Black Erotica (source: Amazon) 


  • Rutgers University, Newark, NJ: Business Management (no degree)
  • Bloomfield College, Bloomfield, NJ: Business Administration (no degree)

   Continuing Education Credits and Certificates

  • University of Pennsylvania: Maximizing Team Performance
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University: Administrative Assistant as Manager
  • Business Women's Training Institute: Leadership Communication/Coaching Skills
  • American Management Association: File and Record Organization
  • Practising Law Institute: Litigation Case Management

Professional Affiliations

  • The Association for Women in Communications
  • National Association of Black Journalists

Present and Past Civic Affiliations

  • Editorial Board: Mused Literary Magazine
  • Member: Historical Society of East Orange, Inc. Past Chair, Bylaws Committee:
  • Member: Friends of East Orange Public Library, 2009 Chair/Commentator author symposium & book signing   
  • Volunteer: Elderly Nutrition Program   
  • Past Member: Women's Association of NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Arts Center) Member of the Newark Cultural Legacy Committee. Received Certificate of Recognition for particpating in Bricks, Mortar, and Spirit II: Newark through the Prism of Philip Roth

Causes I Support In No Particular Order:

  • Alzheimer's Foundation of America
  • American Cancer Society, Inc.
  • American Library Association 
  • Feed The Children/USA Program
  • Essex County Friend Advocate Program
  • Lupus Organization
  • Kiva
  • Literacy Volunteers Association

I give money, time or both to these causes because they touch my life.

I live in New Jersey and am a freelance business writer, book reviewer and home business consultant. I am a columnist and editor of two sites, Hot and Spicy [foods] and Work & Family. I am the former moderator of "Home Business on a Shoestring" at a now defunct member-based site. I was contributing editor (movie reviews) for Garden and Hearth Publishing where I wrote "Going to the Movies with Vannie." Garden and Hearth Publishing is now a part of the IAC group. Several of my articles appear on IACīs site Life 123

In addition, I founded and was editor of a cultural, educational and family events e-newsletter in the late mid to late 90's. I am the founder and moderator of a 300-plus member networking romance genre author/writer group that has been strong for more than 10 years.

With my love of cooking and enjoying hot and spicy food, it is not a coincidence that the company I have worked with for more than 15 years, have gold medal herbs and spices, as well as other household products. You can visit my business sites, Watkins and A Better Cook for recipes, articles, hints, recommendations and some fun ideas. I have been a member of the BellaOnline writing family since 2004, and serve on the editorial board of BellaOnline's Mused Literary Magazine. I am activily involved with several community organizations in my hometown where I served as chair of two committees. I received a Certificate of Appreciation as a 15 year volunteer member of the Essex County Friend/Advocate Program for senior citizens. I was among more than 200 volunteer readers and a final manuscript reader for Chicken Soup for the African American Soul 

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Poetry & Writing For The Ages