When C. Kelly Robinson sits down to write a book, he has one mission in mind: to shatter the myth that African-American men are a bunch of womanizing, out-of-work thugs. His latest romance, The Perfect Blend, focuses on three couples, whose problems range from out-of-wedlock babies to the looming loss of a job. Each relationship is based on something Robinson's friends have been through. "I thought it would be interesting to put them on the page -- to inspire people to come up with some of the best ways to deal with those challenges," Robinson says.
Take the ordeal of O.J., one of Robinson's characters: His estranged girlfriend is murdered in a subway terminal, and he's left to raise their infant daughter by himself. "I've become somewhat more generally focused now on how to show positive young African-American relationships," Robinson says, "but making sure to show the male side." He signs his book at 7 p.m. Friday at Borders, 3466 Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights. Admission is free; call 216-291-8605. -- Cris Glaser
VERB Ballets, formerly the Cleveland Repertory Project, was recently named one of the "25 to Watch" by Dance Magazine. Your chance to watch comes with performances of two recent works at 7 p.m. Friday at the Allen Theatre, 1501 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $15 and $25, available by calling 216-397-3757. -- Michael Gallucci
The Poets' and Writers' League of Greater Cleveland, not surprisingly, loves everything about reading and writing. The group opens its doors Wednesday for Intro Into the PWLGC Literary Center, a free program centered on its lit-friendly programs. It happens at the center (12200 Fairhill Road, Townhouse 3-A) from 7 to 9 p.m.; call 216-421-0403. -- Michael Gallucci