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Showing posts from 2014

A Couch of One's Own

I'm thinking I should start with a warning, something like TVMA. This blog has no blood, sex , or gore, but it does have sentiment that may offend some masquerading as grown folk. It's not personal, people. It's the fruit of the seed That was germinating in my brain when I awoke this morning. 
    My first job out of college was on Wall Street, at Merrill Lynch. It wasn't what I wanted to do, but it beat being  chronically unemployed or underemployed. When I first started, everyone took a financial principles type class and I don't remember what they taught us in there mostly, but it all boiled down (or summed up) into one thing: you have got to pay yourself first. I remember the instructor telling us that you should put something into savings, even before you paid your utility bills, religiously and without fail, even it you could only carve out fifty bucks a paycheck, because after everything else was paid, you would, God willing, still have you. 
      I've he…

Becoming Lean: My Journey to a Healthier Me

Truth is stranger than Fiction

Momma: Gone is fiction, but yes,it is based on my life. It is fiction because I changed the names of everyone in the book, even combining characters around a single issue. I did that to make the book read more like fiction, to give the main character more of an arc.I also changed the way the large problem was resolved in the story to make it more "fiction"-like. Without giving it away, Sweetie, eventually finds a way to fix her problem (and her brother's problem) herself. She stops watching her life and acts in it, instead. That is not what happened. I will let you wonder about that.
     I also combined some of my memories and some of my brothers to show a more complete picture of the settings where the story takes place. I do not remember the KKK rally, but my brother does. That is because when my grandmother told me to come inside because the Klan was having a rally, I did. My brother on the other hand, was curious, so he didn't. While I was inside watching …

Get into the car and off of my couch...or the continued adventures of MidiMe.

For a person with control issues (which I admit I am ), letting your child grow up and do things like...drive...is a hard thing. And for a person with control issues mixed with a bit of Helicopter Mom, it's even harder.  I realize that since I really have no control over her growing, I could spend a lot of energy trying to hold her back by figuratively wrapping myself around her leg and dragging behind her on the floor, or I can put on my big girl panties and go forth into the world alongside her.

I did not want my MidiMe to drive. I don't know if it was because my father never let me drive while I lived at home, because I didn't want to pay the increased insurance premium, or because I knew in the back of my mind that if she had a car there's a pretty good chance that at several points during the day, I probably, most assuredly, won't know where she is and who she is with.

But I have exhaled. Since I'm not raising MidiMe in New York City and her social calenda…

Please cast your vote for me and....

Friends, I'm honored to be nominated for the 2014 African American Literary Awards. Please vote for me. I'm nominated in several categories, including best anthology, best young adult, best fiction and author of the year. Cast your vote at www.literaryawardshow.com, and then tell three friends to do the same.


Blog in the Round - Passing the Torch

My friend and author Marissa Monteilh has asked me to participate in Blog in The Round. What is that you ask? It's a way for you and me to get to know authors and find out what they are working on. Marissa was asked by KL Brady, who was asked by Trice Hickman, who was asked by another writer-friend of mine, Trisha Thomas. I'm supposed to answer four questions about my writing process, and then pass it on to other authors.

What am I writing./working on?

I always have more than one project in my head at the same time in various stages of development. I am working on co-writing a non-fiction book with Shalay Peterson called The Sentinel Event. It is an account of her journey from Islam to Christianity after a medical mistake critically injured her newborn. Shalay and her husband received a landmark settlement from the federal government that reformed the way service members and their families are compensated for medical injuries.
I am also brewing another YA/NA novel to follow up …

The Get Fit, Get Fine Plan

So far so good...on my get fit get fine plan. I started in January and have kept at it. After losing 35 lbs And maintaining lean muscle mass reasonably well, I am  within  4 lbs of my goal weight, and feel as if I am more than ready for the beach. There are several things that have helped me to stay focused on the prize. First, the hubster is right there with me, not just cheering me on, but participating as well. He's lost just as much as I have. Another is community. Yes, I do love my fitbit. There are many nights where I have gone out for a last run because I can't get less steps than so-and-so. So and so knows who they are. Next, my kids. Nothing feels better than having my teen tell me I'm fitter than her or my ass looks better than hers when she used to say things like, "mom, you look like you are pregnant" or "I like putting my head on your belly. It's like a pillow." Now her sideways compliments sound more like "Mom, your butt is finall…

There's a hole in the bucket or Why you don't like working out before you go to work in the morning

Those of you that follow me know I embarked in a more healthy lifestyle at the beginning of the year. I've accomplished several goals and have set new ones. My workouts, for the most part, take place evenings, although I have been trying to do one on Friday morning before work. This is  really, really hard. Mornings are very full. I'm all about learning from other's mistakes, so I have worked through why this is hard to do for all of us. My reasons follow.

1. Forgetting of the underwear. This sucks. You think you packed it, but left it on the bed. Not good. In the movies, being au natural looks cool. Its not. Its uncomfortable.

2.You try to solve number one by leaving undies in the gym bag. But then you discover that you have used them all. Or they clash terribly with the rest of your undergarments. Foundations needs to feel fantastic, and this can ruin your day. Clashing undies means you blush when you walk around the lockerroom in them. And you will walk around in them b…

What Not Waxing Redux...or Author Talk on Tour

I reposted an article that a friend of mine shared yesterday--about a woman trying to wax herself, and it reminded me a of a blog I wrote back in 2007--an account of me doing the very same thing! I have a ton of friends who can tell stories about the time they tried to save themselves 75 bucks by trying to remove their own hair. Most times, the outcome wasn't so good. After doing it myself for quite awhile, I decided to try various waxing salons. A few times, I might have been better off doing it myself. Back when I was at FDU, I read this piece (much revised) at a student workshop session, and watched as the men in the room cringed. This was something they could not imagine. One of my professors lived in Copenhagen, and after my session, we talked about how American women were obsessed with hair removal in a way that the women in Copenhagen were not. We preferred smoothness to hair everywhere, but that is all good. (He read a piece that same day that told of the inability to mict…

Exceprt from A Letter For My Mother, By ME....Submit yours!

Charlenne,

The doctors say that it won’t be long now. Your son just called and told me. I have to say that I didn’t expect to be sucked down the long tunnel of dread, and I certainly didn’t expect the tears. I haven’t spoken to you in a month or so. That’s mainly my fault. Since I split with your son, I don’t call as much. I think it may have been a little uncomfortable for you, too, because you don’t call me either, not like at first.

As young women, we are often told what type of relationship to expect with a mother-in-law, and unfortunately, we often believe it. That’s where we started, in that place that every mother-in-law-daughter-in-law dyad is supposed to begin, midway between disdain and respect and halfway to fear.

Over time, we both figured that each was going to stick around awhile, so we had to get past the paper cuts and passive-aggressive behaviors that we inflicted on each other regularly. You would always be his mother and I would always be the mother of his children. No…

A Letter for YOUR mother

I'm really excited about this next book, A Letter for My Mother. This is an annthology of essays collected from my writer and film friends. It features work by many of the big names you know, writers such as Victoria Christopher Murray, Reshonda Tate Billingsley, Zane, Carmen Green, Tannanarive Due, plus some writers you may not have heard of. The book is due to be released in a few days, and because of the participatory nature of this project, I wanted to invite you, the reader to participate as well. So, from now until Mother's Day, I challenge you in the same way I challenged the writers that have contributed to this book.

I will open my blog to your posts for that time period. Reach deep down and write your own letter to your mother or mother-figure in your life and tell them something you never could before. Mother-Daughter relationships aren't always pretty, but they almost always teach us something. What has your taught you? Tell us here.

A few caveats: You have to …

The Path To Hotness

When we are young, our parents often tell us things that we don't understand or that make no sense to us until much later in life, things like anything worth doing is worth doing well, or nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. I confess that my parents didn't tell me that one, but I have learned it to be true over my 11 week long journey to fit.
    I embarked on my new health challenge at the beginning of the year, and except for one lone glass of wine with friends, a planned one, I have stuck to it. I have not missed one of the 66 exercise sessions, or 11 dietitian appointments. I walked and run countless miles (unless you follow me on fitbit; the actual number is there for you to see and me to gloat over). I'm sure I have east coast friends who are staying up late because they are afraid that I have a three hour jump on them and might out step them when they sleep. (Girl, stop jogging in your 600 square foot apartment! You are disturbing the neighbors below you). …

So You Want to Become a Writer: Tools of the Trade for Beginners Guest Post by NiKolas Baron, from Grammarly

So You Want to Become a Writer: Tools of the Trade for Beginners You’ve decided that out of all the other professions you could choose, writing is right for you. You want to compose beautiful prose and enter the minds of your readers to enrich their imagination. But where do you start? What do you need? What are the best writers using to enhance their writing skills? In an age of endless technology, there are millions of online resources. But what some beginning writers forget about is the actual written word: books. There are many books out there that writers need to have. Now, let’s not rule out Kindle electronic books; just because there’s no paper doesn’t mean it’s not a real book. Also, think about the entire writing process. What do you need to start out? What’s your writing style? What do you need to give you that last push at the end to finish your novel? What do you need to market, promote, or publish your work? What writing contests are available for beginning writers? There …

How to survive a teenager by breathing

Some days, Kids know how to make you scream. Or almost. They make you want to scream. Don't. Instead breathe in, then breathe out. Repeat. If I can get through mother-of-teendom doing this, it will work for you.
My teen lost her wallet. That means, no school ID, no bus pass, no driving permit. Then, she followed that up by losing her glasses. Again. Breathe in, breath out. Repeat.
I decided to go in to work late to get her a replacement permit. She shows up at my room, ready to go. or--(insert sound of screeching car here). Her mouth said she was ready to go to a place of business, but her clothing did not.
She had on shorts that might have been panties, a shirt that bared her midriff, thigh high thick socks and  over the knee boots. Oh, an a hip length sweater over that. Did I mention it is winter? But the boots, they were slamming! Clearly, she got her shoe taste from her mama.
I said, "Darling, we are going to two places of business, followed by lunch at my office. You nee…
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