Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Lil Bit of This & A Lil Bit of That . . .

Well, if you're interested, you can now check me out or befriend me on Facebook.

In anticipation of my upcoming release, A Natural Woman, my website has a brand New Look. As soon as I'm able, I'll post an excerpt.

In case you haven't already noticed, I've posted a new "Natural Hair" link category (move to the right-side of the blog and scroll down). In the coming days, I hope to add a number of other links, which deal with or cover topics associated with natural hair. If you have suggestions or favorite "natural hair" sites by all means, email me or drop me a note in the sections for comments.

In keeping with the new natural hair focus, I also plan to post a few interviews with African American women who sport natural hair styles. If you'd like to be included, let me know and I'll email you the list of questions. If you'd like to participate, but would rather not have your indentity revealed, I don't have any problems with an anonymous posting of your responses.

Friday, June 26, 2009

MICHAEL (The King of Pop) . . . I'll Miss You . . . Rest In Peace . . .

Yes, even though I plead guilty to having poked fun at the one-glove-wonder and his family over the last several years, I've always had nothing but the highest respect for Michael Jackson's talents as an entertainer, singer and performer.

The first music I ever owned were vinyl albums cut by the Jackson Five, albums I still own to this day. My first school girl crushes were on MJ and his brothers, back when they sported the big 'fros and the bell bottoms. Posters of them from Right On magazine and elsewhere graced my bedroom walls. All it took was for somebody to shout, "The Jackson Five are on TV!" and like all of the other kids who'd been out playing or standing around outside, and I was off and running for the house. I'm old and grown and I still get chills when I see those clips off Mike and his brothers on stage doing those moves and singing those songs . . . "ABC" "The Love You Save" and "I Want You Back."

Damn, he's gone.

An hour before the news of Michael Jackson's death hit the airwaves, my son was upstairs in his room praticing "I'll Be There" on his alto sax. Something tells me that wasn't at all by chance. And I guess it's only fitting that the song is now one I'll always associate with the news of MJ's passing.

I'm sad, but not only about Mike. To be honest, a part of me, the starry-eyed little girl, I suppose, was really hoping Mike would finally get it together and reunite with his brothers for one last concert tour. Seriously. But it won't be until December, when I take my old J5 Christmas album out for a listen and hear that sweet angelic voice, that I'll really break down and cry.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thursday Thirteen # 41 . . . 13 Candidates for the OSM's Worst Parents In The World Award . . .

My dear husband is a big fan of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olberman. Me? Not so much. Before you get it twisted, yeah, I am very much a liberal, I just prefer my news the old fashioned way--without the obvious bias, the additional commentary and all of that dang shouting. In particular, that whole "Worst Person In the World" segment strikes me as a wee bit over the top. I tend to file those sorts of things under entertainment rather than news.

So, in the name of entertainment, I don't have a problem with borrowing the "Worst Person" concept for the Old School Mix's Thursday Thirteen--The 13 Candidates for the Worst Parents In the World Award.

1) Jon & Kate (minus the 8)

2) Octo-Mom and the Anonymous Sperm Donor

3) The parents who bring their infants, toddlers, preschoolers and/or underage kid (s) into R-rated movies

4) Michael Jackson

5) Penny's Mama (from the old Good Times TV series)

6) Katherine & Joe Jackson

7) The Parents of the Rugrats

8) Homer & Marge Simpson

9) Ozzie & Sharon Osbourne

10) Britney & K-Fed

11) Christina Raines (the woman who, along with her kids, was shacked up with Drew Peterson before his most recent arrest)

12) Bobby & Whitney

13) Any parent who puts full make up (blush, lipstick, eyelashes, liner, etc.) on an infant, toddler, preschooler, etc. and enters them into a beauty contest.

Well, those are some of my pics. Who would you nominate?

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Why Do I Write? What's The Pay-Off?

Several weeks ago, someone asked me what I perceived as the "pay-off" for what I do and ever since then, I've been pondering the "why" of it all.

Sometimes I wonder. It's certainly not the modest amount of money or attention it's garnered me, thus far. To be honest though, I've never had a burning desire to be rich or a celebrity or even a member of the in-crowd. I'm sure for some, even thinking such is a shocking sacrilege. We do appear to live in a society where just about everybody and their mamas make a point of clamoring for an extended stay in the spotlight, if not the 15 minutes of fame to which they somehow and for some reason feel entitled.

Mainly, I write because I enjoy it. The sheer pleasure of it, when it's going well, mind you, ranks right up there with eating and sex. Over and beyond my own enjoyment, I think I write because I'm in awe of the pleasure it's capable of bringing to others. Nothing beats a letter from a reader who claims my novel, After The Dance made her laugh harder than she's laughed in years. Nor will I ever forget the comments of the woman who attended one of my library readings and said what she enjoyed most about reading my book was that she could actually read the love scenes without cringing or squinting her eyes.

Fan mail and positive feedback from folks who've read and enjoyed my work, make some of the less-than-pleasant crap one is forced to endure on the "author's journey" worthwhile. But please don't look for me to go into detail about any of that crap. I'd much rather stay focused on the pluses and the positives, rather than those things that truly make me wonder if picking up a pen and writing another damn word is worth it.

If you're a writer (or an artist) and you feel like sharing, I'd love to hear your reasons for doing what you do.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Thursday Thirteen #40 . . . 13 Ways Of Showing An Author Support . . .

Do you have a friend, relative or loved one who has succeeded in making the grand leap from writing to publishing? Nowadays, most everyone does. Well, if you've ever wondered how you might be of assistance to the "author" in your life, the following list may give you a few ideas . . .

1) Buy, borrow or steal a copy of the book

2) Read the book

Okay, now that we have the obvious out of the way, let's explore a few others.

3) Mention the book (That's right, talk it up, not only in normal, everyday conversations, but also on cyber hangouts, like Twitter and Facebook)

4) Review the book (particularly if you read and liked it. A few great places to post reviews on the internet are Amazon and Barnes & Noble. But reviews in print publcations--like magazines, newspapers, journals and newsletters--work just as well and sometimes even better)

5) Rate the book (If you're not up to writing a review, there are a number of web-based sites where you can assign books a specific number of stars or post one word reviews, like--"Great!" "Hilarious." "Moving," etc--and leave it at that. A couple of my favorite places for doing such are Goodreads and weread.

6) Post a blog write-up or interview (Mention the book or post an interview with the author on your blog)

7) Show-up (Even if you've already snagged a signed copy of the book, attend a reading or show up at a signing, just to say "hello" or lend a bit of moral support)

8) Take a friend or two (If you do plan on attending a signing or reading, why not get a friend or two to tag along? The more, the merrier)

9) Ask your favorite bookseller and/or library branch to carry the title (Requests help drive demand for the book. Many libraries will allow users to make requests on-line)

10) Pre-order the book (Why wait? Be among the first to own a copy. If your bookseller believes there is interest, he'll make sure plenty of copies are kept in stock)

11) Make the book a gift item (Spread the word. Exposure is half the battle)

12) Write a note (Send and/or give the author in your life a note in which you express your thoughts about the book or praise his/her efforts. A few words of encouragement go a long way.

13) Share what you know (If you hear about an event, book festival, new bookstore, a contest, etc., that might interest or benefit the author in your life, don't hesitate to pass the info along)

So, how many of these have you done? If you have additional ideas or suggestions, please feel free to share in the comments!

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