Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thursday Thirteen #50 . . . 13 Changes In My Reading Habits

Over the last ten years or so, I’ve noticed a number of changes in my reading habits. Sadly, most of the changes haven’t been for the better and “sad” is also a good way to describe what I felt while compiling this list. Will I ever regain the same sense of joy I once felt when I curled up in bed with a good book or my favorite magazine? Will Nooks and Kindles ever come close to duplicating the warm and fuzzy feelings of contentment I experience when my face is buried in the pages of a book that I can’t put down? I’m not hopeful.

1) I no longer read or subscribe to the local newspaper on a daily basis. I’ve been reading the newspaper on a somewhat regular basis since I was twelve. However my desire to read and subscribe waned upon my move from Memphis, TN to Cleveland, OH, approximately 9 years ago. I’ve since moved to North Carolina, but I still haven’t reclaimed the time or desire to read the paper on a daily basis.

2) I do subscribe to the weekend (Fri-Sunday) edition of the local newspaper. Still, often times, I don’t read any of the papers until Sunday.

3) I no longer purchase or attempt to read the Sunday New York Times. Back in the day, the hubby and I used to love picking up a Sunday NY Times before paying a visit to our favorite pancake house. Eating pancakes, drinking coffee and discussing what we read in the Times used to be a treat.

4) I no longer purchase or attempt to read the NY Times Book Review. For years, even after I stopped reading the Sunday NY Times, I’d still purchase a copy of their book review. Think that stopped around about the time my son came into the picture.

5) I stopped subscribing to “O” magazine several years ago. When I started accumulating large piles of unread copies, I knew it was time to call it quits. I still like “O” and occasionally I’m moved to pick up a copy, but I really wish it was a bit thinner and/or came out every other month.

6) I still subscribe to “ESSENCE” magazine. But the writing on the wall isn’t good. Like “O” in recent years I’ve begun accumulating large piles of unread copies. Unlike “O” though, I think I’ve become increasingly dissatisfied with the magazine’s content.

7) I no longer read several novels and non-fiction titles in a single month. Once upon a time, it wasn’t unusual for me to read 6-7 books (and sometimes more) in a month. Now, if I manage to read 1 every other month, I’m happy.

8) I no longer visit the library on a regular basis. Visiting the library was once something I once did at least a couple of times month. Sometimes I’d visit and read magazines and journals for hours. These days when I visit, I feel like I’m lost in a forest.

9) I no longer visit the bookstore on a regular basis. Visiting a bookstore used to be something I very much looked forward to doing at least once a week. I still enjoy my visits, but they don’t occur quite as often and I don’t browse as long as I once did.

10) On occasion, I still purchase a number of magazines and journals, but I seldom read them in a day or even a week’s time. I hate throwing them out unread, so I’ve been keeping them in boxes and hoping my stash doesn’t land me on an episode of “Hoarders.”

11) Once upon a time, I routinely read in bed before calling it a night. I can’t remember the last time I took a book or a magazine to bed with me. Even if I tried, I’m sure I’d be asleep after a paragraph or two.

12) I used to give my reading material my undivided attention. These days, when I read, either the TV is on, I’m listening to music or I’m simultaneously engaging members of my family in conversation. Oddly enough, on those rare occasions when I do find myself alone with a book, rather than relish the moment, I start feeling guilty, as if I really need to be “doing” something . . .

13) More and more, the news and information I read is coming from online sources. Ah yes, the computer. It’s making our lives easier, providing us with a variety of entertainment outlets and allowing us access to all kinds of information, but might it also be stealing and/or stifling some of life’s simpler pleasures in the process?

Does anything on my list sound familiar? Have you noticed similar changes in your own reading habits?

If you'd like to visit other Thursday 13 participants START HERE

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lots of Links . . . Some Informative, Others Just For Fun

Who do you write like? Find out @ I write like. My son introduced me to this site. After you type in a writing sample, it will give you the name of the author it thinks you write like. When I typed in a passage from one of my... novels, it told me I wrote like Stephen King. If you try it, let me know your results . . .

Some great advice HERE from Author Tananarive Due. Among the things she mentions in this speech are 4 ways writers sabotage their work: 1) You want to write, but you don't write; 2) You write, but you don't finish what you write; 3) You finish what you write, but don't submit for publication & 4) You submit what you write, but you don't re-submit. Check out the link for details.

Lots of useful info for newbie writers in the following Youtube clip. In Ask Marita!, Author Marita Golden provides answers to the following: 1) How do I write with regularity; 2) What do I do after my manuscript is finished? 3) What does an agent do?; 4)How do I get an agent?; 5) Is self-publishing a viable option? Check out the clip for Ms. Golden's responses.

The following is a clip of my favorite Muppet, Grover, doing a spoof of the Old Spice Guy commercial.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories (Brandi F.)

Brandi F.'s Story
(Brandi F.)

Background / I am 30 years old and I live in Memphis, TN. I conduct health research in African American communities with the intent of addressing community and individual factors that cause poor health among minorities. One of our recent projects focuses on increasing access to healthy foods in communities that do not have supermarkets. I have a great husband, but no kids yet . . .

Hairstyle / I wear a variety of styles—a wash and go, twist-outs and curly fros. I’m always searing YouTube for new style ideas. I decided to stop relaxing in June of 2009. I had been reading about transitioning for a few months and decided to do it! I wore my hair straight until I did the big chop in May 2010. I have not used direct heat on my hair since.

Reason for wearing a “natural” hairstyle / My reason for transitioning was to achieve healthier hair. My hair had thinned out over time with relaxers, and I wanted to embrace my natural texture again. I thought that by fall, I would wear it straight again, but I am loving the versatility of my new hair!

Support of your natural look / When I announced my decision to transition, I got a lot of positive feedback from old classmates and friends who had already gone through the process. I even convinced a few girlfriends to join me. My husband is on board now; he likes to joke about all the products and concoctions I’ve been testing on my hair.

Advice for women considering a “natural” hairstyle / Learn as much as you can about achieving healthy hair. Read blogs, watch video, listen to others share their hair stories. This is a learning process that takes time; many of us have never truly cared for our hair in its natural texture. Commit at least two years to transitioning (don’t get hung up on length). If you keep it healthy, your hair will grow.

Any natural hair blogs, websites, books or print magazines you’d like to recommend / There are so many resources out there, but websites that stick out include Mane&Chic and My favorite YouTuber is —Kimmaytube--she breaks down Hair 101 like no one I’ve seen! Her videos are informative and insightful and I especially enjoyed the one she did on hair growth and maintenance.

Additional Commentary / I appreciate the opportunity to share my story. My journey has been so rewarding.

Definition of a natural woman / A natural woman is confident and comfortable in her own skin!

"Brandi F.'s Story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information). Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Brandi F.'s Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments. THANK YOU!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

My Knotty Truths

If you're interested in learning more about my natural hair journey, do stop by Michele George's blog "The Knotty Truth." Recently, she asked me a series of hair related questions and posted my responses. So, if you'd like to know how I answered any of the following:

Where are you from and what is the natural scene like where you are from?

Did you transition to natural hair? If so, what were your experiences?

Did you have any support?

Has there been any differences in your life after going natural?

If you were stranded on a deserted island and had to choose three items for yourhair, what are three things you would have to have for your hair and why?

How do you maintain your hair?

What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural?

Has being natural inspired you to write?

Please visit Michele's blog

"The Knotty Truth"

for my responses.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Thursday Thirteen # 49 . . . My 13 Writing Essentials

WRITING ESSENTIALS ( 13 Things I need/want/like having at my disposal when I write)

An article in the September 2010 issue of Writer's Digest, "Essentials To A Writer's Life" by Erik Larson inspired me to come up with my own list of writing essentials. Larson and I share a need for coffee, but some of the other items on his list were things like "Blocks of Undisturbed Time" "Oreo Cookie" and "A Fireplace."

Even though I wrote down the first things that came to mind, I wouldn't necessarily rank my "essentials" in the order in which they appear . . .

1) CAFFEINE: My drug of choice is coffee--General Foods, Hazelnut CafĂ©, to be specific. But in a crunch, I’ll go with an ice cold Coke, or a Dr. Pepper or even a tall glass of sweetened iced tea.

2) LOTS OF LIGHT: During the day, I prefer natural light. Thanks to the previous owner, my house has shades, blinds and a number of dark screens on the windows. I’m guessing he must have been a vampire or something . . . I needs my light!

3) A WINDOW: Yeah, the light thing again. Also, I like being able to catch a glimpse of the outside world every now and then.

4) AN INK PIN: I prefer a pen with a thick, bold, black tip. (Stop, don’t even go there, :-D) Uni-ball’s Vision Elite, Bold 0.8mm are typically what I use.

5) ACCESS TO MUSIC: Often times I write with a little jazz playing in the background or on my headset. Depending on the writing project though, sometimes I’ll listen to r&b, blues, hip-hop or rap. Typically when I’m listening to something other than jazz, I’m attempting to create a certain mood-—one befitting of the particular section I’m in the process of writing.

6) A COMFORTABLE CHAIR: Back support and an ability to embrace the tush are the two most important features here. If it swivels, rocks and turns, that’s even better.

7) CALM, QUIET, PEACEFUL ENVIRONMENT: While I’ve trained myself to write just about anywhere (like the ballpark, the dentist office, in front of a blaring television), I prefer a place where the distractions are few. You’re not likely to find me writing in a bar, restaurant or a coffee shop or any other public place by choice, but I have been known to write in the bath tub . . .

8) A DICTIONARY: I can’t spell y’all, so a dictionary is a must. Plus, it helps when I’m not sure if the word I want to use is the best or proper choice. I do keep a Thesaurus nearby, but I don’t use it much—-probably because I’ve heard too many teachers, authors and others speak on the dangers of becoming overly dependent on the Thesaurus.

9) A GRAMMAR REFERENCE GUIDE: The paperback English Handbook I was assigned as a freshman in college has served me well over the years. Yeah, it’s old and some of the pages have pulled loose from the binding, but you couldn't’t pay me to part with it.

10) A YELLOW LEGAL PAD or SPIRAL NOTEBOOK: I prefer composing in long-hand with an ink pen, hence the need for a pad or notebook.

11) BOTTLED WATER: Gotta keep those brain cells hydrated.

12) A BABY NAME BOOK: I like know the meaning and origins of names. Sometimes, when I’m having “problems” with a character, I’ll start going through the baby name book and see if name change is in order.

13) STIMULATING MATERIAL: When I’m really enjoying what I’m writing, it’s like spending a little time in my own private corner of heaven.

If you write (or engage in some other creative endeavor), I'd love to hear what you consider "essential" when you give yourself over to your muse.

If you'd like to visit other Thursday 13 participants


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A YouTube Review of After The Dance (by Lori Johnson)

Wow, a reader was kind enough to send me a YouTube clip of her review of my debut novel, After The Dance. Of course, she just earned herself a free, signed copy of my next novel, LOL!

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Happyness is Nappyness" (Natural Hair Expo 2010 in Raleigh)

Will I see you there? (Saturday, June 19, 12 noon- 8pm) For more info click on the link--

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories (Michele George's Story)

(Michele George's Story)

Michelle George
Background / Michele George, who currently resides in Columbus, Ohio, comes to the field of Cosmetology with over two decades of passion and experience in Pharmaceutical and Biotech Research Industry. Her first work, The Knotty Truth: Managing Tightly Coiled Hair At Home DIY Survival Guide, lays the groundwork for her desire to impact the cosmetology industry with the beauty and artistry of highly textured hair. A Certified Natural Hair Consultant, Mrs. George, in her 40s, now parlays her passion by educating women on the delicate art of transitioning from chemical hair to highly textured hair via workshops, online classes and seminars in Ohio and nationally.

Hairstyle / I wear my hair in locs that I started August 2006 with 400 braids that I installed myself. I maintain with a 4pt reverse rotation with a 2.5-inch bobby pin. For the past 3yrs, I’ve washed my hair with African Black Soap and conditioned with aloe vera juice and my favorite essential oils: rosemary and lemongrass oil and feed my hair with olive oil infused with the same EOs and seal the moisture in with castor oil.

Michele George
Reason for wearing a “natural” hairstyle / After 10 years of trying to go natural, I finally transitioned successfully in 2004. I chopped off the chemically processed hair January 1, 2005 and haven’t looked back since. I went natural because I wore a lot of twist outs with my texturized hair. I began to stretch my touch-ups further and further apart as I embraced the naturally curly texture that emerged from my roots. I loved it and wanted to see what it was like to look like me. I began wondering--why do I have to severely alter myself in order to be accepted by corporate America?
While on maternity leave with my second child in 2003, I became a Certified Personal Trainer and began living a healthier lifestyle. I became determined to go natural at this point. Outside of these reasons, hairstylists helped me go natural because of lack of good customer service, stacking customers, leaving me in the chair all day, getting out at midnight, stylists hopping from salon to salon without follow-up, chasing them down to get my chair done and a general lack of respect for my time. I wanted to free of the chair. I attempted to go natural three separate times; the third time was the charm.

Negative reactions / when I did the BC (big chop), I received a lot of negative comments: “Do you like your hair that way?” Co-worker “You look like you have a jheri curl.” Auntie “Why are you wearing your hair like that?” Best friendWhen are you going to loc your hair?” Cousin “I like your hair.” (it was a wig) Customer

Response to negative commentary / I focused on the big picture and the picture albums of those women in fotki land and who shared their journeys. When I did that, I could see how my hair might look in 6-12-18 months down the road. The bottom line was hair grows, everyday it grows. If I hung in there until the fall/winter/spring/summer, my hair would grow too, and I would be able to have a testimony if I hung in there for the duration. I decided to commit to staying natural.
Support for your natural look / The Bible helped me a lot. In Genesis, the Word says God looked upon all His creation and said, "It is good, it is Very good!" That includes my hair. I became determined to see me the way Jesus sees me because the Word also said He doesn't give us more than we can handle. We must be some strong sisters to be given this awesome grade of hair!
A woman with natural hair whose style you admire / I was inspired by T. Crystal Keymah from (then) In Living Color. We favor one another and I was hooked since I first saw her in 1990.

Michele George

Advice for women considering a "natural" hairstyle / It took me until 2005 to finally transition back to me. As a result, I don't proselytize and try to convert people; I just try to be an example, a good example. If they decide to go natural, it will happen at an appointed time that is unique to each and every one of us. I just focus on being the bridge that reaches out to my sister to pass, once she makes the decision that this is what she wants. I don't have the energy to convince people any more. The calling is unique: many are called, few are chosen. It's an awareness that must be claimed by the journeywomen alone. And, when she does, I'm here, waiting, smiling, and welcoming her to a new space of self-love.

Books you'd like to recommend / If you are ready to be informed, enlightened and maybe just a little more educated about highly textured hair, my book, The Knotty Truth is for you. With an emphasis on affordable do-it-yourself hair ingredients at home, The Knotty Truth will introduce you to everyday kitchen products that will nourish not only your belly, but also your hair. Natural hair care need not be expensive. If you are not ready to venture into the world of natural hair, The Knotty Truth may just change your mind with its refreshing perceptive and witty candor. The Knotty Truth is for the strong willed inner child who wants to be free to embrace the nap of her hair or begin the journey to a head of naturally cared for hair full of strength and vitality!

Definition of a "natural woman" / A natural woman is a woman who can see herself as God sees her: as His perfect and beautiful creation. On the day I meet my Maker, I want Him to know that I think He did a pretty good job! So nappy I was born and nappy I'll die."

If you'd like to learn more about

Michele George

please visit her website

"Michele George's Story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information). Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Michele George's Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments. THANK YOU!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Thursday Thirteen # 48 . . . 13 Facebook Fumbles, Failures & Fouls

If you're on Facebook, perhaps you'll agree with me about some of the these:

1) The Non-Stop Feature Changes Just when I think I have it all figured out, the FB administrators change the features and/or layout again. Jeez-Louise, just leave it alone already or at least keep your improvements to once a year.

2) Negative People aka Trolls If you don't like my status reports, ignore them or do us both a favor and delete me from your list of FB friends. 'Cause if the only time you ever comment on my FB status is when you want to disagree, complain or pick a fight, believe me, I will be deleting you . . .

3) Privacy Settings & Re-settings Again, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. All of the constant tinkering makes me feel even less secure.

4) The FB Folks who play deaf, dumb & blind If I ignored the invitation to join your group or be your friend/fan the first 10 weeks in a row that you asked, why are you still asking me? I’m obviously not interested, so why not show a little dignity and just stop asking already.

5) The Games I'm not interested in farming, being a zookeeper, being initiated into the Mafia or living in a sorority house (Hey, I think I just noticed a theme . . .) For those who enjoy the games, great. But fix it so the rest of us don't have to hear about all of the lost chickens, stray cows, pet monkeys, catfights, turf wars and shoot-outs.

6) People Who Write In All Caps WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS SHOUTING?! Come on people, learn how to communicate on the world wide web.

7) TMDI (too much dang information) Just because we're FB friends doesn't mean I really want or need to know/see all of your business. If you're constantly talking about (or posting pics of) your dirty drawers, shady business deals, mistresses, illegal drug habits, visits to the shake 'em up clubs, bunions, hemorrhoids, etc., we won't be FB friends for very long.

8) The Bible Thumpers Okay, I love the Lord and I don't mind a bit of Scripture every now and then. But posting Bible verses and mini-sermons every hour on the hour, can get a little old after awhile.

9) The Graffiti Artists Okay, I don't mind people writing/posting on my FB wall. All I ask is that you keep it clean, PG13, sane and half-way legible.

10) Invitations Since I live in NC, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be able to make your midnight bake sale at the roller rink in Utah. So way are you even inviting me?

11) The Poke Feature Sorry, I don't get it. I don't want or like people poking me in real life . . .

12) The E-mailers If you are emailing me more than once a day or once a week, STOP. Seriously, I’m probably deleting your emails without reading them anyway.

13) People Who Only Post About What They’re Eating I’m not sure if this irritates me or just makes me hungry . . .

Well, you've heard all of my complaints, but if you still want to befriend me on Facebook, be my guest!

If you'd like to visit other Thursday Thirteen Participants,

Start Here!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Author Lori Johnson on blog talk radio with Vanessa Richardson

Recently, my blogging buddy and "goodreads" friend, author Vanessa Richardson invited me to join her on the blog talk radio show she hosts, "The Certain Ones."

Our discussion is scheduled for tonight (Saturday, May 29) at 6pm EST. According to Vanessa, we will be talking about my latest novel, A Natural Woman, the "natural hair stories" I sometimes feature on my blog and the natural and spiritual journey of Black women's hair.

If you'd like to join us, the call in number is: (917) 932-1607. For additional details about the show, click on the link below:

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thursday Thirteen #47 . . . 13 Noteworthy Author Rejections

What aspiring author and writer wanna-be hasn't suffered through the pain of rejection a time or two? Okay, more like 15-20 times and sometimes twice in a single day. Well, no need to despair. In fact, it's happened to some of the best . . .

1) The author of the Dr. Seuss series had his work rejected more than 15 times before he found an editor interested in working with him.

2) Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach was rejected 140 times before it was eventually published.

3) C.S. Lewis received over 800 rejections before he made his first sale.

4) 20 publishers rejected William Golding’s Lord of the Flies before it was published in 1954. On of the publishers who rejected the Lord of the Flies described it as, "…an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull."

5) Agatha Christie has been called by the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling writer of books of all time and the best-selling writer of any kind, along with William Shakespeare. However, her first mystery novel received over 20 rejections.

6) James Patterson’s first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, was rejected 26 times before finally being accepted.

7) Stephen King received the following rejection for his bestselling novel, Carrie:We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell."

8) J.K. Rowling spent six years writing the first installment of her Harry Potter" novels, and was rejected by 9 publishers before landing a deal with London’s Bloomsbury Publishing.

9) Alex Haley, author of Roots, wrote every day, seven days a week for eight years before selling to a small magazine.

10) Ray Bradbury has had about a thousand rejections over his 30 year career and claims his work still gets rejected

11) Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind was rejected 38 times.

12) Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time was rejected by 26 publishers. After being published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, it went onto to win the Newberry Award and it is now in its 69th printing.

13) Louis L’Amour who has 300 million copies of his 123 books in print, had 200 of his stories rejected before he finally made his first sale.

So, if you're thinking about giving up, don't! Keep writing, working on your craft and submitting your work. All you need are equal portions of luck and talent and a whole lot of persistence . . .



if you'd like to visit other Thursday 13 participants.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Have A Look & A Listen

A Natural Woman really comes to life in the recently released audio version (by Griot Audio/Recorded Books Library) and the audiobook cover is GORGEOUS. If you'd like to listen to a free sample and/or view the audiobook's cover, click on the link below . . .

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sista Girl Book Club of Philly (Fans of A Natural Woman)

Sista Girl Book Club (of Philly)
March 27, 2010

This past Saturday, I had a GREAT time discussing A NATURAL WOMAN with the members of the Philly-based Sista Girl Book Club. I absolutely adore the picture they sent me of them holding up copies of my novel. Check those smiles!

If you own any similar pictures of yourself or the members of your book club, holding up (waving, reading, etc.) copies of either of my two novels (A Natural Woman or After The Dance), I'd love to see them and it would be my pleasure to post them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Listen Up! The audio version of A Natural Woman . . . is now available!

I'm happy to announce that the audio version of my 2nd novel, A Natural Woman, is now available via Griot Audio. I'm looking forward to hearing seasoned actress, Patricia R. Floyd, narrate Professor Aliesha Eaton and Dante's story. Ms. Floyd's acting credits include a part in Drumline and a reoccuring role in Law & Order, among others . . .

Want additional information?
(A Natural Woman is entry #12)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sexiest Songs Of All Time???

It's been a while since I felt the urge to write a music post. Well, earlier in this week, I ran across something that stirred, if not outright riled my inner DJ! (LOL) It all started when Malcolm, my blogging buddy over at Pop Culture Dish, shared the first 5 songs on Billboard Magazine's List of the "50 Sexiest Songs of All Time."

Upon my review of the entire list, which ranks Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" at number 1 and the Captain & Tennille's "Do Me One More Time" at number 10. My reaction was they've gotta be kidding! Okay, actually my reaction was more along the lines of, "ain't no way in hell" but anyway, you get the point.

So I've been thinking, if I were to compile a list of "The Sexiest Songs," which songs might be on it? Well, you'd best believe NOTHING by the Captain & Tennille. Even though I do like their music, as well as Olivia's, it's hardly sexy. I mean, really . . .

No, I'm thinking at the top of my list would be some Maxwell and some Marvin! Yeah, right up there at Number 1 would probably be Max's "Til The Cops Come Knocking." Coming in at a close second would be Marvin Gaye's "Come Get To This." At 3 and 4 would be Aretha's version of "Something He Can Feel" and Labelle's "Lady Marmalade." At number 5 would probably be Smokey Robinson and the Miracle's "Oo Baby, Baby."

Even though I might tinker a bit with the order, those would definitely be some of my top sexy song choices, but what about you? What songs would rank at the top of your own list of Top Sexiest Songs of All Time?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories (Brijetta S.'s Story)

(Brijetta S.'s Story)
Brijetta S.

Background / My name is Brijetta Smith. I currently reside in Flint, MI. I am 22 years old.

Hairstyle / At the present time, I am wearing my hair braided with human hair (zillions) to help my natural hair grow. When my hair is not braided, I wear it natural, accessorized with hair bands. My hair is naturally curly so maintenance is very easy!

Reason for wearing a “natural” hairstyle / I've been wearing my hair natural for about 3 months now. I decided to go natural because I got tired of putting relaxers in my hair every 8-10 weeks. The upkeep (relaxing, flat ironing, blow-drying, styling) was time consuming and I thought it was time for a change. I wanted a new look and I wanted to start my hair-growing process over.

Support of your natural look / I've found a lot of my family members very supportive of my hair cut and wearing my hair natural. I also have a couple of friends from work that encouraged me to try it.

Negative reactions / I haven't received any real negative responses about my haircut. A couple of my friends have joked around and said I looked like Florida Evans from the "Good Times" TV show. Lol

A woman with natural hair whose style you admire / One woman that wears her hair natural that I admire is my Aunt Audrey. I remember she use to wear her hair relaxed and it was so pretty when she wore it curled. When I heard she got tired of relaxers and she cut her ponytail off, I was curious of what her hair would look like. Today, she still wears her hair natural n short n it is very pretty; it gives her a "Queen" ambience.

Useful natural hair care tips, styling techniques or products you’d like to share / The only products I use on my hair are: tea-tree oil infused or olive oil shampoos, and olive oil conditioning hair cream, mousse, JAM conditioning gel, and a curl-boost gel spray by Garnier Fructis. I usually let my hair air-dry and wash it every week depending on much product I use within the week.

Your definition of “a natural woman” / My definition of "a natural woman" is a woman that's not afraid to express their emotions, physical appearance, beliefs, etc.

"Brijetta S.'s Story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information). Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Brijetta S.'s Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Black Women with Natural Hair - A Conversation with Denise Bolds on Blog Talk Radio

At 1pm (ET) on Wednesday, 2/10/10, I'm scheduled to speak with Denise Bolds about natural hair, Black women and my latest novel, A NATURAL WOMAN.

The conversation will occur on BlogTalkRadio. If you'd like to listen, please visit the following link . . .

A Natural Queen Black Women with Natural Hair Black Women Empowered 2/10/2010 - Denise Bolds on Blog Talk Radio

If you'd like to join the conversation or ask questions, the call in number is (347) 857-2381.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Staying Busy . . . Behind The Scenes

No, as of late, I haven't been blogging much. However, I am staying busy. I've started a new writing project and I spend the bulk of my free "online" time on Facebook (

Recently, I learned A Natural Woman was profiled in the December 2009 issue of BLACDetroit Magazine (see page 15 / It was both an honor and a thrill to see my novel featured on the same "Hot On The Shelf" page as the 35th Anniversary Edition of The Black Book and Amiri Baraka's latest--Razor.

I'm in the process of scheduling another blog radio interview and hope to share a few more of the details in the coming days. Also, I'm still taking submissions for the "Natural Woman: Our Hair, Our Stories" series. So, contact me if you're interested and please spread the word.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories (Treasure's Story)

Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories (S. "Treasure" W.)

(S."Treasure" W.'s Story) S. Treasure w.

Background / I am a 28 year old mother of four beautiful children. I am a native of Savannah, GA, who now resides in Warner Robins, GA. I am an author with three published works under my belt.

Hairstyle / At the present time I wear my hair in a natural, baby 'fro. My hair has been natural for about five years now. The decision was made final--after much contemplation--when I was pregnant with my third child. I put a perm in my hair and it felt as if my head was being squeezed by the biggest, strongest hands in the world. It hurt like mad, and so I said, "A'ight! Decision made! Now, let me get this mess out of my hair! LOL!

Reason for wearing a "natural" hairstyle / I'd been thinking of going natural months before I actually did. The reason I did was because I wanted my daughter, who was four at the time, to grow up proud of her hair. I didn't want her to feel as if God had made a bad choice during her creation. I didn't want her to feel pressured by the socieital definition of what looked good.

Support of your "natural" look / Pretty much everyone has been supportive of my natural look. Even those who thought it wouldnt' look good changed their tune once they saw me!

Negative reactions / Once, an ex of mine said I looked like a fuzzy peach. LOL! I was in desperate need of a trim. My own negative reaction, however, only happens when I'm trying to start my locks. Because of all the different textures I have going on--kinky on the sides, curly in the back and straight up top--I tend to get frustrated. That would be the reason I haven't suceeded in having them.

A woman with natural hair whose style you admire / I admire India Arie because she knows who she is and even sings about being proud of it.

Advice for women considering a natural hairstyle / My advice to any woman going natural is to make sure that you are comfortable in your own skin, or should I say hair! Don't be afraid and hold your head up with much confidence knowing tha nobody else has to agree with you. You are beautiful! Natural and all!

Additional commentary / I have come to feel empowered by my natural hair. Once that step was taken to go against the grain of society, I found that it allowed me to dig deeper into my being. I began to act like an individual and not just say that I am one. My visions became more important because I was trusting myself and the Spirit in me, instead of needing to be validated or accepted. I am naturally Me and that's okay.

Your definition of "a natural woman"? / A natural woman is one who is not afraid to just be! Who she is carries much weight with others because she's real. She's authentic. She's one who can be who she was created to be without doubting herself or thinking that anything about her is a mistake.

If you'd like to learn more about
S. "Treasure" W.
please visit her website

"S. Treasure W.'s Story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information). Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "S. Treasure W.'s Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Give It Up For The Fellas!

If you listen to people they will attempt to convince you that men (African American men, in particular) don't read, buy books or attend book signings. I know better, if only because I've seen and experienced otherwise. The pictures below don't even capture all of the men who attended or stopped by my Memphis booksignings in December.
Johnnie Blue
Memphis, TN / December 2009
From Lori's Picture Collection
The gentleman dressed in red (Johnnie Blue) is someone I met last year at one of my signings for After The Dance. Even though he already had a copy of A Natural Woman, he made it his business to show up at my Waldenbooks signing just to chat. He's also a member of an all African American male book club, which is based in Memphis and meets regularly at the public library.
A young man buying a book for his girl.
Waldenbooks (Wolf-Chase Galleria)
Memphis, TN /December 2009
The gentleman dressed in yellow in the second picture was among the first that evening to stop and purchase a copy of A Natural Woman. He told me he was buying it for "his girl." I laughed and told him he must really be into this girl if he's still buying her gifts after Christmas. He smiled and told me he routinely bought her books as gifts and he got a lot of pleasure from doing so.
The earnestness I heard in his voice truly warmed my heart.
Lori & Mike
Waldenbooks (Wolf-Chase Galleria) / December 2009/ Memphis, TN
From Lori's Picture Collection
Lori & Eric's Crew
Waldenbooks (Wolf-Chase Galleria)
Memphis, TN / December 2009
From Lori's Picture Collection
Now, I will say, I do seem to be able to get more men to buy books in Memphis, TN than anywhere else. At this particular signing, I even had a gentleman of Asian descent stop and look at the cover of my book for a couple of seconds before disappearing. When he reappeared, he had his wife and their two adorable little girls with him. The gentleman not only wanted to buy a book, he also wanted me to take pictures with his girls. I think I know why. Interestingly enough, the Asian gentleman and his African American wife had produced two beautiful daughters who bore an uncanny resemble to the woman depicted on A Natural Woman's cover, thick, black head of hair and all.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Being Prepared For The Unexpected . . .

A Few Members of the Jackson, TN Branch

of the Page Turners Book Club

Memphis, Dec. 2009

From Lori's Picture Collection

As a new author, you soon learn that book signings and author events seldom go as planned or expected. My best advice to the uninitiated is to shore up on your flexibility, patience and resilience because you will no doubt be needing all of those things and then some.

The pictures in this post are from a reading and discussion of my debut novel, After The Dance, which took place while I was in Memphis over the 2009 Christmas holiday. The event was arranged by my friend Damika and held in conjunction with a meeting of the Jackson, TN branch of the Page Turners Book Club (led by Lakia Newsom).

THE original plan had been for us to meet-up at a local downtown eatery, but for some unknown reason, the owner of the eatery decided not to open his doors at the pre-arranged, appointed time. From what I understand, dude wouldn't even answer his phone . . . However, a few folks swore they spotted ole boy cruising by and gawking at the crowd gathered outside the closed doors of his establishment . . . LOL.

Hey, sometimes, it's like that and the best you can do is say, "Lord have mercy! My people! My people!"

Anyway, my good friend, Stanford Lewis, who'd so graciously agreed to assist me with the reading that day (even though he was entertaining an out-of-town guest of his own) went over and beyond the call of duty, and out of the blue, offered up his HOUSE as an alternative spot for the event.

Interestingly enough, MY original plan hadn't even been for Stan to assist me with that particular event. But my dear old friend not only showed up, he came through for me in a BIG WAY and for that, I will be forever grateful.

In the end, I had a wonderful time meeting with the ladies and the gentleman of the Page Turners Book Club (Jackson, TN Branch) and discussing my work with them. In spite of the unexpected turn of events, each and everyone of them keep their cool and sense of humor about the situation. Now, that's what I call "CLASS" . . . somthing ole boy from the eatery could probably stand to learn a thing or two about.

A Few Members of the Jackson, TN Branch of the Page Turners Book Club Memphis, TN /Dec. 2009 From Lori's Picture Collection The Page Turners (Jackson, TN branch) Holding copies of After The Dance & A Natural Woman Memphis, TN / Dec. 2009 From Lori's Picture Collection

Monday, January 04, 2010

Just An Overview . . . From My 2009 Mid-South December Book Signings

Yes, I'm back in Charlotte. Brought a cold back with me. But I wanted to post a few pics from my Memphis & Southaven events. I'll have to fill you in on the details later . . .
Damika is one of my favorite fans from the Mid-South Area.
From Lori's Picture Collection
Memphis / Dec. 2009
Me & my homegirl, Charlotte. We attended LeMoyne-Owen College together back in the day and we've been the best of friends ever since! From Lori's Picture Collection Books-A-Million / Southaven, MS / Dec. 2009 Stan is another one of my LeMoyne-Owen buds. He helped me read an excerpt from my debut novel, AFTER THE DANCE. He read Carl & I read Faye. Um, I'm not sure why I'm holding my mouth that way . . . Perhaps I'm still in "Faye" mode . . . From Lori's Picture Collection Books-A-Million /Southaven, MS / Dec. 2009
One of the readings Stan and I did together took place at his house.
We had a great time with the Page Turner's Book Club! From Lori's Picture Collection
Memphis, TN / Dec. 2009

Just in case you're wondering, my hair in these pic is unstraightened and chemical free. Thanks to Angela at Jazz It Up hair salon in Memphis, my hair is pulled back into flat-twists. So you see, I am still very much A Natural Woman . . .