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Sunday, August 12, 2018
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Friday, August 10, 2018
media’s rise in popularity blew in like a hurricane and left the blogging world in pieces. Like a lot of my old blogging buddies, I abandoned my post (s) and moved elsewhere. Typically, these days you can find me on Facebook and Goodreads, but thus far I’ve held off on jumping aboard Twitter, Instagram and the like. I mean really, who has the time and energy for all of that, particularly if you have any interest in living a real life (and not a social media contrived one)?
Monday, November 11, 2013
2nd excerpt of "SUNDAY BEST" by Lori D. Johnson
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
by Lori D. Johnson
Monday, April 22, 2013
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Michelle and the ladies of the SiSta Girl Book Club always ask such great questions. Check out our most recent conversation in their Author's Spotlight . . .
SiSta Girl Book Club Q & A with Author Lori Johnson
Friday, November 02, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Watching her cover her food with all of that salt, typically without even tasting the food first, truly grossed me out. But the truth is, I was once in the habit of “salting” certain foods without giving it a second thought. As a kid, before eating so much as a forkful of watermelon, I salted that bad boy. After all, that’s what everyone did, right? At the time, that was all I knew. It’s what I’d been taught.
Bad habits are hard to break—especially those we give so little thought to that they almost become second nature, like blinking or breathing I was grown and on my own before I realized that watermelon tastes great (better even) without salt. Once upon a time (not all that long ago), I would have automatically seasoned the omelet I prepared this morning with salt and pepper. But since I’m being more mindful about my health these days, I bypassed the salt altogether and just used a few dashes of pepper. And you know what? The omelet was so good, I didn’t even miss the salt. Now, when it comes to popcorn, I still have a long, long way to go . . . ;-)
Saturday, November 05, 2011
The other day, I watched a cute clip of Anderson Cooper teasing his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, about the storage unit she rents. He obviously thinks the rental is a waste of money and full of useless junk. I know a little something about that. Last weekend, I stopped by my own rental storage unit. I’m determined to empty it, but it’s a struggle.
I don’t think I’m a packrat (or God-forbid, a hoarder) as much as I am a frugal, overly sentimental “curator.” LOL. I mean really, who keeps old Sears Roebuck catalogs? Well, I have a couple, including the Holiday Wish Book from 1998. I also have a collection of Rolling Stone, Spin and other such mags with my boy Prince on the cover. Hey, I had it bad for Prince, back in the day. When the hubby suggested we trash the old microwave we’d packed away 5 years ago, my first thought was, well, maybe we could use it upstairs for popcorn and to heat water for coffee. In the end, I conceded it was probably time to let it go.
My books, I simply can’t trash, even though I know I’ll never read some of them ever again. Truly, it breaks my heart to see a book (even one I found less than enjoyable) in the garbage. I either have to find a place for them in the house or give them away.
What’s really been difficult is letting go of my son’s old toys, baby clothes, school projects, etc, but I’m starting to make a bit of progress in that area. Some items, specifically, anything torn, broken, stained, full of glitter, feathers, etc. or that makes me say, “What the heck is this?” I’ve actually thrown away. Also, after years of talking about it, I’ve finally completed one scrapbook and hope to start and finish a few more. But scrapbooking is a hobby I have to pursue with caution because it can easily become another source of clutter that requires, yikes, additional storage!
As much as my husband doesn’t want to hear this, there are a few things I doubt I’ll ever part with willingly. My grandmother’s old porch glider, for instance. No, it doesn’t glide any more. Yes, it’s rusted in some areas and no, we don’t even own a front porch big enough for it. But I’m keeping it. I’ll happily scrape the rust, slap on a coat of paint and find a nice spot for it some place in the backyard.
That glider was one of the first things I’d see when we’d pull up to my grandparents' house. I’d dare say, most of my aunts and uncles and all of my first cousins on my dad’s side of the family have, at some point, sat in that glider. The times that I sat there, laughing and joking with relatives, chatting with my M'Deah or just rocking and day-dreaming all by myself are too numerous to count. Call it hokey, or overly sentimental, if you want, but the truth is, whenever I look at the glider, I can’t help but smile and think happy thoughts. The last time I checked, happiness didn’t have a price or an expiration date. So, as long as my tendency to “curate” doesn’t earn me a visit from the health department or an invitation to star on a reality series, I think I’m good . . .
Friday, March 18, 2011
If you get a chance this weekend, it might be worth your while to check out an independent movie that's been getting a lot of buzz of late: I Will Follow.
I'd been hearing positive things about the movie for a while and I knew it featured Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Omari Hardwick and Blair Underwood, but I wasn't sold until I watched the trailer. A death in the family. A woman at a crossroads. A bit of romance. A serious movie with performances that aren't over the top. I can't wait! *lol*
Recently, I Will Follow expanded to 22 theaters in 15 cities. Fortunately for me, Charlotte, NC is one of the cities and I plan to catch a showing this weekend. Check your local listings for details.
Friday, February 04, 2011
SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY! In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to giveaway some of the mass market editions of my novel, AFTER THE DANCE. If you’d like a free, signed copy, email me your response to the following question:
How many times do Carl and Faye slow dance in my novel, AFTER THE DANCE? Feel free to guess.
The contest ends on Monday, (February 7th) at 5pm. AFTER THE DANCE is a love story and would make a great Valentine’s gift. Unfortunately, the contest is not open to my overseas friends, fans or readers but all others, including past winners are welcome to respond . . .
Monday, January 17, 2011
Thursday, November 04, 2010
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
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
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 CurlyNikki.com. 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
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
for my responses.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
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 Café, 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
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
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
(Michele George's Story)
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.
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 friend “When are you going to loc your hair?” Cousin “I like your hair.” (it was a wig) Customer
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
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!