Friday, March 30, 2012

Fun Friday

A dear friend sent this to me, and I loved it so much I just had to post it!

***

As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself.
I've become my own friend.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it, if I choose to read, or play, on the computer, until 4 AM, or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.



I will walk the beach, in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.


I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But, broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sample Sunday

Today I'm sharing another excerpt from my story, You Make Me Feel Brand New, that's part of the WG2E anthology. The first excerpt is below on Sunday, February 19th.



Anxious to share what had happened with Mac, the next night Jan waited for Verna outside the restaurant for our regular Friday dinner. Of her three friends, she and Verna were the closest. They shared everything, and Jan could always count on her to be honest. Since the restaurant wouldn’t seat incomplete parties, they had to wait for Kathy and Noreen. She and Verna squeezed into a corner of the crowded lobby.

“I need to tell you something before the others get here.”

Verna folded her arms across her ample chest. “Sure. What’s up?”

“Tell me what you think about this. Last night I cooked for a dinner party for Mac Sinclair, one of Ron’s associates. He stayed right there in the kitchen with me the whole time. At first I thought he just wanted to see how I fixed everything. You know how some people want to make sure you don’t poison them. We talked a bit, but most of the time he sat there watching me.”

“So? What’s wrong with that?” Verna asked with a curious frown.

“I caught him staring at my legs, and realized he wasn’t hanging around to pick up cooking tips. It made me a nervous wreck.”

“So did he say anything out of line?”

“No, not out of line, but he invited me to the party. He said it would be good for business because the guests are rich, big name athletes.”

Verna raised an eyebrow. “So?”

“I don’t think he wanted it to be all business. He said he’d be the only one with no date.”

Verna laughed. “Don’t say the word like it’s so offensive.”

“What?” Jan whispered, hoping nobody in the lobby had overheard. “Why are you laughing?”

“So is he a leper or something?”

“Lord, no! He’s the finest man I’ve seen in a long time. That’s what’s got me so –”

“I think flustered is the word you’re looking for?”

“Yes. No. Oh, I don’t know. Verna, He’s only in his early thirties. Why would he be interested in me?”

“You underestimate yourself, Jan. I’ll bet he thinks you’re his age. Did you refuse?”

“I haven’t been out with a man other than Robert in twenty-five years. I wouldn’t even know how to act.”

For twenty-five years Jan been in a marriage that died a slow and painful death. Although Robert was a decent man and a good provider who’d remained faithful, he’d been emotionally distant. Nurturing the intimate side of their marriage was unimportant to him, and he proved it regularly by forgetting her birthday, their anniversary and even Mother’s Day. Whenever she voiced her disappointment, he would stuff cash into a card thinking it would pacify her. He rarely took her out. Romance after the wedding had been pointless to him.

Kathy and Noreen came in the door looking as distinctive and night and day. Kathy always wore something Afrocentric with her head wrapped in colorful fabric, while Noreen looked every bit the Vogue model. Verna waved to get their attention. Once the hostess had seated them, Verna announced, “Jan has something she needs to share. Go ahead, girl.”

Jan gave her the evil eye.

“What’s up?” Noreen asked. “Come on, spit it out.”

“Okay. Just promise me you won’t laugh.” She told the entire story but didn’t mention Mac’s age then waited for their reactions.

“What does he look like?” Noreen asked. “And how much money does he make?” The resident expert on single life, she’d never been married and delighted in being unattached.

Kathy shot her a disgusted glare. “When are women in our community going to understand those aren’t the two most important issues in life?”

Noreen rolled her eyes. “They should be. Only a fool wants a broke, ugly man.”

When they finally stopped laughing, Jan answered. “He’s very good looking, and a body that could boil water, and works as a sports management agent.”

“So what’s the problem?” Noreen asked.

Verna answered her question. “He’s only about thirty-five, Noreen.”

Noreen’s face lit up. “Aw, sookie sookie now! You know how I feel about those young tender morsels. ”There’s nothing better than waking up next to a healthy, robust, young brother.”

Kathy pinched the bridge of her nose as if she’d suddenly developed a migraine. Noreen’s preoccupation with sex irritated her. “For God’s sake, Noreen. Can’t we ever have a conversation without you stepping into the gutter?”

“Honestly, I’m afraid,” Jan confessed. “I haven’t been with anyone except Robert since I was twenty-one. Singleland has changed a lot since then. I’m way out of my league here.”

The mood at the table instantly changed. Verna reached across and took her hand. These were the times her friends were at their best.

“Honey, you just have to step out there. Once you take the first step, it won’t be so scary. He sounds decent. It wouldn’t hurt to see him once. The dinner party would be a safe place to get to know him, since other people will be there.”

“So you don’t think there’s anything wrong with seeing a man so much younger than I am?”

“That’s the new Hollywood trend. Besides, you’ll need someone strong around to fan you when you start having hot flashes.” Noreen ran her fingers through her expensive weaved hair and laughed.

“What time is the dinner party supposed to start?” Verna asked, checking her watch.

“He said around eight.”

“So call him, girl,” Noreen urged. “It’s just after seven now.”

The idea sent Jan’s stomach into a double flip. “What would I say?”

“Just ask him if he got a date. If he says no, tell him you’d like to join him, if it’s okay.”

“So what if he says he asked someone else? Then I’ll feel like an idiot.”

Kathy, the quietest and most serious one, never spoke frivolously. Jan valued her opinion. “Say something pleasant like, “Good. I hope everything goes well.”

“Take my word for it,” Noreen reassured her. “If he had someone, he would’ve asked her before last night. Call him.”

They prodded her on until Jan rose from the table and took her cell phone into the ladies room. After she took a few deep breaths, she dialed and waited for him to pick up.

“Sinclair.” His husky tone sent a shiver up her spine.

“Hi, Mac. It’s Jan Davis. I’m not pulling you away from your guests, am I?”

“No one’s here yet. I hope you’re calling to say you’re coming tonight.”

Jan exhaled a silent sigh of relief. “Yes. I’d like to join you, if you still want me to come.”

“How soon can you get here?” The expectancy in his voice relieved her, and sent a spark of excitement through her at the prospect.

“I’m over near Lenox Mall. I can be there in about twenty minutes.”

“What’s your favorite wine?”

“I don’t drink, but a sparkling water with lemon will do just fine.”

“I’ll meet you at the door with a glass.”

“Okay. I have to say goodbye to my girlfriends, and then I’ll be leaving.”

“Ring the downstairs bell when you get here, and I’ll buzz you in.”

“Well?” Verna asked with her palms raised in curiosity as Jan approached the table.

“He said he’ll be waiting for me at the door. Pray for me, ladies.” Jan grabbed her purse and left the restaurant with her stomach flipping like she was riding the Goliath coaster at Six Flags.

Available on Kindle: http://amzn.to/xrX3Nj Nook: http://bit.ly/xzfJkC & Smashwords http://bit.ly/zShmg1 for $2.99

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On the Road Again ...


This has been a busy month! In addition to being my birthday month, I am doing interviews/features in several places:

Romancing the Book - this feature posted on March 8 - http://bit.ly/yEsLvj

RG2E - posted Sunday, March 18 - http://bit.ly/AvlJ7K

Third Sunday Blog - posted Sunday, March 18 - http://bit.ly/xifo8J

Dizzy C's Book Blog - talking about my new work in progress today - http://bit.ly/GCTYOg

WG2E - Friday, March 23rd - http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fun Friday????

My critsister, Zee Monodee inspired me to write this entry. Today she talks about the progress she is (or isn't) making on her current project.

On January 27th, I posted about beginning a new work in progress. I was so excited and couldn't wait to get started. But something happened on the way to "Once upon a time" ...

Family obligations have created a major distraction. I won't go into detail here, because I don't want to sound as if I'm placing blame. Stuff happens. We all know that. Yet, how does an author prevent the stuff from screwing with their creativity?

On President's Day, I finally bought a laptop. For the past few years, other than my desktop PC, my writing has been done on an AlphaSmart word processor, which is wonderful for text input.

                            
                  (New model)                                    (my Alphie that I got for $60 from eBay)

Unfortunately, I spend as much time or more in the editing/revision phase as I do when actually writing. You can't edit on an AlphaSmart. That meant, in the past, when I had to edit my manuscripts, I was chained to my PC. Buying the laptop has eliminated this issue, only the lovely laptop has Windows 7 and Word 2010. My PC has Vista and Word 2003, and the adjustment has been aggravating, to say the least. I've spent more time trying to figure out the simple things I could do automatically in the old version of Word.  Another distraction.

All that being said, I'm only three chapters into Ain't Too Proud to Beg. Disappointing progress for more than a month's worth of work. At least my outline is expanding as ideas come to me about what's going to happen to Vaughn and Trenyce, and I've found some more pictures of Vaughn (Darren Sharper) that express his personality perfectly. 

              

This is how I envision Trenyce and her daughter, Nala. I chose Beverly Bond, the founder of Black Girls Rock


and this little punkin. Look at that face. It's enough to melt the hardest heart.


Well, it's a gray, rainy day here in Atlanta, and I've already gone through the 106 messages in my inbox this morning, checked my Facebook messages, and have chosen to skip Twitter completely. Maybe I'll get Chapter Three finished today ...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Writer Wednesday - Author Spotlight

Today I am pleased and proud to introduce you to my friend and former writer's group member, Jacqueline Holness.


Jackie and I have known each other for almost ten years, and I'm so excited to bring you her debut release. I'll let her tell you about it.


After the Altar Call: The Sisters’ Guide to Developing a Personal Relationship With God, which has been ranked as an Amazon Best Seller, is a fresh, real and relevant how-to manual for black Christian women who desire to move past the “church speak” and into an intimate relationship with their Creator. What makes this book unique from other “relationship with God” books is that this book is written from a black perspective and spans a variety of issues typically not included in one book – from being thrice-married to leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

As a seasoned journalist, I have interviewed black women from diverse backgrounds to discover what having a personal relationship with God is truly about – beyond the initial “come to Jesus” moment typically associated with the altar call experience. I give readers a rare, personal look into the lives of these women, identify the precepts these women used to develop a personal relationship with God given their life experiences, and create a plan for readers to craft their own relationship with the Father.

The book is comprised of interviews with 24 remarkable women with compelling stories such the “The View” co-host Sherri Shepherd, Valorie Burton, life coach, author and co-host on the Emmy award- winning show “Aspiring Women” and the former co-host of the national daily television program, “The Potter’s Touch” with Bishop T.D. Jakes; and Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the first woman elected to Episcopal office in over 200 years of A.M.E. history.

I have also interviewed many notable Christian fiction authors such as Dwan Abrams, who also founded Nevaeh Publishing LLC; Tiffany Warren, who also started the Faith & Fiction Retreat; and LaTonya Mason Summers, who is also a licensed, professional counselor and the founding executive director of LifeSkills Counseling & Consulting.

Bio - Jacqueline J. Holness is a seasoned journalist with 15 years of professional experience writing and working for an assortment of newspapers, magazines, websites and other publications. Currently, she is a correspondent for Courthouse News Service, an online, national news service for attorneys. She is responsible for writing about new litigation filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia as well as four metro Atlanta court systems. Prior to working for Courthouse News Service, Jacqueline worked primarily as an education reporter for the News Daily newspaper covering the Clayton County Public School System, the fifth largest school system in Georgia. Aside from covering the education beat, she frequently wrote in-depth feature pieces and columns in which she explored her faith and other issues. She also worked as a reporter for the Clayton Neighbor newspaper where she covered several beats including education and county and city governments.

Through her business, Selah Communications, Jacqueline has also written for several publications, websites and organizations. Her articles have appeared in UPSCALE magazine, the Atlanta Business Chronicle newspaper, Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine and Atlanta Home Improvement magazine. Her work has also appeared on Citysearch.com and the New Georgia Encyclopedia website. In addition, she has written for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. After the Altar Call: The Sisters’ Guide to Developing a Personal Relationship With God, published by Nevaeh Publishing, is her first book

My website - afterthealtarcall.com

Buy link - http://amzn.to/yDAb9z

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fun Friday!



In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday, I thought I would just post some of his quotes.

"A person's a person, no matter how small."

"Adults are obsolete children."

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

"From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere."

"Fun is good."

"How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?"

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities."

"I meant what I said and I said what I meant."

"I start drawing, and eventually the characters involve themselves in a situation. Then in the end, I go back and try to cut out most of the preachments."

Happy birthday, Theodor Seuss Geisel, one of my earliest favorite authors!