I look forward to meeting readers and fellow authors at Medu Bookstore!
I am excited to return to my alma mater, University of South Florida! The Truth About Awiti is part of the required reading list for students enrolled in “Black Women & Spirituality” and “Literature by Women of Color.” I look forward to a lively discussion with students and faculty.
Since the publication of The Truth About Awiti, I rarely have time to read for pleasure… and man, do I miss it. These days I find myself researching and reading materials for my current work-in-progress. And I’ll be honest. Sometimes reading for a purpose just isn’t as fun. It’s work.
It’s been said many times that the best way to become a better writer is to read more books. Of course finding the time to read is the real challenge. So when I chose to read a book for enjoyment over the holidays, I didn’t make the decision lightly. I knew I wanted the novel to be as far away from my genre as possible, so I looked to one of my first loves: YA fiction and fantasy.
I kept hearing about a novel called Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. The fangirl reviews and promises of page-turning fantasy won me over. When the novel arrived (complete with beautiful black-stained pages), I started reading it right away. In my opinion, black-stained pages are a sure sign of adventure, and Six of Crows didn’t disappoint.
I began the novel with little expectation except to be swept away from the current demands of being a new author. I wanted to forget about my work-in-progress. I hoped the novel would take my mind off future submissions (and rejections). I simply wanted to enjoy being a reader again. And I did!
Not surprising since Six of Crows has racked up numerous praises and reviews (love the gifs—take my money!) But what was surprising to me was how much I was learning in the process. Hello magical diverse characters! Hello epic world building! Hello perfect pacing and dialogue!
My biggest takeaway from Six of Crows (aside from it being a classic dark adventure and waiting anxiously for book two)—make time to read for fun. Perhaps it’s a bit easier to absorb (and appreciate!) the writing process while reading for enjoyment. And perhaps, simply relishing the visceral joy in storytelling is the real lesson.
(My fangirl review of Six of Crows is available on Goodreads.)
The Huffington Post recently published, “25 Books By Black Authors From 2015 You Need To Read.” I am so excited to share The Truth About Awiti made the list!
This year was filled with thought-provoking, page-turning, nail-biting and “aha” inducing literature. From fiction to non-fiction, there were some undoubtedly moving books by black authors that deserves a spot on everyone’s bookshelf or Kindle. The poignant words of Ta-Nehisi Coates, who won the National Book Award, are all too vital given today’s racial climate, while producer extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes makes overcoming a personal obstacle as simple as saying “yes.” These along with Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child, Mat Johnson’s Loving Day and Joy-Ann Reid’s Fracture have made this a great year for black authors. Take a look at some of our favorites.”
View the entire list here. Thank you so much Huffington Post!
Hedgebrook is just as wonderful as I imagined it to be. Actually, it is even better! At the Winter Salon I had an opportunity to meet so many talented women writers, and our teachers were incredible. From understanding how the use of imagery can aid in writing to incorporating yoga to benefit the writers’ body and mind, no stone was left unturned. And the food! How can I forget to mention the locally sourced, homemade meals?!
Hedgebrook is a place that understands the challenges women writers face — first in developing their work, and then in seeking publication. Hedgebrook is designed to help alleviate some of those burdens by providing a place of sanctuary for women writers.
I left the Winter Salon feeling energized and encouraged to put forth my best work in 2016. And I look forward to applying for Hedgebrook’s 2017 Writer-In-Residence program. If you are interested, click here for more information on Hedgebrook and their upcoming events.
This weekend I am headed to Seattle, Washington. On the agenda are multiple coffee house visits and, of course, a trip to Amazon’s new brick and mortar bookstore. But the primary reason for my trip to Seattle is to attend Hedgebrook’s Winter Salon. The one-day event is one of many of Hedgebrook’s creative workshops led by and for women writers.
Enjoy a day filled with lively conversation and delicious food, culminating in a party with an open mic. Write, learn, share stories and leave freshly inspired.”
Hedgebrook is a rural retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island, Washington, founded in 1988. The retreat is a working farm, offering organic produce for the writers and communal dinners each night prepared by in-house chefs. Hedgebrook’s global community of alumnae, more than 1,200 writers from all over the world, include celebrated author Gloria Steinem.
I look forward to sharing more about my experience at Hedgebrook. Stay tuned!