Sunday, August 31, 2008

Embrace The Happy

I've been in a bit of a funk lately. Hence, the lack of everything this summer.

Feeling kinda Twenty Years and Two Husbands Ago, with the birthday this week. Time flies that's for sure. Feeling kinda Last Call, with an ex I just can't seem to shake off.

And all that betting, risking, waiting, hoping for the next best thing to come along... well, does there come a time when you realize you may be single forever, because you let the good one slip away? Or is that a thought that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Anyway, not all is as bad as my funky mood :-) Well on the way to finishing up the new manuscript. Work life is cool. When I Grow Up is the best summer song. Michelle and Barack are hopefully on their way to the White House. (Actually, we had a FUN work/watercooler conversation imagining what Thanksgiving at the White House will be like with a black grandma -- Michelle's mom -- in it... we were all hungry, that's for sure!)

OK, Fred, get over it. Embrace The Happy. And that book, The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted, is a great summer read!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Are You There Vodka?

OK. So maybe the drink server is a little much on the cover.

But the book title alone is enough to get me to buy it... Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. Written by someone I think is too fun/ny, Chelsea Handler. It's a collection of essays and personal stories.

Sort of along the line of her first collection, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands.

"Chelsea Handler writes like Judy Blume, if Judy Blume were into vodka, Ecstasy, and sleeping with midgets and nineteen-year-olds."
-- Jennifer Weiner, bestselling author of In Her Shoes

Sounds like... oh, nevermind.

Hope you have a good one! If anything, create a fun/ny memory, story, experience that you can look back on or share with someone this summer. Just a few more days until Labor Day.

And since it's my b-day on Wednesday, a little vodka and hanging with friends could give 'em something to talk about :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Does Your Music Reveal Who You Are?

I know they say astrological signs can be an indicator of some of your traits. I'm a Virgo. Some of it fits.

But what does your music say about you, your traits, your moods? Here's what's currently in my Top 25 most played on my iTunes and iPod.

1. Rock Wit U by Janet Jackson
2. Spanish Lesson by Madonna
3. Go Girl by Pitbull (featuring Trina)
4. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) by Sylvester
5. Dare Me by Pointer Sisters

6. 2Nite by Janet Jackson
7. Feedback by Janet Jackson
8. Last Call by Lee Ann Womack
9. You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine by Lou Rawls
10. Haven't You Heard by Patrice Rushen

11. Be OK by Chrisette Michele
12. Alone by Heart
13. Gimme by Jill Scott
14. No Air by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown
15. I May Hate Myself In The Morning by Lee Ann Womack

16. Don't Stop The Music by Rihanna
17. 1 Thing by Amerie
18. I Promise (Wedding Song) by CeCe Winans
19. Into The Nightlife by Cyndi Lauper
20. Jesus Can Work It Out by Dr. Charles G. Hayes and Choir

21. Don't Know Much by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville
22. Love Under New Management by Miki Howard
23. Ask A Woman Who Knows by Natalie Cole
24. Woman To Woman by Shirley Brown
25. Congratulations by Vesta Williams

Enjoy the music of your weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Mercy... and Other Links

Toni Morrison has a new novel coming soon. A Mercy. A short excerpt is on USA Today.

Fall preview of Young and the Restless from Daytime Confidential.

At my day job, one of our fun and frivolous conversations is if we like "new" Mariah (post 1997 Honey) or "old" Mariah, from her debut up through her first divorce. Clay Cane shares his analysis on Mariah Carey.

Mary Monroe is one of the nicest writers and people I've met. She's also on the same publishing label I am, Kensington. She has a new book releasing next week... She Had It Coming.

That's all for now. Toodles.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dang. She Lost Her Man To Barbara AND Betty?

Just being silly this morning. Put on the Mom and Pops playlist on my iTunes while getting ready.

So you know the story about Shirley losing her man to Barbara in the song, Woman To Woman.

Well, I didn't know she lost him to Betty too, in the song Who is Betty?

Well, Shirley must have got him back, because Barbara responded back to Shirley in the song, She's Got Papers and I Got The Man.

Some funny stuff.

Wasn't music such a storytelling hot mess back in the 70s. Love those "stop the music, let me give you some advice" songs.

Prepping For The Election

So I didn't think I knew ANYone who was planning to vote for John McCain... until this weekend when I started getting email forwards from an old college acquaintence from Missouri. She is so freaking pro-McCain and anti-Obama/Democrats that I'm like "Do I know this woman? Did we actually hang out in college?"

That's Missouri for you. Unpredictable. Swing. And I guess she only had her "of color" friends around for stereotypical race play in the bedroom type of purposes. Anyway, I'm such a sarcastic meany man sometimes.

Caught up on Diary of an Anxious Black Woman last night, after my workaholic blog rage, and loved this reading list she put together for the November elections: Race, Gender, and The Elections.
Brought me back to reality and put the election in perspective.

To do: Watch Recount movie. Watch Unprecedented documentary. Register to vote.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Realize I'm A Workaholic

After not posting new blogs for close to a week... and realizing that I'm staying up late because I'm dreaming about work... and waking up from sleep to do work... and knowing that all my friends are kinda pissed off at me for not being a good friend this summer because I haven't been the best at returning messages, accepting invitations, nor just general hanging out or phone calling... and after realizing that my dating life has been, well, eh... After the Puma stage early this summer... well, California drought season ain't called that for a reason. Well, except for the ex, who's another workaholic. We schedule meetings to see each other.

I'm a workaholic. And other people have lives. Lives that revolve around things that are not work-related, or to-do lists, or trying to make bosses and those around me happy. Lives that begin at 5 or 5:30, not because they're "clockwatchers" as I often joke (but am serious kinda) about with co-workers who leave at the end of their 8-hour shift, but because they believe (and know) it's good to have a non-work life.

I am, and always have been, an overachiever type who wants to do more than just the minimum to get by. And I love being recognized for going above and beyond.

But then today I realized I haven't seen my family in Michigan since December... and I probably won't again until December... and that's not right. And I haven't taken any summer vacation that's not work or book-related. And that's not right. And blah blah blah.

I'm reflecting. And ranting. But I like work and am kinda bummed that it's become the jewel in my crown lately. But I still like it.

Catch 22. What about you? Current or former workaholics?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday's Links

Surfing. Finding good stuff to read.

J.A. Konrath shares advice for writers on dealing with critics and getting validation.

Michael Bourret from Dystel & Goderich discusses author's advances and money... in other words, "Where my check?"

Practicing Writing is chock full of low and no-cost writing contests, and other opportunities for submiting your work. This is a recent favorite of mine.

Just discovered Black Girl on Campus blog and loving it.

Clay Cane breaks down the archetypes of black, gay dating life. Fun stuff.

Classic Y&R moment from 2002/3... Drucilla reads Damon for hooking up with a white girl... "She's a sista!"

Finally, for writers... when you write to you use pen and paper or computer screen? Tayari Jones tells us her reasoning for pen and paper.

Listen To It. But Don't Take It.

OMG, one of those night when I'm up late. Can't sleep. Thinking about something(s) developing at the day job and the writing job.

Get an urge for Pointer Sisters music. This one, Friend's Advice (Don't Take It), from a special appearance they did on Arsenio Hall show. I always loved the hook, "Listen to it, sort through it, contemplate it, but don't take it" as they sang about taking the advice of friends.

Which then led me to Dare Me, which is on my iTunes top 5 played, and which my friends and I always get a kick out of the video. Remember when all videos had to have the choreographed group dance, and you looked for the one dancer who was off routine in the back? Oh ok, maybe you don't.

Don't ask. Gonna try to sleep soon :-)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Upcoming Book Festivals

So I was reading some random blogs this morning in between writing, and found out that my good buddy Fiona Zedde is doing a panel with my literary god/role model/who I wanna be when I grow up, Eric Jerome Dickey, at the end of August. The Decatur Book Festival.

I know a lot of you will be in Atlanta for the Black Gay Pride events... during that time, but take part of the weekend to head over to Decatur for the book festival. Totally worth it.

Meantime, back at the ranch, look for the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday, September 28. I'll be on a panel, 11:00 - 11:55 am, We Are Everywhere: New and Unique Voices in LGBT Literature (moderated by Christopher Rice).

Know of any other book events coming up? Let us all know in the comments.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Health or Vanity?

So my friend and I are driving to our gym tonight. He's scrolling through the internet on his phone to catch up on the latest L.A. news.

There's a story about how L.A. is considering making it mandatory for restaurants to post calorie and fat content on menus, including sit down places.

Just a few weeks ago, the city council voted to ban the building of new fast-food establishments in South L.A., due to the higher (than the rest of L.A.) obesity and other chronic illness related to bad food choices.

So it got me thinking about L.A., and our pending trip to the gym... is it health or vanity that drives our personal choice to work out? Or that drives L.A. to consider such measures for its residents? We all know L.A. has a reputation for... being concerned with looks.

As for the gym, we guessed most is for vanity, but that we reap health benefits even if we don't reach our vanity goals... That kinda sums me up, lol.

What about you and your food/gym habits? The L.A. council decisions? Health or vanity?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Dumped: Be OK

Not always the happiest of subjects... but doesn't that cover just totally convey the feeling???

Recently found this anthology, Dumped, a collection of short stories on relationships that end before you want them to. It's edited by B. Delores Max and came out about five years ago. Something like this... I could have used when I was less emotionally equipped to deal with life's challenges.

The anthology has gotten good reviews, and is a combination of both happy and sad stories about being dumped. If not for you, then definitely for a friend who may be going through some things... Because you definitely don't want them standing outside someone's window singing this... But they can sing Chrisette Michele's Be OK!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Page 69 or 99 Test

Just discovered two blogs which will be helpful in my novel buying process. Or at least an interesting perspective to take into account.

The Page 69 Test.

The Page 99 Test.

The gist is that when you open a book and read what's on page 69 and 99, it'll give you an indication of the book's quality and issues that might be carried throughout the book.

I generally have done the page one test... maybe the first two in a bookstore to see if it holds me. Not always the most reliable, as some novels don't reveal their true essence and storylines until much further... once you get into them.

Sue Miller's While I Was Gone was one of those for me. Didn't do anything for me, until I was a good 50-60 pages into it and then... I was glad I stuck with it.

What about you, and how you judge a novel's worthiness to buy or continue reading?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Last Call

I'm sure some of you have been, or are, the "last call" of someone you really like... where the liking isn't as reciprocal as you'd like, but you still pick up the phone. Or you're the safe "go to" at the end of their night... or the last resort of their list of potentials.

Oooh, that waiting sucks. I've been there. Not cute, but you get over it, and him, eventually.

Enter my favorite country singer, Lee Ann Womack, and her new song and video, Last Call. Love the line "Baby, I still love you don't mean nothing with whiskey on your breath."

Ranks up there with "I May Hate Myself In The Morning (But I'm Gonna Love You Tonight.)"

Here's to dropping all those "last calls" out there. Nothing like a good country song to motivate you to do it.