• Black History Month Spotlight: Alice Walker

     #blackhistorymonth quote comes from Alice Walker, an American short story writer, poet, and activist.  Walker is best-known for writing The Color Purple, for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This book is about Celie, who suffers terrible abuse at the hands of her father and husband. It explores the female African American experience. Aside from being an incredible writer, Walker was heavily involved in civil rights activism. Although divorced, Walker’s marriage was the first legal interracial marriage in Mississippi. Walker has never been shy in her activism. She was arrested in 2003, on the eve of the Iraq War, at an anti-war rally in…

  • Happy Drink Wine Day!

    February 18th is National Drink Wine Day, or so, the internet informs me. As someone who loves wine, I thought this year it’d be fun to do some wine pairings with books. After doing some research on what’s already been written, I decided to go with a more casual approach. Instead of talking about notes and flavors, my assistant, Kelly, and I have paired our favorite wines to books we feel suit them! If you love wine and enjoy trying new kinds, check out FirstLeaf! With this referral code, you get your first box of 6 wines FREE. All you need to cover is shipping, which is $9.99.  After that,…

  • Black History Month Spotlight: Derek Walcott

    Today’s #blackhistorymonth quote comes from Sir Derek Alton Walcott, who was born in St. Lucia. He is a Nobel Prize-winning poet and playwright.  Walcott published his first poem in a local newspaper at just age 14! Soon after, he got a loan from his mother and started publishing poetry pamphlets while still in school.  His most well-known play was “Dream on Monkey Mountain,” which was in production Off-Broadway in 1971. It centers around the main character, Makak, who despises himself for being black. Walcott’s poetry was historical and demanded to be heard. He captured the beauty of the Caribbean and the complexities of living in two different cultural worlds. To learn more…

  • How To Outline Your Novel

    Whether you plan or write by the seat of your pants, I do believe there is a sense of outlining that always happens.  For those who hate planning, this one isn’t for you. While I think those who don’t plan do plan to an extent, they (we) are usually more critical when it comes to advice and tips on planning. I say ‘we’ because I’m sometimes that person. My planning differs for each novel. Let’s set the scene. You’re new to writing a novel. You want to get the story out just so. There must be a plan or a method that all these writers follow to get the recipe…

  • Black History Month Spotlight: Toni Morrison

    Toni Morrison was a best-selling author who explored black identity in America–particularly black women’s identity. There are not enough words in the dictionary for how incredible she was nor the impact she had–and still does. She is an author of 11 novels and the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Among other laurels, she also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2012. Her novel, Beloved, is considered her masterpiece. A novel taking place about a decade after the Civil War, and one of her first to have a historical setting. Often criticized for her writing, yet highly rewarded by being…

  • Finding a story idea

    Where do you find story ideas? Often, I’m not sure where my writing ideas come from, and other times, I can pinpoint bits and pieces of my life that have come alive through my writing.  For my debut novel, Underneath the Whiskey, I was inspired by an ex’s father and couldn’t fathom how my ex grew up. While we were together, I asked questions that never got answered. Therefore, my curious mind went to work with the how’s and why’s and possible solutions. After a year of brainstorming, my fingers hit the keys, and my novel came to life. For my second novel, Simply an Enigma, my friend, Brittany Evans,…

  • Black History Month Spotlight: Chinua Achebe

    It’s #blackhistorymonth and this month we will be spotlighting a few different black authors! Feel free to share your favorite authors below. Our first author is Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian-born novelist, poet, professor, and critic. He is most famously known for his debut novel, Things Fall Apart, published when he was 28. This novel is considered a masterpiece and is the most widely read book in modern African Literature. Achebe spent decades teaching at American universities, yet his writings were rooted in the countryside and cities of his native Nigeria. He wanted to rewrite the story of Africa that often is told by Western voices.  Fun fact about Chinua Achebe: one…

  • I bid you adieu

    She was never supposed to know.  We were careful. Fake emails. Only eyeing when she wasn’t looking. Touching toes under the family dinner. Would I change a damn thing? Yeah. The day she found out. The day she decided to snoop further into your emails–coming across one from months prior.  How could you have forgotten one email? I wouldn’t change her anger. She had every right to be angry. The man she thought you were broke her heart. What’s more heartbreaking is that she didn’t know the man you became. The man with potential. The man you were starting to love just as much as the love you gave to…

  • 2021: the year we do better.

    Welcome to the brink of a new year. One we’ve been desperate for since COVID-19 put a halt to most of our lives. It’s fair to say that 2020 hasn’t been an easy year. I won’t claim to know how everyone feels or what everyone has gone through, as each person’s suffering and feelings are valid. However, I know that the pandemic’s underlying stress has taken a toll on most of us. Meaning that anything we try and do on top of that stress is added weight. Sometimes days are good–you may even be on a high–and other days can be challenging. That won’t change come 2021. It’s not magical…