I'm such a fan of history and I bask in the opportunity every time I get a chance to go to the museum and step inside of an old train car that feels like it literally transports me back to the 1800's or seeing exhibits of how people hunted for food or even the clothing they wore. Even though, I'm what you would consider an 80's baby; also a product of Baby Boomers, I am still excited and eager to learn more about the past. It tells a story on so many levels for which I can make more sense of my existence.
But sometimes, I find it extremely saddening that history continues to repeat itself in a way that we have yet seemed to learn from. In the wake of the recent Abortion Laws of 2019, women are still being forced to make decisions about their well-being at the hands of their male counterparts. This is why I feel women's literature/fiction is so important. Even in literature, women are not always taken seriously and the value appears to decrease even in the positioning of women's literature in the bookstores. Now when I speak of value, I'm not speaking in terms of who actually purchases these books because statistics show that women are the majority novel purchasers, but with regards to pricing. So much can be said about what a person values when the pricing standards are much lower than books written by men.
The disparity between men and women has been so ingrained in our psyches that we just assume that a woman really has nothing to talk about of substance in a women's fiction book so it might as well be priced lower. But women's fiction is so much more than that. Women's fiction provides a space to share experiences, empathy, understanding, and for your voice to be heard because we all know that fiction is still based upon some truth. If women's literature was praised and valued more, maybe that would spark a deeper understanding of the woman's experience and maybe even change the political landscape of our country. I don't have all the answers but maybe if those stories were valued more, we would be less likely to repeat those cycles that have proven to be detrimental to society as a whole.
I'll be honest, I don't exactly follow the #metoo movement but I started thinking about the more subtle ways women continue to be silenced, even in this era:
1. "She's too aggessive/masculine."
2. "She's not nuturing."
3. "I don't trust women who are too successful."
4. "Women who don't want to be married and/or have children are bitter and selfish."
5. "She's too premiscuous."
6. "You wanted equality, so now you have it. Don't come crying to me when you need your tire changed or you want me to take out the garbage."
7. "It's natural for men to cheat. But women shouldn't do that. Stop trying to act like a man."
8. "My job is to protect and to provide for you. Nothing more, nothing less. Stop trying to get me to talk about my feelings."
9. "I just lie to my boyfriend/husband to get what I want because men can't handle the truth."
10. "Girl, you know how men are. He's going to be who he is. Men are naturally selfish and stubborn. You just need to figure out how to deal with it."
What are your thoughts? What do you think are some subtle ways women are repeatedly given the message to just fall in line and not utter a word?"
I thought I'd share this because I just think it helps. Once you read it, you'll know what I mean.
Wow... the pic on the right was taken in June 2016 and the one on the left was taken September 2018. Nothing was wrong, I was just 30 something and happily eating, lol. I wasn’t watching calories and I wasn’t leading an active lifestyle except for the occasional roller skating once every other week. But I was just cool. Now some of my family members did mention I was looking a little fluffy but I was like “whatever, that’s what happens when you’re happy.” But one day I went to try on some clothes at a store and I was not happy with what I saw. I told the hubbs these mirrors in these dressing rooms these days are a hot mess, lol. But then I noticed I was buying bigger clothes and every dressing room mirror was starting to look a hot mess. I said to myself, ”Naw Angie, ya just gaining weight hun.” I can’t lie, I was a little sad. Hubbs was such a sweetheart, he offered to buy me some new clothes that accommodated my shape more but deep down inside, I knew that wasn’t gonna work.
I had to change, but I wasn’t quite ready to commit. I guess the weight was such a shock because I had always been a petite girl growing up so I didn’t have a clue as to how to go about leading a healthier lifestyle. So I just remained stagnate... fast forward to 2017, I saw a pic of the singer Fantasia and whew! I was like, oh I’m so going to do this. I bought a fitness journal and that day I started doing 2 min of jumping jacks a day! No gym membership or nothing. I just Googled some exercises, watched YouTube and got to going! I was determined. For the first month, I also cut out sugar and bread. That’s all I focused on. I gradually changed my diet more, I learned more about my body type and shape, and I started committing myself to working out 3-4x a week. I had a few moments where I slowed down or didn’t always eat the right things but I never stopped.
The next year, I was ready for a little more and decided to participate in a 6-week fitness challenge. It was brutal, but it was beautiful. I was challenged in a way physically I had never been before (unless you count birthing two kids) but I learned how strong and committed I was. Now, the pic of me in the green, is the result of more purposeful living. I have a daily schedule of everything: when I wake up, when I go to work, when I work on my writing, when, how and what I eat, spending time with loved ones, when I workout and go roller skating and most importantly, when I reflect and have “me” time. It’s a lifestyle now and believe it or not, discipline can be extremely sexy. Don’t ever hesitate to link up with me and say “Yo, Angie, I need an accountability partner” because change can be difficult but it’s worth it and it’s always nice when you have someone encouraging you along the way.
According to USA Today's Best Selling Books List of 2018, Michelle Obama's, "Becoming" is ranked number one in a list of 100! Now my question is, are you really surprised? Many times, this list is filled with fiction reads but this memoir of our former FLOTUS stood out amongst the crowd and is has even remained #1 on Amazon since the book debuted in November 2018.
Now I must admit, I enjoyed some of that success as well as my first novel, Discovering Lita literally debuted just a week earlier on Amazon. With Black Friday sales on the horizon and Christmas season fastly approaching, "Becoming" was on many people's shopping list. How I benefitted from this was while my readership shopped for Discovering Lita, many of them bought "Becoming" as well which increased the likelihood of those unfamiliar with my work seeing it under the infamous title "Customers who bought this item also bought"... The end result was the former FLOTUS' book popping up in on my book's page. That was a pretty cool victory in my eyes.
But what's even cooler is that my dad, gifted me with "Becoming" and in my opinion, it was a very pleasant read. I didn't have specific expectations for the book, but what I found most interesting was her detailed description of her road to the White House which really started from childhood. "Becoming" was not a short read but it's length is very necessary in understanding the Michelle Obama we are familiar with today.
"Becoming" also made me think of my own story and as an African American woman who grew up on the South Side of Chicago from humble beginnings as well. I did not experience the consistency of a two parent household with a stay-home mom per se, but I can relate to the love of family that carried us through while growing up in the inner city with limited resources and opportunities in comparison to our Caucasian counterparts. But that's what makes this book so unique is because even with all of the odds stacked against Mrs. Obama, she still managed to become one of the most famous and admired women in America.
So I looked at this picture of myself the other day when I was a little girl saying my Easter speech at church and I started thinking about the "Becoming" journey I've been on my entire life. This picture speaks volumes to me as it is a reminder of where it all began. For those of you who read "Becoming" did the book make you think of your own personal journey?
Circa 1988 with my mommy on Easter Sunday
November 7th is the official launch of Discovering Lita and I'm extremely excited but also humbled by the feedback I have received from all of you so far!
To show my appreciation, if you purchase a paperback copy of Discovering Lita between November 7th and Saturday, November 10th by 11:59pm CST, you will be entered into a random drawing to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card on me! This is exclusive to my mailing list ONLY. You can join my mailing list here.
Once you make your purchase, please email the following information to email@example.com:
1. First and last name
2. A forwarded email or screenshot of your receipt that indicates the date you purchased Discovering Lita (feel free to block out your address and/or any identifying information that you may feel uncomfortable sharing)
3. Email address (you will receive your e-gift card via email for you to use instantly if you want)
I will announce the winner on Sunday, November 11, 2018 no later than 1pm CST via my email list and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
Thanks again everyone and happy reading!!!
I can't even begin to describe how much fun we had at the Ladies Night Pajama Jam at the Hyatt Midway Hotel in Chicago this past Friday! When you get amazing women, PJs, music, a buffet dinner, open bar, manicures and pedicures, massages, line dancing and sex toys together, you're bound to have a wonderful night. And to show my appreciation to all the beautiful women there, I gifted them with the first full chapter of my book, Discovering Lita! If you missed it, well I won't sugarcoat it, you really missed a great evening. But not to worry, here are a few images from the event. And be sure to follow me on my social media handles to see video footage!
I believe there's a connection between writing women's fiction and self care. I focus a lot on women making themselves a priority through my writing; whether it's a novel, marketing and advertising and/or public speaking. Whenever I read women's fiction, I find there's an underlying premise: said woman is typically trying to find some sense of balance that results in her either limiting herself or coming to the realization that she needs to prioritize herself. Unfortunately, women have played second fiddle to men for centuries and we've come to a point in history where many women are no longer accepting this as status quo. Women are demanding more pay, demanding more respect from family and friends and no longer feeling the need to be treated as objects of a man's desires, starting and successfully running businesses, and just treating themselves to the necessities as well as luxuries of life instead of waiting for someone to give them permission.
You don't have to be angry or trying to prove a point in making yourself a priority, you can just do it because you have every right to and trust me, you become a better person for it. One thing I've recently done in making myself a priority is being more cognizant of my food choices and actually signing up with a personal trainer. Before taking on this fitness challenge, I had been working out consistently for 3-4 days a week but not really eating the best so I decided to do something about it. I make time for it in my schedule and I make sure that my family is aware of my goals and respect them due to me giving so much of myself. Just in one week, I lost 5lbs and gained muscle, whoo hoo!. Nothing compares to witnessing what self-care can do.
What will you do to make yourself a priority today, this week, this month or this year? Trust me, when you prioritize YOU, everyone around you is better for it!
So... since I write women's fiction and the majority of my followers are women, I thought it would be befitting to share with you my top 5 reasons you might need a girls night out ASAP!
1. You need a night to just eat and drink as much as you want with no judgment.
2. You need a break from everyone and everything that's pulling at you like work, kids, significant other, siblings, parents, in-laws, bills, you name it!
3. You need to connect with other women you can be yourself around and no one is sizing you up and down comparing themselves to you.
4. You need to enjoy being a woman and embrace the things that are of interest to you.
5. You need to just act a fool and dance like no one is watching!
So, join me and some phenomenal ladies at the hottest ladies night of the year and purchase your tickets here.
So much has been going on! I know I mentioned before in my blog that an agent has taken a liking into my work and asked if I would be interested in doing a R&R (Revise and Resubmit) of my manuscript. For those that aren't familiar with this phrase, this can surely be music to a novelist's ears as it speaks volumes as to how much an agent sees potential in your work and how they feel it can be marketed to the masses. This is not typically a guarantee of representation but it surely lets you know you're on the right track.
Over the past three weeks, I have been diligently working on my manuscript per the agent's suggestions along with diving a little deeper to see what I could also tweak to make this story even stronger. It's not always the easiest thing to finalize your revisions as you're always thinking is there anything else I could add or take away. But, I am trusting the changes that I've made as I believe it will be something my readers will enjoy and relate to.
So to treat myself for finishing a few days earlier than I anticipated, I enjoyed a fun-filled weekend with family and friends. I had an opportunity to visit the set of Windy City Live right here in Chicago. And yes, Ryan Chiaverini and Val Warner are just as beautiful in person as they are on camera :). I also had an opportunity to participate in a book discussion with the beautiful and talented, Tayari Jones, author of American Marriage and Oprah's Book Club 2018 Selection. I was so blessed to enjoy some live music not once, but twice this week! And anyone that knows me, knows I enjoy live music so that was truly a treat. I capped off my weekend spending time with my love on a gorgeous yacht sailing Lake Michigan. So I took to heart the saying, "Work Hard, Play Harder."
So much has been going on with me this summer. I'm in the process of trying to publish a book, my family and I moved back to the city from the suburbs, I'm making sure everything is in order for my kids as they will be transferring to a new school this fall, and let's not forget the everyday maintenance of my own sanity. But the beauty in all of this is just watching my kids enjoy their summer and most importantly, their childhood.
My daughter said she wanted to attend a dance and theater camp this summer and because I believe in nurturing my children's creativity, I quickly agreed. Even though she's gone practically the entire day and I so miss her, I know it makes he happy doing what she loves and continuously honing her craft. My son is not in camp, but he too is enjoying all of what the summer has to offer like going to the beach, playing with his cousin more often, going to the museum, frequenting the library, and attending festivals and events.
I remember my summers as they were fun as well. My mom was a teacher so she didn't have to work during those glorious months from June until September which allowed her to take us plenty of places. We were also very active in our church so we went on many trips in which our church sponsored. I remember being carefree and no longer worrying about getting up in the mornings and preparing for school. Everyday was a new adventure and I see that with my own children. What are some of your summer time childhood memories?