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I See You, Anthony Hamilton: Best of Me

The other day while driving with the kids to pick up my mother from the train station, the radio was playing softly in the background as we chatted about teenage stuff. Don't ask me what compelled me to turn up the volume. Couldn't tell you. The last few seconds of a song was playing. The voice sultry, the music melodic immediately touching, tugging and connecting with some part of me. Seconds later, I asked the son or the daughter to Shazam the song and give me the deets. To my surprise, and pleasantly so, it was Anthony Hamilton. I tried to tuck this information away for recollection later in the evening when I'd have time; of course, that time never materialized. Fast forward a few days, the song was on the radio again and, once again, I asked the kids to Shazam it and tell me who the singer was. 'Mother' and 'forgetful' are synonymous in my book. Son doesn't get that. Son was like, "Mom, you asked this question just a couple days ago. It's Anthony Hamilton." Dang! Sorry. No need to be so brutal. Anyhoo, it was the end of the song, but from what I heard I loved it.

Like a splinter, this song stayed with me. Yesterday, I purchased it from iTunes, but didn't get a chance to listen. Why? Was off running crazy errands and a spare second was not to be found during the day or night. This morning, however, the song popped in my head. I played it, swaying as the music began. Anthony sang. I froze.

"What did he say?" Pressed rewind. Pressed play and listened. The first two words Anthony sang said it all, as does the entire song.

I see you, Anthony. I see you and I say thank you!

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One Question: WHY

why

Violence is not the solution nor the answer. The effect of which is only more violence. When will we, sentient beings, learn the lessons and say enough to the senseless killings? We are the only group of living creatures on this planet that kill for sport, to convey a message or advance an agenda. How sad.

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Watch Me!

watchme

Ever have someone tell you what you couldn’t do? How your dreams were too big? How what you wanted to accomplish was a veritable impossibility? How did what they share about your dreams, your aspirations make you feel? Did they empower you or did they make you doubt your ability? No matter what was said nor the message conveyed or who said it, those words had an impact. All words do. How you choose to allow those words to effect you is of importance. It is a matter of cultivating the graveyard of dreams or nurturing the birthplace of the greater tomorrow you envisioned.

This is one of the primary reasons why it is important to protect your dreams, your passions. It is also one of the reasons why many choose to keep their dreams private. In sharing, there exists the opportunity for someone to utter words that will snuff the kindling passion birthed in your gut, creating a mountain of doubt were only peaks and occasional valleys originally existed. Yet there are others who, upon hearing the naysayers list of reasons for caution or redirection, use those words as further motivation. Instead of snuffing out, the contrary occurs — the spark to succeed in spite of.

Regardless if whether the comments are external or from the internal monologue that, at times, plagues each of us, the internal response should always be the same: watch me.

Some people in their sharing of advice or counsel, honestly believe they mean well. They believe they have your best interest at heart. Cull through their words, determine what serves you. If there are words of truth, keep them. Analyze and see what adjustments, if any, are necessary. All words which do not serve you nor your intended purpose, shelve or dismiss.

When others put limitations on the heights we can attain, there is a moment of defiance each individual feels. In those moments, you believe in the possibility of your dream. So much so, you can taste it and may have even imagined what it feels like to walk in it. Remember these moments and set out to bring your dream or next greatest achievement to fruition making it your reality. Develop a plan, endeavor to accomplish something every day that places you one step closer to your goal. Outline your steps. Your intention will drive your outcome.

By sheer will, perseverance, hard work and determination, with eyes set on an what can be, move forward and walk into your tomorrow. Enjoy every success of each completed phase. When you've accomplished your task, achieved your dream and are able to live in its reality, there is a no need to gloat. Your success will adorn you and will serve as a catalyst for shifts in the lives of others you, directly and indirectly, impact. Make sure to listen to the stirrings of a new dream, a new height and move forward blazing a trail for yourself and others. And if you're ever privileged to hear another's dream, be on the receiving end of a 'Thank you' and not a 'Watch me'.

So what do you wish to accomplish today? Tomorrow? In five years? Ten? Think about it. It isn't selfish to desire a better life; it is disheartening to deny yourself the possibility of experiencing one. In receiving and achieving, you're able to give and inspire.

* Originally posted on BlackHairKitchen.com March 29, 2013 *

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What? What! What?! Denzel and Marky Mark

Say it ain't so!

I'm not a fan of guns and violent flicks glorifying scandalous occurrences, but from the looks of this three-minute trailer, I anticipate a damn good film. Is it August yet? Truthfully, it doesn't hurt that Bleek Gilliam is in the movie. "Who's Bleek?" you ask. Can't help you there. Do your research.

"You saw that move coming?" "That's correct. Gimme the keys."

Of course he did!

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One of My Favs! India.Arie: The Sistah is Fierce!

You know I love this chick, so it's really no surprise that I was happy dancing the moment I saw a tweet from this songbird debuting her new single, "Cocoa Butter" from her forthcoming album. India is one of the baddest in the game. Lyrically and in every way that matters, she, Jill Scott and Rachelle Ferrell do it for me.

You were missed lady. You were missed.

Press play. Listen, bop, dance, sing, sway and feel. Hit replay and do it all again.

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Motherhood: Who Knew?

As mothers we knew this thing called motherhood would consume every drop of our free time, but what we, or at least I, didn't know was that the ride would be a hilarious one. A sistafriend of mine captured some of the hilarity in emails she'd send us periodically and now she's created a blog to share those moments with you.

So mothers around the world, unite and read the musings of one mother who is lot like each of us. I promise, regardless of ethnicity and cultural differences, the stories are quite similar to your own. Merely change the faces, insert your crew and voilà, it's your life reflected in these posts.

The onhavingOvaries forum provides a platform for sharing. Read, comment and let's see if we can truly figure out these little people with stubborn minds and mulish wills who believe that everything warrants excessive amounts of drama.

Just take a look at OnhavingOvaries logo. Doesn't that say it all? Every time I see those faces, I can't help but smile because children are truly hilarious without trying to be. Click the image to visit the site. And, remember to share with family and friends.

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Judge. Jury. Verdict.

  • Did you see her last night? I can't believe she allowed herself to be filmed wearing that?
  • You got a mirror? I suggest you look in it, because clearly you did not have an opportunity this morning.
  • Wait? Tell me she isn’t wearing white after Labor Day? Who told her that was acceptable?
  • She lip-synched the National Anthem? And with all that pageantry. What the hell? Chile, puh-leez! She needs to go sit down with that foolishness.
  • She should just slap a perm on that crazy mess of hair! Walking out the house looking like that. It's embarrassing.
  • You know she should just go on and BC. Remove all that chemically processed hair and embrace her natural beauty.

guilty

The verdict has come in. The gavel has come down.

We are GUILTY.

What’s sad? It doesn’t matter if we don’t know the details, or perhaps we have a few or we know the entire story, we (me, myself and you) render ourselves judge, jury and issue a scathing verdict, broadcasting worldwide via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and some other social media site sharing our judgment on the matter. Sometimes it's regarding a primetime reality show and sometimes it's our relationships with each other.

In Los Angeles and New York, media moguls are reclining around the table in a boardroom brainstorming possibilities for the upcoming spring and fall season television line-up, hoping to bring to market the next big reality show. Armed with data reflecting the viewing habits of certain demographics they know that cattiness and bitch fests are slam dunks. Their bottom line is increased because cattiness sells and bitchiness sends the ratings into the stratosphere. Female viewers are more interested in watching women gouge out another woman’s eyes, tug hair, kick arse or speak words that incite rage, fury and are blatantly disrespectful.

With all of our daily chatter, I do believe we make their jobs easier. We provide them with the narrative and from this they storyboard, focus group and package to the masses. Do we object? Or do we subject ourselves to hours of watching? What's worse? When the show is over, we cut a side-eye at a sister on the street and wonder what her objective could be.

What was once man’s ultimate fantasy has become our own: Women wrestling in mud, slipping and sliding all over the place in bikinis and the like. When did that become something we actually enjoyed? The catfights? The name calling? The neck rolls? The eye rolls? The ridiculousness of it all?

Now I know I probably stand alone on this limb — with a few million women — but watching that is not my idea of entertainment. Regardless of race, I do not want to watch my sisters treat each other in disrespectful ways. Granted, reality dictates there will almost always be someone who aggravates us and steps on our last good nerve, but why broadcast the fallout in such grandeur. What's the objective? To hurt? Or perhaps laugh at someone's pain?

You want more responsible programming? We have to be responsible consumers. I still believe in the power of the people. Television programs require viewers. These programs require financial backing from advertisers. Advertisers remain vested based on numbers. With dwindling numbers, programs are cancelled. It has been proven throughout history, when there is enough of an outcry or demand for change of any kind, the most beautiful thing imaginable occurs: revolution.

Once upon a time, we moved mountains, changed laws, redefined a people and that's only in this nation. Don't tell me it cannot be done. The world over we've seen proof that mountains of impossibilities are scaled by perseverance and determination of a united people.

I don’t judge you, my sister. Here’s my hand. I stand with and walk along side you because you are a reflection of me.

The revolution must be televised! Let’s script it.

* Originally posted on BlackHairKitchen.com March 12, 2013 *

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Fifty Shades of WHAT?!

50sojf

I do not recall what serendipitous happenstance or celestial alignment led me to LV Lewis, but all I can say is I'm glad it did. Before I continue, I must issue a bit of a disclaimer:

I'm a member of a small subset of earthlings who fall into the category of not liking the original bodies of work.

That said, back to LV. Just typing those two letters has me smiling and happy dancing in my chair while humming the chorus to Steve Wonder's "Jungle Fever" (I kid you not).

To rephrase a portion of my Amazon review: I'm hooked, I'm a fan, I'm all in! Chick had me at the Kente necktie featured on the cover and kept me with a female protagonist who is no slouch and despite the "ghetto" label in the series, she is anything but. Keisha is an intelligent, gifted sister who ventures into the music industry as co-owner with her college BFF, determined to succeed.

The man blessed to catch her eye and tug at her heart is an intriguing fellow, but not because of wealth or bewitchingly, mind-numbing good looks. Tristan brings to the table confidence that oozes from their initial run-in to her abrupt departure. He appears sure of himself and what he wants. Nothing deters him ... not even Keisha's initial reluctance to his offer. Also endearing are the strokes of vulnerability LV uses to paint Tristan. His is a heart carefully tucked away from himself and Keisha, although it becomes quite evident to the reader.

Both characters, it would seem, appear to hide from the truth of their emotions based on issues in their past. Interesting dynamics also arise in this D/s relationship between a caucasian man and an african-american woman. Just how will that work? I'll tell you this much, LV does not shy away from addressing the basics. Love that.

The chemistry between Keisha and Tristan is sizzling from the opening pages until the end. I shall refrain from going into any further detail. Read for yourself and enjoy.

My recommendation:  Grab a copy today.

By the way, the story doesn't end there. Here's the cover for Exit Strategy, which is due to be released shortly. Can you say fiyah? Click on the sexy cover to visit LV's website and read the first two chapters of Exit Strategy.  

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Hello Gorgeous!

When you recognize and acknowledge beauty, worth, and/or value in yourself, you’re more prone to notice these attributes in others. I’m not talking about cultivating narcissistic and haughty tendencies. I’m talking about recognizing and cultivating the good within you. Whatever you need, realize you have it within. Tap in to it, acknowledge it and give it to yourself daily. Be it a kind word or a wink in a window as you pass by or a smile because you woke up this morning and was greeted with another day, another opportunity. Allow this positive energy room to blossom, grow and affect those in and around your sphere. You have the power to influence by example. We all do.

Hey beautiful! How are you today?

Don’t turn around. I’m talking to you! Yes, you … in the mirror.

All to often we seek validation, compliments, adoring looks and words of praise from spouses, peers, colleagues, friends, family members.... I can go on, but you get the general idea. We seek it from others. In many ways, sometimes daily, imploring them to acknowledge how fabulous, grand, gifted or talented we are. We can easily fall into the pit of “I do and you tell me” mode, where we’re looking for some thing, some one or some word to plug the hole in our soul and gently stroke and soothe our ego. We do great things and want others to tell us how great we are. We embody the very definition of fierce and want others to acknowledge our fierceness. Why is that?

mirror

Love of others, starts with love of self. I cannot give what I’m an unable to give myself. It has even been said, we can’t give beyond what we know. While that is true, here’s another truth: The good news is every single day we are above ground, sentient and willing, we can grow beyond where we currently are. It is your choice.

Mirror, mirror on the wall—stop. There really is no need to continue. Look in the mirror. Love what you see. Give it to yourself and repeat after me: I am.

* Originally posted on BlackHairKitchen on on February 13, 2013 *

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The Importance of that Deep Breath

Breathe.

One simple word. One unconscious act. We do it anyway. Yet sometimes we neglect to realize just how vitally important breathing is.

The other day traveling to my doctor’s office for my annual physical, I was stuck behind—on two different occasions—not one, but two slow moving vehicles. To know me means you know my blood was singing in my veins well on its way to hitting some note that’s off the register; I’m talking higher than a note Rachelle Ferrell can hit in REM sleep.

Why is it when you need to be somewhere at a given time, obstacles pop up invariably slowing down your progress? Good question. Another post; not this one. Now if I’m being truthful, I was running late. Left the house, drove a few blocks, realized I’d forgotten the daughter’s school medical form I needed to drop off at her pediatrician, swung a U. When I finally made it to my appointment, I was ten minutes late. Sat my butt in the waiting room where I remained for another ten. Ask me if I took a breath.

Finally I was ushered into the exam room after all routine procedures were completed with the exception of one. When chick—the nurse—pulled out the blood pressure monitor, I grunted. Literally grunted. I knew what the reading would be. I didn’t need a monitor to tell me a thing; my body already informed me. So before she placed the cuff around my bicep, I drew in a few shallow breaths as if that would help.

185/92. Hmm. Chick looked at me and walked out with “The doctor will be with you shortly” falling from her lips. That afforded me about a minute or two of laughter and a few deep breaths.

breathe

When we tense up, our breathing is stilted if not halted for a time and bizarre things take place in our bodies. If you’re in tune with your body you’ll notice, almost immediately, the subtle and not-so-subtle changes. We can attribute this tense state to numerous factors and variables: stress, anxiety, worry, career pressures, deadlines, an overactive mind and, even slow a** drivers. The moment you feel off kilter, edgy, or antsy, it is important to consciously breathe—draw deep breaths in and out through the nose. This act alone is a calming and centering one.

Sometimes early in the process, my mind has yet to quiet. Distractions vie for attention. As a result, my breathing is shallow. I repeat the breathing technique until I’m able to draw in deep, full breaths that naturally lift my chest and expand my lungs before slowly releasing. So wherever you are, I’d like you to close your eyes and breathe with me. A deep, slow breath in through your nose, hold for a count and out, slowly releasing the breath through your nose. Let’s try that a few more times. After a few minutes, notice the difference you feel in mind, spirit and body.

Consider incorporating this technique into your daily routine. It does wonders. When time permits, find a quiet space, sit in a comfortable position, back straight and begin this breathing exercise. Be sure to empty and quiet your mind of all noise and distractions. The stresses will still be there when you’re done, but now you’ll be in a calmer place to deal with them or perhaps, have a new perspective on how to. In addition to rocking the proverbial ‘S’ on her chest, she is also rocking the word ‘breathe’ as a gentle reminder to do so.

By the way, the two readings my doctor took on either arm were met with approving nods. 112/70. Go Michelle! Now back to my car. Damn! Just breathe.

* Originally posted at BlackHairKitchen.com on January 28, 2013 *

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Family

family

I'm exhausted down to my bones and the fine hairs on my toes. Why come that sounds like a quote lifted from a Dr. Seuss book? Hmmm. Regardless of how it sounds, it is true. The reason: Just spent the weekend with family. Three days and two nights … kay, something's wrong. That definitely sounds too much like the beginning of an advertisement for a family cruise or mini-vacay to Disney World.

Anyhoo, let me continue …

The weekend started with a one-year memorial for a beloved daughter, sister, aunt, godmother, colleague and friend to many. We celebrated her life and remembered the countless ways she impacted those around her. At the memorial, we saw family we hadn't seen in years. Memories that seemed like yesterday came flooding back. We partied, danced, laughed and, of course, cried. In the wee hours of Saturday morning, a group of us journeyed to a place she once called home and filled every crevice with warmth, laughter and love.

When I stop and reflect on various parts of my life, the five women I spent the weekend with have been there for just about all of my greatest joys and deepest pain. Seems like we experienced the joys of heaven and the pits of hell together. These women were my rock and my strength during the toughest incident I've ever had to deal with on this side of existence. Nuff about that …

There was Sunday morning chuuch in the kitchen. Yes, I said chuuch … in the kitchen. Auntie V is a powerful vessel. Later, the son and nieces directed and starred in our very own Harlem Shake video, which Nick has to splice and edit. Perhaps I'll be brave enough to post. We shall see. In those few days, there was so much we did, but I won't bore you with the details. When it was time to head home, gotta be honest, it was a painful experience. Thankfully, we'll be meeting up in ATL in a few days to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of our precious angels.

What I love about us:

No matter the distance or the time that has lapsed, when we are physically together we love like you won't believe. We love hard and we wouldn't want any other way!

  Take some time today and tell a family member how much they mean to you!

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Blizzard 2013

bliz

Just when I thought we'd make it through another winter without much snow, we get walloped with this monstrosity that dumped more than two feet of snow in our lovely hamlet. Certainly makes for pretty scenery and beautiful pictures, but honestly, two inches would have been better. I mean we couldn't even see our cars, deck, where the yard ended and the street began. And forget the fact that we remained buried for days. And now just as warmer temperatures are ridding us of this dirty white stuff, they're predicting another round. Ugh! Might be time for another trip to the supermarket to stock up on essentials and I'll also be spending a little time contemplating relocation ... to the islands or something.

Geesh. Didn't the groundhog predict an early spring? Amazing.

Chase and Tia aren't complaining. They enjoy having me hemmed up like this. Selfish, selfish, selfish.

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MR at BHK: Give It To Yourself

This piece has been sitting in my spirit for some time. However, I never saw the need to put pen to paper to give it form ... until this weekend. When inspiration rears its head, I tend to listen. Recent observations birthed this latest post. Click the chick and enjoy.

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Writing Confessions

So the characters are back, occupying my sleeping and waking hours.

As Chase and Tia's story continues in this third book, I find that I cannot write or type fast enough to get every word down before they advance the scene or jump to another. Conversations, dealings, happenings and conscious streams of thoughts are taking place almost simultaneously. There is so much going on; so much they're addressing and I'm the one left with the task of making sense of it all. Writing the story as it unfolds; capturing it in a manner that you, the reader, can recreate in your mind. Daunting, really, but oh, so very worth it.

My process of writing is one of isolation. Shutting myself off from people and distractions allows me clear access into the story as it unfolds in my third eye. Therefore, I retreat, listen and watch either in my home office or bedroom where I'll type or sit visually capturing the mental images of the scene(s) as they play out.

There is no outline I write from. There is no point I consciously decide to include. The characters drive the story. They always have and they always will. The insertion of the actual events that have happened during the chunk of time in which the story takes place is another element I must keep track of. That alone is the single thing I admit to making a conscious effort to include, especially if I'm guided to believe it bears some relevance to the scene or story in general. Next are conscious streams of thoughts, or words of wisdom. I call them WoWs. Those, for me, are among the best. Well ... that and watching how Chase and Tia and their host of family and friends interact. That's the entire story, really. What am I saying? I love it all.

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MR: Contributing Writer for BlackHairKitchen.com

As a woman of color, I can't say there was ever a time I wanted to be anyone other than who I am ... who I was born to be. With all our differences, I realized at a very young age that we were not born to blend in, but meant to stand out. Yellow pencil conformity was never really my thing. When my soul cringed and my spirit challenged me to look deeper into any situation or ideology that demanded such a shift and stymied growth, I did. Still do. I'm a bit of a paradox that way. Always have been.

So it does my heart a warming justice to see sisters by the millions, I suspect, cutting off their chemically processed hair and embracing the beauty of their naturally, voluminous, curly mane. In full glory it reminds me of a King of some place ....

As a contributing writer to BlackHairKitchen.com (BHK), I encourage you to check out the website as it offers a one-stop shop to sisters no matter how you choose to rock your hair and a forum for exchange of ideas. The official site launch is slated for March. I'll be contributing in the Natural Hair section, focusing on my daughter's hair journey and also in Health (Physical/Spiritual/Mental).

Click the beautiful logo with the sister rocking both natural and relaxed hair for my first post regarding the question most mothers of color find ourselves asked at one time or another: "Why is my hair big and poofy?"

Till next time, stay warm of heart and body. We're freezing over here. Overall, it has been a rather mild winter, so I shan't complain.

BHK-Full-Logo

MR-Signature

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PAR - The Photographer

There's something to be said for following your passion and inspiring others to do the same. Those who serve as inspiration should, too, also be inspired. All of life seems to be centered around the energy of giving and receiving and if done correctly, the journey is an incredible one. My brother-in-law Peter A. Richardson, PAR, is a damn good photographer. Two of his images were used as the front and back covers of my second novel, Never Said It Was Easy; additional images were used in the book trailer.

When you're willing to lie down on a bed of rocks, among the leaves, dirt and crawling critters just to get the right shot ... it is a passion.
When you're willing to lie down on a bed of rocks, among the leaves, dirt and crawling critters just to get the right shot ... it is a passion.

Each time PAR sends an email with a new image, I'm amazed at how something that seems so ordinary appears to be anything but when seen from the perspective of the photographer. The photos allow for a pause ... to reflect, appreciate and recognize the beauty in each.

Well, brother-in-law has launched a website showcasing his phenomenal gift for capturing and viewing life from a different perspective. Visit the galleries. If you fall in love with any prints, you can order in the format and size of your choosing.

Although I have an inkling of what I'd like to see for the front and back covers of my third novel, I'm waiting to see what else he captures. Some photo(s) may speak directly to the characters and my choice will be made for me. One thing I do know, PAR and I will be creating companion books featuring his evocative images spanning the glossy pages from top to bottom, left to right with excerpts from the novels in the Experience Life from a Different Perspective series.

Exciting times! And wait ... did dude really name one of the galleries 'Wood'? Now that's funny!

Check out the photographer in action.

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2013: A New Year

2013

2013 is here. Not sure if it's just me, but the years seems to be doing that quick calendar page-turning action indicating the speed with which time is whizzing by. WHIZZ! Whatever the case, we are here (never believed for a second we wouldn't be) and that means we are needed.

May this year and every day prove to be the stepping stone that continually catapults you towards your purpose, your dreams with arms spread wide and eyes truly seeing as you soar above those doubts, fears and insecurities that once held you back, but no longer. Embrace the possibilities that actively stir within you and, if you haven't already been doing so, get ready to live life in high definition.

Many new things to look forward to in 2013. Keep checking here or, if you prefer, my Facebook page for updates as we roll them out. I personally cannot wait to hit you with the third installment of Chase and Tia. Miss 'em? I'm sure you do.

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Meet the Ladies

The Harlem Holiday Doll Show was this weekend at LeRoy Neiman Art Center and as you read in a few Facebook updates or news posted on this site or by virtue of knowing me, I have developed a healthy obsession for these dolls. Tanya Montegut, creator of these precious, unique and splendid pieces, is the bomb diggity.

So as promised, I attended the event and did so with every appendage of limbs crossed in hopes of rounding out the females of the Experience Life from a Different Perspective series with a Megan and Stephanie acquisition. Well, guess what? I have indeed found my chicas! Meet the ladies in all of their fabulosity (don't give me the stank side-eye; look it up, according to Webster it truly is a word):

The-Ladies

Now in all honestly, I'm not sure if I'm done acquiring all of the women. There are still a few sisters who require representation and who knows what individuals will pop up in future novels. I certainly don't; we shall see.

Right now I'm all about acquiring the mens. So who's up first? Chase, of course. Then Derrick, then Peter, then David....

Interested in your own DollsbyMonTQ contact Tanya. The holidays are right around the corner ... think books and dolls!

Toodles!

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Introducing . . .

 
She was the complexion of a Hershey Kiss with black shoulder length wooly hair. Her hair had natural waves that came from opening twists and running your fingers through them to give them a bit of body.
— Never Said It Was Easy / mr
 
Katherine Richards

This description references Katherine Richards. While writing the sequel, the second Kat made her appearance, she quickly became one of my favorites in the series. I'm sure that as you read she will maneuver her way into your heart, as well. In my opinion, she is that good. Here she is in all of her fabulousness.

So what about Megan and Stephanie? What happened to them? In December I'll be attending the Harlem Holiday Doll Show at Leroy Nieman Art Center, expect for me to return from this event with a few more characters. Fingers crossed for Megan and Stephanie miniature embodiments to jump out at me and scream for me to take them home. We shall see.

Love Kat? Let Tanya know. Interested in attending the doll show, here's the information:

For three days I had the pleasure of attending (thanks to a friend) the Arts Off the Main exhibit at the Jacob Javits Center. While I was able to speak with many about my novels, I was in attendance to lend my support. This year, three shows were combined into one and some of the hottest talent in Crafts from around the country were able to share the spotlight with the likes of Woodrow Nash, George Nock, Franco Castelluccio, Stuart McClean and Edwin Lester. Well, Tanya Montegut of Dolls by MonTQ was present and you know the rest ... her dolls were a hit! What's not to love about sisters captured in miniature?

Although a number of Tanya's dolls spoke to me, they always do, one in particular held and kept my attention. My original thought was to round out the cast of It's Simple with either Megan or Stephanie or acquire both, so I was surprised when I found myself coming back to this doll and recalling a passage from the sequel, Never Said It Was Easy.

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