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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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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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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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Martha's Vineyard

Well, we're back from our Martha's Vineyard vacation. Love that place! We managed to squeeze so much activities and eats into six fun-filled, yet bone exhausting days. Would you believe me if I told you I even managed three before-the-break-of-dawn workouts all while cussing out my sister-in-law, Nicole (Jillian Michaels in-training) for the torment she inflicted, pushing me past the point of pain? It was sheer torture. Although the highlights of the vacation were many, one exceeded all others — I'm sure you'll think me crazy in a few. The highlight of my 2012 Vineyard vacay was not the private BET party nor rubbing shoulders or hobnobbing with notable personalities and celebrities, nor attending Grand Illumination nor Fireworks night, nor vibing with Wynton Marsalis as he smote the Tabernacle with jazz worthy of Count Basie's Orchestra and totally reminiscent of the Bleek Gilliam Quintet jammin' in Mo'Better Blues. The highlight was stumbling upon Murdick's Fudge. I spent the better part of many days wondering why I hadn't noticed this shop last year, thinking perhaps my husband successfully managed to turn my head in the opposite direction, distracting me with something else each time we passed the decadent shop. However, him was not so successful this time around. Hee hee!

*Pause for Confessions of an Addict* You have not lived until you've tasted Murdick's Fudge. Upon my word, I declare it to be the best damn thing around. On par with air and water, so it would be safe to assume that I practically lived in that shop for five days, became best friends with the staff and dropped oodles of cash on this ridiculously good soul satisfying sustenance. Yes, I said soul satisfying. And yes, I referred to it as sustenance. Shameful, I know. I understand my addiction and am fully aware that I might require some help in overcoming it in the far future, thank you very much. Anyhoo, much love to Laverne, Tanya, Omar, Mark and Shaddy for the love and feeding my addiction. *End of confession and shameless plug*

POTUS

Missing from MV this year was the energy and presence of the First Family and all who accompany them: Secret Service and the Press Corps. Cute side note: After the President visited a Bunch of Grapes Bookstore last year (photograph taken by Peter Richardson outside the bookstore), the establishment needed a larger location to accommodate the traffic the POTUS and his daughters drummed up (although I'm told expansion was in the works for some time prior to POTUS's visit, I've drawn my own conclusions *smiles*). So just one year later, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore crossed the street, branched out and now boasts more square footage to accommodate lovers of written words, the authors who share them, and even Presidents who purchase them.

A Pictorial Companion For those of you interested in seeing Martha's Vineyard from Chase and Tia's perspective, here's a little something especially for you: a pictorial companion to a portion of Never Said It Was Easy. I've compiled a number of photographs for you to enjoy. After reading the second novel, I'm sure you'll get quite the chuckle out of a few pictures.

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