Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

My Favorite Childhood Author

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Who remembers, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” As a ten-year-old that book truly spoke to me. After reading the book I felt, the author, Judy Blume knew me personally and understood my childhood thoughts. Like, she just got it when no one else did. As a skinny child, who ate everything, I was convinced that there was only one way to increase my bust.

When a friend told me she was on book tour promoting her new adult book titled, “In The Unlikely Event,” I had to take the drive to Santa Fe to meet her. I wanted to say so much more to her than I did but I got tongue-tided. However, I did let her know that I have loved her since the fifth grade and she pointed out that she noticed my bright smile in the audience.

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Update:

See, this is what I am talking about!

Once Was A Book Publicist

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

I was book publicist to Zane’s sex-thriller “Addicted” during my other life in New York. Right now I am so proud to have publicized such a fantastic piece of work that is now a fantastic film to watch. I feel honored to know and have worked with Zane. I even attended her wedding in 2002.

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The movie Addicted was a success. It debuted nationwide this past weekend in approximately 846 venues. This erotic thriller was a hit scoring an estimated $7.6 million and finishing as the 7th top film over the weekend. Clearly targeted at adults, especially African-American women, Addicted boasted a per-screen average of $8,983 the best of any wide-release movie this week.

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Like I said I am proud and I wish lots of success to Zane in the future.

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Vegetarian to Vegan

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

I have been a vegan for fourteen years. I went from omnivore to vegetarian to vegan. It took many years for me to finally reach my goal, and if I had more knowledge, I would have started eating vegan a lot earlier than I did. By doing that I probably would have avoided health issues like developing fibroids. Fibroids have everything in the world to do with your diet. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. So when I received an email about a new book titled Vegetarian to Vegan: Give Up Dairy. Give Up Eggs. For Good. (ISBN: 978-0-9764414-2-7; Price: $14.95) by well-loved public speaker, Sarah Taylor, I had to share the knowledge with you guys on Permed to Natural. The interview below with Taylor will explain the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan, how eating vegan can improve your health and provide a healthy atmosphere for the animals and planet.

Enjoy!

What inspired you to write Vegetarian to Vegan? 

My first book was Vegan in 30 Days, and when I lectured around the US and Canada after the book was released, the most common question I got from the audience was, “I’ve been vegetarian for many years, and I just don’t see what’s wrong with eating _______.”  That blank could be low-fat cheese (it’s got calcium and it’s low-fat!) or yogurt (it’s got calcium and it’s full of probiotics!) or eggs (they’re the perfect protein!) or cage free eggs (no animals were hurt to provide these eggs!) and so on…  I realized that there was a huge amount of misinformation that needed to be corrected, so I wrote Vegetarian to Vegan in order explain exactly why it matters – for your health, the animals and the environment – to go fully vegan.

Why are you promoting veganism over vegetarianism? Aren’t they almost both the same? 

No, they are definitely not the same!  The vegan diet does not allow animal flesh or animal products, so vegans won’t eat dairy, eggs or honey, while vegetarians will.  The vegan diet (if not comprised of junky vegan food) is healthier for humans, better for animal welfare, and better for the environment.  These topics are what Vegetarian to Vegan covers in depth.

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There are many people who may be curious about veganism but swear they cannot live without eating dairy, especially cheese. For those who say that how would you explain veganism to them?

I used to joke that my four foods groups were Swiss, Havarti, Cheddar and Chocolate, so I can relate to people who say they couldn’t live without dairy or cheese!  I’ll bet more than half of my calories each day came from dairy foods, especially cheese and frozen yogurt.  What I tell people who can’t imagine a life without dairy products is that once you clean out your taste buds and eat a healthy vegan diet for about a month, your taste buds will actually become more sensitive.  When this happens, foods that used to taste “just okay” will now explode on your taste buds.  That’s why you meet vegans who crow over Honeycrisp apples every fall, and can keenly taste the difference between organic and non-organic produce.  To us, these foods taste unbelievably fantastic because our taste buds haven’t been desensitized by tons of fatty, salty and sugary foods.  Once you eat a healthy vegan diet for about 30 days, your taste buds will change too, and you’ll likely find your old favorite foods too salty or sugary.  (Caveat: This won’t happen if you eat a lot of vegan junk food.  Vegan cookies, donuts, French fries, etc, will sabotage your taste buds, so it’s important to eat a healthy vegan diet!)

In your book you indicated eggs from cage-free, organic and even free-range chickens do not imply cruelty free. How is this possible? Please explain.

Our government has very limited standards for using the terms “cage free,” “free range” and “organic.”  For example, using “cage free” in an egg production facility only means that the hens aren’t in cages; yet most of these hens are still so crowded together in a massive warehouse that they suffer psychologically and become extremely aggressive.  In fact, on average, cannibalism is higher in “cage-free” facilities than it is in battery cage facilities because the stressed hens have greater access to each other.  In another example, “free-range” only requires that the hens have some access to the outdoors – this could include the five minutes they spend outdoors getting moved from the hatchery to the barn.  You cannot trust labels and stamps on packages.  The only way to know for sure that the hens are in a natural setting is to find a local farm where you go and pick up the eggs yourself.  If you’re concerned about hen welfare, this is truly the only way to know you are getting eggs from well-cared for hens.

You also wrote that animal protein from dairy products is linked to cancer. Please tell us about these findings.

There is an entire book written about this called The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell.  To summarize, he found in multiple studies that animal protein (he used casein, which is the protein found in highest quantities in dairy products) but not plant protein, was correlated with liver cancer in multiple studies.  Many other studies link dairy products with breast, ovarian, prostate and other cancers. I summarize all these findings in Vegetarian to Vegan.

How can a vegetarian change to a vegan diet?

Essentially, there are two ways a vegetarian can change to a vegan diet: quickly or slowly!  For those who want to change quickly, I always suggest watching or reading something shocking, like the video Earthlings, or the book Diet for a New America (or better yet, as many books and videos as they can stand in a short period of time.)  The reason for this is that many people will find that when their system is “shocked” by the realities shown in graphic photos or videos, they can no longer pretend that “it can’t be that bad” and will no longer need any willpower to make a drastic change. 

For people who prefer to take a gradual route, I wrote Vegan in 30 Days to help them slowly take foods out of their diet, and also learn to cope with non-vegan situations.  I strongly believe a lot of people don’t stick with the vegan diet simply because they are not prepared; they face their first birthday as a vegan, and didn’t think to tell people that they would not like a regular cake or ice cream, so when people buy them one, they feel bad and eat it.  Then they throw in the towel because they feel they failed at the diet.  Or the waiter at the restaurant brings out their burrito with cheese, even though they asked to have it without, and because they are too shy to speak up, they just eat it anyway.  Then they give up on the vegan diet because they feel they failed.  Vegan in 30 Days covers all these situations like eating out, entertaining, being entertained and traveling that people need to think ahead of time about how they want to handle the situation.  If you know ahead of time how you will handle it, you’ll be successful, and be motivated to move forward.   Another way to take it slowly is to just try new items over time, and you’ll learn just how easy it is to do without.  Many people are shocked to find that veggie pizza without cheese is really fantastic, or that scrambled tofu is even better than scrambled eggs!  I can make a grilled cheese sandwich that even my dad can’t tell is vegan.  I think many people assume the alternatives won’t taste good, so they hesitate to try. 

Should everyone seriously consider becoming a vegan? If so, why? If not, why?

In my opinion, yes.  I can’t know what’s right for everyone, but I do know that it’s an extremely healthy diet, it’s the most compassionate diet for the animals, and it’s the kindest diet for our planet. 

Why is a vegan diet extremely healthy?

The vegan diet (assuming one is not eating too many french fries and vegan cookies) is low in calories, low in fat and has no cholesterol, while at the same time, it is packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and water. When people argue that they need to eat meat for protein, for example, what they are forgetting is that the meat comes not only with protein but also with lots of calories, fat and cholesterol. Beans, on the other hand, are packed with protein as well but have no fat to speak of, no cholesterol, tons of fiber and are relatively low in calories. Similarly, people argue that they need dairy products for their calcium, but they are forgetting that the dairy products usually come with tons of fat and cholesterol as well as calories, and animal proteins – especially casein, the protein found in the highest quantities in dairy products – has been highly linked with cancer. Spinach is also very high in calcium, but has no fat to speak of, no cholesterol, tons of vitamins and minerals and other nutrients, and is also very low in calories. The vegan choices are almost always healthier!

What do you want readers to take with them after reading Vegetarian to Vegan?

I believe a lot of vegetarians (and omnivores) are playing the game, “It can’t be that bad…”  As in, “Non-fat dairy can’t be that bad for my health” or “Factory Farms can’t be that bad for the hens” or “My dairy product intake can’t be that bad for the environment.”  I’d really like vegetarians to come face to face with the reality of what dairy and eggs do to their health, the animals and the environment.  Only then can they make a truly informed decision about whether to stay vegetarian or go vegan.

Where can we find you on the World Wide Web?

www.VegetariantoVegan.com

www.TheVeganNextDoor.com

Facebook – The Vegan Next Door

Nikki Giovanni

Friday, February 21st, 2014

During Black history month I decided to take a moment to spotlight my good friend and former client, Nikki Giovanni. I used to be Nikki’s book publicist back in the day and promoted three of her titles that went on to achieve major media attention worldwide.

Nikki is not only my friend she is my sorority sister and when I was on Delta’s National Commission on Arts and Letters I made sure Nikki was featured in our programs during the national convention in Chicago. She featured my short story “Pop Pop” in her book for young adults titled, GRANDFATHERS.

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Recently, to my surprise, Nikki came to Albuquerque to publicize her new book CHASING UTOPIA. It was a pleasure seeing her again after so many years, and that’s when I realized; where ever I move, no matter which city, Nikki seems to always visit and we hook up to eat and/or chat about any and everything. But Albuquerque surprised both of us. This city is not normally on the schedule. I told her Albuquerque was selected on her tour for the first time because I’m here now. The Universe wants us to stay in touch.

When Nikki’s poems first emerged from the Black Rights Movement in the late 1960s, she immediately took a place among the most celebrated and controversial poets of the era. Nikki has received several awards including being named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle, Ladies’ Home Journal and Essence magazines.

I want to share my favorite poem by Nikki when I was in college:

HOUSECLEANING

I always like housecleaning even as a child I dug straightening the cabinets putting new paper on the shelves washing the refrigerator inside out and unfortunately this habit has carried over and I find I must remove you from my life

My favorite poem by Nikki when I became a grooownn woman:

THAT DAY

if you’ve got the key then i’ve got the door let’s do what we did when we did it before

if you’ve got the time i’ve got the way let’s do what we did when we did it all day

you get the glass i’ve got the wine we’ll do what we did when we did it overtime

if you’ve got the dough then i’ve got the heat we can use my oven til it’s warm and sweet

i know i’m bold coming on like this but the good things in life are too good to be missed

now time is money and money is sweet if you’re busy bay we can do it on our feet

we can do it on the floor we can do it on the stair we can do it on the couch we can do it in the air

we can do it in the grass and in case we get an inch i can scratch it with my left hand cause i’m really quite a witch

if we do it once a month we can do it in time if we do it once a week we can do it in rhyme if we do it every day we can do it everyway we can do it like we did it when we did it that day!    

I think this poem is everyone’s favorite:

EGO TRIPPING

I was born in the congo

I walked to the fertile crescent and built the sphinx

I designed a pyramid so tough that a star that only glows every one hundred years falls into the center giving divine perfect light

I am bad

I sat on the throne drinking nectar with allah

I got hot and sent an ice age to europe to cool my thirst

My oldest daughter is nefertiti the tears from my birth pains created the nile

I am a beautiful woman

I gazed on the forest and burned out the sahara desert with a packet of goat’s meat and a change of clothes

I crossed it in two hours

I am a gazelle so swift so swift you can’t catch me

For a birthday present when he was three I gave my son hannibal an elephant He gave me rome for mother’s day

My strength flows ever on

My son noah built new/ark and I stood proudly at the helm as we sailed on a soft summer day

I turned myself into myself and was jesus

men intone my loving name All praises All praises I am the one who would save

I sowed diamonds in my back yard My bowels deliver uranium

the filings from my fingernails are semi-precious jewels

On a trip north I caught a cold and blew My nose giving oil to the arab world

I am so hip even my errors are correct

I sailed west to reach east and had to round off the earth as I went

The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid across three continents

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal

I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

I mean…I…can fly

like a bird in the sky…

Book Review: It’s Never Too Late To Marry

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

intltm-320pxIf you followed Permed to Natural in 2011 and 2012, when I relocated to New Mexico from New York, you already know that I met my husband five months after moving at age 45, and married for the first time at age 46.

You may also know that before I got engaged I mentioned people telling me I had a better chance at getting struck by lightning than walking down the aisle. A childhood friend said, “You’re getting married? Well, by now I thought you would have given up on marriage – ain’t you like 50?”

All of the naysayers were shut down when I jumped the broom on a vortex with a full moon surrounded by the majestic red rock mountains of Sedona, Arizona. Since then my wedding story was featured in Essence magazine three times – twice on Essence.com and once in their February 2013 issue.

Because of my personal relationship story I am always interested in highlighting first-time brides over 40 and what they experienced while getting to “I Do.” With that said, it brings me to a new book I received titled, IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO MARRY: How to Have the Man and the Marriage of Your Dreams by certified hypnotherapist, Virginia Clark who met her husband in her mid 40s and married for the first time at age 53.

Virginia has more experience with men than she cares to admit. She was an attractive blond in her 20’s who dated plenty of men but never encountered Mr. Right. It took her more than 20 years and many disastrous relationships to finally meet him. Some of the errors she acknowledges along the way included begging a man to marry her just for him to say, “No!” Staying too long with men who were arrogant, cruel, addicted or kinky and paying too much money to psychics or astrologers to find out if “he is the one.”

Her years of struggle and desperation as a single woman gave her a unique insight into what it takes to find the right person and create the marriage of your dreams. “When I was single I was afraid that I would die alone,” Virginia confessed. I felt incapable of inspiring a man to marry me. I bounced from one relationship to another feeling more and more discouraged. I questioned if I was good enough to attract the kind of man I wanted. I was afraid that whatever man I was with was my last chance and I clung to him even when it was obvious he didnt love me. It took me a while but I figured out it doesnt have to be that way.”

In Virginia’s new book she shares what she went through and what she learned along the way and is willing to chat with Permed to Natural about steps women can take to find the man and marriage they always wanted.

After experiencing several horrible relationships how did you take matters into your own hands and mindfully address what was keeping you from meeting the man of your dreams?

I finally realized that the one common denominator in all my horrible relationships was me! When I got that, I finally realized I had to take responsibility for what I was experiencing. I had no choice but to work on myself and change the way I was showing up in my relationships.

What do you think are some dating mistakes you made along the way to meeting your husband?

One of my biggest mistakes I made was being a coward in love. I didn’t speak up for myself and tell a man X what I wanted or needed. I was so afraid that he would leave me if I made “demands.” Because of this I put up with a lot of bad behavior. I let one of my boyfriends (Mr. Kinky in Chapter 3 of my book) lead me into some very demeaning sexual acts that I really didn’t enjoy. Not only that, one time when he had his hands around my throat asking me how ‘alive’ I felt. I really didn’t know if he would kill me at that moment. I thought I loved him and I had let things progress because I wanted to please him. I was afraid if I didn’t do what he wanted he would leave me.

Some women are doormats and some are assertive. Do you think men are interested in marrying women who possess quite personalities or women who are more self-assured?

There is no one kind of woman or man. Of course, being a doormat is not a good thing; that’s what I was with Mr. Kinky. The key is to be your authentic self and you will meet a man who is the perfect match for you. We’re all different and often we’ll be surprised by the person we end up falling in love with and marrying. It’s been found that 75% of married women say their husbands were not their “type” when they met them.

Do you think men become intimidated and flee when women are open and courageous? If so, why do you think this happens? If not, please explain the attraction.

Some men will be intimidated, but that doesn’t mean you should change who you are to avoid this. You want a man who appreciates your openness and courage. If a man can’t deal with that, he’s not your match.

Is it important for women to know how to cook and keep a clean home in order to marry?

No, of course not. If you don’t like to cook and clean you’re not a good fit with a man who expects you to do these things. It’s important to be honest from the beginning and not pretend to like doing things you don’t.

What are some valuable exercises you provide in your book that can help women find and marry their perfect partner?

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to write a ruthlessly honest relationship history. This includes all the important men in your life, why you were attracted to them and what happened that ended the relationship. By doing this you start to see your “patterns.” This tool alone can give you the insight you need to not repeat your mistakes.

How did you meet your husband?

I met him though a match-making service in Los Angeles. I paid $3000 (I had to borrow half the money from my mother) for 8 matches, meaning 8 dates. There were no pictures or profiles, my matchmaker simply put me together with the men. I had 6 dates that never led to a second (very discouraging), but my husband was my lucky #7.

In your book you mentioned that your husband was “marriage phobic.” If getting married was something you “needed,” why did you date a man who had no desire to marry?

I didn’t know how “marriage phobic” he was in the beginning. By the time I found out I already felt he was “the one.” I hung in there because I knew he was worth it, but if he hadn’t come around to the idea of marrying me I would have walked away, no question.

When did you know your husband was the one for you and how did you get a “marriage phobic” man to get married?

This is a bigger question than I can answer here. The story is in the book and to put it in a few sentences would leave out important parts of my journey and not do it justice. I can say that I’ve been married for 12 wonderful years and my husband was so worth the wait.

Where can we find you on the worldwide web?

I have a website www.itsnevertoolatetomarry.com where you can find over 160 articles on how to have successful relationships. You can also apply for a complimentary Attract the Love of Your Life Breakthrough Session with me there.

Where can we purchase a copy of your book?

At my website: www.itsnevertoolatetomarry.com or on Amazon

What do you want Permed to Natural readers who are single and single over 40 to take with them after reading IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO MARRY?

Hopefully, they’ll recognize themselves in the mistakes I made looking for love, then apply the 6 essential steps I share so they too can have the man and the marriage of their dreams.

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Your Natural Hair Journal

Monday, December 12th, 2011

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Cheryl Simms, the author of YOUR NATURAL HAIR JOURNAL. Her book is the new go-to manual for all women who are either curious, or in the midst of, making that great leap from permed to natural hair.

I was excited to discover that Cheryl and I embarked upon and recorded our hair journeys around the same time. She documented her experiences in a journal, and I recorded mine on my blog.

In an easy-to-read format, Cheryl writes about the purpose and benefits of keeping a hair journal. In her own personal and humorous fashion, she highlights the never-ending hair struggles that ultimately lead her to go natural.

YOUR NATURAL HAIR JOURNAL provides readers with hair care tips, websites, videos, natural hair jargons and important product suggestions. This handbook also spotlights the all important emotional aspects related to how women may feel during their transition.

The book includes color pictures throughout, pages to journal about your hair’s texture, health, condition and goals, plus additional sheets to post inspirational photos about your personal hair growth journey.

Clearly, YOUR NATURAL HAIR JOURNAL is not only an empowering tool for women, but also a must-read for anyone interested in staying organized, motivated and informed during their first year of transitioning.

YOUR NATURAL HAIR JOURNAL; Cheryl Simms; ISBN: 978-146098278-5; Paperback; Price: $17.99

A Child’s Dream

Monday, November 1st, 2010

It’s been a long time coming. A childhood dream almost in place.

There was a lot of doubt. Then I forgot about it. Then I thought about it again. Then I put it off. Then I signed up for a writing class at NYU. 

I put my story in place for others to read. The rejections came pouring in but I am used to that being a publicist and all. A college friend passed along a name and I made the connection right away. Hey, she likes me, a little anyway. She gave me a pile of homework to do. I thought - I am too busy for this but I did it anyway. I am glad I buckeled down and completed the assignment because now I have a literary agent!!

Writing a book and getting it published has been a dream of mine since I was a child and it is finally one step closer to becoming a reality.

My picture book for children is about a little girl who is obsessed with her natural hair. I started writing this piece in class at NYU and currently I am right on time with the topic referencing to the Sesame Street segment and Willow Smith’s new song. Hopefully, one day, folks will talk about my story in the same big way.

BookExpo America – Day 2

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

The second day at BookExpo America (BEA) was tons of fun as well. Check out the pictures.

Meeting fashion icon, Tim Gunn. His new book is titled, GUNN’S GOLDEN RULES: LIFE’S LITTLE LESSONS FOR MAKING IT WORK.

Tim complimented me on my blouse. I said it was an Ellen Tracy or Tracy Ellen. He looked at me over his glasses, in a way that only he does, and said sternly, “Ellen Tracy.” It was the best!

All smiles with Tim!

Ki-Mani Marley, Bob’s son, is the author of DEAR DAD: WHERE’S THE FAMILY IN OUR FAMILY, TODAY?” Deep! He also performed.

Bestselling author, Rochelle Alers newest book is titled SWEET DECEPTION.

Children’s book authors T.R. Simon and Victoria Bond wrote, ZORA AND ME. Victoria (right) is a natural head. She shared her transition experience with me.

Self published author Q wrote A LESSON LEARNED. She was getting her hustle on.

Well known children’s book illustrator, Eric Velasquez, was promoting his new book, SOME KIND OF LOVE.

What would a child’s world be like if there were no clowns?

“Kris Kringle the Musical” performed both days.

She was getting her hustle on, too.