Friday, July 31, 2009

Bad Writing

Happy Friday!

What's Jack up to? As I write this (late Thursday night) the Jackster is right under me up under my bed snoring lightly. Poor thing, he's worked so hard. Trying to sneak into the trash multiple times, but I was up on my game and thwarted him each time. I'm sure today he'll come for me with extra strength. I'll be ready. I hope.

What is bad writing?

I find it hard to define, but it's something you know when you read it. Now being in a book club the subject of bad writing has become an interesting and lively debate.

For me it's writing that doesn't flow or hold my attention. It's definitely writing that I have to go back and read a few times in order to understand or writing that doesn't ring true and I don't mean in a fantasy way I mean in an authentic way.

I'm very interested in this documentary Bad Writing with George Saunders and David Sedaris.

So how would you describe Bad Writing? This post maybe? Ouch!

Have a great day.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Hot Mess!

I'm deep in editing mode right now and this project is taking me way longer than I thought and had hoped. I really hope it's not for nothing but I keep holding onto the words that author, Jayne Ann Krentz aka Amanda Quick told me at Nationals last year, "No writing is wasted writing."

The story is improving. So that means I am improving.
Where that will lead, I don't know. As an artist and being close to my work it's hard to tell exactly where I am on the craft scale compared to other writers. Now I know some may say you shouldn't compare yourself to anyone else, but that's not true. You have to know what's out there and ultimately sell your story against what else is out there. I guess in the end all I can do is be true to myself and the story and do my best which is what I do with each book I write.

Now on the the hot messery...So tonight The Real Housewives of Atlanta are back tonight. I'll be watching. I can't want to see all the crazy antics. Check out the trailer. Big Poppa is still on he scene. SHE by Sheree has some competition and NeNe is still NeNe. Yay! Will you be watching with me?


Wednesday, July 29, 2009


What's Jack up to? Jack's been enjoying peaceful warm days and wild evening with the dear twins. They give him no rest and he gives them none either. So with that I get none. The nights are

Not a big one for conspiracy theories, well, maybe a bit but not the scary ones I'm still still crazy drawn to this movie. It's got John Cusack. Win there and it's directed by Roland Emmerich director of Independence Day another win. I saw this trailer during Harry Potter with the Dear Twins and can't get it out of my head. It's wild.

Don't know where I'll be in 2012, but I'm pretty sure I'll be in the IMAX come November.

What movies are you looking forward to?

Oh and it's Real Hot Mess of ATL Countdown time. Are you ready for tomorrow?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Style Maven

I’m going back to my Anthro excursion for today’s post and another book that that I found while there. I mean you can’t help but love that store. You can find a top, skirt, candles, china and fun reading. Genius.

But back to the book, well, books actually. The Little Black Book of Style and One Hundred: A Guide to The Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own by Nina Garcia our favorite tough no love judge from Project Runway and former fashion editor for Elle magazine.

Oh Nina How I miss you! I love how Nina makes the title for One Hundred so forceful using the word 'must'. Go Nina.

The books are beautiful with illustrations by famed illustrator Ruben Toledo, husband of designer Isabelle Toledo.

Here is the blurb from Little Black Book of Style:

Every time you dress, you assert your identity. With style, you tell the world your story. In that way, style affords you opportunities to think about your appearance as a quality of your creative character. The Little Black Book of Style helps you to explore your own fashion voice—the piece of you that joyously revels in the glamorous experience of creating your best self. From cultivating good taste to guarding against definite fashion faux pas, Nina Garcia offers readers the ultimate guide to follow when it comes to dressing their best. Including tips on how and when to wear an outfit, occasion-appropriate wear, advice on how to combine colors and textures, and inspiration on how to achieve your own signature look, you learn how to experiment, storyboard, archive, and play. Timeless and universal, this book seeks to remind women that eternal style is internal style, and that everyone has what it takes to discover themselves through the colorful palette that is fashion.

And here is the blurb from The One Hundred:

In the wildly popular The Little Black Book of Style, fashion authority Nina Garcia showed women how to think about personal style in an entirely new way. Encouraging readers to creatively assert their style identities, Nina showed women of all ages how to hone and self-edit a distinct fashion voice.
With her style philosophy firmly out in the world, Nina decided to address the most popular question readers consistently ask her: Exactly what are fashion's timeless pieces?
The One Hundred answers this question and provides women with a tangible style map to follow when planning a shopping trip and stocking one's closet. With illustrations from world-renowned fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo, The One Hundred contains the 100 items that Nina believes will never go out of style, and that have become absolutely indispensable for any woman reaching for her own eternal fashion look.

What are some of your Wardrobe Must Haves? I'll start: A great pair of jeans, perfect tees, good tailored shirt, classic black pants, ballet flats and LBD (I'm still working on finding the perfect one)


Monday, July 27, 2009

WWAD-What Would Audrey Do?

What's Jack up to? Jack's had a fun filled weekend. A little BBQ and with extra treats thrown in. Also plenty of wildness with the dear twins so now he's ready for some naps and quiet time on this Monday. A little Jack chill time is in order. At least for a bit.

While in Anthro world last week I came across a couple of delightful books that I really want for my go to library and one of them was this little gem: How to Be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life. Hence the title of today’s post WWAD (What Would Audrey Do?)

I’m a huge Audrey fan. Always and admirer of her style and grace. Funny Face is one of my all time favorite movies along with My Fair Lady. I even have a My Fair Lady Barbie done of in that dress from the races. Just to die for and we won’t get into the emotion from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “Cat!”

They just don’t make stars like that anymore.

Here’s the synopsis from How to Be Lovely:

On many occasions, she was approached to pen her autobiography, the definitive book of Audrey Hepburn, yet she never agreed. A beloved icon who found success as an actress, a mother and an humanitarian, Audrey Hepburn perfected the art of gracious living.
More philosophy than biography, How to Be Lovely revisits the many interviews Audrey gave over the years, allowing us to hear her voice directly on universal topics of concern to women the world over: careers, love lives, motherhood and relationships. Enhanced by rarely seen photographs, behind-the-scenes stories, and insights from the friends who knew her well, How to Be Lovely uncovers the real Audrey, in her own words.
While she would have been the last to say so, Audrey Hepburn was an expert in the art of being a woman. How to Be Lovely imparts whatever wisdom and insight she found along the way to the millions who grew up, or will grow up, wanting to be just like her.

Published to coincide with Audrey Hepburn’s would-be seventy-fifth birthday, How to Be Lovely offers a rare glimpse into the woman behind the mystique and the definitive guide to living genuinely with glamour and grace.

Who are some of your favorite stars from the past?

Have a happy Monday!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rose Colored View

I hope you have a Sunny Weekend. I guess it's all in how you view it.


Friday, July 24, 2009

What Looks Like Crazy

Thanks to Pearl Cleage for the title of my post today. If you've never read her book What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day, it's been many years since I've read it, but I highly recommend it.

Happy Friday. I hope you made it through the week without too many scars and lots of smiles. I'm sure there was some crazy thrown in. All you had to do was turn on the tv or maybe walk out your door and not be too careful but in that I may be bordering on the cynical. So to put a funny spin on it I'll leave it to Jon Stewart.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Born Identity
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

Have a happy!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Living the Anthro Life

The other day I was in the city and found myself in front of Anthropologie on 5th ave. Of course I had to go in. Once you get anywhere near the air of Anthro and get a whiff of the scented candles that just so happen to linger out to you, well, you're pulled in.

And once you're in- you're in. The Anthro world is so lovely and seductive. There is something about those slightly diffused inky colors that make it so hard to step back into the harsh light of day. It makes me say I want to live and Anthro life. How about you?


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

What's Jack up to? Doggy needs one of these.

And I can always use one of these. Yum!

I just love these Snickers ads.
Have a happy hump day!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


“You need to learn to Doubt your Doubts.”

These were the best words that I heard over this weekend. They were spoken by my pastor in church this Sunday. The sermon topic was: “Faith that conquers fear”.

Fear. My own dear friend and late night snack companion. Then the question came up: well, what do you do when you have doubts?

Doubts. Those insidious little creatures that seep into your head telling you that you: can’t write it, have no talent, it won’t work out, you won’t succeed, all is lost, your looks are gone, your body is shot, you don't have the smarts, it's over or whatever else your nasty little creature like to whisper.

We all have Doubts. But a good way to deal with doubts is to learn to doubt them.
Hmm… Doubt the Doubts. Put them on the defensive (eek I hope I used that term right DH). Break the paralyzing hold they have, making them less effective and faith more powerful. Tell that little creature critic to SHUT UP. Brush it off your shoulder and move on. There is work to do. I’m feeling powerful.

Sidebar: Um, friends remind me to give this speech to myself again in about 3 or 4 days when I'll no Doubt (ha) be needing it again.

On another note: I was quoted in The New York Times from my earlier post on Frank McCourt. You can read the Times article here. Thanks to all the new visitors who have stopped by. Welcome. I hope you come on back or better yet follow me. Gasp.
The best parts about being in The Times?

1. Honoring Mr. McCourt
2. It’s not that far a stretch from The Bestseller List.
3. Being called a romance writer without a bit of snark or a ripped bodice. WIN!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Interview with a Lady

Happy Monday!

Today we have a treat. An interview with fashion forward London blogger, one of my faves, Ronke Adeyemi aka Ondo Lady!

Hi Ronke. Thanks so much for hanging with us here at Kwanawrites today. I’ve been a big fan of your blog The Musings Of Ondo Lady for a long time and am honored to have you here.

Thanks for featuring me Kwana.

Please tell us a little bit about your background?

I did a degree in marketing and communications and went on to do a post grad diploma in journalism with hopes of going into that field. I did some adhoc freelancing for various mags such as Pride, Suave as well as The Voice and then got a job working on an entertainment publication called Ticketmania. I did a lot of general reporting and writing and got a real sense of what it was like to to work on a magazine. Then I launched an online magazine called kudosmgazine which covered the arts and entertainment scene in the UK. I loved working on this magazine but it did not exactly pay the bills so I began to take on freelance press and pr work which led to marketing positions.. I then saw a position as a marketing and PR officer for a film festival up in Manchester and I thought ‘oooh that looks interesting’ I applied for it and got it and moved up there. The job was certainly interesting as it gave me a great insight into using the marketing mix and brokering sponsorship deals so when I moved back down to London I was able to get roles freelancing in marketing. I freelanced for two years for a variety of companies and last year I saw a role advertised as a marketing officer for a creative arts university so I went for it and got it.

What was the inspiration for starting your stylish blog?

I have always loved writing, I actually used to have a print magazine and an online mag back in the day but due to cost and time I had to fold it. I came across blogs back in 2006 and saw them as a diary and I fancied the idea of having one but was not sure if I could sustain it. The last thing I wanted was to set one up and then leave it abandoned but on 1st January 2007 I decided to take the plunge. I started off on Yahoo 360 which was a really basic blogging platform but the community was great. I set myself a target of writing at least once a week and it went from there. The blog on Yahoo 360 was a lot different from the one on Blogger as it was more personal but I wanted to move from that and create more of a magazine like blog, also there were technical issues on Yahoo which frustrated me. So I began looking around and decided to go with Blogger and their format allowed to create a blog that is more visually appealing and also where I can write about things that inspire me like films, books, magazines, music, TV and art. It has been great.

You are always on the cutting edge of style and pop culture, how do you stay so in the know?

I get my sources everywhere and anywhere. I read Gawker, Jezebel, Catwalk Queen, mediaguardian and countless blogs to keep me in the know.

Where do you see your blog leading you to down the road?

Eventually I would like to see the blog turn into a magazine whether it is online or print. I guess online considering the economic climate.

What projects are you currently working on?

At the moment I am working on an event called, You’re Beautiful, Woman which celebrates Black beauty in all forms. There will be fantastic talks on styling, fashion, natural hair & beauty, health, relationships, fitness and inner beauty and there will also be workshops and stalls. The event takes place on Saturday 15th August at Highgate Newton Community Centre, 25 Bertram Street, Highgate London N19 5DQ. It is produced by a team of seven other wonderful and talented women; Angie Brice, Sophia Jackson, Aderonke Lawal, Angel Smith, Lillian Ogbogoh, Margaret Udofia. Between us we amass a wide variety of skills in marketing, PR, hair care, event management, graphic design and journalism.

Tickets are £5 and you can buy them online at

Great! So all you in London should not miss this event. Wish I were there.

Once again, Ronke, thanks for taking the time to visit with us. You can check Ronke out at her fab blog The Musings Of Ondo Lady here.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thank You Mr. McCourt

I end this day with a heavy heart with the sad news that Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt had passed away at the age of 78. You can read about it here.

He is best known for his Bestselling hit Angela’s Ashes and then the blockbuster movie that followed. But for me it is hard to think of him as Frank McCourt. You see he’ll always be Mr. McCourt to me. The Irish Lit and creative writing teacher from when I was in Stuyvesant High School. The 50 minutes of excitement and brightness to an otherwise dull day.

His class was the class where my imagination would soar and my creativity would thrive. It was where I started to really love the written word and started to crave the writer’s life. Only Mr. McCourt could make suffering desirable. Hell, you were going to suffer in this life anyway you might as well do it doing something you love.

I remember clearly the day I was coming down the steps in the old building, looking down and mopey, as I was often doing during that time, and he was coming up and asked what my problem was. I said I was broke (who wasn't?). He told me to follow him to the schools job board. I did. He looked over the board pick pointed to a job and told me to call. He said, “You’re a smart girl you can do that job.”

Well I did. And I kept that job clear through college. And also met my DH on that job. All thanks to Mr. McCourt.

Years later my DH and I were taking the twins to the Museum of Natural History. The twins must have been about 4 or 5 years old. It just so happens Mr. McCourt was doing a reading and had a huge crowd, but I wanted to go and say hello. I had just left fashion design and had written my first hot mess of a book.

The crowd finally parted and I went up to him. I asked if he remembered me. He did. I told him the story of the job board and the kids. I joked and said that he was responsible for my Dear Twins. To that he responded, “No Way!” with his infectious laugh.

Then I told him that I was now writing and his eyes lit up. He asked what I had written and I told him quickly about my hot mess of a first romance. And this sweet man always looking out for his students gave me the name of his super high powered agent (no he didn't frown at romance. Ha!). And told me to query her and say that he sent me.

Also to keep writing.

Well I will keep writing Mr. McCourt. Until...

Thank you.

P.S. you can read my past post where I wrote about Mr. McCourt here

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Boy Band

Here's a little Weekend music for you. I heard them the other day and they look me back to a smile.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy Friday

What's Jack up to? It's been a semi quiet week for Jack. Not too much trouble (I had better not speak too fast) just up to his usual antics. I think the Dear Twins are driving him nutty (but he's not alone in that). And he's barking a lot more than usual (not alone in that either) But besides that all is cool with Dear Jack.

This pic is for Ina in Alaska who is always capturing the best licence plates. I snapped it when the truck of our local doggie day care was in front of me for a few blocks and I noticed the licence plate. Don't worry we were stopped at the time I snapped the pic.

Have a Happy Friday and a great weekend!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

One Word At A Time

Going on right now is the annual Romance Writers of America conference in Washington DC. No, I'm not there this year I'm here in NY, but keeping up vicariously though twitter. Sigh. Of course this would be the year that they give out the most awesome conference bag ev-ah.

Thanks to Sarah from Smart Bitches for the twitpic of the bags from Harlequin. How cool are these? Like I need another tote, but... Sigh again.

Oh well, that is not what this post is about. This post is all about my love of Nora Roberts/ J.D. Robb. See Nora is a member of RWA too and is always in attendance being most gracious in her fab shoes and giving out very meaningful advice. Here she is at a Washington Post event. Click here to read the full article. Oh, and check out the beginning. Is that my friend Laura there? Hi Laura!!


Shout out to Nana. I promise to make up for the lack of signed a Nora book next year. Love ya!

That muse can kiss my, well, ya know.

Thanks Twitter and YouTube for the clip.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- Found in the Wash

Items found in the DD's wash.

Lucky the machine didn't break.


Button says: "think like an artist-concentrate on something challenging for a long period of time."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Write Right

What's Jack up to? Mr. Pushy has been just that lately. Pushing his luck with the early wake up calls and coming over to my side of the bed giving it a bit of a hard shove. He may look small but that dog is strong. Oh Jack, you know I'm not a morning person. Lord knows you get quite the attitude when folks come around messing with your afternoon naps.

Twitter can be the devil, but it can also be a wonderful thing if used correctly. Last week I posted a Friday tweet question.

What are your favorite writing books? Please RT.

I'm happy to say I got lots of good responses and some of the books were new to me. Here is the list in pretty pics. Some that got multiple nods: Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, Steven King's On Writing and Forest For The Trees by Betsy Lerner.

And you thought you could just sit and write. Well, I know I at least hoped.

Please share some of your faves that were not on the list or tell me if you're a writer that just wings it. I have to say, though I have a few of these and reference back to them often I have the hardest time getting through a writing book. Maybe that's my problem. Hmph!

Now if you're not a writer what sort of tools do you use to hone your craft?



Monday, July 13, 2009


So I have a new lover. And shock of all shock, this one isn't a handbag, but it will fit very nicely inside just about any that I have thankyouverymuch.

It's the Sony 505. Squeal!!!

I can't tell you have excited I am over this. I just get all tingly thinking about it. Book upon book upon book all in one slim sexy little device. Just holding it feels positively decadent.

Cut to me with the DH sleeping on one side and my 505 on the other. Bliss.

So far I have 15 books on my reader. I mean just imagine if I were lugging those 15 books around with me. Not very cute. And the lovely thing about the Sony is I am able to put my own documents on it too so I can read my current work on the go and look it it from a new POV (Point of View).

Could it be that this library lover is a digital girl? I think so.

Anything worth you looking at this week from a new POV?


Saturday, July 11, 2009


What's Jack up to? Jack is being his usual self. He was out back doing fine hanging with the family until a couple of guys walked down the block that he didn't know then he was off like a shot sending the DH after him with promises of the moon if he'd just come back. How do you solve a problem like Jack? Well... how?

I stole the title of this post from Deidre over at Jumping Tandem after seeing her eerily similar post. This morning the DD came running down. "Mom did you see the tree in the backyard. I was so scared it was going to crash through my window!"

What?! How did I sleep through that one?

I jumped up and yep, there was a huge tree limb that fell just missing the house. It was from about 50 feet up so I'm sure it would have caused significant damage. It was also about 16 feet long.

I'm feeling very grateful today and thanking God for keeping us safe while I was snoring the night away. Oh, scratch that last part. There's no way I was snoring (Ignore any rogue comments from the DH). LOL.

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