Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009


What’s Jack up to? Jack is chilling ala Jack style this last day of the 2009. But yesterday he got into a bit of trouble when he ran out of the house and over to the neighbors to bark and him and a friend for daring to just be out and minding their own business. Jack would not come home until the neighbor jogged over to my house and into the front door. Good to see Jack is still being Jack. Feisty huh? Sigh.

So yep, it’s the last day of the year 2009, heck it’s the last day of the freakin’ decade and still I don't have a flying car. What up with that? Unbeweaveable. Now there’s a word to keep in this decade, but you know I’ll be pulling it out again in 2010 along with ‘hot mess’. You know I can’t front. Ha! Now I’m bringing sayings from the 90’s. I’m getting my decades all jacked up. Oh snap! Word.

Oh well, no matter. Either way cheers to you and I’m wishing you ring out this year with love and peace in your heart and welcome in the New with even more to come back to you.

Peace Out 2009. See Ya wouldn’t want to be Ya! And I'm not ashamed to admit I'm so happy to see you go. Lord knows that's the truth. Here's hoping for a better 2010.

Best,
Kwana

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Red Lipstick and a Pink Phone

Thanks so much for all your well wishes on my Good News post. You all are so wonderful. Big props to you!

I’m feeling all 80’s baby today. Young and fresh. And in the 80’s Duran Duran was at the top of my hit list. How much did I want to be a girl in any one of these videos? All red lipstick, pink phones and confidence.









I hope this last week of 2009 is going well for you. Rock it out!

Best,
Kwana

Monday, December 28, 2009

Good News- Update


Hello all! I could not wait to share the good news that I got today from my doctor. No Cancer! Horray! And Thank God!

My surgery went well and I'm healing ok. Still sore and watching not to bump into things. No big hugs from me... yet, but they will be coming soon. I will have to continue to check things out with Mammos every six months but that is just part of life.
Life. Yes! Time to get on with that. What a difference a minute makes. Wow.


I wanted to give you all a thanks from the bottom, top, oh just every part of my heart for all of your encouraging words, prayers and positive thoughts... I feel a Happy New Year coming on!



With Much Love,
Kwana

Harlem Holidays


What’s Jack up to? Jack is doing great and recuperating from the excitement of Christmas. He had so much fun with family dropping in and by being totally spoiled by having Nana over with him for a few days so he was sad to see her go back home. I know, Jack me too.

Thanks to all of you for your 2 year blogiversary well wishes. Who knew I could blab so much? Thanks again for sticking with me.

A few of you were sweet enough to ask about Nana and she sends her holiday best wishes to you! I made sure to head to her place and take a few pictures to share this year’s Harlem Holiday Hallways with you. Here are Nana and my Aunt Cynthia saying Merry Christmas.





Cynthia along with other neighbors are the masters behind the WOW hallways. Can you believe they actually had lights this year? And the wrapping paper on each door is too funny, but I love it. A present in each apartment.




And they say neighbors don’t get together anymore. I think they do. All it takes is a little community care and friendly cooperation. Hmm…I wonder if the government is listening?

Best,
Kwana

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Blogiversary and I missed it... Blah


Wow in the midst of all the holiday hoopla and my own recuperating I missed my own 2 year blog anniversary which was December 23rd. So better late than never I'm saying Happy Blogiversary to me!


Thank you all so much for sticking with me these past 2 years. I'm so grateful that words really can't explain it. Your kindness, support and blog friendships have meant so much to me as I continue my road to publication.



Jack, the spoiled dog that he is, would also like to thank you for all the kind words even when he's being just awful. You all truly are special to us.



I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and I wish you all the best in 2010. I'm hoping for good health, joy, love, peace and prosperity for all of us.


Words will be light on the blog with a few pics or videos until the new year. I will try and post my hot mess snow video. Yikes!
Please feel free to stop by roam a bit and comment. You know I love to hear from you. But please also enjoy this time with family and friends and do a little relaxing yourself.


Thanks so much.

All the best,
Kwana


P.S. The above pic of Jack from the very first post here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

The Yule Log will be burning in the virtual fireplace today and spirits will be high. Wishing a wonderful Christmas day to you and yours from Me, The DH, The Dear Twins and Jack.


And once more for the road...


video

Much love,

Kwana

Thursday, December 24, 2009

All I Want...

It's the day before Christmas and I hope you're all ready and settled. Thanks for all your song comments from my song post. They were so much fun. I'm sharing my favorite Christmas song with you today. Have a wonderful Holiday. I hope it's merry and bright and full of joy.



Much Love,
Kwana

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Commercials

Well, we're getting into countdown mode for sure with Christmas. I'm about as done as I'm going to be with shopping. Now I'm in rest mode. How about you?
Today I thought I'd share what I thought were good commercials for this holiday season.

This Target ad makes some people cringe but it also makes me laugh and grabs my attention. So that works.


I also loved this Hallmark ad from the start. What a heart tugger. I wonder how many grandparents ran to Hallmark after seeing it.


What ads are getting to you this season? Do you even pay attention? Maybe I'm watching to much TV. I'm sure that's it. Ah well...

Best,
Kwana

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

For the Love- Thank You



What’s Jack up to? Well it looks like jack is starting to enjoy the snow. Maybe it’s due to his Old Navy jacket and Cool booties from Ina in Alaska that keep his paws warm. Quite sporty.


Thank you all so much for the love and support yesterday. I’m sore (Freakin’ Ouch!!) from my surgery but trying to be positive. The biopsies went well but I won’t have any results until after Christmas so I’m going to focus on healing and trying to have a low stress and full of love holiday with the DH, DS, DD and the rest of the fam. That is the most important thing. That and being thankful to God for each day.



Speaking of thankful, I can’t thank my caregivers at the Women’s Imaging Center, Ann Marie and the gang and my fab surgeon (another mom on twins) and at the staff at the hospital yesterday enough. Even when they were doing the most awful things with needles in terrible place they were doing it with such gentle care and love that I’m so grateful. These are truly special people and should be applauded.

Thanks to my friends who will not be denied with all their offers of help and support and my knitting circle who will not be stopped. The food is coming along with the love and laughs.

My advice to you all: Get your Mammograms (despite changing guidelines. I’m 40) and do self exams. Take good care of yourself and be your own best advocate.
Thanks again for the love. Sorry for rambling and repeats. Still on high powered pain killers over here.

Much Love,
Kwana

Monday, December 21, 2009

No Soft Focus Here

Happy Monday folks. I hope the weekend was lovely and the weather, wherever you were, didn’t put too much of a damper on your holiday plans. We had a nice sized snowstorm that got Jack out in the snow (after a while he started to like it) and the family out shoveling and clearing the cars together. The Dear Twins were less than amused, but they were happy when I gave them their 2009 Christmas ornaments to hang on the tree. It’s the little things that bring the smiles back.


Now I pride myself on keeping things real here on KwanaWrites while not giving too much away and not being too much of a downer (if I can at all help it). It’s a fine balance because if I really let loose I’m sure I’d be inundated with comments wondering if I truly am crazy at times.

I’ve been grappling with writing this post for quite a while and for quite a few reasons, one I didn’t want to get too personal and two I wanted to have my children feeling ok with what was happening.

But a lovely post from Mable’s House gave me some of the courage I needed to sharpen the focus and lift the veil (you can tell me in the comments if you get the poster reference).

This year has been a very trying one for me and my family in all sorts of ways that has put my patience, faith and maybe even sanity at times (I do have teens) to the test in oh so many ways.

This photo was taken in the office of the third breast procedure that I’ve had in the past five months. I love the messages of optimism and hope of them.

Now the happy news is all my biopsies so far have come back benign and I’m thrilled about that, but today I’m having surgery to hopefully get a definitive answer.

So I’m asking all of you, my lovely and cherished friends, for your prayers and positive energy. It’s been a long road with this weighing on my mind and heart but I hope to start 2010 in a better mindset with this problem off my shoulders and ready to be a strong and healthy, mom, wife, friend, writer. Me.
Thanks in advance.


"The LORD is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?"Psalm 27:1

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear ... "1 John 4:18


Much Love,
Kwana


P.S.
And Wow! According to the counter this is my 700th post. 7 the number of completion. Now that is saying something isn’t it?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Always Check Your Face

What’s Jack up to? Jack is now Jack the reluctant snow dog. This weekend we had our first big storm of the season and Jack being the dog that really enjoys his comfort now has to be bribed off the porch to go out for his walks. As if it's fun for me.

You would have thought it was the end of the world to hear it from the newscasters and to see the lines and carts at the grocery stores. Really people the roads would be clear in a day. But the worst was when I went into our local hardware store to buy some ice melt and walked smack dab into a TV interview on the storm. Quick- camera turns to me looking a hot mess and the reporter asking me what I thought about the upcoming storm. Gah!


I answer the questions like a big old ding (not so good on the fly) then I return to the car and my waiting husband to yell and him for not going into the store instead of me. After my rant I ask, how do I look? I already know it’s not good. I have on no face makeup except mascara and hair is a mess under my Yankee cap. He gives me a long look and says fine... except for the lipstick on my teeth. Gah again!!

Cut to 5:00 where I make my tri-state New York debut looking worse than Baby Jane.

Lesson here: Always check your face before leaving the car/house. You never know when a mean newsman will shove a camera in your face and not even tell you that you have gunk on your teeth. I mean a heads up would have been nice. Seriously.

Best,
Kwana

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays from Us

Well, there is one week left till Christmas. I have most of my cards sent out but of course I run out of stamps just two shy. Oh well, it's back to the post office for me.

Speaking of cards. Here is a ridonkulously sick holiday card from Me and Jack to all of you thanks to JibJab and Elf yourself. Sorry I couldn't resist. I think I have officially gone over bend.


Much love through this holiday season.
Kwana
video

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Font It Out

I was over at The Rejectionist and came across this.
There is so much coolness going on here that I can't begin to talk about it. Is it just me?
Nah. It's way cool.




Best,
Kwana

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree- 09

What's Jack up to? Poor Jack has been a little tippy on his toes? He walks for a bit and then starts to hop. I'm afraid he has a cut on his paw. So we're tending to that. Ouch. Any advice for me on that? How to help the pain also how to get him to stop biting and licking at it? And check him out. Boy does he need a haircut.




First off thanks to all the new people who stopped by yesterday for the PW talk. It was quite a day for me for blog hits and much appreciated.


As promised here are picture so of this year's tree which is pretty much last year's tree since it came out of the box from the basement. Thank you Martha.





As you can see I have lots of ornaments that I add to every year. I still have to pick up this years ornament for the kids. Must get on that. at the rat I'm going they'll be hanging it on Christmas eve. Oh will it'll still count.





Something corny that I do and I just can't stop (superstition maybe?) is I always have an ornament for the hubby and me. Sometimes it's a store bought one and when times are a bit leaner or time gets away from me I just wing it. As long as it says we're still hanging together for another Christmas. You see we were engaged on Christmas eve. But that's a blog post for another day. *wink*







What are some of your traditions?



Best,
Kwana

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

You Picking On Me?

So I’m sitting in my car and waiting for the DD to get out of dance and I'm wondering what to blog about for today. Should I go with pictures of my Christmas tree? Yeah, that would be nice. Besides, I have been doing a decent job with posting nice sweet posts lately. I’m proud of myself especially with so much to be annoyed about with Tiger and all his tigresses on the prowl and all.

Image from here.




And then there was suddenly talk on the radio about Ashley Dupre getting her own advice column in the New York Post. You know Ashley? The hooker from the Governor Spitzer scandal. Now, I’m not normally one to knock anyone's hustle, but please. There are folks laid off all over the place and I need a paying job bad (preferably one where I write, but reading would be good too) and she gets an advice column? Dang. Makes it hard to write about that Christmas tree.



Now so sorry for the bad transition but then I go decided to check twitter. Darn you tweets! There’s all this talk about this controversial PW cover. Hmm... At first I thought I hadn’t read the article. But guess what, I did. I just didn’t know it since they didn’t correlate. The article talked about the economy and the upcoming downward trends in publishing. Ok, sad, but tame.

The cover is a 1999 art piece by Lauren Kelly from the book Posing Beauty on the representation of African American beauty from 1890’s to the present. Which on its own looks like a pretty good book. But this for a PW cover on African American literature I think is a huge fail. You can read the senior news editor’s response over here at Galley Cat.




As I said in a blog comment, this just further widens the already segregated shelves. It's a shame. As a Black writer writing multi-cultural romance and finding it so hard to break in and find a spot on the shelves this is upsetting. And I know some will say just lighten up, but no. Sorry.

An earlier agent that I had and later broke up with didn’t get my writing. He wanted me to make it more of what he considered urban. Spice up the language to I don’t know what, but I do know it was something I wasn’t and couldn’t do. Now I'm not saying this is the only reason I'm not published yet but it may be part of it. This not fitting into a preconceived box. Why do we have to fit these boxes?

All I wanted and all I can do is write what I feel and write what I live, which is a multi-cultural life. I’m a Black woman from New York now living as a sort of suburban failed housewife in a not at all black town just outside of New York.

I write books where the Black Women have White and Black friends or Asian or Hispanic friends because that’s just who she is. That is also me. And I’m starting to feel like I may never find a publishing home.

One of the best compliments that I ever got was from a good friend of mine and chic knitting buddy. Me: Black woman from Harlem. Her: Jewish woman from the Bronx. I had her read sample pages from a detective story idea that I have working on. I pitched it Lethal Weapon meets Thelma and Louise. There are two main characters one is Black and the other is White. Well, I was so thrilled when my friend told me that, one it was funny and sexy, but what she liked the best was that I just write real women and it didn’t matter what color they were because I showed real situations that all women could relate to.

That’s the problem I have with this cover. It somehow makes African-American writers different. Very different. Foreign even and therefore not the norm. It reinforces a stereotype that we need to drop. As art it’s beautiful, but as a message to the industry I think it says give these books their own section in the bookstore, if you buy them at all and pray a select few will wander over. I say it sets up failure.

If you look at my post below from yesterday you’ll see that I put two pretty hot guys up for my romance obsession, Denzel and Richard Armitage. Hot is hot. It really doesn’t have a color to most Black or White women for that matter and not so hot is, well, not. That’s just how it is.

It’s time to work on bridging this divide. Mixing up the shelves and just focusing on good books.

Oh and Christmas tree pics to come soon:-)

Best,
Kwana

Monday, December 14, 2009

Joy

Thanks to the lovely Chocolate Covered Daydreams I found a blog that is new to me called Barking Mad! And Audrey is having a wonderful Target gift card giveaway. All you have to do is write a post about what brings you joy. You can visit Audrey here. But act fast. The post is due today.



So what brings me joy? Hmm … you’d think this would be easy to write but not so much since my mind is currently filled with clutter of what I need to do and have to get or need to get me through the day/month and into next year. You see Joy is something I constantly strive for, not something I see myself as always having. But if I think about it, I know that I do have it. Deep down on the inside and I just need to keep tapping into it and not let all the clutter of my world hold it down.

That said there is lots of Joy from the outside too. Things like: sincere smiles from friends and even strangers, looks of love from those you love, a good laugh that always brings joy, unexpected kindness from strangers. That always fills my heart.



Joy is when my family is all home safe and sound and snugged in their beds. Or maybe that is a bit of Peace of mind?


I have found much joy in the generosity and spirit of the blogging community.
And in the care of my writing friends and friends who have supported me as I continue my long quest to publication. Thanks PIC and Lovely Crit Partners, Jen and Jeanine!
There is also Joy in laughing with my knitting group. I love it when we all crack up over something and the needles have to stop.



Oh and I also find much joy in a good period movie or a great romance with an alpha hero and a strong heroine. That gives me lots of joy.






Best,

Kwana

P.S. Even if you don't have time to enter the giveaway. Please comment here on what bring you Joy and get some joy in thinking about it. Or write your own post and please let me know so I can stop on by. That would bring me Joy.

P.P.S. scroll down to see my Giveaway winner and to hear about my Bleak weekend.

Bleak Weekend






What's Jack up to? Jack had been a funny one doing a few things that are out of the norm for him. Like in the picture here of him of sitting in front of the fire (yes, I know I need to paint, um, will get to it in the Spring).





For some reason he really enjoyed the fireplace this weekend with me as I spent lost of time in front if it watching BBC's version of Bleak House.







It was the perfect thing to watch in front of the fire and used up so much wood. Have you seen it? I totally enjoyed it. Bleak but not as bleak as I thought. Quite funny actually in parts.





Besides that, the usual running wild, finally getting the tree decorated and bowling a 132 (my new high). That was my weekend.


Thanks to all my new followers and to those who entered my PVE giveaway.
The winner thanks to random number generator is: Deidra from Jumping Tandem!
Congrats Deidra. And if your have not been to Deidra's blog please stop by. It's the perfect place for a little peace during this holiday season.


Deidra please send me an email with your info so I can get your prize out to you.


I hope the holidays are running smoothly so far for all of you.



Best,
Kwana

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Right as Rain

The PIC sent me the Adele album as a gift now such a long time ago and I still listen to it so often and lately I've been singing this song to myself all the time. Thought I'd share it with you today. I hope your weekend is Right as Rain.



Best,
Kwana

P.S. There is still time to enter my holiday giveaway here until Sunday at midnight. Don't miss out.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Letter to My Younger Self

The dear Chocolate Covered Daydreams has put up a challenge on her blog here to go with a pretty great giveaway. The challenge is to write a letter to your younger self. In it she asks what would you say, would you be serious or funny? Tough call. There is so much I’d want to say to myself and so much that I’m still in the process of learning but here goes:

Dear Young Kwana,

Relax, it’s not all that bad. Stand tall and when you smile mean it, when you laugh mean it and when you cry mean that too. Slow down and take your time because time is all you have. Realize now how precious it is and please don’t waste so much of it worrying. Trust yourself and have faith that you will make it through. Always.
Oh and you are really beautiful. Did you know that?


Don’t dream it, be it.

Love,
Kwana

P.S. don't forget to scroll down and enter my PVE giveaway. Thanks.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Giveaway!

What's Jack up to? As I write this Jack is hanging in his spot under the bed with the latest toy that he's chewed to bits. Lately I've been finding stuffing in the oddest places. Oh well, that's my Jack.

The holidays are here, really they are! And really I am still so not prepared. This is seriously turning into a thing with me this year. Way to cut it close, Kwana. Sigh.

Ah well, I'm not going to let my lack of planning or get up and go ruin holiday cheer on this here blog so I'm having a Holiday Giveaway. Yay!!!

This giveaway is featuring a beautiful notebook/sketchbook from one of my favorite artists, my good friend, Patricia of PVE Design.




notebook titled: Life's a Beach

Many of you are fans of Patricia's work from her blog or you may have been lucky enough to have commissioned a work of your very own. I'm lucky to have had her design my above banner which I always get compliments on.


Well Patricia has opened up her own Etsy store where you can get some of her works at really great prices. Perfect timing for for the holidays. Please go and check it out here.


Now for the contest. Help me get a little more in the holiday spirit, gather new readers and fill my iPod while I'm at it.

1. You must be a follower to enter.
2. If you tweet or link to the contest you can submit another entry.
3. With your entry please leave me the title and artist of your favorite holiday song to add to my holiday playlist.
The contest is open until Sunday 12/13 at Midnight.


Easy Peasy!

Best,
Kwana

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Weather or Not

Happy hump day. Over the weekend we had our first bit of snow here in New York and I snapped a few pictures during my walk with Jack that I thought I'd share.
It was just a dusting but we're supposed to get some more bad weather during the day today. I can't complain though it's nothing compared to the odd weather going on in the Midwest. Hang in there guys.

Lovely red, white and brown


Our little stream view


One of my outside tin Christmas trees and my geraniums that are still hanging on.


What's the weather like where you are today?
Calm I hope. Life is stormy enough.


Best,
Kwana

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Romance at Lady Jane's

It was another wonderful night for romance at Lady Jane's Salon last night. As usual I was happy to get out share some romance book talk with friends over drinks and Madam X is the perfect place to do that.

The holiday celebration was combined with a celebration of Harlequin's 60th anniversary so Lady Jane was happy to welcome lots of folks from both Harlequin's New York and Toronto office. Here they are here accepting a champagne toast on their anniversary. Cheers!


We were fortunate to have a reading from the wonderful Stacy Agdern. Stacy is a Romance fiction reviewer, bookseller, and an author. She read from her lovely Hanukkah novella.




Then the fabulous Hope Tarr read from her newest release Twelve Nights. A December Harlequin Blaze release which is the sequel to her wonderful book Bound to Please.




All in all it was a wonderful night. I'm so grateful to the founders of Lady Jane's: Hope, Maya, Leanna and Ron for always putting together such a wonderful and worthwhile evening.

Check out Lady Jane's site here. And if you're in NY come on by.


Best,
Kwana

Monday, December 7, 2009

Awkward Family Photo

What’s Jack up to? I really am thinking that Jack thinks that he’s human. This weekend he was a snooty McSnooter with our other neighbor dog Mr. Bean. Giving him the cold shoulder like sweet Arya, but happy to say hello to Mr. Beans pretty owner. Oh well. That’s my snooty dog.


This weekend I braved the family tradition of the corny Sears holiday portrait session. Yep, after last year’s hot mess I put on my big girl mommy panties, gave all sorts of evil eyes, bought matching black tops (yep, I'm that woman. Thought I'd up the torture this year) and took the DH and dear teen twins to Sears once again for the awkward photo session. Here are a few choice lines from the night:

“Do you know how much I hate this?”

“This is the worst”

“I’m so starving.”

“He’s so stupid.”

"Loser."

“You know we’re the oldest ones here.”

“Um, Dad can you sit up straight.”

“Chin down”

“Sorry, you blinked on that one.”

"Brother, sister, um, just a little closer please?”

"Please."

“Hey mom, did you know you have a lot of grey hairs now?”

“Oh crap!”

CLICK!


Photo thanks to Awkward Family Photos.
Check to out here for loads of laughs.


Best,
Kwana

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I'm a Believer



I know it's a corny post title but there it is. Enjoy this musical interlude and then please go and check out my review of Zoe Heller's The believers over a Booksquawk here. Okay? Thanks!






Best,
Kwana

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sweetness

Happy Friday! I hope you have a sweet weekend lined up.



I have a busy one and I hope with all the running around it will be sweet too. I'm about to kick off the holiday season (and not panic- see below) with my RWA chapter holiday brunch on Saturday. It's always a fun gathering. I wonder if any sweet potatoes will be served with all the literary talk?



Best,
Kwana

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Now Can I Panic?

So I have to come to terms with the fact that is really is December. The idea is cr-a-zy to me. I'm so foggy with the whole Christmas thing this year. Usually by now my tree would be up and the family would have had our yearly Sears portrait torture session. As it stands the tree is not up and I have not even made a Sears appointment and don't know if I will. Sigh.


I'm in a bit of a fog. Perfect time for me to show you this picture in my Now Panic And Freak Out tee shirt because I think it fits the situation. Well, it fits me on just about any given day really. I found it over here at Threadless and fell for it as soon as I saw it.



I've always wanted a Keep Calm and Carry On Sign for the house. Maybe that will be soon. Annechovie has some lovely ones. Go over to her place and check them out here. I'm sorry I missed the sale folks but still check them out. All her work is fantastic.




Best,
Kwana
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