Angelia Vernon Menchan

Angelia Vernon Menchan is an author, publisher and public speaker who owns two publishing companies, MAMM Productions and Honorable Menchan Media. Mrs. Menchan is also a Budget Officer and former Job Corps Counselor. To date she has published twenty-three books of her own work, both fiction and non-fiction and more than eighty ebook novellas on You can access her bibliography on search words: Angelia Vernon Menchan

Contact information:
Phone numbers: 904 714 2272 904 303 2679

Monday, March 31, 2008

Only if You Believe!

To do something that goes against public advice or current trends takes a lot of courage and a strong belief system,
On Saturday, we were in Gateway Bookstore, a new African-American bookstore in Jacksonville,
I had known it was there for the past several weeks, in fact a friend had told me to go by and speak to the woman who owned it, but this past week was the first time I had been able to get there, walking in I was transfixed,
The floors were dark, black and brown wood,
The art and furnishings were so unique, I wasn’t sure if I were in a bookstore, an apartment in Harlem, my own home or a combination thereof,
This tall stately woman walked over to us, I soon discovered she was the owner and,
The author of ‘Wake up and Smell The Dollars, Dorothy Pitman Hughes,
This woman had been a Panther, worked with the Carter Administration and mentored Gloria Steinem, a fierce sister, who well into retirement age was still a worker, dreamer, believer…she told me about her vision for Gateway Book Store, The Gateway to Knowledge…
She and I clicked immediately, I felt I had known her forever,
And I asked about community support,
She wasn’t getting much yet but she was really doing great things in terms of bringing authors in,
She had already had Brenda Jackson, LaJoyce Brookshire, Author of Faith Under Fire, had been there the night before and Phillip Roth was coming in a few weeks,
I was literally frothing at the mouth, scooping up books, forgetting that I was an author myself, but she reminded me by telling me she wanted to house my work and wanted me to come back for a book signing and to read to the children in the community,
My neck almost snapped from nodding yes and please, please, please…
She topped it off by bringing out a drawing of a Sengalese child who could have been me as a kid, my jaw dropped as did that of my husband,
Young women from the neighborhood walked in, who were shocked there was a book store there, I was encouraging them to come in and purchase…it was cool,
As I gathered up my arm full of books and my drawing, she made me promise to come back so we could discuss my ‘activities’,
I heartily agreed, knowing she would probably get sick of me,
And not because she was going to support my work, but because, she was a woman who BELIEVED and was putting her money where her heart was…
I love that!

Angelia, Believer

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Celebrity, Who!?

When I think of a celebrity, I think Puffy or Madonna,
Certainly not me...I was startled the other day when someone I love dearly used that word to describe me...What!
I was told that since these days everywhere they look, a picture of me is there,
Or because someone is sidling up to me,
Wanting to touch, talk or connect...
That by definition is celebrity...
I beg to differ,
What I am is a writer, who finally, is getting the word out about her writing,
And people, gratefully and thankfully are responding positively,
What I am is a blessed woman who after five decades,
Decided what she wanted and needed to do after taking care of others,
And well,
I love God,
My man,
My children,
Other people's children,
My family and friends,
And now I am in a place where I am being blessed to do what I love, LOOOVVVVEEE,
And get the word out there, and getting people to plunk down money for it!
That baby ain't about Celebrity,
That my PEOPLE,
That's it...

Friday, March 28, 2008

My Peeps!

These are my Peeps! Ora Lee's Offspring,
First is my baby boy, Malik, we call him Deep the Dictator,
Music and Language Impressario...
Next is my Baby Sis, Valaria,
Diva Personified,
Towering over everyone is Maurice, aka The Dean,
Spiritualist, burgeoning photographer,
And last but certainly not least, Charlandra, known to me as Chuck,
Ms. Political, apple of her auntie's eye,
Together with me we are family,
Mama' s legacy,
The fruit that she bore...
Just wanted to share a bit...

Have a Happy!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Home Free?

I often think of my childhood school days,
They were neatly divided in three sections...
First through Fifth grades...nice Negro School...
Seventh through Twelfth grade...nice Majority school...
And then there was Sixth grade...the year I could have gone either way,
But thanks to God, my mama, my relatives and those who love and valued me I chose the right way,
For some reason we lived on the Ave that year, attended what by any definition would be called,
An Inner City School today,
It was quite a year, I can vividly see myself,
All hair, eyes, legs and attitude...
Surrounded by kids who loved me one day, not so much the next day,
They didn't know what to do with me, making grades, speaking the King's English,
And running her own candied apple and peanut butter cookie business at eleven...
I was too much for my own self...
But I really wanted to be down with them,
Would hike my skirt up when I left my mama's eyes,
And pull those braids loose, wetting them so I had ringlets,
Would even dance in the cafeteria like my butt had a motor in it,
I was proving myself...
Trying to fit in and never quite making it...
Somedays it was so much fun, talking trash, flirting with boys older than me, pretending I was going to show up at the youth center, knowing full well Ora wasn't even going to get with that...
Other days it was hell, not fitting in anywhere...having to defend being different...
Acting like I could fight if someone were to hit me...
I remember my best friend from those days, a beautiful girl without enough love,
Who looked for love in all the wrong places and is no longer here...S, I still think of you...
Remembering how people thought we were sisters, with our brown faces and curly hair, and birthdays two days apart, so much alike and so different...
I also remember leaving her at twelve, hugging her so tight, you would have thought i was goig to Mars when actually it was just a few miles,
I would see her ocassionally, we would chat and say happy early or late birthday and move on,
I remember the last time I saw her she was sick, real sick, I hugged her and she cried, saying,
"It's been a long time since someone hugged me..."
I saw a few other people ocassionally, who weren't trying to holla at me, or I them,
Because even then we knew we were on different paths...

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the hometown, after leaving the bookstore,
I drove down state road forty...I came up on the Ave and turned left,
Nothing had changed and everything had changed...
That green stone house was still on the corner lot across from the little white church,
But if felt different, many buildings were gone and some houses were boarded up, didn't feel like a family neighborhood any longer,
After parking my car, I sat there watching people for a minute, sipping over-priced coffee,
A vaguely familiar face came up to my car, saying,
"Hey, Angi is that you?"
Smiling I said yes, I remembered the voice,
She told me I looked great and that she had been hearing about me and my books and how good things were,
I giggled, saying, 'It ain't nothing...'
She then asked if I had kids, I told her yes,
'What about grandkids?"
'No, not yet...'
She asked what was I waiting for...I told her my kids...we laughed together a bit more...
I loved the fact that she looked straight in my face, her look saying, 'It is what it is.'
She then told me she had kids, grandkids and was a great-grandmother....
I didn't say anything...
Looking into my car, she saw my books and asked if I would give her one,
I signed it, handing it to her,
Smiling at me again, she said, 'You was always in them books.'
Again, I said nothing,
Finally she walked off smiling and waving, a young kid running up to her, I suspect a great-grandchild...
I nodded, sitting there for a bit longer,
Finally I pulled off into traffic,
Getting back onto sr forty,
Going back home...FREE...


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Don't Worry Be Savvy!!

Okay, I’m going into Mama Deep mode this morning,
I know when I do that I get lots of drive-bys…
But I want to talk about worry versus action...
I’m always taken aback by people who seem to thrive on worrying,
My philosophy is that worry and a dollar gets you a newspaper…maybe…
There are folks who take pride in writhing around worrying about things they can do nothing, nada about…they wear it like a badge of honor…Come On People…
Take care of those things you can, pray about those you can’t and keep it moving…
The new worry in the book industry is about bookstore closings and takeovers…
That is indeed tragic, I love nothing more than to browse a bookstore, especially a local, AA owned one, but the mega ones will do in a pinch,
But worrying will not change any of that, either we are going to have to take to the streets or go in droves to these stores to support them…in the meantime those of us who sell books are going to have to stop worrying and get savvy,
I learned that early on,
When I published my first book, I took to the bookstores,
Cafes and people in my community,
They bought my work,
However, when I got online,
It wasn’t working for me, who can say why, but I didn’t bemoan the fact,
I kept on doing what I was doing baby,
Because what I knew is that if my intent was to sell books,
And have people read them, I needed to get my books in folks hands,
And in a town of over a million people,
The math is simple,
It is hard work mind you, but mama said, “There is more than one way to skin a cat” and The same has to apply to selling a book…
But it is what it is and we have to do what we have to do,
To get what we want…
What I know about much of this could probably fill a thimble,
But what I know about getting my work on and getting what I need from what I do,
Could fill one of those closed bookstores…
Next month, I am doing a Business Expo at a church with thousands of members,
The following month, two African-American festivals with thousands of attendees,
The month after that a fashion show with women who spend money…
You feel me…
So to make this work, we are all going to have to do what I learned to do,
Close our ears to the negatives, open our hearts to the possibilities, handle our business and sell some books!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When a Woman Loves a Book!

For the love of the written word, I love to read, I love to write, I love the written word,
And I’m one of the few it seems who believes that there are a lot of good books out there…
There are authors and books I love, I mean do or die love…
Pearl Cleage is one of those authors, I love Ms. Cleage,
And as my peeps will tell you when I love you, I love you!
This past weekend I read Seen it All and Done the Rest,
Though most of the book was read in a car and other places that aren’t in my usual comfort zone, it was a joy!
To me is was the kind of book where I want to call over all my reading girlfriends,
Serving them chicken wings and warm cream cheese pound cake, and the beverage of their choice…
While we laugh and dissect the characters and the book,
I mean my die hard reader chicks,
Those who will talk about…
Fuss about,
Maybe even cuss about it,
What I love about it were the characterizations,
Josephine Evans, the main character, is a fifty-eight year old woman facing major life changes,
And she does it with grace, style, humor and vulnerability,
She also isn’t bemoaning the fact that she is aging,
No botox and starving for this woman, and she is an actress, no less…
She is working from where she is and with what she has,
I love that,
It is how I try to live,
And that is what I love about Ms. Cleage’s books,
She gives is flawed, eccentric, fully developed characterizations,
Of women and men of all ages,
People who know how to love,
And fight for what they believe in…
In my mind, it doesn’t get much better than that,
Whether in print, or actuality!

Love and Happy Reading!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Knowing Your Audience...

Knowing your audience is a must, and understanding that everything isn’t for everybody is critical…
On one of our many road trips, I was thinking about that very thing this weekend,
I have several upcoming signings, and one I have been on the fence about,
And it mainly has to do with the audience…
This isn’t just about selling books either,
Knowing your audience is imperative in whatever you’re doing if you want others to partake or participate…
Last July I was asked to participate in a Jazz, Poetry and Books night,
It was in a very nice club with a group of mostly middle-aged, educated people,
So going in I knew from whence I was working.
The Jazz was a big hit,
My books did real well, because walking in I did a visual scan and immediately knew what I would read and could gauge how they would respond, as a result,
I made lasting connections and got my books in local libraries,
Selling most of my books,
However, the poets, were young men from colleges, one had even done comedy on BET,
Well they didn’t know their audience…enough said,
The same is true with online groups,
I see groups start and everyone is gung-ho,
Very quickly, unless it is taken into consideration that there is a very diverse group of people coming into these groups,
Participation drops off quickly,
What I have been told is that people feel they aren’t a part of it,
Or their input is not valued or they feel diminished in some way.
In this case it is often a misunderstanding of like-mindedness,
Many times folks join something thinking it’s about one thing and it turns out to be something else…so they leave…in droves…feeling they weren’t the intended audience…
Segueing back to books,
I have discovered who my niche audience is and how to cater to that demographic,
Knowing that potentially sales may come from other groups,
But never forgetting or distancing those who I know are going to put down their money time after time, if I give them what they want…
I don’t have any special skills or insights,
Other than the ability to listen, learn and remember it really isn’t about me,
But about what my audience wants…and will partake of…


Thursday, March 20, 2008

When She's Done...

When a sister is done, she is done...
We all know that, my newest book coming out sometime this fall explores this very fact.
Schaelonda Jackson has been a woman who though smart, felt because she was beautiful, it was her right to have a man, men take care of her, but something has changed inside, she is done,
It is time to show the world that within her lovely chest beats the heart of a smart, savvy business woman who when she says she's done, she means it:

Excerpt from Schae's Story

Rolling over to glance sleepily at his mistress, Tony Mangini smiled.
Getting out of the bed, pulling the satin coverlet around her, Schae Jackson walked across the room, sitting down on the plush, velvet covered chair.

“Please leave, I can't do this any longer."
Fully awake now, Tony sat up staring across the room at the woman he'd been involved with for years. His wife Maria had multiple sclerosis. When he met Schae at a fundraiser he knew she would be a woman he could take care of financially, who would discreetly meet his needs. At the time she was in her late thirties and he was ten years older. He knew of her reputation, she was a smart woman, a bank officer, but was known for being cared for by rich, powerful men.
Malcolm Black, one of the wealthiest, black entrepreneurs in Central Florida had once been involved with her. She was a beautiful, almond hued-woman who took care of herself physically and would do anything to please a man. He couldn’t figure out what she meant by being unable to do it any longer. He had provided well for her. If he were willing to admit it, he loved her.
“What is it you can't do Schaelonda, please explain?" Looking across the room she held his glance.
“I can't do any of this. I can no longer have an affair with you, be your, your... whatever I am. I'm tired. I have spent the past thirty years of my life, hopping in and out of bed with wealthy men. Since I was fifteen years old, I have used my looks and sexuality to get things and Tony I'm tired. I'm ashamed of myself, finally. I've attended church for years. Mostly because it was the thing to do but now that we have that new pastor, I feel differently. She is reaching me at a level I didn't know existed and I need to change my life." The sound of her voice startled him. Pulling on his slacks, walking across the room, Tony thought about what he was going to say. After several minutes, he walked back sitting down next to her, speaking quietly.
"Do me a favor, think about this. Shaelonda, I care about you. Otherwise I would never have purchased this condo or that car you drive or all of those other things. I know you understand my responsibility to my wife, my children and grandchildren. I love Maria but as a man I have needs and no one has ever met them more than you, no one."
Tears glistened in her hazel eyes as she looked at him, knowing he didn't understand what she was saying.
"Tony, I don't want you to leave Maria or your family. I have always understood that. What I feel has nothing to do with you or them, it has to do with me. I need and want to get closer to God and being a mistress isn't how I plan to do that. I gave up so many things, such as having children to be this, this whatever, I've become and I can't change any of that. But what I can do is change now and I plan to. As for what you have done for me, well, that was apart of the deal. We provided what the other needed for almost seven years. I just don't want to do it any longer." Feeling more pain than he expected, he walked quietly to the shower.

"She must think I’m a fool, there must be another man. She'll come around. There is no man in this town with more money than me. I won't let her go..."


Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Last night when I listened to Senator Obama’s speech about race…
I could only think of someone stepping out of a closet…
The issue of race is a touchy deal…
With so many claims of non-existent racism and denial...
His analogy about his pastor’s remarks versus his grandmother’s
Was the realest thing…if we disassociated ourselves from loved ones when they come out of a particular bag, we would be, well, without any people in our lives…
We all know that there are folks who make exceptions for some,
But struggle with accepting all,
This morning driving across the bridge I thought about all of this,
Knowing that the speech will impact many,
But those with a certain kind of heart, well as my grandma said, ‘That’s a tougher row to hoe…’
Because to change a situation, circumstance or income bracket,
Isn’t all that hard, but changing a heart is something else altogether,
And many times a person hasn’t admitted, owned or acknowledged what is in their heart,
Racism is a hard thing to just flat out admit or own…
It’s easier to call it something else,
I recall a couple years ago when I published my first book,
I told a couple of the women in my office,
They purchased, attended my events and couldn’t stop talking about it,
One day however, we were at a luncheon and one of the women told another co-worker,
She couldn’t wait to get her signed copy,
After getting it weeks passed without a word,
I wondered what was up, starting feeling like Erykah, a little sensitive about my…#%^@
But time passed and I moved on, everything is not for everybody...
One day out of the clear blue sky,
I was told that my book made this woman realize how black I was…and that made her uncomfortable, and get this…
Not that my characters were black but that they were wealthy and uninterested in being anything but black…
I was told that I blur the lines better than anyone,
And when people think of me they don’t think race…
They think Angelia…please...
But when writing a book filled with for the most part, positive black folks all of a sudden she was uncomfortable with me…two years later, we smile cordially but she never quite meet my eyes…
But I can assure you that she will never in any way own that as being the teensy, weensiest bit racist or even racial…
Not realizing that not seeing me in my entirety but only in a way that was palatable to her…well you feel me…
So I am really glad that the Senator stepped out of that closet,
Giving us all something to think about,
Only time will tell how much of an impact it will all have…


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Are We Commicating?

Communicating has been the buzz word for eons, years and years,
And truthfully anytime we open our mouths we are communicating,
But are we reaching anyone, is it having any impact…
Recently I was talking to an associate,
We were discussing philanthropy, volunteerism and reaching our intended,
She told me that for a while she had worked with an organization for young folks but she could never quite make it work for her, they weren’t feeling her communication style and she felt she had no impact,
She never felt she was really empowering or helping anyone,
She had found something she loved doing, and she told me about all the wonderful benefits she was gaining…I remained quiet, I wasn’t even going to go there…
Finally she asked me why did I think the young people related to me and my message...
I told her there were a variety of reasons,
Mostly they knew my heart and I spoke their language…
She wanted to know what I meant by that, did I mean some Black thing…
After giggling I told her NO, not at all,
Mostly that I talked with them, not to them or over them,
A lot of times with young adults we miss our communicating cues, because we seem to want to impress them with how much we know or how much we have accomplished and they turn cold…the big thing is when relating to youngsters we have to remember it’s not about us…she looked a little traumatized at that remark…
So I also told her many times it’s the words we use…
When going into a new venture, we should view it as assisting a young person, working with what they bring,
When we walk into a room and start throwing around words like Empower or Help…
Many will tune out at that point,
Because to empower indicates powerlessness,
And to help indicates helplessness,
And in many cases they may be powerless and helpless,
But they aren’t trying to hear what they already know…
To assist someone indicates that they already have something to work with,
And you are willing to, along with what they have to allow THEM move it forward…
She looked at me, saying, ‘That sounds like a lot of work, that’s why I have chosen to do something else.’
“That’s okay, we do what we do…the world is big enough for all of that.”


Monday, March 17, 2008

To Read and Read Again...

Do you every re-read books?
Many people say, no, too many books, too little time…
I am a re-reader,
Anything I really loved,
I will re-read,
Just Above My Head by James Baldwin – countless re-reads,
Have not re-read in years, but will again,
Waiting in Vain by Colin Channer read a few times,
Pearl Cleage’s books, re-readable for sure,
Blues Dancing by McKinney Whetstone, a few re-reads,
And there are others,
Sometimes a certain mood will lead me to re-read,
Or if I am struggling with books I have and nothing is really grabbing me,
I know where to go for a literary pick me up…
Another reason for re-reading is when I wear my reviewer’s hat,
The first scenario is when I read a book and I am trying to fairly review it,
It just isn’t working for me but I want to review it fairly,
I will give it another try...
The other review re-read scenario is when I really liked it but was,
Reading in critical review mode, which if done properly is completely different than reading for pleasure,
So after I have read it, reviewed it and posted,
I will go back and read in a more relaxed, less critical way,
Then there are the deeper books,
That I enjoyed but didn’t quite, completely understand,
I love going at those again,
To be able to see from different perspective,
And to discover the layers that I was missing the first time around,
Do you re-read?
Please Share…


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Acceptance of Truth!

One of the hardest things to accept is the truth,
I mean the sure enough, downright, no holds barred,
Staring in the mirror at out naked selves truth...
I have had to accept a basic truth,
And that is that I am a grass-roots, writer, author, bookseller,
I knew that going in,
But somehow I allowed inner and outer voices,
Opinions and missiles,
To muddle up my truth,
There is nothing that I love more that standing in a room of people,
Talking about my books,
Or across a kitchen table,
Or in a living room,
Or in a cafe with overpriced wine,
Or at book fairs and festivals,
I love it, am inspired by it and crave it,
And that is how I sell a respectable number of books,
Try as I might,
No matter how much money I throw at other venues,
It somehow doesn't work as well for me,
And the naked truth is that $$$$ books sold is books sold,
I have so many of these kinds of things coming up,
Where people line up over and over to get the latest,
acVernon Menchan, Angelia Vernon Menchan, whoever she is writing as today,
So I have to accept my personal truth,
Honing what works for me,
Keeping my focus on what is Platinum,
For Me...
It is so, that the truth will set us free,
But only if it's our own truth!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

That's What They Do!

These were my boys in 1986, the eldest, Maurice, who we now call The Dean and Malik, Deep the Dictator…

These days I chuckle when someone tells me their kids are working them…
I usually ask how old they are and they tell me 12, 13, 14, 15….
I say, well that is what they do at that age they work you,
They look me as though I’m crazy,
I say no honey, teenagers work you, that is their job,
My eldest has one of the finest minds I have ever encountered,
But from 13 until, well lately,
He was my classic underachiever,
He was too smart to be bothered with the small stuff,
He would do mediocre class work,
Because he knew he could ace the test,
So why bother, it’s the end result right?
I stayed on his case,
Finally discovering that the easiest way to deal with him was to ignore his foolishness,
He didn’t like that, straightened right up, needed attention…
I also knew he loved to draw, so I always nurtured that, he was never without parchment and charcoal pencils, and I allowed him to spew out all that intellectual babble,
Just told him to keep it respectful or I would shake him up, and I did…
Now my baby boy, kept his grades laser sharp, was involved academically and athletically,
But that boy loved him some ‘street life’ all things ‘street’ fascinated him,
Probably because he has one of the sweetest flows on the mike you have ever heard,
And can write lyrics and produce beats so tight…oooh wee!
Now him, I had to keep one arm lovingly draped around his shoulder,
With the other hand balled up in a fist to punch some sense into him when he would try me and try me he did and I did!
But I also allowed him to create his own record label ‘Drum-Addict Records’ at fourteen so he could expend that energy…
What I had to learn is to treat them like growing adults,
At the same time reminding them that I and their dad was in charge,
Also I had to be ever vigilant, keeping on my toes, monitoring behaviors and activities…
Parents can’t rest and must sleep with one eye open,
But at the same time we can enjoy their strangeness,
If we take the time to listen and get to know what they love,
And what they are good at…
They will amaze us with what they have to offer,
Keeping in mind that one day THEY WILL BE GROWN AND GONE!
So remember my motto, ‘Parenting is not for Punks!
And this to shall pass…

Angelia (Mama Deep)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What's The Story?

I suppose I’m a writer because I always want to know, ‘What’s The Story’…
I am an observer, I spend great chunks of time quietly watching, listening, waiting…
And more often than not wherever I am, someone is going to show me, tell me, let me know what the story is…
Many times they don’t realize they are doing it,
Because I’m ad-libbing,
Writing the story in my mind,
Filling in the blank spots…
A case in point was yesterday,
It was the middle of the day,
I had an appointment with the optometrist,
And after I was done I had to do some bank stuff,
As I drove down Dunn, a very busy street, filled with businesses, restaurants, apartments,
And a mixed bag of residential areas,
The streets were teeming with activity,
People at lunch,
Waiting for buses,
Kids skipping school,
But this one woman caught my eye,
She was probably late twenties, early thirties…
Ebony skinned, bountiful, in rust and black jeans,
With rust colored hair, sashaying…
Stopping at the light I looked at her waiting near the intersection and was startled,
Her face was a perfect light beige mask, layers of perfectly applied makeup,
The rest of her including her neck was the color of strong coffee, espresso...
Immediately I wanted to know her story,
What was inside that inspired her to paint her lovely face a completely different hue,
Wondering if she even realized the contrast,
Was her lighting at home such that she couldn’t even see it,
Or if in some way she was hiding in plain sight,
Also curious as to whether anyone in her life had ever asked or mentioned it to her,
I was fascinated,
Wanted to sit down with her,
And respectfully ask,
Waiting with bated breath for her answer,
Allowing her a voice to say why,
Of course, that will never happen,
But as a writer perhaps one day,
I can compose a story of someone with her characteristics,
Inserting someone in her life,
Who will ask,
Allowing her to tell,
Her story….


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's Where You're Going!

I always remember what I would tell my Job Corps students at graduation,
‘Please remember that it is not where you’re from, or even where you are at, but what is ultimately important is where you are going!”
That was always my final statement after I had done my spiel about the importance of work and education, and I truly believe that…
We were all once somewhere…
And we are all now somewhere…
But the kicker is to stay focused on where we are going…
Where we want to be…
I was thinking this morning about my last graduation, August 1999...
I was also in my last week of working at the center…
I stood on that stage, looking out at the auditorium,
Especially my graduates,
There were three in that group who had taken it to me,
My young Native/African-American, he had been brimming with attitude and anger when I met him, there were so many times I had to jack him up and bring him to my office, to face off…at first he was hard, but when he got to know me, all I had to do was walk outside…he knew to move…at that graduation he was on his way to military school…his dream…I still feel the crushing hug he gave me before he drove away from campus…
Then there was my sister-girl from OKC, she had gotten by on her feminine wiles for most of her teen years and thought that was A-Ok but now in her twenties she knew she wanted to do something different, being a electrician was what was up for her…her wild laughter still rings in my ear…
Finally, my quiet young Mexican-American kid from Houston, he knew what thug-life brought and what it took, but now on his way to higher education he was going to find out how big the world really was, as big for him as for anyone…I have heard from him a few times over the years…
These were just a few of the kids who had been written off, mostly by themselves but once they opened up their minds and hearts the possibilities…they knew…
It was all about where they were going…


Monday, March 10, 2008


‘Why do people like the bad stuff?’ Here we go, time for some of the deep questions.
“Please explain…” I do this when biding for time…
‘Well, it seems like folks love the bad stuff. For instance when people get in a fight after school, a crowd will gather around cheering it on, but seems like when someone does something good, no one has anything to say.” Lawd!
“That’s very true. But I want to say that not all people are like that, not even the majority. However, we do have a certain number of people who seem to feed on the negatives.”
“There are a multitude of reasons. Mostly, I think the age old misery loving company. Very rarely will you find pleased, well adjusted, got it going on folks applauding mess…”
‘That’s not true, Ms. A, lots of people who have everything are sometimes the main ones caught up in drama.’
“Baby, you are confusing stuff with being pleased, well adjusted and having it going on. I’m sure you mean those fly kids with nice cars, from big houses and all the cool clothes…”
‘Umm Hmm.’
“Don’t assume that their lives are beds of roses. Many of those kids have stuff galore but they aren’t connected to anyone or anything in many cases. And they are so afraid of not being liked or accepted that they have to be in stuff to survive. Let me tell you something and I don’t ever want you to forget this. If you get everything you ever dreamed of and your heart is dark, your thinking is stinking or you aren’t grateful for your blessings, then your situation is just as bleak even if your surroundings seem golden.”
‘So that is why some of the kids who seem to have everything are so mean?’
That’s a part of it, another part is that many people find it extremely difficult to accept that others are just fine where they are, with what they are doing.”
‘Is it the same as you get old?’
“Umm, older, I’m afraid so. I see it all the time, small competitions with no real winnings. Also, I see that group who will crowd around an assassination but is no where to be found for a glorification.”
‘Really…why is that?” Whew.
“It’s because sometimes we simply grow older, and we carry a lot of what ails us with us forever. One of the most difficult things for us to do is change. Mostly because as I have told you and my kids, to change sometimes we have to change everything, even the people in our lives and that is real hard when those are people close to us.”
‘I know…’
“Are you going to be okay and does what I said make sense.”
‘Yes, ma’am I’ll be fine. And it does make sense, but I don’t like it much.”
“Good, that’s the first step to changing…”


Friday, March 7, 2008

Rainy Days and Favorite Things...

Today it is raining, and the forecast indicates it's going to rain all day,
I was out of town all last week and working like nobody's business this week
To avoid going in to the office today, after having Friday's off for several years,
It's hard to go in, makes those ten hour days worth it,
Now that we have a deluge of water I can stay home inside,
Enjoying my favorite things,
First up is my coffee,
I love coffee, it's one of my vices, my kids bribe me with starbucks gift cards,
Then my plan is read the newspapers,
With my feet up on my favorite footstool,
I love knowing what's going on around me, gotta stay current,
Periodically I will get up, peeking out the window at all the raindrops,
Falling on my rose bushes,
For those who don't know, I love plants, I have green arms, got it from my mama,
Then I will write two chapters, that's my new thing, two chapters a day when in writing mode,
After that I will pitter around pretending to do some housework, QQ...
While music is playing, today I think I will listen to all Anthony Hamilton's CDs,
Another fave,
I will make a nice lunch for one,
Then read a bit,
Today I am going to start and finish,
Orange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice,
This will find me tucked in the corner of the sofa with my favorite,
Throw over my legs,
Reading, dozing, thinking, chilling,
Wow, I love rainy days and favorite things,
What are you up to today?
And What are some of your favorite things?


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Book Food and Word Power...

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is where do the stories come from, the words…
Not just in my books, even in my blogs…
A friend and I had a chuckle a few weeks ago, she was asking how in the world do I have time to come up with topics as I cross the bridge, she said, she has to focus on just getting over the bridge…that kind of statement right there is what gives me book food…or writing food…a simple statement, funny, poignant or even sad can get my mental motors gunning and a blog or story is born…this morning I was tossing a few ideas in my head…book food was my first idea and there is where I go, but I also wanted to mention word power…what we say and how we say it is extremely powerful…so I always tell people to be careful of the words we use and how we use them, they can be very telling about how we feel…a word that often bothers me is the word ‘little’, I cringe every time I hear someone use the word to describe someone’s efforts, such as I heard you were working on a little project, or you wrote a little book, or that’s a cute little so and so…think about what that says, it takes away from the person’s efforts by using a downsizing term to describe what they have accomplished…okay moving on…
So my book food comes from what is going on around me or things I have heard or experienced or the biggest thing, my very overactive imagination…I love to take an idea and present it in a way that stretches the imagination but that’s believable…that’s my goal every time when writing a book…
Most writers, true writers, always wanted to be writers, no matter what else we have done, that desire to write and tell stories has been inside our bellies, burning…
I can remember my last words in my senior year book, I said I wanted to be a juvenile counselor and a writer…it took twenty years before I officially became a counselor…and almost thirty years before I became an author, but I was always a writer....
So book food comes from life, living, listening, learning, then being able to translate that to the page…
While praying, hoping, believing that someone is interested in reading it…


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Secret Readers, QQ

‘Secret Readers That’s What we are…’ Insert music to Secret Lovers…

There are secret readers out there, now I don’t mean people who are secretly reading and trying to keep it on the low…
I am talking about those people who are reading books they don’t want others to know about, QQ…
This weekend I was talking to a sister and she was telling me about going to a huge book signing of a very well known romance author…
I asked, ‘Which one of her books did you get?” She looked around to see who was listening, then told me, ‘I don’t know…” Huh?
Finally she told me, then, said, ‘But I don’t really read her books.”
Okay…my gut told me she gobbled that book up on the way home but didn’t want to say she had…
Reminded me of back in the day when we started our ‘Higher Learning’, so many would walk around with these huge tomes…when asked if they had read the latest bestseller, they would say…’Oh no, not me, I only read non-fiction!”
Cool, I can get with non-fiction too, but there are days when some fiction is what a sister needs, but that’s just me….
It reminded me then of non-drinkers who always smelled like Gin and Peppermint…
Today the big thing is to say, I don’t read, erotica, street-lit, romance, etc…
Well someone is reading all of that and in mass quantities…
The books are flying off the shelves and on Amazon and other online bookstores…
Those books are usually the high sellers…and my guess is it isn’t just kids plunking down the dollars for those books…
I guess it’s adult peer pressure…
Grown people are afraid to mention to their friends that they aren’t reading,
A certain kind of book,
As though they fear they will be thought of as less learned,
Or well read…
I don’t get it,
Because all that reading all kinds of books does is broadens one’s horizons,
I have picked up books that just didn’t do it for me…
But that has been across genres,
If I can learn from, be entertained by, made to feel (laugh or cry) or on some days,
Simply taken away,
I am down…and will freely tell anyone who asks what I am reading…
But that’s just me,
And everyone knows how odd I am…SMOOCHES!

Currently reading: The Sweetest Taboo by Risque and
Orange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice

Love and Blessings,
Angelia, eclectic reader and proud of it

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Diversity, Anyone?

One of my young people asked me this weekend, ‘Why is it so hard for people to allow other people to do what pleases them?’
I was fascinated by the question, and had many answers but one that I knew to be true is this,
People really want other people to think like them, be like them, feel like them and it seems to really work folks nerves when others don’t acquiesce…
As a non-conforming conformist…I have worked the nerves of many, simply by just being me…I’m sure all my peeps are nodding, umm hmm as they read this…giggling…
I conform when it’s a rule, law, regulation, but beyond that I do my own thing, go my own way, write my own stories…
But I see it all the time…
Someone will marry a polar opposite and spend the rest of their married days trying to change the person…rarely happens…many people pack their bags and leave before they change…
Or they will raise independent thinking kids…but will turn and twist all night when the kid takes a different career path or date someone who is not pre-approved, or check this out…has an opinion that is different….
I have seen people get up in arms with others because they don’t like the same people,
Eat the same kinds of food,
Read the same books,
It is almost as if there is this overwhelming desire in many to get others on the same page, at any cost…
I don’t even know what makes it that way, but that way it is…
I remember three years ago when I was writing Black’s Obsession, I told a friend I was going to name my female character Cinnamon, for some reason that irked her…
She tried and tried and tried some more to get me to change my mind…never could say why…but that name bothered her…what bothered her more was that I did what I was originally going to do…
What I try to get people to realize is there is a lot of freedom and fun in diversity,
The best times I have is with those who are a bit different,
Quirky, independent minded soldiers, those who will take a path less traveled,
But come out on the other side…smiling, grinning, alive…
Who are willing to share their experiences, failings, victories with you…
Allowing you to share your differences with them…
Knowing that while we may not all be the same,
The world is big enough to hold all of us….

Love and Blessings,

Sunday, March 2, 2008

For Real?

Today is the first day in a week that I have been online, except for a quick peek on Friday, I have been off-loop and away from home...
Needed some down time, mostly I needed to see what it felt like to unshackle myself from cyberspace...
I have never spent inordinate amounts of time surfing the net,
But in the past couple of years I had become so tied to my emails, I could barely go an hour without checking them, God forbid a day or more...
I would check them throughout the day at work,
Then find myself focused on something other than what I should be focused on...
Then once home, going to check them ever so often...
It had become drug-like...
So once I knew I was going away for a week I vowed to not check emails, or any cyber-stuff and it was unbelievably freeing...
After the first day my mind was free of it....cold turkey...
The world didn't stop...newspapers and the news kept me abreast of current events...and I was surrounded by real people, talking, laughing, living, loving...
Life went on, and most beautifully most of the people that I talked to about my books were live and in living color...
I sold books in a couple different states, to people from several different states and it felt really good to talk to those who had read my work...
Introduce my work to those who didn't know it,
Even listen quietly to those who talked about it as if I weren't there....wonderful...
One of the coolest moments was talking to my nephew, who I hadnt talked to in ages...
He is now in his thirties and he wanted to read everything I had written, because he felt it was time to start reading...Thanks Pat! I loved seeing and talking to you as a man...
This cyber hiatus brought me full circle,
Because when I started writing over two years ago,
My intention was to be an author who interacted live and in color with those who read her work...
And for a brief period I got back to the Real of It!
It felt good...

Love and Blessings,