The inaugural Atlanta African American Book Festival is FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC and will take place on Saturday, July 14, 2018, at Georgia State University. Over 70 authors will convene in Atlanta to present their work to the Atlanta community. Author categories include fiction, non-fiction, romance, YA fiction, middle-grade fiction, and children’s picture books. Journalists, editors, publishers, literary critics, and scholars from various fields will be present. Panel discussions and workshops will engage festival attendees in topics concerning literary industry tips, civil disobedience, activism, emotional and spiritual well-being, restorative justice, and health and wealth. Children’s activities include a story corner and festival dance floor.
I will be one of many authors in attendance and I would be honored to have your support at my table. Since I did not have a launch signing or gathering for Revolution, I’d like to use this as an opportunity for a post-launch celebration. You will have the chance to purchase signed paperback copies of my two most recent books (and not just mine but other authors too), take pictures, take part in workshops, and meet industry professionals. Again, attendance at the festival is FREE so you’ll just need to make it here (food is not allowed inside the venue but there will be food trucks on the outside). This is not just an entertainment event but we also seek to implement community programming that promotes black literary arts and family sustainability within our community. To check out my AAA blog feature, click here.
I had the honor of writing a guest blog post alongside some amazing writers on the subject of marketing books as an introvert for Shayla Raquel’s most informative blog. Shy writer? Nervous? Don’t want to put yourself out there? Check us out for tips below!
“How does an introverted author handle book marketing? Well, I don’t know because I’m an extravert. So for the first time ever on this blog, I have asked not one but five introverted, outstanding authors to help you with your book marketing. If you’re shy or not into self-promotion or just feel like, “I literally cannot do this,” then you need to hear what these women have to say. Take it away, ladies!”
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Mamello Mosiana. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Mamello Mosiana, I am from South Africa, originally from Bloemfontein, but I spent most of my adulthood in Cape Town.
South Africa in the house! What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
My perfect writing/reading room would have large windows that almost take up the entire side of one wall, outside that window would be an overgrown garden. The room itself would also feel like a garden, filled with pot plants and flower pots. In the corner of the room instead of a desk would be a large cushiony futon, where I would work, since I find it hard to write at a desk. On the other side of the room, overlooking the window would be a meditation space enveloped in a circle of fragrant candles. The room would also have a light whiff of incense whipping through the air.
Nice. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
Personally, the most amazing adventure for me would be to travel by myself around the world, with nothing but one small backpack. Since I have difficulty letting go of stuff and packing light, the adventure, would probably begin with me, just trying to decide what will go into the bag.
Lol. What songs have you completely memorized?
I am a big Bob Marley fan, so I have mostly memorised his music, more by repetitive listening than any true attempts to memorise his lyrics. My favourites are: “Redemption Song”, “Concrete Jungle”, “Corner Stone”, “No Water”, “Stir It Up”, “Crazy Baldheads” and “Kaya”.
I LOVE Redemption Song! Does blogging help you to write?
Yes, blogging does help me to write, I have learnt a lot about writing succinctly and moreover, blogging has taught me a lot about myself. Since in my academic writing I am prone to distance myself from my subjects, blogging has really allowed me to interrogate what makes me, me. It is also through blogging, that I found my writing style.
Let’s switch it up a bit. What’s family life like for you, single or married?
Yes, I am single, at this point willingly taking a break from romantic relationships. I do not think I would like to be married, ever since I was a child, I have found I always preferred my own company. Even in relationships, I have found that I often seek out my own space.
Mamello, what takes up too much of your time?
Day-dreaming. I spend half my day just daydreaming, while it helps with the creative process, it also means that I sometimes miss the things going on around me and have little time for the things I have to do.
Are you political?
Yes, I am political. I do not believe that anyone is truly apolitical. Our personal life choices, though they might seem like minutiae have political, economic and societal impacts. Most of those life choices, have been pre-empted by politicians, or are regulated by policy-making spaces. “The personal is political, and the political is personal”.
Why is writing important to you?
Writing helps me process a lot of my feelings. I have found that it has helped me heal parts of myself that I did not know needed healing. Writing also helps me make sense of the world around and has given me a safe space to vent, cry and process.
What’s your favorite food?
My favourite food is hot chicken wings. If hot wings are on a menu, I am ordering them! I am in an endless pursuit to find the hottest and thus best chicken wings.
You making me hungry over here!
Thank you Mamello for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Mamello Mosiana, is a second-time Masters student, blogger and in the process of writing her first collection of poems. Mamello is from Cape Town, South Africa, however she currently lives in London, England. She has worked in the field of Transitional Justice and Conflict Resolution. She is passionate about the redress of Gender-based violence and racial inequality in South Africa. Mamello would describe herself as a black radical feminist and consummate day-dreamer.
Welcome back to No Whining Wednesday! It’s been a minute since our last one so I am excited to be back. If you are new to this blog or new to this segment, please refer to the original post HERE. In brief, this is the day of the week when we do not whine, complain, or criticize. How have you done so far? You know us. We complain before getting out of the bed!
How often do we attribute complaints to others? Probably about 95% of the time. Someone is always doing something to us, offending us or thinking badly of us in some way. But is it always others or is it us?
The truth is that it’s easier to think more about others than we do about ourselves and let’s face it, that’s a good thing on the surface. You don’t want to be a “lover of self” (2Tim 3:2). But balance is important in every aspect of our lives. It’s important to be there for others but it’s not cool to leave ourselves behind. I’ve learned that complaints are rooted in some form of unhappiness within ourselves. We aren’t the weight we want to be, we aren’t fulfilled at our jobs and relationships, and we are just not happy with ourselves in some capacity.
When you are not happy with yourself, everything annoys you and you complain more. The truth is like Dr. Phil said, we can’t control others. We can influence them. We can motivate them. We can inspire them, but we cannot control them. The only people we can control is our own selves. Spend some time with yourself and discover what it is about you that will make you happier and more fulfilled. Take some time to be a little bit selfish. I admit I have been. I have not written many reviews this year and I have not been as supportive as I know that I should. This is not because I have not wanted to. This is because I went through some hurtful things and I needed to make sure that I was good too (without projecting that onto you). I needed to refuel myself and do things that made me happy so that I can be there for others. I needed to take my own advice and keep myself just as full as I was keeping others. I needed to do this because being there for others without being there for myself meant leaving myself behind and leaving myself empty. And when you’re empty, what can you give? Only after you have dealt with you can you sincerely help others.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Alycee Lane. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Alycee Lane and I’m from Buffalo, New York.
Nice, I’ve been to New York once. What is the most annoying habit that you have?
I laugh loudly at my own jokes, including the ones I tell in my own head.
Lol. What was your childhood dream?
My childhood dream was to be a doctor who would cure cancer. That dream ended when, at the age of six, I was spanked vigorously for having poured my secret cure into my mother’s milk at the dinner table.
Oh wow. You rebel you. What skill would you like to master?
I really would like to master playing the saxophone, but I’d actually have to learn how to play the saxophone.
Lol. I love it. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
I think it would be amazing to venture off to Antarctica. On the other hand, I left Buffalo, New York for a reason (spoiler: it wasn’t because of buffalo wings).
Speaking of wings, what’s your favorite food?
Anything with pork, which is why being a vegetarian, is pretty damn hard.
Oh Alycee. That was not the right answer. Anything but pork! Don’t do it lol. What kind of music do you like?
I can’t get enough of jazz and blues.
What do you wish you knew more about?
Black holes. The idea of them really blows my mind.
In your own words, define racism.
Voting for Donald Trump.
LOL. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?
FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS.
Are you religious Alycee?
Yes. I attend Bedside Baptist every Sunday (this is one of those moments when I am laughing at my own joke).
Rofl. You are a trip. Let’s talk about my favorite subject. How long have you been writing? Tell us a little bit about the journey thus far.
I have been writing earnestly since 2012, though I had written some academic papers before then. A few months before my dad died in 2010, he asked me, “when are you going to write?” He knew it was my life aspiration. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that, in my mind, I had decided to let that dream go. I was done. When I reflect on that moment, I’m inclined to believe that, on some spiritual level, he did know that I had given up. Those who are facing death often see and know things quite clearly. And if they’re your parents…well, then they see through you as well. I remember shrugging, in that way children do when they’ve been caught. The question bothered me enough that, two years later, when my mother’s health began to fail, I was writing like crazy.
In some ways, then, my writing has been a journey through grief, as well as a return to who I really am – the person whom my father clearly knew and saw. For that reason, the journey has also been a powerful one.
That’s powerful. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer?
The most difficult thing about being a writer is keeping a muzzle on the little critic who sits on my shoulder and pretends to be my muse. The most exciting thing is creating that perfect sentence, the one that sounds right.
“Once I was willing to step out of the closet and be completely vulnerable – to expose myself knowing that I could very well become (even more) an object of hate and of violence from people who looked like me and from those who didn’t– once I allowed myself to be that raw, I became absolutely and devastatingly powerful.”
I don’t know. It is. I think I would talk too much if I didn’t write. Or –or, I would finally learn how to play the sax.
I understand that you specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. You also explore political issues through the prism of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence. I love the Panthers as well as Dr. King. What attracted you to this kind of work? Can you tell us a little bit about your inspirations?
Okay, so not the easiest questions for someone who’s spent the whole day with a five-year-old.
Lol. Answer the question Alycee!
I come from a very political family, so I naturally gravitated toward studying the literature and culture of the CR/BP movements (plus, I am old enough to remember the Free Angela Davis movement, and I used to shout “Black Power” out of my school bus window while being bused across town. To this day, I remember the “White Power” sign that hung from one of the houses I passed every day to get to my integrated school).
So, my main inspirations were my parents, as well as my brothers and sister. Then there were my professors at Howard University, mainly Patricia Jones Jackson and Claudia Tate, from whom I took Howard’s first Black Women Writers class. I went to Howard intending to matriculate for law school and ended up leaving there with a Ph.D. on my mind. Good teachers can do that to you. Also among my influencers: Valerie Smith, Richard Yarborough, and Kim Crenshaw.
Oh, yeah: Toni Morrison, Barbara Smith, Alice Walker, Gloria Anzaldua, Cheri Moraga, Audre Lorde, Sweet Honey in the Rock, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone. Countless women I have loved and who have loved me.
With regards to my blog writing: an “ex” did me two favors. The first was gifting me a collection of King’s work. The second was keeping a copy of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace is Every Step in her bookcase. Reading both radically changed this deconstructionist’s heady, cynical life. Having said that, I like to think that I arrived at this place of a commitment to nonviolence and engaged Buddhist practice through the influence of the Panthers, Fanon, Malcolm X, and others.
Now, my five-year-old is my main inspiration. Every day she teaches me how much work I have to do. There’s nothing more humbling than having someone who has been on earth for merely 1800+ days tell you that you don’t know anything about nothin’. Just plain dumb.
If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?
My superpower would be this: I would make men cry simply by showing them the hand. Why this power? Because I suspect that much of the world’s violence can be attributed to the fact that too many men are unable to cry, to live from the heart, to be vulnerable, to be tender.
What genre do you write in, why?
I primarily write nonfiction, though I suspect this is a cop-out. I don’t know – I’m kind of with Arandati Roy on this: these are not the times for fiction.
I disagree, there is always a time for Fiction!
Alycee, thank you for spending this time with us! We enjoyed you.
Alycee Lane is an Oakland, California-based writer and blogger.
A graduate of Howard University, Alycee studied English literature and later obtained her Doctorate of Philosophy from UCLA, where she specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. From 1995 to 2003, she served as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, after which she obtained her Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall).
Alycee has also written a number of scholarly and other articles on subjects ranging from the Black Panther Party to mitigation evidence in death penalty cases to climate change. In 1993, she was awarded the Audre Lorde Quill Award from the Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum for the essays and interviews that she produced for BLK, a news magazine dedicated to the African American gay and lesbian community, as well as for her work as editor of Black Lace, the first ever African American lesbian erotic magazine.
Today we are introducing and spotlighting Tehilayah Ysrayl, mother, wife, poet and our 2nd Annual Poetry Contest judge! Join me as we catch up.
Tehilayah, whose name means song of praise, is an aspiring author and poet who was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She attended IPFW and Ivy Tech Community College and currently works for a life insurance company. Tehilayah has been happily married for six years, has four beautiful children, and a Jack Russell named Sevyn that is selective in who he deals with and has a “big dog” mentality.
This mother is not afraid of the stage, presenting her poetry at various venues and impromptu poetry gatherings in her city. She enjoys singing, sewing, reading, wine, whiskey and, most importantly, words. Some of her favorite poets include but are not limited to, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Countee Cullen, Sonia Sanchez, Steven Willis, and Rudy Francisco.
Tehilayah is also a voracious reader and fell in love with Urban Fiction because of Donald Goines. From there she branched off to discover other authors like Sista Soulja and the love stories that Eric Jerome Dickey brought, Carl Weber and many more. Currently, Tehilayah is enthralled in the Ashley and Jaquavis novel series. Tehilayah reads not only for the entertainment but also for the techniques in writing.
Currently, this karate mom is working on her first book, a collection of poetry! “No Idle Word” is about encouraging the faint at heart, providing awareness to the ignorant, and healing to the broken.