SistaGirl by Anondra “Kat” Williams

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sistagirlPublisher/Date:  Black Ink, July 2013
Genre(s):  Romance, Short Story, Poetry
Pages:  172
Website:  http://www.anondrawilliams.com

Rating: ★★★¾☆ 

A Southern woman is a delicacy: defined as a delicious, rare, or highly prized item of food; pleasing subtlety in something such as taste, smell, or color; or the quality of being easily damaged or broken.

All these qualities are revealed reading SISTAGIRL from Anondra “Kat” Williams, also author of black girl love. Her newest collection of stories and poems picks up where black girl love left off, but adds an extra pinch of down-home charm. For a girl like Williams, born and bred in Mississippi, this volume of Southern sensibilities is her bread-and-butter, her calling card. She knows the South, and she definitely knows women.

I saw it when I read the title story, about loving your sista no matter whom she loves, and in “Saturday Mornings,” recalling the memories of Mama and her friends gossiping and commiserating around the table over cups of coffee, at a time when children were to hush when grown folks are talking. It’s also clear in “Southern Living,” narrated by a Northerner loving a “Mississippi thick girl” with hot grits ready every Sunday.

One of the biggest themes in SistaGirl is growth, as a woman and in relationships, a trip back to the girl you used to be, and the woman you are now. Tales such as “Years” recount the affair between a woman in love and a woman who doesn’t want to be caught, realizing one can come back home. In “Firsts” and “15,” the evolution of love is shown, the former being first loves, and the latter growing older together. I reveled in the coziness of the poem, “morning,” reminding me with talks in the arms of your soulmate.

Like a side of buttered cornbread next to your collard greens, the drama finagles its way to the plate in SistaGirl, as well. Stories of crazy love (“Time”), domestic abuse (“Roses”), and dating women with husbands (“How You Get’em”) round out this set. And lest you worry, there’s some “good joog” in there also, with a stimulating game of “Tic-tac-toe” that I need to, ahem, play one of these nights.

Her bonuses, “Top 10 Rules for Being a Lesbian” and “The 11 Lesbians You Will Meet in Your Lifetime”, are humourously spot-on. Williams also includes a except from her upcoming fall 2014 novel, Pat Greene, which I’m looking forward to.

Williams’ SistaGirl exposes the hearts of real women. I found her stories to be exceedingly true in sentiment, but a little slack on the editing. A couple of stories ended abruptly that I wanted to see continue, or at least be fleshed out further. That aside, SistaGirl is all the women in your life, and may be you. And the love of good woman is hard to beat.

Reviewed August 2013

Read the Catching Up With… Interview with Anondra “Kat Williams

About Anondra “Kat” Williams

Anondra “Kat” Williams is writer, poet, radio host and all around lover of words. Her first foray into writing was black girl love released in 2011 and her second book SistaGirl released August 2013. Both are a collection of short stories and poetry, detailing everyday love and life between women who love women.

Kat’s work is currently featured in the anthologies Life, Love & Lust 1 & 2 a collection of short stories & Her Voice a collection of poetry. She will also be in the soon to be released Geechee to Gumbo: Black Southern Womanloving Culture & Politics and G.R.I.T.S: Girls Raised In The South – An Anthology on Southern Queer Womyns’ Voices and Their Allies.

In 2009 she started Shades Retreat: Personal, You. Shades Retreat is a empowerment, growth and change retreat for queer women of color. Shades Retreat occurs once a year during the third week of April.


Books 2 Check Out – August 2013

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Looking for something new to read? Here’s a round-up of a few novels you should check out (the titles are linked to Amazon, but most are available for purchase at Barnes & Noble, as well):

Ascension: A Tangled Axon Novel by Jacqueline Koyanagi (currently available in e-book format; paperback out Dec. 4, 2013)

Alana Quick is the best damned sky surgeon in Heliodor City, but repairing starship engines barely pays the bills. When the desperate crew of a cargo vessel stops by her shipyard looking for her spiritually-advanced sister Nova, Alana stows away. Maybe her boldness will land her a long-term gig on the crew. But the Tangled Axon proves to be more than star-watching and plasma coils. The chief engineer thinks he’s a wolf. The pilot fades in and out of existence. The captain is all blond hair, boots, and ego . . . and Alana can’t keep her eyes off her. But there’s little time for romance: Nova’s in danger and someone will do anything—even destroying planets—to get their hands on her!

In its Rawest Form by Monique “Being True” Thomas (available in paperback and e-book formats)

Rayne Stephens is a forty year old woman who is at the top of her game professionally and financially but her personal life could use a upgrade. She lives by a drama free and stress free modo. When her expertise as an advertising agent is needed by the Deputy mayor of New York city she jumps at the opportunity. During that time she crosses paths with the saucy mouth, unsmiling Lisa Walker and she instantly wants to feel her heat. Lisa Rene Walker has the looks of a model and the attitude of a lioness. She wants love but refuses to compromise herself to get it. A trophy girlfriend she is not, so she has decided to hold off on her personal life. When her boss asks her to volunteer at a city function she meets Rayne Stephens and she inwardly melts. Tragedy strikes and Lisa discovers that being alone may not be what she wants. With features from Cheryl and Mahogany (characters from the Loved Relived novella) this is a story about the fight, the struggle and the reward that love can bring.

On the Come Up by Hannah Weyer (available in paperbook and e-book formats)

Based on a true story, an impassioned and propulsive debut novel about a headstrong girl from Far Rockaway, Queens, who is trying to find her place in the world. Written in an urban vernacular that’s electrifying and intimate, On the Come Up introduces a heroine whose voice is irrepressible, dynamic, and unstintingly honest. Thirteen-year-old AnnMarie Walker dreams of a world beyond Far Rockaway, where the sway of the neighborhood keeps her tied to old ideas about success. While attending a school for pregnant teens, AnnMarie comes across a flyer advertising movie auditions in Manhattan. Astonishingly, improbably, and four months before she’s due to give birth—she lands a lead role. For a time, AnnMarie soars—acting for the camera, flying to the Sundance Film Festival, seeing her face on-screen. But when the film fades from view and the realities of her life set in, AnnMarie’s grit and determination are the only tools left to keep her moving forward.

Told with remarkable compassion and based on the real-life story of Anna Simpson, whom the author met during the filming of the award-winning Our Song, Hannah Weyer’s debut novel is an incredible act of literary ventriloquism that powerfully illuminates the lives of the urban unseen.

My Mom’s a Stud: A family book designed to address labels used in the LGBTQ community by Sonorra C McMath (available in paperbook format)

Maleak and Jaeqwan set out to find a stud within their community. Unfortunately, none of the studs resemble his mom. He is left bewildered and confused. With the assistance of you and your child, the two boys find answers. This book is designed for families with children that seek a non-threatening way to address the use of various labels used within the LGBTQ community. You are afforded the opportunity to positively influence your child’s self-worth by improving writing skills, exercising creativity, and increasing their knowledge and acceptance of alternative lifestyles. Family interaction is important, and encouraged. Share your knowledge, write a segment, or assist in whatever way that is most comfortable for you and your family. Develop the story using the child’s words and family cultural experiences. Just imagine the pride exhibited when your child reads his/her contribution to the story in conjunction with a published product. My Mom’s a Stud is a keepsake, one you and your child will pass along.

SistaGirl by Anondra “Kat” Williams (currently available in e-book and paperback formats)

From the author of black girl love comes another walk through the life of the everyday lesbian. Sit down and listen in as Kat tells your story. SistaGirl like black girl love is me and you and the women you love. Inside you will find over thirty stories and poems told from the heart of every woman who loves other women be it her lover, her Sista or her friend and sometimes, sometimes if we are lucky they are one and the same.


black girl love by Anondra “Kat” Williams

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blackgirllovePublisher/Date:  CreateSpace, Mar. 2011
Genre(s):  Romance, Erotica, Short Story
Pages: 202
Website:  http://www.anondrawilliams.com

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Twenty-five stories, 25 beautiful sentiments about black women and love.

That statement encapsulates Anondra “Kat” Williams’ black girl love, a scenic excursion of the black lesbian experience, from love to hate, from sex to love.

There are several highlights of black girl love. The best are ones that allow you to lose yourself in them. Like “locs,” where a lover waits patiently to connect with her harried wife through loving hair maintenance. “lunch” finds two old friends catching up and right back to the mutual attraction that always lingers as they dine, while “buddies” has two friends-with-benefits partakers silently falling for each other.

Other highlights of black girl love are the ones rooted in serious emotions. A partner respects her wife’s choice to live in “decisions,” and “trying” is a masterpiece at showcasing a woman’s many attempts to win her girlfriend back.

The lion’s share of black girl love, though, is about desire. That resonates in most of Williams’ tales, especially with the stories “breakfast”, “lunch” and “dinner,” lovers feasting on each other via words that ring true.

Williams thoughtfully douses black girl love with tenderness, humor, and real-life situations that make it hard to put down. It’s a project she spent three year working on, and it shows in the fluidity of the book. In reading, you will picture yourself as one (or more) of Williams’ characters, laugh, or loudly utter “ooh chile” at something clever.

Now those are the signs of a good book.

Reviewed January 2012