Sistahs Shop Talk – 10/9/2016 – Responsibility and Flavored Coffees

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Sistahs Shop Talk is random ramblings from yours truly about books, news, and views that captivate me.

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One Two Thoughts…

Where I’ve Been:  It’s been a while since you’ve seen me here. I’m happy to be back, but there’s a part of me that feels pressure, mostly to promote things in the right way. With all this talk about “diversity,” the stakes are higher than ever to make sure the work that’s being done is right. Not only do I want to showcase our gifts to the world, I feel a responsibility to this blog, and keeping it around means a lot to me. Yet there’s a few things in my personal life I have to attend to, and that comes first. But just know if you don’t find me here at Sistahs on the Shelf, I’m ALWAYS reading. My Goodreads account is where you can keep track of what I’m devouring at the moment.

Summer’s over:  Yes, autumn is here, and I for one am happy about. It’s a been a hot summer, and I’m all for cooler, light-jacket weather. And book-snuggling. I’ve already picked out my fall-flavored beverage, Green Mountain Coffee Autumn Harvest Blend, and it’s so good. Now I’m ready to dig in and read some good books. What are you excited about reading this fall?

thedawnofniaWhat I’m Reading Now…

The Dawn of Nia by Lauren Cherelle

I’m a third of the way through The Dawn of Nia by Lauren Cherelle, and what a powerful story so far. This book deals with Nia, a nurse who tended to her mentor Pat during her illness, and discovers after her death that she didn’t know Pat as well as she thought. Complicating things is a fling that has takes another life of its own during Nia’s grief and betrayal. This book has colorful, flawed characters, which is my literary kryptonite. I can’t wait to see what happens next, especially when Pat’s meddling sisters contest her will.

Book Quote…

“First time I got the full sight of Shug Avery long black body with it black plum nipples, look like her mouth, I thought I had turned into a man.”
From The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Trolling for New Books…

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My Secrets Your Lies by by N’TYSE (Re-release)
Urban Renaissance
Release Date:  September 27, 2016

Given all that Sand and Rene have been through, the couple lands an opportunity to share their life story in the upcoming documentary, Beneath My Skin. The question is―are they truly ready to take that trip down memory lane?

As they subconsciously relive their past, Sand ventures to a dark place where agony and judgement has tormented her since the day her parents discovered her sexual orientation in a shoebox full of love letters. Their rejection left her homeless and dependent on the streets, but it was during those trying times that she learned how to not only walk in her truth, but how to survive.

Recycled through the foster system as early as four, Rene is one who has become accustomed to change. Sand introduces her to another side of love and gives her a reason to open her mind and heart to something new―that is, until Rene finds herself questioning not only their relationship, but her sexuality. A series of events leaves them entangled in a web of deceit, wicked passion, and murder. As their love story unfolds, they’ll find out soon enough if they are truly each other’s ride or die!

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21 Questions by Mason Dixon
Bold Strokes Books
Release Date:  November 15, 2016

Kenya Davis’s ability to find the perfect employee is unparalleled. Her ability to find the perfect mate? Not so much. After she takes a chance on speed dating, she finds herself with not one but two chances to find true love. But with her spotty romantic track record, how can she be sure which woman is Miss Right and which is only Miss Right Now?

Simone Bailey works as a bartender at one of the hottest nightclubs in South Beach, has more female attention than she knows what to do with, and spends her spare time following her musical ambitions. Then she meets Kenya Davis. After her initial attempt to charm her way into Kenya’s heart fails, she resolves to reach her ultimate destination one question at a time.

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A Failure to Communicate: Stories by S. Andrea Allen
BLF Press
Publication Date:  January 10, 2017
Available for Pre-sale:  November 8, 2016

A Failure to Communicate, S. Andrea Allen’s debut collection of short fiction, focuses on a singular theme: communication, and how it, or the lack thereof, impacts Black women’s lives. The stories range from the humorous to the heartbreaking: one woman wins a bake-off because her co-worker misunderstands the contest; an overweight woman finally learns to love herself, even though it means leaving her girlfriend; a teenager reflects on his mother’s inability to discuss her depression; a woman realizes that her partner has been hiding a gambling addiction, and has to decide whether to help her or save herself. The women in these stories are often silenced, but Allen figures out a way to give them all a voice that demands to be heard.

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Solace: Writing, Refuge, and LGBTQ Women of Color edited by S. Andrea Allen and Lauren Cherelle
BLF Press
Publication Date:  January 31, 2017
Available for Pre-sale:  November 1, 2016

Deeply troubled by recent acts of violence against Black and Brown lesbian, bisexual, and trans* bodies, Solace: Writing, Refuge and LGBTQ Women of Color explores how LGBTQ women find solace: in each other, in their communities, and from within themselves, as they traverse the challenges of living as LGBTQ women of color in the United States.

Solace is a collection of poetry and prose that explores our pain, as well as our attempts to find solace in a world that seeks to destroy us. What are our strategies for survival? Where do we find solace? Audre Lorde writes that “we were never meant to survive,” yet here we are.

 

Visit This Website…

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Rainbow Lit

https://rainbowlit.com

Rainbow Lit serves to promote the reading, writing, publication, distribution, and public awareness of books that reflect the rich variety of the SGL experience. It features information on new book releases, book excerpts, and interviews, as well as Call for Submissions for LGBT publications. Check it out.


Sistahs Shop Talk – 5/1/16 – A Tall Glass of Lemonade

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Sistahs Shop Talk is random ramblings from yours truly about books, news, and views that captivate me.

One Thought…

A Tall Glass of Lemonade: The world stopped when Beyoncé dropped Lemonade, the visual album that told a story of love, infidelity and really big baseball bat. I couldn’t resist. The words of Warsan Shire paired with the images of a woman scorned and healed, and the songs that only Beyoncé could pull off, made for a stunning work that I was impressed with. I think it’s one of her best, if not the best, albums to date. With that being said, I knew that a million and one think pieces would be written: whose story was #Lemonade; who’s Becky with the good hair; was Jay-Z in a safe place. I’m all for the discussion – because black women need to unearth and talk about the wounds of love — but I wasn’t here for mainstream publications analyzing her work as if it was done for them and writing about concepts they knew nothing about. (Here’s looking at you, USA Today.) The one thing these outlets were so smug in their reporting while often getting it wrong or not understanding the nuances of a work like this. Again, everything ain’t for everybody. It’s also another call for diversity (a word I’m starting to abhor) to have black women (and men) not only tell our stories, but to hire the right people dissecting and critiquing them.

returntoarmsWhat I Finished Reading…

A Return to Arms by Sheree L. Greer

I’m not going to talk too much about A Return to Arms, Sheree L. Greer’s most recent book, because I plan to put out a review of it this week, yet suffice it to say, this book is so powerful and so real in a way that I’m not sure how I’m going to sum up. The words are there, inside of me, and damn it, I’m going to try my best to pull it out. Read this book, ya’ll.

 

rubyBook Quote…

Ruby walked over to the bed, sat next to Daphne, touched the broad shoulder.

“Daphne?”

Then she was in the strong arms, feeling the full strength of those arms. Her mouth was being kissed, and she responded eagerly to those full, blessedly full, lips. At last she had found herself, a likeness to herself, a response to her needs, her age, an answer to her loneliness.

— From Ruby by Rosa Guy (1976)

Trolling for New Books…

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By My Precise Haircut – Cheryl Clarke
Word Works
Release Date: May 1, 2016

Cheryl Clarke’s long-awaited fifth poetry collection, By My Precise Haircut, travels the political and spiritual trails of her many commitments to social justice, to women of color, to the LGBTQ community, and to the rage, love, and song that live in each reader. Says Nikky Finney, “Cheryl has stayed the firebrand course, all while inventing new and wondrous paths.” 2016 Judge Kimiko Hahn adds, “Whether the tone is wily or grieving, wise or wise-ass, the reader is drawn closer by the page and into a world that may be Black, Lesbian, middle-aged, sister of a deceased Sgt. J. L. Winters, daughter of the Block Elder but is certainly a threshold for all.”

 

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Pat Greene: Her Story – Anondra Williams
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date:  April 3, 2016

From the author of black girl love and SistaGirl, two collections of stories and poems about me and you and the women you love comes Pat Greene.

Pat Greene wanted to tell her story and I was willing to listen. It turns out her story is my story and your story. A story full of highs and lows of loving women from the 1950’s till her now. Join in as Pat speaks from the heart, sharing the good and bad of being a black woman, of being a lesbian and more importantly being all of that and more while surviving.

From Mississippi to Michigan, journey along the great migration that is Pat Greene. Get to know Pat through the women she thought she loved, pretended to love and the one who taught her what love really is.

This is Pat Greene and her story.

Visit This Website…

brown-books1Brown Books & Green Tea
https://brownbooksandgreentea.com

I discovered Brown Books & Green Tea, and liked (plus bookmarked) this site immediately. Run by Whitney, a lifelong student and tea lover, her blog features reviews of diverse books, discussion topics, recommendations and monthly book wrap-ups. Her writing is clean and concise, and she knows her stuff (check out her review of Goslyn County). In Whitney’s own words, “I’m just a 20-something with a love for multicultural literature and hot tea.”


Sistahs Shop Talk – 2/28/16 – Book Segregation, Anyone?

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Sistahs Shop Talk is just random ramblings from yours truly about books, news, and views that captivate me.

One Thought…

Segregation in the Store: An author friend who forwarded this Facebook post and our proceeding discussion offline inspired a lot of thoughts concerning the age-old debate of book segregation. That post mostly discusses Amazon, but it invites another question: when you walk into a physical bookstore, do you prefer African-American fiction to have its own section or to be blended with “mainstream” fiction? I’ve long preferred the African-American books to be chillin’ by themselves, away from the others because it just makes it easier to find the title I want.

And segregation also helps distinguish just how many titles of ours the bookstore carries. Books-A-Million, with their dedicated AA division, is just beautiful to look at. All these wonderful books at my reach, all about our people. When I walk into Barnes & Noble, which mixes AA books in regular fiction, it just looks sloppy to me, because I can see how many books they are (or not) selling in the store. Walking up and down the aisles (like I sometimes do) tells me that they have the smallest AA collection, and that’s a problem. But there is another side, the one that questions why there is a separate AA section at all. It makes our books seem like anomalies, as if we’re not good enough to be in the “regular fiction.” What do you think?

Something else to think about: when you lump our books together, you have Kindred and Giovanni’s Room hanging out with titles like I Jus’ Wanna Leave This Nigga (yes, this a real book title). There’s not a distinction between genres, between classics and romance and science fiction and street lit ― and some feel street lit is taking over most of the shelves nowadays. As an occasional reader of street lit as an escape of sorts, this doesn’t bother me (hey, we all gotta eat), but is this a problem for you? How do you want your books to be shelved?

BTW, the merits of street lit will be discussed at a later time….

News Snippets…

  • A Black Lesbian Filmmaker’s Reaction to #OscarsSoWhite | Advocate.com | Here’s why Charzette Torrence, executive producer, creator, and co-writer of Jillian’s Peak, a new premium scripted digital series featuring the stories of African-American lesbians, won’t be tuning in on Sunday night.

whitenightsblackparadiseWhat I’m Reading Next…

White Nights, Black Paradise by Sikivu Hutchinson: White Nights, Black Paradise follows three fictional black women characters who were part of the Peoples Temple movement but took radically different paths to Jonestown. I found the summary to be interesting, and after reading a smidgen, it seems to humanize the tragedy while incorporating members of all ages, genders and sexual orientations.

blissBook Quote…

“Across from her, Hunter devoured her meal even more completely than she had. Sinclair watched her sink sharp teeth into the chicken bone, heard it snap, then the soft grunt of satisfaction. She made soft sucking sounds then emptied her mouth of the tiny ground up remains on a corner of her dish. Hunter ate with rabbit-like intensity, biting and sucking and spitting in an even rhythm until all that was left on the plate was a small brown and beige pile of ground bones. She finally looked up and caught Sinclair staring.”
― Fiona Zedde, Bliss

Trolling for New Books…

All release dates are tentative.

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The Gilda Stories: Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition – Jewelle Gomez (with Afterword by Alexis Pauline Gumbs)
City Lights Publishers
Release Date:  April 12, 2016

Before Buffy, before Twilight, before Octavia Butler’s Fledgling, there was The Gilda Stories, Jewelle Gomez’s sexy vampire novel.

This remarkable novel begins in 1850s Louisiana, where Gilda escapes slavery and learns about freedom while working in a brothel. After being initiated into eternal life as one who “shares the blood” by two women there, Gilda spends the next two hundred years searching for a place to call home. An instant lesbian classic when it was first published in 1991, The Gilda Stories has endured as an auspiciously prescient book in its explorations of blackness, radical ecology, re-definitions of family, and yes, the erotic potential of the vampire story.

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Lyric & Blake – V. Nikki Jones
Resolute Publishing
Release Date:  April 18, 2016

Astin “Lyric” Boyd leaves her uptight prep academy to start seventh grade at Alcorn Junior High. She quickly learns that public school means screaming teachers, popularity polls, and fashion wars. Lyric is nervous about being the lone new kid until she befriends a nerdy hipster that goes by her last name, Blake.

The inseparable duo want to mix up the social atmosphere at Alcorn, but their efforts spark a bitter rivalry with the Jacks and Jennies. The school year takes a new twist when Lyric and Blake are struck with puppy love and secret admirer messages. Growing up isn’t easy for two savvy girls who wear boy’s clothes and date girls. But their mothers and Alcorn ally, Coach Jackson, genuinely support them. Rumors, break-ups, or the principal’s office won’t stop these friends from conquering seventh grade.

From Resolute Publishing: “Lately, there’s been a lot of talk in the media about the lack of diversity among children’s literature– especially from Black authors. Therefore, we’re proud to publish a culturally relevant book with characters who are gay youth of color. Kids deserve options. Moreover, writers should assist parents by producing quality stories that are not only entertaining, but useful discussion tools.”

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The Dawn of Nia – L. Cherelle
Resolute Publishing
Release Date: April 25, 2016

Nia Ellis is grief stricken when, Pat, her mentor passes away. At the funeral, Nia is blindsided by one of Pat’s deep-seated secrets, which sparks feelings of betrayal. Weeks after the funeral, Nia is still figuring out how to handle her wavering emotions and the unexplained secret– until the opportunity for answers forces her to step outside of her comfort zone. Nia believes she is in control of her guarded emotions when sidetracked by curiosity and thrust into a battle zone with Pat’s sisters. Nia’s legal opposition and new love interest offend Pat’s family.

Romance was the least of Nia’s concerns until a fling matures and challenges her lingering insecurities. Nia learns there is a thin line between love and hate when former relationships and loyalties are lost in her circle of friends. In the end, she realizes that Pat’s secret was a blessing in disguise.

Visit This Website…

Lez Talk Books Radio: Lez Talk Books Radio is back! A newly launched podcast co-hosted by BLF Press publisher S. Andrea Allen and Lauren Cherelle, manager of Resolute Publishing, the podcast runs on Tuesday nights and the hosts discuss Black lesbian writing and talk to Black lesbian authors about their craft. If you haven’t already, please follow their YouTube channel. Their most recent interview was with K.A. Smith, author of Get at Me and many other short stories.


Sistahs Shop Talk – 11/10/13

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Introducing this new series, Sistahs Shop Talk is just random ramblings from yours truly about books, news, and views that captivate me (hopefully on a weekly basis).

One Thought…

  • black-girls-rock1#BlackGirlsRock:  I watched Black Girls Rock last Sunday on BET, and as always I felt inspired by these women who are making a difference and the encouragement it gives young women. Lord knows, girls and women of color aren’t visible enough or are only visible as negative portraits painted by media), so the show’s message is important and needed. Young girls like my 20-year-old niece, who just got her real-world job disappointment a while ago, need to know that they are special and they do have a place in this world. My only issue with Black Girls Rock is the exclusion of black lesbians. I thought it would be amazing to have Brittney Griner earn the Star Power award for accomplishments in sports (not to take anything away from this year’s winner Venus Williams). Brittney’s rise from college phenom to WNBA Phoenix Mercury player is extraordinary. Not to mention she’s unapologetically open about her sexuality and passionate about working with children in order to bring attention to the issue of bullying, particularly in the LGBT community. It would serve black girls who rock to see that sexuality is just one aspect of being comfortable in your own skin, especially those girls who identify or struggle as gay. Well, there’s always next year.

 News Snippets…

  • Kerry Washington is pregnant:  I know all you Scandal fans are excited to hear Kerry’s pregnant with a little Gladiator. Congrats to Kerry and husband Nnamdi Asomugha.
  • Young gay leaders in the workplace:  The Human Rights Campaign recently hosted the HBCU Leadership and Career Summit, which brought together an effective group of LGBT HBCU student leaders committed to developing their personal leadership and career skills. Watch video of “Generation Equality: Entering the Workforce” panel, hosted November 4 as part of HRC’s 2013 HBCU Leadership and Career Summit. (http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/hbcu-leadership-and-career-summit)

 What I’m Reading This Week…

descendantsofhagarDescendants of Hagar:  Nik Nicholson has crafted a wonderful character in Linny Remington in the Descendants of Hagar, a woman charting her own path in a small Georgia town. She doesn’t follow the conventions of living as a lady in 1914, being 21 and without a husband and kids. It’s unheard of. She’s as smart and strong as the men building houses around her and just as gentle as the women she knits with. I think I heart her. I’m a good ways in the novel and I’m trying to savor it.

Book Quote…

“Being unmarried, I’m like some eternal child, less than a man and always at odds with everybody.

Then again, may not have nothing to do with none of that. Mama was always hovering over my sisters, and I was always running behind Daddy when he what’n pulling me with ‘im. They always use to tease that he raised me like a boy, and that I would grow up to think and act like a man. They say that’s probly why I’m so stubborn and ain’t got no respect for men. I know all they know and can do all they can do, so it ain’t no place for one in my life. That bother Daddy, don’t bother me.”

– Nik Nicholson, Descendants of Hagar

Trolling for New Books…

Slippery When Wet:  Author Cairo’s latest erotica outing, Slippery When Wet, involves women-on-women action flaunted in short stories. With titles as “Juicy Fruit” and “Sweet ‘n’ Sticky”, it’s bound to be wild ride. I’ve read at least one story in the book already, and I must say that Cairo, a dude with 11 books under his belt, has a way with the raunchy. But it brings up the issue of can a man write good lesbian lit? I haven’t found many men who’ve quite gotten it right – well, with the exception of Terry B., author of Dancer’s Paradise. What do you think?

Visit This Website…

Sapphic Pages:  Have you checked out Sapphic Pages, a new website review for gay and lesbian books?