New book reviews coming soon…

On a Saturday, July 16, 2016, I attended the Soulful Chicago Book fair on Chicago’s south side.  In 2015; Founder, Asadah Kirkland brought over 20 years of experience to create The Soulful Chicago Book Fair . On this beautiful summer afternoon, I had the great pleasure to meet several authors with phenomenal, warm and intense stories to share. We talked about life journeys, family, relationships, being proud to be black, and what it means to grow up in urban communities.

From block to block, authors stood in their booths proudly holding books with confident smiles on their faces. Each block represented a genre of literary work. On the children’s story block, I got a sense of proud parents teaching, learning and sharing powerful stories that will be told for generations. Often times, young adults and children were the authors of the books. It was a proud and humbling experience to witness strong African-American relationships surrounded by books.

Here are a few authors I had the pleasure of meeting and discussing their work:

I Love My Hair by Author, Candace Edwards shares an amazing book that’s fun with phenomenal illustrations by Edward C. Kidd.

Growing up, I didn’t embrace and love my hair as much as Madison. I started to appreciate the beauty and unique qualities of my hair as I got older. I’m thankful Ms. Candace Edwards is sharing this story of confidence.

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Candace Edwards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Because by Author, Chiquita Camille Payne shares a heart-warming story about accepting one another and the importance of family love.

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Chiquita Camille Payne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sneaky Little K by Author, Sheenita Robinson and Illustrations by Jason Holmes shares an incredible book on discovering phonetics and sounds with the Sneaky Little K.

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Sheenita Robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Love of Debbie La’treck” by Author, Habeeba B. Pasha and Illustrations by Pavel Melecky shares an amazing story about a girl name Vivian that has a creative spirit.  She’s an avid reader and loves to live through literary characters. The story and illustrations perfectly flow.

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Habeeba B. Pasha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legally Branded, A Memoir by Author Shanna Red is a memoir about Shashanna Wilson. She is a woman who survived a heroin-addicted mother, physical and mental abuse at foster homes that ultimately caused self-identity issues, unhealthy relationships, and education problems. “Legally Branded, A Memoir” takes you on a journey in the shoes of Shashanna as she fights to overcome the darkness of foster care.

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Shanna Red

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Voices by Author Rebekah S. Cole is an intense story about Jonetta Miller. A young, pregnant and unwanted young lady sent away by her mother to live in Chicago to live with her Aunts. She is faced with tough choices as family tensions rise.

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Rebekah S. Cole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call Her by Her Name, Poems by Author Bianca Lynne Spriggs is a book of poetic genius. She tells stories that are rarely told. The book is a celebration of women. It breathes life into the complexity of women.

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Bianca Lynne Spriggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s read together and start conversations about  amazing authors and important topics!

If you’re an inspiring author, check out the following services:

Books Ink Literary Services has over 40 years of experience helping authors get books from manuscript to the literary marketplace.

Check out the website here:  Books Ink

 Follow Crystal on Twitter @ TousanaC

Interpreting Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman…

 

She’s Unbelievable

by Crystal Tousana

It’s easy to believe

When I rise, I breathe

Men want to know me

Not because my body is perfect

Because it’s not

I have no perfect curves

My moves are delicate

My legs stand tall

They see confidence in my eyes

When I speak, I tell the truth

My honesty is through the roof

My heart is on my sleeve

I’m unbelievable

You can read the entire poem here:  Phenomenal Woman

Share your version of Phenomenal Woman in the comments.

Crystal

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Follow crystal on Twitter @ TousanaC

Prickly Stubble on HER Scalp

The barber says what you want Miss

She stumbles on her words

Her lips are tangled and worthless

Words spill from her soul

Cut please

The barber taps his clippers with hands shaking and eyes bulked

She says once more; cut please

Barbers stare into scalps of men refusing to look at Miss

She bounces on the empty chair, says louder and prouder, cut please

Clippers buzzing to the tunes of silence

She drifts to a free and easy life

Chairs spinning, left, right, up, down

Coils dance, twirl, float, free fall, glide; hug the floor

Silence

He says, you pretty

Miss pearly whites gleam with confidence

Miss refuses the mirror

Head held high

Exits

She leaves the men in the cave weak and speechless

His Property, NAW!

He discretely and quietly protects his property

No other man near or far

His almond colored eyes pierce her soul

Her heart pulsates to the sounds of nature’s movement

She quickly gathers her conscious while maintaining a certain level of interest

Her body remains whole

He often tells her to surrender

She says my body is my own

Surrender my body, man NAW!

It’s my body

It keeps me alive

It’s my sacred place

Truth is, it’s not your property

You can’t control my inner sanctuary

Man please

She refuses to allow his control to sacrifice her peace

She says, my body is my own

She fuels her body with nutrition, hydration, and fine wines

She bathes and caresses her skin with scents from mother earth

Her body is her own

Strengthen by meditation and deep breathing, her body forgives her heart need to be owned

His property, NAW!

A Super Short Poem- A Relationship DISTRACTED

Having date nights, long walks and endless conversations is what she fantasizes about.

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Her friends and family notice a change in her swag.

Passion spills from her pores.

Life shines through her eyes.

Her spirit seems to be unbreakable.

She’s ready for a life partner. An unconditional love.

The moment Mr. comes into view; Miss knew there was something special about him.

His charm, intense glares, and easy spirit tingled her heart.

Never had a man patiently waited for her to reciprocate.

Life is beginning.

Attraction is evident.

Communication comes slow and easy.

The world disappears when she sees Mr.

Miss wishes for more private moments away from lurking eyes.

It never comes.

She quickly realizes distractions is what he prefers.

He’s distracted by how she communicates with others.

She’s distracted by being the focus of attention as the relationship crumbles.

He’s a magician. He disappears more and more.

Relationship distracted
He vanishes without a word.

Miss reaches out.

No response.

Is he serious? No!

She dodges pain.

She contemplates sending a final message to simply say, Thank You!

Bye Alopecia! – A Poemstory

I wake up and stare as you shine in glory.  Whatever!

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You don’t scare me.

You don’t define my past or future.

You tried to take my self-esteem.

You almost did.

I survived.

Ha.

From the moment you took my scalp, I feared the stares, points, and eyes of sympathy.

Some empathy.

Take yo tired and weak strands and get a life.

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Mine is not for the taking.

Yeah, you made me cry waiting for healing power.

I separated the two.

Healing is in my soul. My strength.

Power is my words I speak as I remove you from lips.

My lips speak no words of sadness.

They only spit the truth.

My truth is free from the weak strands.

I’ll never accept you.

IMG_0783.jpgBut I’m not sad.

Sadness is an emotion far from my tears.

My tears have turned to joy.

Joy of accepting your shine and glory.

Yes.  We were meant to be.

Alopecia.  Thank You.

I’m free.

In too DEEP! – A Poemstory

Loving, laughing; and believing in happily ever after is an ultimate goal.

At least I hope so.

I’ve never heard anyone confess to wanting anything different.

Life serves up all kinds of cues to what feels right in relationships. What complicates matters is getting in too DEEP!

Let’s keep it real. There’s no denying the moment our emotions outpace rationale.

Heart fluttering, eyes twitching, voice quivering trying to find the right words to express what’s happening on the inside.

But wait! That’s not the person I know in the mirror facing me. I feel no tears but I see them in the lady staring back at me.

Perhaps, it’s too DEEP!

It’s human nature to attach to what feels right.

Acts of kindness, wellness checks, and smile checks.

Balancing the scale of emotions.

Upward spiral. Downward spiral. Stimulating moments of much-valued attention.

The roller coaster flips, speeds, twirls, and screeches to a halt.

Get off girl. Gather your thoughts. Stand still. Find your center.

Immersing ourselves deep into a feeling can’t be practiced. It just happens.

What matters, is how we respond to that feeling.

Getting close is fun in the beginning.  We’re both winning.

But when is close too close as trust gets in the way.

He said. She said. Who said what gets all muddled in a tangle of words that bounces off every secure object in the room.

It would be easier to just walk away and say nothing. Yep! Just vanish.

Independence is lurking in the wind. Life of autonomy is racing through my mind.

The brain is rational. The heart is anxious.too-deep

What’s happening? The world spins.

Holy crap, I’m in too DEEP!

Crying over LIFE and Candy Crush

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” Maya Angelou

The train is ticking down the tracks; I’m waiting patiently to run to the back seat without being too aggressive. I need to get my dry eyes closed in case another tear drop. I open my eyes from time to time, pull out my favorite magnifying mirror to make sure I’m not swelling.

A year ago, I decided to allow myself to cry. I cried when I ran out of life on candy crush. I cried when my dog ignored me. I cried when the sun went down. I cried when it got too cold outside. I cried when life seemed to be too much. What was phenomenal is when I cried in excitement.

After years of bottling up emotions, I realized crying wasn’t so bad. I just needed to figure out if crying was my thing. Then one day, I cried over someone giving me too much attention. What’s that all about. The last thing I want is to be accountable for my emotions. I willed myself to stop crying.

Walking around teary eyed without a single drop falling is challenging. If someone looked at me funny or with sympathy, I’d just say my allergies are going crazy. Occasionally, one dropped. As if anyone cared, I would announce the air is drier than normal this year.

Dang it, why did I start letting myself cry. This stuff is too much. Having emotions is exhausting. Why are others so good at it? I’ve witnessed people cry and then push forward with ease. Now I’m feeling like a train wreck.

What’s confusing is trying to figure out the difference between happy and sad tears. The days of excitement and sadness, my tears felt the same. One day I looked in the mirror to figure out if perhaps there’s a visual difference. Only thing I can detect was that red eyes burn through sad tears. The happy tears are shiny.

Crying is an emotion I’m no longer afraid of. Quite honestly, I’m not sure it’s my thing. I’m ok with it though. I admittedly wish that I didn’t hold back tears. I’m imagining my year of tears would fill a gallon water bottle. I’ve decided to get a gallon size bottle and start filling it with some positive words for the rest of the year. I’m not going to force myself to do it on a time schedule or have a specific strategy. I’ll fill it as I see fit.

Rather I’m crying over the chocolate in candy crush defeating me, a Lifetime Movie taking me down with tears or discovering my heart, I’m still on the fence about my newfound emotions.

If you’re reading this and feel some emotion or NOT, it’s ok either way. I’m just happy to find out I’m not going to explode and disappear into space because I cried.

Cheers and raise your favorite beverage of choice to CRYING!

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