2023 Overview

Hey Party People!😎

I know it’s been a while since my last blog entry. August of 2022, to be exact. I haven’t had the energy or desire to do a blog post. Sorry about not getting that Shit I’m Diggin’ post published. I felt now was the time to update the folks who’d wondered where I’d been. Short answer: I’ve been making money moves. I believe the last time I wrote an entry, I was working on making moves professionally.

Well, that happened. Beyoncé dropped “Break My Soul,” which motivated me to get my life! Shortly after my last blog post, I started looking for a new job. Even though I received a promotion in March of 2021 (which wasn’t one if we’re being technical, the salary increased, but it wasn’t up to par with what I deserved, and unfortunately, I was unable to negotiate), the job left me psychological drained to the point where I was beginning to experience anxiety attacks. THAT IS NOT ME, Y’ALL. Ms. Harper doesn’t let people disturb her peace, but I allowed it for too long. I first experienced panic attacks in graduate school from some of the shit I endured within my program and with my advisor. I swore I would never tolerate that again, so I had to go. I started a new position in January of 2023, which led to a 50% salary increase *sings Cardi B’s Money*. I’ve been in my industry for about twenty years at the same institution. I elevated and moved within the company, hoping to escape some less-than-stellar leadership over the years, but those efforts were futile. When a culture of toxicity is pervasive, the only way to escape is to leave that joint, so that’s how I’m spending the first quarter of 2024 searching for a new opportunity! I’m finally saying peace out to the only organization I’ve known for my professional career, but it’s time.  

Despite all the corporate bureaucracy, 2023 was beneficial in many ways. I hunkered down and focused on my professional development.

  • I received a professional certification.
  • I received a certificate for an area of expertise within my industry.
  • I am 7 credits shy of completing another professional certificate program.
  • Bonus: I met yearly financial goals and doubled what I set out to accomplish.

In 2024, I plan to obtain two more professional certifications. I AIN’T PLAYIN’!

In between making professional and money moves, I had FUN, y’all. I turned 45 in October, and I’ve said this before, but I honestly feel I’m aging backward. My energy levels are off the charts. I do intermittent fasting, which has been fantastic for my body! I’m working out, meditating, and sticking to wellness routines. I lost all but 10lbs of the weight I put on during a severe bout of depression, which is primarily why I haven’t published anything since 2017. Depression doesn’t always “look” a certain way. It took me a while to realize what was happening, but once I did, I made strides to get myself right internally and externally. Having fun was one way I overcame my setbacks. I mean pure, unadulterated fun. I was OUTSIDE. I went to concerts nine months out of the year. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen the footage. I also cross-post to Facebook, so if you missed it there, you can find posts on my wall. It was my way of treating myself for the hard work I was putting in.

Stephanie Mills, The Whispers, New Edition, Tank, Guy, Keith Sweat, Janet Jackson, Ludacris, Anita Baker, Queen Bey (I feel like I was elevated to another plane for the Renaissance Tour, and my seats?! MY SEATS WERE IMMACULATE. Whew, it was AH-MAY-ZING), lol, “Cuff It” is playing as I type this blog post. My knees got a workout, y’all. I was getting it in. Tony! Toni! Toné!, Kenny Loggins, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Olivia Rodrigo, Brittany Howard, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews, Stevie Nicks, Elton John, Jimmy Page, New Edition (again), Chaka Khan, Sia, Missy Elliot, St. Vincent, Babyface. Al B. Sure and Jon B. were some artists I saw this year. It was busy!

Aside from concerts, I enjoyed some great albums, movies, and TV shows in 2023.

🎵🎶Fave Albums of 2023🎵🎶

Cleo Sol Heaven

Cleo Sol Gold

Gorillaz Cracker Island

Kylie Minogue Tension (Deluxe)

Jorja Smith falling or flying

Feist Multitudes

Kali Uchis Red Moon In Venus 

Victoria Monét JAGUAR II

Sam Smith Gloria

Terrace Martin and Alex Isley I Left My Heart In Ladera

📻Fave Songs of 2023🎧

Yebba Waterfall (I Adore You)

The Teskey Brothers Drown in My Own Tears (The Circle Session, 2023)

Victoria Monét On My Mama

SZA Snooze

Miley Cyrus Flowers

Kali Uchis Fantasy (feat. Don Toliver)

Snoh Aalegra Be My Summer

🎥Fave Movies of 2023🍿

I went to the movies exactly twice this year. Movies in NYC are expensive AF. Be prepared to spend at least $25.00 on a ticket. I saw Killers of the Flower Moon, and it was yet another great movie in Martin Scorcese’s repertoire of excellence. Of course, the book was better, but I think he did it justice. I also saw the Renaissance Tour movie (are you surprised?!). I had to relive that experience again, and it was worth it. Just from a business perspective, Beyoncé is fascinating.

Fave movies I streamed this year

Barbie (HBO Max)

The Equalizer 3 (Prime)

A Thousand and One (I SWEAR THIS IS A SEVERELY UNDERRATED GEM; I wept it was so good) (Prime)

Reptile (Netflix)

They Cloned Tyrone (Netflix)

Older movies I watched and enjoyed

The Wolf of Wall Street (Netflix)

The Irishman (Netflix)

Hunter Killer (Netflix)

📺Fave Television Shows In 2023 🎬

MOONLIGHTING! You all have no idea how excited I was to see this FINALLY streaming on Hulu. I watched this show with my mom when I was a kid. I loved the banter between Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd. I’m sad Bruce can’t celebrate with fans and share our excitement, but he gave us lots of laughs. 

I’m late, but I just started The Crown. I’m on season 4. Charles had his first date with Diana! (Netflix)

The Diplomat (So so so good!) (Netflix)

The Last Kingdom (good grief, I needed something to fulfill me after the Game of Thrones letdown and fill in the void until House of the Dragon returns, and this hit the spot). All five seasons were spectacular (although I was getting pretty pissed with the writers in season 3 when they started killing off characters I really enjoyed). The movie Seven Kings Must Die was entertaining and a great way to close the saga. (Netflix)

First Wives Club (I became a Michelle Buteau fan after Survival of the Thickest) (Netflix)

Bodies (such an odd concept, but I loved it, and it worked!) (Netflix)

You (Another one, I’m late to the party for. Yoooo, Joe is wild.😵‍💫) (Netflix)

The Night Agent (Netflix)

Treason (Netflix)

The Recruit (Netflix)

Fave Documentaries In 2023

Wham! (Netflix)

Surviving R. Kelly (all three parts, please pay attention to the trigger warnings, Netflix)

Get Gotti (Netflix)

Beckham (Netflix)

Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food (Netflix)

Scouts Honor: The Secret Files of the Boy Scouts of America (Netflix)

Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets (Prime)

Lastly, books! 📚

You know what I’ve been reading if you follow me on Goodreads. I invested in a two-year Kindle Unlimited membership, I also have two library cards, which have been getting serious mileage, and then I’m working on plowing through my TBR pile of bookshelves at home. I’ve made some progress! My goal is to breeze through the home TBR pile and then donate the books to clear up space, as I’ll likely be moving later in 2024, and I want to make the trek as easy as possible. As of the drafting of this post, I’ve read 66 books in 2023. It could’ve been better, but my brain was focused on retaining a lot of coursework, so I didn’t want to burn myself out. My favorite discovery this year? SA Cosby. His books are what I’ve been missing from my thriller/suspense pile. He’s an auto-buy author, for sure. Who else have I enjoyed a lot of this year? My erotic romance faves Sara Cate and Q.B. Tyler. Give me an age gap, give me taboo, give me romance with some kink thrown in, and a hero who eats 🐈‍⬛🐈like it’s his job; I’m here for it. It’s also a great inspiration for me regarding my writing. 😏

Speaking of my writing, lol, if you’re still reading this post, you’re probably like, “Harper, girl. Do you ever intend to release anything before 2026?” LOL. Short answer? Yes. I was supposed to get Nate and Gwen’s finalized story to my editor in October, but I was knee-deep in studying for my certification exam, and that didn’t happen. Then November flew by because my exam was at the end of the month, and that was my only focus. Here we are in December—the last week of the year, dead week. My editor emailed me about two weeks ago to ask what my plans were and if I intended to turn in anything, as she wants to plan accordingly (bless you, Daphne, for being so thorough and on top of your stuff). I’m about 80% done with my draft. I want to turn it in for edits by MLK weekend. So, if things go as planned, I should have something out by the end of the first quarter. It’s a long time coming, I know! But progress.

Speaking of progress…

The Kinky Connect Chronicles website got a facelift! If you’ve read the KCC series, you know about the bonus epilogues that lead you to a website; well, the website was revamped (thank you, Leslye Penelope) and is hosted on a new server. I plan to upgrade my author website sometime this year, too, as I prefer a more seamless way to integrate blog posts, and I want readers to be able to buy books directly from me (I don’t think I’ll be doing cons again any time soon, so if folks want signed books, this will be an option). I will probably get the KCC stories printed and developed into a box set. But anyway, Nate and Gwen…

I am still determining how I intend to launch this book, as I have been out of the game for a long while. What used to work as far as marketing is obsolete these days. Honestly, I’m not too worried about it. Sales are great, but ultimately, I want to get my stuff into the world so people can enjoy what I’ve been dreaming up. I have so many goals for books and characters, but y’all can’t see in my head, so I have to light a fire under my ass to get moving. Anywho, I better focus on getting my word count for the day.

I wish you all a Happy New Year! If 2023 wasn’t great for you, I wish you peace in 2024. May the new year bring you love, laughter, and light!❤️💕

Blessings to you and yours!

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