Shit I’m Digging This Week: Volume Two

Hi Folks, 

Happy Monday! Can you believe we’ve already blown past April? Where the heck did the time go?! My post is a little late today because I’m still recovering from the weekend. I attended the New England Chapter of the Romance Writers of America’s conference in Burlington, Massachusetts. I drove up north with some of my New York City RWA chapter mates. Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Even though we got back to the city last night, today, I had the day off from work and my intention was to get some writing done, but after not getting anything done for three days I had to play catch up with a laundry list of author responsibilities. 

I really really really need a clone. 😢

So, what awesomeness am I digging this week? 

I’ve been following Pigeons & Planes on Twitter for some time now, and I have to say this tweet thread made me laugh so damn hard! It’s a pretty genius idea.

Speaking of Kanye West if you’ve been living in a social media blackhole allow me to get you up to speed. Last week he posted a picture of himself wearing one of those red hats 45 supporters love. You know the ones. The slogan boldly displayed across the front challenges us to return America to its former glory days when oppression was super in vogue and I’d be considered 3/5 of a human being. YAY! 😑

The result of Kanye posting the photo? He lost 9.2 million Twitter followers in about ten minutes. That may not seem like a lot to some people since he has more followers than you and I will ever see in our lifetimes, but woo boy, I had a good cackle. Look, I had a fondness for Kanye and his music before 2011, but he’s lost all credibility since. It’s hard to let go when you adore someone’s artistry, but imo problematic people shouldn’t be rewarded which is why I stopped spending money on Kanye years ago. Nonetheless, his Twitter foolishness makes for an entertaining feed when the hot takes happen.


Speakeasy

My DVR is about 80% full, and last week I decided it was time to free up some space. I watch a LOT of PBS. A LOT. Documentaries and music specials are my jam! I recorded an episode of Speakeasy back in November in which Jimmie Vaughan (badass guitar player and older brother of Stevie Ray Vaughan) interviewed Gary Clark Jr. They lit up the stage, and it’s pretty amazing. Watch for yourself.


The Paris Review Interviews: Vol 2

I purchased this book used about a week ago. I am in love with the Paris Review! Writing is haaaard, you guys. I whine about this a lot because some people think it’s simple. NOOOOOPE. Not so. At times, it can be easy to forget why I do this but reading interviews by some of my favorite authors (James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, Stephen King) has renewed my desire to tell stories as only I can. I think every author goes through periods of, “WTF AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?” My latest period of self-deprecation has only lit a fire. If I’m going to stick to my production calendar, I will have to find creative ways to keep my eye on the prize. These interviews certainly helped. When the going gets tough, look to the ones who’ve come before you and paved the way. No one has it easy. If you want to succeed, you’ve got to put in the work. 

Trust me… I AM WORKING.

And that’s about it for this week. Kinda.  I had two more things I wanted to share, but if I’m going to check off a few more things on my to-do list before I head to bed, I’d better end the post here.

Until next time… see you in two weeks! 


Author Spotlight: Maya Rodale

Happy Monday Folks!

Tis a beautiful spring day in NYC finally! FINALLY!!!! This week Ma Nature seems to be in a better mood. Maybe celebrating Earth Day yesterday has something to do with it. I’m hoping this isn’t a cruel trick and we’re getting the spring we deserve after a long hard winter. In any case, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. 

This week’s spotlight features a super lovely lady. I first met Maya last year at the Baltimore Book Festival when we sat on a panel together. We’ve gotten to know each other over these last few months, and I think you should get to know a little about her as well. 

Oh, and there’s a giveaway at the end of the interview! Take it away Maya…


I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

I don’t get the appeal of Mr. Darcy. I’m totally meh on Colin Firth and I don’t know these Hiddleston’s and Hardy’s I see people gushing about on Twitter. I’m not 100% clear which comes off first: a corset or a chemise. And I’m not the hugest Georgette Heyer fan. GASP. I know, I know: you are rummaging around for your smelling salts because a Regency author has just confessed to the most unpardonable sins of Regency Romancelandia. Otherwise, I am terribly well behaved and woefully lacking in secrets, though I do have a fondness for swearing, particularly the c-word.


If there’s one thing you could change about your husband, what would it be? Don’t worry I won’t tell Mr. Rodale. Pinky swear!

Oh, Mr. Rodale knows what I’m about to say! He has this deplorable habit of leaving his dirty socks on the floor, in the middle of the living room, where I am vexed by the sight of them and the choice of either living in clutter (horrors) or cleaning up after him (and thus perpetuating the patriarchy). So if I could change one thing about him it would be to make him a person who puts his socks in the hamper immediately after removing them. I ask for so much.


What’s your least favorite part of the writing process?

Coming up with unique and heartfelt inscriptions when I sign books for people I know. The expectation to write something original, witty, clever, deeply heartfelt and personal ON THE SPOT while they are looking at me is just. Too. Much. Pressure.


Would you rather go back to age five with everything you know now or know now everything your future self will learn?

So I was going to say “let’s go back to five with everything I know now” because while I would make 98% of the same choices all over again, it could be interesting to redo everything with one or two little tweaks. But then would my childhood be ruined because I know too much? So then I’m thinking I’ll take all my future self knows. But the long and short of it is: stock tips. I would like stock market tips but otherwise I love the mystery and adventure of life.   


What is the most uplifting thing happening in the world right now?   

THE RESISTANCE. The energy of the women’s march, Black Lives Matter, the Parkland kids, and all the women running for office have me intrigued, inspired and optimistic that this period is just the darkness before the dawn.


What fictional place would you most like to visit?

The Plaza Hotel as it is in the Eloise books, with Eloise. Or I would like to spend a summer with Anne Shirley on Prince Edward Island. I know these are all real places that I could visit tomorrow, but I would like to experience the fictional version with the fictional characters.


If life is a game like some people say, what are some of the rules?

Be kind to yourself and others. Fuck the other rules.


What’s something you resent paying for?

The tampon tax. The military. The patriarchy.


If someone were to ask you for a music recommendation, what artist or band would you recommend?

According to Spotify, right now I am loving Bishop Briggs, K.Flay, Lorde and Kacey Musgraves. Also, HAMILTON. Both the original soundtrack and mixtape.


Finish this sentence: All romance novels should have _______.

A happy ending!


**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

I am blushing just reading this question! 😳


Maya was generous enough to offer one lucky person a signed paperback copy of The Wicked Wallflower and signed cover art for her book It’s Hard Out Here for a Duke. Want to win these goodies? Leave a comment below or on whichever social media platform you view this post (Twitter, my Facebook Author Page, or Google+) with the title of your favorite Historical Romance. It’s that simple. A winner will be randomly selected on 4/30. The giveaway is open to US & International residents! Good luck! 😎


Bio:

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence. She is now the bestselling and award-winning author of numerous smart and sassy romance novels. A champion of the genre and its readers, she is also the author of the non-fiction book Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation Of Romance Novels, Explained and a frequent contributor to NPR BooksThe Huffington PostBustle and more. Maya lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.


Social Media:

Website

Instagram

Twitter


Books:

Activate your one-click finger and pre-order Duchess By Design, Book One in Maya’s upcoming Gilded Age series due out in November! 


New Column!


Hey Peeps, 

Happy Monday! Hope your day is going better than mine. My morning commute to work began with me getting splashed by a taxicab and then having to take off my pants in my office and placing them on a heater so they could dry. FUN TIMES! 😒 But now I have dry pants, hooray!

After some discussion with my editor aka my sounding board, I’ve decided to launch a new column here on the blog. There will be a couple of new columns rolling out in the coming months, but this is the first. If you follow me on most social media platforms, you probably know I consider myself a slow writer. Slow and steady works for me. With self-imposed deadlines, I get to take my time which ensures I put out quality work. 

This weekend, I took some time to reread the stories I’ve previously published, and man, the improvement in my craft is noticeable. *I* think I’ve come a loooong way since 2014. And I think it shows not only in my newsletter exclusives but also in my current WIPs. Anywho, I guess you’ll get to see for yourselves when I roll out new features in the coming months. LOL, I’m such a tease. #noshame 

In any case, today marks the debut of “Shit I’m Digging.” This bi-weekly column will focus on pop culture goodness that’s brought joy to my life in some way. Naming a column “Harper’s Recs” sounds boring as hell but “Shit I’m Digging?” That has an exciting ring to it. A bit of New York flair if you will. 😏

So what am I digging this week? 

Pic courtesy of Instagram

Pic courtesy of Instagram

Pic courtesy of Instagram

Pic courtesy of Instagram

#Beychella

Beyoncé’s performance at Coachella this past Saturday.  I AM STILL IN RECOVERY MODE. Beyoncé was THE FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO EVER HEADLINE THE FESTIVAL!!! Sweet baby Jeebus! 👀 The woman came out in custom Balmain and channeled Queen Nefertiti as no one else could. I get that not everyone is into Beyoncé or her music (which baffles me), but her originality is admirable. 

In a time where anti-Blackness is once again making a comeback, Bey thought it best to serve melanin in Queen form to all the haters. The woman serenaded a crowd of thousands with ”Lift Every Voice and Sing” (aka the Black National Anthem) by James Weldon Johnson. WHO DOES THAT? She is eye-catching, consistent, innovative and hardworking. These are qualities I believe every entrepreneur should strive for when marketing their brand.


Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. LISTEN, CIVIL WAR ZOMBIES! That is all you need to know. 


Bitter by Meshell Ndegeocello. When I write, I create playlists inspired by my characters and the journey their relationship takes. I’m smack dab in sad territory with my current WIP, and this album is helping me navigate my way through some dangerous emotions. Bitter has got to be one of the most beautifully crafted pieces of music ever created. Don’t believe me? Give it a listen. I’ve been a fan of Meshell’s for years, and she continues to elevate her creativity with each album. If you become a fan after listening to the Bitter record, then my job is done. Adam is linked here, but you can stream the entire album on YouTube for free. 

I’m digging this article I read last week in the Guardian in which Hall & Oates discuss how one of their biggest songs came to be and how Michael Jackson sampled it. I’m usually in the know when it comes to music trivia, but this little tidbit blew my mind. I now listen to both songs differently!


Atlanta

More specifically, the Teddy Perkins episode of Atlanta. HOLY CRAP! If you haven’t watched Atlanta, I highly recommend starting with Season One. Donald Glover is creating funny and relatable television, but this particular episode in Season Two left me staring at my television like… 😨 I wasn’t ready for it. If you’re a fan of the movies Get Out and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, this will be right up your alley. The multiple pop culture references… GENIUS.  

And that’s all folks! This concludes the inaugural edition of Shit I’m Digging! Visit the blog in two weeks to see what new pop culture goodness has captured my attention.

*whispers* I swear this post could have been nothing but me breaking down Beyoncé’s outfits and set list. I’m proud of myself for reeling it in!


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