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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My MSNBC Debut!!

Today was one of the most amazing days I've ever had! I woke up to an email from a producer on Chris Jansing's show reconfirming my appearance. She let me know author and NY Times journalist Jodi Kantor would also be Chris' guest during the segment. Her email included links to a HuffPo interview Toure did with Jodi Kantor on her book The Obamas, as well as a link to my article about the Obama Effect on, and a link to today's NY Times story about the First Lady's book American Grown. I read each again and again, before returning to the notes I'd prepared on Michelle Obama's impact and influence on the fashion industry, and her work with the Let's Move! campaign.

They sent a car to pick me up!
After expending some of my nervous energy loading my dishwasher, I got dressed (I chose a red linen dress with a subtle diamond pattern that my sister designed in Ghana, along with the brown Manolo Blahnik mules I scored at one of the designer's sample sales), and emailed one of the bookings producers to confirm the timing of the car pick-up. Bless her for her patience as I accidentally sent the email twice. Literally right after I emailed, the car service company called to let me know they were in front of my building.

Just before I went on air,  a nice gentleman mic'd me up
When I got to the studio, excuse me, 30 Rock(!!!), I waited in the green room before the make-up artist came to get me. I wanted so badly to ask her to do "eyeliner wings", but was too nervous. But guess, what? She did them!!! She must have heard my request telepathically. LOL. While I was getting my make-up done, Chris Jansing walked in. I gave her a very eager "Hi!" She responded very graciously.

I could hear Jodi Kantor saying she couldn't hear anything
Anyway, at 10:37a, one of the producers came to get me. We passed the blinking "On Air" sign and entered a big studio that had a bank of people sitting at their computers on one side, and the set on the other. Chris Jansing was sitting in her anchor's chair. When I was fully mic'd, the sound guy walked me to the guest chair and adjusted the mic a bit more. I sat facing Chris, but right behind her I could see a few monitors, one with me on it, and one with the B-roll going. Now, right before I went on air, my editor Alexis (who assigned me the Obama Effect story) called to give me a few on-camera pointers, so I knew not to focus on the monitors and keep my eyes on Chris. I did watch the commercial playing on mute though.

I don't remember a word I said, LOL!
Then our segment began! Chris introduced Jodi and me and then got to her questions. Jodi answered hers. I answered mine, and then I heard Jodi say she couldn't hear anything. I knew that meant I would get more questions so I just tried to get all the stats I had memorized at the ready. I think I was on for like three minutes, and then the sound guy was taking the mic back and I was leaving the studio.

My friend and editor Alexis assigned me the Obama Effect story!
Alexis came to get me and took me to her office where staff were having a meeting. I thanked them all for the amazing opportunity, then tried to call my mom. There was already a missed call from her. :-) We kept trying each other. When I called her, the line would be busy, and she must have experienced the same. When we finally got through, we both started screaming with excitement.

I DVR'd the show, but I'm waiting to watch it in its entirety with my sibs. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

I'm Talking Michelle Obama on MSNBC, 5/29 at 10a!

I'll be on the show "Jansing and Co." for a segment discussing Michelle Obama's influence, as the First Lady's new book American Grown will be released tomorrow. They asked me on because of an article I wrote on The Obama Effect for Very excited, a little nervous, and obsessing over what to wear. My mother has warned me NOT to wear a buubuu (which makes me reeeeaaally want to :-)). I'll be sure to take tons of pictures and report all the behind the scenes haps.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No "I" in Writing

Over the weekend, my intern Donnice asked me what my blog was about. Lol. I gave her a variation of the line that's under the blog's title--"It's about 'my adventures in promoting Powder Necklace'."--before admitting that I'm trying to pull it all together better. "All" meaning the Facebook, the Twitter, the Pinterest, theFancy (my favorite one right now), the YouTube, and all the cool new platforms and experiences I read about on Mashable that I wish I had more time to tuck into. Not to mention this blog.

One of the real adventures I've discovered in promoting my first book, is much of it has nothing to do with explicit promotion. It's bigger than this one book or me. It's about the discipline of writing, and protecting the writer's ability to keep writing. That protection extends to supporting programs that support tomorrow's writers, contributing to writer friends' Kickstarter/GoFundMe/IndieGogo campaigns, taking the time to read drafts and drafts of other writers' manuscripts (THANK YOU to all who have labored through my drafts!), going to readings, and advocacy.

Speaking specifically of "advocacy", I wish I could say I do more than "like" the odd Facebook status or re-tweet a friend's 140-character petition, but I realize I need to, particularly when it comes to our libraries.

When I can get it together to leave the house early enough, I spend time before work writing at the library near my job. I've done this for the past two years, enjoying the benefit of free wi-fi, and air conditioning/a warm space--and observing one of the results of the push to get the homeless/mentally ill off the streets into temporary shelters, without finding a lasting solution as far as adequate housing and mental healthcare. The homeless/mentally ill hang tough at and near my library, guarding chairs in the outdoor seated area, or waiting patiently in line for the doors to open at the sister library across the street at 8:30a every morning, irrespective of the weather. 

When the doors open, they fall into seats and alternately proceed to read, sleep, clean up in the bathroom, surf the net, or just exhibit "crazy" behavior. One spring morning, I decided to have my "room of one's own" moment on the picturesque library steps, under an awning of blossoming trees. As I pulled my laptop open, a woman across the way pointed at me. I initially pointed to myself, using my hands to ask "you talking to me?" I checked my seat. Nothing weird on it or around it. I looked up--no pigeons. Then I ignored her, waiting for the angelic "ah" of my computer's on state; but she advanced, continuing to point.

"You sit there." She said a few times, until I realized I didn't want to wait to see what she would do if I did indeed continue to sit there. So I got up and scooted to the stacks across the street. I handed my bag over for inspection by a security guard before passing the check-out line and an old "read" poster of Daniel Radcliffe. Then I took my seat amongst a mix of people alternately tap-tapping at their laptops, guys playing computer games on old library machines, students sifting through stacks of research tomes, and homeless people. On one occasion, I was writing in the library after work, when I noticed a sketchy couple disappear into the bathroom together for a while, lovers-quarrelling in loud whispers when they finally emerged.

After sending a few tweets about my crazy/funny library experiences, my personal chuckle turned to panic. 

Between the old school check-out process, ancient library computers, and the homeless peeps, it became clear to me that we could lose the library. If libraries continue to remain a relic of my '80s childhood, and a de facto shelter, they could be the next casualty in the endless war to cut programs and services that benefit those who don't have libraries in their homes, or can't afford a venti latte at Starbucks. 

As I reread this, I feel like the woman in the park was warning me. "You sit there," she was saying, and watch what happens--or get up.    

Friday, May 18, 2012

Passion is Key!

by Donnice Peterson

Writing hasn’t always been my friend. All through high school, I HATED writing. However, when I entered my freshman year of college I realized I did enjoy writing--I just was not confident about my ability.
I made it my business to mold my craft of writing. I refused to let my insecurities thwart my chances of being the writer that I knew I had potential to be.  That is when I sought people who are professionals in the field of writing and who took the time to help me along my journey.
Through my short journey, one of the things I came to understand was that people don’t wake up being great writers. They continuously work at their craft; modifying their work to be better than the previous day.
I look at some of my favorite authors like Hill Harper and one thing I can truly identify is the passion he has for what he is doing. Each one of his books is based on topics he is passionate about. His book Letters to a Young Brother focuses on strengthening and building up young men. He believes imparting positive advice and inspiration into young men allows them to make the right decisions for a prosperous life. When you read his work you can feel what he felt when writing and how ardent he is about it. 

Passion is key for a successful writer. Hill Harper was able to get across how strongly he felt to his readers, one of the reasons I think his book is a bestseller. There has to be an undying fire that keeps the writer going, and it has to be transparent in their writing.
Hill Harper didn’t wake up and write a bestseller--he had to work at it. However, his passion is what kept him going.  Passion is what pushes the writer on those days where they think they cannot go any further. Passion is what makes not only the writer love their work but their readers as well.
As I grow and mature with my writing, I realize that I would not mind making a career out of it. Writing has become something I love and something that is a part of me. I live by the saying “if you can find something you love to do without getting paid, that is what you should make a career out of”.  This is what writing is to me and will continue to be.

[image courtesy of Flickr]

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Meet My New Intern...

Hey Guys!

My name is Donnice Peterson I am an 18 year old incoming sophomore at Delaware State University. I am currently studying Public Relations and Advertising, in which I hope to make a future career out of. I  have a growing passion for writing, and I will continue to let it mature. One day I hope to freelance write for several magazines, preferably Ebony. My heart belongs to God, Family, Friends, and Fashion. And each day I incorporate my love for each thing into my work.

As Nana's intern I will learn how to successfully pitch a story to an editor, fact-check a story, use social media to promote a small business, and learn the ins and out of managing a small business. Each aspect of my internship will potentially help mold me as a writer and future editor. While learning I will also be assisting Nana by transcribing interviews, sending pitches to editors, creating blog posts, researching new social media sites for authors and much more. This will help me gain experience in this field while also serving as an assistant for Nana. I truly appreciate the experience and hope to grow along with Nana and her endeavors.