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The Blogging Author

Book Juggling

I have a new book deal brewing. Yeah! This one is for what I am calling "Mother Earth's Spiritual Guide to Weight-loss." If it all works out, this will be my 7th published book, which is awesome, as well as something I never thought I'd accomplish.

This book has garnered a lot of interest in the publishing world. I believe it may well be the most significant contribution I've made as a nonfiction author, apart from "Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones." It has the potential to impact and change lives, just as following its tenets has transformed mine. I will be announcing the publisher and projected publication date here on my website, on twitter, Facebook, and my personal blog. I can't wait to share that news and finally place this meaningful book.

I find myself in juggling mode as an author. I seem to write books in threes and then take months, if not years, resting up in between. "No Barren Life," my debut novel is in the editing stages before final submission to its publisher. If you've written, you know editing and polishing up a manuscript before final submission is all encompassing. "Mother Earth's Spiritual Guide to Weight-loss" is about at the halfway point. I project it will take 6 to 9 months to complete it. My second novel, "Out of the Blue" is 1/3 written but only as a first draft.

When I wake up in the morning, I wonder should I draw with all my beautiful colored pencils that are waiting for me in my studio? Should I blog here or on my other blog called Stephanie's Studio or should I work on one of those three books that are in development? Sometimes I give up and head off for a walk or to garden. Juggling books and other creative projects, which all need undivided attention, is exhausting.

At the same time, the creative process is rewarding. In the end, it's all about balance. A good juggler can keep all the balls up in the air while maintaining a supreme state of balance.  Read More 
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Story Behind Two Books

African Woman Working Shea Butter
In planning the African American Healer's Medicine Kit, (see events page) I have also revisited the activities that sparked that workshop. First of all, the name is almost directly derived from the title of an "Herb Quarterly" article I wrote back in 2003. In the "African American Winter Medicine Kit," I not only discussed what herbs from the African diaspora are useful for healing winter ills, I also went into the historical backdrop within our culture from which those particular remedies stem.

That was 2003, when I had only published "Sticks,Stones, Roots and Bones." Now with 5 books in publication, exploring various aspects of African American healing practices, I asked myself which of those books most directly influenced the development of that workshop. I wanted to know this, so I could discern which of the books would be most useful to the various concerns of those in attendance.

I had two books on healing published between 2009 and 2010--"The Big Book of Soul," and "A Healing Grove." It is those two books that most inspired the content of the workshop. Since their release is so close together and they both center around African American healing you might be wondering what's the difference? I too have been thinking that over, as I plan the workshop experience.

"The Big Book of Soul," is more of a conceptual exploration of African American healing. It takes American Hoodoo as a point of departure. Then it gets into the ways healing and spirituality are fused in the Motherland. Yes, there are recipes and rituals but at its crux is the philosophy behind our healing practices. Yoruba traditions and the concept of ashe, are of particular interest.

"A Healing Grove," goes into the forest to explore various conceptual spaces regarding holistic approaches to healing in the African diaspora. This book's focus is around trees and the medicines they lend to the mind, body and spirit. "A Healing Grove" is more of a practical book, filled with a ton of botanical information on trees and the herbal knowledge needed to utilize them. It also includes ceremonies, rituals and recipes but then goes further, to include how trees are utilized in the arts and crafts of the diaspora.

As the workshop quickly approaches, I am considering the best ways to meld the information presented in each book. I know from the past that workshop attendees don't like to be overloaded with information dispensed in written form or verbally. In short, we must put theory, history and herbalism into practice.

This should be an interesting experience for the attendees, and for me. Time will tell how we work with theory and practice, regarding African American herbalism and our unique approaches to healing.  Read More 
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