I Found Love in Wal Mart

downloadSo, the elderly gentleman came riding down the allergy medication aisle at a normal speed in his Hoveround. It wasn’t exactly a Hoveround. It was one of those riding contraptions that stores  make available to people who need assistance walking.

He wore an army fatigue jacket and scraggly beared. The man stopped short of having a head on collision with my buggy, looked at me inquisitively and asked, “Whey you from?

Thinking that he recognized the name on my t-shirt (I was wearing gear from my publishing company, Kenely Books, named after my mom and dad) I smiled and without hesitation answered “Sumter, South Carolina.”

He then apologized for a pile of spit that had formed in the corner of his mouth, wiped that pile of spit with the back of his hand, and continued with a heavy tongue, “…you ever heard of Hendersonville…….North Carolina?”

I told him no then attempted to end the conversation because a strong smell of Crown Royal, Hennessey or some other alcoholic beverage began to creep inside my nostrils.

As I crept my buggy forward he looked at me longingly and hummed “Ummmm Hmmmmmm!” (The way you’d celebrate a perfectly cooked piece of steak that you had just swallowed.)

I furrowed my brow and gave him a strong side eye.

He continued looking at me then repeated “Ummmmmm Hmmmmmmm!” I waved good bye as he turned and swerved down the aisle at an incredible speed.

The man was drunk. And I was amused…..also a little concerned. I alerted an employee that I thought the man to be intoxicated but she didn’t seem alarmed.

I shrugged my shoulders with merriment and finished my shopping, fearful that I’d turn down an aisle and have a collision with the drunk patron.

The moral of the story: Old, drunk men love me!

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I Killed The Cookies

photo (19)This occurs far too frequently in my home. I’ve never been one for baking, nor do I enjoy the ever-popular cooking shows on HGTV.

But I figured I could, with my novice capabilities, separate pre-cut cookie dough from the packaging, place said cookie dough on a baking sheet and heat in an oven at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes.

I was wrong.

The cookies, once discovered, were burnt to a brown, crunchy crisp. Inedible. Rock hard. I hate when this happens. I am terribly distraught.

I really, really wanted those cookies. And they were the last in the pack. Thus, my constantly nagging sweet tooth will go unsatisfied. And I am forced to eat stale saltine crackers because there is nothing left in my fridge.

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Hey Y’all

Krystal Grant's book signingThis is the second consecutive weekend that I’ve spent promoting my books.

I’ve had the opportunity to attend two separate festivals in South Carolina where I was able to meet and greet throngs of wonderful people.

Last weekend I had a booth at the Striped Bass Festival in Manning. This weekend I appeared in Sumter at the Festival On The Avenue.

Both events were awesome community gatherings and the people of the area all showed love and support for my novels.

Thankfully, I sold out of my products and had people asking for more!

I’ll be heading back to my home state next month to attend the Iris Festival at Swan Lake Gardens. It will be great being in an environment with people who use the word “y’all” as much as I do!

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A Few Thoughts on Love

heartThe amazing thing about love it that it never fails– no matter what. It can’t be stopped by pain, tears, anger. Whether you’re wrong or right love is there, available to you. When you’re happy or sad, love is present.

I feel a great sense of consolation in that fact. Often times life hands us challenges and hardships. We struggle through blunders, fiascoes and misfortune.

But love pushes through our mistakes and gives us comfort in sad times. We all have had some disappointing moments,  senseless mishaps and epic failures.  But in the midst of it all, we’ve been surrounded by love.

So, let’s decide to pay it forward. Today, forgive someone, ease a friend’s sorrow, give someone a hug. We all could use a little more love in our lives.

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Because of You, I Can

securedownload (6)When God created the world he gave each of us an assignment for our lives. We all have a a unique gift that we must use to complete our destinies. And God, because He is awesome, gave each of us an amazing support system to help bring our assignments to life.

Writing is my gift. And this weekend I had the pleasure of sharing my gift with the community of Manning, South Carolina at their annual Striped Bass Festival.

I lived most of my life just a few miles away from Manning and I can’t believe that this year was my first visit to the festival. It was such a fun time celebrating with the community. In true Carolina fashion, the people were warm and welcoming.

It felt like a big family reunion even though I had just met many of the attendees for the first time.

I’m so thankful for Mr. Incredible who missed out on countless hours of sleep assisting me in the planning and set up for this event. This truly could not have been done without the support of my husband, children, sisters, in-laws, and cousins.

I am so very thankful. The outpouring of love was overwhelming. I am floored by the many people who showed interest in my books and the countless number of folks who have supported my dream.

Thank you all. I am humbled and deeply honored.

Craig King (Celebration of Life) and Jeffrey Lampkin (The Jeffrey Lampkin Show) supporting my books!

Craig King (Celebration of Life) and Jeffrey Lampkin (The Jeffrey Lampkin Show) supporting my books!

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my books being sold at the Striped Bass Festival

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Wondering What’s Next

shakes-writingThe day after you accomplish a goal you’ve worked on for years, pass that test that you studied hours for, climbed that mountain you prayed to get over, what do you do?

After you relish in your performance, applaud your great work, celebrate your feat, then what?

What did Thomas Edison do after he developed the electric light bulb? How did Einstein go about his day once he theorized the law of gravity? I wonder how Shakespeare reacted after he completed Hamlet. Romeo and Juliet.

Should you mull over the events that brought you to this point of celebration? Do you stare at the thing you created, figured out, conquered, with an amazed glare?

I’m just wondering…because now that I’ve written and published my second novel (having TWO books clearly defines me as a REAL writer- to be taken VEEEERRRRY seriously) I don’t know what to do next.

I mean, this thing…becoming a published author has been in my thoughts and dreams for over twenty years. And now that I don’t have to dream about it anymore, now that I can have tangible proof that my goals have been reached, I don’t know what to do next.

Alas, there are dishes to be washed, clothes to be ironed, toilets to be cleaned and mouths to be fed. So, as I pat myself on the back for my accomplishments, I’ll grab the dish detergent from under the sink and throw another load of laundry in the washer.

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Stalking Chimamanda

Photographer: Ivara Esege/Knopf via Bloomberg

Photographer: Ivara Esege/Knopf via Bloomberg

I’m ashamed to say that I first heard of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie last December after purchasing Beyonce’s “surprise” visual album on iTunes. Of course, I know that I’m not alone- many people got their first glimpse of Chimamanda through the pop star’s song “Flawless”.

But I-an avid reader, a self proclaimed connoisseur of literature (holding an English degree from the University of South Carolina GO, COCKS!), and a long time academic of the fine art of poetry and prose, admittedly had never heard of the writer.

How can this be? I’ve studied Chinua Achebe, Buchi Emecheta and countless other African writers. My home library shelves are filled with works from international authors like Colin Channer, Elie Wiesel. Thus, it takes Beyonce to introduce me to such an amazing writer.

I have fallen in love with Chimamanda. I have spent hours upon hours intently watching the plethora of YouTube videos featuring the author. I’ve sat full weekends and countless days totally engrossed in Purple Hibiscus, the authors first novel. And The Thing Around Your Neck, her second book, has caused me to neglect every aspect of my life.

Half of a Yellow Sun is the work I will conquer next. I am so very tempted to dive right into Americanah, but I’m compelled to read Chimamanda’s books in the order that they were written- to experience the full of the author’s progression as a writer.

What is it that I love about Chimamanda? (Did you notice how I call her by her first name? Yes, she’s my best friend in my head.) Th question really should be: What is there NOT to love about Chimamanda? From her hair to the unapologetic matter-of-factness with which she speaks or the absolutely beautiful textured clothing she wears-Chimamanda is a walking, breathing ball of everything wonderful! But even that description does nothing to tell us of the extraordinary awesomeness that she possesses.

In a recent interview at the Schomburg Center, Zadie Smith spoke of Chimamanda’s uncanny ability to make her characters relatable.  She removes the narrator from the story so there is nothing standing in the way of the readers relationship with the character. So, THAT is what I love about Chimamanda. The people she creates are real to me. When reading her work, I become an unnoticed spectator in their lives. Following them around as if I were their shadows.

Chimamanda writes about Nigeria so beautifully. The way she captures the totality of her country is strangely remarkable. I can smell the air.

Fortunately, for us, Chimamanda gives an alternate narrative to the ones we’ve heard-the lies about Africa we’ve been exposed to. She creates a beautiful palette of middle class Nigerians and their plight in higher education mixed with a love for their ancestry and tradition. Chimamanda couples tribal religions with Catholicism. She finds an extraordinary, yet simple way to put us in the middle of Nigeria- in the center of her story. Her characters linger in my thoughts long after I’ve read the final page of the story.

This is what Chimamanda is capable of, and what many writers strive for, the ability to make the reader see what she sees- the ability to bring the reader into her mind. This, my friends, is the mark of an unprecedented writer.

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Pinching Myself

author1-smallIt’s amazing when a thing that has lived inside your head for so long comes to fruition.

This morning the proof of my second book, “The Miseducation of Ms. G” arrived. I stroked my hands over the glossy cover and couldn’t help but smile as Mr. Incredible and our children gave me a round of applause.

It was a relief, publishing this book, and still a bit shocking. Becoming a published author is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little girl. I’ve talked about it for years. And now, I not only have one, but two books for sale.

It’s an extraordinary feeling to accomplish a goal, achieve a dream, live a purposed life. For far too long I’ve allowed my gifts to lay dormant. And now, I’m awakened my talents and am feeling quite settled in my new self.

What if everyone lived the life they were created to live? How awesome this world would be!

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My Safe Place

diaryThis is my safe place. I come here when there is nowhere else to go.

I pounce on my keyboard and stroke the letters with fierce determination.

Seldom do I worry about the readers and their reactions.  Besides, I don’t believe that anyone reads these posts except me.

This blog was created because, like many writers, I HAVE to write. It is a necessity. It’s as vital to me as breathing, eating.

And I don’t always write about the happy times. As a matter of fact, it’s the melancholy days that give me time to reflect and look inside myself.

When I’m content, I don’t think about me. I just live. But when I’m having one of those days…I go deep inside my soul and hide. I try to figure out what it is that I’m purposed for. What it is that I believe. Who am I trying to become.

I think about life. I think about death. I think about what really matters in this world. I think about what Heaven looks like, feels like, smells like.

I think about my momma and all the times I should have told her I love her, but didn’t. I think about my children and wonder if I’m giving them a good example of womanhood.

Then I come to my safe place and write.

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rejected-300x2871Today I got rejected. It was something that I really, really tried hard to do.

I put all of my effort into this one thing and was sure that the outcome would be a positive one.

I had already imagined my life in a better, brighter, more promising space once this thing was accomplished.

But the news came today.

I sat in shock as I stared at the word “denied”. It was as if I had never seen or heard that word before… “DENIED!“ Clearly, it did not mean what I thought it meant. Certainly someone made a mistake.

I took a deep breath and allowed air to fill my lungs. Maybe if I closed my eyes and opened them again, the word would be gone.

It wasn’t. I was still rejected from to the thing that I needed. Wanted. Desired.

I scanned my brain to find my next move. There was nothing. I had nowhere to go. No notion of what I would do next.

I’ll probably cry about this tomorrow. But right now I feel an overwhelming numbness in my soul.

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