Moved to SubStack

Just a quick note to say that all my updates have moved to a substack mailing list, if you’d like to subscribe! I’ll only send out my newsletter about once per quarter, and plan to have updates with my own writing, but also with what I’m reading and cooking and laughing about.

Here’s a link to subscribe: https://rachelmansmckenny.substack.com/

In other news, my book published!! More info about it here: The Butterfly Effect and Media Kit. I hope you’ll consider buying it or asking your local library to purchase a copy.

Thanks much, and happy 2021

November Wrap-Up

Reading Life

  • Total books read: 10
  • Books read for 2017 so far:  144
  • Couldn’t stop listening to the audiobookRighteous by Joe Ide and a re-listen of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (and I haven’t reread a book in years– so glad I did.)
  • Nonfiction topics explored: insect sex in Sex on Six Legs by Marlene Zuk and US history and genocide in An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • ARCs read: One, but it was a great one. Check out Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak. My review is here.
  • Books Purchased because of good deals: (number redacted for marital harmony purposes)
  • Best of the Monthi be, but i ain’t by Aziza Barnes (a powerful poetry collection) and Adulthood Rites by Octavia Butler. If you haven’t checked out Butler’s Lilith’s Brood series, you’re missing out. Some extremely interesting sci-fi that delves into gender, family, and power.

Writing Life

won nano

I won NaNo.  (deep sigh of relief). This is a really big personal achievement for me and there is something euphoric about writing without filtering yourself at all out of necessity. Even after finishing three novels, I’ve never been able to commit to and win NaNo before (and I’ve tried at least seven times). If you didn’t win this year, try again because you never know!

Even better than finishing 50k in a month is falling knee-deep in a project that I can’t stop mentally plotting.

Next goals: finish draft one by the end of the year, which I can do if I write about 1k a day. Now that I’m in a daily writing habit again, anything feels possible.

Life, Etc

  • Research papers graded this month: 72
  • Number of kids in my house singing Jingle Bells non-stop since November 15: 2
  • Turkeys roasted, with all of the fixings: 1
  • Days of Turkey leftovers: Let’s not talk about it, okay? I’m not gobbling any more, but last week…

Real talk about turkey leftovers: these turkey enchiladas are my favorite thing to make… besides turkey sandwiches with leftover cranberry dressing.

 

One more month to go this year. Finish strong, my friends.

Litsy Lemonade Interview: Mariam Williams

Mariam Williams

Really lucky to get a chance to interview the woman behind “Redbone Afropuff & Black GRITS” today! Mariam has been published on Salon, Calliope, and the Huffington Post (as well as many other outlets) and writes a biweekly column for the National Catholic Reporter.

me-early-2016

1.How did you get into blogging?

I ventured into blogging after I was laid off in 2008. The financial crisis hadn’t long started, and I found myself a casualty of it. Going from a regular 9-to-5 to staying in your house all day is hard, and blogging made me feel like I was less alone. Besides, I wanted a place outside of my journal to document what was happening—the long lines at the unemployment office, the changes in my diet due to the cost of food, the rejection letters from potential employers, the feelings of hopelessness, the resentment I felt at always being a straight arrow who did the right thing and usually pursued what was practical, and still ending up in the unemployment line … You know, all that fun stuff.

I was without full-time employment for nearly four years. After about six months of blogging, I decided to I wanted to write in essay form more, but on other topics. Black women’s history, feminism, and family stories were interesting to me, so I began a blog with the intent to publish personal essays—mine and others’—on those topics and to raise the level of black feminist consciousness and the importance of elders among the younger generations subscribing to blogs. Redbone Afropuff & Black GRITS is the result.

2.What are your favorite kinds of topics to tackle?

I’ve gone from black women’s history, feminism, and family stories to the tagline of my blog: faith, family, and feminism. Those topics are broad, but because they’re the main forces that have shaped me, I find a way to put them into a lot of essays and posts about a lot of things. One of the topics within those broader headings I’m writing about more often (but not necessarily publishing) is sex and sexuality among black Christian women, specifically how sex and sexuality are defined for us by history, our families, and by the Black Church.

3.What post are you most proud of, and why?

I’m going to cheat a little here and pat myself on the back for a poem instead of a post. I’m most proud of “Wish Remember, June 2015: An Annotated Lyric.” It was published earlier this year in the online journal, Bozalta. I selected “Wish Remember” because that piece went from a 20+-page essay to a 10-page prose-poem hybrid piece that’s light years better than the original essay was. I think it shows me combining many of the things I love to tackle in my writing—prose, poetry, history, black female sexuality, Christianity, current events, the Movement for Black Lives, social justice—and experimenting with them successfully.

4.Who are your favorite blogs to follow?

Awesomely Luvvie (because who doesn’t love to laugh?), Son of Baldwin (I love analytical people), Very Smart Brothas (another for radically intelligent humor), The Unfit Christian (we blog about similar themes)

5.What’s the weirdest/best/worst interaction you’ve had with a follower?

I also have a blog called “The Intersection,” at National Catholic Reporter, and I sometimes get letters from NCR readers. And I mean, snail mail letters. Sometimes, they’re from other countries. The furthest away so far has been Germany.

6.Best book you’ve read this year?

Another question that necessitates cheating! I have to divide this one into genres.

Nonfiction: Small Fires, by Julie Wade

Fiction: Beloved, by Toni Morrison

Poetry: Kingdom Anamalia, by Aracelis Girmay

7.Favorite track on Lemonade?

Don’t Hurt Yourself

Thanks to Mariam for taking time to answer our questions! Join us on Litsy for the discussion about Americanah starting next week (already!) On Litsy, follow @BookishFeminist, @LitsyFeministBookclub and myself (@rachelm). I have just a few spots let to feature black blogger interviews before then, so contact me on Twitter or Litsy if you’re interested in being interviewed!

Litsy Lemonade Interview: Candice Montgomery

Continuing the series of fabulous bloggers, inspired by the Litsy Feminist Bookclub reading of Americanah, we are lucky to have Candice Montgomery with us today! For the earlier links for interviews in the series, see the last post, here.

Candice Montgomery

Candice (you may recognize her as @CandiceAmanda on Twitter) is a YA Romance writer and blogger over at The Amazing Interrobang. Candice’s book, HOME AND AWAY, is available at Amazon, Indiebound, and you can add it to your shelf on GoodReads! Make sure to check her work out!

 


1. How did you get into blogging?

I actually started blogging before I started writing fiction. I used to review the books I was reading or had read. To the surprise of absolutely no one – I wasn’t nice about it. But I think that’s kind of the beauty of reviewing books with literally of people as your audience/readers. I was basically doing that thing where people are like, “DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING.” Except I was reviewing YA like no one was reading me. Because they weren’t.
From there, I sort of lapsed into other kinds of blogging. I went from reviewing books, to reviewing book covers, to reviewing ONLY the romance inside of the stories, and then I started writing about how the romances mirrored my own – or how they didn’t, as the case sometimes (often) was. I fell face first into personal essays and never escaped.
2. What are you favorite kinds of topics to tackle?

My favorite thing to talk about now is – tbqf – Blackness. I spent a lot of time avoiding my own Blackness and now I’m really fucking entrenched in it. Shit. Can I swear in this interview? (Sorry.) But it’s just… everywhere. Color is all I see now. So I spend a lot of time tackling Blackness and all its nuance, all its intersections, all its facets. The grittier, the better, IMO. The more personal the piece, the better.
3. What post are you most proud of, and why?

I wrote a piece about growing up Black, once.I love that piece. It’s been published across 6 different publications and it was the first true GOOD thing I wrote. The first honest thing I ever wrote. It’s just a really IN YOUR FACE kind of piece. It doesn’t waste time – it jumps right into how Black I was and am and how maybe others – non-Black people – differ from me and my experiences. I love that piece. It informed a lot of who I am as a personal essayist/blogger.
4. Who are your favorite blogs to follow?

I used to know this girl a while back. Liz. She actually reached out to me when the aforementioned essay was published on Thought Catalog. That’s how we met. Google her. Liz Lazzara. She’s a good writer, if nothing else. I used to read her personal essays religiously.
I also really dig Camryn Garrett’s blog. She’s a really good friend of mine. Also, Redbone Afropuff and Black GRITS, Bim Adewunmi and Rahawa Halle’s personal blogs. I’m a bigggg personal essay reader.
5. What’s the weirdest/best/worst interaction you’ve had with a follower?

I always get really confused when people just seem to know me, but I don’t personally know them. It sounds like I’m just really gassing myself up, but I promise I’ve got my narcissism in check. Mostly. I went to a major convention earlier this year and got recognized by so many people whose names I didn’t even know. I’ve also had a follower I wasn’t very familiar with suggest they were “in my neighborhood” and wanted to meet up. I’m so much less awkward online than I am IRL, so it just really confuses me when people are that friendly with me.
6. Best book you’ve read this year?

Hands down – I beta read Emery Lord’s latest, THE NAMES THEY GAVE US. It’s got the absolute smoothest Black boy love interest on the block. I adored that ENTIRE book. Swallowed it whole after living in a reading drought for most of the year.
7. Favorite track on Lemonade?

…Yes.

 

Thank you so much for your time and recommendations! It was awesome to have you as part of the series.