Category Archives: Blog Hop

12 Websites that Promote African American Literature


It’s Black History Month. Want to learn about books written by African American authors? Here are a dozen websites devoted to Black Lit. Some of these have been inactive for an extended time, but the articles are still interesting (and who knows—if the bloggers see readers accessing their sites, maybe they’ll be motivated to add new content).

  • African Americans On the Move Book Club features new books and interviews their authors.
  • African Book Addict is written by a Ghanaian American woman who reviews books she’s read and shares new books she’s eagerly anticipating.
  • Brown Girl Reading has an Instagram thing going on for Black History Month called the #ReadSoulLit photo challenge where people post pictures of the books they’re reading.
  • Nenitraanna posts more reviews and other lifestyle content too.
  • Bookshy has a unique way of exploring African American literature.
  • Black and Bookish Blog celebrates Black literature and culture.
  • Urban Bookish blogs about contemporary urban fiction.
  • Literally Black reviews books by Black authors.
  • The Black Book Blog reviews books by diverse authors.
  • In addition to reviews, Black & Bookish also includes articles about writing, culture, and activism.
  • Book Girl Magic celebrates Black women through book reviews and a book club.
  • Mek Life reviews African American literature and also makes music and wellness recommendations.

Some of these blogs were culled from these articles:

Now it’s your turn. Where do you go to discover books by Black authors? Do you post reviews of Black Lit or interview African American authors? Share in the comments below.

Creative Juice #249

Creative Juice #249

Works of art. Personal experiences. Articles to enrich your weekend.

Creative Juice #247

Creative Juice #247

You’re bound to find some inspiration in one of these twelve articles.

Creative Juice #246

Creative Juice #246

Most of this week’s articles include beautiful things to look at, but there’s also one tutorial and 12 savings strategies.

Creative Juice #231

Creative Juice #231

Enjoy these twelve creative articles.

Creative Juice #225

Creative Juice #225

Some creative inspiration for your soul.

Weekend Writing Warriors #77: The Taste of Toasted Marshmallows, Revisited

Weekend Writing Warriors #77: The Taste of Toasted Marshmallows, Revisited

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Today I’m reposting one of my OctPoWriMo poems. I wrote this in response to Day 3’s prompt: the taste of metal, which made me think of shish-kebobs, which of course made me think of toasting marshmallows. The form is cheritahanna-morris-278272

The part of the barbecue I like the best.

I select a skinny branch on the tree and snap it off.
I peel off the bark, and I sharpen one end of my stick to a point, rubbing it against the concrete back porch steps.

I stick a marshmallow on my homemade skewer, and hold it over the smoldering coals.
There is an art to this: too close, and it burns; too far away, and it takes forever.
Just right, and the sugary white blob turns brown, like deep suntan, the innards sweet melty goo.

Any suggestions on how I can make this poem better? Please comment below.

I may drop off Weekend Writing Warriors for a while. All my stories are in the midst of rewriting. The stories you haven’t seen yet are too raw for human eyes right now; they need to stew awhile.

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #76

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #76

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Today I’m sharing the opening of the Middle Grades novel I outlined at the writers’ retreat I went on the other weekend. Titled Amanda in Chief, it’s about a girl starting the year at her sixth school in six years. Her strategy for making friends will be running for class president.

As the story opens, Amanda Fanta’s older brother, Jake, drives her to Anderson Elementary, where she will spend sixth grade. Amanda says:

“I don’t know how you can be so happy. It’s your senior year, and you’re starting over again.” wewriwa2

Jake glanced over from the driver’s seat. “Actually, I’m looking forward to it. It’s kind of fun. Nobody knows you, so you can be whoever you want to be. You can put on a new persona. Who do you want to be this year?”

“Someone popular. It sucks to be invisible and have no friends.”

I know it’s short (10-sentence limit), but what do you think of this snippet? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #75

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #75

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Lottie Loses the Lottery (picture book): Lottie has the worst luck. She didn’t win the lottery–but her next-door neighbor, Eva, did. How can Lottie shed her funky mood and be genuinely happy for Eva?


Lottie just found out that Eva gave her friend Greta a new sewing machine, and she’s even more jealous than before. (Please excuse the run-on sentence. I’ve “creatively” edited so that I can squeeze as much content as possible into the 10-sentence limit.)

Lottie went to the bathroom and glanced at the mirror. A bitter face scowled back at her.

“What are you looking at?” Lottie asked her reflection.

“An ungrateful friend,” said the face in the mirror.

“What do I have to be grateful for? I lost the lottery,” said Lottie.

“So did a lot of people. But Eva won, and you didn’t congratulate her; she invited you to her party, and you didn’t go; she gave you an expensive present, and you didn’t even thank her for it.”

“She’s a bazillionaire–she can afford it.”

“And you can afford to be happy for her,” said the sulky reflection.

Let’s just say Lottie’s on the verge of a breakthrough that will help her get over her funk and congratulate Eva on her win.

This is the last snippet from Lottie Loses the Lottery. Next time I’ll share from the story I started on my recent writer’s retreat.

I know it’s short, but what do you think of this snippet? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.

First Page Blog Hop

First Page Blog Hop

This month-long blog hop is meant to answer one simple question for each participant. After reading your first 1,000 words, would a person continue reading it?

If you are so inclined, you can comment about why you would or wouldn’t continue reading–in fact, that would be wonderful.

Here are the first 997 words of my work-in-progress, The Unicornologist.7. The Unicorn in Captivity

After her father dropped her off at school on the morning of the day that would change her life forever, Hillary scanned the students assembled next to the charter bus. Her eyes zeroed in on her best friend’s newly shorn blond hair.

“Allie, your hair looks so cute. You look just like a model.”

“Just like Twiggy, to be precise.” Allie struck a pose as if on a photo shoot, showing off her apple green A-line dress with a white stripe down the front, and white go-go boots. Then she gave her friend the once over, nodding her approval of Hillary’s new floral print dress, but frowning at her sneakers. “What the heck, Hill? Keds?”

“Hey, we’re going to be doing a lot of walking at the museum—”

Allie shook her head. “It’s just like you to wear sensible shoes on a field trip. We’re going to New York City, for goodness’ sake. You could’ve upped your style for one day.”

“I think Hillary looks great,” interrupted Robin, the new boy in their class.

Hillary shot Robin a smile and then looked down, her cheeks glowing like a neon sign. She knew Allie had a crush on Robin, and out of loyalty, she tried to remain in her pretty friend’s shadow.

“And what about me?” asked Allie, batting her eyelashes.

“Spectacular, as always,” said Robin.

Their western civilizations teacher, Mr. Petersen, strode up to the door of the bus with his clipboard and began to explain the procedure for getting on board.

“He’s going alphabetically,” Allie whispered to her friends. “Since Fletcher comes before Graziano and Noone, I’ll save seats for you guys.”

By the time Hillary climbed into the bus, Robin had already taken the seat next to Allie. Hillary had to sit across the aisle from her. Just as well, thought Hillary. I’ll be able to read my book.

The bus driver turned on the radio. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me… Teenage voices joined in.

“I love that song,” Allie said to Robin.

Hillary pulled her copy of The Outsiders out of her fringed suede shoulder bag and immersed herself in Ponyboy’s world.


Much later, Hillary sensed the bus climbing up an incline. Curious, she looked up from her book. The tree-lined road seemed rural, yet she knew their destination lay near the northern tip of Manhattan, in Fort Tryon Park.

Winding ever upward, the bus rounded the final curve and pulled into a parking lot. Hillary caught her breath at her first glimpse of The Cloisters, its stone and block walls and tower rising above terraced gardens like a fairy tale castle.

“Where the heck are we?” Allie asked from across the aisle.

“I’d say medieval Europe,” Hillary replied.

The bus’s doors screeched open and Allie squeezed her way down the aisle.

“Allie, wait up,” called Robin. Hillary chuckled and shook her head. Allie loves to be first.

Once outside, Hillary savored the sweet, moist air on her skin, the first freshness she’d felt in nearly two hours. The drive from New Jersey had been a cacophony of teenage voices and snatches of rock and roll from transistor radios. Now the voices were muffled, their sound absorbed by the trees, an insignificant harmony to the symphony of birdsong. The towering trees screened the museum and blocked out the city. Except for the distant purr of New York City traffic, the students could almost be lost in virgin forest. Indeed, except for the cars and busses parked in the asphalt lot, it could be a time long past.

Worksheet and pen clutched in her hand, Hillary straggled after her classmates as they entered The Cloisters. “A treasure,” Mr. Petersen proclaimed. “You couldn’t build something like this today. It would be outrageously expensive, and this level of craftsmanship is rare anymore.”

Hillary read the introduction on her purple-printed worksheet:

The Cloisters is a collection of rooms and gardens that suggest, rather than duplicate, actual European medieval structures. The building was assembled from twelfth through fifteenth century architectural elements collected by American sculptor George Gray Barnard before 1914, when he lived in France. In western European monasteries the most important buildings were grouped around a central cloister, an open courtyard with a covered and arcaded passageway along the sides. . .*

Hillary traveled from room to room, taking her time along the route mapped out on her worksheet. Each was more beautiful than the last, with wonderful surprises to discover: paintings, carvings, stained glass windows, enclosed gardens with fountains. She wished she could have devoted the entire day just to studying the columns, each topped with its uniquely carved capital. She answered the questions on her sheet as completely as she could, sketching what she saw so she wouldn’t forget.

Apparently, her classmates didn’t find this assignment nearly as compelling as she did. Even artistic Allie had already wandered on after making fun of headless statues and frayed wall hangings.

Alone in the Hall of the Nine Heroes, Hillary glimpsed a flash of color through a doorway. She stepped closer, and spotted a tapestry of a unicorn goring a dog with its horn. Wanting to examine it, she entered the room filled with tapestries of unicorn scenes. She turned slowly in a circle, perusing the four walls. The tapestries apparently told a story, and she struggled to make sense of it.

Unicorn 1

1. The Start of the Hunt

In the first tapestry, a group of men assembled, carrying spears and restraining dogs on leashes. They appeared to be a hunting party.

The second tapestry showed a stream flowing from a fountain. Wild animals waited to drink from it. A unicorn lowered its horn into the water. Why? The hunters approached. One pointed at the unicorn. Another blew his horn.

In the next tapestry, the unicorn attempted to leap out of the spring, hunters waiting on the shore with their spears drawn.

Next, the unicorn managed to get on land. Yapping dogs surrounded it.

Sorry to end so abruptly.

*The description of The Cloisters from Hillary’s worksheet is from A Walk through the Cloisters by Bonnie Young, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1978, 1988.

So, what do you think? Would you read further? Why or why not? Please comment below. And if you liked it, please click the Like button. Thanks!