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Web Site Relaunch of My Novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One

Love's Troubadours - Karma: Book One
Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One

Happy Monday,

Five years ago I launched my web site for my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (2007). Last year, I realized the site needed a makeover. Click here to check out the new look (very simple compared to the old site). Let me know what you think. And be sure to read the book summary below.

Book Summary:

Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One tells the story of Karma Francois, a thirtysomething Oakland-born BoHo B.A.P. (Bohemian Black American Princess) with Louisiana roots and urban debutante flair. The novel begins with Karma’s life in an uproar. Her relationships and the museum curator career that she struggled to form in New York City have crumbled, leaving no viable options to rebuild. Relocating to Washington, DC, Karma  struggles with denial, depression, and debt. A lack of full-time employment opportunities forces her to craft a gypsy existence as a Jill of Many Trades:
yoga teacher, art consultant, and freelance curator at Howard University Gallery
of Art. Unable and unwilling to appreciate these jobs as gifts, she wallows in a
pool of lost identity-and doesn’t see a way to keep from drowning. When she looks in the mirror, Karma  sees a woman whose choices have dishonored her true character. Now, for the first time in her life, Karma must learn to see herself for who she really
is. To purchase a copy on Amazon.com, click here.

Enjoy!

Ananda

PS: Watch the short videos from my 2007 book party.

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Great News! Ananda featured in 3/22 Examiner.com article: “Novelist gives book marketing tips for fiction writers using social media”

Greeting All,

Great News! Nordette Adams, the African-American Books Examiner for Examiner.com, wrote an amazing article about yours truly today: “Novelist gives book marketing tips for fiction writers using social media.”

Nordette also interviewed me on the March 20th episode of We Got Word on BlogTalkRadio.  Click here to listen to the interview. We had a great time talking about healing fiction, my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One, and social media tips for authors and bloggers.  I also discussed my new writing project Sisterhood, the Blog: Soundbytes from the 21st Century Women’s Online Revolution.

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude,

Ananda

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Part #2 – Watch videos from Ananda’s 3/14 book talk/signing @ Historical Society of DC

Happy Weekend!

Here’s part two of my videos from the book talk/signing for my memoir That Which Awakens Me held on March 14 at the Historical Society of Washington, DC.  be sure to tell me which video you liked best. Enjoy!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Spring Weather in DC,

Ananda

VIDEOS FROM BOOK READING

1) Ananda discusses who lives inside her (her archetypes/personalities)

2) Ananda discusses spirituality and service

3) Ananda discusses her work as an artist-in-residence for Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts at Howard University Hospital

4) Ananda discusses her life as an artist and poet living in DC in the 90s

5) Ananda discusses her debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One

6) Angie Hudgins’ promo for That Which Awakens Me

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Part #1 – Watch videos from Ananda’s 3/14 book talk/signing @ Historical Society of DC

Happy Monday!

My book talk and signing for my poetic memoir That Which Awakens Me was held yesterday at the Historical Society of Washington, DC.  It was a lot of fun and a HUGE success!!!! Many thanks to my sistalove Karen Sallis for organizing the event with Rosemary Reed and the Society’s staff! Big thanks to everyone who attended the event!!!!

If you missed the event, watch the videos below.  More videos will be posted in the coming days.

You can purchase That Which Awakens Me and my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One on Amazon.com: http://tiny.cc/7uFsg and http://tinyurl.com/yfxtqyq.

Historical Society of DC Book Talk Videos:

1) My infomercial for my March 14th book reading

2) My vulnerabilities as a writer

3) The importance of naming and defining myself

4) The power of six-word memoirs in my writing process

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude,

Ananda

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Great Moments from the Weekend: Ananda’s Artist Date @ Elizabeth Catlett in Mexico exhibit and its connection to her books That Which Awakens Me & Love’s Troubadours

Photo Credit: Fern Logan - http://the-artists.org/artist/Elizabeth-Catlett

Elizabeth Catlett

Hi All,

This weekend, I went to see an exhibit featuring the work of Elizabeth Catlett at the Mexican Cultural Institute on 16th Street in northwest DC. Click here to learn more about the Catlett exhibit. It closes on May 29. If you are in DC, consider attending Professor David Driscoll’s lecture about Catlett’s work on March 27 at 3:00 p.m. at the Mexican Cultural Institute.  It’s free!

Catlett is one of my favorite artists.  She was born in DC in 1915 and is  a graduate of Howard University (like me!). Click here to learn more about Catlett.

I have given the world my songs by Elizabeth Catlett

The highlight of my visit to the Mexican Cultural Institute was seeing Catlett’s I have given the world my songs.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this piece of art.  It inspired a poem in my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery. Click here to listen to me read the poem. FYI – I also discuss Catlett’s work in my novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One.

Click on the Cinchcast audio blog to hear me talk about my visit to the Mexican Cultural Institute.

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The influence of India.Arie’s music and Spelman College on Ananda’s novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One

Hi All!

India.Arie’s music has been a powerful influence in my creative work.  Her first CD Acoustic Soul (2001) inspired me to keep moving forward during my novel writing journey.

Karma: Aham Prema (2005) by Ananda Leeke 

(Aham Prema means I am divine love in Sanskrit)

 

Her composition “Strength, Courage, and Wisdom” became a personal mantra for the main character Karma Francois in my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (2007). 

I mentioned the song in Love’s Troubadours because India’s music chronicles a woman’s journey of self-discovery.  It vibrates with authenticity and vulnerability.  Surrender and self-acceptance are key themes.  Love’s Troubadours embodies all of these things.  Karma’s journey explores a woman’s pain, passion, and power with authenticity, vulnerability, surrender, and self-acceptance. To learn more, visit www.lovestroubadours.com. The book is available on Amazon.com.

Spelman College is also featured in Love’s Trouabdours.  Several characters are Spelman graduates (Karma’s twin sister and cousin are Spelmanites).  To learn more about Spelman, watch the video below.

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is mentioned in Love’s Troubadours too.  Watch the video below featuring a tour of the Museum  given by its director Dr. Andrea Barnwell , an art historian, writer, and critic.   I was able to visit the Museum and see the exhbit featured in the video in October 2009.  AMAZING! 

FYI – Art plays a major role in Karma’s life. It inspires, consoles, and teaches her. My novel offers you a wonderful opportunity to look at life through Karma’s eyes as an art enthusiast and museum curator. Through her eyes, you will learn about exciting artists and photographers from the African Diaspora, Americas (USA and Mexico), Europe, and Japan such as Lois Mailou Jones, Kara Walker, Renee Stout, Yayoi Kusama, Faith Ringgold, Chris Ofili, Ansel Adams, Marion Perkins, Elizabeth Catlett, Francisco Mora, Alexander Calder, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Maria Izquierdo, Jean Michel Basquiat, Andre Derain, Annie Lee, Betye Saar, Alison Saar, Amalia Amaki, Joyce Scott, Lorna Simpson, Constantin Brancusi. Eldzier Cortor, Amedeo Modigliani, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Archibald Motley, Adrian Piper, Hughie Lee Smith, and Charles W. White. Read the art blog post: http://kiamshacom.blogspot.com/2007/09/blessings-all-my-debut-novel-loves.html.

Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for India.Arie and Spelman College,

Ananda

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Tulane Professor/Author Shayne Lee reviews Ananda’s novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One

Happy Snow Wednesday in D.C.! 

Yes it is snowing in the wonderful District of Columbia.  I am loving the peace and quiet that comes from snow days!  It is giving me an opportunity to sleep  a lot, have long yummy yoga/meditation/Reiki sessions, read magazines and books, chat with friends on Skype, and discover what is happening online.

Shayne Lee

Yesterday I learned Shayne Lee, an author (one of my favorites) and Tulane University professor, wrote an incredibly generous review of my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One on Amazon.com.  See below. Let me know what you think.

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for the peace of snow days,

Ananda

Shayne Lee’s Amazon.com Review

 An Intriguing work of art, February 9, 2010
By  Shayne Lee (Houston (by way of New Orleans)) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

Great artistic efforts do more than just entertain, they enlighten. Love’s Troubadours was highly entertaining, but also challenged me to explore the greater context of the world around me, which is in my humble opinion the hallmark of great art. I learned much about my own strivings and angst while perusing life through the eyes of a hip, chic, post-soul, educated yoga-loving, highly spiritual Black American Princess named Karma. There are no canned characters in this masterpiece, only complex women and men dealing with the vicissitudes of life through their inimitable postmodern brands of spirituality and social perspectives. Karma teaches us much about perseverance as well as about self-transcendence and spiritual consciousness. One of the most fascinating aspects of this book is its fresh appropriation of black middleclass sensibilities. Karma is an intuitive and progressive woman and her tastes and interests reflect a mélange of black middleclass tropes often unexplored in contemporary cinema and books. Ananda Leeke fastens our consciousness to a world of black female sophistication, and depicts Karma as an apotheosis of urban-chic and self-transcendence. Leeke takes us on an entertaining and enlightening journey as we watch an incredibly complex protagonist like Karma navigate through the matrices of her personal reformation, negotiate transitional changes, overcome family and relationship challenges and emotional angst, and emerge as a more evolved and emotionally whole woman. This is a well-written book and a fascinating look at an underrepresented portion of contemporary black middle-class life and spirituality.

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Listen to my first Author Chat on BlogTalkRadio – Who are the love’s troubadours?

 

 

Happy Monday!

Today I hosted the first episode of my author chat series on BlogTalkRadio.  Click here to listen to the show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/anandaleeke/2010/02/08/author-chat-with-ananda-leeke.   During the show, I discussed my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com).  I also reflected on the question of the day – Who are love’s troubadours? – and how African American playwright Lorraine Hansberry inspired the novel series. Let me know what you think of the first episode (it is pretty short – 10 minutes).

By the way, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One is available on Amazon.com. It makes for a great winter read and Valentine’s Day gift. Click here to order the book: http://tinyurl.com/yfxtqyq 

Thank you for your support!  Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Joy for knowing I am one of Love’s Troubadours (so are you!),

Ananda 

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via Author Chat with Ananda Leeke.

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Ananda’s Great News! Her wire sculpture featuring the Haitian love & healing goddess Erzulie will be on exhibit at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute on March 11-May 24 in NYC

Great News All!

Yesterday I learned my wire sculpture “Erzulie’s Black Heart” will be featured in the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute’s exhibition “Wearing Spirit: Aesthetically Personifying the Feminine in African Sacred Traditions” from March 11 to May 24 in New York City.  The opening reception will be held on March 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  If you are in the Big Apple on March 11, join me at the reception.  It will be BIG FUN!  For more information about the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, visit www.cccadi.org.  Many thanks to Shantrelle Lewis for inviting me to submit my work!

Ananda Leeke's wire sculpture Erzulie's Black Heart

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley (the greatest photographer in the universe! – www.leighmosley.com)

Below is my artist statement for the exhibition.

Artist Statement

Ananda Leeke’s passion for African goddesses began while she was studying Kemetian and Yoruba religions and writing My Soul Speaks, her first chap book of poetry, in 1992.  In 1995, Leeke began using coat hangers, an assortment of wire, found objects, vintage jewelry, fabric, and amulets to sculpt images of African goddesses including Oshun, Yemanya, Oya, Maat, Auset, and Het Heru.  Over the past fifteen years, she has explored these goddesses in her artwork, writing, and travels to Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, Louisiana, and Senegal.  She discovered Erzulie, the Haitian goddess of love, while writing her debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One.  Erzulie influenced the lives of many characters in Love’s Troubadours. Erzulie’s veve is incorporated in Love’s Troubadours logo and artwork on the book cover.

Erzulie’s Black Heart is a goddess of love and healing who was born out of the middle passage experience of enslaved Africans in Haiti.  She is a Petwo spirit.  Her love and healing energy are hot, aggressive, and quick to act when the children of Haiti need her.  Her black heart represents a sanctuary for Haitians when they are faced with life’s hardships including poverty, illness, violence, and natural disasters such as hurricanes and the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that occurred on January 12. Erzulie’s Black Heart heals the pain and suffering of Haiti’s sons and daughters. She protects them with the fierce love of a Black warrior woman.  Her intention is to bring the children of Haiti to higher ground.

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Erzulie, the Haitian goddess of love,

Ananda

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Marinating on what it means to be post-black as I research and write Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two

Hi All,

As many of you might know, I am writing my next novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two.  I am in the midst of a research and reading phase that has me on a bottomless pit search for all things interesting.  So far, my adventures have been online and offline.  My eyes have traveled through numerous magazines, books, Amazon.com book reviews, Twitter and Facebook conversations, YouTube videos, and web TV shows.  All kinds of good stuff is surfacing. It is really juicy!.  There’s no real order to my method too.  It’s a bit messy!  And that’s okay!  I am flowing with the FLOW!

I am fascinated … well to be honest infatuated with what it means to be post-black.  The seed of my infatuation was planted during a radio show discussion I had with one of my favorite authors Shayne Lee, a Tulane University professor, in November.

Our conversation was FABULOUS! I am so glad it was recorded because I am using it as research now.  Click here to listen to the show on Talkshoe.com:  http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/15820 (look for episode 10 that aired on November 9, 2009).

During our conversation, Shayne and I discussed why we both loved reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers and its connection to my new book That Which Awakens Me and debut novel  Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (available on Amazon.com – http://tinyurl.com/yfxtqyq). Shayne gave a juicy review of Love’s Troubadours.  He called the book’s main character Karma Francois  a “post-soul woman.” Those three words led me to post-black.  They shifted my reality Translation:  Shayne’s three words set it off for me.  Hey that’s what the brotha does!  His analysis and books take you there.  I read Shayne’s book T.D. Jakes: America’s New Preacher last year and am looking forward to reading his new book Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace. I’ll be using Holy Mavericks as research for a character who is the son of an evangelical minister in my next novel.  Click here to learn more about Shayne:  http://tulane.edu/liberal-arts/sociology/lee-profile.cfm.

So after my reality shifted, I started examining Karma’s world through a post-black lens. The first stop on my post-black research journey was Thelma Golden, executive director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem.

While Golden worked at the Whitney Museum, she and artist Glenn Ligon coined the phrase “post-black art” in the late 1990s.   The phrase was explained in the Studio Museum’s 2001 catalogue for Freestyle, an exhibition of twenty-eight up and coming artists of African American backgrounds.

Golden wrote,

  • Post-black artists are “adamant about not being labeled ‘black’ artists, though their work was steeped, in fact deeply interested, in redefining complex notions of blackness.”
  • “They are both post-Basquiat and post-Biggie. They embrace the dichotomies of high and low, inside and outside, tradition and innovation, with a great ease and facility.”
  • “Post-black was the new black.”
  • Post-black is “both a hollow social construction and a reality with an indispensable history.”

What do you think of Golden’s post-black commentary?  I am still chewing on it!

FYI: I used Golden’s museum curator career as a template for Karma’s career in New York City.  Golden’s curatorial work and willingness to show women and people of color artists that might not have been shown anywhere greatly influenced my discussion of African diaspora art in Love’s Troubadours.  She introduced me to Kara Walker, Chris Ofili, and other artists mentioned in my novel.

Yesterday, I discovered author Ytasha Womack’s new book Post Black: How a New Generation Is Redefining African-American Identity (click here to read Womack’s blog and Twitter page).  That was a Happy Black History moment!  I ordered a copy of the book from Amazon.com today and will be attending Womack’s D.C. book reading on February 16 at Busboys and Poets’ 5th and K Street location (time – 6:30-8pm).  I am so excited!  Hopefully, Womack’s book reading will give me more food for thought as I explore the post-black world  I share with my main character Karma in Love’s Troubadours – Book One and main character Symon Allure in Love’s Troubadours – Book Two.

Any thoughts on what it means to be post-black?

Do you self-identify as post-black?

Do you have any post-black fiction or nonfiction recommendations?

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, Gratitude, and Adventures in the land of post-black,

Ananda