Today’s blog post discusses my creative style as an author. Earlier this year, I started collecting pictures from fashion magazines that illustrated what I wanted to look like as an author during my fall and winter Digital Sisterhood book events. I fell in love with gold jewelry, knit dresses with lots of zippers, leather wedge boots, colorful trench coats, and purses with funky side stitching.
Thanks to my incredibly creative and fashion savvy niece, Jordan, I knew I could find my gold jewelry — a funky ring and bangles from Forever 21 during one of my Labor Day sale adventures.
The black knit dress with zippers was a hard one to find. I started looking at my usual spots — Ann Taylor Loft, Macy’s, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx, but had no luck. While I was walking home earlier this week, my inner fashion goddess who lives inside my head whispered, “Drop by Dress Barn to see about the black knit dress.” So I listened (my inner fashion goddess is never wrong!) and found a petite black knit dress with gold zippers for $42. Yes, I said $42!
My Tahari black leather wedge boots were easy to find. I just had to look in my closet and find my boot container with boots I purchased two and three years ago. I had the heels fixed during the summer.
Looking for a trench coat has been a two-year challenge. I finally found one that fit my author creative style requirements (colorful), body size, and budget from Marshalls on a Sunday morning after church. It was love at first sight. Thank goodness Jones New York makes cinnamon double-breasted petite trench coats that end up in Marshalls for $60!
My black leather purse with funky silver side stitching is an oldie but goodie purchase I made at Violet Boutique (one of my favorite places to shop in D.C. — especially for jewelry, purses, coats, and jackets) in 2011.
The piece de resistance of my author creative style is my red tiger glasses by Oliver Goldsmith (OG), a London-based family run business that is synonymous with fashion and style. OG has been in business for the past 80 years. Fashion designers Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Vidal Sassoon, and actors Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Peter Sellers, and Michael Caine embraced OG eyewear early in their careers.
I discovered my red tiger glasses during one of my summer visits to Dupont Optical, the place that has helped me select signature eyewear for over 20 years. Dupont Optical owner and optician Ben Herman recommended my red tiger glasses and another very cool pair of casual glasses I can wear as sunshades.
What are you wearing this fall to express your creativity?
Q: In your writing, you tell stories. How did you become a storyteller?
AKML: I grew up around women who loved to tell stories about their lives. My grandmother, great aunt, and mother shared photo albums, scrapbooks, clothing, jewelry, and memorabilia from events they attended to illustrate their stories. Their stories were told so often I memorized them. Eventually, they were embedded into the tapestry of my life. In high school, college, and law school, I proudly wore their vintage clothing and jewelry with my outfits and told stories about the items to my friends. I still wear these items and share stories. Wearing their things reminds me of who I am and where I come from. It connects me to them at all times.
Q: This book is your second memoir. Who are your favorite memoirists?
AKML: Dr. Maya Angelou is the first memoirist I read in junior high school. I love how Dr. Angelou tells her life stories in a series of books. I adore how Alice Walker and Ntozake Shange have used poetry to tell their personal stories. My friend and activist/artist/scholar Tim’m West’s poetical memoir gave me freedom to write my first memoir. I also enjoy reading memoirs written by feminist scholar and cultural critic bell hooks, artist Faith Ringgold, and yoga teacher Cyndi Lee.
Q: What prompted you to write this book?
AKML: In 2009, a publisher (that was on my dream list of publishers) contacted me to explore the possibility of entering into a book contract about how the Internet has impacted women’s creativity. Thrilled and excited, I entered into a round of discussions with the publisher. She introduced me to two writing mentors who helped me flush out my ideas for a book outline. I shared the Sisterhood the Blog book outline with her and launched a blog, Facebook group, and Twitter account to begin writing the book. A few weeks later, the publisher lost interest. I tried several times to follow up, but did not receive a response. Devastated is the best word to describe how I felt.
My writing mentors encouraged me to write and self-publish the book. So I dived deep into my new blog and distributed its content on my social media sites. A few months later, I added a podcast to the mix. Through my blog, podcast, and social media sites, I was able to interview and profile a diverse group of women in social media and technology. When I attended local and national conferences, events, and meet ups, I used my video camera and audio podcast app to record my interviews. These efforts expanded my understanding of the roles women play in the digital space.
My focus for the book changed after I attended the BlogHer annual conference’s closing keynote, “How to Use Your Voice, Your Platform and Your Power,” featuring PBS anchor Alison Stewart, White House Project founder Marie Wilson, author and activist Gloria Feldt, and journalist and environmentalist P. Simran Sethi, in 2010. Listening to these women’s stories convinced me to write a memoir about my online journey and how women have influenced, informed, and inspired my digital experiences.
That same year, I changed the title of the book, blog, podcast, and social media to Digital Sisterhood after I conducted a series of interviews with women bloggers about their relationships with women in social media at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference.
Q: Who did you write this book for?
AKML: I wrote the book for women between the ages of 18 to 76 who spend time in the digital space blogging, building community, chatting, coding, creating webisodes and videos, crowdfunding, developing mobile apps, engaging in commerce, giving back by supporting social good campaigns, hosting online events, liking on Facebook, mentoring, pinning on Pinterest, podcasting, posting photos on Flickr and Instagram, reading blogs, publishing books, running businesses, serving as social media leaders, sharing information, teaching, tweeting 140 characters or less on Twitter, watching videos, and visiting web sites. I also wrote the book for women and girls who need greater access to technology and training.
Q: What do you want readers to gain from this book?
AKML: I want my readers to take what they find useful in the book and use it in a positive way. I hope my women readers are inspired to explore, celebrate, share, and publish their own stories about being online and the Digital Sisterhood connections they have made with other women. I hope they will publish their stories on blogs and in books. I want more women to write and publish books about their online lives, businesses, social good campaigns, and thought leadership.
Q: Did you use any research data to identify your niche audience?
AKML: I used BlogHer’s Social Media Matters Study which reported that 87 million women between the ages of 18 to 76 were online in 2011. The BlogHer study also reported that 69 million women used social media weekly, 80 million women used social media monthly, and 55 million women read blogs monthly. When I read this data, I realized these women have created a powerful digital footprint as communicators, connectors, community builders, tech creators, early adopters, and influencers.
Q: Tell us about your journey in embracing the Internet. How did your digital footprint begin?
AKML: My digital footprint began when I logged onto the LexisNexis research service as a first-year law student at Howard University School of Law in August 1986. It marked the beginning of my Internet geek path. My Internet experiences have been greatly influenced by the social connections women have made online and offline. Through them, I have witnessed the growth and expansion of women’s presence and power on the World Wide Web. Women are making digital herstory with blogs, books, businesses, careers, coding and software development projects, conferences, events, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, live streaming, meet up groups, mobile apps, online communities, online magazines, organizations, Pinterest, podcasts, Twitter, videos, webinars, web sites, and webisodes.
Q: What are your favorite social media tools?
AKML: That’s a hard one. I love so many. Right now, my favorites are all visual: Animoto, Flickr, Google+ Hangout, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
Today’s blog celebrates the power of Karma Yoga, the practice of serving others. After I completed my yoga teacher training at Flow Yoga Center in 2006, I created a Karma Yoga project that allowed me to teach a free monthly yoga class to my local community members in Malcolm X – Meridian Hill Park in Washington, D.C.
In 2007, I joined Meetup.com to expand my Karma Yoga project’s audience and renamed it the Kind and Gentle C-OM-MUNITY Yoga Meetup Group. This year, I am celebrating my 8th year of teaching community yoga classes. If you are in the DC area on October 27, join me for the fifth annual Frederica Leeke and Dorothy Gartin Breast Cancer Awareness Yoga Class from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Click here for more details.
What type of Karma Yoga projects are you involved in?
Today’s blog celebrates the creativity of Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal featuring Kerry Washingon. Scandal is a political television drama that stars Washington’s character, Olivia Pope. It focuses on Pope’s crisis management firm, Pope & Associates, its staff, the President of the United States and the White House staff.
Tonight is the season three premiere. I’ll be watching it with my Blogalicious family. If you are headed to Blogalicious, I hope to see you at the Scandal party!
It’s finally here! It’s Blogalicious Week in my world! That’s right I am taking a whole week to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Blogalicious community and conferences which connect over 5,000 multicultural women and men influencers with brands and celebrate diversity in social media.
I’ve been a fan ever since the first conference in 2009. Read my Examiner.com blog which captures the magic of my first Blogalicious experience.
The 2011 conference at the Gaylord National Hotel in Maryland was probably the most convenient for me since I live in Washington, D.C. It was a lot of fun because my dad, Dr. John F. Leeke was able to attend. He had a lot of fun learning about blogging. His experience inspired the 2012 launch of his blog.
The 2012 conference was held in Las Vegas. It was my first visit to the city. I loved the early morning walks Xina and I took (we roomed together again which was a lot of fun). I also enjoyed the wonderful conversations I had with various Blogalicious community members during the Afternoon Tea. I learned a lot from Mario Armstrong’s keynote and was inspired by the luncheon talks given by Miss Lori and Corynne Corbett. I was honored to share my insights about blogging and the blogosphere during the community jam. Danica Kombol brought the Heart of Haiti family together with an impromptu get together!
This year’s conference is going to be AWESOME. I am rooming with Xina and my dad is coming. I am so excited to see everyone, listen and learn from the brilliant speakers, share my creativity coaching services in one-on-one sessions, moderate the crowdfunding panel on October 4th, and sip some sweet tea!