Tag Archives: Harriette Cole

Welcome to scenes from the book publicity road

29 Jul

My ride or die, Eleanore Wells and art insider Harris Schrank happy with me at Barnes and Noble, Manhattan

My ride or die, Eleanore Wells and art insider Harris Schrank happy with me at Barnes and Noble, Manhattan

With my friend Christina Baker Kline

With my friend Christina Baker Kline

I haven’t posted since my book was published on April 21st. It’s been a wonderful, whirlwind of a ride and I’ve kept many of you included via my Facebook posts, but I realize some of you actually aren’t on Facebook or haven’t seen some of the stuff. Here are some highlights:

Signing books with Pam Newkirk at the Harlem Book Fair

Signing books with Pam Newkirk at the Harlem Book Fair

Going back to the beginning–publication day–which is like every big milestone wrapped in one. I was so high that morning when I woke up and to top it off, I felt my mother’s presence with me more profoundly than I have since she died six years ago. The book is a lot about her, her impact on me and her community and about the unrelenting pain I felt at the loss of her.
April 21st: My kickoff in my hometown at the gorgeous Montclair Art Museum; it took a lot to get the space but I had a vision for what I wanted and it came to pass. As time got closer, I began to second guess pushing so hard and not just having it our great local bookstores (we actually, luckily, have two). I wanted a large space to accommodate the picture I had in my head of lots of people there–my community consisting of all the facets of my life: my girlfriends, writer friends, neighbors, friends made through my kids, yoga friends, dog walking friends, family, childhood friends, my kids’ special teachers, and just the random people who I like and run into in CVS or the park or in front of Starbucks and talk to for an hour. There were 200 people there!
I can’t find the picture someone took of the crowd, so you’ll just have to take my
Such a fun night at Akwaaba party with my dearest college friend, Monique and the fab raconteur Patrik Henry Bass

Such a fun night at Akwaaba party with my dearest college friend, Monique and the fab raconteur Patrik Henry Bass

word for it.
My most important work of art

My most important work of art

Here’s all the press and book events done so far:
Feb. 27 New York Daily News, book blog, says Welcome to My Breakdown is “the best title ever.”
March BET.com Mentions Welcome as one of 9 must read books for spring. “Be prepared for plenty of intimacy, insight and inspiration in this powerful and ultimately redemptive title.”
March 10 Infinity House Magazine, blog post mention,says Welcome is one of “5 must read books for spring.”
March 10 taped video for marketing and featured on Transcending Type a quarterly digest from Simon & Schuster
March 15 New Jersey Monthly review
March 17 Fabulous Southern Belle, blog post book roundup
April 2 Barristanet.com
April 13 The Root.com interviewed by Danielle Belton
April 15 radio with Ella Curry, Black Pearls show
April 20 interview with Bev Smith, satellite radio, knew Bev when she had her own show on BET.
April 21 Network Journal
April 22 Maggie Linton show on Sirus radio
April 22 interviewed on The Root TV, Harriette Cole show, Bring It To The Table
Facebook author chat with Tyora Moody
April 23 book party at Akwaaba Mansion, Brooklyn (Bed Sty) hosted by great friends Monique Greenwood and husband Glenn Pogue
April 25 radio interview on radio station KAZI in Austin, Tx.
April 27 Barnes and Noble, NYC, surprised when friend and New York Times mega best-seller author and friend Christina Baker Kline agreed to fill in for another scheduled writer & interview me
April 29 Barnes and Noble, Springfield, NJ
April 30 People Magazine piece–picked as top 3 books to read!
May 4 radio interview with Desire Watson on Voice America
May 7 Book signing, Community Books in Brooklyn (Park Slope) followed by book party given by my friend Linda Villarosa & her partner Jana Welch
May 11 radio interview on Mindset blog radio with James Curtis
May piece on Maria Shriver blog
May 13 NJ.com story/review
May 15 radio interview WNYC/NPR with Gabrielle Glaser on Morning Edition
May 16 book party at the Wellness Lounge, South Orange, NJ hosted by Desire Watson
Essence piece in June issue–wonderful job by editorial projects manager Patrik Henry Bass
May 17 book party hosted by Claire Ciliotta
May 18 interview for The Nation magazine with Nick Charles (ran in July 15 issue)
May 20 New Jersey Performing Arts Center–NJPAC book party/talk/interview by Marcia Brown, vice-chancellor at Rutgers Newark
May 21-26 Anguilla Book Festival
May 27 BEA signing/book celebration hosted by best-selling novelist Jennifer Weiner

June 2-June 9 recorded book for audio release
June 20 Friend of a Friend book club, Harlem, hosted by Angie Hancock founder, Experience
July 17 I was celebrated at Harlem Book Fair reception
July 18 Harlem Book Fair panel discussion with Pulitzer Prize winning writer Margo Jefferson, moderated by author Hettie Jones
July/August issue of Juicy magazine
Still to come
Aug. 6-9 Atlanta–Black Book Club Convention, Buckhead Marriott

Sept. 26 Sippin Sisters book club, suburban D.C.
Sept. 27 Book Party hosted by Linda Chastang, author A’Lelia Bundles and novelist Connie Briscoe; books sold by Politics and Prose

Nov. 7 Book Party hosted by Lynn McNair, Washington, D.C.

We Gather Together

16 Mar

The other day I went to a memorial service for a former Essence colleague Jonell Nash. Jonell had been the food editor of Essence since 1984. She was a graceful, lovely, talented woman. Every one of the people who spoke at her beautiful service described her that way. Her dear friend and former colleague (and my sister-scribe, fellow Howardite) Harriette Cole organized the service and it was perfect. As it was, of course, a sad occasion, but it was also a great reunion of an entire era: from Susan Taylor, our beloved editor-in-chief (still looking amazing and doing the hard work of lifting Black people through her national mentoring organization) to copy chief Charlotte Wiggers and so many more. Essence folk just showed up. My best friend from college, Monique Greenwood, a former editor-in-chief, drove up from D.C. Jonell’s former assistant Marsha Kelly came in from L.A. My time, our time, there was more than a job, a career move; we really were like a family.


From left: Harriette Cole, Linda Villarosa, Monique Greenwood, me, Audrey Adams, Stephanie Stokes Oliver, Deborah Gregory at my book party for Who Does She Think She Is? At the Jo Malone store in the Flatiron District of Manhattan


I met so many women during my time there–some lifelong friends like Linda Villarosa, to name one, but I also bonded with many women, women who I don’t talk to or see very often, sometimes for years, but who are always there when there’s a need. Folk show up and support one another.

Terrie M. Williams is one of those people. Terrie is a PR person extraordinaire¬†who has been representing bold face names for more than two decades now. She is also the author of a definitive book on Black folks and depression called Black Pain. I ran into Terrie last year at another memorial service for a colleague, ¬†the brilliant Cheryll Greene. I told Terrie about my book and she said “anything I can do to help, just let me know.” You know people often say that…I knew Terrie meant it and when I called her to write a blurb for my new book she did so without hesitation. I want to share what she wrote because you won’t see it on the first printing, but it will be on the second printing on the book. It is as follows:

When we face the fire and come out on the other side, we learn what it is we are called to do. Benilde has written so beautifully and eloquently about the soul crushing experience of depression–whether it is named or not. Throughout this defining journey, we see, hear and feel deeply the signs of a despair that longs for light and relief. The healing is in us sharing our stories with one another… and knowing we are not alone .

Terrie M. Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting

Thanks Terrie.

So long Cheryll.

Well done, Jonell.