Monday, April 10, 2017

MORE THAN ONE

As an author, we never want to be compared to someone else. We try to create our own identity and our own voice. 

But let's face it; every story has been written more than once. Sure we might have a different spin on it but its basically the same story we have read before.

How many times do you think they can remake Cinderella? Well if you go to the movies; at least 7 times, starting in 1950. Why does that happen? Because we love the story and we love to watch adaptations.

The same can be true with King Kong. We first saw him in 1933. On average a gorilla will live to be about 40 years old; but King Kong...well he is still going strong at 84. Still making movies; with his next one in theaters now.

Just like with Tiny Home builders. Not two are alike. 

I started looking at tiny homes about two years ago. There were not many out there. Now; you can't look at Pinterest or YouTube without seeing dozens of builders. Some have 50 houses and some have one. Some are made really cheaply and some are luxurious. 

Whenever you make the decision to write, go to the movies or even build a house; know that there are more than one option available.

Do your research. Make sure you know what you are getting or watching. Don't go to the new Kong movie and expect to see the same type of Kong movie from 2005 or even 1933.

I had to pull back on my tiny house love and look for companies that were reputable and also had more than one house under their built. Imagine my surprise when the one tiny house company hadn't actually made the house for a customer; but more for themselves and were 'hoping' that customers would come knocking. 

Why am I telling you all of this? 

Remember this, being an author is more than just writing. It's also about doing your research. It's about you making the best 'version' of your story as possible and it's also about telling it in a slightly different way.

Monday, April 3, 2017

BLACK, WHITE, CONFUSION...WHAT IS IT?

A lot of people discuss the benefits of going tiny or living a minimalist lifestyle. I have now joined in on that conversation.

In addition to being excited about it; I have also learned a few things along the way.

One of the things I have learned is that I am much more tolerating of different lifestyles. I no longer care what the 'crowd' is doing.

I also learned that no matter what you do and who you try and please; not everyone will agree with you.

You can only please one person at a time and why shouldn't that person be you.

Living in a tiny house is not going to be for everyone and while telling people who asked about it my goals, I have found that not every one agrees.

When I have spoken to people about going tiny I get two reactions.

The first one: congratulations and you must be so excited. If you have any questions let me know.  Check out this website and you should check out the tiny house movement online (Facebook, Instagram and YouTube)

The other is: Are you sure you want to go tiny? I don't think you can go tiny, I couldn't do it. Are you crazy? Why?

The thing that bothers me the most is this one thing.

The ones that seem supportive are mostly Caucasian people and the non supporters are my African American associates.

There are communities of tiny homes popping up all over the United States and very few of them are inhabited by black people. I have met exactly one other person who has built a tiny house. She is an African American woman and she and I had a long conversation.

She said she came up against the same thing. Her African American circle weren't very supportive. Although some of them were; the majority of the people who were supportive were the people who were not in her circle. Or they were her Caucasian friends.

It's not that our black friends don't understand but it's harder to convince them that as a black woman I haven't lost control of my mind. I have done research and the common thread is that the tiny house community can be a little clique'ish. Not because they want to but people going tiny aren't that many. They form circles and stay within those circles. They form their community and they help each other. Because there are not many black people building, buying or wanting tiny homes; we have found ourselves on the outside. Hopefully that will change with more and more 'us' buying, building and living in tiny homes. The +TinyHouseTrailblazers is one such group that is trying to do this. Check out their website.

I know that it doesn't come down to black or white but it comes down to understanding vs having questions. Sometimes questions can sound like non support but most times if you explain why you want to do something; most people will begin to see your point of view.

If they don't remember. You can only please one person at a time and it might as well be you.

Monday, March 27, 2017

WHY AM I GOING TINY?

I have gotten this question a lot of times and I give a very short answer.

Today; I am going to give you the longer answer. 

The reason I am going tiny is because my needs in life have changed. I have reached my milestone age. I turned 50 in 2016 and started rethinking my life. 

A health issue reared it's ugly head and I had to re-think a lot of things that I took for granted. 

I stepped down from an amazing job for Intrigue Publishing because my health needed all of my attention.

Lucky for me; I had two men in my life that took excellent care of me and gave me the courage to take life by the horns and fight it until I won.

I had been researching tiny houses since 2015 when I stumbled across the show Tiny House Big Living.

I was like a child wanting for Santa. Every week, I altered my schedule to make sure that I was home to see the entire episode. 

This new 'movement' as it was called, caught my attention.

If you have seen my small 'reading room' you all know that I like small spaces. That space is no bigger than 3x4 sq feet. I love this room and stay in it most of the time. 

The size of my home will be 8 x 24. This model is owned by Regina in Florida. This will be similar to the one I get. 

Regina's 24 foot tiny home
My other reason for going tiny? Financial gain. I have paid cash for a small plot of land. I will pay cash for my tiny house. I will not have a mortgage. I will pay for my land taxes once a year. I will not pay for water because I have well water. The only 'utility' I will have is electric and now I am thinking of trying to use solar power. 

Another reason for going tiny is that I can travel with it. Did I mention that the tiny house will have wheels? YES! Do you feel that excitement? All I need is a truck to haul it. Wait; no I don't. All I need is a +U-Haul  that will tow something that is 12,000 lbs. 

So my reason for going tiny is simple. I want to enjoy life. I want to be able to take a trip whenever I want to. I want to live stress free and going tiny makes perfect sense, for me.

Could you go tiny? Leave a comment and let me know.






Wednesday, March 22, 2017

INSOMNIA DOESN'T HAVE TO BE BAD

I have been suffering with a really bad case of insomnia. 

I now celebrate anniversaries with it. This year will make year 3 that we have been together.

It's not something that I could have wished and would never wish this on anyone. 

Watching the world change from light to dark to light again; on an almost daily basis is not something that you should do more than once or twice a month. I do it almost 4 or 5 times a week.

I have learned to adapt. Which is not good.

My sleep therapist says, I "have trained my brain not to turn off and thus the awake periods are getting more and more advanced."

He suggested I buy a +Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity Sleep Wristband  to track my sleeping and restful periods.

Well, let me tell you; this has been interesting. 

I have gone from 4 hours of sleep a night to less than 2. I have at least 419 (on average) minutes of restless sleep. Which means I have slept less than three minutes at a time during an average 6 hour  night. It also tracks how many times I have 'awake" moments. That number is well over 600 minutes. In an average day; there are 1,440 minutes in a day. I'm horrible with math but you get the picture.

I am using my awake moments for good, so don't you worry.

I am writing more. It seems like I do my best writing when I'm dead tired. Imagine that!

I am working on a new novel; sparked by a conversation on Facebook between me and my friends. 

What happens when two women suffer with insomnia? When the sun comes up, what was done in the dark will come to light.  I have a title picked out already and now it's time to see what kind of trouble Britney and Nina get into.

So I"m using this to my advantage. I am also taking a travel class. Why? Just because I want to and let's face it. There is not a whole lot to do at 2 A.M. besides troll the internet or watch TV and most of the shows on at that time are telling me how to lose my cellulite, buy real estate or cook a chicken in less than an hour in the new gadget of the week. 

I am also planning my tiny house and although I can't wait to move into it; I also like the process of planning it. 

Did I mention that I have become compulsive as well? Well that is for the next blog. Stay tuned....

Monday, March 20, 2017

GOING TINY....WANT TO SEE?

This weekend, I went back down to +Incredible Tiny Homes  and got to talk to some of the participants in the Build Your Own workshop.

If you aren't familiar with what this is; this is when you get to have a hand in building your tiny home. Actually you are building your tiny home with the help of build buddies. (Your friends that have come with you to help you)

Take a look at the video and see for yourself how you can build your own tiny home for almost 1/2 the cost of having one built for you.

Incredible Tiny Homes is owned by Randy Jones. Sit down, grab a drink and enjoy this Video Tour 

Tell me what you think by leaving a comment. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

WHAT'S ON MY MIND

If you haven't been able to tell; +TinyHouse has been on my mind.

I'm in the process of building one. Yep; that's right (where have you been)

This week, March 18 to be exact. I will sit down with Randy Jones from +Incredible Tiny Homes  and design my tiny. (I will be on Facebook Live and on Instagram all weekend. Make sure you follow me. Follow me by clicking this link

What you also need to do is click here---> SUBSCRIBE HERE They are giving away a FREE 20 foot tiny house! All you have to do is follow him on YouTube. (How easy is that)

I am still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I am getting a tiny house. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be able to live in something less than 300 square feet. My dream home, that I imagined I needed was always in the range of 2,00-3,500 square feet. It included a basement, a theater room, a library and a sitting room.

Well, walking inside of a model tiny home changed my mind. Well; that and my life priorities changed as well.

Even my children don't think I can live in a tiny but I'm trying to convince them to get one for themselves. It may be a little hard since they have children under the age of 10 but maybe when they get older.

So; my journey continues and I have made fast friends with Regina. Who also built her tiny house and if now living in hers. She lives in Florida and is loving her new way of life.

What makes me and Regina so different than most tiny home builders...well we are Black women. Not to say that there aren't others but in terms of tiny home ownership; black people aren't the norm.

Why is that? I am not sure but if you google tiny home owners; most live in California,Ohio, Utah or somewhere in the mid west. Well Regina lives in Florida and I will be in Maryland.

We are taking our tiny home ownership to the next level.

Of course, I'll still be a diva. I"ll still be writing and yes, I'll still have my stilettos (yes, there will be plenty of built in storage for all of my babies).

This is just one of the reasons going tiny for me is the best option. I can save money AND still buy my shoes.

It's a win-win for me.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

WRITING IN TINY SPACES

Many of you ask, how am I going to write in such a small space?

The answer is simple. I'll use every inch of space available to do so. Writing is not a huge deal to me. I can write anywhere and going tiny is going to allow me to do that.

Writing my next novel is going to be much more enjoyable because it will in a space that was created totally  by me.

Sure, I created work space and office space but this is something that I am creating from start to finish. From the first nail to the last screw. I will be in control of how this tiny house looks and functions.

Tiny house building companies allow you to customize your space. They encourage you to create spaces that work for you. 

What better way to do that than to create a space where I will be writing full time? I can't think of another reason to sit in an office at a desk with no windows. 

Building my own tiny house will allow me to use all of my surroundings to write. Imagine being able to wake up; go into your living room and sit at a space that is creatively pleasing to your senses.

Going tiny has it advantages as well. 

I won't have the distractions of a wondering around trying to find something to do. Being in a tiny house; you have about 250-300 sq. feet of space to 'wander' around in.

Even the bathroom will be tiny. So I can't take a Sunday paper into the bathroom with me; it will be more like a Tuesday version. 

In my next blog; I'm going to share some photos of the tiny homes that my 'tiny' will look like. I hope that you continue on this journey with me.


Monday, February 20, 2017

GOING TINY AND BEING AN AUTHOR...AM I CRAZY?

Many people don't understand my love with going tiny.

I'll try and explain it to you.

First, 2016 was a very interesting year. On top of medical issues that would have sidelined most people; I was able to continue to work, write and enjoy life. (It wasn't easy but I refused to give in to the illness)

In the latter part of 2016, I came to the conclusion that I don't need lots of 'stuff' to make me happy. Sure, I still need shoes, but other than that, I'm happiest when I'm in my little reading 'closet".  I took a 2x4 closet and turned it into my reading/writing nook and found that when I was in there; I was at peace and could block out all of the negative around me.

I have been fascinated by tiny homes since 2015 and began to look more closely at them in 2016. I figured I could at least do the research and find out why people choose this way of living. 

That search ended in 2016, November 12 at 5:15 am, on my way to work. I SAW a tiny house being pulled by a truck and said..wow; that looks like me. I can see myself living there. I called my partner and told him. His words were, "wow; you sound like a kid at Christmas" and I said, "I feel like I am".

I went to work and researched that company. Later that day, I needed to go to the mall and that same company was in the mall handing out brochures about their company. That was a sign to me. Actually the second sign that I needed to be in this kind of home. The third sign came when I went to Virginia to see +TinyHomesVA in Fredricksburg, Virginia. Jessica was so helpful and knowledgeable and at that moment,  it was decided. 

I am getting a tiny home.

So the search began for a builder and about a month ago I found Incredible Tiny Homes in Morristown, Tennessee. They can build my tiny but then they introduced, "Build Your Own" university. The requirements: You must dedicate seven (7) days to be at their warehouse and you must have at least four (4) build buddies and they will help you build your own. They have already had two workshops and 13 homes have been built and are now in their owners home states. Last week you read about my love affair with Regina's tiny home. I always wanted the size that she built and after seeing hers I know I made the right choice. 

Going tiny means many things to many people. To a lot of them it means economic freedom and to others it means leaving a smaller environmental footprint. To me, it means being able to be comfortable in my own space. It means, living better and freer with less bills. It means being able to travel more and it means to finally be able to write more. Being creative in a small space is such a blessing that I couldn't see myself NOT living tiny.

I know some of you won't or don't want to live tiny but for me, it's the only option for me.

For me, its about loving life and living life to the fullest and being in a tiny home is what is going to make it all worthwhile.

So continue to read about my journey here. And just so you know. The creative process is in full swing. I have just started working on another murder/drama novel and this one will prove that love doesn't conquer all.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

I"M IN LOVE WITH....

I think there is a song that goes something like that.

I am in love with Regina's tiny home. I met her when I traveled down to Morristown, Tennessee a couple of weeks ago to see some tiny homes being built.


Regina was there; building hers. This is her tiny and don't you just love her stairs! 


She was a part of the ITHU (Incredible Tiny House University) that is run by Randy Jones and his team. 


Incredible Tiny Homes holds workshops that help you become a tiny house owner while helping to build it yourself.

For the cost of materials and sweat equity; you can leave in 7 days with your very own home. Subscribe to their YouTube channel so you can see more of these incredible tiny homes.When they reach 100K, they will give a tiny house away to one of those subscribers.
 
Just click this sentence and you can see why I'm so in love.

Regina's home is exactly what I envisioned for mine. Hers is 24 feet of sophistication, diva-ness and sexiness.


She had her home delivered (or you can drive your own away but you must have a F-150 or heavier truck to do it)

Most homes weigh between 8,000 and 13,000 pounds and Randy makes sure you know the weight before you pull it onto the highway.

Regina's home features a U shaped kitchen with refrigerator, induction cook top and she will have a convection oven/microwave. She has a FULL bathroom. Yes, you read that right. A 5 foot tub, 24 inch vanity and flushing toilet. (No composting toilet for her either)

She was on FB live while her home was being delivered and it looks even better in the Florida sunlight.

She has become my new "woman crush" or maybe it's her home that has become my 'crush'. She has been very gracious in allowing me to stalk, I mean bug her, and ask her tons of questions about her build, her life in her tiny and her plans for decorating. 

The one thing she suggests you do before going tiny. PURGE! She purged a lot of her things before moving in. (she is coming from a one bedroom, thousand square foot home) but she finds that she still is making those trips to Goodwill and the Salvation army. I am sure they are happy to see her.

Her new 'tiny' home is 260 square feet.

Purge like your house is going to be demolished and you can only take the important stuff.  The key is to do it at least a few months BEFORE you move into your 'tiny' .

So, now you can see why I am in love with a tiny and you would be too if you just step inside of one.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

COMPOSTING...WHO ME?

So if you haven't heard, I'm building a +TinyHouse and have been open to all of the possibilities that come with it. 

Except one.

Composting toilets!

Um, NO, No, Hell No and Aint No Way In Hell !

OK, so I know that some of you might not understand my STRONG dislike of composting toilets. Well let me explain the ins and outs of composting toilets 101.

First, a composting toilet is just what is sounds like. It composts your waste and then you can use it on your gardens to grow that really good veggies. 
OK, so I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth with that sentence.

Second, I don't like smelling my own poo let alone having it in my home, un-flushed, for at least 6-12 weeks at a time. Oh, it gets better.

Third and this is for the male population. You can never, ever ever STAND to use the bathroom.  This is because your 'aim' wouldn't be good enough to make it in the small opening that the urine is to go in. (See the picture)

So the whole idea behind a composting toilet is to minimize your carbon footprint by eliminating the over usage of water. So in terms of the composting toilets, most of the time you will see these on boats (the smaller versions) so that fishermen can fish without having to worry about pooing in the river. (insert gross face now)

OK, back to the explanation. 

Composting means that when you go to the bathroom, you will divert your urine into a holding tank; that you will have to empty at least once a month. 

Stop! I have included two pictures so you will understand what I am talking about. See the container on the front; with the black strap. That's for your urine. The crank on the side is for 'mixing' and the larger part at the bottom; well that's the part that holds your poo.


You mean my urine will be in a container, in my bathroom for a month? YEP but you can empty it every day if you like but that's not the objective. And where would I empty it? "oh, anywhere that you can rinse it away with water. Or maybe just in a spot that you know won't run back towards the house".

Oh, did you miss the part that your urine and poo can never mix. Or maybe you have figured out that your poo can never be near, around or close to water.


So when you poo; you open a little trap door in the toilet, 'do your business' as I was told and then you will use saw dust or peat moss to cover your poo. You will then crank a handle (that sits on the side) and "mix" it until the poo is covered. 

Yes, you read that right people. You mix it like you are mixing up a mud cake.

Now here is where it gets interesting. You can NOT put tissue of any kind in the composting toilet. You have to wipe and discard of the tissue in a trash bag. (here is a use for all of those grocery bags you have laying around your house) You could even use baby wipes but again, don't put it in the toilet.

To wipe the toilet; you can use vinegar; but don't let any liquid fall into the section that holds your poo. "The smell will not be a good thing." And that is EXACTLY how it was told to me. Oh and then make sure you watch what you eat because maggots could be a problem. But that's "a simple fix".  Just empty your composting toilet into your garden and start again" Yeah; I couldn't believe it when they said that to me either. (I can see some of your faces already)

Can you imagine if you are having a 'stomach issue' one day. The splatter alone would make you go running to the gas station or to the nearest Lowes or Home Depot to install a regular flushing toilet.

If you don't believe what I am telling you; please feel free to look up +NaturesHead composting toilet on Youtube or Google it. You will be amazed.

Now do you see why I just CAN'T do a composting toilet and lucky for me; I don't have to. I may be going tiny but I haven't gotten to the part that I want my own poo to be taking up residence in my house with me. 

My bodily waste and I have an understanding. 

When I 'release' you from your internal prison; you and I will never interact again. That is how it is supposed to be.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

SPREADING LIKE WILD FIRES

Last week I told you all about my dream of going TINY and it has spread like wildfire.

I have spoken about it so much that I one of my co-workers has convinced her husband that they need one of their farm.

At first he wasn't into it and then she told him all about me and showed him some of the sites I had been visiting and showing him videos.

YES, if you search +YouTube   you will find lots and lots of videos on companies that build tiny houses. You will find lots of people that are 'living tiny' and lots of people in the process of building their tiny house.

I am going to have the pleasure of visiting one such builder on Feb. 6 in Tennessee. His name is Randy and he is the owner of Incredible Tiny Homes. He also is the brain child of the "BUILD YOUR OWN UNIVERSITY" in which you build your own tiny house in about 7 days. 

Not to worry because he has skilled electricians and plumbers there to help you with your 'TINY" build. 

There are lots of people who want to live tiny but don't want to give up the comforts of modern living. Who said you had to?

I am not giving up anything. I will have a FULL sized kitchen. Which means regular kitchen appliances. I will have a FULL working bathroom. No composting toilet for me. 
Side note: I'll have an entire blog on that on a later date. 

I will also have a dedicated living, bedroom and sitting area. No sharing of space for me. 

So if you don't think you can live in a tiny; its fine. No one is forcing you but I saw a video by comedian Steve Harvey that said, "Who are these people that want to live in Tiny houses? Why are their standards so low that they can't dream to live in a bigger house. If you want to live in a tiny house, you are stupid." Yep those are his EXACT words. Well Mr. Harvey I'll tell you what is stupid.

Stupid is the judgement of people who CHOOSE not to waste money for 30 years paying a mortgage for a home that they CAN'T afford. Stupid is the thinking of small minded people who judge others because they choose to think for themselves and not like everyone else.

So while everyone else pays, on average, $1800 to $2000 a month for a mortgage, I'll pay $400 a month for 2 years and OWN my own house that I can move to wherever my mood takes me.

Yeah, if that is being stupid; I'll take stupid over being smart any day of the week.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

AN AUTHOR AND A TINY HOUSE

What do these two things have in common?

ME!

I am so excited to announce that I am purchasing a tiny house and will be writing full time.

What is a tiny house?

It's just what it says; a house that is tiny. Normally a tiny house consists of square footage that is no more than 500 square feet.

If you want to see the type of house I want; Take a peek at it right here


If you scroll through the pictures, you will come across one that is near a pool; that is what the outside of mine will look like. Looking further at the pictures; you will see one that is mostly white. That would be mine!

I found this builder and have fallen head over heels for them. Some people might call it stalker; I call it admiration.
 
This is a local builder, located in Virginia, specializing in tiny house: Tiny House Virginia

I fell in love with the tiny house movement about a year ago. I watch TINY HOUSE NATION faithfully every week and if I can't; my DVR records it for me.

I have found many tiny homes via YouTube and if you want to see some of them, check them out on my subscriptions: Tiny House Videos

I have decided to take the leap of faith and become a full time writer and I will use my tiny house as my office and I will have all of the comforts that I need.

Some people use their tiny home as an in-law apartment. Some people use them as rental properties.

I plan on taking mine on the road! I plan on parking it in an RV park or campground. I want to move around every couple of weeks for the new scenery.

I am so eager to begin this new journey and will post updates as they come. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND NEW YOU

Well here we are; 2017.

Was anyone ready for this year to begin?

I wasn't but you know what; I am not going to stress about it.

This year I am not making any resolutions. I am simply going to enjoy this year and as a matter of fact, I'm going to enjoy EACH DAY.

I learned that I allowed stress to rule 2016 and it didn't do me any good. I also learned that you can't change people's actions, words or treatment of you. However you can change how you deal with those around you.

This year I am going to do one thing and that will be to be TRUE to MYSELF.

What does that mean?

That means I will not allow anyone to stress me. I will take each day as it comes. However that day ends; it will stay with that day. Each day will be approached with new eyes, new hope and new dreams.

Every day begins fresh and so should we.

Each day is a promise of something new. Each day brings a new chance to do something you haven't done before.

My goal for this year is simple: ENJOY the day that I am given and never worry about what happened the day before.

My motto for the year will be:

TOMORROW NEVER COMES SO LIVE FOR THE MOMENT.

What is your motto going to be this year?