I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel

Friday, August 12, 2011

Doing It My Way This Time Around!

People often ask, when am I going to write my memoir? And for the longest I wasn't sure if I wanted to tell the whole story. I mean once you put it out there, you cant take it back. And I got a whole lot of stuff in my closet.

And honestly, I believed if I was going to do it, then I needed a book deal.  I'm always thinking big and I just didn't want to do it on my own. And then a few years ago I was swept up in a world wind. A friend in the literary world made some inquiries on my behalf and in a matter of weeks I had one of the best literary agents in New York City. Hot dog, I knew this was the time. My friend also got me a writer and I never questioned her credentials. She had been the former editor and chief of one the largest magazines in the country. That was a BIG freaking mistake. I learned just because you can run a company of writers, don't mean you can actually write yourself.

But the three of us started this venture together.  My writer didn't know how to write a book proposal and my agent had to coach her on the particulars. That was the first sign that things were going down hill before they even began. But he thought that maybe she would rise to the occasion once we actually started writing the book.  John sent the proposal out, and within a week I had four meetings with  top publishing houses in the country. I was so excited! But then it started to crumble after the day of meetings.

One publishing house wanted a sample chapter, which is not uncommon. But Lord, Lord, my writer couldn't produce.  The first sample had to be re-written and the final product was rejected. Another publishing house also asked for a sample chapter, but John knew that it was futile, my writer just couldn't deliver. The heifer couldn't write and that was the bottom line!

We  did get an offer from one publishing house and John was hot. It felt that my book was six figure worthy, but it had been sabotaged by the writers inability to deliver. I took the book deal with Hyperion Publishing House, which, is still on the A list, but gee it sure hurt to lose the other publishing houses.

Then the drama escalated, my writer quit when I accepted the deal with Hyperion because it wasn't enough money. WHAT? You lose us three top publishing houses, then you turn around and quit. It was a mess. Then she wanted to be paid. I had to get a lawyer to get her off my back. I always say, be careful what you ask for, you just may get it. I was so set on having a "real" book deal that I accepted her credentials on face value and that was the beginning and the end of my book deal.

But the drama continued; I had to find another writer, so I went searching. And just when I thought I was going to sign someone, she changed her mind, she felt it wasn't enough time. But the fact was, time was ticking and I was going crazy. I found a local writer, who couldn't write either. I mean her sample chapter was decent, but she couldn't connect the dots chapter to chapter.

After  one month of interviews and three horrible chapters I knew it was a wash. She agreed to walk away, but she kept the $9,500 advance, after she had agreed to give a portion of it back. That's what I get for trusting her to do the job before it's done. Never again!  This book deal started to become a saga. It took on a life of its own and it was draining all of me right down to the core.

Four months before the book was due, I stopped my life and started writing my own damn memoir. I did nothing, I mean NOTHING but write this book. I cried and prayed my way through all the pain and drama of my life; Reliving it on paper was all consuming. I had a few readers helping me work through the grammar, cause yall, I cant spell a lick. But in the end I did it!  I finished the manuscript three days early.

But then the next level of drama began. My editor at Hyperion was a trip for real.  She and I fought over the revisions. That's tricky, ultimately it's my story, but the publishing house can walk away anytime they want if they feel you aren't giving them what they want. My editor told me things like, "I want it to read like a novel. Never leave the story." The problem was, you cant reflect if you never leave the story. But then she would tell me to "Reflect,"and when I did, she would turn around and she tell me to take it out. It was frustrating. Then it really became crazy. She told me one day to, "Embellish, Embellish, Embellish." She said, "For lack of a better explanation I want it to read like James Frey, just don't lie."

WTH? I mean it was already a tell all book. I told on myself and everybody else. What more did she want? There was so much  dick and pussy in the book, I couldn't image what more she wanted. And Yall know I came with it.

So after giving one year and four months of my life to making this book happen, Hyperion walked away from the book deal. I was devastated and embarrassed. Everyone on the planet knew I had book coming out. How could I face the shame of it all? And I really  was demoralized. Basically,  She said the book was to poorly written to move forward. HUH?  I think that's what revision's are for. WOW... I walked away from the book deal shattered. I can't write. WOW... I can't write rung in my head for months. That was one reason I was hesitant to start this blog. I had accepted someone's opinion of myself against everything knew was true because she was an "expert".

And so I've been sitting on my memoir for almost three years now. Praying and hoping that I get new writer to revise it so that we can try to sell it again. My agent has been clear, books that have been dropped by a publishing house have a taint to it. It's not impossible to resell, but it is hard.

So after sitting with my Soror Lynn Richardson yesterday, for an interview for Russell Simmions Global Grind, I was inspired to move forward. Yesterday's discussion with Lynn combined with all the support that I have gotten from my blog and all the continued request for the full story, I'm going to do it!  I wonder how many people can be blessed by my story, and here I am, sitting on it out of some grand ass idea of a book deal. I don't think God can be pleased with me is this one.  Jesus was born in a manger not the Ritz Carlton.  I have never been more clear. My life and all that I do is ministry and I should never forget it, no matter how it get to the people, just as long as it does.  I was lost, but now I am found!!

To hell with publishing houses and peoples opinion of my ability to write. I will begin revising my memoir;  It's my story and I can tell it anyway I want. I'm doing it my way this time around. So what I don't have a big publishing house, but I do plan to published my story. I've been waiting for almost three years on someone else to do for me way I can do for myself.

If people want to know the the full story they will buy the book no matter who publishes it. So I'm starting out on this venture. I have no idea how I will even pull the money together to self-publish, but the Bible say, if you take one step, he will take two.

My goal is to have my memoir Unprotected by World AIDS Day December 1, 2011, as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of AIDS. I'm excited! I hope that you are to! Keep me in your prayers. I'm going to move forward even in spite of my health.

If you are interested in purchasing my memoir  Unprotected please send me your email address to this link here rae@raelewisthornton.com

I'm doing it my way this time around!!!

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