Brand New and Coming at You Baby… in 2019 :)

Brand New and Coming at You Baby… in 2019 :)

OK, I’m a little late announcing this since the news officially came out two weeks ago buuuuuttttt… HERE’S THE PUBLISHERS WEEKLY ANNOUNCEMENT FOR MY PICTURE BOOK WITH SHANE EVANS!!!

Copied from PW website

Whew.

I totally knew that the day was coming when the word would get out and suddenly everyone who cared to know would know that I am an author, but it’s still kind of weird to think about it. Me, Breanna J. McDaniel, author. Cool but also weird.

Kinda exciting.

Again, I’m sorry for the late notice, but I’m trying to move my whole life to a different country in approximately a month and half and it’s super hard. BUT, I am definitely living the dream. Shane was the illustrator I had in mind when I was writing the text for Hands Up! and I wake up every day super grateful that he said yes to this project.

So that’s the new word on the street and now I have to go pack and get ready for the next chapter in this crazy journey called life!

Love and light,

Bre

 

Express Yourself!

Express Yourself!

Express Yourself!

I cannot think or look at the words, “express yourself”, without following up with another, “’Spress Yourself!” like in the Charles Wright song.  I’ll admit that most of the time I just mumble along to the words during the rest of the song and then yell out, “Spress Yourself!” whenever I think that part is coming up. Sometimes I come in right on time and sometimes I don’t. Doesn’t matter as long as I, “EXPRESS MYSELF”.

I’m working hard to express myself as fully as possible but it can be difficult. I can’t draw but some people like my lovely friend Rachelle, who drew the picture below can express themselves through visual art. I have friends who act in plays, friends that sing.  People travel and make videos to express themselves. There are so many ways to shout out to the world, “I am Bre!” Or, “I am [insert your name here]!”

Writing is one way I express myself and here’s a secret for you, it’s my favorite way to ‘Spress Myself 🙂

Another way I express myself is to use humor. I’m pretty good at laughing at myself and I enjoy a good joke. When I laugh, my mouth opens wide so you can see all the way down into my stomach (jk!), but you can definitely see all my teeth and my laugh is pretty loud. When I was in the 8th grade, a guy named Ryan who I had a crush on, turned around in his seat and told me that my laugh was the worst thing he’d ever heard. My heart broke into pieces and I thought I would never laugh again.

I stopped talking and speaking up in class. I kept my jokes to myself and I made sure that whenever I was around Ryan I didn’t laugh. Then I watched a movie with Julia Roberts in it and she LAUGHED! All her teeth were showing and her head was thrown back it was awesome! Then I saw a movie with Gabrielle Union and she laughed big and happy too!

By that time, I’d long been out of classes with Ryan and entering high school. It took me a while to embrace my laugh and a lot of other things about me, but now it’s one of my favorite ways to express myself. I think that if I’m only ever remembered for my laugh and the way I make other people laugh, that’s OK with me.

However you express yourself, do it loud and proud 🙂

SPRESS YOURSELF!

Bre

My First Love

My First Love

Reading was definitely my first love, but writing was a close second. I loved writing stories, but more than that I loved, and still love, bringing pen or pencil to paper and letting my thoughts breathe outside my mind. A pencil that’s newly sharpened and leaves a small indentation in your finger when you press the point is the beginning of a perfect writing session for me.

I learned how to write in cursive when I was in the third grade but I tried hard to curve my letters and flow “a” into “b” and then “c” long before penmanship was on the docket for me at school. I would look at my grandmother effortlessly swish her name across the page and wonder at her expertise. She’d cross her “t” with such precision but for me, practicing a skill I’d never been taught just because I wanted to learn it sooooo bad, was impossible.

Once I got to third grade and we started on penmanship, I connected the lines easily as we moved through the alphabet. Even when we were directed to write letters without the connecting lines, I breezed through, it seemed absurd that I’d ever had any problems writing in cursive.

Then we got to the letter “g”.

Connecting the dots to create a “g” was easy peasy lemon squeezy, but when I was asked to write a capital “G” without my dots to guide me it was a disaster. Somehow I got away with pages full of shaky, quaky “g”s but then came the capital “Q”. It’s not quite an “L”, less looping and more like drawing a swan without the beak. Now, at 28, my mind can capture all sorts of images that make it easier to draw “Q” but when it came time for us to pass on to “R” by filling a page first with capital “Q”s and then lower case “q”s, I prepared myself to drop out of the third grade.

There would be no promotion to the fourth grade for Breanna J. McDaniel. I’d just read a book about two kids who lived in a museum and I saw the many possibilities in my local public library as a place to live out my days. Third grade dropout, sleeping in the juvenile mysteries section, that would be me.

When the day came for me to fill the page with “Q”s, I dutifully completed my task and prayed over the thick lines of my paper, just like I’d been taught. Somehow, when I got my paper back there was a big red check on the front and the next day I received the same worksheet for “R”s that everyone else in the class got. In hindsight, I’m sure all of my attempts at cursive before the fifth grade were equally terrible but it doesn’t matter, because I got better. Now I’m a penmanship rock star, although to be honest, “Q”s and “S”s still give me a little trouble.

That’s how I started with creative writing too. I’ve been writing stories and poems since before I can remember, and many of my writing started out shaky and quaky. I read back over some of my stories and many of them just end at chapter two or three. I wrote a play that I forced my friends to perform in college and there’s only one word I can use to describe that particular piece of art: “Yikes!”

But I got better.

Now, I’m editing two different books that I wrote. I’m doing OK, but I still have a lot to learn and I’m doing this all freestyle, no lines or dots to connect except the story lines in the web of my mind! Writing’s hard and sometimes it seems impossible but sometimes I get a big, red check on my book edits and I go to the next level. Sometimes I have to stay where I am and work out all of the wobbles and curves.

It doesn’t matter as long as we’re still writing and learning! We’ll get better.

Happy writing,

Bre

New Blog, Who Dis?

New Blog, Who Dis?

First blog post. Cool!

I think it’s best if I start writing about my journey by first giving thanks and expressing my gratitude to the village that supported and nurtured me.

I’ve never reached for any new heights or achieved any of my goals alone. I repeat. I did not do this by myself!

Outside of my abundance of aunties and uncles, my slew of siblings (cousins included, get in here y’all!), my amazing momma and my generous grandparents, my church family was the first village to show me love. Shout out too to my chosen family created out of friends, mentors and the animals that continue to come into my life. I’ve been provided with food, money, clothing, shoulders to cry on, safe havens, writing retreats, hugs, handwritten letters, shared tears, phone calls (b/c I hate texting and they know it) dance parties, jobs, smiles, random but necessary conversations that I didn’t even know I needed, patience, kindness, care, passion, laughter, belief in my abilities, advice (unsolicited and solicited) and kicks in the butt when I’m being stubborn, which is always. Can you imagine how exhausting that must be?

I’ve journeyed with them before and I look forward to continue this journey, learning more about who we are as a village, together.

I’ve been privileged to be gifted with goodness, tangible and intangible. As my Uncle Mikey would say, “Look how blessed I am!” Even though I don’t deserve it, look how blessed I am.

Grace + Mercy= My Current Situation.

All honey, no tea,

Breanna J.