Southern Flair

Southern Flair
Always Look and Feel Fabulous!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Soul of Summer

 Summertime is Here!
Lounging by the pool. The watermelon was cool and delicious!

Sundresses, sandals, and backyard barbecues are in full effect, and I'm enjoying every single minute of it. Summertime is fun time! The days are longer and hotter, which is perfect for lounging by the water (pool or beach) enjoying cool drinks, having fun with family and friends, and soaking up the sunshine. Here are a few staples that define the soul of summer--Southern Style.

There's nothing like sitting on a porch, rocking and enjoying life!

Barbecue: I love Smithfield's. They have great bbq and their iced tea is soooo good!
Lemonade: Ice tea is the official drink of the South, but during summer months, lemonade rules the season. In my opinion, Chik-fil-A has some of the best lemonade--and you can get it anywhere in the country.
The Beach: The South has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Check out this list and go for a visit!
Watermelon: A picnic isn't complete without this deliciously juicy fruit. Learn more about watermelons--including recipes and how to choose a ripe one--at
Rocking on the porch: There's nothing like the peaceful feeling of sitting in a rocking chair, enjoying a warm summer day/night.
Fireflies (lightening bugs): These beautiful little creatures light up the night and make an ordinary evening spectacular.
Ice Cream: Not to be mistaken with frozen yogurt, ice cream, in all its rich goodness, is heavenly on a hot summer day. Ben & Jerry's can be found everywhere, and it's yummy!
Shopping: Okay, this isn't really a summer staple because you can shop year-round. But summer clothing; sundresses, sandals, bathing suits, shorts, tanks, etc., make shopping extra fun!
Reading: Reading is great anytime of year, and especially during summer. A good beach read makes for great entertainment. I include a Recommended Reading section in my enewsletter. If you haven't joint my mailing list to receive my enewsletter please visit my website at, and sign up today!

The Soul of Summer" is the theme of this month's issue of Southern Living magazine.

No matter where you live or how you decide to spend your summer, make sure you have fun, stay safe, and do things that bring you joy!

Until next time, be fabulous!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Sweet Tea Chat with Brian W. Smith

 Sweet Tea Chat

Fabulous Southern Belle is excited to feature the talented, award-winning, bestselling, the-hustle-don’t-stop Southern gentleman (by way of Naw’lins) Brian W. Smith! 

Award-winning, bestselling author, Brian W. Smith

Brian’s career was born from a real-life experience. In 2004, he endured a personal trauma that inspired him to write and publish his critically acclaimed, semi-autobiographical novel, Mama’s Lies—Daddy’s Pain, in 2006. Brian is now the author of fourteen novels to include: DEADBEAT, Nina’s Got a Secret, and If These Trees Could Talk. His novels have earned spots on the Dallas Morning News, Amazon, and Black Expressions Bestsellers lists. He has been awarded the Male Author of the Year by several organizations (AALBC and OOSA Reviewers to name a few), and is the co-host of the popular literary radio show, The Bookends. On August 25, Brian will be release two books on the same day—his 15th contemporary novel, QUAGMIRE, and his second mystery novel, A Murder in the Quarters: A Sleepy Carter Mystery.

This Southern girl is twirling her lace parasol with excitement as I sit down to share a cool glass of extra sweet tea (the sweeter the better!) with Brian while we chat …Southern style.

Q. The thing I find most interesting about the South is…
A. there are thousands of people who refuse to admit that the south lost the Civil War. They fly the Confederate Flag (on their porches, car bumpers, etc.) with a level of passion that makes a black father (like myself) concerned and uneasy whenever my sons leave the house. And although I know that's the "flag waver's" intent (to remind black folk that we're being tolerated not accepted), it still makes me fearful for my kids.

Q. The trademark of a Southern Gentleman is…
A. Many of us can cook...and enjoy it.

Q. Po’boy or gumbo…
A. You know I was born and raised in New Orleans so this is a question I take VERY serious. I'll take the Po'Boy sandwich...if it's on real French Bread - not some whack bun. A lot of people try to cook gumbo, but not everyone can MAKE gumbo. If the roux is too light, the gumbo ain't right.

Q. I’m meticulous about…
A. Manners. I drill my sons about practicing good manners. I can't stand people who don't say "thank you" when you do something kind for them or "excuse me" when they bump into you.

Q. I get excited when…
A. my sons accomplish anything they set out to achieve.

Q. _______ is overrated…
A. Networking is overrated. The cliques in the adult world are more prevalent and discriminating than the ones teenagers in high school gravitate to. As a result, I'm convinced it's not the quantity of people you know, it's the quality. I know several people with thousands of "friends" who spent months unemployed and begging all those "friends" for job leads only to get little to no assistance.

Q. The last meal I cooked was (’cause men cook, too!)…
A. Spaghetti w/Italian Sausage; garlic bread; and a Spinach salad...I from the N.O. baby, I can cook better than most women. From Collard greens to gumbo to red beans and rice...I'm a beast in the kitchen. 

Q. The most challenging thing about writing is…
A. Remaining committed to being a writer when you don't feel your best efforts are producing a noticeable Return on Investment.

Q. I expanded my writing into mystery because…
A. I wanted to expand my fan base. Relying solely on black readers to support your writing career will have a brotha standing on the side of the road holding a sign that says, "I'll write for food." It's no secret that more white readers read Mystery than blacks. And since I've always been a mystery fanatic and many of my contemporary novels have a lot of plot twists, expanding into the mystery genre was a natural fit.

Q. After readers turn the last page of one of my books I hope they…
A. Feel like they didn't waste their money.
Brian, thanks again for stopping by and hanging out with me below the Mason Dixon line! I wish you much success on your two upcoming releases! Readers, please check out Brian's work by CLICKING HERE! You can connect with Brian on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram.

Until Nex time, stay Fabulous!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Make The Most of The Time You Have

Fresh strawberries, a fruity drink, and a relaxing good time! 

The older I get, the more I understand the importance of making the most of the time you have. Right now I have to be judicious with my time. I'm sequestered in my writing cave, working day and night to finish my next book. But sometimes a girl's gotta come up for air, so here I am. With the start of summer just around the corner, I was thinking about how much I'd love to be relaxing somewhere, instead of stuck inside, in front of a computer. Then I thought about the great time I had at the beach last summer. A friend and I took a quick, two day trip (drove down one day and came back the next) and I had so much fun I felt as if I'd been gone for a week.

Calm waves on the beach at sunset. It doesn't get any better than this!

We stopped at a winery on our way down to the beach in Wilmington, NC. We enjoyed a lovely wine tasting and tour, and met some really great people before getting back on the road. After we arrived in town, we went sight seeing, had a huge lunch at a popular local soul food restaurant, and then we hit the beach. We got there in the late afternoon, which was the perfect time. We enjoyed the sunset, breezy ocean air, and walking along the beach while water tickled our feet. I can't tell you how relaxing it was to sit on a blanket, eat sweet strawberries, sip a cool, fruity drink, and simply enjoy life! We ended our full day by going to a restaurant and eating the juiciest burgers I'd had in a long time (zero calories and no fat...hey, I can invent my own reality because I write fiction books for a living). The next morning we got back on the road, stopped by the vineyard again to pick up some souvenirs :-), and then returned to everyday life.

Every Southern Belle has an arsenal of summer beach dresses and stylish sunglasses. What's summer without them?

That quick getaway was truly an example of how to make the most of the time you have. Whether you pack several activities into one day, or you do absolutely nothing for an entire week, use your time in a way that serves you. Make the most of every moment you have.

Until next time, be fabulous!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sweet Chat with Benilde Little

Sweet Tea Chat

Click here to purchase your copy!
Fabulous Southern Belle is honored to feature the Fantabulous, Benilde Little, in the Sweet Tea Chat! Not only is this woman beautiful, she’s super talented. Benilde’s debut novel, Good Hair, was selected as one of the ten best books of 1996 by the Los Angeles Times. Her subsequent novels, The Itch, Acting Out, and Who Does She Think She Is, were all reader favorites. In her latest work, Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir, Benilde has penned a moving account of her journey caring for aging parents, raising children, being married, plunging to the depths of depression, and climbing her way out.

This Southern girl is pleased as peach to share a tall glass of sweet tea with Benilde while we chat. So without further ado, let the fabulousness begin…Southern style.

Q. The thing I find most interesting about the South is…
A. That the people are, for the most part, so friendly and will tell the most surprising things—oftentimes--intimate things. I love that! I liked being greeted with a good morning, hello, whatever—acknowledged. We don’t do that up here and it’s a nice thing.

Q. How did I ever live without…
A. My dog—he keeps me grounded and in touch with non-verbal communication. He helps me appreciate other living beings, not just humans.  Dogs are so great, because they keep things real and simple. He also forces me to get out and walk in the park everyday no matter the weather.

Q. My idea of a great vacation is…
A. A deserted beach, warm water in which to swim, some great novels, waiters to bring me food and drinks

Q. If I were a superhero my power would be…
A. My body would be strong, flexible and pain-free

Q. My favorite beauty product is…
A. concealer (under the eyes)—rarely leave home without it!

Benilde Little, Author of Welcome to My Breakdown
 Q. Fried chicken or baked…
A. There’s nothing like some good friend chicken—but I rarely eat it. If I didn’t have to worry about my cholesterol (and my weight), I would be a fryin’ chicken eatin’ somebody.

Q. I never leave the house without
A. Sunglasses

Q. The most challenging thing about writing is…
A. Let’s see, everything. I guess the hardest part is having really free time, meaning clear headspace where I don’t have to think about anything or anybody else other than what I’m working on. I’m a mom and a wife, and I’m responsible for my 90-year-old father who has dementia, so obviously those completely free moments don’t present themselves often. I just get in what I can, before my teenage son comes home from school.

Q. I wrote, WTMB, because…
A. I was lost and then I lost my mother. My mother and I were extremely close. She was my mirror, my wisdom, my fiercest supporter, my confidante. We loved each other deeply and even before she died, I’d lost something else precious; my ability to write. I was in a mid-life malaise that I couldn’t seem to shake. I was on the precipice of despair and then she died and I fell off a cliff into a pit of sadness. Writing the book was a way to help other people who have suffered with clinical depression, sadness or just a feeling they can’t figure out but know that their life should be better. 

Q. After readers turn the last page I hope they…
A. Will want to remove the mask, to embrace all of who they are, warts and all, to get real. What I’ve learned on my journey, I want to share. I know that being real ain’t pretty, but real is what gets you through the night.

Benilde, thanks again for stopping by and hanging out below the Mason Dixon line with me! I’m so very happy for you and I know your new book will touch and bless many lives!

Click here to order your copy of Welcome to My Breakdown, and don’t forget to spread the word to your family and friends! 

You can learn more about Benilde, her life and her work through the following sites;; @BenildeLittle ; instagram is Blittlevirgin, Benilde Little Fan page

As always, thanks for reading! Until next time, be fabulous!

Trice Hickman

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sweet Tea Chat: Featuring Eric Jerome Dickey

ONE NIGHT, Available Nationwide April 21, 2015, Click here to order your copy

Fabulous Southern Belle is thrilled to feature the super talented, Eric Jerome Dickey, in the Sweet Tea Chat! 

Eric is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty previous novels, as well as a six-issue miniseries of graphic novels featuring Storm (X-Men) and the Black Panther. Originally from Memphis, he now lives on the road and rests in whatever hotel will have him (Five-Star, I’m sure). Eric’s latest page-turner, ONE NIGHT, is filled with all the hallmarks of an Eric Jerome Dickey bestseller—erotic situations, edge-of-your-seat twists and turns, and fun, believable relationships.

This Southern girl is honored to share a cool glass of extra-sweet iced tea (I’m talkin’ pure cane sugar) with Eric while we sip, laugh, and chat. So without further ado, let the fabulousness begin…Southern style.

Q.  The thing I find most interesting about the South is…
A. The bugs I thought had died when the meteor killed the dinosaurs. They drink Raid like it’s sweet tea from Chick-Fil-A. Are there more churches than strip clubs? Do they both have the same members? Oh you said one thing. My bad. I digress. Let me go feed a bug real quick.

Q. Iced tea with or without lemon...
A. Without. Those slices have too many germs.

Q. My guilty vice is…
A. Comics comics comics. I pick up one and I am that kid in middle school again.

Q. If I was granted one wish it would be (can’t wish for more wishes)…
A. To reach a certain age, maybe 30, then each year become younger until I hit 19, then age to that age again, younger again, stay in that cycle…but retain memories and wisdom.

Q. I’d do anything to avoid…
A. Sleep. Seems like a faulty design. All of those wasted hours.  Giraffes have it made.  

Visit Eric at
Q. After I cut off my locs I…
A. Was not recognized by anyone, not even my gardener. But then again, no one recognized me before I cut them off. Might weave em back in, get one of those front lace numbers and shake my hair back and forth.

Q. My idea of a relaxing evening is…
A. Hulu, Netflix, binge watching something, anything from Daredevil to Jane the Virgin to The Walking Dead to Last Man on Earth.

Q. The most challenging thing about writing is…
A. Working through exhaustion and staying original enough to challenge myself, because I do bore easily, sameness dulls my senses. In the end, though, I need to create a tale familiar and relatable enough for the audience the jump on board and help me row this boat toward a few bestseller lists.

Q. I wrote, ONE NIGHT, because…
A. I had a contract. LOL. Gotta pay dem bills! Dat telephone bill! Dat automo-bill! Then I can chill! Actually (in my intellectual voice) I wanted to create a novel with as few characters as possible. I only wanted to have two named, to have them go through as much of a full relationship as they could in a few hours, to move from being strangers to wherever that road takes them, to have an unforgettable adventure, to have revelation about self and life, and have it pretty much play out real time. I managed to make it all happen between sunrise and sunset. 

Q. After readers turn the last page I hope they…
A. Wipe away tears and applaud. Inhale. Exhale. Laugh a little. Sip wine. Miss the character Jackie. Start rereading with a smile. 

Eric, you are hilarious! Thanks so much for spending time with me below the Mason-Dixon line. I can't wait to read, ONE NIGHT! I know it will be a bestseller that readers will enjoy.  

Please visit Eric at to learn more about him and information for his book tour dates. If Eric is coming to a city near you, you owe it to yourself to come out and get an autographed book or two...or more. Yes, definitely more!

Until next time, be fabulous!
Trice Hickman