Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One by Ananda Leeke (iUniverse, Inc., 2007) tells the story of Karma Francois, a thirtysomething, California-born BoHo BAP (Bohemian Black American Princess) with Louisiana roots and urban debutante flair. The novel begins with Karma’s life suddenly taking a drastic turn. Her relationships and the museum curator career that she struggled to form in New York City have crumbled, leaving no viable options to rebuild. Relocating to Washington, DC, Karma struggles with denial, depression, and debt. A lack of full-time employment opportunities forces her to craft a gypsy existence as a Jill of Many Trades: yoga teacher, art consultant, and freelance curator. Unable and unwilling to appreciate these jobs as gifts, she wallows in a pool of lost identity—and doesn’t see a way to keep from drowning. When she looks in the mirror, Karma sees a woman whose choices have dishonored her true character. Now, for the first time in her life, Karma must learn to see herself for who she really is. Love’s Troubadours reveals how our everyday decisions affect our future and explores the healing power of love.
In the poetic memoir That Which Awakens Me (iUniverse, Inc. , 2009), Leeke shares her journey of self-discovery from a law school graduate to a creative woman who learned to open the door to authentic living. When she graduated from law school in 1989, she was a twenty-something with a life plan focused on becoming a successful attorney. Using her multiple bar exam failures and two bouts of unemployment as a catalyst for self-discovery and lifestyle reinvention, she followed her own unique path during the past twenty years and made changes in the way she feels, thinks, lives, works, and manages her finances. Through poetic reflection and personal stories, she shares the lessons that taught her to trust her intuition, expand her spiritual practices, heal emotional wounds, tap into her creativity, discover her passions, open her eyes to hidden opportunities, volunteer and serve her local community, travel the world, and heed her calling as a writer, artist, creativity coach, yoga teacher, Reiki Master practitioner, radio host, blogger, social media strategist, and innerpreneur. That Which Awakens Me provides insight for anyone seeking guidance on how to both handle and benefit from the ups and downs of their own life journey.
Leeke used six-word memoirs as a tool to overcome writer’s block while writing That Which Awakens Me. She learned about six-word memoirs during a memoir writing workshop taught by Lori L. Tharps, author of Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain at All Souls Unitarian Church in 2008. After taking Tharps’ workshop and reading Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure by Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith of Smith Magazine, she decided to create six-word memoirs for her ten chapter titles in That Which Awakens Me. She also included several poems and writing exerices that use six-word memoirs in the book. She currently uses six-word memoir writing exercises with her yoga and creativity coaching clients. Her six-word memoir - Go Green Boho BAP. Urban Debutante - was published in It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser of Smith Magazine in January 2010.
Leeke’s poem, “October Death” is featured in Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the 21st Century edited by E. Ethelbert Miller (Black Classic Press, 2002). It celebrates the passing of a life fully lived and includes references to jazz, New Orleans, and New York City (three of her favorite subjects!). The poem was written in honor of her grandfather, Robert W. Gartin, Sr. who made his life transition in 1996.
Leeke became a pioneer in the digital universe twenty-seven years ago, when she logged in to the LexisNexis research service as a first-year law student at Howard University School of Law. She was immediately smitten with what the World Wide Web could do. Later, while attending the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995, Leeke found herself in an Internet café, where she experienced an interaction that changed her life.
Over time, through interactions and conversations both online and in-person, she developed the concept of “digital sisterhood.” Embracing this revolutionary concept led to a complete career reinvention that finally allowed her to embrace her enormous creative spirit. She found in her digital sisters true “sheroes” and virtual mentors. Her blogging and social media adventures highlight the lessons she learned in the process, the reasons she launched the Digital Sisterhood Network, and the experiences that caused her to adopt what she terms the “fierce living” commitments.
In her memoir, Digital Sisterhood, she details her journey, sharing experiences and insights that helped her and her digital sisters use the Internet as a self-discovery tool and identifying leadership archetypes that shaped her role as a social media leader.
2014 and 2015 Book Projects
Leeke is working on Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two (2014-15) and a book with her father, Dr. John F. Leeke about his work as social change activist (2015).