September Review

 

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Oh, look, an on-time post!

September is almost over, and I can barely remember much of it! The WCP Edition of Fractured Princess is out now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and apparently where else books are sold! I have had 5 more interviews, 4 of which are live:


I've also been looking at my NA Fantasy. Probably more excited about that than ever. I still have a ways to go in the Shattered Chronicles, though, so I'm going to be patient. I plan to start an A-to-Z Series on Instagram discussing the Final Fantasy tropes I use in the Shattered Chronicles, so if you haven't followed me there yet, my IG link is to the right over there. I have nearly daily content there, mostly related to FP right now, but also some other fun stuff.

Being back in the office all 5 days is a bit nerve-wracking. A lot of people still don't believe the masks work, and having had to cover the front desk because of an outbreak in the office this past year, I wish they would shut up about it. Children are dying now. Someone has to care. Fortunately, I have an actual office, so I don't have to interact with too many people. I've also been keeping busy with an archiving project, so I'm super tired when I get home. I'll never get used to waking up before 7am. My mind doesn't work until about 9.

Speaking of work, I also started a gig on Fiverr for proofreading. Hopefully that takes off and can help me with some bills. I love to proofread, and I'd love to do work that I love. That's a lot of love. I'm also hoping this book takes off, but I know how publishing works.

 Anyway, wish me luck!

Fractured Princess (WCP Edition) Paperback Release Day!

 

I will catch up on all the missed Wednesday posts next week, but today marks the Paperback release of the new edition of Fractured Princess, available wherever books are sold! Visit my Facebook or Instagram pages to view live readings I did following the Kindle release. I plan to do a Q&A as well that may be up by the time this post goes live. We'll see.

I realized I didn't post the premise on the Kindle release post (I guess because I've posted it here so many times already), so here is the blurb!

Jonnie is the last princess of the Crystal Bearers, once a powerful people. When she was a baby, the metal army destroyed what was left of them, and now it is hunting her. Her watchmen keep her just out of the metal army’s reach, but she has spent her seventeen years running and hiding. Instead of standing by while her watchmen keep risking their lives for her, she decides to learn how to fight alongside them.

On the journey to hone her skills, long hidden secrets about her people reveal a connection between the Crystal Bearers and the metal army that only fuels Jonnie's will to defeat it. But the more she learns about her own powers, the more she realizes she may be responsible for the metal army – and the destruction of her people.

Black Author Spotlight Update

 


Happy September!

This is a just a quick update about the Black Author Spotlight. I'm not getting a lot of hits on it yet, so I'm going to spread the posts out. Hopefully in the in-between time, I can reach out to more authors who would like to be highlighted and get this up to a monthly post. So the next author will be highlighted in October!

August Review - What A Month!

 

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This month has certainly been a whirlwind. There was a lot of stress leading up to Comic-Con, so once I realized what I had to work with and do to make my experience the best it could be, things turned out fine. I left the extension cord I had bought just that morning, and as I'm typing this I remember that I work with the people who collect all of the electrical equipment, so let me call them to see if they have it! If they do, that'll be one less stressor from that day. (They didn't have it. Ah well.)

My interview with Sand & Shores was moved to this Friday, so I will let you all know when that goes live. I had a great interview with @ShanGeeReads on Instagram Monday. It's funny how my very first interview I was so nervous that I coughed through most of it. I was scared that would happen Monday, but I made it! I have a radio interview with WDDE 91.1FM tomorrow. I'm excited about that. I've never been on radio! This is a very busy week for me! I was actually asked to fill in as an author last night on a book slam on Clubhouse, but I had physical therapy and two choir rehearsals, so I couldn't. I didn't even know Clubhouse had made it to Samsung, though, so maybe another Tuesday!

All things considered, this month has flown by! I'm semi-actively on a job hunt. We transitioned back to the office 3 days a week in July, and we'll be back to all 5 in September, and I just don't want to do that. I can't turn back time and do more writing-specific jobs, so I need to figure out how to transition to them from office-work. Also, I loved working from home. It's just so much more flexible, and a big saver on this $3+/gallon gas. I was also able to fit in other things, like waking up when my body is actually ready to wake up and exercising on my lunch breaks. If I can find a job where I'm not someone's secretary and where I can stay home and work, that would be ideal. But also, who knows where these books are going to take me?

How was your month?

Fractured Princess (WCP Edition) Kindle Release Day!

 


Once again, the release date for Fractured Princess has arrived! It is currently available for purchase in Kindle format. The paperback will be released September 14th.

Last Thursday, my interview with Blerd Senpai went live. It was fun, and I love his podcast. This Friday, I have another interview with Sand & Shores, who are doing a series for authors of fiction. I'll let you all know when that is live.

Dover Comic-Con was a blast! Unfortunately, all of my books didn't arrive in time, but I was able to sell what I had and get the word out about the release dates. A lot of people stopped by my tent (which was only at half mast for the first two hours. I didn't know how to erect it all the way, so one of my friends came and helped me), and I had a couple of people give me their information so I can come to community events or talk to their students. That's exciting. The rest of my books came Monday night, but I have a book club that's been waiting for the new book for over a year now, so I'm excited to get it to them.

I hope some of you grab it and that you like it! I'm excited about the update, and the good news is I've already finished the next two parts (the plus side to the publisher releasing books at a specific word count), so there won't be a super long wait for the sequel.

Here's to what's to come!

1 Week Away From Dover Comic-Con! And the COVER REVEAL!

 It's a rare Saturday post because I received the new cover of FP, and I have to share it! But first, I am one week away from first Dover Comic-Con as an AUTHOR!


I'm so excited! I'll be next to a big comic book tent, so hopefully I'll generate some interest as people pass me on the way. I'm most worried about being out in the heat for 8 hours, but hopefully it will be a nice day. My new bookmarks and business cards were delivered today. I'm just waiting on the canvas, which I was able to update with the new cover. Hopefully it processes and gets here on the 11th like the e-mail says. I wasn't expecting the first shipment this early, so here's hoping.



This is the design I had for this new cover. I love Paint 3D. I sent a design like this to the first cover artist, and that's how I got that gorgeous 3-Jonnie photo for the self-publication. I don't think I actually sent this to the new artist, but I might have. I did tell the art director that I wanted the shattered glass effect.

And so without further ado....

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The new cover for the 2nd Edition of FRACTURED PRINCESS
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A whole new Jonnie! I'm very happy with it, especially the cover scheme, which surprisingly matches the first cover. I love the banded glove on her right hand, and this is actually the first time *I* get to see the crystal in Jonnie's hand. Can you believe I never drew it before needing the new cover?? I don't know how I managed that. I always drew her with her hands covered.

Anyway, I'm very excited. August 18th is going to be here faster than I expect! I have a couple of interviews coming up this month, so I will share them when they're published.


Have a great weekend!

Black Author Spotlight: Aziza Sphinx


Welcome to my first black author spotlight!

Brand new for my 1st Wednesday post, the goal of this segment is to highlight black authors who are often marginalized and ignored in the industry. Black writers usually turn to self-publishing--an already densely populated industry--to have their stories seen, and it is said that we have to work twice as hard to get half of what our white counterparts have. Hopefully, shining a little light on these authors will help to signal boost the work they are putting out there.

First up is speculative fiction author Aziza Sphinx.


From her website at www.azizasphinx.com:

Aziza is a firm believer that reading and writing go hand in hand. A southerner through and through she loves her peaches and pecans while curling up with a good book. A master of resourcefulness, her love of research leads her down paths of discovery that touch every aspect of her writing. Her love of reading ignited her passion for writing, leading her to frequently fill page after page with tales of her beloved characters’ adventures. 

An influence and an adversary she loves to sprinkle facts about her beloved Georgia throughout her fictional worlds.

Here is a look at her current book, A Licentious Storm:

(A cover of a pair of violet eyes in the background. In the foreground, a black man, kissing a white woman from behind. Upper text: Danger, Mystery, and Sex, All rolled into one unforgettable story. Title text: A Licentious Storm. Author: Aziza Sphinx)

Family Secrets creep into Gianina Marcello’s life through the one thing she loves most, art. A mysterious painting arrives at her gallery doors. Power and intrigue soon follow as her quaint artistic escape becomes the backdrop of a budding romance with artist Neimiah Richardson. But as much as Gianina desires a life of roses and rendezvouses, a nasty secret from her past returns to haunt her present.

Caught between ravaging lust and murderous madmen, Neimiah struggles to juggle the responsibility of keeping his Vampyre master sane and mending that which was sundered. As the lone male of broken bindings, he must navigate the human world in an attempt to woo the great-grand daughter of the one who deserted them long ago.

With their Master’s control nearly gone, a vengeful ex and a lover scorned, can this couple mend a broken bond or will the world succumb to a licentious storm?

Autographed copies are available on Aziza's website. The book and e-book are also available on Amazon. For all other platforms, visit https://books2read.com/u/4jW8qD.


Follow Aziza on Instagram and Twitter: @AzizaSphinx!
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If you are a Black author who would like to be in the spotlight, email me the following information at debreneebyrd@gmail.com 

Name or Pen Name

Genre

Website/Blog

Social Media handles

Book (if any) and where to buy

Permission to use photos

July Review - Road to Release

 

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Whoo, things are moving so fast!

First off, I had the best vacation with my friends. I'm the only Summer birthday between the local ones, so sometimes that means I automatically get a beach vacation for it. We went to Ocean City, Maryland, and went to the beach on our three full days, partied, went to Jolly Roger. Word of advice: don't eat heavy BBQ and then get on a roller coaster, then get on a whirly ride. I don't know what I was thinking, but I was nauseated. Still had a blast. My girl friends also threw me a surprise Beychella-style photoshoot, and there's nothing funnier than hearing your friends whispering outside of your hotel room trying to be quiet just so they can burst into the room. But I love my Queen Bee hoodie.

Secondly, the book release is three weeks away! I have a couple of interviews in preparation for scheduling, and I may be doing a Twitch stream the day before the convention. I met my publicist yesterday. I have a PUBLICIST. Oh, my God. When I say everything happening right now is a dream come true, it's a total dream come true. I'm excited, nervous, super anxious, feeling fight-or-flighty, but I'm here. Dover Comic-Con is two-and-a-half weeks away now. It will be my first convention as an author, and I'm ready. I need to get a table, hopefully from my church, but I'm ready. I hope to reveal the new cover for my normal Wednesday Words post; I just need all the titles on put in place. It's so pretty. I can't wait for everyone to see it. Of course, that means I'll have to change the layout of the blog, which I'll probably do this weekend. One thing I didn't realize until my director asked yesterday was I don't have ARCs yet. There's still time, but here's to fast readers! I also hope to make more bookmarks for Comic-Con like I did for the self-published release party. I need to get that done this weekend.

I'm increasing activity on my Instagram as I get closer to August 18th. Speaking of, I will also be more active on my Twitter account. I had a personal account, so I was splitting my time between the two. On Twitter, it's time consuming and unnecessary, so I deleted my personal account in order to build up the presence for my author account. May my personal account rest in peace. I had so many random celebrities like my tweets; I will miss that for sure.

Anyway, I have so much to do! *screaming* Wish me luck!

New Monthly Post: Black Author Spotlight

Introducing....



I'm very excited about this.

Starting in August, I will be highlighting black writers and authors on the 1st Wednesday of the month. I am in a couple of Facebook groups dedicated to black writers, and I follow many on Twitter; but we usually get swallowed up in the void of publishing. 

In 2014, Malinda Lo and Ellen Oh called out the publishing industry for the lack of diversity in kids' lit. Of course, this sentiment spread to other genres, and the hashtag #weneeddiversebooks was created. Unfortunately, instead of seeking out and/or stepping aside for BIPOC talent, white writers created stories with BIPOC main characters instead, and the publishers deemed that acceptable. Lee and Low put out a diversity baseline study in 2015, and then again in 2019. No significant change. BIPOC remain smashed together in the margins of the industry from the top to the bookshelf.

This lack of diversity and its complacency bleeds out into so many spaces, but as a black author, my blog will not be one of those spaces. I want to bring more awareness to black creatives so that we can get more of our stories seen. We're the only ones who can give a 100% authentic view of who we are. The more exposure we have, the better our chances of being acknowledged and the better our chances of other black writers in the next generations seeing us and knowing that they can do this, too.

So stay turned on August 4th for my first spotlight!


If you are a Black author who would like to be highlighted, email me the following information at debreneebyrd@gmail.com 

Name or Pen Name

Genre

Website/Blog

Social Media handles

Book (if any) and where to buy

Permission to use photos

Wednesday Words: Finishing up Far Sector by N.K. Jemisin & Jamal Campbell

 


We are almost halfway through July! As it is the 2nd Wednesday of the month, I will be sharing what I'm reading right now. I'm going to do my best to get Wednesday Words back into a consistent rotation. I was able to read for hours in a crunch while I was reading The Shining with my sisters, so I know I just need to sit down, turn on some music, turn down my notifications, and just read.

 

I have only two more installments left of Far Sector before the series is OVER! I'm sad about it. I haven't read a regular comic book in decades now. I've read manga and graphic novels, but the last superhero comic I read was definitely one of the X-Men comics when I was in single digits. Coming into the Green Lantern universe through N.K. Jemisin's brilliant eyes has been a great ride, and I think I'll be reading more comics in the future. I have hundreds of books and ebooks I need to read, though, so maybe not the near future.

So while I haven't opened these yet, just look at the covers. I have absolutely loved the color schemes and designs Jamal Campbell created. As we're coming up to what I can imagine is the big "boss battle," both of these covers give off great energy of what's to come. I can't wait. I brought my Kindle to work, so I'm going to get started on these on my down time.


What are you reading?

We Hold These Truths...

 [I posted this on Facebook last year, and it's a good time to post it today, because nothing much has changed. And all of us weren't free July 4, 1776.]

We hold these hard truths to be self evident:
That your forefathers claimed all men were created equal,
But said my forefathers were less than human and therefore property;
That you praise Lincoln for freeing the slaves,
When he didn't care either way, as long as the Union was saved;
That when the slaves were free, you turned your slave catchers into cops,
And created the prison system to put my forefathers right back into slavery.
We hold these truths to be self evident:
That your forefathers claimed all men were created equal,
And that Black people need to pick ourselves up by our own bootstraps,
But I don't recall anyone giving out the boots after emancipation was proclaimed;
Matter of fact, only the slave masters got reparations for the loss of their "property,"
But all men are created equal.
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That this country was built with the blood, sweat, and tears of Black people,
On top of the bones, blood, and tears of the Indigenous;
Your forefathers said all men are created equal,
But you paved our paradise to put up Central Park in New York and bombed our Wall Street to appease the virtue of some fragile white woman in Tulsa and emptied a whole pool because a black woman dipped her toe in the water;
All men are created equal, but the father of modern gynecology treated black women like lab rats who can't possibly feel pain,
And his mindset continues to kill black women to this day;
All men are created equal, but they're even killing our children,
Because black children aren't allowed to just be children, so Mommy and Daddy have to sit them down for The Talk before they go outside to play.
We hold these truths to be self evident:
That all men are created equal, but red-lining and gerrymandering exist;
All men are created equal, but my parents were in segregated schools;
All men are created equal, but you're scared to say racism still exists;
All men are created equal, but turn on the fire hoses, release the dogs, throw the tear gas, get the pepper spray, they doth protest too much;
We hold these hard truths to be self-evident:
That this country wasn't built for all men,
And it's time to pick it up by its bootstraps, turn it upside down, knock out all the excuses, lies, the status quo, the racists, the gaslighters, and this jerry-rigged system,
And start over so we all can pursue life, liberty, and the justice we so deserve.



Quarterly Goals


This is officially the fastest year in the history of fast years. It is the last Wednesday in JUNE!

On the 5th Wednesday that pops up quarterly, I share/brainstorm/word-vomit my goals for the next three months. I took a break in December and March, so I had to hop back to my Quarterly Goals post from September to see what my goals were supposed to have been these past 9 months (I could've had a baby hahaha).

My first major goal was to get back into the swing of things. Result: Eh. I have been doing a little better, but I still have a way to go. I might not get back to writing and reading the way I used to. On the bright side, I do know what I need to write. Just have to press forward and get it done. And when I get back into a good reading pace, I'll have probably a hundred books and e-books to start with. I have been doing a little better with blogs, at least.

My second major goal was to find a job I really want to do. Result: Eh?? Since September, I bowed out of the startup production company I joined, and while I've been looking at gaming-related jobs, I don't have the credentials. We go back into the office full time in September, and words can't express how much I'm dreading that. On the other hand, I do have the traditional publication to look forward to. I know not to get my hopes up that I'll become a millionaire best-seller off of one book, but I am definitely over the 8-4:30 secretary jobs. They were never part of my plan. I know my plans don't really mean much, so I'm grateful that I'm starting to see my author dreams coming true. In the meantime, if there's a work-from-home job in the cards for me, hopefully that's a new day job in my future.

Incidentally, the next 5th Wednesday falls in September again, so I'll get to see what I've accomplished a year out with the next Quarterly Goals post. Who knows what the next 3 months will bring? Let's find out!

FRACTURED PRINCESS RELEASE DATE (June Writing Update & Monthly Review)

Happy Wednesday!


I took a week off because I had a meeting with my publisher last Thursday, so I wanted to wait until I had news to share! I'm very excited, so here we go!



You will notice a release date has been added to my website description! The traditional release of FRACTURED PRINCESS will be August 18th! I'm so excited. I can't say enough how I wished a publisher would find my book in the Amazon piles but didn't think it would actually happen. And now, two years after I self-published FP, the dream is coming true. I will hopefully have a cover by the next Writing Update post. They're working on it now. I've already seen a preliminary image, and to see Jonnie illustrated again is so wonderfully weird. I love how talented artists are.


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On another note, my schedule will be changing again. This 18 months has been a bit of an eye-opener on a lot of things, and while I'm so grateful for the outlet I've had a chance to be a part of for the past 9 years, I have decided to stop participating in the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I had left the Facebook group in January, and I was trying to hold out, but I'll just say safe spaces are real and necessary, especially for black writers. I don't have the luxury of ignoring certain issues, and I can no longer remain in spaces that do.

So what that means for the 1st Wednesday of the month, I have some options. I might push my posts up and take a break the last Wednesday. This month, I have Quarterly Goals, and I already took a break last week! I already know there won't be a post on July 21st because I will be on my birthday vacation (update: I scheduled a post hahaha), but as I already said, August 18th is FP's release date, so I need to post something! I'll figure it out.

So that said, I will see you all next Wednesday for my Quarterly Goals!