October Review

 

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There was a meme that I saw the other day that told October to slow down! It's already almost November?! Geez.

I haven't had too much happening. My last newsy interview went live 2 days after my September Review, so here that is: Arts Playlist: Debra Renee Byrd’s ‘Fractured Princess.

The National Black Book Festival occurred this weekend virtually, and my SF(F)or the Culture crew interviewed Saturday. We are probably in the last video, as they split the sessions up by AM/PM. It was so fun, and apparently, I have to go watch the original Terminator, or I can't come back. XD

November is a busy month outside of work for me, but it's also the month where we have the most State holidays, so that will balance out. If I do NaNoWriMo, I will be working on as many scenes for the Shattered Chronicles as I can. I have to figure out the conclusion. I see everything else but it!

I'm still looking to leave admin work. I applied for a Content Moderator job with a video game streaming company that I wasn't too sure I had the qualifications for, but my sister pushed me to do it, and I even wrote my first creative out-of-the-box cover letter to get noticed, but I got the rejection email today. It was worth a shot, and I'm proud of that cover letter. I also forwarded the job to my Black Girl Gamers, so I hope one of them applied and will get it.

Good luck to everyone who will do NaNoWriMo! DVPit is also happening right now, and I had the pleasure of mentoring two contest winners this past month, so I wish them and everyone else who pitches the best of luck!

October Writing Update

 


I haven't done a writing update in so long, I forgot what the icon looked like, and I made it! The 3rd Wednesdays are typically set aside for this, and I really can't say when it was that I last wrote. I think it's because what I've written is 1) not in the right place in the story or 2) not the right path for the story. The former is easier to fix than the latter. I do know I put a scene in earlier than I wanted, so my block might be telling me that I was right to hold on to it longer. So, we'll see what happens.

The National Black Book Festival starts Friday, and it will be streamed live for free on Facebook! My team gets interviewed Saturday afternoon. This is a really long convention, so I hope I get enough sleep. I don't plan on viewing all the sessions, though, so if I happen to fall asleep, then as long as it's not during my slot, I should be okay.

I have paperbacks at the house that I need to figure out where to sell them. I have a couple of spots I can do it, so I just need to reach out and hopefully get some new readers. We'll see.

NaNoWriMo is two weeks away! I still don't know if I'm going to do it this year. If I do, I will definitely be working on this sequel! I have so many ideas for it and just need to put them in the right places. Wish me luck!

Black Author Spotlight: Chase Bolling


Welcome to the Black Author Spotlight!

The goal of this segment is to highlight black authors who are often marginalized and ignored in the publishing 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.

Today, I'm highlighting Chase Bolling!


Chase is speculative fiction/urban fiction author and the Managing Editor of SF/For the Culture, creator of the steamy Ballad of Eli and the thrilling epic fantasy series The Vanguard, joining the ranks of African American science fiction authors. Growing up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with a proud Afro-Indigenous family, Chase marched in protests and canvassed for political campaigns while dealing with the challenges of gang culture and the criminal justice system, channeling a penchant for "being about that life" into his family lineage of activism. A total Blerd, Chase is a fan of anime, like Naruto and Bleach, sci-fi/fantasy books, and geeks out on The Witcher, and The Mandalorian. An avid swordsman, you might find Chase practicing historical martial arts, wearing armor, and choreographing fight scenes for his current work in progress!




Chase's Vanguard Series is a dystopian novel set in present day. A tech wizard has created a device that wipes out all modern weaponry and weapons technology, opening the door to revolutions across the globe. In The Road of Resistance, we zoom in on one such revolution in Connecticut and how Chessed Ilias Freeman, who has prepared for such a time as this, creates a new government with swords, shields, and other medieval weaponry. Chase is currently working on editing the series, but it is available on Amazon now.

My favorite line from RoR: "Let the revolution begin! I don't wanna work today, anyway."

That's a mood. haha

You can visit Chase on Instagram and Twitter!

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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

Quarterly Goals - Where Am I Headed?


Oh look, a post almost 4 hours late. On brand.

We have reached another 5th Wednesday! These are the days in which I share my goals for the quarter and see how I fared with the ones from the previous quarter. It looks like in June, I mentioned that September of 2020 was also a quarterly goals post, and so I could see how I did after a year. Let's see:

My first major goal was to get back into the swing of things. Result: Eh.

Yeah, about that swing. On the bright side, I've been more active on social media to draw attention to Fractured Princess. Trying to do the whole brand thing is not really my thing, and the Instagram Promo Bots comment more than my actual followers, but I suppose it's a start. Writing-wise, I'm really excited about where The Shattered Chronicles is going, but I once again have to figure out all the letters between Point A and Point Z.

Reading-wise, I'm reading N.K. Jemisin's The City We Became right now, and I am loving it! I read "The City Born Great" when she put that out, and it starts off the book with a little twist to get the big story rolling. Here is the cool cover art and the blurb.


Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She's got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

This story is Norah's love letter to New York, and I wish I loved Dover that much. haha I can't wait to see what happens, and if I'm lucky, this will get me back into the reading habit! Monster Pulse, one of the web comics I've been reading for over 10 years just ended recently (sob), so I've started another one that I actually started reading years ago and forgot. So, I guess I can't say I haven't been reading; I've been consistent with the web comics. I'm actually reading 4 right now: The Undeath of MeWhite Noise, Love Not Found, and Sleepless Domain. Some others that I was reading have sadly fallen off due to either life happening or website issues, but I hope to see some of them return in the future.

My second major goal was to find a job I really want to do. Result: Eh??

So, as I was looking through LinkedIn daily and trying to sift through what were real job postings (we just can't get away from bots anywhere!), I thought to myself, "It would be nice if there was a website where we could post what we do, and people reach out to us instead of the other way around." Then, I remembered Fiverr. It was staring me in the face this whole time! I used Fiverr to get in touch with a cartographer for my book, and people post their "gigs" there to gain work. Whereas I've tried other places where you have to still look through jobs and present yourself over and over to clients, the clients come to you on Fiverr. So, I created a seller account there for proofreading and editing, which I love to do! Now, I just need clients. I also took a few weeks to proofread my Managing Editor's first book, and he said he would recommend me to the publisher for gigs. That would be a big step in the direction I want to go. I had a freelance proofreading job way back after I graduated college, and doing it again felt so good. I wish there were more jobs like that online.

All that said, I'm back in the office full-time, no telecommuting, although I probably could've asked to. I just thought if I don't have to be home, I shouldn't. Curse my work ethic (although I am posting this at work right now). Plus, there is a lot of archiving that I'm now responsible for, so I have to be here to work on filing. Blah.

My goals for the next three months are to just continue making progress on all I'm getting back into. I think starting vague can be helpful sometimes. Less chance of disappointment.

See you in October!

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!
___________________________________________________________________________

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