January Review

 

Black and white photo of a hand writing on a blank notebook
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It's the last Friday of January, and what a month it has been!

I've been preparing Fractured Princess for its final cover reveal and release date. The plan is for next Friday, so be on the lookout! I will try not to make the biggest deal about it, but going back to indie publishing is exciting for me. I'm glad to have the reins again.

I'm slipping back into writing more in Divided Princess, reworking some scenes to strengthen the story. I was talking to my younger sister about it while we were sipping wine in Vegas (I can't believe we were in VEGAS), and thinking about getting to Book 3, knowing for sure how that plot will go, motivates me to keep going!

I also applied to be a vendor at Multiverse Con in October. I believe I will hear if I'm in next month. We'll see. If so, it will be my first out-of-Dover convention, for which I will be super nervous.

Speaking of applying, I applied for a couple of rare-to-see proofreading jobs. When they look legitimate and are telecommute positions, I have to jump at the chance. I might have two big projects coming up from local clients, so we shall see! I love proofreading, if I haven't told y'all enough.

Wrapping this up, I hope everyone had a good month. If not, here's to a better February! See you then. 

Weekly Words: Heading to the West for a Week!

 

Happy Friday!

I've decided instead of completely changing my blog schedule to not make it so rigid. That way, I don't have to worry about the set topic for the week. I'll try not to just ramble every week, but even the erasure of the schedule in the left toolbar felt freeing.

I'm currently beta reading a book, so I don't have anything to share on the reading front this month. This week has been extremely busy, but it has fortunately flown by. I have one more work day, and then I am on VACATION! My sister and I we won a timeshare contest a couple of years ago, and we sat through the presentation and won two trips, one to Colonial Williamsburg (which we skipped), and one to Las Vegas! It'll be our first time in the West! The time zone difference is going to wreck me at least the first day. I slept every single drive the first time we went to Nashville, and that was only 1 hour different. But maybe we'll just be on a weird schedule for those 4 days. My sister is already partially nocturnal.

I started preparing Fractured Princess for Amazon. I'm going to register it with the Library of Congress, and though I planned to publish in July, because of Comic-Con I will be releasing the book in June! A cover reveal is coming soon. Most likely February, but definitely by March. I want to launch the pre-sale of the Kindle edition in March as well. I have little bursts of excitement when I think about being back in the self-publishing game. I can't wait to see what this year has in store for Jonnie and the crew.

This is a short one. I will try to schedule a post for next week, so I don't miss a week so soon. Have a great weekend!

New Year, New News!

**HAPPY NEW YEAR!**


It is the first Friday of 2023! Can you believe it? I surely can't. 2022 came in hot and fast, and the overall consensus was that this year needs to come in nice and quiet-like.

Well, I started 2023 with my first bout of COVID, so the year is super disrespectful already. I've been in bed since Tuesday, when I woke up ready to go to a scheduled doctor's appointment and realized something wasn't quite right. The past few days have taken me through rotating symptoms, and I'm grateful they all didn't hit at the same time. My doctor prescribed me treatment, so I started it last night. It gave me grapefruit mouth, but so far, so good.

On that note, some things I've gotten done the past few days:

  • I rewatched The Witcher and The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf. I am in the middle of rewatching the first 3 episodes of The Witcher: Blood Origin, which I watched with my sister last Saturday and had planned on finishing with her before I ended up in quarantine. I also watched all the bestiaries, and the narrator is so goofy.
  • I finished the audiobook version of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which I read NINE YEARS AGO. I had to search both this blog and my old blog to remember that I was still over on my old blog when I read it. I even forgot how I found the book in the first place. It was in an article about Black fantasy authors! Here is the post, if you want to peek at it. That was back when I used Random.org to pick a page from the book, and seeing the line that I chose, it's funny because I just heard the line a little over 24 hours ago.
  • I spent about 7 hours playing Apex Legends, and I don't know if it was being in bed or having to focus more because of the coughing and nose-blowing, but I played really well. Even won a couple of games. Yay!

Realizing I was at the end of the week, I knew I had to get a post up for today, especially because my book contract has now officially ended! That means I am free to self-publish again! This past year, I've spent most of my writing time revising Divided Princess, but I also had help from my friend, the author MultiMind (highlighted on my blog here), preparing Fractured Princess for its re-release, so I made some updates to it as well. I plan to have more information in the next few weeks, but I will be back at my local Comic-Con with a new edition of the book, hopefully in paperback and hardcover and featuring a newly designed version of the original cover by Racheal Scotland! I'm really excited about it.

So this far, that's the best thing to come of 2023, helping to balance out the bad, and it's only the beginning!

I'm In Another Tournament!

Happy Friday!


I'm peeking back in on my hiatus to say I am participating in the second Black Girl Gamers Apex Legends GameFace Tournament hosted by Benefit Cosmetics!



This year, I'm in Team MeMeDe, and I've gotten some good practice in! I hope to do better than have my captain carry me all 6 games haha. If you want to watch, the tournament will be live on the BGG Twitch Channel at approximately 3:40PM EST with two Get Ready With Me segments, followed by the big game at 5:00PM. I love to get the chance to play with the BGG, and here's to more tournaments in the future!

On Hiatus

Happy Thanksgiving! Don't stuff yourselves. 


I might as well make it official: I will be on hiatus for the rest of the year. See you in 2023 when I'm refreshed and ready to post again!

VOTE VOTE VOTE

 

Happy Monday!

Please remember to vote tomorrow. Our country is finally falling off the broken bones it was built on, and we don't need to save it. We need to fix it. Many states have made it harder for certain groups to vote, and there are intimidaters monitoring the drop-off boxes in other locations, but do not let that deter or scare you. This will be one of the most important elections in our history. Human rights are at stake. Climate change is at stake. The future of these "United" States is at stake.

October Review

 Well, I definitely missed last Friday, so I guess I can double up this time!

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It's the last Friday of October, and I know I've said before that I need these months to slow down. It feels like there aren't enough MINUTES in the day, let alone hours, to get things done nowadays.

One thing about being on a computer all week for work is that I don't want to be on it when I'm at home. Of course, this doesn't bode well for writing or (as you can see) blogging. I really have to push through that, especially for the new year. The commute really is taking a toll on me, though. I have to get up an hour earlier than I'm used to just to ride the bus to work (to not only save on gas but to not pay for parking in the City of Wilmington). If I'm lucky, I sleep on both trips to and from, but that doesn't factor in loud people and lead-foot drivers. I can't wait for our relocation. Even though it's not much closer, taking a bus would mean taking TWO to get to the new building, and it's not in Wilmington, so I'll be driving, which will give me back an hour of sleep; plus I'll get home sooner. Also, though this is also new and challenging work, I'm definitely still pining for a job that leans more to my writing abilities and nothing else. On the bright side, with the QA testing I've had the privilege to do these past couple of months, I can add that onto my resume for experience.

I've been looking at what I've written so far in Divided Princess, and I'm not satisfied with one of the chapters I've reworked. I guess I need to re-rework it back to what it was, but I moved it in the first place to make a fuller chapter for Cyan. It's still short, so it didn't work how I needed it to anyway. Maybe I'll give him more to do in the chapter so I can fix the issues. Part of my goal with this book is to show what a regular life looks like for these characters, at least for a short time (wink). I can delve a little deeper into that for Cyan. But I really can't wait to get back to writing new-new material in this book. Things have been coming together in my mind so tightly that I once yelled about it in my bathroom, and my sister asked if I was okay. haha

Hopefully I'll be back into the swing of things in November, though a lot of things happen that month, too. I'm still trying to decide if I want to do NaNoWriMo. If I can get this first part of DP fixed, I'll have more motivation to do it. We'll see.

Black Author Spotlight: Pura Lux

 

Happy Hallows!

It is the first Friday of October, which means it's time for another 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 am highlighting Pura Lux.


Pura Lux is an amazing poet I met while at Florida State University. She is from Homestead, Florida, and  I believe she now lives a little more inland, so gratefully, she was safe from Hurricane Ian! She writes the most surreal, ethereal, and the rawest words I've ever had the privilege to read. Though she's quite nervous to share her work to the masses, she uses Instagram to post her musings backed by pretty graphics that sometimes include her lovely face! I'm still waiting patiently for her slam book *ahem*, but for now, scroll through her feed to read her beautiful words!

Follow Pura Lux on Instagram!

Quarterly Goals

 

It is the last Friday of September, which is a 5th Friday, so that means it is time to look at my quarterly goals!

I actually had a dream one of my friends from high school who also wrote a book series asked why I wasn't at a(n imaginary, because it was in my dream) book festival. I think it was Kitty Gang, and if it was I'm laughing. That is a term fans of BTS use for Park Ji-min. I told him I didn't know about it but also that I can't do any promotion until January because I'm technically still on contract. On that note, the countdown is ON. But that's for next quarter.

I also just realized I skipped July's 5th Friday because it was my birthday month. So, I have to look back at April's quarterly goals. I had only read 6 books then, and I'm at 11 now, one away from my adjusted Goodreads goal. I had the week off, and I wanted to read more, but I think I slept more than anything the first three days. I guess I needed it. Then, I caught up on some of my DVR and played a couple of video games. I'll get back to reading on the bus this coming week, and especially tomorrow, because it's football season.

The last quarterly post, I said I planned to publish Divided Princess by Winter next year...I mean, I guess it's still possible, but I'm only a third of the way done with it at the moment. Maybe I will do NaNoWriMo so I can work on more scenes, even if they're not in any particular order. We'll see. I actually just moved a scene or two around, and whereas I said I had 20 chapters in the first part, I merged a couple of chapters, and I also think I miscounted, so now there are 17. I'm still reading through, fixed some continuity, and making sure things make sense overall. The first few chapters are establishing what Jonnie and Cyan have been up to the past year, so diving more into their personalities and dynamic is one of the primary goals.

Ew, in April, I had that job interview for a proofreader that didn't pay anything. Fortunately, in that same post, I started doing freelance work with my sister's friend's company, and I'm now on their roster for proofreading projects when needed. I also did QA for the first time, and I liked it. We just finalized that project, so hopefully this will lead to more frequent work with them. I go back into the office Monday, and the only thing I'm dreading is the early wake up. I'm enjoying the job right now. Once we relocate, only a few months away now, I'll gain an hour of sleep back. I can endure. But I do want to be a full-time proofreader, whatever that looks like.

Tomorrow, I plan to continue my staycation vibes, but I hope that everyone in the path of the hurricane(s) is somewhere safe and with some semblance of power. Be careful out here! I saw a video where someone ordered UberEats, so also just be mindful and EAT WHAT IS IN YOUR HOUSE during storms!

Anyway, see you next month!

September Review

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Welcome to Fall!

September has been a pretty okay month. I've been taking the bus to work, so I have a chance to read more. I cut my book goal in half for the year when I realized I wasn't going to reach 2 books per month. I might get in more than 12 this year, though, so I'll try 24 next year. I'll be on vacation next week, so I plan on sitting and reading, reading the first part of DP, and catching up on shows I've started and have yet to finish.

The job is going very well. With the whole department full of new people, we're all learning together, so my productivity has been higher than ever in any State job. haha The commute is draining, but we'll be moving a little further south early next year, so I won't have to get up before 6am to try to catch the bus. It's only 8-minute difference from one building to the other, but the new building would require too many buses, and I spend too much time checking routes and times for ONE bus every in-office day (anxiety is a bitch). Freelance-wise, I haven't received Fiverr requests for a long time, and Twitter won't let me send the Tweet to promote it for some reason. I'll try again soon. My other freelance proofreading work went very well this past summer. I'm finishing up a project this coming week, and hopefully I can work with the company again soon.

On another note, I'm going to cancel the Patreon. I know it's only been a few months, but it's not getting any hits, and I'm the kind of person who has no motivation to do things if no one is interested in it. I tried to hold out, but trying to drum up content for a patron who literally lives with me is disheartening. I can just tell her my updates. Maybe I can try again later when I have more engagement, but not right now.

Oh shoot, there's a 5th Friday this month. As usual, I will look back on my last goals, see what I accomplished, and also post what my goals for the next quarter will be. I'm excited for the end of the year, because 2023 means I will be free to start hyping, promoting, and SELLING Fractured Princess again. I can't wait, and I hope you can't either.

Enjoy the weekend!

September Writing Update

 


We're going to be in 2032 if we blink too long!

It's the THIRD Friday of September, can you believe it? Not only does that mean we are a few days away from my favorite season, but it also means that it's time for a writing update!

So last month, I mentioned that I finished the first part of Divided Princess. I started the first chapter of the second part. I did one major revision to it, because I brought in a character earlier than they were needed, and it was getting in the way by my forgetting they were there haha. I need them later, so I'll put them back in then. It just makes sense.

I'm going to pause the writing and read the first part back to see how it all feels. I think that will also help me with the next few chapters before I get to where I need to go in the story. One thing I do want by the end of the series is for there to be less crying haha. Jonnie cried a LOT in the first book. Of course, she went through a lot of grieving in that book, too, so it should be understandable. I just want NO tears from her by the third book, if possible haha. We'll see how that goes. 

In other news, I'm going to Kensington (Northeast Philly) tomorrow to meet MultiMind for her book signing! I featured her in my Black Author Spotlight back in January, and her hustle is so inspiring. I can't wait to be able to promote FP again. She's given me so much knowledge about self-publishing and has helped me in this journey so much, I can't thank her enough.

I need to try to record some Patreon videos today, one for last month and one for this, and I'm also supposed to be working (what else is new?), so I'll cut this here. Have a good weekend!

Weekly Words: Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland

 Happy Friday!

It is the 2nd Friday of the month, and that means I share with you what I am reading or writing, and I have successfully finished the book I'd been lazily reading since April and a whole comic book saga (The Dark Phoenix Saga, which was hilariously bad, but nostalgia), and have started a web series as well as a new book! And by new, I mean another book, because I bought it December 2020.

Justina Ireland's Deathless Divide, the sequel to Dread Nation, returns us to post-slavery, zombie-riddled America with Jane McKeene, zombie fighter extraordinaire, and this time, we also get to look through the eyes of her fellow fighter and former rival Katherine Devereaux as the girls try to get to California a la Oregon Trail...with zombies (they're not really taking the Oregon Trail, but could you imagine!).

This might be one of my favorite covers. Some covers with the characters on them tend to miss the mark, and these two really bring to life Jane and Kate for me, except Kate is described as light enough to pass for white, but that's the only difference. I can imagine her being out in the sun would give her this complexion. But anyway, the juxtaposition of their clothes also enhances it for me. Jane dresses to fight. Kate dresses to remain a lady. I do think it's funny, where I've gotten so far, that she keeps cutting off pieces of her petticoats to clean things. She's resourceful, I'll give her that.

I just started reading this on Tuesday, so I haven't run into any more shamblers (what they call zombies), but getting to see Kate's POV, we do get to read more about her ace/aro leanings. Seeing what Jane goes through with her on/off beau Jackson, Kate expressly says she will never feel that kind of push-pull and would never even sign up for it. It's great to see.

If you haven't read Dread Nation yet, I highly recommend it, and I don't even like zombies. I definitely remember yelling in fear reading the first book, so I expect nothing less with this one.

Here is the blurb:

After the fall of Summerland, Jane McKeene hoped her life would get simpler: Get out of town, stay alive, and head west to California to find her mother.

But nothing is easy when you're a girl trained in putting down the restless dead, and a devastating loss on the road to a protected village called Nicodemus has Jane questioning everything she thought she knew about surviving in 1880's America.

What's more, this safe haven is not what it appears - as Jane discovers when she sees familiar faces from Summerland amid this new society. Caught between mysteries and lies, the undead, and her own inner demons, Jane soon finds herself on a dark path of blood and violence that threatens to consume her.

But she won't be in it alone.

Katherine Deveraux never expected to be allied with Jane McKeene. But after the hell she has endured, she knows friends are hard to come by - and that Jane needs her, too, whether Jane wants to admit it or not.

Watching Jane's back, however, is more than she bargained for, and when they both reach a breaking point, it's up to Katherine to keep hope alive - even as she begins to fear that there is no happily-ever-after for girls like her.

 

What are you reading this month?

Black Author Spotlight: PYIF

 


Happy Friday!


It is the first Friday of SEPTEMBER, and we can freak out about that later. It is time for another 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 am highlighting Allen "PYIF" (Push Your Imagination Further) Greene.


This author is actually very near and dear to me: he's one of my cousins! We come from a very artistic family, from music to illustrating to writing, we are very right-brained.

PYIF is a sci-fi light novelist who is finally actively pursuing his dream toward publishing. I've had the pleasure of reading his first few draft pages, and I think readers will be in for a treat!

PYIF has created a GoFundMe to help with art commissions and copyright buyouts. Please support if you can! He's almost halfway there!

Follow PYIF on Instagram!


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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