Black Author Spotlight: AJ Woodson


Welcome to August! It is the first day and the first Friday of the month, so 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 AJ Woodson.

AJ Woodson is the creator and Editor-in-Chief of Black Westchester Magazine, a webzine for people of color in Westchester, NY, and the tri-state area. As the website states, " is committed to be a platform to profile life, culture, economics, politics, sports and entertainment and those who are representing vision in these marketplaces and who can both encourage and provide role models to other men and women., through its online magazine, monthly newspaper, weekly talk radio show and editorial content, will be a vessel of community information throughout Westchester and the Tri-State area of New York. Our mission is to promote the concept of “community” through media." Black Westchester Magazine currently has close to 1,000 articles, with topics ranging from entertainment to politics, and hosts seven radio shows.

AJ also wrote a book about the creation of the webzine called Black Westchester - The Origin Story And How My Faith Was Instrumental in This Great Experiment, which tells of how the magazine came to be.

It is currently available on Amazon, but you can purchase an autographed copy through Paypal or Cashapp via $MrAJWoodson. Click here to read the article with the news.

You can follow AJ on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at MrAJWoodson.
His website will soon be available at


If you are a Black author who would like to be in the spotlight, email me the following information at

Name or Pen Name



Social Media handles

Book (if any) and where to buy

Permission to use photos

Black Author Spotlight: S.D. Johnson


Happy July! It is the first day and the first Friday of the month, so 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 Samone "S.D." Johnson.

Samone is a self-published speculative fiction author, wife, and mother of three. She is also a mentor, beta reader, proofreader/editor, copywriter, and ghost writer, and she also helps promote other books! 
She actually has her own author spotlight as well! Samone's website is equally as active as she is. You can view her current read as well as books she's read previously, and watch her booktuber videos!

Her first series, The Fallen Scion Series, is currently available on Amazon, and if you visit her website, you might actually find a free sneak peek of Book 1: The Scion's Descent *wink*. Here are the awesome covers of all three books (peep the backgrounds!):

And here is the synopsis:

The Falling Scion Series is a coming-of-age story dropped at the crossroads of Mad Max and family deception. The year is 2305 in a post-apocalyptic dystopian United States. Our fragmented Scion Yoli has grown up regal and privileged in the Shore Delegation but is seemingly transformed overnight when she is kidnapped by a sister that she never knew existed and told the truth about her bloodline and pedigree. She can’t trust anyone and she’s full of resentment, and all she wants to do is run from all of it. She doesn’t have time to be smitten with Solomon the Post Trader or lose her best friend and Daily, Selah. Yet, with learning the truth, she’s forced to deal with it head-on or be consumed by the deceit.

Everything changed for Yoli, the day the men of the Pit and their heinous leader Santana got their hands on her. Santana tortures Yoli, in hopes to get information from her that could change the course of their history. Not to mention this evil man is revealed to be Yoli’s uncle and mortal enemy. After an all-hands-on-deck heist to get her back from the Pit. Yoli goes through a tragic drug-induced detox only to be forever changed from the sheltered heir of the Shore Delegation to a wild child still grappling with life after the enemy has sieged and destroyed her home. The once life-loving young lady has become a dark, brooding, life-hating, hedonist drowning her broken pieces in debauchery. Along with Solomon the Post Trader (the man she has come to swoon after), her new sister Stacia (the one she once admired and now loathes), the people of the Bottoms, and the bounty hunters, the group finds themselves at the Barnes Military Base with the Pit looming close behind them. This is where Yoli learns two of the most crucial parts of her existence and she realizes that she has to get her act together and her life in order if she is going to live to see another day. It’s this bit of information that her sister was hiding that took from a young adolescent girl to a woman that must make adult decisions. One of those things is that her traditional tattoo Scion markings that she received at the age of thirteen during her coming-of-age ceremony, hold the key to a “promised land” beyond the desert wasteland that they all know. It’s that map in her Scion markings that her greedy uncle Santana will stop at nothing to get his hands on.

It’s at this moment that Yoli rises up and uses the information that Santana was after to keep her loved ones safe. She decides that it's her time to lead and stop crying about a past that she cannot change. Yet even that causes a whole new set of problems. The Pit is hot on her trail and she still can’t shake the burden of lies that she has to carry every time she looks at her sister, but she perseveres with the little hope that she has left. It’s lead her people or die trying time.

Faced with the tragic loss of one of Yoli’s loved ones, she decides that enough is enough and heads out after the enemy on her own to put an end to the torment that her family has suffered. She wanted to look death in the face and conquer it once and for all. Will she succeed?

Sounds intriguing! I love a good complicated family narrative.

Once again, you can visit Samone's website at

Follow Samone on Twitter and Facebook at authorsdjohnson.

Follow her on Instagram.


If you are a Black author who would like to be in the spotlight, email me the following information at

Name or Pen Name



Social Media handles

Book (if any) and where to buy

Permission to use photos

June Review: I had a busy month!

 June has been a busy month for no reason.

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I only say this because I was busy every Saturday for one reason or another. Here is what I did:

On the 4th, I went to my first Pride event with my younger sister. It felt so good to see so many people out, and I saw other demisexual flags on the street, so I wore mine like a cape of honor. Next year, I have to remember to bring money, because the drag shows were popping! We spent most of our time there.

woman in a Demi Goddess t-shirt standing akimbo on marble steps with a demisexual flag worn like a cape
Me on the steps of the Townsend Building at Legislative Mall.

On the 11th, I had a graduation party to go to, and then I stopped by the African American Festival with my goddaughter. Then, my friends all piled into my house to eat crabs. On the 18th, Dover Comic-Con took place, and I spent two hours passing out merch bags filled with a bookmark, business card, and post card with Fractured Princess's blurb and release date.

gray mesh gift bag with a business card with three identical black girls' faces on it, a bookmark that reads "Fractured Princess" on the top, "Debra Renee Byrd" on the bottom, and a young black girl's face in the middle, and a post card
The bag is shiny, so pictures are meh.

I had fun those two hours. I passed out all 75 bags that I had, and I even got to stop to eat for a minute before I left to get ready for my best friends' baby shower. Then, we piled into our other friend's apartment and watched Turning Red.

On Juneteenth, my sisters and I hung up textiles of our mom in the room that used to be her sitting area in her in-law suite at my older sister's. She updated it, and it's really cute (not that it wasn't before, but my mom liked cherry wood and maroon/taupe fleur-de-lis afghans, and we do not). We sat in there and chatted for a few hours. Then, I rested on the 20th, which was very nice.

Tomorrow, I have a baby's birthday party and a barbecue at my sister's, and then it will be July! Well, not right away, but it will feel like it. There is a possibility that I will take a break in July, as it's my birthday month, but I'll cross that bridge in a week. I still have to record a video for Patreon, so that will be my goal later tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Writing wise, as you saw in my post from last Friday, I have so much written down, and I can't wait to put it all together. It's for Book 3, though, so that means I need to get the ball rolling on Divided Princess. I need to figure out how to get to all the stuff that leads to Book 3. I kind of know, but I just need to sift through my jumbled ideas and make sure I carve out a sensical path. Wish me luck!


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June Writing Update: Change of Plans But Good News...

It is the third Friday of the month, which means it's time for a writing update. This one is brought to you by Twitter:

There are other tweets after the first that may or may not have clues to the inspiration for these plot points, but ...*evil grin*.

Anyway, I had to make a slight change of plans for my attendance at Comic-Con, so while I won't have a table this year, my spot is reserved for next year, and I will be walking around with the merch I have to pass out to folks. Hopefully they use it to find me here and everywhere I am on the interwebs.


Join me on Patreon for additional content!

Weekly Words: Black Authors and the White Gaze

*Trigger Warning: Discussion of R***, Incest, and S***** V******* in Writing*

Happy Friday!

For the second week of June, I typically share what I'm reading, sometimes what I'm writing. I'm still reading Marlon James's Black Leopard, Red Wolf, and I've gotten to a point where if I actually carve out time to read, I make it further. Imagine that!

However, I want to stop and discuss something I noticed while I was looking through the reviews to see how people felt about it. It has an average of 3.5 stars on Goodreads, with 75% of readers rating it at least 3 stars. As I said in the previous post, one reviewer said to read it in small doses because it's dense, and that's one of the reasons I'm still reading it. I made it through George R.R. Martin's A Feast For Crows and A Dance of Dragons. I think I can make it through a book 500 pages shorter. And as it's being called the African Game of Thrones, I am comparing it to GOT. I'll get into some of that in a minute.

The other reason I'm still reading it is as a Black fantasy author, Black readers don't get to see fantasy written from the Black perspective frequently, especially the Black male perspective, and Black authors deserve Black reviews. SFF is still saturated with white authors not only writing white MCs but overstepping and writing POC MCs, so not only do audiences receive a usually poor misrepresentation of POC in fantasy, POC writers get shut out of the traditional publishing industry because "there's already a ____ story," or "this doesn't feel authentic to _____" (which I've seen many POC writers say this was told to them, ironically), or the biggest one, "I (the agent/reviewer/reader) can't connect with this."

The latter is a problem of the white gaze. White readers open these books by Black and NBPOC authors with a lens of expectation that we can't meet because we're not white. We're not going to tell stories in the same way as white writers with the same historical influences as their readers, because our histories, stories, and mythologies are different. So, when we don't meet this impossible expectation, or sometimes even exceed it, these are the kinds of reviews we get (I'm going to highlight some key elements of these reviews):

From Goodreads, 2-star review (excerpt):
"honestly, this is the most pretentious book i have ever read. its so far beyond high-brow, its in an obnoxious league all on its own. james employs every literary device possible to transform his words into riddles, half-truths, and vague mysteries. as a reader, i dont mind having to sometimes work for a story. some of the best stories take patience to dissect deeper meanings. but what is really happening here is marlon james hiding behind his fancy words and complicated sentences to distract the reader from the lack of substance and development. the rhetoric in this story is dense, convoluted, and bogged down with false promises of something worth reading. the prose is evasive and meandering, dragging the reader around and around in circles without an end in sight. its honestly a disorganised and conceited mess."

From Goodreads, 2-star review (excerpt):
"Of course, the African foundation brings with it different types of stories and forms than those which underly the Greek/Roman mythic tradition but the same fundamental questioning is at its heart. Like Ovid’s Metamorphoses, it’s an interconnected compilation of stories, featuring representations of violence and transformation throughout. Here, the overarching narrative is the tracking of a lost child, but this is a book of movement and journey, change and discovery. There’s so much more to it than this one tale, instead it’s a meandering exploration of an unknowable world.
And yet, it's precisely this which is its downfall."

I can barely call the first one a review. It's a scathing takedown of the author's skill, and it's only a PART of their review. They went on for five paragraphs. What this actually reads like is this: "How dare a Black man attempt to create something intelligent." Something white men have been praised for doing for centuries is suddenly terrible when a Black man does the same.

The second review almost felt like the reviewer got it. While in their full review, they still recommend the book as an exploration of folklore and myth and a particular style of writing, they call it meandering and unknowable and claim that is the book's downfall.

I've said almost exactly this in another blog post: Unknowable to WHOM?

White readers need to be careful how they read and review books by POC. It's that simple. If you are reading a book written by a POC and you don't understand it or can't connect with it, I would highly recommend before running to review it, you ask yourself, "Why?" and more importantly, "What am I missing?"

Because many of the 2 or fewer-starred reviewers tell on themselves, and what they are telling is, "I've never read anything besides white folklore, white mythology, and white narratives." One reviewer even mentioned the consequences a white male would have received if he had tried to write this book. Well,  to that I ask, "Why would a white male be trying to write an African-based fantasy with a queer, Black MC in the first place?"

POC writers and readers have not had much of a chance to read our own narratives. Schools don't focus on anything else until February or college, so most often than not, we're relying on ourselves or others before us to shine a light in the right direction so we can write something true to us. Black Leopard Red Wolf is HEAVILY built on not only African folklore/mythology, but African cultures and issues we as Black people know about. So, when the discussion of homosexuality or female genital mutilation sneaks into the conversation (and I say "sneaks," because it took me a second to realize the implication of what a character was describing to the MC), Black readers who know the beliefs and practices of certain African countries/communities know why the author was pointing it out. Some of these countries (there are 54 in Africa) still have violent systems of misogyny in place--some by their own hand, some by the effects of white supremacy. This is something else Black readers know and understand that a white reader might not know or might even ignore.

Many of the low-star reviews also mentioned the trigger warnings, and yes, there are a lot of triggers. One reviewer said, in talking about the comparison to A Game of Thrones, that it is all the parts of GOT that they didn't like. And that's a very fair statement. But let's unpack that as well.

Unless you live under a rock, you know GRRM and the Song of Ice and Fire series. If you didn't read the book, you saw the tv show, or heard about it, or have heard about both if you neither read nor watched. GRRM wrote these books at a time where trigger warnings did not exist. As a matter of fact, I have only read two books where trigger warnings do exist, and they were both written by Black women who self-published their books. I have yet to see trigger warnings in traditionally published books, and if there are, they are new.

Back to GOT, if you've seen the show without reading the books, you might not know that all of the characters were aged up. Because all of the Stark children are no older than 14 in the books. Danaerys Targaryen, whose brother sexually abuses her and forces her to marry a 30-something-year-old man, is 13 years old in the books. 20-year-old Renly Baratheon is in a homosexual relationship with 15-year-old Loras Tyrell, and Renly is later murdered. ASOIF is heavy on rape, incest, child abuse, and sexual humiliation.

I point all of this out as someone who LOVES those books, and I also ask: where were the scathing think pieces by white readers on these issues? At the most, I saw outrage from readers when certain scenes in the tv show were changed to add more rape. But both the books and the show received a resounding thumb ups from the masses. A Game Of Thrones alone has a 4.5-star rating with 94% being 3 or more stars on Goodreads.

So, while we are entitled to our opinions, who are we to praise one book despite its gross flaws because it aligns with the medieval Euro-centric narrative we are used to and figuratively burn another book with the same flaws because it is coming from the "unknowable" place of African-based storytelling?


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Black Author Spotlight: Amber McBride


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Welcome back 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.

This week, I am highlighting Amber McBride.

Amber is an author, poet, English professor, National Book Award Finalist, and sensitivity reader whose website I need you all to go look at right now. Do it. It's STUNNING. Based on her bio and press kit, she is a whimsically dark character, and I am here for it. Her students call her Ms. Mermaid, and her family calls her Little Wolf. We will call her an author whose second YA novel-in-verse, We Are All So Good At Smiling, is currently available for pre-order!

When I shared this cover on my Facebook, I might've gotten more comments than I have since I launched the page. Because this cover is GORGEOUS! The soft colors and the transparent lettering make for a beautiful mix. Here is the blurb from Amazon:

They Both Die at the End meets The Bell Jar in this haunting, beautiful young adult novel-in-verse about clinical depression and healing from trauma, from National Book Award Finalist Amber McBride.

Whimsy is back in the hospital for treatment of clinical depression. When she meets a boy named Faerry, she recognizes they both have magic in the marrow of their bones. And when Faerry and his family move to the same street, the two start to realize that their lifelines may have twined and untwined many times before.

They are both terrified of the forest at the end of Marsh Creek Lane.

The Forest whispers to Whimsy. The Forest might hold the answers to the part of Faerry he feels is missing. They discover the Forest holds monsters, fairy tales, and pain that they have both been running from for 11 years.

I need this book. It sounds like it has a hint of surrealism that I love.

Preorder We Are All So Good At Smiling in Hardcover or Kindle at Amazon.
If you missed it above, visit her website at
Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at ambsmcbride.


If you are a Black author who would like to be in the spotlight, email me the following information at

Name or Pen Name



Social Media handles

Book (if any) and where to buy

Permission to use photos

May Review


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Happy Friday!

It is the last Friday of May! This has been an interesting month for writing. I’ve written close to 2,000 of what’s so far 3,000 words of a backstory that gets mentioned in the sequel in far less words than will actually be in the sequel. Haha But on the bright side, I’m still writing! I said last week that I’ll have to do some plotting to actually get back into this sequel, and yeah, that’s really going to have to happen. I have so many ideas that are popping into my head to propel the story to its major plot points, but I need to make sure the right pieces get put down to get to them. And I really can’t wait to get to Book 3, but I have no choice!

Career-wise, I had a virtual interview for an admin position in the HR department upstate. I have an in-person interview with them early June. I’m a little on the fence about the position, but it included proofreading in the description, so that intrigued me. Then yesterday, I saw an editing position open for the Legislative Branch, so I applied immediately. I have never seen these types of job available for the State, so that’s a good thing to see such a change. I’m really trying to get out of administrative work entirely. Full-time editing has been a dream of mine for a long time.

And maybe one day, I’ll be full-time author? Maybe? *high-pitched voice* Either way, one more week until I launch my Patreon (nervous yelling)!

May Writing Update: Preparing for Comic-Con and Patreon!


Happy Friday! It is the 3rd Friday of the month, so that means it is time for me to share some writing-like updates for you all!

I purchased a new domain for an official website that's not just the blog, so if you visit, you will see a fresh new landing page! I modeled it off of N.K. Jemisin's landing page, something simple that represents me. There is also a sneak peek of the first chapter of Fractured Princess that I added for potential new readers who I plan to meet at Dover Comic-Con!

The convention is now a month away, and I'm excited to get back out there and share some free merchandise. I purchased new bookmarks, business cards, and info cards with my Linktree for anyone interested. I wanted to create booklets with some free chapters, but the cost of that was astronomical. With that in mind, I also need to create a sign for donations, because I will definitely need some up to Launch 3.0.

I plan to start a Patreon in June to help with all of this. After creating a Kickstarter for the cover for Launch 1.0, I did everything else out of pocket, and I barely have pockets. I have a lot planned for monthly updates, and I hope to gain more attention with it, so as long as I keep on the grind, I think things will pan out well.

I also decided to release the book on my birthday again. I did say I wanted to release the book in Spring, but I am going to use that time for pre-orders and promotion. I don't want to rush everything like I did the first time. But by Spring, I do want to reveal the updated cover. I'm excited about it.

Last thing before this gets too long, I'm still writing! I'm happy about that, too. One thing I might need to do, however, is sit down and *gasp* plot out the second half of Divided Princess and the third book. I've already cut some potential scenes because of the turn the story has taken of its own volition, so I do need to write down some thought bubbles or trees, something.

Wish me luck!

Weekly Words: Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James


It is the second Friday of the month, and I have been stuck on the same book for what feels like the whole year, but it's only been a little over a month. A reviewer said it's dense, and that is true. I'm also just distracted, which I realize is a big part of my problem. Back when I could just sit and read non-stop, there was nothing else to do but watch TV. Now, there are video games, cell phones, internet, AND not just TV, but DVR, so I've grown accustomed to skipping the commercials I usually read through. I've really got to cut out some time to just read and nothing else. I really want to reach my Goodreads goal this year.

That said, I am currently reading Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James.

This is the first book in the Dark Star Trilogy, and it is about a man named Tracker who is hired to find a boy who disappeared. He usually works alone, but in this story, he picks up other "unusual" characters to search for the boy, one of which is a shape-shifting man-animal called Leopard. The back cover mentions that the boy is mysterious, and eventually Tracker starts to wonder if someone is lying about the situation. That's what I want to get to. I'm currently in a jail-cell with Tracker telling a crooked priest his life story. It is very reminiscent of African mythology in the cadence and way the story is written so far. I can't wait to see how it progresses.

Here is a line from the book:

There was always someone or some two or some three who will grab me like a stick and break me, grab me like wet cloth, and wring everything out me. And that was just the way of the world.

Based on the beginning of Tracker's story and where he is telling it, this tracks.

What are you reading this week?

Black Author Spotlight: Tatiana Obey

 Welcome back 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.

This week, I am highlighting Tatiana Obey!

Tatiana Obey (pronounced O-bi) is an NA/Adult fantasy writer, and I am HERE FOR IT. Her debut novel, Bones to the Wind, is a coming-of-age sword and sorcery tale with LGBTQIA+ representation, and it is out now!

Here is the blurb:

Rasia is determined to destroy her old man’s record in the Forging, a trial each child must succeed to come of age. All Rasia needs to do is hunt down a gonda, hitch its tentacle ass to her windship, and haul it back home in record time. Easy. Or it would be if Rasia wasn’t stuck on the same team as Nico—a know-it-all, spoiled, grubworm who never does anything Rasia tells her to do.

Nico doesn’t care about Rasia’s egotistical dreams of glory. This is her brother’s last chance to pass the Forging or her father is going to banish him from the family. She needs to scour the desert to find whatever team the bones placed him on and help him kill a gonda before it kills him.

Too bad Nico and Rasia can’t get along to steer a windship straight.

Bones to the Wind is available in paperback, hardback, and ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, and Smashwords. Click here for each purchase link.

Visit Tatiana's website here, and follow her on Instagram!


If you are a Black author who would like to be in the spotlight, email me the following information at

Name or Pen Name



Social Media handles

Book (if any) and where to buy

Permission to use photos

Quarterly Goals


It is the 5th Friday of the month, and that means I reflect on the goals I set the previous quarter, check my progress, and set new goals if needed!

I should have read 8 books by now, but I've at least finished 4 and listened to 2, so I'm patting myself on the back. I'm glad Goodreads doesn't count when I started reading a book, though, because, oof. I actually saw a tweet that said to DNF (do not finish) a book you're dreading picking back up, and I believe I will have to do that. I have so many other books I need to start, books that I bought almost 10 years ago at this point. If a book is bad or just not for me, then, that needs to be okay, Deborah (I have to tell it to myself).

I've actually been writing more, some just getting "off-screen" narratives out of my head and some that are actually going to end up in Divided Princess's pages. My contract with WCP ends in January, so in the meantime, I am working with someone to prepare the re-release of Fractured Princess that Spring (a more definitive date is forthcoming). If all goes well with that, I want DP finished, edited, beta'ed, and ready by Winter 2023. I wish I could keep publishing the books on my birthday like I did the very first one, but maybe the next series premiere (*wink*).

So, I had an interview for a proofreading job this past quarter. Unfortunately, it pays pennies, and if I were younger, that would suffice, but I have a mortgage and student loans, so it does not suffice at all. I actually saved the description of a job I saw on Upwork as something I'd love to do. I've done a few jobs on Fiverr, too, and I also have a couple of other pending job prospects that may just turn me in the right direction. We shall see!

And since scheduling this post, I've also picked up a freelance job as a copywriter for my sister's friends' company and discussed another full-time role with another company. Both have told me I was low-balling myself, so my price is about to go UP!

So overall, things are continuing to move, some even speeding up. I'm feeling a little more optimistic about everything, and I hope that continues.

A Look Back 10 Years! My Blogiversary!

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On Saturday, April 21, 2012, I posted my very first blog post. Overall, my posts were all over the place. I was reviewing books, movies, albums, word vomiting, I had my mid-life crisis, had my posts scheduled on different days depending on the week. It was a LOT. I'm surprised I had any followers, as chaotic as my blog was. But either way, I made it to TEN YEARS! Cue fireworks!

Yay, Squall is happy for me.

I also believe that first post was my very first query. (Shout out to Revo Boulanger for helping me with my synopsis back then, and also my old coworker Lisa for uplifting me still!) I queried Save the Queen to Tom Doherty & Associates and was rejected. 10 years later, with countless more rejections, two title changes, two publications, two sequels in progress, and a pending re-release, I'm still passionate about what is now Fractured Princess.

There have definitely been a lot of bumps in both my life road and the writing road, but I can't wait for people to latch on to Jonnie the way I had intended from the very beginning. I'm also proud to see how far the story and my writing have come. Characters took hold of the reigns and steered the narrative in ways I did not expect. Storylines emerged that I would never have imagined 10 years ago. I tweeted a couple of weeks back how big the sequel is about to be, and it will be BIG. I'll get to explore side stories I just wrote to get out of my head and weave them into what was originally a standalone book with no desire to write a trilogy. And to be frank (you can be Mary), I could write several novellas based off of diverging timelines, and I keep thinking about it, so you never know.

Now, let's look back at 2012, shall we?

If you click this link, you can read 4 posts about the first stages of the book, how I pared it down from 120K words (I don't even remember what the heck was in those early chapters to warrant 120K) to 107K (it's now at 92K if I remember correctly), how I had to add a little thing called logic to situations, and some spin-offs that I was working on, some of which make it into the series (*hint-hint wink-wink*).

This post is where I changed Jonnie (then Ghuli (JOO-lee)) from white to black in real-time. The picture that inspired me was this now hard-to-search picture of Kerry Washington. As you can read, I had first decided to make the Crystal Bearers a mix of colors, but I ultimately decided to make them black. I also settled on diamonds in their hands. The Sprites were also originally white, but I diversified their skin tones as well, with the northern Sprites being lighter and the southern sprites darker. This is currently happening again with another race in the story for geographical reasons. More on that later in the year.

This post is definitely something I want to do with the final version, so I can see how far I've come. You posted the first line or last line of your chapters to see how compelling they were. It was such a great idea. I wonder if they're still doing it.

Here is a God-awful query I thought was the one. If passive was a query. It's this one!

And lastly, here is a Q&A I was honored to be a part of way back when.

Jonnie and I have come such a long way, and there is more to come. I will be at Dover Comic-Con this June with free samples of the new edition and hopefully some bookmarks, business cards, etc., whatever I can get from Vistaprint. I'll be able to release the new edition of FP in 2023, and I plan to have it published in all formats. In the next 10 years, I hope I will have published the entire series, moved on to one of my NA fantasies, and maybe even have finally found a job I love, because even 10 years ago, I was lamenting about being an admin, and *sings* I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm still here, here, here...

For everyone who may have started with me on the old Write Mage blog and for new followers everywhere, I thank you!

April Writing Update


Good news! I've been writing!

Certainly not like Kermit in that one meme, but I have been getting a few hundred words down on "paper," and that's better than I've done in a long time. It's the motivation of the light at the end of this current tunnel. I have a goal again, so I'm ready to get to work.

I've also been tweaking a few things in Fractured Princess for the next release. More will come on that later. Explanations will be involved, as well as one or two Instagram videos to accompany, maybe even a Live.

Oh! I also learned the other day that the poetry site I once posted two of my poems on has revamped, and now the archive of poems is gone. So, I plan to dive back into poetry and publish a slam book. The question there is, should I use a different pen name for poetry and pending romance stories? I don't know if I have the bandwidth to think of a THIRD pen name (as Debra Renée Byrd is my second). *sigh* I'll get back to you all on that.

Even more good news: I have this month's posts all written and scheduled out! So that means, if nothing else, I've been writing blogs again! I'm so glad I moved the posts to Fridays.