October Review

 

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

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!

________________________________________________________________________________

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

 

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

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!

 

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

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....

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The new cover for the 2nd Edition of FRACTURED PRINCESS
.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.



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

 

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)


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.


© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)


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!

Wednesday Words: Still Reading The Shining

 


Happy Hump Day!


It is the second Wednesday in June, which means I share what I'm reading with you all. Sometimes I'm still reading a book from the month before, and because I'm in a book club with my busy sisters, this time is the case. We're still reading The Shining.

 


Usually, I won't return to the blog with the same book, but we're at the point now where the snow has come, so Jack, Wendy, and Danny are now stuck in the Overlook. Things are getting dark, and they're getting dark fast. I'm loving every bit of it.

While reading it, I'm also thinking back on the changes Kubrick made that really ruined the story, and Stephen King said it best himself in this article: Why Does Stephen King Hate The Original Movie of 'The Shining' but Love 'Doctor Sleep'? He said Kubrick took out the story, and reading the book for the first time, it's clear that that's true. Watching the movie, I wasn't even really sure why the Torrences were even at the hotel! Because you never see Jack working, except on his novel. He's actually there to keep the hotel up and running on low power and maintenance during the blizzard season.

In Kubrick's movie, Jack and Wendy are one-dimensional to a fault. Jack already comes in clearly messed up, and while Jack in the book is messed up, it doesn't become apparent how messed up he is in the book right out the gate. It takes time. You see all his darkness gradually, which is good, especially because you get to see his connection with Danny. They have a close bond in the book that is erased in the movie, a bond that book Wendy is actually jealous of. Speaking of, if you read the article, you will know Stephen King called Kubrick's characterization of Wendy “one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film.” Yikes. And not wrong. All she does is scream and look as weak as possible. Book Wendy is a mama bear, and there are many instances in the book that show it. But having only watched "A Clockwork Orange" before this, seeing the gratuitous images of naked women placed into both movies, and knowing how he tortured Shelly Duvall, I feel like Kubrick had a misogyny problem anyway. There is a scene often cut from the tv rerun of the film that I'm waiting to show up or not happen in the book to see if I can add racist to that list as well.

Anyhow, I'm loving the book. We're reading Doctor Sleep after. The movie is great. It feels like a dark superhero movie to me. Stephen King said Mike Flanagan did a great job of tying the book to Kubrick's movie, so kudos to him.

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Backdraft

 


HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!


And welcome to another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, where we can throw our cares to the wind and talk about writing with a bunch of other writers. Please join us by following our fearless leader Alex J. Cavanaugh and signing up at the official Insecure Writer's Support Group website.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of finally getting to meet Wahida Clark, the Queen of Street Lit, to discuss plans for my new release date. She is so sweet, and I can't wait to continue this journey with SFF/For the Culture. More news will be coming, probably by the next IWSG post! There are 5 Wednesdays this month, though, so it might be sooner than that. =D

This month's question is about our writing process, hence the silly addition to this post's title: For how long do you shelve our first draft before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Once I hit The End, from advice of other writers, I don't touch the book for about a month. The entire time I'm writing, I'm editing as well, which is a bad habit, but I'm a proofreader/editor by nature, so I don't try not to do it anymore, unless I'm doing NaNoWriMo. You need to breathe after you finish that first draft, because if you go right back into it after finishing, your eyes won't be fresh enough. Go to a new story, or even just do something else for the month. Just don't tempt yourself with the one you just finished!

May Review - Road to Re-Release

 

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)



It is the LAST Wednesday of May, and I can't believe it. We are almost halfway through 2021. I hope everyone is doing well, has been healthy, and has been able to get a good start on some goals!

Things are really starting to move for me. I meet with my publisher next Tuesday to discuss release dates. If anyone has any resources for reading book questions, I need to bring some to that meeting, and I don't know the first thing about it! I mean, I've obviously been reading books since I was 5, so I can come up with some. Just the thought that there would be a reading group discussing Fractured Princess blows my mind. I also have to choose my preferred audiobook narrative, and I definitely have imagined having an audiobook for FP, but wow!

I hope the people who already bought it are willing to buy the first half of the new version when it's re-released. That's a big worry of mine. I also made some pretty significant changes to it, so maybe that will reel them in.

I also need to prepare for more face-time and promotion up to and through publication. I have no idea what that will look like and what kind of time it will consume, but hopefully it will be smooth, especially because I have a full-time job. I don't expect to become a millionaire book 1, so yeah, I have to keep working while I'm . . . working.

So anyway, here's to what I expect to be an exciting Summer!

May Writing Update

 


It is the third Wednesday of MAY! That means it's time for me to give you a writing update, and because things are starting to move on the republication of Fractured Princess, that means I have updates!

I received the edits back from the copyeditor yesterday, so once I go through them, I get to meet with the Queen, Wahida Clark, to talk release dates! I'm not going to pretend like I didn't scream a little when I got the email. I was so excited. Two years ago, I had settled on the idea of being an independent author even though I knew I needed traditional publishing. I'm not great at self-marketing, and it took me years to understand what exactly a brand is no matter how many people explained it, so being on my own, I knew I'd make pennies. That said, every time I got those pennies, the fact that someone somewhere BOUGHT MY BOOK?? It still amazes me.

So, things are happening, and I'm squealing inside. Who knows where this exposure will take me! Stay tuned!

BOOK NEWS for Fractured Princess! (IWSG)



It's Revenge of the Fifth! Happy May, and welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group, where we throw our insecurities to the wind and celebrate each other for our accomplishments! You can visit the website and our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, for the list of co-hosts for the month and other participants, as well as join us by signing up!
Big book news for me: Fractured Princess was cleared to go to copy editing! My publisher said it didn't need developmental edits, but I sent them the developmental edit I did anyway, because there were some things I needed to fix for continuity/plot holes. I'm very excited that they found it flawless haha. My English degree paid off, figuratively speaking. Heh. So more news will be coming soon!

This month's question: Have any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? If so, did it surprise you?

I don't have that many readers yet, but I will say in an early draft of one of my books, my sister asked me a question that actually changed the path of the relationship of two of my characters. She asked if they were going to get together, and I said no. Then, she said, "Why not?" And that was that, and all I'll say about that. hahaha

What about you all?

April Review

 

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)


It is already the last Wednesday of APRIL. This is wild.

This month has flown by. Things are steadily picking up a pace of sorts for me. I took a break in March, which was helpful. I also had my 3-month lab and doctor appointment, and my oncologist said I could get my port removed! So, this past Monday, that's exactly what I did, just 1 year and 2 days after my last chemo treatment! I got Thai-rolled ice cream and then later DQ ice cream to celebrate with my younger sister, who went with me. I can't wait to sleep on my left side and not feel that piece of plastic in my chest, or the cut healing, which feels very weird when a surge of slight pain hits.

I had started streaming my video game play, and I realize I don't really like to, so after I finish replaying the Final Fantasy VII Remake, I probably won't stream again for a long while. Maybe when I have a fanbase and someone to talk to besides a potential follower in the future, I'll pick it back up. N.K. Jemisin does it every now and then, and I'd like to do that, too one day.

While I don't want to keep on the secretary/admin track I've fallen into, my older sister said she recommended me to my brother-in-law to do his admin work when he gets his business up and running. That would be a little different from being a government secretary, and certainly a work-from-home gig, which I would highly appreciate. I'd also really like to do more proofreading, so I set up a profile for Upwork for freelance jobs. I have an alert for Writing jobs set up through Linkedin, but I realized I don't want to do a writing job that isn't me writing my books. That's enough pressure as it is. Proofing is something I can almost do in my sleep, and I used to have a business in it that didn't really take off past a few clients I already knew, so that's what I would like to lean towards.

Writing-wise, I looked at both my NA Fantasies this month. I need to get back to those, but as I've figured out my next step in the Fractured Princess sequel, I need to work on that more. I honestly don't know what the future holds for me being a signed author versus an independent author, but I do know I'm going to keep writing that series.

I hope everyone has had a prosperous April. Just three more days, and you know the drill:




April Writing Update

 


It is mid-April! UGH. Time. Slow down!

More specifically, it's the third Wednesday, where I provide an update about my writing if I have one. AND I DO. Last week, I realized who the main antagonist is the Shattered Chronicles series, and I'm super excited. I might even have enough material for a whole other book. Which is scary, but we'll see what happens. It's not like I don't already have prequel-type scenes sitting in a Word doc already. *wicked smirk*

More news to hopefully come soon about the republishing of Fractured Princess in two parts. The current policy of SFF/For the Culture brand is for books to be approximately 45K, so I can't do anything about it but hope that it changes in the future. We shall see.

Wednesday Words: Stephen King's The Shining

 


I'm actually back, I think! Happy 2nd Wednesday of the month! On this day, I share with you all what I am reading, and this month is a fun one. If by fun, you like being scared out of your wits.



A few weeks ago, my younger sister said she had never seen all of The Shining, so I said we should watch it. As we were watching it, I realized I'd never seen the whole thing! Before then, I had only seen from the point where Wendy was speaking to a therapist, but also, I'd only ever seen it on cable, so there were several scenes that were cut. I'm not a fan of Stanley Kubrick's movies. I think he butchers and over-sexualizes books when he adapts them, and that's going off of the two I've seen. So, the only important scene that was really essential that I'd never seen but had heard my older sister always talk about was the old woman in the bathtub. She was featured heavily in Doctor Sleep, which was a GREAT movie. Maybe we'll read the book next, as there is an excerpt t the end of this one.

But anyway, I say all this to say that after we watched it and told our older sister, we decided to read the book together, so that's where we are. I haven't read a Stephen King novel since Full Dark No Stars, which wasn't really scary, just super dark. I know how The Shining ends, and it doesn't end with Jack frozen in the maze, eyes rolled back for no reason. But if you haven't read it, I won't give it away.

Here is a bit of dialogue about the creepy old woman, cutting out the rude misogyny in this. It's excessive here:

"...a chambermaid, Delores Vickery...she gives out with a helluva shriek while she's makin up the room where those two stayed, and she faints dead away. When she comes to she says she seen the dead woman in the bathroom, layin naked in the tub. 'Her face was all purple an puffy,' she says, 'an she was grinnin at me.' So Ullman gave her two weeks' worth of walking papers and told her to get lost. I figure there's maybe forty-five people died in this hotel since my grandfather opened it for business in 1910."

All the big hotels have secrets and superstitions. I'll stick to Days Inn then. haha


What are you reading this month?


Insecure Writer's Support Group

 


Happy April!
I'm currently on a blogging break, but I did want to pop in to answer this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question! You can visit the website and our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, for the list of co-hosts for the month and other participants, as well as join us by signing up!

This month's question is: Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

I don't know if I'm a huge risk-taker. I probably have a darker focus in my work than other YA/NA writers. I've never been afraid to have more gruesome scenes or imagery in my stories, even when I was a kid. I grew up in a Stephen King-loving household, so I'm sure that has something to do with it.

Actually, Style/POV-wise, I decided to write the Shattered Chronicles series in present tense to pull myself more into it emotionally, and I know present tense might be considered a risk. I hardly notice the tense in books when I read them unless it suddenly changes, so it's not something I consider a risk, but I know others don't like it. Makes no difference to me. :)

What about you?

Quarterly Goals - Am I On A Break?

 


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm a couple weeks early for my quarterly goals post, but that's because I need to take the next few weeks to decide what I'm doing with the blog. I'm not really reading at the moment, and my writing has been slow, so I haven't been able to do my weekly posts.

If I'm still in a rut in April, I'm going to need to reevaluate my blogging schedule, which, if you've been with me since my blopsot.com days, you'll know that's on brand for me. I really like this schedule, though, so maybe I just need to take an also-on-brand-for-me break until I can get back into the swing of things. I'll make a decision by the April IWSG post.

Insecure Writer's Support Group

 


My day has been so busy I totally forgot to post. And who can believe that it's already March?? That means it's time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Please visit the website, as well as our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh to visit the co-hosts and other writers to connect with!

So, I had to write a 5-paragraph bio for my publisher, and whew! I hope it wasn't trash. I felt like I gave them my life story, and that I was back in college writing the weakest but still C-able essay. HAHA. We'll see if I need to fix it. I need to finish looking back over the second half of FP before the editor needs it.

What I really need to do is take a couple of days off (which, let me go ahead and ask my boss now) and try to break out of government and secretary work. I'm over both. I'm in my mid-thirties. I need to do what I love, and this isn't it.

Anyway, this month's question is: Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

I usually read whatever the wind blows into my view. I've read fantasy, mystery, romance, horror, thrillers, adult, YA, children's books, manga, comics, graphic novels, sci-fi, etc. As long as the premise is good, I'll give it a try. If you can give me a fantasy with romance, you have hit my sweet spot. :D

How about y'all?

February Writing Update & Wednesday Words

 



Happy Wednesday!

We're halfway through the month, so I thought I would pop in on the 3rd Wednesday like I was supposed to last month and say hi.

Last month, I did a preliminary edit of the first half of Fractured Princess. I know when it's my time in the edit queue I might not have the time I need to sit down and get all my edits done, so hopefully what I did will help when I send the original to the editor. The day I had at work yesterday, though, I might just take days off when it is my time. Why not?!




I came across a tweet a week back that really hit hard. It said: "'My child is neurotypical,'" and the line under it said, "Your child used to read all the time but can't focus long enough to do it anymore." Good God, I'm the child. But I'm trying! So, this week I started Chase Bolling's The Road Of Resistance, First Book of The Vanguard Series.


After weapons technology is mysteriously knocked back to the dark ages, America is plunged into chaos! Shades of the Black Wall Street Massacre, and the Trump Riots ensue when the president consigns everyone but the elite to mass incarceration, and forced labor! As martial law strikes a night of protests leads to riots, looting and revolution!

Chessed, an S.C.A loving ex-gang member, dons his armor, hefts his weapons, and declares war on corrupt cops, hate groups, and the nefarious powers of a hostile government! He and his allies must fight to survive if they are going to carve a post-apocalyptic Camelot from their embattled inner-city community!

Chase is the flagship author and Managing Editor of SF/F For the Culture and was the one who pulled me into the mix for Wahida Clark Publishing's Sci-Fi Fantasy imprint. I'm a few pages in, and when I realized what was happening, I thought, "Oh. Oh, wait. Oh, no!" I'm excited to see what happens next. It's swords and shields in modern-day America, and I'm here for it.

In January, it reached #15 in Black & African American Sci-Fi, #84 in Black & African American Fantasy, and #89 in Arthurian Fantasy in the Kindle Store, and that's huge! So, if you're looking for something new to read, I strongly suggest checking out this book.

Have a great rest of your month!