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.

Weekly Words: I Heard My Audiobook!

Happy April Showers!

It is the 2nd Friday of the month, where I share with you what I am reading and/or writing. On the bright side, I actually read two audiobooks this past month! I finished N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, and words can't express how much I love Nora's writing, let alone hearing it and returning to the Broken Earth trilogy. She's currently working on the film adaptation, and I keep telling my sister that I will be WEEPING in the theater when it comes out!

As you know, I am ending my contract with my publisher, and I forgot that around the time I requested to be released, they were working on the audiobook. An unabridged version is currently available on Audible, and aside from some cringeworthy name mispronunciations, hearing my book was an experience. Just like I did with The Fifth Season, I even mouthed some of the lines . . . to my own book! It was surreal. Sometimes, especially after a long time, I stop and think, "Wow, I really wrote that." You would think I couldn't surprise myself after having written for 30 years now, but I can!

So what are you reading this week?

Black Author Spotlight: Douglas S. Reed

Welcome to Fridays! And happy April! I hope everyone participating in A to Z has a great time! I thought about joining in, but as you can see, I am not. Maybe next year!

But anyway, I am starting off the month with 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.

This week, I am highlighting Douglas S. Reed.

Douglas is an educator who was born in Queens, New York. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, a basketball coach, and the creator of Kataza Films and Kataza Books!

His novels, Garden's Corner and the award-winning Child of Gilead, are available at Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, BookBaby.com, Rakuten Kobo, and Target! Here is the blurb for his current book Child of Gilead:

Take the road less traveled, my son. Always. No exceptions.

These are Hannah's words to her child, spoken to reveal a higher truth of what it takes to live a life of meaning. Most importantly, they are words meant to keep a child away from harm and danger. But one day, mother and son are visited by an old family friend whose arrival brings with it the potential to uncover dark family secrets always intended to stay hidden.

Sparse and simply told, Child of Gilead is author Douglas S. Reed's long-awaited second novel and is a modern-day parable that seeks to answer the seemingly unanswerable truth, "Do you know me?"

That sounds really compelling!

You can visit Douglas's website and blog here. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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



Social Media handles

Book (if any) and where to buy

Permission to use photos