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Showing posts from 2014

Why, Hale, Why?

I read the long Guardian article by Kathleen Hale and posted the short of my opinion to twitter. I thought the topic deserved a blog post, which I am sure there have been plenty of since the guardian article shed light on this blogger/author debacle. Mrs. Kathleen Hale you earned yourself a nifty twitter hashtag # HaleNo , a few rounds of twitter trending and a lot of press. I don't know whether this is good or bad for a first time author whose book No One Else Can Have You  came out from HarperTeen in January 7, 2014 but it is a argument we will continue to discuss because of the issues it brings up with social media, privacy, trolling, stalking and bullying. Some of you might or might not remember Kiera Cass's (author of The Selection series) run-in with her blogger. Cass and her agent got into it with a reviewer from Goodreads because they didn't like her review.  In Mrs. Hale's situation, I find myself asking: 1. Why would the Guardian print this? It is awful,


Yes, NaNoWriMo!!!   5 0,000 words or roughly 175-200 pages is considered a novel. Each November writers take the challenge of writing 50,000 words. I did and am proud to say I finished, I'm a winner! Well known novels with a 50,000 word count are:  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (46,333 words),  The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (52,000 words),  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (50,061 words),  Lost Horizon by James Hilton,  Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk,  Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and  The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells.  Now if this isn’t enough motivation. I don't know what is.  Yuraliso (now titled The Everlast Spring)  is my first nano creation and I made almost exactly the 50,000 word count on the last day of November 2013. I did this by reaching my word count goals daily. But when I didn’t, I wrote to catch up. I finished editing the book with a professional in July 2014. (Update: In 2022 it still is not published but it has had some

Musings - On Self-Publishing (Indie) vs. Traditional Publishing

Do something until you can do something else. What I mean by that is write as a hobby (this is how you build a backlist and improve writing) until you can write for a living. If you really love it that much you will find a way to make it happen. It might be through the traditional route (including digital first) the lucky few take or the self publishing route. Beverley Kendall has a survey that about self-publishing that is awesome. She says, "The more books you have and the more professional your book is–amongst various other things–the better your chance at for finding success self-publishing." Also self publishing is a decision that is personal like any other big decision, you have to take into account your own talents and situation. My ultimate goal has always been to find an agent who will find me a publisher. Or find a publisher that accepts unsolicited manuscripts. However as I query I am beginning to look at the other option: indie (small press) or self-publis

Why YA?

Unequivocally My Favorite Genre                                                                                                          YA is my favorite genre and sometimes when I tell people, I get: "You don't like adult books?" or "Isn't that for teens?" or "You aren't a 'serious' reader". To those people I say, I have always liked this genre and just because I grew up doesn't mean that I'm to old to read young adult or ANYTHING I want. I enjoy Children's, Middle Grade, and Adult categorized books as well but YA is my absolute favorite. Of course I am an adult and not by far the same person I was when I was a teen reader but that doesn't mean that my tastes have to change or reflect my intelligence or growth. I grew up but I still like chocolate chips cookies, The Little Mermaid (I know all the words to  Part of Your World ), night lights and red vines - do I have to give up these things too because I'm grown? I

What's Your Magic Number?

Everyone has a magic number because everyone gets rejected. This magic number equates to the number of times an author was rejected before they got someone who believed in them enough to give them a chance. J.K. Rowling's magic number was 12 for Harry Potter. Alex Haley's magic number was 200 for Roots. Madeleine L' Engle's magic number was 26 for A Wrinkle in Time. Kathryn Stockett's magic number was 61 for The Help. Stephanie Myers magic number was 14 for Twilight. Nicholas Sparks's magic number was 24 for The Notebook. Margaret Mitchell's magic number was 38 for Gone with the Wind. Jack Canfield 's magic number was 140 for Chicken Soup for the Soul. In addition the Da Vinci Code, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Princess Diaries  and The Diary of Anne Frank   authors all suffered through years of rejection. Each author on this list of bestsellers has sold millions of books. Think if any of these authors had allowed rejections and negativit

Musings - How Do You Come Up With Ideas?

FREE your imagination, give it permission to wander. Ideas come to me all the time. From small details of the plot, to the characters to the scenery. It's like a really rough dream sequence that has no regard for the time or place of its arrival. I've gotten ideas in the shower, at 3 AM, coming or going places, while running errands, watching a movie, reading a book, drinking, listening to someone talking... the brain never stops creating and imagining. You ask yourself "what if" a lot when you're a writer and you allow yourself to answer, to truly imagine whatever images, people, settings and phrases come to mind. These initial ideas become the building blocks of my stories. I cannot force ideas and I don't need inspiration to write. What I mean is, I can't sit down and say I'm going to plot out a book...but I can free write in order to build on my original ideas. I also don't need to write at a particular time or feel a certain way to write.

Musings - My Editing Process

Hard work makes things happen. I have been focusing on editing and revising my books in 2014 since the years before I was focused on merely writing books. I now have 6 books plus a novella. I am happy to say I have given my third book to my editor and will soon give her the novella and the last book for this year. The remaining 2 books are sequels so I am holding off on putting any money into them until I secure publishing deals for the first book in that series.                                                                                       I have trained myself this year to work as if I am publishing the books myself so I go through a whole process where I edit, revise, re-read (several times) and then hand off to the editor. Then once I get the edit back, I accept and discuss corrections I need clarification on and revise according to the corrections. I send it back again for another edit and again I accept, question and revise and send only changed parts to the editor. The

The Benefit of Contests

I have a new found love for entering contests for unpublished authors. I couldn’t believe that there were so many contests available. The reason I would recommend contests are because this can add weight to query letters. You can also  receive valuable feedback that will help you revise and learn to receive critiques in a helpful way. The drawbacks to entering are the fees, rules and if I must say the waiting time to find out who won! Some contests ask that you not shop your novel for a specified amount of time so make sure you read the fine print, and know the benefits and drawbacks to each contest you choose to enter. Here is a great table of contests created by author Stephie Smith . Also another list of contests can be found on the Funds for Writers website along with writing grant opportunities.  The following list of companies/websites is from my own experience entering their contests (except for the Leap Frog and Amazon): Romance Writers of America (RWA )   has a cool and l

The Benefit of Writing Groups

Before participating in NaNoWriMo 2013, I was all about writing by myself, secluded at home mostly. But since participating in NaNoWriMo’s write-in's during November I've continued to participate in monthly and weekly writing groups that I absolutely love. I recommend joining one if you can; being around a community of writers is inspiring. These are the benefits I have found with writing groups: 1. Support from like-minded individuals who love to write. 2. Gain other contacts for editors, publishers, websites, articles, etc. that come recommended. 3. Exchange critique for critique, if you're brave enough. 4. Run by elements of your story for feedback. 5. Socialize!

Color in YA - Original article on Word for Teens Blog (7/14/13)

Theres' a great post on defunct blog WORD by Nicole about adding color to YA. Original article on  Word for Teens Blog   (7/14/13). This is not my work/writing and I am reposting only because I fully-heartedly agree with Nicole. As an African-American women who writes inclusive books featuring many nationalities, I hope soon that showing color in YA will be an accepted norm that finally reflects our world of color. Thank you, Nicole. (She also has a wonderful post about LGBTQ as well.) Racial representation in YA lit and what Trayvon Martin has to do with it. On Saturday, George Zimmerman was   declared not guilty  of shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. Despite the fact that there was all evidence to the contrary, despite the fact that Zimmerman was expressly told not to go after Martin, and despite the fact that Martin had done absolutely nothing wrong, Zimmerman's shooting Martin because he was 'scared' meant that he got off scotch-free. He even got his gun back. I