Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The next step on my publishing journey is HERE!!

The decision has been made and I have chosen an editor. I mentioned having one before but things weren’t official. Now things are official. I am beyond excited and look forward to working with Lisa Martinez. This means the world to me simply because my dreams are coming into view. I have faith. I own faith. So, I knew it was going to be. Now that efforts are being made to prepare my manuscript for publication I am ecstatic. This step takes my faith to an entirely different level.

I spend my day making every effort to encourage people to work toward their dreams. I try to encourage the hopeless and remind them to knock their fears down with their efforts to succeed in whatever they desire. I am excited about God blessing me with good people in my writing circle. I’ve connected with people that take the time out to help aspiring authors. They have directed me to where I need to be to get my dreams realized. I will definitely pay it forward.

So… I am on this journey that has taken another turn towards my dreams becoming realized and this ride is unbelievable. I can't imagine what I will feel like once the book is edited, the cover is completed, and it is ready to be shared with the young adult population that it was written for. [insert woo-hoo here!]

I will keep you posted. Happy writing!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Too many characters...

What do you do when you have so many characters floating around in your head? It's crazy! Each time I start working on a project another idea comes along. I am not sure what's the best way to deal with it. What I have done thus far is at least type the initial ideas down. I don't want to forget certain ideas the characters stir up. I try focusing on one manuscript completely but that's never worked for me. For many years, life distracted me from writing. Since it was stirred awake around 2006, I have been unable to rest. Not that I want to necessarily but it has become a larger part of my life than it had been. Every waking moment almost becomes an idea. [Insert an eye brow raise here.]

One of my projects is a story that's been stirring inside of me for years. I'm not sure if it will ever reach the world beyond the computer screen. However, I have to write it. It won't let me rest. So, I set a daily writing goal of 2000 words. Not on each project per day, but on whichever one I am working on that day. Isn't this what an aspiring author does? Why am I complaining? I'm not really.

Then the lyrics. They invade my thoughts too. I could be walking to get the mail, or on the treadmill, and lyrics pop into my head. My cell phone recorder has become my best friend. Sometimes its easier to just sing the lyrics into my phone so I won't forget the idea or the melody. Minister Steve told me to just keep writing them down and when we're ready, they'll be at arms length. So... each moment, every hour, ideas flow inside of me. I look like I'm listening to you, but I think my ideas have me a little distracted. Ha!

I apologize in advance because YOU might be one of the next character's in my book... Just kidding. Am I?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A to Z Challenge...

I have never been involved in blogging events but decided to join an event held by Alex J. Cavanaugh and a few others. I think its important for me to read other blogs especially since I want others to read mine. I know that by reading the other blogs I will learn how to make mine better too. I will also become more committed to my blog. I enjoy networking with good people and this seems like a great group to interact with. I look forward to reading other blogs and have already read some that I probably wouldn't have without stumbling across this challenge. It sounds like I am in a win-win situation. I'll be starting on April 1, 2012 beginning with the letter A... cool!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Whitney Houston... God Bless You!

When I was a young girl singing in the choir at Union AME Church in Warwick, New York, I heard this voice hit the airwaves that stopped me in my tracks. That voice came out of Newark, New Jersey and belonged to Whitney Houston. I was in love with that voice and the spirit of the woman that it belonged to. I never stopped loving her and love listening to all of her music.

I took a few days off of Twitter and have deleted some "friends" from Facebook. They said too many negative things when talking about Ms. Houston's death. I didn't know her personally but I took it personal. She was like a sister to me and I was proud of all of her achievements. I wasn't raised to spew hate and not see the good in people. I was raised at a time when we actually loved each other and helped lift each other up. The world has changed, and people love to knock other's down. That both saddens, and angers me.

We all have issues in our lives, but unfortunately hers were made public. How many people take prescription drugs when they shouldn't? There are people that sip on wine or take pills nightly to sleep. Addiction is addiction. That's the bottom line. Not one of us is better than the other. And yes, all of us have a few skeletons residing in the closet. I wish people would stop crucifying her before the cause of death has even been stated.

We live in a society that loves to focus on negativity. I am one of those rare individuals that doesn't. I try to be a light in someone's life daily and can't do that if I surround myself with negativity. I don't retweet stories that I don't feel should be shared. In a world with so much pain and suffering, why must we add to it? Remember this.... A daughter lost her mother and a mother lost her daughter. Don't they deserve our love and support? You would want that from your friends and family. They deserve that too.

When I die, I want to be remembered for the good that I have done, and not for just the mistakes that I have made in life. I am sure that others would like to be remembered for the good they've done as well. I will remember Ms. Houston's voice as one that will never be duplicated. I will remember her also for the music she blessed us with, and a spirit that shined bright in spite of those that attacked her character. Her addiction, like her blackness, was a small part of who she was. It was not who she was.

I can't change the world. I wish I could. I would like to get people to pause and think before their "social media courage" posts something unfair, judgmental, and cruel. I just want others to respect people, instead of judging them solely based on a small part of their lives. I know Ms. Houston is in Heaven, although others have condemned her. How fitting that the last song she sang prior to her passing was, "Jesus Loves Me." In the end, that's all that matters. She was a child of God and now she is singing with the angels...

Isn't it great that there is only one judge? And He doesn't have a Facebook or Twitter account.

Rest in peace Whitney Houston. I love you...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Why did I start writing?

I started writing as a teen. I had a good childhood but I wasn’t one that shared my feelings with others. I was extremely quiet. I started writing so I could express the way I felt about things I went through as a teen. I grabbed notebook after notebook jotting things down. From that I began writing short stories and poetry.  My stories came out of real events but I enjoyed writing them like short stories instead of like journal entries.

During my adulthood I continued writing in journals and creating poems and lyrics. Around 2006, I started writing my first manuscript and then a few others followed. In 2011, I decided to work toward publishing some of my work. In 2012, I am actively working toward bringing my manuscripts to life. I write both adult and YA fiction. A number of friends asked me to write an inspirational or motivational book. I am hoping to bring that to life soon as well.

Writing began as a way of coping with events that I experienced in life. When I publish my work, I hope to bring a voice to people who have difficulty expressing what they feel. I write almost everyday and have no idea what I would do if I didn’t write… I love it!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Writing, writing, and more writing...

I wonder what I would do if writing and music didn't exist. I love both of them tremendously. What else would I do during my free time? I would probably sit staring at a computer doing nothing after hours or surfing the internet, or watching television. I finished another manuscript last night. Then I sat thinking, what am I supposed to do now? I have two manuscripts that need to be brought to a clear end and one that needs to be edited by me. However, I wanted to work on a new one.

I looked through my word documents and found an adult fiction manuscript that I had started last month. I was excited that it was there so I could start writing again. I know that it won't take much to bring the other two manuscripts to an end. I will work on them next. The funny thing is that I said that before I started writing the one I just finished.

I have a habit of working on more than one project at a time. I have never been able to focus on one project without having others lingering around waiting for my attention. I will get to the other two manuscripts after this one. I have to because it doesn't make me happy to have unfinished projects sitting around. For now I will continue working on the one I just started yesterday while waiting for my young adult manuscript to come back from the editor.

I am excited that my manuscript is in the hands of someone that isn't family or a friend. I trust their opinions because we don't support something that we know is not going to be received by others as good. For example, I refuse to encourage someone to sing in public if I know they can't carry a tune in private. My family is the same. We are honest even when it hurts. Still I am anxiously but eagerly  waiting to see what she thinks about my writing style.

As I wait to hear back from my editor [ah, that sounds sweet!] I will remain faithful and diligent. I plan on working on my manuscripts and Minister Steve's two albums we'd like to release in the Spring of 2012. I can't wait until the manuscripts turn into books and the lyrics, melodies, and his vocals, evolve into a completed Gospel CD. And I will write, write, and write until my fingers refuse to punch the keys.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What's your writing style?

Yesterday I watched a snippet of an interview with the graffiti artist that made millions after he spray-painted the walls in the Facebook office. At one point he said that he, I am a paraphrasing, took the paint can and just painted. Basically, he doesn’t always plan before hand what he is going to draw or paint.  This resonated within me because I had recently explained my writing style to someone. I sit in front of the computer with a basic idea, sometimes. On most occasions I sit down and just start typing. I have never understood how it works but it works for me. Even when I have an idea or topic, I don’t necessarily have a plan.

I was born before computers were invented. I grew up without a computer or word processor. I actually had to write things down, which is almost foreign today. When my writing tool was a pen and paper, my writing style was the exact same. I opened up my notebook to a blank sheet of paper, and let the tip of my pen create whatever it was I wanted to create. It has always baffled me because I never sit down with a plan that has a beginning, middle, and end. I type and the story takes on a life of its own.

I am not sure if my writing style is unique. I am not sure if it’s a common practice. I just hope that it is successful. Even when I do my motivational status updates, I just type and my fingertips create my update for the day. I have never understood it but have always accepted it. I haven’t taken writing classes. I never knew how to explain my writing style to others, especially a teacher. [Insert smile here]

Whether I am writing lyric, a poem, or a manuscript my writing style is the same. I sit in front of the computer with headphones on blocking out the rest of the world, and am always amazed when a story evolves out of such chaos. When I was in college, and even in graduate school, I did the same thing when I wrote my papers. Having complete quiet or the voices on the television in the background is extremely distracting to me. The soothing voices and melodies playing in my headphones are not. It touches something deep within allowing my creative juices to flow.

I don’t give all of the credit to my fingertips and pen. I know I am a participant. It just interests me that sometimes I don’t quite feel like I have been. I can see or hear something that inspires me to develop something. It’s quite interesting and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I will keep blasting my music while creating and completing projects. It's just what I do...

What’s your writing style?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Get Your Book Professionally Edited, PLEASE!!

I often wonder what an author thinks of their project and reader when they don’t take the time out to have their work edited. You have one shot to get things out to the public the right way. If you don’t think enough of your book to put out a copy that is done well based on both editing and content, why should I read it? I don’t care if the book is free. I don’t care how great the cover is. If you don’t try to put out the best product you are doing your readers a great disservice. Not to mention, you will lose potential readers along the way.

I saw a book on Amazon that was missing the basics and I was offended. I felt like the author had a story to tell but didn’t care how it was delivered. This isn’t the only one I’ve seen but this one truly bothered me. I couldn’t clearly see the content because I was focused on her basic mistake. I did read the sample pages because I hoped that the author had made a mistake that was corrected on the following pages. I realized that she hadn’t. I couldn’t buy the book despite my desire to support as many self-published authors as I can.

Even more, she had two reviews that didn’t mention the mistake at all. I think I was more baffled by that. You can acknowledge that it was a good book, and explain nicely why it wasn’t a great book. It’s no different than knowing your cousin can’t sing but you encourage him to audition for one of the reality singing shows. You know he can’t carry a tune but encourage him to follow his dream. Really? I want to be an author. We all can’t be. If someone was honest and suggested I try something else, I would appreciate that more than being lied to by everyone. Be gentle, courteous, supportive, but mainly honest if what you have read isn’t up to par. It’s unfair to the author to believe they've done something that they haven't.

Here is my example of what I saw. Where her characters interacted and were in a conversation, she didn’t add commas. Instead of, “I hope that you don’t publish a book without using an editor,” I said. It read like this “Hi, I am not using a publisher. I don’t care enough about you” she responded. Can you see it? I am not an editor but I know that you can tell me exactly what I see.

I agree that editing is costly. However, I strongly feel that it will kill your book if its not done. In the end, it will cost you more than the initial editing costs. You will lose sales, and possibly have to redo your book. It is imperative to pay for someone to professionally edit your work. We have the stories but they know the style that it should be written in. I look forward to reading your book, and will give an honest review. FYI... reviews matter!!

I am an aspiring author but I am a reader first. Please, think of me and other possible readers, before you publish your book without editing it. Authors need to have respect for their products and an unedited book tells me that they don't. A number of self-publishers have had their books picked up by traditional publishers. I bet their books were edited professionally.

Self-published shouldn’t equate to less than. You have a story and I want to read it. PLEASE, do your part and myself, and other readers will support you! Edit, edit, edit, please, edit your book...

If I missed something in English or writing class let me know. Maybe I made the mistake. I hope I am wrong and she is right!! She is the one published. Me, I am currently getting ready to have my manuscript professionally edited. [Insert smile here...]