Mercury Retrograde took my Creativity

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Thank God we are finally through another Mercury Retrograde (July 8-July 31, 2019) because I almost lost all of my creative juices. Okay, yes I lied in the headline because this recent event didn’t take my creativity permanently but it did stall it for the majority of the month. It wasn’t until a week or so ago that I realized what was happening, which is why I did a quick “Spur of the Moment” video on YouTube.

My whole world was rocked in July; I lost my grandfather, I was passed over for a job opportunity, I STILL don’t have a literary agent for my current manuscript and I was completely exhausted from all my traveling. But mixed in with the hurt and confusion was joy and happiness; I got to celebrate my girl’s upcoming nuptials and we went to Disney (the land of smiles and joy).

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So I’ll swap my description from “rocked” to “busy,” but either way, writing felt nonexistent (There’s a bright side coming just hang on). But through all of that chaos (See here it comes. Told ya!), somehow the fog lifted and I was able to conceptualize another novel. Yep that’s right; add another one to the list but I hope to publish this one, digitally at least, by the end of the year. It can happen, right?

Either way, let this be a reminder that even in your most erratic and chaotic moments, a calm will still set in and you will be pointed out of the anarchy. Sometimes, you just have to go with the ridiculous flow to make it out on the other side.

 

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4 Things to Know When You Attend a Book Pitching Event

I attended my first Black Writers Weekend in Atlanta this past June and all I can say is that it was incredibly dope. And for two reason; first I was able to pitch my third manuscript to a group of women who are experts in the writing arena (one who was a literary agent on my current pitching list); and secondly, I jumped on a last minute opportunity to sell my babies and connect with other authors from around Atlanta.

For this post, I’ll focus on the event that had me shook — pitching my book…verbally. When I first learned of this opportunity, I was scared out of my mind. There is just something about the unknown that is horrifying and not truly understanding how it would be to say a pitch about my book out loud to experts in the industry, blew my mind and confidence.

Thank God I have a dope network of sister/friends around me to keep me focused and challenge my fears. So through all of the unknowns, I signed up for the event and began preparing weeks out for p-day. There were so many things that I learned through both the prep and the post of the event that I have to share them with you all. These four nuggets set me up for success and I want you to make sure you’re ready for your opportunity too.

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4 Tips You Should Know Before Pitching your Book

Pitch an unpublished book. This is a point that unfortunately most of my colleagues did not think about prior to the event. Let this be the moment that you decided to get out there and connect with others in the world of writing because if I had not been told by another author not to push any of my current public babies, I would have fallen in with the others. One of the tips that the group of experts gave us prior to pouring our hearts out about our novels, was that it’s a lot harder for a publisher to pick up an author who has already introduced the book to the public. Yes, you read that right, I did say harder and not impossible, but just think about whether you would rather take a car up the mountain or walk that sucker.

Perfect your portfolio. For most pitching events, you will need certain printed material to support your words. For the Dope Reads pitching event that I attended, I had to have an author resume (I used my media kit), the book synopsis, and the first three polished chapters. I also included my business card too, so they could see how serious I am about this #writerlife. Once it was my turn to present, they all had materials to take back with them, which was more than others had at the event.

Hone your pitch. Doing all that prep work with the synopsis and fine-tuning your first three chapters will get your mind moving about how to describe your book. What you want to do is nail it down to a two- to five-minute elevator pitch. Highlight your key characters and the conflict (but don’t give away the ending), know and say your word count (they don’t care about how many pages, it’s all about how your word count fits your genre), describe who your book could sit next to, and what trope your novel falls into, particularly if it’s one that is pertinent to society right now. Then practice it out loud over and over again. Want to really test your pitch? Tell it to a stranger and see if they’re interested.

Be confident about your work and who you are as a writer. It’s tough when you get into a room and see a bunch of authors working toward the same exact step as you. You may start wondering what makes you different? Why your book and not theirs?  But don’t start comparing your words to theirs. Your story is one that can only be told by you. It’s like having a superpower; you’re the only one who can control it and use it for good. Be proud of your work and how far you’ve come, then go shine like the sun is counting on you.

If you cover these four points, you will be ready to knock that pitch out of the park (see what I did there). If there is one thing you get from this post, let it be that if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. Opportunity is coming.

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Book Review: Nervous by Zane

The key to being a great writer is to be an avid reader, which is why I’ve been trying to consume more books, particularly romance books, throughout the month. My schedule doesn’t allow me the sit-down-and-turn-a-page time, so even though I absolutely love to hold a great book, I’ve had to invest in Audible to help me reach monthly literary desires. And I can honestly say, I have no buyer’s remorse!

Since I’m getting back to old habits–reading one book a month–I’ve decided to start a weekly #WednesdayWords post that’ll be dedicated to the words, albums, songs or even shows that I’m digging. It’s all about introducing you all to what I like, love and lust (see what I did there–Go check out my LLL book) for.

For today’s #WednesdayWords, I’m reminiscing over the steamy and intense storyline from a book I finished earlier this month, title Nervous by Zane.

Yes I know, I’m a Zane fanatic. She’s the author that showed me it was okay to write how I feel sexually, truly teaching me how to let my imagination fly to new heights. And this book did not disappoint, so let’s get into it.

Medium of Choice

I took in this novel through audible, which ran about 7 hours and 30 minutes, and with the audio version comes some great sound effects. It was like taking in a serial scripted podcast and me likie it a lot! I do plan to order a paperback copy though so I can reread it at my leisure. I lust to put my eyes on dope words as much as in my ears.

Quick Synopsis

A docile and virgin woman, Jonquinette, is haunted and ravaged by a being she knows of but doesn’t want to accept; her split personality Jude. Jude is a “hoe” in her own terms who will do anything to protect Jonquinette, even if it means beating people to a pulp and breaking up Jonquinette family. This is the first book I’ve read that dissects the complexities of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), which is now called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), and places it front and center in the word of sex addiction. Not to give too many spoilers away, but Jude isn’t the only person protecting Jonquinette. As we learn about the vast differences between the two personalities, at some point, I began to wonder who was the “main” character and if she would or could overcome the others. It’s definitely hits the girl finds guy and trys to figure out how they can make this last forever trope but of course the twist is how can they do so if her “Hyde” was sleeping with and fucking up everything else in her life (sorry, I had a little Jude fall out there).

This book is actually apart of a series that based around the psychiatrist Dr. Marcella Spencer and I can’t wait to read the next one.

Hot Spot

There were SO many hot ass scenes in this book but there is one in particular that stands out to me based on how she wrote through this media. It was midway through the book when Jude is still holding tight to her virginity but engages in a raw online sex chat with a man. No lie, when the scene first started I was mad because she’s just a teenager talking like that, but then after a while I was like, well at least she’s not out there doing what she’s typing at this age. The way Zane moves between their online chat names and their raunchy exchange will make you want to see if conversations really go like that in chat rooms. Ironically, I grew up during a time when online sex chatting was shifting in popularity to free porn sites so this perspective was a bit nostalgic for me.

Steam Index

I give this one a five-alarm flame index. Even though this may have been published in 2003, and some of the terms may have been more trendy then rather than now, the passion and pleasure behind the words in this book are damn near perfection. It really takes you through Jonquinette/Jude’s inner battles and external glories. It really makes me wonder if we all have a little Jude in us.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has read erotica before and is looking for a new character arc to get into. I will warn those who do not read erotica at all or on a regular basis: this type of introduction may be like getting shock treatment into the genre. You’ll either enjoy it or run away.

Every Writing Journey is Different…No For Real!

If there is one lesson that I’ve learned throughout my 35 years on this Earth is that no footstep is the same. Sure our paths may seem similar, we’ve both turned a left or two, but the reality of it all is that they will end in separate places at different times.

When I first started writing, it was for relief. With all the temptation around me at school and the love I had for my boyfriend, and now husband, with me every waking moment, I had to find a way to release some lustful desires in a healthy way, so I started writing. I wrote freaky tales and shared it with my friends, which did something powerful for me that I reflect on today–I connected women on a level I didn’t know I could through erotic words.

Then when my mother passed in December of 2006, my best friend showed me that writing was also a way to cope with pain and loss. I really let all the painful words that were being held back by my tears out of my system into poetry and journaling. Writing has not only helped with my sanity and recovery but it’s taught me more about myself that I thought it could. I mean, a totally different emotional level.

So did I know that I would be pursuing a writing career when I was in college. No. Elementary, well yeah. I’ve dreamt about telling the stories that were in my head since I was young but I only thought it was a dream, until now.

And it’s not until now, or should I say the past year, that I’ve realized that becoming a full-time author may look totally different for me than anyone else, so I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.

So I’m taking the next big, and what was one of the scariest steps thus far, which was why I decided to take my talents to Patreon–a platform build to help creatives survive why continually sharing our work.

So, why Patreon? Three reasons:

  1. Supplemental-ish Income: This platform allows a creative like me to make an income by supplying a product on a regular basis. As an early published author who only has two books out, it helps to supplement my income to help cover costs like editors, cover designers, software, supplies and all the other stuff that comes up in between (travel costs to conferences and marketing materials).
  2. Storytelling on a monthly basis: I love writing. Did you know that? It’s so true that on this platform I get to write short stories and upcoming chapters for you all to review and give feedback on. Oh, and depending on what tier you subscribe to you will get multiple stories a month, free stuff and so much more.
  3. Connecting with you on a personal: It’s hard to be real on so many channels, and to be honest I can’t be for “commercial” reasons, but on Patreon I plan to be the best and honest me I can be because everyone who supports this dream desires nothing less. And don’t think I’ve forgotten about those of you have bought my book and who have already subscribed to this blog. I’m keeping you in the loop on some of the goodies, but honestly, if you want the gems…you know where to go and what to do!

My path will be different but it will happen because I know it’s for me. If your struggling to live your purpose, I challenge you to take a leap of faith. Trust that the path is already there and all you have to do is take the next step, even if you can see it clearly. What you feel, is what is for you.

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DNC