Last year, I had applied for . . . and I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been selected to participate in the inaugural POC in Pub Writers and Illustators of Color Mentorship Program!
POC Objective is clear and straightforward:
“The People of Color in Publishing Writers and Illustrators Mentorship Program is an opportunity for writers and illustrators of color (protégés) to strengthen their craft, gain first-hand industry knowledge, and expand their connections through experienced professionals (mentors). The mentorship program is intended to be informal, yet instructional. Protégés are expected to work with their mentors on setting goals, so each mentorship experience will be unique.”
The program runs from January 2019 through June 2019.
A writer that lacks self-confidence is a bird with a clipped wing.
–C’est Moi/Se mwen menm
Nerd Fact: Why not merely clipped wings? Well, because most birds can fly with this clip, which eliminates its usefulness. One Wing Clip. …Clipping the feathers on only one wing will certainly prevent your bird from flying, but it will also throw off her balance, increasing the likelihood she’ll injure herself (source found here).
First, thank you for visiting! 🙂 It’s good to be back! Lately, I’ve been spending more time with my family, settling myself in a new-ish job, polishing a YA novel I’ve been working on for months (getting ready for #PitchWars), and writing the first draft of an adult fantasy with an erotic slant! Uh oh!
Yes, I still teach, but due to moving to a new school and teaching a new grade, I feel like a first-year teacher! Hee hee hee. Juggling! That’s what it’s kind of like, except I’m tossing around a flamethrower, a chainsaw, while trying to herd mosquitoes — with my toes! 😀
As most of you know, I’m a full-time school teacher, (part-time tutor — yes, I have more than one job to pay those bills– eeeeek!) and the proud dragon mommy of three sons. It’s no wonder that writing time often slips through my fists like water. If only juggling these tasks could be THIS easy:
Oh what FUN, FUN, FUN::grits teeth and bares a smile::
Thankfully, I have a supportive husband who understands what could befall the universe if I don’t write.
It’s absolutely necessary that I passionately pursue my writing goals!
Let’s order some wine, (red for me, please) get comfortable, and delve into some more . . .
So, in 2017 I had promised myself that 2018 would be better. And in several ways it has been. I’m grateful for my health and the accomplishments I’ve pursued and scored during this soon-to-be-over year. Regarding writing, I’ve noticed that some of my short stories are actually larvae-stage novellas! Luckily, there’s a growing market for novellas! And I have three in the cue that I need to share with Wordsmiths (my writing pals) to prepare these works for submissions!
I submitted a handful of short stories and poems to twenty different markets, grants, and/or contests for writers and sold . . . two stories.
Uh huh. You heard that right: just two stories.
I had initially sent Souls Within, a short story to a literary magazine and it had been rejected. So, I waited a couple months before trying another venue. It was for a writing contest. So, I decided to revise and edit the piece — molding it into a story-in-verse. Lo and behold — it was accepted and published in a lovingly made book of essays and poems edited by the fabulous Dr. Sarah L. Webb. Please do check it out!
The second story I sold is called Hide Your Love Away and you can read or listen to it here! Oh yes! Tonia Thompson is absolutely amazing at channeling different voices and accents! Her Nightlight Podcast is new, exciting, and creepy! Horror Fans rejoice, then hurry on over and enjoy! 🙂
Well, two stories may not seem like a lot, but the other markets that I submitted to, I’m pleased to say that most of the feedback I received wasn’t a “Dear John” form letter! And one short story was sooooo close to being accepted by Fireside! It had made a second round of consideration! Was I crushed that they didn’t finally buy it. You betcha! But, I’m so glad they took the time to email me the reasons why. And when they re-open for submissions, I’ll be ready!
Now, keep in mind, I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts that in order to be successful, you have to take risks. And boy, have I!
So, on to the . . .
Don’t laugh, but until this year, I hadn’t stepped foot on a plane in almost thirteen years. Being mommy often comes first and if my little ones couldn’t come with me, then I would stay at home. The last time I boarded a plane was when I traveled to Japan in 2006 as a Clearwater-Nagano Sister Cities Ambassador! Anyway, while I was spending time clicking around on Twitter, I noticed an opportunity that I had to try!
Our oldest son had just started attending University in the summer and was continuing his education through the fall. Money was, to say the least, tight. 😦 So, I did something I never did. I asked my friends and followers for help! Being an introvert is downright paralyzing, but I forced myself out of my shell and used crowdfunding to help spread the word.
I was both amazed and humbled by the incredible outpouring of love and support I received!
In August, I kissed my family and my students (yup, Florida starts school really early) good-bye and headed to Pennsylvania for writing, relaxing, reading, researching, studying, learning, talking, eating, networking, and more and more delicious eating! The chefs at Highlights are AMAZING!
I was able to meet Linda Camacho, Patrice Caldwell, Sona Charaipotra, and Linda Sue Park. Unfortunately, Dhonielle Clayton wasn’t able to attend. Buuut, she provided copies of her YA novel, The Belles! In fact, all of the authors provided copies of their most recent novels. I was able to get autographs, too! Woo hoo!
Here are some photos of my trip to Pennsylvania.
Something incredibly sweet happened yesterday! I received an email from Rivière Blanche, small publisher in France. They requested to reprint one of my short stories, Bondye Bon, in one of their anthologies. It’s to be translated into French, (duh — redundant, much, but I’m TOTALLY psyched — LOL) and published by the end of 2019! I’m especially surprised and delighted regarding this news and will keep you posted with anthology cover reveals and any other upcoming news!
Last year’s year-end reflection can be found here.
Haitian Creole — psst . . . which one of the headings is not like the others . . .
She invited local authors that tag-teamed each other off in order to keep the viewers cozily entertained with games, prizes, and real-time question and answer sessions.
Before the event, authors were asked to answer questions that I found really important for readers and writers.
Here are the questions I was asked to respond to:
1. Synopsis of your writing career and style including your most current and/or favorite project:
Since I was a kid, I loved making up stories, worlds, and the characters that populated them. From talking cheetahs preaching social justice reform to poachers over the roar of a camp fire, former slaves with supernatural powers that raise the dead to destroy an unjust and racist system, to the birth of twin sons that will turn a theocracy on its head, unique ideas come easy to me, but finding the time to write them is a constant battle. Being a mother, a full-time teacher, (yes, even during the summers) and a wife I have to organize my day to make time for my life as a writer. And when I don’t write, I’m not happy. I write so that I don’t kill . . . my emotions. 😏 When I was a much younger writer, I struggled with submitting my stories for many reasons. A primary one is I didn’t think my work was good enough. I also didn’t think I had a shot when majority of the work being published in the science fiction and fantasy community was by white authors.
Walter Dean Myers says it best: “Books transmit values”. Myers goes on to express, “That books explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books?” Let’s take this train of thought a little further. What is the message when some authors are not represented in the publishing industry? What is the message when stories with nonwhite main characters (and side characters) are written by exclusively white authors. When I noticed that more and more people of color were being published (I will not use the word trend — this is here to stay) I not only took notice, but swallowed my fear, and joined in. Currently, while I’m in between writing two novels — one YA urban fantasy that takes place in the same universe as the Gabriel Lennox series and one adult high fantasy — I draft, revise, edit, and submit short stories, prose, and poems to markets in order to build my writing credentials. I also read and critique other authors’ works. I mentor young writers. My dream is to be traditionally published. So, I’m polishing my work and looking for agents and publishers to send my manuscripts to.
**During my blog hiatus, I won 2nd place in a poetry contest and sold one flash fiction piece. I also won a partial-grant. More on that later. I also had emergency surgery. 😦
2. Can you define Co-op publishing and share with us three lessons learned from your experience with that publishing method?
Co-op publishing is also known as cooperative publishing.
When Co-op publishing goes well.
Traditional publishing is often viewed as an “I’ve made it” badge of honor for aspiring writers while self-publishing needlessly and unfairly bears a red stain of shame. Co-op publishing is supposed to be a happy median and can work as a middle way between self-publishing and traditional publishing. Basically, when you’re a traditionally published author, your publisher pays you a royalty and you will get a small percentage of royalty statements for each book sold thereafter. Self-publishing is a different animal that I haven’t been able to tame quite yet. I’m in the processing of preparing my vampire novel “Forbidden” for CreateSpace as a paperback. It’s been available as an ebook for at least a year. And like a creature from the world of Pokémon, self-publishing is still evolving and is often “super effective” for some. For some. Not for all. ::raises hand sheepishly::
The author is the publisher, book manager, marketer — the whole effing enchilada! And that can cost lots of money! In general, the Co-op experience is when authors pay to have their book published and they work with a second-party publisher that guides the dear writer through the entire publishing process. My experience with Booktrope was a little different. I didn’t have to pay to be published. However, there were marketing packages I couldn’t afford and didn’t know they weren’t included in the gig. So, I marketed my book by blogging, tweeting, Facebook posts, etc. Surprisingly, I made more sales to practical strangers when I attended face-to-face book signing events than I did in Virtual Land via social media. Though I won’t go into further juicy details, I will say this: If you choose this route, God forbid your Co-op publisher goes out of business! The experience is like a Charles Dickens’ novel nightmare where you’re now an orphaned author, abandoned and shivering in the biting cold and crying, “Pardon me, sir, may I have a crust a bread?” So, I’m going to keep on Dune Methane (doin’ my thang — I love Hieroglyphics — dee dee dah dah dee dee dane) and excel where I can. 🙂
3. What makes the vampire in your story different from other popular vampire characters?
The vampires in my stories possess some traits with the traditional vampires of legend. However, though they are humans tempted with immortality, supernatural powers, they’re actually pawns in a dark, sinister web of deception, power, and blood lust set in a glittering world that starts in 19th century England. If vampires are real, then they’d be apex predators in the proverbial food chain. But when confronted with the harsh reality that there is something more powerful that feeds off of them their worldview shatters. They must pick up the jagged pieces in order to rebuild and save their world. If they can.
4. One piece of advice for aspiring writers and/or a cool fact for your reading audience:
I’ll indulge in a two for one special. First, to all of you inspiring writers: I implore you to “never give up. Never surrender!” Science fiction movie watchers, you might recall that battle cry from the satirical movie Galaxy Quest. And yet, I won’t stop there. Why? Because there will be times when you do indeed give up and when you want to surrender. But don’t let this be a “forever” end game option. Even though there will be times when you will fail (oh, yes, and you will) you only truly fail if you stop writing. And then you’re no longer a writer, but a thinker. And thoughts alone don’t write books.
Now, all of that aside . . . what are you waiting for? Go and get yourself a copy of E. Rose Sabin’s The Twisted Towers! I’ve already read it and am so glad that I have my own copy.
Here’s my take on the novel:
Sabin delivers a breath of fresh air to the fantasy genre with a twisted plot that mirrors the winding setting her compelling characters trek through. A heart-pounding ride from beginning to end.
The best way to thank an author is to:
Lolz. Heck, I’d be happy if I could make $20/month. Or $5.00 Or $1.00?
To be honest, I’m a little nervous about taking a break, but a lot of that nervousness comes from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I wonder what awesome blog posts I’ll miss from all of you. I wonder what amazing things you’re going to accomplish while I’m away, but I know it’s going to be okay, because I can always catch up!
I hope that shutting down on other social media will also help to reap fantastic benefits.
Here’s to a great break and I’ll see you on the other side!