Tag Archive | Bondye Bon

2018 Year-End Reflection – Menu Style – Let’s Start Celebrating!

Pixabay Free Images

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:

juggling

Oh what FUN, FUN, FUN::grits teeth and bares a smile::

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Thankfully, I have a supportive husband who understands what could befall the universe if I don’t write.

universe exploding

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 . . .

Small Talk

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!

Entrée

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!

colorism healing_volume 2

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 . . .

Prensipal Kou

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!

Highlights Foundation was hosting a workshop for Responsible Representation: Writing Diverse Commercial Fiction for Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers in August! The problem was I didn’t have enough money. I applied for one of their grants and received partial funding. $500 worth. However, I still needed money for the other half and the cost of a plane ticket!

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.

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Dessert

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.

Happy New Year_Haitian Creole
Haitian Creole — psst . . . which one of the headings is not like the others . . .
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Lyrics from the Soul: FIYAH’S Issue #5 Ahistorical Blackness Spotify Playlist

Music is an art form that I hold close to my heart. When I was a child, I loved singing and modulating my voice to match the tone and pitch of various artists. Whether it was Prince (Joy in Repetition), Annie Lennox (Love Song For A Vampire), Mariah Carey (Someday), or Stevie Wonder (Signed, Sealed, Delivered) I’d listen to their unique style, intonations, pitch, and then to the delighted horror of my siblings imitate singers (especially Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid). I’ve grown up and though I don’t sing as much as I used to, I still enjoy it. I especially love listening to music while I write.

When Fiyah Literary Magazine asked what favorite songs I’d like to contribute for Issue #5 Ahistorical Blackness, I knew exactly what songs matched the mood of Bondye Bon (in this link I received some wonderful accolades along with other authors — thank you, Maria Haskins!) Do click and read.

I chose three songs for Fiyah’s Issue Five Spotify Playlist, which you can find here: Do click and listen:

  1. A Child With the Blues by Erykah Badu
  2. No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley & The Wailers
  3. Just Fine by Mary J. Blige (I love Mary J. and initially I had chosen Jill Scott’s Golden, but it was a favorite for another author. Great minds think alike, y’know! 🙂

TerenceBlanchard

erykah badu

Below is Badu’s emotionally resonating song marvelously paired with Terence Blanchard’s ethereal trumpeting skills, which I  discovered while watching Eve’s Bayou  (over twenty years ago). It’s an awesome movie that EVERY speculative fiction fan should watch at least once! 🙂

My favorite line (well one of them – heh) from the song:

“Baby, check yourself. Brace yourself. Protect yourself. Face yourself.”

2017 Year-End Reflection AND 10 Reasons Why I Plan on 2018 Being Even Better!

Soon, the year 2018 will roll on in. Looking back to all that I’ve accomplished, in spite of the struggle and medical hardships (yup, maybe I’ll share that someday), I can finally admit that I’m amazed and proud of myself.

Before I sat down to type this post, I had to think back on every single thing I did in order to own this feeling and not dismiss it. My mother and father raised me to always strive to be better. So, I blame them. Thank you, Mommy and Daddy. Thank you ever so much. Lol.

For most of you that know me on a more personal level, you know it’s hard for me to express such affirmations and truly, TRULY own them.

So, without further adieu, here are 10 Accomplishments in 2017 I’m MOST PROUD OF:

1. Attended various local author events at bookstores, libraries, and conventions.

2. Republished Forbidden as an e-book (now if only I can finish it up as a paperback)!

3. Independently published my first middle grade book (Waking Dream Series). Due to the fact that I struggle with marketing books like other Indie authors, I’ve decided that WHEN (not if) I become traditionally published, I’ll still put 100% into social media and marketing, but I hope that I’ll have more time to dedicate to writing. Being an Indie author is HARD! And yes, the stigma of independently publishing books is slowly disappearing it isn’t completely extinct!

indies what we are

Read more about Being an Indie Author here.

4. Celebrated my sons’ birthdays (17, 5, and 2).

5. Wedding Anniversary – 🙂

6. Submitted several manuscripts to agents and publishers! Sure, I received rejections! But if you don’t try, you won’t succeed!

7. Applied for artists grants.

8. Sold my FIRST PAID short story, “Bondye Bon” to FIYAH Literary Magazine. Learn more so you can purchase your copy in January here!

9. Created YouTube Channel that’s in need of some serious, serious attention! 😉

10. Connected with more bloggers, readers, writers, and friends all over the world!

With you and your stimulating social interactions, I’ve become a better writer!

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What Do Recurring Themes Say About You as a Writer?

recurring dreams

According to HowStuffWorks.com,

Many people have the same or a similar dream many times, over either a short period of time or their lifetime. Recurring dreams usually mean there is something in your life you’ve not acknowledged that is causing stress of some sort. … In this case, the dreams tend to lessen with time.

I’ve had recurring dreams, but the main point of this post is to discuss recurring themes in writing. I think that the themes we express creatively, like dreams, often reveal a lot about us.

A little while ago, I needed to go back and look at some work I did over a decade ago. I ended up pulling out floppy disks (yup), flash drives, and paper copies of work.

floppy neckchain

Ahhh. Floppy disks — as retro as Flavor Flav.

flavor flav

You see, there’s a grant that I’m really interested in winning (finalists won’t be announced for quite some time) and when I attended the workshop to learn more, the facilitator shared that applying artist were encouraged to reflect upon past work (none could be older than 15 years) and analyze it critically in order to improve the work.

I found short stories, novellas, poems, flash fiction from when I was a teenager. I also noticed a trend in writing themes I’ve maintained over a decade late. Here’s a taste:

Death

Family — blessing or curse

Mother and daughter relationships

Love Conquerors All

Immortality

Oppression of women

Words have power

Evils of racism

All those years ago, I didn’t know that these stories fell into the speculative fiction category. Heck, I didn’t even know that I was genre writing. I just wrote because it made me feel better. I wrote in order to channel my passions and sometimes despair in an artistic manner. The themes I write about often transcend what’s happening in our current world. In other words, the settings I create don’t exist based on the world as we know it now. At times, it’s comforting to speculate. And at times, it’s downright terrifying too.

Speculative Fiction Diagram_Annie Neugebauer

This diagram (thanks to Annie Neugebauer) for this great visual of how far-reaching speculative fiction is. And the possibilities seem endless.

I’m actively looking for an agent that will help me to reach my next goal: a home with a traditional publishing house. Some of my friends and families say, “Hey, just write a memoir. Or write in a hot niche category that will get you published quickly. Once you get your foot in the door, then, you can write whatever you want.”

I considered this route. Sucked on it like candy, before spitting it out. I realized if I write something I don’t love, or something that isn’t a part of me, I’m not being true to who I am.

It’d be like one of those cringe-worthy romance-comedy (less on the comedy part) movies where The Girl (me) changes who she is so the School Hunk (publisher/agent) notices her and takes her to the prom (publishing contract). And heck, maybe a year or so later they’ll get married and have a bunch of kids (royalty check + sequels and New York Times Bestseller List).

Reaching my goal as a successful Indie author has been hard. I’m a face-to-face kind of gal. I sometimes kiss with my eyes wide open, break out into random songs, or dance in the rain, and marketing from behind a keyboard isn’t my idea of a “good time”.

So, back to the recurring themes . . .

My first PAID short story, “Bondye Bon” will be published in Fiyah Lit Magazine’s Ahistorical Blackness (January Edition). I remained who I am. The story includes themes such as death, family, oppression of women, the evils of racism, and so much more.

Writers, what themes often appear in your writing? What do you think they say about you and your craft? Readers, what kind of themes do you especially enjoy appearing in the stories you read? Please share in the comments!