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.
I will share more information each month.
Writers often joke about how their characters talk to them, threaten them, plead with them to spend time with them and write, write, write.
I especially appreciate what George R.R. Martin has to say about the strange and intimate relationship between writers and their characters.
Now, do excuse me, I have an important date with several individuals that no one else can apparently see.
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!
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.
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.
Cheerleaders of NaNoWriMo, I’m already behind. Based on the 50,000 word goal, I already have a deficit of 10,002 words!
Yes, I’ve written some short stories. There’s one that I’m finishing up for a November 15th deadline, but does that even count towards the novel of my dreams?!
You see, I have a novel inside of me that needs to be written. It makes threats. It keeps me up at night. The characters taunt me, “Monique, we’re so much more interesting than those other characters you created. Come on, what are you waiting for? This project is so much more important! Do us! Do yourself a favor and write about us!”
If only I had the time. So, I’ve decided to make time.
In Florida (accent on the duh), we have this thing called Daylight Savings Time, where we FALL BACK (happens in autumn or fall — you know, the season where trees change their color and the weather gets cooler?)
Well, since Florida rarely experiences these beautiful moments, I guess that’s why we’re still forced to abide by “da rules”.
Anywho, let me get back to the task at hand.
In order to make NaNoWriMo happen for me, I pledge, I vow, I promise, I swear (by the moon and the stars in the sky) that I’ll wake up earlier AND before making smoothies for the family, before packing lunchboxes, before working out (Zumba or weight training) that I’ll crank out those words; I’ll wrestle with those words; I’ll caress them; cajole them; coax them; and tickle ’em out of me and spew them on paper or clank them out on keyboard!
Oh yes, I can!
So, now my day job is starting in a few minutes. With that said, au revoir. Until later. Blah, Blah, Blah.
*Falls asleep on keyboard*
Months ago, I wrote a poem for my husband (it was his birthday) that invoked such deep emotion in him that he cried. I considered getting the published (come on, our kids have gotta eat) at one point and instead shared it at a Wordier Than Thou open mic event.
The response was powerful from the audience.
I didn’t intend to bring people to tears. I just wanted to share the love I have for my husband. The poem, still unpublished, sits on my husband’s work desk in a frame. 🙂
Sometimes when we write we deliberately choose precise words, punctuation, and phrases to inspire certain feelings or reactions in readers. Other times, we don’t intend to stir emotions within people. But when we do it’s absolutely beautiful. From now on when I write I make sure that I’m writing from the depths of my soul, bearing the struggles, the triumphs, the heartache, heartbreak. Why? Because this practice will often ensure the best kind of writing.
“The best kind of writing, and the biggest thrill in writing, is to suddenly read a line from your typewriter that you didn’t know was in you.”
Larry L. King
In a previous post, I discussed Octavia Butler’s thoughts on inspiration vs habit. Habit is worth cultivating. Inspiration when it comes to writing will do little for the writer. Writing every day or as much as one can is a best practice.
Initially, I planned on continuing the Quotes to Write By series for 60 days. However, I may have to take a small hiatus by day 30 in order to focus on writing a dark fantasy with sword and sorcery elements, which means I will excuse myself from all social media to make that first draft come much faster.
So, in honor of habit I share two quotes.
One from Clarence Kelland. The quote is hilarious and this dude was dedicated to sadism. 😉 And another from Ursula Le Guin.