Ultimate Guide: How To Write A Series

Excellent Article on whether or not you should turn your masterpiece into a series. I definitely think it’s something you’ll notice right away though. I knew before I finished Stella that it was going to be a Trilogy. I mean like, before I’d written the books.

Excerpt:

The word ‘series’ conjures up different emotions in different writers. Some might grin at the thought of spending multiple books exploring the world and story they’ve created. Others might rub their hands together at the potentially lucrative benefits of a long-running series. And still more might simply cry in horror, ‘A series? Writing one book is hard enough!’

No matter which of these camps you fall into, there’s no questioning the fact that the series as a literary concept is here to stay.

From Arthur Conan Doyle, Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie to J. K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett and Patricia Cornwell, writers of all genres and styles have made the series work for them.

So how can you do the same? KEEP READING

Renaissance: The Nora White Story

Dear Ms. Morrison,

Now that I’ve actually finished the first draft, received some feedback, and am on my way to the next part of the process, I’ve changed the name of my upcoming novel. I am almost brave enough to share some excerpts with you! Time permitting, I’ll be releasing chapters this fall and all that fun stuff.

New Title: Renaissance – The Nora White Story

Log-Line: “A young woman seeks to pursue a writing career in The Harlem Renaissance Movement. Meanwhile, her parents search for their daughter’s disappearance.”

I’ll have a full description of what this book is about at a later date. Stay tuned.

A Love Letter To Some of the Black Women Writers Who Inspired Me

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Image Credit: Black Girl Lost – Sunday Kinfolk

Mildred D. Taylor

Just so you know, I fell for you first. Maybe it’s because that Logan boy and I shared the same name I was birthed with. I mean, back then I had never been to the deep south and I’m sure Stacey Logan knows more about the land than I do. Anyway, I was in 6th grade when we met. You didn’t know it then but you introduced me to black literature and I’m not afraid to claim that title or to separate black writer’s into a category of their own. How could our experiences not be likened to the Roll of Thunder? You were that seed planter for the rooted passion I now carry with me.

Sista Souljah

You always kept it real so Imma return the favor. You see my eyes hypnotized every young man who lusted for my lil sweet self. All fresh and new and walking all lady like. And then you came knocking at my consciousness like the Coldest Winter Ever but claimed No Disrespect. I’m sure we connected by way of the struggle. You see I was brought up in the Robert Taylor projects on Chicago’s south side so crack heads, rats, and hunger didn’t alarm me. I fell in love with the way you never sugar coated the truth and anyone whose been where we’ve been knows just how real your words are.

Maya Angelou

How long must the caged bird write before she sings? I can’t credit myself for coming up with that line. You showed me how a poet can use metaphors to write fiction too. Even though your memoir is all truth, your talent transformed it into something that can be considered just as poetic as phenomenal women. Your voice was passionate and strong and thundered like waves of air across the sky. Even in death is your memory, still that uplifting arm rising like dust and written down in history.

Ntozake Shange

Speaking of poetry, ever since I heard you speak I wanted to write for colored girls. You brought me back to those Souljah days with your raw tongue. How it unfolded from the very bottom of your gut and lifted the skirt to every pain black women have endured since the days their slave masters told them that rainbows weren’t enough. You didn’t write the way that I was taught in school, you wrote the way that I spoke. Like when my friends and I crowded around de front porch and ma boyfriend waz whispering quite literally, sweet nothin’s in my ear. And I laughed stupid like “You pretty” was something revolutionary enough to show my privates for.

Toni Morrison

By the time I got to you my thoughts started to evolve into a wanting I couldn’t put my finger on. My mind had gone from reading for entertainment to studying the books I read. I was on a search for something deeper than cotton fields, magnolia trees, and project rats. By the time you came along I was reading in-between the lines and trying to find that thing called freedom. And I wondered just how deep I had to look for that Tar Baby.

Gwendolyn Brooks

As soon as I found out you were from my home town we bonded. Was real cool like besties from the low end on the South Side. Bonded like 47th Street and State, Bronzeville, or Englewood. You see your lyrics had depth like the deep south you was born in, but had that look about it that screamed Chi-Town. Simple poetry that spoke volumes. You taught me that if I loved him the right way, saw him the way I was supposed to, that a man became more than just a body.

Terry McMillian

This relationship of ours! I can read you anytime and Lewis will always seem like the same Ray Ray and Pookie we all know. You perfected the art of black family life and character development. Every book I read of yours sends me into that world and I’m just laughing and shaking hands with your people like they my people because they are. I have stayed up plenty of nights turning pages and laughing and trying to figure out just what it means to be A Day Late and Dolla Short.

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A Love Letter to the Black Women Writers Who Liberated Me Read the title of an article written by Ashley Gail Terrell, a freelance writer from Michigan working on her first novel. Her post was inspiration for this piece.

I believe there are stepping stones to everything in life. That something that leads and guides us from one place to another so that we can reach the place we’re supposed to be. It can be anything from music, movies, television, people, places, things, and even books. Now, because of choice we do not always see these stepping stones for what they are; do not always notice the impact they are having in the moment in which we experience it and for some of us, perhaps we never will. But when I read this title, I thought back to the writers who I have come to love over the course of time and I began to meditate on how they have influenced my writing. When I was not yet where I am, spiritually, mentally, and physically, these writers (although not just these writers) became valuable launchpads on behalf of my writing today, sparking a flame of passion for the art that I still carry with me.

Coffee Date With Yecheilyah

Morning!

For those of you who are not already familiar, Coffee Dates are popular here in the blogosphere. Personally, I like to use them as a time to get personal. Not too much, but enough to let you in on what’s going on in my life. You know, just so you all are reminded that I’m not a robot.

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You know what I would absolutely love? If you would share with me how you like your coffee in the comments! Don’t drink coffee? Tell me about Tea! Or Hot Chocolate. Wait, it’s too hot for hot chocolate. OK whatever, let’s begin.

So..while you run out to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and my Folgers is brewing, I’ll take out the International Delight Sweet Cream and a few coffee mugs. Oh, don’t worry about that, I have plenty. If there’s one thing I have tons of, its coffee mugs!

Whew, careful, that one’s hot. Let’s bring this on over to the couch. Yall know how we do. I like to get comfortable. Watch it, don’t trip over the boxes. I do apologize. I suppose I can start with those.

  • If we were having coffee right now, I’ll explain in great detail why my house is a mess right now. I’m actually an OCD cleaner but you can’t tell right now. Half full boxes is blocking the hallway, dishes are sitting on the couch with us, and the printer on top the kitchen table looks like our office space. Don’t worry, we aren’t hoarders or anything. Hubby and I are actually preparing to move which is both exhausting and exciting all the same. You may remember our last date when I spoke about our new place I was hoping (no, praying) we’d get. Well, we got it and I celebrated by going shopping for my bathrooms as if I’m already in the place. Yaass.
  • In honor of the 6 month anniversary of my latest book, I posted about my goal to reach 15 total reviews by August 15th a couple days ago. If you remember, I listed a few options to give everyone variety on how to help. Well, if we were having coffee right now I’ll say I’ve been bit by the doubt bug. I mean sure, I know this kinda thing only works with certain people and perhaps I was foolish to try it? I am ashamed to say that I’ve only received one response. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely thrilled about that! And to my credit, it’s only been a couple days. Check back with me in let’s say, a week. Maybe things will pick up.
  • If we were having coffee right now I’ll remind you about the play I was scheduled to be in, Blakk Amerika: From Prophets to Pimps. The production covers over 4,000 years of black history. We were scheduled to go on this past weekend in San Antonio Texas but we actually had to post-pone. I’ll keep you posted on the next showing. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you there!
  • I’m thinking about changing things around a bit here. If we were having coffee right now, I’ll tell you I figure since I’ll be decorating my home, I may as well decorate the blog too! What do you think? Do you like this design? Think I should change it? Which WordPress theme would you recommend?
  • If we were having coffee right now, I’ll inform you that I am finally starting to see some progress on my blog posts over at My Trending Stories where I freelance as well. It’s always exciting to notice the small progressions in your life and not just the negative stuff.
  • I ran across some interesting blog articles this week. If we were having coffee right now, I’ll tell you about the one that really caught my attention and why it gave me such inspiration. Kristen Lambs blog is always buzzing with excellent lessons and articles on writing. The one that caught my eye this week was her latest: Breaking Facebook Dependence—How to Create an Enduring Author Brand. Of course, based on the wealth of interaction on this post (as usual with Kristen), I can tell this one caught your eye as well. But let me explain why it caught mine.

This post was really personal to me. I am not very into Facebook and of late I have really not been into it. In truth, the only reason it’s not on deactivation mode right now is because my business pages are connected to my personal account and I don’t know how to cut my ties with the book without deleting those pages (if someone has insight, do tell!). So any who, I was feeling some type of way about Facebook already, especially far as using it for my authorpreneurship. I’ve read all of this information about how great Facebook is as a tool for writers and, of course it’s just good business since to have some presence there, but I just have not been feeling it of late far as Author Branding is concerned. And then came this post. In it, Kristen speaks about how the blog helps to build a closer and lasting relationship between the author and reader even more so than Facebook. Her many examples were the difference between working your butt off for a few more likes to a page vs working to stay consistent on your blog to gain faithful readers. I really connected with this because it’s one of the reasons I spend so much time with you! I’m just an all or nothing kind of person and I think it’s part of my work to be consistent here. Does it take away from my writing? Nope. Contrary to popular belief it is possible to maintain a healthy balance between blogging and your general writing schedule that does not distract from the other. Anyway, back to the post. Kristen’s most striking example however, the one that spoke to me the most, was this one:

“We are feeding all this great “bait” to “fish” we’ve already caught. Sure, good content on Facebook will lead to more people “liking” our page, but the shelf life is incredibly short.” – Kristen Lamb

I soo agree with this! I love the fish analogy. Especially since most people on our Facebook  pages are, let’s just go ahead and keep it real, fish we’ve already caught. I know for me, Facebook is filled with my Fam; people who love and support me and will support me in everything that I do. They are in essence fish I’ve already caught! I think investing in fam is important, but to grow readership will require attention to readers we have not yet attracted and this is why  I think this post is so important.

Anyway, enough about me. I’ve rambled on long enough. What about you? Tell me how you’re drinking your coffee / Tea this morning! (Or evening!)