Don Massenzio’s Author Challenge: Where Do You Write?

Last Tuesday one of my favorite bloggers, Don Massenzio, posted a fun challenge for authors called: “Where do you write?” This is my post in support of the challenge, though, it’s not nearly as fun as his! (Like, who can beat Homer Simpson??)

OK so here’s an overview. I will do a close-up of everything and try to make this interesting. I do warn you though. I’m a nerd and not very exciting.

So, yea, that’s the basic work-space there. I work from two computers. Or, I did until my desktop stopped working. Boo. Now it is the holder of my sticky notes (see pic below).

These notes in particular are notes on Renaissance, Book One in The Nora White Story. Book One is finished but I’m writing book two and need to make sure I don’t contradict myself.

These are my awards! I received the glass one in Atlanta last year. It was a gift from my readers and supporters and a wonderful surprise. It is not something I won as a result of a contest or anything like that but I cherish it more because it came from the most important group of people out there: readers!

The standing one is an award I received for my work as a member of my women’s organization Blessed Handmaidens in honor of  hard work and dedication.

Poster-sized image of The Road to Freedom! I got this blown up at Walmart and keep it in front of me as I work. It helps to keep me motivated. I also take it down and use it for any book signings for this book. Under it are some envelopes that somehow found themselves in the picture.

On the PC is a YouTube video of Shahrazad Ali doing interviews for The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding the Black Woman, one of my favorite books. It wasn’t supposed to be in the picture either. I think these inanimate objects have a life of their own. I wonder what they are doing when I’m not looking….

Another thing I do for inspiration is blow up pictures of some of my favorite book reviews or the ones that give me the most hope. I appreciate your book reviews! If they are really moving, I will put them on a poster. This one is by Colleen Chesebro on Beyond the Colored Line. It says:

“Even more revealing, is how relevant Stella’s story is in America today. I wonder how many people, faced with the same dilemma’s that Stella dealt with, would be able to reconcile their feelings about their own ethnicity. Stella’s story helped me to discover connections with my own family I never had before. It just proves that even in my own family, nothing is ever just black and white.”

This one is from Anna Kopp on the same book. It says:

“If I had the power, I would put this book in the hands of every middle school child in America and let them truly understand what it means to be beyond the colored line. The thing is, the literary classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Huck Finn definitely bring up the issues of race, but they’re incredibly removed from what is portrayed  as in today’s world.”

And now, what we’ve all been looking at. The Bookshelf!

Well, one of them.

This one is filled with mostly research material.

The other one is in the living room and that’s where most of my novels are.

We just moved so there are some books missing. Here’s a close-up of what’s on the shelf.

The top shelf is biblical reads:

Bibles (starting with the gigantic one on the end there with the black man’s face on it) Apocrypha’s, The Book of Enoch, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha’s, The Book of Jasher, the 1611 version of the King James Bible, and the Scriptural Translation published by the Institute for Scriptural Research in South Africa.

The next shelf is Black Historical reads. Let’s see what’s on the shelf:

A Pictorial History of Black America.

Roots. I have no idea what happened to the cover but the book is old. It’s the original 1976 version my husband got from….I don’t know where he got it from but I’m glad we have it.

The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. I’ve had this book for a long time as well (and the Book of Josephus is on the wrong shelf. That’s a biblical read. Well, Historical too but it is out of place. Again, these things are moving around on their own. I am sure of it).

Black Spark, White Fire.

The Miss-education of the Negro, Willie Lynch Letter

From Babylon to Timbuktu.

The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, The Eyes on the Prize: Civil Rights Reader, and….The Dead Sea Scrolls? I gotta organize this ya’ll lol. Wrong shelf again.

Remembering Slavery, Introduction to Black Studies, From Slavery to Freedom, Bullwhip Days and Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry which should be on the bookshelf in the other room where the novels are.

The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman, Negro Slave Songs in the United States, and Medical Apartheid.

The Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture, Black Man’s Burden, The Isis Papers, and

100 Years of Lynching

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This could go on forever. To the bottom…

The next to the bottom of the bookshelf is the controversial shelf. More research, Masonry, Fallen Angels, The Watchtower and the Masons, Secret Teachings, Dictionary of Angels, etc. All the “Forbidden Knowledge” type stuff. So, yea, that.

I was in a play two years ago at The Dusable Museum of African American History. Yea, it was awesome. The program and tickets are also hanging on the wall for inspiration:

I think I’ve showed you everything. Oh, wait! The Calendar. My husband went out and got me a calendar after seeing way too much yellow…

I’m kinda obsessed with sticky notes.

I admit, they are everywhere.

And of course, throughout this tour of my office one thing remains:

Coffee! Lol

And water. See. I have water too. So, yea.

That kinda justifies it. ; )

So, authors, why don’t you join us? Show us your writing spot! It’s  a fun challenge and helps you connect more with your audience. Be sure to check out Don HERE for details.

MAY I Have Your Attention Please? #MayChallengeDay4

Now what? No, seriously. Now that I have your attention, I don’t know what to do with it. It’s just that, well, I really wanted to use MAY in my title.

But, while we’re here, I MAY as well say something.

I’m really excited about the results of my Spring Giveaway. The purpose of the contest covered a number of areas so what I’d like to do is list some benefits I found of hosting a Giveaway in the way that I’ve done and some things I wished I’d done better. I don’t feel like being long winded today so I just have four points.

  1. Extending My Hand

I believe, as an artist, that giving back is a very important part of the work. Just look around your Blog neighborhood. The top blogs, the ones with lots of support, are the blogs that give lots of support! I truly believe that what you give comes back to you. Not that you should just do something for that reason, but you get the point here. Giving is just really important on so many levels, business, and personally. It is also a part of me. I have to be able to give back. Giving is such a gratifying experience and just fills me up. There is really no better accomplishment than the opportunity to bask in someone else’s happiness.  It’s like this quote here by Denzel Washington:

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Thank you Denzel for summing that up for us because I didn’t feel like explaining.

       2. Social Engagement

From a Social Media perspective, I really wanted to increase the social engagement of my followers. You know sometimes, with the way social media is now, its easy to accumulate thousands of subscribers or “friends” (gotta use this F word loosely) and never have anything else to do with them. So easy to have large readerships or support and not do anything with them. So I’ve really been on this personal, get-to-know-you-better type kick lately with seeking to understand how to build better relationships with the people who support me and really dig into this networking thing.

    3. Networking

Speaking of networking, I also wanted to increase my social media presence online by offering people who may not be familiar with my work an opportunity to connect with me. Its another reason I wanted to sort of “go all out” by hosting a Giveaway on this level so I can really peer into my circle of supporters and really get to monitor what things are actually looking like around here. If there’s one thing I don’t want to be is in the dark. To have this perception of my work that doesn’t reflect the truth. So one major benefit to this Giveaway I found is the increase in social media. Over the course of this contest I’ve done the following:

  • 17 New Email Newsletter Subscribers (Only 1 person unsubscribed after the contest. Remember when we spoke about the risks of this kind of a giveaway? That people may unfollow you after the contest ends. I am happy to have only gotten one unsubscribe).
  • New Blog Followers. I think there’s a handful of you who found me, welcome, welcome.
  • 21 New Facebook Likes to my Business Page
  • 10 New Twitter Followers

I cannot leave without thanking @Opinionated Man, @Annette Rochelle Aben, @LisaTetting, and @Don Massenzio for their support and others who helped to re-blog the post about the giveaway. I do know that it really helped to contribute to getting the word out to the blogosphere and is most definitely appreciated. This Giveaway has also helped to spread the word about the books themselves and helped me to gauge just how interested people are in the series. If only 3 people are selected to win but there are lots of entries, or not so many entries, I would be able to see where I stood in relation to demand. Now that its all over, I understand where I am on that level.

If there is one negative about the giveaway, there is one thing I wish I’d done better.

   4. Ask For Contestant Names

I know, it seems obvious, but because of the popularity of social media, it was easier to just ask for an email address because that gave me access to the person in which to communicate without doing a whole lot of shout outs. The negative thing about this however that I didn’t think about, was putting my winners at risk of Spam and Junk mail by publishing their emails across my social networks. It occurred to me this week as I was announcing the winners that I probably should have just asked for everyone’s first and last names! LOL. But, on a positive note, I think that by just asking for an email address, it increased participation because people didn’t have to do much. Not that entering your name is much but a lot of people have nick names or maybe they just robbed a bank and don’t want to give their name, who knows. But an email address. Well, you can enter an email address with one click and from anywhere. I definitely did not want a whole bunch of questions or mandatory info that would make that process any less smooth.

In any event I’d say my first Giveaway was a success! I didn’t have hundreds of entries but I had far more than I thought I would have and the experience was really uplifting and brought me closer to understanding how to network and build those interpersonal relationships that are so vital to online promotion / marketing.