My Independent Bookstore Journey – The Purpose Beneath the Surface

Me at the MLK Historical National Park Bookstore, next door to the MLK Birth Home, Atlanta, GA

As you all know, I have been spending less time on social media and more time getting out into the community and networking with local Independent bookstores. I am doing this as part of my goal to try things out for myself and to be a witness to the experience so I know what works and what does not work. I am calling it My Bookstore Journey. Currently, I am working with three stores at the moment in the Atlanta-land area with one that has already stocked me on the shelves. I thought I’d share a little bit about why I am doing this. I am also using this as an excuse to update this blog (lol).

My Bookstore Journey is not just about getting into stores. In fact, I do not desire to get into every store. My Bookstore Journey is about learning more about this returns-based industry, how to negotiate, set discounts and experience all of this on my own. I don’t just want to read about it any longer, I want to experience it. In this way, I can help others and offer insight based on hands-on experience. There is a lot being said about Independent Publishing that is just not true (one of them being that Self-Publishers can’t get into bookstores…I’ve already proven this to be false.)

I’ve been spending less time online because 2018, for me, is about stepping outside of my comfort zone (selling my books online) and getting out to talk with people face to face. As an extremely shy person, this is a big step for me. I’d much rather stay at home and speak to you this way. (Am I the only person who thinks she writes better than she speaks?)

This is a journey of learning and discovering so not every place will be for me. (As the saying goes: “Never drink from every cup handed to you, that’s how you get poisoned..”) That said, here’s the latest update on my Bookstore Journey:

Atlanta has been cold but this weekend was a beautiful one so I took advantage of it. The bookstore at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site is currently reviewing my latest poetry release I am Soul. The store is next door to the MLK birth home and if they like my book we will see about getting it on the shelves if everything is everything. If I decide to go through with it, this will be a major milestone as the historical area brings major traffic, tourists, and city officials.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” – Matt. 7:7-8

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MASTER LIST of Facial Expressions for Writers! – Bryn Donovan

Awesome. Authors, check it out. Very helpful list.

I created this list to address that challenge. The expressions are broken down by the part of the face. Note that some of them work for more than one emotion—a person might narrow their eyes out of vindictiveness or skepticism, for instance, and their face might turn red out of anger or out of embarrassment.

Some of them require a little more explanation on your part. You’ll have to say what she’s glaring at, or if his face is contorting in rage, or grief, or what. And not all of these will work for every character—it depends on what they look like and how they generally react to things.

Some of these aren’t exactly facial expressions, but useful for dialogue tags. In many cases I’ve given several ways to describe the same thing. While I have included some longer phrases, they are not proprietary and it’s fine to use them.

Click through to the ORIGINAL POST HERE to read the facial expressions. I am sure you’ll find a few to put to good use.

No Whining Wednesday – Don’t Drown Your Own Voice

Welcome back to another No Whining Wednesday! If this is your first time visiting this blog or if you are new to this segment, please visit the original No Whining Wednesday post HERE to learn more OR the No Whining Wednesday Page to access all previous episodes.

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

 

“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Those who screw up and keep going have failed so many times that they are equipped to handle disappointment and therefore have the maturity and resilience to get back up and try again. You got this.”

– Yecheilyah

This was an inspirational word I posted to my social media early this week. I love quotes, inspirational, motivational and overall uplifting. There is something about the power of a positive word that can make you feel like you can conquer the world. When someone compliments you or gives you that good advice, something in your heart flutters and for a moment, all is right. This feeling may only last a second but in that time, all is right in the world. Or at least, in your world. This is so vital and so needed because there are not a lot of people investing good into the world. There are not a lot of people building up.

But, despite how much I love inspiring quotes and how much I read them, something struck me this week. While inspirational quotes from others is nice, there’s nothing wrong with using our own words to inspire others as well. Your experiences are unique to you. Your pain is unique to you. Your happiness is unique to you. Your life is your own. That is not to say there’s no power higher than you (ya’ll know better) but you have to walk these shoes is what I am saying. You have to plant these seeds.

That said, don’t sleep on yourself. You have the wisdom that comes from living and with that something to offer the world but if you never allow your voice to be heard, it can be drowned out by the voices of others.

What if I don’t know enough?

That has nothing to do with it. You don’t have to be perfect to share something that may help others. Personally, I am moved by realness. I want to know about real life situations because your struggles and how you overcome them is what connects you with other human beings. People who talk about their issues and how they’re dealing relate more to others than those who are somewhere in heaven.

Instead of relying so much on the words of others, sometimes it’s OK to give of our own pearls.

Every now and again, use the power of your own experience to inspire others and to lift yourself up. After all, it is what the people we quote have done themselves. They didn’t speak thinking we would quote them. They spoke because it was necessary and now their words have lived on throughout the centuries.

Writer’s Wednesday – The Men with Blue Eyes Chapter 5

New? Start from Chapter One HERE.


Chapter 5 – Angel of Vision

Byron watched as the woman’s booty swayed from side to side underneath the silk blue skirt as she walked into the kitchen. Baby girl was all body. He cleared his throat.

“So, like I said, it’s a fairly smooth process”, he yelled into the kitchen. “You let me know what package most interests you and it’s pretty straightforward from there.”

The woman returned with a large pitcher of tea and a glass. Byron wondered how she could hold both with one hand. Damn she strong.

The woman smiled, handing him the glass and holding the pitcher with both hands as she poured the sweet liquid. Her breasts dangled in front of her guest. “Wow, that easy huh?” she said licking her lips and smiling.

Byron watched the show. He wasn’t much of a breast man. They weren’t as much fun as booty and thighs. Titties for babies, he’ll tell his friends. But he damn sure wasn’t complaining. He watched them jiggle when she sat down as he gulped his drink.

“Yes, ma’am. You choose a plan and sign the paperwork and we are good to go.”

The blue-eyed woman moved closer, staring into his eyes. Her hips practically touching his.

“No, please. Call me Pas. Ma’am makes me feel old.” She laughed and watched the red spots on the internal screen of her eyes as Byron’s temperature rose. He loosened his tie and cleared his throat, pretending to focus on the paperwork scattered on the table.

“So, like I said, we have three options for you to choose from.”

Pas smiled and continued to stare.

“STOP.”

Startled, the woman turned in the direction of the voice and back to Byron. His mouth hung open and his body was stiff. She turned back to the man who spoke, her eyes flames of fire, her teeth gritted.

“You froze him?”

“He’ll snap out of it in a second. Won’t remember a thing. I need to talk to you.”

The woman sighed. She hated when they froze time. She folded her arms. “What are you doing here Az? This isn’t exactly your jurisdiction.”

“Pas, you don’t need to do this. Let him go. He’s a good man.”

Pas stood and approached her enemy, “Good and man is an oxymoron. I know how badly you want to be one of them. Are you a good man Az?”

“Stop playing games. I have orders from the master. You can’t touch him.”

Pas circled the archangel “See Az, that’s the difference between you and me. You are a sheep, blindly following his master”, she laughed, walking back to the sofa and waved her hand in the face of the stiff man before her. “I mean, they’re so weak. I tell you what. You can have him if I can have her.”

“That’s not how this works. You know that.”

“Oh”, Pas bit her lip in a fake pout, “that sucks.”

“I am not playing games with you Paschar. Stop digging or I disintegrate you.”

“Oooh. Ouch. Pulling out the big guns huh? I can do stuff too you know.”

Az spoke with his hands, “This isn’t a competition. These are people’s lives at stake here.”

“Exactly. People. Ungrateful, weak-minded human beings who care about nothing but themselves, their fancy cars and worthless money. They can’t even breathe on their own let alone ‘control their own destiny.’ Bunch of weak minded fools are what they are.”

“You stop digging and I bring you, Tina. That’s the deal.”

Pas tapped her feet against the carpeted floor, “Hmmm. That may work. Fine. You got forty-eight hours.”

Az frowned, “What?”

“You have forty-eight hours to bring me the girl.”

“That’s not a lot of time.”

“It’s an eternity”, said Pas, “two thousand years to be exact.”

Az rolled his eyes, “As if our time is the same as theirs.”

Pas pointed to Bryon in a fury, “Forty-eight hours or the deal is off and I snatch this creatures’ soul right off his bones! Four. Eight.”

Az jaw tightened and his fingers curled into tight fists, “Fine”, he said before snapping his fingers and vanishing. Byron shook his head and continued as if he’d never stopped talking.

“It says here that the…”

“I change my mind”, said Pas walking to the door.

Byron noticed the woman was breathing heavy. I could have sworn she was sitting right next to me, he thought.“ Are you OK, is everything alright?” He was sure he would get this contract. And a little something extra. “What are you talking about?”

“I don’t want your damn insurance. Beat it.”

***

“OK sweetie but you’re going to have to let the woman do her job,” said Tina into the receiver as she got into the car. She settled in, sliding on her seat belt. “I don’t care…” her body froze as she put the key in the ignition. Az held up a hand.

“It’s me.”

“Niyah, lemme call you back.” Tina  tossed the cell and reached for the pills. “I know who you are. The question is why the hell are you in my back seat? Did anyone see…”

“You’re the only one who can see me. We’ve been over this and put down the pills.”

Tina threw the bottle into the passenger’s seat next to the hot bottled water. “Fine. I’ll entertain this. What do you want?”

Az handed her a black folder, “Her name’s Paschar, angel of vision. She’s a nasty entity who sucks the souls of men right out of them using nothing but her eyes.”

Tina stared back at the photo of the woman with the dark chocolate skin, thick curly hair, and round face, “Wow. She’s beautiful.”

“Exactly the problem”, said Az shaking his head, “she kills more men than anyone of her kind. She’s high up there. But I made a deal.”

Tina looked at him through her rear view mirror, “What kind of deal?”

“She’ll leave Byron alone if she can have you.”

“What? Me? Are you selling me out? What the hell Az!”

“I am not selling you out, whatever that means. I think we should take the deal.”

Tina started the ignition “You might as well vanish or do whatever it is you do cause that ain’t happening. And what’s this we shit? Was I up in there with you when you sold my soul to the devil?”

“Tina, you have to trust me. I have a plan.”

“A plan? You want me to let some angel chick suck my soul and all you got to say is you got a plan?” Tina stepped on the gas and began to drive off. “Please leave.”

“Paschar can’t be trusted. She’s gonna cross me and when she does, I’ll be ready for her. She has a weakness. Every Watcher angel does. But I’m gonna need your help.”

Tina sighed and grabbed the bottle of pills and the bottled water.

“Tina, wait…”

Tina held the bottle to her lips with a tease, “Yes?”

“Children. Paschar’s weakness is childr….”

Tina popped the pills and gulped down the water, barely listening to Az’s last words as  he vanished from the back seat. It was her first mistake.

***

Byron stood, dumbfounded at the woman’s sudden change of mind. Embarrassed, he gathered his papers and put them into his file folder.

“On second thought”, said Pas, her blue glassy eyes shining bright, “stay.”

Writers Wednesday – The Men with Blue Eyes: Chapter 4

Chapter 4:

Missed the first three Eps? Click on the links below:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3


Byron brushed the lint from his uniform as he approached the home of his last client of the day. Walking up the steps of the beautiful home in the well-groomed neighborhood, he knocked on the door and looked down at his paperwork.

“Yes?” The door swung open and a woman smiled back at him.

“Good afternoon ma’am my name…”

Byron paused, mesmerized. The woman had the most beautiful blue eyes he’d ever seen. They had to be contact lens. He could look right through them. They were lovely against her milk chocolate skin. He cleared his throat. A woman had never had him so caught off guard.

“My name is Byron Fisher with Guaranteed Insurance Co. We have you listed here as requesting a return visit.” Byron held up a hand, “I know. I’m not the guy from last time but you were on my route so I thought I’d stop on by and see which plan most interest you”, he smiled.

“Oh yes”, said the woman.

She could see in more than one direction as she read Byron’s energy. Her eyes were cameras quickly processing her environment. They zoomed in on the car coming up the street, the lady walking her dog on the corner and the mailman who was late again. Even the candy wrapper in the cracks of the concrete.

Byron’s biography flashed against the screens that were her eyes. It told her he was single with no children and plenty of money to spend. He was also an orphan as a child and moved around a lot before enlisting in the military. After the army, Byron got into the Insurance business. Life never looked better. Well, almost never. The woman smiled. She saw his weakness too, his hurt.

He was in love once. Some lawyer woman he couldn’t have because she dated his friend. The woman’s eyes flashed. She was digging. The chief warned of digging. It required the use of too much energy but she had to know. So, she dug, and her eyes were claws that pierced his skin for secrets. It was safe. At least now. He couldn’t feel anything. At least not yet.

Byron wiped at his brow, frowning at the sudden wave of heat on his face.

The woman smiled, the flashing red dots on the screen of her eyes signaling the passion emanating from the man in front of her. He wanted her. This would be easy. She stopped digging before he fainted in broad daylight. The chief wouldn’t have that again.

“So very nice to meet you”, the woman said, “I am sure we can find something that I like. Please, come in.”

Byron smiled as he walked into the home of the beautiful blue-eyed woman. He couldn’t believe his luck. Some women were easy. Maybe he’ll get her to sign off on more than just papers. He smiled and her blue eyes flashed as she closed the door behind him.

***

“Aliens?”

“Look, laugh all you want. I’m not crazy.”

Erica composed herself, “I’m sorry girl. You sound like you believe it and if you believe I do too but…”

“Then you don’t believe me.” Tina got up from the sofa and walked over to the window of Erica’s downtown office. Downtown Chicago was one of the most beautiful places in the country.

Erica put her notepad to the side, “OK. Let’s entertain this for a moment. You gotta think about how this is going to sound. Your nephew died in a drug deal…”

“…it wasn’t a drug deal”, interrupted Tina turning around. It pissed her off that people were still saying that.

“Hold on, let me finish. Far as they know it, your nephew dies in a drug deal and everyone else flees the scene. You take leave from work to raise Keisha’s kids, your remaining nieces, and nephew who by the way aren’t really your nieces and nephew…”

“Erica…”

“No, no, let me finish. You take them in after winning a custody battle with their Dad after he couldn’t prove stable residency and their drug addict mom gave you permission to have them. And now everyone involved in the case you tried, people Ronnie was involved with, have gone missing. Top this all off with your claim that Aliens killed Ronnie and abducted everyone at the Warehouse.”

Tina nodded. It did sound phony when you said it out loud. She sat back on the sofa, resting her head on the pillow behind her.

“I’m not saying I don’t believe you but you a lawyer girl. You of all people should know this ain’t gonna stick,” said Erica.

“So, what am I to do then? I can’t keep taking these pills. It’s driving me crazy.”

“Listen, you need these pills so you can do your job without seeing little blue men walking around.”

“That’s not funny E.”

“Seriously, here’s what I think. Here’s my professional opinion…”

Tina smirked, “Now you wanna be professional?”

“Don’t be in my office judging me”, laughed Erica, “I’m the one with the pen.”

Tina laughed.

“In my professional opinion, I think you should see if you can find a connection between those who were abducted and people who may be working with these Aliens or whatever. They gotta be working with somebody or they wouldn’t be able to do anything without being seen.”

Tina sat up, “They look like men though. That’s how they can move about without notice. It’s not like in the movies. The only way to tell is their eyes and sometimes not even then.”

“Still, they gotta be working with normal, everyday people too.  Find those people.”

Tina looked at Erica and bit her lip. It was a start.

“Meanwhile,” Erica stood and walked over to her desk and tore off a piece of paper. She walked back to the sofa and handed it to Tina, “get it together.”

Tina rolled her eyes and took the prescription, “I don’t need it.”

“Yes, you do. Even if it’s just in case.”

***

Tina thought deeply about Erica’s words on the drive home. She did have her wheels turning. Who could be involved in something like this? Az did say it was a cover-up. Reaching for the folders, Tina scanned the names again: Antonio, Brandon, Chareese, Sidney, the two officers, Emmanuel.

Hmm. Someone is missing.

Tina tapped her fingers against the steering wheel, thinking back to the days they used to hang out. Her close ties to everyone abducted did make her look to be involved so she had to be careful or she would lose the case for sure. Antonio, also known as Popeye and Brandon, also known as Tree, were best friends. Chareese, one of her best friends, dated Brandon and was pregnant with his baby and Sidney, the journalist, was also a close friend of hers. Not to mention she went to school with Ja’mella, the woman who accused the men of the rape. All of this had been kept on the low.

Tina searched her thoughts, remembering their card games and get-together. Though she knew them all personally, she wasn’t real tight with the men and the women had gone their separate ways until the case united them.

“Black.”

Tina gripped the steering wheel. Black was Antonio’s insurance agent friend known for his complexion. She had forgotten all about him. His real name is Byron something, but that name’s not in the files. That must mean he wasn’t taken. Finally, something good.

Tina turned the car around and silently prayed Black was at home.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Aspiring Author Meredith Gibrahar

Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Meredith Gibrahar. She’s our first Aspiring Author! Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What would your favorite writing / reading room look like:

My perfect writing/reading room would be a clean table with just a computer and a comfortable reading chair.

What is the most annoying habit that you have?

The most annoying habit I have is to say, “I’m sorry!” I am on disability for a mental illness.

What do you hate about writing advice? What do you love?

What I hate about writing advice is that it’s not specific enough. What I love about writing advice is learning more and more each day.

I feel you. Can you give us an example of what would be specific writing advice for you?

How do you develop a character in fiction?  How do you set up a scene in your book?

What do you think you’ve mastered?

I think I’ve mastered the skill of painting with pastel and watercolor paints.

Ooh. Nice. Do you have any siblings Meredith?

I have two brothers.

Cool. What was your childhood dream?

My childhood dream was to be a secretary so that I could use a typewriter.

My dad had a typewriter! We broke it of course lol. In your own words, what is Humility?

Humility is to be honest about your achievements.

I love it. In your own words, what is Love?

Love is something to be shared between two people.

What is the most amazing adventure you’d like to go on?

The most amazing adventure would be to go on a safari to take photographs.

Thank you Meredith for spending this time with us!


Bio.

I am a new Canadian author. Just starting out and trying to get some interest in two new books. I have experienced much in life and think that I have a rich past and a rich imagination that will create two thrilling and suspenseful books.

More about Meredith:

Meredith was born in 1958 in Ontario Canada. She wrote a play in public school and have written one scientific article and a thesis. She writes poetry and fiction and is working on a non fiction book called The Dominant. She is a single parent.

Follow Meredith below:

https://meredithgibraltar.wordpress.com/

Facebook: Meredith Gibraltar@meredithgibraltar

Twitter: @mgibraltar101

Email: meredithgibraltar@outlook.com

Are you a new (or not so new) author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Writers Wednesday -The Men with Blue Eyes


Chapter 1: Friday, December 31, 2005, 11:55p

632 N Dearborn St., Excalibur Castle Chicago Dance Club

BODIES FILLED THE MASSIVE VENUE, and the music growled from the belly of the loudspeakers. Excalibur once again managed to stuff every available body into the three-level club. Blue, green, red, and yellow lights beamed from above the DJ table and hung from the second and third floors, illuminating the mass of intoxicated bodies on the ground floor.

“Erica, girl where you been? It’s about to start.”

Tina turned away from the bar to face the short woman of milk chocolate complexion and short hair. Her body filled out the black dress as the woman waved her hot face.

“What?”

Tina laughed, the women couldn’t hear themselves over the music. “Its bout to start! The countdown!” she yelled in Erica’s ear.

“Wait lemme get my drink.”

“Girl please, time don’t wait for nobody you better c’mon,” said Tina jumping down from the barstool.

“Grey Goose Martini and a plain cranberry juice”, shouted Erica to the bartender who smiled and winked. Baby girl full of it tonight, he thought.

A crowd of people began to surround the main stage as it prepared to lower the huge crystal ball to the middle of the floor.

“I need yall to make some noise!” boomed the voice of the Emcee from the microphone, sending the crowd into hysteria.

“C’mon E,” said Tina, watching as the bartender handed Erica her drink.

Erica wobbled over to Tina and the women stumble toward the stage, laughing.

“Here we go!” yelled the DJ.

“Whew!” yelled Tina, laughing. It had been a long time since she had this much fun.

“I love you Chicago!” yelled Erica. Tina laughed. She was feeling it.

“We love you!”

“I love you too baby”, said the DJ.

“Whewww!” the women laughed.

“Ten…nine…” began the DJ.

“Eight…” said Erica.

“Seven…” said Tina.

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As the crowd chanted along something caught Tina’s eye. A man standing in the midst of the people and staring at her from a distance. Wearing a black suit and tie he is oddly out of place and looked to Tina to belong in a courtroom, not a club. The sound around her went mute and her mind raced to decipher the identity of the strange man. After spending the past year in therapy, she had tried to forget about her now fading past. Purposefully considering her sanity, she had not expected to walk into Erica’s office to receive such a down to earth reality check from a doctor who was now dancing out her dress in a club with her patient. As such, Tina took this as a sign that things were finally back to normal, taking hallucinogenic suppressants as prescribed and even cutting off any ties to the former life.

But now, as the club lights bounced off the hint of blue that gleamed even in the darkness, she knew that the nightmare she’d tried so desperately to separate herself from would be back and she would have to face the reality that the events of almost two years ago did, in fact, happen. Her nephew was murdered in a warehouse trying to save his sisters and brother from a possessed woman, she was now raising her nieces and nephews as her own, and as much as she wanted to be, she wasn’t crazy. Why couldn’t they leave her alone? What did they want now?

“HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

The return of sound and Erica’s sudden hug made Tina fall back as Erica spilled her drink.

“Damn, messing with you”, she said wiping at her dress. “Hey girl, you alright?”

Tina’s eyes darted frantically around the club for the man, but he was gone.

“Yea girl, I’m good,” she said waving her hand.

“You sure? You been taking the pills, right? Don’t let me have to write yo butt up.”

Stealing one more glance in the direction where the blue-eyed man stood, there was no one there.

“Yea girl, I’m alright. Where the bathroom though?” she said with laughter to feign the fear that already started to seep its way through her pores and release its gas into the air.