Why did I disappear for a few months?

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It’s been five months since I’ve posted in my blog, and I would like to explain to my audience why:

First of all, eight days after my last post, I lost my mother-in-law. She was like a mother to me when my mother was not able to be here for me. She was the rock of the family, and her sudden death sent us all into a tailspin. So in the course of sixty days, I published my first book, moved, got a promotion at my job, and suffered a tragic loss. I didn’t know which way was up for the longest, and I found myself unable to write much of anything.

I was in a fog all of the time, tired, depressed, and couldn’t concentrate. I would wake up, drink coffee, and go back to sleep. I just attributed it to the stresses I was enduring. Once I finally went to a doctor I found out that I was dangerously anemic, almost to the point of needing a blood transfusion. My hormones were also out of whack and since I was eating junk for quick energy and to feed my depression, I gained a lot of weight, which gave me more health problems.

I was just unfit to write, period.

I’ve started taking some medications and supplements, and I’m more conscious about what I’m eating. (Still not eating as healthily as I should, but I’ve cut back some.) I’m slowly regaining my energy and the fog is gone. I know I’m getting back to normal because I’m back to writing every chance I get! I have characters politely knocking on the inside of my skull, wanting their story to be told.

One of the pearls of advice I’ve heard from other authors is, “Take care of yourself, stay healthy. Don’t ignore warning signs.” I now know this to be true, the hard way (usually the way I learn things). I’m back in the saddle!

Bug and Celeste are on hold at the moment. Although I have a good solid beginning for the sequel, there is another story that has been screaming out to be told, so I’m following my intuition and working on that piece. It takes place in Celeste’s hometown, but ten years prior. It’s a very different kind of book, but I know it will not disappoint, I’ve learned a lot more after my first novel and I know this will be better written and a stronger story that a wider audience will appreciate. Thanks to those who have stuck by me, welcome to my new fans, and stay tuned for more on all of my novels!

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Late-Mid-May Progress Report

Hello, my straysiders and fans! I know I’m late with an update but this month has been even more stressful than the last! I’ve moved, not out of the city but around the corner. Still, moving is stressful. So that, along with the demands of my new job title and some personal issues – you know, just a typical day in paradise – makes for little time to blog. But I’m here now!

The biggest news that I have since the last update is that The Straysider’s Dream Journal is now available in paperback! So to those of you who don’t own an e-reader, or just like the feel of a book in your hands, you now have the option.

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I’m still sluggish on writing the next novel. I wish I could say more and tell you better news. When I say it’s been a rough two months, it really has been. Perhaps now that I have moved I’ll be in a better place (physically and mentally) to write.

Coming soon, I will be revising this website. It served its purpose for before the book was published, but now that the business is maturing, the site should as well. Look for these changes to take place before the next Progress Report.

Nothing more to say for now, except if you haven’t already bought my novel, please do so! There are so many formats and sites to purchase it now there is no excuse. And please leave a review if you are so inclined to do so!

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Mid-April Progress Report

It’s that time of the month again – the Progress Report, that is!

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By now, I’m sure most of you have heard that The Straysider’s Dream Journal is available on  the Amazon Kindle Store. By the weekend, it will be available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo, perhaps a couple of other outlets. I’m excited! The novel is doing so well on Kindle and I hope it goes well everywhere else.

I went through the proof for the print edition and fix typos and made a few revisions. The one thing I had forgotten in the formatting is page numbers. Rookie mistake! But they are now in place and all is a go. I will buy the next proof and cross my fingers that everything will be A-OK to get this baby on sale and into your eager hands!

As far as my personal life, as I stated in my previous post I got a promotion at my day job.  I’m still training and I have another week and a half travelling to another location to get this done. I am super stressed between this and my book launch (although they are both “good” stresses) and I find it hard to find time to do much else. I want to continue going forward with the next two novels but I know my body’s limits. I’m not going to push them. I will get to them in due time and I must tell myself to be patient. I hope you can be as patient as I am trying to be. 🙂

So if you haven’t picked up the ebook, do so! Leave a review! I’m looking forward to seeing it. Take care, my straysiders!

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Announcing The Digital Release of The Straysider’s Dream Journal – And More!

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You can purchase the ebook at http://amzn.to/1IWEnFU

Last Thursday was my moment of truth: The Kindle version of my first novel went live! I’m so proud of myself. This is probably the first time since I graduated high school (when dinosaurs roamed) that I actually finished something to the end and accomplished something that no one can take from me. I am now a published author. Even if this book turns out to be a big pile of crap(at least I hope not), at least I got to the point that a lot of people only dream of…

But alas, I can’t keep my head in the clouds for too long. One book does not a success story make. I have to get a lot more writing under my belt and hone my craft if I want to accomplish my dream of writing for a living!

In other news, I had to put my work on Don’t Feed The Strays on hold a little while longer. I just got a promotion in my day job and I started training – the same week my novel launched! It has been a busy and stressful time for me and for anyone who knows me personally, I apologize for being in a “fortress of solitude.”

CTASo what’s next on my agenda? I will be working in the next couple of days on making the ebook available on other outlets. Also many of you have expressed that you would like a physical copy to hold in your hands. I will be receiving a proof of the paperback today for me to review and sign off on, so it shouldn’t be long now!

In the meantime, if you have already picked up the book or plan to in the future, don’t hesitate to leave me a review. Glowing or critical, I welcome any feedback so I can make the next books great enough to keep you coming back and be longtime fans of the Strayside Universe!

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Mid-March Progress Report

Letting you all know what’s going on. Good news! I have my cover and I must say, it’s absolutely awesome! I will be doing a cover reveal very soon. If you would like to see it in advance, please subscribe to my mailing list and you will get a sneak peek before the general public!

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More good news, it is looking like I will have this book published a lot sooner than June. Actually, it looks like next month it will be available for Kindle and other e-readers. Very soon after that, the print version will be available. Stay tuned for exact dates!

As far as the sequel, Don’t Feed The Strays, I am writing full swing. It looks like this one will be a bit longer than The Straysider’s Dream Journal, which is not a bad thing. My characters will be put through the ringer, but it will be a great read, if I say so myself!

I have put off my other book ideas for the moment until I can get these two off and running. The butterflies are fluttering more and more and I can’t wait too start living this surreal life as an author!

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What Things Am I Into? Part II

Hi, guys! It’s been too long since I posted something, so I’d like to give you another glimpse of my interests besides the Strayside Universe…

One of my passions is my hair. I am coming up on my 15th anniversary of going natural, meaning I stopped putting relaxers in my hair, cut the parts that were chemically straightened, and let it exist in its natural texture. I did this back when I lived in Alabama. Things have changed some now, but in that area at that time, wearing ones hair natural was not a popular decision. It was very much frowned upon. I had one boyfriend tell me I wasn’t pretty enough to pull it off. (I’m not pretty enough to wear my hair the way it grows out of my head? My God doesn’t make mistakes.) Another told me I was getting into some “black power shit.” It wasn’t a militant statement. I was just tired of putting poison on my hair to make it look like something it obviously wasn’t — and my hair was doing a bad job at it.

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I wore it short and embraced it. Then I wore wigs to let it grow out. (I have a big face and I need hair of some length to look right, IMO) Then I decided to grow dreadlocks. I just call them locs, I don’t dread having them. Once again, not popular. I was told it was “unsanitary” although I probably washed my hair more often than the person who said that.
I did as I wished anyway and watched my hair grow longer than it ever had.
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I’ve since worn my hair in different styles and I’ve done a few more “big chops” since then. Now I’m on my fourth incarnation of locs. I get frustrated by my hair like anyone else from time to time, but I do not regret staying away from those “perms.”

I think the next step, when I turn fifty, will be to cut my hair again and perhaps stop dyeing my hair, and embrace the true nature of my hair, in all of its silver glory. I’m not quite ready for that now, though. 🙂
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If you are natural and loving it, let me know. If you’re thinking about taking that step to go natural and need encouragement, holler at a sista. And if you have any milestones that you are proud of, I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment!

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Mid-February Progress Report

I’m happy to report that I have made progress! In my last post I told you that I was shopping cover designers for The Straysider’s Dream Journal, and I have made my decision. I will be contacting that person shortly. I also have found a close-to-perfect stock image to be a part of the cover. It’s as if the photographer got into my head! Once I get the cover done I will send my email list subscribers an exclusive sneak peak, so make sure you follow the link and sign up!

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Speaking of my email list I would like to thank those of you who have subscribed. My A-1, Day One fans! You will be receiving my first newsletter very soon.

As far as Don’t Feed The Strays, I’m no longer confused about the direction I want to take with it, but I haven’t done much writing, as I am trying to get the loose ends tied up on TSDJ.

I also have some more ideas in my head for some other novels; a couple in the Strayside universe, and another novel that will be set in turn-of-the-20th-century Mobile, Alabama. I would really like to try my hand at some historical fiction. I’ll let you know how and when that develops.

That’s all for now. Don’t forget you can leave comments on any of my blog entries, and if you have anything you’d like to send me privately, you can shoot me an email.

Take care, Straysiders!

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I Never Imagined This Was The Hardest Part…

I’m getting closer to tying up the ends of making my dreams come true, and getting my first novel published! I feel like I’m in my final trimester, in the “nesting” stage, tidying everything up for the arrival of my first baby of a creative nature. Like a true pregnancy, I’m doing all the research to be the best parent I can be. I’m seeking advice from other parents who have done this before me. Like a true pregnancy, the closer I get to the due date, the more nervous I become. Will people think my baby is something special?

Being an indie author is not as glamorous as folks make it out to be. I have no big publishing house to do the leg work. No team of editors to tell me if my ideas make sense, and if they don’t, how to clarify them. The writing is hard as it is. Editing and formatting is tedious. Marketing is a very scary and finicky world. Anything I am incapable of doing myself, or is inadvisable to perform on my own, I must contract and commission others to do.

Which leads me to the hardest part for me so far: my book cover. I am at the stage where it is time to get the best visual representation of my work. After all, a book really is judged by its cover, first.

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There are many points to consider. Does the book represent the genre the book it is categorized in? Does it speak to the core demographic I want to reach? Does it portray the characters and the story well? Even little things like shadows, fonts, colors and the like are important. And above all, how much money am I willing to pay someone to design a cover on this first book? An author’s first book is her first impression, but still a gamble.

Over the next week I will be looking at websites for cover designers and pre-made book covers to see if I can find the right cover at the right price. After this hurdle, the rest won’t be as nerve-wracking. Well, I say that now…

If you want to be among the first people to see the reveal of the cover, subscribe to my newsletter and it will be sent to your inbox at least a week before it is made public!

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What things am I into? Part I

Some of you are probably wondering what other interests I have beside the Strayside world. One of those interests is poetry.

I have written poems since a child. It was my love of writing poems that made me realize I had a love of writing, period. Once I got older, people encouraged me to get up on a stage somewhere and recite my poems for an audience. I would laugh it off and say that I couldn’t possibly do anything like that, because my poems were so poetrypicpersonal, and I didn’t think I had the proper voice and cadence to pull it off.

Fast forward to the 2000s when spoken word poetry made a mass resurgence. I went to a few local shows and thought, I want in on that energy! I got the courage to perform. I was a nervous mess and not as good as the poetry clique who hosted, but I kept trying and got better.

Not much later I moved to another state, started working two jobs, and let that passion go. When I went down to working only one job, my husband told me that a coworker of his hosted poetry shows and he encouraged me to get back into it. Now I try to perform every week. When I get enough poems together I will publish them as well, and let you know where to get your hands on one, if you are so inclined . 🙂 Also if you are in the area and you’d like to know where I’m performing, let me know!

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My disclaimer

“Now keep in mind that I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit.” – Erykah Badu

Just a warning to all of my readers, especially those of whom who are family members and people who knew me growing up: my novel contains some cursing, a little violence, and some sex. None of which are so bad they take tvmalsvaway from the story, but just enough to make it seem like real life. So while I want everyone to read and enjoy my novel, I must admit that I’ll be a little embarrassed to know that my parents, aunts, and uncles will be reading characters hurl the occasional F-bomb or the two intense (but not pornographic) sex scenes. The little girl you once knew is now a middle-aged wife and mother who has been through some things in her life. That’s probably harder for me to swallow than you, haha. I also thought I would warn anyone who prefers to read G-rated books, this may not be your cup of tea, and I’m okay with that, too. Just spread the word to anyone else who may be interested. I guess that’s all I have to say on that topic. Take care, my fans!

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