Monday, November 28, 2011

Small Victories

Small victories.

I like them.  They keep pushing me to move forward, to not get discouraged.  I think I have a problem.  I tend to over share my small victories.

For instance, I co-authored an anthology call Our Indie Experience.  Check it out, it's absolutely a wonderful read.  And so much fun to share my story with my fellow Indie Book Collective members.

I digress.  Back to the issue at hand.

The e-book hit Amazon yesterday afternoon.  I got an email saying that we were already in the Top 100 in Authorship.


I called my mother and a couple of my good friends to share this amazing news.  I mean, my name is on a book that had hit a bestseller list.  Why would I not be excited?

I didn't get the response I was expecting.  I didn't even get 5 minutes to bask in my excitement.  Because apparently if my name isn't the only one listed as author, it doesn't count.


Calm down.  It's ridiculous, I know.  But that's the response I got and my balloon of excitement quickly deflated.  Honestly, for the rest of the day, I felt a little down and my feelings were genuinely hurt...until I realized that what they think doesn't matter.

That's right.  What family and friends believe about what we do as authors just doesn't matter.  To them, a great review or significant tweet doesn't mean anything because they don't see the big picture as we do.  Writing is our passion.  It's our dream to have people excited to read our books.  It's not theirs.  Until they see something tangible, i.e a royalty check, making it onto the NYT Bestseller list, being mentioned on their favorite day time talk show (I have no interest in being in Oprah's bookclub) then the small victories don't matter.  You're still the same old person wasting time pursuing a dream.

I'm learning the hard way not to care what people who are close to me and NOT part of my critique group think about my small victories.  It's difficult not to call up a friend or 3 when I finish a chapter that I've spent a week struggling with.  I know they're "great, on to the next one" reply will only make me feel bad about celebrating.

The important thing is to take time to recognize and celebrate small victories but only do it with people who understand the importance of baby steps...other authors.  We're a unique bunch but we just get it.

It's nice to have someone who does.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Remembering Jimi - Nov 27, 1942

"Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music."

On this day sixty-nine years ago, the greatest electric guitarist to ever live, Jimi Hendrix, was born. Jimi Hendrix expanded the range and vocabulary of the electric guitar into areas no musician had ever ventured before. His boundless drive, technical ability and creative application of such effects as wah-wah and distortion forever transformed the sound of rock and roll. Hendrix helped usher in the age of psychedelia with his 1967 debut, Are You Experienced?, and the impact of his brief but meteoric career on popular music continues to be felt.

I started listening to Jimi when I was 15 back in 1994.  I knew of Jimi's music and had listened to Voodoo Child, Purple Haze, etc before but I wasn't as into Jimi as I was into Prince.  No one around me was into the kind of music I liked so I had to "borrow" music from my uncles and aunts.  My Godfather is a DJ and I used to sit and go through his albums (vinyl, cassette, and CD) and make lists of what I wanted.  Then I came across this...

So I borrowed it.

When I took that album home and played it, I sat down in the middle of my bedroom floor in a trance.  It was like my ears had never heard music before and I needed to hear more.  I returned Are You Experienced to my Godfather in hopes that once he saw that I was departing with such a glorious musical find, he'd take sympathy on me and let me have it.


He also made copies of everything Hendrix related that he had.  All the albums, old recordings with him playing with the Isley Brothers and Little Richard...I was in music heaven.

Jimi's music was effortless.  His music told a story...through lyrics, chords, runs, and the best use of feedback I've ever heard.  He had something to prove but he wanted to make you think that he didn't.

The fact that Jimi died so young is completely tragic.  The hows and whys he's not here anymore aren't important to me.  I've been able to witness (in person) guitar legends like Clapton, B.B King, Keith Richards, and Buddy Guy and it saddens me that Jimi Hendrix is not on that list.  He was a bright star, no matter what anyone thinks, writes, or says.

His music is timeless but he said it himself:

"It's funny the way most people love the dead. Once you are dead, you are made for life."

I thank Jimi for changing the way I hear music...and introducing me to Bob Dylan...but that's another post right there.

Happy Birthday Jimi!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Title Frustration...UGH

So we all know that a good title along with perfect cover art are key essentials to having a successful book.  I'm satisfied with my 2 titles although having a book with the same title as Jodi Picoult is nerve racking. #seriouslyitis

I'm 38,000 words into my novel for #NaNoWriMo and I hate the "working" title.  Mind you, this book is coming out in December.


It's urban fiction with a romantic know I'm not going to abandon my #realliferomance...just can't do it.

But seriously, Promise Ring and then I Promise (which I keep switching back and forth with) are not sitting well with me.  In fact, they are giving me a serious writing complex.  I can't write without out looking at the document and thinking

"This is crap!"

So, I'm posting a short blurb and excerpt in hopes that reading it without looking at the Word document will spark a great title...or at least one that doesn't have my stomach churning or makes me question my creative ability as a writer.

When they were teenagers, Rayshawn made a promise to his girlfriend that they'd never forget. Beginning that day, the pair take on the streets as the new age Bonnie and Clyde, earning money the old fashion way...guns & drugs. As Rayshawn rises through the ranks of Washington Height's most notorious drug crew, Jaicyn is right there beside him, making a name for herself on the streets. When tragedy strikes, Rayshawn is committed to one thing, keeping the promise they made years ago. This is the story of two young hustlers committed to each other, family, and to their dream.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blog Tour de Troops: A simple thank you goes a long way

Welcome to Blog Tour de Troops. Yesterday was Day 1 of this incredible blog hop and I'm so glad to have you here on Day 2.

You should have joined me from Lacey Weatherford's Blog. I hope you enjoyed that stop and left a comment.  I'm sure you'll enjoy The Dark Rising.  I surely did.  After here, the next stop on the tour will be at Augusto Pinaud's blog.

If you're new here, WELCOME!  If this isn't your first time on my blog...check it out, I re-decorated.  Had to after the last party.

Today isn't about a party.  Well, in a way it is.  It's certainly a celebration.

Twice a year Americans are given the oppurtunity to say thank you to our Troops; Veteran's Day and Memorial.  Actually, for what they do for us, I think every day should be Veteran's Day and Memorial Day,

I  don't have an extraordinary story about what made me appreciate our men and women in the Armed Forces.  No one had to teach me to be thankful and appreciative of our troops.  I always say "our" because they are protecting our country and our freedoms.  And if we are truly "one nation under God" then they are ours collectively.

There was a scene in "Catch Me If You Can" where a little girl saw Leo DiCaprio in his pilot uniform and was awestruck.  "Are you a real live pilot?" she asked him with reverance and admiration in her voice.

Whenever I saw and now see a uniformed man or woman, I feel just like that little girl.

MSGT Jason Wynn, USAF

Staff Sergeant Aundria Lawson, USAF

I'm so proud of my sister and my cousin.  They have spent a large part of their lives putting their life on the line for me and everyone that I know.  A simple thank you is the least that any of us do.

Recently, I was picking a friend up from the airport and I had the priviledge of standing right next to the USO stand.   As each returning troop would come up the elevator, they were greeted by a round of applause and one of the volunteers would personally greet and thank them for their service and help them to their next destination, whether it was a connecting flight or meeting family at baggage claim.

From the genuine look of surprise which quickly turned into a small smile, each troop could feel the love and appreciation radiating from the small crowd.  It was a touching moment and I couldn't stop the tears from falling.  I didn't know any of the troops that were making their way through the Atlanta Airport but that did not matter.  They had made a choice to serve their country and protect our rights and freedoms.  Any and everything that we can do to for them is very much needed.

That's why I love HeroBox!

HeroBox is a non-profit organization that supports deployed American service members by providing the physical items and moral support our heroes need while they are away from home. I've been participating HeroBox for three years.  Check it out.

I'm honored to be able to participate in Blog Tour de Troops as an author this time.  Many may find it hard to believe that a deployed solider's most requested item is a book, but from participating in Hero Box, I've learned that soldiers want the very same things we want.  Just a few months ago, I filled my HeroBox with Skittles, Starburst, an iPod, and Madlibs.  My soldier was pretty happy.  He drew lots of smiling faces on his thank you letter.

That's why I'm thrilled to give a free copy of Untitled  to any solider that wants one.  Leave a comment and for each comment that this post gets, I'll be giving away copies of my books to the commenter and to a solider.  All you have to do is answer this question...

If you saw a solider walking down the street, what's the first thing you'd say to them?

Please don't forget to leave your email address in your comment so I can send you the book.  Also, feel FREE to check out what some of my review sponsors have said about Untitled.  I really appreicate them for taking the time to post such AWESOME reviews!

Reading is My Cheap Addiction

My Quarter Life Crisis

Taylor Lee Writes

All Things Book Blog

Paper Mustang

To show our appreciation, the Indie Book Collective is also giving away Kindles to some very lucky troops.  If you know of a particular active duty or veteran service member who'd like a free e-book, simply leave their name in your comment and we'll make sure they get it.

If you'd like to donate money toward those Kindles for our soldiers, simply use Paypal and as the address to send money to. Please note on your payment that it's a Troops donation.

Finally, when you see a Veteran or active duty service member walking along, just say thanks.  A simple thank you goes a really long way.