#Therearelayerstothis

No. I don’t write Urban Fiction. I write African-American Romances.

Yes, there is a difference.

As everything does, the African-American romance genre has grown. When I was a girl and first getting into romances there was only one name for the genre. It encompassed any romances that included A.A characters as the driving leads. The list of authors was constantly growing and the different styles were developing write under my nose. I loved it then, I love it now. So when it was time for me to write for myself using A.A. romance novels as my foundation was ideal.

As I have gotten older, I’ve watched the genre make room for more. The rise of Urban Fiction came as a surprise for me. Suddenly there was another outlet, another expression of A.A. romance in its various forms. I tried to get into it, but found myself feeling like an outsider. I was trying to interpret something that I didn’t have a base line to understand. Urban Fiction had almost all the elements that I loved about old-fashioned A.A. romances, but there was something more. There is a deeper edge to everything about urban fiction.

The language is coarser, the settings and circumstances center around a more street lifestyle. The methods and motivations of the characters to get what they wanted felt more cutthroat. I grew up in the woods in a home my stepfather built us. The love written between the pages  of Urban Fiction I could relate too. I have a hard time with everything else.

I keep reading anyway. When I discuss being a writer, even before getting to the shifter angle, there are questions about my work. Urban Fiction has become the unofficial face of black romance. Which leads to some explaining when I say I don’t write it for myself. I’ve ghostwritten several, but that is the extent of it. I know women who swear by it, who race out for the next bestsellers. I’m not one of them.

However, when I look over the landscape of romance writing, I love all the voices that are making their way. Representation is so important. Having someone who gets where you are from and your experiences mirrored back in something like leisure reading is fun and inviting. It is a welcomed sight. It is as it should be and kudos to those who saw the need and filled it.

The romantic lives of black people and people of color in general has almost always been presented as either something taboo or something one-dimensional. It is important that we as writers make room for more voices to demystify the layers of relationships and how they are created within our communities. To show the world at large there is no one way to quantify loving. It exists in its own forms both similar and differing everywhere the sun touches.  I don’t write Urban Fiction, but I am thankful for its existence. Just as I needed the old-fashioned A.A. Romances, so did those who read and love Urban Fiction. I’m forever here for that.

Comment below with your favorite Urban Fiction books and authors. I’d love to hear some of your reviews.

Joy.

#amediting

Nathaniel Blanchard isn’t looking for a relationship, let alone a mate. In fact, he is in the process of ending one relationship that is more trouble than it was ever worth. Determined to shift gears and turn all of his attention to his new company, he’s sworn to keep his distance from women.

When Euphoria Atkins walks into his office as a potential employee, she literally transforms the energy of the room. Nathaniel feels a connection to her unlike any he’s ever had with anyone. When his wolf insists they hold on to her, Nathaniel isn’t so sure.

What follows is a tension filled journey that will force both of them to face an unlikely future that neither is certain they want.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I am in the process of editing my first official release. The snippet above is about all I can share right now, but as we get closer to my release date I’ll give you guys a little more. This post isn’t about the plot, but the edit.

For the life of me, I can never get through an edit without feeling like I should scrap the whole thing and start over. It’s no different with this one. Normally when working with my clients,  I would make tweaks to give the story more fluidity and depth without major apprehension. I’m less likely to get attached to ideas that aren’t working and can see the inconsistency’s easily. It’s the opposite while working exclusively for myself.

There are so many things that don’t work, but I want to keep anyway. My attachment to the story as it is makes it even more difficult to smooth out the story. I’m going to have to get over that sooner than later. My aim is a great piece of shifter romance. I don’t need a few interesting pieces in the middle of a broken plot just for sentiments sake. It’s a process determining what to chop and what to work through. Nonetheless, I’m determined to get it right before crafting a second draft and sending it to my editor.

I’m excited by the reality that I am within a few short weeks of the realization of a dream. I think it is like that for all of us who dream long and vividly. There is a sense of pride for having come so far and a resurgence of motivation to stay the course. I’m looking forward to the final copy and the knowledge that despite everything, I’ve done this. I’ve created what I set out to create. I can hardly wait.

Nathaniel and Euphoria are facing a long journey together. What do you think it is? Leave your hypothesis in the comment section below.

Joy.

 

 

 

 

#Mamaauthor

My husband and I have been married for ten years (eleven years in August.) My husband and I suffered three miscarriages and immeasurable heartache in the five years we were actively trying to conceive. My husband and I couldn’t afford fertility treatments. If it were going to happen it was going to be the old fashion way. (It did…eventually.) My husband and I are expecting our third child in three years in May. My husband and I adore our little ones.

However, being an author is hard. Not where you thought this post was going? Bear with me. It all comes full circle.

In conventional ways, being a mother and being an author overlap each other by way of time. If I have time to write one of two things have happened. Either my husband has taken our darlings and whisked them away so I can have some quiet time or it is after hours, they are sleeping, and I should be too. To describe the oddity of waking up to the sound of your fingers typing is to live outside your body at all times.

There. I admitted it. I’m a sorceress. I can wrestle with house and husband and children all day and write romance stories in my sleep. Of course that would be first draft, pre-edit writing. What can I say? There are limits to my powers.

As I write this, there is a little darling nursing themselves to sleep in my lap. I should be weaning and I am sort of. Also, I should be editing, and I am. Sort of. Story of my life really.I am always trying to find the delicate balance between getting the job done directly in front of me and the one just inches from my face. Multitasking has its perks, but it also has its pitfalls. Namely everything always feels almost finished in my world, but not quite done.

I am not always up to embracing the challenges that come from mothering and authoring. Mainly, because I’m exhausted. I never feel like I’m doing it right, and at least half the time I’m just doing something I read somewhere. I’m not going to be too hard on myself about that. I read some really good shit.

I’ve had to learn that winging it is absolutely as powerful as knowing exactly what must be done and doing it. As knowing what must be written and writing it.  I’ve had to learn that somethings don’t balance the way you want them to, but there is growth in juggling. I’ve realized that it is okay to take two hard things and admit they are hard while still getting them done.

When the doctor told me my first born existed, I was in denial.  I called him a liar and spent the next fourteen weeks in disbelief. It was a similar experience when I was first encouraged to write for a living. I knew the work I’d put in silently to have these dreams come true, and it felt like I was being mocked to have someone tell me they were possible.

I’ve failed so many times. I would see the finished line only to have it extended another hundred miles. I didn’t want to hear that it would happen in time or keep going or any of the anecdotes and phrases that currently keep me alive.I wanted something tangible to convince me that what I desired could be real.

Here I am touching them both.(Finally.)  Albeit, I am definitely becoming more successful at one than the other at a much faster pace. 😉

I say all this, because today has been difficult. This last week has easily cemented itself as one of the hardest of my life. I’ve had to sit quietly and come clean with myself on a slew of very personal things. I questioned whether I should be doing this-right now.  Motherhood is permanent for me, but authorhood was on the verge of elimination. When I am crumbling, I have to get light. This is my way.

At the end of the day, I had to buck up. I had to think of how long I’d been fighting for the reality that I am living right now. I had to remember, everyday I am living an ideal life that I wanted and didn’t achieve until now.  The reality is I’ve waited too long for the opportunities that I am seeing unfold. I don’t want my unraveling to destroy all that I am working to build.

Then, there is the matter of my children. The is the matter of what I want them to believe about their mother and about life. We don’t give up, just because something is hard. I say that to them all the time. Particularly, my eldest who is fascinated by everything but sometimes intimidated if she doesn’t get it on the first try. I need them to see that difficulty is sometimes the catalyst we need to release fear and get it done.

So I fight through my uncertainty, my anxiety, and depression. I venture forward to prove it can be done. That I an survive my own thoughts and accomplish something great.

I am #mamaauthor. I am two thins I once believed I would never be and it is terrifying. It is also beautiful and it motivates me to keep believing impossible things can happen.

Joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#Goals :My February To-Do

One month down and eleven more to go! This year is already shaping up to be  one of madness and massive shake-ups. My personal life is a little more tame. I’ve broken my major goals down to monthly tasks and as you have read from my Gut Check,  I already missed three major goals for January. I’m fresh out of holiday excuses and I cannot afford another upset. I have work to do.

In the vein of accountability. Here is my edited February Work Goals List. Five tasks that will aid in progressing my brand, and my books.

February Goals to Accomplish:

-Create Newsletter

-Select Shorts Premise

-Create/Edit/Finish two Shorts

-Develop Marketing Plan

-Choose Final Editor

Migrated Goals from January:

-Finish two Novellas

-Edit two Novellas

-Prepare for Second Draft

It’s no joke being an #Authorpreneur. The work is endless, but so is the love. I’m going to complete everything on this list by the end of the month. Watch me work. What goals did you migrate? Ready to tackle them now? Talk to me in the comments.

Joy.

17 things I will do in 2017

So, great. I’ve made my goals and now I’m on my way to executing them all. Well, here are still some things that didn’t make the list…sort of. They’ve been upgraded to a list of their own. Sometimes, success between major goals is spread out. They tend to require more, planning, or resources or whatever. These 17 things to do in 2017 only require my willingness. They are a great way to litter small successes in between major accomplishments without being overwhelmed.

Don’t take this list as seriously as your goal list. It is fine if it has some heavy hitters. Mostly this list should contain short and quickly executable events that will boast your confidence and determination.

Think of it as a fun way to include those things that didn’t seem important enough to make my true “goal list”, but were still things I wanted to do. They are in no particular order, but that isn’t to say I won’t treat them like it. I’ll update as I go, which ones I’ve followed through on and which ones might be more difficult than I intended.

Some of the goals here are fun adventure type events I’d like to share with my family and others are just bucket list items that made the shortlist. Have a read through and then leave a comment to  tell me yours!

    1. Read  75 mixed genre books.
    2. Spend 1 Saturday a month with my Grandmother exclusively.
    3. Take a baking class.
    4. Write two shorts a month in addition to published work.
    5. Visit Houston like a tourist with Children.
    6. Build a dollhouse and kitchen set for the little loves.
    7. Sew 5 dresses start to finish.
    8. Learn to re-twist my locks.
    9. Visit Baltimore, Maryland for future book setting research
    10. Take a Creative Writing course
    11. Take my  darlings to a Book Festival.
    12. Take a photography class or several.
    13. Conquer my body discomfort with a Boudoir Photo Shoot.
    14. First stay at Disney World Resort
    15. Visit New Orleans like a tourist without Children 🙂

(Research of Course.)

  1. Build my Social Media Platforms to 3,000.
  2. Master five staple meals!

I’ll keep you guys updated on what I complete. Comment with what makes your list!

Execute: My 2017 Goal List.

I am posting this out of a need for accountability. Everything I have ever accomplished has been because I’ve exposed my cards. It’s a trick to keep myself honest and focused on the tasks I set for myself.

The things I list here as my 2017 goals are only a few of the items I’ve assigned myself. My goal list spans everything from financial plans to spiritual growth. I like it that way.

For the purpose of this blog, I am only including  things that pertain to my businesses, and my writing. It isn’t that I don’t want to include all of you in my process, but some things belong to only me. so I protect them for close friends only.

You know by now that this is the Year of the Leap for me. My goals reflect carray that theme. The things on this list may be minor for some of you. However, they are lofty for me. I’ll list my top five below. They are not ordered by priority, but they do have varying values. Can you guess which one is the heaviest hitter? Leave a comment below with your answer!

 

Author goals of 2017, the Shortlist

publish 4 full length (35,000-40,000 words) by December 1

Beef up my Social Media Following to 3000 over 4 platforms

Publish 4 novellas (20,000-30,000) words

publish 1 compilation of shorts (5,000 words)

Become an Amazon & New York Times Bestseller

What made your shortlist? Don’t forget to comment below!

Joy.