Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kick starting 2012

It's taken me more than two months to launch my pitch on for funding to publish "Flung," the first book in the Whirlwomen Trilogy. The first week, I was paralyzed by acceptance. The second week, I had to talk myself into it being okay to ask people for their hard-earned dollars. The third week, I started shooting the video, which took me two weeks to edit and is still "imperfect in many ways." But I'm a writer, not a videographer.
I spent another two weeks going over and over, and then completely rewriting the prologue which is available for download as part of my proposal. It would have taken me another two weeks if I'd included Chapter One as well, so I made an executive decision to move forward with just the prologue. Here you'll meet the sisters--Rhutnya, Yasmina, Vashia and Laila-- learn why they must flee and get some insight into their developing powers.
You will have to buy the book to meet Duffle, a street-wise, nunchuck wielding teen who lost his family in Katrina. Or Dr. Weiss, a respected and accomplished academic with b-girl roots. Nomi Seerge should pique your interest as well as she's lived many centuries and hungers for the Whirlwomen blood to enhance her own powers.
If fantasy fiction is your thing, I think you'll enjoy my tale.
Rewriting and funding are my focus now. Being successful on will be a huge boost and allow me to move the project through its final stages. As usual, I'm scared crapless that I'll fail, but trying not to let my thoughts gain any momentum in that direction. (Breathe, downward dog, tripod, balancing stick, savasanah...shanti....)
So, support if you can at Every dollar helps and you can donate just one if that's what you have handy (then tell 10 friends to donate one, too;-). Prayer, positive, successful, creative, courageous energy and love are accepted as well, though they are not tax write-offs. Thanking you in advance. Here goes....

Friday, November 18, 2011

Literary Fiction v Mainstream Fiction

I just finished reading "The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel" by Kathleen Kent. What a great read! It's historical fiction surrounding an actual family persecuted during the Salem Witch Trails. While I was, indeed, hoping someone would actually turn out to be a witch, I suffered no disappointment that no one did because the story was so rich with period detail, the characters were so finely developed and the prose quite engaging. This, in my opinion, is definitely literary fiction.
Ah, there's the rub!
I used to read books like that and feel a little, well, less then. I'd lament over how many rejection slips I'd received, how many times Stanford was sorry to inform me I would not be the recipient of a writing fellowship and question whether these were indications that I should just give up. My writing was not "literary" enough, I concluded.
But neither is a lot of other writing that's published. A good story, however, is a good story--literary or not. And a good storyteller shines through whether they write stories acclaimed by "The New Yorker" or not.
I'm a good storyteller, a creative thinker, and (I can finally say it) a good writer of what will be considered mainstream or genre fiction. The difference between the two is that literary fiction is considered to have greater character development and psychological depth, while mainstream fiction is more concerned with narrative and plot.
That is not a hard and fast rule. The characters in my upcoming Whirlwomen Trilogy will be memorable and psychologically dimensional. There will be passages of fine prose. The reader will be satisfied when they read that final sentence. And that right there is literary enough for me.
Oh and one more thing! I DID get accepted by to submit my request for publication, marketing and distribution funding for "Flung" the first Whirlwomen novel. More on that later.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Planning for Success

The last couple of days I revamped my website, edited some pages and made it to several yoga class. All of these were things on my "get it done" list, so I feel pretty good about checking them off. I also feel pretty good that I did everything myself--particularly revamping my website. While somewhat technically savvy, I am no webmaster. I relied solely on the "easy builder" program available as part of the hosting platform I chose as well as one quick call to the techie colleague who convinced me I was bright enough to do it myself. So emphatic was he that I not give up the airline miles equivalent to two domestic or one international airline ticket that was to be my payment for web-building services (yes, I am a barterer and proud of it) that he volunteered to do it for free if I failed.
I realize now that I was baited, but the intention good and the job got done. By me!
My website is very simple and temporarily not optimized for touchpad technology (sorry iPad), but it gives me, my company, web presence. That's a must in today's business and creative world. I'll jazz it up when there's a budget for that, which, of course, is in the business plan.
Yes, I said it, business plan. To some creative folk creativity and business plans are oxymorons. Two things that have no relationship whatsoever. If the muse wants you to succeed, you succeed. A Business Plan is just a distraction from doing any REAL writing.
If I wasn't creating my own financial freedom, this reasoning might have stuck. But I realize that creativity is nothing without a good plan for what to do with it. I've got lots of pages that attest to that.
A business, whether a creative venture or capital investment, needs a plan. A plan keeps things in perspective. A plan keeps you from wasting too much time. A plan keeps you cognizant of all those areas in which you need to plunge in and do those things that seem impossible--like build a website.
You can check out my company website at Now, in the words of Jay Z "on to the next one."

Monday, October 10, 2011


If you write, you know how good typing --30-- is. It means you've finished a manuscript of some sort be it a book, a screenplay, a pilot....I recently typed that on "Flung" the first book in the Whirlwomen Trilogy (out 1/2012) and my first novel-length foray into fantasy fiction. In fact, I finished the book about the same time Steve Jobs made his transition (R.I.P genius). One minute I was jumping on the beds of my hotel room like a seven-year-old, the next I was crying on the edge of it after hearing the news about Jobs on the BBC.
For the next 24 hours, I was more obsessed with reading about Jobs and catching snippets of his speeches on the news, than reveling in the fact that I'd finished another book. I inundated myself, with the help of the rest of the Mac loving world, with Jobs' quotes on creativity, management, the consumer, life and, yes, daydreamed that through some magical mishap I'd be a beneficiary of a small part of Jobs' fortune which reminded me that, unlike Jobs, I had yet to see any substantial fruits of my labor.
I turned my attention back to my new creation with Stewi in my head saying: "You know you're just procrastinating because the real work has yet to be done. I'd bet Bryan's book is better than yours." And that evil little laugh.
A finished book, is not a finished book until its been read and re-written so many times that if you're in a busy deli and they call out "174!" you think "that's the page where the shape-shifter stuck in the form of a rat realizes his soul's been snatched" AND you discovered you morphed his name into something different than what's on page 82. You may also remember that means your sandwich is up.
The mourning is over and that process is underway. It's almost as exciting as finishing, especially when I read through bits of it that actually shut that infernal Stewi/editor in my head up and make the corners of my mouth curl north. "Hey!" I think "Maybe one genius had to go to make room for another," then I LOL until I have to go and pee. Then its back to the Mac.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Last Night

I just spent 20 minutes I intended to spend writing on making a voice memo on my iPhone. The VM was intended to be a custom alarm. However, I couldn't figure out how to make the memo a sound option for my alarm. There's gotta be an app for that, yet another diversionary tactic. I still have a 3Gs, which my youngest niece has the nerve to joan me about, so answering that question would take at least five minutes. That would mean even more time spent doing other than what I'd intended. But this is how it gets towards the end. All sorts of distractions crop up to lure me away from being in the thick of the mano a mano and scared to write the ending that's not going to make everyone happy.
That's why it's a trilogy, I tell myself, you have two more books with which to make everyone happy.
Now I want to Google for statistics that equate high book sales with happy endings. But, look! Here I am putting words together in some writing fashion. And at least my distractions were writing related and I have done SOME writing today.
Like a relationship, a good story needs constant love and attention. Ignore it and it will wander. I have to get back to my feisty, sister/mother/archeologist/bullshiter who is smack in the middle of some new kind of madness. But now I've spent so much time writing this meandering blog, that I'm sleepy.
Ironic because the voice memo that started all this says: "Get up and write. You heard me, darling, get up and write. You have a wonderful tale to tell and you're almost at the end of the first bit of it, so get up and write!" My voice is full of the love; the peacefulness; the excitement I feel for my writing and life in general.
There's no app for that.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Yes, I am! Excited, that is. The first book of my fantasy/occult fiction novel is just about complete, my website is coming along and I have an awesome tan from a few days in Cabo. I also just got word that a dear friend and fellow writer, Sibylla Nash, is releasing her second book "Bumped". Check it out at You can download the first three chapters for free.
Stay tuned for more good news!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Time management is a writer's best friend. Putting words to paper takes time--regularly. I've always struggled with this. Not because I don't have the time, but because I haven't always maximized use of it to reach my creative goals. Now at times, the flow just wasn't there, so I unpacked the dishwasher instead. Other times, I was stuck at a certain point of a story and the next scene just wasn't making itself clear. So in addition to time management, there is the issue of find the right time to tap into your creative flow.
Early morning works best for me. When the world is quite and my mind hasn't started racing from thought to thought like a FedEx truck racing between delivery points. Unfortunately, I also enjoy lounging in bed watching the rising sun turn the sky from night blue, to gray, to pink....My saving grace is that when I do get up early and go straight to my keyboard, the payoff is that I feel productive before most people have had their morning coffee, which sets the tone for the rest of my day. And usually, If I have a productive morning, I wind up getting back to work later in the day and the pages start piling up. Now, THAT'S a dynamite feeling.
So I encourage you to find your writing time and stick to it. Set realistic goals and when you fall short, forgive yourself and get back to work as soon as you can.
I'm at the critical stage of the first book I plan to ePublish. Maybe 50 pages from completion and a clear idea of how the story ends. I'm prepared to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite until all the dots connect and I've lined up an editor to give myself that extra push to get the job done and am researching the process of formatting my text for the Kindle, Nook and other eReaders. Admittedly, I'm a little anxious about how it will all turn out, but I keep reminding myself that anxiety is excitement with the brakes on.
I'm really looking forward to setting my characters free.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sentenced to Freedom

I've been writing for years. I finished my first short story at around 13 and my first novel at age 26, which in some ways was semi-biographical since it dealt with a young family dealing with AIDS. It didn't get very far for a number of reason, but I think the biggest was that I feared the story was too revealing.
I've written dozens of short stories since then, a second novel and am near completion of a third, which will in fact be the first in a trilogy. So yes, I have a lot of paper piling up. Quite a few rejection slips as well, but that's par for the course.
For years, I've been waiting for validation that I was at least a decent writer by a fancy agent and a big house publisher. And of course, a big fat advance.
But times have changed. I have changed. My writing has gotten better and my confidence has increased. So I figure now is a great time to do my own thing. ePublishing and print-on-demand options make self-publishing a snap. Social networks provide great marketing outlets and my website, with eCommerce capability, is as they say in the Mother Land "soon come."
I'm super excited in introducing Slave Trade Publishing, LLC.
Why the name? A few reasons: One, I think any creative person will tell you that you are in bondage if you don't express your creativity; two, we have to release the negative connotation the word slave has for African Americans. Yes, we were brought here in chains. Yes, we built much of this country's infrastructure for free. Yes, we were treated inhumanely. No, we never got our 40 acres and a mule. But the past is the past. And like following your passion will set you free, so will releasing the pass. Stay tuned for my first release....