National Night Out (Minneapolis)

Hey.

Earlier this week I got a flyer in my mailbox regarding today’s activities for National Night Out (NNO). I chose not to attend, opting instead to be kind and move my vehicle to the back driveway and let the kids (at least 15 or more) play in the blocked off section we have, while I write, blog and occasionally peep out of the window. It’s always welcomed to see children out playing together while their parents congregate.

I saw a police officer chatting up with residents earlier and I was glad to see this. With the news stories of late involving the deaths of citizens at the hands of law enforcement and vice versa, we need a week of this kind of respite, in my opinion. Our block is home to a demographically wide range of residents in both age and color and the one’s closest to me I’ve already met and wave to often as I’m going about my daily routine. I chose not to co-mingle today because I felt shy and the 2 hour event I feel usually involves the line of questioning I wasn’t up to answering. Usually people think I’m in my twenties and thus the “Where do work?” “What do you do?” barrage of questions is always something I have to encounter. I prefer the small talk and anonymity of crossing paths and just waving and saying hello.

Truthfully, we need more National Night Out days. I don’t speculate and guess a lot about my neighbors but some people truly need the opportunity to get to know their neighbors and build trust to know that others are equally concerned about the safety and well-being of the neighborhood, including law enforcement. It’s also a great excuse to pull out the grill and ‘let the people come’. If you live in the U.S and missed out on this year’s NNO due to it not including your block, I’ve included the link here so you can perhaps get one going in your area. Next year, the day will fall on my birthday and thus I’ll be in a more festive mood. I’ve been in party mode for the last three days and by today I was truly partied out. If you were able to enjoy NNO let me know- so far, Minneapolis has been the leader last year in NNO participation. Represent your city!

 

 

 

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What I know

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Exploring the nuts and bolts of keeping one’s WP site functional and modern. (Image courtesy of Google)

Hey.

I know that in the grand scheme of things in the technical world, I don’t know much at all. Truth be told, I wish I was about 10 years younger just so that naturally I’d have the aptitude to be able to understand some of the technological things that baffle me as of now.

What exactly can my computer do?

It’s almost midnight and I’m trying to tell myself after an hour of trying to modernize my WordPress site that most people are probably confused as well doing this very thing. My attempts to ‘modernize’ include linking my Facebook author page to WordPress and Twitter to mainstream everything so that I’ll be able to send mass emails to people that are interested. I added a few widgets (and discovered I don’t really like the name ‘widget’) to help the modernization. Hopefully you’ve seen the invite to signup for my email list because I hope to better inform those who are interested and hold contests and giveaways once I get my ‘shit’ together and Affliction is published.

I dream of giveaways for Afflction: branded t-shirts, mugs, pencils- you name it. I’ve even thought about tagging a few pigeons for advertising. I’ll feed them too, don’t worry. 🙂

I’m doing this all on my own because I’m independent now. I like being independent.

I’m also ready to bang my head against the wall but I’m glad I’m doing this all on my own because I can and because I don’t want to suffer the defeat of being in my thirties and the natural abilities I had with Windows XP doesn’t mean squat right now… I’m starting to fossilize, I can feel it.

Anyways, I do hope you sign up for my email list- as it states, I promise not to sell your email to anyone and I’ll definitely not bother you unless I feel it’s something you can benefit from because I, too am among many email lists that I hope won’t abuse the privilege.

Happy Sunday to you!

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Image courtesy of Google images.

Magic is….

magic

Do you believe in magic? (Image courtesy of Google images)

…When a draft of something you wrote many, many months ago on WordPress but WordPress farted and lost it- yet many, many months later it reappears in your draft box as if nothing ever happened.

The good news is: it’s completely irrelevant now and not as big of a ‘loss’ at the time that I thought it was. Take that, delete button. Done.

Back in the Swing of Things

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Do you think he hit it? Or was it a strike? Hmmm…(courtesy of Google images)

Hey.

I know it’s been awhile. A little over six months to be exact. I took a small (okay, semi annual in length) break from my blogging activities to hunker down and deal with some things- a storm of events both good and bad. I missed this favorite activity of mine. Trust me, I need to do some serious catching up with what’s been going on in your lives because life does go on and I depend on other bloggers’ perspective about many things. Writers are the best bunch of people.

My beloved pup, Oliver, of twelve and a half years passed away after a lengthy decline in kidney function and hemangiosarcoma (tumor of the spleen) that had evidence it spread to his liver. I’ll have to write more on this later but I’ll suffice to say for now- dealing with this was one of the more painful moments of my life (five weeks, actually). I lost a member of my pack and as you may or may not know, long standing habits take a very long time to adjust away from. He is sorely missed.

I also made the decision to become an independent author in December 2015 and cut my ties fully in January. If there are any other of you authors on the fence about going independent- let me tell you, YOU CAN DO IT. I was with a publisher who pretty much jacked me around for a few years and then basically half-assed a book release. Um yeah, I deserve better. Trust me I’ll be writing more about this in hopes of giving other authors in a similar situation the inspiration and resources they need to continue on their journey to authorship. Fortunately, we live in a post-traditional publishing world (yey!) and there are plenty of ways to get your work out there. Let me reiterate the last part of that statement:

There are plenty of legitimate companies that will help you produce, publish and market your quality work and make it available to the public for purchase and enjoyment.

So on an author note: my novel Affliction will be re-released this Fall in time for the zombie lovers to enjoy it. Affliction is a wonderful story and I dare not ever let any person discourage my writing passion and goals of having it along with the subsequent stories available to the public.

Folks, never let anyone stand in the way of what your God-given talents are. You’ll probably find that you’re in a somewhat miserable state until you’re doing what you’re truly supposed to. That is factual.

That is my theme for 2016 and pretty much the rest of my life.

So with this re-dedication of mine, of sorts, I’m here to raise my hand to say that I’m still present among you and hope that you all have been well. If that isn’t the case I hope that you are doing better. Life is a journey, not a destination. <— don’t quote me on that, I’ve always heard that statement and I want pass it along to you.

Stay tuned.  🙂

Feel free to check in by commenting below- let me know how you’ve been. I’ll be poking around a few pages, getting back in touch with you too.

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Courtesy of Google Images.

 

 

1st Day of 2016

Hey.

I hope you all are settling in nicely in 2016. I’m so glad you made it. Sure, we all have resolutions somewhere but today is a day where most of us jog or slide into home base like we’re playing the proverbial baseball game of life. Another year, you all. I’m sure we all personally know at least one person that was unable to make it. I say, let’s live a little for them this year.

What would you like to do this year? I’m always interested in the plans everyone makes. I love hearing throughout the days when someone tells me they’ve planned something months ago perhaps when it was out of season and finally the time comes, while they’re maintaining everything else- the one thing they’ve waited for is finally on the horizon. There’s nothing like it.

Traveling more, reading more, calling people on the phone more, sending letters, visiting family/friends more, donating to charity, volunteering, becoming a non-smoker, taking more walks, going to church or connecting with your spirituality, minding your temper/swearing less, committing more random acts of kindness, hanging out with younger relatives because their parents could use a break, mentoring the young, saving money, etc… those are all things that require little to no effort if your mind is truly focused on it. If any of these things are in your mind to complete for 2016, I bid you my sincerest wishes to overwhelmingly succeed in those habits as soon as possible.

Tomorrow is always a new day. Get started.

I too, am working on new things- not because it’s the New Year but because I’m hoping they will come to fruition this year- thus they required a little more than a resolution-type approach in order to get them done.  I’ll tell you that this year I do plan to be bolder, hold my tongue a little less- especially if I have a solution. In order to take control of my own life and happiness it requires it.

Happy New Year.

Author Spotlight: Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Hey.

Here’s another author (she’s a poet as well) who also has a page here on WordPress. I consider myself and anyone else aware of her to be pretty lucky already as this author has a pretty powerful perspective and is more than capable of articulating her experiences and thought processes as it relates to the cultural upbringing of the African American experience. Her name is Yecheilyah Ysrayl and I had the pleasure of doing a Q&A session with her a few weeks ago. Below is the interview along with her social media contact info.

 

  1. I’ve read you were born in the South side of Chicago (so was I!), what were some of your earliest memories?

Hi Dottie. First, I want to thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. Yes, I am from Chi-Town indeed. Since I’ve been in Chicago for the better part of my life my earliest memories go back to childhood. Some of the most profound ones, the exciting ones, are when our family moved to Paulina. Paulina, for those who are not from Chicago, is just the name of a street on Chicago’s south side but we had so much fun in that one community that we came to name it after the street itself, like it was a city or something lol. We were so content as children on that one block. It was our whole world.

  1. When did you decide to get into poetry?

Poetry isn’t something I can say that I made a conscious decision to be a part of. It wasn’t something I decided to make a part of my life in that way. I’ve always been in love with books and when I was twelve years old some of the stories I read, which I can’t remember now, inspired me to write short stories of my own and poetry followed. It, poetry, just seemed natural. When I was in High School I joined UMOJA Spoken Word and Drama so that’s when my poetry really took shape, became more mature if you will.

  1. What can readers expect from your works- specifically The Stella Trilogy?

My works, especially The Stella Trilogy, tends to hearken back to identity; specifically Black Identity. What does it mean to be Black in America? What is Black? Is it something that has culture? Is Black an actual identity or is it a color applied to a group of people? And how do we return to nationhood after being oppressed for so long? My works, across genres, will always attempt to answer these kinds of questions in some way. As well as a focus on Biblical Themes and Womanhood.

  1. You’re a full-time writer. What does a typical ‘writing’ schedule include?

My writing schedule will always depend on two major components: Living and Discipline. When I decided to work for myself I did it for the freedom of being able to manage my own time. So I told myself that I wouldn’t create such a 9-5 type schedule if I was given the privilege not to. For this reason I make sure to take the time to actually enjoy each day because this is where inspiration to my writing will come from—living. I am however big on discipline so aside from just living life in general, I have carved out several areas to running this business that are critical to the operation:

(a)   Response (b) Package  (c) Shipment (d) Inventory / Financial Management (e) Writing (f) Blogging (g) Reading (h) Research (i) Travel (j) Social Media / Email Marketing (k) Marketing

Not necessarily in that order, not everything in one day, and of course some of these things are far more important than others (obviously fulfilling orders is more important financially than blogging which I am not being paid to do). But these are the kinds of things I have come to dedicate myself to right now as critical components of being a Full Time Writer. Even if I’m not benefiting financially from one over the other, I believe they are all accommodating in some way. The process is all encompassing.

  1. What words of advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time to visit yourself as a child?

“Be patient. The truth will set you free.”

  1. How much of you (or your habits) goes into any of the characters you’re writing about?

I would say that, like any writer or movie director, one can always find footprints of themselves somewhere in their writing and I’m no different. I wouldn’t say that you will find so much that a character is a carbon copy or so little that you can’t see me at all but there are footprints; little places here and there where the character experiences things or feel things similar to my own experiences and feelings. I think too that this is a natural thing that happens when you write whether that’s professionally or for personal reasons all the way down to the naming of characters who tend to be modeled after people we have known.

  1. What are your other hobbies outside of the writing world?

Nothing. No, I’m joking! LOL. I love to travel, reading never gets played out, and movie nights with my husband is a favorite past time.

  1. It says the last installment of Stella is due out in Feb 2016, are you doing any additional writing outside of The Stella Trilogy? Can readers expect more titles from you in the future?

Yes. I have quite a few projects in queue. For the most part I would like to stay within the Novella, Short Story genre if possible. I have found I really enjoy shorts. As far as long term projects are concerned, in 2012 I published my first novel, a Sci-Fi Thriller “The Aftermath” and I am in the process of revising it. I have already removed it from my electronic shelves and given it a new cover but I decided to wait until after Stella to finish it. So time permitting that’s my next project, the revised second edition of my novel. And then I’ll be back to shorts! I’ve already started on a few ideas.

        9. How can readers reach out to you?

Email:    ahouseofpoetry@gmail.com

Author Website:   www.literarykornerpublishing.com

Facebook:    www.facebook.com/literarykornerpublishing

Twitter:     www.twitter.com/ahouseofpoetry

Instagram:     www.instagram.com/yecheilyah

LinkedIn:     www.linkedin.com/in/yecheilyahysrayl

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Courtesy of Yecheilyah Ysrayl’s author website.

I would like to thank Yecheilyah for her time and I hope you find her work to be as interesting and worthy of your time as I do. You can purchase her works here through Amazon.

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Photo courtesy of Google images.

Changing Perspectives

"Priorities" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Image courtesy of Google.

Hey.

Like the title suggests, this Christmas Eve I’m acknowledging my changing attitudes and thoughts on many things… my God, does that mean I’m getting older (again)?

Recently I’ve been experiencing my own episodes of independence and maturation (moving in with the boyfriend can do that) as well as changing and owning up to the production of my own works (going from traditionally published to independent status) I feel more in control of my life now than ever before. I feel the potential to achieve success is mine to renew, rebuild, and refurbish- I am the captain. Part of me wants an official badge and hat or something while the other half wants to laugh at my former self for assuming I wasn’t capable in the first place.

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Courtesy of Google images.

I’m in the mode of near-exclusive encouragement to others who are contemplating their next professional move, especially when it comes to authorship. Sure it will cost you a little money but piece-of-mind about the outcome is worth it, even at double the price. I’ll write more on the specifics of my journey later but I’ll suffice it to say that right now, I’m completely at peace about it all. My motto now is more closely aligned with the saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”- “What are you waiting for?”

Well, as we close out the end of the year and look to set goals at the most popular and powerful time of the year in January: What are you waiting for?

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Courtesy of Google images.