What a Beautiful World…

Until I watch any news/media source…

Hey.

It’s been awhile but a busy life has a way of moving things around. I have a favorite song of mine in mind (hint: IGY) so I’ll go ahead and leave it here for your listening pleasure. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do every time I hear it ūüôā

I hope you haven’t forgotten about me- I’ve missed you all, really. I’ll have some exciting news about the re-release of Affliction here shortly as I work to get things in order. I’m really impressed with the process and will be blogging all about it- especially as I work to release the sequel in 2017. Being an Indie author is absolutely empowering! If you’re willing to put the work/effort in- there are no limitations except the ones you place on yourself. That pretty much goes with anything.

If you haven’t signed up to get on my email list already, I highly recommend it because I’ll be focusing most of my energy toward communications/ giveaways about Affliction through that method of media- plus my emails will be both few and to the point. I’m thinking t-shirts, books, mugs are a good starting point, what do you think?

 

saturday-night

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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. ūüôā

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….

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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.¬† ūüôā

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.

 

 

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‚Äôre a full-time writer. What does a typical ‚Äėwriting‚Äô 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‚Äôt 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‚ÄĒliving. 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?

‚ÄúBe patient. The truth will set you free.‚ÄĚ

  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 ‚ÄúThe Aftermath‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs my next project, the revised second edition of my novel. And then I‚Äôll be back to shorts! I‚Äôve 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.

(Almost) Missing: The Magic of Christmas

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Courtesy of Google Images.

 

Hey.

It’s two days before Christmas Eve and suddenly I’m reflecting on Christmas memories from year’s past. Its bittersweet. For about five years now I’ve found that Christmas has lost its steam, its potential, its wow factor. I’ve come to realize it’s not as fun of a holiday when you’re all grown up. Sure, if I had kids I could make it my job to give them the best impression that an obese man with a beard actually makes it to every house overnight with reindeer pulling toys on a sleigh- no bathroom breaks required. I don’t have kids so for now, I look to others and build as much of the fun as I can.

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Courtesy of Google images.

 

Like many others, I¬†think the¬†era of Christmas itself has changed due to technology and consumerism. I complain now for a very good reason: I¬†spent the peak Christmas years for a child¬†in Anchorage, Alaska in the mid¬†80’s. Let me tell you, it gets no better for Christmas than that. Folks my age and older¬†will agree. Back then, things were simpler. With mountains surrounding the city and our¬†proximity to the North Pole, it required no stretch of the imagination to believe that fat man would make it down the chimney so many of us had. With real reindeer roaming around the surrounding forests in the outskirts of the city it was easy to wonder if they were a part of the magic eight out on a stroll when they weren’t busy pulling the jolly fat guy around with his toys. We also attended church and knew of the spiritual meaning of the day: the day which we celebrate Jesus’ birth but I’ll admit as a kid the presents were much more exciting!

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Courtesy of Google images

 

Now as an adult,¬†I as well as other 80s babies are now¬†consumed with coordinating work/travel schedules, meal planning and gift buying… which all¬†but a¬†smaller portion of joy is removed to be experienced once everything comes together for Christmas dinner. The long awaited, child-like¬†excitement is now replaced with budgeting and other mild stresses along with other adults who feel nearly the same way. The real reason of the day becomes more apparent and important. Jesus replaces the jolly fat guy. We each become a little bit responsible for the fate of the world around us.

Like my grandmother says, “Enjoy your youth.”

My offering to you at the height of this season (I apologize for not getting to you before now) is for a little bit of that child-like wonder to return to your heart. Remember when you went¬†to bed¬†on Christmas¬†Eve and you were excited beyond words? Remember when you woke up feeling like you hadn’t slept at all but daylight was in the window and you knew this was one of the best days of the year? May that feeling return and make itself known. May your dinner table be packed with food and your smiles and laughter come often. May you wonder if only for a second whether that fat, jolly man might’ve made his way around to every heart bringing the gift of peace.

Merry Christmas.

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Image courtesy of: You guessed it- Google images

 

 

Introducing Author Shellie Blum (An Author Spotlight)

Hey.

Many moons ago you may recall my interest in doing book reviews and¬†other related topics here¬†on WordPress. Being an author myself, I want to always share what I’ve learned about ‘authorship’ and the good things I come across.¬†Writers tend to be a cool bunch of people-¬†we¬†interact often and thus¬†the chances of coming across fantastic individuals runs high. Here’s a fantastic lady I’d like you to be aware of.

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Courtesy of Shellieblum.com

 

Shellie Blum is her name and Waterski Girl Wonder is the memoir she’s pinned about her upbringing and life around the sport. I’ve been friends with her on Facebook for a few years now, having the privilege to view her throwback¬†videos of when she and other ladies would perform years ago in the 80’s. Shellie is¬†one of the most positive entities in my friends list- posting only the cutest of animal photos and clips. Unfortunately¬†in 1989 Shellie suffered a career ending injury-¬†a Hangman’s Fracture and a broken jaw during a practice run. Up until that point Shellie was living her successful dream. At the moment of injury though, she would spend years coping with¬†what it means to truly¬†survive. Below is a brief Q&A session I had the privilege of having with¬†whom I can only describe as a humble¬†and kind lady:

 Where were you born and where do you live now?

I was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina on the military base Camp Lejeune. I now live in Lake Wales, Florida.

When did you decide to write Waterski Girl Wonder? How long did it take to complete it?

I was being called crazy on the Judge Alex TV show facebook page and was banned from it. This was in January of 2012. Around January 19th if I remember correctly, I was so angry I started writing my book, and 25 days later I had my first draft completed and sent off to a proofreader February 15th, 2012.

What can readers expect from Waterski Girl Wonder?

I’m hoping readers will feel like they’re on a roller coaster ride of my life- and that they will have to metaphorically keep pinching themselves that, indeed this really did happen.

You’ve obviously overcome a tremendous injury- I’m glad you survived! Are you still dealing with any health issues from that incident today?

I have several health issue but feel extremely blessed that I’m still alive. And I realize how lucky I am compared to other people so I try not to complain too much.

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

Perhaps to be more patient. I’ve always been in a hurry about things, you know trying so hard, moving too fast. It’s something I’m still working on today.

Speaking of children, you have a lovely set of twins, are they fans of the waterski sport?

They are both very athletically inclined and are 2nd degree Black Belts in Tae Kwon Do. Yes, they are fans of all watersports but I don’t push them in any direction. I let them decide what they want to do, and mostly they like to see if their old mom can flip them off our inner tube from behind our Seadoo.

What are your other hobbies?

I really don’t have any hobbies, unless of course you consider my obsession with Social Media. Somewhere along the time line of me writing my book and trying to garner the attention of traditional agents and publishing houses, I was told I should build a book platform. I didn’t even know what that meant, but apparently Social Media is the ticket. I would go after building my Social Media presence and book platfrom like I’ve done everything else in my life… Balls to the Wall! Maybe it will pay off, maybe it won’t. Only time will time. The powers that be told me to build a book platform, so I built it. Still no help from traditional sources, so I’ll go it alone.

Are you doing any additional writing now? Can readers expect more titles from you in the future?

I am not. But I am being encouraged by some of my fellow writers who have read my memoir and think I should. Isn’t that great? I truly appreciate the camraderie of the Indie writing world. So, yes, I feel like I might have another book in me.

When/where can we buy Waterski Girl Wonder?

The official book launch date is December 16th, 2015, but you can get the hard cover book right now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, you know, the regular outlets. I am fighting, er, uh haggling with Amazon to discount my book, so that process is happening just now. Hopefully, by December 16th, 2015 I will have gotten the price down where it’s a little more competitve. Just google my name Shellie Blum or Waterski Girl Wonder, my book and website should pop up.

If you’d like to pick up a copy through Amazon, I’ve included the link here.

Shellie is on Twitter.

She is also on Facebook.

Follow and/or friend her, you won’t regret it.

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Courtesy of ShellieBlum.com