July Goals Updated

I hope your Independence day was filled with reflections and immense gratitude. I know mine was.

There is something about counting my blessings that makes me even more determined to be worthy of them. I’m working hard, and making a lot of changes. There will always be more work to do, but as always I’m up to the challenge. Up to the challenge…such an awesome cliché. And so true.

This July I am working on quite a few things. There are a few voids in my life that I am laying the foundation to fill. So this will be a busy month. It is time to step out of the mommy haze and live in the reality that I have no time anymore or rather even less time.

I’m grateful for purposeful busyness (even when I would rather be sleeping in or bathing alone or eating without interruption). I’m working on ensure that my time is spent well, and being comfortable if that means I don’t have any “me time”. Everything for the greater good of those I love and the life we want.

In July, I plan to get back to my regularly scheduled program. I’m officially recovered. My darlings are adjusting nicely  to their new sibling and all is well with the hubby and I. Now, I the business of writer must become a high priority again. Since I’ve already established that my current WIP isn’t cooperating, I have even more work cut out for me in July. So, getting down to business, here are my July goals

July Goals

-Upload second edition of The Alpha’s Dream with Edit

-Format The Alpha’s Dream for Barnes and Noble and Smashwords

-Decide on a new premise, outline

-Begin writing my second book … again.

 

I’m determine to release another book this year and it’s important that I am realistic about my time. So, its back to the grind of getting the work done. I’ll keep you involved as much as possible. Maybe I’ll even give you a sneak peek when I get started. 🙂 What are your July goals? Comment below.

 

Joy

 

 

 

Writers Read (or at least they should)

I’ve barely touched my summer reading list and I have to do better.

I love reading as much as I love writing. Lately, it seems that I have to pick between the two. Between my little darlings, my forever lover, and writing I don’t have much time to dive into a great book. It hasn’t mattered how interested I am in what I am reading. Time is expensive and I have to be careful how I spend it.

The thing is, part of how I became so enamored with writing is by being charmed from the pages of great writers. The two go hand in hand. One needs the other to thrive and so on. So, this summer, as I began settling into the latest twist in motherhood I decided I’d bit the bullet. I would make a summer reading list and stick to it. One by one, I would work my way through my favorite authors and some new ones until I hit my goal. So far, I’ve only finished one of the twelve books I plan to get to this summer.

It’s an ambitious undertaking for me. I’m reading during naps, during bathroom breaks, while my lover is driving us to and fro. It feels chaotic, but still enjoyable. The books remaining on my list promise to be the same way. I’m hopeful, because as I said before time is expensive. I’m sure I would have a little resentment if I wasted any on a bad book. I want to enjoy them all. I want to reach my summer goal. It is going to be tough.

While reading, I find myself dancing between both worlds. I’m a fan enjoying a book and an author learning from it. It is such an odd thing to feel. Authors I’ve read for years have taken on new forms for me. Every author is distinctive. Word choice, ideas, and methods at approaching old tropes all take twisting forms. I love it.

Reading as an author makes me feel like Lois Lane must have felt learning Clark Kent was superman. I see their magnificent author super powers and I am in awe and familiar. I’ve known them forever and now this trick is unveiled and twist makes so much more sense. When I return to my own writing, my stories take on more depth, become more fluid, and it’s easier to determine what details are truly critical.

It is my belief that all writers should read. I find that with each book I crack open, it pushes me from my comfort zone. I’m not the one driving. I’m a passenger onboard to an unknown destination. There is so much more to see.

I’m committed to twelve books this summer as a fan of great books and an author. I’m committed to the lessons I will learn about character development, fluidity, plot twists, and the enjoyment I get from a delicious finish. I’m committed to the influence those I admire will have on my work.

When I am meet my goals for the summer, I will let you know. In the meantime, if you have a good recommendation drop it in the comments.

 

Joy

#JuneGoals : My June author goals and the larger picture.

I’m living a new normal. I honor that with my determination.

My vision for my life has changed over the years, but probably none more than this year. With every new challenge I face,  I reconcile that my time is not my own. Every minute is borrowed from something ( someone) precious to me. I know that and it forces efficiency from my time. I’ve accomplished a lot on a personal front this year. I’m growing as an author/writer on a professional front. There is so much for which I still hope.

No matter what alters my personal life, I can’t forget that I am an author.  My new life is more time consuming and burst at the seams with joy, but there is still much to do as I build my career/dream. I have to work hard, and smart or else all the things I’ve been working toward thus far will be in vain.

I’m building.  My work as an author is only one piece of the puzzle. The ultimate goal is to use it as a cornerstone toward financial security. I owe it to my shifter mate for all he’s done for me and to my littles for all they give me. It is the least I can do.

To work smarter, I must work within my limits and keep my eyes peeled for the right opportunity to push further. I’ve altered my June author goals to reflect this belief. I have taken some of my own advice in the  editing of my goals as I get back to “normal”.  I’m giving myself the summer to wobble, but only the summer.

In my wobbling, there are still some things I have to accomplish. I want to publish two more full length novels before the year is out. Not to mention,  at least two shorts for fun. I still have a ton to learn from a marketing stand point, and my ultimate goal is to hit the best seller mark.  I’m a dreamer at heart. Keeping this running tab of my years goals is helping me to remain present in my pursuits. It is not an easy task for me.

Piece by piece, I build my creative life and I’m thrilled watching it transform.

Having this monthly break-down of goals helps me to manage what I want in a realistic way. So here are my author goal milestones for June. Every task completed strengthens the foundation of my dream and I can’t lose focus now.

June Author Goal List

Title Brainstorming for Second Release

25,000 words on second release

Evaluation of Second Release date

Choose a new editor

Third round of marketing for The Alpha’s Dream

New responsibilities require adjustment. If I find that I can do more than my projected word count then I will. It is important that I move the bar for myself as often as possible. Pushing the limits of what I know I am capable of is only going to make me stronger, better at channeling my abilities. It doesn’t matter that I am figuring it out as I go. It only matters that I am willing to wobble and still pursue my vision.

What about you? What are your June steps toward your years goals? Comment below with your summer plans.

Joy.

#PublishingTheAlpha’sDream

A month ago, I published for the first time ever under my own name. I’m still freaking out about it.

I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t my first published work. The thing is, it’s very different publishing under a pseudonym or as part of a collaborative work. Taking ownership of my words is something I’ve always struggled with, and thus The Alpha’s Dream is no small creation for me.

There are tons of things I learned on the road to writing it, but what I want to discuss today is what I’ve learned from dreaming it period. Here are five things wanting The Alpha’s Dream has taught me.

 

Career changes are risky.  

When I first decided to write The Alpha’s Dream there were only two things of which I was certain. I wanted a career from writing my own books and I would have to cut back on my ghostwriting.  That great book you love, it took hella long hours to write. There was no way I was going to be able to keep the pace of my ghostwriting and add in the creation of my own original work. I had to cut back my hours, which translated into missed income from my home. At the time, I had two littles and had just discovered my third pregnancy. I wanted to put it off longer. Collecting great premises that I would one day flesh into novellas or novels had become a hobby of sorts. After weeks of quietly deliberating, I talked to my husband. His response was for me to go for it. We would restructure and figure out how to make it. I was terrified anyway and rightfully so. Our budget was already stretched to it’s seam, but then the first certainty kicked in. I knew I wanted to publish my own work, and there was only one way to get there. I would have to take the chance and pull away from creating for others to build the life I wanted for myself. I had to face the risk of it, or I would never know what could come of it. Thus, the Year of the Leap was born. 

Plan. Execute. Repeat.

I have limited time. Balancing wifehood, motherhood, and writing full time leaves me short of hours. If I was goin to do this I would need to be sure from the beginning. I took a couple of weeks to determine what premise I would use for my first release, then the plotting, and writing came. I’m more of a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl (pantser) but I couldn’t afford the writers block I inevitably end up with when I do that. I had to make the hours count. So I took the time to research the best outline methods and crafted one that worked with my writing style. Then, I went to work. Executing is by far the hardest part of this process. There were times I would fall asleep at the keyboard, or scrap an entire chapter. There were also moments when I doubted I’d find my idea market and question whether the work would sell. Ultimately, I just had to get up everyday knowing I am an author working on her latest release and see it through. Not always fun, but worth it now.

Have faith or fear, but not both.

I am naturally a worse case scenario person. I have a hard time visualizing success, and am actively working to change that about myself. The base for my doubt is always fear, and I couldn’t afford to e afraid any longer. I was taking the biggest risk of my life, with the oldest dream of my heart. I had to pick faith in my God, my work, and myself over the fear. Fear is a powerful emotion. Faith is a strong counterattack. I’m still learning to shift my focus. It has been important to me that I don’t inflate with hyper positive but unsubstantiated ideas. Instead, I honor that I have to work hard by giving voice being uncertain there will be a payoff. I have faith that with every published work, I will build and grow a little more. That is what I hold on to when things are murky. It is a work in progress.

Find your market, or be fearless in creating one.

Initially, I wasn’t sure there was a market for shifter romances with both hero and heroine as African-Americans. The norm seemed to show a comfort level for BW heroes and WM shifters as well as Caucasian hero’s and heroines. I knew I wasn’t the only brown woman who loved shifter romances, but there didn’t seem to be a recognizable market. I searched for months and didn’t find anything. There was more doubt, more fear that the risk I was taking was not going to work. After a while, it didn’t matter that I didn’t see the market. I saw the characters, and their stories. I believed that would be enough to attract readers, even if they were checking out shifter romances for the first time.  I found my niche and I am working it like it has been heavily established. I am a reader of the books I write. I am my own market. As it turns out, so are you.

You don’t have time to wait for the “perfect time”.

The time you are in is always the perfect time. Don’t get me wrong. There is an ideal setting in which i would have liked to start writing. Ideally, we would have been financially sure from other endeavors. The market would be fairly established and my darlings would have a lovely routine that allowed them not to miss me when I was writing. Suffice to say I am still working on that part of the dream.  I had to come to terms with the fact that I would have to make time, I would have to have faith, and just start. Start. I couldn’t spend anymore years waiting for my ideal scenario to make it easy for me to pursue my dreams. I had to begin right in the thick of my uncertainty. I had to start where I was and hold steady until something great happened. It is happening now.

As I celebrate The Alpha’s Dream very cute and meaningful milestone, I am happy that I took the chances I did. I’ve learned a lot, grown a lot, and produced a work I love because of it.  There will only be more from here.

Comment below with your thoughts on The Alpha’s Dream.

Joy.

 

 

#KeepinTouch: 5 Reasons you should subscribe to my blog

I’ve been working on my blog as part of my author platform for a while now. The truth is, it’s become so much more.

As I write this, I’m already thinking of what other things I will add to my blog to make it more interactive for my readers. Not just those who read my books, but those who drop by on occasion to keep in touch. I love the alerts when someone likes a post I’ve read or when they send me a message about something I’ve written. It feels good to be connected.

So, I want you to come here more often. I want you to send your friends, your frenemies, and the all that you believe will be interested to my website. I’m more than just books and here are five reasons you should subscribe to my blog and keep in touch.

 

Mama Stories/Wife Things

I’ve only been a mother for three years. I’ve been a wife for nearly eleven years. My years alone with my husband are a very telling part of my being a romantic. My years with my children were the catalyst for me to stop ghostwriting. Already, I’ve gained a lot, learned a lot about myself and the world around me that I didn’t notice until my children were born. Their births kicked my writing into gear and I love it. Often enough, I found myself writing about their influence as I blogged. It has now become a permanent and intentional writing point. I’m a #MamaAuthor. It is a major factor to my work. If you are a mama/ wife who has found yourself influenced by your children or your spouse to commit to your other passions, these stories are for you.

Book updates, snippets and conversations on publishing

My blog came to exist because I am an author. It is a place for readers to connect with my books. So of course, there will be updates for what I am working on, new release information, and soon there will be snippets of works in progress. I write shifter romances with African-American leads. If you are into that sort of thing, subscribe! keeping in contact here will allow a greater chance that you will see what’s coming next, first.

Goal Digging

This is a big thing for me. I’m always working on other projects. It’s not that I just prefer to be busy, but I prefer to expand on my purpose. My blog deals a lot with my goals from the stand point of an author. However, the tools and methods I use can be applied to anything. I’m all for accountability. When I’m writing to you, I am asking you to hold me accountable for the dreams I have made public. When you comment, you are inviting me to do the same. It is a small thing, but a very useful one. Together we can inspire each other toward the lives we all want.

Exclusives and Giveaways

Now that I am getting the hang of this blogging thing I’m offering a lot more. My writing career is officially kicked off and while establishing my dream team, I’m in the process of developing exclusive swag for those who join. In addition, the excerpts and #freshpress work that you find here is exclusive unless otherwise noted. When you come to my website, I want your experience to be one fluid invitation into the creative space of my life. I aim to make that as seamless and welcoming as possible.

We’re All Family Here

You may have stumbled upon my blog. You may have gotten here through a search engine or some other method of funneling. Whatever the way you got here, it is because you were looking for something. So is everyone here. I’m writing African-American centered shifter romances because I couldn’t readily find them when I was looking. Maybe that was what drew you. Stay for the coffee and conversation. Stay for the insights on publishing, and the struggles I face while trying to write what I love. Comment with tips for dealing with anxiety or other ways to balance work and wife/mama life. We’re all connected here. We are all here for a reason and I am working to nurture those reasons for all of us.

There you have it. Five good reasons you should subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already.   You can simply follow me from the site or you can sign up  for my newsletters for updates on the latest going on here and with the books I am publishing. I’m sure you have your reasons for coming. These are reasons to stay. Don’t break my heart. Leave a comment below about some of the things you’ve liked about my growing blog so far. I love to hear from you.

Joy.

 

#2Stars: Open to criticism

Writing is an act of art. It is a statement of creativity. It is open to criticism.

I am not above a bad review.

Common knowledge.  For some writers, the first review where a reader expresses discontent with their work is akin to having their heart plucked out while still alive. It is a shock to the system, feels fatal, and is often callous. Yup. All of that is still true for someone like me whose worked behind the scenes on several projects. Anything below a three star writing is definite grounds for improvement.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been stalking my ratings and reviews. The very first moment I noticed the below three star ratings on The Alpha’s Dream my heart sank like a stone in a pond. I read the written review carefully.  I analyzed it for days looking for some hidden bias. The hidden bias? The reader didn’t like my writing style. She just didn’t like the book. Fair. NOT FUN, but fair.

I’m bringing to light these ratings because I believe in their credibility. This isn’t about knowing the reviewer, but about knowing the process. I believe the ratio to readers and reviewers is something like 5 or 6  to 1. Out of 50 people who read a book only about 10-15 will leave a review.  So every review counts. Every review also represents multiple people. The reviewers who left the 2 star ratings represent other readers who ultimately decided against leaving a rating at all, rather than leave bad one.

Deep breaths. Long Sighs. Honesty is rarely pleasant.

However, I am not one of those authors who feels that every review must be a positive one. I am not lost in the fallacy that everyone who reads my books will fall haplessly in love with my work. It is unrealistic, no matter how badly I would like it to be true.

As an artist, it is difficult to read that someone doesn’t like the work I’ve spent countless hours developing. Art requires thick skin. Art requires respect for the audience just as much as for the authors.  I suspect over the life of my work there will be even more unflattering reviews. I’m prepared-ish for that, and I will face it with grace.

I want all my readers to know that their reviews, ratings, comments are honored. I hear you. I’ll work even harder to give you a product that you enjoy. We’re in this together and for the long-term.

Comment below with characters or stories you would like to see written.

Joy.

The Alpha’s Dream is on GoodReads!

I feel like I’ve just graduated into the big leagues. LOL.

For those of you who absolutely don’t know, GoodReads.com is a site connected to Amazon for readers. It’s sole purpose is about connecting authors, and readers to each other through books. Literally, every genre and subgenre is represented in an inviting way.

In addition to seeing the descriptions of The Alpha’s Dream, it is a great way for you connect with me. Ask me a question about my process or the book. Check out my bookshelves as I slowly fill them with things I’ve read or plan to read. You can even recommend books to me and keep me accountable to my 2017 reading goals. (I’m already 20 books behind, technically.)

I’ve finally added The Alpha’s Dream to  Goodreads. It feels both strange and wonderful. The network itself is not complicated. It’s social media for book lovers. However,  it is so fun to think about this huge network of readers who will stumble upon my book because of it’s presence on Goodreads.

If it is not clear, I love the process of publishing and seeing my work pop up in these often common book places. It brings a huge smile to my face. Book love is real. So, make your way to Goodreads and add me to your bookshelves.  Follow my author page for even more updates!

Joy.