Sunday, July 29, 2018

Writing a Book?

At  nearly all my book signings, readings and other events a few folks tell me they are thinking of writing a book. After a brief conversation about what kind of book they’re contemplating, the aspiring writer usually asks for a few tips before getting started. Here are my top five:

   1. Read as much as you can. I’d recommend starting with some of our greatest literary teachers – Morrison, Bronte, Hurston, Faulkner, etc.  It will help you get a feel for the techniques and styles of great writers, and ultimately assist you in developing your own writing style.

  2.   Write! Ideally you want to write every day, but this isn’t always possible given the demand of daily life. Regardless of how much time you have to devote to your craft, establish a weekly writing schedule and stick to it. Allow no one and nothing to impede on your writing time.

  3.  Revise and edit. You must carefully review your manuscript for grammar, spelling, point of view, character development and plot development. Once you’ve edited the entire document, edit it again. Repeat this process over and over until your manuscript is error free. If you are not able to objectively and thoroughly critique your own work, consider hiring a professional.

  4.   Find your own unique voice. In other words, learn from the great writers but do not duplicate.

  5.  Believe in yourself.  If you look for or expect encouragement from others, you may be disappointed. Confidence in your ability must come from within.

Friday, June 1, 2018

What's Next?

Since the debut of my first novel, readers have been curious about when my next book will be finished. “Have you started it yet?” What’s the topic?”  or most frequently, “You MUST write a sequel. In theory, I like the idea of a sequel, but I’ve spent so many hours in the minds of my characters It feels like it’s time to let them go. So what then? I have other ideas for novels. In fact, I have a list of story ideas I’d like to bring to life some day but none of them resonate for me at this moment… maybe down the road.

My niche is fiction. Stories about the intricacies of relationships within families, especially families who have overcome some hardship and evolved in a meaningful way. The endings are not always happy endings, they are real to life in the sense that some of my characters overcome and others are lost. In this way, I guess art for me is a real reflection of life.

But lately I’ve been gravitating toward a different genre of writing. I am seriously considering a work of nonfiction. Non-fiction is not my strength, yet I am suddenly drawn to it. This work would be a memoir of sorts in that it would depict an aspect of my personal life and how it has impacted my family these past few years. I’m not ready to disclose the details just yet since I am still trying to sort out how to approach it. I have years of journals to draw from, a chronology I drafted, research at hand in the form of medical and legal documents and my own up close and personal account. When I look back over my life, it seems as if I’ve been preparing for this project for quite some time yet have only recently come to realize it. Or perhaps life itself has been preparing me… has chosen me.

Do we choose how we express our art or is it the muse, Source, universe or whatever you want to call the Giver of Light. In other words, are we choosing or are we chosen? If chosen, dare I say no?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Return To Source

Many of you know I’ve been out of the loop for quite some time. After writing a string of short stories, I launched my debut novel, “The Fruits of Our Sins”. Since then aside from a few unfinished projects early on, the well has been dry. I’ve produced absolutely nothing. Part of this is because the few projects I started just didn’t resonate with me. I’d get off to a strong start then fizzle out after a few weeks. I’ve bounced around many ideas over the years- some that seemed quite clever at the time- but nothing stuck.

Then it finally happened! A project that has my brain churning ideas, my heart finally beating loud and strong, and words coming faster than I can type. It’s an energy and hunger that gives me life, sustenance and purpose, and reminds me of why I write. You see, writing for me is not just a hobby or something I do to pass the time. Writing is not about money or recognition. It is something far greater in scope and depth.  When I sit in solitude and begin the process of putting thoughts into words, in those loving moments, writing is connection to Source. Let me explain:

All of art is divinely inspired, whether it’s music, sculpting, dance or rhyme. I don’t believe any of us engages in artistic expression in and of ourselves. We are simply channels or vessels and our artistic expression emanates from Source. Writing is Source moving to me and through me. Writing is therefore sacred and profound, a holy and sanctified act beckoning me with the most exquisite play of words, rhythm and prose. Writing is my church, my place of worship, my communion. I bow down to Him from whom all things flow and open to receive His blessed gifts.

Not my will…

Monday, April 2, 2018

Up and Running

Welcome to my blog!

I’ve talked about launching this blog for months and finally mustered enough courage to finally get it started. I will be writing and updating regularly – not sure how often just yet, but monthly at the very least. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers that posts five times a week, then disappears and resurfaces six months later saying “hey, I’m back, everyone!”  and then never again. Considering the demands of being a mother, wife, and working a full-time job while writing a second book, blogging monthly seems reasonable.

I’ll be bringing you the latest news about my work, of course – new books, new editions, new translations, public appearances, online book tours, reviews and other commentary. I will also blog at length about the writing process, plot, characters, authors who’ve inspired me, and the struggles and triumphs of the writing life. At times I may comment on entirely unrelated topics like a brilliant movie, food, or an awe-inspiring travel destination. In a nutshell, if I happen upon anything I love, I’ll share it. What you won’t find here is politics or hate.

I look forward to connecting with all of you, whether you are fellow writers, fans, critics or friends. I welcome your thoughts, honest feedback, and constructive criticism.

Until the next post, wishing you peace and light.