Thursday, July 31, 2014


Let me first open by stating I am basically brand new to AUTHOR status. I have been a writer for over a decade. Self taught (through studying books on craft at the public library), I had been accepted to advanced writing programs, a few on scholarship. The first time, I received a 4-Star review, I thought to myself, "What is this an 80% on a test?" And when even lower numbers came in, I was like "What the heck?" It took me a moment to understand a few things.

Readers read books with their own individual expectations. They do not know nor do they understand the time, energy, research, patience, or legwork that went into putting our projects together. They do not understand that writers kept building their stories through all of life's challenges, family struggles, health issues, financial challenges, caretaking, grieving processes, and a whole slew of other responsibilities. Nor is any of that their concern. When they pick up one of our books to read, whether they are looking for specific information or their objective is to be entertained, they will rate the title, usually based on how well we've satisfied their individual objectives.

In my early years as a reader, I LOVED E. Lynn Harris's books, Alice Walker, Gloria Naylor, Omar Tyree, Terri, Valerie Wilson Wesley, Marsha Hunt, Connie Briscoe. A friend recommended Toni Morrison to me. I attempted to read Toni Morrison, a three volume collection and swore up and down it was boring as all heck. I re-read Toni Morrison when I was TRYING to write and was awestricken. Had I rated  based on my first impression, I would have blasted the titles. I had to go in, reading with a different set of objectives in order to notice the delicate brown fingers separating the pecans whole from  their host shell...such poise, as is her gift in delivery of her message bound in Paradise.

So to all, my fellow hardworking authors, working to profit from our passion, all we can do is our best. And when the reviews pour in, good, bad, or indifferent, try to remember the exact euphoria we felt when we first completed our very first manuscript, like climbing the highest mountain and planting the dang flag, or crossing the finish line at the Boston marathon. Also, try to remember, that just as purple is not everyone's favorite color, we may not appeal to every reader. Nothing personal.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


When LOVE CHANGES was half complete (after about 4 years of writing) , I was on the verge of giving up on it, because 1. I wasn't sure I could complete it; 2. I wasn't sure if I could pull off all that I was attempting to do with it (in so far as literary devices); 3. I did not know how to finish it; 4. I wasn't sure it was any good. I mailed the completed half to my aunt and requested that she not show anyone.

My aunt took the half completed manuscript and placed it on her desk. She worked at a very large call center with approximately 300+ employees. She'd hoped that when the calls slowed down, she would get a chance to look it over. One of her coworkers came by, noticed the manuscript and asked what it was. My aunt told her, "That is my niece's book. And it is not published yet."
She said, "Let me just take a peek. I promise I won't show anybody."

About a month after I mailed the pages to my aunt, I got a phone call from her. I asked her if she thought the pages were any good. She told me that she hadn't had a chance to read any of it, because her entire call center had been fighting over the pages. And those who had already read it were bugging her for the rest. It was because of their urging that I registered for a WRITING WORKSHOP called Write Your Novel in 30 days that was being offered here in New York.

NO, I did not finish within the 30 day span, but I wrote the next 7 chapters in 10 days and was averaging 5 chapters a week. I completed the 1st draft within that next year.