Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I forgot to post the contest winners!!!! The winners are everyone who posted (by the due date) their list of favorite authors/favorite books. If you posted your list on my blog, send your mailing address to cherlyn@cherlynmichaels.com and I will send you an autographed copy of my book! I'm on vacation, but you will get them the first of the year! LOL Congratulations and Happy Holidays!!!


I guess I'm getting a hang of this writing vacation thing! LOL Yes, I've still been taking care of "life" stuff and relaxing, talking, and hanging out with the friends I haven't spent much time with since I've been back in St. Louis. It's been really great. This is my last week of vacation, as I've planned to start working on book three beginning January 2, 2005.

But don't get me wrong, even while I'm on vacation, I'm still an author. I carry my promotional cards with me everywhere I go and everytime I come across readers, I give out my cards. I also keep a small stash of books either on me or in the trunk of my car. Since I'm no longer self-published, I don't have the box of books like I used to. But I figured a way around that. I invested in a small stash and every time I make a sale from it, I used the funds to restock the stash. So, I can still bring the bookstore to the people. And I've also shared a handful of books with several family members for the same thing too. They take the autographed books to their jobs. So, I'm still out here trying to work it while I'm having fun.

A colleague of mine sent me an email to congratulate me on the review of my book in Black Issues Book Review. It's in the January/February issue if you want to check it out.

Well, I'm out. Going sportbike shopping today! I hope not to be away too long. :-) But I'll be back in the swing of things at the beginning of the year. :-)


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Isn't it funny how time flies? I know I said I'd be back December 1st. I can't believe it's the 7th already!

Okay, so I can breathe a little bit. It's like, you know when you get a cold, and both your nasal passages are blocked? Then, things get a little better and one of them opens up so that you're breathing through only one side of your nose? It's not 100% clear, but hey, at least you can breathe a little? Well, that's what it's like for me right now. LOL And first, let me say that if you've sent messages to my inbox, I'm not ignoring them and I promise I will answer. :-)

So, I finally finished up that short story that I was working on for an anthology. My story is called Kettle Black and it's about a young woman who has been scarred in a marriage and thus has developed some trust issues for her future relationships. Sounds familiar doesn't it? But you know me. There's always got to be a twist. Let's just say that when we are wronged, sometimes we can come up with some pretty trifling answers and try to justify them to ourselves as reasonable. Also, while we're busy pointing out what's wrong in others and the world, sometimes we need to look within. So, when will this story surface? I don't know but I'll be sure to let you know. The line up of authors on this project is pretty awesome and I'm sitting here wondering how in the heck did I get selected. :-) It's cool, though. I'll let you know.

So, I finished the story last week and basically took another week of to relax and enjoy life. I've retired my pen for the remainder of the year and I'm trying to have a social life (while I still promote and sell out of my bag on the streets. You can never stop promoting and selling! LOL) Trying to hang with my new Ruff Ryder family (I discovered that I may have to adjust my 10PM bedtime schedule on certain days and take a nap in the afternoon!), meeting new friends and going out, hanging out with old friends. It's been cool. A girlfriend of mine called to give me two tickets to the Rams game on X-mas Eve. So, you know I'm excited about that. I've already invited a friend to go. Finding a football enthusiast who wants a free ticket is never hard to find!

But, of course, this is life and nothing is ever all fun and games. I had to go back to making a "to-do" list. All the things I neglected while trying to complete my short story, and now are urgent items that I must do if I don't want to be sued, pistol-whipped, or disowned by family and friends. And the plan is to get as much reading done as possible before I start on another short story for another anthology at the beginning of the year. Next year's writing goal is to write a minimum of 3 short stories and 2 novels. And I've learned my lesson. The plan is to do it immediately and at my leisure to prevent myself from writing under a deadline. Because that really sucks!


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Okay, I dropped in because I know I've been on an unofficial and unannounced hiatus. LOL As you can probably guess, I'm overloaded with stuff. I'm finishing up a short story and I have my last booksigning this weekend in Baltimore. By chance, if you're there, and you were planning on coming out, please note that my Sunday signing at Urban Knowledge has been changed to Friday from 6 - 8 PM.

So, this time, I'm going to officially say that I'll be on hiatus until round about December 1st (I'll post the contest winners to the blog).

Oh, and speaking of Thanksgiving, I'm going to be on the road, driving to Baltimore on Thanksgiving day. But, before I go, I'm going to hang out with my new MC family, as they volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner at the Larry Rice Center (in St. Louis). Yep, that's right. Last week, I became a prospect member of a motorcycle club.

So, last week, they spent time volunteering with the Feed the City program. This Thursday, I'll joined them for a few hours to serve Thanksgiving dinner to many St. Louis families in need. I love what they do and I'm extremely happy to be able to join in and be part of it all. There are so many families here and elsewhere who are not able to gather together and have a meal with their own. I want nothing more than to be able to share a part of my day and spend time with others on that day of thanks.

Well, I'm out for a little while, so, everyone enjoy your Thanksgiving!!!!


Thursday, November 10, 2005

I had an unexpected dilemma on Monday. I really needed to make more headway on the new short story I'm writing, then I still needed to do a re-read on the current on and offer feedback to my co-authors. So, I was all settled in for a full day and evening of writing. I was even planning on nixing Monday nite football and just watching at home. Then, I got a call from a friend who works for Anheuser-Busch. She says she has free tickets to see a private concert and did I want to go. It was Nelly.

I pride myself in dedication to my work. A lot of times you have to make sacrifices. Sacrifices that hurt. Even though you set your own schedule, you know what you can and cannot do. Or at least what you should or shouldn't. You know that to get to that place that you want to be, there are some calls you're going to have to not take, some places you're going to have to pass on going. Some concerts you'll have to pass up. Even Nelly.

I wasn't a huge rap fan anyway. I love old school rap, and I do listen to rap on the radio, although I admit to switching the radio station when it starts to get crunk.

"So, do you want to go see Nelly tonight?"

I felt like a true author as I pulled my cell phone away from my ear, gave it a twisted look, and answered, "Girl, are you drunk? Hells, yeah I wanna go!" And I tossed my laptop to the side, scattered my writing notes all over the floor, and made a mad dash to the closet to find an outfit to wear.

I had a good time. The three of us devised a plan, divided up, and got front row seats together. There were about a million acts that came on before Nelly. Local talents. It was my first rap concert and I must say that I enjoyed it. I put the music aside and focused on the verbal talents. Once I got into that, I found myself really impressed with these local kids for being on the stage. I still don't get the presentation: a million and one people on stage in the background, just strutting around, drinking, and bobbin' their head every once in a while. But I liked it.

And then Nelly came on and put on a nice decent show. I do wonder if it was tamed down from a normal concert (after all, this was an AB concert and it was 21 and up), and if so, I appreciated that. :-) He did some of his hits, then sang a little old school R&B, did a little old school rap, while sharing the stage and the mic with Murphy Lee and the rest of the Lunatics and then brought it back to their current day hits before leaving. It was a really good show and a really good break.

I went home and smiled at my laptop and told her I'd see her in the morning. :-)


Friday, November 04, 2005

For those of you in the St. Louis area, we're looking for the support of 100 teachers, authors, artists, and illustrators!!!:

If you've visited my blog, you may know that I am working with a group of dedicated individuals to begin 826STL  – a fabulous offshoot of 826 Valencia, writer Dave Eggers’ commitment to providing free writing workshops, tutoring, nurturing and inspiration for kids 8-18 who love to write (or to get them excited about writing and its power in their lives).

The very best thing about 826 is that it SUPPORTS BUSY teachers!  Imagine a group of 10 professional writers and/or artists coming to a classroom free-of-charge, and working with young people, at the teacher’s direction.  So, for example, if kids are working on a book report or an essay about Lewis & Clark, the 826 volunteer team could (and would) come to the classroom, sit down with the children and give them POSITIVE guidance and support!  And…this is only one of the many creative programs 826 offers in its work with St. Louis area teachers  Super cool organization.Yay!  

We have partnered with the 150-member St. Louis Writers Guild and we’re getting the ball rolling on the long and complicated process of applying to develop an 826 St. Louis. As part of that process, we must demonstrate that St. Louis teachers need and want this service, and that St. Louis has a strong community of writers and volunteers who will support the organization.

If you’d be interested in and willing to have your name appear on a list of 100 TEACHERS, EDUCATORS, WRITERS, ARTISTS, AND ILLUSTRATORS FOR 826STL, please contact me at cherlyn@cherlynmichaels.com. If you know any other area teachers/educators, writers, artists who would be interested in lending their name and support to this fabulous organization, please pass this note along. I think this would be an amazing asset to our community!

Please let me know or contact me if you need any more details. Please email me your consent to be listed on our application if you are in support of this program.



Thursday, November 03, 2005


Giving away books is cool! I'm having a ball. But this month, I want to know a little something about you and you're reading habits. So, I have two numbers in my head (no jokes about nothing else being there besides those numbers!). I'd love to hear who are your favorite authors and your favorite books. The two people to post that match the numbers in my head will receive an autographed copy of Counting Raindrops. For example, the 57th and the 93rd persons (not posts). Those numbers are examples only, so don't try to post in those spots (you'd probably be waiting years! LOL)

So, tell me now, who are your favorite authors and what are your favorite books?


I had the most pleasant surprise Tuesday night. I had a meeting with my non-profit startup team for Studio STL (if I hadn't mentioned before, this is a writing organization for kids that we're trying to get up and running by June next year. Currently, we're applying for affiliation with 826 Valencia.). So, team member Beth is going over the draft of the application from beginning to end, and she has this excerpt about St. Louis that would be perfect to convey why St. Louis would be the perfect location for the affiliate writing center. She says that she hopes she can get the author's permission. So, she does this wonderful set up, and we're all on pins and needles to hear this excerpt, including me. Then she starts, "The Es-Tee-El. I cruised into my city westward bound..." And I just break out in something. Either a chuckle, or a light scream of excitement. I don't quite know what it was. Don't think anybody else had a clue. But she was reading from Counting Raindrops, Vanella's description of St. Louis when when she's driving home. I was so honored. I actually started blushing. She felt that it really captured the excitement of St. Louis and why it would be perfect for an 826 writing center.

There are centers in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, to name a few. And we're trying to get in our application by December to get the next affiliate here. With or without the affiliation, we're establishing ourselves as Studio STL and will be up and running by next year. We're meeting every week until we get the application in. Yes, somehow, I'm managing to squeeze this in amongst everything else. But this is something I really want to be a part of. It's funny because when we're at the meetings talking about it, I'm getting all excited. I love stuff like this. It's more than a writing center. But it's a place of creativity and imangination. Each location has a theme. Like one has superheros and they'll have a store that sells superhero supplies. The writing center has the superheros theme. So, we've been going over themes for our center and I'm getting all excited because I want to be one of the kids and explore. I'm forgetting that I'm supposed to be the adult and put it together and assist the kids. I love exploratory stuff...like museums and science centers. I can spend all day in a science center. Anyway, to get a better idea, check out 826 Valencia. It's going to be awesome.


Monday, October 31, 2005

The book signing at Urban Knowledge in Memphis was great. It was hosted by the Unique Women's Social Club and they created quite the scene and drew in the crowd. They had nice little gift bags that they raffled off, had tasty refreshments, and just looked spectacular in their red shirts. I like red. :-) And Kim J. had already read my book and just talked it up a storm to customers. She got quite a few people excited. LOL Anyway, I don't think I ever had such a good time at a book signing. I didn't want it to end.

With one more weekend signing left in Baltimore in 3 - 4 weeks, it's back to the grind. I stated that I was going to take Sundays off. Well, let's just say that I had a light Sunday yesterday. Did a few things while watching the game. It wasn't a full day off, but I'm good.

I have 3 weeks left to finish up a story for an anthology. I'll be able to talk more about it in the near future. I'm also working on a revision to a story for another anthology. That's due the end of this year. Copyedits of First Fridays will probably be back any day now, so I'm trying to clear the plate as much as possible. Speaking of First Fridays, I had a conference call last week with my editor and publisher. It was the first time I've had the chance to actually talk to my editor directly about FF. I knew she loved it, but didn't know exactly how much. She says she feels it's an even stronger novel that Counting Raindrops. That was great to hear. Like I said before, unlike Counting, I hadn't had anyone to read First Fridays before my editor saw it. So, I didn't know what type of feedback to expect or if someone else would like it as much as I did. I was worried about a "sophomore jinx". Wondered if I would be able to be creative on the second book and have it get positive feedback like the first. But after hearing my editor's comments, I think I stand a chance. ;-)

Well, as usual, there's work to be done so I best be gettin' to choppin' some wood! (Don't try to figure out what that means because I have no idea myself.)


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hey Peeps!

I know it's really been a while now, but things are crazy hectic. Just so much to do. Last weekend, I did the St. Louis Book Festival as planned. However, I hadn't expected to be in the midst of another revision, so I was knocking that out too. Got it Thursday and spent that night and all day Friday doing the edits. It was pretty much all line edits, which requires just adding commas here, changing a word there, deleting that, and rearranging this. So, no scene creations or anything...simple stuff. But a lot of stuff. So, when I say, I edited all day, I mean, ALL DAY! Don't know what time I started, but I remember finishing at 10:30PM and my bottom was hurting!! LOL I sat on the sofa, so it was soft. But I guess sitting in that position for so long got to me. Anyway, I got it done, Friday night, but then I had to find time to print it out, burn a CD, package it, then ship it overnight. Worked all that around the 2-day festival and shipped it off Sunday morning. Feels good.

Now, all I need to do is make it through a signing in Memphis, TN this weekend and my busy October will be complete. I had events every weekend. I'll be at home the next few weekends before heading to Baltimore for signings Thanksgiving weekend. The biggest shopping weekend of the year! Yep, I'm going to need some rest for that. Because it's going to be a challenge trying to shop in between signings. LOL


Thursday, October 20, 2005

I need to hurry and finish up a few little things. I'm expecting a guest today. That's right. My editor's assistant emailed me yesterday to let me know that First Fridays is on its way back to me and should be here today. That was quicker than I thought! I just knew I'd have at least two weeks to work on other stuff, but intead, my editor finished it in a week! So, I'm about to do the serious apartment cleaning and laundry that I've put off for what seems like ages. This afternoon, I'll be into the second round of revisions for First Fridays.

Ups and downs this week. For the first time this season, I went out to watch Monday night football. Last year, I lost a Superbowl bet and was to pay one of the guys $50. Last night, I just knew the Colts were going to win, even though the Rams are my team. But then, the Rams were up by something like 17 points. So, Mikey comes over to me and says, "Double or nothing?" So, I say yes, because I'm thinking there's no way the Rams can lose a 17 point lead. Then I say no, because I'm like, it's the undefeated Colts. Then, he's taunting me about being a chicken and my pride kicks in. So, I stick my chest out and say "It's on!" and I proceed to talk trash the rest of the night. Well, at least until the third quarter. That's when I got up and told Mikey that I'd pay him his #$%!&*! $100 later.

I went upstairs just in time to see Pujols hit a home run at the top of the 9th to win the game and bring the game back to St. Louis. Then I watched last night as we lost. But we had a good season! :-) Going to try to be there when they take the wrecking ball to Busch Stadium.

And, I didn't win Powerball. But then again, I didn't play either. Gotta remember to start doing that...


Monday, October 17, 2005

Back in for a moment. Had a bad mishap at my signing this weekend. I go to the store to sign, and I see no indication that I'm supposed to sign there. No store announcements, no signs on the door, no nothing. Worse yet, I see all this stuff for another author. I case the place and see a set up with his books on display. So, I approach the associates and tell them that I'm there for my signing that's schedule for a half an hour from then. They tell me that they have me nowhere on their event calendar. I'm so distraught. I've been advertising my butt off for this signing. So, she gets on the phone to find out what's what, and I call my agent in near tears.

So, she can't find me in their system, but says they can set up a table on the lower level (which is good) for a meet and greet. Problem is, the 50 books that my publicist said were at the store are not there. They only have 3 books in stock. It's 15 minutes before the signing. I tell her I have a few books at home (my author copies) and we agree on terms to sell these. I'd use the money made to replace them. So, I get in my car to go home to pick them up. That's a 15 minute drive, one way. So, I arrive back at the store at 20 minutes past the time I'm supposed to sign. There's a small line of people waiting for me to autograph their copies (how cool is that?!). So, we count in my book, she goes up to get an invoice, and I start signing copies. The first few people are people who read the self-published version and enjoyed it so much that they bought the new version. How cool!

So, the associate comes back down with the invoice and shows me were they're selling my books that are listed as $12.95 for $7.99 because that's the only price she could find in their system. I only get a fraction of what we sell the books for, so I won't even make enough money to replace the books. This would be a total loss for me because the books wouldn't count as sales anyway. I think things over and decide to cut my losses and just learn from the experience. So, after 45 minutes, I wrap up and take the rest of the books with me.

I get home and do some research and find out that my publicist mistkenly booked me for a Brentwood Borders...in Tennessee. Instead of my hometown, St. Louis, MO. So, no doubt, this store had my 50 books, and probably signs everywhere saying I was going to sign. And probably cursing me out because they think I was a no-show.

Well, aspiring writers, this just "shows to go ya." Sometimes, things can go wrong when you least expect it. Hey, crap happens. You just gotta pick up and move on to the next thing. So now, I'm preparing for another St. Louis event this weekend at the St. Louis Book Festival at the Muny in Forest Park. The following weekend, I'll be in Tennessee, for real, this time! LOL In Memphis.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Popping in for a brief moment. I'm still working on my edits for First Friday and I might possibly be able to finish up today. Spent all day working on it yesterday. Can't tell you how many hours because the day is a blur. All I can tell you is that I was in my pajamas all day and I listened to the television as the Cardinals won the first game of the Championship series (you know I had to get that in, right?) LOL

Anyway, my Twin posted a comment yesterday that I thought would make a great post for today. Here's his comment and question:

I've been noticing that you've been doing ALOT of legwork on your own lately . . . aren't you with a major publishing house? I know that you can't afford to let up at all, but why are you working yourself into 25-hour stupors constantly doing things that they should be handling with ease? Am I missing something?

Well, Twin, and all, :-) Yes, I'm with a major publisher, but I'm also a new writer. Most publishers may not do a lot of promotion for new authors. And these days, any author should expect to have to promote themselves. As a matter of fact, my agent said my marketing and promotion skills were an added bonus in picking me up. My publishers came right out and told me this over dinner too. That in addition to loving my story, they were attracted to the fact that I was a self-promoter. I'm hearing that a lot of publishers are looking for new authors who are also self-promoters.

So, that's one piece of the answer. The other is that I'm neurotic, anal, somewhat controlling, and have perfectionist tendencies. I like to give it my all. I have a tendency of going overboard. For advertising, and promotion, my mind is going 24/7. I'm trying to think of ways to reach the readers who might enjoy my story and my writing. I'm trying to think of ways to reach the people who don't normally read, but would read or buy my book because they are related to me, they know me, they know someone who knows me. etc. I'm thinking of ways to expose myself to people who wouldn't hear of me otherwise and I'm trying to get to where they are. Even if they don't buy my book the first time around, I'm working on name recognition so that they'll be familiar and want to give it a try when First Fridays come out.

Even if 5 or so years down the line, I ever reached the point where readers bought my book instantly at release, I don't think I'll ever be able to sit back and relax. I think that's just me. I think the focus would change, but I think I'd still be out there. Because I do enjoy emailing and talking to people who read my book. I enjoying going out and introducing myself and my book to readers. I enjoy thinking and carrying out new ways of promoting. I enjoy the hand-to-hand promotion.

I do get tired, but I think I enjoy being a busybody. It'd be great if my publisher put tons into promoting me (and hopefully we will get to that point). But I still think I'd be on the go and working myself to the bone. I'm unstable like that. :-)


Monday, October 10, 2005

I took the day off yesterday and I must have slept 25 hours. :-) Okay, maybe just a good part of the day. But I did feel exhausted. I had a whole day planned, but decided to just sleep, and watch football in between naps. Apparently, I needed it because I barely moved all day. LOL I even read a couple of chapters of the short book I've been reading for the past month or so, Soul City by Toure. And I feel refreshed now. Energized! Which is good, because I'm going to need all that energy to get caught up. Come to think of it, I can't remember the last time I took an entire day off.

More of the same. I have mailings and announcements for this week's signing; make arrangements for books for an end of the month signing; finalize an additional signing for next month, prepare and mail shipments, sell sheets to stores to request they order my book (if they haven't already) mail receipts to my publisher, put together my final email campaign, and do promotions. And then I have to squeeze in editing First Fridays. :-)

Well, let me get started. Ain't nothing to it, but to do it!


Friday, October 07, 2005

If you're a frequent visitor to my blog, you've probably noticed that I'm becoming a little scarce. And you can probably guess why. Yeah, things are hectic right now. But it's a good kind of hectic. From what I can see, things are going to be busy like this at least for the remainder of the year. Within the last couple of days, I came to this realization, and made it a point to calm myself and just do the best that I can. I create my daily to-do list and get through as much as I can. If I don't get to something, I'm not going to stress out, or die, I decided. :-) I've come to terms with the fact that I may not hit everything 100% and everything doesn't have to be perfect. Each morning, I look in the mirror and tell myself that the most important thing is that "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it...people like me." LOL

I spent the last few days trying to get everything prepared for my upcoming signing this weekend and putting out a major fire associated with it. The unexpected. Good thing is, my publisher step in and got some things squared away for me. I'm still working on trying to get edits done and I'll admit that I haven't had any of those 10 hour days because there just aren't enough hours in the day. This time around, promotion and preparation is a must if I want to avoid having signings where zero people show up. The editing is coming along a little slower than I'd like, but it's getting done. At worst, I'd probably have to ask for a few more days. But we'll see if it comes to that.

And, believe it or not, I'm making time for mysellf so I won't stress myself out. I made it a point to get back in the gym this week. I had gone from working out 4 - 5 days a week to not at all. It's been about 2 months and I was starting to feel the effects. It's strange because I was getting more tired. My energy was zapped. It's funny how that works. The less active you are or the more rest you get, the more tired you are. So, I've got to get myself back in the gym so I can tire myself out so I can have more energy. LOL Sounds backwards, but that's the way it goes.

Okay, gotta get to working. So much to do that it'd take me forever to list it here. The first local signing is tomorrow and I gotta make sure everything's squared away for that. :-)


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Another thing that I got in email this morning and I thought I'd share it with all my fellow aspiring authors:

Consider This

Pearl Buck's 'The Good Earth' was rejected fourteen times and
went on to win a pulitzer Prize.

Norman Mailer's 'The Naked and the Dead' was rejected twelve

Margaret Mitchell's classic 'Gone with the Wind' was turned down
by more than twenty-five publishers.

Mary Higgins Clark was rejected forty times before selling her
first story. More than 30 million copies of her books are now in

--Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Bud Gardner
From Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul
Text © 2000 Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Bud Gardner


This is a good book by the way. I have a copy. Great for when you need a little inspiriation. :-)


Monday, October 03, 2005

Back from the Pen to Paper Symposium in Dayton, OH. It was nice. It reminded me of the writer's conferences that I went to in my first year. They were small and cozy, and you had short sessions on various topics that were just enough to get you started and pointed in the right direction. Small conferences like these also allow people to speak freely and go in-depth about experiences. Attendees are able to pose any question that is on their minds. And you make contacts. If you're an aspiring writer, I highly recommend looking into this symposium for next year. They have a lot of good information to offer you.

So, yes, I had a great time at this event. I was invited to participate when another author couldn't make it. So, I had only a short period of time to prepare my discussion, but I managed it. I used this event to work on my speaking and presentation skills. I might have said before that I hadn't been good with public speaking in the past. I get extremely nervous to where my voice is shaking, I break out in cold sweats, my mind goes blank, and I ramble and talk at breakneck speed. LOL Well, I had planned to use this event to work on these things, and I think I did a good job for starters. Just the fact that I didn't feel nervous and my voice didn't shake was an accomplishment. Of course, I had a small crowd. But in the past, it didn't matter. I could be before 2 or 3 people and would be on the verge of passing out. LOL So, I'd say I made a step in the right direction. Pretty soon, I'll be an old pro at speaking in public. ;-)

Well, lots to do. I've already started working on the edits for First Fridays. We agreed on 2 weeks, and I'm going to see how much I can get done by then. My editor does love the story, but offered some recommendations that I think are going to make the story even better. I think we work well together. She's awesome. It's so amazing how she can figure out what I mean when I totally botch up a sentence. I noticed that sometimes, my brain and hands do not work cohesively together when writing. I can throw in an extra letter, transpose words, or add or leave out words in a sentence. I mean, huge chunks of words. Like I say the whole sentence in my mind, but only write down half of it on paper. My editor gets it every time. Sometimes I'm looking at the sentence and trying to figure out how in the world did she get it because it looks like mumbo jumbo when I read it. LOL Anyway, she's great.

So, I'm trying to do the line edits first. Then I'm still working on my mail campaign and trying to mail at least 20 - 25 mailings a day. I'm preparing for Saturday's first local book signing. Need to get my October newsletter complete. AND, I was invited to participate and write for another anthology! I already got the story in mind. So now, I need to finish up First Fridays so I can work on the short story for the anthology, which means I'll have to delay book #3 for maybe a month.

Hopefully, I'll get to unpack the suitcase before I go to Memphis at the end of this month. :-)


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Well, as usual, somehow I'm pulling it though. Somehow, I keep forgetting that the 10 hours a day I spend writing...that's the easy part. :-) Promoting for books and events, that's where the real work kicks in and it's nonstop. You're praying for ten hour days then! LOL

I mailed out signing invitations to my local newsletter list, made store flyers and delivered them, plus a whole lot of little stuff. The suitcase is still packed, but what the heck! I have to repack it for tomorrow anyway. :-) I'm putting the finishing touches on my discussion for the Symposium this weekend and I'm looking forward to going. After this weekend, I'll be home for much of October, which will be cool. Doing signings in other locations can be fun. But it's great if you can spread it out instead of going somewhere every week. Personal preference, of course. Last year, I did what I had to do. Sometimes, I was in a different city every week trying to push my book to the locals. LOL Some authors do enjoy that type of travel and do it with a full time job! I might just be burnt out from it because I traveled 85% of the time on my job when I was working. Another reason why I prefer driving rather than flying these days.

So today, I'm finishing up my discussion, packing the suitcase, and then I'm going to a special luncheon today! It's called: Understandiing your Government - A conversation with members of the City of St. Louis Board of Estimate and Appointment." This is an opportunity provided my sorority to meet with public officials to talk, have dinner, and ask questions. Should be interesting.

Then I'm back on the road in the wee hours of the morning, headed for Dayton, OH. Then I'll come back and continue with mailings and weekly preparations for the next signings. Oh, and I should get First Fridays back sometime today or tomorrow. If I get it today, I'll be able to take it with me and review the recommended changes and consider the issues, then come back and begin on it Monday.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Back and swamped. Okay, I'm not going to get overwhelmed...I'm not going to get overwhelmed....inhale, exhale.

I keep saying I'm going to recruit an assistant, yet I don't have the time to do so. I know of an author who took on a college assistant (intern) who was interested in writing. The benefits for both were great. The author received much needed assistance in projects and promotions, while the assistant, who was an aspiring author, received first hand knowledge about the publishing industry, plus one on one contact with an author. The intern has since completed her own manuscript and has struck out on her own. I'd like to do that. If I can find the time to solicit for one.

Anyway, just got back and I need to prepare a discussion on Plot Tension for my session at the Pen to Paper Symposium in Dayton, OH this weekend. I also need to send out flyers and invitations to my upcoming local signings, make and deliver store flyers, begin discussions with my new host of my Memphis signing, make arrangements for a 3rd local signing that I've been invited to join, make and send out my October newsletter, and submit a contract for a book tour that I want to participate in. And that's just the prep and planning stuff. We haven't even gotten to the errands I need to run yet, unpacking and repacking the suitcase for one.

Okay, I got three days to do all of this and this is quite a bit of woman-hours. And I got a message from my editor that she expects to send my edits for First Fridays tomorrow. Wow! I thought I'd have at least a month before edits came back! So, I need to get the bulk of this out of the way before edits come back. I'm imagining that edits during the first months of the book release is going to be a little tough. But I'll get it done! :-) The good thing is that she says she LOVES it!


Friday, September 23, 2005

Made a little progress yesterday. Finished an interview, drafted a letter, made handout flyers for my upcoming local signings (will distribute beginning next week), finalized my travel plans to Baltimore for this weekend's Baltimore Book Festival, and few more little must do things. I'm preparing to hit the road, so I won't be back until Monday. I'll see you then!

In the meantime, I got this email from an online group that I subcribe to. I like it, and thought you might like it too:

How To Increase Happiness in Daily Life

1) Endeavor to change the way you look at things. Always look at
the bright side. The mind may drag you to think about negativity
and difficulties. Don't let it. Look at the good side of every

2) Think of solutions, not problems.

3) Listen to relaxing uplifting music.

4) Watch funny comedies that make you laugh.

5) Each day devote some time to reading some pages of an
inspiring book or article.

6) Watch your thoughts. Whenever you catch yourself thinking
negative thoughts, stop them, and try to think of pleasant

7) Always look at what you have done and not at what you
haven't. Sometimes you start a day planning to do several
things. At the end of the day you feel frustrated that you
haven't been able to do all of those things, and you become

Look at what you have done, not at what you have not been able
to do. You may have accomplished a lot during the day, and yet
you let yourself become frustrated because of some small things
that you did not do. You have spent all day carrying out
successfully many plans, and instead of being happy and
satisfied you look at what was not done and you feel unhappy. It
is unfair towards yourself. 

8) Each day do something good for yourself. It can be small
thing, such buying a book, eating something you love, watching
you favorite program on TV, going to a movie, or just having a
stroll on the beach. 

9) Each day do at least one thing to make others happy. This can
be a kind word, Helping your colleagues, stopping your car at
the crossroad to let people cross, giving your seat in a bus to
someone else, or giving a small present to someone you love. The
possibilities are infinite. When you make someone happy, you
become happy, and then people try to make you happy.

10) Always expect happiness. 

11) Do not envy people who are happy. On the contrary, be happy
for their happiness.

12) Be where happy people are and try to learn from them to be
happy. Remember, happiness is contagious.

13) When things do not proceed as intended and desired, do your
best to stay detached. Detachment will help you to stay calm and
control your moods and reactions. Detachment is not
indifference. It is a completely different thing. Detachment has
much to do with inner peace, and inner peace is conductive to

14) Smile more often.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Okay, nothing got accomplished, book-wise, yesterday. However, I drove to my orthodontist in Erlanger, KY yesterday and finally....THE BRACES ARE OFF!!! And I've been smiling all night, and all morning long. Even smiled in my sleep. You know Bob's smile in the Viagra-like commercials (can't remember if that's his name or the name of the product), well, my smile is bigger than his now! LOL Now I can take some photos that my publisher and agent will actually like. They wanted me to smile more, but I didn't want my braces to show.

But anyway, I got a lot to catch up on because I only have a couple more days before I head to Baltimore. Got to get to cracking. It's going to be another long day. But I'll be smiling through it all as my tongue keeps molesting my teeth. Now that the bars and wires have been removed, it can't seem to keep its buds to itself. :-)


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hey, that ad in Sister 2 Sister that I mentioned a few days ago is in the current issue. The October issue with Whitney and Bobby on the cover. Check us out on page 2. :-)

The good news is I got through half of my "to-do" list. The not so good news is, three more things were added. :-) I can't say it's a bad thing though because things being added are things that could possibly increase exposure. UCLA Writer's Program invited me to do an interview for their quarterly byline. They like to follow the successes (being published equating to success) of students of their programs. So, that's always cool. I'm also sending them the Hyperion version of my book for the library. They already have the Archland version.

So, another day in my apartment, except to get out and run errands. I haven't fired up my printer in months, so I finally did yesterday and it will only print in color. Not black. Black ink is pretty important to a writer, I've come to find out.

But, I did make some progress. I got in the first draft of a timeline I'm putting together for the Writer's Studio. We're all moving forth with that full steam ahead. It's an exciting process. I'd been a little bit behind due to finishing the first book, and now I'm finally getting caught up and able to add more input. And I'm starting to think about my lesson plan for my discussion on Plot Tension for the Pen and Paper Symposium in Dayton, OH on Oct. 1st. And author had to pull out, so the organizers considered me and invited me to talk on the subject of Plot Tension in her place. How cool is that? Eventually, I want to get into teaching writing. I didn't think I was ready yet. After all, I only have one published book and a completed manuscript. I went to a St. Louis Writer's Guild Banquet a couple of days ago and met a lot of interesting literary people in the area. One of them teaches creative writing at a higher learning institution here in town. When he told me that he taught creative writing, I discussed my desire about getting back into writing classes. I missed the UCLA Extension workshop this year and that's been the best writing experience I've had to date. So, he looks at my book, looks at my publisher, and says, "You should be TEACHING writing classes, not taking them." I've heard this before. In the back of my mind, it's something that I want to do eventually, but I still feel that I'm not really ready yet. I feel I need to establish myself more as a writer before I can be considered qualified to teach.

Of course, promotion is number one and most important in the initial months after the release. Balancing this is proving to be difficult. It's on the list and it should be something that I do daily, but I'm having a hard time getting to it like I want. I expect to promote a minimum of 4 hours a day, and as of yet, it's not happening. But I got to make that happen, do or die.


Monday, September 19, 2005

It's starting again. The "to-do" list is growing faster than I can get items complete. I'm back to creating and following a list again. I got ten items on the list today and praying that I can get through half of them. I'd hire an assistant, but I'm sure they'd want to get paid, and, well...

Okay, good news. I've been spotting several copies of my books in stores locally and I'm making my rounds. Hit a few stores this weekend. I went in to see if they were in stock and where they were located with plans to rearrange display areas, if necessary. :-) But, I didn't have to do that. Not yet. Store personnel can make you feel good. They always seem so elated when you stop by the store to ask if you can sign the copies of your book. Their eyes light up and their mouths drop as they grab the "autographed copy" stickers. And for just a second, you feel like you've done something special. LOL But seriously, it's a great opportunity to talk and greet store personnel. And, of course, I took it upon myself to greet anybody browsing the AA book session. I feel like I could run for office. I smiled, gave my card, shook hands, and introduced myself and my book. If anybody had a baby, I definitely would have taken him/her in my arms for a hug and a kiss. :-)

Okay, got lots to do. I need to come up with a lesson plan for a discussion on Plot Tension. I was invited to teach a session at the Pen to Paper Symposium in Dayton, OH the weekend of September 30th. Then, I need to finish a timeline for the St. Louis Writer's Studio, print, sign, and mail off a contract, create and send a special newsletter on book tour dates for this month, write a letter to a book club, and notify my newsletter contest winner and get address so I can mail free book. And that's just to get started and that's before I begin the promotion work for today. It's always a bunch of little stuff.

But first, I need to walk 'round the corner and down the street to Starbucks to get another half pound of Breakfast Blend. If I don't, nothing on this list will get done.

Yea! for the Cardinals who clinched the division on Saturday! And for the Rams who beat the defectees, the Arizona Cardinals and our former quarterback, Kurt Warner (even though he's a good guy.).


It's starting again. The "to-do" list is growing faster than I can get items complete. I'm back to creating and following a list again. I got ten items on the list today and praying that I can get through half of them. I'd hire an assistant, but I'm sure they'd want to get paid, and, well...

Okay, good news. I've been spotting several copies of my books in stores locally and I'm making my rounds. Hit a few stores this weekend. I went in to see if they were in stock and where they were located with plans to rearrange display areas, if necessary. :-) But, I didn't have to do that. Not yet. Store personnel can make you feel good. They always seem so elated when you stop by the store to ask if you can sign the copies of your book. Their eyes light up and their mouths drop as they grab the "autographed copy" stickers. And for just a second, you feel like you've done something special. LOL But seriously, it's a great opportunity to talk and greet store personnel. And, of course, I took it upon myself to greet anybody browsing the AA book session. I feel like I could run for office. I smiled, gave my card, shook hands, and introduced myself and my book. If anybody had a baby, I definitely would have taken him/her in my arms for a hug and a kisss. :-)

Okay, got lots to do. I need to come up with a lesson plan for a discussion on Plot Tension. I was invited to teach a session at the Pen to Paper Symposium in Dayton, OH the weekend of September 30th. Then, I need to finish a timeline for the St. Louis Writer's Studio, print, sign, and mail off a contract, create and send a special newsletter on book tour dates for this month, write a letter to a book club, and notify my newsletter contest winner and get address so I can mail free book. And that's just to get started and that's before I begin the promotion work for today. It's always a bunch of little stuff.

But first, I need to walk 'round the corner and down the street to Starbucks to get another half pound of coffee. If I don't, nothing on this list will get done.

Yea! for the Cardinals who clinched the division on Saturday! And for the Rams who beat the defectees, the Arizona Cardinals and our former quarterback, Kurt Warner (even though he's a good guy.).


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Hey, remember the St. Louis Writer's Studio that I said a group of us was forming here? Group member, Erik, has put together our St. Louis Writer's Studio Blog. Check us out and read about who we are and how we bumped in to each other to form this bunch. :-)

Okay, I don't think I'm ever going to get out of my apartment for an extended worry-free, non-book related period of time, until like February. Thursday is when I had the conniption. That's when I went around to a couple of bookstores and a couple of Wal-Marts to check out where my book was so I could tell people where to go (...to buy my book). Well, all 4 locations that I went did not have my book on display. So, being a writer and over dramatic, I'm thinking that there's probably not a book of mine available in my hometown of St. Louis (I have reported sightings of it in other parts of America), so, after hyperventilating, I round up the posse to stage a march. A march on bookstores. So, there we were, down the street from the first bookstore, donned in our "Free Counting Raindrops" T-shirts, just coming out of the huddle where we practiced our literary rendition of "We Shall Overcome." You never heard a literary rendition of We Shall Overcome? Believe me, you don't want to either. ;-/ We had signs: On front "Counting Raindrops on shelves"; On the back "By any means necessary." I was leading the pack with my bullhorn, ready to lead our chant:

Me: What do we want?
Radical Readers: Counting Raindrops!
Me: When do we want it?
Radical Readers: NOW!!!!

So, just then, my editor calls me on my cell phone. I tell her I need to call her back because I'm right at the start of the protest here. She knows because I always tell my editor what's going on. :-) We cool like dat. So, she tells me to hold the phone. She says a call just came down from Sales, and then she runs down what the bookstores purchased. I get off the phone with her and quiet the now raunchy radical readers...they've got determination in their eyes and fire in their bellies and they're ready to march. So, I call up a few bookstores again. I can do that, see, because I put them in my cell phone on speed dial. So, I call store after store, and sure enough, they do have copies of my book after all. Some are just getting them on the shelves. Some say they just got the shipment in and it's in boxes, and to call back tomorrow and they should be out.

So, there's nothing left for me to do but to disperse the angry crowd and tell them to go home. I explain through the bullhorn what happened and they're grumbling and I can see that adrenaline has set in and they're ready to rumble and if I don't do something, there's bound to be some cracked skulls soon. So, I step through them, shouting through my bullhorn, "Move it along! Nothing to see! You ain't got to go home, but you got to get the heezy out of here!" Most of them calmed down, mumbled as they went to the bookstore and browsed the bargain book section, got tea, coffee, and cookies, then sat down and got their read on. Didn't take much.

And now, I'm home, sending out newsletters, updating my email and mailing list, creating flyers for my local signings (October 8th @ Knowing Books, 3-5pm; October 15th @ Brentwood Borders, 2pm), preparing mailings to bookstores requesting that they order my book and sending them promotional cards, promotion, promotion, and more promotion and 10 hour days. And as you can see from the story above, I'm getting delirious.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

LadyLee put up her more, um, formal review of Counting Raindrops on her site. Click on her name to check it out. :-)

Thanks to all who have left encouraging comments on yesterday's post or sent an email. I really do appreciate all comments. As you can imagine, no matter what, there are always butterflies. And it's not like a one time performance. Like you have butterflies before a speech, or a play, or a dance, and then you do whatever and 2 - 4 hours later, it's gone. For the first time novelist, the butterflies last the entire first 3 - 6 months, because these are the crucial months. LOL So thanks to all of you for congrats!

I called my agent to catch her up to date and had planned to get off the phone quickly. I always feel like she must be busy and I always plan to make my statements quickly and keep myself to a two minute maximum. Well, after giving me a pep talk, inspiration, and coaching, I found that we were on the phone for over an hour. This is one of the reasons I'm so grateful for my agent. She has a very beautiful spirit, encourages me to call her anytime, and gets back to me as soon as she can when I have to leave a message or send an email. She even helped me to decide not only which story would be the next best to write, but also we put in order the next three books from my list. She's awesome. She's an author too, and she's been in my shoes. So not only does she know the industry, it's like she knows what I'm thinking and feeling. She knows exactly what I'm going through, whether it's the upswing or the down, because she's been there herself. She always knows the right things to say and to tell me what to think about, and what to consider. Just by nature, she's one of those people who ask you questions to pull things out of you to help you to come to your own conclusion about things when you are conflicted about something. Then, only after you've come to a conclusion will she add her input. She doesn't seem to want to influence your decision.

As you can probably tell, I like my agent. :-) You know how it is when you call up your best girlfriend and you talk for a long time, just gliding from subject to subject just by going with the flow of the conversation? That's what it's like in talking to my agent. Sometimes we have to go, "oh, and back to business...." LOL

I think she's a keeper!


Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Okay, now that the second book, First Fridays, is submitted, now I can turn my focus back to Counting Raindrops. I'm excited about the release under Hyperion and pray that it does well. Later this afternoon, I'm hoping to get out and about to visit bookstores and Wal-Marts to see where it's available locally, and to drop off some promotional cards. I hope that you will either go out and pick up a copy at a Wal-Mart or bookstore near you, or online at Amazon.com, or BN.com. I'd really appreciate your support. :-)

This month, I'll also watch out for our ads. We're supposed to be in Today's Black Woman and Sister 2 Sister. The latter has already put up a cute little ad on their website. They've animated the cover a little bit. Click the link to check it out now because I don't know how long it's going to be there.

So, how am I going to spend release day? Well, I'm going to actually turn the cell phone back on again. Then I 'm going to try to complete and send my September newsletter (I'm a little behind), submit minor website updates, then go store hopping. I might even treat myself to some Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Panera's. Aaaahhh!!!! Can you say, FREEDOM!!! In case you didn't recognize it, um, that's basking. LOL But on a serious celebratory note, I'm going to try to go to the Cardinals game tonight. The magic number is 2 to clinch the division and we could do it tonight. AGAIN!!!

The work begins tomorrow. The focus is back on promoting Counting Raindrops. Then I need to take care of things I've neglected. Got like a foot of new growth under my braids that I need to get taken care of, my fill is going to be about half of my nail bed, and I gotta clean up because THIS PLACE IS A PIG STY!!!
LOL Not really. That's just one of those over exaggerated terms that my mother used to use when I was growing up and I like saying it any chance I can get. :-)

What's next for writing? I got the next 7 - 10 stories (can't remember how many off the top of my head) ready to be written. The next three are vividly in my mind. The next two, I'm actually conflicted on which one to write first. I could go either way so I'm going to try to get some advice from my agent.

I'm excited. :-) Please pick up your copy today! And of course, drop me a line if you do, and especially when you read it.
Okay, until tomorrow....


Tuesday, September 13, 2005


It's a wrap! My second book, First Fridays is in final form and ready to see my editor. Okay, here are some specs and facts:

Word count: 76,000
Pages: 357
Estimated ACTUAL writing time: 3 months
Revisions: 3
Title: First Fridays
Genre: Contemporary fiction; relationship
General themes: business and personal relationships
Setting: St. Louis - Mill Creek Valley (resurrected from the dead!)
Main Cast Members: Naja Rodgers (main); Allison "Allie" Rodgers (li'l sis); Andi (Allie's daughter); Russom King (Naja's business partner); Vlora Dern (Naja's best friend); Chaney (owner of Mill Creek Valley's "Rosebud Cafe" - the neighborhood hangout/meetiing place); Jarvis and Manny (neighborhood kids)

Stay tuned for small excerpts in the near future. :-)

All right. Let's get this baby printed and shipped!

I smell FREEDOM on the other side of the horizon!!!!


Monday, September 12, 2005

Congrats to the New Orleans Saints! They won 23-20 over the Carolina Panthers in a kickoff in the last few seconds of the game! Awesome! On the flipside, my team, the Rams, got creamed. By the 49ers. THE 49ers??? What the...! Okay, okay, enough about that. I won't turn this blog into a football blog. :-)

Okay, I'm jittery and I'm not getting any sleep. I'm excited. Now, you probably would think I'm excited about the release date the day after tomorrow. I would think that too. But that's not the case. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about it. But that's not what's keeping me up. It's the completion of this second book and actually turning it in to my editor and awaiting her feedback. The more I revise it, the more I get excited about it.

And this process is a bit different than Counting Raindrops. With the first book, I had tons of feedback--although I didn't believe them when they told me that they liked it because I thought they were just trying to be nice. LOL The first to read it and give me feedback was Tiffany in Cincinnati (You'll see her in the acknowledgments). I remember going to her house and she read it for me in installments as I wrote it. It was nerve wrecking for me, although I don't think she knew that. I was sitting across from where while she read pages. She'd read silently, then all of a sudden, just burst out in laughter. And I'm wondering, "What? What? What's so funny???" And she'd read some more and just laugh. And (she probably doesn't remember this) her first feedback comments to me were, "Oh! You got skillz!!!" LOL And I'm sitting there, grinning until my face hurts, but wondering, "Okay, what does that mean?"

I find that I'm analytical. It feels so good when people say they enjoy your story or enjoy your writing. But I always try to capture it. To put it in quantifiable terms so I can understand. So I can create a formula that I can repeat over and over. I still don't have that yet and that's the only thing that makes writing nerve wrecking for me now that I have one (and almost 2) completed novels under my belt. On the other hand, maybe it’s good that I don't know because if I knew exactly, I would probably try to concentrate on that as I write instead of writing freely. With the first and now the second book, I just wrote without worrying about style. And perhaps for those who like it, that's the reason they like it. Logically, I'm sure this is the case. But still, there's that knuckleheaded nerd in me that's trying to figure out a formula.

Okay, last day of revisions!!! Got to make it good because right now I'm running on caffeine, adrenaline, and no sleep! LOL


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Ladies, put on your jerseys...just your jersey, m'am, just your jersey. LOL Don't have a jersey? Well, I guess you best be headin' on over to your favorite department store's LITTLE BOYS SECTION! If you've already read my book, you're feeling me right about now and you know what I'm talking about. LOL As I do my third and final revision, I'm kicking off my first football Sunday with the Fox pregame show, then, whoever is playing at noon, then the Rams at 3:15pm Central. Wish I could go tailgate or go to a sportsbar to watch, but I'll be able to do that next week!

Right on schedule! Finished the second draft last night. Whew!

I'm quite pleased with it. Honestly, I'd be comfortable printing it out right now and sending it in a couple of days early. But I'm not. After I finished last night, I still had enough energy (believe it or not) to outline a plan of attack for the next couple of days.

Over the next two days, I'm going to review the additional scenes that I've outline. I briefly did this last night. These are scenes that came into my head from nowhere while I was writing. And rather than go back and search and try to work it in immediately, I wrote it down for later. I already went through some of them and scratched them. While they may have been interesting, or funny (to me), they really did nothing to advance the plot. Maybe it'll fit in another story another time. But there's a couple of ideas there that I will fit in.

Then I'll go over each character one more time to make sure they're distinct and realistic. And finally, I want to go over the flow again and check for over used words.

Well, on with revision three---the final revision! :-)



Friday, September 09, 2005

Awesome progress news. I met my two chapter minimum AND revised another two chapters. So, I'm all caught up to my original goal and SHOULD finish up the second revision at the end of the day Saturday, if I keep up the two chapter minimum. I probably revised the same as far as word count. But I knew toward the end that I had one really short chapter (1000 words) and a couple that were in the 2000+ range whereas my other chapters are 3000 - 3500 words. So, that's why I was able to catch up. Nonetheless, I'm almost finished with the second revision. And I think I'll be able to squeeze in two days for a third revision where I'll make sure there's a closed loop on each main character and input things from the side notes I've made.

I was thinking, did I ever talk about what the second book is about or even the title? Not sure. I haven't done the dreaded synopsis yet (I hate those), but I did sum it up for an interview that I did recently. The title of this second book is First Fridays and the main character contemplates mixing business and personal relationships. In a nutshell, here's what it's about:

In First Fridays, my 2006 release, the main character Naja Rodgers is a entrepreneur and is very much attracted to her business partner, Russom King . Problem is, she doesn't believe in mixing business with pleasure, for fear that mixing the two could possibly result in relationship drama that carries over to the board room. And she's not sure she wants to take that chance and put her baby--her business--on the line. But after Naja does give in to a relationship, she comes to find out that it could even be worse than she ever imagined.

Why "First Fridays?" If you're into professional networking and you're in one of the host cities, you might be familiar with the First Fridays networking events. While the characters contemplate business and personal relationships, they take you and give you an inside view of these First Fridays events. Some of the people you will meet are quite funny. Some of the happenings are outrageous. And yes, some of this is from personal experience and observations. I attended quite a few First Fridays events in Cleveland, and a couple here in St. Louis. :-)

What I'm hoping to bring is another contemporary relationship novel where a main issue is explored and the reader will also laugh and find the journey enjoyable.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sigh! Only met half my goal yesterday. Had some things to take care of. Life started getting in the way again. Started getting late notices in the mail and under my door. They want their money and they want it now. I'm like, Geesh! Can't you see I'm trying to meet a deadline here?! For pete's sake, give me a break! But since nobody was listening, I thought I'd better take care of some things before I found myself sitting in the dark. But great news to report! Went to my last visit with the chiropractor. I'm good as new! Well, except for those 10 pounds I said I was going to start a couple of weeks ago...then September 1st. Well, after I get this book done, it's number one priority. I mean it this time.

So, I'm still two chapters behind, but in no danger of not meeting the goal. Still, I like to have a fews days of cushion, just in case.

*STRAIN* Must...get back...to writing....*pant* *pant* Must...get back...to writing....NOW! *pant* *pant* *END STRAIN*


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Another 2 chapters and I don't know how many hours. Let's, see...5 in the morning, then a long break, 6 in the evening, so, roughly 11 hours. I added a couple of scenes as well as revised.

But, early on, I got an email from one of the contest winners, LadyLee, and she shared with me, her thoughts on my book. Although I can't share the whole thing here, as she gives a lot of details, I'd love to have a little fun and edit and post her comments: (WARNING: THIS IS EXTREMELY EDITED, BUT FUN)

Hey Cherlyn,
"Counting Raindrops..."  was off the chain!!! I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's rare for me to get choked up when reading a book....But that part in your book...Oh my God!  That messed me up.  And she wakes up and sees...  Oh Jesus!!! I had to put the book down.  I've read some similar scenarios, but with your writing... I don't know, it was just like I was right there inside Vanella's head feeling what she was feeling, you know what I mean? 

And then when ... And the Daddy was ... Whoo, goodness!!! That was another part that shook me completely up.  Had to put the book down again.  I was an emotional wreck! Thanks a lot, Cherlyn (LOL)! Let's not even talk about when Vanella goes and...That whole porch scene... It just messed me up... And that scene where Kizaar and his Daddy are...You had me holding my breath there!

Now when Vanella ...and it looked like they were going to ...I was like... Hmm... I don't know Cherlyn... don't go corny on me, now!  But I liked how that didn't play out after all.  That was quite realistic.

Overall, I loved the fact that this book had a different female protagonist.  I love it! I love it! I love it!

And I liked that near the end...That's been my attitude of late, so I can relate to that.

But I liked how you had ... I didn't know how you were going to pull that off.  Quite original indeed! 

I thought the title was superb.  I was thinking while reading the book "what does this "Counting raindrops..." title have to do with anything"?  I kind of figured it out a few pages before you mentioned it.  Real cool concept.  I love it!

This book was good to the very last drop!! 

P.S.  A quick writer question:  how much of your own personality/habits do you allow yourself to write into a character? I mean do you guzzle that Pinot Griot wine like Vanella does? (LOL) (That type of stuff.).  I noticed that you said in your 9/6/05 blog that you like football.  Did you purposefully have Vanella like football because YOU like football? 

Okay, this is Cherlyn answering the question. :-)
Uh, yes, there was a lot of me in not only Vanella, but in several of the characters. Let me see if I can name a few of the things we have/had in common:

-We both were engineers and work for a Japanese manufacturing company,
-We both sipped Pinot Grigio (I think that's still her favorite, I've since moved on to Merlot,
-We both love sports, football and the Rams in particular,
-We both were born and raised in St. Louis and lived in Cleveland,
-We both avoid button down shirts like the plague,
-And as a confession, we both did that measuring tape thing for a while. Three-eighths of an inch? Oh, LAWD!!!! LOL

But still, I'm not Vanella and the story isn't about me. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

But yes, I do incorporate some of the things that I'm familiar with and may do and like myself. But I also mix in things of friends, family, people I've worked with or met. And some things I just totally make up. This would all be stuff that I put in my character sketch so I can keep straight who has what quirks and why.

Okay, enough fun for today...gotta go write... :-)


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Well, I did it! After getting one chapter done I managed to break away for a moment and get to the Big Muddy Blues Festival on Sunday night. It was great. There were maybe five or so stages set up at different spots on Laclede's Landing and bands played various styles of blues. Food and drink vendors lined the cobblestone streets that were closed off to traffic. Tons of people. In bars and restaurants, walking and sitting along the streets and lawns. Young, old. I quickly saw that this was an extremely popular event.

And here's one of the downfalls to leaving your cell phone off. I had a friend trying to get in touch with me because he had tickets to the Rams' last preseason game. My friend knows how much I love football. My friend knows how much I love the Rams. And I missed the call. I wanted to kick myself. On the other hand, it's probably good that I didn't know because that was my 11-hour workday and I do think I would have ditched the writing for football. Well, hey. I'll be done next week and will have all season to go to the games.

Yesterday, I got another chapter revised after spending part of the morning volunteering with United Way to collect money for the Hurricane Victims. So, now, I'm two chapters behind where I really want to be, but I'm not really worried. Okay, the countdown is on. I got exactly one week to whip the last half of it into shape and get it to my editor.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Turned out that the Muddy Blues Festival was yesterday and today (not Friday). And I didn't get to go yesterday. :-( I'm hopeful that I can step out a bit today, but I gotta meet my quota. I actually revised two chapters over ten or eleven hours yesterday. Yeah, took a lot longer than I thought. I stopped for no more than 30 minutes each for lunch and dinner. Maybe a couple of 10 - 15 minute breaks to stretch out and that's it. I probably went over the chapters beginning to end, word for word, about five or six times each (before I split them up, because they were quite lengthy). I kept at it until I felt the characters were extremely visual, their dialogue was individually realistic, and the entire chapter flowed. I guess sometimes it goes easy like my first couple of chapters, and sometimes it takes time. I have to confess that sometimes, I can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to projects. Maybe that played out yesterday because I am treating this like this will be the last revision before I turn it in to my editor. So, I want to make sure it's shaped to my satisfaction and it's something I enjoy and that I think readers enjoy. That's the goal here.

So, I gotta get to through my two chapter quota today and I hope to do the festival at least a little bit tonight. But if not, I'll be free to do whatever after I finish this book, so, no biggie! :-)

If you're in the St. Louis/East St. Louis area and you'd like to donate to the Red Cross for the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, I'll be one of a few St. Louis Cares Volunteers who will take donations on Labor Day at the St. Clair's Square Mall in Fairview Heights, IL. I'll be at the donations table Monday from 10 AM - 2 PM, so come on out!


Friday, September 02, 2005

Didn't quite finish with the two chapters from yesterday, but chapter three was like double the average word length, so it was like completing two chapters by itself. Only have five pages to complete chapter four, so it's all good. Actually, I got stuck at a point much early in chapter four. Just couldn't find the flow. It wasn't extremely late, but I'd been writing six hours straight, so I gave myself a pat on the back for a good effort done, and decided to give my mind a break until the next day. I may not have even put the laptop down five minutes before creativity hit again for the spot that I was having trouble with. So, I pick up the laptop and tell myself to just write that part, then give it a rest. So, I do. But then I clearly feel what happens next. It's in my fingertips and I just have to get it out. So, of course, I do. Next thing I know, I'm typing for another couple of hours. I kept typing until the breaking point which was five pages before the end of chapter four. How cool?

Well, I'm about to drink and savor my morning coffee (especially savoring now because when I have to go back to Starbucks for another pound, the price may have gone up, IF they have the kind I like at all. They were out of Breakfast Blend, due to Katrina). Then I'm going to get my quota in so I can hang out at the Muddy Blues Festival! I'm getting excited just thinking about it. It's going to feel like a jailbreak!


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hey, if you get Black Issues Book Review magazine, check out our ad for Counting Raindrops on page 2! ;-)

First day of revisions went smoothly yesterday. Did chapters 1 and 2 and as a matter of fact, I hope the rest of the chapters go like that. I got finished rather early in the evening and was considering doing chapter 3. But I thought it important to space it out. To just let it flow and not force it. To not rush it, just to try to get it in earlier. In between time, the story doesn't leave my mind and new thoughts and ideas will pop up at any given time. I'll find myself jumping up to add a word, or a sentence in a certain spot. It's like, the littlest, the oddest, or the most insignificant thing can trigger a thought for the novel. Or sometimes, it seems like the thought just comes from nowhere.

I also read in between. I usually read a page or a chapter of something before I start writing. Reading helps me to jump start my mind and put me in the writing mode. Last year, I remember reading EJ Dickey and Gloria Mallette books. This year, I'm reading my own, Counting Raindrops. How cool is that? LOL But seriously, I'm reading my own book to get me back in the flow of my own writing style. But I do read other stuff too. I just finished up Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis. I hadn't read a romance novel since I was a teenager. Seeing Red was good. The storyline had a bit of mystery to it, plus there was humor laced throughout. This wasn't like the Harelquin romance I read way back then. And now, I've gone back to my Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and I'm in the midst of The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy. I read and study classical writers and try to alternate in readings.

Okay, if I'm good, I'm going to attend the Muddy Blues Festival this weekend. This is another event on Lacelede's Landing, which, again, is right around the corner from my place and I will probably hear activities from my apartment. The Muddy Blues Festival goes Friday to Sunday or Monday and I expect there will be Blues singers and bands all weekend long. This is an annual event in St. Louis, but it will be my first time ever attending. So, the plan is to get two chapters a day revised in the morning and the afternoon, then spend the rest of the day hanging out. Well, at least two days. We'll see if I can do it.


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I made another must-do list for the things I let get behind and spent all morning carrying them out. A lot of little tasks, but a mini break from writing. I actually got outside to walk to the post office and stop at the local Starbucks to get a refill on ground coffee.

Then I watched TV (kinda hard not to now) as I went through my character sketches. I wanted to go through each character and revise to fit what they had become and what new habits that had come about in the story. I tend to get very detailed in my character sketches. I include background information like who their parents were, what they did and where they came from. Who their brothers and sisters are. I outline the usual physical attributes (height, weight, shape, hair/eye color, imperfections, age, birthday, sign, etc.) as well as their personality and preferences (personality traits, habits, musical tastes, hobbies, books they read, etc.). Other stuff like marital status, education, employment history, any funny little quirks they have or phrases they use.. I also sketch their issue in this story, their perspective, their goals and desires, their greatest fears, and their motivations. Then I sum it all up around the current issue by writing a paragraph on their upbringing and how that affects their issues in this story.

So, I fill out this form for all the main characters (Excel spreadsheet). I also do a sketch on the minor characters, but not nearly to this detail. Then, as I'm writing in each chapter, for the characters in the scene, I constantly review their characters sketch to see how they react, what they might say, how they feel about whatever it is that's going on, how they try to come across and how they actually come across, etc. I only have to keep referring to the sketches in the first few chapters. It seems like after that, they come so alive that they just do what they do.

In addition to all of this, I make a story sketch too (theme, conflicts, setting information, etc.) and refer to it periodically while writing and revising.

All right. Time to get to revising chapters one and two! :-) It's going to be a long day.

And I accidentally left my cell phone on yesterday and picked up a call from a friend, who, as usual, began chewing me out for not calling--even though I've made friends aware of my deadline and I will be in touch after I meet it--say that "you don't write ALL day. You gotta eat. You can call me then." True, I gotta eat. But when I eat, I wanna eat. Not talk. Then it's "You can take 2 minutes to talk to me." When I point out that all my friends say this, they all will reply, "I'm not talking about everybody else, just me." So argument ensues (I have no idea why I'm arguing) and the conversation ends on a negative note of the friend saying, "Well, FINE. I'll tell you what then. Why don't you just call me when you're done writing the book?!"

I guess they feel better with it coming from them because that's what I've been saying since I started the book. In any respect, this is why the cell phone remains off. LOL


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

IT'S DONE!!!!!

The first draft is done! Let's celebrate! Everyone, get a 40 and join me in a toast! But make it Michelob Ultra to cut carbs. And don't forget to pour some out on the curb in a moment of silence for the characters that didn't make it. They were beautiful people. Just caught up in the wrong story at the wrong time.

Ah, a major milestone has been reached, but it's not over. Today, I'm going to go over all the character sketches and revise. A lot of them have just gotten out of hand. They created their own personalities. Then, tomorrow, I'll refer to these character sketches as I take two chapters a day and revise. I expect to be done about September 10th. Maybe a day or 2 for last minute additions/changes, then it's off to the editor by the September 14th deadline! Yea!

I try to stick to the topic of writing on my blog, but some things you can't bypass. Even though I don't have relatives in the areas where Katrina hit hard, my heart goes out to all. I do know of another author and his family in New Orleans that safely made it to Houston and are still there now. I'm watching the reports on TV and it's truly devastating and many will not have homes to go back to. I know you are already, but please, continue to join me in a prayer for lives in that area.


Monday, August 29, 2005

Here we go now. One more chapter to go and the first draft is done!

I forgot to mention last week... If you're a member of Black Expressions Book Club, check me out on page 7 of the September catalogue. Author Lexi Davis emailed me to let me know about my feature. Yes, I'm eagerly awaiting my catalogue in the mail. But she tells me there a picture of me (I'll smile when I get the braces off in a few weeks), a mini-bio, a blurb, and a small excerpt. I can't wait to check it out myself. Anyway, the hardcover of Counting Raindrops is being sold exclusively through Black Expressions.

All right. I'm eager to get started on the last chapter, so let me get to it. :-)


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Only two more chapters to go to the completion of the first draft!!! On schedule and rolling!

So, last night, I was in the umptieth day of seclusion, tired, but still finishing up the daily chapter. Then, *ding*, I get an email. Barely having enough energy to click from my Word Document to email (okay, maybe that's the little drama queen coming out in me), I opened email to find this message from Kim J., a reader in Memphis:

Hi Cherlyn, I received a copy of your book at a book signing with Carl Webber and Alisha Yvonne back in February. It was several of us reading it at the office and girl it was off the hook! I am friends with Alisha and Sherita the president of R.A.W. Sista of Memphis. I am president of Unique Women Social Club and we are reading it now which will be twice for me. I will be at your book signing when you come to Memphis.
Thanks and keep on writing.

Immediately, I felt invigorated. Energized. Touched. It's simple messages like these that you get out of nowhere, at any given time, that pumps you up and encourage you to keep following your dreams. They're soooooo much better than emails that say, "your writing sucks. Give it up and do us all a favor and die." Now, thank goodness, I haven't received that email YET but I'm bracing myself. I know it's coming because from what I've seen I think every author gets at least one. Even the best authors.

But in the meantime, after I got this email from Kim, with newfound energy, I returned to my Word Document and finished chapter 18 out of 20 of book two! Thanks Kim!

For Friday's winners, I hope you all enjoy it just as much!


Saturday, August 27, 2005


Okay, first let me give the numbers I wrote down and the reasons behind them:

I preselected #1 because although I am grateful to all who are interested, the first person to say so always makes you feel good. :-)

I also preselected #11 because I wanted a double digit winner, and possibly someone who would post on Friday so I could have a Thursday and a Friday winner, but I didn't want to go too high, just in case I didn't get that many posts. (whew!)

But, in seeing the response, I wanted to throw in another winner. Problem was, I couldn't just pick because there were too many people that I knew, who've been so suppportive, who's blogs I've read, etc. So, I came up with a simple method to select another winner. I took the total number of posts, divided seven (number of days in the week), took the cubed root (in honor of cubed steaks), then raised it to the fifth power (for the 5th Dimension), integrated from zero to one, then ADDED the number of dollars I made as a self-published author. Unfortunately, this left me with a negative number. So, I scratched all that.

Then I cut up pieces of paper with the numbers 1 - 21 (well, minus the previous winners), and pulled. Out came the number 20.

So, will the following posters please send your mailling address to cherlyn@cherlynmichaels.com:



This was fun! I love giving away stuff. Why, if I was Oprah, I, too would...wait. Don't let me get to lying....
But, I'm going to have to do this again sometime soon! :-)


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Another chaper down. Yea! Five more to go. Should complete the first draft by Monday, if not before. :-)

Another mail surprise! I got a box of my books in the mail yesterday. How cool! I get to use these to hand out for reviews, promotions, and.....CONTESTS!!!

And I'm so excited. So, I think what this here blog needs is a contest so I can give away a couple of books!

Oh, but what to do, what to do?

Hey, I know! Okay, I'm thinking of a number. No, two numbers. I'm even writing them down. (See----->scribble, scribble.)
Now, if you'd like a copy of this new release, just post a comment and let me know. The winners of the books will be the posters that correspond to the number that I've written. For example, if I was thinking of numbers #1 and #2, then the first and second poster would win the books! Cut off point is going to be midnight Friday, Aug. 27th. Good Luck!

(Lawd, please let someone post!) LOL

All right. I'll be back here Friday!


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Moving right along! Finished another chapter yesterday.

I'm suffering a little bit because I finally went back to the gym yesterday. I know a couple of weeks ago I said I was going to get back on track, but I failed to do so at that time. So now, 2 weeks later, I went back and even after just two weeks I have that oh-not-so-in-shape-feeling. The only way to get beyond this is to keep on going. I know because I've been here too many times before, sad to say. But hey, I accidentally confided in my gym-mate that I was going to start working on those 10 - 15 pounds on September 1st. She guilted me into starting today. I don't know how that happened.

So, I got my promotional cards that I ordered in the mail yesterday. I've learned from the first time around. Instead of bookmarks and large postcards, what I found to be the most effective was little promotional cards the size of business cards. These are great to hand out on the street, at meetings, or wherever. They're also great for slipping in between book and magazines pages at bookstores, drugstores, and libraries (did I say that?!). I've already started a list of promotional activities with dates. This list consists of downtown lunch runs (selecting various locations to introduce myself and pass out cards at lunch hot spots), mall lunch runs, bookstores and other stores, free newspapers, ladies restrooms around town, and anyone I happen to cross paths with at anytime. I'm also planning on doing mailings.

As a new and unknown writer, you gotta do what you gotta do to make people aware that you and your book exist. It's a lot of work, but hey, somebody's got to do it (and that somebody is you.) ;-)


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Okay, I don't know whether to say I met yesterday's goal or not. Here's the deal. All of my chapters currently are running between 3K and 3.5K words. In yesterday's chapter, I got to an end of a scene at 3.2K words. I look at what I had remaining for that chapter and thought it would be best to create another chapter because I estimate another 3K words to write it. In the second draft, I'll go over it again and break chapters more appropriately, but they're broken up write know for easier writing purposes. So, essentially, this adds another chapter for me. Which could be more words. I don't know. I'm just going to get to the end of the first draft in seven days and see what's what.

As a new writer, I'm like a baby just discovering my fingers and toes. As I'm writing this book, I'm paying attention to the way I write, my preferred writing environment, how I write scenes, etc. I've noticed some pretty quirky things about me when it comes to writing.

Like, I can't write in total silence. Silence it "too loud" and I can't concentrate. I prefer to have background voices (TV, people) going on.

I prefer to write by outline. I've heard of authors who just start with a blank page and no outline and just go at it. Okay, I'm in awe of that. They don't know what's going to happen to whom or anything until they actually write it. Now, with an outline, things always change. Some new things/people are added, some characters turn out to be not important at all and are unceremoniously dismissed, some people's personalities changed from the ones I outlined for them. I can handle that, because I have a path. I think I'd have writer's block on page one if I tried to write from a blank slate.

The funny thing that I really noticed just yesterday is that I actually do put myself in each character to write the scene. It's almost like I'm possessed. You know, like in the movie Ghost when Patrick enters Whoopi Goldberg and takes over her body to talk to Demi (I don't remember character names)? And I feel their emotion and record what they're feeling, what they say, and what they do. But I REALLY feel their emotion. For any high intense emotion (anger, excitement,...) my body goes through the feelings: my jaws tighten, my body tenses, I'll type very fast, my heartbeat quickens. If it's a mellow emotion (sadness, sensual,...) my body becomes very relaxed, and my eyelids droop.

I was typing an argument scene last night and when I had stopped, I was breathing hard; my jaw was hurting because I was clenching my teeth together for so long, and my heart was racing. You know, it's probably best that I do write in seclusion. I could only imagine having a male friend next to me while writing and I'm in the throes of the scene and he says something to me and I just reach over and slap him because I'm feeling that emotion at the time. LOL It's just that real.

Well, that would teach him to bother me while I'm writing. Bet he wouldn't do it again. LOL


Monday, August 22, 2005

Back on track! Yesterday, I finished up the half-chapter that I skipped out on to go to the Expo. PLUS, I wrote the next chapter. So, I'm still on pace for finishing in eight more days. Let the countdown begin! And I have to admit, Jill Shalvis provided me with additional motivation. She's trying to finish her manuscript in eight days too, so she offered to race me. I'm a girl that loves challenges. :-) (Hmmm....maybe that's what I need to do. Have somebody challenge me to lose these last 10 pounds and...hmmm.....). I ended up not leaving my apartment at all yesterday so I could catch up.

I just shot my editor an email too because I'm worried about word count. I have a minimum of 65,000, which I'm going to have no problem meeting. I'm actually getting worried about going over a maximum! If there is one. At the rate I'm going, I'm going to meet the minimum with the first draft. When I revise, there's going to be more words added because right now, I'm just laying plot and dialogue. There's very little description or narrative. I don't expect it to be a saga. I think Counting Raindrops was maybe 80K - 85K and 302 printed pages. Well, I'm just glad I'm worrying about a maximum rather than trying to come up with words to meet a minimum. Before editing, I'm a very wordy writer. Not sure if I'll ever have a problem meeting a minimum.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Let the beatings commence.

I played hooky and went to the Missouri Black Expo yesterday and I only got half a chapter written for the day. The pressure was just too much! Apparently, the entire city is conspiring against me and taunting me this weekend, just because they all knew that I would be stuck inside writing. So what do they do? They bring an entire concert series for the weekend and put it on the levee, which is like right around the corner. And to rub salt in the wound, the end it off with like a twenty minute fireworks that I can't help but hear and feel because it's like an earthquake, every night.

Then there are the baseball games. First Arizona, and now the New York.

Then there's the Missouri Black Expo. I always know a few of my book friends are going to be there, book storeowners, and readers that I could promote to (salivating at the thought). The Hip Hop Summit was there as well.

Well, it all got to be too much for me. More than my guts could fathom. I left my laptop with a half written chapter, promising it that I would just take a small break and that I'd be back to finish up. Then I got on the other side of the door and thought, "Sucker!" as if I had told one of my high school teachers I was going to the bathroom, then proceeded to head out the front doors and to the streets (not to say that I've ever done this before. Okay, maybe once. But it was with friends, so I was heavily influenced and under duress.).

So I went and talked to fellow St. Louis author Brenda Hampton and one of her authors. Also saw Tia Dionne and Anthony Carr, authors from Chicago. Of course I saw and chatted with a few literary supporters in the area. Met the publisher of Who's Who in Black St. Louis (networked, of course, so that I could be included in the next edition). Then I sat in on two panels with the discussion topic "Black America Today." Omar Tyree sat on the second panel.

Although I didn't attend, one thing that really impressed me was the Hip Hop "Financial Matters" panel (not the exact name). The panel included Russell Simmons, local hip-hop artists Nelly and Chingy, and a few others. The were able to bring out 4,000 young people to discuss personal finance. They gave these kids workbooks and taught them about balancing accounts, saving, investing, their credit and FICO scores, how to buy a house, and more. They were teaching these kids what to do with their money when they obtained money. I just thought that was the greatest thing. It's great to see the hip hop artists using their power over the young people to teach them something that's going to make their lives better. And just seeing all those kids... It was such a beautiful thing.

Okay, the goal today is to finish the half of chapter from yesterday, plus another chapter. The countdown is on. I should be finished with the first draft in nine days.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

I've been tagged! Blog tagged!


Okay, this sounds like fun. And this saves you from the whining post that I was going to write this morning. The one about everything that's going on here this weekend in the downtown St. Louis area. EVERYTHING THAT I'M MISSING!!!! as I sit here and tap out the second book. Stuff like baseball, concerts on the levee, Nelly, MO Black Expo. It was going to be a doozy. So, you're spared. Until tomorrow. :-)

So, the way this tag thing works is that I list the 10 songs I've been listening to. Well, easy, and not so easy. Easy, because I load songs onto my PC and have them on continuous play all the time. Not so easy because I have in rotation about four CD, so that's about 50 or so songs. So, being the creative engineering nut case that I am, what I'm going to do is list the top 10 songs from these four CDs in rotation that make me stop, breathe in deeply, sway (because I can't dance), or just take me to a whole 'nother level. (Pretty clever idea, huh? Thought of that all by myself). Okay, so here it goes:

1. I Want You - Erykah Badu
2. Think Twice - Erykah Badu
3. The Corner - Common
4. The Food (Live) Common
5. Cross my Mind - Jill Scott
6. Family Reunion - Jill Scott
7. Bandy Bandy - Zap Mama
8. Show Me the Way - Zap Mama
9. Sweet Melody - Zap Mama
10. Danger - Erykah Badu

So there you have it!

All right, I'm about to go get a cup of coffee. You can thank Cydney Rax for getting you off the hook. But stay tuned for the bitch session tomorrow.

C ya!


Friday, August 19, 2005

Okay, I'm just about at the halfway mark on the book. It's going good. Timing is good. Still on schedule to have it finished before the end of the month, then I'll have time to go over it a couple more times to shape and tweak it.

I've got to get better at organizing my note-taking. I swear, I have about five notebooks for jotting down thoughts, ideas, one-liners, character traits, etc. But everytime I need a notebook, I don't have one handy. As a result, I have strips of paper and backs of receipts with random ramblings everywhere! And I just know I'm not going to be able to locate an idea when I need it. Case in point, when I drove to Kentucky on Tuesday. One reason I prefer driving over flying is because of the serenity of the whole thing. I can take time to meditate and think and dream up new ideas. I get some of my best ideas on the road. This past Tuesday, I got a multitude of ideas for scenes and dialogue for First Fridays. But when I make a stop for food, I notice I have not "an" notebook around. Now, I OWN several notebooks so I can keep one in my purse, one in the car, by the bed, etc., etc. But how many in my purse and car did I have then? Nada. So, I'm writing my ideas on the back of a gas receipt. Luckily, I made sure to keep it in a safe place because this is for the current story I'm working on.

Last night, I think I dreamed up a whole story (dreams are still alive and kicking). Thing is, I can't remember the main detail--like the main plot. The main plot is a pretty important part of a story. I remember getting up to jot it down, but, of course, I didn't have a notebook on the nightstand, and my legs said, "I'll be $&%!# if I get up and try to find one at this hour." So, I'm sitting here trying to figure out what it was. Seemed like it was a good story.

Of course, as I sit here blogging with not a new idea to jot, I have two of my notebooks just sitting here staring at me. Playing games. When I need them, they'll get up and go hide somewhere. Grinning and laughing at me.

I got to get more organized with my note-taking.