Friday, November 10, 2006

Okay, um…yep. I’ve heard it, but now I think I can confirm for myself. It gets more difficult the second time around. LOL Wow. Now I’m looking back at writing, publishing, and promoting the first book and thinking, “Those were the good old days.” LOL Because now, with the second book, you’re not only trying to promote for it, but also trying to write the next book or short story on top of everything you normally do. Whew! So, back to not having a life and spending every free moment on book related activities.

If there are any aspiring writers out there, I agree with all the other writers out there who constantly say that if you write, you gotta do it for the love of it, and not for the money. I wouldn’t even know how to estimate it, but I would guess that if I were to be able to calculate all the hours I put into my writing career vs. money made from it, it would HAVE TO average out to somewhere around $2/hr. And that’s a generous guesstimation. LOL But still, the truth is, as much as it’s wearing me out, I really love writing and creating stories and I find myself always anxious to finish the next writing projects to have someone read it. It’s funny how when I’m finished, I’m not thinking how much I can sell this story for, but rather my thoughts are on whether or not readers will enjoy this story as much as I do. The thought is a nervous one on whether or not I created a story that will engross the readers and whether the reader will have difficulty in putting the book down because they want to see what happens next. It’s like, yeah, I do want to be able to support my lifestyle by writing, yet, money isn’t the primary source of satisfaction in the completion of the story.

Get it? If you do, explain it to me because I don’t. LOL


Monday, October 23, 2006

When you start a new venture, EVERYTHING is exciting about it. Because you're full of enthusiasm because it's all new and fresh. Like starting a new job. That first day, that first week, or that first month, everything is all good. Until you've been through it before and you discover what you dislike about it. You discover which tasks are mundane and which ones you actually might even hate after you've gone through it a few times.

The literary world is the same. Yes, I love writing and I love publishing and promoting. When I self published Counting Raindrops, everything was new. It was fresh. It was exciting. I loved writing the book. I loved putting it together, soliciting to get bookstores and libraries to order it, promoting it, selling it, getting myself involved in literary events, traveling, etc., etc., etc. Loved it all. Even when I sold Counting to Hyperion. It was still exciting. It was new and I loved every bit of it. Same book, but re-done, so, a fresher product. And now, under a traditional publisher. So...exciting. Less stuff to do, because a publisher is involved now. But more stuff to consult on.

And now, here we come to the second book. I took time away from the literary world to enjoy life. I got out of the flow of things. I'm hopping back in and going back to what I did before. Planning publicity and promotion, consulting with the publisher and writing the third book. Only, this time it feels different. I've been down this road twice before and I'm discovering the things that I really don't care for. Can't say I hate any of it. But now, I'm finding myself wishing I could just sit back and write. Read and write. Study the craft, and write better. But a writer can't do that. Well, I can if I'm not concerned about selling a lot and having a full-time writing career.

This weekend, I got so into a book. I'm reading Quicksand by Nella Larsen and I love the narrative. I didn't want to put the book down. And when I did put the book down, I immediately wanted to start writing. But I couldn't because there were things on my list that I had to get done for the second book. It's very frustrating to have a fire burning within you, but you can't tend to it. You have to put it aside and hope that it's there burning when you get back. And it's the beginning of the week and your weekdays are long and you know you'll have only an hour or two here and there until the weekend comes again, but you have plans already for the weekend and there's not going to be much time for writing which means another week with scattered hours until the next weekend and...sigh....

Just feeling a little frustrated at the moment....


Monday, October 16, 2006

Well, I successfully got through a great two weekends of events and had a great time doing them. The Friday before The Big Read, I did a radio interview on the St. Louis NPR radio station. It wasn’t until that day that I thought and realized that it was actually my very first in-studio radio interview. I didn’t know if I was going to be nervous or not, but when I got there and did it, I found it was virtually impossible to be nervous. Because even though you have a large audience, you don’t see them. So I felt comfortable freely answering the interviewer’s questions and engaging in conversation. Okay, so that’s one part of speaking that I do like!

Then the next day was the actual event. I did a panel from 11:30am to 1:00 pm with Eric Jerome Dickey and Professor Eugene Redmond of SIUE. When we first got there, there were only people in the first three rows or so. Very light crowd. And I confess, while I wanted a large crowd for sales, seeing the small crowd made me feel comfortable in speaking. And before our panel, I mentioned to Eric how this was the part that I disliked the most and he gave me tips right there on the spot and talked to me about doing speaking engagements in general. Told me of some of his experiences and how he still gets nervous. So that was cool. And by the time I spoke after him, I was completely cool. The room filled up a lot more as the panel continued and I kept my cool! I read from First Fridays for the first time. Not surprisingly, I waited until the last minute to pick a passage to read. And this experience is different because unlike the first book, I haven’t had a reader to read First Fridays. So, I don’t know what the reaction will be. So, I read my excerpt and during my reading, people are just laughing and laughing. And I’m listening, and even Eric and Eugene are on the stage behind me laughing. And I’m thinking…. “WOW!!!! They like it!!! They REALLY like it!” LOL

But it was a really cool event and I had a really great time. I’m definitely looking forward to participating in The Big Read next year!


Monday, October 02, 2006

Well, things are moving right along. I should be able to notify you of website updates in the next couple of days. Now, I'm currently working on preparing for The Big Read on Saturday. But before then, I'm doing a radio interview Friday, October 6 from 11:25 a.m. to 12:00 noon on 90.7 KWMU, the St. Louis NPR station. Check me out! Smiley courtesy of

And here's info on my participation in the BigRead:
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
African American Writers Of Today Panel

Eric Jerome Dickey, Chasing Destiny
Eight-time New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey’s new novel is filled with intrigue, speed, and sex appeal. And an unforgettable female narrator rides her sexy yellow motorcycle right through it all. Dickey was born in Memphis and is the author of twelve novels, eight of them New York Times bestsellers. He now writes full time and is currently at work on a series of comic books for Marvel’s popular X-Men series, featuring the characters of Storm and The Black Panther. He lives in Southern California. The New York Times calls him “addictive”, While Entertainment Weekly hails him as the “king of African-American fiction.”

Cherlyn Michaels, First Fridays and Counting Raindrops Through a Stained Glass Window
A bright new talent in African-American fiction returns with her second novel, filled with smarts, sass, and sex . . .Naja’s on a nine-month countdown -- for her baby, but not the kind you’d expect. Naja’s baby is an Internet cafĂ©, the entrepreneurial dream she’s been pursuing secretly while working in a St. Louis office. When she’s laid off, Naja finds herself looking for new ways to network; at her best friend’s suggestion, she attends a First Fridays get together. To her surprise, she meets Russ, a handsome, charismatic man who offers to back her venture. Soon enough, he wants more, but Naja is reluctant to mix business with pleasure. However, resisting Russ’s charms is trickier than she imagined. Cherlyn Michaels was the 2004 Shades of Romance Magazine Best new Multicultural Author of the Year and was nominated for the African American Literary Awards Show Open Book Award for Best Self-Published Author of the Year. She lives in St. Louis.

Eugene B. Redmond, Drumvoices Review
Eugene B. Redmond, Poet Laureate of East St. Louis is currently a Professor of English and the editor of Drumvoices Review at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. His awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Pan-African Movement USA, a Pushcart Prize: Best of Small Presses, a Tribute to an Elder from the African Poetry Theater of NYC, and an American Book Award.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Well, time is getting close and we're right outside the busy window. Three months before release and that's when things really start to get hectic. And I'm so waaayyy behind on everything! Blog updates are few and far between, still haven't updated the website (working on it now) or put together the next newsletter. But things are about to get underway now. I finally came to the realization that I need to prioritize more and that I just can't do everything that I want to do right now. So, I had to make some tough decisions. I had to let go of some things that I wanted to do and that I loved to do. Sometimes you have to do that. You have to take care of business, then later, have time to take care of the other things that you're passionate about. Gotta set the priorities.

In addition to all the things that come along with promoting the next book, I have an upcoming event that I need to prepare for as well. The Big Read here in St. Louis (Clayton), MO. It's going to be Saturday, October 7th. I just found out that I'm sharing panel space with a writer I look up to, Mr. Eric Jerome Dickey (11:30 am - 1:pm). That's going to be cool. If you're going to be in the area check it out:


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Every time I think I’m back, I’m not.  LOL  No, but this time, I’m good.  For real. Free time is winding down and I got to get back to the consistency I used to have in the writing career.  I’ve been writing here and there, but long gone has been the writing 10 – 12 hours a day.  I’ve enjoyed the summer and I’ve been practicing riding my motorcycle, a Ninja 600 ZX6.  Like writing a book, it was one of my dreams and I’m fulfilling it now.  I bought it in June and have had some major issues with it.  Can you guess?  Yes, height issues.  We took 2 or 3 inches of cushion out of the seat, plus lowered the bike a couple of inches.  But I was still tipping over…like a cow.  A sleeping cow.  But now, I’m in the game and doing good. Got my stiletto boots and I’m rolling.  LOL  And for the bikers out there, no, I won’t be relying on the 5.5 inch heels forever.  I’ll have the bike lowered in the “off-season.”

So now, it’s back to business.  I’m planning to finally get that website updated, and to post to my blog more often.  I’ve had so many people to email me about my blog being informative in showing them the path that I took to publishing.  I’d love to keep you all in the loop about the process and progress of book two.  I’m working on my next newsletter where I’m giving away an advance copy of First Fridays, so if you haven’t signed up, you might want to do so now. :-)  I had a phone conference with my publishers many weeks back and I got to get back to business.  The book comes out January 2nd and believe me, now I know, that’s not a lot of time to work with.  Time to get movin’!


Sunday, June 04, 2006

*Rolling over and rubbing my eyes with my fists*
What time is it? It's spring now? Almost summer? Dang! What day is this? The 4th of JUNE???

Ok, ok, ok... See, what had happened was...a few months ago, I was about to do my routine post to my blog, right? So, then, one of my girls called. And she was like, talking, like she always do, right? That girl know she can talk the ears off the dead. Just talking and chewing and chewing and talking. So, when she asked me that, I just said, OK, thinking it was done, right. And I can get back to blogging. So, I go, right? Then, next thing I know, BAM! It's June!

LOL. I'm back and no I still don't have any sense. It's going to take a few posts to update everything. But to sum it up, I just took some time off. Had to get some stuff in my personal life sorted, organized, and filed. Lost 15 pounds. Met my goal. Yea! But you know how it goes. I made a new goal to lose 10 more. Went and filed child support against the baby daddies that I could have had or might have one day. You never know and with the way the court system works, it's best to start early. I went to motorcycle school, passed the class, got my endorsement on my license that says I am legally allowed to rule the road. So y'all better watch out! LOL I'm working on getting a bike right now. Looking for a '92-'95 GSXR600. If you happen to come across one, holla.

So, book stuff. Counting Raindrops is doing very well and the publisher is pleased. It's always a good thing for the publisher to be pleased. The second release, First Fridays, is scheduled for release on January 2, 2007. I'm joining a literary tour group and hope to be in an area near you. If I am, come check out my books! I know January is a long time away and not exactly a date that we're rushing to get to. At least those of us up north or in the Midwest. So, I'm preparing to update my website with the new cover, the first chapter, and reading guide questions. In the meantime, the cover and synopsis in on and you can even pre-order it, if you so choose. :-)

Thanks for stopping by. I'll be back soon. :-)


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

So I have my new story carved out now, but I'm still doing research on my major issue and trying to decide what angle to take. What's going to make it the most interesting? Since the issue is surrounding a married couple, I need to ask some of my married girlfriends what they think if.... How would they respond to.... What would they do if.... The thing is, I like to do this without them knowing that I'm asking for the purpose of writing a book. I've notice that when I ask questions of my married friends who think it's for a book, I get textbook or relationship retreat answers. LOL But take the same question, and ask it after talking about the frustrations of raising children and the frustrations and raising a husband, it's like they're caught off guard and the answer is totally different. Until they realize who they're talking to then they sober up and try to clean up the real response. LOL

I've had to stop awhile to try to get my reader's guide questions together for First Fridays. By the way, a lot of people have been asking and my publisher set the publication date for January, 2007. Only 11 more months to go! :-) Gives me the time to write 2 more novels and the 3 short stories I want to get done this year. So, anyway, I'm having to go back and re-read First Fridays to try to pull out deep, gripping questions. It's funny because as soon as I'm done with a story, I'm finding that I don't remember all the details. I actually have to sit down and really READ it in order to consider meaning. I know what's going to happen. But what are the underlying messages that the writer slipped in or was trying to convey? That's what I have to try to capture again. LOL It's not easy. When you're writing, you're in a moment. A different world. On a different level. Then you come back down to earth and have to figure out in your normal mind what the heck the your message was if you had one so that you can explain it to people because, believe me, they WILL ask! Lawd! Book club people had me doing flips at meetings asking me about minor details and what a character was thinking when he/she said or did this or that? They had me going back to re-read excerpts in the meeting because I didn't know and I wrote it. LOL

Well, this re-read is the first of many. My editor told me that I should expect to get the copyedits back February 17th (my birthday weekend!). I must have read Counting Raindrops 25 - 30 times, and STILL don't remember all the details! LOL

Here's a synopsis of First Fridays that I wrote recently:

When Naja Rodgers loses the dead end job she didn’t want, she accepts the invitation of a friend to attend First Fridays networking parties to find a business partner and move her entrepreneural thoughts from dream to reality. At a St. Louis First Fridays event, she finds a sultry and savvy business partner in the form of the handsome Russom King. Despite his good looks and their obvious attraction for each other, out of fear of possibly bringing bedroom drama to the boardroom, Naja vows never to mix business and personal relationships and to keep things strictly professional with Russ. Eventually, however, she falls for his charm and into his arms, and soon finds that bedroom to boardroom drama is the least of her worries. She finds that mixing business and personal relationships could cost her more than she ever imagined.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Well, I'm getting a good start. I'm finally settling into a good morning routine for book three. Right now, I'm working on shaping my story idea and doing research. I know the main story idea, but I'm considering different ideas to bring a twist to it. What's helping me with that is research and finding out what is the most common or most familiar response to the set of circumstances I'm presenting, then consider "what if's" in the opposite direction. I'll talk about the book more once I flesh out the idea. So, those of you around me, quit asking me what the book is about! I'm shaping it now. LOL

Hey, do you subscribe to Essence or pick it up? Well, there's a page called "Feel the Fire Fiction" where they have recommended books for your Valentine's Day reading. And, you guessed it, they recommend my first novel, Counting Raindrops through a Stained Glass Window! Now, how cool is that? Way cool. :-) I didn't find out until one of my friends sent me an email congratulating me for the mention in Februrary's issue of Essence (page 90 to be exact, but who's paying attention? LOL) I'm finding that a lot of mentions I find out only when someone who knows me see it, then congratulates me on it. As if I knew all along. LOL It's pretty cool though. :-)


Friday, January 13, 2006

Okay, so it's already the middle of January and I'm STILL not back on track yet. LOL But no, I'm not vacationing still. Wouldn't that be nice? :-) But doing a little life sorting and organization. Getting things lined up for myself for this new year.

Literarily, (is that a word?) I finished up a book, Soul on Bikes - The East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club and the Black Biker Set. Yeah, I'm really gearing up for this spring! LOL It was a book I bought a while ago and, like so many others, it was sitting on my shelf. Since I joined a club, I selected it to read to see what the experience was like back then. The book was quite interesting and I really enjoyed it. It even got me pumped up about doing things with my club. But even if you're not into motorycles, it was a great read because it also reflected on the times, which was from the 50's until present day.

Okay, other than that, I haven't done much literarily, except thinking. A LOT of thinking! LOL I've come up with so many story ideas that it's not even funny. But it's time to get to writing! Okay, the new goal is to start writing on Monday. January 16th. Yep. That's the NEW plan!