Friday, June 13, 2014

Join Me!

Feel free to join me on my webpage, Cherlyn Michaels. I am continuing my blog there and would love for you to come along! See you there!


Sunday, January 01, 2012


This may be the most excited I've ever been about ushering in a new year. The past two years have been somewhat of a trial for me. Not in the worst way, as I believe there are others who have faced more dire circumstances and I thank God daily for watching over me. However, a challenge to me is any change in life that gives you pause or confuses you on what to do or what direction to take. And it's a great feeling when you emerge from that place of confusion feeling lighter, feeling like you can fly.

2011 and Before

During the same time I was dealing with fibroids and the surgery, my body triggered an autoimmune reaction to gluten, only I didn't realize it until about six months ago in June 2011. Before surgery, I remembered trying to lose ten pounds through a low-carb, high protein, diet and 5-6 day a week workout program. And instead, I started gaining weight. No, not muscle....weight. I got so frustrated that I just stopped. The next time I got on the scale at the doctors office, that extra ten turned into an extra 20 with no overeating. And I kept gaining. That's when it got scary. Because I was steadily gaining weight with no understanding of how or how not to gain. Once more, the less calories I ate, the more I gained by throwing off my metabolism. It was a miserable two years.

In addition to the weight gain was all the symptoms that came along with hypothyroidism, except the abnormal lab results. My condition was like Hashimoto's, except I couldn't even get that diagnosis--although there was agreement that something was going on. With no help from Endocrinologists, I researched and connected with others with this issue and discovered the gluten connection. I went gluten free in June 2011. Since then, I've never felt better. Lost about 20 pounds so far, gained my energy back and the pain has greatly reduced. In October, I joined a running group, Black Girls Run. Went from walking to running my first 5K on Thanksgiving Day and my first 10K on December 17th. After dealing with the fibroids and the autoimmune thyroditis issue, this is the best that I've felt in a long time.

2011 also brought me the purchase of my first stand alone house. I purchased a condo when I was in Cincinnati and felt like it was my biggest regret. I didn't like the city and said I would never purchase a home again unless I was sure I loved the area. Well now, I do. And now, I'm excited about filling my new home and adding my own personal touches, even though that's a new challenge because I'm design-challenged.

2011 also took me in a new direction with writing, by combining writing and business together. I became a certified professional resume writer and I'm working on resume writing for my new business. Later, I plan to add other business and technical writing. I still will do ghostwriting and will get back to my own personal creative writing, but for now, I'm building.

2012 and Beyond

As we all ushered in 2012, I sat back and reflected on all of this and more. Always thank God for the things he has done in your life, no matter where you are or what you have. Gratitude will open the way for God to bless you even more. I feel great and I'm looking forward to God's blessings in 2012 and beyond.

Like most, I do reflect on ways I want to improve for the new year. Whether you choose to call it resolutions is up to you. I believe that throughout life, we should always look for ways to improve ourselves, no matter what month it is. So for this month, this year, these are my goals and things that I would like to focus on:

  • Get back to volunteering more, at least once a month;
  • Contribute financially to charity, because God has blessed me;
  • Be a blessing to someone else; help/encourage someone else to reach their dreams;
  • Take health and fitness to the next level; understand my body and food and solidify my fitness lifestyle;
  • Daily meditations and scripture readings;
  • Learn more and expand my business;
  • Write more; business, personal stories, blogs, etc.
  • Increase in financial stability.
Whether you call them resolutions or not, I hope that that new year allows you to sit and gather your thoughts and set your focus for the year.



Saturday, May 15, 2010


It's been a long haul but I'm coming around. Over the past several months, I have been battling a couple of health issues. Not life threatening, but definitely compromising the quality of life.

In April, I finally had surgery to remove problem-some fibroids. I had eight and the largest was 8.0 cm. I was told that was about the size of a grapefruit and was like carrying a 4-month fetus. The problems it caused at that size was sharp pains, discomfort in moving, and pressure on my intestines and bladder. Overall, I did not feel good from day-to-day. After going to see a specialist in Atlanta (Dr. Alfred Jenkins), I opted to do the da Vinci robotic laparoscopy surgery after being on Depro Lupron to reduce the fibroid size. The advantage was the size of the incisions and recovery. I believe I had the greatest surgeon for this in the world. My before and after care was superb. I feel the difference and feel so much better now. I'm so happy I had the surgery.

The other issue that I'm still dealing with is dealing with my thyroid. It appears that I have Hashimoto's disease, in which thyroid antibodies attack the thyroid and result in hypothyroid symptoms. It was hell trying to get treated for this, because most Endocrinologists do not treat Hashi. Because the thyroid panel results will show as normal even though you have treatment, doctors will not treat it until your lab work shows a problem. So basically, you have to wait until the antibodies completely destroy your thyroid and make you hypothyroid. Nope, no prevention here and meanwhile, you SUFFER all of the dreadful symptoms of fatigue, nerve and joint pain, constipation, headaches, etc.

Fortunately, I found a doctor who listened and was willing to treat the symptoms rather than lab results. She allowed me to go on Armour Thyroid and I have been feeling better ever since. My antibodies have dropped, my pain and headaches are all but gone. I still have some small muscle twitch and still can't seem to lose weight despite a healthy low calorie lifestyle and high intensity and frequent workout program. We're adjusting the medication and I have no doubt that I will be 100% soon.

Whew! You never know what life will bring you. But the best way to deal with it is to rely on your higher power for strength and guidance and belief that He will pull you through!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Integration Has Its Benefits

It seems to be a fact that most writers have, and may continue to have, a day job in order to pay the bills while they do the thing that they love most. We straddle two (or rather, multiple) worlds. A world of doing what we have to do to survive physically, so that we can do what we need to do to survive creatively or spiritually. For the most part, these two worlds can remain separate. They can be as different as night and day, and as an immiscible emulsion of oil and water. But blending these two worlds can be a benefit. Taking the tools of one world and applying it to the other can be like being ambidextrous: skillfully, and advantageously, using the skills of your day job to aid your creative side, and vice versa.

So, we're in the organizing and planning phase of the writing project. I'm noticing how I'm naturally bringing in and using the tools of my day job as an engineer to add structure to my work as a writer. And it's so helpful. I am by nature a planner. In anything, I like to think things through and formalize a viewable path so that I can see where I'm going and create a way to do it even more efficiently. To do this with the writing project, I started my a set of questions for my client. Not directly about the story, but about her. I need to understand her before I can write her story.

In the meantime, I took tools from my job as an engineer. Creating a Gantt Chart for the project helps me to see the entire schedule in time format. I can visually see what needs to be done by when, and even look for ways to cut out wasted time. Developing a time sheet of some sort, also help as well. Here, I'm logging how much I work daily and weekly, and exactly what I'm doing. In addition to helping me to work efficiently, it also shows me how much time is necessary for each component, in case I decide to do this again.

Of course, this integration can work in the opposite direction, as being a writer can be of benefit in writing business communications. Sometimes you need to be concise and direct, other times thorough, or persuasive. The ability to know what type of communication that needs to be made and to be able to deliver it is where the side passion and fuel the day job.

Call it being efficient or call it being anal. The worlds of survival and passion can actually integrate and be beneficial to both.


Thursday, September 03, 2009


You know you're in a good place when it feels like the ground beneath you feet crumble with each step you take, rain falls on your lenses and fog covers them every time you wipe it away, or when obstacles appear out of nowhere...and through all of this, you feel at peace. Ever have a day or a period of time when incident after incident happens...things that should bring you down and make you frustrated...things that takes more time than you have or cost more money that you want to spend...and somehow, you remain in good spirits? It's like, despite the dark clouds, you focus on the sunlight that peeks and pokes through, providing warm rays for you to bask in. And you do.

That's where I am today. The last couple of days, small things have happened that made me feel frustrated for a split second. It seems like it started with a blow out on my way to work, then small frustrating things at work, then my phone goes on the blink, and now, the car needs more repair work than originally thought, and this will cause a delay in my road trip for the weekend.

Normally, this would bring me down. Make me feel sad and frustrated and ruining my whole days. But no, through all of this, I feel at peace. I'm feeling an "and this too shall pass" moment. My spirits remain high and I feel relaxed. I'm feeling like these small incidences are nothing compared to trials that others have in their lives. Cars can be fixed or a new one can be purchased. Meanwhile, I have a job, plus, I can do what I love (writing). I'm living and breathing. I'm not in want of anything. I am blessed.

So, amidst the calamity all around me, I realize that it's not calamity at all, but a part of living. And my focus doesn't dwell on it, but moves beyond it to the goals I have to complete and how to get them done despite any obstacles.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Last night was the mark of a completion of a goal. I submitted my last paper for class, and thus went to bed an MBA graduate. This morning, I woke up to a new beginning and a new challenge. With school a fresh 8 hours in my past, I had already put it off to a distance. I had a fresh goal. I awoke to a writing focus and desire to plan the completion of this new goal. That's how it is with writing.

From the time I set foot on floor, my mind began to think about how to lay out the new project and what I need to know. I'm thinking about where I need to go, what I need to listen to, and what I need to experience. For this project, I need a new set of eyes. I need a new voice to convey it. Pretty much, I need to become someone else.

What does a writer do to do that? Research.

Today (well, honestly, three days ago) I began my research for my next writing project. Research is one of the most important parts of writing. It helps you to allow your story to "ring true," as they say. But it helps you to do all of the things that I mentioned above. When you research, you gain the knowledge and understand and allows you to write from another point of view. It allows you to see, feel, and understand what your character feels. Once you understand your character's world, you become your character. Research helps you to do that.

Research is also a fun part of the writing process, I think. Because, it can open another world for you. Research can be like traveling to another city, country, or another world. Takes you places you've never been before and gives you a voice you never had before. If you're not careful, you can get lost in research. At least, I can. LOL.

I love researching for writing. Or maybe I just love the fact that I'm writing again. Writing for a purpose. :-)


Sunday, August 16, 2009


I probably shouldn't admit this, but I remember sitting in my AIChE student member meeting for Chemical Engineering students, where the President was trying to get us to sign up to use this thing called the World Wide Web. It was supposed to provide us with a wealth of information and this thing was going to be H-U-G-E. Our response? Yeah, right.

Fast forward, uh, a few years later, and here I am, commencing research, searching for information on what to consider for a potential upcoming project. And, BAM! I got a collection of opinions over here, goo-gobs of thoughts over there, slivers of ramblings to the north, and oodles of articles, databases, PDF links to the south. Makes you extend your palms outward and say, "Whoa."

We all know this by now. For whatever subject, whatever topic, there's a wealth of information, good or bad, right or wrong. With all the different search engines and through varying your keyword searches, you can tailor the information you receive. For whatever position you want to take on a topic, there's information there to back you up. Too much information.

Maybe that's okay if you're just browsing and curious. But if you're using this information for a purpose, say as research work for your book or to make a decision about something at work, too much information can actually work against you, turn your argument upside down, and send your credibility into a nosedive.

The key is to filter through the information and find credible sources. Consider the author, their background, their credentials, etc. Depending on the topic, this can be a job within itself. It takes time to wade through the oceans of information available to us. However, if you value the integrity of your work and your credibility, you will make the commitment to verify information and carve out the time necessary to do so.

And "a-sifting I will go...a-sifting I will go..."


Friday, August 14, 2009


On her latest album, Beyonce talks about her new alter-ego, "Sasha Fierce" and sings about "Ego." Unbeknown to former coach and teammates, 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, Hershel Walker claimed multiple personalities, or "alters" before his 2008 book release of Breaking Free. When the time of your passing has come, how many people would be able to convey a distinct personality of you? Better yet, if people come forth with different descriptions of you, who would be right?

Stepping away from the point that everybody looks for a hook to hock their product, can something like this be true? Do we all have alter-egos? Do we harbor multiple personalities, choosing to display one or another to this person or that, and they're all true personalities? Barring intentional deceivers (being two-faced, con artists, manipulators, etc), I think this can be true.

I recently had a thought of how different people in my life view me in totally different, and sometimes conflicting ways. Mom sees me as colorful and gifted (what mother doesn't think that of her child?) while some friends see me as nerdy and a home body. Still, some friends see me as courageous, a risk taker, or a person who throws all caution to the wind. I have an ex that thought I was the sweetest and most giving person; another ex that considered me cocky and selfish. I have friends that think I have Christian ways, friends that think I toy with friendship with satan, and still other friends who think I'm Cosmic or borderline harikrishna. I have business associates who think I have a driver personality while others have thought I was passive. The question is, who is right?

I think they all are. I think there's two different ways a personality can be viewed. Internally, I think of myself as a certain way. Primarily quiet and reserved, borderline recluse who thinks a lot, yet loves thrill and loves being in control of my life and cannot live without goals and activity. And that description sounds like a contradiction within itself.

When it comes to others, I think they see a certain aspect of us. Our coworkers, managers, business partners may see a certain part of us that others do not. As well may fellow church goers, fellow volunteer workers, organizational and association members, etc. With others, you also have to factor in why they are in your life or what it is that they want from you. If you're not a follower and don't do what they want you to do; if you don't give them what they want, whether tangible or intangible, that may reflect in their interpretation of you.

Perhaps those that see many different sides of us are family members or long-time friends, especially those since childhood. They may have a more rounded perspective of who we are because they've seen us at high and low points, through good and bad, both guarded and unguarded.

Bottom line, while we may not have the dissociative disorder of multiple personalities, we can appear to be different to many different people based on their association with us or even at what point we are in our lives. We grow and change from our experiences as time goes on. If we reconnect with friends from 20 years ago, it could be an experience akin to meeting someone new for the very first time. And at our funeral, we can have several different people speaking about our personality, and have none of them seem to describe the same person.

Nothing to worry about though. Because I think the key to having others to realize your real personality at any given time is to be true to yourself first.


Sunday, August 09, 2009


Isn't it ironic? It seems to me, that creative people, the people who express themselves the most--whether visually, musically, or literally--are the ones who must be the most careful about freedom of expression of their own personal thoughts. Oh, the irony.

I just thought about this idea when I read blog post by Tess Gerritsen called "Why I Haven't Been Blogging." I can understand what she's saying. The joy and pleasure of blogging for her has been killed by responses to some of her posts in which readers disagreed. She states that she has been called names in response to her thoughts. As a result, she has tried to edit, edit, and edit her posts until she was sure that she wouldn't offend anyone. As a result, she then saw her blog as a marketing tool, which wasn't her original intention in blogging.

There are lots of people who blog about anything that they want and there are even those that blog with the intention of offending. But usually, those that do aren't trying to sell a product to as many people as they possibly can. They have less to lose than an artist or they are satisfied with a small audience of like minds. Even corporations are careful about statements from board members, or the organizations that they sponsor. All the time you see companies pulling advertising or contracts from persons who have expressed negative comments or have behaved in a way that most find unfavorable (whether they agree with the comments or behavior or not).

It seems that whatever art that you're in, you are silenced about having an opinion regarding products of that art, lest you suffer consequences of a resulting negative image and loss of sales of your own art. The price of sharing your opinion. A visual artist who criticizes the work of another may be seen as arrogant and full of themselves. A writer who reads and shares their opinion of books, especially in the genre in which they write, can become the target of personal attacks and vicious verbal attacks of their own work, while non-writers may share the same opinions. And it may be this discerning eye of that art that may have shaped them to be the well crafted artist that they may have become.

So what do we learn? If you're an artist, the best thing that you can do is be quiet. It's hard enough trying to write what you want without someone finding something offensive in it. But to give opinions of what you love or to share with others your thoughts on various topics...well, maybe you should keep that to yourself. Of course, then, you may seem to be all about marketing and promotion only.


Friday, August 07, 2009


Have you been keeping up with the Green Apple Core Series of the Book vs. the Kindle Reader? Hilarious! If not, check out rounds 1 - 7 of the fight on the Green Apple Core blog. I've been watching for the latest updates since round 3.

And I get their point. I want an e-reader, but in no way do I expect it to replace real books for me. I cannot imagine my home with 10,000 e-books on Kindle, but no books on bookshelves or in my house. I can't imagine not going to the bookstore and getting lost in it for hours. I cannot imagine my reference material solely on Kindle. So far, I think of e-readers and e-books as an enhancement, not a replacement.

I find Green Apple Core's series very entertaining.


Sunday, August 02, 2009


Ever think about the different paths you could have taken in life? The different choices you could have made that may have brought you to a different point than where you are today? Well, I'm a thinker. Sometimes crap just pops into my mind and I sit there for a few moments--or hours--in great ponderance (Yes, ponderance. I'm going to submit that word to Webster, so give it a minute to show up).

If I were to map my crossroads, it would look like a matrix, no doubt. By high school, I knew I loved writing and considered majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications in college. But as I started the process, I realized money would be a problem and I didn't know where to turn at the time. Confused and dazed about the lack of money, I didn't go to college right out of high school. So, I felt forced to choose another path. However, when I look back, I'm actually glad that I was forced to choose something different because I don't think I would have like that choice. I now think loving to write and Journalism are 2 different things. I dislike having to write for a living. I enjoying the creative process and writing what I want. I dislike being in the public eye. I'm naturally shy. And seeing the death of newspapers and the high competition of freelance writing today, I'm glad I chose a different path.

So instead, I worked at a mall pizza store and became Assistant Manager. Had I stayed on that path, maybe I could have made store Manager by now. But I chose a different path. Thank God!

I tried signing up for the Air Force. All was well until they measured me and said that I was an inch too short. Determined to go military, I turned to the Army who was more than happy to sign me up for Infantry. But on the day that I was to leave, they determined that I was a quarter of a pound overweight so I couldn't leave until I lost the quarter pound (which could have been not drinking water for a day). Just so happened that while waiting, the Air Force Recruiter called back and said "well, if the Army can take you, so can we." So he cooked up elaborate schemes for me to tell the Army to get me out so I could sign up for the Air Force, one being that I was pregnant. So I do this, lots of back and forth, interrogation before the Army board of higher ups (Colonel somebody or another) for threats, and they finally let me out. But by that time, I was so discouraged with military that I cut off the Air Force Recruiter. I kinda regret that one. I probably would have been in the Air Force today instead of, or before being, an engineer. But I chose a different path.

So, I finally decided to do whatever it took to go to school: Pell Grants, other grants, loans, and part-time work. But even in that, I changed my major 9 different times--Radiologist, Biologist, Biochemist, Chemistry...--before settling on Chemical Engineering by chance. My last Major was Biochemistry when another ChE student said, "Hey! Why are you doing that? You should look into Chemical Engineering. It's more money." And I said, "Yeah? Cool." And changed my major for the last time. Of course, half-way through the program, I figured out why they made more money as I was getting my ass kicked. Royally. But, I made it through, and here I am today.

One commonality is that I think all of these paths would have led to me writing. But I think that each path would have produced a different story. Whether I would have self-published, gotten an agent, then become traditionally published? A question I will never be able to answer as different circumstances led me to those things today. But one thing that I do believe is that there is opportunity at the end of whatever path we choose. I don't believe there's a right or wrong choice. Even when we've chosen a path that has led to negative experiences, if we turn it around, we now have a platform in which we can share our experiences with others to encourage them to choose a different path. In other words, the glass is always half full. And every cloud has a silver lining. Yeah, all of that.

Have you ever thought about the paths you could have taken and how different your life could have been today?


Wednesday, July 29, 2009


So how would you feel if the seller of your car came to pick it up with his own set of keys, because the person that sold it to him sold it illegally? He left you money in your mailbox. But just didn't tell you. You found out when you decided to make a late night White Castle run.

Not feeling that? Well what if the local bookstore just came to your house and picked two books off your bookself and left money in their place? You realized it when you saw two empty spaces on your shelf. Okay, now you want to kill somebody, right? That's apparently how a lot of readers felt who downloaded two books on their Kindle reader, only to have them erased and their money refunded. Apparently, Amazon explained later that the seller of the e-books had no rights to sell them. That's understandable. But the matter of how Amazon handled it got readers in an uproar. It was the after-the-fact approach that seemed to tick some readers off. Perhaps if Amazon had explained the situation beforehand and what they needed to do to resolve it, and what the readers options were, there would not have been an issue. But to snatch up a purchased product and not provide explanation until readers emailed questions, well, not such a good thing to do.

Now their method brings to light the "big brother" type of capability Amazon has with its Kindle reader. This may not have been thought of if this incident didn't happen. Once a reader purchases an e-book, Amazon has the power at any time to delete any book from anybody's Kindle without warning or notification. If we go far off the deep end, we can imagine scenarios of book banning, censorship, etc., etc. Do I think it's that serious? No. Amazon is very regretful after the backlash they've received from it. Especially at a time when Barnes & Noble is opening it's e-book store and Apple is coming out with a tablet with e-book reading capability. Now is not the time to anger readers. Amazon is taking steps to ensure that this will never happen again. But still, the thought of another entity being able to come into my domain and take something that I've purchased without warning or explanation leaves me with that not so fresh feeling.


Sunday, July 26, 2009


I've never been one to collect events, however, on my trip to the Barnes & Noble Cafe yesterday, I did pick up a Michael Jackson commemorative book. First of all, they were hard to avoid. I've never seen MJ on so many covers at one time. He had the covers of various mags within the racks, a special MJ section with all of them together in the magazine section, and then another rack of "In Remembrance Of" which had about 10 MJ covers and one of Farrah Fawcett.

I didn't flip through them all. I don't think anyone has that amount of time. But I flipped through a few and was actually kind of turned off. Just more sensationalism with a hard focus of the troubled and questionable side. I was about to leave when I saw that Ebony had a commeorative book. For some reason, I expected quality from Ebony on the subject matter, and I was not disappointed. Ebony's book has a collection of beautiful pictures (including the cover), words from interviews with the singer, words from's all tastefully done. I was so impressed that me, the non-buyer of commemorative items, actually picked it up and purchased it to keep in memorandum. I believe Ebony's commemorative book is the best one out there.

Kudos to Ebony.


Saturday, July 25, 2009


I'm looking at my empty living room and counting down the days when I will have the time to go sofa shopping. Well, actually, I know the sofa that I want. Found it online months ago. But I want to go see it at the store to be sure that I really do like it and I haven't had the time to do so. My main concern? Size. I want to make sure it's not to big where it will take up a lot of space. To say I love spacious rooms is probably an understatement. I like it darn near bare. The least amount of furniture and furnishings as possible.

This concept extends further for me. I actually don't like large spaces. Feel uncomfortable in big houses or apartments. Prefer studio condo or apartment living in a nice highrise with a view (non existent where I am now). I like simple color schemes. Basic white, off-white or beige with dark furniture. Totally white bathroom: shower curtain, hamper, all towels. White kitchen: plain white dishes, matching colored cups. I dislike the clutter of entertainment systems and devices and upscale toys everywhere.

I like small spaces that are free of expensive clutter with lines and bookcases of books at every turn; and, open windows with views of the sunrise or sunset and a body of water, if possible.

Not that everything needs a reason, but I do wonder why sometimes. When I bought a 2-bedroom condo, I stayed in one room all the time and ended up hating the beautiful place. Hated both the size of it and the fact that I felt tied down. And I think that maybe that's it. I like freedom of movement. Seems like I move every 2 years or less to change my environment. The more furniture I have, the more cumbersome it is to move.

So maybe, I come full circle again....maybe I'm just afraid of commitment...hmmmm...


Friday, July 24, 2009


I'm one of many readers and writers who have been saddened by today's sudden loss of E. Lynn Harris. He was a true literary legend in African American fiction. A great writer who had such a gift at telling untold stories. He will be very much missed.


Monday, July 20, 2009


Wow! Got to hurry and finish up an assignment and submit it tonight. But, I just HAD to share the post of Tayari Jones regarding the mistaken arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr.. All I can say is...WOW!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Positive Thinking

Before I knew about positive thinking, I find that I engaged in a lot of positive thinking that has gotten me to where I am today. Before I knew that there was a technique, method, or philosophy surrounding positive thinking, I found myself thinking of major things I wanted to do in my life and focused in on it until I achieved it. What I thought could be described as stubborness or a one-track mind I can see as being positive thinking. I don't remember a discussion, readings, or TV shows on the approach like you can find today. Rather, I was one of those depressed teenagers who couldn't find the joy in living. When I emerged from that phase, I was determined never to go back to that mindset again (and have been overly successful at that). From that point on, my parents, friends, or no one could hold be back from what I wanted to do in life.

Don't get me wrong, I listened to points of view. But the ultimate decision was mine. I never had the believe that if I thought about something enough, it would happen. From the start, I believed that I had to work to make things happen. I had to get degrees to qualify. I had to take classes to learn techniques of writing. I had to study to publish. And I had to put in the work. Positive thinking doesn't defy reality, but it's realizing my true situation and making whatever necessary changes for success. It's not covering up your fears, but facing and dealing them. It means realizing that you will still have challenges and unexpected obstacles that you will have to deal with...positively.

But to me, one of the main thing that positive thinking is not is thinking about what I don't want, but rather, what I actually want. It's not thinking about how I don't want to be poor or sick or homeless. But rather, it's me thinking about the level of managment I want to achieve, the number and quality of books I want to publish, and the health status I want to achieve.

And another thing positive thinking definitely is not to me, is acknowledging haters. Over the years, in day-to-day conversation and in music, I hear of people acknowledging, thanking, and pissing on "their haters." For me, that's wasted energy. To do that, you have to think about them. It would be acknowledgment of their existance and their affect on me. I believe the energy given to them would take from the positive energy I feed my endeavors. And I'd rather take that energy and use it to fuel my next goal.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

I noticed I have a morning routine before I do anything. Whether it be going to work, school work, writing, or just getting up in general. I have a list of things that I do, but not necessarily in the exact same order.

Before I start my day, I must relax and reflect. Meditate. It's hard for me to just get up and go. I have to take at least 30 minutes to lay while away, or else, "my ass is grass" for the rest of the day. This rolls right into lighting incense and meditating. Right now, I meditate in my bed. When I get around to it, I want to buy a new zebuton and zafu set to meditate on the floor, at sunrise, in front of the sliding glass door.

Then I have to have at least one cup of coffee. Two cups on Saturday and Sundays, spaced between a couple of hours. While I'm drinking coffee, I'm on the net. Twitter and Facebook are routine. I browse for inspirational quotes to post for status updates. I then look at my phone to go through emails in 3 different email accounts. One is for motorcycle related stuff, one is for author stuff, the other is for personal stuff like bill payment alerts, receipts, bank account info, etc.

Okay, from there, if I have time, I'll browse a couple of blogs and comment if I have something to say about it. I'm trying to get back into writing to my own blog. Right now, the goal is once a week. In September, I want to increase it, but no set goal yet. I also want to increase my surfing on the net. Not spend hours a day, but a quick browse. The internet is such a great and fast tool for writers to use. This thing is a godsend. Although you have to be careful, a lot of information can be gathered and shared.

Another thing that I want to add to the routine is a quick early morning workout a couple of days during the week.

So those are my must do morning routine items before I'm able to get into anything on the agenda for the day. Do you have a set routine?


Saturday, July 11, 2009

In a situation regarding trauma, one advantage a writer may have is the immediate therapy that writing can provide. While this is a tool available to anyone, the writer may feel the most comfortable with this form of therapy and may be able to get to it quickly without worry about how is done. They may be able to just pick up the pen, remove themselves, and just let emotions fill the page.

I feel that I have an advantage.

Memories from the back of my mind, in the recessed part of my brain, have slowly been coming to the forefront over the past few years. I have two major traumatic experiences from my past, and a couple of little ones that stem from one of the major one. Despite these incidences, I have managed to put them behind me and strive for success in whatever I decided to do. But as I run toward success, the past is finally catching up to me and forcing me to take notice. It's actually not a bad thing. I think it's going to be a blessing.

For the first time, I'm realizing that the two major traumas may actually be related. One may have caused the other. For years, I couldn't understand either. But now, after never speaking on either, I feel compelled to let it out in writing. I've forgiven the person who caused trauma in my past, but I haven't been able to forget, and that has led me to distance or divorce myself from a normally prominent figure in ones life.

Writing has long been used as a tool to assist people in facing traumatic experiences, past pains, or to confront hurtful matters. The Veterens Administration has used writing workshops to help veterens deal with the traumatic experience of the Vietnamese War. Putting bad experiences in words can lift them off of your spirits and provide relief for a person. It can leave a person feeling happier, healthier, and more carefree because they are "releasing the demons" that are holding their mind hostage. Writing can be therapeutic for the mind and body.

I'm feeling a pull to do this. It's a sudden realization and a sudden connection of events that may provide explanation to events that I had no clue about. It also may be the initiation of a new calling. I don't know. But when you're quiet and you're listening, and you keep hearing the same thing over and over, what you have to do is listen, be obedient, and don't worry about where the path may lead. You have to trust in the fact that your Creator has brought you to the place in which you now reside and that He will take you to the place where you are to be. Whatever it is that you were put on this earth to do.


Monday, July 06, 2009

As I'm slowly easing back into writing, I'm slowly getting a look at the big picture ahead of me. Conversations with two authors helped to bring home the point of the larger task that is ahead of me. I'm speaking of that giant monster of marketing and promotion.

This weekend, I read the blog of author-friend Peggy Love, who wrote about Social Media's Exploding Frontier. I also had a chat with author Michelle McGriff and the conversation turned to marketing and promotion and social networking. The last time I was heavy into promotion was not that long ago. I spent the years 2004 through 2008 doing heavy promotion for my self-published book, then the traditionally published version of Counting Raindrops, plus the second book, First Fridays. I LOVED doing promotion. Despite my shyness and disdain for public speaking, the actual work behind marketing and promotion is enjoyable...if you just do it and don't think about it. Meaning, take it step by step and don't let it overwhelm you by looking at the big picture and trying to do everything at once.

Yet, that's exactly what I find myself doing, even as I have not completely finished book three. So much has changed since I've stopped heavy promotion, and it hasn't really even been two years. My promotion was book clubs, book events, postcards, business cards, bookmarks, mailings, newsletters, website, and blog. These things seem to still be good promotional tools, however, now we're in the age of social media and I have to admit that I'm lost on some of it. Myspace was already going and I fell right into FB and twitter. But even these are expanding and I'm probably only using 25% of their networking capabilities. Then there are sites and terms that I hear flying around that I don't yet know the ins and outs of and I don't have time at the moment to research and investigate.

So, come September, I see the need to start over. Just like it was in marketing and promoting book one, I'm going to have to sit at the computer and do research and catch up with the latest social networking and media tools. Being an author or any type of entrepreneur, keeping up with the latest marketing tools are a must if you want to have any chance of success or survival. If we didn't know it before, we should know it now by witnessing the election of President Barack Obama and as we can still see it throughout is presidency. We've been able to connect with him and keep up and informed, and even participate on town halls through Facebook and the White House website. We've also been able to track him on Twitter and YouTube. Social Media is not an optional thing for the author, but a must in order to reach a wider audience. It's not instead of the old tools, but in addition to the older tools.

To be an author or any type of business person, one must accept being an eternal student of marketing and promoting. You can't rely on publishers to do it for you. You can't rely on old promotional tools being the end and be all to targeting and reaching a wider audience. And even with all that it is today, social media and promotional tools will no doubt continue to expand. It is a must to keep up and stay on the cusp of new changes and new tools.

Yep. Time for me to take off the graduate student hat and put back on my marketing and promotion hat...and keep it on.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

I'm starting to get excited now. Six more weeks of school and I will have all my classes completed for my Master's Degree. So much has been on hold since I started school last September. I've been taking one class at a time, but the semester long class is squeezed into six weeks. Plus I'm trying to study periodically for a quality certification and a project management certification. When I started back, I tried to balace everything: work, school, writing, working out, and me time. But after awhile, things started dropping off. First the me time. Gym went from 5 - 6 days a week to 1 -2 on the weekends. Work hours got longer after three rounds of layoffs. I'd come home from work with about an hour and a half of study time, then prep for work the next day, then sleep. Weekends are filled with writing a weekly paper or doing a weekly assignment, plus all the errands of life (groceries, laundry, cleaning, etc.).

Writing was sporadic until it fell off. I tried to keep in touch with the creative side by listening to audiobooks whenever I got into the car. Everything else with writing has fallen by the wayside. No time for blogging. Website is down; no time to maintain one or to put information together. Newsletter writing and book promotion...gone. The writing life is a very busy life. Writing is the easy part. But whether you self-publish or you're traditionally published, there's a lot of work in promotion and maintenance. It's a full-time job within itself. Something that writers know, and most others don't realize. There's a lot of time and work that goes into trying to be a successful author.

One thing that most authors need is a day job. My day job helped me to publish my first book. I'm considering the time I've spent working on my MBA as an investment in my day job to further advance my writing career. And now, six more weeks to go and I'm getting pumped because I can get back to the writing life. I'm not actually even thinking about graduation or anything. My thoughts are on finally having my time freed up to concentrate on writing again. August 17th is the last day of class. August 18th, I start reviewing the first draft of my third book. Can't wait.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Six more weeks until school is over and I can go back to focusing on writing. Yay!

I never write about stuff like pop culture, fashion, makeup, etc. because I don't find it enjoyable to read or write about. But the passing of MJ has made me look, notice, and reflect on several things. With the passing of a musical icon, I notice the immediate reflection on negativity, gossip and speculation, and disregard for the emotions and feelings of family members. How awful it must be to have your every move tracked, your emotional highs and lows immediately published along with unconfirmed speculations. There is so much positive to focus on. For most of us that grew up on Michael Jackson's music, there are probably several songs that will spark up memories of when and where we were when we first heard it. We can remember the excitement of watching his energetic an magical performances at concerts, on TV, and in videos. We can be proud of the musical barriers he broke and how he brought the entire world together musically. We can look at the ways that he made a positive contribution to the world through giving time and money to various charities. It's a shame that we cannot take a moment to give respect to the passing of life and to reflect on the positive contributions made and celebrating his life before immediately delving into negativity. We've all had troublesome parts of our lives, but yet we want to make ourselves feel better by pointing out and highlighting someone else's troubles as greater than our own. We all have battles. And our battles are between us and our Creator, and anyone else we choose to invite in. It is not for me to judge anyone, I feel.

I'm not a music buyer, but I downloaded my favorite MJ songs onto my iPod and worked them into my workout rotation. Six weeks to's time to get back in shape. Enjoy life!


Sunday, May 03, 2009

I borrowed a dvd from the library: AGAINST ALL ODDS - THE ARTISTS OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE. The interesting thing about it was some of the issues amongst black artists at that time. Of course, there was more discrimination and segregation during that time and their struggles surrounded that, as can be expected. There were argument's within the race of whether all arts should be to only show the positive side and to advance the race. This was the position of W.E.B. DuBois. On the other side was Alain Locke who felt that individual creativity was important. Questions surrounded whether to depict black life in art or whether to avoid it to make works more appealing to white audiences. The aim was to mix black arts in with other art in order to make it salable. Even when this was done, sales and recognition of black arts by non-blacks was little to non-existent.

What's interesting is that while this could be understood to exist in the '20's and '30's, these same arguments and struggles amongst black artists exist today, about 80 years later. There's still widespread debate on what the purpose of black writing should be. Should it be only positive and advance the race? To show we are intelligent? Is urban fiction a disgrace to the race? Does it bring us down? Should we not write about gangstas, pimps, hos, drugs, and violence? Why are our books segregated in an African American section in bookstores? Non-whites don't go there. Should we mix our books in with the other writers of the same genre to gain more non-black readers? Is that the problem? Is it because our books are segregated 100 feet away in a different section? If we change the location of the books, will they be purchased more?

80 years. Same internal positions. Same exterior arguments. The difference today is the rights gained through civil rights acts,and the increased avenues to publishing. Yet, our voices remain many faceted as it did in the past. Our perspectives are many. But is our perserverence and determination as strong as our predecessors? We have an additional motivation. Money. Black artists of yesterday knew they had to work. It appears that their passion drove their expression while in poverty. Notariety, showing exempilary talents, and assisting other aspiring artists seemed to be the motivations. We can learn a lot from history.

So what's going on now? I've gotten over the behind and just really need to catch up to survive syndrome to the really need to stay on top of things so I won't drown syndrome. All in all, I feel like I'm in a much better place. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for school. I'm midway through my Finance class and have 2 more classes to go after that. I should have completed my MBA program on August 17th, as of now. Yay! Hopefully the health issues won't interrupt that, however, got to take care of health first. Many women may be familiar with fibroids. Although not life threatening, it can have the potential to cause problems depending on how large and how connected to you. Well, mine has been determined to be large and removal is recommended. In the process of getting scheduled for that surgery. And I'm finding the headaches, which has extended to pain in limbs may be stemming from nerve damage from the slipped disc in my neck. So hoping I won't have to undergo surgery for that. Doing testing. We'll see.

Between work, school, and doctor visits, trying to focus on writing whenever I have a free moment, but that's slim to none. Not worried about it now because after August 17th, I can focus more on writing. In the meantime, I'm trying to stay connected by reading on structure when I can. About to order a couple of audio since I'm finding that helpful. Got to do what you can when you can.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So right after my post last month about my apparent underlying quest to be busy and innundated with chaos at all times, apparently I decide it's the perfect time to move. (Huh???) And move, like, now. And, of course it's just me and I'm in school so I have to work around all that. So I spend 2 full weeks arranging for a mover, and packing a little each night and on weekends. Move one weekend. Then unpack a little at a time and on a weekend. So that brings me up to March. Who know's what I'll decide to do this month. Your guess is as good as mine.

Anyway, I think it was a good choice. Decided to move from the spacious 2 bedroom to a 1 bedroom. Since I hadn't yet bought any furniture since living in my studio apartment in St. Louis, well, it was kind of empty. And I had too much time to come home to an empty apartment to think about what it would take to fill it up. Not necessarily buying the stuff. But the fact that I would HAVE the stuff. And if I HAVE stuff, when I move again, I'd have to move stuff. And I guarantee you, I will be moving again. It's gonna happen. Then I got to thinking that with the economy the way it is, now would be the perfect time for me to organize and get funds together for my FINAL move. Meaning, the next move will be the purchase of a permanent location. It will definitely be here in Georgia. I'm feeling that. So I decided to downsize now to prepare for that final move later.

Even before doing everything, I missed reading. Don't have time to do it at the moment. I'd always listened to audio books here and there, but I decided to do it more since I have no time for reading. Got my library card and I go faithfully every two weeks for new "reads." Couple of weeks ago, I decided to pick up a lecture series on Plato and Aristotle and now, I'm hooked on revisiting Greek literature. I haven't read or studied since high school and even then, I don't remember it being as interesting as I'm finding it now. I don't know if it's just because I'm older and have more of an appreciation for it now. Or if it's because since high school, I've become a writer and I'm now more interested in the early works of literature. In any respect, my mind feels like it's drinking. Like it's been thirsty and it finally found something satisfying enough to qwench its thirst. I can't wait to get in my car and drive to work every morning or on the weekends because I'm ready to listen to more.

I finished Plato and Aristotle and just picked up another lecture series on the Epics. Greek and Roman, and others. And I also picked up the first epic being discussed, Odyssey by Homer. Listening, somehow I feel like I'm learning something about me. It's like getting an understanding of early writers and what made them write. That's the question people ask writers all the time: Why do you write? Although writers will have an answer, if they're like me, the real answer is "I have no earthly idea at all." Honestly, it freaks me out that I can't answer that honestly when asked. It's like there has to me an understandable reason that I can convey to people and they can understand. But truthfully, how can I do that when I don't.

All I can say is that it has nothing to do with being published or making money or being famous for writing. Just like now, I don't get a chance to write much and I miss it so dearly. I still think about my story. I think about writing all the time. I think how much I'm going to write when I finish school. I don't think about publishing or making money. I don't care. Don't get me wrong, when it comes time to promote and sell, I'll do what it takes. It's just that that's not the motivation. I don't think about publishing and money. It is truly like and urge within. It feels like anxiety. And it feels personal. Nothing I want to wear on my chest to announce to the world. I want to write for my own satisfaction. And why that is, especially when there could be nothing to gain, I honestly cannot truthfully explain to anyone. Listening to these lectures feels like a path to understanding myself, because I'm understanding the ancient works of some of the earliest writers. And I feel like I'm reading in between the lines, trying to find and understand me.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

So the day after Superbowl weekend, I'm IMing with a friend, and once again, complaining how I don't have time to do everything I want to do. How there just isn't enough time and I can't relax and enjoy myself, even when I schedule the "me time" in. You know, my usual complaint of the last five years or so. Well, then she replies back, "I think you like being busy." She pretty much says that if I had free time, that I would fill it up with something anyway.

When she said this, my thoughts actually stopped for a minute. A wrinkle (well, several wrinkles) set in on my forehead. Because it rang true. I've cut down my schedule before so that I could focus on my priorities. I've gotten to that space where if I can't do it, I have no problem telling others no. I've gotten to that place where I do only what I want to do. Now, whether that's an epiphany or just plain ol' old age I'm not quite sure. Point is, I've gotten there. But I seem to have removed those things and filled my time up with something else.

So, she goes on to tell me to make a list (don't you just hate the whole make a list and jot down everything you do and go down the list and blah, blah, blah thing) and go through each one and take off the things that don't add value to my life. Take out the things that I'm not getting anything out of. So, I do this. Not in the physical sense but I give it my best mental rendition. As I'm going down the list, I'm finding a way in which everything on my list adds value to me. Now I'm questioning, does it really add value or is that the little lying engineer in me who can make anything to be whatever I want it to be. Engineers are experts at that.

I'm still looking for the answer to this question. Bottom line, I think she's right, as I do think I would literally keel over if I had nothing to do or very little to do. As a matter of fact, I can't even see that happening. I got a waiting list of things that I want to do as soon as my schedule frees up. I want to die with a waiting list of thing to do that are yet to be fulfilled. Because it's like if I run out of goals, I run out of reasons to go on. I'm a goals oriented person and I need tasks to live. That's who I am. I want to relax but too much relaxation is the path to insanity for me.

The other sad reality is that I don't know exactly how to remedy my issue. I'm a hopeless case. *sigh*


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Second day back at work. I'm struggling trying to find a routine to balance work, school, writing, working out, AND SLEEP. I have to fit these in and be able to get 7 to 8 hours sleep, else I'm no good. I hear people all the time talking about how they can get by with only 4 or 5 hours of sleep each day. Okay, I do not find this admirable at all. LOL And that's not something that I'm striving to do. I want to balance my priorities, and still give my body (and muscles) the proper time to get well rested so I can be as fully alert as possible.

Today I'm going to try 10 - 15 minutes of strength training this mnorning, schoolwork (complete a discussion question and a response) and writing (minimum 1000 words) after work. Debating on whether I can do 40 minutes of cardio this evening.

I'm determined to find the proper balance to complete my goals in each area of my life this year.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Well, it's that time of the year. Time where we review the current year and decide where we failed or what was lacking and determine what changes we will make for the new year. I've never been big on resolutions, but I do like determining what I will focus on and specific actions to modify. Okay am I word playing here? Is that really the same thing as resolutions? LOL Well, not calling them resolutions makes me feel better, but here are things I'm going to focus on:

1. I've already decided and made changes to prioritize better. I've discovered that I'm a natural busy body. I have a problem with over-committing myself. Life just isn't right if I have an ample amount of down time. Could be good, except that I believe I mix true priorities. So my top priorities in 2009 are:

a. Health - Striving more earnestly to eat healthier and exercise. Sure, I want to lose 20 lbs still, but I'm getting older and need to be sure I'm healthy. I've already scheduled a January appointment at the doctor for complete physical. Need to get another mammogram done and in 2009, I know I will have fibroid surgery to remove the softball sized fibroid I have. Hoping to put that off until I finish school in August. Periodically, I wake up with mild to severe headaches. Most of the time, they go away 30 minutes after waking. Sometimes I have to take a pain reliever. It happens too many times and I know it's not normal. I need to get to a doctor.;

b. Writing - I need to actually schedule time, just like I schedule everything else. Whether it's daily for a minimum of 30 minutes or 10 hours on the weekends. I need to carve out something where I can settle into the story and not feel rushed. I'm going to write out a plan.

c. Meditation - I plan to focus on being more consistent in my meditation. Clearing my mind and focusing on my thoughts has been beneficial. It has helped me to get in touch with me, to understand myself better, to understand my purpose and my blessings, to focus on the things I want to improve, to change my thoughts and to think positively and more. Some days I can wake up focused on just getting started that I skip meditation. I can always feel the difference.

d. School - Want to focus on school and continue to get good grades and complete my MBA program by the end of August. The good thing is that this is for a set period of time and will be something that falls off the list;

e. Volunteering - This is one of the things I miss. Even though I know I don't have a lot of time, I think it's important to give back and contribute something to my community. I'm looking into something where I can dedicate a few hours of my time a month. Right now, I just want something administrative. When I have more time, I would like to commit to tutoring in either reading or math. I don't want to sign up for tutoring now when I have so many things on my plate and may end up breaking that commitment. But I want to contribute something.

And to focus more intensely on these things, I've already made a little room for them. I've decided to put the article writing on hold and I've gone inactive in my bike club (until I finish school and have the surgery behind me).

So 2009, I'm ready for ya! ;-)


Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm feeling good about the ending of this year. It's been a chaotic one for me, but chaotic good. Like the past four years, I spent the first few months of this year toggling between on and off employment contract assignments. Trying to get on somewhere permanent in my hometown of St. Louis. But frustration set in after the last assignment ended and I decided to open myself up to relocation to selective areas. Within six weeks of doing so, I was packing up to move to Georgia.

Writing-wise, nothing got accomplished through all of this. Through job hunting and interviews, I had been able to write a page or two here and there. All which more than likely was either done away with later or severely modified. It was difficult to get into the space of the story. By the time I got there, it was time to get and do something critical.

Then, I decided to take advantage of work benefits and go back to school and finish my MBA degree. The plan was to completely finish the book first, but no, didn't happen. So then, I was in a place of trying to finish the book while working and going to school. It's moving slowly. Yes, draft one was completed, but the story is currently only plot and dialogue and even with that, is so disjointed, it's still a no-go. So the second draft is going slowly. And I'm feeling that I will need a third draft on this one as well because of the major things I'm fixing and adding in the second draft. But because I've finally come to grips with the fact that I needed to let some additional writing projects fall to the side like guest blogging and article writing.

But all in all, I feel good about going into 2009. That's because of the way I've been blessed to end this year. I'm fortunate in that my job closes the plant between December 19 and January 5th. The original plan in this was to do nothing but write for two weeks straight. But then, I looked at all the stuff around me that added chaos to my life and decided that now was the time to organize. I'm so glad I did. It took a good week to unpack, shelve books, go through stacks and stacks of papers and sort and either trash or store. Still got a few wall hanging to put up but other than that, I feel relieved. I don't feel as anxious. I feel relaxed. Because chaos is not staring me in the face everytime I walk through my front door.

So I'm back to writing now and I'm able to get into my writing space and write without rushing. Even when school and work starts back up January 5th, I feel writing time will be better. It will still be short, but better because I will have quality writing time. I will be able to sit in peace and not have all this stuff hanging over my head, trying to figure out when I'm going to get it done. As much as I tried to block it out before, it interfered with my thoughts.

Hopefully, this will be the longest amount of time its taken me to write one book. But who knows, maybe not. But I'm no longer worried about how long it's taking me. I feel comfortable in knowing that it's within me. That I'm continuing to write while I advance myself and grow. That I continue to indulge in books, the craft of writing, and the literary industry.

Writing is now my life. No matter what else is going on, I know that writing is something that I will always do, no matter what. It's not really a choice. It's something I just have to do....or else I'll die.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Been off since December 19th and I've gotten so much accomplished thus far. Well, first of all, I had about six or seven boxes of books and "stuff" sitting in the livingroom that I'd been wanting to unpack for the longest. Every time I walked through the front door, there they were, staring at me, looking hideous and begging to be unpacked. Since April they've been doing that. But I never had the time. Was I going to sacrifice needed chores, school work, or writing when I was able to get some good quality writing time in? None of the above. So, the first week of my vacation I spent doing all the stuff that I never had time to do. Unpacked and put my books on shelves, sorted through and trashed or filed needed papers... Everything's clean now and it's such a relief.

Now, I'm spending these last few days to focus on re-writes of book three. It feels good to have the time to really get into the mood and feel of the story instead of snatches of time here and there and trying to just add a piece just to make progress. I've had time to go to favorite writing spots and take my time to get into the characters. Vacation has been great!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Whoa! Since August, huh?

Well, the good news is, I finished the first draft. The bad news is...that thing is a mess! It's disjointed, it doesn't flow, and in some places, just plain doesn't jive. I'm thinking now that it just doesn't pay to try to rush something just to get it done. Yes, I had the story all outlined and I was doing only plot and dialogue, so there was going to be a second draft anyway. But I blew through it so fast that it's bound to almost be like writing from scratch just to correct it.

I have issues with characters and their backgrounds and storylines. As with any story and outline (at least in my case), it can change as you get into the story. That's fine, but I kept changing things as a result of the story, but saying I would rectify the character later. Well, I did this a lot. So's a mess.

So, I started school. I'm back in grad school finishing up my MBA degree. If I stay on course, I'll be done at the end of August. With the first class, I had to get used to the scheduling. I swear I was doing 20 - 25 hours of school work EVERY week. We had a paper due every single weekend and team project due of a couple of them. I'm in my second class now and I have a better feel for things, so now I'm working my writing back into the schedule. It's going to go a lot slower now, but it looks like that might be best.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

I've been away this time because I'm busy writing. The end is almost near. :-) I'm trying to have it finished at to my agent by the end of this month. Might be away until then.



Thursday, July 31, 2008

Yesterday was my blog day on Blogging In Black. Check out my post, "Writers, Get Your Hate Up."

I'm off to Chicago. See you all Tuesday!!! :-)


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Yesterday, I went to Barnes and Noble with the intention to write. I often take my laptop there, pick up a book or magazine, read a little, then write. I skimmed the latest issue of Poets & Writers and the July issue of The Writer. I got a lot of useful information out of it, so I decided to buy the August issue. I used to be an avid reader of Writer's Digest and I've gotten away from it. I think these magazines have brief perspectives on the elements of writing that spark inspiration and drive in writing. I immediately came home and went through my outline to ensure that I had conflict in every chapter. That was one of the articles. It talks about keeping the reader interested in your story once they've gotten beyond your great beginning. The way to do that is to ensure that there's conflict in every chapter. Now, actually, I understood this before. When I do my plot outline, I write it by the major action of each character in that chapter. However, I wasn't specifically focused on the level of conflict in that chapter. I think this focus will help me to improve the story. also had an article on, basically, writer procrastination. But hey, I did go home and get my writing in. :-)

I think it's time to subcribe to writing magazines since Zinio doesn't offer a digital version. :-( I have a couple of subscriptions there and it's great! You can read your magazines online or download them yourself. I like it because I can keep my magazines on file instead of trying to keep a physical copy around when I want to save an article, which usually adds up to clutter. So, guess I will have to have actually magazines delivered. How old school is that?!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Made it through another week and another two chapters. I've finally found my writing rhythm in Georgia. :-) During the week, I get up and write a little before work, but I'm finding that a bulk of my writing is on the weekends. I'm inching along on the novel, but moving nonetheless. Moreso that I've had the time to do over the last couple of years.

I'm also reading while I go. Reading books on writing. What I'm reading now is Hooked, by Les Edgerton. I'm at the beginning, reading a few pages before I write or at night before I go to bed. It's very interesting to me so far. Les talks about the change in story structure over time and I'm finding it quite true. It correlates to what I've learned in writing courses as well as being a published author. He's talking about stories staring with an inciting incident, then following through with the protagonist trying to reach resolution. Backstory and narrative being primarily throughout the story, rather than the big set up at the beginning of the story and with each scene.

Before I even picked up this book, this is what I was striving to do with my current novel. I got a lot of feedback on the descriptions in my first two novel. Yet, I also got feedback because it was "slow to start." At the time, I honestly couldn't understand it, because I felt I needed it to get readers to understand the characters and their motives. NOW, I see where I can jump right into the story, and insert background in small spurts as I go.

I'm getting to see how fun it is to try to improve and change with each book you write. It's like each one is a stepping stone and an evaluation tool for the next one in determining how to make your writing better.

I'm looking forward to another writing weekend and to completing more chapters!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm like having the most relaxing morning ever! I don't think I've had a morning since I've been here where I'm not getting up, ripping and running all day, doing this and that, then trying to squeeze in some writing. So this weekend, it's reversed. I'm having my coffee and 8:30AM. I'm sitting here calmly drinking it, reading blogs, and blogging myself.

Then I'm going to go to the gym. Get my workout on for about an hour and a half. Lost 5 pounds in the last 10 days. Now I'm focusing on the next mini-goal of 3 pounds by next week.

Then, it's writing ALL DAY!!!! Nothing else pressing on the agenda. Now, if I can, I will squeeze in finally shelving my books and removing all the packaging from moving that I have stored in the dining room. But that's not pressing. :-)

It's going to be a wonderful weekend. Hope yours is the same!


Friday, July 18, 2008

I just realized something. I'm an addict. A political addict. A political junkie. I recently posted to a fellow author's blog about dating at work and her writing referenced Rocsi and Terrance at BET and the drama behind her not being on the show anymore. Another author posted about a newly married "Hollywood" couple. I knew who the bride was, but not the groom. Still wondering if he's supposed to be famous or a behind the scenes type of person. Well, I was out of the loop. That's where I find myself quite often when reading blogs about entertainment people and industry.

And I had to sit back and think about it. The reason that I'm out of the loop is because when I get home, I immediately turn the TV on to MSNBC to watch all the political shows. I have to have the TV on while I sleep, and I leave it on MSNBC. If you're a fan of MSNBC, you know that overnight and through the wee hours of the morning, they just repeat the shows. Well...I watch/listen to the repeats. I mean, as if I'm seeing them for the first time. Now, from time to time, I feel that the repeats are too much, so I WILL change the CNN. Or even Headline News when CNN is running a non-political story.

And I thought about it. This is not new to me, at least in this election season. I did the same thing during the Bush-Gore election season. I watched all the political shows on them day and night. I can actually remember being up in my bedroom with Tom Brokaw, watching the all night count of the popular votes, the Florida votes, to determine the election of the next President. And that election extended my addiction for a few additional months, due to coverage of the Florida vote. But after this election is over, no matter who wins, I know to be prepared for withdrawals, like right after the Bush-Gore coverage was over. I just didn't know what to do with myself. There was a certain emptiness that existed. A void that watching just regular local or national news couldn't fill. So, I got to prepare myself for the big let down come February 2009, after the presidential inauguration.

What's most baffling is the reason for my addiction. Because you're usually addicted to things that make you feel good. But often times, while watching these political shows, I'm either angered or disgusted. Yes, more informed and more aware, but more irritated as well. I get irritated when either side blows up a blunder of the other side. Especially blunders in words. I get angered by mischaracterizations and harping on them. I get angered by the constant talk of issues that are not the top issues of most Americans. I get angered by catch phrases and labels that are developed, repeated constantly by the media, and weaved into the minds of average Americans.

It's funny to me when regular people are interviewed, asked a question about a candidate, and they can basically only regurgitate what they heard about them on TV. In the rare instance that the reporter and show is unbiased and ask the individual for examples of what they speak of, they rarely can provide one, unless an example has been reported over and over by the media. I listen to it all and like to think that I'm not falling for the ridiculous. I like to think that I recognize when things are blown out of proportion, when points are exaggerated, when I'm being bullshitted and being sold a dream just to get elected, and when there's an attempt to brainwash me. It baffles me how some of the other intelligent people who are interviewed on TV don't seem to see this.

I'm a nutcase. LOL


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Okay, here's a picture of me posing with one of my bike club members with my new hair style. Ahhhhh! No more braids. What do you think?

It's been funny. Since I've moved here, a lot of my friends and family are saying, "So you move to Atlanta and now you're spicing things up a bit." LOL I guess that has been true, but not because I moved near Atlanta. I felt so good with the move and change in life and the first thing I vowed was to get healthy. Exercising and going to the gym has never been an issue for me as far as forcing myself to go. I love working out. Music keeps me going. But consistency is usually the issue. Things come up and throw me off my routine. So, I've committed to becoming consistent. I've also commited to eating healthier and actually preparing my own food from time to time so I can control salt content. And I now drink about 10 glasses of water a day, which I noticed actually helps with the hair and skin. I was having skin issues when I got here and a trip to the dermatologist helped me to smooth out the skin on various parts of my body.

Well, you can't have great skin without improving the teeth. I've scheduled a dental appointment to schedule routine check ups and cleanings, and in the meantime, used whiting strips until I can get them whitened at the dentist.

Okay, with great skin, whiter teeth, and with feeling better from eating, water, and working out, a girl just HAS to get individual eyelashes, right? But of course. And you just can't get indivudual lashes without trimming up the eyebrows. That wouldn't be right! And with that focus in the facial area, you have to get new earrings. Yeah...that's earrings. A NEED!

Getting the nails and toes done in french manicure was a must even before moving to Georgia. But with all of this, I just had to change up the hairstyle, right? I mean seriously, what other choice did I have?

And now, I'm back on the serious mission, as always, of getting to my ideal weight. Started last week and lost 3.5 pounds. Now, if I can just be consistent so I can stop losing the same 10 pounds over and over and over! LOL

All of this has been fun. Next....A NEW WARDROBE!!!!!


Monday, June 30, 2008


And now.....drumroll please....IT IS FINISHED!!!!

Uh, no! Not book #3. I wish! But my hair! LOL Well, after ten long years of wearing microbraids, I've finally laid them to rest for good. I took out the braids for the last time last Wednesday (and Thursday, and Friday), and got myself one of them cute li'l ol' hair styles with long sleek black hair and wispy bangs. :-) I was hoping to be able to put up a pic, but as usual, I haven't had time. :-( But I'll get one up soon as possible.

I've been slowly going through small changes since I relocated. I'm feeling real good. So maybe it's like I'm feeling good and looking to do things to treat myself. Yeah, that's it. LOL But I'm not going to lie. For some reason, changing hair styles can wreck your mind. Because you see a style, but you don't know if it's going to look on you. But lucky for me, I seemed to have made a good choice. Good thing I decided against the beach blonde highlights and the burgundy rinse. So let me tell you, a sistah is feeling good right about now.

Now off to sleep so I can wake up a write another chapter before work. :-)


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Let the countdown begin....two days til D-DAY!!!!

It's 5AM and I just finished up another chapter! I don't know how many times I've started over on this book. Not having a hard time with it at all. But everytime I'm away from it for a prolonged period of time, I find it's best to start over from the beginning so I can get into the flow of it. And each and everytime, I come up with what I think is a better idea. So I end up going back and making changes to my outline, cutting old chapters and building new ones. One the one hand, I feel like I'm constantly building a better story. On the other hand, I'm so ready to have uninterrupted time so I can get out of this beginning phase and get through the story! LOL

And now, I just added another factor. I'm just a glutton for punishment! LOL So, now that I'm settled in Georgia, I've decided last week to go back and finish up my MBA. I started it years ago, before I wrote my first book. I got a year into my program, then set it aside to chase after my dream of writing and publishing my first book. Now that it's accomplished, I want to finish up book three, then go back and take a year to finish up my MBA program. And the goal is to start this the beginning of August! :-)

Ahhhh! Pressure. You gotta love it! :-)


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Relocation is rough! Sucks all the life right out of ya. The first two weeks I was here, I was basically trying to get to know the area. A small area, it is, unfamiliar nonetheless. Then apartment hunting after work and weekends. Finding new doctors and going for the initial visits (of course, they send you out to other facilities for testing for this and that...still gotta reschedule that mammogram...oh, joy). Then, there's the wonderful experience of the DMV for driver's license and car registration. I got it down to about five trips between the DMV and state office to get them. It seemsed like a constant running around for about three months.

But of all the tasks that have sucked up my late afternoons and weekends, I'm undergoing the toughest task of all. Looking for a hair stylist! OH MY!!!! Oh geez! Let me tell you. It's been tough to find new services the way I like them. I've had individual lashes put in with so much glue that you could only see the tips and it peeled off the next day like a rubber strip. I had my naturally thin eyebrows trimmed to pencil thin lines when I specifically stated that I only wanted the tails shaped. Sigh. And now, I've been wearing braids for about eight years and ready for a change. What better time to do it than relocating and starting life anew? :-) But, I think I found a stylist. You'll know that I did if I post pics. LOL

So how much reading did I do? Uh, maybe a chapter in past three months. :-( Writing? Well, although not much, I did fare better than reading. I manage to submit and article to Urbanburnout in May that is in cue for posting. And I just submitted two articles to The Black Biker Magazine for the summer issue, which should be out mid-August, I'm told. And for the book, very little. But now, I've returned back to my writing schedule of Counting Raindrops and getting up at 3:30-ish, 4:00 AM to work on the book. And that's my cue to hop to it! :-)


Monday, June 16, 2008

It's been a long time coming, but I'm finally settled! :-) The last few months have been hectic. Relocation is a mutha! LOL Anyway, so after living in a hotel for two months, going back to St. Louis to move my things to storage somewhere in the midwest, finding an apartment in Macon, moving my things from storage, unpacking and organizing, I'm finally settled!

As you can imagine, writing has been scattered during this time period, but I have been writing here and there. Got articles finished and submitted for publication, and back to working on book three. I know I'm early in my writing career, but this is the longest I've ever spent on writing a book. And not from lack of inspiration, but from absolute chaos and lack of premium writing time. For me, once the flow is interrupted, I have to get back into it by reviewing the entire story to get back into it again. And it seems like I've spent a lot of time in this phase because of all the interruptions. HOWEVER, it can only get better from here. I have permanency and can now allot time to writing and actually commit to a writing schedule. That feels good!

Lots to catch up on, but gotta go for now. Ta ta! :-)