Sunday, March 23, 2014

Get RADICAL Conference Experience -- Part 3, The Finale

All good things must come to an end. And the Get RADICAL Conference not only wrapped up today, but it also was the last time that this conference would be offered after six years.

And I was ready to go home. Had nothing to do with the fatigue or tiredness of the conference, which I didn't experience. Instead, it was the urge to get to work. I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want to meditate over it. I knew what needed to be done. Some of my motivation was advice taken from the various workshop facilitators. Some of it was my own analysis because I had the chance to have a "retreat" of my own this weekend.

As things wound down, a farewell treat was listening to the women who were nominated for awards. Of course, to be nominated you had to do great things as a business owner and for the community. As each person rose to speak on what they'd accomplished, one couldn't help but be impressed.

They spoke about their businesses with passion, confidence, and focus. In some cases, they took blind risks, but with the utmost faith that they were doing the right thing. No one was an overnight success: hard work, sacrifices, and being unafraid to fail set them on their path.

It was the perfect send off to return to my life, get out of my way, and open the door to my success.

It's time to Roar!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Get RADICAL Conference Experience -- Part 2

So we're onto day two of the Get RADICAL Conference. And I've learned that I'm not shitty. Any small business owner knows that it's hard as heck working that business 24/7. Add being a writer as the career and the crazy, unpredictable life could take you to the mental/physical edge. I'm not perfect, but I'm not all bad either.

One of things that I don't do anymore with conferences is to fill up my schedule every hour for the entire day. From my days of attending romance writing conferences, I would be at a workshop from the start time for the day until the last hour. By the time I got home, I had a notebook filled with information. Sometimes that information conflicted because two presenters had varying opinions on approach. Altogether, I'd be one confused and overwhelmed mess.

For this conference, I knew what would be my focus--business development. I stuck to that priority and selectively opted for workshops that could give me immediate assistance. Not something to develop or try over the next six months. But what could I put to use at this very minute.

There were two breakout sessions and an end of day wrap up that interested me. There will be an evening Q&A session that I will also pop into, but for the most part, what I needed was already offered today. Unfortunately I missed one of those sessions because I double booked. And although I didn't make it, what I got from the webinar meeting on self-publishing that I attended was massively helpful and went in tandem with what I was getting at the conference. So, I'm not that sad.

From today, I can boldly state:

I know what I want to do.

I have expertise in the area.

I have done the research.

I am doing the marketing.

I am enjoying the sales.

Now each statement is true with various levels of success, per my definition. Today, from the advice that I received, it reaffirmed that I am on the right track. That tweaks in my process are necessary. I'm sure those tweaks might come with real headbanging mindset changes, but still, they are tweaks. I don't foresee having to toss out the baby with the bathwater. I do look forward to putting some serious focus and game changing moves to my business.

And with the self-publish webinar that I attended and had caused the double-booking, that was sheer wow. I could see simple things that I had done wrong, but can easily fix. Almost two hours of information sharing helped set my mind at ease that this career, this life, can be successful, per my definition.

So with confidence, I say that...I'm not shitty.

Get RADICAL Conference Experience -- Part 1


Attending Doreen Rainey's Get RADICAL women's conference in Reston, Virginia. Special guests include Laila Ali, Lori Greiner, Jean Chatzky, Teneshia Jackson Warner. This year's theme is The Heart of A Champion.

The agenda covers personal and business development, along with attaining financial independence and empowerment. In other words, a taste of all the tools needed to make the bold dreams, take the necessary courageous action and get those radical results.

And it sounded like the perfect boost I needed for all the things I want to accomplish in 2014 and beyond.

Yet, the minute I paid for the conference, I wondered if this was for me. I've been to similar empowerment conferences. Get fired up. Go home on the high. And by the next week, can't remember a thing, the buzz has fizzled, back to the same-ole-same-ole thing.

By the day before the conference arrived, I wondered if I should just not go. Who would care? But I had paid. It was practically in my backyard...didn't have to fly. However, I had to remind myself that there was a reason why this appealed to me in the first place. It wasn't something that suddenly popped into my head to do. I do believe that people a.k.a. guides and opportunities are placed in your path for a reason. So, why not just go.

Off I went to the conference flying solo. I didn't have any buddies who went with me. I wasn't going to join up with recently discovered friends, etc. But that doesn't really bother me. I'm not timid with being among strangers. By the time, I attended a workshop, I found myself mentally sitting in as a spectator. Really, I knew that I was watching outside of any emotional investment or engagement. Ladies in attendance were excited. They were writing notes. Nodding. Cheering on. Agreeing. And I did cheer along, clap, listen, but felt nothing more than that. I chalked it up to being tired.

Late in the evening, Doreen invited folks to her suite for an intimate Q&A. I went with no real expectation of anything. I think that I just wanted to let her know that I came to the conference. That she'd done a fantastic job, etc. And as I plan to hire her as my coach, I wanted to let her know that I was serious by attending.

By the end of a long night, I finally raised my hand. I wasn't even sure what I wanted to ask. But out of the blue, I shared that I wasn't engaged. The room was quiet. I was thinking...now, why would you say that. You could have stayed silent. As I continued to explain what I meant and what I was feeling, Doreen understood. This wasn't a criticism of the conference.

Doreen was able to diagnose through tough questions that I'm at a place where I'm sitting on the fence, not wanting to feel vulnerable, so that if one more thing doesn't work, I can feel comforted that I wasn't fully in it, anyway. Her big question which I couldn't answer was what would it feel like to be engaged. As I struggled to answer, I knew that it wasn't a physical thing that had to be done to show engagement. Because I am attending the workshops, listening, cheering, etc. But the internal buy-in is what has to be turned on. She suspected that this wall to protect myself is up for more than this conference. Now is that the A-Ha moment that she's talking about a lot in the conference? And while we will attempt to bring this wall down for this event, I'm not altogether dissatisfied with it being in some parts of my life. This will definitely be a work in progress.

So far, it's been quite and illuminating evening. More to come this weekend.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Writing Process -- Farrah Rochon


(While Farrah is jetsetting in Turkey) Please help me welcome RITA nominee Farrah Rochon who is stopping by to talk about her writing process that leads to those fabulous books.


Hello to all of you out there and thanks to fellow author and friend, Michelle Monkou, for inviting me to talk about my writing process. I love hearing about how other authors go about their writing, and am happy to share my own crazy process.

1)        What am I working on?
It seems as if I’ve been on a perpetual deadline for the last couple of years. Currently I’m working on a continuity series with two fellow Kimani Romance writers, A.C. Arthur and Phyllis Bourne. It’s about three long time girlfriends--a florist, dress designer, and event planner—who call themselves “The Silk Sisters” and run their businesses from a lovely three-story Victorian in a small, fictional, coastal New England town called Wintersage.

I’m also toying with ideas for the next story in my “Moments in Maplesville” novella series, which I plan to publish this summer.

2)        How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I often joke that I’m horrible at writing category romances, because I try to put way too much into those 55,000 word stories. My work tends to touch on deep subjects that don’t seem typical of category romance, but for some reason it works. Take for instance YOURS FOREVER, my March 2014 release from Harlequin Kimani, and the third title in my Bayou Dreams series. The heroine is a history professor conducting research on her late ancestor; a woman whom she believes started the first school for African American slave children in the country. Despite the contemporary setting, the story relies heavily on history. It has a lush, rich feel to it.

3)        Why do I write what I do?

That’s a simple one: I love it. Writing is much too taxing on my brain to write something that I do not absolutely love. I tried that once. When I first started writing, back as a college undergrad, I wrote a suspense thriller, which is what I considered “popular” at the time. I still think that story was pretty good, but it wasn’t until I wrote my first romance that I realized how much more fun writing could be.

4)        How does your writing process work?

I’m a former “pantser” who has moved to the other end of the spectrum in a huge way. I now have a very detailed plotting and outlining process that I go through before I ever type a single word. It starts with a blank notepad (yes, each story gets its very own notepad), and ends with about a half-dozen poster boards covered in colorful Post-it notes. I consider this my “skeleton” stage, where I’m creating the backbone of my story. Writing the first draft is “adding the flesh” and I “dress it up and make it pretty” during those final rewrites and revisions.

For your further enjoyment about my writing process, check out the video:

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THANK YOU, Farrah! Hope many of you learned a thing or two or more about Farrah. If you're an aspiring writer, she's a great role model in the business. 

Farrah's website: http://farrahrochon.com. Twitter: http://twitter.com/farrahrochon; Facebook: http://facebook.com/farrahrochon

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Writing Process Blog Tour

Welcome to a blog tour where writers and authors answer questions about their writing process. My gal pal and talented author, Evie Owens, posted hers last week, where she gives you the insider information on her process and upcoming YA project--Witch Boy -- and she tagged me to join the tour. Thanks, Evie! 




Purchasing the book is easy as pie. You can purchase directly from Evernight Publishing (right now there is a discount), or Kindle or Nook (they are little slow on the link, so I'll update as soon as available), All Romance EBooks.

What am I working on?
I'm working on several projects ALL the time. Stories pop up like dandelions in this brain of mine. With the recent release of my first urban fantasy Into The Pride, I'm working on the next book. At this very minute, I'm also working on my next book for Harlequin Kimani Romance, titled One To Love. It's book #2 in the Meadows Family. I will also be re-issuing several backlist titles in March: Making Promises, Island Rendezvous, Somebody To Love. I will soon be working on the sequel to my Revelers series, Carnival-based novella. This time the story is set in Brazil. Last year, I published the first, titled Carnival Temptress.




One of A Kind (Feb release)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
With any author, the difference lies in her style and voice. You can put three authors in a room to write Cinderella's story and three varied outcomes will result. Guaranteed that you will get three versions with certain elements heightened, different tones, and voices.

I write contemporary--long and short, urban fantasy, young adult and new adult. Pretty soon, I will add historical to my portfolio. All with various ranges of my writing chops.


Making Promises (reissue) will hit Kindle and Nook in March.

Why do I write what I do?
Because I can. I have been telling stories from childhood when I turned them in for my Writing assignments. Many moons later, the desire is still there. The discipline is more honed. And I'm still in learning mode--acquiring and applying knowledge to improve my craft. I want readers to have a great experience. I write stories that match my reading appetite.


Available on Kindle and Nook.

How does your writing process work?
Each project is different. But I will take the time to plot and work on my characters before I begin writing. Once I start writing, I will continue to the end. Of course revisions may come in on something that requires my immediate attention. My motto is -- Get it done!

And now it's my turn to tag some people! I've chosen three of my colleagues. Check them out next Monday to find out their secrets to success....

Kwana Jackson 
A native New Yorker, Kwana  had two dreams: 1. to be a fashion designer and 2. to be a writer. After graduating from Stuyvesant, Kwana studied fashion design at FIT. She then spent ten years designing for various fashion houses. But after having twins and juggling that and fashion, Kwana took the leap of faith and decided to pursue her other dream of being a writer.
Website: http://kwana.com/

Bridget Midway
My passion for writing sensual, titillating scenes stemmed from my mother who always told me to follow my heart.  I now live on the east coast with my dreams, my close friends and wonderful characters who keep me up at night...and hopefully will do the same to you all, too!
Website: http://www.bridgetmidway.com/

Shelia Goss
Shelia M. Goss is a screenwriter, national best-selling author and a 2012 Emma Award Finalist. Her book, Montana’s Way, is nominated in the mystery category for a 2013 African American Literary Award. She has over sixteen books in print and over seven books as ebooks. She writes in multiple genres: Christian fiction, romance, women’s fiction, suspense, and young adult.