Writing Sensation September 2017 – Victoria Kennedy

Today is the first day official day of Fall!

OMG! The end of the year is approaching quickly. I want to thank everybody for their kind support and comments on my blog site. Today, I would like to introduce you to Victoria Kennedy, another talented author. Brown Girls Books just released Victoria’s new book, and I am happy to have her as my guest author. Following is some information about Victoria and her new book “Sometimes Love.”

VICTORIA KENNEDY

Victoria Kennedy is the author of the collection, Where Love Goes, which includes the short story, The Uninvited Guest, adapted into an eponymous stage production. She is also a contributing author in The Dating Game anthology. Victoria holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts and resides in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Zoë Browne is on top of the world. She is her own boss, has a business partner who doubles as her best friend, and enjoys the security of a loving, supportive family. All that’s missing is her Prince Charming–someone to save her from her happy but loveless life, just like in the pages of her beloved romance novels. When a knock on the door brings her face to face with her would-be hero, Humphrey Pearson, an arrogant but attractive curator with a chip on his shoulder, Zoë soon learns that love isn’t always meant to save the day; sometimes love is meant to change your life.

Order Online at Amazon.com

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September is a Great Month for Completing Your Author Pages & Profiles

You’ve written a book or contributed a chapter yet your online author pages and profiles are unclaimed on sites that sell books or showcase books and authors. September is a great month to complete those profiles with a bio, links, and a photograph. Here are a few sites with author pages and profiles.

Amazon Central

Barnes and Noble & NOOK

Goodreads

The importance of claiming your profile is like claiming real estate. With the exception of AALBC, the profiles and pages are free. Readers – faithful and potential – like seeing an author and reading about them. A really good photo and well-written bio (not too long) can make you attractive to people seeking to buy your book(s).

Here’s another important benefit: Your name will show links to those profiles in Google searches. Increase your ability to be found by completing these profiles.

One last thing. Update your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram bios and photos too. If you have other suggestions, please post them in the comments below.

5 Unique Ways to Write Your Story

Who does not like a good memoir and autobiography? In the pages of those books inspiration, healing, hope, and sympathy can be found. Some books by or about notables can be extremely difficult to read in that the story is difficult, while other books can be enjoyable reads. The point is someone shared their story. They took the time to search their souls and pour it all out on a page.

Maybe you have a compelling story to share, but you just don’t have the time or know where to begin. Instead of writing a memoir or autobiography, why not explore other ways to write your story?

  1. Combine personal reflections and memories with recipes. Culinary memoirs are growing in popularity and have been around for years. Need an example? Read Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine or Sweetie Pie’s Cookbook.
  2. Choose one event in your life, write your perspective of it, and ask others who were there to share theirs. Collaborating on a memoir-type story can be a challenge but it also can be a great way to collect family and friend stories that were pivotal to your personal growth.
  3. Write a book of firsts. What was it like to drive a car for the first time? What happened when you had a child for the first time? How was that first date? Where did you travel alone for the first time? We all have lived a lifetime of firsts that we rarely discuss or remember but would make for a great memoir-type book.
  4. Pick one person who impacted your life and write remembrances of them. The chapters do not have to be in chronological order. You can just write what you loved or did not love about someone, experiences with that person, and unpack memories of that person.
  5. Write a book with chapters that discuss all of your favorite things. Tell us about your love for apple pie or ice skating. We all have at least 20 favorite things, which can be at least 20 good chapters. Tell us why you love that thing and when it all began.

You’ve been given 5 unique ways to write your story, but truth is, there are as many unique ways as there are people. Pray and meditate for your way, and tell your story.

Writing Sensation September 2017 – Raye Mitchell, Esq.

CREATIVE WRITING FOR JUSTICE – MAYBE IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY

Welcome back, everybody! Today, I am thrilled to be presenting a special guest author, Raye Mitchell, Esq. Raye, who is also my first cousin on my mother’s side, is excited to share the story of her literary journey and other adventures.

PB: How did you get here? How did you get to be a writer?

I have considered myself a storyteller and writer all my life in one form or another. In spite of this, a different question is when did I decide to go public with this passion and persistent drive to be a writer of non-fiction and fiction works and why?

Several years ago my inside voice that craved to be a writer succeeded in overtaking my outside voice that consistently focused on perfecting my skills as an entrepreneur, businesswoman, and attorney. Upon reflection, it is now clear that I had been fully engaged as a creative writer all the time by merging my professional commitment to advocating, justice, and fairness by writing about my experiences with the civil justice system and persuading juries to return justice for my clients in situations of injustice.

PB: Why did you want to expand your journey as a writer?

A lot of us believe, like I did, that while we have a writer hidden within our spirit that is yearning to have that creative urge unleashed, we had to wait for some moment to announce its birth. I was wrong. My job and my career have always been focused on creative storytelling in other forums like business and law. Then, one day, I discovered that I had a duty to unite my passion and that absolute desire to just get something out of your head and into the real world by focusing on creative writing as a means to help people find justice, have their voices heard, and their stories told.

In my case, the signs and call to take action on those secret dreams are ever present in our lives. Sometimes, they are subtle; sometimes they ride in like a fifty-foot tsunami. I think my “ah-hah” moment came over the course of several years of seemingly unrelated defining moments. Some I remember; some are more a murky blur at this time. I remembered one day in March 2014; I was hit with an invisible fifty-foot tsunami to just engage in creative writing out loud. It was a defining moment.

PB: Can you describe that defining moment when you decided to be a full-time writer?

Yes. The moment is as fresh in my mind as if it had happened today. It happened around 2010. Inspired by my humble encounter with an apparently homeless woman, Margie, I began assembling a collection of words of self-respect and success from notable female role models, past and present, and produced an anthology based on quotes to inspire and inform. The story of Margie first appeared in my first major book entitled, The Evolution of Brilliance: Voices Celebrating the Importance of Women” (ISBN: 0-97-86658-2-1).

The story of Margie began outside a high profile restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. Margie approached me outside of this very expensive restaurant. For some reason, Margie, who appeared to be homeless, singled me out of a group of at least twenty people. Looking me directly in the eye, she said, “Can you help me?” She was carrying a cup meant to collect loose change. Assuming myself to be polite and assuming she only sought money, I turned to leave and simply said, “Sorry. I cannot help tonight.” I turned to leave. Margie stepped in closer, and the men in my group started to make a protective move, but we all stopped. Margie then said, “Can I ask you something?”

“Yes,” I replied. Without hesitation, she added, “How can you say you cannot help me when you do not know what help I need?”

I stopped, and for the first time that night, I looked into Margie’s eyes and made a personal connection, realizing that she may have just been trying to advance her life utilizing the only tools she had at her disposal. I said, “You know, you are right. What help do you need?” All Margie wanted was prayer and the chance to be counted as a person in this world as she strived to rebuild her life. Even though I was a stranger and she knew nothing about me, I was humbled that she entrusted me with her simple request for help. Margie’s story and my decision to be a published writer thus came to life in 2011.

PB: What are you most passionate about in your writing?

The story of Margie and the Evolution of Brilliance is where I launched into the reality that I can advocate for justice through creative writing, writing both non-fiction and fiction, and still be a creative writer. Free of the internal judgments and harsh criticisms we launch upon ourselves, as a writer who dares to put her thoughts on paper or the Internet for the world to see, we are exposing our secret selves and opening our safe spaces to public scrutiny and comment. I decided over several years ago that I could own and release the inter-storyteller locked inside of me that had been present since I was a young girl by being a published writer. I call it creative justice writing.

PB: What do you mean by creative justice writing?

Creative justice writing is about writing to inspire and celebrate personal courage change outcomes by telling the stories of those people that do not always have a voice. In my stories, I strive to educate, entertain and advocate for young woman and girls to be the champion of their success. I currently write practical nonfiction works but will release my first fiction work in 2018.

PB:   What have you been working on this year?

I am excited that I have two new books coming out this year and working on a third. Soon, I am expecting to review the final print file for my book “When They Go Low. ‘We Go High. How Women of Color Master the Art of Persuasion to Win Big Battles.”

Coincidently timed with the release of “What Happened” by Hillary Rodham Clinton, my book goes in a different direction. Applying the lessons learned from leaders like Michelle Obama, and addressing the needs of millions of women of color, influencers, and persuaders, this book is about cracking the code on how Black women master persuasion, influence, negotiations, and life in general.

In this book, I share some of the secrets of what it takes to maintain integrity when locked in tough negotiations, critical battles, and the wide range of power struggles that we encounter every day, to advance ourselves.

PB: What is your second book about?

My second book is a non-fiction work supporting our young Black women and girls. It is entitled ‘Invisible Radically Changing the Game for Young Black Women and Girls.’

Make no mistake, our young Black women and girls are under siege. They are incredibly brilliant, impressive and engaging young women, but are required to meet and beat the challenges of not just ‘disappearing’ and being rendered ‘irrelevant.’ In addition to growing strong as young people, and as young women, they have to rise above negative stereotypes, negative media messages and a real world sense that no one sees them as being vital next-generation global leaders.

However, in the words of Tracee Ellis Ross, when accepting the honor of her first Golden Globe award for her role in ABC’s, “Black-ish,” she said:

“This is for all of the women, women of color, and colorful people whose stories, ideas, and thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important.  But, I want you to know that I see you. We see you.”

Invisible No More is not a call to action, but it presents a plan of action so that our young Black women and girls will be seen. It is inspirational in scope and practical in implementation of innovative solutions that will support young Black women and girls and those agencies that support them to rise-up and lead change.

Raye Mitchell, Esq., is the Chief Learning Officer and Dean of Executive Leadership Development at the Winning Edge Institute. A graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business (MBA), Ms. Mitchell is an experienced mediator, arbitrator, and an expert in negotiations, conflict resolution, and bridge-building. The Winning Edge Institute provides negotiation training, consulting, advising, and coaching in negotiations, mediation, and interventions on workplace conflict matters, business diplomacy, and deal-making. With a focus on accelerating women and women of color as global influencers and global leaders in negotiations and dispute resolution, Raye Mitchell can be reached for speaking events and keynotes on matters about young Black women and girls.

Email: raye@rayemitchell.com
Web: www.thewinningedgeinstitute.com
www.drrayemitchell.com
Twitter: @drrayemitchell

 

Encourage Yourself, Writers and Creatives

The writing life or any life that is creative is often different than the lives of friends, family, and our networks. Being creative is not often understood or regarded as a legitimate way of existing. At best, it is regarded as a hobby or over-glamorized. Some people in our circles will not view what we do, and the sacrifices required, as anything more than a pipedream. And that is why it is important keep one’s self encouraged through the process and journey.

Here are 5 ways to remain encouraged:

  1. Recognize that you should not expect everyone to embrace your choice to write or be a creative.
  2. Recognize that the only choices that count are yours. If what you’re doing is not reckless or harmful to a soul, especially you, then remind yourself that you take accountability for your choice to create and you will continue to commit to that choice.
  3. Recognize that there are fans and there are supporters. Show appreciation to both, but express gratitude to those who support you just because…
  4. Recognize that not everyone will affirm you or your work. The most important thing is that you affirm your own work and you.
  5. Recognize that you can show people better than you can tell them. Don’t talk about what you’re doing, show people what you’ve done.

There are some very practical things you can do to encourage yourself. Seek out bible passages that focus on unusual callings and unusual victories (David, Daniel, Joseph, Mary…). Read the memoirs of great innovators. Most importantly, do not give up.

How do you encourage yourself? Tell us in the comments, please.

 

August Bookstore Fun

August is a great month to explore some fun in your local independent bookstores and national chains like Barnes & Noble, Half Price Books, and Books-A-Million. If you can’t get to a brick and mortar store, then explore some of the same fun online.

Half Price Books is celebrating 45 years in business in 2017. Every month has brought a bevy of discounts and other surprises. Sign up for updates and follow their social media. Here are a few things to explore:

  • They have a wide selection of new and used books from $1 to less than market price.
  • They carry vinyl records, CDs, and DVDs.
  • They have a great clearance book section.
  • You can purchase magazines for little to nothing.
  • You can earn money by taking your used books there for re-sale.

Barnes and Noble has a rewards program and a membership plan for frequent buyers. You can purchase new releases sometimes for as little as 30% off. Most locations have partnerships with Starbucks, so you can read and drink.

Books-A-Million is currently offering $10 off of online purchases totaling $50 or more. They also have the Millionaire’s membership program for frequent buyers.

One thing they all have in common is a section featuring local/regional/state authors and topics. If you are an author, inquire about having your book(s) placed in those sections for increased visibility. This is not a paid advertisement for any of these bookstores, but we are endorsing supporting bookstores, especially locally-owned stores.

In fact, here are a few more ways to have bookstore fun:

  1. Meet with friends to discuss a book or anything. Commit to purchasing something to support the store.
  2. Take little ones to introduce them to the concept of bookstores. Give them their own cash and let them shop.
  3. Hide away at one. Just go to tune out the world and read (a real book).

Can you think of something fun to do at the bookstore? If so, share in the comments.

5 Girls’ Night Out Themes for Authors and Writers

There has been a lot of buzz about the movie Girls Trip, which has women everywhere planning excursions and fun of their own. What if you plan a girls’ night out based on a mutual love of writing and books? Here are five simple ideas:

  1. Go on a location crawl to several spots or attractions around your town. While at the art museum, each woman creates a book or movie scene based on the experience.
  2. Pick a restaurant and meet to discuss your writing projects, and solicit feedback over food.
  3. Have a pajama party in a hotel suite and vent about writing.
  4. Host a book exchange. Each participant brings a book and a dessert to share.
  5. Find a fiction book containing recipes and each friend creates one of the recipes for a potluck.

Girls just want to have fun, so why not have fun that is related to your mutual loves of writing and reading?