Happy ‘Procrasti-Labor’ Day!

Hello Ebi! Hello Fam!

Not only is today Labor Day (Thanks to all our hard-working folks out there!), but surprisingly enough, it’s also Fight Procrastination Day! LOL! Whose idea was it to create a holiday against procrastination on the same day when we’re not supposed to do any work? I am beyond amused! Since it is Labor Day, I won’t write much. However, I could not help creating a name for this special day, Procrasti-Labor Day! Silly, I know!

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Are you one of those people who have looked at the calendar and was like, “Oh! It’s Labor Day. I guess I’ll start writing again tomorrow.” or do you see it as what you hope will be a productive ‘writerly’ day? Will you add another chapter to your book, a stanza to your poem, a scene to your screenplay? Will you revise your query letter, continue editing your manuscript (for the billionth time) or decide that turning off your computer for the day may be a smart move?

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Regardless, we all know that procrastination is a dangerous thing, and if you let it drag on long enough, your ‘writerly’ flame may be snuffed out.

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So, if you’ve decided to take a break today, think about what you want to do tomorrow. Yesterday, a member of the writing community on Twitter mentioned that she was saddened that so many people were giving up on writing. They were tired of the rejections and disappointments through the years and opted to move on. ☹

If you are using this day off to consider your next move, I hope you keep pulling yourself up that steep hill—keep pressing on. I tell myself that every day, plus I have the support of family and friends! (They hold me accountable!) I won’t ask you to share your thoughts today (since it is Labor Day and all), but I hope you enjoy your Procrasti-Labor Day until next time!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

Writers: How do you deal with rejection?

You send a query.

You wait a few days or sometimes weeks.

An email pops up.

Your heart speeds up with excitement.

You take a breath, release it and click on the mouse.

Then your heart plummets.

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Hello Ebi! Hello Fam!

In life, we face rejection in all its forms: ” Sorry you didn’t get the job.” “Let’s break up!” “We are sorry to inform you that…” And then there’s the infamous, “I couldn’t connect with your story.” or “I wasn’t drawn in.” or “I decided to pass.” Grrr! Sometimes you want to stand on the roof of a building and yell out, “What do you want!”

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But you already know that gets us nowhere. This querying process is a pain in the ass and frustrating. But thankfully, I’ve been lucky enough to receive ‘gentle’ rejections. You know the ones that try to weaken the blow? “We know how hard you worked” or “We know this process is highly subjective…” etc.

It doesn’t make me feel better, but at least the agent was considerate. I know. I need to get over myself. It hasn’t been that long since I started querying. But sharing helps me to pause and start again.

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In what way, you ask?

Well, this weekend, I continued researching agents and remembered what was told to me more than once… “Your project may very well be perfect for someone else.” I’m holding on to that!

Are you querying? How is your process going so far? Have you been rejected, or did someone bless you with a request for a partial or complete manuscript? I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for coming through, and visit again soon!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

“The moon is round.” Now what?

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I came across a quote that said,

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“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov

Details are essential in just about everything we do. They can make a difference between passing or failing a final exam, having an unforgettable wedding, or creating the perfect hairstyle! But in this instance, details can also make or break your story.

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Like many aspects of writing, it takes time to develop the ability to flesh out your details—to help your reader experience every tiny part of your characters’ journey. When I think I’ve added just enough info, a beta reader or editor says, “This is great, but I feel like I need to know more… see more in this scene.” ARGH!!

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What’s the difference between detail and backstory (history)? Sometimes it’s easy to mesh the two because you want the reader to know your characters, the environment, etc. But when you offer too much info, you can bombard the reader and perhaps lose a fan in the process. ☹

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I read in an article that just because the writer knows all their characters’ tidbits doesn’t mean that the reader needs to. So, details or backstory should only be shared when necessary, like medicine, only given in specific doses. I learned that the hard way! 

Are you a detail junky? Do you divulge too much information in your stories, just enough to keep your reader wanting more or somewhere in between? I invite you to share your experiences! Until next time!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

A Writer’s Boundaries

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Ya know. There are so many boundaries out there and each have been or are made to protect a person, place or thing from what may be perceived as a threat.

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But what about the boundaries that new writers put up when we courageously step out into the sometimes harsh world of publishing?

I’ve learned through the years that a thick skin and open-mindedness helps when you choose to navigate literary waters. And though you may want to shield yourself behind your writerly boundaries, (maybe questioning if you’re meant to be published) doing so will never get you before an agent or the public eye.

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So today, as I continue to query and pray that an agent will love Amachi as much as I do. 🙏🏽 I ask that you not let your boundaries become permanent. Chip away at them and allow the light of opportunity to seep through!

I came across this quote and I believe it to be true… “Talent knows no boundaries. It overcomes all barriers that hinder the way to success.”

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

Writers: Create what you want to read!

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“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” – Albus Dumbledore  (J. K. Rowling)

“You’ve got to make your worlds. You’ve got to write yourself in.” (Octavia E. Butler)

Last week I came across the above quotes. After reading them, I glanced to my left and scanned my shelf filled with books from different genres: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance, Horror, Historical Fiction, etc. As I browsed through the titles, I wondered, did some of these writers get up one day and decide, “It’s time to create the kind of story that I want to read?”

Perhaps that is what happened with Rowling and Butler. But even now, with so many different types of books and genres out there, you still may not find a story that truly grabs you. Maybe you want to dive into the adventures of a family of civets 😊 or a story about the ruling class during the time of King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. Regardless (I’ve said this before, and I’ll repeat it), if you want to read it, why not create it?

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If there’s a world that you want to visit that exists only in your imagination, craft it. If there are cultures or people you want to see in a novel, put pen to paper or lay your hands on those keys and start typing away. You may even develop a new genre. We can’t always wait for others to mix the ingredients for the perfect piece of literature. Your favorite literary “cake” can only be made if you bake it!

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Even though my genre has become more popular through the years, I won’t let it deter me from telling my story my way or sharing my characters. I’ve come across many literary agents that say, “Sometimes I don’t know what I’m missing until I see it!”

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If you are fed up with not seeing the kind of book you want to read, do something about it. Are you in the process of writing a new book—one that’s never been seen before? I invite you to share your experience thus far and visit again soon!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

When something old becomes something new!

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After too many years to count, the fam and I are on vacation! We plan to hit up Universal and visit folks we haven’t seen in a long time. Those “folks” included my aunt (it has been over 20 years!) and it was lovely! That reunion reminded me how something old (in our case it’s our relationship) can become something new. Reconnecting with her showed me how an old story can be transformed into a new one.

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How many times have you stumbled across a short story, poem etc., that you wrote? It was written so long ago that you completely forgot about it. Your prose either brought a smile to your face or you cringed because you were a less seasoned writer back then. LOL!

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Seasoned!!

Those old works can bloom, placing you on a new journey. You now look at them with fresh eyes and realize that “It wasn’t that bad after all!” Then all of a sudden it’s… EUREKA! This is just what I was looking for!

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Have you come across previous writings that evolved into your best work yet? If so, I invite you to share. Remember, you became a writer for a reason. Looking back at your old work can be just the thing to reignite your ‘writerly’ flame!

Ibukun!  Blessings!

S-

Writers: What are your favorite literary gifts?

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There are so many sites that offer fantastic gifts for your love of everything literary. But one of the best places to find awesome literary gifts is a massive comic-book convention! In 2018, the fam and I were at the infamous NYC Comic-Con. Everywhere you turned, vendors were exhibiting their wares—art, jackets, backpacks, t-shirts, fudge, you name it!  So today, I’m sharing some of my favorite “bookish” gifts!

If you didn’t already know, I am house Gryffindor all the way!  

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While I was at the Con, I came across an excellent vendor who sold specialty teas. Each tea was related to a particular literary universe or fandom. The tea I purchased is called Brew of the Brave, which was for house Gryffindor. It tasted great, but the caffeine kicked my butt!  Check out this site if you are interested in fandom teas! Tea and Absinthe. https://www.teaandabsinthe.com/tea/brew-of-the-brave-tea

Aside from my two favorite Gryffindor sweaters (I dressed up as a student of Hogwarts, btw), I have a beautiful wand that was given to me by my hubby. I hope it has Dragonheart string within it, just in case I need to use it!

There’s this great store called Box Lunch in my area. They had a wonderful Gryffindor tea set. It’s out of stock now, but I’m sure it will reappear during the holidays! Visit: www.boxlunch.com

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This is the perfect cup for the introverted reader! Check out: https/www.lennymud.com Maybe this cup will give me the courage to try my brew again!

Here are some other literary gift websites to check out!

https://www.theliterarygiftcompany.com/

https://booklovergifts.com/

https://www.uncommongoods.com/fun/by-interest/reading-gifts

I hope this post was useful and maybe a little entertaining 🙂 Thanks for visiting and come again soon!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

Memories of writers past

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As we recognize the true purpose of today’s holiday, we cannot help but remember all those who have sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom. But today, I have also thought of writers who have passed but left their mark for generations to come. Today, I’ll share the names of some of my favorite authors who are no longer with us. Perhaps, you may already know of ‘em. If not, use this time to embark on a discovery of a new writer or genre!

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Octavia E. Butler

Ms. Butler, an African-American science fiction writer and multiple recipient of both the Nebula and Hugo awards, passed away in 2006. After reading her book Wild Seed in my twenties, I knew I would endeavor to become a traditionally published author in fantasy one day! Thanks for leaving your mark on me and many other writers of color Ms. Butler.

E. Lynn Harris

I remember reading his books in my twenties as well. Mr. Harris invited readers to discover the trials and tribulations of a gay, man of color who was not ready to come out to the world. He wrote ten consecutive books—all of whom made the NYT bestsellers list. Mr. Harris was one of the best African-American, gay writers of his time. He passed away in 2009.

C.S. Lewis

After being transported to Narnia in the movie (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) and meeting the majestic Aslan, Thomas the Fawn, and the siblings for the first time, I was compelled to read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series. This book is one of my favorite fantasies, and it’s a perfect example of world-building and the development of layered characters and storylines. Mr. Lewis passed in 1963.

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Judy Blume

Goodness, I was in the fourth grade when I read The Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing for the first time. After that, I was pretty obsessed with Judy Blume. She was an important part of my growth as a young reader. A few of my favorite books were Superfudge, Deenie, Forever, and Wifey (which my 8th-grade friends and I read in secret, LOL!). Ms. Blume is alive and kicking at 83 years young, but I’ll never forget her books from my youth.

Do you have a favorite book from a writer that’s no longer with us or whose book was written long ago? How did he/she affect you as a reader, a writer, or both? I invite you to share!

Thanks for visiting, and come again soon!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

Images that inspire me as a writer

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Even when we’re passionate about writing, there are times when we need an extra push—something or someone to keep us going. Having images that inspire is a great way to stay positive and keep your goals in sight. Here are some of the images I refer to:

This my book cover. Whenever I see this image, I am reminded of how I felt when I completed my manuscript. Though I am not traditionally published yet, I have every reason to believe that I will be one day! 🙂

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Ah yes. B&N. The book lovers and authors dream. I have pleasant memories of perusing their shelves and running my hands over the cover of a brand new book. I still love going to this store, but it will be even better when I see my book on one of their shelves! I’d even be happy with my local book store!

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Like a flower, writers must keep growing—and this GIRL will continue to do so! I’ll continue drinking from that well of knowledge. Like the UNCF always says, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste!”

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Similar to butterflies, we writers also experience change or metamorphosis. We start as a novice to one day becoming an expert. (At least that is my wish!)

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Obviously, this is not my family picture. But when I look at pictures of my immediate family—especially my three boys, I have more incentive than ever to get published!

What images incite optimism in you? Whether you’re dealing with writer’s block, stewing over a negative review or you’re questioning whether your editor’s suggestion will make or break your story—just take a minute, close your eyes and let all your positive images comfort you.

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

Getting Rid of Characters

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I remember a scene from the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. A villain named Peter Pettigrew killed student Cedric Diggory in front of Harry. Cedric’s spirit asked that Harry not leave his body behind with Voldemort and Pettigrew. When Harry grabbed the portkey (goblet) and returned to where the crowd awaited them during the last part of the Triwizard Tournament, Cedric’s father wailed when he discovered that his son was dead. ☹ Killing off or removing a character is not always easy, but it is essential if you want your novel to march on.

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As a child, we were taught that all stories are written with a beginning, middle, and end (like a stop light but backwards!)—or if you want to be more technical, the Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution/Denouement. (If you want a quick break down of the “5 Elements of Plot,” check out this link: https://www.authorlearningcenter.com/writing/fiction/w/plot-planning/7309/5-elements-of-plot-and-how-to-use-them-to-build-your-novel

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It is towards the end or at the Climax that we decide to eliminate a character. It can be a person, place, or even a thing that’s beloved, hated, or some cases, both. But whatever you decide, making this significant change in your story can either be a gleeful experience (“Finally! He needed to go!”) or painful like this tiny excerpt from my book Amachi’s Hope. Though it hurt to do so, I had to sacrifice Morenike to allow the story (and his children) to move forward. ☹

Shuddering as if palsied, the deadly haze rushed into Morenike’s body and destroyed every positive thought and feeling on contact. Bleeding, Morenike fell, closed his eyes, and slipped from the living world. No goodbyes, no final words. He died believing that his greatest fear might come true: the death of a loved one by the hand of evil.

It sucks to remove a favorite character. But there has to be something to break the monotony. During my earlier versions of Amachi’s Hope, I realized that I always gravitated towards happy endings. I had very little loss in my story. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you will lose the reader’s interest. Plus, in a YA/Fantasy novel, it’s not realistic. There has to be an anchor that holds the reader or bait that reels them in. “He’s dead?! My goodness! What will happen next? Will his children survive?” As a reader, I know I’d want to know more.

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Amachi’s Hope is a novel that shares the experiences of her kin, and none of their journeys move forward without a major incident occurring in their lives. It is a form of growth or, in some cases, transformation. As we know, a metamorphosis of any kind does not happen without some sacrifice. Did you kill off a character in your book or short story? Was he/she loved or hated? I invite you to share!

Come again soon!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

What is your mission as a writer?

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As writers, we all have a mission. We hope that readers will walk away with something special after reading our words.  Perhaps, they will understand a message we’re trying to convey, share in our beliefs or enjoy the story because it was “trippy, fun, and just so damn good!” LOL!

I always say that there are three things that I want followers to leave with after reading Amachi’s Hope: The 3 E’s: Educated, Enlightened and Entertained.

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Educated

Since Amachi’s Hope is influenced by West African culture, Yoruba, in particular, it is my wish that readers discover a new culture and perhaps be compelled to educate themselves about Africa at large.

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Enlightenment

I came across a perfect definition for an enlightened individual. One who is “insightful and open-minded. He is able to see the world with great clarity, without attachment to preconceived ideas about people, places, and things.” As the push for diversity in literature is more important than ever, reading outside your usual genres can open you to so many different POVs. Education => Enlightenment 🙂

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Entertainment

Well, this is pretty obvious. We all read books for entertainment, but sometimes we need to get away without leaving our homes. Many of us probably broke the record for the highest number of books read in 2020! Thanks COVID!

Do you have a mission for your book? A hope or perhaps a philosophy that you want to share with your readers? I invite you to share your thoughts and come again soon!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

My New Fix: The Nevers and The Irregulars

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You already know how much I love sci-fi and fantasy. After The Magicians ended (still w- the tissues and tears), I looked for some new shows to sink my teeth into (besides the usual Star Trek Discovery flavor). So, imagine my joy when not only one but two new programs came out within the last two weeks: The Nevers and The Irregulars. Today I thought I’d give you a synopsis of these shows thus far.

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The Irregulars: Netflix, Season 1

(SPOILERS AHEAD!)

This show is a lovely, twisted mix between dark magicks and the world of Sherlock Holmes within Victorian London. Our misfits, protagonist Bea, her friends/family Jessie, Billy, Spike, and outsider, a wealthy fellow named Leopold, find themselves immersed in the supernatural.

Poor and determined to survive, leader Bea and her tight-knit crew do what they must to eat and keep shelter over their heads. They grew up in a workhouse as orphans and are determined to never return as it holds horrible memories for them all. 

Bea feels a strong sense of responsibility for her friends but even more so for her half-sister Jessie. Jess battles with nightmares, so much so that the crew fears that Jessie’s fighting some illness and needs medical attention, something they obviously cannot afford.

Cue the abrasive, rude, and wealthy Dr. Watson (vastly different from previous incarnations of Dr. Watson) who approaches Bea with a creepy and suspicious opportunity to earn money for her sister’s care—investigate the abduction of missing babies. He knows that there is something “unique” about Jessie and that she is key to the answers Bea seeks.

Meanwhile, Leopold, a hemophiliac who comes from royalty, has been sheltered all his life. On his 17th birthday, frustrated with his secluded life, Leopold desperately wants to venture outside his home. A ride in a carriage with his caregiver gives Leopold a snippet of a vastly different universe and allows him to discover Bea and her compadres. Leopold, immediately enamored with Bea, decides that he must find her again and becomes involved in their adventures.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve seen so far. There’s much more than meets the eye (corny but true) 😊, and I’m looking forward to discovering everyone’s backstory and Dr. Watson and Holmes’ secrets. I’ll be watching the fourth episode this weekend. 

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The Nevers, HBO Max, Sundays @ 9 pm

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

The Touched. That is what protagonist Amalia True and her friends/family are called by the people of Victorian London. Thanks to a supernatural incident where a spaceship flew overhead and released what I can only call sparkling dust, several individuals (primarily women/girls) manifest special abilities. For example, Ms. True can see snippets of the future, and she’s insanely strong. Her partner in crime, Penance Adair, can see electricity (a/k/a potential energy) and uses that insight to enhance her ability as an inventor.

Three years after the supernatural incident (which you don’t find out about until the end of the first episode), Amalia has gathered a number of the Touched at St. Romaulda’s Orphanage. She and Penance have been rescuing the Touched that find themselves in unfortunate circumstances. It is how they discover a teenager by the name of Myrtle Haplisch whose parents chained her to a bed because she began speaking in gibberish that sounded evil. Many foreign languages crowded Myrtle’s brain, making it impossible for her to speak one language at a time. Three men attempt to abduct Myrtle, but Amalia fights them off, and she, Myrtle, and Penance barely escape. They now know that this abduction of a Touched individual was not a singular incident.

Meanwhile, Inspector Frank Mundi of Scotland Yard, investigates the violent murder of a woman in a subway tunnel. Some believe it is the work of serial killer Maladie, who is also of the Touched, but he thinks otherwise. Amalia says that “Being Touched is not a defect of character.” But characters such as Lord Massen, a likely antagonist (we’ll find out as the story moves forward), lost his young daughter on the day of the event. He has a real problem with change, especially when it was not his doing. “We are the first generation accustomed to the impossible. What women are appalled by today, they will accept tomorrow and demand the day after that. And the immigrant. And the deviant. That is the power being wielded and not by us. The blade is in, gentlemen. We need to know whose hand is on the hilt.”

I’ll be watching the second episode tonight. Unlike Netflix, where the entire season is already available, I’ll have to suffer and wait for a new episode. The reviews for both shows are varied, but I don’t usually go by that! I find it interesting that both programs whose storyline occurred during the same period came out simultaneously. It reminds me of when The Prestige and The Illusionist came out about the same time in 2006.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide which show you like best. But I’ll continue feeding my love of the supernatural and Victorian London each week!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

Friendship in Literature

Hello Ebi! Hello Fam!

This weekend I safely celebrated my birthday. Aside from the regular shenanigans with my direct family (just 4 of us), I spent the day with a dear friend who I’ve known since seventh grade. On the way home, the idea of friendships in literature came to mind. Who had some of the strongest bonds?

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So, of course, the first that came to mind was in the Harry Potter saga. Harry, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley’s connection started from childhood and continued into adulthood. Though their backgrounds were different, they all shared one commonality—magic. Their battles against Voldemort, death eaters, and other dark forces in the HP universe, solidified their friendship and those made with other characters like Luna Lovegood, Hagrid, Prof. Dumbledore and Neville Longbottom.

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In the DC universe (because comics are a form of literature too), there is the friendship that developed between the original memberships of the Justice League: Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and the Martian Manhunter. Though their relationships had some turbulent times (Superman almost killed Batman!) It’s their wish to protect the human race from threats found on Earth and beyond that binds them. Batman is the only one among them whose ability is not supernatural, but that doesn’t make him any less powerful than his counterparts.

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As a child, I discovered that even animals could be best friends. I loved Winnie the Pooh and his pals’ Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Roo, and even the one human, Christopher Robin. Aside from the many lessons I learned from them, the central theme was based on the importance of solid friendships.

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In Nnedi Okorafor’s first book in the Akata Witch series, the young protagonist Sunny Nwazue, who’s haunted by a vision that portends the end of the world, makes a deep connection with characters Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha. They journey with her as she discovers the special abilities she wields, fights masquerades, (check out the book) and begins to embrace the grand destiny that awaits her.

Lastly, in book one of the Twilight series, Bella becomes friends with Edward Cullen’s sister Alice. She is a vampire (for those who don’t already know) but she also has powerful, precognitive abilities. Bella is quite introverted, and struggles with too much attention. But Alice saw in Bella’s future that they would have a lifetime (whatever that means to a vampire) friendship and that Bella would eventually become a vampire herself. Kinda cool if I say so myself. 🙂

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What friendships stood out to you in the books you’ve read? Did they resonate with you, perhaps the characters were similiar to people you know? If so, I invite you to share! Thanks for visiting and come back soon!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

Martial Arts and Writing

Hello Ebi! Hello Fam!

Just over eight years ago, my family and I joined a Taekwondo dojang. At first, we signed our children up for entertainment and discipline (cuz my youngest was driving me to drink!), and then my husband and I were pressured into joining, LOL! Our instructor always said: “Families that kick together, stick together,” —so we ended up training with our children. What started as only a form of exercise grew into something that we all loved. Today my entire family are black-belts and above.

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My point being, I once read if you are unsure what to blog about, create a list of things you are good at, another list that shares topics you aren’t good at but would like to be, and then catalog the details that make you interesting. In this instance, I chose to talk about my start in martial arts.

If you put together a Venn diagram or some other chart that allows you to compare and contrast, you will notice that some of your topics overlap like the sun and moon during an eclipse. It is those topics that will help you decide what to write about next. The things that would likely overlap on my list would be: Writer, Taekwondo, Jamaican, Mother, Spouse, MA in Creative Writing, New Yorker, Aries, etc.

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The president of our school wrote several books about what he knows: Taekwondo, the movie industry, what it takes to be successful and healthy in life, etc. Writing about the things we know makes writing a blog so much easier. But what’s just as interesting is sharing the things we discover when we research the unfamiliar. There is always someone out there that can learn from you and you from them.

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Even though I am not currently training, I still have a wealth of knowledge that I can share with someone interested in Taekwondo’s art or wonders if training martial arts is for them. Why would you run around kicking people and accepting kicks on purpose? LOL!

If you are blogging, put together your lists. You might have more to talk about than you realize! Thanks for visiting, and come again soon!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

Writers: Where are your characters from?

Hello Ebi! Hello Fam!

Today I thought I’d write about where the characters of Amachi’s Hope reside. In most stories, either we create worlds of our own, develop worlds influenced by the environment around us, or combine both. In my case, Amachi and her kin exist in and around a mountainous region of West Africa, particularly in a rain forest. Their village is called Kadara, which is just on the outskirts of the mountain Etinde.

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I researched rain forests in West Africa and rain forests in general. I needed to know what the milieu would be like—the type of fauna found in that region. I even looked into the sea creatures that may be found in the waters surrounding Nigeria. One of my protagonists was swallowed by a giant manta ray!

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My story occurs before Christ, so I also thought about the kind of flora that could have existed during that time. One of the trees found in my story is called an Iroko tree. They are found in Nigeria and can live up to 500 years!

It is from a small seed that the great Iroko tree has its beginning. -  NIgeria Proverb. | Words, Life after death, Own quotes

The Earth and our imaginations are filled with a plethora of ideas to help us create our characters’ fictional realms. We can visit different countries with books and the internet since travel is difficult out on these COVID streets. 😉

If I close my eyes, I can step on the nearest space ship and warp to galaxies far away—visit planets, meet other intelligent life forms and discover the beauty of our universe. I can rewind time and stand before the pyramids or move forward and listen to Martin Luther King speak.

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Where are your characters from? Did you create their worlds from scratch or did you get a little help from history? I invite you to share! Thanks again for visiting and I hope you come again soon!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

Spring, Springs a Writer’s Inspiration

Hello Ebi! Hello Fam!

Finally, Spring has sprung, and I could not be happier! It’s all about new beginnings and new energy! Over the weekend, I looked out my window and saw the bulbs on my tree begin to bud (ignoring the fact that they will become my nemesis in a few weeks), red cardinals fluttering about, and children gleefully riding their bikes. I went outside, took a deep breath, and closed my eyes—forgetting for a moment my woes and those of the world. The sun was warm against my skin, and the gentle breeze carried the scent of flowers just blooming.

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Seasons insight writerly inspiration. Many writers through the decades refer to the seasons in their writing—sending a shout-out to Mother Nature for her contribution to writers’ prose! Today, I’m going to share quotes from different writers who waxed poetic about Spring!

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“I am going to try to pay attention to the Spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.” —Anne Lamott

“The morning air was like a new dress. That made her feel the apron tied around her waist. She untied it and flung it on a low bush beside the road and walked on, picking flowers and making a bouquet […] From now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything.” ― Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

“Spring grew on […] and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

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“But the true nature of the human heart is as whimsical as spring weather. All signals may aim toward a fall of rain when suddenly the skies will clear.” ― Maya Angelou, The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou

“The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all Spring.”
―Emily Dickinson

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I hope these quotes ignite your creativity in the coming months! Do you have any favorite quotes about Spring that you would like to share? I invite you to do so! Thanks for visiting, and I hope to see you again!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

How do you know that a literary agent is LEGIT?

Hello Ebi! Hello Fam!

During pitch competitions, writers are exposed to a bevy of editors and literary agents. Most of the agencies/agents may be familiar names, but if someone requests a partial or full manuscript from you, it is always good to vet an agent, editor, or organization. Here are five things you as a writer should look out for when querying or receiving a request for your novel, novella, short story, etc.

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1. No one should be asking you to pay a fee in any capacity. An agent makes money by selling books. An agent’s fee is generally a 15% commission.

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2. An agent should have a list of writers they currently represent on their organization’s website.

3. If you are unsure where to go to research agents, visit sites like Writer’s Digest https://www.writersdigest.com/ and the Manuscript Wish List https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/. Agents will clearly state whether they are currently open to queries, their submission guidelines, and what they are looking for in a new client.

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4. If an agent reaches out to you and you did not query them, that is a red flag!

5. The individual only wants to communicate by email, and you don’t know their real name? Sirens should go off everywhere!

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Querying and researching agents can be daunting, so starting on the right foot with a legit agent will spare you heartache in the long run.

Have you been burned by an “agent” before? Do you have any advice when it comes to finding the right agent for you? I invite you to share!

Ibukun! Blessings!

S-

Writers: How do we gain followers for a blog?

Hello Ebi! Hello Fam!

I’m still relatively new to the “Promoting via social media game.” I restarted my blog about a year ago.  My wish was to develop a following for my book and to make connections with other writers. To date, I must say the result has been disappointing.

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I realized that posting is only a small part of the process. So, I decided to do some research on increasing readership for my blog. There are plenty of websites/blogs out there sharing tips on just this topic. The suggestions that stand out to me are:

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– Guest blogging

Writing a blog post for another writer or site can help draw attention—not to mention following and commenting on their page. Reciprocation = Reciprocation! 🙂 And don’t forget to share your blog post on all your social media outlets: IG, Twitter, FB etc.

– Keywords

When certain words are used in your blog, it makes it more “searchable”—especially when you want to connect to readers/writers who share similar interests to your own, e.g., genre.

-Networking

They say that bloggers should not restrict themselves to one umbrella. Meaning you shouldn’t only talk about your experiences, your work, etc. But also share info about other bloggers and their content. Networking with creatives can also help you connect and build your following. I believe I’m guilty of the umbrella issue—it’s something I plan to work on.

– #Hashtags

Just as keywords are important, so are #hashtags. Researching the appropriate hashtags and including them in your post is also a big help! I created a hashtag for my book #AmachiIsHope and use the tags #writingcommunity, #writerlycreatives, #writersnetwork whenever I post my blog. To draw local readers I also use #RVA and #RVAwriter. Obviously I need to add more varied…

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There are plenty of blogging suggestions out there. Some businesses help with developing one’s blog (for a fee of course). But moolah’s tight during a pandemic. I think I’ll try my luck! LOL! Are you struggling with gaining followers for your blog? Have you found that specific tips have worked better than others? If so, I invite you to share!

Ibukun! Blessings!

Sharon-

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