Feel Good Friday

It’s amazing to me that, even working only part-time, I still managed to be one of busiest people that other people know. LOL. I swear, I don’t mean to be this way but that’s how it happens. In addition to keeping up with my writing projects, I’m always open to new experiences that add depth to this thing called life.

Though I knew I shouldn’t have taken on this particular project, I agreed to it, only when I learned that I wouldn’t be doing it by myself. It’s an oral history project for this organization in Detroit called the Detroit Women’s Forum. I’d never heard of the before I received an email from one of my graduate school professors stating that this organization was looking for past oral history students to manage a project they wanted to do. The oral history class was my last class as an elective for my MLIS degree. But as a writer always looking for unique ways to gather information, this class intrigued me. Though I knew my daughter would be giving birth within weeks, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in an actual oral history project–for a fee, I might add. Turns out, I’m leading it.

Early in April I interviewed for two more librarian jobs. One is a full-time librarian position at the library I ultimately want to work for. First it’s my community library. Second, that being the case, it’s even closer to home than the library I currently work at. The other is a part-time adjunct librarian at a community college. I applied for that one to work in addition to my current part-time job and I want to experience the academic side of librarianship as well. Interestingly, I thought I bombed the interview for the adjunct position, but surprising received a job offer two weeks ago. And for the full-time librarian job, they said I wouldn’t hear anything from them until mid-May if I’d move to the second interview round, but they called last week for an interview for this current week! Talk about blessings on top of blessings. If all goes well with my interview this week, I’ll be in a position to choose what will work best for me instead of taking what I can get!

If that’s not something to feel good about, I don’t know what is…

Happy Feel Good Friday y’all!

If you have good news to share, and I know you do, please share in the comments below.

Feel Good Friday

This is a strange but awesome feeling to have, especially on a Friday. I haven’t been to work in a week and I was totally okay, happy, in fact, to go to work today. I’m not even mad that I have to work tomorrow…on a Saturday and it’s not even overtime! Man, that’s love. I’m new to librarianship and I’m sure with time, the excitement may lull a bit. But until then…I’m enjoying every moment.

Even more than feeling good about my job, I’m feeling even better about my daughter giving birth to my second granddaughter! I’m beyond excited to be these girls’ grandmother and am truly thankful that God allowed me to live in this moment of my child becoming a mother. He didn’t have to do it BUT He did!

Happy Friday y’all!

If you’re feeling good on this Friday, please share in the comments. That’s how we spread joy in the world.

Naturally Yours

LA

Who Are They Series? Kenneth

The lucky lady that this man, with her mesmerizing brown eyes, full-kissable lips, and sly grin, belongs to is none other than my main character, Kania. Making his name start with a “K” like Kania’s was pure happenstance, but it fit perfectly for the nickname their friends’ gave them–K-Squared. He is the man who captured Kania’s hear while it law school and properly turned her out! Got her exploring things in the bedroom that she never thought she was capable of. But, like women often do, she went along to get along with her man and to explore her own curiosities.

In the novel, we’ll see how Kenneth responds when he notices his wife altering their once agreed upon activities in their relationship after she starts hanging out with her pastor friend and what secrets he may have.

What else would you like to know about this handsome guy?

Who Are They Series?–Kania

Kania LyShay Johnson

I named my current main character so many years ago(1996) that when I started writing her story (2017), it wasn’t even an option to give her a name with any significance to her story. Kania LyShay Johnson was created as a supporting character in my debut novel, Unfinished Business. In that book, the main character had two best friends that were on the sideline of her journey to closing the revolving door she had with her first love. I was twenty-one years old when I started that novel so my point of reference for friends had been my own. Kania’s name is so similar to one of friend’s actual name that when I speak about the actual character or say her name in my head, I actually come close to saying my actual friend’s name. But it’s not just the name of my character that’s similar to my friend. Their physical features and personalities were similar too. Petite, shapely frame, curious brown eyes, smooth dark brown skin. She’s a smart, often thinking she knows more than everyone else, sassy, and no-nonsense. She’s the calm and cool friend of the trio, always having her friends back and setting them straight when necessary.

That was the gist of the character development in that first novel, created waaaayyy back in the late 90’s. Fast forward to the 21st century, Kania, being written by 40-something L.A. Jefferson, has evolved into a complex, flawed woman, walking backwards on the right path. She’s bumping into stuff, falling backwards and forwards trying to do the right thing, the wrong way. I could not fathom my real friend, who has chosen to literally unfriend me in recent months, experiencing the dilemma that today’s Kania is living in.

At the onset of writing this novel, I enjoyed paying homage to my friend with this character that mirrored her friendship in my life. Not so much lately.

Nevertheless, I’m excited to bring you Kania’s story. Stay tuned!

Naturally Yours,

LA

The Writing Continues: 3rd Novel Loading

The story of Kania Johnson, the third and final friend introduced in my debut novel Unfinished Business, is loading for publishing in the early fall of 2022. I started writing her story sometime in 2017, maybe 2016, when I realized she needed a story. Her character evolved from the friend getting married in Unfinished Business, to the friend who transformed from being career driven to mom driven in my second book, Reconciliation to Hell. Her relationship and marriage appeared perfect, untouchable from the vantage point of her friends. But no marriage is safe from strife and temptation. Kania, and her husband, Kenneth, are no different.

So the question,then, became, what should this well-put together, loving couple encounter to test their marriage? How about a threesome partner, a pastor, and a family secret? Sound juicy? I hope so!

I was having a ball creating this story in the writing software, Scrivener, and just when I decided to a do a copy and paste from that software to Google docs, the software crashed! YIKES!

Let me tell y’all..I was thanking God for the spirit that led me to back up my work or else I would have been starting from scratch. But here I am 3 years later, in the rewrite stage following a developmental edit of the book last summer.

Just to give you a snippet of what it’s like to rewrite based on a developmental edits, here ya go:

But at this mid-point of January, I’m trudging along making progress everyday. I’ve set a had goal to get through the edits by March 1st. I’ll definitely keep you posted.

Naturally Yours,

LA

Happy Founder’s Day DST

Today, January 13th, is the founding day of my illustrious sorority. We are 109 years old and still doing the work of our 22 founders with over 1000 collegiate and alumnae chapters around the world.

I’ve been a proud member of this organization since December 16, 2012. But the love I have for the organization didn’t always feel reciprocated.

I wrote a story about it. Wanna hear it, here it goes…

My story, Sisterhood, is one of the 101 stories of love, courage, and hope featured in this collection of stories written by Black women. You can purchase it, mostly, anywhere books are sold.

Happy New Year

If you reading this email, you’re one of the lucky ones. Millions didn’t make it to this space of time, on the brink of ushering in a new year. But you and I did! What a blessing!

I don’t know about you, but 2021 hasn’t disappointed me. Like everyone else, I endured some rough patches. But overall, because of my, “God will never leave nor forsake me” attitude, I choose to focus on all the good things.

Some of those good things include:

1. Leaving a company that I no longer wanted to be at after 23 years.

2. Acquiring a new job in an industry I lm excited to be apart of— librarianship!

3. Completing second master’s degree (which aided in #2)

4. Being apart of growing podcast, Conversations Between Widows.

5. Being published in two successful books: Chicken Soup For the Soul: I’m Speaking Now and A Widow’s Resilience

I really want to add, too, that I have opened myself up to a new love since losing my husband four years ago, but I wasn’t sure if y’all wanted to hear about that piece 🤔

I’m expecting even greater things to come in 2022. Not just for myself, but for you too!

Happy New Year! Be safe!

Class of 2021

I can’t remember exactly how I felt when I registered for my Oral History course in August 2021. I knew it was my last class of the program but the feeling of graduation or completion didn’t hit me until I received the email to participate in commencement. It was then that excitement revved up within me like Indy 500 race car driver approaching the finish line.

And then this…

Walking across the stage, earning a second masters degree. This time from Wayne State University in Information Science.

I’m glad my BIG day came at the close of 2021 because next year, 2022, is all about my high school senior!

You know teen boys are hard to photograph with a smile 😂 but he’s happy for his mom

Learning From the Pros

I’m not sure when I learned of Brown Girls Books but I remember being excited about this venture created by two bestselling Black authors, my Soror, Victoria Christopher Murray, and her best friend and writing partner, ReShonda Billingsley Tate. At the time, I remember being determined to reach their level of literary success. Then I continued along my journey of writing my second novel at the time.

Last week I attended the second of their four popup writing workshops scheduled this month. The first was a beginning writer’s workshop called, Facing the Blank Page. With 20 years of writing experience that includes two published books, two stories published in anthologies, and most recently, my first story published in Chicken Soup For The Soul, I’m pretty confident that I know how to tell a story. However, the second workshop called Is Your Story Plot Driven or Character Driven and what you need to know for both, piqued my interest. For the record, I’ve always considered my fiction stories to be plot driven. At the conclusion of the workshop, I knew I was right. But it was good to hear authors deeply meshed in the industry to explain the difference between the two. Victoria made it clear that while your book needs to be a bit of both, it’s important for the author to know what’s driving their story forward. Got it!

I enjoyed everything about the workshop and I’m looking forward to the next two that I registered for this month, Tools every author can use and How to become a Bestseller. But the part that really excited me during last week’s workshop was the confirmation that I’m doing many things that these bestselling authors are doing in their writing including the two things below:

1. Using actual pictures for your character profiles for better descriptions! I started doing that with my second novel, Reconciliation to Hell, and doing the same for my current WIP.

2. Including subplots within the main plot. I credit that to being an avid reader. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to write a novel. Well, I kinda did BUT I did knowing full well what makes a good story and that’s multi-dimensional characters. Characters need to feel like real people. And when you think of a real person dealing with marital problems, aren’t they still dealing with issues at work or with other people at the same time, right. That makes for an interesting story and characters.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Next week I’ll post about the next workshop I attend.

Yours Naturally,

L.A.