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.

Journaling Rocks!

My poodi (grandbaby) is sound asleep. I should be too, after the day of running behind her, cleaning up behind her, AND baking a decorating, not one, but two cakes!

I was exhausted after the full day and shoujd have been sleep with the baby. However, when you’ve been thinking about the memoir you’re writing all day in the back of your head, you use the quiet time to write. Or research, in my case.

I’m reading through the journal I began the very night that I lost my husband. I remember having the weirdest dream in those early months following his death and I’m sure I wrote it down. As I’m looking for that entry, and reading over my thoughts and experiences during that time, I can’t help but be grateful for the journey God has me on. The entry that I just read which prompted me to make write this post was a passage about my expectation of the good things to come my way following this devastating time in my life. I PROMISE you, I wrote on 2/23/2018 that I was expecting a new job, new confidence, new boldness, new success in my near future. And here I am as of October 29, 2021, about to start a new job, in my new career as a librarian at Royal Oak Public Library. I officially started on 10/4/21. I have some training on 11/3/21. Tears literally filled my eyes writing this, just recognizing how good God is! If you don’t know, NOW you know! #GodisFaithful #’HeWillNeverleavenorforsakeyou #KeeptheFaith

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Birthday Behavior

On Friday, October 15th, I celebrated my 46th birthday. I do NOT mind sharing my age because, quite frankly, I’m looking and feeling damn good! Thank you very much! LOL!

Chapter 46

I couldn’t have a had better birthday. The on and off rain throughout the day did not sampler my spirit. I just stepped into my my rain boots that matched the shirt I decided to where for the day.

What’s funny is that just days before my big day, I was feeling kind of blah. After all, 46 isn’t a milestone year or any thing. And interestingly, I was feeling kind of restricted in how I spent the day.

You see…I’ve been dating someone for quite a few months now and, of course, he had to a part of the day. The question was how much of the day. He hasn’t met any of my close friends, though, I’ve spoken about him. But I don’t think I’m ready to intermingle everybody just yet. The other thing is that he’s one of those that doesn’t think birthdays are a big deal. So he was definitely in store for how I do for my birthday.. At this stage of our relationship, I think it was important to not play the day down because how you start something sets the precedence for the remainder of the relationship. Let me know if you agree.

Anyway, we had a great day together. Breakfast, movies, shopping, and concluding with dinner. On Saturday, I dined with two of my sorority sisters. Finally, on Sunday, I enjoyed a fabulous brunch with my sister, my co-host of Conversations Between Widows, and my daughter and granddaughter.

Friends and Family

I love that most of my friends know that my love language is receiving gifts. I received some nice things and I’m also a believer in loving on myself as well.

Gifts, gifts, and more gifts

Finally, because I also enjoy giving, I created a coupon code to give my social media followers a free download of my first novel! How nice of me, right? If you’d like to take advantage of this limited time freebie, click here and use this code WM82B.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Question of the Summer: What are you doing?

Writing and enjoying the summer sun

My least favorite question to be asked since I left my job on July 9, 2021 is: What are you doing?

Working a 9-5 job for the last 23 years, that question was easy to answer because eight hours of my day was spent in one place. Now that I’m home and not working for a particular company, the answer is more complicated. Or maybe that’s just my perspective.

I’ve been so used to writing and building my social media platform being things I did on the side of my day job, it’s a challenge to retrain my brain to think of consider this being my full-time work right now. But that’s exactly what it is.

My days consist of a litany of activities:

Writing: I’m working on the developmental edit of my upcoming novel, the final spinoff from Unfinished Business, and working on my memoir and a holiday romance novella.

School work: I’m in my last course for my library science master’s degree program. So I’ve got school work for the class and the work to do for the graduate assessment project required for graduation.

Editing–I’ve started editing the works of other writers, including stories for my daughter’s anthology project Dear Sarah, on sale now.

Social media content- Blogging, building content on for IG and FB, trying to do reels

Podcasting: I’m co-host of the podcast Conversations Between Widows and I’m managing the blog for that as well. The podcast has created so many unexpected opportunities. We’ve been getting all kind of invitations to be the guest on other podcasters’ shows. I see branching off into my own podcast soon, but not yet. I’ve got to manage what’s already on my plate.

I’m doing so much more in a day than what I did on my day job. The only thing that’s missing is the money! LOL. Seriously, there’s a lot that goes into building your non-traditional career before the money starts coming in but I know that payoff is on the way.

Now all I have to do is structure my days for maximum production!

Got tip to make the most of my time without a day job? Share them in the comments below. When January 2022 rolls around, I want to be boasting about the books I finished writing!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

I Quit My Job of 23 Years—The Vlog

So I haven’t posted since the brief series about leaving my job of 23 years to pursue a new beginning. That’s not because I haven’t had anything to blog about. I decided to do something a little different, more real time, to chronicle this journey—Vlog. I like this raw, authentic process of recording this journey. Check it out. Subscribe if you like it or not. Lol.