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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
When you have a goal, it’s important to keep it at the forefront of your mind. Several years ago, I jumped on the dream board bandwagon. I put all the things that I wanted on the board from declaring myself a bestselling author to purchasing a home.
I also put on there to become a contributor for Chicken Soup for the Soul. I’d never purchased one of these books, until recently, but I’d always been aware of them and somehow or another one or two of their books found a home on my bookshelf. Currently, I have the Chicken Soup for the Forgiveness Soul and Chicken Soup for the Couples Soul. I can’t remember when I decided that my personal stories could find a home within their books, but I started keeping an eye on their website for topics I could write about. In fact, now that I think about, I have to credit Dr. Mary Edwards for sharing the publishing opportunity with me. I met her when she was a vendor at my workplace, selling her books. After she shared the story of how her first book, Born Grown, came to be, we were instant friends. That day she also told me about her writing experience with Chicken Soup For the Soul. She’d been published multiple times and asked to be a judge for the stories at one time. She added me to her mailing list and would periodically send the list of topics the publication was looking for. I was so interested that I started going directly to Chicken Soup’s site to check for myself.
The first story I submitted was for a book called Home Sweet Home. My story wasn’t selected but I didn’t give up. Sometimes I would go several months without checking the site, but I was always reminded of what my goal was when I looked at the dream board hanging in front of me in my cubicle. Though I submitted quite a few times, there were only a few in which I knew I put my heart and soul into the story I penned. “Sisterhood”, the story that was selected for the I’m Speaking Now book was one of those stories. I wrote about two very significant events in my life: becoming a member of my beloved sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and losing my husband, Kevin. Both events were life-changing and that came across in my writing.
I just love how God shows up in my life. I stand on the promises of His word. In the Bible, scripture says that God WILL give you the desires of your heart. Scripture says all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed. Scripture says faith without works is dead.
I’m here to testify what God has done for me. He has given me the desires of my heart. I didn’t sit back and just wait for it to happen. I continued to write and read the books to learn what kind of stories they published. I also prayed for this to happen and had faith that it would happen.
It may not have come when I wanted it–the first time I submitted, but it has come right on time. It is no coincidence that my first story is published in this particular book. The editors of Chicken Soup knew that this was the time to share the stories of the Black woman. And they wanted new voices for this book. One of the emails I received from them stated that they selected quite a few new contributors. This is only the 2nd time in the book’s history that they’ve dedicated a book for African American stories. Every book in this story is written by a black woman, sharing a story pertinent to her life as a Black woman. This is book is going to be a bestseller. And my story is in it!
The month of April was as busy I expected it to be. Two final papers for the two graduate courses I was enrolled in, both of my children’s birthdays, nearly weekly bowling tournaments for my son, and just regular life stuff. And then in the midst of all that, I had to two speaking engagements promoting within the same week!
Can you say stressed?
When it was all said and done, I was in need of a break. Break from writing. Break from posting. Break from thinking about writing. Break from thinking about posting–book related stuff, at least. I just needed to decompress.
However, I didn’t really know how. Writing and promoting my writing has become so infused into my daily life, I nearly didn’t know how to get through the day without pulling out my laptop or phone to write or create a post for social media.
But I knew the detachment was necessary for my mental well-being.
“But, you’re a writer. This is what you love. How can you be stressed doing something you love?” You may be asking.
Easy. When you do what you love, and you begin sharing it with others, it becomes work. No matter how much I may like what I’m writing, I still have to consider my readers in the process. I once read a quote that went something like, “When writers begin losing interest in their writing project, it’s because the real work of writing has begun.”
I still love creating stories and following my characters on their journeys or crafting my life experiences for readers to learn from or identify with. But when I’ve been doing it for a certain length of time, there comes of time to take a break.
It just so happens that when my graduate coursework was coming to an end, God created an opportunity for me to have a couple of weeks off work. I took that time to enjoy sleeping in, watching a couple of movies, and reading a great collection of stories from an author in one of writing group’s that I’m in.
I can’t believe that I went 10 days without opening my laptop. My mind said, “Thank you, sis. We needed that.”
Have you recently taken a mental break from something you love to do? Share in the comments.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Letters to Santa Claus. Love letters to boyfriends. Entries to my diaries in my adolescent and teen years. Entries in my journals throughout my adults years.
I went FB Live on Saturday after I moved myself to tears writing a story I plan to submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul. I wrote about my experience of having a stroke, at 44 years old, with no preexisting risk factors. I wrote about the natural inclination to ask God, “Why me? Haven’t I been through enough?”
I ended on the note of gratefulness that the stroke was just one more thing that God has brought me through. His Word doesn’t say bad things won’t happen to bad people. In fact, it says, “In this world you will have trouble.” Following that text says, “but, Fear not, I will be with you.” How comforting is that?
By the time I finished the piece, I knew that, whenever it is published, it will be a blessing to whoever reads it.