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

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.

Detaching From what you Love

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.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Why I Write: The Page

The Page

Keeper of my secrets

Stories from the depths of my soul

Sometimes true;

Sometimes from the scenes of my imagination;

My dreams

My nightmares

My deepest fears

The crisp white on a notebook page

Or the grainy white of the computer screen,

Never turn me away

Never ignore my pleas

Not afraid of my tears

Not expecting me to be strong

Rather wanting all that I have to give,

to share, to dare

To say.

I can be who I am

I can be who I want to be

I can be who I’m afraid to be

In the open world

There is no judgement on that page;

On that screen

I…AM…FREE

Why I Write? Positively Impacting Other

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.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Why I Write: The Makings of a Story

Where do the ideas for your books? This is a common question asked of authors by readers and aspiring writers. The answers vary. For myself, the subjects that I’ve addressed in my novels have been retrieved for the pages of my life. The stories aren’t biographical by any means, but they’ve been sparked by things I experienced.

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Author L.A. On Writing

The other day I was sitting at work , minding my own business when, out of nowhere, WHAM. Three writing ideas hit me all at once. As is my custom, I jotted the titles on the nearest sheet of paper—a sticky note pad conveniently kept next to my computer. After I wrote them down, I tore the paper off and secured it to my personal laptop, for safekeeping.

I resisted the urge to scribble down my the thoughts on the subject because I’m actively practicing sticking to my current writing project—my third novel. This is very difficult but it also gives me a surge of creative energy to move my manuscript forward. I’m working on the first draft of the novel, and for the first time, not trying to write it in the linear fashion I did with the first two. Instead, I’m allowing my mind to work freely, jumping from scene to scene, jotting down notes, adding descriptive points to characters, etc. This awesome writing software, Scrivener, is the conduit that allows this freedom with everything in one place. In fact, I’ll probably create projects, in Scrivener, for the ideas that I wrote down on the sticky note.

I used to worry about losing the excitement for new ideas if I didn’t immediately stop what I was working on and start writing on the new idea. Over the years, though, I realized that when ideas are close to my heart and meant to be written, they will be written. Case in point, the idea for my current novel came to me while I was finishing my second novel. Not only that, these new ideas are my personal stories that I long to share with the world. Although writing them requires the same in-depth process of creating characters, scenery, plot points that fiction require, it’s slightly different because I’ll be recalling memories from my past.

Similar to ones Yoga practice, every writers’ practice is unique to them. I would love to know how other writers handle the injection of new ideas when you’re in the middle of a project. Share your writing or creative process in the comments below.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Weekends in Quarantine

Am I the only one who hesitates when asking friends old-fashioned questions, like: What are plans today? Have you made it to the gym? What are you doing this weekend? The answers sure have changed.

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It is Finished…Summer Class, that is #lifeafter

Thursday, August 1, 2019 marked the culmination of my first year as a graduate student of the Masters of Library Science program at Wayne State University!  Only a special kind of person–or maybe a glutton for punishment–undertakes a graduate program while displaced from their permanent residence due to a house fire, adjusting to life after the passing of their spouse, taking responsibility over a rental home that deceased husband managed, and a host of other things that you’ve probably already read about on my blog. But, I did it! And quite successfully, too, I might add. 4.0 GPA first semester, 3.5 the second, and a 3.0 this current semester.

Although I did well, I put myself through a lot stress at a time in my life when I should have been relaxing as much as possible. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should do something, I advised myself.

Now, I don’t regret, at all, the decision to begin this program. I’d been contemplating it for a few years before finally applying. However, it might have been a good idea to start with one class instead of two. It took those first two semesters of talking myself out of quitting a time or two before I came to my senses and only registered for one class this last semester.

Forty-three year old LaCharmine cannot do graduate school the way twenty-five year LaCharmine did it.

Prior to the end of this semester, I told myself it was time for a break.

“Not even one class, LaCharmine,” I said to myself sternly. (I need that kind of talking to sometimes).

I need my evenings and weekends as free as they can be (given my church & sorority commitments).

I need time for writing.

I need time for reading.

I need time for getting my house how I want it.

I need time for dating. (Yes, I said it. Dating!!!)

Hmm…will I listen to myself and take a break from school? How will my first date go after 10 years out of the game? Will I accomplish the goal of completing novel #3 by end of 2019? Follow my blog for more #lifeafter posts.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

selfie