Monday, January 31, 2011

I Chronicle My Google Wave Writing Journey

The summer of 2010, six women decided to join together and accomplish the goal. The goal was for each women to write an 80k novel between June 25, 2010 and November 25, 2010. The group used Google Wave as their major communication tool, using it to make updates, share excerpts of WIPs, hold monthly whine fests, get advice, and receive encouragement and inspiration through the journey. Life got in the way--a lot, but ultimately, each woman learned a few things while riding out this journey...




GWave Writing Journey Member
Author Shonell Bacon



Shonell Bacon is an author, editor, and educator. She has published both creatively and academically, and her 5-star debut solo novel, Death at the Double Inkwell is now available for purchase. Shonell also interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shonell's writings at her official website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment. Currently, Shonell is busy editing, promoting her debut project, writing screenplays, and pursuing her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University.



Work from Shonell



Sometimes life is stranger than fiction; take the lives of mystery novelists and twins, Jovan Parham-Anderson and Cheyenne Parham. They are young, beautiful, talented, and on their way to their sixth best-selling novel; that is, until Jo learns her husband, Cordell Anderson, founder of Anderson Technologies, is having an affair with Alisha Stewart, his right hand at Anderson. Before she can confront him, tragedy strikes her home, and Jovan must deal with the fact that the careful, safe life she had with Cordell was merely smoke and mirrors.


Click the cover above to order your copy of DEATH AT THE DOUBLE INKWELL today!


The GWave Writing Journey


What is writing to you?
“Writing is turning one’s worst moments into money.” ~ J. P. Donleavy

Perhaps, but writing is also turning one’s worst moments into great reads for readers and personal understanding for the writer. I’ve written many stories that began from a “worst moment” in my life. Because writing has always been so cathartic to me, it seemed natural that I would weave my real-life angst into creative fodder. In writing stories, I can explore the whys and hows of my situation through characters, allowing me to take a step back from the situation and see things from another perspective. Every good story starts with a conflict, and if I can develop a story that satisfies readers while working through my “worst moments,” then to me that’s a win-win situation.


Why did you agree to be a part of the GWave Writing Journey?
I began pursuit of my Ph.D. in August 2009, and my creative writing took a major back seat. I wrote during the 2009 NaNoWriMo, but I knew that particular piece of writing would never be something I would go back to. I was ready to really get into a project and write something that truly mattered to me. And I knew the only way I could do it while also doing the 50-11 other things in my life would be to have other people working with me and holding myself accountable to them.


How did friendship and sisterhood help/hinder your writing during the journey?
Because of the friendship, of the sisterhood, I finished. This was bigger than me and my story. I fail me all the time, but I hardly ever fail others and because I started this with five other women who were attempting to do the same, I knew I had to keep on keeping on. They inspired me to keep on; their friendship enabled me to keep on.


How did the use of GWave help facilitate conversation amongst the group during the journey?
Needless to say, I'm sad that GWave is phasing out. I LOVE it. I'm sure there are other spaces that do what GWave does, but I really liked the format and structure and our ability to hold group chats, to save chats, to send a group documents and attachments and create threads for different lines of conversations. At any one time, I was in one thread reading someone's excerpt and making comments, in another thread asking a sisterfriend about TV news advice for my story, and in another thread in a gripe session. It was nice to move across threads to seamlessly.


What were some of the successes and or pitfalls that occurred for you during the writing journey?
Actually, there weren't many pitfalls. I was very busy with academic work over the summer, yet I got the writing done. When the fall semester kicked in, I thought I would be writing less, but I actually wrote more and finished my 80k weeks early and finished the book at about 92k before the deadline. The success truly came from two places: my girls from the GWave Writing Journey and from those people on Twitter and Facebook who encouraged me to push it and get the writing done. The experience allowed me to see that if I focus myself, I can get the job done. And considering this is the first book I've ever written without an outline, this achievement is even more important for me.


What did you learn about yourself through the writing journey? As person and as writer?
As a person, I've learned to not doubt myself. At times, I would mentally add up all the things I had to do in my life and kept saying things like, "I HOPE I get my writing done," instead of telling myself I could get it done. It was a lot of work, but once I got into a groove, I realized that I could do it and get everything else done, too.

As a writer, I learned that I could write a book without an outline. I started with characters and the first two, three chapters outlined--and even those chapters didn't get written as outlined, LOL Although I learned I could write without the net, I also learned that I don't like that way too much! LOL I like my outline and the freedom it gives me. Writing without a net gave me way too much freedom and there were days where I sat, wondering what I would write and where I would go instead of having the footprint of an outline to help me.


Well, supposedly, you wrote during this journey...what do you plan to do with what you've written?
Well, I wrote a sequel to my book Death at the Double Inkwell. Book two is titled Into the Web. I'm planning a Double Inkwell series featuring my twin mystery novelists and sleuths, Jovan Parham and Cheyenne Parham. I was done revising but computer crashed before all the revisions could be saved, so I'm back to revising again. Hope to be done that within the next two weeks. From there, I plan to submit it to my publisher and see what happens next. I loved DDIW, and it excites me that I actually love Into the Web more. I hope it's as good to others as it is to me!


Excerpt from GWave Writing


From Into the Web


Chapter One ~ October 21



Take down.

Those words rang in Jovan Parham’s mind as she danced around the ring, staring into the eyes of Derryck, her kickboxing trainer.

“Come on, Jo,” Derryck said while holding up his padded hands. “Pay attention. Jab left, cross right, jab right.”

“I’m doing it,” she said, her voice nearing a whine.

“You look lazy.” Derryck’s left hand made its way to Jovan’s headgear. She just managed to move, but heard the sound of his fist whizzing by her face. “I haven’t tagged your face in nearly four months.”

Jovan smiled and took two jabs to the side of Derryck’s face; the second one connected.

“And you didn’t get me this time either,” she replied.

The two continued to spar, sharing words and punches and kicks, but Jovan’s mind was still stuck on two words: take down.

She woke up in the middle of the night after a horrific nightmare, one she had almost every month since she moved into her new condo a year ago. The nightmare was always the same: she watching as a host of characters took part in killing her. She lay, shackled to a metal table, dressed in a white loose gown that had been ripped to shreds. Every few minutes, someone would come into the dimly lit room and cut her with a sharp, curved blade. No words were ever exchanged. She screamed with each flick of the blade, begged for her life, but it was all for naught. Cordell came in and took a chunk of her. As did his mother. As did his brother. Alisha took her share as well, as did Sarah, which broke her heart more than Cordell wanting to kill her. She had thought Sarah was her best friend. Finding out she had slept with Cordell and carried his child tore at her heart. To know that even in her nightmares Sarah wanted to hurt her more nearly broke her.

The last person to come in was always Linda Hayes. And unlike the others, who were more like automatons, coming to do their robotic bidding, Linda had a sparkle in her eyes, a curl of her lip, and extra dig of her cut when she took her swipe of Jovan. She had hoped that her time at the altar during service that morning, where she begged God, begged him to remove the nightmares, might give her a night of respite, but it wasn’t to be. If she actually took time to think about it, she’d realize that her continuous thinking about them would only create more of them.

When she woke up last night from the nightmare, Jovan rushed to her office—a place that held warm, soft thoughts for her as it was the place where words took to life. She reached for the small blue bible she kept on the desk and rifled through the pages before landing her finger on Luke 10:19, I have given you authority …to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

The words brought her peace, but she had an even better way of using her authority to overcome her enemies. She took out a pad and pen, and spent a good hour creating a list of people she needed to take down.

Linda Hayes was at the top of that list. For going on two years, the TrĂ©s Chic head reporter-now executive producer had been relentless in her pursuit to find something bad to report about Jovan. Even after everyone else had put the murder of Jovan’s husband and the fallout of it behind them, Linda was determined to continue to bring up Jovan’s painful story: Cordell’s murder. Cordell’s affair with Alisha. Cordell’s affair with Sarah. The baby Sarah carried. The complex scheming and plotting that revealed Cordell’s drugged-out brother was supposed to kill Jovan but instead killed Cordell. Jovan’s reaching out to Mark, Sarah’s husband, in a time of need and the subsequent relationship that continued long after Cordell was buried. The justice (though not peace) that was brought to Jovan and her family.

In all parts of the world, Jovan’s soap opera of a life had come and gone as new, crazier stories unfolded. But in Baltimore, where she and her twin Cheyenne were deemed stars for their bestselling-authors status and their charities, Jovan’s story continued to live—mostly thanks to Linda Hayes.

And somehow, she had managed to overcome her anger at Linda and this ferocious, tenacious need Linda had to break her down.

But then yesterday arrived, and Jovan became undone.

She had tried to go about her day. She went to a speaking engagement for her solo inspirational non-fiction, Picking up the Pieces, a book that detailed the story of her life with Cordell and the aftermath. She met with Cheyenne to work on the outline of their next mystery, Vanishing Keys. She even got ready to meet Mark for a dinner date down at the Inner Harbor.

Not once did anyone in her inner circle mention the significance of the day: the second anniversary of Cordell’s death. They knew it wasn’t needed. They knew Jovan would have stayed up the entire night prior, still crying over the loss, still angry over the betrayal, still unsteady on what to do with her life. She was still fragile from the coming and going of Cordell’s birthday nearly three weeks ago. She had spent that day in quiet reflection, wondering why, yet again, she couldn’t find out about Cordell’s lies before anyone had to die. She still felt like an idiot over believing Sarah was her friend. She had spent hours talking to Sarah, telling her about the decline in her marriage—never realizing that her supposed friend was sleeping with her husband.

Any normal person, knowing what she’d been through, would have given Jovan this day to grieve, to feel, to think in her own personal space.

But not Linda Hayes.

Jovan had expected to hear from her. After all, she saw commercials regarding Linda’s anniversary special. Linda had her assistant call her earlier in the month, trying to get her to talk about Cordell on the day of his birthday. Jovan had told her to “Go read Picking Up the Pieces if you’re so damn interested in learning what I’m willing to say about Cordell. Other than that, leave me the hell alone, Miss Hayes.” It was only a matter of time that Linda would call her again, trying to get some comment to use for her latest special.



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chronicling the Google Wave Writing Journey: Author Makasha Dorsey

The summer of 2010, six women decided to join together and accomplish the goal. The goal was for each women to write an 80k novel between June 25, 2010 and November 25, 2010. The group used Google Wave as their major communication tool, using it to make updates, share excerpts of WIPs, hold monthly whine fests, get advice, and receive encouragement and inspiration through the journey. Life got in the way--a lot, but ultimately, each woman learned a few things while riding out this journey...


GWave Writing Journey Member
Author Makasha Dorsey


Makasha Dorsey is the managing partner at Dorsey Group, a strategic planning and business development firm. When she is not developing strategic business solutions for her clients, she blogs about marriage and family at MakashaDorsey.com.


The GWave Writing Journey


What is writing to you?
Writing is what I do to explore my thoughts and observations. It aligns me with my beliefs and keeps me grounded because it allows me to be judgmental and judged at the same time.


Why did you agree to be a part of the GWave Writing Journey?
Accountability. I work from home, alone.


How did friendship and sisterhood help/hinder your writing during the journey?
It made me more competitive. On the days I did not make time to write, I would think of everything going on in everyone else’s life and realized they made the time. When I returned to writing, I would do my best to catch up.


How did the use of GWave help facilitate conversation amongst the group during the journey?
I believe the group allowed us to cheer one another on as well as share what worked for us during the writing process. GWave also allowed me to peek into the lives of the ladies writing with me.


What were some of the successes and or pitfalls that occurred for you during the writing journey?
I overscheduled during this process. Between GWave, writing work, editing work, school, home, family, etc. I bombed.


What did you learn about yourself through the writing journey? As person and as writer?
I re-learned that a first draft should be fluid, off the cuff or you will lose yourself in the process of writing instead of the story.


Well, supposedly, you wrote during this journey...what do you plan to do with what you've written?
I plan to pitch my story at the 2011 Faith and Fiction Retreat. If I don’t attend I will pitch to a few editors and/or agents.


Excerpt from GWave Writing

Exit Strategies
(Raw, Unedited Excerpt)


Nervous her plan had failed, Terilynn checked one more time to see if she had missed a call. She had not. Maybe Roman wanted out of the marriage as much as she wanted it to work. Maybe he was glad she left home. It would surely give him enough time to get on Facebook to flirt with anyone who would participate. Her mind drifted to the last set of emails he had sent to an ex-girlfriend from high school.

How could someone so loving be so unfaithful? Terilynn asked herself as she pulled over into the Arby’s parking lot.

She could feel herself becoming emotional. It was her excuse for everything lately. The pain she carried from her marriage had begun to spill over into every other area of her life. She was good at her job but found herself passing on more and more of her work to her executive and virtual assistants. Terilynn had been so distraught, simple tasks like driving her children to school welled up and caused excruciating panic attacks. For the most part, she sounded like Samuel L. Jackson: constant and unnecessary outbursts.

Terilynn could only apologize after she had hurt someone’s feelings and then retreated to her office, bedroom, or shower to let the tears flow. Tonight was no different. She sat in the parking lot and sobbed. The crying did not come from Roman not following or calling her. Nor did it come from facing the fact that her marriage was near its end. She cried because she was lonely.

From the outside, her relationship with Roman looked like the epitome of the African-American Dream. The Matthews were an attractive and accomplished couple with no outside children, a beautiful home, and not one financial problem. Really, they could buy anything they wanted and go anywhere they dreamed. In public, Roman was a doting, loving husband whose wife was the absolute apple of his eye.

In private, Terilynn lived with a moody, uncommitted man who made it absolutely clear that since he paid all of the bills he could do whatever he wanted. He demanded privacy and things that belonged strictly to him. Most of the time he used his privacy to find ways to cheat and maintain inappropriate relationships with other women.

There was nothing she could do. She allowed everyone to believe that her life was perfect and she could not tell a soul it wasn’t. Terilynn had permitted the perception of others to trap her not only in a loveless marriage but in a state of solitary confinement where it seemed that no one, not even God, could hear.

Terilynn’s desolate sobs were interrupted by Fur Elise, the ringtone on her cell phone. Knowing it was Roman, for a split-second she thought to ignore the call and abandon her plan. But, she decided to go through with it.

Terilynn took a deep breath, grabbed her recorder, turned on the radio and said, “Hello,” in a soft whisper.

“Hey,” Roman said and then waited.

With smooth jazz playing in the background, Terilynn responded, “What’s up?"

“Hey beautiful, what are you doing over here alone? I’m waiting for you,” an unfamiliar man’s voice blurted from the background followed by shushing from Terilynn.

“Who is that?” Roman asked suspiciously.

Terilynn abruptly answered, “That’s just the radio. I gotta go. Love ya.”


###


“Teri. Teri!” Roman yelled into the phone. She did not respond.

Who is she with? Roman asked himself knowing he would never find out. He really did not blame his wife, but she had no right being with another man. She’s a Christian. Roman knew he did not deserve his wife’s faithfulness, but he could not stand the thought of anyone else touching her. It was probably the reason he had never filed for a divorce.

He was not kidding anyone. Deep down inside Roman loved his wife. She was kind, gentle, and forgiving. He had messed up so many times and Terilynn always forgave him. Granted, her forgiveness usually came with a few months of anger, resentment, and hurt. Nonetheless, she forgave. However, his behavior never changed.

From Roman’s perspective, he did not have to. Every man he knew and respected had cheated on his wife with other women. He was just being a man. He had never had sexual intercourse with another woman, but he often received blow jobs from the women with whom he flirted.

What if she is …? Roman could not finish his thought it was so disgusting. He could not allow himself to go there, but he could tear the town up looking for her.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chronicling the Google Wave Writing Journey: Author Pascalle Onika Lewis

The summer of 2010, six women decided to join together and accomplish the goal. The goal was for each women to write an 80k novel between June 25, 2010 and November 25, 2010. The group used Google Wave as their major communication tool, using it to make updates, share excerpts of WIPs, hold monthly whine fests, get advice, and receive encouragement and inspiration through the journey. Life got in the way--a lot, but ultimately, each woman learned a few things while riding out this journey...


GWave Writing Journey Member
Author Pascalle Onika Lewis



Born in Trinidad, Pascalle Onika Lewis now resides in Brooklyn, New York. She currently holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Medgar Evers College. Her first published books of poetry entitled, Collections of a See Through Soul - Portraits (2008) and Collections of a See Through Soul – Bardvillian Symphonies (2009), were both written under the pen name Onika Pascal and published by Osbey Books. Since then, she has been working on other projects, a novel titled On the Eve of Goodbye as well as penning a memoir titled, Becoming More Than Just An Orange.

Pascal's talent of turning words into phenomenal stories and pieces of art is one that is infectious. Pascal's publisher, Pam Osbey of Osbey Books, Inc. solidifies this: "With words that pierce your soul and beg you to enter the temple of openness and curiosity for life, Onika Pascal's pen commands your attention at first glance," Osbey explains. "Working with this inquisitive soul whose spirit is unique through a lens all her own, I have been honored to see the progression of a writer who has only touched the surface of her literary purpose."

When she's not writing, Pascal serves as an event coordinator and a youth mentor with the Misunderstood Youth Development Center, a non-profit organization that provides a place for youth to express themselves. It is here that Pascal has shared the wonders of poetry with the teens in her group.



The GWave Writing Journey


What is writing to you?
Writing is a classical way of expression. I say classical because there’s now a “Lady Gaga” type way of expressing yourself. Writing helps me to unscramble scenes and characters that rest in my mind. In my head they all make perfect sense, but writing them into existence is a challenge. And I love it.


Why did you agree to be a part of the GWave Writing Journey?
I agreed to be a part of the GWave because I felt like I was slipping from the writing world. I was losing my zeal, and the GWave Writing Journey/group helped stir up my hands and story idea.


How did friendship and sisterhood help/hinder your writing during the journey?
The friendship and sisterhood helped tremendously. The constant support, motivation and encouragement played the role of that little “ummph” that you’d need to complete a project. When life took reign, the sisterhood was there to help push you on.


How did the use of GWave help facilitate conversation amongst the group during the journey?
I was introduced to other readers, and the use of GWave helped me to feel comfortable, and see that I wasn’t the only one with some doubts. We were all in this together. When I saw the excitement and pride the other group members had for their work, it was a clear indication that the decision to be in the group was worth the journey. Birds of a feather flock together. Right!


What were some of the successes and or pitfalls that occurred for you during the writing journey?
Success, I started. I researched and believe I have a plausible plot. Pitfall, I stopped. Life happens. It’s the best way I can sum it up. I always say to myself, “I don’t have a writer’s life.” My career is a bit demanding, and many times I have to succumb to it, and my writing gets tossed on the back burner. Though I didn’t complete my journey, it is NOT forgotten.


What did you learn about yourself through the writing journey? As person and as writer?
The journey helped me to learn/see that I am NOT disciplined. That I allow too many incidents to occur and take away from my writing. And I’ll be honest in saying my fear of criticism is what creates that wide enough gap to slip away. But the group helped me see what it takes to get the job done.


Well, supposedly, you wrote during this journey...what do you plan to do with what you've written?
I did write. And though I haven’t finished, I plan to complete it, and take a chance at shopping it around, or possibly self publishing. Writing isn’t about keeping it bottled up inside. It’s about putting it out there for the world to see…a polished product is a proper product. And it takes hard work.



Excerpt from GWave Writing


Parting Clouds


PROLOGUE

He didn't imagine that his feet knew the way. His mind surely didn't. The Cassandra Hills wasn't one he'd quite known. But fear makes a man do anything. He chased after Cobra like death chased an ailing man. Destined. He was out of control. He was possessed. Demonesqued, almost. He saw his way without guidance. He didn't map his step but somehow knew where he was going. His breathing was fueled by something other than a natural movement. His eyes were wide, glaring, with no sympathy, and somehow shone its own light to the darkened hill top. The trees, grass and creatures once told in folklores didn't seem to matter. All he knew, was that he was on a mission. His target was the only thing on his mind, and he was out to fulfill what needed to be done.

His already ripped used Dockers, barely-there shoes and gray stained with-the-past t-shirt finally took on a new person, when he saw the body movement before him. And in the pull of the trigger, the night air was filled with bellowing shots. Loud. Incandescent. Frightful. Twelve.

After the last shot, he ran cold. His blood stopped pumping through his veins. And as if he too had been hit by one, or more, of the 12 shots he'd just fired, so did his heart. The heat from the Beretta didn’t bother him, but the scent of the gun powder burnt his nose. A scent he’d smell for the rest of his life. He blinked slowly. Not sure what he'd see when he re-opened them, but he did. He looked down and saw Cobra’s twitching body flicker like a fish on land, then coming to a still, stiffened object. There were still had beads of sweat on his victims face, and for a minute the shooter had hoped he’d get up and start running again. He just had too. But the body laid there on the wet leaves, twigs, stones, and worms. His eyes stared at his assassin as if he didn’t want to lose sight of his face. The pistol left the hands of the assailant and dropped to the earth. His hands opened as if to let the breeze blow away his sin. He looked at his hands, and his body shook like the wind was whirling around inside him.

Thick blood flowed from the dead body and touched the toes of the now shaken man. The warmth of it made him jump back into the trunk of the tree behind him. The bats fluttered from their resting spot and danced around the listless body, like they knew he was the one that disturbed them. The fear of what he just did and the bats, all made him lose his manhood for the first time, in a different way. Wet and warm.

He hoped that it was a nightmare. His life flashed before his eyes. A brave man never second guesses his movements and re-opened his eyes swiftly. He opened them and confirmed that he'd be running again. Running from the corpse, running from his own life. He'd be running from everything he had, his family, his home, his way-ward lifestyle, but running as a fugitive.

He'd never killed a man, and never imagined killing one that was so close to him.

He kept seeing the same face, same blood, same veins, but saw a different path in life. To him, he had shot himself. And as far as he was concerned, whatever took over him then, told him that he too was no longer alive. And he ran.

He laid as stiff as the very same dead body amongst the stench, fish nets, bait buckets, and hooks used by the fishermen. He knew at that hour no one would be around and he would be safe until dawn, when the fishermen would return. Right before he felt the twinge of the cramp in his neck from the entangled position he was in for the last 5 hours, he heard the horn of one of the steam ships. And his mind mapped out how he’d keep running. He’d have to jump ship.

The water made a pocketing sound. Cupping the little bit of space between air & the surface of the water to the bottom of the boat. He could hear the fishermen get ready for their day. "Boy, hear nah, if I doh ketch real fish today, my wife tell me doh come home", said one of the fishermen. He couldn’t see who, the position he was in didn’t give him room to make out any one. But the voices were groggy and heavy, and thick with the country’s accent. “Doh come home? My wife cyah tell me dat. Dis fish here is we bread and butter. I ketchin dis here, not she. Bout doh come home! Woman not supposed to talk to man so. NOT in dis day and age. We run tings in de household.” The other was quite stern with his words. The man’s voice alone led Tennessee to imagine his physique. He was tall, strapid, dark, probably bald, maybe a mustache, and with arms like a tree trunk.

In between some hearty laughter & heckling among the seamen, he smelled what his stomach wasn't able to avoid. Food. Smoked herring, probably spread in between freshly home baked bread. Or it could have been placed neatly on the side. He also caught the aroma of freshly grated cocoa as he heard the crunch of one of the men’s thermos opened.

He was reminded that he hadn't eaten for two days, and two days too long. So hungry, he forgot about his getaway. He couldn't move his head far enough to see if the steam ships were there or gone. Last he remembered was the sound of the horn, but uncertain if it had docked or left the pier.

As he closed his eyes to rid himself of the hunger pangs, he remembered why he was there. It was a memory he didn't want to relive. The scent of the gun powder replaced the food. It petrified him. His heart banged on the inside of his chest. Shaking him a bit weaker than he already was.

To calm himself, he bit into his bottom lip until he tasted the warmth of his own blood. As his blood dripped and coated the inside of his mouth, he built the courage to get out of his hiding place without being noticed. He unfolded from his pretzel like position, promising himself to not make a sound with the fishing equipment entangled around him. And like a magician, he managed to slip out from the space and slip under the pier, and hunched over, as to not his head on the boardwalk above him. He stood shivering in the iciness of the water. It’s unpleasantly cold, bitter, angry temperature awoke him instantly. At 4am, the seas water holds a chill, just as the mind holds a dream.

He delicately and smoothly stroked through the waters. Making sure to not wake a ripple, nor splash a sound. The piers and waters of Chaguramas were heavily guarded as it was owned by the Americans. They owned that part of the country as well as the mindsets of some of his fellow African brothers. With the strong tension in the country, getting caught would end his life, just like he ended a brother’s life.

He had to make his way before the soldiers saw him. He no longer had his shield made up of the seamen’s nets and hooks and bait and buckets.

It was time to move on.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why Should You Buy Death at the Double Inkwell?





Why should you purchase Death at the Double Inkwell?

Jovan and Cheyenne are the perfect opposites of each other. They had a sisterly bond that did not falter not once. One could have easily have killed for the other. I loved the contrasting of each character's personality to the others. The pacing was there as was the anticipation of what was to come next. If you are a reader who indulges in mysteries, this would be a perfect book for you. -- part of 5-star review from Jennifer Coissiere, APOOO BookClub

Death At The Double Inkwell by Shonell Bacon takes mystery and intrigue to another level of sheer reading satisfaction ... These twin sisters may have the exact DNA but their personalities are polar opposites which serve as a compelling motif throughout this suspenseful novel. Their sisterly bond and actions are the glue that holds the novel in place; whereas the engaging details and events keep the reader guessing as the intricate tale is slowly uncovered. -- part of 5-star review from S. Stinson Gray, Essentially Woman Writing Group

Suffice it to say that Shonell Bacon knows how to tell a good story, and I loved the strong protagonists Jovan and Cheyenne as well as their sisterly bond and deep religious faith, which comes through on every page in the most sincere way. A fun, emotional, at times dark but ultimately hopeful read. -- part of 5-star review from Kristin J. Johnson, screenwriter, storyteller

I will admit that I am not a huge fan of mystery, but Death at the Double Inkwell had me intrigued from the very beginning. I am usually well known for my ability to figure out a story in the first few chapters, not this time. Shonell weaved a suspenseful and VERY well written tale that kept me guessing and questioning my skills until close to the end of the novel. Even then, there was still yet another juicy surprise waiting for me. -- part of 5-star review from Nakia R. Laushaul, author of The Truth as I See It


Want to add your thoughts about DDIW? Well, first you need to GET THE BOOK today! You won't be sorry you did so!

Talking Women in Social Media on Sisterhood, The Blog Radio

Last summer, I had the pleasure of talking with Ananda Leeke on her show, Sisterhood, the blog radio. She's doing a women in social media series, and I was honored to be considered cool enough to be a guest. We talked about a slew of things in 30 minutes -- from the social media tools that I use to why women should take on social media tools. Have to say the end is pretty funny as I got Ananda to try to multitask while conducting the interview. Check it out!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Is a Good Book with Author Miki Starr Martin




This month at ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE, we're talking to authors about "good" books--particularly their definitions of a good book and how their latest releases constitute that good book. AtBaP's next author is so creative in the projects she tackles. One of her latest books is a great piece of metafiction, and yours truly appears in the story, too! I'm talking about Miki Starr Martin, author of two new novels, the metafiction Psycho and Olivia!






Dr. Nicollet Madison Fairway is a fictional psychotherapist straight out the mind of authoress Miki Starr Martin. Problem is - she doesn’t realize it. In a loft located in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, Dr. Fairway has created a very lucrative business counseling fictitious characters through a celebrated system that has been dubbed, The Fairway Method and has been greatly successful in her treatment of many very notable fictitious characters. From Eric Jerome Dickey’s Arizona, to the late Alex Haley’s Ruthana, with many other authors’ characters in between.

Now, Dr. Fairway has decided to take on a new adventure in her practice by serving a group of characters all from a single mind. In this case, it is her very own creator, Miki Starr. Unfortunately this is a much greater undertaking than the good doctor could have ever suspected. Between the troubles with her own relatives, a family filled with arrogant, self-serving doctors, her bickering clients, and her quest for true love - Dr. Fairway is doing all that she can to hold on to her sanity while trying to help her clients find a piece of their own.





For decades, the children of the planet Marieux were told tales of the birth of a savior that would free their world from the clutches of the heartless organization that controlled it for years. Military rule, unjust laws, and recruitment of women for the purpose of serving the needs of their oppressor, exemplified the society into which they were born. But with each passing year, as civilization was further plunged into the depths of despair, it became even less conceivable that the prophecy of the Anointed Daughter of the Marinites was true.

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Kalaath, has heard this story since childhood and rejected it for just as long, despite at times being accused of being this prophecy come reality. After all, she has the golden skin tone and the extraordinary instincts synonymous with the mythical figure. Either way, being different has its price. In order to keep herself and her mother below the Shadow Realm Allegiance’s radar, she practices the age-old art of concealing, a survival technique she learned as a child. But when her best friend goes missing, Olivia must decide what she believes in once and for all.


You don't want to miss this feature! Miki Starr offers insightful responses to our monthly questions regarding "good" books and on top of that gives us two juicy excerpts to her novels! Head to All the Blog's a Page [NOW] to read more!

Chronicling the Google Wave Writing Journey: Author Darnetta Frazier

The summer of 2010, six women decided to join together and accomplish the goal. The goal was for each women to write an 80k novel between June 25, 2010 and November 25, 2010. The group used Google Wave as their major communication tool, using it to make updates, share excerpts of WIPs, hold monthly whine fests, get advice, and receive encouragement and inspiration through the journey. Life got in the way--a lot, but ultimately, each woman learned a few things while riding out this journey...




GWave Writing Journey Member
Author Darnetta Frazier



Darnetta Frazier (Genesis) is an Ohio-born, spoken-word poet. As reviewer for A Place Of Our Own (APOOO) and novelist, she dabbles in the literary scene from all perspectives. Along with honing her craft, she revels in motherhood, daughterhood, wifedom, and friendship. She currently maintains a blog called One Word at a Time and can be reached at queenfrazier@yahoo.com.





Work from Darnetta



Description of 30 Days by Darnetta Frazier

30 Days is a short moment in twin sisters’ lives when they are grieving for their mother differently. It is a pivotal moment where both acknowledge the other’s pain and how they choose to carry on without their mother’s presence.




Click the cover above to order your copy of WOMEN'S WRITES today!


The GWave Writing Journey


What is writing to you?
Writing, to me, is being able to express myself and a way to exhale, especially when life has me holding my breath.


Why did you agree to be a part of the GWave Writing Journey?
I felt being a part of the journey would hold me accountable to my gift. I also love being a part of a writing sisterhood as well.


How did friendship and sisterhood help/hinder your writing during the journey?
I don’t think it hindered me; I hindered myself-not purposely though. Friendship and sisterhood helped because there were times when my story was going no where and you all encouraged me to either continue or chuck it and start something different. Not to mention being able to discuss life and how that ALWAYS got in the way of writing.


How did the use of GWave help facilitate conversation amongst the group during the journey?
GWave gave us a medium to share ideas, what we’ve written, and give/get feedback. GWave could have been more helpful if we could have accessed it from our cellphones. There were times when my computer was in one of its bi-polar episodes and I couldn’t get on and I can’t lie, I felt a little lost and out of the loop.


What were some of the successes and or pitfalls that occurred for you during the writing journey?
My successes were that I built up quite a few story ideas and the pitfalls were I had a few traumatic life occurrences that stopped my writing dead in its tracks.


What did you learn about yourself through the writing journey? As person and as writer?
I learned through this journey that as much as I love to write, I may not be writing in the correct medium. I no longer feel a pull to write novels as much as I feel to write screenplays and poetry. I think it’s time for me to develop my talent in that area. When I see things and write them, my visions play out like movies and I want to take my talents to that arena, :-)

As a person, I learned that I’m my worst enemy, that I need a certain type of validation to continue writing. And I’m not sure that’s what any writer should really need just to write. Of course writers want the validation of their target audience, just not initially since writing is such an intimate and often lonely act. This is also one of the reasons I need to remix it, figure out where my skills and ideas fit best. I also find out that I need instant gratification. I’ve lost the patience it needs to build a good story. I just want to see it, write it, and it happen at that moment.

Another important thing I learned about myself was that I abandoned my first love, poetry. I plan to return with a vengeance. For some reason I let poetry escape me, but I recall being less stressed, more able to handle life’s hiccups when I wrote poetry.


Well, supposedly, you wrote during this journey...what do you plan to do with what you've written?
I plan to publish a non-fiction work called They Don’t Speak about Us, which delves into the psyche and experience of a young grandmother-to-be. Out of all the things I’ve attempted to write throughout this journey, this piece is most important and most needed. I haven’t decided if I’d write the entire thing myself, compile an anthology, or create a stage play with it. But I know it needs to be heard/seen.




Excerpt from GWave Writing


They Don't Speak about Us

November 10, 2010


I relied on auto-pilot this morning. Woke up. Covered my hair. Got kids ready for school. Drove them to school. Returned home to my couch and sat. I wasn’t quite sure if just sitting was serving any good, but each time I rose, I had so many thoughts that I just sat back down. Overwhelmed by the simple act of thinking.

The night before, before I fell asleep, had been filled with community and sharing of libations with my sisters and mother. Though I was present, I stayed out of all the pregnancy conversations. At this point, I’d minimally spoken to my daughter; there was nothing to say until she made her decision, quieted her fears, examined her future, absorbed all the discussions she’d have to endure-tonight and for time to come.

That’s right. Times are different and I knew there would be discussions for me as well: Why wasn’t she on birth control? You can’t LET her have this baby! What are YOU going to do? The difference was, I could choose whether or not to indulge in those discussions. And my answer was, “Leave me alone. It isn’t my problem.” I also had determined that I would only seek opinions and advice from wise women whom I cherish and trust and am supportive of and supported by.

While at the impromptu wine night, I’d learned, for certain, that my daughter was unsure of whether or not she should bring forth life. Instinctually, I knew she was pregnant all along. And I knew she was confused about how to feel about being pregnant. She examined every aspect of her short life and categorized how she felt about the father, about them raising a child, and sadly her heart would overrule her head. This was natural. At her age, 17, all that matters are emotional connections; not what your mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, or uncles taught you. No matter how many positive people I placed in her life, I knew ultimately she’d choose her own path. That’s what life is about sometimes. I’d been there before; her shoes were mine exactly 17 years ago.

All of the women around her had varied opinions and varying experiences. They leant her a moment in their struggles with parenthood. Even those with no children. They were able to speak about the baby fresh freedom she would soon be required to give up. Though some had no children of their own, they’d witnessed many sisterfriends and family members sacrifice the freedom she now takes for granted.

She listened and absorbed every syllable like she wanted to take in as much of this moment as the good Lord allowed. And I watched her. I watched her be confused, afraid, and happy in a matter of minutes. I couldn’t help her; I knew that. But what about us? What about teenage mothers who birth teenage mothers? There is no where for us to go, share, and get or receive support and feedback. There are no books to read on how to handle something like this. But the emotions are real, the problem is real, but there is no real entity for guidance. They just don’t speak about us. But we’re here. This is what consumed my thoughts this night. Once again, I relied on auto-pilot. I drank, played cards, and promised everyone new hair-do’s the next day; if I woke from this nightmare. But the nightmare was still there this morning.






Thursday, January 6, 2011

Promo Your Book with FIRSTS

Firsts

These days, writers need to grab the reader on the first page. Firsts is a new segment that will be featured on ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING [website] and/or All the Blog's a Page [website]. With Firsts, authors can send to me the first page of their novel and the following information:

  • Book cover
  • Book description (what we'd read on the back cover of your novel
  • Author pic
  • Short author bio (what we might read on the back cover of your novel or the author page within your novel)


I will schedule the feature on one of the above sites and send out alerts on the feature's post on various social media outlets.


What I envision Firsts to be is that sneak peek into a novel that often moves us to take a book to the counter of a bookstore and buy it.


If you'd like to have your first promoted on CLG or AtBaP, e-mail me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Update Regarding ShonBacon.Com

Had major issues with hosting recently and had to make a major change to the site, which meant having to rewrite most of the content. Yay me, right!? Well, I have Bio, Books, and Screenwriting pages are done, and I have updated everything on my right side bar. I hope to add to the Bacon Bits and Listen! pages by Monday and add additional material to the Death at the Double Inkwell page under Books.

Chronicling the Google Wave Writing Journey: Author Jennifer Coissiere

The summer of 2010, six women decided to join together and accomplish a goal. The goal was for each women to write an 80k novel between June 25, 2010 and November 25, 2010. The group used Google Wave as their major communication tool, using it to make updates, share excerpts of WIPs, hold monthly whine fests, get advice, and receive encouragement and inspiration through the journey. Life got in the way--a lot, but ultimately, each woman learned a few things while riding out this journey...



GWave Writing Journey Member
Author Jennifer Coissiere



Jennifer Coissiere is originally from Kingston, Jamaica, raised in Jamaica, NY, and currently living in a suburb of Georgia with her husband and three children. Aside from writing and working on her BS in Early Childhood Education, Jennifer also dabbles in making beaded gems. You can learn more about Jennifer at her website.



Jennifer's Debut Novel





Rachelle Martin’s mother died on Mother’s Day when she was only 15. To make matters worse, Rachelle was in church singing her mother’s favorite song at the time. Now, at age 30, she still has not gotten over the loss of her mother. She feels it is her job to mother and protect her twin brother, Raheem. However, when Rachelle’s dad asks her to sing as a Christmas gift to him, she is transformed. She becomes the focus of many as she focuses on the here and now, instead of the pain of so long ago. She goes from a perceived ugly duckling to a beautiful swan. Her transformation changes the lives of others, making them realize what they want in life. Slowly but surely, they will all begin Crossing Over.



Click the cover above to order your copy of CROSSING OVER today!


The GWave Writing Journey


What is writing to you?
Writing, like reading, is my way to escape from my everyday life. I do, say, and be things (a person) I wouldn’t otherwise be. I also find it’s a way to get a message out to the person who needs to receive it.


Why did you agree to be a part of the GWave Writing Journey?
I remember when we first started throwing around ideas about giving our writing the time it deserves because we are so passionate about writing. Writing can be addictive and very lonely. Knowing that I had a support group cheering me on when I felt like I had nothing left in me to write is the reason why I agreed to be a part of the GWave Writing Journey.


How did friendship and sisterhood help/hinder your writing during the journey?
I gained a deeper appreciation for the friendship (a word I don’t use lightly at all) of each individual person and also the sisterhood of the entire group. Sometimes just when I started beating myself up for not writing, because I didn’t feel like writing anything, and/or I had spent my writing time staring off or doodling…a message would come through. Someone else would share their progress on their writing and I would get excited for my friends. Sure enough, there would always be one other person saying they didn’t get a chance to write because of xyz, and I wouldn’t feel so bad or alone anymore.


How did the use of GWave help facilitate conversation amongst the group during the journey?
The conversations were so lively because of the real-time aspect of GWave. We didn’t have to send emails back and forth. Being able to respond to an exact statement made it easy to follow the conversation if for some reason I was unable to take part at the time it was happening. The ideas we bounced off each other was stored some place we could return to.


What were some of the successes and or pitfalls that occurred for you during the writing journey?
My success is that I was able to focus on a story that I was enjoyed writing. I didn’t want to feel like it was a chore. The mere fact I was writing was a great success, but the fact that most of it was really good, in my opinion, made it a better success. My pitfall, boy is it a doozy, I wrote myself into a wall twice. Which made me have to go back to the beginning, read and rearrange, add in or take away from what I already had. I felt conflicted because I was getting nowhere and fast.


What did you learn about yourself through the writing journey? As person and as writer?
I learned that I do most of my writing when I am really upset about something, doesn’t matter what. I can write really fast, but with a burning desire to control the situation. However, when I’m happy or content, I write slower with a lackadaisical passion. I also realize that unless others are depending on me I am a huge procrastinator. I will do everything else but write. Once it’s time for me to write, I’m usually too tired to do it. I need to develop a tight schedule that I will stick with to get my writing in at a more reasonable time.


Well, supposedly, you wrote during this journey...what do you plan to do with what you've written?
I intend to complete my manuscript and then have it edited. I know I said in the beginning this would be the book that I would shop around in an attempt to find a publisher, but I’m still thinking about that.



Excerpt from GWave Writing


Hiding Under The Umbrella
(an excerpt from Chapter Two)

“LaShae, I’m sorry that Nana behaved the way she did. However, once we get inside, please don’t start anything with Derek.”

“You blame me for everything,” she said. “Bet you blame me for my father taking his things and high tailing it out of here.”

Every time she spoke of her father, a little more of my shine got sucked out of my spirit. “No, I don’t,” I said in a hushed tone. I hated when she brought him up.

That man left on his own free will. He never gave a reason and I never sought him out to get one. The truth was I didn’t want to hear him say anything negative about me. What upstanding man would walk away from his beautiful daughter? Just her sheer innocence alone would be enough to keep him focused on being in her life. The obvious divider would be me. Didn’t want him to tell me that. I let him go without a fight. I didn’t even seek him out for any type of child support. The support I had needed and wanted at the time he obviously didn’t want to give me, so I let him off the hook without any consequences.

“Please, just say hello to Derek and you can do whatever you’d like for the remainder of the evening.” I didn't feel like putting out yet another fire. Once today was enough.

“Fine, you won’t even know I’m here. If I had my own phone that would make it even easier to disappear,” she said. Why were teenagers so pessimistic?

“I hate when you say things like that. Adjust your attitude while I think about getting you a phone.”

LaShae’s face lit up as if I had already agreed to buy her a cell.

She entered the house first. I took a deep breath before entering behind her. Derek was sitting in the kitchen with no lights on, holding on to a bottle of soda. I walked over to him and attempted to kiss his head, but he moved out of my reach.

“Do you have any idea what time it is?” he asked. He didn’t even bother to look in my direction. He stared at the closed refrigerator door. Then his head turned to the right, acknowledging the fact that the stove was also without food.

“Sorry, honey. I’m going to get you your dinner right away.” All my bags were thrown into the corner by the pantry door. Under normal circumstances, I would have placed them in my office, but tonight was not the time to keep Derek waiting to do such a menial task.

I washed my hands and quickly took out the flank steaks I had in the refrigerator. Instead of the mashed potatoes I originally planned, I decided on a potato hash.

That would cook faster.

Derek was still sitting in the same spot he was in when we got there. The muscles in his jaw were working. The tension was building in the room as the heat from the stove went up a few degrees.

I would be lying if I said that I was still hungry after eating at my mother’s house. However, Derek hated eating alone, so I put a small tasting on a plate for myself.

With both plates ready to be placed on the table, I grabbed the water jug from the refrigerator. Derek’s eyes finally met mine as I rested the plate in front of him.

The old, if looks could kill saying jumped into my mind.

I sat across from him and waited for him to begin eating. That way if he needed something else I could get it for him without being interrupted. The sound of the plate hitting the ground startled me.

“I asked you did you have any idea what time it was?” he said. His hands were balled into fists. “In this house we eat at seven-thirty, not one minute after. You waltz up in here without so much as a phone call and no explanations. Do you think that’s ok? Do you think washing your hands will get the stench of whomever you were with off of your skin? Who knows what germs you have mingling with my food.”

I rushed over to where the pieces of the plate and the remnants of the food landed and took a handful of paper towels to clean up the mess.

“Derek, I was at my mother’s. She insisted that I eat with her. Come on, you have to understand how my mother is, no is not an answer she will easily accept.”

“And you think it’s something that I should take with a cool drink of water.” My heart was pounding. For some reason I sensed that trouble was brewing for me again.

Between my mother and Derek, I could hardly ever please them both. I felt like they were tugging me in two different directions wanting me to conform to their ways only. I had no idea what I could say or do to get out of the trouble I was in.

“That’s not what I’m saying. But she’s my mother.” I pleaded with his sympathetic side.

“It’s coming to the point where you need to choose which one of us is more important to you. I’m not playing second to anyone. Not even your mother. Hell it’s not like she cares for me at all.”

Guess his sympathetic side was on vacation because he was being unreasonable. “You can’t be serious,” I said.

“You think I’m not…well waltz up in here late again because of her and see how much of a joke I’m playing.”

He always said stuff like that, so I wasn’t too worried he would really do anything drastic. Derek had a hot temper, but was a very rational man.

He walked out the kitchen. When he reached the entry to the hallway, he turned back and said, “Hurry and clean the kitchen; then get in here and take care of my needs. Don’t keep me waiting.”





Monday, January 3, 2011

What Is a Good Book with Author L. Anne Carrington





This month at ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE, we're talking to authors about "good" books--particularly their definitions of a good book and how their latest releases constitute that good book. Up first is author L. Anne Carrington, whose 5-star reviewed novel, The Cruiserweight, blends a little love and romance with wrestling.












Brett and Karen come from two separate worlds with one common interest that brought them together - wrestling.



Brett Kerrigan is a smaller than average cruiserweight wrestler who loves to entertain the crowds, giving it all for his fans throughout the world. In spite of his size, Brett proves he can be as strong, quick and fierce as his larger competitors. Away from the spotlight, he struggles with being taken seriously as a wrestler, backstabbing co-workers, and power hungry management.



Pittsburgh-based sports journalist Karen Montgomery has followed wrestling since her teens. An acclaimed article printed one year earlier won a prestigious sports press award, and, when several attempts to arrange a personal interview with Brett are thwarted, she almost gives up attempting to meet her idol without the help of her editor, Greg Sullivan. One fateful night after a wrestling event, Karen has an unexpected encounter with Brett in a hotel lounge - ending in getting her sought-after interview with him.




Head to All the Blog's a Page [NOW] to read more about Carrington's novel and to get her take on a GOOD book!

Chronicling the Google Wave Writing Journey: Author Jennifer Coissiere



ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING begins with a series of interviews I'm happy to be a part of. Last year, I along with 5 great women decided to hook up and go on a novel writing journey. We each decided to write an 80k novel between June 25, 2010 and November 25, 2010. We used Google Wave to communicate during the time, and now that the journey is over, each of us will be talking about our experiences with writing our novel, with using Google Wave, and with discussing what we'll do next with our writing project.



First up this week is author of Crossing Over, Jennifer Coissiere.









Come join us over at [ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING] as for the next 6 weeks we share our writing experiences! If you've been working on a novel, share your experiences, too, but commenting on the posts!




ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING

Chocolate-caramel lattes + Women writers = ONE GREAT TIME!

[chicklitgurrl.blogspot.com]

Welcome!

Welcome to the site, one and all! Have had major, major issues with the site over the last month, so I will be slowly getting it back up and running--all purty again! :-) Come back often for info on my books, short stories, and current works-in-progress!