Guest Blog – A. Renee Hunt

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Why I Chose to go Independent!

Book Blogger, Reviewer & Author

Hello! My name’s Alyssa, but I normally go by my pen name, A. Renee Hunt. First, I must say ‘thank you’ to Lisa for having me! I love sharing. and to be asked to share something of my journey is an honor. My story may be similar to yours. If not, I pray you never make the same mistakes I made.

So I have independently published one short story and currently working on a novel. I know, it doesn’t seem like much, but this is major for me. You see, I’d previously published a novel and novella through traditional and what’s now known as vanity publishers, and got no where.  Oh I’m let me elaborate, NO WHERE! They lied to me and manipulated me with so much glitz and glam, they conned $3200 from my pockets. Yes they did- then the product I received was so shotty, I ugly cried. Do you know what that looks like on a sista?

I argued and fought with them though and managed to retrieve my title, but the damage was crucial. Your first impression on the reading world is significant,yet I’d botched it with crap work. The editing was abysmal, the cover wasn’t what I’d originally asked for and they didn’t produce anywhere near thirty-two hundred dollars in work. I also did everything myself: scheduling the book signings, advertising, even my own website generated more traffic than the one they’d created for me!

I was devastated and wanted to crawl beneath a rock. Thankfully I did not. Being a greenhorn is good for one thing: Learning. I read so much, my eyes burned and I needed butt implants from all the phone calls and interviewing people, satiating my hunger for information. I’m kidding about the implants, btw. I have no butt, but I digress…

I did what I thought I’d originally done in research, but I tripled that mug. I refused to repeat my mistakes. I dominated my social media and treated the marketing aspect of my work like a job, (a job I loved) and it paid off! I sold more books as an independent author than as a traditional one, and that’s something to be proud of.

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©A. Renee Hunt used with permission

Today, I’m working on my first indie novel, but a lot has changed. My work ethic and gathering of information comes from a professional point of view, and I feel it represents who I really am. My current and past indie works are of a quality, unlike anything I’ve ever written and I feel it’s because I chose to take the reigns. By not allowing someone else to control my story’s destiny, I became the B.O.S.S. I’m proud of both positive and negative reviews. and I’ll never stop working to make my dreams reality.

I hope you, the reader and aspiring author, can do the same. Whether publishing traditionally or not, you have to be in control. Don’t pay someone else for what you can do; don’t allow them to use your name and title without producing proper work, and don’t ever quit!

Best to you and thank you for reading,

Alyssa

A. Renee Hunt

©A. Renee Hunt used with permission

http://www.areneehunt.com

a.reneehunt@aol.com

http://www.facebook.com/AlyssaHunt40

https://twitter.com/AReneeHunt

https://www.instagram.com/bookzbookzbookz/

Indie Shine – Yecheilyah Ysrayl

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indie-shine

In this edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to “Shine” the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome author Yecheilyah Ysrayl.

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©Yecheilyah Ysrayl used with permission

Bio:

Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the author of Young Adult, Black American Literature, and Poetry. The author of eight books (most notably, The Stella Trilogy), Yecheilyah is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story”. Renaissance: The Nora White Story Book One is due for release July 15, 2017. Revelation: The Nora White Story Book Two is due for release December of this year. Yecheilyah is also a Blogger and Book Reviewer. Originally from Chicago, IL, she now resides in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time.

Q & A

What do you do and Why do you do it?
Thank you, Lisa, for having me. I am an Independent Author of Black American Literature, a Poet, Book Reviewer and Blogger. I do what I do because I believe my voice is important to the restoration of truth into the world. I do not write for me alone, but for the lost souls who cannot write. In other words, I speak for the lost sheep. I hope to shine a light on the so-called African American experience, his struggles not just in America but in the world in general and to shed light on why those struggles exist and how to overcome them. I write simply because it’s necessary. I write to restore love back into the hearts of mankind. I write to be unapologetically truthful and fair.
Tell us about your most recent work. 
WanderlustMy most recent work is Book Three in The Stella Trilogy, “The Road to Freedom – Joseph’s Story”. It’s sort of a prequel to Book Two and surrounds the son of Stella from Book Two (granddaughter of Stella from Book One) who passed for white and changed her name to Sidney McNair and raised her children as white. For this, Joseph McNair is unaware of his African American lineage and seeks to discover more about why blacks are treated the way they are in America. After a fight with his brother Edward in his mother’s living room in Book Two, Joseph leaves home. Book Three explores his adventures when he left. With a group of friends, Joseph attempts to travel to Atlanta for an SNCC conference but encounter many trials on the way. They think they are on the road to becoming part of the movement but they are discovering more about themselves. This self-awareness, unknown to them, is their freedom.
Who inspires you? 
I’m not much of an R. Kelly fan, but he is a great writer, lyricists if you will. He has a song, “The World’s Greatest”. In that song is a lyric: “I’m that little bit of hope with my back against the ropes.” I’m not the greatest, but I am inspired by the opportunity to instill hope into the lives of others. It motivates me to motivate others and to have some kind of influence over their lives, however small.
People ask me how I came to be so “put together”. They ask me because after hearing about my life and the things I’ve been through, it’s hard to believe I am the person I am today. I would say it’s not that I am put together, just that I know what it’s like to be broken and to want to cease from existing. I know pain. I also know love, and I believe my ability to still love and to open myself up to be loved has kept me sane. Love inspires me.
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time?
I would consider “Beyond the Colored Line”, Book Two in The Stella Trilogy to be my masterpiece, because it challenged people’s concept of race and forced them to think about the role it’s played in our society. It lifted America’s skirt and showed us that her panties hadn’t changed much. She is still the same image of bigotry that she’s always been. But more so than this, it started conversations that surpass Jim Crow and digs deeper into the nationality and culture of a people.
What is your motto in life? 
My motto in life is to “Paint poetic justice against the backdrop of heavy keystrokes”. To paint poetic justice means to use my writing as an underground railroad to freedom. If people can’t be liberated in their own lives, I hope that my books can provide a road-map. Of course, this isn’t easy to do considering the heavy misinformation, deception, and religious ideologies that have enslaved us for so long. These are the heavy keystrokes.
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true.
My wildest dream is to travel the world. I mean the whole world lol. I’d like to start in Egypt and then go on from there. I cannot imagine covering all land but I would love for this to come true.
What is your favorite quote? 
My favorite quote is by George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without changeGeorgeBernard Shaw 1 and those that cannot change their minds cannot change anything”. The mind is the most powerful organ in the human body. Over time it has the ability to correct and re-correct itself. Many people seek change around them, external. They seek to change their living conditions, seek to raise awareness about discrimination and racism. People seek to change all the time and in different forms. These attempts will always fail if a person does not first seek to correct his mind. It’s not always about race and politics. It’s about the way that people think. It reminds me of an African proverb that says “When there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside cannot hurt you.” It’s our perspective. Change the way that you think first and then everything around you changes.
When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for? 
I want to be remembered as a servant of the Almighty YAH who loved fiercely, and spoke truthfully for the purpose of changing lives and establishing hope for mankind.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public?
Book and E-Reader- Nora W.My next project is a two-part series (a duology), Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) and Revelation: The Nora White Story (Book Two). I intended for this to be one novel but I do not like my books to be extremely long so I broke it down into two books. The story is about a young woman who, like many of her time, is not interested in her family’s land and despite graduating High School is not interested in College either. Nora decides she wants to go to New York to be a writer and against her parents’ wishes, she does. She becomes part of The Harlem Renaissance Movement and learns the North is not all it’s cracked up to be. Nora must decide for herself about who she is and what she wants.
Where can fans purchase your work? 
Fans can purchase my work in paperback on my author website or in eBook through my Amazon author page.

Social Media

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©Yecheilyah Ysrayl used with permission

Website: yecheilyahysrayl.com

Blog: www.thepbsblog.com

Amazon Author Page: Yecheilyah-Ysrayl

Goodreads Author Page: Yecheilyah_Ysrayl

StumbleUpon: Yecheilyah

Twitter: @ahouseofpoetry

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Linkedin: yecheilyahysrayl

Couch Convos – Colleen Chesebro

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Part I

LWT: Welcome to Couch Convos! Let’s get started. How did you get the idea to write about the swamp fairy?

CC: Thanks, Lisa. I’m happy to be here with you. I love this big comfy couch. Now hang on, because I am going to tell you how I met a real life fairy!

While on a walk during a warm, foggy morning in November 2014, I had a close encounter of the fairy kind. At the time, we were living in Pensacola, Florida. I still remember the day, as if it has been carved into my memory; something I will never forget.

Road I took on my walk

©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

As I walked along the road, I heard a sound that instantly caught my attention. At first, I considered the possibility that the sound might be an injured bird rustling in the thick underbrush. I peered into the foliage and drew back in surprise. At first glance, I thought I saw a ruby-throated hummingbird with brilliant green feathers. However, that was not so.

Instead, appearing in front of my eyes was a tiny green swamp fairy fluttering on delicate wings that looked like transparent leaves. She had hair the color and consistency of corn silk. Bottle green leaves adorned her small body. The heady fragrance of lavender, patchouli, and sandalwood wafted on the air.

I stood there at the edge of the road transfixed by the vision. I realized then, I had witnessed a miracle. I had been given the gift of fairy vision.

The petite winged-being stared at me with eyes as green as the leaves she was hiding

Spot where I saw the Swamp Fairy

©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

in. I must tell you, this meeting felt something akin to a spiritual encounter. An overwhelming feeling of peace and love surrounded me and held me within its grasp. In an instant, she was gone. The swamp fairy vanished into the fog that swirled around me.

I shook my head and continued my walk. My feet felt lighter that day. I knew something had changed. The swamp fairy had ignited my imagination. I knew what this fairy encounter meant. I had been granted the ability to become a fairy whisperer.

Soon after, I started to write stories about the swamp fairies which I posted to my blog. The stories came in quick succession. Next, the dreams started. I began to channel the stories of the fairy nymphs that had inspired me that day long ago. Each day on my walks, I observed the real swamp as it was crowded out by the building of new homes. The natural wetlands were disappearing at a rapid rate. Slowly, a story began to form in my mind.

By the fall of 2015, we moved to Colorado. The dreams continued and grew even stronger. The stories changed. The fairy nymphs wanted me to tell their stories. And, that is exactly what I have done. The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy is that story, which I published this year.

LWT: Wow! What a great experience. Was Abby’s character based on someone you know or is she entirely imaginary?

CC: Abby Forester is a combination of myself, my daughters, and my granddaughters. I borrowed a little of something from each of us. I was a foster child as a teenager. Those emotions and memories never leave you. So, I decided to use those experiences for something good. Abby Forester is the outcome.

LWT: Tell us about the area in Florida where you first came across the swamp fairy?

CC: We were about ten miles inland from the Gulf Coast. It was a rural setting with houses nestled in between fields and wooded areas. Much of the area was natural wetland swamps or sloughs. In fact, we had the best neighbors living in the field behind our house. The horses would visit and beg for carrots which I describe in the story. The photo below is depicted in the book. See the strange tree trunk? That was the magical portal between the fairy realm and our human existence that  Abby slipped through daily to visit her friend Savanna.

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©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

LWT: When I write, I have a picture in my head of who I want my characters to look like. Who was the muse for Abby?

CC: I did a lot of research on female YA characters. Most of them had dark hair and wereAbby Forester drop dead gorgeous. I wanted Abby to be the image of the girl next door. She had to be kind and sweet but still, have the usual teenage angst. I imagined her with amber strawberry blond or red hair with fair skin. I found a picture on Pixabay.com that I have used to portray her.

LWT: I have to know, who was the muse for Rafe Cobb? I really wanted to hurt him.

CC: LOL! I couldn’t help it but, I used the 45th President as the physical image in my mind of Rafe Cobb. You know, the bad reddish comb over? Actually, years ago, I worked as a legal secretary in South Florida, and we had a client that was as evil and conniving as my character. Rafe Cobb is based loosely on that man.

You know his name was hard to come up with. Finally, I researched the names of deceased Civil War soldiers to find a name that would sound southern enough. I hope I haven’t disturbed the spirit of the real Rafe Cobb.

LWT: Let’s just hope the real Rafe Cobb was nothing like the one in the book or you’ll be in trouble. For such a young girl, Abby had a lot of spunk. Why was this an important part of her personality?

CC: I gave Abby my birthday (April 18). That meant she had to mirror some of my characteristics and faults. I used astrological research on the sign of Aires, to make her stubborn but also loyal to her family and friends. Abby had to have that sense of responsibility that she carried on her shoulders for her to help the fairies. The loyalty to her mother and her heritage were important to the story and to make Abby come across as a real person.

LWT: No wonder I liked her so much. In the book, it is said that “the wrath of God will bring about the destruction of humankind.” Explain why this is so relevant in the book and in today’s society?

CC: The main theme in the book is that humans and the expanding population were destroying precious wetlands. Rafe Cobb was building a housing area that backed right up to fairy swamp. If he could buy Abby’s land (or take it), he would have destroyed the swamp where the precious Pink Sundew plants grew. If that happened, the fairy nymphs and Abby would have failed in their responsibilities to preserve the plants which contained a “magical” substance found in all antibiotics. The gods (I used the Greek gods) would destroy us all for our folly. Of course, this is a fantasy novel… but you never know. This could be a fact. (wink, wink)

Climate change and how it is devastating our world is the central message the fairy nymphs want us, humans, to understand. It is up to us to save our world. Even though my novel is based on fantasy elements, the addition of current events gives credence to the message.

LWT: How long did it take to complete this masterpiece?

CC: Lisa, I think I’m a slow writer. It took about a year to create, write, edit, and format this book.

LWT: Sometimes slow is better. How important is Aunt Magnolia’s character in Abby’s development?

CC: Aunt Magnolia had to step into Abby’s mother’s shoes. She had no children of her

Aunt Magnolia

©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

own and wasn’t sure what to do with Abby. I created the aunt as a strong, educated woman who was not afraid to take on the responsibility of raising a teenager. Aunt Magnolia has quite a bit of my grandmother in her.

Besides, Aunt Magnolia had to accept Abby for what she was – a fairy whisperer. It was that link to the family that kept their relationship strong. Abby is different, just like many kids are. The fact that her aunt accepts her also gives her courage to meet her responsibilities.

LWT: Who are some of your influences in paranormal writing and why?

CC: I have always been attracted to the strange and unusual. I’ve had a few unique experiences. I don’t feel that my experience meeting the swamp fairy was paranormal. It was more of a spiritual encounter. I know I’m empathetic and more receptive to the vibrations of nature. I feel things many people can’t. Nature is the catalyst that really gets my imagination going.

Part II

LWT: How do you choose your book covers and who does them?

CC: I was lucky to have met my dear friend, Wendy Ann Darling, through the WordPress 2016-07-15 14.48.40blogging community. When I moved to Colorado, I found out she was only a couple hours away from me. Once we met, we became fast friends. Wendy is a graphic artist. I described the swamp fairy to her, and she drew the fairy. I gave her a photo of fairy swamp, and she added the calcite heart stone and the image of the hummingbird (since the fairy was a shapeshifter), to create a fantastic cover.

Wendy designs book covers for Bookxeedo Book covers. Her prices are reasonable, and she is easy to work with. She will be designing my future book covers.

LWT: Do you use social media and does it help with sales?

CC: I use social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. From what I can tell, I have not sold any books from those forums. It is the blog and interviews like this where I notice a spike in sales. It just goes to prove that we writers are also readers and buy each other’s books. Our blogs are a powerful marketing tool.

LWT: Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete silence or do you listen to music? Do you have a drink or write sober? Etc. Spill the tea.

CC: I write with music playing, usually Pandora. I love Enya, Classical piano, and all new wave sounds. Sometimes I play nature sounds while I’m writing. I think I’m clairaudient like my character, Abby. No, I can’t function if I drink, let alone write! LOL! But I do love tea!

LWT: What challenges have you faced as an indie writer?

CC: As an indie writer, I’ve had to teach myself how to write YA fiction, how to edit, and how to format the book to CreateSpace.

I also had to learn to ask for help. I have an author friend that I asked to help me with the first edit. I learned more from her than I thought possible. She took me under wing and helped me with plot holes and sentence structure. The only way I could thank her was to do the same for another author. It is important that we help each other as beta readers and first draft editors.

LWT: What is your experience like with editing your work?

CC: Initially, I hated the editing process. It was tedious as all get out! I did purchase Grammarly, and that has helped to keep me in line. Eventually, I understood that the editing process is where you do the actual writing. Once I figured that out, I liked the editing because I was making the story better, and could see the results. I still have a lot to learn. I will be using an editor on future books. P. C. Zick from The Manuscript Doctor is my choice.

LWT: Please give other indie writers 3 tips that you learned that help you to be successful?

CC: The first tip is to read every book in your genre you can get your hands on. The next is to keep learning about how to write. The last tip is to set a goal and keep working towards it. Don’t give up!

LWT: That is great advice! Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?

CC: I contacted my friend and fellow blogger, Irene, from IreneDesign2011.com to design a calcite fairy pendant like the one Abby wears in the book so readers could feel the magic of the fairies. I sell the books, and Irene sells the necklaces. We both benefit from this relationship. By the way, Irene’s prices are the best!

Would you love to own your own calcite fairy stone pendant like Abby Forester wears in the book? Here’s how to get yours:

small calcite for sale IreneDesign2011

Here are the links to Irene’s Etsy site where you can buy your large calcite for sale IreneDesign2011own SMALL pendant or the LARGE pendant

LWT: Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?

CC: My favorite resource is Thesaurus.com. I love that site! I use synonyms extensively in my writing, especially when I am editing.

LWT: What does success look like for you?

CC: Success for me is accomplishing my goals and reaching for the stars. I feel like a success because if I say I’m going to do something… I do it! It might take me awhile to get there, but I seldom give up. Success is gained with determination and perseverance.

LWT: That is a wonderful outlook. What’s up next for Colleen?

CC: Lisa, those fairy nymphs are whispering in my dreams every night. Currently, I am working on the second book of the series called, The Meadow Fairy. Here is a brief synopsis:

Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester journeys from Blackberry Ridge, Florida to Bent Grass, Colorado when her Aunt Magnolia accepts a job as a researcher working for an author who specializes in writing about myths and paranormal activity.

 Abby, along with her deceased mother’s most sacred possession, a calcite pendant, continues her legacy as a Fairy Whisperer to the primordial fairy nymphs who inhabit unique places scattered about the world.

 In Colorado, Abby meets two young friends, Crosby and Landon Miller, who along with their family are beekeepers on a small farm under the shadow of Pike’s Peak. Abby is summoned by a primeval nymph who asks her to resolve the secret of why the bee population is disappearing from the prairie meadows. 

 With the help of Nate Bannock, a Native American Ute rancher, Abby learns the astonishing truths behind the decimation of the bee population.

Does Abby have what it takes to save the bees and the Meliae Meadow Nymphs before it is too late?

 Thank you for inviting me to Couch Convos. I loved getting together with you, Lisa. I appreciate your help in spreading the magic of the fairy nymphs! ❤

And I loved having you. Well folks, that’s another Couch Convos in the can. Until next month… In the meantime pick up Colleen’s book, The Heart Stone Chronicles on Amazon by clicking HERE!

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©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

Colleen M. Chesebro is a writer of cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her debut novel, a YA fantasy series called, “The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy,” was published January 2017. A veteran of the United States Air Force, Colleen is also a retired bookkeeper. She has an Associates Degree in Business Administration, and another Associates Degree in the Arts, which she uses to combine her love of writing with her passion for all things creative.

To connect with her please click the links for her Social Media.

Website: colleenchesebro.com

Facebook: @CMChesebro

Twitter: @colleenchesebro

Indie Shine – Jennifer Robinson

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In this edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to “Shine” the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome author and poet, Jennifer Robinson!

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©Jennifer Robinson used with permission

Bio:

Lover of food, music and words! I am a poet, aspiring author and blogger

Q&A

What do you do and Why do you do it?
I am a writer and I write because I have to. Writing is how my thoughts and feelings are manifested. If I could not share my heart, I would be lost. My sister told me that I have something to say that the world needs to hear so…I write!
Tell us about your most recent work.
I have written a book of poetry entitled “But…there’s love”. It was very difficult to publish because my poems aren’t just words thrown together; my poems are what I’m feeling. They are intimate. It became easier when I discovered I was not alone in my feelings and others could relate.
Who inspires you?
Jill Scott is quite possibly my biggest influence. The way she writes is just…it’s perfect. I am also a fan of Carolyn Malachi. I love her poetic, spoken word musical style.
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time?
I wrote a poem entitled “Beauty” with someone else in mind. However, I found out the words came so easily because it was really for me. It’s about the struggle with low self-esteem. I’ve written probably about 200 poems but this one is easily my favorite.
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©Jennifer Robinson used with permission

What is your motto in life?

“Silver and gold, have I none, but SUCH AS I HAVE give I thee”. I live by the motto of such as I have. Whatever I have to give, be it money, a poem, words of encouragement, a shoulder to lean on, a smile, or a truth talk, then that is what I will give.
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true.
I want to travel the country to eat. I love food, although I am somewhat of a picky eater. I want my best friend and I to leave our kids and just go around the country trying new foods.
What is your favorite quote?
“I don’t walk around, trying to be what I’m not. I don’t waste my time, trying to get what you got. I work at pleasing me, cause I can’t please you. And that’s why I do what I do”-Erykah Badu
When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for?
That I cast fear to the side and shared what I love.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public?cover
My next book “Conversations of the heart” will be available in March.
Where can fans purchase your work?
My book can be purchased on Authorhouse.com, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is available as a paperback and ebook.

Social Media

Facebook:  Author Jennifer Robinson

Instagram: AuthorJenniferRobinson

Twitter: @jennrobpoetry

Blog: myemeraldlife.wordpress.com

Indie Shine – James Gordon(Greatest Poet Alive)

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In this edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to ‘Shine’ the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome International award winning author and poet James Gordon, aka, The Greatest Poet Alive!

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©James Gordon used with permission

Bio:

James Gordon is an international award winning author and poet from Chicago’s south side, as well as a champion storyteller and reigning Moth Grand Slam Storytelling Champion. He has written books across the genres consisting of Poetry, Children’s Young Adult, Mystery and Suspense, and Erotica. James can be seen on episodes of Chicago Fire,Empire, Chicago Justice, Chicago PD, The Patriot, Chicago Med, and Shameless. He can also be found on Twitter at gr8estpoetalive and on his website at www.iblowyourmind.net

Q & A:

What do you do and Why do you do it? 
I love writing, reciting poetry, telling stories, and being an actor. These are gifts from God. I would be foolish and insulting if I didn’t utilize them to the fullest.
Tell us about your most recent work.
james gordon artAngelica’s Box The Evolving is the continuing and raising of a previous bar set by its predecessor, Angelica’s Box. It is not only an ode to women, a narrative of the authors’ interactions with them, but also a commentary on the times. It has the length and feel of a novella but written in some rhyming verse and colorful depictions.
Who inspires you?
My family, winners, and legends such as Langston Hughes, John Cena, 50 Cent, Kanye West, Miles Livingston, Batman, and plenty of others
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time?
That’s a great question. Angelica’s Box(The first one) is the book I would consider my masterpiece. It was brilliantly written
What is your motto in life? 
Go get it!!!
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true. 
I want to be a villain in a superhero movie. That would be the ultimate!!!
What is your favorite quote? 
WOOO!!!! It’s the phrase Ric Flair once used.
When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered as someone who gave it everything he had in everything he did.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public?
A Cruel Summer is the follow up to my first novel “The Warmest Winter”. It will arrive some time in June 2017.
Where can fans purchase your work?
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, an at my website www.iblowyourmind.net

Social Media:

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©James Gordon used with permission

Facebook: ThePoeticUnsub
Facebook: HimynameisBobo
Reverb Nation: gpagreatestpoetalive

Indie Shine – Eliza David

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In this month’s edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to ‘Shine’ the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome author, womanist and creator of the popular Cougarette series Eliza David!

Bio:

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©Eliza David used with permission

Eliza David is the author of the five-star-rated, six-book Cougarette series. She was born and raised on the noisy South Side of Chicago, but now lives in super quiet Iowa. When she’s not writing, working full-time, or raising two children with her loving husband, Eliza enjoys reading throwback Jackie Collins and indulging in the occasional order of cheese fries. Eliza is a blogger as well, having served as a contributing writer for Real Moms of Eastern Iowa, Good Men Project, and Thirty on Tap. She was a featured panelist at both the Iowa Soul Festival and Iowa City Book Festival in 2016. Eliza’s latest novel, Savage, dropped in September. She’s currently working on the sequel to Savage – Still Savage – for release in 2017. For additional information, including witty clapbacks from this author, visit www.elizadavidwrites.com

Q & A

 

What do you do and Why do you do it?
When I’m not working my day job or freelancing on lifestyle blogs like ‘Thirty On Tap’, I write modern romance novels about not-so-modern women. My characters are what I like to call ‘flawed but fabulous’. They are mothers, daughters, and sisters. They work hard at their careers and at love. And yes, they like to have sex quite a bit! I write because my hope is to broaden the spectrum of women characters in fiction. Women aren’t binary and there are levels to us that aren’t explored. I hope to unlock some of those traits.
Tell us about your most recent work.
 
Still Savage is a sequel to my last novel, Savage. Savage tells the story of fundraising guru LaneySavage1.1 Townes, a divorced lesbian whose personal and professional lives intersect into sexy circumstances. In the sequel, Laney reunites with her ex, A-list R&B pop singer Eva Reynolds, for business. Of course, things happen that find them entangled with each other…which is awkward for Eva, who is still dating her male songwriting partner. Yes honey – drama!
Who inspires you? 
First and foremost, my mother – who always wanted me to be a writer but I just had to find my lane (and I have!). My writing heroes include Erica Jong, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Jennifer Weiner.
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time?
The Cougarette series, hands down. It’s based on Laney’s BFF, CeeCee Banks. Forty-something CeeCee is only divorced for hours when she meets Jay – a man a little over half her age. The series is a collection of six books (first one’s free on Amazon!) and takes you on a sexy ride with CeeCee.
What is your motto in life? 
I remind myself often that tomorrow is another day. I tend to hold on to memories of human error way longer than I should and it never does me any favors.
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true. 
FourBookProfilePic - Amanda Walker DesignI would love to see The Cougarette become a TV dramedy and (bonus!) I’d want a hand in creating the series – not just selling the rights off. That would make my life.
What is your favorite quote?
I am drawn to Alice Walker quotes and, if I had to select one as a motto for life, it would be…‘I have fallen in love with the imagination. And if you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit. It will go anywhere, and it can do anything.’
 
I keep this ideal of the imagination being a free spirit when I write. I’m still a planner, but I use my plot outline as a road map. There are many ways to get to a destination – on the page and in real life!
When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for?
Life is so hectic so if I’m remembered for anything, I’d want it to be giving my readers a sexy escape.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public?
I have three projects planned for 2017. In addition to ‘Still Savage’ hitting Amazon in the spring, I have two more novels I’d like to drop. First up is another Cougarette novel, tentatively titled ‘The Westons’. It will kick off a fresh book series, so I’m excited to step back into my fave character’s black stilettos. My third novel is a standalone tentatively titled ‘For The Fandom’, which I hope to drop around the holidays.
Where can fans purchase your work?
Amazon is the one-stop shop for all things me: http://amazon.com/author/elizadavid

Social Media Contact Information:

52feministsEliza

 

Facebook:  elizadwrites

Instagram: writegirlproblems

Blog: www.elizadavidwrites.com

You can also catch her on Twitter stirring up all types of trouble @elizadwrites.

 

 

Couch Convos featuring Author A. Renee Hunt

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Welcome to another episode of Couch Convos! Today we welcome A. Renee Hunt, author of ‘Puddle’ to the blog. Let’s get started.

Part I

LWT: How did you get into writing?

A. Renee Hunt

©A. Renee Hunt used with permission

ARH: I began writing back in elementary school. I was a military brat, so I was alone a lot. My thing was to hide in bathrooms and write stories. I’ve had a lifelong obsession with journals, so I used to buy them with my allowance. I would then calculate a story, with illustrations, and write so the tale fit perfectly inside. I would either keep them for myself or give them to my friends. Everyone loved them so I asked for a typewriter and the end result: me today!

LWT: In this book you take a silly childhood pastime and turn it into something sinister. How did you come up with this concept?

ARH: That’s a fun story I share; I’m a home school mom who believes in morning walks. When my son was in sixth grade, we took a walk on a rainy day. Normally we stomp puddles, but this storm snuck up on us unprepared. On the way home, I was struck with the idea of stomping a puddle, but instead of making a huge mess of a splash, we fell in. I could see the opening above me, while beneath the rainwater and everything! So we got home and I grabbed my umbrella and camera and snapped a bunch of photos. That day, I wrote the tale in about four hours. The current version has been revamped, but still the original story.

LWT: I read the 2nd Anniversary Edition of ‘Puddle’. Were there any significant changes to this edition?

ARH: Yes I’ve made some changes, that I felt were significant, but only to lend the urban legend more substance. At the time, I was living in DeSoto, MO, which carries a lot of history, both black and white. I wanted to add more into Puddle, without taking from the original myth. Some of the events mentioned are from true, but as far as which ones… I won’t say. “wink wink”

LWT: When I write I have a picture in my head of who I want my characters to look like. Who were the muses for Quinn and Maxine?

ARH: When it came to Quinn, I saw my middle school self, because I was always new. Many times, I was the only black kid or one of a few, as well, so it just worked. I saw a friend of mine named Nicole as Maxine. She and I became besties, years after she’d beat me up for being new.  Another crazy story I may share in a novelette.

LWT: Did you allow your son to read this story or was it too scary for him?

ARH: Whenever I decide to write a short story on children, I always want it safe for my son to read. Reading is a huge deal for me, passed on by my engineer of a father, so if I’m writing on kids at a certain age, I want my son to be able to read it too.  Thankfully, this one wasn’t bad for him, but he’s not really in to horror… yet.

LWT: I see you have written a couple of Halloween tales. Do you only write short stories for children?

ARH: Those Halloween tales were actually written for my son. He was the inspiration- he’s even on the cover of the In The Walls short stories. I’ve had a lot of friends enjoy them but no, children are not my usual focus. I usually write with New Adults in mind. I guess because that’s how I still see myself.  And I’m not!

Part II

puddle

LWT: How do you choose your book covers and who does them?

ARH: Ever since my first experience with traditional publishing and moved Indie, I’ve always done things backwards. When I get a story idea, I create my book cover. Either I will make it all from scratch myself, or I will reach out to a really fabulous artist I’d originally found on Fiverr.com. Now we’re friends and he’s my Go To man for artwork. I draw it, but he creates what I want to see, like a true visionary.

LWT:  Do you use social media and does it help with sales?

ARH: I love social media, but as far as it helping me, I can say about half. By no means do I feel I’m a big selling author, because that’s no why I write. I just love the idea of getting a story out of me and sharing. When I use social media, it helps but I mostly use it to help others.  Crazy I guess.

LWT:  Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete silence or do you listen to music? Do you have a drink or write sober? Etc. Spill the tea.

image1

©A. Renee Hunt used with permission

ARH: LOL Spill the tea; I like that! My process is as such: I gain an idea and purchase a new journal. I then create my characters in such a way’ they practically come to life. When I can see them clearly, I have them drawn by my concept artist. I then add their pics to my journal and as I write, they’re either on my computer, beside my document, or open in my book so I can see them. To me, they’re real- conversations, quirks, jobs- I need to see them. I can write any place at any time, on my Mac, iPhone or iPads. I also take lots of notes and add them to the journal. By the time I’m done with the story, that journal is a wreck!

LWT: What challenges have you faced as an indie writer?

ARH: My worst challenge as an indie author was when I took my traditionally published, first novel back from the publisher. It was crazy, I was foolish and I didn’t have the control I was promised. Now, I can do what I wish when I want, and when it flops, I have myself to blame on my choices- not someone else’s.

LWT: How does your editing process work?

ARH: Oh my goodness, my editing process is very redundant. I run through it a few times, making changes. Then I read it again with changes. Then again, before passing it to someone to read. I make appropriate adjustments and read it again. Then I find a team of at least 6, then make adjustments and read again, before sending it to an editor. I then read it again. By the time it’s published, I’m sick of it!

LWT: Please give other indie writers 3 tips that you learned that help you to be successful?

ARH: My three tips are: (1) Don’t ever pay to be published! (2) Make yourself sick of your story by reading it so many times, you can find nothing wrong. Then hand it to others for editing. My final tip, (3) Always keep a thesaurus on hand. It should become your best friend.

LWT: Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?

ARH: I believe the most unique method of marketing I’ve ever had the pleasure was marketing inside a comic book. A friend of mine was releasing his first graphic novel, and he gave me a half page, FREE! Best move I ever agreed to.

LWT: Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?

ARH: I’m not even going to lie- my best resource are other authors! I read more than 200 books a year (physical, ebook & audio), and because of their styles, I developed my own. As an author, the best thing you can do is glean successes and mistakes made by other authors.

LWT: We met on Instagram, where you are very active. How important is a site like Instagram for indie writers?

Author A. Renee Hunt

©A. Renee Hunt used with permission

ARH: I am just now easing up on how much I’m on media, but I LOVE Instagram more than any other site. People share and interact more there, than any other for me. Plus, there’s no drama.

LWT: What does success look like for you?

ARH: Oh that’s an easy one! Success is when my mom called me last week stating, my aunt had mentioned to some friends that her niece was an author and stated my name. They said they knew my name and title- even the story’s theme. They’re in Philly! Needless to say, I was elated. To me, that’s the best form of success; someone knew my name and my story. The sales can come later.

LWT: What’s up next for you?

ARH: I am currently writing my first serious novel, as an Indie Author. The Malignant Soul is my toughest project yet, because I have to go deeper than I’ve ever gone emotionally. With a novel of this capacity, I need more description, more personality and more of a plot. It’s a complex story, but I believe my research and imagery will push this novel to great heights.

A. Renee Hunt, Alyssa by those who know her, is a home school mother, London Lover, Book & Funko Pop Hoarder, Tea Drinker, Reader & Reviewer. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and son.To connect with A. Renee please click the links to her Social Media sites below. To purchase her e-book, Puddle, click here to go to Amazon

Author Website: http://www.areneehunt.com

Instagram: @bookzbookzbookz

Twitter: @AReneeHunt

Tumblr: areneehunt

Pinterest: @AReneeHunt

Google+: AReneeHunt

Linkedin: areneehunt

Facebook: AlyssaHunt40

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