Reclaiming My Time – Rebirthoflisa Style

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Hi Lovies,

Recently Social Media was all abuzz about Rep. Maxine Waters and her now infamous power play to reclaim her time. Though I was thoroughly entertained by Auntie Maxine dragging Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin for filth, I also felt inspired. I sat down and pondered exactly what that statement meant to me. How can I reclaim my time? Do I have regrets? Will other people start reclaiming their time, as well?

I have wasted a lot of time in my lifetime. No, I didn’t do it purposefully, but I did it all the same. Mostly, I did it out of FEAR – FEAR of the unknown, FEAR of success, and sometimes FEAR of greatness. I have always started things and when I received accolades or pats on the back, I pulled away because I was afraid to really see how high I could go. I have done that most of my life, with a couple of exceptions. I have never been afraid to throw myself into a loving relationship and in my forties, I finally decided to follow one of my hidden dreams of becoming a writer.

Falling in love has always filled an emptiness in my soul, even if it didn’t last. It is ingrained in me to love and be loved. I don’t think of it consciously, but I feel it in everything I do. I am simply not one of those people who have to be in a relationship all of the time. In fact I enjoy my own company very much. However, when I was given the gift of love from the man of my dreams I was ecstatic. We latched onto each other and haven’t let go in 22 years. It is the one relationship that I have where I feel safe, but if  God forbid it were to end tomorrow, I wouldn’t regret giving my all to him. There would be no reason to reclaim my time with him. Doug has changed my life for the better and I will always be grateful.

Becoming a writer was a secret dream that I kept close to my heart for many years. I have been enamored with reading since I can remember. Books contained my best friends and all the adventures in the world. In fact, as a young girl I would spend hours up in the willow tree in front of my house reading. My mom would look for me everywhere and never could find me. It was my sanctuary and I knew once it was discovered, I would be forced to act like a girl and stop climbing trees. I wasn’t wrong. When I was discovered in the tree taking a nap one day, my book in my lap, my mom forbid me from climbing trees. I still did it anyway and accepted the punishment when or if it came. Eventually she decided it wasn’t worth the aggravation and left me alone. When we moved from that house, I wanted to pack up the tree in a box so it could go with me.

Growing up in a small town in the South, I was subjected to many limitations – one of which was girls didn’t become writers – especially black girls. Imagine my surprise one day at school when a tall prim and proper black lady walked into my class wearing horned rimmed glasses and  a scowl on her face. She was a substitute teacher, retired from the profession but filled in from time to time. Mrs. Stitt controlled the class with an iron fist, but I saw a twinkle in her eye when she spoke of literature. She never knew this, because I was afraid to talk to her, but she was an inspiration to me. She informed the class that she was a published author and in fact we had her book in the school library.  I never made time to read her book, but her words let me know it was alright to dream of being a writer. It was suddenly possible because someone that looked like me had done it. I kept that memory close, but still I wasted years writing poems and short stories and keeping them to myself.  Most of them have been lost in the shuffle of life, but I still hold them in my heart.

 Finally one day I was sick of going to work and having to stifle myself. My true feelings  were always hidden behind a mask if I wanted to keep my job. Well as best I could. My manager was always getting on me about my body language and facial expressions. Hey, I am a creative soul and my feelings are worn on the outside. I look back now and see that I decided to reclaim my time even before I knew the phrase. I was about to get serious about my craft. Since then I have written and published five books in the past two years. (Four under a pen name) However, I have not been a diligent as I could have been. I need to focus more and dedicate myself to writing every day. I have decided to write more posts on my blog as well! I am excited about this prospect because I can interact more with you guys. Still no regrets, simply reclaiming my time!

So tell me, what have you done to reclaim your time? Don’t worry if you haven’t started, simply make a plan and execute. Thanks for reading and remember… img_5992

 

 

 

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/

Book Review – Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

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Book and E-Reader- Nora W.

It has been a year of Sundays since I did a book review on this blog, but when this book came along, I couldn’t help myself. It gave me so many feels I couldn’t help myself!

Here are my thoughts:

Nora White is a farm girl from Mississippi who dreams of moving to Harlem and becoming a writer. Her biggest wish is to write alongside the legends of the era like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston!

Ok, I must stop here! This book was after my heart. I absolutely love both Langston and Zora! In fact the main character of my first book is named for them. I was swooning when the main character not only befriended, but became a contemporary of these icons! Nora was living the life J would have wanted, had I lived in the 1920s.

The book flashed back and forth between Nora’s family back on the farm and Nora living in NY.

Nora meets Zora while she is working her job as a maid/assistant to the grouchy Missharlemwriters.gif Charlotte, who insists on being called Godmother. She is a strange and temperamental woman who gives Nora a hard time. Nora is a bit of a Zora fan girl, but managed to keep her composure long enough to procure an invitation to a party where all of the who’s who of Harlem literary society will be.

Nora is overjoyed to meet them all, but makes it her mission to befriend Langston, who she is crushing hard on. That is until she realizes he is same sex oriented, or so the rumor goes.

The author really did her research, touching on the feud between Zora and Langston over a play written by both, but only Zora was given credit. The way she wove Nora into the middle of the feud was genius. It was reminiscent of Forrest Gump a bit.(That, in my world is a HUGE compliment – I love Forrest Gump)

There is no way I wasn’t going to like this book. Zora, Langston, Harlem, a bit of WEB DuBois and a roommate named Lisa! Wow! It turns out Lisa has an agenda at the end, but because the book ended on a cliffhanger we have to wait to see exactly what that is.

There were some serious shenanigans going on and I suspect there is a little mysteryIMG_9255 hiding just under the surface. I can’t wait to see if my theory is correct. Unfortunately my thirst to solve this mystery will not be satiated until December when book 2 is released.

In the meantime, I have all kinds of scenarios to mill around in my head to keep me busy. This book left me breathless! I want more and I want it now!

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That would be a big fat YES5 Stars*****

Now that I have you excited to read this masterpiece, I have to drop a little bomb. You ready? It will not be available until July. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy as part of EC’s ARC Team.

However, while you wait you can help Yecheilyah spread the word about her book by supporting her Thunderclap campaign. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost a thing. It just takes a couple of minutes and your approval to share info about this book on your social media. You were going to do that anyway, right? So click here to support her campaign!

 

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©Yecheilyah Ysrayl used with permission

Yecheilyah Ysrayl is an Author, Poet, Blogger and Book Reviewer at Literary Korner Publishing.

web. www.yecheilyahysrayl.com

Indie Shine – Yecheilyah Ysrayl

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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

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Week 2 – Writing for Television with Shonda Rhimes

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how to write for television by shonda rhimesThis week picked up where last week left off. I am still finding the course very stimulating, which is rare for me. I usually lose interest after a bit, but this course is living up to my expectations so far. Shonda makes it easy using reference from her work on Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. It is a lot easier to follow the lessons when you are familiar with the case studies she is referencing.

This week we took the study bible from lesson 4 and extended the learning. We were tasked to writ bios for our characters, but only after she told us how to do so and provided reference for us as examples. Speaking of references, we were also taught that research is key. Shonda gave us her tips and tricks of doing the proper amount of research and to know when you are ready to start writing. My favorite lessons were about developing characters. This is the lessons I have been looking forward to the most and I enjoyed every minute of it. I am grateful that I can go back anytime and listen to the lessons all over again.  Of course I took notes, but sometimes things may be lost in translation. It is always good to have that original video for reference.

Well, that’s all for now! Week three will be exciting as we are learning to pitch our shows and how to start writing the script. Check back next Sunday for an update on how those lessons went.

 

Laters babes.

Shonda Rhimes Masterclass – Week 1

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how to write for television by shonda rhimesThis past week I shared with you all that I started my Masterclass for TV Writing instructed by the great Shonda Rhimes. I received some feedback asking that I keep you guys informed on my progress and how I like the course.

The course is designed to be taken over a seven week period. You can skip ahead of course, but it is recommended that you use the time allotted. I have chosen to follow the rules and be a good girl! The course is also designed for the students to interact with each other in chat rooms. Several students are putting together study groups in the city where they reside. The feedback from our peers is invaluable.

Since this is the end of week 1, I will give you a run down of what was covered, however it will be brief. If you want the details, you have to take the course, which at this point, I highly recommend.

The course is online and made up of videos of Shonda talking about everything writing. She is engaging and straight to the point. I am thankful that she doesn’t go off on tangents, like so other courses I have taken. This is setup to make you successful.

After a brief intro, we started lesson 2 – Teach Yourself TV Writing, where we learn tricks and tips from the queen on how to train your mind to write for TV and the difference between writing for film and TV. Lesson 3 – Finding An Idea covered how to find ideas and where to look. It is full of great advise on brainstorming. Lesson 4- Developing the Concept showed us the difference between an idea and a premise. It also introduced us to a Story Bible, complete with an example of the one she developed for Grey’s Anatomy.

The homework assignments are very hands on. I don’t think I have ever been this excited about doing homework ever in life. If the course continues in this manner, and I believe it will only get better, I am in for a treat.

At this point in the course, I have brainstormed about several different shows that I would like to write for TV. I have narrowed them down to three and have started writing a Story Bible for the one I like the most. That is a lot in one week’s time and I am looking forward to the next six weeks.