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/

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Melanade – Solange

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Welcome to another edition of Melanade, where we feature women of color who are doing great things! This month we are featuring the artistic genius

Solange Knowles!

solange_coverSinger, songwriter, mother, actress and fashion icon… all of these describe the artist known as Solange Knowles. When your name means “Angel of the sun” you are destined for greatness. This woman has a very eclectic mind that is able to translate the weary ways of the world into a beautiful tapestry of melodies and words. Quickly becoming a voice of her generation, Solo had taken her talent to new heights with her latest project “A Seat at the Table”. She won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance for “Cranes in the Sky” from the same album.

It can’t be easy carving out your own niche in the music industry when your big sis is slaying, but Solange makes it look easy. It reminds me of Janet breaking into her own star, being the little sis of the King of Pop. And just like Janet, Solange’s talent in undeniable and cannot be contained.

For a 30 year old, Solange has accomplished many goals that people twice her age have yet to do. Becoming a mother as a teen, she started her responsible years early, but she has handled her life amazingly.  Not only does she write the amazing songs on her own albums, she is an accomplished writer for other artists as well. According to an interview with NecoleBitchie.com, she has written quite a few songs with Mariah Carey in mind and would love to have her sing her creations.

 

She’s had an undeniable influence on our culture from fashion, to being a proud black woman dawning her natural hair, and artistic movement.  Don’t believe me? Listen to what intellectual Kimberly Foster has to say about her.

If you are not up on Solange, I urge you to get to know her. You’ll thank me later.

 

 

 

 

Week 3 – Writing For Television with Shonda Rhimes

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Hi Lovies,

how to write for television by shonda rhimesThis week’s lessons are getting more involved with the rules of writing! So last week we worked on the study bible and fleshing it out. Now we are working on how to begin writing the script. Shonda explained her process for coming up with the details of her script and how to pitch it to network execs.

I can’t express how excited I was to learn that she was a nervous mess when she did her pitch for Grey’s Anatomy. From the story she shared, she was awful, but they purchased her story anyway because she did the work and made her pitch amazing. It gives me hope, because I know for sure I will be nervous when the time comes to make my pitch. Yes, I said when and not if. I am speaking this into existence baby! Yeeeeees!

I learned a lot about structuring your script. It was a real experience when she shared how she kicked around the idea of Scandal for a YEAR before she actually sat down to write it. She was creating the scenes, getting down to the core of the story and eliminating any bad ideas, before she wrote one word. It was unreal to hear that because I do something similar and I always thought I was taking too long to write my stories. Now, she did say she wrote the pilot in four days! That I am unsure if I can do. I need more time to write everything down and get it out of my head, but given her tools, it may be possible to cut my normal writing time in half.

Do you know what a beat sheet is? Well. I didn’t until Miss Rhimes kicked the knowledge. Now that I know better, I promise to do better. My beat sheet will be prepared to flesh out my ideas and beats of the story, then I will work on my outline making it detailed. Once that is complete I will be ready to write!

Well Lovies, as you can see I have a ton of homework to do. I’ll catch you on the flip side and fill you in on my progress next Sunday.

 

 

 

 

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.

Melanade – Grace Jones

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Welcome to another edition of Melanade, where we feature women of color who are doing great things! This month we are featuring the incomparable Grace Jones!

Grace-JonesSexy! Shocking! Beautiful! Dangerous! Icon Grace Beverly Jones is all of those things and more. She ruled the 80s and is still going strong today. Whether she is tearing up the runway, smoking up the silver screen, rocking the concert stage or gracing us with her loud and proud personality on the tube, Grace is undeniably everything!

 

A visionary before her time, Grace is still influencing artist all over the globe in 2017. Check the receipts. Rihanna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and more have her to thank for creating the bar and setting it so high they have something to reach for. Once heard in an interview with Joan Rivers saying she dated twins, she helped break stereotypes that women are not sexual beings.

She unapologetically proved women are not only sexual, but not afraid to ask for grace n dolphwhat we want. She broke barriers in interracial dating, being from Jamaican descent and dating Swedish twins. Her four year relationship with actor Dolph Lungren was buzzing all over the world. She was also the talk of the town when she starred opposite The Roger Moore in “View to a Kill” as bond girl “Mayday”. And yes, there was a sex scene!

 

Her career spanned decades proving that she had staying power. My generation remembers her fondly from her role in Eddie Murphy’s cult classic “Boomerang” where she played diva/supermodel Strangé! IMHO that was the defining role to launch her into the stratosphere as the superstar she is in the acting world.

Jones is also known for her music around the world. Her rendition of “Pull up To the Bumper” is still played in heavy rotation. I have never had the pleasure, but I hear her concerts were off the rails!

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Grace was never known as the classic beauty according to European standards, but she is edgy and gorgeous just the same. She is a photographer’s dream with the angles of her cheekbones and her squared jaw line. Beauty is not all she possesses. Grace speaks five languages and is an author. Her book “I’ll Never Write My Memoirs” was released in 2015.

She has broken barriers in the entertainment industry, while doing things her way. She never let anyone tell her what she couldn’t do and she thrived in controversy.

When it comes to Grace Jones…

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Motivational Monday – New Blog Feature!

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Hello Lovies,

Today I am starting a brand new feature on @rebirthoflisa dedicated to helping you feel better on Mondays. The feature is aptly named “Motivational Monday”. I will post affirmations to help motivate you to keep going and have a positive outlook. I hope you will enjoy this feature. Please leave me a comment  with your thoughts and/or feedback.

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