Category Archives: iTalk

How to Self-Promote Without Being A Jerk

Bruce Kasanoff: self-promotion for the Indie author made easy

Bruce Kasanoff

Bruce Kasanoff, author of How To Self-Promote Without Being A Jerk, did an awesome interview on self-promotion for We Eat Books.

Let’s face it authors, self-promotion is what will keep us alive in this Hunger Games-like publishing industry.

Having a strong business background, Kasanoff knows how to build relationships and grow businesses. In this interview, he held nothing back and shared the key to his success.

One of my favorite quotes of his gave some insight on how authors can market better on Twitter, a must-use for most authors. He said, “I’ve learned they are highly invested in their work and often have trouble reducing it to something of interest to others that fits in a tweet.”

Can I raise a hand and say, that’s me?

If you want to learn how to market yourself well and build relationships in this technologically-advanced, quickly changing world, then check out Bruce Kasanoff’s interview, and buy his book.

How to Self-Promote Without Being A Jerk
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Let your imagination roam!

Creating a database to combat writer’s block

Writer’s block kills

So I have this awesome idea for curing writers block, but first, can I be super honest? I don’t really suffer from writer’s block, but hey, I’m not normal. Yet with that aside, what helps me most is the way I formulate an idea.

Sometimes I focus on an abstract concept such as lost love. And I’ll ask myself, how can I show this beautiful idea? From that question grows a story. Other times, I hone in on one specific aspect of writing, either character or setting. Then I create conflict. Always starting small and growing from there, I immediately know what I want to say. Everything else just falls into place. If a certain story element takes away from the central message of what I want to communicate, I throw the element out. That is an important skill, believe me. Hardly anyone’s trying to print 400 page books for new authors. Even for self-published authors, it’s hard to keep readers interested over a large book.

Let your imagination roam!
Imagination brings out the best.

Okay, great advice and cute quote from Eistein, but sometimes character, setting, ideas won’t come. Then what? Well, it’s always okay to just steal from the news.

Take advantage of free content.
Take advantage of free content.

And that is why over this year I am going to be grabbing interesting material from talk shows, headlines, television, whatever and creating a little database of inspiration.

So connect with me, laugh with me, comment. Together we will create great stories.

x-men-Storm

Black History Month Ends . . . not yet: X-Men leader Storm is one of over 60 Black women superheroes

Storm-x-men-24196468-605-820

Storm is one of less than a hundred Black women superheroes that exist in the world. Still I was proud to learn there are way more than I thought, as is shown in this video created by Beccathepromomami.

A member of the esteemed X-Men, Storm is a weather mastermind.  Her fearlessness and drive led her straight into a leadership role after Cyclops left the X-Men to mourn the death of Jean.

Her road to leadership was not an easy one. Born to a princess of a Kenyan tribe and an American photojournalist, her parents died when a plane crashed into her home. She struggled on her own until Professor Xavier came to her aid. Once he did, she never once failed to make him proud.

I bet you didn’t know Storm’s white hair and blue eyes have little to do with fashion sense and more to do with genetics. She is a descendent from an ancient line of African priestesses who all have blonde hair and blue eyes.  Storm’s real name is Ororo and more can be learned about her here.

We need more black women superheroes.

Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon

Blissany Cherry might be fighting an intergalactic war to save mankind in the small town of Gainesville, but lucky for her the creator Nivide believes in affirmative action. The crazy cast of characters fighting alongside her come from several different cultures. They have different belief systems, different goals, and different ways of conquering evil. Blissany wants to run and hide, her side kick, Don Shimada, wants to kick as much butt as possible. I wrote a multicultural novel because life is multicultural. Literature should reflect this.

Take an adventure! Read an excerpt on Amazon and get the E-book for only 2.99.

God's valentine

God’s Valentine to you: God’s wisdom will prosper you

God's valentine

Acts 2:17-18: “And in the last days it shall be, God declares that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my spirit and they shall prophesy.”

I love Joyce Meyer because she is not your typical preacher. She reminds everyone every day that God opened the doors for her to become successful. She says in her message series, I Want, I Think, I Feel, if she had tried to do it on her own, she would have messed it up.

Meyer reminds me whatever I am believing God for, as long as I trust in Him He’ll make it come to pass.

Some people think asking God for a prosperous and blessed life is selfishness. I argue it’s asking God for more responsibilities. Jesse Dupantis calls it growth.

God wants you to have the desires of your heart. He gave them to you for the sole reason of glorifying Him.

Examine what God says to David in 2 Samuel 12:7-8: “I anointed you king over Israel and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house to you  . . . and if all of this had been too little I would have given you more.”

Reading this, one has to wonder if God was willing to give David more before David had stepped out of faith after already having done so much, what will He do in my life if I stay in the faith?

Now I don’t come to these conclusions spending my days watching Ben and Kate. I fill myself with wisdom by studying the bible, praying, and fasting. The more time spent in the Word, the more God tells me what He is going to do for me.  Then He tells me how I am going to glorify His kingdom.  All I have to do is sit back and praise Him.  

I fill myself up with Wisdom so I can prophesize on my life, friends, and family.  God said in Acts 2:17-18, we will have visions and dreams. He shall pour out His spirit upon us, and we will speak what He has given us, so that by our words and our faith He will bring the desires of our heart to pass.

God wants us wealthy, filled with joy, and prosperous all at the same time. If you don’t believe it, try blessing someone with an empty bank account while you’re sick and unhappy. I’ve seen people do it. I’ve done it. You have to bless people where you at for God to move in your midst, but just think what could happen if you were whole and your cup overflowed?

Your testimony will move somebody. Somebody is going to read this right now and think, all I have to do is hold on, God is going to bless me.

That’s why I wrote this. God made a difference in my life. He is going to make a difference in somebody else’s. I might have wrote this for one person, I don’t know. I’m just glad to do the work of God.

You get glad and get ready.

Black History Month: Kathleen Cleaver defends the right to self-defend

Kathleen Cleaver

Walking the walk, and talking the talk.

Can we please talk about the monumental and political Kathleen Cleaver? Known for her political involvement with the Black Panther Party,  she became first woman to hold a decision-making position whn she was elected the communications secretary. This put her in power to organize efforts to  free the BPP’s co-founder, Huey Newton. Newton did a lot of things for the black community, but one thing that stuck with me was he made it possible for students today to take Black History courses, playing a significant role in getting the first African-American History course added to academic catalogues.

For those who know little about the BPP, Curtis Stephen wrote in Life of a Party, the BPP is “an African-American left-wing organization working for the right of self-defense for African-Americans in the United States. The Party achieved national and international impact and renown through their deep involvement in the Black Power movement and in politics of the 1960s and 1970s.”

Interviewed on PBS’ Frontline, Cleaver said what drew her to the party was, “the Black Panther Movement challenged all preconceived notions of blacks not being able to determine their own destiny.”

 Blissany Cherry must learn to accept her destiny.

Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon

 

Destiny is one of the underlying themes in the novel Superheroes Wear Faded Denim. Achieving dreams is never easy. Often times one has to step out on faith. That so means ignoring what one thinks they know, and going for it. Blissany Cherry thinks she is too awkwardly social to be anyone special. Unbeknownst to her the creator has destined her to end the massive war of good and evil. Now she must find the will to accept her role before everything she knows is destroyed.

Take an adventure! Read an excerpt on Amazon and get the E-book for only 2.99.

God's valentine

God’s Valentine to you: Your faith will make you whole

God's valentine

Mark 5:34: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Those who say Joel Osteen is too happy are messed up in the head. How in the world can you be too happy?

I find peace and happiness will turn any situation into gold.

Here is a story. My car’s alternator broke down at a gas station one midnight. I was by myself with no way of getting help. Many people would have been panicking, but I believe God will do what He says He will do. So I sat there calm and collected.  God sent me a complete stranger to get me home. The guy even had a great sense of humor, just like I like my men, by the end of the night, I was laughing and having a good time.

When God says He will bless you, he doesn’t mean just money. Proverbs 22:4 says, “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.” What kind of life can you live unhappy?

I do not underestimate the power of peace and happiness.  It turns marriages around. It feeds the homeless. It heals the sick. It gives strength to the weak. I could be in the midst of a war, everyone around me dying, and I am the only one able to laugh at the days to come. Is it because I’m oblivious? No, it’s because I understand God is not a liar. He does exactly what He says He will do.

The one thing I like about preachers like Joel Osteen, Jesse Duplantis, Joyce Meyer, and Bishop Davis of Faith Christian Center Jacksonville is they preach on God’s blessings and tell you exactly how to receive.

It is not so easy to receive God’s blessings.

  1. Mark 10:27 says, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God,” leaving man not able to receive the blessings on his own.  Let’s not mention Psalms 32:10 says, God’s “unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him”, not the wicked. It’s so easy to be wicked. Catch me on a bad day after weeks of not being in the Word.
  2. We are constantly fighting against negative thinking and feelings, both which inhibit God.
  3. We are naturally evil beings living in an evil world.
  4. We actually have to step out on faith before God moves. It is easier to believe what we can see and touch.

I find God asks me to do a lot of things that do not make sense.  When things didn’t work out the way I planned, I would be left thinking, am I going insane? Maybe I should stop believing. Thing is, I made a promise to God: no matter what, I will keep believing in Him because wherever He takes me, He can at least provide me peace and happiness.  This promise has helped me stay in faith, leading God to fulfill.

It is funny how in Mark 5:34, Jesus says, “Your faith has healed you” not “I have healed you.” It makes me sad God will do only what I believe He will do.  I want Him to be a magic genie, but alas, that was not His will.

If you study the new testament yourself, you’ll discover Jesus saying multiple times,  “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:20 is one specific time He does that.

If I were you, I’d follow his command.

Shirley_Chisholm

Black History Month: Shirley Chisholm’s fight to be first

Shirley_Chisholm

Leaving her mark no matter what.

The year 1969 would see the first black woman elected to Congress in the House of Representatives. This I learned from Dayo Olopade’s History of Black Women In Politics Part I, an article analyzing the dynamics of women rising to political power.

It might surprise you to learn Hilary Clinton is not the first woman to seek the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party. According to Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 Presidential Campaign by Jo Freeman, it is actually Chisholm who became the first woman and African-American to do so.

Making such strides did not come easy. She survived three assassination attempts on her life, Don Swaby wrote. It left Chisholm more determined than ever to leave the White House making a statement her peers could learn from. During her term, Chisholm made sure all those she hired for office were women, half of them black.

Blissany Cherry should use Shirley Chisholm as her inspiration.

Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon

In the fantasy romance Superheroes Wear Faded Denim, Blissany is just another young woman looking to fall in love and graduate college. Fighting an intergalactic war to save mankind does not make her list of top ten things to do.  It doesn’t even sound like a video game she would want to play. Yet when the love of her life becomes a target for evil, she has to overcome her fears and become what she never believed she could be, a warrior. 

Take an adventure! Read an excerpt on Amazon and get the E-book for only 2.99.

God's valentine

God’s Valentine to you: Step out on faith

God's valentine

Proverb 28:27: “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing.”

I enjoy tithing. Why? Because I truly believe God will do what He says He will do.  When I read Mark 4:20, “Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop –thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times what is sown,” I know every time I plant a seed God is going to grow me a forest.

Now as a fantasy romance author, you should already know I am a big dreamer. I give my characters big things, and I expect God to give me even bigger things. It took me about twenty years to realize if I want God to move miraculously in my life, then I need to step out on faith and move miraculously in others.

So I find myself searching to bless others as if I am superman, hungry to love like Christ loves.

In mid-January, God told me to find people at local bus stops in Northeast Florida, ask Him who I should bless, and just give them money. How awesome is that? I do it because let’s get real. I’m not trying to be the one surviving in this world till my eternal bed is made. I’m ready for the fullness of Christ, and I’m trying to receive it today. Jesse Duplantis, a southern preacher who lives by the words of Mark 11:24, “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it, and it will be yours,” preached at Faith Christian Center one day. He preached on God blessing him abundantly and beyond, speaking on what I am blogging about right now.  At the time I heard his message, I was fed up with my mediocre relationship with God. Now me being the demanding person I am, I was demanding more. 

Whenever I read the Bible, I don’t think, ‘Oh this is a nice story.’ I think, ‘God, why aren’t you doing this for me?’ or ‘I want that’, or ‘God, you said you’d do this. I’m waiting.’ So when Duplantis finally told me the key, I instantly became good soil and soaked up his message.  

Now tithing means several things to me. Many preach solely on giving money to our respective churches. This is true, but many of the people who need help are outside of the church. That is why it is important for me to ask God daily, how can I go beyond just giving money to church? How can I do your will.

God might say something as small as, give your neighbor a bright smile every morning.   

Then get ready.  Your relationship with God will become a marriage.  Then you’ll have a right to make a list filled with the desires of your heart because Proverbs 25:28 says, “He who trusts in the Lord will prosper”, and Psalm 37:4-6 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of you heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this; He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the Justice of your cause like the noonday.”

Read God’s Valentine to you: He will do for you exactly what he said.

Kerry Washington

Black History Month: Kerry Washington makes history with Scandal

Kerry Washington

Taking today by storm.

This whole blog could be dedicated to Kerry Washington’s resume. Steve Harvey said while hosting the NAACP awards, she is the first black actress to hold a lead role in a primetime drama. I joke with my family the ABC television show Scandal should be called Homewrecker. Women who steal other women’s men should have a red A sewn in their shirts, but that aside, it is addictive. Every time I logon to social media, someone’s facebooking or tweeting about the latest episode. If they are not talking about Scandal, then they are boasting about Django Unchained.

Washington’s talent has landed her several big name movies. Ray and The Last King of Scotland are just to name a few. With every great role Washington takes on, this powerful actress makes history.

Fans of Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues, will also be thrilled to learn Washington is a member of V-Day, an organization focused on ending violence against women. I was heavily involved in V-Day in college, so learning this just made me like Washington even more. Who will be catching Scandal this Wednesday?

Let me know.

If Superheroes Wear Faded Denim were being turned into a movie, Kerry Washington would definitely be Cassandra Williams.

 

Buy at Amazon
Buy on Amazon

Cassandra Williams is a beautiful and talented dancer who is well adept when it comes to love. Blissany Cherry on the other hand is an utter dating catastrophe. When the first hot guy to return her affections is stolen by her best friend Demi, she is desperate to win him back. There’s only one problem. She has no sex appeal whatsoever. Thank goodness Cassandra is Demi’s arch nemesis and is willing to use all she knows to train Blissany in the art of war and love.

Do not be afraid to read an excerpt on Amazon and get the E-book for only 2.99.