Praying Over Poems

cryingprayingwomanAfter getting off work, grocery shopping and prepping food for the oven I went to the library.  My plan was to group poems I’d already edited and decide on section titles.  I also wanted to consider, review and edit some relative poems I found last night in a random folder.  As soon as I took over a large table, and started to spread the pages of the book out in piles I knew I wasn’t comfortable with the body of poems I’d chosen.

I have been meditating on whether there is room for fiction in my poetry.  I am also not sure of how to group the poems…  Should I group it by eras in my life?  Should I group them by years?  Should I group them by thoughts?  Should I group them by women or subjects?  I immediately don’t like the subject idea because then the poems become repetitive.  Should I group them by experience?  Or, group them in a fictional way… I mean, like… putting them in order to make an experience.  Like, one dating poem, then a poem about whether it goes somewhere or not, another poem about why it doesn’t go somewhere or a relationship poem and then a break up poem.

These poems are about seeking romantic love, dating, sex and knowing myself.  Some of it is finding myself too… So it would be fictional to put the poems in order to give total experiences if the poems (or people rather) and experiences are unrelated.  I didn’t write about every interaction I had with people I dated… some people never made it to the page, some amazing experiences never made it to the page even though I might have written about the person.  So to group them as sequential experiences feels dishonest, because many of them are unrelated?

As a poet who reads other poets I considered the best poetry collections I’ve read to determine a format…  I love different poetry books for different reasons… And each poet is an individual.  It isn’t fair to compare poets.  I also don’t think it’s a good idea to mimic another poets style or presentation.  So I ended up sorting through the poems I discovered last night, trying to make sense of them when I couldn’t order the poems I’d already chosen.

While reading the poems I just discovered, I found a poem about praying and acknowledging how God always answers my prayers…  So, I started to pray.  I wrote the prayer down.  A creative stream opened.  I felt connected, open, purposeful and creative.  Then I wrote the introduction to Seeking Sex Without Armor.  I also wrote a few poems.  God gave me a moment of clarity.

During the writing I was so open, I was again there in different situations: on dates… in love… breaking up… frustrated with myself… loving myself and finding God.  Or acknowledging God rather, God is never lost or absent.

I was so overwhelmed, I started to cry as I was writing.  I was crying so much I had to go get something to wipe my face and eyes.  When I entered the bathroom a teenager was charging her phone.  After I got some tissue from the stall, she ran and opened the door for me… Are you ok?  I promised her I was. She couldn’t  have been more than 12 years old… She was thoroughly concerned.  And I wished I’d thanked better and encouraged her caring and caring enough to ask…  I was even amused that she didn’t completely trust that I was fine…  At the time though, I was so consumed with writing and trying to get back to my stuff I’d left all over the table and stay in the head space I didn’t take that opportunity…

Now I am here, sharing this journey… I am here, blogging and thanking God for reminding me people care.  Especially after I’d immersed myself in some painful experiences to write.  Now I know, there isn’t any room in poetry for fiction or fear.


Selecting Poems for Seeking Sex

poetryelementsI finally finished selecting poems for my first poetry book.  I’m currently editing, organizing and grouping them into sections.  It feels amazing to be moving forward in my work.

I am concerned about having poems from so many different eras of my life… That statement made me feel old.  I have grown a lot.  My thinking is different, currently I examine my choices more meticulously. I’m not even sure I examined my actions when I was younger… A lot of my life choices were impulsive and passionate.

Reading all my poems last night, I realized I write a lot of fictional poems.  I was reading them, thinking “Why did I write this?  I didn’t have this experience.”  I am going to be sitting with how I spend my energy.  I’m debating if I want to include poems that were inspired by a certain energy or thought, rather than an actual life experience.

I am definitely going to be more mindful of what I say about myself to myself.  To read all of the poems together last night… I had an opportunity to see what is running through my head.  I could be gentler with my spirit.  I could be more positive with my expectations… I carry a lot of hurt.  I can forgive everyone but myself.  I am hard on me…

Going forward I will acknowledge my light.  I will acknowledge my power.  I will have positive expectations.  I accept the past, which I cannot change.  I will trust myself, because I am making better choices every day I draw breath.


65 Top Websites to Announce Your Book for FREE

I appreciate this blogger going through the trouble of doing this research and posting all these links. This blog is filled with tons of places to share your book for free. I plan to come back when I have more time to read. I just wanted to bookmark it on my blog and share it with all my writer friends.

Savvy Writers & e-Books online


For your book to sell, you need to create the demand. You need an audience, a platform – which you will get when your book is showing up on many websites and forums, visible to readers. Make it a habit to submit your book to at least 2-3 websites a day.  Don’t forget to post links to them on Google+, Twitter, FB, Tumblr, StumpleUpon, LinkedIn,, Pinterest … whatever social media you are signed up.  In one month you will have your book on all of these listed sites and you will see a difference in sales:
1. Goodreads
Use your free membership to promote yourself and your books. Reviews are essential and reviews on Goodreads site help your book to really stand out to millions of visitors.

2. Wattpad
Wattpad has experienced explosive growth since its inception and has become the world’s most popular destination to publish…

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Remembering I Chose Writing

underwaterToday I decided to tell myself the truth about my writing career. I love writing whether it pays my bills or not.  I love the rush of creating something.  I love when a poem comes together just right.  I love applying  a new lesson from one of my writing books.  I love finding out I’m already doing something a pro says every “good” writer should do. 🙂  I like escaping from my life and becoming completely immersed in another world I’ve created. Now I can breathe and stop beating myself up and enjoy this journey.

I wanted to have a book done by September 2014.  That was impossible.  There is still, so much work to do for the book I released in July of 2013.  You have to market your work and if you haven’t begun… you must build an audience.  More importantly, I needed to have a rough draft done before 2013 ended to have another book out this year.  Editing takes time.  Writing a book is such a long process.  Again, I love the process.

Even though I love writing, I somehow started to try and force myself to write faster, or to be more productive.  I’m not against productivity, but I’m not sure how I picked the date for the publishing of my next book.  I mean, I picked the date of my next book before the first one had been released so I could include the release date in the book.  While the truth is, it was kind of unreasonable to determine how fast I could complete something I’d never completed.  Truth is, I have no idea when the first draft of my next book will be completed.

I’m still doing research.  I am still writing.  Often I don’t know what I need to know or don’t know depending on the writing session until I hit a wall.  Some writers just write their story and then plug in historical information.  I can’t use that method because some things are impossible in the time period.  Yes, it’s fiction and I can make anything I want happen.  But I can’t call it historical fiction if I disregard the actual historical part.  It’d be a fantasy novel if people started using the phone or the internet in the early 1900’s.  It’d be a fantasy novel if my characters started displaying behaviors that were unknown during their time.  We are literally limited by our thinking.  I have to know what’s going on in their time to recreate their thought process.

There are so many layers I want to cover.  On top of all that, I always want my next book to be better than the last one.  I always want to be growing as a writer and for it to reflect in my work.  I’ve learned so much since I released my last book.  I want to apply all of that  knowledge.

Speaking of learning from writing… I’m really glad I actually made all the editing changes after it was edited.  My editor would write questions in the margins and explain why I NEEDED to change something.  We had discussions about things I didn’t understand.  Turns out, you need someone to get in there and see if what you wrote is what you actually meant.  Also, how you perceive what you write is completely different from how it might actually read. Of course you understand some weird dialog, no one else who’ll read it will because you are immersed in the world you’ve created…

I’m looking forward to a really good first, second and third edit.  I am looking forward to reader feedback.  I’m looking forward to sitting down with a table of readers before the book is finally published.  Last time I had several different readers from different places, who came from different backgrounds and therefore looked for different things.  The book was mailed all over the place.  Everyone was on their own reading timeline.  This next group is a book group of several women.   There will be a set date for when it has to be done.

Currently, I’m in a coffee house… trying to write something towards finally finishing the first draft of my novel.   I did a lot of research.  Oh, and I’ve surrendered to researching more.  The last time I did research it was for the first book when I thought it would all be one book.   Honestly, I didn’t focus on this time period enough.  So I am sitting with how my character feels in every scene… I’m asking myself “what is she doing in the scene,” and “what actions are available?” I’ve accomplished a little writing but not what I wanted. I think I’m going to call it quits, go home, watch a little Netflix until I fall out. Plus it’s freezing in here.

Random: I read on another blog I’m following, how this man blogs daily at least 500 words about whatever.  I don’t know if my goal is to write a blog daily but I do need to set daily writing goals.  As much as I love writing, it doesn’t beg me to feed it the way my stomach does.  Writing doesn’t send me messages or mail to notify me that a bill is due. Writing doesn’t (well, sometimes my characters talk at the most inopportune times…) tell me it feels neglected the way a lover would.  I have to choose it.  I even have to choose to love it.

Software to Make Your Own Book Cover

book-cover-189-displayI’ve been looking into creating my own book cover. I am an artist, but I don’t really know anything about the graphics part of creating a cover. I found this information online and wanted to store it somewhere for myself… And decided to share it on my blog too. There are many applications that can do this. I have explained two options that you may consider: (1) Paid Applications: (from Adobe) a. Photoshop – Image manipulation b. Illustrator – Vector Graphics c. Indesign – Layout your cover page/book exactly for Print & Publishing (2) Free Applications: (Open Source) a. GIMP – Image manipulation b. Inkscape – Vector Graphics c. Scribus – Layout your cover page/book exactly for Print & Publishing A good cover/book design is an outcome of effective use of above three tools. Hope this helps you.

How Based in Reality Is Your Fictional Setting?

1900swomanWriting Question: When establishing settings for your story, do you use real cities or do you make up your own? When using real cities, do you use the names of real streets, stores and other businesses? If you make up your own, how based on reality is your fictional town?  Some one asked in a writing group I’m in.

This is such a great question.

I’m writing historical fiction. For my first book, Descendants of Hagar, I created a town in Georgia, called Zion.  Zion is based on three years of research into small black towns.  I researched building materials, terrain, farming, political and economical conditions.  I also read what dialects existed throughout the south.  I looked up what major events would have influenced the window of time I chose.  Then I combined everything I knew to build the perfect setting for my story.  This next historical novel is based in New York.

Due to being a finalist for a writing award I had an opportunity to visit New York.  I was overwhelmed by the fact that about 85% of the buildings and streets in existence during the early 1900’s are still in use, they’ve simply been repurposed.

My time in New York was limited, as a result, I didn’t get to establish a firm grasp of the area I’m writing about. Fortunately, visiting informed my research and helped me determine where I wanted to visit when I get research funding.

I’ve been studyingnyc138 maps and photo’s of early Harlem.  I’m researching housing, clubs, organizations, restaurants, churches and grocery stores my character would have frequented.  On my next trip to Harlem, I plan to walk the area my story is centered in.  I want to know how far a walk to the grocery store or train station would have been from her flat. I want to know what housing was available.  What places would she have passed and what kind of people lived between destinations.  So, I’m also researching class and other factors that would have determined how the city was broken up among blacks.

On top of that, I want to consider what scenery she might have seen. She wasn’t born and raised in New York. So the way a new comer from a small town would perceive city living is different from someone who grew up in the same city. I’m looking forward to exploring the different nuances her perspective will shed light on.