Thank You, Jackie

Jackie Collins sigToday is the eighth day that I’ve had to live in a world where my favorite author, my unofficial mentor, my inspiration, and the reason why I write no longer resides. It’s been a long eight days. I’ve finally come to terms with this therefore, today is the day that I’m able to say goodbye to Jackie Collins.

I was twelve when I discovered that life wasn’t all Ramona the Brave and Sweet Valley High. This realization came in the form of Nick and Lauren in American Star.

I fell in love with the way Jackie Collins told a story. I was fascinated by the way she showed the dirty and glamorous sides of Hollywood. I loved her behind the scenes all-access pass she gave her readers into a world most of us could only dream about.Then I met Lucky. Since reading Chances, I’ve chalked up a body count of books high in the thousands but no other character has held my attention like Lucky Santangelo.

I, like thousands of others, had the opportunity to meet Jackie Collins at a book signing. This was when I was writing my first book and was trying to get published. As soon as I walked through the bookstore door, I felt her presence. I was star struck. Her smile was warm and comforting. Her aura was magnetic. I found the courage to ask her what I should do in the face of consistent rejection from publishers and her advice still holds true today.

“No doesn’t mean stop and no doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. No just means you can’t give up. Just keep writing and trying. Someone will love what you do.”

John Mayer once said, “Who I am as a guitarist is defined by my failure to become Jimi Hendrix.”

The same holds true to me as an author. I picked up a pen and pad because I wanted to be the black Jackie Collins. I modeled my career path after hers. It was in my attempt to emulate my favorite author that I found my own voice, my own style, and was able to define Jackie Chanel as an author.

I used to imagine having a one on one conversation with Jackie Collins where we’d talk about writing and Hollywood and she’d share the secrets of her immense success. And I would finally get to say what I’ve always wanted to say. With her passing, I won’t be able to say that in person so I’ll say it now.

Jackie,

Your work awoke a sleeping giant in me. Each time I read a Jackie Collins novel, I want to become a better writer. Your work encouraged me to write more engaging characters, more thoughtful plots, but most importantly, you encouraged me to never ever give up on myself. You didn’t have to know me personally in order to be my motivation and inspiration. I have called you my unofficial mentor since the day we met in that bookstore. It’s a moment that I will never forget and you are a person that I hold very near and dear to my heart. As a reader, a fan, and a fellow author, my life changed as soon as I opened a Jackie Collins book. Thank you for just being the amazing woman that you are.

You will truly be missed.

xojc

 

I’ve been Hoovered!!!

I’ve been Hoovered.

I didn’t see it coming at all.

Before I continue, let me issues this disclaimer…

Aside from Harry Potter and the Twilight books, I’m really not the type of adult that reads young adult or new adult books. I lurk around the genre and know the major players but I’m not searching for YA/NA when I’m buying books.

This is why I’m not exactly sure how I got Hoovered.

Colleen Hoover is a name that kept popping up in nearly every single on of my book recommendation emails. I saw some of her covers and thought they were gorgeous covers but not my cup of tea. One day, I’m trying to make room on my Kindle and I saw that I actually had Hopeless in my library. I don’t even know when I bought it.

Continue reading “I’ve been Hoovered!!!”

It’s Here!!! A HUSTLER’S PROMISE 3: THE FINAL CHAPTER

AHP3 KINDLEFIREFive years out of the dope game, Rayshawn and Jaicyn are finally making money the legal way and lots of it. They’re experiencing life like they never knew was possible. From the safety of their gated community, their world is copacetic.
Until news from home rocks their world.
Released early from prison, King’s only mission is to regain control of the throne and take care of the people who crossed him. And Washington Heights knows there are only two people who can make that happen.
Loyalty is tested, friendships lost, and the strength of Jaicyn and Rayshawn’s relationship is questioned.
When the smoke clears, who will be left standing?

PAPERBACKS EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE HERE!

E-BOOK AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM

COMING SOON TO iBOOKS, NOOK, AND KOBO

 

How did A Hustler’s Promise 3 Get Written?

AHP3 no shadowI eat, sleep, and breathe music. It’s no secret. Music is the plot of one of my most successful series. And it was music that guided me through the harrowing process of writing A Hustler’s Promise 3. Let me go back a bit…

When A Hustler’s Promise 2 was released, I felt like the two-part book was complete. I never intended to make it a series and I loved how it ended. There was nothing else to write about. Apparently, my readers didn’t think so. Not all of them but enough were vocal enough (and some not so nice about it either) that I decided to attempt a part 3, a finale.
For months, I couldn’t come up with a plot good enough to be blessed with the title A Hustler’s Promise 3. So I put it aside.

Disappointed with how my last series performed, I decided to revisit my old characters and see if they could help jump start my creativity. I started working out plot ideas for a few different set of characters. I thought I had something going with Jaicyn and Rayshawn and decided to write.

Things were going well. Readers were thrilled to know that I was bringing back their beloved couple. I had a great cover and a great story. Then tragedy struck. I’m not being dramatic. I’m an author and losing a third of your novel because of a technical glitch in your writing software is considered a tragedy in my world.

Here’s where music came into play and changed everything for me.

Continue reading “How did A Hustler’s Promise 3 Get Written?”

A Message of Support

isupportbykm-002Normally, these write tip posts are designed to help authors improve their writing based on my own experiences and knowledge. Someone gave me those tips and I’m just spreading the love.

Not today.

In regards to my own writing, this has been a hard month for me. From the minute you tell someone that you want to write a book, “Grow thicker skin” is repeated so much that it quickly becomes the indie author’s mantra. Let’s face it, indie authors open ourselves up for all types of criticism because we’re more accessible to our readers. Therefore, it is important to have thick skin.

But to some, writing a negative review isn’t enough. They take it as their personal mission to kick an author they don’t like in every way possible. It’s been happening to me all month and I’m seeing it happen to more and more of my author pals on a more frequent basis.

That’s why today’s tip has nothing to do with your book.

Whether it’s fiction, self-help, a memoir, or a comic book, writing is hard. It’s an emotional journey that anyone who sees it through deserves respect. It doesn’t matter if the book is an NYT Bestseller or a Dollar Store Bestseller.

CONGRATULATIONS AUTHOR! You wrote a book! That’s awesome! WELL DONE KIDDO!

Congrats-on-your-achievmentCongrats on completing each step to becoming a published author!

When you’re down…when your publisher (or former publisher) crosses you out, when your readers feel it’s their responsibility to tell you that you suck, take a deep breath and go to your happy place. Look for other authors for comfort and to vent to. We’ve all been there, and while it doesn’t get easier to deal with, you have a support system.

No matter what that review said, no matter what that email or private message on FB said, you’re awesome because you’re doing something that few get to do. Live your dream.

Write the story that is in your heart and head. Don’t ever let anyone discourage you from doing the thing you set out to accomplish. Be excellent, be awesome, be great. What other people think doesn’t matter.

Author bullying is a real thing…sad but true. And sometimes ignoring the bullshit is easier said than done. It is during those times when you focus on the story in your heart and why you picked up a pen and pad in the first place.

If it was for a royalty check, you might have an easier time stepping away from the industry for awhile. But if you’re an author like me, you write because it’s one of the few things you’re passionate about. You’re writing because, like air, you can’t live without it.

You don’t have to write on demand. You’re not a microwave writer. Take the time you need to tell the story the way you want to tell it and the hell with everyone else.

They’re your words on paper. It’s your heart on that page. Your friends, readers, and those who care about you will support you and put a protective shield around your heart if you allow us to.

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