Clarion West Write-a-Thon: Sprint #2

Today was the second Clarion West Write-a-Thon writing sprint. The goal today? An article rough draft. Word count minimum of 500 words. Again, I journaled my spree…

8:15 PM: So, the two Short Dudes are gone. Time to get my writing on. I want to work on a rough draft of an article about speculative fiction for the first issue of Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF) Magazine. The catch? My computer’s dead.

8:39 PM: I don’t know how many words I have so far. I’m just flowing. Words down. Get this draft as far as possible. Edit later.

9:00 PM: I just made a Chrissy Teigen face about how often I’ve used a certain word.
9:15 PM: Whew! Made the minimum word count. That’s a nice start and I have a decent rough draft. Not bad for banging it out on my phone! Thanks Word app!

Wanna sponsor me? You can if you want. You can also find out more about Clarion West and the Write-A-thon and how it helps authors to be their best.

Post-Panel Thoughts: Blerdcon 2017

I had a really good time at Blerdcon! Our “Afrofuturism and Black Speculative Fiction” panel on June 30 had a really good turnout! Animator and comic artist Uraeus, author K. Ceres Wright, actor/director Chad Eric Smith, and head of the Afrofuturism Network, moderator William Johnson, and I had a great discussion.
We talked about what those terms mean to us, representation in the genre, do’s and don’ts, and our thoughts about being Afrofuturistic content creators. I’ll go more in depth about my own thoughts in future posts.

I have SO much love for Blerdcon. There were some amazing cosplayers there! Many of the panels focused on diversity and inclusion. This was its first year and there was such a laid-back vibe with everyone enjoying themselves and having fun geeking out together. I know I felt like “My peeps!”

It felt good to be there and I look forward to coming back next year! If you’re into comics, gaming, anime and speculative fiction, you should go too!

Clarion West Write-A-Thon: Journaling the Frenzy

2017-06-21 20.46.59So tonight was the first writing sprint or as I like to think of it: “My Hour Of Writing Frenzy.” I decided I’d keep a journal of my crazy thoughts…

9:00 PM: WRITING SPRINT BEGINS! Annnnd we’re off! Soexcitedsoexcitedsoexcited!

9:02 PM: Crap…what story do I want to work on? What do I want to work on? What am I feeling tonight? Goddammit…I’ve wasted two minutes already?! Planning ahead is everything? Is it really already 9:04???

9:04 PM: So I decided to go with a fantasy novel WIP called “Between the Mountains and the Sea” (working title) that I’ve been really digging lately and wanting to work on. It already has 476 words. Okaaay…I can roll with that.

9:30 PM: I’ve been kind of obsessed with this for a while and wanted to work on it. I’m at least trying to add to it? 711 words so far. Alright, alright, alright.

9:45: I need a bio break SO BAD. No, no…I don’t yet. Peeing is for the weak! I can power through this. I NEED TO WRITE.

10: And that’s a wrap! Went from 479 words to 1150. My fingers were flying. I’m going to look at a lot of it tomorrow like “WTF?!” but it felt good to get words down like that.

Wanna sponsor me? You can if you want. You can also find out more about Clarion West and the Write-A-thon and how it helps authors to be their best.

 

NYC Book Signings!

Last weekend I rolled up to NYC for signings in Harlem and Brooklyn for Sycorax’s Daughters! The first was at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. I was joined by authors and poets (from l. to r.) Kiini Ibura Salaam, Nicole Sconiers, Joy Copeland, Amber Doe, Tracey Baptiste, K. Ceres Wright, Zin Rocklyn and Sheree Renee Thomas.schomburg sycorax 3-10schomburg syc authors 3-10We had a really nice turnout and a great crowd! We read excerpts and answered questions and had a lot of fun…
schomburg syc crowd 3-10Saturday night we were at Quimby’s Bookstore in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. It’s a great little bookstore that you have to check out if you’re there. Here we (A.J. Locke, Sheree, me and Kiini) are with the shop’s owner Steven Svymbersky…quimbys sycorax 3-11Had a good time laughing and chilling out in the corner with the fantabulous Sheree!
2017-03-11 20.58.30I had so much fun in NYC and it was wonderful meeting and being in the company of so many talented writers and poets. So much good energy going. Hope we cross paths again soon! Thank you to both venues for having and supporting us! Want to read Sycorax’s Daughters? Contact your local bookseller or grab a copy HERE.

Letting the Words Come to You

washedout elle at computer
Sometimes the words just come to me. In a dream, or as I hear something on TV or on the radio or in a passing conversation. They jump out at me and force me to pay attention. It can be a fragment, or even a whole sentence. I was always told that you should pay attention when that happens. They might go into a poem or one of my stories.

I want to tell you all more about how I think when I write (and do more of it!) I recently wrote a short story called “A Little Not Music.” There is a part in it: “‘You didn’t listen.’ It was all she could do not to.” That came to me just before I went to sleep one night and stayed with me. I just knew that I had to do something with it, it felt so strong.

Pay attention to things like that. The words that just jump out and stay with you. I’ve found things written on the backs of receipts, napkins, jotted down in my phone, scribbled on scrap paper…

…But I know that even those scraps are holding gems.

What’s your process when the words come to you?

 

Up for a Breath

Image
Heh. Anyone who writes or edits a lot will get that…

One thing about being in grad school is the huge lack of a life you voluntarily commit yourself to. It also means that everything creative kind of takes a back seat to “academic brain.” I am love, love, loving what I am learning, but it means switching off thinking about my fiction writing, poetry, and art. Essentially, anything that would take time away from my studies and research. Good thing is that summer break is a week away.

This means, I’ll be back. And in an effort to keep my mind from doing that atrophying thing that happens from too much vegging out, I’ll just switch gears to focusing on creative goals instead. A short story for an anthology submission. Putting together a short story collection. Revamping and revising a novel. Writing poetry again. I’m not Emily Dickinson…these stories and poems have got to get out of my computer and into the world! And let’s not forget ART! Think I’ve got time to squeeze in some classical guitar lessons? I’ve put it out there to the universe. Now to get crackin’! Need to keep this brain clicking!

Summer break here I come!

And So It Begins…

Poetry is life distilled” –Gwendolyn Brooks

That quote could probably apply to the arts in general. The creative process of trying to sum it all up in one piece as manifested through its maker. Either way, in the immortal words of Bender Bending Rodriguez: “I’m back baby!”

I took a bit of a hiatus from writing (long story) and thought, “I need a kick in the rear” to get back on track on the keyboard and bang out pages like I used to again. I’ve also got some of my art quilts out in the world on exhibition right now and I need to wield some paint and fabric and thread and get to cracking on finishing up some more.

So in the meantime you get to hear me grumble and rant and “philosophize” ever so slightly about writing, art, travel and culture, all sorts of other things and that big thing we call life.

Shall we begin?