Work in Progress: Children of God

I don’t know how this happened, but I haven’t blogged about my current work in progress. The work in progress that is driving me crazy. 

  1. This is my first book not set in New York. I am currently trying to find a way to work New York into the story line, however the protagonist is a New Yawker. 
  2. This is the first book that I had to do some serious research in order to work on. 
  3. I lost the USB that Children of God was saved on and I was 30K words deep into. 

Since losing the book about three weeks ago I’ve dug into the process of rebuilding the ruins. When I began Children of God I started it on my cell phone, so far I’ve recouped 10k words–10k random words. This week my task and goal is to continue writing and recreating the words that connected the randomness on my cell phone and get the story as fleshed out as possible.   

So here’s the deal, this is what Children of God is about:

Frontcoverdesign_Children of GodAnaiya Cunningham signed up for her church’s annual missionary trip to the Dominican Republic to escape the ruins her life has become. She was supposed to spend just one summer there that is until she meets Joaquín Dominque.

Joaquín is the pastor of La Iglesia de Valle and not a fan of missionaries. Although he’s devoted himself to caring for God’s people, he resents their ability to take off when trouble arises. The atrocities Joaquín has witnessed in the batey where his church is located has depleted his faith in God, dashed his hope in man, and turned the idea of finding a partner into nonexistent.

Determined to change his mind Anaiya volunteers to take on the missionary position permanently. Instead of in love she finds herself in the middle of the island’s immigration battle. Against Joaquín’s wishes Anaiya dedicates herself to fighting for the people and his heart. Will her passion be enough fuel to start a revolution and a relationship?

So, what do you think? Are you excited about this next release?

 

Black Book Fair Recap

The Neophyte Author was on the move again this weekend at the Black Book Fair hosted by the Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.

This is my second year in attendance and it was even better than last year.

Here’s a little photo recap:

 

Candid shot of my table and me.

 

My first supporter of the day!!!

 

The Kevin Powell discussing the importance of supporting women and young people in our community.

 

Abena Sidibe, an educator, blogger, supporter, and friend. BTW go follow her on Twitter @mindbrainfanatic

 

The shoe of the day! #feetonfleek

 

A selfie with Kevin Powell (he bought a book y’all) !!! I was over the moon. I met Kevin Powell, my table was besides his, and he purchased a book.

 

My mom came through to support me.

 

A little behind the scenes selfie stick fun with author, TC Spellen.

 

With the dopest big sister in a literary game. She holds me down at every event and every author that is my friend.

This event was well organized and a lot of my author buddies were in attendance. I would say I can’t wait until next year, but I’ve got another event coming up next weekend.

Oh the go, on my grind, knowing that God’s promises are not far behind. How do you stay sane when you’re on the go? What events are you looking forward attending this year?

Balance. (FYI This is Not A How To)

If you came to this post seeking advice from a sage you’re in the wrong place. This is the Neophyte Author talking to you after all. 

What I offer in this post is a confession. I have been so unbalanced that I have accomplished a lot less than what I set out to accomplish.

In an attempt to establish and brand Inheritance Books I have neglected other things namely my personal brand.

How could that happen?

Well, I‘m not really sure how it happened. As I plotted and planned how to build my new company, which is now a year old I also bit off more than I could chew.

Do I regret it? No way. Within one year of business I released a book, started coaching other authors in the areas of marketing and writing, but where does that leave me?

For a moment I felt lost and I had some personal stuff going on that was trying to dim my light and as the to-do list got longer I stopped doing what I was supposed to do for me as an author.

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Many questions came to my mind during this process and they might be coming to yours as well, so here’s what I know, what I still don’t know:

Is a personal brand and business brand necessary?

For me yes. For you maybe. It all depends on your ultimate goal. I am an author and I run an independent publishing company. Eventually (actually very soon), I’ll be publishing other authors, so Inheritance Books must become known as a company that provides content that edifies and entertains. I still want to continue to write and that is separate from the company. I already have a tribe and you all may not want everything that Inheritance Books offers, so I have to build a tribe for Inheritance Books (and thank you to those who are supporting us).

Does balance actually exist?

I don’t know. With two kids who are in every class that requires them to be on the stage and requires me to be in either the audience or back stage there are some days I can’t do business. With a husband who is not a creative and doesn’t get what I do there are some days that I can’t do business. With a whole other career as an educator there are some days that I can’t do business. Currently I’m playing tug of war and I just decided I am going to win, by creating this balance that is highly sought after and rarely found. 

Is there anything I can do to get close to being balanced? 

Get organized. Get a planner and actually use it. Use your smart phone for more than posting on social media. Set reminders. Then let go and let it flow. 

Have you been struggling to find balance in your life? What do you do to keep everything in order and get stuff done? 

If you’d like to work with me send an email to nigeria@inheritancebooks.co to book a Publishing Pow-wow (for authors) or a Monster Manifestation Session (for creative entrepreneurs and digital brands and businesses. Visit Inheritance Books for more information. 

Saturday Share: He Changed My Name

New Release Alert: My soulsis Unoma Nwankwor has a new book out–He Changed My Name. Please, please, one-click today. When you support her you’re supporting me.

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He Changed My Name

 

Book Title: He Changed My Name

Publisher: KevStel Group February 12, 2016

ASIN: B01B786XFE

Genre: Christian Fiction Romance

Author: Unoma Nwankwor

About the Book: Eager to escape the hypocrisy of the church and build her singing career, pop sensation, Ayanti “Yanni” Effiong enters and wins The Next World Star. Apart from fulfilling her dream, her move to America offers the perfect opportunity to help young female immigrants. A cause she pursues with a passion until fame takes over. Fifteen years later, broke, dumped and fresh out of jail, she begins to regret the lifestyle and name she created for herself.

Mensah Afortey is on the brink of losing the church he put his heart and soul into for the past seven years. This years’ Valentine Day gala is his last attempt to raise money for the church. Everything is set but they need a big name to pull in donations. Just as he is about to give up, in walks “Yanni.” When he agreed for Ayanti to serve community service under his church he didn’t know she was the same person as the embattled star.

While she pays her debt to society, the last thing she wants to do is perform on a day that left a bitter taste in her mouth. But there is no denying the instant attraction between them. Before he wins her heart, Mensah must win her soul. Over time and in fellowship with the church, Ayanti comes to realize that despite what man calls her, God has the ability to change her name.

 

Excerpt:

 

The shrill ring of her phone brought her back to the present. She sat up against the headboard. Her heartbeat accelerated as she answered the phone. It was Debby.

“Please give me good news.”

“Hey, chica,” Debby responded. “I hope you’re doing better.”

Earlier, Ayanti had a breakdown. She had screamed and bawled her eyes out, wishing she was back in Calabar, the capital city of her home, Cross Rivers in Nigeria. It seemed like a lifetime ago she won that competition and left the country.

“Yes, I’m fine, but tell me I can be better.”

“Okay, here’s the deal. Charity for Homes had filled up with court ordered volunteers until next month…”

“I can’t wait that long!”

“Lemme finish, girlie. We were able to get you to volunteer with them not as an individual, but under a church group.”

“A church!” Ayanti wiped her hands across her face. She hadn’t been in one of those in years. Did Debby have any idea the kind of judgment that went on in that place? She’d take her chances with the mean police officer until next month.

“Hear me out. The church volunteers with Homes for Charity as a non-sponsor group. You can be part of those volunteers and when they are not volunteering, you can still make up some hours by working in the church. That way, you can get this thing over with faster. Now tell me that doesn’t beat picking up trash in the streets,” Debby finished.

“But those people would have known what I did. Why I’m there…”

“And? Which one of them there hasn’t done anything bad?” Debby asked. “Girl, think about it. Besides, you have nothing else to lose at this point.”

“I guess you’re right.” Ayanti contemplated the whole arrangement.

“Of course I am.” A beat of silence passed between them. “Now get some rest and I’ll see you tomorrow. Think about it and let me know what you want to do. You have until the end of the week.”

“What’s the name of the church?”

“Ummm…hold on.”  The shuffling noise of paper could be heard in the background. “It’s called Calvary Is the Way. It’s on Auburn.”

Ayanti remained silent for a few minutes. After a while they disconnected. Ayanti switched off the television and turned to her side. Calvary Is the Way? She rolled her eyes. These new age churches and their names. What ever happened to churches with sensible names? Like Mount something…

© 2016 Unoma Nwankwor

 

Purchase Links

 Amazon: http://amzn.to/23xHqjD

 

unomskylo1aAbout the Author: Born in Akron, Ohio to Nigerian parents, Unoma Nwankwor spent her childhood and early adulthood years in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria. She possesses a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and a Master’s degree in Global Management. Her publishing credits include An Unexpected Blessing (2013), The Christmas Ultimatum (2013), When You Let Go (May, 2014), A Scoop of Love (Jan, 2015) and Anchored By Love (Dec 2015). Her work has appeared in Africa Book Club, USA Today HEA blog and The Kenyan E-zine; Wamathai.  Her stories are described as a fusion of faith, romance and African spice. Unoma is also the co-owner of KevStel Group LLC and resides in Atlanta Georgia with her husband and two children.

Social Links

Website: http://www.unwankwor.com

Blog: http://www.unomanwankwor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/unwankworauthor

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/unwankwor

 

 

Writer Wednesday: Events

Contrary to popular belief the internet isn’t the only way to sell books.

Live Events are another way to sell books and network. 

Sales

A live event can be hit or miss. I’ve attended events where I’ve sold lots of books at full price and I once attended an event where I only sold four books. 

Here’s the deal though–you may sell out you may not, but one sale can translate into life long sales. For example after attending the BWABC in Tennessee I released Tempted to Touch and someone for Tennessee contacted me directly to order the book. 

Networking

This is your opportunity to meet other authors. You can soldify relationships formed over the internet or you can just learn and grow through some real life interactions.

Those interactions can lead to collaborations and you can gain insight about what other authors are doing to promote their businesses, establish their brand, and sell some books. 

After attending the National Black Book Festival a year ago an author from the MidWest told me about in-home books signings. I asked a few friends if they would host and praise be to God at least one person said yes. It gave me the chance to connect with real readers. 

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Challenge

For 2016 The Neophyte Authors wants you to attend a couple events. If you’re strapped for cash stick to local events in your city or create your own. Call up a coffee shop or the library and ask them to host you. 

And you’re going to say, I don’t know about any events or it’s too late for me to book now. No way. Obviously, it might be hard to get into an event going on in January, but there are events in the middle of the year that are still accepting vendors or taking participants.

Check out these sites to get started:

AALBC.com

Writer’s Digest

Poets and Writers 

What’s your dream event that you’d like to attend? Do have questions about attending events or preparing for an event? Do know any events that authors must attend? 

To Keep Up with the Neophyte Author sign up for my newsletter because I’ll be on the go. I already have two events booked for January. 

 

 

 

#WriterWednesday: 5 Tips for Getting the First Draft Completed

I’ve been seeing a lot of post on Facebook and Instagram (are you following me @NewNigeria) about writing that first draft. Now, I’ve tackled revising while writing, but we haven’t talked about just writing. If you’re struggling with getting through the first draft here are some tips to get you through it (don’t feel bad I’m going through it right now while working on Children of God).

Pray

If you need motivation and inspiration to get the draft done ask the one who brings all things to pass. I’m not being funny here, truly He will steady your heart and mind when you sit down to do your work.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6

God is the author of the best selling book of all time His influence on your work will take it to the next level.  

Forget the Formalities

Don’t worry about indenting and setting margins. Don’t worry about the look of the thing. Just slap them word on the page.

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Anything that you do at this point can be fixed. It’s a draft. Say it with me it’s a DRAFT.

Close Your Eyes 

If you’re stifled or the words are not flowing correctly just close your eyes and allow the scene to manifest in your mind before you attempt to pound it out on the keyboard. Just make sure you don’t mess around and fall asleep. 

Avoid Counting Words

So, many authors set a daily word count goal, however the old adage a watched pot won’t boil applies here. The more often you pause even if it is for a second to check the word count you’ve actually stopped writing. If you haven’t reached your goal in a certain amount of time or are not where you thought you’d be you may also quash some of your motivation. Instead of checking the word count while your writing check the word count when you begin, cover it up on your screen or turn it off. Once your writing session is over check your word count then and you will may find that you’ve exceeded the goal you set for yourself because you took the limit off. 

Speaking of Limitations

Nothing is off limits for the first draft. Write what you want how you want. You can clean up later. Right now just pump it out.

Do you any tips to add that will help us all get over the hump of writing the first draft?

#WriterWednesday: Workshops, Webinars, Oh My!

Workshop - letters on wooden desk with laptop computer and a notebook. 3d render illustration.

Are you ready to teach a workshop? Want to start a webinar series? Of course you’re saying why on earth would I do that, Nigeria I’m still trying to figure how to sell books. That’s just it a workshop is an excellent way to sell books without selling books, establish or grow your brand, and monetize yourself.

I just came back from the BWABC Literacy Festival in Memphis where I hosted a workshop alongside my #soulsis Unoma Nwankwor. We covered the challenges of writing–I dealt with the practical stuff: time management and marketing and Unoma tackled the creative stuff: research is not writing, overcoming your mood, etc.

Lesson #1

Things never go according to plan (but God always provides a ram in the bush).

Early on we contacted the event organizer’s assistant about a projector. We were told we needed to bring our own. Of course, neither one of us own a travel size projector. We scrambled and to get copies of our presentations made unsure of how many people would be in attendance. Turned out we made enough copies and then the ram in the bushMichelle Stimpson showed up with a projector and allowed us to use it. Yasssss! Thank you, Jesus!

Lesson #2

Have fun. Simply enjoy yourself. If you’re not enjoying the moment the people in attendance won’t.

Lesson #3

Be genuine. Your brand is not only a statement you make up about yourself but how you leave people feeling after that.

Lesson #4

Don’t give them too much. Leave a little room for them to still want to pick your brain if your plan to monetize what you do.

Now to answer the question you’re dying to ask me: Is it worth it?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

  • Traffic to both of my sites–www.nigerialockley.com and www.inheritancebooks.co has increased–making this an opportune time to launch my paid workshops and lead into my webinar series for 2016. I’ll be doing at least one webinar before 2015 closes.
  • I’ve gained credibility. The workshop was held at a well-known literary event.
  • I had a great time and one of the established authors in attendance even posted a remark on Facebook about my lesson on branding. (Woot! Woot!)

Now it’s time to get you moving. Is there a particular topic you’d like the Neophyte Author to help you with? What are your writing challenges and struggles? Do you need help creating your own workshops? Post you answer in the comments below and your topic may the focus of my first webinar.

#WriterWednesday: Tackling Theme

So, it’s onto the fourth book for me now and I thought maybe I should try outlining now. Children of God is a different type of story for me. Each one of my books (Born at Dawn, Seasoned with Grace, Tempted to Touch) have been stand alone books, but none of them have ever been set in the midst of an external conflict.

Children of God is set in the Dominican Republic and will deal with the ramifications of the governments antihaitianismo (anti-Haitian prejudices) which led to a massive overhaul in citizenship status of the Dominican Republics Haitian residents. Particularly this summer. Many Haitians and Dominicans of darker complexions were sent to Haiti (voluntarily and by force). I usually don’t write such charged literature, so I figured I’d need an outline.

Outlining is terribly stifling to me and time consuming when I have so little time to write as it is, but upon engaging in this activity I discovered in addition to the characters and conflict a writer must have a theme in mind that they want to work with it.

Theme is the illusive element of the story that teachers use to torture students with and any good con-artist posing as a student can use it to trick a teacher into thinking that they’ve done some great analysis of a story with the right blend of evidence from the story, but what is theme really for an author?

Tackling Theme

Generally theme is considered the message of you want readers to take away from the story, for example Love conquerors all. When you work in a particular genre there are often themes that are associated with that genre. I write Christian Fiction. Stories in that genre don’t just honor morality, but often take a biblical theme like there is healing in forgiving someone and expound on that using the narrative.  

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Theme- the message hidden within the text.

Let’s elevate the status of theme. Instead of theme being shoved into a car that is driven a character with a huge personality or flaw or riding on the back of a motorcycle with a crazy plot what if theme became the driving force of the novel? What if when outlining and planning we crafted scenes that would illuminate theme?

As I attempted to outline Children of God the less I thought about conflict and plot and the more I thought what’s the point of this? What are the characters supposed to get from these experiences? What is the reader supposed to get from these experiences? 

Now, in true Neophyte Author fashion I can tell you that I have some working themes. Will they remain I don’t know because when I write I’m never writing alone I’m working with the author and finisher of my faith, Jesus and His will must supersede mine. 

Exercise

What is the theme of your most recent work or WIP? 

Name at least three scenes that develop this–try finding one from the exposition, climax, and denouement (or around there)?

How would you reconstruct those scenes or what would you add to them if you had planned the story with executing the theme as your main objective? 

How can you use this thought process to influence your next piece of writing?

 

Tempted to Touch #Pre-order #Special

The paperback version of Tempted to Touch is now available for pre-order on the Inheritance Books website. That’s right we’re sticking it to the man and bringing it to people. Amazon doesn’t allow small independent publishers like Inheritance Books to run pre-order specials on their paperbacks, so Inheritance Books is accepting pre-orders directly on their website.

Pre-order Special

Pre-order Tempted to Touch at 20% and receive an autographed copy. 

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About the Book

Kira Seagram is frustrated by her husband Mason’s zeal for the Lord, so she pours all of her attention into her work and reserves her soprano singing skills for the shower. Kira would rather not use them if she get can’t the adoration and recognition she feels she deserves and doubts she’ll find singing lead for Mason’s choir. When a routine drop off at her son, Nate’s private school turns into a ten-year reunion with her ex-boyfriend, Quincy McAdams, Kira isn’t interested in Mason’s half-hearted affection or willing to keep her voice to herself. With a firm offer from Quincy to help Kira cut a demo and possibly revive the love they let die, Kira has some choices to make. When Kira finds herself tempted to touch will she remain faithful to her husband or yield to the desires of her flesh?

Click here to place your order. 

Click here for a two chapter preview. 

Please support the movement by sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, or any other social media you know of and tell your friends in real life too. 

#WriterWednesday: Periscope for Writers Branding and Building a Community

Just when you think you’ve gotten a handle on your social media management another app pops up. I’ve never really done a post about social media before, but I really want to talk about this new app, Periscope ( I LOVE IT).

What is it?

Periscope is an app for streaming live video. As you record your followers can tune in. They can comment on the broadcast periscopeas you stream and they can share your broadcast with their followers on Twitter or their followers on Periscope. Within the app the replay of your broadcast is only available for twenty-four hours. There is another app called katch me  or periscopevault.com in which your broadcasts can be replayed. 

Is it for Writers?

Yes!!! It’s your own channel. You can talk about your books, talk about writing, talk about crocheting. Whichever way you use it make sure that your scopes are consistent with your brand. I write Christian Fiction, so it would be totally crazy for a viewer to log on and find me on there talking about how worried and stressed out I am. I’ve basically been dividing my ‘scopes into book ‘scopes and my faith ‘scopes. I am not too technical with my ‘scopes, but there are several others who you should follow that are using Periscope to build there brand and share their brand message. 

Building a Community

Since Periscope is so new you can establish you own community and expose your work to new readers. Periscope is not dependent on your Facebook friends following you or your followers from any other network. This is a place for you to network with new authors and readers. Hashtags are currency on Periscope. Add hashtags to the title of your broadcast to put yourself in front of new a readers. Be sure to engage with the viewers as they comment on your post. 

I Don’t Want  to Set Up a New Account

You don’t have to. Periscope is connected to Twitter. You don’t need to establish a new profile and every time you ‘scope the app automatically sends out a tweet to your followers. So, you don’t have any excuses. 

Who to Follow

So, you want tips on using Periscope. ]If you’re on there already but expand your network and community or you want to get a feel for the app before actually ‘scoping follow the people below. Of course you’ve got to follow The Neophyte Author.

@NewNigeria

Tiphani Montgomery @TiphaniMontgomery (entrepreneur)

Shelley Hitz @shelleyhitz (author coach)

Lashaunda Hoffman @SORMAG (author coach and book promoter)  

Are you on Periscope? Drop your handle below and what you ‘scope about in the comments.