#WriterWednesday What Your MFA Program Didn’t Tell You

Every Wednesday The Neophyte Author will share some advice on writing–this may include tips on creativity or the business side of writing. Sometimes the tips will come directly from the Neophyte Author and some weeks they will come from other authors. To launch #WriterWednesdays the Neophyte Author will be sharing some tips. 

Back in December I bumped into someone who I’d completed my MA in Creative Writing and she was overjoyed to see me and my book. Of course, she had a ton of questions about how I got from being a writer in theory to being an actual published author. It that moment I realized my writing program didn’t tell me that and I bet yours didn’t either. Now without God on my side I would still be asking the same questions she asked me to my favorite author, “just how exactly did you do that,” but here are a few things I learned along the way. 

Get Your Manuscript Together

Unless you’re a trust fund baby you didn’t invest in studying writing at this advanced level for it to sit on your thumb drive. You pursued an MFA with the hope of earning some type of money with your writing–whether it’s to studentssupplement your regular stream of revenue or as your sole stream of revenue you were hoping to earn something from workshopping all of that writing. Here’s what you need to do: 

  • Find out the requirements of your genre and make sure your work is up to snuff
  • Have your manuscript professionally edited before you think about sending it anywhere
  • Join some kind of writing community, guild, or group in your neighborhood. You’ll be connected to other writers, readers, and some places like The Center for Fiction includes access to a writing cave as part of your membership

Break Out of the Writing Cave

It’s great that you’re this deep existential thinker and your characters can transcend space and time, but…

  • You need to start promoting your work
  • You need to start learning the business (publishing, marketing, tracking sales)
  • You need to start building your brand (who are and what are your books about). Even if you have a publisher they will not come up with this stuff for you. 

These are just the basics to get you going. A starter pack in a sense. Now, talk to me–what do you need and/or want to know about writing? The Neophyte Author will do it’s best to get you some solid advice and tips. 

Pathways to Your #Passion: 2015 Goals and Visions

So, if you’re over 18 you’re probably already familiar with the rhetoric that surrounds the ringing in a New Year–“New Year, New Me”, “This year is going to be better than last”, etc. etc. etc.

Now, in all honesty many people abandon this motto after January or at least after the first trial or obstacle of the New Year smacks them in the face, which is why I generally don’t set resolutions. However, this year I’ve been entertaining two things: vision boards and goal setting. Neither one of them are new concepts and as an educator I’m quite familiar with goal setting, but I’ve never applied the  practice to my new writing career.

Goal Setting

I think my soul sis, Unoma Nwankwor’s posts about goal setting have rubbed off on me. In one of her recent Facebook posts she quoted the late Dr. Myles Munroe in which he stated that your goals should, “create your priorites, determine your desicions, dictate companions, and predict your choices.”  That inspired me to set some wiriting goals (I know I should probably have goals for other areas of my life–give me a break).

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Vision Boards

Vision boards have been around for awhile, but I have been kind of hesitant to create one. A certain part of me felt like, one it’s kind of New Agey and two it kind of takes away from the whole notion of “have your way in my life, Jesus” if I’m drafting up my vision. I believe in Habakkuk 2:2, when it says write the vision, the word meant write the vision that the Lord had given the prophet not the vision the prophet wanted to write, but after some investigating and polling I decided it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. So, I created a vision board. My understanding is there are no rules to vision boards except making sure you have a clear objective.

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I divided my vision board into two parts: the inner man and the outer man–what I want for my spirit in 2015 and what tangible things  I want. I included some scriptures that spoke to the vision I was creating and my faith. Two of those scriptures are:

“If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. Yea the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows. Thou shalt decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.” Job 22:23-28

“And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” 2 Chronicles 26:5 

These scriptures will keep me focused on my ultimate goal–to hear my Father say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” while at the same time they address the fact that I still long for some of the things that the Gentiles long for. I want to be a powerful Christian (decree a thing), I want to live comfortably (gold as dust), and I want to prosper (God made him to prosper). 

The second half of my vision board addresses the areas of my life that I’d like to see the manifestation of these scriptures–in my writing and in my home. A vision is only a vision until you put the leg work to it, but having one gives your legs some direction to walk in. 

What are your goals for 2015? What does your vision for 2015 look like? Please share your goals and vision boards and as I update you on my progress I look forward to hearing about how you have progressed in 2015. 

#CoverReveal : Seasoned with Grace

On July 28, 2015 my second novel, Seasoned with Grace will be dropping and you know I had to share

the cover with you.

SEASONED-WITH-GRACE

Synopsis: Sentenced to probation, thirty-year-old, supermodel Grace King must put her plans of transitioning into acting to extend the longevity of her career on hold. Desperate to keep a close eye on Grace and his job Grace’s ambitious lawyer, Ethan Summerville has her complete community service in the last place Grace wants to be. His church.
 
Instead of God, Grace finds a “chocolate drop” of a man–Brother Horace Green. However, Horace isn’t looking for a supermodel. He wants his woman saved and sanctified, but Grace has never met a man who has been able to resist her. Will Horace compromise his faith for a taste of fortune, fame, and Grace?
 
While Grace focuses on the pursuit of passion Ethan finds one director willing to take a risk and cast Grace in his debut film, but this role fits Grace all too well. Will this film revive Grace’s relationship with God and her career or bring her closer to destruction?

Seasoned with Grace is available on Amazon for pre-order now

#CoverReveal : Tempted to Touch

If you’ve been following the Neophyte Author then you know that this summer I began working on a novella, Tempted to Touch. During this summer I went through some struggles and battles with point of view, but I finally got that together. With the point of view established and a great title in place this weekend I knocked out the cover. With the help of my #soulsis, Unoma Nwankor and my go to cover girl,Myriam Skye-Holly, the cover of Tempted to Touch is ready and I have an excerpt for you. 

 

3dExcerpt from Tempted to Touch ***Unedited***

“Is that?” Onyjie gasped after flipping my laptop open as I tried to press it closed when she entered my office.

“Yes, that’s Quincy and this is not what it looks like,” I said pointing to the screen. The mint green lacquer on her nails gleaned in my eye making it difficult for me to formulate a good lie.

“I hope not,” Onyjie wagged her head and folded her arms across her chest. “It looks to me like you’re cyber stalking him.”

My head shook rapidly from side to side. There was no real way for me to make an innocent afternoon of research appear innocent. “No, I bumped into him the other day…He gave me his card.”   This would be a great moment for a genie to pop out and shazaam the card would appear in my hand while Onyjie tapped the toe of her metallic silver booties on the floor waiting to find the hole in my story. I really don’t know why she went into accounting after college. She has the entire detective thing down pact right down to the cold stare and twisted mouth.

“He’s in the industry now.”

“What industry? The how to get a divorce in 90 days industry?” She asked pointing at Quincy’s almond colored face.

“No, the music industry,” I said laughing a bit trying to disguise my guilt. I had not so much as called him and Onyjie already had me feeling like I was committing adultery.

“Girl, please, he’s been in the music industry since you met him like ten years ago. It turned out that all he did was hand out flyers for Diddy.” Onyjie hiked up her black and white grapic print a-line skirt and parked a quarter of her thigh on my desk.

“Make yourself at home,” I offered sliding the laptop out of the way. “All that street team stuff is in the past. Now he’s the boss. He runs Down Low Records.”

Onyjie shrugged her shoulders and shook her pepper colored pin curls, “Never heard of it. If and I stress the word if this is a legitimate recording company what do you think is going to happen—you cut a demo and then you’re going to blow up.”

I lowered my head and focused my eyes on a nick in my new desk to hide my smile. Was I being naïve in thinking that a chance encounter with my former lover was the key to living my dreams? Well, he wasn’t quite a lover Quincy was more like the love you-leave you-then-love you again type.

Catching onto my quiet contemplation or my poor avoidance tactics Onyjie forcefully snapped my laptop shut, “You better let the past remain in the past.”

“You’re acting like I went and hired a private eye,” I said swatting Onyjie’s hand off my laptop and popping it back open. “I bumped into him at Nate’s school.”

“Yeah, and Eve bumped into Satan in the garden while she was picking up lunch.” Onyjie folded her arms and the corners of her mouth into a scowl at the same time. “Don’t be no fool, girl.”

© 2014 Nigeria Lockley

 

 

Born at Dawn Launch Party Recap

I’m a wee bit late in sharing (I’m sorry), but I went from Launch Party Mode to traveling to the National Black Book Festival (recap coming soon).

Listen, God showed up and showed out. Everyone who said they’d make didn’t, but everyone who did make it supported Born at Dawn 100%. A midst traffic delays in the sprawling city everything came together, praise the good Lord! Check out some photos and video from the event below.

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We also had some scenes from the book acted out. Here’s one clip:

 

Did you enjoy this clip? If you’ve read Born at Dawn please let me know what you think of Esdras’ portrayl of Marvin? If you haven’t read Born at Dawn please get your copy today.

 

I’m Going on Tour: Born at Dawn Virtual Blog Tour 8/25-9/5

 

Born at Dawn Virtual Book Tour Banner

 

From 8/25-9/5 I’ll be visiting numerous blogs to introduce myself to readers. Please join me as I travel to read special notes, excerpts and find out fun facts about me. 

Tour Schedule

8/25 A Book Lover’s Retreat

8/25 Inspired Books Guide

8/27 Michelle’s Book Stop

8/28 Faith Simone: All Things Written to Inspire and Encourage

9/1 Memaws Stuff

9/2 Fiction Zeal.com

9/3 Diva’s Literary World 6pm

9/4 Writer M. C. Walker 

Be sure to visit these sites and leave your questions and comments over the next two weeks. 

Fighting with the First Person (FYI This is Not a How To)

I got into a fight this week. Not a knockdown drag out brawl more like an artistic affray. I just began working on a novella, entitled Tempted to Touch. Now my heart’s desire is to write this piece in third person. Do you think the protagonist, Kira Seagram is allowing me to do that? No, that would be too much like right (I don’t know why these people in my head are always acting up).

You would think after writing two novels a novella ought to be a piece of cake, but with Kira trying to tell the story herself I don’t know what to do with myself. Third person narration works for me as a writer. It’s great to know and share what everyone in the room is thinking and feeling. First person won’t allow me to do that. As the author I know the characters, but Kira doesn’t. First person will limit what I can reveal and when. First person means Kira has to become my new confidante. I like being allegiance free. Do you see the limitations here? Do you see the struggle?storytelling word in wood type

My first instinct was to do what I know, but then where is the growth for me as a writer and for my characters? There is none. So, now I’m on a mission to get through Tempted to Touch. Of course, this isn’t something that I can do alone. After sitting in front of my computer screen and praying for some divine intervention I also looked up some great articles on point of view to help me get over my fear of sounding trite and redundant (I sat, I walked, I thought, I. I. I). Sentence structure and lyricism are always heavy on my mind. I don’t think I’m completely over my fear, I’m still trying to figure out how I can manage to squeeze in a chapter or two in the third person (pray for me). However, I’m still typing. 

Writer’s what’s your favorite point of view to use in your writing? Readers, which point of view do you prefer and why?

 

Links to the articles I read for anyone else who, like me is embroiled in a battle with the first person:

First Person or Third

First Person Point of View

Me, Myself, and I: Writing First Person Point of View

Chat with the Neophyte Author

DSCN0144This week I’ll be doing a few interviews. Have a question for me about writing, Born at Dawn, faith, or anything else tune in and/ call in to chat with the Neophyte Author.

 

Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 5 PM EST/4 PM CST:  The Author Chat Show with Lynda D. Brown Call In: (424) 675-8262

Monday, July 7, 2014 at 12 PM EST/ 11 AM CST:   Divas Literary World Call In: (914)  338-1494

 

Please LIKE, SHARE, and TUNE IN!

 

I Want You–bloggers, book reviewers, radio hosts, and social media influencers!

Born at Dawn Virtual Book Tour Banner

The Neophyte Author is preparing a virtual book tour to promote her debut novel, Born at Dawn and she is currently booking stops for her two week tour. If you would like to support the Neophyte Author, Nigeria Lockley click here to sign up.

Born at Dawn Synopsis:BORN-AT-DAWN-FRONT

Thirty-four year old Cynthia Barclay knows that marriage is supposed to be for better or for worse. Unfortunately, for the last ten years of her marriage Cynthia has experienced the worst that marriage has to offer at the hands of her abusive husband Marvin Barclay. With the hope of saving herself and her family she turns to the Lord. Expecting to see God manifest himself greatly in her life sooner than later Cynthia is not content just waiting. She wants out.

 Abandoning her hope, her husband, and her two young sons Cynthia boards a bus from New York City to Richmond, Virginia. She begins a new life armed with six thousand dollars on a prepaid credit card, a sketchy plan for success, and a promise to return for her sons. That is until she meets Cheo, a photojournalist with enough connections to take her where she wants to be and forget where she came from.

 After six years in Richmond Cynthia’s dark past resurfaces. At the risk of losing it all—her past and her present Cynthia returns home to right her wrongs. Has Cynthia chosen the right time to return home or is it too late for God to restore everything she has broken?

 

Thank you for your support and participation! Born at Dawn Virtual Book Tour Sign Up

SisterGirlFriends: Nikki Thompson, Nigeria Lockley, Cherylrese Lynette

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This Tuesday the Neophyte Author had the opportunity and privilege to appear on a segment, “SisterGirlfriends” on the Sharvette Mitchell Radio Show, During the show we discussed why I write fiction for the renewed mind and the characters in Born at Dawn. 

Two other awesome soul sisters, Nikki Thompson and Cherylrese Lynette, shared how they’re spreading the gospel and worshiping God with their gifts as well.

If you missed it please take listen by clicking on the link below. Post your comments and questions here and remember to support these other women of God as they spread the word of God.  

SisterGirlFriends: Nikki Thompson, Nigeria Lockley, Cherylrese Lynette