A Lightning Bolt: How The Want Series Came to Me

Have you ever had a bolt of lightning strike you?

Neither have I. That would be terrifying not to mention life-threatening. But I have had a good idea come out of nowhere.

As I read a story and get enthralled by the plot and characters, questions always come up for me. “Hmm, I don’t like that. What if…”

Or “That doesn’t seem realistic to me. What I would’ve done is…”

One day as I was hanging out with friends in Seekonk, MA, watching TV, a random errant thought came to mind as we were discussing movies.

“What if the Grim Reaper was an actual living person?”

It’s a stupid question but I was stuck. I couldn’t move beyond this question. I was essentially paralyzed. I had to write this idea down. My friends won’t remember this but I immediately shot out of my seat and said that I had to go home. I jumped in my car and repeated the idea over and over in my head as I rushed the 20-minute ride back home.

I grabbed the nearest notebook and I wrote for a good solid hour. Fleshing the idea of the Want and pulling from my Christian teachings about the deadly sins. How would the idea of Japanese folklore of Shinigami play into this? Anime? Angels? The Seraphims?

I planned out the entire series that day. Not to say that it wouldn’t change over the course of five years. But it felt like kismet that day. This was the idea I was supposed to run with, to cry over, to get frustrated over, to pour sweat and tears into. And would be proud to call my first novel.

If that’s being struck by a bolt of lightning, then you can hit me with that a couple of times over the course of my life. Because it was and it still continues electrifying.

Why Romance is an Important Part of Any Story.

I love sci-fi/fantasy but I am a sap for a love story.

I can’t see a story without some passion within it. It’s one of the reasons I love my husband because he is as sappy as me and loves a good rom-com (did I mention he’s a scriptwriter?).

Fantastical elements are wonderful pieces to a story but to read and understand a love story, unrequited or not, connects with readers. Because we all have been there. Maybe we fell in love with someone we weren’t supposed to. Or someone out of our league. Or loved someone and experienced loss.

The emotions of love, passion, desire, and lust are a part of the human experience and when we read about characters, perfect or otherwise, exhibiting these emotions, we can connect.

We connect sympathetically. And if an author is really good, empathically.

As much as I enjoy writing about fantasy, action and overall excitement, I don’t think I will ever be able to completely divorce myself from having some romance. I have other series that are waiting backstage and even those will have romance elements to it.

But it’s my firm belief that love is the great equalizer because it’s never easy. My characters Katya and Gregor show you that clearly. Some readers might say why add it at all? It’s not to say that the story needs their romance but it makes it so much better. It allows characters to grow and show depth. The romance shows Gregor, though a Grim Reaper, is still capable of exhibiting human emotions. It is my hope that his story resonates with you, the reader. That as you learn about him and his struggles, you won’t see him as a perfect spiritual being, but as a flawed one. And that our flaws follow us and make us who we are. But the romance spotlight allows you to explore him as a character.

Love  – it may be cheesy but it’s great to read about it.

 

Originally posted on T’s Stuff.

Things Are Happening! Freebies, Giveaways and Interviews!

One of my favorite shows is 30 Rock. Liz Lemon’s character, in my opinion, is one of the funniest characters in comedy. About every year, I’ll rewatch the entire series and I just noticed that I watch it when things are going excitedly well.

I’m watching the series now because “things are happening!”

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My SugarCane Publishing team have been hard at work getting the word out for Awoke and it is starting to pick momentum this weekend.

  • Press releases are done and set for international journalists.
  • Preview copies are in the mail. The moment I get my finished copy in my hand, I’m freaking out. I told my husband to record me so I can laugh at myself later.
  • We’re doing a Goodreads giveaway for five signed copies!
  • A 75-page preview of the book is available on BookGrabbr.

But what I’m most excited for are the interviews!

Saturday the 19th I’m recording a podcast with the fabulous guys of Cashmere Thoughts and Polyester Pockets

Also Saturday I’ll be speaking live on Vigilantes Radio (TW: @VigilantesRadio) with host Dini (@whodiniblakin3d) at 11PM CST. If you wanna call in, here’s the information.

Then Sunday, I’m being interviewed by Dream Chasers Radio at 7pm.

There are few more in the works (still classified) but of course I’ll keep you all posted!

I’m just beyond excited 😊 and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the month and September shapes up to be!

Be on the lookout!!

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K. T.

Do I Have to be Profound?

I’m in the process of getting ready for my publishing company debut and book release in September (didn’t mention that yet, huh? Yeah that’s happening) and I’m starting to look around to different groups who might be interested in featuring my book in their book club or blog or whatever. And as I am looking for black writers/readers group to feature my sci-fi/fantasy book, I start seeing a pattern. 

My book is an odd-man out. Ready to revoke my card, the other books will give me looks like:


And it’s not because my protagonist isn’t black or I’m not a black author. But it’s because the majority of the books featured are literary. My sci-fi/fantasy book sticks out like a sore thumb. Then a couple of questions came to mind:

  1. Do I need to be more profound as a writer? Writing about the harsh and at times devastating problems that our society impounded on our ancestors and we continue to be plagued with today…should that be at the forefront of my story?
  2. If I don’t, do I do a disservice to myself? My race? My gender? 
  3. Will I be taken seriously as a writer if I don’t have a serious narrative?

Then I caught myself. My God, even when you least expect it, you find yourself needing to answer for your entire race and gender. A side effect of the world we will live. 


The fact that there are few celebrated black science fiction and fantasy female writers shows to me how important it is for me to speak in my own voice. 

My voice is outrageous. And other worldly. And fantastical. And mind-boggling. And human. And non-human. Live. Dead. Magic. Spirits. Mythology. Folklore. 

You get the picture. 

This is what my voice gravitates to and that will never change. Even beyond the book that is about to debut in a few months time, I have countless stories waiting to come out. And they are not literary. Yes, they will always feature characters that don’t fall within the status quo. And yes they might be based on folklore and mythology that originates outside of American society and norms. 

But they will definitely not be literary. 

My narratives will fun and exciting. And heartfelt. Genuine. Maybe you’ll laugh. Or tear up. Its aim will be the same as any literary novel: to illicit some emotional reaction out of my reader. 

So if it comes down to there being 20 literary features books and then there’s me… I’m still in pretty good company. 

When Waiting Drives You to Punch Someone

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
Carl Sagan


Hello family:

I’m sure I’ve told you that I am currently querying for agents for my novel that I’ve slaved over for years, and I am finally able to let go (Back in the Game, Part Deux). Again, it’s an amazing to be able to say out loud that I’ve written a novel, and I think it’s sooooooo good that I should be represented in selling it to publishers. As I said, it’s a fantastic, brilliant feeling.

But… the thing is…

THE WAITING SUCKS!

My inclination is if it’s within my power to do something about it, I’m going to do it. And if it’s not within my control, then I figure out a way to get it within my control. Yes, I am one of those people. One of those people who must have a finger on just about every detail that there can be. I already feel sorry for my poor boyfriend when we do get married (can you say Bridezilla?)

Anywho, I like to be able to push and prod when I need to, to make sure things get done. And with this, I CAN’T. I just have to wait. And if you are anything like me, you fight the impatience beast inside of you all the time. Like a perpetual boxing match with no end.

I’m the guy in the middle by the way.


I just want to knock this out of the park and move to the next step – whether it be getting representation or just moving on to another piece. But I can’t – I have to wait until it’s ready. How many things, in your life, are completely out of your control? Like you can’t move forward until this particular thing or issue is dealt with?

Most of the time, perhaps you can. I literally have to tell myself every day many other things need my attention. Such as

1. Work. You know the thing that pays the bills every day. Until I get that check in the mail, gotta make sure that paycheck this is maintained.

2. My relationships. Family and loved ones are apparently dying for my affection since I have been engrossed in getting my book ready. Maybe I could remind them what I look like….

3. Read. I know I need to keep up with the trends – especially those that are making their way through the publishing world. So I’m trying to stay on top of top-selling books in the fantasy/science fiction genre.

4. Writing. Most important thing – if I want to make a career of this, I probably should have some other material to fall back on. For instance, The Want is the first of a series. But I don’t know whether it’s going to be successful. So I’ve been playing around with a new novel idea. Might as well get cracking on that one.

These are only four examples, but it’s what I have to do to make the wait easier. It’s not easy – again waiting absolutely sucks. But it’s a part of life and it is what it is. Now and then, I find myself staring at the inbox, willing a new email to come. Then I remember it’s only been so long so there’s no point in being sour about it. Just let it happen – it will happen in its own time.

BUT! When I do get control again….

Back in the Game (Part Deux)

You know, it has been a REALLY long time since I’ve been on here. Like ridiculously long. And I could give excuses like the demanding legal job, losing that job to getting another demanding job to general life stuff…but who wants to hear about that?

That’s old and boring. So we won’t go down that route. 

Let talk about what’s new! A couple of things. It’s only taken me about 4 years, but I’ve taken my novel, polished as best as I could and finally sent it out to agents.
First let me say, the book has gone over a serious makeover. No longer called The Balancer but The Want. More unexplained phenomena with earthquakes, tsunamis, and even people. I’ve ripped apart twice, had editors look it it, rip it apart a third time and I’ve come to the nitpick stage. They usually say if you are there, it probably no more you can do with it.  
Even with the nerve-wracking fear of rejections, there is a particular beauty and sense of accomplishment to seek to sell your work. To say that I’ve written a novel and I’m sending it out for representation. I actually said it out loud at work. You may think that’s not a big deal to say but when it’s been my little secret for years…that’s massive. 
(You might be saying, we’ve know that you write for years. Yeah you might but they don’t!)
So there’s that little diddy. 
And with every sense of accomplishment, it starts the clock over for the next project. And I’ve been waiting for a year to start working on it. Yes, I could have started the moment I was hit with the idea but I wanted to let go of The Want (not entirely but close to 80%). That way I know I could give the 2nd one the attention it deserves. 

Guys, I’m excited for this one. 
This one, tentatively called Harry and Me, includes all the elements I love in a book but also time travel. Partly inspired by the ever so wonderful Doctor Who (can’t pick between 10 or 11). It’s a three part series and will be in the new adult genre. Even now, as I think about it, I get a bit giddy. My characters are awesome! #ButReally
And always, my characters will feature characters of color. Not to get on my soapbox but I do believe that I want to help foster a literary world where it will become normal to see other people of color on the covers of novels. 
And all the more props to me when I can say to my little girl or boy, “That’s my mummy’s book.” 
So that’s going on with me. There are other side projects I’ve also abandoned that will be picking back up. Third Times a Charm, I am talking about you! (I’m coming home)
There is this sense within that I am actually coming home. Back to my corner, with my laptop and my little table, exploring my dreams in written form. I didn’t realize it had been calling back until right about now. 
It feels like my mother is calling for me. 
Coming, mom!

Having an Arranged Marriage…with Your Work

Imagine this:

From a young age, you have always known that you were set to be with someone called “Dream Work.” You knew that you wanted to be with Dream Work because you had been told that it was perfect for you. And so as you go through life, you continue to grow but begin to forget that you are betrothed to Dream Work. That you will marry Dream Work and be happy. However, life gets in the way, priorities changes and as you age and mature, you begin to think that Dream Work wouldn’t work anymore. Sure it was something you had been told that you were perfect for it, but who really wants to be set for life before you could make a decision? You are a different person, you won’t be dictated to!

However, fate will set in and there is a chance meeting – you actually meet Dream Work.
Even though Dream Work would completely complicate the life you have set up to the n-th degree, you take a chance and you learn that they were absolutely right. Dream Work is perfect for you. But to be with Dream Work, it takes work. LOTS of work. So much work that you wonder whether it is worth the aggravation, the blood, sweat and tears it would take the get to the pinnacle that Dream Work could take you. Because Dream Work excites you, ticks you off, brings to the brink and over and its… overwhelming.

But then you think of the pinnacle. You think of the happiest, the sheer joy that you would experience being with Dream Work. The ecstasy that Dream Work and you could achieve.  You realize that you want. And you want it desperately. You want to be able to say on your death bed that you did everything not to deny yourself from the experience Dream Work could have provided to you. 

Everyone has this – someone someday told you were perfect for a particular thing. You explored it at first but then let’s say doubt came in. It was something that raise eyebrows or not particularly a “high paying job.”  Or don’t necessarily fit the image. Whatever it may be, you question. And you leave it as a childhood dream and think that you are so far removed from it.
I could tell you right now – you are not. 
Because if you had the chance to do the work that you have always wanted, you would do. And there is no reason to deny yourself. Because if you are perfect for it, you are perfect for it. No ands, ifs or buts about it! You were made to do it. To fight it would be fight an element of yourself. To remove a particular purpose. Everyone wants to find a purpose – a lifelong goal that you are meant to do. And it you have found it, shame on you for ignoring what God has set out for you. Because if anything, following Dream Work, taking that arranged marriage, could drastically change your life.

And its probably for the better.

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