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.

Time for the Big Reveal

lI have been hinting that I have been working on a number of things for my book. I can tell you I have immensely busy. But it’s such a good busy that I wake up excited to get to work. I have two jobs: lawyer by day, writer/entrepreneur by night.

We are finally at a stage that I can finally reveal to you….SugarCane Publishing.

SugarCane Publishing or SCP was created from the idea that all voices should be heard and given a platform to speak. Multicultural, multiracial, multisexual and the “non-normative” voice. As a minority owned publishing house, we taken this mission head on.

To be released October 1, I present to you “Awoke”:

The book (paperback and e-book) is available for preorder on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, etc.

I can not truly express the level of pride and love I have for this book and to be this far. Six years ago, I never thought I would be here opening my own publishing house and releasing two books so soon after opening up (with a couple of other projects coming down the pipeline). I am humbled. I am grateful for the support that I have.  I have a fantastic editorial team who are the backbone of SCP and I couldn’t have done this without them.

The cover art is only one aspect of the kind of excellence we are going to be presenting the world. May the writing move you. May it be relatable. May you laugh. May you cry. And above all, may you been enthralled and escape the realities of this world and come into the world we created for you.

If you have a piece that you would like to present to us for consideration, we accept pieces with or without an agent, multitude of genres (fiction, non-fiction and poetry) and we will always give you a response. The only thing that we ask is that it must represent a voice that we wouldn’t normally see in media today. You can check out it more at http://www.sugarcanebooks.nyc.

More news to come!

KT

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. 

The World Doesn’t See You

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked guys. Mainly because I was off celebrating my first year of marriage 😝 and a couple of other milestones (I’m building up the courage to talk a bit about in my next post).

But I wanted to stop by and just share something that’s been on my heart with you guys.

The world doesn’t want to see you. 

If you didn’t know that, this may be a shock to you. But you needed to know. The world doesn’t want to see you. The world doesn’t really care about what you can do. Or what you can bring to the table. They have so many people with talents like yours. The world can move along without ever getting your input, your talents and desires.

The world doesn’t want to acknowledge you.

You can bury yourself under this harsh truth and fall into yourself. Whither under obscurity and maintain the status quo. If you would be happy  and content with that, then you can stop reading right now.

However…

If you immediately balked at my title, then the rest of this post is for you. Because it is the truth. The world is harsh and can be cruel, if you fall underneath its degrading ways.

The way you survive is you MAKE THE WORLD WANT TO SEE YOU. The world can be fickle and doesn’t always know what it wants. It’s why PR and marketing is so prolific in this day and age because we are constantly told to have this or that or we can’t possibly function with this new thing. We all fall to this. Author included.

It’s the system that we are in.

Win by working within the system. Sell yourself like the brand you are and can be.

In whatever you want to pursue, whether it be writing, modeling, finance, healthcare, etc., you have to SELL yourself. You have to show the world why it can’t function without you. And this is not an easy feat. You will have to tweak and rework tactics constantly.

Not everything will work. You may even get rejected. But those who are truly successful in this system move incessantly and without care. Because their goal and their dreams and their desires mean more to them than the noise the world makes.

Yes, the world doesn’t want to see you. So give them glasses. 

Breaking down the Dream of an Empire (Lesson #1)

I am a dreamer.

It’s one of thing that people find endearing about me (I think…at least my husband does).

Many years ago (but not too long), I wanted to be a lawyer. At the age of 12, I wanted to be that person who I had seen in court dramas on TV and make a difference. I even competed in competitions where I had to act and write like a lawyer. And I excelled at it. My mother got a kick out of it whenever she had to dress me up in a dress suit, looking ready to kick ass in the courtroom.

I became driven at the age of 12. And I completed the very dream I had envisioned. I’m a licensed attorney and have been now for about 6 years. I have touched upon almost everything within the law field, even the lofty goal of being an entertainment attorney working for the likes of Sony Music and Bad Boy Entertainment.

I was driven. I was focused. I was pushing myself to excel.

And I also stopped listening to the dreamer in my head.

Some short time into high school, I began to turn to the page. I was too much of a dreamer and most of the time hated the mundane of facts and non-fiction. So I turned to a little notebook I had and I began to write poems (like a lot of angsty teenagers do). But the poems morphed into bigger aspirations. I was then dreaming of stories and differences I would do in the books I would consume. It then became a writing a play for a competition at school and immersing myself in the Drama Club – the true place for dreamers. I began to write short stories. I had tapped into a stream of aspiration and ideas I didn’t know I had inside of me.

Then I gave myself a reality check. I told myself writing wasn’t going to pay the bills or put food on the table. I had to seek out a respectable profession like being a lawyer.

I buried the dreamer deep down. She had to be put away so I could focus. And focus I did.

To this day, I still wonder whether the dreamer and the achiever could have co-existed at the same time. Probably not, because I didn’t have the skills to balance two things at the same time. I’m not sure whether I can now but I am attempting it.

The dreamer reemerged when I needed her the most. To help cope with studying for the bar – I wrote fanfiction (not ashamed of it – if you want to read it some, let me know). Then when I was looking for a job, she came with an idea for a novel which I have spent the last 5 years working on. And I have several other novels in my head, ready to be put to paper.

How I functioned without my dreamer throughout college and law school is still a mystery to me. But she has been flexing her fingers and she is ready to spring out. Because she has now placed in me the biggest dream of all.

The Empire. Or at least that’s what I call it and I was calling it that before the show.

Being a lawyer in as many different fields of law as I have been in my short time has given me perspective. Your past experiences, good or bad, always teach you a lesson. Lessons that will benefit you in the future whether you know that future or not. My experiences gave me perspective on conducting business – how to do and what not to do. And that to be truly happy, the best business is your own where you can call the shots (especially if you are Type A like myself).

And I have a MASSIVE dream for my Empire. Media company that will feature voices that don’t normally have a platform that will encompass books, films, social media, etc. I could go on and on about this vision and how boss it’s gonna be (that’s for another post).


When you have such a huge dream, it’s very easy to get swept up in all that has to get done. And if you’re like me, you want to get everything done like yesterday. I’ve caused myself so much stress about getting everything done that I have burst into ugly tears about how I’m ruining everything by being tired (did I mention I’m a Type A?).

So here’s the first lesson I learned:

YOU ARE NOT A GOD OR A GENIE.

The dreamer is holding on to the dream of the Empire but the achiever sees that all of the legwork should have been done years ago. That we have lost time and that we have do everything now to just catch up, let alone progress forward.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH. NO, REALLY TAKE A DEEP BREATH RIGHT NOW. (I just did it myself.)

I am thorough believer that everything happens for a reason – even when I don’t like the outcome or wish it wasn’t so. There is a reason I took the long way to get to this point – of being a writer and wanting to start my own media empire including a publishing company. I had to go through the ups and downs of life to understand that this is where I wanted to end up. Because I needed perspective.

Just because I’m starting later doesn’t mean my dream will never get accomplished. It’s never too late for my dream. I will need to remind myself of this when I am pushing through work deadlines and possible distractions (read: kids) in the future. It’s never too late for now. And because it’s never too late for now, everything doesn’t have to be done now.

Take the slow cooker. You know why a slow cooker is one of the best inventions known to man? Because the best flavors and best textures need time to simmer. Time to perfect.

Slow cook your dream, throw in some dedication, a few dashes of patience, a couple of drops of innovation, a healthy cup of teamwork and collaboration. And let it cook until it’s done. And sometimes the dream is too big to fit in the slow cooker, so slow cook what you can realistically can get done now.

I’m getting my yearly strategic plan ready (more on that in my next post) so I can effectively execute the plan in a well thought out manner instead of the emotional mess I tend to be. And I learned that through my experiences. You see, full circle.

So I am may be a lawyer now, working on blah stuff.

But I will always be a dreamer. Taking it one day at a time.

 Thanks Ed.

#itsKTnotKatie

Normally…

Normally I’m not that cranky about waking up on Mondays. It’s more likely I need a break from my weekend because they tend to be jammed packed and getting back to my normally scheduled activities like the pandemonium I like to call my job can be considered a break.

But today …


I could not be bothered.

Maybe because I just ….wanted my hopes and dreams and aspirations to be fulfilled so I could gleefully get up and start doing what I love. Books and pages and paper, oh my. I wanted my edits for my book to my main focus. I wanted to be heading to my own office for my publishing company. I wanted my husband to be heading his job of producing films and web series. I wanted our Empire to be on steady legs and busy with activities. But I woke up “Nope not yet. Just another grey Monday. Now get your butt up and go pay those bills.”

Le sigh.

It’s in these moments I gotta try to pep myself. So I write. Writing honestly does it for me. When I can’t vocalize what I’m feeling, it’s amazing how writing and putting down can free you. If you are new to my posts, I tend to write a lot of inspiration-get-your-mind-right kind of posts. All of stream of consciousness. I hope you enjoy it. Maybe it will do something for you too.

I’m just glad I don’t have to dig particular deep to out of my funk for this particular day. Because I’m quietly plotting. Quietly working. To get my ish together so I can have my dreams realized.

I’m not at that Beyoncé level but I’m getting there.

-#ItsKTnotKatie

Plan B! Reevaluating your Goals!

Hey fam, 

So the Indiegogo campaign is over. 
Unfortunately we didn’t make our goal. Heck to be honest we didn’t even make 10%. 
Whenever you don’t make a certain threshold or goal you have to go back and reevaluate your choices. Was it my novel idea itself? Did I not explain in it a more engaging way? Or maybe the chapter I put up to entice people actually turned them away?
Fam, I went through every possible scenarios. But one conclusion came increasing clear. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. I’m a firm believer that this process for me wasn’t supposed to work. If it was suppose to, it would’ve. But!! It doesn’t mean the overall plan to become a writer is in the trash. It just means we have to go another way about it. 
Ever have something happen to you where it reaffirms you commitment to your dream but you think you have better way to go about it (or don’t trust what happened) and you go a different route? That’s exactly what happened to me. I had attended a conference and made a couple of pitches to agents who were genuinely interested in reading. But in the fear of rejection (also because of the genre I’m in) I thought it would be best if I didn’t go traditional. At least I knew I could publish myself. So I tried to raise money. Didn’t happen. TWICE. 
You don’t need a third time to tell you the first way was the way to go. Especially after all the effort, money and energy I put into making this campaign work. 
So where does that leave me? Back to the traditional. With a new novel. I’ve decided to put “The Balancer” on Wattpad and start on another one of my ideas. This way I can still get the exposure for my work and work on something that can have a fighting chance in this massive book market. Some of you might think don’t write to simply appease the market. I’d like to think I’m not. I’m still getting my voice out there. With an idea that I genuinely like that just happens to fit in a hybrid genre (dytopian/fantasy). 
The major lesson in all this is just because one door isn’t open doesn’t mean others won’t. Possibly before you started to learn more about the roadblocks in your way you had a simple idea. Return to the simple idea and make it happen. Listening to naysayers may educate you but possibly cripple you. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE. Preserve and it will happen!
So you can check out the Balancer on Wattpad. I’ll be putting up the link once I make a couple of changes to the teaser chapter I put up. But you can see the new cover I created. 
Again fam, never give up and surrender. Reevaluating your choices is never a bad thing as long as you make a decision to keep moving and evolving. And if you are out there and you need motivation, let me know. Right behind being a lawyer and writer is a cheerleader! Motivation and inspiration are my pom-poms! 😜
Until next time (more than likely tomorrow)!

Something Wicked This Way Comes

It’s not everyday that fantastic things happen that renews your invigoration for life. Or where a series of events breathes life back into the things that you hold dear. My friends, many great things have happened over the past couple of weeks that have lit a fire underneath my butt to fully seize my dreams of becoming a writer.

I believe that things happen for a reason. You can call it a divine plan or something written in the stars but there is some sort of master chain of events.
My reemergence came to being because of an email that I got from a friend who recently had a launch party for her Kickstarter campaign to fund her book. Now, it wasn’t necessarily feelings of jealousy poring through my pores that I thought, “Where the #$%$^ is my book?!” The email didn’t really register with me. All I knew that it was a party before a very busy week and I could totally use a drink and a time out. File that one for later…

Then another two weeks later, I get another email from my favorite people at Writer’s Digest for the Writer’s Digest Conference next month (writersdigestconference.com). It immediately brought back memories from last year where I met fantastic people and saw the potential for a sale of my novel (which wasn’t completely finished then). I remembered the rush of getting the interested look, the people who were waiting to read my work, and fellow writers giving me encouragement. I remembered my desire to self-publish my book. I thought to myself, “By letting the world get in the way, I have denied myself true happiness.” I let another person cut in the middle of my dance with my dream. And the fact that the Writer’s Digest Conference had a Self-Publishing Portion just stoked my fire further. So I let my fingers do some walking on my keyboard.

Then I came across a wonderful article about Self-Publishers turning to Kickstarter to help fund their project. For me, it was the first time the word “Kickstarter” actually registered and I went into research mode. For the two days, I was obsessed. I wanted to launch my project immediately! (If you don’t know about Kickstarter, its a fantastic concept – crowdfunding. I’ll get into in another entry) I thought all the perks I would give away, how much it would cost to do to meet everything I needed, etc. This literally consumed me! But I was concerned.  Would I actually have enough people interested? Could I really get enough people interested to help fund this? Has it been too long?

Then magic number three event happened (things happen in three)! I came to find out that a friend was also a writer, so of course I told him of my ideas. Then he told me, “Well why don’t you try with Indiegogo? Whatever you make you get to keep.” WHAT the WHAT? How many more of these sites are there? The fire became an inferno. That night I stayed up late creating a video (which I will post) to help garner more attention for the site. Absolutely friggin wicked! (By the way, I know I know I am leaving things out here as to what exactly is the project. I’m doing that on purpose – gotta be on the lookout for more later!)

These three things have brought me back from the dead. They were small things – not necessarily earth-shattering but they were to me.  And I can honestly say I have never been more happy in trying to get this project out. With the craziness dying out of my life, I am actually able to focus on it. There are still edits to be done, before we really can get into the full blown campaign. BUT IT WILL HAPPEN WITHIN THE NEXT 2-3 MONTHS. I PROMISE YOU! BE ON THE LOOKOUT! 

My wicked plans are coming to fruition. Patience, patience my pet (MWAHAHAHAHA!)

Final thoughts: Whatever you are truly meant to do something, it will come back. It will never truly leave you. It may take a while to get though the clutter of your life but just like a boomerang, it will always come back to you.

Here is the video, amigos! Until next time!

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