tagged with: author
Kamala Harris, US vice-president

I had to begin Women’s History month by writing about our history- making first female vice president, Kamala Harris. Ms. Harris shot into the political spotlight when she became California’s attorney general and later when she was the second black woman to be elected to the US senate.

As an attorney general, Harris was known to be tough on crime, prosecuting transnational gangs and fighting for criminal justice reform among other things. But her toughness was most clearly seen when she appeared on stage as one of the candidates in the 2020 US
presidential race.

As I watched her during the debates and later in some of her campaign rallies, I could tell that Kamala Harris was destined to move to higher heights. And although her campaign ended prematurely, I knew we had not seen the end of her political journey. Today, Kamala Harris is the first female, first black, first South Asian vice-president of the United States.

I am justifiably proud to have a vice-president who comes from that part of the world where I come from. Her father is Jamaican, I come from Trinidad & Tobago, home to many descendants of India, where Ms. Harris’s mother comes from.

But ethnicity aside, I feel another connection to our new vice-president: she is the author of three books—The Truths We Hold, Superheroes Are Everywhere, and Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor’s Plan to Make Us Safer— and is the subject of others, like Rooted In Justice by Nikki Grimes and Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea written by her niece Meena Harris.

Kamala Harris has done black and brown women the world over proud. She has shown that with integrity, passion and compassion we can break the glass ceiling and fulfill God’s calling on our lives. I end this post with one of her inspiring quotes: “Anyone who claims to be a leader must speak like a leader. That means speaking with integrity and truth.” We can trust Ms. Harris to live out the truth of her own words.

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You are invited to attend my book signing event “Coming Out of Egypt” – Book 1 of the Egypt series – on Sat. Jun 3rd at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center at 2650 W Sistrunk Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311. Some lucky person will come away with a Free autographed copy of Coming Out of Egypt.

You can still get your ebook version here, or if you prefer to get your print version before the event, you can get it here.

See you there.

As every indie author knows, one of the best ways to move forward in our writing career is to support other indie authors. So today I’m happy to participate in this promotional blitz of Kimberley Nadine Knights’ debut novel The Cilantro In Apple Pie. In case you didn’t know it, cilantro is an herb commonly used in Trinidad and Tobago, Kimberley’s birth place. As you read the synopsis of the novel and the author’s bio, you’ll understand the relevance of this catchy title. You can further help spread the word about this fascinating new novel by participating in the giveaway, sharing with your social media friends, purchasing a copy and writing a review on Amazon.

Below you’ll find a synopsis of the novel, author bio and interview and other important links.

Book & Author Details:

The Cilantro In Apple Pie by Kimberley Nadine Knights
Published by: Ravenswood Publishing
Publication date: May 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Kimberley 2

Cilantro

Synopsis:

Fragnut. Confused? Well so is everyone else at Lumiere Hall Prep when sixteen-year-old Rubie Keane rolls in from Trinidad and Tobago talking her weird lingo. Not that she minds the culture confusion; she’s determined to leave the past behind her and be overlooked—but a certain stoic blue blood is equally as determined to foil her plans.

Gil Stromeyer’s offbeat personality initially makes Rubie second-guess his sanity, but she suspects his erratic outbursts of violence mask a deeper issue in his troubled, charmed life. Despite his disturbing behavior, a gradual bond forms between the two. However, on the night of the annual Stromeyer gala, events unfold that leave Rubie stripped of her dignity and kick Gil’s already fragile world off its axis.

Both their well-kept secrets are uncovered, but Gil’s revelation proves that sometimes the best remedy for a bad case of lost identity, is a dash of comradery from an ally packed with flavor.

Goodreads
Amazon
B & N

AUTHOR BIO:
Kimberley Nadine Knights knew when she kept willingly opting out of parties so she could stay home and write instead, that she was destined to be an author.

Born and raised in the tropical twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago, when this Caribbean girl isn’t creating new plotlines for her ever growing lineup of fictional characters, she spends her time strumming her guitar to indie rock songs and snapping once in a lifetime photos halfway across the globe in countries such as Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and France.

She’s an avid fan of The Walking Dead series and firmly believes that The Food Network should consider her being a judge on the next Chopped challenge.
Visit her website http://kimberleynknights.wix.com/author and learn more about this up and coming author.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KIMBERLEY NADINE KNIGHTS

1. What inspires you? Definitely music – specifically original scores from films. My favorites are from The Village, Finding Neverland, Pride & Prejudice, Meet Joe Black and Life as a House.

2. What’s your advice to an aspiring author?
Write what your love not what you like. You have to be passionate about a topic to reach those magical words of ‘the’ and ‘end.’ Never write a book because that particular genre is popular – by the time you’re done it’ll be saturated. Also ignore the naysayers…you’ll be part of a very exclusive club when you finally finish your book 🙂

3. Do you ever experience writer’s block? I like to call it writer’s diversion lol. Suddenly my idea isn’t as exciting as I initially thought, so then I drift into another storyboard. But absence makes the heart grow fonder and I usually return to book 1 with full force after a few weeks. For normal writers block I force myself to write 1000 words a day even if it’s 1000 words of crap.

4. Who is your favorite character in The Cilantro in Apple Pie?
Believe it or not it’s the male protagonist Gil. His character was so much fun to develop because he’s such a drastic departure from anything I know firsthand. He’s flawed in so many ways but for the right reasons…so you can’t help but root for him.

5. Could you describe your definition of a perfect writing day?
I can’t write in the day…only at night. Guess that makes me some kind of literary vampire – but my ideal writing ‘time-period’ would be locked in a cold room with a desk and my laptop, burning the midnight oil till 6am with my score mp3’s and a cup of java.


https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKimberleyNadineKnights
https://twitter.com/Knightsley
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15048879.Kimberley_Nadine_Knights

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You have worked for months, maybe years, on your novel and now you are faced with the daunting task of writing the synopsis. Writers dread the work of condensing a 300-page manuscript into one page. Knowing what to include and how to include it is crucial to writing a compelling synopsis.

What a synopsis is not

It is not an author’s bio, nor the reason why you wrote the book. You can state this briefly in your query letter, but only briefly. It is not a character sketch, neither is it a list of plot points. Having said that, let’s take a look at what a synopsis is:

It is a summary of your book

Plain and simple. It contains the beginning andthe end with the high points of your story sandwiched between them.

It is compelling

Notice I use the word compelling because your synopsis should be as compelling as the story itself. And in order to do that you have to first start with a hook, just as you did at the beginning of your book. You want the editor to continue reading, right? Then in the body of your synopsis you write the salient points of your story in chronological order. This may not happen in your book, but for the sake of clarity, events should follow each other in order.

It uses strong verbs

Just as when you wrote the book, you chose strong verbs, used the active voice rather than passive and used adjectives and adverbs sparingly, do the same with your synopsis. And always write in the present tense.

It is concise

Leave out details that don’t matter. For example, if Anne confides in her friend, Susie, that she’s thinking of divorcing Jim, it’s not necessary to say Ann picked up the phone and called Susie and invited her to dinner and over a steak and lobster dinner … No, you are choking the details. Simply say what Anne tells Susie.

It includes action and reaction

Be careful to state how major characters react to events in the story – if their reaction helps to drive the plot. Let’s say Susie is thrilled at Anne’s news because she has had her eyes on Jim for a long time – then you must include that.

It follows the agent’s/editor’s guidelines

Some agents may ask for a one-page synopsis, some may simply say “short.” If they do not specify, limit your synopsis to two or three pages.

I heard someone say it’s a good idea to write the synopsis first. I don’t think that would work for me. My characters tend to change direction midway. But if you have carefully plotted your novel before you started writing your story, then you can give it a try. Either way, the more you practice, the better you will become. Why not try writing a synopsis for a story you have read?
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Resources

For most of this week I have been working on creating a pitch for my book Coming Out of Egypt for an upcoming conference. I have read and read about the perfect pitch – an author’s fifteen minute chance to enter the hall of fame. From what I’ve read, and imagined, this can be a nerve-wracking experience. You may stumble, forget your lines, or do any number of stupid things. But not if you prepare properly.

So, here are some things I gleaned from my reading:

1. Do not be egotistical. That is, do not go into the room behaving like you’re the next John Grisham and you’re doing the agent a favor.
2. Do not cower, beg or cry. “I’ve tried several agents and publishers and you are my last hope.”
3. Do not read your pitch. Practice your pitch before a mirror and in front of others before the big day, so you sound as natural as possible.
4. Do not try to give every plot point or twist. Give only the hook.

Okay, so I’m not going to do any of those. What I am going to do is:

1. Research the agent to make sure she’s interested in my genre.
2. Practice my pitch until it rolls off my tongue like butter on a hot griddle.
3. Be prepared to answer other questions about my book that the agent may ask.
4. Have my business card, synopsis and three sample chapters neatly piled in a folder. And, oh, a SASE just in case the agent wants to contact me by mail.

Have you pitched your book and would like to share your experience? Please use the comment box below. Okay, got to run. I have a pitch to pitch, er, practice.

Zora Neale Hurston may best be remembered for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), which was produced by Oprah and aired on television a few years ago. Other works by Ms. Hurston include Tell My Horse (1938) a travelogue and study of Caribbean voodoo, Moses, Man of The Mountains (1939) her autobiography Dust Tracks On The Road (1942) and Seraph On The Suwanee (1948). Of these, Their Eyes Were Watching God received the greatest recognition.

Zora’s early upbringing is shrouded in mystery. Some accounts state that she was born in 1901, but this has not been verified. Zora was the daughter of a Baptist preacher, but she received very little formal education until she reached the age of 26. Zora studied voodoo practices in Haiti and Jamaica and this most likely influenced her interest in folklore. She became an author, folklorist and anthropologist.

In 1925 at the peak of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora traveled to New York where she published stories in literary magazines. This brought her to the attention of such literary giants as Langston Hughes and Wallace Thurman. They produced a magazine together called Fire, which featured a lot of young, black Renaissance writers.

Despite her association with these prominent African American writers, Zora provoked the ire of African Americans by her refusal to address racism in her writings and in her public denouncement of desegregation in schools. She is quoted as saying that black children didn’t have to attend white schools in order to learn. Later, when she campaigned in support of a GOP presidential candidate, the outcry against her increased.

Financial difficulties confronted Zora later in life and she went back to working as a domestic, a job she had done before becoming a writer. She died of a stroke in a welfare home in St. Lucie County, Florida. In 1975 there was a resurgence of Zora’s work largely due to the efforts of new writers like Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. In 2001, Every Tongue Got To Confess, a collection of folktales from the Gulf States was published posthumously.

Despite all the controversy that surrounded Zora’s personal and public life, she left behind a cultural legacy of which lovers of African American literature can be justifiably proud.

Well, we are down to the second-to-last letter. I never thought I would be able to get this far. It just shows what a little challenge plus determination can accomplish. I can’t wait to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for the letter Y. For this post I decided to feature the blog of my friend and critique partner, Yvonne Anderson. Yvonne’s blog is called Ys Words, and as you will see from the entry below, she does give some Ys words on writing in particular and on life in general. Yvonne is the author of Story In The Stars, the first in a series of speculative fiction about life on the planet Gannah. In this entry, Yvonne’s main characters, Dassa – protagonist – and Pik, Dassa’s husband argue about who should be the protagonist. Let’s listen in:

Author: All right, then, ladies first. Dassa, why do you believe the term protagonist applies to you?

Dassa: Since the book opens with a scene in my point of view, it stands to reason that my character is the one upon whom the whole book hinges. Isn’t that some sort of a writing rule? That the protagonist is introduced first?

Author: I don’t know if it’s a rule, but—

Pik: There is no such rule. I’ve checked with a number of industry professionals, and they tell me—

Dassa: Industry professionals? Name one. Probably a guy who drives a forklift in the Book Bargains warehouse. No—more likely, some agent’s dermatologist.

Pik: Not true! I—

Author: We needn’t name names and draw innocents into this. But I’ve raised this question at conferences and such, and from what I’ve been told, there is no hard-and-fast rule. Generally speaking, the reader meets the protagonist first, but there are legitimate exceptions. So I’ll give a point to Dassa for this while conceding that her argument isn’t definitive. And now, let’s move on. Dr. Pik, why do you think you’re really the protagonist?

Pik: First, and most obviously, readers love me best. You said yourself, when you were submitting your chapters to critiquers for feedback, everyone commented on how much they loved my character. And if you hadn’t submitted anything for a while, it was me they asked about. “What’s Pik doing these days?” No one inquired about Dassa.

Author: Well, that’s true, but—

Pik: But more objectively, I think everyone here will agree that my character is the one that shows the most growth. Don’t several reviewers comment on the impressive character development in this book? Which character are they’re talking about? Certainly not Dassa, who remains a cold fish throughout the entire story. My character gives the story its depth and adds a lively humor. It’s my words in the last line that put a smile on the reader’s face as she closes the book with satisfaction. Dassa is merely the straight man, so to speak, around which my character revolves.

Author: “Cold fish” hardly describes Dassa. It’s true that she never gets carried away by her emotions, but she does clearly feel them. And her role is far more vital than that of a mere straight man. Nevertheless, you raise a good point about the character development. Your character shows amazing growth between his introduction in chapter 2 and that last line of the book that you mention.

So what do you have to say about this, Dassa? Pik seems to have scored two points to your one so far. Can you offer another reason why you should keep your protagonist status?

Dassa: Absolutely. It’s true that the doctor shows the most character growth, but plainly, the reason for that is because he had more growing to do. I may be younger than he, but I was more mature at the beginning of the book than he is by the end. No, don’t argue, Pik, it’s true and you know it. However, all that aside, I believe the biggest reason why I should remain the protag is because it’s my character who has the most to gain or lose. You had a life—a career, a family, and a future—before I came on the scene, and if I had never made an appearance, you’d have gone along your merry way without a care in the galaxy. I, on the other hand, lost everything. The story is more about my struggle than it is about your character growth. Clearly, that gives me every right and reason to be the protagonist.

Author: This is quite the dilemma. All your arguments are valid. I think we should put it to the vote. Readers? Who do you consider the protagonist of The Story in the Stars? I’m asking that question on my own blog today, too, so if you don’t mind, would you go to YsWords.com and cast your vote?

Intriguing, isn’t she? To learn more about Yvonne and her writing, you may visit her blog at www.YsWords.com.

Still on the A – Z challenge, the letter for today is O for occupation. If you are a fiction writer, your protagonist will most likely have a job. I’ve never met one who didn’t. However, the job you select for your character(s) should have some bearing on your plot. Think of the detective stories you’ve enjoyed and the way the author used the character’s occupation to drive the plot. This also adds depth to your story and creates a more memorable character.

Dan Brown’s protagonist Robert Langdon, whose job as a Harvard symbologist lands him some hair-raising assignments, make Dan Brown’s books page turners. And page turners sell. Choose your character’s occupation with this in mind and you may achieve the same result.


Photo credit: clarita from morguefile.com

It’s been a while since I posted anything to this blog and I apologize for that. It’s not that I couldn’t think of anything to write. Far from it. It’s just that my day job has been keeping me super busy and other personal things have been happening and in times like these, sad to say, my blogging is sacrificed. However, thanks to my critique group, Sharpened Pencils, I have been critiquing some posts and have been working on revising my novel, Coming Out of Egypt. Will tell you more about that another time.

So, today I thought I would pass on a few pointers about how we can keep up with our writing when we don’t have enough hours in our day.

1. Prioritize. This is important so you don’t get sidetracked. What is it that you must do today? Write down the three most important things you must do from the night before. They might be as simple as a) Go to work, b) Write blog post, c) Attend parent-teacher meeting. If you work everyday, you might leave off the first one and just write the next two most important ones. Somehow, when you write things down they become concrete and are more likely to materialize.

2. Schedule. Make up a schedule of what works best for you. Again, if you have a day job, you may want to schedule at least fifteen minutes writing time first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, whichever works best. But if you write 200 words in those fifteen minutes every day, by the end of that first week you would have written 1400 words. In a year you would have 72, 800 words, enough for an average length novel. You can finish even faster on the days when you have more time.

3. Be consistent. It doesn’t matter whether the words flow or not, whether your coffee was too strong or too weak or your room too hot or too cold. Michael Lewis, non-fiction author and financial journalist, says ” I’ve written in awful enough situations that I know that the quality of the prose doesn’t depend on the circumstance in which it is composed. I don’t believe the muse visits you. I believe that you visit the muse. If you wait for that “perfect moment” you’re not going to be very productive.” – Robert Boynton, The New New Journalism.

So there you have it. The three best ways to keep on writing even when you think you don’t have the time, or you don’t feel like it. What are some of the ways you remain productive? Share it in your comments below.

Here is an interview that I did for Book Buzzr. It’s a good way of getting some exposure for yourself and your book. Enjoy!

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a writer of fiction and non-fiction, which includes freelance writing of articles related to health and wellness. My first short story A Pair of Blue Skates was published in a college magazine. I then went on to win an honorable mention in a nationwide college magazine and to publish other short stories and articles in anthologies and online. I have also written two full-length novels which are not yet published.

Describe your book ‘WOMEN FOR ALL SEASONS’ in 30 words or less.

Women For All Seasons uses some of the stories of women from the Bible to show the importance of trusting God in every season of your life.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Apart from finding the time to write, I would say it was making sure that all the details were accurate for the time period and the culture I was writing about. Even though most of the content came from the Bible, I added details to make the stories read like fiction, therefore I had to make sure that all the information was relevant.

What books have had the greatest influence on you?

The Bible, first and foremost, then I would say Maximizing the Moment by Bishop TD Jakes, The Shack by Wm. P. Young, Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison and so many more.

Briefly share with us what you do to market your book?

I make use of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Linked In and I feature it on my blogs and on Freado. I have also done book signings and a blog talk radio interview.

How do you spend your time when you are not writing?

I work full time as an occupational therapist, so I spend more time working than I do writing, which leaves very little time for anything else. However, I do enjoy taking long walks when I have the time.

What are you working on next?

Right now I’m working on a Christian novel about three women who live together, but they are keeping secrets from each other. And like the Bible says, whatever is hidden does come to light. I am also working on a short story which I plan to enter in a competition.

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