Tag Archives: Writer

Updates/Lambda Literary Award

What a year it has been. And, none of it would have happened, if I continued to listened to the voice of doubt. Self-doubt and pessimism plague me on a consistent basis. However, after I published my novel, a number of miracles happened. I was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Debut Fiction. I had the opportunity to read at the Carl Bean House, the West Hollywood Library (with other Lambda finalists), and the Playa Vista Library. My crowning achievement was winning the Lambda at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York on June 6th.

The awards celebrated excellence in LGBT literature and 28 years of groundbreaking literary achievement. Back in March, when the finalists were announced the Lambda Literary Foundation revealed that over 933 submissions were received from major publishing houses, independent presses, and on-demand services from around the world.

The recognition has given the book greater visibility and presence. I will be forever grateful to the Lambda Literary Foundation for that.

The book can be purchased at Amazon or CreateSpace or Kindle or Barnes and Noble.

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Video: Reading at In The Meantime

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Debut Novel News/Tour 2016

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Writing is isolation and the death of relationships. That is what I have learned since I began writing my first book, A Love Like Blood. I moved from my hometown, Jacksonville to Los Angeles to pursue my writing career and last month my novel was finally published.

I thought publishing was the most complicated part of the writing equation. Since getting the book in my hands, I have realized that publicity is a different beast altogether. Everyday I check my emails checking for interview, profile, review, social media, award, and reading notifications. And, because of my current full-time job I have not been able to develop the book tour. However, a tour is in the works. I will post more information when everything is finalized. Until then, the book is available on Amazon, Kindle (Kindle Unlimited users can download it for free), and CreateSpace. Tip: if you purchase through Amazon Prime, you get it in two days. Just cancel Prime afterwards.

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Our Odyssey: A Reading of Homer’s Epic By the People and For the People at the Downtown Public Library

“Tell me, Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered far and wide after he had sacked Troy’s sacred city” … are the first lines of the Odyssey that I had the pleasure of reading at the Los Angeles Downtown Public Library. I was asked by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles to be one of two hundred readers to reading the Odyssey in its entirety (1200 lines). The voice of Homer Simpson (Dan Castellaneta) provided running commentary. Cloris Leachman, Rhea Perlman, Bradley Whitford, Susan Sullivan, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Lisa Loeb read. Also, magician Ricky Jay, KCRW traffic reporter Kajon Cermak, and musician Lol Tolhurst read as well.

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A Writer’s Year in Review

English: Hollywood Boulevard from the top of t...

Hollywood Blvd. from top of Kodak. (Credit: Wiki)

At the start of 2012, I experienced two major transitions: being accepted into a fiction writing program and moving from Long Beach to Inglewood. I knew the writing program would help me advance within writing, however I didn’t know what to expect. I had a publishing deal with a small publishing company, but I thought, why not workshop my book to get more eyes on the book. Their suggestions took the story from surface to being able to exist above the page. The story itself did not changed; I brought more of the contrast between race, immigrant life, religion, and identity out in front of the reader.

Beyond having breath breathed into my book, in 2012, I:

  • Read at the West Hollywood Library on 12/8/12
  • Was invited to read at the City of West Hollywood’s Pride Festival, “One City, One Pride” taking place in June 2013
  • Was invited to White House Briefing for Black LGBT Emerging Leaders 2, 24, 2012
  • Was invited to read at Soulful Salon, for In The Meantime, a LGBT community organization
  • Started writing for Campus Circle Magazine
  • Started writing for Qulture
  • Started writing for GBM News
  • Interviewed Frenchie Davis, DJ Danjazone (LMFAO’s Tour DJ), Diana King, DDm, and Orikl
  • Wrote my first poetry review for a literary journal
  • Submitted a fiction piece to one of my favorite literary journals
  • Read at my first book fair, West Hollywood Book Fair
  • Was published in the anthology, For Colored Boys
  • Started working as an Editorial Assistant for a academic publisher
  • Went to 10 author readings

On New Years Eve 2013, with a group of friends, I wrote down on paper what I did not like about 2012 and I burned it. With each new piece I completed, part of me was afraid to branch out and take my writing career to the next level (writing for a major magazine and be able to freelance write/edit for other publications). The paper turned from white, to egg-colored, to ashes in the fire pit in East L.A. While watching it burn, I reflected back on other details of 2012: I learned that I would be working for LAist.com (for the Spring term) and I made it to the Semifinalist round for the Point Foundation Graduate Scholarship. Also that I got the courage to submit new poetry to four literary magazines and I pitched an article idea to Essence magazine. No New Year’s Resolution to lose fat or be a better person, I want to reserve all my energy into writing. And whether or not all of those opportunities fall into place, I will keep striving to become a better writer and be part of the writing community.

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When does the editing process stop

Letter from Lady Helena Gleichen addressing th...

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I think getting rejected by literary agents has made me a better writer.

My first rejection came two years ago. I was waiting on my editor to send me his inked up thoughts on the last five chapters. I had the publishing bug. I couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted to be published no matter what my editor thought. I submitted a query letter to an agent at Writer’s House. I studied some website I googled on how to write a query letter and wrote what I thought was brilliant.

Hardcore rapper 50 Cent meets Zane and realizes he’s gay

Dear agent,

Xitonce (pronounced existence), my novel, is an urban story about a young African American male caught in a love triangle with a man who suffers from panic attacks and a politician on the down low (dl) running for public office. From their story, a gripping story unfolds from a love letter that catapults the reader through an unforgettable tale of Detroit’s Black upper class community, homophobia in Peru, faking a marriage to gain citizenship, and two detectives trying to find a sadistic killer.

Like all urban novels Xitonce includes personal reflection, sex, crime, and revenge. However it veers from other works such that five very different characters reveal through their own stories how there are no coincidences in life but a single line of events that connect people.

Xitonce is one of few down low fiction works that is literary first, where many down low books falter and written to appeal to the mainstream literary audience. The result is a roller coaster showing how emotions can lead people to the lower depths of society.

As a young writer, I am looking for an experienced agent and I am thoroughly impressed with your agency.

The novel is 48,338 and fully complete. I am sending you the first five pages of Xitonce as stated in your submission guidelines.

I thank you for your time and consideration.

The agent responded less than five yours later.

Thanks, but I’m afraid this isn’t right for me.

By the way, the manuscript looks too short. Most novels should be closer to 70,000 words at least.

I was upset at first but relieved too. It wasn’t time for my book to be released.

I started sending out a new query letter two years after I sent my query to Writer’s House. I have received about five rejection letters. With each letter, I have thought over some of the dialogue and descriptive paragraphs that didn’t flow or fit well with the rest of the story. I have revised almost 20 chapters since I thought I was finished with the book.

Last week, I sent off an updated query letter to my editor. My last query letter was a little boring. I let my editor reader it. He said it wasn’t suspenseful enough. I rewrote it and rewrote it. The final current version is more suspenseful than the other versions have been.

I wanted to get my editor’s approval before sending off the new query letter to another agent. One agent I was interested in sending a query letter too requests that new writers send her the first 50 pages of their work. I reread chapter 3 (pages 30-49) and realized that I didn’t love the chapter.

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