Game or GAME?

The Final Chapter – October 31, 2011

Just for fun

Ladies, are you looking for a way to get your man’s attention while the game is on? I’m going to suggest you offer another sport that is just as invigorating as football. There are no rules and the score depends on him. Here are the instructions. Make sure your man is nice and comfy, lying in the bed with the remote in one hand and nice cold beer in the other. Put on his favorite team jersey–nothing underneath (very important). Place a chair next to the bed, the straddle it. Pull out, The Heart. Turn to page 248. Began reading at “You like hard things between your legs, don’t you” Continue reading as long as you allow your hands to demonstrate the words. The moment you feel your man’s eyes on you, increase the speed of your reading, for you now has his undivided attention. Be forewarned, at this point, he is about to make a move, so prepare yourself. When he asks, (and he will ask), “Baby, what are you doing?” Don’t look up! Simply reply, “I’m reading you a bedtime story.” Continue reading as if he never said a word. Now…..wait for it…… When he grabs you and throws you on the bed, drop the book, put your hands up in the air and yell, “TOUCHDOWN!”  Enjoy the night!

You’ve just become a part of a Iris Bolling love scene. Just sharing!

Supporting African-American Authors

Today I want to talk about African-Americans supporting African-American authors. The movie The Help will be released soon. A lot of us got a little up in arms because this book by a Caucasian author about African-Americans was picked up for a movie. The book sold millions because it was supported, not just by Caucasian readers, but by a lot of us too. Here’s the thing, African-American authors produce wonderful stories that we know should be told on the big screen. But putting a book to film cost $. The film industry is no different from any other business. The bottom line is ‘the bottom line’. If you can’t show numbers in the book stores (online included) then how do you expect to show numbers in the movie theater? Its simple economics—demand and supply. James Patterson or Nora Roberts will have a book release and thousands will purchase that book. There is a demand; therefore, the supply is met.

If we want to see more our favorite African-American author placed on a demand list we truly need to step up our game. Many of us will go into a book store to purchase that James Patterson or Nora Roberts novel, but will borrow the African-American author from a friend. If you enjoyed that novel, why not purchased the next release by that author? Let’s face it, we don’t’ support each other the way other communities do. Yet, we complain when we see others succeed at what we fail to do. If you want to see your favorite African American author’s story about African Americans on the big screen, support them in the bookstores. Let the money people in HOLLYWOOD or wherever know what your demand is…Let’s stop complaining about who got what. Turn that negative energy into a win-win for you and the authors you love. SUPPY AND DEMAND people! I’m just saying.

Adventures of a Self-Published Author – Part II

Adventures of a Self-Published Author

Part 2 – Action

Sorry, it’s been a while since the last post, but I’ve been a little busy with the self publishing business. The last time we were together I shared the beginning of my journey into the literary field – The Plan. You always have to have a plan. The next step is putting your plan into action. Believe me when I say, THIS IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE.

The most frustrating part of my journey was determining where to go once my first great master piece was complete. The 50 pages I told you about last time turned into 800 plus pages. The large number of pages didn’t bother me because I was telling a story. As long as the story flowed it didn’t matter how long it was—right? WRONG! The number of pages did matter, or so I found out. I digress; let me go back a little.

After completing my master piece, I began researching where I should go from there. The answer was The Writer’s Market. It’s a book that is published every year on where & how to sell your fiction novel, or short story. It has a wealth of information for anyone that is looking for an agent or a literary home. It tells you who handles what type of stories. For example, if you are writing a romance novel you wouldn’t want it to go to a publishing house that handles science fiction. You want it to go to a publishing house that handles romance. Here is the main lesson for this blog, DO YOUR RESEARCH.

Research? Hum, what are you trying to find you ask. Good question. You are trying to find a good fit for your master piece. You are trying to find the right publishing house and/or agent to market your novel. Some publishing houses have different imprints, so you need to research that also. For example, an imprint could be sweet romance, suspense romance, urban romance, erotica, or Christian romance. If your book is erotica, you don’t want to submit it to the Christian imprint, though the visual of the Christian agent reading your submission would be interesting, you are setting yourself of for a rejection. So take the time to research where and who you want to submit your master piece.

My research was enlightening, to say the least. There are hundreds, if not thousands of publishing house out there. But I persevered and found several publishing companies that I wanted to submit my novel to. Did I mention THIS IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE? Oh, I did—okay. This is where my problems began.

To submit a manuscript, to an agent or publishing house you have to do two things, other than write the book. You have to write a synopsis and a query letter. WHAT? WHY? Don’t they understand I’ve written a 190,000 word master piece? I don’t have any words left to write a letter or a synopsis. He–, (four letter word) I don’t even know what a synopsis is, for real. Sigh—, more research!

According to Webster a synopsis: a condense statement or outline; an abstract. Yeah, that helped—not. In the literary world a synopsis tells the major point and events of your book in a concise and accurate manner. In other words tell someone what your book is about without re-writing the entire story. I am going to be very honest here; I still have not acquired this skill. This is probably the number one reason why I self-publish. But I did try to write the synopsis.

Then there is the query letter. Well, this is a little easier than the dreaded synopsis, but still a difficult task for me. A query letter, as I understand it, is the attention getter. This letter is sent to an agent or publishing house as an attempt to get them interested in your novel. If your query letter is done well, the agent or publishing house may request your complete manuscript for review. So, what do you put in a query letter. Ahhh—more research.  You definitely want the opening statement to catch the interest of the reader.  Agents and publishing house received thousands of letters each day from eager new authors, and some of us not so new authors. Their time is limited, so you need your letter to capture their attention with the first line or two. Paraphrase the word you use when you are telling a friend about your book. How do you get them excited and eager to read your book? Do that with your letter. Then tell them about you—your experience or your connection with the topic of your novel. Most of all remember, you are trying to get them to believe in your story as much as you do. Sell it to them. Okay, I did that.

Now, it was time to submit my master piece. I sent the query letters, the synopsis and the first three chapters of my book to the top three publishing house of my choice. Now, all I have to do is sit back and wait for the bidding wars to see who would have the honor of selling my novel. LOL! Ahhh, that was so funny.

Let me tell you, when I received the first rejection letter, I shrugged it off saying, “they just didn’t see the greatness.” The second one came, I simple said, “oh.” The third one gave a little more than “I’m not interested.” It stated the general story was good, but the word count was off the chain. You may want to consider making it two books instead of one. Hence, the creation of Once You Touched The Heart and The Heart of Him.

Writing the next great master piece is one thing. Getting it into the readers hand is another. Publishing is a business, whether you are with a publishing house, or self-publishing. Like any other business you have to work, and I do mean work hard at succeeding. The first step is learning all you can about the world of publishing. Take the time to research any and everything about how to get your great master piece into the hands of the reader. That, after all is the goal—right?

Well, let’s see. We talked about planning and action. So what’s next? Ahhh yes, making the decision—Traditional or Self-publishing.

Until the next time,

Iris

Adventures of a Self-Published Author

Part 1

Where should I start? The beginning is always a good place. I was born the daughter of a share cropper……..screchhhhh. We don’t want to go that far back. LOL! Just a little humor to get your attention.

As those who write knows, it always starts with putting pen to paper, or pulling up the computer and putting fingers to keys. It really was just that simple for me. I needed a stress break from work. The job had dealt some harsh blows, and I needed an escape, so I did what I always did, grabbed a romance novel. (Might as well escape with a good looking man that loved me beyond belief.) At the time it was a Brenda Jackson novel. My son was watching television in another room and I could hear President Bush (the son) in the background. The thought occurred to me that we need a President that cared about the people, the country, the world, anything but himself. “Can’t you find something better to watch on TV?” I asked my son, who has been heavy into politics since he was eighteen. “There’s nothing else on,” he replied. Understanding, I nodded in agreement. “The only thing on TV now is reality shows. Whatever happened to dramas?” Then he said something that changed our lives. “You have a wired imagination. Why don’t you write something and send it to the networks.” I stood there in the middle of the floor just staring at him with the romance novel in my hand and thought, why not. From the mouth of babes.

     I went back to my office, but my feet up and tried to continue reading my book. But my thoughts drifted back to my son’s suggestion. I put the book down, moved over to my computer and begin writing a story about a politician the cared about people, family driven and fine as Denzel Washington. At first I wrote about 50 pages and stopped. When I read it, I thought it was pretty good. So I called a friend over and asked her to read it. She came over, sat in my office and begin reading. I went in the kitchen to start my Sunday dinner. An hour or two later she emerged from the office, (I almost forgot she was in there) took a seat on the sofa in my living room and began asking a series of questions about the characters. To my surprise and hers, I was able to give her all sorts of details about each character in the very short story. It was funny because from there we talked for hours about what I had written. Her parting words were, you need to finish that book. “Book? What book? I was supposed to be writing a script for TV.”  

From September to December 2005, those 50 pages turned out to be the outline for 800 pages of what you now know as The Heart Series.  I put the information my friend pulled from me down on paper which gave me the family and friend structure. Then I put together a flow chart showing how and where each story connected to the next. Once it was complete there were twenty stories in the original layout.

As you can see, when I began my adventure in writing, it was never about just one book or just one series (TV series, that is ). From the very beginning the plan was set for The Heart Series, plus a few more. 

I hope this article gave you a little insight into the beginning of my journey as a romance author. Where will this journey take me, I have no idea. Only time will tell.

Come back in another week or two, share some laughs, tears and pride as the journey of self-publishing continue.

Until the next time,

Iris

Once You’ve Touched The Heart – Prologue

Prologue

     We all go through life wondering if the old saying is true, “God has a plan for everyone. He made that special someone just for you. All you have to do is be patient and wait for him to reveal that one person to you.” We have no idea who that person may be, or if that person exists. Nevertheless, we go through life trying to find that someone to fulfill our meaning for life.
     We go out with men and women who we know are not right for us. Like the guy who comes up to you in a club and says, “If your left thigh was Thanksgiving and your right thigh was Christmas, can I visit you in between the holidays?” You laugh, but end up dancing with the fool anyway. Yes, you are desperate. But you are also tired of being alone. Everyone around you seems to be going out and having a good time while you are sitting in the dorm room with a book on a Friday night. So which do you choose? Well, Tracy Alexandria Washington chose the book. The fool could spend the holidays by himself.
     Tracy, the youngest of four children, was a quiet girl who spent most of her time in libraries. Any library would do; it didn’t matter, as long as there were endless books. She could get lost in them forever. Books were a comfort and escape from the day-to-day drama in her life. As long as a library was open, Tracy had a safe haven.
Home was empty these days for her. None of the love and laughter that surrounded her as a child existed under the roof she once shared with her parents, two sisters and brother. Within the short time span of one summer, she lost her oldest sister Valerie to a husband; her brother Turk to the street life; her sister Joan died and her father—well, he just disappeared. Now, only Tracy and her mother, Lena, lived together; or more like existed under the same roof together. It seemed Tracy was always doing something to upset her mother, so she stayed away as much as possible.

    Tracy never really knew what happened to her sister Joan and did not see her sister Valerie too often, but her brother Turk would come by to check on her. Turk spent time teaching her things, like dancing, shooting pool or hitting three pointers on the basketball court. He gave Tracy the love and guidance she believed her father would have given, if he were home.
   For some reason Lena blamed Tracy for her dad leaving and acted as if she hated the sight of her. Tracy was young and didn’t understand. For a while she tried everything she could to make her mom love her again, but it didn’t work. By the time Tracy reached high school, she simply gave up. She put all her time into studying to earn scholarships for college. Turk said he would help her if she did well in school. Tracy never asked how, but Turk always had money to do things. Therefore, if he said she could go to college, she believed him.
     Tracy graduated from high school with honors and received scholarships, but not enough to attend Harmon University. But, true to his word, Turk was there in her time of need. You see, Harmon was a private university where, not all, but most girls went with the hope of meeting the next basketball player heading to the NBA, or maybe the next NFL prospect anticipating a signing bonus. Tracy, on the other hand, wanted to go there because it was away from home and it had an excellent five-year MBA program. The tuition was extremely high, but the biggest obstacle was the up-front cash needed to get in. Her scholarship money would not post to her account until later in the semester. Tracy had no idea where the money she needed was going to come from. But Harmon University was where she wanted to go. She didn’t know why, but in her heart she knew that was the only school for her.

     Jeffrey Daniel Harrison, better known to all as JD, was an assistant district attorney with the city of Richmond, which had one of the highest per capita murder rates in the country. Most of the murders were gang related. The city was where he wanted to be. JD wanted to help clean up the city that his father lost his life protecting. His father died at the hands of a 14-year-old gang member. Now JD was responsible for the family his father left behind. Even though they were financially stable, it was up to him to keep the family united. His father would say to him, “No matter what, make sure you always take care of your family.”
    James and Martha Harrison raised their children in a very loving environment. They would get their children up on Sunday mornings, have breakfast, and then head off to Sunday school and church. Afterwards, family and friends would come over for dinner. Both parents, or at the very least one parent, would be at every game JD had or at every recital Ashley, his little sister, performed. His parents had a strong sense of family and community values, and they showed it. As a police officer James Harrison was looked upon as the authority figure to the fatherless boys in the neighborhood. He tried to intervene whenever he saw one of the boys going in what one may call “the wrong direction.” Martha Harrison always had food on the table for the hungry and a pleasant word for anyone in need. JD and Ashley were raised to help others less fortunate than themselves. It was just a way of life for them. JD understood this and accepted the responsibility of looking out for others at a very young age. When his little sister would get into fights in school, usually for taking up for someone else, he would go to the school and argue her case until the principal simply got tired and gave in. Afterwards, he would go home and try to argue Ashley’s case with his mom; but that was a lost cause. Martha Harrison did not care who Ashley was taking up for, fighting was not the way to do it.
JD always had many friends. For some reason people always liked him; but none more than “the boys,” his friends Calvin, Brian and Douglas. They had been with him through the high school basketball championships, the football games and many other escapades that probably should never be mentioned. Calvin graduated from law school along with JD. He was the one voice of reason; he would get the boys to think about their actions before they got into trouble. Brian, who joined the FBI after college, was the protector. If you wanted a piece of the boys you had to go through him first. Douglas was the oldest and the one with the business mind. He started a promotional company after high school and now owned one of the most exclusive clubs in the city. JD could turn to any one of them in any situation and he knew they would have his back. To them, he was the one each of them looked up to for answers to just about every question. If you asked them, each would say, “That boy is going to run the country one day.” Whether it was business, law or women, they were there for each other.
     Women: now that was one area where JD never seemed to have a problem. They seemed to come out of the woodwork for him. He never allowed any one woman to get too close. He had career plans to move up in the district attorney’s office. His focus was to eliminate or at the very least reduce gang activity in the city. It was the only way he knew to honor his dad’s life. There was no time for the drama women brought with them. Whenever his current girlfriend began with the drama, he would let her go. In a nice way, of course, but she had to go.
     Presently, JD’s problem was convincing the admissions counselor that his little sister was Harmon University material. Her grades were fine, as were her S.A.T. scores. However, the extracurricular activities that had landed her on the suspension list in high school more than once was not quite what Harmon University was looking for in a potential student. But Ashley had her heart set on Harmon, since some of her friends were going there. She begged JD to get her in. He was usually firm with women, but when it came to his little sister he could not say no. Fortunately for her, the admission counselor was a female. He worked his magic and got Ashley in at the last minute. Little did JD know, it was more his destiny for Ashley to be at Harmon than it was hers.
(copyright by Iris Bolling 2008)