This is what it’s like when Blog Tours collide.
So while organizing my Virtual Book Tour to promote the April 30, 2014 release of my new novella, West of Sunset, I was invited to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour. Mad props to the very awesome Heather Heffner for said invite. She’s been very friendly and reading about her process was both fascinating and enlightening.
If you haven’t read it yet, you should do so now. No really, go ahead, I’ll wait.
*checks emails, makes lunch, reads a comic book while waiting*
Welcome back. Isn’t she awesome?
I’m both honored and humbled to be included among Heather and some other very impressive authors.
WHAT AM I WORKING ON?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m actually in the middle of another tour of my very own; the Virtual Book Tour of my upcoming book, West of Sunset which is set to be released on April 30, 2014.
Let me shamelessly self plug one more time.
West of Sunset, April 30, great stuff, tell your friends, make me money, good times, good times. 😉
It’s an action-packed urban fantasy novella features two stories that revolve around one Brecken Everett:
“I recalled some sage I once received from two friends, seraphim. They confirmed that the old saying was true. If you ever want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
For Brecken Everett, there’s never a dull moment. When he’s not dealing with a demanding course load and honing his magic as top student at Lightmage University, he’s working as a private investigator and using his skills to protect the innocent from the darkest forces. In two action-packed adventures, Breck demonstrates that outnumbered and outgunned is when he’s at his best:
(Part One): Brecken is enlisted to aid Jacob and Joshua Phoenix; twins who are the last Pyrians, an ancient race of beings who mysteriously vanished from Earth eons prior. Along with their friends Elroy and the seraph Nemesis, the Brothers Phoenix have been on a quest to uncover clues to their past. The biggest clue to date leads them to Scotland where they recover and research a lost relic. After obtaining their prize, it appears as though Brecken, the twins and the others are in for a fun-filled vacation until they receive a visit from a pair of demons with designs on the relic. With Brecken’s aid, the twins are determined to stop the imminent threat, but are also determined to have some fun in the process.
(Part Two): The only thing Brecken wanted to do was get out of Atlanta. Heading to Los Angeles with his best friend, Owen, the vacation would provide much needed surf, sun, partying and relaxation. All is going according to plan until the boys stumble upon a museum heist which is connected to a biker gang of vampires who seek to raise an ancient evil power. Matters get even more complicated with the involvement of a mysterious and formidable witch. Witches, museum heists, arising malevolent entities, vampire biker gangs, even Brecken’s vacations are another day at the office.
In addition to promoting West of Sunset, I’m also working on short story entitled Legacies (title, subject to change). Nicknamed the Silent Assassin/Evil Queen story, this original fic was inspired by the idea I had when I asked the question, What would happen if Once Upon A Time’s Regina Mills crossed paths with DC Comic’s Cassandra Cain. The story is practically writing itself and I am having the time of my life. Much like West of Sunset, this story makes me excited and proud to be a writer.
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE
For starters, it’s not written by straight white people for straight white people.
My work comes from a storyteller who is a queer person of color. Tragically, because of the bigotry that pervades the publishing industry, voices like mine are immensely rare. Even in niche queer markets such as M/M slash which are supposed to be aimed at queer males, most of those books produced from that genre are coming from cis-gendered heterosexual white women.
Heaven forbid I feature a PoC as the main protagonist, many publishers would whitewash both the cover and the character.
Not only does author identity matter but so does having the freedom and the power to share our truths. Because I’m neither white nor straight, I offer a different perspective and insight that makes my voice unique.
In addition, my stories feature LGBTQ and/or characters of color in primary or key roles. Of the three main characters in my debut YA paranormal novel, Hollowstone, Noah, the narrator, is a black teen and Neely is a white bisexual female.
Brecken, the main hero for West of Sunset, is an overachieving gay black college student.
Not only do I believe in diversity and presenting minority heroes and heroines, but I also strive to present them as complex and compelling characters that debunk stereotypes and tropes that inundate the media and society.
Regarding my writing style specifically, whether I’m writing an essay, a blog post, or a novel, my work adheres to an edict I call E-Cubed. I write with the intent to enlighten, entertain, empower.
For example with West of Sunset, I enlighten my readers and provide them insight with microaggressions PoCs endure in their day to day, I do it in an entertaining fashion often through satire and mockery of evil straight white people (and I know I’m successful when someone tells me they couldn’t put the book down), and I empower other PoCs by showing them how characters like Brecken overcome said microaggressions and come out on top.
And because I write with the mindset that my audience is as smart as me if not smarter, breaking the 4th wall, lampshading, plot twists, and dry sarcastic humor, and snark is par for the course with my work.
Which I’m sure you’ve noticed with this post so far. If not, pay attention, you’re embarrassing yourself.
WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
To paraphrase Joss Whedon, “Because you are asking me that question.” The rampant racism, homophobia and other isms that pervade the media and society make stories like West of Sunset that much more vital.
Stories matter. The identity of the storyteller matters.
My purpose in life is to being a bard. Storytelling is my gift and it is my burden; my blessing and my curse. I write to stay sane.
Yes, you read that correctly, I write to stay sane.
Yes, this is me sane and on a good day. Try not to look too shocked.
I would have an easier time not breathing than not writing.
Because I believe in my purpose, I work tirelessly to hone my craft and to use them to bless others, which goes back to my E-Cubed principle of writing to enlighten, entertain and empower.
HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?
Blood, there’s usually lot of blood. A few dark rituals, a few offerings. By the third revision, probably some excessive adult language, by the fifth revision, lots of violence with my furniture as the recipient. *nods convincingly*
Actually, the process usually starts with an idea for a plot or a character. Over the years, I’ve found that inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of sources. I’ll brainstorm for a few days and then begin to jot down ideas; a quote that’ll come to me, a hilarious surprise twist. I pose questions to myself such as what truth is being presented with this character’s arc? Who are the other players involved? What are their journeys?
Once I have enough of a rough idea to map the key bare points of the story, I begin to work on an outline. Outlines allow me to work out many of the logistics of the project. When the outline is developed, I begin working on the roughdraft. As another author once said, the computer has been the greatest invention for writers since the eraser. While I love working on my Macbook or iPad, often I’ll pen the story in a notebook and then transcribe them to my laptop. By doing that, I go through one revision right there. Another technique that I’ve adopted is to brainstorm on the wording and phrasing of the prose between my writing sessions. That way when I do return to writing, I’m riding on a wave of momentum.
I usually know when I have a special story on my hands because I find myself transported into their world, living the adventure with the heroes. I’m there with them like an invisible silent observer chronicling their stories. It’s my theory that because I’m having an intense and wonderful time experiencing the journey, that fun and enthusiasm translates over into the prose.
Once the story is written, I step away from it for a few days or so. When I return, I polish and revise and once I think it’s ready I start making the submission rounds.
While one story is being published, I embark on my next adventure to chronicle. 😉