Posts Tagged ‘my view’

Stay Writing… always

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

The other day, while procrastinating on Twitter, as I’m often found doing, I saw a tweet go by from the amazing director of Selma, Ava DuVernay. It said that she was participating in a talk this past Wednesday for the Tribeca Film Festival. Now I was instantly intrigued and knew I wanted to be there. But me being me I had to go to my usual second guessing and I got to thinking if I really wanted to take the trip down to the city, take on driving and parking and oh who am I fooling, it all came down to if I really wanted to get dressed and put on real pants and shoes and go out.

Well, I’m so happy the pants and better sense won out. It was my dear son’s day off from classes so he was more than happy to go as my “date” and he even urged me to bring along a copy of one of my books and some postcards (I guess paying for all those business classes isn’t for nothing).

The two of us headed down to the west side of 23rd street and upon our arrival we were greeted with a long but patient and enthusiastic line of what seemed to be mostly were writers and film students. And to the horror of my poor DS I went to snapping pics as if I didn’t grow up in the city and attend college at FIT right up the street. Who knows? Maybe I’ve been in the burbs a little too long, but whatevs. They don’t put cameras on these phones for nothing.

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Once we were inside there was a short delay as we waited for Ms. DuVernay to make it in from the airport and her red-eye flight. The delay was no big deal to us as we were inside and comfortable and the room was full of fans of her work.

When Ms. DuVernay arrived along with the immensely talented, Q-Tip who was her interviewer for the hour, there was little doubt that the wait was well worth it. Q-Tip was a well prepared and through interviewer asking many of the questions that we all wanted answers to and Ms. DuVernay was just wonderful. She was friendly, thoughtful and candid with her answers. As well as generous with sharing her opinions and advice.

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Here are just a few of her insightful words that resonated most with me:

Her mission: “To magnify the magnificence of black people.”

Wow! I could just stop with there. Isn’t that just beautiful?  I just about gasped in my seat. With all the negative images we have been bombarded with for so long and the awful injustices that have been brought to life recently thanks to social media this just makes me want to stand up and cheer.

But I’ll keep going. She also spoke about her work and her responsibility to it saying, that it’s no one else’s responsibility to make the things she wants to see. Which also spoke to me and the stories I tell. Yes, I write for my readers and my fans, but ultimately these are the stories that speak to me and the ones I want to tell. If I’m not filling my own well then this is all for nothing.

Getting to Ms. DuVernay’s process: I was only too selfishly happy to hear that a genius such as herself also struggles with writer’s block as I do. Now I know there are those that say there is no such thing as writer’s block and try as I might I’ve tried really hard to embrace that philosophy (mostly by searching out articles over the internet when I should be writing) but I just can’t. She also has accepted procrastination as part of her process and recognizes that she is fueled by the deadline crunch. Something else I can definitely get behind and see in myself.

On working and ‘making it’ in a white male dominated profession: I loved Ms. DuVernay’s strong opinion and slightly ‘what of it’ attitude to it all. It is what it is and how we should just do what we do and go for it. She spoke about women too often asking for permission for things we don’t need permission for. I’ll just leave that right here with an amen.

 

Lastly, she spoke about her motto which is “Stay Shooting.” Which means to work your creative muscle. Don’t take breaks and don’t get stagnant or stale by being stuck in one box. Very good advice. I think I’ll take up a version of that and tack onto my bulletin board:

“STAY WRITING.”

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Thank you, Ms. DuVernay for sharing a wonderful hour with us!

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Lets not talk about my closed eyes on this pic. Ava is holding BOUNCE here and  that’s all that matters.

#WeNeedDiverseRomance

 

 

All the best,

KMJ

Don’t Let His Good Looks Fool Ya!

Monday, April 20th, 2015

So Jack got the ultimate beauty treatment this weekend going from drab to fab with one haircut.

So to celebrate he decided to be really bad and while the DH and I were out at bowling he somehow jumped his little butt up on the counter and pulled all the BBQ down eating chicken, ribs, & sausage. Pretty much ALL our dinner. Thanks, Jack, but that look won’t work, it’s the naughty chair for you!

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Happy New Week!

 

All the best,

KMJ

Happy Birthday Dear DH!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Thank you all so much for all the kindness and well wishes over my big news yesterday. I was overwhelmed by the incredible outpouring of love.

Please join me today in wishing a very…

 

Happy Birthday to my Dear DH! 

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Always the hero in my heart.

 

 

 

 

With love,

KMJ

If You Don’t Know Now You Know… You Know … The Call!

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Those in the know will recognize the nod the Notorious B.I.G. in my blog title. Those who don’t, I’m sorry about that, it’s the lyric that’s been running through my head for the last week or so that along with the probably much more appropriate, gospel lyric, “I’m so glad they prayed for me.” Both are almost equally fitting to my monumental feelings right now.

A little over a week ago, after more years than I’d now care to admit (I’m getting up there ya’ll) I got my first ever CALL. You know the one that all writers dream of and daydream about and make up elaborate stories around. Well, nowadays THE CALL can oftentimes come via email but this one actually did come on the phone.

But before the CALL I did receive an email from my new rock star agent, Rachel Brooks, with the L. Perkins Agency with the subject line: CAN I CALL??? In all caps. And her being the amazing magical intuitive fairy she is, knowing me oh-so-well for the neurotic I am, she put in the email that she had good new and a super fun gif of two women in a lather of excitement because she also knows I love a gif way too much.

The Call

I quickly answered her back, yes, and to that Rachel called and let me know that after so many years of trudging my way, I had received an offer from the amazing Selena James for a 3 book deal plus a Novella with Kensington Book’s Dafina imprint. Hold the phone!

What the- Get. Out. Of. Town!

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Here is the official announcement from Publishers Marketplace.

 

Publishers Marketplace Deal 4-14 B

I am over the moon right now and so thrilled to be welcomed into this new publishing home. Not to mention, but to mention, being humbled and honored to be in the presence of so many talented writers who have come before me at Dafina.  Talk about blown away.

I know my late Nana is smiling wide right now. Her prayers and mine plus those of my mother and all my family and friends have been answered and I hope to make her and the rest of them very proud.

Kwana & Nana

Thank you all, and especially my ever patient Dear DH, so much for all your continued support and love.

I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring us!

 

All the best with all my heart,

KMJ

 

 

#WeNeedDiverseRomance

#WeNeedDiverseRomance … The Tee!

Monday, April 6th, 2015

As many of you know I have been beating the drum for more diversity in romance creating the #WeNeedDiverseRomance hashtag on twitter in honor of my Nana and her love of the genre. It has also been a way to  thank her for introducing me to the genre, getting me on my career path and always believing in me.

The time for more diversity in romance is now.

So by popular demand the #WeNeedDiverseRomance is here! Show your support for more diversity in the romance genre we read and love with a #WeNeedDiverseRomance Tee

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Available in both black and white for a limited time:

Black- http://bit.ly/1GYWvjq &

White-  http://bit.ly/1DEVNZl

Join me in sharing the love by wearing our hearts on our chests.

 

All the best,

KMJ

Slammin’ and Jammin’ at Romance Slam Jam!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

So this post is long overdue, but in my own defense I just finally got my bags unpacked last night so there was that. Excuses, excuses. This past week I had the honor of going to Dallas to attend the 20th Annual Romance Slam Jam Conference.

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Romance Slam Jam is a fantastic Black Romance reader meet writer conference where you can get really up close and personal. Everyone who goes considers it a bookish family reunion and it really is. I even got to see  some members of my private  fan group, TEAM KMJ  in the flesh. Hey, Sharon, Midnight Ace and Jackie!

The readers get to attend sessions with the writers. Hearing about what that have upcoming, having their questions answered and even playing fun games. And the writes can attend reader sessions learning about what they really look for in the books they love, covers and what keeps them coming back for more!

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I was so thrilled when at the annual Emma Awards, two of my good friends were honored with wins. First, Piper Huguley with debut author of the year and then the fabulous, Farrah Rochon with Author of the Year. There were big cheers all around our table!

 I had so much fun and can’t wait for next year’s conference in Detroit where the amazing Beverly Jenkins will be the Keynote speaker.

 

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I hope to see you all there next year!

 

All the best,

KMJ

 

Sidebar:

Just 1 more day to get BOUNCE for only 0.99 cents! Grab it while you can!

To the Sun

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

After so many long days and nights buried under the cold cover of snow…

it looks like my little yoga frog is finally out and raising his arms to the sun again.yoga frog

Now, if only it would warm up we’d all be a little happier

(and the grass would be greener and I’m sure little froggy would maybe like a coat of paint. Winter can be brutal).

All the best,

KMJ

Underneath…

Monday, March 9th, 2015

This has been a fast winter, but a really long February and early March with the amount of snow dumped on us weekly or bi-weekly.

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But alas there is a light! And this week the forecast is calling for above freezing temperatures for the WHOLE week. Could it be that these piles of snow and ice will start to thaw? I’ve almost forgotten what grass looks like in real life and can’t wait to see what’s unearthed underneath it all (oh great, now I’m singing that song.  Happy Earworm! LOL).

 

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All the best,

KMJ

Believing is Doing…

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Happy New Week!

 

So I’ve done all the blizzard prep I’m doing and what I have, I have and what I don’t, well,  I don’t. Right about now it’s pretty much sit and wait time. I hope wherever you are the weather is kind and if not you’re warm and dry.

During this storm, as long as I have power (and if I don’t I have notebooks) I plan on working on my current WIP which truth be told has been my longest WIP ever. It’s a story that came to mind many years ago and when I got it I was so excited that I plotted it out and was ready to dive right in. Well, once I started I felt that it was a little (see a lot)  more challenging  and complicated than I anticipated and maybe I bit off more than I could chew. So I put it aside and wrote another book. Then that other book written I pulled the complicated WIP out again…. stalled again, put it aside and wrote yet another book. This process went on and on, the tough book haunting me while I went on to write and publish 3 more books!

What was stopping me with this book that I could write other full books while stalling on this one that I KNEW I wanted to write? Was it fear? Was it believing that I couldn’t do it?

Well the time is here that I MUST finish this book or lose my mind in the process. Giving up is not an option (well, it is an option but not one I’m happy with). Who knows if it will ever get published, but I know there needs to be a THE END or there won’t be any peace of mind for me. Wishing me luck peeps. Time for me to start believing and get to doing.

 

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All the best,

KMJ

 

 

Dreams Always Matter… #WeNeedDiverseRomance

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Happy Martin Luther King Day here in the US!

I always think of this as a day of reflection and not just a day of sales or a day off from work. I’m sure it helps that my children share a birthday with the great Dr. King which I always thought was a great honor and never missed an opportunity to remind them of that. They know the history and how far we have and sadly how far we still have to go. Recently, with the passing of my Nana, piggy backing on the powerful and important #WeNeedDiverse books hashtag, I started the #WeNeedDiverseRomance hashtag attempting to honor Nana’s love of romance and highlight the lack of diversity in the genre. Yes, we even have a long way to go when it comes to publishing and getting equal representation when it comes to our stories of happily ever after. And this is me with this hashtag hoping in some way to bring awareness and enact a bit of change to help balance the scales. It may be a small dream but it’s a DREAM all the same.

#WeNeedDiverseRomance

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And if we have learned anything from Dr. King it’s that Dreams Always Matter.

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All the best,

KMJ