I’m In the Wrong Story

Can I be real a second? And by real I mean really confused. Perhaps you guys can remedy this and explain to me, why the WIP that inspired this blog in the first place, isn’t my top priority anymore? And by priority I mean actively writing. Because it’s always on my mind. They’re always on my mind. I smile at the thought of these two girls I’ve created and I want nothing more than to share Etta and Emmylou with the world, but I just can’t write for them as of late.

True story, as of right now, I have them stuck in a door frame. They deserve so much more than to be stuck in a google document, let alone stuck in a door frame! How’d I get here? I mean, how did I get so far just to not hate everything I attempt to write? It’s gotten so bad, I can’t write for them at all. All I do is think about what I should be writing. I just can’t connect the dots.

Ask me about my short story, will ya?

Oh that old thing? It’s going great. It went from flash fiction, to short story, and now I’m expanding it to a novella/novel. I’m not sure which just yet. I literally can’t stop writing it! I mean that’s good right? Any writing is good writing I suppose. And I was thinking and surfing the internet and stuff and found that Harper Collins has an imprint that focuses on YA romance. It’s an eBook imprint only, but they are looking for novellas.

In a perfect world I think I’ll polish it, send it off to them, get published and be able to mention it when I query Etta and Emmylou. If I ever get Etta and Emmylou back up and running. And I sure hope I do, ’cause that mock query I wrote is looking really useless right about now.

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Alright, alright. I got it. Thanks, Edna.

You know what? This is temporary. I’m still writing. I still have the interest of an agent. Say what now? Did I neglect to mention that? Well it’s true.

A little while ago I asked agent Caitie Flum if a story that takes place in the 1960s was considered historical on twitter. It seems dumb, but honestly there’s a lot of opinions on the matter. I thought a story was considered historical if there was more or less a history lesson involved somewhere. Etta & Emmylou just takes place in the early 60s. I don’t go into the social climate or mention any key figures of the times. Anyway, Ms. Flum told me that even the 90s are considered historical fiction these days. Like the 1990s. And then it dawned on me, in like a hundred years I’ll be that girl who was born in the last decade before a new century…

I got off topic again!

The main thing is, she was like all, “A YA historical in the 60s?”

And I was all, “Yeah with African-American conjoined twins.”

Then she was like, “It better be in my inbox when it’s ready.”

In my head I was like:

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But then I said, “Of course!”

That being said, it’s been about a month and she probably forgot about me. LOL. And this post got a bit long. I better get going.

Shouldn’t be too long,

Cherish

I’m Published!

Oh what a celebration we’ll have today! Thank Goodness!

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You read the title right. I’m announcing my first creative writing publication! Kind of. Not since high school have I been published, but I’m international now. You can now find my poem, “Tabitha’s Babies” in The Quarterday Review, Imbolc 2017 issue, alongside my friend, Sonora!

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I’m over the moon excited! I’ve ordered ten copies. TEN. Got myself a hardcover one, too. They should be here in a few weeks, as they’re coming from the UK. Sounds fancy, right? Looks even fancier. It’s such a beautifully put together issue. But don’t just take my word for it. You can read my poem in the link. I’m on page 53, and prefaced by a wonderful abolitionist drawing. It compliments “Tabitha’s Babies” really well, which is an odd thing to say given the subject matter of my poem.

Nonetheless, I know how hard it is to find a home for your writing. And while I happened to be in the right place at the right time, I’m so honored and pleased and excited to be included. This is my first poem ever. I’m not sure how often first time writers, especially in a medium they don’t practice is chosen and recognized, but I’m betting not that often. So I’m thankful for that. This is a big deal.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here trying not to float away or smile too wide.

Thanks for letting me brag!

Cherish

Wah Watusi/Gee Whiz

In this week’s jukebox, I have two songs!.

First up, “Wah Watusi” by the Orlons.

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It was one of my favorites to incorporate into the text. I’ve since revised chapter four so the lyrics aren’t in them, but I still love the song. I don’t want to give away too much, as what happens is a big deal and makes thing difficult throughout the rest of the chapters, but I will say it’s the first time Emmylou sings. And it’s to Etta! Apparently it’s one of Etta’s favorite songs. After “Mama Said” of course.

Oh I just love it! It’s so… catchy!

Here’s Wednesday Addams doing the Watusi with Lurch!watusi

Next up is “Gee Whiz” by Carla Thomas.

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The romantic in me swoons when I hear this song. I get a similar reaction when I hear Santo & Johnny’s “Sleepwalk”, but Carla’s voice is top notch. If I’m not mistaken she was fifteen when she wrote this. Fifteen years old. What boy was on her mind? Maybe her own Erroll Harris? Anyway, by the end of the chapter Etta’s feeling better and Pearl and Jake have joined the girls in their bedroom. Carla’s voice comes floating through the radio’s speakers and Pearl and Etta accompany her. Again, much to Emmylou’s horror. Or added horror. She’s still in a little bit of a rage having Jake see her in her night clothes!

Little WIP update: I’ve started chapter 20! Finally! I hit a little bit of a dry spell, but I’m back at it. Sort of. Still trying to get this short story in order before I delve back into it. I can see the ending. I can smell the ending. It smells like satisfaction…and what took you so long? Seriously. I think it’s been a year since I wrote the first chapter of Etta & Emmylou!

But it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Right?

Cherish

Omigod!

I really can’t believe how this year is panning out already. I’m feeling good. Better than good actually. That’s a little inside joke I have with myself about a short story I wrote, that I absolutely adore and—I’m getting off topic! *clears throat* I placed second in another Scribophile contest!

Omigod you guys! (Can we take a minute to appreciate there were two quick changes in the first song of the show alone?)

Anyway, back to my writing! It was a Valentine’s Day/love themed contest. All I had to do was feel some kind of love and keep it brief. This was my first go at flash fiction too. Why didn’t anyone tell me how cool flash fiction is?

I LOVE and I do mean love that piece that I entered. And not just because it won me some cash and happy feelings, but because it inspired me to write a short story. Why didn’t anyone tell me how cool short stories are?! I couldn’t let my love birds go. I had to explore their relationship further. Now, I LOVE the short story so much, that I’m going to try to find a home for it. Actually, once I’m done with Etta & Emmylou I’ve decided to make them my new project. I’ve got plans! Yay me!

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The original flash piece is called, The Trees Won’t Tell. It’s about 20 words shy of 1,000 words and in the description I have one sentence: If Erroll kisses Gussie in the forest and only the trees witness it, are they in love?

Well, are they? You can bet your bottom dollar they are! The short story is about 7,000 words. As of now, I’m just calling it Gussie & Erroll, but when I send it off, I’ll put it all under the flash piece’s title. It follows Gussie as she and Erroll struggle to advance their relationship and get into “trouble.” In pure Music Man fashion, oh she’s got trouble… With a capital T, and that rhymes with E, and that stands for Erroll! Here’s my little blurb about it:

Gussie loves Erroll and he loves her back. So much in fact she may be his wife one day. That is if they can ever get some time alone. What with his mama’s issues and Gussie’s mama not wanting her to get in “trouble.”

Oh yeah, I go there. I was blushing writing some parts too, but readers tell me it’s still PG-13. I guess I’m just sensitive. 😛

It’s was a bit of a challenge writing about the more sensitive aspects of being a teenager and having the urge to merge. As Matthew Broderick told us in The Producers, “the urge to merge can rob us of our senses.” I wanted to stay true to the times. Oh, did I neglect to mention it’s historical? In my head it’s 1939. Finding euphemisms to support the sketchy knowledge of the past and an impressionable, sheltered country girl, and keeping it YA has been interesting. But I lurvvvve it!

Did I mention I’m in love with this story?

Here’s hoping I can find someone willing to give Gussie and Erroll a home. If/when it does happen I’ll be sure to let you all know. Speaking of finding homes for my work, remember I told you guys about my prose poem, Tabitha’s Babies? Well, I saw the proofs for the review that’s publishing it and I’m still speechless. It’s so pretty! And it has this s’wonderful illustration to go with it. I’m so honored. I should be able to share a link soon!

Well that was a mouthful! If you’re still reading, I’ll check ya later,

Cherish

Stay

This is one of my favoritist songs ever! Yes, I know it’s not a word. If you’ve seen Dirty Dancing, then you’ve heard this song. Remember when Baby first goes to where all the staff parties at the resort? And everyone is dirty dancing and she’s walking around dumfounded and intrigued at the same time? Well, this is that song.

The vocals are provided by the wonderful Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. I just about fell out my chair when I found out the biggest guy was the tenor. Watch this. Does he look like he would be the one to hit that falsetto?

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For the record Etta and Emmylou do not dirty dance at any point in their story. I just thought it worked well, what with all that was going on in chapter three. Besides the fact that it’s on the car radio, Etta is praying for a miracle. She’s hoping her father will over look the fact that they’ve gotten a ride from two strangers, one who happens to be white and asks them to stay for supper. If he invites them to stay, then maybe he’ll hear them out about letting she and Emmylou sing at their show.

I’ve said it already, but I looooooove this song. Emmylou would totally be Baby.

I’ll try to be back soon. I promise.

Pinky promise,

Cherish

Nominated!

Apparently I’ve been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award. I’m thinking the award is pretty self-explanatory, hence my uh…confusion as to why I’ve been nominated. I guess my buddy/critique buddy Lauren (visit her blog here) thinks I have a lovely blog, horrible grammar, punctuation and typos aside. 🙂 Thanks Lauren! She’s also on the twitter.

Here goes seven things about me that are not in my bio:

  1. I flunked out of college my first semester. Sorry, did I make it uncomfortable? Even now, knowing that I’m graduating in May I think back to that first semester and get so…ashamed. I know I shouldn’t be, but it happens. Less often now that things are going my way.
  2. I don’t know how to drive. I’m from NYC. Technically I don’t need to know how to drive, but my mother, who had a car on and off while I was younger thinks it’s time I get my life together and get my license. I agree with her there. Mom if you’re reading this, I got you this summer. Then I can move the car for you in the wee hours of the morning so you won’t get a ticket and/or towed.
  3. I’ve never been out of the United States of America. This one really bothers me. I even took a cruise once, but get this, it was a cruise to nowhere. We just sailed up and down the east coast for about 5 days. Luckily my mother has a trip planned for when I graduate. Where to?  It’s a secret apparently, but I’m brushing up on my Spanish just in case it’s Spain.
  4. I really, really, really, really, really want to go to Spain. Ever since the Cheetah Girls went, it’s been on my bucket list. I even have a pen pal from Spain. We’ve been pen pals for about 7ish years. I’d love to meet up with him one day.
  5. I don’t have a gallbladder. For years I was having gallstone attacks and had no idea. One morning I was in so much pain I spent the rest of the day popping advil. Finally sometime around 8pm I asked a friend to drive me to the emergency room down the street from our school. Turns out I had gallstones and like the nurse told me, “You really shouldn’t have taken so many pills. You can’t do that.” In hindsight nearly the whole bottle was a bit much. But I had a really cool test done and we found out my gallbladder wasn’t even working. It was functioning at like 9%.
  6. I hate ankle socks. I don’t know who in the world thought those were a good idea, but I can’t do it. They’re not okay! *shudders* I mean why even wear socks at all? What’s the purpose?
  7. I think Judy Garland and I would have been really good friends.

So that’s me. Kind of. I wish I had some cool pictures, but I’d have to do some serious searching and I got labs that I need to finish up. But here’s who I’m nominating!

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sonorahills

THE RULES FOR NOMINEES

  • When you get his award, thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post.
  • Share 7 things about yourself that are not in your Bio.
  • Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15).
  • Include this set of rules.
  • Inform your nominees.

Apologies & Playing Catch-up

Dare I say I’m on a roll this year? I’ve read a book. If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson. It’s set in my stomping ground of Brooklyn and some of the characters really conjured up some of my old classmates. It’s non stop twist and turns. Consider yourself warned about the whiplash. I’ve also written a piece of flash fiction for a contest. It’s a first for me, but I can see myself tackling some more. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the lovebirds in my story and I’ve already started dreaming up more for them. My next novel maybe?

I’m really here to issue an official apology for my horrendous typos. I swear I use spell and grammar check, but some things just keep slipping by. Then I notice it after it’s been published for days and hours! Truth is I have issues with punctuation, and I tend to type how I talk, which isn’t always grammatically correct. My critique buddies have been great for this. They are nice enough to point out the errors to me. No joke, I can only discern where to put commas maybe 60% of the time. I don’t know why I don’t grasp the rules at this point. It’s very embarrassing as a writer. So again, I apologize if you read my post and wonder if I’ve been typing with my feet.

How about a WIP update?

Well, I finished my 19th chapter in about 3 days! Anyone who is familiar with my writing schedule knows it takes about 2-3 weeks for me to crank out a chapter. The sad part is I got some feedback on it and scrapped it. And by scrapped I mean it’s in a word document, I just likely won’t use it. I was creating hysteria that I thought I was doing a good job of leaving eggs to hint at. Turns out I wasn’t. So, it prompted me to go back and edit some of my beginning chapters. Which let me tell you was not as hard as I thought it’d be. The hardest part was getting rid of all the lyrics. Yes, I am omitting all lyrics from my WIP except for the ones that Etta writes/I write for Etta…and Jake…and Emmylou. No worries, I’ll still share the booktrack. Long live Doo-wop!

I’m starting to see the light. The end is near. I’m so excited and pumped and overall proud at where I am at the point in the story. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not perfect, but I’m close to finishing a novel! If I had to put a number to it, I’d say I was about 80% done. Do you know how many people have that on their bucket list?

See you all in February!

Cherish

Someday, Someway

Music day! I’m back to share more of the tunes that guide me in writing this WIP. Today it’s The Marvelettes, “Someday, Someway.”

 

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The marvelous, The Marvelettes. They look so much like The Shirelles here, don’t they?

 

Etta and Emmylou are in an emergency room, Emmylou’s anxiety is at level 100 and Etta just can’t pass up an opportunity to perform. Typical Etta. Now I have to admit I don’t really know this song, but something about the lyrics seemed just right.

Exhibit A:

I’m a-gonna’ tell you

How much you mean to me

Not now

Not for a little while

I’ve got to be make sure that your love is pure

So you won’t take advantage of me

Capture my heart, and set me free

Some day (some day, ooh)

Some way (some way, ooh)

Exhibit B(spoiler alert):

We’ll wait for Jake, he said he’ll be back. Etta’s using her Diahann Carroll voice again. I think she thinks it makes me listen to her more. It only makes me mad.

I don’t trust him.

You don’t trust anyone. Calm down.

I’m starting to hear my own breathing. So I can imagine what I look like. Flushed and sweating, face red as a beet. Etta’s headaches get brought on by stress, so I like to worry for the both of us. I wish Etta worried a little bit more so I don’t have to as much. I might actually need a doctor if I spend another minute on this bed.

“You girls ready?” It’s Jake. He’s standing there rocking back and forth on his heels. I guess I ain’t notice before, but he can’t be much older than us. Barely out of high school. I ain’t never seen a boy so handsome. PJ been trying to get me to press his hair so he can wear it in a Conk—fried straight, slicked with grease and parted on one side, with the rest of it swooped to the other ever since he saw Chubby Checker wear one. Mama said no, but Jake wears it so well I kind of forget what has me all bothered.

See? It worked too well to pass up! Etta knows her sister is feeling something for Jake and she sings it right on out the door, much to Emmylou’s horror. It’s a nice little head bobber if I do say so myself. Great harmonies and instrumentals. Hey…you know what? I just realized I haven’t properly introduced you all to Jake! He’s still very much a WIP inside of this WIP so I need to work on him a little more though. I’m right at the part where the girls should start learning about how he came to be with this not-a-freak-show. But I may have an official apology to issue first. I’m sure you guys have noticed my horrible punctuation and grammar.

Yeesh!

Cherish

I Won A Writing Contest!

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*Composes self.* *Clears throat.*

This girl won a writing contest! I don’t think I’ve ever won a contest in my life, but I won one for writing! How awesome is that? Talk about confidence booster. I’ve been on a high ever since.

I entered the contest via my favorite way to procrastinate, Scribophile. It’s a critiquing website full of a bunch of smarties and wonderful people who share a love for writing. There’s some intense talent floating around the site, so I’m shocked to have even placed. I won cash and karma. Karma is what the site thrives on. It’s how I’m able to post chapters of my WIP and get feedback.

My poem Freedom Be Like A Mother placed second! It’s an epilogue of sorts for another poem I wrote and will be published come February in the Quarterday Review called Tabitha’s Babies. Both poems are a little dark. They center on the life of a young slave, Rowena, who tries her best to keep she and her children safe. I have a friend who has decided that it will be a movie and cast herself in a role already. Who knows, maybe she’s onto something.

I can’t wait to share Tabitha’s Babies. I’m working on finding a place that will publish Freedom Be Like A Mother so that I can share that soon as well. Post a snippet? No I can’t… Well if you insist.

From Freedom Be Like A Mother :

They be big now,

‘bout as high as my waist

with hair that chases itself ‘round and ‘round

skin yellow like the moon, sun-kissed cheeks

and Big Massa Adam’s eyes.

From Tabitha’s Babies:

Yesterday at the river I seen my mama.

Skin like the crust of a fresh-baked pecan pie.

Hair hidin’ under a rag.

Death in her eyes.

Or maybe that be me?

Too sad? I’ll be back with more music ASAP! Thanks for letting me brag!

Cherish

I Joined Twitter

I don’t know what possessed me to, but I did it. Actually, I know exactly why I did it. Remember back in my first post when I said that my PEN-ultimate goal was to be traditionally published? That’s why.

Although I don’t even have a finished first draft I’ve been lurking around literary agency sites and their agent pages. There are multiple sources that say some sort of online presence is a good thing. That’s why I started this blog, but then I kept hearing about these pitch wars or something like that. Some agents find their talent through such things. And I thought, one day when I have a finished and polished manuscript, I’d like to give it a go. Can’t hurt right?

Figuring out how to maneuver through this blog is sometimes overwhelming for me, but I’m slowly getting the hand of twitter. I even managed to add a twitter widget on the home page of this blog…I think. I sure hope so. Someday, someway I’ll tap into my millennial skills and actually learn how to use technology.

Tweet tweet,

Cherish