Crystal and Lillie (in front)
The workshop run by authors and playwrights Crystal Rhodes and Lillie Barnett Evans really challenged the RSJ attendees. These wonderful ladies took characters from their book ‘Grandmothers Incorporated’ and created a play. The process of taking beloved characters from your published novel to the stage seemed a little intimating but these ladies believe every author should think about the genre. It’s another form of writing that will inspire authors to stretch their writing skills.
Theaters are always looking for new material for upcoming productions so take a moment, examine your favorite characters, and see if you can breathe new life into them in a stage setting. Check out the African American Playwrights Exchange for more information.
Ann and Barbara
Authors Barbara Keaton and Ann Clay created an interactive workshop that had RSJ attendees explaining why they loved their favorite romance characters. It was a lively exchange as everyone relieved why certain heroes and heroines have a special place in their minds.
These ladies reminded us that the most amazing characters that we have encountered are the ones that seem to be snatched from real life. They jump off the page and make us see them as real people. They are layered, confident, and have us thinking about re-reading an author's book again and again.
The Romance Slam Jam Book signing area was packed with authors and I’m sorry to say I only had a few moments to speak with a few authors but the ones I spoke to are authors you need to read. Yvette Hines, Ann Clay, Regena Bryant, Daphne Douglas. I’ll be blogging about each of these ladies more in-depth in the next few days.
The Emma Awards Banquet was a lovely affair but I must speak about it on a separate blog entry so give me a few moments and you’ll be able to see who was the Belle of the Ball last night.
Author Donna Hill gave a wonderful workshop of how to keep writing with a busy schedule. Ms. Hill has a demanding day job, an evening teaching job, and she still manages to complete two to three books a year. She knows the benefit of staying very organized in order to get everything she needs to accomplish during her workweek.
You would think she gets up very early or stay up very late to get her romance novels completed before their deadlines but she doesn’t. She goes to bed by 10:30PM every night because rest is very important to prevent burnout and high stress levels. Ms. Hill let us know she sticks to a daily routine that motivates her to get her novels done.
During our afternoon luncheon we had the honor of hearing from author Donna Hill. Ms. Hill began her career in 1987 writing short stories for the confession magazines. Since that time she has more than fifty published titles to her credit since her first novel was released in 1990, and is considered one of the early pioneers of the African American romance genre. Three of her novels have been adapted for television. (View her speech below, Barbara Keaton introduces her in the opening.)
Author Chanta Rand enlightened all of the AA/IR/Multicultural romance authors to her latest ventures Colorful Covers and the importance of author branding. Her husband is a wonderful photographer and model recruiter that works with her in this new company to providing quality images and stock photography of people of color (African American, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Hispanic). They will also feature interracial couples to their collection in the future, so stay tuned.
The last workshop I attended many have been one of the most important for me. It was where author Evelyn Palfrey spoke about the business and financial side of being an author. As a writer, you've chosen to be a creative person. Writing, however, is a business. Whether you're a freelancer with your first sale, or an experienced author with a multi-book contract, it is worth understanding basic income tax principles and rules.
Book authors (like other writers, photographers, performers, and artists) face some unique issues when filing their taxes. Most writers are sole proprietorships and must report their writing income, expenses, depreciation, and losses on Schedule C of Form 1040, "Net Profit from Business--Sole Proprietorship." And many authors are also becoming incorporated and taking advantage of the liability protection and easy of growth and transferability.
Later in the evening, the Murder Mystery was held and everyone had a lot of fun. All of the RSJ conference attendees took part in “Till Death Do Us Part”, a wedding-themed murder mystery. I was even cast as Anita Goodman for the show. The setting was the wedding of Neil Burger and Summer McDonald. Just as the happy couple pronounces their vows, a death is also pronounced.
This wedding truly was a nightmare! And can you believe many people thought I killed Bob, my boyfriend of two years and Neil’s Best Man? And I thought these people knew me. Fun times! LOL
I did my Romance Slam Jam (RSJ) Conference registration at 9AM then I attended my first workshop of the day by Toni Bonita Robinson, an avid African-American and Multicultural romance reader that knows the works of many authors. She lovingly took on the tasks of making all the ‘newbies’ feel comfortable at RSJ this year. I enjoyed her wit, stories, and learning about her past experiences with great authors like Brenda Jackson, Lutishia Lovely and Zuri Day.
The most important thing Mrs. Robinson wanted the new attendees to know is that we MUST attend writers conferences and support each other, whenever possible. So everyone in her workshop made a point to stay in touch via Facebook and Twitter. We also hope to form a Facebook page where we can network with other RSJ authors and promo events that are happening in our area. It was a great workshop and it was nice to know readers like Mrs. Robinson wants to see AA/Multicultural authors grow and develop with their audience.
Toni and Martha
The second workshop I attended was given by the lovely Mrs. Martha Kennerson. She used her workshop slot to explain how an author could use the romance genre to tell a survivor’s story. Mrs. Kennerson was the victim of a horrific assault by two perpetrators as a young college woman. Her fictionalized novel, Choices, recounts parts of her story while helping young people victimized by abuse learn there is life after the pain.
I enjoyed how honest Mrs. Kennerson was with her workshop attendees. She made it very clear that pain should never be hidden because the true healing can only happen when all the pain and ugliness is exposed to the light of truth. She walked a very hard road filled with fear, guilt, self-loathing, and mental challenges but she rose like a phoenix to help others tell their story.
Today, she tells her story on serveral college campus and many sorority sisters are making her novel a must read. I’m glad I was able to connect with Mrs. Kennerson and I hope to promote her works in the future.
After the lunch break, I attended erotic author, Mrs. Yvette Hines’ workshop. And it was packed with attendees and so much FUN! Mrs. Hines had us review how authors use the five senses to engage readers and started the session off with a bang by reading a very sensual erotic narrative.
It was a fun, wild ride that made all of the authors and readers embrace everything that makes the sensual side of romance novels so enjoyable. And when she passed around the steamy pictures of today’s hot black actors, singers, athletes, etc. all of the women cheered and commented like a bunch of college girls. The workshop was the best one of RSJ, so far, and in my book it’s the one to beat. We all posed for a photo at the end and begged Mrs. Hines to make sure she hosts another workshop on erotica next year.
Hello everyone, today I arrived early to the Romance Slam Jam Conference yesterday. As a HHonors member, I was able to get the pick of a great room in March so I’m enjoying my stay at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center in downtown Milwaukee. The bell captain’s team was at the ready and greeted me warmly when I pulled up in my cab. (It was just a quick 30 miles from the airport and my driver was just delightful. His island boy experience of his very first Wisconsin winter, 25 years ago, was priceless) And the lovely lady at the front desk recommended award winning dining at the Milwaukee Steakhouse, so I made a mental to know to give them a try.
So far the start of trip has been great. A lovely tray of chocolate covered strawberries, Wisconsin cheese and crackers, and some great Pinot Grigio wine greeted me after I unpacked my belongings so I’m not hastily looking for food. And my room was spotless so I have to make sure my maid Maritza is tipped accordingly.
Last night, I wrote a few chapters of Wild West, the third book in the Sheridan series. I’ve also brought my DVD of The Bible series with me so I could experience Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s masterpiece without interruption. I think I’ll tour downtown Milwaukee in this morning and check-in to the conference for a few sessions.
I’m missing my guy SO much right now. I’m happy he dropped me off at the Newark airport with plenty of time to spare but it’s hard to be so far away from him. I hate to admit that he’s a wiz with directions because he’s cocky about his driving skills but the man pull up to the airport 40 minutes before boarding during rush hour traffic. It was a genius feat but don’t tell him I told you. He’ll never let me live it down.
Enjoy what the day bring to you!
“What's past is over, and talking disrespectfully about a former partner only reflects poorly on the one who does the talking.”
Ray J is a 32 year old singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer. He was first known to the public as R&B singer Brandy’s little brother, right now he’s known for creating a controversial club song about his ex-girlfriend, Kim Kardashian. In it, he tries to taut Kanye West by proclaiming several times, “I Hit It First’ and chanting at the end of the song, “I put her on, I put her on…” as if the only reason Kim is successful is because of the notoriety he has given her.
But let’s be perfectly clear, in 2007, Kim sued Vivid Entertainment for ‘invasion of privacy‘ because they were trying to distribute a leaked home sex tape, that subsequently resulted in Vivid setting the lawsuit out of court and awarding her $5 million. She never wanted the tape to be seen by the public but the damage was already done. Kim fought being exploited, she wasn’t seeking to use the porn industry to become famous, and she chose to work with her family to turn a negative into a positive.
With her mom/manager Kris at her side, she gained control of her image and her share of the leaked sex tape profits…on her terms. It was a reactionary action, along with her other business ventures, to untarnished her father’s name. (May Robert Kardashian rest in peace.) She’s now a successful television personality, spoke-model, entrepreneur, and occasional actress.
I believe Ray J is totally wrong for trying to recreate his notoriety by reminding the public of Kim’s past and trying to create a beef with a well-known music performer. He’s making it very clear that any woman that gets involved with him will be the topic of his conversations, music singles, and interviews. He won’t be known worldwide for pursuing the artistic greatness a Grammy; he just wants to be well-known in the hot clubs of LA and Las Vegas. He loves his bad boy image and will use it to host ‘Bad Girls All-Star Battle’ premiering later month on the Oxygen Network.
“The Golden Rule of Parenting. Always be the kind of person you want your kids to be.” – Emily Post
After breasts, nose, and chin plastic surgery in 2012, Teen Mom” star Farrah Abraham has inked a deal with Vivid Entertainment to sell her sex tape for nearly one million dollars. And she did it in a negotiation meeting with her young daughter, Sophia, in attendance.
Farrah seems to want desperately to be the next Kim Kardashian but she’s not looking at the bigger picture. She has lied and made a 70-minute amateur sex tape with a ‘fake’ boyfriend, just to see her tale unravel before her eyes. Once the truth was out, she stated she wanted as much money as possible for her efforts. What she failed to realize is that she’s courting the porn industry, not defending herself from exploitation like Kim did in the past.
Abraham stated to RadarOnline “I am very pleased with the outcome and to have this opportunity to be an entrepreneur in another unexpected light in my life. I look forward to my future goals of completing my Masters degree, focusing on being a great mother for my daughter as well as many other culinary business endeavors in my future.” Like, really??? Are you please with the money amount or the taped performance? Hmm??
I know she’s striving to be a great mom and trying to making money to her pay her bills but what about the long-term effects of brokering the distribution of her own sex tape? How can she explain the surgery and shopping her tape to her child in the future?
This blog covers novel completion, fellow authors and pop culture