Friday, November 16, 2012

The Shoebox & the Essence of Motown Literary Jam & Writer Conference

Who knew that a shoe box would have anything to do with a writer's conference?

At the Essence of Motown Literary Jam & Writers Conference this past weekend I started learning stuff before the workshops even began. I was sharing a vendor table with fellow author Tenita Johnson and the fact that she was still working on her setup when I was finished in under 5 minutes was the first sign that I was about to be schooled. On her side of the table was a lollipop-filled mug, strips of words of encouragement, colorful magnets highlighting her book's message, along with the standard business card and promotional items. Sure, those things were awesome in and of themselves but when she slid a shoebox under the tablecloth, elevating her book above everyone else's--hot damn! I marveled at the ingenious!

Notice the extra decor on the other side of the table.
 Lucky for me the trunk of my car is like traveling storage container and there was a box--not a shoe box but a box nonetheless-- inside that I can use for the occasion. Worked like a charm. Don't get me wrong. I didn't sell any books, but that's not why writers attend writer conferences. We go to learn how to sell and write books better.

And learn I did!

This post would be endless if I tried to list everything I learned at the conference. Instead I'll direct you to my Twitter account. Look for tweets with hashtag #eom2012, #mwn.

Til my next post. Happy reading!


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Nanowrimo Pause--Get your Vote on!

Yay! It's the sixth day of Nanowrimo--National Writing Month--and as usual I'm off to a very slow start. But today, more important than nanowrimo, it's election day! I'll give my day job its due and then I'm off to the polls.

I won't get off into who my choice candidate is but no matter the wait, no matter the length of the ballot, no matter how long it takes I'm going to make sure my vote counts. And I encourage you to do the same.

Voting is not only a right that was fought and bled over, it is our responsibility. It is our time to have a say in government. Personally, I'm excited about that!

Now back to nanowrimo!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Celebrating National Author Day

What does an author do on National Author's Day? Celebrate themselves? Celebrate the authors who inspired them? Celebrate local authors by giving them a shout out? Write?

I'm happy to say I did a little of all that. Gave Melissa Love, author of Holy Suspicion, a shout on Twitter for being Motown Writers Network National Author's Day spotlight author. I'm reading one of my favorite authors, Mary Higgins Clark. And I made a little bit--literally--of progress on my current work in progress.

While all of this was gratifying, nothing tops culminating my evening with one of my all time favorite authors, Terry McMillan! Ain't God good? I saw the advertisement early on but I neglected to buy a ticket. Why? Because that's the kind of thing I do. Wait until the last minute. Sad, I know. So the day comes and I honestly wasn't thinking anything about it until, that is, I hit up Twitter. Gotta love Twitter. First, I learned that it was National Author Day. Then I was reminded that Terry was coming today! I shouted out that I wanted to go and my writing buddy shot me the link for tickets. $35! I love Terry but I couldn't fork over the $35 to see her as I consider everything on my financial to-do list. So I dropped it.

Then lo and behold my writing mentor Sylvia Hubbard texts me that she's got a ticket for me! She is so awesome!

The way I see it, God set this all up. I've been stressed the last couple of weeks. Need to get my writing mojo back.

An evening with Terry McMillan and my Motown Writers Network buddies was an easy fix!

Me and Sylvia!

Terry has taken the stage!
Writing buds Kai Kaiology Mann & Phette Ogburn
"Living the Sweet Life" was the name of the event and creating your own happiness was the theme. I already choose happiness so, for me, this event was all about being in the presence of literary greatness. Terry McMillan is such an inspiration. I definitely got my writing mojo back!

Happy National Author Day!

Friday, October 05, 2012

LA Writing Challenge Has Come to an End

Of course, I'm late updating my blog about the challenge but it's officially over as of this past Monday, October 1. None of those involved completed their project. However, everyone reported having made significant progress that they were proud of. I know I did!

Without the challenge I would have remained content with my puny--yet comfortable-- 250 word daily goal. During the challenge, on my best days I typed over double that number.

On days when I struggled with a scene, I forcibly pushed on to the next one--even when I wasn't sure if it would be cemented into the story. But isn't that the purpose of the draft??? Get the writer going in the right direction.

Today I'm more than on my way to completing this manuscript. The end is so close I can reach out and touch it!

Thanks to my writing buds who cheered me along the way as I did the same for them. Til next time.


Monday, September 10, 2012

30 Day Challenge Update #3

Despite days of weariness, discouragement, and plain 'ole stubbornness, Im proud to say that I'm writing EVERYDAY! Even making some good progress. I wish I could have done better this weekend but I did the best I could considering I had family over.

Now Monday has rolled back around and its these five days that I expect to get the most accomplished. One trick up my sleeve is to NOT spend so
much time on any particular scene. If it doesn't work at that moment I'm simply going to move on to what i want to happen next.

I didn't make a lot of progress but tomorrow I'm going to finish this one scene I've been working on so I can move this story along to the finish line.

Wish me luck. How's your writing coming along? Share in the comments below.

Friday, September 07, 2012

30 Day Challenge--Day 2

My personal 30 day challenge to finish my book presented a perfect way to connect with my twitter buddies I invited them along and to far the response has been good.

As for myself, I immediately felt the weight of accountability on my shoulders. You know, once you tell folks what you're going to do, you gotta kind of put up or shut up.

In true L.A. form, last night I was on the "shut up" side, snoozing instead of writing that other 500 words I was shooting for. Is that called self sabotage?

All in all yesterday was still a good writing day. I wrote double my 250 daily word count goal. If not for this 30 day challenge, that'd be awesome but the challenge is on and poppin! 250-500 words a day just isn't going to get it. I need to crank it up to like 1000.
It'll be a challenge but that's the point, right?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

30 Day Writing Challenge

Upon close inspection of the word count log I've been keeping for the book I'm writing, I've been on a roll since the beginning of this month. Actually days before that but I'm gonna focus on the month at hand.

I'm borrowing a blog challenge that a fellow blogger, Skinny Black Girl, did last month. She challenged herself to blog everyday for 30 days. I decided to tweak her challenge to meet my needs, which is to finish this book!

I've lost count of how many fellow authors have shared stories of buckling down over a matter of weeks to finish their novels or books. I can do this! Yes I can! (Can you tell I'm watching the Democratic Convention? Lol)

Join me. Personalize this challenge to your needs. What do you need to finish? An essay, short story, editing project, blog design? Let's do it together.

Share your challenge below.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book Pause--Literary Lesson

When I was writing my first book, Unfinished Business, I avoided reading fiction novels. For starters, I didn't want to unconsciously infuse the other book's storyline into my storyline or borrow scenes, and such. Is that form of plagiarism? Probably not, but I try to be remain ethical in everything that I do. Don't want to jinx my success, you know. Secondly, since I struggled seriously with finding time to write, I'd be plaques BIG time with guilt for reading a book when I needed to be finishing writing one!

However, as I'm working on my second novel--a spinoff of the first, I've changed my position on this matter. As a writer it's important to read a lot. Right! I'm sure we all agree on that. Just the same, as writers, we need to write a lot! Duh, right?

There's only one way to accomplish this, I've finally realized. Do them simultaneously. When I tried this recently, I benefited significantly from
reading the great writing of one of my favorite authors, Sandra Brown. First off, the story, French Silk, was awesome, one of the best suspense stories I've read in awhile. The story was set in New Orleans. By the time I finished the story, I felt like I'd visited the culturally rich city. that I expected anything less from Sandra Brown.

Anyway, back to the story. Reading Sandra Brown's vividly described scenes, realistic characters, and her showing of the story rather than telling were both exciting and inspirational. My excitement as a reader is obvious. As a writer, I was excited because I was reminded of what my own writing needed. After I finished the book, I wanted to describe the kind of jewelry my protagonist wears, what hair accessories she likes, what brand of weave she likes. I'm excited about showing how her disgust for the way her mothers loose ways during her upbringing plays into her eventual resolution to her own loose ways.

See the double benefit? How do you balance your writing and reading life? Do you only when you're not writing? Or do you do a little of both like I did?

Monday, August 13, 2012

When to Move On--A Literary Lesson

The numbers recorded on my word log for my upcoming novel over the last few weeks have been pretty dismal: 85, 288, 27, 280, 91, 41, 21--to give a few examples. And these don't even reflect the days when I didn't write anything!

As if that's not enough to be down in the dumps about, do I dare share with my literary friends that this minuscule effort has been on one friggin' scene!

I know. I know. Stop yelling at me! In my five plus years as an author I know better than to have spent this considerable amount of time on the same scene. I should have moved on days ago against the pull of the literary devil to stay lost in a scene that obviously wasn't working or isn't meant to be--at least not right now.

Make sure you don't fall into this form of writers block by, first, planning your scene thoroughly before you begin writing, and, second, don't be afraid to leave a scene unfinished. Perfect time to use the bookmark feature of Microsoft Word. When you're ready you don't even have to search for the page where the scene is housed--just search your bookmark and click. Its also convenient if you decide to delete the scene all together.

Finally, at the start of this week, I've moved on to something else and the writing has been going well, although that unfinished scene is not far from my mind. Lol.

How do you handle these types of moments in your writing? Do you fight with the scene like I was doing until you get it right? Or do you ditch it immediately?

Respond below.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

Oops I did it again..." Unfortunately, not whatever Britanny Spears was talking about in her smash hit in the late 90's. Rather, it seems, I've made another petty thief happy in the city. It was a Friday afternoon. If not for my apartment needing extermination, I would have been at work. Anyway when the time came for me and the kids to leave the apartment for a few hours I decided to take them to the carnival on our city's Riverwalk. Not only did we need something to do, but my sister had informed that the event was free until later that evening so I figured this was an opportune time to support the city. Humph.

If only I hadn't already taken my laptop with me to breakfast and the park near my home, it would have been safely at home. Instead, as I'm always trying to find opportunity to write, I'd brought it with me.

So we arrive at the event, park on the street in a pretty decent area-SO I THOUGHT!

It would seem some punks in the city picked the street I parked on to randomly check for unlocked cars to see what they'd luck up on. That day it would be my laptop!

Pure luck for them. Not so much for me. I may have been dumb enough to leave my friggin' doors unlocked but not dumb enough to leave my laptop out in the open. It was tucked under the seat, no cords exposed. But those bums rifled through every place but the trunk of my car.

And yes, I did say this is the second time this had happened--the first time my mom was using my car & my laptop was inside when she left the doors unlocked to run into the corner store. That time was worse because my tote bag WITH my laptop AND flashdrive inside was taken. Everything was lost. Literally. I practically had to start my novel over, which I could use as an excuse for why I'm behind schedule with publication.

Nevertheless, I was able to look on the bright side of things-my car was not damaged in any way nor were me or my children.

Surprisingly I haven't run out to replace my laptop. While lack of available funds play a significant role in that fact, I also have to admit that I don't really make that much progress with my writing on the laptop anyway. Most of my writing happens on my desktop at my day job--on breaks & lunch, of course. I just like the laptop for for occasions of trips to the coffee shop, library, or vacations.

It's safe to say that whenever I do get another laptop, it will always be kept on my person when I take it out of the house. Enough is enough!

When you take your laptops out and about with you, how do you protect it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Book Giveaway!!!

Three years I conjured up the nerve to publish the manuscript that I'd been nursing for nearly ten years. It was both the scariest and the most rewarding time of my life.

What better way to celebrate this accomplishment than to reward book lovers everywhere with the chance to win a free copy of Unfinished Business, a story of an addiction to love and/ or lust months before the follow up novel is released.

Just subscribe to my blog, tell me about your addiction to lust or love. All new subscribers will be entered into a drawing to win the ebook edition or a printed copy. You choose.

Good luck!
L. A.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Writing Distractions: Making Them Work for You!

> I was off to a great start this morning. Had an awesome night with my honey. Was up and attem' this morning, looking forward to the day ahead. Of course that included hitting my writing objective of 250 words in my current novel in progress.
> My butt hadn't even gotten settled in my chair, let alone my coffee cooled down enough for me to drink before my daughter called.
> "Mom!" She whined. "I'm tired of people around eating other peoples stuff!" she said referencing her stepdad and stepsister who have just as much rudeness in common as they do DNA.
> I diffused that fire only to have my honey call me complaining about something my son did to his daughter. A heated argument ensued which led to nowhere but an unproductive writing day.
> Almost.
> After wasting quite a few hours stewing over anger, being totally lost on the novel I was supposed to be writing, it finally dawned on me to let the subject of my anger fuel something productive rather than unproductive.
> An article/essay idea was born! I took a deep breath, brought up a blank document and began typing the intro on the subject matter of blended families.
> Of course I don't know when I'll finish the article/essay--I'm still working on a description essay about my first cruise vacation that I started a month ago. Still it was better to have started something productive, something that could produce income in the future rather than stressing over life's challenges.
> Next time life gets in the way of your creative flow, I encourage you to try writing about it simply for the sake of continuing the craft of WRITING!
> LaCharmine (L.A.) Jefferson
> Author, Writer, Blogger
> Website:
> Blogs by me:
> L.A.'s Literary Love Life@
> A Day in the Life of L.A. Jefferson @
> All Things Love @
> Naturally L.A. @
> Surviving Work @
> Follow me on Twitter @lajefferson

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Writing Friends Rock!

After last Saturday I decided that I need more writing friends or I need to spend more time with the ones I already have. A few of my writing friends and I attended a book fair, which was more like a writing workshop, hosted by the Wayne County Community College. Since the event wasn't sufficiently advertised, there was literally no traffic of book lovers to meet and greet with so we authors had a lot of time to do what we love second best to writing--talking about writing!

Talking about writing with non-writers is like talking about raising kids with people who don't have any. In most cases they don't get it or they don't care.

Although I know I'm not alone in this self-publishing struggle, it's easy to fee like I am. Oftentimes I see my writing buds on twitter promoting their work or themselves and I think, "Man, they've really got it going on." Behind that I say something like, "And you just suck." Speaking of myself, of course.

However, after a couple of hours talking about everything I'm comforted that some of them feel just as frustrated as I do. None of us thought that becoming authors was going to be this much work! Most of us fantasized about landing a huge contract with a major publisher and just sitting back bringing our stories to life while the publishing company does all the work pushing the book.

Not only is the none of our lives another writer I met at this event gave me a perspective of being under contract that I'd never considered. As a self-published author I am in total control of what I do or don't do. If I were under contract with let's say Simon & Schuster, that would be far from the case. I'd be mandated to their schedule, not my own. National interviews, local interviews, book signings across the country, etc. Sounds awesome on one end but not on another.

Would I really want someone else dictating my time with my kids? I enjoy the time I'm able to give my kids outside of my regular work hours. I like taking my son to his soccer practice and soccer games. I like taking my daughter to work, picking her up, etc. All that parenting is, I want on my terms.

Next, I picked up a tip about the benefit of writing in other genres. It's helpful with your main genre. And it really is. I hadn't planned it this way but over the last few weeks I've detoured from the novel I'm working on and have been working on an essay project. Honest to goodness, as I've been working on descriptions for the essay, I've been coming up with better descriptions for the novel! Soon as I get a chance to join this writer's writers group, I'm going to add that to my already jam packed schedule.

Lastly, without dragging this post longer than it already is, also I received a suggestion for how to finally get my book on kindle. Yes, I know its as easy as 1-2-3 but I'd run into a problem with my document that had me delaying the process UNTIL my little chat with my writing buds.

The essence of this story: keep your writing friends closer than all others. They're a wealth of support and experiences that can help you AND you will help them too.

LaCharmine (L.A.) Jefferson
Author, Writer, Blogger


Blogs by me:

L.A.'s Literary Love Life@

A Day in the Life of L.A. Jefferson @

All Things Love @

Naturally L.A. @

Surviving Work @

Follow me on Twitter @lajefferson

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Back on the Writing Grind--Maybe Not

Two weeks ago, I was on a good writing streak. A writing everyday kind of a streak, making real progress. Then I suddenly found myself involved in planning a wedding in a very short period of time so it's easy to imagine how distracted I became. Checking out venues, orchastrating the order of ceremony, looking at dresses, planning the reception, etc. Needless to say things started getting crazy real quick. In a matter of days I realized that it was a complete waste of time opening my document up on the computer screen because I couldn't write a thing!

When the madness finally came to an end I thought I'd easily get back on track. After a couple of days, I did. I was going back over a chapter that I'd previously completed but wanted to revise because of something I'd written in a chapter further down the road. According to this article I read here Write It Sideways I wasn't writing at all. My favorite foe procrastination had reared it's ugly head, which clearly explains the frustration I've been feeling over the past week or so. Running around in circles is what I've been doing.

This article inspired me to STOP! The scene I've been working on is still not perfect--but, will it ever be? Whatever the case, it's time to move on.

Hope you find this article as helpful as I have. This looks to be a very helpful site that I'll surely be putting on my regular reading list. What do you think?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cookies & Milk--My Writing Weekend Reward

Considering I'm participating in two weight loss challenges, cookies and milk was not the best way to reward myself but they were yummy! If you're wondering why I'm rewarding myself, let me tell you. I had a fantastic writing weekend! It all began with the Motown Writers Network monthly meeting. First meeting I've been able to get to all year. Of course, I knew exactly what I'd been missing. Networking! Knowledge! Camaraderie!

We begin every meeting with introductions. Ironically it was because of this that I attended this meeting in particular. After 3 years of being a published author I should be better at this than I am but I'm still a bit withdrawn at times. In the days before the meeting I was admonishing myself to DO BETTER! Honestly, I have more opportunity than I care to admit to telling people about myself and my work that I don't take advantage of. I knew that I couldn't get out of it if attended the meeting because Sylvia Hubbard would have none of that. I absolutely love her!

At this months meeting, there was a presentation by Stephanie Lewis on graphic design and social media for authors. Overwhelming information! I'd be typing forever if I tried to regurgitate the information this young lady provided. Let's just say, I, along with every other author needs to step up our game. Our websites need to be formatted like that of world-renowned best selling authors! We must use social media to our advantage, Tweet and Facebook the RIGHT way to find SUCCESS.

I was so amped up by the discussions with my writing peers, I skipped the trip to the mall that I planned for after the meeting and headed to the coffee shop to finish a chapter I'd been struggling with and get started on the next one! You see, that's a great purpose for belonging to a writer's group! I always leave my buds motivated to step up my game! Can't wait until next month!

LaCharmine (L.A.) Jefferson
Author, Writer, Blogger

Blogs by me:
L.A.'s Literary Love Life@
A Day in the Life of L.A. Jefferson @
All Things Love @
Naturally L.A. @
Surviving Work @
Follow me on Twitter @lajefferson

Monday, March 05, 2012

Book Giveaway

Unfinished Business Book Giveaway!!!

We are just a few months away from the publication of Reconciliation to Hell and we're willing to spread some love if you're willing to spread the word...

We've started a contest; the first 50 new followers will be eligible to receive a free autographed copy of Unfinished Business and automatically be entered to win a copy of the upcoming sequel, Reconciliation to Hell.

If you would like a chance to win an autographed copy of Unfinished Business then visit both Unfinished Business and Chrystal's Corner and become a follower/member. Also leave the following message: "Reconciliation to Hell is coming." Include your email address so we can contact you.

Wait! Everybody is a winner because even if you're not one of the 4 selected winners you will still receive a special code to get an ebook edition of Unfinished Business for only $1.99. Hurry! This contest ends March 26, 2012.

LaCharmine (L.A.) Jefferson
Author, Writer, Blogger
Blogs by me:
L.A.'s Literary Love Life@
A Day in the Life of L.A. Jefferson @
All Things Love @
Naturally L.A. @

Follow me on Twitter @lajeffeson

Monday, February 13, 2012

Unfinished Business Reader Review

Check out this reader review then get your copy of Unfinished Business (e-book or paperback) today!

L.A. Jefferson

From: "HARRIS, NIKKI N" <>
Date: February 9, 2012 2:27:58 PM EST
To: "" <>
Subject: Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business provided an excellent storyline that kept me hooked until the end (Gotta love a surprise ending!!). The writer did a great job of feeding readers tidbits of information without spoiling the ending. Ladies, you will find the main character very easy to recognize if not in yourself then in someone you know! A Great Read that I highly recommend!

Take Care and Many Blessings Lacharmine!

Nikki Harris

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

L.A. Jefferson Accomplishing Goals in 2012

Accomplishing goals is not something I do well. At least not as well as I'd like to. Aside from acquiring my college degrees by the time my youngest child started elementary school, I did manage to accomplish the goal of publishing my book, albeit with no time frame in mind which explains why it was a 10yr plus project. Therein lies my challenge:  Meeting goals ON TIME. However, a change appears to be on the horizon for me. Forget that I didn't make my 12/31/2011 goal for having my manuscript complete, in recent weeks I have accomplished two important personal goals.

Posted on the wall of my cubicle at work is a to-do list that I created to keep myself on track. At the top of the list was submitting my application for the 2012 Kresge Artist Fellowship due February 1, 2012. My goal was to submit my app by Friday, January 27, 2012. True to form, I missed that date, but I was on it the day the application was due! Who knew applying for a fellowship would be so stressful??? Although I didn't submit on the day I planned, I still applaud myself for seeing the application process through, not giving up considering this would be my third opportunity to apply for the $25,000 prize since learning about this opportunity for literary artist in the metropolitan Detroit four or five years ago.

The second goal I've achieved is becoming a literacy tutor for the Detroit Public Library Adult Literacy Program. I'm a week premature in declaring myself officially but it's as good as done. The Detroit Public Library requires its tutors to complete a two day training, which for me began last Saturday and wraps up this coming Saturday.

While this second goal has little to do with my building my writing career or platform, it's even more special to me than being in the running for the fellowship. For years I've been wanting to combine my love for reading with my desire to make a difference in my community. Becoming a literacy tutor will allow me to accomplish that. Because of my busy schedule as a mother of two and author, I hadn't been able to commit to the two day training session until now. Of course, there were things that I could've done on one or both of these days. But this time I'd firmly decided that NOTHING was of greater importance the training this training.

Now all I've got to do is transfer that same level of committment to completing my novel!

Reconciliation to Hell....Summer 2012
Free Excerpt

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Unplanned but Necessary Writing Break

It was the last week of 2011 and I was finally taking a full week off from my day job. Talk about a long time over do. For sure, I won't let that happen in 2012. Interestingly, I was looking so forward to the time off. Mainly because I was pretty fed up with walking into my office building everday, tired of looking at that same people, tired of the work, tired of the same back and forth trip downtown on the same expressways, tired of saying the same things to my children before and after school: Have a good day at school? and How was your day at school? Get the drift that I needed a break? Although most mom's that I work with dread being off work when their kids are on break from school, for me, their Christmas break was just what I needed. It wasn't them that I was tired of, but everything else!

Right before my vacation started, I had delusions of grandeur that I just might come close--somewhere close anyway--to getting closer to the end of my manuscript that I'd planned to finish by midnight December 31, 2011. Little did I know, I was taking a break from writing as well. A much needed break, it seems. Like I said, that wasn't the plan. It simply turned out that way.

The first two days of my vacation, I sought out rest and relaxation. Ultimate goal was to not leave the house! Goal achieved on Monday. PAUSE: Special shout out to my mom, especially, who I normally talk to everyday, for not even calling me on my first official vacation day. My cell phone didn't ring all day! Plus, neither one of my children asked to go anywhere. I think they new what mom needed, too. Tuesday, I wasn't quite as lucky. Just because my son received everything he wanted on his Christmas list, it still wasn't enough to make him want to stay behind closed doors two days in a row! At this moment, I can't recall where they actually got me to go, but it was out of the house!

A few times I pulled out my laptop to check out my manuscript in progress, my blogs, my newsletter in progress and got zilch! My head just wasn't there. Unlike other times when I'd taken time off work specifically to write, this wasn't one of those times. Instead I found it much easier to pick up a book. Lord knows I have enough unread books on my shelf. Just in time for the holidays, I started with a holiday inspired story by Kristin Hannah, Comfort & Joy, followed the latest Stephanie Plum novel Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich. Both good books that I'll post my personal reviews of shortly.

Most of 2011 I spent writing, networking, and trying to promote my book. All good things, of course. However, this past week and even before that I realized how much I've missed reading. Thank God being an avid reader is just as important to being a great writer as writing is! As such, I plan to do a whole lot more reading (audio books included) in 2012.

What are literary plans for the new year?