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Everything posted by FerociousKitty

  1. Thank you, Maurice!! Are you English by way of someplace else, native born, or both?
  2. Yes, Pittsburgh is a wonderful place to visit. But to live? If you're Black, especially a Black single woman? Nah. lol
  3. I visited NYC for the first time in 1989. So not at the height of the epidemic, but it was still going strong. I didn't see anything as graphic as what you did saw, but I watched people go in and out of a crack building one day, and I noticed one woman who came back so many times, I lost count. And while I couldn't see exactly what she was doing inside the building with the dealers, I could guess. This was on my second visit to NYC, in Harlem, which I had previously romanticized because of James Baldwin's books. I was terrified of NYC as child because of police/crime dramas on TV, and even the sitcoms joked about getting mugged. My mom went to NYC when I was 5 and I cried the whole time she was away. I was a sensitive child lol. Even when I went in '89 and '90, I was scared to ride the subway. I was still scared when my then-fiance lived there in the early 90s and I'd come in every other weekend from Connecticut to visit him in Brooklyn. And I still drove everywhere once I was living in Brooklyn with him for the first 4 months of our marriage. I got a busted tire from a pothole, and I felt like that symbolized my time there lol. But looking back, I didn't take advantage of the time there at all. We lived on Eastern Parkway, right across the street from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and I don't think I went once. I didn't enjoy Brooklyn until around 2005/2006 after my first divorce. I had friends in Brooklyn and Philly, and we'd meet up usually in Brooklyn (and once in Philly; no one ever wanted to come to Pittsburgh lol) for a weekend. We'd go dancing until 4 am at APT in the Meat Packing District, then go to breakfast, and then crash as the sun was coming up. Then go to Chez Oscar (in Ft. Greene, I think) for brunch. Those were good times! NYC to WV? That's a lot!
  4. @Mel Hopkins We eventually got paid, but only after #EBONYStillOwes! We agreed to a schedule where they would pay us in groups over 4 quarters. I was in the last group; we were paid based on oldest invoices first. After the Q2 folks got paid...*crickets*. We had to threaten to take them back to court, and we started the new hashtag. Eventually, everyone was paid. Sadly, one of the writers died before receiving his payment. But the writers' union made sure his family got his check. The wildest part? The venture capitalists who now own EBONY tried to shame us for insisting that they pay what they owed! Are you in any of the Binders women writers' groups on Facebook? There are some editors in the groups, and the writers share editor contacts as well as info on calls for submissions/pitches and who pays what. I'm in several of the groups, but I'm most active in the Black women's group. Few places are paying well these days, but it's good to know who not to waste your time with. Message me if you'd like more info about it. Do you really need a reason other than discomfort to move? lol Seriously, I feel that way about the cold here, especially having come from Florida. I'd rather be hot than cold any day. Speaking of New Jersey, I'm going to be on a panel at the Montclair Literary Festival in the spring. This is my first time. Have you been to that festival?
  5. @Mel HopkinsThank you! Re: EBONY, I was among the freelancers who had to sue them to get paid. I wrote four pieces for them and had a great experience with the editors. So many good people suffered because of the terrible new owners. Good luck with your (eventual) relocation!
  6. @Mel Hopkins, thanks so much for the warm welcome back and well wishes! And thanks for the scoop on ATL metro. When I toyed with the idea of moving there--caught up in the headiness of a fun visit with some friends--I also thought about whether or not it was a good fit for me, if I'd find my people (besides the ones I already knew). I'm originally from Florida and still identify in many ways as a Southerner, but I'm a lot more left of center than many of my friends who are still in the South. So you did time in WV and PA?? Whew. Bless you. Incidentally, speaking of WV, my book is coming out from West Virginia University Press. It's the first of its type from the press, and it will lead their fall 2020 catalog. I never envisioned an academic audience for the book, but now that's a bonus. Are you currently working in broadcast journalism? Also, if I may ask, what's keeping you in ATL? Are you looking to relocate?
  7. @Troy, I'm confident none of those cities are as provincial as Pittsburgh, but I was trying to avoid using that word. You cut to the chase, lol. I visited some friends in ATL and had a blast, but I don't think I can live there, for the reasons you gave. Plus, I've heard the dating scene is abysmal, for black women. And to answer your question, I don't see swirling in my future, lol. Thanks for profile! I will email you the rest.
  8. Welp, @Troy, you just told me everything I need to know about Tampa lol. I want to be somewhere with a decent-sized Black middle class. Pittsburgh's is ridiculously small. And I'd like to be somewhere where it's fairly easy to meet new people and build community, especially as an artist. Also, the dating scene sounds like Pittsburgh's, and I'm trying to upgrade lol. By the time I leave here (once my youngest graduates high school), I will have been here 25 years, longer than I lived in my hometown of Jacksonville, FL. So I have a great community of friends and fellow artists here, and it's affordable, but that's about it. I go to DC, Baltimore and Philly and just stare at all the Black folks everywhere, owning businesses, out living and thriving. Those cities are also on my list, along with Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, New Orleans, and Ft. Lauderdale. What do you think of Ft. Lauderdale? Brooklyn is also appealing, but I would need a sugar daddy to live anywhere in NYC lol. I'm glad you had a good support system during/after your divorce. That is critical. I didn't tap into my support system enough after my first marriage ended. If I had, I would never have gotten married the second time, honestly. Cliched though it may be, you really do live and learn. But like you said, that's my process in a nutshell. Learning and healing is complicated. And books have been central to that process. Books have been saving my life forever. I checked, and I don't have a profile on the site. I'll email you. Thanks!
  9. Agreed, @Troy. Divorce--like money, politics, and religion--is one of those things many of us were raised not to discuss, but we should discuss it more often. I think there's also a degree of shame associated with it. Not treating it like some deep dark secret or a personal failing can go a long way in destigmatizing it. That would help more women to not feel like they have to stay in bad situations, and it would help more men thrive after divorce. Women typically fare worse than men financially after divorce, but men fare worse by almost every other measure, mostly because they have fewer social supports, are less likely to seek professional help for depression, and are more likely to die by suicide (related to the depression). I don't do any writing related to co-parenting and divorce anymore these days, but for almost a decade that was my "brand." So I still have all those stats in my head. Which brings us back to doe. Big Social was (is) great for building a brand in order to attract traditional publishers for a book deal. And unless you were established before the rise of social media, many publishers and agents require writers to have a platform/following before they will even consider them. So that's what I did for our co-parenting book--build a platform. It was a full-time job. My next book is a completely different genre, and now I don't feel the same pressure to "be/build a brand." I'm going to have to continue to be present on social to promote the book, but it's a different kind of engagement now. I've changed, the platforms have changed, how people engage has changed. And I don't feel anywhere near the same pressure as I felt with the first book. In other news, did I read correctly somewhere in here that you are now in Tampa? I'm looking to relocate in 2022, and Tampa is among the cities folks have encouraged me to consider. What do you find to be the pros and cons of living there?
  10. @Troy Congratulations or condolences on the divorce? You don't have to answer , but as a two-time divorcee myself now, I try not to assume one or the other. I'm glad AALBC had a banner year! Seems like everyday now I see someone talking about giving up Big Social, but not being sure what the alternative is. I think they're looking for all the same amenities without all the crap, and that simply doesn't exist. Good to cyber-see you!
  11. Greetings! I poked around a little bit, but other than @Troy, I didn't see anybody here from my days of posting, the early 2000s until 2010 or so. I thought about AALBC because I met someone here who became a dear friend (Yvette Perry), and last week she sent me a very thoughtful gift. I started reflecting on our friendship, and it took me a minute to remember where we'd first met. And then it came to me: AALBC! Troy, thank you for providing a forum for some unforgettable characters and conversations. I'm glad to see the conversation continuing, and I hope you and your family are doing well!
  12. Cynique, having had the pleasure of meeting you and hearing your speaking voice made me LMAO extra loud at this. I can hear you, lol!!
  13. I just finished Michele Grant's Heard It All Before: It was a good read, the first in her 3-book deal, and I'm looking forward to the others. I put down The Talented Miss Highsmith, to read Michele's book, so now I'm picking it up again.
  14. Chicken, french fries, spring rolls, sesame noodles. And we feasted on gossip about you, Chris Hayden!
  15. Nope, you hold the record, Troy! :-) Btw, I'm going to be in MD again soon; I'll let you know the dates and maybe we can connect again.
  16. First Yvette, then Troy, and now the latest AALBC-er I've been privileged to meet in the flesh: Cynique! She's as smart, lively, and no-holds-barred in person as she is on these boards. Thanks for a great time, Connie! xo
  17. Good! :-) And yes, I saw you cutting up on Chele's blog today, lol... Guess how I discovered her, her blog, and her book: TWITTER!
  18. Nice try, Carey, lol. I got to the "upper room", as you say, primarily by writing, not asking questions. :-) You like to keep it simple, right? Well, many wise folks have observed this simple truth: Writers write. It always comes back to that. Of course I asked questions when I got started, I still do, and I always will, but all questions aren't created equal. Tierra gave you some sound advice: I also think "mood" is very important, what are you trying to leave your writers with when it's all said and done? Instead of asking more questions of others, spend some time yourself with that question which only you can answer. There's a lot of learning and growing that happens through trial and error (lots of error!) and through osmosis--reading other writers. I've probably learned more about writing by just writing, being edited by superb editors, and by reading other writers than by any other methods. You're asking questions, some of which are philosophical or hypothetical or can't be answered until you do what you're going to do. "Who wants to read this?" You won't really know until you put it out there. Look, you'll do what you're going to do in your own time; we all do. But know the difference between that and stalling. Now, lest you think I'm beating up on you, I'll let these be my final words on the subject: Ask yourself a question--Is all this questioning fear-based, uncertainty-based? If so, stop with the questions and write through the fear and the uncertainty, like the rest of us. What's the worst thing that could happen if you just wrote? An editor or publisher will tell you if something is potentially litigious or prosecutable. Jay-Z had dream hampton write his biography, and then he decided to shelve it in part because a good portion of it was prosecutable. But there are ways around pretty much anything if you want it badly enough (ultimately, there were other issues for Jay-Z as well). Who says you have to write about every single thing that ever happened to you? Further, practice the art of allusion. Ask questions related to your actual manuscript, when you have one. It's far easier for people to give you useful and meaningful feedback on something concrete. You've shared samples, but what "answers" are you waiting for someone to give before you can write beyond them to that which you ultimately seek to write? Are you waiting for the "right" editor? Would you know him/her if s/he showed up? So I am still drinking coffee and still pissing. As long as you know that's what you're doing. But you did start this thread by saying that you were looking for an editor... :-)
  19. No jokes. Just wish the couple well. On behalf of the couple, thank everyone for sharing the special day with them. When hetero folks get married, no one at the reception emphasizes the fact that they're hetero and not gay, so it's not appropriate to emphasize that this couple is gay and not hetero.
  20. Tierra, I don't think a writer can ever get too much advice. He can indeed if he's busy gathering advice instead of writing. I think it's just the opposite. There are thousands and thousands of well written books... gathering dust! There's loads of books that are stuffed in trunks and attics... gathering dust, because some writers thought they had a good product, and the right advice. In fact, I've read a few books before they went to print, that I knew wouldn't fly, but the author didn't ask my opinion or I was hesitant to tell them the real truth. Sure a writer wants to tell a well written story, but the story has to find an audience. From what I've come to believe, marketing is the key to success. I am taking it all in. But you're never going to arrive at a consensus of opinion. Ultimately, you have to piss or get off the pot. There are no guarantees, and we have enough stories of famous authors being rejected early on, and, conversely, literary one-hit wonders to prove that often marketing and getting published is in many ways a crap shoot. I have an agent that I found via a neighbor's personal connection. I got lucky. Who knows if I would have found solid representation had I gone the typical query route. Not to say that having an agent is going to automatically get me a publishing contract, but it's a good first step. But guess what: The books that are in me to write will be the same, regardless; my writing is my writing. Well-written books don't gather dust/go unread because writers didn't gather enough opinions. Those authors garnered the one opinion that ultimately mattered when it came to getting published: a publisher's. And even, then, publishers differ. So you can keep chasing all the variations and possibilities...or you can write.
  21. But I have to move out of my own way... And all God's people said... Yes, I didn't want to use redundant words like "he said", "they said" "he laughed", etc,. Okay, that's an easy one. That's one area where you are actually supposed to be "redundant." "The Rules" say that you shouldn't even try to fancy or vary things up; if someone said it, use "said." You know how you say you are a lazy reader, reading over things? Well, readers tend to read over the "he said." We don't even notice them--unless they are used awkwardly or excessively. Every statement doesn't have to follow or be preceded by "he said." Just look at the dialogue in some of your favorite books. And I didn't know how to "show" those things, or was to lazy to do a little research. Or take a writing workshop on dialogue. One "trick" is to write everything as if it were a scene, almost as if you were writing a script. It's okay if you don't recall the exact words someone said. Recall as best as you can and put it in quotation marks. It's trial and error. Read it out loud, let others read it, revise as needed. Lather, rinse, repeat. In defense of my defensive ways, one author/editor that hit me has several published books. Although they gave me great advice, and I am still considering working with them, I didn't like some of their stuff. I mean, I know everyone has a different voice, but pace and to much fluff is still an issue with me. I know, I know... "just be open for suggestions Carey". And I am. Hmm...I've been edited before by folks whose writing I wasn't a fan of, but I understand what you're saying. In this case, I would ask for references, and see what others have to say about the quality of the editing work. Well Kitty, it looks like you've saved me a little grief, one more time. Damn, what do I owe you? A personalized, signed copy of this damned memoir, lololol!
  22. Carey, having edited your work for my site, and having read ChrisHayden's feedback to you and that of the person who reached out to you via email, I would say: Take them up on their offer! They sound perfectly capable of helping you tighten things up without sacrificing or hindering your unique voice and gift as a storyteller. However, it sounds like they are offering more than you think you need. Let me say this: A good editor, one that is worth your money, will "diagnose" what needs to be done. They are bringing a skill set to the table that perhaps you don't have or that you haven't quite honed. Why not be open to more than just "things such as an independent clause,a dependent clause, adjective clauses, elliptical clauses, run-on sentences, fragments, mood shifts, shifts in person, misplaced modifiers, etc."? What's the worst that can happen? The best editors take good work and give you suggestions for how you can make it better. And usually that requires stretching on the writer's part, a little or a lot. You wrote: "However, I never write "conversation". I've found it very difficult to do." They way you've gone at it on these boards with folks, you're telling me that you're shying away from something because it's difficult? So what if your first drafts/attempts at conversation are redundant. As ChrisHayden said, that's why rewriting is central to this entire process, and a good editor can help you with that. You just have to put something down. You wrote: "More so, since I am telling a story (my life story) I have not found it necessary to do that." Memoir is chock full of conversation. and..."I sort of understand the concept of "showing" a story but I don't know if my voice requires that method." Two different things entirely. Your voice/any narrator's has its merits, but it can't carry your entire story. You need scenes, and in scenes, people talk. and..."I am sure it does (to some degree) but I don't want the book to get bogged down with what I consider to be unnecessary pie filing." You've had at least one reader (that potential editor) who has conveyed to you that this isn't "unnecessary." You have to write the story that's in you, and know which feedback to heed and which to ignore, but seriously consider whether you think this is "filling" because you'd rather not delve into what are, for you, uncharted waters. Which brings me to... You wrote: "And I've been too lazy to find the correct transitional phrasing to make it work." *side eye* So we can ignore all the rest, then? Basically, you are saying, "Sure, this might be what's called for and what will enrich my story...but it's too hard and I'm too lazy to do it." Seriously, Carey? Given all the obstacles you've faced and overcome in your life, you aren't willing to take on this challenge? If you look, you will eventually find an editor to do what you want. Just know that you've gotten offers from two who can give you so much more, if you are willing to do the work. I hope you are!
  23. I'm reading Stepmonster by Wednesday Martin, PhD. Subtitle: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do"
  24. Cynique!!!!! I was hoping you would make your way over here and shake things up! Tripping off of you game-playing on Match.com! Too funny. You sure brought back some memories for me! xoxoxo
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