My Reading Challenge – so far

20170329_064146Since completing my own novel, I’ve been doing pretty well on catching up on my reading of those by others in these past few months. Honestly, it’s been like drinking cool, tasty water from a spring.  (We used to have one here in my hometown and that is sorely missed! And yes, I digress… ) Well, since concentrating exclusively on my own work, I’d so missed the experience taking in other stories. My Reading Challenge bar on Goodreads was so low that I’m almost at the mark for the year already. Right now, I’m reading The Mothers by Brit Bennett. Thankfully I’d already put it on hold at my library, so I was able to pick it up the day after news hit that Kerry Washington had bought the movie rights for it! So far, pretty good.

My guilty pleasure read last week was Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it enough to get the sequel, Breathless, that came out a couple of months ago. Historical romance set in the Old West after the Civil War featuring black characters. Very interesting… and her historical referencing is very educational, but never at all does it take away from her story. Thankfully.

The strong legal thriller set in the 1990s, Pleasantville by Attica Locke, started out rather slow for me, but once I got going, I – Lord, I hate this cliché sometimes: “I couldn’t put it down”, but I couldn’t… I’ll post my review soon.

After that, I enjoyed the quick romp through the classic highbrow and hilarious play, “The Importance of Being Ernest” by Oscar Wilde. It was almost like reading a script between my two favorite doctors, Frasier and Niles Crane.

Last month, I read the absolutely stunning and fantastic historical novel, The Book of Harlan grchallenge0317by Bernice McFadden. That is a story that is still with me and will so long remain. Review also coming soon.

Finally, finally, finally – read There Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. One of many classics that’s been on my shelf for ages screaming at me to pick up. After going through the regret of waiting so long to read it, there’s nothing left but awe from the experience. And yes… my in-depth thoughts are coming soon in a later post.

Well, next on my list (after Breathless) is The Red Car by Marcy Dermasky. After that, I plan to get to Elaine Brown’s memoir, A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story – well before the end of April. I keep gravating right now to my fiction so much, I know it’s the reason the, really, unreasonable delay.

Are you in the Goodreads challenge this year? How’s your progress so far?


The Quest for a Literary Agent for my Novel

TCRcoverA little over a month ago, I conquered one of my biggest goals. I completed my thesis, had it bound, and sent off to my grad school. Hooray! I’ll receive my Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree this summer. Yay! Now, while I continue to pat myself on the back for meeting that feat, it’s actually Part A of a larger plan. That bound thesis – with a working title – is my first completed novel. The first one is still in a drawer, but this one is ready to be seen and I’m beyond thrilled.

For over twenty years, this story has been a part of me waiting to be written. For the last few years, I’ve eaten and drank with it, slept with it, and watched my family try to decipher me as they also tried to keep me in the present with them, while I worked hard to bring out my story. It’s a family saga that spans from the end of World War II with a bit of flashbacks from those days and proceeds to the near present. And let me tell you – I miss those folks so very much. The sequel is underway now. Many parts of their continuing story have been drafted so the folks are still with me, but a larger allotment of time is needed again to get it completely out.

Writing the query letter for the book to send off to TCRfrontpgliterary agents has been a maddening facet of my life these days, so I can’t get myself to sit down to properly face the sequel. I dread thinking of the necessary synopsis right now, but it’s just as important as that query letter. What if an agent wants the synopsis? It must be ready to send upon request, so I’m working on both. If I’m fortunate, they may want the book. That’s raring to go!

How in the world does one summarize their own book into one page to grab the attention of a literary agent? How do you find the right agent for your work? How do you draft a one page synopsis for a 365 page novel?

wp-1490569762473.jpgI don’t know, but I’m trying to figure it all out. I’ve reached THIS point! I’ve got highly recommended books, like the Writer’s Digest 2017 Guide to Literary Agents, and websites with templates on my desk and at my disposal, but everything is still so freaking jumbled up in my head about it all. I believe I’ve stepped away from the story long enough to give me the distance I need to be as detached about it as possible. It’s still quite difficult to bring it down to a few words. I’ll just keep trying. The right agent will want to read my story and they’ll accept it. I just know they will!

Positive thinking is always important, y’know!