Love And The Subsidy Publisher

Note: This was written back in 2005. Hope this is a source of inspiration for new and aspiring authors reading this.

My literary journey as an author began in the summer of 2000. I’ve been writing poetry (among other genres) for a long time and had been seeking a publisher by attending many spoken word events, poetry readings and book club meetings. Ironically enough, a good friend of mine had invited me to her book club’s annual summer festival. After I read a few poems, I informed the audience that I was looking for a publisher. A gentleman at the event heard my plea and pointed me toward a well-known publisher of African-American authors. I later attended the publisher’s workshop the following month.

I suggest a subsidy publisher if you’re a novice in the book selling business. Perhaps you lack marketing experience or have no clear idea on how your first book should be compiled and presented. Maybe you’re a mother with children who can’t find the time to self-publish, or your job doesn’t give you much time to compose your book by yourself. Perhaps you’re retired and that first book is in your head and ready to come out. Whatever your life situation, if you do not want to endure the hassles of publishing a book by yourself and don’t care for the troubles of a mainstream house, then subsidy publishing may be the avenue for you.

What is a subsidy publisher you might ask? A subsidy publisher, in the form of payment, will edit, format, market and distribute your book for you. However, once your book is finished, it is the subsidy publisher’s property. You will receive a royalty from the publisher for your works as a small percentage of the sales costs.

Let me add this: you do not have to stand on the sidelines while your book is being created if you have ambition and want to learn the tricks of the trade on how your works are marketed and distributed. I made more of a creative contribution to The Voices of South Central than I did with The Depths of My Soul. I chose the book’s content, the introduction and in fact, the order in which the poems are listed. These achievements can be made if you have a subsidy publisher who is willing to work with instead of against you. While it is fact that your book is the sole property of the publisher in major bookstore sales, there are ways to retain your profit through attending book festivals, expos, and special events. Build and maintain relationships with book clubs. Just as a self-publisher does the legwork, you must do the same. Out of the store selling means the profit belongs to you when you make interpersonal sales. You do have that choice. Keep in mind subsidy publishing does come with a cost; you pay for your content to be published and once it is, it becomes that publisher’s property. However, if you’re willing to transform this journey into a long term plan by studying, learning and then applying your input to your book, then it is worth it.

Charles L. Chatmon
Author
The Depths of My Soul
The Voices of South Central

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Words on Paper, Plain and Simple

 

The Two Words That Made a Difference

I say the same thing Ray Bradbury said. He said, “God bless you, write 52 stories a year.”  Write. You write. That’s the only way. You keep writing and if you have any talent at all, which of course is a necessity, you will get better and better as you write. But you got to keep writing. You should not go to those classes or seminars or sit around some guru and talk literature. You’ll never get anywhere that way. It’s pleasant. It’s enjoyable, but the only thing a writing class has to offer is that you have to write. You should instill that in yourself. Be persistent and constantly write in whatever field that appeals to you most. You’ve got to keep writing. That’s the only answer. – Richard Matheson

I read this quote by the late great author Richard Matheson and it was an eye opener. You mean you don’t have to take any of the many Masters programs set in secluded, lush areas like forests or beachfronts just to learn the basics of writing? All you have to do is sit down and write? You can’t get better by sitting in a class listening to a contemporary author warning you that your plot devices aren’t up to par and your dialogue sucks? Yes, it is possible not to take a class for that. Writing or learning the art on how to is a very lucrative business these days.

This is a new year, and aspiring authors have a right to feel excited. This could finally be the year it all comes together, their first book published. They may consider spending hundreds of dollars to live it up on some resort while learning the ins and outs about the craft. If they took the time to understand what Mr. Matheson is saying, perhaps they’ll find out taking some time out of their day and writing is the best getaway of all.

If you open up any writing trade magazine today, you’ll see these excursions are well advertised and many all with the assurance the budding writer will learn something new from their participation. A class on sentence structure may be what they need to boost their confidence, motivate them to write that first book. As Matheson says, You should instill that in yourself. Be persistent and constantly write in whatever field that appeals to you most. Persistence pays off, it’s an asset for the author who wants to move from ‘aspiring’ to ‘published’.

Our busy workdays and twenty four/seven media driven world won’t allow us to have a break, a few hours of our time to ‘get better’. We are bombarded with more distractions than in the days of Matheson or Bradbury yet they should also motivate the aspiring author to dedicate a pocket of time to a hectic schedule.

What this all comes down to is having the will to write. Maybe a class on writing from a contemporary author might help, and these classes or courses are needed however, after the instructor has given the student all they need to know on how to improve their style, it still falls on the aspiring author to write. You have to wonder how many students have taken these writing courses over the years and wound up reaching their literary goals of publication and winding up on bestselling lists? Matheson is still advising us today, long after his passing that the best training a writer can receive is to just sit down, write and put words to paper. No one should expect a masterpiece on the first try, but the budding writer won’t get better if they’re not persistent and dedicates to perfecting their literary skills.

The follow up to Matheson’s answer from this interview is “You’ve got to have discipline.” Matheson tells the interviewer:

That is your discipline. If you have to force yourself to write every morning then maybe you’re in the wrong field. If you wake up with a song on your lips and rush to your typewriter, then you’re in the right field.

Persistence and discipline without looking as writing as a chore separates the good from the great authors. We can overburden the authors of this generation with rules and regulations not necessary for their development. If they took on the attitude that they should write as much as possible so they can gain confidence and get better, perhaps the craft wouldn’t be as troublesome to them. All of us who are writers should take Mr. Matheson’s words to heart and concentrate on simply putting our words down on paper.

Charles L. Chatmon
Authors N Focus Extra

Commentary: Dare to Be Different

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YOU’RE AN aspiring author with dreams to break into the world of literature. You have an idea in your head, ready to write or type it out, sending it to an editor, obtaining a copyright for your idea all the way to publication. You find out your book – the baby you’ve been working on so diligently – is the same as Barbara the Bookseller’s in genre, characters and plot. Yet, you plan on jumping the ‘Imitation Lit’ bandwagon so you took a chance and now you have to face the fact readers would rather prefer Barbara’s book to yours. You decided to ‘write for the market’ and wound up with lower book sells than Barbara, who is making a killing.


This is one example of aspiring authors who dared ‘write to the market’ or ‘write to the trend’. Remember when vampires were the big rage? Charlaine Harris was the talk of the literary world around 2008 when the HBO series ‘True Blood’ aired, based on her Sookie Stackhouse novels. Alan Ball, the producer of the show according to the story, browsed through the bookstacks of Barnes and Noble, found Ms. Harris’s Dead Until Dark (the first installment of the Stackhouse series) and from that, True Blood began to take shape. Of course the success of the show prompted other aspiring authors to take a bite of the vampire genre (as well as regular television networks) and added their own spin to it. Eight years later, no one is really talking or writing much about vampires any longer. While the attention has shifted to dystopian societies under the Young Adult genre which spawned the Hunger Games and Divergent series in both print and movies, no one is for sure where the next big genre will be. This is where you, the aspiring author can take advantage.

 

Perhaps you have a manuscript languishing inside your hard drive or laptop. Maybe it’s buried under a mountain of notes or hidden in a folder. Whatever the reason aspiring author, this is the moment, this is the time for you to revisit your project and write. It may take time and although you may or may not reach the status you desire in the literary world, taking the first steps to create that first, different masterpiece is within your reach should you decide to take it.

It’s easy to write “Imitation Lit’ novels or stories. Consider the number of books flooding the market with the same plot, characters and writing styles of a J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Zane, Omar Tyree and others. If you go to any bookstore, you’ll see Imitation Lit in full display with titles that identify close with the genre. For example, we had an Authors N Focus Facebook group page where we had so many authors writing in the same genre with the same style of book covers posted on our photo gallery, with links that described the same ‘cautionary’ tales……do you begin to understand our decision to abruptly end the group. There was no one who dared to be different, no one who offered a genre different than the one we observed on our timeline daily. If you want to stand out, write a novel or non-fiction book that has a different slant on a familiar story. Otherwise aspiring author, your hard work will be part of a market already saturated with sameness, which is what you need to avoid at all costs.

Readers will reward you if you have a fictional tale or non-fiction subject that is interesting, funny, and makes them feel it was well worth it to spend their hard earned money on your book. Not only will they support you, but the possibility they will share your work with friends, family and other book lovers or book club is high. No one can really tell whether or not your first work will be a success, only you aspiring author can ensure it by putting in the work, trusting only your voice, seeing your vision in your manuscript and all within it. You cannot write like Barbara the Bestseller, but you can write like yourself, so now is the time to stand out, make your literary dreams a reality and be different. Dare and trust yourself to be that way.

Charles L. Chatmon
Authors N Focus Extra

Email: chazz@authorsnfocus.com

Write to Live Your Dreams (for Aspiring Authors)

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I read a book by Les Brown who is a motivational speaker and author called Live Your Dreams. Published in the 1990’s, there is an excerpt in which Mr. Brown laments the loss of one aspiring author who had an idea for publication – only to see their life end and manuscript unfinished. It reminded me of Prince who planned to write his memoir and unfortunately, it will never be completed. All of the stories that could have been introduced by potential new and outstanding writers will never see the light of day, for they are hidden deep in the grave. This is the reason why I needed to publish a book so that readers can see what thoughts I had on my mind, what’s on my heart to share.

The years pass by so quickly. I remember celebrating the release of The Depths of My Soul fifteen years ago, happy that I finally achieved a goal of publishing a book. It wasn’t on the top of my list when I made the conscious decision to become a writer, it was a goal that eventually entered my mind. With the release of another book on the way, I am determined to share my artistic gifts before it’s my turn to rest in the grave.

I encourage all aspiring authors to follow your heart, take that leap, write and then work to get your book published. There is no greater feeling in the world but to see your name, your completed manuscript in print. I’ve ran into many authors who have a story to tell, hard at work on their project only to see life get in the way of their dream. You shouldn’t let this happen to you, make whatever plans you have to see your dream come true.

Distractions can be a nuisance. My rants against social media are a reminder I need to take the time and work on my own stuff. It’s far too easy to be seduced to the call of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any other service that takes up too much of your time. You’re a writer, so it makes sense for you to….write. Forget about who’s following you or unfollowing you, who’s on your friend’s list and which elementary, junior or senior high school friend (and crush?) is on your search list, if you want to make your dream come true as an author, you have to write. Time is much too short.

For those of you who are ‘aspiring’ to write that first book, please make the conscious decision to do it right now, RIGHT NOW! Don’t wait until you lay on your deathbed lamenting the time you could have used to reach your dream. When I started AOL nineteen years ago, there was an woman who posted her works on a message board. Now she’s become a well-known bestselling author with two movies based on her literary works. That can be you so-called aspiring author if you decide to focus working on your project. The decision is yours. I can say no more but I wish you well. It’s up to you to make your dream a reality.

Charles L. Chatmon
Authors N Focus Extra

The Rising Outrage of Fandom

Via a friend’s Facebook post, I happened to peek at an article called ‘Fandom is Broken’. Written by a movie critic named Devin Faraci (thank you sir!), he mentions Anne Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery, who forced author Paul Sheldon to bring her favorite character back to life by writing a manuscript which appealed to her needs of reviving Misery Chastain back to the land of the living.

More importantly, Mr. Faraci in detail reveals the challenges for writers and other creatives to deal with an overwhelming horde of fans who insist the character(s) they love should always have a happy ending, no matter what. I will agree with the author of the piece that real drama does not operate like that, nor does good, solid storytelling. In the 21st Century, fandom is built like a fast food restaurant where you ‘have it your way’. Last time I checked, good stories are not Burger King.

In today’s ever connected social media world, writers are indeed walking blindfolded on a very narrow tightrope in building and nurturing a fan base. It’s important for writers to communicate with them, but their fans should not dictate what the next creative project should be. Hard as this may sound, fans become fans because they like a writer’s work or simply like the writer. Fans also become invested in a character like Misery Chastain, like Anne Wilkes. If something happens to change the reader’s perception of their favorite character like Captain America, fans will take up internet arms to display their displeasure, outrage, total disgust of where the author is taking the storyline. I would suspect a decade ago, fans didn’t have a feeling of ‘entitlement’, that they were just as content to see how a story would play out amid the twists and turns along the way. Fans used to have more faith in their favorite writer to ‘stick the landing’ and make the story count. Today, even bestselling authors on their own blogs complain about the immature treatment they receive from a group of people who claim to love a certain writer’s work, but raise cane about it.

This is movie related, but there’s no better example of fandom running amok than what happened to director (and writer) Joss Wheldon because of a particular comment in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. He wrote a scene in which Natasha Romanoff, AKA the Black Widow (through flashbacks) was subject to a variety of procedures that left her unable to have children. This left an emotional toll and in one fateful statement, she mentions to Bruce Banner (aka the Hulk), “You know what my final test was in the Red Room? They sterilized me, said it was one less thing to worry about. You think you’re the only monster on the team?”

The internet went bananas, especially on Twitter. Social Justice Writers were outraged! The headlines from at least two sites prove that!

Io9: Black Widow: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

The Daily Beast: Avengers: Age of Ultron’s’ Black Widow Disgrace

The reaction to the Black Widow’s admittance of her sterilization set off a firestorm heavily criticizing Wheldon to the point he was forced off Twitter. Submitted for your (dis)approval, here is the screenshot from disgruntled fans who had plenty to say: (watch how Wheldon handles the responses with class)

In one fell swoop, Natasha Romanoff became Misery Chastain. A sterilized, ‘monstrous’ Misery Chastain who became a talented superspy who could kill when needed, but not bare children. Paul Sheldon had it so lucky! He only had to deal with a psychotic, mentally disturbed Anne Wilkes who under different circumstances, could have created a profile on a Fanfic website and continued her own adventures of Misery. The 21st Century ‘fans’ are looking for symbolism, not story. They’re looking for ‘representation’, not plot. They are unwilling to be less excited to delve into the challenges a certain character must go through in order to overcome, and more excited that Misery needs a girlfriend because it would be a huge boost for the lesbian community that Misery has……..

This is madness. Enough, seriously!

Writers of fiction are not social activists because we the public feel they should be. They have a choice to present deeper issues (not just social) that are a part of their world, not because we feel they should represent ours. Keep in mind in fiction these are characters, protagonists who we root for and feel we have much in common with as readers. An antagonist is a character we cannot wait to see their comeuppance. In the world of ‘real life’, berserk fans who send nasty tweets to their favorite writers because of a scene in a movie or passage in a book they despise like, need to slow down and understand it is fiction you’re reading or seeing, nothing else. The author’s job is to make readers actually read a book and/or create engaging characters that we have empathy for and want to succeed. Opinion pieces that focus on anything not relating to the character, such as representation, image, etc, is a huge waste of time. Sorry to state the obvious. Not that it’s any less important, but it’s not the writer’s job to push for a doll of Black Widow or to promote her in other departments he or she has no control over. The best they can do is write a story and hope you enjoy it. That’s all.

I invite you to read the Fandom article linked on the bottom of this entry so you can see and judge for yourself whether or not you’re one of the fans guilty of contacting your favorite author on social media for the sole purpose of complaining and not constructively criticizing their work. I feel authors appreciate constructive feedback that will help them become better storytellers in the future. In today’s uncompromising fandom, criticism borders on outright insanity which authors definitely don’t need or deserve.

Charles L. Chatmon
Creator, Authors N Focus Extra

Birth.Movies.Death:Fandom is Broken

The Deeper Side of Lisa Ridgeway

 

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We start our tenth year on ANF with an interview with an up-and-coming author, Lisa Ridgeway although she is no stranger to the written word. You’ll find out what Ms. Ridgeway has in store for her fans and book lovers as we’re about to find out more of ‘The Deeper Side of Love’

Hello Lisa, please tell our audience a little about yourself.

My name is Lisa Ridgeway. I’m an Author, Poet, Editor, Motivational-Speaker and Facilitator. My previous book: “Dancing with My Heavenly Father, is a collection of spiritual-poems; designed to encourage, uplift & motivate. In conjunction, I’ve established a weekly spiritual-devotional; aimed to inspire & enrich the mind.

How long have you been writing?

Professionally, I’ve been writing for 20 years.

What inspired you to write “The Deeper Side of Love”?

My book: “The Deeper Side of Love” is a reproduction copy from the original-version; which I wrote, in 1996.

What steps did you take to publish your book?

Being a writer for many years, I’ve now learn the ends and outs of book-publishing; in regards to my latest project, (as well as other books I’ve done; and assisting fellow-authors).

Throughout the years, I’ve weaned my skills in editing, copywriting and collaborating with graphic-artists, to design book-covers. I’ve now learned; first and foremost, to research publishing companies to find the right-fit for my publishing needs; and to make sure, they offer the best quality service (for book-publishing).

It’s my desire to maintain creative-control, when developing my book(s). Furthermore, I study what readers are looking for in a book and focus on how to reach every genre.
It’s my desire to ultimately start my own publishing company; and assist up & coming authors in developing their book(s).

What’s your favorite part in “The Deeper Side of Love”?

When the (young woman Roxy) comes into the understanding of what true-love looks like verses, being deceived by what she thinks love is. Also learning to love one’s self even when you feel as though, you’re not worth loving.

Below is one of my poems (not in my current book):

THE COLOR OF MY SKIN
Why does it seem I’m hated because of the color of my skin?
Why do people treat me differently; never trying to find out what lies within?

People who don’t know the contents of my character; hate me…not for who I am but what they fear about me.
They don’t care what matters to me; they look at me and see what they wanna see.

I’d hope this hatred would have ended long ago; but instead it seems to linger wherever I go.
I’ve tried explaining it to my kids; why it seems people have a problem with the color of their skin.

I recall one day my son came running into the house. He was upset and crying. A kid called him “Nigga.” He asks: “Mommy…why don’t he like me; why did he call me that name?”
And for some reason my innocent little son hung his head, as though he felt some type of shame.

I was angry and sad; yet…at the same time, damn mad.

Then it occurred to me; people don’t like us because we’re one of a kind.

We come in different shades of brown. Our women have full lips and full hips; you know…the ones that are round.

Our men are built like none other; their physics are quite unique.
As a matter of fact our men are what other women seek, between the sheets.

We’ve seen adversities and know how to come through;
God has given us staying power; how to be overcomers and pull through.

We have strong arms; strong backs and strong legs; we know how to stand.

When I look at the ones who’ve come before us I’m proud of those who’ve paved the way.
The ones who had courage and strength so, we could see better days.

They are the reason why…we’re free.

We’ve springboard off the shoulders of those who suffered long ago.
Unfortunately these senseless acts of hatred are still prevalent and reminiscent. There are some who still hate and won’t let it go.

So to those who judge me because of the color of my skin…that’s alright with me; but if you really want to know who I am and how I came to be.
I say to you…you must first learn to look within.

Outside of writing this book, I understand you’re involved in other projects. Would you mind sharing what those are with us?

I’ve assisted a fellow-author, in developing his latest book-venture. Currently, I’m in the midst of collaborating a daily Spiritual-devotional book. Also, I’m working on my next book-project.

Do you plan on attending any events soon? If so, please tell us where you will be?

Tentatively; I hope to attend the: Black Writers on Tour April 30th.

How can the readers contact you if they would like to receive a personal copy? Do you have a website?

At the present, I don’t have a website; hopefully it’ll be up and running by early summer. However, if anyone is interested in purchasing my latest book; or Dancing with my Heavenly Father (my former book), they can contact me. I can be found on Facebook & Instagram (Lisa DeDe) Ridgeway. Also, they can email me at: deeperside1996@gmail.com or lsrdgwy@yahoo.com.

What advice do you have for someone just starting out as an author?

First & foremost I would say, never give up on yourself. Even when you get discourage…keep forging ahead; you’re worth it! Learn all the aspects when it comes to publishing your book; it’ll greatly benefit you in the long-haul. Fine-tune your skills, work hard to develop yourself & your book(s). Attend workshops, further educate yourself in developing your writing-skills and always get your works COPYRIGHTED before you allow others to view it.

Thank you Lisa for this interview. Everyone, please support Ms. Ridgeway by buying a copy of ‘The Deeper Side of Love’ right now and be sure to attend the Black Writers on Tour April 30 at the Carson Community Center in the city of Carson, CA to show her some of your love for her talent.

Recap of the Successful Compton Urban Book Expo

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Just like that, it’s over.

The inaugural Compton Urban Book Expo took place at the Douglas Dollarhide Community Center over the weekend. Judging from the reactions of authors, organizers and local politicians, this is one literary festival that plans to be around for a long time. KLIQ Radio founder Devonte Styles and station manager Shelly Ward were the organizers of this fine event with the support from the city of Compton to make this expo happen as it encouraged literacy in the Hub City and beyond.

Held inside the spacious multipurpose facility, the community center became an ideal venue for authors to set up and sell their books to the public. A panel discussion “The Blueprint for Success” was held before the expo with several authors sharing their knowledge and experience from subjects on publishing and marketing their works on social media. A children’s area was provided for free face paintings and other fun activities for the youth. Authors were given the opportunity to speak on the microphone and pitch their books to attendees on hand.

Not only did Councilwoman Emma Sharif add her support, but it caught the attention of Assemblyman Mike Gipson of the 64th District as well. For entertainment, local hip hop artist Ms.Toi made an appearance with Isabell Izzy Requena, a participant on the television show X-Factor and the founder of the Miss America Belize Pagent. Returning to books, most of the authors in appearance either veterans of past literary festivals or first timers excited to be a part of the first annual event in a city known for negative news and the rap group NWA.

The Urban Book Expo is a great win for the city of Compton. It has put them on the map as far as a destination for literacy and the hard work and dedication of Mr. Styles and Ms. Ward cannot be mentioned enough. It takes cooperation, effort and foresight to make a community literary festival happened and the reactions on the expo’s Facebook page show the excitement, the promise and anticipation of great things to come. Hopefully it will produce more creative and non-fiction authors who will also produce literary works that are straight outta Compton.

Charles L. Chatmon
Authors N Focus Extra

Commentary: The Sting of Criticism

A list of resources for new and aspiring authors

When you become a writer, expect criticism. In fact, be surprised when you do not receive any at all. Chances are there is someone in this big blue world who will not like your book, your article, your poem, your essay, it doesn’t matter. Criticism is inevitable. You cannot run from it and as a writer, you definitely can’t respond to it as much as you would like to. A recent example occurred when I was doing research on a favorite book of mine written by someone close to me. The reviewer made some pointed comments, disparaging the novel as well as the book cover. It was very unflattering of the author’s work.

Personally, I’ve critics tell me to my face the reasons why they didn’t like any of the books I wrote. At first those comments stung and I felt the need to defend my work. This stage of my writing career, I understand their comments are simply opinions in which they have the right to express them or post them online. The big mistake writers make is they treat these opinions as gospel – when in fact it’s only one reader’s view of your work, not the majority. Writers have to consider it’s one person’s voice of disapproval while others who have read the book or article may be in total support of what they do.

Criticism is a two edged sword, not only does it cut down your work, but it may also fall into being personal with the author as well. For example, if the aim is to criticize the work, then just focus on that, not the author’s personality, their online persona, their looks, none of that is necessary. Yet, critics will indeed take it that far with the author when there’s no need to. This is not to say writers do not have fragile egos and it’s permissible to type or say abusive words towards them. Writers would like to discuss what is on the printed or digital page. Anything outside of that boundary is not constructive for both parties.

Criticism is inevitable in a writer’s life. The way to overcome it and not let it sour your attitude if you’re a writer is to just simply take it as it has been mentioned earlier – an opinion. While you may never be a James Patterson or J.K. Rowling, rest assured in the beginning of their writing careers and even now, they have their share of critics who are never satisfied what they produce and would prefer someone else as their ideal author or writer. Every writer has a critic, every last one of them. As a writer, you should be so lucky. You have someone’s attention and that’s not so bad.

Charles L. Chatmon
Authors N Focus Extra

The Marion L. Jones Interview

11719819_10153058285111464_1202165619_nPoems From Recovering

Our lives are filled with rich, inspiring experiences that deserve to be written in a book. Marion L. Jones is one such author who has undergone a crisis in his life and with some help, hopes to inspire others as he explains in his first book, Poems From Within Me, A Recovering Addict. His second book, The Full Picture of Marion Levi Jones has just been released but for now, let us focus on his first book.

Who is Marion Levi Jones?

I’m a just a man that love what I do and enjoy helping others who are or were like me in the struggles of addiction. Now ten years ago I was cracked out…my little brother called me a crackhead. God had seen fit to give me another chance at life. Through my writing, even when I was still under the influences of drugs, He kept His hands on me. See, I was lived in abandoned houses and cars and ate out of garbage cans…didn’t have to live like that but I chose to. The devil had me just that bad thinking no one loved me. Lost my dad at the early age of five and it sent me to a place of numbness. It took me to the age of 50 to realize the root of my downfall. Once I came to myself and asked the Lord to save me from the enemy’s hands and sincerely ask forgiveness he went to His Father on my behalf to get me back on the right road. Now I’m saved and love the Lord with all my heart. I still have a long way to go but not where I used to be and know that I’m not going back. I can fight the devil with Him by my side. I became a father again to my children and a big brother to my siblings and a son to my mom. I’m so grateful for that. It’s about recovery from drugs, alcohol and suicide, to help others to see that they’re not alone in this battle.

Mr. Jones, how long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since 2008, I was in a rehab center and God woke me up three nights straight at 1am in the morning. I never wrote before but after those three nights, I never stopped. I didn’t even know how to use a computer but I learned quickly and I was off and running.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book was Poems From Within Me, A Recovering Addict and that was me getting to understand what got me in this mess and showed me how to look at me inside out. Writing it made me open up and let the hurt of all those years come to surface and deal with them one by one. I knew I had to share this with the world.

What steps did you take to publish Poems From Within Me, A Recovering Addict?

I went through so many changes to get my book perfected, tried many self-publishing companies but they didn’t treat me right or messed up my book in the process. Now with the second one, I had a publisher who was willing to help me but fell short and ran out on me. So out of frustration I threw my book in a drawer for months not looking at it at all until I got hurt on my job which took me out and I’m still out. I won’t go back till 2016. It gave me a chance to finish it with the help of a friend from California that was willing to put her book aside to get mine done.

What’s your favorite poem inside the book?

God of the Valleys

The 23rd Psalms

Most of us know the about or have read the 23rd Psalms

The most recognized chapter in the Old Testament

and the equivalent to John 3:16 of the New Testament

We are used to being called and treated like 2nd class citizens

But being in the Lord…you are not a 2nd class but a true child of God

The Lord will watch over you

Know how to keep your surrounding still…while there’s chaos all around

He will walk with you

Even when they come to sleigh me I will trust in Him

He will welcome you

Even in my valleys and can’t see my way out I will trust Him

If the Lord is your Sheppard…you have nothing to worry about

I don’t care what the new trend is or new fashion…

I know the God will supply all my needs

As long as we trust in Him as our Sheppard…He will supply your nourishment

When you’re hungry He will feed you When you’re in need of thirst He will give you drink

He knows how to calm the rages waters so you won’t drown

Even when you think all is lost His rod will fight the enemy away

When you are lost and way out into the deep

He uses His staff to bring you back in your right mind

The Lord Is My Sheppard I Shall Not Want…

You read the rest

Copyright 6/5/15 MLJ Recovery

What’s the one thing you want the readers to learn from Poems From Within Me?

I want them to learn that they are not alone in their journey but know that God is just waiting on them to call on Him. To those that are saved, this book reinforces them through their valleys.

What makes Poems From Within Me stand out from the rest?

It’s my personal walk, not just hearsay but my living testimony…my relationship with the Lord and they can have it too. Maybe Chapter 2, really there is none… all of them will grab you one way or another.

Outside of writing this book, I understand you’re involved in other projects. Would you mind sharing what those are with us?

I do motivational speaking at rehabs and shelters; I talk to people trying to get back in the world from being incarcerated…I don’t sugar-coated the message because I want them to know it might be their last chance and tomorrow not promised to anyone.

Do you plan on attending any events soon? If so, please tell us where you will be?

I have a book signing at my home church coming up and one in Carson California…well a meet n greet in November. One in Baltimore coming up real soon.

How can the readers contact you if they would like to receive a personal copy? Do you have a website?

Email me at levijones55@yahoo.com

Facebook under Marion L. Jones and inbox me

Books are $15.00 with your address.

What advice do you have for someone just starting out as an author?

If it’s about you and you think it can help someone else, write it but it starts with what’s ever in your heart.

Where do you see yourself five years from now if you continue writing books?

Five years I want to be able to have traveled to different seminars talking and helping lost souls…My motto is Saving Souls Today, One Day at A Time.

Is there anything else you would like to say in closing?

Hold on to God’s Unchanging Hand.

Marion L. Jones with his latest book, The Full Picture of Marion L. Jones

Marion L. Jones with his latest book, The Full Picture of Marion Levi Jones

We’d like to thank Mr. Jones for this interview. Please like or follow us on our social media pages and our website, http://authorsnfocus.com to keep in touch with the authors who are keeping their books and lives in focus.

Until No More says, I Just Want To Write!

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With her latest book, I Just Want to Write!, Not only is Until No More becoming a name in the literary world, but she’s making her mark as a reporter and talk show host. In this interview, Until shares her views on writing, poetry and her upcoming projects.

Thanks for taking time out to speak with us. Let’s know more about Until No More. Who are you?

My name is Quanda R. Graves but I’m better known by my pseudonym “Until.” I am first and foremost a poet as well as a journalist and literary columnist for the California Crusader Newspaper that coincides with my Youtube Channel and assisted blog entitled Until TV.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for over twenty years (20).

What inspired you to write your book I Just Want to Write!?

What inspired me to write my book entitled “I Just Want to Write!” was this book called “Round the Corner” by the Bankstreet Reader Group, published in 1965. It was the first book I had ever purchased at my first book fair in my elementary school at 6 years old; in which I still possess, that still provides great inspiration.

What steps did you take to get your book published?

The steps I took to publish my latest works (which is my first edition) was the following: 1.) I wrote the book 2.) Found two editors 3.) Sought out a Graphic Design artist to manifest my vision for my book cover. 4.) Filed a DBA (doing business as) for the name I created for myself as I chose to be a self-publisher “Black Swan Publishing” 5.) Purchased my ISBN number under my company’s name. 6.) Purchased formatting, Distributing, ebook and paperback copy services from Create Space. Let them post it on Amazon. 7.) Created my own website attached to my Paypal and did my marketing and PR with the contacts I have. Not all in this order but that is the just.

What’s your favorite part of I Just Want to Write?

My favorite part was the whole process. Because I love to learn, there was a lot that I was enlightened by. The research I had to do was crazy, but enjoyable. I have a poetry edition and you state for me to share one or two of my favorite poems, that’s hard because I have more than a few in this book. The three favorites are “Writing Heals” and “My Pen’s Position” and “My Life as the Sheet”.

What’s the one thing you want the readers to learn from your book?

What I want people to learn from my book are a few things: 1.) It’s never too late to follow your dreams. 2.) Never place your dreams in the hands of someone else without staying connected. 3.) Put in the work with anything you do because the rewards are endless and last but not at all least 4.) Have fun.

Outside of writing this book, I understand you’re involved in other projects. Would you mind sharing what those are with us?

I am involved with many other projects. Thanks for asking, no I don’t mind sharing them. I have created my company called Quanda’ Significance LLC, which specializes in greetings and decorative gift ideas and I’m currently in the process of getting ready to launch my very first line of greeting cards with my first theme called “Sometimes I Wish” this July of 2015.

I am also gearing up to create my own poetry segment that will be featured on my Youtube Channel called Until TV – slogan: You never know what you’ll see, on Until TV.

Do you plan on attending any events soon? If so, please tell us where you will be?

I am, however I’m still working on the particulars for each event I’ll be attending. But to read excerpts of my book, to find out my next move, events or interviews you can always visit my book blog called “I Just Want to Write!” at http://www.ijwtw.blogspot.com

How can the readers contact you if they would like to receive a personal copy? Do you have a website?

I have a website and readers can purchase my book and/or contact me on website at www.untilnomore.net .

What advice do you have for someone just starting out as an author?

The advice I have for someone starting out as an author is, keep a notebook to write down all of your ideas, be organized. Hone down all that you want to do, make a plan. Once you do that, make a list of all you need, find out the cost and begin pursuing your checklist.

Where do you see yourself five years from now if you continue writing books?

Five years from now, I see myself as a well-established writer in not just books but in many genre’s I’m constantly indulging in, like greeting card writing, speech writing, essay writing and so on. I do many things, but to be honest, it all reverts back to writing. My joy is writing, so writing whether it be five year from now, ten years from now or more, writing in every way that I desire, I’ll just be—a WELL –respected and established yet loved writer.

Is there anything else you would like to say in closing?

Yes. I wish you and many others great success, happiness and joy in your writing and other endeavors you pursue. Many blessings Love Until…