The Shade Room: Jacelynn of #WTRTCA

The Shade Room

In honor of  When the Real Thing Comes Along being on sale for .99 cents, I decided to take a few moments to interview Jacelynn, the book’s main character. She had plenty to say, so I hope you enjoy getting to know her a little better. No worries if you haven’t read WTRTCA; it’s a spoiler free interview. :)


Faith: First of all, Jacelynn, I want to thank you for agreeing to sit down with us. I know you’ve taken a lot of flack from readers and it hasn’t been easy for you.

Jacelynn: That’s an understatement if I’ve ever heard one. Your readers have put me through the ringer, but I’m here to explain my side of things. Hopefully a sista’ can get a little compassion.

Faith: I totally want to give you every opportunity to explain your perspective, but before we get to that, let’s back up a little. When we were first introduced to you, you were caught up in a love triangle gone terribly wrong. How did you get in that position in the first place?

Jacelynn: Going straight for the jugular, huh Faith? I got myself in that predicament by not being true to myself. I wanted to play it safe and stay in a relationship that felt secure, but I didn’t want to give 100 percent to that relationship in a pathetic attempt to prevent myself from getting hurt. All that self-preservation backfired on me big time!

Faith: Was it really self-preservation or just plain selfishness? I’m only asking because a lot of readers felt that you came off that way.

Jacelynn: I can see why I appeared selfish, but that’s not who I am. I was really conflicted and basically all in my feelings! I never meant to hurt anyone.

Faith: You may not have meant to, but you did hurt quite a few people. If you could turn back time, would you have handled things differently?

Jacelynn: I try not to dwell on shoulda-woulda-couldas anymore. Part of my problem was that I was way too caught up in my past. I did the best I could at the time, and that’s all anyone can do. I regret causing anyone pain, and if I could undo that I would. But I can’t. All I can do is move forward and try not to repeat the same mistakes.

Faith: So you’re saying that you’re satisfied with the way things turned out?

Jacelynn: I’m saying that I’m satisfied with ME; flaws and all. Isn’t that the true mark of maturity? I spent so many years in pursuit of perfection that doesn’t exist: holding myself and others to an impossibly high standard. It was ridiculous and exhausting! I’m completely happy with the way things turned out and I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now, because it’s brought me to this place of wholeness and peace.

Faith: Watch out now. I love your new positive attitude!

Jacelynn: Me too. It’s been a long time coming, and I spent enough time whining and crying over spilled milk. Life is too short, chile!

Faith: You ain’t never lied! Now, has this new attitude translated into any new changes in your life?

Jacelynn: Yes! I’ve got so much going on I can barely keep my head on straight: being newly married, expanding my catering business and trying to start a family keeps me really busy! In a totally good way though.

Faith: Whoa, that is a lot. Newly married? Is it someone we know? C’mon, tell us which one you chose. We’ve got #TeamJason and #TeamTaylor fighting like cats and dogs!

Jacelynn: Wouldn’t you like to know? They’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Faith: You are wrong for that! Can readers look forward to hearing more from you?

Jacelynn: It depends…if they act right, I think I can work with you on a sequel.

Faith: Well alright girl, I’ll definitely be in touch. Any parting words?

Jacelynn: Your past does not dictate your future. Once you surrender to God, He’ll change your life in ways that will leave you breathless!

 


I hope you enjoyed catching up with Jacelynn from When the Real Thing Comes Along. If you’ve already read WTRTCA I’d really appreciate it if you’d take a few minutes to leave an honest review on Amazon. If you haven’t read WTRTCA yet, what are you waiting for? Now’s the perfect time to buy.

<<<<<<<<<<< THE E-BOOK IS ON SALE FOR 99 CENTS !!! >>>>>>>>>>>>>

If you’re currently reading or have read WTRTCA tweet me @FaithSimone2011 and let me know if you’re #TeamJason or #TeamTaylor !

Confessions of Faith: Forgiveness & Absolution…Gifts to Myself

Making the decision to forgive can be tricky. It’s like choosing the smallest box at Christmas. Forgiveness won’t make sense toforgiveness the immature and it seems unappealing; maybe even irrational. But to the mature mindset, the old saying that some of the best gifts come in small packages plays like a catchy song. The smallest package becomes appealing, even desirable. And when you open it, the blessing inside is more than you hoped for or could ever imagine. That’s how I view forgiveness.

I won’t pretend that I’ve always had this lofty view of such a humble state of being. I used to be the type that could hold a grudge until it hollered. I kept record of every wrong and hoped that I would have a front row seat when the Lord exacted His revenge.

Then I became a person in need of forgiveness and everything changed. I guess I should clarify that. I became a person aware of my overwhelming need for forgiveness and everything changed. On my best day, I’m in need of God’s forgiveness. On my own I can never measure up. Walking into the fullness of this realization changed me. Then it changed the way I relate to other people. People who are walking out this life to the best of their ability. People who are flawed, just like me. People to whom grace exemplified may be the only glimpse of God they ever see.

A part of me always thought that to extend forgiveness was a sign of weakness. I assumed that people would view me as a doormat and take advantage of me. But a funny thing happened when I opened myself up to grace: people surprised me by rising to the occasion. Showing grace gave space for the best in them to shine through.

It’s rare that someone does wrong and feels no remorse. We call those people sociopaths, and the reason we have a name for them is that they’re not the norm. Most people feel bad when they fall short morally. Showing forgiveness gives them permission to be a better version of themselves. Just like accepting God’s forgiveness gave me permission to be a better version of myself.

I forgive because I am forgiven. It’s cyclical, beautiful and redeeming. My gift to others is a gift to me.

 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Collosians 3:13 NLT

Until next time….

XoXo,

Faith 

 Are you a grudge holder? What do you gain by holding a grudge? Do you view forgiveness as weakness? Sometimes you can forgive someone and still choose to discontinue the relationship; how do you decide what path your forgiveness will take in each situation? Have you ever been forgiven for something? How did you feel knowing that other person didn’t hold it against you? 

Read other Confessions of Faith here!

Photo credit: Celestine Chua / Photo / CC BY

Guest Post: 10 Things No One Tells You About Book Blogging

Today I’m happy to host fellow blogger Emily from Confessions of a Bookaholic. She hails from across the pond so I’m grateful she was able to tear herself away from going ga-ga over Princess Charlotte long enough to give us the lowdown on book blogging. It ain’t all free books and five-star reviews!


 

ConFESSIONS OF A

When I first started blogging I knew nothing about it but here are some things that may help new bloggers out there!

You Won’t Always Have Something Nice To Say About A Book
When I first opened my blog up for business I did what most people would probably do and reviewed my favourite books. When I started reviewing every book I read I found something unsettling, I don’t always love the books I read! When you are reading and not reviewing you don’t notice as much but when you review a hated book all those bad feelings towards it come bubbling to the surface and spill onto the screen in the form of a rant. My first one being of Phantom by L.J. Smith.

You Will Go From Obsessed To Infatuated – Yes There’s A Difference 
Two years ago I read quite a lot but not nearly as much as I do since I started this blog. I went from around 100 books in three years to 100 in one. Before I used to read books, now I devour them. You find when you read a lot you get faster at it, at most this year I’ve read three books in one day – this time last year that would be unimaginable.

You Will Suddenly Find Your Purse A Lot Emptier
Similar to the last point, when you start a book blog you will read a lot more – three times more in my case – and when you read more you buy more. Last year I didn’t own a single book, my supply came from my library. But after a while I had read all the good books (it’s a small library) so I had to look elsewhere. I borrowed them from my friend for a while since her supply seemed infinite but after a while I decided to get some of my own. Now it has got to the point that I can’t leave Amazon without buying a book. I log on to buy an iPod charger, I come off with an iPod charger and five books on their way to me.

You Will Turn Into A Green-eyed Monster 
You know how it is, you log onto blogger and a list of the blogs you follow come up and I can almost guarantee that one of the top posts will be someone’s ‘Stacking The Shelves’ or something of the like. You will then become curious and click the link only to find that person has somehow got hold of every book you have ever wanted (or that’s what your irrational jealous brain tells you). You then proceed to press back as quickly as possible or leave a comment that goes something like “Well Jell, ur sooo lucky!!!” (Okay maybe I’m currently watching The Only Way Is Essex – horrible show by the way) when you’re really thinking Life is unfair, why does she/he get that? Am I that bad a person??? If you go through this then there’s only one solution… when you get something awesome rub it in everyone’s faces and start the cycle again.

You Will Have Reading Slumps
Ah, the dreaded slump. You have work slumps of course but who would expect you could not feel like doing something you ordinarily love? I didn’t. But there are many ways to get out of a reading slump, some that worked for me are:
– Rereading a book you loved.
– Reading very short books – don’t attempt 400+ pages.
– Take a couple of days off from reading then you’ll be eager to get back to it.

Authors Are Your Friends… But You Can’t Accept All Books
I’ve heard so many people say they started their blogs for the free books but believe it or not but I had no idea bloggers could get free books. So imagine my surprise when I was emailed by an author asking me to review my book. I jumped at the chance without even reading the blurb. Lucky for me I enjoyed it but now I’m more careful about the books that I accept because there’s some unwritten rule about giving self-published books bad reviews and I don’t want to be the one to break it.

***Click here to read the other 4 Things No One Tells You About Book Blogging via Emily’s blog Confessions of a Bookaholic.***


Faith Simone says:

I can personally identify with all of Emily’s observations. The main problem for me is that I have to turn down so many review requests simply because I don’t have enough time! I’ve gotten much busier with my own writing and promotion than I was when I first started this blog, and it really cuts down on my extracurricular time…plus I’m training to run my first 5K, but that’s a post for another day! #Hilarious #YallAintReady.

WHAT ARE YOUR PET PEEVES ABOUT BLOGGING? HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR BOOK BUYING HABIT IN CHECK? ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE THINKING OF STARTING A BLOG? HOLLA AT US BELOW!

When Love Goes Wrong…HALT!

What’s up lovely people? I was feeling a little nostalgic the other day and looking through some of my old posts. I stumbled across this one and decided to re-post it. It’s one of the short stories/essays I contributed to my writer’s group anthology. I hope it speaks to you!


He was the kind of lover that made you want to thank him at the close of every rendezvous; to absolutely and definitively express gratitude towards him for his ability to give pleasure; to humbly praise his skill and his tangible way of physically bringing you to a place of bliss and then allowing you to dwell there. Yes, he was that good. All he did was give.

Until he didn’t anymore, and then all he did was take. I should have seen it coming. The whole yin and yang of life is not new to me. If our lovemaking was unbalanced, it only made sense that the pleasure he should have rightfully received, after giving me so much, should be taken from some other aspect of our relationship. An unbalanced debt is an unbalanced debt, no matter what the currency. Bills always come due.

It wasn’t until much later that I came to understand that perhaps it was all a set up. That maybe he used his rare talent as a way of achieving personal gain. In other words, he was a gigolo and I was his mark.  Maybe it wasn’t so much that I was selfish and did not try to give back, it was that he was determined to take his pleasure elsewhere and feel justified in doing so.  Or maybe it was just karma. Either way, I’ll never know.

I do know that I’ve been taught better, both figuratively and literally. On my first day of college a professor of a kindly paternal disposition set out to give sage advice to a classroom full of hopeful and naïve freshmen. He scribbled an acronym across the dry erase board and stated that we should make all of our decisions over the next few years with it in mind.

H.A.L.T.

 This meant stop and consider your personal state before making any type of choice. The professor succinctly said, “Never make a decision when you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Always remember to halt.” He went on to actually teach the subject we were all there to study, but my mind stayed stuck on his introductory speech.

It was a moment that changed my life, but not in the way that I think the well-meaning instructor intended. I spent the rest of the class contemplating the simple acronym and the meaning behind it. Eventually, I concluded that if I waited until I was in such an ideal frame of being to make choices, I would live out the entirety of my life without making a single decision. Because my reality was that I had never lived a single moment of my life without feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired.

This revelation could have easily caused me to make a life change by working to create an existence where I was not feeling at least one of those sensations at all times. Instead I used it as an excuse to recklessly make decisions with dire consequences.

HUNGRY

HUNGRY

You see I was always hungry for an ever-elusive craving. An indefinable something that, if received, would satisfy me in a way that nothing else ever had. It was this insatiable hunger that caused me to latch on to him and take, take, take without any consideration of the phrase, “payback is a mother-“.

ANGRY

ANGRY

As a result, I was so familiar with anger as a constant companion that I was incapable of distinguishing between my everyday jacket of anger and a justifiable mink coat of rage. He did things that deserved violent fury and I let it slide, convincing myself it was the former and that I was overreacting.

LONELY

LONELY

Don’t get me started on the loneliness. It is the worst kind of isolation to feel lonely when you are in a relationship with someone. Again, I blamed myself. I berated myself for being such an ice queen that I could not let someone else in. It did not occur to me that a sincere relationship should gently chip away at the frostiness of loneliness with constant warmth in the form of passion, kindness and caring.

TIRED

TIRED

I thought I was world weary before, but I hadn’t seen anything until my debt came due. He sucked me dry. I was the kind of tired that made me lay awake at night staring at the ceiling. I was the kind of tired that caused friends to do a double take and express concern over my well-being. I was the kind of tired that caused my supervisor to suggest a leave of absence. I was the kind of tired that caused me to take that leave of absence thereby enabling me to expand my nocturnal ceiling watching to daylight hours as well.

Then I got tired of him. Ending it was by no means easy. He had so methodically captured me that it took a major crisis of conscience to free my mind from the luxurious prison he had created. And yes you’re right, supposedly there is no such thing as a luxurious prison. The two don’t mix. That’s about the same as a cold love affair. Both metaphors are a complete contradiction in terms and hell to live through.

So now here I am, thinking over that wise instructor’s advice. Meditating on his attempt to give me and my classmates a local’s perspective in our newly foreign world. Finally I have made a decision worth the effort. I decided when I was hungry, angry, lonely and tired to not stay that way. I’ve come to a halt…and I’m changing the game.


 

I hope you enjoyed a little snippet into the wonderful collection of poetry, short stories and essays that is Voices from the Block: A Legacy of African-American Literature. Click here to check it out! 

Have you ever been involved in a love affair gone bad? What did you do about your dissatisfaction? Dish in the comments below!

 

Photo credit: llnataliell / Source / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: FotoGrazio / Source / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: wolfgangfoto / Source / CC BY-ND

Photo credit: zubrow / Source / CC BY-NC

Weekend Recap: Books, B-days and Laughs

This weekend I made an effort to get out of the house, something my naturally hermetic self has to really gear up for. This is especially true when I’m going through some things. But, it was two of my beautiful cousin’s birthdays and despite the fact that Netflix was calling me, I ignored the muse stealing heffa and hit the streets.

First I had to take care of some business (cuz I stay grinding) by stopping off at a literary event hosted by my local library. I’m so glad I came through because I met a couple of amazing Memphis based writers and got to plug my baby WTRTCA to a room full of readers. It was awesome and I was only a little nervous. Me + public speaking= I need a sedative!

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The agenda. See that last line down there that says “Remarks from Guest Authors”? That’s me! I’m about to blow up y’all.

My assistant, Sista C.J., was slipping on her post. Not only did she not get a picture of me speaking about my book, but she didn’t pass out my promo cards. I had to do it myself. Gasp! I thought I was the talent, and deserved to be treated as such, but I guess working with family keeps you humble. I would dock her pay, but since I’m not paying her anything…

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Doesn’t she just look like an assistant who’s all over her job?

One of the primary speakers was author Lakisha Johnson and she came with it. She’s a successful independent publisher with a faithful fan base here in Memphis. Her topic was “Be Careful Who You Love” and she gave me plenty to think about! For one thing I got to see a pro in action. If you’re an author attending an event to sell books, it’s less about going on and on about your book, and more about leaving an impression on the audience. If they remember you, they’ll remember your book. If you haven’t read any of her books, you might want to check them out. From talking to a few of her fans, I got the impression that they’re very steamy.

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Author Lakissha Johnson keeping us on our toes in this love game.

After stumbling through my 60 second remarks on WTRTCA,  Sista C.J. and I met up with some of our cousins for dinner. We gossiped about family, lusted after a few professional athletes and Idris Elba, talked about my sudden case of baby fever (I promise I can hear my biological clock ticking away like a gong) and ate some delicious Mexican food.

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Mi familia!

Later, we changed the venue and went to see Tony Tone at Chuckles Comedy House. I’d never heard of him, but he was pretty funny. Forgive me for not having a candid picture of him. I was too busy admiring the way his biceps strained against his shirt while he was holding that mic to take a pic.Talk about guns? Bang, bang baby.

tony tone

What’d I tell you about those guns?

My cousin Miller took to the stage and busted a few moves. They were all circa 1989, but she did her thang!

Cousin Miller gettin' it in. Her repertoire included The Wop and The Smurf. If you don't know: Google it.

Cousin Miller gettin’ it in. Her repertoire included The Wop and The Smurf. If you don’t know: Google it.

So all in all it was a weekend full of good people, good food, and good times. What more can a girl ask for?

What did you get into this weekend? Do you attend local literary events on the regular? Any tips to help me get more comfortable with public speaking? How about some advice on how to get over baby fever? Talk to me.

Indie Publishing: The Perks of Being A Boss

Like a bossEveryone wants to be a boss these days. Pop culture is inundated with phrases like “boss chick”, “all eyes on me”, “poppin’ bottles” and my personal favorite “like a boss”. You can use it to describe doing anything with excellence: I ate that whole piece of chicken (like a boss), I paid my taxes (like a boss), I sawed that bunion off (like a boss). You get my point. But when you decide to self publish, you really are a boss. And like I promised last week, I’m going to list the many benefits of independently publishing your books (like a boss). Sorry, I couldn’t resist.


 ********5 Perks to Indie Publishing********

You don’t have answer to anyone but yourself. Didn’t get those proofs approved yet? Feel like changing the cover on a book already in print? Changed your mind about the release date?  Want to release your book in three parts over the course of a year? No problem. There won’t be a marketing exec telling you that you’ve lost your mind. The only person you need to run it by is you. No one will reprimand you. There won’t be a big meeting or conference call where you’re treated like a temperamental writer with threats of re-negotiating your contract. Unless you decide to hold said meeting with yourself. Which is entirely your prerogative. #JudgementFreeZone

You have full creative control. You have the final say on everything from your typeset font to your cover design. Want to make a plot change that’s eons away from your original synopsis/proposal? Go for it. Feel like writing a sci-fi self-help historical romance? Who cares if it’s never been done. Do you, kid. There’s no team of experts stifling your creativity with marketing trends, focus group data, and comparative sales reports. But in all your creativity, don’t forget that you do want to eventually sell your book and keeping a specific fan base in mind is probably a good idea.

Full return on your investments. There’s no team to split the pot with. All profit belongs solely to you. Now, I’m speaking of money made after you’ve deducted the cost of an editor, cover designer, promotional material, etc. Because what you don’t want to produce is some certifiable junk. But once you’ve paid for that initial investment, every cent that comes in belongs to you. You don’t have to worry about paying back an advance from a publishing house if your sales don’t meet their projections.

The complete success or failure of your book is entirely in your hands. Some may view this as a negative, but you’ve got to have a boss mentality about it. I feel totally empowered this fact. No one is going to work harder for me than me. Whether I sell 10 or 10,000 copies of my book is entirely up to me. It’s all dependent upon how much time and effort I’m willing to put into marketing, promoting, and writing. The same is true of traditionally published authors. Publishing houses allot only so much for book promotion, and the less of a name you have for yourself in the industry, the less of a budget you get. So, no matter what, hustling is the name of the game. Suddenly I’m feeling all, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”

The world is your office. Literally. You can work anywhere, at anytime, and do most of it in your pajamas. I love modern technology and the fact that I can network, market, promote, write, email, conference call and connect with business associates from anywhere in the world. Being an indie author (especially once you’ve hit your stride) means freedom from conventional schedules and constraints. You can handle your business and write anywhere. That sense of freedom and discovery is part of what keeps me going down this indie publishing road. I can’t wait to see where it takes us!


Tell me about your indie publishing perks below. Nothing is too small. Whether it’s getting to hang out and drink coffee at Starbucks all day, or the amazing tax write-offs for hosting parties to discuss your book, I want to hear about it!

**Bonus** Check out my take on signs that confirm you’re a writer. Lots of strange behaviors and quirkiness ahead! (Click here.)

 Photo credit: savvysmilinginlove / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

5 Truths Every New Indie Author Should Know

Although my first instinct is to pour my heart out about my sister’s illness, I’m going to resist using y’all as a form of therapy and actually talk about something I haven’t covered in a while: independent publishing. Here are 5 things every new independent publisher should know. I’m going to go ahead and warn you that it ain’t pretty! But I’ll follow up at a later date with some independent publishing positivity.


1. You will feel overwhelmed.– That’s an understatement. You’ll feel so discombobulated that you’ll question your sanity and then answer back with something like, “You passed crazy a long time ago.” There’s so much to be done and there’s no one else to do it. Hence the term “independent”. You’re it kid.

2. You’re a jack of all trades, master of none.– Well, let’s hope you’ve at least mastered the art of writing. But other than that, be prepared to become a business tax professional, an accountant, publicist, marketer, spokesperson, sales person, tech geek, secretary, and the list goes one. You’ll need to know a little bit about several roles in order to maintain some semblance of organization and control.

Frustration

3. You will be disappointed.– Overnight success shouldn’t even be a phrase because it just doesn’t happen. Building a brand and a readership takes time. And for an independently published author it usually takes even longer than most traditionally published authors. If you’re expecting to launch your book at the top of the Amazon bestseller list, then it better be because you’ve spent the last few years building a following that is engaged and ready to support your efforts. Otherwise, be prepared to watch that sales graph move like a little old guy climbing a hill. Using a walker. While stopping to smell the roses and shoot the breeze with every person he see’s. But as long as he’s steadily climbing that hill, things are going in the right direction.

4. More time in a day will be something you’d willingly trade blood, your two front teeth or your first born child for.– Seriously, no matter how organized you are, as an independent publisher your to-do list will always be longer than your completed list. There will always be something to add, something to remember, something to do. No matter how much sleep you sacrifice (and you will sacrifice sleep) there never seems to be enough time. Make your peace with it. I like saying this little mantra, “God has given me all the time I need to fulfill the destiny He has for me.” This is extremely helpful if you view your talent of writing as a calling.

5. Sleep will be something you remember fondly.– This is especially true if you have a 9-5 job in addition to running your publishing company. We’ve already established that time is a sneaky little commodity (some thief called Netflix comes and steals mine on the regular), and trading sleep for a few hours of business dealings and writing will probably happen more often than is healthy. There was actually a point in which I was so tired that I experienced a true life mirage. I…well I…I won’t get into all the details, but it happened. It was crazy weird and the mess freaked me all the way out. Let’s just say I’ve recommitted myself to getting the necessary Z’s.

**Bonus** People will randomly solicit you for services you can easily perform yourself.- I had one chick in-box me on Facebook offering a one day only ‘sale’ to advertise my book on her website. She claimed to have 2,500 followers specifically interested in my often overlooked genre of Christian fiction. But guess what? The access to her website was blocked, the ‘sale’ ended at midnight and there was a pre-requisite $49 set up fee. Oh and let’s not forget that I had to do all of it immediately or the ‘service’ would revert back to it’s original price of $319. I almost cussed! Child please.


This list is in no way meant to discourage a new author from pursuing independent publishing. It’s just me venting about some of the frustrations I’ve experienced since my first self publishing venture. I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to occasionally pull my hair out. (I won’t do it. I’m waayyy too into my hair to do something like that!) Tell me about your indie publishing angst in the comments below!

P.S. For those of you that have been praying and believing with me for my sister Tiffany’s full recovery, I have good news. She’s talking! And soon, the feeding tube will be removed. Things are on an upward spiral and I couldn’t be more grateful. God is good!

Photo credit: Pablo Municio / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND