Business notes

coffee mug

I need this mug.

I just got off the phone with a prospective client and followed up with her via email re an estimate on her project, and I’m using her as an entry point to this post because of her apologetically insisting that she knew I was busy but wanted to know if I was available to edit her project. Yes. The schedule is what it is when you’re juggling the creative and the commercial. Things slip through the cracks, are sometimes deferred, or have to be turned down, and projects I take on have to be queued up. But I’m always open to at least consider opportunities. I am a working writer (which in my particular case means that beyond my own writing); I make my living as a freelance provider of writing and writing related services. Writing is my passion but it’s also the work. So by all means hit me up.

Two emails re my editing services on two very different projects received this past week – and now excerpted in my performance reviews – are quoted below:

“I thought you worked very well to help her strengthen the character development and it was certainly a much stronger novel when you were through… I will happily recommend you to anyone who comes to me looking for an editor.” – publisher who recently contracted my book editing services.

“As I begin to review and apply your edits, I want to compliment and thank you for the fine job you have done with my text. As someone who reads a lot, I now understand why many authors are so effusive in thanking their editors in the acknowledgements. I found your suggestions to be thoughtful, and accurate. Your rearrangement of the sentences in my [redacted] segment is a good example. You significantly improved the impact of my own words by skillfully, as a writer, applying your objective, yet appreciative grasp what I was trying to express.” – amateur writer who reached out to me to edit a longform essay. now , from an amateur writer who reached out to me to edit a longform essay.

I mention that the latter was a long form essay to underscore that I edit all types of projects big or small (for clients anywhere in the world) – because this is another thing a prospective client said, they thought their project might be too small or not the type of project I usually take on. Never know unless you ask – and my freelancing journey has been filled with many instances of, you never know until you try. That one was a recipe book by the way – and not my first one.

So, for an idea of my services and projects (so far), follow the links.

While we’re here and talking writing business, I spent a part of yesterday rebuilding my mailing list for the Jhohadli Writing Project as I begin teasing the 2019 edition of the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project. teaser flyer 2Pass this flyer on if you’re in Antigua and Barbuda – there will be a fee attached but I will try (as I always do) to keep it within reach and JSYWP has accepted funding in the past to be able to offer scholarships to those who can’t pay. Let’s make it happen. I have benefited from workshops over the years and I am working with a mentor right now – it is invaluable.

Finally, I have my latest CREATIVE SPACE outing scheduled for early this coming week. That said, the continuation of this series is dependent on dollar$ (coverage takes time and time is money) – so I continue to reach out to companies doing business in Antigua and Barbuda to advertise. This is an arts and culture platform and as news services continue to contract, we need to support independent reporting where we can.

Here’s where you’ll find my CV and portfolio.

Of course, you know I’m about that writing life, so here’s where you can find my books, my short fiction, and my poetry as well.

Finally, if you’re still reading, remember to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda before the end of March (and you don’t have to be Antiguan and Barbudan to do so) – my book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure is in the runningLost Cover Front 4 – and it is being run by the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize project which I founded and coordinate so I’m really just encouraging you to vote for any of the books in the running. The winning author will have a prize of books up to EC$800 (thanks to donors) plus a thesaurus (thanks to another donor) gifted in their name by Wadadli Pen to either their alma mater here in Antigua and Barbuda or a school of their choice also in Antigua and Barbuda.

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I just remembered an interesting exchange with a writer-friend on a radio show this week promoting the Readers’ Choice Book of the Year initiative. I won’t recount the exchange but I will say this, circling back to the original purpose of this post, I’m still out here doing this, improbable as it is. Working writer; writer at work. If you need me (wherever you are; whatever the size of your project), contact me.

Can’t wait…but I have to

The Can’t Wait Wednesday meme is an opportunity to talk about a book you can’t wait to read but (drats!) will have to…you know, until you get it…or finish reading the books you’re actively reading…or find time to read…sigh…but yeah, that book. Also linking this post to WWW Wednesday.

red.pngFor me right now, that book is America-based, Jamaican writer Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf. I did a new book alert about it over on my other blog, so you can go there for more details about it but suffice it to say that it’s fantasy, which is a genre I love; it is genre underpinned by African mythology, which the world needs more of;  and it’s by an award winning, universally acclaimed author who four novels in hasn’t told the same story twice (granted I’ve only read two of those stories, the slavery era narrative The Book of Night Women and the late 70s to 90s crime epic A Brief History of Seven Killings) – and in both cases he writes long and it can feel convoluted and confusing (and I personally know people who’ve tapped out) but it’s always interesting and always unlike anything I’ve read before. So, I’m really looking forward to reading this one, like if I got it right now, I’d likely drop everything else I’m currently reading – sorry, Inferno, Fire and Fury, Evolution, Beneath Lion’s Wings, even you The Fire Next Time and Sonny’s Blue, Wartime at Woolworths and the others, but I’m really hyped for this one … okay, I wouldn’t drop them, but I might put them down. Congrats to Marlon for his film rights already being optioned by Michael Bae Jordan (notable roles have included Wallace from The Wire, Oscar Grant from Fruitvale Station, Adonis from Creed, and, oh yeah, Killmonger from Black Panther); and shout out to April Sinclair who also recently had film production news (with Octavia Spencer and Gabrielle Union attached) come out re a book I read and loved years ago Coffee Will Make You Back. That’s the dream, right there.

Also on my, it’s taking me too damn long to get to them radar are books like Come Let Us Sing Anyway by Leone Ross, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, Barraccoon by Zora Neale Hurston, N. K. Jemison’s The Fifth Season (also sequels The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky), and so much more, including quite recently, Milkman by Anna Burns thanks to blogger Claire ‘Word by Word’. So many books, so little…books. In time. In time.

Blog Update 18.02.19

Still praying for rain here in Antigua.

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Okay maybe this picture won’t make you feel very pressed about my lack of rain but the last time I did a round up a commenter requested more beach pics, so I’m just giving the people what they want. We still need that rain though.

Meanwhile, here’s what’s new-ish to the blog.

I finished The Black Rose, a book I griped about not finishing a time or two or three here on the blog. It’s the story of a compelling woman, the first or one of the first African American millionaires, Madame C J Walker. The review attempts to put her story in context.

I also finished the Jamaica set teen/young adult novel Inner City Girl; see my review here.

So as February stands, that’s two books finished for the shortest month of the year…so far. Current reads include Inferno by Dan Brown, Evolution by Felene Cayetano (poetry), Wartime at Woolworth’s by Elaine Everest, London Rocks by Brenda Lee Browne, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. There’s more as I’m rediscovering my joy of reading (so in this area of my life, at least, I’m feeling no stress just a hunger to read more). Ah, time.

You can see the Blogger on Books 2019 main page for links to reviews of all books read so far this year.

Long Bay Antigua

That’s another random beach pic (also taken from my Antigua and Barbuda pages) and this seems like a good place to segue.

The She’s Royal Series I’ve been running for nine weeks now finally landed in Jamaica, with Queen Nanny of the Maroons. An interesting life, check her out…hear me, Hollywood, check her out; in fact check out all the women in this series. Speaking of Hollywood, my Oscar picks. And talking blog series, the CREATIVE SPACE series, updated twice so far for 2019, is mostly of interest to local readers, but I’ll share anyway, even if I am linking this post up with the following memes:

It’s Monday, what are you reading?

Mailbox Monday

… and it’s only Tuesday in Antigua and Barbuda where they say the beach is only the beginning, but what a beginning.

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That’s me and, no, I don’t usually stand like that; that was a promotional shoot on the eve of the release of one of my books. I miss those sandals.

New Book. No, Not Mine. But…

I found out this week that I am one of the authors on the pages of Author: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan. Sheehan, official photographer of the PEN World Voices Festival, would have photographed me when I participated in the event’s Literary Safari at the Westbeth Center in New York in 2014. He contacted me and during our exchanges I learned more about the collection; available for pre-order, it officially drops on October 9th 2018 from Black Dog & Leventhal, an imprint of Hachette, and features in his words “photographs of some 200 literary luminaries – among them you – from 35 countries, with a lovely foreword by Salman Rushdie.”

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These “literary luminaries” include, per the book announcement information available for viewing on the web, the late Chinua Achebe, fellow Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, poetess Sonia Sanchez, Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Franzen, John Lewis, David Baldacci, Neil Gaiman, Zadie Smith, Amiri Baraka, Roxane Gay, Wole Soyinka, Joe Biden, Malcolm Gladwell, Gloria Steinem, Charles Blow, Yaa Gyaasi, Colm Toibin, Toni Morrison, Noam Chomsky, Walter Mosely, Teju Cole, Jacqueline Woodson, Ishion Hutchinson, Joan Didion, Marlon James, Greg Pardlo, Tayari Jones, Claudia Rankine, Colson Whitehead, Irvine Welsh, Jesmyn Ward, (two others with Antiguan and Barbudan roots) Jamaica Kincaid and Rowan Ricardo Philips, to name just a few of the more recognizable names.

I know, how did I get on that list, right.

Sheehan who has photographed over 800 writers said his editor had a big say in the selections, and they both “wanted a fair representation of foreign and new writers to balance against the number of familiar faces and names.”

They seem to have done that, just looking at the list. I look forward to receiving my copy. Part proceeds will go to the (US) National Book Foundation’s BookUp programme which works to inspire reading by young people in challenged communities, explained Sheehan. He said he was “honored to have the chance to give back to the community that’s given me so much.”

New York area launch events will take place October 11th at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn and October 17th at Housing Works, in Manhattan.

Alas *sniff* no Antigua-Barbuda launch is planned…anyone want to sponsor me to go mix and mingle with these literary luminaries with whom I’ll be sharing pages? *smile*

Life and its odd-odd turns.

 

Who’s Your Favourite Black Author

The African American Literature Book Club, which has featured me and my books in the past (thanks to them for that), has asked me to remind readers and fans in my network about the open poll (yes, remind, because I’ve plugged it before so I hope you’ve already voted. I have!).

The poll is for Your Favourite Black Author of the 21st Century. They noted in their email to me that so far it’s been pretty US-centric (and though I did remind them that we in the Caribbean claim Haitian-American writer Edwidge Dandicat and I think Nigeria would have something to say about America’s claim to Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie), I do think we could mix it up some more. That said, I can’t argue with the names currently in the lead; people like…

Bernice McFadden whom I met and co-facilitated a workshop with at the BIM Lit Fest in 2016 Bernice McFadden and whose book Sugar I reviewed in my Blogger on Books series. She’s cool people and a damn talented writer.

Chimamanda, of course, who from her TED talks to books like The Thing Around Her Neck (also reviewed on Blogger on Books) and, sadly, still on my to-read list Americannah, stays being thoughtfully and fearlessly provocative.

Edwidge Dandicat whom I fear meeting for the ways I would embarrass myself gushing about The Farming of Bones and Create Dangerously (also reviewed in Blogger on Books) especially, but all of her writing, really, including her short stories, which I’ve blogged about in my series spotlighting female Caribbean writers of short fiction.

Eric Jerome Dickey, forever, a fAntiguan.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tananarive Due whose The Black Rose I’m currently reading (as I mentioned in my last Sunday Post) and whose short zombie film you should check out if you haven’t already.

(which I mention, yes, because I love zombie stories so much I’ve even written my own – Zombie Island, published in Interviewing the Caribbean).

Terry McMillan, the goddess of contemporary African American lit with books like Waiting to Exhale (love) and my favourite Disappearing Acts.

Toni Morrison before whom we all bow down with our unworthiness (my personal recs are Jazz, Sula, The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon…actually, read them all; she just stays being complex and challenging and interesting and essential).

And others; 12 in the lead so far…and much as I love these writers (respect to the ones I haven’t yet discovered), I agree with AALBC, let’s mix this up. So, here’s where you go to vote.

Do these lists matter? Who cares, go and show your faves some love. It’s a write-in vote so you get to push a writer you think everyone else should be reading, and that’s one way to show that writer some love.