Poster for 347 Club

I phoned Ronald, owner of the Club 347, and I explained that his club is featured in In The Mirror.  He asked why, and I told him because his club is very popular in Baltimore City.  Everyone who is serious about music goes there.  And since one of the characters plays the trumpet, I thought it would be special to have him play at 347.

I asked Ronald if I could place some flyers 347 to promote In The Mirror, and he said I could bring 2 posters!  I was so shocked and happy.  I told him that I would stop by and bring the poster, as well as a signed copy of In The Mirror for him.  The only problem was, I didn’t have a poster.  I had a little brochure that I’ve been passing out.  They aren’t even in color, because my budget is so slim that I can only afford color for my press packets.  So are the struggles of an author.  But that doesn’t mean I will not get the poster.  I designed one using Powerpoint, a picture of the cover, and a photo our daughter, Nina, took of me while we were at Cylburn Auboretum videotaping her dolls for another video for her Doll City channel.  (By the way, she is getting so good at making those movies.)

Anyway, here’s what I came up with.  I put it on my Facebook page and everyone loved it.  I’m proud of it myself.  I plan to have it posted inside club 347 by the end of the week.

Why Do You Write?

In an interview with Kay Bonetti, Gloria Naylor stated that she writes “because I have no choice.”   When I first heard this interview, I thought that Naylor was being a little dramatic.  But now that I am able to accept and see myself as a writer, I understand why she feels this way.  I write because I have to get these stories out of my head and on paper.  It’s hard a lot the time because I still have a day job that pays the bills, so I can’t get the stories written as quickly as they come.  And they haunt me, and some of the characters actually taunt me.  I can’t wait to get them all on paper.  I don’t even care if anyone gets to read the stories. I just have to get them out of my head and into a book so I can read them and they will be satisfied.

What The Other Woman Knows

If you were to ask the other woman what she knows about her boyfriend, she would probably say something like, he is not in love with this wife.  He’s only there for the children.  As soon as the timing is right, he’ll leave his wife and marry her.  If the wife was doing her job he wouldn’t be sleeping with me.  His wife is not as pretty as I am.  His wife doesn’t listen to him the way I do.

If you ask the other woman about her married boyfriend, she would tell you a slew of things about his wife.


Honey, It’s Cold Outside

Weather plays a very important part in a book.  It is used to create and underscore the mood/tone of the story and its characters.  If a character is feeling sad, it will be raining.  If he’s happy, it will be sunny.  But you can also switch the weather to show the opposite.  If a character is depressed and you want to really emphasize that mood, you write about clear, blue skies and have her looking at happy people, which really marks her depressed state.  The trick is not to simply use weather to fill up a page.  Think about how weather can move your story forward.  So, is the day sunny, brisk, freezing, frosty, nippy, hot, humid, torrid, clam, balmy, warm, seasonable, cloudy, dark, misty, murky, smoggy, rainy, freezing rain, draft, flurry, windy, dog days?

Exit Stage Right

Characters have a way of moving that says something about who they are.  So really think about how your characters enter and exit a scene.

Did he/she amble, clomp, dart, flit, fly, gallop, ramble, scurry, skitter, slosh, stagger, prowl, lumber, sprint, stomp, waltz, tiptoe, stroll or swagger in or out of a room?

Each of these movements imply something.  Give some thought to that something.  Does it fit your character’s personality?  Does it go against it?  If your character is an easygoing person, he/she will ease into a scene.  But if he/she is going through something, he/she might lumber or burst in.  Think about how your characters are walking and why.  What type of mood are they in?  Where do they want their movement to take them?  What do they want their movement to get them.  When writing about movement, think about how dancers express themselves.  How they lift their arms and heads a certain way.  How they drag their feet or leap across the stage.  You can do the same with your characters on paper.


I’ve read a number of books that give great writing tips.  I’ll share them under the Writing Tips category.

In his book the Fiction Writer’s Silent Partner, Martin Roth writes, “The three basic elements of storytelling are to get your protagonist up a tree, throw rocks at him or her, and then get your protagonist safely down the tree.” 

I love that statement, because that is exactly what we do as writers.  We put our characters in horrible positions then throw all kinds of things at them.  Sometimes they make it out okay.  Other times . . .

Wish I’d Thought of That

Authors admire and are inspired by the works of other writers, whether they be novelists, playwrights, poets, songwriters, scriptwriters or nonfiction writers.  We often find a line or two that we consider to be the best group of words ever written.  We can quote those lines verbatim.  We’ll find ourselves drawn to those words when our own words elude us. Those lines trigger something in our minds, hearts, souls, and before we know it, our fingers are taping rapidly on the keyboard, our pens and pencils are gliding over notebook paper as we write about settings with detail so strong we can see them, characters so unusal that you can’t believe they just came from your imagination,  plots so full of discovery, motivation, suspense, and conflict that you feel like this story is happening to someone right now.  After reading or listening to your favorite lines, suddenly you are overflowing with words that are just as inspirational as the ones that we hold in such high regard.  Below is a list of a just a few lines I believe are the best ever written.  Feel free to add yours to the list.

She felt her face smiling.  “Well, I’ll be damned,” she thought, “it didn’t even hurt. Wait’ll I tell Nell.”  Sula in Toni Morrison’s novel, Sula.

 And maybe I took it to old lady Simons and told her, and maybe the money was all there but I got a three-day vacation anyway, because the money never showed up.  And maybe the next week, old lady Simons had this brand-new skirt on when she came to school.”  Chris Chambers in Stephen King’s novella, The Body.

“How did you hurt your arm?” they asked.  “Who hurt you?”  My attention was captured by the word they used: Hurt.  As though I’d scratched my arm.  Didn’t they think I knew it was gone?  Dana from Octavia Butler’s novel, kindred.

“these hips are magic hips. i have known them to put a a spell on a man and spin him like a top!”  homage to my hips, a poem by Lucille Clifton

“Sheets of warmth wavered above the ground like hallucinations . . .” Just Cause John Katzenbach 

“Mother, mother

There’s too many of you crying

Brother, brother brother

There’s far too many of you dying.

You know we’ve got to find a way

To bring some lovin’ here today–Ya.”  What’s Going On Marvin Gay

“Ain’t gonna let nobody, Lordy, turn me ’round,

Turn me ’round, turn me ’round,

Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ’round,

I’m gonna keep on a-walkin’,

Keep on a-talkin’,

Marching up to freedom land.” Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round, Liberation Movement song adapted from a gospel.

“But the one thing we did right.

Was the day we started to fight.

Keep your eyes on the prize,

Hold on, hold on.”  Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Freedom Song  

“That man over there say that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere.  Nobody ever helped me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or give me the best place! And ain’t I a woman?  Look at me!  Look at my arms!  I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me!  And ain’t I a woman?”  Sojourner Turth, 1867.