Jedah Mayberry

SONY DSCHe began writing as a diversion on those late nights after his eldest daughter was born. He’s had his head down ever since, writing anytime he found a spare moment, steadily progressing.

Jedah explains his struggles as a writer and how he feels about feedback, “I find operating in a vacuum completely miserable. So few opportunities exist for critical feedback. It’s difficult to know whether you’re on the right track. Eventually, a rejection letter will include a bit of encouragement, some mention of something that resonated with the reviewer. An acquisition editor returned an early copy of a manuscript I submitted completely marked in red. It showed that she thought enough of my work to take the time to give the piece a thorough read. Ultimately, she passed on the project. But that encouragement lit a fire under me to work in greater earnest on improving my writing.”

His latest book is a story about brothers. “I have an older sister. Growing up, we pursued individual interests, maintained separate groups of friends. I was interested to see how boys relate, how they come to depend on one another, what might happen to one if he were left without the other. I read “I Know this Much is True” by Wally Lamb. The book is set in southeastern CT, near to where I grew up. It also tells a story of brothers. Lamb introduces “a person of color”, uses his circumstance to establish bounds across which his main characters would be best served to not venture. My story picks up where his left off, my protagonists falling in age some years behind this ancillary character of Lamb’s. I visit some of the same places that appeared in his book, explore similar themes only told from the perspective of the person of color, the persons left on the fringe in his story taking center stage in The King of PPM.”

With publishing and writing being new to the writer, I asked how he got into publishing this book. “The book is based on my second completed manuscript. After years shopping another piece I’d been working, I took an extended writing workshop, again in the interest of continuous improvement. I had the kernel of an idea for a new story in my head, but wasn’t sure where it might lead. The first couple chapters of the book grew out of weekly workshop exercises. Shortly after completing the workshop, I attended a local book festival. I sat in on a panel discussion on pitching to prospective agents and editors. One of the panel members seemed to take an individualized approach to each person’s query. Soon after, I submitted my newly completed manuscript to the book group he represented (along with the flood of other places to which I had been submitting) and things took hold from there.

Jedah explains his writing method, “I’m constantly writing. I keep a folder of potential titles, story fragments, passing thoughts. The folder is linked to my phone, tablet, computer. Whatever’s close at hand. Once a story reaches critical mass, I transfer it to a more structured document. As far as content goes, I use place to a large degree to frame a piece I’m developing. Like a main character, I believe the region in which a story takes place sets the tone for the direction the narrative can take. I set out to create a world in this place, fill it with people then dig into the intricacies of their lives. I generally have some idea where I want to take the story. I create little story islands working a scene at a time to propel the storyline, quite often surprised myself by the twists and turns that work themselves in. From there, I go back and fill in the gaps between islands, layering in detail. I repeat this process several times before I deem the story ready to share, with an editor or beta reader, even a close friend.”

With the literary field being so wide and the goals endless, I asked Jedah about his personal goals for his literary career. “To establish a literary voice grounded in the world I know. I include elements, hip hop, jazz, blues, fishing, baseball, martial arts to anchor the story to a place I find relatable while staying mindful of literary intent, of quality storytelling.”

Jedah was a top ten finalist for Best New Author by the National Book Festival. I asked him about this accomplishment. “Though I didn’t win, the experience gave me a tremendous boost of confidence. Awarded based on something I’d written, it meant somebody dug my work, that my voice connected with someone.” He went on to say, “It prompted me to write more, to focus on refining my technique. Even with a published book in hand, the feeling of operating in a vacuum persists. This validated that an audience exists for my work. Those little boosts fuel the tank, give me energy to press on, to keep going.”

Jedah explains his plans for his next book and what his readers can expect in 2014. “I used the experience of getting a book through the editing process to resume work on the manuscript I started with originally. It’s also a coming of age story. Set in the south, it has a different vibe than KoPPM, but holds promise to be relatable in a similar way. It has undergone significant revision. I’m currently proofreading before resubmitting. I’ve begun pursuing online publishing opportunities (EtherBooks, The Snippet App) to raise visibility for my work. I’ve used them to give things I’d shelved new life as well as a venue to work out new content. I recently released a two part series, Would Be Twins and Iron Bones (http://www.thesnippetapp.com/writers/jedahmayberry/ ), taken from what promises to be the next book.”

PEN’Ashe Magazine wishes Jedah much success with his literary career.

About the Author

JEDAH MAYBERRY is an emerging fiction writer, born in New York, raised in southeastern CT, the backdrop for his fiction debut. He was a top ten finalist for the 2013 Best New Author Award sponsored by the National Black Book Festival. He also garnered honorable mention in Glimmer Train’s April 2012 Family Matters Short Story Contest. He currently resides with his wife and teenage daughters in Austin, TX.

Follow the Author

Author on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6965080.Jedah_Mayberry

Facebook: http://facebook.com/JMberryFictionWriter

Twitter: @JedahMayberry

Getting to Know your Blog

magazine pictureWhen selling your product, a great way to do so is by creating a blog. If you are a new author or newly creating your own business, then this is the number one key to letting your audience know who you are and what product you are trying to sell. Let’s check out some of these great tips for blogging so you may understand the importance as an author, writer or literary business owner.

1)      Who are you targeting?

When beginning a blog, whether for the books you have written or companies you own, make sure you are very specific on your audience and who they should be. For instance, if you write romance novels, find an audience that’s interested in reading novels about romance or, better yet, ones who do book reviews about romance novels. You want to make sure you brand yourself, put yourself out there, and find a suitable audience.

2) Visual is Key

Blogging tells the story of oneself. Not only words, a “rainbow effect ” to back up the words means more. YouTube videos of your book trailer is highly recommended and if you have interviews from your books, you can post those as well. For literary business owners, visuals of commercials, links to connect with you on Facebook and other social media outlets are just as important. Think of it as selling all of what you offer.

3) Include Excerpts in your Blog (Mainly Authors)

Blog on topics that the readers will enjoy and understand. Make sure you include book excerpts so that the readers can get a taste of your writing style. Book readers and book lovers are always looking for books that “pop.” If the excerpts aren’t interesting, chances are they will bypass them and move on to the next book. Keep it tasty and keep it classy!

4) Let your personality shine!

There’s no other way to show your readers and your audience your blogging skills than to allow your personality to shine. Allow people to “feel you” through your blog – meaning let them know that you blog positively and that you are positive! For literary business owners, you can inspire your fans by putting up inspirational quotes. Something for authors and writers as well, make your readers smile within each post of your blog.

5) Blog/post often as you can!

This is a VERY IMPORTANT tip for ALL bloggers. If you decide to create a blog for your business, be mindful that when you promote your blog to everyone, they are going to expect to see more of your work. Create an editorial calendar that has a listing of your topics and themes that readers will enjoy reading. Create days that you are willing to dedicate your time to building up your blog to make it look presentable.

Four Ways to Promote Your Work Without Being (A Complete) Jerk

Rochelle Pic1)  Even if it’s hard, find other writers to read your work. In 2012, I had long left behind my M.F.A. program and was therefore out of touch with other writers, but I wanted to write a book. Looking back, I know that the book I ended up self-publishing had some original moments, but it wasn’t as strong as it could have been. What I needed was someone to tell me the hard, cold truth about what was working, what wasn’t, and why. On the surface, this may not sound like marketing or promotional work, but if we believe that readers want to read good work, then it makes sense that we’ll have more readers if our work is strong. You can find talented writers through writing workshops such as the Hurston-Wright Foundation, VONA , the National Black Writers Conference, and at writers retreats such as the Vermont Studio Center, Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and Bread Loaf.

2)  Attend as many readings as you can. Be truly passionate about literary community. If you’re someone who is an active reader, your writing will get better (see tip #1), and because people will recognize you as someone who cares about the literary community, they will want to support you and nurture your writing career.

3)  Be a good online literary citizen. A lot of writers have Twitter and Facebook accounts-they’re almost a given for anyone with a book out. But the concept of being a good literary citizen online is discussed less. Being engaged–following, listening to other writers, and discussing them on social media–is part of being a good online literary citizen. Your Twitter and Facebook feeds should overflow with the witty ideas of other writers; with social media, you have the opportunity to read the thoughts of writers ranging from the hilarious Mat Johnson to the somewhat morose Joyce Carol Oates.

Recent and upcoming events/sightings: Nelly Rosario, Sheila Maldonado, and Marcena Hernandez at Kweli Journal’s Desveladas: A Fotonovela Jan. 16; Randall Horton, Shirley Kwan, and Madeleine Beckham at the HarlemWorks Reading Jan. 17; The Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Celebration Jan. 16-Jan. 17; Taneika Wilder and Marc Polite at the Independent Author Symposium at Countee Cullen Library Jan. 30 ; Chris Abani and Victor LaValle Jan. 30 at Community Bookstore

Author Paulette Harper in the Spotlight

“I believe my struggle as a writer is being able to stay focused because of so many distractions in life. I know I need to write, but life tends to pull me away for what I really want to do,” Paulette says when I asked about her struggles as a writer. She’s written two Christian non-fiction, inspirational books, a Christian fiction novel, one novella, an author’s manual, and two anthologies.

With Paulette’s hectic schedule, she’s also a business owner and wears many hats. “Because I have a desire to see other aspiring writer’s dreams come to reality, I’ve created Write Now Literary workshops. These workshops are designed to coach aspiring writers in the areas of creativity, development, and publication of Christian books. God has given me a desire for writers, especially those who want to write for the Lord. Through these workshops, I provide tools, resources, and opportunities to help writers succeed in the industry. I am also the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours, a company that organizes book tours for authors of Christian genre, authors of children’s book, and authors of clean books.”

Each writer that I’ve come in contact with has a different way of writing and producing quality work. I asked Paulette what her method of writing was. This is what she had to say, “Before doing anything, I make sure I’m in a quiet area, free from distractions. When I’m ready to write, I sit at my laptop and begin writing. Depending on the chapter I’m working on, that determines the direction I’ll go. I am able to write as long as there is a constant flow. I find that writing in the morning is the best time for me.  I live a very productive life with family, church, and juggling my businesses. Therefore, if I don’t start my day off in this fashion, everything else will pull from my time and attention.”

Being in the genre of Christian Fiction, Paulette says as an inspirational and fiction writer, she writes to inspire and empower readers. “I write because I feel I have a message to share with readers, not only to entertain readers but to help them grow spiritually. I love to mix real-life stories into my fiction. Although each story is unique, we experience some of the same feelings, situations, and challenges in life in which the reader can identity. With the ability to craft fiction books, it gives me the opportunity to live through each character. When it comes to non-fiction, true stories, I always want to stir the heart of men.”

The literary business has changed a lot. One question I like to ask authors, writers and professionals who have been a part of this business for a while what their thoughts are on today’s industry. “As it relates to Indie Authors, the publishing industry has taken notice to some great Wordsmiths. At one time, the industry frowned upon Indie authors and did not take them seriously; but with the advancement of social media, Indie authors have risen to the platform and have made a name for themselves. I believe e-books have also helped Indie authors reach a wider audience of readers.”

“When it relates to writing fiction, I believe I must improve on developing my characters so that the readers can identify more with them.” Paulette give her advice and tips from her experience. “I would highly recommend to those who are aspiring to become authors to be patient with the process of becoming well-known. Connecting with your audience and branding yourself will take time. Especially for new writers, the market is flooded with books for readers to choose from; so by keeping this in mind, you must be able to patiently wait for your time to shine.”

With 2014 being a year of success, readers can expect growth and development as from Paulette. She’s also working on the sequel to Living Separate Lives.”

More about Paulette

Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008. Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print.

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/PauletteHarperAuthor

Facebook readers group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/52554599435/

Amazon Author Profile: http://tinyurl.com/mvzj65j

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/pauletteharper

Buy Links

Amazon e-book: http://amzn.com/B00GLF5BW0

Barnes & Noble e-book: http://tinyurl.com/lv5g79b

Featuring The Greatest Poet Alive

Name: James Gordon

Poet/Stage name: G.P.A. (Greatest Poet Alive)

Website/Social Media name and links:

http://www.iblowyourmind.net

http://www.reverbnation.com/gpagreatestpoetalive?profile_view_source=profile_box

Facebook – G.P.A. “Greatest Poet Alive” Livingston

Twitter: @gr8estpoetalive

G.P.A. Bio: G.P.A. (Greatest Poet Alive) is the author of four books of Poetry (The Confessional Heart of a Man, The Book of 24 Orgasms, The Mind of a Poetic Unsub, and Revenge of the Orgasm), contributed to several anthologies, and has released one cd (The G.P.A. Experience), and his second is on the way, GPApocalypse Forever. He is the winner of the Moth Storytelling Slam, Poetry Pentathlon, and Black Essence Award, as well as having been nominate Poet of the Year for three years and Book of the Year twice. Currently, G.P.A. has added acting to his resume with two movies (Persian Version and Animals) and television shows (Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, and Mind Games). G.P.A. proudly claims Chicago as his home.

Name of latest publication: Revenge of the Orgasm

It is Spoken

A Poetic Flow from our March/April Featured Poet: G.P.A.

We are truly honored to have the opportunity to interview the most prolific, gifted and dynamic person in the world of poetry these days in James Gordon, better known as G.P.A., Greatest Poet Alive. Not only does he represent the top echelon in the poetry genre, but he also reps one of the most influential cities in the world: Chicago. The hustle and bustle of the city matches the persona of G.P.A. His new book, Revenge of the Orgasm (Book #2 of the Orgasm series) quantifies what is earned for everything that’s associated with hard work and a creative mind. Like a major city that creates ways of staying relevant to its people, G.P.A. does the same for his fans by creating relevant poems.

G.P.A., you are such a busy man – I don’t think I have ever interviewed an author who has a busier schedule. Please, tell us your secret for spreading your poetic love around in the time frame that is given.

“First, thank you for the interview. With a genre that some consider ‘dead’ like Poetry, you have to work a tad harder. Also, when you give yourself a moniker like ‘Greatest Poet Alive’, it is important to be very visible and show above average adeptness in the craft as well. I don’t sleep much and drink good beer and whiskey.”

What’s hot right now on the poetic tip is your latest masterpiece: Revenge of the Orgasm, the second book in the Orgasm series. Can you please tell us how the idea come about, and what, if any, differences there are between the two books?

“I saw Wynter Ramos’ book on the VH1 show, ‘Love and Hip Hop’, and I thought aloud, ‘Couldn’t that book have been written without names being mentioned?’ And I answered the affirmative, so I wrote it.”

G.P.A. is referring to the show’s Winter Ramos’ book Game Over, a tell-all memoir of her life in the world of Hip Hop. G.P.A. used that book’s forum to “tell all” in his own ways:

“The Book of 24 Orgasms was my initial jump into writing sensual Poetry. A lot of the poems were me visualizing things I wanted to do and with women sexually. Revenge of the Orgasm is those visualizations that came to life. That is why I believe this book has taken off so well is because the poems convey the true events that occurred.”

Like I mentioned, you stay busy. What is the rundown of the things you have going on right now (shows, books, social media, etc.)?

“I am going to tear the stage of the Harlem Book Fair down!!! Okay, my radio show ‘G.P.A. Talks Everything’ has taken off on BlaqRayn Radio. I host a live open mic ‘Poetry’s Love Letter’ in Chicago at Let Them Eat Chocolate (5306 N. Damen), as well as a variety show, ‘Café Cabaret’ that takes place at Café Ballou (939 N. Western). GPApocalypse Forever, my newest cd, will be out. And I am completing my first novel, Bobo’s Middle School Adventures. Whew! Woo!!!”

The enthusiasm is contagious and well deserved as G.P.A. spreads the good word of his work to the masses. That’s what it takes to stay on top. G.P.A. educates that poetry as alive and well, and that the genre will not sleep as long as he has can wake up the poets that need to recognize that G.P.A. has busted down all the doors.

What (or who) keeps your interest going in your continued success in writing poetry?

“To be in the conversation of one of the best and well known Poets ever is what drives me day and night to continue to get better and be more innovative. Plus, there are people rooting for me that I cannot let down.”

They say, “don’t let success go to your head”, how has success in the world of poetry benefitted G.P.A.?

“This may sound funny, but success has gone to my head. And it is those thoughts that make me go harder, write and perform better. You have people who dig and don’t dig your ascension, but you go, sow, and reap fruit. Once you taste fruit like I have, you don’t want to taste the bitter. I like winning.”

That’s #winning is the social media world, and SUCCESSFUL in G.P.A.’s world.

Musings:

Take us into your musing session; what did it take in starting Revenge of the Orgasm on your pen-to-paper session to that serious poetic flow towards success?

Heineken, Jim Beam, music, the company of beautiful women all helped in writing Revenge of the Orgasm.

What reactions have you gotten from both men and women on the provocative, twisting of steamy erotic words that flow throughout the book?

“You know what? Men have really showed me love!! And they have been men from all over the world. Shocking right? A lot of men, especially male Poets, don’t typically show another male Poet love unless you’re in their clique or whatever, but this has been different. Now the ladies…Woo!!! Oh my Gosh. They are thrown off guard because of the verbiage used. It isn’t the typical what you might read or hear. Ladies love G.P.A. I did that to them!! Woo!!!”

Life experiences play a major role in writing. What do your experiences provide for Revenge of the Orgasm?

The many intimate and sexual experiences I have had women provided the beginning, middle, and ending for Revenge of the Orgasm. The greatest trick G.P.A. did was writing a book of about intimacy and sex without naming names and providing so much electric sizzle.

Last Words: G.P.A. gives us an exclusive from his brilliant and poetic mind.

Just wrote this…..

Face toward light at end of tunnel or heaven’s gate matters not to me…wait moisturize phallic stage and exit serving as entrance waist is handhold, spine my highway, and screams horns urging acceleration enter like DEA agents upon a suspicious house enter like famished fat men fondling themselves before opening doors of a gentlemen’s club enter as if no pain will come to you.

Loud grunt, a sound we both share spot with seventh letter on opposite other side; believe from here we can reach there. ignore please whether negative or urging machinations to rock Terra off its axis hard thrusts turn tumultuous tearing inhibitions from its skeletal frame somewhere between affirmations and negations, voice, yours, utters my name.

Knees buckle, again yours, while natural tightness closes around obelisk legs, torso, chest, brain, and soul quake in anticipation successful reaching mutuality in apex collapsing has duality, you upon hood of car of 15th floor of parking garage, me on you rhetorical query, did i exit entrance or exit…

“I wrote this poem inside of a group on Facebook while listening to Justin Beiber’s PYD. I dig all aspects of sexual pleasure. This poem indicates one of them.”

Question of the Month

Brandie RandolphQuestion: When I view a book with bad editing, is it the editor’s fault or the author’s? Hasn’t the author been taken advantage of by being given poorly edited work?

Answer: I have dealt with this issue with many times. Book clubs, Facebook and social media have made it very easy to call someone’s manuscript poorly edited because, suddenly, everyone is an expert on the subject. In last month’s article, I discussed the different types of editing. Those different types entail a different product that the author is paying for. Obviously, as you get into more detailed types of editing, prices increase. There are manuscripts that desperately need developmental editing, but the author does not wish to shell out the money to acquire said editing. They opt to go for the cheaper copyediting and are hurt in the end. All too often, the blame is placed on the editor from the client and readers when, in fact, the author just didn’t care enough to pay for what they really needed. I always say that authors need to invest in their work fully if they expect readers to pay for it. Don’t go the cheap route and have your readers paying for a sub-par product. If you can’t afford the needed editing, you aren’t ready to publish. Period. That being said, there ARE true cases where the editing was done poorly, needs to be redone, or one or both parties’ expectations were not cohesive. Give the editor and the author a chance to correct the problem and offer you their best product in the end. We are in this together and most are self-published authors. Offer constructive criticism that can be beneficial versus malicious judgment that helps no one, including the industry as whole, in the end.

Ask the editor today! 

Question of the Month

Brandie RandolphQuestion: When I view a book with bad editing, is it the editor’s fault or the author’s? Hasn’t the author been taken advantage of by being given poorly edited work?

Answer: I have dealt with this issue with many times. Book clubs, Facebook and social media have made it very easy to call someone’s manuscript poorly edited because, suddenly, everyone is an expert on the subject. In last month’s article, I discussed the different types of editing. Those different types entail a different product that the author is paying for. Obviously, as you get into more detailed types of editing, prices increase. There are manuscripts that desperately need developmental editing, but the author does not wish to shell out the money to acquire said editing. They opt to go for the cheaper copyediting and are hurt in the end. All too often, the blame is placed on the editor from the client and readers when, in fact, the author just didn’t care enough to pay for what they really needed. I always say that authors need to invest in their work fully if they expect readers to pay for it. Don’t go the cheap route and have your readers paying for a sub-par product. If you can’t afford the needed editing, you aren’t ready to publish. Period. That being said, there ARE true cases where the editing was done poorly, needs to be redone, or one or both parties’ expectations were not cohesive. Give the editor and the author a chance to correct the problem and offer you their best product in the end. We are in this together and most are self-published authors. Offer constructive criticism that can be beneficial versus malicious judgment that helps no one, including the industry as whole, in the end.

Ask the editor today!