An Author’s Journey

When I reexamine my life’s journey, I realize that my path to becoming an author and illustrator began in my childhood. I’ve always been a very imaginative person. In fact, on the elementary school level I was given a book by my school as a creative writing award. The title of that book was The Planet of Junior Brown by Virginia Hamilton. The funny thing about that is I never read the book as I grew up, but I remember constantly reading the inscription to me placed inside the front cover. I also always remembered the cover of the book as well. The words were so powerful to me. I had been given the book because I was a good writer. That thought resonated with me.

Earlier this year, I borrowed the book from the public library online. What a story! It moved me to tears at times. Everyone should read that book. The message is as powerful today as it was when it was written. No spoiler alert here, but the concept of homelessness is a major part of the plot. I digress.

In my preteen years, I was reminded that I was a pretty good artist too. I attended a gifted school on the intermediate level, and I decided to take a specialized school test to get into a high school where artistic ability was a must. I remember drawing a beautiful bird. As you probably guessed, I got into the high school of my choice.

I would go on to become a teacher and use both skills constantly throughout my career. Today, I’m announcing the release of my first children’s picture book, Blue, where I get to showcase myself as both author and illustrator of my book. I hope you will give my book as a gift during this holiday season. I hope it lifts your spirit, makes you think, and turns you into a bird watcher. Happy holidays from my heart to yours!

Corrie Cocker Spaniel, my first children’s book is also available on Amazon and at Barnes and Nobles.

Click the book cover for more information.

Summer Reading Kickoff 2019

Taylor and I at the Summer Reading Kickoff 2019

The summer Reading Kickoff 2019 was an awesome experience. I met so many interesting people at the Saratoga Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The children and their parents from the community made me feel right at home. In addition, the staff was welcoming and helpful to boot. They had so many wonderful activities for the children to engage in at this event.

Saniyah and I posed together for pictures.

Reading my book to the children at my childhood library was a dream come true. I feel like I’ve come full circle in my life now in more ways than one. Just seeing the smiles on the children’s faces makes me very happy. They colored coloring pages of my book’s main character and engaged in conversation with me about my book. It was an unforgettable day!

These two beautiful sisters had their faces painted and also visited me with their mom.
We had lots of fun at my very first author event.
Thanks to Mr. Herbert for allowing me to participate in this event!

Mr. Herbert gave me this incredible opportunity to share my work in the community where I grew up. I am forever thankful to him for his kindness. I would also like to thank Ms. Pace who organized the event along with Mr. Herbert and Ms. Monica Williams who is the manager of the Saratoga Branch of the Public Library. They are all serving this community very well. Keep up the good work!

Author Event

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Well, I did it. They confirmed me to be a part of the Summer Reading kickoff at my childhood library. Going into the library to get information and volunteer my time has led to my first event as a published author. I’m so excited. My family and friends and former students are all coming to support me.

Reading to the children, giving away a book, and signing a book for one lucky visitor will be my pleasure. It feels good to give back to the community I grew up in. Retiring allowed me to be more generous with my time. Before I didn’t have the energy to volunteer after working a full day at school, grading papers after work, calling parents, cooking dinner, and helping my child with homework. Now my child will assist me at this event. See how the tables turn? We are both venturing into new waters together and it feels great!

Podcasts or Apple iBook Store Options?

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Today I was thinking about how I could further build my brand and expand my distribution beyond Amazon. Amazon is an amazing powerhouse at selling books worldwide, but I’d like to see my book on different platforms. Apple is a whole different world! Most people I know own Apple products, so they would like to have books on their iBook shelves. However, if I go for it, I may not use the same kindle cover according to representatives at Amazon. So in retrospect, I’m leaving that idea behind for now. I also wanted to do an audible book, but changing covers may cause my book buyers confusion. What do you think? Leave a comment if you have any advice for me on this topic.

On the other hand, doing a podcast about my experiences after retirement can also help me gain more exposure as an author. Podcasting is like radio broadcasting in the good old days. I can see myself sitting in jeans and and a t-shirt once a month broadcasting my thoughts on a wide range of topics to the world. And just think I can do all this for free!

Today, I set up my icon and intro music. Now I have to find a nice quiet place and time to record. Wish me luck!

Paperback

Here is the cover of my paperback book.

Three of the five paperback books I ordered arrived yesterday evening, and I’m quite impressed. The cover was way more impactful than the first edition. The story was deeper and more insightful than the first. All the tinkering and tweaking I’ve done really paid off. This time my dream of writing and publishing a book was more real than surreal. I can envision this product being sold in a bookstore, sitting on a shelf in a library, and then selected by a child eagerly waiting to read my book. Yes, I said it my book.

I thought of all the books I read as a child and all the books I read as an adult. I could see in my mind the many libraries I’d been to throughout my life and imagine what others would think when picking up my book from a shelf to read. Wow! What an amazing feeling! It’s a feeling of pride in one’s work I’m experiencing this time around. I wish I could share this feeling with the world!

Now it’s your turn to live your dream and develop your passions. Go for it!

Here is the cover of my Kindle ebook.

Leave comments below about how you think I can advertise my book for free outside of placing it on Amazon for sale.

Published!

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I did it! I finally published the revised second edition of my children’s book. My Author Central page is up and running, too. If you’d like to look at it, click on the link below. Wish me luck!

Click this image of my book cover to see my Author Central page.

At of this moment I don’t have my copy in my hands. I’ll have it soon, though. I’ve learned so much more about writing and publishing a book this time around. I know my next book will be easier to publish because of the knowledge I’ve gained. Remember my goal was to publish at least two books in 2019, so I’m well on my way to achieving my goal.

So You Want to Self-Publish a Book!

My first book was self-published on Createspace years ago. As of 2019, Createspace has merged with Kindle Direct Publishing. So I’ll revisit my first manuscript today and make a decision about whether or not I want to pay for editing, formatting, and a new privately owned ISBN number. I want to take my book to the next level this time. So it’s time to take the book out of the attic so to speak, dust it off, and make it ready for resale.

For those of you out there who are considering following suit, that is you are trying to publish a book through a free source you can watch the video below for a few tips.

Here’s to happy writing! I’ll be back with updates on how far I’ve gone in the process soon. Until then keep writing!

What’s Next?

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I was on a natural high after my mother’s event, but what was I going to do next? Well, I’d self-published a book a few month’s after my father passed away, however, I’d kept the release of the book pretty secretive and low key. I was a bit afraid of the criticism I might get from people who knew me directly. So I only disclosed this venture to a few of my closest friends and family members. My mom wanted to take a truckload of the books no matter what their condition to sell at a family reunion she was attending that May. You know how mothers are. Anything that their children create is considered a masterpiece no matter what other people think of it. Well, I was able to convince her not to take the books with her. I said I don’t think my book is ready to be released to a large audience yet. I just want to do a trial run on Amazon for now.” As you can imagine my book didn’t sell well. However, I didn’t take it personally. I was just beginning to focus on an old passion I’d had since my childhood. In addition, after losing my dad I just felt like giving birth to something. I knew I wasn’t going to have another child at that age, so why not give birth to a book. I digress.

So one of the things I intend to do now is really working on my writing. I want to rerelease my first book and also publish my second children’s book this year. Writing this blog will also help me to improve my writing by actually writing almost every day. I’m also planning to build a bigger network, audience, and readership so my coming publishing endeavors will be more impactful. I want to encourage people who are beginning new chapters in their lives like me to pursue their passions. Pun intended for the use of the word chapters.