Yves Brown McClain: Literary Fierceness

Posts Tagged ‘Yves Brown McClain’

RIP, Wild Oats?

Posted by Dahlia on November 19, 2011

CEMETERY © D2xed | Dreamstime.com

So, I know I’ve been MIA for a while. (I see your eyes rolling and I hear you sarcastically mutter, “A while? You’ve been off the grid for about three months!”) Allow me to take a few moments to explain.

I’ve been having moments of personal reflection lately. And during this period, I wasn’t able to blog like I should. I felt that my direction was wrong, so I stopped rather than continue down the wrong path. In regards to my writing aspirations, I knew the talent was there, I tried to stay on top of industry knowledge, I set up my blog and social media accounts to build this platform. I even have a novel and novella under my belt. But it felt all my effort was for naught because every step forward I took, I got knocked back several. My novel’s release had been pushed back an embarrassing number of times. So, I took my issues to God and waited for an answer.

After some time, this is what was revealed to me about the novel:

“Be original. This story’s been told already.”

And I’m like, “Okay, but I’ve been working on this story for years! I’ve invested time and money on this novel. I have a cover for crying out loud. Do I just toss out all those years of work and go back to the drawing board?”

Again, “Be original.”

So, I thought about it further and I had to admit that my novel was feeling like a combo of a few of favorite TV shows: “Sex and the city”, “Girlfriends”, and “Single Ladies”.  I had identified chick-lit as the genre and my writing steered in that direction. So, if chick-lit isn’t my thing and all the themes that lie therein, then what should I be writing?

“Who said you had to be in a box? Be original.”

So what does it mean for the story “I” had deemed to be my breakout? I really don’t know. It hasn’t been revealed yet. But I recognize that “I” was trying to force it through.

As I continued to meditate, I realized that my proudest and most humbling moments are when something I’ve written has encouraged, motivated, empowered, or inspired someone. Perhaps with my novel, I have focused too much on the (mis)adventures of my MC, the jokes, the shoes, the drinking, and yes, the sex, instead of what the core of what the story was about. What initially motivated me to even write the story to begin with.  Healing a broken heart. Or, how do you mend a broken heart? (I know, that’s Al Green)

So, I find myself at an impasse. I can put this story in a vault, never to be seen or heard from again. Or just set it aside for awhile as I have a few other ideas that could not only entertain, but also do those aforementioned things and return to the story once it has been revealed how it shall be told. Or do I wait?

Decisions, decisions…but I think that just may have been my problem all this time. I felt the need to hurry and make a choice. So this time I won’t force it. I will be patient.

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Posted in Books, Encouragement & Motivation, Purpose, Wild Oats, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Blog Interview with Morgen Bailey featuring…moi!

Posted by Dahlia on August 30, 2011

Hi! Today’s post will be very brief. I just wanted to announce that I’m being featured over at Morgen Bailey’s blog today. My first interview…woot-woot!

Let me give you a little information about Morgen Bailey. She is a fiction writer out of the UK (so this means I just went international…BOOM!) Her blog is full of great information, such as blog interviews (such as the one I’m being featured on), author spotlights, guest posts, podcasts, writing tips, as well as her own work as a writer. Her blog interviews are open to any blogger/writer in any genre, so if you’d like to subscribe or even be featured on her blog, check out her Blog Interview page.

So, to check out my interview, please click here to go over to her page. Let me know what you think!

Peace & Blessings

Posted in Announcements, Author Interview, Marketing & Promoting | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Gotta have Girlfriends

Posted by Dahlia on August 1, 2011

I’ve got a ton of associates, just as many colleagues, and people I know that I think are generally good folks. Friends, specifically female ones, I can count on one hand. I’m talking about those real, true girlfriends that always has your back and will ride with you no matter what. Some you’ve been friends with since diapers. Some you met somewhere along the course of growing up, either in the sandbox, first day of school, sitting next to you in homeroom. Others you met in college. You sat behind her during freshman orientation. Perhaps she was the roommate that didn’t set your suite on fire (yes, this happened to me). Maybe you met her during that dreadful summer internship at XYZ Corporation the summer before junior year. Still, there are some you don’t connect with until your adult years, be it at work, church, the beauty salon, a networking event, et cetera.
I believe that the “girlfriend” relationship – that close bond with another female is a very significant one. A key relationship in life. True, some women don’t want to be bothered with female friends. Why? Because some women can get overly emotional, sometimes petty, and in some instances just flat out nasty. Just watch any reality show with a predominantly female cast. And in order to avoid the foolishness and dramatics, it can be easier just to have platonic male friends. But, still for most of us, we need girlfriends. That relationship is as important as the romantic one or the family one.
Think of the TV shows that celebrate and embrace the Girlfriend relationship: Girlfriends, Sex & The City, Single Ladies, Desperate Housewives, Laverne & Shirley, Kate & Allie (yeah, I went in the Way Back Machine for those last two). Or the books with strong female friendships, such as Misty & Reesy from Lolita Files’s Scenes From a Sistah, Getting to The Good Part, and Tastes Like Chicken. Or Savannah, Bernadine, Gloria, and Robin — the women from Terry McMillan’s Waiting To Exhale & Getting to Happy. Those are just a few examples of fictional girlfriends. And for the most part, those relationships are pretty solid, just like real-life friendships.

So, in celebration of the BFF, below is my little list of reasons why you need at least one Girlfriend in your life:
1. She’ll tell you those shoes are kick-ass and you need to buy them. Like now. Raht now. Same goes for that Coach bag.
2. She’ll cheer you on when that idea/dream/aspiration you’ve been pursuing makes you want to not just throw in the towel, but throw the damn thing out.
3. She’ll help you escape when dude with the ecru-hued teeth and breath from the pits of Hell gets all up in your personal space.
4. She understands that your manager is Satan’s mistress.
5. She’ll let you cry, vent, whine, whatever. You don’t have to “suck it up” with her.
6. She shows up at your house with the vodka, martini mix, and shaker when that date/day at work/ relationship has gone totally and completely wrong.
7. She holds your hair when you’ve overdone it on the vodka and martini mix.
8. So, Beaches, Steel Magnolias, AND A League of Their Own are on TV? Not only is she game, she’s bringing the cheesecake.
9. She thinks it is completely normal to eat an entire half-sheet of birthday cake by yourself. Matter of fact, she’ll grab a fork and take half.
10. Despite what that family member said about your lack of direction/husband/children/career, she always thinks you rock.

These are just a few reasons. I know there are more. What are your reasons that girlfriends are important? Why is the girlfriend in your life so important? What is it about her that makes you say that she’s more than a friend, she’s your sister?

Posted in Relationships | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Change the Game

Posted by Dahlia on July 28, 2011

Lately, I have been thinking of ways to expand my platform to get more readers. Like I mentioned before, I love the writers who follow me. Great relationships have been formed because of it, and while I know writers read, I really wanted to reach out to that reader that I’m writing for. And the majority of my posts haven’t been for the reader.

I subscribe to Kristen Lamb’s blog and get her updates in my email. For those who don’t know who this fabulous lady is, she is considered a social media expert. She has written a book titled We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and it’s all about platform building to attract a following of you guessed it, readers. Not even halfway (I was at about 22%) through her book, I saw that my strategy was wrong and I needed an overhaul of my blog. Simply put, with the imminent publication of my novella with a full novel to follow, I’ve got to change my game. However, I don’t want to lose the writers that have hopped on this journey with me. Supporting each other is
still important to me. At the same time, books generally don’t sell themselves,
especially if you’re going the independent route like I am. So, I’ve got to
reach my target audience and change the way I’ve been approaching social
networking.

So, here are the changes that I’m going to incorporate. **drumroll, please and thank you**

1. Blog title change

You may have already noticed this. I feel the new title is more inclusive of
not only this writing process but the content relevant to my genre and my style
of writing.

2. More frequent updates

No, I’m not going back to daily. I’m a writer who blogs, not a blogger who writes. I am pushing for three days a week. I want to dedicate my Wednesdays to my writer followers that have been hanging out with me since February. And since I like alliteration like that, Writer Wednesday is for you! Smooches!  :X

3. More reader friendly content

I write fiction. Specifically women’s fiction. Even more specifically chick-lit (and the occasional drama). My characters are predominantly African-American. So, my niche is African-American Chick Lit. So, I need to talk about things related to what someone reading African-American Chick Lit would read in a book: relationships (not just the romantic ones but the ones between parents and children, siblings, etc.), love, friendships, fashion, socializing, and maybe a little bit of drinking. Also included in this would be interviews from authors similar to me, book reviews of books in the same genre, etc.

4. A slight Twitter change

My original twitter handle was already ok. It was @ycbmcclain, but I felt
it was better to use my full professional name. It’s a part of branding. Unfortunately
@yvesbrownmcclain was too long, so I settled for @yvesbmcclain

I would HIGHLY recommend Kristen’s book to any writer trying to navigate the internet and all these social networking sites to engage readers. It can get overwhelming and time-consuming. The tips just make good common sense and can help you from spamming away your network. This is only the beginning of the revamp of my platform and I am very excited. You can get either the print or the electronic version. It’s so worth the investment in yourself, your brand, and your product.

Posted in Announcements, Marketing & Promoting, Publishing, Purpose, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Take it down a notch…

Posted by Dahlia on March 6, 2011

When I first started this blog, I wasn’t really sure of what to do with it. I wanted to promote my book, but I didn’t want it to be a continuous marketing vehicle of the book. You can only push the product so far before folks get annoyed. So, I decided to document my process to getting published as well as promote the book. Then, I happened upon the Crusade. It sounded like a great opportunity to network with people just like me. I have to say that participating in this initiative has been a very positive experience. I have had many days with 100+ views, my twitter follows have nearly tripled, and my Fan page is showing an increase. Who knew all these people wanted to hear me ramble on about beta readers, dashboards, and getting over WIP-sharing fears? Certainly not me. I also didn’t know I had this much to discuss until I made a commitment to it. The thing about blogging is that content is king, so I would brainstorm over topics or just put together a post about something I’ve experienced. In the midst of beefing up my blog, I started to neglect the very thing that I created the blog for: my book.

I’ve shared that Wild Oats has been a years-long process. That’s mainly due to the fact that I would work at it, then stop for a while, life would present something to me (i.e. getting married, moving to a new state, job-searching, a baby) and I wouldn’t be able to put as much work on the book as I wanted, then I would start back at it again and then the cycle would repeat itself. Last year (shortly after my 30th birthday), I committed to finishing my novel and I started finding ways to get some writing done – early in the morning, late at night, on breaks, during lunch, when my son takes his nap, etc. There’s something about when you turn 30 that sparks a fire under your butt. Makes you realize that now is the time to start walking in your purpose and your gift. At least that’s what turning 30 did for me. I did not want my story to be a perpetual WIP that’s often talked about, but never finished.

So, in order to finally move this story of mine out of WIP to published novel, I’ll have to scale back on my blog posts. I have to in order to finish this novel, start on the next one, and maintain some semblance of balance in my life. However, I want to maintain a schedule so that there’s order. Therefore, this post will be the last of my daily posts and starting Monday, March 7, I will post on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. As I get guest bloggers, I will try to schedule them in on days I don’t post. So, expect at least three new updates a week.

Thank you to all my new followers for staying on this journey with me. Your support is awesome. And for anyone that I’ve helped (or perhaps entertained) with my posts, I hope I can continue to do so.

Peace & Blessings, YBM

Posted in Announcements | Tagged: , , | 10 Comments »

Click them keys and Google me…

Posted by Dahlia on February 28, 2011

I was really surprised that when I checked my blog stats, one of the search engine terms used to get to this blog was my name (the other term was “use fuliguline in a sentence”). So, out of curiousity, I went to Google and put my name in. I figured I’d find a few things there –perhaps my twitter link or my LinkedIn profile. But, I was really surprised to find at least five pages on Google with my name somewhere in it. And for the most part, they’re all relevant to me as a writer. I even checked the images – my profile pictures and even my book cover (the one with the pen name) is there. This is very good.

It also made me grateful that I’ve always been careful about what I posted on Facebook and Twitter. I know this information can be accessed by anyone. Saying the wrong thing or posting the wrong picture can be really damaging. Participating in social networking without a filter can kill your dream before it’s even begun. My question is: have you ever Googled yourself? If so, did you like what you found? I’m glad to report that my “internet rep” is positively intact, and I’m striving to keep it that way.

So, not only can you tweet me, fan me, follow me, friend me, you can now find me on Google and even Bing. I’m (almost) famous! I’m already an “award-winning” blogger (lol)…If someone writes up a Wikipedia page on me, then I’ll know I made it.

Excuse me while I go two-step to Kim Zolciak’s “Google Me” 😉

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Oh, you fancy huh?

Posted by Dahlia on February 27, 2011

In the past week I have given you my two cents on pen names and sharing WIPs, lied to you, made you guess the driver of a VW Beetle, signed up for another blogfest (I get the feeling blogfests are like tattoos – once you get one, it can be hard to stop getting them) and shared my love of Girl Scout Cookies. And lookie here – I got an award for it! The Stylish Blogger award was bestowed to me by Cleveland Dietz II. There are, of course, conditions of acceptance: seven random facts and a list of other bloggers I’ve recently come across that I feel are worthy of this award. I don’t mind sharing the love, so here we go.

1. I have lived in seven different cities. Most moves were related to work or school. A few were related to lack of work. Here’s the breakdown:  Detroit, MI; Washington, DC ; Oxon Hill, MD; Fort Wayne, IN ; Manchester, CT; Indianapolis, IN ; Tampa, FL. I’ve been in Tampa for over three years now, so it’s looking pretty good that it’s where I’ll be for a while.

2. I used to be a flight attendant. I worked for a regional airline for roughly 18 months. I was also the “valedictorian” of my F/A training class. I enjoyed doing it, but it had its moments when it was very frustrating, such as when I couldn’t get a flight back home after a trip and was unable to spend my anniversary with hubby. Or the time I got stuck in Cincinnati due to snow. Or the time I got to the hotel the night before one of my trips and encountered a drunken, bleeding man in the lobby. Never stayed there again.

3. I majored in information systems and analysis in college. I picked it because I had always been fairly good with computers and thought I would make a good career in IT. It wasn’t until my senior year I realized that I had no desire for the field. However, I only had three courses left in the major and changing programs that late in the game would have extended my college stay. I didn’t want to be a super senior  and the degree was a BBA, so I had a good foundation. I went on and graduated on time.

4. I want a MFA. I’ve always wanted a master’s and I figure I might as well get one in an area I’m passionate about, so why not creative writing? I haven’t applied to any programs yet, but I see it happening in the future.

5. I am severely allergic to cats. I did not know this until I was an adult, though. I had a cat for eight years when I was a child and was always suffering from bronchitis or asthma issues. The cat went away and I no longer got sick. People have tried to vacuum, dust, lock away their kitties for me before I come over. However, I can always tell there’s a cat in the house. Runny nose, itchy eyes, shortness of breath, and my voice dropping lower than Barry White’s always gives it away.

6. I Love shoes. I have two shoe-related fantasy splurges: A pair of Manolo Blahniks and a pair of Christian Louboutins. And I want to pay for them in cash.

7. I love ultra fine-point colored sharpies. Why? As a writer, I can’t stand it when anything written has numerous typos and grammatical errors. I tend to look at everything on paper or PowerPoint as if I’m going to edit it. And I usually do. Which is why I need the sharpies. Spell check only gets you so far, print it out and read it aloud to make sure it is right…and yes, I am especially hard on myself when I make a typo or grammar error.

So, there you have it…more random factoids about me. I am now passing the torch to the following bloggers I think are pretty fancy:

1. Y.I. Washington

2. Susan Fields

3. Pam Parker

4. L. Marie

5. Gina Blechman

6. RichBrand

Stay fancy & stylish, bloggers!

Posted in Announcements | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Crusade Follow Up & New Blogfest

Posted by Dahlia on February 23, 2011

Thank you to everyone who looked at my Challenge Entry to the Platform-Building Crusade. It was a ton of fun trying to come up with all that stuff, plus the random words – which were bloviate, fuliguline, blade, & rabbit – in 300 words or less. There were some really cool entries from the other Crusaders, so I’m sure Rachael and the judging crew have their work cut out for them.

I had several interesting guesses to my lie, but no one guessed it. However, some of the suggestions could be considered a half-truth or almost-truth…ok a lie. So, I have unintentionally managed to squeeze in more than what was required. But hey, I write fiction, it’s what we do — make s**t up. 🙂

1. I am not running a contest…at least not yet. Sorry, Vicki, I know you really wanted that Kindle! However, it is something I’m considering giving away as part of my promotion plan for my book. So, this statement is not currently true.

2. I do have a Facebook Fan page. (insert shameless plug now) It’s www.facebook.com/wildoatsnovel

3. I ♥ iced coffee! It’s one of my favorite things. Specifically, I like iced coffee with mocha swirl, extra cream, and extra sugar from Dunkin’ Donuts. Basically, I like coffee but just don’t want it to taste like coffee.

4. I actually have been working on my book for nearly eight years. I hope to be done and published before it’s over eight years, though. That was the secret that was asked of us. I’ve had several stops, starts, moves, career changes, family expansions, and revisions to the story which led to it taking as long as it has. I am however, determined to finish and publish this year.

5. Might as well reveal the annoying habit, if you haven’t already guessed: I’m addicted to my BlackBerry. I’m on it all day, every day…drives my husband nuts.

6. One of my best character traits is that I’m pretty level-headed and can remain calm in high-stress situations.

7. My quirk is that I know and like a lot of random, useless facts, such as in Michigan, it is illegal to chain your alligator to a fire hydrant. For starters, who would own an alligator in Michigan, and second, who would tie it up to a fire hydrant? But I digress…

8. Ok, here’s the lie. I stated in the scene that I or “we” live in Detroit. I am a Detroit native, born and raised, however I do not currently live there. I live in Tampa. 😀

Now that you all know me a little better, I will bloviate a little while longer and reveal the latest challenge I signed up for. It’s the Catch Me If You Can Blogfest, hosted by Kristina Fugate at KayKay’s Corner. Here’s how this one works: if you have a WIP, post the first 550 words on your blog. Everyone participating then will review all the WIPs for a critique. What a good opportunity to get some feedback on that story you’ve been working on…hopefully not for eight years. 😉

Posted in Blogfests, Platform-Building Crusade | Tagged: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »