Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dress like a star or get served?

Having teenagers in the house is fun. It makes me realize that not much has changed since I was a kid. Some things are more out in the open, but we all know that history repeats itself. Unfortunately, when it repeats – it’s usually worse the second time around.

Designer Only

When I was in High School, if you didn’t wear designer jeans, shoes or clothes – you were definitely not in the ‘in’ crowd. Usually, your day would start off with an inspection of your clothes by your peers and if you didn’t have on the right digs you were teased all day. Matter of fact, every day you’d pay for that one infraction of dressing different from the crowd.

Today is no different. My son insists that his tennis shoes be designer. That means I’m paying about $100 plus per pair. I have four kids and just can’t afford it. So, what’s a mom to do? Well, I go to the flea market where they sell new shoes but at a price I can haggle over. It saves me about $30 or so bucks to purchase them this way, but it allows me to buy him those designer jeans, t-shirts and hats he desires. Now my kid is no slouch, he works and saves his money for these coveted items. His insatiable desire to look cool didn’t hit him until High School, but in the inner city where I grew up – babies wore designer wear. Huh? Yep, you heard me, in certain communities people will spend their money on designer clothes for their kid and not even have a car of their own.

Cool Cars Only

The other thing required by a cool teen, seems to be a nice car. Now that doesn’t mean it has to be new or even a sports car. It means it has to have a decent paint job and be comfortable for friends to ride in. However, when I grew up – if you had a dang car you were cool. Considering I spent tons of my travel time on buses and metro trains.

My first car was a bright yellow, Chevette. You couldn’t tell me nothing about my baby. I got it when I was 17yr old. I’d saved $400 and paid half of the sticker price towards it. My mom came up with the other half.

Now my kid wants a newer car. Well, I’m mom and want to get him everything he desires, but for a bargain. So I’m going to the car auctions to pick him up a stick shift (my evil plan is that he won’t be able to talk on the cell phone or text if he has to shift gears to drive).


Many of times while I was growing up, I realized that kid’s that desired these expensive totem’s of coolness were forced to steal, barter, borrow or work in order to get these things that helped them to fit in. My cousin had even gotten beat up over his shoes. Hopefully, in time being cool will mean being different. Creating your own style and setting trends. Unfortunately though, history just has a way of repeating.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011



I’m hosting YALITCHAT tonight (use twitter hashtag #yalitchat Wed, 9pm 6/23) to follow. I’ll be hosting Author Confessions where we all confess to the evil things we’ve done to our main characters.


Let’s face it, growth is painful. Very painful. In order to develop and grow our characters through the readers eyes – we must create trails, tribulations and odd situations for them. Those situations should be realistically displayed and work within the story but should be used to show either strength, growth, reaction, thoughts, or set ups that build the relationship with the character and the reader.

Also, we authors create these situations because it’s just darn fun :-D Oops! Did I say that?


Well, if you can’t make it tonight to the chat, you may as well here the truth from me personally.

Here’s my confessions:

EXPLORER X – ALPHA (Middle Grade Series) – I confess to genetically altering my Aadi (my MC), making his parents betray him by keeping an awful secret, cutting him, enslaving him, blackmailing him, altering his body, kidnapping his crush, capturing him in war…to name just a few.

THE PACK – (Upper YA) – I confess to making Shamira (my MC) blind, kidnapping her brother, shooting her, stabbing her, beating her up, trying to blow her up with landmines…sigh, I’m so bad.

BANDITS – (Upper YA) – I confess to murdering Daniel’s father (my MC) trying to eat him, burning him, breaking his fingers, sucking the blood out of his brother and girlfriend, kidnapping his family, trying to burn him in a boiling sea…and I haven’t even really gotten started with all the naughty things I’ve done to him.
Truly I would be sorry if doing these things didn’t create my flawed, a bit on the angry side characters and turn them into heros – but it was just too darned fun!


Monday, June 20, 2011

The Green Lantern - Movie Review

Blurb from Fandango:

A test pilot embraces his destiny as a cosmic superhero in Casino Ropyale director Martin Campbell's adaptation of the popular DC Comics series. Ever since he saw his fearless father perish in a tragic aviation mishap, all Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) could think about was flying -- it was the only thing the brash, cocky, and irresponsible test pilot ever truly excelled at. Little did he realize he was destined for something much bigger. Somewhere out in space, a powerful force of evil known as Parallax is spreading fear and destruction; the only hope for defeating Parallax is the Green Lantern Corps, a group of intergalactic warriors powered by the force of will. When legendary Green Lantern Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) is sent hurtling toward planet Earth after a deadly encounter with Parallax, his ring chooses Hal to continue the fight. The ring spirits our hero away to the Green Lantern’s home planet of Oa for training. The first human ever to receive the honor of becoming a Green Lantern, Hal is viewed with scorn by the league’s leader, Sinestro (Mark Strong), who trains him alongside the hulking Kilowog (voice of Michael Clarke Duncan). Later, on planet Earth, frail scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) becomes infected with Parallax’s evil while performing an autopsy on Abin Sur, and uses his newfound powers to stake claim on Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), Hal’s lifelong friend and fellow test pilot. When Hal learns that Parallax plans to consume all life on Earth to gain the energy needed to conquer Oa, he begins looking inward for the courage to defeat the malevolent force and embrace his destiny as a super-powered peacekeeper. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


MY Review:

I will forewarn you - I'm partial to the color Green. It's my favorite color - always has been. Now, I am also partial to super heroes and especially Marvel Super Heroes. But I have to say, this movie impressed me. Why? Well it had to do with the main character Hal. He was irresponsible, most unlikely to be a hero but he became one - so much so, that I even teared up at his final hero moment. Now don't go to the movie thinking this is a deeply moving film that is all the rave, but it is enjoyable. The only problem I had was it seemed a bit too short. The villains include three people - some who are obvious, another that just kinda appears, but one that I really didn't expect (excuse me here but I must be honest - I didn't read the comics I only watched the cartoons). This movie in my book gets a 3.5 lantern. The positives was action, fun characters, a flawed hero, a sad villain, an unrealized villain (you have to stay til after the credits role to reveal this one) and a blush love affair.

Friday, June 17, 2011

How Phenomenal One Press Got Started

The owner of my small press is my husband. He’d been in sales like – forever, even got a degree in Marketing. When I started my writing endeavor, got my first contract from a small press, he figured, we could do a better job at it. You know what – we did.

Here’s how we did it.

START YOUR OWN SMALL PRESS – Don’t just self pub

Phenomenal One Press was started with the full intention of building up a list of authors besides just moi’ (which we do, F. Raushawn who is our teen author of SPECTRUM - a free read you can find on our webpage www.phenomenalonepress.com check it out). But in order to do that correctly, we had to do research. Remember, every publishers business model is different, if you decide to go this road, sit down and think about what you want to accomplish and how.

We gained an LLC, registered our business name, put up a website, decided what amount of work we wanted to do, and what we were willing to pay someone else to do.

Created a business plan, a marketing plan and a Book marketing plan.

Set realistic goals – it usually takes any business at least 3 years to see true success and maintainability – and starting a small press is starting such a business.

Released 2 books the first year a middle grade and an upper ya book. Create media kit, marketing packet.

Started promoting books 6 to 8 months before release (that meant getting covers made prior to finalized editing).


We recruited college interns that wanted to learn the business. Built contracts with an events coordinator (and one day will get a publicist), two editors (one for full edits and another for proof-reading prior to sending to print), gained a printer, a distributor (to distributes to the big guys and requires very little work for us initially), artist and everything else we either do ourselves or contract as needed.


We joined IBPA which was a wealth of information and Mid Atlantic Book Publishers Association. Also, we started to network with other small pubs who were extremely supportive and helpful.


We decided that for us, we wanted to do a little less of the initial leg work and did a digital print run of 2K books for ARCs and market test. The goal was to sell 1,500 and give away 500 before the book actually printed (realize that large publishers print 10K or more and giveaway a larger % of their books than a small pub can afford to). It was successful most of the time by setting up blog tours, soft ads on active blogs, and word of mouth. Also, ebook release a bit early helped to get buzz started for the print. Once the initial print run is sold out – we print with multiple print on demand providers (because we own our ISBNs) that offer returns for booksellers.


When marketing your book make a budget, realize that you don’t have to do it all in one day – so pace yourself. It’s your product and you have a long time to sell it, but take the time to build the right marketing profile for the specific piece of work you are selling. Also, it’s more profitable and less stressful if you promote the same genre/age group for the first few years before branching out. Always be professional and seek ways to improve your business model. Give your business time to see its potential.


Pricing – if you can’t be competitive in your pricing, don’t even bother. Cover – compare your cover with others and see if it meets the muster (they are your first marketing tool). Editing – don’t you dare skimp on this – not one bit, try to get at least one professional editor and one proofreader. Ebooks – a must do for small pubbers since it offers a way to get book out there with as little of cost as possible. Marketing – must be consistent and takes about 3-6 months to be realized. Timing – DON’T RUSH!!!! Take your time, build your buzz, make your product shine – remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do Need To find your Spark for Your Life?

Well this is how I found mine. Listen up to the interview where I speak about how I found my spark to write.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dust Off Your Pile of Unpub Works!

Do you have stuff you’ve written that you haven’t done anything with yet? Do you write that first draft and put it aside to run off and work on a new project? Well here’s some tips on how to keep the work churning forward.


If you write various works and you have some Poetry sitting around, don’t waste it. Clean that poetry up and you can do the following with it.

Dust it off and hit the road. Recite it at open mics.

Tweet it

Make a video of you reciting it and put it on your blog, fb, twitter or video road show

Incorporate it in one of your books or short stories

Make up home made greeting cards and use it for a giveaway


I currently have 2 manuscripts collecting dust and one I’m working on. I recently dusted one off and started the editing process, but it’s going darn slow. Much slower than when I wasn’t also promoting a book. But I am glad that I have 2 backlogged.

So I try to get into a rhythm. I write on the new work in progress in the morning. I edit a finished draft at night. Most times this works out.

Here’s some things I do to keep my work churning.

Send first draft through critique group

Print out chapters and mark it up while I’m at my kids sports practices

Put it on my Nook and check for plot holes

Send out to beta readers

Edit it or use an free editing tool to scream out obvious errors

Tease some of it for absolutewrite Tuesday tease

Read outload to family during long trips

Submit to contest

COMIC Script or GRAPHIC Novel script hanging around?

Yeah, I even have one of these started. I wrote a 10 page comic strip for my Middle Grade series, Explorer X and haven’t had time to do a darn thing with it. But I’ve gathered some ideas from some author buds and I’ve got big plans, lol!

Here are some things you can do with these:

Tease a strip weekly (of course you have to find an artist willing to play)

Tweet a piece a week as your characters

Finish the darn thing and post a page a week

Put it in contest


Friday, June 10, 2011

Best Selling Author, LA Banks is Gravely ill, Please keep her in your prayers

It is with profound sadness that we have to inform you that our beloved sister and friend, Leslie Esdaile, (“L.A. Banks”) is most gravely ill. She is facing an uphill battle in her struggle with serious illness. Please know that as Leslie needs all of her energy in this fight, she is absolutely not able to receive visitors, answer emails, texts or phone calls, or receive flowers. What she is able to receive is your continued prayers. Also, Leslie’s medical expenses are mounting at an astronomical rate. If you wish to assist Leslie, a fund has been established to help with these ever increasing expenses. If you wish to send donations (please note that donations are not tax-deductible) to help Leslie, please see the information listed below: Leslie Esdaile Fund Account #81538801 Police and Fire Federal Credit Union Operations Center 901 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19107-2404 215-931-0300 If you live in Philadelphia, PA, you may take donations directly to any Police and Fire Federal Credit Union branch. Please be sure to note the account number. You may also send them to the P.O. Box listed below*. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union Branch Locations: Main Branch: 901 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 Additional Branches: Leo Mall, 11705 Bustleton Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116-2515 Davisville Shopping Center, Street Road, Philadelphia, PA Andorra Shopping Center, Ridge and Henry Avenues, Philadelphia, PA City Avenue Shopping Center, 7604 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19151-2007 Mayfair Branch on Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA Northeast Branch, 7500 Castor Avenue, Philadelphia, PA Grant and Academy Shopping Center Branch, Philadelphia, PA You may send good wishes and cards to*: Leslie Esdaile c/o Tina Ryan Wise P.O. Box 37189 Philadelphia, PA 19148-9998 On behalf of Leslie, her daughter Helena, her sister Liza and all of her family and friends, we sincerely thank you for all of your continued prayers and support. Tina Ryan Wise Tinarwise@gmail.com
By: Tina Wise

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Steel by Carrie Vaughn - Book Review

Amazon Book Blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.

The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.

NYIA Teen Book Reviewer:

I just have to say it. I loved this book. Adventure and the pirate test. It used authentic fencing language. The main character, Jill, was honest and acted like a normal teen. Her crush was likeable and wasn't disgusting like the other pirates. The setting wasn't complicated and was easy to visualize. She had to find her way home and she had to go through the pirates, figure out who to trust, get a rapier back in order to make it home safe. Only sad part was...her crush couldn't go with her. I give this four star out of 5. The authentic language slowed the pace and I would have to go in the back of the book to understand what they meant. Oh, and some problems seemed unrealistic - but I really enjoyed this book in spite of those small little things.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

XMEN First Class - Movie Review

Blurb from IMDb: In 1962, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend... and future archenemy.

Before their changes:

After they became Baddass:


Oh, yeah, this one really surprised me. I’m a comic buff. Hey, I can’t help it. My dear hubby has been brainwashing me on comics for years. Not to mention – I got a thing for super heroes. Anyway, this one has some great character building. People with serious attitudes are out to get the US and they are trying to start a world war. This one was probably the best mainly because it stuck real close to the original comic story. The characters in this were vivid and there was plenty of action and the movie was just plain super fun. I give it a 4 out of 5 Magnets. This is a great summer movie if you like super heroes, comics or the X-men. My only issue was that they only teased me with Wolverine…that guy has my heart.

Friday, June 3, 2011


When I first started writing I didn’t know what the heck I was doing when it came to editing. Over the years I figured out what my bad habits are and the ways to trick myself into picking away the junk out of my work and making it shine enough to pass on to an editor that can further shape it up.

But here’s what I’ve learned about it overall.


I had to take a refresher course on editing. Sure, many writers think they don’t have to learn to edit. That they don’t need to spend extra time figuring out how to clean up their work – THAT’s WRONG. If you take writing seriously – EDITING is a big part of it.

There are books you can read, but taking a class always helps. Also, editing other people’s work is a sure fire way to learn. Lastly, make a list of your personal writing bad habits while you are studying your books on editing and keep that list as you review your own work.

Like with any career, you have to train yourself to be successful and most well written authors are pretty darn good at editing. I should know, because many of them have ripped my early drafts apart, lol!


Whoa! I can’t tell you how many newbie writers have said that to me in the last few years. With the publishing industry being so competitive your stuff needs to be near publish ready before you start submitting it to agents or publishers directly. Yes, once you get an agent/publisher they will edit it further, but it’s much better for them to start with something that’s already in good shape.


Read books on self-editing

Beta read and edit other author’s work

Let your stuff sit for a spell before you jump in with edits

Create an editing checklist for yourself of your bad habits that you need to look for in your document

Use a few editing help tools like autocrit.com which is free

Take a class

ALWAYS REALIZE THAT EDITING IS SUBJECTIVE, skill is different with each person and even the best editors still make mistakes. So try your best to get it as perfect as you can get your work on your own.