Feedback from Critics on “DOTS”

Due to my perfectionist nature, I have put “Daughters of the Soil” (“DOTS”) through the wringer (five covers, uncountable revisions, pre-view of Chapter 1 via FB and e-mail, and many literary workshops). It has emerged looking better for the wear.
Disclaimer: These are not official Amazon book reviews.  
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Feedback:

Good job crafting a story with a very clear sense of conflict and tension, combined with loss. You do a good job of using precise diction.

The description of the setting in this piece is on the lighter-side; you’re using the characters to illuminate the place.

I loved getting to know David and his run to the police station. It tells us so much about him, the town, everything else going on. SD

Good job of tying everything together about the two characters and by this point, I have established in my mind who Officers Audu and Orile are. AJ

·         Love this: The imagery, care taken symbolized by the imagery “raw brown eggs” – eggs being delicate and brown ones being even much rarer; I Love This Entire Imagery and dynamic portrayed here with Obi Udara’s family.

·         I read the first chapter and really appreciate the detail, description, and desperation that is in the run of David to the police station. I look forward to reading the entire book. –CM

·         I think more dialogue should occur between Emelda and Florence.

·         Regarding pacing, you could reduce how much time is spent on Emelda’s beauty.

·         Duplicate words slow down the pacing.

·         I would like to stay a little longer in Emelda and Obi’s bedroom when the shirt fell.

·         This is a great example of Showing us how the character feels about his family vs. telling us.–Ousmane

·         I have been hooked and pulled into this “world” of these characters. I am intrigued and want to read more.

·         The elegance of your writing, the synchronicities of each detail weaving into the next, seamlessly. I loved reading this; and again, I want more.

Your attention to detail is impressive!

The intricate personal traits you gave regarding Emelda, and the other characters, remind me of Flannery O’Connor’s work. When the narrator dipped into Emelda and Florence’s heads in a third-person omniscient, which is an older style, that is also in tune with O’Connor’s writing.–Deb

I feel like your story was something like Brave New World by Aldous Huxley because of your unusual word-smithing and “the women wanting to join the police force.” You have created so many lexicons and phrases. Is this the future?

The work reads beautifully.

·         Wow – there is so much elegance in your writing here (and throughout the piece). This section gives me a solid sense of Emelda’s character. I have a strong…bond with her character due to the care taken in describing her in this passage.

·         We, the readers, are learning so much about Emelda here – about her perfect mixture of class and humility. Wow. This is great writing. Thank you!

“The prose is fluid, lush, and vivid throughout. You have a good sense of rhythm and the dialogue flows naturally throughout. There’s also a strong sense of tension and conflict in the piece, which engages the reader and propels them to continue with the story.” SD

·         I love the way you wrap so many insights into your language, giving us the customs, fears, and hopes of the people in this country, not just the main characters. Really lovely piece. Excellent work. –SC

You have a wonderful lyrical and almost mystical quality in your work. Your work reminds me of Jhumpa Lahiri; Lydia Yuknavich; Amy Bloom; Isabel Alledne; Elena Ferrante; and magical realists like Bolano and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.” Sarah S.

Using an emotional physical space like a kitchen to do the work of revealing character, plot, tension and setting is so difficult, but you do it effortlessly.

·         Compelling characters and plot!

·         You have a real sense of symbolism in this piece, and reading it, it occurred to me that this is really your strength in terms of atmosphere, tone, and mood.  Your work always has an undercurrent to what’s happening on the surface, which is one of the strongest ways to establish symbolism without making it seem clichéd or forced. JG

·         Very strong work, attention to detail, and diction.

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Give-aways Before the Books Are Published

I am giving away excerpts of my books before they are released. Help yourself, but first, leave me your e-mail address so that I can send you the copy(ies) of the book or books you want. Thanks for your help. Scroll to the “Subscribe” button on the lower right-hand side and leave your e-mail address. Otherwise, you can include it in the “Comment” box provided. Thanks!

When you finish reading, please return to the comment box and share your thoughts.

Genre: Daughters of the Soil: Crime/ fiction– Please leave your e-mail address in the “Subscribe” box to receive the excerpt.

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E-book_Cover of Waters' Family Chronicle2

Genre: Children’s picture book (above). Please leave your e-mail address to receive the excerpt. Thanks.

Cover3_The_Way_of_All_Womankind

Genre: Poetry (above)–Please leave your e-mail address to receive the excerpt. Thanks.

 

Working As Hard As James Brown

James Brown (may his soul rest in peace) was called the hardest working man in show business. I am working hard, and I hope to come one one-millionth time close to that title. I am putting finishing touches to the release of these intellectual creations of mine. Barring any more disappointments, they should be released before 2018 shuts its eyes.

Genre: Crime/ fiction– Please leave your e-mail address to receive the excerpt. Thanks.

207479_6593304_Daughters_Lindros

E-book_Cover of Waters' Family Chronicle2

Genre: Children’s picture book. Please leave your e-mail address to receive the excerpt. Thanks.

Cover3_The_Way_of_All_Womankind

Genre: Poetry–Please leave your e-mail address to receive the excerpt. Thanks.

Reader giveaway:

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I Thank My J-Crew and Other VIPs for This Journey

One advantage of growing old or growing older is that the aged have a different vantage point than those much younger. I started my second Master’s degree at Southern New Hampshire University much older, what is called the non-traditional student. As such, I collected years of living and writing under my belt and amassed a wealth of literary pieces and launched several blogs. I have been working on Daughters of the Soil and hope to have it released as soon as possible in 2018. I had intended to release it in 2016, but a personal technology upheaval caused a change in my plans, and I am happy in retrospect.

500_F_49637851_0hRQqpHePGR8qevqJO7bfPISs3IMpJZgI want to pause today and acknowledge my exponential growth gained from the people I call my “J-Crew,” authors and authorpreneurs whose first names begin with “J.” Thank you, Joanna Penn, Jonathan Gunson, Joel Friedlander, Jon Bard, JA Konrath, Jeff Goins, Julie Andrews (dame and Hollywood icon), Judy Hedlund, Jane Friedman, Julie Isaac, and James J. Jones, to name a few. I am grateful to Derek Murphy, Nick Stephenson, Mark Dawson, Derek Doepker, Ty Cohen, Laura Backes, BookBaby, Hazel Edwards (who coined “authorpreneur,” a word that describes me well), and IngramSparks. I subscribed to their websites/blogs for the last eight years and downloaded truckloads of wisdom. Most of these people and companies gave access to their intellectual creations freely to rising authors/poets who are on their way to self-publication. I will pay forward such unparalleled generosity.

This appreciation blog will be incomplete without expressing my gratitude to my workshop organizers and graduate school instructors, professors who pushed me far beyond my comfort zone. Foremost is Gregory A. Fraser, Ph.D. (University of West Georgia), whose advanced creative writing course was my first graduate level poetry course. It was so intensive that I wanted more and wrote a poem about it titled “I Tasted Poetry.” From his class and from our class discussions sprang the name of my publishing company, Beautiful Parts Publishing Group, LLC., which is still work in progress. Wanting more, I started the formal journey into my Masters’ in Creative Writing and English at Southern New Hampshire University where I engaged in rigorous writing and bare-bone critiques at the hands of Dr. Sandra Dutton, Sarah Shotland, Dr. Douglas McFarland, Professor Conine, and Mrs. Tiffany Hawk.

Fortunately, I gathered so much expertise about the publishing industry in the last few years that I know I am where I ought to be. I have founded a company that will allow me to realize my dreams of writing and being publishing. Let’s just say that rejection letters from traditional publishers have a way of inspiring a writer to take an alternative course of action. I have networked with other publishers to barter services. They review my manuscripts, and I offer editing, revising, and proofreading services.

I joined both online and face-to-face writing communities. The online ones are through Meet Up, but we assemble on Saturday mornings to critique each other’s works and to offer feedback. I am no longer protective of my work. I attend workshops at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and at Inprint Houston and at any venue where my novels will be workshopped. At Inprint, I had the fortune to work with Claire Anderson and Conor Bracken, winner of the 2017 (Robert) Frost Place annual poetry competition.

I have been published in these outlets: as a contributor for The Guardian Newspaper (Nigeria’s equivalent of The New York Times), freelancer for Yahoo! Voices (defunct), ghostwriter for Textbroker, editor for Georgia Poetry Society (and my poem was included in the anthology, Reach of Song), columnist for Atlanta Parent magazine, poem published in Georgia’s Best Emerging Poets (November 2017), and academic papers in the Journal of Social and Natural Science Research. I maintain several blogs, one of which (https://literarynomad11.wordpress.com) was featured online as “a literary blog to explore.” I hold separate Master of Arts degrees in Journalism and in Creative Writing, and I teach English composition/rhetoric and literature at a college and at a high school, respectively.

I attend writing and author conferences anywhere and anytime I can afford it, mostly when I was unemployed and underemployed. Let’s acknowledge that there is a silver lining in every dark cloud. Because of the loss of my teaching job of 19 years, I propelled myself to fill the void and restore my writing life, which I started when I was only eight years old. Still, I have spent the last eight years immersed in the science and art of my craft of writing and in the unfamiliar territories of publishing and promotion/ marketing.

I am ready for my name to grace the cover of a book. To that end, I purchased 100 ISBN’s, several bar codes, and obtained several LCCN’s (free). I have connected with companies who will begin pre-publication advertising as soon as I finish editing Daughters of the Soil, a mystery novel that combines police procedural, fantasy, and thriller. I have grown in the journey toward the publication of this novel by enlisting other professionals. More so now than ever, an urgency has brought the project into a sharper focus, but my laptop crashed during fall of 2016, and I lost almost everything I created since I obtained my first Masters (in Journalism). It cost me thousands in hours and dollars for a data retrieval company to restore my intellectual creations. I had to go on a religious retreat to ask God to save my sanity. Somethings cannot be replaced.

I thank all my English teachers in Nigerian who planted the seeds that germinated into the love of reading, writing, spelling, and English in general. Thank you especially to my Class Five (12th grade) high school English teacher (Reverend Akomah) who forced me to rise to the challenge of writing a poem about a frog and refused to allow me to give up. After writing the poem, I came to love poetry and to realize that inherent in a frog are many figures of speech. For example, its sound is an onomatopoeia. Its description is an imagery. You can imagine what a valuable lesson that assignment was.

I thank these very generous and very important people from the bottom of my heart. I hope my published work will deliver a clear voice that yields a crisp harvest.

Daughters of the Soil–My New Novel

Daughters of the Soil

  • Cover is ready(?), but getting there took its sweet time.
    • ISBN is assigned!
    • LCCN is assigned!!
    • Front and back matters are ready!
      • What’s the hold? Editing/revising!!!

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Prior to 2013: Toying with the cover: At the time, the title was A Very Smooth Murder.

 

Stethoscope--Huse--large Stethoscope--Huse--small 2 Very Smooth Mortar--compressed for web page Very Smooth Mortar--dark and big hue saturation  wooden mortar--small

 

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2013 Cover Progression for Daughters of the Soil: Notice all the nuances: font type, font size, color changes, background color, dropping the plural letter, putting back the plural letter, piling images on images, peeling off images, superimposing images. Phew!

 

Heather McCorkle is patient!! I give her all the respect in the world for her professionalism. Once I saw this image, I knew the woman was Emelda dead on! She had to stay.  There were times when I wanted to find another Emelda because I did not receive internal validation for what my intuition was saying to me.

Young beautiful pregnant african woman   Daughter mock cover 2   grunge  ??????   ????????????  ??????  ??????   ??????   ????????????   ??????   ??????

 

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Fast forward to 2014. Repeat the process:

2014 Cover Progression: I tried Fiverr. 

Daughter_of_the_Soil_Fiverr_Cover    Daughter_of_the_Soil_Fiverr_Cover2 

 

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Still fastforwarding into 2014. Repeat the process: 

2014 Cover Progression

Notice all the nuances: font type, font size, color changes, background color, dropping the plural letter, putting back the plural letter, piling images on images, peeling off images, superimposing images. Phew!

Betty  Gunn is patient!! I meet all these wonderfully patient illustrators. I am lucky! I give betty kudos. She worked on the cover for weeks, never tiring. I give Betty a lot of respect for her professionalism.

 

blue_background2   blue_background3    blue_background   Glass  broken  shot  bullet   134178443_Bullet_hole    Emelda_in_purple_and_hat     Emelda_worried_DollarphotoNigerian police cap   Daughters_Soil_3_moved    Daughters_Soil_rev_police_uniform2   Daughters_Final_M&P_in_front   Daughters_Blood_Drippping_white_had    Daughters_Final_RED   Daughter_Final_BLK_Kindle2   Daughters_Final_BLK    Daughters_Final_BLK_Kindle

Please post a comment below regarding the cover or the name. Feel free to ask me questions regarding my journey so far. I looking forward to bonding with you. Thank you for stopping by today. Take care.