Plan A ..


This is a profound page out of Andrew Simonet’s book Making Your Life as an Artist and why I wasn’t surprised my recent SOS call didn’t receive much response.  Admittedly, I sent a very vague signal without much direction.  But nonetheless, I’ve spent my life learning how to deal with this type of subtle rejection by not expecting a response from people, and then when one comes I am always pleasantly surprised.  This is partially why the blog is named: “Take It or Leave It: The Random Musings of a Warrior Princess.”  Continue reading

A Parable..

This past weekend my dear friend offered this parable as a way of helping me envision my next life steps:

Once there was a flock of ducks with an eagle living amongst them like a brother, raised to be a fellow duck. You see, the eagle fell out of its nest as an egg and grew up not knowing he was of a different clan. Until one day, while they were all playing in the pond, the eagle looked around at all the other ducks and realized he was very different from them. Continue reading

It IS Possible

This article 164. We love our novels ambitious and expansive by Sarah Begley my mother sent to me a couple months back.  It speaks of how Yaa Gyasi’s secured a seven-figure advance for her first novel Homegoing at the age of 26-years-old.  I reread it again last night realizing how hungry I am for this to be me while also knowing I’m not there yet.  I have to get back inside the folds of my novel to revise it one more time before I’ll be in a position to confidently cold call an agent.  Continue reading

On The Road to Publication: Tom Jenks Writing Workshop

TJ Workshop.jpg

The road to publication is not paved smooth with tar, nor made visible by navigational signs. Rather — it seems – it’s an internal path trail blazed by the author’s sacrificial hand, a combination of whatever materials are readily available – wood strong enough to endure the blows of rejection, metal nails capable of driving home a project despite trusted people not showing up or offering feedback.

As an author, you will get dropped.

You will get lost.

You will feel worthless.

“Fortitude” is not strong enough of a word for what it takes to get traditionally published, and destiny doesn’t cut checks. “Pure grit” will only serve you for so long, as the odds are stacked too high to muscle your way through.

I’ve known some of this from the jump. Most I’m learning as I trail blaze.

At 25, I made a special commitment to self, a vow not to let my biological clock or some man stand in the way of becoming a successful writer. I had heard too many stories of female writers who never quite made it because they got married or had babies instead of reaching their full potential. This is natural. It’s okay. It’s just not okay for me. I am unwilling to sacrifice my dreams at the foot of a man or bear a child whose dreams I couldn’t endorse because my own were compromised and left unrealized. This pact has served as the one constant thread weaved throughout my novel writing journey — the unrelenting backbone forcing me to stand up and forge ahead when I think I have nothing left to give, like the spine of a novel ensuring the pages intact.

And this November, I received the above Tom Jenks Workshop flyer. The universal timing felt right and, after doing some research, I sent out my first professional query seeking acceptance into his June NYC workshop. Tom replied with a soft and polite rejection. I took a couple of days to collect myself, and then with the help of my writing coworkers, responded back to Mr. Jenks in a short email. In it I thanked him for his candor, his quick response, and told him that although I wasn’t going to be in the workshop I was looking forward to doing the reading. This last line touched him and got me a phone interview, after which I was offered a slot in his June workshop. This is a huge win for me – not only am I getting closer to the gatekeeper’s door, but I have several focused objectives to prep for June.

Knock, Knock,
A Warrior Princess

My Great Dream

Book Cover

book width

Here are the first glimpses of my literary baby. She is not ready to meet the world just yet. The novel is only 75% complete with ten or so more chapters to write. And then of course there is the revision process. But it felt amazing holding her in my hands and flipping through all those pages. As a birthday gift to myself I will be distributing the books out this weekend to the first round of readers. Its nerve racking entrusting your heart with so many but it’s also thrilling. It’s the same feeling I get whenever I approach the unknown, but this one is on a grander scale. Even though my goal was to have this book published by my 30th birthday, I find it poetically fitting that “Made with Intention” will be birthed during the spring, the season of new live and new beginnings. And, in case you’re wondering, Stella Ford will be my pseudonym. I want to pay homage to my two grandmothers who walked before me and cleared the way.

Goodbye Twenties,
A Warrior Princess


My Great Dream

Novel update: This summer I set a 36,000 word count challenge. I am happy to report that I met that goal. I have told people often that this is a story within a story about the power of one’s own story. The twelve chapters I completed in the spring are the outer layer of this story told in third person perspective. The chapters I completed this summer are the inner layer of this story told in first person perspective. I believe the true art form of this novel will hinge on the interweaving of these stories. This of course means I am nearing novel completion! It is exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. I can’t tell you how much self-talk it has taken for me to get here. My journals are filled with lines like, “stay the course, keep the focus”, “be audacious” and “slow and steady, you can do it!” Admittedly, I am feeling confident about the upcoming months because I have a game plan and timeline that seems achievable.

Completion Timeline:

September—Write 5 chapters

October—Write 5 chapters

Early November– Reread the twelve chapters from spring and layer the cake (a.k.a assemble the book). It will not be 100% complete, there will be more outer layer chapters to write, but I am hoping for 80% completion.

November 16th (my 30th birthday!)– Give book out to first round readers. I already have these people confirmed and I feel blessed at their willingness to read.

December– Write remaining chapters and integrate feedback from first round readers.

January 1st– Give completed book out to 2nd round readers (also confirmed and blessed).

January-May– Complete Capstone project (my novel) with writing mentor. I can’t wait to have this one on one time with Kitsi to thoroughly go through the text and fine tooth comb it.

May 2015– Give birth to a magnificent literary baby with the pride of a warrior and the grace of a princess. Receive Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  Print out 500 copies to sell and give to potential publishers. Host a book signing party, which all of you will be invited to. Try to get the book professionally published.

And there it is all laid out in front of me. All I have to do is show up, avoid distractions and write.

Pen strokes,
A Warrior Princess