My Chances of Getting Published Are One In A Thousand, But I Choose To Focus On The One

Hi folks! It’s been a whole month since I last posted on here. I apologize for the lack of blog posts, but I’ve been feeling a bit discouraged lately as a writer. I’ve gotten three rejections in a row for my SFF work as a newbie writer. On the bright side, I’ve managed to get published in a indie Black SFF anthology, Scribes of Nyota, earlier this year. This is one of a few silver linings.

Back in October, I happily celebrated Black Speculative Fiction month because I managed to tell my Imposter’s Syndrome to shut up and finish my first fantasy short fiction. As of right now, it hasn’t been accepted anywhere. Yet the fact that I managed to finish it after dealing with Imposter’s Syndrome for a year is a victory.

Besides being published in Scribes of Nyota and finishing my first fantasy short fiction, I also wrote my second speculative fiction poem. I wrote and finished it a couple of weeks after I finished my first piece of short fiction, so that is another victory. As with my story, I’ve been trying to get it published.

All in all, I’ve had more losses than victories. I’ve won two out of five rounds in this game of getting published, if you’re keeping score. Part of me feels discouraged, but a part of me really wants to keep writing and submitting. The writing part is especially important, as I have a nasty habit of procrastinating as a creative writer when something about the process bothers me.

In times like this, I rely on pop culture to inspire me, especially SFF in any shape or form. In this case, I’m reminded of the sci-fi series Doctor Who and a quote from my favorite Doctor, the 12th Doctor:

“Your chances of survival are about one in a thousand. So here’s what you do. You forget the thousand, and you concentrate on the one.”

Although it can feel like my chances of finishing a piece or getting a piece published is one in a thousand, I choose to focus on the one. If I didn’t, the words I haven’t written would be clogging up inside me and the words I haven’t submitted would be buzzing in my head like flies.

I choose to focus on one chance, because continually giving yourself a chance as a writer is better than giving up on yourself.

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5 Favorite Female Magic Users In Pop Culture

It’s getting close to Halloween! If it’s one thing I associate Halloween with, it is magic. I especially love female magic users because they tend to have more interesting powers and personalities. In honor of Halloween and my love of magic characters, here are five of my favorite female magic users in pop culture.

1. Hermione Granger

hermione's crisis

Still from Hermione Granger and The Quarter Life Crisis

As someone who grew up reading the Harry Potter series, Hermione Granger will always be one of my favorite characters. She was smart enough to save her friends numerous times and is a book and library lover after my own heart.

A modern interpretation of the character that I love is in the web series Hermione Granger & The Quarter Life Crisis. Created by Eliyannah Amirah Yisrael, the series follows a disillusioned 25 year old Hermione (Ashley Romans) living in Los Angeles. It’s a fun, mature take on the character that is relatable to any twenty-something that needs a little magic in their life.

2. Raven

raven teen titans

Image Credit: Teen Titans Wikia

Raven is a half-demon and half human empath and a member of the DC Comics superhero team Teen Titans. I’m especially a fan of the animated version of the character from the Cartoon Network series. I’ve found her character relatable because she often literally fights her own inner demons as a superhero.

3. Nico Minoru

250px-nico_minoru

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Nico Minoru is one of the main protagonists of Marvel Comics’ Runaways. Despite being the daughter of two supervillian dark mages, she mananges to become an unconventional teen superhero who tries to make up for the evil actions of her parents.

Nico’s powers are interesting because they come from not only her family, but also from The Staff of One. When she sheds blood, the staff appears and Nico can use it to cast spells. The only catch is, the spell will only work once. As a result, Nico has to be careful about what words she uses so she doesn’t waste any spells.

4. Ashake

ashake-from-egypt

Image Credit: Marvel Comics’ Mystic Arcana cover

Ashake is an Egyptian sorceress who serves under the Goddess Ma’at. She is also the ancestor of Ororo Munroe, Storm of the X-Men. She was first featured in the New Mutants X-Men comics, but also got a modern retelling in the comic Mystic Arcana.

In fact, it was Mystic Arcana that caused me to discover her character. I loved how she ended up being a part of Storm’s ancestry and ended up teaming up with Magik (another magic user and member of the X-Men). She also helps the magic users Morgan Le Fay, Llyra, and Ian McNee defeat the ancient demon Chthon.

5. Lina Inverse

Linainverse

Image Credit: Slayers Wiki

Lina Inverse is a powerful sorceress and the main protagonist of the anime series Slayers. Slayers is 90’s sword and sorcery anime series about a group of travelers going on adventures and occasionally saving the world. It’s a fun, lighthearted comedy adventure I discovered a few months ago via Funimation’s YouTube channel.

Lina Inverse can cast cool spells like fireballs, energy blasts, and the most powerful spell, the Dragon Slave. Although she’s not the most noble hero, her spunky attitude makes her an entertaining character.

4 Reasons Mobile Gamers On A Budget Should Play Kemco Games

Gaming has changed a lot from when I was a kid. I’ve gone from having the original Playstation and playing with a controller to having a Fire tablet that I can play with one finger. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is how expensive video games are.

Many mobile games today have in-app purchases that can really add up. There are also mobile versions of classic console games like the Final Fantasy franchise that can be pricey as well.  Luckily, there are cheaper alternatives such as the Kemco collection.

Kemco is a Japanese video game company that specializes in turn-based JRPGs. If you’ve played any Final Fantasy games, the “Tales Of” series, or any classic JRPGs, then you’re sure to find a Kemco game you like. Based on my experience with the games, here are four reasons Kemco is for gamers on a budget.

  1. Most of the games are really cheap and even free

I first discovered Kemco when I was looking for JRPGS to play on my brand new, upgraded Fire tablet that was an early birthday present. My first Kemco game was Symphony of The Origin, which I got free from Amazon Underground.

While the prices are different depending on which platform you use, the mobile versions don’t usually cost much. For example, the game Alphadia Genesis is 5 dollars on Google Play and the Amazon app store.

2. No Internet is needed to play the games.

One of the things I’ve come to loathe as a mobile gamer that grew up playing on a console is how internet is usually required to play RPGs. It doesn’t make sense to me how a mobile game you can play on the go would require an internet connection, but that is how most mobile RPGs are. Luckily, Kemco games aren’t one of them.

Once you download a Kemco game, you do not need to be connected to the internet to play. This allows to to play the game without worrying about having a crappy wireless connection or no internet at all.

3. Little to no in-app purchases

Another aspect of mobile gaming I hate is how companies require you to fork over real money in order to complete the game or get exclusive and rare items. While Kemco games do have some in-app purchasing you can do, it is not require to complete the game & it is not done with real money.

For Kemco games with in-app purchases, you usually buy rare items using special points you get while playing. No money is required to get points; you get them by either smashing rocks or defeating enemies.

4. You get a fun JRPG that combines classic elements with a modern feel.

While Kemco’s JRPG’s aren’t perfect, they are still an entertaining way to pass the time. My favorite Kemco games like Fortuna Magus and Asdivine Hearts tend to have decent storytelling, interesting characters, and a practical and fun battle system.

There are some things that I wish Kemco would improve on. Instead of a man surrounded by women and other guys,  I wish they had more games with a woman as the main lead. Storytelling wise, they could also do better than having characters with certain magic be discriminated against.

All in all, I love Kemco and I hope they keep putting more games into the Amazon appstore. They may not be the most innovative, but their games give me entertainment at an affordable price.

 

 

 

How I Learned Writing Shouldn’t Be A Competition

I can remember the exact moment I decided I wanted to become a writer.

After rereading S.E. Hinton’s book The Outsiders for the third or fourth time, I decided to try and tell my side of things so people wouldn’t judge people like me so harshly. I had read that S.E. Hinton wrote The Outsiders when she was a teenager, so I wanted to try and write a book and get published at a young age too.

Since then, I haven’t written a book at all. I’ve had a few poems and more than a few articles published, but I’m not famous and rich. In fact, I recently finished my first fantasy short story after overcoming a entire year of Imposter’s Syndrome.

At the age of twenty six, my writing career is just getting started. Although I’ve been happy with everything I’ve published so far, there have been times that I’ve been really jealous of other writers and their success. Earlier this year, I experienced an incident on social media that forced me to acknowledge and work through my jealously.

A few days after the New Year, a talented writer whose work I  follow and read from time to time posted about their recent publications with their social media followers. Filled with envy and feeling inferior about my own publications, I made a comment that was intended to be self-depreciating but ended up rudely putting down the writer.

Due to my ignorance, I didn’t know how crass my comment had been until the writer started to discuss how blunt I had been without directly mentioning me. Pride kept me from admitting my jealousy to the writer, but I did apologize to them.

After my apology, I still felt really guilty about my insensitive comment for months. One day, I decided to admit to myself about how jealous I had felt and tried to figure out how to deal with it better. Although I did an internet search about how to cope with writer’s jealousy, I couldn’t apply any advice I read about.

 

Months pass and I finally start writing my first fantasy short story after a year of Imposter’s Syndrome. The key to pushing through was a indie SFF magazine that featured a story that resonated with me. As luck would have it, the author of the story followed me on social media.

While working on my story, I found the Imposter’s Syndrome creeping back as I wondered if the characters I was writing about were good enough. Feeling overwhelmed, I asked the short story writer who inspired me for guidance.

Although I hadn’t expected the writer to reply, they ended up giving me some great advice and I was able to finish my story. After this experience, I realized the cause of my jealousy was being unconsciously taught to view other writers as competition.

 

I don’t think any particular person taught me to, but the glamorization of being a writer did. Some expect writers to be instant bestsellers, number one bestsellers that go on to have fame, fortune, and movie or tv deal to boot.

Meanwhile, some of the best books and stories I’ve read have been self-published or published by small presses. Since I’ve read indie books and submitted writing to indie magazines, I know that being a writer is really hard work and really lonely.

In fact, I believe that the loneliness of being a writer combined with the glamorization of what being a writer is what makes writing seem like competition. Unless you learn that other writers are not your enemy and that they can help you improve your craft, you’ll develop an ego that only cares about your own writing.

Since I was willing to change how I viewed other writers, my writing has changed for the better. I feel less lonely as a writer and I’m willing to cheer on other writers without comparing my success to theirs.

We are writers, but we are also humans that deserve to acknowledge and support each other. A writer alone is an island stuck on a sea of pages, but a writer with other writers can keep swimming along.

 

 

 

 

 

How Blogging Laid The Foundation For Freelance Writing

On October 8, 2017, it will be exactly five years since I started my first WordPress blog artsandyouthlove. Although I didn’t know it at, the blog would become the foundation for the freelance writing career that I have now.

Back then, I was a community college student who wanted to get my feet wet as an aspiring journalist. A family member suggested that I start a blog and I decided to take their advice. After more than a few awkward random posts, artsandyouthlove became a way for me to discuss the entertainment and pop culture media I was consuming.

The main thing that my first blog needed in order to get attention was focus. At first, I just made personal blog posts that made me seem like an angsty, angry teenager. Once I started to follow other WordPress blogs and saw how they discussed music, books, and films, I decided to try and do the same.

Soon, I was getting a modest following and getting in touch with people who wanted me to review their books. The most notable aspect of this is when I discovered independent Black SFF authors via their blog Chronicles of Harriet. After buying and reviewing one of their books for artsandyouthlove, they started to pay attention as I reviewed more of them.

In the summer of 2014, I used a couple of my blog posts as writing samples as I applied for an internship at the Black women’s lifestyle blog For Harriet. Not only did I get the internship, but I was exposed to similar entertainment and pop culture sites aimed at an African American audience.

After writing free pieces for sites like For Harriet, Black Girl Nerds, and Afropunk, I got my first paid writing gig at the Black news site Atlanta Blackstar. While it was brief, I would channel that experience into other paid writing gigs I would get as I established myself as a freelance writer.

Since blogging at artsandyouthlove, I’ve become a freelance writer who gets paid to write about the things I once wrote for a small online audience and my personal amusement. I’ve written for sites like The Mary Sue, Black Sci-fi, and more recently Wear Your Voice magazine. I’ve also gained a slightly bigger platform via Twitter, where I interact with various communities and news outlets.

Artsandyouthlove was a fun, wonderful way for me to find my voice as a writer. It taught me to focus my topics, interact with my audience, and become proactive as a writer. Although it didn’t make me an overnight success, it did pave the way for the career I have right now. I went from being unpaid blogger to a paid freelance writer, and I will always cherish the experience.

5 Tips For The Pop Culture Fan On A Budget

As someone who loves reading comic books and SFF and loathes paying for multiple streaming sites, I know that being a pop culture enthusiast can be pricey. However, I also know that you don’t have to break your bank to indulge in your favorite shows and books. From one pop culture nerd to another, here are five tips for the pop culture fan on a budget.

1, Use freebies

Did you know that there are ways to legally watch shows and read comics and books without spending too much money? Thanks to the magic of the internet, you can.

Love anime? Funimation puts full episodes of certain series up on YouTube for you to enjoy.

Enjoy comics?  there are plenty of self-published webcomics online for your perusal.

Want classic books like Les Miserables or Dracula? They are in the public domain and available to download from places like Project Gutenberg.

2. Watch out for deals

One of my favorite things to use as a digital reader is Amazon’s Kindle Monthly Deals. Books selected for Amazon’s Kindle monthly deals can anywhere from 0.99 to 2.99 or so. Book sites like Book Riot and Goodreads put out news about these deals, but you can also just subscribe to Amazon’s Kindle Monthly Deals newsletter.

Another site I love to use is Humble Bundle. Each month, Humble Bundle unveils a different Bundle featuring books, apps, and video games. For as little as one dollar, you can get a sweet bundle of things that usually cost you a lot more elsewhere.

3. Borrow, don’t spend

Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card! Not only can you borrow books and movies from your local library, but you can even borrow them digitally through an app called Hoopla. With an email address and a library system that uses Hoopla, you can borrow comic books, ebooks, audio books, and movies.

4. Sharing is caring

If you use a streaming account with someone else, you can add them to your account or let them use your account to stream shows instead of having a separate account. This especially works well if you have an entire family worth of people who watch different shows.

5. Wish Upon A List

On Amazon, I have two lists called “Discounted Books Wishlist” and “Discounted Comics Wishlist”. These are basically lists for books and comics that I want to buy for a cheaper price. Every once in a while, I check the wishlist to see if the prices dropped.

By putting the things you want on a wishlist, you can satisfy your need to shop without giving into impulse buys too often. Not only does it give you something to look foward to, but it also saves you money in the long run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Arts And Culture Sites You Should Know

As a freelance writer in the entertainment pop culture field, I’ve had the pleasure of encountering or writing for many different websites that are aimed at different audiences. From music to lifestyle  to gaming, here are ten arts and culture sites you should know.

  1. For Harriet

In 2014, I became an editorial intern for a website aimed at Black women called For Harriet. Founded by Kimberly Foster, the site discusses lifestyle, entertainment, and political topics relevant to Black women while providing a space for Black women to express themselves. As an intern, I wrote editorial pieces and feature articles on entertainment and culture.

2. Black Girl Nerds

While I was an intern at For Harriet, I also became a guest blogger for a budding pop culture and entertainment website called Black Girl Nerds. Founded by Jamie Broadnax, the site provided a space for Black women in pop culture that didn’t exist before, a space that has grown into an enterprise that has covered events like San Diego Comic Con, SXSW, Toronto International Film Festival, and more.

3. Afropunk

In addition to becoming a guest blogger and eventual regular contributor to Black Girl Nerds, I also become a guest  writer on Afropunk. Providing coverage of Black independent artists in a variety of music genres and creative arts, the site has become a community for Black independent artists as well as an annual music festival. As a contributor, I wrote pieces on Black artists in rock, blues, hip-hop, and more.

4. She Shreds

In 2016, I was excited to find an entire website dedicated to female guitarists and bassists called She Shreds. Promoting female guitarists classic and new, the site ended up being a great place for me to spotlight rising Black female guitarists. Not only does the site feature long-form pieces, but they also have video profiles and practical material for any woman who wants to learn to play guitar.

5.  Wear Your Voice 

Some of my most recent writing is on this site. Providing commentary and coverage of political and cultural happenings through the lens of race, gender, and more, Wear Your Voice magazine encourages marginalized identities to own their voice. The site is notable not only for their thought provoking material, but also an inclusive staff.

6. Book Riot

In 2016, I briefly contributed to a sister site to Book Riot called Panels, which focused on comics. Since then, Panels has become a part of Book Riot, a site that covers books from the perspective of a reader. Discussing a variety of genres in quirky sections like Our Reading Lives and Buy, Borrow, Bypass, Book Riot is a bookworm’s dream.

7. The Book Smugglers

If you want a site dedicated to reviewing sci-fi and fantasy as well as publishing it, The Book Smugglers might be for you. Although I have not written for this site, I’ve been persuaded to buy a book or two thanks to the in-depth, well written reviews on this site. Not only do they discuss SFF books for any age to enjoy, but they also publish original fictional works through Book Smugglers Publishing.

8. Women Write About Comics

Although primarily covering comics, WWAC actually covers a wide range of entertainment and pop culture media, such as video games and film. Featuring whip-smart cultural commentary and comprehensive reviews, WWAC is a site to watch out for. More recently, they’ve expanded their comics vertical to focus on specific comics publishers such as Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and Boom Studios!.

9. Fem Hype

The video game industry isn’t always kind to women gamers, but sites like Fem Hype are changing things for the better. As a space for women and femme-identified gamers, the site reports on RPGs, MMORPGs, tabletop games and others from a personal or critical perspective. Whether you’re a PC gamer, Android user, or a console gamer, you’re sure to find something to get your game on.

10.  The Cultural Gutter

These days, most arts and culture sites dedicate themselves to promoting and discussing contemporary media. At The Cultural Gutter, you’ve got a discussion of classic and modern media ranging from the horror series Thriller to Catwoman comics. With a brilliant, nostalgic, and reverent look at culture, one feels that the past and the present is being bridged.