Backdrop Pt. 1: Results of the Book Signing

I promised to do a couple of catch up blog entries from the publication of my book, the birth of my nephew, and everything in between. I will not lie; I was hesitant to share this part of my journey. But it’s important. Later, I will explain why.

December 8th was the day I scheduled my book signing. It was at Yazoo City’s public library, Ricks Memorial. The book signing would be from 9 a.m. to 1 pm. However, that morning, Mississippi got snow! That rarely happens down here. Even if it snows, it never sticks. Anyways, I was a little late because I had to drive carefully and all. (I’ve never driven in the snow before, so I had to be more cautious driving than usual). I got there, set up the table, and waited for people to come. Yazoo City is a very small town, so I wasn’t expecting a big crowd. If three or four were to come, I would’ve still been grateful.

The reporter from the Yazoo Herald arrived; Ms. Cathryn was her name.  She interviewed me; then, I found out something interesting about Ms. Cathryn. She is currently writing a book, and she asked if I would be interested in reading it. I told her, “Sure, I would.” It made her smile. After the interview, she took a couple of pictures and posted them on Facebook to help get the word out and around about the book signing.

Time was passing by so quickly, and I realized that no one was coming. I was sorely disappointed and hurt. I kept beating myself up like, “Did I do something wrong?” “I did the flyers, hanged the flyers myself in community markets and local business owners, and I talked to the newspaper.” ” Did I miss something?” My first book signing to me was a failure. No one came. There were patrons in the library, but no one showed interest. When 1 o’clock came, I packed up in shame.

Just before I left, a miracle happened while at the library. I saw a lot of creative art pieces on display by a local artist. I connected with her, Ms. Melodie Patterson.  Days after the book signing, she asked where she could purchase a copy of my book. I told her where. Next thing, she took a picture holding my book. I just wanted to cry. I couldn’t believe it!

Shortly, she personally invited me to come to her private school and speak to their students. I just froze and thoughts began to swallow me whole. But I prayed, and I let God use me as an example to encourage, inspire, and motivate the next generation.

I spoke on a lot of things; I will name 5 highlights I mentioned:

  1. Keep God first in everything that you do. Let him lead and guide you.
  2. It’s a process. Once you start the process, you have to go through and endure the process. Don’t rush it.
  3. There is no age limit on growing up! As long as you are living, you are going to keep learning things and growing from them.
  4. Find and walk your own path. Nobody can walk yours for you, and you can’t walk theirs.
  5. Be yourself. You will be miserable trying to “people please” everyone. Pursue your passion. Make yourself happy.

One of the students wanted to talk to me about publishing a book similar to the format of Anne Frank’s diary. I was amazed; she’s 14. The student talked, laughed, and giggled. She even invited me to her graduation in 3 years. As she was leaving, she muttered, “It just feels good to talk to someone who is just like you. Someone who really gets you, and you’re able to be yourself.” I just sat there. I couldn’t believe that I had that kind of an impact on someone especially a teen. I’m so used to being in the student’s seat. It felt weird being on the other side of the table.

Ms. Melodie was just as shocked as me. She revealed that the student never talked to anyone, and she, herself, didn’t know that the student could write. She smiled at me and said, “You made quite an impact.” I was humbled. Those students at the Thomas Christian Academy are full of creative talent and life. Just being around them breathed life into me.

Let me back up a little.

Again, I was not going to share this, the result of the book signing. But a friend of mine reminded me how it’s important to share successes as well as failures. Most people will share the successes and not mention the rejections or failures that they encountered along the way.

In this case, people need to be able to relate to someone who is not just succeeding but failing. Yet, within failure, there is growth, perseverance, and strength of will/character. You never know who’s looking at you from the shadows, behind the curtain, or out among the crowd.

I never knew anyone was looking at me or even noticed me. I’m so used to being invisible, voiceless, unheard. Being a published author has blessed me to connect with other creative individuals like myself.

So yes, my book signing was not what I wanted. However, it became a blessing in disguise. There was something I missed: the schools, the churches, and a few more. I didn’t get to them in time. I will relaunch another book signing. I won’t miss anyone this time. If I have to visit the schools and churches myself, that’s what I’m going to do. I don’t want to just touch lives, I want to change them too.

All I have to do is plant a seed…

But I’m making sure it’s a positive one. So many people invested in me over the years, and most are not here to see what their wisdom and guidance has helped shape the woman I am today.

This is a journey; it’s my journey. I’ve spent my whole life running from it. I’m not running anymore. It’s not about me. There’s a bigger picture now (always have been). What I do, what I say ripples to other people. It affects them some way. I want to make sure it’s a positive way. We have enough negativity in this world.

That ladies and gentlemen…

That’s how a seed is planted.

 

*My goal was to have all my ends tied up with the backdrops. But I won’t make it before the new year, 2018. That’s ok though. Pt. 2 to the backdrop blog entry will be the next entry at the beginning of the year. A reflection of the journey I’ve started.*

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2018 on the Rise: New Goals, Making Dreams a Reality

2017 has been full of challenges and growth. I remember when I started this blog. It started out as encouragement and support for a family member. And it grew from there. Also, my blog became another outlet for me to stay productive in my writing. Although I fell off for a while, I am still able to pick up and continue one blog at a time.

Even though I’m still working on becoming a Copy Editor, I’ve decided to go back to school to get my Master’s Degree. It’s a one-year program. Of course, the program will not open up til August 2018, the fall. So I’m working toward getting everything together to attend. Then, I’ve been doing a lot of research about creating my own literary journal to help the creative community. I’m looking into Graphic Design, so I can learn how to do it myself. If I had the funds to pay someone else to do it, I would; however, I don’t. Plus, it will help me get back into my creative flow.

Concerning my book, I have a few author vendor events coming up, and the first one takes place in February. I have a couple of book signings scheduled. I’m very excited yet nervous at the same time. Now, that I just got hired for my new job, I will be able to promote/market my book like I want.

So many promising avenues are opening up and providing countless possibilities. I will say that becoming a published author was not in my plans. But I just thank God after 20-something years of people asking, encouraging, and poking me, it came to fruition. With my book, I was able to connect with so many authors, writers, and poets too.

I am so proud and proud of myself! 2017, thank you for the preview of what’s to come. 2018, let’s make it happen! Let’s not wait! Chapter 30 is blank and ready to be occupied with memories, adventures, and experiences. Time to make my dreams a reality!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!! Welcome, 2018! I pray it’s wonderful!

December 22, 2017 – Celebrating my 30th Birthday: Successes, Lessons, and Experiences

This will be a very short blog entry.

Technically, I promised myself to stay off social media and electronics, but what can I say? I owe a few previous entries anyway. So what the heck?

So, today is my birthday! I’m so humbled yet excited. I must say my birthday came quicker this year. It crept up on me. Last night, a bit before midnight, I was thinking to myself, “Lord, I’m really going to 30. I can’t believe it. Already?” I couldn’t help but smile though.

Let me explain further…

For a while, I know I was dreading the dreaded “30.” From society’s and family’s perspective, I don’t have anything as to what is usually expected of me. I’m not married, no children, no home to call my own, no relationship, and I’m still living at home with a parent out of necessity rather than wanting.  Putting it that way, I’m like super behind. You have people younger than me that are married, with children, their own homes, and have a career, not a job. I put a lot of pressure on myself. But hey, I was just following the script. What script? The script we’re drilled to memorize and executing from childhood to adulthood. I guess I didn’t make the cut.

Then, I began to feel like I had to play “catch-up.” I’m thinking: ” Man, I’m so far behind. I don’t have this. Or I don’t have that. I’m trying, but I just can’t seem to get ahead. What am I doing wrong? Why am I not good enough? Am I cursed?” Yes, I was just beating myself. Until a few nights ago, a good friend and I were having a conversation; and, she brought something to my attention.

She said, “Jasz, man’s timing and God’s timing are very different things. So don’t subject yourself to man’s time frame. Just because you don’t have now doesn’t mean you won’t ever get it. You’re 30 could be your new 20. Look at Gabrielle Union and Taraji P. Henson, they didn’t blow up until after their 30s. And JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, is older than you; yet, she still blew up when she wrote those books. Yes, as women, we are pressured by society and family. But who really knows when except the Lord? It has to line up with God’s will and timing. Not yours or anyone else’s. I’m just saying.”

She had me thinking. Besides, I’m still trying to find out who am and what I want to do for the remainder of my existence. I have to live my life and find out who the “real” me is. I thank her for sharing that with me. And all the pressure just suddenly lifted. I decided to just take it one day at a time. It’s all a process. Not only do I have to go through it, I have to stay in the process as well. Basically, I threw away society’ script, family’s script, and I’m making my own up as I go.

With my birthday, I am reflecting on so much. My book: successes and learning experiences. From self-employment to unstable, temporary jobs, I can definitely say that I can finally see my growth, not just as a poet and writer but as a person too. I can’t do anything but thank God for everything that has and is preparing me for the next level in my life.

I can’t keep running. So, I’m going to take it head-on.

But that’s tomorrow’s issue; today, I’m celebrating me and the small victories!

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!

(Next entries will catch up everything. I know I’m behind, but life continues to roll on).

*LOL, I just saw that’s it’s not a short blog after all. Wait til you see the others after this one.*

Celebrate me

 

 

 

 

I don’t read poetry? (spoiler-free review)

Another Book Review for Little Girl Blues: Existence of an Image

plentifulpages

Title -Little Girl Blues: Existence of an Image

Author -J.N. McGhee

Rating -4/5

Release Date -September 11th, 2017

Publisher -Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Format -eBook (received from the author)

Little Girl Blues is a heartfelt collection of poetry that deals with topics like discovering how harsh reality is and figuring out where you fit in said reality.

The poems in this collection were really eye-opening. I’ve never experienced complete hopelessness as some of the poems described. They were written so well that I could put myself in the shoes of someone who feels like that. In the short time that I spent with them, these poems changed my mindset because I was shown the complete rock-bottom that some people can feel.

This collection was different than I expected. I thought it was going to be a story that went from someone being hopeless to…

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Jackson Community Expo

Yesterday, I was invited to participate as a vendor at the Jackon Cash & Carry Supermarket. This was my second event as a vendor. I really wasn’t feeling my best; but, I just made the most of the opportunity. There were a few entrepreneurs; it was great! I was really nervous. Of course, Ms. Gigi pulls me to the side to try to talk some sense into me. It worked (for the most part).

I didn’t sell any books, and that’s ok. I was just glad to collaborate with other people and learn about business. Ms. Meredith McGee was also there as a vendor. She pulled me to the side and shared a lot of knowledge with me. Basically, she told me about how to get exposure, what to do, what to say, and who to connect and reach out to. I enjoyed the knowledge that she shared with. By the end of the event, we both decided to swap our works and review them. It feels good to work with other authors as we continue to uplift and genuinely support each other.

Also, another young lady stopped by my table. I was so amazed at the fact she was excited about wanting to purchase and read my book. She was like, “Girl, it’s amazing to be a published author. In fact, it’s a blessing. God is going to take you places with this book. So you might as well strap in and get ready. I feel it is very vital as an African American to know who you are dealing with ‘image’.”  And her name was Jasmine as well.

I guess God is getting ready to take me places; I am scared and uncertain of the “where.” But I am trying to work on my faith. I know God has never let me down, abandoned nor forsaken me. To me, I’m just a small town, countrywoman just trying to find my way, trying to actually live life instead of existing, and find out who I am. And somehow I keep getting pushed back to “Square 1.”

Overall, I enjoyed the meet and greet with the other vendors. Hopefully, things will pick up. Still working on local promotion.

Next entry will begin to fill in the gap as the backdrop to catch you guys up.

Before I forget, I just updated my author/poet website: mcjasz2205.wixsite.com/jnmcghee.

I’m still working on linking my WordPress blog to my website, so I won’t have to keep starting new blogs. I will figure it out soon.

More updates to come.

Until then:

“Speak your truth, Live your truth! Use your voice.” © – Jasmine N. McGhee

 

Book Signing for December 8th – Secured!

Hello, everyone! I’ve been so busy trying to schedule a book signing. So I was finally able to secure a time, date, and location. This will be my first, official book signing! It will take place at a local library on December 8th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (The rest of the info is on the flyer that’s at the end of the blog). I’m so excited yet nervous at the same time. Also, the Downtown Marketplace in Yazoo City, MS will be selling a few copies of my book in their store! They were really nice, helpful, and supportive.

Other than that, local promotion is going pretty good. It started off on a rocky, uncertain start. Once I found my footing, it picked up some. But all praises and glory go to the good Lord. I’m just so happy and humble that he has truly blessed me beyond words. As I prepare for this book signing, I’m hoping everything turns out ok.  The flyer is ready; I’ve been printing and hanging them in local businesses.

My goal was to do at least two book signings before the end of the year. However, it was so many other writers and authors trying to do the same thing around the same time.  So I just told myself to do this one; and, at the beginning of next year, I would try to schedule another book signing.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I can’t wait to eat to my heart’s content. I have so much to be thankful. This year has been filled with ups and downs, false starts, detours, etc. Overall, I can say that I have so much to be thankful for. My new nephew, my heart, Deon’tae – my D-Baby. I’m a published author; I’m connecting with other like-minded, creative individuals.

So Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

After everything slows up, I’ll do a couple of backdrop entries about what happened after the book was published along with the birth of my nephew. 🙂

I promise.

Book Signing Flyer #2.jpg

Little Girl Still Not Heard. The Story Continues to be ignored

Today is the day. A decision has to be made…

So, I had purchased a book review and an author review for $60. This individual claimed to support Indie Authors. I’m thinking, “Well, maybe this person can help. I’ve been getting lies, the runaround, etc.” When I woke up this morning, (I wasn’t fully awake yet) I read that review. It felt like someone sucked the life out of me. (The book review is a reblogged entry if you want to read it).

Basically, I’m a “failed poet.” “This book is the most difficult, most underrated form of art using words. Clumsiness, some metaphors seem forced, artificial, and not at all inspired. This short book is an example of what a few neatly placed words can done (it’s supposed to be “do”), what can be achieved within the confines of letters and punctuation.” And my book received a 4-star rating. On the contrary, my book was critiqued not reviewed.

To be honest, I don’t even care about the rating. It’s the wording of the review! Poetry is an art! Just like a painting, sculpture, or anything. It’s not the beauty of words; it goes beyond that!!! There’s a story within the poems that I’ve dedicated my life to writing, to convey.  For some reason, nobody is listening to the doggone story! They’re so busy trying to restrict my poetry to guidelines, rules, and how “they” think it should be. The cliche’, “You’ll miss the forest looking at the trees.” This review is a prime example.

Nobody doesn’t want to listen to the story, yet everyone is very quick to say, “everyone has a story to tell.” But who truly wants to listen? Who out there has the open mind to really see what the little girl is saying in that book?!

There is a huge difference between a writer and a poet. I’m a POET! Someone once shared “poetry burns the soul and evokes emotion.” A true and profound statement.

As I stated, I am that little girl. Yes, my story still goes unheard. Perhaps, if it was a novel, it would be more receptive. My allegiance is to poetry. I’m open to all types of literature. Poetry won my heart a long time ago. It saved me when “people” didn’t have the time to listen, care, or just have the time.

Being a published author is one of, if not the only, accomplishment in my life. Like, “Hey, after all the hurt, pain, multiple types of death, it all lead me here.” Now, I’m undergoing another type of death: the death of the soul, the death of a poet. Poetry used to be held in such high regards. In this decaying, withering, society, most wouldn’t know what art was if it was right in front of them.

I’ve been facing so much rejection because I’m a self-published author, or my book is poetry. But, I kept trying, trying to connect, trying new ideas…..

My worst fear: my poems out in the open; I can’t protect them or keep them safe. As long as they were on my computer, written in composition books and journals, and within my safe haven, I could control who I wanted to read them and put my poetry away. However, that’s no longer an option.

There are some who share my vision while others heartlessly mutilate my soul.

“Sorry, Little Girl. No one is listening still. So let’s go back to our unreality. Pretend we have a few like minds there. The world’s reality is not my reality. Their sense of rules is overbearing and unrealistic. But prejudice, isolation, and fake patriotism is the drivel that fuels society’s sanity. If rejection doesn’t kill me first, then I will be the world’s main course. And those that speak “truth” will be silenced within Dante’s Inferno. Never to be seen or heard from again: The ‘One-Hit Wonders’.

Subjected to mediocre meanings such as the period, an end. A comma, a possible addition. A semicolon, another addition making it more complex. Letters birth words involving the alphabet. How else would man have learned to categorize, to define the ‘thing,’ the ‘it.’  Yes, ‘it” could be anything. But what would yours be?

Let art live. Just let it be. Stop trying to cut it up, define it, understand it. It simply just the ‘is.’ Words do cut deep, and the truth is supposed to free the soul. Do you really want to be set free? Or be condemned to the world’s crumbling, archaic method of thinking?

I’m an artist; I will die an artist. But I will choose my demise.
NOT YOU!”

© – J.N. McGhee, poet (first), published author

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Little Girl Blues by J.N. McGhee

If rejection doesn’t kill me first, then I guess I will be the main course for the rest of the world.

Cristian Mihai

A book of poetry. The most difficult and most underrated form of art involving words.

Truth be told, and to paraphrase William Faulkner, all writers are failed poets. They aim to create the kind of beauty to be found in a poem.

This short book is an example of what a few neatly placed words can done, what can be achieved within the confines of letters and punctuation marks.

To use only words to create beauty, to evoke certain feelings, to make you feel something, that’s the closest thing to magic we still have.

Of course, this is the work of a young poet, which means that it is both ambitious and not without fault. Maybe those faults derive from ambition: there’s clumsiness in some parts, some metaphors seems forced or artificial or not at all that inspired.

Regardless, most of the poems are really good, some even better.

Overall…

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Opening Act: First Appearance as a Published Author

So, there’s so much to divulge! But I will have to do another entry later in the week. I was invited by Ms. Gigi Gates to participate as a vendor at her 2nd Year Anniversary of Moving Forward Seminar. This was quite a challenge for me. I’m a published author now, yet I’m still shy and meek. However, this was an opportunity to meet potential customers, market/promote my book, and gain other opportunities such as speaking engagements to share with others.

My mother and sister went with me, and I’m so glad that they did. I was a nervous wreck. My mind was all over the place because I had so much to do: setup the table, where to place stuff, where to sit, etc. But my mother and sister took the initiative and helped ground me.

The event itself was outstanding! So much knowledge, so many women that came to support Ms. Gigi and her vision.

Also, I was able to engage with these women and provide a synopsis of my book. I sold a total of 6 books! I celebrate the small victories, and I was asked to come to a future speaking engagement. I was excited but still shy at the same time. Overall, November 11th was a very special day for me. The venue, where the seminar was held, was actually a bookstore. I spoke with the owner, Tamarah Mack. She agreed to sell my books at her establishment. I was overjoyed. I gave her five copies and signed a consignment form.

God is really opening doors for me! A few weeks ago, I wanted to give up on the local promotion because it wasn’t getting anywhere. Now, look!

That’s all for today. The next entry will be a backdrop to catch you up on what’s been going on since the publication of my book.

All I can say is God can. He will. He’s able!

Read Poetry: Unchanging Penitence, by J.N. McGhee

Poetry Festival featured my poem “Unchanging Penitence” on their website. Yes, this poem is also in my book, “Little Girl Blues: Existence of an Image.” It’s on Amazon, Goodreads, Alibris, Abe Books, Book Depository, and Indie Bound! Get your Copy Today!

POETRY FESTIVAL. Submit to site for FREE. Submit for actor performance. Submit poem to be made into film.

Genre: Dark, Sad

Love + me will always = pain.
Disappointments and knowledge are the results I gain.
Mending gradually yet the heart remains the same.
Closets are filled to capacity with no vacancy to place the blame.
I hate myself, this flesh never seems to redeem.
Outward appearances capture strangers’ eyes; their conjured reflections evade my dreams.
I’m not good enough; I will never be seen for who, not what, I truly am.
Perfection, requirements, and preferences overwhelm me like a dam.
Scars, bruises, and blemishes leave their mark.
Constant remainders chipping away at me like tree bark.
Beating myself emotionally, physically, mentally has left sensations numb. Damaged beyond repair; I’m an invisible shadow.
No sense of place nor time.
Just a faceless phantom.
No matter what people do to me, for it will never come close as to what I do to myself on the inside.
 I’ll return…

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