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Monday, July 18, 2011

Behind Begonia ...

I was sick when I started to write the book. I lived and Harrisburg with my ex-husband. We were struggling financially, facing eviction, and our marriage was coming to an end (although neither of us realized this at the time)

I smoked cigarettes and drank way too much alcohol (I hid the drinking) I was home sick and so lonely. I turned to food for comfort and I gained 70lbs to my staggering 240lb five foot 2 inch frame.

I was so hurt... I smiled and joked to hide it, but it was killing me. My diabetes went out of control and I learned that sneaky little disease came with brutal side effects.

This was the back drop to this novel. I cried when I sat down to write it. It filled up notebooks while I struggled to keep my little publishing company floating. When you read the book you will feel my pain, because I gave it all to her. Begonia was the outlet. I gave all of my pain to her, every last drop.

I was evicted out of my apartment in Feb 2009... well, I can't articulate the feeling of failure and self hate this brought a long, so I won't even try. I had to move in with my in-laws and work 16 hrs a day, everyday with a cold that morphed into bronchitis that turned into pneumonia to get back on my feet. I bought a house in a month but the damage I did to my body to achieve that little feet still lingers today.

I was back and forth in the hospital...

drinking constantly...

and writing daily...

I had a story to tell. Begonia Brown became my escape... she was my best friend... she was strong through her trials... I was weak. I needed her...

On June 19th I  came home to Philadelphia with nothing more than the clothes on my back.

I was sick, could barely walk. My mother had to feed me and bathe me like I was an infant. My best friend Shaconna took care of me when my mother could not. I hardly had the strength to write.


However, when I did... it was pure fire.


It could not have made it to print without the following people (angels)
Junnita Jackson... my friend who made the cover (over and over again... sorry Junnita lol)
Nora Gruenburg ... my editor that is worth her weight in gold, platinum, and titanium.
Madonna aka Sankofa the poet... who typed the bulk of it

and my son... who woke me up to write when depression held me hostage in my own bed.

In October of 2009 I recieved my divorce papers in the mail, and sent Begonia Brown to the printer...

It is what it is...

Julia



Saturday, July 16, 2011

Random sleepy shyt

Well I'm up in the middle of the night the pain has gone (My brain was attempting to escape the confines of my skull or I had a fuggen headache) but sleep doesn't seem to be an option...

I've decided to blog...

About what you say?


I don't fuggen know... hence the title.

I started this blog last night and now it's 6 o'clock in the morning and I'm up and operating on 3 hrs of sleep. Tired... I look like a fricken zombie....

There are three things on my mind this morning...

1st... I'm hungry good thing I'm having a Breakfast at my stand on 29th and Dauphin. Club21 book club, Author Donneil D. Jackson, and Author Karen E. Quinones Miller will be in attendance (I slew of other authors will be stopping by... you won't want to miss this!)

2nd... Why in the sam hell can't a bitch sleep at night. I mean seriously I need to be sedated. I wonder if anybody seen my 40 winks hanging around... and do they sell horse tranquilizers on the street. ( I'm seriously thinking about hiring a dude to come by my house and punch me in the temple er'night (knock me the f*ck out please)

3rd... Does anybody notice that the cost  of gas is creeping the f*ck back up? I mean it was 3.69 last week and now it's back to 3.75. I object damnit... I am still in a recession and I don't appreciate the astronomical gas prices (Seriously considering commuting by roller skates, seriously roller skates...seriously)


this has been a mini blog update by yours truly
Julia

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

the biz


I thought long and hard about the topic of this blog. I decided to tell my publishing journey as briefly as possible in hopes that it would assist someone else.
Here goes nothing…

Late September 2007 I was working full time as a nursing assistant and attending college full time to obtain my nursing degree. I was in hell. Tired all the time from studying and struggling to keep my family fed, I was always crying. Crying and writing. Writing and crying. That was my every day routine, until my son asked me why I was studying to be a nurse when all I did was write.
Out of the mouths of babes…

I dropped out. I really had no choice. It was either that or quite my job, and I had grown far too accustomed to eating daily to quit my job. That was the time I decided to finish my book and try my hand at being an author. I’d started writing my first book “Strawberry Mansion: A Philadelphia Story” when I was sixteen, and over the years I’d accumulated a lot of material.

Long story short, I wrote the damn book.

However, I couldn’t find an agent or publisher that was willing to give it a shot. I did a little (and I mean little) research on self-publishing. I did not like what I found. I couldn’t afford it. At the time I had trouble paying for oodles of noodles at the supermarket, so how could I come up with hundreds of dollars to publish my book?

I didn’t have a clue…

I lived on myspace and I had several friends on my list who self-published so I started to ask them how they were doing it, and how could they afford it. They weren’t telling. Point, Blank, Period. If I wanted to know, I was going to have to find out on my own. So I did.
I moved into the writing section of the bookstore and read everything they had on self-publishing. I started listening to Blogtalkradio whenever an indie author was on, and I learned that I could do it and do it cheaply if I applied myself.

So without further ado, this is what I did…
1)      I bought and followed Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual like it was the gospel, and published my book in three months. I recommend this book to everyone thinking about becoming a publisher.
2)      I hired a kick ass editor named Nora Gruenberg she’s on my friend list on facebook
3)      I spend a lot of money on my covers (books are judged by them) I use Junnita Jackson who is also on my friend list
4)      I network as much as possible on social media (I don’t beat them over the head with a lot of by my book please nonsense) I truly try to build relationships.
5)      I advertise as much as my budget allows (I treat my writing like a business)
6)      I use both, a small run printer (A&R printing 615-797-9220) long runs (tps1.com) and createspace
7)      I published ebooks with Amazon, Smashwords, Pubit.
8)      I constantly try to grow as a writer

Well, that’s the short and skinny of it. If you have any questions or need any help contact me on facebook, because I live there. lol

Until next time
Julia
www.JPSimmons.com

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