On being a writer…

I was scrolling through some of the blogs I follow and this post stood out to me. There’s so much truth to this it’s almost overwhelming. As I write and have written over the past year I have learned so much about myself. So many things I’ve done or didn’t do, mistakes and choices I made make so much more sense now that I’ve actively been responding to the calls that come from within instructing me to write something–anything at all.

 

“An artist is always alone – if he is an artist.” – Henry Miller Writing is a lonely job, no doubt about it. And no matter how successful you might become, you’re still alone. It’s the inexorable truth of the writer’s condition: you sit at your desk, in an empty room or in the most […]

via A lonely job… — Cristian Mihai

What Lies Ahead in Spring-Summer 2017

So many ideas, so little time. I can’t even begin to predict how the next several months will go, but I have high hopes and several things I’d like to accomplish. For starters, my second book, Sunlight, Coffee & Roses (SC&R for short), has turned into something totally different from what I had initially thought it’d be. Instead of a collection of short stories, it is blossoming more into a novel. I went through a serious period of writer’s block, especially after I finished Reflection in the Music. Then again, I’m not sure I’d call it writer’s block. I was just tired. The experience of writing and self-publishing was more emotionally and mentally and physically draining than I had anticipated. Add to that my everyday responsibilities and I had to take a step back from working on my second book and even updating this blog as frequently—I never stopped writing, though. What’s funny is I’ve had ideas for all types of poems, short stories and other books, but couldn’t seem to sort out my thoughts for SC&R. I had a deadline that I set for myself to finish this book last November, but as it is April, I’ll just take my precious time and aim for mid-summer. That seems like an appropriate time for a title such as Sunlight.

I am continuing to update my book review blog, http://letarawritesbookreviews.wordpress.com with more book reviews. My goal with that is to do what I already enjoy doing, read books and talk/write about them, and also help some really awesome authors gain exposure. Be on the lookout for more reviews and great authors in the near future!

As a result of the most recent review I published, CoEd by James Fant, I was able to make a new author/blogger friend who was also kind enough to leave some feedback on my book. Check out what he had to say:

I enjoy reading stories about friendship as a friend is truly a precious commodity. The group Whodini recorded a song called Friends and the chorus sings, “How many of us have them?” If you are blessed to have a friend, just one true friend, then you are rich. But if you have two or more people that you can truly call friends, well you are in another tax bracket all together. You’ve struck oil, found gold. Reflections in the Music, a Novella by LeTara Moore, deals with friendship between three women. Will their treasure appreciate over time? Or will it depreciate under the immense pressures of life?

The novella introduces Pea, Sherri and Melissa and gives you a sense of their personalities as well as their interaction and growth, which is basically the crux of the story. I loved the way LeTara referenced music in her prose. I pulled up Minnie Riperton’s Inside Me as I read because Melissa was listening to it. Then the story led me to another Riperton tune: Baby This Love I Have and I realized two things – 1) Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest sampled Minnie Riperton heavily, and rightfully so because her music is dope and ahead of its time; and  2) LeTara Moore is a music head just like me! She teaches readers about the history behind Purple Rain, the movie and album. I never knew that Vanity was supposed to be the leading lady (although I’m glad things worked out like they did because Apollonia…good gracious! Apollonia!!!). The novella motivated me to learn more about R&B history.

I loved the friendship between Pea, Sherri, and Melissa. How they come together in times of need (even when that need isn’t explicitly expressed…no spoilers). I also loved the way that LeTara didn’t try to end things with a neat and pretty bow. We may not like to admit it, but sometimes things don’t end neat and pretty. They end how they need to end, I guess. Hopefully with people gaining strength and insight and learning from their mistakes.

I would’ve liked to see more dialogue in the story. There were long blocks of narration that I believe could’ve been relayed differently via the characters actually speaking to each other. Also, I wanted to see a deeper development of each character. However, this is a novella so perhaps the length constrained the space necessary for LeTara to dig deeper into why Sherri was so vain, why Melissa was such a prude, and why Pea would be reluctant to tell a special man in her life something vitally important. Maybe Ms. Moore will expand each story in subsequent novels. If so, I’d love to read each expansion.

https://jamesfantbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/reflections-on-friendship-review-of-letara-moores-reflections-in-the-music/

As always, thank you so much for your continued support. The likes, shares and comments are greatly appreciated and give me so much encouragement to keep moving forward.

Reflecting on Song Choices

I thought I’d take a moment to go back and reflect on my exactly how my book Reflection in the Music came about and how it ties into the Discover Challenge this week. After all, music plays a huge role in my writing and was essential in the creation of my novella. The publishing of my first book was huge for me, so as I work to publish my next book I can’t help but to sometimes think back to a few years ago when I said to myself I wanted to publish.

It all started with a broken heart and a Billie Holiday song. Good Morning Heartache. In 2012 I wrote a scene that heavily revolved around that song. The scene was one of the main characters looking back on her past with Billie Holiday singing in the background egging her on. Might as well get used to you hanging around. Good morning heartache. Sit down. That song set the tone for the character who later became known as Pea. She’s sad, she’s confused and she’s invited heartache into her life by not letting go of her past to be able to embrace her present. Miss Holiday recorded more than one version of this song, but the version shared here is most haunting and what really motivated the character of Pea.

Sherri, the best friend of Pea, existed back in the original drafts of yesteryear, but didn’t initially have the presence to warrant a theme song. Finally, after beginning the developments of the other characters it hit me. Vanity 6 whose lead singer was Vanity aka Denise Matthews. Sherri’s life doesn’t totally parallel that of Denise’s, but vanity is a tough hurdle for Sherri to overcome. To introduce Sherri, I used a number of Vanity 6 and Prince references, even a nod to the Mary Jane Girls, however, Nasty Girl is Sherri.

Melissa. Her character contains such innocence and naivete. Writing her introductory chapter is what inspired the title Reflection in the Music. I remember watching a documentary on Minnie Riperton a few years ago and being blown away and saddened at the same time. She was such a sweet spirit and her amazing vocal capabilities reflected that. You could hear it in the way she sang, even when the lyrics she sang weren’t all that innocent. Totally the opposite of the Nasty Girl, but a powerful delivery still.

Finally, there’s Jane. Jane has lived with me for years and she may one day get her own book. There’s so much to tell about her. Ultimately, a song my Miss Donna Summer was what I most associated with her. The song really describes her starting point in this story.

I had several other songs on the playlist, too as I made my way through this book. Every now and then I’d listen to something different, but mostly kept the same songs on repeat. An eclectic and unusual mix: R. Kelly’s Cookie, Beyonce’s Yonce’, Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness, Rihanna’s B**** Better Have My Money, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Led Zeppelin, Ro James, Van Hunt. I’d gain energy from certain songs and play them incessantly until I finished the scene or chapter I was writing. The same handful of songs kept me going, getting into the mood of writing and brainstorming.

The story I wanted to tell was inspired by a song by Dinah Washington entitled What a Difference a Day Makes. How much can happen over a 24-hour period? How can something as seemingly insignificant, something most consume as entertainment, a song have an influence over your entire life? The focus, however isn’t just on music, but on anything that people don’t consider significant. Things we mindlessly take in not realizing that they can and do have an impact.

How do you feel after you’ve listened to Good Morning Heartache on repeat for an hour or few? Well, I felt every bit of what Pea felt, not only because I lived some of it, but because the somberness and tone of the song and Billie Holiday’s voice are enough to move you and even depress you. It set the mood for what was Pea’s life at the time of her introduction. After you’ve listened to Nasty Girl and All Night Long by the Mary Jane Girls repeatedly do you not feel like the baddest chick around? I know I do. Every song choice was deliberate. Just wait until I reveal the playlist for the book I’m currently writing.

© LeTara Moore, 2016

 

Song

Before and After Motherhood: Working from Home

While this isn’t a work-from-home blog, this is the place where I express myself through the written word. Those words aren’t always poetic.

A little history about me:

I’ve always been free-spirited. When I was a teenager I decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. In high school I discovered that I could earn extra cash online by taking surveys. In college I learned about mystery shopping. I had tried a few internet work-from-home programs, but none of it really suited me. I loved to write, but had a hard time trying to determine how I should go about pursuing it. I came across independent contractor opportunities in a variety of industries. Several years of mishaps (and very expensive lessons) later and here I am writing this post in my living room while my toddler is dancing front of the television to the tune of a song on one of her favorite cartoons. More

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It is almost the close of day on the first day of the month, but I had to write something before midnight struck. It’s hard to believe that it is October already. I could’ve sworn it was just January. We, or at least I, say something to that effect every year, but this year I especially mean it. Just when I think I have gone through the toughest, bumpiest, twistiest emotional/mental/spiritual rollercoaster, I am strapped into another and my tolerance for rapid speed, quick changes and unexpected drops in altitude is put to the test. More

Dream/Potential/Success Deferred

Earlier today I went to look for a notebook, knowing that I had many lingering around the house, to dedicate specifically to my poetry, stories and ideas whenever I’m not in the mood to type it on my computer, phone or tablet. I thought that the majority of my work had been left either in my hometown or on my previous computer that hasn’t been in working order in nearly a year. I knew the whereabouts of at least two of my notebooks. I didn’t expect to find seven. More

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