I was recently asked by Pink Heart Society to contribute to a special issue they were putting together about romance writer's of color. They wanted me to talk about my journey in publishing as a black woman-- which is right up my alley if any of you have witnessed me on my soap box when such questions are posed.
At any rate, I'm super honored to be included with this fantastic list of authors. You can read about me and the other dope authors by clicking HERE.
So, yesterday was Indie Love in the A 2017. And it was all love. Here's why:
1. Jos is awesome. As the founder and curator of Indie Love, Jos-Renee Marks, a reader who just has a lot of love for indie authors, has tapped into a market. A huge market of readers who support writers with their dollars, mouths and hearts (corny as that may sound) and it is so, so appreciated. Her event, in my mind, really set the precedent for these gatherings of indie writers-- which are all so awesome.
2. I sold out of almost all of my books! Okay, I'm gonna keep it 100 here. Basically, I came to this event thinking that I wasn't going to sell many books. Not because I'm a negative thinker or don't believe in "speaking life" into my activities and whatnot. But I'm a realist and as sensitive as I am, I like to think I'm a fairly pragmatic thinker. My last release was Blind Expectations in December. That book, while well-received, seemed to kind of be my most... debatable book? Meaning, it seemed to take folks through the ringer and make people feel some type of strong reaction about Trevor and Leah and their coupledom. All that to say, I didn't expect to sell a ton of books or whatever. But yo... I SOLD OUT of almost everything I brought--Better Than Okay, Blind Expectations and Finding Kennedy. The only books I really had left was one copy each of More Than Always and Less Than Forever and a handful of Happiness In Jersey books. Y'all. That is humbling. And so freakin' dope. I LOVE Y'ALL.
3. READERS. Without readers, would I be a writer? Well, yeah. I'd write for myself. But I publish my books because I want y'all to read them. I want to entertain you. I want to touch you. I want to make you think about things and life differently. I want to be affirming to your heart and spirit. I want you to love love. The readers I get to meet at Indie Love fill me up for the rest of the year, seriously. You guys are just... the absolute best.
4. Panels. I love the panel discussions at Indie Love. They're always so interesting and enlightening and just cool. And when the panel discussion is standing room only-- dude. I can't adequately explain how freakin' dope that is. (Shout out to my mama who is the bomb and sold book for me even while I was participating in the panel discussion).
5. Books! Who doesn't love books!?
All of that said, a lot of you (most of you) came by asking when the heck I was gonna be done with Keeping Willow. It's been just over a year since I published Finding Kennedy and I need to hurry my ass up with it. Okay, nobody said that but I know I need to. My release date for Finding Willow, the third book in The Prototype Series is Summer. Alright, that's vague. But I'm shooting for a late July/early August release. My daughter is going to both of her grandmas for a bit so that should free up a little bit more writing time for me... so yay that. I also have a lot of books in my head (and few good starts on paper) that I'm excited about-- that includes the fourth book in The Prototype Series, Loving Cassie which is Bam and Cassie's story. Hopefully, that will come sooner than later.
Until then, long live INDIE LOVE IN THE A.
As some of you know, I'm currently knee-deep into writing the third installment of The Prototype Series, Keeping Willow. For those of you familiar with the series, this obviously going to be Willow and Devin's book. It's shaping up to be... different. Interesting.
See, the thing with Devin and Willow is we've already been introduced to them in Happiness In Jersey and Finding Kennedy. They're already together and we've gotten a glimpse into their, well, kinda dramatic relationship dynamic. Willow is a little spoiled and Devin is hyper focused on his music, with overprotective tendencies that tend to veer into jealous territory. Then, add in the fact that at the end of Finding Kennedy, we see the band on the cusp of breaking out of Tyler, TX with their new song playing on Atlanta radio, and it's obvious that everyone is in the midst of big change. That's been fun and even a little challenging to write. I want to get this story right. I want to make this series everything I imagine it to be in my head. I've never read about a black, college-based, alt-soul band before in fiction. I want The Prototype Series to be, well, the prototype for the potential these kinds of stories have.
Basically, pressure. I put a lot of pressure on myself that's probably not even necessary, honestly.
Anyway, I opened my email the other day and got some super cool news—the second book in The Prototype Series, Finding Kennedy, has been nominated for a 2017 RONE Award! It's nominated in the New Adult category but voting doesn't take place until later this month (check back for the update so that you can get your vote on). In the meantime, you can read the review that helped get it nominated right here. From the review on InD'tale:
"There are laugh out loud moments and the story develops and flows at a pace making it an enjoyable read and one that is easily finished in one sitting. With this well written and pleasurable story, Jacinta Howard has ensured that after reading this book readers will go back to start this series at the beginning. "
As I said you can check back here later for info on where/when you can vote. It's so cool to be nominated again—my debut novel, Better Than Okay, was also nominated for a 2015 RONE Award as well.
If you still haven't read Finding Kennedy, you can purchase it here.
***And... I'm doing a GIVEAWAY. Just drop a comment below and tell me ALL of the members of The Prototype and I'll gift you with a signed copy :-). Good luck!
**CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! THANKS FOR PLAYING!**
Wine With Writers (Philly Edition) was so incredibly dope... hands down my favorite event of the year so far. And why wouldn't it be? Take a look at all of the things that made it so cool.
1. Readers came from near and far. Seriously, folks traveled from other states to chat, sip and hang with me, Nia Forrester, Ashley Coleman, Lily Java and Tia Kelly. On all of those days that I'm stuck inside of my head, feeling down, feeling wack, I'll remember this day in Philly- when reading readers came and said a lot of super nice things about all of us and our books.
2. Nia Forrester. Nia Forrester (who spearheaded Wine With Writers with the first ever event in DC) spilled the beans on her writing process, how her experiences influence her writing and let everyone know about Keisha. Y'all know Keisha.
3. Tia Kelly. Tia Kelly organized/produced the entire event and it was so fantastic and fun. She's so talented. She's also the bomb.
4. Lily Java read a dynamic excerpt from Blackbirds and she should seriously consider a job in voiceovers. Like, seriously.
5. Ashley Coleman broke down why love is a choice. Love with intention, y'all. Listen to Ashley.
6. Wine. Yum.
7. My mom came! I love my mom.
8. The talking. We discussed black lives, black women, writers block, love, relationships, books, romance, fiction, the book industry, wine, insecurities, vulnerabilities, and life. And well, it was awesome to be surrounded by so much intelligence, passion and love.
9. READERS. READERS. READERS. I love readers. Your support, especially for indie authors, is just... it leaves us all speechless. I literally was speechless a few times yesterday, as those of you were there know. Readers are awesome. Readers rock. Readers are dope. Readers read. I love readers.
Long story short... can't wait for the next the installment of Wine With Writers.
On March 25th I'll be in Philly for a really cool event, Wine with Writers! I'm super excited to be participating, and hopefully I'll even have the opportunity to meet and drink with some of you. That said, below are my Top 5 Reasons to Attend Wine with Writers.
1. There'll be wine. I don't think this reason needs any further explanation.
2. We'll talk about Ben Carson, The Sunken Place and Remy Ma. Okay, so there's a good chance we won't talk about any of those things or people but we'll have a really great discussion because the panel topic is dope-- Romance, Realism & Portrayal of African American Women in Popular Fiction. Doesn't that sound fancy and important?
3. There'll be wine. So yeah, even though I'm excited to be on the panel with smart, passionate, cultured, yet cool women, we'll all be drinking wine. And people start getting loose when there's alcohol. Don't expect some stiff lecture-style thing-- we'll definitely be keeping it all the way real.
4. There'll be books. I'll be there with a few of my most recent titles and so will the immensely talented authors, Nia Forrester, Tia Kelly, Lily Java and Ashley M. Coleman. We will sign these books and we will have them available for you to purchase! Yay books!
5. There'll be wine. What kind you ask? The drinking kind.
Click here to RSVP and for more details on the Philly edition of Wine with Writers.
On 8.12.17 I'll be in NYC for Behind The Pen, a dope author/signing event hosted by Sistah Girls Book Club. Check the flyer-- at least one of your favorite indies will be in attendance. I know I'm super excited about it. I actually haven't been to New York in a good minute. In fact, I think the last time I was there was when I was interviewing Scarface-- I saw him a day after our (dope) interview on a red carpet where he smiled, recalled our interview, and then proceeded tried to bite my arm. True story but one that's probably best saved for another day.
Anyhoo, this is gonna be dope. #YayThis. Check the details below.
Date: August 12, 2017
Purchase tickets here > http://bit.ly/BehindThePen17
PS. There will be lots of giveaways!
Next Sunday, on January 8, 2017, we'll be meeting on Facebook to discuss all four full-length novels from Because My Heart Said So. I you have questions about Leah & Trevor, Ell & Syd, Jade & Kyle or Lena & Q, now's the time to get it all off of your chest.
Click HERE to join the chat. See you there!
Get your groove on while you read about Leah and Trevor in Blind Expectations. I seriously loved this couple—I think this playlist reflects that. Its sexy and emotional, real but sweet and sensual... Happy reading :-)