Saturday, December 24, 2011

10 days of determination: day 10 - love.

for the last day, it can be summed up in one word.


love what you do. if writing is becoming that much of a headache,
your boredom and apathy will be reflected in the words that follow.
love yourself. and that love will move your readers and possibly
inspire them on their own journey. it's not sappy. people like to
talk about what's 'real' and shout 'real talk' all the time. you
live with love, and write with love. and you won't need to tell
anyone it's real. they'll see it for themselves.

that concludes the 10 Days of Determination. i hope that you will
be able to take something from this series, and i had a good time
writing it and sharing it. hope you had just as much of a good time
reading it! until the next time!

Friday, December 23, 2011

10 days of determination: day 9 - surround yourself with the best.

i thought you might get a chuckle out of Dr.Doom.

but what that illustrates, for any writer - anyone for that
matter - is the need to have a group of people around you
who support you not only with words of encouragement but the
shining example of their minds and deeds. there are very few
people who have done anything by themselves. it pays to have
a solid support system.

i've found that my writing has only been strengthened over the
year because i've been able to observe how other creators and
artists approach their work and life. it's not a question of
mimicry; i'm not one to buy into the old cliche' that 'imitation
is the sincerest form of flattery.' what it boils down to is,
allowing yourself to become a sponge and let their knowledge
inform your spirit and subsequently, your writing. you should
never write with an aim to totally block outside influences. i
have been blessed to have many influences in friends and family
and even strangers to inform my spirit on how it should voice
itself in my work. and i hope to never lose that. make sure that's
a concrete part of your approach.

the last post will be tomorrow...stay tuned!!

10 days of determination: Day 8 - above the clouds.

one of the absolute wonders of flight is the ability to soar
farther than the eye can see. and you get that feeling every
time you go up in an airplane. if you're not afraid of flying
and heights that is. i find myself entering a state of utter
calm on flights once we break through the bank of clouds and
travel above them. it's an escape from whatever worries seem
to tether you to the ground...

for writing, you've got to embody this airy feeling. it's good
in two ways. first, you train yourself to enter a state that's
not totally about relaxation, but about getting into a frame of
mind that will allow you to effectively compose your paragraphs
and further illustrate the nuances of your characters. the second
reason is that you can also take up the task of being observant
about your work from an outsiders' clinical position. being a
bit detached helps because you wind up getting an opportunity
to imagine realistically how someone would view what you've
written. it gives you a decided advantage.

that's it for now...until the next time!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

10 days of determination: Day 7 - Focus.

this is simple enough...nothing can be obtained, nothing can
be begun or completed without a definitive focus. we take it
for granted as writers. some of us always think it'll be there
without delay. others fall into the trap of thinking they can
switch it on and off like their bedroom illumination. (i admit
i fall prey to this bad habit at times.)possessing a great sense
of focus is important. it can mean the difference between a
great written work and something slapped together like a bacon
and eggs greasy spoon breakfast. if you find that you have issues
concentrating, work on creating a routine(which i'll touch on in
the next posting)that will help you build up your attention span
and fortify any drop-offs in concentration.

until the next time!!

10 days of determination: day 6 - create a beacon of light

today's the first day of winter and it means many days ahead
where you won't be seeing the sun burn bright. if you notice
that your spirits drop a bit, you're not alone; medical research
has found that there is such a condition known as 'seasonal
depression' that exists. it can affect everything you do. so
how does this pertain to writers and writing?

some say that writers are a particularly sensitive breed of
people. i'm inclined to agree, only because that is part of
our toolkit to create powerful stories. we need to be sensitive
to everything around us and within us so that we can also get
those voices in our heads out onto the page. but we also risk
getting too wrapped up in our surroundings. especially now. so
i suggest that if things get too dark for you where it not
only affects your writing but other aspects of your life, try
to create a beacon of light to cut through it. one thing i like
to do is to get outdoors and walk around, no matter how cold
and overcast it is. you need light in some form or fashion.
another thing to do is to get candles and/or tealights set
up around your space. you'd be surprised how soothing that
kind of lighting is as opposed to fluorescent lighting. also,
if you find yourself down, borrow a practice from Deepak Chopra.
sit and imagine a brilliant sun beginning to form in your belly.
envision the glare, imagine its heat. let it become so big that
you feel it step outside of your body. the Taoists also use
this practice in channeling chi.

that's it for now, until the next time!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

10 days of determination: day 5 - stay grounded.

the image up top is from the hit movie, 'Inception'. the
spinning top. it was used as a totem by Leonardo DiCaprio's
character as a way to stay attached to reality while being
heavily ensconced in the dream state.

this applies to writing as well, in my experience. you should
always make it a point to stay grounded within the work. try
not to put yourself in a position where you'll be disappointed
if you don't reach your writing goals. that's happened to me
so many times i've lost count. another aspect of that is, allow
for the work to accept changes and that will make it better.
i always think about the one character in Albert Camus' 'The
Plague' who wanted to write the perfect novel but never got past
the first page. you have to be realistic enough to let the story
flow from your spirit as it should and then make changes when you
need to. and lastly, have pride in your writing but not so much
that you belittle others' work needlessly or out of envy at their

until the next time, enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

10 days of determination: day 4 - leaping

what's the first thing you do on a Monday?

besides hitting the snooze button.

you may grumble about Monday being here, having to go
work amidst people who are doing the same lemon-faced
bit you're doing. and it sticks with you throughout
the day. and it's a routine that you go through almost
every Monday. but, what if you approached it differently?
what if you treated Monday with some excitement? what
if you greeted it with vigor instead of making it such
a dreaded part of your life? what i'm proposing here is,
leap into it with enough energy to get through it and
not be worn out by negative energy.

taking the initiative to leap into something is something
every writer needs. there's moments when you'll get stuck
on a line, or a passage. you do the wise thing, which is
to step away and come back to it later. but then something
happens. you start looking at it as if it's a chore instead
of carrying it through with the same ardor you had at the
beginning of the work. for some who write, that moment can
ruin their progress. it's killed careers. personally, there's
some days i wake up and think of what has to be done and let
out an sigh(after giving thanks for waking up that is). and
THEN i get to work. because making your spirit take that leap
means you get over any obstacles in your way and in the way
of the work. more often than not, a writer's biggest enemy
can be their own lethargy. so take a leap past lethargy the
next time you face a rough patch with your writing after being
away from it for a while. you'll appreciate how far that
jump can take you.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

10 days of determination: day 3 - the art of verbal fisticuffs

Ishmael Reed said it best, 'writin' is fightin'.'

there's a lot of people out there writing. for newspapers, websites,
magazines and blogs and other venues. and you will find yourself pitted
against these voices and opinions and asking yourself if yours can
cut the mustard. in those moments of doubt, you need to take the
approach of a boxer in the ring with your writing.

sometimes that approach can pump new energy into your art. look at
Miles Davis, for example. Miles was an avid student of boxing; it was
a prime reason why he gave up his heroin addiction in 1953. the rigorous
training regimen helped sharpen his senses and timing and that became
steeped in his music from that point forward. you can learn more about
Miles and boxing here: approach your writing like you're going to battle. make
your sentences like potent combinations. work your reader's emotions
and connectivity to the story like a series of punches to the ribcage.
make your stories durable and able to flow for lengthy periods. and
most importantly, make sure your words always pack a punch.

10 days of determination: day 2 - enjoy the silence

one thing i think everyone is used to, no matter what you do
or where you are, is plugging into something to take yourself
out of a situation. the subject of this posting is to remind
yourself as a writer to appreciate quiet moments and the benefits
they bring.

in my case, one thing i find myself doing along with most of the
population of New York City is tuning everything out on my daily
travels. i've gotten so used to plugging into my iPod the moment
i hit the streets and the subway that i didn't know what to if i
ever forgot it. anyone who has ridden the subways and buses can
tell you exactly how manic and outright outlandish it can be. from
the mariachi trios walking up and down the cars, to mothers with
crying babies in mega-strollers and the ubiquitous beggars, the
subway can be really noisy. but in between, there's a certain calm
that exists. i didn't really appreciate that until one fateful
morning three years ago.

i was going into the office late after leaving late the previous
night. in a rush to head out, i left my iPod right on my dresser
since i thought i had left it in my jacket pocket. of course, i
didn't realize it until i was on the bus headed to the subway.
and i braced myself for whatever craziness would occur as i stepped
into the subway car. (for some reason, i seem to witness a lot of
craziness. i've come to accept it.) i walk in, find a seat and
settle in quietly. and during the 35 minute ride, i felt myself
totally at ease. i let my ears get used to the quiet charge the
train tracks gave off. i sat with the silence so much on the
subway that hearing the station announcements at the next stop
threw me for a jolt. i got some writing done, and even had an
enjoyable read.

as writers, we get too used to having to live with the noise. we
get too used to thinking that noise and activity create a great
mood for productivity. you start dreading quiet because it does
not inspire you unless you happen to be on vacation. nothing can
be further from the truth. silence, or situations close to it can
be a great stimulant. you can hear the voices of your characters
more clearly. you can take the opportunity to diagram entire scenes.
if you're writing fight scenes, you can take that quiet and figure
out how to choreograph them, acting the movements out if you need
to. (you might want to make sure you're alone if you do that though.)
like Depeche Mode says in their song, 'enjoy the silence.' you'll
be surprised - and happy - at what you find.

Friday, December 16, 2011

10 Days of Determination: Day 1 - Trust Your Gut

greetings folks!! welcome to the first post to kick off 10 Days
of Determination. i wanted to write these as i take time out on
each of the ten days leading up to the Christmas holiday to reflect
and bolster myself about my writing and what influences it going
into the New Year.

today, i want to talk about how you should always trust
your gut as a writer. for me, i learned that while in a
class on English literature in my freshman year in college.
we were reading Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'. and as
i read it, it rubbed me the wrong way. while well-written,
the words held a viewpoint of Africa and its citizens that
were, in a word, dehumanizing. i felt the need to speak up
about this. sure, there was a small voice of doubt inside
of me. 'you can't make a stink about racism in a accredited
novel and expect to be heard!!!', it said. but there was
this insistence, this burning feeling that said, 'you have
got to speak up. SPEAK UP.' now i'll admit something here
and now...i was born quiet, and i still am to a degree.
quiet to the point where it can be perceived as timidity.
more on that in another post. but i was blessed to have
been in a family that prided truth and telling it above
all things. and i felt in my heart that speaking up about
how i felt to the professor was the right thing to do.

the next class, the professor asked us to give our opinions
on 'Heart of Darkness'. after a couple of other classmates
spoke, i raised my hand. and i let her know that i felt
that Conrad catered to colonial ideals to the point of
endorsing racism. there was a brief, intense discussion. the
class afterwards, the professor made it a point to make
part of the class a special forum for discussion of the
topic - complete with a handout of Chinua Achebe's own
pointed critique of 'Heart of Darkness'. and from then on,
the professor and i had a great relationship.

if i hadn't gone with my gut, i would never have been able
to help affect change and assist thought-provoking discussion.
and that applies to writing, any kind of writing. you have
to be able to trust your own feelings on characters, plot.
if a piece of written dialogue doesn't sound right, rewrite
it. sometimes, i like to openly verbalize bits and pieces of
a story. if it doesn't ring true in my ears, it won't ring
true on the page. if there's a historical fact i feel needs
checking, i go and research it fully. trust your gut. because
that is where your words get their weight from.

Friday, November 18, 2011

a sneak peek at 'where the planes fly low'!!

folks, here's a little look at some of what you'll be reading
in one of my newest books, 'Where The Planes Fly Low'. this
book is a collection of thoughts about growing up in a part
of New York City that gets overlooked, but can never really be
undervalued, Southeast Queens. it's where i was raised and
where i still continue to live to this day. observe:

"There's really no other way to explain it. It's evident whether
you're driving in, flying in or on the train riding in. God made
Southeast Queens for the serene. Your knee-jerk reaction to those
words, no doubt, is to declare them AND me full of enough..manure
to grow 2 acres of tomatoes. Followed by enough cries of derision
to make someone feel like an outfielder at Yankee Stadium. But I
ask that you bear with me for a bit.

Queens is the biggest borough out of the five that make up New
York City, right? But even with this fact on the table, it is the
most maligned. Except for Staten Island, loved only by the Wu-Tang
Clan and assorted mobsters and their women. I can't tell you how
many people I've heard run Queens down into the ground. I recall
reading one comment from a friend of a former love interest declaring
that 'nothing but ugly people live in Queens'. Which was pretty
funny coming from a girl whose profile pics made her look like a
Dominican love child of Groucho Marx. We're grouped into the 'bridge
and tunnel' crowd that clubgoers love to use as a benchmark for
the uncool. I can't say I blame them. It is uncool to live in an
area where you actually can get some sleep without hearing a drunken
argument at 3 AM every night. It's not hip to actually get a dose
of fresh air. With the exception of Bricktown, we do smell better
overall and we only share part of a canal that could be radioactive."

hope you enjoyed, until the next time!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

creeping dread before writing.

a little quick post for you guys...

have you ever sat down to do something with a certain amount
of dread and foreboding? i sometimes get that way when i write,
to be honest with you. why? well, part of it stems from the
need to have everything i put down to paper be dead solid perfect.
i want to express all of the nuances of the characters and story
as effortlessly as possible. yes, i know it's not easy or all
that realistic to approach writing like that. i'm taking baby
steps though; there was a time i wouldn't even admit that.

another part of it is, there's a nagging feeling that it(the
process of writing) starts to feel like work. it IS work, damn
hard work. but i take time to beat back that feeling and in
doing so, i consume more time than i should only because i want
to make sure it's almost non-existent. i know that if i'm going
through this, that others must be as well. i'm here to tell you
you're not alone and that you can get past that!!!

i'll come back to this later on in the week...until the next time,
be well.

Friday, November 4, 2011

being your own away team.(crosspost time!)

(cross-post from 'of wine and words')

sometimes, you tend to do things better on the road.

i've previously made analogies to how the creative mind
is similar to a shark in the ocean. they need to move
constantly to survive. those out on the corners, no matter
what they do, are of the same mind. 'you gotta walk/'cause
i walk as i talk."(c)dead prez

being blessed to travel as i have from an early age, i've
gotten so many benefits from these adventures. and as i've
gotten older, i can honestly say that the biggest benefit
thus far has been having the ability to let my mind think
and breathe that much more clearly and freely. case in point:
i was in DC a couple of weeks ago and i was able to focus
on having a good time and still be able to approach certain
things i was dealing with back home from a better perspective.
it was like stepping out of my body and watching things
unfold on a giant movie screen.

and another aftereffect to that is, travel time to a destination
has always managed to light a fire within me. probably because
it's a block of time where i don't have to undergo the steady
amount of multi-tasking i usually go through on a day to day
basis. i do take the time to write, and review more in those
blocks of time. i've actually written articles and essays as

so for all of you writers out there, next time you've got a
lengthy bit of travel ahead, carry a journal along with the
bestseller you may have on your eReader.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

give love to get love.

i've always believed this to be true...

in order to be successful, one of the main things you should
ALWAYS your fellow artists some love. and that love
returns to you tenfold. now, it's a simple rule. fairly easy
to remember. but not a lot of us do it. we'll give it lip service
and go on about our business. and that's a mistake. so this may
be a refresher course for some, and for others it may be ground
rules you may have tossed to the side like some of us did with
the manuals to video games back in the day.

giving love to an artist or business can mean many things. first
tenet of that is, word of mouth. any enterprise thrives when
people have it on their brain. talk about what you do to people
and if they're interested and like it, they will definitely pass
it on. the other side to that is, if someone relates to you what
they do, pass that info on. because that's how networks grow and
how we all move forward.

the second tenet is, press the issue. for example, there was a
friend of mine a while back who had a business. it was something
that she stood to be really prominent in. but she didn't press
the issue, that is to say, she was inconsistent in promoting the
business and herself. in this day and age, you may be able to slack
off for an instant, but never two. you have to keep presenting
yourself out there. please note that i said will
need to know the fine line because once you cross over into pushing,
you risk losing a lot of people who will listen. now i know we all
understand the premise and ideas of hustling, but even hustlers
know how to ebb and flow like the tides. get yourself out there
consistently. i myself have struggled with this. if it's a time
issue, set up a routine in a planner or on your smartphone.

lastly, make the belief fuel the drive. people are inundated with
a lot of stuff every minute these days. you have to convey how
strongly you feel about this person's creation and business based
on how people view YOU. if they know you, they know that who you
promote is on the money. and that allows that other person to get
the money, literally and figuratively. treat their success as your
success and you'll find it's a great reward.

that's all for this post...until the next time!

Monday, October 31, 2011

quickie post: be in love with what you do.

greetings, folks! it's been a minute between updates...

i chose that image because i wanted a little friendly reminder
to go with this post as to how you should take everything in in love with it. because that you can rely on, no
matter how hard or difficult it may be.

i've had to learn and re-learn that lesson a couple of times,
especially over the course of this past year. and i hope that
if you're going through the same thing, that it leads you to
what you want in this life!

until the next time!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

'where the planes fly low' day 5

i have become a firm believer in the power of
power naps.

it really works when you're struggling to put
something down on paper and you just can't put
a string of words together!! i used to do the
old trick of putting the writing aside and doing
something else, but lately that's been working
less and less because the other tasks i take up
either drain me completely or take up enough time
that i am left with no time to really dig in and
write. so, i started to take quick 10 to 15 minute
naps. it's not as crazy as it sounds. grab your
phone and set an alarm on it to wake you up. if
you happen to be a sound sleeper, set the alarm
on your TV as well as a backup.

that's all for now!! thanks for reading!!

- Chris

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"where the planes fly low" day 4

i am now realizing what is ahead of me in order to
finish this book...and i've been a bit concerned.

i know i can do it, but it is a very daunting set
of circumstances i've placed on myself. so far, i've
only got a page and a half of notes. and my goal is
to have an eBook about 60-70 pages in length.
is there a patron saint of authors with writer's

Monday, August 22, 2011

'where the planes fly low' day 3

not much got done today...had a baby shower to go
to...but its more incentive for tomorrow!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

'where the planes fly low' day 2

one thing about setting out to write an entire book
is, distractions will crop up. i'm not talking about
meeting up with people in a pre-arranged manner. i'm
talking about ordinary, run of the mill stuff. for
example, when i began to take notes today, i had a
pile of books which had stood upright before with
no signs of leaning over at all fell over. and kept
falling over despite many attempts at keeping it
straight. in addition to that, i had a web browser
window open just for research purposes, and my Wi-Fi
signal was being squeezed tighter than an obese person
in Lycra.

the best thing to do in these cases is this: take a
break from what you're doing. in most cases, stuff
that keeps taking your attention away from the work
means that you're not as focused as you need to be.
but make sure it's for a fixed length of time, because
then procrastination will settle in. in extreme cases,
you may want to go to certain lengths to ensure your
mind won't wander.

so i'm glad to say that i did get a little bit of
research down before i hit the city for the night.
hope this post was enlightening, and look out for
the next one!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 1 of 'where the planes fly low'

i'm setting out to begin work today FINALLY
on 'where the planes fly low.' the success of
this book is going to rely mainly on how potent
and powerful my memory will be, being that i'm
going back some years.

this is one moment where the tendencies i have
towards procrastination check in just to cause
a bit of ruckus. i've got letters to write, a
little freelance thing to finish up before day's
end and it's Friday. but i'm focused. i've got
my notes out in plain view plus an alarm set up
where after 10 minutes, it goes off reminding
me to move on to the next thing. i've done that
in the past and its worked wonders for me. i
often wonder how Ernest Hemingway did it. then
i remember he had a bucket of daquiris and the
Havana sunshine. i have to make do with the
serenity of Southeast Queens. not too bad when
you think about it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

new work on the way!!!

folks, it has been a long while since we've brought you
some news. and we're sure you've been wondering what's
going on. well. we're happy to announce that a new work
will be coming to you real eBook form!!! no
one can say that 108 Press isn't up on the current standards
of the industry!! and as a matter of fact we're going
to keep you in the loop with a daily journal!! so please
check out this blog as well as our new Facebook page
starting tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Off hiatus, and back with news!!!

Hey folks, long time no communication!!! Things have been up and down
over the past few months, especially around the end of the year with
a death in the family. It was best to take some time out to regroup,
pool resources again and get back to what I want 108 Press to really
accomplish this year. And I want to share that we're making some
headway on eBook publication!!! This is a new frontier, and while
traditional writing and publishing will never be abandoned, eBooks
are definitely on the horizon!! Thank you all again for being our
rock of support and look out for more news in the future!!