She has arrived. The Griot book cover

I finally had to make a very difficult decision about my baby, my 1st book cover. I must say I am in love. Thank you to everyone who voted. I truly appreciate your time and honest opinion. I made my choice with some changes. She is stunning and I she represents very closely the Zen in my mind. Griot_final

What is The Griot About?

“Blacks have never belonged in America,” was Father Malcolm’s mantra. In the year 2014, he created a settlement in Africa’s Serengeti for African Americans. Two hundred years later, the kingdom of Za and the citizens who inhabit it are thriving until one of them is forced into a secret world that will challenge everything she’s ever believed about herself and the kingdom she calls home.

 

Zen’s life is seemingly perfect. Set to marry the love of her life, she believes all of her dreams are about to come to fruition, but when she’s forced to join the Griothood, a secret society of storytellers, her life takes an abrupt turn.

 

When Zen learns the truth about herself and the kingdom she so loves, she is handed the responsibility of stopping a treacherous band of rebels before they destroy the kingdom. If she doesn’t stop fighting her calling and learn that no one is who they seem, Za is doomed.

And then there’s the breathtaking prince…

Torn between the life she knew and the stories she hears; Zen is left bewildered. Was her entire life a lie?

 

With so much at stake, can Zen save her kingdom and all she holds dear?

 

 

My Baby is with the Editor

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How frightening is it to give your baby, your creation, to someone else to scrutinize and pick apart? I found an affordable editor with great reviews, so I hope to have The Griot back in my hands soon. I pray that I have done my characters and this story justice and that this editor can help me mold it into perfection. I have always felt that if I were in the motherland and my ancestors had never been stolen away, I would be a griot or a jali. My ancestors compel me to tell stories. I want to impress them. I am glad for the break from the story, however, because when I get it back I will be able to look at it with fresh eyes. 

Frustration: Finding an editor

Now that I am ready to find an editor for my novel, The Griot, I’m realizing how expensive it is. Some people charge 3 cents per word. That sounds cheap until you multiply 3 cents by 95,000 words.

Now my book cover designer is ready for me to give her dimensions (I did jump the gun by hiring a book cover designer before editing), and I am nowhere near ready to give her the number inches the spine of my book will be. Time for pulling out hair. I am not going to panic, though. It will all work out in the end.

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Why The Griot?

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Have you ever felt as if we don’t belong here? The story of the Griot sprang into my mind because, like a lot of African Americans, I was fed up. I began to think, what if black people left America. Not all, of course, but a group, like the Black Israelites. What would a migration like that look like? Where would these people go? What type of people would go?

I know America is home. I know America was built on the backs of my black ancestors, and we have every right to be here. Most of us have no desire to live anywhere else. I agree that we must fight continuously for our rights, but with recent events, I wonder will that fight ever be over.

The Griot is a story that takes place 200 years into the future. The people who live in the Kingdom of Za are the descendants of African Americans who left the U.S. because they were sick of fighting, sick of the injustice, and sick of trying to persuade people to treat them with basic humanity.

What I think is interesting about the Kingdom of Za is the radical approach that the founders took in creating this all black world. They are in Africa, but instead of going to modern cities like Nairobi, Johannesburg, or Cape Town, they form a settlement in the Serengeti. I’ve been to the Serengeti and it is no joke. Even for the native people, like the Maasai the Serengeti has its hardships. So for people who never lived there, it would probably be very deadly very quickly. By choice, the founders of Za allow only one piece of modernity, and that is clean running water. That’s it. There’s no electricity.  No modern healthcare. There are no cars. Just homes that the community builds themselves, food they grow themselves, and clothing they produce themselves.

Why live in such a treacherous world if there are other options? The founders want the settlement to be as close to a pre-slavery Africa as possible. Za is an intense social experiment in which the goal is self-love, community, healthier lifestyles, strengthening the black family, and the black marriage.

Za, however, does not become the utopian society that the founders hoped for. Along with the dangers of living in the wild (disease, infant mortality, and predators) the people in Za are human, with human desires, temptations, jealousy, and secrets.

All of this and we haven’t begun to talk about the secret society of the Griothood.  I’ll save those women for another post.

Choosing a Book Cover Artist

I may be jumping the gun, however, I just went through the daunting process of choosing a book cover design artist. It’s scary because I am spending a lot of money hiring a person I don’t know, and I need them to do something that is very important, bringing The Griot to life.

I chose to get this part of self-publishing out of the way now because I know that this will inspire me to finally get The Griot done.

I went through Reedsy.com and chose five professional book cover artists, all of which have worked with large publishing companies. (One of them designed for Zane!!!) I choose the five who had beautiful and professional covers. I then explained what I wanted and what my story was about, and they either declined or asked more questions. I got three quotes back, two of which were exuberant– to me at least–, and chose one. Luckily the young lady I chose has done some excellent work and I love her personality.

 

She now has my precious manuscript. I just pray that she does Zen justice.

The next steps are rewrites, proofreading, finding an editor, and pre-sales.

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