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Sunday, July 24, 2022

My Ultimate Goal as a Writer

    Different authors have multiple reasons for writing books―some authors do it for the love of writing without money being the focal point while most others dream of being a best-selling author selling millions of books. I choose a different path because the Lord led me in the direction of being an author, so I wasn’t solely driven on making money from writing books even though it’s still at the top of the list of reasons why I’ve dedicated so much time into my craft. I knew that I wanted to be my own boss at some capacity, but prior to 2005, being a writer was the furthest thing from my mind.

    There are three reasons why I’ve built my writing platform to what it is today. My immediate goals as a writer were the be a positive influence to those who read my books as well as subscribe to my blog, create a stream of income that will allow me to be independent of the rat race, and help new authors who may desire to embark on the same path that I chose.

 Being a Beacon of Light to Others.

    It’s my passion that my writings inspire people―I must end each book with a positive message regardless of the negative themes associated with the stories that I tell. For example, many of my books are of the urban fiction genre where drug dealing, illicit sex, and murder are glorified, but my job is to show what the end result of those bad choices can produce. If I don’t teach others with the gift that the Lord has given me, I’ve failed my assignment as an author.

 Making a Living as an Author.

    My goal as a writer wasn’t to become rich―I merely want to replace the income that I currently make as a paralegal with the income that I earn as an author. Supplementing my income by writing books is great, but I want to ultimately quit my job and write full-time in the near future. And while landing a book deal and receiving a royalty advance is also great, I enjoy the freedom of being a self-published author and calling my own shots.

 Helping Aspiring Authors.

    There wasn’t much of a road map when I started writing in 2005―I got bumped and bruised along the way as I learned something from each one of the mistakes I’d made. In hindsight, I wish that I knew then what I know now because it would’ve saved me a lot of time and pain. I created my blog mainly to promote my work, but I also want to help new authors avoid some of the difficulties that I experienced. I share what I’ve learned in writing as well as marketing to my reading audience on my blog, and my mantra is to reach one, teach one.

    Like anything in life, an author must know the real reason why he or she writes, or else failure is imminent. I truly believe that inspiring people through writing is my main purpose in life, and the fact that I earn money doing so is a bonus.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Terror Dome: A Short Story (Part 1)

    Jake West had awakened from a peculiar dream he had mid-morning on Sunday. In this dream, he was walking alone in what appeared to be the aftermath of a nuclear fallout. There was nothing but rubble for miles and miles as his current surroundings were nothing more than a barren wasteland. He then looked on the ground and saw a five-dollar bill and three singles lodged in between some broken concrete before he suddenly leaped up from his living room sofa in a cold sweat.

    Jake then wanted to get some fresh air and exercise, so he freshened up and got dressed before he walked to the grocery store as opposed to driving to it like he normally did. He needed to blow off some steam after he had an argument with his girlfriend, Leah, who broke up with him the previous night because she wasn’t happy in their relationship anymore. They had been together for almost three years, and he was ready to propose to her but was blindsided by their breakup. Her diatribe was like a run-on sentence―stating that he didn’t make enough of an effort to keep her happy even after he recited a laundry list of things that he did for her. Nevertheless, he would soon learn that it was futile to plead his case any longer and let her complain until she ran out of breath. It was like being stuck in a traffic jam, and the only thing that he could do was wait it out. She subsequently packed her belongings and left, and he suspected that another man was the catalyst to their breakup but didn’t have the time or energy to prove it.

    He had her ring sized and everything―he measured one of her other rings that was stashed in her jewelry box while she was at work one day, but now it was on his to-do list to take the ring back to the jeweler later on that afternoon. He was three grand in the hole after buying the ring and dodged a bullet by not having the opportunity to get on bended knee.

    He had reached the corner and observed a gray Chevy Malibu with tinted windows run the stop sign without slowing down. A few seconds later, another car came to an abrupt stop and made a U-turn at the busy intersection of 87th Street and State Street. It was the first warm day of the year in early April as the temperature had reached eighty degrees. Erratic behavior due to the first sign of heat was nothing new because multiple shootings and blaring sirens were commonplace in Chicago for as long as Jake could remember. But something in the air felt strangely different―there seemed to be a different spirit that besieged the city at this time, and he couldn’t put a finger on it. It was as if people in general could sense that the end times were near, and people were ultimately scrambling to their destinations in vain.

    His cell phone then rang as he was crossing the street. He decided to answer it instead of letting it go to voicemail even though he didn’t feel like talking to anyone.

    “What’s up?”

    “Wanna hang out with the fellas today? We’re trying to get a pickup game going at 63rd and Hayes in about an hour.”

    “Nah, I’ll pass, Brian.”

    “You sure? We’re trying to get it in before it gets too hot.”

    “That’s okay…I’ll hang out next time.”

    “Come on, Jake, forget about Leah for one goddamn afternoon. You never wanna chop it up with your boys no more.”

Jake West

    “We broke up,” Jake mumbled.

    “What you say?”

    “I have plenty of time to hang out with y’all now because Leah and I broke up last night.”

    “Yeah? Sorry to hear that, bro.”

    “It’s alright, man.”

    “You should shoot some hoops with us to keep your mind off it.”

    “I know, but I’m not feelin’ basketball right now. Maybe I’ll catch up with y’all a little later.”

    “I’ll text you when we’re about to leave the court…we’re probably going to grab some beer and order some pizzas afterward.”

    “Whose crib y’all going to?”

    “Probably Mike’s crib in Hyde Park.”

    “Cool. Make sure you order a cheese pizza, bro.”

    “Still not eating pork, huh?”


    “I got you, Jake.”

    “Alright, later.


    Jake ended the call and walked through the front entrance of Jewel-Osco. He needed a few items like milk, eggs, Pepsi, and turkey meat from the deli for starters. There weren’t any shopping carts on the inside of the store, so he went back outside to grab one. As luck would have it, he saw Leah in the passenger seat of a shiny, black Maxima in the first available parking space closest to the entrance with her face buried in her phone. She didn’t notice him as he observed her, and a guy whizzed by him with a bouquet of flowers toward the black Maxima. Leah’s face lit up when he hopped in the car and handed her the flowers, and she kissed him passionately for several seconds before they drove away. Jake gaped at them open-mouthed as the light at the Dan Ryan Expressway turned green, and they disappeared in traffic heading east on 87th Street. Jake stood by idly for a moment before he shook his head and went back in the store with his cart.

Five Things I Learned After Self-Publishing My First Book

     I can remember how excited I was like it were yesterday when my first book titled What Happened to Little League Baseball in the Inner ...