Aside from writing my first novel and recording an album, I also take time out to interview and profile some amazing industry professionals. Below you can read an article that I wrote on NYC's celebrity stylists: The Sachika Twins. It was a pleasure to be in their company and they had some amazing tips to share about beauty and fashion which every woman can relate to. Remember, regardless of what field you're in, always dress for success!

Celebrity Profile & Article written on Actress, April Lee Hernandez-Castillo. Star of 2007 Paramount Pictures film "Freedom Writers" and Co-star of Showtime's Original Drama Series "Dexter".

Another article published in Natural Awakenings Magazine. Click on link to read about Namaste Book Shop located in Union Square, NYC. http://content.yudu.com/Library/A1qiwz/NaturalAwakenings011/resources/5.htm

Now that we're in the month of August, it marks an entire year and a half that I've been writing my first novel. And while it is practically finished, I've been taking some time to do some final draft editing before sending it off to my publishers. If you also have the desire to write a story but don't know where to start, here are a few tips I'm happy to share!
  • Pick a topic you're passionate about, be it romance, mystery, drama, horror, etc.
  • Don't worry about it making sense at first. Just write down all of your ideas, feelings, thoughts and freestyle!
  • After you scribbled down notes sporadically, the next step is to start getting your thoughts in order by actually creating a system. 
  • Get a new notebook. At the top of each page, write the name of each character with a list of their characteristics below. Include their gender, age, ethnicity, occupation, and be specific about their physical appearances. Does one woman have a visible mole on her face like Marilyn Monroe? Another have a short, boy hair cut like Halle Berry? Write the details. 
  • Give each character a phrase that they repeatedly say in their dialogue such as, "Trust Me," or "I A'int the one," or like Carrie always says from Sex in The City, "I couldn't help but wonder."
  • In the middle of your notebook, put a yellow post-it sticky to mark the next section where you're going to doodle conflicts between your main characters. Play with your imagination and don't think that anything is too crazy! In fact, the crazier, the better! 
Hopefully, these tips helped. I know that writing is key to completing a novel but many times a lot of us get stuck day dreaming about it because we're not sure of how to do it correctly. It's normal to be fearful but don't let it paralyze you into non-action. It's also good to read books such as, "Writing A Novel for Dummies", etc. But you should be writing first and then reading afterwards, just to see how closely you're matching the format of story telling in a way that makes sense.

Okay well, Phew! I must say, it feels really good to finally finish my first story. Ladies & Gents, writing a book is not simple and yet it is simple. Why? Because it all starts with writing! If you can write an article, a letter - anything at all, then you can write a book. So start writing and the rest will come naturally. Also, make sure to hang out with other writers; it's imperative that you do! Your social circle will feed your motivation and continue to remind you of who you want to become and how you're going to do it. Good luck! 

I didn't think that writing a book would be easy, but I didn't think that it would be this hard either - for me, at least. For some people, they can complete a novel within six months. (Like Stephen King) But aside from the greats, everyone has their own style and way of creating art. Yes, writing a book is definitely ART.
Today I have gone all the way back to rewriting my first chapter. (So far I have about ten chapters completed) And while I've gone back, I realized that rewriting is the BEST part because you get to really have fun with your characters. You see, the first stage of writing is having the idea in your head and convincing yourself that even though you've never written a book before, you're going to do it! Then the second thing, is actually writing. But as we all know, writers tend to write alot because we can't help it. Although this is a good thing, we have to remember that audiences get bored quickly, so we have to make sure to cut out all the extra fat. This means that we have to stick to the main points and not be too descriptive because it's more about the juice in the story than it is about the background. We don't need to know how long someone was walking in the woods for - what kinds of trees they passed and animals they saw. A few details are perfect because the reader wants to feel like they are IN the story, but if we focus too much on all that description, the reader will lose interest because they just want to know - what happens next!

So it's all about enhancing drama; and making your characters "rememberable" and "unique". Get to the punch line. Write the most important things down and then move on. Look at me... Writing an almost "self-help" manual on how to write your first novel. Lol Well, I've read enough of those books from "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Writing Your First Novel" to "Writing Your First Novel For Dummies." And let me tell you, there's nothing better than simplicity.

Another great piece of advice to give, if I may, is that I have a writing coach. Actually, a few writing coaches. 3 to be exact. And I truly believe that having writing coaches are the best thing to invest your time, money and energy into when you're serious about a writing project. In fact, this is the real reason that I'm working on my first chapter again. I received great feedback from one of my writing coaches who gave me tips on how to tighten up the first chapter which I do believe, is the most important part of the story because that's what's going to hook your readers in. So yes, have as many extra eyes read your work as possible before you send it off to print. Because once it's printed, you can't change it. And if you're anything like me, then you're a perfectionist! Wanting to put your best foot out there even if it's your first time around. I mean, as long as something has my name on it, I want it to be the best that I could give at that time.