Because I Care: Aliya S. King Presents ‘The Write Pitch!’

Sometimes the easiest thing for a writer to do is write, but getting a magazine editor to cosign that story is a completely different animal. Editors are…quirky people. They not meanies though. They are actually seeking good great stories and ideas that readers want to read about.

I call myself a writer, but even with a few bylines under my belt, I’m still learning. Writers belong to a fraternity of some sort, and you must play the game by the rules. Some rules never change, and others, due to social media and technology do.

No one knows the writing game better than Aliya S. King. Dubbed my Mentor in My Head, she is an award-winning veteran writer and author of several books, including Faith Evans’ memoir, Keep the FaithPlatinum and the recently released sequel, The Diamond Life (Check out my Amazon.com review and interview for Platinum). If you’re a follower of King, you know that she’s dropped serious gems about freelancing and writing on her blog, and has recently moved to Twitter for chats and Q&A to help us hungry writers.

Now, she’s gone a step further with The Write Pitch!, a one-day workshop in New York City. the workshop will also include a Pitch Me! Real magazine editors will critique your pitches for you (Check my critiqued pitch here). You’re already in luck because I have the scoop straight from Aliya about the workshop and why you should be there:

Tell us about the Write Pitch! What will attendees learn?
Write Pitch attendees will learn EVERYTHING about getting their stories/articles placed in national magazines. I’ve interviewed over a dozen editors of major magazines from publications like Essence and Vibe and participants will receive their unfiltered tips on the right way to pitch their publications and most importantly, which sections of the magazine are best for new writers. I will also *individually* critique pitches of participants to strengthen them and help attendees get their pitches placed.

Writers who follow you know you shell out advice via Twitter and on your blog. Why attend the The Write Pitch!?
Simple. You get more than 140 characters! This is an intensive four-hour course. You will leave with not only knowledge gleaned during the course, you will also receive a binder stuffed with contacts, actual pitches that were accepted and your own pitch critiqued… I have always given out advice on Twitter and my blog but this takes it ten steps further.

Writers write, so if the story is a good one, why do we need a pitch?
Editors need to know what it is you want to write about. Writing a pitch is also a good way to show your writing skills. A new writer who sends a poorly written pitch will NOT be assigned the story. That’s a fact. Your pitch is like your introduction. And it’s important to make the right first impression. Sometimes you only get one shot!

Should we expect more workshops from you?
Absolutely. I will be expanding to other cities this fall. I will also offer fiction workshops as well.

Where else can we find you?
If it’s social media-related, I’m there. Check out my about.me page for all the places you can find me! http://www.about.me/aliyasking

Just in case someone isn’t able to attend, can you share a valuable piece of advice for aspiring writers?
If you want to write for ANY print publication, study at LEAST six months of the magazine before you pitch. If you haven’t done that, you’re not ready to pitch.

For more information or to register, email thewritepitch@gmail.com. Hurry, word is it’s almost full!

See you there!

My Birthday Manifesto

Well, people, it’s here. Today is my 30th birthday. How’d it get here so fast? I remember my 18th birthday like it was this morning, rather than yesterday. Yesterday, my family and friends threw me an awesome party. I am beyond blessed to have people in my life who genuinely care about me and show it. I stayed up until 12 a.m. and at 12:04, it hit me that I am officially out of my 20s, and I wanted to cry. For like, three seconds. Then I was over it. Instead of looking back on the past and comparing myself to others and their accomplishments by this age, I’ll embrace what’s to come because I know without a doubt that I am favored by God. Things will only get better with time.

Meanwhile, since I’d already reposted “30 Things Every Woman Should Have Before She Turns 30,” I figured I’d do a manifesto after I received a funny email about how to write one. A manifesto is defined as a “written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer.” I immediately thought about Clutch Magazine’s manifesto. I always thought it was cute, so why not do one of my own?

My Manifesto

I will live my life and make decisions with purpose and intention. (Except for when I want to catch a good sale.)

I will do what makes me happy, even if it doesn’t pay off right away now. I know it will.

While I know my small circle of friends is more than sufficient, there’s nothing wrong with being “sociable” outside of that circle.

I will work harder to reciprocate the love and care shown to me for my family and friends.

Time is nothing to play with. Use it strategically and to your best advantage.

Community is important. I should invest in it.

I know that “the club” is not the be all, end all. There are so many other things to do, I don’t care what R. Kelly says. (I’ve known this for a while though.)

Reading is what’s up. And of course, writing is, too.

I will take better care of myself physically. I’ve made it to 30 without having to take hypertension meds. That’s a miracle.

God loves me, so I will let my light shine, so others can see He loves them, too. (Yes, I went old school.)

Now that that’s out of the way, let me get my birthday dance on.

Game On, B*tches!: The Good, the Bad and the Side-Eye

Last night millions (hopefully) of faithful fans gathered around their televisions to watch the premiere of the re-airing of ‘The Game’ on BET. Someone said it was the best thing since the airing of Roots. Two years later, a lot has changed with our Sabers family, but even more has stayed the same. Quickly, let’s discuss what went right, what went wrong and what just had me plain confused.

The Good

The characters’ evolution: These people have come full circle Derwin is the man, Tasha is a big-time sports agent, Jason is trying sports commentating and Melanie graduated from medical school.

The music: The BEST thing about the entire premiere was the intro. Whoever decided to put that montage to B.o.B.’s “Don’t Let Me Fall” is a genius! They’ve always done a great job of incorporating music that fits the scenes perfectly.

Jason Pitts: Had to be the character with the least change. His dry humor is still hilarious to me. Not to mention, he’s hot.

Tee Tee: Malik’s cousin and former assistant has come up in the world with his very own wing truck. I was so glad to see him again. He still doesn’t have those acting skills up, but that’s part of his charm. He’s the best bad actor I’ve ever seen. Gooooooo Tee Tee! I wonder if he’ll rat Malik out though.

The Bad


Girl Melanie’s erratic behavior: She will forever be stupid. Now, I have to watch the whole season while she walks on eggshells about this damn DNA test. She made the show exciting at the end with her foolishness–as usual. Leave it up to her to keep us on our toes.

Kelly: She has gone straight crazy. Does she represent the Divorced Woman Gone Wild? She doesn’t even sound the same anymore, like she shot up right before they began filming. I have a feeling she’ll calm down as the season goes on. I’ve got my fingers crossed on that one. I really like her character.

Malik’s obnoxious behavior: Actually, he’s still the same narcissistic, arrogant asshole he was before, but he didn’t have to sleep with Tee Tee’s wing truck intern, nor does he have to carry on with the team owner’s woman. Oh Malik, I feel self-destruction coming on.

Jenae’s pompadour: No ma’am. Stick to the bob. In the words of Sheneneh, “You gotta bob and weave. Bob and use yo’ weave.” (I couldn’t resist.)

The Side-eye

Terrence J as Tasha Mack’s boy toy: No disrespect to Terrence, as I see he’s trying to get his acting career and sexy on, but they couldn’t find anyone else? And where in THEE hell is “Rick. Fox.” ? Bring him back, Ms. Brock!

The new and older Britt Brat: I know it’s been two years, Jason and Kelly’s daughter sure has grown up. She went from a little kinky-haired biracial child to a full-grown woman with a flat-iron and Sephora gift card to match. To the producers’ defense, I will say that very few television shows get it right when replacing characters, and they’re no exception. It’s to be expected after a two-year hiatus. Remember the original Derwin Davis?

Umm hmmm. Let’s move on.

Tasha Mack smoking a black and mild: Whoa. Totally threw me off. What’s really going on, Tash?

Too much drama, not enough comedy: Again, the one who delivered in comedy the best was Jason Pitts (Colby Bell). I was looking for more of a punch from Tasha Mack, although that “stable of Golden Girls” was hilarious. I’m pretty sure the writers opted to use more drama to pull viewers in quickly. I felt like I’d gone through an entire season by the end of the premiere.

Overall, I was pleased with the premiere. I’ll be tuning in every Tuesday to see my favorite cast again. I don’t buy into BET making the show “hood” or “ghetto” either. For those complaining about the resolution quality of the show, I didn’t have any problems. Get ya HD game up!

What did you think about the premiere? Check out a full recap at WSJ.com by Jozen Cummings.

Late Nights & Early Mornings: Up Close With Marsha Ambrosius

Ironically, the title of Marsha Ambrosius’s upcoming album is a complete description of  last 24 hours of my life. Last night the unthinkable happened. I went out during the week–to a club. I haven’t done that in ages, but this was special.  The English girl with the golden voice, Marsha Ambrosius, formerly of Floetry made a stop here in Memphis to promote Late Nights & Early Mornings, her highly anticipated solo debut. For years, I’ve longed to see Floetry live, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to see Marsha.

Miss Ambrosius was wonderful! She’s yet another added to the very short list of artists who sound exactly like their studio records. Her voice and range were flawless, even through the crackling speakers in the venue. Though an artist for a little over 10 years, she has a songwriting and producer catalog out of this world. She hit the stage at 12:30 a.m. exactly with “Butterflies,” written for and recorded by Michael Jackson and went on to some Floetry songs, even singing those requested by her Twitter fans like “Feelings” and “Getting Late”. And if you’re wondering, yes, she did perform, “Say Yes” and paired it with her feature in Jamie Foxx’s “Freak’in Me.”  It’s safe to say that she had everyone wanting to yes to somebody.

The crowd singing “Butterflies” with her. Delighted much?

“You make me so, so, so, so….”

We were all still feeling that “Say Yes” medley. A little too much.

She’s full of personality and connects with the crowd well, a skill that seems to come naturally. How can you not love the woman who wrote “I Hope She Cheats (on You With a Basketball Player)”? That lovely English accent doesn’t hurt, either. In less than 40 minutes, she talked about the best sex she’d ever had, dropped the F-Bomb, and threw up the middle finger, all while doing so in glittery hot shorts, fabulous curly hair and flawless makeup. A lady, indeed.

I was slightly disappointed to find out that the album won’t drop until January 4, but patience is required when waiting on GOOD music, such as hers. She performed a few songs on the new album, Late Nights & Early Mornings,  such as one written with Alicia Keys. BANGER. I’m sure Ambrosius’s solo efforts won’t disappoint, so we, faithful fans, will hold on to mixtapes and even old Floetry albums until that time arrives.

Admittedly, I Twitter, Facebook and email stalked her for days for an interview. It didn’t happen, but look what I saw once my no-battery-life-having iPhone recharged….

Where was I by the time I read that tweet? At home wrapped in my terry cloth robe. What an #ultimateFAIL. So, I missed out on the opportunity to meet Marsha and I have a slight headache due to sleep deprivation, but atleast I witnessed her talent live and up close. I look forward to January 4 and even more live performances. Check her out at www.marshaambrosiusmusic.com/ or on Twitter . Clearly, she actually tweets back.

Late nights and early mornings.

Young Black Men: There Is Hope

This morning as I rushed to get out of the door by 8:10 a.m. (#epicfail, by the way), I slowed down as the second hour of my favorite morning show, Good Morning America, began. The anchors are doing a series,  “Be Inspired.” Each anchor reports on a story that…inspires them. Yesterday, the meteorologist, Sam Champion, shared his older sister’s story about being an advocate for parents of autistic children. Today was Robin Roberts story. Don’t you just love her? Her southern accent and mannerisms peek out from behind her “reporter voice” often. It tickles me. I’m always interested in what she has to say.

I’d heard about it, and read about this great achievement, but seeing the video made me tear up. What a great way to start my day–inspired! Thanks to Ms. Roberts for bringing this story from behind the shadows.

Robin Roberts Inspired by the Young Men at Urban Prep Academy

Photo courtesy of Chicago Now