The Grim: After 5 Years

Grim CoverI can’t believe it’s already been FIVE YEARS since the release of my debut novel, The Grim. It’s the story of Jacinda (Jaycee) Baynes, a young single mother convicted of the second degree murder of her ex-boyfriend and father of her child. Sentenced to confinement at an intensive inpatient psychiatric facility, Jaycee suffers from severe PTSD (that’s post-traumatic stress disorder for you lamens), and sees the ghostly hallucination of her captor everywhere.

After five years, I did a solid reread of my first ever full-length novel. I am both impressed (with my storytelling) and disappointed (with the strength of my writing skill). I can see very clearly my cringe-worthy beginner’s mistakes, and I wish very deeply at times that I could rewrite, revise, redo–all those RE’s–and give Jaycee the clean-scripted narrative she deserves. Those of you who have followed me from the onset though don’t seem to want any changes. You love Jaycee and her story just the way it is.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Jaycee, in part, is a fictional representation of my own story.  In the last five years, Jaycee has given me the voice and courage to finally write that story, a memoir presently titled Heart Fire, which I hope to be able to share with you soon. In a sense, it will be the sequel fans of The Grim have been begging for these last few years. Because, you see, Jaycee, in so many ways, is really me.

So, I guess this post is here to say thank you for everyone who has followed Jaycee’s struggle and to mark a phenomenal five year journey with a fan base that has been nothing but awesome the entire way. Bless you all, and here’s to many more markers of what I pray continues to be a bright and creative future.



Launch Day: The Earthen Shroud

Yes!  Finally!  The Earthen Shroud is here!

I am so thrilled about this project!  This series has touched my heart in such an amazing way, and once you start reading it, I know it will get you, too.  You can purchase the paperback on the My Books page, and I will be posting an excerpt from the book on Goodreads today, as well as giving away e-book copies of the novel to lucky winners all week long!  You can enter to win below.  Trust me, you don’t want to miss this!

Celebrate with me!  It’s LAUNCH DAY!

Fill out my online form.

var m7x3r3;(function(d, t) { var s = d.createElement(t), options = { ‘userName’:’raynettastocks’, ‘formHash’:’m7x3r3′, ‘autoResize’:true, ‘height’:’588′, ‘async’:true, ‘header’:’show’}; s.src = (‘https:’ == d.location.protocol ? ‘https://’ : ‘http://’) + ‘’; s.onload = s.onreadystatechange = function() { var rs = this.readyState; if (rs) if (rs != ‘complete’) if (rs != ‘loaded’) return; try { m7x3r3 = new WufooForm();m7x3r3.initialize(options);m7x3r3.display(); } catch (e) {}}; var scr = d.getElementsByTagName(t)[0], par = scr.parentNode; par.insertBefore(s, scr); })(document, ‘script’);

We’re Moving!

I have been blessed and fortunate for the last year to have a website to bring you the latest news, updates, and exclusives about me and all my books.  And 15000 views later, we have finally outgrown our humble beginnings!  Our site domain will still be, but we are expanding to our own server with a new interactive layout and exciting new extras!
On the new site, you will still be able to view and purchase my latest work, view and participate with my blog (including the last 100 posts) and read about what’s new in my world.  But you will also be able to view new live interviews with feature authors, publishers and agents, read excerpts from debuting novels, and participate in live stream chats with interviewees.  I wanted my website to be an experience for all you faithful visitors, and this new website will give you precisely that.  The links to my previous posts may change, but we’ll keep you updated on how to find everything you loved about the old blog and everything there is to love about the new one!
The best part about the new site is my subscription page!  The members only portion of the site will have exclusive extras like sneak peeks at my brand new novels, members-only discounts, an extensive catalog of unpublished works (like my short stories and poetry) and a new section called Pages From my Diary, my personal blog discussing everything from online dating to bariatric surgery.  You won’t want to miss any of it, and I’m going to make sure you, my loyal readers, are first in line!  Stay tuned!
If you’re already a subscriber of this blog, you will unfortunately have to re-subscribe, but the subscription page is going to be worth every bit of inconvenience this may cause you.  If you haven’t already, you can always join my mailing list, and you’ll still be kept up to date on everything Raynetta J Stocks via email.
Thank you so much for sticking by me.  This expansion is for you!  See you there!

Chicki Brown Interview

I had planned to share some more really good poetry with you today, but as it turns out, I’m interviewing with an author friend of mine, Chicki Brown, on her blog.  So why don’t we detour there instead?  I think you’ll really like it!

Also, if you haven’t already, check out the Chapter One preview of The Grim.  I received my first copies of the novel in yesterday, and I must say I am absolutely thrilled!  I can’t wait for all of you to settle in your window seats, recliners, or your favorite nook with a copy of my book.  I just know you’re going to enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Enjoy your day and the interview, and I’ll be back on Monday with more great poetry!

National Reading Month

This month is National Reading Month!  This particular celebration is usually geared toward encouraging young readers to pick up a book (as Dr. Seuss’ birthday was March 2), but, as an author, I feel it should highlight adult reading as well, which has also started to dwindle.  However, the age of Kindle and Nook has certainly rejuvenated book sales in the States, but has largely affected the sale of print books from traditional brick and mortar stores.  As my young man turns 10 today, being an avid reader, I want to celebrate some of the Young Adult series he loves to read.

My son has loved dinosaurs since Pre-K.  He owns every Land Before Time film, has about a dozen Fisher-Price robotic dinosaurs (which he still refuses to give away) and about a gajillion dinosaur models ranging from metal nuts and bolts to plastic glow-in-the dark.  As he has gotten older, he branched off into paleontology as a whole, eager to discover new things and dig up new finds, determined there will be a dinosaur named after him–one day 🙂  That being said, it’s no wonder he solicited his aunt, a navy sailor stationed overseas, to get him the Astrosaurs series.

Written by Steve Cole, a British author in London, the Astrosaurs series tells us that the dinosaurs never actually went extinct.  Instead, they escaped the earth in space pods and now live in the far reaches of outer space.  The series follows a young group of new Academy graduates, ambitious and anxious to prove themselves to the Alliance as they battle wayward meat-eaters around the galaxy.  The series is pretty entertaining with colorful character collectors cards perforated in the front.  I would recommend this series for dinosaur lovers ages 8 and up.  If you have younger readers, the books are funny and wonderful for reading aloud.
Another favorite pastime my son enjoys is origami as he loves to make “creations” out of just about anything; he sees something miraculous in every empty bottle, straw wrapper or piece of useless paper.  So it’s no wonder that at his school’s book fair this year, he got hooked on a new series by Tom Angelberger called Origami Yoda.  This series is hilariously delightful.  It follows a young nerdy kid who finds a way to origami a Yoda finger puppet in class.  While what Yoda’s host has to say usually makes little sense, Yoda himself seems to be giving everyone exceptional junior high advice.
There are two books in the series currently, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back.  Each book gives step-by-step instructions on how to origami both Yoda and Darth  Paper respectively.  (There are several versions of each of these littered about my house.)  A third installment to the series will feature a new Star Wars related character whose identity has not yet been released.  The name of the third book is slated to be announced March 29th.  I think this series is absolutely wonderful!  Chock full of kid-friendly, laugh-out-loud humor and pretty clever advice, I think your young reader will find this series an incredibly fun read.
For his birthday today, my son received a Barnes & Noble gift card.  Instead of engaging your young ones with video games and toys, please encourage them to read.  Let them see you reading, visit your local library and participate in their functions and activities. It will foster not only a love of books, but of imagination, vocabulary, and discovery.  I promise, an avid reader is definitely a trait to you’ll want under your child(ren)’s belts.  Check out the books I mentioned and happy reading!

2012 is Here!

Happy New Year to you all!  How were your holidays?  I know I took a month off, but holiday time tends to draw focus at this time of year.  I certainly haven’t forgotten you, and now with 2012 officially in effect, I can emphasize my excitement about the launch of The Grim in three and a half months!  May 1st will be here before you know it, and I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at the virtual launching!
In the months to come, I will have some previews of the work, maybe the first chapter or two, as an exclusive read.  I should have a cover worked out soon as well.  I know you guys are going to be thrilled with what we’ve come up with.  I’m so excited about all the pending prospects.
We have some possible signing dates, and maybe even a few store sites that are going to carry The Grim in their stores so keep a look out for that.  And if you’re not already following me on Facebook and Twitter, please do!  It will ensure you don’t miss a thing!

On this Martin Luther King, Jr holiday, I feel blessed to be a part of the black American entrepeneurship rising in this country.  It’s a hard road, and things certainly don’t come easy, but the reward of being able to do what you love and share it with the world is irreplaceable.  I’m looking forward to sharing that experience with all of you in May.  So keep tuning in; I promise to keep it entertaining!

Halfway Point

First, let me apologize for my absence.  It’s been a hectic few weeks.

In those weeks, and the closer we get to August, it dawned on me how quickly time passes in a year.  Here we are, nearly two-thirds of the way through the current year, and I was forced to examine how far I’ve come in that time.  Many of us make what are called “New Year’s resolutions”, (which I refuse to make by the way), each year to remind us of what we need to do and where we want to be.  Instead of doing that, I like to set goals for myself.  I write or type them on pretty paper and post the list in places where I’ll see them daily.  Seeing my goals projected before me every day keeps me motivated and consistently reminded of what it is I’m striving for.  Some of those things are temporary, short-term goals like “cut back on dessert”, and others are long-term goals like “publish The Grim by 2012.”  When I see that list, it forces me to do a mental check of my progress; I can see immediately what I’ve accomplished, what I haven’t, and how far off I am from checking off everything on that list.  Each year, I reevaluate my situation.  How many of my goals did I accomplish?  How close am I to each?  Are my goals realistic, and if not, how can I amend them so that what I want becomes tangible? 

It’s important to write a plan for your life.  Again, those goals don’t have to be immediate, but when you decide there’s something you want, you can make that process attainable by setting miniature goals that take you one step at a time to that larger prize.  With each goal you accomplish, you feel more satisfied and pleased with yourself because not only are you doing what you love, but you are embracing your future as well.  Achievement will put a smile on anyone’s face.

I’m still determined to smile this year, even though I’ve hit some major roadblocks along the way.  For a moment there, The Grim was almost dead in the water, and there was talk it would never hit the printed page.  But I’m persevering, and every “no” I received, I re-translated for yes, and I found a way.  Now, we’re barrelling full speed ahead, and you’ll still have your copy of The Grim in your hands on May 1, 2012.  I won’t give up, and looking at that goal every day keeps me wanting it and moving toward it.

Maybe a list isn’t a good motivator for you.  So find what motivates you.  Do what you know will keep you moving toward everything you want in life.  And don’t give up.  Don’t let the naysayers, or haters as they’re call now, distract you and convince you that you don’t deserve everything you’re pressing toward.  Just keep pressing, even if you think you may fail.  When asked about his multiple failures in his invention of the lightbulb, Thomas Edison said, “I didn’t fail; I found 2000 ways how not to make a lightbulb.”  Keep that inspiration, and let it spark you; let your stumbles and pitfalls serve to encourage you and teach you on your journey.

Then, bask in the rewards.  Each new plateau brings something amazing, even if it’s just the satisfaction of knowing you’re that much closer to the dream.  Take a look at the last seven months of this year; have you done everything you set out to?  Are there places you still want to go, things you still want to see and do?  It’s not too late; set that goal, make a plan to achieve it, then do it.  The only one stopping you…is you.