Umm hmm who have we here? Sandwiched in the middle of the three authors for July is Cedric Long. I was thrilled when Cedric responded to my call for Meet The Author, he is the second male guest here, and personally I think it’s great to have male authors and diversity … so boys please don’t be shy. Cedric hails all the way from the USA, he worked in law enforcement before he became an author. Can you tell? Look how serious he looks. Anyway, it is my pleasure to showcase Mr. Cedric Long… let’s get to know his style, over to you Mr. Long.
Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
I’m Cedric Long born in Montgomery, AL. I’m thirty four tall six foot two no kids. I love to work out and travel. One of my favorite things to do is ride to a new city and stay a few days. I also am a passionate photographer. I’m an outdoorsy person. I also have a garden in the backyard because I enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. I worked in the Alabama Department of Corrections for 41/2 years. Lastly i’m a big movie fan nothing like coming home after a hard days work and watching a DVD in the dark.
Kim: well, lovely to meet you Cedric. We’re the same age. I wonder who is older.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
I’m not a writer, I’m an author. My English and grammar skills have always been poor. I was 28 before I viewed language and writing as arts. I began working in the department of corrections and when I’d tell stories about my experiences people’s eyes would almost pop out their heads. So I always thought I should write a book about prison. This caused me to view writing as an art form something wonderful I could create through.
Kim: There’s nothing wrong with developing these skills a little later in life. I think we should all be life long learners, so don’t ever see that as your downfall.
Who is your favourite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?
I never have a favorite anything. A favorite color, food, basketball player. . I’m very objective and open. I love diversity of flavors. I look for indie authors, you know trying to find the diamond in the midst of all that coal. To kinda answer your question I enjoy Ernest Hemingway. His novel the old man and the sea takes me on a visual journey. When I read his work I can smell salt air I can hear the waves I can feel the sun on my skin.
Kim: *smiles* yes, when a writer takes you on a journey for sure that’s always a great reading experience. It’s great that you can remain so objective in life too.
What genre do you enjoy reading?
Mystery Suspense Thrillers. Big fan the Alex Cross and Jack Reacher series. I love a great plot twist. Eric Jerome had a series Sleeping with strangers I enjoyed. I do love series.
Kim: I like Eric Jerome too not read one in a while though, you like mystery and suspense? Stick around you’re in good company here!
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I actually didn’t have the issue of pride when writing my first novel. I knew I was amateur and I knew my writing was terrible. Having this honest perspective caused me to really do my research. I took advice. That help me avoid a lot of first time mistakes. As a photographer the photos I was so proud of when I first started today are embarrassing. At the end I’ve learned that you have to write as an artist and as a marketer. Not only must you consider your vision but what readers want also.
Kim: I like the last part of your view, yes write as an artist and in your own style, there will be readers out there for you. I think you’re take on thinking you sucked straight away is so refreshing. Lols.
So you’ve published a series, what is the series about?
The series Corrupt Officers Guide – follows a fictional character John Youngblood a 26 year old correctional officer. Officer Youngblood is separated from his wife and running from a horrific past. He uses PDW(Partying Drinking and Women) to cope. Working in a prison is dangerous and after casual sex with a coworker turns bad he up to his head in conflict. Things worsen after he begins experiencing a string of life threatening events all strung together by a mysterious love letter.
The book is a drama about the temptation faced working in a prison environment. It’s shows contrast of there is not black and white when it comes to good and bad. There are only the thousands of shades of grey in between. We are humans and we make decisions. It also brings to light social issues and department of corrections conditions using satire and symbolism. It has comedy suspense mystery and action.
Kim: wow!… I need a copy asap. If you have author review copies I’d love one I really mean that.
What was it like creating back to back stories that link?
It’s wonderful I love giving my readers a bigger picture that slowly unravels. All my novels connect and intertwine.
Kim: Sounds good. *nods her head*
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could what genre would you like to dabble in?
Yes I want to write a novel with monster as characters. Also plan on writing a nonfiction on black natural hair to support women making the decision to go natural.
Kim: haha okay monsters? For what age group? Is this like sci-fi, horror or what? Talk about leave a girl out to dry, we need details Cedric! Your second idea, I like that I think there is a lot of falseness these days, and it’s pressure on all women, regardless of their ethnicity. We all need to live up to some idea of what the media or society holds as beautiful or the way to be. Whatever… “aint no body got time fo’ dat!”
What has been your most proud moment as an author?
I’m an artist at heart I’ve never desired fame or riches. I want to put out work that is amazing. Something I created. My proudest moment was when I receive my first hard copy of my book.
Kim: Oh God, don’t I’ll never forget that feeling EVER. I am with you on that one. I lined my book up next to some of my favourite authors on my book shelf, and took a picture.
Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?
I never got frustrated but I did have to take an 8 month break once, and also their came those moments where doubt came up. thoughts like – No one will like this, why finish, You should be focused on more important things but I pushed and made sure I finished my first book.
Kim: Excellent. Self belief, that’s all you need.
Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?
Plotter definitely but I do both. Fly by the seat ideas are useful for scenes or to spice things up, Still I like for my stories to have deeper meaning even my hotshot ideas must be weaved into plot or i’ll save them for latter works.
Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?
I rarely use commas, and I leave that to my editor. You need a great editor. It’s a different profession. You may sing and be great at it, but just because you have voice doesn’t mean you write great songs and can mix your own music. To put out great work you need to use professional help. Cover design, marketing, editing, SEO – get help.
Kim: what!? Haha I can’t believe it rarely. Damn, your editor must love you!
Every writer has a word(s) that they always slip up on when they write, then slap their forehead when they notice their typo. For me it’s further and farther exit or exists- but hey I’m over it now. Do you have a word (s) that make you go blah! Go away not another damn typo.
OMG I’m dyslexic and southern so I do this all the time on every other page. I have a story to tell you. One day I was meeting a friend. I told them via phone I was about to go baze and meet up with them. The friend said what did you just say? I repeat “I’m about to go baze.” They said do you mean bath? Yes I was twenty four years old before I correctly pronounce bath. So I do this all the time. TGFE – thk god 4 editors.
Thank GOD FOR EDITORS!!
What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?
1 Research – Read other works, the bad and good it teaches you what to do and not to do. Watch youtube videos get as many perspectives about writing.
2 Don’t work on multiple stories – It’s hard but inspiration hits you all the time and you will get tempted to start a secondary work. But your brain is wired in a way that will make you lose interest in the old and gravitate towards the new. If a work seems dead leave it for a few days or weeks, then start it back up.
3 Get good feedback – You don’t need passive people telling you your work is good to make you feel better. you need hard critics telling you things like the first 4 chapters are too boring, or this seems out of place. Your sex scenes are bad and corny. You don’t want to be the wife asking her husband “Does this dress make me look fat?” You need honest feedback so you can fix the bad parts of your work.
Kim: good advice, with point #2 I say get a notepad and write the ideas down as they come. That’s what I do. Funny thing is I can’t actually work on two stories I can only do one at at a time, hence the notepad so I don’t lose the ideas as they come.
What are you working on now? What will you release next?
I’m working on my third novel to the Corrupt Officer’s Guide series. The first book Corrupt Officer’s Guide to Money is available on Amazon. The second book Corrupt Officer’s Guide to Love is finished but I do not have a release date yet.
So…. where can we get your books?
Only on Amazon as of now. I do plan on getting them in several indie book shops and a website later.
Kim: try Smashwords look it up.
What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
I don’t use magazines it’s to much context online now, every magazine has a website or blog these days.
What does “success” look like to you? When would you say “damn, I’ve made it baby!”
When Fans give feedback such as “Really enjoyed this I can’t wait to read your next book.” When your work reaches people who love it and they become interested in your style of writing is success to me. I put blood sweat and tears into my works so an audience that shows appreciation is when i made it.
Kim: aww Cedric! Good luck, I’m sure you will find your audience and you will start to build a fan base. I wish you well.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
It hurts when you can’t see your weaknesses or take constructive criticism. On the other hand it’s a bonus when you use it in a competitive way. I see Steve Harvey’s or Zane’s book on the shelf, I feel envy and say I’m going to be up there next to them one day. Michael Jordan pushed himself to be greater because he looked at other NBA players talents and wanted to beat them.
Kim: you are the first author to mention the competitiveness but healthy competitiveness. I feel the same way! Muhammad Ali said….
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My books are actual events I experienced, it’s told thru the cloak of fiction but it’s factual based. I have lived the things in my novels even thought it sounds crazy everything is taken from first hand witness accounts. But I do recommend you learn about the subject you are writing on. readers are not stupid and if you stereotype of use cliches you book won’t be received well. Researching will keep these things out of your work.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
This is my first release I have not had public reviews. but private ones I read and yes they hurt but they can make your work better. Listen to them. If I cut my own hair and didn’t know I had a bald patch in the back of my head. I need a friend to tell me. A reviewer is your friend, they can say your haircut looks okay, and laugh behind your back. Or they can say it looks ok except one little nitch in the back. or they can say your head looks f@# up. whether they say it nicely or rudely you need to know your work had a patch in the back of it’s head.
One of my reviewers said she didn’t care to finish my book because of all of the colorism. I didn’t realize it but my book was full of colorism, the beautiful females were mixed raced with grey eyes, white blonde hair , and Latina. This shocked me I’m very pro black I thought I was being creative by making my characters diverse, but living in america I guess my subconscious was programmed from all the TV and music. If you don’t believe you media mind programming l search for the video – The Doll Experiment. I will give you a prospective on how media get’s us at a young age.
I don’t read much into the good ones I’m happy to have a satisfied reader.
Kim: Now, if that aint honesty I dunno what is. As for “colourism” I think we’d call that diversity in the UK. Cedric, write it how you like it and forget anyone who don’t like it! There is a reader out there for you. For one I love “colourism” where I’m from in London you can’t get away from it. You’re also right beauty comes in all shades not just one.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Romance I not a great when writing feelings so I had to practice a lot. I still don’t like the romantic scenes in my novel but I did okay.
Kim: I’ll read it and tell you how you did *smiles*.
Do you Google yourself?
No I don’t have an online presence at all. But I go to amazon books and look at my cover all the time lol.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Deidre Leshay we are not friends but we communicate on social media I love her book every bit of crazy it started off with action. I learned how to hook readers interest from page one.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I wrote my first two novels in four days. I got sick and could not go to sleep. After I was up twenty six straight hours I said well I don’t feel tired let me write this book. I only doze off twice the next four days. and when I did sleep it was only around three hours.
Now these were very rough drafts, and it took months to get them ready for the final edits. I even tooks weeks or months off from writing if i needed to. When I write I can write twelve hours straight nonstop every day for weeks. I do not edit until I finish which helps a lot.
Kim: *shakes her head* my gawwrd. That’s true writer’s stamina there.
What would you like readers to know?
If you know someone who is incarcerated or works in a prisons and ever wanted a tour of the prison environment told in an entertaining way then check out Corrupt officer’s guide to money. Only if you go on a real tour they will clean things up for you, my version is the raw dirty laundry of the system.
Please support self published works. Most authors make under $10,000 a year. You can help by rating books writing reviews and sharing on social media.
What’s your favourite movie?
I love all kinds of movies and never have just one favorite I couldn’t give you a top 10. My two favorite this year are Split and Get Out.
What’s your favourite book and why?
Goosebump’s Ghost Beach, I loved how the series was connect only by the slim on the covers but they all felt connected. It had an amazing twist at the end I didn’t see coming which today many award winning movies have used.
What music do you like?
A bit of everything mostly oldies and R&B you know love making music.
Where would you like to travel to and why?
I want to go on a cruise to the mayan temples in mexico. I love the beach ocean tropics and adventure. This trip embodies all three.
Tell us about how you develop your characters?
I set strengths and weaknesses, I set goals and plant obstacles everything else seems to work itself out. I love to contrast in my writings.
Which one of your characters is your favourite and why?
It’s a female love interest. That’s all I choose to reveal choose to reveal right now but she is based on a woman I loved like no other. She is not mentioned in the first novel by name but her ghost is there. Allegra will play a major role in my second book Corrupt Officer’s Guide to Love. She is real and we are planning on getting married at the end of this year. How’s that for Mystery and Suspense? wink-wink
Kim: awww amazing!! How lovely to honour her now that’s love.
And that’s a wrap guys I hope you enjoyed getting to know Cedric this month. He seems to be on to a good thing mixing his factual experience to create a series of books. You can connect with him below on Facebook. If you’re an author and you’d like a feature contact me here. And send me a message.
Amazon Author page
Vivian was smiling and laughing at all my jokes. Our evening was going well I hope this would be the date we took or friendship further. Vivian asks, “If we had sex, then a few weeks later I told you I was pregnant, what’s the first thing that pops into your head?”
So I told her the first thing that comes to my mind “Well, you know, my homeboy Fred’s girlfriend got pregnant, and her boobs didn’t get that much bigger at all.”
“Really, John Youngblood? That’s what pops into your perverted mind?”
As Vivian takes a sip from her cup, I say, “Some men get lazy and don’t feel like walking to the bathroom so they pee in cups.”
Vivian’s eyes grow wide open and give me a death stare.
I ask, “How’s the lemonade? Is it strong enough for you?”
“How about I throw this lemonade in your face and let you see for yourself?”
“I’m just joking around. I’d never do anything like that.”
“Gross, John. I’m still never drinking out of anything at your house ever again.” then she hits me on the shoulder and laughs.