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8 Ball Left Corner Pocket

Soulmates Dissipate the movie will be in theaters.

It’s almost every author’s dream to see their characters come to life on the big screen. But how do we get there? There aren’t many authors you can ask that can give you first-hand advice.

Here’s my story. This is how I got a seven-film deal with Leslie Small, director/producer and Jeff Clanagan, CEO of Codeblack Entertainment. Not only that, I’m also Executive Producer on my deal.

I believed Soulmates Dissipate would become a film when I self-published my book in June of 2000. Readers immediately started asking, “When is the movie coming out?” Having fans see what I saw was a great beginning. I know other writers are asked the same question. I’m not the only author with fans that want to see their books become movies. So how did it happen for me?

In 2010, I set aside $50,000 to produce my first stage play, based on my novel Single Husbands. The same year, my son Jesse Byrd, graduated from UC Santa Barbara and applied to USC Film School. It’s not unusual not to get accepted into USC the first time. Jesse’s passion for film and television contributed greatly to what would become a mother-and-son stage production. Jesse co-executive produced the play and co-wrote the script for Single Husbands.

During casting, Tameka Bouyer graced the stage and auditioned for a lead role. The director was sure she wasn’t best suited and wanted to cast someone else. I believed in Tameka and made an executive decision that she would play the lead role of Michelle.

To celebrate Tameka, we went to lunch. Tameka and I had a mutual friend. Our mutual friend had a houseguest in town that weekend and asked me if it were okay to invite her to join us.

During lunch, our friend’s houseguest, Dawn C. Mallory, discovered I was an author. Dawn gave me her contact information and asked that I send her a few copies of my novels. She said, “I have a friend who is a director and he’s looking for books to base films on.”

To myself, I said, “Yeah, right. Here we go again. Another person claiming to have the Hollywood hookup.” I’d been down the road of directors wanting to make my book a movie but they didn’t have a budget. Then there were screenwriters quoting me $50,000 – $60,000 to write the screenplay for Soulmates Dissipate but they didn’t know a single director, actor, producer, or investor to back the script.

A week went by and Dawn called. “Hey, did you send the books? I want to read them.” I hadn’t even packaged the books. So I went home, boxed up four novels, and put the box in my trunk.

Another week passed and Dawn called again. “Hey, did you mail them yet? If they’re good I want to get them to him right away.”

At this point I began to believe that Dawn was serious. I mailed the novels the same day. She read them immediately. Loved the Soulmates Dissipate series and told me she was giving them to the director, Leslie Small. That was the first time I knew what director she was referring to.

Leslie called me. He loved my work. Before moving forward, he said, “We have to meet face-to-face. I want to produce the entire seven book series. It doesn’t matter how great the work is. This is a huge project and if we don’t like each other, it won’t work.”

We met and instantly liked one another. Leslie and Dawn introduced me to Jeff Clanagan and we had a platform that everyone embraced. Leslie, Jeff, my son, and I went to New York and met with the executive staff at Kensington Publishing Corporation.

The collaboration is amazing and everyone is excited about the film deal.

Your dots represent the work you’ve done. Your dots are already in place. You don’t always know how or when they’re going to connect. It’s strategic like a game of pool. Knock down the 8-ball too soon and you’ll lose. Keep creating new dots because they may be your catalyst to bridge the gap.

My new dot was the stage play. My best advice to each of you is to invest, re-invest, and always believe in yourself.

There’s no secret to success. It’s like gambling. Hit the wrong ball at the wrong time and your dream may never come true. What should have been in the pocket is now on the floor. If you’ve dropped the ball, pick it up. Don’t wait for someone else to make you successful.

Keep your eyes on the 8-ball. The 8-ball represents your dreams. See it. Imagine it. Have a vision. Have and implement a plan for your life.

As long as the 8-ball is on the table, you’ve always got a shot.