Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Trials and Tribulations of Being A Freelance Writer

So in February, I went two weeks with no work to do. It was a stressful time for me because I don't do well with idleness, however exhausted I was from working back to back jobs. It's one thing to decide to take a break, it's another to be forced to do it because you can't find work.
Am I right?

I tried to use my time positively, caught up on some writing. Made some progress with Cinderella by Any Other Name and my other, as yet really named gay African post-apocalyptic romance. I even wrote a bit of Child of Destiny: Marcus Devereux. It was fun, I enjoyed it. At the same time, I was experiencing terrible anxiety about not having paid work.

So I tweak my profile on my freelancing site, realize I'd set my availability to less than 30 hours a week so I immediately change that to 'looking for new work' and voila. My inbox gets full again. Which was a relief because I was beginning to think nobody liked me. Or that my work was bad which is a really unfortunate thing for a writer to think.
If you're not confident in the quality of your work, you can't sell yourself to potential clients/readers. You literally cannot function without belief in your work.So it was all internal lectures and 'You can do it girl' and trying to believe that that's true.

The opposite thing to wondering if no one likes you though, is not being able to say no to anyone who shows the slightest interest in you. It's like, "Oh thank God, you want me? Yay. Okay."
Even though you might be taking on too much or the work is not really something you want to do; or you just know this client is going to be a pain in the ass but money...or the deadline is ridiculous and nobody in their right mind... I might be doing that right now.
I vowed during my forced holiday that I would find a better work/leisure balance. But I can already see myself falling into the work 24/7 mode.

My friend just had a baby.
I'm so excited for her and want to go see her; but I found myself thinking, "Maybe I can push that to some time in the middle of April after I've finished this batch of work."
The gag is, there's always a new batch of work and you really can't take the time and...
So no. I'm gonna pick a day THIS WEEK, put the work down and go see my friend.
I'm also taking time daily to update my "What if" fanfic if you're reading that. I find it helps to pass the time until Shadowhunters season 2b starts in June.
And I'm giving my books some attention, trying to bring something new in front of potential readers daily. A tumblr or instagram post, an excerpt, something.
Would you like an excerpt?
Here's one;

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Benefits of Writing Fan Fiction

Do you read fanfiction? I love to write it. When I'm stuck in a plot hole, not knowing where to go, I put my work aside and write me some fanfiction. Not only is it super fun, but apparently it actively grows your creativity.
True story.
Your brain develops new neurons or some shit like that. That's the technical term beeteedubs. Quote me.
Anyways, I know I've been MIA.
Sad! Terrible.
But work is really kicking my ass.
So here's some fanfiction for you to read. After you've finished, visit my book page too and get you some more stories.

What If.... (4369 words) by amusawale
Chapters: 4/?
Fandom: Shadowhunters (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Magnus Bane/Alec Lightwood, Magnus Bane/Camille Belcourt
Characters: Magnus Bane, Alec Lightwood, Camille Belcourt, The Clave (Shadowhunter Chronicles) - Character, Madzie (Shadowhunters TV), Jace Wayland, Clary Fray, Simon Lewis, Raphael Santiago, Iris Rouse, description of dubious consent but not between Malec
Additional Tags: tries to break malec up, Power Couple, fear of power couple, Conspiracy
So Malec are together, happy and in love. Magnus lives with Madzie 'until they find a permanent home for her', and Alec helps out, like a lot, when he can, which is often. It's not like they're a family or anything, except for how they are.
But every paradise has a snake and when the High Warlock of Brooklyn and the De Facto Leader of the New York Shadowhunter Institute get together, well...That might just be a little too much power concentrated in one place for some people's peace of mind.
How to separate them though? How to break up this alliance once and for all?

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Of One True Pairings and Politics

So I've recently become obsessed with +Shadowhunters TV .
Correction: So I've recently become obsessed with #Malec on Shadowhunters. For those of you not in the know, this is a sci fi series about half angel, half humans guardians of us all. So this is #Malec

I thought about just posting the one but I can't help myself.

They're just such serious EYE CANDY!

Just so cute.
But that's not why they're my new ultimate OTP. Oh no, the visual aesthetic is great but it's the relationship that just makes you feel all warm and mushy inside. I highly recommend it as a lesson in how to write romance in TV.
Well, in addition to sharing my new obsession, this post does have a purpose.
Yes, I do have a point.
What's my point again?
Oh, yah well this week, eonline is having a poll about TV's best couples and #Malec is nominated (go vote for them) and they made it to the final two (go vote for them); they actually beat out Jamie and Claire from Outlander and that is a real fete considering how rabid Jamie and Claire fans are. I hear that they are so convinced +Sam Heughan and +Catriona Balfe are together IN REAL LIFE that they're not above threatening anyone they suspect to be a significant other coming to spoil their fantasy.

Anyway, mental health issues of fans aside, Malec made it to the final two. And they're competing against another gay couple known as skam. Now this skam couple is like the whitest white boys who ever whited. Furthermore, they're twins.
Not in real life of course.
But in the TV program that they act in, they're twins who are in a relationship.
According to twitter that is, I haven't actually watched the program.
Anyway, so this perfectly innocent online poll has turned into a battle between "good" and "evil".
On the one hand, according to twitter or more specifically Malec stans, we have the Trump twins, who began their relationship by cheating on someone, who have an unhealthy, incestuous relationship and apparently whose actors are racists.
A healthy biracial relationship with the most beautiful looking couple you ever did see.

When the feud started, Malec was losing 30-70 which Malec stans were finding hard to believe was accurate. So the argument became that the other white boys' fans were cheating. I don't know how, but they were.
What bemused me was how seriously y'all take this shit.
Like, the online poll has somehow become a metaphor for everything that's happening in the world right now. There is no more entertainment or fun. Everything is serious as fuck, and an eternal battle of us vs. them.
I love Malec, and I'm voting like mad but I think everyone needs to relax.
Okay, I know, big mistake, telling people to relax.

It's been the week for that though hasn't it what with the +Oscars calling out La La Land instead of Moonlight. So the whitest cast ever, was replaced by the blackest on stage and everyone saw a metaphor. Was it a deliberate attempt to subvert the cause of black movie making or was that accountant too busy tweeting about wotsername from La La Land to make sure they had the right envelope? It didn't help that Barry Jenkins had to share his Variety cover with the director of La La Land just cause. I was simultaneously very pissed for Moonlight because it takes some of their unbridled joy away when you have to sympathise with the other movie that had to give you YOUR Oscar back, and just annoyed at how the whole thing was handled by everyone else. However, I'm also glad because Moonlight is getting a whole lot more attention and so are the three brilliant young men who played Chiron. This is actually the only best picture winner that I've ever actually seen (I saw it on the day after that Oscars fiasco).

In other news happening this week, have you heard #sheETHER yet? Remy Ma was kickin' ass and takin' names and Nicki was just annihilated. Now I'm a big advocate for using your words, as well as not a fan of bullies so I had to applaud Remy for using hers to very effective effect.

I ghost wrote a reply for Nicki since she seems unable. Probably she has no dirt on Remy and the one thing she could say about her (I do better numbers than you) Remy already addressed in her dis track. So here's some barz for you +Nicki Minaj.
Lounging in my gulfstream.
Sipping on my lean.
Listening to these bitches is my SONZ,
tryna come for me.
How you gon' hate from outside the club Remy?
You can't even get in?
Your money too low and your fans is ghost,
writer you say? let me see some receipts,
can you get receipts from Foxy's vagina,
you spreadin' rumors...,
I got figures, hourglass so what if it's
plastic surgeon, Nasiff...only thing poppin is my album bih,
Meek Mill stay taking L's you believe him?

Gotta go cause I got Beyonce callin'
me, the Queen of Rap.

I should probably stick to writing books.
Here's a preview.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Proof That The Book Series, Child of Destiny Is Exactly What You Are Looking For

Don't take my word for it; see for yourself;

Book one, Child of Destiny Series:


 Book two, Child of Destiny Series:


 Book three, Child of Destiny Series


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Let's Talk About Dubious Consent

When I was doing my Higher Diploma in Counseling Studies, I chose as my dissertation a topic that is close to my heart;
The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse on the Adult Survivor.
It was crazy because I went into the topic thinking that it was just me who was molested as a child. As part of my study, I interviewed various women (and men) about any experiences they might have had to do with molestation and how they're coping as adults. My sample population were my friends, neighbors, friends of friends...basically anyone who had a childhood story they were willing to share. As students of counseling there might have been some cheating because a few of my classmates knew of suitable candidates for my study and sent me their way. But the majority of my subjects were just randoms. For example, this one day I was sitting down with a group of girls my son had introduced me to. He used to come home and say he was playing with f%^&*@ma and I thought this f%^&*@ma was another kid. Turns out she was a grown ass adult and we became friends too. So I was sitting in her house one day and so were various girls from the neighborhood. I told them a few stories from my study and you know what? Every single girl in that room had a story for me.

Let me be clear.
When I say child sexual abuse, I'm not just talking about full on rape. I'm talking being kissed by a full grown man when you're a kid, fondled, touched in the bad place, having your boobs squeezed, pushed down and being forced to make out by someone's who's "trying to be your boyfriend"....Every situation where somebody with more power than you has forced you to go further than you are comfortable with.
What I came to learn is that every girl, and quite a few guys, have a story when it comes to being sexually molested. I thought I was alone but it turned out I was just one of...everyone.
What happened to Mya in the beginning of Child of Destiny is a product of some of that painful reality. It's a realistic depiction of what happens with dubious consent. I've heard this same story more than once, happening in just this way. It's not my story, it's everygirl's story.
So I do understand sometimes when people say to me that it's too hard to read.
Nevertheless, I felt that it's a story that deserves it's own spotlight. Shine a light on that shit and maybe start a conversation.

Today I got an email from my publisher telling me that Kobo had banned my book, Child of Destiny, because it contains dubious consent. I get it, some things you just don't want to face.
It's still available on amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Google Play and Smashwords.

Join the conversation.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Playing Around With Design

As an independent author, it is important for me to keep expenses down. To that end, I gathered my art education around me and designed my own book covers.
Oh sorry, hello.
How are you doing?
Are you as mad as me that Rihanna didn't win any +GRAMMYs? I am upset. 
Anti is a masterpiece.
And Beyonce!
Man I don't even like her like that but even I know that Lemonade was some ground breaking shit. For them to give her 'best contemporary urban' or whatever that category is was an insult.
Hell the existence of that category is an insult.
She should have won something more significant. But Album of the Year should have been Anti's.
Anyway, I did not begin this post to rant...I am calm, and I am cool.

I was speaking very calmly about the challenges of being an independent author. And how I design my own covers since I have a background in art. Also I have never really liked any cover that anyone did for me except possibly one done by my brother-in-law. He took my suggestions and synergied the hell out of that bitch. But...copyright issues with one of the pictures means I can't use it.
Oh do you like my new wallpaper?
So today, I had some time in my temporary job (with unlimited internet access) and I decided to play around with some social media posts. It's Valentine's day after all, the day hallmark designated for gift giving on pain of epic sulks. Why not join in the madness?
To that end...

You like?
Good. Go buy it for your boyfriend/girlfriend/self. Click here and lose yourself in some madness. It will help mask the disappointment of unmet expectations.
I also did a more cynical one for those of you, who like me, feel absolutely nothing for today except that it's a great excuse to eat chocolate.
What do you think? It might be too busy or cluttered. However, it's the message that counts and you know Child of Destiny is worth drowning your Valentine's Day sorrows in. Better n' alcohol...and no hangover. Maybe a boner. I've been told I write soft porn.
You know sex is part of life right? I don't see how one can write about life and avoid talking about sex, betrayal or lies.
I also did a cute lil' video to remind you that Between Death and Heaven became In the Shadow of the Styx
Admit it.
It's cute as fuck right?
And lastly in my own fucked up version of show and tell is an EXCERPT! Yaaaaaaayyyy!
Remember I told you I was writing a gay African post-apocalyptic romance? Here's a sneak peek.

Chapter One: Denial isn’t Just a River in Egypt

They trudged through a particularly muddy portion, shoes dragging in the sludge-like terrain, heads hanging low as the sun shone on their uncovered heads.
“Shit. Water.” Andrew mumbled. He did not have enough energy to articulate himself any clearer than that.
Zawadi stopped and glared resenting him for making her raise her head to answer him, “Yes well…what else is new?”
Andrew clicked his tongue as he shot her a nasty look, “Always so snappy Zawadi. Maybe you need to get laid.”
“I would if I wasn’t travelling with a couple of homosexshuls.”
“One of whom is your brother so show some respect.” Andrew snapped playfully.
“You said it.”
“Okay okay”, Kevin physically pushed himself between the two of them, “enough. We’re all tired and thirsty and energy’s running low. There’s nowhere to stop in sight so we have to keep walking. How about y’all save your energy for putting one foot in front of the other?”
Kevin was way thinner than Andrew who still managed to maintain his muscled athletic frame in spite of the diminished circumstances in which they found themselves. He had the body of the rugby player he’d once been when the world still had rugby teams. Kevin on the other hand was a product of his genetics. His father had been a Scandinavian runner who had come to the Kenyan coast for holiday. There he’d met a young Maasai woman who stole his heart. Kevin was the result. Tall as berserker with the runner’s body of both his mother and father’s people.
Two years later, his mother had Zawadi by a Muslim man she was shacking up with. Kevin’s father was long gone by then nothing but a dog-eared photo for them to remember him by. Zawadi’s father stuck around for a bit longer before he too moved on. One too many rude comments about Kevin’s ‘deadbeat dad’ and him following in his father’s footsteps had their mother fed up to here. She threw him out on Kevin’s fourteenth birthday. Best birthday present he ever got. Zawadi wasn’t too pleased though. And who could blame her? He was her father. And say what you would about him, but he doted on her.
Kevin and Zawadi didn’t talk for three years after he left.
That had been twenty years ago when the world still kind of worked. People had jobs, professions, went on holiday, and played sports. Then one day, an asteroid hit the earth and all hell literally broke loose. And now here they were, trekking in the Sahara desert. Three refugees from the apocalypse trying to make it in this travesty of an afterlife.
Eight days.
That’s all it took to turn the earth into a bleeding husk; a mocking remnant of the planet it used to be.

“I’m tired. Let’s stop here”, Zawadi said not half an hour later.
“No. We gotta keep going. Another day and we’ll be out of water.” Kevin replied.
“So we’ll dig! There’s water under the sand, we just have to siphon it to the surface.” Zawadi said much to Andrew’s amusement.
“Siphon it? Great idea Indiana Jones. How exactly do we go about doing that exactly?”
Zawadi just glared at him, and continued walking head held high.
“That’s what I thought”, Andrew murmured under his breath. But not so far under that Zawadi didn’t hear him. She whirled around ready to fight him but suddenly found herself in the air as Kevin slung her over his shoulder. He pointed back at his boyfriend.
“You. Shut up.” He said and then slapped Zawadi’s ass, “You as well smartass.”
He walked on, Zawadi growling at him to put her down as she ignored him. She was very tired and wouldn’t really have minded the ride but having her stomach pressed against Kevin’s bony shoulder and the gently swaying motion engendered by his stride was making her nauseous.
“Kev, I’m serious. Unless you want me to vomit on your shoes, put me down.” She said.
Kevin immediately lowered her slowly to her feet.
“Okay, walk in front of me.” he said pushing her a bit to get her to start walking. She turned around and stomped away, not sure if she was annoyed or relieved.
Andrew wisely kept his peace.
They walked silently for what felt like forever before Zawadi spotted what looked like a cluster of palm trees in the distance.
“Tell me you see those too!” she exclaimed, turning back to face her brother and Andrew.
Kevin squinted, “Looks like an oasis.” He said.
Zawadi whipped her head round to look at him, “So you see it too?” she said her tone urgent.
Kevin nodded slowly, “Yeah I see it.”
They stopped, staring at the oasis, waiting to see if it was a mirage or not. Then Andrew walked around both of them, at a fast clip, heading for it. They followed reluctantly behind. So thirsty. So ready for something good to happen.

The oasis did not disappear.

Opinions more than welcome. Hit me up in the comments.
While you're there, you might as well tell me what you think of this first, rudimentary cover.

Have at it! *Klaus voice*.