Friday, 12 April 2019

It's an Ill Wind

It's been an eventful two weeks for me personally and the world in general. Nipsey Hussle was gunned down and as a result the good works that he has done have elevated him to an icon. (I was gonna make a pun about an icon (not) living but it's too soon, right?)
Anyway, so first thing I learned that I didn't know before is that he was Eritrean-American. And of course my extremely biased ass was like, "Hmm, that explains it."
And when I say it explains "It" I'm not trying to perpetuate the narrative that Africans are better than African Americans that somehow proliferates on twitter - and I think is a product of the same insecurity I am about to talk about - I simply mean that it makes a difference when you know who you are.
I'm not just pulling facts out of my ass you know? According to his bio, when he went to Eritrea, he came back a changed man; because he went home. Where he wasn't less than or different or to be feared. He was just one of the whole. He stepped his feet in the soil of his homeland, and he looked around and probably thought, "Oh, so that's where I get that." or  "Damn, these people actually feel invested in their own well-being and development from the highest level of government."
It gave me a glimpse maybe of why so many disenfranchised join gangs. It's because gangs are their governments, their structure of society. Gangs are the thing which are supposed to ensure their well-being and development. If you don't belong in a gang, you're out here alone and the biggest gang in the world - the police - has a target on your back.
It sounds so dramatic and yet it's people's daily reality.
Imagine a man dying bringing so much understanding to some random human miles and miles away from them. Isn't that amazing?
When Lauren London's kid said at the funeral that Ermias came to him in a dream and showed him paradise, I felt that, I was triggered, I remembered when my mother came to me, and my sister. When my cousin came to my sister. Always with the same subliminal message. "All is well. Be happy."
Other bad things that brought good realizations to me, personally was the death of a medical student in Eldoret, Kenya. She was coming out of the hospital where she was interning when a man who she had known since childhood and who had been stalking her, cut her with an ax.
Immediately, the Kenyan men brigade known as mafisi (hyenas) were out in full defense of the guy with all sorts of rumors like she infected him with HIV.
Now even though that is CATEGORICALLY NOT TRUE, it would not have mattered if it was because there is no excuse for murder. It just makes me so sad that that has to be stated. I personally have heard so many stories of men infecting their partners (both male and female) with HIV, knowingly, and still expecting especially the women to not only stay with them, but when they get sick, this woman is supposed to look after them.
No one sees a problem with that.
But God forbid that a woman infects a man with HIV, why, that's an absolutely legitimate excuse to murder them! I don't know what level of self-absorption this is but its super mind-blowing to me. However, there were a lot of men who pushed back and said "shut up and sit down, yes we are trash. We are trash because we immediately defend such behavior instead of condemning it."
And so for once, it was possible to separate wheat from chaff just by reading these views. I was happy to see that all the men on my twitter timeline were on the right side of history, however I need to unfriend a few people on Facebook.
My phone got stolen two days ago. Not my smartphone, the other one I use for mpesa and bank SIM. I was kind of not sad because I hated that phone but it was basically my wallet so yeah, panic. On one hand I was like, if they stole that basic phone they must really have needed either money or a phone. I don't see that they can resell it for much so I assume they really needed a phone. So I was like, godspeed to them if they do. (yes that thought boggled me with it's generosity too) but of course I immediately called customer care to block my SIM and then went to bed in despair because I knew that I would need to leave the house during the day (it's hot AF) so I could go to the bank, cancel my bank SIM, get a new SIM card and possibly a new phone. FOR ONCE, I actually had a little cash money on me, enough to get me to the bank. Which was the first great thing.
Next great thing, money had matured from a job so I was actually flush with cash. Only I could not send it to myself until 1. I got a new SIM card and/or 2. I blocked my bank SIM so that if someone was trying to break into my bank account, they would not be able to withdraw the money.
So, I actually sat at my writing desk for ten minutes, debating whether or not to carry my rather heavy laptop with me to the bank or just pray that I had enough in my account to cover the cost of everything including a new phone head was going round in circles.
In the end I decided to leave it.
As I'm getting my handbag, my hand goes to the big one in which the laptop can fit and picks up the laptop and puts it in the bag.
I'm like, "Oh. So I am carrying the laptop?"

I decided that since instinct wanted to take over I was going to sit back and not try to influence any decisions. I ended up having such a smooth day. I felt so free and floaty just following my instinct on everything, no conscious thought, one thing just led to another. I ended up at the cinema watching Captain Marvel instead of Us like I've been planning to for three weeks. Imagine my delight at realizing my fave supermarket had moved into the same mall as the movie theatre.
Basically it was a capital day. And I think I'm gonna live like that from now on. No forcing things, just going with the flow. Will Smith enforced the message by talking about the conscious decision to stop being militant and let things happen when they will. I was like "Yaas brother, preach it!"
There really is always a silver lining guys. Stay woke.
Today my neighbor told me a story about a girl who committed suicide. She lives on a close by lane and had been having trouble with college. Well, when she came home and was withdrawn, her parents decided to have a pastor pray for her computer and her....
You know because obviously that is going to improve her grades.+
So by Tuesday she was not answering her phone and by Thursday her mother was worried and sent people to check on her. She had hanged herself in her dwelling.
Can the silver lining of this story be that you cannot pray away depression? Can we internalize that? We are experiencing an epidemic of suicide because we don't take depression seriously.
As a result of this story of course I called my son right away to make sure he's still depression-free and he gave me an update on a girl friend of his who had threatened suicide last week because her boyfriend was not willing to take responsibility for her pregnancy. While he hasn't set eyes on her  for a few days he says he's sure she's still alive because she moved in with said boyfriend. So he's still coming to college...but she's not. I'm betting her parents don't know squat.
So the silver lining for this part of the story is; be present in your children's lives please whether they are living in your house or not. So many parents have no clue about the inner life of their children.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Slap a Label on it and Put it in a Box

I got a tattoo on my ring finger. It's a ring of barbed wire. Very symbolic. Can you guess what it means?
My son was rather excited about it. He Instagrammed it with the caption, 'When will your mother?'
I guess it's not very motherly of me to be getting tattoos 'at my big age'.
I intend to get more.
That's our topic for today: fitting in boxes.
Who invented these boxes we're supposed to fit in, I wonder? I suspect it was a group of men with low self-esteem, but I have no proof, so I won't make the assertion. People who feel insecure are reassured by the existence of boxes; by amorphous collectives in the midst of which they can hide.
I saw an article on twitter the other day saying that every girl has a beauty bag somewhere and trying to tell us what should be in it.
Do they mean every 'white' girl? Or maybe every 'American' girl? Because as far as I know, I'm a girl, but I have never, even in my most vain days, had a beauty bag.
Is it just another box we're all supposed to fit in or am I, in reality, gender fluid? Perhaps I am. I don't know enough about gender fluidity to say.
I tend to have the occasional girl crush but I thought, I mean that's normal right? Otherwise, why would the phrase exist? It never occurred to me that I might be just a bicon living.
I am definitely more in the middle of the Kinsey scale I think than I previously imagined. But what does that mean anyway?
So many celebrities are coming out as bisexual just in the first months of 2019 and I think that they too, like me, are coming to the realization that black and white doesn't exist. I think if we were not all intent on sticking to our little boxes, we'd find that we are probably all milling around somewhere in the middle of the Kinsey.
I think that's why men are so rabid about sticking to "manly" things and going out of their way to prove that they are "Not Gay". It's because they are afraid of themselves.
The Greeks of Sparta were all bisexual. They used to go to war and have sex with each other and then come home and have sex with their wives. Same thing in prison. It's because we're all neither one or the other. We are all fluid.
It's tremendously liberating to realize this. It opens up a whole nother dimension of possibility. As I prepare to get my second tattoo - a devil's trap on my bosom - I cannot wait to see in what other ways I am not a stereotype.
Perhaps this is why I tend to write non-stereotypical characters for all my books.
Life is so crazy.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Four Books, Four Days, Free

Try saying that fast four times.
Yes indeedy, four is the theme of this post.
I love marketing. It's so fun. You come up with creative posts for your social media, and catchy slogans so people will remember to do what you want them to. It's almost like procrastinating except without the guilt. Because you're still working, but it's fun. The returns might be far in the future but one thing I've come to learn is that returns are not the point.
It really is about the journey. I am not even being facetious.
It might be different if I was planning to live on the returns of writing. Maybe one day, but I'm not there yet. I won't get there without your help. So, thank you for reading and downloading and participating and engaging. I do very much appreciate it.
And that does not mean I am not super thrilled by every sale I manage to make. But unlike most people who are discouraged by slow results, I am zen. I am prepared.
That said, go to my author page and at least download the free books - I've gone a year when I've made at least one sale a month, and I mean for that streak to continue and grow. Help me out guys.
So anyway, to create super hype for Marcus Devereux what we're gonna do is help you to read the first four books if you haven't. Now I remember those days when I was too poor to buy books and I came across a good story in a series but it was book five...
Man, the frustration.
So I'm doing this for you guys who genuinely want to read but are financially challenged - the rest of you buy the boxset. It's like...the price of three beers or coffees and you get to enjoy them more than once.
So we're gonna start with In the Shadow of the Styx, which will be free from 1st to 4th April. Four days of free books for four months. In the Shadow of the Styx, The Swamp is Full of Mystery, Child of Destiny and Requiscant In Pace free for the first four days of April, May, June and July respectively.
(I admit, since The Swamp is Full of Mystery is permafree, May might be superfluous but it's the poetic symmetry of it, ya dig?)
Hov and B think that the number four is significant. Seeing their life, I'm gonna assume they are on to something. So I'm basing my marketing strategy on the number four.
Let's see what happens.
Here is an excerpt for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

The Battle Against Ignorance is Neverending

I got in a twitter argument the other day.
Oh, don't look at me like that. You get into social media spats too. Unless you're not on Social Media which yay for you. Stay away. It's a mess.
I got into the spat because of this post.

Now the post was bad enough but some guy replies to it saying that 'most parents' feel this way, they just don't say so. Now I'm not saying what I did was right but sometimes the stupidity on Al Gore's Internet gets to me.
You have a child and then later realize that "oh my, I actually don't want a child." which okay, maybe you can't help that. But then you proceed to tell the child and the public all about it? What is that child supposed to do with that? The one person who is supposed to show you unconditional love, instead views you as their biggest regret.
I mean...come on people. Talk about fucking up your child for life.
I'm not saying you're not allowed to feel that way. Feel however you want - that's between you and God. But if you decided to be the vessel through which this life entered the world, then it is your responsibility to nurture that soul until it can stand on it's own two feet.
Regardless of your feelings.
Fuck your feelings.
Love is a doing action. Hate the kid all you want but you better make sure they ate. You better make sure to remember their birthday, change their nappies, listen to their problems and pay their school fees. There are no days off. You do not get a break and you don't get to be a self-indulgent little millennial and talk about how much you're missing out on traveling to an ashram in India. Nobody cares. Take care of your kid. I told the guy to please speak for himself when he says 'most parents feel like this' because I just couldn't bear it anymore. I have limited tolerance for stupidity on a normal day and when social media takes too much of my time, that tolerance just drops and drops until I start replying to such posts instead of ignoring them.
For more nuggets on hard core parenting read the stepchild.
I wanted to have a word about fifty people dying in two mosques in New Zealand. We mentally abuse ourselves and cause trauma to our psyches when we read about these stories and their aftermath. The difference with this story is the aftermath though.
There is often a sense of hopelessness sometimes, when we hear about a mass shooting, the inevitable thoughts and prayers, nothing is done, new mass shooting news cycle CNN gives us. If the shooter is white, there is usually an attempt to brand them a mentally ill 'isolated incident' and interview his relatives, so they can tell us what a gentle little lamb he usually is.
But this time, we actually got action taken, empathy given and the focus rightly on the victims of this attack with no attempt made to demonise them or imply that they are actors hired by George Soros.
You don't even know.
When I watched CNN - it was Max Foster though, in London - they were talking about ways in which we can change the narrative in order to change mindsets about Muslims in general. and one of the guests said something profound which will get lost in the shuffle. He talked about how in all these terrorist tv shows like Homeland and 24, the terrorist is always a Middle Eastern Muslim. and that permeates people's psyche especially after 9/11. So it would be good if these shows switched it around and showed some episodes featuring white supremacist terrorists. That way ignorant people like Jess Hilarious can stop profiling anyone with a head dress as a terrorist.
That would indeed be something.
I cannot speak to anyone else's experience, but in mine, when I encounter a Muslim gentleman in any capacity, I know I don't have to be on my guard. He won't sexually harass me, or try to harm me in any way. If they're a vendor, I know they're not gonna try to fleece me. Muslims are some of the most honest people I have ever met.
And okay, 9/11 was horrible, but people act like it was the most horrible thing that ever happened. Why? Because it happened to America? There was a reason why it happened to America. Years and years of oppressing others. They do this shit to other people and then act shocked and scandalized if anyone dares to fight back.
Don't get me wrong.
Killing people is just wrong. It's not the solution to any problem. But why is killing Americans a bigger sin than killing other people? Why is the fact that the only motivation White Supremacists have is hatred, while even ISIS are trying to get free from oppression, not highlighted? Let's call a spade a spade. White people have been terrorizing the rest of us for centuries. But when it happens to them, wow.
So so bad. Demonize everyone.
When they do it, it's an 'isolated incident.'
I'm tayad.
Can you tell that the stress is telling on me? We all have PTSD on here, that is if your soul is still intact. Everything is upsetting and ignoring it only makes the fall out worse. So I write about it and then escape into my stories to bring some sunshine into my life, and maybe into yours. I don't know.
Speaking of stories, my next promotion goes like this.
For the first four days of the next four months, you get one book in the child of destiny series free. Of course, the Swamp is Full of Mystery is always free.
We begin on April Fools' Day with In the Shadow of the Styx so mark your calenders. If you've ever wanted to read this story and not pay for it, here's your chance.
It's all in the lead up to the release of Marcus Devereux on October 9th; a book that shatters all the stereotypes on baby thoughts and teenage parenting.
Are you excited?

Friday, 15 March 2019

Unpopular Opinion: Life Edition

What is an unpopular opinion do you think? Personally I tend to view it as the truth you don't want to admit. And we are all so concerned with being popular or 'liked' that we would do anything, including turn your backs on the truth, to stay that way.
My sister would tell me to shut up and talk about how great my books are or something. I probably should do that. Unfortunately, I like living on the edge so here goes.
1. The Israeli government are terrorists.
For years, Israelis and American Jews have labeled any critique of the Israeli government as 'antisemitism'.
A Palestinian teenager gets arrested for 'beating up' heavily armed and armored Israeli soldiers, and we're supposed to believe she was a threat to them. If you propose a different narrative then obvi, you're antisemitic. They throw the specter of being a Nazi in the face of anyone who might try to check their genocide of Palestinians. The victim has become the abuser, but we're not supposed to say anything because they were once victims. I think it's the same argument R. Kelly fans used to defend him.
Nelson Mandela called it. Palestine is the last country officially living under apartheid. And in the same way that England and the West consistently defended the Boers for years until it became unsustainable to do so, they are doing the same for Israel.
2. There is not much difference between the ideologies of Black and White Americans.
America is a land cursed. It was born of blood and death and karma like that doesn't just disappear. It's a sick, sick place full of sick sick people. The opioid epidemic is about people trying to escape reality because it's a horror movie.
Despite the fact that Black America has been persecuted by White America for centuries, they have very much the same philosophy. Both of them view violence as the solution to all problems. This reality hit me hard in the face with the release of Black Panther, when all Americans, black and white, seemed to think that Killmonger's solution was the best.
"Kill everyone who disagrees with you" is the mission statement of America LLC.
3. Colonialism never ended.
Emmanuel Macron was just here in Kenya (I don't know if he's left yet) "making deals" with our own little petty criminal president. The only consolation I feel these days when I think of Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta is that "well, it could be worse...look at Trump."
Anyway, as he continues to sell our country to the highest bidder, I am here musing upon the
"We are doing you a huge favor"
attitude that the West have when they come to make these deals when the truth is that they need us more than we need them. Without their colonies, Europe would be the struggle as fuck. Hell, Africans won the World Cup for France last year. They plunder our resources and sell them back to us as 'finished goods' and worse, they have most Africans believing that it's because we can't do for ourselves what they do for us. They prop up corrupt leaders so that they can continue to have access.
p.s. Guys? Trump is doing to you what Mugabe did to Zimbabwe. You're already on a downward spiral but do you even know?
Our education system sets us up to fail; the proof of this is how much we succeed in other environments. These education systems were set up by colonialists and perpetuated by their corrupt avatars that they keep in office. Watch their 'election observers' insist that everything is legit when a president has blatantly stolen an election. Africa needs to turn their backs on the world, get in a huddle and whisper to each other how to take back our own land.
4. Above average implies that average person is stupid.
When my teachers used to write 'above average' on my report form, I thought it made me special. I didn't know that it implied I had actual brain cells instead of primordial soup swimming about aimlessly in my mind.
Then I grew up.
And I found out how much the assumptions we had as kids about grown-ups were lies. I got to know random people and realized I had to talk slower, repeat myself at least twice and dumb down my language just to be understood. I couldn't follow the reasoning behind the dumbass things I saw people do. I saw people elected as leaders and wondered what could have possessed anyone to vote for such stupid trash?
It goes back to the education systems of course. They do not train people to think. None of them. So you have to be born into a family that does more than the bare minimum in terms of discourse, reading and educating their children if you have a hope of being 'above average'.
Reading is not considered fundamental anymore. Thus begins the death of thinking.
If you're reading this, it's not too late...for you.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Does Your Writing Spark Joy?

Good morning! I'm so energetic today after sleeping for ten hours last night. The night before that, I slept for one hour. I think the resultant spike in endorphins or whatever (a very technical term) has led to awakening of a further 10% of my brain.
It's science.
So I have been getting an awful lot of comments on my new chapter of my Mombasa Raha Malec fanfiction. (If this sentence is gibberish to you, I apologise. If you look at the top of this page, you will see a link to 'fan fiction' which will lead you to my home page where you can scroll down and see a story labeled "Mombasa Raha" which is an Alec Lightwood/Magnus Bane story).
The reason I think I am getting all these comments is because I left a note on my last chapter in the hopes of sparking conversation on the whys and wherefores of leaving kudos, comments and author expectation of the same.
I think maybe because of the age and/or mindset of both fanfic readers, what I got instead of discourse was an avalanche of compliments/reassurances. I can't blame readers for misunderstanding my intentions. I've seen too many posts on all my social media feeds from writers begging for comments on their fics, reassurance that people 'like' their stories...I can't relate.
The reason I even posted the note was because of a tumblr post I read in which writers were complaining that "only" 20% of fanfic readers leave kudos, even less leave comments.
Now for a seasoned indie novel writer this complaint is laughable because we're lucky if we get 1% of readers writing reviews am I right?
However, I also don't blame them for misunderstanding my intentions because most writers don't seem to write because it sparks joy in themselves but seemingly for the attention. I cannot count the number of posts from writers, both indie, traditional and fan fiction, complaining about how much attention their books are not getting.
It's such a sense of entitlement.
I'm not sure where it comes from. Who told y'all that just because you wrote something that people are obligated to read it? Y'all better be grateful for that 20% leaving kudos. Nobody is under contract to leave you even one.
Why do we write?
Personally, when it comes to fan fiction, I began writing for my own entertainment, was vastly surprised when people started reading it. Was even more floored when people started asking for updates, and was flabbergasted by the following I garnered. That was on tumblr and my first fan fic was Chrianna.
It gave me the confidence to know that my writing was good enough to share with the world, but I would have continued writing anyway, whether or not my audience found me because I was and still do write, for me.
I write stories that I enjoy reading. I do not need to be 'reassured' about the epicness of my writing although I do appreciate your appreciation. I know my shit is good. I don't really understand writers who go about slagging their own writing. Is it a play for pity buys?
("Oh no no no, you're writing isn't really horrible. See? I bought your book! And I'm even gonna read it. See, I left you a five star review. Now stop crying please?")
I don't get it. It's not proud or boastful to know that you write well. Each one of us has at least one thing that we're good at in this life. For me, this thing is playing with words and making them sing to me. These are just facts.
So, if you're writing for any other reason than you want to, then stop. Life is too short. Go and find something else that you truly enjoy doing. Maybe like leaving kudos.
But if you truly believe in your writing, then stop the negative self-talk. It serves no purpose apart from making you feel bad about yourself and that is no good for your mental health, or your work ethic.
I slept for one hour the night because I had to finish up an assignment. Trust I would not have been able to do it without the total belief that I was doing what I was supposed to, and doing it well. According to Maya Angelou, that is the very definition of success.
Have a successful day, won't you?

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Story Time

Hey guys.
Did you mother tell you stories when she tucked you in at night? Or your dad? Uncle? Guardian? Adult in charge of you? Do you miss it.
I miss telling my son stories at bed time :(
They grow up so fast...*sniff*
Anyway, like any self respecting adult with an empty nest and an active imagination, I am replacing my son with you guys. So I'm gonna tell you a bed time story. Tuck yourselves in and hit play.