Sunday, 31 July 2016

Evolving In Your Craft

"You're just another brick and I'm a sledgehammer"
- Rihanna
It's the way she says it. There is some contempt there, tiredness, warning, matter of factness...It tells me a story; or causes me to superimpose my own story on the words. And in my mind, she's telling some guy (okay +Chris Brown ) who thinks he's the shit that he's actually not. He's just a brick and she's the sledgehammer.
GirlPower!Rihanna rocks.

Believe it or not, that extract actually does have something to do with evolving in your craft. Rihanna's just happens to be singing rather than writing. The point is, her way of singing has evolved to the point where you can pick up nuances without having them spelt out for you.
As a writer, I'm a great admirer of writers who can do that. I'm not sure I'm one of them yet. I do hope that there is visible evolution in my writing. I can see it in my fanfic on the Winchesters. The way I wrote it when I started out is definitely not how I write now. I'm not sure if it's because of greater understanding about how the Winchesters work or just me getting better. And for the record, writing about characters developed by someone else or even real person fan fiction is a whole different kettle of fish than writing original characters. It's a good way to get one's feet wet though. My first ever story I wrote for public consumption was a real person fanfic featuring +Rihanna and Chris Brown. It was immensely popular on tumblr I must say; even people who didn't like me personally stopped by to read it. And by not like me personally I mean they used to talk about me on other tumblr pages about how they REALLY don't like me but they just visit my page to read my fanfic. It gave me confidence. Let me know that my writing abilities weren't all just in my head.

sidebar; I'm at this hotel near my house and they're straight up playing +Dolly Parton...Like, I don't even know.

The most challenging thing to write, in fan fic or fiction is the 'sex scene'. People take for granted that since everyone (or close enough) does it, then it must be the simplest thing to write.
Most people write sex scenes where:
1. The foreplay is like interminable. IRL nobody has that kind of time. You're afraid one of your kids will wake up any minute, or you have to get up and go to work or +Empire is coming on any minute now. Ain't nobody got time to 'tease her nipple for hours'. And really, hands up if you want your nipple teased for hours. No seriously. hands up.
2. There is all this explanation of whose limbs go where in a very mechanical way that loses me about three limbs in; I can't keep all that in my head at the same time. In fact a lot of people write very mechanical sex; he inserted his member into her hot leaking mount of venus and thrust hurriedly/leisurely/forcefully/desperately in and out until his vision whited out...if I had a nickel.
Thank you. Very much, for reminding us how sex works.
My sister's friend and I were chatting at my nephew's birthday party and she told me that she doesn't read novels anymore because she's unable to can with all the descriptive passages. An example of one would be the one I read last night where 'Jared' had been asked by 'Sandy' to take her to town and he didn't want to because it was a busy time on the ranch and he had a lot of work. See how I summarised that in one sentence? It was in three. bloody. paragraphs. I call them the 'who cares' sections of the story. Talking to my sister's friend caused me to have an epiphany.
Imagine you don't have to read through that crap.
Just go straight to the next pertinent part of the story.
I do that a lot even if I never realised it before it was verbalised by someone else. Especially with the so-called saucy parts. In my head, as I skim I'm thinking 'sex sex sex sex, uh huh, more sex, the end'.
Diana Gabaldon writes a mean sex scene though. I read through every word. There was this one thing Jamie did to Claire called 'girdling' where he was literally seducing her ass. It was epic. I wrote a whole piece about it on +EzineArticles. It's still one of my most popular articles. I'm grateful that at least one thing the Outlander Series gets right is the sex scenes. Because they've taken my Jamie and made him into this foolish typical male that he absolutely isn't. I had to stop watching. End of rant. Plus they made Claire bitchy. No really, end of rant.

Another writer who has absolutely impressed me, is compo67 on Archive on Our Own. This one sex scene she wrote was written as if they were composing music. I died with admiration, jealousy and envy.
In my own writing, the sex scene I'm really so proud of that I wrote it twice was the dub con at the beginning of Child of Destiny. That was some crazy shit that just wrote itself. My editor said it was too much. I said fuck you very much, it stays as is. It was raw, sometimes painful; but it was honest. And that's what I was going for.
Anyway, I need to get back to my day job. I had another breakthrough on the loo this morning and I'm yet to implement it in the story. Get Child of Destiny here and let me know if I should have listened to my editor.

Goodnight Gotham

This makes me tearful for some reason...I'm turning into such a sap in my old age.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Gettin' Those Reviews

How are you today?
I'm...I don't know. 
Sad maybe?

I gotta get up really early in the morning and that always depresses me to no end. I wasn't built to see the sunrise people! Has anyone ever thought how much money they'd save if they had their weddin' at four in the afternoon? I mean seriously; no having to cater for lunch, no stressin' about waking up in the middle of the night for the bride to get made up on time. Y'all have the whole. fucking. day. To do that shit. On top of that, your guests don't have to wake up at the ass crack of dawn to be on time. Win. win. win. 
Just a thought.
I went to have my hair and nails did yesterday, after a loooonnng period of neglect. So I'm telling my nail lady about how I can never find anyone to do my hair satisfactorily and I whip off my scrunchy to show her my split ends. And then she gasps! like, 'Is that your hair?'
Inside, I was like deadpan, "Nope, it's not my hair, it's just this...stuff...that grows out of my head. I have no idea..."
Nobody would be friends with me if they could see my inner dialogue. It's super rude.

Yes yes, this post is about reviews. I'm getting to it. Give me a sec.
If you're a writer, I'm pretty sure you've solicited for reviews; be it from your relatives, your friends, professional reviewers, other authors, your followers on various social media...amiright?
I know I have.
Thee irony is that of all the reviews I've ever requested, only one person, who is a fellow +Supernatural blogger, actually took my book, read it, and wrote a review for me. One person. I can't even tell you how many I've asked. All my other reviews happened spontaneously, when some totally random individual decided to read the book, and then write a review. 
Those are the best actually. Because you don't feel like you had any influence on the contents. So when they give you five stars, you know it came from the heart. 
So the question arises; is there really any use in soliciting reviews? I've spoken to other authors who experience the same thing with solicited reviews. Even on +Goodreads; where they are very pretentiously serious about their book reading. Someone commits to reviewing you and then that's the last you hear of them. It's exhausting.
On the other hand, there are too many advantages to having good reviews to totally give up on getting them. What are you gonna do? Sit back and wait for them to happen organically? 

Keep trying and hope that you'll meet that special group of people who tell you they'll review and then actually review?
I don't know what the answer is.
However, if you are an entity of your word, and would like to review a book of mine, do drop me a line. You can inbox me from my facebook page.
Meanwhile this book is free on smashwords. Read it. Review it.

Aaand as a bonus, get a load of this mural:

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Big Bang. Evolution. Taylor Swift...

I want to tell you about my ambivalence for Taylor Swift.
It annoys me that I even expend the slightest bit of emotion on that girl but there it is.
You see, the thing with Taytay is...she's like the epitomisation of the Entitled White Girl. It's a species I know well, both because of my upbringing and through encounters on +Twitter.

Growing up in the eighties means that every white or yellow person I ever came across felt that they were better than me. Hell, light skin Africans felt they were better than me. Lucky for me, I understood that intellectually without internalising it. It's only when the Internet came to be that I understood that other black people actually believed this lie. As in Michael Jackson believed it to the extent of developing Body Dismorphic Disorder. Michael was maybe an extreme case but I think it's much more common than that. And many more people would have done what he did to himself if they had the money and the doctor. 
Have you seen +Botched ?

Anyway, my point is, those people who felt superior, they approached me with an attitude which assumed that I would automatically defer to them, because they were/are lighter than me. Unfortunately for them, I'm no respecter of Persons and I genuinely, genuinely DGAF. On top of that, nobody wins arguments with me. No one.
Ask anyone I know. I think it's probably the single most annoying thing about me.
Want to know my secret?
It's very simple; No Bullshit. I just hit you with the facts, and the truths. Most people attempt to prevaricate. You can't fight the truth with bullshit and expect to win.

That's what the Entitled White Girl does.
First of all, she makes a statement of her opinion as if it was a fact.
Once you tear that statement into tinny tiny pieces, she's taken aback; wondering at the temerity of you; so she tries to attack something about you. Your language. Your race. Whatever. 
My language is impeccable and my race is better than all a yours. Very difficult to undercut someone who feels nothing for your insults. Being a secure bitch is...a bitch.

So then they begin to prevaricate.
No, I didn't say that.
Did I say that?
Obviously I didn't mean that.
Have a nice day?
All of which I countermand by sticking to the point. You're supposed to get side tracked. When side tracking doesn't work, the next phase is becoming the victim.
"I can't do this anymore."
"You're a bad person for making me feel bad."
"You insist on misunderstanding me."
I deal with this by sarcastic mocking. Sometimes, they don't even get that they're being mocked. It's kinda fun.
Underneath all these responses is a certain disbelief that you're not rolling over and letting the poor blonde delicate flower win the argument. 
Why are you being so mean?!?
The thing is, I'm not sure if this is something they learn at their mother's knee, in school or are they just born that way? I do enjoy destroying them though. It makes me feel like a superhero. They've gotten away with this shit for waaaayyyy toooo loooonnnnggg.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Love Yourself or Fuck Yourself

I spend a lot of time gnashing my teeth.
Not even on my own behalf, just on the various ways that people insist on not looking after themselves.
It annoys the fuck outta me.
Classic case in point.
My son just came home for exeat and he was telling me (once he was through communing with his phone - did I see a porn site on there? nope) about the Kenya Music Festivals that he's participating in. Now his voice is still going up and down so I was wondering how he can even sing, but apparently he and his crew were reciting a poem. The school they were staying at, because the regionals are out of town, was one of those nobody's heard of. I forgot the name as soon as he said it.
So he tells me that they hadn't been able to go to the loo the entire time they were there because the loos were a hole in the ground. And not even a deep hole; shallow ones where you can see generations of poop floating around stinking up the place.
Mind. Explodes.

They were there for three days.
Three. Days.
My son held his poop the entire time.
Bad as that may be, and I impressed upon him the dangers of holding in poop that long; I am more in bogglement over the pupils and teachers who day in day out, use these facilities on their daily ablutions. Putting aside the risk of disease...

Pooping is a very cathartic experience which one should be able to do in a way that doesn't compromise your mental and physical health and the rules of hygiene. At the very least, can they not cover up the hole and dig a proper latrine or five? It's self-neglect. It's an attitude wherein someone, somewhere doesn't feel like it is necessary for an entire school to have a place to relieve themselves with dignity. It's a violation of human rights people!
I saw on +Instagram that some reality star named, Aysia or something was asking for donations to pay her medical bills.
Because she had a car accident and she wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

The girl is lucky she just broke the bones in her face. I know people who have died from that. What does it take away from you to grab the leather strap and click it into that little holder put there for the purpose? It takes like one second. And it saves so much heart ache. Come on people! Do better.
But the thing that really makes me gnash my teeth and rent my garments (or whatever the expression is, I haven't read the bible in a minute) is people not paying attention to what they put in their mouths. Girls in clubs taking drugs from strangers because 'It'll give you a whole new high' or whatever. What is it you're escaping from which causes you to be that reckless? Maybe, whatever it is, you just need to face it and move on.

Worse than that, a doctor or a chemist gives you some drugs, and you don't even enquire what they're for. You don't even remember the name of the drug; have no idea how it works. Some 'medical practitioner' gave it to you, so you're just gonna take it. No questions.
What's the worst that can happen?
One word.
Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person I know who is interested in long term survival. Like people laugh at me for being so careful and conscientious about things. For wanting a plan, for thinking ahead. To me, it's just basic self care.
Loving myself.
Why don't y'all love yourselves?

Speaking of loving yourself, +Google is celebrating world emoji day or something. And they are asking TEEN GIRLS to code an emoji unique to them. I feel like that's an oxymoron. You've already grouped them as 'teen girls'.Hardly unique. I thought these days we were all about 'identifying as' whatever the fuck we want. So what about 'teen boys'? what about older people who 'identify as' teenagers? I don't understand the exclusivity. I really side eye Google these days. What with searches for 'nigga house' showing the white house and the whole mess with "Professional Hair" vs. "Non-professional Hair".

I cannot conclude this post without mentioning +Taylor Swift 's take down by +Calvin Harris. That was just about the most epic thing that happened this week. It makes me feel good to know I saw through that hypocrite years ago. It also makes me feel good that before I saw the video, I did not like This Is What You Came For. It sounded more like something Taylor would sing than Rihanna.
Turns out she wrote it.
No wonder.
The #TaylorIsOverParty is ongoing over here if you're late so come on down.

Thank You!

I really really appreciate it when you leave a review on my work; it warms the cockles of my cold dead heart. You need to know that.

You know Child of Destiny is my baby don't y'all? I'm so glad that you're enjoying it. Thank you for the five star reviews!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

International Author's Day

It's that time of the year again; International Author's Day. Yay.
This blog hop is hosted by book r3vi3ws.

This blog hop is about the authors who have touched our lives. They are so many and I could take this time to talk about established authors that I read; +Diana Gabaldon +JK Rowling or +Anne Rice all of whom have influenced my own writing...but then there is someone who has impacted me and my writing; we've collaborated on a never ending story and he's that unicorn. A cerebral guy.
His name is Munyasa Khasiani and his digital footprint is minimal; but he just released a book of Poetry called Of Vice and Pen Volume One.
Now I'm not really one for the abstract, or poetry for that matter. I barely understand complex rap. If Jay Z didn't have such catchy beats his raps would literally fly past me at speed because...what? I mean if someone explains it to me, then great. I enjoy learning. But on my own, I'm not able to comprehend that shit.
But if you're into the deep stuff, the real stuff, the really emotional stuff. Munyasa's your guy. Check him out on Amazon and let me know what you thought. Better yet, let him know.

In addition to introducing an author to you, the blog hop is about me giving away something author related. So click on the link below and win!

Enter Blog Hop Giveaway here
Giveaway runs from 14th - 18th July.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale!


You now know about the +Smashwords summer/winter sale which takes place from one minute past midnight Pacific time on July 1. On that day the special Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale promotion catalog went live. Find it on the Smashwords home page.  Readers are able to browse the catalog and search by coupon code levels and categories.  At the stroke of midnight Pacific time on July 31, the catalog will disappear.

The coupon codes only work at Smashwords, not at retailers served by Smashwords. Coupon code levels are for 25%-off, 50%-off, 75%-off and FREE.
All my books are enrolled in the promotion so 'Have at it!' * Klaus voice

Friday, 8 July 2016

Lives Matter

A few years ago +Trayvon Martin was killed by +George Zimmerman because he was wearing a hoodie. He was seventeen years old. A jury of his peers found George Zimmerman not liable for this murder. His defence was something called 'Stand your ground' where apparently you're allowed to shoot someone because you feel threatened.
Since then, several people have been killed, with video evidence, and their killers have gone free.
Every time it happened, there is a message which was sent out to the Black American Community. That message was;
'We can kill you with no consequences.'
'Your life does not matter.'
A gorilla died, and so did a lion (in Zimbabwe, named Cecil). The deaths of these animals incited more outrage than the death of #TamirRice, a twelve year old child.
Every time some black man was killed on camera, his life was dissected and any wrong thing he'd ever done was displayed like some sort of justification for murder. The message this sent was;
"Look at this guy. He wasn't perfect. Therefore his life didn't matter."
Hashtags were born.
#handsupdontshoot for Mike Brown
#IamTrayvon and wearing hoodies.
#Ican'tbreath for Eric Garner
And finally #Blacklivesmatter because there were too many lives lost and hashtags couldn't be individualised anymore.
And now this week, some of the most traumatising videos yet. A man held down and shot for asking what the fuck he did. Another man shot in his car because well...reasons.
It was too much.
It was too much for Micah Xavier Johnson.
He couldn't take anymore.
So he took a sniper rifle or five (which are readily available anywhere) and mowed down some cops.
These are the consequences of lack of justice. Lack of accountability. Nobody takes responsibility so everybody pays.
What's the solution?
Justice is the solution.
Doing the right thing is the solution.
On all sides.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Meet Me At the Finishline

I don't know what to think of +BeyoncĂ© . On the one hand, her performance at this year's BETs (which has won the award of Best Award Show of All Time for this year's show) was out of this world. Hell I watch it every morning as I have my breakfast just to start the day right. On the other hand though, she's such a package rather than a person that one doesn't really know if she's just really discovering her blackness or jumping  on the 'freedom' bandwagon. I mean the hair is still blonde...but it's braided now. What are we to think?
The New Face of the Resistance?
Does anyone else feel like the world's gone mad? I wonder sometimes has the world really gone mad; or has the fact that social media enables us all to witness the madness in real time make things seem more escalated than they are? I mean not that they're not bad - but maybe they've always been bad - the difference being that now, they're bad in 3D; on +Facebook and +Instagram. Not to mention +YouTube and +Snapchat.
Speaking of social media, I have to say I'm proud of us as Kenyans. In this sea of confusion and discrimination, Kenyans seem to have their hands on the pulse of what is right and what is wrong. They protest at the right things; a lawyer getting killed by police for defending a guy against the police (have you signed the petition by the way?). Nobody is trying to defend the police. No one is talking about 'protecting' law enforcement. Everybody can see that what they did was wrong (well except for Cliff Ombeta who is looking after number one. They must be paying him a fortune to defend them - he better be able to retire after this).
He beat up a 14 year old girl coz she was swimming
If you go across the sea to somewhere else that has come into prominence for police injustice however...
Have you seen the +BET Awards 2016 yet? I mean seriously if you haven't, please go and watch. #Jesse Williams gave a speech that was memorable not just for its poetry, vivid imagery and general creativity; but also it's content. He called what was done to Tamir Rice, a twelve year old playing by himself with a toy gun, who was shot by police, a driveby. Now the reaction to this...was basically this petition And people attacking +Justin Timberlake for being inspired. Like seriously, what followed such a transcendent speech was such small minded pettiness that I officially gave up on Americans.Y'all seriously cannot be helped.

Another thing Kenyans are protesting about on social media is the visit by Israeli (former?) PM +Benjamin Netanyahu . Apart from the traffic jams his visit is causing, there's also the fact that his nation practises apartheid. Now watch someone say me pointing that out is 'antisemitic'. Just like Jesse Williams pointing out that police killed a  12 year old child is 'racist'. Like seriously, can someone define for me what racial or religious prejudice is because clearly I don't understand. Because these things are just facts. They're not opinions. A twelve year old boy was shot. Fact. Israel practises apartheid. Fact.
But that is the way of oppression I suppose. Keep your fucking mouth shut or we take away what little 'freedom' you still have left. Honesty is not allowed. You must allow the people to keep their illusions at all costs. And most people are too scared of the consequences to say a word.
Why do I feel like Muhammad Ali is nodding in agreement right now?

#Brexit happened. You know when you think human beings cannot get any dumber than they are? Then seventeen million people vote to leave the European Union because of...what? Is it to enhance their economy?
Is it because they're oppressed in some way?
Then why then? why?
Oh because of 'immigration'. Because 'we want our country back'. How's that working out for y'all UK? Have you lost a few pounds? Is your society now a better place to live in? Have your jobs increased? Is your economy thriving? Really congratulations on being dumber than any rock that ever existed.
As for 'your country'; I like how people appropriate the whole to themselves like other people don't exist. Do you know your history? People have been trading in Europe ever since those damned Romans built roads. Travel and trade has been happening as long as people have been alive. At what point did one piece of land become the property of...who are these people anyway? Norsemen? Vikings? Gauls? Who owns Britain really? Tell me. I'm curious.
I think the world would be a much better place if more people were curious. If more people knew their histories and didn't just make them up to suit whatever agenda they currently have.

'History' may always come down on the side of those who did stand up; who did point out injustice - Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, the Dhalai Llama, that Asian woman on house arrest I forget her name, Jesse Williams...Jesus Christ - they're full of 'Oh you were right' and 'You fought for our rights'...but in the present, when it counts, when it's not the popular opinion; how many people hide? How many people say, "This isn't my problem?"
It's your problem.
You're either part of it, or you're part of the solution.