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.
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.
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...
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.
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
“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.
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
“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
“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
“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.
Did you see what I did there? Tryna get all creative with my titles? I don't know if I succeeded or I just sound like an asshole. A +Kylie Jenner type asshole too.
Speaking of Assholes, +Jared Padalecki just posted some hapless maitr'd's pic on twitter because the man was a #horrible asshole to him. Now I'm not disputing Jared's claims but I mean...pot? meet kettle. You posted some guy's pic on your twitter, called him names, didn't even say what the guy did that was so bad...knowing full well that your army of fangirls were going to find him and harass the life out of him. I mean, maybe he was just having a bad day? Is it really fair to destroy someone on the basis of one interaction? Were there no other avenues to pursue?
I mean as human beings go, Jared is okay. I like him. But when you start setting your dogs on people...it's not a good look.
Especially when he hasn't said a word about the biggest asshole of them all bullying an entire section of a country. But some Vegas waiter is mean to him and suddenly trigger fingers become twitter fingers. You can do better than that Jared. I believe in you.
The other thing that just happened is the Roc Nation Brunch which the queen attended.
That outfit mane. Only +Rihanna could imagine it and then make it look super-casz-typical-brunch-outfit-I-mean-what-else-am-I-supposed-to-wear? Of course now everyone thinks she's attending the +GRAMMYs forgetting that she's attended pre-grammy events before then stayed home on the night of, watching Bates Motel. But that's a political discussion for another day and there is much to cram in this post. Meanwhile I guess +JAY Z is too busy preparing for fatherhood second time around to call his tailor or stylist. +P Diddy meanwhile looking like he escaped from hospital to attend.
Also this picture makes me laugh because the 'fan' is giving 'face' while Rihanna is like *strained smile*.
Compare it with this one where it's her and Mel.
In other news.
Did y'all see the takedown of +Piers Morgan by her Magnificence, +JK Rowling? I really seriously do not understand why anyone would attempt to argue with a wordsmith by medium of the written word. It was embarrassing...for him. For me it was super epic. Can we do this daily?
She had all the words. I bow down.
Well, now I'm gonna transition from that wordsmith to this wordsmith. This is not self labeling. No less than three people have called me that...People who have read my writing.
So I have a few announcements.
First, two new stories are brewing.
The first one is Cinderella by Any Other Name. I'm really enjoying writing it now that it's muse is back. It's a Muslim, arranged marriage story and while I'm writing I'm hoping not to offend anyone; but also it's a story that happens so I guess people will just have to deal. It's actually quite romancy I find. The characters are fun to write and I think you'll like them.
You can actually download the bit I started writing for NaNoWriMo from here.
The second book is a post-apocalyptic gay African romance. Now who doesn't want to read that? I only see one problem. Finding cover models.
Maybe these ones?
Also in honor of the new cover and new name, the price of in the shadow of the styxis coming down to $0.99. Don't know for how long so if you've wanted to buy it but don't feel like paying full price, now's your chance.
Guess what else is coming down!
The price of Child of Destiny!! You might have noticed, or not, that it also has a new cover. Check it out and see.
If you check out my first post for 2017, you'll see that one of my resolutions for the year was to improve my writing. To that end, I started a literati group in order to get writers together. The idea was that our collective synergy would elevate everyone's writing to a new level. Kind of like a Mastermind.
I'm not sure how successful I was at that. Or maybe I failed to communicate my vision adequately. Or maybe these things just take up a life of their own and become what they become.
Among our tiny achievements though, is doing regular writing prompts. Participation in these prompts is maybe at 5% but still...we do them. And get judged for them, and the winner gets a certificate. For me personally, it's a great way to practice my flash fiction. I'm good at writing 20k stories but ask me to do a thousand words and I'm floundering around, trying to keep it short. I want to get into the flash fiction market bigly so it's a real help.
I want to post one of those stories here, and I'd really appreciate it if you ripped it to shreds in the comments. Constructive criticism is great. But I'll take any kind. So here you go; judge away. The prompt was: FOR SALE. NEW BORN BABY SHOES. UNUSED (150 words).
Story title: The Devil is in the Details
Speaking of improving the writing, it's no good to you if no one is attracted to your book. To that end, I decided to try something different with Between Death and Heaven.
New name, new title, same story.
The new name, "In the Shadow of the Styx" is a play on words as well as a literal label. Phil and Lillian are on a quest to cross over to the afterlife without getting in harm's way. So they're in death's shadow, tryna get to the other side.
"The river Styx is said to be the crossing point from life to death, according to the lore," said Sam Winchester. (Not really. They haven't really dealt with any crossover lore on +Supernatural; very ironically considering how much they die).
Le Marais, the town they live in, is in 'the sticks' or the boondoos. And it's a fairly shady place (and not just because of all the trees). So they are also in it's shadow because of their mysterious murder there.
Simple, yet complicated.
Thoughts? Feelings? Emotions? Hit me up in the comments.