I often wonder as a freelancer and a proud member of the self-motivated, who I should be accountable to?
I mean, in all honesty, I have no one to be accountable to, except myself of course. But is that enough? Shouldn’t I want to have someone to be accountable to?
When we work for someone else, we’re constantly striving to shove our responsibility aside and hide from the dreaded boss, supervisor or nosey tell-tale that sits opposite. We want nothing more than to take a walk and find a hole to hide in, just so we can avoid being accountable.
As an author, the people I feel I should be accountable to is the readers, the publisher, maybe even the editor, but most definitely, to myself. If a tweet message or promo post isn’t placed, who do I turn to to blame? If I haven’t written those words on the page, and revised, reviewed and polished, who am I going to point the sticky finger of blame at? I know it! And its the answer to that question, which makes me wonder why (sometimes) I took this journey on.
It’s a very steep path most days, and a slippery slide on others. But when it comes together, the results and elation are without equal.
So, as I’m being accountable to myself, I have to do a few things. The first is give the readers what they have been asking for, for a long, long time now. The finale to We All Fall Down. This is a piece of work that has been in hand for over a year, it’s been finished for more than six months, and I’m still in the revision stage, albeit, further along than I was a couple of months ago.
Besides all the excuses and what not, what I am going to do, is put a page up, and post snippets from finished chapters in there. This is not to tease and whet the appetite… well, it is to do that, but it’s also to show accountability. It’s a way to say, “I owe you, and thank you for waiting so long.”
The next rung on the accountability ladder, is finding a cover for this release. I hope I don’t have as much trouble with it, as I’m having with another release… I can only hope.
So follow the link, and get reacquainted with Val and Pete. Hopefully we can get to the end of WADF before the end of the year.
Take me to We All Fall Down Finale: Here
Its been a while, as always, the pace of life gets the better of me and I seem to fall away from my page, if not from other things.
I have been writing furiously… if thats even a thing, and I have a few new projects that are coming in the very near future. The only delay is in time and opportunity, and not in having finished work. Which, I suppose, is a bonus.
I’m still getting requests for the finale of We All Fall Down, and trust me, no one wants it finished more than me. Its there, just waiting to fall into the production line. Hopefully, I can say within the next three months, but I don’t want to make any promises…
In the meantime, I do have a very special project coming up, and a new direction for me. Although, to be honest, I think my projects would have gone along these lines anyway.
My next release, which will be published by Inspired Minds Editions, is a cyberpunk romance featuring a very special couple. I’d like you to meet them, and also to ask you to look out for other titles coming in the near future from Inspired Minds Editions. So, without further ado, Welcome, Jenna and Max.
Synopsis – My Cyborg
A lonely woman discovers her rock solid foundations may crumble under the weight of deceit and betrayal. That the people she trusted the most, were actually those she should have been wary of.
Jenna Asari, a research technician for an exclusive government institution, is tasked with investigating rumours of illegal technology development. Those whispers debated in near-empty changing rooms, she finds are frighteningly true. And worse yet, she encounters a discarded specimen in an abandoned research facility. A place that to all appearances, should be nothing more than a derelict building.
Tucked away many levels beneath the ground, a secret will be revealed that will shake her sense of self. There she’ll make a discovery into a painful past she’d thought had been laid to rest.
Jenna must come to terms with loving the unlovable, and learn to let the past stay where it should. A little bit of a teaser… from their first meeting.
“Don’t get your panties in a twist,” he said, crossing his arms over a wide chest, assured and relaxed.
I wasn’t buying it. “What have you done?”
He looked uncomfortable for a few seconds before he uncrossed his arms and took a step back. “I went back to your car and called a mate of mine to tow it to a garage.”
“How much?” I asked, holding my forehead in the palm of my hand.
“How much is this going to cost me?” I clarified. “No one does anything for nothing, so how much is this going to cost?”
He smiled, easy. “Lunch.”
“What?” I couldn’t help thinking he was mad or had a problem. I looked up at the sky, the afternoon waning. “You realise lunch is officially over, right?”
“I was thinking about lunch tomorrow,” he replied, “but I can do dinner today, if you prefer?”
“I’m not going anywhere with you,” I surveyed him from top to bottom. His leather jacket had seen better days and the biker boots were scuffed and well worn. Plus, I’d sworn an oath I wasn’t getting back on that bike again.
The smile dropped off his face. “There’s no need to sound so offended.” To Be Continued….
It’s the new year and I’ve realised something: The importance of having a muse.
You may ask, what does a muse have to do with a fiction writer? and I’ll have to tell you everything. Literary Muses
Many famous artists and literary persons throughout the years have had muses, either good or bad, but the one thing they have in common is the inspiration they give to those who hold them in thrall.
Gustav Klimt’s famous muse, Emilie Floge was central to a lot of Klimt’s paintings and features in many, seen and unseen. As was Dora Maar, the muse of Pablo Picasso, and figure behind The Weeping Woman and Guernica. Some muses have inspired more than one artist, at the same time, such as Dara Diakonova, who was married to the surrealist poet Paul Eluard and having an affair with painter, Max Ernst at the same time. She also later married Salvador Dali, quite an achievement for anyone, to inspire so many renowned artists.
Although, not every muse has been a lover or partner, some have been confidantes, friends and even parents. Famous Artists muses.
And it should be noted that not everyone should be a muse, or that every creative should have such a thing, but for some of us, the chance to bounce ideas off of someone totally unrelated to the work your struggling with, can be an avenue into untapped paths.
Being able to throw ideas at someone and have them returned in a new light was essential to my latest project, My Cyborg (working title), the premise of which had evaded me for a long time. Just by discussing the idea, a whole avenue opened up which enabled me to incorporate a lot of the elements that have become important to me. I won’t say that person was/is my muse, but being able to discuss ideas is essential to creating any new art project.
So, get out there, find your muse, if you need one, or avoid them like the plague, if you don’t. But never ignore the importance of a muse!
It’s that time of year again, when we look back over the past year and kick ourselves!!!
We’re happy to kick ourselves for all the goals we failed to accomplish. Overjoyed to berate ourselves for our inane failings. And too quick to belittle our minimal successes, no matter how small.
So, as I did last year, and probably will continue to do every year (creature of habit over here!) I am going to set a few goals for myself. But this year, with a difference. My goals will not be pipe dreams, impossible tasks and Missions Impossible that Tom Cruise will not assist me with.
No, this year I am going to continue the goals I’d set for myself last year, because I now know what I really need to do to accomplish and meet those goals. And I know that I can strive for my goals, because I spent the last year preparing my mind and subconscious to succeed. Preparation is everything!!!
Next year, I have a few books that I need to get finished, not because they aren’t written, But because they’ve been sitting here waiting for me to pull my finger out of the damn and let the flood commence!!
So, what can be expected from me for 2018.
My Cyborg. A story of the love that exists between a woman and a machine. Man In Chains. A Boxer, fighting not just for recognition but a love that supports him too. The Map Room. A YA fantasy series, of which the first part will be available in 2018.
As well as the Sequel to We All Fall Down, which is currently in review before I send it off to my publisher, for her to weep that I don’t know how to write!!! (She doesn’t really, but that’s what I feel like when I get edits back!!)
And…. A whole bushel of other stories that are half written or currently under review. I will also be publishing under my alternate pen name, and with Inspired Minds Editions. These will be all my Sci-fi/fantasy/Afro-cyber punk/ afro-futuristic reads that I can’t wait to share with all of you. I hope you love them as much as I do.
Check out the website of Inspired Minds here.
So, have a pleasant end of year, a safe entry for the new one, and see you on the other side!!!
What is it about the human spirit that it loathes to live alone? We constantly strive to be with someone, to have another person close by, despite the risk that it may all come to nothing, or that person will leave you behind.
I wondered what it was like for children, because for me, when I was a child, I didn’t understand how people leave our lives, or how we became separated from one another. We may go to one school one year and end up at another school the next year, all through circumstances beyond our control that causes us to change from one year to the next. Children leave, change schools, even move to different countries. And those friends we couldn’t do without during break time and recess, are gone forever. The fact that we barely even bat an eye when the new school year starts, and other children take their place or even our own, says a lot about the natural ability of children to cope with change.
But the biggest separator of human lives, is death. Death swoops in and takes away the people we love, knowing that we will never see these people again. It’s the manner in which we cope with loss and loneliness that shapes us, defines us and changes our outlook and perspective on life.
Exploring how loneliness shapes the human soul, is one of the foremost areas that intrigue me. Understanding how separation and the unknown can change or warp a person, should surely be examined in order to know how to combat and rectify the effects on an individual. But, I think that because of the nature of loneliness, it’s effects are not as glaring as other, more apparent, ailments within society.
I’m always talking (writing) about inspiration, and how it affects what I write. While recently searching for one image, I came across a picture of a little girl jumping into a puddle of mud with a boy I can assume is her brother. The enjoyment that stretched her face, as well as the whoop of joy, you can almost hear, caused me to reminisce about my own childhood. Then I came across a picture of a four or five-year-old boy, wrapped in blood-red monks robes, and wondered at the contrast in their lives. One child, without responsibility or cares, the structure of her days, less rigid and more relaxed than the other child. The small boy, separated from his parents and all the people he knows and loves, the people he has come to understand in his short life, to continue his life in the temple.
I wondered what would inspire a parent to give their child to the temple, and whether it was a common thing. I wondered how the child thought, and what he could remember of Before. But most of all, I wondered if he was lonely.
I will never be able to say that I understand how that child feels, or any child in such a position, but exploring human nature in such circumstances will surely test me, and anyone that reads what I intend to write.
If you’d like to take this journey with me, please follow the link to the excerpt page and enjoy a totally unedited, raw version of the beginning of the story. Don’t forget, it has a long way to go, and many elements within may change, but the bare bones behind the story will certainly stay the same… I hope!
Follow for Patty And The Monk Boy (Working title)
The Unwholesome. A short intro to my next project, and scars, both emotional and physical.
It’s funny how people see scars as something to be afraid of, or intrigued by. We all have scars, small ones we got when we fell off our bikes as kids and are barely noticeable, or larger ones that we gained as we’ve been involved in accidents or surgery, that are a kind of badge of survival that we made it through and came out the other side.
Then there are the hidden scars, the emotional ones that we look at and know that in some way, they have changed us so dramatically that we will never be the same again. And the worst thing about emotional scars, is no one can see them. No one knows you have them, unless you make a point to highlight the existence of a scar that runs so deep within your psyche that it has changed the way you view all your interactions with people and things.
Doing research for new projects often brings about a side of us that we didn’t want to think about. I have scars; scars from childhood where I fell or tripped. Two deep ones on either shin from falling and landing on my shins, I can see you wincing in expectation of the pain I felt, it was excruciating let me tell you, but they are my battle scars, from childhood when I was more tom-boy that dainty girl. I have a scar on my left foot from boiling water when I was eight-years-old. My young niece pulled the cup off the table and I happened to be sitting there. I supposed I saved her from getting splashed!
Then there’s the multiple scars I have on my hands, from doing lino-cutting at school with a deep slice in the tip of my left thumb, to the multiple scrapes across my knuckles, the lastest scar while washing dishes and a glass cracked while my fingers were inside!! I got three stitches for that, without anaesthetic… don’t ask!
My deepest and most significant scar is the one on my knee, received through a total knee replacement in December 2010. I walked with crutches for six months and a walking stick, my Moses staff, for two months. Now the only thing that bothers me is airport security gates!
But my point is, that despite everything we go through, a scar marks us, never allowing us to forget the time, place or circumstances we were in when we received the mark. The smaller and less traumatic become something we can boast about between friends or new acquaintances, while the significant ones we shy away from expressing the deeper hurts that enraged us as we suffered, and calmed us when we got through to the other side and peace.
Wanting to put our fictional characters through their paces is one way to create conflict and drive a story line. One of my new characters was involved in a serious car accident, that left her body and face with multiple scarring. The research for this is, understandably, very difficult. To see people with disfiguring marks; scars from reconstructive surgery, lines of stitches that criss-cross a persons’ torso, lets you know the have been through the wringer. But the deepest scars come from the feelings inside. The whispers, the stares, the speculation.
I once had two black-eyes, sustained from breaking my nose. It was an awful injury and a painful memory. A woman looked at me with disgust and threw the fault of my injury at me, without understanding a thing about the circumstances. I was deeply hurt, annoyed and resentful. The resulting small scar across the bridge of my nose is barely noticeable, unless I point it out, which I don’t, but I understand the unkind things people say in ignorance.
So, for all the people who have scars, I salute you. You are the brave warriors brandishing your battle marks for the world to see and know that you have survived, one way or another. You are not unscathed, but you wear your marks with pride, because you did it. And for those of you that have those scars unseen, you too, I salute you. Your pain is all the more severe for no-one having noticed that you suffered it. Remember, there is always someone out there, who although may appear ‘normal’, they are dealing with situations that no one knows about, unless they chose to tell you, and if they tell you, remember it took a lot for them to do so.
#ManInChains Coming Soon!!!
I haven’t written anything here for a while, as I’ve been working on numerous stories that took me away from this page and all my other little enjoyments. Although, saying that, its not as though I don’t like writing, it has become my main outlet for expression and release.
Last year, I wrote a few stories, and completed a number of them. I didn’t send any to my publisher, or anywhere else, for that matter, until I wrote something that I never intended to have published, but finished it all the same. That story is still sitting there, and may never be read by more than a handful of people, but that doesn’t bother me.
My next release was a story that just came along, and was written so fast, that it blew my socks off. It was a romance, without any romantic interactions, but the love contained in it was evident. There was that element of danger, a slice of regret and a lot of interaction between the characters.
Through a lot of revisions, this story is so much more than I thought it could be, and I hope, better for the changes that have taken place through it. So without further delay, let me give you the synopsis and a short excerpt from the story to whet your appetite! Synopsis: Synopsis – Preacher: The Haskins Brothers Paul ‘Preacher’ Haskins, was anything but the mild mannered choir boy his name implied. Always the protector, the nurturer. The big brother looking out for his sibling; his brother from another mother, who fell into his hands. He’s a bad boy with no regrets. Paul didn’t need redemption; he needed ammunition, some cash and as little hassle as possible. Never thinking to mend his ways, until a chance meeting had him questioning his lifestyle choices and affiliations. But when an unscrupulous upstart crawls out of the woodwork, he’s forced to choose between the two people he loves the most, simply because he can’t protect them both. He knows where she is; the world isn’t big enough to hide the one he loved and left behind. He’ll find her, and hope she doesn’t break his face when he does. Penelope ‘Penny” Calvanera never realised there was more in life that her goals, until she fell over a wolf-in-sheeps-clothing. Hooked on the heady mixture of Paul Haskins, she’s oblivious to his darker side. When she’s abandoned at the worst possible time, she moves on with her life, until what she’d learnt to live without comes crashing back, turning her world upside down, again! But he’s not come alone, he’s brought his business with him and all hell is guaranteed to break loose. He hasn’t committed a crime – yet. But his past won’t be satisfied until it has him where it wants him. They need to get their act together; trouble awaits that will affect them and the one’s they love. Excerpt:
I could almost smell him before he touched me; a smooth blend of cologne and a heat that rose off his skin in waves. He’d come up behind me, burying his nose into the fold between my neck and shoulder, causing me to tip my head so he could nuzzle easier. I’d missed him those two months, but hadn’t found a good enough reason to get back to Edinburgh without raising suspicion. I wasn’t ready to share him with my family. And Vicky, my older sister, would have a field day when she realized my attentions had been diverted.
“God, Penny, you smell like life itself,” Paul said, kissing me harder and opening his mouth to bite down on my neck, teasing my skin with his teeth and sending the completely wrong message to my lower stomach. If I’d had a butterfly or two before, now I had a whole army of them. I needed to get out of the public place I was sitting in, being stared at by half the returning student population.
“If you don’t stop,” I told him, “I’ll have to make sure you never stop.”
“Is that a promise, Penny?”
“It’s a threat.” I eased my head lower, glancing at him from the side of my eye, my lashes lowering in a seductive invitation. My tongue poked out over my lip and I heard him groan before he planted a quick kiss on my mouth and stood upright.
“Have you finished signing up for your classes?” Paul asked, flipping over a sheet of paper and scanning the few lines. He dropped into the seat beside me and threw a foot over his knee, looking casual.
“Oh my God!” My mouth dropped open, “You cut your hair?”
He hadn’t just cut it, a short trim to give more definition and make him look more like a man than a forest hermit; he’d gone the whole hog. A short inch and a half cut at the top, that tapered into the back of his neck and over his ears, turning his once light blond hair, a darker, almost mousy brown. It gave his angular face more definition, along with the close cut to his beard; he’d left a scrumptious stubble that set him off as a force to be reckoned with, especially where my feelings were concerned.
My fingers went into the soft waves of his fine hair, turning my lips downwards, “I really liked your hair. Why?”
“Because you liked it too much,” his lips twitched mischievously. “Your hands found it too easily, Pen.”
“What the hell am I supposed to grab now?” I asked, serious.
“Improvise,” he smiled wider, “you’re a smart girl.”
“I’m not convinced,” I eyed him, “you’ll have to show me.”
“Don’t worry, Pen,” He looked at me hungrily, “I intend to.”
“I’m starving,” I leaned over the side of the bed, trying to find the stray bag of chips I’d had to discard earlier. “This isn’t going to sustain me.” I waved the half empty bag at him, the few crumbs shaking loosely.
“You’ll survive, Pen,” Paul told me, kissing a line between my breasts.
“Let’s get pizza,” I grabbed his chin, arresting his downward motion. If this continued I wouldn’t eat for the rest of the day. Re-acquaintances were one thing, but I also needed to eat.
Paul sighed, “A whole summer, Pen, and you want pizza. While all I want is you.”
“You had me,” I laughed, “twice! Let me eat.”
“Okay, food it is.” He crawled back up the bed and reached for his phone, his grey eyes calculating as he placed an order.
Looking at the curl of his lips as he talked, smiling at a funny comment made with the operator, I realized I wouldn’t be able to get enough of this man, not in a million years, perhaps a lifetime wouldn’t be enough. Having spent the summer without him, I wanted – needed more. I ached with the need to have him around all the time. How was it that I loved him to distraction in such a short time?
“What’s got you so quiet?” Paul dropped the phone, turning on me in a rush.
I squealed, trying to protect myself, “Nothing! Just hungry, that’s all.”
“Let me take your mind off it while we wait,” he said, moving back to the area between my breast, spreading himself a snug gap between my thighs and sighing in content.
“How was your summer?”
“Uneventful,” he replied. His eyes slid away as though avoiding my scrutiny. It made me wonder what was really on his mind.
A cold stone settled in my chest, “Why do I get he feeling that’s not all of it?”
“Pen,” he held me with those strange eyes, “would I lie to you?” A smile played around his mouth, distracting me.
I hesitated for a fraction of a second, “I’d hope you wouldn’t.”
“Penny,” he kissed right above my heart. “Baby,” his voice soothed, a ripple of sound over my sensitive skin. Another kiss, “You know we’re tight, right?”
“What does that have to do with how you spent your summer?”
The doorbell sounded, and Paul leapt from the bed, struggling into a pair of jeans as he hopped from the room, shouting for the person to wait, before the bell sounded deep and resonant through the hallway again.
Read the full story when it is release later this month.
This month seems to be the month for quite a few pushes for awareness. It’s Autism Awareness month, and I believe everyone should have an understanding of what that is, how it affects sufferers and their families, and how people can help.
It’s also Domestic Abuse and Sexual Abuse Awareness month, and it seems a shame that instead of lessening, occurrences like this are all the more happening when people should be able to walk the streets, without fear of attack, and more so, that they should be able to live in their homes without the fear of the one they love, support and promised to care for them, will lay hands on, violate, rape, maim or kill them, because there is a sense of entitlement that allows them to do so.
When we witness abusers getting away with rape, a slapped wrist over date-rape; it says something that should never be said, and we all know what that is.
But one of the worst abuses that I have seen over the last few months, is the case of black men talking, quite vociferously, about their reasons for not being with a black woman. I like many black women, don’t really care about their reasons are, it’s a personal choice, and I’m not inviting you into my home to tell me how to live, neither am I giving censure about your life. It’s your life.
But, I don’t want to dwell on this, I want to show you something else.
Look at the picture at the top of this page… have you looked? Now, look again. What do you see? Yes, you see a black woman wearing a red top, holding a machete to a policeman’s throat. Now, look down the arm of that policeman, what do you see? Do you see that boy laying on the floor with that gun to his head? Who is pointing that gun? Yes, the policeman who has a knife to his throat, and the woman who is willing to die for that boy. Look at the determination in her face, the willingness to die for that boy. There is also another gun pointed at her, but she doesn’t care, she wants them to know, if you pull that trigger, I will do what I have to do. There is a strength there that I can’t understand, that I don’t even know if I could face, were I in the same situation.
As black women, we have been willing to die for our families, time and time again, and often have put ourselves in harm’s way, risking our lives, losing our dignity, and our children for the sake of that. How many children were removed from black-slave women and sold on, like cattle, never to be seen again. Toni Morrison wrote in Beloved, how ‘the children’s hands would age and she would never know what their adult hands looked like.’
So, for Sexual Abuse Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness, let’s remember that families are supposed to stick together, and protect one another, just like this woman had done for the one she calls family.
Currently working on a number of projects. But as always, I get sidetracked.
This morning I’m wondering what love is all about, and how disposable it’s treated. Read on and enjoy, I hope. #Disposable
“Don’t worry about it, we live in a disposable society,” she said, rolling up the napkin in her hand.
She glanced at him, “The same way you throw your Nespresso pod in the trash every morning…” she said, walking across the kitchen, heels a hollow click on the ceramic tiled floor, “is the same way you’ve treated my love for you.”
She leaned over the counter, “Disposable!” She dropped the napkin in the bin, lifted her other hand and pointed a small handgun at his chest. The infrared dot hitting him squarely between his shapely pectoral muscles.
“Think about this!”
“Oh, but I have…” She lifted the nozzle higher, the red dot hitting square between his eyes.
“Caryn, don’t do anything stupid.”
“You mean like you did?”
“I didn’t mean for that to happen-“
“But that’s just it, no one ever does. It’s a symptom of our society – Disposable.”
Her finger squeezed the metal, warming it under the touch of her skin, “Like you said, ‘Sorry, but I don’t need you anymore’.”
Research for me takes on many forms. Sometimes, I get caught up in an idea and run with it.
Research for me, takes on many forms. Sometimes, I get caught up in an idea and run with it. At other times, I can be researching one thing only to discover something that I didn’t know about before, and off I go on a tangent.
This is what happened today. While investigating hat designs from the 1920’s, I came across a few pictures of Josephine Baker, a prominent, in her time, Black American dancer whose shows border on a little on the risqué!
It’s obvious, that after discovering her, I had to find others.
So I present to you a few well known black women from the 1920’s and beyond. Enjoy!
Was a dancer and singer, billed the “Queen of Happiness”. Most notable performance in Blackbirds. She claimed that she invented the Charleston dance!
Not only a national, but international famed singer and performer whose career centred mainly in Europe. Awarded a medal in honour of her resistance in France during WW2, and was a staunch activist during the civil rights movement.
An American blues singer, pianist and entertainer performing in Harlem. Appeared as a black lesbian cross-dresser at Harry Hansberry’s Clam House during the 1920’s.
Part Native American civil aviator famous for being the first woman of Afro-American descent to hold a pilots license, which she obtained in France because she wasn’t permitted to do so in America. She died in a plane crash in 1926, while testing a plane.
Considered to be the first Chinese American movie star with a career spanning silent movies, sound, television, radio and stage.
Was a pianist from her early childhood, who later formed a band with her husband and sons.
Flappers and Jazz Women
The Jazz dancers of the 1920’s, whose signature dance appeared to be the Charleston, were seen throughout the Jazz scene in Harlem and wherever Jazz was played. It was considered that without these women and their dance and enthusiasm, the 1920’s may not have ‘Roared‘ at all!!!