Author Archives: Shannon Barber

About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie.

On changes and the finances.

Okay so since I’ve decided to alter how I finance this shit show of a thing I want to talk about how it is going.

I’ve given up trying to freelance regularly. I will still occasionally when I am able to write for XoJane or other spots but, the constant hustle of trying to do it weekly was not working for me at all.

Now as far as what I’m paying for month to month it’s pretty simple. My cell phone, my renter’s insurance. Hopefully if things go well premium Spotify.

Currently I’m in the black and my cell phone and insurance are both covered for this month and next. I’ve also been able to set aside 10$ in my little savings account to go into my new laptop fund.

If Patreon keeps going well I will be able to reup my Duotrope subscription at the end of next month. And in July rejoin AWP.

So far none of my new methods are profitable. I’m not super worried about that just yet.

So what else am I doing?

I am writing things like my old school blog posts for my Patrons and Paypal donors. After a few weeks I will likely make these as quick n easy downloads in my etsy shop as well.

With help from Milcah I’m using Smartypig to help me save for my laptop. One of the things I love about this is that when I panic or have poverty brain meltdown I can’t touch this money. Many of my wise friends have suggested something like this and I’m into it.

http://www.smartypig.com/widget/SmartyPigWidgetMultiGoal.swf?ServiceUri=http%3a%2f%2fwww.smartypig.com%2fWidget.asmx%2fGetWidgetInfo%3fwidgetId%3d&WidgetId=d4683a07-ae3d-4262-9daa-8dd8b9e8defd UH so wordpress won’t let me use the widget but if you click this long ass link you can see how I’m doing, you can join up and use it for your own goals or if you want throw some pennies in the piggy bank.

So far I feel okay and like things are going to where I need them to be in order to produce my best work.

This is already paying off in that I was able to settle down, finish up some fiction, submit some and get one acceptance.

Overall, while this is nerve wracking for me and I really don’t like that I can’t operate in a more profitable way and still write great things, this is slowly working out.

I’m still trying to settle in to a new methodology with my writing. I have some further plans that require the lighter travel worthy laptop and some sleep.

Now I gotta get some work done.

Next week I’m going to talk about Lovecraft some more because I’m almost done rereading the Necronomicon, I have a bit to say about the Hugo situation and Sad Puppies. I might even get excited and talk about fandom stuff and how way back when I was pretty much turned off to it forever.

Also listen to this Rihanna song, it is kinda my theme music for the week.


Yeah Write Entry #209- Book Slut

 

Book Slut: An Ode to Challenged Books

by

Shannon Barber

One of my fondest memories as a reader is the year when I was a tween I decided to read every book on the 100 most challenged book list as published by the King County Library System. One by one I devoured every one and thought about what made them so terrible in the eyes of a few people.

I cried. I got angry. I was sad. I read things I didn’t entirely understand and would return to years later. I read books I had no interest in and couldn’t connect to.

Given the frothy mouthed things I’d read about book censorship debates, I fully expected to be twisted by my adventure. I expected that I’d be struggling with being a drug addled, teenaged prostitute who was pregnant and running away and of spectacularly loose morals. I was under the impression that reading these books, that letting their wicked ideas into my head would change me.

I was down for it and I waited for some shift in my brain to happen. I waited for the inevitable rejection of my budding personal system of morality and ethics to dissolve under the weight of books like Private Parts by Howard Stern or The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison to just happen.

I waited.

I read more books.

I started reading really dirty books by Henry Miller, Anne Rice and other perverse people. I daydreamed about being a beautiful gay boy and having Kerouac or Burroughs or Corso as my lovers. I thought about running away to befriend Alice Walker and sit at her feet to learn to be a writer.

I thought about my Queerness and how to deal with it.

I turned 16 and started trying to plan a life as a writer.

I wanted a girlfriend.

I still hadn’t been ruined by my promiscuous reading.

I exposed myself to violent texts, queer sex, drug use, prostitution, smoking, bullying, offensive language, adult situations, weird or extreme political viewpoints- I didn’t only expose myself to these things I craved them. I gorged on them.

Inside those inappropriate pages I found visions of myself. I discovered worlds I might not have been able to reach out and touch, but that made sense to me and thus helped the outside world to make sense to me.

I was still a child.

When I had problems and questions I didn’t have the voice to ask, they were inside books. When I wanted to be deliciously terrified, books were there. When the whole world seemed too big and terrifying, I had books.

For every person who says that children or teenagers shouldn’t read this or that, I say calm down maybe you shouldn’t read it.

I joyfully encourage the kids and the teens and everyone to read promiscuously. Read things that churn your stomach. Read things that terrify you. Read about people you hate. Read.

The world is waiting for you and if you are a tween like I was, it just might save you.

###

PS for some more info on banned or challenged books, read here.


Other Ways to Support my Work

Since launching my Patreon campaign (which is doing really well THANK YOU) I’ve had a number of folks who aren’t into the monthly thing ask what else they can do.

Financial stuff-

Buy some fiction or non fiction over in my Etsy shop. I’ve got some horror, some erotica, experimental SF. The most expensive thing is five bucks. I know you can get whole novels on amazon for a dollar but, that story is pretty special to me and I worked on it for about 8 months. There are other things from 1$ on up. I even have a coupon available til the end of the month, enter WARG95 at checkout for 25% off a two dollar purchase.

Click on over here and check out my links on the right. You can buy stuff I’ve hand picked in my Amazon A store. I’ll be adding more stuff, books, mainly later.

You can try out Audible for a month and get yourself a free audiobook and me a lil pocket change.

At the suggestion of a friend I’m also adding an Amazon wishlist of stuff I would like that is writing related. Books, notebooks, my favorite pens and whatnot.

For transparency Amazon is my slowest and least lucrative thing. Frankly, I use it to shore up my orders when I buy self care supplies and whatnot.

The other always open option is a tip in my paypal tipjar. You can navigate over there to the right and hit the button. Anything is always appreciated.

Here’s what my financial stuff is going towards currently:

  • I need a very lightweight non netbook laptop so I can use my time better and get some writing done that is not dependant on an internet connection and not using my chunky butt old dell.
  • A few under 100$ software upgrades to make my life easier.
  • Saving up for AWP16. I am going and I want to make sure I can afford it. Everything that is non essential is going into my Get Me to AWP fund.

The most important thing this is getting me is some breathing room. So when I try hard to do the freelance it just destroys me. I am not good at it and it stresses me out to the point where I have a lot of trouble just writing because I want the freelance thing to go well so badly.

It is a terrible cycle that impedes my ability to just write the shit I want to write.

I just can’t operate in a great way when I’m under so much pressure.

Now non monetary things you can do to support my work.

A lot of us are broke right now and that’s totally okay. You are always free to share links to my blog here, my work, my everything.

Come like my Facebook writer page and share it with your people.

So that’s all.

Right now I’m working on some stuff I’m super excited about INCLUDING some sf, an essay about butt selfies and my ass and some other things.

Thanks for rolling through.

 


The Stuff I like: Mick Betancourt

Welcome to the first of a new thing where I share about stuff/people/things I like.

Up first I want to introduce y’all to Mick Betancourt and his Podcast.

I first came upon Mick Betancourt on a podcast with Jerry Stahl and Laura House hosting the David Feldman show.

Sooooo uh, first of all, he is really fucking funny. Now I haven’t talked about comedy a lot, but I’m pretty not into a lot of comics for various reasons, so hearing one I thought was funny was pretty great.

So that was my first exposure which of course led me to his podcast and holy shitballs.

This is my people. I love his podcast because even when it is a first conversation there is something about the way he talks to people that cuts through a lot of interviewy bullshit.

A thing I really enjoy is when I find people who know the struggle. I’m sure some of you have figured this out. It doesn’t matter what the struggle is, in particular, what’s important to me is how people talk about it. How people talk about their fucked up lives and backgrounds. How people talk about their triumphs and fails.

I like how Mick B. Talks about his life. I find it really intellectually and emotionally attractive when people can laugh about those deeply fucked up moments in life and laugh more when things are fucked up but great.

Now the podcast.

One of the things I love about the podcast is that he’s not afraid to share some love about stuff/things/whatever he likes. I dig that. From the big upping local businesses to the projects and things guests are doing. I appreciate that.

My favorite episodes are most of them. Some of the people I wasn’t familiar with before and finding them this way feels pretty fancy.

I also love how he talks about The Hustle. The Hustle is whatever you’re doing, y’all know that I talk about my own Hustles a lot here and it just delights me to see how other people talk about theirs.

I quite honestly just find his show delightful whether it is so funny, I’m cackling on the bus like a loon or when it is serious.

Check out the show on facebookshere.

Go listen to some episodes. I can suggest the Joey Diaz episodes (they are really fucking great, listening to those two talk was like having lunch with your bad ass uncles), The Anonymous Smuggler episode from last year was fantastic. Super funny, especially if you know any of the history of the time. And the most recent three episodes.

Go.

I just realized I should have added links to the above paragraph but I’m still operating on way too little sleep and my fuckin’ brain is just no.

Next week, another try at historical flash fiction from me. I answer some questions I got from another writer about the whole Patreon thing.

AND I will probably talk some about the Lovecraft inspired fiction I’ve been writing and revisiting his work and how it is making me feel.

Short answer is conflicted as fuck.


Half-Resurrection Blues: A Bone Street Rumba Novel – The Review

Okay y’all shit is about to get nerdy because this is the first book I’ve read in a while that gave me ALL the feels.

Buckle up.

Today I’m talking about Daniel Jose Older whom you can read all about here. I believe, I believe I found likely via a retweet. My memory for these things is crap but, I’ve read a lot of the stuff he’s written around and recently picked up Half-Resurrection Blues.

First impression- I read some reviews citing the “excessive” cursing and I was like, yes okay. Give it to me.

Short version of this review is, this book is fucking great. You know how I talk about Grown Folks Lit all the time? This is grown folks lit. The people in this story are my people. My friends talk like them. They are people in a NYC that I could picture myself fitting right into.

This is Urban Fantasy and I could fucking SEE MYSELF THERE.

We know I’ve blogged many times about my sad fangirl feels and feeling removed from any type of fantasy most of the time because Whiteness.

Not in this book.

SO, if you are a a little Black or Brown nerd like me and you want to read some grown up very well done Urban fantasy, read it. That’s all.

NOW hold on to your butts cause I’m goin in.

So here’s the blurb as it is on Amazon:

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

Now this book takes place in a New York that I would like to visit. Frankly, it is the antithesis of what shows like Girls would have you think. It is not populated by White people who might screw a Black person every now and then but weird everyone else is white.

That is what hooked me. This is the NYC I dreamed about visiting as a kid. The kind of NYC where among your friends you can say, you are not sure if so and so is Dominican or Puerto Rican, not because you don’t know the difference, but because the person you’re talking about might look like your Dominican cousin or your Puerto Rican Mom. Those type’s of details are what makes me believe in the placement of POC in any story.

Not far into the book I was there. The way you are supposed to be when you read a really great story. I actually had to pause and let that feeling happen. It has been a while since I’ve felt that little kid sense that I am right there with Carlos’ half dead ass.

That my homies is a very important thing. It is at the heart of why I don’t read more genre fiction, I am just not there.

Moving along.

That was the initial fangirl squee. I already really like his work and POV and this well…..okay. Squee ensued.

The writer squee is that at the beginning of the book, we know our narrator is kinda fucked up. He’s not super halfie, he’s not all powerful. I like that. I find it too easy in a lot of urban fantasy when the supernatural critters of whatever stripe are just too good.

We know my flavor is kinda grimy and dark and this is kinda grimy. Shit goes real wrong and I deeply appreciate it.

The other thing I enjoy is that he has an excellent ear for dialogue. The dialogue in this book Code Switches on a magical level. This is not something that can be done believably if the author has not done it. It’s one of those things.

It is deeply important for readers, especially White readers to take a second and appreciate what’s going on here. This is so well done that it is seamless in terms of realness and understanding that these people are each other’s people. The language is intimate in the way that my language with my closest friends and colleagues is intimate.

Sometimes, especially in genre fiction, more so in fantasy folks want to be super stylized and fancy and that just does not always work.

Now the action and the way it is built into this world is right up my alley. We have this authoritative pain in the ass New York Council of the Dead, we have our halfie discovering some shit they did not tell him and chaos ensues.

We get that noir, who done it mystery with magic, half dead dudes, and one bad ass girl. Like I don’t want to give too much away but she, she is a Bad. Ass.

He writes women I like. They are not all the same, they are not super duper holy shit hot and everyone is thinking about doing them all the time. I appreciate that the women are diverse in bodies, temperaments etc.

Okay down the nerdhole I go.

Let us talk world building.

I have long had a love of Urban Fantasy but most of it I have ever read was White elfs in the suburbs and I’m not into that.

This is what I have needed to read both as a reader and a writer. I have had a lust to write Urban Fantasy to my own detriment. When it comes to stuff I’ve never tried before, I need to read the good shit before I can see my own path.

Daniel Jose Older gave me the good shit.

This NYC is full of Black and Brown people both dead and alive doing shit I am into. I loved the Santeros. I LOVED that the Santeros were respected and not presented just as weird Black/Brown folks witchcraft. I have seen even POC do that and it torques my heart.

The magic and sorcery and depictions of the realm of the dead were not usual and I enjoyed them very much.

Here’s the real shit.

As I mentioned last week was it, if you purchase what we can assume is Grown Folks Lit of any stripe, get yourself ready for some Grown Folks Type Shit to happen.

That might be in the form of bad words, sex, violence of whatever kind. Grown. Folks. Type. Shit.

If you can handle liberal and beautiful Fbombs, code switching and for some of y’all more Black and Brown people than you see in a week, get this book.

My POC fantasy lovers.

GO GET THIS BOOK.

Right damn now.

I have both the Ebook and the audiobook and as far as the audio goes, um. SIR HOW DARE YOU.

Y’all know I have a thing about being read to and this reading is really good. I suggest going and listening to a sample.

And buy the book.

In other news briefly.

Thank you SO much. Patreon is going way better than I expected and the single donations have been just..gosh.

Fuck. My feelings.

I will talk about it more but just thank you for sharing my thing and encouraging me to reach out.

Also probably next week I’m going to talk about the value of knowing so many other writers and maybe share some extra exciting news.

AND I’m launching a new feature soon. It shall be called: People and Stuff I like. Wherein I will share in depth review/squees about people, podcasts etc that I love. Cause I want you to love them too.

Now later taters I have spent my fangirl squeeing.


Yeah, Write #208 entry- Bumble Bee Goddamn Arizona

 

Bumble Bee, Goddamn Arizona

by

Shannon Barber

“Bumble Bee goddamn Arizona. Bumble. Bee. God. Damn. Arizona.”

M stood in the dingy little room, yanking the laces of her corset, her movements so violent her curls bounced as vigorously as the tops of her pale brown breasts.

Her companion, her faux husband cowered in the corner out of reach. He knew better than to intrude on one of her frequent tirades. From Missouri to their current predicament he had enough bumps on the head from thrown lamps and bottles to know when not to speak.

“Bumble Bee- come on we’ll make money. There’s gold. Eric, there is no fucking gold here. There is no fucking brothel here. There is not even a goddamn bar here.  There is a post office and this room.  Help me why are you just standing there?”

Eric smiled behind her back and gently untangled her laces. He knew once she was unrigged and lounging in bed with something to drink.

“I know. If that sin buster son of a bitch had kept his cock holster shut we would be fine. But you know how they are. Now, I saw that Miss Nancy in the post office eyeing me. I promise I will get us taken care of and out of Bumble Bee Goddamn Arizona.”

When she was free of her corset and other underpinnings he let her hair down and dug his hands into her thick black hair. She let her head loll and the brimstone was out of her tone.

“Why, my dear Eric, are you not really my husband?”

He smiled and kissed her long neck. He patted her bottom and turned her toward the rickety bed in the corner. Eric tucked her in and kissed her cheeks.

“Because darling, if I weren’t a homosexual I would just be a Sunday Man and that would be boring. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a randy Miss Nancy to seduce. Go to sleep. If you’re good girl I’ll bring you back something to eat.”

M smiled and subsided. She was tired and as he preened and fussed with his hair, her eyelids fluttered down. Before he stepped out she opened her eyes and smiled dreamily at him.

“Someday we’ll have our own place. Our own.”

Eric kissed her forehead and headed out to meet the man who would finance this next leg of their trip. It felt good to give her a break for a few nights.

“I know love. It’ll be ace high and all our own.”

 ###

PS-

For info on my slang check out this Western Slang dictionary I found.


Patreon and this is serious business.

Okay, so as y’all know I’ve been talking more openly about the financial aspects of my writing.

See posts here and here.

After a lot of thought and hand wringing, some tears and shame spirals I’ve decided to ask for help.

See my new Patreon page here.

Here’s the real poop.

I can’t produce the kind of writing that moves me when I am too stressed out. The things I’ve been trying to do to make my writing sustainable in terms of it not coming out of my limited household budget haven’t been good for me.

I can admit that writing current events in terms of news stories and whatnot is not how I operate. I’ve been trying really hard and it stresses me out so bad I get upset and fall into a terrible shame spiral and feeling like a faker.

I am not a journalist. I don’t really want to be. Reportage is not in my wheelhouse. Writing that way is just not for me. And that being what it is, my ability to make more money freelancing is a bit limited.

Further, honestly a lot of the places I could potentially write for and be paid I plain don’t like. I’ve had to sit with this for about two years and the fact is, I don’t like being the only author of color on a website. Or when it is websites that don’t talk about the things I am passionate about writing about, it is just so stressful and sometimes so disappointing to be the One Big Brave Negro.

The next thing is this.

I know what I want to do. I know what I want to put into the world and a lot of it is just not going to get me paid. While philosophically I can deal, financially I just can’t. I have cut out so much of my budget, I have skipped stuff and gone without. I want to do more and I just need help.

Basically, if you click over what I’m asking for is help covering the basic stuff. Professional memberships, software upgrades, eventually hardware upgrades. Travel to AWP next year and maybe a reading or two until then.

With some support via patreon and the few freelance things I can make it.

Okay if you have questions please let me know.

As with all the things if you can’t help with dollars, signal boosts are deeply appreciated. Tell a friend, shit tell five friends if you want to.

Thanks for reading.


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