Category Archives: indie adventures

On that Grind.

Okay.

Seriously I am on that grind this week. I’ve been writing like hell.

I’m trying really hard to figure out how to balance all the things I want to do and make a little bit of cash in the process.

Shit is fuckin hard y’all.

In other news I am plowing my way through a superb reading list. I’ll have some new reviews up soon.

Um whoa so this happened. Aside from being in excellent company it really touches me that my sort of off the cuff I want to write something today post made sense.

Over the years I’ve come from skipping meals to buy Poets & Writers or to buy “good” quality typing paper and renting time on ancient PCs at Kinko’s and shit to sometimes making a little money, learning how to unsubscribe from the fancy monied author mythos.

I have had to do a lot of stuff that has been hard. Figuring out how to balance my ethics with my need to eat. For instance when I opened my etsy store I had a rash of weird White dudes wanting 3$ Cuckold interracial porn. I’m talking dudes wanting like 10K words with these shortass turnarounds.

Once upon a time I would have done it. Enough 3 buck porns could someday buy me lunch or shoes.

I had to sit with it and do what other authors I’ve seen do. I had to set some rules and after a lot of self flagellation (How DARE YOU turn down actual income) and struggle I did this:

If you are looking for custom erotica here are the rules.

1.) My rate is firm at 25$ a page. This includes a first draft, final edit. Put together with a plain cover and available as a pdf/doc/docx file.
2.) I am not heterosexual. I will write hetero but it is not my forte.
3.) Do NOT send/offer to send me photos of your genitals I will ban you.
4.) No, I will not barter.
5.) No incest, underage, bestiality will be considered.
6.) If I am not into the idea I will not take the commission.
7.) If you want a sample of my work, buy one.

Currently I am not looking for/accepting custom work. When I am I will post a special listing.

Honestly y’all. Do you now how hard that was for me to do? To really put down in words that I will not suffer foolishness and that my porn is worth professional rates?

That started me on a path to wanting to Free myself with freelance work. I started grinding out research and things and realized that some parts of a freelance career are just not things I do well. Aside from that, I just don’t want to write for some pulications who would probably take me.

Pump the mother fuckin breaks.

I honestly had weeks of arguing with myself about it because as we know, there is a lot of pressure for especially WOC to go be in ALL the things and break through the whiteness of certain markets and everything.

I have been just, fighting with my desire to earn that money and those thoughts. The what right do have to not want those opportunities?

What kind of nerve do I have when I need money for shit like shoes and underwear, to not want to take the full leap?

WHO THE FUCK IS YOU.

And then I keep thinking about things my publisher Milcah has said to me. I keep thinking about what we’re doing with the book at Self Care Like A Boss. I think about what my best friend has been saying for almost 20 years. About when my partner is just like YES DO THAT SHIT.

I think about the authors I love the most and how many of them joke about low book sales and write shit that moves me.

I am the writer who write really fucking terrible copy for really fucking terrible heteronormative sex toy anon/affiliate websites because I wanted to save up for shoes.

I am also the writer who has turned down some amazing opportunities because they would make me feel bad in my heart.

I am book pregnant with the best book baby daddy Milcah. 

Way back when I was about 14 and dreaming about being an infamous writer, I dreamed about a life of liesure paid for by literary patrons.

I thought that was how I wanted it.

Looking back I realize that I would not be a bad ass writer right now without the struggle. If I had no struggle, if I didn’t have to write out all these fuckin feelings, if I hadn’t spent SO much time poring over literary magazines I couldn’t afford and low er high key learning how to absorb everything I need from as many sources as I can find that are free.

I would not cherish the lessons I learn from the books I buy.

If I wasn’t struggling with shit a lot, I don’t honestly think I would be so comfortable with how I am figuring out what my work is worth and who I want to work with.

One thing that goes through my bones is that easy doesn’t teach me well. It never has. If I didn’t have to work shit out I would not work it out.

I am on that grind.

I AM ON THAT MOTHER FUCKING GRIND and unlike when I was a baby writer, I value it. I love it. I am here for it.

Being ass deep in the struggle means I have found the path to my people. And I love my people. My people love me.

And that is pretty valuable.

OH okay a few more things.

I put up a story that is so close to my heart I can’t even. It is a slipstream story involving a wee Haitian girl and Hati and his brother. There is magic, the beginning of my need to explore how cultures can intersect, collide combine and exist together without throwing the brown folks under the bus. It is a bit more expensive than other stuff because of the sheer amount of work it took for me to get it done.

Here is a big ole taste:

“Mama was hurt, Papa was dead. She gave me water in a bottle and papers in my bag. Then she told me to run. She said I was too small and that they would hurt me. She said, Bernadette, you run you hide girl. Hide, hide hide.”

She trailed off, the counselor waited her out.

“I ran. Like a woof-”

The counselor arched an eyebrow.

“A woof? You mean a dog?”

Bernie glowered at her.

“No, woof, you know woof they howl like this at the moon.”

Bernie tipped her head back and let out a full throated mournful howl.

“Ah, wolf.”

“That is what I say. And then I found a place under concrete it was dry.”

[redacted, go buy for more]

“Ayti.”

It was a drawing from a Norse myth, the librarian smiled at her and nodded.

“Would you like to read about Hati?”

Bernie nodded, her eyes lit up.

In her heart, she chanted to the Universe, Ayti, Ayti Ayti. In her heart Bernie was mourning Haiti, the way her Maternal Grandmother had taught her. To think and feel the name of a thing or a person so as not to forget. She could not bring herself to sing the names of her parents, that hurt too much. But, when she spoke Ayti, Ayti, Ayti in the secret voice of her heart, it sufficed.

Next week I will get into how this story came about, that it was inspired by Roxane Gay and a woman I met on the bus.

Okay this  is way too long I need to calm all the way down and go do some editing.

Get Bernie’s Warg here. 

OH also per usual this is not kid or ya lit. This is grown folks business.


Writing bucket list 2015

Some shit I want to accomplish this year.

  • Get paid more. I want to gently step up my freelancing. While making sure I don’t get down on myself because I’m not a journalist.
  • Maybe get paid for some fiction.
  • Add a bit more to my etsy store.
  • Finish Self Care Like A Boss with a big ass bang.
  • Get back into writing about bodies and get paid for said writing.
  • Just get fuckin paid.

I am working on figuring out what kind of freelancing I can handle. I’ve discovered I’m not great at newsy current events type stuff. Unless it is something that comes out in a big ole pain porn flood and I can’t emotionally deal with doing that all the time. Especially if I know I probably won’t get paid.

That being what it is, I need to further work out my pitching terror. I have very little confidence about that type of writing and I need to get to a better place with it. Which is to say, I just need to fuckin do it.

I have ideas and notes for stuff that isn’t so rip my heart out but the idea of pitching them puckers my asshole.

I really want to ease into some changes. I want to back myself while I’m doing some new kinds of writing.

SO yeah.

Shit is changing and I’m working it out.


On Twee Subervsion or Keepin it White n Easy

I have written about transgressive and subversive writing before. Pardon me while I quote myself from last year:

Essentially, I want my transgression to work harder. Go deeper.

And:

Recently the issue of transgressive writing, censorship, and the like have been popping up in lit land. This time around we have two separate events that both prove my problem with how the idea of transgressive or subversive literature functions in the lit world right now.

I just heaved the biggest sigh.

I have done a lot of reading around the internet lately and a lot of what is being billed as being so transgressive and subversive is just not.

Exhibiting abusive and gross behavior under the guise of “subversion” is not something new, it is not brave, it is not unexpected nor is it clever. More so if this is done in a manner that is traumatic to women and/or a cover for figurative dick swinging sexual harassment.

SO yes, let me say that publishing lists of authors you want to bone is not really that original, it’s not subverting the dominant anything.

More so if part of the schtick is anonymity.

Being anonymous and putting on the face of the dominant voice in literature is not transgressive to me at all. It is playing dress up. It is playing with the position of privilege in a very useless manner.

Twee nonsense.

Literature regardless of what niche genre we’re talking about, is rife with sexism and racism. That is the status quo. That is how it is operated and frequently that is the position criticisms of new forms or language comes from.

Giving primacy to the general white cis male heterosexual is the baseline. Regardless of even the content of the work is a reflection of how things are and have been in Western Literature since forever.

You don’t get cookies for doing the same shit everyone else is doing. You can dress it up in punk rock words and Anonymous yammering but it is still the same goddamn thing.

Can we stop bullshitting each other about that?

Let’s be honest. Do what you wanna do, but stop bullshitting.

The bullshitting is my other problem. Over the past few years I’ve seen some niche lit things gas themselves up so hard as being special.

However, if we peel the initial layers away we see a lot of the same stuff.

The men are front and center. Many behave reprehensibly as we’ve seen repeatedly. The women are often young and attractive, lots of the dudes like to talk about having had them or going to have them or having them then publishing them.

This is followed by women coming forward to say this is some bullshit, this happened to me, I don’t like this, stop this.

Men cry that they are being portrayed badly, they want cookies for not being rapists or behaving semi decently.

Lit scene implosion.

More women talk about what is wrong with how these things go down, shit gets gross.

Now these scenes are often lauded as being different and transgressive and new.

Ask any of the women who have been involved with these incidences as victims or people who’ve stood up and we’ll let you know this is not different, transgressive or new.

This is the same pile of shit wrapped in a new box.

I feel like the whole idea of doing something subversive in the lit world has turned into twee LOOK AT HOW TRANSGRESSIVE I AM, I AM WRITIN ABOUT RAPIN BITCHES OMG LOOK AT ME WTF BBQ!!

The problem isn’t that this type of subversive light literature exists. It can exist, people can write and read whatever the fuck they want.

The problem is that this seems to be among the main modes of subversive literary expression and it’s sad.

As I pointed out in my Open Letter to the Paris Review, when you have a chance take it.

Being actually subversive or transgressive when you are participating in literature happens. If you are a Person of Color, a woman, queer, etc. you are already halfway there.

The other part is that more editors need to use their editorial discretion to go beyond Transgression 101 White Dudes talking shit.

It’s hard.

It means you might have to contend with the kind of thing a lot of us marginalized folks deal with on the daily.

It is 2015.

Go the fuck in.

And I don’t mean in the smarmy “Unpopular opinion” type of Liberal nonsense.

Publish the Other voices.

Publish and promote work that is outside of your general literary sphere. Be brave.

Be rich.

Get and stay uncomfortable.

If more of the gatekeepers of generally traditional publishers and indies and the supposedly subversive want to actually demonstrate any kind of commitment to this sort of thing, you have to be uncomfortable. You have to understand that if you’re squirming because the story isn’t the type of story you know, you’re going in the right direction.

And can we move beyond body horror being only equal to EW fat people EW VAGINA, EW BARF. I think we can do better.

If we can step away from using White Dudes Write The Thing as our only barometer of what is and isn’t good or what is or isn’t transgressive it would go a long way.

If more editors could stop with the idea that because they’ve made bad decisions they are gonna get blow back from us non editor peons that’d be great.

Get at that depth of meaning that pokes holes in the Western Literary Canon and it’s bastard kids.

Go the fuck in.

Stop coming at people sideways when you’ve done something not awesome.

Come on y’all.


Well 2015 has begun

So officially I’m hard at work on Self Care Like A Boss.

I forgot to pay my Duotrope dues. I low key am not pressed about it honestly. If I am to get my money’s worth I need to finish a pile of work so I am not going to pay/submit until then.

That said I already have one rejection. Nobody but me likes my tiny tiny flash stories. That one is a wee thing that has gotten itself five rejections so far? I’m not super worried about that either. At least every 8-10 months nobody publishes a word I write. Then there’s a flurry (often the same stories that I’ve been flinging into the universe) and then nothin.

So is the life of the short fiction writer type.

I have been sick as a dog and got some real bad news last week. I’ve been alternately depressed, pissed off and in general out of sorts.

And naturally writing it out.

So what else am I working on?

Lots of many fictions:

  • Tiny flash story about prostitutes.
  • More poetry about women.
  • Short story about a dry addict at an important crossroads.
  • Some horror about exorcism,
  • Some lesbian blood/knife related kinky smut.

There are other bits and bobs as well.

Right now I’m trying to not totally burrito myself in sorry and awfulness.

The only way I know to get through bad shit is write and run through it.

So what am I reading right now?

A few things.

Self-Loathing & Other Forms of Cynicism: Volume One by Laramore Black. I have read a bit of Laramore’s writing and enjoy it a lot. This collection is dark and gritty but there are little moments of real prettiness that just delight me. I’ll review when I’m done.

Also- no wait how about some pictures? Some stuff from the .50 cent book cart, gifts, and my wee haul from the Thriftbooks sale.

Books from the 50 cent cart.

Books from the 50 cent cart.

 

From the Cart.

From the Cart.

This is from myf avorite piece in Will Work For Drugs by Lydia Lunch. About Lifelong insomnia.

This is from myf avorite piece in Will Work For Drugs by Lydia Lunch. About Lifelong insomnia.

Lucky for my back they are not ALL in my bag right now. I have a terrible habit of doing that. Carrying like 3-5 paperbacks of varying sorts, notebook, pens, tea, emergency tampons and other writer survival things.

I also just read this piece over at Shotgun Honey and it is lovely. Go read it.

If you use Spotify this is my writing playlist. I love spotify so hard. It’s almost as good as having my own personal collection to hand.

I think that’s all for right now. I have a banging ass headache, my nose is running and I’m supposed to be doing dayjob shit.

I’ll be back tomorrow for Yeah Write. 

OH shit I almost forgot I also have a newish poem up at Ink Node. Another in the Queen series.

So that’s all for reals.

Later y’all.


Holy damn a new year.

I’m running on fumes right now. If you could see my gauge for things like REM sleep and whatnot it’s real low.

My insomnia not withstanding it is 20 mother fucking 15. Weird.

SO come and join Milcah and I at the Self Care Like a Boss Blog. 

Go open that in a new tab and I’ll be here.

I had to write an intro post and it was way harder to do than I had anticipated. While I have blogged for years and occasionally written the essay about myself they have all been around issues.

I tried to come at it from a memorist type perspective. Why the fuck didn’t anybody tell me how hard that is?

I had these ideas about how awesome and wonderful I’d be. I thought I knew what I wanted to say and then….yeah no shit was hard.

It wasn’t even that long and it felt gut wrenching. It was all the shit I’m scared of and feeling and I did it.

I had this moment while I was working on it (whilst in the throes of a migraine and 10/10 would not recommend that as a method of work) I had this little list in another window. Shit that I can’t write about yet because I don’t know how. Or I’m just too scared.

I knew I was poking the right stuff when I felt vomity while I was working and then wanted to crap my pants after Milcah published it.

After that I’ve decided that I will dip my toes in memoir but I’m not ready to jump all the way in.

Of course that means I’m going to try it.

I may or may not publish the memoir flavored stuff but my little roach brain who is also a sadist says do it.

I suppose that is 90% of my writing mission this year. Write that shit.

What else?

I don’t even know y’all. I would like to finish some new fiction. I have some stuff to shiny up and launch into the space.

What are you doin?

How was your new year and stuff?

Is your body ready?


End of the Year Things.

I’m closing out the year on an insomniac uh, I hate to say downward spiral but my brain is not doing the thing and I have not been rebooted so yeah.

So instead of my general end of year navel gazing I’m gonna talk decisions.

Hard ones.

  1. I’m not going to go hard for freelance work. That’s been a killer for me. I want to do it, I have that urge to be a go getting type writer spreading my words across ALL the platforms but that’s just not how I work. I want to trust my own process, remember I’m not a journalist nor do I aspire to be one and be okay.
  2. I also have decided to stop writing about racism for free. Remember the Paris Review shitshow? All those views, nice comments with a side of a few super amatuer trolls. My pain and spleen. And again, I feel like I got little in return. Now I did gain some new readers (HEY y’all) and some new folks have been exposed to my work. I also know for a FACT that several other writers (no I’m not naming nor linking for reasons) made money off the back of what I wrote. They GOT PAID because I wrote about my fucking pain and let down. That’s fucked up. No kickback, no thank you, at least three people didn’t even bother to name me fully, drop a link to my blog here or my website (all of which are easy to find) or anything. So after that happening when I was fat blogging and several times blogging here I’m just…yeah. Fuck you pay me. I’m not going to bleed all over here only to see that some nice White folks regurgitate my words and say I’m inspiration so they can get paid and I get shit.
  3. That said, I don’t know -where- to write about racism in the way I do because see #1. I dunno. I have some ideas I’m thinking about but given how things have gone I don’t see them happening.

Quite frankly I have honestly had enough of being undervalued and having my work taken willy nilly.

I’m pretty done with being told I’m “inspirational” but when it comes time to share around the rewards of work put in, crickets.

Here’s the thing. When I write this stuff, I deal with the trolls and being called names and the threats etc by myself. I have to keep commenting on lockdown, even though it interferes with things like Yeah Write because I give enough of a shit not to expose the world to every asshole who wants to come call me a racist cunt or tell me I deserve to lose my job and die.

Other decisions.

I don’t really want more regular positions anywhere. My current 12 hour work days (including my commute), the general state of my health, my precarious tech at home, etc. all mean my writing time is finite and precious. So I’ll stick with XoJane and maybe if something else catches my eye I might submit nonfiction type shit other places but yeah. I’m tired.

You know I’m not a big fan of being in the position of needing to change how I work so I don’t feel like I’m being stolen from.

I really don’t.

I was going to quickly close down this spot, but I’m not doing that again.

I’m struggling, but I believe that if my work is good enough to use for source material, for it to be straight up jacked it is good enough to be paid for.

Now for some decisions that are more fun.

  • More craft stuff. I have really enjoyed being of help to other writers and I still love talking out my process even as it changes or evolves.
  • More book reviews. I constantly forget to update goodreads and forget to in depth review stuff I love but there will be more of that.

Now another important thing.

Over at Self Care Like a Boss come get to know me a little bit. Feel free to follow us on tumblr and share what you find over there far and wide.

I think that’s all. I have a lot of writing to do and I’m terribly tired.

I hope 2015 brings all of you all the success and love and everything you need.

To us all I say-

Don’t Stop. Get it. Get it.


How It’s Going Down

First this is a new thing for me:

OVERALL FICTION POETRY NON-FIC
Pending Submissions: 0 0 0 0
Sent Past 12 Months: 24 15 7 2
Sent This Month: 0 0 0 0
Acceptance Ratio: 26.1%* 20%* 33.3%* 50%*

So weird. I do have one non Duotrope submission out.

Normally this time of year I have anywhere between 5-10 pieces out at any one time. This current state of affairs is mostly due to a lot of factors.

As I said in my shall not be named post, (the first Paris Review thing) I have been settling in with myself and rethinking how I go about this thing.

This time last year I had my method down. Spend money (sometimes more than I should have) on lit mags, read lit mags, follow links from writer’s I know and like.

Do that some more.

Then write, rewrite, remix.

Submit.

Rinse repeat.

Granted in the last couple of years I’ve been published more than I was in the years before.

It has been working in the YAY GET YO SHIT PUBLISHED SENSE but at times on a personal level not so much.

I’ve been thinking pretty deeply about the ideas about a community of lit people. And sometimes when I’m doing my research and reading and trying to expand my literary world, I keep feeling like the community is not for me if I’m being a loudass Black lady.

I suppose this is yet another round of writer growing pains. That now rather than trying so hard to get published everywhere that catches my eye, it’s time to be a bit more selective.  And it’s not even really about getting paid. I like getting paid but I realize that the short fiction market is pretty huge and the money for somebody who’s not generally a name author can be scarce and I’m fine with that. I just don’t want to feel icky I guess.

That said, I need y’all to see some things. Ready?

Check out Independently Published a blog by my friend and publisher Milcah. As we’ve talked and everything I am so beyond positive that my first book is going to be made with her. Just, y’all. We are learning together and doing this shit together and it makes me so damn happy.

What else?

I dropped a new reprint in my Etsy store. Have a looksy at Bite as it appeared in Freaky Fountain Press. Keep an eye out I will probably be dropping a literary genderfucking story in there a little later.

I also have a new poem up at Ink Node and you can catch it here. I am deeply amused by the fact that all the poetry I write lately is about women in one way or another.

Other stuff.

I’m going to do more book reviews. The long nerdy ones of course. Coming soon I have two urban fantasy reviews, a noir review and I’ll probably nerd out about some lit zines I’m really into right now.

Be on the lookout I also have yet another post about transgression in my head. I have more thoughts.

 


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