Category Archives: things to read

Craft Notes: How I use Free writing.

First have a glance at this.

Now a couple of people have asked so let me give you a sort of blow by blow as to how I utilize the concept of freewrites.

First thing to know is I have a very noisy disordered brain.

One of the problems with my sleeping is in face the crazy carnival (replete with barkers, geeks, music, rides and pink elephants). My brain is a stew of LOUD NOISES.

So I do a few things to help settle myself down enough to write so the LOUD NOISES turn into stories and shit.

One of the things I do is crochet. I make shawls mostly. I keep telling myself I am going to sell them but that is a whole other thing. Crocheting puts a good amount of order in my chaosroachbrain. I do it on the bus usually while I listen to audiobooks and my thoughts turn a bit more linear like my stitches. Rows and rows of orderly thinking.

The other thing I do a lot is free write.

Here is how I do it.

Something, be it a phrase, a concept, a photo, a voice, a word, the sight of a fine fine ass in some tight pants whatever, it gets in my head.

I’m going to use one I did recently as an example.

Open this in another tab. It is the side blog where I just kind of dump words. I was inspired by Dena and Milcah (side note, GODS my friends are some fine mother fuckers, like for serious) and periods.

So there I was with the image of Joseph from Dena’s poem.

And I just started to go.

When I do this, often it is my way of exploring correlations as they happen in my brain.

In this case we have menses, a man, destruction because most tend to associate periods with flowers and the birds and bees and bullshit. It’s not that pretty. I wanted to explore that without getting to the ugly right away.

I am obsessed with sexualized predation (not as in abuser as in an apex predator) from the POV of the woman predator. The ides of conquest as it has been applied to masculine sexuality forever. The beauty in being an apex predator or at least feeling like one.

I called the image of war and battle and victory and claimed the shed blood as victory.

That is where my brain goes.

I go until I can’t anymore and then normally as you can see there, I change something. Sometimes I use this method of freewriting to explore forms, to change the angle that I approach my subject matter.  I’ve found that once I’ve exhausted one means of exploring a subject/theme when I change something (form, formatting etc) that is when my brain really gets to work. That is how I work out the voice I use in a story sometimes. Sometimes it is how I figure out the road to the next thing. Or I figure out that the idea I had won’t work.

The aim when I do this is just to write. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it is just fragments. Sometimes it kickstarts a whole new thing.

90% of these freewrites I have no intention of trying to get published. That is why I made that other blog. Occasionally I have had bigger better stories from those freewrites.

This piece I had in Fuck Fiction, started out as a freewrite.  Again, I was exploring that female sexual predator. A self aware predator who cannot help herself.  This one from the Molotov Cocktail started as an experiment with second person narrative. 

One of the other functions of this method is that for me I’ve discovered where my strengths are.

I am good at present tense first person POV.

I really LOVE writing second person narrative.

One of the other things to be gained from freewriting is freeing yourself of taboos.

Essentially if you are new to say writing sex use this exercise.

If words or concepts don’t do it for you here are some other options.

Read this post by Remittance Girl and try her challenge.

Here are some prompts for practicing writing on the body. In other words practice writing the physiological.

For instance. Your narrator has just fallen down some stairs. Write them checking themselves out, are they hurt? Where are they hurt? How do they hurt? Think about bumps and bruises. Try writing the aftermath, maybe your narrator fell two days ago and their body is just starting to yell.

Write a scene of arousal. Your main character here is getting turned on. What is going on in their body? I’m not talking a monologue about the most perfect tits anyone has ever seem but this is the viewer. Are they tingling? Is their skin covered in gooseflesh?

Do you like prompts? Here are some I like.

Personally prompts about meadows and  flowers and shit don’t do it for me. My taste runs to the darker and for that I picked up Michael Arnzen’s book Instigation. The beauty of this type of books that you can write a story, a poem, a scene, a flash piece. Anything. I really seriously recommend it.

I used one of his instigations and got this story published.

Think of this type of work as stretching for your brain. This is an excellent way to step out of your comfort zone. Whether it is style, format, subject matter. You can get yourself kickstarted with some practice.

I will also say that this is how I started to really find my own voice.

So there are your craft notes of the day. If you write something and post it somewhere come back and post a link so I can check it out.


Shit is gettin nerdy.

I’ve had a very strange week.

I don’t feel well so let’s get nerdy about books shall we?

To start with I’m just about done re reading The Bourne Identity: Jason Bourne Book #1 I wanted to read it again because it’s been something like 25 years since I last read it, I love spies and I wanted to see how it held up both against memory and against the film. (Sorry in advance I’m using amazon affiliate links, baby needs shoes).

So okay short version is this book is pretty great. There is a real emotional depth to our main character the amnesiac Jason Bourne that you don’t get in the movie. There is enough real deep pain there to make him seem at least to my eyes, more believable. Also the other main character Marie was awful in the movie. Manic pixie hippy dream girl and I didn’t like her. In the books she is formidable. She is brilliant. In the books at times she is Bourne’s only anchor to the present and she’s a rock but not so hard she doesn’t cry. So really the book did not dissappoint. I still love it as much as I did when I was 12-13 and read it.

Now we have to talk books that are coming out because I have a problem.

I want so many.

First okay if you’ve been around for a hot minute you know I love me some Antonia Crane, I was so excited when I heard that her memoir Spent got picked up AND now I found out it is coming out from one of my favorite publishers. I really love her work and I am so looking forward to reading it.

Also I don’t mean to brag or nothing but we’re reading at the same event at AWP. So I’m by association kind of a big deal.

Next Roxane Gay..omg. So this is undignified but I legitimately squealed when I saw this. I mean there was some nerding because I also really fucking love her. An Untamed State Just look at it. I want it right now.

So then I saw that Richard Thomas had this article out at buzzfeed and bam, there are Antonia and Roxane as they should be. But then I was scrolling and holy shit.

Craig Davidson has a new book coming out. Years ago someone gave me a copy of his book Rust and Bone: Stories. That book knocked me out. For real.

I went on to read his other books and as happens to me more often than I like to say, I forgot his goddamn name and did not have any of his books around my house. I kept thinking about Rust and Bone but could not for the life of me suss out who wrote it. Then boom, right there on buzzfeed it clicked and he has a new book coming out? Fuck to the yes.

This year in books looks fucking awesome.

My only real problem is budgeting in a sensible fashion.

I have been known to spend bus fare and lunch money on books.

I got a kindle for Christmas and am still getting the hang of the whole ereader thing. I have been hoarding free ebooks, mostly random genre stuff and cookbooks.

I bought a few as well. Last night between games of pinball (I find playing pinball on the kindle terribly relaxing) I finally got a copy of Bad Sex on Speed by Jerry Stahl. And we know I love him too so I’ll probably grab a hardcopy as well.

Okay that’s enough for now. I am going to continue to prepare myself for AWP. And really settle into this whole write a fucking novella thing.

Who knows maybe this time next year I’ll be one of those books coming out.

OH before I forget do any of you use a cloud/internets word type program/app that is better than google docs. I’ve been having nothing but problems and I still just have my lil chromebook and I do not want to be emailing myself giant copies of my novella in progress. Any suggestions would be mighty helpful.


Holy wow stuff is happening.

Okay so already 2014 is turning out to be both awesome and overwhelming.

So the first thing was that Dena interviewed me for Luna Luna magazine.

Then I got a poetry acceptance at The Camel Saloon. I’ll let y’all know when it’s live. Also read that spot it’s good.

AND today I found out my essay from Literary Orphans is going into their anthology.

Holy shit.

I am to put things in internet parlance full of feelings I don’t know what to do with.

Glee. Fear. Nervousness. Expectation.

I’m having a hard time rebalancing work days with time to write. I’ve been tired. I get frustrated and ragey and full of feelings.

I am also frankly panicky.

So I’m trying to deal with myself.

AND you can buy a brand spanking new story in my Etsy.


Well damn.

I was doing some organizing earlier this week and found that I  a.) am running terribly low on ready work and b.) only have 2 submissions out.

Shit.

I am working on that.

Oh no wait I had 3 things out now four. Down from something like 10 last month. A few of those I finally formally withdrew after my queries languished unanswered for months. I hate doing that but you know how it is.

No I lied I do have some ready to go things but, I’m having aim problems.  At least one of them is too erotic for most lit mags and not really erotica so erotica is out.

I’m in another of my confessional moods so let me confess.

Sometimes I still get nervous when I submit stories that have AAVE to lit zines.  I worry that the editors won’t get the references or the language but will be too nervous to say so. And then of course I get nervous that they will say so and I will feel shitty.

Earlier while I was working on something, I had a moment (ah shit I cannot remember who said it) where I took that writer roller coaster of thinking YES YES YES FUCK LOOK AT WHAT I JUST DID to WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS? IS THIS SHIT EVEN ENGLISH? I ate some food, I stopped looking at it and decided that the story was better than what I had done and fixed it. Looking backwards I am very glad I have learned to ride that out. In my younger days that would have shut me down for a while.

I realized I’ve been heavily comfort reading lately. Too many things in the big bad world have been painful for me lately and I’ve retreated into familiar authors and things.

Now for some other stuff.

Have y’all read Bradley Sands? I’ve read Bradley Sands stuff for years now and I spotted him over at Litreactor. You should read this and if you write Bizarro go submit.

We know I love Lavie Tidhar and if any of you are into guns n sorcery type fantasy (honestly I’d never even thought of it but I now love it) you should pick up Gorel and the Pot Bellied God. I reread some of it today for comfort and just read it, it’s great.

What else?

OH the etsy adventure continues. I now have 4 stories available and have more on the way. Including probably a tiny collection of my poems.

I still want to concentrate mainly on reprints there but I may do some originals. I also am going to put some of my crocheted shawls up as soon as I get them ship ready. It’s not a money machine but I like it.

Since some of you donated I am super excited to tell you that I am mere weeks away from having my teeth worked out. I am so excited I can’t even explain.

What else?

I’m still plugging away at my urban fantasy thing. Truth be told I had a moment of doubt and had to put it away for a bit.

I’m about done reading Dr Sleep and will probably do a good hefty review. I decided against trying to review the A Song of Ice and Fire series. It frankly fills me with way too much nerd rage and I haven’t felt like seriously unleashing the beast.

Another confession.

I have had the worst hankering to resume collecting authors entire catalogs. This is an expensive habit and I don’t have enough bookshelves. I’ve also wanted to buy more indie art. I have a tiny collection and a few extremely cherished art photos that I have put away because of very complicated emotional reasons. Given that we’re likely not moving any time soon I will get them out. At least I need to get some of the stuff framed properly so I don’t fuck it up.

I think that’s all for right now. I have one more submission to get out tonight and I am going shovel spicy food in my face.

Oh one more thing. In my race to 120 rejections, I just logged #9 the other day. This tells me I need to get my ass in gear. I can’t drive down that acceptance rate if I’m not flinging words into the wild. I am hoping by the second week of January to get my pieces out numbers back into the teens. Off into the Blue Yonder I go.


So many books so little time.

Per usual I’m reading about four books right now.

I just finished Amy Tan’s new book The Valley Of Amazement. 

It is no shock that I am a pretty huge Amy Tan fan. This book takes place in China and covers familiar Mother/Daughter relations in a new way. This is historical fiction written without the eye of the colonizer as the focus. Which is to say it’s not about White people being centered. The story is about Flower (courtesan) houses, life in China in the early 1900s.  I should confess I am a total history nerd. I love it. I can’t get enough. More so when it is the history of POC told by POC.

So this was right up my alley.

At first I wasn’t totally into it but I was completely drawn in by the careful details about Shanghai at the time. I was pleased to recognize a few Chinese words. I will say after reading some other reviews that this is maybe not a book for prissy American sensibilities. Also not for people who don’t really understand that this was not modern life and that those values are not American/Christian values and people need to deal with that

If you love fairly sweeping and very detailed stuff this one is a good one. I’ll probably reread it soon.

What else?

I’m currently reading Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia by Blake Butler. We know I’m also an awful insomniac. I’m not super far into the book but I’m enjoying it a lot. I’m not super super familiar with his work in general, I like what I’ve read so far. I found the beginning portion really beautiful.

You can read a bit of it at TNB here.  There is a rhythm to this book as I’m reading it that feels a little somnolent but not enough to really sleep. Or maybe I’m projecting but as I read it, I can feel that pained longing for sleep one gets when the insomnia is a mother fucker. Before you get to the really crazy part.

Now I have to talk about 2666 by Roberto Bolano. I finished it a few weeks ago and holy shit. No holy shit really.

The scope of this is just amazing. It is an entire little universe that meanders from country to country and goes back and forth. I like this book for the same reason I loved 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, it is just epic and fuck I can’t.

Bolano achieved something for me that few books I read do. There were points that made me squirm and feel uncomfortable enough to need a time out from the book. Sex and murders and violence. It was all done in such a way that settled into my bones while I was reading it and I find myself thinking about it at odd moments. That is what makes a book really great to me.

I was just floored. This was actually my first Bolano bok, read on the remembered recommendation of a friend. I will probably get obsessive and want to read ALL his books.

Now on to the intertubes shall we?

Okay my homie J. Bradley has this piece Thread Counting at matchbook and dudes, that first line killed me. It is really great you should go read it right now.

Via HTMLGIANT I watched this video by Steve Roggenbuck made my day when I watched it. It reminded me of some pleasant memories and I enjoyed it. Check it out.

At Metazen I just read this piece by Kelsy Ipsen and it is really lovely.

An author I admire from afar Lavie Tidhar, has this story that was on PodCastle quite a while back. Buried Eyes. This story comes from the world of Gorel and the Pot Bellied God which is FANTASTIC guns n sorcery. Buried Eyes however is honestly one of my favorite things in the entire world. I’ve listened to the story I don’t know how many times and Lavie’s work is one of the reasons I started listening to Podcastle in the first place and continue to do so.

The narrator for that piece Graeme Dunlop is also a favorite of mine.

Over at Shotgun Honey I really loved this piece last month by Paul Heatley. That is a pretty cool magazine and you should read it on the regular.

In other news you can still head over to etsy and for a dollar or two grab a story by me to read. I’ve been sick and busy so I haven’t uploaded anything new yet but I have a couple of reprints waiting in the wings.

I also discovered a stash of almost finished work I thought was lost when my desktop PC died. I was so excited I stayed up far too late last night getting some of that organized and ready for a edit.

Now let us hope I can get over this head cold/ear (I have ear problems) fuckery so I am not so fucking extra exhausted and upset.

That’s all for now.


I Wrote a Thing and it was Hard.

Remember the super important thing that made me vomit and freak out and whatnot?

It is live. Head over here to see my piece in Literary Orphans via Anna March’s new column Anna’s Foundlings.

Honestly I am still feeling uncomfortable that people are going to read it. I don’t mind looking like a total asshole in my non fiction work. I don’t mind if people think I’m a total bastard.

What does completely undo me is feeling emotionally naked. Writing about Blackness in such a personal way leaves me feeling like I want to shart, vomit and fall down.

So basically I was doing it real right.

This part sums it up:

This is not what I wanted you to know.  This is not what I wanted to write. I wanted to write about how much I love the Dune saga, I wanted to tell you how hard I squee about Star Trek. I wanted to be beautiful and eloquent.

I feel like I failed at beauty and eloquence the same way I do in day to day life. Sometimes all I have is emotional blabber that pours out of me and then I have feelings and I don’t know what to do with myself so I get angry.

As hard as that piece was to write and show to anyone, I am going to do this again. As a friend said, I’m a masochist.

So how about some other stuff to read?

Via the darling and wonderful Frances Varian I found out the also talented and wonderful Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is doing some awesome things in workshops. Go check that out on her website here.

The talented Eugie Foster (I talked about her here) has cancer and needs help. Get details here. Go to her blog here, buy her books. Tell people the things.

If you are a lover of SF/F type stuff and love podcasts go here and listen.  The Pod needs help.

Zander Vyne has a new book out at Burning Book Press. Fine ass erotica. I’m familiar with Zander’s work and really dig it. Pick it up/read about it here.

 

Speaking of fine Erotica go read this at Remittance Girl’s blog. Just do it.

Also by Remittance Girl over at the ERWA blog she posted an interesting thing about POV. Go read it.

So that’s all for right now.  The dayjob is making me feel vaguely suicidal and I have work to do.

Hopefully soon I’ll make it through my epic to read list and do some new reviews. As always if you have stuff to read or you think I’d be into drop me a link in the comments.

 


Fuck my Whole Life

I’ve been immersed in writing and editing a very important piece.

I’ve been working on this fucking shit for three weeks. It’s not what I wanted to write and my other attempts to write something else for this special thing have been shit.

Like dog shit.

So while I’ve been working last week I really fucked it up and had to revert to the original and start over. Have I mentioned lately that when I get nervous I tend to be a slash and burn/salt the earth level editor?

Fuck my life.

Fuck.

FUCK.

PANIC.

PANIC.

SEND HELP.

So now is this what it’s like to have people ask you to write things? It’s really fucking hard and I am kind of losing my shit. I am at the point of wanting to just run around yelling suck my dick, which won’t help but might make me feel better.

The panic will pass. I’ll get my shit together, drink some coffee, take my lil computer bloop someplace and sit my ass down until I get my shit worked out.

So in the meantime how about some stuff I think y’all might want to read?

Let’s start with what I’m reading right now.

I’m reading Tell my Horse HA my version is out of print but you can get other covers. It’s really great. There are a few language of the times things that bother me a little but really it’s such a beautiful thing to read history this way as written by a person of color. It’s really beautiful.

It is ridiculous how good that book is.

I’m also reading The Marbled Swarm by Dennis Cooper. Fuck I fucking love Dennis Cooper. He’s a really nice person (note to self return to his blog and say hi/love) AND his work has been a major influence on me since I first started reading it. This book is almost florid in comparison with his other work and I really love it. It’s not a long book but it’s dense and delicious like chocolate mousse.

Now what I’m reading next.

Next up I’m SO excited to finally get to read Bad Sex on Speed by Jerry Stahl. We know I love JerryStahl in a creepy I’d probably stare at him from across an aisle on the bus in a really creepy way kind of love. I haven’t been able to afford to get this but I have a tiny bit of mad money so I’m buying it. I’m into it.

Then I’m going to read Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson. I found I have a copy and realized I hadn’t read it.

OH ALSO shit guys I almost forgot.

Quite a while back I entered a tiny piece of erotic experimental flash fiction and won a spot in Solarcide’s Sinthology.  You can buy it there or through Amazon here soon. I am so excited about that story. It’s tiny but it’s a mix of two tinier flash pieces, and two poems. I reformatted and actually used special formatting and am really excited it was successful. So go get some.

Now for some other stuff I’m into right now.

First up from Linden Avenue via their tumblr. They are looking for a social media person who can get a small stipend and guest editors. Get the lowdown here.

Also a dear friend of mine is doing an indie zine and if you have a chronic illness or know writers/artists who do SEND THEM HERE.

Um so yeah.

I think that’s all for right now I’m exhausted.

 

 


More Indie Adventures

With the cheerleading of my bestie I have published one of my essays at Smashwords.

cover

 

From my smashwords blurb:

A short essay on telling Whiteness no from the perspective of a pained Black woman. Specifically about how White people talk about young people of color in the news, Trayvon Martin, Rachel Jeantal and Kiera Wilmot. Warning there is racialized language in this piece.

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago in response to a lot of media, other essays and posts on social media by upset White people.

I will probably publish more of this sort of piece myself.  Readers so far have responded. I wasn’t sure about doing it this way because admittedly my luck having other people publish stuff like this had been limited. That aside, I do like what I’m doing so why not?

I have the means. I’ll do it for myself.

I feel like in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict this message is necessary.

That’s all for right now. Feel free to share the link as you please.


Hey guess what?

I have new stuff out.

Holy shit right?

Things are moving along nicely this year. I feel like with the sublime addition of my little gifted computer that could (her name is Bloop) I have settled into a really nice rhythm of working.

So new stuff?

Let’s go.

In print (and ebook etc) you can read some pants melting shockingly hetero smut by me, pick up the July issue of Infernal Ink.  Here’s a bite of my story Firestarters.

The fire quiets itself for a moment before it roars. I feel the waft of hot air against my face and
my knees almost buckle. We can hear things inside the building starting to crack and fall. Something crashes and one wall wavers, as it starts to slowly
crumble into the gaping orange maw of the fire I feel his fingers on my clit.

He holds me around the waist with one arm and I grind against his fingers.
“You are a special kind of nasty aren’t you? What part gets you hot? The heat? The flame? The
destruction? Being bad?”
This is a story all about arson, new beginnings and some hot nasty nasty dirty sex.
Next up a mood switch. I’m super proud to be in the new issue of Looseleaf Tea. Find my story Bridget Approved Blackness. This story is about being Black and surviving a mentally ill parent. With a few brushes regarding respectability politics, hair and getting through. Here’s a taste:
That is my whole life.
My Mother held the reins on my Blackness as if there was an off switch. Get out of that sun before you’re too dark; let me perm your hair you look like a wild bush woman.
Don’t wear those disgusting earrings, why are you dancing like that.
Never ending.
Read the zine here at issuu.
I’m super proud of that story for a lot of reasons. One of the things I love about it is that I played with the tenses in what I hope is a fairly subtle way. I wanted to give it the immediacy of first person present tense but, with a bit of distance on it. I want it to read the way memories play in your head.
Um other news.
I wrote a little sci fi-ish thing and it just isn’t working for me. A couple of younger/just starting out writers I know asked me if I’d like to talk about how it isn’t working for me/what I’m doing with it and I will probably do that sometime next week.
What else?
OH HOLY shit check this out:
OVERALL FICTION POETRY NON-FIC
Pending Submissions: 5 2 1 2
Sent Past 12 Months: 58 35 14 9
Sent This Month: 1 0 0 1
Acceptance Ratio: 30.2%* 33.3%* 27.3%* 20%*

My freaking acceptance rate is over 30% right now. Holy shit.

In my race to 100 rejections, I logged #88 the other day. I’m still hoping to hit 100 by fall. I’ll post the whole list here when I get there.

It is about the time of year where I make some Big Swing submissions to my most favorite magazines. The ones I read while rocking back and forth in my chair mumbling, let me love you WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME…a la Annie Wilkes. But I promise I won’t keep any of you captive or cut off your foot. I’m not quite that nuts.

Tomorrow I’m going to be reviewing my friend Dena Rash Guzman’s fine book of poetry Life Cycle.  All I will say right now is go buy it. Right now.

Okay that’s all for now. I only slept about two hours last night and I feel not okay.

 


Self Promotion Monday.

Ready?

Okay first up I have a new story out in the latest issue of Yellow Mama.

Here’s a taste:

The White boy keened in the back of his throat, Jorge prodded his bleeding face.

“Answer me.”

“Yes, yes, El Diablo. I heard about you in my Frat house.”

“You murder my language, kid. It’s La Diabla, diabla. The feminine. A girl. You was wrong. You understand me so far, gringo?”

Have some hood noir for lunch, get it here.

thuglit5

THUGLIT Issue 5 (Volume 5) I’m in that too holy crap.

Read me doing spec fic in the April issue of Expanded Horizons. 

And yes these are affiliate links so use or don’t as you please.

These two little kindle items are my small collections of homeless words. Both editions have stories and poems. Each piece is presented essentially as it came out of my head. Most have a little statement type deal talking about how each one was born.

Wayward Words: A Collection of Homeless Words. Vol. 1 and Wayward Words: A Collection of Homeless Words. Vol. 2. The Flash Edition

So whoop whoop.

Consider this my epic read all my words post for the week.

That’s all for right now homies.


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