Ay listen.

Hi babes.

Can we talk about some shit I’ve been learning lately?

First thing I’ve not learned but we’ll say that has been reinforced to me is that, a lot of general promotional advice is woefully out of date. It doesn’t account how a lot of us have our links on platforms like FB throttled so hard, even our “close” friends don’t see them.

So I kinda am trying to make a deeper peace with that. I’m working on it.

The other thing is that, I’ve noticed that even with me taking pains to reduce how much stuff I give away, I STILL don’t really generate things that are buyable by my general audience across a few platforms. How do I know?

Medium for instance. I currently have 19 pieces behind the paywall, a good variety of type of content. Here in 2019 I’ve made less than a dollar. I mean…my read ratio regardless of topic or length is under 2 out of 10. Then of course when I can read stuff on medium, I see a LOT of bullshit that makes hundreds of dollars likely.

It makes me tired.

I’ve been using KoFi for almost a month exactly and have three things to read. One poem, two essay type things. And goose eggs.

I talked about it on my main fb account a while back. And funnily enough when I said, don’t blow smoke up my ass if you’re not going to at the very least share, my share rate went from few to literally 2-4. And so did engagement.

So really, I’ve learned that the call to action, the asking my community for help etc etc. Ain’t for me. I’ve tried. I’ve modified my tone, I’ve changed what I’m giving, etc. I think I can make some peace with that. Silence and inaction says volumes. More so when the folks who do the share because they don’t have $$ to support, are literally the same 4-6 people it has been for a decade. That’s my real audience. They are the real Gs and I’m not talking about them.

What else?

In terms of Gasoline Heart here’s some interesting things. (NOTE TO SELF ASK PUBLISHER FOR NEW BOX O BOOKS) Some of the folks who’ve read it, really loved it. one of the things I’ve seen in several reviews are along the lines of, HOW DID I MISS THIS/THE WORLD MISS IT?

Easily. SO the above issues. I mean, a few people (the book has been out for a while now) who’ve known me for a long time have said, I didn’t see X links. Sorta believable. Also I am not represented, I am not a darling, I am not very famous or really even connected in the poetry world. So yeah, you won’t find my lil book in lists and shit. That is just how it is.

Also, I learned that I do not have the cash on hand to be trying to get my lil book awards. Shit is expensive. In secret I spent a few months last fall really dedicating hours of my week to submitting to free publicity or award things with my lil book. The hours cost me in terms of spoons and time not spent writing and netted me one very nice rejection letter.

And real talk. I STILL can’t get poetry published. At last submission spree, even with mentioning the book and including a poem or two from it, I don’t really get no love from the lit poetry world. That’s fine but it also means that I’m chasing my tail trying to promote my fucking book.

So yeah. That’s been a struggle but I’m glad I did it. I can see the whole pathway and what obstacles exist for me in particular and that I don’t honestly have the spoons to try to get around them. So I do what I have energy for.

NON BULLSHITS.

So last year I decided to focus more on getting back into the fiction world and boy howdy. Quite a few years ago I had about a 60% acceptance rate in the short fiction world. That was huge.

My return to it has been fucking lit.

This year I’ve placed stories in two anthologies that are both HUGE DEALS to me. Huge. I got an experimental horrory story into Would but Time Await: An Anthology of New England

I was REALLY nervous because the story was an experiment. It is a Black story and I haven’t really been in the horror community for a while.

THEN I got a little tiny horror story accepted over at Heavy Feather (will announce when it goes up). The editor Jason dropped me a note months ago and I FINALLY made something I’m into.

And then, I got the notification and one of the best damn acceptance notes ever. My lil supernatural noir story got into the Gimme the Loot: Stories Inspired by The Notorious B.I.G. Forthcoming from Clash.

The uniting theme in these is that, I’m at my best when I write what the fuck I want to write. I think freelancing really kind of crushed that in me to a degree. Yes there are some publishers who have been all the way the fuck in with me. But, largely that is not the case. This is the same thing with the flirtations with agents and mainstream publishing.

It is like, OKAY we fuck with you but about 40% so dial it back.

I don’t write great things with that in mind. I don’t write great things when I’m trying so hard to get paid what I’m worth.

All of this is really about me pupating so I can in fact find my place in the lit world. Someone who was trying really hard to be encouraging was comparing me to two very famous, very amazing Black writers and y’all, it made me cry. I like both authors. But, I am not like them and cannot be.

I hate this whole struggle between wanting a seat at the table, wanting some “success” (as termed by our culture) and just wanting to be my weird little self, make some writing, make some pomes, do my shit and maybe sometimes be shown appreciation in the form of coins.

I’m working on it. One lil thing at a time.

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Yeah, Write #390- Death in the Jungle

Death in the Jungle

The corner was busy, always busy.  The same grimy business of survival. Cars passed, girls and not girls on the stroll, bindles and cash got passed. Things are the same forever but, folks’ bodies remember it all. It was business as usual in the jungle.  In the bright of daylight when the shadows hide nothing, shots echo.  

But when they all ducked, nothing was there.

When Old Comforts Bite.

I’m anxious today and as is my habit I turned to an old fave audiobook for comfort. If you know me you probably already know that the Gunslinger is one of my favorite worlds and I put on the audiobook as done by one of my favorite narrators.

I started up the Drawing of the Three (*amazon affiliate links in the house) and for a while enjoyed it.

Until as with so many of Kings other books, somebody had to go on a nigger rant. In audio it’s fucked. There was another of the series I was listening to and it was a good solid five minutes of nigger nigger nigger and y’all. I took a deep breath and turned it off.

This is the type of moment when being a fan of color really fucking sucks. This is something a lot of fans, especially White fans just will never know the depth of pain this brings up.

With King in particular, almost anytime there is a Black character magical Negro or not, somebody has to be a racist. The constancy of this across his books is tiring.

I wish Uncle Steve had stayed in his fucking lane. Yes, we know there is racism. Yes, we negros even us magical negroes know that since time immemorial, some angry White person is gonna go on a slur filled rant. We been living it and we really don’t need it in ALL of the stories.

This is also why way back when, I had such an issue with the GOT books. How many times do we need to hear that Brienne needs to be raped or somebody needs dick or someone else needs to be raped, or that the Brown people are spicy or whatever.

I reviewed some edgy horror book a while back and part of the big scare was the unnamed scary Hood Negroes.

As  get older, my coping mechanisms get fewer and far between. My tolerance for the lazy reliance on racism whether overt or not, or true to a region or not, or “historically accurate” (cause dragons=totally real, not being racist=whoa there) is shrinking with every disappointment. Every revisit to something I thought I loved and that I realize yet again, these aren’t worlds I am allowed to sink into without being put in my place.

I have some things where I can find some comfort. I’m just finishing the amazing Children of Blood and BoneI have authors I follow, I save their short stories on my Kindle, I listen to some great fiction podcasts.

And yet, even with all my savvy I can’t always avoid these sinkholes of pain.

And I fell in one today and now I’m just sad and tired.

 

Yeah Write #369 Weekend Showcase- Cutter

Cutter

Okay friends. Buckle up we’re gonna go for an adventure in The World. 

Remember hypertext? We’re doing some hypertext. Click at will. Here is how it works. Every link relates to The World. Another story, or a post about how this world building works. You can navigate to more stories from the bottom of each post. Enjoy. Share with friendos.

This is very close to the idea I had originally about what I wanted to do with The World. It could still happen. Who knows.

~

I am the Cutter.

My phone chirps the perkiest alarm at 11:15 PM on the nose. My girlfriend doesn’t stir except for the hand she had resting on my ass squeezes and flaps away, she’s used to it by now. I follow the eccentricities of lunar librations and tonight is the night. Daddy called it sorcery, Mama called it necessary and The Worldcalls it pleasure.

The Boss Bitch Squad shows up bristling with their nails done and hair tucked up. They gleam and exude sex and death, they greet me with hugs and cries of “hey girl hey”, they call me Cutter.

At the appointed time they stand respectfully behind me and I draw my own blade. She is black as sin and sharp as the edge of death. The World quivers against my skin, crawling along my spine and pulsing with need.

We take no time for ceremony or elaborate sorcery. When The World leans on me full and fat, my blade finds her home. The World splits like ready flesh, my blade slides through and when the word and The World ooze together around me and the Boss Bitch Squad runs into battle and the beasts of the dark run to meet them, I am alone and I am one with all worlds.

I am the Cutter.

Currently working on-WIP and Inspo

Once upon a time I had a blog where I was playing with posting just inspiration shit without context.

We’re gonna play with that here. With whatever format fits for the shits.

My current WIP is titled: Uchisa aLenore et Black Head, Beloved.

Music first:

 

Words/Names:

  • Limerence.
  • Corvidae.
  • Armin Meiwe
  • Lust/blood.
  • Flesh.

A bite:

“You look, very pretty Mary. Pretty Mary. Is that a new hat? Very elegant. Almost, like a little brown budgie.” Mr. Peach White things budgies are the cutest things in the world and the compliment makes me blush. “Yes, new hat. It was made by the milliner what specializes in human heads. Near the river.” 

A few other WIP factoids:

I am actually personally terrified of birds so this story is fucking with my poor brainmeats.

This is lovey horrory weirdness? I dunno.

It is happening.

I am not thrilled about how many goddamn birds I’ve looked at including some gigantic ass dinorsaurs.

So that’s all.

 

Happy Women in Horror Month- Post 1.

Some meandering thinky thoughts.

Hi homies. I’m having a day and y’all know that means I’m just gonna dump my brain until I can focus.

Sooooooooooo horror.

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it but, I’ve been working on some new horror stories. As I’ve mentioned before, my fiction work has become the slow deliberate I have a fucking mission type work that my non-fiction used to be.

My new shit is different than what I’ve done before. If you’ve been here a while you may know that my first professional level sale was yonks ago and I made my bones writing a lot of erotic horror. Not sparkly vampire twinks but rough trade I want to rip off your head and fuck your neck monsters. I wasn’t into more classic horror at the time and found that my personal aesthetic was very at home in the porny horror.

Fast forward and I’ve been writing/working on some more classic type horror. Ghost stories, demons, etc. However, these are without a doubt Black stories.

Now I have to confess some things.

I don’t read a lot of horror anymore except very specifically because, frankly I am disinterested. A lot of my disinterest is in a vein of conservatism in horror. For me it started with horror mags for a few years having very eh, narrow ideas of what is acceptable. I don’t know how many guidelines I read that prohibited sex of any sort, naughty words, etc.

At the time, it felt kind of silly to me. I mean, some supposedly scary shit is going down and nobody says fuck? Okay. Upon rear-view, I realize what made me uncomfortable was that we couldn’t have anything too sexy, too cursebirdy but, the anti Blackness and anti womanness and anti non white dude was fine. Totally fine.

We could have booboo ass scary witch doctors and have storylines with suburban white kids going into the scary ghetto and gross outs because zomfg periods!! FAT WOMEN but, don’t have sexytimes or say fuck. I hated it and hate it now.

This is not a new feeling. Here is an excerpt from an essay I put at Medium about being a horror nerd. (Also peep the awesome photo of me screaming)

As an adult I think about some more of those stories and realize I was trying to see myself in those very White worlds. I didn’t have the language to express my hunger to see Black people populating the fictional towns or saving the day.

When I wrote my first novel in high school, it was a vampire epic in a very Anne Rice style, my vampires weren’t pale and smooth as marble. They were dark and smooth as my Mom’s living room table. They didn’t come from France they came from Egypt, not movie everyone is White Egypt, they came from the Haitian Revolution and from Zululand. Their history was my history told and learned through the lens of the vampire mythos.

This is what drove me/drives me out of horror. I feel like I’m disinterested because any bit of Blackness is King style magical negro or white kids triumph or or or…it is just so fucking boring.

So what AM I doing?

First thing is I’ve bit the bullet and changed how I write genre fiction visually. For a few years, because of how I like to space things, I just couldn’t stomach trying to re-format to manuscript format. Aesthetically, I tend to use line breaks etc as part of how I’m telling the story. That has been rough for me. I’m trying because so many places that publish genre fiction in print or online still use it.

Second thing, I’m being very deliberate in what I’m making up. Being that it is women in horror month, my stories (I’ll give you a taste soon) are women heavy.

Black women specifically.

Here is a taste of a ghost story I’m working on. Central to this is to understand this is happening in The Hood. This is a Black Ghost Story. For reference, somebody in this passage is dead:

At home my wife and I sat with our horde of cats and dogs going over the events. “I guess we should probably tell him.” I knew she was right but, we’d only just started working with the guy. “I know but I don’t want to. You remember what happened with the last two. I mean, he was crying babe.” She turned her big dark gaze on me, I bravely resisted the urge to cower. “Don’t start with that super masculine shit Pablo. The first time something reached out and touched you, you couldn’t speak English for an hour and you cried. Don’t.” 

She was right. I didn’t want her to be, not that I wanted to keep secrets but some things are just too much to explain. Something walloped me on the back of the head and two of the dogs looked behind me, tails wagging. The voice was loud and clear as always. “I heard you was talkin shit.” My sister Letiticia was the most irritating and amazing dead person. She had the uncanniest timing, she made herself comfortable on the floor with the big dogs and I sighed. “Hi Letty, so nice to see you. Oh, what no come in. No bother, it’s not like I was trying to get some alone time with my wife.” 

What I want to point you to here is that we are not using the Black body as the vehicle of fear. Blackness is not the mysterious scary other. It just is. This is the intimate vernacular the way (something I LOVE about Daniel Jose Older y’all know) folks talk to each other. These are people I know, if you are also a POC you probably know them too. I’m taking the haunted house trope away from the burbs and the seemingly always Victorian or whatever ghosts and bringing it into my community.

In terms of how I’m writing the women. In a lot of horror, the women are either fat ugly and scary (unfuckable and therefor support “the scare”) or they are super fuckable. She’s pale as milk with a long graceful neck and sweet brown eyes with a narrow waist and hefty titties and OH she speaks forty languages and is innocent and horny and shrieks with terror when a thing goes bump in the night.

Y’all know.

And if you are the writer, suddenly the question is are U FUCKABLE? EW NO U R NOT SO UR STORY IS UNREALISTIC.

We’ll talk about that shit more later.

My women are the heroines. As the maker of this myth, I’m giving them the power that women tend not to get in these stories. And yet, they aren’t ass kicker barbies.

I want to say more but I don’t want to spoil it also I’m not done yet.

This story is Black y’all. It is Blackity Black Black Black. It is a love note to my fellow Black fen. And to women.

Ahem.

I’ve babbled a lot.

I’ll do more through the month.

For now how about some of my other woman centric, WOC centric horror?

From my Yeah Write Archives a few favorites from my experimental horror series.

Beautiful Pit Vipers.

Black Pharaoh in the Morning. 

Down home.

Starveling.

I Dream of Doormen. 

AND

How about my Wifey’s fave?

I can be funny bros.

Puppy.

Next time we’ll talk about things I want to see more of in  horror and how race and gender can be included in how we view what is or isn’t horror as a thing.

YeahWrite #342 Weekend Writing Showcase

 

CONTENT WARNING- SERIOUSLY. NECROPHILIA AHEAD. 

Beyond Love.

 

I love you.

I loved you.

Until death do us part.

Congratulations darling, we made it. Can you believe it? I know, it was such a surprise but the look on your face was worth. The shock, the wide eyes and the screaming. Your little piggy squeals made my heart leap. It was really the sweetest most charming thing I’ve ever seen. I just love you so much. You are the perfect girl.

Oh, hold on I see you had a little accident. It’s okay love, don’t be embarrassed. These things happen when our bodies are cleansing themselves after death. Let me just, yeah okay let’s put your arm around my neck so we can get you rolled over. Good, perfect. Now, let’s wipe that off. when I was researching how best to help take care of your skin, you know what happened? I spent four days researching Lenin of all people. I wish I could do that for you, you know that don’t you?

I know, I’m sorry about this. Oh sweetheart, I understand. A bit of skin slippage is completely normal. The rigor took a bit of a toll on you too. Good news, you are all clean again. Did you like it when I touched you there? I liked it. I’ve never done you know, no you know. Am I blushing? I’ve never done any back door stuff with anyone. You see, you see how special you are?

Maybe we can try some, you know butt stuff? I don’t want to rush you. I know the other place; the sacred place is waiting for me. I can wait.

I want to wait. We’ve already been through so much together. Arterial spray, the piglet screams, the slow ebbing away of that light in your eyes. In those final moments, I saw how you saw me. You saw through what society says and what anyone else thinks. You saw into my heart and then, you laid back and closed your eyes. I can still feel the wetness of your last breath on my lips, it was right in that moment that I knew I’d chosen right.

You have always been the one.

I promised you as your body relaxed and released that I would be with you through it all. As far as I can. I will love you through bloat and CDI.

I promise my love, when the moment is right and the heat of decomposition runs riot in your body, we will be one. My love will drive the creatures from your body and I won’t share you ever again. When you begin to desiccate and your flesh is sloughing away, you will still be beautiful to me.

When you are bones, I will carry you with me for the rest of my life.

I love you.

I loved you.

After death do us part.