Tag Archive: anybody

Don’t Wait, Write When You Can

Recently, I was asked by a young woman why I waited so long to begin writing, to which I replied, I didn’t wait.

I’ve always written.  When I was a small child, I wrote little stories – mostly based on fairy tales I’d read – and poems.  When I was a teen, I wrote, usually as an assignment from my English teacher, but sometimes because I just wanted to.  Also, as a lot of teens did (perhaps still do), I kept a diary from time to time.

Then, I fell in love and began marriage and motherhood when I was eighteen.  Not a good choice on my part, but, at the time, nobody could tell me it wasn’t.  Ten years and three children later, I was divorced.

In between taking care of my kids, my household, and sometimes working two jobs but always at least one, and all the overtime I could get (not to mention going to school at the community college!), there wasn’t much time for writing though I would often get ideas for a story and scribble them down on whatever was handy.  Then I’d put them in a drawer and somehow, over the years, I never got time to finish any.

Then, six years ago, I retired (yayyy!) and three years ago I found one of the few stories on which I’d actually managed to get several thousand words written.  I had transcribed it into Word, and saved and moved it every time I got a new computer.

Gone were the days I ran from one job to another, or stayed late at my fulltime one and dragged home so tired I’d fall asleep in the shower, or try to read a book only to wake up with it on my face (though I still managed to get in some reading – couldn’t have made it without that!).

As I read over that unfinished story, it occurred to me that I now had time to write, and a strange thing began to happen.  It started to seem as if the characters were speaking to me, telling me the story, urging me to write it down.  So, I did, and before I knew it, I found I’d written the first book in my Boucher’s World series, which now consists of a trilogy, a full-length, stand-alone novel, two novellas, two novelettes, and a short story.

I had written enough material for several stories in that particular universe, and even now, those characters call out to me, though I now have another series (the Juri Turner Spaceships and Magic series ) for which I’ve published book one and am halfway through book two, pulling at me for my attention.  I’ve written other stories (the Cady and Sam werewolf stories) with more to come.

I did wait to publish but that was mainly because I wasn’t writing to publish.  I was writing because I couldn’t not write (yeah, I know that ain’t grammatically correct as auto-correct just pointed out to me, but it’s true, so shut up, auto-correct!), but after a while I did sort of want someone other than family and friends to read my stories so as soon as I discovered I could publish as an independent author, and for practically nothing, I did (I’m now into that fixed-income thing, sooo…practically nothing, or free, is good).

The point is, and I repeat: I did not wait to write.  I guess you could say I kind of dodged between the raindrops and skated around potholes and wrote when I could.

If you want to write, if you have to write, then do it.  Any way you can.

And I hope to write until I’m dead.  And even afterward if I can swing it.


A Review of “Fin & Tonic, Talon & Tombstone by David Moss & Lance Carney 

What an entertaining read! This book of well written short stories span a range of topics, some dealing with the supernatural or paranormal, some with science fiction.  Some are horror, and quite dark, guaranteed to give a delicious shiver, or in the case of “The Pizza Man”, a shiver and a laugh.  One favorite of mine, “You Do What You Gotta Do”, a science fiction piece dealing with an alien come to do some abductions, I found to be downright hilarious – and surprisingly sweet.   A few of the stories can’t be categorized into a specific genre as they contain elements of more than one, but they are, nevertheless, a delight to read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys any of the above genres, blended or otherwise, especially if they don’t have a lot of time to read, or to anyone who likes a good short story.

Five stars for excellence!

So I’ve been absent for a while…

I’ve been absent for a while.  I’ve been dodging between raindrops, so to speak, what with the holidays, trying to get in some reading, working on the first draft of the third book in my trilogy (Boucher’s World: Encounters, remember?), which, by the way, I’ve finished and am in the middle of a first edit before getting beta readers.  I’m also trying to finish proofing two short novellas I’m publishing on Createspace.  I got sick on the second day of the new year and couldn’t function for nearly a week (except to tweet – only missed one day of doing that, LOL), so I’m not nearly where I’d intended to be by now.  Oh, well.  Stuff happens, and then you move on.  I’m not sweating any of this, just taking it one day at a time.  I’m feeling better now, though I had a slight set-back yesterday, but today, I’m moving on.

I did manage to get to the first meeting of the year for the writing meet-up group I’m a member of (the University Area Write to Publish group), and lo and behold, there was a very nice young lady there who’s a free-lance writer for our local newspaper, The Charlotte Observer, and she has written a wonderful article about our meet-up group.  It can be found here.  I thought she also took a great picture of the group to go along with the article.  This young lady, Marjorie Dana, is also starting down the road to becoming a novelist herself, so I’m wishing her the best in her endeavors, and, judging from how well she writes articles, I can believe she’s going to be quite impressive with her book.

Ramblings on Being Profiled…

I’m sure that just about anyone who is black has had the experience of being followed around a department store while shopping, and/or being ignored when trying to find something or trying to get a price.  This has happened not only to males, but to females, too. Of course, nowadays, it doesn’t seem to happen as often as it did when I was a child.

I was a child during the nineteen fifties (back when we were “colored”), and sometimes my mother would take me with her when going out to shop or pay bills.  We were always watched when going into stores, and I remember the time we went out to pay utility bills one day (yeah, in those days we walked to do this because she had to pay in cash or money orders, and by the time she’d gotten to somewhere that sold money orders, she figured she might as well go the few extra blocks to the water department and power building.  Saved on those two or three cent stamps).  On the way back from taking care of those, we stopped at a dress shop where she had some clothes on lay-a-way, to make a payment. The year was about nineteen fifty-three and I was around six years old.

She made her payment at the service desk, grabbed my hand to leave the store, and we headed for the door. On the way, something caught her eye on a rack, and she paused for moment to look, then we continued on our way.  Or we tried to.

We’d gotten a few steps when we were accosted by a big, burly white man who, very roughly, asked my mother what had she put into her purse.  I’m sure that she was surprised by this but my mother, who was a very meek person, answered in her soft voice that she’d put nothing in her purse and she clasped my hand, tightly.

Well, this man didn’t believe her and refused to let us pass, demanding that she open her purse so he could check. He insisted he’d seen her take something off the rack and was extremely loud with his accusation.  By now, a female salesperson had walked up and was listening. This white lady, who’d seen my mother come into the shop for years, watched her go to the service desk numerous times to pay on her lay-a-ways, and knew my mother’s name, grabbed my mother’s purse and opened it up, of course finding nothing that shouldn’t have been there.

Since there was nothing in her purse that belonged to the store, the man insisted the woman take my mother to the dressing room and have her remove her clothing since “she must have stuck it under her dress”.  My mother went with the woman, but she was humiliated.  She was an honest, hardworking, church-going woman who taught her children not to steal, cheat, or lie, and tears began to roll down her cheeks. This frightened me as I’d never seen my mother cry, so I began to sniffle, and I tried to follow her but was not allowed.  She told me to wait and be quiet.  The man pulled me back and held me by gathering the material in the back of my dress and holding on to me that way (I guess he couldn’t hold my hand because the black might have come off and soiled his hand).

Of course, as my mother disappeared into the room with the woman, being the (dis)obedient child I was, I squirmed like crazy to get away from the man and began to bawl at the top of my lungs, which caused the man to curse and call me some very bad names (I didn’t know what his words meant at the time, but he was loud enough for my mother to hear, and though she told me later when I asked what they meant that they didn’t mean anything, years later when I was much older, I still remembered the words and knew what they meant).  Fortunately for me and my mother, all this noise attracted the attention of the foot cop who was passing by the shop at the time and he came in to see who was killing a kid.

There were no black policemen in my (southern) city at that time and, unless you were committing a crime (or construed as committing one), and you were black and a kid, you were generally ignored.  This cop, however, upon learning that I was screaming because I’d been separated from my mother who had been taken to another room to be searched, immediately demanded that the man turn me loose, and insisted my mother be brought back and released.  By then, the search was over anyway – with nothing having been found, of course. At least the cop was an honest and fair one.  As I recall, he had harsh words for the man (I never knew who he was; could have been some kind of security guard, I suppose, or maybe he owned the shop.  Don’t know) and the saleslady.  Needless to say, my mother never went into that shop again. I learned later that she sent my aunt in to get her things out of lay-a-way.  Back then, law-suit never entered most blacks’ heads so that was the end of it.

You might say that for the times and the place, what happened was not unusual since that was still in the days of Jim Crow.  Except, of course, at the time I did not understand. Took some time before I did and even then I never actually understood  until I was grown, and I never accepted it.  Over the years, I’ve been followed in stores, watched but ignored when it came to finding what I needed, and asked constantly if I “need help” with something, even after I’ve smiled and said “no” numerous times.  Now, I can’t say all of it is because I’m black, and truthfully, such incidents have become much less in recent years (or less obvious), but still, they happen.  Even to an old(er) black woman.

When I was raising my children during the seventies and eighties, it was still quite common to be tailed in a store when all you were doing was trying to find the aisle where they kept the socks so you could replace the tatty ones your kids’ toes ate.  Very annoying, but even then you just seethed and kept going.  Once, during the nineties, I went to buy a car and was ignored so badly, I left and went somewhere else.  Guess I didn’t look as if I could afford one to those particular people, though why the heck else would I be standing in a dealer’s showroom looking at sticker prices?  Must admit that particular one hasn’t happened again.

Still, during the nineties,  I did have to leave a computer store when I went shopping for my first desk-top, due to a lack of interest in my questions – and, apparently, my money.  I had finally gotten the reluctant attention of one of the numerous salesmen on the floor when a (white) guy walked up and the salesman immediately dropped me like a hot rock to go wait on him.   Bought one somewhere else where they didn’t seem to mind my color, answered all my questions and didn’t leave me to go wait on someone else.   They seemed to like me and ever after that, would always help me with questions or buying computer accessories when I went back.  Or, it could have been the fifteen hundred dollars I left with them in exchange for the computer.   But they were nice and helpful.  At any rate, haven’t had that kind of problem since, either.

When he was a teenager, my son got a job and bought a car.  Nothing fancy, a Ford Escort, but he got stopped by cops with great regularity and asked to assume the position while they searched him and his car and any male passengers he had with him when all he’d been doing was driving down the street at the correct speed.  The explanation was that there was some thugs going around committing crimes who had a preference for that type of car, so every black male seen driving one was pulled over. There was no explanation of why he got pulled over when driving my car which was not a Ford Escort.

Since I wore my hair very short at that time (as I’ve recently gone back to doing), I was even pulled over a few time while driving his car, though once I was seen to be an older black female, they never asked me to lie down in the street with my arms and legs spread or searched the car.  And, my daughter, who’d bought a Mustang, got pulled over, too, for no obvious reason that we were ever able to see.

I warned my son – and his cousins who rode with him from time to time – to always be cooperative so as not to get shot.  Warned my daughters, too, just in case.  In fact, I gave them all kinds of what might be taken to be odd warnings, to try to keep them safe, such as certain clothing not to wear, cultivating a neutral but pleasant expression, not getting into an elevator alone with a white person especially a female (that one was mostly for my son), and various other such items.   Sad that I had to do that but I didn’t want them in jail for no reason – or dead.  After all, I couldn’t tell them not to be black.

It’s a pity that even now, you have to be careful if walking, driving, shopping, or doing just about anything, while black.  But I am not surprised.

Feeling sorry for my book…

So I put my KDP select novelette, Hard Changes, up for free for three days.  Then I forgot I had it scheduled until a few days before.  Bad move.  I rushed to put up a post about it then went looking for sites that allow you to put your free book up.  Unfortunately, a lot of them require you to have reviews and at least a three star rating.  Heh.  It has no reviews and no stars. And most sites require a heck of lot more lead time than two or three days.  I did find a couple that put it up for me, but apparently, judging from the number of downloads, that wasn’t enough.  It’s a science fiction story, and even there it’s sort of a niche book.  Or, maybe it’s just a rotten story.  Sigh.

Oh, well.  I have two more free days left.  I’ll schedule those and try to get a little more going in the way of promotions.  Poor little thing’s got a few hours left free today so maybe somebody (or somebodies) will still give it a whirl.

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