#SpeakBeautiful

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Late last night, carousing around on the interwebs, I stumbled across Dove’s marketing campaign, #SpeakBeautiful, the tag line being “our beauty words matter.”

And I fell in love right away.

Yes, this is a marketing strategy for a multi-national, multi-gazillion dollar company, as so many nay-sayers and uber-cool folks on Twitter are quick to point out

but I don’t care – I rather like it

and I was NEVER one of the cool folks, so I’m jumping on board and am down for the cause because the fact remains, our beauty words do matter

and more often than not, the words we women hear are neither positive nor empowering nor uplifting.

More often than not they make us insecure and uncertain, they leave us feeling small or unloved.

So at Write Bitches, we’re getting on board

and speaking beautiful

about

to

with

our gorgeous, loving, brilliant, badass sisters.

Every so often, when the mood so hits, we’ll post a little love note for all of y’all out there, a little something to brighten your day, make you laugh, make you think

about the words we use

#SpeakBeautiful my badass bitches

it matters.

xx,

Madhuri

#WriteBitch

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Guest Post: REALITY TV AND WOMEN OF COLOR

Those of y’all who know me also know I’ve got this supremely fabulous and pretty fierce girl in my life, The Stepdaughter. And I guess this project we’re doing, WRITE BITCHES, got her all kinds of excited, because she showed up at the house today for a visit, armed with a blog post.

I love that shit.

So here she is, without further ado – take it away, Syd.

You got this.


Ten Things Reality Television Teaches Us About Being Women of Color

Sydney Blaylock

1. True beauty lies in the unnatural: Fake eyelashes, faces “beat,” Brazilian hair extensions, and plastic surgery is what makes us beautiful. Meanwhile Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada are the brands that solidify our sense of style.

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2. We cannot support each other or have long-lasting friendships: We just can’t seem to get along, let alone genuinely support each other. By the drop of a dime, our friendships can be over but that’s okay because that’s what we have our men for.

3. True love involves infidelity, verbal abuse, and of course it just doesn’t last: There is no true love for us without drama with other women, children, and pain. We are never good enough even if we take care of him and all his children. In addition we’ve spent hundreds of dollars on looking “pretty.” What’s love got to do with it anyway? He’s a rapper, athlete, or hustler, and that’s good enough.

4. Women of color are competitors, not sisters: We can’t compliment one another; instead, we must tear each other down. The end goal is never to rise together – it’s always to defeat one another. Especially, when it comes to men, looks, and money.

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5. The real goal – fame and fortune: We don’t want to change the world, become politicians, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, or artists. Those people aren’t the real stars, the reality stars are. The key to life is to become famous and attain lots of money, even if we have to sell our souls and remain sexual objects for it.

6. We are all bitches and hoes. (I think you got this one.)

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7. Our body image and sexuality is powerless without the approval of others: Social media definitely doesn’t help this at all. Of course the man calls the shots and determines if we look good or not. Making it nearly impossible to love ourselves and our bodies without society’s “likes”, shares, and approval.

8. The best way to solve our problems is through verbal and physical abuse: We have to show one another that we are really bad and to do that we must curse each other out, throw glass objects, or rip each other’s weaves out. What’s life for us without a good fight?

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9. We no longer aim to be intellectual and sophisticated role models for young girls: Role model for what? We have to look good – that’s all that matters. Forget the fact that we have small children. Forget the fact those same small children will grow up one day to catch videos of us fighting on national television, taking our clothes off, and not loving ourselves.

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10. We still carry the historical, stereotypical images of the mammy, sapphire and jezebel despite the fact that women before us fought to diminish them: Let’s forget about all the women of color before us who challenged America’s perception of our body image, intellect and character. Let’s forget to love our culture, to love our bodies. It’s okay we still cute though.

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Screen Characters Blog Hop

As I am wont to do, I was stalking one of the blogs I follow, that belonging to the lovely Paige Randall, got wind of the Screen Characters Blog Hop, and invited myself to join the party…with Paige’s blessing, of course.

What’s a Screen Characters blog hop? you say.

It’s simple: name your ten favorite TV or Movie characters, then nominate ten friends to do the same.

Dude, I’m in because really, what do I love more than making lists of nonsensical, unimportant shit? Okay, okay, I do kinda like a kiss on that spot on my throat and I will never turn down wall-shaking, earth-moving sex

but close behind is pointless list-making, especially that of the pop culture variety.

So let’s do this shit.


1. Denise Huxtable, I could wax poetic for years and it would not begin to touch on the significance you played in my life. Suffice to say, you made me love my full lips, my out-of-control, curly hair, and my brown skin. And that is some deep shit.

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2. Thelma and Louise, together, because I cannot have one without the other, and I simply must have them. Their tragic tale of friendship, the difficulties we face as women on a daily basis, and how sometimes shit gets so fucked up and desperate, that going over that cliff with your best girl is the only option, has stuck with me all these years later. I laughed and cried the first time I saw this film in the Castro district of San Francisco, and I still cry every time I watch it. Also, these two, goddamn, they are So. Fucking. Hot.

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3. Tami Taylor, how do I love thee, let me count the ways. Your strength and your vulnerability, your hard lines and your soft curves, your spunk and your fire. The way you walk in those cowboy boots, the perfect fall of your hair, your growl and your twang. I love how you fight for yourself and then turn around and kick anyone’s ass who messes with your man. I love your wrinkles and your freckles and that little dance you do. You epitomize the dichotomy of the feminine and the badass, and you do it so fucking well. Seriously woman, you are perfection. Texas forever, bitches.

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4. Can we add a boy up in here? Yes,  let’s. Han Solo because I am a Star Wars geek and he is all kinds of awesome – the snark, the snarl, the hair. That and the fact that for years, I thought I was going to grow up to be him. Which is just another way of saying I’ve wanted to be a snarky badass for a long fucking time. Also, can I add that as a grown woman, I quite love the way Han’s holster slings around his hips just so…

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5. Gus Fring, you sexy bastard. You took an amazing show and made it even better. The chemistry between you and Walter was electric and seasons 2, 3 and 4 of Breaking Bad are some of the best on television. Your friendly, laid-back exterior hid the vicious meth distributor I loved to hate. No wait, I take that back – I think I simply loved you. Your brand of evil was Machiavellian, perfectly plotted and planned, thorough, sick, and twisted. Watching you and Walt dance around each other every Sunday night brought the joy and mister, your death scene was epic. POLLOS, baby, POLLOS.

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6. Satanica Pandemonium, you make me all kinds of nostalgic. I was living in Fort Greene when Dusk Til Dawn came out and at the time, the movie theatre in Fulton Mall was still open, so a bunch of us walked down Dekalb to check it out. I will never forget the utter silence that befell my small group of guys and girls when Satanica walked onto that screen. We were mesmerized by her impossibly sexy hips, perfect breasts, stunning face. Her everything. I don’t recall being so affected by a woman’s entrance onto the screen as I was by Hayek as Satanica. It’s campy and silly and absurd, but it’s supposed to be. And she owns it. Every fucking second of it. And we loved it. Every fucking second of it.

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7. Four. I’m a sucker for voices, so the minute he opened his mouth, I was kinda sold. Coupled with his quiet devotion to Tris and this sappy bitch is his forever. Because really, that scene in the movie where Tris goes to stand next to Four on the train, and they entwine their fingers and both breathe sighs of relief, that scene is everything. You know you love it. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Theo James is perfection…just saying.

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8. Coach Taylor, because you’re smart enough to marry Tami. Because you know to shut up when Tami gets that look. Because you can shoot that look right back at her, but make it smoldering and hot as shit. And because you said one of my favorite lines ever: “I need a drink. I need a scotch-flavored drink.”

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9. Hermione Granger, the little girl in all of us, sitting in class, desperately raising our hands, only to be ignored repeatedly until it becomes painfully clear the teacher has no choice but to call on us. Hermione made it cool to be that girl because really, that girl is all kinds of awesome. I wish I had a Hermione growing up because she is the business. She is the one running shit. She is the one saving folks. She is the one. Plain and simple. Bombarda!

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10. The Bride, because when I grow up, I want to be as badass as you. And look as fucking sexy doing it.

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That was hella fun. Who’s got next?

Aqueelah Ikram

Two Sassy Chicks

Lori Hendricks

Kayti

Sabina

Aman

Constance

Bradley

Shonda

Carrie

Woman Crush Wednesday — Natalia Kills

Today, my inaugural Woman Crush Wednesday post is going to be about the amazing, awesome, sexy as hell, pop artist Natalia Kills.

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(Be still, my heart)

Usually, it will take me a while to warm up to a music artist, and I’ve learned to give them three songs before I finally call it quits. Not so with Natalia. As soon as I heard, Wonderland, the first song off her album, Perfectionist, I was hooked. All her songs have this dark, sexy edge and she sings of aggressive, yet broken girls who do not fall in love.

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Her second album, Trouble feels more like a prologue with songs that seem to reveal the pain that went into crafting the hellraiser of a girl who swaggers through the first album. It’s more introspective, and sometimes a little heartbreaking.

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Through both albums though, and the music videos that accompany them, Natalia’s wonderful sense of style remains and I suffer from serious bouts of closet envy.

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She’s married now

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*cries*

and is one of the judges for this seasons X Factor New Zealand. It’s almost enough to tempt me to watch the show, but instead I shall patiently wait for her next album.

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Top 3 Favorite Natalia Kills Songs

1. Nothing Last Forever (ft. Billy Kraven)

2. Controversy

3. Love is a Suicide

— Kayti

#WriteBitch

By the way, have I mentioned that she has some of the hottest guys in her music videos?

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***EDIT

Due to Natalia’s shocking, and disappointing comments on the X-Factor New Zealand, she’s not much of a woman crush anymore. I still enjoy her music, but… Girl. Chill. Your husband did not invent the suit. 😡

Let’s Talk: Female Empowerment & Literature

OY! I seem to have managed to inspire someone to do something awesome. Have you met Batool or checked out her excellent blog, Batools Book Feels? If you answered either of those questions with a no, then I highly recommend checking out this badass young woman. She’s smart, she’s witty, she’s driven, she’s funny. In a nutshell, Batool is the business. Rock on with your bad self, girlfriend, rock on.

Hello there!

A while ago, my friend Madhuri Blaylock did a series on #WeNeedDiverseBooks. Essentially, she had a bunch of bloggers (including myself) each do a guest post to talk about why they think we need diverse books. Having been inspired by Madhuri, I’d like to do my own series here at Batool’s Book Feels. My series, however, will be focused on female empowerment and it’s connection to literature. I’ve invited a few awesome bloggers to participate, so this should be interesting!

I hope you enjoy reading everyone’s posts 🙂

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Cover Reveal: A World Apart (Shades Below, #1)

Welcome to the last stop on A World Apart‘s Cover Reveal Blog Train!

I’m super-stoked to be closing this little tour out right here at Write Bitches (see what I did there?). Thanks Madhuri and Kayti for letting me hijack the blog for the day! You guys rock, and I owe you both drinks. Soon.

Now, without further ado…

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“There are things that go bump in the night, Mr. MacMillian.  It’s my job to bump back.”

Private investigator Jesper MacMillian was sure he’d seen it all.  After all, in a city like San Francisco, strange is what’s for breakfast.  Following a long  recovery after a horrific accident, his life is finally the way he wants it- or at least, close enough.  The only monsters on his radar are the ones that keep him awake at night.

All that changes the day he meets Lena Alan.

Before MacMillian has a chance to brace for impact, Lena drags him into a world where monsters aren’t just real, they’re hiding in plain sight.  Suddenly, everything he knows is suspect, starting with his current case.  For Lena, a psychic medium since childhood, it’s just another day at the office.

For MacMillian, it’s the beginning of the end of everything he thinks he knows.

Excerpt:

“I should hex the IRS.”

Lena set down the receipt she was scrutinizing, and stared at the woman across the table from her.  “You’re not serious.”

The woman blew a wisp of dark brown hair out of her face, tugged off her plastic-frame reading glasses, and stretched.  The movement made her deep violet lowlights shimmer.  “Why not?  It might distract them for a while, and we could take a break from sifting through all this bullshit.”

Lena snorted.  “Hey, I said you didn’t have to help me.  My business, my-”

“Responsibility.  Whatever.” The woman rolled her eyes.  “We both know you’re shit with numbers.  Hand me that calculator.”

Lena bit back a grin, and obediently passed it over.  “Have I ever told you you’re like some kind of occult superhero?  Georgia Clare: bookkeeper by day, badass biker witch by night.  Seriously, you should put that on your business cards.”

Georgia scowled, but her sharp green eyes twinkled.  “Well, as your bookkeeper, I’m hereby suggesting you set up a network for this place.  Are you kidding me with all this paper?  If I didn’t know your family, I’d swear you were Amish.”

Lena shrugged.  “I’ll get to it.”

The bell above the door jingled, and a small posse of women trekked inside.  Lena flashed them a smile.  “Welcome! Take a seat anywhere.  I’ll have someone right with you.”  She set down the receipt she was holding and stood.  “I need to go find Connie.  Thanks again, Georgia.”

Georgia was already tapping away at the calculator.  She waved without looking up.

Lena left their table in the corner, wove around the other tables and scooted behind the counter.  The women were ogling the scones and tiny cakes in the pastry case.  Lena nodded to them, pride warm in her chest.  She pushed open the swinging doors and stuck her head into the kitchen.  “Hey, Tiburcio!  You seen Connie back here?”

Her head chef popped up from behind one of the stainless steel counters.  “No, señora, not yet.  Do you know when Jimmy is coming in?  He was supposed to take a look at the stand mixer.”

Lena’s good mood immediately deflated.  “I’m afraid we won’t be seeing Jimmy around anymore.”

Tiburcio’s eyebrows went up, and she prayed he wouldn’t press her for answers.  Mercifully, he merely gave a single, short nod.  “Qué pena.  Nice guy.”

She swallowed hard.  “Yeah.  Yeah, he was.”

With Connie nowhere in sight, Lena backed out of the kitchen again, and turned to the group at the counter.  This time, her smile felt tight.  “Sorry about the wait, guys.  Just pastries today?”

She forced herself through the motions, and heaved a sigh of relief when they finally headed out the door, already picking bits of scone from their crisp white paper bags.  Lena allowed her gaze to wander to the park across the street.  Maybe she’d head over there for lunch.  For some reason, the shop felt smaller than usual.  Some fresh air would be nice.

Maybe it would help dislodge the painful knot from her throat.

She was still staring into the park when a dark green, classic-looking car rolled up to the curb.  The throaty engine rattled the shop’s windows, then shut off.  A tall, dark-haired man climbed out.  He paused, turned, and looked directly at her.  The bottom plummeted out of her stomach.  Lena shook herself.  Of course he wasn’t looking at her.

He was looking at the shop.

Sure enough, he squinted at the sign, slammed the car door and started across the street.  He walked with a barely noticeable swagger, his well-built body encased in a dark gray suit.  She looked closer.  No, not quite a suit: instead of a blazer, he wore some sort of belted military jacket.

She braced herself.  The bell above the door chafed her already strained nerves.  The man filled the narrow doorway.  Lena swallowed hard.

She knew a wolf when she saw one, and this man was definitely a wolf.  He loomed in the doorway for a moment, then started towards the counter.  His gait swayed, and she realized what she’d thought was a swagger was actually an injury.  An old injury, judging by the practiced grace with which he wielded his curved black cane.

Lena relaxed slightly.  A wolf was bad news, but a wounded wolf?  That, maybe, she could deal with.

He reached the counter, and leaned against the glass.  Lena frowned.  “Can I help you?”

His eyes took a quick tour of her body, then he straightened.  “Maybe.  I’m looking for the owner of this place.”

“You found her.  I’m Powonia Alan.” Lena crossed her arms.  “If you’re looking for a job, I’m afraid we’re not hiring at the moment.”

The man blinked.  “I’m not here for a job.  I’m looking for a friend of mine.  His parents told me he’d been working here.”

Something started to ache in the pit of her stomach.  “Is that so?”

The man arched an eyebrow.  “Jimmy Vaspurkan.  You know him?”

She didn’t know what made her open her mouth.  Maybe it was the man’s eyes, too heavy on her face.  Maybe it was the way his voice reached deep into her gut and made her insides quake.  Maybe she just needed to talk to someone.

Whatever the reason, she was answering before she could stop herself.  “You’re a little late.  He’s dead.”

###

Release Date: March 21, 2015

Miss a few stops along the way?

Each of these fabulous bloggers has volunteered to host a different excerpt from A World Apart on their blog. Stop by, give them some love, and check out the excerpts in order!

1st Stop: L.J.K. Oliva Books

2nd Stop: Madhuri Blaylock Writes

3rd Stop: Home of A.L. Kessler

4th Stop: In A Pursuit of Publishness

5th Stop: Mia Bishop- Author, Artist, Dreamer

6th Stop: The Self-Publishing Experiment

7th Stop: The Darker Side

8th Stop: Write Bitches <<You Are Here

Hit all the stops to read A World Apart up through Chapter 2!

***

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My Motherf*cking Clique

Growing up, I was never the cool girl, the one everyone looked up to or wanted to hang with – I felt like an outsider, sometimes even with my own friends. Maybe that’s the nature of adolescence or maybe I was just that much of a social misfit. Either way, I certainly never had a clique of my own.

Until now.

I am pleased to say that I’ve got one and it is fucking fabulous.

As Jay-Z says, allow me to re-introduce myself…

We are the Write Bitches – Kayti Nika Raet, Laura Oliva, and myself – three girls doing our thing individually, but also coming together as our own, special force of nature. We write, we laugh, we snark, but most of all, we support each other in this sometimes cruel, always tough, world of literary pursuit and endeavor.

I cannot speak to why Kayti and Laura said yes when I asked them to join forces, but here’s why I did it: you know that vibe you get when you meet those individuals in your life that just kind of fit? Like y’all get each other right from jump? That’s these two for me. They get it – the funny, the tough, the sexy. And that’s important when you’re going out on a limb with a crew. There’s gotta be some serious trust, some mad love, because there are times when I won’t be posting on this site, but Kayti will or Laura will or both of them will and that’s cool because I’m all right with them speaking for US.

And that is some serious shit because I am a control freak

so giving it up to other folks

well, fuck. That rarely happens.

But here, at Write Bitches, that’s how we get down.

And trust when I say, it’s going to be fierce and awesome and spectacular, so I would highly suggest giving us a follow and watching what we’re up to because this

all of this

it’s the shit.

And you don’t want to miss a second of it.

Much love,

Madhuri

#WriteBitch


I had planned on writing something mildly quirky and sarcastic, you know, the usual. I’d had about three-quarters of it written out when I decided to scrap it and admit something.
At one time I used to skirt the perimeter of new things/ideas/projects for eons, trying to make sure I had a Plan A, B, XYZ in place before I decided to do something. I’m a bit of a control freak and hate the sensation of going into something completely blind. There were a lot of opportunities missed until one day I decided to stop dipping my toe into the pool and just jump in.
Now when it comes to something new, or an abrupt change in plans, instead of saying ”no’, and listing all the reason why it is doomed to failure, (I’m a recovering pessimist) I go for ‘sure, why not’. It could fail, and I learn something, but more often than not it succeeds, and it is wonderful.
And in attempting fearlessness I’ve met some equally fearless folk and we’ve clicked. We get each other. Amazingly well.
So when Madhuri asked me to join, I took a deep breath and jumped in. Like everything else, it should be awesome.
World domination in the works.

Sin,

Kayti

 #WriteBitch


As long as we’re doing confessions, I have something to confess, too.

I am not usually a blogger.

I mean, I’ve dabbled. At times, my attempts haven’t even sucked. But committing to a regular blog schedule has always been something of a bridge too far. So why the hell am I here?

Madhuri alluded to this question above. For myself, the only answer that springs to mind is “because I really, really want to be.”

Like Madhuri, I’ve struggled to find my “crew”.

Like Kayti, I tend to shy away from new projects (my reasons are slightly different; I’m just a total commitment-phobe).

This is why we click. This is what made me so excited when Madhuri first invited me on board.

Everybody wants to be understood, but I think for writers, it goes deeper than that. We need to be understood. We spend much of our lives in our own heads. When we finally break surface only to find the waters around us empty, it’s crushing.

Conversely, when you come up for air and are surrounded by people who are rooting for you to do what you do, well, it’s fucking beautiful.

Write on, fellow bitches. Let’s go swimming.

Besos,

Laura

#WriteBitch

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