Why I Write What I Write, #19: John Winston #WriteBitches

Happy New Year, bitches!

Our very first WIWWIW (I know, that acronym is nuts) post of 2016 belongs to John Darryl Winston. Thanks for contributing, John! It’s all yours…

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Why I write what I write.

So, I was a varsity boys’ basketball coach in Detroit a few years back. We were at an out-of-town tournament and were having a healthy lunch at Mickey Dees. I was all excited about the final installment (well, I thought it was the final installment) of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith coming out and expressed my giddiness to my guys to which one replied, “Don’t nobody wanna see that junk.” The rest of the team concurred, and I was devastated. After further inquiry, I realized that my guys had not seen any of the Sci-fi movies I had grown up on and were not the least bit interested in the genre, citing, “it wasn’t real.” Where was their imagination? I began to see this lack of imagination, not just on the court, but in their life goals and aspirations.

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A few years later, when I became a teacher, I began to observe the books my students, students of color, were reading. The vast majority were about the streets, drugs, gangs, violence, and teen pregnancy, and this literature was celebrated as being “real” and “relatable” to kids growing up in the city. I took issue with this because I was one of those kids that grew up in the city and although I witnessed some of those things, my life was richer than that. I also knew that in order to rise higher, my imagination had to be even richer. So I write to that end. I write for the boys I used to coach and the ones that came after.

I write for Antonio Drew Van who told me “I had been hoping to find a “Harry Potter” type book and series where the main character is African American and I believe IA: Initiate fills that. Additionally, I look for “Super Hero” type books where the superhero is also African American. My grandson delights in these characters on TV with European features, white skin, and flowing blond hair who don’t look like them. I have to interrupt that.”

I write for Dianna Scowera, reviewer for Readers’ Favorite who said, “If today’s kids have a need for a superhero their own age, Winston has more than succeeded in supplying it with his IA series. I don’t think there are enough African American superheroes in the comic book world and Naz could surely take the lead to fill that large gap. I’ll wait for the day I’m at another comic con to see the kids running by my table dressed up like Naz and think of you ;)”

I write for the boys in my “boys read” program who say the books out there just don’t interest them. I write for the students I teach every day who need role models to aspire to. I write for all the people out there who say there aren’t enough people of color as protagonist in mainstream stories. But most of all I write for me because at one time or another, I have been all of those people.

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About John Winston

A Detroit native and public school educator, Winston created the coming of age hero’s journey as part of a creative writing and ‘Boys Read’ program. He is a graduate of The Recording Institute of Detroit, Wayne State University, The Motion Picture Institute of Michigan and is currently enrolled in the MFA Creative Writing program at Wilkes University. He has written songs with and for Grammy winner David Foster and record mogul Clive Davis. He has been a recording artist on Arista and Polygram records, and has written and/or produced songs for Gerald Levert, Gerald Alston, and many others. Winston currently lives with his daughter in Michigan.

Find him here:

Website: johndarrylwinston.com

Facebook: facebook.com/johndarrylwinston

Twitter: twitter.com/johndwinston

Instagram: instagram.com/johndarrylwinston

Blog: johndarrylwinstonblog.com

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Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to lauraolivabooks@gmail.com, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Why I Write What I Write, #18: Amy Sommer #WriteBitches

It’s good to have friends.

Amy found out about this series from her friend Anne Marvin, who gave us our very first post for Why I Write What I Write.  I’m glad too, because she’s done a pretty bitching job here. Thanks for contributing, Amy! The mic is yours…

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I write because it is one of the few things I do well.  I’ve written for indifferent and crazy bosses – sometimes simultaneously, often consecutively. I’ve written anonymously for friends for whom a blank computer screen elicits an almost phobic response.  I’ve written for myself when I’m all yelled out but still filled with rage and fear – two emotions that for me always show up together.  I write so that my truth can be heard and maybe lift up another’s perspective on life. I write for the possibility that if the literary stars align and I’m ‘on my game’, that maybe, just maybe, I can improve a tiny sliver of our messed up world. I write because I am a writer.

“Should I get a Twitter account and follow you?” asked my supportive husband.

“No. Thank you, though. I am more flattered when strangers follow me or comment on a blog entry.  Seems like cheating when I know the people.” So, I guess I write for strangers.

But I also write for myself. I write because I have to. Because a day without sufficient time with words and my laptop doesn’t feel like a fully-lived day. Even if my ‘screen time’ is filled with just that – staring at a blank screen – it grounds me in purpose and makes me feel alive.

I write when I am all screamed out – after the volcano of my emotion has erupted on my family and they still don’t heed my wisdom. I retreat to my screen to avoid their scowling faces, which serve as a mirror of my failure.  I write because I cannot speak or shout in a way my family can hear me.

Sometimes I whisper onto the page – to gain attention amidst the sea of screaming, bitching malcontents – both within my head and on the airwaves — in the hope that even if I cannot speak so that people can hear, maybe if I whisper my point onto the page, I will be part of the greater conversation.

I write to validate my existence. When I’m with my words, I am an independent, creative spirit. I am not a mother, a daughter, sister or spouse – I am doing something just for me and as me. I write because that is what Amy does.

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About Amy Sommer

writer, mother and worrier.

Find her here:

Website: http://www.fretforhire.com/

Twitter: @amysommer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amy.sommer.505

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Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to lauraolivabooks@gmail.com, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Why I Write What I Write, Post #15: K.C. Tansley #WriteBitches

First off, congrats to K.C. on her new YA book-baby! Cupcakes and cigars all around! Check out K.C.’s thoughts on writing and worldbuilding (which I totally relate to), then keep reading to learn a little something-something about her new release, The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts

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heartbeatwords2In 2006, I was devastated by the coming end of the Harry Potter series.  I hated knowing that I had to say goodbye to Harry and Hermione. Sure, there was that last book and I could always reread the rest of the series. (And I did.) But we would never take a new adventure together. That’s what started me thinking about writing my own series. I wanted to be able to spend as many years with my characters as I wanted and never have to part from them until I was ready.

When I started crafting the story world for The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts, I always saw it as the first book in The Unbelievables series. Because I like to write very specific worlds, it takes a lot of time to build them. If I only visit my story world for one book, well, that just seems like such a waste to me. Plus, I invest so much time and emotion developing my characters. I get really attached to them. I need to be able to go on new adventures with them.

For The Unbelievables series, the original concept demanded several books. I have four central families and I wanted to explore each family’s individual struggle and their role in the group struggle. I sketched it out and it felt like 5-6 books to me.

I loved knowing that I would have time to go deep into my characters. To trace their roots back generations and tell a story that began hundreds of years ago. I love the grand scale of an epic saga—showing what secrets and betrayals can do across generations. I enjoy exploring the unintended consequences of actions and how it all matters in the end. Every single action my characters take contributes to what happens in that novel and in the series as a whole.

Being a huge fan of mysteries, I realized with a series I could build a mystery into each novel and also have an overarching mystery that ran through the series and culminated in the final installment. I was thrilled to have so many threads I could weave through each book.

Even now as The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is being published, I am hard at work on the sequel. It’s great to be able to continue Kat and Evan’s story. And to know that another sequel is just around the bend.

And even when Kat’s story ends, I know that there is the possibility of branching off within my story world. I can go back generations or forward generations. I can stay in the same time and delve into someone else’s point of view. It’s pretty amazing to think of all the places I can go with The Unbelievables series.

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About The Book

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In The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts, prep school junior Kat Preston accidentally time travels to 1886 Connecticut, where she must share a body with a rebellious Victorian lady, prevent a gruesome wedding night murder, disprove a deadly family curse, and find a way back to her own time.

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About K.C. Tansley

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K.C. Tansley lives with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, on a hill somewhere in Connecticut. She tends to believe in the unbelievables—spells, ghosts, time travel—and writes about them.

Never one to say no to a road trip, she’s climbed the Great Wall twice, hopped on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, and danced the night away in the dunes of Cape Hatteras. She loves the ocean and hates the sun, which makes for interesting beach days. The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is the first book in her YA time-travel murder mystery series.

As Kourtney Heintz, she also writes award winning cross-genre fiction for adults.

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter: @KourHei

Goodreads

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Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to lauraolivabooks@gmail.com, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

Why I Write What I Write, Post #14: Alexis Donkin #WriteBitches

Alexis got in touch with me after learning about our series on Twitter, and can I just say, I found that really exciting. Thanks so much for jumping in with us, Alexis! It’s all yours…

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A long time ago, poets were so revered, it was said no one should cross them. This is because words create reality – and it is impossible to kill an idea. Once a poet unleashed his or her words, there was no taking them back. This is the power of voice – and of the pen.

When I started writing, I didn’t know what I was doing. I had an idea that had been bouncing around my skull for maybe a decade and no more excuses. I was unemployed, alone in a dark apartment. So I sat in front of my laptop and started typing. I worked for fifteen hours straight. I slept. I wrote another fifteen hours. I only got up to pee and sometimes eat. At the end of the week I had my first novel, THE BROTHERS.

Writing has always been something I’ve done, but I didn’t understand why I write until maybe my third book. I thought I was writing the books I wanted to read. In the case of THE ROLLINS PACK series, I wanted to write about werewolves – because I was tired of sparkly vamps. I ended up writing about families, reproductive justice, and gender power dynamics.

What the hell?! I found myself re-reading the books and trying to figure out what happened.

I even tried to write a “sell-out” book – a stand-alone sci-fi pulp piece for women. It’s still as popular as any of my other work. Still, it ended up with themes of consent and social revolution.

I guess I was slow when it came to understanding my fiction writing. I get my nonfiction – it’s obvious. I write it because I needed to tell people about x, y, and z. But fiction? I would start with a pulpy plan and in the course of revelation, the story would take a sharp turn into social commentary.

The glory of fantasy and sci-fi is its power to remove a reader from their context. Some might say this is escapism, and that may be true sometimes. But the truth is fantasy and science-fiction are so much more than escapism. By removing readers from their context, writers can talk about anything. Suddenly they can raise questions about technological innovation, about the nature of consciousness, of what it means to be human. Suddenly they can talk about the ugly parts of humanity – of gender roles or cultural dynamics – with impunity. And since they do this in stories, writers leave an impression. People remember stories.

Fantasy and sci-fi writers can churn out fun escapes, but they are just as likely prophets, teachers, and warriors. Fiction writers are the leading edge of human thought, pushing everyone forward, driving everyone to evolve – to actualize their humanity.

It sounds glorious when I write it like that. But it’s not. It’s not like that at all. It is full of doubt and sacrifice, sweat and tears. But I have to write. Writing is a compulsion, otherwise I would not choose this path.

I don’t know how far my words reach. I have no idea what ripples they create. What I do know, is that I write to make ripples, however small or big they may be. I can’t not. I’ve tried.

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About Alexis Donkin

Alexis Donkin lives in Southern California with her family and real life familiar. She has lived many places and studied many things. She paints, sings, and dances when she’s not writing or speaking. Be sure to connect with her and check out her fiction at http://alexisdonkin.com.

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Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to lauraolivabooks@gmail.com, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Why I Write What I Write, Post #13: Mia Bishop #StoryPeople

I have the pleasure of running into Mia on Facebook on a regular basis. She’s that cool, kooky girl who always posts fun stuff. When she agreed to participate in our series, needless to say I was stoked! Welcome to the blog, Mia!

*PUDDING*

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Why I write, what I write? I tried to think of something profound and poetic to put my reasons I to pretty words, but the simple answer is much easier. I write what I write because I get these characters, or scenes, or dialogue stuck in my head. These crazy-outrageous things bounce around in my brain and drive me closer and closer toward insanity. The longer I hold off on writing them down the more and more they become my all-consuming thought. I dream them, I day-dream them. This has gotten me into hot water on more than one occasion.

I love deep intricate stories and smutty sex scenes, so I try my best to write exactly that. They are stories with action, mythology, moral dilemmas, flawed character, blood, and sex. Mostly the blood and sex parts. When I was younger and just getting into reading romances I would always come away disappointed, just when it was getting good and steamy the author would shut the bedroom door. I would be sitting there yelling at the book “No, wait! Give me more!” After a long time of not writing anything I decided that if I was going to try my hand at being a writer I was going to write what I wanted to read. So I write stories with gory blood, magic, witches, shifters, vamps, criminals, Gods, and smutty sex.

For one, I want to know how these stories turn out. For two, reading sex is fun (at least for me). And three, as much as I enjoy PUDDING I don’t want to be locked up in a mental institution because these stories in my head have driven me crazy.

So why do I write, what I write? As Tumblr likes to point out, I write “because kidnapping people and forcing them to act out your interesting make-believe worlds is technically illegal.”

On a more serious note, I really do write the things I write about because I love it. I have fun and for me it is the greatest escape. Besides my kids, friends, and family nothing makes me smile more, laugh harder, and enjoy life more than writing. Writing makes my soul sing.

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About Mia Bishop

Mia Bishop lives in Southwest Colorado with her husband, two boys, and enough animals to fill a mini-zoo. She writes to keep from dying of boredom in the high desert. When she’s not writing Mia can be found binge watching her favorite shows and animes, reading, or playing video games with her kids.

Blog

Facebook

Twitter: @MiaBishop

Goodreads

Amazon

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Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to lauraolivabooks@gmail.com, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Why I Write What I Write, Post #12: Constance Burris #StoryPeople

Today, fantasy author Constance Burris is swinging by to talk about what inspired her to write her books. Thanks for stopping in, Constance!

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Why do I write what I write? I could give you the simple answer: I write because I hear voices who curse at me if I don’t tell their stories. But since I have two stories published and two more on the way, I’m going be more specific and tell you why I wrote what I’ve written.

Chaos  A Short Story

In high school, I had planned on being a pilot in the military, but I got pregnant my sophomore year in college. I didn’t want to be in the service with a baby in tow, so I gave up that dream.

When the father chose not to be involved and I didn’t blink twice. I came from a long line of single mothers. They did it. I could do it.  I believed the hype that black women were strong, powerful and we can do it all alone. I learned the hard way that’s bull shit. We may be strong but no one can do it alone. So I wrote Chaos with a strong, black protagonist who was a pilot. In the end, to help her children she needed to ask for help.

Medusa: Part One of Black Beauty and Black Beauty: The Complete Series

I was one of six kids raised on welfare and food stamps. Most of the kids I knew had exotic African American names. None of this was reflected in the young adult fantasy I read.  So I wrote Medusa and the other stories in Black Beauty because I wanted to see my childhood reflected in a twisted urban young adult fantasy with characters with names like Chantel, Shemeya, and Andre.

Coal

I am a big fantasy reader. My favorite fantasies are the Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore and The Hobbit by Tolkien. I wrote Coal simply because I wanted see a black boy running around the fey realm with elves, dwarfs, and horrible scary creatures.

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About Constance Burris

Constance is on a mission to take over the world through science fiction and fantasy. She blogs at www.constanceburris.net. And you can purchase her stories Chaos and Medusa here. Coal is currently available for pre-order here.

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Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to lauraolivabooks@gmail.com, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Why I Write What I Write, Post #11: Kevin Singer #StoryPeople

This Monday, we’ve wrangled Kevin Singer into coming to the blog. Hi, Kevin! Floor’s all yours…

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Why do I write what I write? It’s a straightforward question. Over many years of writing I’ve settled into crafting pieces that contain a strong supernatural or sci-fi element. Why? Because I love the outsized, soul-shaking reverberations that genre fiction, in all its varied permutations, affords.

But for me, the biggest question is the first part: why do I write?

–I write because I’m hungry and writing is the only thing I’ve ever found that can fill this bottomless appetite.

–I write because I love words — the way they look on paper, the way they sound on the tongue, the way they reverberate in the ear. As a reader I’m dazzled by the written word and the stories they create. I hope to add just a little to the human canon of literature.

–I write because I am privileged to live in a time and a place where I have the freedom, space and ability to express myself. This is a very recent thing in my family (and human) history, and I am proud to acknowledge and embrace that privilege.

–I write because fiction is an escape for me. Books give me insight into a world beyond mine, and now I want to do that for someone else.

–I write because the act of writing has been a lifesaver for me. Writing gave me hope in one of the worst times of my life. It was there when I needed it, and I thank God for that blessing.

–I write because I want the reader to hear what I have to say. Call it vanity, but in my mind, it’s about me connecting with you in the best way I know how — with my words. Whatever I write, I’m always thinking of the best way to reach the reader. But even if I fail in that mission, I will still write.

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About Kevin Singer

Kevin Singer is the author of the supernatural thriller The Last Conquistador and stories including Left Among the Mutants and House of Flies, all available on Amazon and BN.com. His short story The Girl Who Slipped Through the Mirror will appear in an anthology this fall by Intrigue Publishing. Follow him at ReadByKevin.com.

Twitter: @kevin_singer

Amazon links:

 

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Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to lauraolivabooks@gmail.com, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

 

Why I Write What I Write, Post #10: Joy Eileen #StoryPeople

Today goes to author (and massage therapist) Joy Eileen. Thanks for stopping by, Joy!

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In all honesty, I’m not sure what compels me to write. When I was little I would get in trouble for scribbling in the dark when I should have been sleeping. I wish I could say, I have come a long way from when I was little. Scribbling genius quotes in the dead of night only to wake up to pure nonsense in the morning, but that would be a lie. Characters, situations, lyrics, and other odd things would crash into me. The only way to get rid of them was to write them down giving the thought the attention it demanded.

Some of my love of writing comes from my love of reading. My favorite thing is to become immersed in a book. My eyes may not thank me for it, and punish me in the morning with bleary vision and black duffel bags under them, but I can’t stop once I’m hooked. When a sentence is so perfectly constructed that I will reread it over and over again just to wrap it around my soul is something I strive to read and create.

Although I’ve always enjoyed writing (so much so I received the writing award at my eighth grade graduation) I didn’t journey into writing my first book until three years ago.

My first book collided into my brain and refused to relinquish its hold until I put it to paper. In it I was able to describe, in my words, why dragons, ogres, and other mythical creatures that are so enthralling still to this day were created. When I got close to finishing it, I freaked out. That book was, and still is my baby. I fashioned a whole new world that was mine, and I didn’t want people to pollute it with their negativity.

The only way I can explain my freak out is to describe it as when you have a child, if they do something weird you can say it was the other parents genes that made them do it, but this was my own, and nobody else. All the judgment would go directly toward me.

I stopped writing my YA and started a whole new project.

A little under three yeas ago, I started Breaking Faith a NA Contemporary  Rock’N’Roll Romance. I, like most people on this earth, have a shaky past. I realized that I still hadn’t completely let go of those demons.

As a therapeutic exercise I made my past into a story. I decided to give all the awful things I had went through to someone else. I let them hold the burden I no longer wanted to lug around. Faith became that person, and to make sure she could handle it, I gave her the strength she needed. Now because I am a hopeless romantic I had to bring in a love interest that challenged her into realizing how strong she really is.

Because of my love for the written word music also appeals to me. My musical taste varies but Rock’N’Roll has always held my heart. Rock’N’Roll is the purest form of music around. The lyrics and songs aren’t as micromanaged as other musical genres in my opinion. I mention artists and songs throughout the book that were on repeat as I wrote Breaking Faith, in hopes to share music with the readers.

I do the same with books I have read. I obsess and want others to read something that has touched me. I know I am not the only one that wants to wrap themselves in the written word, and snuggle under it like a blanket fort. I just hope that someday someone will read my books, and allow the words to wrap them around themselves, and take something significant from it. If not, just writing for myself is enough.

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Joy Eileen

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Joy Eileen is a born bibliophile who becomes deeply engaged with her characters, and has devoured more books than she would like to admit. She becomes obsessed with happily-ever-afters, and will read any genre that fulfills that requirement. Evading the library is something she has been known to do, because after befriending the characters returning them would be a heartbreaking event. Books are held hostage on her bookshelf, and any author that makes her ugly cry becomes her sworn enemy. Nicholas Sparks is one of the many on the list of villains.

As a massage therapist, most of Joy’s stories come to her while working. With the sound of classical music, and snoring from a half covered hostage, characters are created. The victim (massage patient)  has no idea that while their body is being manipulated, Joy has traveled into distant lands creating landscapes and inhabitants as she goes. Her patients should be wary as sometimes they are pulled into her stories and turned into characters. Hero or Foe? Well, that depends on how they tip.

Facebook

Twitter: @heyitsmejoy

Email: Joy@itsjoysworld.com

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Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to lauraolivabooks@gmail.com, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Why I Write What I Write, Post #9: Jena Schwartz #StoryPeople

 

 

 

Today, poet and essayist Jena Schwartz stops by to drop some powerful word bombs. Thanks for coming over, Jena! 

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I write because I don’t do statistics, but I do do stories. And I get to write things like “do do” without apology.

I write because all I can do to relieve the neuropathic pain my wife has been in 24/7 for weeks on end now is rub her shoulders and lower back. I write because it makes me feel less helpless and a little more hopeful, about that and all of things in the world I feel I can do little to change. The only suffering writing alleviates is my own.

I write because, I’ve been told, my writing has at times made someone else feel less alone.

I write because I get to enter into some nether beta zone where the words flow and I let them and this is a source of great relief and mystery.

I write because I like writing. I write because I have to. Because so much happens in a day of working a full-time job and having a side business that is my joy and raising two kids and keeping up with household tasks–all of this could either swallow me whole or give me endless chances to see my life more clearly.

I write because it is through writing that I’m able to synthesize so many disparate things, not always to make any sense of them but at least to pull the threads together into something whole, or to pull the threads apart when they get all entangled and my breath gets shallow and I start to panic.

I write because it’s how I see. Because I see things and feel things and imagine and want and need and desire and forget and remember, and writing puts the pieces together. Or not. But it’s worth a shot.

I write because poems keep me company.

I write because it is my way of saying hello to myself and hello to you, a friend or a stranger or a stranger whose own stories might become precious to me, and our writing might create a bridge we can walk across to meet in the middle.

I write because it’s my way of spending time alone. It’s how I get quiet. It’s release and retrieval.

I write because life moves me. Because I am beside myself with despair or busting at the seams with exuberance. Because I feel isolated and because I feel connected.

I write because I only learned to weave briefly, as a kid at camp. And always wanted to have a big, beautiful loom.

I wrote because I am in love with language and sound and music and rhythm.

I write because whether you’re in the next room or a different hemisphere, writing is my lifeline.

I write because I cherish the telling of things, how stories can be remade and recycled and retooled and reduced and retold and from scratch and by squinting just so and not knowing where any of it’s going.

I write because that is the coolest thing ever, the process of discovering. Of picking up the bread crumbs and finding my way home to here, over and over and over.

I write because I’m a writer. I don’t get paid for it. I may or may not have any readers. I write because writing is one of the ways I talk to God and one of the ways I listen.

I write because I don’t know how not to write. I think I tried that for many years, and the writing came roaring back with things to tell me about myself that would lead to dying and being reborn and, well, pretty much everything dear to me in this lifetime.

I write because beyond all the reasons, it’s what I know how to do. And I believe so completely, that writing gives us access to ourselves, the way the body gives access, the way touch and movement and the way air on skin and hands on hearts and eyes wide open give us access.

I write because I do not want to close in on myself. Because there is so much to say thank you for. Because I am alive, and writing reminds me to not to miss it.

Bio

Jena Schwartz is a poet, promptress, and writing group facilitator who thrives on varying degrees of vulnerability, chutzpah, and connection. She lives and writes in Amherst, MA, with her rockstar wife and two kids.

Email: jenarschwartz@gmail.com
Website/blog: www.jenaschwartz.com
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter: @thejenarator

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Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to lauraolivabooks@gmail.com, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Why I Write What I Write, Post #8: Tasha Harrison #StoryPeople

It’s Tasha Harrison’s turn!  Today, Tasha stops by to talk about how she got started writing “filthy stories”.  As a fellow purveyor of filthy-ish stories, this was a fun read.  Enjoy!

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heartbeatwords2

I am definitely one of those people who always knew that I was going to be a writer.

But I never intended to write filthy stories.

Seriously, I sat down to write perfectly wholesome stories and the filth just happened. I swear!

Well, it kinda almost happened like that but not really.

When I first started writing I was hooked on the classics, particularly African American classics. The words of Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Richard Wright shaped my idea of what a story should be. Proud, literary, respected and most of all Black. I was certain that anything that came out of me would be just like that. Something I could be proud of. Something my mother could brag to her church friends about.

For years I wrote stories that mirrored the ones that I loved from my favorite classical authors. Read-a-likes that fell flat and possessed no authorial voice. And all along I was writing those naughty bits and editing them out because that was not serious writing…right? If I wanted to be taken seriously I couldn’t write love stories or romance. I had to ground my plot in something more substantial…right? But here’s the thing–no one wanted to read those stories. My efforts to get my literary, proud, respectable work published never paid off.

I quit writing. I didn’t even journal.

Life changed. We moved down South which was a huge culture shock for all of us. I began homeschooling my kids and while I was sure this was the best thing to do for them at that time, I was completely and utterly bored. So I started writing again to pass the time. In the beginning, I did try to revisit those more serious stories but immediately gave up on them. At the time, I was reading a lot of romance so that’s what I began to write. Very few of the mainstream romances I read had people of color so that’s what I began to write: multicultural, interracial, diversity rich romances. My brain produced those naughty bits and I ran with them. In that first year, I wrote a little over two hundred thousand words.

And no one knew that I wrote them for years.

Why? Mostly because I was ashamed. All that filth? All those filthy words and people doing filthy things? The thought of my mother or grandmother reading these books made me nauseous—though ultimately, my mother read In Her Closet when it was in it’s very beginning stages and loved it. It also took me a long time to muster up the courage to tell my husband what I was doing all those hours online (I wrote most of it in Google Docs). But once the “big secret” was out I felt great about it. I still cringe when someone I’m close to blurts it out in mixed company, “Hey, my cousin writes dirty books!”

Yeah, that is and will always be strange.

But, for the most part, I love it. I write filthy stories because I love them.

bigXsloppyO,

Tasha

 

 

 

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Often accused of navigating life without a filter, Tasha L. Harrison has managed to brand herself as brutally honest without being labeled a b**ch…or at least that’s what likes to tell herself. She writes African American and interracial erotica and erotic romance with heroines just as brazen as herself and heroes that struggle to tolerate them while getting them in the sack.

Find her at:

Website: tashalharrison.com

Twitter@tashalharrison

Facebook 

And click >here< to subscribe to her newsletter.

Her series THE LUST DIARIES is available now!

A Slant of Light (prequel short story)
In Her Closet, The Lust Diaries: Book One
The Shame in You–A Short Story
Everything She Never Wanted, The Lust Diaries: Book Two (coming May 25)

♥ ♥ ♥

Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to lauraolivabooks@gmail.com, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!