You can’t say that. You can’t write that. Oh, really? Guess what? I did. I do not like constraints and I have never liked for anyone to tell me that I cannot do something or that I am not good enough to do something. If you really want to light my fire or get me going, say one or both of those things to me. I’ll be sure to add you to my “prove you wrong” list. I have never been short when it comes to words and when it comes to my writing, I leave no words to spare. When I write a story that is passionate, near and dear to my heart, I write with everything I have inside of me. I do not wonder whether or not my writing fits into an “acceptable box” because I live and think outside of the box. I will be the first to say and admit that I am an unconventional writer, but it is working out just fine for me. I am slowly but surely reaching readers who appreciate my brutal honesty and my fearless passion for writing. I am a firm believer that with patience comes greatness and I have no qualms when it comes to waiting for mine. So go on, write you feel and don’t let anything hold you back. Not everyone is going to like you as a person and not everyone is going to particular care for your “form” of writing, but why worry yourself over that. You can’t please everybody. With that being said, Write On!!!
Last year I embarked on something special, something out of the ordinary, something a bit odd. It was a journey that sent me from here, there and everywhere, but I welcomed it all with open arms. I had no idea where this journey would take me nor did I expect to like it so much. To be quite honest, it all took me by surprise and believe it or not, I loved every second of it. What journey am I referring to? The marvelous journey of writing. You see, I have always enjoyed telling stories, but I never envisioned myself ever writing one. Telling a story is one thing, sitting down and writing one was another. I could sit up and tell a good story all day long, but writing one? Heck No! At least, that is what I thought. For years I saw writing as something that was completely B.O.R.I.N.G. and just plain dull because it seemed so mundane to sit around and pen a story when I could just open my mouth and tell one. I made up every excuse in the world as to why I did not have the time to write: I am too busy. I am too tired. I will start on it tomorrow. I will start on it next week. I promise to sit down and write one next year. As the years came and went, I began to wonder if or when I would ever sit my tail down and write a story.
Last year around May I FINALLY decided to get rid of all the excuses and just write. I had made up my mind that I was going to pen my first novel whether I liked it or not. I had been putting my writing off for long enough and now it was time for me to put up or shut up. I did not allow any excuses this time and I was determined to see this through. Once I put that pen to that paper, I could not believe how easy it was for me to write a compelling story. I could not believe how much I enjoyed writing at that moment and I could not help but to feel a little guilty for waiting so long. Writing is like a breath of fresh air for me and it has become my go-to place when I want a nice and peaceful escape from everything I have going on around me. Now, all I think about is writing and let me tell you, if I could write full-time I would. When I started writing, my sole and only intention was to entertain and inspire readers. As I sit here today writing this blog post, that is still my sole and only intention. I have met some amazing people on this journey including fellow writers, authors and inspired readers. With this year and the next coming years, I look forward to meeting a whole lot more! With the power of social media, that is not very hard to do. It is simply just one click away. I recently joined Instagram in addition to Facebook and so far I am having a blast!
Want to connect? Click each icon below and let’s get to know one another!
I will admit, I am not your typical writer or your average person for that matter. I have never been one that you could easily fit into a mold, shape or even attempt to try and categorize. I march to the beat of my own drum, dance to my own tunes, and I have been that way since day one, or at least for as long as I can remember. Trying to figure me out is no easy task so heed my advice when I say: don’t even bother. I am different from a lot of people, but I like that because that is what makes me and my writing style so unique. Now I am not saying all of this to scare or turn anyone off because the truth is, I am one of the funniest people you could ever meet. Laughing is “my thing” and if I had to estimate how many times I laugh a day, it is well over twenty times. One meeting with me and I will have you in tears from laughing or falling out laughing. After all, laughter is good for the soul plus it keeps you young. I love to tell a good joke, but hearing one is even better. Since you are still reading, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
I have never been short on words when it comes to my writing (and I never will) because when I write I write fearlessly. I do not wonder or worry about how different my writing style is from other writers because I do not want to write like any other writer. Writers are like rainbows, we come in a multitude of colors. Adding to that, our range of writing is just as colorful. Once you open up and read one of my books, you will immediately see just how different my writing style is. I am straight-forward, quick-witted, sharp-tongued and at times graphic. I write things that you won’t normally find in most books, I quote sayings that most people have never even heard of, and I write about things that most readers might describe as cringe-worthy. I write from pain and personal experience amongst many other things, but my main purpose for writing the way that I do is to show that there is beauty in every style of writing. If you like cookie cutter stories, don’t pick up one of my books. If you have what my mother refers to as a “chicken heart” don’t pick up one of my books. If you have thick skin and don’t get offended easily then by all means pick up one of my books. You might cringe, feel ashamed or even get embarrassed from what you might read, but at least you will feel inspired after the book has been all read and done.
I have been one busy little bee! Let me tell you, in between my full-time job in the healthcare industry and my writing that I do at night, I have been stretched thin on both ends! My eyes feel so heavy that it feels like I am blinking bricks. What is a woman to do? Well, what I am not going to do is sit up here and whine about poor little ole me and how busy my life keeps me. What I will do is answer a few questions from readers about my debut novel Poka City Blues. On this post, I will answer five questions and on my next post I will address the other five questions. Are you ready? Let’s go!
1. How did you come up with the character Sedelia? Sedelia is a combination of my mother, both of my grandmothers and myself. I took bits from all of our personalities and developed the character Sedelia, but I must say she is largely based on my mother.
2. You talk a lot about poverty, rape, racism and abuse. Is this something you have experienced? Yes, but I will not disclose at this time which of those unfortunate events I have personally experienced.
3. Sedelia seemed to have a very hard life. Since this story is inspired by true life events, did she (or the woman you modeled her after) really experience all those things? Not all, but most of it.
4. I have never heard of Loachapoka Alabama. Is this a real city or did you make that name up? Loachapoka is a real city. I did not make that name up.
5. Why did you write Poka City Blues? To help inspire those who have also experienced rape, poverty, racism and abuse.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that I believe most debut authors see their first novel as their pride and joy. Why? Because it is their first finished published work, their first written bundle of joy and for those very reasons they are proud to show it off to the world. Any time any of us accomplish something that we deem as amazing or “grand” we want the whole world to know about it because we are thrilled about it! That is exactly how I feel about my debut novel Poka City Blues, but Poka City Blues is more than just a story to me. It is in some ways very personal to me and for that very reason I experienced a lot of pain and heartache as I was writing this story. Some of the things experienced by Sedelia, the main character in Poka City Blues, were some of the things my mother experienced and it brought back tearful memories, mental anguish and at times a little anger. People who know me on a personal level know that my mother is my biggest inspiration and one of the main sources of my motivation.
The soul of a writer can be deep, especially when their story stems from something personal and the emotions poured out into their story or stories can come across very raw. My mother has always told me that profound strength arises out of a great struggle, and I believe that saying to be very true. When you struggle and work hard, you build up endurance and the stronger you are as a person, the more capable you are at handling disappointments and adversities. That is what Poka City Blues is all about; standing tall in the face of trials while still being able to smile in the face of trials.
Once readers begin reading Poka City Blues, they may feel tempted to feel sorry for the main character Sedelia as she recounts her days of growing up in Poka City. As Sedelia describes her hardships and struggles in graphic detail, it is kind of hard not to feel sorry for her or even pity her; however, that is not how Sedelia wants her readers to see her. Rather than feel sorry for her, Sedelia wants her readers to be empowered by her strength, determination and resilience despite being slapped in the face time and time again with setbacks and heartache. There is a saying that struggle has a way of making us stronger, and that is certainly the case with Sedelia.
I have had quite a few readers tell me that they were broken up by Sedelia’s story and at times became a little angry which is understandable considering what all she has been through, but instead of feeling sorry for her, I want readers to be inspired by her. Why? Because this is a woman who was able to smile in the face of severe trials while never losing hope or sight of who she is. Sedelia is far from a victim; she is indeed one heck of a heroine.
Have you ever picked cotton? I mean, really picked cotton. For those of you who never picked cotton, picking cotton is hard on the body and it is hard on the soul. I grew up listening to cotton picking stories from my mother, father and grandparents and the one thing they all agreed on was that cotton picking takes a lot out of you. You are bent over long hours at a time and depending on who you are working for you may get a small break in between (which was extremely rare). Think about the hundreds of thousands of Black men, women and children who did that back breaking work for years day after day despite all of their many aches and pains. Just that thought alone brings tears to my eyes and if I allow my mind to think too long about it, that very thought will disturb my soul. Like many Black Americans living in the Deep South, once the cotton fields dried up and there was no huge need for cotton pickers in the fields, many went on to work in the mills. For some, leaving cotton behind in the fields was only a dream because once the mills starting rolling in, the cotton mills came rolling in behind them. Sedelia, the main character in Poka City Blues, worked in the cotton fields and in the cotton mill like so many others, but she never lost sight of who she was. Poka City Blues is a heartbreaking story about triumphing over trials while living in the Deep South. If you are looking for an inspirational story that will have you in tears from laughing and crying, this is it.