Vote for Hard As Roxx

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but I need you to do just that. If you liked the cover of my book, Hard as Roxx, please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!

I’m getting closer to clinch the “Cover of the Month” contest on AllAuthor! I need as much support from you guys as I can get. Please take a short moment to vote for my book cover here: Click to Vote!

Write Me No Problems

When I think of writers of future fiction, I think of the admonitions of almost every good manager I ever hand. “Don’t tell me problems,” they would say, “bring me solutions.”

Fiction writers could keep that advice in mind, and in particular, authors of future fiction or so-called speculative fiction. It is not particularly speculative to grow a view of the future that is seeded in the past. To be sure, I would guess your Fine Arts instructors told you to keep it real and imbue your writing with a sense of reality. They are wrong, however.

Let me say this aloud, or at least as aloud as a blog can be: if those people knew everything about writing there was to know, they’d be supporting themselves via books and not teaching. No one does. No one can. The act of writing, just as the act of reading, is interpretive and subjective. What is “real” to your instructor is simply short-sighted and pessimistic to me.

I am reading a short (so-called speculative) fiction collection at the moment, one that I will review when I chug through it to the end. As you can probably guess from the proceeding sentence, I am not enjoying it. The author can write. Her details are well balanced. She is imaginative. In a few of the stories, she’s created lead characters I could get behind in a longer work–perhaps even fall in love with. And, looking to the alternate future or near futures in which these stories are set, the problems that have been will always be.

Her Black People do Black People things, deal with Black People problems, and feel some Black People kind of way about them. They talk about, whisper about, think about, or be about White People and their White People ways. And I do not want to read this nouveau-racist bullshit.

I lived through the 60s, 70s, 80s, saw things improve in the 90s, thrived in the 00s, and watched us backslide in the 10s. I have no interest in reading about a future wherein the writer speculates that what has gone wrong will go wrong, or just as bad, that what other writers say will go wrong will absolutely do so. Speculation requires imagination.

Y’all don’t hear me.
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I’ma say it again, so Stephen A doesn’t get more upset. Speculation requires imagination. Stop writing whiny, broken, unimaginative, falsely dark and legitimately pessimistic stories. Instead, think about what a solution would require and then build me a world where it happens. Show the struggles involved, the opposition thereto, and maybe even give yourself permission to imagine that it can be done.

Here’s a master-level tip: not all happy endings are completely happy. There’s room for laughter and tears, even together.

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Future fiction writers lead by example, irrespective of whether they want to or not. The very first use of the word robot was within a sci-fi play detailing how artificial, forced-labor workers revolted and rose up to kill their creators. A century later, engineers worry about the same problem. Know why? Nobody bothered to write about the solutions.

Whether you pen a tome that takes place in the next millennium or next week, don’t just sit on your whiny ass bemoaning the problems in the universe. Fix them, in your head at least.

Bring me no problems. I don’t fucking want to read them. Write me some solutions. Those, we can all use.

Excerpt – WIP #7 from a Collection of Short Fiction

I am working on a short fiction collection that gives canon-level stories to accompany my (at least 10-book) future fiction collection. This is an excerpt from a novelette called The Dragons of Koet’sö. I’ve also penned a novella and one short story for the collection, so I’m making good progress. Not sure of the order I’ll try to publish these, since I’ve six completed novel manuscripts, but those details can be worked through later. Anyway, here it is.

Cheers for reading.

Nora stood up, lifting herself off the ground with all the grace of a feather wafting in the breeze. “I want to get an image of this.”

Herk watched as she trotted over to her pack and pulled out an imager. She floated back to the edge of the precipice and stood on both toes, extending herself to get the shot she liked. He gasped as the saffron and sage beauty held her pose, standing on the tiptoes of her front foot and balanced en pointe on her rear one. He heard the imager’s click and realized he hadn’t exhaled until—for that brief, breathless instant—she lifted her front foot off the ground and held it a beat while she looked over the imager at the scene below. She was ballet. She was grace and more beautiful than any sunset. An instant later, her feet found the ground and the moment was over. Nora turned to leave and Herk exhaled.

“I’m going too,” said Starr. She rolled her body backward, meeting the hard rock with her head and hands, pushed off with her palms, and then cartwheeled one leg and then the next over until she was standing erect facing away. Herk sat looking at her tail swishing away and wondering how she’d managed a 180-degree turn during a cartwheeled backflip without his seeing the move. Nora was a natural ballerina, but Starr was a gymnast. She would rise from a chair and make it seem as though she’d just dismounted the balance beam. Nora as often made Herk want to take her slim waist and send her aloft, though he suspected she never heard the music he was certain she danced to. The universe—this planet included—routinely danced with both of them even though neither seemed to notice.

How am I married to these two women? Why would they choose a lunk like me? He sucked in the emotional breath they’d torn from him, again, and turned to try to lift his lanky loins from the ground. He felt awkward, clumsy, unworthy. Standing, he trotted over to Starr, who was standing near Nora. The sky had gone purple, as though it had seen Jemini and wanted to imitate her coloring. It’s in love with her too.

Precisely then, a bolt of lightning flashed horizontally across the sky and directly overhead. Moments later, it began to snow. Bash and Vash’kir held their hands aloft, catching the flakes. Vash’kir’s eyes were whiter than ever as though it had snowed within his irises. Tris and Alsu were speaking though their voices couldn’t be heard. Alsu kept shaking her head no, as though in answer to the girl’s questions.

Starr looked nervously toward Tris but said nothing.

“Well, that’s new,” said Herk, looking up in the sky.

“Snow in the mountains of Koet’sö during the summer averages one cent every three years,” said Nora.

“Is that from your book?” he asked.

“Yes, page 115.”

“I guess Mother Nature didn’t read it, then.” He pulled his collar higher and pushed himself erect, reaching down and helping Nora up. Let’s go help set up the tents so we can warm up and get a fire started.”

“I’m starting to think this mountain doesn’t like us or something,” said Nora.

“Yeah, or something,” said Starr, still looking nervously at her stepdaughter.

The Top 100 Writers – Finding the Best Writers in History

Updated for 2019:

The 79 Percent

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on This Blog Intentionally Blank in 2012, and after well over 100,000 views, it has been updated and posted here.

It should already be evident to all of you that finding the absolute best of anything as subjective as writing is impossible. However, in an idealistic world, it is possible to glean a consensus of who is respected as a writer, and who is not. In reality, people are biased; they are racist, sexist, elitist, or just plain stupid, and so any list of the best is skewed in the favor of whoever makes the list.  (See Ranker’s list of the best writers, which omits literary greats like James Baldwin, Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes and Sonia Sanchez, but lists Leonardo da Vinci, for chrissakes.) Still, curiosity got the better of me, so I set out to do determine what is a consensus view…

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Days of Art #39: I Cannot Dizzle upon Mah Toes

Raw, Naked Art

I cannot dizzle upon mah Toes
by Emily Cold-Ass Dickinson and Gizzoogle.net

I cannot dizzle upon mah Toes–
No Man instructed mah crazy ass–
But oftentimes, among mah mind,
A Glee possesseth me,
That had I Ballet knowledge–
Would put itself abroad
In Pirouette ta blanch a Troupe–
Or lay a Prima, mad,
And though I had no Gown of Gauze–
No Ringlet, ta mah Hair,
Nor hopped ta Audiences — like Birds,
One Claw upon tha Air,
Nor tossed mah shape up in Eider Balls,
Nor rolled on wheelz of snow
Till I was outta sight, up in sound,
Da Doggy Den encore me so —
Nor any know I know tha Art
I mention — easy as fuck — Here —
Nor any Placard boast me —
It’s full as Opera —

This is a brief poem, from a previous post, as translated by Gizoogle. I encourage you…

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Days of Art #42: “We Wear the Mask

Raw, Naked Art

Dunbar1-001

We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,–
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

1-Chinatown HDR 12-001

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Strong Brew

Raw, Naked Art

Perzon

“It’s purzun,” she says
or at least she would, were the Bronx in her socks
instead of the south of London in her jeans. And
she arises, bent, but better, awakening, shaking off the
dusty din of discarded decaffeinated detritus,
the daily drudge of dying promises
of lies he said, of didn’ts he did and
woulds he wouldn’t and love
that never sweetened the bitter taste of his
stale, morning brew.

but it’s a fresh morn, time for
starry starts and ill-spent dreams
time for love in the streets, of
surreptitious tugs and licentious licks
of games of touch and songs
with no words but plenty of woodwinds
and a salty rhythm from just south of the Equator.
in the old days, that baker’s dozen
dime-store brew, she’d settled for the ease
of decaf, taking the tinge of bitterness
from her palate, and praying for the
death-strike of hope, to…

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100 Days of Art – Day 25: But I Can Dance Among the Clouds

Raw, Naked Art

I cannot dance upon my Toes
by Emily Dickinson

I cannot dance upon my Toes —
No Man instructed me —
But oftentimes, among my mind,
A Glee possesseth me,
That had I Ballet knowledge —
Would put itself abroad
In Pirouette to blanch a Troupe —
Or lay a Prima, mad,
And though I had no Gown of Gauze —
No Ringlet, to my Hair,
Nor hopped to Audiences — like Birds,
One Claw upon the Air,
Nor tossed my shape in Eider Balls,
Nor rolled on wheels of snow
Till I was out of sight, in sound,
The House encore me so —
Nor any know I know the Art
I mention — easy — Here —
Nor any Placard boast me —
It’s full as Opera —

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