A Mother’s Love

A Mother’s Love

For Brandon

“You win one little cooking competition and you think you’re Gordon Ramsey, huh?”

Darryl’s mother eyed him over her impossibly thick bifocals. “That ain’t the way you make pig feet, but since you think you Iron Chef now…” Her wrinkled fingers air-quoted the words.

“Top Chef,” Darryl corrected her, carefully covering the pot of pig’s feet and moving on to check the turkey in the oven.

“Same damn thing,” she muttered, pulling the lid off the pot and gagging behind Darryl’s back.

At the table, the triplets, her youngest grandsons, tried to stifle a laugh. The eldest son, Darryl Jr., had a look nothing short of disgust on his face. He wasn’t ready for the monstrosity that would be placed before him in a matter of hours. Ever since his father started cooking, his stomach hadn’t been right. He just wanted to get dinner over with so he could do his nightly routine: vomit in peace and then pray that his father would get into a freak accident where his hands would get chopped off at the wrist and he’d never touch a spatula or a stove ever again.

“Two totally different shows, Momma.” Darryl shook his head, basting his awfully light turkey, with whole carrots and celery stalks shoved inside. It’d been in the oven for at least four hours now. He wrinkled his brow, biting his bottom lip, surveying the brand new oven. The thought crossed his mind that it might be broken, but he closed the lid anyway, neglecting to ever check the temperature. Everyone rolled their eyes simultaneously.

“Please help,” the triplets whispered in unison to their grandma.

“Aw, hush,” she shot back. “Can’t be that bad, right?” She looked over at Darryl Jr. for confirmation.

“Think about bad,” he responded. She did. “It’s worse than that.”

See, it was Thanksgiving, usually the best time at the Walker household. Grandma Walker had always done the cooking. But, every day since Darryl won the Capital County Cook-off in August, he’d tell anyone who’d listen that he was making Thanksgiving dinner. The whole town knew to stay away from the Walker household today.

He only won because the other contestant, Mickey Bluedog (his real name, by the way), had a mysterious heart attack and dropped dead right there on the stage. No one had actually given Darryl a trophy or told him he’d actually won because everyone was so shocked about Mickey. But that didn’t stop Darryl from celebrating right in front of Mickey’s distraught daughter, Minnie (also her real name). And now Darryl thought he was the best cook in Capital County.

And no one had the heart to tell nice, generous Darryl Walker otherwise.

So when he showed up, outfitted in a chef’s hat and apron that read KISS THE COOK, Thanksgiving morning, there was a resounding, “Aw hell no” from the boys.

“Let me taste.” Darryl’s mother shuffled over and pulled open the oven revealing the light skinned turkey, two shaky pies and an unnaturally creamy macaroni and cheese. She took one long look at her son, who was busy stirring a pot of sad beans, and beckoned the boys over.

He was oblivious to his four sons pulling the drastically under cooked food out of the lukewarm oven. Grandma Walker threw open the window and before Darryl could count to ten, the lawn caught the smorgasbord of food.

“Darryl, your cooking is trash. I’m ordering Chinese,” Grandma Walker declared shuffling into the living room, the triplets hot on her trail, thanking her for being a good samaritan.  Darryl Jr. was the most thankful because he didn’t have to pray to The Lord to dismember his father again. He was sure his prayers went unanswered anyway.

The Walker family had a happy Thanksgiving. Even Darryl Sr.


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SHORTIES-1 Welcome to the Black Ivy League…

The Legacy

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On The Run 2

On The Run

For Tramaine

He turned the knob slowly, afraid of what was on the other side of the door. “Just move, Jackson. Damn.” I pushed past him, throwing my shoulder on the door. It flew open, slamming against the adjacent wall with a bang. Dust billowed out of the abandoned apartment, choking the both of us.

Over the hem of my shirt I could make out the floral print couch my mother found at some flea market. She thought it was the cutest thing and my dad didn’t have the heart to tell her it was just as ugly as the curtains. I wondered if she ever thought about me anymore. A sliver of light from the hallway poured into the sparse living room. I hurried inside, pulling Jackson behind me. Tad skittered in at the last minute, his paws making taps on the aged hardwood. I threw the deadbolt on the door and fumbled for the light.

It blasted the dank living room. End tables with inch thick dust left untouched for decades, the curtains sagged sadly. The furniture still had dents in the seats from where my family shared countless dinners. Back then it was easy, hiding who I was. Who I’d become. I must have been looking a little too long at the miniature kitchen table. Four chairs, four place mats that waited patiently for us to come back. To share a meal together again. But, now, I knew, it would never be the same.

“I’m just saying.” Jackson scratched his head, pulling me from my thoughts. “We ain’t know what was in here. You said you ain’t been here in over ten years.”

I crossed the kitchen into the pantry, pulling out the broom. Jackson threw open a window. The city’s night sounds flooded in. Shrieks from partygoers. The blaring horns of taxicabs. I wondered how long we could stay here without someone catching on. I was sure the neighbors could hear through the paper-thin walls. We had to stay the night and then move in the morning. I put the broom back. If someone were to come looking for us, I wanted this place to look untouched.

“Just don’t touch anything.” I said, pulling a vase out of Jackson’s hands and sitting it back on the mantle. “We can only stay here one night.”

“Why?” He whirled around. “I thought this was a safe house?” Panic was in his voice. High and alert. Jackson was afraid. Truthfully, I was too. I knew someone was tracking us. It didn’t matter how quickly we moved, how fast we destroyed evidence. Everyone left a trail. No one was invisible.

“It isn’t anymore,” I responded solemnly. This place wasn’t home anymore. “Are you going to tell me what happened tonight or what?” I hunkered down on the floor. Tad took that as his opportunity to jump in my lap, nuzzling his nose in the crook of my leg. I scratched between his ears and he was satisfied, his little leg kicking happily.

I looked up at Jackson whose eyes were trained on the window, listening. The sirens were long gone. We’d crossed state lines. We were okay for now, but who knew how long it’d take before someone would track us here. His muscles looked stuffed in my Women’s medium sweatshirt. Blood was seeping through the fabric.

“Take that off,” I ordered. “Bring a fresh shirt and the first aid kit from the bathroom. First door on your right.”

Jackson obeyed, ripping off the bloody shirt. I watched him wince when he pulled it over his head. His undershirt was soaked through. He pulled that off too. Blood was spattered all over his broad brown chest. I ripped my eyes away from his back. The one I used to massage after his long nights doing undercover work.

“In here, Tammy?” He called from the back of the apartment.

Then there was a knock at the door.

Tad’s ears perked. Jackson flew from the back room like a tornado. The handgun that was at his waist was in his hand. Tad let out a growl, then several clipped barks. My hands felt numb. My chest warmed.

“Who is that?” Jackson whispered, his voice husky. “Tam?” He asked again when I didn’t answer.

Tad barked.

The person knocked again.

Someone had heard us come in. How? I used the emergency code that opened the back stairwell. I retraced my steps. What had I missed? How did they track us already?

“Tam!” Jackson’s whisper slammed me back to reality.

I whipped my gun out of my holster. Tad barked, louder this time. His nails clawed at the hardwood. Someone had heard us. “We have to open it now.” Jackson nodded to Tad who would not stop fucking barking.

“Shh,” I demanded, but that didn’t help.

“I told you we should have left him,” Jackson tapped his foot at Tad who paid him no attention. “Who is that, Tammy?”

“I know you’re in there, just open up!” Someone called.

“Probably a neighbor,” I heard myself say. My voice was surprisingly calm. “Just let me talk to them.” I tucked my gun away and Jackson crept behind the door.

“If it’s not a neighbor, shoot.” He nodded, picking up Tad, ready to make another run for it if we had to.

“Wait!” Jackson cried, as I reached for the knob but it was too late.

I pulled the door open, and in a blur someone tackled me, pinning my back to the ground. A shot gun barrel bum rushed into my mouth, slamming against my teeth and forcing my tongue backward. The metal tasted like sawdust.

“What are you doing here?” Someone screamed, but I couldn’t see. Tears streamed out of my eyes, blocking my vision. My tongue blocked my airway. Dots spotted my eyesight. I couldn’t breathe. My hands were pinned.

Panic set in and then I heard Jackson’s footsteps pad over. “Drop the gun, bitch.” I heard him cock the handgun, ready to squeeze the trigger. The girl eased the gun out of my mouth. Seconds later, Tad whimpered then let out an ungodly squeal when Jackson’s back hit the ground in a crash. A shot exploded through the ceiling. The girl spun to her feet, bringing the butt of the gun down on Jackson’s throat.

“What the fuck are you doing here, Tamela?” The girl smoothed her fire red hair off her face. Her soft eyes had grown hard since I’d last seen her. No longer the quiet girl who followed me like a shadow. She was grown now. Fierce. Ready to kill, much like I’d been at her age.

“Angela?”

“Who else did you think it was?” Her chest heaved. She let the gun off Jackson’s throat and he sputtered out a pitiful cough. She leaned against the door. Feet padded down the hallway above us. “What are you doing back here?”

“We have to go.” I spun to my feet, searching around for my terrier who was probably holed up in the nearest corner.

We aren’t doing anything,” she protested. “You came here once before and ruined everything. Why come back, Tam? What did you do?”

I didn’t have time to argue. I found Tad in the pantry. He was licking his paw. It was most likely broken. He growled fiercely when I reached for him, his little body quaking with pain. I picked him up anyway. He bit down on my wrist hard. His teeth pierced my skin and then his dry tongue licked me, his attempt at an apology. I understood. It was the way of the world. Bite first then apologize.

Jackson was on his feet when I came back into the living room. Angela was on her knees, a smirk on her face. His gun on her temple.

“I’m going to blow her brains out, Tam. Who is this?”

“Jackson,” I started.

“Yeah who am I, Tamela?” Her eyes slid over the moneybag on the floor and then back up at me. “You’re on a job? And you brought it here?”

“I’m not on a job!” I fired back and she sucked her teeth.

Footsteps in the stairwell. Someone was coming. Feet beat at an odd pace. There were more than one set. “We have to go, now!” I grabbed our go bag but Jackson didn’t move.

“Answer me!” He bellowed.

“We don’t have time for this!” I screamed back.

“I can just drop kick him again if you want,” Angela mumbled, examining her fingernails. Jackson pushed the gun on her head.

“Now, Tam!”

Shadows loomed in the hallway. People were coming. They were just feet away.

“She’s my sister! Let’s go!”

I pushed Jackson’s shoulder when he whipped the moneybag off the floor in one motion. In my arms, Tad whimpered again. I’d have to give him to someone. He was only going to slow us down. “Mommy’s sorry,” I whispered into his ear. I closed the door behind us just as two guys in suits skid around the corner.

“Fuck.” I heard Angela say.

The three of us barreled down the hallway together, pushing through an Emergency exit. The alarm wailed, shattering the night’s silence. It would wake up the whole building for sure. I heard the crack of a gun. Something whizzed past my ear. The wall ahead exploded. Plaster shot in our mouths.

“This is all your fucking fault, Tammy!” Angela screamed, firing back over her shoulder. Tad cried louder and louder. I was afraid too. But, I couldn’t cry.

“Which way?” Jackson screamed when we reached the alley. Our car was parked in the garage under the building. We’d have to abandon that too.

“Come on,” Angela said, slipping around the corner and onto the crowded sidewalk. A Range Rover was stalled at the end of the street. Two people in the front seat.

“Oh, hell no.” I stopped on the sidewalk, recognizing their lined faces. A group of guys eyed us curiously as they passed. “You brought Mommy?” I stomped.

Angela shrugged. “Either get in or get shot.”

“What the hell?” I heard Jackson say. His eyes were hot on mine, burrowing into my skull. He was pissed.

I looked back, calculating how far away the garage was; how much longer we had. The seconds ticked down in my brain. I had to get in. Tad bit down on my wrist again, confirming my answer. We clambered inside the car and it pulled off, bucking a U in the street just as the two men made it on to the sidewalk. Their heads craning above the crowd to see which way we went.

Angela sat back in the seat, relieved. She pulled her shotgun off her shoulder, resting it between her legs. She leaned on the barrel. The car ride was uncomfortably silent until Jackson said, “Tam, what in the hell is going on? I thought your whole family was dead?”

I opened my mouth to explain.

“Oh is that what she told you?” My mom’s voice floated from the front seat. EWF’s September sang out of the radio.

“Leave it alone, Mom,” I warned.

“Don’t take it personally, honey. That’s what we have to tell everybody.” In the driver’s seat my father chuckled.

“Who are you people?” Jackson looked around at us. I dropped my head. How could I explain?

“Oh honey,” my mom cut in. She never had any problem with answering the tough questions. “Surely you didn’t think you were the only one on the run…?”


See where it all began…

SHORTIES: Hanging Writer’s Block out to Dry

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SHORTIES-1 Welcome to the Black Ivy League…

The Legacy

My, Mine

My, Mine

For Antoinio

“Well, that certainly didn’t go as planned.”

“Yes,” Cameron responds. “That escalated rather quickly.”

I watch her chest heave while she catches her breath. It comes out rattled and jagged. She clutches the sheet bringing it up to her face. Her hair comes undone from the half-up-half-down thingy she tried to save but it didn’t work. Her cheeks redden.

Oh no, I think.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” I pull the sheets off her face. The little fight she puts up falters with my slight tug. The sheets fall back in her lap, exposing her thigh to me. I feel my heart race. Blood pulses back to my vessel.

“You know we shouldn’t have.” She places her hand to her head like she always does to me when I’m sick, like she’s my mother. “I—had—have an appointment!” She gestures to the dress that’s slung over the back of my couch. She tossed it there when we barged through my living room, tongues dancing in each other’s mouths, passion between us, hot and thick.

“Cam, stop.” I pull her toward me. Again, she puts up the slightest of fights. I watch her shoulders stiffen. I relax my grip, half offended, half afraid. I don’t want her to leave. Don’t say you regret this, Cam. I tug again, just a slight bend in my fingers this time. Hardly any pressure. And then she succumbs. That’s just like Cameron. She likes to think things are her idea. And that’s what I’d been doing most of our friendship, letting her lead.

And for twenty years, I kept quiet. And it led her into the arms of another man.

She buries her face in my chest. Her engagement ring pierces my side when she tucks her hand under me. I guess Jared is getting his jabs in any way he can. I will feel more pain than this when he finds out.

“What did we do, Dink?” She asks me. I know exactly what I did. What I’d always wanted to do since the day I met her all those years ago. We’d been best friends since we could barely talk. She called me Dink because she couldn’t pronounce Derek. After all this time it was bound to happen. How come she couldn’t see that?

“Don’t worry about it, Cam. Not right now.” I say. I don’t want to ruin the moment with words. I don’t want to think about Jared or the appointment she missed with the best wedding gown designer in New York City. I don’t want to think about tomorrow or even what will happen when the sun goes down and this perfect moment comes crashing down on both of us. I just want to lie here, naked, with my best friend, and the girl I’ve been in love with since I was in diapers.

She sits up suddenly. Cold rushes in. “I gotta reschedule,” she mumbles. “I have to call Jared. I have to call my mom.” She moans. A regretful moan. It stings. “I have to call your mom. Oh God, Dink. This was bad. Really bad.” She bites down on her thumb, something she always does when she’s thinking.

“I gotta get out of here.” She pats the sheets, for her underwear, I’m assuming.

I find them and, with much more force than I intend, sling them at her. They smack her chest like a runaway rubber band.

“What the hell was that for?” Her hands are on her hips. Her bare, brown hips. The ones I just kissed. The ones I’d wanted to kiss since, God, how many years have I wanted to see her like this? And here she is in front of me and all she can think about is Jared? Perfect fucking Jared.

“Lock the top lock on your way out.” I roll out of bed and stretch. There is no point in stressing over Cameron, I tell myself. She’s always going to be the same. Erratic. Selfish. Blind. The city streets buzz outside my window. I wonder who will be in this bed after Cam leaves. I need a shower and a cold beer. Or fifty.

Something crashes beside me, pulling me from my thoughts. Glass nicks my ear. I whip around and Cameron’s face is stormy. Her cheeks are splotchy from anger. Her ears are burning red.

“What the fuck is your problem?” I scream, picking up the frame. It is picture of us when we were in high school. I have my arms around her waist, kissing her cheek. She’s laughing. Something I’d been trying to get her to do all night. She was depressed that no one had asked her to prom. I ditched my very fine date, showed up at Cam’s house at the very last minute. A dress, and corsage in hand.

It is my favorite moment of us. The one where I realized I loved Cameron James as more than just a friend. The moment I thought she felt the same. But now I can see that I was wrong then.

“How can you be so flippant, Derek?”

“So I’m Derek now?” I pick up the big pieces of broken glass. She follows me into the kitchen, screaming her head off.

“We just had sex and you’re treating me like I’m one of your side bitches!”

“Nah, one of my side bitches would know that once we’re done I don’t do all this talking shit.” I know I’m wrong as soon as I say it. The hurt that registers on Cameron’s face is unbearable. My stomach hurts. I’m literally starting to feel sick. My hands sweat.

But, I can’t show it. She’s already made up her mind. She’s still marrying Jared next year. I could see the thoughts registering right after we finished making love. She regretted the moment her mouth touched mine. She regretted the whole thing.

Fuck! I slam my hand down on the counter and I hear a scream resound off the walls. I don’t realize it’s me until Cam jumps too.

“You’re bleeding,” she says, rushing over to me. Her voice is soft again. Her naked body is close to mine. Her hair, that fuzzy stupid half-up-half-down style she wears. I can smell that organic stuff she uses that she pays too much for. She always smells like that shit. Coconut and peppermint and stuff.

She pulls a towel out of nowhere, wrapping my hand in it. It instantly feels better, I swear. My Cam, the magician. The word sounds good. My. Mine.

“Come ‘ere,” I say, pulling her face to mine. “I’m sorry, Cammie.”

“You’re a fucking jerk, Dink.” She swats at my chest and I pull her body closer. I can feel her on me now. Her heart racing. She tries to pull away but I stop her, clenching her again. I bury my nose in her hair, breathing her in.

“I’m sorry, Cammie,” I say again. I mean it. Accept it, please. I can’t lose you.

“I’m sorry, too,” she says. She looks up at me. Those brown, beautiful eyes. The ones I fall for every single time. “What are we going to do about this?”

“What do you want to do?” I ask, keeping my voice calm. Steady. But inside I’m trembling. She can’t leave. Not now.

“I think…” She bites her bottom lip, probably because her thumbs are linked together behind my back. She’s thinking. What is there to think about? We’re perfect. Always have been. Stay, Cammie, stay. I’m begging you. “I think I want to stay,” she finally says.

My Cammie. Mine. All mine.


See where it all began…

SHORTIES: Hanging Writer’s Block out to Dry

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SHORTIES-1 Welcome to the Black Ivy League…

The Legacy

Greg’s Girls

Greg’s Girls

for Jontae

I never thought it could happen to me.

I knew the statistics. I knew the signs. And I knew the moment I woke up tied to a chair that the Shadow Hunter had gotten me too.

He’d been terrorizing the city, capturing and herding women like cattle. We were supposed to be on high alert. We were supposed to be extra careful, especially at night. And I was. Every night but last night.

That got damn Greg, I spat inside my head, wanting to kill my own self for even going to his apartment. I don’t know why I let Melinda talk me into that last margarita. If I ever got out of here, I’d offer her and Greg up as bait to the whoever the guy was.

If I ever got out of here. Christ, I could really die here. The sobering thought catapulted me into action. I wrestled against the chair and every movement made my naked wrists burn. The duct tape was ripping the skin from my arms, I knew. I could feel the blood dripping down my palms, playing ping-pong with my fingers before falling to the floor. I tried not to think about how much blood I’d lost already.

If I concentrated on something else, one thing, I could save myself. I could get the fuck out of here. But where was I? How long had I been out? Where had he taken me? The last thing I remembered was Greg on top of me. His steel grey eyes leaning down. His mouth of mine. Me opening myself up to him willingly. His limbs tumbling between mine. Ready. Agreeing. Pulsing.

And then, nothing.

Darkness pressed on my eyelids. In the seconds (minutes? hours?) I’d been awake, my eyes hadn’t readjusted. There was only darkness. Deafening darkness. And a pair of steel grey eyes I’d never get to see again.

My head felt like it’d been split open. A shooting pain ran down my neck, pummeling my back. Low, burning pain spread through my abdomen. Panic set in. He raped me? No, no. That wasn’t his M.O. He’d never raped any other woman before. Oh, God get me out of this.

Hot tears burned my cheeks as they tumbled down my face. I had to get out of here, even if I died trying. I twisted, turning my wrist around until I felt something pop in my shoulder blade and a whirlwind of excruciating pain slammed into me all at once like a speeding train.

An agonizing scream leapt out of my mouth before I could stop it. I hung my head, too afraid to move my arm again. A crowd of tears splashed onto my bare legs.

Then, something beside me rustled like a whisper at midnight. A body?

I sat up so quickly and held my breath. My heartbeat pulsed through my ears. I could hear the blood shooting through my veins when I heard something again. A moan of agony. Someone was waking up. Someone was here with me!

“Oh thank God,” I breathed, realizing it was the first time I’d heard my voice in a while. It sounded jagged like I chewed glass. “Please, can you help me?” I whimpered. I heard nothing in response. “I’m Angie. I’ve been kidnapped. Please.” I could barely speak. Relief flooded over me slow like a baptism. Even if they were kidnapped like me at least there was someone else here with me.

“I know who you are,” someone mumbled. A swollen, evil voice hung in the air like a promise. Something squeaked nearby. A bed? Footsteps padded across the room and before I could make sense of anything I was blinded by a flash of white light. I blinked and blinked, my thoughts screaming with panic, until the room swam into view.

Cement walls. Blood, lots and lots of blood. A hanging body staring at me, slack-jawed and open-mouthed just inches from my ear. I recoiled so violently that I didn’t realize my chair toppled over until I slammed into the cement shoulder-first. A sickening crunch occurred and stars popped into my eyes. A nauseating crescendo of white pain flashed through my body. I bit down on my lip until the metallic tasted of blood stung my tongue. I flailed until finally I was off of my shoulder and that’s when I saw it.

The eyes that were staring back at me. The girl’s smiling faces. I recognized the curve of the lips and the sadness behind the square framed glasses. The nose that was too big for such a small face, but any smaller, it would have seemed empty. The jet-black hair that was always unruly.

It was me a thousand times over. Plastered on the wall. Me at the bank. Me eating a sandwich. Me catching a cab. Me with Greg. Our bodies twisted together like rope. Me. Me. Me.

On the adjacent wall there were other pictures, too. A different woman. Fire red hair, a perfect smile and a demeanor so sweet that she almost made me forget where I was. But then there was Greg. His mouth pressed to hers. Their emotions melting together easily like a hot knife to butter. Love. Lust. All captured with a flick of a camera.

I recognized her face. Autumn. The Shadow Hunter’s first victim.

I didn’t have to look around any more to know where I was and who I was with. I opened my mouth to speak, to scream, but nothing came out.

Out of nowhere a door clanged shut. A mousy woman stumbled in. Her eyes locked onto mine. There was no recognition or remorse behind them like she was seeing right through me.

Greg’s ex-wife.

She was always so quiet, so reserved, hiding behind huge, unflattering dresses and cheap costume jewelry. I used to joke that it was no wonder Greg came to me. The girl who had it all. Form-fitting dresses and real diamond studs fastened in my ears. I was the fun friend. The one who stayed with Greg while he and Becca were fighting. The one who bought all the flowers that were delivered to her job. The one that signed his name on all her anniversary cards when he’d forgotten.

I was also the one he slept with. The one who let Greg in. The one who ruined it for them. She was killing all of us, Greg’s girls, one by one.

I never thought it could happen to me, the girl who had it all.

And now I was going to lose it all.

“I’m sorry,” Greg whimpered, his mouth bloody and broken. His one working eye swiveled over to me. “I swear to God, Ang, I’m sorry.”

His wife stormed over, irritation, sorrow and rage in each step. “Oh shut the fuck up,” she ordered, whipping a gun out of nowhere. The steel flashed in the overhead lights.

“I love you, Ang,” Greg wailed above the sound of the hammer cocking. “Ang!”

I squeezed myself into a ball, anticipating, waiting for the explosion. The image of Greg’s horrified eyes burned into my skull.

And that was the last thing I remembered.


 

See where it all began…

SHORTIES: Hanging Writer’s Block out to Dry

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SHORTIES-1

 Welcome to the Black Ivy League…

The Legacy is available now!

The Legacy

 


 

trust your gut, always

I know you’re probably wondering why the cover of my very first novel, The Legacy, went from this:

The Legacy

 

To this:

TheLegacyEbook

Well, there’s a lot behind the story and I’ll make it very simple and concise for you: I made a mistake.

I didn’t trust my gut when it came to this publishing business. I foolishly thought that, with the help of a publishing company, I could make a bigger impact in my writing career. But as soon as I got the ball rolling with my previous publishing company I soon learned that I could have done everything and MORE on my own. (That’s not to say I still can’t make an impact with a publishing company. It’s just that I clearly chose the wrong one).

See, I doubted myself. I doubted my abilities and my reach as a writer. After several bothersome issues I realized I could no longer ignore the fact that I was not happy with my decision and I made the choice to leave.

I struggled for a while with what to do. Should I just stay? It’s not that bad, right? At least I wasn’t self-published. So many people look down their noses at self-published authors as if we are the scum of the Earth in the publishing business. Especially a BLACK self-published author, but that is neither here nor there because I could make a whole ‘nother blog post about that foolishness. But I realized I couldn’t let that voice of doubt influence me anymore. I had to trust my gut once and for all.

I got myself into this mess and I am hoping I can get myself out of it.

I have a trunk full of THE LEGACY (first edition) paperbacks that I am trying my hardest to get rid of. I have made them $10 PERMANENTLY and I’m throwing in the matching bookmark and a pen. There is also FREE shipping. Purchase your copies here.

Even if you already have a copy of my book, tell a friend. Share this picture (below) or this blog post on your social media. If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me: www.facebook.com/NecoleRyse and Twitter/IG: @necoleryse

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I can’t thank you enough.

Necole, over & out.

My Writing Process

So, I was asked to do a blog hop by my incredibly hilarious writer friend, Robin Muse, who is in the process of writing a highly anticipated romance novel. Read the synopsis on her blog and her post on How She Writes.

Follow her on Twitter: @LicitRecidivist, she’s hilarious.

She was asked to do a blog on How She Writes from her friend Kennedy Ryan.

Thanks Robin for thinking of me. So, let’s get this thing started!

What are you currently writing?

Sheesh…currently um…this must be a loaded question. Okay, Linda honey, listen. I am “currently” writing book 3 of The Birthright Trilogy. The first book of this trilogy, The Legacy, is coming out June 17, 2o14 from Winslet Press. I am also currently editing book 2 of The Birthright Trilogy, The Missing. While writing a whole ton of manuscripts I dibble and dabble in when I hit a snag in The Birthright.

What makes your work different?

Well, first, I’m an African American young adult fiction writer. You can pinch me. I am real. We do exist. So, there. That makes my work different than most writers.  We’re practically unheard of.

What makes my work different is…me. I’m different. I’m different from most writers. I have a serious problem with rules and authority, so all those “writing rules” that people say you can’t break, I do. I don’t think writing has to be this one thing that you put in a box. So many people have limits on writing, especially in YA, and I don’t do well with rules. I’m going to write what I want. All the time, no matter what. But you’ll never find a vampire in my novel. I’m so tired of vampires I don’t know what to do..

But, I digress..

Why do you write what you do?

This will be such a long answer, so brace yourself. It’s a mix of my previous answer my disdain for rules and because I want to change the face of African American literature.  My first book (The Legacy) is like A Different World and Pretty Little Liars mixed together in one. My main characters attend a Black Ivy League school and living a privileged lifestyle comes with a price. It could cost your life. (dun! Dun! DUNNNNNN!!!) I want African American characters to be in someplace other than the streets in novels, like, in higher education. I want people to realize that all African American literature doesn’t have to be urban.  African Americans are bold, artistic and beautiful! We are often underrepresented and misrepresented in mainstream literature. We are queens and kings, well educated and ambitious. I want those people to read my novels and see themselves. Diversity in YA is so scarce, and I’d do anything to get more positive African American images out in the world. That’s why I write what I do.

What is your writing process?

I answered this on my Instagram post a while ago, but I’ll give ya’ll another run down of my process.

  1. All of my ideas start out on paper. Receipt paper, a napkin, practically anything I can get my hands on.
  2. When I actually get enough fluid ideas I write one sentence on an actual piece of paper.
  3. Then, once I get a sentence and a concept forming, I continue writing long hand until I get at least one chapter.
  4. Then, I transfer it all to Word. I type from then on.

 

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Thanks so much for reading!!!

Next up is the amazingly talented Jontae Grace! He is in the process of publishing his first book. He drops so many gems on Twitter and Facebook. You all really should follow him. He is going to do amazing things for people in search of the right one.

Also up next Monday is Tiffany .C Lewis. Her debut novella Inside Out is available on Amazon and is a thrill-ride of a read. Check her out!

Necole, over and out

Dark Skies

Lately, I’ve been burned out. I haven’t written anything of substance in days. Usually I can write something every single day, but, between editing other things and working on dozens of projects at the same time, my brain is fried.

Completely fried.

Anyway, I have a pink notebook of unfinished ideas so I peek in it for a second and I see this.

I hope you enjoy.

DarkSun_by_LoS_Mandoade

The sun is dark–the color of blood.

The streets are corralled with chaos. Screams fill the potholes that the military left years ago. Blood-curdling cries rise in the air like vapor, an offering of sorts, but they aren’t dissipating. They stick, like paste, to the sky.

People are trampling one another.

An infant shrieks nearby–separated from his mother in the madness, perhaps. I watch unseeingly, helpless, with numb limbs, being shoved this way and that.

“What are you doing?” A familiar voice penetrates my eardrums. “Run!”

My feet stumble in his direction, obeying his unrelenting pull, but they are disoriented, confused.

An explosion knocks us off our feet, slamming us onto the pavement. With swollen eyes and ringing ears, it is here that I realize they are coming.

And we are so unprepared.

 

 

Copyright 2013 by Necole Ryse. All rights reserved.