Book 2 Update

Just a note: I’ve decided to try something different with this book, and I’ll let you know what it is later.

Update: I am going into self-edits. It feels exciting and also overwhelming.

The main story in Book 2 is one I started as a novel with parallel storylines that intersect at the end but has been reduced to just one of those stories. This story has seen so many iterations that I don’t even remember exactly where it was going when I first started it.

What I do know is I’ve read it so many times that the thought of looking at it again makes me want to scream! But and however, I have to look at it again. I have to make sure it makes sense and I have to get it right.

The rest of the stories are fun (and much shorter), so I may actually start with those before getting to the big one. My plan is to finish self-edits by the end of this month if I can, middle of June if I’m pushing it, beginning of July at the latest.

I’m creating space to give myself grace, but I do have a main goal and a hard deadline.

So much of writing these stories has been processing trauma and healing myself. The stories are all fictional this time, unlike my first book which included personal essays as well.

I’m excited for people to read these stories. And I hope they are enjoyed because I have enjyoed writing them!

Constantly Changing Book 2 | Writing Journal

So, you know how I was working on a novel as my second book? Well, that is no longer the case [shrugs shoulders].

I decided that I don’t care about Kanoa’s story anymore (harsh, I know). Quite honestly, his story is the one that was tripping me up the most. I was working with two stories in the same book, alternating between the two and converging them in the end. Kanoa’s story was actually secondary to Amelia’s. Amelia has always been my favorite and I enjoy the progression of her story, so I’m keeping her. Thing is, her story isn’t quite long enough on its own to be a novel, so…

Book two is going to be another collection! This time, just short stories, no essays. Amelia’s story is going to be the main piece because it’s longer than my typical short stories, and then we’ll have a few other pieces. Because Amelia’s story was so far developed prior to me cutting Kanoa, I’m sure I can wrap her up with much less frustration than I’ve been feeling thus far. I just have to fill in some gaps caused by Kanoa’s absence (there are bigger gaps in time and space when alternating storylines), but I’m happy to focus in on Amelia because I really love her and the other characters in her story.

As far as the other short stories are concerned, I have an idea for one of them but not totally sure about the rest. I do know that I want to include “Makers of Men” in this collection. “Makers of Men” was originally published in midnight & indigo Issue 3 in December 2020. It was my first formally published piece (that I can remember at this second) and served to put fire under me to get my first book out. I really love this story, so I definitely want to include it in book two.

I have conceded to the fact that I am not a novel writer. I love short stories and I’m much better at them. Maybe one day I will try my hand at writing a novel again, maybe I won’t. In the meantime, I’ve now got a better direction for this next book. Once I wrap up Amelia’s story, I can focus on the smaller pieces.

I will keep you updated as things change, of course.

Until next time, Happy Writing!

Raven Leilani – Luster

Luster was another book I had a difficult time putting down. It was like witnessing something you shouldn’t be privy to and not being able to look away. These people had issues!

Thing is, all people have issues and this book was very much a weird peek into the dysfunction that can happen when other people are brought into a marriage and the nonsense we will allow ourselves to endure when we have no place else to go.

Edie is young and struggling financially, so I mostly give her a pass for the shenanigans, but the shenanigans were many. She constantly makes bad decisions, starting with sleeping around the office with literally (almost)every man (and one woman, if I remember correctly) at her job. I won’t fault her for getting into a relationship with a married man. If the couple has an open marriage, there’s no reason she should feel guilty about being involved with him.

However, how are you just going to walk up into somebody’s house like that? Especially when one of the “open relationship rules” is to not go to the house. But, also, how are you going to leave your front door open when you’re upstairs cleaning or whatever? Not only can strangers walk into your house (like Edie did), but stray cats, snakes, racoons… Who even does that?

The wife was in over her head anyway. She probably didn’t even want the open marriage to begin with. Her obsession with Edie and how she invited her to live in their house when her husband (Edie’s boyfriend) wasn’t home. Yes, this white couple’s Black child needed some Black love in her life, and it was nice watching her relationship with Edie grow, but living in your married boyfriend’s house with his wife and child is weird. The wife’s treatment of Edie is weird. Did she really think Edie would stop sleeping with her husband because she asked her to (and put a roof over her head)?

If you don’t want an open marriage, just say that.

I don’t know, y’all. I was thoroughly entertained, though.

Pick it up or don’t. These people are a mess and I felt awkward with the interactions throughout the book, like I was the one doing something wrong (chuckles internally).

It’s like, I don’t judge a book by its characters, or even its storyline most of the time. I judge a book by its ability to keep me from putting it down. My reading habits aren’t nearly as indiscriminate as my movie-watching habits (I will watch almost anything), but I still find myself choosing books just because someone else said it was good, or I liked the cover, or the title spoke to me. Even when I read the book description, by the time my Overdrive hold becomes available, I’ve forgotten what the book is about anyway and go into it blindly. I kind of like that, though. I get to surprise myself with new stories and characters that frustrate me while they intrigue me.

I missed my download window for The Personal Librarian, so now I have to wait until the 16th to get it back. That’s my next read. I also have no idea what it’s about. I just liked the title and the cover art (yes, I do judge a book by its cover sometimes).

Happy reading, y’all!