Finding My Voice and Book Launch Thoughts

Writing my book is forcing me to be open about things I’ve mostly kept to myself over the years. The book is full of true stories as well as made up ones. I’ve always been hesitant to speak up, and I have not been my best advocate in many circumstances, but this book is calling me out into the world.

Can I be honest with you? I’m so afraid to launch this book.

I have a bad habit of imagining all the worst possible outcomes for any situation I am in, instead of imagining the best scenarios. It’s a form of protection, but it also closes the door to what could be amazing outcomes if it weren’t for the doubt. I’m excited about writing this book, I’m excited about completing this book, but releasing it… that’s something different.

It would be easy for me to not have expectations for myself or for the book. If I don’t have any expectations, I cannot be disappointed. However, if I don’t have expectations, how can I surpass them?

I’ve been creating this book for years, and it has seen many changes. More importantly, it is helping me expand. The book is about speaking out loud, finding my voice, and telling my stories, and whether it sells five copies or five million, I am grateful for the movement it has caused in my life. It is pushing me mentally, spiritually, and financially. It is forcing me to reach out to people and allow them in. It is forcing me to not do everything on my own the way I am inclined to do.

Still, I’m bracing myself for judgement and lack of support. I’m bracing myself for this book being something I did rather than something I accomplished. I’m bracing myself for a book launch with zero virtual viewers and only my parents in attendance. I’m bracing myself for a failed book launch.


I’ve become accustomed to being the only person excited about something I’ve created. I’m good at celebrating myself. And, quite honestly, I’m okay with investing the money I’ve spent to create something I’m proud of, even if it doesn’t sell. Of course, I still hope and pray it’s a hit. Even if not immediately, I hope someone finds it and loves it and shares it and other people find it and love it and share it. But even if that doesn’t happen, I love it.

I love my book now as it is (unfinished), and I’ll love it more once it has a beautiful cover design, and I’ll love it even more once it’s printed and in my hands. And, yes, I pray other people love it too, but if they don’t, I’m fine with that. Honestly. It’s how I’ve come to live, and how I’ve come to view myself as well.

I am not the “right” kind of something for many people I encounter. I’m not the right kind of woman, the right kind of Black, the right kind of writer, the right kind of a hundred other things, but in finding myself and finding my voice, I have come to appreciate being an acquired taste.

I know I’m rambling about a lot of things right now. My point is, I hope you decide to attend my virtual book launch, and I hope you buy my book, and I hope you love it. But even if you don’t, that’s okay with me.

Happy reading!

Octavia E. Butler: Kindred

As I mentioned in the intro post, Kindred was the first book I’d ever read by Octavia Butler. Now, I’ve always been a fan of Sci-fi and Fantasy so I was all for a book that involved the main character being transported to another time period, but the author being a Black woman made it all the more appealing to me.

Growing up, we were never really encouraged to read multicultural literature, and it wasn’t until I was in my late teens and early twenties that I actually started reading African American Literature. Caribbean Literature came even later than that. The only time we ever read books about Black people was during Black History Month, and even those books were mostly written by White people.

I had a really great art teacher my Junior year of high school who told me, during an assignment, that I didn’t have to sketch my subject as a White woman just because she was White in the original image. This incredibly talented White woman gave me permission to create art that reflected me, and I will forever be grateful to her. I don’t know why it took her to give me permission to create in a way that reflected myself, but it did. I promise not to turn this post into one about social and racial issues. The point is, I had to get to the place where I allowed myself to read material that reflected me as well, and my relationship with Octavia Butler’s writing began right around that point, which is probably why I have such a connection to her work—it was the beginning of me coming into who I was.

Before that, I had no idea there were Black Sci-fi writers, or that Butler was basically the Grand Madam of her genre. This book, though dealing greatly with slavery and race relations, is relatively light on the Sci-fi spectrum (compared to some of her other works).

Kindred opens with Dana in the hospital. She tells the reader “I lost an arm on my last trip home.” She’s drowsy and trying to convince the police officers who are questioning her that Kevin, her husband, didn’t hurt her. Kevin is having a difficult time understanding what did happen—all he knows is that when he followed the screams of his wife, he found her in the living room with her arm stuck in the wall as if she were part of the wall itself.

Each chapter is titled after the incident it involves. The first chapter, The River, describes Dana’s first encounter with Rufus. It was her 26th birthday. She and Kevin had just moved into a new house, and as they are unpacking books to put on their shelves, she begins to feel dizzy. She collapses onto her knees and as she attempts to steady herself, Kevin, who’s reaching for her, disappears. When the dizziness subsides, she finds herself in a wooded area with a river running through it, and a child, about 5 or 6 years old, drowning in that river. She runs in and pulls him out, and as she gives him CPR his mother his beating on her back yelling that Dana had killed her son. She yells at the woman to stop and that the boy is alive. The boy, Rufus, coughs and throws up and falls into his mother’s arms crying. But when Dana sits up, she finds herself looking down the barrel of a rifle. Before she has time to process, the dizziness comes back and now she’s in her home again, this time covered in mud, with Kevin asking how she got across the room.

These episodes continue for Dana throughout the novel. Whenever Rufus is in a life-threatening situation he “calls” her and she ends up saving him. Unfortunately for Dana, it’s 1815 (in chapter 2) and Rufus’ father is a slave owner. Dana realizes early on that Rufus is one of her ancestors, along with a free-born Black girl named Alice, and that’s why she keeps being called back to save his life. The Fire, The Fall, The Fight, The Storm, The Rope—these are all the chapters (excluding the Prologue and Epilogue) as well as all the instances Dana gets called back to save Rufus. Because of the time period, she has some serious issues along the way, even to the point where she is gone from Kevin for an entire year.

I will not give you all the juice because it’s a great book and I encourage you to read it. I love how Butler engages her audience while simultaneously teaching lessons. I’ll be honest, I nearly reread the book while writing this post. Of course, I’m completely and utterly biased because I already love Octavia Butler’s writing, and there’s no way I’m going to tell you not to read anything she’s ever written. So take it as you will, but at least give it a glance.

In my next post I will probably talk about Lilith’s Brood, which is the 2000 republished title of the Xenogenesis trilogy: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago. This series does have aliens in it, and I loved every bit of it. It would be totally awesome if there was a good quality movie made from this series. I’m talking about accurate scripting, true-to-book imagery, and incredible graphics. I’d love to actually see these books come to life on screen because of the incredible detail Butler gives. But if it can’t be done right, it shouldn’t be done at all. Especially when representing the master that Butler is (again, I’m biased).

Anyway, stick around for more!

If you have questions, you know how to reach me.

Happy Reading!


…now if I could just remember who I let borrow Bloodchild



Octavia E. Butler: Intro.

When I tell you this woman is the most amazing person I’ve never met! I guess I should begin with this disclaimer: I love everything I’ve ever read by Octavia Butler, and no one can convince me that she isn’t great. I’m slightly obsessed, and obviously way too excited, but that’s only because her creativity is everything, and I’m incredibly sad that she’s no longer here to give me more (selfish, I know)!

Born June 22, 1947, Octavia Estelle Butler was one of the best known female science-fiction writers, despite hearing from her aunt at a young age that “Negroes can’t be writers.” She won multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, and was the first science-fiction writer to win a MacArthur Fellowship (boasting a $295,000 cash prize). I’m not going to write her entire life story here, just because there’s so much goodness in her story and you’ve got to check it out for yourself.

I love Octavia Butler’s writing because it covers so much that is ignored. She isn’t just a Science-Fiction writer, she’s so much more than that. She covers everything from racism to sexism, classism, and more. Her writing, wrapped in this other-worldly shell, makes the reader think. Her writing challenges your imagination and your perception of what you think you know, what you think could happen. I get excited just thinking about it!

So when it came down to books that I was definitely keeping (during a recent purging of “things”), there was no doubt that I was keeping every last Octavia Butler novel I owned.

[As I’m typing this I get distracted by the fact I never acquired “Unexpected Stories”, and couldn’t remember why, so I looked on Amazon and remembered that it wasn’t in print, and then scoured the internet trying to find out if it somehow made it to print because I can’t stand ebooks and I’d really like to add these shorts to my collection, but I’ll probably end up having to download a copy and print it at home, which isn’t nearly as satisfying, but at least I’ll have them on hand.]

Kindred was the first book of Butlers that I’d ever read, and it was a great starter book considering it didn’t involve aliens or inter-species pairing. After that came (in the order I read them) Lilith’s Brood, Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, Seed to Harvest, Bloodchild and Other Stories (which I can’t find at the moment [sad face]), and Fledgling.

There are two works that I have yet to acquire–Survivor and, as noted above, “Unexpected Stories”. “Unexpected Stories” contains two short stories that were never published, and just recently became available in 2014 (eight years after Butler’s death). As I said above, I just have to download and print “Unexpected Stories” (even though I’d really like a bound copy). Survivor, on the other hand, is a little more challenging for me. Survivor only went through one printing (I believe) in the 70s because it was Butler’s least favorite part of the Seed to Harvest series. Prices on Amazon start at $90 and work their way up past $200, and, as much as I’d love to have a copy, that’s a little steep for me. So for now, I’ll keep on dreaming.

The next few posts are going to cover the books I do have, in the order I read them, starting with Kindred and finishing up with Fledgling. I’ll introduce you to the characters, plots, maybe some spoilers, and why I’m absolutely crazy about them.

In the meantime you can check out this article I cam across a few months ago titled “‘Devil Girl From Mars’: Why I Write Science Fiction”. Take a look, it’s quite interesting.

And as always,

Happy Reading!!


BTW, I just started reading A Garden to Keep, a novel by Jamie Langston Turner. It’ll take me a little while to finish because it’s just my “bedtime read” for right now. But when I’m done with it, you’ll hear all about it. 🙂