All posts by joanbarbarasimon

Dr (soon to be Dr Dr) Joan Barbara Travers Simon. Teacher, researcher, novelist, editor and more. As an author, I write adult-rated fiction for freethinkers. Explosive (multicultural) literary fiction with alpha protagonists locked in an erotic-psychological Kampf. Raw, funny, philosophical. Read my work (e.g. Verses Nature) and make your own mind up. I can also turn the heat level down. Long Time Walk On Water: 'a captivating multicultural historical novel with its splash of something quite unique, its touch of romance, reggae style, will win your heart forever.' I've been called many names: a wordsmith par excellence. A madwoman and literary terrorist. A magician. A truly fearless writer. I rather like all of these. I've also been called a woman with a dick. I like that one even more. As a scholar, I run an education blog for the general public. My special interest: the multilingual literacy development of young learners at home and school. Very little jargon. Lots of good ideas/data for free. I am also about to launch an online course for PhD students: The Academic Writer's Programme (AWP). A free mini version of this course will be on offer soon. Updates about this are on my website: www.joan-barbara-simon.com I love learning, asking questions, breaking the rules and giving you what you won't get anywhere else.

Who’s pleasing whom? In search of our own language

Simon_Penning Pleasure_2

 

 

When I ask myself the question: WHO IS PLEASING WHOM???

It’s the first part of a pair. What follows is:
ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE A FEMINIST? I AIN’T SO SURE I’M NOT ONE…

 

 

This is the theme of my next non-fiction book. It’s a critical analysis of writing in the feminine and of the (still far too) male-dominated nature of academic discourse. Will we ever dare to speak our own language(s) and survive in today’s academic landscape?

I’ve got several bones to pick in this book. I look at what Nicole Brossard calls writing in the feminine and at just how far we may go in calling this style of writing a new language. I look critically at Brossard’s use of the term we, wondering how (and why) a white middle-class lesbian feminist can claim to be the mouthpiece of all women. I look at what language permits and what its gatekeepers will not allow. I also look at language’s gatekeepers and the extent to which even feminists bow to their demands. This leads me to question the situation of  feminist scholars who (must?) continue to speak the ‘old’ patriarchal language. I recall my own experience as a scholar, setting a new accent, being both creative and critical in my writing, only to be told by my feminist tutor and by my feminist examiners that: you don’t do it that way. Why not? Is there really only one way? One language, a single voice, in this day and age where diversity is self-explanatory? When will there ever be change if no one dares? The tension between feminist intentions and the real possibilities of expression within an academic arena become viciously apparent. In this book I also look at the merits of writing in the feminine as, perhaps, a first measure that leads us in a good (I’m not sure that I’m ready to say right) direction. Thought is a journey in language. There can never only be one way. This book is about daring to fly and assessing the risks. I hope you’ll read it when it’s out.

 

Just so that you know:

The contents of this book are part of my PhD in Creative & Critical Writing. Do you see the joke: if you can’t be creative and critical in a PhD in Creative & Critical Writing, then where? I’ve passed the exam and will receive my diploma by Christmas. Now I can beef up my critique and say it how I mean it.

You don’t know me. Yet.

Women. Pussy-smelling women whose scent screams at you what will never cross their lips. That’s how he knew who I was.

 

Where was it? When? Soaking up all the attention as though the party were being thrown for him. He was a guest like everyone else.

 

– I know what you’d like…

– I beg your pardon?

 

*

 

– I told you.

He scooped out my cream. Painted his lips with it.

– Kiss me.

– This doesn’t mean you know me.

– I know you well enough. You’ll be back for more.

 

 

There should have been guilt somewhere but there wasn’t.

 

– If Nick was any good, you wouldn’t be here, so don’t worry about it.

– Who told you that I’m worrying?

– You do this all the time, then, do you?

 

Watching my family life from a distance. It seemed so normal. So good. So empty. Maybe one day the children will hate me. They look happy for now.

 

Do you love me, he wanted to know.

– Do I need to?

­– A little bit, at least.

– Do you love me?

– Enough to eat you out and finger you the right way until you spritz. I thought it would hit the ceiling. How would I explain that to my wife? Next time we do that, can I film you? Place a camera between your tits and film your spritz and me sticking my face in and gulping down the lot.

 

Folding the laundry. Nick will be home soon. I will get the peck on the cheek.

 

He is a good man, I say.

– Well he’s not good enough.

 

What can I say?

 

I don’t like the look of Tatar’s dick. What he does with it is heavenly. Slapping my face with it till it’s as stiff as a rolling pin and down my throat till I threw up on him once so he punched me. It was a reflex, he said.

– Sorry.

To prove it, he scraped some of the sick of the sheets and ate it.

– Now kiss me.

 

 

Nick is worried that I’m no longer happy. He says he feels there’s something wrong. Talk to me, Carmina. All I see is a good man who hasn’t a clue. Maybe I should put him out of his misery.

 

 

I think we should stop, I say.

– No.

– Tatar, let’s be reasonable.

– We haven’t even started!

– Look, I’m not coming today.

– Then I’ll turn up at your place.

– Don’t you dare!

– Nick’s my friend. I knew him before I met you. What’s to stop me coming by for a chat with my mate?

– I’m warning you!

– When can you get here?

– It’s our wedding anniversary, for God’s sake!

– When can you get here?

 

 

I said I’d send him a message. A harmless one.

 

*

 

This short episode picks up the protagonists of my trilogy, Verses Nature: The Memoirs Of A Lonely Hotwife:

 

VN trilogy Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 11.51.27

‘Literary, astute and gifted (…) shocking, erotic, disturbing and impossible to put down (…) runs right up to the boundaries of the usually acceptable, and then rides right over them.’ (Simone Leigh, best-selling author)

 

Not erotica in the conventional sense, but rather erotic literary feminist fiction. Yes, fiction can be erotic and literary. Yes, fiction can be erotic and feminist.

The complete trilogy is out now!

€0.99c. That’s a joke, really. This preferential price is to break down your reservations, not only because if you are who I think you are, then you’ll love this challenging read, but primarily because I’m ready and waiting for the discussion I know we’ll have about what erotica is and can do.

Don’t wear the labels other seek to pin on you. Even as you take their words/structures,  make them your own.

 

Stuart Aken on Blood Red Dust and the double-edged sword of superlative science fiction

The world’s full of easy reads, with a multitude added to the ranks each day. Stuart Aken refuses to be part of that army of writers. He accepts his books, multilayered and often dealing with topics many people would prefer to ignore, aren’t easy to read. I asked him about his approach to writing.

 

JBS: Do you have a favourite genre in which you write?

SA: Genre: a double-edged sword. It provides clues for readers to help them decide which books they might like to read, of course. But it labels writers, constrains them and, especially if published by the bigger houses, forces them to turn out barely disguised copies of the same book under different titles for the term of their contract.

I find the story chooses the genre, and most of my work doesn’t fit neatly into any one recognised slot. I’ve written work classified as romantic thriller, horror, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and speculative fiction, but all these are really cross-genre books.

Fortunately, my publisher’s willing to accept my work as it is. Dan Grubb doesn’t insist on me re-writing the last book under a different title. And, let’s face it, a publisher willing to risk a 600k fantasy trilogy, aimed at an adult readership, from an obscure author, doesn’t come along every day. Fantastic Books Publishing is a true partner for my writing and I’m grateful for the support.

Also, genre has a habit of pushing readers onto a shelf where all the volumes are more or less the same. Some readers seem never to step outside their self-constructed safe zones and spend entire lives reading about zombies, alpha male romance, ghosts, crime, or any one of a number of narrow subjects. It’s a self-imposed restriction that clearly suits some people. I try to write for those open to risk, willing to try something different (I won’t say ‘new’, since there’s nothing new in writing, apart from the unique quality of an author’s voice, perhaps).

 

JBS: You’ve published quite a lot of novels, and had work included in a number of anthologies. What’s your latest book?

SA: A couple of years ago, I was visited in the middle of the night by an idea for a story that begged to be written. It began a science fiction style of trilogy called Generation Mars. The first book, Blood Red Dust, was written through the eyes and viewpoint of a university student producing a dissertation from multiple reports made by various characters involved in the story. Aimed at the genre aficionados, it presents facts and assumes a certain amount of knowledge as standard, so isn’t an easy read for the general reader. Set on Mars around 2074, it details the exploits of a small group of pioneering geniuses sent to Mars to build a colony there and to protect the human race from the chaotic extinction taking place on Earth at the time.

The latest book, War Over Dust, is written in a more accessible style – a standard narrative – and looks at conflicts of culture, commercialism, the dangers inherent in religious faith, and the way custom and tradition force people to act in certain ways. This book is set a further 500 years into the future, but manages to use many of the characters from the first book due to biological advances over that time. Two cultures with vastly different priorities are forced into a conflict that might end one or both. A potential romance between two people from opposite sides provides a bridge that may exacerbate or resolve the possibility of all out war.

 

JBS: Who are your writing heroes?

SA: The temptation is to reply ‘none’, as I have a built-in resistance to hero-worship. I exhausted the children’s library in my hometown at the age of eleven and was allowed to take adult books from then, even though they were normally available only to those aged fourteen or older. I also read my way through the entire stock of the camp library at one of the Royal Air force stations I was assigned to in my late teens. So I’ve read a lot of books over my 69 years; I estimate the number at around 10,000. I’ve forgotten most of them, of course, but they will all have planted influence and information in the grey matter. Some undoubtedly impacted on my thinking, educated me, and taught me much about writing and about life.

Among the names that float to the surface are Ray Bradbury, Iris Murdoch, John Fowles, Graham Greene, Nikki French, Stephen King, and William Golding. But that’s to neglect hundreds of others.

I was fortunate some decades ago to come across Dorothea Brande’s excellent book, ‘Becoming a Writer’. I now advise anyone who asks me how to start writing to read her book, do the exercises and follow her advice. It’s a great way to determine whether you’re fitted for the writer’s life.

These days, I don’t read as much as I used to. From three to four books a day, I’ve reduced to little more than one a week. My eyes tire after lengthy sessions at the keyboard and screen, and I’m often too weary at the end of the day to read a lot. But I still review almost every book I read.

 

JBS: A lot of your work’s quite dark, and your science fiction is dystopian. What drives you to that side of story-telling?

SA: There’s a rising voice against dystopian fiction; I suspect that’s because we live in a world ruled largely by despotic lunatics, and people are generally scared enough without having terror brought to them in the pages of books.

Science Fiction, in its many guises, is often a way for a writer to express perceived outcomes. I’m actually very optimistic about the future. Human beings are an extraordinary bunch: creative, kind, sharing, funny, and often wise. Of course, we hear more about the few bad apples, since good news doesn’t sell newspapers. My fiction, however, allows me to serve warning on humanity about the follies and indifference that may overtake us if we fail to address the many problems we’ve created for ourselves, and the rest of the living world. The planet will exist until the natural course of events causes our wonderful, reliable sun to swallow it up in its final death throes. But our cavalier attitude to pollution, over-population, environment, and the development of weapons of mass destruction, along with the newly-created potential monster that is AI, poses a very real danger to our continued existence.

Once aware of these potential barriers to the very existence of our species, it seems irresponsible to ignore it in my writing. In common with most writers, I have a message to spread. But I write stories first and foremost, generally throwing in some hope along the dystopian route I follow in those tales. The general idea is to entertain readers but plant seeds of doubt that might generate concern about the world we’re creating for our children.

 

JBS: Your website is quite minimalist in style, and I see no overt promotion of your books. What’s your attitude to marketing and promotion?

SA: Ah, you noticed? There are two reasons I fail miserably at marketing my work.

Firstly, experience has shown me the creative mind is a delicate and suggestible state. It’s easily influenced by mood, environment, conflicting activity, and priorities. I write in a sort of semi-conscious state, creating story ‘off the top of my head’ rather than following a plot or recognisable structure. I create characters, have a theme (or more than one), envisage the world my players inhabit, provide a central problem for them to solve, and then allow them to deal with the barriers and issues I place in their way. That’s how my stories develop.

I’ve found that working on promotional aspects of the craft is an entirely different activity, using a different mind-set, which interferes quite strongly with the creative mode. Since I prefer the creative aspect of writing, I’ve tended to neglect the marketing side as a result.

Secondly, until I retired from employment a few years ago, I worked in a number of different areas, some of them involving selling and marketing. Almost without exception, I found these jobs required dishonesty and sometimes downright lies if the individual was to succeed in the way the managers/owners of the companies required. I built up a deep dislike and distrust of all sales work as a result, but was obliged to do the work in most cases simply to support my family. I wrote a short post on that aspect recently, which you can find here, should you want to know more: https://stuartaken.net/2017/07/26/why-im-pretty-crap-at-marketing/

 

JBS: You say you write for adults; to what extent does that influence your storytelling and subject matter?

SA: I write for an adult readership, so there’s almost always sexual content. For my science fiction trilogy, I’m working with a sophisticated society based on pragmatism and scientific principles, so there’s an acceptance that sex is an appetite that requires acknowledgement rather than restrictive laws. In my fantasy trilogy, there are several different social groupings or tribes with differing attitudes to sex and to nakedness, as we find in the world around us. I think ignoring sexual activity in the narrative would be to cheat the reader of a very real part of normal human life. In my romantic thriller, the entire story revolves around the burgeoning relationship between an innocent, but very bright, young woman and the man-of-the-world photographer for whom she goes to work to escape the control of her distinctly unpleasant father. Sex is an integral part of the lives she engages with in this new world and to exclude it would be to chop the heart out of the story.

In spite of many advances in many areas, the modern world still often looks on sex as something threatening, even unpleasant. We’re animals, with a strong inbuilt biological imperative to breed. Part of that survival programme includes a very rewarding experience in our coupling; our brains and hormonal systems ensure that sex, when undertaken by consenting adults, is probably the most pleasurable activity we know of. To exclude it from fiction seems to me bizarre, and a denial of the reality of what it means to be human.

 

JBS: Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

SA: Many thanks for giving me the chance, Joan. In common with most writers, I can never get enough opportunities to express myself in words. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Thank you.

 

newstu700

 

Links:

For Blood Red Dust:

BloodRedDust

 

Amazon universal link – http://getBook.at/BloodRed

Link to Publisher’s site – https://www.fantasticbooksstore.com/blood-red-dust-all-formats.html

 

For War Over Dust:

 

Waroverdust1000

Amazon universal link – http://myBook.to/WarOverDust

Link to Publisher’s site – https://www.fantasticbooksstore.com/war-over-dust.html

 

For my other books:

Link to the page on my website – https://stuartaken.net/my-published-work/

 

My website – http://stuartaken.net/

Twitter link – http://twitter.com/@stuartaken

LinkedIn link – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/stuart-aken/22/1b6/aaa

Facebook Page link – http://www.facebook.com/StuartAken

 

So many shades of beauty

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Here’s an amazing poem that Facebook censors. Strange: fascists can spit their venom all over the web, but true love is a no go. Please show your tolerance for diversity. Click on the image to watch this two-minute video, like it and share.

 

(and then listen to it a second time, but with your eyes closed…)

 

Because we are all beautiful.

 

And because we are all beautiful, here is a book promotion to celebrate diversity. These books feature PoC, LGBT+ and/or disabled characters. Click on the image to discover these free books on offer.

 

 

It ain’t pizza: Verses Nature

ralph-evans- Unsplash291848

I once had a fight after school with a girl called Lorna. No idea, now, why it started. Word had spread and a crowd was ready and waiting. We did our best to rip each other apart. One of the male teachers split it up and gave us detention.
– Nice girls don’t fight,
he said,
– Nice girls don’t need to fight.

 

(Years later, at my therapist’s)

 

– I see,
she said,
– how did it feel, to rip… Lorna?… apart?
– It felt… great!

– It felt nice to be angry?
– Yes!
–To let yourself go?
–Yes!!!
– When was the last time you felt that good?

(from Verses Nature (The Memoir Of A Lonely Hotwife) vol.2: Your Joy Is Your Own. Image: Ralph Evans)

 

 

from the author:
What is a novel? What is a genre? What does it mean to read? How do I read? How am I a reader? What do I expect from myself and from the author?


For each of these questions, there is no straightforward answer. Not for me. It’s time we recovered from our assumptions. The open-ended structure of Verses Nature refuses to play to such assumptions, soliciting instead various levels of surprise.

Whooah… what the…?

Readers find themselves having to reposition, to redefine and thus relocate themselves in new narrative/interpretive spaces. The intention is to agonize the reader so that she accepts that the novel is out of my hands and becomes her responsibility:


– If the reader fails to see my female protagonist, Carmina, in all her complexity, seeking instead to reduce her to a woman whose racial profile is more pronounced so that she fits ready-made (and white-ordained) notions of blackness, this reader must accept the responsibility for her expectation and hopefully interrogate why this expectation exists in the first place. Someone asked me – very kindly, of course – to make Carmina’s racial profile more identifiable. In other words: blacker. Hell, no! She’s not a pizza where you get to choose the toppings. If she’s black enough for me, why isn’t she black enough for you? Why do you need her to be so other? This person asked for more racial profile and I wrote the above scene. It has nothing to do with race. Will this person dare to insist on a blacker Carmina or will they, finally, get the point?

– If the reader is not always  given a clear point of entry into a text, but must decide for herself where she must place her eyes on the page and where to go from there, this reader must accept responsibility for how she makes meaning from the text.
– If the reader finds herself constantly rethinking, renaming the place this work occupies (is it a novel? Is it erotica? Is it feminist literature?), then because I have not alleviated her of the responsibility to decide for herself what she wants to see. This reader must acknowledge, by virtue of her doubts, that such classification is not quiet, but always on the move. Not silent, but noisy.


By deliberately writing a work with numerous dynamic interfaces and by testing out the various levels and limits of their co-existence in my mind and in that of the reader, the Verses Nature trilogy hopes not only to give you a damn good read (it’s very high in the amazon charts, so thank you!), but equally to make a valuable contribution to ongoing discussions about the properties of the novel and representations of the self.

Look till you break

Apart from editing and a final revision, I finished the translation of Joan Barbara Simon’s Verses Nature: In the Beginning Was The Heat. Initially I revolted against the male protagonist, Tatar, as it was very conflicting to put myself in his skin, his mindset and especially his words. I wrestled with him for a long time, but as he is an undeniable reality that can be seen in many lights (and should) I put in every effort to genuinely do him justice in German and reflect who he is or might be for that matter.

 

To bond with the female counterpart, Carmina, was essentially ‘easier’, as her struggle is a well-known and yet potentially kept silent reality of too many women, too many female narratives that remain hidden in the bedroom drawers of pain, shame and agony. She is made of flesh and blood, of bad and good, of pain and pleasure and she is done with apologising, with justifying herself and selling herself short. She rewrites her own story and as hurtful as it is, she changes the predestined conclusion of her life.

 

Even though Verses Nature contains raw sexual matter (so what?), it does not deserve the common, depreciative and cheap stigmata associated with erotic fiction. It is indeed literary if one dares to take the time to dig deeper, read beyond every word and sense and dive into each page without preconceptions and judgements. Each page takes and needs its space in meaning, the process is akin to the musing of a painting, a portrait, as intimate as it gets, to swim through the features and textures of a face, a personality that is deeply flawed, human, hurt and lusting after life. Every time that I thought that I had figured them both out, I was wrong and rediscovered a new aspect that could be closer to the truth. When approaching Verses Nature, one has to do so with an open mind, it takes time and a lot of unburdening, but I managed to sincerely appreciate it, it challenged me and I do not say this because I consider Joan to be a dear friend of mine or because she chose me to be the translator, but because these narratives matter and need to be told and dissected. Even if Tatar might come across as an incredible asshole, a misogynist, a nonsensical skirt chaser or Carmina as threatening, vulgar and uncomfortable, they stand utterly exposed and therefore vulnerable and that’s the point, not to be judged, but to be understood, analysed. Together, they are representative of the social, political, religious, familial and emotional issues that still have a long way to go in today’s society. They cannot be reduced to black and white shades, they are in no way extremes or stereotypical binary oppositions. They might be you and me, then and now, they are intertwined and consist of common dysfunctional and functional features that we all possess and control more or less. Verses Nature is holding up the mirror to your face and challenges you to keep looking. Maybe if you figured out how to gaze, it will break.

(Laura Gentile)

 

shell-shock-vn-vol1

 

Thank you, Laura, for the excellent translation into German and for this spot-on evaluation of my book! I’m continually tweaking the book’s categories. After adding the subtitle: Memoir Of A Lonely Hotwife, it shot to #1 on amazon yesterday. True, the rankings are updated hourly, so fame is short-lived but the pleasure is nonetheless sweet. I like the word memoir as it shifts the book to a place where fiction and non-fiction may co-reside. Just as Verses Nature can be seen as erotica and more, the social, political reality it depicts also makes its fictional characteristics move beyond fiction to become that ‘more’ which invites us to keep questioning. So readers, if you feel like a challenge, here it is, ready and waiting.

How To Stay Alive (from a survivor)

The doctor said it was too late. Soft medicine would be of no use to me now. I cried into my pillow as the visions of what I still wanted to achieve in my life flashed before me then ran off into the bushes.

Don’t move. If you do, you could bleed to death in less than three minutes.

I practised being dead, resisting every urge to cough or twitch, but first I called the children to hear their voice in case…

And as I practised being dead – getting better and better at it – a familiar face ventured almost apologetically into the room.  So grateful was I to see him one more time that I cried in earnest. It wouldn’t matter if I bled to death now.

That was nearly two years ago. Two years, over 600 pills a month and the will to prove everyone wrong. Whenever anyone says ‘no’ to me, I make it my mission to prove them wrong. The doctors had been telling me for years that  I would be on medication for life.

‘Are you sure that I won’t be able to get off these pills one day?’
‘No. Let’s be honest’.

That was their No. Not mine. On my miraculous journey back to health from a chronic kidney disease, I encountered a wonderful soul with a simple message: we can eat our way back to health and the way to do so is to practise intermittent fasting. It sounded like just another fad to me and I challenged the author to give me good reasons why I should take him seriously. He won me over. I read his book and you know what: I feel GREAT! I’m not going to twist your arm or try to talk you into anything because I’m not motivated by self-interest. There is a growing body of research on the benefits of intermittent fasting. I only know it is helping me to regenerate both my body and my mind. If you would like to know more, click on the image below to receive your copy of this short yet life-changing book.

 

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Staying with the topic of health, I’d like to share with you an amazing piece of fiction by  Mari Reiza. My first encounter with Mari was via her book  Physical: The Catastrophe of Desire. This is a first-class piece of feminist humour which I would have loved to read all over again, but I decided to try another title to see if Mari could enthrall me yet again. Oh yes she can! I’ve just finished reading Room 11: A Man Sits Singing Where A Woman Lies Dreaming. This is an impressive book that should have its place on the reading list for Contemporary Fiction or Women’s Fiction around the world (says I, as a  Creative Writing lecturer). Reiza’s short book nonetheless takes on epic dimensions of mind, inhabiting liminal spaces that churn around love, desire, belonging, acknowledgement, You would need to be an erudite reader to take in all the references in this story which frequently returns to Greek mythology and escapes (or so I find) into surrealist-like fantasies that call to mind Kafka. In many ways I see the work as a tragedy of love. It’s a breathtaking work that left me exhausted and thoroughly elated. Just read it!

 

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Like Loui Lam, Mari was amazingly open to my questions and comments about her book. I love that dialogue between authors and readers!

If we want to stay alive, physically and mentally, then we shouldn’t play dead. We should be open for new encounters that have the potential to refresh our souls. I remember reading a blogpost about a woman who one day realized that her reading was in fact limited to English and American authors, so she determined to correct this blind spot by aiming to read a book from every country in the world over the course of a year. That’s some goal! There’s so much out there for us to discover and that is why I would now like to make a request:

Tell me about your favourite fiction titles and/or any life-changing books you’ve read and why you think everyone should read them. Depending on how much time you have or want to spend, you can tell me about a single title or many. I’d love to share this list over the course of forthcoming posts so we can all stay alive.

More good news: I competed my second PhD in February, despite all odds. I’m very proud to be able to call myself Dr Dr Joan Barbara Simon (or Joan Barbara Simon, PhD, PhD). Achieving the unthinkable is also one reason why I have been away from this blog for so long. Well, now I’m back, full of love and life and love for life and I want to share as much of what I’m reading, doing and thinking with you so don’t be surprised if my posts bounce from theme to theme: it’s just how I am, not trying to concoct some marketable brand but giving you the real deal on who and how I am.

 

A final piece of good news: my historical novel, Long Time Walk On Water, is now ranked #1 in 3 amazon categories! It’s a pity that there are so few reviews to let readers know what to expect. If you have read and enjoyed the book and would like to take a few minutes to share your views, please click on the link below.

Review Long Time Walk On Water Vol.1

Thank you for that and hear from you soon with your personal Best Books!

 

The Queen’s speech for 2017

In the words of my favourite friend and queen, Yode Olubajo:

 

Dear friends,

This year, I’m struggling to write you because it truly has been an anus horribilis on a world wide scale… Where does one start? We continue to witness evil on an unprecedented scale, with the loss of so many innocent lives… One cannot begin to imagine the sorrow and pain of the families and loved ones of the victims… And for the victims who survived these atrocities, many now living very different lives than what they had imagined for themselves..

Many of you will be asking, if there is a God, why is  this happening?.. Well, you see, heaven helps those who help themselves. We must take responsibility for our actions. Those who use religion as an excuse to commit heinous crimes, have nothing to do with God or religion..The world we have been given, is a beautiful place… And mankind is destroying it.

Nevertheless, I decided that I will see the glass half full, and not half empty. There are many many positive aspects of our lives we take for granted, that we ought to be grateful for.. Just waking up daily and breathing the fresh air, the food on our table, roof over our heads, the wonderful friends and families we share..to state a few obvious blessings..Many of us are at that age where we are losing loved ones, some prematurely, and some, because it is simply time… Challenging and painful though it is, we are still here and must continue to live life to the full.

On a personal note, I feel very blessed… I can not complain about my life. I have my ups and downs like everyone, but, I’m constantly learning to put things in perspective and not dwell on negativity, because it only destroys us in the end.

I reached my 5th decade recently, with many of you celebrating with me. I felt so fortunate and incredibly lucky to be surrounded by so much love… What a week that was…! I am thoroughly blessed.

I’m hoping to be able to give you some news early next year on a project I’m working on.. I’m very excited! And I’m bloody terrified too…! LOL!

As always, I was not able to physically see all of you this year, and it has flown by again..! Each year seems to get shorter, or are we just getting busier?! But, you are often in my thoughts and I continue to pray for your well being and fulfilment..

Wherever you find yourself this festive season, I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing time with your families and loved ones… I am in Toulouse enjoying quality time with friends..As we enter the new year, I pray for a calmer, safer and healthier world for all of us.. Remember to make the most of every day… Life is now! It ain’t no dress rehearsal!

 

God bless you!

 

Love always,

 

Yodé xoxoxoxo