Why I’m Writing Fearlessly in 2016

Hey y’all, it’s been two weeks since I last checked in. I had my gallbladder removed and the recovery was bruTAL. Had me looking for a Dr. Kevorkian copycat up in here. But, thankfully, I’m well on the road to recovery now.

Anyway, lately I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what writing fearlessly means. When I wrote my first novel, I wrote fearlessly but published terrified. When the Real Thing Comes Along was never meant to see the light of day. I wrote it for me, without any intent for anyone to read it other than my sister and a few close friends.

fearlessly

When I decided to publish I was anxious, to say the least. I figured that everyone would think WTRTCA was about me. So I painstakingly edited it, hoping that I could avoid the inevitable. When it dropped, of course everyone who knows me saw characteristics of me in Jacelynn, the main character, no matter how much I tried to disguise or deny it. That experience taught me some things.

First of all, writing from a place of fear stifles creativity. Anticipating that others will think that everything you write is about you, and allowing that to hinder you, is no way to live. I’ve finally accepted that everything I write is about me, to a certain extent.

When I pour myself into my writing, it touches others. Readers are discerning, and authenticity has a farther reach than any marketing plan. As I continue to write and build my brand, I want to be known for emotional, heart tugging literature. I can’t do that if I’m writing from a place of fear.

My next novel tackles some hard-hitting issues. One of those issues is emotional eating. Do I necessarily want people to know that when I’m stressed out, anything chocolate makes my world okay? Um, no. But I do want anyone who’s struggling with some sort of eating disorder to know that they are not alone; and that there is hope for them.

AnaisStanding in the light of my truth is the only way I can have a hope of guiding someone else into their’s. For me, that’s what it’s all about. My mantra for the last few years has been “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” That’s what I strive to do every time I sit down to write.

How do you find the courage to write fearlessly? 

I’ma Give You a Piece of My Mind…(Then I’m going to need that back)

I’m feeling some type of way y’all. One of my pet peeves is being put in a box. No, not literally. I out-of-the-boxwish somebody would try that mess. I’m speaking figuratively. I don’t like when people assume that the girl raised in Compton, CA and Long Beach, CA is automatically hood (although I can be ’bout that life if necessary). I don’t like when people assume that, as a woman past a certain age and unmarried (especially a Black woman) I must be ready to walk down the aisle with any chump, whether he’s unemployed or toothless or batting for the other team. I don’t like when people assume that being overweight, fat, thick’ums or whatever you want to call it, means I spend my days curled up in a fetal position moaning about my cursed life.

That’s that ish I don’t like.

But you know what gets my goat more than any of that? It’s when someone tries to tell me what I can and cannot write. I consider myself to be a Christian Fiction writer. I’m learning more and more that identifying myself as such comes with a huge set of rules that I know nothing about! Not only that, but there’s an undeniable stigma attached to the title as well.

ChristianFiction

On the one hand, you have people in the Christian publishing industry up in arms about authors who are using the Christian Fiction title without following the strict guidelines set forth, which include no explicit anything. On the other hand, you have readers who are unfamiliar with the genre who look at you sideways when you identify as a Christian Fiction writer; like you’re going to beat them over the head with a Bible, take their lunch money, and then tell them that they have to forgive you ‘cuz Jesus said so.  Needless to say, they often run in the other direction without giving your book a second glance.

Which is why I’m over here in my feelings, wondering what kind of writer am I? I don’t want to mislead readers. I want readers to be satisfied that what they thought my book was, and what they actually received was pretty much on the money. I also want to attract readers who might have never considered reading faith-based fiction. How do I best present myself in the most accurate and authentic way?

I’m not going to pretend that I have all of the answers. I not even going to pretend like I have some of the answers. But there’s a few things that I do know. I know that I want to be the kind of writer who writes what I’m passionate about. I want to be the kind of writer who writes what I know to be true. For me, that means that I’m a Christian who writes fiction about life. Life as I see it.

Whether all of this ever falls into a neat little box is yet to be determined.

What do you think of when you hear “Christian Fiction”? What do you think about genre specific guidelines? Do you think genre lines are blurring? Do you think the publishing industry is evolving when it comes to genre specifications?

I Was On the Radio Y’all!

Hey Peeps,

Just wanted to drop by and let you know that I had my very first radio interview this past weekend! I was excited and nervous and I’m pretty sure I said ‘um’ much more than I wanted to, but other than that I think I did okay. The host, DuEwa Frazier, was warm and engaging. She made me feel comfortable and asked some great questions; that helped tremendously. So, here it is!

Interview with Author Faith Simone on Rhymes, Views and NewsTalk Radio

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Shout out to Your Vision in Ink for obtaining this interview for me. Don’t sleep on the author services offered there!

OAN: I’m on Periscope y’all!!!! Well, technically I haven’t actually done a broadcast yet, but I am a registered user. For those of you not in the know, Periscope is a spin-off created by Twitter that allows users to stream live video to their followers. Think YouTube only live and much more casual. It’s like being invited into someone’s life for brief moments.

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So far, I’ve toured an English garden in the UK, saw a couple of live concerts and got schooled on some publishing tips. The one caveat is that the streams are only available for replay for about 24-48 hours. So if you missed it, well… you missed it.  I’ll do my first broadcast once I familiarize myself with the platform a little more. I’m all crunked about it (are the kids still using that phrase?) because the broadcasts are live and I’ll be able to interact with you lovely people in real time! You can ask me questions and send your comments while I’m on the air. Chile, I’m over here feeling all Jetson like and whatnot. Where’s my flying car, ’cause we are doing the dog on thang!

Get yo’ life and follow me on Periscope @FaithSimone2011

If you took time to listen to my first radio interview, first of all thanks! Do you have any tips for me? I have another radio interview scheduled in August. School me now so I’ll have some time to get myself together. 

How do you settle your nerves before doing something out of your comfort zone? Me? I have a come to Jesus meeting, A.K.A. pray like it’s my last time! What’s your one bad habit when engaging in public speaking? 

The Shade Room: Jacelynn of #WTRTCA

The Shade Room

In honor of  When the Real Thing Comes Along being on sale for .99 cents, I decided to take a few moments to interview Jacelynn, the book’s main character. She had plenty to say, so I hope you enjoy getting to know her a little better. No worries if you haven’t read WTRTCA; it’s a spoiler free interview. 🙂


Faith: First of all, Jacelynn, I want to thank you for agreeing to sit down with us. I know you’ve taken a lot of flack from readers and it hasn’t been easy for you.

Jacelynn: That’s an understatement if I’ve ever heard one. Your readers have put me through the ringer, but I’m here to explain my side of things. Hopefully a sista’ can get a little compassion.

Faith: I totally want to give you every opportunity to explain your perspective, but before we get to that, let’s back up a little. When we were first introduced to you, you were caught up in a love triangle gone terribly wrong. How did you get in that position in the first place?

Jacelynn: Going straight for the jugular, huh Faith? I got myself in that predicament by not being true to myself. I wanted to play it safe and stay in a relationship that felt secure, but I didn’t want to give 100 percent to that relationship in a pathetic attempt to prevent myself from getting hurt. All that self-preservation backfired on me big time!

Faith: Was it really self-preservation or just plain selfishness? I’m only asking because a lot of readers felt that you came off that way.

Jacelynn: I can see why I appeared selfish, but that’s not who I am. I was really conflicted and basically all in my feelings! I never meant to hurt anyone.

Faith: You may not have meant to, but you did hurt quite a few people. If you could turn back time, would you have handled things differently?

Jacelynn: I try not to dwell on shoulda-woulda-couldas anymore. Part of my problem was that I was way too caught up in my past. I did the best I could at the time, and that’s all anyone can do. I regret causing anyone pain, and if I could undo that I would. But I can’t. All I can do is move forward and try not to repeat the same mistakes.

Faith: So you’re saying that you’re satisfied with the way things turned out?

Jacelynn: I’m saying that I’m satisfied with ME; flaws and all. Isn’t that the true mark of maturity? I spent so many years in pursuit of perfection that doesn’t exist: holding myself and others to an impossibly high standard. It was ridiculous and exhausting! I’m completely happy with the way things turned out and I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now, because it’s brought me to this place of wholeness and peace.

Faith: Watch out now. I love your new positive attitude!

Jacelynn: Me too. It’s been a long time coming, and I spent enough time whining and crying over spilled milk. Life is too short, chile!

Faith: You ain’t never lied! Now, has this new attitude translated into any new changes in your life?

Jacelynn: Yes! I’ve got so much going on I can barely keep my head on straight: being newly married, expanding my catering business and trying to start a family keeps me really busy! In a totally good way though.

Faith: Whoa, that is a lot. Newly married? Is it someone we know? C’mon, tell us which one you chose. We’ve got #TeamJason and #TeamTaylor fighting like cats and dogs!

Jacelynn: Wouldn’t you like to know? They’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Faith: You are wrong for that! Can readers look forward to hearing more from you?

Jacelynn: It depends…if they act right, I think I can work with you on a sequel.

Faith: Well alright girl, I’ll definitely be in touch. Any parting words?

Jacelynn: Your past does not dictate your future. Once you surrender to God, He’ll change your life in ways that will leave you breathless!

 


I hope you enjoyed catching up with Jacelynn from When the Real Thing Comes Along. If you’ve already read WTRTCA I’d really appreciate it if you’d take a few minutes to leave an honest review on Amazon. If you haven’t read WTRTCA yet, what are you waiting for? Now’s the perfect time to buy.

<<<<<<<<<<< THE E-BOOK IS ON SALE FOR 99 CENTS !!! >>>>>>>>>>>>>

If you’re currently reading or have read WTRTCA tweet me @FaithSimone2011 and let me know if you’re #TeamJason or #TeamTaylor !

When Love Goes Wrong…HALT!

What’s up lovely people? I was feeling a little nostalgic the other day and looking through some of my old posts. I stumbled across this one and decided to re-post it. It’s one of the short stories/essays I contributed to my writer’s group anthology. I hope it speaks to you!


He was the kind of lover that made you want to thank him at the close of every rendezvous; to absolutely and definitively express gratitude towards him for his ability to give pleasure; to humbly praise his skill and his tangible way of physically bringing you to a place of bliss and then allowing you to dwell there. Yes, he was that good. All he did was give.

Until he didn’t anymore, and then all he did was take. I should have seen it coming. The whole yin and yang of life is not new to me. If our lovemaking was unbalanced, it only made sense that the pleasure he should have rightfully received, after giving me so much, should be taken from some other aspect of our relationship. An unbalanced debt is an unbalanced debt, no matter what the currency. Bills always come due.

It wasn’t until much later that I came to understand that perhaps it was all a set up. That maybe he used his rare talent as a way of achieving personal gain. In other words, he was a gigolo and I was his mark.  Maybe it wasn’t so much that I was selfish and did not try to give back, it was that he was determined to take his pleasure elsewhere and feel justified in doing so.  Or maybe it was just karma. Either way, I’ll never know.

I do know that I’ve been taught better, both figuratively and literally. On my first day of college a professor of a kindly paternal disposition set out to give sage advice to a classroom full of hopeful and naïve freshmen. He scribbled an acronym across the dry erase board and stated that we should make all of our decisions over the next few years with it in mind.

H.A.L.T.

 This meant stop and consider your personal state before making any type of choice. The professor succinctly said, “Never make a decision when you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Always remember to halt.” He went on to actually teach the subject we were all there to study, but my mind stayed stuck on his introductory speech.

It was a moment that changed my life, but not in the way that I think the well-meaning instructor intended. I spent the rest of the class contemplating the simple acronym and the meaning behind it. Eventually, I concluded that if I waited until I was in such an ideal frame of being to make choices, I would live out the entirety of my life without making a single decision. Because my reality was that I had never lived a single moment of my life without feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired.

This revelation could have easily caused me to make a life change by working to create an existence where I was not feeling at least one of those sensations at all times. Instead I used it as an excuse to recklessly make decisions with dire consequences.

HUNGRY

HUNGRY

You see I was always hungry for an ever-elusive craving. An indefinable something that, if received, would satisfy me in a way that nothing else ever had. It was this insatiable hunger that caused me to latch on to him and take, take, take without any consideration of the phrase, “payback is a mother-“.

ANGRY

ANGRY

As a result, I was so familiar with anger as a constant companion that I was incapable of distinguishing between my everyday jacket of anger and a justifiable mink coat of rage. He did things that deserved violent fury and I let it slide, convincing myself it was the former and that I was overreacting.

LONELY

LONELY

Don’t get me started on the loneliness. It is the worst kind of isolation to feel lonely when you are in a relationship with someone. Again, I blamed myself. I berated myself for being such an ice queen that I could not let someone else in. It did not occur to me that a sincere relationship should gently chip away at the frostiness of loneliness with constant warmth in the form of passion, kindness and caring.

TIRED

TIRED

I thought I was world weary before, but I hadn’t seen anything until my debt came due. He sucked me dry. I was the kind of tired that made me lay awake at night staring at the ceiling. I was the kind of tired that caused friends to do a double take and express concern over my well-being. I was the kind of tired that caused my supervisor to suggest a leave of absence. I was the kind of tired that caused me to take that leave of absence thereby enabling me to expand my nocturnal ceiling watching to daylight hours as well.

Then I got tired of him. Ending it was by no means easy. He had so methodically captured me that it took a major crisis of conscience to free my mind from the luxurious prison he had created. And yes you’re right, supposedly there is no such thing as a luxurious prison. The two don’t mix. That’s about the same as a cold love affair. Both metaphors are a complete contradiction in terms and hell to live through.

So now here I am, thinking over that wise instructor’s advice. Meditating on his attempt to give me and my classmates a local’s perspective in our newly foreign world. Finally I have made a decision worth the effort. I decided when I was hungry, angry, lonely and tired to not stay that way. I’ve come to a halt…and I’m changing the game.


 

I hope you enjoyed a little snippet into the wonderful collection of poetry, short stories and essays that is Voices from the Block: A Legacy of African-American Literature. Click here to check it out! 

Have you ever been involved in a love affair gone bad? What did you do about your dissatisfaction? Dish in the comments below!

 

Photo credit: llnataliell / Source / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: FotoGrazio / Source / CC BY-NC-ND

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Writer Blues

I consider this blog to be one of my safe places so I feel no qualms about sharing with y’all that I’m currently in scary space. You see, it’s past time for me to begin my next novel and while my muse has been gently and consistently prompting me to tell her story, I have yet to write a single line. Wait, I take that back. A few months ago I wrote a scene from the many glimpses I’ve had into my protagonist’s life. It’s a highly emotional scene and I’m pretty sure it’s just one of many more. That’s precisely the problem.

Let me explain myself a little better. I’m an immersion writer. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an immersion writer is one who gives their entire life over to their current project. They don’t just want to research being a minor league football player, they find a way to become a minor league football player. Then they write from that experience. A notable immersion writer is John Howard Griffin of Black Like Me. Immersion writing typically applies to journalists or non-fiction writers, but I’m choosing to use the term in relation to myself because I emotionally immerse myself into the lives of the fictional characters I’m creating.

tears

This is where my resistance to starting my next book comes in. I’m at a point in my life where I’m genuinely happy and content. It’s been a long time coming and I had to fight my fair share of battles to get here. I don’t want to immerse myself in the emotional landmine that I’m sure this book is meant to be. I don’t want my muse to tell me of her secrets. I don’t want to unveil the experience of her neglect and misuse. I don’t want to know what she’s been through. I don’t want to feel the sorrow of it all. I’ve admitted before that I was once afraid to sit in the stillness of my own sorrow, so I for sure don’t want to sit in fullness of her’s.

Yet, because I finally worked up the courage to sit in my own sorrow, I know that doing so is the only way to help her make it through to the joy that I fully believe is waiting for her on the other side. The same way it waited for me. The same way it will be waiting for the readers of this next book who need to know that it’s possible to come out of a place of hard-earned despondency into unmerited grace. So I’ll sit with her in sorrow, but only because I plan to journey with her to victory.

Does the project you’re working on affect your mood? Have any advice about how to emotionally distance myself from the occurrences of my work-in-progress, without losing the sensitivity that my writing style requires? Anyone ever wanted to write one thing, but feel pressed to write something entirely different? I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice!

 

Photo credit: _Hadock_ / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

A Lover’s Prayer + #Giveaway

Today marks the last leg of my blog tour week! Today I’ll be over at author Demetria Foster Gray’s blog where I’ll offer encouraging words to inspire the pursuit of your passion. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it!  I’ve enjoyed visiting with all my blogger buddies and dishing about my latest book, but all good things must come to an end. Today’s the last day of the giveaway. Don’t forget to enter below!

WTRTCA Sunset Final2

When the Real Thing Comes Along is about an unexpected love triangle and all the complications of the heart that go along with it. The above picture is a prayer from one of Jacelynn’s love interests. Who do you think is praying? Is it Jason or Taylor? Mmmmhhh, I guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Have you ever been apart of a love triangle? Was it more pleasure or headache? Have you ever had a person you were dating pray with you? Was is comforting or creepy? I’m all ears!


 

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A Rafflecopter Giveaway

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