Do the work and Don’t Forget to Breathe!

I haven’t been active on WordPress for a while.  After I published my book back in April (#ahavenamdistperdition), the ball, as they say, has been slowly rolling.  I often find myself briefly tangled in a small conundrum.  The book is written, the book is published and now…. Ahhh, I can breathe and just create more fiction.

If only it were that simple.  It isn’t.  The truth is, no matter how tempting one’s laurels are or how comfortable resting on them may be, none of us can afford to do so.

Being a self-published author means that I am the writer, editor, publisher, agent, fundraiser, event planner, etc, etc, etc….  (Did anyone catch the reference to “The King and I???”, anyway, I digress).  At one point, I thought that the entire process of writing was ‘doing the work’, but for me, the work comes after the story is written.

And I have not been visiting my WordPress site, because I have been trying to ‘do the work’ on other fronts; not only by putting my work out there, but by putting me, my face, out there, too.

I had my first book reading back in September, and it was a wonderful experience.  It is gratifying to get feedback from those outside of your immediate life circle.

So, in the spirit of ‘doing the work’, I am going to spend a little more time on WordPress.  I’m hoping to post at least once a week.  I think on some level I got a little discouraged; not knowing exactly how to proceed; but I’ve got it figured out now.  Just keep ‘doing the work’ and figuring out other ways to ‘do the work’ and I can’t go wrong.

By now, you might be thinking, “What the hell does she mean… ‘doing the work’?”  Well, nothing good is going to happen by doing nothing.  One had to research the best way to accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish, for me, it is marketing my novel and writings.  Then you have to vet that research and discern what is best for you.  Sometimes tips will work, sometimes they won’t.  Then you have to try out what you’ve narrowed down and see what happens.  If it works, great, it not; try again.  Take another avenue.  And if it does work… try again and still try another avenue.  And remember to breathe.  Don’t get bogged down and in layers of minutia.  If you feel the waters getting murky, step back and breathe until you can resume your course.  I think that is what I had to do by taking an extended time away from WordPress; I was taking a breather.

The succinct message that I want you all to gleam from this rambling is that I am back on WordPress.  I am ‘doing the work’ and last, but not least, don’t forget to breathe.

Hmmm… breathe.   I think I’ve mentioned that one before!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Haven-Amidst-Perdition-Sidra-Owens/dp/147878668X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494604537&sr=8-1&keywords=a+haven+amidst+perdition

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-haven-amidst-perdition-sidra-owens/1126303853?ean=9781478786689

https://outskirtspress.com/sidraowens

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-haven-amidst-perdition

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sidra_Owens_A_Haven_Amidst_Perdition?id=ATk1DwAAQBAJ

Check out my blog and website at: https://sidraowens.wordpress.com

As well as my youtube channel: The Wicked Orchard –https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGP5RkKX2lVw9ggeO-r0MAA/videos

and some of my commentaries on Comparative Reasoning

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The Month of Eclipse-ia

The solar eclipse took place on August 21st of this year, and as far as that cosmic event was concerned; it was both eventful and uneventful.  I was able to view a total eclipse from the only vantage point available, since I was in Chapel Hill.  Handfuls of people stood outside my work building, looking up at the sun, viewing the eclipse, with some good hearted people sharing their eclipse glasses with those who didn’t have any.  A coworker of mine warned, as she departed for the day, that we should all look out for everyone else on the road, on the drive home.  Everyone is crazy, but the eclipse has made folks a special kind of crazy.

Depositing this in the back of my mind, I ended my shift and drove home.  Despite the fact that I was tired with no desire to go back out into traffic, there were still errands to run; the inevitable trip to walmart that we all take at least twice a week, so that we can all have our time and our cash sucked into oblivion.  Walmart disdain aside, we travelled our normal route, my family and I to get there, and while sitting at a dead stop, at a red light, waiting to turn left; a car on the far side of the wide and extremely busy intersection, ran the light at a moderate speed.  It was funny, for lack of a better term, because I saw the car coming.  I saw it veer, as though it were intentionally aiming right for us.  I just knew that the vehicle would realize its egregious error and correct itself, but it didn’t.  The car hit us at no more than 20 miles per hour, maybe even less.  We were fortunately, uninjured; shaken up, angry, scared, but alive and well.  The vehicle was still functional at that moment, not even aware that it was nearing its end.  As my hands began to shake, and the dismay at the incident took root immediately afterward; I had to watch, seemingly in slow motion, as the other car backed up, veered around us and sped off down the road.  I would’ve felt better if they had paused to give us the finger, but no, we got none of that.  No care, no assistance, no admittance, no apology, nothing.  We had two very polite and helpful witnesses, but no license plate.  We had a description of the vehicle, but the police didn’t arrive for another hour.  The brakes just barely brought the vehicle to a stop, as we moved it off of the road, all of the coolant leaked out, along with many other vital fluids.

In NC, if no one gets the plate in a hit and run, and no one is injured, then you have to eat it.  And that is what we did.  We had to eat it.  We had to eat the fact that even though, we could very well be getting spied on through our webcams by the NSA, there were no cameras at the intersection where the accident occurred.  We had to eat the fact that a tow that would normally cost 40 or 50 bucks, cost 165 since the police called for the tow.  We had to eat 35 a day storage fee, we had to eat a 70 dollar tow back to our home.  We had to eat the fact that paying for all this was eating into our food money.  Now how ironic is that.

Then there has to be the search for another car; having to most likely, acquire another bill.  Having to deal with loan applications and credit scores, and institutions telling you that your situation may be dire, but we cannot help you to keep it from getting worse.  Having to inconvenience others…  That may be the most unsettling part.

On the flip side of that, this entire ordeal has reacquainted me with my good fortune.  I am a believer in astrological signs, and I have read many times over the years, that Sagittarius’ are lucky.  In all of my immaturity, I would always think to myself, “Luck?  What the hell are they talking about?  I haven’t won the lottery or nothing like that.”  But in the past two years, I have looked back on my life and realized many instances where I was very fortunate.  Lucky.  Thankful that things had gone safely one way and not dangerously another.  My fortune allowed me to continue to get to work every day, without concern or having to explain to the supervisor my “situation.”  I was able to get food and supplies for my family whenever I needed it and not made to feel as though I was a burden.  I was even given access to another vehicle for a very short time, and in driving it, my luck rained upon me again, when a dry rotted tire blew only a minute from home, after I just turned off of the highway, allowing me to safely navigate the monstrous V-8 home without harm or incident.

This month my partner finally began to see the monetary benefits of all of his hard work, putting himself out there despite fears and doubts.  People signed up to come to my first book reading at far greater numbers than I had anticipated, google contacted me and now my novel is up on google play books and I got a couple a more sales to boot.

But on the other hand, my sciatica acted up so bad that standing still was excruciating, and I ate something, drank something or inhaled something that made my top lip swell with an allergic reaction.  So for a week I scratched the inside of it with my teeth, while slathering it with vaseline until it thankfully began to rebound.  And on top of that, our daughter caught a cold that she bounced back from in three days, while her father and I linger, with he even sicker than myself, but luckily my voice has cleared just in time for Saturday’s reading.

I found a car.  A car I wanted.  Not just something to get around.  It had a price decent enough, but still, another bill.  My propensity toward luckiness allowed me to be able to get this vehicle, even though I would need assistance; with the assistance seeming to be gladly offered; for future repercussions, we must stay tuned.

And despite a more than generous donation so that I would have books for my event, and despite ordering them in what I thought was a timely fashion, the books have not arrived.  Hell, that haven’t even shipped yet.  Messages went unreturned, chats unanswered, except to say your ticket has been resolved, we will email you with your order status, only to never do so.  I did finally speak to a person but she could not answer the questions of whether my books had been printed.  And even after two failed transfers, at least eight consecutive phone calls and two desperate messages, I am no closer to knowing their status.

Suffice it to say, it has been a more than interesting month.  The hills and valleys have been momentous, and the Sidra of ten years ago would have shed many a tear by now, but… tears don’t move you forward, especially when living means that life happens.  And I’m certainly not giving up on that.  Some things you have to get through, and smile as much as you can during while learning simultaneously.  I was stressed about the books last night, but that has passed.  We found more clues to the ailments that plague my partner, bittersweet, but answers are answers; and our daughter got into the run club that she’s wanted to get into for a year.  I promised she would.  Mission accomplished, thanks very much to my fortune.  I am fortunate and it cannot be measured in dollar signs.  All in all, I can say that this month has been unique, and I can’t label much more than that, because it just wouldn’t be descriptive enough.

-If you have enjoyed my commentary or my short stories, then please check out my youtube channel, The Wicked Orchard; where you can listen to me read my short stories

-And don’t forget to check out Comparative Reasoning here on wordpress for written commentary on a whole hosts of topics.

-If you’d rather listen than read, definitely check out Comparative Reasoning on youtube, where you’ll hear of earful of social, economic and political commentary.

My Debut Novel is also available for purchase:

 

The Way It Is, The Way It Should Be

Occasionally, when you read my blog posts and definitely, if you listen to discussions between Sedrik Cannady and myself on Comparative Reasoning, you hear many of the same themes repeated, over and over. Some might call it repetitious rhetoric or perfunctory propaganda, democratic and republican corporatists mainly, but it’s none of that. It’s all the truth. The country would be better, the world would be better, if the people would simply be better. The thought that improving the circumstances for the many will improve them for the few seems to be speedily getting lost. It’s as if, universally, selfish assholes are on running some unseen race and the first to destroy society globally wins. Maybe they think they’ll be rewarded in heaven… Shit, no matter what you believe whether it’s pearly gates opening for you, nirvana, re-incarnation or nothing at all, ill deeds will never reap positive rewards.
 
That’s particularly why I like writing fiction. Because the necessary justice required to make all the crookeds straight, is at my fingertips. My domain, the facebook page, my youtube page and the landscape that is my imagination, is not a realm of questionable ambiguity, of forced morals or rhetorical conversations about how to solve problems that no one really wants to solve.
 
In the wicked orchard, wrongs are punished, swiftly. And the haves may get over on the have nots, but they will not do it for long. And… judgement does not come via conversations, discussions, debates, elections or back room deals. Resolutions in the wicked orchard are far more direct, far more finite and always satisfying.
 
Take a listen to Comparative Reasoning (on Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe3xsp_I7DwrTP-MoBJaa9w/videos) to get a view of how things are; all the unfortunate truthes that assault us everyday.
 
And then, take a listen to The Wicked Orchard (on Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGP5RkKX2lVw9ggeO-r0MAA/videos) to get a dose of how it should be.

Got Empathy???

Empathy.

Do you have it? Do you know what it is? I’m willing to wager that maybe 80% of the American populous don’t know or care to know for that matter.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings. It’s the ability to step outside yourself and understand what some else I’d going through.

Humans are not born with empathy. We are naturally born selfish; it relates back to instinctual self-preservation. If you want to survive, you have to think of self. But in a society where interaction with others is needed, empathy is needed as well. So it must be taught by parents, grandparents, teachers and eventually peers.
Unfortunately, our society, in this country, is not centered around aiding or understanding our fellow man. We are all suffering under the thumb of the corporate controlled Congress; who would have us all believe that the minorities, the immigrants and the terrorists are to blame for your lot in life. Meanwhile, they subjugate us with their morals, turning us into cogs in the machine rather than citizens.
The key to this country is simple. Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. The Golden rule. Empathy. It’s so simple. But it will take the further crumbling of our republic into eventual revolt and bloodshed, before empathy will re-root itself in our society.

How many of us will have to flee our home for unknown refuges, like so many others all around the world? A dark scenario, I know, but highly probable when you examine the road we are travelling.

So…

Got empathy???

My First Review!

I know to some this may be a small milestone, but for me, this is another step in a long journey and dream that is slowly coming true.

I have spoken to the person, who left the review, and the thing that is more gratifying than a sale, is the fact that they really enjoyed my novel. They loved the characters and went along for the ride that I created.

 

#ahavenamidstperdition
#thewickedorchard
#newnovel
#newauthor
#africanamericanauthor
#selfpublished
#writers
#fiction
#stories
#literaryfiction
#womensfiction

Updates

Necessity is the mother of invention.

That is an understatement.

When I realized that I could write letters, send queries, beg and plead to literary agents and publishers alike, to read my work, or I could self-publish and spend that energy promoting my already published work, I underestimated the number of roadblocks that I would be encountering.

They are numerous.  The time where people were eager to take a chance on an unknown are fading if not gone.  Personally, you’d think an independent bookstore; a bookstore who is fighting the good fight against franchised mega-conglomerates, would be the first to throw their hat into the ring and give a self-published author a shot.  But much to my dismay, most are not.  Not all but most.

So, it is my job to not only be, author, editor, and self-publisher; I must also put on the hat of event planner.

I am planning a book reading, with music and a book signing at the end.  I am excited and will be updating progressively, as it nears.

I am also open to suggestions.  I know that there are a lot of writers, poets and storytellers out there, and if any of you have any ideas or suggestions regarding self-promotion, I would deeply appreciate it.

I have also published my new novel on Kobo.  Now it is available for purchase on Kobo as well for you avid e-readers.  I’ll be placing that link along with the others links for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Outskirts Press.

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https://www.amazon.com/Haven-Amidst-Perdition-Sidra-Owens/dp/147878668X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494604537&sr=8-1&keywords=a+haven+amidst+perdition

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-haven-amidst-perdition-sidra-owens/1126303853?ean=9781478786689

https://outskirtspress.com/sidraowens

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-haven-amidst-perdition

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

-If you have enjoyed my commentary or my short stories, then please check out my youtube channel, The Wicked Orchard; where you can listen to me read my short stories

-And don’t forget to check out Comparative Reasoning here on wordpress for written commentary on a whole hosts of topics.

-If you’d rather listen than read, definitely check out Comparative Reasoning on youtube, where you’ll hear of earful of social, economic and political commentary.

Life Lived Well

-It is not our differences that xenophobes fear, but our similarities, which truly gives them pause.

S. Owens

There are a lot of people suffering around the world, because of xenophobia. We all know that this heading breaks down into racism, sexism, homophobia and let us not forget; my religion is better than you religion. But usually the driving force behind these bigoted points of view are elitism. The thought that I’m better than you just because. I think all of this is born of man ingrained fear of death, and the fear of what comes after, that drives the few to step on the neck of the many. All in pursuit of the key to their mortality. Regardless of when we die, and regardless of what uncertainties lie there after, if we can express love and care for one another, then it will always be a life well lived.

Happy Father’s Day Everyone!

On Mother’s Day, I promised I would do a post for Father’s Day.  I try hard to keep my promises.

Parenting is hard.  Any parent knows this.  Any child who grows up to one day be a parent, realizes this.  Mothers and fathers share hardships, but they also have hardship unique to their stations, in life, as a mother or a father.

Fatherhood is hard.  Fatherhood is hard, because inherently, especially in the US, being male can be hard.  The expectations placed on males to be a “man” in this society can work against what it takes to be a good father.

Parenting in general requires the right balance of sternness and gentility, and I can tell you from experience that that is a hard tight rope to cross.  But the “stigma” of being a man in America says you should be hard, tough, take no one’s shit, and let nothing get to you, ever.  I know that many are working to change this, but that sentiment is sadly woven into the fabric of this country.

To me, it seems hard to be a loving, nurturing father and be a hard as nails “man” at the same time.  This stigma of what a man should be relates directly to how boys are treated, as they are raised.  Girls are treated delicately, little princesses to be catered to, but boys, they are supposed to take a licking and keep on ticking, no matter what.  No matter what the licking is; whether, emotional, social, physical, mental.  Damn man, that’s too much to ask of anyone.  Men are not supposed to be vulnerable; they’re not supposed to feel pain, it’s viewed as weakness, softness, feminine.  All that is bullshit.

I hope to have a son one day, so that my mate and I can raise him differently.  So that he can decide what kind of man he will be, and thus, what kind of father he will be, if he ever decides to be one.

My time with my own father was brief.  My parents divorced when I was young and he died not too many years later.  My memories are few; many good, most not so good.  If he had not had to deal with the struggles of being a “man”, as defined by society, maybe things would have been different.

Fathers’ are humans, just like mothers.  But they do not get heavily doted on, or get the cute crafts for father’s day.  And deep down, in their heart of hearts, most fathers’ would absolutely love them.  I know my mate does.

Fatherhood is hard.  It requires a firm hand and a soft touch.  Unfortunately, many boys who become men, fully receive the firm hand but never the soft touch and therefore, they never master it.  I ask that for all those who read this, for all those who are able to reach out and embrace their own fathers, give them that soft touch and I believe that you will receive it in return.

Happy Father’s Day everyone.

 

A Haven Amidst Perdition – New Novel

In the 1940s, tv was not a common thing, especially if you were poor and black in the deep South. When you could no longer go to school, your options are limited. Even had to keep house from sun up to sundown. Her only escapes were the few remaining books, teenage curiosity and a little music in her heart.

As circumstances unfold, day time curiosities become after sundown realities; teaching her that the night time is always the right time; and the consequences that follow will lead to life beginning, spirits broken and futures stolen.

My debut novel, “A Haven Amidst Perdition.” Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Outskirts Press.

Available in ebook and paperback.

https://www.amazon.com/Haven-Amidst-Perdition-Sidra-Owens/dp/147878668X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494604537&sr=8-1&keywords=a+haven+amidst+perdition

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-haven-amidst-perdition-sidra-owens/1126303853?ean=9781478786689

https://outskirtspress.com/sidraowens

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First chapter as read by myself available on YouTube: keyword search – A Haven Amidst Perdition

-If you have enjoyed my commentary or my short stories, then please check out my youtube channel, The Wicked Orchard; where you can listen to me read my short stories

-And don’t forget to check out Comparative Reasoning here on wordpress for written commentary on a whole hosts of topics.

-If you’d rather listen than read, definitely check out Comparative Reasoning on youtube, where you’ll hear of earful of social, economic and political commentary.

 

 

#ahavenamidstperdition
#thewickedorchard
#sidraowens
#comparativereasoning
#thenighttimeistherighttime

Invisible Shades of Brown

Before I begin, I want to preface this by saying that I am speaking from my own point of view and my own observations.  There will be many who agree with what I point out, and some that will not.  But that is how conversations work. Opposing ideas provide an opportunity for growth.  If we all agreed with each other on everything, then that would most likely mean that we are not individuals, but carbon copies of a very faded original.

Culturally and socially, there have been an assortment of complaints about the lack of African-American imagery in media.  When compared to the vast array of televisions shows and movies produced in the United States on a yearly basis, anyone would be hard pressed to find two handfuls of African-American characters, who are not side notes; who represent an authority figure or who carries the entire program on their shoulders.

Some might say, well, there’s Scandal and a few others that are holding strong, what’s the fuss about?

The fuss is… That it is 2017, and some believe that the banner of equality between the races should be flying much higher than it is.  In truth, the quest for unity, despite, gender, creed or color, seems to be getting lost among the weeds.  We are more divided than we ever have been and the crevice between us is steadily expanding.

At this point, everyone is riddled with distrust, on the border of loathing, and no one is willing to take a risk; not politically, not socially; not culturally; not even for mindless entertainment.

Let me give a tiny speck of my background to express what I mean.  I love to read.  I have loved to read since the fifth grade, when I spent 4.25 on my very own paperback; a Nancy Drew mystery.  From that point forward, I consumed anything that caught my interest and it never mattered who the author was or what they looked like.  I have evolved to the point where I write books, not just read them, and I still read books the same way.  Most authors are going to write from their own point of view, pulling from their own backgrounds and experiences, which is understandable.  But they also have the power to search, research, imagine and conjure up things way beyond their scope and our collective realities.  Unfortunately readers are not always that diverse.  They will read the fantastical as long as the hero and villains are something they have never seen before, or if they look just like them.

That leaves 12.5% of this country in quite the conundrum.  They are open to explore and enjoy anything produced by the majority, but that patronage is not reciprocated.  Even though, African-American authors, artists, and film makers are creating from their own points of view, the sheer fact that they are representing and expressing the many facets of the black experience, means that they will be immediately alienated by the majority, no matter how universal the content may be.

 

For some, they may not be consciously aware of what they are doing; preferring to use personal tastes as a scapegoat.

Example:  Those types of books are just not my cup of tea.

Truth:  They’ve never ever even given “those” types of books a fair chance.

Example:  A bookstore lists in their criteria that any self-published book must be vetted to insure that it is suited towards their clientele.

Truth:  Bookstores are about discovery.  Put the book out there and let your clientele discern was is and is not suited for them.

 

Where does that leave us?  It is difficult enough to be picked up by a traditional publishing house; and then if you choose to bear the burden and publish it yourself, you are derided for it, and if your happen to be in that 12.5%, then you are relatively invisible.   A wealth of creativity bound and cloistered due to unconscious fear of the other.  We are all more alike that anyone realizes; one must take a chance and see what comes of it.

There once was a time that African-American’s could take solace in their local black owned bookstore; to find the gems they otherwise would not discover anywhere else.  But with the expansive horizon of technology and the internet laying ahead of us, brick and mortar businesses like the local black owned bookstore, have become a thing of the past; less than 100 remaining in our fair United States.  Even your non-multinational books store, on the many corners, of many a main street are suffering due to technology, but for some bookstores, this makes them more exclusive rather than more universal.

Sometimes taking a chance on the other is not a bad thing; neither is it wrong, nor a cause for concern; it’s an opportunity for people to pick up a book, view a work of art or sit down to a movie, and realize that there are many lessons to be learned from the experiences of those who are various shades of brown.  Seeing the beauty in our differences will reveal the truths of our sameness.

For those who are like myself and value a good story because of the story, and not the preconceived notion that the characters are just like me; I applaud you and I appreciate your love of the long held tradition of storytelling.  Share it, teach it, pass it forward.

No matter what color I am, or what color my characters are, I write for everyone, and I want all the world to enjoy my stories and feel as deeply for my characters as I do.

 

 

-If you have enjoyed my commentary or my short stories, then please check out my youtube channel, The Wicked Orchard; where you can listen to me read my short stories

-And don’t forget to check out Comparative Reasoning here on wordpress for written commentary on a whole hosts of topics.

-If you’d rather listen than read, definitely check out Comparative Reasoning on youtube, where you’ll hear of earful of social, economic and political commentary.

 

Please take the opportunity to check out my debut novel, A Haven Amidst Perdition.   It is available at the links below:

https://www.amazon.com/Haven-Amidst-Perdition-Sidra-Owens/dp/147878668X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494604537&sr=8-1&keywords=a+haven+amidst+perdition

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-haven-amidst-perdition-sidra-owens/1126303853?ean=9781478786689

https://outskirtspress.com/sidraowens