Black Girls can be the Mother of Dragons too…

Originally posted on Book Room Reviews.
I don’t know about you but I love Mhysa. Sorry, my geek is showing – let me start over.
I love Game of Thrones. There are so many great characters in the hit HBO show (yes I know it’s a book but I’m focusing on the show). My particular favorite is Daenerys Targaryen. If you know the show, perhaps she’s a favorite of yours too. If you aren’t – come join us on the other side. You know you’ll like it…
But all jokes aside, Dany is considered a fierce and beguiling leader who has continuously been treated differently because she is a woman. And time and time again, she surprises her adversaries, both men and women, about how calculating and powerful she can be using her skills. It’s always liberating to see this and not be thrilled she surpasses expectations.

 

Let me start by saying this is NOT a slight on Dany. Remember, she is my favorite. However, what I continue to see throughout the show is the lack of people of color in leadership roles. We can easily point to two people: Dany’s lead general Grey Worm and Missandei her advisor. But even that, they are subservient to Dany.

It makes me think of the question: Why can’t a black girl be the Mother of Dragons?

this-woman-is-the-real-life-version-of-daenerys-t-2-11473-1436306890-5_dblbigArtemis Faye / Via Facebook: paainfully

I, for one, am a self-proclaimed black girl nerd. Have been one all my life. I have devoured books about magic, dragons, knights, princesses, bad ass fighters and the like. And it pains me to think back and not remember one protagonist that featured a black female in the forefront.

And it seems like the science fiction and fantasy genres are a diversity desert. Even when black females make up a great market share of buyers absorbing pop culture including science fiction and fantasy. But it is a rarity to see that reflected in the literature or movies within this genre.

It was one of the reasons that I purposely wanted to put my main character, Katya on the cover of my book. She is strong black female character sporting an intimidating stance with a sword in hand ready to strike. And I can tell you it already has resonated with many girls within the black girl nerd community (yes, there is one).

It may take a while for this genre to represent the readers that love it without question, I will do my part and help out the sci-fi/fantasy community by putting out more books with more leading black female characters along with an international cast of characters supporting her.

Because a black girl can DEFINITELY be the Mother of Dragons. And it will be my greatest achievement to make that a reality.

Things Are Happening! Freebies, Giveaways and Interviews!

One of my favorite shows is 30 Rock. Liz Lemon’s character, in my opinion, is one of the funniest characters in comedy. About every year, I’ll rewatch the entire series and I just noticed that I watch it when things are going excitedly well.

I’m watching the series now because “things are happening!”

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My SugarCane Publishing team have been hard at work getting the word out for Awoke and it is starting to pick momentum this weekend.

  • Press releases are done and set for international journalists.
  • Preview copies are in the mail. The moment I get my finished copy in my hand, I’m freaking out. I told my husband to record me so I can laugh at myself later.
  • We’re doing a Goodreads giveaway for five signed copies!
  • A 75-page preview of the book is available on BookGrabbr.

But what I’m most excited for are the interviews!

Saturday the 19th I’m recording a podcast with the fabulous guys of Cashmere Thoughts and Polyester Pockets

Also Saturday I’ll be speaking live on Vigilantes Radio (TW: @VigilantesRadio) with host Dini (@whodiniblakin3d) at 11PM CST. If you wanna call in, here’s the information.

Then Sunday, I’m being interviewed by Dream Chasers Radio at 7pm.

There are few more in the works (still classified) but of course I’ll keep you all posted!

I’m just beyond excited 😊 and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the month and September shapes up to be!

Be on the lookout!!

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K. T.

Time for the Big Reveal

lI have been hinting that I have been working on a number of things for my book. I can tell you I have immensely busy. But it’s such a good busy that I wake up excited to get to work. I have two jobs: lawyer by day, writer/entrepreneur by night. 

We are finally at a stage that I can finally reveal to you….SugarCane Publishing. 

SugarCane Publishing or SCP was created from the idea that all voices should be heard and given a platform to speak. Multicultural, multiracial, multisexual and the “non-normative” voice. As a minority owned publishing house, we taken this mission head on. 

We already for two books set out for release in October. One written by the talented Gaudys Laxury, a Latina poet and artist who will be releasing her second book with SCP called “Life from A to Z” on October 7th. You can find more about her and her work on her website http://www.glaxarts.com. 

And the other is yours truly. To be released October 1, I present to you “Awoke”:

The book (paperback and e-book) is available for preorder on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, etc.  

I can not truly express the level of pride and love I have for this book and to be this far. Six years ago, I never thought I would be here opening my own publishing house and releasing two books so soon after opening up (with a couple of other projects coming down the pipeline). I am humbled. I am grateful for the support that I have.  I have a fantastic editorial team who are the backbone of SCP and I couldn’t have done this without them. 

The cover art is only one aspect of the kind of excellence we are going to be presenting the world. May the writing move you. May it be relatable. May you laugh. May you cry. And above all, may you been enthralled and escape the realities of this world and come into the world we created for you. 

If you have a piece that you would like to present to us for consideration, we accept pieces with or without an agent, multitude of genres (fiction, non-fiction and poetry) and we will always give you a response. The only thing that we ask is that it must represent a voice that we wouldn’t normally see in media today. You can check out it more at http://www.sugarcanebooks.nyc. 

More news to come! 

KT

Do I Have to be Profound?

I’m in the process of getting ready for my publishing company debut and book release in September (didn’t mention that yet, huh? Yeah that’s happening) and I’m starting to look around to different groups who might be interested in featuring my book in their book club or blog or whatever. And as I am looking for black writers/readers group to feature my sci-fi/fantasy book, I start seeing a pattern. 

My book is an odd-man out. Ready to revoke my card, the other books will give me looks like:


And it’s not because my protagonist isn’t black or I’m not a black author. But it’s because the majority of the books featured are literary. My sci-fi/fantasy book sticks out like a sore thumb. Then a couple of questions came to mind:

  1. Do I need to be more profound as a writer? Writing about the harsh and at times devastating problems that our society impounded on our ancestors and we continue to be plagued with today…should that be at the forefront of my story?
  2. If I don’t, do I do a disservice to myself? My race? My gender? 
  3. Will I be taken seriously as a writer if I don’t have a serious narrative?

Then I caught myself. My God, even when you least expect it, you find yourself needing to answer for your entire race and gender. A side effect of the world we will live. 


The fact that there are few celebrated black science fiction and fantasy female writers shows to me how important it is for me to speak in my own voice. 

My voice is outrageous. And other worldly. And fantastical. And mind-boggling. And human. And non-human. Live. Dead. Magic. Spirits. Mythology. Folklore. 

You get the picture. 

This is what my voice gravitates to and that will never change. Even beyond the book that is about to debut in a few months time, I have countless stories waiting to come out. And they are not literary. Yes, they will always feature characters that don’t fall within the status quo. And yes they might be based on folklore and mythology that originates outside of American society and norms. 

But they will definitely not be literary. 

My narratives will fun and exciting. And heartfelt. Genuine. Maybe you’ll laugh. Or tear up. Its aim will be the same as any literary novel: to illicit some emotional reaction out of my reader. 

So if it comes down to there being 20 literary features books and then there’s me… I’m still in pretty good company. 

The World Doesn’t See You

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked guys. Mainly because I was off celebrating my first year of marriage 😝 and a couple of other milestones (I’m building up the courage to talk a bit about in my next post).

But I wanted to stop by and just share something that’s been on my heart with you guys.

The world doesn’t want to see you. 

If you didn’t know that, this may be a shock to you. But you needed to know. The world doesn’t want to see you. The world doesn’t really care about what you can do. Or what you can bring to the table. They have so many people with talents like yours. The world can move along without ever getting your input, your talents and desires.

The world doesn’t want to acknowledge you.

You can bury yourself under this harsh truth and fall into yourself. Whither under obscurity and maintain the status quo. If you would be happy  and content with that, then you can stop reading right now.

However…

If you immediately balked at my title, then the rest of this post is for you. Because it is the truth. The world is harsh and can be cruel, if you fall underneath its degrading ways.

The way you survive is you MAKE THE WORLD WANT TO SEE YOU. The world can be fickle and doesn’t always know what it wants. It’s why PR and marketing is so prolific in this day and age because we are constantly told to have this or that or we can’t possibly function with this new thing. We all fall to this. Author included.

It’s the system that we are in.

Win by working within the system. Sell yourself like the brand you are and can be.

In whatever you want to pursue, whether it be writing, modeling, finance, healthcare, etc., you have to SELL yourself. You have to show the world why it can’t function without you. And this is not an easy feat. You will have to tweak and rework tactics constantly.

Not everything will work. You may even get rejected. But those who are truly successful in this system move incessantly and without care. Because their goal and their dreams and their desires mean more to them than the noise the world makes.

Yes, the world doesn’t want to see you. So give them glasses. 

Rambling #1 – Gigi and Tina

This post serves as a honest place for me to work things out. I realize that this is a public place to do that but it’s where my heart is leading me to. At times it might sound a bunch of ramblings, but this is why this blog is called “Writings, Life & Ramblings.” If anything here resonates with you, let me know.

You’ve ever been to a place where you just didn’t know what to do?

Of course you have. You’re a human being. Presumably a living human being going through the quandaries that we call life. Let me know if this whole living thing doesn’t apply to you. I wanna know your secret.

From my previous posts, you have probably seen that I am type A, plan to the second type of person. I have another completely lazy side to but that’s not the point of this post today. I’m focusing on my internal planner. And as my internal planner (let’s call her Gigi) would say, Gigi is not here for the play play.

Gigi is about getting that paper, creating things, making things happen. Not for waiting for things to happen. In an average day, I’m normally in Gigi’s sphere for about 75% of the time. Gigi is also about breaking down all possibilities and making contingency plans for all possibilities.
Gigi likes to think she thinks of all possibilities… But Gigi doesn’t. Or really she can’t. And it pisses her off most of the time. Especially when she thinks its going in particular way and then goes in a way that she never expected. Ooooo does Gigi gets P. O.! But Gigi gets over it and moves on to plan away and to make contingencies again.

That’s Gigi.

Now, for the 25% of the other time, I’m in an optimistic, happy-go-lucky sphere we will call Tina. Tina is that silly kid part of you that wants to appear every time you start to drink. Tina just thinks, “Oh, let’s just see what happens. It should be fine.” Tina mainly allows herself to just see the outcome and address it then. What’s the point in fretting over it if you can’t change what’s about to happen? Let’s dream and focus on the wonder of life!

I am very aware that I operate in two complete opposites. Isn’t it a great thing that human beings don’t have to be peg in one way versus another? That we are just complex beings?

Gigi and Tina balance each other out. Tina appears when appropriate and Gigi takes the other times by force (I did say 75%). Both keep up great appearances – poker faces you wouldn’t believe! But there are times they clash and in those periods of clashing, it leaves me uneasy and unsure. I have just explained that both Gigi and Tina know their roles and act when necessary. But there are times when life throws you a situation where there are so many possibilities that you don’t feel comfortable taking on Tina but see the futility in engaging Gigi.

At that point you are left with K. I know I am usually reduced down to K when several goals, plans or desires are combating with timing and resources. Gigi wants make plans for it, but has to wait for decisions to be made that are out of her control. And Gigi has no idea when those decisions will occur which effects all contingencies. Tina could appear but she revolves around dreams, wishes and keeping happy. When there are too many plans and desires to focus on at a time, she’s surrounding by anxiety which is something Gigi normally handles. When neither can get a full grasp, K shows up.

The real, unplanned, gritty, unnerved, concern-showing, frown-appearing, sigh-releasing K.

I’m not a fan when K shows up. Because that means I don’t have it together. That means I don’t know what direction to move towards.

I can’t choose to be happy-go-lucky or plan to my heart’s content. The only way for K to go is for the outside forces to move so that Gigi or Tina can take charge. But again it may take time. How much time? :shrug:

What do I do in the meantime? I do enjoy drinking wine. That helps pass the time.

But in the time I actually have to be sober, I focus my faith. I pray. I listen to music. I try not to bottle up the anxiety. I talk to my husband about what’s bothering me (he’s such a good sport). And when I am around others that are not familiar with K, I focus on all the good, pure, the beautiful and best things about my life so I can put on a smile that is reminiscent of Gigi and Tina, displacing the worry and anxiety. K does slip in from time to time but we are in a waiting period so it’s normal.

Feeling unease or uncertain is normal. But you shouldn’t let it reduce you to just unease or uncertainty.

I know that this sounds absolutely crazy and that I have been talking about different facets of my personality as different people (I blame the movie Split for the idea behind this post – thanks a lot M. Night Shyamalan). But it’s the best way for me to explain what I am feeling right now. And this post and future ones (remember human beings) will be notes to myself. To break it down, read myself, allow clarity to come forward and put it back together. If it helps you, then it has served two purposes today.

If you made it to the end of this rambling, thanks for being a good ear. If you need to let loose a rambling, go ahead below. I have a good ear too.

#itsKTnotKatie

Breaking down the Dream of an Empire (Lesson #1)

I am a dreamer.

It’s one of thing that people find endearing about me (I think…at least my husband does).

Many years ago (but not too long), I wanted to be a lawyer. At the age of 12, I wanted to be that person who I had seen in court dramas on TV and make a difference. I even competed in competitions where I had to act and write like a lawyer. And I excelled at it. My mother got a kick out of it whenever she had to dress me up in a dress suit, looking ready to kick ass in the courtroom.

I became driven at the age of 12. And I completed the very dream I had envisioned. I’m a licensed attorney and have been now for about 6 years. I have touched upon almost everything within the law field, even the lofty goal of being an entertainment attorney working for the likes of Sony Music and Bad Boy Entertainment.

I was driven. I was focused. I was pushing myself to excel.

And I also stopped listening to the dreamer in my head.

Some short time into high school, I began to turn to the page. I was too much of a dreamer and most of the time hated the mundane of facts and non-fiction. So I turned to a little notebook I had and I began to write poems (like a lot of angsty teenagers do). But the poems morphed into bigger aspirations. I was then dreaming of stories and differences I would do in the books I would consume. It then became a writing a play for a competition at school and immersing myself in the Drama Club – the true place for dreamers. I began to write short stories. I had tapped into a stream of aspiration and ideas I didn’t know I had inside of me.

Then I gave myself a reality check. I told myself writing wasn’t going to pay the bills or put food on the table. I had to seek out a respectable profession like being a lawyer.

I buried the dreamer deep down. She had to be put away so I could focus. And focus I did.

To this day, I still wonder whether the dreamer and the achiever could have co-existed at the same time. Probably not, because I didn’t have the skills to balance two things at the same time. I’m not sure whether I can now but I am attempting it.

The dreamer reemerged when I needed her the most. To help cope with studying for the bar – I wrote fanfiction (not ashamed of it – if you want to read it some, let me know). Then when I was looking for a job, she came with an idea for a novel which I have spent the last 5 years working on. And I have several other novels in my head, ready to be put to paper.

How I functioned without my dreamer throughout college and law school is still a mystery to me. But she has been flexing her fingers and she is ready to spring out. Because she has now placed in me the biggest dream of all.

The Empire. Or at least that’s what I call it and I was calling it that before the show.

Being a lawyer in as many different fields of law as I have been in my short time has given me perspective. Your past experiences, good or bad, always teach you a lesson. Lessons that will benefit you in the future whether you know that future or not. My experiences gave me perspective on conducting business – how to do and what not to do. And that to be truly happy, the best business is your own where you can call the shots (especially if you are Type A like myself).

And I have a MASSIVE dream for my Empire. Media company that will feature voices that don’t normally have a platform that will encompass books, films, social media, etc. I could go on and on about this vision and how boss it’s gonna be (that’s for another post).


When you have such a huge dream, it’s very easy to get swept up in all that has to get done. And if you’re like me, you want to get everything done like yesterday. I’ve caused myself so much stress about getting everything done that I have burst into ugly tears about how I’m ruining everything by being tired (did I mention I’m a Type A?).

So here’s the first lesson I learned:

YOU ARE NOT A GOD OR A GENIE.

The dreamer is holding on to the dream of the Empire but the achiever sees that all of the legwork should have been done years ago. That we have lost time and that we have do everything now to just catch up, let alone progress forward.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH. NO, REALLY TAKE A DEEP BREATH RIGHT NOW. (I just did it myself.)

I am thorough believer that everything happens for a reason – even when I don’t like the outcome or wish it wasn’t so. There is a reason I took the long way to get to this point – of being a writer and wanting to start my own media empire including a publishing company. I had to go through the ups and downs of life to understand that this is where I wanted to end up. Because I needed perspective.

Just because I’m starting later doesn’t mean my dream will never get accomplished. It’s never too late for my dream. I will need to remind myself of this when I am pushing through work deadlines and possible distractions (read: kids) in the future. It’s never too late for now. And because it’s never too late for now, everything doesn’t have to be done now.

Take the slow cooker. You know why a slow cooker is one of the best inventions known to man? Because the best flavors and best textures need time to simmer. Time to perfect.

Slow cook your dream, throw in some dedication, a few dashes of patience, a couple of drops of innovation, a healthy cup of teamwork and collaboration. And let it cook until it’s done. And sometimes the dream is too big to fit in the slow cooker, so slow cook what you can realistically can get done now.

I’m getting my yearly strategic plan ready (more on that in my next post) so I can effectively execute the plan in a well thought out manner instead of the emotional mess I tend to be. And I learned that through my experiences. You see, full circle.

So I am may be a lawyer now, working on blah stuff.

But I will always be a dreamer. Taking it one day at a time.

 Thanks Ed.

#itsKTnotKatie

Normally…

Normally I’m not that cranky about waking up on Mondays. It’s more likely I need a break from my weekend because they tend to be jammed packed and getting back to my normally scheduled activities like the pandemonium I like to call my job can be considered a break.

But today …


I could not be bothered.

Maybe because I just ….wanted my hopes and dreams and aspirations to be fulfilled so I could gleefully get up and start doing what I love. Books and pages and paper, oh my. I wanted my edits for my book to my main focus. I wanted to be heading to my own office for my publishing company. I wanted my husband to be heading his job of producing films and web series. I wanted our Empire to be on steady legs and busy with activities. But I woke up “Nope not yet. Just another grey Monday. Now get your butt up and go pay those bills.”

Le sigh.

It’s in these moments I gotta try to pep myself. So I write. Writing honestly does it for me. When I can’t vocalize what I’m feeling, it’s amazing how writing and putting down can free you. If you are new to my posts, I tend to write a lot of inspiration-get-your-mind-right kind of posts. All of stream of consciousness. I hope you enjoy it. Maybe it will do something for you too.

I’m just glad I don’t have to dig particular deep to out of my funk for this particular day. Because I’m quietly plotting. Quietly working. To get my ish together so I can have my dreams realized.

I’m not at that Beyoncé level but I’m getting there.

-#ItsKTnotKatie

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