It’s That Awkward Silence When You Ask Me…

 

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Image Credit: Pixabay

 

Awkward

A simple Google search on “awkward moments” will bring up a whopping, gazillion sites claiming the Top 20, Top 10, and Top 31 awkward moments we face. Well, my awkward moment could be considered blasphemy, and it would have been placed in my personal journal but I decided to publicize it: I have awkward moments when someone asks me if I am a Christian. Here are my reasons.

First, before you think it is because I am ashamed of my Lord and Savior, I implore you to believe that is not the case. The problem is I have very slim good experiences with Christians. I think we can commend them for the food and clothing programs, but many can be very rude and I remember a church’s deacon avoiding me and my husband at a cookout because we once asked for a little financial assistance, but they did not avoid us when we donated money and paid “tithes and offerings” beforehand. Christians tend to be church folk and do what is most easy and comfortable for them.

A pastor told me that helping someone in need and expecting those in the church to lend a hand is “Secular thinking”. to Telling the person to pray to Jesus is more appropriate…according to him.

That is reason number one.

If you ask me if I am a Christian, I may clam up and kind of shoot my eyes left and right so I won’t look at the judgment in your gaze. Yes. Awkward moment of silence there but I will not apologize for it because of reason number two.

Reason number two for my awkwardness when asked if I am a Christian, is the history of Christianity. Let me put it bluntly. A few years ago, I would proudly say “I am a Christian” and I even put it on the About Me page here-proudly. But I live a filmy residual, ghost-like kind of life of intersectionality: I am Black. Female. Christian. At any time, I have to be all three.

Blacks had Christianity whipped into them. Women, in the bible and in churches are not seen as powerful, productive light(unless it’s the infamous unattainable goal of being the Lady of Proverbs 31).

Moving on, I may ignore you if you are a Christian and talk too much, too loud, and too harshly about certain groups of people you are uncomfortable with. Count me out. I am not going to bash the LGBTQI community. I will not say the “poor need to pull up invisible bootstraps”, I will not think that the only people on earth who need help is across the globe- we all need help all over the globe, maybe in different stages and degrees.

Point blank, you may hear me moan, groan, tap my foot, tap my pen or ignore you if you come at me with questions about Christianity.

Just kidding. I’m not that mean, but there may be an awkward silence for a moment.

Don’t know why this topic of Awkward made me spill all these beans, but there you have it.

~Ericajean

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3 Things I Learned After Reading ‘The Lotus Palace’ #TruthInFiction

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I have  read the most amazing, sensual historical fiction romance and I have to share it with you. Here is a brief part of my review from Goodreads.com,

For Bai Huang the most handsome, wealthiest guy in Pingkangli, he never thought it would be difficult to court the servant girl with the interesting face but the path to her love may be a path to his own bright future…if they don’t get killed first.

I love stories from medieval China- and good love stories at that! This one had me swooning because Bai Huang is seriously Bae. Not only is he handsome but he has the right words and right touches to convince even the ultra cautious, Yue-ying, to give him a chance.

The glittering part of the story is Huang’s patience with Yue-ying. She is a servant in one of the courtesan houses, born with an interesting red birthmark on the side of her face and although reserved, she is smart and strong. Being sold into prostitution from an early age has made her cold (Read more)

Even though the book is fiction, there are three things I took from this amazing story and it is a life changer for this writer.

ISSA RACE

I never heard of a Duanwu Festival until I read this book. In the story, the lovebirds attend one. A Duanwu Festival is a Dragon Boat Festival(much like a race car event but with boats) occurring during the summer solstice in China and it typically begins on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. Where did this originate? The story may surprise you and it sure did shock me. It involves a poet and minister who committed suicide and people raced in their boats to…well, you can read the rest on Wikipedia.

THEY ARE MORE THAN A GEISHA

The author of the book, in her intro, makes a point that the women courtesans are more than prostitutes. Apparently, these women were elegant, well mannered and “fiery” women. In the book, Yue-ying’s body was used for pleasure but she, like the other girls aspired to be more than “sex pots” or alluring. They were smart and Yue-ying was resourceful. Kind of paints a different picture for you now, doesn’t it?

POETRY WAS HELD IN HIGH REGARD

Let’s be clear here.

Poetry is not dead but perhaps it may have been in a coma. In The Lotus Palace, the poets and scholars were held in high regard although the main character, Mr. Sexy Bai Huang used poetry to flirt with every courtesan he met. Still, there were actual poets who were ministers who maintained high offices. Wang Wan, Zhang Jiuling, Yan Shu, and Qu Yuan just to name a few.

They held other titles as well like statesman and Calligrapher but still, a poet? I like those odds- Unfortunately the poet that the Duanwu Festival is supposedly based on had a terrible fate.

Dang.

Looks like I learned a lot!

On top of all that, I learn that some ancient Chinese stories can be seriously hot. Goodness! I kept fanning myself when Bai Huang entered the scene.

I will be reading more by Jeannie Lin.

Stay tuned for more reviews like this! Happy reading!

~The Write Web

Your Challenge: Can You Find Truth in Fiction?

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Memoirs, self-help and other books lend themselves to reality naturally. We automatically learn something from them.

But what of fiction?

I have heard it said from genuine readers that non-fiction is more their style because they get more out of it. Plucking up a book of fantasy is- well- not a good idea to them. These tend to be your newspaper lovers and health magazine lovers or simply people who love reading about the world around them.

And guess what? I do too! I love reading non-fiction, newspapers and my personal love: memoirs. So, I definitely understand.

But fiction can offer more than we think.

It reminds me of the quote by William Styron,

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”

Due to my hungry, greedy fictional reading habits, I have journeyed to worlds where a mathematician set on saving the world, people who can morph into  rabbits and bears at will, a woman in love with a cyborg, a gangsta princess and more!

My challenge to you(and myself) is to begin to find those rare jewels within the fiction world that mirrors reality.

For instance, the book I am reading now is historical fiction so it will be easy for me to look up an object or event and discuss it. Say you read a paranormal fiction, or romance novel though. What was mentioned in the book that you’d like to look up?

Happy reading and blogging!

~The Write Web

The Calendar Has Nothing to Do With It

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Photo Credit: Matheus Bertelli

 

Hi bloggers and readers! I hope you have taken the time to write some amazing haiku and are linking it to the challenge, because on Sunday, it gets even more exciting with Week 2, so make sure you are sharing, linking, liking, and tagging, okay?

Finally, what does 2018 mean to me right now as a writer and just everyday person?

I don’t do resolutions. I slip up and say, “Oh, I’m resolving to do this or that” but truthfully, 2018 is a calendar date that changes on paper and on our mobile devices.

If I want to be better, I have to want to be better and not depend on a New Year to do it.

Now, if that is what motivates you, that is all well and good. We all have different motivators in our life and making a change for the next, new 12 months is not a bad start.

All I’m saying is, I don’t want my change to be dependent on a calendar. Why?

That change never happens for me.

Years ago, I vowed to eat green, exercise more, not be so shy all the time, yada yada.

I fulfilled none of those goals, people. None. Well, I do exercise more. I’ve upped it to three days a week(yay me!)

I hear people saying, “I’m leaving that in 2017! I am new in 2017!” Hey, I’ve said it too. If I keep saying it, it may become real…?

Last year, lots have been revealed to me that I now see so clearly. It was like crossing an abandoned train track casually, sight seeing, walking slowly and then all of a sudden you hear the bells, you turn and see the red lights flashing and the oncoming train is real and coming fast.

Yeah, that was 2017 for me. People showed me who they were, careers needed changing, I needed changing- I realized I can be a villain unto myself(darn it that sucks! Ever been your own villain?)

Reality hits hard and it hurts. It hurts so much that I have written more. Writing unleashes my woe and utter rage and many times it can seem like weak literary BS, yet can be promising.

If you’d like to share your thoughts and links to your blog, I’d love to read them! Don’t forget to comment or “Hit the Subscribe Button”  🙂

~Ericajean

Who Was I Then? Who Am I Now? #CatharticWriting

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Photo Credit: Miesha Moriniere

 

A painful thought just occurred to me today.

Writing is more cathartic, more powerful than we think.

I re-read one of my personal poems from days ago, and I am stunned with where my thoughts have taken me. My poetry revealed feelings of angst, loneliness, anger, irrational thought, and distrust.

These are poems I wrote nearly a week ago. Very personal, heartfelt ones and even though I stretch my mouth into a cookie cutter smile and have normal conversations with people, I come home and I open the blinds only a little and I sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

When my husband gets home I perk up because I am happy to see him, yet my poetry reveals more.

Joan Didion says, “How do I know what I think until I see what I write?”

I heard this quote years ago while taking advanced composition and even though I understood it, now I “stand under it”- I see what she means. I feel it and am living it all the way through.

Even though Christmas just passed by and my anniversary passed by and this is still a celebratory week as we prepare for the New Year, but I know there are others out there who may be feeling this way, not caring about the calendar days.

Taking a look at what we write and why we write it is so important and could be the ticket to piecing together a complex puzzle that is us.

I wonder why Stephen King writes horror.

I wonder why Dean Koontz prefers to write the zipping suspense he does.

Why does Joyce Carol Oates’ words feel like a walk down existentialism sometimes?

Could be because they just like it and prefer it- the end.

I am not a psychic or psychologist but sometimes I feel some authors are driven to write what lingers in their minds but they never know it until it manifests on the page. I could be wrong, but for me I know this is true.

On a brighter note, knowing more about ourselves as we enter another new year is the key to accepting all the complexities of us. A brighter day is up the road and writing is a counselor.

Have you ever felt this way before? Have you looked back at old notebooks and diaries and wondered: Why the heck did I write that? Who was I then? Who am I now?

Comments are always appreciated!

~Ericajean

Is Fiverr a Good Site for Writers?

I decided to do a little post on my experience using Fiverr as my side hustle for money.

I was paid to post legit comments on reputable blogs and articles, and made quite a bit of money writing up promotional material for authors.

Many of you who write are probably interested in making a little extra cash and to put something on your resume, but I am telling you now, be careful with many of these sites.

Writing online can be fun and rewarding, but being careful and trying to build your own platform and brand is key here.

Okay, so let’s talk about it…

Why Did I Start Using Fiverr?

I began using Fiverr because people were talking about it.

I also wanted to make money. Simple as that.

What did I do on Fiverr?

I started out just helping people get traction for their blogs by posting well thought out comments that were keyword dense. Eventually I realized that my love of reading could be marketable too, so I would promote author’s books on my social media after reviewing it in full or in part.

Do you have to be an expert?

It is preferable.

If you are passionate and relatively good and what you do. Go for it. In my opinion we should always look into perfecting our craft and professionalism should always be high.

What can a person do on Fiverr or what makes the most money?

You can offer ANY gig on Fiverr(within legal limits of course!). From my research, the most popular gig offers are for making promotional videos. If an individual or company wants you to try their product and review it in a video, that is what seems to be selling like hot cakes on Fiverr.

And it is super easy to do and make tons of money too.

Another popular gig is writing and designing. You will have to figure out your niche.

Is the pay good?

I will say this. I charged only five dollars for my gigs and once Fiverr took their cut and then Paypal took their cut, I was left with earnings of $3.92. No lie! But it added up quickly. I made probably $50 bucks or so off of my gigs when I was serious about it.

Why did I leave?

Here is the straw that is breaking the camel’s back. Poor camel!

I left because one bad review can take your popularity down a notch. I had just made top seller and one- just ONE of my customers was upset because she/he did not read my gig right.

Also, Fiverr took down one my writing gigs because it failed Terms of Service…? They did not give me details of how that happened and it was very shady how they did it too.

This does not mean Fiverr is a scam, but it made me rethink my business model.

My Journey to Freelance Writing Freedom

I don’t have all the knowledge yet on my new writing venture, but I do know this. I am tired of writing for companies that twist your money and work any kind of way just so you could earn pennies.

It is disgusting.

I now spend my days studying and honing my craft even more, submitting to literary journals and other places and getting my name out there.

If you are serious about becoming a writer-preneur then the first step is perfecting your craft and hosting it on your OWN website. I don’t have a domain yet but I will soon.

I am interested in how many of you are living your life free to write. Comment below or give this post a like!

Sincerely,

Ericajean 🙂

Five Fiction Books That Changed My World

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Without further ado, here is the list!

  • 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult, is hailed as a “raw and important work” about school violence. A teen is picked on mercilessly and eventually becomes something to be very afraid of. This book opened my eyes up to the seriousness of bullying.

We all know it is serious business, but Picoult wrote the story from an angle that felt as if many voices were speaking at once. I learned that writing with care and the art of research is important in any story.

This particular series follows a five thousand year old blonde vampire named Sita who we are supposed to hate, but I couldn’t help but relate. She is depicted as fully human with her own struggles and enemies.

I am not ashamed to say I cried a little. Perhaps because of the series ending and not necessarily what happens in the end..? Bottomline: If a vampire story can make me cry, then it was a good darn book. Also, if I can empathize with a wicked vampire, I can empathize with anyone, right?

  • Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews– need I say more? With Lifetime cranking out the books to television and Andrews’ books continue to pop up at Walmart, Bookstores and online in an unending ghost written foray, these books remain popular.

This book was probably one of the first books to keep me up at night.

There I was, 12-13 years old reading a gothic fiction about children being left in an attic so long that confusion, incest and other problems arose. That book made me understand that sometimes family is just in blood only. Anyone can hurt you.

Flowers in the Attic is one of those richly dark travesties of literary treasure and genius.

  • Seed to Harvest Series by Octavia E. Butler was a masterpiece. Still is. I bought the thick tome off of Amazon one year, maybe 2011, and dived right into it.

Patternmaster/Seed to Harvest, dates back to pre-slavery Africa where Anyanwu is gifted with shape shifting abilities, while Doro can literally jump his spirit self into other bodies. It awakened my own need to write sci/fi this good. It reminds me of the “Black” version of X-Men, but so deliciously written.

  • The Station Series* by Trish Marie Dawson gave me chills and sweet thrills. This book showed me that writing about a sensitive topic such as suicide can be dealt with using fantasy, research and great insight(and an amazing author!). In the series, Piper Willow dies and wakes up at The Station, where suicides go and become mentors and volunteers to people on earth who are considering suicide. The goal is to prevent people from committing suicide in the first place. Romance was high in this series too.

It gave me a new perspective on death in general.

It is not the end but a new station in existence. No one has the concrete answers but fiction allows us to play with what the answers could be.

Those are the five books which have changed my life in some way.

*The link will take you to a free Kindle copy of Dying to Forget, Book 1 in the station series.

**Affiliate links are sprinkled through this post. This simply means the link will take you to a site where you can learn more about the product and if you purchase anything I will receive coins for it. I appreciate you!

Please post your comments here and like or subscribe if you like the content. Thanks again to all of you reading and clicking around on my blog.Without

These posts are for you, the ultimate bookworm or writerworm 🙂