How Barbie and Ken Helped Shape My Writing Skills

Odd, huh?

Plastic people helped me write? Those perfectly painted faces, long hair, and Ken’s fake pecs actually could have shaped my writing life today?barbie-collector

I think so!

Today I was thinking, how does me playing with Barbie dolls back in the day help to shape my writing? How is that possible? I kid you not, the answer hit me like a pile of broken Barbie legs and cars.

Barbies have taught me how to use my imagination at the drop of a hat, how to create flash stories and how to connect with friends.

I am now in my 30s(gulp!) and these principles remain with me as I write.

Barbie Doll Playing Incites the Imagination

I had all kinds of Barbies, the pink haired one, Totally Hair Barbie with the awesome colorful skirt you can paint all over, Ken dolls, African American dolls, you name it.

With all these plastic people, I had to come up with something!

Along with books, my parents bought me and my sisters Barbie dolls, and so we would set up the doll house, clear our small room and the entire place was hooked up, lit up with the Barbie swimming pool with real water.

Then one Christmas, we received that beautiful, hot as heck pink Barbie Corvette and then…

Image found on

We played.

“What’s the story for today?” Um, Totally Hair meets Black Ken, or, Fashion Barbie will finally let her hair down and ride in the Corvette…without a chauffer….

I tell ya, the memories I am having right now, of the thousands of stories each Barbie doll brought out of my imagination- makes me nostalgic to a high degree.

You see, I didn’t need pen and paper. I had the fake people to use.

Playing Barbies Was My First Flash Story Lesson

I love writing at the drop of a hat.

When my parents had company over(adults fun time, I guess), it was time to go upstairs.

What to do now?

I had the Nintendo and Sega Genesis, but after a while I got tired of using controls to control something on a screen.

I wanted to brush hair, and create little Barbie sitcoms.

Looking around my room, I’d switch on more light and grab the Barbies, the large house and this time, even the My Little Pony land with the ponies!

Quick, as lightning I created a plot in my mind and would have the Barbies interact with one another. Sometimes, I even ran a series, like a soap opera.

Image from



Sadly, after a while, a couple of friends and girl cousins thought I was losing it. We were young too, like maybe ten or eleven- I could have been eleven going on twelve though; and I guess playing with Barbies was suddenly too childish for them to do anymore.

That was my first taste of what loving what I do could possibly make someone ostracize themselves from me.

You learn as a writer, to have tough skin.

Doesn’t lessen the pain though…

Through Barbie I Learned How to Network

On a really bright side, I met others like me!

Besides my sister, I’ve met friends who had more of a love of Barbie playing than even me!

We formed instant friendships and one of my old friends had a Barbie land. A freakin’ Barbie land set up in her home!

She had what seemed like dozens of Barbie dolls. I was in heaven! Plastic heaven!

We would collaborate, bring our stories together and made sure to let our parents know that we must meet again soon to continue this.

Imagination. Flash Story Creation. Networking.

Sound familiar?

It should, this is what we do here as bloggers who tell stories. At first, I thought it would be a bit of a stretch to mention how Barbie helped me to be a blogger/ writer but playing with toys and using your imagination are tools- FREE tools, which helps build the creative muscle.

In fact, using your imagination is what aids in creating worlds and characters in the first place.

Like, comment, and subscribe if you feel what I am saying.

What experiences in your past may have shaped you as writer?

I’d love to hear 🙂


*Disclaimer: There are affiliate links sprinkled throughout this post! 😉

Note to Readers of ‘Kiss of Stone’

Note to Readers!

Due to moving around a lot and losing material and technology(I know, really bad), there has been a severe delay in creating a second book to the Mark of Fortune series.

However, I am no longer in denial.

The genie romance was designed to present, simply, an idea. That’s it.

This is not to say that Sam and Stone’s story is completely over. I wrote it during a time that the world was built completely by my imagination and the direction I wish it to go continues to get stifled by the Muse.

Muse wins.

I am deeply sorry to my readers who enjoyed the work. Deeply. My heart breaks when I think of what the series can become.

However, all hope is not lost. I will be publishing great content and working on future genie books following a trajectory I think we all will be satisfied with. For now, join me in my adventure creating content in other genres I enjoy!



P.S. I am working on a serious memoir and some poems at this time. Visit me at Smashwords to find more of my writings and don’t forget to check out Write Resumes Right 2017, where I hope to collaborate with you on the structure, challenge and rewarding phase of job app writing.



Give Me Bod, a quick cyborg romance

moon over mountains
Image by Matthew McElwaine


Give Me Bod(A Cyborg Story)

His whole body was a funny poem. Spiky ebony hair, great tan, eight pack abs, chrome fixtures above his right temple and entire right side- indicating his nature as a cyborg, but with heart shaped lips and a laugh that was sexy. They were full, perfectly shaped. Pink-ish. Cyborgs aren’t supposed to have beautiful lips, right?

Amza allowed his hands to roam down the side of her body. He took his sweet time.

They were alone, in the small alcove of the underground city. She was sure he didn’t like her, considering how lecherous he was with other women cyborgs. She was the only human there, slim not “well stacked” like the female cyborgs, but here he was smoothing his hands over her skin touching her as if she were sexy.

“If you want to make him jealous,” he began, talking about her abusive, loser boyfriend. “You can start by using me.”

Bod didn’t have to say anything else, Amza grabbed his face and kissed him hard, surprised by the moan falling from both of them, like the humming a thousand bees, or the groaning of a few instruments during a symphony. His hands stayed around her waist.

For real or for play, Bod wanted her.

And she wanted him.

By the light of the moon she could see his chrome fixture on the side of his head glowing, his right eye shining like a star. He was beautiful and pulling her in for a deeper kiss.

Amza caught a shadow flicker along the wall just as Bod trailed warm kisses down the side of her neck…

The End

©Copyright 2016 Erica Jean

*To subscribe to this blog for more sexy, sweet stories and writing tips, please scroll to the bottom of this page/post and Follow this Blog. Thank you! 🙂

Book Spine Poetry: Silence Breeds New Breath


Book Spine Poetry!

For those who do not know, I am happy that Nicola and MindandLifeMatters decided to share with us the beauty of searching book spines titles to inspire poetry.

Here is my attempt, inspired by books I want to read and have read. Enjoy!

Silence and Beauty-

The Day We Met.

Anything More Than Now,

When Breath Becomes Air

Become an Online Writing Icon By Following These Celeb Examples

Oprah Winfrey.


Pharrell Williams.


You don’t have to be a fan of these icons’ music or film to appreciate that they know something about art and how to market it.

Oprah The Innovative Leader.

Many of us do not remember Oprah’s old days. You have to catch that on YouTube now. She had the big hair, big business suits and she worked- for someone else.


Then she did something radical. Something truly amazing that revolutionized television forever…

But when Oprah entered the talk show scene in 1986, she “just blew the whole thing open,” McNamara said. Oprah became interested in what made people feel. What made them cry. What made them happy. What made them tick.(paraphrased-Mary McNamara, Television Critic)

Continue to revolutionize your writing. Take an aged subject matter, an idea, anything and make it your OWN. And secondly, begin to ask the big questions of your audience and your characters: What makes them cry? What makes them rage? What makes them happy?

I create a document of “character interviews” so I can know the deep psychology of each one and this drives the plot.

Oprah did not invent the talk show, but she knows people. So observe your family members, friends. Keep a notebook on you at all times and jot down conversations, and body language. This will make for a great blog post, poem, essay or a book.

BeyonceBeyonce. Consistent Game Changer

Destiny’s Child really was always Beyonce’s Child IMO because she stood in the forefront and could really market herself VERY well.

Album after album is a hit.

And  Beyonce’s latest promo had the world on the edge of their seat. We thought she was going to announce something huge- but she just wanted us to know she is Vegan too.

Please don’t make that same mistake. But here is what you do.

What you can take from this as a writer is developing your staying power. Especially if you are an author-preneur. Constant marketing and promotion of your works is key. And giving little morsels here and there to make the world crave what you will do next(but don’t drop the small vegan bomb like Beyonce did)

pharell happyYou can achieve this by utilizing social media platforms, commercials and my fav: Letting readers download a portion of your book for free or find some beta readers to review your book before it is published.

Pharrell Williams. Using Technology and Being Very Zen

I am not sure what meditative journey Pharrell has been on but we all need to take one.

He is not only a producer and rapper.

He sang the most popular song which made us all very “Happy”.

And now he is a guest judge on The Voice.

Your job as a writer is to find your center. Who are you and what is your voice and style?

Thanks so much for reading and please send comments if you have them!

Happy writing!

NaNo WriMo: The inception of a story grows by November 1

Creative Writing
Image taken by creative_writing_by_uNfOrGiVenLaMb.jpg

November 1st is almost here and my entire body knows NaNo is here, it is forcing my brain to hear the voices of the characters ever more clearly and I can’t jot down notes fast enough. The beauty of it though, is while I am daydreaming and note-taking, there are cover design images filtering in my mind. Ever been through that? You think of a story and you can see what it will “grow up” and become instantly?

The time has come to really buckle down. Right now I urge you writers to begin thinking of your plots, your characters and their motivations- in my opinion this will make for smooth writing in the beginning and you will reach that 50k. I am cheering myself on and I am cheering on all of you who are cracking your knuckles and await 11/1/2013.

More exciting things are happening this year: the holidays, family gathering, birthdays- but what can be more exciting then knowing you have fulfilled your 50,000 word count and can possibly hold your book in your hands by next year? Or if you find an agent, you could be HarperCollins’ or David C. Cook’s next gem in the industry?

Just sayin’.

Meanwhile, check out my new and classic Nanowrimo blog posts for resources, inspiration and other stuff.

If you found this blog post at least somewhat helpful, share with your friends, Tweet them, email them or G+ or simply liking will suffice. Any questions? Feel free to post here or contact me.


Is how we write more important than what we write?

Tom Louis, Developmental Psychology

So here I am reading an article titled, “Why Teach English?” and the gist of the post is this: English seems to be the major book lovers go into but finding the perfect job involving literature and writing will limit most to teaching or a job outside of the degree.

Does this mean English major is obsolete or should we focus on the major at all and just be glad we’ve learned?

I remember in high school and in college, teachers will tell us to, “Think deeper. Think about the notes on this character and this plot, and this symbol” and from there we craft a BS essay that earns A’s or F’s. But none of them required our own thought.

What if the poet really was not talking about sex, but just milk instead? What if the whole story is not about about political divide but just someone honoring God’s creation of trees and flowers? Does it have to be “deep” all the time?

Just like grammar.

My husband and I had a conversation today with another couple and we’ve all concluded that as African Americans or Blacks, whatever we are called- we are accustomed to using language that belongs to someone else’s forefathers- not ours.

Okay, okay- I am not sure what my own ancestors’ language was, but I will say this: From now on why can’t we just write a good story? Or better yet, tell a good story.

For instance, I hear reviewers(and I could have been one of them) say, “Well, the writing was bad but the story was good”


Was the book good or not? Does it depend on language or imagination of the writer…which is more dominant?

I will play Devil’s Advocate here: I love to read. I love clear sentences and when poets can play around with punctuation and grammar to make a snappy point. This is when it is good to know a little about the mechanics of writing.

But still, I make it my business to tell a great story. Besides, in ancient times many stories were audible, not text.

People download my books, not because of the writing(which I do still try to edit and clean up anyway), but for the their love of the characters and their motives.

What do you think? Is how we write more important than what we write?