Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Beta Beta Beta Reader

So if you've cruised around writing forums/blogs as much as I have, you'll eventually encounter the "Beta-Reader" and the perilous quest many writers undergo to find one. So...what is a beta-reader exactly? 

Simply put, a beta-reader is usually the first person to read your entire WIP (work in progress) with the intention of helping you clean it up and submit to publishers or agents. A beta is not the same as your best friend or your boyfriend reading your WIP. Beta-readers are NOT your cheerleaders, they're supposed to tell you what works and what doesn't. That is why beta-readers are a necessity. Without having someone else (preferably another writer) take a critical look at your polished second draft, you could overlook something important. Unfortunately, the worst part about being a writer is our inherent need to "offer up" our work for critique/review. Otherwise what's the point? So you gotta hold your breath and wait for that inevitable first reaction from your peers. And it can be nerve wracking! 

A shy writer (such as myself) finds the whole beta-reading task a daunting one! Finding the right beta can make all the difference while you slug through the grueling editing/revising process. However, when you are lucky enough to find a beta who works well with you, this partnership can be a magical one! However, be prepared to meet a lot of duds along the way...awesome betas are extremely hard to find. *waves at Theresa* I must also thank Michan, Aaron, Al, Karen, Tal and Anna for sticking it out with me through this process! You guys are the bestest! *blows kisses* And working with you has been great! 

So how do you find a beta-reader? We all know writers are private solitary creatures, so it's not like you can just waltz into a bookstore/coffee shop/library and ask the first stranger you see. Usually you can find a beta by using the internet, such as or other local writing "guilds" in your area. You can start a writer's group yourself or search for one using The trick isn't so much finding a beta, it's finding a GOOD beta, or a beta who you work well with. 

I've always done this writing thing by myself. I never sought out the opinions of others, and my writing suffered for it. I've grown so much by meeting other writers/bloggers and learning from them. Writing can be a tricky business, but working with your beta-readers should be a fun and challenging experience. 

Happy writing, minions! (and happy leap year!) 

Monday, February 27, 2012

More on Toni Morrison...

I should have included this in the last post but agh! I'm a spaz. Anyway, I found this interview on youtube and I wanted to share it with you guys. She's talking about "The Bluest Eye." What an incredible lady! I hope one day my dreads can look as majestic as hers! *serious loc envy*

Books I'm Reading: The Bluest Eye

"The Bluest Eye" written by Toni Morrison. This book destroyed me. It really did. And I don't often say that about a book, but good gawd, when I got to the final chapter I was bawling my eyes out. I cried so much I had to start drinking whiskey just to comfort myself. Then I got so drunk I passed out. And all over a book. 

In my last post, I talked about "Sister Citizen" and the John-Henryism effect. "The Bluest Eye" deals with beauty (or the lack thereof) in the black community. There's also sexism, colorism, feminism, incest, violence, and poverty. Morrison shows us these horrors by streaming it through the eyes of a little girl named Pecola. Pecola, who wishes for blue eyes and blonde hair. Pecola, who is abandoned by her mother and raped by her father. Pecola, who is seen by everyone, shamed by everyone, and utterly ignored by all. Little Pecola. 

Gawd, she destroyed me. When Pecola finally becomes undone, I found myself unraveling just the same. I wanted to tear my hair out. I thought of all the Pecolas of the world who would never be seen, never be saved. And I got so angry because I guess I saw a little bit of myself in her too. 

Reading books like these just makes me want to become a better writer. Toni Morrison's writing is next to godliness. I am jealous but happy to read a book by such an awesome storyteller. She inspires me as a black female writer, to really push myself and do something great. I may never be able to write like Toni Morrison, but good gawd, I will try to learn from her if I can! Highly recommend this book. 

Happy reading! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Smexxxy Friday (Touch)

I rather like this interesting short film. Haven't we all crushed on a mannequin (or some other inanimate object) at some point in our lives? I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did. Kinda reminded me of "The Girl with the Yellow Stockings." :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2/12 Media of the Month: Sister Citizen

Melissa Harris-Perry just released a new book titled: 

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. Isn't that cover just gorgeous? I love it! And it's Black History Month so...yeah. I think it's appropriate. 

Excellent read. Those of you who are familiar with psychology/sociology statistics (such as regression analysis and Likhert's scales) will find this book incredibly easy to read. For those who don't know statistics jargon, Harris-Perry does an excellent job breaking down the data in layman terms. She is a political science major herself, so she uses FACTS (and not broad generalizations) to lay out the foundation of her book. For those of you who don't know who Melissa Harris-Perry is, you can check her out on MSNBC. She is often seen on the Rachel Maddow show but now she has a new show (yay) that comes on on Saturday mornings. 

OK. A caveat but I feel the need to confess publicly. Let me just admit to you all...Rachel Maddow is like...holy god. I have DREAMS about this woman...bad...bad dreams, lol. XXX dreams. I think if I ever saw her in real life, I might just die. Ok...sorry...distracted...yeah, you can catch Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC! OK?! Watch her show--she's awesome! 

But more about the book:

Sister Citizen is a serious non-fiction book about black women and how stereotypes (Mammy, Sapphire, and Jezbel) create a "crooked room" effect in the black woman's psyche. In psychology, there's a term we like to use called: "John Henryism." It is a phenomenon used by blacks to "cope" with their environments. Anyway, Harris-Perry asserts that there is a similar phenomena unique solely to black women. Like John-Henryism, their (our) pursuit of "Strength" becomes a detriment to their (our) mental health. The "Strong Black Woman" can kill herself trying to live up to this superhuman standard.

She also used surveys after Katrina and also literary examples (one of which was "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison, but I'll talk about that in another post) to illustrate her point. 

I recommend this book not just to black women (although I think black women might take the most from it) but EVERYONE who is interested in studying feminism, racism and general sociology/psychological geeky goodness. As a black woman myself, I found this book incredibly interesting and worthy of discussion. 

Happy reading!

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's finished! *happy dance*

Yeah...remember that story I was telling you about? You know, the one I had serious writer's block with for like...3 months? Yeah. I finished it. My first novel is DONE! Finished! The Ended. Holy crap! 85 thousand words of my heart and soul...all complete. 

Oh gosh! What an incredible feeling! 

Yes, I still have to plot the sequel but DAMN! I'm just so happy it is finished! At the moment I am requesting beta readers. I have one beta helping me out already (*waves* Hi, Theresa!) but I'm gonna need one more before I think I'll be ready to start querying agents.  

*happy sigh* Yeah. Being a writer today is awesome. :) I'll give more details later.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Smexxxy Friday (Jada and Marc)

Wowza! The sexual energy between these two is palpable! No wonder the rumors were flying about Jada and Will's marriage! I've never watched the TV series "HawthoRNe" but this scene caught my eye. Never realized how frickin' hawt Marc Anthony is. Can I get an "amen" or what? Woo! *fans self* Enjoy the smexxxy goodness! This video "perked" me up today, haha! 

He isn't conventionally attractive...but I guess, that's what makes him so smexxxy! I personally prefer men who don't look like Brad Pitt. I like faces with "character," y'know? Or maybe I'm just weird! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Will you be my valentine?

Ahhh...Valentine's day. Prompting singles to commit suicide since...well...the Middle Ages. It's kind of funny we celebrate this holiday when historically, it involved the martyrdom of some beheaded dude or (if you're the cynical sort) the pagan she-wolf ritual of Lupercalia. *Wistful sigh* Romantic, don't you think?

It may come as a shock, but I actually like Valentine's Day. There aren't a lot of things I get "girly" about, but I do enjoy receiving flowers and chocolates. At the moment, I have a wonderful bouquet of red carnations and baby's breath sitting on my desk. I bought them myself at the store since my boyfriend is too lazy to wrestle with the florist shop this late in the season. As you can see, I like to recycle soda bottles. But my desk is clean...for once. 
Heh. Many females turn their noses up at any flower that is not a rose...but I love all sorts of flowers! A flower is a flower. I wish people would get off their high-horses and think outside the box a little when it comes to valentine's day flowers. Roses are BORING. And often, too expensive! Do something different this year and get your sweety an iris! Or maybe a tulip. Hell, a bouquet of hand-picked wildflowers would be cool. 

I dunno. What do you guys normally do for valentine's day? 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Smexxxy Friday (Squeeze my breasts, plz!)

Um. This would NEVER happen in real life. But lesbi gals can dream, can't t? Hahaha!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Flight Facilities

I was watching a hair tutorial when I first came across this song, haha! Anyway, I dug the vibe so I've decided to share it with you guys! N'JOY! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Song Lyrics: "10x Stronger"

More song lyrics. I wrote this very angry song while I was seeing a therapist (if I remember correctly) What's a little angst between friends, right? :) Enjoy. 

"10x Stronger" 

I would've given you anything
mind body soul it was yours
a heart made of glass
and you threw it in the trash

Well I'm 10x stronger than I used to be
apologizing now will not work for me
can't seem to figure out I don't give a shit
whatever words you say won't make me forget

Dry your eyes
No more lies
I'm so damn tired of all these games
It's enough
So fed up
Just promise me you'll stay away

Let me crumble down
I hope you burn in hell
Let me crumble down
I hope you burn in hell

I really tried to be strong for you
I bore your load by myself
and you lost your mind
when you tossed me to the side

Well I'm 10x stronger than I used to be
apologizing now will not work for me
can't seem to figure out I don't give a shit
whatever words you say won't make me forget

Dry your eyes
No more lies
I'm so damn tired of all these games
It's enough
So fed up
Just promise me you'll stay away
Just stay away
Stay the hell away from me, won't you please? 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Smexxxy Friday

Epic parenting fail. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Questionably "gay" moments...

Oh my lord I laughed so hard. 5 million views on youtube...and still counting, bwahahaha! 

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