Welcome to the first annual Black History Month Hop hosted by Reflections of a Bookaholic and Mocha Girls Read a month long blogging event which focuses on giving black authors, books, and those who support them a month in the spotlight.
For the fourth week of the hop we have a few things planned for you. What’s a hop you ask? At the bottom of each post you will find a list of other sites participating in the hop. This way you can easily hop from one blog to another.
Weekly Topics for the Black History Month Hop
1st – 7th Black History Month Giveaway Hop
2nd – 4th Around Town
5th – 11th The Business of Black Books
12th – 18th Black Love
19th – 25th Black Books
26th – 29th The Best of…
We have a lot of giveaways going on right now from great Black authors. All winners will be announced on 2/29/2012.
Anna Black’s “Who Do I Run To?” (Ends 2/19)
Terri D’s “Yesterday Lies” (Ends 2/20)
Beverly Jenkins’s Book (2 winners) (Ends 2/21)
Delaney Diamond’s “The Temptation of a Good Man” (Ends 2/22)
Monda Webb’s “7:33am” (Ends 2/25)
This is the week we introduce you to books by Black authors or with Black character.
Abnormal Lives: A Novel By Rae
Simone and Stefan are cousins, who are more like brother and sister, having been raised by their now deceased maternal grandmother. Both of their mothers abandoned them at various ages, leaving them to fend for themselves. Years after their grandmother’s death, the two of them are still residing in her home; sliding under the government’s radar by keeping up the property taxes and hoping that no one will ever notice that she is deceased. In order to make ends meet, they are both prostitutes. Stefan is openly gay and in love with a man named Eugene who is really using him for his money. Simone is living life on the edge and picking up random men who are willing to foot the bill for her special skills. Stefan tries to get Simone to straighten up and fly right, suggesting that they both seek employment at a local bank. While Stefan sees their new positions as a chance for redemption, Simone only views the bank as a way to pick up wealthy men to sleep with for money. After attending a festival in New Orleans, Stefan decides to rip off some drugs from a man he hooked up with; pulling Simone into something that she certainly had not bargained for. Will the two cousins abandon their reckless lifestyle or will their lifestyle lead them both to a tragic end?
Chapter 1 (excerpt)
It was ten o’clock on a Friday night. Simone sat inside of the fitness center, entertaining her client, Mason. Mason was the director of the center and usually planned their meetings there after-hours. Simone sat on the edge of the hot tub wearing a pink G-string and Mason stood inside the encircling pool with Simone’s thighs resting on his shoulders.
“My wife saw the present you gave me a few weeks back,” Mason announced proudly, as he walked his fingers up Simone’s thighs.
Simone sighed. It’s not like it’s the first time and it won’t be the last, she thought. “Well, what did she think of it?” Simone tried not to disclose how humored she was by her remark.
“Let’s just say she didn’t like it as much as I did.”
The present Mason referred to was the hickey Simone had placed on the shaft of his penis. That was her trademark. Men from all over the Tri-City area contacted her to see could and would the pretty, petite, wavy-haired, fair-skinned doll baby pucker up her plump pink lips to perform the act that all of their friends and colleagues bragged about.
Once she proved that she could and would, if they were willing to pay her fee for the priceless experience, they became loyal customers that contacted her on a regular basis to have the “O”-shaped bruise on their genitals that they held with the same regards that bikers and gangsters held their tattoos, retouched before it faded away. It had only been three weeks since she had last provided Mason with her services and there he was, standing in front of her waiting to be retouched, among other things.
Simone liked dealing with Mason. She understood what to expect from him. He never showed up drunk or flying off of the handle as a result of hallucinogens. That was behavior she’d tolerated from the petty, low-class criminals she’d started out servicing. They would beat, belittle, and refuse to pay women in her profession after they’d romped around with them on old, pissy mattresses. Simone had paid her dues to earn the status she now held in her profession and refused to deal with that nonsense. That was one of the reasons why most of her clients were upper middle-class whites; the few that were black held the same social status. The other reason for that was they were willing to pay more money. Money that the lower-class troublemakers couldn’t afford to let leave their pockets.
Mason also referred a lot of his friends to Simone, which was good for business. Simone also liked the fact that Mason wasn’t long-winded. She could get it down as fast as she could get it up and when it was over, it was over. Mason didn’t try to stall to keep her around while he tried to have another erection. Her terms of service were, once her client ejaculated while she performed the service he’d requested, her job was done. Some of her clients had her perform one act, some paid for two or three, but after they ejaculated as the result of each service, or lost their erection, whichever came first, she was off the clock. Mason stuck to those terms. Being that Mason wasn’t what she considered to be endowed, after she finished with him, she would still be in adequate condition to service another client before calling it a night.
What Simone didn’t like about Mason was how he never seemed to be able to put an end to his idle chitchat. Her time was more valuable to her than her services were to him. The more time she had, the more money she had the opportunity to make. She didn’t want to be rude. After all, he was a longtime customer. So she sat there in a rut while he rambled on about the weather.
It was times like those that made her wish Stefan had come along. He had a way of nipping things in the bud. Although Mason was a huge fan of anal sex, he wasn’t one of her bisexual clients. She often heard him bash gays that attended the fitness center. He would go out his way to express how sickened he was by them.
Simone thought Mason might have been nervous. They had been together numerous times but, for some reason, he always seemed scared to touch her.
Simone’s legs shivered as a result of Mason’s jitteriness. She looked down at him and sighed.
“What’s wrong?” Mason asked.
“Nothing.” Simone removed her legs from Mason’s shoulders. “Come up here with me.”
© 2011 Rae
As a child Rae ran across a copy of James Baldwin’s novel Giovanni’s room. It was James Baldwin’s stirring and provocative writing style that fueled her with the passion to write. Rae spent the hours she wasn’t at school or doing household chores writing short stories and poetry.
At age twelve Rae abandoned her pen and pad and became engrossed in the drama of her hood. By age sixteen Rae was a single mother and dropped out of school to raise her newborn child.
Rae spent her twenties hopping from one job to the next, disgusted with the lack of ethics and integrity in her work environments. After resigning from her umpteenth job, receiving the news of her fiancé’s death, and awaiting a criminal trial, after not being in trouble with the law since she was a juvenile, Rae laid back in her bed replaying the events of her life over in her mind.
Feeling like she had no one to turn to, Rae turned back to her pen and pad. She decided no matter what she would accomplish her goal of being an author. But this time her writing wouldn’t include rescues and fairytale endings. She would write about the drama of urban life and incorporate scenarios regarding social and domestic issues that plague urban communities. Soon after Abnormal Lives was born.
Get to Know the Author:
1. When did you start writing, and did you always envision being an author? I start writing when I was eight years old and I’ll tell you, more than a decade has past and I still enjoy how a story can excite, shock, and expand the minds of readers. I knew I would be an author ever since the day I finished reading Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. I laid across the bed thinking about how emotive the novel was and that’s when the thought of being an author entered my mind. From that day forward I knew I would be an author I just didn’t know during what phase of my life it would occur.
2. Where do you get your ideas? Life, that’s where I get my ideas from, things happen in our families, personal lives, and communities every day that we are uncomfortable discussing and those are the topics I like to focus on in my writing.
3. Are there any particular authors that have influenced your writing? I would have to say James Baldwin and Iceberg Slim. James Baldwin’s stirring and provocative writing style instilled me with the passion to write and Iceberg Slim’s raw unadulterated voice gave me the valor to express myself freely as a writer.
4. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? As far as my novel goes it was originally written in the first person viewpoint after I finished writing it I read through it and realized the story would read better in third person. I wish I would have realized that from the start but if nothing else it was a learning experience. The only thing I regret doing when I was searching for a publisher is not submitting my work simultaneously instead of sending a copy of my manuscript to a publisher and waiting six months or more for them to say yay or nay before I submitted my work to another publisher. When you don’t submit your work simultaneously it gets to be a bit daunting.
5. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? I enjoyed writing the scene in chapter twelve when Paris exposed Michael by airing his dirty laundry in front of the police. Michael was a lying conniving dog and I couldn’t wait to write the scene where Paris called him out.
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I learned that writing a novel takes dedication, not only to your work but to your readers also. When writing a novel you want to produce an enjoyable product without jeopardizing your voice. If you’re constantly going back over your work changing things because you’re worried it will rub someone the wrong way your voice will fail to shine through. When you’re writing be yourself readers will appreciate you for it.
7. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? I’m new to this so the only advice I feel confident giving is, don’t let self-criticism or the criticism of others prevent you from pursuing your dream.
Find the Author:
Web links: http://www.facebook.com/DomainRae
Link to buy at Barnes and Noble:
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