One Sentence 

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All it takes is one sentence for me to harness my creative energies; it is one sentence that separates an okay novel from a must read book. But, some times I barely get the chance to let it those sentences flow in the way I want. This is why I scramble hard to write anything down when the urge hits me.

Inspiration can comes at odd times and I really believe that other people are put on this planet to block said inspirations. It becomes my job to find away to put my thoughts on the page in spite of all the outside road blocks and my personal insecurities.

Today’s inspiration hit me the moment I grabbed my coffee any Starbucks. The realization that I had a great idea brewing was quickly subsided by the fact that I was so far away from forming it on paper and while any other person reading this will say, ” you should’ve just pulled out your phone,” it’s really not that simple.

I always need to marinate such ideas in my brain when it comes to writing. While I knew it’s was a long walk back to my notepad in my office, I was willing to take that risk by losing myself in thought. Sure I can write it down on my phone but that requires two hands which were full with coffee and breakfast so I was stuck rushing and thinking about how I just had a great idea to start book three.

But of course, I got interrupted twice on the way to my destination by co workers. Because it is such a busy time at work, things need to be handled. It was at that moment that I started to feel these ideas leaving my skull. I had to rush conversations before I forgot everything.

Lucky for me, I manage to reach a pad in time just write one sentence that will trigger my idea at a later time. All it takes is one sentence to start me on my way.

“My Secret Life” #bookofisabel

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I wanted to share with you one of my favorite chapters from The Book of Isabel. This is towards the beginning of the book (page 68) and the protagonist is in a dark place in his life so he goes to the only place that makes him feel better. The interesting fact about this chapter was that this was the last chapter I wrote for this book. I felt the story needed something a little more edgier and I came up with this chapter called, My Secret Life.


This is my secret life wrapped up in damp skin, cheap perfume, and fake breasts. I started feeling the effects of the 40 oz. I downed 10 minutes ago after I said “fuck it,” I’m going to Adult World. I need to get away from my life. I needed to stop thinking about the pure shit that’s my existence.


I focus my attention and energy on a very sexy black woman that wraps her body around a pole that’s at the center of a broad stage. Her well-built naked body is the best thing that my eyes can absorb today. Her stage presence is everything I need right now. I came here to see her, to get lost in her movements, her body, and her magic.

I know the days that Vivienne performs at Adult World because there was a time when I came here quite often to bask in her seduction. It’s been a couple of months and I miss it. Today, I needed to get away, just for a few hours, from this meager existence of crying over a woman I can no longer have. I would rather be caught up in a fantasy starring Vivienne. I would rather get lost in her eyes and her scent. I would rather get lost in her breasts and her G-string. I would rather get lost in her smile even if it means that I’m paying for it.

Her slow movements on the stage elicits an erotic dance that’s in perfect unison with the music blasting from the speakers. Most strippers dance to fast-paced music, but not her. She was dancing to Sour Times by Portishead and it’s as if she’s reaching into my soul giving it head. Her nude body and all her movements are speaking a foreign language that only a few people understand and she knows it. The men in the audience probably don’t even exist to her.

I don’t exist. I’m happy not to exist because there’s no betrayal in non-existence. There is no pain in the vacuum of non-existence and yet all of her rhythmic maneuvering drags me back from the ethereal to reality. Her ever-evolving choreography constantly reminds me that we are privileged to be in the same room with her. There is no pain here, only her.

I love this place because I’m a non-entity. I’m just another paying customer whose life choices have lead him here, to this place, with the hope of being teased. I can sit in the middle of this small venue and fade away watching nude women come and go off that stage. I can choose whom I want a lap dance from and I already know it’s from Vivienne. She won’t reject me because I’m just another paying customer and our relationship is that simple, pleasure and anonymity. I pay for her to give me the attention I only wish I could get for free.

The fixed seating gives off a theater-like quality that doesn’t resonate in other clubs. I do my best not to look up at the stage lighting because that only reminds me of my reality outside of this place. So I keep my vision directly on stage because it makes me comfortable to sit in darkness while I watch the show. My emotional numbness and disconnection to existence makes me feel better. It means the pain is not real. But from here she can see me if I wanted her to, I just have to give her a reason. I play with the singles I have in my pocket with my fingertips in anticipation of her coming into the audience. I know this game. I’ve played it before with her.

I pull out a dollar and I begin to fold it in half lengthwise. I smile while looking at her, hoping to get her attention during her routine. Vivienne does a long swing on the pole and gently lands on the ground. She crawls to the front of the stage and remains on her knees. She grabs her big fake breasts and licks her nipples as she scans the room. She notices the dollar I’m slowing waving and the game begins.

She smiles at me. There is recognition there. Her favorite customer has returned. How long has it been again? Weeks? Months? My invisibility now fades as she climbs down the small stage and provocatively walks towards my seat. Her platform heels make her look overwhelmingly sexy. Vivienne sits on my lap and never breaks eye contact with me. She smiles and says softly, “Welcome back, Professor.”

She grabs my head and pushes it between her breasts. Her skin is cool, but unbelievably comforting. She smells heavenly and for a brief second, this is everything I want. This is where I want to live. She shimmies her torso from side to side. Once she’s done, I lean back and give her the dollar. Vivienne, with her hands on her breasts, moves towards the dollar and I place it in her cleavage. She squeezes her breasts together and takes the money then mouths “thank you” and winks. She then gets up and continues her show.

I’m completely turned on by everything about her as I watch her bare ass walk away. Her sex appeal is off the charts. Other guys begin to give her dollars as well and this doesn’t bother me. This is the business of being a stripper. There is an unwritten contract that all patrons must abide by once they sit in these seats. It states that we cannot touch the women unless they allow us to. They’re also not property. Even though we’re giving money to them to  stroke our egos and make our dicks as hard a possible, they are in control. We are not allowed to disrupt that fantasy with our desires.. The only thing we control is the amount of money in our wallets and right now I have enough money for her to dance for me.

Her dance routine ends after another song and she collects her cash and her clothes before heading backstage. Amber, a tattooed blonde white woman, comes out on stage and begins her routine. She’s a little too skinny for my taste and my interest in her fades, so I wait. It normally takes three to four minutes for any woman who performs on stage to count her money and get redressed before returning to the seating area to continue the fantasy by offering lap dances. I know there’s a chance that I may have to wait a little longer than I anticipated. There may be a few guys here that want a lap dance from her a much as I do, but considering that all the guys in here are white and are focusing on Amber, I think I won’t have to wait long.


As expected, Vivienne walks out in a short one-piece strapless dress with the same platform shoes and she heads towards me. She sits on my lap and we begin to chat. “Hey there professor, it’s been awhile. Can I interest you in a little private time?” she asks.

I nod my head and say, “yes” without being too eager. She grabs my hand and I get up and follow her to the “VIP” section, which is just a fancy way of saying this area is for lap dances. Vivienne calls me professor because she knows I’m going to graduate school. She was fascinated by the idea of my becoming a professor even after I told her what I was really going to school for. Of course, I would never correct her because I’m not going to ruin a potential lap dance

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. It’s gets pretty racy after this. I had so much fun writing this chapter. After while, the words just flowed from the hands.

You can purchase a copy The Book of Isabel here.

Pieces

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I’m at the point where I’m just writing pieces of the next book. I haven’t gotten into the groove yet. Most of the time, when I get a chance to think about the final part of this “trilogy”, I find myself brainstorming what it is that I want to do. Which leads me a scattered cross section of what the story may look like.

This makes me think about the evolution of my life. The coming together of various parts of my life like a jigsaw puzzle. For better or worse, I feel that I struggle with all parts of my life. The writing part will give off the appearance of success. What defines that? If simply writing a book is a marker for success then I am very successful but if the industry only looks at the numbers then does that make me a failure? I guess I would have to view things from a glass that is either half empty or half full.

My personal life always seem to be in pieces and that is not to say that is a bad thing but some how I feel that I’m always trying to fit a square peg into a star like hole. Some parts might fit if I angle it a certain way, but it hardly fits unless I take out a knife and start carving and customizing.

It terms of work, well, that is tricky subject. I love my job but there comes a time in a person’s life when tough choices have to be made.

This all reminds me of a few stories that I wrote years ago. I called it Pieces of a Puzzle. It’s multi part story that is very trashy. All about sex and deceit; how people can have such pleasure behind people’s back without realizing how connected we all are. This is probably the best way that I can describe it. I have let very few people read it because, again, there is a trashiness and about it that I just can’t bring myself to let the whole world see.

Of course, when I say the whole world, I really mean the few people who actually read my work. <— That is so petty. haha.

I may have mentioned a while back the I was going to name the new book, The Glass House. I may change that to Glass Houses. I just like the thought of this title because in some way well live fragile existences where one thing can shatter the perceptions of our own world.

I guess that is what this is all about. The books, the reason why I write, is about the fragility of it all. Why else do we do what we do? We try to maintain our strength in a losing battle with fate. We try to mix and match pieces of ourselves so we can have this fleeting thing called happiness.

What happens when all the stories makes sense and all the various pieces finally match? Is there a zen? Do we achieve happiness forever? Or do we open another puzzle box with 5000 pieces and try again?

I don’t know.

Today is THAT day! #bookfofisabel

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This is the day I have been looking forward to the moment I was done writing the first draft. I can now share with all of you the second book.

First, let’s talk about the some of the challenges. Editing and proofing is never, ever, easy and it took me nine months to complete this phase. I estimated that today, June 14th, would best time for this book to come out and I wasn’t wrong. In fact, I was still correcting errors on Friday.

Continue reading “Today is THAT day! #bookfofisabel”

Here’s the Proof

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Very few things in this process get me as excited as seeing my work in print. I got my proofs of The Book of Isabel yesterday and they look so good. Sure, I have tiny reservations here and there about the cover finish but overall I cannot complain too much.

It feels rewarding to see something like this come to life. I wrote this book about a year ago and when I was done the process of making a book began. I love the cover art. I feel like it looks even better in print than it does digitally. Continue reading “Here’s the Proof”

Inside 30 Days

Life is crazy. Life is crazy busy. My life is crazy busy.

I feel like I just woke up from the haze of spring semester at Barnard College. So many things happening. So many events and so much work. Let’s also not forget that my woman just graduated from The Tepper Business School at Carnegie Mellon University. Life is has been such a blur and yet, somehow, I have found the time to get this book done.

I mean, I wrote this book last year but I’m talking about the other things that need to happen with this novel. The editing and the managing. I’m waiting on a final proof and this book comes out in less than 30 days. Continue reading “Inside 30 Days”

Read Them or Don’t.

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I know what my problem is. I’ve been trying too hard. It hits me like a ton of bricks when I think about it. I’ve been trying my best to sell people on how good I am. I’ve been trying to convince people that I belong. Here lays the crux of my problem of trying to do something I’m passionate about and trying to get people to like me.

I can’t do this.

I’m actually sick of it. I’m trying not to think about author rankings and book sales. I’m not trying to be tied down to numbers because then I feel like a failure.

And there it is. I’ve said it. I feel like a failure.

I mean, what did I really expect? Was I thinking that I would sweep the nation with a 400 page book detailing male insecurity? My problem was not managing my expectations. I own that.

Look, I hate to admit this, but I am good at what I do. If I ever need proof of that I can look 21 good ratings and 11 positive reviews on GoodReads. I made the mistake of thinking that numbers translate to how good I am. If I don’t sell many books it’s not because I can’t write, it’s because I’m not a great marketer. I never was and I’m not even sorry about it.

I’ve been going about so many things the wrong way and that is why I’ve decided to start putting my short stories on Wattpad. Let me tell you why. I’m currently drafting a blog for the Huffington Post where I talk about the pitfalls of Self Publishing. In this article I talk about two authors who made there were into the light via fan fiction. They posted their stories for free and built an audience. The best part about this is that they were not in it for the money. They wrote because they wanted to.

It’s that simple. I’m tired of trying to convince people of how good I am. So guess what? I will stop trying. I’ve written, at least 15-20 short stories over the last year. I will post them. Read them or don’t.

Otero out.

Reality Numbers Check

On the eve of book two, I’m forced to think about how hard this whole self publishing thing is. Writing a novel is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and now to have done it a second time, I have think about lessons learned while being realistic.

I recently received an amazing shoutout during the #blackcomicschat show on Friday. This is a podcast/twitter chat that comes on bi weekly that I love to listen to and during one of their segments, they were giving shout outs to loyal listeners. One of the podcasters, who also runs the Blerd Book Club that I was featured in February, gave me and Hanging Upside Down such a favorable shout out that it pretty much made my night. I’m paraphrasing here but he said something to the effect that my book was one of the best books he’s read in a while and he’s wondering how I’m not making more money on this. I think he even mention wanting to know my numbers on this.

The numbers are what they are. I suppose it really depends on your point of view. I knew that being a self published author would have it’s challenges. I wrote about the things I’ve learned about this industry in the Huffington Post a while back. I knew that writing a book without a publisher would mean I would have to sell books from the trunk of my car so to speak. Then there is the audience I wrote this book for: men. Generally men do not read unless it has to do with sports. So where does that leave me and the numbers?

I’ve been reluctant to share this with people because I’m really not sure how to feel about this. On one hand, I wrote a book and I did that because I wanted to and less because I wanted to make serious money on it. So in that respect, I don’t care all that much. However, numbers sometimes really speak to people in the industry. I was told that unless you sell 5000 units, the industry doesn’t really look at you. So you can understand that when I admit to only moving 210 books that it makes me a little uneasy.

I suppose that unease comes from that fact that I feel people think I’m this highly successful author that’s selling books like hot cakes. What I can say is this, I’m willing to redefine what I consider success by simple continuing to write. The fact of the matter is that I appreciate everything that comes my way. I continue to get favorable ratings on Goodreads and Amazon. I’ve also been featured on the Black Girl Nerds website, which is such a highlight for me.

I don’t makes excuses but I think I’ve done pretty well considering that I have a full time job that I enjoy and I’m the only person promoting this book. I may not have the industry behind me but I can tell you that I know about 85% of the people who’ve bought the book. I think this is great because I get to interact with those people who’ve actually read the book.

So to be honest, I am aware of the number. I remember passing 200 and the end of December. I know that this is a long road and perhaps when The Book of Isabel comes out, I may see a spike in sales, but the reality is, I may not. I’m not there yet. I still know people who will say to me… “oh yeah, I should get your book.”

I don’t take it personally. I just keep writing.

Book of the Month #BlerdBookClub

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I’ve been teasing this on Social Media for sometime now but I finally have a date for my guest appearance on the Blerd Book Club chat. Assuming that you have no idea what I’m talking about, I will fill you in on some details of how we got here.

I joined the Blerd Book Club in December when it was recommend by a few writer and host Thelonious Legend. Because I’m a devout listener to Black Comics Chat (a dope podcast) we ended up following each other on Twitter. Once he found out that I wrote a book, he asked me to join the club because every month they read a new book and I can nominate Hanging Upside Down for any given month if I chose to. Of course I was sold.

12195763_10154008417704040_8527905421711099943_nI nominated the book in January but lost to another amazing book called The Mark of Noba. The second time around proved to be a better result. My novel was chosen as February’s book of the month. What that means is that my book is recommended to the members of the book club to read so that they can gear up for a discussion the following month.

So the following month is now upon us and the book discussion is happening on March 13 at 4pm EST. So how this works that the link below takes you YouTube and on this day I will be there along with some peeps and we will discuss Hanging Upside Down. Even if you miss it, you can watch it anytime after the fact. The hashtag to follow along on Twitter is #BlerdBookClub

It should be a great discussion in which I hope to really get deep into some themes about masculinity and identity. I plan on talking very briefly about The Book of Isabel and my work behind that. I would also like to talk about my on going project of Naked City. Lastly, I plan on releasing the title of the Third Book.

I’m very excited about this and I hope you check it out.

Am I on a Break?

I may be in a bit of a lull creatively. I will preface this by saying that my second book is done and it could be that I just need to take a break. However, when I go through this, I scare myself because sometimes I feel as if I have nothing to say anymore and that leads to less blogs.

Of course, there are other things that are going on. My full time job has me busier than ever and since I love what I do, I make sure that I do my job well. My real job allows me to work late hours which is in my wheel house. If you know then you know that I work better later on in the day.

Also there is the fact that I’m traveling in a few weeks to New Orleans. This my yearly conference trip that took me to San Antonio last year and Orlando the year before that. I’m looking forward to adding this city to the growing list of cities that I’ve been visiting within the last 3 years. There is also some work for this that has tied up my time.

Truth be told, I’ve already come up with the basic premise for the third book. I already have a working title that I’m not ready to announce yet. There will be another time for that which will, of course, be accompanied by a blog post. With all my non writing, I’m still working in the background when it comes to things I’ve already written.

Despite all this, I’m not sure if what I feel is something remotely close to burn out. I’ve had some ideas about what my next Huffington Post blog will be but I just haven’t written it. I need to write a post for another site I’m a part of but I don’t know, I feel like I’ve been a little useless in terms of ideas unless it has to do with the novel or short story.

I have been trying to spend my time reading or listening to podcasts. I’m thinking that what I really need is to be inspired again to write blog posts. I know the hardest thing in this game is to be consistent and at one time I really was. But, I begin to wonder if it is too much.

With that being said, I think I need to start looking at writing prompts. I think I need to do more free writes. Before I think about being a in funk, I will go back to something that was told to me a few weeks ago (and I am paraphrasing), “Don’t beat yourself up for not writing enough blogs when your busy writing books.”

Good Advice, huh?