(Sigh) … if you have followed Authenticitee Speaks for any length of time, you already know this woman is my heart.

Featured in this space on more than one occasion she is by far the most supportive person of my every work after my mother.

Facts.

Here’s a peek of our special moments here on Authenticitee Speaks!

And Then There Was @KittOMalley @Robrt_M_Goldste & @_thenewsexy

MEET MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE KITT O’MALLEY! 

And it was only fitting that she was my first guest on the first season of my debut radio show Inspiration With E last year!

Click here to listen! Kitt’s interview begins 20 minutes in! (Language & content advisory).

Kitt’s incredibly profound thoughts on language over 30 years ago as an undergraduate:

“Language frustrates me. Because of it, I think in distinctions; I draw lines where they do not in fact exist; I categorize and differentiate. All this I do to simplify, to impose order. All this so that I need not think or feel or know too much. All this so that I may function in a complex world. Otherwise, I would be overwhelmed. Or so I believe. But, in actuality, my attempts to simplify, to order the world around me, make my world more complex. More complex because I distort. More complex, for language is inherently imprecise. And, I get caught in my errors, in my ignorance, and in my arrogance. I err when I oversimplify. I close my eyes to what is really going on when I ignore subtleties that elude definition. And, I arrogantly play God when I try to control my environment, imposing on it an order that is not necessarily there. Still, I convince myself that making these distinctions somehow empowers me. But the definitions, the distinctions, the categorizations I make become cages, and I find myself, not the objects I define, behind the bars. For in limiting what is limitless, in trying to contain what will not fit into any box or cage, I limit and imprison myself.”

Yep. I love me some Kitt O’Malley😌

See, prior to posting my first blog on January 10, 2015 , I had no idea what a blog was; let alone the blogging community. Kitt however along with Rob, Kelley, Robert, Sean, Gina, Scott, Marquessa & a few others soon played a pivotal role in how I governed myself in cyberspace. I credit them for opening my eyes and heart to the power of interacting with other writers.

Our first of many conversations…

So when I decided to relaunch my #WriterCrushSeries this time around, including Kitt was a given; especially considering her recent milestone of becoming an author!! I just received my copy of Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health: Kitt O’Malley last week and I can not wait to dive in!

During this special edition of the Writer Crush Series, it was important to me to not just share about Kitt; but share what was important to Kitt. Because she is that important to me.

e speaks…

Kitt you are so amazing to me! I love how you are always looking out for others! I want to highlight volunteers on my blog from time to time so please tell me…where do you volunteer? What’s the name of the organization?

Kitt speaks…

The National Alliance on Mental IllnessNAMI for short. I volunteer for my local chapter NAMI Orange County.

e speaks…

How long have you been volunteering there?

Kitt speaks…

Since September 2014, when I participated in their local NAMIWalks fundraising effort following my completion of NAMI Peer-to-Peer, a mental health recovery course for those living with a mental health challenge. Peer-to-Peer introduced me to the concept of mental health recovery and offered me HOPE! You can learn more information on at NAMI Peer-to-Peer or contact your local chapter.

e speaks…

How often do you volunteer?

Kitt speaks…

A few times a year I participate in NAMI Provider Education. The first time I taught the course was January 2016 following my mother’s stroke in November 2015. Before my mother’s health crisis, I had reactivated my California Marriage and Family Therapist license. Though I haven’t practiced as a psychotherapist since I was 30 and I’m closing in on 55, my education and training shapes how I look at mental health. With my license, I can serve as the Provider Education panel’s mental health practitioner with lived experience.

NAMI Provider Education is a class for line staff at facilities providing mental health treatment services. The NAMI Provider Education class is designed to expand the participants’ compassion for the individuals and their families and to promote a collaborative model of care.

(https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-Programs)

e speaks…

What led you there?

Kitt speaks…

April 2014 I attended The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church at Saddleback Church. I wrote about the experience on my blog. While there I felt a calling to volunteer for NAMI Orange County, so you could say that God led me to NAMI OC.

e speaks…

What’s been the most challenging moment?

Kitt speaks…

My personal life is pretty full and can be challenging. I live with bipolar. My son gets migraines, and connected to his migraines, social anxiety and depression. My father had dementia until he recently passed away. My mother lives with vascular dementia since she had a stroke just before I began volunteering in NAMI Provider Education.

e speaks…

How did you overcome it?

Kitt speaks…

When I’m too overwhelmed by my life, I bow out. I do not overdo it. If I’m not up for volunteering, I don’t. As simple as that. My mental health and the health of my loved ones comes first.

e speaks…

What’s been the most rewarding moment?

Kitt speaks…

Training the staff for the opening of Children’s Hospital of Orange County‘s (CHOC) pediatric psychiatric unit — the first inpatient psychiatric unit for children under age twelve in Orange County. The entire staff attended the inservice, which was incredible. CHOC’s staff blew me away — so much LOVE! They were great.

e speaks…

What would you advise new volunteers?

Kitt speaks…

Take care of yourself and your loved ones first and foremost. Do not deplete yourself. Recharge. Exercise self-care.

e speaks…

Thank so much for being here Kitt! It meant everything to me!! To learn more about Kitt please visit her at http://www.KittOmalley.com.

*I humbly dedicate this piece to Kitt’s beloved Labradoodle Thumper who passed away yesterday. Much love Kitt. I thank God you’re in my life. You mean the world to me and I have learned so much from you. I pray that you are granted the comfort, strength and peace of mind that you extend to so many.💫e

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Kitt O’Malley. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blessed day Queen…”

Jomo aka @Morprophet is an integral part of our Instagram Writing Community. A gifted writer and long time supporter of @AuthenticiteeSpeaks, he was the first man to call me ‘Queen’ online.

I couldn’t figure out why it sounded honest when he addressed me as such. Like hearing a hit song over and over again, the terms “King” and “Queen” are favored until the hype fizzles. Overused and oftentimes perfunctory they lose their luster and feel disingenuous. But when Jay aka Jomo spoke, greeting every woman the same way, it sounded different because he was different. It wasn’t until much later that God would give me revelation about his voice.

God revealed Jomo’s strength came from having survived many a storm; some, a result of his own choices. God gave me a peace that he was a gentleman. A kind man with pure motives. A man that God could trust. A man who had earned the moniker: King.

Jomo speaks…

My name is Jomo Moore also know to many as Morprophet through my gift of writing on instagram @Morprophet and to a close few as Murph. I was born and raised in the beautiful country of Trinidad and Tobago which the smaller island Tobago is my place of birth.

I came to America shortly after completing my studies at the high school level at the age of sixteen. Which was one of my best decisions because I’m now the head of a beautiful family. Which consists of my wife, son and two daughters. I’m a certified truck driver trainer and window tinter by trade but I also try to spread my wings in other areas as real estate to name one in which I’m a landlord. I love writing, gaming and the ocean – not just the shoreline but the deep; whether I’m swimming, in a little boat or a cruise ship I feel at home. My choice of music or should I say my favorite genres are Calypso, Reggae, Dancehall, Soca, Rap and old R&B.

e speaks…

Wow thank you so much for being here! I am definitely a HUGE fan of your range as a writer!

Tell me more about your style of writing.

Jomo speaks…

My style of writing. I know of no other way to describe it other than passionate because when I write I put my soul into every word. I know that seems to be what most say but I truly do and so much that I said it all in these two lines in my poem titled Naked “ When you read if you can’t feel me in what I write. I plead with you to be blind to these words that I write”.

e speaks…

What are two of your favorite pieces that you’ve written and why?

Jomo speaks…

Two of my favorite pieces. Queen I’m not sure I could honestly choose one over the other to fall under the title of favorite because I put my all into each piece but I can give you two pieces and my reasons for writing them.

One is called How Did I Get Here? and the other is I Am Morprophet. How Did I Get Here was written as a poem. Which turned into a six piece series. I first wrote which is now the second insert of the series as a lone piece. After completing it as I have done many times before I read it to a friend for his critique. When I was done reading he said nothing. I waited for a bit then said, “say something already!” He replied, “I was waiting for you to finish. What happened before and after? It’s not finished. I know you can do better than this.” So I went on and wrote the other five parts that turned a poem into a short story.

Now the next piece I Am Morprophet was triggered or should I say was in response to a comment on another piece I wrote titled Hush Money. When I read the comment and realized whom it was from I was disappointed not because they disagreed with what I said. That’s their right but because they suddenly became a lie to me. Showing me that their garments were not a representation of who I thought they were but nothing more than a fashion statement.

e speaks…

Who/What influences you most as a writer? What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned as a writer?

Jomo speaks…

My greatest influence as a writer is life and some of my greatest lessons as a writer are to never force write or force a piece because if you do it will never be as great as it should’ve been. Always be truthful regardless if it’s your truth or someone else’s because there is someone that needs to come face to face with their truth whether good or bad.

e speaks…

Are you still working on your book? Tell me more about it!

Jomo speaks…

Yes I am slowly. It’s going to consist of short stories and poems. Few pieces that I’ve posted will be included but the majority will be of pieces I have in my vault and the rest which more than a few are still in my soul just waiting to be inked.

e speaks…

And it will be worth the wait I am sure! Thank you so much for being here Jomo! Be sure to support Jomo by visiting his Instagram page!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Jomo Moore. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I study the writers I choose to feature. It’s important to me to marinate in the pauses between their words. Words are powerful and those who are not afraid to stretch them beyond their original intent fascinate me. Kindra Austin is not afraid and she fascinates me.

Previously unfamiliar with Kindra’s work, I couldn’t have been more thrilled when she was recommended by one of my favorite poets; Devereaux Frazier! I had the honor of interviewing Devereaux a few months ago; so I knew I was in for a treat. Wise beyond his years he has a mature palate and sure enough the strength of Kindra’s gift “had me at hello”.

Kindra speaks…

Kindra M. Austin is an indie author from Chesaning, Michigan, USA. Her debut novel, “Magpie in August” was published in April, 2017, and her book of poems and prose, “Constant Muses” followed in December. Other publications include several poems featured on SpillWords, and an essay advocating for LGBTQ rights, printed in the Mansfield Pride magazine. She is currently working on a second collection of poetry and prose, and a novella (“For You, Rowena”) to be released at the end of August.

Austin has been writing for over twenty years. In 2008, she began blogging under different pseudonyms while briefly moonlighting as a writer/editor/internet radio personality. She’s the founder of Poems & Paragraphs, a founding member of Indie Blu(e), and a writer/managing editor at the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective (Sudden Denouement Publishing), including Blood Into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. Later this month, she will launch a blogsite as a companion to her infant imprint, called One for Sorrow. Austin’s goal is to one day own and operate her own micro-press.

e speaks…

Tell me a bit more about “Magpie in August”. I’m interested not only in the backdrop and title choice but also the journey that led you to taking the leap from writer to indie author!

Kindra speaks…

Magpie in August is the narrative of Magpie Carey, a young woman on a soul searching journey. Her little sister Renny (Wren) died at the age of ten—she drowned in Lake Huron on her birthday. Every August, Magpie and her mother travel to Tawas, Michigan, to spend the anniversary of Renny’s death at the lake. Magpie despises the lake, and blames herself for Renny’s death. At its core, this novel is about forgiveness, and accepting the truth.

The concept for Magpie was piloted by my relationship with my mother. In 2012, she moved back home to Michigan from Texas, where she’d lived for twelve years. Her return was an adjustment for me, as I had to relearn how to function with an alcoholic mother living within close proximity to me. I began writing about my feelings towards her, and memories of my childhood. It seemed natural to turn these writings into a memoir, however, I began asking myself questions, and playing with ideas: What would someone else have done in my stead? What if my mother had made different decisions? How many others out there have lived lives similar to mine? It took a couple of years for the story of Magpie and her family to take real shape, and I didn’t sit down seriously to write it until mid-2014. I self-published in April, 2017.

e speaks…

As a poet, which of your earlier pieces resonates most with you and how would you say your voice has changed, if at all?

Kindra speaks…

Eternally October

In his dreams, she dances

In and out of shadow and luminescence.

Her liquescent movements are reminiscent

Of a languid flame that once danced for the rose candle,

Which now sits cold, useless—

Dead since late October.

He breathes deeply scents of

Sandalwood and rose, the essence of her hair.

He tastes the redolence of gin and tonic,

And the tang of menthol ciggies cleaving to her tongue—

Senses living, ever

Lasting in October.

He hears her breath, rhythmic

Against a backdrop of fall rain. Soft sputters

Splatter gently upon the cold windowpane—

The melody of October unjust, justified.

Song of amour, ever

Low, ever fleeting…

He awakes in the night.

She is there in the black, low-slung and callous—

Phantom in the guise of a satellite,

Casting her hateful white light through the thin window shade,

Ever mocking, ever

Static in October.

© Kindra M. Austin 2016

This poem was written after a terrific break-up, and published a few years later on Poems & Paragraphs. I believe my voice has since grown steelier, darker, and more self-aware. I now write mostly in first person, as I have shed much of my shame—I’m no longer afraid to speak my truths.

e speaks…

What a stunning piece! I applaud your confidence as you walk in your truth!

So I love your aspirations of owning and operating a micro press but can’t say it’s a term I was familiar with until now. Does entrepreneurship come natural to you or do find that as a creative the need to develop business savvy is inevitable along the way?

Kindra speaks…

The answer is both. And both are necessary to the indie author, whether their goal is to own a press/imprint, or not. It takes an entrepreneurial mind-set just to promote, market, and manage royalties/expenses.

e speaks…

Finally, what advice would you give to new writers? Especially those trying to decide if their writing is just a hobby or some thing worth exploring beyond an occasional poem here and there?

Kindra speaks…

To those writers who question whether or not their writing is more than a hobby, I pose these questions:

1. Do you feel a sense of incompleteness, stress, or any other uncomfortable emotion if you’ve gone more than a couple of days without writing?

2. Do you often find yourself thinking about writing while you’re working, or involved with other activities?

If your answer to either of these questions is no, then you are most likely a hobby writer.

My advice to writers who have big goals:

1. Write. A lot.

2. Write your own truths, and don’t bend to fads.

3. Read. A lot.

5. Open yourself to experimentation. Sometimes it takes a while to discover your voice/style.

6. Grow comfortable with editing.

7. Interact with other writers—join a writing community and build relationships.

8. If you want to see your writing in book form someday, build a platform.

9. Don’t write for accolades alone. If you do, you will lose your truth. No one likes a pretentious prick.

e speaks…

Thank you for being here Kindra!! Be sure to support Kindra by visiting the following sites:

https://poemsandparagraphs.com/

https://indieblu.net/

https://suddendenouement.com/

https://suddendenouementpublications.com/

https://bloodintoinkpressblog.wordpress.com/

https://whisperandtheroar.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kindra.m.austin1978/

https://www.instagram.com/kindra_m_austin/

https://twitter.com/@AustinKindra/

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Kindra Austin. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I could not be more thrilled to have interviewed today’s featured writer! Lisa W. Tetting is a rich blend of wit, intelligence, beauty and fire. Having had the honor of being a contributing poet to her early 2018 release: Love is Color Anthology (Adult Content), it was during that process that I got to witness her genius firsthand.

Intentional in her interactions with others, Lisa’s kindness is only enhanced by her seasoned professionalism. Years of experience and wisdom steadies her as she educates on the level of the hearer. Her ability to meet each person where they are without losing her footing is admirable and impressive.

I can’t wait for you to meet her.

Lisa speaks…

Lisa W. Tetting is the author of the novel, The Mistreatment of Zora Langston, and Southern Horror Stories. She is the creator of Rebirthoflisa, her personal blog. Lisa holds a Business Management degree from Mount Olive University. She is a former call center supervisor, who found freedom in books and writing poetry most of her life. After finally embracing her gift in her forties, she decided to live her dream of becoming a full time writer.

She grew up in a small town in North Carolina and loves that she is a Southern Girl. She currently resides in Birmingham, AL with her loving husband and spoiled cat. Lisa’s influences include Maya Angelou, Octavia Butler, Zora Neale Hurston, and Edgar Allan Poe.

e speaks…

I believe there is a shift in the lives of people that propels them towards “aha moments”. What was yours? Perhaps the day you made the leap to becoming a full time writer?

Lisa speaks…

I guess what you could call my ‘aha’ moment was one day when I was working as a call center supervisor. One of my team members’ calls was being reviewed by the client. This was a weekly occurrence and one that was very stressful. The client wanted the calls to be formulated a certain way, but the agent on the phone missed a few of the regimented points. I had no problem correcting the agent and providing feedback, but this was her third infraction. Mind you, this agent was fun, charismatic and the customers loved her.

Regardless, because it was her third strike so to speak, the client insisted I terminate her. The points she missed, in my opinion, were minimal and could be coached, but I was forced to let her go. What really ticked me off was that I knew this woman was in need of her job and the customer gave her a good rating on the survey. I was already unhappy there and this was the nail in the coffin. I went home that night after a very emotional day and discussed it with my husband. The next day I handed in my resignation. I worked the remaining two weeks and then took some time to reflect on what I wanted to do.

I knew I could no longer work in an environment that forced me to take away someone else’s earning potential over something trivial. I knew then that I needed to tap in to my creative side and writing was the best way for me to express myself.

e speaks…

Through your blog, I’ve discovered everything from new writers to music. How did Rebirth of Lisa begin and how did you determine its content?

Lisa speaks…

Rebirthoflisa began after I left my corporate job. I decided to start writing, but was unsure how to even begin. The blog came out of my need to express all of the pent up emotions I had inside. I knew I wanted to infuse the world with more love and understanding. Since I have a variety of interests, I was unable to narrow the topics down to just one, so I decided to just talk about anything that interested me. It eventually developed into a place to showcase my writing.

e speaks…

Though degreed it seems as though the world of self publishing is at the fingertips of those willing to self learn and self promote. What are your thoughts on this route vs. seeking traditional publishing? Pros and cons?

Lisa speaks…

Self publishing has been a godsend to me. I am not the type to sit around and wait for someone to judge my writing skills, only to end up rejected and with nothing to show for it. More times than not, traditional publishing houses tend to be dream crushers instead of dream makers. Self-publishing allowed me to be as creative as I would like in my writing. I get to control everything from the topic, to the formatting to the book cover.

On the flip side, traditional publishers have more reach. This could be the difference between a few hundred people seeing your work and a few thousand. They also have more funding for book events, traveling and marketing. There are pros and cons to both.

e speaks…

At first I didn’t realize you were writing under a pen name. How did you come to this decision and has it worked for or against you? Do you have more than one pen name based on the genre?

Lisa speaks…

I chose to use a pen name when I started writing erotic romance. Those books are written under the name L. Loren. I use my real name for regular fiction novels. Part of the reason I use a pen is out of respect for my husband. He is still a little uncomfortable about my sexy books, but he supports me in everything I do. I also thought it would be fun to have an alter ego who is sexy and writes naughty stories with lots of hot sex. In a sense, my L. Loren persona allows me to live out my fantasies through my writing.

e speaks…

Your book The Mistreatment of Zora Langston appears to be a pivotal work for you. I’d love to hear more about it! Can you share your favorite excerpt?

Lisa speaks…

Sure, The Mistreatment of Zora Langston is my first novel. It is about a young girl who endures physical, emotional and sexual abuse, but finds the strength through her faith to continue to grow. It is an emotional tale and may be a trigger for those sensitive about child sexual abuse.

Here’s a little excerpt:

Hi, my name is Zora Langston, and I am 9 years old. I am from a small town in North Carolina called Goldsboro, where life is slow and the people are good. I live on Beech Street with my parents and my older brother and sister. Today is the worst day of my life and I just need it to be over as quickly as possible. I can’t believe my daddy, Barry Langston, left me all alone. He knew my mom hated me and my grandma lives too far away to help. Why would he just abandon me like that? I wanted to go with him, and my heart hurt so much.

I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Daddy! Daddy, come back!” My family was standing at his grave site waiting for the preacher to finish his speech. My mom called it a eulogy, but it seemed like a very long and boring speech from someone who didn’t even know my daddy. Daddy always took me to the Church of Christ on Sundays, but this preacher was from the Baptist church my mom attended with my older sister and brother.

“Somebody shut that girl up,” my mom said. “She’s embarrassing the whole family. Acting so ghetto.”

My sister Queenie chimed in, “Doesn’t she know that dignified people bury people in silence and with pride? Who ever heard of a child asking her daddy to come back from death?”

It seemed like my brother was lost or numb because he never said a word. This was odd for Big Willie because he always had something to say. He was never without a smooth line or a quick comeback. I guess he was mourning like I was. My mom and sister acted like the only thing they cared about was what everyone would say about their dresses, hair, and make-up. My sister could not wait to be seen in the limo, and I overheard mommy talking to her friends about how nice she was burying my daddy.

“Barry is going to be laid out in the finest suit money can buy” she said. “Oh and that casket, it’s the best that they had; mahogany wood with silk lining. He is going out in style, only the best for my husband!”

All of this talk when she knew good and well that daddy would have a fit if he saw the funeral bill. My daddy hated to waste money and he always said, “When I go, just put me in my Sunday suit and a pine box. No need in putting money in the ground. Use it for my baby’s education.” Of course that fell on deaf ears with Mrs. Teresa Jones Langston!’ She was always decked out from head to toe. The baddest lady on our block, according to Mr. Samuels at the corner store. He was always telling people how fine my mom was and what kind of designer clothes she was wearing. I swear he was trying to make a move on Mommy, and now that daddy was gone I wonder how long it will take him to move into our house.  Mommy tried to hide it, but she loved the attention he gave her and I saw them holding hands one day. She swore me to secrecy and threatened me within an inch of my life, but I told daddy anyway. He never said a word to her, but I knew it hurt him.

The day my daddy died, I was sitting on the front porch waiting for mommy to unlock the door. I waited for her to pick me up after school, but she never came. Since we walked home the same route every day, I knew my way home. Queenie and Big Willie had afterschool activities and never walked with me. Queenie was a cheerleader and would never be seen with a dork like me. Big Willie was the star of the basketball team, and he was always on the court playing. He would eat and sleep there if Mommy would let him.

My daddy had a heart attack after coming home from work early to let me in the house. A neighbor called him at work to let him know I was sitting outside and couldn’t get in. When he arrived I was so happy to see him because I was starving. As we entered the house there were funny noises coming from upstairs. He told me to make myself a snack and he would be right back. When he went upstairs he caught my mommy and Mr. Samuels in the bed together. I was in the kitchen making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when something told me to go upstairs. As I reached the top stair, I heard Daddy yelling and Mommy was crying, “Please, Barry, don’t hurt him!” “Hurt him!” Daddy said in a low voice, almost a whisper.

His face went pale and he was shaking. The next thing I knew, Mr. Samuels was running past me in his socks with his ding-a-ling swinging everywhere. Then I saw my daddy clutch his chest and fall to the ground. He looked weak as I rushed to his side. He had enough time to say, “I love you, Zora,” before my mommy snatched me up and said, “Get your ass downstairs and you better not say a word to anybody about what you saw.” As she was pulling me away, I saw his eyes go dead and then his body went limp. Daddy died there on the floor, and that bitch never even called for help. I never really liked my mom, but after that day I hated her! She killed the love of my life and then stole his final moments with her selfishness. I could never forgive her, and if she thought I was going to keep her secret, she had another thought coming. I was just waiting for the right moment to expose her!

e speaks…

Powerful! I have learned so much from you. As a matter of fact I was unfamiliar with the acronym BWWM until I met you. For my readers, BWWM books feature romantic love stories between a black woman and a white man. Lisa did your writing find its voice in this genre or did this genre lend credence to your style?

Lisa speaks…

I started writing BWWM under my pen name, L. Loren. I chose this subgenre of erotic romance because it intrigues me. I am married to a white man and it simply felt natural to have the love interest in my books to mirror my life.

e speaks…

Your latest book is a BWWM novella. Describe the difference between a novel and novella and give us a bit of insight into The Opposite of Hew.

Lisa speaks…

As far as I know, the difference between a novella and a novel is the word count. A novella has between 17, 500 to 40, 000 words and a novel has more than 40,000 words, according to the chart I use as reference. The Opposite of Hew started out as a short story (under 7, 500 words) that I was writing for an anthology. However, the curator of the anthology decided to have all stories less than 250 words.  Since I was already over 5000 words at the time, I decided to keep writing.

The story derived from a post on social media where a young lady was upset that people kept asking her aunt when she was going to have babies. Her aunt was having difficulty carrying her babies and the ordeal was upsetting. The post awakened some past issues for me where I was constantly being asked when I was going to have a baby. I decided to do a guest blog feature about it and invited other women to express themselves.

However, that wasn’t it for me. I kept thinking about it and developed a character in my mind that was independent, free and didn’t want marriage or children. I decided to keep it pretty clean, meaning limited sex, with the only scenes in the book insinuated, not detailed. It didn’t quite fit in with my LoveRotica brand that I write under my pen name, so I decided to use my real name.

So in this novella, the heroine is Kay McQueen. She is not into romance and she only dates as a means to an end. Her family, however, is determined to see her married and have children. When her favorite aunt passes away, she is sent on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way she meets Heath Novack. She resists his charms as best she could, but then she gives in only to find out he was not the man she thought he was. He was hiding some secrets that caused her to rethink their budding relationship. What she finds in the end was an affirmation of what she already knew. Not all girls dream of a white wedding and Happily Ever After isn’t always what it seems.

e speaks…

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