National Black Book Festival 2019

Yep, I was there. It was a good learning experience for me. The turnout wasn’t all a Black author (especially a Black fantasy author) looking for exposure could have expected and paid for. Still, I think I’ll give it another shot next year.

Most of the writers this year were children’s author so it was cool to see so many writers talking to Black children and children in general. Including myself, there were three other fantasy fiction authors at NBBF this year. I had at least two people ask if we were the mystery section!

I think I learned to pitch Oracle pretty well and a lot of readers seemed interested in addition to those who actually bought the book. It was very nice to meet A.L. Riley, the author of Eerth Awakening, who was sharing her fantasy/sci-fi book on my right which I’ve had the pleasure of reading after the Festival.

It was a little difficult to get around the room and meet other authors since I had to watch my table by myself without an assistant. Half the time I looked up, someone looked like they might be stopping at my table to look at or talk about my book. The other half of the time I was too nervous I’d miss someone if I left the table. BUT I did manage to meet other authors and publishing professionals.

A.L. Riley,  Eerth Awakening

Mwalim, Land of The Black Squirrels

Dr. Deitrick Gorman, Relaxed & Ready

Ernest M. Fountain, Songs of Poetry From the Heart

Keturah Kendrick, No Thanks

Angela Monay, The Test of Time

Angela Adley, Growing Up Without my Daddy

Edwina Fort, Redemption

Linda Murray, Stop Being The Apple That Fell From The Family Tree

Traci Byerly, Unapologetically Gray

Freddie Smith, Your Birth Is Not In Vain (audio)

I met A LOT of authors and business folks so I’ll name a few more: Claudette Milner, Roderick D. Talley, Julia Royston, Rhonda Lawson, Myran Jones.

One thing I seriously thought about: I have a Kindle and have had an Amazon account since 2001 if I’m not mistaken. Most of the books I read are from the Kindle store though I’m fairly critical of Kindle’s literary content, particularly its romance genre. But KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) does reach a lot of readers so I’ve considered publishing there, just for the sake of outreach.

Don’t forget! Oracle by S.T. Rucker is available to read for free online at Wattpad or you can get your copy on Lulu.com.

Here’s to valiant attempts–NaNoWriMo 2019

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For the first time since 2008, I “failed” at writing 50,000 words during the month of November. By 5:18PM on November 30th, looking at a 7,160 words left to go, I gave myself permission to simply stop.

I admit: I cried a little. I berated myself. I felt adrift and like the world made no sense. I thought, How could I fail at this?  How could I let anything come between me and this fruitful yearly goal?

Let’s be real, this year alone, I’ve had–

  • an incompetent property manager threaten, verbally abuse, and attempt to evict me.
  • had the same property manager protect the upstairs noise nuisance tenants who have harassed and stalked me since I signed my lease last December
  • been harassed at work for over two months to the point where I almost had to file a federal lawsuit
  • ended my relationship with the remaining abusive members of my immediate family
  • been repeatedly reminded that half the healthcare “professionals” in Fresno are useless and shouldn’t be practicing medicine.

This chronic stress level included but was not limited to: food poisoning caused by a co-worker (who also got sick from her tuna salad but saw no connection in both of us getting sick the same day), multiple sinus infections, an ulcer, migraines, anemia, chronic anxiety and panic, 8-day starvation/no appetite, depression, suicidal thoughts and ideation, eight Emergency Room level pain attacks that led to a gallstone diagnosis, chronic indigestion, and vision changes. That’s just for starters and I dealt with all of this by myself while everyone stood by and watched.

After the most recent fiasco with the assistant property manager and the upstairs residents in my apartments and a severe pain attack on Nov 30th at 1:00AM in the morning, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I know that I did the best that I could under the circumstances. Because I knew that, I gave myself permission to let go of my current streak and JUST SLEEP and recover from the pain attack, depression, and exhaustion. Instead of cowering in shame at 2019’s November failure, I will try to look forward to building a new streak next year. Or die trying!

2ozs1o

‘Oracle’ by S.T. Rucker at the National Black Book Festival 2019

I am pleased to announce that this year I will in be in Houston, Texas at the National Black Book Festival exhibiting my novel, Oracle. The festival takes place October 24th – 26th, with author exhibitions on Friday and Saturday.

 

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Special Limited Edition Cover

Find out more about the National Black Book Festival and participating authors here.

Oracle by S.T. Rucker is available to read for free online at Wattpad or you can get your copy on Lulu.com.

 

Hey I [Want To] Read Something!: Brown Sugar Fairies by Aiysha Sinclair

I LOVE Black girl magic. It’s what my work in the fantasy fiction genre is all about.

So whenst (yes, “whenst”) I stumble across a book by a Black woman concerning a Black girl and a Black-freaking-fairy on a website called blackgirlnerds.com, I get a little excited. Brown Sugat Fairies: Saroja’s Quest is exactly this. I’m looking forward to trying this one.

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Image from blackgirlnerds.com

Read Brown Sugar Fairies: Writer Aiysha Sinclair Creates Black Girl Fairy Magic and find more on instagram at @brownsugarfairies or on the website at www.brownsugarfairies.com

–S.T.

 

ORACLE (Book I)–complete

So things haven’t improved all that much since the last time I wrote here. But I’m still writing though and gearing up for National Novel Writing Month.

Oracle (Book I) by S.T. Rucker is complete. You can head over to Wattpad and read it totally free.

Welcome to Oracle–a sprawling school of magic overlooked by a crystal mountain, surrounded by fields and forests beneath whipped clouds and endless blue skies. Caprice Bilberry is a witch who suddenly arrives at Oracle’s extraordinary campus and is informed that as a student here, her greatest wish will be granted: She will be freed from generational enslavement and have the right to go to school and practice her magic. Why say no and return to life as a slave in a colonial village where using magic is an offense punishable by mutilation and death? But you know what they say: If something is too good to be true…it usually is. Caprice, Nezzle, and Bossa become friends, soon unraveling a terrifying secret: The school is more than what it seems, demanding a price more sinister than its lofty goals reveal or make up for. Its the ultimate fine print. For one does not simply enter and become a student at Oracle school….

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Oracle (Book I) by S.T. Rucker is available to read online at Wattpad

 

The Village Hidden in the Vale (Book 2) is already in the works. I hope to have it finished in 2019. I started writing Oracle in about May 2016, so now that I’ve spent time in the world of Oracle my goal is to finish the second part much earlier, barring the blow back of the devastating, emotionally and mentally crippling things that tend to happen to me.

Exasperated, drained, and writing on,

–S.T.

Returning

Struggle. Since I last wrote here or updated any of my social media accounts I have gone through so much struggle. I’ve lost a loved one. Had to resign from my job and leave my students. Been let down over and over again by the system. Realized that there isn’t a single soul except myself that I can rely on. Suicidal depression brought on by lifelong disadvantages. Poverty. Anger. Abuse.

When have I had time write anything, focusing on what I love? Stories. Creating worlds and crafting. How can I focus on what I love when struggling to survive? How can I feel like my stories matter when my life is valued by no one?

So here I’m updating for the sake of updating.

Goodbye, Editor

After the editing of the first four chapters of The Scholar’s Apprentice: Secret of the Valor Lexicon, I had to end my contract and my relationship with my editor.

SB, my editor, tried to have a personal relationship with me but refused to check her race privilege and class privilege. This woman, this so-called professional, would actually rather end our friendship than check her privilege. She suggested we have a professional relationship only.

Which I refused.

I’m not going to give her my money and help her “build her empire”, as she put it, because that means supporting her ignorance and unwillingness to listen and face her issues. I’m not going to support the unprofessional habits she exhibited, such asking me the title and length of my book instead of looking for herself AFTER I submitted it to her. Or claiming she was was ready to do edits on the third and fourth chapters but not actually doing them until days later AFTER I paid her.

I gave her the chance to work on it with me and salvage our relationship. She refused.

In our private conversations, SB claimed she wanted to challenge herself, to stop being fake and dishonest. Well, she failed. Facing your privilege, how you participate in oppressing others and doing something about it is the most genuine way you can challenge yourself as a multiply privileged person. She couldn’t do that. Instead SB made the situation about her hurt feelings. Instead she chose to protect her privilege. She failed me, and that hurt. More importantly though, she failed herself.

Besides. She told me that in her opinion I don’t really need an editor anyway because I check my work well enough on my own. I’ve thought that for a long time but always preferred to have a second set of eyes on my work to make sure it’s as good as it can be. However, I am confident now that I don’t need her or anyone else trying to make a buck off me when it comes to my work. And someone who is unwilling to check their privilege can never be called my friend.

‘My Dearest Darling’, a winter wonderland fantasy romance

This November during NaNoWriMo, as my main work in progress, I started writing My Dearest Darling.

My Dearest Darling is a fantasy romance that takes place in a winter wonderland with a dash of sultry heat and sand from Ancient Egypt.

Here’s the 411:

In the small town of Black Santa where it’s winter all year around, Daniel Snow is looking for love and instead finds a furry friend who turns out to be more than she seems. Daniel soon learns his cat is out to wreck his love life. After Darling’s latest fiasco during his at-home dinner date, he gets ready to give the beautiful gold and black tortoiseshell a stern dressing down where he’s locked her in his bedroom to keep her out of trouble…only to discover that Darling is also in fact a very beautiful woman.

The holiday seasons really fills me with holiday energy and I have to at least try to complete a winter themed story every year

What’s Next? NaNoWriMo, Jukepop shutdown…

I DONE IT AGAIN, FOLKS! ^__^

I did National Novel Writing Month again this year. Albeit, with a lower word count than my ambitious behind normally strives for. The only thing I need to do now is stop involuntarily counting words in my head whenever I write something. (Takes a few weeks sometimes.)

Jukepop is gone, all its content reportedly deleted. The Taker was published there and Oracle and Infinity Second were serialized there. What a headache it gives me to think about all the place I’ll have to go around and correct that link for my novels. Its really made me reconsider how I’m offering my work to readers. Its not like I was doing as well as I’d like there anyway (in terms of numbers and followers, if that even really matters). And its makes me thankful that I started a Wattpad account, no matter how trendy it is and even if I’m rethinking offering my work on platforms like this and Jukepop. Supposedly, the makers of Jukepop are creating a new platform called Scroll. -__- Before I get into that I need to be sure its what I want to do.

I’m now exclusively serializing Oracle and Infinity Second on Wattpad (Lulu for Path of the Righteous in print and Smashwords for my published digital works).

Can’t write, can’t stop writing

Focusing on my current career path has taken me away from writing and craft work for a second. I also do not live in a safe or healthy environment which also wreaks havoc on my ability to write.

It’s not that I don’t want to write. Nothing should hold me back from letting all these stories out of my head. Sometimes I have a spell of not writing for a while, which is normal. And I keep telling myself it’s okay. But I know somewhere inside that the reason I can’t do the writing I love is because of where I am physically and financially and where it puts me in my own head and emotionally.

Besides, no reader wants to hear that an author can’t deliver.

Two people in my life, more privileged than I in opportunities and background, have openly admitted that the problems they face in life are a direct result of choices they’ve made. In my case, that isn’t true. So I find myself barred from the worlds in my head that desire manifestation through the written word as I clean up messes that were made before I ever even born or thought of. Inherited messes that have made me stronger and yet somehow also weakened me and continue to stunt my growth. It’s personal, it’s me. And more than half of it isn’t my fault yet I find myself on damage control on my own life.

Can’t write. Can’t stop thinking about writing. It feels toxic. It hurts. Holding all this stuff inside my head on eternal pause. Worrying that something will slip away forever and I’ll never get it back.

Honestly, I’m between a rock and a harder rock.

This morning when my body woke me up at 6am with a painful, unexplainable adrenaline surge as it has done for the past couple months regardless of how much sleep I’ve gotten prior to the waking, I did write. I added to the next chapter of Infinity Second.

It felt good. Writing.

And I hope it doesn’t go away.