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Things Be Happening!

Hey all! I know I’ve gone MIA again, I apologize for that. Things have been hectic on my end. Between school, therapy, and work, I haven’t had much time for the things I would like to be doing.

I have been working on promoting Daughter of Athena and I have a couple of events coming up, so I’m excited about those.

I have also been working on the sequel to Daughter of Athena and I hope to have it done within the next couple of months. We will see about that though haha. Sometimes I’m a little too eager for things.

Anyhow, just wanted to stop in and say hi as well as update you all on current events! Much love!

A. Rose

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Stuck (Short Story)

She stared into the mirror until her reflection went blurry. When her eyes refocused, she stroked her hand down her cheek. It felt soft and warm but her hand was freezing. Her hands were always freezing, it was pretty normal. She looked into her deep brown eyes and wondered if she was even real. If her reflection was really there or just a figment of her imagination. It was much too early for an existential crisis but she honestly could not help herself. It was hard to feel real in a place where she did not belong, a place where she had ended up so long ago.

“Artemis dear, it’s time for us to go.” Her husband called to her from across the hall.

She sighed, the last thing she wanted to do was go out on a night like tonight. Artemis got up, got dressed, and walked across the hall. She kissed her him on the cheek and smiled.

“You look lovely as ever my dear,” he smiled and took her hand.

She blushed as he was often good at getting her to. Even after several years of marriage, he still had that effect on her. They headed out the door and into the limo that he had reserved for the evening; he said he wanted the night to be special. Artemis did not know why, they anniversary was months away. One thing she was not a fan of was surprises but at this point she had no choice but to go along with it. They did not speak during the ride there, oddly enough they were not a very chatty couple. Artemis figured that’s why the relationship worked so well, he never really had asked much about her or where she came from. He just accepted that she existed and that was that. She looked out of the window and the crisp clear evening. It was so nice that she did not need a jacket. The dress she chose to wear was backless and she really hated to ruin the look with a coat or sweater. Her husband took her hand and squeezed it.

“Your hands are like icebergs,” he looked at her with concerned eyes.

She did not reply, she knew that her hands were cold but she would not be able to tell him why. He let it go and did not pester her further about the matter. When the arrived, he instructed her to wait in the limo until he returned for her. Artemis was not happy about it, she detested being cooped up and vehicles were too small of a space for her. After what felt like an eternity, he returned with blindfold.

“You must put this on, I don’t want to ruin the surprise.” He spoke while he gently tied it on for her.

She frowned but let him, she knew that her husband meant her no harm. He guided her slowly inside the building, she was afraid to walk without support. If she had known she would be blindfolded, she would have opted for flats. Artemis heard the familiar ding of an elevator and allowed her husband to guide her inside. She was full of anxiety because she had no idea what was about to happen. There was no way for her to tell if the elevator was going down or up, her stomach always lurched regardless of the direction. She felt it stop and heard the doors open. Her husband guided her out of the elevator and she could hear her heels clacking on the hard cement ground. Where was he taking her? Her heart began to race and she feared the worst. Had he finally found out the truth? Was this the end for her?

He sat her down in a chair and then kissed the top of her head. She felt him untie the blindfold and she cautiously opened her eyes. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the dinner table in front of them.

“Oh my, what is this?” she questioned.

He sat down in the chair opposite her, “I wanted to take you to your favorite place but I wanted us to be alone. The owner decorated this room for us.”

There were beautiful twinkling lights everywhere, so many flowers, and the food smelled delicious. He winked at her then began to eat his food rather quickly. Artemis ate her food in silence as well as she felt the cold from her hands begin to travel up her arms. She knew that she didn’t have much time left before it overtook her whole body; she hoped dinner would be fast.

“What’s the matter dear?” He asked with great concern.

“Nothing my love,” she smirked at him. She pushed the thought of the cold away and focused on enjoying the night with him.

They laughed, the talked, the danced, and kissed the night away. It was the happiest she had been in a while. Her husband was often away for work and she missed him constantly. She wished she could share everything about herself with him but there was no way that would ever work. It unnerved her that he didn’t seem to care about the fact that she never spoke of her childhood. Why would anyone marry someone they barely knew? Hell, she should have asked herself the same question.

The evening was drawing to a close, the coldness in her body had reached her legs. She was running out time. They left the restaurant, her husband had a work flight to catch. The limo took them to the airport and he kissed her goodbye. When he was gone, she sighed. Artemis was finally alone but that did not mean that she would not miss him. It was much safer for him to be far away from her this time of year. She instructed the limo driver to take her home as quickly as possible. The cold in her body slowly crept into her lungs and then made its way to her heart. If she did not get home soon, there would be nothing she could do to stop it. The drive felt to slow, so she took the pendant from around her neck and drank the liquid inside. It would give her enough time to get home but it wouldn’t save her completely.

The limo arrived to her home and she did not wait for the driver to get the door for her. She hopped out and ran as fast as she could into the house. As soon as she crossed the threshold, she felt some of the coldness in her body retreat. Some remained in her hands and feet, she knew then that she had more work to do. Without changing her clothes, she headed into the basement. It was cold dark and clammy, the only thing renovated down there was a wine cellar. At least, it was the only renovated room in the basement that her husband knew about. She entered the wine cellar and walked to the wall on the far end of the room. She grabbed ahold of a wine bottle and pulled. A secret door opened, she walked inside, and shut the door behind her. There were no lights in the room, so she lit several candles and placed them as she walked.

She made it to the altar and placed her last candle directly in the center of it. Artemis sat down and waited for her energy to reconnect with the room. A gust of cold air came from nowhere and it made her shiver.

“You took much too long this time.” A craggy voice came from behind her.

Artemis did not turn around, she knew that if it wanted to be seen; it would be seen.

“I know, I apologize. My husband took me to dinner.” She looked down at the floor.

It laughed, “Husband? Dinner? You seem to think that these things are real for you. If you are late again, I will no longer be able to help you.”

Artemis rolled her eyes. It was always saying that but continued to help her anyway.

“Now, I can give you more energy but eventually this will no longer work. At some point you will have to tell your “husband” the truth.” It chided.

She knew it was right, there would be no way to hide this from him forever. “Why isn’t there just a way to bring me back?” She begged.

It scoffed, “your body was buried here so long ago that there would be nothing for you to come back to. If there were a way, I would have done it by now.”

Artemis frowned, it was right and there was no way she could argue.

“Even if you were to find a new body, you’ve been like this for so long that I fear no spell would work.” It added.

She knew that she should have just found a new body when it brought this up over a hundred years ago. Artemis just couldn’t bring herself to kill anyone for her own selfish desires. It was also difficult to do considering the fact that she could not leave the house for long periods of time. Her husband just thought that she was agoraphobic and he did his best to help her. He did not know that he was in love with and married to a ghost. She knew that someday she would have to tell him, the question of children was starting to come up. Artemis could not bear children as she had no body to bear them with. He would only go along with her agoraphobia excuse for so long.

“I will charge your energy but you cannot leave this house for a month. Otherwise you may just fade away this time.” It said as warmth poured over her.

She closed her eyes and focused on drawing the energy into her. When it was over, she felt it leave and then she hurried back upstairs. As she was changing for bed, she thought about calling her husband and being honest with him. Artemis decided against it, how do you tell someone something like that over the phone? She laid down in bed but was unable to sleep, simply because she did not need to sleep. Going through the motions was just what she was used to. Suddenly, the energy in the house shifted so quickly that her form disappeared and then reappeared in the kitchen.

When her vision returned, she saw her husband standing in front of her. He looked so distraught and she wondered how he got home so quickly.

“Honey. I love you so much.” He caressed her cheek.

She kissed his hand, “I love you too.”

“My plane crashed. All I could see was darkness and then suddenly now I am here. I’m scared and I don’t know what is happening.” He spit out frantically.

If there were breath in her lungs, she would have lost it. “It is because you are dead, my love.” She took his hands in hers.

“What?! Dead?! How am I here?! How can you see me?!” His questions were full of panic.

She smiled and embraced him. Then she pulled back to look at the face of the man she loved and could finally be with forever. “It’s because I’m dead too.”

 

A. Rose

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Dreaming Big Dreams

When I sleep, I see my name in big lights. When I daydream, I see the exact same thing. One thing I can say about myself, is that I think about my future pretty much every second of everyday. Let me tell you something, this is absolutely the most stressful thing for me. I have a super hard time just existing in the present. My mind is a constant string of “what ifs” and then it just keeps spiraling.  Sometimes my future scenarios are good and they make me happy, sometimes they are absolutely terrible and frightening.

I have always had very large aspirations, some even bigger than I believe I am actually capable of. I know, I know, I’ve got to learn to believe in myself but again, I am not in therapy for no reason. I spend a lot of my time trying to find my place in this world. Trying to find the thing that I am really destined to do or to be. Pretty much every one spends a majority of their time doing this, so I’m not special in that respect. Anyways, in my heart, I have always felt like I was destined for something great. Even now I still sometimes feel that way. Honestly, I am still searching for my place on this pale blue dot.

When I was younger, I was seriously convinced that I would grow up to be a musician. I knew damn well I wasn’t really talented in that respect and there are like no super famous oboe players. Or maybe there are and I just don’t know any. Then I thought I was going to be a dancer. Funny thing is, I can’t dance for crap; I have like one move and that’s it. Then I thought I was going to be a doctor but I slowly learned that I do not have the stomach or patience for that kind of work. Honestly, it was just one thing after another that I knew I wasn’t even that good at. I just thought if I practiced hard enough, maybe I’d get crazy good. Which probably would have worked but I never practiced. When I picked up writing, I slowly realized that it was something I loved to do. Even if I wasn’t good at it, I loved it all the same.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve “finally found my place” because honestly, I don’t feel like I have yet. I will say that I have found something that calls to me in a way nothing else ever has. I do know that even if I don’t hit it big with anything I write, I am happy to have written it.

A. Rose

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Why Your Support is Needed

Now I know what you’re probably thinking, is this really necessary? Most likely no but hey, I’ve got to write about something here. Support is always needed. In life, in art, and in so many other things. Without support, a lot of things never truly get out there. That and the support of my friends, peers, and even strangers means a lot to me.

As an author who plans to self-publish, building an audience and having support is a major key to my success. Well, I presume there will be a small amount of success but that is definitely not guaranteed. But in order for there to even be a small amount of success, I need you all. Even if you don’t read, like fantasy fiction, or don’t like my book in particular. There may be someone out there who does and your help with getting it out there would mean so much to me.

Being black and a woman has is advantages, I will say that. However, because of those two things I often feel as though my art and my voice are constantly overlooked. Could be all in my head but I doubt that. To add to that, there is the fact that there are not many black women fantasy fiction writers. Attempting to break into that market is going to particularly difficult for me to do but I am not going to let that stop me. I can’t let it hold me back from trying, even if it gets to me.

So again, your support is greatly needed. It will always be needed and I will always appreciate it. I will do my best to let you know how appreciative I am every single day.

 

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Going for Broke

A phrase used quite a lot but it is definitely something I always feel like I am doing. I put my all into pretty much everything I do and I hardly ever expect results from it. The reason for this is because I love the things that I do. If someone else loves them too, that’s great, but it is not the only reason I do things. That sounds crazy full of myself but I promise you I am not.

I spend a lot of time wondering why I do things, or rather, why I try to do things. I am constantly plagued with self-doubt and anxiety, so the additional stress at times hardly seems worth it. Truth be told, nine times out of ten I give up on a project before it is even finished. I have so many unfinished poems and stories that I don’t even know if I would qualify myself as a writer sometimes. It is all very, woe is me, but whatever. Where am I going with this? Oh yea that’s right, going for broke.

With Imitatore, I am going for broke. I am going to self-publish this book and put myself further out there than I ever have before. It is absolutely the most nerve racking thing I will ever do and I do burlesque. I have a hard time sharing my writing, simply because I am always afraid that no one will like it or understand it. I know, that in the end that part doesn’t matter. What matters is how I feel about the work that I put out but it is still nice if someone likes what I do. There are no guarantees that anyone will like Imitatore, none at all but I am not going to let that stop me; not this time.

With self-publishing comes inevitable expenses and as a broke college student, that word scares me. I don’t know if I could work up the courage to do a gofundme or a kickstarter because I really hate asking for money. That and I have no idea who would want to donate to something like that. Especially when there is no guarantee that this book will even be successful. I know I have to do something because I believe in this project, I just don’t know what I am going to do yet. I need luck, confidence, and so many other things. I am slowly finding them along the way, hopefully everything falls into place soon.

 

What have some of you done in your own self-publishing journeys? Have you raised money through a crowdfunding campaign or did you go it alone?

A. Rose

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Writing a Non-Binary Character

There are a lot of reasons for this, none that I’m sure need to be named but I’m going to talk about it anyway. The number one reason why I did this, is you guessed it, representation. There are many Trans people in my life and within that spectrum, I feel as though non-binary individuals don’t have the type of representation that they would like to have.

Now I am not the authority to speak for them, nor will I ever claim to be. I merely observe and listen from afar. I can see whats important, I can see the types of things that need to be done, and most of all I want to be the ally that helps do them. With my non-binary character, I did not want some tragic and pained backstory. What I wanted was a strong character, with development and kick-ass powers. A non-binary character that everyone just accepted without question and without them having to prove anything to anyone. Though what I want isn’t necessarily the point here, I do think it is important that a non-binary person is just that, a person.

Now from a different side, I thought it important to have a black non-binary character. Often Trans and Queer POC are left out of a lot of narratives even though they do exist. A lot of it is culture, a lot is erasure, and a lot is just a sheer lack of understanding. This black non-binary character is not a token, they will never be a token. I wanted to step out of the box of tokenism and actually allow this character to just be. My black non-binary character is a central and crucial part of the story, without them the story would not even exist.

I hope that when my Trans friends read my book if they do, that they like what I did. That I did right by them as an ally and as a friend. Again, my intention is not to speak for you, though they say the intention isn’t always what matters.

What are your opinions on Trans representation in books, movies, and other media? Especially non-binary individuals. Do you do anything to change this? If so what?

A. Rose

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Why Now?

This is a question that I ask myself a lot, especially these days. Why am I doing this now? Why did I wait so long? Why don’t I wait a little longer? My mind is full of questions and doubts as I go through this process. Writing is something that I have always loved and while my depression often gets in the way of the things that I love, I always come back to writing somehow.

I have tried my hand at many different things, as most people do when they are searching for a place in life. I think I have actually spent more time trying new pursuits than I have with sticking with just one thing. Honestly, I have spent pretty much all of my life so far just looking for a place I belong in. To me, that sounds crazy high school but I am slowly realizing that even adults struggle with this. That even adults just want to feel like we belong somewhere, like we are going to be someone, and even that we are going to make a difference in the world. It may be cliche but it’s the truth.

I had a realization this year, one I was finally happy to have. I realized that not fitting in anywhere, is exactly who I am meant to be. Being a writer typically means being solo, it means being stuck in my own head, but most of all it means that there are molds that I want to break. Now I know what you’re thinking, is this a goddamn manifesto? Ha, no. I am not trying to be on my soapbox in the least bit. I’ve just learned that is time for me to do what I want to do and let go of the fear of ‘not fitting in’. It is a difficult thing to do when I also have anxiety to go along with my depression but I have to start doing what makes me happy.

Imitatore has helped me with this so much. Writing this novel has been the happiest I’ve ever been (well next to being with my boyfriend, he’s my number one happy). How about I say, this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my own life outside of my relationship life. Imitatore is a culmination of years of therapy, medication treatment, mental breakdowns, and alternative therapies. Again, sounds ridiculous and cliche but I can’t help if I am ridiculous and cliche. Writing this novel has changed me, most of all it has helped me see that my path is to write. While I will maintain going to college and finishing my psychology degree, I will never leave writing behind.

A. Rose