behavior, celebrity worship, daughters, disrespect, Fame, family, fathers, life lessons, morality, mothers, nudity, rape, self respect, teens, Uncategorized, values, women, youth

Pimping Yourself For Fame

The opinions in this post is mine and mine alone. Agree, disagree I don’t care. I just felt it had to be said.
I saw a picture posted by a barely 18 year old on a news story on the internet, and when I say barely 18 I mean she’s not even a month into supposed adulthood. Kendall Jenner made news this week with a picture of her in a black fishnet type shirt with no bra and leaving nothing to the imagination. It was extremely see thru much to the delight I’m sure of many males both young and old.
Now I’m not a prude, I am not above writing the love story that gets physical, but the books we write are for grown adults not YA. My issue with the picture of Kendall Jenner’s nips is this. She wasted no time in sexualizing herself the minute she turned 18 and it’s now reported that her father, Bruce Jenner, is supporting her decision to instagram this picture to 7 million followers and now millions more thanks to the power of the internet. She might as well get it over with and make the sex tape and post the completely nude photo announcing her new found self depreciation and degradation into an object to be lusted over.
Where is the self respect? Yes she is technically an adult and in this country can do what she wants, but the fact that she did it so quickly after turning the magic adult number tells me that she has been thinking about this for a while way before she turned that magic age. Face it she didn’t wake up from innocence the morning of her birthday and convert to sluthood that same day, she had role models.
I understand the Kardashian/Jenner motive is to strictly whore yourself out for money. What is nonsense is the man who is supposed to be her moral compass,  her protector, her father, basically gave his tramp stamp of approval and has solidified her place in the Kardashian world of being slutty equals money. This approval by her father and no doubt her mother who’s every move is about the almighty dollar, sends a dangerous message to the followers of this young lady that dressing like anything goes is OK and consequences be damned.
Till something goes horribly wrong.
Normal everyday girls do not have Kardashian/Jenner money to protect them when things go wrong.  We read stories several times a week where there is a rape, gang rape, abuse, molestation and incest of women and young girls, some are so young they are barely out of diapers. We are shocked and appalled when this happens and before you scream at me, I’m in no way defending the men or boys or even saying the girls deserved it, but I am railing at the collective lack of consciousness that allows the celebrity to be our moral compass and give way to the anything goes attitude. How can we cry foul when the image of the willing wanton slut is shoved in our faces on a regular daily basis. When we individually or as a society, applaud, imitate and condone the behavior of the wannabe celebrity or musician that ‘twerks’ onstage provocatively and glorifies the use of drugs and sex. The message is clear, all women if they are showing it off or not are fair game.
Justin Bieber was just reported as having a party where strippers were hired to be naked at this party. The comment continued that the other women or girls at this party felt ‘out of place’ and pressured into also disrobing and parading nude for the enjoyment of many male celebrities that attended. The lure of being able to say you partied with the male celebs and had money rain down on you overrode any modesty and moral decency, allowing the girls collective debasement and lack of self respect to take hold. Partygoers were made to sign confidentiality agreements that they would not disclose anything that happened while attending said party or face a fine of 5 million dollars. Yes, I said 5 million.  Now who is that for? It doesn’t take a genius (or maybe it does) to know it was for the further intimidation of the girls, especially if something untoward was actually done to them while in their state of disrobement. To protect the male celebrity against being charged with whatever illegal activity happened whether it was sex she didn’t consent to or the slew of illicit drugs that were consumed that night.  May I also remind my readers who say it was The Bieb’s right to throw such a debauched party that he is not yet even 21.
Where are the parents? Where is dad to drag his daughter away and say I love you too much to let you debase yourself like this, or is dad to busy ogling young Kendall Jenner on his laptop or phone.
Where dad to teach his son that objectifying and disrespecting women and girls is wrong. Where are Bieber’s parents to reign in this kid and help him stop his path of self destruction we see happening to so many young celebs these days?
 Where are the mothers to advise and counsel their daughters on being self respecting, strong young ladies that don’t need to parade her nakedness to get attention. That the kind of attention she gets by putting it all out there is not the loving attention she is actually seeking.
We’ve all seen pictures of very young girls trying to be older than they are, wanting to show skin and appear sexy way before their time. We rail against this holding our hands up decrying the situation while we are buying her the Halloween costume of the slutty celebrity she emulates and call it cute. We enter her in the beauty contest shoving her little feet into high heels and have her practice her smile and call it investing in her confidence.
All because society and celebrity told us this is the way to be accepted.
There is some truth in the statement “little girls marry their fathers.” What she grows up with and see’s she will carry with her into adulthood and pass on to her own daughter in an endless cycle. It is proven that a girl who witnesses abuse by men in her home will more than likely end up with an abuser at some point before hopefully the cycle is broken.  If she is brought up with low self esteem and little respect, she will not magically obtain it when she turns 18.
A final thought. If we wouldn’t want our own young daughters, granddaughters, nieces to be emblazoned on instagram in a see thru top showing her nips to the world, or would die of shame to know our precious girls paraded around at a party butt naked to be used, objectified and reduced to the level of sex toy, then we need to stand up and let our objections be heard. We need to talk to and educate our boys on respect for women and how to be proper gentlemen. We need to educate and promote self respect and self esteem with our girls. We need to kill this celebrity worship and stop rewarding bad behavior.
If we don’t we all must look in the mirror and wag a finger at ourselves the next time we are shocked and appalled when our girls and women suffer with our indifference at the hands of bad men.

Chicklit, Drama, Fiction, Indie Author, Murder, mystery, Paranormal

Lucius Johnson

 This is a short story featuring one of our, supporting characters, Lucius Johnson, from The Body Hunters. In this story he’s 16 years old and not quite the uptight g-man he is in the book.  Enjoy!

“Lucian Tepes, the headmaster will see you now.” The pretty blonde secretary  sitting politely at her desk is waving me into his office. I know I’m  in trouble, I  have once again pissed off the headmaster and now I’m apprehensively  walking into his office where my uncle Miroslav waits.

 He goes by Mike  now since living in America.  I am surprised to see him and I know that I  must be in real trouble for him to fly all the way to England. He is pissed.  I have broken curfew and disappeared for 3 days. I’m not  telling them I was on a bender in Paris. My parents are dead and it falls to Uncle Mike to look after me. He has  wasted no time squirreling me away to boarding schools all  over Europe. Every time I get kicked out of one school he puts me in another.  He has the money to do so having made his fortune in paper  products in America. I don’t care about him or his money. He really  doesn’t want me around and I don’t want to be around him.

 A few minutes  later and I am packing my things under the watchful eye of the  headmaster and Uncle Mike. Kicked out of yet another boarding school.  I must be setting some type of world record.  With  my shoulder bag and suitcase I am led out the door to the waiting  oversized Black English taxi. This is not going to be a fun ride to  Heathrow.

Uncle Mike is staring me down, he starts to yell in Romanian at me, I yell  back at him to speak English; I refuse to speak my native language. He  gives me a stern look “OK.” he says. “If you want English then we will  speak English, but you boy, will listen and listen well if you know what is good for you.” 

The cabbie seems to be snickering at my predicament. I nod my agreement to my uncle and wait to hear what heavy handed  sentence he plans to lay down on me this time. Another boarding school?  Perhaps Switzerland this time? Maybe Germany? I have been to one in Italy and  two in England already. Why doesn’t he just take me to the States?  I am sure he is afraid I will really act out like the American teenagers he sees  on television.  My uncle is glaring at me, daring me to say something stupid. “You are going to get your wish.” He says to me. “I’m taking you to the U.S.”  I am ecstatic. Finally! 

“Military school?” I yell out and the whole plane turns to look at me. Uncle Mike is hushing me. “You can’t be serious!” I ignore his hushing and yell. In my imagination of what my American life will be, military school was not in the picture.

“You need the discipline.” Uncle Mike says  ignoring his own voice level. The female flight attendant sidles up to  our chairs and squats down asking us to please lower our voices. I see  several people staring at us. Her smile is false and she is giving us a  tone reserved for unruly children. I look away from her. Uncle Mike  reassures her we will be quiet and she leaves us alone. He doesn’t speak to me much after that and when he does, it’s in Romanian. I put the headphones into the armrest jack and  listen to music to ignore him. It’s going to be a long flight.

We arrive at LaGuardia, where my Aunt Helen and their young seven year old daughter Susan are waiting for us. Auntie as I call her is far happier  to see me as she kisses me hello and hugs me tightly. Susan eyes me  warily as if I have antennas on my head as she hides behind her mother  trying not to make eye contact with me. Auntie does most of the talking  on the way to their home in upstate New York. They live in a gated  community surrounded by wooded lands. I’m secretly planning my escape till I see my uncle reading my mind. He mentions something about my visa and  something called the I.N.S. I see it’s not going to be as easy as I  thought. My little cousin is in the back seat with me playing with some of her dolls she calls Barbie. Her sweet blue eyes look at  me suddenly as she asks “Are you going to be my new brother?”  My uncle practically runs the car off the road.

I smile sweetly at her and take hold of her hand. “We are cousins.” I  tell her. “Would you like me to be your big brother?” She nods yes and  fingers the ring on my right hand.

“I know this ring. Daddy has one just like it, but he doesn’t wear it.”  Her little fingers are running over the small ruby eyes of the dragon  head in the ring.

“Yes, I know, I got this from my father, your Uncle Josef. Do you know what  the dragon means?” I am talking really low to her, but not low enough it seems.

“That will be enough!” Uncle Mike barks out.

“She will find out eventually.” I snap back. My Auntie gives me a pleading look as my Uncle glares at me from the rear view mirror. 

“She may find out later, but not by you and not today! Do you understand?”

Susan has a confused look across her face. I tell her it’s just a dragon and that’s all.  My uncle is satisfied with my answer and my Auntie breathes a sigh of  relief. I pat little Susan on the cheek and she continues playing with  her dolls.

We reach the gated community and pull into the drive. The two story house  overpowers my sight as I try to take in its enormity. We enter into the  great hall and my Auntie ushers me into a room she has set up for me. I  am surprised to see how little furniture there is in such a big room;  just a dresser and a single bed. She shows me the closet that could  almost sleep a few more people and she puts my shoulder bag in it. She  sits at the edge of the bed and pats her hand on the mattress beckoning  me to sit next to her.

“Lucian, please while you are here, try not to anger your uncle.” She pleads. “He is not a patient man, you know this.”

“He hates me.” I say dryly. “And I really don’t know why.”

My auntie takes my hand. “Lucian, you know your father and he didn’t get  along and with all that mess in Romania, he just never expected to have  to take care of you. He blames your father for not looking out for his  family and leaving when he had the opportunity, choosing instead to  ignore his duties as a father and husband. He pushed his limits for what  he felt was his own righteous indignation with no thought to you or your mother. He sees in you the defiance  your father had. You just haven’t learned to channel it into something  productive.” Her eyes look weary and tired. “Please Lucian I can’t fight for you if you will not meet me half way.”

“He is sending me away again isn’t he?”

“Yes, he is, I tried to stop it. I begged him to just be a father to you. He  says it will end with you two killing each other. I’m not so sure he is  wrong.” She is now patting the back of my head. “You need a haircut.”  She laughs as she tugs at my locks. “Dinner will be soon, you may want  to freshen up. Lucian?”

“Yes Auntie?”

“Please remove that ring while you are here.” She touches my dragon ring.

“Why, is he ashamed of our family history?” I voice out angrily.

“Lucian, please for me.” I can’t say no to her kind eyes. I take it off and put it in my jeans pocket.

“Thank you.” She kisses me on the forehead before leaving my room.

After dinner Uncle Mike and I are in the living room by ourselves. On the  coffee table he has placed three brochures of military schools. “Pick  one.” He says. “I don’t care which one, just pick one.”

“What if I don’t choose?” I am pushing my luck and I know it. “What then?”

“I will pick for you, no matter what your aunt tells you, you are going to one of them. If you straighten out then maybe we will reevaluate your  situation, but you are sixteen Lucian.  You need to learn discipline and  to be a man.”

“I am a man!” I scream out.

He is screaming back. “You think you are a man, running away to Paris with some girl and being on a drunk for a few days?”

I am totally stunned. How could he have possibly known? I ask myself. “What if I run away?” I try to ask more calmly.

“You only have a  student visa. I will have it revoked and I will see to it you are  deported. So the choice is up to you.” His threat works. “You can take the  brochures to your room and give me your answer in the morning. Go now!” He waves me off with his hand and I decide I am too tired to fight with him.

I am trying to let this new reality sink in as I walk past my little  cousin’s room on the way to mine. The difference is stark. Hers is all  pink and purples, with stuffed animals everywhere. She is seated at a  small child’s table pouring imaginary tea into small cups talking to an  empty chair next to her. She catches my eye and invites me in.

“Lucian!” She joyfully leads me by the hand to the table. “Come meet Mr.  Vandermarliere, he lets me call him Mr. Van for short.”

I am staring at air. “Susan there is no one here. Is he your imaginary  friend?” A tea cup flies off the table and lands against the wall,  luckily it was plastic.

“You’ve made him mad Lucian.” She gets up and stamps her foot at me. “He is getting angry.”

I feel a chilling breeze pass by me. “I’m sorry, Susan, tell Mr. Van I meant no disrespect.”

She is talking to her friend and then looks back at me. “He says he wants  to know why you can’t see him; he knows you have a gift. What gift? I  didn’t see you bring in a present!” Susan is very confused now.

“It’s not that kind of gift.” I explain to her. “It’s like the same gift you  have to be able to see him and I don’t. Do your mom and dad know he is  here?”

“No.”  She says sheepishly as she looks at her feet. “You’re not going to tell are you? Daddy would be mad and send me away like you!”

I reassure her that no, I will not tell and they are not going to send  her away. Another tea cup smashes against the wall. “Please tell Mr. Van to stop throwing things or your parents will come up here and find out  what’s going on.”

“He says he wants to talk to you and you know how to do it.”  She playfully dances around my chair.

“He is right Susan, and if he promises to stop throwing things I will try. Can you describe him to me?”

“He is older than daddy and he wears a black suit with a black hat, he  calls it a fedora. That’s a funny name!”  She  sounds out the word. “feh door a.” She giggles as she continues “He has blood  down the side of his face.”  I am taken aback by  this. I have been taught that children can sometimes see spirits where  adults can’t. I wonder if my little cousin will end up with the same  gift I have.

“Tell Mr. Van I need something of his, did he live here at one time?”

“He did.” She tells me and runs to a knee wall in her room, she slides open the little door and brings me what I presume is Mr. Vandermarliere’s fedora. “Thank you Susan. Tell Mr. Van that I will try in my room. You must stay here, do you understand?” She nods yes and I leave her.

Back in my stark room, I close the door as I make sure no one else is in  earshot of me. I lie on the bed and hold Mr. Van’s fedora on my chest.  I’ve done this a few times now and I never know what is going to happen, but I know enough to be alone.

 Lights shimmer around me as I start to  get pictures, snapshots of Mr. Van. The images are in black and white at first. I am confused by this, but slowly they turn to color. They are  spinning faster like on a movie reel until I am in his presence and he is motioning to me follow him. I follow in earnest as I see we are in a  dark alley, the smell of garbage and old liquor bottles mixed in with  urine assault my nostrils. He points to a body and I kneel on one knee next to it. 

“Is it you?” I ask and he mutters what  sounds like a yes. He points to the fedora and motions me to remove it. I do. One gunshot to the head and half his skull is gone. I start to feel a little sick and walk over to the dumpster and puke. The maggots have  already invaded his head. He is standing next to me and is pointing to  the name on the dumpster. Salvatore Rubbish Removal. He is insistent I  pay attention to this name. He is now pointing to a balled up piece of  newspaper and I go to pick it up. The date shows January 7th 1962. This murder is over 30 yrs old. I feel overwhelmed as I have had  only three other experiences and they were nothing like this or even  this old. “I’ll see what I can do. I don’t have a lot of time you know  that, you know I am being sent away soon.” I explain to my dead  companion. He nods yes and puts his hand on my shoulder. I look back at  the body and see a card sticking out of the jacket pocket. Van’s Barbershop it reads and the address is  visible. I walk to the end of the alley and onto the sidewalk. We are  directly across from the barbershop. I look up and my companion is now  dressed in all white suit complete with an all white fedora, there is an otherworldly glow about him and he is smiling as he disappears. The  scene spins in front of me and I wake up with a start. My head pounding  and there is a little blood trail running from my nose.

“Buna dimineata, Lucian. Te-ai dormit bine?” My auntie Helen asks in Romanian.

“Good morning auntie and yes I did sleep well. Thank you.” I give her a kiss  on the cheek as I head over to little Susan who is eating her eggs. I  kneel down and whisper to her. “Did you see Mr. Van again this morning?” She nods yes and whispers back to me.

“He says thank you.” She kisses me on my nose and I give her a little  laugh. My uncle has entered the kitchen and sits at what I presume is  his usual seat at the table. He eyes me suspiciously as I get up from my knee and  away from little Susan. My auntie places a plate of eggs and sausage in  front of him and motions for me to sit opposite her as she puts a plate  in front of me as well. It smells delicious but the image of Mr. Van and the maggots is staying with me and I am a bit put off by it.

“Did you decide?” he asks dryly and my aunt holds her breath. I decide to look him straight in the face.

“Yes.”  I sit silent. My uncle is staring at me for a few seconds before throwing his hands up in the air.

“Would you like to share your decision with me?”  He is getting irritated and  my auntie kicks me under the table. For her sake I decide not to  continue poking the bear.

“The one in New Mexico.” I say no more to him. I picked that one because  according to the map of the United States, it would be the farthest away from him.

“Good, I will call and make the arrangements. In the mean time you will be  going to work for me and I will hear no argument about it.” He picks up  his news paper and hides behind it. The conversation is over.

I am in the study after breakfast with the phone book. I look up  Salvatore Rubbish Removal. It’s unbelievable as I see they are still in  business. The yellow pages ad says family owned since 1948. Dean  Salvatore proprietor and owner. I must sneak out to use a payphone. It’s a Saturday and uncle is home from his business, but he leaves to run errands. My auntie is busy cleaning. I press little Susan into helping me escape for a little while undetected. 

She shows me the basement and the large  windows that I can climb out of in the back of the house and I do. I  have no idea where I am but Susan tells me there is a payphone a few  blocks away at a little supermarket she remembered seeing when she goes there with her mother. She says she will pretend she is playing hide and seek with  me if her dad returns before I get back. I am beginning to feel real love for this child now. I scramble out the window and run like mad reaching the  party store out of breath. I only have minutes and I have re-gain my  composure. Drawing a deep breath I dial the 911 number and am patched  through to a police detective. I give him the information I know on Mr.  Vandermarliere and Dean Salvatore. I refuse to  give him my name. I hang up and run back to the basement window as my  uncle is pulling into the drive. I am sweating like mad. My sweet little cousin is waiting for me in the basement and leads me up the stairs and to a back staircase in this large house, it empties into the second  floor rooms. I hear Uncle Mike talking to my aunt as I quickly dip off  into my room and lay on the bed wiping sweat away from my forehead with  the sheets. Uncle Mike is at my door.

“Get up off that bed boy! What now you are lazy? I have work for you to do.”

A few weeks later and we are at our usual breakfast seating arrangements, my arms are sore but getting stronger as my uncle now has me loading rolls of paper onto trucks for delivery all over the U.S. I am eating  my breakfast as my uncle unfolds his daily newspaper to hide behind and I see the secondary headline. Thirty year old murder solved. Dean  Salvatore charged in mob style killing. 

Apparently Mr. Salvatore was a  mobster before going legit and was demanding protection money from small businesses in the New York neighborhood where Mr. Van’s barbershop was. Mr. Vandermarliere, a Dutch  immigrant refused to pay and paid the ultimate price for not cooperating. The mob made an example out of him. The article said the murder investigation was given new life when detectives received an anonymous phone call.  I can’t help but smile.

audience, Author, Chicklit, fans, Fiction, Indie Author, Romance, women

Those Lovable Bad Boys

What is it about fictional bad boys that they can do no wrong in women’s eyes? What is it about the Han Solos and the Eric Northman’s in fiction that women can’t get enough of them?

I finally got a chance to sit down and talk with one of our readers, Karen, who’d completed The Body Hunters: Paradise Denied a couple weeks ago. Since I’d been on vacation from work I didn’t get a chance to get her opinion on what she thought. Without revealing too much about the story line, secrets between the two main characters are exposed. Karen goes on to tell me how the main character, Danielle was totally in the wrong for what she kept hidden from the hero, reformed former player Aiden. It surprised me because I thought she would at least take the woman’s side in the argument. The gist I got from my conversation with Karen was that if Danielle couldn’t treat Aiden right, then she would. Yeah, we’re talking about fictional characters, but this is the type of vibe I got and Karen isn’t the only one.

The opinions we’ve received about our good looking, rogue have ranged from an ‘I’d do him!’ to him being called ‘sexy’ and every thing under the moon. He’s the right combination of dangerous and loveable, with a little salty language mixed in. Even though the character is nothing but a compilation of ones and zeroes on a computer screen, women love him.

I think the attraction stems from the idea of the bad boy being able to be reformed, something that isn’t necessarily true in real life. If you meet a bad boy in real life, most of the time your best bet would be to turn around and run because you’re in for nothing but heartbreak. Most people aren’t that easy to change, which is why women love their fictional heroes. They can live vicariously through the pages of the book or on the television. The sexy scoundrel is their fantasy come to life.

I’m all about giving the people what they want and the jury has spoken, but as a writer I have my responsibility to keep the story fresh and unpredictable. So I tell Karen and the rest of our superfans to keep reading, we have some plans for Aiden Stone in the next few months.

Author, biracial, Chicklit, Drama, Fiction, Indie Author, Uncategorized

My Beef With Disney Princesses

Last night my coworker and coauthor Von started telling me about a Yahoo News story she found about Jennifer Hudson taking a photo dressed as Disney Princess Tiana. I proceeded to rant about my issues with The Princess and the Frog and all the things I found wrong with it. Von laughs and said if you feel that way, blog about it. So here I am.

When I first heard that Disney after so many decades was introducing its first black princess the little girl in me screamed with glee. Finally a princess that looks like me! I wasn’t the only one who was ecstatic.  I saw all the news reports about little black girls who were excited, going to the theater dressed up in their costumes and sparkly tutus. Even though it may have seemed like a trivial event, for little black girls it was historic. We were finally being recognized.

I finally sat down to watch the movie and my initial reaction was: What the hell is this? We waited all these years for this garbage?

Now my issue isn’t with Tiana. She’s a hardworking sister and I love her to death. She works hard to make her dreams come true, which in the real, non-Disneyized world is a great lesson. I think Disney did a good job with how her character was portrayed. My issue isn’t with her, it’s with the loser they decided to hook her up with.

It felt like they went to the Disney vault of bad qualities and just grabbed a handful. Prince Naveen was broke because he was so trifling and irresponsible that his royal parents disinherited him. He was a womanizer and spent part of the movie chasing after Tiana’s BFF and surrounded by groupies. He was lazy and not to mention narcissistic. This is the first black Disney princess and they set her up with this douchebag? As my dear departed Grandmother would say, he ain’t worth two dead flies. What are they saying about black women? We’re going to eventually end up with a loser like this? What happened to our Prince Charming?

Now of course at the end of the movie everything is set right and Prince Naveen has totally changed his ways, but c’mon. Leopards really don’t change their spots. How long after the credits roll before Tiana catches Naveen with Belle or he starts trying to pull on Rapunzel’s extensions? How long before Sleeping Beauty shows up for a paternity test and yelling about child support? Nah, I don’t think so.

Historically most heroes and princes in Disney lore have been pretty bland with a few rare exceptions. I would rather have had a prince who’s just window dressing then the hot mess Tiana was stuck with. She isn’t the only minority princess who was stuck with a loser. Look at middle eastern Princess Jasmine who was stuck with Aladdin; a liar, thief, and a con artist who’d escaped from death row.

Now I’m not throwing down the race card and yelling Uno, I think Disney made a good attempt at giving their audience what they wanted. I just ask that when they decide to give us the second black Disney Princess, they put a little more thought into who she marries.