Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Year In Writing

     I've discovered a wonderful thing: if I talk about 2016 in terms of my writing endeavors, it's a pretty good year. Yippee!

     2016 didn't totally suck. It's been a rough year, personally and globally, but there've been good things. I've had good times and I have good people in my life. Thank goodness, or I'd probably go insane. I've also made lots of good writing accomplishments.

     First, I made good headway in what will be the final (or next to final) draft of New Year's Revolution, my vampire novel. Yeah, it seems like I'm always working on that one, but I finally discovered what it actually needs, how to do it, and how to make it reasonably lengthed. Yes, lengthed is a word (I also invented a word in 2016). Ironically, NYR is currently on hold, but I don't feel nervous about it being on hold because I know where I'm going with it. When I pick it up again next year, I'll know what to do. Also, it's on hold because I'm working on other projects, not because I'm not writing. That's important to note.

     My second big writing accomplishment of 2016 is City of Secrets, formerly known as Caribou Canyon. The serial version is well underway and a few people I'm not related to are even reading it! The serial version is essentially a polished 2nd draft, but I'm really excited about it. It's nice to have something out there, and I really like where I'm going with the story. If I keep going the way I am, it'll be another year+ before it's finished, but that's okay. I kind of like the idea of keeping something going while I work on my other stuff, none of which I plan to serialize. Once it's finished, I plan to polish it up again, then release it in about six or so little books in kindle format. That's the plan anyway. I might also change the name back to Caribou Canyon, but we'll see.

     Most recently, the endeavor I'm most excited about is the 2nd draft of Pieces. Pieces is the literary mystery with magical realism (say that 10 times fast) that I did for NaNo 2015. The big news is that I finally thought of a name: Pieces. I'm really happy with the title, I think it's going to stick. I just started the 2nd draft in November, but I've been researching it all year. This is the biggest project I've worked on to date. I've read a good 10 or so books to prepare (war memoirs, PTSD books, and a couple other subjects that are top secret), and I may have to do still more reading. I feel like draft 2 is going well so far, and I'm confident-ish that I can finish this in 3 drafts (fingers crossed.) I'm hoping to have it completed sometime mid-2017 (or even Spring) but that might be over-zealous, considering that I'm working on CoS and may be having surgery in a month or so (that's a subject for another time). The point is, I'm really excited. I feel like this might be the best thing I've done so far.

     Sprinkled in between the work I've done on my three big projects, I've written some poetry which I'm fairly happy with, and some blog posts on subjects that I think need tackling. So, yay me. This blog has been slightly neglected as of late, but I'd like to try and remedy that, but we'll see. I love blogging, but the major projects are of most importance.

     So, 2016 has not been a bust, at least not in the writing world. Yay! I look forward to continuing my stories, actually finishing some things, and learning and growing as a writer and a person. Yay.

     If you haven't checked out City of Secrets yet, you totally should:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

We Don't See Color

We Don't See Color

“I don’t see color,” we say, often and loudly.
“I’m not a racist,” we declare, in our biggest, strongest voices.
They’re being unfair.
We don’t see color.
If only that were true. If only we saw no hues.
Our actions say otherwise.
So much fault, so much blame, but it’s not a game.

Maybe eyes aren’t really a prize.
Maybe we don’t deserve our eyes because we tell these lies.
If no one had eyes, no one would see.
We could all just be.
It wouldn’t be a lie. It would be a tie, binding us together.
No sight. No color. Now we are one. The same. No more blame.

Except we can hear the color—
High lilts, dulcet tones, rich accents, southern drawls, twangs, masculine, feminine…
That sound is color, and the deadly diversity is found again.
Diversity is fear and fear is hate.

What good are ears when they let us hear jeers?
Maybe we don’t deserve our ears.
If no one had ears, no one would hear.
There would be no fear.

Hold on—
We can smell the color.
It’s musk and sunshine, expensive perfume and stale French fries,
Dust and greenery, chemicals and blood.
Variations. Depictions of color.

Smelling the roses isn’t worth the woes of our noses.
We don’t really need them anyway—
We have mouths through which we can breathe.
Maybe we don’t deserve our noses.
If no one had noses, no one would smell;
It would break bigotry’s spell.

But wait…
We can still touch—
Hands, skin, lips, hair…
Soft, rough, thin, scarred, smooth…
The ones who deviate are deviants.

Touch really isn’t so much.
Why the fuss?
Maybe we don’t deserve our fingers.
If no one had fingers, no one would touch.
It’s really not so much of a crutch.

One problem remains: we can taste.
Mexican spices, Asian cuisine, Italian feasts, Indian delights…
The tastes are color, and color is difference, and difference means fights.
Taste makes us act in haste: fighting and killing and hurting and suffering.

Taste is really just a frivolous waste.
Maybe we don’t deserve our tongues.
If no one had tongues, no one would taste.
Our fears have been faced—no, they’ve been laid to waste.

Without our senses,
Color would be gone.

We see no color.
We hear no fear.
We don’t smell bigotry’s spell.
We don’t touch the textures of skin different than our own.
We taste no cultural diversity.

We see no rainbows.
We hear no music.
We don’t smell a home-cooked meal made out of love.
We don’t touch our lover’s soft hand—so different from our rough one.
We don’t taste the pleasure different foods bring us.

Now when we say, “We don’t see color” it is the truth.
We don’t see anything,
Because there is nothing left to see. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

White People--If You're Feeling Awful--Good. Remember That Feeling And Keep It With You

     Not the most uplifting title, is it? You're probably thinking, "Becky, why do you want me to keep feeling awful? I don't want to feel awful." Well, I don't want to feel awful either; no one does. In truth, this post is meant to be more uplifting than the title might let on.

     First, I need to clarify. The awful feelings I'm referring to are in regards to the results of the Presidential election. If you're feeling awful about something else: I'm sorry to hear that, and I hope you feel better soon. Now, back to the results of the election. If you're not satisfied with the results and are feeling awful, or maybe horrified, sickened, sad, devastated, disgusted, disillusioned, terrified, or some brand new emotion that this election brought forth, then please read on.

     This post is mainly for those who did not vote for Donald Trump or did not support him as a candidate but were unable to vote. It's for those who are unhappy with the results. It's for those who are feeling like America is not the country we thought it was. It's also aimed at white people/people of privilege, because what I want to say applies to those folks more than others. All of that being said, anyone is welcome to read, as always. Comments are welcome. If you don't agree with me, that's totally cool, feel free to say so, but keep your comments constructive and civilized. Thanks.

     So, it's been a little over a week since Donald Trump became the President Elect of the United States (not sure if I'm capitalizing the words I'm supposed to). Many people are unhappy (understatement) with this result. Many are scared about what it means for the future of Muslims, Black people, the LGBTQ+ community, women, Latinx, people with disabilities, minorities I didn't mention, the planet, healthcare, free speech and the media, America's relationship with other countries, and so on. That's a scarily long list, and I think I may have left some things out (eek).

     What's great is that a lot of people have been coming forward and contributing--be it donating, buying newspapers, wearing safety pins, patronizing business' that have been targets of hate crimes, and etc. This is all really awesome. It's wonderful to see people coming together and cooperating. It's great to see people thinking of the bigger picture and their own lives. I hope people continue to find positive ways to help make the world a better, safer place.

    A sentiment I've heard echoed--mainly by white people--is, "Wow, America isn't what I thought it was. I can't believe we're really this racist. Things are getting so much worse," or something along those lines. I was thinking something similar. On social media, I noticed a different sentiment from a few Black people, "America was always this racist. Things have always been bad for Black people and other minorities, it's just that white people were too privileged to notice." I'm starting to realize that the latter sentiment is probably closer to reality. That's when it occurred to me that maybe something good can come out of this. Maybe white people/people of privilege will finally have theirs eyes opened to the truth. I know mine are. I want to keep them open. I want to keep seeing the country/world as it really is. If I do this, then maybe I can help fix things. If I can start looking beyond my own privilege, if I can learn to do better, then maybe other people can too. We can't fix a problem if we don't see that problem. The tactics Donald Trump used to get elected President (capitalization?) have opened so many eyes. As horrible as it is that it had to happen this way, something good can still come out of it. We just have to make it happen. We know the truth, and we have work to do.

     This is what leads me to my main message. I don't know about anyone else, but feeling this way sucks. I hate it. I hate being afraid. I hate knowing that the world is so much worse than I thought it was. I'm sure most people hate feeling this way. I very much want this feeling to go away. But here's the thing--I can't let it. I have to feel this way. This isn't me being negative. If I keep this awful feeling inside, then it will serve as a reminder that things need to be done. The time of sitting back in my privilege is over. It would be very, very easy for white people to say, "Hey, I really didn't want a Trump Presidency, but I'm white and straight and a lot of these policies I'm afraid of may not affect me." I'm not saying that the people out there protesting and donating and calling lawmakers are suddenly going to stop, but they might. It might not be next week, or a month from now, or even six months from now, but I fear that white people will stop fighting. Why? Because four years (maybe more) is a long time to fight, and because we can stop. We (white people) have the privilege of letting it go. Black people, Muslims, Latinx, and many other minority groups do not have that privilege. They can't choose to take off their safety pins, or keep their opinions to themselves. They're a target simply because of what they look like. Think about that. Just imagine what that would be like. All I can do is imagine, but the thought is horrifying.

     So, if you're someone who's currently fighting against the negativity, hate, bigotry, racism, and other crappy things--keep fighting. Remember how you feel right now. If you need a reminder, think back to how you felt on Nov. 8th. It might be a long four years, but we're not alone, and we can act. We can help others, and we can help ourselves.

     Most importantly, no matter what else you do, please vote in future elections. Vote in every election you can, not just in the presidential election. The president is one man. One very important man, yes, but still just one man. He isn't the only lawmaker. Many of these other lawmakers are voted  for during non-presidential elections. This is when we need to make our voices heard. If this election showed anything, it showed what happens when one group votes and the other doesn't. So, let's get out there and vote! And remember to keep feeling awful!

     This positive message was brought to you by Becky Munyon's brain and sentiments I've read on the internet and heard on TV.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Monster Poetry--The Werewolf

You didn't think I was going to let October pass without posting another in my monster series of poems, did you? I can't leave the werewolf out. That would be monster discrimination, and I give equal opportunity to all monsters. They have feelings too.

Happy Halloween!

The Nature of the Wolf

What is nature?
Is it the thing that drives us, or the thing that weighs us down?
A ball and chain that keeps us from our true desires,
A cage that imprisons us.
Is nature beautiful or ugly?
I think it can be both.
One only needs to watch the effects of Mother Nature to know that.
Maybe I am both beautiful and ugly.
There is a need in me to howl at the moon like a madwoman,
Run through the forest feeling the wind in my hair,
And the ground barely touching my feet.
I only get to fulfill this need once a month.
It’s not as a woman that I howl,
But as a fierce wolf, a creature of the forest.
The wolf tears into flesh with sharp teeth
That are somehow mine, but also belong only to the wolf.
The wolf and I feel more than hunger when we tackle our prey,
Tearing it apart.
As much as I love the feast,
I also love the hunt.
Laying in wait, stalking, chasing.
But is that only my nature 3 days of the month?
What am I the other 25?
Must I have compassion on those days?
Am I human, with human nature and human instincts,
Morals, ethics, and feelings?
Why then, do I count the days?
Why do I long for the full moon?
Why do I long for the hunt?
I dream of bathing in my victims blood,
Of lapping up every last drop,
Of letting the forest know:
It is mine.
Wolf or woman—it is mine.
But must I wait till the full moon?
I may not have sharp teeth or claws,
Or the senses of the wolf,
But nature is nature.
The desire is in me.
The wolf is in me.
The same ecstasy can come from
Knowing that it is my arm driving the knife inside,
That I made my victim’s blood flow.
I have to do something to pass the time between full moons.
It is my nature. 


Hey, it'd be really awesome if everyone would take a few seconds to like my Facebook page if you haven't already. Thanks! 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Demon Man--Happy Almost Halloween

October's almost over, which means we need more holiday poetry. :)

Demon Man

It isn’t a frightening name,
But maybe that’s part of his game.

The silly title helps him win.
He knows; his lips lift in a grin.

It starts at night, away from light.
Too tired to fight, you fall to your fright.

You told yourself he wasn’t real.
Darkness fell, and you knew the deal.

It is black; your thoughts are a blur.
In the dark, huddling, you whisper:

“He’ll go away if I don’t think.”
Maybe you’re right, but then he winks.

Wispy, white. He shimmers so bright.
You struggle with sight, and he takes a bite.


If you like my poetry (or even if you don't), check out my YA Paranormal on JukePop Serials. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

More Monster Poetry--Zombies have voices too

A Zombie’s Plight

I’m walking in a world of beating hearts
A world that always snubs my cold dead corpse.
She is the worst. I approach; she departs.
I fear she’ll be there when they come with pitchforks.

Should I be punished for my awful stench?
I did not ask to crave to eat your brain.
I only want to converse here on this bench,
But you run; my existence is a bane.

I’m stuck in this endless monotony
Because I chose to study medicine.
If only I’d just studied botany,
Then she wouldn’t shun me like a villain.

I will not be doomed to amble alone,

For only one scratch will make her my own.


I hope you liked it! You'll be my new best friend forever if you take a few seconds to like my Facebook page  Thanks! You're awesome!! :) 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Monster Poetry--Because monsters have feelings too

Have I mentioned that I love October? One of my favorite ways to celebrate is by posting horror/paranormal poems and stories. I'm a bit behind this year, since I've been busy prepping for NaNoWriMo, working on my serial, thinking about my poor neglected vampire novel, and writing blogs in protest to the crap going on right now. But, I figured it was time to get with the program, so I've decided to start a monster series of poetry. To start things off, I have a lovely vampire villanelle. Enjoy.

Hunters in the Night

The shadows shroud us putting on a front.
We walk among them; hiding in their midst.
In torment—seeking bliss—each night we hunt.

The sun, our fear: a force we can’t confront,
Or droves of slayers—that would be a twist.
The shadows shroud us putting on a front.

It can be subtle, or a wild stunt.
The goal’s the same: a vein, from throat or wrist.
In torment, seeking bliss, each night we hunt.

To keep the masquerade, our fangs look blunt.
You’ll find there’s not an angle we have missed.
The shadows shroud us putting on a front.

We’ll drain you dry and give a happy grunt.
We might feel bad, but we cannot resist.
In torment, seeking bliss, each night we hunt.

It pleases us to know that we affront.
If you know we exist, we’re on your list.
The shadows shroud us putting on a front.
In torment, seeking bliss, each night we hunt.


If you love all things creepy and paranormal, check out my serial "City of Secrets," a YA paranormal mystery. It's free to read and new chapters are posted every-ish Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why Victims Don't Report--Because for some reason people still do not get it

     I'm seeing all over TV and social media that there is still a lot of confusion regarding why victims don't report sexual harassment, abuse, assault, and rape. Despite that many victims have stated their (legitimate) reasons publicly; last week's trending hashtag #whywomendontreport, which listed several (valid) explanations; and--quite frankly--common freaking sense (if one would only take a few seconds to think about it logically); victims are still being questioned for why they don't report right away, or at all. There are too many ignorant people in the world who just do not get it. In my opinion, this subject will not be closed until people do get it.

     For this post, I am going to use the word victim, to account for the fact that both women and men are victims. I am going to use the word perpetrator, to account for the fact that both women and men can be perpetrators.

     In my last post, I recounted a situation I was in at the part-time job I held in high school. My male supervisor continuously sexually harassed me, and at least one other female co-worker. I'm not going to get too into that (because I already did), but one of the reasons I never reported him was fear. Among other things, I was afraid of not being believed, and what would happen to me and my job if I reported. 

     Fear plays a huge role in why people don't report. I'd say it's the motivating factor behind the myriad of reasons people stay silent. I think that people who've been fortunate enough to not have experienced a situation in which they were made a victim, don't understand this fear and how strong it is. In order to achieve universal understanding, we need to dig deeper. We need to understand what victims are going through and what they may be thinking.

     As someone who has been the victim of more than one type of harassment and assault, holds a psychology degree and continues to research trauma and its effects, and has worked professionally with victims of abuse, I feel that I can say with a fair degree of confidence that something victims want most (or at least near the top of the list) is to move on. They want the situation to be over. They want to be safe. They want to escape the person/situation that victimized them and move on and retake their lives. Not reporting is one way to accomplish this. As many people know from watching the news and social media, when a victim reports, they are not left alone for a very long time. They are judged again and again by friends, family, and acquaintances and also by perfect strangers who have no business judging them. They are forced to relive the trauma of what happened over and over and over again. They are not made to feel safe and protected. They face the fear of not knowing how long the judgment will go on, and the fear of wondering what the full repercussions will be. Not reporting is a way of letting go, moving on, and being safe. 

     I would like to specifically address sexual assault and harassment. Imagine a victim in a situation (possibly in a public place) where they are touched or grabbed inappropriately. This can happen more easily than one might think. A perpetrator could be hugging a victim and slide a hand to an intimate place, or even give the victim a non-consensual kiss on the lips. In these cases, the assault may only last a few seconds. The victim is most likely in pure shock for several seconds or even minutes or hours. The victim may be thinking something along the lines of: "Did that really happen?" By the time the victim has processed what has just occurred, the situation is likely over. The victim may then be thinking : "Why say something? It's over. I'm safe now." Fear also plays a factor in these situations. Inappropriate touches can easily be explained by things like, "it was an accident" or "that's just how I greet people." Statements/explanations like that are not okay, but unfortunately are made. Why would a victim, who is already feeling shame, fear, confusion, and violation want to risk causing a scene? What they really want is to move on and be safe. Staying silent is a way to ensure that safety. 

     I feel it's necessary to address this trend: after one or two victims come forward, more and more victims (often of the same perpetrator) start coming out of the woodwork. Many people are baffled by this, wondering why these victims had stayed silent and how/why there are so many suddenly speaking up. Critics also question the legitimacy of these claims. I admit that it does seem strange, but that's only if one doesn't understand trauma and what it's like to be a victim. Victims feel more comfortable when they know they are not alone. When victims realize that others have had similar experiences, some of the shame and self-blame goes away. They think: "If this happened to those others, then maybe it wasn't my fault after all. How can all of these people be at fault?"

      One effective form of trauma therapy is group therapy in which the group members have all shared similar traumas, like groups for war veterans, battered wives, victims of childhood sexual abuse, etc. If you've never been a victim, all you need to do to understand this is to think about how you feel when you meet someone and realize they share your love of mountain climbing, or French cuisine, or stamp collecting or whatever. Knowing we have something in common with someone automatically makes us feel closer to them. It's human nature. So of course victims are going to be encouraged to come forward when they've learned that others who shared their experiences had. They see the bravery in their fellow victims, and feel brave themselves. 

     I said it in my last post, and I'll say it again: things need to change. We need to stop blaming and shaming and ridiculing victims. We need to stop living in the ignorant bliss of pretending that bad things do not happen, that abuse, assault, and rape do not happen. We need to support victims and make them feel comfortable reporting, not immediately scorn them. It's the 21st century for crying out loud. It's time to get our acts together.