Life Junk

027. Patrick Bateman

TW: Lots of dark humor, an American Psycho clip (featuring man butt), some swears and the term “man butt”

I’ve been thinking about American Psycho a lot lately. It may be my mind’s way of reminding me to re-watch it to see if it still holds up. While I have the entire movie memorized from constant viewings in my early-twenties, one scene keeps nagging at me. The opening.

If you’ve spent time on the internet, I’m sure you’ve probably seen it–either in a clip pulled from YouTube or in gif form– it’s Patrick Bateman’s morning routine. Christian Bale in tighty-whities doing stretches showing off all of the effort Patrick puts into maintaining appearances.  It’s narrated in great detail. Patrick telling us about his skincare routine and the products he uses to appear human, even though according to him, he’s not.

For some reason this scene has popped up in my mind a lot lately. Not because of the man butt that appears here and there as he gets ready for the day to go on about his life as a generic Wall Street dude, but because of his process of becoming human. I am not a monster. I have no desire to harm others or feed a stray cat to a hungry ATM. But I identify with Patrick Bateman’s long process to become human (this is a statement I never thought I’d say).

I suffer from migraines. I’ve talked about them on this blog before. I’ve had them since I was 13 (thanks puberty!) and have been dealing with them ever since. Things were really bad when I was first diagnosed with them–a lot of doctor’s visits and missed school days– but things tapered off into my teens and early-to-mid twenties. I’d get one whenever I’d accidentally stumble across a trigger and I knew how to deal with them (tons of water, pain meds and sleep).  

But something changed in my late twenties. After seeing a new neurologist in hopes of finding a different medication that didn’t make me drowsy so I could function at work, things spiraled out of control. The frequency and intensity of my migraines escalated and were accompanied with new symptoms like light sensitivity, sensitivity to different smells and vomiting.

At one point, I had some form of headache for nine months straight. Nine months of seemingly endless, unrelenting pain. I went to various doctors in hopes of trying to find something that would help. I was prescribed medications used to treat epilepsy*. As a result of the anticonvulsants, I developed a shiny new symptom! I have difficulty expressing myself verbally. Either I slur or stutter or have difficulty getting out my thoughts. As someone who loves to talk, it’s embarrassing. I have been dealing with this for nearly four years and bruh, I’m tired.

This brings me back to Patrick Bateman. Much like him, I put a lot of effort into appearing human. An enormous amount of effort is put into pretending I’m the thirty, flirty, and thriving woman I’m supposed to be instead of the thirty, flirty and (possibly) dying woman that I am. I take great care of my skin, my makeup is on point and I dress like the world’s oldest (and cutest) teenager. All of this is done to mask the physical pain I wake up with often. With migraines, you can never tell what kind of day you’re going to have. You can spend an entire day avoiding known triggers only to have a secret one spring up and have you spending the next two days in bed in a dark room. [INSERT APPLICABLE FORREST GUMP QUOTE HERE].

For a while things were getting better, I only had to deal with the speech issues but lately, my migraines are back and they’ve come to fuck shit up. They’re interfering with work to a point where I was asked if I had considered a “desk job” that  would lack the physical demands of the retail. This person meant no harm and asked the question out of genuine concern but I couldn’t help but to laugh sadly to myself at the irony. Once upon a time, I had a “desk job.” A desk job with benefits that could’ve become a career.

My migraines took it from me.

Why would a company keep an unhealthy person when you could just hire a healthy replacement? This recent exchange at my current job has me asking this question again. While I hope my health doesn’t cost me yet another position I enjoy doing, I know it may be a reality. I’ve been looking into work-from-home jobs just in case I begin to start having more bad days than good (which is honestly terrifying) only to realize, many may require customer service-esque tasks that I wouldn’t be able to complete if I’m having trouble speaking. I’m at a loss for what to do next but I know one thing that’s been a constant through all of this: writing.

I wrote the first draft of the Dia of the Dead sequel while practically bedridden back in summer 2014. I’m currently revising with hopes of publishing it in August or September. I’m also working on other projects that I hope turn out to be something good. If I can pretend to be a pain-free human, then I for-damn-sure can pretend to be a pain-free writer.

*Anticonvulsants can be used to treat migraines. It’s not uncommon.

026. April 21st

It has been a year since Prince has passed away and it still seems surreal. When the news broke last April, I had several people call or text to see if I was okay. Initially, I had no idea what was going on. I was working on some edits and admiring the light dusting of snow outside (I’m from Northeast Ohio and sometimes it does in fact snow in April) when I received a phone call from my friend Davalyn. She asked me if I was sitting down and if I’d heard the news. I was but I hadn’t. 

During our phone call I oscillated between disbelief and heartbreak. Prince was my favorite musician of all time. I’d even been lucky enough to see him perform live back in 2011. He couldn’t have been gone. He wasn’t even 60! I remember repeating “my fave is gone! my problematic fave is gone!” for a good ten minutes during my conversation with Davalyn. She stayed on the phone long enough to allow me to process the news on my end through tears. 

I never thought Prince would die. He seemed like an immortal being who would be here long after my own bones had turned to dust. But April 21, 2016 had proved me wrong. Rock Gods are mortals like the rest of us.

Prince and his music has gotten me through so many tough times. His delightfully raunchy lyrics could instantly put a smile on my face–changing my mood and filling me with the urge to dance. While his more introspective tracks give me space to reflect and think. I listened to him when I wrote papers and worked on novels that will never see the light of day. He supplied me with inspiration and the desire to create. He was an enormous talent that is irreplaceable and he is missed. 

I put together a playlist on Spotify of some of my favorite songs to listen to throughout the day to celebrate his life. Click the link below to check it out. 


Some buttons I picked up from Himikogogo Memorabilia on Etsy to wear

Peace and be wild. 

025. Graduation Season

Graduation season is upon us. Over the next couple of weeks many young adults will be closing one chapter of their lives to begin the next. Former high school seniors will spend the summer months fantasizing about what life will be like on the campuses of universities around the country. By mid-July they’ll begin the task of gathering their supplies for freshman year and preparing goodbyes for friendships that won’t last past that first semester. 

The thing about incoming freshman is that they’re so full of shiny-eyed hope. Their futures are bright. They have the next four years to figure out who they are and who they want to become as they venture out of adolescence and step into adulthood. It’s honestly a time to be cherished because it passes by in a blink of an eye. 

Freshmen, have fun with it. This time is rife with opportunities to grow and develop into people worth being. Because real talk, the world is full up on Garbage People™ at the moment. There’s no more room for hate, bigotry and xenophobia. We don’t need it. Your parents and grandparents haven’t quite yet exhausted it but have exhausted me with it. I want you to be the change the world needs. You can truly be the start of a new tomorrow. 

On the opposite end of graduation season are outgoing seniors. They’ve done their time. They’ve dealt with the hellscape known as the financial aid office and to be frank, they’re ready to get the fuck up outta there. They’re ready to go out into the world and put the lessons learned from $500 textbooks to use. They’ve figured out a lot about themselves over the last four years and now it’s time to pray that that time has equipped them enough for the “real world.”

For my seniors, The “real world” takes no prisoners. It’s hard. You’ll be put in the position to make tough decisions and hope they’re right (or right-ish. The world isn’t perfect). I’m not here to say that life is like a Jigsaw trap from the Saw movie franchise. It’s not going to toss you into a ditch of syringes because of some convoluted plot that didn’t quite work in the long run. 

I’m just saying it gets real out here. Really real. But the cool part about it– the cool part about life–is that you can make mistakes. You can fail spectacularly and get up and try again. You can use that $500 textbook knowledge and approach the problem from a different angle hopefully with better results. Don’t give up. Keep pushing and moving forward. You too, are they start of a new tomorrow. Don’t forget it. 

I started writing this with the intent of providing tips on how to survive as a New Adult in a world where there’s literally a level 8 crisis happening every other minute but my rambling somehow ended up here. I still think those posts will have value so keep an eye out for them in the future. For now, I think I’m satisfied with saying it’ll be all right, kiddo. 

024. New Year, New Me (again)

I’ve come to realize that I write a similar post pretty much every year with similar results. Nothing. 

Every January, I sit down and write a list of things I want to accomplish over the next twelve months and plan out how I will do so. I always start out strong then my drive begins to fizzle out around January 5th. By February, it’s dead. This year will be different.  

As a society, we’ve pretty much concluded that 2016 was a dumpster fire of a year that may be the impetus for a dystopian sci-fi premise future. 2016 took so much from us. 2016 took Prince (one of my favorite musicians of all time) among so many others. The past US Presidential Election took my hope in most of humanity and made it difficult for me as a Black woman to be optimistic about the future but I managed to hold onto a glimmer of something for 2017. This is an important year in my life because I will be celebrating a milestone birthday in February. I’ve heard rumor of 30 being the age where everything clicks and life finally makes sense (well, as much sense as life could ever make). 30 is suppose to CHANGE EVERYTHING! 

Change is welcome and desperately needed around these parts. I’ve realized that I’ve become stagnant in many aspects of my life including my writing. So here I am, vowing to become more productive by blogging at least once a week and ACTIVELY writing at least 500 words a day (gotta start somewhere). These are things that I’ve struggled with in the last few years and I need to get on track. There are a few other things I want to work on during the year and they’ll likely become fodder for posts here. 

So watch this space. Hold me accountable. I don’t want my next post to be dated January 1, 2018. 

023. I’ve Been Gone For a Minute….


So it seems like I’ve let an entire year pass since I’ve last updated my blog. For those of you who’ve read my handful of entries and were disappointed by the lack of updates… I’m sorry.

We’re just a few days into the new year and as they say, “new year, new me!” As we venture into 2016, I’ve made the decision to document my random thoughts on life, writing and my writing life a bit more often. I know I’ve said this pretty much every year for at least the last ten years but this time I mean it. Seriously. I want to grow as a writer and blogger and the only way to do that is to actually write something…right?

With that out of the way, let’s take a moment to recap 2015.

I made mention of my health issues in various posts made in 2014. I experienced migraines I wouldn’t wish on my enemies. I was in too much pain to do anything other than hang out in bed. Though my migraines (and subsequent focal seizures) impacted my ability to do many things I’d taken for granted prior to experiencing them, I was able to complete a first draft of the sequel to Dia of the Dead. It seemed my creativity flowed more freely while not being able to do much else.

Though 2014 was probably the worst year of my life, it was a “character building” year that made me appreciate 2015. I found a new job, made new friends, discovered new interests, and allowed myself to be more open to experience new things. I also finished another draft of Dia of the Dead 2 (that’s totally not the name of it). Things in 2015 definitely came up Milhouse for the most part.

2016 is a new year and I don’t want to think of it as “2015 the EP” but framing it that way may be helpful in my growth. I want to learn more. Write more. Be more. Those are my goals and maybe blogging more often will help me keep track of where I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going. As an author and as a person. I look forward to working on new projects, collaborating with others and most importantly, publishing the second Dia of the Dead novel.

And with all of that said, I’d like to thank everyone who has taken time to read Dia of the Dead. I hope you enjoyed it. I’d like to especially thank Dos Twinjas–Guinevere and Libertad– for all of their support. They’re awesome and you should check out their book Mark of Noba now available here.




022. Oh, Hey

Sorry for the lack of updates. I know I said I would blog every day this month but somehow November has gotten the best of me again. I will do better in the future (this isn’t another empty apology).

I have a few announcements to make today. The first is great news! Beginning December 1st (MONDAY!) and lasting until the 8th, I will be participating in a book tour for Dia of the Dead. The tour has been arranged by Diverse Book Tours and the ladies behind it are absolutely lovely. I will definitely be working with them in the future.

This is my first book tour and I’m extremely excited about it. I’ll be posting the list of participating blogs as soon as I receive it!

The second thing I’d like to share is the status of my writing (or lack thereof). The second book in the Dia of the Dead series is completed and has been sent to betas. I’ve heard back from one (shout out to Sam), I just need to follow up with the rest. I will probably be revisiting the draft and polishing it up a bit in the upcoming weeks.

Confession: I love writing Dia. I can pop into her head anytime and see her interacting with her world anytime. It comes with an ease that isn’t present while working on other projects. This easiness is probably due to the length of time I’ve been working with her. But I digress.

I’m also working on a few other novels that I hope to turn into something rather than leaving them to rot on my hard drive.

The last thing I wanted to give a quick update on was my health. I’ve talked about my chronic migraines in previous posts and guess what? They’re still happening! Not only that, my migraines decided to bring focal seizures to the party! And boy do these guys know how to turn up!

I’m going to be frank, neurological conditions are a pain in the ass. Having migraines and seizures period blows. Having them as a writer blows even more. I currently lack the stamina I once had to get shit done. Writing is hard but I love it so much that sitting down to crank out a couple thousand words per day is no biggie. But not on migraine days. Migraines totally deplete my mana. While I may feel like writing, I am usually drained of the desire to do anything other than to lie down in a dark room. I hate how this has been impacting my life during the last couple of months. Everything goes from coming up Milhouse to the universe “ha-ha!”ing me Nelson Muntz-style. :/

I hope that one day I’ll return to normal but in the mean time, I’m going to try to take care of myself as best I can and continue to write.

019. Honest To Blog

Nearly everyday I sit down in front of my MacBook and open WordPress with the intention of updating my blog. Then almost immediately, I close the tab and go find something else to do online. It’s as if I’ve come down with a sudden case of writer’s block which isn’t a good thing for a so-called writer.

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why I have so many unfinished blog entries collecting dust in my drafts. And I think I’ve reached a conclusion.

I have no idea if this blog should be about me or about my work.

Something I enjoy doing while avoiding updating is checking out other author’s blogs. I’ve noticed a couple of things. Either their blogs are industry based–containing entries about their current works, the craft of writing and book reviews. Or their blogs are more personal–entries dedicated to personal interests such as TV reviews or things that are on their minds. In the past, I’ve dedicated posts to the latter of the two trends. I’ve shared stories about personal experiences (bullying), beliefs (feminism), favorites (My Mad Fat Diary), and life as a writer (those other sporadic updates). Yet I’m still hesitant when it comes to blogging (and engaging in social media for that matter).

In all the research of the writing life I’ve done over the years, one topic that has come up often is branding. What is your author brand? What can readers expect from your work? From the pieces you publish to your blog to your social media presence–each aspect is important to your brand. While thinking about this, I’ve realized I’ve never sat down and determined what my brand is or what it should be. What can you all as my readers expect from me?

While reflecting on this question, a word that immediately came to mind was “transparency.” I’d like to be transparent with you all. What you see is what you get. In moving forward, I’d like to strive to make online/author presence align with who I am offline, in real life. I believe I will continue to post the types of entries I’ve posted in the past. Just more often. Meaning you will see a lot more posts here about things that tickle my fancy as well as my life as an indie author. This goes for social media as well. I apologize in advance for the abundance of Star Trek-related tweets.

018. I’m Alive!

Hey guys!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated and I apologize. September and October (so far) have turned out to be crazy busy months for me. Between writing, keeping up with Big Moon Press, and continue to deal with chronic migraines (with the awesome added bonus of focal seizures), I haven’t had a chance to blog much. I do have a couple of updates I’d like to share with you all though.

  • Dia of the Dead is available for purchase!!!!!! You can get a paperback here or an e-book for your kindle here. Support an indie author and buy a copy!
  • Big Moon Press is accepting submissions. For more about our submission process, please click here.
  • I’m working on a cool project with my business partner/writing homie, Cara. I can’t wait to see how it shapes up.
  • I finally have my idea for NaNoWriMo. Hopefully I’m abale to pull it out.

I’m going to try to get back into blogging since I have a shotty track record with it. I think establishing a routine would help me out.

That’s all for now!

014. Part of Your World pt. 2

My last post ended with a video of “Part of Your World” from my absolute favorite movie, The Little Mermaid. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately and I’ve decided that it’s time that I become more like my favorite fiery redhead. No, I’m not about to sell my soul to a sea witch in exchange for legs to impress a prince but I am about to take a risk. A big risk.

I’m about to venture out into the world of self-publishing.

I’m extremely excited about this adventure and hope my migraines won’t stop me from blogging (and maybe vlogging) about it. What has me more excited is that I’m not going it alone. Cara will be joining me. She is the co-founder of Big Moon Press, our indie publishing company. We’ve been actively working on this thing for weeks and have set up an Indiegogo to help with some of the costs. If you’d like to contribute, we’d greatly appreciate it.

I’m really looking forward to this journey. I’m on my way to becoming a part of the world I’ve often dreamed about and hopefully you guys will follow along on this ride.

013. Part of Your World

Hi Guys!

I’m back! My health is about the same but it seems to be improving little by little. My neurologist has switched up my med routine and I’m hoping that third time’s the charm. I still have headaches and migraines but they mostly aren’t as intense as they were back in the winter. It’s the other symptoms that have been kicking my butt. But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m doing better and that’s all that really matters.

I’m actually here to talk about a couple of things that I’ve been working on while I’ve been under the weather.

Over the last couple of months while dealing with severe migraines, I finished the first draft of my second novel! I’m excited about it. It’s a sequel to Dia of the Dead. I’ve decided to make it a series out of my own curiosity. I want to find out what happens to the characters over the course of their journey.

I also came to a decision about what to do with Dia of the Dead. I’ve decided to self-publish. It took me a while to reach that decision because I wanted to weigh all of my options. I queried and realized, what I wrote just isn’t what publishers are looking for right now. And that’s okay. Maybe one of the next ideas I have floating around in my head will be THE ONE that will get me a lit agent and will set me on the path to traditional publishing. If not, that’s okay too. I understand publishing is a business that’s driven by what sells and what can be the “next big thing.”

With this decision to self-publish came some pretty rad things that I’m going to be blogging about in the very near future. I’m teaming up with my writing homie, Cara Davis. Actually at this point, she’s my writing sister to do them. Stay tuned!

This is how I feel about everything:


012. Writing to Survive

I bought my first official journal when I was eight years old. I purchased it with my allowance from The Disney Store in Tower City. It was pink and purple—my favorite colors at the time—and featured Princess Jasmine—my favorite Disney princess at the time. I couldn’t wait to get home to start recording my thoughts just like older girls did on television. I remember I sitting down at my Little Tykes desk with a pencil and going to work, pouring out my thoughts about the world as I knew it.

I’ve talked about how I’ve been writing since I was able to hold a crayon. How I would scribble my name or words on any piece of paper I could find. Sometimes those words turned into sentences. Sometimes those sentences became (unfinished) stories. For some reason, I’ve always found solace with a pen in my hand. It has been like a security blanket or a warm hug for so many years that I can’t imagine what it’s like not to write.

Writing has especially been a comfort in difficult times. I’ve mentioned the bullying I experienced in middle school here before and how I withdrew from many things but my words were the one thing I had. When the school days were long and tough, I knew I had worlds I created waiting for me when the final bell rang. My characters didn’t mind if my tears blurred their stories, they cheered me on—urging me to keep going. I was writing to survive.

As of May 2014, I’ve found myself writing to survive once more. Since the last time I blogged, my migraines have persisted. My diagnosed has gone from “migraine” to “chronic migraine.” In the last few months, I’ve had doctors’ appointments, hospital visits, and tons of absenteeism. I’m eternally grateful that my boss also has migraines and is empathetic to what I’m experiencing.

On my headache days, I feel like a legion of tiny dudes are kicking me in the head in Doc Martens. Sometimes the pain is so bad that I have a difficult time looking at my computer screen. Or worse, I can’t keep anything down (Note: puking at work isn’t fun, guys). There have been several days that I felt like giving up. Days where I can’t leave my bed because sitting upright intensifies the pain. Or nights where I stay up past midnight because the pain has me terrified to go to sleep because it might be the last time I wake up.

But through all this I’ve managed to write. Writing has been one of the few things to keep me from tapping out. My desire to see the stories I’m currently working on and those still floating around in my migraine-ridden brain make their way out into the world has kept me going. It has been one of my many coping strategies (others include: binging on Netflix and the comfort of tofu-based meals).

Has there been a time where you wrote to survive? If you feel like sharing, I’d really like to hear about your experience.

009. With a Little Help From My Friends

Hi Guys!

It’s been a while. I know I’m supposed to be making weekly posts but I haven’t been able to decide on anything worth sharing in the last couple of week. However, the past week has been pretty interesting in terms of news. I’ve collected a few more feathers in my writing cap over the last couple of weeks in the form of query rejections. I haven’t received a lot because I haven’t queried many agents (still researching those who would be a good fit for Dia of the Dead which you read more about here) but with each one I feel more and more like a real writer. Truth be told, it’s an odd feeling–a mix of disappointment and pride. Disappointment in receiving an “eh. pass” but pride in disregarding my cautious nature and taking the leap of faith to put myself and my work out there. It doesn’t exactly soothe the sting of rejection but I stepped outside my comfort zone and that counts.

With all of this going on, I’ve been feeling a little bummed and a bit discouraged lately. I’ve been keeping up with current trends and I know my project’s going to be a hard sell in today’s market but like I’ve said, I only need one “yes.” My friends have been instrumental in keeping me going.  They have listened to me complain about how difficult writing is. They have entertained texts and e-mails from me about plot ideas that basically landed in their inboxes like Kramer bursting into Jerry’s apartment on Seinfeld. Most importantly, they have talked me off the ledge when I thought about “Select All + Delete”ing my entire manuscript. I cannot thank you all enough. I really appreciate it and you better believe that I’m going to do whatever I can to return the favor. Here’s a song that may best represents how I feel:

Thinking about my friendships caused me to think about my favorite fictional friendships. So I thought I’d share a few of them. They’re not in any particular order and this list doesn’t feature all of my favorite friends but here it is:


I am a child of the 90s. Many Friday nights growing up consisted of watching TGIF. And while partial to most shows on ABC’s Friday night television line up of yesteryear, Boy Meets World was and remains one of my absolute favorites. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it’s about the coming-of-age of Cornelius “Cory” Matthews as he transitions from 6th grader into adulthood. One of the integral parts of the show is Cory’s friendship with Shawn Hunter. Cory and Shawn are besties, so close that they’re practically brothers. They have their ups and downs but overall they’re there for each other, always.


The Golden Trio from Harry Potter is another example of great friendships. Ron and Hermione were the definition of “ride or die.” Would your best friends drop out of high school to assist you in preparing for a war against the Dark Lord?  Ron and Hermione were constantly risking their life for Harry. Not every friend would do that. Actually, this could really extend beyond Ron and Hermione to Harry’s other classmates at Hogwarts as well. Each of them rallied around Harry and provided the support–risking their lives–to ensure good vanquished evil.

Note: I thought about including The Marauders but honestly, they were teenage assholes. Fans like to gloss over the fact James, Sirius, Remus and Peter were bullies but I can’t. We know they eventually grew up and grew out of being jerks (with the exception of one) but the glimpse the readers received of their time at Hogwarts painted them in an unsavory light.


Troy and Abed are weird. And that’s what makes their friendship so interesting. Troy started his time at Greendale Community College as the popular jock-type who didn’t have to do much of anything to acquire friends.  Abed on the other hand had his quirks that made it a bit difficult for him to interact with others. However, the two of them were able to build a friendship and pull out the quirkiness in one another. I think that’s what the best friendships do. We’re all weird and good friends are those who learn how to deal with it and love us for it.


I thought my list was a little dude-centric and that’s a problem. I’ve noticed that most male friendships are portrayed as you know, friendships while female friendships are portrayed as catty passive-aggressive rivalries. That’s not cool. Not every lady friendship is shown as such but they’re way too many for my liking. However, the friendship between Jess and Cece on New Girl is refreshing. The two of them have been friends since elementary school and now in their late-twenties, they remain close. Jess and Cece’s friendship is like a mix of Cory and Shawn’s and Troy and Abed’s. They’ve been friends since childhood and have been there for each other through ups and downs and have learned to accept each other’s weird. The New Girl writers have done an adequate job of establishing Jess and Cece’s friendship but I wish they’d spend a little more time developing it further like they have with the rest of the roommates in the loft.

What is your favorite fictional friendship? I’d really like to hear about it.

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