Public and Private Position: A Commentary Piece

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The US elections are on everyone’s newsfeeds whether you’re interested or not. All of us (the rest of the world) are a bit stunned at what’s happening. To be honest, (don’t throw virtual tomatoes at me) I expected Donald Trump to have fallen out of the race early on. The fact that he has come so far (and yes so close) is astonishing to me. The man is a walking billboard for every type of ‘ism’ out there, except feminism of course *drum roll*

Yeah don’t sue me. That was my attempt at a joke. I’m not a comedian, I’m a romance author *cheeky grin*

What keeps coming back to me this week, and has me on this US election train of thought, was something Hillary Clinton said, something to the effect of having a public and private position. Many were up in arms at this statement. And at first I was like “What are they going on about?” Everyone has a public and private position. But if you think about it, that’s not what she meant. She didn’t mean what Ludacris rapped in that funky tune of Usher’s, “We want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed to say…” *bobs head*

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You know the sentiment that underlines the lyric, that there are facets about yourself that you keep private, personal. It’s no one’s business but yours…sometimes those closest to you too.

Though that’s not what I believe those who don’t agree with Hillary’s sentiment appose. Because if you really study the statement and I mean, really study it, not just from your frame of reference or world view, than it becomes problematic.

Because, according to her, you can have a different level of integrity in private than you have in public?

The answer to that is no. You need to be the same person when no one sees you, when you are not scrutinized. Your yes needs to be yes and your no, no. You can’t flip in public.

Here’s a definition of integrity, so that you know what I mean when I use the word. This is what I understand by it. It is “the quality of being honest and morally upright.” That’s the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition.

To me, no one’s perfect. I believe we all need to be a bit more gracious towards each other. Exercise understanding and consideration. You can work towards perfection, though let’s be honest, that’s not something you will achieve in your lifetime. We are all works in progress. Every day is a practical exercise in learning what it means to be human. And let me just say, this is not a pro-Hilary or pro-Donald or in any way a political post as much as it is a social one. I’m not interested in their political agendas, frankly, because I’m not from the US. I’m from South Africa. This election doesn’t impact me the same way it does an American. I’m not emotionally, mentally or physically tied it.

What inspired this post was a recent correspondence I had with someone who will remain nameless *smile*

You see, when you are in a position of leadership you are always under scrutiny. Whether you lead five or millions, you will get scrutiny. That’s why parents shouldn’t be shocked when their grownup kids give them a review of how they were raised, because from the child’s perspective that might not always have been a positive experience. But who wants negative critique? No one. We don’t like it, I certainly don’t. But we get it anyway.

So back to Hilary and her statement. After I got this correspondence I realized that there are people who live by that statement’s level of integrity every single day. They shape it according to who’s in front of them. If you are powerful enough to cause trouble for me, I won’t be honest with you. If your level of significance is the same as an ant’s in my life, I’ll be brutally honest and then some. Their level of honesty and morality adapts to their audience. And that’s what some people have a problem with. That’s what I learned, I don’t like.

It’s false, fake, phony…all those lovely words we use on a daily basis to describe someone we wouldn’t trust as far as we could throw them.

I don’t object so much to the fake and phoniness if you’re both that privately and publicly. Because then you’d be honest. I mean there I have to give it to Trump. The man is disgusting in private and in public. What you see is what you get.

Where the problem lies for me is when you profess to be ‘nice’ in the eyes of those whom you can benefit from, because they have a certain level of power over you, and then ‘rude’ to the people you think, doesn’t have the power to touch you.

Because, that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? Accountability and responsibility? If I have no one to answer to, if I’m a dictator, if I can’t be held responsible for my behavior, if there’s no checks and balances. Then what’s to stop me from flipping the integrity switch in how I deal with people, in my work life, in the societies I join and organizations I belong to. To one person I’m one thing, yet to another I’m something else. No one knows what they’re getting. And that’s problematic.

And when you are someone that’s under scrutiny that won’t just be problematic for you, but dangerous.

I’m thinking of Elorra’s Cave the e-publishing company that had this huge lawsuit going on with its authors. Before the paw-paw hit the fan, the company had a public position that turned out to be horse manure (yeah I don’t swear, get over it). Authors weren’t being paid, unprofessional behavior within the company, etc. (Just do a Google search on the publisher with the word lawsuit and everything will spill out.)

The integrity they professed to have to us (everyone on the outside) was not what they exercised in private. That, my dear people, in the blogosphere, is what I call corruption. See how far having a private and public position stretches when viewed in light of integrity. This isn’t on the side of that funky lyric of Ludacris. This is something else, much sinister. And when someone exercises this form of ‘integrity’ and they have no level of accountability, you have to start asking yourself whether you still want to deal with them and what your responsibility are here.

Because believe it or not, you do have a responsibility (this is where your integrity comes into play).

If you’re dealing with someone in leadership where there are checks and balances, it is simple; report to those checks and balances, especially where their behavior can lead to a lawsuit. If there are none, then you have to wake up and smell the horse manure. You are part of a dictatorship. And if history has taught us anything about dictatorships, they don’t get overthrown without a level of bloodshed *cringe*

Of course if you choose the pacifist route, than sit back, sip that glass of red you poured for yourself, because you and everyone else around you, are royally…you know what *laughs*

 

#HappyWriting

#haveanawesomeweekend

#seeyouontheblogosphere

 

 

 

 

Sold!

 

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Sold! The Wolf’s Choice!

What every author loves to hear when it comes to their stories, “we are offering you a contract.”

I’m officially part of the Black Hills Wolves pack! Okay fine, not the Tao Pack, but certainly part of the Author Pack who makes this wonderful shape-shifter series howl with awesome characters.

Yep, I’m a werewolf nut. If Stephanie Meyer hadn’t written Edward Cullen so gorgeous, I would’ve been Team Jacob. Just saying.

So here’s a sneak peak at the not-yet-edited blurb. I hope you love it!

*And to all the readers who love my contemporary romances, I am working on another flirty romance but in the meantime, enjoy Rebecca and Blaine.

 

Blurb:

“I’ll pledge my loyalty to you through a blood oath, if you support my choice of mate.”

Drew sat back in his chair. “What does Rebecca have to say? The last time I spoke to her, she didn’t mention you.”

Blaine smiled. He hadn’t earned himself any favors. “She doesn’t know yet.”                         

 

Thirteen years ago Rebecca Ferguson died, at least to everyone in the Black Hills territory. With a human mother and unable to shift into a wolf, Magnum Toa, the deranged Alpha of the Toa Pack would’ve had both her and her father killed for deceiving him. Magnum didn’t allow humans to mate with members of his pack.

Now Magnum is the one who’s dead and Rebecca can return.

But coming back from the dead, building a new life after her divorce and opening a library in town isn’t the only obstacles Rebecca faces. Elijah, her father, doesn’t approve of her being in Los Lobos to the point where he forbids her to get involved with the pack, especially the males.

Their relationship has suffered because of her absence and she hopes to bridge the divide; confident that she doesn’t want a romantic entanglement with anyone human or wolf, anyway.

In walks sexy private detective Blaine Walker.

Thirteen years ago Blaine stumbled on his mate at the local Swimming Hole. The next day, she was dead. Once he learns Rebecca is alive and living in Los Lobos, he decides it’s time to give up his career in Brooklyn and return to Black Hills. But he knows it won’t be easy to claim her since Elijah’s unnaturally overprotective. The only way Elijah will back off is to challenge him.

A challenge that will end in one of their deaths.

The Toa Pack’s rebuilding itself and needs to guard against any threats outside or in. For Blaine to have any chance to claim Rebecca Elijah needs to be dealt with and to deal with Elijah, Drew, the Alpha of the Toa Pack, has to sanction the challenge according to pack law.

Rebecca can’t deny the old attraction she felt for Blaine is still there and even stronger now that they are grownup. She’s caught between the man fate has brought back to her and her father, whose affection she craved her whole life.

But there’s a secret governing Elijah’s erratic behavior that can cost Rebecca everything she’s worked hard to build and everything she thought she could never have with a man or wolf.

Will Rebecca and Blaine beat the odds stacked against them?

Or will the choices they make ultimately lead them down a path both of them don’t want?

 

 

Writing Tips & Motivation 2.0

I’m working on a new WIP (work in progress). I submitted the first three chapters of a WIP to the wrong Harlequin line and ended up with possibly one of the nicest and encouraging rejection letters I’ve ever received in my writing career. I was asked to resubmit something else since the story I sent in didn’t fit with the line and the editors liked my voice *slaps forehead* Can you say nut? Because that’s what I am. Should’ve triple checked. Anyway, I thought I’d share some writing tips that keep me centered as I work through my new WIP.

Hope it helps you too 🙂

*disclaimer: these images do not belong to me, I found them on the inter-webs.

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News, Views and Writing that Love Scene

Another week has gone and I woke up this morning thinking, ‘wow where did the time go?’ It’s been a hectic week writing wise. On Monday I got an email on a manuscript I submitted early this year and was asked to do revisions and resubmit. So I pushed back on a WIP I was working on for submission to Harlequin at the end of August.

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I’ve written about this manuscript I was asked to do revisions on before. My publisher (Decadent Publishing) had started a series, Black Hills Wolves, and I’ve read some of the books and love one of the co-creators behind the series, Rebecca Royce’s books, so I was more than intrigued. I queried about the series and then submitted a synopsis. The novels are short reads and I’ve always wanted to see if I could write a novella. During that time there was a lot of back and forth working through plot ideas and I’ve never had that with an editor before. It was amazing how easy, open and friendly; Laura Garland was as we went through this process. I also got guidelines from Rebecca and Heather Long, who’s also the co-creator of this multi-author series.

I had my Rupunzel story to complete while I was doing this, so I figured since I had a worked out synopsis writing would be fast. And yeah it was *smile*

A Wolf’s Choice was just one of those stories that flowed, and I think it had a lot to do with the level of investment and interest I had in the characters. I’ve worked from synopses before, even though I love the ‘discovery’ as I write. And I’ve learned to go with my gut. Some stories will always require a bit of more in-depth planning than others. Instead of viewing an outline and a synopsis as stifling, I rather see it as a road map, along the way side roads will probably be taken and a couple of hours spent admiring the view, but I know where I’m heading.

That’s what A Wolf’s Choice felt like writing. I knew where I was heading, I knew who my characters were and I knew what they were going to find at the end (not just a HEA *wink*).

A Wolf’s Choice is also my first foray into writing a love scene (I talked about it on my Facebook Page:http://bit.ly/1defI54 ). I did what every author does when confronted with something they’ve never written before, I went on the internet, researched, did silly status updates where I ‘voiced’ my anxiety but still tried to do it in a non-I’m-a-dunce way.

The best advice I got from the inter-webs was write what you’re comfortable with. Use words that doesn’t make you cringe and words your characters would definitely use, that fits with their personality. And most importantly be true to the story.

So I took the pressure off and decided to chuck out the guidelines for the series (which had a distinct heat level) and just write what the characters and story demanded of me. And the scene became effortless. In fact I think I surprised myself, which really shouldn’t have been such a surprise at all.

My bookshelf consists of such a variety of genres and heat levels that I should’ve known I wouldn’t have a problem writing a love scene. I think where the pressure or even fear comes in, was with what people who knew me would think. Even at thirty-two you can’t help but still care. I’m fairly open about my faith and what I believe; it’s a lifestyle to me. Every day, all day *smile* so how do you reconcile writing a love scene (not a sex scene mind you) with the conservative world of Christianity? (Of course you also have to ask how do you reconcile werewolves, but that’s a story for another blog post *smile*).

Two of my favorite Christian authors are Francine Rivers and Frank Peretti, two writers who write a distinct spiritual message in their stories, but don’t sacrifice the story or characters for preachy writing. It astounded me to learn at first that Francine Rivers was a romance writer, and then I went, “No wait that actually makes sense, since she writes romance in her books.” There’s a love story between a man and a woman, but also between them and God. Made perfect sense. Frank Peretti on the other end, writes nail biting suspense slash horror filled blockbusters you just want to ask Hollywood to make some big feature film out of so you can be scared witless again *laughs* They are open about human sexuality. They do not draw a veil over it as if it didn’t exist. They are honest in their writing. And that’s what I love about these two authors. They don’t conform to what a Christian book is ‘supposed’ to be, but they write the story that’s in their hearts to write and stay true to the characters.

I took a page from them and went for it. In the end I was pleasantly surprised. There are really a lot of varied emotions that goes on in that love scene and it’s vital to the plot of the story. A Wolf’s Choice couldn’t have happened without it. I’m glad I didn’t shy away from writing it. It’s become one of my favorite scenes in the novella. I’m hoping to complete the revisions and hit send soon, and God willing, come back with good news *smile*

Thanks for being on the writing journey with me xoxo

#HappyWriting.

 

 

 

Christine and the Queens: Art of Dancing

I form part of that weird sub-category of women that actually love a guy that can dance *smile* No seriously. A guy who knows how to move? Kryp-to-nite. We will become your slaves.

Why am I on this strange train of thought? Well I caught the Graham Norton Show that featured Christine and the Queens. First time I ever heard of them or rather I should say, her.

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Loved the song, Tilted, immediately became an obsessive listen. But more than that, I would watch the performance. Christine (stage name for Héloïse Leister) does a great job, but male dancers being my kryptonite I was for the most part focused on them.

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Here’s a link: http://tinyurl.com/h9zf7xh

Go check out the performance out.

I would actually pay someone to teach me how to dance like that. My love of dancing isn’t exactly a secret *smile* I did dedicate a whole book to it (check out my book here: http://amzn.to/1AaLcDS)

Yes Hollywood, I can also do product placement *wink*

Some of the dancing they incorporate reminds me of pantsula dancing, distinctive to South Africa. I’m reminded now also of Gwen Stefani’s Misery music video that features pantsula dancing throughout.

Here are some pictures of the dancers doing their thing.

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Check out the music video for Tilted and tell me what you think!

Writing Poetry

Last year I did a post on writing poetry, how it’s one of the styles I prefer writing in and also the first type of writing I did as a child (following in my brother and sister’s footsteps *smile*).

I promised to feature some poetry on here every now and then, so in light of a recent *cough* personal blog post I did *smile* I decided to share the level of angst *ha* that went through my head at the time. I usually tend to stay away from posting the oh-so-close-to-home poems I write (those who are friends with me on Facebook knows this. I always put a disclaimer just incase someone tries to connect the dots, when there are none.) I’m a very close to the vest kinda gal when it comes to revealing all, even though if you went through my blog you might not think so *wink* I am.

So this poem is a snapshot of an issue I struggled with recently and I thought I’d share it here, you know because…ugh…why not? …lol

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I feel like I’m staring down a cliff

And I can’t make out what’s below

I’ve never been so conflicted

You want me to jump with you.

You’ve never been my safety

Even though I trusted you

But since you’ve been gone

I’ve made up for lost time.

 

I should’ve left it there

Because my feelings were hurt

I could’ve left it there

Because you wanted to move on,

I must’ve kept it there

Because I couldn’t just jump

When it came to a leap of faith

I just went out and took it.

 

I feel like I’m staring down a cliff

And I don’t know what’s below

Will it be the same old, same old?

Or are you willing to let go?

You’re skirting on the edge of things

Not touching what it was

Can’t really blame you for it

I don’t want to go there either.

 

You should’ve left it there

Because my feelings were hurt

You could’ve left it there

Because you wanted to move on,

You must’ve kept it there

Because I couldn’t just jump

When it came to a leap of faith

I just went out and risked it.

 

And I feel like I’m staring down this cliff

And I can’t make out what’s below

Are you for real?

Or will I get more torn from this?

If this is a measure of faith

Than I’m stretching mine till it gives

I’m just wondering,

Will it be worth the risk?

 

 

The “Hello? It’s me…” Trend

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Yes that’s the opening line to Adele’s smash hit Hello and has also become the bane of my life these last couple of years.

First of let me just say, I love you Adele but goodness, you just gave every single blast from the past the urge to scratch an old itch only they are feeling. I’m all for someone having closure but man, not at my expense. Especially when I’ve dealt with things like a mature adult and they haven’t.

Hence the awkward ‘hello’ in an emotionally infused email that I had to wade through with not much enthusiasm recently.

*sigh*

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My face while I read that email…exactly

Seriously, what is it with this trend?

There’s a time and a place for everything and almost three years down the line is not it, sweetie. I’m not going to suddenly have ‘all the feels’ and reminisce with you. I’m not going to forget why there was no communication in that time. I’m not going to dismiss your role or mine in what caused the split/argument/hurt. There’s a very good reason we haven’t been in touch and that reason still stands.

So, why the ‘hello from the other side’?

Here’s my theory.

The person on ‘the other side’ hasn’t dealt with the break up of the relationship/friendship. They haven’t confronted themselves and the role they played in what led to you not having a relationship anymore. They’ve been carrying that baggage around for almost three years and now decided, since they are still carrying all of the emotional weight around, you must also be doing it.

Um…no, the person on this side of things, doesn’t.

But will the person on the other side take that into consideration? No. They won’t. They’ve got the ‘feels’ after something or other triggered their conscience and now you have to deal with it too.

You understand their need for wanting forgiveness, you understand their need for closing a chapter in their life, understand that maybe they needed this to finally put you behind them…but you did all of that without barging in on their lives, hashing up the past and basically turning yourself into someone, someone like me, would have fodder to write a blog post about.

You dealt with your demons in the privacy of your own head and heart. You didn’t invite (*cough* force) anyone else in there because it is your issues you need to deal with, not theirs.

I’ve never felt the urge to write someone a ‘hello it’s me’ letter…because guess what, at the end of those three words is ‘me’. And the only person who needs to deal with ‘me’ is me, especially after almost three years of silence. Which should give you a really big clue, (but obviously they missed it) that the person on the other side of that email has moved on and so should you.

#thisshouldnotbeatrend