Welcome Aboard

I'm excited you've come along for the ride with me, as I blog about my thoughts and adventures about writing. Take a look around, post a comment or two, and enjoy!

23 June, 2022

Do it anyway

 This is the shortest blog post I’ve written. If no one will be for you, do it anyway. If people try to “block” your career, move past them. God is the author of our lives. Not people. Have faith. Ignore those people. Keep pursuing your dream. Keep honing your craft. 

14 June, 2022

Limitations and Expectations

Limitation and Expectations


When Covid swept through the country and the world in 2020, we all thought life would be back to normal by that spring. We are now in June of 2022 and life isn’t the way it was. Death causes me to think and reflect. Another death, causes me to really stop and reflect. 

What limitations have I placed on myself as a woman, as a writer, as a future scientist?

Future scientist? Check out my prior blog post. 


It’s taken me some time to realize my limitations are based on expectations. And how that can be a very flawed way of thinking and living. Family identity and values, tied in with cultural beliefs placed expectations upon me that were never my own. As a woman we are taught to be submissive to the point that we disappear. Our wants, needs, desires are second to others. Love is something that’s okay to dream about but be happy with whatever you get. Your dreams don’t really matter. As a black woman, take all of that and increase it one hundred fold. 


I never wanted to be a medical doctor. I pass out at the sight of blood, yet I was a pre-med major for two years of undergrad because it was expected of me. 


I wanted to be a scientist for NASA. Okay, I wanted to be an astronaut, but NASA had this whole 20/20 vision thing and those are not the eyes God gave me. Though He did give me gorgeous eyes. Thank you Lord. And I love wearing my funky glamour-girl glasses.


As a child I found joy, peace, and comfort in the pages of a book and then in writing my own plays and books and short stories. Those genres I wrote in were: sci-fi, fantasy, horror. Now the horror I know was an add-on as a way for my mind to process trauma. The fantasy was fueled by my daily expedition into the forest around my home. The sci-fi—that was fueled by my nightly star gazing and my science classes.


Girls in STEM was not a thing in my generation. The most we got was: Nurse, Doctor, or Teacher. I wanted to be a scientist. Yet I was constantly steered away from that path, including math teachers that purposefully left me ignorant on the math I would have needed to succeed as a college science major. 


Girls as writers was not a thing in my generation. The most we got was: Teacher, or Social Worker. 


2012 I had a conversation with a writing teacher about how I write novels and screenplays. This person told me I was wrong to do both and that I had to pick one. That I could only write novels or write screenplays. I pointed out to her people like Neil Gamon, Neil Shusterman, Suzanne Collins, Stephen King who write in both formats. Why is it okay for them to write in multiple formats but not me? Is it because none of them are female writers of color? Expectations of otherness. 


2020 I was doing research for a non-fiction book and came across so many people of color that went against the limitations and expectations placed upon them by their own families and by society. I marveled at the people who triumphed during slavery and even during Jim Crow years. They refused to be less than who they were.  Limitations were shattered. 


2022 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. The ratio of peanut butter to chocolate is perfect. My life is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. A harmonious blend of Writer and future Scientist. It defies all limitations and expectations for someone like me. 


You don’t have to live a life of limitations and expectations either. 


Start that business.

Move to Italy and open a B&B.

Take that culinary class in Paris in the summer.

Move across country.


Be your full, true self. Give 100% of yourself every day. Don’t be limited anymore. Don’t settle for anyone else’s expectations of you. 


And if you don’t know what you truly want to do in life, or how to achieve it. Take a day. Grab a notebook and pen, or use the notepad feature on your phone. Pray. Mediate. Take a deep breath. Dive in.


 


17 May, 2022

Reset

 Reset

I’ve been using the phrase “life is too short”, for the past two years. Death claimed two uncles and an aunt. The most recent being two weeks ago. I realized two years ago change needed to happen in me. What I didn’t realize was that it would take so long. Lasting change takes time. It feels good to be on the other side of that change. And I welcome more change. Change is growth. But that amount of change drained my creativity. Everything had to stop. I wrote in different formats. I went weeks without writing. I read nonfiction and essays. I sought experiences and life. I needed a reset. Because life is too short. I’ve set my heart on what truly matters. I’ve set my mind on goals I want to accomplish. This week I will be publishing two new short stories on Amazon. I was accepted into a mentor writing program with Netflix that I pray leads to a screenwriting sale.  And I’m diving back into my novel writing. 

Life is too short to hesitate or say no when you really, really want to try. I’m back in school pursuing my BS in Physics. The confidence I needed as an undergrad, I now have. In these past two years I realized: my science infuses my science fiction. And my science fiction infuses my science. The two halves of myself are finally one. What are you hesitating to do? What is holding you back? Don’t live another day with regret. Take a leap of faith and you’ll find that the leap is only a matter of a few steps. 

23 February, 2022

My Sword

 I dropped my sword out of fear. 

Fear of what would come after me if I continued to use it. 

Fear of the loneliness I expect as a sword wielder. 

Fear of attention and unending expectations. 

Fear of being seen as an unchristian. 

Jesus gave me this sword. He intends for me to use it. 

With a roar I pick up my sword. 

Tighten my grip on my shield. 

And run into battle. 

16 September, 2021

Trauma Writing

Trauma Writing

There is a movement happening where people are invited, in a safe space, to write about their past trauma. I’ve done this before and found it very therapeutic. The trauma writing I’m talking about today is what, through prayer, I discovered in my creative writing. My past trauma was woven so thickly into my novels, screenplays and poems  that I could not see it. All I knew was that I struggled with an over abundance of darkness, sorrow and pain in my writing. And I wanted to write for children. I thought this was my true writing self and that I would always write this way. 


Then I had a chance to attend an online conference and meet, via zoom, an author whose  work I’ve loved since middle school: Alan Dean Foster. I took extensive notes, and even got to ask him a question and show him my copy of Cachalot. He told me (and the conference goers),  the backstory about the novel and about the cover on my book. There was one sentence he said that resonated within me and would not let me go. He talked about how he doesn’t write dystopian because there is enough darkness in the world and he doesn’t want to add to it. 



That’s what I was searching for but was unable to put into words. I’m done with putting darkness, sadness, and despair into the world through my trauma writing. It’s taken me seven months to recognize, confront, accept and let go of the trauma that had woven its way into my writing. Now my writing is heartfelt, it’s rich, it’s vibrant and it’s alive. When you ask God to help you, He always makes a way. 

03 May, 2021

Reflection

Looking into a mirror isn't just to help us apply makeup or to shave. The mirror helps us remember and helps us reflect--no pun intended. 2020 Was a year of mourning. It was also a year to reflect on our lives and change what no longer worked; change who we were never created to be. As we step firmly into 2021, take time to look in a mirror. I have several scifi and horror writing projects coming out this year. My horror writing is steeped in truth, sorrow and triumph. I know that may seem odd, but it is my truth...my path. We each have a path to walk and to light. Best be on your way.

09 January, 2021

January 2021

Let this month be a new beginning for you. 2020 was hard for many and creativity may seem like the last thing you want to do, but the world needs your voice.

09 October, 2020

Twelve Weeks

This is the time of year I post about nanowrimo or about finishing the year strong with your writing project. This is the time of year I write about making a final push to reach those goals you made in January. But this is 2020. This year has forced me to stop my fast-paced life and look at what truly matters; let go of the past. Because I submitted to the process, I am able to write from a place I'd never thought possible. I realized what is truly important to me and that change is a good thing. A healing thing. And as the last twelve weeks of 2020 thrust themselves upon us, if you have not submitted to deep reflection about who you are, who you want to be, are you living your true life, what fears are you still holding onto, etc. Take the time now.

06 May, 2020

Redecorate vs. Renovate

Redecorate vs. Renovate I have a screenplay I wrote that I’ve gotten great feedback on. It’s about suicide. I’m having difficulty getting anyone to say yes to it. Today I took a long, hard, critical look at it and I found what it needs. The only problem is, it doesn’t need to be redecorated, it needs to be renovated. You know those home improvement shows where they sand and stain or paint kitchen cabinets because they’re solid and only need surface work? That’s redecorate. That’s not this screenplay. My screenplay is like when they take a crowbar and rip the cabinets off the wall. Then they rip the drywall off and you’re left with the studs. You have to renovate, gut, the entire place. That’s where this screenplay is. It needs to be gutted down to the studs so I can put the best drywall and cabinets in. Life can be like that too. Don’t confuse a paint job with a need to do a total renovation. Put in the hard word and rip everything out. Then build in what is truly unique to you. Your writing and you as a person will be all the better for it.

23 March, 2020

Don’t Give Up

Don’t give up on your Dreams. With the pandemic going on, the world has found itself social distancing and staying home. In our 21st century society, we have more choices for entertainment than there are hours in the day. We can fill our minds with endless TV shows or hours of opera or theater. Or...we can take a few hours today to reset. Are you living the life you always wanted to live? If so...congratulations. If not...it’s reset time. Take some of your quarantine time today to reflect on the life you truly want. If you’re at home with others, go to a separate room or even a closet. Take pen and paper, or jot your answers down on your phone. Here are your prompts: 1. I always wanted to be a... 2. I always wanted to live in/at/on... 3. My one (or however many you have), regret is... 4. Today is a new day. I can start living my dream(s) by... 5. I will stop listening to fear and do something bold today by... 6. By June 1st of this year, I will have done...towards my dream(s). Set a reminder on your phone to revisit your answers at least once a week. I plan on posting mine on my bathroom mirror so I am often reminded of my dreams and action steps. And at the top of you page write: BE BOLD. LIVE FEARLESS. Know that I am rooting for you.

09 March, 2020

What type of writer am I?

What kind of writer am I? 2020 is turning into an interesting year for me. I’ve written and submitted poetry and essays. Yet I’ve always considered myself a fiction writer. Time is a funny construct. It gives us room to shift and grow and change and be re-formed into something completely new. Time asks nothing from us but that it be used. And used well, until there is nothing left in the vessel of time but empty space. If you’d asked me three years ago what type of writing I do, I would have said, “YA SciFi and Horror, novels and screenplays”. I never would have said, “I’ve been exploring the depth of the kaleidoscope of color on the end of a grain of sand—in words and harmony through poetry.” I am still hard at work on my adult horror novel (another new thing for me), while I explore this new person I’ve become who pulls back the petals of a fresh rose to show the world the delicate workings within that brings life to the bees. 2020 People say it’s synonymous with perfect vision. I tend to not see perfection in anything (except Twinkies). Even nature throws a slight curve into the symmetry of a butterfly’s wings. I think 2020 is the beginning of near vision. And as I continue to dig deeper into my writing (I’m preparing to undertake a huge research project for a book), I am reminded to see beyond the first glance. Dive deep. Tell it true. And tell it with heart.

03 February, 2020

Whittle Down

I’m looking at my list of potential nonfiction books (don’t worry. I’m still at work on my fiction novel), I’ll be writing a proposal for, in order to submit to agents this spring. The topics are areas I am qualified to speak on. For me, “qualified” isn’t enough. I’m qualified to explain the kinetic theory of matter or stoichiometry, but my desire and passion are writing-—which I’m also qualified to do. The difference is in the D & P. Desire and Passion. Just as there are people in the business world who toil away their Monday - Friday in jobs they feel nothing for, there are screenwriters and authors who churn out work(s) they care nothing about. It pays the bills. Is that now the standard to hold our lives up to? Paying the bills? As if desire and passion for your work won’t? Guess what? The soulless work standard is a lie! That knowledge, to focus only writing that which I am passionate about, helps me whittle down my list from an oak tree to a toothpick. I can work with a toothpick.

27 January, 2020

Break the Mold and Be Free

Break the Mold Last night I painted. I haven’t painted in over ten years. It was past time. I broke out my watercolors and acrylics. The first painting I did was horrible. Why? It was confined. Restricted. See, my high school art teacher would correct me whenever I tried to draw or paint abstract. Even in advanced art honors classes she would continue. I was never allowed to unleash me. Now I won lots of awards for my scenes of wildflowers and farm life, but there was something inside me that wanted to break out of the “expected of me” mold I had been shoved into. Last night. I took a blank sheet of mixed media paper, acrylic paints and watercolors and placed them before me. I turned up the cello music. Closed my eyes and let myself feel. Opened my eyes (sometimes). And I painted. I haven’t thought of a name for it, my painting, but a family member saw it and was amazed by it. Said she could see raw emotion in it. Today I got back to writing poetry. And I decided to do what I did for my painting. I chose to not write in the confines of stanza and line breaks and iambic pentameter. I wrote from my inner core. Five poems. My fiction writing has changed as well. My adult novel is full of hope and despair; love and perseverance. I don’t flinch from anything in this novel. I hope to finish it in March. Whatever is holding you back. Break out of it. Be free.

20 January, 2020

MLK Day is Just Another School Holiday

MLK Day is just another school holiday By Desiree Middleton copyright 2020 I was going to skim the internet and copy and past another banal platitude to MLK that ended with “black power”, or “Happy MLK day”, or “Black lives matter”, but the state of the nation and the world made me question what the point was. Why does anyone celebrate MLK day? Is it just another school holiday, or should it still matter? And if it should matter, why should anyone care? At least a dozen times a day, I hear the N-word used by students. Casual banter with their classmates. Hurled at each other as insults. When corrected by myself or other students, the perpetrators usually apologize. But in ALL cases, an hour later, a day later, they are back to using that word. I’ve erased the N word off of tables and out of books. Sometimes my name and a not nice picture of me is attached. Sometimes students erase it before I see it, warning me to stay away while they erase it—telling me after what it said. “I want you to understand the history of that word”, I’d say to the perpetrators. Or, “Here is why that word is offensive to me”. Social media and television continue to paint a picture of African Americans as whores and gang bangers. “Say something ghetto,” a student once told me. Now, today’s youth are not the only ones who have a skewed sense of what an African American is. My own culture group does as well. “Ugh, she’s at the beach sitting in the sun. Doesn't she know she’s black?” “Why do you talk like white people?” “Why don’t you write about (anything related to slavery), instead of this horror stuff?” Or what I heard growing up: “Why do you read so much?” So when it comes to MLK day do I go to the African American museum and read aloud, I have a dream, because it’s expected of me as an African American? The affluent African Americans from Beverly Hills will make their appearance at the museum and at parades. Shake hands. Even have a repas with middle and lower socioeconomic African Americans. Then the economic classes will divide like the Red Sea. Those affluent folk will get in their Mercedes while the others will hop the blue line or bus (or Prius), to go home; never to mix again until next MLK day. That’s the real tragedy. Or do I take what MLK stood for, and others after him, and put it into practice? As I write this I am listening to an African American cellist. Ooh he’s doing a non-African American thing. Watch out! I’ve seen enough in this world in the time I’ve been alive to know that equality is a moving target. That African American women have suffered atrocities so horrifying, reading eye witness accounts of them will make you physically ill. And I’ve seen hope. Hope is like a wildfire. It needs only the tiniest spark and breath of life to become alive. I choose hope. MLK had a dream. Along the way this country lost sight of that. Let MLK day be your reminder. Move past retweeting or posting an MLK speech. Do something to uplift someone.

30 December, 2019

2020

2020 The new year and new decade are almost here. I know people will write out a list of things they’re most proud of accomplishing in the past year and decade. Such a list can serve two purposes. The first is pride. The second, and more constructive, is guidance. I started the decade wanting to be a published author. It’s happened a half dozen times now. And you...what have you done with the time you’ve been given? Not what expensive car or house did you buy. Or what lavish vacations did you take. Did you change someone’s life? Did you change your own? Did you help or turn your back on someone in need? Did you take a risk and try something new? I’ve always wanted to rock climb. Ever since I was a child. I was hiking the other day and there was a gorgeous view of the snow covered mountains in the distance. I wanted to take a picture of them. I love photography. I wanted a perfect shot. The only way to do that was to climb a boulder that stood taller than me. I wanted my shot. So I grabbed hold with my fingertips. Dug in with my toes and climbed. I focused on my hands. Never looked down. And climbed to the top. The view was amazing. Then I looked down and saw how high off the ground I was and I felt ecstatic. I hadn’t let doubt about whether or not I could climb the boulder keep me from trying. I dug in and climbed, never doubting I could succeed. I’d no idea how I would get back down, but I didn’t care. When I set out from home that morning, I’d only intended to go hiking, not rock climbing. But I saw the opportunity and took it. Being in shape (prepared), I could do it. 2020. What opportunities will come your way? Will you take them, or turn your back on them; believe them impossible? Today I worked on the outline and first paragraph of a new novel. The genre falls under what I believe is called magical realism. I’m looking forward to writing it. I was supposed to start it January 1, but this story means a lot to me and I chose not to wait. Don’t wait. Set your goals for the year and pursue them. Climb that boulder. Know you can. Have faith.

06 October, 2019

Check out my writing on Amazon.

18 June, 2019

My first novel is out!

There's something amazing about holding the first copy of your novel in your hands. Flipping through the pages. Smelling the glossy cover. I was able to do that. My first Young Adult, Fantasy (with some Sci-fi elements), novel is out. And I feel extremely blessed. Jesus has taken me on this journey of self discovery. Showed me my true purpose. Gave me the tools to make my dream come true. And this is just the beginning. The Blue Key: Quest for Peace is part one of a series. Part two has already been outlined and I will commence writing it this July. FULL TIME! Thank you to my family and friends who made this novel possible. My proof copy of The Blue Key: Quest for Peace, sits on my bookshelf next to the first bible I bought when I was saved. It's in the right place. Do I have any regrets about this novel? I regret that I spent years sending it to agents and getting it rejected, instead of listening to people (including young adults), who loved it and begged me to publish it so they could finish reading the entire novel. LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE. THEY KNOW BETTER! My second novel is also a series. This one is 100% Sci-fi. I'm almost done with revisions on it. Then it will sit for a few weeks while I work on final edits to a suicide screenplay I'm putting finishing touches on. Then that novel will hopefully be ready to publish in August of this year. Thank you again for all those who believed in me and cheered me on. You guys are amazing!