Favorite Character Question is Major Author Bait

OPEN BOOK (6)#OpenBook

From all the characters you’ve created, which is your favorite and why?

What kind of f—

Okay, I smell a setup. My kids tried asking me something like this. It didn’t work then either. Which one of my characters got you? Was it Raad?

It was Raad. He’s so narcissistic. It’s bad enough he wrecked my concentration until I got his characterization finished. Now, he’s gotta try to force some sick confession out of me? Sit your butt down, Raad, and wait for me to release Building on Broken Dreams to show your…self to the world.

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I said to sit down!

Maybe it was Zaida. Continue reading “Favorite Character Question is Major Author Bait”

Laughter as Armor and Shield

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#OpenBook

What’s the one thing guaranteed to make you laugh?

Hmm…

Tough question. Is the laughter a sarcastic “you’re an idiot” or a full-hearted “that was hilarious” type of thing?

I laugh for so many reasons, not all of which involve anything being funny. Like when my former boss and her supervisor had me in the office jeopardizing my job because their friend/co-worker didn’t like that I ignored her unprofessional email tantrum. Continue reading “Laughter as Armor and Shield”

#OpenBook: Smell That? The Stench of Child Sexual Abuse

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If your childhood had a smell, what would it be?

One of the things most people remember about their childhoods is the scrumptious mixture of scents of a well-cooked meal at home. They revel in memories of swirls of seasonings in the warm air wrapping them in comfort.

Well, that would not be the smell of my childhood—not totally. For me, caustic fumes of abuse defiled such wonderful aromas, threatening to completely choke out my humanity.

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Continue reading “#OpenBook: Smell That? The Stench of Child Sexual Abuse”

#OpenBook: Half-Charged and Ready to Go!

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#OpenBook How do you recharge?

I’ve spent most of the past twenty years of my life running on fumes. I became a mom to my beautiful daughter in 1998—and never slept again!

Well, I slept, but not much because her brother was born the following year. AND the babies kept coming. By the time my oldest was five, I had my fourth baby and forgot what having a good night sleep or a relaxing day was.

If that wasn’t enough, my dumb…self decides to go to college and finish a few degree programs—work—engage in community organizing, and have two more babies. Throw freelance writing and authorship (writing, publishing, promoting, etc.), and relaxing is truly an alien thing for me. Continue reading “#OpenBook: Half-Charged and Ready to Go!”

#MFRWAuthor- Anger & Food: A Deadly Combination

Stress Eating: The Whys and Wherefores

Anger is the main emotion that makes me stress eat. I will be basically cool with life and eating decently—then BOOM!

Papa Bear or one of his male cubs do some man shenanigans…the little ones act up…someone on social media tries it with me—and I am heading for the kitchen.

Anger increases my appetite like a forest fire, and I consume food like flames old tree logs.  I tend to rationalize the need for my greediness. I tell myself that I “deserve” a treat and it will help me relax.

I tend to look for something sweet first. I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs. Sugar is my primary addiction.

Continue reading “#MFRWAuthor- Anger & Food: A Deadly Combination”

OpenBook-Grand Delusions of Global Change

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#OpenBook

What have you done to make the world a better place?

Nothing. Seriously. I’ve done nothing to make the world a better place, and neither has anybody else.

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This planet is vast with numerous societies and cultures. No one person can make everything better for everyone. We can positively influence our social spheres and may even have some impact on others, but never in totality.

That’s not life or the world works.

That being said, there are things I’ve done to try and affect positive shifts in cultural mindsets in ways that increase the potential for positive change. Continue reading “OpenBook-Grand Delusions of Global Change”

Sometimes, low-tech is the way to go. Writing things down can help reinforce memory, which is why so many instructors insist students take notes by hand.

I try to have pads and pens EVERYWHERE! I think every room of the house has at least on writing instrument and paper. Ironically, much of the time, I’m going crazy trying to find a pen or pencil, and I’ve even had to resort to using a crayon when a bout of creativity hit me.

Writers benefit a great deal by getting their ideas out of their heads for later reference. A slip of paper hanging on the wall can be more readily available than info buried in an app. Many of us also have a tendency to ignore notification dings and buzzes, so  jotting things down is the best way to go.

Check out how I manage some of my story ideas.

Mis Quince Años

Mis Quince Años (2) Continue reading “3 Low-Tech Writing Tools”

#MFRWAuthor – A Bookish Life

MFRW 52-Week Blog – How books can influence daily life.

I have books e’rywhere. I think each room in my entire house (basement included) has a book. Yeah, I checked.

Fortunately for me, I married a bibliophile. When we married and I moved into his apartment, he sat my boxes of books in front of his wall-high shelf filled with books. Our collections have been growing for over 27 years.  Our kids caught the book bug as well.

We all appreciate the impact that books have on our lives. Whether for learning, entertainment, or a combination of both, reading is essential. Continue reading “#MFRWAuthor – A Bookish Life”

#MFRWAuthor -Read-Write-Live: An Author’s Continuum

fantasy-2861107_1920MFRW 52-Week Blog – Reading, Writing or Living?

I haven’t been a writer my entire life. As a matter of fact, I used to H*A*T*E writing—thanks to my terrible penmanship and a list of drill sergeant teachers who just couldn’t get that the chicken scratch in front of them was the best they were going to get out of me.

Once I took my first keyboarding class in high school, I never looked at a pen the same way. I avoided them in favor of the musical clicking that lulls so many of us into sharing our thoughts, ideas, and stories.

Eventually, a real love for writing followed. Now, I can not quite imagine my life without being able to write.

The same goes for books, but unlike writing, I was able to develop a love for reading at an early age. I majored in literature in college, and my master’s thesis focuses on literature.

While in grad school, I started using my literary criticism skills to review books. I also became a contributor to my college’s student newsletter, which extended into a freelance gig with other online media, and I just published (indie, of course, duh) my first novel.

So much of my life is spent reading (entertainment, to my kids, to review, etc.) and writing (articles, short stories, books, and so on) that I can’t imagine compartmentalizing any of the three. I kind of glide along a continuum, where I may be doing one more than the other, but all are still there.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you exhibit A.

 

 

Continue reading “#MFRWAuthor -Read-Write-Live: An Author’s Continuum”

Food and Romance – Bean Pies for the Heart

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#OpenBook

Share a recipe for a food that comes from one of your books.

Yay! Food is so a part of my romances. I like to use some of what characters eat as symbolism.

For example, in My Way to You, I have Regina either making or eating eggs to represent the fragile but nourishing nature of the developing relationship between her and Simon. They are so good for each other, but things constantly threaten their ability to be together.

But, I’m not sharing an egg recipe. I’m picking something that Regina’s brother Marcus and his wife Toni eat.

Marcus Kent loves him some Toni. He calls her sweetness, and she is the main person to bring him to equilibrium. Basically, she got him on lock, and he goes out of his way to make her happy.

In one scene of My Way to You, Marcus treks from Harlem to the famous Abu’s Homestyle Bakery in Brooklyn. Abu’s is a historical landmark for New Yorkers, especially African American Muslims like me. They have some serious oven action going on, and whenever I get a chance to travel the 2 hours, I stock up, because the cakes and pies are everything.

Toni has a similar liking for the bakery, so Marcus picks up a box of assorted pies for her.

Check out the excerpt.

Continue reading “Food and Romance – Bean Pies for the Heart”

#MFRWAuthor-Woke Romance is a Thing?

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MFRW 52-Week Blog Challenge

Week 1: Writing – Doing it for fun, profit or other?

For many authors, it may seem like questions like the one above are asked so frequently that they have become trite and answering them tedious and tiresome.

Before releasing my first novel—in my other life—I interviewed authors and heard them complain. So, I  would try to avoid asking such questions. Now I realize my mistake.

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Continue reading “#MFRWAuthor-Woke Romance is a Thing?”

OpenBookBlogHop-Layla Writes Love 2019 Goals

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#OpenBook

Share your writing goals for 2019.

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I’ve been asking writers and authors to share their 2019 writing goals all last week.

I reached out to romance authors and ask them to tell readers some of their goals for this year, and I did the same for Muslim authors on the NbA Muslims blog on Patheos.

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It was great reading what authors and writers had planned as well as including some of my goals. I also took a moment to take part in an Instagram author’s challenge post.

 

I’ve been busy planning and goal making. So, I’m going to use this Open Book Blog Hop post to round up all of the goals I made and maybe add a couple of more.  Here we go! Continue reading “OpenBookBlogHop-Layla Writes Love 2019 Goals”

#MFRWauthor-The Dream Vacation That Isn’t One

What is your dream vacation?

The world offers so much, that thinking of what would be the ultimate vacation may be hard for some. Even when considering all of the prospective destinations, none of it means much if I can’t find what I’m looking for when traveling.

I think venturing out into the world is more than it’s cracked up to be. Basically, I don’t find stuffing of my life into some suitcases and my person into some mode of transport to traverse the earth particularly thrilling, especially considering my traveling track record.

Mis Quince AñosI spent most of my life in one spot, acquiring my knowledge of the world through books and documentaries. It wasn’t until I was older, that my marriage to a wonderful husband who loves to explore the world that I started to travel, and I did not take extremely well to it.

Basically, I like seeing the world, I just don’t like doing the packing, driving, flying, etc. to see it.

Therefore, the perfect vacation for me would be an empty house with the world coming to me, well the part that would do the cooking and cleaning while I get to eat and read in bliss. The rest of the world will be shut out, except for Papa Bear. It’s been too long since either one of us has truly enjoyed domestic quietude with each other.

So, cleaner, chef, hubby make up my dream vacation.

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Just a Taste – LW Book Excerpts

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#OpenBook

What are some of your favorite lines from your books?

I love reading authors’ favorite lines from their books. Many authors take a lot of time and energy to draft particularly poignant prose (that alliteration is not an example), to grab readers’ attention and offer some inspiration, humor, humanity—a bunch of stuff.

I’m a little daunted to find some of my favorite lines from my book—singular…as in only one written so far—because I’ve spent so much time with my words. It’s difficult to step back and look at something I took so long to make cohesive and fluid as layers of individual components.

Continue reading “Just a Taste – LW Book Excerpts”

Failsafe from Failing Students

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What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Failure, or fear of it, is very effective at making both the timid and bold hesitant. Even just the thought that success won’t be achieved is enough to keep one stagnant. So, having the barrier produced by a fear of failure is refreshing and makes the mind run rampant.  Mine has, and I shall now have at it.

As I went through school as a kid and during my college years, I encountered one disturbing constant. My education was always tainted by implicit and explicit bias and racism from either my fellow students, faculty or administration. Continue reading “Failsafe from Failing Students”

#MFRWauthor – Italian Ramadan

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Ramadan is a special holiday for Muslims all over the world. Those who are able to spend daylight hours fasting and engaged in increased worship, which is the primary purpose of the month.

But when the sun sets, there are 30 days of some of the best eating of the year. Whether at home with family, invited to neighbors and friends homes, or visiting one of the many large community meals, the food is fantastic.

Here in the United States, the diverse American Muslim population means that break-fast meals (known as iftar) can have a cornucopia of food from people of native-born (i.e. African American, Latinx American, Native American, European American) and immigrant Muslim backgrounds.

One staple dish in my family is baked ziti. I make a big pan to feed my husband and kids fasting for a couple of days. I will also make a couple of pans to bring to my local masjid (mosque) for a community meal. I always bring home empty pans.

Recipe

Continue reading “#MFRWauthor – Italian Ramadan”

First Time Unboxing

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#OpenBook

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

People often romanticize the idea of the first time, which-ironically-I as a romance writer tend not to do.

Steeped in perfection-only the best parts about doing and/or experiencing something are brought to the front of our memories and shared. Even when the experience is not so fantastic, we tend to tell it as a form of comical relief. Not exclusively, but we frequently do sugar coat and look forward to doing or seeing things for the first time, despite the actual quality of the experience.

The first is not always a good or even the best time a person may experience. Let me see… Continue reading “First Time Unboxing”

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