Skoll’s Diary Interview

I had the pleasure of speaking with Tonisha Mitchell, founder of Wonders of the World Book and Toy, a site that now carries Skoll’s Diary. We had a leisurely, yet meaningful chat about my 8th book. Set aside about 30 minutes to get a behind-the-scenes peek into what went into crafting this sci-fi, Afro-futuristic novel, and my life an an indie author.

See the interview here.

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Sean C. Wright is the author of 8 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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3 Gripes From a Frustrated Indie Author

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I signed up for the good, the bad, and the ugly in becoming an indie author. The good? Absolute creative control. The bad? As with any writer: writer’s block, nasty reviews, and disappointing book sales always hover, like bloodthirsty mosquitoes. The ugly? I’m about to get into that. There are some annoyances that are unique to indie authors. I have since learned not to take any of these things personally, and to push back, if I even get a whiff of disdain. So, here are the not-so-nice things I hear while on my independent writing journey, and my brilliant rebuttals.

Indie authors are lower-quality writers because they don’t have agents. Some readers assume that you’re an indie author because no agent would take you. That might be true to some extent, but as I stated before, you possess absolute control over your writing projects when you’re an indie author. Go with an agent, or publishing house, and they will often ask you to change certain lines in your books, or decide which covers the books will have. They sometimes even change book titles. I once had a short story, changed so much by a publisher, that hardly any of my original words remained. Yikes. As anyone in the creative field knows, your projects are your babies. And we indie authors can dress our babies however we like. If you want publishers to publish your book, you have to submit to their soul-killing demands. I love that I can release my own words, well, in my own words, design the cover artwork, set my own deadlines, and choose how the book will be marketed.

If people don’t want to read something you wrote because it’s not in a genre they like, fine. But to put a cigarette out on an author’s head because he or she is sans a literary agent is book snobbery. And frankly, it really frosts my cookie. Some superb classics were self-published books: Eragon, The Joy of Cooking, Peter Rabbit, What Color is Your Parachute?, and many more. And some books published by big publishing houses (sorry, not sorry) are garbage.

How about a freebie? Anyone who knows me knows that I’m generous, but this is business. You wouldn’t ask a clothing designer for a free evening gown. And in the writing community, you wouldn’t dare ask Terry McMillan for one of her books for free, so why do people feel it’s fine to ask self-publishers for free copies of their books? It’s very baffling. Sometimes, it’s overt. “I don’t have a Kindle, could you send me a paperback?” Sometimes, it’s covert. “I would love to be a beta reader for that book. Let me know if you need one.” Please stop asking indie authors to gift you with free copies of their books. They usually do giveaways, anyhow, so there are plenty of chances to win one. Or we like to give them as gifts. Either way, wait until we offer a free copy for your enjoyment, or for feedback. Please don’t ask.

Hold my hand. This builds on my preceding gripe. It’s okay to ask fellow indie authors for advice, if you’re attempting your own writing journey, too, but compensate them for their time if it’s a huge favor. I once had a fellow self-publisher message me, asking if I would be his tech support, while he set up his book on the publishing website. I was at work at the time, so I was annoyed. I politely replied that he needed to contact the site’s help line to walk him through each screen. They get paid for that service; not me. Then there are the fellow writers who ask you to edit or beta-read their manuscripts for free. I totally understand that writers are starving people, but at least offer to barter; a free, signed copy of your book, buying dinner, a gift card, posting about their books on your blog, etc. We all win in the indie writing community when we support each other –  and feed each other.

So fellow self-publishers, what challenges have you noticed or faced in your lone wolf writing journey? I open the floor to you.

Sean C. Wright is the author of 8 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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I’m pleased to announce the release of my 8th book, Skoll’s Diary.

Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…

It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision.  The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.

Get the book here. I’d appreciate your leaving a review if you read it. Thanks in advance!

Afro-Sean-Commission-Final copy

Skoll’s Diary – Get Your Copy!

I’m pleased to announce the release of my 8th novel, Skoll’s Diary.

Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…

It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision.  The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.

Get the book here. I’d appreciate your leaving a review if you read it. Thanks in advance!

Afro-Sean-Commission-Final copy

Sean C. Wright is the author of 8 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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Book Review: Is Suicide Painless?

This novella is so absorbing and poetic that I kept holding out my plate for more. The language is good, old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon writing that manages to paint images deftly. Follow the protagonist from one tragedy to another, and feel his emotional shock absorbers take hits, as if you were there. It’s an excellent, first-person account of someone grappling with depression and its relentless demons.

Title: Is Suicide Painless?

Author: Joe Leonardi

Length: 82 pages, available in paperback and ebook.

Publication year: 2018

Get the book here.

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Sean C. Wright is the author of 7 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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Mean Girls Unpacked: Analyzing Female-to-Female Office Bullying

Meangirls

Every woman with a corporate American job has encountered this rattlesnake in high heels. She is cold or overly critical to certain female colleagues, or worse, both. She engages in gossip and triangulation. She thrives on other women’s tears and sleepless nights that she causes. She won’t just do her job and go home, and refuses to let other women do the same. Because she is addicted to drama like some are to Starbucks. She and others like her exhibit the flipside of toxic masculinity.

They are the office mean girls.

It’s a shame that we are disgusted with bullying, and have a zero-tolerance attitude about it with children in school. But for some reason, it’s still alive and well in the office. And this is not to say that men don’t bully. They do. We have all heard of – or worked for – the “abusive genius” or “brilliant jerk.” But their abuse is rarely laid like a hunter does a trap, with cunning stealth. The abusive genius dumps abuse on a victim, like a bucket of cold water in the form of tantrums. He yells when disappointed, uses nasty language, or barks orders. In contrast, the mean girl is patient enough to wait a day or two, or even weeks later to do her dirty deed to others. And her dirty deed is elaborate. Raven (not her real name) is currently in this situation with her department, and is frantically looking for another job. “I work in accounting,” she says, “and some of the other women I work with have gone so far as to remove checks I put in the outgoing mail basket, hide them, then put them back in a few days later, so they will get mailed out late. Then I get blamed for vendors getting paid late. Sometimes, they have scrambled my account file folders’ order, so it’s difficult for me to find them. I can’t prove it, but I know it’s those evil women. I take the mail to the box myself and keep my files locked in a cabinet now.”

So what’s up with these she-wolves in sheep clothing? Why do they do what they do? Let’s dive deep into the black hearts of these women.

Imagined competition. Many women in the office see other women as teammates, sisters in the same boat who are fighting against the glass ceiling. Others, the mean girls afflicted with this issue, see other women as threats. In her mind, there cannot be two women who place first in the pageant. There is only room for one. This hell-on-heels will do whatever she can to ensure that everyone remembers that she is the best “[wo]man for the job.” She more than likely only hangs out with male employees. That’s not a problem, but what is the problem is how she treats other female employees. She is stingy with praise to other deserving women, criticizing them to the moon and back to management, or ignores them altogether. It creates tension and negative interpersonal relationships. Both create a hostile work environment.

Let’s peel back her mentality onion one more layer. Perhaps she feels being in the “boy’s club” will keep her safe. And the way to do that is to engage in the same belittling and sexist behavior some men in the office do. If she treats other women as second-class citizens, she will win favor with the guys who go to strip clubs for lunch or the male executive who calls his female assistant “sweetheart.”

What to do if you encounter this Leviathan in lipstick? She’s the toughest nut to crack, unfortunately, but it’s not impossible. Give her what you want: kindness. Does she do something really well? Compliment her. It might work. It might not. But perhaps she only needs to see that other women in the office are not the enemy, that they don’t want to steal her thunder.

Envy. This nasty, green-eyed monster hatches out of its egg in junior high, and some women are a minion (it’s not little, yellow, and cute) to it forever. Since they spend most of their lives in the office, other female colleagues suffer from this insecure hot mess’s complex. They don’t like the way they look, and will target any woman in the office who they feel is one degree more attractive. Said mean girl makes snide remarks about other women’s hair, clothes, and makeup to others in the office, or sometimes to the women themselves. I once had a female manager who was loyal to boxy men’s sweaters and corduroy pants, eye my bell-sleeve top one day and tell me with a sneer, “You look like some kind of hippy in that blouse.”

There really is no way to fix a relationship with this water moccasin in mascara. You may have to tell her to back off, or else you will go to HR.

Capturing the queen bee crown. This female with fangs suffers from the same dynamic the envious mean girl does: deep down inside, she has self-esteem down around her ankles. Her backstory is that she didn’t get validated early in life. This either happened in her home or among peers. She envied the prom queen and the cheerleaders, and any other females’ accomplishments she felt she couldn’t obtain. This mean girl was powerless to do anything about it as a girl, but as an adult, she will claim her queen bee crown, and everybody else better watch out! This is also the queen of triangulation. She recruits others to bully and mistreat other female employees. She will do things like spearhead lunch dates with a group but make sure certain women don’t get invitations. Said mean girl may also withhold important information from her targets, so they can’t do their jobs effectively. This is no accident; other women’s failings and faults are fodder for her to justify abuse to her posse. She will claim, “this is why we don’t hang with Allison. She’s so incompetent.” The excluded becomes the excluder.

What to do about said bear in high-heeled boots? Confront her. This is the kind of mean girl who wilts a little when you confront her directly about her cattiness. Ask her pointblank, “Have I done something to you? Because if I did, I’d like to know what, so we can clear the air.” Say something like this after every indignity she hurls, and the undesired behavior will more than likely stop. If this mean girl is relentless, resort to keeping notes, taking screen shots, etc. then get management and HR involved.

As mentioned above, many women enjoy a sisterhood in the office. Some women can be a challenge to work with, but with this crash psychology course, perhaps you can obtain civility or get coping mechanisms, and in turn contribute to the well-oiled corporate machine, stress-free.

What’s your thinking on this issue? How did or do you ladies deal with mean girls in the office? I open the floor to you.

Sean C. Wright is the author of 7 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

Natural Selection

I know natural hair is not for every sister, so the following chronicle is not meant as a slap in the face to sisters who choose to straighten their hair. I hope you enjoy listening to my natural hair journey. Here we go…

Like many black girls, I was raised to fear and hate my natural hair. It was an ordeal that you and your mother embarked on every Saturday morning to straighten with tense hot-combing sessions in the kitchen. All these decades later, I can still feel the heat on the back of my neck and around my ears; can still hear the menacing hisssss of the hot comb raking through my strands. The smell of singed hair is an odor that’s filed away in my memory bank with other scents that just won’t shake loose: Chanel No. 5 and fresh-cut wood.

Our mothers had their work cut out for them. And, oh, pity the fathers who got left with their daughters, and needed to do the hair thing. This happened to me on said occasion:

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Coupled with those battles of the bush, there were VERY distasteful names to describe our kinky curls:

  • Nappy
  • Bad Hair
  • Sheep’s Behind (As hurtful as it is, I found some humor in this one.)

My hair was controlled with chemicals, aka relaxers or perms, when I got older. There were rules: You couldn’t scratch your scalp before the application, lest you wanted it burned like Hades. Due to the high acid content, it was also important for the applier to watch how long it was left on. The after effects: painful scalp sores…all for permanently straightened hair. And to add insult to injury, relaxers smelled like a combination of Drano, hatred, and sulfur. I suffered, feeding into the notion that my natural hair was scary and unfeminine.

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Even though my relaxed hair was conventionally “pretty,” I felt like it was a critical patient who needed constant attention, and I was its ragged nurse. Perms made the hair very delicate; thus, using even minimal heat cooked it to the point of damage. The chlorine in pool water was rough on it, too, turning it red and frizzy. Humid days made it swell up like a sponge. Touching up the roots every six weeks was costly, the in-between stage was unsightly. It sent me into “hair hiding” with up-dos and hats, counting down the hours until I could get to the hairdresser’s for her to fix “the problem.” They call relaxers “creamy crack” for a reason.

After all these decades, I started seeing more sisters embracing their natural hair, and it looked gorgeous: fluffy, playful, and downright fantastic; like a marvelous halo. Why not me, I thought? I toyed with the idea of going natural and got my chance when I had to have foot surgery last year, and couldn’t drive. Going to the salon was out. I told my husband it was now, or never.  He shaved off my relaxed locks in our bathroom with clippers, like I was joining the army. Naturals call this “the big chop.” I never felt so naked and free. I’m a girlie-girl, and never realized how much I used my hair as a security blanket.

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Spring, 2015

I was bald and limping, but with each new inch I attained, I fell in love my curls.

It has been a journey of trying new things, like twist-outs and braid-outs, and numerous hair products. But I am having fun, gaining a bevy of hair accessories to rest in my nest of curls, and have no plans to go back to relaxing my hair. Although, I may straighten it with heat on occasion.

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Summer, 2015

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Summer, 2016

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Spring, 2017

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Flat-ironed

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Spring, 2019

Natural Hair Glossary

Big chop – Cutting off ALL your relaxed hair.

Transitioning – Slowly letting the relaxed hair grow and eventually cutting it off.

Co-wash – Washing your hair with shampoo, infused with conditioner

Pre-poo – Prepping your hair before you wash it with warm or hot oil treatments or conditioning masks.

Twist-out – The style of twisting the hair in little twists all over the head while it’s damp to define natural curls.

Braid-out – The style of braiding the hair in little braids all over the head while it’s damp to define natural curls. It’s a little more defined than a twist-out.

Pineapple – A high ponytail in the top of the head, that favors a pineapple’s top leaves.

Protective styles – A style like braids or some other low-maintenance style that allows natural hair to rest and grow.

Has there been a “mane” event in your life? If so, please share!

Sean C. Wright is the author of 7 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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Send me your typo images! Snap pictures and email them to msseanc@aol.com. They must be real pictures and not images in online links, as those might be doctored. I’m looking for The Real McCoy. Conceal the company’s identity if possible. No sweat if you can’t. I’ll hide the name before I post it. We’re not looking to embarrass, but to educate.

Goodbye, Prince

Dear Prince,

My first memories of you were in the 1970s when I was a girl. Patchwork denim was everywhere. I had a head full of plaits, and remember enjoying your songs when they came on in the car. “Do Me, Baby” was choice, even though I had no idea you were singing about grown folks’ business; VERY grown folks’ business. I became further entranced with you with “1999” in elementary school. That album was visionary, energetic, and just well…fun.

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Puberty loomed with your release of Purple Rain. I was 12, and began to notice your beauty, as well as your talents. You were a compact dynamo of genetic artistry:  slim, creamy-skinned with good bone structure and hazel doe eyes. And boy, was I ever mad jealous of Vanity and Appolonia! I nourished my crush the best way a teenage girl does, with posters, albums, and buttons on jackets. I had my parents get me a cake with your likeness on it for my 13th birthday. I often went to sleep, dreaming of you and your compelling world of colored lights, lace, glitter, purple everything, and doves.

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1988. I was 16, and my parents gave me your Sign o’ the Times cassette tape for Christmas. I was instantly struck by the single “Starfish & Coffee.” It was melodious and whimsical; simply poetic. It made that frigid winter downright warm and Zen.

I continued eating up your genius with LoveSexy and Diamonds & Pearls. “Gett Off” was the jam. In college, a girlfriend introduced me to your more obscure stuff, like The Black Album. It was then that I realized your penchant for humor with the satirical “Bob George.”

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The whole time, I was entranced with your breathtaking chameleon style. Your hairstyles changed as often as the weather, and were always flawlessly coiffed. I SO dug your colorful, well-tailored suits, tunics, hoop earrings, and unique props. Your gun microphone was just so…Prince. I loved it!

And your dichotomy was amazing. You were playfully raunchy one moment, a coy gentleman the next.

I saw you in concert in 2004. You, of course, didn’t disappoint. The pinnacle of that magical evening was a hail of confetti and streamers falling from the ceiling.

Your passing was like a gaping gash to the Purple Heart. It was a Thursday. When I found out, all of the above memories rushed back to me in a fond, warm gush. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. My life with you in a small suburb of Dallas, Texas, flashed before my eyes, too. Then the sadness took hold as I realized all that would cease:

Poetic verses with infectious melodies.

Outrageous outfits that only you could slay with your beauty and confidence.

Purple magic, period.

The world became lackluster and flat in a matter of minutes. I couldn’t concentrate for the rest of the day.

Anyway, I thank you, Prince Rogers Nelson, for entertaining me and countless others with your beautiful abilities. Thank you for sharing your unforgettable third eye visions with us. You penned deep, ethereal lyrics, and kept us partying like it was 1999 for about 40 years.

Goodbye, Sweet Prince. Until the end of time, I’ll truly adore you.

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Sean C. Wright is the author of the short story collection A Gathering of Butterflies and the novella Honey Riley.

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Send me your typo images! Snap pictures and email them to msseanc@aol.com. They must be real pictures and not images in online links, as those might be doctored. I’m looking for The Real McCoy. Conceal the company’s identity if possible. No sweat if you can’t. I’ll hide the name before I post it. We’re not looking to embarrass, but to educate.