South African blog, Queerlife featured “A Love Like Blood.” The blog bills itself as South Africa’s “largest Gay, lesbian, trans, bi and other queer folk portal.”
The post is copied below:
What happens when a Muslim family converts to Catholicism to be more American? Or, when a son removes himself from his family to avoid an honour killing? Or what about being pummeled, close to death, is confused as love?
Author Victor Yates answers these questions and more in A Love Like Blood. Half Somali and Cuban, 17-year old Carsten Tynes, deals with the intricacies of race, Americanism, syncretism, migration, and sexuality under his dying father’s abusive hand in A Love Like Blood. Set in 1998, his family relocates to Beverly Hills, MI to expand their photography business. His father has lung disease and promises to give him the business if he marries his ex-girlfriend. Faced with an unwanted marriage and the slow death of his father, Carsten retreats behind his camera. His camera becomes the loose thread that slowly unravels his relationship with his father and reveals the unseen world of “men who move at night.” However, it is his infatuation with his neighbor, Brett that severs the symbolic umbilical cord between his father and him. When death pushes his father and Brett together, he makes a dangerous decision to protect them.
Victor Yates was raised in Jacksonville, Florida and now lives in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in Windy City Times, Edge, and The Voice. As a graduate of the Creative Writing program at Otis College, he is the recipient of an Ahmanson Foundation grant. He is the winner of the Elma Stuckey Writing Award (1st place in poetry) at Morehouse College. He received an Oprah Winfrey scholarship and appeared on Oprah’s Surprise Spectacular show. Two of his poems were included in the anthology, “For Colored Boys,” which was edited by Keith Boykin. The anthology won the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Award. Continue reading
Writing is isolation and the death of relationships. That is what I have learned since I began writing my first book, A Love Like Blood. I moved from my hometown, Jacksonville to Los Angeles to pursue my writing career and last month my novel was finally published.
I thought publishing was the most complicated part of the writing equation. Since getting the book in my hands, I have realized that publicity is a different beast altogether. Everyday I check my emails checking for interview, profile, review, social media, award, and reading notifications. And, because of my current full-time job I have not been able to develop the book tour. However, a tour is in the works. I will post more information when everything is finalized. Until then, the book is available on Amazon, Kindle (Kindle Unlimited users can download it for free), and CreateSpace. Tip: if you purchase through Amazon Prime, you get it in two days. Just cancel Prime afterwards.
Youth, anger, lack of life experiences, and aimlessness can force a young person to do the unthinkable. When news of the murder of a 17-year old at the Miami Job Corps was reported, I asked myself how could four Job Corps students take the life of one of their own. First, Job Corps offers young adults (16 – 24) a free education (High School Diploma and certification in a career such as nursing), free housing, free meals, free dental work, free health insurance, free career placement, free counseling, and other free resources. Often times, the access to stable housing is what attracts a number of applicants to the nation wide government program. These students live in transitional housing with a relative, a spouse, or a friend and are in need of permanent housing. Also, Job Corps is attractive to young people who are homeless.
The four students involved in the murder, Christian Colon, Desiray Strickland, Kaheem Arbelo and Jonathan Lucas were known as violent bullies on campus. However, it is not Miami Job Corps fault for allowing these students to stay on campus. The goal of the school is to transform the lives of young people. If school officials and the residential staff saw potential in the students, I am sure if previous incidents occurred they argued on behalf of the students. No one working at the school wants to throw a student out on the streets to potentially fall prey to human trafficking, prostitution, selling drugs, or gang activity or being a victim of violence. All of those realities are possible for a young person living on the streets in Miami.
Hopefully, the school doesn’t lose funding from the Department of Labor and the public realizes that this was an act of violence committed by people with anger issues created by the systems that the school was trying to protect them from. This death is no different from the number of deaths that occur across the country at various schools and jobs. However, this fact does not minimize the loss that has wounded the students at Miami Job Corps.
While working at a trade school in Florida, I first discovered reiki. A female student complained that she had a headache. A male student said that he could alleviate her symptoms naturally through reiki. He asked the female student to close her eyes. He rubbed two silver bracelets at his wrists and placed his hands beside her temples (without touching her). Everyone in the classroom sat in silence for about ten minutes. He asked the female student to open her eyes and explain what it felt like he was doing. She said, “waving your hands fast on the side of my head.”
“How do you feel,” he asked her.
“Actually, better,” she said. “My headache is gone.”
It wasn’t until moving to Los Angeles three years later that I would have reiki performed on my self and experienced its cleansing power. Continue reading