Tag Archives: in the life

Author Marketing: A how to guide (sort of)

2016-01-06 17.28.33

Google author marketing and a rabbit hole will magically appear that Alice wouldn’t want to dissappear into. Nothing prepared me for the world after my novel was published and one article won’t either. Fortunately, I have read several and I am working my way out of Wonderland to meet my marketing goals.

What I have learned thus far:

– My pricing was wrong (Anything over $10 is a luxury to potential readers, yet the same potential readers will buy $100 Adele tickets. Yes, that was shade.)

– I need a publicist  (Because news organizations are bombarded by press releases, events, and various emails. An email from a long standing contact or a professional  is easier to get through to a news organization)

– I need an assistant and a street team and a stylist (For obvious reasons)

– I need a strong social media presence on every platform  (Even Periscope. Why, I still have not figured that part out)

 

– I need a generous benefactor so I can quit my full-time job and part time jobs  (So I can devout the next few months to falling down the rabbit hole)

 

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Duck Tape Diaries

United Kingdom: stamp

(Photo credit: Sem Paradeiro)

In the past, it was important for me to believe others perceived me as someone who knew where he was going in life. Someone who had a good life, a good career, knew everything to know about the world; someone to envy or at least, have an intellectual conversation with. It was a cover to prevent people from discovering the real me, that I was  in the category of “other.” I’ll call that protection fear. In college, I learned that distance can help prevent people from getting to know too much about me and my experience leading into adulthood reinforced that: getting a new job in a new city, forgetting old friends to get new friends, not ever having enough time to call home. Distance and perfection, I carried them like hand guns.  I was so used to flaunting them, that they became my hands. Slowly, I learned to let go of distance, but perfection I had to hold on to. Perfection, in its own right, is truth and truth is incontestable, until proven false and nothing is false anymore, only less true. Today, the most important person in my life, just called me shallow. Now I don’t know who to blame: me, him, or the world. The world, as in, the idea of things; how men think, survival; the rules of effective communicate; multi-tasking in a post-digital area; being a good boyfriend.  A friend of mine worked at a national forest and had to learn deescalation techniques to take the fire out of heated situations.  She would mimic the escalated persons behavior and recognize their feelings. It always worked. Why aren’t their deescalation manuals ready and available at bars? At this moment, looking back, I never knew where I was going.

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Interview with Diary of a Natural Gal

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For my Diary of a Natural Gal Style Files interview, I worked with an amazing crew to shoot the pictures. The photographer was Garen Hagobian and the stylist was Rico Cherry. I can’t wait to post the full interview here. Here is an excerpt:

Kisha Roby: I would describe your style as sultry school boy, where do you draw inspiration?

Victor Yates: Is that a good thing (laughs)? I use to only wear black and gray. That’s it. Then my best friend started picking out clothes for me that I wouldn’t normally wear. I went from school boy realness to wearing cowboy boots, with khaki linen cut off shorts, and shirts and sweaters from the 80’s. I love 80’s Adidas shorts, vintage designer clothes, and conversation pieces. Today so many things inspire me. I like patterns, textures, and bold colors and mixing things together that the average person might think is strange. Since moving to Los Angeles my thrift store obsession has grown. Buffalo Exchange and Wasteland are my top thrift stores in L.A. But out here thrift stores are like coffee shops.

Kisha Roby: When did your passion for writing begin? What is your ultimate dream for your writing career?

Victor Yates: I started writing poetry at 14, after reading Maya Angelou’s work. I loved libraries and would read a lot. Also, my mother loved books and she would buy books for me as well. I remember trying to read The Firm, by John Grisham, and not being able to understand it. I hope to write quality fiction books and venture into short stories and writing plays.

Credits:
Photographer: Garen Hagobian
Website: http://www.motonicausa.com/photo.html
Number: 323-459-6100

Stylist: Rico Cherry
Email: rico243@yahoo dot com

Interviewer: Kisha Roby for Diary of a Natural Gal

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Frenchie Davis, The Voice, The Courage

Check out the teaser video to my interview with Frenchie Davis for GBM News. She talks about everything from her new single and the video for, Love’s Got A Hold On Me, to the Voice vs. American Idol, to questions about sexuality. Stay tuned for the interview.

English: Frenchie Davis at 12th annual GLAAD T...

Frenchie at 12th annual GLAAD Tidings Event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

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Essex Hemphill: Brother From Another Planet

The first time I heard Essex Hemphill‘s name was in the documentary Black Is… Black Ain’t by Marlon Riggs. His poetry was interwoven into the documentary beautifully. Hemphill began writing at age 14 and studied English at the University of the District of Columbia.

Not only was Hemphill a poet but also an activist for equality and gay rights. In 1980 Hemphill outed himself during “a poetry reading at the Founders Library at Howard University. From the mid-1980s until his death, Hemphill became perhaps the most well-known Black gay male writer in the United States since James Baldwin,” according to Dr. Wilfred D. Samuels, General Editor of A Gift of Story/Encyclopedia of African-American Literature.

Watch When My Brother Fell Performed by a D.C. Native

Hemphill “first gained national attention when his work appeared in the anthology In the Life (1986), a seminal collection of writings by black gay men. In 1989, his poems were featured in the award-winning documentaries Tongues Untied and Looking for Langston.” In 1990 Hemphill finished compiling Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men, started by Joseph Beam. Beam died to AIDS-related complications in 1988. Brother to Brother won a Lambda Literary Award. Hemphill later published Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry (Plume/New American Library), which was awarded the National Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual New Author Award in 1993.

Hemphill’s poetry is in the new anthology, Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDSPoetry Anthologies), edited David Groff and Philip Clark (Alyson Books). Their have been readings from the anthology in San Francisco, D.C., and New York. Other poets anthologized in Persistent Voices are: Melvin Dixon, Chasen Gaver, Jim Everhard, Tim Dlugos, Reinaldo Arenas, Tory Dent, James Merrill, Paul Monette, and Joe Brainard.

“Persistent Voices is more than a catalogue of strong poetry by poets who were equally strong (in many ways),” Bryan Borland, an Amazon reviewer wrote. “Persistent Voices reminds us of the importance of poetry, of its place in society and of how it creates a degree of immortality. It teaches us, again, of how, with pen and paper, the truly persistent voices of these men and woman continue to be heard, to change lives, and to touch souls.”

Hemphill’s poetry is immortal. His poems have appeared in Essence, Black Scholar, Callaloo, Obsidian, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Advocate, and numerous other journals. His poems Dear Muthafuckin Dreams, Where Seed Falls, and American Wedding are in the anthology. In American Wedding Hemphill says:

They don’t know
we are becoming powerful.
Every time we kiss
we confirm the new world coming.

A powerful statement.

Watch Justin Vivian Bond Performing American Wedding

At an event titled Take Care of Your Blessings curated by Black Gay & Lesbian Archive Project, rare and unpublished manuscripts of Hemphill’s were featured. “Hemphill left three projects uncompleted: Standing in the Gap, a novel in which a mother challenges a preacher’s condemnation of her gay son who is suffering from AIDS; Bedside Companions, a collection of short stories by black gay men; and The Evidence of Being, narratives of older black gay men, which he had been working on since the early 90s in order to satisfy his curiosity about cultural and social history before the term “gay” entered popular usage.” Hemphill died in 1995 to AIDS-related complications.

One of my favorite Hemphill poems is The Father, Son and Unholy Ghosts. Read The Father, Son and Unholy Ghosts below and watch two YouTube performances of Hemphill’s work.

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the empty seat at the table

Lina Jaros Series titled “Beyond the Walls”

i looked at my cell phone. mom called. i didn’t hear the phone ring. i purposely set the ringer to silent. hearing merry Christmas or happy anything makes me a bundle of nerves. the holidays remind me of family. i try to distance my family to keep the unspoken things between us unspoken. how do you articulate mom i’m gay over the Christmas turkey. mom that’s why i have never brought a woman home for the holidays. holidays are too awkward as a gay black man. there’s always an empty seat at the table.

i tend to disappear around the holidays. they remind me how lonely gay life can be. the longest relationship i’ve had lasted one year. we were young and thought we loved each other. i think we loved the idea of being intimate more. relationship building was a foreign language to me.

my dislike for holidays started in 99. my boyfriend and i were in college in atlanta. we were inseparable. i was supposed to spend the holiday with my family. i decided to spend time with my boyfriend instead. he had an apartment off-campus near lenox mall. i remember calling my grandmother saying that i would call her on Christmas eve. i didn’t call her. i didn’t call on Christmas either. i called the day after Christmas. i said i would call her the next day. i didn’t. i stayed at my boyfriend’s apartment until new years day. we watched the countdown on TV drinking Asti Spumanti champagne (I threw the cork and label away two years ago) and fell asleep on his fire engine red sofa bed. i caught the marta and bus to my grandmother’s house in stone mountain. the garage door was open, which wasn’t strange. i saw grandma on the cordless phone talking. she looked upset like she was crying. she was crying. she looked up at me, jumped up, and gave me a big hug. i thought someone had died. she thought i had died or something tragic happened to me because i didn’t call her. that stayed with me for a long time.

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an accidental approach: a poem

an accidental approach
red lights mute faces
he’s facing me
an awkward pause
i can’t make him want me
a handshake then an embrace
i can’t make him want me

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vogueunderground

, originally uploaded by only-connect.

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Carnival at Fort-de-France

Carnival at Fort-de-France, originally uploaded by ZOBEL *.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Gay Man

spanish man road crosser

Image by jbiddulph.com via Flickr

I walked in knowing I shouldn’t have gone. Gay clubs are depressing when you don’t drink and when you’re alone. I met a guy, a Spanish guy, name Alberto, last Thursday at a straight bar. He grabbed my shirt as I walked by. We danced together. He wanted to dance. I didn’t. It was so uncomfortable. I imagined no one was looking. Alberto sent me a text message. I’m going to the club. I want to see you I responded. He didn’t respond back. I called. He didn’t pick up. I decided to go. Two the women at the cash register gestured with her fingers. Her hair was teased and gelled and curled in a circa 1980’s redneck do. I looked at around. The red lights accentuated the smiles of the older men at the closest bar. The older men were posted at the front bar. Inside, the younger men crowded around the larger bar. I passed two empty rooms. The feeling in my stomach dropped. I couldn’t see Alberto. I scanned the front of the bar. Henry. I could spot Henry anywhere. Henry is a man I see off and on. I knew I would see him. Even though he claims he hates the gay club. He whispered in the ear of a waif twink. The feeling tightened. I wanted to leave. I looked back at the red room. A hat floating caught my eye. Between the hat, a cute, chubby face. Alberto. He walked into the other room, circled the bar, walked past Henry, gave him a look of recognition, and walked around. We hugged. I think I going to leave I said. I just got here. I need a drink he said. He walked to the bar in the red room. I pulled out a chair in between both rooms. Henry was gone. I looked over. I couldn’t see Alberto. I saw Henry talking to a different man. I walked behind me. I wanted him to hug me. He walked to my side, in front of me, and turned around. I didn’t see you he said. Whatever I said. He extended his arms out. I turned away. Don’t be shady he said. I hugged him the way I wanted to hug Alberto. Tight. Close. Intimate. I wish more gay men hugged like this. I called you. You didn’t pick up he said. Whatever I said. Don’t he said. I’m leaving in a minute. Let me find my friend and I’ll leave too. I looked around for Albeurto. All I saw were single men everywhere. I felt disgusted. Why aren’t more gay men in relationships? I looked around again. There was nothing else left to see.

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alkebulan: a poem

Day, Fred Holland (1864-1933) - 1897 ca. - Bla...

Fred Holland

(for Rodney)

he poses in the bathroom mirror
head tilted left
benson and hedges cigarette pressed
against dark lips

white towel around his waist
he smears foam shaving cream
little strokes, cut
memories of our mothers

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dancing on the dl

WeHoHalloween07-170, originally uploaded by PinkMafiaRadio.

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the wink and the nod: a poem

Singapore Night Club

Copyright Abrilon

I wait for it
the wink and the nod

hand to waist
it’s dark enough
for this to be ok

come this way
no come this way
he walks his way

if I walk his way
we might be seen

he walks back by
hand to waist
a nod
come this way
no come my way
he walks my way

he takes my hand
and we’re dancing
this is the first time
I’ve done anything like this

is this the right place

for two men to stand

so close

like

this

dancing

(Updated May 14, 2011)

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Riding in Cars With Girls

I’m a listener. Listening is a natural ability I have. The sound of another person’s voice. The subtlety of a hand dropping a pen to a legal pad. Language. Body language. I hear the things most people don’t catch.

My friends, Tracey and Becky, are sitting in the backseat. Tracey says Psalm 37. I tune out “Que Me Coma El Tigre” and listen. I getting a tattoo of Psalm 37 on Sunday. Psalm 37 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

God will give you everything you want Tracey says.

In prayer, God or the deity you pray to, is the listener. Does God listen to gay people? I ask myself that question sometimes. Churches draw a line between the bible and gay sin. You can’t be gay and believe in God. As a gay man, I can’t distinguish the two. I’m a spiritual person. I pray. I meditate. I workout. I think spirituality has more than one appearance – what happens in church. There are so many more layers to it.

An image of Psalm 23 (King James' Version), fr...

Image via Wikipedia

I have a great respect for the bible. I think it’s very romantic like poetry, especially Psalms. The Psalms are my favorite. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Only a poet could write that. The desires of your heart – to desire is to listen to that inner voice within.

I wish I could desire women. It would make life so much easier. I love looking at beautiful women. Beauty is beauty. My heart, that inner voice, desires another man to listen to me complain about nothing in particular.

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