Writer’s Wednesday – Beyond the Colored Line

Sooo. Yea. One reason I don’t like saying what I am going to do is because I end up not doing it (don’t ever say what you will do. Bad idea.) So, when I said Chapter 3 of The Men with Blue Eyes was coming this week I did not anticipate not finishing it. But yea, it’s not finished. So, this week I am sharing a Chapter from my novella “Beyond the Colored Line” (2015) instead. Enjoy.


September 4, 1923

“You’s white.”

Margaret and Josephine had their hands on their hips again, Josephine taking the lead role as always. The wind felt soft against their skin and swayed the handmade dresses in all directions, hovering well below her long, skinny legs.

Her pony tails were twists that never really wanted to stay together. Stella got lost for a minute. Slightly envious. She wished her hair was as thick as Josephine’s. But instead hers could never keep a braid. School had just started at Crestwood Elementary of Belvedere City, just south of Boone County Illinois and already Stella could see this would not be a good year. Same as always.

“I’m not white; I’m Negro, same as you.”

Josephine rolled her eyes, “You look white. You sound white. I thinks you white.”

The girls laughed. Meanwhile, Stella’s blood boiled. Her hazel eyes darkened, blonde hair glistened in the sun, and the blush of anger showed quickly in the space of her cheeks and around her ears.

“You’s white ‘cause we say you’s white,” said Margaret.

“That’s right”, co-signed Josephine, “what kind of name is Stella anyway? What, you some kind of slave?”

“Naw, said Margaret, “she ain’t no slave, she massa.”

Josephine turned her head toward Margaret and laughed in her ear but Margaret saw it coming from her peripheral.

“Josephine!” she yelled. But it was too late. Stella was already on top of Josephine pulling her neatly pressed hair and slamming her face into the dirt. She could hear the screams of the teachers nearby calling her name but she just couldn’t stop.

“I’m not white! I’m not white! I’m the same as you!” she yelled, hot tears streaking down her face.

Josephine was crying now as Margaret tried to peel Stella off her.

“I’m Negro the same as you!” she yelled, slamming Josephine’s face into the ground, the screams from the teachers nearing, inaudible to the anger that consumed her.

Later that Day

Judith stood by the door, tapping her foot impatiently against the hardwood floor as she burned a hole in the back of Stella’s head who sat silently on the sofa, her head down.

“You’re going to have to learn to control yourself Stella.”

“But Mom—”

“Did I ask you to say a word?” Scolded Judith, opening the door at the same time. She expected her guest and opened before she could knock. Mrs. Velma Connor, Stella’s teacher, walked in.

“Good Afternoon, I’d like to apologize again for what happened today. May I offer you some coffee?”

“Never mind that”, said Velma, “I don’t specs to be here long.”

“Well”, said Judith, “let me offer you to a seat then.”

The women walked over to the sofa. Judith sat beside Stella as Velma took the sofa across from them and cleared her throat.

“Stella seems to be having a difficult time adjusting. Her temper is far too easily tickled, if you catch my meaning.”

I do”, said Judith.

“We think perhaps she would be better off in a more comfortable environment. Somewhere more of her liking, if you catch my meaning.”

Judith straightened and looked Velma in her sparkling blue eyes, “Not exactly.”

“Well, Ms. May, the accusations from some of the children are hard to ignore.”

“What accusations?”

“Well, you know. Children will be children,” Velma laughed, “It’s just that they don’t take very well with our kind. Surely you ‘d prefer for Stella— “

“Our kind?” interrupted Judith.

“Why, yes.”

“You don’t have to say anything more Mrs. Conner”, said Judith standing. The fair-skinned woman smoothed the apron hanging from her waist and walked to the door. Opening it, she turned to Stella.

“Stella Mae?”

“Yes mama?”

“Go on upstairs so me and your teacher can talk.”

“Yes ma’am”, said Stella, hurrying up the stairs.

Velma remained seated, “Is there a problem?”

Judith smiled, “No. There’s no problem but I do want you to leave my house.”

Velma’s cheeks turned red as she stood, pointing her nose in the air and strolling toward the door. Her face cringing a scowl.

“By the way, the school has placed Stella under suspension, you understand why.”

“Oh, I do”, said Judith, “you see, defending ourselves, is what we’re taught.”

Confusion washed over Velma’s face as she stared into the green eyes of the white woman in front of her, disgusted that she would stoop so low as to lay with one of them.

“What we’re taught? I’m not sure I follow.”

“Oh yes,” said Judith, “It’s one of the first things my Negro father taught me. You know, our kind I guess.”

The pink rushed to the woman’s nose as she hurried out the door.

And that’s how things had been for us growing up. I couldn’t understand what made Mama so strong. She loved Daddy with every bone in her body but society would never have of it. Mama was Negro sure enough as she was white but Papa didn’t trust it. Being with the love of his life was just too costly for him I guess. I thought about Papa that day and all the days afterward as I stood at the top of the stairs, and watched as my mother waved goodbye to my racist teacher with a smile on her face.

– Stella


This book is available now on Amazon.

Get it free in exchange for an honest review. Email me HERE


“Stella: Beyond the Colored Line is a fascinating walk through the ages–from slavery, to segregation, to the black power movement, to modern times. Through the eyes of one mixed race woman, the author touches on major events in African American history, allowing the reader to experience them in real time. The story deepens when Stella decides to live as a white woman and raise her children as whites. As her family grows and develops within a changing society, Stella and her children reveal complex perspectives and attitudes that make it clear that it doesn’t matter who your ancestors were. Nothing is just simply black or white.”

– Christa Wojo.,

Amazon Customer Review

Writers Wednesday -The Men with Blue Eyes


Chapter 1: Friday, December 31, 2005, 11:55p

632 N Dearborn St., Excalibur Castle Chicago Dance Club

BODIES FILLED THE MASSIVE VENUE, and the music growled from the belly of the loudspeakers. Excalibur once again managed to stuff every available body into the three-level club. Blue, green, red, and yellow lights beamed from above the DJ table and hung from the second and third floors, illuminating the mass of intoxicated bodies on the ground floor.

“Erica, girl where you been? It’s about to start.”

Tina turned away from the bar to face the short woman of milk chocolate complexion and short hair. Her body filled out the black dress as the woman waved her hot face.

“What?”

Tina laughed, the women couldn’t hear themselves over the music. “Its bout to start! The countdown!” she yelled in Erica’s ear.

“Wait lemme get my drink.”

“Girl please, time don’t wait for nobody you better c’mon,” said Tina jumping down from the barstool.

“Grey Goose Martini and a plain cranberry juice”, shouted Erica to the bartender who smiled and winked. Baby girl full of it tonight, he thought.

A crowd of people began to surround the main stage as it prepared to lower the huge crystal ball to the middle of the floor.

“I need yall to make some noise!” boomed the voice of the Emcee from the microphone, sending the crowd into hysteria.

“C’mon E,” said Tina, watching as the bartender handed Erica her drink.

Erica wobbled over to Tina and the women stumble toward the stage, laughing.

“Here we go!” yelled the DJ.

“Whew!” yelled Tina, laughing. It had been a long time since she had this much fun.

“I love you Chicago!” yelled Erica. Tina laughed. She was feeling it.

“We love you!”

“I love you too baby”, said the DJ.

“Whewww!” the women laughed.

“Ten…nine…” began the DJ.

“Eight…” said Erica.

“Seven…” said Tina.

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As the crowd chanted along something caught Tina’s eye. A man standing in the midst of the people and staring at her from a distance. Wearing a black suit and tie he is oddly out of place and looked to Tina to belong in a courtroom, not a club. The sound around her went mute and her mind raced to decipher the identity of the strange man. After spending the past year in therapy, she had tried to forget about her now fading past. Purposefully considering her sanity, she had not expected to walk into Erica’s office to receive such a down to earth reality check from a doctor who was now dancing out her dress in a club with her patient. As such, Tina took this as a sign that things were finally back to normal, taking hallucinogenic suppressants as prescribed and even cutting off any ties to the former life.

But now, as the club lights bounced off the hint of blue that gleamed even in the darkness, she knew that the nightmare she’d tried so desperately to separate herself from would be back and she would have to face the reality that the events of almost two years ago did, in fact, happen. Her nephew was murdered in a warehouse trying to save his sisters and brother from a possessed woman, she was now raising her nieces and nephews as her own, and as much as she wanted to be, she wasn’t crazy. Why couldn’t they leave her alone? What did they want now?

“HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

The return of sound and Erica’s sudden hug made Tina fall back as Erica spilled her drink.

“Damn, messing with you”, she said wiping at her dress. “Hey girl, you alright?”

Tina’s eyes darted frantically around the club for the man, but he was gone.

“Yea girl, I’m good,” she said waving her hand.

“You sure? You been taking the pills, right? Don’t let me have to write yo butt up.”

Stealing one more glance in the direction where the blue-eyed man stood, there was no one there.

“Yea girl, I’m alright. Where the bathroom though?” she said with laughter to feign the fear that already started to seep its way through her pores and release its gas into the air.

Writer’s Wednesday – Papa’s House

Wednesday is your new favorite day! Lol. 🙂

I would like to share more of my writing with you. I mean, besides poetry. Soooo, I’ve come up with another Wednesday Segment. Welcome to Day One of Writer’s Wednesday. I was late to my workout this morning drafting this so excuse my delay on getting to the comments. I am currently sweating it out during my lunch as you’re reading. Gotta keep it together ladies!

Here’s our Writer’s Wednesday Badge.

Every other Wednesday, I’ll give you either an excerpt from one of my books or something new, a short story or something. I don’t really know but I’ll think of something creative every other week, time permitting.

This week, I am giving you a sneak peek into a scene from The Road to Freedom in a segment I like to call “Papa’s House.” Enjoy!


“This here make you grow hair on ya chest,” said Papa as we laughed, watching as Terry took in the liquor before coughing, and Papa patting his back for rescue as he laughed.

“Breathe, son, breathe.”

“What the hell is that!” said Terry, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Can’t handle it, huh T?” said Frank, laughing.

Papa’s shoulders bounced up and down when he laughed, slapping his leg as he did so. “That there’s what we call white lightening. Amazing what you can do with a little corn mash. You be alright son, breathe,” he said as Terry went back to his place on the sofa, holding his chest.

We were sitting at the home of Peter “Papa” Whitfield, the white man who offered us food and a bathroom once Ms. Mary’s vittles ran low. Peter ran a farm just outside of town and his faded blue jean overalls and heavy boots gave way to the hard work it took to run this place. Acres of land spread wide on both sides, cows grazed the area beyond the fences, and Rottweiler dogs alerted its master of strangers approaching Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian Mississippi.

The air was unusually cool tonight and the warm coffee blanketed our insides as we rested from the road. Though we would have liked to go on, Ms. Mary insisted we stop and refuel.

“You know, liquor does not actually warm you in the cold. It thins your blood and makes you colder in winter,” said Gary.

“Thank you, Gary, for that irrelevant piece of information,” said Terry.

“Well, I don’t think your friend’s gonna be worried about the cold anytime soon,” said Papa, chuckling.

“What is that heavenly smell?” said Laurie as Sara, Papa’s wife, appeared from the back of the house carrying a casserole dish.

“Why don’t you ladies come find out. Leave the men here to talk about men things,” she said, with laughter in her voice as Laurie and Fae marched on to the back to retrieve more food.

As the women disappeared, headlights invaded their places on the sofa. Papa’s dogs barked and raced toward the unknown vehicle as they growled in the night air.

“You expecting company Mr. P?” said Willie, peeking out the window.

Papa frowned and stood as Sara emerged from the back.

“Papa.”

I don’t think I like the way that she called his name.

“Alright boys, y’all head on over to the back now,” said Papa.

“Why?” said Terry.

“This ain’t the time to be asking questions now boy, go!”

We all scattered to the back of the house, walking past the thick, black curtain that separated the kitchen from the dining room table; where Terry had taken his first, or perhaps second, drink.

“What’s going on?” said Fae.

“I don’t know.”

“Shh,” said Sara as Papa’s voice roared from the front door.

“Tommy Lee, ain’t specs to see you out so late, how’s the wife?”

“Hey there,” said the voice of a deep southern drawl. From the sound of it, Terry wasn’t the only one drinking tonight.

“Oh, she’s be fine. Mighty fine. Say uh, you ain’t got no company on in there do ya, Peter?” said the Tommy Lee voice.

Papa chuckled, “You mean besides my wife?”

Tommy Lee’s drunken voice laughed. “How is Sara doing by the way? She so pretty. Hey! Sara! It’s Tommy Lee!”

“You alright, man? Perhaps we should take this on out in the yard.”

“Perhaps,” said Tommy, laughing. “That’s a funny word, “Perhaps!” he said again, laughing.

“Look a here,” said Tommy. “Word is you’s got some niggers in there.”

“Whoa,” said Terry.

“Shhh!” said Sara as we continued to listen.

“I think you better get on home now Tommy, it’s getting late now.”

“Kicking me out, huh? I ain’t gonna tell you how to run thangs, but you best be careful. Nigra mens and Nigra womens is on the loose now. They’s tryna inflame our nigras and our whites t-t-t…” Tommy’s voice trailed off as if trying to find the words as we listened.

I regretted the once warm caffeine that now had my blood racing, my hands shaking, and my heart pounding out of my chest.

“Alright Tommy boy, I think you best get on the road now, the Missis be waiting,” said Papa as their voices faded away. I noticed Papa’s voice remained calm, and I imagined they had now stepped outside since we could no longer hear the now distant voices.

“OK, everybody just remain calm and stay where you are until I come back,” said Sara, before disappearing behind the curtain.

“What do you think is going on?” said Laurie.

“I don’t know,” said Frank.

“How does anyone know that we’re here?” said Gary.

That was a good question. We’d made sure to keep our travels discrete since the New Orleans incident. But it would also make sense that Frank’s dad would be looking for him. But I kept my thoughts concerning his dad to myself. We all knew he was racist and it embarrassed Frank. Though I’m sure Mr. Hansen had something to do with it, I did not want to disgrace the face of my friend. I went with my second thought instead.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we were being watched.”

“Or followed,” said Fae.

“I bet it was that punk ass Papa. What kind of name is that anyway? What man calls himself Papa?”

Terry’s eyes had a gloss to it as he spoke. I think by now he was really feeling the liquor.

“I’m tired of this,” said Willie.

“Oh, so you punking out too Willie?”

“Terry come on,” said Fae.

“Naw, I’m asking him a legitimate question. You punking out, Negro?”

“What you just call me?”

“Really?” said Laurie looking at both Terry and Willie.

“I know y’all ain’t gonna do this now,” said Frank.

“Please don’t do this now,” said Gary.

“Shhh!” I was sick of everyone’s talking. Though they spoke in whispers, it seemed our voices carried and would float on out the back room and into Tommy Lee’s ears. Who knows what he wanted or what he heard. We were in Mississippi after all. The stories of their crimes against the Negro were well known in the South. And after the murders of Emmett Till and others, Mississippi’s racism had gained increased attention. People all over the world could read in newspapers and watch on television the bizarre system that protected those who committed crime after crime. I didn’t understand why such hatreds existed for negroes, and my longing for the answer burned its own private hole into my chest. Unless I did my part to find out, I would never be quite whole again. If only I could have explained it this way to mother where she could understand. Being part of the fight for freedom on behalf of negroes wasn’t just some phase I was going through. More so than a desire, it was a need. Otherwise, as a young white man in white America, I could not help but feel guilty on behalf of my people. And as we stood here, fearful of the unknown, I knew that what I felt could not compare to Fae, Willie, and Terry. Considering I was shaking uncontrollably in my own skin, what kind of fear did they experience? And more, what was it like to have to experience it your entire life? The pangs of guilt sought to overwhelm me as we stood there behind the curtain and waited.


TheRoadToFreedom_Ysrayl

“I enjoyed the writing style of the author, who was able to capture different characters through their dialogue and how she wrote their accents. Though Ysrayl is not a white teenage boy, she is able to write his narration convincingly, while also being able to give other perspectives through the rest of the characters.”

– Swimming Through Literature, Amazon Review

*****

Remember, The Road to Freedom as well as Beyond the Colored Line and Between Slavery and Freedom is on sale this month! The Black History Month Stella Sale ends next week. CLICK HERE to order all three books at one low price. All books are paperbacks, signed by me with my author seal. Shipping is also free but this limited time offer won’t last.

Ultimate Guide: How To Write A Series

Excellent Article on whether or not you should turn your masterpiece into a series. I definitely think it’s something you’ll notice right away though. I knew before I finished Stella that it was going to be a Trilogy. I mean like, before I’d written the books.

Excerpt:

The word ‘series’ conjures up different emotions in different writers. Some might grin at the thought of spending multiple books exploring the world and story they’ve created. Others might rub their hands together at the potentially lucrative benefits of a long-running series. And still more might simply cry in horror, ‘A series? Writing one book is hard enough!’

No matter which of these camps you fall into, there’s no questioning the fact that the series as a literary concept is here to stay.

From Arthur Conan Doyle, Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie to J. K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett and Patricia Cornwell, writers of all genres and styles have made the series work for them.

So how can you do the same? KEEP READING

May I Ask

captura-de-pantalla-a-las-1414601240g4nk8Who taught you to hate yourself?

“Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? To such extent you bleach, to get like the white man. Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each other? The most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman.”

– Malcolm X, May 5, 1962 at the funeral service of Ronald Stokes in Los Angeles.

The Accident

“She shouldn’t have been running across the street!” said a familiar voice in the crowd.

It was Cousin Rachel and if I had the energy to throw a scowl her way I would have. I still had not felt any pain and only prayed now that I would live. I scanned the crowd, it appeared the entire neighborhood had come to see the event. Heads popped outside of windows, neighbors stopped in their places and strangers huddled together alongside family, shoulder to shoulder, as if shielding me from the outside and encasing me inside the core of the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, my fingers tingled with blood that raced toward the tips because someone was squeezing the life out of my left hand, and their tears kissed their apologies on top my skin. She was the woman who hit me and was knee deep in apologies and instant compassion consumed me. I forgave the woman over and over again while simultaneously praying I wasn’t going to die. But I was talking in my head again. The lady had not heard me, my mouth still had not moved, and my memory only went as far back as rolling off the hood of someone’s car, down the window and onto the ground. (For some reason I remember sliding down the window). Prior to this I was on a quest for ice cream and decided a quick dash across the street would grant me this prized possession. Needless to say I was wrong.

It wasn’t until I looked down at my right thigh that the full realization of what happened came to me: my right thigh was twice the size of my left one. Still, I felt no pain. I felt nothing in fact. I just lay there consumed by thought and words that had no sound. It wasn’t until the Ambulance arrived and I made the transition from the ground to the vehicle that the shock wore off and the excruciating discomfort started.

emergency-room-sign

The arrival to the hospital itself is a blur. I was in so much pain that everything seemed surreal. It turns out that I’d broken my leg, or more precisely, my femur bone (the longest bone in your body, located near the thigh). I remember staring into the ceiling, my little brown body highlighted against the white sheets. My mom was to my left as we waited for the doctors to return. My whole right leg had been wrapped in some kind of casing and the feel of it was that it was getting heavier and heavier as time passed. As I cried out in agony, I could not understand what was taking them so long to come back. I also wondered who had done this cruel thing as to wrap my broken leg in a cast, which made my leg so unbelievably heavy that I could not lift it and supposed then that it was not only paralyzed, but by the time the doctors felt like getting started I would have no leg left, for it was diving deeper into the bed and the mattress began to fold over.

Of course, none of this really happened. My leg was not wrapped in a cast and was not sinking into the bed.

When the doctors and nurses finally did return, in what seemed hours later, they started to cut my clothes off which added to my rising dislike of these people. I was wearing something really cute that now sat in shredded pieces of nothing. Meanwhile, in my head, I was explaining to no one in particular about the evil doctor who commanded his men to try and make my leg disappear and cut up my nice clothes. I’m sure he wanted to do away with me and I was being taken to a secret laboratory in which this would happen. I was just about to imagine what he was going to do when someone put a pill in my mouth. When I woke up I was laying in recovery with a steel plate replacing my leg, twenty-four surgical staples piecing me back together and surrounded by family.

check-up

I still remember when mama took me to my first check-up. I assumed the clever doctors had found me and sought to continue their plan. In my head, I’d been rescued by family who found a way to piece me back together and store me away in recovery. Now however, we were on our way to the doctor’s office and had to cross a big street that I’m sure came out of nowhere. On my journey to get across, I wondered what kind of technology they were using. I’d better be careful not to step on the yellow lines; it may activate some special gadget and suck me deep into the ground. Because my enemies had decided it was better that I use a walker instead of crutches, which I’d hoped to experience, it took me what seemed forever to get across the street. The evil doctors had done it this time, they were back and I was sure that they had somehow stretched the already wide road so that with each step I was not getting closer, I was only getting further and further away. I thought about telling mama about these corrupt men but I didn’t want to blow my cover. If she was protecting me they couldn’t know about it.

When we got to the office and they removed the staples, I was instructed by the doctor to move my leg back and forth but I couldn’t do it. My body had not all the way adjusted to the steel plate and told me this wasn’t a very good idea. Instantly, I stopped and threw a scowl the doctor’s way, “Way to go genius that hurts.” But I knew what he was trying to do. He was trying to kill me. I better not say anything, they may try to kidnap mom and throw me in that laboratory again.

*****

I would like to publish a memoir one day. While I am still undecided as to publish an entire manuscript, I have taken to writing down bits and pieces of my life story and publishing excerpts to this blog for practice. What you have read is the true story of when I was hit by a car at ten years old. Names of real persons have been changed to protect their identities.