The Power of Your Author Name: A Message to First Time Indie Authors

Barack Obama released another book on the seventeenth of November, 2020. It was already a Best Seller with over two-thousand book reviews on Amazon just a few days after release. Obama’s name alone skyrocketed this book to the Best Seller’s List before we had time to decide what we wanted for breakfast that morning.

And Sister Soldier’s March 2021 release, “Life After Death,” the long awaited follow up to The Coldest Winter Ever is already a Best Seller. That’s right. A Best Seller and the book is not even out yet.

The same can be said of Amanda Gorman, whose poetry book The Hill We Climb, and Children’s Book, Change Sings, is already a best seller.

These books don’t release until September!

Today, we are talking about the power of your name and the role it plays in your author branding and marketing yourself as a first-time Indie Author.

What’s in a Name?

 

A person’s name is a connection to their identity and individuality. It is the history of who a person is. When you think of names that have become prolific, you are not just thinking about a person’s name. You are thinking about all the things that person has done, their experiences and contributions to the world.

Sometimes, we hear a name, and it is not a good image we see. Names like Jefferey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy make us tremble, but even these names show a name’s power. We tremble because their names are connected with the horrific things they’ve done, and hearing those names brings to our memory those heinous acts, in the same way, hearing Maya Angelou’s name gives us hope.

When branding yourself as an author, it is good to have the same author name consistent across platforms. Your name doesn’t just tell someone who you are, but it helps build brand recognition.

This means using the same name across your author’s website, the same name in your social media handles and emails, and the same name on your book covers.

“You can show genre with cover design, blurb, logo, and many other cues, but publishing under lots of names in the digital age is a recipe for disaster.” – Anne R. Allen

The more people see your work connected with your name, the more they remember who you are.

It is why we call them “Name Brands.”

Michael Jordan is a brand name, an icon whose career has made his identity equivalent to excellence. When people buy Jordans, they know they are buying a top-quality shoe. And even if it is not a top-quality shoe, it is what the people believe. Why? How did someone whose name once meant nothing now mean everything?

Well, that’s another blog post. For now, let’s just stay on topic and keep it simple.

Michael Jordan proved himself as an exceptional basketball player, and his work ethic is connected with his nameThe more his work became recognized, so did his name.

Your work and your name are connected, whether you are a servant of good or bad. If you are doing good work (in this case, we are discussing writing) and not using your name or changing your business name every six months, you make it hard for people to connect who you are with what you do.

“It’s much easier to build brand recognition if you keep all your publishing activity under the same name and the same expression of that name.” – Jane Friedman

Nikki Giovanni, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes, Walter Mosley, Toni Morrison, and Richard Wright.

Chances are you’ve heard these names before, and if you are like me, you will notice these names on book covers at any bookstore. You might even stop to scan or flip through the pages of a book simply because you recognize these author’s names.

Book Titles

The name of this blog started as the name of a book series I was writing.

In my Pretty Woman voice, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”

While I have found a new purpose in this blog, it was a mistake to name this blog after a book. The problem with using the title of your book as your blog name, author website, or social media pages is you will probably write more books.

Are you going to create more websites and accounts for all the books you are writing?

Of course not.

Your name is one of the most powerful, FREE resources you have for marketing yourself as an author.

When you first meet someone you introduce yourself, and you start with your name because your name is your identity. It is more important than your job title and degrees. And when people remember our name, it makes us feel important, recognized, and valued.

What about Pen Names?

Anne R. Allen has published an excellent article on that already, so I will refer you there. While her post is about why pen names are not a good idea, Anne’s number one good reason for using a “pen” name is the one loophole.

  1. It’s the name you’re known by, even if it’s not the name on your birth certificate.

It is absolutely okay to use a name that you’ve been known by even if it’s not your birth name. The key is not to keep changing it though. Pick a name and stick with it.

Consider Maya Angelou, Ntozake Shange, Sonia Sanchez, Kwame Ture, Whoopi Goldberg, and others. None of these people were born with those names just as I was not born Yecheilyah Ysrayl. Although I was not born Yecheilyah, I do not consider it a pen name. It is more than that, it is the name for which I am now known.

Use Your Name

“Once you know what author name you’ll be using, be relentlessly consistent in the expression of that name throughout your websites and social media accounts.”

– Jane Friedman

No matter what name you choose to brand, use that name everywhere. It will help people to identify you, and when they remember you, they remember your work.

No one cares about the title of your book or your book, for that matter.

What people care about is you, the author so it is your NAME and your author photo that will stand out the most in your social media profiles and on your website.

Think about it: It’s not about “A Promised Land.” It is about the fact that Obama wrote it. He could have titled the book The First Black President and people would have bought it. People are buying him. People are buying Obama.

I am not a fan of the term, but when people say that “people buy people,” what they mean is in the beginning, readers are interested in the person more than the book. Then as they begin to trust the person, they trust anything connected to the person, including the book.

  • Who are you?
  • What do you enjoy doing outside of writing?
  • What motivates/inspires you to write?
  • What has your journey been like?
  • What’s your story?

Instead of using a lot of different names or the title of your book, focus on branding one name across platforms.

www. AuthorName . com
Facebook.com/Author Name
Twitter: @Author Name
Instagram: @Author Name
Clubhouse: @Author Name

The stronger your brand name, the easier the marketing. We all hope to get to the point where people hear our name associated with something and run out to support it without blinking.

Use your name. That is all.


Looking for more Indie Author Tips? Check out the catalog of articles here. From this point forward, Indie Author Basics posts will publish on Wednesdays.


I am Soul is 99cents for a limited time. And remember, if you read it, review it!

10 Good Things that Happened In 2020

With everyone talking about all the bad things in 2020, I almost felt compelled to join in. Almost.

One day, I will open up about ten bad things that happened in 2020.

Today is not that day lol.

The interesting thing about this list is I forgot most of it happened!

I did not forget about the books I published or the fact that I am still above ground, but a lot of this other stuff had become blurred amidst the pandemic, my mom’s death, and other things. As I looked back at pictures and dates, I could only think, “wow. A lot of good happened this year. I was just too focused on the bad.”

As you read this, I hope you will think more about some good things that happened to you this year that you might have forgotten about in the chaos. Yes, even if the only good thing is that you did not contact this deadly virus and are still above ground. Even if all you did was stay safely inside, kept your job and your family healthy. These are the most important things.

10. REVIVAL with Harry Lennix

I had the privilege of being contacted by TriCoast Entertainment to review Harry Lennix’s new film, REVIVAL, featuring a star-studded, mostly black cast in the retelling of the Book of John. With Michelle Williams playing Mary Magdalen, Chaka Khan as Herodias, Wendy Raquel Robinson as the woman with the blood issue, Kenny Lattimore as Lazarus, Harry Lennix as Pontius Pilate and Mali Music as Yahoshua, Revival! is a part short film, part musical, and part Broadway Play. You can check out my full review here.

9. Freedom Train Network

I enjoyed being a featured author for The Freedom Train Network at its Black Woman Celebration back in May. I also got to interview with them on The Freedom Train Network Podcast. It was a fabulous experience, and I am so thankful for platforms such as this one. Joseph Ward, Patrick Irvine, and Sam Carter, three Tallahassee natives dedicated to the betterment of their city and black America, founded the network designed to highlight black entrepreneurs, black professionals, black community leaders, and black-owned businesses throughout the United States. They use this network to educate, inspire, inform, uplift, and equip listeners with valuable and purposeful information. The network also serves as a media resource directory for black Americans who may not be informed about their available resources. (FTN)

8. Ambassador for Greenwood Dist

I became an ambassador for this amazing clothing line called Greenwood Dist. Greenwood Dist. is passionate about “proving that a black-owned business can celebrate black excellence while still making the market’s dopest clothing.” Greenwood believes that “fashion, culture, media, and art can and SHOULD help advocate and ensure that people’s voices are heard. Black culture is the biggest determinant of what’s “cool” and popular. Our culture determines everything from the way society talks to the brands that are popular.”

If you care about supporting black-owned businesses and you care about supporting me, be sure to check out the site. If you see something you like, use my discount code Soul at checkout for ten percent off. 

7. Sold My Books at Barnes and Noble

When I first started working with B&N, I was skeptical. The chain is not exactly doing well. There is not much black literature on the shelves, and I wasn’t sure I could stand out among so many notable authors. With bookstores, it’s like people have to know already who you are to look for you. I hoped to get my Georgia online audience excited enough to visit the store in the area. Well, I don’t know if that happened, but I do know the books sold, and I could bring in more to stock.

6. Visited Spain for First Time

We got to visit Madrid and Alicante, Spain, for the first time. It was just as things unfolded with the virus. We went and got back just in time. (I think Spain shut down like a week later). We picked oranges and lemons from trees, helped plant a garden in Almoradi, a city that gives free land to its citizens, and ate homemade churros and chocolate with coffee. It was so good y’all. We did other things top of course, but this is the cliff notes version.

5. Published Four Books (3 Revised)

I revised The Stella Trilogy, something I have wanted to do because of the poor editing and cover design the first time around. All three parts got a professional edit, new covers, new formatting, and my own ISBN. And I could still release a new poetry book. Now that I think of it, I published four books this year. Between Slavery and Freedom is available free on my website here, and the entire Stella Trilogy is available on KU here.

4. Books in a School

Griffin High School bought some of my books for their school library after my visit in January. I didn’t get to sign them because COVID hit before I could but I am Soul, Renaissance, Revolution, Keep Yourself Full, and Even Salt Looks Like Sugar are all available at the school.

3. Books in a Public Library

I got I am Soul into the Dallas Public Library in Dallas, Georgia. We stock next month. This is exciting because it opens the door for me to get my books into other, larger libraries. As I have heard, it is easier to get into the others when you get into one. Well, we will see if that’s true. I want to focus less on selling books one-by-one and more on packaging them in bulk for larger companies and corporations and then, if it is Yah’s will, do more teaching and coaching. I will still write and publish my own books, but I am ready to move on to what’s next for me. There are no limits.

2. The Next Generation

I spoke to four classes of tenth and eleventh graders at Griffin about writing, publishing, my journey as an author, and advice on how they can Self-Publish their own books. This was the highlight of 2020 for me. I love young people, their innocence and straightforwardness, their non-sugarcoating questions. I love their realness. Because of school policy, I couldn’t take pictures of them except for the media specialist’s one, as seen here. However, some students bought books, some of them asked questions in private after the session, and almost all of them wrote to me thank you cards.

1. Alive and Well

Above all else, the most important thing of it all is that I still have the breath of life in my body. I am alive, my family is alive, and despite everything we are healthy and have lacked nothing during the pandemic.

UPDATE: I forgot about the awesome dinner I had as keynote speaker with Queens Circle of ATL Book Club! As I’ve said, a lot of good happened I forgot about in the chaos.

Call me naïve, but I still believe in silver linings. Even if it’s something you think you might have done poorly or something that went badly, always look for growth in it.

Writers Wednesday – Chapter 10: The Women with Blue Eyes


Chapter 10: “The El Che Steakhouse Murders”


Big Steve felt the phone vibrate in his jeans as they entered El Che Steakhouse and Bar, but he ignored it. This was like one of those moments in the movies where someone sees a white light during a near-death experience, but he wasn’t dead, and this light was blue.

“Hey, fam, ya’ll see that?”

Big Steve tapped his friends, Chris and Marquis, as they made it to their table on the other side of the restaurant.

“Damn,” said Marquise.

The men sat down at the table, “Look like its our lucky day fellas,” said Chris.

Steve pointed to the table in the distance, “Look at they eyes though.”

“I’m not screwing her eyes,” Chris said laughing.

“I’m serious though. Ya’ll don’t think that’s weird?”

“Maybe they contacts,” said Marquise.

Steve shook his head, “I ain’t never seen contacts that bright bro.”

“What can I get you gentlemen?” asked the waiter but the men were glued to the other table.

“Hello?” The Waitress rolled her eyes.

“Uh yea, water,” said Chris.”

The waitress put her hands on her hips, looked over at the other table and then back to the men.

“Everybody want water?”

“Yep,” said Marquise, still staring across the room.

“Let me get a shot of crown, no ice,” said Steve.

The waitress wrote down his order, rolled her eyes again and walked off.

Chris got up from the table and Big Steve grabbed his arm, “What you doing man?”

“Imma go talk to her.”

Steve frowned, “what?”

“I ain’t about to sit here with my tongue out like ya’ll. Got my eye on that little Japanese one. I love it when they little like that.”

The men laughed hard and the women across the room all turned to look at them, their crystal blue eyes piercing. It was like a lucid dream. Either this wasn’t really happening, or they were three of the luckiest men on Earth. Time seemed to stop as the women looked deeply into their eyes from across the room.

“Maybe I should just sit here a minute,” said Chris, unable to take his eyes off the Japanese one. He didn’t know if she was that fine or if he actually couldn’t look away.

In seconds, the women appeared right in front of them, their bodies bursting out of their clothing. Steve didn’t know how they had made it over to their table so quickly or how the thickest, darkest, sexist found her way onto his lap, his chin in her hands, her eyes locked on his. He wiped his brow. It had suddenly gotten hot.

***

Paschar turned around, slowly, careful to pay attention to every inch of her body. As she locked eyes with the biggest man at the table, her girls followed suit, rays of blue light shooting like lasers into the men’s eyes. They had frozen time and within seconds had glided over to the table. It didn’t matter that there were seven of them and three of the men. Men who thought they were getting orgies were the easiest victims anyway.

Paschar sat her booty on top of the man’s lap, strategically placing it on the part of his jeans where his penis was rock hard. Their lips met and she kissed him deeply, strongly. She enjoyed the kissing, their tongues lapping onto the other, the fresh taste of his scent. She could taste his essence. His past and his present. Everything that led him to this place was on her tongue. Everyone in the restaurant disappeared and it was just her and him.

She inhaled and with it sucked the oxygen out of his lungs, slowly suffocating him. Big Steve’s eyes swelled with surprise, his erect penis was now limp at the door of death. He couldn’t breathe. He knew it was something strange about these women, but it was too late. She had latched onto his mouth and wouldn’t let go. He pushed hard against her body, but she was like concrete. He was well over 200lbs. How in the hell was she stronger than he was?

The color drained from his face as he pushed but the woman didn’t move. Steve’s head got smaller as his body shrunk, his skin clinging onto his bones. The same was happening to his friends, their clothing was getting bigger and baggy as the women sucked the energy from their body. Paschar kept her lips locked on Steve’ and sucked until he was a sunken corpse before her.

She stood and searched the man’s pockets for the device that kept vibrating. She touched the screen. She learned how to operate cell phones years ago. It was strange how addicted the humans were to it, but she had to respect Hephaestus’s work, God of technology. He was getting his just as she had just gotten hers. She read the words on the screen.

Jason: Eh, I’m on my way, where ya’ll at?

Jason: Steve…

Jason: Eh, Steve where ya’ll at?

Jason: Hey man I’m not gonna be able to make it, somebody hit my shit, call me.

Jason: Hey man, sorry I missed ya’ll earlier. We got it taken care of. Tried calling. Hit me back. Peace.

Paschar smiled, wiping the sides of her mouth with a finger as Steve’s energy pulsated throughout her body. The girls had finished their meals as well. She slipped the phone into her purse and the women vanished, leaving three corpses at the table.


Chapter 11 “She’s Involved”

Are you new to this series? Click here to start from chapter one.

Writers Wednesday – Chapter 9: The Women with Blue Eyes


Chapter 9: “The Car Accident”


Jason kissed Amarie on the cheek.

“Be good,” he commanded.

Alright ma, I’m out,” he said, hugging his mother. Dad had already said his goodbyes and was at the dog track by now. Jason shook his head. That man and the dog track. He had given him some good advice though. Mainly, that he shouldn’t trust that woman and that he was stupid for even going over there. He will give the lecture on “a woman’s ways.” Jason’s dad thought women were sneaky and often did more dirt than men. Every woman except his wife, that was.

“She probably tried to hoodoo yo ass. I’d stay away from her,” he had said. Jason laughed at the thought. Dad had his way of warning you. Jason wasn’t sure what it was, but he was glad he had left when he did. Besides, it wasn’t like he was going to ever see her again, anyway. He entered his car parked in his parent’s driveway and honked the horn as he drove out and down the street. He was driving for a while when he came to a stoplight.

Jason picked up his cell and typed.

“See what the fellas doing.”

A horn went off behind him. “Move it buddy!”

“Aiight, aiight,” he said, noticing the light was green.

Jason knew he shouldn’t try to text while driving, but he did it anyway and he figured everyone did. Jason had confidence that he was careful, casting his eyes on the road and back down to the phone. He never missed a beat. I’m good at this, he thought as he put the finishing touches on his text. The sound of a screeching car, honking horns, and the smell of rubber tires sounded around him as his car jolted forward, knocking the cell out of his hand.

“Oh shit!” he sounded as he pulled over.

The cars around him slowly pulled away, nosy drivers going 5mph to see the damage. Jason exited the car as another car pulled up behind him.

“Damn,” he said at the dent in the back. The driver of the other car parked behind him. He glanced up. It was a woman. Figures. In Jason’s mind, women couldn’t drive. He didn’t believe that in a sexist type way. It was just what he observed from women he knew and the women he dated. He loved his mom, but he didn’t think she knew how to drive either.

The woman stepped out of her car wearing black, fitted slacks, a white blouse, and high-heeled shoes. Her hair was pinned up on the top of her head, and her earrings were pearl studs. Those slacks filled out in the back. Jason stared.

“I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened,” complained the woman.

You slammed into my shit is what happened. “It’s not too bad,” he lied, exhaling, hands in his pockets. He noticed the woman was staring at the car with a blank facial expression. She looked like she didn’t know what to do. He took his hands out of his pockets and held it out for her.

“I’m Jason.”

The woman pulled her eyes away from the car, perked up, and took his extended hand. “Oh, sorry. I don’t know where my mind is these days. Tina. Nice to meet you.”

Her hands were soft and melted into his palm like butter. This is not the time, Jason said to his hardening manhood. Just her hands alone had turned him on. This was different. But after what had happened with that other woman, he had to keep it together. She would probably try to hoodoo him too. He quickly let her hand go.

“Umm.” Tina dug into her purse and retrieved a card. “I guess we can exchange insurance info until the cops get here.”

“Yea, mine is in the car. I’ll get it for you.” Jason turned away to retrieve his information. While getting it out of the glove box he noticed the woman had also returned to her car. She appeared to be shaking her head in frustration. Jason exited the car and walked up to Tina’s car. She was talking to her GPS. He frowned. That was kind of weird. He didn’t think they worked that way. Maybe hers was broken. Or maybe she was one of those hoodoo women.

“Those things are the worst,” he said, and Tina jumped at his voice.

“Didn’t mean to scare you. Are you alright?”

The woman threw the GPS in the backseat and straightened up, exiting the car to stand next to him.

“Yea, I’m sorry again. This is a mess.”

“It’s okay. Here’s my card. Police should be here any minute now. I’m supposed to meet up with some friends. I wish they would hurry up.”

Tina took Jason’s card and gave him hers. “I know right?”

Jason and Tina engaged in small talk as the time passed and Jason became more and more frustrated. It had been almost thirty minutes and no sign of the cops. Jason looked at his phone.

“Man, where the hell they at?”

At his complaint, the red and blue lights appeared in the distance as the sound of sirens resounded.

“About damn time.”

Tina bit her lip. “Listen, this is my fault. I’m sorry again. I didn’t mean to make you miss your friends.”

Damn would she stop apologizing.

“It’s all good. Do me a favor, though?”

“Yes, anything,” she said perking up.

“Stop apologizing!” he laughed, watching her cheeks turn red. She was brown skinned, so it was super cute.

Damn she cute.

“Okay, I hear you. I’ll stop apologizing,” she smiled.

***

Tina’s hands wouldn’t stop shaking. She hoped Jason didn’t hear her talking to Az through the GPS. He was a pain in her butt.

“Let me make it up to you,” she said.

Jason smirked and Tina’s heart fluttered.

“Are you asking me out?” he asked, eyebrow raised, dimple piercing his cheeks.

Tina looked down, blushing. “I guess I am.”

Jason rubbed his hands together.

“Wow, never had a girl ask me on a date before.”

Tina hit his arm, “That’s right because I’m a woman.”

Jason stepped back, holding his chest, “Dang woman, is that how you treat all your dates? You violent.”

They laughed.

“I guess everything is okay here?”

Tina and Jason looked at each other and then back to the officer. They didn’t even see him walk up. He held a pen and clipboard in his hands.

“Yea, we good,” said Jason, cutting his eyes at Tina.

“Who hit who?” asked the officer. He sounded irritated.

Jason nodded at Tina, “She hit me.”

“Give a sista up just like that huh?”

“You did hit me though. Twice,” he said rubbing his arm.

Tina shook her head and Jason winked.

The cop cleared his throat and Jason pulled his attention away from Tina.

“Where do I sign officer?”

Turn right on green.

Tina’s nerves returned and she perked up at the sound of the GPS. Uh oh. Az.

While Jason signed papers, she took the time to return to the car and reach for the device in the backseat.

“I knew you’d find a way,” sounded the  device

“Az?”

“Hitting his car was brilliant,” said the GPS lady.”

Tina relaxed. It was definitely Az.

“Yea, well, just wait until he finds out I did it on purpose and that our meeting was no accident. He’ll hate me forever.”

She glimpsed at Jason from the window of her car. He looked up at her and smiled. She smiled back, halfheartedly. Chicago police were slow, especially for minorities. Her little trick should keep him away just long enough to keep him from meeting up with those friends Az already said were doomed. Tina sighed. She had saved the man. Her work here was done.

Or so she thought.


Chapter 10 “The El Che Steakhouse Murders”

Are you new to this series? Click here to start from chapter one.

Writers Wednesday – Chapter 8: The Women with Blue Eyes


Chapter 8: “Something You Should Know”


E: You need to come in

Tina: I know. I’m sorry. I will.

E: I’m serious T. Don’t miss another session or I’ll have to report your ass :-/

Tina: Lol. I won’t.

Although she had added a smiley face and “Lol,” to Erica’s text message, in real life she rolled her eyes. Erica was cool but she was still a therapist and Tina was still her client. One more reminder text, call, and email and Tina was going to scream. Before Az showed up again, she never missed a session but that was before she knew what she knew. And even though Erica was the most down-to-earth, most friendly homegirl-type therapist she could have asked for, she still couldn’t tell her everything.

Tina rubbed her temples with her thumbs. She was sitting in her car outside of the office deciding on what to do. Maybe Erica’s right. This is crazy. I need to just go home. Tina started the car. Freddy had turned up nothing on Jason anyway. She couldn’t help him if she wanted to. The sound of a new message appeared. Damn Erica.

Janiyah: Miss Bernice wanted me to ask if you were on your way.

Tina sighed in relief. It was just Niyah.

Tina: On my way now 🙂

Janiyah: K 🙂

“I know where he is.”

Tina dropped the phone and jumped at the sound of Az voice. He had made his body smaller and was sitting in the backseat of her car.

“Don’t do that!” She shook her head.

“Sorry.”

“You always say sorry and then you keep doing it.”

“I know where he is. You can stop him.”

“Why? Why me? Why can’t you just let me live my life?”

“I told you. Ronnie opened a door when he agreed to work for Big Sam.”

“What’s she got to do with it? Besides, Ronnie’s dead, as you already know,” Tina sighed. To be an angel he sure was simple minded.

“Ronnie may be dead, but a door is still open. You are still connected. This is your purpose. It’s what The Power wants.”

Tina shook her head.

“He’s visiting his parents in Oak Park. From there he will head to a friend’s house, but they aren’t there.”

“I don’t like the sound of that,” said Tina looking at Az through the rearview mirror.

“It’s too late for his friends but you can save him if you hurry. He’s wrapping up now. I can show you the way.”

“Okay but how am I supposed to stop him?”

“Be creative. You’ll figure it out.”

Az vanished, leaving an address on Tina’s GPS that will lead her to Jason’s parents house. But the address vanished and a map of the city with red lines appeared.

“What the…?”

Tina tapped the GPS system, trying to get it to go back to the address.

“It’s too late for that,” said the GPS lady voice, “he has already gone. Follow the instructions on your screen. Hurry. There is not much time. Turn left on Columbia Boulevard.”

Tina rolled her eyes, knowing the voice was really Az. She picked up the phone to send Janiyah a text.

Tina: Not gonna make it in time for dinner. Tell Miss Bernice I’ll pay extra. See you in a bit.

***

Amy stood by the window of her office and shook her head. Tina had left fifteen minutes ago but was still sitting outside in the car, her hands moving around.

“Hey Fred?”

Freddy packed up his things to go. It was the end of the day and the rest of the staff had just left.

“Come over here a sec.”

Freddy walked over to the window and stood next to Amy, both of them peering out the window through the blinds.

“What’s she doing?” asked Amy, frowning.

Freddy watched in surprise as Tina waved her hands and appeared to be talking. “Is she on the phone?”

Amy turned to face Fred. “Do you see a phone? She’s talking to herself, again!”

Freddy sighed, shaking his head. He didn’t want to believe it was true. He knew she was seeing Erica. He had recommended her after Ronnie’s death. Maybe it was too early for her to be back. Amy turned back to the window.

“Told you,” she said, her arms folded.

Fred walked away from the window and pulled his cell from his pocket. He didn’t care for Amy too much but damn it if she wasn’t right. He put the phone up to his ear as it rang, shaking his head at Amy still peaking through the window. She was so nosy. He turned his back, grabbed his belongings and headed for the door as the line picked up.

“Hey Erica. It’s me. You got some time? There is something I think you should know.”


Chapter 9, “The Car Accident”

Are you new to this series? Click here to start from chapter one.

Writers Wednesday – Chapter 7: The Women with Blue Eyes


Chapter 7: “Angel of Vision”


Paschar licked her lips and smoothed out the wrinkles in her dress as she stepped over the body, closing the door behind her. The electricity from his soul caused her entire body to pulsate and the blue in her eyes to shine bright. The fresh human essence had her entire body shaking, like one giant orgasm bursting from every crevice of her body. She wanted to run, jump, leap into the air. Travel the planets and back down again. Her prowess and senses were magnified after each hit. Pas walked with confidence; her head held high as she moved her hips from side to side. Red was her most favorite color to wear with this skin. Something about the hue against this dark body, so different from her real form.

Passerbys, men and women alike, stared. Paschar smiled, they always did. Human’s were fascinated by such blue, crystal pupils against such brown, creamy skin. In real life, Pas thought human bodies were disgusting. She hated the soft, gooeyness of the flesh. How it bruised and bled so easily, how it fell apart and crumbled with each passing day. Pas hated the rotting flesh on bone, but she did come to love dark skin tones. Other pigments didn’t make her heartbeat like melanin. With it, she could extend life in this body and still feel like the angelic entity she was. Every soul she consumed slowed the aging of the body.

Paschar entered El Che Steakhouse and Bar restaurant and followed the ray of blue that led to the booth in the corner where six women with blue eyes sat, smiling and their ethnicities ranged from Korean to European, and from Hispanic to Japanese. None of them were black like her. Only she had the privilege of wearing African skin.

Pas snapped her fingers, causing the patrons to freeze in their places. Forks, spoons, and knives floated in the air, waitresses stopped in mid-step with full trays, children’s smiles were pasted on their faces, and people’s heads were buried in their cell phones.

“Hello, ladies. By the look in your eyes I can tell you’re feeling what I’m feeling,” she smiled, shimming her hips. The women laughed.

“Indeed,” said the Korean woman, slapping high-fives with the woman next to her.

“Don’t get too excited. Az is on our trail.”

The Puerto Rican blew a breath, “Su problema.”

“Pain in my ass,” complained the Japanese woman.

“You need to eat,” continued Pas. “More than usual. Keep your energy up. Men, women. I don’t care what you have to do, eat and live. The stronger the worship, the stronger we are in battle. The more you eat, the stronger you’ll be if something goes down. You need to have these people eating out the palm of your hands.

“Or your ass,” laughed the Japanese one and within seconds Paschar’s hand was wrapped around the woman’s throat and choking her up against the wall. She had just had a hit and her energy was strong. The woman squirmed and squealed as her face contorted, revealing snippets of her true mermaid image.

“You have forgotten what is at stake here,” Pas addressed the table. “There is no redemption for us. Semjaza is gone.” She felt the knot rise in her throat and the tears threaten to spill from her eyes at the mention of her leader. Damn human emotions.

“Arakiba,” she continued, giving the names of their leaders, “…is gone. Rameel, Kokabiel, Baraqijal, Armaros, gone. All of them!” Pas slammed her fist against the table and the women jumped. The Japanese woman continued to squirm as she suffocated up against the wall.

“Two hundred of our brethren fell that day.”

Paschar let the Japanese woman go, her human body falling to the floor, coughing and choking.

Pas walked the length of the restaurant, zooming in and out of focus, floating from one end of the room to the next, the anger in her veins amplified by the energy from her last victim.

“Their eternal souls locked away until their essence burns forever.” Her voice grew deeper, and pink wings grew out of her shoulders. “They failed,” she boomed, her voice like thunder. “We will not fail! Rise sistars. Rise!”

The women stood, their ethnicities changing, disfiguring the human flesh, now like clay, and exposing their true images. No longer were they six beautiful women all ranging in skin tones and race. Now Paschar looked into the face of a mermaid, a fairy, a troll, a white-winged horse, a griffin, and an imp. Paschar looked from one creature to the other and she changed too.

Pas real body was light pink and humanoid, resembling that of a woman from the chest down, her face that of a man. Different shaped circles cover her pink body, entry points to absorb energy. Paschar’s hair is dark pink and her feathered wings are light pink like her skin. Her pupils are tiny slits, like that of a snake, shining blue. Light emanates from her, shining a bright pink glow.

Paschar (pu-shar) is her name, angel of vision, once tasked with guarding the veil between the physical world and the heavens, between consciousness and unconsciousness, between awareness and illusion. She once saw the beauty of visions from the Almighty and projected these into human consciousness. Now, she is limited, capable only of seeing physical beauty, extracting energy from mortal man, and projecting illusions. Her authority was stripped from the heavens and placed on that of the Earth.

Paschar reigned over the creatures before her as if she could control them, but the truth was Pas had no real power and she growled in anger and frustration of her circumstance. The fall had weakened her, weakened them, and now there was no chance at redemption. Yah had forsaken them, cast them aside for pieces of rotting flesh. How dare he cast his own from eternal glory and offer it to the beast that is man? The slits in Paschar’s eyes thinned and the blue rays grew wider, brighter.

“Remember who you are,” she growled. The creatures responded by screeching, singing, growling, and shooting fire from their nostrils.

Pas snapped her fingers and the customers unfroze, the creatures turned back into beautiful women, and Pas skin was no longer pink.

The clinging sound of new patrons entering the restaurant sounded and four black men walked in, their eyes already on their table. The seven women smiled, just as beautiful as they were before, and Paschar smoothed out the wrinkles in her dress, licking her lips and marveling at the brown skin.

She didn’t even have to turn around. She saw them first and her stomach growled.

It was feeding time.


Chapter 8 “Something You Should Know”

Are you new to this series? Click here to start from chapter one.

Writers Wednesday – Chapter 6: The Women with Blue Eyes


Chapter 6: “Jason Who?”


“Higher daddy, higher! Push me higher!”

The four-year-old swung her legs back and forth, feeling the wind on her face. Jason smiled. Amarie was a fun junkie like her daddy.

“I don’t think you ready for this though Marie baby. You ready for this?”

“I’m ready, I’m ready. Higher daddy!”

Jason stopped the swing and placed his hands on each side. He stepped back, pulling Amarie back, high into the air, his hands still holding on tightly to the swing. Amarie laughed and giggled. Jason let go, letting the swing fly through the air as Marie screamed. Jason laughed.

“Told you, you weren’t ready!”

As the swing came back to him, he stopped it, helping Amarie to climb down.

“Come on baby, let’s go feed daddy.”

“That was amazing!” shrieked Amarie, still feeling giddy.

Jason smiled. Kids were something else. One minute they are asking you a million questions and the next they little geniuses.

“Amazing huh? Spell it for daddy.”

Amarie twisted her lip and Jason couldn’t get over the cuteness. She was his little chocolate drop, her skin taking on her mother’s dark complexion instead of his lighter one. Her brown, course, hair was in ponytails with yellow barrettes adorning the braided ends. Jason and his baby mama didn’t always get along, but he admired how she always kept his daughter fresh and looking like a little lady. Not too many little girls still wore pigtails these days. While moms kept her cute, Jason kept her smart. He taught her beauty on the outside meant nothing without beauty on the inside. “And beauty,” he taught her, “come with brains. Don’t just be a cutie, be smart too.”

“A-M-A…” began Amarie.

Jason tried hard to listen, but his spirit was still disturbed from the events of the other day. He wouldn’t teach his daughter the importance of thinking if he wasn’t a thinking man. I know for a fact her ass was sitting right next to me. How the hell did she end up on the other side of the room, standing up? He couldn’t remember what happened between the time he was about to tongue the woman down to when she put him out. It was weird and had him feeling uneasy. It was hot as hell in there too though. Could that have been the reason? Did I blackout from the heat?

“N-G,” recited Amarie as they made it to the car. Jason helped her into the back seat and strapped her into the booster seat.

“Did I do it right daddy?”

“Yea, baby. Good job.”

He closed her door and felt a wave of heat on his neck. Frowning, Jason turned around before opening his car door and saw no one.

“J man you are tripping,” he said outloud to himself.

“Tripping. T-R-I..” began Amarie.

Jason laughed and took out his cell.

“I’m not gonna make it out that way any time soon bro,” boomed Jason’s deep, melodic voice. He laughed into the phone. Tony was always saying something crazy.

“Naw, nothing like that. Got the little one with me. Yea. Ya’ll go ahead though. Imma stop by Moms, I can leave her there and catch ya’ll later. The steakhouse? Bet. I ain’t eating though. Jason paused as his friend chided him on the other end.

“You know moms ain’t gonna let me stop by and not eat! If Imma choose a meal it’s gonna be moms fa sho.”

He hung up and dialed another number.

“Sup old man. You at the crib? Oh yea? What she cook? Bet. I’m on my way. I got Marie with me. Yea. Aiight. See you soon.”

Jason hung up and then strapped on his seat belt. Whatever it was he was feeling, he didn’t trust it. He always talked things over with his dad. He felt fortunate to still have him in his life. Not many black men he knew could say they grew up with both parents in the home. Jason’s parents had been married for twenty-five years. That meant something to him. It also made him ashamed that he couldn’t hold onto a relationship himself. As Jason pulled out of his parking space and began to drive down the street, he prayed his mother’s cooking could help to shake the cold chill that trickled down his spine and the knot that lingered in the pit of his stomach.

***

“Internet stalking your boyfriend? Sweetie, if you think he’s cheating, he’s cheating.”

Amy laughed as she walked past Tina’s cubicle where a photo of Jason was pulled up on her computer screen. Quickly, Tina opened another tab.

“It’s not like that.”

She shook her head and crossed out the word Email on her notepad. The man was invisible online, no email and no record. He had been working for the U.S. Postal Service for three years. Before that, he attended a community college but then dropped out. Anything before that is a mystery.

Tina tapped her pencil on the desk, still unsure if she should intervene and because she had taken her prescription, there was no sign of Az to help. If she was going to help, she only had a few hours to do it and she had no idea where this Jason dude was.

“Hey Fred?”

“Yep?”

“Look up this name for me.”

Fred took the post-it from Tina and frowned. “Jason King?”

Amy laughed, shaking her head.

“Who’s he?”

“With a name like Jason King, shid,” laughed Amy.

Freddy laughed too. Tina shook her head.

“Ya’ll play too much. I don’t even know the guy. I think he may be connected to the Byron case.”

“In what way?” asked Freddy.

“I don’t know but I think he’s involved,” she lied. Trying to stop a blue-eyed fallen angel disguised as a beautiful black woman from killing him, wouldn’t exactly make her look sane.

In the new browser she typed in her company password, and pulled up Byron’s file. She looked up to find Amy staring at her. The woman cut her eyes, frowned, and looked away.


Chapter 7 “Angel of Vision”