#TeaserTuesday – Dream Chasers

After hugging me and DJ, Sunny sat down and crossed her legs. She gave me an amused smile.
“Dreamz, what have you done?”
“Man, it’s not what you think,” I answered, assuming that she had watched the finale inside of Aubrey’s dressing room.
“I was checking out your girl too. She’s wearing that hell out of that Cavalli dress. I know that dress well, and no reality star can afford that. Did you buy that for her?”
I shrugged. “Maybe. If I did, she doesn’t need to know.”
“That girl has you all twisted up.” Sunny giggled. “You spent forty stacks on a dress? I’ve never seen you like this.”
“What do you want, Sunny? I know you didn’t come in here just to tease me.”
She grinned widely. “Actually, that’s the only reason I’m still hanging around. And maybe to give you some much needed advice.”
DJ burst out laughing. “How can you give him relationship advice? You act like we don’t know your track record. We grew up with you, Sunny. We know we can’t trust your relationship advice.”
Sunny smiled because she knew he was right. We all went to junior high and high school together. We weren’t the best of friends, but that doesn’t change the fact that every aspect of her current and past relationships was tabloid fodder.
“You tried it, DJ! You were at my wedding! Obviously, I’m doing something right because I’m not divorced. I’m not giving your cousin relationship advice because he doesn’t have a relationship to advise on. I’m giving him female advice. And I’m not talking to you; I’m talking to your cousin.” She turned towards me. “Dreamz, I think you’re about to do something really dumb, and you better tread carefully. You hurt that girl to her core on national TV. Millions of people saw her embarrassed by you. Her forgiveness isn’t going to come easily so don’t expect it just because you still like her. Your feelings don’t even matter. From what I’ve seen on the show, she’s more likely to say fuck you and your feelings than forgive you so you better be prepared for it, friend. She’s a tough cookie. I like her though. And next time you want to dress up one of your girls, call me. That is what I do for a living.”
Sunny’s harsh words hit me hard. Seeing Chase at her school and our brief conversation solidified my feelings for her, but we hadn’t had a conversation about what happened. Sunny could be right, and I was overestimating Chase’s feelings for me. Damn. I didn’t know what I’d do if Chase rejected me in front of a live audience.

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Music is Love: vol 3 – DREAM CHASERS (teaser)

“It was a pleasure having you on board, Dreamz,” the flirty light-skinned flight attendant said as I pulled my backpack and Chase’s carryon suitcase out of the overhead compartment. “Thank you for choosing Delta.””
Chase got out of her seat and slid between me and the flight attendant. “You’re welcome,” Chase said pointedly.
All I could do was snicker. Thankfully, Chase didn’t say anything else to any of the overly polite attendants. Being my woman must be hard as hell since it seems like other women lose all sense of boundaries around celebrities. You have to be pretty damn cold and your common sense must take a leave of absence to blatantly flirt with a man with his woman sitting right next to him. Groupie behavior wasn’t something I expected Chase to get used to, but I don’t know how she planned on dealing with it. Chase struggled to keep up with my long strides down the jetway. I wanted to get onto the crowded concourse in the Atlanta airport as quickly as possible. Without my sister, brother, and three security guards, it was usually easy to blend into most crowds. Most people were hurrying to catch a flight, not scoping out celebs in the airport.
“The hell?” Chase gasped when we exited the gate. Her eyes widened in amazement. Atlanta’s airport can invoke that kind of response in someone who’d never seen it before. The last time we flew out of Atlanta, we flew out of a different part of the airport where the private jets took off.
I hate Hartsfield-Jackson airport with a passion. It’s too damn big to be as inefficient and disorganized as it is. This airport was the main reason we got a private plane. Too many missed flights going through TSA and hardly any security to keep the crowd at bay made Sony fork over those dollars.
“Can you please slow down?” Chase whined. “My legs aren’t as long as yours.”
“You want me to carry you on my back?”
Chase smiled. I could tell she wanted to say yes. Her miniature self was always jumping on my back at home but being in public stopped her.
“I’m not a baby.”
“You’re my baby.”
I pulled her closer and kissed her cheek. She was already starting to blush. Something about that flush of red was so inviting and cute, and I leaned down and kissed her lips.
“You know I love you, right?”
“Yes, even when you don’t say it.”
When we started walking again, I was sure that Chase noticed the people who were looking at us, trying to figure out if we were actually Chase and Dreamz; they did it on the train to baggage claim too. We were smart enough not to check any luggage because I have an apartment here with a closet full of clothes and I can buy whatever Chase needs or wants, but that was the only exit out of the public part of the airport that I knew about.
Walking through baggage claim, we were definitely noticed by a group of girls waiting on their bags. Their screams alerted others so we had no choice but to stand there and take pictures.
“Ooh Dreamz, you are so fine!” I heard a girl say boldly and turned to see who it was. “I shoulda been your baby mama instead of Blue. That stripper ho is crazy as hell!”
“Keyona!” her friend shouted. “I know you didn’t just say that to him!”
“What? It’s true. I could be a better baby mama than any one of them strippers and reality show hoes. Please believe me!”
Chase’s jaw dropped, but I already warned her that women often be out of order when they see me. I guess knowing that chicks would be disrespectful and seeing it up close and personal were two different things. Chase moved in front of me and glared at the girl. The mild-mannered Chase that was usually so laid back was replaced with the Chase I saw when Sasha threw a beer bottle at her.
“I know you see me standing here so you gotta be on some other shit for you to be so disrespectful. You might want to apologize.”
“Apologize to who?” The girl wrinkled her face and snickered. “You? What for? You ain’t nobody.”
“What for? Oh. Okay.”
Chase smoothly draped her purse over the handle of her suitcase. “I shouldn’t have to explain myself, but you should apologize so you don’t get your ass beat in the middle of this airport by a reality show ho. Or don’t; it’s on you. I have bail money.” She put her hands up and rolled her neck. “What’s good?”
I grabbed Chase before she could swing on the girl. There were already phones pointed at us recording the situation. There was no way in hell I was going to let Chase fight some groupie on Instagram Live and Snapchat.
“No! We’re not about to do this, baby. Let’s go.”
Smugly, Chase wrapped her arm around my waist and let me lead her towards the exit. She smirked coyly at the group of women, but I knew that her smirk was just for show. She was heated!
“Fuck that bad body bitch!” the shit-talker yelled at Chase’s back. “Walking around with no ass and titties looking like a lil boy.
Chase’s spin move would have put the best NBA player to shame. She spun out of my grasp and was at the girl’s neck before I could grab her. Some dude I didn’t even know scooped her about two feet in the air before she could land a punch, but not before she’d yanked the wig off the girl’s head. Instead of swinging, Keyona grabbed at her head, trying not to show her jail braids to an airport full of travelers with camera phones.
“Secure your wig, ho! Don’t you know that?” Chase hollered. “I don’t know who you hoes think I am, but you don’t want these types of problems. Atlanta ain’t that fuckin’ big, bitch!”
The dude holding Chase looked at me, wondering if he should let her go. I just shook my head and grabbed my girl from his arms and pushed her towards the exit doors as quickly as I could before the police came running over to see what the commotion was.
Kareem was leaning against the door of my Maserati waiting for us. He had no idea what just happened inside and was caught off guard when I threw open the front passenger door and pushed Chase inside. I threw the bags in the backseat.
“Let’s get the fuck out of here,” I growled. “This is some bullshit.”
Kareem tossed me the keys and hopped quickly into the backseat. People were still staring at us and snapping pictures as I peeled out before he could even close the door. Chase rolled down her window and threw the wig out.

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#WriteTipWednesdays Are Back!

I know…it’s been a long time since I posted one of these. I’ve been slacking. Live outside of writing…life as April instead of Jackie Chanel got more crazy and weird than I ever imagined.
To make things more challenging, I had to do some serious soul searching for a cool month or two because, as an author-publisher-editor, I kind of lost my way. I even took a steady job and was about to give up on writing period. I honestly felt like I didn’t want to be a part of this industry anymore. I talked it out with myself, my mother, and God, and determined that writing is my calling. As John Mayer pointed out in 2010 (the speech that made me want to publish UNTITLED in the first place) …

“I know that I traded certain things as a human being, I know that I did. There are certain parts of my brain that will never be the same, certain parts of my brain that are now converted to being able to do things on this level, that are at the expense of being able to do things on a somewhat of a more docile human level.
But I know…but I know…that is the very making of a calling! Callings are not perfect. When you have a calling, you have to give a lot up to follow the calling. That’s why it’s called a calling…BECAUSE THE SOUND COMES FROM FAR AWAY!
And you have to follow the sound of your calling. And it’s one of the hardest things in the world to do. It’s the reason the world is full of really talented people who didn’t go try it, and that’s okay. But to the people who hear the ringing of the bell of the calling…that sound that they have to follow, you will have to give up certain parts of your life.”

So, that’s where I am at this point. I’m following the sound of my calling, which brought me back to my blog and helping other authors.
#WriteTipWednesday this week is about following the sound of your calling. This is important for authors, especially authors like me who go through rough patches of doubt.

The writing and publishing industry is a beast like no other. E-book publishing made it so easy to get taken by what I call pop-up publishers. The big New York publishers are still last in line when it comes to signing indie authors to big publishing deals. If you’re an indie author, you have to work five times as hard as a traditional author. It’s a non-stop gig. You have to wear many hats. You have to be an author, an editor, a proofreader, a marketing expert, and a social media guru. It becomes overwhelming very fast and discouraging even faster.

However, it’s crucial that you remember why you do this. Everyone who makes the decision to become an author has a reason why they do this. If you’re passionate about this thing then you’re going to do what you should do in order to make it work the way you need it to work.

Step one is to always remember that you are not alone. You don’t have to do this by yourself. It’s you who has to write the book, but you have an entire community of indie authors who are experiencing the EXACT SAME THINGS that you are. You must build a system of support. That’s where I messed up. Don’t ever let anyone, including yourself, that you don’t need peer readers, critique groups, or just other author friends to vent to. Your support system doesn’t have to be huge, but be sure that it’s enough that you can share resources and trust these authors.

Step two…build a network of people who can do the things that you are not great at. You’re going to need cover designers, editors, proofreaders, beta readers, and a team of readers that you can trust to give honest feedback and gas you up when you need it.

I can’t reiterate enough how important it is that you do not even attempt to do this alone. Write your book. Follow the sound of your calling wherever it takes you because that’s what your calling is…to be an author. If you just do those two things, I guarantee, this industry will not get the best of you.
Just know that while doing this, there may situations that are uncomfortable. There may be long days and longer nights. There will be sacrifices and times you want to quit. It’s part of the job, part of the title, and a very real factor when you’re doing exactly what you know in your heart you’re supposed to be doing.

And if you need an author friend, hit me up. I’m in the same place as you.

Having a baby IS a miracle and DOES make you a Goddess

Dear Naomi Schaefer Riley,

Like many others, I read your NY POST piece titled “Having a Baby isn’t a miracle and doesn’t make you a Goddess.”

I’m going to be nice and not fill this post with all the curse words I used while I read your little op-ed piece for the NY Post. Also, you’ve probably heard or read all the names and insults everyone has been thinking on Twitter. I don’t even have to go on Twitter to know that the BeyHive came all the way for you. Or maybe you haven’t. I looked you up on Twitter and surprisingly, the last tweet from you was on February 17th, the day before you decided to hit publish on t his hot mess of an article. Seems like you’re the type of person to throw a rock then run away.

After reading what you wrote, I came away with a few questions, the main one being ‘Who raised you?’ and then ‘Who hurt you?’ And finally, ‘Do you have any friends?’

Continue reading “Having a baby IS a miracle and DOES make you a Goddess”