Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ginger Snaps and Goat Milk tea

So, I’m sitting at my desk dunking gingersnaps into my tea and trying to work on a story for my new blog, Fat Tuesdays (

Okay, that’s not entirely true. The gingersnap-dunking part is true, the work part…not so much. I *do* have a piece that I’m working on, but I’m being a bit of a procrastinator – funnily enough, the story is about a poet who can’t get past his distractions. The problem is I can’t seem to get past my own distractions.

I know I’m decent writer – or, at least, that I write well – I just need to write *more*. I regularly read a lot of blogs (partially for inspiration, but mostly for enjoyment/amusement/edification) and I find myself wondering why *I* can’t be so prolific.

(Then I stop to play a quick round of solitaire and run downstairs to grab more cookies)

I think part of my problem may be the fact that I still haven’t fully acclimated to life in Kenya. Moving to a different country and building a new life is not the easiest thing to do when you’re in your forties. And not having a job/steady source of income – or even a regular, set schedule – does not help matters.

As far as my writing is concerned, I’m used to the American cafĂ© culture: after you've found a favorite coffee shop or two, you make a routine of grabbing your laptop and meeting up with a writing friend to get some work done. That kind of culture doesn’t really exist in Nairobi. At least, as far as quaint, neighborhood cafes go.

...or, at least, not as far as I've been able to find.

I *think* I may be able to accomplish something close to it with Fat Tuesdays...I'm just not sure yet. 

The problem now is simply the writing…

Saturday, August 17, 2013

So, I started a writing group...

...or, better said, I convinced/coerced a small group of people to join me in writing.

It's called Fat Tuesdays. We meet once a month (on a Tuesday, of course) at various cafes in Nairobi and gorge ourselves while we discuss our writing.

We've created a blog to showcase our works ( and are working on a facebook page as well.

Fell free to check us out and to submit any writings you have for feedback and possible posting.

And don't worry, I still plan on keeping this blog alive. Hopefully, between the two blogs and the facebook page, I will manage to keep myself fully motivated and will end up writing more consistently...hopefully...=')

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

And now, a quick review...

The Boss
a review

Sophie Scaife is having a bad day! Not only did she spill coffee on her ghost white Yamamoto jacket; not only did her boss Gabriella Winters, Editor-in-Chief of fashion magazine Porteras, shockingly get fired, thus leaving her own job in possible jeopardy; but Gabriella’s replacement, the wealthy Neil Elwood, happens to be the very same man with whom Sophie’d had an amazing one-night stand six years prior. And all this before 9:00am!

Jenny Trout’s “The Boss” – written under the name Abigail Barnette – tells the story of Sophie and Neil, how they met – twice – and how they navigate their bourgeoning professional and private relationships.

Unless I’m mistaken (and I seldom am) this book was written in part as an antidote to the madness that is Fifty Shades of Grey. I say antidote because, unlike FSoG this book deals with two fully fleshed-out characters who have amazing, kinky, and – most importantly – consensual sex. Though there is a bit of an age difference (Sophie is close to his daughter’s age) and though he is her boss, Neil never takes advantage by bullying or coercing her into doing things she doesn’t want to do.

And, by the way, unlike FSoG, the sex in this book is hot!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I strongly recommend it…only to adults, of course.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A funny* thing happened on the way to the club

(*and by funny, I mean sh*tty)

So, a couple of Saturdays ago, I got pulled over by the cops. Well, actually, it was a cop, and he didn’t so much pull me over as motion vigorously from the side of the road for me to stop. Had I not been paying attention, I would’ve driven right past him. And, in hindsight, that may not have been such a bad thing.

I was on my way to a planning meeting for my cousin’s wedding (he waited way too late to start the whole planning process, but that’s a complaint – uh, I mean blog posting, for another day), and, as it was only my second day ever driving into town, I was feeling both nervous and excited.

Nervous because driving in downtown Nairobi can be mad and because I wasn’t completely sure of where I was going. Excited because I was actually managing to drive in town and I wasn’t causing accidents or getting pulled over by the cops.

That is, until I got pulled over by a cop.

I’m not too sure why – I believe it is mostly due to its colonial past – but Kenya has a large number of private/members-only clubs, many of them scattered throughout Nairobi. My cousin (not the one getting married) is a member of one – the Public Service Club – and so he was able to secure use of the club’s facilities so we could hold our meeting. This was convenient for all parties involved except for me, as I live in the suburbs (sort of) and the PSC is far, far away. And also, I wasn’t too sure how to drive there.

Normally, when I have to go into town, I meet with one or two of my cousins at a designated spot and we carpool to whatever location we’re going to, leaving the other cars parked (somewhat) safely.

This time I was on my own as my one cousin was planning the meeting and had to get to the PSC early-ish and my other cousin had business meetings and town and would not be able to connect with me in a timely fashion.

I wasn’t too worried. I’ve been driving around locally since I came to Kenya and I’d been to the PSC once before, so I had a vague notion of where I was going and of how to get there.

Unfortunately, my notions were a bit vaguer than I thought.

I had a good recollection of the return route we’d taken on the way back home from my first visit to the PSC and I figured that backtracking along that route would be the best way.

And I was correct, except for the one half-block of a side street that was one-way only where I ended up going the wrong way.

That was where I ran into the cop.

If I recall correctly (and I may not, as I’ve tried to block out as much of the experience as I can) he was either standing or leaning out into the street and motioning for me to stop. I did (with a wee bit of a squeal in my tires as I was not going slowly and I stopped abruptly). When I stopped, he arrogantly swaggered over to my car and waited for me to roll down my passenger window.

He asked for my license, which I gave to him. I asked him why he stopped me/what I did wrong, but he didn’t answer. As a matter of fact, he never actually answered my question (though I asked repeatedly), preferring to take the tactic that I knew what I’d done wrong and that it was up to me to admit/own up to it.

After a few minutes of going back and forth and getting nowhere, I asked him what was supposed to happen next, as I had never been pulled over by the police in Kenya before and was unaware of the protocol.

Of course, in the back of my mind I knew that he probably wanted a bribe, but I had no idea how to navigate such a situation, so I continued on, asking him what I was supposed to do.

He said that we were to go to the nearest police station where I would be given a ticket and a time to show for court on Monday. He got in my car and we headed off to the station (I later learned that I should not have let him in my car, as he could have been a thug impersonating an officer).

Before we left, I called my cousin to let him know that I would be unable to make our meeting. He asked me to put the cop on the phone and, fortunately, was able to negotiate a suitable bribe so that the cop would release me without a ticket.

The cop, who was now all smiles, was supposed to ride with me to my destination (that was part of the deal my cousin had struck with him, to make sure I got to the club and didn’t get lost), but he had me pull over almost right away, giving me vague directions of how to get to the club.

He then hopped out of my car – without even a ‘thanks’ – and went on his way, most likely eagerly looking for his next traffic violator.

I continued on my journey – a little stressed out and a thousand shillings poorer – and eventually found my way to the PSC. Where, of course, I learned that the meeting had been cancelled because not enough people had shown up…

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

So, I recently entered a short story contest...

..."800 words for $800".

Quite a prize for such a short piece!

Unfortunately, I didn't make it into the top five, but life goes on and I'm going to  keep on writing.

Here's the story I entered:

The Seventh Day

          Time and silence. Those are their weapons,
          and they go on forever.

          -Guitar Bains

He stood over the man, watching. The man, huddled in the corner weeping softly was, in truth, barely a man, being just past his eighteenth birthday. But his age did not matter, he was slated to die. Actually, his age did matter insofar as it matched another, recently deceased.

He decided it was time. He pulled out his gun and pointed it at the man and finally spoke.

“Your day has come.”

He pulled the trigger.


He held the paper and stared at the story. It should have been on the front page, the headline screaming out at him, at everyone. But of course, it wasn’t. It wasn’t even in the first section. Instead, it was buried in the middle of the ‘local news’. As always, details were sketchy and the story riddled with inaccuracies. Allusions to a broken home, drug use, gang violence. He read between the lines to find the truth.

He focused on the one part that was always present, “resisting arrest”. Six officers heavily armed, one young man on his knees. Yet still, “resisting arrest”.

He put the paper down and picked up his cup of tea; he had a long day ahead.


The call came first thing in the morning. No greeting. Just a simple, “You have work.”

He got up, threw on sweats and sneakers and made his way down to the corner store for a newspaper. Once back, he set the paper on the table and turned to the stove. He put the kettle on a low flame and went to take a shower.

The kettle whistled as he toweled off. He grabbed his robe and padded back into the kitchen to prepare tea. He preferred loose leaf – it reminded him that even in small things chaos reigned. Yet chaos was what he and the others were determined to combat. He made his tea, sat at the table and perused the paper, looking for the article he knew he would eventually find.


He found his target easily enough. The blitheness with which some people walked around, especially in his part of town, never ceased to amaze him. It was a simple task to follow the young man into the subway and onto a train, the young man’s blond hair acting as a beacon. He used his newspaper as a shield to avoid detection. A fitting choice, as he read the story again and again.

The young man traveled five stops before getting off the train. The man waited until just before the doors closed to hop off and follow. The station was in one of the nicer parts of town. The man was glad he’d opted for slacks and a button-down shirt rather than something more casual. He hated to stand out. It increased the chances of being remembered.

The young man lingered on the platform, taking photos of graffiti gracing the posters lining the tunnel walls. For a moment, the man considered a different approach besides the usual hunt: walking up to the young man, starting up a conversation about photography and graffiti. Gaining his trust then striking. He smiled bitterly and shook his head. What was he thinking? The whole purpose – the whole point – was anonymity. His own and the target’s. Even knowing the young man was possibly a photographer was more information than he needed or wanted.

The less he knew the better. Sympathizing – or worse, empathizing – with a target only made the job harder and left him questioning his purpose. It happened once before. He vowed never to let it happen again.

He stopped woolgathering just in time to see the young man disappear at the top of the escalator. Quietly cursing himself, he set off in pursuit, remembering to appear casual.


The young man stood at the doorstep chatting with a neighbor. He had no choice but to continue walking lest he arouse suspicion. Fortunately, when he stopped ostensibly to tie his shoe, he’d seen the young man check his mailbox. Identifying an apartment number would be simple. He lingered at his laces long enough to overhear that the young man was going to be home alone all evening. He smiled, blessed his luck, walked on.


Entering the building was easy: no doorman, the latch was loose. He sauntered down the hall and up the staircase to the young man’s door. He hesitated a moment, patted his side, reassured by the weight of the gun.

He raised his hand to the doorknocker and rapped several times.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Books You Should be Reading

In my last post I mentioned that I’d been reading a bunch of sh*t books on my Kindle. Well, like I said, not all of the Kindle freebies suck. 
So, to keep you occupied whilst I edit, here’s a list of some excellent books I read that are worth not only reading, but also paying for!!!

I suggest looking for them at your local bookseller. If your bookseller doesn’t carry them, chances are good she or he will be more than happy to special order whatever titles you need, at no extra cost to you.

If you want the e-book/digital version – and you don’t mind taking an extra step or two – I suggest you look up the author online, see if they have a web site and find out about buying the e-book directly from the author or the publisher…Amazon has/gets WAY too much money as it is…


Blood Reaction: A Vampire Novel, by D.L. Atha

The Annihilation of Foreverland, by Tony Bertauski

Desolation: Stories, by Ken Brosky

Human Legacy Project, by Christian Cantrell

Bible Camp Bloodbath, by Joey Comeau
(this one I actually paid for; it’s by the guy who does the “A Softer World” webcomic)

Dust, by Allison M. Dickson

The Devil Machine, by Gregory Elfrink

Everywhere But No Place, by Mark Foster

The “Wool” series, by Hugh Howey
(there are 5 “Wool” books – of which I’ve read three – and then 3 or 4 other books that take place in the “Wool” universe. This is one of the best things I’ve read on my Kindle so far!!!)

Bad Radio (The Emergent Earth), by Michael Langlois

Okay, so there are ten books to get you started. Check these authors out!

I’ll add more as I find time, but please remember, I have over 2,000 books on my kindle, so sifting through them is going to take a wee bit of time.

So, I realize I've been neglecting my blog...

...but there really is good reason for it.

I've actually been editing the piece I wrote for NaNoWriMo in November. After a couple months away from it I realized a couple of things:

1. It's actually an interesting story and it's totally worth editing/revising.

2. There's a whole lot of REALLY SH*TTY work out there - stuff that simply cannot compare to what I've written - that's getting published every day. If the free stuff* I've been reading on my Kindle can get published, then there's NO REASON I can't get published.

So, yeah, I'm back in writing/editing mode. Hopefully, that will push me towards blogging mode.

I shall keep you updated.

*not all of the free stuff on my kindle is crap, but a fair amount of it is...