Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Men Who Sleep With My Husband

It's time for a book review!!!

(come on...what did you think I was talking about?)


The Men Who Sleep With My Husband
by Alicia Coston
Indigo Press 2008

Are you in the mood for some trashy fun? I mean really trashy? I’m talking Dynasty* meets The Real Housewives of New Jersey on the set of the Jerry Springer Show trashy? Then you’ve got to read "The Men Who Sleep with My Husband", by Alicia Coston.

I picked this book up for my kindle (for free, of course) because…well, who could resist a title like that? And in case you think the title is just overly dramatic hyperbole, let me assure you, the very first scene of the book will disabuse you of that notion (although, to be fair, the title is euphemistic – there’s not a lot of ‘sleeping’ going on). But I get ahead of myself. Let’s start with a brief synopsis, then we’ll meet some of the characters.

Brief synopsis: A woman discovers her husband is cheating on her (with men) and she takes a hit out on his lovers.

Simple enough, yes?

No. Not simple at all. This story is a big bowl full of crazy…and I mean that in the best way possible.

Almost without exception, every single character that’s introduced ends up being coincidentally connected – in some ridiculous way – to the principals of the story. It’s outlandish and barely believable and a whole lot of fun!

To start, we have Lavender (yes, her name is Lavender; I am not making this up), the central character and the cuckquean (I’m not making that up either; google it) implied in the title.

Lavender’s husband, Quincy, is cheating on her with another man. Lavender’s husband is also the pastor of their church. And the man he’s having an affair with is one of the deacons. She walks in on the deacon fellating her husband…in the pulpit…in the very first sentence of the book!!! (I told you this was awesome).

Lavender manages to keep her cool long enough to flee the church unnoticed, but not long enough to avoid rear-ending an off-duty cop while she erratically drives home. This point – where we meet the cop and his passenger – is the place to start paying attention, because it’s where the coincidental connections start.

Okay, I was going to do a vague-ish (so as not to spoil the story) breakdown of who all these people are and how they are connected, but that’ll take too long and it’s late (3:30am) and I’m lazy. So, since I highly doubt any of you are actually going to read this book, I’m just going to shout SPOILER ALERT and dive into it…

So Lavender, unwilling to face the shame and scandal if the truth came out – she is the First Lady of her church, after all – decides to hire a hitwoman (named Dulce) to kill her husband’s lovers and frame her husband for their murders…thereby creating an even bigger scandal…which would only reflect badly on him and not at all affect her or their teenaged son…? I’m not really following her logic here…

Unfortunately, the plan backfires almost right away. Dulce offs the deacon, but before Lavender can start planting the evidence Dulce gives her, the police arrest the deacon’s widow. Of course, the lead officer on the case happens to be the detective Lavender rear-ended. Oh! And she’s having an affair with him as well!

It only gets more complicated, so try to keep up!

The cop, Tai, had been having a brief fling with a girl named Zoe (his passenger when he was rear-ended) who he picked up at a bar. What he didn’t know was that Zoe was actually 17, had been dating Danny (the son of Sargeant Garcia, his hated rival) and coincidentally went to high school with Lavender’s son, Jalen (with whom she later became friends).

Also Zoe’s dad, Tom, had coincidentally gone to college with Lavender’s husband Quincy. Tom and Quincy had dated for two years until Tom’s father found out, beat the crap out of him and made them break up. Oddly enough (or maybe not so odd), at a later point in the book, Quincy and Tom reconnect, and end up kissing. Jalen walks in on them, flips out, and ends up beating the crap out of Tom as well.

(By the way, since this book is so ridiculous, I won’t get into the extremely problematic situation of having a “weak” “gay” character whose sole purpose is to serve as a literal punching bag upon which the “strong”, “conflicted” straight men can work out their issues with regards to what is and what is not “acceptable” male sexuality and behaviour)

Had enough yet? No? Good, because there’s more!

Tai – who’s falling in love with Lavender – has an “evil” ex-wife, Mena, who divorced him because he was “married” to his job and therefore not paying enough attention to her. Turns out she’d been having an affair…with his dad!! And the best part? Apparently, on more than one occasion, their daughter Sabine had heard her mom and grandfather getting it on!!


There are several other side stories that get dragged into the mix:

  • Quincy’s affair with Madam Woo, the drag queen who’s also a prostitute – though Quincy doesn’t realize this until he gets a post-coital payment request (which he refuses to make, until Madame Woo and her “butch dyke” pimp, Sonny, beat the crap out of him. But don’t worry, they get their come-uppance, too. Dulce kills Woo, Sonny and Sonny’s girlfriend).

  • Zoe’s therapist, Denard (who coincidentally went to high school with Quincy and had been Quincy’s first sexual experience) who shows up towards the end of the book and outs Quincy and denounces him as a hypocrite in front of his entire congregation.

  • Dulce the hitwoman, first being blackmailed by her mother (Dulce takes a contract out on her and has her killed) then being “unmasked” by Tai when she coincidentally saves his daughter from an attempted kidnapping. He let’s her go – on the condition that she leave town and never come back – because all of the people she’d killed had “deserved it”.

  • Lavender’s decision not to frame her husband for the murders, but rather her best friend Corrine’s philandering husband Neil, who gave Corrine HIV and, later, attempts to rape Lavender.

Whew! Okay, I’m done. There’s only so much ridiculousness even I can take. If you’re actually interested in knowing what happens at the end (here’s a hint: two characters die and a third gets a “new beginning”), I suggest waiting for the Lifetime Movie to come out. Although…since the “cast” is 95% black, it’ll probably air on BET or on Oprah’s network …probably…

Or, more realistically, Tyler Perry will make it into a feature film and he himself will play the role of Lavender in drag.

I would TOTALLY pay to see that movie!

…at any rate, I’ll keep my eyes peeled and let you know if/when they make the movie and where it’s playing…

In the meantime, stay away from this book. It’s ridiculous…

…though, if you must read it, I can “loan” it to you via my kindle…

*for those of you born after 1990, Dynasty was a prime-time soap opera on the ABC network; it was basically the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but with good real actors.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Something else I found in the attic...

...and decided to dust off and bring into the light.



For this darkness, though of deepest obscurity, is yet radiantly clear...
                                                -Dionysius the Areopagite

At the touch of the Fire Qadosh the earth melted into a liquor clear as water.
At the touch of the Fire Qadosh the water smoked into a lucid air.
At the touch of the Fire Qadosh the air ignited, and became Fire.

it begins with the blood. a single drop. loosed from its coursing torrent with the prick of a sharpened blade. the point enters flesh. the desire to push deeper, to release more blood is great, fair to overwhelming. but one drop is all that is required, so one drop is all that is drawn.

it is carried on the tip of the knife, carefully. once the designated place is reached, the blade is turned. the drop falls to the chosen spot. words are spoken and the air shimmers.

a figure appears. faint at first, barely discernible. it starts to take shape, apparently drawing substance from the blood. a torso forms, then arms, legs. finally a head. the head is featureless except for a pair of glistening eyes. they coruscate, changing color, appearance: golden with cat-eye slits; all black, with several tiny white pupils; finally blue, completely blue, with silver, split irises that swing from side to side, seeing everything.

*          *          *

Tuesday morning: What time is it? He rolled over and opened his eyes, turned his head until he could focus on the display of his alarm clock. It was 5:45 am, two hours before he had to get up. He closed his eyes and drifted back off to sleep. And dreamt. 

There were clouds, thousands upon thousands of them; commingling yet still individually discernible. The sky was blue but it was on fire. There was no heat, no smoke, only light: blinding, brilliant, incandescent light. It burned his eyes. He turned his head, closed and covered his eyes, but he could not shut it out.

And there were voices. A hundred voices, a thousand voices, a million voices. A mad, cacophonous chorus, crying, shouting, screaming – singing. Singing out a single word, over and over and over. “Qadosh, qadosh, qadosh.” The song filled his ears, filled his head to bursting. He opened his mouth to cry out and the sound entered him. And the light entered him. And he was consumed.

He awoke with a start, leaned his head over the edge of the bed and vomited onto the floor. His body shook as he went through the convulsions. Then it was over. He leaned back, breathing heavily, wiping his mouth, not seeing the traces of blood in the dark. He glanced over at the clock.  It was 5:45 am.

*          *          *

it begins with the blood; a single drop of blood. your blood.

you pick up the knife, freshly sharpened, and hold it poised, point-down above your wrist. a smile spreads across your face. you lower the knife slowly until it rests against your flesh. then you start to press. your flesh dimples, then breaks. the knifepoint sinks in.  your smile grows wider. you withdraw the knife, turning your wrist and the knife to catch the drop on the knifetip.  you carry it to the designated spot and watch as the drop falls to the floor. laughter echoes in the darkened room. still smiling, you move back and wait.

you realize the knife is still in your hand. it’s time to play. you think of a letter. “t.” what starts with “t”? thigh! the blade caresses your naked thigh, back and forth. slowly at first, then faster. and faster. back and forth and back and forth, like a razor on a strop. you look down and see that you’ve shaved a layer of skin off your leg. more laughter. louder this time. whose is it? yours? you hold the knife firmly by the hilt. again the point is facing down. you grimace as it penetrates your newly-skinned thigh. you push. harder this time.  the blade sinks in. one inch. two. three. you howl in ecstasy.

your cry ceases as you hear a sound. faint at first, it grows rapidly, until you recognize it: the beating of wings. you have succeeded again.

*          *          *

Wednesday afternoon: Well, it’s finally happened.  I’m officially crazy. He walked out of his doctor’s office and down the hall to the pharmacy and rang the bell. The pharmacist appeared. He handed over the prescription and waited.  I wonder what this stuff is going to do to me.  He frowned as he recalled the list of “possible side effects”. The pharmacist returned with the medication.  He paid, pocketed the bottle of pills and left.

He walked back to work, openly staring at the people on the sidewalk around him.  I wonder if they can tell.  I wonder if they can see it, just by looking at me.  He concentrated on their faces, scrutinizing each one as he passed, scowling as he did so.  People started to move away, giving him a wide berth.  Some crossed to the other side of the street, one woman almost getting hit by a car in her haste.  Stupid bitch! Serve her right to get hit.  Hmmm, I guess this means that they can tell.   He tore his gaze away from the people surrounding him Bastards! Freaks! and focused on his shoes, not looking up until he was in front of his building.

Finally back at his desk, he took the bottle out of his pocket and held it, contemplating its contents. He took out a pill and placed it on his desktop, focusing on it to the exclusion of all else: his ringing phone, his inquisitive co-worker, his angry supervisor.  For a moment, he turned a flat, empty stare upon the phone; the ringing stopped.  He turned it upon his co-worker; the inquiring stopped.  He turned it upon his supervisor; the yelling stopped.  He turned back, in silence, to the pill.

*          *          *

it begins with the blood, gallons and gallons of blood:  from drunken youths who foolishly followed you home; from homeless men seeking food in exchange for ‘work’; from the bored housewife next door, wanting attention and validation; from her horny husband, looking for excitement and thrills; from the silly little girl scout, desperate to unload her last box of thin mints. foolish, trusting, easy prey. and so full of blood.

you revel in it: smeared on your face, dripping off your chin, clotted in your hair. painted on your body – your very own Renaissance Masterpiece. you use it, one drop at a time, to bring them down to you, hoping that they will be find you worthy and take you among them.

*          *          *

Thursday evening:  So far so good.  No real side effects apart from a little nausea.  Could be worse I suppose.  He sat in the subway car, seemingly staring off into the middle distance – apparently lulled by the gentle swaying of the train – yet surreptitiously watching his fellow passengers: the girl directly across from him, wearing headphones yet playing her music loud enough to disturb all the people around her; the man sitting across the aisle talking incessantly on his cell phone; the young couple behind him unable to stop their baby from crying; the homeless woman wearing a construction worker’s hardhat, talking and singing to herself.  He felt nothing. No anger, no hatred, no disgust.  No desires of any kind. I guess this stuff really is working.  

The train began to slow; it was nearing his stop. He stood and moved towards the doors
glad that he was done with his day and almost home. As the train lurched to a halt, he lost his balance and fell forward onto a young man standing in front of him. The young man reached out to steady him and their eyes met.  Five minutes later, the young man was with him, riding in the passenger seat of his car. Five minutes after that, the young man was lying on the floor, in the dark, slowly bleeding to death

*          *          *

it begins with the blood; it always begins with the blood. and then the sounds: ripping and tearing, like great sails whipping back and forth in a storm. sounds like wings – enormous wings, thousands of them – beating back and forth.  coming closer, drawn to the blood. demanding the blood.

*          *          *

Friday night: He stood in the doorway, knife dangling at his side in a loose grip, surveying his handiwork. His doctor was dead. Well, he did say that I would no longer feel like killing myself! He smiled at that thought, and brought the knife up to his face, tapping the point against his teeth, ignoring the blood that still ran down the blade. He looked to his right; they were still there, watching him. They seemed displeased. He shrugged and smiled wider as he knelt and began to prepare the doctor’s body. One of them moved towards him, shuffling and dragging itself forward. He looked up at it and it stopped. It shuddered violently for a moment, then its head leaned back and its jaw fell open.  A voice issued forth:

to be continued…

Thursday, October 25, 2012

How I became an Internationally Renowned Blogger™ *

(*this hasn’t happened yet, but it will. I’m…chronicling the process as it unfolds…)

As I mentioned some months earlier, after my Kindle died I came across a web site that allows readers access to as-yet-unpublished galleys for review purposes. I was excited at first because I love to read, I love sharing my well-informed, interesting, unique opinions and, despite my current “economic situation”, it turns out that, with the help of a little “creative budgeting”, I can totally afford free books!

My excitement dimmed just a wee bit, however, when I noticed one of the membership criteria: they want readers who will benefit them, i.e. popular bloggers with lots of web traffic. Actually, it’s the publishers who want that (but not all of them, hence the ease with which I got my copy of “Revealing Eden” – she just wanted exposure, apparently not caring if it was good or bad) so they can get good press for their upcoming books.

I’ll admit I was a little put-off by this (put-off I said, not “demoralized and filled with self-doubt”, put-off…just a little) but I decided I would take this as a challenge. I would use it as an opportunity to transform myself from an ordinary, well-read, intelligent private citizen to an Internationally Renowned Blogger™.


And I’m already two-thirds of the way there! I was born in the states and now live in Kenya (where I’m still waiting for my citizenship papers, grrr!) so I’m totally international. And, well, you’re reading my blog, so there’s that.

All that’s left is to garner some renown. Between the, uh, hundreds of facebook friends I have and my, uh, swiftly** growing twitter following (seriously, follow me on twitter – “@wanderover”) it shouldn’t take…more than…mmmmaybe a couple of decades(?)...for me to achieve my goal!  

At which point I shall be able to mercilessly mock the publishers who didn’t deem me “adequate” to review their – ah, I mean…I’ll be able to use my newfound powers and influence as an Internationally Renowned Blogger ™ to aid the semi-literate masses in their never-ending Quest for Knowledge!!!

…or, you know, I’ll have my fifteen minutes as an internet celebrity.


Follow me on twitter, darn it! (@wanderover)

And keep your eyes peeled…I’ve got some reviews coming up…

(and, in case you didn’t get it, the point of this post is that you need to be following me on twitter – and don’t worry, you won’t be bombarded w/ the usual nonsense…just my blog updates…mostly…)


**for values of “swift” where the rate of follower-growth is ‘fast’ relative to, say, the rate of evolution of the human species.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Clearly I've *not* been living up to my own tagline... least not the "chatty" part, and I need to fix that...I've got some book reviews coming up this week. But for now...

So, I was rummaging around in some dusty old boxes in the attic when I stumbled across my old MySpace blog (who knew MySpace even still existed?). I was tempted to shamefacedly eliminate the entire thing, but I got sucked into reading instead.

I came across this poem (which I wrote AGES ago) and I realized that I really liked it and decided to share it here. Maybe I'll start writing some poetry again...



the car won’t start
tried it this morning and
the engine won’t turn
over the last few months it’s been sitting
on the street
gathering tickets and dust
and shit covers it
from all the local birds, and dogs
wander by, sniff the tires, move on
it’s not worth the time
and the expense to fix it
would break me

Monday, October 1, 2012

A little bit about Leo


Do you ever ‘see’ things? Like, out of the corner of your eye? Just, little flashes of movement? I do. All the time. I’ll be walking into a room, when, I swear, I’ll see something dash under the bed; or around the corner of the couch; or behind the fridge.

It scares me a little.

When I was a kid it terrified me. I used to tell my mom about it. She thought it was cute.

When I was really young, she assuaged my fears and told me that what I was seeing were fairies and elves. If I were a good kid and if I ate all my veggies, they would come to me in my dreams and take me to play in their magic gardens.

As I got older (yet still young enough to believe her), she changed her tune. She warned me that they were goblins. If I misbehaved, or ditched school, or didn’t do my homework, the goblins would come at night and drag me to their underground caverns where they would cook me up in a stew to serve to their king.

I asked her, once, how the “elves and fairies” managed to become “goblins”. Her answer? As kids grew up, they became more and more rotten, so the “good” spirits would turn away from them and the “bad” spirits would covet them.

By the time I was nine, she had me convinced that I was eventually going to be dragged to Hell and tortured for eternity.

My mom was kind of fucked up.

One day, when I was eleven, I came home from school and found the house empty. My mom was gone and so was all our stuff. I ran upstairs to my room. Nothing was there. Not my bed, not my clothes, not my teddy bear. I checked the bathroom: even my toothbrush was gone.

The police officer told me that my mom was “missing” and that he would do his best to find her. The social worker told me that my mom had “run away” but would eventually come back. She said she would help me find a temporary mom in the meantime. The neighbor said my mom was taken away, screaming and crying, in the back of a white van. And that I’d never see her again.

Those were all lies. I knew what was going on; the goblins had come and taken my mom away. But why had they taken all of our stuff?

I managed to sneak away while the police officer and the social worker and the neighbor were arguing about what had happened to my mom. I slipped through the patio doors, crept across the deck and hopped the back fence. Then I ran.

I ran, blindly and carelessly, not knowing where I was going, just needing to get away. If the goblins had my mom, I knew it was only a matter of time before they came for me. I knew I was old enough that I’d be taken right past the Goblin King’s stewpot and end up smack dab in Hell. I didn’t want to know what would happen to me then.

Finally, I had to stop; my lungs were burning and my legs ached. I had a stitch in my side and my whole body was trembling. I fell to my knees, head down, gasping for air. After a few minutes, I collapsed onto the ground and started sobbing; I was exhausted and terrified and I had no idea what to do. My mom was gone, my stuff was gone and I was all alone. I decided to just give up; I shut my eyes and waited for the goblins to come get me.

As far as plans went this was hardly the best, but I was eleven and I didn’t know any better. I waited for what seemed an eternity yet nothing happened. Finally, I lifted my head and carefully opened one eye, expecting the worst. Instead of a wall of hungry goblins, however, I was faced with just a wall. A wall made of dark, sooty bricks that stretched away in either direction as far as I could see. I stood up slowly and looked around. In front of me was the wall, behind me was nothing: literally, nothing.

I gasped and backed up until I was pressed up against the wall. What I was looking at was impossible, yet there it was: nothing. No streets, no streetlights, no houses, no people, no trees, no sound; absolutely nothing. A sea of black stretched silently before me and I just knew it went on forever.  It was as if I stood on a cliff at the end of the world.

Too spent to cry anymore, I simply turned around and faced the wall, determined to ignore the darkness behind me. If there was a wall, then there had to be something on the other side and there had to be a way to get there. I looked first to the left and then to the right, trying to determine which way to go. When I looked back to the left, I jumped in shock: there was a door right there! It hadn’t been there a moment ago. I looked to the right, then back again. The door was still there. I stepped over to examine it.

It was a dark, thick, wooden door with a heavy brass knocker just at my eye-level, but there was no doorknob. There was a word written below the knocker, but it was very faint. I could make out a few letters – what looked like a capital “L” maybe a “c” and “n” – but that was it. I tested the door, pushing against it lightly. It didn’t move. I tried harder, shoving against it but still nothing. I was hesitant to break the silence by using the doorknocker, but that seemed my only option.

Taking a deep breath, I grabbed the knocker, ready to give the door a couple of good, hard raps. No sooner had I lifted it, however, when, with a small click, the door opened. It was just a crack, but it was enough. With a tremendous sense of relief I pushed the door all the way open and walked through.