Social Experiment #3: No More Plain Jane

  

So…this social experiment isn’t a challenge for a specific event. It’s more of an overall theme that I need to change, regarding my life.

In the past, I’ve purposefully dressed as a plain jane. My goal was to fade in the background–not to be seen and not to be heard. My reason: I didn’t want to attract jerks. I’m talking the crazy guys who act like just because they said hi or looked in your direction, you owe them your undivided attention. I hate aggression and/or passive aggressiveness just because some guy has his sight on you. Gross….

Maybe those types of guys seek me out because I’m a loner or they sense my shy nature. Either way, they realize right away I don’t play that game. Keep it moving hee hee.

I told my coworker Ashley this, and she had the best advice I ever heard. She put everything into perspective, and I really appreciated her advice.

She said that I shouldn’t dress myself down to avoid the jerks. I should always look on point because the nice guy I’m looking for may not notice me if I’m trying to fade in the background.

Beautiful advice.

So…my social experiment is to always present myself in the best light. Lately, I’ve been saying hi to strangers (even with a smile–a shy one, of course) and asking a question to get a brief conversation going.

I feel like I’m in the 2015 version of Clueless. I love makeovers, exactly why I bought this cool purple lipstick. It’s time to be bold and experiment. Wish me luck!

I have more social experiments to go. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Beneath the Silence by Charlene Carr

***I was gifted a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review***

Secrets have consequences. If given the power, they will lead you into a life you never dreamed of or wanted.

Brooke Lake is a girl caught in a town and a life she yearns to escape. Full of anger, fear, and questions without answers, she runs from her problems only to lose herself in a world that’s too much for her.

Molly Shirley is a woman without a past and no foreseeable future. Her body is her best commodity, so she does whatever she has to do to survive.

Broken by lies, Brooke and Molly must explore the parts of themselves they would rather keep secret. Only by confronting the past can they develop the strength to create a life of their own making–a life where love and forgiveness never come too late.

I loved this contemporary drama covering Brooke’s childhood to becoming a woman and Molly’s journey from teen to woman. The story kept switching between Brooke and Molly’s point of view. Right away I figured out who Molly was, but that didn’t ruin the story for me. In fact, the author did such a wonderful job with characterization that I really cared for everyone in the story. When they laughed, I laughed. When they cried, I shed tears. 

I loved this book because it was full of drama–Brooke’s family dynamic was downright depressing. With a family like hers, who needs enemies. Good thing she had her neighbor and best friend, Gabe. Molly was a poor, naive teen who turned to stripping and prostitution in order to survive. Some of her roommates (coworkers) were decent. Both ladies needed self-reflection and I prayed that they could find themselves. It’s never too late.

My favorite lines: 1) He looked like the brother she remembered, not the strange person he’d turned into. 2) Riv. Her protector. Her hero…until he wasn’t. 3) Are cliches okay if they’re real? 4) The older Brooke got, the easier the lies came.

The author was brilliant with dialogue and creating tension. All the scenes were full of emotion. I definitely thought of this story as an indie movie, a tear jerker. It seemed like every time Molly tried to get ahead, bad luck would find her. She wanted to get her GED, but her past haunted her. She had a supportive boyfriend until he became an insensitive jerk. She faced inner-conflict every day–strip vs. real world.

I loved the twist at the end. I hadn’t seen that as the cause for Brooke’s mom, dad, and brother’s unhappiness. The entire situation broke my heart. If only…

My favorite scenes involved Grams telling Brooke about her parent’s tragic past, Brooke meeting her niece for the first time, and Brooke and Gabe getting closure. I can’t lie. This book made me cry. I loved how journal entries became a part of the narration. These characters were beyond broken, and the author didn’t shy away from that. It made for a very emotional, inspirational journey.

I’m definitely a fan of the author’s writing style. Usually I get bored with long books, but I didn’t want Molly or Brooke’s story to end. I rooted for them to become strong women. Did they get happy endings? You’ll have to read to find out.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Ivy’s Envy by Latashia Figueroa

***I received a free copy from the group Paranormal and Horror Lovers on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review***

Latashia Figueroa’s riveting Want & Decay Trilogy follows the entangled lives of three people tormented by lust, jealousy, madness and murder. In this first book, Ivy’s Envy, Ivy James has had a history of violence with the men she falls for. Her grandmother and parents know what Ivy is capable of when things don’t go her way. 

Now Ivy has become obsessed with Thomas Miles, a man who works at her office. She is certain that Thomas loves her too. But there are people who stand in the way of Ivy and Thomas finally being together, like his wife, Deana. Determined to have the love that is their destiny, Ivy will go down a very dark and twisted road to make Thomas hers, and hers alone. But Ivy is not the only one who has dark secrets, and everyone involved will soon learn that pursuing love and passion to the extreme can lead to terrifying consequences.

I enjoyed this suspenseful book full of obsession and betrayal. The book was a very fast read. I loved the foreshadowing of something terrible happening. Plus, it was a cool perspective, or point of view, of the crazy Ivy analyzing her actions and the consequences, especially the ending!

My favorite lines: 1) When he lifts the cloth there is blood, my blood… 2) I let it go. I had to…for my sake. 3) I close my eyes tight trying to force a memory, and all I can remember is Thomas. 4) The last few months of my life rush to mind bringing with it a bottomless pit of regret.

Did I already mention that Ivy was crazy? Because she was. Crazy and violent. There’s a mystery regarding Charlie, her first office romance with a married man. This backstory was so intriguing that I wish the story would have started there.

I feared for Thomas and his wife. Literally any small contact she had with Thomas led to Ivy believing they were soulmates. Her actions reminded me of a Lifetime Movie. When he sent her flowers and kissed her on the cheek, I stopped feeling sorry for him. My favorite scenes in the book were the office environment, so I wished there could have been more of that instead of her interactions with her grandma. It proved that her grandma was suspicious of Ivy, but I got that after their first encounter.

The author did an awesome job on setting and images/metaphors. For instance, “my saliva thickens like a bloody paste.” She described everything in the scene so that, as a reader, I could feel, see, and hear everything going on. Some scenes made me jump out of my seat from fright! Ivy was the master of torture and mind games.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

My Social Experiment #2: Spreading the Love of Books

Yawatta Hosby read this first :)

These words will make sense after I explain myself. Yes, I love being a tease haha.

  

Let me start from the beginning. I read Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas after the friendly guy at Books-A-Million recommended it. The book was all right. Yes, only all right.

I let my writing buddy, Melissa, borrow Odd Thomas. She enjoyed it. When we met at Daily Grind, she gave the book back to me. Whoa daddy…I was hoping she’d keep it, but I always have a plan B.

Great minds think alike. Our buddy, Aaron, was in Daily Grind too. She handed him Odd Thomas. Caught off guard (haha), he asked, “Am I borrowing this?”

I told him he can keep it, return it back to me, or leave it at the table. No hard feelings. Then we proceeded to tease about the plot, genre, and characterization, making him scared that he may not like it (mind games are fun–the evil side of being an INTJ haha).

Since Aaron decided to keep the book and promised to read it, I think I’ve done my part in spreading word of mouth about books. I made sure to write: Yawatta Hosby read this first :) on the first page, so if this particular book gets passed from person to person, I’ll be known.

Aaron is a cool 23 year old. First of all, he’s another ‘N’ who can talk about random stuff for hours and hours. Second, he’s the only non-writing person I know that sincerely likes to hear of my and Melissa’s writing activities. 

In fact, he gave me a cool story idea. I can’t wait to start working on it–and it’d only be right to let him read it when I’m finished.

Two social experiments down, only a few more to go…

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

My Social Experiment #1: Magic

  

I love sociology and psychology. As a result, I’m constantly researching to understand myself better. INTJs want to know “the whole” of everything–including ourselves. Research doesn’t just involve encyclopedias and scientific journals. It also includes people you interact with every day.

For example, I asked my Facebook friends to help me with my social experiment (I give myself a new one at least twice a week). They didn’t hesitate to help, which I really appreciated.

My question: What was your impression when you first met me?

Thirty-something friends answered honestly. For the most part, the men thought I had been:

  • MY FAVE ANSWER–quiet, but thinking and analyzing everything at same time
  • Intelligent, quiet, friendly
  • Very sweet person, quiet but never thought shy
  • Nice, outspoken, funny, very intelligent…decent

And the women thought I had been:

  • MY FAVE ANSWER–quiet, chill, observant, nice
  • Quiet, shy, intelligent
  • Shy but friendly
  • Quiet, reserved, observant

So sweet! I love compliments! This data helped me last night. Even though I’m shy, I still appear friendly instead of standoffish. This was good to know. I thought I gave off negative first expressions since I’m horrible with small talk, a requirement when meeting strangers or acquaintances. Hearing that I give off positive vibes helped me gain confidence.

You see, for my social experiment, I had to leave my comfort zone. I had to be social! No fading in the background like I’m used to hee hee. Last night was my first time at Your Hobby Place.

My writing buddy’s husband taught me how to play Magic after giving me a tour of the store. I’m all for card games that require bluffing, strategic thinking, and luck/skill at the same time. 

I was nervous at first because of learning something new. I have a weird phobia of not wanting to disappoint whoever’s teaching me. But once I got over that fear, I had a blast. The guys in the room were very friendly and informative. They totally helped me play my hand. Thanks, I couldn’t have won without them!  A guy joked that I had to get used to dealing with math nerds, and I was like “I’ll fit right in.” :)

All in all, I’m happy that I didn’t chicken out of going to Your Hobby Place alone. Trust me, my shyness was creating imaginary obstacles so I’d have to cancel. Dang on anxiety–welcome to a shy person’s world.

I’m giving myself five more social experiments. Anyone have any ideas of what I should do next?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Wish Me Luck! Today Was My First Day of Online Class–Marketing 101 For Freelance Writers!

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I’m always looking for classes to help improve my craft of writing. There’s different varieties–writing fiction, personal essays, creative nonfiction, articles, poetry, screenplays, technical documents, and the list goes on and on.

I’m interested in freelance writing. I want to be able to present myself to editors of magazines and newspapers to pitch ideas. I want to get paid well and I want respect in this industry. It doesn’t matter if I use my name or have to use a pen name (I’d totally find a loophole and use my middle name hee hee).

Following successful freelancer blogs, I came across Carol Tice’s website. She’s very experienced in this writing field and is willing to give out accurate advice. It was a no brainier to sign up for her free 20 week online course Marketing 101 For Freelance Writers. This course will help me: take action, find good paying clients, and grow writing income. Sounds like a plan!

I’m excited. My inner-nerd made me finish my homework already hee hee. I’m back in class. Yea!!!

Wish me luck!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

The Ultimate Question: Why Did I Become A Writer In the First Place?

Most writers, especially if they become authors, ask this question often. Sharing work brings vulnerability and a fear of rejection. Years ago, I decided to stop writing as a hobby, to think of it as a business. Good thing I have a thick skin… It’s time to dig deep and answer this ultimate question honestly.

Here goes:

Why did I become a writer in the first place?

  1. I love the idea of being an artist, of having a creative soul.
  2. To share my stories with readers who will appreciate and be entertained by them.
  3. To make money on the side–my lifelong dream is to become a full time writer.
  4. I’m an introvert so being a writer suits my personality. Plus, it’s fun meeting like-minded local writers.
  5. Creating imaginary worlds and making up characters is fun. Hard work but fun!
  6. I’m truly a rebel. People keep telling me that I need to find a suitable career, so I want to prove the naysayers wrong. I will be a successful author–self-published or not! I will be a successful screenplay writer and freelancer!

For all the writers out there, why did you choose this field in the first place?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

LARS’S MUSE Didn’t Make the Cut For The Cult Of Me Contest

On Twitter, I found a short story contest that ended today. Three winners=three Amazon gift cards. A gift card would’ve been nice, but my story LARS’S MUSE wasn’t a finalist. 

It was fun writing it though, and I’m confident that I can find a home for it. Congratulations to the three lucky winners! Please check out their dark and twisted shorts–The Cult of Me May Contest. 

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

When 3 N’s (iNtuition) Get Together…

If you follow my blog, then you know I’m always referring to being an INTJ. According to the Myers-Briggs Test my initials stand for: Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, Judgement. I’m always researching ways to improve my life. 

One goal that I came up with is to give myself social experiments. I’m a bit socially awkward around strangers and acquaintances hee hee. 

Anyway, one night I hung out with Melissa at Daily Grind and we met a new buddy Aaron. I’m fascinated with solving mysteries of people–one thing I always want to know: what’s your personality type? If the person doesn’t seem excited about the Myers-Briggs test or took it before and doesn’t remember the initials, then I know he isn’t an N. If a person plays along, then I know he’s an N and we can have very interesting conversations.

Exhibit A. Aaron is a N like me and Melissa. N’s (iNtuition) tend to focus on the future with a view toward patterns and possibilities. Therefore, we’re open to discussing ideas and concepts. We can make up random ‘what if’ scenarios and talk the situations to death without getting bored.

I love hanging out with other N’s because they have an active imagination and I can feed off their creativity.  Being a thinker, I love hearing other people’s methods of thinking outside of the box.

Aaron, Melissa, and I spent hours talking about random topics. So much so, we basically got kicked out because Daily Grind was closing hee hee. I go there to write but sometimes it’s good to take a stimulating break.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

What I’ve Learned By Hanging Out In Books-A-Million

I took a little break from ebooks and my kindle to support Books-A-Million, my favorite spot in The Commons shopping center. For the past few weeks, I bought 2 graphic novels and 3 novels. As a writer wearing my reader’s hat, this is what I learned:

  1. Covers are everything, especially the spines. I picked books from the shelves by appearance alone. Bold colors and large fonts caught my attention.
  2. The 1st couple of pages are EVERYTHING! A few books looked interesting because of the cover and blurb but the beginning was boring, forcing me to put the books back.
  3. There were quite a few books that looked novella length, which is motivation for me. Still having a dream of having my books in a bookstore one day, I need to submit to agents or publishers with at least 1 or 2 books. And, when I do, I won’t necessarily have to write a 400-500 page novel to be considered for publication. Shorter books are making a comeback :)

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby