“When you are down, look up at me. My extended hand is your rope.”
When I created the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB it was out of a need to offer something that I noticed missing from this virtual world that we all so boldly live in. I came onto this scene in 2012 and I remember asking for “help.”Help to host my tours, help to create my book cover, help to help me grow…oh, yes, I asked for help and I got minimal. But, what I did get an abundance of was “No” – the sense that I had not been around long enough to ask or even expect someone who had been on social media longer than I, to help me. A fellow author actually popped in my DM one day to say to me, “You’re a newbie. You’ve not been around long…
(From Amazon): If you ever find yourself on the Strange Hwy—don’t turn around. Don’t panic. Just. Keep. Going. You never know what you’ll find. You’ll see magic at the fingertips of an autistic young man, •A teen girl’s afternoon, lifetime of loss. •A winged man, an angel? Demon—? •Mother’s recognition, peace to daughter. •Danny’s death, stifled secrets. •Black man’s music, guitar transforms boy. •Dead brother, open confession. •First love, supernatural?—family becomes whole! You can exit the Strange Hwy, and come back any time you want. See, now you know the way in, don’t be a stranger.
Beem Weeks here. I’m an indie author, blogger, blog talk radio host, Social Media Director for Fresh Ink Group, and reviews coordinator for Rave Reviews Book Club. I have written many short stories, essays, poems, and the historical fiction/coming-of-age novel Jazz Baby. I have also released Slivers of Life: A Collection of Short Stories and Strange Hwy: Short Stories. I live to create with the written word.
One of the many things I love about being a member of RRBC is the opportunity I get to read fantastic works by a variety of writers from diverse parts of the world. One of these talented author’s is the incomparable Beem Weeks. I recently read his collection of short stories, “Strange HWY” and found myself transfixed into a world where the “Twilight Zone” met reality television.
Mr. Weeks has a way of taking you on a path of enlightenment and honesty. No matter how twisted the tale may be in this beautiful collection, there is an element of realism I found breath taking. I loved all of the stories in this collection but there was one story, titled “Nick of Time” I could completely related to.
The main character in this perfectly scripted prose, named Bethany, is an 8-years-old little girl who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, upheld courage and strength as she was in the fight for her literal life. Through much treatment and struggles, she ended up in remission and lived for many years after. This was during a time where treatments for this rare cancer was still in research phases (1968), and she still survived; a miracle of her time.
Strange HWY” is filled with stories of the macabre and bizarre, as well as stories of hope. This collection is truly remarkable and will make any reader cry, laugh, tremble in anxiety, and become lost in pensive thought! To be frank, I found myself going back to reread many of the stories due to the intensity each and everyone of them had. Not only do I recommend everyone pick up their own copy of this amazing collection, I am honored to give Beem Week’s “Strange HWY” a profound 5-STARS!
Today is a new day A new breath of life A new triumph I will uphold What happened yesterday will not harm me today Whomever caused me harm Will not control me this hour I am strength I am courage I have survived Today is a new day A new breath of life A new triumph I will uphold I choose to ignore the scars of my past I choose to give light on a field of darkness I choose to make this moment matter With or without those who say “I love you” With or without those who play my emotions Today is a new day A new breath of life A new triumph I will uphold I am strength I am courage I have survived
I almost forgot the SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT I posted about mid October!
I recently found out that Ingram Book Distributors picked up both of my books for commercial distribution a few months ago! What does this mean? It means local book stores will be able to acquire copies of my book for commercial sale! I found out recently some have already been selling them on their “Online Shopping” websites.
As of now, The Writers’ Workshoppe and Imprint Books in Port Townsend, WA will be selling by of my books there. They are amazing people that everyone should get to know. Their shop is amazing!
I will be visiting with King’s Books here in Tacoma, WA this coming week to see what partnership we can develop, which is also an amazing local bookshop and staple They also confirmed that both of my books are already available for online purchase on their website.
Honestly, I never thought my books would make it to mainstream distribution but look what happens when you follow your dreams. I am fortunate that these local businesses are giving me the chance. I am humbled.
Thank you everyone who have pushed me thus far! I am blessed to have you all in my life.
Thank you for stopping by for more Coffee Chats and Reviews!
Welcome to my new blog showcase, “Coffee Chats and Reviews.”
Today I am proud to host the incomparable Balroop Singh whom I am proud to call friend and mentor.
This is Day-7 of her wonderful “Moments We Love” Blog Tour.
I hope you all enjoy her post today and check out her newly released book “MomentsWe Love”
About her book:
Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy that we meet at the crossroads of life, butterflies of time that add color to our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.
Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad moments; that just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of moments to discover how it could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose to share their frustrations and tremors with me. Sometimes I could read between the lines to pen my thoughts down.
Balroop Singh, a
former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing.
She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a
doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not
a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on!
No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are
trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your
path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.
turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen
robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it
is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.
Balroop Singh has
always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch
birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend
to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and
the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the
flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San
Welcome to the 2019 #RRBC October-Ween Book, Blog, & Trailer Block Party
Today’s giveaways for three special visitors are:
One (1) $10 gift card from Amazon
One (1) paperback copy of “Journey to the Rainbow’s End”
One (1) paperback copy of “BOUND”
And the winners are in…
(1) $10 Amazon gift card – Miriam Hurdle
(1) Paperback copy of JOURNEY… – Yvette Calleiro
(1) Paperback copy of BOUND – John Howell
That’s right folks! That’s threeopportunities to win a giveaway just for visiting today and leaving a comment below!
Today’s Hot Topic:
The Hidden History of our Founding Fathers
Believe it or not, there were many discussions about LGBT relationships during the Revolutionary War involving our founding fathers. In fact, some of our founding fathers were tangled in same-sex relationships or identified as homosexual. Many evangelicals have debated these facts over the years in order to place their beliefs in the forefront of politics; however, these reports have been debunked by many historians and archivists. The truth is that there were ethical debates and family feuds due to some of our historic founding fathers‘ “close friendships” or “relationships“. In many historical reviews it is reported that George Washington has unofficially been named the first LGBT ally of our country.
In Victoria Brownworth’s article, she stated “Historians assert that passionate same-sex friendships were normative in the 18th century.” She also states that the acts of “sodemy and open homosexuality were punishable by imprisonment, castration and even death, both in and out of the military.” Although it’s true that being “openly homosexual” was deemed “illegal” during these times, founding fathers, like Washington, were noted in turning a blind eye when it came to others in their social circle.
Again, this information was never noted in my textbooks growing up.
Hamilton wrote passionate letters to John Laurens multiple times. One of these letters dated April of 1779 stated, “Cold in my professions, warm in [my] friendships, I wish, my Dear Laurens, it m[ight] be in my power, by action rather than words, [to] convince you that I love you. I shall only tell you that ’till you bade us Adieu, I hardly knew the value you had taught my heart to set upon you. Indeed, my friend, it was not well done. You know the opinion I entertain of mankind, and how much it is my desire to preserve myself free from particular attachments, and to keep my happiness independent on the caprice of others. You sh[ould] not have taken advantage of my sensibility to ste[al] into my affections without my consent. But as you have done it and as we are generally indulgent to those we love, I shall not scruple to pardon the fraud you have committed, on condition that for my sake, if not for your own, you will always continue to merit the partiality, which you have so artfully instilled into [me].”
More letters from Hamilton and Laurens can be reviewed on not-for-profit OutHistory.org.
Various historians have written articles on the love affair and relationship between Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens. It is also noted that George Washington was supportive of their friendship and even encouraged them to share a bunker together during the Revolutionary War.
Recruited by Benjamin Franklin, Baron Friedrich von Steuben is listed as one of the greatest Revolutionary War heroes of all time. In many reviews and articles, it is written that Baron von Steuben had multiple relationships with men. In fact these relationships were what caused him to move to the colonies after being chased out of Prussia and France. In an article from History.com by Erin Blakemore, it is stated, “During von Steuben’s lifetime, the concept of gay marriage, gay pride or coming out was unthinkable and there was no language or open culture of homosexuality. But historical homosexual relationships were actually common.”
The article goes on to say, “That doesn’t mean being gay was condoned: Sodomy was a crime in colonial America. But romantic relationships between men were widely tolerated until the 19th century, and only in the early 20th century did the U.S. military begin officially discriminating against people suspected to be gay.”
As you can see, these stories paint a different narrative than the history most of us were taught in high school and college. I could go on and on about stories from our past history that were edited or changed for various reasons, but I encourage each and everyone of you to look back out our history, especially about our founding fathers.
Welcome to October-Ween Book, Blog and Trailer Block Party!!! Presented by #RRBC
Today’s giveaways for a few special visitors (total of three winners):
$10 Gift Card for Amazon
1 paperback copy- “Journey to the Rainbow’s End”
1 paperback copy- “BOUND”
Congrats to the winners for the October 10, 2019 Block Party
(1) $10 Amazon gift card – Wendy Scott
(1) Paperback copy of JOURNEY – D. E. Howard
(1) Paperback copy of BOUND – Gwen Plano
Today’s Presentation:“Where did I get my start?”
I began writing when I was twelve years old after experiencing one of the most depressing times of my life. The summer of 1987, I attempted to end my life. I struggled with a great many things, such as identity and traumatic stress caused by events that occurred in my childhood; however, in the fall of 1987 I was lucky to have an incredible English Teacher by the name of Mrs. Carr. Our school was not the prettiest or the fanciest, but, we were lucky to have fantastic instructors who were truly passionate about teaching.
Mrs. Carr often commented on my writing style and one day during a one-on-one session she asked if I’d ever thought of becoming a writer when I grew up. I fell over in my chair laughing. Although she had a great sense of humor, she made it clear she was being quite sincere. Apparently she saw great potential in my writing style, and with everything I had gone through in my life, she suggested it might be quite therapeutic for me. I told her I would think about it. I was quite resistant to the thought, as we were in the impoverished East San Diego region called “El Barrio Logan.” The school was in the middle of the gang and drug infested ghetto. Anything artistic would be considered “abnormal” in this part of town.
The day after Mrs. Carr and I had our conversation, she decided to spring what she called a “pop writing challenge.” She would present these “challenges” with passion and great hype. The challenge was to write a poem about our past summer vacation and she implored us to make them lyrical. I remember her words to this day, “I want you to tell me a story through your poem… I want to laugh with you, if it was a funny event… I want to cry with you and feel your pain, if it was a sad event.” She liked playing music during these challenges and that day she played “Moonlight Sonata”. I was frozen for the first five minutes. My summer was filled with a rollercoaster of emotions as I stated earlier. I let the music fill me and I was able to write my first poem. The name of that poem was titled “Freeze”.
My teacher liked to showcase our work to the rest of our peers, so the following day Mrs. Carr did her usual, passionate speech on how impressed she was with each of us, but stated a few of us stood out. The poetic works ranged from romantic, or as well as romantic as a 12-year-old could be, to extremely humorous. The last poetic work she read was “Freeze”, however she did not disclose my name to the class. “After I read this poem, I will leave it up to the author on whether or not they want to share their identity,” she explained. She tearfully read my poem as if she was in my soul and was feeling the pain I endured. My peers were in awe, while making comments like “I want to give them a hug whoever they are” and “The poem should be published.” After the tears from my peers – and continued statements – I slowly stood up. This is how this author was born.
Fun Facts with History:
One thing that has come up many times throughout the past year is my gender identity, which has caused confusion for some of my readers. The picture on the cover of my book “Journey to the Rainbow’s End” probably did not help with these perceptions. Yes, I am a semi-retired drag performer and performance artist in the Pacific Northwest.
The art of drag is older then people can imagine. There are various stories of how the term “Drag Queen” came about. Some say it is related to actors during the Shakespearean times wearing oversized dresses, which had to have two-by-four boards attached to them so that their dresses would drag behind the actors appropriately. This was a time when women were not permitted to be in the theater, whether as a worker or a performer.
Another story I learned was from an old theater professor who specialized in Shakespearean Era and Grecian plays who stated it was more directly related to stage directions and scripts. Recently, I was able to find this on google: “A folk etymology is that drag is an acronym of “Dressed Resembling A Girl” in description of male theatrical transvestism.” In the character references there would be a notation next to the characters name for example, Juliet (DRaG): “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” etc.
Drag is different than gender identity. Drag is an artform, where most performers are men who are celebrating the art of female impersonation. I identity as a man; I say this because I have received many questions regarding my gender identity since I became published. If you have further questions regarding this artform, please ask in the comment section below.
How did I start in this wonderful world? I grew up in the theater. I was in musical theater from the age of six and began studying opera at the age of nineteen. I was classified as a lyric baritone voice type. I even had the honor of being under the tutelage of voice and linguist coach, Tricia Strauss. I was fortunate enough to have studied music of all types my entire life.
Throughout my life, I had to learn to be accepting of all of my unique and eclectic glory, this included my writing.
Thank you for stopping by today and joining me for the