Musings in the Dark: 2010


The Sultry Court

The Sultry Court is an erotic anthology. Authors who are invited to participate in The Sultry Court must don a naughty persona and a noble title. The Ladies are encouraged to write erotic stories that range from the tame to the extreme. Submissions to The Sultry Court must have a minimum-R rating, and the authors can write about any subject they want (as long as it's erotic) with any type of character they like (the less conventional, or the more controversial, the better).

The authors who have contributed to the first volume of this potentially exciting series are as follows: Lady Allatu Trevigne, Lady Vasi Davin-Thorne, Lady Aislynn Sanchar, and Lady Chantilly Lace. You can learn more about the Ladies of the Court below.

Lady Allatu Trevigne

Lady Vasi Davin-Thorne

Lady Aislynn Sanchar

Lady Chantilly Lace

Excerpts from Volume I of The Sultry Court can be found on Writer's Cafe. Please read and enjoy, and be sure to leave a review.

Middle Child Press

"We Wear Our Weird on the Outside."

Middle Child Press was created in 2010. A “tree-friendly” publishing house, MCP caters exclusively to female authors of color who have faced too many arbitrary hurdles in traditional publishing venues.

Current eBook publishers do not reflect the vision or aesthetical sensibilities of Ankhesen_Mie and Amaya Radjani, the creators and owners of MCP. These ladies believe that women of color authors and readers should not be restricted to “hood lit” or the subjective designation of “speculative fiction.”

MCP publishes work by women-of-color authors for women-of-color readers. Our authors are hand-picked, so we currently do not accept submissions.

We have just published the first volume of an erotic anthology called "The Sultry Court." Erotica is merely one aspect of MCP, but eventually the publishing house will have all genres represented.

Please read more about Middle Child Press at


"Corruption" is the story of a sexy cougar named Mahogany Carroll. Mahogany's seductive focus is currently on the mail clerk who works in her building, a handsome young man named Jordan Raiden. But Jordan, who has particular inclinations of his own, refuses to be just a one-night stand.

"Corruption" will be published in the fall of 2011 by Middle Child Press.

The Velimirs

"The Velimirs" is a sci-fi fantasy epic about a black female, her alien husband, and her acculturation into his family and society on his home planet called Alvelar.

There are four books planned in this series:

Book I: Sheila & K'avir
Book II: Jaire & K'ervian
Book III: Nkenge & K'eylar
Book IV: Nicari & K'oren

The first book, "Sheila & K'avir," will be published in the winter of 2012 by Middle Child Press.

An excerpt from Book I: "Sheila & K'avir" entitled "Combat" can be found on the Writer's Cafe at
Please read and enjoy!


The book is finally here...

For immediate release

Independent Publisher Releases Debut Anthology

November 23, 2010

U.S.A - After many long weeks of writing, promoting, editing, spending, and painting, Middle Child Press is proud to present its very first eBook, The Sultry Court Anthology, Vol. 1, available from the Middle Child Press eBookstore.

Penned by the ladies of MCP's Sultry Court, the book is filled with sensuous, pretty, dirty things to tempt and lure readers away from everday life...if only for a moment.

Enter the forbidden halls of the Court, where abstinence is strictly verboten.


Crossing the Pacific

I’ve been writing for 32 years. I’ve published a book, a poem and a short story. When I was old enough to understand the difference between the television, the books I read, and my reality, I shifted my writing perspective to account for that epiphany. Thankfully, that shift happened around13 years old. I just recently experienced another shift, coincidentally not too long after my recent birthday, and this one I did not expect.

I’ve been writing about black people for years because I’m black. Black women have been my protagonists because I’m a black woman. Black men have also been protagonists, antagonists and all areas in between. It’s said that you write what you know, and in my case that’s true. The only variables in my storytelling are the concept and the plot. Problem is that it does get boring always writing about what you know. But that was my world, and it still is.

This year, I met a marvelous, funny woman named Ankhesen_Mie. We didn’t know when we met that we would come together the way we did with the intent to start a literary revolution. Grandiose, you may think, but we believe in ourselves (and if you don’t believe in yourself, who will), and we put our money (literally) where our mouth is.

In this dynamic relationship, I was introduced to the Blasian world. I didn’t realize how extensive it was, and how loud the clamor is for quality Blasian fiction. I’ve always acknowledged the attractiveness of Asian men, but that was it. I never thought about including them in my novels because hey, they weren’t in my world. But understanding the theoretical perspective and the methodology behind the Blasian movement has enlightened me. My senses are wide open, and now I look at Asian men for more than just their looks. I look at them for who they are and what they represent. I see them as being marginalized by white America just like us. I see them as descendants of powerful, rich and beautiful Eastern cultures, ones I would like to study.

Why? Because I want to know them. I want to have a new perspective in my writing. I want to reach a broader audience. I refuse to have my work potentially pigeon-holed just because I’m a black woman who just happens to have grown up in ‘da hood.’ Nothing I write is anything close to the bullshit of ‘hood lit,’ because even though I grew up in the hood, the hood didn’t grow up in me. I’ve always been a visionary and my vision has grown (quickly) to include Blasian methods. Ankh is surprised and pleased at my rapid conversion. So am I. It was like a punch in the face.

So, like any true author, I’m studying now. I’m learning as much as I can about the Blasian culture because I intend to write about it. I’m absorbing as much as I can to expand my perspective, because this culture, too, will be something I know, and thus, can write about.


The Sultry Court Anthology

Here are a few excerpts from the upcoming Sultry Court Anthology, to be published by Middle Child Press this fall. Click, enjoy, and please be sure to leave a review...


Learning to Love My Hair

I’m a full grown adult, but my hair and I just met recently. When I say “my hair,” I mean my natural hair. I’ve been getting my hair relaxed since I was old enough to stand the process. Prior to that, I got kitchen perms (or the hot comb). It was standard practice for any girl my age; no one wanted to be seen with nappy hair.

I’ve spent maybe thousands on hair care and products over the years, and I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve also spent many hours sitting in salon chairs and fighting my hair at home. Repeated abuse of one’s hair leads to hair rebellion and my hair started falling out.

I got tired.

Last summer, I got my hair braided and kept it that way for three months. When I took out the braids, I had about three inches of new growth and made the decision not to put another relaxer in my head. That was stressful, because it is difficult to style half a head of relaxed hair while the other half is natural. I knew that I wasn’t ready to cut it at that time. So I got my hair pressed for a few months to let it grow out some more. Hair pressing, or the use of a flatiron, is reminiscent of those old-school kitchen perms I used to get when I was a child. The only difference is that the stylist didn’t burn my ear the way my mom would sometimes. However, all of that direct heat made my hair thin out even more, even though it was really long.

I was concerned about my hair’s health more than anything else. It was difficult to manage because I couldn’t make it look presentable and I wasn’t ready to hack it all off. My head looked like a rat’s nest. I didn’t know what to do. So I was advised by several ladies I know to use hair products specifically geared towards natural hair.

One lady told me, “You can’t use on your natural hair the products you used on your relaxed hair. You don’t even know your hair yet.”

Simple, yet profound. She was right; I didn’t know my hair. I discovered that my hair had two different textures. The top and sides were relatively straight and the back is extremely thick. She told me that I would have to experiment with several products to find what works best for my hair. She also said that because I have dual textures that I may have to use two separate kinds of hair products to treat both.

Since then, I’ve been experimenting with various natural hair care products. I recently hacked off seven inches (yes, seven) to rid myself of the last of the relaxed hair so that I could really see the difference.

The ironic thing is that my mother had naturally curly hair that I always dreamed of having. She could wake up and walk out of the door and do very little to maintain it. What a surprise it was to discover that my natural hair is as curly as my mother’s was. I still have two textures (that won’t change); the top and sides are loose spirals and the back is tight coils. The products I’m currently using are designed to bring out the curls and I’m pleased so far with the results. I love touching my hair. I haven’t used a comb in almost six weeks, nor have I spent any of that time underneath a hair dryer. I feel so liberated!

I just got rid of my wigs, weaves, phony ponytails and curlers. I gave my sister-in-law all of my shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers and sprays. I intend to give her my curling irons and flatirons. I have no need of and no use for them anymore. I was amazed at the amount of space I freed up in my closet. Yet another liberation of the natural.

Don’t get me wrong; natural hair care products aren’t cheap. The products I use are expensive and I am still experimenting. Healthy hair costs money, no matter if it’s relaxed or natural. What my natural doesn’t cost me is time, and that’s worth the money I’m spending.

I absolutely love my hair. I can’t keep my fingers out of it. It’s a cap of short, tight spirals and not at all what I’m used to, but I will adjust. The main thing is that my hair is healthy. It will grow, I’ll get better at maintaining it, and I will never ever have another hair rebellion.


Combat |

This ficlet is an excerpt from a much longer work tentatively entitled "The Velimirs." This sci-fi fantasy epic about a black woman's life on an alien planet called Alvelar will be published by Middle Child Press in the winter of 2012. "The Velimirs" is just one of many soon-to-be published works by Amaya Radjani, co-founder and Creative Director of Middle Child Press. Please read and enjoy.

Combat |

Middle Child Press

As some of you may know, I co-founded an eBook publishing company called Middle Child Press.

My partner, Ankhesen-Mie, and I did this because we noticed - courtesy of the debates and discussions throughout the fandomsphere (if ain't already a word, you best believe it's one now) - that literary entertainment needs of WoC are soooooooo not being met. We already detest what's offered to us by way of Hollywood (and that's just the bullshit black women have to deal with) because the whole damn institution has had it out for us from day one. We've since learned not to get our hopes up. But when literature - written by our own sometimes, mind you - is falling short, you know we've really hit rock bottom.

Our first creation, The Sultry Court Anthology: Volume I, is expected to be available this winter. It'll be the first in our erotic collection. Don't forget to grab a taste from the Writer's Café!


Dangerous Feminine Mythos

Ladies, acknowledge. How many of you were told as little girls that you were going to grow up, fall in love, get married and have babies and all that good stuff?

*raises hand*

Society embellished this by subconsciously stressing that all of the above should happen before thirty.

I, like quite a few women I know, believed that this would and should happen. For a lot of my friends, it did. It did not for me, for a variety of factors, and for that I’m glad. I’ll explain why in a little while.

First of all, the problem with this myth is that girls get suckered into believing that this will happen in addition to college (and for some, grad school) and everything will be nice and perfect when they get married at age 25. As if marriage solves any and all problems encountered at that time. I deal with teenage girls for a living and I am stunned at the number of times I’ve heard them say this very thing. When I ask the question, “And what will you do if that doesn’t happen?” the response is overwhelmingly, “It will.”

I ask the question again and implore them to think about the fact that life happens while plans for the rest of your life are being made. I use examples from my life and the life of women I know to make my point and for some of the girls; you see the crack in the façade. For others, they remain as dense as teenage girls can be. They have a rude awakening in store.

Yes, for some women, they are able to do all of the above and pop out 2.5 kids before 30. But for the majority of us who want a career and family and have to take it one step at a time (usually career first because we would rather wait for a decent man to marry), it happens well after 30 and maybe not at all.

I hear all the time, “Why aren’t you married?” Or, “You need a man.” Am I supposed to feel less of a woman because I’m in my 30s and I’m happily single? Should I be insulted because other women believe that they are defined by having a man in their life and I should be so defined?

I’m not knocking those women who have been able to reach the “standard” society has set. Hey, do you. But for those women like myself, I encourage you to embrace your life as it is and don’t fall for the bullshit society would force upon you.

I believed, just as I’d been taught to, that I’d be married with a family before 30. I did my part to try and make that come to pass, but that wasn’t what happened. I acknowledge feeling like a failure as a woman when that milestone passed and I was nowhere near said standard. It happened for my best girlfriends; one before 30 and one just after 30. For a lot of women I know who met the deadline, if you ask them now if they wish they’d waited, they will tell you yes.

It took a few years for me to accept the fact that my path is different from all of the women I know. And it should be. And it’s okay that it is. I’m so happy that my life diverged from the standard track early in my adulthood because I would currently be in a quagmire if it didn’t. I have no beef with marriage and family, but another thing I have come to accept is that it may not be for me. The divergence in my life brought about a profound change in perspective and attitude and a discovery of my true self.

These are not qualities a woman should experience during the formative years of her marriage; rather, it should take place prior to marriage. In a perfect world, it would. But because the world isn’t perfect and marriages take place between imperfect people, such occurrences happen (and they come about for men as well) and sometimes divorce is a result.

The microwave generation doesn’t allow for gradual change. A lot of people take relationships far more serious than they do marriage, so when these epiphanies occur, they think that it’s best to move on to another relationship/marriage without resolving the issues that split the previous connection.

I say all that to say this: Don’t believe the hype. Don’t let society force you into a pair of shoes that probably won’t fit. Give yourself time to grow; it is all right to be a late bloomer. Marriage and family are okay to have in your mid-30s and later, if you’re willing to wait for the right partner.


A Constant Reader's Love for the King

Stephen and I met when I was barely thirteen years old, under the guise of a novel called Misery. I convinced my mother to buy the paperback and once I read the first paragraph, I was hooked.

And so began the strongest, most dedicated love affair I have ever had with a man. From that first literary kiss, my writer’s heart belonged to him. Stephen and I have been together over twenty years and he is the only man that has never let me down. He makes love to me in the purest way possible: mentally. His novels draw me in and hold my attention from the first word to the last. And he can do it multiple times in one night. I can depend on him to satisfy me, thrill me and entertain me. I can count on him to make me think, dream and imagine. I can count on him to bring the noise with whatever he writes and put it down when he does write it. I can rely on him to keep me up nights as I hang on his every word.

I love this man. He is quite simply, for me, the greatest author that ever lived. And I’m not prone to hyperbole in the literary sense. I have a great appreciation for many, many writers and poets; Frost, Fitzgerald, Hurston, Eliot and Matheson to name a few. But I LOVE Stephen King. I can’t think of enough ways to say it, but I don’t have to say it. My library speaks for me. I own every book he’s ever written and every short story and novella that he has published and/or produced.

I can say that Stephen King has a direct, powerful influence on my growth as a writer and author. Reading his novels is like studying under a master. Absorbing the words and allowing them to play on the canvas of my mind is a most sensuous experience. Multiple readings make the experience richer and varied, as I allow myself to probe the deeper meanings behind his work. It is him and it is me, and it is unity.

I am the Constant Reader of whom he sometimes speaks. I am the person he writes for. And like he has always been to me, I shall always be faithful to him. Stephen, no one will ever feel for you the way I do. No one will do for me what you’ve done for me. You’ve given me passion and focus and the need to be as gifted a writer. For all that, I love you Stephen Edwin King. I love you then, I love you now, and I shall always, always love you. Thank you for gracing my life with your books. Thank you for showing me how to dream. Thank you for the legacy you gave me. I am better and greater because of it.




A Fledgling's First Effort at Transformation

The above title is paraphrased from Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs. This post represents the genesis of my transformation from who I am into who I am going to be. I am quite nervous at the prospect. But I will show no fear and proceed like the strong diva I know myself to be.