Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Review Tuesday: Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs -- #ReviewTuesday #stereotypes #tragichero



Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

A few months ago I had the opportunity to see the 1934 blockbuster Tarzan and His Mate at a local film club. This classic movie, which stars Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan, is particularly famous for its implied sexuality and its nudity, so I figured that as an erotic author it was my duty to check it out. ;^)

In fact, I felt the film left a lot to be desired. Maureen O’Sullivan is lovely as Jane, but Weissmuller makes a rather skinny and anemic-looking ape man, in my opinion. The characters are stereotyped and the treatment of black-skinned people is appalling.

However, the experience made me curious about the original story, so I downloaded the book from the Gutenberg Project. This is a non-profit organization devoted to digitizing and distributing books that are out of copyright. Their website offers thousands of ebooks in a variety of formats, including (I discovered) Epub. 

 
I found that Burroughs’ Tarzan has little in common with the popular movie versions. He is a natural gentleman, with a powerful sense of morality, despite having grown to maturity in the jungle. His parents, members of the English nobility, are abandoned on an uninhabited African beach by mutineers and eventually killed by the wild apes, one of whom takes their infant to her breast after her own child is slaughtered by her jealous mate. She raises the boy to manhood. Although he cannot compete physically with the male apes, Tarzan triumphs to become the leader of the tribe due to his superior intelligence. However, he eventually finds himself dissatisfied with the society of the apes. When he enters the world of men, he’s dismayed to realize he does not belong there either.

In Burroughs’ novel, Tarzan laboriously teaches himself to read and write English by studying books, including children’s primers, he finds in the hut his parents built. When Jane Porter and her entourage arrive (similarly abandoned by greedy and murderous seamen), he communicates with them by writing notes, but cannot understand their spoken language at all. When he does learn to speak, there’s none of the “Me Tarzan, you Jane” nonsense we’ve been fed over the years by the popular adaptations.In fact, his first spoken language is French!

I was very much caught up by Burroughs’ adventure, despite its occasionally racist tone and its confused notions about Africa. (As far as I know, lions do not inhabit the jungle, only the plains.) I read the whole book in a couple of hours, and truly enjoyed it. The author does a remarkable job capturing Tarzan’s concurrent civility and savagery. I couldn’t help fall in love with him, right along with Jane.

Burroughs portrays Tarzan as something of a tragic hero, a man of great promise who will always be an outsider. Much to my surprise, this first book ended not with him claiming Jane as his mate, but on the contrary, sacrificing his own desires because he believed she would be happier with someone else.

This was definitely not what I expected. I immediately downloaded the next volume in the series, The Return of Tarzan – hoping for a happier and more romantic ending!


Monday, January 14, 2019

Out now - Sapphic Seduction by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #sapphic #lesfic #erotica #lesbian


Blurb

If you enjoy short tales of ladies loving each other, then get your hands on this collection from the pen of award-winning author Lucy Felthouse.

From Zumba classes to army basic training, surfer chicks to mechanics, and even a lost dog, this book has variety galore. There’s something for everyone, and will have you eager to turn just one more page.

Enjoy twelve titillating tales, over 45,000 words of Sapphic delight.

Please note: The stories in this anthology have been previously published.

Buy links






Excerpt
 
Verity’s phone buzzed in her pocket, reminding her of an angry—and insistent—bee. Sighing, she pulled the device out and looked at the screen. Rolling her eyes, she rejected the call, then pressed the off button. Fuck her family and their petty dramas—she did enough for them, and they never appreciated it. Let them deal with their own shit for a change. She’d come here for some peace and solitude, and that was what she was damn well going to get.

After showing her membership card to the kindly old lady at the kiosk, Verity passed through the gate and into the gardens of Biddulph Grange. The beautiful stately home, sadly, was private, but the stunning landscaped gardens were open to the public. The place was already off the beaten track—nestled as it was, deep in the Staffordshire countryside—but once Verity stepped inside the huge gardens, she felt a million miles from anywhere.

Closing her eyes momentarily, she pulled in a deep breath through her nostrils, and released it from her mouth. Already she felt better, the stress and irritation seeping out of her and disappearing into the gravelled path beneath her feet. This place was her refuge, her sanctuary. She never told anyone where she went when she disappeared off for a few hours every couple of weeks—more often if her family was being more difficult than usual—and that was the beauty of it. No one knew where she was, no one could bother her. All she had was herself and the cacophony of nature within the garden walls, and that was precisely how she wanted it.

Letting out a contented sigh this time, she shut out all the unpleasant thoughts, emptying her mind, and concentrated only on what was around her. What she could see, what she could hear, what she could smell.

Her favourite thing about the gardens—aside from their being her escape—was the fact they seemed to look different every time she visited. Nature took its course: trees and bushes grew, plants flowered, leaves turned and dropped. New plants were introduced, old or diseased ones were removed.

The wildlife was wonderful, too. A huge variety of birds fluttered, swooped and hopped around, tweeting, twittering and singing. Butterflies and squirrels also made frequent appearances. They never failed to make Verity smile, and today was no exception. A further weight was lifted from her as her lips curved into a grin, and she breathed in deeply through her nostrils. The air smelled fresh, yet something lingered, hinting at something to come.

Verity tilted her head back and looked up at the sky. Hmm, that could be it. There was a thick covering of cloud, not particularly ominous-looking, but then that was British weather for you. It could, and did, change in the blink of an eye.

Shrugging, Verity carried on walking. She was here now—she wasn’t going to leave just in case it rained. Even if it did, so what? A little rain never killed anyone. It could actually be kind of refreshing.

Putting one foot in front of the other, she followed her nose through the landscape, admiring everything she saw, and exchanging polite nods and smiles with the handful of people she met. And it was only a handful. Perhaps others had checked the weather forecast before coming out and had been deterred. More fool them.

On the other hand, though, she thanked them. It meant she had the place pretty much to herself. Smiling, she allowed her imagination to run away with itself, painting a picture of a scenario where Verity owned the stately home currently hidden from view, and was wandering in her own private gardens. Every tree, every bush, every flower, every blade of grass was on her land, and she loved it. Having such an amazing place to call her own… well, she knew how lucky she was.

She was snapped out of her grand and wonderful fantasy by something that didn’t look quite right. Blinking, she focussed on whatever it was over to her left-hand side that seemed to stand out like a sore thumb. She frowned and stepped closer, still not entirely sure what she was seeing. Though it definitely wasn’t a thumb, sore or otherwise.

About the Author

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight and The Heiress’s Harem series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Join her Facebook group for exclusive cover reveals, sneak peeks and more! Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter here: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Leaving the Garden - #innocence #fantasies #amwriting



I have been writing all my life, and publishing for nearly twenty years. Over that time, my work has changed considerably. Of course, I’ve become more adept from a craft perspective, writing more convincing dialogue, curbing my tendency to produce overlong sentences and so on. However, in this post I want to talk about a more fundamental issue—my loss of innocence.

My early works were naive translations of my favorite fantasies into prose. I’d had little exposure to erotica as a genre. I wasn’t following any sort of rules. I wrote what aroused me personally, without worrying about whether it would have the same effect on someone else. My heroines were sexually voracious, unapologetically experimental, brave, curious and eager for new experience. I was like that myself in those days. The women (and men) in my books were more so.

As a consequence, my first three novels, especially (Raw Silk, Miranda’s Masks and Nasty Business) feature all sorts of activities and couplings. Taken together, they include everything from cross-dressing to enemas—voyeurism and exhibitionism, homosexual and lesbian interactions, group sex, gang bangs, age play, fisting, golden showers, pegging, femdom, pseudo-incest, as well as spanking, flogging, bondage and the like. I wasn’t shy about writing it if it turned me on. And in those early days, before I’d read and written hundreds of thousands of erotic words, almost everything did.

I suspect that many writers of erotica began, like me, by exposing and exploring their own favorite scenarios of desire. The result is often searingly sexy. The author has poured his or her personal libidinous imaginings into the story, with all the accompanying emotions. Readers pick up on the emotional truth, and react to it. These self-disclosive stories are direct and intense. They hit you in the gut, or perhaps more appropriately, in the groin.

Even as I cringe at the quality of the writing, my early stories still have an intensity that melts me to a puddle of lust whenever I reread them.

As I became more familiar with the world of publishing, my work became less spontaneous, more consciously constructed. I began writing short stories to match anthology themes. I contracted with an erotic romance publisher and discovered that readers didn’t necessarily share my preference for pan-sexual diversity. Without realizing it, I acquired the knowledge of good and evil—or rather, marketable versus not.

My writing changed in response to this knowledge. I tamed my id to satisfy editors, reviewers and the public. At the same time, I was learning how to communicate more effectively through my prose, how to grab the reader’s attention and keep it focused where I wanted it. I moved away from writing as confession or self-gratification toward writing for an imagined audience. I acquired the ability to modify my style to match the preferences of that audience.

The market was changing at the same time. The readership for erotic fiction grew but I think the tolerance for extreme or unusual activities shrank. My pre-AIDs-era heroines who’d have unprotected sex with strangers if the mood was right began to seem shocking as well as old-fashioned. My occasional interest in enemas and golden showers would make the bulk of the reading community run away screaming—as well as getting me banned from Amazon.

Perhaps to compensate for the reduced sexual diversity in any one of my tales, I began to experiment with different forms. I wrote M/M, F/F, ménage, paranormal, historical, science fiction, steam punk, in addition to the BDSM that was my first love. As I’ve matured as a writer, I’ve gained the confidence to tackle new sub-genres. I even tried writing a tentacle porn story (“Fleshpot”, currently available in my dark paranormal collection Fourth World).

My publishing history makes me proud. I may not be as prolific as some of my peers, but I’m a far more skillful and accomplished writer than I was in 1999, when Raw Silk poured out of me in an excited frenzy. Still, I can’t help looking back with a sense of nostalgia to the days when reading my own work would leave me breathless and damp.

I’ve finally given up on the notion of being financially successful with my writing, and so I’ve decided to try suspending the censor and critic, if I can, and writing once more from my loins. I’m not the same woman I was back then, though. My life-changing initiation into dominance and submission is thirty years behind me. Memories grow pale and worn with constant rehearsal. I’m post-menopausal, a state which gives me new appreciation for the power of hormones. And I’m pretty well sated from reading erotica by others. It takes an extraordinary story these days to make an impression.

I’ve been away from the garden for a long time now. The gates are barred by time and experience. I have to accept that I may never write my way back into that state of innocence.



Friday, January 11, 2019

A clandestine inter-racial romance -- #Romance #Prejudice #SocialJustice @laylawriteslove

My Way to You cover

Blurb

Lawyer Simon Young is smart, confident, and adept at keeping things with women casual—until he meets his best friend Marcus’s sister, Regina. Immediately intrigued by Regina’s beauty, Simon becomes increasingly enthralled and ultimately risks his friendship to have her for himself.

Social justice writer and activist Regina Kent is usually cautious and savvy. Yet, unable to resist her attraction to the handsome Simon, she plunges into a torrid affair, knowing that she chances angering big brother and her less tolerant followers, many of whom will not accept that one of their most popular pro-Black bloggers is dating an Asian man.

As their clandestine romance evolves, Simon and Regina fall deeper in love. Making sure that things stay between them becomes progressively impossible, and neither knows how much longer they can keep Marcus in the dark and the world at bay.


Excerpt
Chapter 10: Jamaica Station

Coffee ready?” Simon took his jacket off the hook and shrugged it over his wide shoulders.

Just now. You’ve got good timing, Young.” Errant drops fell from the spout and sizzled into evaporation on the hot plate. Regina filled the mug, noticing Simon reading his phone screen out of the corner of her eye. “It just stopped ringing’.” She offered him the morning libation. “I hope it wasn’t urgent.”

Simon’s face remained cheerful. “Nope. Just someone from work.” He grabbed the mug and pulled Regina towards him. “See you tonight?”

I can’t. I’m goin’ out with some girlfriends. Tomorrow night?”

I’m probably gonna be workin’ late preparing for a case.”

If you don’t mind the train ride,” Regina smoothed his tie, “I won’t mind the lateness.” She laced her fingers in his silky hair, drew him into a long, hot kiss, and softly blinked, waiting for a response.

Simon’s eyes smoldered. “I’ll be here.”

Regina kissed his nose. “Good. Now go.” She teasingly pushed him away. Hearing the door close behind Simon, she poured some coffee and perched on a stool, cradling the hot mug in her hands. Only gone for a few minutes, she already yearned for his presence. There was no denying that Simon Young was under her skin, and she was going to make sure he stayed there.

She hopped off the stool and shuffled to her desk. It started to ding a series of notifications as soon as she raised the laptop open. She skimmed through a list of articles, stopping and cringing at a headline:

Can you be Pro-Black and Marry White?

She scanned the article, which contained the usual arguments for and against Black activists and celebrities marrying interracially. Regina focused her attention on the comments section and the plethora of derision, which included words like “internalized racism,” “color struck” and the same “sellout” the guy in the elevator shouted at her.

She pushed in the squishy belly of the kitty-shaped stress reliever stuck on her desk. She couldn’t deny that many of her followers might have the same criticisms about interracial dating and marriage as the ones on the screen. Some may be accepting, but others will eviscerate her and jeopardize her blog. She couldn’t lose everything she worked for—or Simon.

About the Author

Lyndell Williams is an award-winning writer as well as a multifaceted editor, romance scholar and author. She is a managing editor and columnist for various media platforms and serves as a content editor for a select group of clients. She’s had numerous short stories published in collections and enjoys a growing list of subscribers to her Layla Writes Love online short story series.

Lyndell is an adjunct instructor as well as an anti-racism and gender equity advocate. She is committed to the traditional use of literature as social commentary to affect positive social change.

Social Media Links





Thursday, January 10, 2019

Will they ever escape the past? Anthem of Survival by Thom Collins (@thomwolf) -- #MM #thriller #revenge

Anthem of Survival cover

Will they ever escape the past?

Revenge casts a long shadow.

Following two prior attempts on their lives, Daniel and Elijah are together and stronger than ever. Their relationship has weathered the toughest elements and survived. Physically and emotionally scarred, the bond between them can’t be broken. One year on from the devastating events in
Anthem of the Dark they have reassessed their priorities and want to spend time out of the spotlight.

Elijah has quit his stand-up career to focus on his new passion: training to be a chef. But for Daniel, there are too many questions he desperately needs answers to. Like who orchestrated the violence in Blackpool a year ago? Whose hatred of him runs so deep they’re ruthlessly prepared to hurt innocent by-standers? He teams up with journalist Keeley Rank to uncover the facts.

Though the truth is well hidden, it is closer than anyone thinks. Someone wants revenge. Someone intent on destroying Daniel anyway she can. When Daniel and Elijah attend a fundraising gala for a victim support charity they are unaware they are about to face their most perilous situation yet. Vengeance is a deadly game and not everyone will survive.

Available in ebook and Paperback

Buy Links

Pride Publishing: http://ow.ly/2EIj30myQPQ





 
The Anthem Trilogy:
        Anthem of the Sea
        Anthem of the Dark
        Anthem of Survival

Excerpt

Daniel Blake, sitting on a shaded terrace in a pair of sun-bleached shorts, strummed a melody on his guitar. The afternoon sun blazed in a cloudless sky and, despite the protective canopy above him, the heat was intense. Beads of sweat ran down his neck, tracking over bronzed skin to the dark mass of chest hair. It glistened on his top lip as he gently chewed the bottom. With his eyes closed, he progressed through the strings. A moment later, he smiled, finally satisfied, and put down the guitar. He reached for the weathered notebook that had been his constant companion all summer and wrote in an eager, untidy hand.

Daniel had been working on the song for two days, both music and lyrics, and, at last, it was done. He had nothing left to add.

He lifted his gaze to the sky and inhaled full into his lungs. Across the terrace, the blue water of the Ionian Sea reflected the white light of the sun, its expanse an ever-changing collage of sapphire and diamond colors. Down the coast, the outline of Corfu Island was a hazy mirage in the heat. This perfect view had been his for six amazing weeks. The idyll would soon be over, but not yet.

Daniel lay back on the lounger and lengthened his arms above his head, stretching the stiffness in his neck. He’d been so absorbed in the song, ensuring every chord and every word were right, he’d ignored his own comfort and now his body ached. A few weeks earlier, he’d made the mistake of writing beside the pool, in the direct glare of the sun, and paid the price. Two painful days in bed with sunburn. Since then, he’d stuck to the shade while working on his music. He lost himself so much in the process it was easy to burn.

Daniel studied his body as he lay there. He’d never looked so good or been this tan before. There’d been no time to sunbathe in the past, he’d always thought it a waste of time. He had had too much to do, too much to achieve, to spend his days lying around a pool. But he’d realized this summer that a tan didn’t just suit him, it helped him feel better.

It wasn’t just the sun. Daily sessions in the pool and long walks on the beach kept him in shape. Coming off Lady Lynda, he’d had every intention of letting his fitness routine go a little, if only for the summer, but it hadn’t worked out that way. He was in better condition now than when he arrived, in mind as well as body.

His legs were strong, muscular and tan. He hardly recognized his own body. He inched down the top of his shorts to admire the contrast in color between the creamy skin below his waist and the coppery tones above. The villa was private and he could have bathed naked if he’d wanted to, except he wasn’t that kind of guy. Besides, tan lines were sexy. He’d always thought so. Who needed to risk a burnt butt and balls?

The one thing that marred the bronze color of his torso was the scars between his hip bones and ribcage, sustained the night Oliver Gill had stabbed him, and from the lifesaving surgery he’d gone through afterward. Before coming to Corfu, the pale scars had been almost unnoticeable on his white skin. His dark body hair just about concealed them. But as his tan deepened, the scars stayed white, becoming more pronounced, forcing him to look at them, to acknowledge them.

Daniel traced his fingers along the lines and indentations. Had he made peace with the disfigurement? No. But as the summer came to an end, he’d learned to accept them.

Daniel sighed and basked in the heat. Life was not so bad, considering what the last two years had thrown at him. Better than that, things were good. Not perfect, too many questions remained unanswered for that, but his optimism grew every day.

The glass doors of the terrace opened behind him and Elijah Mann stepped out, offering him a cold bottle of water.

It’s hotter than hell out here,” Elijah remarked, shielding his eyes against the sun to gaze across the sea.

Daniel swung his legs over the side of the sunbed and sat up. He drank the chilled, sparkling water and looked with admiration at Elijah’s chunky thighs. While the sun had turned Daniel’s white-boy skin an appealing shade of bronze, Elijah, with his Greek heritage, had gone nut-brown. The beige shorts and blue open-neck shirt he wore today complemented his tan. God, he’s gorgeous. Daniel never had to remind himself what a lucky guy he was.

Elijah dropped onto the other sunbed, knees spread wide, and looked straight at him with soulful brown eyes. His thick blue-black hair fell in an untidy wave across his brow and a three-day beard darkened his jaw. With his natural Greek coloring, Daniel wondered if Elijah had ever looked more handsome. Even more important, he looked happier and healthier than he had in a long time. Less than a year ago he’d been in hospital, fighting for his life. Daniel wouldn’t ever forget how close he’d come to losing him. Those long, terrible hours beside his bed, praying he would recover. Hoping for the best, afraid of the worst.

How’s it going?” Elijah asked, nodding at his guitar.

I’m finished,” he answered, smiling.

Elijah’s eyebrows raised. “Really?”

Absolutely.”

Don’t keep me in suspense. Let me hear it.”

What’s for lunch?” Daniel asked, feigning indifference.

Elijah leapt forward, grabbing Daniel’s bare waist, tickling the sensitive flesh around his middle. Daniel yelped and fell backward, giggling. Elijah followed through, lying on top of him, fingers still working his waist. Daniel laughed, squirming against his hard body.

No lunch today,” Elijah said, his face on top of Daniel’s. “Not until you play me your song.”

About the Author

Thom Collins is the author of Closer by Morning, Gods of Vengeance and Silent Voices with Pride Publishing. The Anthem Trilogy is out now from Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

He is currently working on a new novel.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age, but since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

Links


Twitter: @thomwolf and @realthomcollins

Instagram: thomcollinsauthor

Pinterest: Thom Collins


Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Forever Aquarius -- #Birthday #Idealism #AgeOfAquarius



Harmony and understanding,
Sympathy and trust abounding,
No more falsehoods or derisions,
Golden living dreams of visions,
Mystic crystal revelation,
And the mind’s true liberation...

Age of Aquarius” by James Rado and Jerome Ragni
From Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical (1967)

I was born on January 31st, smack in the middle of the period for the sun-sign Aquarius. Although I’ve never put much stock in astrology—I find it difficult to believe that remote stars and planets could influence our personalities or our fates—I have to admit that my character fits the classic description of the Water Bearer amazingly well. Aquarians are supposed to be independent dreamers, intellectuals, humanitarians and idealists. Sometimes they are contrary and rebellious against authority when it conflicts with their visions. Compared to some other signs, Aquarians may seem emotionally remote; they live in their heads more than their bodies.

Recognize me? I do.

I was also born in the mid-nineteen fifties, so I came of age in the sixties and seventies. Songs from the musical “Hair” were my anthems as a teen. I was convinced that a new dawn truly was on its way, that “the times they are a-changing”, in the words of another icon of those years. Compassion and love would overcome hatred. Justice would vanquish oppression. Peace would reign. Creativity would flourish. A new openness and mutual respect would liberate us from the societal prohibitions and taboos about sexuality, leading to greater happiness and satisfaction for all.

What a dreamer, right? Look around you. Disasters, violence, famine. Ignorant, selfish materialism. Global warning. Nuclear proliferation. Rape and other atrocities. Millions of human beings worldwide forced from their homes, struggling to survive in strange lands where they are demonized and distrusted.

Surely I must be disillusioned.

Not really.

If you do the math, you’ll figure out that I’m now in my sixties. And after more than six decades on earth, I still believe in the power of love and compassion. I’ve seen the magic of kindness work wonders on a personal level. I’ve observed first hand the beauty of community, the power of people working together for good. And I’m totally convinced of the truth of karma, which also happens to be a foundational principle of magic: what we sow, we reap.

I have seen how violence breeds violence, how the oppressed can easily become oppressors. I question whether there’s such a thing as a “just war”. When I read about a terrorist or a white supremacist, about gay people beaten or murdered by homophobic gangs, about Buddhists slaughtering Muslims in Myanmar, Jews attacking Palestinians and vice versa, Sunnis and Shias trading bombs, I try to remember that each of these individuals is a human being—more like me than different.

We all want and need certain things: food, shelter, family, security, status, a level of comfort. Love. Much of the horror we see around us stems from fear on the part of the part of the perpetrators: fear of scarcity, of losing resources or power or status, and fear of the Other. Politicians and governments deliberately stoke these fears for their own benefit. Take away the fear and maybe the opponents will see that they are not so different.

I’m not traditionally religious, but I believe in John 4:18:

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear."

I believe in the basic goodness of humanity and the overall upward trend of society. Furthermore, statistics support my beliefs.

World hunger statistics show that the number of hungry has dropped twenty percent since the nineties: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/288229/icode/

Worldwide, violence has declined dramatically or time:


Meanwhile other positive indicators, like literacy, educational level and political freedom, have improved:


The educational, economic, social and health status of women relative to men continues to get better, though major inequalities still exist:


Impressive progress has been made toward fulfilling the United Nations’ ambitious Millenium Development Goals (MDG), though there is still much to do:


So why does it seem that we’re living in the most violent, heartless, miserable, insecure period in history? The media have a great deal to do with this. Stories about conflict, crime, disasters and atrocities attract more attention and sell more advertising than those about harmonious communities or successful mediation. The instant availability of news from anywhere, plus the fact that such news is more likely to be negative than positive, lead us to the perception that the world has never been in worse shape and is going to straight to hell.

Do we face serious challenges? Of course we do. From what I can see, though, taking a negative perspective exacerbates these problems, instead pushing us to solve them. Anger is not a reliable long-term motivator. It may catalyze dramatic, sudden action, but is unlikely to contribute to analytic thinking. Despair saps the will completely. Negativism fuels amoral selfishness; if the world’s about to end, why shouldn’t I do what I feel like and damn the social consequences?

Many readers may be shaking their heads. “She’s a deluded optimist,” they’re saying. “A soft-headed pacifist. We’ve got to fight 45, fight the Nazis, fight the North Koreans, fight the Islamic terrorists, fight the male chauvinists, fight for equality, fight for a decent wage, fight for our piece of the pie...”

I believe that if you view your life as a fight, it will become one.

I’ll work for the things I believe, but I’m not going to cast that activity as a war, because I don’t want to think of my fellow humans as enemies (difficult as it may be to avoid this).

Seriously, I believe that our minds control our experiences. I am convinced that so-called reality is malleable, shifting as we change how we think about it.

And I’ve spent my life working to make the Age of Aquarius more than just a song.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

My appearance does not define me ... #photography #women #baldness @alyscia_c

I am more than my hair banner

Blurb

From the time we are young, girls are pressured into a set belief of beauty standards. Hair is certainly high on the list and is often labeled as our "crown and glory." Where does this notion fit for a girl with alopecia (the partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows; baldness)? This new coffee table book should bring light to the issue.

I Am More Than My Hair: My Outward Appearance Does Not Define Me, is a two-part project, documentary film and coffee table book. The newly published book features 138 portraits of 46 women and the stories of their experience with hair loss, as well as women who cut their hair in solidarity of a loved one.


Excerpt 


Amy, 39

Never in a million years did I think I would have alopecia.

It started with a small bald spot on the back of my head and, four months later, I was completely bald. I had no choice but to wear wigs and try to go about my life like nothing was wrong. That is so much easier said than done!

I distanced myself from friends and family and avoided social situations at all costs. I did not want people to see me differently. I felt like a completely different person on the outside, and it started to make me feel different on the inside, too. I spent months feeling isolated and depressed, and it started to take a toll on me.

I had an “Aha!” moment one day when I was sick of missing out on life because of my own excuses. I realized I am not my hair! There is so much more to me than my outward appearance.

Yes, I look a little different, but I’m still me—I’m still Amy! I feel like my diagnosis was God’s way of telling me to not be so concerned with what other people think of me and to just get out there and enjoy life! It has been a slow process, but now I don’t let being bald hold me back from doing anything. I go for that boat ride or swimming; I do not mind a windy day, and I get myself to the gym. I am still not comfortable going out in public without my wig, my hat collection has grown tremendously.

Losing my hair has taught me to be a stronger, more confident woman, and I know I can handle whatever curve ball life sends my way! I am more than my hair because my external appearance does not represent all I have to offer on the inside. “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” —Maya Angelou


About the Author

Alyscia Cunningham is an entrepreneur, author, filmmaker and photographer who has contributed to the Smithsonian, National Geographic, Discovery Channel and AOL. In September 2013 Alyscia self-published Feminine Transitions, a photography book encompassed with portraits of raw feminine beauty. Her recently published photography book and upcoming documentary film, I Am More Than My Hair, features 138 portraits of 46 females and the stories of their experience with hair loss as well as females who cut their hair in solidarity of a loved one. Alyscia creates these, and future projects, with the consideration of art for social-change.

 
Alyscia specializes in promoting our natural beauty because she believes the media does a good job of focusing on our insecurities by bombarding us with ads proclaiming that their appearance without enhancements is inadequate or faulty. Her portraits are unaltered by Photoshop and reveal women as they are naturally, without the façade they put on for others.
 
Her work has been featured on Fox5 News, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, APlus, and Proud2BMe. To learn more about Alyscia and her work, visit Alyscia.com.

Alyscia also invites you to view her video introductions to Feminine Transitions, and I Am More Than My Hair.

I Am More Than My Hair book is now available on Amazon and at these retailers: 
Bluestockings Bookstore (New York, NY), 
BookWoman (Austin, TX), 
East City Bookshop (Washington, DC),
Politics and Prose (Washington, DC), 
Sandy Spring Museum (Ashton, MD), 
Vroman's Bookstores (Pasadena, CA), 
Women's Museum of California (San Diego, CA)

Social Media

Twitter - @alyscia_c

Instagram - @Alyscia Cunningham

Facebook - @Alyscia Cunningham Images

and @I Am More Than My Hair.




Alyscia Cunningham will be awarding a limited edition 2019 calendar for "I Am More Than My Hair" (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway