Tuesday, December 29, 2015


I find myself disenchanted… 

2015 is almost over, and I was spending precious time with family, reminiscing, but as I filtered through photos of friends with their loved ones, opened gifts from under a tree, Kwanza candles aglow and menorahs lit in colors of azure and white, I kept running into headline stories that dulled the moment, shaded the emotions and left a burning coal of irritation in my gut.

How many Kardashians must I see? Why do I need to know that so and so has one billion followers now on Instagram? Do we as a nation really believe that Donald Trump, who has spouted some of the most hateful speech of the year, perhaps decade, is the best candidate for president? How many ‘your blues isn’t like mine’ posts must we see to figure out who’s wound is bigger and more sore (All Lives Matter, nah bruh, only Black Lives Matter… dude! That’s crazy, only American Lives Matter… how about none of you motherfuckers matter?!) – these are real conversations going on while yet someone else is being decapitated for not believing as another does. It is then televised and the person that is outraged about it is ridiculed and told, ‘Were you that upset when so and so was gunned down by the police? Or do you care about them only because they were this or that color?’


Are we so jaded, so soulless, so inherently evil now, fresh out of the womb, that all we care about are the latest contour make-up tips, how to get rich in five days, diet tea and corsets and who had the best ‘What are thoooose?!’ vines? Has our entertainment became our real lives or merely an obsession?

Do we turn the station when a documentary of the Underground Railroad comes on, or Suze Orman trying to give us pointers on how to grow our funds in favor of watching the Real House Wives of Planet XYZ? Is every woman who takes a selfie in a skirt a THOT, is trash talking another person now a competition and crowns are passed out for who can give the most shade? Do we not care about our fellow human being anymore? Has it gotten to the point that only what we do on social media counts, and the REAL us slowly dies for we know if our followers truly saw our hurts and frailties, we’d lose LIKES? Because no one LIKES a real human being anymore…

This is why I’m disenchanted. I’m not upset about anyone getting their hustle on, making a way out of no way. What I’m upset about is the lack of soul, the lack of grit, the lack of integrity, the lack of self-respect, true courage, consideration and the narcissistic behavior that is now deemed as ‘normal.’ We laugh now when people are down, depressed – we encourage them to kill themselves if they post they don’t want to live anymore. We ridicule a person that is struggling with mental illness, yet we praise performers who see women as only cum guzzlers. We give high fives to women who only want a check, versus that ‘baby daddy’ to be in their child’s life.  I ask again, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH US? We are nasty to others for no reason, vicious when called on our bullshit because the truth hurts and materialistic to the point that we’ll put bills in our childrens’ name just so we can use our ‘other money’ to buy crap we won’t even remember having in a week or two. We even get pissy if the man of our dreams doesn’t buy the diamond ring we wanted --- then wonder why we are still single ten years later and he found someone more deserving of his time, attention and energy. YUP. I said it.

None of this is normal… Trashing a person on Snapchat for wearing last years designer jacket isn’t okay. Internet trolling and thugging is a thing – everyone wants to be a superstar, and negative attention is better than none at all. Now so-called reality TV is a gateway, but it’s a poisonous gateway, for once you enter it, it leaves one spiritually splintered and emotionally diseased.

People no longer know who they are, why they are here and what they can possibly become. Our vision is tunnel, our sites short, our love jaded, our forgiveness nonexistent, our thirst for knowledge dry, our desire for compassion – long gone. I’ve seen so much negativity and nastiness, and it is a chore trying to sift through it to get to the good stuff. I end up feeling like I’ve had a ten-hour work out, with no breaks. I want to be able to turn on my computer or television, and not see an update about any reality star, or a performer who had some hissy fit on stage. I want to be able for just once, to see the front page of Yahoo say, ‘FIVE UPLIFTING, COOL NEAT STORIES FROM ORDINARY PEOPLE WHO’VE DONE SPECTACULAR THINGS.’

No one is allowed to call anyone on this behavior – because then you’re deemed ‘not fun’, an ‘old foggie’, ‘jealous/hater’, 'sippin' the Kool-Aid', 'A sell out' and all the other adjectives and titles one can wrangle up. I don’t care about what some celebrity wore to dinner, I care about what my fellow sister or brother wore to their job interview that helped land them the job. I don’t care about showing the ‘good things’ Donald Trump has done, I want to see the people that actually care about the guy making minimum wage that still goes out and feeds the hungry. I don’t care about any of this nonsense, and this is in part why some people don’t get ME, what I write about and how I write it. Some people are trying to feed substance to people who only want filler, I had that problem too, but I sure as hell don’t anymore.

I’m not trying to force-feed anyone anything, any longer. I will do what I do, and whomever is down, cool, if not – there’s the door. The heart of man is broken. The mind is, too. We are spiritually corrupt. What will we do to stop this, before we have nothing left of ourselves, but a remembrance of what we truly could have become?

In a very short while, the very essence of all inner beauty will be a distant memory. We will know nothing of love and redemption. We will only care about the things in this world that we can not take with us. Well, all I can say is, I hope it was worth it…

Tiana Laveen (author or romance and lover of beautiful minds.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Proof is in the Details...


Come here. I want to show you something.

You’re too far away… come a bit closer. Okay, you see this here? 
What does it look like to you?

An oval shaped crystal bowl of freshly washed bing cherries. Awesome.

Now, what’s over there?

 A picture of a bowl of fruit.

Essentially, both are the exact same thing. I have two crystal bowls of freshly washed bing cherries but one was described in detail and the other was not, but you can still ‘see’ it. Now, in my mind, I see things quite vividly, like the first description and picture.

I have an art background, and I pay attention to tiny freckles, a half cast shadow across an oblong, slightly tanned face. Those things do not matter to some, but to me they do. Therefore, the things that matter to me, I put inside of my book because I am essentially trying to use my art background, visual addiction and imagination and pour all of that into words upon a page. In other words, I am attempting to paint a representation with librettos.  Why? Well, because it is what I do and I have to lessen our degrees of separation. You and I do not live together. Chances are high we don’t even live in the same city, perhaps even the same state or country. More importantly, you do not dwell within my brain. You can not possibly know what I think and how I perceive things without me telling you, guiding the way so to speak.

Therefore, I have to bring you close to me from afar. I do this via details, but also with ‘focused’ character development. Some readers do not enjoy character development and details. Well, that isn’t fair. Let me rephrase. Some readers do not want an in-depth read for they may feel bogged down by the details and simply want to ‘get on with it’.

I respect that, however I too, need to be respected for the the fact that I do not serve "that" at my ‘restaurant.’ There are plenty of diners in town that do, and I could give quality recommendations for such but I will not change my menu because a patron walks in wanting something that I do not prepare. You would be asking me to be something that I am not, and I simply refuse to do that just as I should not ask you to be anything other than what you naturally are. If stylistic changes are to be made, well, that's a personal choice.           

Now, recently, Stephen King’s tips for writing has been swimming around online. He wrote that eons ago but it recently made a come-back. I love this man. I have not read any of his more recent work, but classic Stephen King? Yes, I have him on lock. In any case, he mentioned the act of ‘bogging down with detail.’ Here is the problem, however. What some people are failing to understand and he did not mention, are that these rules are not necessarily for across all genres. Confused? Let me elaborate. For horror and mystery for example, many times less is more. It is critical in these two genres, for you, the reader, to use your own imagination in order to make the situation that more terrifying and emotionally debilitating. The best horror movies and books rely on this technique. This is why the dark closet always stays with us far longer than the man chasing us with the rusty, blood splattered chainsaw. Why? We see him – we know what he is and though we may not enjoy how he is terrorizing us, our brains can make sense of him. He can be a successful technique never the less, but he does not have the same lasting power as ‘void’, ‘dark’, ‘empty’ and ‘lack of origin.’ We are able to place him in some boxes: A man - check! A lunatic - check! He is running towards us with something dangerous - check! He is growling and gnashing his teeth which means he is angry or at the very least, hell bent on murdering us. - check!  We may not know why, which can be disturbing, but we do have at least part of the puzzle solved which gives us some resolution. Lasting horror however is nebulous.


No one can scare you more than yourself, you see? The most horrific things we’ve ever seen sometimes were simply shadows or a faint cry that came from some unknown source. There was no ten-foot tall slimy, green monster with tentacles holding a sign that read, ‘666’ and yelled at you in Russian. No, it was the implication, the thought that something was hiding in the dark waiting to get us, take us away and gnaw on us slowly over a period of anguish-inducing time. However, when it comes to romance, a slow build is what I like to call, ‘foreplay.’ I understand that the majority of my readers are women. Therefore, more times than not, we need to be ‘warmed up’ before we are psychologically and emotionally screwed. But I don’t want to just stop there… I want you to quiver, shake, and sleep with a smile on your face.

I want you to fall in love with the characters and truly SEE them. I need you to feel emotionally invested and attached. There are many ways to accomplish this. For me, I use detail and character development. If I were writing horror, I would still use these methods, but far less of it because I have to look at and consider my goals. Is it my goal to scare you, turn you on or make you fall in love? Once that is established, I then plan a course of action. Every book is essentially a manipulation of your senses. So, I plan accordingly. These methods are also used as it pertains to the differences between romance, erotica and written pornography. All three utilize the art of language bending and all three have to be treated differently to derive the desired effect. Sometimes romance and erotica are blended together in the same story, however, it is almost impossible to blend romance and porn, because though pornography at times can be deemed, ‘romantic’ it rarely lives in that realm for the duration of the description of acts. That is the line between erotica and written pornography. Pornography is more direct; it relies on less descriptive words and more action words. It does not spend an eternity developing characters, if at all. It serves one purpose and one purpose only, to titillate. Romance and erotica serve different purposes, and sometimes they overlap.

I respect just about any genre that you can bring to my attention, and I have read almost any genre that exists. I understand the basics of how each of them work, are effective and constructed. That said, we all still have artistic license, if you will. I use my license to get behind my computer and write the stories that I love, in the way in which I choose. It is important to me to stay true to my writing, and that includes my style of writing. Some will enjoy it, some will not. Not everyone will be happy, and it is not our job as authors, to strive for such an impossible feat. Besides, if I changed myself based on another person’s opinion, more times than not a stranger that wants to coach me from afar and does not have an inkling as to what REALLY goes on in regard to writing a book, then I’d be a fool and easily manipulated as well as depressed due to not truly writing about what I wish to write and how I wish to do it. Authors reading this: Do not change your writing based on popular opinion. Popular opinion changes and is fickle. Audiences are, too. You will lose your zest for writing if you do! It is a trap. Beware.

You must feel good about your end product, and that is what truly matters. You must focus on tightening up your craft and doing your very best, but the essence, the soul of your writing? No, they are not negotiable unless YOU feel that they are.

Authors have to sometimes remind ourselves why we began writing in the first place or we will lose focus due to outside forces and opinions that are not always in our best interest. When you do something you enjoy and you do it to the best of your ability that within itself is a form of success. I am blessed to have people that enjoy my books and want to hear about the bing cherries in the crystal bowl and not simply a two-dimensional container filled with fruit. Both types of writing serve a purpose, but one type is not mine... and I’m glad to know that.

I was born for many things, one of which is to write and express myself. I have received too many emails from women and some men, telling me they could identify with a character or a book in general, and that it in some way helped them. There are readers who express to me that they enjoy my detailed writing, that they actually feel as if they’ve been transposed into the scene. That is what I want. I am an entertainer, but I also want to be of assistance more times than not. So, I will continue to do what I’m doing, hopefully getting better and better along the way but in the meantime, I’d like to take a lunch break and I’m willing to share.

Would you like a cherry?

-Tiana Laveen