Candidly Elle

I'm just a girl in love with words and sentences.
You’ve written your novel…now what?

You’ve written your novel…now what?

Creating and publishing a piece of work is considered to be a huge accomplishment. The last year has been an emotional event for me. My first novel titled More Than Words… It focuses on a sixteen year old named Ansley Stevenson with a severe panic disorder from a kidnapping by a drug-abusing aunt when she was a child. Ansley just wants normalcy in a world full of over-bearing parents, psychiatrist and medication. She doesn’t want to be know as “that girl” anymore. I think the hardest part in finishing this novel was the revision of my years as a teenager who just wanted to read books and work in a library. People thought I was weird, because I loved to read so much. Part of me understood the angst this character was dealing with. In this novel I was able to tap into a place of writing that I wasn’t even aware existed. I learned a lot about cognitive therapy and the many way child psychologist effectively treat children with behavioral disorders.

When I decided to pursue this career professionally, I never imagined that I would be in a situation in which I able to publish not one, but two books in the span of 15 months. Now mind you my first release was a series of poems and short stories that allowed more freedom of expression. Working on this new novel has placed me in a situation where I am no longer writing just for my personal gain. I’m writing to gain a following within a specific genre. That’s mainly why I haven’t been blogging as much, this novel has taken up a wonderfully huge amount of my time!

I wanted to create something with a lasting impression I could be truly proud of. Writing I assert is something not easy given, no must truly love this art form. A talent sent from a higher power and its something that takes a ton of research and dedication. Now that I’m in the editing phase of the process, the roller coaster ride that’s become of this journey is winding down. Writing takes on many hats in the creative process, but what do you do once you’ve finished writing? Am I supposed to cheer and celebrate or continue writing. Do I take time out to catch up on current events? Maybe I could read the pile of books that I’ve purchased in the recent months from Barnes and Noble. Maybe I should start that YouTube page that many have suggested? I have to admit that’s a funny idea me writing and rambling online all day!

What am I do? Yes, I eventually would like to write a sequel to this novel. It touches on teenage angst, loss of innocence and the emotional coping of love for the first time. My friends think I should take a break to recharge, but what if I lose time that could be focused on another project. Usually around this time of the year I would be outlining my National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo manuscript. Now I ask myself what is next? Yes, of course there is the process of marketing and promoting this novel. I’m a self-published novelist this huge big business task of publishing relies solely on my shoulders. Whatever I decide to do it will include blogging more. I miss my rants and raving on pop culture and taking to the wonderful people in Orlando!

P.s. my new novel More Than Words… will be available next month via Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and iBook’s. Here’s a peek at the wrap of the cover, I’ll keep you posted on the book release!

Courtesy of Author Elle Henry.

Courtesy of Author Elle Henry.

Forever candid,

Elle <3

 

Don’t forget to Like, Comment & Subscribe:

Twitter: @Candidly_Elle

IG: Candidly_Elle

Facebook:Candidly Elle Henry

The Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop

I’m still trying to establish myself as a writer in my hometown of Orlando; however I am a lover of the short story format. I’m a published author with a book of stories and poems out now through Amazon and Barnes and Nobles title Pieces of Me. Here’s one of my stories I hope you enjoy it enjoy to comeback and follow more of my work!

Elle

 “The Coffee Shop”

She was sitting there again like a gentle breeze flowing in the wind when he walked in the coffee shop. He eyes immediately grazed upon her ever so slowly and spotted her sitting in the corner instantly. Adjusting her glasses, she noticed him as well. The tension was felt between the two. They’ve played this game of cat and mouse for weeks, neither one dared to speak just a glance here and there.

Boom, boom, boom…went her heart. Turning the page in her book, trying to seem interested in Rebecca a novel she’s read a million times. Grabbing her latte from the table beside her, taking a sip—it was cold.

He smiled and went to the register.

She remained silently still in her position, showing no expression returning back to the book. Realizing that she would need to get up from a refill, then deciding to wait. There was no way she could speak to this man. He was too handsome in his khaki pants; red cable knit sweater and thin blue jacket. The reflection he preceded wasn’t the heart he held. It was frail, timid and saddening. The same as hers…but she wasn’t aware of that.

Observing her movements out of the corner of his eye, his nerves begun to quake at her very sight. An odd complexity given his physical stature was so tall, broad and muscular. Feeling her survey him from behind he smiled at the barista and ordered his usual.

“Tall house blend, please and keep the change.” Handing her crisp ten-dollar bill, he decided to sit today. It was a slow day at the office. The short spiky haired brunette barista returned moments later with his piping hot house blend. He nodded thanks again, and then headed over to the condiment counter to add his one creamer and three sugars. After fixing his coffee just right, he grabbed a seat at the table by the window. It was starting to snow a little outside and this time of year always made him sad. Sweet November, Maria died around this time two years ago. The death of his wife Maria caused him to become a recluse for a while. Maria was the soft wind against his cheek, the smile on his face when she spoke. Cancer took her from the earth’s presence and left Mark flowing in a trance every since the soil covered her remains. Until he spotted the beauty in the coffee shop with the pensive look concentrating on the different novels she read. He needed saving and yet the beauty he admired in the wind needed salvation from herself. As he stay gazing out the window thinking about Maria, he noticed the beauty with the book motion to the counter to get a refill. Taking a chance he gets up to say hello.

A gentle tap on her shoulder.

“Hi, I’m Mark.” He said with a casual smile that made her stomach churn with nervousness.

“Hello—I’m Naomi.” She said as the spiky haired brunette looked on annoyed waited for someone to order.

“I noticed you here often and I would like to buy you a cup of coffee.” He said handing the annoyed barista another ten-dollar bill, before Naomi could interject a response.

“Well, now I’m indebted to you Mark thanks.”

“The same ma’am?” the barista said as Naomi handed her the cup.

“Ummm—Yes with soy please.” Trying to figure out what else to say to the handsome stranger, who just did a kind deed. “Thanks—Umm…Mark?”

“Yes and please join me.” He say as the barista came back with the coffee he motioned again for her to keep the change, which put a smile on her previously unhappy face.

“I guess for a minute.” Then they walked over to the cozy chairs in the corner where she always sat. They were both nervous, but he took a leap by talking to her at all and that made him smile.

“What’s so funny?” she inquired.

“I don’t know, if you know this but I have been gaining the courage to come over and speak with you for weeks now. But you are always so focused on your books.” Naomi smiled in returned, so he had noticed her as well she thought. She wouldn’t be as bold enough to admit as much to him.

“No, I hadn’t noticed that.” She lied and her cheeks flushed revealing her truth. Taking a sip of her college it was nice of him to buy her refill, but coffee and small talk was all she could offer.

“How long have you been coming here?” he pressed.

“Since grad school. I’m working on my Ph.D. in counseling.” Replying as he admired her dark hair and olive tone skin, considering her low self confidence internally she was dressed nicely in jeans, leather ankle boots and a pale pink sweater. She was a very beautiful woman, someone he would really like to get to know better; however this was as far as he could go now.

“You seem like the educated type, I always see you with a book.” He said.

“Books don’t turn on you.” She said sipping her coffee again, his presence was making her uncomfortable.

“Why do you say that?”

“It’s a cold world and people are cruel.” She said matter of fact. “I’ve had to learn the hard way.”

“I suppose you are right.” He agreed and she begun to pack up her things. “Leaving so soon?”

“Yes, I’m a student teacher and I have to be there in thirty minutes.” She added, “Thanks for the coffee Mark.” Then she grabbed her purse and bag a stood to leave.

“It was all my pleasure Naomi, until next time?”

“Maybe” She smiled as she walked past him and that was that. He was happy and a bit shocked that he spoke to the beauty in the coffee shop. Even though it was a brief conversation it was better than anything he had experienced in the two years since Maria’s passing and it was also rewarding for Naomi. She walked away with a smile.

© 2014 Elle Henry

Like, Comment and Subscribe

@AvidWriterElle

Facebook.com/AuthorElleHenry

Instagram.com/AuthorElleHenry

NaNoWriMo-Day 14 Have you crashed yet?

 

courtesy of nanowrimo.org

                  Courtesy of nanowrimo.org

For all the non writer types NaNoWriMo is contest based in the month of November to celebrate writer National November Writers Month visit NaNoWriMo.org. Each year writers from all walks of life come together with the trusty MacBookPro and an attempt to write a novel of 50,000 in 30 days. A daring task some my say and yet many of my friends have won every year.  This contest is about self-assurance and the drive you have to get your work out to the public masses. Last year was my first year I admitted that I wasn’t prepared for the contest and I didn’t utilize many the resources the site provided to me. There are many types of writers. Here are a few I have met. I personally I have done quite better this year than the latter and I owe that all to making friends and utilizing the tools to help me success. It’s day fourteen now and my word count is 11,774 it’s a number that I am proud of because it’s double than what I started and ended with last year and I plan on finishing NaNo with a complete novel that I love. I writing something that I have passion about, so at times I fall into the three categories: The Frantic, The Overachiever and The Floater The Frantic typer is the one person trying to make that unreachable word for the day. But he will stay up all night high on caffeine and lack of sleep to make it to 10k words to reach the reach milestone.

The frantic typer

 The Frantic typer

The Overacheiver she has reached her word count for the day, so she posts all over Facebook and Instagram to rub it in your face.  You laugh and this person because you know that their lives truly suck.

The Overachiever writer

The Overachiever writer

The Floater is the hare in the race the one you never would expect to when because he’s to bust goofing around not taking the competition as serious you are and his word count 987! He doesn’t care about limitations only writing with the words find him.

200-3

This is my NaNo update for now. I will be on the 20th when the winning starts!

Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe!

Facebook Twitter Instagram

Happy Writing,

Elle

More than a skin tone…

Earlier this year I had a very thought provoking conversation with some of my girlfriends about color. The book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg was the encouraging factor, behind this conversation for me at least. We as woman were accomplishing many things in life professional, only the one barrier we still couldn’t leap over still was the racial barrier.  We have a stigma in our youth on what is right in life and for some the dream of a bright future has been deferred.  We are still living in jaded times.  Some of us may never live that American dream or move on up to have that deluxe apartment in the sky. The color issue is still alive and well, it’s about time we hash it out and move forward.  It’s the 21st century now we have an African-American President, color boundaries should be nonexistent.  This blog is based on my thoughts and a great conversation with my friends: Veronica, Juwana, Erin and Andrea. I hope you enjoy.

Untitled4

As a young girl growing I never noticed the differences in color and culture.  My mother raised my brother and I to love everyone the same and treat each person with respect.  It never bothered me when my cousins nicknamed me “Hilary”(Will Smith’s proper cousin from the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”) or the fact that I loved “No Doubt” and my cousins liked “Tupac”.  So when I recently watched a documentary called Dark Girls it made me look back and reevaluate my views on color, role models and life itself.  Growing up I was schooled primarily in a white district, with the black children always in the minority.  I was completely color blind and slightly clueless.  Looks didn’t become a focal point until high school.  I was a drama geek; my close friends were blondes, redheads and brunettes.  Lanky with not so manageable hair, at that time I couldn’t embrace my brown skin, slanted eyes and constant acne.  I wanted to look like the girls on the cover of Teen People, Seventeen and Cosmo.  Helena Christensen was my idol, beautiful model with eyes the color of ocean.   I remember the first time I saw her in Chris Isaac’s Wicked Games Video, 1991. I thought she was gorgeous. I wanted to look just like her; it was impossible my color didn’t match hers. It was the first time I ever felt different.

Chris Isaak’s Wicked Games Video, 1991.

To fit in with my friends I straightened my hair and add hair extensions to add more length.  I was pretty, but not beautiful and I could accept that. So, I enhanced with makeup to feed my poor self-esteem.  Vanity has always been the key, looking better than the next woman; while harboring self-doubt subconsciously.  But for some reason black skin has always been made to feel inferior. It was as if there weren’t black models to look up to like Iman, Beverly Johnson or the fierce Naomi Campbell.  Black women wanted straight hair and the light eyes and the models emulated that type. For Veronica color and beautiful has never really been a factor, her school was predominantly black and she never had a stigma or saw anything different.  But things are different for her daughter  “I see it with Des though. She only has one full black friend, the rest are mixed.  The other little black girls says ‘she thinks she cute’.”  In reference to Destiny’s color, she’s half Puerto Rican and African-American.  I then went on to reference that the lack of self-esteem in the physical appearance that is wavering in this culture. Destiny’s appearance is notice, because she is inherently beautiful but different due to no fault of her own.  Everyone wants to look like someone else, instead of embracing his or her own wonderful flaws.  Erin a white woman with two bi-racial son leans toward the thought that “Beauty comes in all shades.  It breaks my heart to see any woman not love her beautiful self.” While that assumption is true, it’s not easily believable for some.  The discussion then switched to a heavier tone and I was really excited, because the sugarcoating was out the window and we were getting to the root of the issues.  Why do we focus on color? Can we ever get past it or is this some that is nurtured?

To fit in with my friends I straightened my hair and add hair extensions to add more length.  I was pretty, but not beautiful and I could accept that. So, I enhanced with makeup to feed my poor self-esteem.  Vanity has always been the key, looking better than the next woman; while harboring self-doubt subconsciously.  But for some reason black skin has always been made to feel inferior. It was as if there weren’t black models to look up to like Iman, Beverly Johnson or the fierce Naomi Campbell.  Black women wanted straight hair and the light eyes and the models emulated that type. For Veronica color and beautiful has never really been a factor, her school was predominantly black and she never had a stigma or saw anything different.  But things are different for her daughter  “I see it with Des though. She only has one full black friend, the rest are mixed.  The other little black girls says ‘she thinks she cute’.”  In reference to Destiny’s color, she’s half Puerto Rican and African-American.  I then went on to reference that the lack of self-esteem in the physical appearance that is wavering in this culture. Destiny’s appearance is notice, because she is inherently beautiful but different due to no fault of her own.  Everyone wants to look like someone else, instead of embracing his or her own wonderful flaws.  Erin a white woman with two bi-racial son leans toward the thought that “Beauty comes in all shades.  It breaks my heart to see any woman not love her beautiful self.” While that assumption is true, it’s not easily believable for some.  The discussion then switched to a heavier tone and I was really excited, because the sugarcoating was out the window and we were getting to the root of the issues.  Why do we focus on color? Can we ever get past it or is this some that is nurtured?

Super Models Circa 1990, Photo Courtesy of Vogue

Super Models Circa 1990, Photo Courtesy of Vogue

“Real talk and I hate to say this about my people…The little black girls come to the bus stop with weave and make up on at 8-9 years old. They’re failing in school. It’s the parents’ fault. The white people (in my area) are teaching their kids at home and wanting more for them.”  Exclaimed Veronica who will always state the truth and I love her for it. For young girls it’s an issue and I wholehearted concur with Veronica.  I also have a light skin/hazel eyed daughter who is going through issues in the third grade regarding color and hair type; however education is promoted in my house not how you look on the exterior.  My daughter has curly hair (she’s multiracial) and is constantly asking me for a blow out so she can look like “Barbie”.  I explained to her that she is beautiful the way she was born and its knowledge that will get you ahead in life.  But an eight year old doesn’t want to hear that. Children are influenced by the surroundings they are nurtured in, if that includes a white Barbie or Selena Gomez that’s the visual interpretation will want to emulate. “I grew up in an all white neighborhood.  So I was black no matter how brown I was.  My mom looks white; I was the darkest one in our household.  I actually like to tan to look darker.  Skin color means absolutely nothing to me. Some people are awesome, some people are assholes – no matter what color or how dark or light they are.”  Juwana said.  “I think it’s mostly girls.  My sons have a wide variety of shades in friends, all races and all shades. And its not ever brought up as far as I can tell.”  Erin replied who has two biracial sons.

Me in 1999 at 17 and at 33. Courtesy of Elle Henry

Andrea another friend said “I think that there is a serious divisions amongst black people based on skin color.  I’m a caramel color and my sister is white as snow.  Same mom and dad but our skin tones are different.  I remember being asked so many times growing up if we had different fathers, if my sister was mixed and all kinds of dumb stuff.  I realized as I grew up that we as black people are trained to dislike darker skinned people.  Dark skin is associated with ugliness and evil.  The slick with the images they show us and our definition of beauty comes from them.  I had a complex about my skin color all the way to high school.  It wasn’t until college that I realized that I had beautiful toasted skin and other ethnicities went through great effort to look like me.  Brown girls aren’t obsessed with light skin.  Everybody else is.”  She also states  “We teach our kids to love themselves.  Show them images of beautiful black women and men light and dark.”  She pointed out that when we grew up there were a greater amount of books published for African-Americans.  She did not realize that she was “the darkest in my family” but she wasn’t out casted either.  Her family did a great job of making her feel beautiful.  She is also one the strongest women I know, which reflects on her up bring.

Untitled2

Iman (Cover of Cosmo), Naomi (Black/White Fashion Spread) and Beverly (Cover of Vogue).

I pondered why there was a stigma against women of color.  We are always secondary on the scale when compared to the creamy white skin.  A lot of it has to do with the fact that for many years there weren’t enough sufficient black female role model for young black girls.  Then when there were they weren’t equal to the white counter parts.  The bad always outweighed the good.  We had Whitney Houston, but she will forever be known for that Diane Sawyer interview Diane Sawyer Interview (“Crack is whack” & “Show me the receipts!”).  Not for the beautiful voice that calmed a nation during the Gulf War with her rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner at Super Bowl XXV (See video link below). That is a moment in history worthy of a lifetime of respect no matter what her personal transgressions were.  But Whitney will be memorialized for substance abuse and that’s unfair, when others like Elvis are hailed as the “King of Rock n Roll” and not for his prescription drug problems.  We have role models to look up to like the late Whitney and Mariah Carey, However we focus on their failures instead of their accolades.

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston-National Anthem Super Bowl XXV

Too many young black girls are living on a dream deferred, when we should focus on a future of plans.  Yes, we should all work hard in life, but we are still judged by the color of our skin and not by the content of our character and what we have to offer to society. We are more than just girls with weave in are hair and big butts.  When we learn that beauty truly lies within each individual and that we are made uniquely one of a kind from our creator beautiful as is. Then we can celebrate our chocolate brown skin for it’s many tones, because black is in fact beautiful. We are not inferior to the color of our skin anymore and it shouldn’t hasten the promise of what we can become.  I hope that this inspired some or even one.

 Don’t forget to like and follow me!

Facebook Twitter Instagram

Thanks for reading,

Elle

This is dedicated to Juju, Roni, Erin and Drea .

 

 

My Passion

My Passion

Heart Adrift

white-rose-in-black-background

I wanna go away on the blue
Away from the lies
Away from you.
But, I’m undecided.

Like the wind
My heart is conflicted
The red that flows in my soul
Loses all control whenever
You are near…

So I must go.

I wanna follow the breeze
I need it to
press against me

Use me
Protect me.
Savor me.

I wanna float on
the burnished bronze
As it sails away
Through the ocean green
With your fallacies…
Leading me to a new.

Setting my spirit free.

©Elle Henry

This is what I do for a living. My life as a writer, the joy that flows in my heart. Here’s a poem I wrote, I hope it provides some inspiration for your inner writer. If you have poems or short stories you would like for me to read and share email me at avidwriterelle@gmail.com.

Don’t forget to like and follow me!

@AvidWriterElle

Facebook.com/AuthorElleHenry

Happy Writing,

Elle

Avid Writer Elle

I’ve always had the urge to be a writer. Reading and creating stories has always been the pleasure against my pain. Leaving the profession (steady paycheck) world behind and deciding to write full time was brave. Why might one ask? Well in writing, you’re throwing yourself to wolves for a critique. Open to judgment and thick-skinned you must become, because it’s not for the faint hearted. I myself had to do some deep soul searching to make sure I was up for the challenge. Whether this was something of a fad or a trend or was I really ready to immerse myself fully in my silent passion and that answer was yes. I was ready to share my private writing and thoughts with the world and also educate myself in all forms of creative writing. Writing was always an outlet for me as a way to express feelings, and I wanted to write professionally because doing it made me the happiest. It didn’t matter if I sold 50 million copies, or a number one on the New York Times bestsellers list. All that sounds nice; However, If my writings touched or inspired one soul than then my mission was successful. I know some may deem that a lie, but it was the words from Sylvia Plath’s “Ariel” that I read back I’m high school, which made me believe this silent pastime could be my reality. So, yes I believe small gestures can turn into big dreams and I dream big. This is one dream that I am glad that I shared, because it’s now my reality as “Avid Writer Elle” and this is my life as a writer.

Writing became a form of coping for me during a time in which I thought the rug was being pulled from over me. I was under a great deal of stress that caused my health to decline. Two surgeries later, I was very complacent needing an outlet. I began to journal again it was a big release. It became a way to escape into to my imagination. For the first time in years I had a voice again, my creative mind was finding it’s way to paper again. But, I wasn’t ready to share, that was the end of 2011. It would be another year before I would find the courage to believe in myself and fight for my work.

As I headed into 2013, I began to see things clearly and I realized that life was too short. Yes, I was in fact a dreamer; I had yet to achieve my goal. I decided that my destiny and my decisions are not determined by others. Writing was the passion that gave me joy and happiness. In mid July 2013 that passion became my career fulltime with my backing of my husband. Soon thereafter I started on the manuscript to my book titled “Epiphany”.

I remember that day last July like it was yesterday. My mind is always busy; however that day everything was calm. Although, the weather was arguably different, it was raining. I was at my mom’s house, sometimes I would go over just to set on the porch and watch nature do its work. I love rainy summer days and this day didn’t disappoint. I remember the bronze clouds roaring across the pages in the sky. The water pouring down musically droplets on the green earth and I thought I should capture this moment with words. Taking out my journal that never left my side. I began to write about a woman desperate in her life and lonely for love. That day I envisioned Allison Jacobs the main character in my story. It was almost as if the day I created Allison Jacobs was in was the day I started my rebirth as a full time writer. Thinking back about it now, it was my “Ahh Ha” moment of clarity. The voice of suppressed was no longer it had begun to soar.

It’s my true belief that anyone can become a writer if you have the voice. That’s why I always advocate for independent authors, we have a voice and we deserve a chance.  Additionally, I would like to inspire others to seek the impossible. I’m still editing that manuscript, but throughout that journey I self-published a book of poems and stories titled “Pieces of Me” now that’s not a plug. It’s a testament that you can do anything if you have determination and a dream.

That’s me…Elle