Unintended hiatus, expanded life, what I’ve been up to since my last novel…

It’s been about four years since the release of my last full-length novel, Losing Control. It’s been a while, I know. To be honest, that’s not how I thought things with go with my works and me. I thought I’d be well on my way to completing my tenth novel by now, but it just didn’t quite turn out that way. That’s not a bad thing, however, but before I go into why I think I ended up in this unexpected hiatus I want to say to those of you who don’t know, that I wrote my first novel when I was 19. I published it by the age of 21.

From a very young age, I had laser-like focus on what I wanted to do with my life and a general idea of how long it would take to accomplish all that I wanted (10 years) with regard to being a novelist. Before I could reach that ten-year mark though, an unexpected jump to another medium of writing took me off course.  Playwriting. When I was in my early 20s I never thought of writing plays, but through the relentless pushing of a friend of mine I decided to give it a try and Intimate Chaos the play was born. After a number of successful runs and the blessing of having the show translated to Spanish for a production in Puerto Rico, my heart was pulled toward another story, the true story of Prossy Kakooza. Prossy’s story of escaping an honor killing at the hands of her father because she’s a lesbian tugged deeply at my heart from the moment I heard of it. When I first made contact with her I didn’t know I was going to write a play about her, but over time we developed a respectful friendship and with her permission, Asylum was born. Both of these plays took me further away from novel-writing and I’ve gotten your e-mails. I know you want me to hurry up and get back to writing full-length works. Here’s the thing, I’ve tried. I have tried repeatedly to finish a book that quite honestly has been on my plate for about 10 years. It is the only one of my manuscripts that I struggled to write to the end. It was called Until the Day Breaks. I say “was” because I’ve decided it will be the first of my manuscripts that will never see the light of day. I just can’t love the characters in that story. They’re inspired by people in a chapter of my life that has long-since been closed and are too de-energizing for me to deal with for a year in order to publish it.

This brings me back to discussing my hiatus. I believe the other reason for me having trouble settling down with new characters for a full-length novel is the fact that I started writing so young. Over the last few years while I worked in live theatre I also took some time to have more life experiences. I continue to need more experiences so that when I return to writing books they will be bursting with energy and authentic interpretation of things I see, do and feel.  I’ve come to accept that I’m at a point in my life at which I really need to just live. As I was struggling to write my last book, I experienced some frustration with feeling like I was “reaching” for experiences. I knew what I wanted my characters to go through but because I hadn’t directly been through those things or at least knew someone who did, I couldn’t give them the authenticity they really needed. Research is no substitute for feeling. These two work best together for me.

 

We live in a time where new authors pop up daily, gain some notoriety and quite often disappear after one or two books OR they turn into a machine, churning out novel after novel. I am neither of those. I’m not going anywhere, but I am not a machine either. Novel-writing is near and dear to my heart and that kind of writing, for me, just can’t be microwaved. It can’t be rushed. It can’t be formulaic. It has to keep you up at night. I want your eyes to be glued to the page or screen on which you are reading my text. For that to happen, however, I need a little more time to grow personally and artistically. I need time to travel, rise and fall, help people and to be helped by people, etc.  I need time to experiment with my life. This is why you have seen pictures of me riding horses, sitting in private planes, modeling, traveling in luxury, traveling modestly, etc. I am sinking into all of the abundance that life has to offer so that when I resurface I give you everything I have with regard to rich characters and sensational stories. I am doing a little bit of everything that piques my interest all while fully letting my five senses take it all in. I am also running a start-up business with my wife that produces and retails products for children of LGBT parents. So, I’m definitely staying busy! 🙂

I was just a kid when I started writing and I’m steadily growing into a well-rounded woman. I just need a little more time to get to that place where I feel I’m ready to give novels my best. It won’t be too long, but I can’t say that it will be next year either. In the meantime, I am releasing a series of short stories entitled The Beautiful People, which is chock full of fun, travel, erotica and of course, drama. There are even bisexual characters in this tantalizing series. It’s exclusive to e-readers and low cost.  The Beautiful People is a different style of writing for me and it may catch some of you off guard, but I ask you to give it a chance. You won’t be disappointed. 😉 In my next blog post I will post a preview to the upcoming installment, which will be set in South Beach!

 

Thanks for sticking with me and watching me grow. I’ve been meaning to write a post like this for a while because more than a few of you have asked what’s going on, what’s taking so long, when is my next novel going to come out. I’m really humbled that you’re even asking and miss my work. All I can say is, as soon as I can and I won’t let you down once the time is right! If you have anything in particular that you’d like to see me explore in a future work, and this can be anything from characters who are in specific sectors of work to MTF trans characters to anything under the moon, feel free to let me know. You never know, you just might inspire me! Thanks again for your support and your time in keeping up with me. I hope you stay with me and watch me grow. It should be an exciting journey!

 

Cheril

 August, 2012

New LGBT Children’s Book “Freddy and Frieda’s Traveling Tales,” Promotes Understanding of Different Families for Early Readers

A new children published by, My Family!, (founded by my wife and me:).

This playful book is written in rhythmic verse and is intended to be read aloud to babies – pre-schoolers. While engaging them in hide-and-seek fashion (children are challenged to find the hidden mice on each page), the story celebrates the differences in family structures and reminds us that we all share one thing in common: Love.

Please visit our children’s book website for more details on this adorable title by South African author, Claudia Eicker-Harris.

$9.99 | May 15, 2012 | ISBN: 978-0976727385  | FREE USA Shipping from www.MyFamilyProducts.net!

Human Rights Play, “ASYLUM” wins Audience Award at Downtown Urban Theater Festival 2012!

I could not be more proud of my cast and crew for all of the hard work they put in to bring home this Award! Based on the true story of Prossy Kakooza, ASYLUM, is an original work of mine that made its premier at the 10th Anniversary Downtown Urban Theater Festival in New York City! More information about the show including a photo and video gallery can be found on the official website: Asylum the play.

Here’s a sneak peak from one of the riveting scenes lead by Tiffany Barrett:
ASYLUM


 

 

 

 

New commercial featuring LGBT parents and their lovely families!

I am tremendously excited to publish the link to a commercial produced by and for My Family! a company launched by my wife and me last summer to centralize media and entertainment for children of LGBT parents (and allies). Below is the one-of-a-kind, multi-cultural ad spot that will run on cable television in the coming months. The video highlights just a few of the many LGBT children’s books, music and DVDs that we offer (more variety in products coming soon)!

Please share and help us spread the word if you like what you see!


 

My Family! TV Commercial (LGBT Families!)

Broadway World and DUTF Announces ASYLUM as Audience Pick and Runner up for Best Play!


Just a quick note to mention how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to be a featured production of the 10th Anniversary Downtown Urban Theater Festival! It was formally announced today on BroadwayWorld.com, that an original play of mine, Asylum, won the Audience Award and was second place for Best Play!

Many thanks to my cast, crew and to DUTF again. It was a great show and will be back on stage soon!

For more information about Asylum, please visit the official website: www.asylumtheplay.com!

Asylum by Cheril N. Clarke

ASYLUM – a new play of mine presented as a featured production in NYC!

It’s been unbelievably long since I’ve updated my blog, but for good reason. I’ve been super busy and am thrilled to post about a new show of mine, Asylum, being a featured production of the 10th Anniversary Downtown Urban Theatre Festival!

Asylum by Cheril N. Clarke

The Downtown Urban Theatre Festival has been recognized as “one of the world’s best festivals for new works” and described as “not only prestigious, but a slice of heaven for playwrights who want the chance to freely express themselves.” For this 10th anniversary celebration, Reg E. Gaines, Tony-nominated writer of Broadway’s 1996 hit musical Bring in da Noise Bring in da Funk, is back as the festival’s Artistic Director.

I’m very honored and humbled to be a part of this festival and hope that those of you who are in the area will come out and check out the show. Below you will find a synopsis:

PREVIEW: The Beautiful People: New York City

Thanks so much to those of you who have been following this series from the first installment, which is set in New Orleans. I had a lot of fun writing that and The Beautiful People: Las Vegas story.
**UPDATED – NOW AVAILABLE**

And for B&N NOOK
Today I’m sharing with you a preview to the third installment of this series, which takes place in New York City. Colin, Vanessa, Donovan and Yen Chu are back for another merry-go-round weekend of partying at exclusive events, flirting with dangerous desires and wrestling with drug-induced drama. Check it out and let me know what you think! This hasn’t been edited yet, it’s directly from my computer to yours. 🙂

Socrates Book Reviews has said of the series, “…well- written and filled with quite a bit of action. This is erotic fiction at its best. It’s an excellent way to spend a couple of hours.”

The Beautiful People: New York City cover art

One

 

Bursts of flash illuminated the stage inside the upper east-side mansion as statuesque models emerged single file to anticipatory applause. In the midst of a bevy of photographers, Yen Chu was hard at work shooting the Spring/Summer debut of a clothing collection by a boundary-pushing Ukrainian designer named Dmytro Stanescu. The event, an invite-only fashion show coupled with a fine art exhibit and lavish after party, was a fundraiser for disabled children in the creator’s homeland. Journalists from the Ukrainian Weekly, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, select style bloggers and the likes were in high attendance as were luminaries from the world of fashion and visual arts.

It was Yen’s second time working a production at the beautiful but often over-looked Ukrainian Institute of America. With its expansive staircase, carved woodwork and French Renaissance charm, the building was quite a sight to behold. Its uniqueness made it a perfect for location for the evening’s affair. Fashion followers marveled with oohs and ahhs at models sauntering down the catwalk in motif-accented pieces. From pulsating music punctuating the entrance of each model to the excitement surrounding the overall presentation, one would never guess that a thunderstorm had begun drenching theManhattanstreets beyond the mansion’s doors.

“I really don’t understand some of these creations!” Colin whispered after drinking the last of his water with lemon.

“Me either, but they’re artistic.” Vanessa opined. While many of the ensembles were breathtaking there were a few that were too adventure-seeking for her to appreciate.

Colin leaned forward to get a better look. “She looks like she’s wearing a plastic garbage bag with a helmet on!”

“With feathers!” Donovan injected, pomposity emanating from him.  “Come on, buddy, you should have expected this kind of spectacle. This is a fashion show, a parade of trite garments that will look even more hideous in six months!” He drank the last of his champagne and leaned back cross-legged at the knee.

“Don’t start!” Colin instructed, knowing that Donovan could get carried away when it came to the topic of clothing. “I should have never said anything.” Of the foursome, Donovan was always the hardest to satisfy.

Vanessa glanced over at them with a smile. She was happy to be with her best friends again even Yen was working. It had felt like more than a month had gone by since they met up inLas Vegas, but the timing was accurate. “Aw, leave him alone,” she came to Donovan’s defense. Vanessa just missed the fun she only seemed to have when they were together. Flair from the sapphire and emerald bracelet that coiled around her chocolate wrist twinkled against the room’s light when she reached over to pat Donovan’s leg.

He couldn’t help himself. Ever since he was a boy he’d taken keen interest in clothing, learning the rudiments of tailoring from his grandmother, a costume designer for Broadway shows. Donovan’s childhood curiosity blossomed into a desire to construct his own suits and dress shirts. I can do it better than the stores, he’d once proclaimed and was correct. He had an eye for precision and his sewing was impeccable. He’d even made a tasteful dress for his first girlfriend. After convincing her that he wasn’t gay, they went on to date for several years before he outgrew her company and propensity for drama. Good riddance, he’d thought to himself after breaking it off.

Beyond his agility with a needle, Donovan’s fascination spilled over into accessories. He now owned at least 200 ties, 25 pairs of cufflinks and more than 30 pairs of shoes, which he kept neatly organized in square compartments with the front of one shoe and back of the other facing forward. His closet often rivaled that of many of the women he dated, one of whom left him because she felt uneasy about a man who paid so much attention to his wardrobe.

“May I take your glass?” A female usher pulled their attention away from the fashion show.

“You certainly can.” Colin greeted her with a 1000-watt smile.

She winked at him before collecting their glasses and walking away, her onyx eyes and black and white tuxedo-style uniform made her an androgynous allure.

“Yes, this is what I’m talking about. Even the help is eye-candy!” He beamed. “And this one here I can definitely work with!” Colin nodded toward the stage at a gracefully slim male model with copper skin and palpable confidence. “Vanessa!” He whispered. “Do you see how big his hands are?” Colin spoke of the guy on the runway. “Mm hm!”

Vanessa’s couldn’t help but laugh with him for a moment before veering to Yen’s expert ways of making frenzied photograph taking look easy. Vanessa admired the passion she saw YenChuput into her work. Not before long, the show began to wind down and the designer, Dmytro was invited to come out and take a bow. The curtains then drew back to reveal all of the models who had participated in the event, the guests rose to their feet to give an exuberant round of applause. The crowd soon began break up and move about the mansion while Colin, Vanessa and Donovan began walking Yen’s way and they converged near the empty stage.

“Hey!” Yen greeted them. She was dressed in all black save for earthy accessories and a pair of candy-orange peep-toe pumps that she had picked up while working on assignment in Milan the year before. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail with a cascade of tight curls falling against her back.

“Yen, you look fantastic!” Donovan complimented with a broad grin.

“Thank you.” She shifted the shoulder strap of her camera and nudged it out of the way to accept his hug.

Just as Vanessa was getting ready to speak she felt the soft brush of a warm hand against her bare shoulder.

“Pardon me, darling.” A bespectacled yet distinguished looking man excused himself. “I just wanted to say that you have distracted me all night. You look,” he paused to find the appropriate word, “divine.”

Flattery fell over Vanessa like a sheath of the finest Japanese silk. “Thank you.” She blushed.

“You’re most welcome. I would not rest well if I did not say anything.” His perfectly trimmed beard framed a dashing smile. “Enjoy your evening.” He took a step back to acknowledge their group before strolling away.

Yen clasped Vanessa’s hand and redirected her attention with compliments of her own. “You do look beautiful.” Her fingers gently caressed Vanessa’s palm and traveled up to her forearm. “Great hair, perfect smile…” Yen inched closer, her thumb osculating Vanessa’s inner elbow before continuing. “Warm, chocolate skin.”

Well damn. Vanessa felt a tingle travel from the base of her neck down her spine. Was it from Yen, the suave stranger or the wine? “Thank you.” Her thighs tensed at the gentle pressure of Yen’s touch.

“You’re welcome.” Yen winked and smiled coolly. She released Vanessa’s hand but didn’t back up.

There was a gap in conversation before Donovan cut in. “I could go for some food.”  He had been caught off guard, wondering if the obvious tension been Vanessa and Yen had been present during their previous meet ups.

“As much as I would love to,” Yen cleared her throat. “I actually have to head home and get these photos edited tonight.” She pat her camera as if it were a toddler needing attention.

“Oh, come on, Yen.  Stay for a little while!” Colin protested.

“I wish,” she said with a giggle. “Work has to be done because bills need to be paid.” Yen earned a lot as a freelance photographer but spent equally as much on her addiction to designer clothing and cocaine. She had been working on curbing the latter, however. “Party at my place tomorrow anyway,” she reminded him. “You guys have fun for me tonight.”

“Fine then.” Colin gave in without much of a fuss. He had already started scanning the room for beautiful people who might make good company for the evening.

After pleasant goodbyes and promises to meet up at her place the following day Yen double-checked with Vanessa that she had a key to her to her loft. “I doubt I’ll be sleeping when you get there, but just in case,” Yen explained. The two were rooming together for the weekend as were Colin and Donovan at Donovan’s Brooklyn apartment.

“See ya!” Yen piped before heading out.

“What the hell was that?” Colin wasted no time questioning Vanessa.

“What?”

He looked at her as if to say, Bitch, please! “You and Yen? All of this long eye contact and skin caressing! What’s really going on?”

Oh my god. “Nothing!” Vanessa grimaced in embarrassment. “Nothing.” She worked to keep her composure. “And quit being nosey!”

Donovan observed quietly, unsure of if what he was feeling were jealousy or arousal. He’d had a slight crush on Vanessa himself.

“Let me find out something happened between you two and it’s on, okay? Y’all know the rules! No sleeping with anyone in the group no matter how bad you want to. You’ll just mess it up and make everything weird for the rest of us when you break up.” Colin preached.

“Yeah, yeah.” While Vanessa knew he was right, she didn’t know what might become of the night if Yen were awake when she got there. “Donovan, let’s indulge in some hors d’oeuvres, shall we?” She smiled and changed the subject.

-end of preview- (c) Cheril N. Clarke

Check out the cast of characters on my Facebook Page!

The Beautiful People: New York City

Check out the art for the forthcoming, third installment of The Beautiful People, a short story series by yours truly!

The-Beautiful-People: New York City, luxe fiction, contemporary fiction, cheril n. clarke

NEW LGBT Children’s book, “My Family! ABCs with Keesha!”

The first ever ABCs coloring and activity book geared toward children with same gender parents!!!

Order it today and get FREE Shipping and Handling! Visit: www.MyFamilyProducts.net for more information!

My Family! ABCs with Keesha - LGBT Children's book

New LGBT Children’s book, “The Lopez Family: Science Fair Day” available now!

Now available with FREE SHIPPING on www.MyFamilyProducts.net

 

The Lopez Family: Science Fair Day LGBT Children's book

1 2 3 4 5 11