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Thursday, September 1, 2016

All About Pretty Boys

Growing up gay always comes with a set of unique problems, especially in small towns like Ashford, North Carolina. Homophobia and harassment at the hands of parents, peers, teachers, and residents were only tips of icebergs, and for years Jeffrey Booth encountered and endured such issues alone until it took an irreparable toll on him; his life. Pretty Boys is the beginning to a series of books chronicling the lives of four ordinary young high school boys whose worlds are disrupted after the death of their respective friend, classmate, lover, and neighbor, whose death begins a tumultuous search for the truth about his passing and the events that led to it. Considered a local tragedy, the only thing that is certain to almost everyone in town is Jeffrey’s sexuality brought on his circumstances.
             A coming of age novel, Pretty Boys focuses on many of the issues individuals in the gay community face daily at the hands of strangers, friends and family alike and the consequences they can produce. Issues of bullying, homophobia, violence, coming out, and learning self-acceptance and love are prevalent throughout the novel as the four protagonists each deal with their grief and the growth that follows. Soon they are faced with making the decision whether to allow Jeffrey to become a cautionary tale for the small quiet town, or to allow his passing to actually stand for something.
Pretty Boys features a variety of distinct characters who showcase the range within LGBT communities and the differences we each encounter growing up and dealing with our own sexuality. Terry the town’s newest resident, August the ostentatious socialite, Darrin the most popular kid in his class, and Demi the breakout star of the basketball team each are at different stages of realizing their sexuality. For some of us, we realize and embrace our uniqueness early in life, while others may take years to realize and accept. Ultimately there is a character for every reader, gay or straight, to relate to as the characters embark on their individual and collective journeys.
          Pretty Boys was originally featured on www.wattpad.com to help garner attention and an audience, but upon completion was removed for sales and distribution. The novel was self-published through www.lulu.com, and is also featured on Amazon.com and on Amazon kindle.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Breaking the Bond

The bond between a father and a child is a bond that is difficult to understand. Whereas a mother has 9 months to bond with a child and build a connection from conception, fathers must work a little harder at it. It is like a stranger meeting someone else’s child for the first time and accepting the responsibility to be their provider. The intent is there, but the bond must be forged. It is a difficult bond to understand and one that must be built over time with hard work and dedication. This was the case with Danny and Jason.
Danny had great dreams for Jason from the moment his son was born, and there was hardly ever an occasion where you would see one without the other. He planned to instill in him all the things a man should be and teach him important lessons such as never pick a battle but never run from a fight, treat women with respect but never be their doormat, repay all his dept, never make a promise he couldn’t keep and above all else be a man of his word. Unfortunately for Danny, the dreams of the father are often unrealized by the child. His son, Jason, was a quiet and meek child. Short and thin in stature, he couldn’t catch a ball when it was thrown to him and had horrible hand to eye coordination. When he was ten, where most boys his age were outside running and tackling each other in a game of football, Jason spent his time indoors drawing, coloring and keeping to himself. The only friends he cared to have were his two younger sisters.
Danny tried his best to be understanding of his son but at times it became frustrating seeing his son not fit in with the other boys around the neighborhood. He reached the height of his frustration one summer day when he convinced Jason to go outside with him to throw a baseball back and forth. Every ball he threw Jason missed or let slip away in such a way that to Danny it seemed like Jason wasn’t even trying.
“Come on Jason concentrate!” Danny yelled sternly.
“I’m trying!” Jason shouted back on the verge of tears.
“Stop that crying boy!” Danny snapped. “Now we gonna stay out here until you catch at least one ball.” Angrily Danny pulled back, tightening his grip on the ball and released it nearly full force powerfully striking Jason in the chin. No sooner than he released the ball did Danny realize what he had done and rushed to comfort his son. Quickly rushing him into the house and examining the bruise. After that day he never asked Jason to play baseball again.
The next time Danny’s anger caught him off guard and caused him to hurt his son occurred when Jason was twelve. Coming home from work he found Jason playing dress up with the girls, wearing clip on earrings and makeup smeared across his face. It was all fun for Jason which made it harder for him to understand when Danny whopped him uncontrollably. After that night Jason made sure to never let his father catch him playing dress up ever again.
When Jason was fifteen he had a best friend by the name of Glover, whom he did everything with. Danny was ecstatic to see his son bond with another male and have a genuine friend. He encouraged the two to always be together until one night when Glover was sleeping over and Danny caught the two closely sleeping together in the same bed. Danny kicked Glover out of the house, telling him never to come back and once again whopped Jason. Jason swore to never spend the night with another male ever again.
Once Jason turned eighteen, he moved out of his parent’s house and went away to school. When he was twenty-two he moved back home, worked to save up money and buy his own house. At twenty-five he met a girl, dated her for six months and by twenty six he was married with his first child on the way.
Danny couldn’t be more proud of Jason, never knowing that at night his son dressed in women’s clothing and slept with men, but lacked the courage to tell his father. To this day Jason still cannot catch a baseball.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Oops...I Did it Again: Anger, Resentment and a Harmless Post

Recently I began getting more involved in participating in Google+ communities, and so far it has been an enjoyable experience. There are some truly unique and brilliant minds in these communities, but as always where there's good bad is never far to follow.
After viewing the image to the left, in one community, I decided to like and share, and chaos ensued.

Whoa, what had I started? All of this over a Malcolm X quote (addressing Blacks nonetheless). It was then that I noticed that I'd shared the image in a "Thinkers" group, instead of the African American group I intended to. The irony was funny, but since the message was received negatively, by most, I thought it important to stand by the post and it's message.
Firstly, the post/quote was specifically addressing Blacks/African-Americans/P.O.C so for anyone nonP.O.C. to be offended would be ridiculous. The post was never intended to place blame on any one group, but simply to point out the power of self-awareness.
There, of course, were those who neglected the message altogether and decided to play the blame game when it came to the responsibility of slavery.

Yes, Africans sold/traded Africans into slavery, but of course, they were not aware of the cruelty that awaited on the west of the ocean; however, this does negate the fact that Africans were also kidnapped by Europeans and placed into slavery. Furthermore, the effects of the institution of slavery are still present in today's society seen through the American legal and political systems. If anger towards a group could be excited by a simple picture or quote then it is time to address those linger feelings and label it appropriately as the racism that it is. It may be alarming at first, but relax plenty of racists are not aware of their racism.

The humour of the situation aside I was left wondering why does Slavery make some White people so angry? Not uncomfortable, but angry. Although a common misconception, the African-American community is not looking for a pity party from any group. What we desire is for (White) America to finally and collectively acknowledge that Slavery still plays a part in the mechanics of American racism. Maybe then America as a whole could finally work together and build a truly united country. I know,  it seems like a long shot but hey I'm an optimist.

Until addressed, White anger will continue to be a prominent issue of (Colored) America and unbridled anger represents a danger to us all.