Yesterday, I sent out an email to my BK Insiders List subscribers about an exclusive free short story I was sending their way. If you are familiar with my writing, you know that writing and posting short stories at no charge is something I do often. As I’ve explained on my blog where most of my short stories go, writing shorts helps me exercise my writing muscle, a.k.a. my brain. It also helps with taking a break from writing my novellas since writing a book can be taxing.
I don’t get any money from my blog. I don’t host ads for a reason because it really is a place where I can post freely and creatively. And I don’t sell my books here… yet.
It seems one of my subscribers saw the cover and the synopsis, jumped to a conclusion and sent a screen cap of that cover and synopsis to an author she believed I stole from. This must be the case because that author hopped in my DMs on Facebook and maliciously accused me of stealing her work… work that has yet to even be released or read by anyone. I told her that I didn’t know who she was and hadn’t read any of her books and I was accused of lying about that. When I realized I was speaking to her ego, I decided to step away from the conversation because it was destructive and not productive, and I’m all about building not destroying.
I’m a copy and content writer by day. I am well aware of the ramifications of plagiarizing texts and am extremely careful when creating copy for clients with this in mind and I extend that same discipline to my creative life.
I understand the grind of creating way too much to take from anyone’s plate. Whether that be a writer, a poet, an artist, whatever. I more than understand the gamble we as creatives take when we invest our hours, sacrificing time with friends and family, not watching that show that everyone else is watching just so you can create. So even the suggestion that I would steal from someone, as I told the author herself, is absolutely absurd.
Besides that, I love creating too much. I enjoy every step of the process… well, except for editing, and anyone who knows me, knows that. I adore character developing, creating setting details, filling in plot holes, and just creating fiction that could be read and connected to by simply the formation of a sentence. To rob myself of any of that would not make me a writer.
Since yesterday, I have watched as people created posts about this situation without once asking for the facts.
I wrote “3 in the morning” months ago. I wrote it for a 24-hour short story contest. The contest judges asked that I create a story within 24-hours and send it to the judges as is. The story didn’t win, but it received an honorable mention. I went way over the word count they asked for but I felt cutting the story shorter than it actually was wouldn’t make the story cohesive. But because I wrote it and enjoyed reading it, I sent it in any way.
I loved the story, but I would not release it as a short story for purchase, so I offered the story to my subscribers.
(Photo Credit: Pinterest)
I got the idea from this quote. This is one of many quotes that speak on 3 a.m. being a creative hour. It’s quite common but obviously not common enough. I’m always on Pinterest reading quotes for meditation and just to feed my motivation and this one struck a story idea. I’ve said many times that most of my stories start with a “what if,” so I wondered, what if a writer made one of her erotic stories real? Her erotic story was about a woman, a painter, who lost her drive for creating after having a bad break up. She vowed to be celibate but her celibacy seemed to get in the way of her being inspired to paint. So one night, she set out to change that with a perfect stranger. The cheesiness of the writer’s story has a purpose lol. The cover, is basic. If I had to describe it, I would say it’s similar to my No Fraternizing, PT. 3 and Forbidden covers. I wasn’t even going to make a cover for the story, just send it as a text to subscribers but that’s not my style. So I played on the 3 in the morning title, by downloading a free digital font to use. The photo, was one of the stock photos leftover from my Drinks On Me Blog series. You can take a look at the photos used in that series to see the similarities.
Without going too much into detail and making this post longer than it needs to be, I’ve posted the unedited first scene of the story. I will still send it out to my subscribers because I’m a woman of my word. Although I’ve been told to scrap it, I won’t because I stand by my word that I did not, would not, and have no reason to steal from anybody, especially another writer.
Moving forward, my subscriber list will be closed for new sign ups. I obviously have to streamline new subscribers since I see that people who seem like they are supporting, sometimes aren’t. Although I’m sure the person who did screen cap, send, and prematurely accuse me of stealing this author’s story has already unsubscribed.
I’m grateful to those who sincerely support my journey. But if you are not one of them, please unsubscribe if you are on my list. I won’t feel anyway at all. I encourage it. Because I work too hard and gamble too much of my time for my efforts and final product to be questioned regarding authenticity.
I think what gets me the most is that the story is free. It’s a story I spent half the time writing compared to the stories that I’ve spent more hours, weeks, months creating but this is the one that gets the attention, negative attention at that.
Below is that unedited scene (excuse any typos). The story takes an interesting turn but that’s something my subscribers will find out when the story is released to them. As always, thanks for reading.
“Cheers, best friend, to the completion of your third novel!” Adiza shouted as she clinked her wine glass with mine.
“Yessss, finally!” I hollered.
Adiza and I were sitting in the busy Gray Area, a tiny bar tucked on a corner in Hoboken, New Jersey. It was Jersey’s little secret. If you didn’t know it by name, you wouldn’t find it. Gray Area just wasn’t the type of place you stumbled on while out and about.
This was my hangout spot, the place I visited to craft and create. Some people liked to type in coffee shops or libraries. I was more of the bar fly type.
“The result of six long months.” I beamed while clapping for my damn self.
“Wow, three whole books,” she said taking a sip of her red wine. “Brandi, I’m so proud of you.”
I imitated a bow in my seat. “Thank you, thank you.”
“Now if we could just get your life to imitate some of this art you create so well…”
I closed my eyes and took a deep cleansing breath.
“I’m saying, Brandi. You write erotica, really sexy erotica,” she bellowed. “But half the shit you write about you don’t even live. I don’t get it.”
“Yeah, so… what it sounds like is that it’s time to start talking about something else,” I said looking around us. Adiza had a penchant for speaking loud and not realizing it. And it didn’t matter where we were. Crowded rooms, empty spaces. She was always an octave higher than she needed to be… every time the woman spoke.
“And those scenes are fire. Sometimes I have to change my panties between chapters.” She nudged me playfully.
“Come on, live a little.”
“Refill?” the bartender asked.
His eyes sparkled. It was the one feature about him I could make out and save to memory because all the rest of him was covered with hair.
“Sure,” I said to the bartender then turned my attention on Adiza. “You need to learn how to keep your voice down.”
“Do you remember the dare you accepted when you first started writing.”
I looked up at the bearded, locked-hair bartender noticing he was lingering in front of us a bit too long after pouring my drink.
“Okay, thanks,” I said to him, forcing a smile.
He smiled back before walking away.
“First of all, you need to learn how to speak with an inside voice.” I poked her on the arm and she laughed.
“Secondly, I accepted that dare after having way too many tequila shots, okay? And you know anything said or agreed to during a drunk night doesn’t really count.”
Adiza rolled her eyes.
“You said,” she continued, despite my interjection, “that after you completed your third book that you would bring one of your short stories to life. Penning short stories helped with completing books, three is your favorite number, both are significant to you… yada, yada, ya. You made it a thing so here we are. Third book complete. Now it’s time to keep your word.”
“Come on, B, step out of your comfort zone, damn. Would it kill you to have an affair for once? See a sexy stranger and do something impulsive?”
“Actually, it could kill me. There are diseases and—”
“So… condoms are of a rarity these days?”
I rolled my eyes again.
She kissed her teeth. “Why don’t you live out your short? You know the one…” She snapped her fingers in the air. Once she remembered the story’s title, she slammed her hand down on the bar counter and shouted, “3 in the morning! Yessss!”
I turned my head slow in her direction.
“Head out to the city, stop in at Witches Brew, meet a guy, and hook up with him at a nearby Marriot.”
Her voice was loud again.
“Oh, and in room 333… it has to be room 333. Then, tell me about it.”
“You’re talking too loud… again.”
“I’ll even send a friend your way to make the search simpler since you want to get all germaphobe on me. He’s a law student, two years older than us. All man, boo.”
“His name is Cordell and he’s really cute. I haven’t fucked him yet but–”
“Adiza!” I spat. I glanced around myself again to make sure no one was looking at us as this girl spilled all my tea. “Please. I’ll pass.”
“You’re such a prude now which is quite disappointing,” she said under her breath. “What would your readers think if they discovered you were a fraud? Prudish and boring with a zero percent sex drive.”
I turned my head in her direction again and she stared back at me. “Excuse you?”
“You don’t even want it… sex,” she added. “It’s one thing not to have time for it, life can get in the way. But to be all, ‘ewww… I don’t do that…’” She said that last part with finger quotes then shook her head.
“Fraud?!” I said to myself.
“How you don’t like sex but you like writing about it?”
“Prudish and boring?!” I repeated.
“Just telling it like it is.” Adiza shrugged, real smug-like, then finished her drink.
“Fine,” I said throwing my hands up, defeated. “I’ll do it. But don’t even bother calling your friend. I’m not interested in charity dick in the least bit. I can catch my own.”
Her smile could be seen from Mars. “For real? Going to Witches Brew and booking hotel room 333 with a sexy stranger—”
“At the Marriott… yes, all that,” I replied. “I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll even arrive at Witches Brew at the time I said my character, Nova, did in my story.”
“3 a.m., on the dot?” Adiza asked, cheesing.
I nodded. “Just to maintain the authenticity of the tale.”
“Ahhhhh,” she screamed, jumping out of her seat beside me to wrap her arms around me. “That’s my girl. Ohhh, this is going to be good.” She beamed. “You’ll tell me everything right? Right?”
I nodded. “Yeah, sure.”
END OF SCENE