#BlackWriters Write Some Stuff

Lord knows I respect and love Whoopi Goldberg's talent and hustle. She is the reason I'm still watching The View on ABC, to support her efforts. However, her statement on, The View this morning was out of touch with the real reality for the majority of black writers. "If you want to see more black movies out there, black writers write some stuff..."


So, it's that easy...right? Well, WE ARE WRITING!!! FERVENTLY. WITH NO CAUTION OR REGARD. WITH OR WITHOUT READERS. WE, BLACK FOLKS, ARE WRITING. To say that the lack of available material is because we aren't writing is blasphemous and I'm insulted!

I mean, I have friends of all nationalities. While a few non-black friends are huge supporters and my black skin has no bearing on their desire to eagerly read my work. For the majority, my skin, my blackness, my particular brand of black ink serves as a barrier that makes them feel as though my books aren't quite right for them. As though I'm not writing about human experiences, just like James Patterson or Jodi Picoult. So maybe, in Whoopi's defense, she's never encountered discrimination in literature or television. I don't know. But, I have! And a quick scan of the NY Times bestseller list also says otherwise. It’s in the way Amazon categorizes by race and not subject when it comes to AA books and Netflix for films. The short list of AA writers with TV/Film credits says a lot as well.

So, would it be rude to demand, Whoopi, read some stuff by #blackwriters? Tweet about stuff by black writers. Hire black writers. Listen to pitches by black writers. Watch films by black writers. In my opinion, if you put out a call to action such as the one you spit out on The View, for "black writers to write some stuff..." Does that mean you personally plan to take up the cause? Or are you assuming that because your name has weight, that there is no longer a cause and I, too, can just waltz my black writing behind into any door I choose and be seen, heard, welcomed, published or filmed?

Please don't be deceived. It's not because we are not writing compelling stories that must be told--it's because we, in the words of Langston Hughes (I, Too), are still eating in the kitchen, growing strong. But, tomorrow...they'll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed.

‪#endLitDiscrimination #endrant 

#7DAYS of Nakia's Favorite Things and Locked in Purgatory Release Giveaway

I love books. I love writing. I love chocolate. I love this and I love that! To celebrate the release of my new novel, LOCKED IN PURGATORY, I'm giving away some of my FAVORITE THINGS for the next 7 days. YES! 7 DAYS OF REALLY COOL STUFF is on the table. I've put together a few fun & super easy challenges and all you have to do is complete them and WIN. Well, unfortunately everybody won't win, but it'll be fun trying!

BOOKMARK THIS PAGE: Check back everyday from now until May 20th to see what the next exciting challenge and FAVORITE THING will be. Good Luck.

Are you ready to countdown the release of LOCKED IN PURGATORY with me?



FRIENDSHIP is one of my FAVORITE things. Are you willing to WIN something for someone else? Share my work with a deserving friend and you both can score! 

Today's FRIENDLY FEUD #giveaway is in loving memory of my amazing friend, Tamika A. Benjamin, who went to Heaven on 4/8/14. #TAB was a huge supporter and a constant source of inspiration in my life. She always purchased a book for herself and a few to give away. The sincerity of #TAB's friendship and her giving spirit will live in my heart forever.

Who has touched your literary life? Show 'em how much you care.

1. SHARE this pic. 2. TAG me & your friend in a thoughtful post 3. DON'T forget the hashtags: #LockedInPurgatory #Giveaway #6Days #love #friend #TAB

#5! THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014: To Be Announced
#4! FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2014: To Be Announced 
#3! SATURDAY, MAY 17, 2014: To Be Announced
#2! SUNDAY, MAY 18, 2014:  To Be Announced 
#1! MONDAY, MAY 19, 2014: To Be Announced

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/nakia.laushaul
TWITTER: www.twitter.com/nakiaRL
INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/agirlnamedkikiwrites
PINTREST: www.pinterest.com/nakiarl


How do I win?
All you have to do is complete the day's challenge and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a cool prize?

How will you know if I've completed the challenge?
We're following the hashtag! #LockedInPurgatory 

Can I enter to win every day? 
YES! You just may be that kind of lucky!

When will I get my stuff? 
All eBook prizes will be delivered on TUESDAY, MAY 20th via email. All all other prizes will be delivered within 30 days via postal mail/email.

How will you determine the winner?
You must COMPLETELY fulfill the day’s challenge exactly as posted between 7am CST and 9 pm CST. A random drawing of names will be conducted via randompicker.com. Winners will be announced the following day by 8 AM CST on SOCIAL MEDIA! The winner must inbox Nakia Laushaul with their email address.


A novel by Nakia R. Laushaul

A wise man leads his family by example.

AFTER TEN LONG YEARS LEFT TO ROT IN A NURSING HOME, LUTHER BENNETT is plum sick of this life. Paralyzed from the waist down after experiencing a series of strokes, the man who once held power, wealth and prestige in the palm of his hands, now has nothing at all except for disturbing memories of his past. Luther’s son, SAMUEL BENNETT, heir to the misfortune of his father’s wealth has grown weary of walking in his father’s shoes while trying to forage out an identity all his own. Trapped in a relationship that doesn’t exist and a mounting mistrust of all men, Luther’s only daughter, LYNNE BENNETT just can’t seem to find the love and validation that should have come from her father.

As their lives begin to unravel, the Bennett family must finally make a decision. Live the way they’ve always lived—rooted in secrets, denial and festering anger or change. Can Luther, a mere shell of his former self, save his shattered family from the devastating purgatory he’s created?


   “Come on, baby, be nice for a couple of hours,” I said, entering our master bedroom. I had planned to reason with her one last time before I left her at home—alone with her attitude for company. I wasn’t up for another one of Marian’s hateful moods. She yanked the closet door open and shuffled hangers around noisily.
“If this was Woody, would you want me to miss his graduation?” I already knew that the answer was a firm, no. It had always been clear that Marian cared very little for my other two children. “You have five minutes and I’m leaving.” I swallowed my drink.
   Marian knew what she was doing when she put that skirt on. It was her way of upstaging Sylvia, who was very modest. I didn’t feel like a woman war that night. It was all about Samuel. I wanted my wife and my other son, Woody, there, but I wasn’t going to fight. She rolled her eyes and pursed her lips together. The silent treatment again. I walked into the bathroom, washed my face, and gargled with a little mouthwash to rinse the bitter taste of bourbon out of my mouth.
   “I’m sorry for getting mad, honey. You’re right.” Marian had walked up behind me and wrapped her hands around my waist from the back. She rested her head between my shoulder blades. “It’s just that I love this skirt and never get to wear it,” she said, whining.
   “Get the camera and I’ll take a picture of you wearing it to remember how good you look in it,” I said jokingly. “But you still have to change or I’m leaving you behind.
   “Okay.” Marian went back into the bedroom and I was so glad that she had agreed to change. “Come on, honey. I’m ready for my close-up.”
   I went back into the room and she was sprawled across the bed, holding the camera out for me. The clearest snapshot of that evening still remains with me today. It wasn’t even worth this, I thought, as I put the photo face-down on the stand. Marian and I were on our way to my oldest son, Samuel’s, high school graduation ceremony, and let’s just say that we never made it out of the bedroom. After I snapped a few shots of her on the bed, she pulled the skirt down slowly, wiggling a little to get it over the hefty hill of her rear end. When it finally dropped to her ankles, she stood before me without any underwear on. I took my tie off. I could be a few minutes late.
   I enjoyed my romp with Marian and taking those photos of her naked. It was fun while it lasted, but not worth what I traded for it. I missed something I’d never been able to regain. No matter how many times I asked him, Samuel never forgave me. I lost my son’s faith. His trust and his loyalty.


   Instead of addressing the news Marian had so brazenly revealed to us, my father picked up his bags and followed her right on out of the door, with no regard for me or my mother or the shock we were in.
   My father stopped and turned around slowly.
  “What is this?” My mother barely whispered, tears still pouring down her face.
   “I’m sorry, Sylvia. I was going to tell you. I—I. . .” He held up his one free hand in a gesture of apology. “Samuel? Samuel.”
   “Yes, sir?” I jumped to attention. It was the first time since I had been home that I had been acknowledged. As I walked toward him, half of me hated my father and felt guilty for it. The other half of me didn’t and loved him unconditionally. Either way, I still had to speak to him with a respect that I didn’t feel. I folded up the acceptance letter and put it in my back pocket.
   “Come and get your mama. I’m going to need you to be the man of the house for a little while. Take care of your sister too. I’ll be back to check on you.” He didn’t wait for a response. He didn’t address my mother at all. He walked out the door and closed it behind him.
   My mother used the sleeve of her shirt to wipe her face, leaving brown and black smudges on it. Then she closed her eyes, fanned her face with her hands, and let out a long sigh. And as if nothing had ever happened, she asked, “What’d the letter say?”
   “Huh? What letter?” I asked, confused.
   She didn’t say anything more, but waited until I caught on to what she was referring to.
   “Oh, it said I got accepted,” I said dryly. Although I was excited, it just didn’t seem right to celebrate getting accepted to Texas A&M when my father had just walked out the door, most likely for good now that he’d gone off and married Marian.
   “Well, that’s good for you, son. I guess you’re gonna be an Aggie man just like your daddy.” She tried to smile. “That’s really good news, honey.”
   Just like my daddy? I can’t express how much over the years I grew to despise those four words: just like your daddy. You look just like your daddy. You act just like your daddy. You’re stubborn just like your daddy. Truth be told, I couldn’t wait to leave it all behind. When I became a man, I wasn’t going to be shit like Luther Bennett. 


    “I … um … I want you to take me to see your father.”
   “Let me finish, young lady,” she snapped. “This thing with you and your father, it needs to end. And I think—”
   “No,” I repeated, cutting her off.
  “If something happens to him and you—”
  “No!” I cut her off again. 
  My mind was full of other awful things to say. I bit my lip to keep from spewing them out. I was one of those people who had a nonstop express line from my mind to my mouth.   Whatever came to mind was definitely going to come tumbling out of my mouth. And there was nothing saintly going on in my mind at the mention of visiting my father. I had long ago grown extremely weary of the crusade to bring me and my alleged sperm donor back together.
  “You can go by yourself. It’s only twenty minutes from your house. And I haven’t been to see Luther in…“
The truth is, I’d never gone to see that man. And I never planned on going either. Luther had been in that nursing home—hopefully, rotting away—for ten years and I proudly boasted a cumulative total of zero visits, about the same number of times he came to visit me when I was in living in Ennis. Fair exchange is no robbery.
  “Luther? Since when did you start referring to your father as Luther? Mind your manners, Lynne. You know we raised you better than that.”
  “Sorry, Mom. You’re right, Grandma raised me better,” I countered. “And I guessed you had something to do with raising me too.” I imagined my mother squirming at the cheap shot I took at her expense. She deserved it. “Why do you want to go see him anyway? I heard about the last time. Marian doesn’t want you there. I don’t think it would be a good idea.”
   “Of course I remember, and I don’t want to discuss that anymore. I want to go and I want you to take me. I’ll be ready about eight on Saturday, so I expect to see you pulling into my driveway. Don’t be late.”

**COMING MAY 20, 2014**

Brick by Brick by Hannah Robusto

For days now I have felt this yearning…this longing to write something. Something of consequence, something that would release this aching that has developed in the center of my chest…in the only physical manifestation of my soul…my heart. Sometimes I so badly want to spill, purge, completely empty myself in the hopes that I can be free. These things that wade in the pool of my mind are things that many people struggle with. Things that, if spoken, not only free us of our bonds, but they liberate us from a very safe, very comforting wall that we have carefully built around ourselves. This wall has been meticulously put together. Each brick represents a moment, a person, a word, an experience that leads us to the border of our security and implores us to place it in-between the world and ourselves. Each brick had a purpose in the beginning, and the wall that these bricks formed turned their purpose from protection to isolation.

More and more each day I see walls. Not necessarily my own, although they are ever present, but walls of those passing me on the street, handing back my change at the register, those avoiding my look at school, and those sitting on the curb hoping that someone would look at them without paying too much attention.
Shouldn't vulnerability be valued? Shouldn't honesty be acceptable? How much do we miss out on due to our inability to be exposed in any way? What blessings do we let slip past us? What beauty can't we see? Who have we ignored that has the ability to turn our wall into a bridge?

People want honesty, but they recoil when presented with it. Honesty and truth are at the root of vulnerability. Our spirit craves truth, but sometimes truth can sting…but it can sooth as well. In fact, it will do both.

When we are wounded and our skin is red and raw it is sensitive to the elements, and even a gentle touch can send an uncomfortable jolt through our bodies. The pain doesn't mean the end, it means healing is not only coming, but is beginning as well.

We could break down our walls in one fail swoop, but are we ready for that? Is the world ready? Or we could bring down our wall one brick at a time. With as much gentleness and precision that we used to put them there in the first place. Each brick was put up with intention and should be removed with as much intention…they do, in fact, represent our wounds. The places beneath them will be tender, so we have to reassure the delicate places that are being exposed that a new layer of skin will smooth over its surface. This new skin may be sensitive in the beginning, but will become tough in time. The reminder of the injury may always be there…appearing lighter and raised. But it won't be a ghost for us to be haunted by. It will be proof of our resilience, our lessons learned, and an evidence of the compassion we will forever carry to those who need it. To those who wish to bring their own wall down, but don't believe they could survive the

Maybe you like the fortress you have built. Maybe you can still see the world over the edge of your tallest wall while standing on your tippy toes. That desperate view offers you at least a little comfort. Just know that without removing your bricks, your wall will grow taller. There will always be injury along our paths. No one ever guaranteed that life would be safe or free of danger. So, still, your wall will grow taller and wrap itself around you…barring you on all sides. Oh, then you will be totally safe. No one will hurt you, no one will see you, and you won't be presented with those pesky pitfalls because you will no longer be walking along a path of life. No, you won't run into trouble…because you'll no longer move, for your wall will block every avenue.
Just consider one of your bricks. Pick a little one, maybe one that can make a small opening when removed. An opening big enough to see the world beyond. When you peer through your little window, consider the beauty that comes from the ashes of those around you…consider the ashes of the little brick crumbling beneath your trembling fingers. What will they become? Because they are now pliant and have the ability to be transformed into something exquisite.

Hannah Robusto is a mother, wife, daughter, sister, deep thinker, and daydreamer.  Her desire is to be fully true to herself and to others. She strives to be as transparent as she can…whenever possible.  Hannah believes that we were all created to be a community, so she invites you to join her journey. "Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

Visit Hannah's blog, Strength vs. Fragility for more inspiration.