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It’s Our Anniversary!

Do you know what today is?!

That’s right, MyPenWritesNice is officially 5 years old today. FIVE! It’s so hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I not only started something big, to me, but I have kept it going in spite of the many obstacles life has thrown my way.

I’ve seen growth, not only with this site and those of you who have stuck with me since day one (and those who have joined along the way) but also growth in myself as an artist.

As someone who is hyper critical of themself, I’ve found in starting and trying my best to maintain this website that making this move was just what I needed to teach myself to have patience AND trust in myself and my talents.

I can’t begin to thank everyone that has read, liked, commented, shared, or even just clicked around the site in curiosity. The engagement from different countries is what continues to surprise me, and I can only hope that my words have touched and/or resonated with readers in all of these amazing places in some way or another.

To celebrate a bit, I thought we’d take a trip down memory lane with a few of my favorite stories that I’ve posted over our first five years. Check them out below.

As always happy reading, thank you so much, and I appreciate you all very much!

  1. A Friend In Need (by Cortney Joseph)The very FIRST short story I shared via MPWN.
  2. So The Myth Goes [“Prayer Lake” Intro] by Cortney JosephMy very first attempt at writing horror.
  3. A Life To Remember : Prologue by Cortney JosephA look into one of my favorite types of stories to write (period/era pieces)
  4. A Place In The Sun (Intro) by YoLana CrocketOne of the very first stories shared by a fellow writer/friend in support of MPWN.
  5. A Meeting In Secret (‘Batiste’ Novel Snippet) by Cortney Joseph One of my favorite shorts/snippets to share when I’m promoting the site!

Have a read, leave me your thoughts, and I look forward to how we’ll grow within year five!

xoxo, Cortney.

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NEW SERIES INTRODUCTION

So, lately I’ve been toying with the idea of what I should do until I finally regain my personal time (it’s so close!) and focus on what is supposed to be my official debut novel. The idea was that I’d be completely done by now and I’d be releasing it on my brother’s birthday, as a special dedication to him, as he was my reason for everything I was trying to do.

Unfortunately, I’ve been working (and mostly overtime) during the entirety of the Pika-Pikachu (pandemic) and I just haven’t had the time to give it the love and care that it deserves. BELIEVE ME, Fly Girl is coming … just not in 2021.

In the meantime, I brought up the idea of a three mini-novel series to a dear friend of mine and the idea to revisit a story I never completed hit me. The entire novel I speak of centered around three sisters and I was trying to tell their personal stories within one book. Truthfully, it was great, but it wasn’t working out the way I wanted so I set it aside.

I’ve considered breaking down that novel, giving each sister their own short series. And, to build my audience and consistency back up (it’s happening soon, I’m so excited!), I was thinking I could share their stories here.

Now, I have shared a snippet or two from that novel before, and I will link it/them below.

Snippet 1

Snippet 2

Both snippets feature two of the three sisters, and give just a little detail into what each of them were dealing with. I’ve fallen completely in love with the idea of them again and want to pick it back up to get myself going again.

Naturally, as with most of my stories and novels, I don’t have a name for the complete series or the individual mini-novels, but of course I will update when I come up with something. Or, perhaps, you can share any ideas you have for titles in the comment section (I’d greatly appreciate it).

For a little help, the sisters are currently named April, May, and June. I don’t see myself changing that little detail, but I may later on down the line. Ideas for titles are still very much welcomed.

Again, I cannot stress how excited I am to be regaining time to myself AND time to focus on my passion and what I love the most; writing.

It has been a very bumpy road, and these past two years I haven’t been completely sure if this was still my purpose. It is, and I can’t wait to bring those of you who have been enjoying and supporting the site some brand new content.

Of course, I’m shooting to begin semi-regular posting mid-late December, but if not then I’ll sprinkle a few things here and there and in 2022, we’re coming in swinging for the fifth anniversary of MPWN!

As always, to those who read and like my posts, thank you so much. I would like to leave a gentle reminder that I am a writer that seeks feedback via comments, so I’d truly love to hear from you all a lot more. I welcome it all, love as well as constructive criticism.

If you would like to keep up with me, in the meantime, outside of the site, you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Click the highlighted links, follow and let’s chat sometime.

As always, happy reading and if you’re a writer too, I’m sending lots of creativity dust your way.

xoxo, Cortney!

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Closing Out The Year With A Bang, or Attempting To.

So, we all know by now that I have a bit of trouble with consistency. Be it because of life and it’s obstacles, or just the fact that I sometimes lose sight of myself and my gifts; I am forever talking about how I want to refocus and pull it together.

Though I haven’t fully gotten the results that I initially hoped for when I began MyPenWritesNice, I’ve grown to love this site and I am extremely proud of this investment (the website as a whole) that I’ve made in myself and my talent.

With that being said, a consistent struggle that plays into my consistency is that I never know what I want to do or what direction I should go in. Naturally, I feel that I should reach out for a bit of advice because I value greatly any and all advice and commentary that I receive.

I’ve been getting reads and likes when I’ve uploaded lately, but I’m missing out on comments and feedback. So, I would like to use this post to reach out for that, and gauge an idea of what you guys would like to read from me.

Any particular genre you think I should try or you think my style of writing might fit into?

Also, I want to post heavily in December. A great opportunity has come that may allow me a bit more time to finally focus and get back into my writing bag heavily. Would you guys be interested in a countdown to Christmas type of series? Where I post a certain number days in a row with Christmas and Holiday themed shorts?

Lastly, I’m looking to expand my site a bit by sharing the work of other authors who, like me, have a small following and may want to reach a new audience. I always say that my following isn’t massive, but I’ve noticed that my readers are a very consistent group and always come through when I make my way back with new work (I appreciate you!).

Would you like your work showcased in my Writer’s Spotlight section? If so, leave me a link to your work or shoot me a message.

Please, please, as I get back into sharing my poems and stories, leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments. I value both the good and bad, and feel it is essential for my growth!

Connect with me via twitter : CoceauxPuff & MyPenWritesNice

Instagram : MyPenWritesNice

Facebook : Cortney J

And, if you’ve ever enjoyed any of my works, and you feel it to do so, please donate towards all future projects coming from MyPenWritesNice

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Have a wonderful day, and happy reading and writing!

xoxo, Cortney.

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Let’s Get Connected.

So, while working on new things and trying to figure out new ways to promote myself and my work in 2021, I decided to dabble into areas I might not have considered before. And, while I’m sharing mine, I’d love to follow and connect with you as well so please share where I can find you all.

1. Tiktok : @ coceauxpuff

Where you’ll be able to hear snippets of all poetry, and assuming I get good at the app… Short scenes from my stories and novels played out.

2. YouTube : I can be found at both Just Cortney which is meant to be a vlog channel, and SpokenByCort which is a channel that deals with all things WRITING, my published works, and MyPenWritesNice.

3. Twitter : @ MyPenWritesNice (author page), & Coceauxpuff (personal page)

4. Facebook : Cortney J.

5. Instagram : MyPenWritesNice

Again, I would love to connect with you all, so be sure to hit those links, follow… subscribe… add, etc. And let me know where I can do the same for you.

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Let’s Celebrate!

Anniversaries come but once a year, and for MyPenWritesNice, a very special one has arrived.

In the words of the legendary Tony Toni Tone, “do you know what today iiiiisssss?”

 

That’s right! Today marks the official third anniversary of MyPenWritesNice.com! The site began when Cortney decided it was time to set some of her fears aside and share her beautiful gift with the world. To date there have been over a thousand visitors and thousands of views across multiple countries and I am more than confident that there is more to come!

It is her hope that those who have followed and fresh readers will stick along for the continuing journey. It’s going to be a great one.

 

To celebrate MyPenWritesNice’s third anniversary, Cortney has asked that everyone take a trip throughout the site and take a new look at some or all of your old favorites. PLEASE share your favorite short stories and poems with your friends and family, via social media, and be sure to tag her on twitter @MyPenWritesNice and @WrittenByCort, you can also find and follower her on instagram @MyPenWritesNice.

Be sure to leave comments, share how her work has made you feel, and let us know what you’re looking forward to in 2020!

 

Happy Anniversary and Happy Reading!

 

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“Dreams Of You” by Cortney Joseph

We were beneath the tree beside our house.

Me in my little pink corvette, you in your yellow prowler.

 

We were talking big smack, passing licks and clowning around.

Racing each other up and down the street until the sun went down.

 

Then you stood, and you smiled.

Your hands rose, you began to wave goodbye.

 

Tears fell and I prepared my plea for you to stay,

You smiled and said “Sister, you did great. Sister, you’ll be fine.”

 

In an instant you faded,

And I awoke,

Happy for the dream of a last moment,

Yet saddened there’ll be no more real.

 

 

 

Dedicated to : Sandy De’Marcus Joseph

December 1, 1993 – December 18, 2019

I’ll love you always, Baby Boy.

 

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Work In Progress, #1 (An Update)

So,

I’ve finally reminded myself that I’ve been doing a little too much playing around. And by ‘playing around’, I mean not putting my talent to use. Doubting myself entirely too much. And just being plain old LAZY.

I’ve been telling myself that I have to stop using these sad and depressed moods of mine (though valid, to me) as an excuse to make excuses and give up on the thing I love most.

Writing.

 

Let’s be honest; no matter how hard I fight or how many times I say I’m quitting (which is about a hundred times a day); the talent, the ideas, and the big goals and dreams I have for myself aren’t going anywhere.

It’s taking a lot longer than I anticipated (nearly twenty years now since I first picked up a pen by choice — nearly ten since I’ve been publishing my work and promoting on my own), but it’s NOT going anywhere.

 

By this point in 2019, I’d promised myself that I would have published my first OFFICIAL novel. My first one that I won’t have to remove from online because of some sort of theft or other scandal again (I pray no one does me dirty again).

It hasn’t happened. And while there have been many obstacles, many incidents that took away my focus from my tasks, a great deal of NO RESULT OR PRODUCT is my own fault.

I’ve decided tonight, September 19, 2019 that I am pushing all doubt, fears, and more aside. I am ready to work on, complete, and publish my novel. I feel I need to be seen beyond my poetry and short stories, and I can’t do that if I keep on holding myself back.

Now, originally, my official debut novel was to be Fly Girl, I even released a snippet of the intended intro. However, I’ve developed very harsh feelings towards that novel (as well as other works of mine that could very well be published), and I have the feeling that I just need to attempt something FRESH.

Who knows, that may change in the middle of me writing whatever I’m going to start tonight, who knows I may even publish the new novel AND Fly Girl. I just know that I need to get down to business and produce the quality work that so many believe I can deliver. I also MUST believe that I can deliver that quality work as well. And for once, I believe. I’m ready.

 

 

 

With all that being said; I’m not sure how long it will take me to write and publish. But this will be the official announcement of SOMETHING coming, and I think along the way I will post updates of sorts. This may include written posts here on MyPenWritesNice, as well as video updates on my youtube channel Just Cortney. May even toss in a few new poems over on my poetry channel as well, SpokenByCort. So, be sure to hit the subscribe button on those channels and be on the look out!

 

Now, I would also like to make mention that all of this is being done independently. While I gladly use my own funds for any and everything that I do when I self-publish any of my works, lately that has become a bit difficult as I have other responsibilities to take care of first.

For the first time in all of the years I have been working alone; I have begun accepting donations and contributions that will go towards any publishing, shipping, payment of artists other than myself (as I love to support the hard work of others, as many have supported me over the years).

As I have not found a service (that I like) that I can tie in with the MyPenWritesNice site; I have two ways of accepting donations if anyone reading and supporting feels the desire to contribute. Any and all amounts are GREATLY appreciated.

The first, is my CashApp; $cdeshaye

And the second is my PayPal; MyPenWritesNice

 

 

Lastly; I want to end this post with a HUGE thank you to everyone that has been in my corner in some way or another. Especially when I am feeling down or being extremely hard on myself. I can’t begin to explain how your words of support and encouragement have pulled me out of many many moments when I felt like throwing in the towel. I think all that I am about to mention know me well enough to constantly, even when it annoys them, remind me why I shouldn’t and can’t give up on myself or my dreams.

So, thank you to my father and stepmother, brother and sister, my aunts and uncles, and many cousins who cut no corners and offer up every solution in the world (going WAY out of their way) so long as it means I’m comfortable and continuing with my goals. For reminding me with those rough yet gentle talks that only greatness lies within me, that greatness is all that we, as a family, exude. Your love and support carries me high, and I am so very proud to be a Johnson because of you all.

To my aunt Stella for staying ON me about the words that I speak and the great weight that they hold. For being my shoulder to cry on, my listening ear, and intertwining your own growth, wisdom, and lessons you are continuously learning into the things you tell me to lift me back up when I’ve hit my lowest. Only you have seen me that way, and only you have the exact words to bring me back right where I need to be mentally and spiritually. I love you beyond all of the words that could ever slip past my fingertips.

To my grandmother, Catherine, for always being prepared to buy the many MANY works I always talk about working on but never publish or have ready for sale. If ever I create some sort of guardian angel in a future novel or short, please believe she’ll be the sweetest and most loving because she’ll be modeled after you.

My uncle Solomon for being one of my biggest cheerleaders. Your loving words of encouragement and support mean EVERYTHING to me! I cherish them greatly, and hope that I always make you proud with my future endeavors.

To my dear, closest friends; I think I’ve told you all in some way or another how much you, your friendship, and your support means to me. But it never hurts to make it known again and again. Kirsten and Coty (my very best friends), Jae, De’Leon, Moyet, Tangella, Yo’Lana, Sage (even when we’re not talking), Nita (my favorite author that I know personally), Bronnie, Lareesa, COOP!, Sheryl, and Jalen. Glyn, Leshae, Ayana, Izzy (thank y’all especially for being the level headed ‘Temptations’ to my irrational –doubting myself so terribly — ‘David Ruffin’. I know I aggravate y’all, but I thank you all for understanding why I was the way I’m leaving behind).

And, once more to those who have stumbled across my site and have stuck around to read any and/or everything I’ve ever posted over the last two and a half years; THANK YOU. Because you are ALL what motivates me to come back and keep this thing going as well.

 

See you all in a while with an update on how this new W.I.P. is going. I know it’s going to be great, and I can not wait to share it!

 

xoxo, Cortney.

 

 

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What’s Next? Publishing Again!

So, my #ShortStoryAugust challenge came to a bit of an abrupt end a few days ago, but I wasn’t certain if I was completely done.

No, I’m not going to try and make up and post for the missing days or try to finish out the month. With work and other things occurring, I simply don’t have the time.

However, what I am considering is doing a short story collection featuring a select number of the stories I’ve shared during the challenge, as well as a few that have been sitting on the site for some time now and a new one or two.

 

Where do you all come in?

My hope is that you would all be so kind as to take a vote as to which of my favorites you enjoyed as well. I can admit, I’m never satisfied with everything I write, but I think I got a good one or two tossed in.

I would gladly appreciate those of you who have enjoyed anything I’ve shared over the last two years, to take a vote on the ones I’ve selected for possible inclusion in what I consider to be my next big project. For a refresher on certain shorts, you can find the links below the poll. I have left the option for multiple votes open, simply because I want to get as many votes as I can before I begin working on the collection, so feel free to vote as many times as you’d like for your choice. Happy reading, and thanks for all the support thus far!

 

 

A Friend In Need (by Cortney Joseph)

Love Is Blind (by Cortney Joseph)

Keep You Home (by Cortney Joseph)

Silly Wasn’t I by Cortney Joseph #ShortStoryAugust

Maybe I Deserve by Cortney Joseph #ShortStoryAugust

As If We Never Met by Cortney Joseph #ShortStoryAugust

 

 

 

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#ShortStoryAugust 2019 Is Here!

Today is officially August first, and a challenge I presented at the beginning of July has now begun!

For anyone interested in participating with me, please check out the original #SSA post, and find out how to make sure your wonderful works are seen and how they can be shared by me.

My audience isn’t that large yet, but I do have some really wonderful frequent readers and I am sure they’ll appreciate great art from others.

 

Hope to see many more than myself participating. And if you are, happy writing!

 

xoxo, Cortney

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Short Story August? Anyone Interested?

Hi!

 

So, to get back into the habit of writing, and writing OFTEN, I was considering taking the time this summer to write and post a NEW short story every day for the month of August.

Yep, that’s 31 short stories in a single month! I personally consider this to be a challenge because it has become so easy for me to become sidetracked, to lose focus, or to simply not have the energy to grab a pen or sit in front of my keyboard and do what truly brings me joy. Life happens, of course, but lately it’s had a way of taking me way down and it interferes in the worst way with my dream and talent.

I would like to challenge myself, and I would love it very much if a few others opted to join in the challenge with me.

 

If interested, please leave a comment letting me know you’re joining in on #ShortStoryAugust. Let me know where you’ll be sharing your posts so that I can share them to the audience that I have, and so that we can get a system of encouragement going for our fellow writers. Where can we follow one another?

You can find me on Twitter, at either WrittenByCort or MyPenWritesNice, and on Instagram at WrittenByCort.

Hope to get a few of you in on the challenge. Happy writing!

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Fly Girl by Cortney Joseph [Novel Snippet]

The following is a snippet/intro for my upcoming novel, Fly Girl. Please feel free to share your thoughts/opinions, as I am in the editing stages and looking for any and all feedback as I work to piece together the final version.

 

_______________

 

Prelude: Interview With Broken Idols

 

2010:

 

“Major success. At the height of it all, you were one of the bestselling acts. Among the elite of the late nineties and beginning of the early two-thousands, with multi-platinum selling albums, sold out national and international tours. You’ve won several of the recording industry’s top awards as a group and within your solo endeavors. Certainly, there were more albums, tours, and endorsements in the works. All planned to further the success of Fly Girl. And then, you were done after seven short years. What happened?”

 

As she sat among the very women she’d grown up watching, adoring and admiring, wishing she too could have lived such a glamourous life, Andrea Harper asked the same question of all four members of Fly Girl. The interview was exclusive, highly coveted by some of the day’s top entertainment journalists. Per their request, she spoke to each woman separately, trying to gather why they couldn’t bare to be in the same room, even for a few short hours.

It had been a little over two years since any of them had been out in the spotlight, and even longer since any of them took to doing interviews that would include talks of a part of the past that they felt had dragged them all down in one way or another. And much longer since one half of the group had spoken to the other half.

Though they were all within the same age range, it was quite clear what the years of the stress and pressure to be to be perfect, trying to appease everyone around them had done to them. Their façades cracked, years added to their once youthful faces.

Troy; the youngest member of the group, often deemed the lead singer, sat comfortably in her chair. If you were to look at her; her sweet disposition, the smile she always wore whether happy or sad would give the appearance that all was quite well in her life. After all, once Fly Girl split, it was said that she’d be the one to leave the entire ordeal unscathed, destined for solo stardom whether she wanted it that way or not. If you were to look past that smile, and down towards where her right arm rested, you’d see a cane resting next to her chair, waiting to be used if she chose to stand. Only twenty-five, the rest of her life had already been mapped out as a lifetime of medications to manage pain and spasms that came and went as they pleased.

Torii; Troy’s older sister, bore a different struggle. Though she’d initially been happy to end matters with Fly Girl, it came with expectations she soon realized she couldn’t and didn’t want to live up to. She too had been set up to have solo success following the group’s disbandment, and for a time she’d found it. And then, it became about matching Fly Girl’s success, living up to all that fans and critics believed her sister was and could have been. Comparisons and demands became too much. A young wife and mother, she decided quickly that a quiet life back home in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee was what she wanted and needed most.

Leann; the oldest, who at one point had been the most sensible and a bit of a mother figure for the other girls, had taken the worst fall from grace. Trying to raise herself and a younger sibling after leaving New Orleans, Louisiana; she felt there were nothing but good times ahead when she’d been selected as the lone rapper of Fly Girl. A once in a lifetime opportunity that came with perks and benefits far beyond her wildest dreams; she was certain there was no way she’d go back to her old life. She wouldn’t trade her new success and joy for anything. However, it had never been easy out running personal demons and as she’d often feared, they’d caught up to her when she least expected.

Ava; the second oldest, had found freedom outside of her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She’d quickly swapped control over her life from one bad influence to another, only hoping for the best in each new situation she placed herself in. Singing had become an escape, though she was often told that she was not good enough, that she would never make it far in life with her foolish dreams. She’d proved so many people wrong, including her parents; and the last thing she’d wanted was the disbandment of the group that had brought her so much happiness and success. The last thing she’d ever do was admit that she had a huge hand in the group’s downfall as well as her own.

 

As Andrea asked them all the same question again, they all gave their honest answers and opinions. There was no image to keep up any longer. No one standing behind them, coaching them on what to say through a tiny mic and special ear pieces as a part of media training.

Leann looked down at her hands. “What happened? Egos, favoritism, underhanded dealings with a lot of snakes. A lot of sleeping around, as far as I know, with producers and label executives.”

“On whose part?”

Leann smiled. “Not mine, though almost all of those perverts tried.”

“Is that all you feel caused the downfall of Fly Girl?”

“That’s the majority of it.” She shrugged, growing hot within the small room they occupied. Removing her jacket, Leann spoke lowly. “I’ve always felt that the people who discovered,” she stopped. “scratch that. The people who put us together and packaged us as a complete group of four knew exactly what their intentions were. See, Fly Girl wasn’t supposed to be successful. One hit, sure. Two, a fluke or pure luck. We weren’t supposed to have more than one album. It was supposed to be Fly Girl, Fly Girl ends, then Introducing Troy Mercier. If Torii happened to get a deal out of it, then that would have been great for her. As for Ava and me; we were just backup, and barely that. I might have gotten features here and there on whoever was the big rap star at the time, but my time was always limited.” Leann sat up straight in her chair after draping her jacket over her legs. “I just wish they had told us that shit from the get-go. The fallout wouldn’t have been so bad. Wouldn’t have hurt as much.”

During her interview Torii sat quietly, holding on to her newborn as she took a few minutes to think about her answer. No, she wasn’t going to be politically correct, but she didn’t want to come off rude or hateful in her tone either. Fly Girl had become such a touchy subject in such a short amount of time. Anytime she or her sister spoke out it became some type of issue and she didn’t want or need any more drama between herself and Leann or Ava.

“Egos. One big, one non-existent, two so small that it could be considered naivety.”

“You believe egos are necessary, or unnecessary?”

“If you believe you are the greatest, doing all the work when there’s three other people in the group, on top of a hundred more working behind the scenes to make you look good, and a million more supporting you and keeping you on top, but you’re failing to give credit or thanks; it’s unnecessary. If you think you’ve made it so far without God, whatever God you serve, then yes, your ego is unnecessary. It’s okay to feel yourself, it’s okay to know you’re great.” Torii paused for a moment, trying to collect her thoughts. “When I say so small that it was basically naivety, it was two individuals giving thanks and credit to everyone, except for themselves sometimes; failing to recognize how big the part they played was. When I say one was non-existent, it was an individual giving credit to no one, including their self, except for the person who was dragging them down. When I say one was big; couldn’t tell that individual anything. It was all them, all the time. They could do no wrong in their own eyes when they were messing up everything.”

“Anything else you believe played a role in the ending of Fly Girl?”

Torii nodded her head. “Management. Whispering in ears, saying one thing to one girl, saying something else to another girl. Happened every day, from the very beginning to the very end. Fly Girl was a ticking bomb waiting to go off, simply because too few people had our best interests at heart. I don’t believe we were supposed to make it, but when we did, and the money came rolling in…” Torii smiled a little, clearing her throat as she readjusted her baby in her arms.

“And was there really favoritism?”

“Not that I knew of at the time. I guess a lot of people like to feel that way because I married within the industry, and within the immediate circle that surrounded us. My husband’s an artist and producer as well. What they fail to realize is that he was also a part of a group, the male group that debuted with Fly Girl. He never produced for Fly Girl, never even worked with Fly Girl unless we toured together or popped up in each other’s music videos. He and I did one duet, while we were in our respective groups, produced by someone far larger than he was at the time. So the sleeping around for leads or better produced tracks for the solo songs we did for each album,” Andrea nodded. “if it happened, it wasn’t me.”

 

Able to make her interview once she was assured that none of the other group members were in the building, Ava also took her time to give an answer. So used to being ignored or never given the chance to answer for herself, she was unsure if she wanted to keep it to a minimum or speak out fully. Doing so once before had landed her in hot water, and she was uncertain if she wanted to go down that road again.

Then again, knowing her former groupmates as well as she felt she did; she knew that at least one of them, if not all, would attempt to make her look bad in one way or another.

“What do I believe happened that led to our disbanding?”

“Yes.”

Ava ran her fingers through her hair. “It was never meant to last. They just dragged it out while creating more tension, lies, and pain. As I’d been told, I was the weakest singer. Soon enough, everybody ganged up on me, telling me that as often as they could. For my end of the damage, I gave up, stopped caring about the group as time went on.”

“But as far as the internal issues between the four of you; the constant fighting that fans heard about after it was all over. Who or what is to blame for that?”

“Everyone. Egos, pride and a whole lot of bullshit. We acted as if we loved one other, played like we were a real family, but I honestly believe there was never any type of love. Not genuine love, not from the other girls.” Old feelings began to surface, anger and venom dripped through her words. “Drugs and alcohol, immaturity, issues with management and theft. A LOT of sleeping around.”

“Are you guilty of any of that?”

“Yes, but I won’t say what just yet. I will say; it was half of a group effort to keep ourselves together while struggling to work with one another. It was a full group effort in tearing ourselves down. They just like to throw the blame at one person. It was all of us.”

Troy arrived last. She was the member Andrea had the most trouble tracking down. For the most part, she wanted nothing else to do with Fly Girl. It simply wasn’t worth it, not for her, to stress and make herself and her health worse over something that never should have even began. If she could have forgotten that Fly Girl even happened, she would have.

“What happened to cause the end? Same stuff that happens in most girl groups; cattiness. But, I’m sure all four of us can agree on egos.”

“Yes, that’s the number one reason from all of you.”

Troy nodded her head, sighing as she tried to sit comfortably in her chair. “Management telling us all one thing while doing another. Telling two of us that there was a guaranteed future while promising the other two nothing but a trip back to their hometown. Constant threats of being kicked out and replaced if things weren’t done the way management wanted. Jealousy. There are claims of favoritism, but really it was acts of greed and lies being fed to turn the outcome of the group into the wrong person’s favor. There was sleeping around, but the rumors of who was doing the sleeping around have always been false.”

“The rumors that someone slept with producers and writers for leads?”

“Tuh, it never took the promise of leads for that particular person to sleep around, they just did it and let the world believe bullshit to make them feel better about their self. I suppose.”

Andrea nodded, extremely curious as to who fit the exact descriptions of the incidents each member spoke of. “Anything else happen?”

“Mismanagement of money, lots and lots of theft. Internal issues between the four of us; a lot of ignorance, immaturity, and pettiness. Dishonesty, disloyalty. Lack of trust. Bad company and circles that some of us surrounded ourselves with.” Troy paused, looking at Andrea. “Drug abuse, physical and mental abuse, illnesses, and personal issues that others didn’t or chose not to understand because it wasn’t happening to them. Most importantly, and what a lot of people don’t realize,” Troy stopped and cleared her throat. “we were four teenagers, the youngest being thirteen when selected. Two of whom were placed with complete strangers and expected to bond within the time space of a week. Two of whom came from places where they didn’t have social skills, didn’t know anything about socializing because they’d always felt alone anyway. You’ve got siblings in the group, so two automatically feel as if it’s them against the siblings, as well as them against the world and everyone else. You’ve got two, unbeknownst to them early on, being put up on a pedestal and instructed to act as if everything is all good. We were impressionable, could be told anything and we would have believed it if we were too tired to do a little extra research or a little extra reading into contracts we were told to sign. Most times, we were too tired. Most times we were assured that we didn’t even need to read, and we went with that because we trusted the adults that handled us. Extremely naive teenagers, so naive that we were damn near dumb. We were still discovering who we were, we could have easily been molded in any way and fashion they chose if there were no parents or adult family members with us.”

“And were your parents around?”

Troy shook her head. “Not on the tours or in the studios or anywhere outside of Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arizona where we came from. We had one adult that truly cared and everybody else knew how to pretend enough to keep us comfortable and safe, they knew how to gain our trust.”

“While gaining your trust, did they try to change you all immediately?”

“I can’t speak for the other members; but I know those people went through hell and high-water trying to change how I saw myself, what I did, and what I said. And how I acted with my sister and the others. I didn’t see it that way then, but they tried to pit me against everybody early on, I just never had it in me to turn my back on anyone, especially my sister. They went through hell trying to force and pressure me into things I knew weren’t right. And yeah, some I went along with because I had this great fear, at the time, of being kicked out. Being told I’ll never sing again; we were all told that. Imagine hearing I can end your career now, forever when you’re that young. Imagine hearing that when all you know how to do is sing and dance, or rap and dance.” Troy chuckled at the thought of all she’d heard in her young life, shaking her head at how foolish she’d been to believe most of it. “It’s some mess thrown in from all of us, I’m certain; and I believe to an extent that we’re all to blame. Certain things can be excused because of circumstances, but some can never be excused or forgiven.”

 

Andrea nodded, leaning forward in her seat. “I’m going to ask you one final question. The same I’ve asked Torii, Leann, and Ava.”

“Okay.”

“We hear of old groups reuniting nowadays for award shows, small tours, and even a few because they missed one another. Do you ever see Fly Girl reuniting in the future? Could you see yourself working with any of them again?”

“I still work with Torii. That’s my sister, always will be and the disbandment of a packaged group won’t change that.”

“Okay, in terms of Fly Girl, including Leann and Ava. Is there a future for Fly Girl?”

“Probably. Would I join in, or want to join in?” Andrea nodded, waiting for Troy’s answer. “Nope. Some things are better left broken. And if someone were to try and fix it one day, it would take a major miracle.”

“Such as?”

Troy smiled before grabbing her cane, taking her time as she stood up. “We’d have to be in the same room without wanting to kill one another. Or, in my case, I’d have to see them and want to wish the best for them and mean it. That sounds mean but,” She lifted her cane “this was wished on me, so I can’t really feel anything positive for Leann or Ava. I haven’t made it that far past my anger yet.”

And with that Troy left, kicking off what Andrea was certain would be the very last Fly Girl interview. While she was glad she’d gotten the interview, and that she still had a few days left with them to get all the information she’d need, she was left a bit heartbroken and discouraged. She’d heard countless times about groups falling out, but never this badly. They’d all answered that question the same; a resounding NO to any type of reunion.

Andrea was now unsure of what she was getting herself into by penning the official Fly Girl biography. Perhaps it would be better to leave their memories as just that; memories. But as a longtime fan, and one of the many fans who held out hope for some type of explanation or resolution, her curiosity about the ins and outs of the group kept her mind on the prize. There was just one small glimmer of hope she would hold going into this task. Helping to heal the group by getting them to speak honestly. There had to be some good to come from this.

Writer’s Spotlight : You’re In Big Treble by Paris Daniels

Hi guys!

For some time, I’d been speaking on hosting an artist spotlight or corner of sorts to promote some of my favorite reads, fellow writers who are both friends and supporters of me, family, other artists, etc.

Well, that starts today and I am beyond excited for my first spotlight to focus on fellow writer, Paris Daniels.

A writer, musician, and music educator from Louisiana, Paris Daniels authored and published her first children’s book, You’re In Big Treble (featuring illustrations from Paris Edwards), in 2019. A cute and fun quick read for parents to share with their children, or teachers with their students.

While I, myself, haven’t ventured into music classes or played my clarinet in years; I found this to be such a cute way to showcase the names of notes (we meet Bass, Quarter, and more), how one can move up and down lines and spaces, and where/when the conductor needs them as Treble asks to play with her friends while she is at rest.

I found this to be an adorable read with clear and pretty illustration and would recommend for anyone looking to introduce their young children or grandchildren to music education in an easy and quick form early.

Below I’ve included a photo of You’re In Big Treble (clinking the photo will take you directly to Amazon) along with it’s synopsis below for anyone who may be interested.

As a fellow writer, and family, I can’t express how beyond proud I am of Paris for taking the big leap a lot of us are afraid of. PUBLISHING! And doing so on her own. I can’t wait for what she brings next, as all authors are, your gifts are truly needed and appreciated.

In Staffland, there is always moves being conducted. But, one day as Treble was venturing out throughout Staffland she receives news that she is in BIG trouble ! This creative music book is perfect for young readers, music educators and anyone who has a love for music. It details note and staff names, note values and musical terms.” – Paris Daniels, 2019.

“Again” by Cortney Joseph

It was all in the way you touched me,

Cold, displeased with the surface each fingertip grazed.

I tensed, thinking I’d prepared myself for what had become the usual,

a tense prelude to the darkness that shone itself in your eyes as you pulled away,

hand raised to the heavens, striking with force that knocked me backward.

Again, and again though we’d both said agreed there’d never be another moment such as this.

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Memory Lane by YoLana Crocket

It’d been a while since I’d step foot in this place.

It’d held so many bad memories, brought to mind all the tears I’d cried the instant my soles touched the tile. Brought an aching to my heart that I could hardly explain to anyone once I’d manage to free myself of it’s hold. With each stride the grip grew tighter around my soul.

I’d been told that sometimes closure can’t come without reopening old wounds, and I’ve never been sure of how true or untrue that might be. Surely wasn’t sure if I wanted to bother with finding out, not even for the purpose of ‘healing’.

The walls were now baren, stripped of the smiling faces and colorful scenery. Free of lovers embracing, free of babies and all the spaces that brought about unbridled joy and happiness.

The white walls now a stained yellow, years of neglect and decay settled in with a stale stench that reminded me of the old wooden homes occupied and owned by the elders in my youth. I hadn’t thought about it in years, and yet, in an instant I missed the simplicity of it all.

It became quite funny, for only a moment, how the thought of childhood could bring back both fleeting excitement and everlasting grief.

Into each room I meandered, taking mental note of every missing patch, every creaking board, every tear that fell when a memory came dashing before my eyes.

I felt every emotion possible, and nothing all at once.

I felt caged once more, and prayed for total freedom to follow.

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Investments (in self & others) and Excitement (for the future).

I am truly looking forward to the new year.

Though I have still had many trying moments in 2021, I can honestly say that this past month alone has given me so much hope and restored my excitement for my future. So, if you guys didn’t catch it, Christmas day I posted a new short story. It is the very first NEW work I’ve written in two years!! Happy is an understatement of how I felt upon completion. And though it is certainly not one of my best (in my humble opinion), I’m thrilled with it because I know now that I haven’t lost my gift. She’s back and it starts with the simple little post below.

Merry X-Mas, Baby.

Naturally, along with getting back into writing, I’ve decided and reminded myself that I also need to get back into reading. As someone who loves to learn new things and new techniques and styles, I’ve been feeling that a lot of my problem is that I haven’t kept up with reading any of the genres that I’m attempting to write in, if that makes sense.

2020 I was supposed to get back into reading and I can honestly say that between January of that year and today, I’ve read a total of …. three books, if that.

So, since I’ll be diving back into that, I’ve also decided to tie that into a new section of my site that I’ll be including in 2022, and that is an artist/writer’s spotlight. As I told family, I want to help others the way the I wasn’t able to have or find help when I first started, even with a smaller platform. You never know who you’ll reach and who you can help others reach, right?

I’ll be ordering books soon, with the first two on my list being by a fellow writer within my family, and a book I’ve been wanting to add to my collection by Stephanie Ascough (who has been a wonderful supporter of my site this past year), but I will also be looking for lots more. So, if you’re an author and have a book you’d like read and featured, please feel free to reach out with details on where I can grab a copy via CortneyJ@mypenwritesnice.com

That’s it for now, a quick update of sorts. I’m shooting to have a story for New Years Eve or New Years Day. We shall see how that goes.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope this holiday season has been amazing and blessed for you. I just want to thank anyone who has stuck with MPWN for being here and reading along. I can’t wait to bring new greatness in 2022, and we’ll be celebrating FIVE years of MyPenWritesNice! Do me a favor, in the comments let me know what you’ve enjoyed or loved about the site most over the time we’ve shared, I’d love to know.

If I don’t make a mini post before then, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Merry X-Mas, Baby. by Cortney Joseph

Kayla stared closely at the paper resting loosely between her fingertips, in complete disbelief. Tears welled within the ducts of her eyes, threatening to spill as an unconcerned gaze fell upon her. Her unstead hands trembled with each word she read.

What was this, and why had it crept into ruin what she intended to be the best season of her life.

Words seemed to fail, would not materialize in time for her to express the sudden pain and anguish that surged through her heart. “What the hell is this, Ty?”

“Just what it says Kayla. You’re an intelligent woman, I would hate to have to spell it out to you.” Tyava, whom Kayla had spent the past ten years of her life with, stepped forward. It seemed her words flowed with ease, as if she’d had adequate time to collect her thoughts and make all necessary plans to execute this moment.

It was then that Kayla began to recall the subtle differences around their home. Things she’d noticed but thought nothing of. Tyava had been coming home later and later, or not at all. She assumed to avoid the arguments that had begun to plague their marriage as of late. Little by little items that belonged to Tyava had gone missing, things she thought simply might need to be replaced. The space in her closet, growing barren with each week that passed. Fewer and fewer words spoken between the two as the days passed, their outings together down to none. There had been no affection, no chemistry, no interest in keeping appearances.

Suddenly the joyfulness of the holiday tunes that surrounded them, an attempt to set a different mood, sickened Kayla. She felt her knees begin to weaken, felt herself falling off a cloud it seemed she’d been keeping herself on in hopes that this would never be her reality.

Kayla scoffed, angered. “And there was no other time you could have done this?” Truly, what time would have been good to suggest or announce one’s desire to divorce?

Tyava could only shrug her shoulders, failing to understand where these sudden feelings her wife displayed were being pulled from. All throughout the years they shared, not a single conversation about feelings, thoughts, emotions, or ideas could be expressed without Tyava’s being pushed aside or disregarded. She might not have played the traditionally feminine role within their relationship, but she had them too and she’d grown tired of being made to feel small or insignificant when she gave more than her ‘better’ half.

“So what am I supposed to do, just accept that you’re leaving me and look a fool?”

“Yeah. You know, looking the fool isn’t so bad, I’ve been doing it since we got together. I’ve thought about this long and hard Kayla, and while I will probably always love you, I just can’t do this anymore.”

“Marriage is a lifetime commitment, Ty. I gave and sacrificed everything to be with you! You can’t just leave me like this.”

The tear-filled words of supposed anguish that followed did nothing to stir Tyava, not like they would have months or even weeks before. “Merry Christmas Kayla, I wish you a very blessed new year and a happy life.”

Without another word, blocking out the sounds of her enraged wife, Tyava walked away without the hopes that she’d find peace and joy within the newest season of life alone.

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Songs To Write To (Holiday Edition)

I have to admit that these past few years, the holidays have not been my favorite times of the year and it’s been a bit hard to get festive in any fashion. Typically around this time, I write a Christmas story or novel of some sort, and I haven’t done that for at least three years now.

While I’m still figuring out my time, and getting settled into a new job (yay!), I figured I’d at least attempt to write something (no promise that it will be shared ’cause I simply may not finish). However, like most instances with me, I need music to write and inspire me. Figured I’d get a little festive with a Christmas playlist of my own, and I hope that it helps to inspire other writers as well.

There’s a little something for us all, new renditions (a bit of Trapmas vibes as well as the standards) along with some of our favorite classics. As I hear many say, it’s not officially Christmas until you hear The Temptations sing “IN MY MIND”. 😂🤣

My Winter Wonderland playlist for 2021 is below. Happy Listening, Happy Writing, and most importantly Happy Holidays to you and yours!

xoxo, Cortney.

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“Untitled” (12/11/21) by Cortney Joseph

I’ll put you away,

tucked closely to my heart,

to stay protected for eternity,

to feel within on days I’m lonely.

— Cortney J.

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Songs To Write To #5

Not sure if I’m the only writer who feels they thrive with period pieces, or settings in the past, but that’s my thing. And most often I like to write to music from whatever time period or era I choose.

As a 90s baby/kid, I think I can say with confidence that we had some good vibes, and some of the best songs. Here are six of my favorites.

Enjoy and Happy Writing!!