Novel Writing Update – Story Time


“…but she did wonder if indeed one needed ‘all that money’. And if not, what did one need to be happy?” © Monika Ribeiro 2020

In a nutshell, my novel (in the making) titled “Everywhere & Always” is about the pursuit of happiness. And, you’ll probably agree that it’s almost impossible to explore happiness without addressing money…

So, I decided to throw some of my characters into riches and luxury to see who they really are… It gets interesting… That’s all I will say for now.😉

To begin introducing this theme, I gave Ai (one of those characters) a job at Harrods Knightsbridge which is where I used to work (in my early twenties)… Hmmm… I still remember dealing with vendors from the UK, Germany, France… chasing deliveries of 35,000 GBP sofas…

I used to wonder if I’d be happier sitting on a 35k sofa as opposed to a 1,5k sofa… 🤔 Well, my novel is fictional, but Ai too finds herself asking similar questions i.e. if one really needs ‘all that money’. And if not, what does one need to be happy?

I have been posting brief novel updates on my socials. Here… not so much, but I’ll do my best to change that. With that said, please Join me on Instagram too if you’d like to get regular glimpses into what’s cooking – glimpses like this one, below.

Back to my novel update though, I have received feedback regarding its first chapter. Aaaand, it was slightly underwhelming but fair. So, I decided to re-write the weaker parts of my opening, aaagain.

Honestly, novel writing turns out to be slightly more complicated than I thought it’d be… However, I am making progress. Accidentally, my rewritten first page has already earned the love of author and English teacher Desiri Okobia who said she’d use it for Year 11s’ creative writing lessons. Exciting!

So, to summarise my novel writing Update: I am rewriting… Aaagain. The promised first chapter of “Everywhere & Always” will drop in your inbox… in all its glory… soon! If… you have subscribed that is. Please do RIGHT HERE.

Let’s Make the Most of Our Time…


My 2019 ended… well… with passing away of one of my mentors and friends. Mine and other journalists’ tributes have just been published by the Voice News. And, I couldn’t start 2020 without acknowledging the impact this editor/publisher and friend had on my writing and life.

“…Barbara Campbell trained me as a journalist while I was freelancing for Black Heritage Today and International Women’s Month magazines. She taught me how to write feature articles, conduct journalistic interviews, research and more. She welcomed me into her home and heart as well.

“I remember proudly presenting my first feature to her. It was embellished – quite “flowery”. She cut so much out. I got upset thinking she took my soul out of the piece. I then showed it to my friend who had read the original. She didn’t hesitate to tell me that Barbara’s pen made it better. So, I decided to stop mourning my style and started paying attention. 

‘HER HEART BLED FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY’

“Barbara knew exactly what she wanted to say and how she wanted to say it. Her heart bled for the black community and for black stories to be told the RIGHT WAY. I could see a flame in her eyes when she spoke about how much the community needed positive role models and narratives. That passion drove her and made her fight tirelessly against financial, physical and all other odds. It was tough on her, especially towards the end. Sometimes, I think she sacrificed her life for it.”

Speaking about the lasting impact that Campbell had on her life, Ribeiro says:

“These few words are not enough to summarise the impact she made on me as a writer. When I decided not to pursue journalism, she encouraged my poetry and gave me a poet’s corner in Black Heritage Today. In one of her recommendations, she said ‘…Anytime, she is performing l hope to be there – cheering from the front!’ Sadly, she never made it to my shows, but I still hear her voice in my head reminding me to use the word ‘reportedly’ just in case… I edit my stories the way she taught me. Her heart and skills are part of my writing. She was an excellent journalist, editor, boss lady, teacher and friend…”

Please read the rest of mine and other tributes on the Voice News Website.

I wish you and myself a Happy New Year. Let’s make the most of our time here and let’s appreciate friends and family while there’s still time.

Everywhere & Always – A Story Waiting to be Told


“It was one of those afternoons when the beautiful summer sun chased even zealous hermits out their four walls. All but one. Her curtains were closed all day. She didn’t notice the sun’s rays and her skin couldn’t feel its warmth…”

Yes, there’s a new book in the making!

The first draft is done. Yuppie! However,… Yes, there’s a however… I have a bunch of revisions ahead of me still. There’s a vague release date in my mind but I’m not going to share it just yet. Undoubtedly, it is going to take some time before the book’s out. That’s not a bad thing though. Quality is what I’m after…

So, I’ve already spent some time revising the first chapter – over and over and over again…

I believe it is strong enough to capture your imagination, but… Yes, there’s a “but”. I thought it’d be smart to ask a few other storytellers for feedback. I’m waiting to hear from them, at the moment. Once I’m confident that I’ve done the chapter justice I am going to share it with my e-mail subscribers. I can’t wait!

Please Join Us if you’d like me to share glimpses of my novel in the making with you.

So now… The title…  [drumroll] “Everywhere & Always”

It is a story of a multiracial friendship between four people from  different cultural backgrounds… Taking place in a world that doesn’t always get it… It is about their pursuit of happiness; identity search and breaking away from the society’s expectations to pursue their own respective destinies…

Life events force Ai, Alma, Emilio and Jack to face their fears and make choices: love or money; truth or freedom; forgiveness or torment, sadness or joy… Ohhh…

I feel like giving away a little more… I hope this isn’t a spoiler. Nope, I don’t think it is. The book begins with “trouble in paradise”. Yes, their friendship is tested, and the journey begins. I’ll add this for good measure – one of the characters is a drama queen… who’s suffering from depression to top it all off.

But don’t worry – the others are lovely… or not… 😉

Click to Subscribe (via email) and Find Out for Yourself.

Keep Swimming – Poem


stony beach

A brief definition of a beach, by me –

Soft & golden sand with a fresh breeze & the sea

Yet, this shore, right here, without one grain of sand

Is believed to be qualified. I believe, but not quite…

Well… Sea? Checked. Breeze? Checked.

But then.., stones – and sooo haaard!

…..

In my mind, there’s a memory of a soft & smooth beach

Without the soft sand, my bare feet feel so… eek!

.. 

Rocks are surely great for the ‘mountain time’

Yet, each beach, in my mind, requires… the sand…

Second thought – let’s revise

It’s a fruitful land…

As in spite of my hurting feet

Which from pebbles bleed

 I prefer to keep swimming

In the sea bottomed hard

Than to drown in the one

Underlaid with soft sand.

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***

 

Final thought:

“Just keep swimming” Dori from “Finding Nemo”

Mirage, Marriage, Memoir – Poem


Mirage
He looked good and had a lot
So, she entered the mirage
Only, she had failed to notice
Ugliness & lack, inside

Their mirage turned to a marriage
From hell – especially for her…
Technically, it was not a marriage
She was not the only girl

Damn! Had she known before
Man! Had she shut that door
Now, things are not as they were
And there’s another… inside of her

They remain together
Every day is deader
Well, at least for her
He just doesn’t care

She is black & blue,
Although born to the white race,
With red cigarette marks
All over her face…

‘She’s such a good girl’, they say
‘How?! She doesn’t smoke’, they ask
They don’t want to dig too deep,
She feels safe behind her mask…

Many years ago,
Mum & dad (without a dime)
Saw their ‘once upon a time’…

giphy (1)
Very quickly, in one voice,
They approved her choice
They knew she would share the good life
‘Yes, our girl’s a rich man’s wife!’

Only now,
There’s too much drama
For daddy and mama…
And,
They feel like she failed
Because money’s still scarce
They do get their share, but
they spend & they spend…

She is all alone, except…
There is Another inside of her

She is finally getting there
Tired of sweet little lies
Turned to big & bitter crimes
She is bound & very tired,
But she can pretend no more
Keeps on choking on his waves,
But she’s swimming to the shore

There’s a miracle there, for her
Husband doesn’t want divorce, but he doesn’t care
Technically, he is not her husband
Coz she’s not the only girl

Now, she knows…
A graveyard may look like a park
Until you see its grave stones…
Finally, she’s been hurt enough
He’s fractured enough of her bones

Mirage turned into a marriage
Is becoming a memoir…
He will need to find an ashtray
To extinguish his cigar.

Taken from my new book “Love, don’t Fear – Poetry Collection”

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I See You. Unbroken. – Poem


I hear you…

You have a beautiful way with words

Such an able mind you have,

And yet it’s so sad

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I see you…

Broken faith, broken dreams

Broken body as it seems…

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I feel you…

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I don’t know you, but I do

I’m so human… just like you

I’ve known pain for many years

I believe it rhymes with ‘tears’

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In my world…

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Poems, prayers, sermons helped

When I hurt so much I yelped,

And when pain was lingering –

Chronic, constant, deep within

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I see you…

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Unbroken. I see you unchained

It is not a word, but I C U unpained

Free from all your tears

And those wasted years

.

I see you…

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I see you unbroken

I see you unbound

I know you are lost

Yet, I see you found

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In my Father’s Heart –

In your Father’s Hand

Unbroken.

Better, Faster, Stronger


arm-2029989_1280

There’s a type of pain that makes you cry

You might even feel like you’re going to die…

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You’re looking for help, but there is no point

You’re feeling a pain no one felt before….

And the ones that felt it cannot give a hand

They’re too busy fighting their own type of pain

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So,

Your mouth is now widely shut, but

Your eyes must be open – looking up…

There is God!

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Suddenly,

You become better, faster, smarter & stronger

Your mind is much clearer, your body lasts longer

.Finally, you may rest… Finally!

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And after the rest…

There comes yet another ‘friendly’ type of pain

Your growth must continue. It must start yet again ♥

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