Monday, September 8, 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saying Good Bye to Granny

In my Granny's arms when I was just three days old.
Earlier this week, I lost my last living grandparent. My sweet grandmother, Tina, has passed away. One of the hardest working women I've ever known, Granny filled many of my young summers with music, card games, fried chicken, bowling, and laughter. She was a survivor in every sense of the word. She will be deeply missed.

Granny with my great-aunt Sandie in Alabama.
Strong Southern women is where I come from.
She Remembers Love 

They say her mind has started to slip,
she’s let herself go. She’s old now,
in her seventies. Hair has grayed,
photographs have yellowed. Son
and daughters have moved to places
like Hayward, Honolulu, Vegas. She stays
in the South but they say she’s too much
to handle. Gave up her crocheting,
crosswords puzzles and cups of
sugary coffee. Each bittersweet day after
day after day, she stares at the screen,
comforted by murder mysteries
and memories of men she once
loved and loved her back. Her stories
are compilations of many, a blurred
mixture of truth and dreams, the dead
relatives. Orphanages in Louisiana.
Bad marriages in California.
True love in Tellico Plains.
Over a clumsy game of solitaire,
she shuffles the cards and recalls
a day trip to Knoxville when she knew
her second husband had fallen
in love with her for the first time. His left
hand on the steering wheel. His right,
careening around the edges of her
Southern heart. As they cross a bridge,
the swaying hips of the Tennessee River,
reminds him of their first kiss. Words tumble
from his mouth and she drinks them up,
allows them to melt inside of her, cooling
the simmering regrets that have begun
to plague her like the sorrow she felt
in her Cherokee blood on The Cherohala
Skyway, when he took her to Stratton
Meadows and she feared the ghosts. Their trail
of tears haunt her, later, in his hospital
room when his heart gives way and she
suddenly becomes a widow, a nuisance,
a door that won’t shut all the way. She lays
down the king of hearts, winning
the game. She doesn’t always remember
his name. But the bridge, the river, the allure
of the city, strike a familiar chord
in the nostalgic belfry of her beautiful heart.

Me. Granny. Bunnies.
The Departure

My parents lied to the airline, said I was five. Rules
were made to be broken when convenient, when
getting rid of me, when I needed to be old enough
to fly alone. The stewardess gave me wings. The pilot
showed me the cockpit, my first view of cerulean sky.

I was four. I flew south. For the summer, I was sent
to Carson, California where I ate cinnamon
toast, drank chocolate milkshakes for breakfast made
each morning by my stoned and seventeen Aunt Lawana,
who embodied the fearlessness I would always crave.

First rule: Granny refused to let Jolene be played
in her house. Said it was about a cheatin’ woman
and no good would ever come of that filthy song.
One night, after a bucket of fried chicken, I caught
her singing a verse or two. Bad memories got stuck

down deep in her throat, ‘til she nearly choked
to death and Pa had to save her. He gave her
a can of Fresca, bought her endless bags of yarn
to knit dresses for her toilet paper dolls, living
like banished woman in the bathroom, breathing.

Granny rubbed tobacco into my skin so I would know
how to always soothe a sting. Pa filled the Doughboy
pool so I could float on my back beneath the pomegranate
trees. So I could throw my dreams up to the sun, hoping
in September the truthful sky would carry me home.

In loving memory of Tina Elsie Axley (née Womack).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cover Reveal! ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY

I'm thrilled to share the cover of my upcoming young adult novel Anything But Ordinary. The book will be available this fall in paperback and eBook.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

BLOOM: A New Web Series for Teens

I'm very excited to announce Bloom: a new web series I created especially for teens. The first episode is scheduled to premiere worldwide on January 12, 2015.

You can find out more about Bloom (and how to support our show) here.

I can't wait to share this exciting project with everyone!

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Guide to My Pen Names and Why I Use Them

There are many advantages to writing in different genres and formats. For one, writing is still an exciting process for me. Each day is different than the next. The spectrum I work on is wide-ranging, allowing me considerable creative freedom.

Yet, the downside to all of this has to do with something called marketing. In the consumer-focused society we live in, most readers and film-goers like to know what they're getting when they recognize a writer's name. They know J.K Rowling is responsible for all things Harry Potter. They know that Stephen King knows what it takes to scare them. They trust Nicholas Sparks to make them love until they cry. All of these writers are known for the genres in which they write.

So, what becomes of a writer (like me) who isn't happy sticking to one genre or format? The answer is simple. They become more than one writer and, in the process, more than one brand.

The concept of branding and what it means to be a brand was relatively new to me until a couple of years ago when it was brought to my attention by colleagues and fellow writers just how all over the place I was career-wise. I was confusing my readers. I was trying to be seven writers in one. As one very helpful marketing genius and friend said to me, you need to reinvent yourself.

So, I have...times four.

Is it a form of schizophrenia? Probably.

Is it necessary? Absolutely.

Moving forward, I will be writing and publishing under four (yes four) names.

To ease the confusion (and to provide myself with my own identity cheat seat), here's the breakdown.

I realize only the very few and very devoted will embrace and follow each of these personas online, but I'm including social media info in case it's wanted.

David-Matthew Barnes
Yes! My very own hyphenated name. 
Genres: Literary, Young Adult, Women's Fiction
Formats: Novels, Short Stories, Poetry, Stage Plays, Screenplays
Facebook (fan page)
Facebook (personal page)
Instagram: xoxoDMB
Twitter
Website


Declan Mayfair
Genres: Horror
Formats: Screenplays
Facebook (fan page)
Facebook (personal page)
Instagram: DeclanMayfair
Website


Dylan Madrid
Genres: Gay Romance/Suspense
Formats: Novels
Facebook (fan page)
Facebook (personal page)
Instagram: AuthorDylanMadrid
Twitter
Website


Wren Valentino
Genres: Romance
Format: Novels
Facebook (fan page)
Facebook (personal page)
Instagram: WrenValentino
Twitter
Website

So...if you see me wandering the world (cyber or otherwise), please intervene and remind me of who I am.

Of course, it will depend on what I'm writing at the moment.

DMB on Twitter

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