How to Say No to a Needy Roommate

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You’re finally free of Mom and Dad, allowing you to experience the woes of adulting alone. Paying bills, working, putting fun aside for important things…it’s a lot, but it’s all part of adulting. Also part of adulting is knowing you can’t do it alone, and you need help paying the rent. A strange roommate is better than living with your parents, but sometimes roommates become too needy and presumptuous. Saying no to them can be hard, but it’s a must, and there are ways.

Boundaries exist for a reason…

Say it with me: boundaries. There are those among us who find comfort in privacy. I’m not talking about paranoid old people who watch you from between the cracks in their blinds. I mean, people like you, reading this article who value their space. Boundaries exist for a reason, and you must set them. For this reason, it is important to express your expectations prior to moving in or as soon as possible. The longer you allow your roommate to overstep, the harder it will be to confront them and have them take your concerns seriously. Tell them your likes and dislikes, your choice of music, your bedtime, what you like to do in your spare time and so forth. This is called getting to know them. It will help in the future.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to have a sit-down with your roommate. Tell your roommate what’s bothering you. For instance, maybe they borrow your things, like clothes or your last slice of pizza from the fridge, without permission and that grinds your gears. It’s not petty of you to expect your ice-cold soda to be in the fridge waiting on your parched mouth. It’s not petty of you to be upset when it isn’t. Don’t let your roommate play reverse psychology and have you question the legitimacy of your complaints. Say what’s on your mind and stick to it.

A thief would rob you homeless.

Moreover, if you have a roommate who’s too presumptuous, you’ve probably been shocked to find that person had been in your room without permission while you were gone. You probably causally inquired as to why that person had been in your bedroom and they made an excuse you didn’t buy. Well, it’s time for you to get a bedroom lock. I know you shouldn’t have to chain your things up in your own home, but you must protect your valuables. A potential thief would rob you homeless. True, a padlock won’t stop a determined thief, but it could stop your presumptuous roommate from overstepping their bounds.

…you need your space…

Additionally, you should invest in renter’s insurance. For prices as low as $6 a month, you can insure and protect all your valuables. Imagine your irresponsible roommate throwing a house party and your favorite earrings or game console goes missing. You could be out of thousands. With a good insurance policy, you’ll just be out of a deductible. This requires adulting though. For certain property be covered, in most cases, you’ll need receipts. So, you should always keep copies of receipts. This should be easy, considering many people order online and stores send digital receipts, and everyone has a smartphone. These days, you can snap a picture of a receipt and your phone will automatically label it as such and store it to a particular folder.

Having a roommate can be a blessing, or it can be a nightmare. It depends mostly on the type of person you’re living with and the boundaries you’ve established. Maybe the roommate is cool, but you need your space, instead of having them hang out with you all day. Or you want them to stay out of your stuff. Telling them this can be uncomfortable, but it’s their sanity or yours. Choose wisely. Be calm and respectful but stern. Tell them how you feel. The sooner you address the issue, the easier it will be to resolve.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

Losing Your Tail: An Ode to Eeyore

Photo by Fontida Assisted Living

As a child, I was always fascinated by Winnie the Pooh, but Eeyore’s constant state of depression confused me. Why was he always so sad? Like most children, I didn’t find out until much later that the cause of Eeyore’s sadness was his lost tail. The one he had was not his own, and not having his tail affected him to the point he suffered some form of PTSD. Don’t be Eeyore. You lost your tail can be your former spouse, your foreclosed home, your stock or anything you hold dear. Newsflash: it’s time to get over losing it, and there are ways.

Ask yourself, where did I go wrong?

I’m not going to tell you breakups are easy or losing your job isn’t a big deal. Breakups aren’t easy, and no one wants to be fired. Well, mostly. To deal with that hurt, you must confront it. Look it in the face, acknowledge it, but don’t let it overwhelm your vision of self. Ask your self, where did I go wrong? What could I have done better?

The old adage says everything happens for a reason. I believe that, but to a degree. There is a reason for everything that happens, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a good one. However, for good or bad, it happened. It is out of your control. Your old boss won’t call you up and say, ”I’ve heard you’re so sad, I want you to come back.” Your ex won’t say, ”Ending things with you have made me realize how much I need you.”

When dealing with an issue that has already transpired, don’t obsess. I said it’s fine to think about it, but you have to know when to stop. It’s usually the moment when you say, ”I’ll stop obsessing later.” Procrastination enables obsession. The longer you let your bad breakup corrode your emotional state, the harder it will be to fight off depression.

Know your next move.

The best thing you can do after a great loss is make a great plan to move forward. I know you’re tired of hearing how planning magically makes your goals a reality. No, it doesn’t work that way, but planning gives you an advantage. You’ll have a general idea of what to do, even if it’s not fully fleshed out. Know what your next move is.

You also have to thank the Greater Being you believe in for that foreclosure, car repo or breakup. You say why? Because maybe the universe saved you some agony. What if the house had a carbon monoxide leak slowly killing your family, or the car had a bad brakes and an accident was imminent? All of that is farfetched, but the point is, you never know the hell losing something or someone can save you.

You’re made to evolve, so just do it already.

Eeyore lost his tail and let depresssion consume him until he was a shell of a donkey. Sure, he’s a cartoon, yet he’s a an excellent example of how not getting over loss can drain your chances at happiness. Moping changes nothing. Action does. Forget your lost tail, whether it’s a spouse or prized possession. It isn’t the end of your life. It’s simply an alteration. You’re made to evolve, so just do it already.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

Confronting Lazy Coworkers (Or Classmates)

From Pexles.com

We’ve all been there. You’ve been assigned a group project at work or even at school. The other two or three people on your team are at least attempting to hold their own, but there’s that one late guy who thinks rules of work don’t apply to him. Or maybe it’s an attractive coworker who thinks their rugged good looks or cute figure will get them by. It irritates and frustrates you, but you don’t know how to deal with it. Well, there are a few key ways to handle lazy people.

Stress leads to depression.

To begin with, confront yourself. Though the lazy person obviously needs to step their game up, something in you would rather have you grind your teeth and soldier on than confront the person and feel awkward for a while. Why is that? Why would you want to suffer carrying someone else’s workload than confront them? You don’t deserve that. Allowing someone to bully you will only emotionally harm you.

Confronting that person may come across as a huge step, and it is. However, you need to take that step for yourself and your own health. Imagine biting your tongue every time someone puts their work off on you. Whether you’re a college student or a professional, the added stress can damage your quality of life. Stress leads to depression. You’ll be gray before your time at the hands of others, if you don’t stand up for yourself.

Protect yourself...

Taking a step back, it is important to delegate duties. Everyone must know their role. Deadlines must be set, and meetings have to take place. The sooner you find out there’s a slacker, the sooner you can address and correct the issue. Don’t wait until your boss says, ”Where’s the project?” or the day your professor says, ”Presentations are due.” This will be the bane of you. Protect yourself professionally and academically.

Also, before speaking to the other person alone, have a group meeting. Go first. Tell and show your coworkers or class group what you’ve done so far. Once it’s on the slacker, the slacker will make excuses as to why they haven’t completed their part. It may embarrass them enough to actually make them do their work. Nothing gets someone more uncomfortable than being put on the spot when they’re unprepared.

From Pexles.com

If the other person continues to slack, if no one has brought it up by now, you do it. Get the others’ opinions. If they feel the same way you do, you all together should address the lazy person. Tell them what the issue is and give examples of when they have been late on deadlines or completing milestones. Let them give their side. Listen patiently. Reinforce what you’re feeling and kindly let them know your future expectations.

When all else fails, you must report the slacker to your boss or professor. It sounds harsh, but it’s life. There are those who will take advantage of your meekness. They will trample all over you if you allow them to. Notifying your boss is what’s called C.Y.A., or covering your ass. Don’t take the blame for someone else’s underperformance.

Still, you have to be understanding.

However, you must be empathetic of other people’s situations. With the pandemic in full force, you see that life happens. Some things are out of our control. So, you have to be understanding. Still, a slacker will show who they are. One insincere excuse will follow another. You should be able to identify those with a real life issue from those who don’t.

That said, be your own backbone and stand up to lazy coworkers or classmates. You don’t have to do other people’s work. That’s the whole point of splitting it as a group. Don’t take a reprimand for someone who wouldn’t for you. They may not care about their career or academic future, but you care about yours. If that person won’t work, turn them in to the boss or professor. It’s not stitching. It’s covering your ass.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

Conquering Self-Doubt After Failure: How to Win

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Maybe your boss overlooked your hard work and instead promoted the know-it-all who gossips behind everyone’s back and gets half the amount of work done you do. Maybe you had a job interview but didn’t get the position. Or you finally confessed your love for your crush, but your crush shot you down. Whatever you’ve failed at, you feel embarrassed, likely ashamed, and inadequate. Also, you’re afraid to make your next move, because you’ve failed before. Fear is fine. Folding to fear is not. You must shake your fear, treat your bruises and move on. New opportunities have (or will) presented themselves, but you feel incapable or inadequate for those opportunities. You must overcome that self-doubt, but how do you do that?

I told myself I am worthy

Recently, a college offered an interview for the job of my life. I imagined myself in a suit and tie teaching eager 20-something-year olds how to master grammar. Me, a professor. The thought alone blew my mind. The offer followed my having some professional hiccups. Coming from humble beginnings, I could be lecturing a class of students and guiding them. That thought is as overwhelming as it is exciting. Knowing how hard I worked to get in the position to even have a college consider employing me as a professor did nothing to quell the nervousness bubbling in my gut. However, after doubting myself and worrying, I told myself I am worthy because I earned it.

In 2021, do away with toxic humbleness, the type that tells you that you aren’t good enough. Humility is a good thing until it takes on the corrosiveness of self-doubt. Whether you’re applying for a new job, thinking about changing careers or simply changing yourself, you have to remind yourself that everything you want, you deserve it. Easily, you can think of a million reasons you can’t achieve or deserve a goal, but you have to find the main reason you can. That reason can be because you need it, worked for it or just because you want it.

In a sea of people, you stand out.

Moreover, when was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror? Really looked at yourself? Look yourself in the face and say, “I got this.” They say crazy people talk to themselves. Well, I’m nuts, because I often talk to myself. If you don’t encourage yourself, who will? The belief of the world in you starts with your own belief in yourself. Peer into that mirror and remind yourself of your worthiness and greatness. Whether the president or the pope, no one is above you. In a sea of people, you stand apart. The kindle of self-worth is within you. Your belief in yourself is the spark to set it ablaze.

Next, you have to stop pitying yourself. You failed. So what? It happens. You shouldn’t mope about it. Sure, take time to process what went wrong. Replay the scenario in your head and see what could have gone better. Analyze. Don’t obsess. People fail all the time, and sometimes, it is out of their control. Delinquent homeowners are foreclosed on by heartless banks. Maybe the homeowners had a gambling problem, so their issue is their own creation. Even if this is true, even if you somewhat helped in your failure, you can not pity yourself. Not a soul walking this planet has walked it perfectly. For proof, catch the news on politicians caught participating in the same activities they publicly discourage. This is what happened when someone caught former president Bill Clinton smoking weed while president. That didn’t stop him from seeking — and winning — a second term. Be bold as Bill.

Embrace every part of yourself…

So, you’ve made some mistakes in the past and missed an opportunity. You feel like a failure. You feel inadequate and discouraged. Failure together with fear will inhibit you. To blossom, do away with those feelings. Forgive yourself for whatever you didn’t succeed at and move forward. A failure is someone who accepts failure. A winner doesn’t let defeat dictate their next battle, other than to ensure that battle goes in their favor. Try. Fail. Try again. Search for new opportunities. Do not feel overwhelmed. Embrace every part of yourself and beat your self-doubt.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.


Growing Your Own Wings: You Got This

Who are you trying to please? What arrogant asshole has you feeling inadequate or less than? Don’t lie to yourself. The sooner you face the reality that you allow your happiness to be determined by how someone else feels about you, the sooner you’ll be cured of this. Sometimes, we fall in awe with people, i.e. being starstruck. We are taken by who they are and where they came from. In a way, we aspire to be that person and so we break our backs unsuccessfully to please that person. I am here to say, you must confront this person and move on, whether that person is a best friend, lover or employer. Whoever that person is, it’s time for you to realize they’re not worth impressing, and it’s time for you to spread your wings and soar.

“You feel pressured to agree [with them]. Don’t.

The other day, my youngest daughter was watching an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. After SpongeBob’s boss decides to impersonate a famous clown instead of paying the money to hire the clown, SpongeBob calls his boss “Cheapy the Cheapskate.” Mr. Krabs’ true colors crushed SpongeBob’s false perception of Mr. Krabs. Instead of thinking of him as generous, SpongeBob knows his boss is selfish and cheap. While my daughter giggled at the episode, I processed it, having recently uncovered a phony in my own life.

Maybe you have a mentor or boss you look up to. Up to this point in your life, you’ve done all you could to impress them; you’ve taken their advice, strived to be a better you and made sure not to make the same mistakes twice. Yet this person you seek to impress doesn’t respect you. Where you listen to their opinions, they half listen to yours and stomp all over them. If your viewpoint isn’t their own, they can not let it go. You feel pressured into agreeing with them. Don’t.

“Don’t let anyone tell you your opinion…is wrong.”

The biggest part of growing is accepting and defending your well-researched viewpoints or holy-held spiritual or moral beliefs. Once, my former boss took the entire office out to lunch. She asked what I was getting for lunch, and when I said, “ribs,” she said I should get something different. I didn’t. When my steaming, tender plate of ribs came, red-faced, she said, “I thought I said get something different.” And I said, “I wanted the ribs” and enjoyed every artery-clogging bite.

As you grow, you’ll see you really like some things the person you wish to impress does too while really disliking others they love. So what? For instance, you may be against the death penalty while the other person is for it. Though the death penalty is essentially a moral issue, there are facts to bolster both sides of the argument. Just because someone has facts doesn’t mean their facts are more powerful than your own. Don’t let anyone tell you your opinion or belief is wrong.

Moreover, it is time to stand up for yourself. You must address every condescending remark your mentor, friend, parent, boss or whoever throws your way. Take a moment. Breathe. Then address the person. It is best to check the person at that moment for impact. Or you can wait, mull things over and call or text the person. Don’t let them tell you that you misinterpreted what they said. Don’t let them tell you what you’re feeling is misplaced, isn’t real or based on a false premise. No. You have to say, “Maybe you didn’t mean it that way, but I took it that way, and that’s what matters.”

“They intentionally drown out your opinion.”

If the person doesn’t apologize, tell them they have not apologized and why they should. Don’t accept “I didn’t mean it that way” as an apology. Getting them to give a real, meaningful apology is important in preventing them from making condescending remarks in the future. If they don’t apologize, they will do it again. So, without a sincere apology from that person, I would suggest you nix that person from your life.

Sometimes, we fall in love with the idea of a person. We place them on a pedestal and seek to impress that person, be it a friend, parent boss or coworker. In doing so, we often whitewash who we are. Mentors can sometimes build cages around you, trapping you in a world of their opinions and beliefs. They intentionally drown out yours. You must stop trying to impress that person, spread your wings and take off. You got this.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (In 2020)

As this year comes to a close, the sci-fi horror story complete with a failing economy and killer pandemic is only getting worse. The pressures to do something, to be somebody have only multiplied. Never has it been such a great time to give a fuck less. Enter: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is not your normal self-help book, and it is not for the faint of heart. This book doesn’t coddle you into feeling better or amp you up into believing you can do anything. Instead, it tells you how life is and suggests that you just deal with it. This is something we need to hear right now as Americans. As people, we dress in fancy clothes or use “good English” to set ourselves apart. In our Sunday’s best working hard at our jobs, we simply pray someone, anyone, gives a fuck about us and our faux-pretentious hard work. What if they don’t? Do we give up or do we change gears?

“Giving others domain over your happiness doesn’t end well.”

No matter how perfect you try to be or how nice you are to everyone, you can’t please every single person. Have you ever noticed that one insult outweighs a dozen compliments? Celebrities are praised daily on social media, but it takes just one off-color comment to set them off. Just like you, they are only human. Also like you, they shouldn’t give a fuck about what a troll says on the internet, but it’s human nature to want to impress and do better. Yet giving others domain over your happiness doesn’t end well.

COVID may have you scared in the house, and rightfully so. Caskets of the deadly infected are dropping every day while the infection and hospitalization rates climb. This is terrible, and it is fine to feel afraid, but you can’t let this pandemic hold you back from self growth. Use this time to mediate, think and plan. Don’t let other people’s expectations hold you back. Equally, you can’t let those expectations force you to act more quickly than you plan to. Doing so puts you under unfair pressure.

“…take the crookeds with the straights.”

I have always been a believer that in order to achieve goals, I must write them out and go for them. I have never been the type to weigh the consequences. As Mark Manson put it in Not Giving a Fuck, life is a series of problems and when you decide what success you want, you also have to decide what pain you want. That means that everything comes with a certain stock of pain. As science puts it, for every action there is an equally adverse reaction. Simply put, take the good with the bad. Or as Troy Maxon in Fences would say, take the crookeds with the straights.

What is failure?”

Success is not easy. You will lose a lot to gain what you want. It is called sacrifice. This is why ninety percent of us fail. Because we lack the fortitude to keep on in the face of adversity. The pandemic and economy may scare you. Failure may scare you. But what is failure? Do we fail by society’s standards or our own? That choice is up to you.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

Black Trump Supporters Are Weird ASF

Photo by http://www.insider.com

Now that the dust has settled, I can address the Johnny Come Lately Trump supporter syndrome infecting Black people across America from the elites to the not-so-elite. What started with a failed reality tv show star (Omorosa) and two unhinged Black women (Diamond and Silk), the Black Trump supporter movement has snowballed into an enormous farce, featuring Candace Owens as the loudspeaker.

Black Trump supporters all have something in common: a willingness to overlook transgressions against Black people in return for second-class citizenship that floats them above the average Black inner-city American. They not only deny white supremacy; sometimes, they perpetuate it. For instance, Candace Owens has argued that white nationalism isn’t that bad. In the link provided, she adds a defense of her words. In the link, a recording of Owens pointed to Hitler and said his actions were fine, until he left Germany for more conflict or “globalization.” Sounds nuts, but this is what Owens believes.

When Hurricane Katrina ripped New Orleans to the ground, rapper Kanye argued former President George Bush’s delayed response proved he “didn’t care about Black people.” Rapper Lil Wayne argued the government was trying to “wipe New Orleans off the map.” Both rappers hinted that racism played a part in the federal government’s fumbling of Katrina. These same rappers have come forward as Trump supporters, even though Trump has consistently shown his racism.

Photo by www.thetimes.com

Black Trump supporters say, look at what Trump did for Black people. They point his criminal justice reform act and stimulus checks. The stimulus checks were a Democrat-led effort. They should get the credit. Trump deserves some, but not a bunch. Maybe 5%. He initially didn’t help stimulus negotiations. As for criminal justice reform, Obama did the same with changing crack versus cocaine laws. Before Obama, crack offenders received ten times as much time as powder cocaine offenders. The only difference was that Blacks were more likely to be caught with crack. Thus, the Fair Sentencing Act was enacted.

“Trump connects with fringe Black people.”

Everything Trump begrudgingly did for the Black community to get votes, Biden and Harris will do on a greater level with better intentions and without stoking racial unrest. Trump is no savior of Black people. He questioned Obama’s citizenship, tried to have five Black teens arrested for a rape they didn’t commit and he attacked Colin Kaepernick for peacefully protesting police brutality which is something most Black Trump supporters downplay or deny exists.

From my own personal encounters, I know Trump connects with fringe Black people. For instance, a close friend of mine and I had a disagreement about Trump, and this friend tells me of a secret alien program Trump is a part of. This friend began telling me about alien conspiracies and why Trump must be re-elected. All of this was nuts. Another friend of mine who supports Trump also reads tarot cards and believes xxxTenacion and the government faked his death.

So, Trump has tapped into the elite weird Black people and the regular weird Black people. His supporters wear Black skin, but white supremacy is their identity. Intentionally or unintentionally, these fringe Black people are trying to lead Black people to slaughter. As a Black man’s neighbor is murdered unjustly by overzealous cops, these white supremacists with Black faces urge the community to disarm itself and ignore the systemic racism infecting their community.

“Do we ever use the phrase ‘white on white’ violence?”

It bothers me to hear the phrase “Black on Black violence” by conservative Black people who bring it up. White people have murdered each other for decades on what some would say are genocidal levels. Do we ever use the phrase “white on white violence”? These same people contend that Black people only make a fuss when cops kill Black people but not when they kill each other. First off, that statement is a lie. Next, when a Black person kills another, when the police catch the killer, they usually throw that killer away for almost life, if not life. When a cop unjustly slays a Black person, the system defends that cop at the outset nearly every time. And almost never do those killer cops face any significant jail time. See the difference?

I write this article to bring attention to the Black conservative self-hater archetype Trump has unwittingly exposed in our community. Black people who deny and spread white supremacy are not Black. They are not a part of our community. They should have no say-so in our politics or general goings-on. People like Candace Owens, Lil Wayne and Diamond and Silk are cancerous to the Black community. They have denied who they are to become what they will never be: white. So, they settle for second-class citizenship with some perks. In order to keep those perks and prevent other Blacks from getting better perks independently, they try to turn Black people into sheep at slaughter time. Do not follow these weirdos.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

Review of Emeka Ossai: More Fiction than Fact

Screenshot of Emeka’s YouTube video by J Reed

If you’re a blossoming self-publisher, author or other form of writer, you’ve likely encountered information by the charismatic Emeka Ossai. Through grammatically-incorrect emails, Emeka pushes his self-publishing course called ”My Self-Publishing Blueprint.” I’ve noticed an uptick in traffic on my website to an article I wrote concerning Emeka. To be clear, Emeka is, in my opinion, a charlatan whose BluePrint course I would not purchase. I’ve seen it, and it is worthless.

You could build a playlist and learn from it, instead of giving your money to a charlatan.

To explain more, Emeka’s course includes these 8 modules: 1. How to pick your niche, 2. Creating your book, 3. Publishing your book on Kindle, 4. Publishing your paperback book, 5. Ranking your book and getting reviews, 6. Creating an audiobook for additional income, 7. Email marketing for Kindle publishers and 8. Bonus lessons. This is all information provided by reputable sources for free on the sites previously mentioned. You could build a playlist and learn from it, instead of giving your money to a charlatan.

After a months-long hiatus, Emeka has returned revved up with more information on how to buy his BluePrint. The problem: everything Emeka sells you in his course, you can find on YouTube, Kindle or Google for free from reputable sources like Brian Murphy, Joanna Penn, Sean Platt and more self-publishers who actually know what they’re talking about and have the evidence to prove it. The information in his BluePrint course may be outdated or outright misleading, based on false premises about his own success.

[Emeka’s] methods are maybe shady sometimes.

For one, Emeka positions himself as someone who has himself made a living through selling on Amazon. However, he says he ghostwrote those books. Because of this, he can not release the titles of the books he successfully ghostwrote. Basically, you have no way to confirm his story.

If you want to learn about marketing your books, learn from someone with a proven track record, not someone like Emeka whose track record may have gotten him banned from Amazon. Quietly, the self-publishing community says, due to review swaps with other authors, Emeka got banned. His methods are maybe shady sometimes.

It seems after his hiatus, Emeka is scraping for cash. He is now offering a ”blowout” deal where 1-on-1 coaching with him is priced at $5,000. He prices his new package as follows: BluePrint Vol. 1 $397 + BluePrint Vol 2 (TBD) $4,997 + 1-on-1 coaching $5,000 for a total combined total of $10,394. Right now, he’ll give you this for $997. This whole package is a farce meant to make him some quick cash.

Screenshot of Emeka’s New Offer by J Reed

Do not give this man [Emeka] your money.

First off, the BluePrint has been available for a very long time. It’s worthless because all the information it contains can be found on YouTube or Kindle for free. Plus, he can’t prove he sold as many books as he alleges. And how can he effectively teach you how to sell books when he himself can’t prove he has? Moreover, his coaching package will include ”three monthly calls” and access to him by email for the $5,000 previously mentioned. Who is Emeka that three phone calls and some emails with him are worth $5,000? And the other course hasn’t even dropped yet. The reason he’s willing to give you all this at less than ten percent of its value is because it has no value. It’s worthless. Do not give this man your money. In his emails and on YouTube, he presents posts of people who have ”reviewed” him. He was banned from Amazon for fake reviews. There is no telling what else he is willing to do to trick people into thinking he has reviews.

For whatever reasons, Emeka went AWOL for some time. Now, hes back in full-force pushing an outdated course that’s worthless on its face. Do not trust his information. His methods are shady. He is not transparent. I highly recommend against purchasing his information or courses. Whereas I provide tangible services for authors like proofreading on Fivver, Emeka ”coaches” with mostly unverifiable information.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

Angel Bumpass: No Freedom, No Peace

Photo Retrieved from Twitter/Tennessee Dept of Correction Angel Bumpass

At the age of 23, Angel Bumpass sits incarcerated, serving a 60-year-sentence for a murder that occurred when she was just 13-years-old. On her way out of the courtroom following her sentencing, Angel’s last words were, “I’ll never see my kids again.” Ironically, her 46-year-old male co-defendant who she does not know personally was found not guilty.

“None of [Angel’s] fingerprints were found on the home’s surfaces…”

Since the airing of her case on A&E’s hit show Accused: Guilty or Innocent, Angel’s appeal has gained traction, with her family setting up a Change.org petition. The outrage stems over the fact that the prosecution, outside of two fingerprints on duct tape used to suffocate the victim, nothing linked Angel to the murder. None of her fingerprints were found on the home’s surfaces, while nine unidentified prints were. Moreover, with the jury rejecting to convict her male co-defendant, it seems the jury is saying either she could have bound and killed the male victim herself or she assisted and was covering for someone else.

Photo Pulled from Reddit

To begin with, Angel Bumpass was 13 at the time of the murder. No one on the prosecution’s side knows what role, if any, she played in the murder. At worst, she could have been a child under the duress of an adult and, thereby, a kidnapping victim. She would be a victim, not an assailant. Also, the tape could have already had her fingerprints on it and been stolen from her garage.

We have cases where white chicks have literally killed their children and walked, beating every felony charge. Somehow, the jury just can’t find it in their merciful hearts to convict a blonde-haired child murderer, yet juries can convict as an adult a Black mother of a crime that occurred when she was no more than 13 years old. Without barely a hint of evidence and no clear motive, how is that even possible?

“The lead investigator…was charged with evidence tampering…”

It’s also worth mentioning that one of the lead detectives in Angel’s cases, Karl Fields, was fired for making advances toward a rape victim whose assault he was investigating. As an investigator, Fields was accused of everything from coaching witnesses to losing evidence. Fields was even charged with tampering with and fabricating evidence before, in an unrelated case. Though the charges were dropped, the charges show what type of corrupt cop he was. This is the man whose testimony and investigation helped jail a mother. This alone is call for a retrial and her to be released.

Angel Bumpass. Say her name. Write it down. Never forget it. Go to Change.org and sign her petition. She and her children need you now more than ever. Help us fight this constant oppressive system of racial injustice.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, local news stories and national news stories. Please join his email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

The Irony of Johnathan Price

From left to right: Murderer Shaun Lucas, Victim Johnathan Price
Photo by: UpnUpNews

“I never got that kind of energy from the po-po,” Johnathan Price wrote, concerning officers. From his experiences, he claimed, he never got bad treatment from police. He urged Black people to judge by their own experiences, not everyone else’s. Johnathan defend cops. Ironically, it was his belief in police, his trust in police that ultimately got him killed.

Recently, it came to light that cops murdered Price after responding to a call in which Price was assaulted while trying to break up a domestic dispute. When cops came, they attempted to arrested Price, though Price wasn’t the culprit. At some point, Price went to shake an officer’s hand. The officer tased Price, and when Price’s body convulsed from the jolt, the officer shot him four times.

Normally, I would be up in arms about this. How is an innocent, unarmed man gunned down by the police for trying to break up a fight? The weirdest part of this story is that the officer claimed to have shot Price because Price began jerking from being electrocuted. What? Who trained this guy? Who hired him? What’s his record look like as a cop? Normally, the senseless murder of another Black men by cops would have aggravated me. I would protest, scream his life matters, push for change. But that’s not what Price would have wanted.

[Price] denied systemic racism…

Price believed in cops, in the system, in the process. He denied white privilege, Black oppression by cops and the ailments that sickened police departments. He chose to promote a narrative that denied any trace of systemic racism. He never protested. He never believed Black men were targets. Price was just the male version of Candace Owens.

I won’t protest for him…

So, like a tragic but distant car crash, I’ll shake my head. I’ll wish Price the best. But I won’t protest for him or call out racism. I won’t stand up for him. I won’t be his voice, because nothing happened to him that hasn’t happened to people whom he denied.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, local news stories and national news stories. Please join his email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.