An American Refugee by Tiah Marie Beautement

DXMzwAMXkAAyFzh.jpgCast of Wonders has released Artemis Rising #4. My short story “An American Refugee” was selected as one of the stories for the Cast of Wonders Pod.   Yes, it has taken me 40 years to do something cool.

The story has been turned into a podcast (which is fab!) but they are not for everyone, especially the hearing impaired. If you’d like to read the story, the text is available below the Show Notes.

You can listen or read by clicking HERE


Mom parks the hover pod and turns around. “It might be different, but we don’t know how different. People might think we’re taking their jobs, using up their resources. Not everybody is happy about the program. Look at the riots in the United Kingdom. They’ve had to put a temporary halt until things calm down. Even some Canadians have questioned taking American refugees, pointed out our country’s long history of booting our immigrants, even children.”

“It’s not our country anymore,” I say.

Mom shuts her eyes tight, like I’ve slapped her.

Dad simply opens the door. “Come, I want a hug before I board the heli-tilt.”

As soon as I’m out, he’s got me in a bear hug. “Fabiana, be kind to your mother while I’m gone. This has been hard for her.”


He gives me a kiss on the top of my head, before turning to Mom.

Mom and I watch the heli-tilt take off. Soon he’ll be on the Russian owned gas-platform, one of the last of its kind, located in South African waters. “Who’d have guessed we’d have the Russians to thank for our freedom?” Mom murmurs.

It’s more complicated than that, I don’t say.


Feminism Is: South Africans Speak Their Truth edited by Jen Thorpe

38799702.jpg~As feminists raising boys, we are determined to live our lives in ways that make sense.~ Pumla Dineo Gqola

~To read Zadie is to confront yourself…To read Zadie is the possibility of arriving at a sense of order, something like filing the mess in your mind into a neater configuration…~ Danielle Alyssa Bowler

~Feminism is a way of life for me, a place where I stand as I live my life, it is complex and intricate and utterly simple.~ Colleen Higgs

~Feminism is now expressed and shaped by a younger generation, who sometimes make me profoundly uneasy.~ Ferial Haffajee

~We did not wake up as ‘woke’ feminists. We are the products of fragmented conversations that started in generations past and have happened between other women over a long period, of painful challenges that live silently in the minds of these struggling women and their internal rage.~ Haji Mohamed Dawjee

~If there is ever one thing I want my brother to learn – from me, my mother, my grandmother – it is that he’s not particularly special…Of course he’s special in that we adore and love him…What I would like him to know is that what is more special than his inherent special, is the context in which he grew up…~ Gugulethu Mhlungu

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The Rising Tide (Elevation #2) by Helen Brain

35734034.jpg~When I was in the colony, I dreamed of seeing the sky. I pictured it endless and serene, a great blue nothing stretching forever. I never imagined it could be grey as granite. ~

~Take charge, girl. Take charge.~

~When I first came out of the bunker, I thought it was amazing that you could smell rain. ~

~The one thing entrusted to my care, and I’ve lost it. ~

~The end of the world, one way or another. ~

There But For The by Ali Smith

13082555.jpg~We’ve a mobile but we hardly use it, the child said, because my mum says what is the point of being on a train and shouting down a mobile, I’m on a train, because it makes it like not being on the train at all. She thinks you should be there on a train when you’re on one, therefore not be on a phone instead.~

~Translation was sometimes itself a little rain of blows.~

~This story is true and happened once in the future long ago.~

~I’m just smelling what colour smells like.~

~But the fact is, how do you know anything is true? Duh, obviously, records and so on, but how do you know that the <i>records</i> are true?~

~The fact is, history is actually all sorts of things nobody knows about.~

~MG – Will you remember me in 3 years time.
BB – Yes
MG – Knock knock
BB – Who’s there
MB – See you’ve forgotten me already.~

Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch

Please note, many of these are mere slices of the sections I enjoyed, or a snippet of a much large conversation which is backed up by research. Some matters that hit me the hardest – such as on names, the Williams sisters, adoption – I did not quote from at all because to pull a quote could risk misunderstandings. To get the full flavour and nuances of the arguments and points made you really do have to read the book.

36619833.jpg~I hadn’t left Britain to become an expat with a competitive advantage in the job scrum; I had left Britain to leave being British. . . Living in Senegal I had discovered, to my endless confusion, how British I was.~

~The confusion I experienced, as a mixed-race girl…is no different from those that have gone before. It’s not the muddled inheritance itself that is the problem. There is no such thing as racial purity in any event. It’s the muting of the conversation – the fact that we cannot in Britain today cope with exploring and accommodating these identities in a healthy way – that is the issue. This failure is capable of turning both our individual and our national heritage from a rich and complex asset into an identity crisis of epic proportions.~

~Names can do that; they plant a seed that influences how your sense of self will grow, and what it will become.~

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Hooked (The Eulalie Park Mysteries, #2) by Fiona Snyckers

38559289.jpg~My strength as an investigator lies in disconcerting people. They find me odd, so they end up blurting out things they should have kept quiet about.~

~People with that kind of money don’t raise their own kids. It’s all nannies and au pairs and drivers.~

~My skin recognized you from the beginning.~

~One dead wife is a tragedy…Two are a pattern.~

~Time slowed down when you were falling to your death.~

Hardly Working: A Travel Memoir of Sorts by Zukiswa Wanner

Hardly-Working-Front-Cover.png~If the African school my son studied in would not offer Africa to him, we would give him Africa.~

~It’s strange how one never worries about a driver breaking the speed limit when anxious to get somewhere at a certain time. ~

~A meal is as delicious as one’s hunger. ~

~No Mzuzu is a big city…There is even a Shoprite.~

~If I ever write an African dictionary of English words, the word surreal will have the map of Malawi next to it, I swear ~

~[G]etting access to literature from a neighbouring African country tends to be tougher than it is to access books published abroad.~

~Prior to meeting Aunt Asenath and Ama, my young mind truly thought all African writers were men because they were the only ones talked about.~

Review for the Sunday Times:

EROTICA: Rules of engagement when asking readers to review your draft

Africa is not a continent of prudes, and consequently, African writers sometimes write erotica. Hey, that’s great. As long as these “after dark” stories are about adults having safe and consensual naked time – write on. In fact, Brittle Paper is looking for erotica, should you be interested.

However, there is some basic etiquette involved when asking another writer to look at your erotic draft. Going about it the wrong way verges on – or IS! – sexual harassment.

1: Do not send your piece to another person without asking first.

Ask the potential reader if they have time to read your work before sending it. Always. Even if your story isn’t erotica. Even if you sent them work before. You ask.

(Yes, there are exceptions, but they are rare. As in – I know about two people who I have a relationship with that would be okay with my just attaching the story and sending it along. Two.)

There is a person in my life who does this perfectly. I was once her mentor. That is over. But occasionally she asks if I can read a piece. Her emails tend to read in the following format:

I hope you are well.

I am trying to write a piece for the (insert publication). My piece is (insert word count), is (insert fiction / non-fiction / poetry), and is about (insert two line summary).

Kind regards,

Do this.

2. If somebody agrees to read your piece do not ask them if they like or enjoy certain sexual activities.

That is none of your business, unless that person is actually your lover.

2b. Do not ask the reader if they think the sexual scenes are realistic.

You are asking for feedback on your story. The person reading it will give you their thoughts on their terms. To do otherwise risks wandering into sexual harassment territory.

2c: Your reader is not your research.

If you are writing characters outside your personal experience, it is your job to research. Read, use the internet, read some more. But it is not your reader’s job to be your personal source of information.

Examples of inappropriate questions:

  • A writer asking a disabled person if they can have sex and how.
  • A writer asking a woman reader if it is realistic for a woman to demand cunnilingus.
  • A writer asking a gay man if it is normal to “switch” (the one who is penetrated vs the one penetrating).

To clarify:
It is fine to ask a writer with a disability to read your story involving a disabled character who has fab sex / bad sex / wants sex. But it is the reader’s choice what they feel comfortable commenting on. It is the reader’s choice if they want to share personal stories or their own research. You, dear writer, don’t get to ask.

3. When writing erotica with violence, consider the following:

A: Tell the reader before they read your story, so they can decide for themselves if this is something they feel comfortable reading.

B: Do your research, not write your Hollywood inspired fantasy.

C: Have a rethink as to why the hell you want to write that, since it is a topic that is so easy to get wrong.

3b: Erotica is not rape. Also, men, this is not your chance to go all MRA

Yes, men can be raped. Yes, men can suffer domestic violence. But the backlash against #Metoo and #Timesup does not change the reality that most rape, domestic violence, and sexual harassment is done by men to women. It is not a 50/50 discussion. Do not contact a woman to read a mansplaining story about how men can be victims, women are just as bad, or the worst – trying to show women how to they really should be processing their feelings after experiencing sexual violence.

Writers, you have no idea what your reader has been through. Women do not need to have their horror mansplained back to them, nor do they desire to see it framed as “entertainment”.


Women are rising in the publishing world. We are tired of being harassed, manipulated, and put down. Behave. If men writers want women’s help, do so with manners and empathy. Now go out, write on, and be empathetic human beings.

The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt

31702762.jpg~ Yesterday Norma asked the waitress how long it took her to get pregnant and the waitress said, “I don’t know. Fifteen minutes?”~The Story Of

~Reproducing is nothing more than making photocopies. Or plagiarism. It comes easily to cheaters.~The Story Of

~”A tick,” I tell my husband. A tiny black dot with legs. A period, escaped from the newspaper, is making a slow-motion dash across my stomach.~Beast

~”Well, what’s the most adult thing?”
“No. Fucking’s for kids. Dying is adult.~Beast

~It is difficult for Beatrice to think of her mother as someone with thoughts and desires, as someone who keeps a vibrator in her bedside drawer the way Beatrice does, as someone who might dream about a tremendous ice cube, the size of a sofa, melting in the middle of a hot desert, and wake up having absolutely no idea what the dream means.~Cortés The Killer

~One I was a drug dealer, back when pot was still illegal here. I’m a writer now. It’s not that different from being a drug dealer. Both have something to do with levels of reality. Both offer flexible hours for mothers.~A Love Story

~Compared with raising children, going to work is extremely easy. I turn off my mind. I eat lunch in silence. I have conversations that follow logical patterns.~A Love Story

~My body made eyeballs and I have no idea how. There’s nothing simple about eyeballs. My body made food to feed those eyeballs. How?And how can I not know or understand the things that happen inside my body? That seems very dangerous.~A Love Story