Tag Archives: fiction

Poverty Myths Explored

23 Oct

One of the themes I explore in my books is poverty. Most of my main characters are poor or live in a society that has a huge disparity between those with financial resources and those without. While browsing twitter I discovered this interesting article about poverty myths.  Here is a summary of the myths below:

  • Poverty is the fault of the individual, people only have themselves to blame
  • Children from poverty have the same opportunities as children who do not live in poverty
  • Getting a job is the key to avoiding poverty
  • There is no real link between poverty and health
  • We can’t afford to end poverty
  • Job creation and a strong economy will help poor people
  • People who are living in poverty are uneducated

I think the article is worth a read. The article provides its own rebuttal to these myths, but there’s something I want to discuss that often isn’t brought up in these conversations about poverty.  I want to first point out that the cause of poverty is complex. But I believe that one of the root causes of poverty is a disconnection from power bases.  For example, in my novel New Hope City, the protagonist is a poor teen born into poverty. Her poverty makes her a social outcast because some people equate poverty with criminality, lack of moral character and a host of other bad qualities. She can’t make friends with the “rich” kids because she is considered unworthy of friendship by both adults and youth.  A matter of fact, the only friends she can make are the people who are like her and who may be looking to exploit her for their personal gain. And her poverty makes her vulnerable to exploitation. She can be exploited by adults in her small town because she is invisible and considered unworthy of the full protection of the law. Her exploitation is ignored because it is assumed that she is a bad, inferior and less than. And some may assume that she caused her own troubles. And the irony is that because of her lack of social connections and her lack of life experience she does make decisions that deepen her own troubles. But this is how poverty works.  Youth  born into poverty are often cut off from the part of society that could help alleviate their condition. Many impoverished youth are raised by single parents who work several jobs to improve their financial conditions, but they can’t get ahead because they lack skills, social connections or they live in areas with terrible job prospects. Or maybe parents become so depressed and disheartened that they give up and fail to provide for their children.  These kids may even have parents who are themselves troubled emotionally, psychologically or have become burdened with legal troubles. It’s all of these things that can cause impoverished youth to have a stigma placed against them causing them to become isolated from power bases (jobs, resources, social connections) that could help them overcome poverty.

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SunHi Mistwalker writes fiction set in dystopic and post-apocalyptic worlds. Her new novel New Hope City, a dark coming-of-age story set in a post-apocalyptic America, follows the life of Sunni Brown, a teenage girl exploited by sex traffickers who tries to get a fresh start when she meets a disillusioned cop. She is also the author of the science fiction series After The Darkness. Please sign up for the mailing list for receive updates, freebies and special discounts. You can also follow SunHi on Twitter and Facebook.

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Attention LibraryThing Winners

26 Aug

If you’re one of the lucky winners of my recent LibraryThing giveaway for episode #1 and you want to receive a complimentary copy of episode 2 – 5, please signup for the mailing list. This offer is valid until September 10, 2013. Thanks!

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How I Lost My Friend To Prostitution

9 Aug

ProstituteKaren was only 15 when she was seduced by a pimp, but she was one of my closest friends. I’ll never forget the scars on her face, and the black circles under her eyes, and the fear in her voice when she spoke of him. But I also remember how she needed him to need her and want her. She was lost without him. She was dead without him. And the irony was that he probably would have killed her if she dared leave him. When I wrote New Hope City, I often thought about my friend Karen. I wondered how she had fallen into the pimp’s snare.  And when I look back, I would say that she was much like Sunni, the main character in New Hope City, in that her descent into the hell of prostitution began in a place that’s supposed to be safe – home.

Parents Play Dumb

Some parents are just too busy to uhm…well, to parent. They’ve got their own lives. Or, maybe their life hasn’t turned out the way they wanted and they want their kid to make it a little easier. My friend Karen had a parent like that. She was an only child and her mom was a single parent, and of course they didn’t have much money. Her mom liked to keep boyfriends around, and if she was real nice to them they would leave a few dollars on the nightstand. That could pay the light bill or buy a bag of groceries, but it also made the boyfriends feel entitled to more than just Karen’s mom. They took liberties with Karen too, and her mom would just play dumb, like she didn’t see anything.

Pimps Seem Nice – By Comparison

I’m not too sure about when Karen first started having problems with her mom’s boyfriends, I just know that one Summer she just seemed different, quiet, somber, and maybe even a little angry. That’s when she met Juan, that’s what people called him, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t his real name. Everyone in the neighborhood knew that he was no good. No one ever used the word pimp to describe him, but we all knew that’s what he was. When Karen’s mood first started to improve I thought that maybe things had gotten better at home, that she had been able to get the men to stop “messing with her” as she always described it, but when she told me that Juan had given her a pair of new (and expensive) sneakers I knew she was headed for trouble.  Juan’s string of gifts made my friend happy but they also made her stupid, well stupid for him. She started hanging out late. And then she stopped hanging out with me and her other friends. And from there things went downhill. Rumors spread that she was “fooling around” with grown men and that she had moved in with Juan. That was the last time I saw Karen. She didn’t even show up for school that Fall.

There Are No Angels

In the movies, prostituted teens are portrayed as innocent victims worthy of a savior. They’re usually kidnapped or somehow forced into “the life.”  But the reality of teen prostitution is a lot more murky.  Prostituted girls like my friend aren’t perfect. They’re flawed and damaged which makes them do things that flawed and damaged people do. These girls may seem like troubled kids, stealing, lying, fighting and engaging in promiscuous sex. And it’s these things that make people less likely to see them as worthy of saving.  Just like my old friend, they get lost. And just like my old friend, they may face an early and tragic end.  But when I wrote New Hope City I wanted to talk about a girl like Karen, someone who may be damaged and flawed but who is in fact worthy of a savior.

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SunHi Mistwalker writes fiction set in dystopic and post-apocalyptic worlds. Her new novel New Hope City, a dark coming-of-age story set in a post-apocalyptic America, follows the life of Sunni Brown, a teenage girl exploited by sex traffickers who tries to get a fresh start when she meets a disillusioned cop. She is also the author of the science fiction series After The Darkness. Please sign up for the mailing list for receive updates, freebies and special discounts. You can also follow SunHi on Twitter and Facebook.

Published: After The Darkness – Episode 5

1 Jul

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The 5th episode in the After The Darkness series has been published on Amazon. ETA: Also available on Nook. It will be available at other retailers later this week.

Where is After The Darkness: Episode 5?

31 May

Episode 5 is still in production. For those of you who know me personally, you know that 2013 has been all about taking the writing to another level. But to do that, it is taking me longer than usual to write episodes. I hope you guys don’t mind. I am on the final draft of this episode and the plan is to have it released this month. I appreciate your patience. 🙂

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In the meantime please signup for my mailing list to be notified when this episode is released.

 

 

 

Attention LibraryThing Winners

17 May

If you’re one of the lucky winners of my recent LibraryThing giveaway for episode #3 and #4 of “After The Darkness,” please note that you will receive a free Smashwords coupon to download your copy of the books (in the format of your choice) by Monday, May 20, 2013. Thanks for your patience! If you’re a winner of the giveaway and you want to receive a complimentary copy of episode 1 and 2, please signup for the mailing list. Thanks!

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Apocalypse Survival: What You Need To Eat Before The Cannibals Eat You

15 May

DarknessEp1_pubitIn a world that’s gone to hell in a hand basket, no man (or woman) can survive on Twinkies alone, besides, they’ve gone out of business already.  So what should a post-apocalyptic survivor living a wintery hell nosh on when their stomach gets to grumbling?  Let’s take a nibble at a few ideas:

Protein –And Lots of It

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Photo by Jo Naylor

Protein is the building block of life, so if you don’t eat it, you’re just as good as dead.  Skip too many protein meals and you might as well hand yourself over to Mr. and Mrs. Cannibal next door.  In my science fiction series After The Darkness, the City of Calcane gives every citizen his/her fair share of protein, but that’s only if they’re behaving. If they’re not behaving – as in launching citizen rebellions and speaking against the principles of the city’s founding fathers — they may find themselves starving to death.

Synthesized (And Real) BLOOD

If protein is the building block of life, then blood is the juice that keeps the machinery running. And after you’re done “ewwwwing” and turning up your nose at this refreshing and nutritious drink that blood can be, then you can add it to your list of things you will need to eat (okay – drink) in a futuristic world that’s gone straight to hell.  In After The Darkness, blood is a integral part of most people’s daily sustenance. It’s synthesized and enriched with essential vitamins and minerals that keep citizens healthy despite the scarcity of food. So when you’re living in a protective dome city like the citizens of Calcane, just think of your bloody drink as a thick and colorful tonic that’ll keep the reaper at bay.

Genetically Enhanced Food

When the planet has gone through an ecological collapse, there isn’t much room for growing crops, pruning fruit trees or foraging in vast rainforests teeming with life, because those things no longer exist. So the society will need to summon every single creative brain cell to figure out exactly how to grow food. Now think carefully, what can a society do when every last inch of the planet is covered in snow and ice?   Well, they do what any smart post-apocalyptic society would do –start fiddling around with genes, synthetic light and pick the brains of their most diabolical scientific minds and Viola! they’ve got just enough genetically engineered food to feed (and control) an elite class of citizens.  If you can climb your way to the top, you too can enjoy synthetic and vaguely nutritional ham and eggs every morning.

SunHi Mistwalker writes dystopic and post-apocalyptic fiction. Her science fiction series After The Darkness is set in a dark, wintery dystopia where an elite class of citizens uses food, shelter and protection from the harsh elements to control the powerless.  A child of a powerful family, Nadia, is categorized and cast out of the elite class. Now she must fight to save herself and what’s left of her family. Percy, an agent of the oppressive city government, searches for redemption by doing what no other citizen would do – help someone who’s been categorized. Please sign up for the mailing list to receive updates, freebies and special discounts.

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