Tag Archives: memoirs

Be Brave, Be Strong by Jill Homer

Review: With terrific photos of the beauty of landscape and individual and group determination to succeed in their goals, “Be Brave, Be Strong” is a moving work of one women’s tremendous journey to complete a dream after heartbreak. Although a memoir of sorts and a detailing of her experiences, I appreciated the flowing style that reminded me of the storytelling tradition of my people, not just someone telling their story.  We’re given fascinating views into the internal struggle and psychological influences that allow some people to push their mind and body to the edge and actually achieve heightened awareness and ability that forever creates in them a craving to experience it again and again.

I especially enjoy biographic books on adventure and exploration, so this was a special treat for me, especially in that the author’s skill makes you feel like you’re there in the moment. Even if you are not actually participating then at least you’re watching and cheering them on. Vivid images of the people and situations encountered are both profound and simple, just like life’s own mysteries and realities. Courageous and astonishing, I believe this is one of the best personal testaments of its kind that I’ve read.

Description: Jill Homer, a newspaper editor from Alaska, has an outlandish ambition: Racing a mountain bike 2,740 miles from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide. But in the tradition of best-laid plans, Jill’s dream starts to unravel the minute she sets it in motion. An accident on the Iditarod Trail results in serious frostbite. She struggles with painful recovery and growing uncertainties. Then, just two days before their departure, her boyfriend ends their eight-year relationship, dismantling everything Jill thought she knew about life, love and her own identity.

“Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide” is an adventure driven relentlessly forward as foundations crumble. During her record-breaking ride in the 2009 Tour Divide, Jill battles a torrent of anger, self-doubt, fatigue, loneliness, pain, grief, bicycle failures, crashes and violent storms. Each night, she collapses under the crushing effort of this savage new way of life. And every morning, she picks up the pieces and strikes out to find what lies on the other side of the Divide: Astonishing beauty, unconditional kindness, and boundless strength.

Available in print and eBook from publisher, Smashwords and other online distributors
Published May 5th 2011 by Arctic Glass Press
Source: Author

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reviews

Stoned Honor by Faith Folau

Review: An authentic voice using, what I’ve come to understand as the local “cant,” Stoned Honor is one woman’s path to finding herself after escape from a life of pain, sometimes self-inflicted, but more often because of circumstance or at the hands of others. From a beginning of indigenous Islander birth, through a history of prostitution, drugs, and violence, this memoir contains the type of reflections that can be dangerous in that perpetrators don’t want their wrongdoings revealed, but some things must come to the light. They must be revealed, and as it’s Faith Folau’s confession of sorts, it is hers to tell.

First off I’ll say her and hers, woman throughout, because that’s how it should be. Some people, perhaps simply by definition, insist on using words like transgender, transsexual, transwoman in placement of those words. I believe part of the issues that continue to promote separatism based on sexuality is because some people separate others into a category of their own choosing irregardless of the person’s wishes. Certainly, they might be applicable descriptive terms, to be sure, but that is not the essence of the person themselves.

The family photos were a nice touch and helped me immerse myself a little more as they created a deeper sense of connection. Faith’s early days reminded me of my family, who are Native American, and after coming into the city from a very “indigenous” way of life in the mountains, the unique hardships and vices of city life nearly destroyed a generation and continue to be problematic.

I identified with so much of Faith’s story: the avoiding of family gatherings because people like to remember and laugh at the bad, embarassing things when you were young, the inevitable arguments and fights that might occur, of how the “secret sins” over the years cause rifts that are sometimes never healed because the other party nurses their venom. For the spiritual aspects of the memoir, I had to take them as part of the whole, part of the person writing them though they are quite opposite to my own beliefs and views of Christianity.

“Stoned Honor” is special. It is honesty and defiance told in a forthright, sincere tone that moves back and forth along Faith’s personal timeline. Although my life had a different slant, I could well understand Faith’s expression, the necessity of dual or triple “faces”, how you act, what you say, what you are, just to survive. I also know the “zero hour” when you have to leave all of that behind, burn it away or as a “brittle piece of paper to crush in the hand,” give it to the winds. This book, this personal revelation is very much an example of when you have to look pass the differences in wording and spelling into the “heart of the matter” to read what the author is trying to share. I know personally how hard it can be to do so, but also how very important is for the body, mind and soul to achieve true freedom from the past.

Description: I FEEL NO PAIN Here is the outcome for the future, because yesterday I was bitter, today I’m grown. The past should never be brought to the light of day, but because I was writing a book about my life I decided to put all the things that had hard memory, like it was the day it had happened. It was in consideration to be all brought back into this book. If you think that I feel the same way I do, as you read, I don’t. I hold now weight of life’s problems in my heart.

Genre: Memoir

Published in print and ebook formats at Lulu.com.

Published: 4 January 2011

Source: Self-purchase

From the Author

As a transsexual women, we have been thourgh a lot. Especially born and raised on Hawaii, we are last and sometimes not even cared about. I also talk about religion, sex, employment, etc.

Reading my journey is like reading about every transsexual women in the Islands. I can’t say fully because everyone is different, and go through life on different roads. But I can speak for most. Being sexual slaves just to survive. Read more to find out more.

Interview with Ms. Folau

Greetings, today I am interviewing Faith Folau, a native Hawaiian, part-time dominatrix and author of the memoir “Stoned Honor”. It is the story of one transgender woman’s goal to stamp out pain and replace it will happiness. It is a past many of us have shared, and a healing journey we walk daily.  Available in hardcover, paperback and electronic file, published 4 January 2011.

 What was your first published work? When was it written and/or published?

My first book ever was ‘The beginning to an end of a “Bad girl.’  It was published on December 20 2010, but within a week later, I pulled it from being sold.  I revised it because of a privacy violation, and then shortly after the book had a new title and a new cover jacket:“Stoned Honor.”

At what age did you develop an interest in writing? Did you ever ask or let your parents read your work?  I ask that because as an eleven year old I read some of my poetry for my parents and received a very negative response. I didn’t let anyone else read my work for almost twenty years.

I started to write when I was 11 years old also. My early work was songs and poems that I kept to myself. I was afraid to show anyone because they might make fun of me.  Especially the love songs that I used to write, I did not want anyone to see them. Today I have no idea where all those writings are.  So no, my parents didn’t ask or see my writings.

After that, I started a diary and then blogs on the internet.  I would watch music awards on TV and later write my thoughts on the awards shows, and post them onto the internet on forums.
What or who were some of the bands and you liked best?

In the 90’s I listened to Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, Salt’n’Pepa, Lil’Kim, Foxy Brown and many others who are not around any more.

Do you have a specific genre in which you write? What are some of your themes?

Well, when I write I don’t really think of a genre. I just start writing from my experience, the things that I went and am still going through.  I guess you can say I write fiction in the biography genre.  This year I am going to push my writing towards erotica.  I will for now stick to what I know, and that is memoirs and erotica.

How would you describe your writing style? To whom would you compare your work?

My writing style comes rolling right off the top of my brain.  Therefore, if I have a writing style it would be a personal style.  A personal style from words of the brains, of me.  A style of words everyone can understand.  As for comparing my written words to someone, there would be no one. I am the narrator.

Your memoir, Stoned Honor, is available now, would you tell us what it’s about?

Before I was a bad girl. I did what I had to do to survive in the streets of Hawaii.  I grew up in church so I knew that there was a higher power out there that I believed in.  However, discrimination all over our Island forced me into picking a career, an industry that involved nude modelling.  After all that, I chose to hold my self higher than nude modelling and sought God for help.

My goal was stay alive and keep positive in my life. It worked. I found many answers in life that took me so long to find out, just simply by going the spiritual route.  In my book, I explain how I kept positive things around me and because of it, I was able to write and publish my book in 30 days.

Please tell us a little more about your background, and what your philosophy of life means.

Growing up in a very strict Hawaiian family that was poor to the bone.  Most times hunting on the land for food and fishing in the oceans was necessary in order to keep from starving.  Going to school and church was a high demand growing up, and if you did not attend, you would be punished.  Punishment from a very abusive grandfather who thought that hard-core beatings was a form of talk.

Everyone has enemies but it’s your job not to acknowledge them with the same feed back they give you, instead show them love and kindness. Because I have dealt with envy and competition all of my life.  As TS (transsexual) women there are other transgender out there that feel the need to compete with everyone, and in my case, it almost turned into a violent situation.  In addition, I was able to save my self from hurt, harm and danger by praying and being three steps ahead of jealousy.

I was able to save my self from suicide from a very abusive father.  My father was a local boxer and taking his fist full force to my face many times since the 3rd grade made me think about suicide.  Everyone was afraid of him so they could not help me, not my mother and not my siblings.  My mother was much brained washed from my father making her think that it was ok to try to convert me with abuse.  He also told her that if I do not change my girly ways he would leave.  Therefore, she let him abuse me, so that her children would have a father around.

In addition, all of this had led to alcohol abuse, divorce, adultery, and violence in the family.  I talk about this in the chapter “Family Affair”, in Stoned Honor.

Now please understand that I do not go into self-pity, I want to share my stories because I know there are people out there going through the same things.  I gave you my stories, and I gave you solutions on what and how to knock out all these negative situations before you do something crazy to yourself.  If it has helped me, I hope my words can help other as well, kids and adult.

I thank you for sharing your experiences. I, in no way, feel it is self-pity of any kind, but rather a courageous declaration. As a survivor of many abuses myself, I know how hard it can be to reach the point to speak of it, and how much harder it is to relive it in order to write a memoir and remain strong.

As a person who survived multiple suicide attempts when I was younger, I love your message of speaking about yourself, from your wisdom, in order to help those suffering through similar feelings. Like you, it is a natural feeling for me to say of what helped me, and to hope it might help others.

Do you currently have any writing projects or works in progress?

I feel like stoned honor was an inspirational and positive book.  Now I am going to talk about my experiences with a more adult genre. I would say this next book is more than erotica, but at the same time, I want to keep this next book in a positive light.  As well as continuing to write articles of everyday life on my blogs.

I wish you good luck with that. I believe erotica, whether fiction or a revealing of personal occurrences can help provide a window into another person’s mind and life which can help others. In particular, understanding that you are a transgender woman, I believe your work would help shed very important light on people who continue to be somewhat misunderstood by others.

You are also an independent publishing author. What made you publish independently versus publishing with a traditional house?

With Stoned Honor I went independent because I do not think you need a book contract to get your words out there for the world to read.  In addition, I wanted Stoned Honor to be an e-book mainly because it is a short book, about 60 pages.  I could not really go into every topic, as I wanted to, because even though Hawaii is a part of the United States, we still have our own laws.  I had to really watch what I was putting in the book because Hawaiian families have their own beliefs, and if I took it far, I would face either death or being abandoned my family.   In addition, that is how the story came about, because in some races if a women talks about sexuality or experiences it, she would get stoned to death.  In addition, the “honor” part (of the title) came because if stoning happened to me, I would take it in honor.

As for my next book, I want this one to be published with a house.  It is going to be 300 to 400 pages long.  However, I am not going to wait for a house to pick me up, if I have to than I am going to publish it myself.

Telling one’s own story, as I am working at through my memoir “The Boys Who Died”, can very well bring retribution from one’s tribe or people. In my tribe, stoning to death is still utilized also. Being shunned and abandoned, not able to return to your home on pain of death, is still applicable for some “wrongdoing”, which can include aspects of sexuality which one has no control over.

Where are some of the places we can find you online?

Like most people, I am on Facebook at Faith Folau.  Find me on twitter @ reality_blogs.  My website www.faithfolau.webs.com, and my blog spot http://faithfolau.blogspot.com/ where all my articles can be found.  I also have my mistress website at www.tskimiko.webs.com .

Please visit Queer Magazine Online to see the first and full posting of Faith’s review.

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Filed under Memoir, Non-Fiction, Reviews

“What Makes You Happy?” by Faith Folau

The author of memoir “Stoned Honor”, let’s us know some of the things which make her happy at her blog “The Everyday Truth and Justice TS/TG/TV & Others”.  Her book is in my queue, and I very much look forward to reading it.

What makes me happy?

“So today, I was stuck and tried all day to find some kind of inspiring inspiration, to get me in the mood to write an article that everyone can read. I went on twitter to ask people and the first person that answered said, “I want to read what makes you happy.”

It makes me happy to be able to reach out to people all over the world, and to help share my inspirational thoughts and opinions on almost everything. I like to write and have conversations about life situations, and maybe discuss it with people from all over. I am somewhat spiritual because I still have to teach myself the true journey of my higher power. I also like to be engaged at my church to be able to get up and talk and spread my views of my under standings for the gospel.

The highest thing that will bring me full joy is to be able to take care of my whole family. I think that is every ones happiness now days. I do not mean taking care of them all financially, but also to help support some one in the need of support, whatever it is good or bad. I want to be able to have most of the answers to a family member who are young and other young kids. To be able to give love and good advice makes one happy at the end of the day.

Like I mentioned in one of my thank you videos, I stated that my books is about self help, It’s not just me talking about my past, family, drama, friends but it also gives you a better understanding from my point of view and also results to whom ever that might have went through my situations. I am a Libra so holding the scales to life should be balanced. There for I talk about many angles in life as I possibly can.”

Please visit Faith’s site to read her full post on self-healing, love and hope. To purchase your copy  “Stoned Honor” in ebook or print, please visit Lulu.com.


My response to Faith:

I particularly enjoyed the thought that when you write, you don’t think of just one, but for all. Also, it’s very good point that part of what we learn does not involve formal education, for some people it’s even less, yet it doesn’t mean they are unworthy. I would say, being Native American myself, and now working informally with other natives and their children within the school system, many also have low education levels but much to offer if people give them a chance.

You referenced your memoir Stoned Honor, and yes some stories are extremely difficult to tell and some may question why it’s written and what it has to offer. As you say, whatever happened in the past, however painful, that you have come out of it with a positive, strong spirit is the point of writing it. To let others know, trouble elements in the past do not have to equal a negative future. That is also my point in writing my memoir “The Boys Who Died”. The first chapters are here: http://bit.ly/gWc1dY



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And we’re off…

On my mark. Clear. We have lift-off. ETA: your choice.

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