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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya talk to author Fiona Zedde about her work, sexuality in ancient African societies and just how much time you really need with your soulmate.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Kenrya: Today, we're talking to Fiona Zedde, pronouns she and her. Jamaican-born Zedde is the author of more than 30 novels, including the Lambda Literary Awards finalist Bliss and Every Dark Desire. Her novel “Dangerous Pleasures” received a Publisher's Weekly star review and was a winner of an About.com Reader's Choice Award for best lesbian novel or memoir. Under the name Lindsay Evans, Fiona also writes novels of romance and recklessness for Harlequin and other publishers. She loves French pastries, English cars, Jamaican food, and she writes, a lot. Her latest novel, “A Lover's Mercy,” is available now. Hey Fiona. Thanks for joining us.
Fiona: Hey. Thank you for inviting me.
Erica: We just heard your fabulous bio. By the way. I love the pastries, cars, Jamaican food. We got to kick it one day, but we always like to ask, what did little Fiona wants to do when she grow up?
Fiona: Oh my gosh. How little?
Erica: Whatever first comes to mind.
Kenrya: As far back as you want to go.
Fiona: Interesting. The first thing I thought about was just to learn to write cursive, to be the first one in all of my friends to write cursive because-
Erica: That's a talent and a flex on them. I love it.
Fiona: Not a really big aspiration but just like I wanted to be first, and it was something so geeky like, "Oh yes, I want to join my letters."
Erica: Well, most kids these days can't write cursive. My son writes like a serial killer.
Kenrya: They don't teach them anymore unless they go to Montessori, so my kids started out learning how to write cursive before she learned block letters, but that's weird. They don't normally do that.
Fiona: That is interesting. I thought it was just sort of like a basic thing, but I know I'm behind in the times.
Erica: Not at all.
Kenrya: They use computers so much that they don't even literally teach them handwriting anymore.
Erica: They don't even teach... I had to teach my son proper spacing, like this is how you link so that it's not just... Yeah, it's bad, and I thought the teachers would at least say something to them, and they have not.
Fiona: All right then.
Erica: So yeah, you're winning for that cursive.
Fiona: Thank you. Yes, I was the first and I used it every chance that I got. Not very legible, but you know, they were all joined together.
Kenrya: It's details, details.
Erica: So what drives you to write?
Fiona: What drives me to write? I just have these stories in my head, or I'm wandering somewhere, as I would love to do today, and then a story occurs to me or I see a couple talking and I imagine what they're talking about or what they're fighting about or what they'll do after they leave the public space and that it's when I write the story. I feel like every time I go out into the world, a story comes to me and I have to write it down. If I finish, that's another question.
Kenrya: So how did you... I know you started out cursive was it.
Fiona: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: How did you get to the point where you decided that you were going to be a professional writer, like what's your origin story?
Fiona: Oh my God, that sounds so intense and so like superhero, right?
Kenrya: Because you're a superhero, duh.
Erica: You are a superhero.
Fiona: That's so nice, I love it. "My origin story." I always have been a big reader. Like my mom, when I was in the belly, she read to me, and so I think I came out just wanting to I read the stories for myself and to absorb these stories on my own, and once I was able to read them, then I wanted to write them, and joined with the whole obsession with learning how to write cursive, like once I learned how to read cursive letters, I wanted to actually like create a story from these letters, and so it just seemed like a natural progression. It's all my mother's fault, basically.
Kenrya: You can blame her. "Thanks mom."
Erica: You had a lot of really big career milestones. Which ones are you most proud of, and why?
Fiona: Oh my gosh. Career milestones. I think for me, the biggest thing was when I was able to get my book published. It was a quick transition from "Okay, I finished my book." I finished it to my satisfaction, I have an agent, and then it was really fast, but it took me a long time to actually finish something, and so it sort of validated for me, like if you just do your work and complete your work, you'll get rewarded by money and books being published. So for me, that was huge, and yeah, that just sort of started the whole train. That was like book number one, but it went on and on and on and so now, I should be writing my... I don't know what number it is, but I was working earlier today, but yeah, that was the biggest milestone for me, like huge.
Kenrya: That makes sense. So you just said that you were working earlier today. I'm curious about what your workdays look like right now. How do you structure your writing?
Fiona: I need more structure. Right now, because of everything happening in the world, I think my work schedule is just a mess. I get up and I do the news thing for way too long and then the day sort of like falls in line more or less, but when I'm on my game, work day perfectly arranged, typically I get up around between eight and nine and then have coffee, have some fruit, and then just start working by 10, 11, and then take a break after a couple of hours. Eat lunch, mess around, internet, and then after that, back to work. So it's like a boring schedule, but I also have my writing partner Sheree who lives in Florida. We call in by Skype every four days a week and then we write together, like literally write together. She's on Skype, I'm looking at her face and I'm writing, she's looking at my face. We push each other.
Kenrya: Is your writing partner Sheree Greer?
Fiona: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: Shut up. That's dope, we're having Sheree on the show later.
Fiona: How funny. Yes, she's so awesome, right?
Kenrya: Yes. Did not know that.
Erica: We are learning that-
Kenrya: It's a very small world.
Erica: It's a very small world.
Fiona: It's a very small world, yeah.
Erica: I love it though. We want big up Black fem writers, and yeah, we're finding that all the good ones roll in the pack, so I like this.
Fiona: Yeah, Sheree's awesome.
Kenrya: It's funny. I have a writing, I came up in magazines and I write nonfiction and I have my writing partner, so I'm like, "Oh, yay, somebody who you get to work with." Writing is such a solitary thing and I did it for decades without even considering the idea of what it would be like to do it with a partner until my partner was like "We should work on this thing together," and now it just makes everything better, like we write books together, we take on consulting, like we do everything and it just makes things better.
Fiona: It does.
Kenrya: It pushes you and it makes more fun when you're doing the hard shit.
Fiona: You don't realize how much you needed it. Yes. For me, I'm so easily distracted by everything, and so Sheree is like "Okay, bring it in, bring it in, you have to get things done. If you don't get anything done, I can't read anything of yours, so just make my life easier and just work," so it's, yeah. I worked for a long time by myself as well and so it's like a 180, it's amazing.
Erica: That's really cool. Power, strength in numbers.
Kenrya: Yes, when it's Black people involved.
Erica: I always bust out into a song but I'm not feeling particularly creative-
Kenrya: You're not inspired?
Erica: Give me a second. I am inspired, just can't come up with the song.
Fiona: Maybe later. There's always space for that.
Erica: Yes. So you were born in Jamaica.
Erica: You currently live in Spain?
Fiona: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: So how do the places that you live, have lived influence your work?
Fiona: They do quite a bit. I love traveling, and I think more so the places I travel to inspire my work than places I live in because like once I left Jamaica, of course I lived there when I was 11, 12, 13, so I wasn't writing too much back then, but it was years later when I was accessing memories from back then that it just felt automatic and right and perfect to write about Jamaica, and so I almost like pull in a space into my creative life when I'm away from it. I probably have an Atlanta story sometime within the next year and a half, and who knows if I stay in Spain? I probably will. I might write something about staying here.
Kenrya: How long have you been in Spain?
Fiona: Not very long. Since January, full time. But I've been back and forth for two years.
Erica: All right. Yeah, that's not long. Your writing partner was in Spain for a while, right, Kenrya?
Kenrya: Yes. She lived in between Barcelona and she was in Lisbon, in Portugal, so it makes for interesting timing, as you know, like trying to match things up so that we can work at the same time, but she's back in the States right now.
Fiona: That's lucky. It's like what, six-hour time difference?
Kenrya: Yeah. But we'll see how long. She just had a baby and she's already itching to leave, like once there's a vaccine, she's like "I got to go. I got to get out of here."
Fiona: I understand that, yes. I understand that.
Kenrya: Yeah, I mean I'll be sad because it'll mean that my nephew won’t be here, but also I get it.
Fiona: Yeah, the world is so big and magnetic and interesting. It's impossible to like, I don't know, not hear that siren call and go out there. Even though I'm here in a really interesting and really rich place, I want to keep exploring, whether it's like the countryside or other countries. So it's hard to stay put, I get that.
Kenrya: As we said at the top of the show, we read an excerpt from “Rise of the Rain Queen” last week-
Erica: Which I loved.
Kenrya: Which you loved, and so did I, and thanks again for letting us share that scene on the show.
Fiona: Of course. Thanks for reaching out.
Kenrya: Yes. I think I'm going to butcher this. The book is set and the Tanganyika region?
Kenrya: Is that right?
Fiona: From what I... Tanganyika region, yeah.
Kenrya: Okay, great. I was trying.
Fiona: I'm open to like whatever because I'm not from, but yes, that's what I learned or someone taught me much up there, it's correct. Tanganyika region.
Kenrya: In 1414. I am curious as to why you chose that time and place to set your novel.
Fiona: Yes. I read this essay collection. I don't think you would call it an essay collection. I think it's only by a couple of people, but it's called “Boy-Wives and Female-Husbands,” and it talked about sexuality in ancient African societies, like all over the continent, and that book really just opened up my mind in all these ways and I think I was reading that book around the time that people were talking about how queerness came from white people, it came from Europe, it was nothing to do with different African societies. Even people in Jamaica were saying the same thing and they're like "Yeah, you get that disease from the white men, it has nothing to do with us," so it was... I don't even know how I found it but I was so happy to have found this book that talked about all these different ways that we loved each other that people are just not accepting of in a lot of different Black communities right now.
Fiona: Once I read it and absorbed it and sat with it, I was like, "Oh, I want to write about a couple or a village or a society that this is normal. This is normalized and this is passed down and this is just one aspect of loving, one aspect of being that is just part of the community," and that's where the book idea came from.
Erica: That's what we love so much about it. There's no stigmas attached, it's just a thing that's a part of life. So can you tell us a little bit more about your research process and creating that society?
Fiona: I don't even know if there was a process. I was just like "What if," and there were aspects, there were things that the book talked about that I said, "Oh yeah, that's perfect." The idea of female chiefs or women who chose their lives and if they chose to live as like not typically female, then they would get their own set of wives or whatever they did that it was about what you could afford to do and not about you can't do this because the chief doesn't do this or whatever, so yeah, I think it was an inspiration. There are certain things I took from it, but I wouldn't say there was actual like targeted research.
Kenrya: But there were some terms, like I saw, I looked up some of the terms and like saw that they were linked to like various cultures in different parts of Africa and whatnot, so that's research?
Fiona: Ok. Everyday I try to be organized and I fail.
Kenrya: Pushes your glasses up on your nose.
Fiona: It wasn't that like organized at all, just like "That's really cool. Oh my God. Wouldn't it be great if..." et cetera.
Erica: It came together beautifully.
Kenrya: Right? It felt like a fully fleshed out world, and I know that that's really hard to do, and you did it.
Fiona: Yeah. It came together really well. I just remember thinking about the society I wanted to create, but then the Rain Queen sort of like walked out of the mist on her own, and she was was who she was. It wasn't about "Okay, what if I do this, what if I do that?" It's like, "Oh, he or she does what she wants."
Kenrya: She just showed up fully realized.
Kenrya: Wow. So in the book, Ny works really hard to make herself into the person that she thinks Duni wants her to be in the first part of the book. Have you ever found yourself in a position where you reshaped yourself for a partner or a potential partner?
Fiona: I feel like that's a yes, but I'm trying to... I can't remember when.
Erica: Blocked it out.
Fiona: No, wait, I think I might have. Because it feels familiar, it resonates. Yeah. Oh yeah, I have. This woman, she's amazing, fantastic, and exciting and like one of those like once in a lifetime sort of people, and so I think there are certain elements of my being that I was like she wasn't really enamored of and so I tried to sort of like massage that away or make it smaller or something like that, so definitely I have. I don't think there's anything huge but eventually, it was just like "Ah, that's not me."
Kenrya: She wasn't for you.
Erica: It's hard keeping up that shit too long.
Fiona: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Definitely is.
Erica: One of the things that I really identify with was Ny's determination. She was like "Fuck it, you say I can't, I'm going to do it. This is a shitty situation, I got it." Which one of your characters do you resonate, do you identify with?
Fiona: Oh my gosh. I don't even know because I feel like in the moment, of course, she's occupying me, so I'm not sure if I could say that, like I saw myself in her place at all, because she was so many things that I am not. Whether it was just her kind of like balls to the wall like "I want this woman, I'm going to go after her, I don't care who was going to..." I would never do that. Like never. She's defying the gods, all these different things, and like that's just not me. I think in so many ways, like that story just... I was this tiny essence like watching it all unfurl, like I wasn't necessarily like any of the characters, if that makes any sense.
Erica: It makes a lot of sense.
Kenrya: Do you have any characters in any of your other books that feel closely aligned to you and your experience?
Fiona: Definitely Bliss, in my first book.
Kenrya: How so?
Fiona: It was like pseudo, very pseudo autobiographical. The main character, it was born in Jamaica, went to the US, had all these things happen to her, and then went back to Jamaica to sort of find herself. So even though it wasn't a mirror experience, I identified a lot with her, like with her feelings about family, her feelings about coming out, like all of that.
Erica: What's the name of your first book?
Kenrya: Now I want to know about your latest book, “A Lover's Mercy.” Can you tell us a bit about it?
Fiona: Yes. Oh my God, I'm going to have to go grab it because I'm like "What is it about?" “A Lover's Mercy.” I love this book and in a lot of ways, it was unexpected, because I had written the first one called “The Power of Mercy” and I thought it was done. I really enjoyed it and I thought it was done, but then the publisher said, "We'd love for you to do a sequel," and when I had done Mercy, I just thought I was it, there was nothing else to really expand upon. Her story had been told, she has her happily ever after, that's it.
Fiona: What I end up doing with “A Lover's Mercy” was to tell the story of her partner, her lover, her anti superhero partner who in “The Power of Mercy,” they were antagonists, they didn't get along at all, and she's also kind of an ass, and so she says a lot of times she's not a good person. She's effective. She does what needs to be done, she's not around to be liked, and so it was interesting diving into that kind of personality in order to write this book which is from a first person story, which I never write, so it was interesting in all kinds of ways.
Kenrya: Why did you opt to go with first person in this case?
Fiona: I have no idea.
Kenrya: Just came out that way?
Fiona: It came out that way. It might be because I've been reading a lot of first person stories that were really, really well done in the last couple of years, and for many, many years, I never liked to read first person stories and so I never wrote them, and so when I started reading these amazing first person stories, it's like "Oh, I want to try this."
Kenrya: Yes, challenge?
Fiona: It's really hard. It's really, really difficult.
Erica: So what are you reading now?
Fiona: What am I reading now? I feel like I keep on devouring books and then I forget about them as soon as I'm done. Right now I am reading this werewolf shifter collection. Not collection, like a series of novels by Patricia Briggs. There's one, the Mercy Thompson novels, I've read all of those. They're are like, I don't know, 13 of them or something like that, and then the other one is, I think it's called the Alpha Omega novels, and both sets have a native American character, which, which I find interesting in different ways, since from what I see, she's a white woman.
Kenrya: The writer is a white woman?
Fiona: Mm-hmm (affirmative). She has a great way... Her world is really, really amazing, and then there's one word that she always uses that really cracks me up and she always uses it in the same context. She uses "boiled" a lot.
Kenrya: So every time you see it, you're like "All right, boiled."
Fiona: Yeah. N.
Kenrya: "Her blood boiled."
Fiona: No, she always uses it like in... How does she just do it? In a movement, like "The mob boiled upstairs." It was really interesting and cool the first time, but then I noticed every single book, she uses that word and always in the same sense, like in a sense of movement, and usually, more than one person, like a group moving from place to place in a really agitated manner, so I was like, "Huh, that's her-"
Erica: It's when you noticed-
Fiona: That's her word.
Erica: It's like when you notice someone saying "Like" and then you're like... Okay, I get it.
Fiona: She usually use it I think only like once. Once in each book.
Kenrya: It's like she's like "Okay, I got to get it. Here's the moment in this book."
Fiona: Yeah, I guess so. This is so funny, and I read all her books like all in like one jump, so it was super obvious to me, like "Oh, here it is again. Ah, here it is again."
Erica: "When's the boiling scene?" Okay.
Fiona: Right. But yeah, they're fun. They're fun.
Erica: We will certainly share a link in all of that. Question. Why do you write-
Erica: Because we're here for questions. Why do you write under a pen name?
Fiona: Why under a pen name? I don't even know why I did it in the first place, because my first publisher editor was like "Why don't you use your real last name?" It's like it's so boring, it's Louis. I was like "It's so boring," and he said, "Well, if you use your real last name, you'll be in the middle of the bookshelf versus at the end of the bookshelf." I was like, "That's a really good idea. You should have said this like five years ago."
Kenrya: You're like "It's too late."
Fiona: Right. It's too too late, but yeah, it just sort of like seem the thing to do. I didn't even think about writing under my real name at all. It's like, "Whatever." I mean it might have stemmed from sort of like subconsciously, like not wanting this connection to my Jamaican family and being like "Okay," and I was out in my world, but then like family is so separate from everything, like my mom knows all about me and all this stuff, and then gradually over the years, people have known because my Facebook is super public, and so I never had said "Oh, I'm queer, whatever," but they know but I think that they think that it's a secret knowing.
Erica: "I'm the only one that knows."
Kenrya: "I ain't gon say nothing."
Erica: And then they look into her, and they're in a gym with a million other people like, "Oh, you too?"
Fiona: I think it might have been like it might stem from that at first, just like "Okay, let me just be not even downloaded," so I've disconnected from them and then after, I was like there was no point because there's a whole Wikipedia page that says everything.
Kenrya: So then with the Lindsay Evans books, do you use that name because your characters tend to be a bit different?
Fiona: That Lindsay Evans name is like my straight novels, all of my Harlequin novels.
Erica: I mean the characters being... Yeah.
Fiona: Yeah, it's a whole different genre. I do a lot of like dual point of view, straight romance kind of stuff with Lindsay Evans, and yeah, definitely different, and that was just to separate Fiona from Lindsay in terms of like audience because I think a lot of straight women would not read Fiona stuff.
Fiona: But even though my queer audience doesn't mind, it's not their favorite, but they're like, "I'll try one of them or whatever."
Kenrya: They see you. They know your good quality of your writing.
Fiona: [inaudible 00:27:42].
Erica: You're dope. As a straight woman, I got to the second part of “Rise of the Rain Queen”-
Kenrya: How are you straight, Erica?
Erica: Okay, I mean every time I say, this Kenrya checks me on it. I'm like more of a like 70-30, okay? So as a 70-30 straighter-
Fiona: Okay, 70-30.
Erica: Yeah, 70-30 straighter, I like your... The second part of the novel, once... I'm trying not to give that away-
Kenrya: You don't want to spoil.
Erica: But like once things happen, I'm like, "Yo, this is the best fucking world, like this is the best world to live in. Give me a ticket. Let me get here," so yeah. But also I'm 70-30, so maybe that's the 30 in me talking, I don't know.
Kenrya: I don't know. I mean-
Fiona: I'm happy you enjoyed that world.
Erica: Yes. It's fantastic.
Kenrya: I'm curious.
Fiona: I really enjoyed writing it. Yes, you were curious?
Kenrya: About what does... I ask this question a lot because I'm fascinated by the answers that Black people give. What does success look like to you?
Fiona: Oh gosh. For me, success is being happy, of course, and then not struggling. That's it, basically.
Erica: That's good. Nice.
Kenrya: Simple and pure. I love it.
Fiona: I don't want a lot.
Erica: Good. Well, happiness is a lot, right?
Fiona: It is, though, it is. When you have it and it's real and it's lasting, there's nothing like it.
Erica: It's so full. It's filling. Okay, so I like to ask, Kenrya is the serious one, she comes up with the serious questions. My contribution to this interview are the would you rather questions. So would you rather know your soulmate your entire life, but be unable to partner with them or meet your soulmate and be able to partner with them for only two years of your life?
Fiona: The second one.
Fiona: Yeah, the second one. Like I... Not that she was a soulmate or anything, but like I connected with an amazing woman for about two years, and when I tell you that it was like explosive and mind altering and like soul opening... It's over, but I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. I think that what I've experienced with her will more than likely never be duplicated, and because I had what I had with her, it's totally fine with me.
Erica: Okay. what about you, Kenrya?
Kenrya: Shit. I hadn't thought about my answer. I would rather be able to be with them for two years. I feel like that would be a blessing and a spot of joy that I would always be able to fall back on, and just because whatever other relationships I got into weren't necessarily with my soulmate, it wouldn't mean that they weren't beautiful and fulfilling and rich, but I would still have that memory like that. Not just in my mind but like that sense that you have in your body that people imprint on you, like I'd still be able to carry that with me, and I'd want that. What about you, E?
Erica: You all make it sound so beautiful. I'll go for the second just because I'm not trying to stare at you and want you for my entire life, no. Give me. Give me, give me, give me, if only for two years.
Fiona: That just sounds straight up painful though, right? It's like the most delicious, juicy pear in the world and it's just like right there, just beyond your reach, and you know how it would taste amazing, right? You know that it's for you, but it's also not meant for you, and you just...
Kenrya: I think you'd always have this what if hanging over you that would be a shadow over your other relationships too.
Erica: Nothing would satisfy you, yup.
Kenrya: Exactly. So I'd rather have it for two years for sure. That's a great question, E.
Fiona: It is a great question.
Erica: Thanks guys.
Kenrya: Fiona, you said that you were writing this morning. What are you working on? What's up next for you that you can tell us without spoiling anything?
Fiona: It's fine. I'm just trying to get, how do I describe this thing that's getting more complicated every day? The novel is called “The House of Agnes,” and it's about a woman, she runs an escort service, and someone appears in her life and tries to challenge her... Not ownership with the escort service but just to challenge who she is, challenge her life, and has to force her to rethink everything. That's super vague. It's like "What else?"
Kenrya: It's enough, it's a little taste.
Fiona: Yeah. I'm really fascinated by sex work and I think it's beautiful and necessary and I want sex workers to be... It is work and I want sex workers to be able to be insured and be protected. They're working, right? And sex workers have been around for forever, and so I wanted to write a story about that even though what I'm writing now isn't necessarily about that. It's about someone who, she's seen the bad side of sex work and wants to make it safer for some people or for those that she's able to make it safe for.
Erica: I think it's great that you're taking this as a topic to set your story in, because I think it helps normalize and make it more... When it's not the story about the ills of sex work, like just it's a profession, this thing she does, this is a part of her but it isn't all that she is. I'm assuming it's a female lead but if-
Fiona: Yeah, it's a clear story. Everyone's like-
Erica: I mean like I love that. I feel like that's what we try to do also with the stories that we pick here. We don't want to have a very special episode of the turn, it's just this is a part of life, this the shit that happens. I'm excited to read the next book.
Fiona: I'm excited to finish it. I mean it's definitely becoming different, but more different than I planned, so I just hope that it ends up being well done and that I'll finish on time so my editor won't kill me.
Kenrya: Yeah, they do threaten that. It'll be great, I'm sure.
Fiona: Yeah. Hope so.
Kenrya: When it's done, where will people be able to find it, and where can they find you online?
Fiona: When it's done, they can find it on my website which is fionazedde.com, F-I-O-N-A-Z-E-D-D-E.com, and it'll also be on my publisher's website, Ylva, Y-L-V-A publishing.com. I always get the last part wrong.
Kenrya: We'll be sure to list it.
Fiona: But yeah, it'll be there and it'll be at Kara's Books in Atlanta as well, so it will be around.
Kenrya: Awesome, and then on Twitter and on Instagram, you're @ FionaZedde?
Fiona: Yes. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, everything, @FionaZedde. It's easier.
Kenrya: And then your other website for your straight work is LindsayEvansWrites.com?
Fiona: Yes, exactly.
Kenrya: Awesome. Okay, well, that is it for this week's episode of The Turn On. Fiona, thank you so much for joining us, and thank you all for listening.
Fiona: Thank you.
Kenrya: Take care.
Fiona: Thank you for inviting. Bye.
Erica: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. First, please leave a review in your favorite podcast listening app. For real, we want to hear from you all. Send your book recommendations and all the burning sex and related questions you want us to answer to TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com, and please subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app. Follow us on Twitter, @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram, @TheTurnOnPodcast, and find books, transcripts, guest info and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com. Bye.
The Turn On
The Turn On is a podcast for Black people who want to get off. To open their minds. To learn. To be part of a community. To show that we love and fuck too, and it doesn't have to be political or scandalous or dirty. Unless we want it to be.