Thursday, April 21, 2016



Throwback Bands with front men who went on to greater success than their groups – Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes & The Commodores

The Philly group, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes always had a smooth, silky way. With the addition of Teddy Pendergrass, its sound became distinctive. The group was one of several of the era whose members dressed in identical, finely-tailored suits and followed sharp choreography. Like all famous groups, in-fighting was no stranger either. Egos, tempers flared. T. P. was a standout. He was not a stay-in-the-background sort of singer. He had the chops and charisma to go solo. And he did. The group survived and Teddy flourished as a solo act. Since the parting of ways, Harold Melvin has passed but the group still performs in some incarnation today. Teddy suffered paralysis after a car crash along Philly’s West River Drive in the 80s. It, more or less, ended his rising career, but he still performed from time to time. After a life full of success, drama, pain, and redemption, Teddy died at the age of 59 in 2010. My absolutely favorite T. P. song, the one which makes me turn the radio up and screech along is a bouncy, breezy, up-tempo break up song, where he reads his ex like a book. Yes, I Don’t Love You Anymore is one of the greatest eff-you songs ever.

Some Harold Melvin music
 If You Don't Know Me by Now, The Love I Lost, Wake Up Everybody, I Miss You, Where Are All My Friends

If You Don't Know Me by Now -

Some Teddy Pendergrass hits
 Turn Off the Lights, Close the Door, Life Is a Song Worth Singing, Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose

I Don't Love You Anymore -


The Commodores, that Southern soul/funk group born of Tuskeegee college freshmen friends’ jam sessions was late 70s-early 80s gold. Skyler Jett, Walter Orange then Lionel Richie were all front men but Richie broke out and went on to greater fame. The two forces together ruled the music charts way into the 80s. Funk, ballads, dance tunes. You name it. They did it. Of course, egos were not left at the door and to this day, bad, though not as vocal, blood still exists. Oh well, I still love Brick House and Zoom.

Some Commodores hits
 Zoom; Sail On; Lady, You Bring Me Up; Too Hot Ta Trot


(Jheri Curl and a mullet?)
Some Lionel Richie hits
All Night Long; Stuck On You; Say You, Say Me; Dancing On the Ceiling; Hello; Running with the Night

All Night Long

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


The following is a PG-rated, calm-before-the-storm snippet from my latest book in my FELIG CHRONICLES series. GAMBIT shows Nate and Tina trying to get a long needed rest after an intense year of fighting an alien invasion, and taking their relationship off the front page of every news paper and online blog. And trying to get Nate's mother in their corner. It also follows how their thinking is wishful at best as the Felig has other plans and Nate's mother is a tad unhappy that Tina is not...Jewish.


“We’re taking the summer off! The show will not be on the road.”

Grumbles went through the clubhouse’s assembled.

Larry, a crew member, raised his hand and asked, “Does that mean we’ll be laid off?”

“No, Larry, it does not,” Nate replied. “I’ll need you guys. You’ll have jobs. I did the math. With Wiley Devilbiss’s generosity, I’ll still be able to cut checks. Everyone can take their scheduled vacations. The sole change is I’ll be around. That’s unusual for this time of year.”

“What about Avner?” Larry continued.

“He’s taking advantage of the break to visit his family. He’s earned the rest. He’ll speak to you before he leaves. Carlo will be in charge. Report to him starting the day after Father’s Day. Anything else?”

“Tina’s good?” Tim, a new member, asked. “We missed her.”

The question brought a smile to Nate’s lips. “She’s excellent as always. She’s been through a lot and is still getting her bearings and will come over to say hello soon. You may bump into her before then. I’ll tell her you asked about her. More questions?”

Tim piped up again. “Excuse me, Mister Lowe. I’m new and didn’t go on the rescue mission. Was it as hairy as I’ve heard others say?”

“Unnervingly so. Being in close quarters with Felig is always dangerous. I’ve never gotten accustomed to it. Nor would I want to. You may find out on your own one day. Stay alert.” Bright eyed and hopeful, Nate repeated, “Anything else?” He encountered silence. “All right! Look forward to a blow-out of a pool party at summer’s end. I’ll keep you updated. See you around.” He left a room that erupted into several conversations. Outside, he strode the path near the firing range and met Tina coming out of the building.

“Hey, twinkle toes! I hear a male revue somewhere needs a dancer.” Tina greeted him with a hug. Nate returned her action, which swiftly morphed into a pat down. “

Where’s the vest I told you to wear?” He frowned and added, “It’s for your safety.”

“Nate, I’m strapped. That’s enough. It’s too much for me to wear that thing. The vest is only good for body shots. What if some ass is aiming for my head? Fat lot of good a vest would do. When they make one I can wrap around my head, I’ll consider wearing both around here. The thing is uncomfortable, bulky, and flattens out the little I have.”

“I don’t get it. You’re more worried about looking like you’re boosting and thrusting than being safe?”

“It’s a woman thing. Besides, all the vests and guns couldn’t stop the Lord Advisor from busting his way into our house and taking what he wanted.”

“Wearing it will give you a fighting chance against the human assholes.”

“You say that, and all I can see is you in a pool of blood after Paul Justus had his way with you. You were coming out of the damned shower, and that prick knifed you! He was already in the house. You can’t wear a bullet-proof or knife-proof vest while bathing. Have faith. Live for now, like you always tell me.”

“My own freakin’ words coming back to haunt me,” Nate said.

“Boo!” Tina paused to run her thumb over the spot of hair under his lip. “I’m with your mom on this. Don’t get me wrong. It looks hot, but it also looks like you’re trying to grow something or forgot to shave something off.”

“Knocking my grooming skills?” Nate grinned. He took her by the hand and stood perusing the blooming shrubbery and budding trees. In the distance he spied some rabbits scurrying around low brush and what appeared to be a pair of deer roaming a far corner of his spread. He pulled Tina closer and mouthed Thank you into the lush void.

“Nate? Nate? Tina gazed up at him. She snapped fingers in front of his face. “You in there?”

Feeling overwhelmed, he re-focused on her and could only nod in the affirmative. Nate repositioned one of his arms around her shoulder, relieved her of her duffle and tossed it over one of his shoulders.

Tina slipped an arm around his hips, hooking a thumb in one of his jeans belt loops. Side by side, they meandered down a side path that led to the farmhouse back door. She stopped, pressed Nate to her fiercely and whispered “I’m really home, aren’t I?”

“You are. You are."

Tina gave him a contented smile. “You know, I feel summer is gonna be wonderful.”

Monday, April 4, 2016

Celebrating the 47th year anniversary of the establishment of Swing Phi Swing, a social fellowship and female counterpart to Groove Phi Groove

Founded on the campus of Winston-Salem State University Apr. 4th, 1969, a year after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. the group promotes academic excellence, community service, social change and community engagement. There are various chapters across the country.

Friday, April 1, 2016


This installment of my Sci-fi series has taken FOREVER to get here. And its release date is appropriate. It's out today at my publisher, eXtasy Books and goes wide in a week at other e-retailers!!

I believe this is the best book in this saga so far. But that's just my hubris talking, and if I don't toot my own freakin' horn...Who will?

Yes, the quips and the barbs fly and that's just the aliens. Nate and Tina go at it too with a healthy dollop of Tina's mother, the deceased Miz Mattie chiming in. No, it's not all shits and giggles. Those Felig, who have regrouped under a new brand, are still the death of the party and still want Nate and Tina dead. Except now that desire extends to ALL who frequent the couple's stronghold. And now a certain status of human. Venture out at you own risk, people. Fold in too many people living at the compound with aliens who don't know when to quit and who have no notion of the concept, a rich kid rebel, a dethroned Felig leader who joins forces with Nate and Tina to bring down his former buddies, and two budding romances in the midst of chaos....Yeah, that's a day in the life of those living in a FELIG CHRONICLES era
When the stakes are high and lives are in the balance, it comes down to knowing when to risk it all to win the game.

 For our Felig-battling couple, Tina and Nate, the fight is far from over. After they learn that the Felig invaders, now under a new more ruthless leadership, have concocted yet another, harsher future for Earth, the pair and their crew jump into action. The lovers, together with their friend, the wealthy society rebel Wiley Devilbiss, and the disgraced, dethroned former Felig leader, Lord Advisor Leltin, will have to forge a peculiar alliance fueled by revenge and gamesmanship to outwit the indefatigable Felig.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

My love-hate relationship with OUTLANDER, plus, did you know Jamie Fraser is a POC? Sorta.

I must confess. I like "Outlander." The books and the Starz series. I am not crazed though like the folk who are shell-shocked and walking around like zombies since season one ended last May. No. I am sane. They are not. But folks are missing a whole other sub-plot while they salivate over Jamie and Claire.

This story is a deft study in presenting POC without the POC. It's amazing really. Yes, the Scots are technically not a POC but in that era they are seen as "primitive, backward, uneducated, superstitious" by the English. And gasp, they are Catholic mixed with a heavy dose of believing in a fairy world. All those "traits"attributed to folk seen as inferior by folk feeling superior And for convenience's sake, the English found a lot of folk "inferior" and used it as an excuse to "help" them by bogarting their way into other people's land. Hell, they treated their own "inferior" like crap and sent "undesirables" to "the colonies" or to Australia. Ok. England had a loooong history of just rolling right up in a place and BOOM! "Have some tea. We like the view but not you, so please die, or submit, or get out. Thank you."

So, let's delve
Centuries ago, low born people were not worth considering and were to be avoided by all costs by the high born (not much has changed), unless the high born needed them for something. BUT...there is always the "call of the wild" , the call of the "exotic." Think of all those British explorers traipsing off to points unknown, searching for the "exotic." That pull toward the forbidden. Closer to the manse, there has always been both that Lord and Lady who are screwing both the scullery maid and/or the stable boy. This attitude that the "inferior" are good for service only has not died. And after the tryst, the so-called betters' duty is to remind the so-called inferior of their class constantly in any way possible.

Which brings me to Claire and Jamie.

Claire (England) is a stone pain in the ass. Sorry but she riles me up with her airs. It took me a long time to warm up to TV Claire because basically she is that know-it-all-chick who walked into the end of a play and wants everyone to stop and fill her in. Don't get me started on how this intelligent woman touched a HOWLING, SCREECHING, VIBRATING stone while a wind from nowhere kicked up all around her and thought nothing was gonna happen to her. What do I call a person like that? Besides six screws loose and the rest missing? Privileged. Arrogant. Clueless. All of them because that person walks around thinking nothing bad is ever going to happen to them because said person knows it all. Yep, that's Claire. And no, it's not because she's Caucasian. I hang with plenty White women who would have RUN, just like me, when that stone started moving and singing. Claire just thinks the world revolves around her and that which is between her legs.

Now, I am floored, positively floored, that readers, watchers (mostly women) have NO problem with Claire's sexing up Jamie. Girlfriend got tipsy to ward off wedding night jitters with basically a STRANGER AND THEN BANGED HIM WITH ABANDON WITH NARY A THOUGHT ABOUT THE HUBBY SHE LEFT BEHIND IN THE 20TH CENTURY! Sex outside marriage when the other partner has not sanctioned it is not liked by romance readers (and let's face it. this series is romance no matter how much Gabaldon distances herself from the genre now). The woman is MARRIED. Outlander is a romance. I know Claire married Jamie for safety, so getting carnal with the hot Scot ONCE would have been enough to make it legal but in my mind, girlfriend dropped trou for this guy a tad too quick. It just has always been a sticking point for me. Couldn't she have taken refuge in the nearest convent/abbey/church until she could get back to those stones? She and her husband (Frank) in the future had a good relationship. In the book, they were trying to recapture the spark in their marriage after 5 years apart due to WWII. I think more soul-searching, more hand-wringing, more hesitation on Claire's part would have sounded more true in her facing her predicament.. Her accepting Jamie into her bed, on a permanent basis, so eagerly, always rang false to me. I mean she supposedly always had her mind and eye on getting back to the future through those stones! Why acquire a husband? Especially a supposedly, "low-born" one? And us being alerted constantly that she is "high-born" "of gentle birth" yadda, yadda, yadda, English.

Which brings me to the POC part.

Jamie (Scotland) is a gorgeous, untamed, wild hunk of the Highlands. At least that is how he is presented. BUT he is as "high-born" as Claire or even more so. He is Laird in his own right. Nephew of a laird and of a war chief. Well-educated. Intelligent. But his refinement and his connections to refinement are not brought up the way Claire's background is harped on. He is pimped as soldier, fighter, warrior, enthusiastic lover, outlaw. All those "bad boy" labels that "high-born" ladies who like slumming, love. Geezus Christ! The only thing missing is a motorcycle. That unequal equal the good girl can screw and leave behind. Sorry but deep down, that's how I think Claire sees Jamie. She loves him because he is NOT anything like Frank, not for him alone. Plus, she's being "high born" by making do by doing this handsome "low-born, manly guy until she can leave. Frank was the pleasant, English gentleman. Jamie lets her get loose and down and dirty. Even the sex she had with Frank was tame compared to the sex she has with Jamie.

Claire reads like the stock heroine in every frontier/foreign land romance book where the "civilized" chick travels to the wild, and finds herself through doing that just wild enough "heathen half-breed." He brings her orgasms and she brings him to "heel." Jamie in his kilt. Do not. Do not. Do not get me started with that kilt. That issue of Entertainment Weekly with the characters of Jamie and Claire on the cover showed Jamie's kilt as sex accessory inside. I mean is there anything he DOESN'T do in that apparel? Jamie might be Scots and European but remove him and insert "Native American chief and his loin cloth" "African prince and his dark skin/loin cloth," "Pacific Islander prince and his loin cloth"  "Sheikh and his burnoose," on and on. You get the picture. Jamie could be Shaka, Mako, Chief Running Interference (or some such nonsense), Prince Ahmed or fill-in-any-noble POC. After all is said and done, he is reduced to his chic, ethnic garb as sex accessory, and what's under it.

James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Romance hero. Honorary "Person of Color." Think about it.
photo credit