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Friday, December 30, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

To all who visited my blog this year...HAPPY NEW YEAR! Thank you for coming to read the airings of my mind. Thank you for reading my books. Thank you for your support. Thank you!



NetGalley, the professional blogger, the professional reader and me



Well, I know lots of writers crow about the wonders of NetGalley. So far, I am not in their numbers. I signed up with a co-op for a discounted, 2-month-long slot on NetGalley to introduce my latest historical romance, Dissent. I was not impressed. I should have known that it was going to be a wash when from Hour One things went south. For some reason, the site has a rating system for book covers. Thumbs up or thumbs down. Simple and telling. As I noted from Hour One of Dissent being available for review to bloggers and professional readers, the book cover got “thumbs down.”  Apparently, the folk with access to voting were feeling grumpy and a tad… biased that day. And for days to come. Can’t believe that the 30 votes the cover got, 22 were “thumbs down.” How? For such a beautiful cover. How? All I can think is that people disliked the thought of an interracial/ intercultural couple sooooo much that they voted down a portrait of one? Insecure much, ladies? And they say there is no bias in the romance biz? Yeah and I’m Elvis’ lost love child.  Plus, it was days after the presidential election. The Trump Effect maybe?

I have no intention of telling my cover illustrator the news. The young lady had poured her soul into drawing and painting that picture. Kirsten McKenzie is a talented artist and was so thrilled to be part of the project. See her website: http://www.kekreations.com.  She’d never been asked to do that pairing in a portrait before and was pumped to do it. It’s sad that the female “industry professionals” (and I know they were female. A male will be many things, but in something as innocuous as this…only females stuck at the petty level would indulge) who voted, could be reactionary about a simple cover. I point them out because NetGalley prides itself on only catering to the pros, be they reviewer or blogger or “professional reader.” Whatever the hell that is. Regular readers aren’t allowed. Thing is one must have a following to get access to the books on there. Gotta have street cred to… review a book? Veddy, veddy interesting. I thought a working brain, a way to access the book and an open mind were enough. Umm? I’m so behind the times.

Anyhoo, my time with NetGalley ends Dec. 31st. And it was wasted time. WASTED. There were NO requests by any of those “industry professionals” to read the book. Not a one. I never received a single report showing the number of times the book synopsis was viewed, or the book requested. ZILCH.  Now if I get one next week, that’ll be a surprise.

My take? If you have written a romance with a broken NavySEAL, or a firefighter, or still yet another billionaire, or a New Adult MMA fighter/ex-con, or a Cowboy, or a Viking demon/vampire/angel/shifter – who are all into BDSM and pie—well, baby, you got it made in the shade! It can’t be snatched up fast enough for review.

So, no, NetGalley was a wash for me. Funny, because the “industry professionals” constantly lament that there is a dearth of historical romances with characters who aren’t the “default.” My book is, was, such a book. So where were the requests? I think they need to alter that lament to convey their true feeling. That they want PoC in historical romance but only if these romances are written by the “default.” Sorry. Gotta call ‘em like I see ‘em.

Lip service. Lip service. Lip service.   

The bright side to this experience is that a reader must have rushed and bought the book and read it to have left a 5-star rating at Christmas on Goodreads for my book. Goodreads of all places. Usually folk are brutal on there. It made me smile. Plus, several bloggers have Dissent slated for review in the coming year.

Thumbs down? Yep, NetGalley “professionals,” you got that and another choice finger from me.  

Don’t mind me. This was my experience with NG. Yours might be different. Especially if you have a romance with an angst-y, lost, ancient Viking firefighter who wants to do naughty things to people with his hose while eating pie.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The three African-American female scientists who put John Glenn in orbit - Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan!

Physicist, mathemetician, space scientist, aerospace engineer - These women were all that and a bushel of Idahoes! Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan. Why so long to honor these ladies? Why have they been Hidden Figures? Treated like that chick a guy doesn't want his family and friends to know about. Same goes for the Navajo Codetalkers. The men and whose language saved the USA's bacon when the Nazi couldn't figure out what that language those secret messages were being sent in.

Man. Always invited to the dance on the condition one cleans up afterward. Damn.

Anyhoo, back to the ladies.

Taraji P. Henson is playing Katherine Johnson in the film scheduled for Christmas release 2016, Hidden Figures. Olivia Spencer and Janelle Monae play the other scientists.

Miss Katherine is still kicking. She is 98 years old. And still quite sharp. Miss Dorothy passed in 2008 at the age of 98. Miss Mary passed in 2005 at age 83. Misses Katherine and Mary married and had kids. Miss Dorothy did not.

I salute you ladies. You kicked in some barred doors and I am certain, made LOTS of asshats angry. Too effin bad.

The official poster for the film Hidden Figures, 2016.jpg






Saturday, December 10, 2016

DISSENT - Update! - It is now available in Kindle and as a Createspace paperback

Dissent (Love Vanquishes All, bk. 2) is now available in Kindle and as a Createspace paperback! This second book in my stand-alone historical series is just as wonderful as bk 1 (KINDRED) was. As I said, they are not connected. Their only link being that they both are historicals and they both have a BLACK heroine. They do have different covers. Something I found out a lot of self-pubbed works have when they are available in ebook and print.

The Createspace paperback is oversized (7 x 10) and is priced at $15. I know. Not cheap but think of the lovely artwork in that size and plus, it's ideal for holiday giving.

The ebook is $4.

Anyhoo, choose the version you want. Or both if you got the coins. Just don't pirate it. Please. Below are the covers for both versions and the links.

This was my first hands-on self-pubbing experience and it's been...interesting.

Okay. The shameless self-plugging.is over.

But do check out Awa's and Blaise's love story. It's not like anything out there. I swear.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

KINDLE:

https://www.amazon.com/Dissent-Love-Vanquishes-All-Book-ebook/dp/B01N0NY53L/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=RNBBEMFHRTCMWJQ7T28T 




PAPERBACK:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1540301907/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=5DK6Z66XZQ34R0XAXP5X


Friday, December 9, 2016

June Bacon-Bercey - The first African-American female to earn a degree in the field of meteorolgy in the '50s AND to be on TV giving the weather scoop!

http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/12/09/little-known-black-history-fact-june-bacon-bercey/

I am sure hearts went a fluttering when this learned beauty gave the weather report back in the 70s. And you pervs know who you were. So, feast your eyes again, Buffalo, NY and walk Memory Lane!







info courtesy black america web

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Again?

This year has been one of surprises. Bad and good.  Plus, no let up. Two more entertainers and a politician have passed over. One from a former top T. V. show; one from the music world and one from Cuba.

Ron Glass, of the 70s T. V.’s show, Barney Miller fame died last week. He played the stylish, “playa” detective who always had a side hustle going on outside his main squad room gig. His character, Det. Ron Harris, was funny and progressive for the time. For you young’uns, you might remember him on the T. V. show Firefly in his later years. He was 71.

Soul singer Colonel Abrams died last week. He was big during the disco era but for his dance/funk music. Not a huge star but he did leave his mark. His Trapped was one of the most requested songs that DJs had to spin to kick off lots of after work “Happy Hours” to get the party started after a crappy day. Sadly, he was ill (diabetic) and living on the streets. He was 67.

Last but surely not least, Fidel Alejando Castro Ruiz died at the age of 90. The former strongman of Cuba elicits a plethora of emotions; all good, bad but never indifferent. Whatever you thought of him, if you thought of him at all, the man could not be ignored.  I could say lots about this man but I’ll tick a lock. Let’s just say I never understood while growing up, why I was supposed to hate this man and fear the tiny island of Cuba. That spot of land just was not on my radar as one to tremble about. Plus, I knew lots of people who “hated” the island and wanted it to sink into the ocean BUT could not wait to replenish their forbidden stashes of Cojibas by way of some convoluted subterfuge. 

I’ll leave that right there.


And now, some pictures. Yes. I'm partial to the ones from their days of reknown.







Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving


Okay. Happy Gobble Gobble to all my US fiends. And to all my ex-pat ones too! Watch out for the the tryptophan coma.

And to my non-USA friends...Try a pumpkin pie somewhere, sometime. It's delicious.

And for an understanding as to why Thanksgiving Day is kinda not a day for Native Americans to get all verklempt about (I'm sure they reflect in another way on this day), read this link:

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/11/23/what-really-happened-first-thanksgiving-wampanoag-side-tale-and-whats-done-today-145807

I just wish everyone. PEACE and JUSTICE. And always, always be thankful for what you do have.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Twenty Year Anniversary of "Set It Off" - All female, Black quartet of talented actresses made box office bank and broke the Hollywood stereotype that films with "those" kinds of leads don't sell

http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/11/07/little-known-black-history-fact-set-it-off/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

This movie is soooooo good as a thriller, a heist film and as social commentary. Meaty roles that make you think. And Blair Underwood to stare at. Le sigh. Hollywood had no hopes for it as it had female leads. 4 Black female leads. Ha! Made for 9 million; it grossed 41 million! The F. Gary Gray directed film opened on Nov. 6, 1996. When it comes on T. V., even now, I still cry when Queen Latifah gets her chance to shine like James Cagney at the end. The soundtrack is unreal. Such a load of talent. Only other soundtrack with the same edge is the one for New Jack City. Twenty years gone already? Wow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Zena Stephens - Was elected sheriff in Jefferson County TEXAS. Great day in the mornin'



I'm very proud of you, Mrs. Stephens. Must have taken A LOT of gumption to run for this office.  In addition to being QUALIFIED. Congratulations! I read it was a close, tough race. But you came through. Again, do celebrate and be CAREFUL. A LOT of unhinged folk out there and honey, you in Texas.


http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Jefferson-Co-elects-state-s-first-black-female-10603266.php

Friday, November 11, 2016

Update: DISSENT: New release date is Nov. 15th!

So much drama over book! Well, my dream was crushed. Amazon and Apple would NOT load it without text on the cover. So, I had to cave. The book will be at select e-retailers in ebook form; Amazon will carry the print version come December. So, you'll have your choice.

So far here is the link to the e-retailers:

https://www.draft2digital.com/book/136531

And here is the new cover with the requirements. I miss Awa's cuff bracelet showing. Darn!



Thursday, November 10, 2016

The election or Weimar 2.0

What can I say? It took me a bit to gather this. And not because I was shocked or surprised. I felt strangely calm as the whole thing unfolded.

Hillary was sooooooooo close and it slipped through her fingers. The Gore Effect again.. A woman who was the only totally qualified ADULT, ready to run the nation without needing a remedial course on how the gov't works (when one is not being OBSTRUCTED at every effin turn) A WOMAN. Mrs. Clinton is my president.

Lots of self-hating white women voted for her opponent. And do not call out rural women, lower-class women or blue-collar women on that move. Tons of middle to upper class women voted AGAINST her. That put that man over the top. Phew! Patriarchy is like a vampire. It can only die if people are willing to kill it.

Factor in third party folk, non-voters and the plain angry racist move of "vote for the guy who will put those other people back in their place. Even if it's at my expense." Yep. Donald J. Trump is president-elect but fear and hate won the election.

Donald J. Trump. The Prez-Elect. The aged playboy. The hyped tycoon (Believe me. He ain't as rich as he says. Believe me). And the money he does have, well...He made it off the backs of the sort who voted for him. The voter who loves Fox News sound bites as much as they love cheese bites. The voter who somehow felt "their Amerikka" was slipping away. Yo, it was, is, because YOUR ATTENTION SPAN IS SHORTER THAN THE LIFE SPAN OF A FRUIT FLY.  You were weaned on reality tv. No wonder this election cycle was so much "fun." You were waiting for someone to throw a drink or pull a wig off. And it only could have gotten better if the debates had been held as cage matches.

Look, the orange one has been chosen. America, you got the person you deserved not the person you needed. Your tainted angry energy drew this cretin to you. It reflected his.

After Barack and Michelle leave the White House, class will have left the building. I see a return to the gaudy Reagan excess of the 80s once Mr. and Mrs. T move in.

Assaults on minorities on race and religion, have started already.

Now my impersonation of President Obama. Imagine his voice, but my words:

"Let me me be clear. I have weathered Neanderthals before. Just never believed one would be the U. S. prez elect. God. Bush-43 doesn't look as vile now. I've been reading accounts of fallout of the Trump Effect. Shootings, an attack on a Muslim woman in a Walmart because she was wearing a hijab. Right here in good, old S. Philly, my actual home turf, there was vandalism and "Sieg Heil 2016" and swastikas scrawled on buildings. And on and on. WTF? Is this the the kind of behavior that the Prez-Elect condones? Sadly, he does. He ran on that platform with every wink and nod he gave his rabid, misguided base. Angry, white folk and foolish, pouting minorities co-signed it when they voted for him. My grandmother always said that fragile egos are the most dangerous of any kind. I can see why now. Trump is responsible for building up his supporters' fragile egos so they feel quite free to act this ugly. 

But, hey, I intend to live my life, to go about my business. But I give all nut jobs fair warning, I will not allow ANYONE to step into me. This is my America too."



Sunday, November 6, 2016

"DISSENT," my latest historical romance drops NOVEMBER 9th!

Well, while I think on the plot of my next installment in my Scifi series, I thought I'd drop this baby on y'all. It's my labor of love and a tribute to all the French Civilization and African Studies classes I had in high school and college. Especially college. I thank my tremendous professors. Men and women of some mad knowledge who could walk into a classsroom and just start giving the lesson WITHOUT benefit of textbook, notes or devices. They were the personification of their subject matter. They ate, slept and breathed their metier.

This present historical romance I wrote is the blending of all I soaked up from them. It's called DISSENT and is book 2 in my standalone historical series, LOVE VANQUISHES ALL.

THE PREMISE:
1571. France is in stasis. The peace struck after the latest War of Religion between Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots) is fragile and desperately needs more support to sustain it. The monarchy proposes a royal wedding joining a Catholic princess to a Huguenot prince as it is seen as the needed bulwark. Negotiations are in the works. All is good. Or so it appears.

On another front, France has fallen far behind other European nations in its quest to expand its empire overseas. Expenditures from civil wars have sapped her coffers, her energy and have stunted her economic dreams.

Could another marriage remedy the problem by mixing religious unity with the possibility of increased commerce?

Enter Awa, the daughter of a visiting, Roman Catholic, Wolof diplomat from the elite ranks of the Jolof Kingdom in West Africa. She embodies the best of her land in her manner and in her education. She is dutiful, proud, and respectful of her family, but after living a portion of her formative years at the French court, she has become outspoken and a tad willful.

Enter Blaise, the nephew of the most powerful leader of the Huguenot faction in the country. An aristocrat. Learned. Traveled. Haunted. Ladies’ man. Rarely sees a sunrise, unless he is going to bed at that hour. He abhors responsibility of any kind. And Roman Catholics.

Two persons of noble lineage. Strangers. Foes. Pawns. Allies? Lovers?

If Awa and Blaise can cease fighting long enough, could their marriage quell domestic unrest, bring riches and stability to France, but most importantly deliver true love to them before the realm implodes over religious matters again?  



DISSENT is also an homage to those sweeping historical romances of the 70s and 80s I read. Just without the silliness, rape and alpha-hole hero. Oh, and the heroine is AFRICAN. Truly AFRICAN. Not a weave, not a mulatto in sight nor SLAVE background in her lineage. She is an ARISTOCRAT. I needed to see another Black woman in another dignified role in a historical romance. So, I wrote the sucker myself! Wanna know more? BUY the book. Please no piracy. Read it and let me know what you think.

The cover is so gorgeous I requested it be released WITHOUT any lettering on the front cover. No need to muck up that view with words. The e-retailers were none too happy. APPLE has refused to carry it. Ho Hum. Their loss.. Anyway any info like author name, blurb, etc. are all on the inside page and when released in print in a few months, all that will be on the back cover. For now here is the info and some links who will carry it

https://www.draft2digital.com/book/136531

DISSENT drops NOVEMBER 9th! And now that incredible cover by the fantastic Kirsten McKenzie:
(her website by the way is https://kekreationsart.wordpress.com/)

P.s. Humans are so funny. This book is on NetGalley too for industry professionals to review. NetGalley also has a poll on each book to rate a book's cover. This book in the course of a DAY has earned 8 thumbs DOWN for the cover. Not one thumbs up. Really, trolls? Gut reactions are soooo telling. I mean there was no way people could have downloaded and read the book that fast to dislike it. So those votes had to be visceral reactions. I have a life and totally forgot that bigots read romance books too. So, they saw the cover got all insecure and thumbs-downed it. Let me guess. So if the hero were gazing at a chick who was anything but BLACK, would they have given the cover thumbs up? Just wondering. But I know the answer. Haters gonna hate and I'm gonna work on gettin' more by week's end (just like Katt Williams says).

So scoot on over there and see ugly in action. Vote if you want to too.

https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book/101344

Mic drop.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Doris Payne, jewel thief for the ages!

Doris Payne. Lil Ole Doris Payne looks like anyone of my friends grannies except she's a jewel thief. Been doing it since she was a teen. Miz Thing is now 86 and presently not incarcerated. Hate to say it but my granny would have loved to have had a sit-down with her. Hell, I would like a cup of tea with her. She was wanted by Interpol. She reportedly wants Kerry Washington to play her in a biopic. How ironic since the first hit indie role that Kerry had was in the film Lift, the story of a girl who shoplifts to gain her mother's love. Well Doris, you are out of luck. It's on record that Halle Berry holds the rights to your story and is developing the film.

In any event, what a life! And what stones.

Read more at:
http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/11/03/little-known-black-history-fact-doris-payne/








Tuesday, November 1, 2016

More of the same

Look what I came across in my perusing of a romance site’s new releases post. A new Harlequin Blaze romance with an interracial couple on the cover. A black woman/white man pair. A darker-skinned chick. Again, I am sure the Art Dept. at Harlequin thought it was being oh so now. Look, at least it took a chance. Dare I say that they must have read my rant on the deliberate whitewashing of covers to attract white readers? One can only hope. Ok. I got a tad happy ‘cuz the black heroine didn’t have a weave hanging down to her azz, didn’t come off as “street” and she was actually touching the hero. Still not looking at him though. Then I read on and, well, the book. The book itself should be so progressive. It contains two novellas featuring a species as the focus. Members of Helios come to Earth to romance the population. It’s a paranormal but oh, man. Here we go. A black chick gets the spotlight in the book. YAY! Sounds good. But, but…Harlequin, honey, I am certain some non-White authors had stories just as good. Did you even consider them? And do not tell me you did not get submissions. You know you get them. If the call went out for submissions, you got ‘em. You chose NOT to pick any of them. You pick stuff like that other “multicultural” train wreck of a romance you published a few months back with the self-hating half-Black heroine. So now with the release of this new book, all of RomanceLandia  will be taken on that lap around the pat-yourself-on-the-back track. You, Harlequin, will get undeserved kudos and unlimited Scooby snacks for being progressive and forward-thinking in filling the “multicultural” void. Puh-leeze.

This book clearly has a BLACK woman in it, but is not tagged as “multicultural” as most ALL other books are when one person in the lover’s duo is NOT White.  This book is being touted as “Urban Fantasy” and “Romance.” Two categories that get waaaaaay more searches, and eyes, on them then “multicultural.” This means this book will be “seen” by more potential buyers by simply being in those categories on Amazon. That helps those writers immensely! They will get MORE sales because they are not relegated to ONLY “multicultural.” This makes non-White romance writers see red. Their books with a non-White character gets shuttled off to “multicultural” ONLY! And anybody with a brain, knows that category gets the LEAST play on Amazon and other retailers! People are either too lazy to search, or are not interested in that category. That spells LOST SALES! While WHITE writers can pen the rainbow and will get listed in any category they, or their publisher, wish. And get tons of views! Do you get that that is segregation? Do you understand that? Do you understand that this practice seriously curbs a non-White writer’s earning potential? Their exposure? Is that sinking in? And people wonder why some non-White romance authors are a tad fed up. And most White writers sit on their hands, silent, acting innocent, reaping the benefits, happy to not rock the apple cart of the world of romance. But these same writers get all in their feelings when this is pointed out to them. But hey, I’m just putting it out there like it is.

The thing is not a one of us non-White, romance writers would be vocal about any of this ish if we were treated with respect by the industry, the reading public and by fellow White writers. But RomanceLandia can’t resists tooting its own horn at the expense of others. I have no ax to grind. But I do have an aversion to being pissed on and told it's raining.

The truth hurts like a son-of-a-bitch but it also sets you free.

This is how it is in RomanceLandia. There is nothing nice, ladylike, civil or just in that realm. It is as bloody as an MMA bout. Maybe more so. At least in MMA there are rules. In RomanceLandia, it is a cage fight without any rules. Everyday.

This is why proceed as I see fit and say what I want.  

And if you were wondering, those novellas in that new release were written by Addison Fox and Karin Whiddon. Two white authors.

P.s. I’m not posting the cover. But do go here to read the blurb and see the cover. And check the categories it’s listed in.



Monday, October 31, 2016

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Yanno. I was gonna go all informational about today but decided...naw. I'mma stick to my usual snark. Yep. It’s that time of year. Pumpkins. Apple Cider. Candied Apples. The turning of the leaves. Sweaters. Crumb snatchers at your front door expecting candy.  Some of them big enough, and old enough, to have stopped darkening doors 20 years ago. And the real adults. Oh boy, the real adults. The ones at the parties who get beyond loose after having been a wet blanket all year. You know the kind I mean. The same folk at the holiday office parties. The tightly-wound chicks who can’t wait to don the Sexy Anything costumes for Halloween. Pirate. Nurse. Mermaid. Bus Driver. Dog Catcher. School Teacher. On and on. And then you got the dudes who think it’s the time to release their inner drunken juice pig. Their costumes? Usually themselves with a $1 mask and fueled with ½ a keg of beer. Probably orange.

Personally, I wasn’t that much into candy. I wanted spiced wafer cookies. Piles of spiced wafer cookies. Irwin’s. Yum. To this day, nothing says Fall or Halloween like spiced wafers.

So, however you get your ghoul on, please do it appropriately (no blackface, redface, yellowface, etc. I’ll make it simply. Just no one’s ethnicity as a costume. OK? And don’t pout. Those exclusions leave a ton of other things to be) and safely.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The "Lady Doctor" of early 20th century Colorado - Dr. Justina Ford

http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/10/14/little-known-black-history-fact-dr-justina-ford/

Well, seems "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" had a predecessor and was based in real life. Except Dr. Ford was black. A true example of making a way when there is no way, Dr. Ford thumbed her nose at the large hospitals that would not allow her to work in them lest she "disturb" the white staff and patients. Plus, she was barred from joining medical associations which would have given her the connections to get work. Associations. Organizations. Clubs. Never, NEVER let someone tell you those places where the "in crowd" gathers to give each other a leg up don't matter. If the person does, that person is hindering you and mos def is blocking your way. Anyhoo, Dr. Ford took her services to the hinterlands where the poor of ALL colors needed medical care. And probably didn't care who attended them once pain hit their ass. She specialized in gynecology and was the ONLY female doctor in the state for decades, let alone the only African-American one.

Go on with your bad self, Dr. Ford!

info courtesy of black america web



Thursday, October 6, 2016

Remembering Gloria Naylor

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/04/books/gloria-naylor-national-book-award-winner-dies-at-66.html?_r=0

A writer of capable female characters who were the personification of their times, Gloria Naylor was a pro at depicting more than the neck-wiggling, eye-rolling and smart-talking black women.

The Women of Brewster Place. Linden Hills. Bailey's Cafe. Mama Day. The Men of Brewster Place. Each book is her legacy to the world.

She won the American Book Award and the National Book Award for 1st novel in 1983, the same year Alice Walker won the National Book Award for best novel for The Color Purple.

Talent Overload.


Rod Temperton – You wanna talk “blue-eyed soul, Justin and Robin?” Well, he was it





Another great, and a piece of the soundtrack of my life, has gone on to his reward. The native of England, who remained in England after his touring days ended, and who used to FAX his contributions to his collaborators, passed recently. Rod Temperton was the keyboardist, and composer for one of the best groups to come out of the 70s, HEATWAVE. Go listen to Always and Forever (with the unbelievable voice of the late Johnnie Wilder, Jr.) and I dare you not to wish you’d been there with flares on!

He worked for the rest of his life creating music with and for others. You might know some of these gorgeous songs:
For his group, HEATWAVE: Always and Forever; Grooveline
George Benson: Gimme the Night
Michael Macdonald: Yammo Be There
Michael Jackson: Rock Wit You; Thriller
Lionel Ritchie: Say You, Say Me (from the movie White Nights)

And it goes on and on.

Generous, original, prolific, tempered talented as opposed to just grinding out “hamburger” because another 3-minute-long something was due a record company, he left his distinct mark on 70s funk and 80s ballads.

Justin who? Robin who?


R. I. P. Mister Temperton

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Check out "Uncaged" a magazine for all the things that go bump in the night. Or day

For your reading pleasure...Please flip through the latest issue of Uncaged, an ezine devoted to all things paranormal, Scifi, spooky and plain unexplained.

The present issue is located at the bottom of the page.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The latest issue of SCIFI ROMANCE QUARTERLY IS OUT! AND I'M IN IT! (RUNNING MY MOUTH AS USUAL)

Please go support my colleague, Heather Massey in her one-on-one interview with me in the current issue of Scif Romance Quarterly (no. 12). Heather is fearless and a true ally for advocating room for all people in the writing of Scifi Romance!

Of course I'm my outspoken self.

Go download a free copy and get your eyeballs singed.

Fresh, Hot, & Fabulous: Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly #12

http://www.scifiromancequarterly.org/2016/09/pj-dean/

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

CONTEST ALERT! CONTEST ALERT! WIN A GENEROUS GIFT CARD OR BOOKS!


OK. I am in this event (see the first book in my SciFi series on the second row at the end, far right?) I think it's open internationally too. Check out all you need to know at the addy at the bottom of the advert. I almost missed out on this as I didn't get the info until the closing day for authors to enter. (RK, forgive me. I would have given you a heads up but there was no time!) Author Constance Burris  (http://www.constanceburris.com) is helming this event and from the looks of it has gathered a good mix of genres in Black speculative fiction. ENTER ! Contest ends soon!

Correction: Check out all info on the link below. The link on the ad is not working. Better info should be on the one below.
http://www.constanceburris.com/giveaways/mega-blackspecfic-giveaway/

Friday, September 23, 2016

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE OPENS SEPT. 24, 2016 IN WASHINGTON, D.C.!

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is a Smithsonian Institution museum established in 2003. The museum's building, designed by David Adjaye, is on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. Early efforts to establish a federally owned museum featuring African American history and culture can be traced to 1915, although the modern push for such an organization did not begin until the 1970s. After years of little success, a much more serious legislative push began in 1988 that led to authorization of the museum in 2003. A site was selected in 2006, and a museum design approved in 2009. President Barack Obama helped break ground for the building on February 22, 2012. First concrete was poured in November 2012, and construction was to be complete in April 2016.
Smithsonian officials have announced that the museum will open on September 24, 2016.

(Wikipedia)

I know. The Wiki. I can't believe I used it.

So exciting. So timely. So needed.

C-SPAN is live streaming the opening on Sept. 24th starting 8AM/ET

https://www.c-span.org/video/?415019-1/national-museum-african-american-history-culture

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

EMPIRE is back tonight!










FOX’s EMPIRE returns to the airwaves tonight! When last we peeped la famille Lyon, Luscious had to marry his pregnant ex-fiancee, Boo Boo Kitty (the baby belongs to his youngest son!) for legal and face-saving reasons pertaining to his record empire. These two have long been finished and this was a formality. A formality which visibly broke mamma Cookie’s heart as she still loves Big L. And she had to witness the wedding. AND, AND after Rhonda, the wife of Luscious’ eldest son miscarried via ugly tumble down a staircase last season, she has been having flashbacks to the incident and realizes it was no accident. She came to the knowledge at the makeshift wedding that the person who had befriended her in her time of need was the culprit! Cue organ music. The culprit? None other than BOO BOO KITTY! Seems old Boo was bummed out that Big L had kicked her to the curb when Cookie got out of prison, and for double crossing him by doing his son. This woman wanted to be in that family so bad she would have given the sexually-fluid son a go if she had not succeeded with the sexual irresponsible one first. She wanted the name and the money and to be the one popping out the next pride of Lyons. She did not want anyone and their kid in her spotlight, and didn’t care how she went about pushing them out of it.
So at the end of the last episode of last season, “woke” Rhonda confronts Boo Boo, after the ceremony, when they are all alone, out on the high walkway above a concrete surface. OF ALL PLACES! They get into a Krystal-and-Alexis-style fight, tussling like MMA contenders.  Rhonda’s yelling that she knows what Boo Boo did and how she is gonna make her pay. It’s been bad for both. Rhonda has been through hell with her bipolar husband, who almost went off the deep end when they lost their baby. Boo Boo is just plain desperation morphed into psychosis bordering on homicidal. Who will live? Who will die? Will the baby survive? And where the hell are the rest of the Lyons while this mess is going down? All I do know is, nobody better call me at 9pm and I gotta go get some popcorn for tonight.


Fox's EMPIRE 9pm in the States.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Romance Books - Observations on their writing, on the trends, on reading, on reviewing,



These are my musings and I take responsibility for them.

The romance books out now skew heavily toward contemporaries. Characters are concentrated in the world of WTF as far as I can see. Look, I know romance is about the fantasy, the possibility of romance between all kinds, for all kinds, but the premises just keep getting wilder and weirder. Writers are pushing boundaries to shock readers, make bank and to outdo each other. The character who is now seen as the “hero” has taken a one-eighty, or is that a three-sixty? A “hero” today in contemporary romance could be the violent, “misunderstood” parolee on the block because the writer shows his true humanity when he takes in a box of abandoned kittens he found in the alley behind his squat. Or he could be the grating, obnoxious, sexist, corporate-raiding asshole who gets off on humiliating his employees but who really just needs the “right” woman/man/both to set his stony heart free. There is also the murdering, drug-dealing, gun-running motorcycle member who just needs an understanding "princess" and a home-cooked meal. Preferably not made in the same kitchen he cooks his meth. Oh and let’s not forget the tattoos and beards and abs. The list could go on forever. Look, everyone needs to be seen. But I admit I have not read a contemporary all the way through in 3 years. I can’t take them. Mix in New Adult to the aforementioned shift, and well, I. Just. Can’t. 

Seems folks, yet again, rather read about, and find it credible that the “outlaw” as a hero (a monosyllabic person with no people skills, questionable ethics and an eff-everyone-over-before-they-eff-me-over ‘tude) is more appealing and acceptable and credible than a sexy, black bio-geneticist with an interest in Tai Chi. Oh, well. I suppose it is an improvement over the reading public finding vamps, weres and spectres more believable than a sexy, black bio-geneticist with an interest in Tai Chi.  An “outlaw” is human at least. Well, barely.    

Possibly the writers are writing for the newbie readers who flocked to romance after 50 Shades came out? I guess people thought romance was all Georgette Heyer and Harlequin. The industry did note an uptick in overall sales after the E. L. James books/movie came out. Sex does sell. But it kinda ruins some stuff too. Chiefly when it’s stuffed (pardon the pun) into a book for no apparent reason. Like a 200 pg book with 50 pages of sex scenes. Like a scene where a couple are in a public place where it’s impractical, impossible and implausible to be having sex. Because in real life, you’d get written up, arrested or a hose turned on you. It sounds sexy on paper but it’s truly skivvy. I had a friend whose house was on a dead-end street that seemed perfect for impatient lovers.  The dead-end was perfect for “parking” out of the way. And that is what people did. They “parked” in that dead-end on that street and did everything under the sun in their cars. More times than not, they parked the cars right up next to my friend’s property so passing cops couldn’t see them but all my friends had to do was look out their side windows. That’s not SEXY. Anyhoo, these romantic interludes, drove my friends crazy. The disgusting debris they had to clean up Sat. and Sun. mornings that had been tossed by these couples would have gagged a maggot. They finally invested in motion sensor lights and when they clicked on, my friends used to come out and turn the hose on the cars. I LOVED IT.

“So why is she telling us this?” you ask. Because someone needs to get real and put that in one of those unreal contemporaries when an over-heated couple decides to get busy in public in a private place. How about having the hero or heroine say “No, Cheap Ass. Take me to a motel.” Revolutionary, right? Also because in real life, folk don’t want you screwing in their side yard, backyard, or alley no matter how quiet you are, or how struck you were by the pretty moon that night. Take that mess elsewhere. That’s common sense. That’s my beef with modern romance books. No common sense. Instead of using the logical to spin a story, writers go the path that takes me out of the story period with its silliness and crassness. And I’m not talking paranormal or fantasy.

Now, I cannot say much on the SciFi romance front except to say, I do write it. The authors I interact with have been penning unbelievably great work. And they use fantasy but it works in that space. Even the sex slave planet books and the captive books and the goblin vs. imp books have way more plot, and make way more sense than a contemporary. I expect the WTF to occur in these books as they are not about real events. I am proud of my SFR colleagues.

The historical romance. What can I say about the historical romance? Maybe, it would be easier to speak on what not to say about the historicals being written. I will say this. OH FRIGGIN’ MY. Well, industrious authors have found a way to incorporate 50 Shades shenanigans into them to draw new readers. A few are doing it with thought and wit; others are simply finding another reason for the Duke of So-and-So to visit the salons of repressed spinster neighbors, or the rectories of hunky vicars for rough hanky-panky. Some authors, who are mainstream, have “discovered” that minorities were living in centuries other than the 21st, Imagine that. We lived in other times and other people have just found out.  In any case, they have been blending minorities into historicals. Good. But they seem to prefer writing about minority men as opposed to minority women. Fine with me. I don’t need to read about another “confused mulattress” who is “pretty in spite of her tainted blood and who has no trace of it in her person.” Deliver me from good intentions. That path to Hell is already crowded with them.  And the name historical is taken with a shaker of salt. I read one recently where I only knew it was a Western because the author mentioned a horse and that the heroine could see the Sherriff’s Office from the saloon’s upper window. Let us not forget the voluminous attire on both figures on the book cover. Big blouse, big hair, big dress, shirtless? Historical.  Sailing ship, mountains, prairie, river, castle, forest, shirtless? Historical. Thank goodness for those markers because there is nada historical going on inside those books. You know what? I shouldn’t have to guess if I’m reading a historical. I’m picky that way. Call me old-fashioned. I believe that if there is no history in your historical romance, it ain’t a historical.

Now on to the reviewing of romance books. Heavens, I’ve got so much to say but I’ll keep it short. First, those who are brave enough to review…hats off to ya! You are willing to wade in waters I wouldn’t dare to. But there is an art to it. It’s called tact.  Seems it has gotten dicey lately. Reviewers have been attacked by authors who have been christened as “behaving badly.” This is really sticky territory. And gets personal and treacherous. Personally, I see authors as having no say on how their work will be received. I understand that. We just never know. BUT I have seen reviewers who have missed the boat entirely when reviewing a book. I feel reviewers need to stick to the subgenre they know. If you like and review, say, erotica. Stay in that lane. If by chance a book that is NOT erotica comes your way…bypass it. Okay? Why? Because writers who DO NOT write erotica do not need your insight on how their book could have been better with the addition of gynecological sex scenes and dirty talk. Um, er, people? Let me hip you to something. Not every book has to have ba***s-to-the-wall, sexy times ad infinitum and the constant repetition of the words “c**k” or c**t to be entertaining. Stop marking a book LOWER, OR NOT WORTH READING because of its low c- count. Be fair. The book wasn’t for you. Admit it. Okay? That was note one.

Note two. And those who follow this blog, or have visited before can look away now. I’ve touched on this before and will continue to until it sinks in. Yo, REVIEWERS, with the addition of historicals with non-white main characters being written by non-white writers, dear reviewers, (and you know who you are) I’m talking to you, son. Look, this way now. Stop! I say STOP comparing the characters and the characters’ actions in this outgrowth of the historical to the white characters in the same type of book. Non-white characters have DIFFERENT histories from white characters. Their experiences are different. There are no comparisons. So just STOP it! I’m tired of you cautioning readers about you not being able to vouch for the history. HELLO! Readers don’t need you to do that. They aren’t 5 year olds and should not need their hands held. Unless, unless reading a “multicultural” historical is “scary” to them and you feel it is incumbent upon you to walk them through. And if that is the case, THE READER needs to put down the book. BOO! Halloween is upon us. Anyhoo, your caveat is insulting especially when all kinds of bibliographic materials are included in the book to enlighten the reader. Again, as with books that are not erotica, STOP marking historicals with non-white leads, written by non-white authors, LOWER than “mainstream” historicals because YOU lack the ability to shove aside internalized stereotypes. Just because YOU can’t visualize a non-white characters as dippy, reveling in their being themselves, shrewd, evil, melodramatic or routine as any white character, does not make it a reason to down grade a book. Those aspects of personality are universal and make a character human.

Just like those “outlaws” y’all drool over.   

Homogeneity in romance. Yes, honey, the force is still strong with that one. I could go on and on about the plethora of cowboys, Vikings, MC members, sports teams, MMA fighters, gov’t agents, SEALS and of course dukes, the majority of whom are white and male. But if I point that out, people will say I’m too focused on race. Really? Have you really ever looked at the weekly new releases’ shelf on any given romance book review site? It’s so homogenized it should be in the dairy section of the supermarket. 

Okay. I'm done. or more like spent. What will next quarter bring? Besides my new book? Shameless plug, I know but it's my blog. Really, who knows? I still believe in hope and change. But in the romance business, habits die hard.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Marvin. Marvin. 45 years ago you shocked my young psyche

I had this record by the Marvelous Marvin Gaye when it came out waaaaay back in '71! It was a CONCEPT album. Meaning? It had a purpose, a theme throughout. The concept to it was a Vietnam Vet returning home to a country he'd fought for that was in turmoil and worse off than when he'd left it. Powerful stuff. I was a very precocious, forward-thinking kid. Anyhoo, it blew my young mind with its view of social issues mixed with searing lyrics and music. It's still so relevant today. There is not a cut on it that does not speak to issues today. So many unbelievable songs on one album. What's Going On; Mercy Mercy Me, Inner City Blues.  Marvin had his finger on the pulse of the nation even then. This album morphed him from the "handsome singer of love songs to the "not just another pretty face singer" of music. Period.  I see much of the same crap today that I saw in the 70s. Just had better music to address it. Pick up a copy of this groundbreaking record in any format you can. Listen and I dare you not to become "woke."

A photo of Gaye looking away from the camera

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Obamas - My POTUS and FLOTUS, it has been a trip


Just because. I admire them so much. They have been grace under pressure from Day One. I do hope after every contentious session with Congress, he went home and cussed everyone of them out in his mind. And like many African-Americans, my heart was in my throat when they got out of the limo on that first Inauguration Day to greet people. The Divine was guarding them because I'd been sure some cretin wearing a tin-foil hat with membership in The John Birch Society was gonna shoot them. All I could remember saying to myself was, "Get back in the damned car! You got nothing to prove! You won!" And he did. TWICE. I shall miss them like hell when they are gone. Mark my words. He will go down as one of the best to have served in that position. My advice to Barack when the last day in the White House comes? Put your feet up in your new mansion, take a looooog pull on some Jack, say "take that haters" and say "it was a good day." Thank you, Barack and Michelle.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Fultz Quads: A doctor's quest for fame; a company's greed and a sad end

http://www.inquisitr.com/2771496/black-history-forgotten-how-the-fultz-quadruplets-were-exploited-by-pet-milk/

Ever heard of the Fultz Quads? Born in 1946, the first surviving, identical ,African American quads (all girls), were sponsored by Pet Milk but then ended up exploited. first by the doctor who delivered them and then by Pet to basically fill everyone else's coffers but the family's. Lord, that refrain keeps repeating. I needed a shower after reading up on this fiasco.

Pet Milk should be ashamed.




Thursday, September 8, 2016

It's SEPTEMBER!

It's September and Chair Dance Day and because I wanted to hear a lil Earth, Wind and Fire! Now is the time we dance!





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ter0p_iyIxk

Monday, September 5, 2016

Christina M. Jenkins - Inventor of the "Weave"

http://blackamericaweb.com/category/little-known-black-history-facts/


On your mark! Get ready! Go! Yep, summer is officially over and it's time to get your new hair for the Fall. Read this article first and thank this lady. Without her, your do would be slippin' and slidin' all over the place.



Monday, August 29, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MJ!



Happy Birthday, Michael. This is the MJ I'll remember. The one with all the potential. The one who had no childhood. The one who lit up the room and the sky. The genius. Born August 29, 1958. Gone too soon? Yes and no.He served his purpose while here and never skimped on a performance. He gave too much but that is what fans expect. For one to live for them and to allow them to draw the essence out of an artist until they fold in and return to where ever. Well, where ever you are, Michael, sing, dance and be. Happy Birthday

Friday, August 26, 2016

THE ISLEY BROTHERS AND THE GAP BAND

The Isley Brothers

A group from Cincinatti, OH. Been active since 1954 and still going strong. The group consisted of Ron, Ernie, Vernon, Rudolph, Marvin, O'Kelly and Chris Jasper. They were brothers, cousins and related by marriage but they all were and are family. Three have passed away. Ron was the breakout star and now at the age of 75, along with Ernie is still making hits. I always thought Ernie Isley was the BEST, underrated guitarist in the business. Their music catalogue is too vast to name. But my favs are Harvest for the World and  their remake of Summer Breeze. Ernie's guitar is golden on those cuts.







Oh my. Peep that fur and those boots. A playa never dies.


The Gap Band



Hailing from Tulsa, OK (hence the cowboy hats and cowbells in their music) These brothers (Charlie, Ronnie and Robert) from the Greenwood district of Tulsa tore up the charts in the 70s and 80s. Party Train being a big hit. Robert is gone but Charlie is the breakout star in this group. After battling drug addiction, his life has been on track for years and "Uncle Charlie" can put on a show to shame the youngsters and the Devil. At 63, his curtain call time is usually 3 a. m. You can't be a wuss and keep up with Chollie.



Smooth Charlie

Monday, August 15, 2016

PORTALS, VOLUME 6 is out and it's FREE!



Well, lookie here! PORTALS, volume 6 is officially out (August 3rd). And I'm in this one too. I was in the first one too. Volume 7 comes out later this month. It will be the last one. I do hope you have enjoyed these first chapters from selected Scifi Romance books. A way to sample a book or unknown before plunking down your ducats for the whole thing. I've read them and have found new authors to follow. As alway, I am honored to have been part of a successful project. Can wait to see what the ladies of SFR think up next.

And did I mention all PORTALS are FREE! Check your ebook seller, download them and travel to other worlds or meet an alien or two!


https://www.amazon.com/Portals-One-Lyn-Brittan-ebook/dp/B01FIFE7FA/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Portals-Six-Jessica-Subject-ebook/dp/B01JQ7P8YK/ref=pd_sim_351_20?ie=UTF8&dpID=51YTloYYR9L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_OU01__BG0%2C0%2C0%2C0_FMpng_AC_UL160_SR107%2C160_&psc=1&refRID=QJ4Q8F35VFVC6ZRA0FHF

Portals: Volume One by [Brittan, Lyn, Burnard, Marcella, Dean, P.J., Frelick, Donna S., Green, Laurie A., Grayson, Athena, Pajonas, SJ, van der Rol, Greta, Scott, Veronica, Williams, Sandy]