Monday, August 14, 2017

Do you set goals and boundaries in your romance writing? - An example

In my historical romance, Kindred, An American Love Story, my heroine is the granddaughter of slaves, and my hero is an indigenous Oneida. When an interracial relationship pops up as the main plot in a romance novel, it’s usually a Caucasian hero and a non-Caucasian heroine/partner. I was drawn to telling a tale with characters who don’t get much play in researched historical romances. A plethora of historical, Native romances have been written over the years. Most have a Native hero and a Caucasian heroine. And the hero is usually portrayed as “untamed” and “wild” and is often seen by the heroine as “uncivilized.” Okay. I get that the writer needs to convey the independence or the single-mindedness or the uniqueness of the Native character, but “untamed and wild?” About an Indigenous person? Really? Um, er, uh…No. No. No. Those writers needed to have thought harder to find better words.

I used the same criteria for my heroine. If you know anything about my work, you know that I write Black heroines, I write them the opposite of the usual spin seen in the sparsely populated arena of Black, historical romance heroines. I only depict them in multi-faceted terms. No one-note wonders permitted. No one-size fits all demeanors. I expect the same for my book covers. I went against the trend for Kindred's cover. The lack of the hero’s bare chest on the cover might have cost me sales but I wasn’t going that route. No oiled-up “savage.” No skimpy loincloth, or spears. No broken English on his part inside the book. No.

I got pushback on my choice of romantic coupling for my book. The first publishing house I subbed to had doubts the pairing, and their depiction, would pass muster. “Pass muster?” Uh? An editor liked the book but said it might be a hard sell to the reading public. She also asked if I could make a “few changes.” Interested in hearing her out, I read her list of changes. Let’s just say they ALL her changes were a no-go. So, I sucked it up, kept the faith, said, “No thank you” and moved on. I finally found a Canadian publisher who liked my characters the way I presented them, and wanted to publish the book. Yay! Victory!

The take-away from this post?

If you are writing your historical romance to fit the trends, be aware that your premise will have to conform to what is popular in the sub genre. It will have to contain the familiar tropes, characters and settings. The sameness will sell it. A certain faction of historical romance readers expects comfort and familiarity with their reading material.

Now if you are writing historical romance to bring a too-seldom-viewed take to the sub genre, it is necessary to have different tropes, non-default characters and unusual settings. If you intend to submit your work to traditional publishing houses, be prepared for a fight. Anything out of the ordinary is anathema to them because they are risk-averse when it comes to the bottom line. If your submission is not turned down outright, and gets accepted, expect a request for lots of changes. Could you handle that? If you can, good. Excellent for you. But do fight for what YOU know is crucial to your story. Do not back down if a story point is important. Stand by your choices and give reasons why a thing needs to remain. Be daring. You might not win the war but you might win several battles. I do caution you that you might end up with an unrecognizable book. Ask yourself if you could live with that. On the other hand, if you cannot handle drastic changes to your story, bypass the drama and go straight to self-publishing. Remember, the point is to make your book stand out from the crowd. Self-publishing is the perfect venue for individuality. Its downside? Promotion falls solely on you. 

I hope the accounting of my journey so far helps. Now go create that stand-out book.

Lamar "Ditney" Smith - Voting Rights activist

Yesterday (August, 13, 1955) marked the 62nd anniversary of the murder of Lamar Smith. He was a community organizer (yes. that word is kryptonite to a chosen few), a farmer, a WWII veteran, a regular guy and a voting rights activist. The last title got him shot and killed in broad daylight on a grassy spot in front of a court house in Brookhaven, MS at 10 a. m. But NO ONE saw it. Like really?

Anyhoo, the rats were caught who'd been suspected. But guess what? The case was dismissed. Another day in the study of injustice. Ho-hum.

The scene would be repeated throughout the decade in the South with the same results. Unsung heroes like Mr. Smith need to be remembered.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Some things to consider when thinking about penning historical romance without mainstream, main characters

I write both science fiction romance and historical romance. When I create in those two sub genres, I make all my heroines black. Why? Because there are too few black heroines in those sub genres.  My science fiction series is a little easier to write than my historical series. But not much. For this post, I’ll concentrate on the items one should consider when creating a historical romance containing not-the-usual landed, titled suspects. I believe these tips could apply to any character who is not the requisite straight, Christian, blue-eyed, lady or duke of the Regency period. Since my books follow black heroines I will stick to the things to consider when penning them.

In my Love Vanquishes All stand-alone, historical series, there are two books so far. Kindred, An American Love Story and Dissent. Both follow vastly different heroines from vastly different eras. I’ll be discussing how I created Kindred, the main character from book one. I drew up a list of six important questions I had to ask myself (though many more popped up as I got into the actual writing) before I set out bringing her, and her world, to life. Question one was, “Why do I want to write her?” Question two was, “In what setting will I place her?” Question three was, “How will I depict her?” Question four was, “How will I go about it?” Question five was, “Do I have an interesting story to tell?” Question six was, “Will I be adding anything new to the field?”

The first question was easy to answer. I wanted to write her because I wanted to add to the roster of black, historical heroines out there. Yeah. I needed to add my take to the ranks. There is room for everyone. The second question was easy to answer too. For my first foray into writing historical romance, I wanted to stick to the country in which I reside - the U. S. A. Plus, I’d been none too thrilled with some of the depictions of black heroines from America. I knew they could be more than subservient. And since many that had been written, had been written as subservient, that meant them not having much agency. Nope. I wasn’t going to add to that. I chose colonial New York of America because I knew it would be rich ground to dig around in to unearth the woman I knew I could write. Blacks, Whites, and Native peoples crossed paths every day during that period and took part in forming the U. S. A. And I could place Kindred in a place of agency since as she’d possess a skill (herbalist/nurse) everyone would need to survive. She could act instead of re-act in her environment. Which brought me to question three. My depiction of Kindred would not entail drudgery, would not lack happiness, and would include an air of playfulness and independence and seductiveness (but not the tired exotic label). And since it was America of a certain period, I pledged that she would be a freedwoman, NOT be a slave. Of the black women who existed back then, not all were slaves. If one desires to depict the different, one must think differently, and dig to find the examples. That led me to question four. I researched like hell. I read books. I went to libraries. I took… time. What I’m saying is, if one is truly serious about writing the multicultural historical, one must give it the same, if not more, attention, effort and care as the historical romances with the default characters because they are different.

Now, if a writer goes in knowing they want to depict non-White characters in a historical romance, but only set in some alternate history, then anything goes. The writer can concoct all manner of stuff. Those books are available. I am not saying those kinds of books are easier to write. I am saying there is no history in them, past that which is necessary to place it somewhere in that alternate universe. Which sort of defeats the purpose of writing a historical romance. But to each his own. So, if one wants to create something which informs and entertains, and has a good plot, one must do the research. No fudging. No wink and a nod.

When writing Kindred, An American Love Story, I read history books pertaining to how black people lived in the colonial era, and how they were permitted to live. That was important because, one just cannot plunk a non-White person down into a certain situation because one wants the person there. Now, it’s another thing if the writer’s readership doesn’t know or care. But I always say, the writer should care. A writer must know, whether, the black character had the permission to have participated in said situation, and if so, what was the black character’s capacity. I read books on how people dressed. I read books on how people prepared what they grew and gathered. I researched the modes of transportation people used. Let’s just say I read a lot!

So, dear writer, when you think about writing that historical romance, not starring the usual Regency cast, ask yourself if you are willing to ponder those six questions? The answers? If so, go for it!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Judy Pace - A class act for the ages

70's Judy!

Judy Lenteen Pace. June 15, 1942. Beautiful. Skilled. Underrated. Daughter of an airplane mechanic and a dressmaker. Sister to singer Jean Pace.

I first encountered this lady when she played villainess, Vicki Fletcher on the  old TV show Peyton Place. Loved her part. She was a dark-skinned beauty who had not been cast as a helpless female or a maid or a magical person of color. Why does that matter you ask? Because "America" had never seen a dark-skinned,Black actress that had not been a "Mammy" before. They were only used to actress with her phenotype playing maids, servants and usually groveling. Judy didn't play that. She was sexy, svelte and smooth-talking. Oh, honey. "America" was shook. Viewers wrote letters and called the network. All sorts of calamity ensued. They protested. "How dare this woman NOT be a subservient character! This must stop!" Oh my. Such fragility. She stayed on the show until her character played out and then she went on to other shows

Anyhoo, I was only a kid but I recall dinners around the dining room table where my youngest uncle (The Revolutionary! LOL) would try to draw my hard-to-impress grandfather into discussion about how "groundbreaking" this was. My mom used to nod in agreement. My Grandma used to quietly keep serving the food and my grandfather used to grunt. He was not a  TV watcher. Later, when Pace received an Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for another TV show The Young Lawyers, Grandpa got impressed. He remarked, "Well, I guess she's good, she won something." Me? I just loved her because she was b-a-d in everything. Do you hear me? Michael Jackson B-A-D.

Anyway, another fantastic break came for her. She became famous for her guest shots on TV shows, TV movies (Brian's Song for one opposite Billy Dee Williams, Shelley Fabares and James Caan) and did a lot of films. Many were blaxpoitation. Whatevs. I ADORED them. Each and everyone. Her biggest break came when she did a show called Owners with two other young, hungry actresses  - Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith. Another show on ABC was in development and since the trio had such good chemistry, they were first choice to star in it. But it was not to be. When it came down to "America,"' the sponsors and plain old prejudice,  ABC choked which was weird because Pace had delivered for them with Peyton Place years before. I suppose visions of all the hate mail they'd get for YEARS if they picked Judy even if the show were a hit was dancing in their heads. Soooooo, Charlie's Angels proceeded without Pace and the part went to Kate Jackson. And you know the rest. It made household names of these women.

Side note: The same nonsense happened to Bruce Lee in the early 70s too. ABC Network executives saw his work as Cato in The Green Hornet and supposedly "absolutely adored" it. Lee was promised the lead in a new kind of TV Westen once the particulars were squared away. The execs pledged to call him. Well, the particulars got squared away and Lee got no call except the wake up call. He lost the lead to David Carradine. ABC shot and aired that new kind of Western, Kung Fu, without Lee. He sat at home and watched it premiere like the rest of us.

In any case, I loved Judy's tenure in Hollywood. I saw EVERYTHING she did. Twice married (first to fellow actor, the late Don Mitchell and then to another groundbreaker, the late baseball great Curt Flood), Ms.Pace is the mother of two daughters, survived the nuttiness of Hollywood and is busy today.

Judy today!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Farewell to two legends!

Some biggies in the music and news industries took their leave of the mortal coil last week. Bobby Taylor, the Motown singer and producer who discovered the Jackson 5, NOT Diana Ross, as the myth goes and Jim Vance, a pioneer in local D. C. news.

Taylor was 83 years old at the time of his passing, and was the man who introduced the Jackson 5 to the world. Diana Ross was the known face that was used to boost interest in the new group to the public, but it was lesser profiled Bobby Taylor who cracked the band. To his own fame, he was a noted record producer and part of the group, Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers. R. I. P. Mr. Taylor.

Newscaster Jim Vance was  a contemporary of Ed Bradley, but never made the leap to reporting network news like Mr. Bradley. Mr. Vance made his stomping ground the D. C. area for over 40 years. Not a happening there escaped his reporter's eye. The last public appearance I recall seeing him at was the televising of the dedication of the mural on the side of Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington. The painting memorialized the stars and politicians who'd eaten there. He looked frail then as he was fighting cancer but he still wanted to part of the news. Mr. Vance was 75. R. I. P. Mr. Vance.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

HBO'S CONFEDERATE - I don't got time for dat!

Nichelle Tramble Spellman. Malcolm Spellman.

Major side-eye for you two.

I come with a heavy heart to say that these two black writers are going to be on board to pen the HBO alternate universe series called CONFEDERATE. Now, Lord knows I do not like to see Black talent stifled, but...why, people? CONFEDERATE deals with a present-day USA where, you guessed it, the South won the Civil War. Slavery still exists. Oh, joy! The North is repenting. And I'm sure there will be tons of gratuitous, interracial sex scenes for titillation for one and all!

What the hell?

All I can see is a racist's wet dream no matter how "wonderfully" it will be written. I can do without this "entertainment." Are they kidding me? I can picture Richard Spencer, Steve Bannon and their ilk getting comfy on the couch on the nights this show airs to munch popcorn, sip sweet tea and wax nostalgic.


This is the cinematic equivalent of those historical romances with Black characters, set during the Civil War South, that are created under the guise of showing "another, softer" side to US history where the darkies are all happy and all the masters were benevolent.


GAME of THRONES creators, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss will bring this cringefest to the airwaves in 2018. I suppose since the success of GoT, they are game for anything. And they believe they are helping "diversity" by hiring two Black writers. Whatevs. Look, I have always said, do what you want. Write what you want.That is your right. But be prepared for the accompanying criticism. Folk do not have to like what you wrote just because you wrote it! That's folks right too! And that's how I feel now about ALL forms of "entertainment" I find questionable.

It just gets me that the WGN CANCELLED UNDERGROUND, a successful series about the Underground Railroad, after two seasons. HBO could have picked that show up if it wanted to be progressive. But no. It doesn't make a certain demographic feel good about itself. It's amazing how when black folk make progress, others get nervous and have to be placated. Others then rush in to remind us of our "place."


And since a certain administration got in, I see pandering of the lowest sort going on in the field of "entertainment" to the lowest of instincts. Don't get me started on the racist, crap talking that MMA fighter Conor MacGregor gets away with when he is set to fight non-White opponents. He's not the only one. A few Russian MMA fighters are out of line too. Boxers have always talked smack about each other before getting in the ring, but it has NEVER been about the other's ethnicity. Muhammud Ali talked smack but he talked about an opponent's style, or looks, or losses. NOT the fighter's ORIGINS. The new audience that boxing is trying to attract (the MMA audience) loves the racist talk. But, hey. I digress. Apparently the powers-that-be know their audiences.

So no. CONFEDERATE won't be on my dance card. It won't be getting my support, or my eyes, or my time, no matter how "sensitivity-read" it is by two Black writers looking to get established in Hollywood. No. I like myself, and my ancestors, too much. So, no. No matter which hipster way you spin it, Hollywood, my ancestors are still the losers in this alt-right, left-handed re-do of history.

Sansa Stark of GAME of THRONES said, "The North remembers." And you know what? So do I.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Michaela DePrince - A ballerina against all odds

Michaela DePrince is a ballerina and a soloist with the Dutch National Ballet. A war orphan from Sierra Leone, she endured the death of her father by the Revolutionary United Front, and the demise of her mother from starvation as the result of the ravages of war. Alone at three, she was shipped off to a refugee camp and then an orphanage. Marked by vitiligo, she was the object of taunts at the orphanage. Finally, at four, she was adopted, along with another girl, by a Jewish couple from Cherry Hill, NJ.

In the states, she thrived and dreamed of doing what she saw a woman do when she spied a magazine cover with a ballet dancer on it. As they say, "the rest is history." After many scholarships and a course of study in Philly at the Rock School for Dance Education, she was ready to fly. Discouraged by a naysayer of a teacher who told her mom that it wasn't worth investing money and time in her because "Black girls grow big butts and big boobs" (sigh) and I suppose ruin the traditional idea of what a ballerina is supposed to look like. Whatever that is. Lord help us. Ignoring the instructor, Michaela studied with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and was accepted as their youngest troupe member ever. More studies at the American Ballet Theatre and elsewhere, and after winning competitions, she she spread her wings, again and applied and was accepted at the Dutch National Ballet junior company. Diligence led ther to being admitted to the main company and made a Coryphee.

Last year, she became a household name when she danced in the video for the Beyonce song, Freedom.

Congratulations and much success to this talented, driven, 22-year old.performer. Now, I'd like to see her dance in something with Misty Copeland.

Ladies, y'all killin' it!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A little blast from the past to fill your weekend

I'm posting this just because. I came across it on that hellmouth known as Twitter. It took me back. Waaaaaaaay back. Lord, I think I had every one of those outfits the girls were wearing. But I must admit the guys are stealing the sartorial show in this clip. Dude in the fur coat...Lawd. The terpsichorean efforts are from the Soul Train dance show from the 70s. The music is by the Isley Bros - a song called Live It Up. Then it veers off into some prime '70s soul

Now, do that and as Don Cortez Cornelius used to say, "Love, Peace and Soul!"

No Copyright infringement intended.
I own absolutely none of these videos. (Unless otherwise stated)
Copyrights belong to their original owners.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Oil tycoon Stephen L. Hightower

The man even has the kind of name that reeks of power, prestige and oil. I mean think J. R. Ewing from the old TV show Dallas. Okay. With a name like Hightower, big things had to develop for Steve. And they did. This now CEO and founder of Hightowers Petroleum of Ohio started as a JANITOR before hitting it big in oil. Who says it can't be done? Believe in your talent, don't reveal your dream to naysayers if possible and when they do comment negatively, tell them to STFU!

My one question? His house. I wonder if it resembles Southfork.

info courtesy of

Monday, July 10, 2017

Cherie Harris - Excellence in polo. Yes. I said "polo."

Yes. We are there too. I'm sure the regulars did a double-take when the sistah and her mount trotted onto the field. Oh, well. It was comin'. Oh, and by the by. This 19 year old at Cornell University was named player of the year. for 2016. And she's from Philly. There seems to be two spellings to her first name. I'm not certain which is correct (Cherie or Shariah), but she is a winner either way.

Don't be mad.

info courtesy of and blackamerica

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Funk Ahoy! Lakeside and Slave

Today, because of all the July 4th hoopla, I thought I'd delve into more funk bands. Again, they are just a few of the talented groups that are dear to my heart. These, and so many more, are the soundtrack of my life. So, without further ado, I give you LAKESIDE and SLAVE.


The above photos show the group in then and now poses. The outfits? They are the canvas for their biggest, greatest hit Fantastic Voyage. And that is a freakin' great song. Hailing from the tri-sate area of Ohio-Indiana-Kentucky, the band is the result of the merging of two former acts, The Nomads and The Montereys. Remarkably, they have been together since '69, continue to perform and are scheduled to be performing in my area on August 17th  at the Dell in Philadelphia. The bill will include Sheila EDav Koz, Larry Graham of Graham Central Station and Slave, the other enduring band profiled on this post.

Listen to the magic of Lakeside and you can't sit still. If you do, you better check your pulse because you are probably DEAD! Also, notice that there is NO LIP SYNCING! Actual instruments are used. Plus, as you know by now, my favorite part of a funk band is heard loud and clear. THE BASS! Oh, and peep those boots. Pirates gotta pirate.


An Ohio funk band.
Phew! Those then and now photos. I think they have more 'tude now then back in the day. Those shades and those expressions. Front man Steve Arrington, known for using the electric trumpet, broke out on his own in 1982 to form Steve Arrington's Hall of Fame to become a successful solo act. Along with Nobody Can Be You but You, his biggest, infectious hit was Weak at the Knees. And yes. That song was a smash waaaaaay before Straight Outta Compton used it.

Sadly, the guy who played BASS (Mark Adams) was murdered in 2011 (sniff!) just as the band was pushing for a big comeback. Also, another member, guitarist Mark "Drac" Hicks died the same year. Otherwise, through numerous comings, goings, regroupings and disputes, the group has stayed together and still performs. Their immortal hits are Just a Touch of Love, Slide, and Watching You. Again, musicianship, no lip syncing and actual instruments. Listen some more

Good god. I used to sneak and watch all these acts on the old Don Kirschner's Rock Concert or Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack when I was a precocious kid. - Just a Touch of Love - Slide - Watching You

Steve Arrington

now  - Weak at the Knees

Listen. Hear. Feel this music. It gets in your being. I could move my body to this instead of standing in one spot looking too cool to crease my dress.

Don't mind me.

I gotta go dance. Bye. Happy 4th!

Friday, June 30, 2017

A few funk/soul/psychedelic bands from the 60s, 70s and early 80s

Ok. Haven't done this in a hot minute. I had to dig in my bag of memories for these. Here are a few soul/funk/kinda spacey bands I used to listen to waaaaay back when.

1) Brainstorm

     A band from Detroit, MI. This group was big in the late 70s - early Eighties. There biggest hit was This Must Be Heaven. Lord, if I had a dollar for every time I slow-dragged to that song in some friend's wreck room...Phew! I'd be rich. Rich! I tell ya! Oh, a wreck room? Don't know what that is? Ask your Mama. And if you are not American, ask an American friend to ask their mama. Better yet, Google it! This group had a myriad of members who had a myriad of musical backgrounds. A young Regina Carter even had a stint with them. I have to admit it was the combo of the late Belita Woods and Lamont Johnson's voices on This Must Be Heaven that set me spinning. Ah, youth! Take a listen.

Black Merda

Bet you never heard of this one. A rock, funk and psychedelic band based in Detroit also, who was active from the 60s through the 70s and re-upped in the early 2000s. They began as the back up bands for some heavyweights: Wilson Pickett, The Spinners, The Chi-lites, Jackie Wilson, etc. They had a R-n-B background but were heavily influenced by rock and veered off into the realm of Cream and The Who and finally settled into the psychedelic making sounds like Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone. Despite their sound, their message was early Public Enemy.

Take a listen to Long Burn The Fire! You will hear all the influences.

And last but not least is The Rotary Connection.

A band from Chicago who billed themselves as strictly psychedelic soul. I have a soft spot for them because Minnie Riperton sang with before striking out on her own. This was another of those groups with a long roster of members who came and went. They were active from '66 -'74. Sample their sound with a then unknown Minnie Riperton singing Lady Jane.

Groovy, right?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Once upon a time there were FOUR women (that we know of) who refused to give up their bus seats

Before Rosa Parks there was Irene Morgan. Actually, there was Mary Louise Smith and Claudette Colvin too. Miss Morgan displayed courage a full 11 years (1944), in Virginia, before Mrs. Parks. Miss Colvin expressed her humanity 9 months before Mrs. Parks' 1955 act. Miss Smith expressed herself in October 1955, two months before Parks. At that rate, there were probably a slew more being civilly disobedient.

The earlier women set the groundwork for when Rosa Parks would stand her ground. In any case, all four women declared enough was enough on their particular day in history.

I can imagine. Sometimes, you just gotta say "Eff it! Bring it on!" and let the cow chips fall where they will.

Irene Morgan Kirkaldy

Claudette Colvin

Mary Louise Smith

Rosa Parks

Side note: The NAACP though involved with legal support in all the cases, made Mrs. Parks' bid the one for the history books. Some say she was chosen to carry the banner because she fit the "respectability politics" profile the organization was striving for in that era. Yanno, the whole "show the country we are just like them. just a different color" route. Rosa was older, married, childless and wed to a card-carrying member of the NAACP. Miss Colvin was 15, pregnant and the time of her incident. I do not know what the situation was about Miss Morgan. She was 27 when she was harassed on the bus she was riding. Sources say she had two kids and had married twice in her life but I do not know what her status was at the time of her arrest. Seems the NAACP went with the sure thing theory. It worked.

Whatevs. I applaud these women.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Be still my fluttering heart! POWER returns on Sunday night

POWER. My guilty pleasure like a few other TV shows. Except this gem is on Starz. It gets compared to Fox's EMPIRE but really, they are two completely different programs. Both have formerly incarcerated lead characters who are now legit. But where Cookie and Lucious have left jail behind and are music moguls trying hard to keep on the straight and narrow (Yeah, good luck with that) ..Poor James "Ghost" St. Patrick, on POWER, and his ride-or-die wife, Tasha, aren't so lucky.

Both shows have executives who've built their legacies on past drug dealing but the game just won't leave Ghost et al. alone. This is where it gets rough. Since it's cable, POWER goes places EMPIRE can't. Key characters die on this show. People do truly ratchet ish to each other and claim, "It's only business." Unsettling. As I've said, both are entertaining but one is Yoplait and the other is a kefir with bite.

When POWER's third season ended, Ghost (who'd thought he'd escaped his old life) was being arrested, in one of his night clubs, for murder. He was set up and was sent up the river for a stay at the big house courtesy of the State. There are so many backstories and moving pieces that one can get giddy if one is not paying attention.

Ghost is such a complicated, brooding, adulterous dude. An alpha in every sense. Not my fav type of guy but actor Omari Hardwick pulls it off beautifully. I actually root for him. His TV wife, Tasha, as played by Naturi Naughton is Ghost's equal. Tasha loves her man but she goes to some shocking extremes to let others know that. And endures his cheating ways. Girlfriend is a tad too ride-or-die for me. Let's just say even my mouth dropped at the things she's done.

Season 4 starts with Ghost being sent to jail, his re-acclimation there and a come-to-Jesus visit from Tasha to brainstorm about how who framed him, how to get revenge and how to get his freedom. Since Tasha is the one on the outside, I'll be watching and waiting for her to go into mercenary mode. The ensemble cast is stellar and after the principals I have to admit that the characters of Tommy Egan, Ghost's down-for-anything friend, as played by Joseph Sikora, and Jukebox as played by Anika Noni Rose are a wonder to behold. This season is gonna be off the chain.

Anyhoo, season 4 starts Sunday, June 25 at 9pm EST on Starz. Watch the trailer for season 4 below.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Little known Black history fact - Emancipation Park and the celebration of Juneteenth in Texas

Today is Juneteenth. June 19th, 1865. That's the annual remembrance of when the news of the emancipation of U. S. slaves hit Texas. Finally. As time progressed, freed blacks in Texas had scant places to hold subsequent celebrations of that fact. Finally, some prominent freedmen pooled their meager resources to buy a plot of land to hold the festivities in Houston. Cost? 800 hundred bucks. 800 hundred smackerroos to crave out a place to party. And that's if one could get there.

Hence, the birth of Emancipation Park in Houston, TX.

Per the usual, folk began to forget how hardwon the freedom was and started to let the land fall into disrepair, or just plain didn't show up anymore. 2007 was the last celebration. But loal agencies and locals period realized how important this plot of land was and a plan was drawn up to revive the place and the celebration.

This past weekend, a $33.6 million dollar re-do was unveiled and the park was placed back in action.

Long live Juneteenth and Emancipation Park!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Women so beautiful their confidence offends others! Models Nyakim Gatwech, Khoudia Diop and actress Lupita N'yongo

I'm still rubbing my eyes because this woman is uber-gorgeous. Meet Nyakim Gatwech. Sudanese model and beauty extraordinaire living in Minneapolis now. I do hope she retains her high self-esteem as she navigates the dog-eat-dog world of modeling. And stays herself. No imitation of others. And please, girl. No bleaching. No blond weave. No. Just no.

This is the woman whose phenotype has been ignored in historical romance writing, but graces the majority of the heroines in MY historical romances. Alabaster. Lily-White. Rosy, If as a reader, your historical romance heroines must wear those words...Don't pick up my historicals. Okay? You'll be disappointed. Those adjectives are quite absent in my books as they do not describe my heroines. If you want a break from the usual heroines,,,Then we can talk.

Ms. Gatwech's pictorials, and any photo of fellow model Khoudia Diop and any photo of actress Lupita N'yomgo, give me life. Stay true ladies no matter what. Anyone can be somebody else. It takes guts to stay you.

Meet The Beautiful Sudanese Model Nicknamed The “Queen Of The Dark”
Meet The Beautiful Sudanese Model Nicknamed The “Queen Of The Dark”

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Willie Francis vs. the State

I read this book awhile back. Broke my heart. But it's part of America's history and NOTHING TO BE PROUD ABOUT! Not a shining USA moment.

Anyhoo, read about the kid.'s 1st botched execution, the bogus trials and then the final killing blow in 1947, check out the article and consider the books below. There also was a Hollywood film made.

The 2008 book is The Execution of Willie Francis by Gilbert King.

The fictionalized account of the matter was the subject of Ernest Gaines' book A Lesson Before Dying.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Little Known Black History Fact: Nubia, The Black Wonder Woman

First off, I ADORED the new Wonder Woman film. Okay? No shade from me. I love a kick-butt chick in any hue. BUT Diana Prince did have a sister/side-kick/adversary in the comic books. Oh, pardon me. Graphic novels. From 1973 to the 200's Diana had Nubia by her side. A black chick who ruled an island of men. She and her crew kept those suckers in line. The '70s TV show of Wonder Woman was supposed to have Nubia on it. The late Teresa Graves of Get Christie Love fame had been signed for the role but..You know how that goes. Too much fierceness? Too much beauty in one place? Too much competition? I suppose if a black woman wasn't cooking, cleaning or wearing a maid's outfit, TV viewers would be stumped as to why she'd be on the screen. Funny. Julia. The afore-mentioned Get Christie Love. Even Mannix from years before had black female important characters who didn't play servants. Oh, well. I would have liked to have seen Linda Carter and Teresa Graves share the screen. and beat backside together. Maybe Diana and Nubia will be in the current movie's sequel?

Anyway, read more about Nubia at the above link.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Innocent by-stander to a car crash, is horribly engulfed in flames, has guns drawn on him, and is beaten by cops

A deceased uncle of mine would have said, "What mess is this?" And it IS a mess. Not APPEARS to be a mess. It IS a mess. And it's Jersey City, NJ. NO SURPRISE THERE. Law enforcement were a tad TOO eager in their duties. But don't fear. They will find a way to weasel out of any culpability. I think I'm going to puke. This poor guy wasn't even the one they were after. Watch the video and decide for yourself.

My questions:
When has a drawn gun ever put out a fire?
Why have guns been drawn on a man engulfed in flames in the first gotdamn place? It's not even the dude they were chasing!

Maybe it's just me but would not covering him in cloth, or spraying him him with water have stopped the fire? Not kicking and unholstered guns?

I'm weary. So weary.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The 23rd Regiment of the United States Colored Infantry

The regiment was crucial to many battles won  during the American Civil War. They were the 1st of the Colored Troops to engage Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate troops in combat. Lee's Army and the 23rd clashed on May 15th, 1864 in Spotsylvania, VA. They went on to be joined by the 30th Colored Infantry to beat down an advancement made by Gen. Thomas L. G. Rosser  Southern troops. Success in another battle was legendary: Battle of the Crater in Petersburg, VA (re-enacted in the film, Cold Mountain). Read more about these brave souls at the link above.


Take a gander at this playa! William A. Messley, a member of the U. S. Colored Infantry Regiment just chillin'