Monday, October 30, 2017



This freakin' wonderful book (if I do say so myself) is now $1.99 FOR THE EBOOK through the holiday season! That's half price!

Plus, if you got the ducats and want a matched set, purchase the pricier paperback version (it's keepsake quality if you ask me), and pick up the ebook for an additional .99 cents!

Have it your way.

(A little nod to the "Burger King" ad of old there)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Bootsy!

"The name is Bootsy, Baby."

That famous line from a 1996 cartoon with the singer as a character. The cartoon didn't make the cut for mass distribution but by the magic of the internet, it lives.

William Earl "Bootsy" Collins, native of Cincinnati, OH. Mad bass guitar player. Owner of that unique voice that sounds like across between those of the cartoon character Yogi Bear and the late actor George Sanders. My FAVORITE Funkateer in first, George Clinton's P-Funk Collective, and then in Parliament-Funkadelic, is 65 years old today (October 26th, 1951). I admire staying power and stamina and musician ship. Will Drake, Bey, Nikki or Chris Brown still be bouncing around the stage in 30 years? I do not think so. I kinda shutter to think. Hence, the make up and perfume  empires et al popping up. But that's just my opinion. Anyway, back to Bootsy.


The guy is a music genius. He collaborates with musicians of all genres. The session that blew me away was the one he had with bluegrass biggies Doc Watson, Del McCoury and Mac Wiseman to form the GroveGrass Boyz. Their effort was a fusion of bluegrass and funk..He was a 1997 Inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Mr. Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic. Below, watch the late, great Prince bestow the honor on the group:

Never stopping, never resting, Mr. Collins is on tour now with a new album called, WORLD WIDE FUNK.. A star-filled collabo with artists from many different music styles. Give a listen to an NPR segment called, "First Listen" to partake of the magnificence that is Bootsy Collins.

He also gave an interview i August to Pitchfork magazine on how anyone can reach one's "funk potential." Gotta love it.

Thank you, Mr. Collins. The world needs this now. Funk On, my man. Funk On. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

If you can't beat 'em, throw the rock and hide your hand anyway

A short rant brought to to by those-who-are-peeping-the-game.

Well, the tug ‘o war is still happening in romance writing. Especially when it comes to, -  here comes that word – “multicultural” romance writing. Yanno, when at least one of the main characters is NOT White.  A whole lot of shaking has been going on since, I really can’t remember, but it’s been going on awhile. The whole “Who can write whom? Why does who want to write whom? Will who write whom in a real way?” And on and on. Romance writers who are White, by and large, write whatever the hell they want. As they should. What is the argument then? The 800-lb. elephant in the room has never been, “You shouldn’t write a non-White or non-binary character!” Nooooooooooo! The issue has ALWAYS been, “Why are y’all the default, go-to writer to pen everything that readers might express an interest in reading?” Okay. Now that that is cleared up, let’s follow the trajectory. The first “multicultural” romances were seen as such because they usually depicted a White heroine discovering another culture through the non-White, or half-White hero. Recall those sappy Westerns from the 70s, 80s? A hero so stupidly smitten by her “alabaster skin” that he lost all reason from the second he laid eyes on her. Blah. Blah. Blah. He either kidnapped her to get her, or would leave his own people to have her. Multicultural was so vaguely defined that men from Italy, Greece and Spain were labelled “exotic.” As for the thoughts of the heroine about the guy, she usually compared him “wild, untamed, unfamiliar” land he came from. I could say that about Greek yogurt. Oy.

Now, I am not sure but the first romance writers in the LBGTQ+ community were from those communities, but the offerings were not viewed as romances. They were memoirs or coming-of-age stories as opposed to mass-market romance fiction. Time marched on and the readers of the Liberated White Heroine school devoured the “multicultural” books with that brownish hero. Readers could scratch their itch safely by reading about “forbidden love” with the other. “Wow! It’s so real! I feel like I’m in Barcelona!” LBGTQ+ memoirs or fiction stayed with that community more or less. Then the romance market changed. A new influx of readers wanted to read about the imaginary romantic lives of people not often written about. To answer the call, White writers to the rescue again. Mainly female writers. But this time writers who were from the actual marginalized communities desired to have their voices heard. They had story ideas where the characters sounded more authentic and were not in the story for titillation. Get my drift? A few got their manuscripts accepted, and the view of the non-White and LBGTQ+ in love changed. It also sold. But miracle of miracles, without much help from their publishers, the new authors sold. So what happens when success is achieved and others want some? You guessed it. Already established White writers stewed because, hey, they wanted even more of the pie they were already bogarting.

So, White writers started studying the romance books written by non-White writers and LBGTQ+ writers to see what was making them stand out. They were looking to reproduce the success. Well, they learned and before you knew it, those writers became the go-to writers for ANYTHING in non-White or LBGTQ+ romance, in addition to all things White in romance writing. Déjà vu all over again. Imitation is supposed to be the highest form of flattery? Um, er, um, no. It’s stealing. They like to call it borrowing. Okay. But I see you. Five, well-known, White writers come to my mind immediately who have worked “borrowing” to their advantage. They latched onto the rhythm of “others,” ran with it, and cashed in big time. They were lauded up and down the halls of romance for creating such “refreshing, edgy, innovative, authentic” characters. Yeah, Rock stars. Billionaires. Military themes. All done by "others." All “borrowed.”

That disingenuous, sleight-of-hand doled out by publishers and most White romance writers who pen “multicultural” romance has lasted and has made their pockets bulge. But with criticism coming fast, deep and sharp from romance writers from the communities these White writers think they are depicting so accurately, that crown the chosen few were given has gotten quite uncomfortable. Most recent flack has been for their abysmal depictions of the non-White heroines. I can only speak on non-White heroines in hetero romances. I am not an authority on LBGTQ+ romances other than that most folk who are from those communities sort of detests the ones written by non-LBGTQ+ people. Back to non-White heroines though. Specifically, Black ones. I have blogged about this mess before and it has not gotten any better. The Black heroines most White writers create are pitiful. Oh, the ones by some non-White writers suck too but usually due to scant character development not outright bias. I’ve wondered sometimes when I’ve read a “multicultural” by a White author if they have even spoken with, or met, a Black woman. Their ouvres contain stereotypes in mannerisms, speech and background out the wazoo. Non-White romance writers who have created humane, multifaceted non-White characters can’t even get a manuscript read, let alone accepted.  But trash submitted by a lot of White romance writers gets through. Oh, trust and believe. It’s trash. It’s like their heroines are the amalgamation of every Black female they ever heard or saw on Fox News. I’ve tried to read trash so insulting that I swore my I. Q. dropped before I DNF’ed it.  The criticism continued, and does, ‘til this day. So, what was the defense mechanism used against the criticism? The writers circled the wagons and doubled-down!

The lauded writers, and their wannabes-in-waiting, did not like having their omnipotent view challenged. They did not, and do not, take kindly to being told their portraits of “others” suck. Several have taken to romance book blogs, and to Twitter to lament that they “tried to write a Black or Asian or whatever heroine but the response was too harsh. “ Waaa! And that they “won’t do it again because even after having several beta readers” their masterpieces got trounced!” Waaa! My take? Suck it up, honeys. No one told you to write a non-White heroine. You chose to for 1) the quick money, 2) the recognition, 3) because you thought you had it on lock, and did I mention 4) the quick money? But Romancelandia is small. Word gets out when something has an odor. Especially when it’s one of insincerity. People wait to critique these books when written by a White author. Why? Because lots of readers believe White authors do it better. And because you, White author, believe you can do no wrong. The truth is people, who probably have a better, different view of a heroine who looks like them, NEVER get the chance to present that view. Comprende? Capisce? I have always said, “Write what you want. But be prepared to have it analyzed and critiqued when you leave your lane.” Sentiments most White writers DO NOT heed when forging ahead into territory unknown. Then they get all butt-hurt when people eye-ball it.

So, these butt-hurt special snowflakes have decided to get around that troubling problem of being called on the carpet for piss-poor depictions of non-White heroines. Oh, they still write the “multicultural” but these women have gone RETRO. I noticed this trend about a year ago. It was slight trickle then but now it’s become a steady flow. Retro how, you ask? They’ve gone back to the “multicultural” of old. The tried-and-true plot where the focus is on the White heroine going to another land, or simply another part of town, to find herself through shagging a non-White, half-White hero. The old 360. Like the writer of old, the writer of today only has to stick to describing, or depicting, the White side of things. Things like the White heroine’s rising ardor for the non-White/half-White hero. It’s all about her. No pesky thinking about how to pen a non-White woman and how to explore her feelings in a love affair. No having to create a profile for a character not like her. Nope, that woman is not part of this story. Unless of course, she is the mother or sister to the hero who hates the heroine’s guts. The writer can then make these women as shrewish as she wants to contrast the gentility of the heroine. Making it plain that she is sooo not them. Same goes for the heroine’s view of the hero. You see him though her eyes and he’s this hot, “exotic” man she’s discovered that she’s always wanted to bone. He doesn’t have to be too developed. He doesn’t have to have a complex personality. He’s there for one purpose. The mainstream reader can still say they read a “multicultural.” That they enjoyed it and most importantly, it was something relatable! “Wow, this place holder is just like me! I felt he was talking to me when the hero spoke to the heroine! Golly Gee, I like ‘multicultural’ now!”

Just another ingenious, subtly bigoted way to recapture the top spot in the market in general romance 
AND in “multicultural.”

Oh, I could tick off more examples of subtle bigotry hiding behind a balance sheet that gets sanctioned by the industry, but I’d be here all day. But for this particular, peculiar occurrence, don’t take my word for it. Check out the new releases post on the major romance book review blogs. They are posted on Tuesdays. Scan those suckers. First, one can count on one hand, with two fingers missing, the covers with NON-WHITE faces in these “new release” posts. Some weeks there is not a one. And non-White authors? It would be easier to find ears on a chicken. New Releases my eye. Might as well call it business as usual. Sneakily but surely, this new breed of “multicultural” romance shows up in the new releases post with a bare-chested, non-White male on a book cover all by his lonesome. It is only when one searches on Amazon for details, does one discover the book is a “multicultural” romance with a White heroine. Written by a White female author.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The 1965 American Football League boycott and ny take on the Colin Kaepernick injustice

Read about the courageous act executed of the players of the 1965 AFL All-Star Game. The league was scheduled to play at Louisiana's Tulane University's stadium. The AFL was a new league in direct competition with the NFL at the time. It is now defunct but it had a heyday. The sixties were a time of racial upheaval (like now) and the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement started years earlier. Tensions were high and in the South, and regardless of what the Federal gov't might decree about ending discrimination, White southerners often did as they pleased; laws be damned..

Promises were made that the Black players would be treated according to the Federal laws on the books. Translation? Fairly. Like effin human beings. Like anyone else. Well, turns out that was not the reality they met when they arrived. Restaurants still refused to seat and serve them. Cabs would not pick them up. I'm certain the hotels didn't want them within their walls either.

The 21 Black players, led by Cookie Gilchrist of the Buffalo Bills and Abner Haynes of the Kansas City Chiefs, banded together to send a message. They voted to NOT suit up and play. Two White players backed the move - Hall of Fame inductee Ron Mix and Jack Kemp (future Republican politician).

They won their protest in a round-about way. The game was moved to Houston's Jeppesen stadium.

Athletes taking a stand for what is right. Gee. Could it happen again? Maybe. But they'd have to grow a set first. Yeah. I said it. Grow a set.. But I'll be waiting a bit, won't I? Unfortunately, the Keyrones and LeJohns who make up the NFL today are painfully young and immature. They are highly-paid plantation property and the owners know it. These young players, my Grandfather would have said, "are distracted by the shiny possessions they owe on." They got a huge mortgage on Big Mama's brand new house. They got wives, ex-wives, children, levels of side-pieces, side-pieces' children and a large overhead. They owe their souls to the company store so to speak. So, on game days when the anthem is played, what you'll see from them is a mish-mosh of half-standing, half-kneeling, the locking arms with the owner "in solidarity." Whatever that means. But what you're really gonna see is FEAR. They want to back Colin but, hey, those bills come every month. This is the line in the sand,. There is no going back from here. Either they stand with their hands over their hearts, or they kneel, or boycott. This is the defining moment. No praying. No wishing the unpleasantness away. No in-between. Nope. The sad thing is I know what each of these young ones will choose. It should be their manhood but they won't. They will stand and be owned 'cuz "look at what happened to Kap."

Mister Kaepernick's career is over. Plantation massahs love to make examples out of their errant property..Lord, I hope this guy has saved his money because his peeps have left him to twist in the wind. But he made his point at the expense of his job. It takes guts to put one's money where one's mouth is. I support Colin Kaepernick in his protest BUT let me clarify WHAT his protest was about. So many have twisted his intent to rule the narrative. His protest was NOT about disrespecting vets/troops/military/flag, or whatever else a certain demographic wants to pull out of their collective asses. He knelt because of the clear police brutality that had, and has, been going on. Kaepernick knelt because obviously out of order law officers, ones seen ON FILM assaulting and killing unarmed Black/Brown people were not even being indicted for blatant abuses. He did it every game he was in to SHOW the disinterested that people were dying. He wanted the spectators, and viewers at home to know that.. THAT is WHAT his beef was/is. Not the stars-n-stripes, pseudo-patriotic bullshit that the draft-dodging, Man In the High Chair In The White House, or some Massah/Team owner, has whipped it up to be. Got that? 

My uncles went to war too. They got wounded too. They were Veterans too. They fought so people like Kap could be able to have his protest. It's freedom of expression. It's freedom of speech. They fought to defend a land that when they came home from war, denied them the comforts of the G. I. Bill. A land that, to this day, would erase their efforts from the history books if it could. Watch any WWII movie from the last 60 years. See any Black/Brown/Asian G. I.s? Didn't think so. The first time I saw any acknowledgement of a person of color having been in WWII was on "Hogan's Heroes" So, please. Check the jingoistic, flag-waving BS at the door. Last time that was a hit James Cagney was the movies' box office draw.

America, you've been played.

info courtesy of blackamericaweb