Shit I’m Digging This Week: Volume Five

Hey Party People!

T-G-I-F!!! My apologies for getting this post up late, but you can blame it on procrastination. I started this post last weekend, and I never finished writing it. LOL, typical me. I had an incredibly busy day at the day job, and blogging wasn’t on my radar. I’m now at home all settled in, and my stomach is grumbling, but I swore I would write the rest of this dang post before I ate! More motivation to get it done, right? So, before I keel over from hunger, let’s get to the second half of the shit I’m digging this week, shall we?

Cloak and Dagger

Up until last week, I didn’t know the Free Form network was a thing. I have like 800 cable channels, but I manage to watch the same ones. #whatamipayingfor

I also never watch live television and record everything because commercials are the bane of my existence. I found out about Cloak and Dagger while riding the subway to work! I saw the poster advertised on the train, became intrigued by the fact that it’s a Marvel TV series, and swore I’d watch the heck out of it ASAP. Later that evening, I went searching for the series On Demand and the next thing I know, two hours passed. Commercials, grrr. 😔 I could have gotten through the first two episodes in way less time if I were able to fast forward, but overall, I enjoyed the show!

The premise? A young woman and a young man experience a tragic event at the same moment in time. While they aren’t together when these events occur, they are in the same location. Some sort of fluke of nature (which we haven’t discovered) gives them both powers. Their powers seem to take off when they’re together. I never read the comic this series is based on, but it took place in the early 80s which means it will be my jam! I need to visit my local comic book shop to catch up. Check out the trailer and give it a go!


LISTEN! From the moment I saw the trailer on Twitter a few months ago, I *knew* this show would be my everything. We’re only two episodes in, and I’m gagging on how good it is. First, let me say if you’ve never seen Paris is Burning, you need to add it to your Netflix queue S-T-A-T! I first saw Paris is Burning back in college in one of my Sociology classes and I’ve watched it countless times since.

It’s a documentary on the underground ballroom scene in NYC. You get NYC realness in all of its fierce glory. You get people from groups that are often marginalized telling their stories in their own words. You get to know the origins of “Voguing” *hint it didn’t come from Madonna.* There’s just so much to take in. IT’S FABULOUS!!!

So, I beg of thee, before you view Pose, YOU HAVE TO WATCH PARIS IS BURNING. Then you can thoroughly enjoy the experience. Ryan Murphy is doing serious work. The man has yet to disappoint me when it comes to a TV show (although after the Coven season of AHS, I expected a lot more. I’ve been underwhelmed by AHS to be quite honest). In any case, don’t mind my salty demeanor (AHS is still sorta good, maybe, meh) but you need to watch Pose. The music alone will induce some serious nostalgia. Episode one features tunes from The Mary Jane Girls (one of the best things Rick James ever did), and Chaka Khan. Get ready to break out your dancin’ shoes!

*Update* I read this article after publishing SiD, and maybe things will turn around. Without Jessica Lange, I’m not so sure, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed! 

The Hating Game

I haven’t read a romance book in a few months. Non-fiction, poetry, literary fiction, and self-help books have been the only things that have kept my interest as of late. I grabbed the Hating Game when Smart Bitches advertised it as being on sale. FOLKS, IT IS A GREAT BOOK BUY!!! I love it! I’m like 60% in, and I needed this book in my life. You should activate your one-click finger and grab it. It’s hilarious! 😂

And that’s all the shit I’m digging this week! I hope based on Monday’s post and my super late post tonight, you’ll immerse yourself in some pop culture goodness this weekend. 

Until the next volume, take it easy!

I couldn’t help myself. I had to insert this video of The Mary Jane Girls on Soul Train. 

Shit I’m Digging This Week: Volume Four

Heyyy Folks!

Happy Monday. Let me tell you, I have been digging A LOT OF SHIT LATELY! 😮 I thought it best to make two posts this week rather than doing one mega post. I’ll post the first half today, and the other half on Friday. You’ll be starting and ending your week with some pop culture recommendations! 😀

So without further ado… allow me to share what I’m digging.

Killing Eve

If you don’t have cable, don’t fret. Hulu is picking up the series, and it’ll be available to stream later this year. If you can’t wait, you can, of course, purchase the episodes on iTunes and YouTube. I can’t tell you the exact date the series will be available to stream on Hulu, but the good news is you won’t have to miss out on the fabulousness. 

I found out about Killing Eve from pop culture writers I follow on Twitter.  I didn’t want to be left out in the cold, so I indulged immediately! I think I binged six episodes in one day. It was torture waiting for the last two episodes, but the season has ended, and holy hell was it good. Also, I didn’t realize how much I missed Sandra Oh on my television screen. I NEED TO SEE MORE OF HER IN THINGS! Check out the trailer mashup below.

Junk by Tommy Pico

Junk is another gem I found via conversations on Twitter. Poetry is my jam! I’ve started and stopped a lot of books lately because I haven’t been in the mood for long reads, but poetry seems to hold my attention. Quick and quirky bursts of creativity are exactly what I need. Tommy Pico captures New York City so incredibly well. There are Beyoncé references and Janet Jackson lyrics interwoven in between Pico’s quest for intimacy. He eloquently describes how much of a hassle dating can be in one of the busiest cities in the world and I loved all of it. Junk is probably one of the most fun books I’ve read this year. Activate your one-click finger and check it out!

This is America by Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover aka Lando Calrissian in the new Star Wars flick

This is the only Donald I acknowledge. 

I CANNOT STOP LISTENING TO THIS SONG! I think I listen to it at least twice a day, and I’ve watched the video countless times. Each time I do, I swear I discover something I missed previously. If you haven’t seen this video by now whew boy, you’re missing out. TW: THERE’S GUN VIOLENCE. 

It’s there to startle you; it’s there to make you uncomfortable, it’s there to mess up your entire psyche. I’ve recently become a fan of Glover’s work via Atlanta, but I listened to his last album “Awaken, My Love!” not too long ago and I enjoyed it. I value DG’s storytelling, and I’m honestly looking forward to seeing where his artistic endeavors will lead us. Seems like he’s only getting started when it comes to making us uncomfortable. I’m here for it!

Here are some thought-provoking reads about the video:

‘This is America’ Through the Eyes of a Jim Crow Historian

Why the Dancing Makes ‘This is America’ So Uncomfortable to Watch

Donald Glover’s ‘This is America’ is the Nightmare We Can’t Afford to Look Away From

Being Serena

This was another weekend binge watch that was well worth the time. I’m so sad there were only a few episodes of this doc. Just when I was getting into the show, it ended, and Serena was off to France to train for the French Open! The documentary follows Serena Williams (the G.O.A.T.) shortly before the birth of her daughter Olympia, after delivery, and in the weeks following as Serena attempts to regain her title as the best female athlete in the world. 

*Spoiler Alert* We know how things turn out with the French Open, but Wimbledon is up next! It was nice seeing an intimate side of this Williams sister as she juggles motherhood and being a new wife. I found myself saying “Aww!” a heck of a lot while watching. Check out the trailer and be prepared for a binge-watching session of your own. 

And that’s all (for now) folks! See you on Friday for the rest of the shit I’m digging! 

Author Spotlight: Xio Axelrod

Hi Folks, 

OH MAN, WHAT A WHIRLWIND COUPLE OF WEEKS. In case you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t posted on the blog in a little bit for a variety of reasons. One reason being, I did write a blog post that was supposed to go up about two weeks ago, but I changed my mind at the last minute. 

My editor thought I should sit on it for awhile and decide if it was something I wanted to align with my brand. I believe in speaking my truth, but I also think when problematic issues in Romancelandia are addressed, it doesn’t always have the intended consequence. Although many of my points are valid, it’s more convenient for them to become lost in translation *cough dismissed cough* and much easier for me to be labeled the “Angry Black Woman.” So the post was scrapped. I believe every issue I addressed in my post will eventually be discussed as part of a larger conversation, and I’m A-okay with that. There’s a time and a place for everything. Let someone else take the baton and run with it. 

I’ve also been writing up a storm! By my estimate, I’m about two days away from finishing my manuscript and writing THE END! Well, that estimate only works if I can get some free time to write. My weekend was dedicated entirely to BookCon, which was excellent. BUT THIS POST ISN’T ABOUT ME, IT’S ABOUT XIO AXELROD! I first met Xio last year at RWA Nationals, and as many of you know, she’s a delightful lady! Get to know a little more about her. 

Take it away Xio…

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

I had to think about this one. My evil twin would probably reveal that I can be spiteful when someone wrongs me. And I suffer from slights far longer than I should, and longer than is healthy. I’ll be washing the dishes and suddenly start fuming about the redhead from sixth grade that tried to get me suspended from school because I wouldn’t give her my chocolate bar, lol.

If you gathered all of your friends in a room, what would they say about you?

They would say that they know everything and nothing about me. That I’m kind (I hope), and funny (I think), but a little remote. They’d say I have a jump-first-ask-how-to-jump-later attitude.

What happened to romantic comedies?

I’ve never been a huge fan of them, honestly, but Wallbanger by Alice Clayton is a favourite, as is Dangerous Curves Ahead by Sugar Jamison. The formula doesn’t normally interest me unless there’s a really good twist. One of my favourite rom-com films is Gross Pointe Blank. Talk about a twist on a trope. I’m actually writing my first romantic comedy. It’s for an anthology and it’s been a challenge. I can do banter, but the rest is damned hard!

Thinking of where you want your career to go, what’s the most ambitious thing you want to do?

Become Ava Duvernay 2.0? Seriously, though, I have my eye on screenwriting. I got a taste of it last fall and I think I’ve caught the bug. Ideally, I’d write a book that caught the attention of an Independent film company, have them by the rights, and work with them on the screenplay or consult on the script. Maybe grab a walk-on role? (I do have a theatre background.) And then I could use my musical background to compose the score.  Rinse and repeat for a whole franchise. 😊

If you were to switch bodies with a superhero for a day, who would you choose?

I don’t think I would, to be honest. I wouldn’t mind shadowing one or two of them for a few – hopefully quiet – days. Hang out at the Avengers headquarters for a bit (after Infinity Part II). Vacation in Wakanda and watch Shuri work her magic. If I could get inside the brain of a superhero for a second, it would probably be Groot. I just want to know what he’s thinking/feeling.

Do you remember the first romance novel you ever read? If so, does it stand the test of time? 

It wasn’t that long ago, so yeah. It was Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan. Prior to that, I hadn’t knowingly read a romance novel. The Outlander series has been a favourite for years, but I’d never thought of them as romances, perhaps because the author doesn’t label them as such. Other than that, the closest thing to romance I’d read was Judy Blume back in elementary school. Crazy Little Thing opened my eyes to what romance was as of 2013, as opposed to the ones my mom read when I was small. Shortly after Tracy’s book, I read Playing the Part by Robin Covington, and then one of the Destiny books by Beverly Jenkins (can’t remember which one, as I devoured the series rather quickly, albeit out of order.) It was a crash course in romance storytelling and disavowed me of the notion that romance novels were trivial.

How long would you last in a zombie apocalypse? Follow up question, what’s your weapon of choice to hold off the horde?

If Mr. X were with me, I’d do pretty well. If he weren’t, I wouldn’t last long. I’m such a first world/city girl. On second thought, if I were in my hometown, Philly, I might survive for a year or two. Out in the country, forget it. And I’d pick up a flamethrower as soon as I could.

I’m totally judging you based on your answer to this question! Best breakfast food: Pancakes, waffles, or French toast?

Oh, wow. That’s a tough one. I am very picky about pancakes, so I don’t order them often. And I’ve yet to find a recipe I really like. When I do find good pancakes, it’s like a minor miracle. French toast is delicious but only when it’s made with an eggy bread, like challah. Favourite, though? Waffles. I make ‘em, order ‘em, eat ‘em with a variety of things. Chicken’n’waffles? Bring it on. Fresh strawberries with fresh whipped cream on the side? I’m down. Bacon in the batter with a drizzle of real maple syrup? Ohhhhh yeah. Judge away!

If you could hack into any one computer, whose computer would you choose?

Leslie Eisdale Banks’ a/k/a L.A. Banks. Leslie was a prolific writer. I’ve never met anyone who could write as fast as she could, and she left us far, far too soon. I’m convinced she had amazing, unfinished and/or unreleased novels on her computer that the world needs to read.

What’s the last thing you watched on Netflix?

I’m currently watching a Norwegian series called Grenseland, which translates to Borderlines on Netflix. It’s a dark, twisty police drama with a stellar cast. I’ll watch an episode when I need a break from writing/editing/promo/chapter biz. It’s also helping me to learn the language.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

Like most people, I own a pair of leather cuffs. (Wait, you mean most people don’t? *shocked*) They’re purple, of course. Other than that, I’m pretty vanilla. HOWEVER, I once dabbled in BDSM photography. I sort of fell into it at a fanfic conference where they offered a live demo. The shots I took turned out great and revealed so much about the participants. It was an eye-opening experience. I became fascinated with that world for a little while. A voyeur, I suppose. Behind a lens.


Xio Axelrod is a USA Today Bestselling author of love stories, contemporary romance and (what she likes to call) strange, twisted tales. She also writes erotica as Xio Nin.

Xio grew up in the music industry and began recording at a young age. When she isn’t writing stories, she can be found in the studio, writing songs, or performing on international stages (under a different, not-so-secret name).

She lives in Philadelphia with one full-time husband and several part-time cats.

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Love is All, an anthology, will be out tomorrow! Happy Pride, y’all! 😀

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