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! 😀

Shit I’m Digging This Week: Volume Three

Hey Folks!

Happy Belated Mother’s Day and Happy Monday! Well, it’s a semi-happy Monday for me. I woke up this morning, so that’s always a great thing, but unfortunately, I woke up thanks to an unruly uterus. Overshare much? Maybe, but cramps are THE WORST. My morning was spent curled up on my couch in a fetal position. 😒

Despite a bodacious drum solo playing on my insides, I didn’t let those pesky cramps stop me from writing this morning during my 4 am sprint, and I sure as heck wouldn’t let em stop me from getting this blog post up. But on the bright side, RT begins this week! I’ll be stalking many author friends social media accounts! TAKE ALL THE PICS, PLEASE! I sat out Reno this year but next year… New Orleans, I will be in you!

Soooo… what am I digging this week? 

Into the Badlands 

*whispers* Lewis appears at the start of the clip, but you also see his fight sequence ramp up at 1:31

I have a celebrity crush. Okay, to be fair I have a lot of celebrity crushes. A LOT. But my latest crush? Lewis Tan. I follow him on Instagram and Twitter, and I even got a couple of likes and a response to one of my comments. WOOO! I AM WINNING! When Lewis announced he was joining the cast of Into the Badlands, I decided to watch the show. IT HAS EVERYTHING: A GREAT STORYLINE, AN EPIC AND FORBIDDEN ROMANCE, AWESOME VILLAINS, AMAZING COSTUMES, AND YUMMY EYE CANDY. 

Peeps, it was the BEST DECISION EVER. I cried at the end of Season Two. Like openly wept. Into the Badlands has to be one of the most inclusive shows on TV right now, AND THE FIGHT SCENES ARE EPIC. Trust me on this. Binge the show on Netflix. The first season has six episodes, the second season has ten episodes, and the current season (Season Three) is now airing on AMC. Lewis’s character, Gaius Chau is about to light it up! I’m really anxious to see how everything plays out. I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but I certainly want you to watch the show. Doooo eeeeet!

Seven Seconds

Netflix knows me. Like really really really well. We’re BFF’s. I think we’ve only had one disagreement when it came to a suggestion recommended for me. I hated Dr. Strange, but I needed to watch it, and Netflix knew that. I would have missed an intricate part of the Avengers: Infinity War had I not viewed the film. THANKS, NETFLIX FOR BEING SO PUSHY! Anyway, Seven Seconds was another suggestion offered. To be fair, I’ve had enough to deal with in regards to police shootings involving unarmed black men and boys in the news, and my initial thought was HARD PASS, Netflix. But I have a rule: Give a TV show one episode. If I can make it past the first episode and I want to know more about the characters and their journey, then the show deserves a fair shot. I do the same litmus test for books. If I’m not hooked by the first chapter, I bow out. 

Glad I stuck with it. Seven Seconds was some of what I expected but a lot of what I did not. It was gut-wrenching and at times very infuriating, but it made for fantastic television. I should have known with Regina King cast in a prominent role it was going to be worthwhile. The show also spotlights Jersey City, NJ. It’s the city on the other side of the Holland Tunnel you drive through to get to I-95 South. It was interesting to see how they tackled a smaller police force in NYC’s backyard. I enjoyed it, and I recommend you watch it.  

I’m Diggin’ the Following Articles:

I’m only digging this because I don’t know if I fully grasp the fascination. It’s odd yet alluring. Peeps, fish sex is a thing, and I cannot deal. Listen, this is part of the reason I still haven’t watched the Shape of Water. IT INVOLVES A MAN WHO IS A FISH. We’re not talking hot merman here… 😕

The story behind Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. Of course, I had to include a video clip for your viewing pleasure. Steve Perry’s hair is glorious.

Queer Rep On-Screen in Book-to-Film Adaptations

Queer Artistry 

And that’s all folks! See you in two weeks for more Shit I’m Diggin’!

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