A Presidents’ Day Release!

A few months ago, I was asked to participate in two anthologies. Each collection would be a combination of essays, poems, etc. in which authors shared their views on the 2016 election. 

The Resistance: United in Love is the first of the two anthologies to be released. I’m quite proud of the project and all the authors involved. 100% of the proceeds are being donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. Not half, not a percentage, ALL. The next four years will be long, and the ACLU will need all of the financial assistance it can get. 

Remember, human rights are civil rights. 

As authors, we create art. We express frustration, joy, sadness, confusion, and love via the written word. We’ve chosen to add our voices to an ongoing conversation. 

We hope you enjoy our anthology.

You can purchase a copy on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06VTV1QR6

Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34334151-the-resistance


Black History Month Recommendations

Lately, I’ve been on a documentary kick but if you’re looking for things to watch during Black History Month, check out my recs below.

Scottsboro An American Tragedy Part 1. A PBS American Experience Documentary

In 1931, two white women stepped from a boxcar in Paint Rock, Alabama to make a shocking accusation: they had been raped by nine black teenagers on the train. So began one of the most significant legal fights of the twentieth century. The trials of the nine young men would draw North and South into their sharpest conflict since the Civil War, yield two momentous Supreme Court decisions and give birth to the civil rights movement.

Weaving together interviews of the last surviving witnesses, never-before seen footage, photos, letters, diaries and newspaper accounts, SCOTTSBORO: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY tells an extraordinary lost story. Filmmakers Barak Goodman and Daniel Anker take viewers from jails in Alabama to salons in New York to meet a fascinating gallery of characters: the lead defendant — a defiant man who refuses to lay down before the power of Alabama; the defense lawyer — who sees the case echoes the discrimination he has felt himself; the accuser — a poor white woman whose lie lends her respectability; and the Southern judge — who risks the scorn of his beloved state to deliver justice.

Scottsboro An American Tragedy Part 2. A PBS American Experience Documentary

In 1931, two white women stepped from a boxcar in Paint Rock, Alabama to make a shocking accusation: they had been raped by nine black teenagers on the train. So began one of the most significant legal fights of the twentieth century. The trials of the nine young men would draw North and South into their sharpest conflict since the Civil War, yield two momentous Supreme Court decisions and give birth to the civil rights movement.

Weaving together interviews of the last surviving witnesses, never-before seen footage, photos, letters, diaries and newspaper accounts, SCOTTSBORO: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY tells an extraordinary lost story. Filmmakers Barak Goodman and Daniel Anker take viewers from jails in Alabama to salons in New York to meet a fascinating gallery of characters: the lead defendant — a defiant man who refuses to lay down before the power of Alabama; the defense lawyer — who sees the case echoes the discrimination he has felt himself; the accuser — a poor white woman whose lie lends her respectability; and the Southern judge — who risks the scorn of his beloved state to deliver justice.

13TH 

Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary feature.

The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary 13TH refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis. Now Streaming on Netflix.

Watch 13THhttps://www.netflix.com/title/80091741

SUBSCRIBEhttp://bit.ly/29qBUt7

About Netflix:
Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with over 93.8 million members in over 190 countries enjoying more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments. 

Hip-Hop Evolution

I think Hip-Hop is a grossly misunderstood art form. Hopefully, tuning into this documentary will give you an appreciation for rap music. 

Interviews with influential MCs, DJs and moguls trace the genre’s dynamic evolution from the 1970s through the 1990s in this documentary series.

Subscribe and watch now: https://www.netflix.com/title/80141782

Loving

From acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols, “Loving” celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry – and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since.

http://www.lovingthefilm.com
https://www.facebook.com/lovingthefilm/
https://twitter.com/lovingthefilm
https://www.instagram.com/lovingthefilm/

Ruth Negga is also nominated for her first Oscar in the Best Actress category this year for her role as Mildred Loving. 

Watch in Digital HD by selecting your retailer here: https://www.uphe.com/movies/loving


Likability vs. OMG WTF ARE YOU DOING TO YOUR BRAND?

Cool title huh?

LOL, I thought so.

So here’s the scoop, folks. If you’re here then you’ve discovered my new website. YAY! Isn’t it pretty? *twirls*

I thought about doing a formal announcement to let everyone know that after being lax for two years, I finally hired someone to build me a profesh website. I feel like an adult now. A legitimate writer, if you will! I’m blogging. I am a blogger. A long winded blogger but whatevz. Woooo!

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, then you know I’ve been on a social media hiatus since Feb 2. It had to happen. The election, the purging of the friends list, the nonsense of waking up daily to read awful headlines was all too much. My psychological well-being was taking uppercuts like Ronda Rousey in a UFC match. Not a pretty sight.

So I’ve tuned out. I won’t be returning to social media until March 1, but even then, my approach to social media will be different.

When I first started this author gig, I was super friendly. I’d friend any- and everyone. If I did a takeover, I’d encourage people to friend me. If I had a cover reveal or a blog tour, I’d encourage people to friend me. If folks followed me on Twitter, I automatically followed them back. BECAUSE I WANTED TO KNOW ALL THE PEOPLE. Damn social butterfly tendencies. I also wanted to be liked. Who doesn’t? When you’re a new author trying to establish a reader base, it’s best to cast your net wide. I don’t inundate people with promo advertisements (okay, I do when I have a new release, but we all do it). I don’t shove my books down people’s throats. I prefer they get to know me. If they get to know me then maybe they’ll be interested in what I write. If someone likes what you’ve written, you can only hope that they share their like (or dislike, because bad publicity is still publicity) of your work. And so on and so on. Word of mouth is the best marketing for an author.

The downside of likability is when you accept everyone into your world, you also get insight into the not-so-nice aspects of their personalities. Things were better when I lived in my bubble of EVERYONE IS WONDERFUL AND INCLUSIVE AND BUBBLEGUM SKITTLES GOODNESS. But sadly, those days are over. I’ve seen some nasty things shared in my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I’ve seen people defend reprehensible things. And I decided enough is enough.

Moral character matters to me. I don’t write for a living (not yet anyway), so I get that not everyone can voice their dissent regarding what’s happening in our world. Authors have this fear that they’ll offend readers. You know what’s offensive to me? Wanting to deny someone’s basic civil rights.

  • Health care is not a privilege; it is a right. Pre-existing conditions be damned. Class be damned. We are all entitled to adequate and equitable health care.
  • The ability to marry the person you love should not be a privilege afforded to certain people, but a right. Love is love. You don’t agree with how someone chooses to live their life? Good! Because you don’t have to agree. That’s why we all get to exist in this world as individuals. Crazy concept, right?
  • The freedom to practice the religion of the god(s) you follow should not be a privilege, but a right. You don’t have to agree with the god(s) someone chooses to worship, but you do have to respect their choice. You cannot judge the actions of a few and apply them to the many. If that were the case … Christianity, I’m looking at you, you deserve a time out! For centuries, religion has been used as a tool to justify heinous acts.
  • The right to speak up and protest social injustices should not be afforded only when you agree with an issue. Our Constitution allows for peaceful assembly.

Speaking to my last point, while people may not enjoy KKK rallies happening in their cities, those involved in the KKK have the right to hold a march. If they have the proper permits, then march on.

If Black Lives Matter protesters hold rallies that highlight police brutality, that is their right, so march on.

Freedom of speech is a cool thing. People have the right to say whatever it is they want, but I also have the right to remove negativity from my life. But please, dear reader, understand that if an author you enjoy is outspoken and goes against the grain by saying something you find highly offensive, then you absolutely have the right to remove them from your life. You control the content you wish to view. You control who you want to read. You control who you allow into your life.

Social media does not change this.

A person should never feel obligated to remain where they don’t feel welcome or wanted. With that said, my circle has become a little smaller, and my readership has likely lessened. I’m holding things closer to the vest. And you know what? I think I’m going to be all right.

Authors get a bad rap when they speak out on social media. Let me rephrase that, authors get a bad rap when they talk about inclusiveness on social media. Too much “race talk” can be damaging to your brand. Too much “feminism” can be viewed as divisive. Somehow it’s now seen as a bad thing to defend civil liberties and promote equality. You’re automatically perceived as being “too liberal.” Wanting everyone to have a seat at the table is being too liberal? Being a decent human being is viewed as too liberal?

Oy.

So you see why I’ve decided to tune out? I feel like I’m living in the upside down (Shout-out to Stranger Things).

To me, inclusiveness builds a better brand. You know why? Because it shows that every reader has the potential to be YOUR reader. You’re not targeting only a particular demographic. You’re casting a wide net that shows you understand our society is changing and you want to welcome everyone into the fold.

I need to keep reminding myself that it’s a good thing, because if you turn on the news nowadays, it becomes difficult to decipher what it takes to be considered “likable.” Is it being able to relate to a wide range of people? Or is it being exclusionary and targeting only a specific sect of the population to sell yourself?

Things that make you go hmm.

Don’t worry, while I’m tuning out I’m wrapping up manuscripts because I HAZ NEW RELEASES COMING SOON. I’ll be making appearances at conferences within the next few months, so I must be prepared to share new material. And swag. Oh, swag cometh.

Stay tuned! 

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