Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Alycee Lane

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Alycee Lane. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Alycee Lane and I’m from Buffalo, New York.

Nice, I’ve been to New York once. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

I laugh loudly at my own jokes, including the ones I tell in my own head.

Lol. What was your childhood dream?

My childhood dream was to be a doctor who would cure cancer. That dream ended when, at the age of six, I was spanked vigorously for having poured my secret cure into my mother’s milk at the dinner table.

Oh wow. You rebel you. What skill would you like to master?

I really would like to master playing the saxophone, but I’d actually have to learn how to play the saxophone.

Lol. I love it. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

I think it would be amazing to venture off to Antarctica. On the other hand, I left Buffalo, New York for a reason (spoiler: it wasn’t because of buffalo wings).

Speaking of wings, what’s your favorite food?

Anything with pork, which is why being a vegetarian, is pretty damn hard.

Oh Alycee. That was not the right answer. Anything but pork! Don’t do it lol. What kind of music do you like?

I can’t get enough of jazz and blues.

What do you wish you knew more about?

Black holes. The idea of them really blows my mind.

In your own words, define racism.

Voting for Donald Trump.

LOL. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?

FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS.

Are you religious Alycee?

Yes. I attend Bedside Baptist every Sunday (this is one of those moments when I am laughing at my own joke).

Rofl. You are a trip. Let’s talk about my favorite subject. How long have you been writing? Tell us a little bit about the journey thus far.

I have been writing earnestly since 2012, though I had written some academic papers before then. A few months before my dad died in 2010, he asked me, “when are you going to write?” He knew it was my life aspiration. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that, in my mind, I had decided to let that dream go. I was done. When I reflect on that moment, I’m inclined to believe that, on some spiritual level, he did know that I had given up. Those who are facing death often see and know things quite clearly. And if they’re your parents…well, then they see through you as well. I remember shrugging, in that way children do when they’ve been caught. The question bothered me enough that, two years later, when my mother’s health began to fail, I was writing like crazy.

In some ways, then, my writing has been a journey through grief, as well as a return to who I really am – the person whom my father clearly knew and saw. For that reason, the journey has also been a powerful one.

That’s powerful. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer?

The most difficult thing about being a writer is keeping a muzzle on the little critic who sits on my shoulder and pretends to be my muse. The most exciting thing is creating that perfect sentence, the one that sounds right.

“Once I was willing to step out of the closet and be completely vulnerable – to expose myself knowing that I could very well become (even more) an object of hate and of violence from people who looked like me and from those who didn’t– once I allowed myself to be that raw, I became absolutely and devastatingly powerful.”

-Alycee Lane, The transformation of vulnerability into power and action

Why is writing important to you?

I don’t know. It is. I think I would talk too much if I didn’t write. Or –or, I would finally learn how to play the sax.

I understand that you specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. You also explore political issues through the prism of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence. I love the Panthers as well as Dr. King. What attracted you to this kind of work? Can you tell us a little bit about your inspirations?

Okay, so not the easiest questions for someone who’s spent the whole day with a five-year-old.

Lol. Answer the question Alycee!

I come from a very political family, so I naturally gravitated toward studying the literature and culture of the CR/BP movements (plus, I am old enough to remember the Free Angela Davis movement, and I used to shout “Black Power” out of my school bus window while being bused across town. To this day, I remember the “White Power” sign that hung from one of the houses I passed every day to get to my integrated school).

So, my main inspirations were my parents, as well as my brothers and sister. Then there were my professors at Howard University, mainly Patricia Jones Jackson and Claudia Tate, from whom I took Howard’s first Black Women Writers class. I went to Howard intending to matriculate for law school and ended up leaving there with a Ph.D. on my mind. Good teachers can do that to you. Also among my influencers: Valerie Smith, Richard Yarborough, and Kim Crenshaw.

Oh, yeah: Toni Morrison, Barbara Smith, Alice Walker, Gloria Anzaldua, Cheri Moraga, Audre Lorde, Sweet Honey in the Rock, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone. Countless women I have loved and who have loved me.

With regards to my blog writing: an “ex” did me two favors. The first was gifting me a collection of King’s work. The second was keeping a copy of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace is Every Step in her bookcase. Reading both radically changed this deconstructionist’s heady, cynical life. Having said that, I like to think that I arrived at this place of a commitment to nonviolence and engaged Buddhist practice through the influence of the Panthers, Fanon, Malcolm X, and others.

Now, my five-year-old is my main inspiration. Every day she teaches me how much work I have to do. There’s nothing more humbling than having someone who has been on earth for merely 1800+ days tell you that you don’t know anything about nothin’. Just plain dumb.

If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?

My superpower would be this: I would make men cry simply by showing them the hand. Why this power? Because I suspect that much of the world’s violence can be attributed to the fact that too many men are unable to cry, to live from the heart, to be vulnerable, to be tender.

What genre do you write in, why?

I primarily write nonfiction, though I suspect this is a cop-out. I don’t know – I’m kind of with Arandati Roy on this: these are not the times for fiction.

I disagree, there is always a time for Fiction!

Alycee, thank you for spending this time with us! We enjoyed you.


Copyright © Alycee Lane

Bio.

Alycee Lane is an Oakland, California-based writer and blogger.

A graduate of Howard University, Alycee studied English literature and later obtained her Doctorate of Philosophy from UCLA, where she specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. From 1995 to 2003, she served as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, after which she obtained her Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall).

Alycee is author of the award-winning book, Nonviolence Now! Living the 1963 Birmingham Campaign’s Promise of Peace (Lantern Books, 2015) as well as the blog Coming in From the Cold, where she explores political issues through the prism of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence. Her newest work, The Wretched of Mother Earth: The Handbook for Living, Dying, and Nonviolent Revolution in the Midst of Climate Change Catastrophe, was just published on April 4, 2018.

Alycee has also written a number of scholarly and other articles on subjects ranging from the Black Panther Party to mitigation evidence in death penalty cases to climate change. In 1993, she was awarded the Audre Lorde Quill Award from the Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum for the essays and interviews that she produced for BLK, a news magazine dedicated to the African American gay and lesbian community, as well as for her work as editor of Black Lace, the first ever African American lesbian erotic magazine.

Be Sure to Follow this Author Online:

Twitter: @AlyceeLane

Blog: http://blk2buddah.wordpress.com

Amazon page: amazon.com/author/alyceelane


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE!

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The Journey Begins

Be sure to Follow Tehilayah’s new blog! Tehilayah is an inspiring author and poet working on her first book. She is also a contributor to my 2nd Annual Poetry contest!

No Line Left Behind

Thanks for joining me.

Like any journey there are uncertainties. But how would we know what the journey holds if we do not at least try to experience it. Introductions are always awkward and sometimes uneasy so we will just jump into it.

My name is Tehilayah (pronounced, Te-hil -la -yah). Simple right? My name means, “Song of Praise to Yah”. Can you believe that I like singing. Yes, I sing everything. I make everything a song. For example, I sang instructions to my children to get ready for bed. Yes, there was a whole song. I personally thought it was cool but the look on my children’s faces said otherwise. It’s the side of me that’s goofy and carefree. I am a wife to an amazing and supportive man who pushes me to step out my comfort zones. Sometimes I can be a bit stubborn but I…

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Author Spotlight: Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Judge: Tehilayah Ysrayl

Today we are introducing and spotlighting Tehilayah Ysrayl, mother, wife, poet and our 2nd Annual Poetry Contest judge! Join me as we catch up.

Copyright©2018. Tehilayah.

Tehilayah, whose name means song of praise, is an aspiring author and poet who was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She attended IPFW and Ivy Tech Community College and currently works for a life insurance company. Tehilayah has been happily married for six years, has four beautiful children, and a Jack Russell named Sevyn that is selective in who he deals with and has a “big dog” mentality.

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Tehilayah and her Hubby

This mother is not afraid of the stage, presenting her poetry at various venues and impromptu poetry gatherings in her city. She enjoys singing, sewing, reading, wine, whiskey and, most importantly, words. Some of her favorite poets include but are not limited to, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Countee Cullen, Sonia Sanchez, Steven Willis, and Rudy Francisco.

Tehilayah is also a voracious reader and fell in love with Urban Fiction because of Donald Goines. From there she branched off to discover other authors like Sista Soulja and the love stories that Eric Jerome Dickey brought, Carl Weber and many more. Currently, Tehilayah is enthralled in the Ashley and Jaquavis novel series. Tehilayah reads not only for the entertainment but also for the techniques in writing.

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Currently, this karate mom is working on her first book, a collection of poetry! “No Idle Word” is about encouraging the faint at heart, providing awareness to the ignorant, and healing to the broken.

Blog: https://nolineleftbehind.wordpress.com/

IG: @tehilayah/

Twitter: @tehilayah

Email: tehilayah12@gmail.com

Coming Soon

T - Mock 3

Author Caution: Be Careful Linking to Pirate Sites

STOP: Authors, Be Careful

Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

I’ve been sitting on this article since February (See screenshot below) and had almost decided not to publish it.

After seeing Chris share the article on Piracy, Plagiarism and Impersonation however, I thought maybe it was time for me to open my mouth about this.

Back in February, information surfaced about a pirate website charging readers for a month of unlimited downloads of stolen books and many Indie Authors found their books listed (myself included). After hearing about this I was (obviously) concerned and have even shared the news on Twitter. Since then, I’ve seen more and more authors put the word out. But then…

After some observation, I deleted my Twitter retweet and stopped worrying about it. I had to take a step back and see what was really going on. This website popped up, seemingly out of nowhere and their website has been shared repeatedly over the internet.

Red flag.

Did you  read hear what I said? Their website has been shared repeatedly. They are getting more and more attention, more views and more clicks. You would think someone had just launched a new product. Personally, I am not going to post the link to that site on this blog but I am pretty sure you know which one I am talking about. While putting the word out is good, my caution is to be careful with those links.

When I first read about this, the only way to know if your book is listed was by searching for it on their website by typing your book title into their search box. I’ve even heard recommendations from people telling authors to type their name into the site to see if their book is there…errr…

Red flag.

In just one week from my initial viewing, I noticed that their website had been upgraded. It did not start off with a display of the book covers when I first *heard* about it. Today, it looks slightly more professional.

Red flag.

My warning is simple:

Be very careful linking pirate websites in any way, to your blog, of downloading your books from these sites, of typing anything into their search boxes, and of clicking on links or Ads on these websites whatsoever.

“Do not visit a pirate website to confirm whether your books are there, as this puts your computer at risk.” – Indie Author Self-Defense: Piracy, Plagiarism, and Impersonation

Do not blindly jump on the bandwagon but be cautious with your handling of those links and your promotion of them. It is also possible that many sites like this pull book covers and metadata from Amazon and Goodreads but they do not actually have the books. Instead, they are using the images to scam people by stealing their personal and financial information and then sending viruses to their computers.

“Piracy is the unlawful copying of your work, and it’s the most common form of content theft. However, there’s good news: only a tiny fraction of the piracy you find on the web is actually piracy. Most pirate websites don’t actually have stolen content. They use software to gather titles, covers, and descriptions from Amazon or other retailers to use as bait. Then they set up a convincing storefront on the web which claims to offer those books, usually free or for a ludicrously low “all you can eat” subscription.”

Source: Indie Author Self-Defense: Piracy, Plagiarism, and Impersonation

That’s why I said be cautious poking around. It’s not wrong to link to anything but with certain websites you don’t know if just clicking on something will give you a virus (or going to the website period.) It’s frustrating, I know, for people to take anything of yours but you can possibly do more harm than good linking those sites to your blogs.

Short Story Sunday – “Falling Stars”

“In our universe, a star explodes and dies every single second and there’s you, worrying about work tomorrow.”

Tasha sighed and signed out of her Twitter account. It amazed her how exactly those words had summed up her life. Technology was a trip.

Curtis: Hello love.

Tasha: Not a good time.

Tasha slid the smartphone under the covers as her husband entered the room.

“Hey babe,” he said planting a kiss on her lips. She watched him walk away. Completely compact with everything she’d ever wanted in a man. As he slipped out of his shirt she took the opportunity to admire the dark chocolate, toned physique of her child’s father. Standing 6’1 the man had beauty and brains and had swept her off her feet ten years ago and everything else had been storybook. In less than a year they were married, Carson was born six months after that and their combined salary afforded them the luxury of the two-story house sitting comfortably between two large Oak Trees in Elmhurst Illinois.

Tasha hated those trees. They had somehow become the mocking occasion of her perfect life. Successful real-estate agent, wife, mother, and homeowner and yet here she was, stuck between two men; both just as large and overwhelming as those trees. She’d have to remember to have at least one of them cut down. Their existence, how they mocked her very life, was too much to take.

Anthony walked off, discarding of his clothing on the bathroom floor and wrapping a towel around his waist. “What time you getting off tonight?” he yelled.

“Nine, this case is really kicking my butt.” There it was. Another lie. It was her fourth lie this month. She knew because she counted. It was difficult at first, but whenever she thought about rolling around on the floor with her boss it became much much easier.

Curtis was nothing like Anthony and that reality was perhaps one of her greatest fears and pleasure too. More so than the betrayal, the lies, even more so than the sex was that these men couldn’t be any more different. It was that, their differences, that Tasha loved even more than getting caught. She smiled wickedly. Why did the thought excite her so? She’d built trust with Anthony and how she capitalized on that trust. Taking advantage of their years she played the men like strings. Pulling and tugging on their position in her life and manipulating the occasion.

Tasha met Curtis when she was just an intern at Curtis & Law and he was well aware that she was married. Tasha preferred it this way and often beamed with satisfaction. If ever there was an occasion to sleep around she’d found it. If ever there was a secret to deceit, she’d cracked the code. Her life with Anthony was secure and she made it clear she would never divorce him. Curtis was OK with that and vowed that their time together was nothing more than a thing.

Curtis: Tash, you there?

The text alert startled her and Tasha scrambled to mute the phone alert before it became noticeable. One downfall to cheating was extreme paranoia, everything was exaggerated and Tasha was sure the muffled sound of the phone could be heard through the sound of the shower. Peaking down at the screen she rolled her eyes. This was starting to get old real fast. He knew he had no right to call her that. Only Anthony called her “Tash.” Curtis had professed his love last night and somehow thought it gave him free reign to be the first man in her life. She thought she’d made it very clear that would never happen. Maybe I should just call off, thought Tasha. The dread of the workplace had become intense. Any occasion to which she had to see Curtis face in public sent her cascading through mental turmoil and she felt she would explode.

“In our universe, a star explodes and dies every single second..”

Tasha scrolled her Twitter timeline once more. Her  addiction to technology had her constantly checking her phone. Or was it nerves?

“…a star explodes and dies every single second..”

Is this what death feels like? she thought. Am I dying?

Anthony was her everything and her heart broke at the thought of what this would do to him if he ever found out and yet, the thought was quickly erased by another lie.

Please, I’m tripping. Men do this all the time. Tasha told herself to soothe the bruise of adultery seeping from her pores.

Anthony walked out of the bathroom. A towel wrapped around his waist and another one he used to dry his hair. Goodness, that’s a beautiful man. Tasha thought.

Curtis: Meet me at the spot, One hour.

Startled, Tasha scrambled to answer her text.

“Tell Curtis you’ll be late this morning,” smiled Anthony, seductively approaching his wife.

Tasha smiled a wicked smile. Poor Ant, he would never know. It amazed her how color had such an impact on the way people saw the world. Anthony would never suspect a culprit in the proper, brown haired, blue-eyed white boy that is his wife’s boss.

Tasha: I need a few hours. (wink)

Curtis: OK love.

***

“Tell Curtis you’ll be late this morning,” Anthony smiled but his blood raced. She had been with him again. He could tell by the racing of her eyes. How they searched him, bouncing back and forth between him and the cell phone she kept tucked underneath the covers. He smiled, hoping it would calm her nerves some. She was a mess and he wondered how long she would keep this up. How much longer could she take hurting herself to hurt him? How much longer would she take him into her arms, poisoning their love with the kiss of her lips? How much longer would he let her?

Anthony smiled again and let the dry towel fall to his ankles, his throbbing manhood at full salute. He would be with her again for the last time, or so he told himself. He approached her, watching as she sneaks text on her phone before pushing it back into the sheets. Anthony watched her racing eyes and let his body cover hers, hoping to calm her. At least for tonight. He swallowed hard and kissed his wife on the lips, tasting for the last time the flavor of deceit.

Black History Fun Fact Friday (late post) – William Monroe Trotter

 

First, I want to say that Birth of a Movement is a good documentary on Netflix and is the inspiration behind this post.

We are familiar with the name W.E.B. Dubois but I do not hear much concerning  William Monroe Trotter and that’s a shame. While I do not agree with his dissension with Booker T. Washington (I admire Washington, obviously), I do admire Monroe’s drive to stop a movement that ultimately led to a resurgence and second wave of one of the most terrorist groups in America, The Klu, Klux, Klan.

William Monroe Trotter was an African American newspaper editor and real estate businessman in Boston, Massachusetts born on April 7, 1872, in Chillicothe, Ohio. Raised in Hyde Park, Boston, his father, James, was a writer and former civil rights lieutenant who worked in real estate. Trotter excelled in academics growing up, becoming his predominantly-white high school’s class president and attending Harvard University in the early 1890s. He was a friend of W.E.B. Dubois who also attended Harvard alongside him. The friends graduated in 1895, the same year that Booker T. Washington delivers the famous 1895 Atlanta Compromise Speech.

Trotter was an early activist for Black Civil rights and produced similar Civil Rights results in 1915 as that of the 1960s marches. He was an early opponent of Booker T. Washington (sigh… I just think Booker had a point but whatever), and in 1901 founded the Boston Guardian, an independent African-American newspaper, as a vehicle to express that opposition.

In 1905, Trotter joins W.E.B. DuBois in founding the Niagara Movement, the precursor to the NAACP. However, Trotter did not agree entirely with the organization. The NAACP’s top officers were white men and it only made sense to Trotter that the National Association for the Advancement of “Colored” People is run and operated by “Colored” people. It was not. The NAACP was founded by Jews and ran by the same. For this, Trotter decided to part with the organization. Instead, he founded his own organization called The National Equal Rights League. He also co-founded the Boston Literary and Historical Association (the oldest nationwide human rights organization founded in Syracuse, New York in 1864 dedicated to the liberation of black people in the United States) with colleague George Forbes and established The Guardian newspaper. The publication pushed for Black equality.

Trotters most famous acts of Civil Rights is his stand against David Wark Griffith’s,  landmark film, The Birth of a Nation, a racists play turned movie by author Thomas Dixon. Originally called The Clansmen, the book turned play became a massive bestseller. It also had the endorsement of The White House as it was screened at the house and praised as “History as Lightening” (Wilson).

Trotter began a campaign against Dixon’s play turned film when it opened in Boston in 1910, which portrayed the Ku Klux Klan as heroes. While his protests succeeded in closing the production, The Clansmen changed its name to The Birth of a Nation and in April 1915 was scheduled to open in Boston. Trotter rushed back to lead protests against the film. In April, the Tremont Theatre was denying African American’s admission, to include Trotter. When blacks refused to leave the lobby, plainclothes police moved in, sparking a fight. Trotter and ten others were arrested; other protests took place both inside and outside the theater. It resulted in a mini-riot. Trotter, united with other African-American community members, could not get the film banned in Boston. Interestingly enough, Booker T. Washington dies later this year, November of 1915 in Tuskegee Alabama.

The KKK had a revival for a decade after 1915, especially in industrial cities and the Midwest. In 1919, Trotter appeared at the Paris Peace Conference in an unsuccessful effort to have the organization outlaw racial discrimination. But, in 1921, Trotter was successful in shutting down new screenings of The Birth of a Nation in Boston. He also led demonstrations against events, plays, and films that glorified The Ku Klux Klan. William Monroe Trotter died on April 7, 1934, in Boston.

Far as finances is concerned, it’s still unknown exactly how much The Birth of a Nation grossed, but it did very well in sales. D.W. Griffith is still recognized as the man who pioneered modern cinematic techniques with his use of advanced camera and narrative techniques. Griffith is also one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and  popularized the use of the close-up shot and his skill is still taught in film school. Meanwhile, in the 1920s, his film The Birth of a Nation continued to spark a resurgence of the Klu Klux Klan, which produced a second wave in Atlanta, Georgia, inspired by the film. This terrorist organization would go on to terrorize millions of blacks over the years.

Beta Reading VS. Editing #amwriting

Very well said. Fav. Post Quote: Beta Reading is not editing, and the reader should not make comments that are editorial in nature. Those kinds of nit-picky comments are not helpful at this early stage because the larger issues must be addressed before the fine-tuning can begin, and if you are beta reading for someone, the larger issues are what the author has asked you to look at. *Comments disabled here. Please comment and share the original post*

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

Once again, the question of the difference between beta reading and editing has arisen in one the many forums I frequent on Facebook. So, I feel the need to revisit a post from 2015, Beta Reading VS. Editing. If you’ve already seen this post, nothing has changed in the world of editing and beta reading since this first appeared. But thank you for stopping by!


Indies rely heavily on what we refer to as beta readers to help shape their work and make it ready for editing. But in many online forums, authors use the term used interchangeably with editing, and the two are completely different.

And unfortunately, some indie published works are clear examples of work by authors who don’t realize the importance of working with an editor, although it is apparent that they have had assistance from beta-readers.

What is quite disappointing to me, is the many traditionally published works that seem to fall…

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