Without further ado, I hope you will enjoy my introduction to Urban / Contemporary / Black AFAM Fantasy Fiction.
When Tina’s nephew, Ronnie is killed, she is left to care for his siblings and to solve a series of mysterious murders involving only black men. Investigating each murder thrusts her and her team into a world of deities, demons, and fallen angels, leading Tina to battle a serial killer beyond this realm.
Title: The Women with Blue Eyes: Rise of the Fallen
As I scrolled through my LinkedIn page (and I am rarely on LinkedIn), I came across this post and was surprised to learn of Sue Vincent’s passing.
I know Sue from her promotional posts for authors and her generosity in opening up her space to give others time to shine. I’ve been featured on her blog a few times, and each time that we emailed, she was always welcoming to have me.
I feel sadness about Sue because I have not been as immersed in the blogging community as I used to be. My schedule is crazy these days, and I have not had the time to dedicate myself to my own blog, much less engage with others. On searching her name, I found tons of posts dedicated to her and posts she wrote about her illness. I am so very sorry for missing it all.
I also want to note that Sue was a poet, and with it being National Poetry Month, I dedicate this post to her honor.
As per the title of this post, I want to remind us to give people their flowers while they live.
If there is someone you appreciate or someone you love, or someone who has added value to your life in any way, I encourage you to make it known to them now.
Why not now?
Last June 2020 was the last time I saw my mother alive. I had taken a quick trip to Chicago to celebrate the life of another person I knew who had passed and stopped by my mom’s place. I was literally only passing through. My husband had to make a run, so I ended up staying with my mother for longer than I had anticipated.
At the time, I was irritated Moshe was taking so long to come back. I did not see how much of a blessing it was he took this run.
Before I left, I put a necklace on her neck that I had meant to ship but never got the chance to. As I snapped it on her, I kissed her cheek and left. This wasn’t out of the ordinary. It is something I did all the time, kiss her cheek and tell her I loved her. The difference this time is I didn’t know this would be the last time I would do it, as she would pass on in September.
I have been away from home since 2009, when we moved to Louisiana. I now live in Georgia, but most of my family still lives in Chicago. That said, I didn’t see my mom daily because we did not live in the same city. If I had not come to Chicago that June, the last memory I would have of her would have been December of 2019 when we celebrated her 60th, and unknown to us, her last birthday.
We never know when will be the last time we see or speak to someone, but we still take it for granted. We still treat each other like every day is promised. We still love people more in death than we do in life. We see this every time a celebrity passes.
I hope that one day this will change.
I hope that one day we will live with such immense gratitude that hindsight is no longer 20/20 because we will see things clearly at the moment.
I hope you are all doing well and all that good stuff. I have not blogged much lately because I am working on The Women with Blue Eyes and tons of other projects, including our 4th Annual Poetry Contest I want to get underway next month.
If you are new here, welcome to The PBS Blog! This is a great time for you to learn more about who I am through my most recent interview.
Below is a snippet of the interview and links with WRDE-TV, an affiliate of CBS. Also find links to Fox 34 and WBOC, affiliate of NBC. (If you read one, you’ve read the others cause it’s the same article, just on different platforms.)
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
Y: Faith without works is dead, so my best advice is to do your work. Get on your knees and pray and then get on your feet and work. I hate to sound so overly simplistic, but sometimes things are a lot simpler than we make them out to be. We must be willing to do the work necessary to manifest all that we believe we can achieve. Belief is good, but alone it is not enough so I cannot tell you to just believe in yourself. You must prove this belief with action. What you say you believe is one thing, but what you do exposes who you really are. Whatever it is you say you want, you must act on it for it to become a reality.
Not only must we love ourselves and believe in our ability, but we must also be prepared to do the work necessary to turn the unseen into the seen. Consistency is also key because while actions speak louder than words, consistency speaks louder than both. These skills Yah has blessed us with are not intended to serve only us. They are meant for us to multiply. This is possible when we combine a steadfast belief with a compelling work ethic.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success to me means to genuinely enjoy what you do with your life without sacrificing your authenticity. It means to multiply your gifts to serve as many people as is destined for as long as the breath of life is in your body and you are walking this earth. To do so with as much grit and love as possible, and to do it all while staying true to your integrity.
I am reposting this because I needed the reminder, and I thought since I needed the reminder, I am sure others may need to hear it. If you are new to this blog, you are also new to this post. Enjoy!
I started thinking about the many layers of myself and how I notice that people pick the parts of me they like.
Some people love the silly me. They like when I post funny memes and do silly things.
Some people like intellectual me. They love when I talk about black history and little-known facts.
Some people love the lover in me. They like to see my husband and me together, loving one another and having a good time.
Some people want the spiritual me. They like to hear me quote scriptures and talk about the bible. They like prophetic me.
Some people like fiction me. They enjoy my novels and short stories.
Others like the poet me.
I’ve learned from life that you’ll meet so many people throughout a lifetime, and they will pick the parts of you they like best.
But you know, as I know, every part of you helps to build you into the person you are.
What I realized today was the importance of accepting your whole self, even if others reject parts of you.
“I have learned not to let rejection move me.” – Cicely Tyson
People may pick the parts of me they like, but it is my responsibility to pick my whole self. I am all of the things people love (and don’t love) rolled up into one. I am not a scattered puzzle. I am a body, and each of my body parts helps me be the full and whole person I am.
While it may be optional for others to pick and choose, it is not optional for me to choose. It is my responsibility to accept myself fully, the good, bad, and the ugly.
When we start to favor one part of ourselves over another because we see it is what people like most, we lose the other parts of ourselves. And since we need every part to make up a full body, in a sense, we lose ourselves.
People who do not vibe with the whole, the full person you are, are not your people.
Remember that there are layers of you, and though people will choose the layer they like best, it is your job to choose your whole self.
When I was a teenager, my cousins joked that I had discovered the cure for AIDS. It was their way of saying I was smart because I read a lot.
I even overheard my mother telling my aunt I was special. I got offended because I thought she meant special as in slow.
That’s because when I was a kid, I thought I was stupid.
In grammar school, I was a terrible student. I got straight Fs in the early years. And when we had to take the IOWA Test, I started to get held back. I can remember going to summer school as early as third grade, and I failed sixth grade twice. I failed seventh grade too, but someone had mercy on me enough to add my name to the eighth-grade roster, and that is how I entered the eighth grade.
I honestly cannot tell you what happened. I never learned the details. As far as I was concerned, it was a miracle.
Once in the eighth grade, they routinely removed me from class to go with the Special Ed teacher. My specific area of difficulty was math.
Whenever that teacher came to the door, all five of us would get up and walk out, and everyone knew what for. It was embarrassing, and I felt ashamed.
If I was so terrible at school, how did I graduate with honors with an armful of Creative Writing awards? And how did I end up in ILCA?
ILCA is short for International Language Career Academy. It was a program at my high school where students had to take four years of language instead of two, and all their courses were advanced except for the electives.
By my junior year of High School, I was not only enrolled in all honors classes, but I was also taking courses at Robert Morris College in downtown Chicago.
I would go to school during the day and then hop on the Green Line and go to college at night.
At the time, I was a member of the UMOJA Spoken Word Poetry club, trying out for track, and the only member of the yearbook team.
My schedule was crazy.
I was also on the drama team, where we wrote and performed plays at school assemblies.
At one of these plays, I recited my poem, “Black Beauty.” It was the first time I had ever shared my poetry with the public.
But let me back up just a bit.
I never explained how I went from Special Ed for math to taking advanced math classes…and passing.
My eighth-grade teacher discovered I knew how to write, so they built my assignments around writing.
I excelled so much that I passed math, graduated with honors, and was placed in an advanced High School Program.
There’s an old saying, usually attributed to Einstein, that goes something like:
I was this fish. I used to think I was stupid.
Something in my brain just did not click. I didn’t even learn to ride a bike until I was nine years old.
At the time, The Robert Taylor Projects were considered the poorest urban community in the United States, second only to Cabrini Green. We did not ride bikes. We made tents out of dirty bedsheets, seesaws out of bed railings, and rollercoasters out of shopping carts.
Ain’t nobody have money for bikes.
And even though I’m a full adult now, I still get anxious about math and count slower than most.
People think I’m book smart, but the truth is it wasn’t until I focused on what I was good at (my purpose) that I started to do well.
It was never about being smart, but I was also not stupid. I just needed to find what worked for me, even if that meant I had to work harder than others.
Passion is connected to purpose. Those things you love to do (with or without payment), has a lot to do with what you are called to do.
Some of you are struggling with something, and it’s not because you are stupid or slow or incapable.
It could just be because you are a fish, trying to climb trees because that’s what everyone else is doing.
Find you some water.
I am Soul is 99cents through February. If you have read this book, be sure to leave an honest review on Amazon!
About a week ago, a reader notified me that a review I published to this blog was from a book written by a woman who took part in the insurrection of January 6th. I did not know, as I had published the review months ago. I enjoyed the book, but I have since removed the review and deleted the read’s promotional tweets.
What happened at the Capitol was wild, but America’s hypocrisy amazes me.
Where was this energy when Tulsa and Rosewood’s black people had their homes raided, their communities bombed and their family killed? I have yet to hear the Ku Klux Klan declared a terrorist organization.
When black homes, businesses, and communities were bombed, the people who attacked them were not considered terrorists.
It wasn’t terrorism when strange fruit hung from trees.
Attacks on Black Americans are not considered “an attack on our democracy.”
When they dragged fourteen-year-old Emmett Till from his family’s home, shot him with a 45 caliber pistol, beat him to a pulp, and drowned him in a lake with a 75-pound cotton gin and barbed wire around his neck, his murderers were not deemed, terrorists.
They were acquitted.
When unarmed black men, women, and children are killed, the murderers are not considered terrorists.
Showing pictures of Malcolm X and Fred Hampton’s deceased body all over the newspapers was not “shocking,” nor was it “an attack on our democracy.”
On June 17, 2015, Dylan Roof walked into a church, killed nine black people, and injured one more person. Later, he confessed that he committed the shooting in hopes of igniting a race war.
But when he was caught after the search, police did not “fear for their lives.” He was not shot dead.
On May 2, 1967, 30 Black Panthers walked into the California State Capitol building with rifles and shotguns (it was legal to carry back then openly) that catapult them into the national spotlight and made national headlines. From this point on, The Black Panthers were terrorists.
Their headquarter offices were bombed and raided.
Their members were shot and killed.
The laws were changed, making it illegal to open carry.
Where is the outrage, America, when black people are attacked like your beloved Capitol? Where is this energy?
Americans are admonished never to forget 9/11.
Jewish Americans are admonished never to forget the holocaust.
But it is often stressed that Black American’s forget slavery and centuries of oppression.
We are not the same.
Malcolm X said, “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
Today, social media and mainstream media are the newspaper, and if we are not careful, it would have us believe the same system that works for the oppressor is the same system that works for the oppressed.
No way was the Panthers politely told to leave the Capitol in California.
No way did the police stand by and calmly escort members of BLM off the streets during protests.
What happened on January 6th was wild, but it should not be surprising.
We are seeing only the beginnings of the “chickens coming home to roost” (to quote Malcolm) for America.
It is what it is.
“It was horrendous,” a CNN commentator called the January 6th events.
But so was watching a police officer put his knee on the neck of a black woman in 1963. And so was watching a police officer put his knee on George Floyd’s neck in 2020.
Let me make this a bit more plain: You watched a man die on TV.
But this was not considered an act of terrorism. Why? Because the same system that works for America is not the same system that works for black people.
Joe Biden said, “The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect the true America. This is not who we are.”
Respectfully, I disagree.
This is America and always has been America.
Movie Night Friday is back with my review of these two movies coming to you in February.
Thank you to Asha G. Kumar, host of The Writer Talks, for having me on!
Check out Part One of this two-part interview with yours truly. In this first part, we talk about the inspiration behind my first forthcoming Urban Fantasy/SciFi/Speculative Fiction novel, The Women with Blue Eyes, my belief in aliens lol, and my latest poetry collection, My Soul is a Witness. In part two, we dig deeper into my journey as a writer, my advice to other writers, Black History, and you know I had to recite some poetry!