Monday, December 15, 2014

A Short Break. . .

Hello My Glorious Readers,

I know, I know!  I didn't post anything this past weekend!  Believe me when I tell you, I've been so damn busy, I can't see straight half the time.  It's the holidays and things need to be done and there's just not enough time to do them all.  So, I decided to give my mind a rest. It stays on the grind constantly, but every now and again, it needs to just sit back and do absolutely nothing, which is exactly what we spent the weekend doing.

Please do not take it personal!  We had every intention on writing a post, just didn't have the energy to do it.  And, since it is the holidays, we're going to take a short break and come back better than ever for the new year.

Also, for those of you who took the reading challenge, YOU do realize that you have about 16 days left to complete for the 2014 year.  My goodness!  Doesn't it seem like we just started our challenge the other day, but that was 11 months ago.  Damn!  I don't know about you, but for me, 2014 is a complete blur!  I've never seen a year fly by so fast.  It's as if the year almost didn't happen, but I know that it has.  Where did the time go?  Wow!

So, in order for us to spend time with our families and take care of things we need to for the holidays, we're going to break.  Oh. . .before I forget, one other thing we plan to do beginning 2015, is host an awards ceremony for those independent authors who guest appeared right here on Mello & June, as well as opinionated posts hosted by yours truly. Those authors who received the highest hits during the weekends they featured will be given the Curtie Curt Award.

When we return in the new year, we'll go over what that award is and what it stands for.  I'll also advise our readers which of my opinionated blog posts received the highest hits and comments on Twitter.  The funny thing is, these posts are still receiving hits, which is why we have to wait until the new year to tabulate the numbers.  Those authors who have won this prestigious award will be contacted via email, with the meme attached which they may display on their websites to let their fans know what it's about.   You'll be able to read more about it in a few weeks.  

In the meantime, Mello & June, It's a Book Thang! would like to thank each and every one of our supporters.  Anyone who visits our blog is a welcomed special guest!  We don't discriminate and we invite all people to leave their comments, whether we agree with the reader's view and/or opinion.  We're about freedom of expression here!  If it weren't for YOU, we couldn't do what we do, so for that, we thank you!  We hope you continue to support us in the 2015 new year!

We'd like to say Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You and we look forward to rappin' with you next year!  There are some hot new books coming out and I can't wait to delve right in!

P.S.  The 2014 Reading Challenge on Goodreads is nearing a close!  Get those books read so your challenges may be met!  Drop us a line on our contacts form and let us know how many books you've read for the year and what you plan to read for the upcoming!

God Bless!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

YOUR Life Matters. . .
Make Every Moment Count!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dear Santa. . .

All I want for Christmas. . .

May I sit upon your lap?
‘Cause I’ve got lots to say, may we rap?
I’m not asking for gifts or material things
It’s peace that I want and I need you to bring

Please fill your sleigh with loads of love for one another
I want white police officers to stop murdering my unarmed brothers
My people are hurting and there’s so much pain
It’s enough to drive the most reasonable insane

Is what I’m requesting too much to ask?
Do you think you’re up to it, can you handle the task?
There’s been enough bloodshed to spread throughout
I’m at a loss for words, not sure what this is really about?

How many more parents have to lose their sons?
Why are they killing us one by one?
Is the fear of an unarmed black man that threatening?
So that’s the excuse of why this shit keeps happening!

We need rulings and justice that we can live with
But how can we when there’s no indictments?
I know life isn’t always fair,
My God, this is just too much to bear

Love’s in need of love today
Isn’t that what Stevie so eloquently relayed?
Santa, I want peace in lieu of gifts
Trust me we’re tired and in need of a lift

Do you really think we want to act reckless and cause riots?
If some could see past our color, there would be quiet
I have to hold onto hope and have something to believe
So my people do not have to grieve

That’s why I’m asking you to share gifts of love
To spread wide, far and from up above
I sit on your lap for this important favor
My request may be weird, but please do not waiver

We are in desperate need of healing
To help keep in check our feelings
I don’t think I’m asking for a lot
But right now, you’re all I’ve got

Santa, for Christmas this is my plea
For all of us to heal and just be free

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

We Should Live "The Dream"
Not Nightmares!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Two Words. . .

Well Hello Glorious Readers!  I certainly hope you and your families had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with all the trimmings, and now it's time to get down to slimming after all that food.  Oh, but wait, Christmas is our next stop, so more good food is headed our way. That's what the holidays are all about--good food, family and friends, togetherness.  

Wow, quite a bit of stuff happened during the week of Thanksgiving.  It almost made me wonder just what type of Thanksgiving this was actually going to turn out to be.  Before I delve in my personal thoughts for this post, I have to tell you, when I mentioned a few posts back how I know people. . .well, let's just say, you didn't let me down.

I received one comment regarding my Down for the Cos post of last week.  This, by any means, didn't surprise me at all.  I did, however, receive several emails from readers who secretly agreed with my assessment of sorts, but didn't want to actually come out and admit their feelings on the blog.  Again, I always know when I hit the nail on the head by the lack of comments or participation.  When you're guilty of something, that's when you'll find people will hide from their truth.  I love to play the Devil's Advocate and talk about subjects that many will find unpleasant and distasteful, but my point has been made and got many of you talking, which is what I want.  I love people who are thinkers and not afraid to stand up for what they believe in.  However, having said that, there's a real fine line in standing up for what you believe in and taking those feelings to a whole other level!

Oh yeah, you see where I'm headed with this post.  Let me tell you a short story.  There are two words that have stuck with me ever since what I'm about to talk about ever occurred. Those two words are 'Rodney King!'  Hmm, what does Rodney King have to do with this? Everything! I remember the first time I saw that horrible video on the news.  A man being brutally beaten by a bunch of police officers.  I was in a state of shock, outrage and sadness all rolled up into one.  My emotions were running at an all-time high, and I couldn't figure out what to do with what I was visually seeing and trying to process it and make sense out something that totally made no sense at all.

At that time I said, you know, finally, there's going to be some justice.  Many times when my people have been the subject of police brutality, there's never any visual evidence to support what the witnesses saw.  It's always our word against theirs, and at the end of the day, we usually lose.  I put faith in Lady Justice.  Yes, oh yes, this time we had Lady Justice by the hair.  There wasn't any way we'd lose this battle--for WE have video!  Thank God for video, right?!

How could my people lose this case?  I mean, I saw the tape, you saw the tape, the jury saw the tape, and there was only one conclusion to draw from it, in my naive mind.  Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!  I remember the day the verdict was read, just like it was yesterday.  When I heard the prosecutor tell the world that the defense's lawyers stated what WE saw wasn't what we saw.  The man being beat was on PCP, crazy out of his mind.  He was attacking the police officers several minutes before the video started, and although what I saw was a defenseless man, lying helplessly on the ground being beat with police batons and feet stomping and kicking, what I saw wasn't what I saw.  There were a few seconds before the infamous video started, that none of the world got to see.  The part where this man allegedly attacked the police officers first, which, in essence, prompted Mr. King's beating.  Hmm, really?

When I heard the words "Not Guilty" for any of the police officers involved, something broke within me that day.  I felt rage like I had never felt it before in my life.  Sure, I've been good and damn mad before, but this wasn't just madness, this was pure hot rage.  My heart truly ached, and I cried to release my anger as much as I could.  I couldn't believe Lady Justice stuck her claws out and scratched our eyeballs right out of the sockets.  She had beat us all over again!  I suppose the joke was on us.

Ever since that horrible day I watched, along with the rest of the world, that Rodney King wasn't going to get the justice he so rightfully deserved, changed my view of the justice system and all that it stands for.  I never trusted or believe in Lady Justice quite the same after the Rodney King trial.  In fact, after that trial, I became hardened to the justice system, especially when high profile cases involving my people are concerned.  I immediately think the worst.  I instantly begin getting my feelings in check and I do not allow myself to go there because, unfortunately, I already know what the outcome is going to be.  And let's fast forward to present day.

I don't know why anyone was surprised that Officer Darren Wilson will not be held for trial in the execution of Michael Brown.  Oooh yeah, I knew when the media began putting little pieces of information out about how Ferguson was calling in the National Guard.  How the governor and other public figures want to keep the peace and have positive protests.  How the school districts were closing the schools, etc., something smelled very wrong and I braced myself because I knew damn well what was coming.  Again, I ask, why were YOU surprised?  There were so many things wrong with this case from the onset that let me know what the result was going to be, and sad to say, I knew why it was going to be too!

I'm not going to rehash the facts in the case, because you already know just like I do.  There was one powerful moment that put me right back in the hot seat just like the Rodney King trial that made me turn the TV off. When I saw the evidence that the prosecutor released to the media, I sat there stunned.  Here I was thinking when it was reported that Michael Brown punched Officer Wilson twice in the face, I was expecting to see someone who looked as if he were in the boxing ring with Mike Tyson, but what I saw was a plain white faced man, with what appeared to be a red blotch on his lower jaw on the right hand side, and I kept searching for any clues of a fist punch to the face, but found absolutely nothing, and yet the Grand Jury said what evidence that came before them they couldn't find anything to support an indictment.  It was at that moment, I had to turn the TV off.  I could feel my old Rodney King wounds resurfacing again, and I couldn't take it.

Again, I ask you readers, why were YOU surprised?  I knew immediately following that 45 minute speech from the prosecutor that things were most definitely going to take a turn for the worst, and once again, my people certainly didn't let me down in that respect.  We live in a violent society.  Hell, Americans are violent people and they don't need much prodding to get them going.  I knew there wasn't going to be an indictment just as sure as my birth name is Kimberly.  We were given clues early on that this case wasn't going to go where most wanted it too, but many chose to ignore the signs.  I refused to let myself go to that dark place again.

If YOU thought that racism was over, YOU thought very wrong!  Race relations are running at an all-time high and I certainly don't see it stopping anytime soon.  I've heard some white people stating that there have been black cops who have killed their people and we don't see them taking to the streets to riot.  They're absolutely right, and you know why?  Because the end result will never quite turn out the same as it does when a white officer kills one of my people!  Lady Justice usually doesn't rule on my people's side in these type of high profile cases.

Now, do my people bear some of the responsibility for having been put in these situations in the first place?  In some of the cases, yes they do!  Let's be perfectly clear and real here.  I'm a woman of color who has never been harassed by the police and you want to know why that is--simply because I try very hard to never put myself in a position where I have to be the subject of something that goes horribly wrong.  If you do what you're supposed to do, in most cases, the police don't bother you.  I realize that doesn't always hold true, but for the most part, if you live your life right, follow the rules and obey the law, usually, you'll live a full life without any drama coming from the boys in blue.  Again, I've read about innocent people who got caught up for no apparent reason, but like I said, usually, and in most cases, if you're doing right, the police have no real reason to bother with you.  

My heart goes out to the Brown family.  I feel so sorry for their loss, but certain protesters taking to the street with criminal activity in their hearts to destroy others' personal property isn't going to bring Michael Brown back.  Looting and acting a complete damn fool isn't going to change the "No Indictment" ruling on this case.  In case you haven't noticed in any of the other high profile cases similar to this one, what did all that violence and self-destruction do for any of us?  Why destroy other Black people's businesses because you're pissed with a ruling?  What did those people do to you to deserve that?  If you were so down with Black people, why destroy their hard earned work?  What does that have to do with anything?  Why put yourself in harm's way?  Why risk getting yourself killed for a ruling that will never change?  What does any of that solve?

This is why when these types of cases come before me on my TV set and/or via the Internet or any way I receive my world news, I don't get up-in-arms about it--for there are two words that bring me back to reality and that's simply, Rodney King.  If you remember what happened in his trial, you won't allow yourself to be taken there.  I wasn't happy with that verdict, and I'm not pleased with the lack of indictment in the Brown ruling.  I damn sure wasn't enthused with the "Not Guilty" verdict in the Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin trial either.  As I told you at the top of the post, the Rodney King trial broke my spirit and trust in our justice system, therefore, I don't allow myself to get too emotionally attached to other cases that come along through the years.  I was never the same after that, and I never will be. It doesn't minimize or change how upsetting these rulings are, but I've learned to keep a level head about it.  

Just as I told you in a past post about how my people will sleep outside in the cold for materialistic things, but won't take that same passion to vote, perhaps now my point will hit even closer to home for you.  You should take that anger and rage you have and use it in ways that can help get some of these state legislature and laws to change.  Use your voice in positive ways that may possibly yield better results for our well being.  But many don't see that.  In fact, President Obama was scrutinized for his speech immediately following the ruling in the Brown case.  What did my people expect for him to say?  What exactly did YOU expect him to do?  You made it perfectly clear to him on Tues., Nov. 4, 2014 what you thought about him, but somehow now, you feel he should do more.  What can he do?  You didn't send much aid to him to help you.  And once again, people proved my point.  You're the first to holler about everything, and yet, the proper forum YOU should have used to get the positive change you seek, YOU sat back and did nothing, now you want the President to do something!  Are you serious?

There are plenty of protesters who were very positive and trying to do the right things here. Unfortunately, a handful of evildoers decided to use the no indictment ruling to commit illegal activity.  That was just a piss poor excuse to do what you've always wanted to do in the first place and what better way to do it than to use someone else's pain for your own greedy needs.  Stealing weave, busting up citizens' cars and setting fires to businesses had absolutely nothing to do with the Brown ruling.  Many said he didn't die in vain, well what the hell do you suppose you call all that destruction?  The Brown family didn't want any of this and look at what you did in their son's honor.  What kind of message does that send?

So the next time, and unfortunately, there will be a next time, another high profile case comes before us, perhaps you'll give some thought to two words that keep me grounded, Rodney King!  YOU should never forget!

Until next time, Keep It Movin'!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

If these Young Men Didn't Die in Vain,
Stop using their tragic deaths as Excuses
for Illegal Activity!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Down for the Cos. . .

Hello Glorious Readers,

May this post find you well and in great spirits.  With Thanksgiving literally around the next corner, that should put most in a relatively good mood.

Last weekend I mentioned my soul was empty and I was feeling creatively dysfunctional, which I'm that way most of the time, but, once again, some things have been going on in the news to cause me to get full and a bit angry.

So, let's get right down to it.  Anybody who is anybody should have by now heard about the recent rape allegations made about Bill Cosby.  It seems like everyday I wake up, there's a new woman coming forward telling her horrific story.  Please do NOT get me wrong.  I believe totally what these women have stated and I feel sorry for their subjective victimization, however, having said that, I'm a little disturbed by recent talk radio show hosts who have made the claim that we, meaning the listening audience, do not have a right to question these women with "why now?"

The "why now" set my Spidy senses to tingling a lot.  First off, that was the first thing I wondered is why now are these women telling their stories?  Many comedians have stated that these allegations were made public several years ago, and apparently, I must have been living under a rock because I do not recall hearing anything remotely like the things I've been hearing now.  But no matter, I was one of many who did not know these allegations were made, nor did I know Mr. Cosby had settled his lawsuits with a couple of them back then.  

Recently, one of the complainants he settled with then has now come out and told her story and although I'm not privy to the court documents, I do believe if he settled with this particular woman, I'm pretty sure Cosby's legal team had sense enough to make this woman sign some type of confidentiality agreement wherein she was never to talk about the details of the settlement agreement.  So once again, I was a bit shocked when I heard this woman is now joining the other women about what she claimed she endured with Mr. Cosby. Obviously, these women do not know each other and what on earth would they expect to gain by coming forward now?  Book deals?  Movies, sympathy, popularity perhaps?  Umm, I don't know.  There's strength in numbers, I suppose.

I heard some hosts say there's no expiration date on feelings and emotional trauma.  Who are WE to question someone else's pain?  And I do agree with that notion.  I've also heard that TVLand and Netflix have pulled reruns of Mr. Cosby's shows and I assume many other endorsements he was to receive have now pulled out.  And this is when I got angry and I'm going to tell you why.

When Michael Jackson was alive, he, too, was accused of sexually molesting little boys. Several of the boys, who are now men, came out years later, just like these women in the present Cosby matter, and stated that Michael had molested them when they were children. To the best of my recollection, Michael settled with several of these young men too. Everybody was talking about how horrible this was and what a terrible thing for Michael to do, and yet, the radio talk show hosts said it's a shame what he did to those kids, but he's the greatest entertainer in the world.  In fact, you can't turn on a radio station anywhere in the world and not hear a Michael Jackson song at least 100 times a day.  You can't turn on a video channel without finding a Michael Jackson video, and yet, there are people who believed what those men said about Michael, but he was still loved.  And still holds true today!

So what I'd like to know is, why is it WE give Michael Jackson a pass, and continue to listen to his music and talk about what a great entertainer he was and forgive him for his heinous acts against children, but WE want to ridicule Mr. Cosby for allegedly raping women? Why should his past TV shows, which were positive and showed African-Americans in a decent light be stopped because of what he allegedly did outside of his work?  Why is it that the good he did to pave the way for several African-American comedians today be swept under the rug because these women claimed he was a rapist?  All I'm saying is, why is it Mr. Cosby should end his career on such a negative note, yet we continue to hail Michael Jackson as the greatest entertainer of all times?  Why do the radio stations continue to play Michael everyday?  Even in death, Michael has music out and selling well.  People whisper it was awful what he did and give excuses as to why Michael was the way he was, but we're supposed to forget the good that Mr. Cosby has done as an entertainer.

The bottom line, folks, is this.  We're human beings and humans make mistakes.  Humans can be sick and twisted and carry on with their normal everyday lives.  We put entertainers in the "God" status and praise them on high pedestals and when they fall short, WE decide to eat them up and spit them out.  I don't condone either of the alleged practices of Mr. Cosby or Michael Jackson, if what their victims claim are true.  If what they say is true, both deserve anything and everything they get and got.  But, don't be a hypocrite by berating Mr. Cosby and deny what he's done as a comedian in the entertainment industry, and give kudos to Michael Jackson for what he did musically as an entertainer.  If you're going to get pissed with what has happened to Mr. Cosby, you should have that same passion about Michael Jackson.  Even though their alleged crimes are different, the end result is the same--people were hurt and traumatized by someone who had the money, means and power to take advantage of the innocent.

I'm just sick and tired of so many people making jokes out of a rather horrible situation. There's nothing funny about rape and there damn sure isn't anything funny about child molestation.  Stop giving passes and making allowances for Michael Jackson! No one sees fit to stop playing or making his music, but now the networks want to punish Bill Cosby by removing his TV programs.  Why?  Not only do you hurt him, but those who worked with Mr. Cosby are just as hurt by it.  Those actors receive royalties every time his show airs.  By removing it, those actors will not receive their residuals.  Is that fair to them?  Sure, it's a terrible thing Mr. Cosby is being accused of, but if you can still listen to Michael Jackson's music and hear his songs in commercials, why should Mr. Cosby's shows not air?  

All I'm saying, readers, is be fair!  You can't praise one alleged monster and then degrade the other.  Why is it you don't find any problems jamming to Michael's songs, but it will somehow hurt your eyes to see an old The Cosby Show rerun.  What's different?  Do YOU see my point.  That's why I'm pissed.  The same ones hollering about how horrible Mr. Cosby is, and yet, YOU are the same ones who still listen to Michael's music.  Should the credit and legacy both of those entertainers have lent to the world be cast aside because of things they've done in their personal lives?  As you can see, that's the problem.  Again I ask YOU, what's different?  Wrong is still wrong at the end of the day!  If you can easily discredit the many years of entertainment Mr. Cosby has given, then why doesn't the same hold true for Michael?

In other words, I wish those of you running at the mouth about Mr. Cosby would shut the hell up, especially if you STILL love Michael Jackson and his music.  To me, you're just a hypocrite.  You can forgive one's bad act, and yet the other not so much?  What's up with that?  I asked "why now" when the group of young men came forward telling their stories about Michael and I am still questioning "why now" with the women who have come out about Mr. Cosby.  Sure, there's no expiration on another person's pain, but YOU should remember that when it comes to anyone who has been accused of doing something bad. Don't be sanctimonious and righteous with one and then get all bent out of shape on another.  If Mr. Cosby's shows cannot be aired, then Michael's music should be banned. Right is right and fair is fair!  Now, chew on that!

Until next time, try to love one another!  Happy Reading. . .

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Stand True in your Convictions!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Creatively Dysfunctional. . .

Hello Glorious Readers!  

I hope this post finds you well and always in good positive spirits! The last few weeks I've had plenty to say about issues happening in the world, and as I mentioned before, when I have something to say and my soul becomes too full, I must release it on paper.  Well wouldn't you know it, my soul has been restored so there's nothing really serious nagging at me this week, but that doesn't mean I don't have anything to say.

I certainly do not want my readers to get the impression that I'm always angry or that I'm always negative because that couldn't be further from the truth.  I'm usually a very happy person and when things around me go haywire, it causes my soul to fill.  In other words, being a creative person makes me more sensitive than others.  My spirit detects the most minuscule negative energy that plagues our world.  I feel things that others may not even notice, which is why I'm the way I am.  As I've stated before, I'm different in many ways than the average person and I've learned to accept that.

Unfortunately for me, my creativity takes me on different journeys and depending on the season we're in, depends on how I react to things.  And, my creativity doesn't just extend to my writing, it takes on many different forms which causes confusion for me sometimes.  Ok, I know you're wondering, what the hell is Kim talking about?  Actually, it's hard to explain myself sometimes.  The only people who truly get me are those who are like me--the creative people.  

The best way for me to explain is to simply say I share multiple gifts.  Some people have one thing they're good at and they go with it, and that's perfectly fine and in fact, I find those people are much more fortunate because they only have to contend with one creative outlet. But people like me have to divide their talents into several different areas and that creates all types of dysfunction.  For instance, writing is my first and truest passion, but reading runs a very close first as well.  Then I love to cook and do it rather well, and then my soul cries out for yarn and I have to twist it until I make some type of blanket, scarf or afghan.  When those talents grow tired, then my mind wants something to keep it focused other than reading, and I like to work on word puzzles, or if I had a jigsaw puzzle handy, I'd work that--and have found I'm really good at putting puzzles together--boy was I sorry to learn I could do that well.  (LOL)

When those things run its course, my creativity decides to write poetry.  And of course, my passionate anger helps me to create some of the best written masterpieces I've ever done. That still amazes me.  I'm a passionate person with multiple things I love to do and the problem is I don't have enough time in the day to do each and every thing.  It's enough to drive a person insane.  There are rare occasions where my soul doesn't want to do anything but lay dormant in the peace and quiet.  When I get in those moods, I don't want to hear anything.  I enjoy silence tremendously.  I didn't realize how much I enjoyed silence until my brother's death.  Weird, huh?  Yeah, I suppose I am.  (chuckle).  When everything around me is quiet and my brain isn't on overload, I can get in touch with my soul and hear things that previously I had been trying to figure out.  This is when I become the most creative and it pours out into whatever I'm working on.  

Some of you may never quite understand what I'm saying here, but those of you who possess multiple talents will most definitely understand.  It's enough to drive you to drink, and I suppose that could be the root of many creative people's problems.  If you think of all the well-known creative people who've done their best work, most of them had some type of mental issues, or used a vice which helped drive them to do what they do.  I suppose there is a real thin line between sanity and insanity.  

At this very moment my creativity has me twisting yarn.  It's cold outside and I love making beautiful things, so that's what I'm going to continue to roll with.  With Thanksgiving around the corner, the writer bug has bit me hard with more things to do in my latest novel, so I'm going to use that time wisely and bang out more chapters.  It would be nice if I could finish over the break.  That would be awesome!  

So folks, I've got more yarn to twist.  In the meantime, try and be good to one another and as always, Happy Reading!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Try New Things. . .and Discover New Talents