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

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Out in the Cold. . .

Hello Glorious Readers!

It's always a pleasure to sit at my laptop wondering where my mind will take my fingertips across the keyboard!  I never know from one minute to the next what I will say.  Many times I've sat in my dining room thinking and thinking about the world and all its problems, and then BAM! something will come to me.

Well it just so happens that one of my favorite people is Wendy Williams.  I watch her on my laptop every weekend to catch up.  She's like the friend you grew up with next door who happens to know all the hood secrets.  If you're familiar with her, you know she has a segment on her show entitled Hot Topics.  That's my favorite part of the show.  What cracks me up about it is that my mother and I have had hot topics all of my life, and it's just amazing to see someone on the TV who does the same thing.

What I mean by that is my mom and I talk about everything.  If you've ever heard us talking together, most would think we were two girlfriends sharing funny stories and in a lot of ways I suppose we are.  Our major topic this week was the election.

Uh oh, you already know where this post is going, now don't you?  Hmm, maybe or maybe not, but it's something that has always bothered me, and I thought I'd share this with my readers to see if you feel the same way.

When it comes to politics, it's always a touchy subject.  Not to mention a very risky one. You can lose friendships over it--hell some have even lost their lives.  It's a crazy game, but one many players have to tread lightly or stomp over, depending on your views.  This past Tuesday's election was a critical one.  It was more critical than the upcoming Presidential in 2016.  Why, you ask?  Because this election determines how much the country will accomplish, and based on how the U.S. voted, I quickly came to the conclusion America isn't in any rush to get much done.  Now, having said that, I'm not one to talk about which side of the fence I'm on.  My thing is regardless of color, sex, nationality, etc., if the person who speaks most to my soul and my views is the person that will get my vote.  I'm not hard to get along with.  So I'm not in any way saying I'm for or against Obama.  I'm for whoever is down for me--period!

Which brings me to this weekend's post.  People are very funny.  You never quite know what a person will do at any given time, but I also know that people are drawn to certain things.  I also know that people have their own agendas and ideas.  But the main thing I know about people is what their priorities are.

It's not too hard to figure out what any individual wants out of life.  You can easily figure that out just by observing the behavior of others.  Sure, there are those of us that mimic what they see, and you may not know where they are going, but for the most part, just observe individuals and you can usually figure them out.

For instance, if Michael Jordan comes out with a new tennis shoe line, most people will flock to the malls to get it, especially my people.  They will come from all over to get the latest pair and spare no expense.  Some of my people will even get there days in advance and camp out in all types of inclement weather just so they can get their hands on a pair.  These are also the same people who will camp outside days in advance to get the newest electronics, i.e., the iPhone or Sony PlayStation or possibly a new flat screen TV.   You catch my drift.

These group of people who do these things will stampede a mall--fight and become extremely violent over the basic materialistic thing.  These are the same people who holler they have no money or jobs, but yet they always manage to find money for the things they want.  Hmm?

So imagine my surprise when election day came and I learned the voter turnout was horrible.  Not many people came out at all--especially my people.  You've heard the excuses--"It was too cold."  "It's raining."  "My vote doesn't count and the government is gonna do what it wants to do anyway."  Yada, yada, yada!  We've all heard those statements.  Hell, many of us have probably said the same exact thing from one time or another.  So, folks, I guess what I'm wondering is, why is it we'll spend cold days and nights camped outside a mall to get the latest pair of Air Jordans?  I'm wondering why we'll deal with rain, cold, heat, sleet, hail, snow for an iPhone or the latest electronic gadget?  Why is it we'll stand the test of time for materialistic things, but when it comes to the well being of your life in general, we won't venture out to the polls to vote?  All we do is give damn excuses!

We're the first to holler when the government starts cutting funding and programs that WE don't have anything!  We're the first to holler when the school districts start closing down your local schools! We're the first to holler when there are no good jobs to be had!  We're the first to holler the kids have nothing constructive to do after school!  We're the first to holler when our kids can't get summer jobs!  We're the first to holler we don't have good health care and can't afford health insurance!  We're the first to holler there isn't any good housing for us to live! We're the first to holler our neighborhoods are falling apart!  We're the first to holler there's nowhere decent to shop in our local hood!  And when I say "we're" I'm referring to people in general--but especially my people!

We are the same people who camp outside for the latest pair of Air Jordans in whatever weather is occurring, but you wouldn't take the time to go to the polls to vote so that you could ensure someone in government would look out for YOUR best interests!  We are the same people who say we have no money, but can find hundreds of dollars to purchase the latest iPhone 6, but couldn't take a few dollars to put some gas in the tank or take the bus to your poll to go vote.  We are the same people who cry the government ain't shit, but take the government's welfare each and every month.  You'll get up at an ungodly hour to get a good spot for the latest flat screen TV at the mall, but complain about getting up to go find a job.

Oh yeah, make no mistake, WE complain all the damn time about what's going on in our world.  WE complain all day long about what's wrong with our government, and yet, on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 when YOU could have done something about it, you got quiet and invisible all of a sudden.  Now WE sit back and see that the Republicans have taken control over the House and Senate and we're right back to where we started when President Obama took office the first time in 2008.  The Republicans don't respect the President and now we're right back to square one.  If you thought the government doesn't do anything, watch how much gets done now!  Umm hmm, mark my words YOU ain't seen nothing yet! Oh my friends you gonna see something now!

I bet your child's feet look great in his new Jordans.  I bet everyone can hear you now on your new iPhone.  I bet you can see clearly on your new flat screen HDTV.  Remember all that when you receive a letter in the mail from the school board telling you your child's activity has been cut. Remember all that when you find minimum wage may be even lower than what it currently is now or not go up by much!  Remember to hug and value all your material things, when programs you use are no longer funded. Remember all that when your welfare check is cut down, if you continue to have it at all!  Take those material things and kiss them and hold dearly to your bosom.  Remember all that the next time you sleep outside in horrific weather to get the latest fad being thrown your way.  Remember all that when you see your neighborhood continues to be run down and there isn't any funding to help fix it up.  Remember!  It took one person to complain about prayer in schools, and we no longer are permitted to do so.  So for those of you who felt your voice meant nothing you'll find that silence is very loud!  Once again, you were brainwashed into thinking your voice has no sound.  And the sad thing is, YOU believed it!  But your kid's outfit is fly.  You have the biggest HDTV plastered upon the wall and can see all the football games as if you were really in the stadium.  You can do so much with that new iPhone 6!  Remember! Remember!  Remember!

I hope you enjoyed me and Mom's Hot Topic!  Oh, my bad, you're probably out at the mall right now fighting someone for parking space so you can spend the money you don't have to buy something for Christmas.  Too bad WE don't take that same passion for voting.  Maybe if the polls offered iPhones, Air Jordans and HDTVs, perhaps they would have to have police man the crowds.  Hmm, there's a thought!

Until next time, Remember!  Happy Reading!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

One Person can do Many Things!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Feels Like Another One!

It's a new month and that can only mean one thing--that's right, it's AAMBC time!  This is one of the busiest times of the year for authors and publishers. Not only do we have families to contend with, but the holidays are right around the corner with Thanksgiving coming at the end of the month.  So, with that being said, we have one selection to introduce to you today.  No worries, our book selection is always on point!  So sit back and get ready to feast your eyes upon this good read.  Here we go. . .

Taylor Williams didn’t grow up with the loving parents, white picket fence, and a dog. She’s struggled to get where she is and knows that with all she’s endured, life can only get better.  At 28 years old, she hails as one of the country’s top divorce lawyers and is ready to slow down and start a family with her husband. The only problem is he shuts her out and has treated her like everything but a wife since the night he came across her and his boss in a compromising situation. In spite of her innocence, she’s determined to make it up to him.

Isaac Warren is bad business; the kind of bad business that requires focus and determination in order to stay alive. It’s also the kind that caused him to shut himself off from serious relationships after the brutal murder of his fiancĂ© three years ago. Now his cold exterior keeps him at bay from everyone except those he considers family and right now that list doesn’t have room for anything more than the occasional tryst and nothing more, especially not with the highly acclaimed lawyer he’s accidentally stumbled upon.

*This novel is only recommended for readers 17 and older*


My eyes flew open as I quickly sat up in the bed. What was that noise, a door slamming? I scanned the dark bedroom and waited for another sound. The voice I heard shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.

“Where the hell is my dinner?” Aaron’s voice boomed through the house.

I scrambled from the bed, falling to the floor, my feet tangled in a mess of sheets and blankets. Ignoring the pain in my wrist and hip from my ungraceful fall, I slipped my robe on and practically ran down the flight of stairs.

“Taylor, get your ass down here! A good wife wouldn’t let her husband go hungry!”

I spotted him standing in front of the open refrigerator, his back to me. Without a word I made my way to the oven where his food was already fixed and waiting. I could feel his eyes on me, tracking my every movement as I slipped in front of him and grabbed a beer from the fridge. I refused to meet his eyes. Instead I stole a glance at the time on the microwave. It was a quarter past three. Working late again, huh? “I made you shrimp carbonara. I hope you like it,” I said as I placed the beer and food on the island in the center of the kitchen. Finally meeting his eyes, I pulled the stool out for him. He said nothing, simply stared at me. My heart pounded in my chest. Why wasn’t he responding? “I kept it warm for you,” I said as I closed the refrigerator and took his hand. Without protest, he let me guide him to his seat. I tried to give him a quick peck on his lips, but he turned his head away. A smirk played at the corner of his lip. My lips settled for his cheek and I stepped back. “How was your day?” I asked.

“I want to take a shower when I’m done eating,” he replied.

And just like that, I was dismissed. I took my time going upstairs, hoping he’d call me back. I could at least get a hug, right? I knew that would never happen, but that didn’t stop me from lingering on the stairs. The only sound that came from his direction was the fork as it scraped the plate and the occasional soft thud from him placing his beer bottle on the counter after he sipped. By the time he made it to our bedroom I had a fresh pair of boxers and pajama bottoms laid out for him and the shower was the perfect temperature. He undressed as he made his way past me in silence. I quickly scooped up the trail of clothes he left in his wake. While he showered I tossed his towel into the dryer, so that it’d be warm for him when he used it.

“Dinner was actually very good. I’m impressed,” he said when he finally emerged from the bathroom.

“Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.” I tried not to be, but I was mesmerized by his body. At 32 years old, he looked just as good as he did when we first met and he was only 25. His smooth, brown skin pulled tight against muscles that teased me with their presence. Not big and bulky, but just right for his 6’ 4” frame. His wavy hair was always kept cut low, cropped close to his head. Beautiful brown eyes stared back at me from behind dark lashes. If he’d smile – which I knew he wouldn’t – I’d see perfect teeth lined up behind those thick lips. He glanced at the boxers on the bed then smiled smugly as I gave them to him. I snapped my mouth shut, realizing he knew I was admiring him.

“Take that off,” he commanded.

I glanced down at the nightie I wore under my robe then back at him. My confusion allowed him a moment of amusement. With that same smug smile locked in place, he removed the towel that hung loosely from his waist.

“Your turn,” he challenged.

My heartbeat picked up its pace again as I hesitantly removed my clothes. He closed the gap between us and let his fingertips skim across my chest. I fought the urge to touch him, while silently begging him to touch me more. I hoped against all odds that this wasn’t as far as he would go. He hadn’t made love to me in months. He still blamed me for his embarrassment. He blamed me for his boss’s actions. My only crime was accompanying my husband to his firm’s annual charity banquet in the evening gown that he picked out for me. I looked beautiful in it. It gave me curves where I knew I had little to none. It gave me a confidence boost that I knew I didn’t even need. Well, at least not at that time. Right now a confidence boost would be greatly appreciated. When Aaron’s boss, Bryan, told me he wanted me to help him with some of the evening’s presentations, I was flattered and honored. I agreed to retrieve the notes for a speech he had forgotten in his office, but when I got there he cornered me and tried to kiss me. I’d never been in a situation like that, so I had no idea what to do. When I pushed him away and slapped him, he came back even stronger. My body froze in fear as his hands gripped every part of me that he could touch. When he tried to force his tongue into my mouth I bit him. He laughed and went for my neck. Over his shoulder I saw Aaron and the two other partners from the firm standing in the doorway. One of the other partners, Kaleb, asked what was going on. I tried to tell them he attacked me, but he assured them it was just an innocent hug. He said I’d had a little too much wine – I only had one glass and I didn’t even get to finish it – and he’d caught me when I tripped. A hug was my way of thanking him. Aaron hadn’t said a thing. He only stared at me, rage carefully concealed within his gaze. Of course he hadn’t said anything. He was up for a promotion to become a partner at the firm; his lifelong dream. He’d given Bryan and the others a tight smile before reaching for my hand and telling them he had to take his drunken wife home. That was six months ago…six long and lonely months.

“I can’t even make love to you anymore,” Aaron whispered as he slipped an arm around my waist, pulling me closer him, my body flush against his. The erection that should have been pressing against me was nowhere to be found. For Christ’s sake, we’re both naked!

“Aaron, please? You can.” My pleas fell on deaf ears. He let me go and slipped his boxers on.

“Wake me up at seven,” he said as he climbs into our bed.

“You know I didn’t betray you, Aaron.”

“Taylor, I’m going to sleep. I have a long day ahead of me.”

“Aaron, please? Just talk to me. I didn’t do anything wrong. You can’t keep shutting me out like this,” I pleaded. I was innocent. I was there for him. I was put into that situation because of him. I’m his wife. He was supposed to protect me. It didn’t matter if his career was on the line. His marriage should have been his priority. I should have been his main concern. Instead he blamed me. He told me I was lying; Bryan would never do anything like that. Instead of protecting me when I needed him, he turned his back on me and made me out to be the culprit. I didn’t think I would survive that. I still don’t think I will. “Aaron?” Silence was my companion.

The promotion decision wasn’t supposed to be made until two months later, but the partners announced Aaron as the recipient that following Monday. I pushed my feelings aside and became the supportive spouse; celebrations and lavish outings with my husband and the man who attacked me. Posing for pictures, being nice, and accepting keep quiet gifts like the perfect little wife. Aaron had shunned me since then. I made it my mission to get him to forgive me, but it still hadn’t happened. Six months is a long time to bear the burden of an act you didn’t commit. I put my nightie back on and climbed into bed. Although I longed for it, sleep abandoned me.


LaShanta Charles was born and raised in the small town of Orangeburg, SC. She has always been an avid reader of all genres, but Urban / African American Fiction has always been her true love and is what inspired her to pursue a writing career. In high school, she began letting her classmates read the short stories that she would write and based off of their feedback, her passion for writing pushed her to become a published author. She published her debut novel, Lovely Lies, in 2013 and released the sequel, Lovely Lies 2, in February 2014. Currently she is preparing to release her third novel, Splitting Karma, along with other projects. In recognition of her work, LaShanta was named National Black Book Festival’s 2013 Best New Author and was nominated for 2013 Breakout Author of the Year through the African American Literary Awards Show. Lovely Lies was also awarded Most Underrated Book of 2013 for the Literary Scream Awards.

1. When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I started writing while in high school, around the age of 15. I remember writing a “story” that literally never ended. I would pass it along to my classmates and friends for them to read and they would be enthralled and begging for more. I like to think that was my first following! I’ve had a beautiful relationship with writing since then.

2. What do you enjoy the most about writing?

I enjoy creation! I love when that tiny spark of embers becomes a full blown raging inferno of 80,000+ words. I love the struggle of developing complex characters. I love filling in blanks within my plots, answering questions enough to give you that “aha” moment, but not so much I give you every single detail and leave nothing to wonder. I love seeing a finished product, a work that I put my heart and soul into, knowing that someone somewhere will either love it or hate it and I’ll be fine either way.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The hardest part was editing. I wanted to make so many changes (I actually made quite a few); even after my book went to the editor I was still making more changes! Then to receive it back from the editor with critique and suggestions, it was like someone was deciding my newborn baby could only have blue eyes and not brown. It was by far the worst part of it all.

4. Where do you get the inspiration to write?

I draw inspiration from just about anything, literally. For example, I just saw someone eating an apple – my current heroine will undoubtedly love snacking on peeled apples. I’m inspired by my surroundings, which are constantly changing, therefore I change as well.

5. Who is your favorite author and why?

I honestly don’t have a favorite author! I know that’s a terrible answer, but there are just way too many for me to pick just one! I’ll read just about anything with a great plot.

6. What do you like to do when you are not writing? What is your ultimate luxury?

I’m super lazy, so anything that requires physical effort is a no-no! I love to read and I love to eat; and I love to do it all at home alone – no kids, no husband, just me, my food and my books. This can also be applied to different settings such as a beach, an airplane, etc.

7. Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?

Hmm, I sometimes eat a spoonful of flour…can’t believe I’m sharing this! I’m pretty sure there’s some logical explanation for it and I should probably mention it to my doctor, but nope, I’m good.

8. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I love interacting with readers, so feel free to contact me and let me know how you’re doing or what’s going on with you!

Social Media and Buy Links:

Connect with LaShanta Charles: Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Splitting Karma: Kindle / Paperback

Lovely Lies: Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble (Nook) (Women’s Fiction / Urban Romance, 4.6 stars, 114 reviews)

Lovely Lies 2: Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble (Nook) (Women’s Fiction / Urban Romance, 4.5 stars, 61 reviews)

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

YOU are the only Person Who
Can take YOU where YOU want to Go!