Saturday, December 19, 2015

Are YOU Seeing Red Yet?

Happy Holidays, Intellectual Minds! We at Mello & June would like to wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! With Christmas literally around the corner, which, by the way, I still can’t believe I’m saying this again, but here we are! Anyway, I thought I might stimulate your mind a bit with something fun to think about, besides the stress of the holidays.

Many of you have stopped watching the Hottest Show on the Planet—Empire! Why? I have no idea, but I must say you’ve missed a very explosive season thus far. Why am I talking about Empire? Well, for one, I can’t wait for the rest of Season 2 coming next March 2016. I really want to see if my detective skills are still up to par.

If you missed the season cliffhanger, you missed a dynamic one! Everyone is talking about who pushed Rhonda Lyon down the spiral staircase. I immediately took to social media to see what you’ve been talking about and as I figured most of you think Anika a/k/a Boo-Boo Kitty is the guilty party. But, as you know, the writer in me causes me to think completely the opposite of the standard norm. What many of you fail to realize is what we writers call in the industry “red herrings.” Are you familiar with the term? If you read a lot this is something an intellectual mind comes to expect. Without giving you the definition of what it is, I’ll explain it in examples below and perhaps you’ll begin to see where my thinking is at.

Lee Daniels and Danny Strong are brilliant writers. They masterminded a storyline that is keeping us Empire fans all abuzz. The scenario was set up quite a few episodes ago. Remember when Anika ran into Rhonda at the same clinic. Anika being there because she’s pregnant, and once again, everyone assumes it’s Hakeem’s baby, but if you recount the timeline, it could just as easily be Lucious’s child. Just before Lucious got locked up at the end of Season 1, she immediately took up time with Hakeem to get back at him. Folks, she had been sleeping with Lucious before they fell out which means she was knockin’ da boots with both father and son, so I can’t say for certain the alleged baby she’s carrying is automatically Hakeem’s. That’s the first of the red herrings. 

Second, what lots of you forget is that Lucious, my favorite character I love to hate, is despised by many people and has lots to answer to for his actions. We were given a lot of back story about Lucious’s upbringing. His mother, Leah, played by Kelly Rowland, seemed to be what is known as Bipolar—in other words, a fancy new word for the old manic depressive. She enjoyed playing Russian roulette. Remember Lucious hid the bullets in his backyard as a little boy? Unfortunately, she found one which sparked his memory to write the lyrics to Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom (I, for the life of me, could not get that damn song outta my head! Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang—I love it!) Bottom line, Lucious’s mother had mental issues. There’s another red herring.

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, just stick with me, it will start to make sense soon. When Season 1 ended, I began reading about the lineup of celebrity characters that would be making their cameo appearances for however long that would be for Season 2. I mentioned to a few friends about midway Season 2 that I noticed Camilla hadn’t resurfaced yet and I wondered why? When Mimi Whiteman, played by Marissa Tomei, first appeared in Season 2 Episode 1, we learned right away she was gay. Lucious peeped that watching a live feed of the Free Lucious Rally Cookie threw together in Central Park. Not to mention Anika slept with her too, trying to get in Cookie’s good graces. Lucious managed to get Mimi to join his side when he learned that Cookie and his sons, minus Jamal, were planning a corporate takeover. This was Mimi’s plan all along. She could have easily gone along with Cookie, but she wanted a bigger fish to fry and Cookie wasn’t it. Every time Mimi would be up-in-arms about her “lover” she never said who this lover was, but we just knew it was someone. I said at that point since I hadn’t seen Camilla’s character pop up, the lover must be Camilla played by Naomi Campbell. And, folks, it turned out I was right. I’m so sorry I hadn’t written a blog post about that, but that’s ok, I’m getting ready to bring you on home now.

So, anyone who is anybody has been saying it was Anika who pushed Rhonda down the staircase. She certainly doesn’t want Rhonda’s baby to be the heir to the Empire throne. She’s turned into a beautiful bitter hater, but has she turned so bitter she’d be willing to try and kill Rhonda and her unborn son? Hmmm? So that only leaves one question. Who else had a motive? Plenty of characters! I got into some rather controlled heated debates about why I feel Anika isn’t the person who did it, and here’s why.

Keep in mind, when Lucious was shooting up his office, Cookie was trying to get him to calm down and give her the gun. Jamal and Andre were in the living room, so we know where they were at the time Rhonda was being pushed. But here’s who wasn’t there and my picks of potential pushers.

Hakeem has a huge ax to grind with his father. He hates him, that’s first and foremost, and we have no idea what conversation took place between he and Camilla. That chick must have some good stuff because she got that fool to go against his own father and his legacy. He’s still pissed because Lucious made Jamal the head of the company, when he felt it was his by far. That was the whole reason he and Cookie started Lyon Dynasty. He dropped his father’s last name for God’s sake. The boy is angry as hell. To hurt his father and the Lyon clan, why couldn’t he be the one to push Rhonda down the stairs? He’s the right size and height. The hood the person was wearing could be molded to make it appear it was Anika, but the figure was in shadow, so none of us knows for sure. That folks is a red herring, hello!

Does anyone remember Officer McKnight? Oh, who is that, you’re asking? Officer McKnight was the guard in the penitentiary where Lucious was holed up, played by Ludacris. The scene was setup to make us think he was dead, but as I pointed out to you before, we never saw him dead. All we know is that Thirsty was taking care of things for Lucious, but we never saw McKnight dead. Luda is the right height and size to have been our mysterious pusher. He definitely had an ax to grind with Lucious too. Remember how he treated him in lockup? He refused to give Lucious his meds. He was in cahoots with the District Attorney. Umm hmm! Think about it! 

Freda Gatz, played by Bre-Z, Lucious’s rapper protégée. She may be the daughter that Lucious never had, but what if Freda got word from the streets that Lucious killed her father, Frank Gathers, played by Chris Rock. She’d most definitely want to hurt him the way she was hurting for losing her father. We have no idea what Freda knows and she’s the right size, but not the right height. Hmm, no worries. You can find wedged sneakers to take care of that or add lifts to regular sneakers. And with that sharp ass haircut she sports, her head definitely could fit the Anika mold. You hoo, I hear the red herrings calling out!

Lucious has a motive too! In fact, he has a huge one. If you don’t know by now, Lucious is the devil. Hell, his name is as close as you’re going to get without calling him Lucifer. The only reason Andre was put back in his good graces is because he found out Rhonda killed Vernon and Andre and Rhonda disposed of the body as a cover. Remember when he and Thirsty rode up on Andre and Rhonda while they were trying to dig Vernon’s body up? Lucious was so thrilled with this news, he let Andre back in, but don’t for one second ever underestimate Lucious. He isn’t at all that crazy about the fact Andre is all churched up and sanctified now. Remember his flashbacks when his mother, Leah, tried to drown his ass when he was a little boy. In her psychotic mind, she thought she was cleansing his soul, but she damn there killed him. This is why he couldn’t stand to watch Andre get baptized. These thoughts are still on Lucious’s mind.

He bought the house for Andre and Rhonda to show them good faith, but Lucious isn’t really feeling them. Do you recall when Andre kept begging his father to let him back in Empire and Lucious kept telling him no. Andre immediately whipped out the “baby card,” as Cookie suggested he do to advise Lucious he was going to be a grandfather? Cookie felt Lucious would have a soft spot. Turns out, Cookie and Andre couldn’t have been more wrong. Do you remember what Lucious said to Andre? He asked him flat out was it a good idea for him to have a baby? The reason Lucious asked that is because he knows his mother was crazy and he knows that Andre is a great deal like his grandmother, and he figured with having a baby, the “crazy” genes may affect the baby too. I have to say, I damn sure feel where Lucious is coming from. But that’s a fear he’s going to have to live with because all his sons have his DNA. And shit, Cookie’s family isn’t exactly an exemplary example of great parenting either! At any rate, Lucious isn’t that thrilled about having a grandchild by Andre being the father. Trust and believe, Lucious isn’t feelin’ that at all! Not with what he knows about his own mother. Lucious could have had someone push Rhonda down the stairs. Hell, you all didn’t even realize Camilla and Mimi were thick as thieves. Are you seeing red yet?

And last, but certainly not least, good ole brotha Thirsty! Umm hmm that’s right, Lucious’s right hand man—his replacement for Vernon. Oh yeah, why not Thirsty? But, you ask, what is the motive? That’s easy—Lucious put him up to it. Hell, if Lucious could kill Bunky and all the others he’s smoked throughout the years to build up his empire, why not have Thirsty take out the grandchild he truly doesn’t want? Let’s be real, folks, eventually Lucious is going to have to get rid of Thirsty because he knows way too much! But for now, why not use his hatchet man to take care of some ugly business? Thirsty is the right size and height and his head shape could fit the Anika mold as well. I’m just saying. And if you trust Thirsty, you better have your ‘trust meter’ examined! There’s that red herring again!

Seriously, folks, the main reason I really don’t feel it’s Anika is because it’s too damn obvious. Lee and Danny set it up that way to make us think that’s who it is. Everything points to her, but I just told you other characters who could be potential pushers. Hell, you’d take all the fun out of what I just wrote if it is Anika. Of course, it’s highly likely that it is, but with this hot storyline this second season, why on earth would Lee and Danny go there? I’m having a ball spinning this story all kinds of ways. And folks, the bottom line is this; you have to think outside the box for real. Don’t just assume because of what you’re shown, is what you’re seeing. Didn’t the Rodney King video teach you anything? You can’t forget about characters that were introduced to us in the beginning—and I’m talking from Season 1 up through this point in time. Start paying attention to the celebrity cameos and their roles in the story. They bring clues, and many of you are missing them. When we’re not shown a character being killed, you can’t assume they are dead. And even if they are dead, writers have a way of resurrecting a character if there’s enough buzz to do so. Remember the infamous ‘Who Shot JR.?’ Case in point, Camilla is back. Many of you forgot about her because out of sight out of mind. That is a writer’s trick! I do it all the time when I write. Don’t believe everything you see. Don’t believe everything you don’t see! Confusing, eh? That’s ok, it makes for great writing and TV. As my mom always says, “practice makes perfect!” (Chuckle!)

Before I go, I have one more red herring to throw atcha. Remember Laz Delgato, played by Adam Rodriguez—Cookie’s lover. We never saw Lucious kill him. We assumed that because of the way he and Cookie talked, but what if he’s not dead? He’s the right size and height. That hood could have fit perfectly on his head too! There are several other characters I could throw at you, but I think I’ve given you enough red herrings to last until March 2016. I enjoyed venturing down this road with you.

Again, for those of you who’ve abandoned the show, you’ve exited way too soon. The show is really good and the storyline is going completely off the charts. There are so many red herrings Lee and Danny have thrown our way, we’re drowning with suspicion. I’m a writer and I know how this goes, which is why I don’t think like most people. Everyone looks for the obvious, and I venture down a completely different path. If you read lots of murder mysteries, you will understand my thought process. I love when I figure out a whodunit before I get to the end of a story, but what I love more is when a writer throws so many red herrings at me and stumps me sometimes. I have a great track record in figuring out who killers are in mysteries, so I wonder how close I am with this one? Hmm, only time will tell. 

I do know one thing. Out of all the characters in the Empire cast, there are only two I trust implicitly and that’s Lucious and Cookie. They may fight with each other and do little dirty things to get at each other, but they are ride-or-die all the way for the other. They will never let anything or anyone stand in their way, and that goes for children and family. When it comes to their union and bottom line, they’ll take you out. They have each other’s backs no matter what. They will win in the end—always, with or without you! Never forget that!

Until next time, Happy Reading, my friends!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Put your Detective Skills to the Test!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: I'll Never Write My Memoirs. . .

Legendary influential performer Grace Jones offers a revealing account of her spectacular career and turbulent life, charting the development of a persona that has made her one of the world’s most recognizable artists. 

As a singer, model, and actress—a deluxe triple threat—Grace has consistently been an extreme, challenging presence in the entertainment world since her emergence as an international model in the 1970s. Celebrated for her audacious talent and trailblazing style, Grace became one of the most unforgettable, free-spirited characters to emerge from the historic Studio 54, recording glittering disco classics such as I Need a Man and La Vie en Rose. Her provocative shows in underground New York nightclubs saw her hailed as a disco queen, gay icon, and gender defying iconoclast.

In 1980, the always ambitious Grace escaped a crowded disco scene to pursue more experimental interests. Her music also broke free, blending house, reggae, and electronica into a timeless hybrid that led to classic hits such as Pull Up to the Bumper and Slave to the Rhythm. In the memoir she once promised never to write, Grace offers an intimate insight into her evolving style, personal philosophies, and varied career—including her roles in the 1984 fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and the James Bond movie A View to a Kill.

Featuring sixteen pages of stunning full-color photographs, many from her own personal archive, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs follows this ageless creative nomad as she rejects her strict religious upbringing in Jamaica; conquers New York, Paris, and the 1980s; answers to no-one; and lives to fight again and again.

M & J Review:

I’ve always wondered, out of all the over-the-top performers and unique artists of the past, why there was never a memoir written by Grace Jones? I felt like someone amazing was missing from an important decade. I never could put my finger on it, that is, until I learned Grace Jones had written her life story. Hmm, perhaps the answer lies within the title. Grace said she'd never write her memoirs and she lived up to those words. From a reader’s perspective, I couldn’t agree with her more. This truly wasn’t a memoir in the sense of the main ingredients you need to tell your story. Unfortunately, especially since I’ve always been a huge fan, I did not like this book. It fell flat and left me wanting so much more!

It starts off rather slow and I suppose that was due to the fact she was giving her fans the backdrop as to how she came to be. Being born Grace Beverly Jones in her home land of Jamaica, she wasn’t known as Grace Jones, but to family and friends as ‘Bev.’ Bev had a rather rough upbringing wherein she suffered mental and physical abuse. Her family was extremely religious and this was etched into Grace’s soul. There wasn’t any wonder why she did all she could to abandon her country and family for a life of freedom. However, having said that, the very life Grace worked so hard to leave, is the very reason why she is the way she is today. Actually, her family did her a solid, otherwise we wouldn’t have all the wild and crazy things she’s done artistically today.

There were too many chapters on her upbringing, which slowed the story down for me. It began to heat up a little when she gave us insight into the world of modeling and her travels abroad. She spoke candidly about her Studio 54 days and Andy Warhol and so many other artists who were around at the time. And once again, for me, it became too much and too many chapters of more or less the same thing over and over. Despite this, I forged ahead because I was waiting to read more about her music and movies she’s made over the years. Unfortunately, what I got was a huge lesson in the Disco era, which I happened to live through, so I wasn’t really looking for information regarding the 70s decade. Hell, if you watched Unsung and the story of Chic and/or the Disco series it did on TVOne, then you really didn’t need to relive those moments again. I felt as though she became preachy and that began to wear on my nerves. To be fair to her, I realize she did this to educate a whole new generation on what the times were like back then, but for someone who may have lived it, this chapter was easily “skipable!” (Is that a word? LOL)

She touched on different areas regarding her music, but once again, she really didn’t tell us much. She dabbled here and there on different things with her music career. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I thought she would have given us a more definitive look into her life, and not just pieces and parts thrown together to make up a story. Actually, I truly believe she didn’t have any intention on writing her memoirs and when a friend of hers told her she should do it, she just threw this novel together. That’s exactly how it comes across. I learned a few things about her, but she wrote her book much in the same way she’s lived her life—pretty much whatever the hell she feels like. I’m positive my review wouldn’t bother her one bit because Grace Jones is quite pleased with herself, as she should be. 

I’m a little bummed that she attempted to write her memoirs, especially given the fact she never wanted to. I think she should have stuck to her guns because this 400 plus page book liked to drove me insane. It was a bit painful to read and I didn’t find it engaging or exciting as I would have expected coming from a woman who prides herself on being so different and eccentric and all about the element of surprise. Hmm, I suppose she was truly being herself. Grace lives by Grace’s rules and no one else’s, and she doesn’t make excuses about that or apologies. She does exactly what she wants to do and lives by that same conviction. I can’t hate the woman for that! She’s still an amazing entertainer and quite mysterious. There’s been so much speculation on Grace’s age, and she refuses to tell it. Not because she’s ashamed of the number, Grace doesn’t believe in aging in the standard way we’re taught to measure time. She’s space and energy and lives by that. Actually, I love her way of thinking. 

What I did love about her book is how she set the record straight on these ‘new’ artists out here copying her style and ‘grace’ (pardon the pun!) Throughout the 80s and 90s, I’ve noticed several artists copying Grace’s antics and it tickled me because I’m thinking do people recognize who they are trying to be? Grace’s attitude toward them and the situation was typical Grace fashion. She speaks her mind and tells it like it is and she means what she says, and again, she makes no apologies for that. You go girl, I say! At the end of the book she gives her fans a very beautiful collage of personal photos throughout her years. I absolutely loved that!

Overall, the book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the best memoir I’ve ever read, and I’ve read many. Even though I love reading about an entertainer’s life, I so wish she hadn’t tried to write this book because I could tell her heart wasn’t truly in it—the title says it all! She wrote it, but it could have been better. It wasn’t written with finesse and too choppy in some areas, and overdone in others. Again, having said that, this wasn’t a total disaster, and I still love Grace Jones. She’s an amazing talent, very eccentric and wild and crazy kind of gal who lives in her own space and energy and for that, I will always be a fan. Some artists shouldn’t write their memoirs, but perhaps put it to film. That’s what Grace should have done. Her story should have been on the silver screen. That’s where Grace’s story belongs! I think it would have been so much better, and I bet her heart would have been in it too! So, with that, Mello & June gives this book three stars. It was a good effort, but no cigar! It’s cool, Grace, you’re an original and I love you for that!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

When YOU Dare to be Different. . .
You Create a Legacy!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

All is Bright!

Season's Greetings Intellectual Mind Readers!  Can you believe it? Seriously, can you believe we are at the end of 2015.  OMG, as I've said it the last few months and I have to say it again, where oh where did 2015 go? I believe this is the fastest year I've lived to date!  (LOL)

You still have a few weeks left to finish your reading challenges for the year.  I still can't believe I'm actually saying this to you, but it's almost a wrap!  Man oh Man!  Anyhoo, you already know I didn't make the challenge I wanted, but I'm still happy with where I placed.  I am still reading some books and will be doing reviews rather soon.  I'm going to get all the credits I can before December 31, 2015 gets here.  And, if you're in the same boat that I'm in, don't fret, keep on reading and get your credits.  There's still some time left, but not much! (LOL)

Here's the good news!  If you're looking for reading credits, you've come to the 'write' blog! I don't think I have to tell you what time of the month this is, now do I?  For those of you not in the know, it's AAMBC time--our favorite African-American Book Club.  Boy, do we have a nice selection for you!  Grab your reading devices, or hit the links below to find where to purchase paper copies, and let's get this here thing started!   Here we go. . .

A young African hustler named Okon from Lagos Nigeria migrates to the United States in search of the American dream. When he arrives, he quickly finds out a dream can turn into a nightmare. Okon is disappointed in what he finds until he meets up with his cousin in Washington, DC who is heavy in the game. Okon begins to cut out a corner of the heroin business in Washington, DC for himself and in the process meets a women named Berreta, whose family was heavily respected in the streets and together they give birth to a son of a gun. . .


Chapter 3
Washington D.C., December 1981

Knock !Knock! Knock! “A Berreta somebody at the door” “you get it T I’m fixing Justeen something to eat” Berretta yelled. “I'm on the toilet” T shot back putting some base in his voice. “ Damn” Berretta said to herself as she put the bacon on low and cleaned her hands on the apron. She opened the drawer beside the stove and removed a chrome .25 and cocked it. She then placed her hand in the apron pocket still gripping the pistol as she walked to the door. “Who is it” Berretta asked looking through the peephole. “Its Black” the voice on the other side answered. Berretta took the chain off the door and cracked it. “ whatchu need” she stated coldly. “ you got some herb” Black asked.

“Yea How much u want” Berretta asked looking behind him for a possible robbery attempt, “ let me get to nickels…..

Get to Know Eno Esquire:

Eno Esquire is an author born and raised in Washington, DC to a Nigerian father.

His mother is of Greek and Native descent. When Eno was 17 he was convicted as an adult for a crime and sent to federal prison for several years. While in prison he wrote his first novel, Son of a Gun.

What inspired you to write this book?

At the time I was locked up and did a lot of reading, it was a guy named show boat from North Carolina who had published a book from the feds so that pushed me to write one.

Is your novel fiction or non-fiction?

If someone was to ask I would definitely say fiction, but the characters are based off people I know or cross paths with in my life.

How was is it growing up in Washington DC?

It was cool gave me a unique experience on the world.  I stayed in a housing project couple blocks from capitol hill.

You have a few Nigerian characters in your book whats the connection?

My father is Nigerian.

How long did it take you to complete this novel?

Nine months mostly in solitary confinement.

What are your expectations for your first self-published novel?

I really don’t have any expectations just want to finish something I started?

Do you have anything you want people to know?

Yea, I wrote this book for Author Cappers and the whole Surelere.

Buy the Book:

Follow the author on Twitter


Blowing Kisses of Knowledge--READ!

The full-figured Esther Redding doesn’t realize it, but she desperately needs a change. Her Cinderella tiara is tarnished, and her glass slippers cracked. 

No longer anyone’s knight in shining armor, Briggs Stokes always had a soft spot for Esther. She was in his blood, and he didn’t want a transfusion. When he returns to Detroit, he decides that nothing will keep him from her door. Well, nothing . . . but the once reformed bad girl, Monica Stokes Hawthorne, Briggs’s ex, who wants to be his—give me one more chance, again—wife. The resulting tug-of-war that ensues may be the catalyst that destroys the person they both love the most.

More than one household is upset when the prison doors swing open and a “rehabilitated” Roger, Esther’s ex, returns home. Following Roger is a sinister force so malicious that no one in their community will be left untouched. 

When truth is held hostage by lies, mayhem ensues. And when it does, the lives of Esther, Briggs, Monica, and Roger are forever changed. 

Don’t blink—pray—these shenanigans are too shocking to miss . . . 


Chapter One

It was dead cold. The air crackled with the sound of ice-covered tree branches crashing onto cement sidewalks; it was an unnatural arctic day, even for Harlem. There were motorists stranded on every major highway as an epic ice storm settled over the length of New York City. And while the air over those highways was filled with road rage, explicit language, and hunger pains, the contrasting hush of the opulent brownstones on 132nd Street was shattered by an eerie scream that filled the bitter air.

Monica Hawthorne, the ex-Mrs. Briggs Stokes, stood shaking uncontrollably. Her beloved, risked-everything she-had-to-have-him husband of one month, Randall, lay in a pool of blood on their imported Brazilian cherry kitchen floor. If Randall could, he would have stood up and told her for the tenth time that ten thousand dollars for a floor was too much, and just because she could buy it didn’t mean she had to. But Randall couldn’t utter a word. She watched horrified as his blood seeped into the natural grooves of the wood, giving credence to the fact that maybe the cost was too much.

Monica blinked, but he wasn’t getting up or giving her advice about her newly acquired wealth, because standing over him was his newly divorced wife, the ex-Mrs. Meredith Hawthorne. This She-Spawn-from-the-Pits, with her six hundred-dollar hairdo mussed, her designer clothes askew, and her chest heaving in spastic breaths, clutched the knife that once protruded from Randall’s chest. Words of explanation weren’t necessary; the vivid picture painted its own morbid story.

Monica was spellbound. She was in her own home. The ordeal of leaving one husband to claim another’s was behind her. The guilt had been laid aside. The shame stamped down, at least temporarily. It was Randall and her against the world. But it had all just changed drastically.

Snapping to, Monica shrieked, “Oh sweet Jesus! What have you done? You crazy—!”

Her cries were halted by the demented gleam in the ex-Mrs. Hawthorne’s eyes. The maniac’s focus switched from Randall to her, then back to Randall. Mrs. Hawthorne had gone mad, crazy, bonkers, cray cray.

Monica’s head hurt at the thought that she was still addressing this woman by what was rightfully her new name. It bore psychological study that she could only think of the witch as Mrs. Hawthorne. For over three years the woman had railed it at her, negating Monica’s right to ever wear the title. She’d stood in haughty arrogance and promised in divorce court that she would never relinquish it. At the time, Monica didn’t care; she felt Mrs. Hawthorne could keep the last name, as long as she had the man. Now she felt she had been short-sighted. If in the middle of a bloody rampage, she thought of her that way, then who was she?

The murderous interloper looked on in glee as blood bubbled out of Randall’s mouth. Monica observed her spiteful approval as Randall’s hand feebly stretched over his wound, but failed in mustering the strength to staunch the flow of his river of life. His eyelids fluttered—pausing, fighting to focus as he scanned beyond Mrs. Hawthorne’s face. His eyes settled on Monica’s outstretched hands.

“Randall,” Monica whispered. She swayed in agony.

Time was grinding to a stop, like an old-fashioned watch discarded in a moth-eaten hope chest, it would soon end, and Randall would be done. She needed a way to get close to him, but Mrs. Hawthorne stood as she had for the last three years, directly in her path.

Always . . . in my way.

Rage bubbled into a go-for-broke moment. Monica launched forward and charged Mrs. Hawthorne with a Joan of Arc warrior’s roar. The sound of the impact and responding grunt was dulled by the body that crumpled to the floor. Monica gambled . . . and lost. Her body fell inches from Randall’s.

Her hands bloodied, Mrs. Hawthorne rocked in despair. She had meant to take her time with the slut, but her offensive attack had taken her by surprise.

Then . . . Monica moved. What she was witnessing had

Mrs. Hawthorne’s keening wail ricochet throughout the spacious brownstone. She glowered in anguish, howling as Monica’s fingers inched toward Randall’s, and they entwined even in their near-death status.

She watched in ghoulish repulsion as the almost loving tableau played out before her. Her eyebrows arched as she made out Monica’s pleading words, “Jesus, help us.”

A rattle of air descended from Randall . . . and then stillness.

In slow motion, Mrs. Hawthorne turned in robotic movements away from the scene. Her steps faltered when she heard Monica’s fading voice, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The prophetic words washed over her as she stood in cold resolution. Shaking it off, she strutted away from the two people who had humiliated her in public and had caused her heart to bleed dry for three unbearable years.

Randall had won his freedom, imprisoning her in her own madness in the process.

She had sworn to Randall’s dying mother, there would be no divorce. Tears gathered at the end of her hawkish nose, dribbling onto her twice-a-week, spa-waxed upper lip, then streamed down her cosmetic-tightened neck.

She was Mrs. Meredith Hawthorne, of the Hawthornes, and failure was foreign to her. In agony, she backtracked, and stumbled, tumbling over the bodies. Blindly, Meredith wiped her eyes, reared back, and spit in Monica’s face. Still feeling empty and unfulfilled, she stared, craving the ability to wake Monica and kill her again.

Rising, she noted Randall’s discarded, prized Civil War-era, matching pearl- and jewel-handled knives. She blew a kiss at him, and left the knives there. It was only fitting Randall have ownership of what he demanded in the divorce decree. What better way to deliver his bounty, then to use it as the method of obliteration for both he and his tramp?

Mrs. Hawthorne reached into her purse and pulled out her derringer. Acting as a lover whose desire is close to fulfillment, she caressed it. Her insides churning, she panted, taking one last glance at the co-conspirators to her destruction. She could answer Monica’s final question. God had forsaken Monica because she was a Delilah home wrecker. What Mrs. Hawthorne wanted to know, was why He had forsaken her.

She lay the letters for her children—who never called—on the solid mahogany credenza, then her purse. All she’d had was the facade of a happy life. She’d paid for it in an avalanche of tears as she played dumb blonde to Randall’s neglect and numerous indiscretions over the years, anything to keep him home. And how had he repaid her? By falling for a nasty, ashy-prone, ghetto rat. The slut’s resulting pregnancy, and his request for a divorce, “so he could be happy” was the Joker’s wild card. How many wrongs was she expected to endure?

She looked around and hiccupped laughter—a great-granddaughter of the confederacy ending up in a brownstone in Harlem? Well, rise up every long-buried plantation owner and move over. I’m coming in, and from this gaudy, overpriced slum.

In the middle of her cynical chuckle, she bit her lip. She was stalling and knew it. The gun shook in her hands as she placed the barrel to her temple; lips pressed together, she focused on the brightness of the moon, brilliant against the frigid dark sky. The trigger was pulled, and the gun clattered to the ground. Once again blood seeped into the Brazilian cherry hardwood floor.

It should now have been quiet in the apartment. Instead, after the booming sound of the gunshot, you could hear through the intercom three things: the startled cries of a newborn, a phone ringing, and a feeble whimper.

The air was clear and sweet with the aroma of citrus floral and the essence of myrrh. Large winged inhabitants fluttered about on missions of supreme purpose. Above, two hovered in midflight, one apparently holding the other from takeoff.

“Why do you hold me, Zadkiel? I must go. Did you not hear Monica scream? I am hers, and she is mine. Monica thinks that God has forsaken her. I am here,” he bemoaned. What the guardian angel saw split him in two. He could not linger.

The dominion angel, Zadkiel pulled the guardian back, his wings clutched, and held him firm through the struggle. “Stand down. She cries out in fear, not faith. We are not charged to react to tears, but we are rewarders of faith. What is occurring is heartbreaking, but you have not been given leave to interfere.”

The guardian wanted to push at Zadkiel’s wings, but that would have been disrespectful. “Oh, why do the humans act this way? Must they torment and cause such pain to each other? They have left a child and though Monica has not been innocent for many years, her screams of pain bring too many hurtful emotions to the forefront. How can you float above it all?”

“I am not above anything, but we must be obedient to our Lord of Hosts. He has not given us permission to intervene; a greater good must be coming.” Zadkiel then telepathically shared with him how he kept the sounds of Randall’s and Monica’s pain in the background of his thoughts. “I am empathetic to your feelings. I have learned that our God knows all and His will is the only way. He did not create this mess, but He will make a way out for the innocent babe. Go sing a song of praise. It will ease your soul.”

Large expansive wings flapped in decisive strokes as a voice of power and beauty soared over majestic heads. As other voices joined in song, the angelic choir trumpeted the holiness and sovereignty of God. Contrary to the chaos, He continued to reign.

In another realm, the gates of hell rattled in anticipation of the eventual capture and consumption of the new souls. It was a two-course meal: adulterer and murderer, their favorites.

Get to Know Colette:

Colette Harrell, wants you to know that she has come to be a gift, to be an encourager and a light that reflects God’s goodness.

She’s a wife, mother, author and playwright. A Detroit native, she currently calls Ohio home. She holds a master’s and is a Director of Social Services. Writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”

Her novel, Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t is filled with wisdom and humor. This adventurous love story goes where Ms. Harrell loves to tread, down an unbeaten path. No millionaires rescuing damsels in distress—although she enjoys these reads herself—but real people, falling and getting back up. 

The Devil Made Me Do It was her debut novel. It was nominated for First Fiction for the Phyllis Wheatley Book Award from the QBR/The Black Book Review and the Harlem Book Fair.

Her sophomore novel, Tell The Truth, The Devil Won’t will cement her as an author to watch.

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing background?

I’m really happy to be writing. I’m in that midlife second-career change we are sometimes known to pursue. You become a certain age, and in certain areas of your life you become fearless. Your internal clock starts ticking, and you decide that if you are ever going to birth your passion, it better be now. I have always written poetry, short stories, and in the last nine years, I have co-written several local stage plays. This is my sophomore novel.

What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

I think most of us have things about us nobody else knows. Who’s really an open book? Let’s see, how transparent should I get? Well . . . I’m claustrophobic—give me an MRI—and you do it at your own peril. It’s no-holds-barred.

What makes you do the happy dance?

When I can stay in the moment. It gets hard sometimes, you know? But, if I can just sit and enjoy the journey, take solace in a perfect slice of time, I get elated. And then I catch myself and I stop and say, "I’m not worried about tomorrow. Bills are paid, no one’s in trouble or sick, and people’s opinions are far away." . . . that makes for a golden, happy, satisfied sigh.

What about this journey is the hardest?

This answer is reminiscent of the joke concerning the man who fell out of the fiftieth-floor window of a building. On his way down, at each floor, he could be heard yelling, “So far, so good!” When I was writing the book, there were days it flowed like a symphonic orchestra; other days, I wanted to slam my computer against the wall. Then before I was published—pure angst. Now, I’m in the marketing stage . . . Can you see me sweat? What I learned along the way . . . Whatever is behind you is no longer impossible. It’s a done deal.

What do you do in your down time?

I read—I read profusely. I read in bed, when I’m a passenger in the car, on lunch hour . . . I’m like Dr. Seuss’s Sam I Am. I do it everywhere!

After successfully publishing The Devil Made Me Do It what did this book teach you? 

I learned that fear can’t hold me. We can get real caught up in what people may or may not say about us or our work. So much so, that it ends up crippling our ability to move. I learned to talk myself off the ledge and by placing myself into the fray by doing each step by faith. I can tell you this, sometimes the crocodile tears tried to limit my vision, but guess what? I stuck my hand out there and felt my way through.

We’ve enjoyed learning about Colette R Harrell, author. Tell us about your book Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t.

It’s a continuation of the characters that originated in my first novel, The Devil Made Me Do It. I felt like the characters in the novel weren’t finished telling their story. Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t is filled with romance, suspense, humor and a twist of the super natural.

The story centers around two college sweethearts, Esther and Briggs who have taken different paths in life. Their romantic journey was disrupted by a life changing tragedy and they both lose their way. In the first book they settle for what they believe is the best course for their lives. But is it? Then there is Monica and Roger. These two were the people we love to hate. What is their real story? Are there certain people just born evil? Woven throughout the story, I love to sprinkle my stories with humor and a back drop of the supernatural. And, I never want people to guess what’s coming next. I love what one of my readers said, “seat belts should be worn”.

Your readers should pick up a copy today. I promise it’s just plain page turning fun! I’m just saying . . .

Find the Author and the Book:

Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t

Twitter: @ColetteRHarrell

Colette R. Harrell FB Profile:

Purchase Links:

Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Exercise YOUR Mind -- READ!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Giving Thanks. . .

Happy Holidays, Intellectual Minds!

I just want to take some time out to thank all my readers for hanging with me throughout the years.  You are such a wonderful group of people.  I enjoy conversing with so many of you and hearing your stories and ideas.  I've got a lot of books to read for the 2016 year, thanks, in part, to many of the authors and publishers who have sought out my reviews. Who knew you enjoyed my reviews so much.  There's so much to be thankful for.

While I'm sitting here feeling blessed in the moment, I can't help but to think about all the lives that have been taken this year due to horrible acts committed by terrorists and abroad. I tell ya, I don't know what is happening in this world anymore?  I hate to turn on the news or read my news feed on my phone.  If it's not one thing, it's another.  This year was absolutely horrendous in dealing with law enforcement and communities at odds with each other.  Terrorists attacking at every turn.  All I can do is hope and pray 2016 brings about some damn peace because Lord knows we're in need of it.

I know many of you are struggling financially, mentally and physically, and even though life comes at us hard, we must still find a way to press on.  If you haven't figured out by now, time waits for absolutely no one, so whether we like it or not, we've got to press forward.  So, while many of us will be sitting around the table with our families this Thanksgiving, please remember, no matter how bleak our future may seem, there are things you should be thankful for.

If you still have family and friends with you, that's a blessing!  If you have a job, whether you like it or not, be thankful!  If you have a roof over your head, you're doing well!  If you have heat, light and gas to keep you warm and comforted, you're blessed!  If you're eating a meal, you're nourished!  If you have clothes to put on, whether they are new or not, you got it going on!  If you're driving an old clunker and it's beat up, but still has spirit to get you from A to B, you're going to make it!  Trust and believe, we all complain about these things from one time or another, but if you are surviving, you're still in the game.  If your bills are paid, think of the millions of people out of work wishing they could do the same!  At the end of the day, it could always be worse, is the point!  Take some time out to reflect on what you do have, rather than concern yourself with what you don't have.  You're doing way better than many people in the world, if you have all the things I've mentioned above.

My grandma used to say when I'd complain about paying my bills and not having any money left over, "Well at least your bills are paid.  Things will get better in time."  And the funny thing is, she was right.  We go through life worrying over every damn thing, and eventually things really do turn out ok.  Why waste the energy on worry, when God never abandons us. That is, if you're a believer?  I am and always will be.  I know there's no way in the world my family and I wouldn't be where we are, if it weren't for a higher power.  

Remember, it can always be worse, so give thanks for what you have.  Stay strong and forge ahead as we embark, on yet, another year soon to come.

From my family to yours, wishing you a very Pleasant, Safe, and Happy Thanksgiving.  Until next time, Be Blessed!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

There's Always Something to be Thankful For!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Welp, It's About that Time. . .

Greetings Intellectual Minds,

Well, as the title suggests, it's about that time (once again!)  Thanksgiving is just two weeks away.  I know I must sound like a broke record, but it amazes me how fast 2015 has flown.  It doesn't even feel like we should be at this point.  If I didn't know any better, I'd swear I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone.  I can remember last year this time so vividly.  Life really is too short to full around.  Time waits for no one, and that is so damn true the older I get. This is why I'm extremely careful how I spend my time and not waste it on anything or anyone that is so not deserving of it!  (smile)

At any rate, I apologize for not having something of more substance to post. Actually, I racked my brain trying to figure out what I wanted to converse about, and although I found one subject pretty tantalizing, I decided I'll hold off until I learn more about it, and then I can give my full opinion on the matter.  

I'm sure you have turkey on the mind, family and good friends.  Black Friday is coming up and the stores are doing all they can to entice us to open our purse strings.  Cyber Monday will be offering some really great deals too, so don't forget that.  Personally, I'm a cyber woman.  I can't stand the thought of getting dressed, heading to the mall, fighting in traffic and for a parking space, all the madness that comes with the holidays.  I'm so not that girl. Never have been.  Hey. . .I'm not knocking you if this is your thing.  It's a personal preference.  I just don't feed into the commercialism of the holidays.  I give of myself all year round, so to me, the holidays are just a much needed break from working all year round. However you choose to spend your holidays, is certainly up to you!  I'm not hating or judging anyone, so please do not misunderstand my words.  Although having said that, there will be some of you who will email me and say, "hey what did you mean by that?  I do this for my family and that. . .yada, yada, yada!"  Again, I'm stating what I do and how I feel.  I don't knock anyone's celebration or the way they want to celebrate. (chuckle)

Welp, I'm gonna get outta here.  I've got a gazillion things I'd like to accomplish, and sitting at my laptop right now isn't on the top of my list at the moment.  Just as I'm sure, many of you don't have time to sit back and read.  Trust me, I get it and I understand. It's going to be sheer madness the next few weeks, so be safe, keep the faith and God Bless.

Until next time, Happy Reading (whenever you can fit it in between now and Jan. 1.) (LOL)

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer