Thursday, February 28, 2013

Race, Relation, & Relevance

Earlier this month I watched a program called Open Court on NBA TV. They were doing a Black History Month Special. On a panel of ten people, eight were black and former basketball players while the other two people in the room were white, Steve Kerr who once played in the league and the moderator of the debate. One of the things that I found interesting about this panel, despite the lack of diversity, was the perspective from Steve Kerr. During the debate, he made an interesting comment, (this is me paraphrasing) “at least black people have a month; white people didn’t get anything.” Which was in response to Charles Barkley saying the joke, does Steve feel guilty that black people were given the shortest month. This statement triggered my train of thought down the following path.

I have always wondered how white people feel when they see something like Black History Month, Martin Luther King Jr Day, and the Black Entertainment Television (BET) channel. Because what is interesting to me – this is a story that I have never told anyone else – but while working at a department store I overheard two of my white co-workers talking as I walked by the television department and one of them said, “if white people had a channel like that (similar to BET, I guess a WET) then other races would be up in arms.” Although I did not say anything and kept on walking, that conversation has always remained in the back of my mind (this happened ten plus years ago).

I think that if white people had a WET or a white appreciation month it would not be perceived well, to say the least. Without a doubt, other races would scream bloody murder. Hispanics, blacks, and Asians would probably feel as though their worst nightmares are coming true because these races perceive that the world is already dominated by the white man. If we look throughout history, Caucasians have basically taken whatever they wanted and claimed it as their own; they already have the twelve months of the year and they own the history books.

What I don’t understand is how white people see the world. White people, I think as a collective group doesn’t realize the fact that – although some of them may not be Warren Buffet or Bill Gates – they still have an upper hand on every other race, especially black people, and especially in America. I think, white people don’t understand that by being born white, they are given the benefit of the doubt and that is something a black man never has. I’m not sure what the first thought is that a white person has when they see a black man but I am almost certain that it is more closely associated with a negative image rather than a positive one.

With that being said, I know for a fact that some black people look at other black people and they will think something negative first as opposed to opening welcome arms to your brother; but don’t get me started on black on black racism because I feel as though that is a much larger problem and a topic for another day. I mean seriously, how can we expect other races to take us seriously when we break our backs to perpetuate stereotypes and continue the “crab-in-a-bucket” mentality. I believe that part of the reason for this is because white people have controlled the narrative and the headlines for so long that black people have taken the stance of “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” which throughout history has been someone with white skin. Therefore, black people will put down other black people just to have a seat at the white mans table. How can we combat this, for one stop looking up to celebrities as if they are the saviors of the world. Secondly, the African American community needs more positive role models besides seeing the same tired images of black people on television. Thirdly, we need to value education more, which is easier said than done.

Lastly, as a side note, when are we going to stop idolizing celebrities and entertainers and start valuing the hard working business man or the quality teacher or the two parents that are still together and putting their child through college? When are we going to give regular people a chance to tell their story? Everyone has a unique tale to tell, not just sports heroes.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Character Profile – Thame, Heaven’s Fate

Taken from the glossary of the sequel to Heaven’s Fate, the highly anticipated second book in the Heaven Trilogy: Winter’s Legacy; the definition of Thame Elliot aka Snow:

His mother died giving birth. His father, Alex Elliot was murdered when he was twelve. He was raised by his father’s childhood classmate, Autumn Augustus. After learning who murdered his father, Thame carried out a savage revenge. In his wake, an evil twin emerged that now threatens to cover the world in darkness. Thame will do whatever it takes to track down Miles Xavier and bring him to justice.

The second novel is due to be released in the fall of 2013. When I first came up with the idea for Heaven’s Fate I was a sophomore in college. Back then I was convinced this title would turn into a comic book or maybe a cartoon; since at the time I drew heavy influences from the anime Dragon Ball Z. As the idea for the story continued to develop and the characters were fleshed out, it took almost a decade for all of the pieces to fall together properly in order to form the 90k word debut fantasy epic that is currently available. Not to mention the countless amount of time spent learning how to construct a proper novel, the hours upon hours spent reading and re-reading the finished product, only to send it off to my editor and go through the process all over.

Ideas go through several stages before the finished product reaches the customer. I don’t think readers realize how much actually goes on behind the scenes to put a work of fiction entertainment together; hell, I did not even know all of the work and strenuous hours that would be required of me before undertaking this process. I never really understood the mantra of being a ‘starving artist’ until I actually became a starving artist (and let me tell you, after nights on end of eating ramen noodles I have the high blood pressure to show that I have earned that title) because when you are younger, (and growing up I was always an artist, drawing this or that and doodling in class) you think that you are a starving artist and you think that it is so cool to be out in the world and pursuing your dreams. Those cold and lonely nights when you only have your ideas to keep you warm and fuel you to keep going, the term sinks in and has more weight to it. It means a lot more when you are actually going through it. But I guess that is with anything right, in order to understand something fully you have to go out and actually experience it, participate in the things that were wispy yet grand ideas in the days of your childhood.

With that being said, I hope you enjoy the book.

For those of you who missed your chance to win a free, signed copy of Heaven's Fate you just might be in luck. Be sure to check in with Indie Author News ( on March 4, 2013 for my new exclusive interview and your chance to get a copy of Heaven's Fate which will be the Book of the Day and stop by for your chance to win.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Book Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer written by Michael Connelly

An intense, riveting, page turner that leaves you on the edge of your suit and actually kind of makes you want to be a juror, just to have the chance to see the main character, Haller do his thing, old school style, just like his dad who was a lawyer that passed away when Haller was five. Even though Haller did not know his father, he ultimately ended up following in his old man’s footsteps by becoming a defense attorney.

Here is a joke for you: What is the difference between a catfish and a lawyer? One is a bottom feeding shit sucker while the other is a fish.

Michael Connelly tells the story of law as though he had been a practicing lawyer all his life and with an authenticity and creativity that actually kind of makes you want to go back to school and try your hand at law. The one thing that would stop me from becoming a lawyer however is the same that thing Haller was afraid of for his entire career, having an innocent man come to him for defense and he not be able to see it. Which is what ends up happening and now Haller must find a way to get the innocent man out of prison and find a way to put the newest client, an evil son-of-a-bitch behind bars for the rest of his life.