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A Review of Bad Men and Wicked Women by Eric Jerome Dickey

I’m a huge Eric Jerome Dickey fan and yes…he is my writer crush. Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let’s dive into Bad Men and Wicked Women whose title intrigued me to take the journey to get to know the two main characters, Ken Swift (from Mississippi) and Jake Ellis (his Ghanaian friend in crime). Both are low-level enforcers who work for San Bernardino.
Ken is a complicated guy who is divorced from Jimi Lee (Ethiopian) and they have a daughter, Margaux, pregnant and in trouble, who’s squeezing him for fifty thousand dollars. He has a girlfriend, Rachel Redman (the singing Eskimo with roots that go back to Eritrea). He would sometimes lust for Bernice Nesbitt, his African-British neighbor across the street and even toy with the idea of meeting a beautiful Senegalese woman in Africa (at Jake’s urging).
Jake Ellis, on the other hand, is an unencumbered proud Ghanaian, godfather to Margaux, a pugilist, a great cook, and loves the ladies. He’s not afraid to step to anyone and w…
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A Review of the Play, Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally, at Baltimore Center Stage

I recently saw Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally, the fourth play of the 2019/2020 season at Baltimore Center Stage. It is written by Noah Diaz and directed by Taylor Reynolds in co-production with The Playwrights Realm. Once I settled into my seat, I was drawn into this 1950s tale with a present day feel of a dysfunctional family coming to terms with grief, loss, estrangement, and finding love in between.
Richard (played by Neimah Djourabchi) is dying from a terminal illness and reaches out to his estranged sister, Jane (played by Michelle Beck) in an effort to mend their relationship. Although an adult, Jane still feels twinges of being under his shadow. Now she’s come back to the house where they both grew up in and feels like a guest amidst his children whom she doesn’t really know. Dick (played by Jay Cobián), Richard’s son misses his mother (played by Vanessa Kai) dearly who passed away and dresses up in her clothes and shoes in hopes of being close to her. And there’s …

Black Writers' Guild Black History Month Presentation - "The Life & Times of Alberta Jones" presented by Keenan Conigland

On Saturday, February 1, 2020 I attended the Black Writers’ Guild Black History Month presentation – “The Life & Times of Alberta Jones” presented by Keenan Conigland (screenwriter and author) via video. What drew me to this talk was not only was Alberta Jones one of the first African-American woman to pass the bar, the first female city attorney in Jefferson County and Muhammad Ali’s first attorney (they lived not too far from each other) but the fact that she was murdered in 1965 and the case remains unsolved. At the time of her death, Ms. Jones was thirty-four years old and a civil rights pioneer in the prime of her life.
Mr. Conigland talked about how he discovered this story via the New York Times and how he pursued getting the life rights from the family.He is in the process of bringing this story to the screen and walked the audience through knowing and protecting our rights as a screenwriter (e.g. copywriting creative content, negotiating with the movie studios, etc.) unt…

A Review of Sula by Toni Morrison

Sula is the type of story that pulls you in slowly then locks you into a fantastical tale with eyes peeled and ears eavesdropping on the lives of black folks between 1919 – 1965 in a place called the Bottom of Medallion, Ohio. Readers are introduced to colorful, quirky, intriguing, and mystical characters whose lives intertwine based on their beliefs in omens and the energy they give each other.
Sula and Nel have been friends since they were kids. Sula is from a family whose matriarch, Eva Peace, “sat in a wagon on the third floor of her rooming house and directed the lives of her children, friends, strays and a constant stream of boarders.” There were no rules. Nel grew up the complete opposite, living in a house governed by rules and neatness. These two girls were inseparable until Sula went off to college and Nel remained in the Bottom, got married and had three kids.
Ten years later, Sula came back to the Bottom. She was now a seductress, evil, conniving, and complicated. Yet she ye…

A Review of If Only for One Night by Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley

This is a story about two people who are unhappy in their marriages who for one night give into the temptation of being with each other. They believe they are soulmates but they have to decide whether the connection they feel for each other is strong enough to leave their partners.

Angelique and Blu met playing Words with Friends, a word game on an app. Angelique is married to Preston, a consummate workaholic more interested in the financial state of his marriage than its emotional state. Blu is a faithful husband and father of two children but can’t seem to connect with his wife Monica who has been suffering from depression since the birth of their second child. Playing the game was innocent enough until Blu messaged Angelique then they met for coffee, then drinks, then dinner, then finally culminating into a night of passion after Preston didn’t show up at Angelique’s Black Girls Magic (a major foundation in Houston, Texas) gala at the Westin hotel.
For the most part, I liked both cha…

It’s A Book Thing Presents: An Interview with R. Lanier Clemons, author of Five Minutes

Author’s Bio: Born in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, R. Lanier Clemons spent her early years moving from one Air Force base to another. It was her father, a career Air Force Sergeant, who instilled in her the love of books.
In college, she majored in Journalism and received her B.A. from Howard University. That degree helped her land a job as Managing Editor of an employee newspaper for the largest telecommunications company in the Washington DC area. As a horse owner and competitor for 30 years, she finds writing and riding very similar activities. Both require skill, perseverance and practice in order to continue to grow and excel at each craft.
One day, she decided to sit down and write the kind of book she wanted to read. While admiring female amateur sleuths like Kinsey Millhone and Tamara Hayle, she felt the mystery world needed someone else. The world needed a Jonelle Sweet.
DL: What inspired you to write your book? RLC: As an avid reader I realized early on that there weren't …

A Review of the Play, Men on Boats, at Baltimore Center Stage

I recently saw Men on Boats, the third play of the 2019/2020 season at Baltimore Center Stage. This play is written by Jaclyn Backhaus and directed by Jenny Koons. It is a satire based on the one-armed explorer, John Wesley Powell’s expedition and “discovery” of the Grand Canyon and his relationship with his fellow boat mates.
What I enjoyed about this play was the fresh take of having an all-female cast – ten of them portraying an explorer. Although the story takes place in 1869, I loved how the playwright sought to give it a more hip and twentieth century flavor. It was all in the attitude and quips mostly given by some of my favorite characters: John Wesley Powell played by Ceci Fernandez, Old Shady played by Haruna Lee, John Colton Sumner played by Patrena Murray, and William Dunn played by Jessica Ranville.
Watching the interaction of the explorers going through rough seas showed the closeness of them as a team supporting and helping and at times saving each other. It was also …