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The Legend of Diddley Squatt by Duane Lance Filer

The Legend of Diddley Squatt: A Novella from a Brother Fella by Duane Lance Filer

Sometime during the middle of the twentieth century, a black child is born in Rundown City, Mississippi, to rundown parents. After Diddley Squatt’s sixteen-year-old mother splits the scene and leaves him in the care of his grandmother, Momma Squatt, Diddley settles into a new life within her three-story hotel/brothel, the Copp-A-Squatt Inn.

As he grows older and is nicknamed Young Didd, the boy is unfortunately bullied because of his unusual name and life circumstances. Luckily Diddley develops a thick skin and learns that love is better than hate, thanks to the nurturing, lessons, and mentoring provided by his grandmother and the strong ladies who, along with a goo-gaggle of Inn customers that include famous musicians, soldiers on leave, and politicians, visit the brothel.

While on his unique coming-of-age journey, Diddley also uncovers the mystical powers behind a magical harmonica that allow him to bond with creatures he never imagined could become his best friends, and who could somehow lead him to a new destiny. In this urban novella, a black boy growing up in the south must somehow learn to find his way in life after his mother abandons him, with help from well-meaning people.

Excerpt The Legend of Diddley Squatt by Duane Lance Filer

Didd was on the back porch of the Copp-A-Squatt; just sitting on the porch looking out into the back woods with his trusty harmonica in his mouth – playing this old blues tune known as “Squirrel Meat Stew” he had picked up. These old houses really never had any back fences, and backyards just ran out into the woods. This was good, because deer, possums, raccoons, and rats – all these different animals would run up to the end where the brown grass part ended – and you could bond with the animals. Didd loved to just sit on the porch and watch and feed the animals. When nobody was looking, he would rumble through the trash bin where Oscar (one of Momma’s house men others called a “pimp”) and the other help would throw the garbage after eating. He’d dig through the trash and get the leftovers – squish them in a paper bag and place it out on the edge of the backyard/woods area. He’d sit there and watch the animals come eat. They loved the food.

Then, one day, something really strange happened? As he was putting some of the leftovers out on the rickety back fence for the animals – today he put out some pork-chop bones, some un-eaten grits, some egg remnants, burnt toast – all just laid it across the fence; when this possum came up and acted like he wasn’t scared at all. Then, to Didd’s amazement, the possum started talking: “Thanks young Diddley. All the animals have been watching you from afar and we appreciate all the food you bring out here to us. It all tastes good and keep it coming.”

“Possum’s can’t talk?” Didd said.

“Why not? Why can’t we?” said the possum, “you humans just think we can’t talk because you can imagine the trouble we would be in if humans knew we could talk. We just choose not to talk. But to some few humans that we feel comfortable with – we will talk. Diddley Squatt- you are one of the few humans we feel comfortable talking. My friends will talk to you, you’ll see.”

“Wow” said young Diddley. “I love all animals. I mean I really like animals more than people. Animals always let you know how they feel.”

“You’re welcome” said the possum. “My name is Percy Possum– and I’ve been hanging back here in Momma Squatt’s backyard for years. Lots of action at this whorehouse, so there is always a lot of extra discarded food in the garbage. I hope we can be friends.” Percy extends his free hand while holding onto his food with the other. Young Diddley had seen this before from the johns, the shaking of hands, and knew he must respond. So, he shifted over to the back of the fence and shook Percy’s free hand. The bond was set!

Before he left, Percy said “you don’t happen to have any fresh food on you young Didd- do you?” “I have my lunch, a tomato sandwich. Sorry, but I don’t eat meat. I could never eat something that once breathed like me. One of the johns said that makes me a “VE-GEE-TARIAN.”

You are more than welcome to my sandwich” said Didd as he pushed the sandwich into Percy’s paws. Percy switched his tail in happiness.

“Thanks” said Percy,” I can share this fresh tomato sandwich with the rest of the animals. We possums eat anything – we even have a few ‘vegetarians’ that I’m aware. I knew you were special; and keep playing that harmonica. We animals sense something magical when we hear you playing.

See you later young Diddley,” said Percy, “I’m sure we will be talking more in the future. Like I said – you are one of the exceptional ones.” Percy slowly crept back into the woods; his teeth holding the bag of discarded food and the tomato sandwich bag in his hands.

“Wow!’ was all Diddley could say.

Purchase The Legend of Diddley Squatt: A Novella from a Brother Fella by Duane Lance Filer
Science Fiction & Fantasy > Magical Realism > Paranormal & Urban Life
https://www.amazon.com/Legend-Diddley-Squatt-Novella-Brother/dp/1532033842


About the Author

Duane Lance Filer is a retired funkster extraordinaire, writer, painter and musician who grew up in Compton, California with six brothers and sisters. He and his wife, Janice, have two adult children and currently reside in Carson, California. This is his seventh book. For more about Duane and his artist endeavors, visit him at http://duanelancefiler.wixsite.com/duanelancefiler.

 

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FOR YOU WOMAN: Spirit Jewels by Author/Poet ME

FOR YOU WOMAN: Spirit Jewels by Author/Poet ME

For You Woman: Spirit Jewels introduces an innovative creative writing style of Poetic Intellectual Art that incorporates a mix of profound insights and spiritual wonders of Love, Life and Relativity. Its central subject matter of Love is forged upon the FOUR ways we experience Life: Mind, Spirit, Body and Soul. For You Woman: Spirit Jewels manifest as Creative Masterpieces of Poetry, Prose, Short Stories and Propositions. That is capped with a chapter on The Art of Love.

Spirit Jewels is a phonetic metaphor of a ‘Spiritual’ adventure of enchanting philosophical visions and revelations of our most intimate, intense and powerful needs with shrewd poetic twists that seduces the senses. Majik and mysticism permeates the avant-garde life-force that this book generates. It’s a truly unique, gourmet, reading experience.

 

Is Love the True Religion?

What if a normal young man were kept away from women for thirty years? Meet ME, a man who loves women with the same innocence and passion he had when he was forced to give them up thirty years ago. During those years, he wrote about women and love, bestowing flesh on his dreams, and out of that struggle to remember and keep alive the passion of youth has come a unique volume of stories, poetry, and articles aptly titled, For You Woman: Spirit Jewels. Raw, optimistic, and powerful, For You Woman helps readers remember how it was to love without restraint or caution, believing that love is sacred, the gateway to God.

Time stopped for ME when he was shut away from women, and his musings on life, God, Goddess, love, passion, eroticism, and fulfillment provide the reader with abundant food for thought. Framed in the Black English of the ghetto and the prison, For You Woman loses nothing in translation. While the language is raw and untutored, the subject matter is love in all its forms and all its faces, written of with great passion and delight. Grammar police, of which I am one, may not approve, but as Marshall McLuhan, professor, philosopher, and public intellectual suggested, “The medium is the message,” and it is proved in this case.

The author, calling himself ME, is a philosopher of love and truth whose writing skills and insights were honed in the belly of the underworld. As a retired bank robber, ME is, in his own words, an intellectual thug, a spiritual gangsta whose crystallized experiences provide shrewd twists, unique perspectives and visions. He is an artistic scholar, a hopeless romantic, a mystic voyager, and a spiritual awakener of and for mankind’s destiny.

 

Book Review written by Dan Neumann  

An Inspiring, Engaging, Entertaining, Enlightening Book

Nathaniel Thurston (ME) wrote a body of poems, essays, and micro-stories that you’ll end up reading like a devotional. Each poem is typically only a page or two long at the most, but you’ll be tempted to digest and reflect on its truths for a time before going on to the next page. The elephant in the room, of course, is Thurston’s 30-year residency in jail. For some of you purchasing “For You Woman,” that may be the reason why you’re interested in the book in the first place.

I’ll tell you now that it comes through strongly that these writings amount to a legal prison break. He has broken through the bars and the bondage of incarceration by communing with the spirit of God/Goddess/Love– freeing his mind and soul. This book reminds the reader that sex shouldn’t be sought for carnal lust, but for the unparalleled spiritual connection it can afford if we’re in the correct state of mind.

Thurston is more-or-less speaking to females in general in his poetry, but don’t let that discourage male readers. These poems will inspire you to recognize the divinity in women (and even woo them). Due to the maturity and the unadulterated veracity of the message, “For You Woman” is NOT bedtime reading for youngsters.  –Review Written by Dan Neumann

 

 


MESSAGE FOR THE READER

The contents of this book are designed to appeal to your HIGHER MIND, to your elusively hidden divine intelligence. Its subject matter is designed to advance maturity. As Intellectual Spiritual Art it is NOT by editorial protocol. Whereby you will notice the author’s SIGNATURE Imprint is his lower case i’s. In order to absorb the maxims of profound truths that is contained herein, it is suggested that you re-read very carefully these contents. You will marvel in what you discover and will be inspired in the way it grows on and with you. So study the concepts and the wisdom it offers, while enjoying such artistic wonder. It’s all you.

For You Woman is a tribute, a celebration of you Woman for that female essence – the Soul of our existence. That other half of ‘godness’ that’s so special, beautiful, so precious to we men. Me salute you, ‘cause you’re ‘like that!’ You deserve to be enshrined in your Immortality.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Longtale Children’s Books Series by Duane Filer

Duane Lance Filer is a retired funkster extraordinaire, writer, painter and musician who grew up in Compton, California with six brothers and sisters. He and his wife, Janice, have two adult children and currently reside in Carson, California. This is his seventh book. For more about Duane and his artist endeavors, visit him at http://duanelancefiler.wixsite.com/duanelancefiler.

 

FastJack Robinson by Duane Filer (Longtale #1; Children’s Books)

Fastjack was coming to spend the summer with his grandrabbits, Grandpaw and Grandmaw Robinson, in Bunny Junction. Fastjack Robinson moved to Hare City, but always loved coming back home to visit his beloved grandrabbits as well as his childhood friends, House Mouse and Stooley the Pigeon.

After a big welcome-home supper of carrot stew and rabbit tea, Fastjack was informed by the squeaky voiced House Mouse that the notorious, mischievous Grabbit Rabbit was wreaking havoc in Bunny Junction by stealing pies and other carrot items from the families in Bunny Junction.

Little did the Grabbit Rabbit know that, like a young Jackie Robinson, Fastjack Robinson was the fastest rabbit in the world! Somebody in Bunny Junction had to stop the notorious Grabbit Rabbit. So Stooley, House Mouse, Grandpaw, and Grandmaw devised a plan to catch the Grabbit Rabbit. It’s Fastjack to the rescue!

Purchase FastJack Robinson by Duane Filer
Link: http://a.co/bswk8tD

 


 

Ms. Missy: Bishop’s First Dog by Duane Filer (Longtale #2; Children’s Books)

Who out there doesn’t remember their first pet? Bishop’s first dog turns out to be the beautiful diva Missy. Plus, Missy soon has a surprise for the family. “Ms. Missy – Bishop’s First Dog” is a true story concerning my family’s first pet – Ms. Missy the diva dog!

Follow along as Bishop, oldest child of the Morrow household, learns the ins and outs of owning and taking care of a dog. Bishop has daily duties of feeding and caring for Ms. Missy; bathing her in the Morrow backyard with younger siblings Maxine and Kelvin; and training Missy in the ways of the pet and human world. Time passes, as both Missy and the Morrow family grows with additional kids. One day, Missy disappears, and young Bishop feels it is his fault because he scolded Missy too hard. Bishop feels terrible, and fears she has run away for good. When Missy is finally found – she has a surprise of a lifetime for the Morrow family!

Purchase Ms. Missy: Bishop’s First Dog (Longtale #2) by Duane Filer
Link: http://a.co/2gshwsU

 


 

Duncan & the Chocolate Bar by Duane Filer (Longtale #3; Children’s Books)

The year is 2050. The space shuttle to the moon has been a reality since 2030. There have been scientists, explorers, politicians, entertainers and celebrities; just about every type of scientific type person has been or has plans to go to the moon………but no ordinary people have been included? Black, white, brown, or yellow….no regular ordinary people have been to the moon. Finally, in 2050, the USA government has decided it is time to send some regular folks to the moon. A contest was held to pick three lucky souls to be sent to the moon. Each person selected could bring a friend. And the best part is that the government claims once the lucky winners get to the moon, there would be a surprise waiting for them.

Young Duncan (Dunk) Sylers, 11 years old and from the city of Compton, California, enters the contest. You guessed it – Young Duncan wins and decides to take his younger cousin Drew on the exploration of a lifetime. Follow along as Duncan, Drew, and the other winners (including a wanna-be hippie who brings his parrot as his guest; as well as an aging actress and her equally washed up boyfriend) travel toward the moon. Do they succeed? You’ll have to read the book.

Purchase Duncan & the Chocolate Bar by Duane Filer. (Longtale #3; Children’s Books. For sci-fi lovers.)
Link: http://a.co/4Sm4WWG

 

 

Broken Conditions by Jo Lena Johnson

Broken Conditions, Volume 1 of the Clean Colored Girl Chronicles Book Series by Jo Lena Johnson

Broken Conditions highlights the author’s college years and chronicles key relationships, which lead to drama, adventure, hurt and poor choices into her 30s. See how growing up affects and influences almost every decision, relationship and behavior. When what she learned wasn’t working, she did something about it … sometimes!


Reviews for Broken Conditions by Jo Lena Johnson

Broken Conditions is an honest account of the life experiences of a “clean colored girl.” The author doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel here. She simply tells the stories that many women, colored or otherwise, can relate to. The stories that shape who we become over and over again; growing up a product of divorce, the struggle of the mother-daughter relationship, and MEN! These are stories of failure and brokenness and growth and resilience. Johnson’s storytelling is such that you’ll place yourself in the back seat of that Cadillac with the trumpet player’s friend as he starts to urinate in a cup. You’ll experience the terror of hiding in the bathroom as a drug-addicted man kicks in the back door. You can taste the excitement of living out your dreams in Los Angeles and the fulfillment of finding God and purpose. This is a good and quick read that will leave you wanting Volume 2.” – Faith Conner, Host, The Platform 314 Podcast

 

Broken Conditions is fantastic! It reminds me of books like Eat, Love, Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert or Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan. It’s real and keeps you reading. How lucky Jo Lena is to have an amazing and interesting life. She was always starting “projects,” i.e. relationships, endeavors, etc. in the book that weren’t always necessarily for the betterment of her soul. Just her filling the holes. Channeling this book into a movie; now that’s a better project. Everyone is soul searching and will connect with her story.” – Shannon Tocco

 

Broken Conditions is the perfect book for a quick weekend read. Jo Lena does an excellent job of being relatable and real. In fact, I almost felt like she and I were sitting on my couch with a cup of Joe while she told me about her life. From struggles as a child and rocky relationships in her 30s to triumph as a business woman, Broken Conditions takes you on a journey that shows you exactly why Jo Lena Johnson is the “Absolute Good Resilience Coach.” – Katy Beigel

 

“I’m sorry, but then again, I’m not sorry, because God has a way of using us and our stories for his good. In reading Broken Conditions, I saw myself, my mother, the stepfather and men in my own life. As a child, we are in a play called “Life” and it just happens. After growing up in a whirlwind, I had to make conscious decisions not just for myself, but for my three sons. I didn’t want to succumb to drinking, drugs, and being a whore. The love and respect I had for my kids made me respect me. I have this survivors guilt, how did I go through so much in life without going crazy, going to jail, or even dead? My discovery is, I’ve been kept by God to share the only truth I know. This life doesn’t belong to me, and I must share his grace and mercy even when I don’t fully understand the purpose or plan of the journey. I love you so much for sharing, and allowing me to be a part of your journey.” – Delena Evans

 

“Reading Broken Conditions made me feel like I wasn’t alone, not that I would want someone to ever go through my situation of life, but the reality is that these issues are more prominent than mentioned. The book made me think about the many ladies and gentlemen like me going through obstacles and over hurdles of life because of the dysfunctional conditions in which they were raised has an adverse effect on their being. Their normal adaptation has repercussions for their tomorrow.” – Robin Thomas

 


 

Chapter Excerpt: Broken Conditions, Volume 1 of The Clean Colored Girls Chronicles by Jo Lena Johnson

Once he proposed, did I really need my house? He had a huge one… but I had to finish my house. Since I was working full-time, he took the lead in being a junior project manager, directing workers to rip out the drop-ceilings throughout the second floor. That bright idea cost me at least $5,000 because the entire place had to be dry walled, mudded and painted, which was not part of the plan that I had written down in spreadsheet form and had given to him. Whew. At the time I didn’t understand how those little things were piling up. I got it when the trash literally piled up.

Over the winter I bundled the trash and asked him to take it out. The trash dumpster was located in the alley behind the house, which required going through the sun porch and the locked, chain link gate. I didn’t mind shared domestic duties but I wasn’t taking the trash outside; I trusted him to do it. As spring arrived and it was an early-in-the-season 55 degree day, after a bone chilling winter, I decided to venture out to take the trash myself.

I opened the door leading to the back porch and there sat at least 20 big, black garbage bags piled up and thawing – all of the trash he supposedly took out over the winter!!! When I say I was shocked, appalled and confused at the same time, that’s an understatement. When he got home I ripped into him and all he could say was that he needed to go through the bags to make sure there wasn’t anything in there which could identify him or which didn’t need to be saved. I assured him I had removed all magazine labels and blacked out any prescription bottles. It wasn’t enough. The more he tried to rationalize the irrational, the more irate I became. Now the tremendous piles of stuff in the basement made sense. He couldn’t throw anything away. I forced him to open that gate and I marched right along with my man to that alley-way trash can, putting every single black bag in the trash.

Afterward I cried. I cried for me. I cried for us. And mostly, I cried for him. In that moment it was clear to me, he had real problems. Because of my ingrained habit of taking care of grown people and co-dependency encouraging habits, I wouldn’t leave him – he needed me. But, I wanted to. I was committed to our situation, but not that far gone. I knew I would never set a wedding date. Why I was willing to take one for the team and continue to deal with him has to do with my holes. It wasn’t healthy or right, but it was true. Daily, little mess-ups, little fibs, little mistakes and then the water was off.

Child, when I say the water was off, it was off. I called him, to which he replied, “I just paid the bill, they will be there tomorrow to turn it back on.”

“What??? You didn’t pay the bill? It takes notice after notice before water gets turned off. What happened?”

I couldn’t trust him.


( Continued… )


Broken Conditions, Volume 1 of the Clean Colored Girl Chronicles Book Series

Autobiography/Biography/Memoir By Jo Lena Johnson
Published by Mission Possible Press
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9861818-8-7
Audiobook ISBN-13: 978-0-9861818-9-4

 



What Does Being a Clean Colored Girl Mean?

“Being a Clean Colored Girl is being courageous, perseverant and remaining openhearted, even when it hurts, facing interesting and difficult situations in life and becoming resilient as a result.” – Jo Lena Johnson, The Absolute Good Resilience Coach

About the Clean Colored Girl Association
We have formed a group on Facebook and are forming chapters around the country. It’s time for women to connect through life and struggles, coming out better, on the other side.

The Clean Colored Girl Chronicles
Stories from one woman’s life as she shares how relationships made her and broke her. As she learned how to navigate through being a daughter with parent issues, a black woman, single woman, dating woman, married yet unhappy woman, divorced woman and an entrepreneur, she is a clean colored girl, making it in the world. Trials keep you strong when you learn to endure them, and that she does.

 

Books in The Clean Colored Girl Book Series

* Broken Conditions, Volume 1 of The Clean Colored Girl Chronicles releasing January 16, 2018.
“People don’t mind breaking others because they are already broken and we all know misery loves company. Once broken, restoration is possible. I am excited to put the past where it belongs, because it has passed. But in between, a whole lot of holes happened. These are my stories of life, love, grace and resilience. By reading my chronicles, maybe you can get some perspective to help you with your own – or at least avoid some of my failings and shortcomings.” – Jo Lena Johnson, Author, Broken Conditions, Volume 1 of The Clean Colored Girl Chronicles

* Lady and the Chief, Volume 2 of the Clean Colored Girl Chronicles releasing Summer 2018.
“How and why can I tell you these things? Because my story, my experiences and my choices are bigger than me. What I do, say and how I behave affects many people and until I acknowledge that and act accordingly, I’m letting people down. Some things which have happened are sad and disappointing while others are fun, adventurous and sexy. I can’t take anything back or erase it from history, nor can I bury my head in the sand and walk in shame for the rest of my life. I had to learn how to bounce back and keep bouncing back after each defeat and victory, since I was saved from my own self, and at times, others. That’s what life is about – dealing with what happened and acting differently as new things happen.” – Jo Lena Johnson, Author, Lady and the Chief, Volume 2, The Clean Colored Girl Chronicles

* Married and Divorced in the Same Year, Volume 3 of the Clean Colored Girl Chronicles releasing Winter 2018.
“We should have never married. Yet, we did. Of course I didn’t know it at the time, or I wouldn’t have done it. It was an experience deserving of the story being told, and I’m a better woman for it. I’ve learned that many people have had some of these quick marriages – and many others, wish they had! It’s juicy, interesting and crazy at the same time. But honey, his ‘new’ wife is the one for him!!” – Jo Lena Johnson, Author, Married and Divorced in the Same Year, The Clean Colored Girl Chronicles

 


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A Touch Of Love by Sheryl Lister


A Touch of Love (The Grays of Los Angeles) by Sheryl Lister: http://amzn.to/2xM4eQV

Lexia Daniels can’t deny that her café’s most loyal customer is as tempting as any of the delicious treats she bakes. Burned by a bitter divorce, she tries to keep her desire in check around Khalil Gray, but the gorgeous ex-model is intent on seduction. Then a devastating accident reveals the complicated man behind the perfectly sculpted body… A man she can’t seem to resist.

At first, Khalil sees Lexia as a sexy challenge. But after an explosion shatters his world, she becomes the only person he can’t seem to push away. And every sign around him is telling him he needs her close. Khalil is happy to explore their erotic chemistry as long as it means resisting real emotion. But playing by his old rules could cost him the love he never thought he’d find…

 

Excerpt: A Touch of Love by Sheryl Lister

Chapter 1

“What the hell do you mean they were charged twice?” Khalil Gray stopped in his tracks. He met the disapproving glare of a grandmotherly woman and offered up a tight smile. Lowering his voice, he repeated the question.

“I have no idea,” Felicia McBride answered. The twenty-six year-old college student worked as the assistant manager at his fitness center, Maximum Burn. “There’ve been four calls since you left with members saying their accounts were debited twice this month. They’ve already been corrected, but I have no idea why it happened in the first place.”

He ran an agitated hand down his face. “Thanks, Felicia. I’ll check it out when I get back.”

He ended the call, still trying to figure out what was going on. He had owned the gym for five years and never had a problem before. Khalil continued through the lobby toward the elevators and jabbed the button with more force than necessary. He toyed with stopping in Oasis Café for his favorite low-fat apple cinnamon coffee cake, but because of traffic and construction across from the Wilshire District office building, he was already fifteen minutes late for the Wednesday morning staff meeting at his family’s home safety company. The elevator doors opened and he stepped back to allow the stream of people exit before boarding and riding the car up to the sixth floor.

Khalil greeted the receptionist and walked briskly down the hallway to the large conference room. He slid into a vacant seat and turned his attention to what his older brother, Brandon was saying. Brandon had taken over as CEO of the company nine months ago. Their father, Nolan Gray, had started the company upon his discharge from the Army after being disheartened by the difficulty in getting services and accommodations for the disabled. He’d decided to do something about it by designing them himself.

Their father’s best friend, Thaddeus Whitcomb—who had lost the lower part of his leg while serving—joined the company as a minor partner and vice president. The two men had a long-standing agreement that there would always be a Gray at the helm as CEO and a Whitcomb as vice president. Currently, only Brandon and their older sister, Siobhan, worked for the company. He listened as each department gave updates. After the last person finished, Brandon directed his attention to Khalil. “Khalil, you’re still going to be meeting with production about your equipment, right?” Khalil nodded.

“Next week. The second gym is scheduled to open in June and I don’t want any delays.” They had broken ground a year ago on the now three-level center and the building would be completed in four weeks, barring any problems. He wanted all the equipment to be ready for installation.

“So, roughly three months until opening day. Let me know if you run into any difficulties. Is there anything else?” Khalil glanced at the wall clock. It was almost eleven. Any hope he had of getting that coffee cake dissipated. When no one spoke, he pushed the chair from the table and started to stand.

“I have one quick thing.” He dropped back into his seat and groaned inwardly. He loved his sister-in-law, but couldn’t she table her comments until the next meeting? Brandon had met Faith Alexander when he’d come to her rescue after a car accident. Unbeknownst to either of them, Faith was the long lost daughter of Thaddeus Whitcomb, and rightful heir to the VP position. Uncle Thad, as they affectionately called him, had been looking for his daughter for twenty-eight years after his wife divorced him.

Khalil smiled inwardly remembering all the fireworks that followed when Brandon found out the woman he had rescued and begun dating was actually going to be his second-in-command. Brandon hadn’t been too happy since he’d grown up thinking he would head the company alone—a fact that Brandon had reiterated several times. Things had worked out between Brandon and Faith and they had married six weeks ago. Khalil tuned back into Faith discussing the new intern program. It gave him an idea about doing something similar at the gym. A few minutes later, the meeting ended.

“Hey, Khalil. I want to talk to you before you leave.” He shot a glare at Brandon. Another five minutes passed before his brother made it over to where Khalil stood impatiently waiting.

“Why are you frowning at me like that?” Brandon asked.

“Because it’s after eleven and my coffee cake is probably gone by now.” He strode out of the conference room, leaving Brandon to follow. “If you want to talk, we need to do in on the way downstairs.” Brandon chuckled.

“Weren’t you grumbling about that three weeks ago when you were here?” He pushed the down button on the elevator. Khalil only attended the weekly staff meeting when he had something on the agenda.

“Yeah, and you’d better hope it’s not all gone again. Dad’s staff meetings never ran this long. You’re taking this CEO thing way too far.”

“Well, we have two new products in the design phase and have to finalize plans for our interns who’ll be starting soon, so there’s a lot to discuss.”

When the elevator arrived, they joined four other occupants and rode down to the first floor without speaking. As soon as the doors opened, Khalil hurried across the lobby to Oasis Café. The only things left in the display case in the spot where the coffee cake usually sat were the tipped over sign and crumbs. Behind him, Brandon laughed softly. “Guess you’ll have to get here early next time.” Before he could tell his brother where to go, a tall, pretty woman approached. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Black Hearts White Minds: A Novel by Mitch Margo

The year is 1964 and Carl Gordon is an ill-prepared New York Assistant U.S. Attorney who has lied his way into a transfer to Stockville, Alabama, where he is supposed to monitor and enforce the Civil Rights Act.

In a matter of days, the Ku Klux Klan takes aim at him, the outside agitator. Carl has agreed to represent Oleatha Geary, a black family matriarch who has inherited a mansion in an all-white, race-restricted neighborhood. Carl and Oleatha are engulfed in litigation that turns deadly. It’s anyone’s guess who will survive multiple assassination attempts, let alone whose integrity will remain intact.

Carl’s 12-year-old son, John, is unwelcome on Stockville’s white basketball team because of who his father is, and it seems there’s nowhere else for him to play. But ever-resourceful and impulsive Carl makes other plans for John, unwittingly putting John’s life, and the life of his new teammates, at risk. Ultimately, the young players don’t care as much about color lines as they do the lines on the basketball floor.




Praise for Black Hearts White Minds and Mitch Margo

“As I read Black Hearts White Minds, I was reminded by turns of Harper Lee, Willie Morris, and John Grisham. Like Grisham, Mitch Margo is an attorney; like Morris, he’s a former journalist, and like Lee, his writing is evocative with a moral center straight and true.”
-Richard H. Weiss, Former Daily Features Editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

 

“The early sixties are often thought of as a time of lost innocence. Margo reminds us that the era was anything but innocent in the American south. His novel rings with authenticity and his characters’ struggles in the fictional town of Stockville, Alabama foretell the problems we still face today. Stockville is not really so far from Ferguson.”
-Bill McClellan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

 

“Mitch Margo enriches his story of the institutional and personal conflicts during the Civil Rights era with characters whose responses are always felt and are at times surprising.”
-Kenneth J. Cooper, Pulitzer Prize Winner

 

“Black Hearts White Minds transports readers to a time and place in American history when the Civil Rights movement was slowly gaining traction, and segregationists, including the Ku Klux Klan, would stop at nothing to trounce the efforts of blacks and whites fighting for justice. Margo has crafted a narrative that is equal parts engrossing, heartbreaking and hopeful, populated with richly drawn, compelling characters, and an overarching essence that captures the enduring nature of the human spirit, no matter the obstacles.”
-Ellen Futterman, Editor, St. Louis Jewish Light

 

“At once magical and poignant and terrifying… You will be enchanted by this powerful story.”
-Michael A. Kahn, Award-winning Author, Rachel Gold Mysteries Series

 

“Mitch Margo sets his first novel in one Alabama town, allowing him to explore the era on a distinctly human scale through ordinary people and not so ordinary events. Margo has a knack for dramatic structure and a sharp eye for contrasting, engaging personalities. And his plot twists manage to be simultaneously startling and entirely credible, no mean feat.”
-Eric Mink, Writer, The Huffington Post

 

“I simply loved this book, the story, the characters, and of course the basketball concept on his first time out, Mitch Margo scores a triple double.”
-Ron Himes, Founder and Producing Director St. Louis Black Repertory Company

 

“Mitch Margo did an awesome job making me feel the joy, pain, frustration and passion of each character. I felt like I was right there in Stockville experiencing the story myself…”
-Sharonda McMullen Director, Create A New You

 

“Black Hearts White Minds is a lively, engrossing novel about two families struggling with the brutality of Jim Crow, one black, the other white. The plotting is deft, the characters vivid, and the ambience as thick as Southern humidity. Mitch Margo knows how to tell a story.”
-David Carkeet, Author, The Full Catastrophe

 

“Mitch Margo tells a story that combines love, painful history, politics, childhood innocence, prejudice and courage. You will want to read it more than once.”
-Lenora Billings-Harris, Author, The Diversity Advantage: A Guide to Making Diversity Work

 

“Black Hearts White Minds is an important book that lances the boil of prejudice, peels away the crusted layers of historic bigotry, and reveals a purer sense of what’s possible when we see ourselves and each other as whole and valid. Mitch Margo’s own life experiences coupled with his mastery of story puts him in a league with John Grisham and Taylor Branch.”
-Mara Purl, Bestselling Author, What the Heart Knows and Where the Heart Lives

 

About the Author
A former reporter for The Detroit News and Los Angeles Herald Examiner and a syndicated columnist for 14 years, Mitch Margo is a native New Yorker and St. Louis trial lawyer. He’s witnessed the clash of cultures which are woven into his first novel, Black Hearts White Minds. Much of the story is drawn from his personal experiences, interviews, and hundreds of hours of research. He credits his eclectic law practice for a new storyline every few days.

As general counsel to the Missouri Valley Conference, and a former youth coach, Mitch has an insider’s view of basketball that enables him to write about it authentically. He’s also a member of the Washington University Sports Hall of Fame, at one time holding the school record in just about every baseball statistic. He’s proud of his days as a student/athlete, but hasn’t lost sight of the fact that you can’t get too much farther from Cooperstown and still be in a hall of fame.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BLACK HEARTS WHITE MINDS
https://mitchmargo.com/#Book

 

 

 

 

 

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Running In Plain Sight & Other Stories by Charles R. Butts Jr.


Running In Plain Sight & Other Stories by Charles R. Butts Jr.

A compilation of four diverse and entertaining short stories.

 

The title story, “Running In Plain Sight” chronicles the journey of Leander Sills Jr. At the age of ten, he was forced to flee after the brutal murder of his parents and his subsequent retaliation. Follow his travels as he tries to stay a step ahead of those seeking vengeance.

“If All Minds Are Clear”, tells the story of Reverend Brantley Wilkerson II. A young, handsome and charismatic minister on the rise and newly engaged to the pastor’s daughter. But when a potential indiscretion lurks and could possibly derail his dream of being named pastor of Grace Baptist Church, will he reach his dream, or will he fall from grace?

“Home”, follows the story of P. Randall Spires. Born an albino, he can’t shake the pain of being disowned by his father at eighteen. Now forty-eight and a successful securities trader living in Seattle, he yearns to exorcise a haunting nightmare and reconnect with his family. Can he reconcile the present by healing his past?

“A Balanced Imbalance”, begins with another failed suicide attempt by Zachary Price, who is living with bipolar disorder and cycling from the highest heights of mania to the darkest depths of depression. With his quality of life nonexistent and everything to live for, is he willing to give his doctor, his medications and therapy one last try, or will he end it all for good?

 

Excerpt: Running In Plain Sight & Other Stories by Charles R. Butts Jr.

 

Chapter One

June 20, 1902 Attapulgus, Georgia

 

It was mid-afternoon on a sweltering and humid summer day. The sun was bearing down and I was weeding the crops when I heard what sounded like gunshots. Scared out of my mind, I ran to the house as fast as I could to see what was going on.

When I reached the doorway, I froze; both Papa and Tully Bates were lying on the floor covered in blood, holding shotguns. Half of Tully’s head was blown off, so I knew he was dead. Pa was moaning and trying with all his might to move. Mama, seven months pregnant, was lying on her back near the stove. Her clothes were nearly ripped off, she’d been stabbed a few times and wasn’t moving. I’ll never forget that far away look she had in her eyes. Tully’s son, Buddy, who wasn’t much older than me, was standing near the corner holding a blood-covered knife. Enraged, in one motion, I grabbed Pa’s shotgun and blew Buddy clean across the room. His blood bathed the floor and quite a bit of him splattered all over the walls. Everything happened so fast. I stood there catching my breath and trembling. I didn’t snap out of it until I heard Pa calling out to me.

Covered in blood and gasping for air, he said, “Lee, there’s not much time, I need you to listen to me. Run out to the barn, climb up to the loft, look under the second bale of hay and bring me that box.” I did what he asked, and when I came back, he said, “Open it up, put all the money in your pocket, and the land deed in the bib of your overalls. Take my hat and boots too, you’re going to need them. Mark my x on the back of the deed and give it to Reverend Pope. Tell him I’m donating this land to the church so they can build a school, a separate house of worship and a cemetery. This land’s gotta always stay in colored hands, I worked too hard for it. Tell him to bury me and your Ma’s bodies here, and to save four or five plots for yourself. When it gets dark, I want you to go down to the rail yard, and sneak on the southbound train headed for Florida.”

He continued, “Now go on, get going. I’m sure somebody who heard the shots is probably on their way out here now. You’re big for a ten year old, and you have to be a man now. Your Ma and I love you something fierce. You are a product of our love, and no Ma and Pa has ever been more proud than we are. Give me your hand son, and go with God. Take hold of His hand and keep us in your heart always. Be a good man and be strong. Don’t start trouble, but don’t run from it either. Always be willing to stand your ground and defend yourself. Find work wherever you go and keep moving. You’re bigger and stronger than most men, and I believe you can outwork them too. Never stop looking over your shoulder.” He smiled, relaxed his calloused grip and passed from this world to the next. With tears in my eyes, and a painful lump in my throat, I put on Pa’s hat, slipped on his boots – the first pair of shoes I ever owned, and ran into the woods.

Crouched down and hidden in the woods about a mile away from the farm, and scared out of my mind, I watched the orange sun set before making my way over to Reverend Pope’s place. I handed him the deed, along with Pa’s instructions. I also told him everything that happened. Short and thin, with kind eyes and a garbled voice, he was extremely grateful for the land. Grateful, but saddened for Ma and Pa, and scared for me at the same time. He and Mrs. Pope covered me, said a prayer for Ma and Pa before he blessed me, anointed my head with oil and sent me on my way. Before sending me on, Mrs. Pope packed some fried chicken and pound cake for me to take along. A bit taller and bigger than her husband – she was really pretty.

Reverend Pope handed me a few dollars and said, “Go with God son, and be forever blessed. I’ll do everything your Pa asked me to, and we’ll always be praying for you. Find a way to let me know how you’re doing from time to time. Your Pa was right, it’s not safe for you here. I imagine those boys will turn this town and county upside down looking for you.”

( Continued… )


Purchase Running In Plain Sight & Other Stories by Charles R. Butts Jr.

https://www.amazon.com/Running-Plain-Sight-Other-Stories/dp/1988367050

About the Author
Running In Plain Sight and Other Stories is a compilation of four diverse and entertaining stories. It’s the second book written by Charles R. Butts Jr., a former soldier of the U.S. Army and a postal employee for over thirty-three years. When he’s not reading or writing, Charles enjoys spending time with Shawanda, his wife of twenty-one years, and his children Amber and Trey. Influenced by Langston Hughes, Walter Mosley and James Baldwin, he hopes to entertain and provoke thought in the reader.

 

 
 
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