• A Little More About Me…

    Why should you read my blog? Glad you asked! As a Black Man, it’ll be a POV you may not be used to, giving you something to ponder. Agreeing or disagreeing is fine, but as the saying goes: “you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts”. My opinions & facts are as strong as Death Wish coffee, and I’m not afraid to engage them. Are you?

    What will you get from my blog? Honesty, information and some laughs. Reviews, like politics, has become a dirty business and I like getting my hands dirty.  Just ask Anne Rice or Amos Lassen.

    What will I be posting about? Books, movies, music, movie scores- I love me some movie scores!- politics and life in these United States. Something new I’m excited to try out is episodic reviews of tv & anime series- not so much current ones but old faves like Highlander, Slayers, Babylon 5, Hellsing, etc. And no, I will NOT be doing Smallville… 

    What’s my cred? I’m a former Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer and a former- and current again- Amazon Vine Voice. I’ve been interviewed by prominent bloggers and correspond frequently with authors. I’ve reviewed for such book tour agencies as Bewitching Book Tours, Month9Books, Xpresso, YA Bound, Enchanted, Goddess Fish, as well as the occasional self-published author. I’m also a regular attendee at the BEA every year, so you’ll be able to get a heads up on what’ll be coming out.

    How’d I get started? Welp, in 2009 the company I worked for- Virgin Megastores- closed down and I took advantage of my abundant free time by catching up on some reading. Ok, a lot of reading. Virgin shared the same building as Random House and about twice a month RH dumped their shelves out. And I’m not ashamed to say I was a dumpster diving mofo- it’s how I discovered the Anita Blake series. (true story)

    I started referencing Amazon reviews about the books I was reading and came to respect and rely upon the information I received and the people who provided it. After a few months I figured I could do the same- I’m that one friend you’d always ask their opinion about movies, etc. I started moving up the ranks and boom!- Top 1000. This was before all the madness and mishegoss. Ah, the good old days…

    I wasn’t in it for a side gig; it was always fun & interesting to me. Trying to hustle to keep my rank up combined with the tsunami of fake reviews and bullshitters angling for free stuff made me lose my taste for the game, so I slacked off for a good while. Then WordPress suspended my blog claiming I was spamming for posting book tour promos, so I just said screw it. See ya when I see ya.

    Now it’s a new decade with new ideas & challenges to tackle, so why the hell not? 

    A few things about me personally: Proud Black Man. Former US Marine. Born, raised, still living in Brooklyn. 50+ years old.  6’5’’, about 260. One of the handsomest men you’ll ever meet. Big sports fan- Baseball (Mets), Football (Cowboys), Hockey (Devils), Basketball (Lakers). Works in Sports/Entertainment Security. Still working on my own fantasy novel & occasional dabbler in fanfic. Used to never drink coffee… used to. Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy. Wine tastes flat to me.

    Thanks for stopping by. If you’re of a mind, hit the links and stalk… er, follow me around the internetz.

  • 100 Years of Uncle James

    My great uncle- James Lester Brown- turned 100 years old a couple weeks ago.  Born in 1923 in rural South Carolina, he’s the last surviving member of his siblings, his generation.  Naturally, I always enjoy seeing him both because he’s family and a living witness to the history of this country.  As the joke goes, he’s literally older than sliced bread (1928 ;)).  He’s had a hand in the shaping & molding of our family’s legacy and even fostered a few of us under his roof when things got rough.  

    To put his life in a bit of perspective, here’s a few things that happened the year he was born:

    The Rosewood Massacre in Rosewood, Florida.

    Warren Harding was the 29th President.

    The original Yankee Stadium opened, the team signed Lou Gehrig & won their first World Series title.

    TIME Magazine printed its first issue.

    The iconic HOLLYWOOD sign is installed.

    The boardwalk at Coney Island opens.

    Roy & Walt Disney create the Walt Disney company.

    Happy Birthday, Uncle James.  

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  • It’s Deja Vu all over Again


    Taking another shot at my blog.  Third time’s the charm, they say.

    Back in 2009 the company I’d worked at for 13 years- Virgin Megastores- was shuttered when that sketchy Englishman decided he wanted to go to space… physically.   Finding myself with a whole lot of time on my hands I started catching up on my reading.  Working at the biggest retail store in the world garnered me a lot of exposure to all kinds of things I’d never even considered as well as introduced me to the internetz… and, of course, Amazon.  I did a lot of deep diving into Amazon’s reviews- back when they were really meant something- for my book recs so I decided to take the plunge myself, kind of a way of giving back. 

    As a young, wide eyed innocent first time reviewer, I actually did pretty well with it.  Worked my way up the Amazon ranks into the Top 1000 and even became a Vine Voice!  And those Forums- damn, fam!  Candace Sams, Amos Lassen, Dougie Brimson, Sgt. Stargate, Carroll Bryant, Laurell Hamilton, Goodreads, Hacker Hunter, Kevin Weinberg, STGRB- those were the days!!!  I knew I was legit when Anne Rice singled me out and sicced her People of the Page on me.  Had no choice but to take it higher and start a blog- staking out my own corner of the internet.

    My first, best page- Illuminite Caliginosus, a Spark of Light Within the Gloom- had a decent following, garnered some praise and a few write-ups.  Got noticed and met some interesting folks.  I was building my brand as a blogger/reviewer and everything was good.  Even had business cards and shit.

    Then WordPress Admin decided out of the blue that I was spamming because I’d posted a bunch of book promotions.  Nevermind the entire body of work that preceded it; a few days of promos and suddenly my site was gone- not even a warning that I’d done something wrong or even a chance to save my posts.  Years of blood, sweat, tears, laughs, reviews, links, drama, trolling…  Gone.  I was getting a little burned out anyways, but that just…

    After I calmed down I took it as a sign and moved on.  Every so often I would get that itch and one day decided to try again.  But wasn’t really feeling it and it was a whole lotta nothing.  Felt kinda embarrassed by it, tbh.

    Now I’m older, wiser and fired up to get back into the game.  Hell, Amazon even brought me back into their Vine program- if that ain’t mana from Heaven, I don’t know what is!

    So, it’s on again.  Music, movies, books, politics, sports, random thoughts, jokes, food, beer- it’ll all be here for you.

    Oh yeah- almost forgot.

    Middle aged male.  Born in the sixties, lifelong resident of Brooklyn.  Black and Proud.  Ex-marine.  Aspiring author.  Digs all four major sports: Baseball- Mets.  Football- Cowboys.  Basketball- Lakers.  Hockey- Devils.  Ambient/New Age music is my shit.  Wagner opera fan.  Registered as Independent- because if you’ve been paying any kind of attention, we need more than two parties over here.

    Thanks for stopping by.  Holla and I’ll holla back.