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Thursday, February 5, 2015

H-Town - Black Girl Power!

A part of me is wondering if Hollywood just doesn’t notice what’s happening out there in T.V. Land.  And then another part of me can’t help but to wonder if maybe they do, and they’re doing it on purpose.

It’s raining black women all over television!  Do we mention this?  Or should we just keep our mouths shut and hope that the powers that be in tinsel town keep moving ahead, business as usual, and continue showing this powerful new presence on our televisions? 

Shonda Rhimes’ name has become synonymous with the words “Mega” and “Hit” on television.  From Gray’s Anatomy, which has been on for freaking ever, to the explosive Scandal, and now that crazy, over the top, demented but fascinating How to Get Away with Murder, she’s got the Midas touch in Hollywood and shows no signs of stopping soon.  

And somewhere in the midst of all of that, H-town snuck in a few more precious gems, like Sleepy Hollow featuring a cute-as-a-button, but fierce Nicole Beharie in the role of Abbie Mills, fighting the supernatural along side that hunky Tom Mison’s Ichabod Crane character.  Remember her from the Lifetime movie, Sins of the Mother (based on the bestselling novel Orange, Mint & Honey by my good friend Carleen Brice?).  

One of my favorite new characters though, is surprising, even to me, and Jada Pinkett-Smith plays   If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching Jada in action as Fish, let me just say that she takes the words “bad” and “ass” to a whole new level, and since I’ve got a soft spot in me for bad guys (or in this case…girls), I find Fish Mooney hella-inspirational.
that character to the hilt—Fish Mooney on Gotham.

And finally (or maybe not) we have Taraji P. Henson, starring as the very formidable and determined, Cookie in the Lee Daniel’s new series, Empire.  I mean…  What?  This woman gets out of prison and comes back with a vengeance to take back what belongs to her, and I for one, couldn’t be happier. 

So, in a nutshell, we have a super-heavy-weight-lawyer running her own Washington, D.C. crisis firm, having all kinds of romantic trysts and affairs, and this season, is faced with her own crisis of saving her own life from some lunatic; that’s the first thing.

Next, we have the classically beautiful and dynamic Viola Davis, showing up as one of the scariest defense attorneys to ever exist, all wrapped up in the delicious messiness of her own life, while manipulating every one else’s and doing it quite well, I might add. 

We’ve got a ghost hunter in Nicole, a gangster in Jada, and a ex-felon, music mogul in Taraji!

Excuse me while I go and turn another flip.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

If You Haven't Read the Trilogy, You Should!

Crazy, Sexy, Revenge!

Jordan Gatewood’s life is falling apart. Murder, sex, betrayal, suicide—the women in his world are paying him back for all the terrible things he’s done, and they’re bringing on the drama in spades. And now with Desi Green bringing Jordan to the attention of the detective investigating his lover’s murder, his tenuous grip on control threatens to unravel completely. 
Desi refuses to let anyone back her into a corner. For years, people have tried to set her back and destroy her, but now, she’s ready to take it to anyone who wants to put her down, including Jordan Gatewood. And when a message comes for her in the form of a brutal attack, Desi will have to fight with everything she has before she gets her revenge…in Crazy, Sexy, Revenge by J.D. Mason.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Who was he? Plato could see the questioning looks coming from all of them as he climbed out of the car. Was he a detective? That dead woman lying on the steps of that shitty motel looked expensive enough to command an investigation from the grave, even from where he was standing. Maybe he was her husband, who’d somehow known that his woman was here and in trouble. Was he like the rest of them, just passing through, stopping here to sleep for the night? Hardly.
He studied each of them intently: hoes, addicts, homeless. These were desperate people, and desperate people were one of two things: afraid … or dangerous.
“Damn, he got here quick,” he heard someone murmur.
“That the po-po?”
“Too clean to be the po-po.”
“A pimp? Her pimp?”
Plato walked over to the woman. Beautiful! Even in death, or especially.
Waves of ebony hair fanned out on the steps beneath her. Red-stained lips parted slightly, making her look as if she was just about to whisper a secret. Dark eyes fixed on the stars above. Damn shame. Plato didn’t have much time, ten, maybe fifteen minutes at the most before the Dallas Police Department started to arrive. It was an expensive fifteen minutes, but if you had the money and the power, you could afford it.
There was a door open on the second floor. Had she come from there? Plato stepped over the lovely figure and casually climbed the stairs. He looked inside and saw crumpled bedsheets and a towel tossed on the floor. Plato went into the bathroom to get another towel, then began wiping down every surface that could possibly contain a fingerprint, the faucets in the shower and bathroom sink, the linoleum counter, a small table and chairs in the main room, along with the headboard, nightstands, and finally, the doorknob, inside and out. He threw the towel on the bed and closed the door behind him.
He was down to eight minutes.
The crowd had begun closing in on the dead woman’s body. Curiosity drew them to her, that and greed. Some of them eyed those gold bangles on her arm like they were candy. Diamond earrings called to them like sirens from the sea. Shit like that could buy a lot of nights in this dump or some good-ass hits of whatever it was these fools shot into themselves.
“Anybody see what happened?” he asked, eyeing them all suspiciously.
“I did.” An overachieving, dirty white girl spoke up.
“Shut up, Lisa,” her dirty black boy said, sliding up to her from behind.
Plato focused on the girl. Tracks had left her arms bruised and looking like someone had been chewing on them. “What did you see?”
“A black man, kinda tall, like you. He went inside that room you just came out of and then she came and went in. I think I heard them getting it on, but…” She rolled her eyes. “He came out and she was screaming and then this other broad came out of nowhere and shot her.”
There was no sound. The silencer stole the sound. There was just the gun. And blood. And wide eyes that had probably been ocean blue before the drugs, now gray, staring back at him in disbelief, before rolling back into her head. Her body fell at her dirty man’s feet.
Plato looked at each of them. “Anybody else see anything?”
An old man with one leg, balancing on one crooked and socked foot, wearily shook his head, and slowly began backing up toward what was probably his room. The dirty black boyfriend of the dirty white girl held his mouth open to release a scream that refused to come. Two young prostitutes held on to each other’s hands and stared wide-eyed and shocked at Plato.
He had five minutes.
“Can we go?” one of them asked helplessly. “Please don’t kill us.”
He started walking toward the front office. The two girls took off running.
The dude behind the counter was a relic, tethered to this place by some ungodly connection that only made sense to him. The portly man played some kind of game in his mind, make-believing that he ran a five-star hotel in the heart of Dallas instead of a dump on the edge. The green-and-gold bow tie he wore threatened to choke the breath out of him as it clashed violently against the brown-and-lilac button-down, short-sleeved shirt. His khakis were perfectly pressed, with sharp creases running down the front of his legs.
Plato could read it in his eyes that the man was afraid. He’d seen too much. He knew too much, and this fool would start talking to the first cop who showed up on the scene. Hell, he’d probably been the one to call them.
Plato stood across from the man with the counter separating the two. Being six-five, just about every man he came into contact with was shorter than he was. Plato’s size struck fear into people who had something to hide. And this one looked like he had plenty, but Plato only cared about one thing.
“Y-yes … sir?” he asked Plato nervously. “May I h-help you?”
He contemplated the man, realizing as he studied him that this man’s fate was sealed the day he took his first breath from his momma’s womb. Plato could see the recognition in the man’s eyes, as the revelation slowly took root in his own mind, and he began to panic at the thought of his impending death.
“Room 204,” Plato said. “Who was it registered to?”
The man hesitated. Ethics made him do it. “I’m sorry, s-sir, but I’m not at liberty to say.”
Plato almost admired his conviction. Almost.
He took a step closer to him and slowly repeated the question. “Who was it registered to?”
Conviction took hold of ethics’ hand and dragged its ass right out of the front door. The man frantically began typing on the keyboard to his computer.
“Smith,” he said quickly. “John Smith.”
“Who paid for it?” Plato probed.
The man swallowed. “Ross. Franklin Ross. He paid over the phone by credit card.”
Plato had no idea who Franklin Ross was, but he knew that the man was a goddamned idiot using his own credit card to pay for a room registered to John Smith.
Plato turned to leave, and then he turned back to face the man, one last time.
Time was up.
Plato stepped out into the parking lot and could hear the sirens whirring in the distance.
“Only the dead have seen the end of war,” he murmured, quoting his namesake.
Now the police didn’t have just one murder to solve. They had three. They had no witnesses. Maybe they’d find the killer of that beautiful woman someday. Maybe not. Maybe they’d even catch up with Plato’s ass. Maybe not. But for a while, the police would stumble and scratch their heads trying to figure out what these three people could’ve possibly had in common. They’d wonder why they’d all been shot on this night at this place. Naturally, the first thing the cops would try to do was to connect the three killings, but Plato knew that any detective worth his badge would soon see that there was no connection between the murder of the woman and the desk clerk or the junkie in the parking lot.
Plato climbed back into his car and turned on the engine, but before backing out of the parking space, he pulled out his cell phone and made a call.
“How bad is it?” Edgar Beckman asked as soon as he answered the phone.
“There’s a woman lying dead on the steps. I’d say that’s pretty bad,” he said coolly.
“Should we be worried?”
“Death should always leave you worried.”
The old man sighed irritably. “Do you think anyone will say anything to the police?” he asked impatiently.
Plato knew people, and he especially knew these kinds of people. They were the throwaways, the forgotten-abouts, the kind of people that were on their way to someplace else. The woman lying on those steps wasn’t one of them. He could tell by the clothes she wore, the perfection to which her hair and makeup were done. He glanced back in the rearview mirror and saw the small scattering of the motel residents crouch around her body, begin riffling through her purse, and take whatever jewelry she wore.
“No,” he finally said, satisfied in the affirmation he’d been so divinely blessed with in this moment as he watched those people that he truly did understand them. “I don’t think you have to worry about any of them saying a goddamned thing.”
“Who was registered in that room?”
“John Smith, but he’s not the one who paid for it,” Plato said.
The man paused. “Who paid for it? How?”
“Franklin Ross paid for it with his credit card. You know that fool?”
The old man sighed. “Thankfully, no, not personally.” He hesitated and then continued. “And what about the car?”
“What about it?” Plato asked unemotionally.
“You have to take it. You have to get rid of it,” he demanded. “I told you there’d be a car parked there and that you had to get rid of it.”
Plato surveyed the parking lot.
“A Mercedes? A white Mercedes?” Beckman said frantically. “In the parking—”
“Ain’t no Mercedes out here, boss,” he said, hanging up his phone without waiting for a response. Plato’s fifteen minutes were up.

Copyright © 2014 by J. D. Mason

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Here Ya Go!!!! A Beautiful, Dirty, Rich Excerpt!

Their Crooked Mile

            “I got something in the mail.”

            Tom Billings sounded like he was drunk.   His voice, cracking and slurring.

            “Tom,” Russ said, rubbing sleep from his eyes.  “It’s after two in the morning.  Why don’t you go sleep it off and call me tomorrow at a more reasonable hour.”

            “It’s a picture of me and some…some kids, Russ,” his voice trailed off.

            Russ sat up on the side of the bed.

            “Russ?” his wife asked, sleepily.  “What is it?”

            “Just Tom, honey.  He’s a little drunk.  Go back to sleep.”

            She moaned.  “Take the phone downstairs, please,” she said irritably.

            Russ got up and left the room.  “What kids, Tom?”

            Tom sighed irritably.  “You know good and damn well what kids.”

            Russ fought back panic started to grow in his chest.  Something was going on.  “Who sent it?”

            Tom hesitated.  “I don’t know.”

            “Well is there a return address, a P.O. box, something?” Russ said, angrily.

            “I said I don’t know who sent it, Russ!  It’s just—”

            Russ took a deep breath to calm himself and hopefully it was deep enough to calm Tom’s fears too.  “It’s just a picture?  A picture of you and some kids,” he said, trying to rationalize the situation.  “So what?”

            “I knew it would come to this,” Tom said, woefully.  “I knew it.”

            “What the hell are you talking about?” Russ asked frustrated.  He filled a small shot glass with scotch, and drank it quickly.

            Tom was so quiet on the other end of the phone that Russ thought he had hung up, or passed out.  “You mess around with the devil long enough, Russ, and sooner or later, he’ll get you.”

            Russ grimaced.  “You’re fuckin drunk off your ass!” he growled.  “Go to sleep, Tom.”

            “Ida Green cursed us, Russ,” Tom chuckled menacingly.  “She cursed us the day we put her daughter away in prison.”

            Now, the man was just talking nonsense.  “Ida Green’s dead and buried in the ground.  She ain’t in the business of cursing anybody these days.”

            “We got greedy, Russ,” Tom continued, unaffected by anything coming out of Russ’s mouth.  “I knew it in my gut that someday—someday it would come back to bite us in the ass.”

            Russ hadn’t given energy to a single thought about Ida or about what had happened back then.  Shit, too much time had passed to care.  Desi Green was out, and ended up being a very rich woman. 

            “We saved that girl’s life,” Russ explained.

            “We took it.  And we kept on taking lives, Russ.  For too long.  Too many.”

            Rage flushed over Russ like a heat wave.  “Don’t you put that shit on me, Tom!  Don’t you even think of trying to put what you did on me!”

            “You reaped the benefits of what I did, Russ,” he said, quietly. 

            “Fuck you!  What I do ain’t illegal!  It ain’t a crime if two people are consenting adults!”

            Tom chuckled.  “And that’s the rub, ain’t it?  They tell you what you want to hear, and it makes it fine as wine in your mind?  Is that how it works, Russ?”

            Russ rubbed sleep from his eyes.  Tom was a fuckin' alcoholic, and tonight he was drunk and talking out of the side of his head about nonsense.  “What’s in the picture, Tom?  So, it’s you and some kids.  What?  Are you beating the kids?  Eating them?  Stuffing them into burlaps sacks and tossing them in the river?  What?”

            Again, Tom was quiet, and the empty sound on the phone was deafening.  “I’m just…taking the kids.  I’m taking them—from across the border.”  An anguished sob crossed the phone lines.  “I think she sent it,” Tom finally admitted out loud, a thought that had probably been driving him crazy ever since he found out that Desi Green was writing that book.

            “How?  Tom, how could she know?” Russ asked with desperation.  In his mind, she couldn’t know a thing about either of them.  Desi was nothing.  She was just—a woman who’s suffered under some unfortunate circumstances in her life, but that was such a long time ago.  Russ and Tom were probably nothing more than distant memories to that woman. 

            “You remember,” Tom started to say, drifting off onto another conversation. “You remember how Ida cried that day?  You remember how she cried and cried…”

            Russ squeezed his eyes shut trying to block out a memory he thought was long gone.

            “She begged us, Russ… Begged us to…”

            “You  know she didn’t do this!”  Ida’s eyes were bloodshot red.  She was on her knees for crying out loud.  On her knees tugging at Tom, and then crawled across the floor to Russ.

            Tom had called Russ when he’d gotten the call from the Gatewood lawyers.  “I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know what—”

            “Oh, God!” Ida sobbed.  “Tom—Tom, please!  Judge Fleming!  She’s just a baby!  She’s my baby!”

            It was hard to watch.  Deep down, conscience convicted both men, but not enough. 

            “Sign your statement, Ida,” Tom told her, after looking at Russ.  “You have to sign it.”

            “No!” Ida shook her head so hard and fast that she nearly fell over.  “No!  I won’t!  I ain’t signing nothing!  Cause you know it’s a lie!” she struggled to her feet, and took a defiant stance in front of both men.  Ida pointed.  “You know it’s a lie!  And you know it!  And I ain’t signing a motha fuckin thing!”

            Finally, Russ stepped forward.  “You sign it, Ida, or I swear to God I’ll put the death penalty on the table when it comes time to convict that girl!” he stood nose to nose with her.  “And you  know just like I know that the jury will find her guilty!”

            Tom pulled out the chair for her.  Ida deflated right before their eyes, and she signed the document.

            It hadn’t affected him back then.  Russ stood in the middle of his kitchen feeling like he’d been bathed in mud.  Ida had inherited some of Julian Gatewood’s money, but not enough to keep her daughter out of prison. 

            “Take me instead,” she said, solemnly, sitting down at that table over the statement she was supposed to sign.  “She’s too young.  Take me,” her voice trailed off.

            Tom shifted uneasily from one foot to the other.  “I’ve got witnesses who saw her with the gun in her hand, Ida.”

            She looked up at him with hooded, red eyes.  Tom turned away.  Ida signed her official statement.

            “Men like us, take liberties with people’s lives, Russ,” Tom spoke unemotionally into the phone.  “We’re not gods, but we pretend to be.  We have no right to do the things we do.”

            “You need to get some sleep, Tom.  It’s late.”

            Tom sighed.  “It is late. Too damn late, and we’re about to be held accountable for all our trespasses, Russ.  You get ready.”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An interviewer once asked me to describe my "style" when it came to writing.  And I'm often asked about the "messages" I try to convey to readers.  This  might sound strange, but I think it's my job to make you, the reader, uncomfortable.  Whether it's the issue of domestic violence, rape, child molestation, drug addiction, I've been driven as a writer to depict those images, as uncomfortable as they are to write, in ways that forces the reader to pay attention, not because I get off on the shock factor, or the drama, but because these things are a part of life, real life.

So,iIt's one thing to write these types of books, but it's another to create situations in which readers also have to look at a scene from a different perspective, one that they might never have considered before.  In my first novel, "And On The Eighth Day She Rested", not only were readers privy to Ruth's plight as an abused woman, but they also got to see inside her abuser's head, as well.  You probably didn't empathize with Eric, but you were at least given insight into what drove him to do the things he did. 

In "Don't Want No Sugar" readers were introduced to the irrational thought processes of the crazy mid-wife, Roberta, and were given insight to the situations in that woman's life that helped form the foundation of the woman she ultimately became. 

In "That Devil's No Friend of Mine", I gave you a chance to experience the temptation and heartache of a recovering heroine addict in Rayne, and even shared her experience with you of what it was like for her to "fall off the wagon" and lose herself again in those old habits.

Beautiful, Dirty, Rich, my next book, follows suit to my pervious books, in that the story isn't always pretty, and you will be faced with attitudes and personalities that make you uncomfortable.  A teenage girl is convicted of murder and is forced to survive twenty-five years in a federal prison.   How does she manage to do it?  A former law enforcement officer is finally exposed for heinous crimes committed against humanity.   A court official has been hiding a terrible secret, until the truth finally catches up with him.  And a woman who is a prisoner of her memories, is tortured by one memory that she refuses to believe to be true.

 The only messages I ever try to convey in any of my books is to ask that you open your mind and your hearts, and really consider an idea or opinion or a choice, or even a lifestyle aside from your own.  So, in answer to the question "What is my writing style?", I'd have to say, confrontational and not necessarily pretty, but always, real.

Finally, on a happier note:  I really am an optimistic, well adjusted, and positive individual.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Blogs

I suck at blogging.  I've found that I am not so saavy when it comes to taking my random thoughts, writing them down and turning them into a fantastic gateway for witty dialogue.  My ideas and thoughts are usually fleeting and mildly, temporarily penetrating before I have moved on to the next one.

I would love to be different and to be able to capitalize on all the intriguing ideas that pop into my head, but, alas, I can never stay focused long enough.   Thankfully, I am blessed to have come across others who don't suffer from my handicap.  The internet is filled with other bloggers who possess the skills and talent for blogging in ways that I never will, and I've decided to share some of those innovative thinkers with you:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bang! Bang!

"...beautiful and dirty rich rich, we got a red light on the 12th, the dance fight, systematic, honey but we got no money..." - Lady Gaga

Like...what does that mean?  Only Gaga knows.  I like Gaga, and I think I like the song, but I loved the title enough to use it for my next book title. 

Actually the title was my editor, Monique Patterson's idea and the conversation went something like this:

Monique:  Hey, JD!  Yes, you've missed another deadline and no, before you ask, you can't have any more money yet, so stop asking.  But how are you?

Me:  Hey Monique.  Yeah, I know the book's late again, but it's comingits coming, I promise.  I just need another week.  And, I got bills to pay, so don't be so negative, and send a sistah a check.

Monique:  Oh, okay.  I'll see what I can do.  By the way.  I was looking for some new music on iTunes and I came across this song title that I thought would be great for a book.  I immediately thought of you when I saw it.

Me:  (a bit flattered)  Well, let me hear it.

Monique:  It's called Beautiful, Dirty, Rich by Lady Gaga.  Do you think you can do something with that?

Me: (feeling so honored that I was moved to tears)  Why yes, MP!  I love the title and I'd love to use it for my next book.

Monique:  Groovy, JD!  That's just groovy! 

Me:  (proudly) No, MP.  We certainly wouldnt.

I've used quite a few titles or lyrics from songs for several of my books; Don't Want No Sugar title is comprised of song lyrics from Bessie Smith's Boweavil Blues.  This Fire Down In My Soul comes from lyrics in a song called, Don't Leave Me This Way by Thelma Houston.   And Somebody Pick Up My Pieces was a song originally performed by Willie Nelson, and was eventually re-released by Bettye Levette.  Admittedly, I tend to resort to music for titles when I can't come up with something catchy on my own.  And I have no problem returning the favor. 

PSA For the Week:

Attention Musicians (songwriters and performers):  If you are ever at a loss for a song title, or lyrics, feel free to borrow any of my titles for your inspiration, as I have borrowed from you.  I am happy to share.