Black & Single Blues


Black & Singles Blues wraps at Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.  Last episode was Wednesday.  The book version is cleaning up nicely.  After a bump in the road.  Jerry Freeman, who’s editing the series at Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, had problem with the sex scenes.  Whereupon, I promptly responded with an attitude of, “Well, who the hell asked you?”  Problem is, I did, so to speak: after all, when you work with an editor you invite all sort of unsolicited comment.  Which is all when and good when Freeman’s patting me on the back.  So, things got stalled while I got a second opinion from Adrianne Hamilton-Butler with whom I used to work at Insight News.  She said basically the same thing as Jerry only different.  Adrianne didn’t mind the sex so much as she felt they should be love scenes with the reader getting to peek inside the protagonist’s heart and soul.  Worked for me.  Took maybe three weeks to process all the input from both, then tinker with the rewriting.  Once the book got back on track, things flowed smoothly again. Which is where they’re at now.  Reorganizing here, nip and tuck there.  God willing and the creek don’t rise, it’ll be published at Kindle/ by mid-month.  

Well, God willing, the creek don’t rise and Shelley Halima of Indie Gypsy Press don’t  come riding over the hill like cavalry to the rescue.  She’s enthusiastically expressed a pointed interest in considering Black & Singles Blues at her shop.  Which – go  check out the website,, one helluva coup for my debut as a novelist.  Between you and me, I’m fairly giddy at the mere prospect.  Between the professionalism of her outfit, not to mention she’s a marvelously gifted author, herself, and the fact that I’ve always had a – for God sake, don’t tell the woman – massive crush on my dear friend who happens to be one of those all-this-and-brains-too knockouts.  We’ll just have to see.  Like I said, the rinse cycle on the manuscript shouldn’t take more than another couple weeks.  Then, the ball will be in her court.  

Meanwhile, there’s the sequel at MSR, Keith & Lesli (Black & Single Blues II) beginning week after next.  Which Jerry Freeman, bless his heart, will edit.  Somebody nominate the man for sainthood.  It was, in fact, Jerry who, when MSR publisher Tracey Dillard-Williams was looking for somebody to come behind Shuletta Brundidge’s series Down Low Brother, mentioned my name.  I showed him an old short story I had sometime back in Essence Magazine, about a musician who can’t commit to his girlfriend.  We dusted the bad boy off and went about the business of adapting it to a weekly tune-in-next-time soap opera.  Who knew there’s an audience for that kind of thing?  I mean, besides Tracey.  It started out well recieved and, a year and a half later, the thing’s a hit.  To the extent that the sequel should receive a warm welcome.  Wish me luck.

Working on a third draft of Ella Stanley, inspired by Effa Manley, the onliest woman Negro Baseball League owner who, by the by, also was the one most visibly committed to civil rights – before the Civil RIghts Era.  Been an interesting experience.  My first play to have a female character directly front and center, clearly fueling the story from beginning to end.  Usually, they sneak up and take the script over.  Not that I mind.  Hell, how many male playwrights write women characters that strong.  This time, I figured, fuck it.  Instead of having her hi-jack the story, just give it to her and save myself ten or twelve rewrites.  Not to mention a whole lot of confusion.  It won’t get finished this year.  Dan Sullivan just gave me, he picked up at a rummage sale, The Most Famous Woman In Baseball a bio of Manley.  So, it’s back to the drawing board in terms of research.  Better to do it right than just do it right now.  

Made my film debut, singing on the soundtrack and performing the old Rev. Gary Davis blues “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” in a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance in Brenda Bell Brown’s Sing Blues, Thank You.  Cool thing is that’s me you hear on vocal and guitar the leading man, Masanari Kawahara makes his entrance.  Ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille. 

End of August will be done with the studio part of Angels Don’t Really Fly (BeatBad Records – EP).  Time to master it and move on to packaging and marketing the bad boy.  First target is publishing companies.  Took a few twists and turns but the whole project got done at Winterland Studios.  Gonna miss going out there.  Highly recommend recording out there as one of the best professional experiences an artist can have in terms of engineers who not only know what they’re doing but it don’t take ’em much to catch on to what it is you want.  And end product is clear as water in the Caribbean. 

That’s not even half the workload.  Suffice to say I’ll manage to stay out of trouble and off the street on a regular basis.