It’s been a difficult year, in which som

It’s been a difficult year, in which some of our societal warts have been exposed. What was hidden, has now been revealed. It is not indicative of the whole, but it is painful nonetheless.

Our reality: Optics and the narratives around them, win the day. To this day our history books are filled with the lies of omission. To this day we continue to stumble, because we fail to recall, or just as often were never taught, the lessons of the past. We debate the truth of a snapshot in time as though we have all the facts, when in reality our destinies have less to do with the objects in the picture, and more to do with who frames the picture, for they supply the all important perspective for us. In the human experience the path forward was, is and always shall be a product of our collective perception. With that in mind, brothers and sisters, let me add #mystory to our collective consciousness.

The year was 2004 and I was working and lodging in one of Chicago’s northern suburbs. That particular evening, I was returning from dinner to my hotel room. As I drove my car into the hotel parking lot I noticed a local police car turning into the parking lot behind me. But his lights weren’t on, so I proceeded to park my car and gathered my things (laptop book bag) to head in for the night. Well, before I reached the front door, the officer approached and asked if I would wait a minute. He quickly explained that there had been a robbery in the area and that I matched the description of the suspect. “Okay…?” I said, or something to that effect. He asked me to place my book bag on the ground, and explained that he would need to search it, as soon as a second officer arrived. “Okay…?” again from me. The second officer, a big burly guy, arrived and exited his vehicle quickly, and walked towards us briskly, as he unfastened his holster and placed his hand on his gun. This caused an involuntary rising of an eyebrow by me. Where the first officer had been polite, the second officer rolled in with a different vibe. So, then as the first officer is searching my bag, a third officer arrives, and he and his dog (the canine unit) exit their vehicle and approach the three of us. At that point, I literally laughed out loud. I’m not sure if that was the “appropriate” thing to do, but that’s what I did. When the first officer completed the search of me and my bag he handed my bag back to me and apologized for the inconvenience. As I turned and entered the hotel, the young guy working the front desk asked what that was all about. Once I told him, he just shook his head, and we both quietly recognized the deal. Each of those officers who stopped me came to that point and time carrying a different set of experiences and perception of those experiences. So, while the first officer was calm in his demeanor and approach, the second officer was clearly anxious. And even today, I wonder if the second officer had encountered me first how things would have played out.

The behavior of the police and my response (although, I initially laughed, I was fuming when I got back to my room) are both a product of our perception and past experiences. For instance, often the idea of prevalent criminal activity within one group or another is planted in our minds by the propaganda of our times, for the purposes of winning elections, passing legislation or selling product. But the way the human mind works, we are designed to take a little bit of information and extrapolate into a rule. In other words we look for patterns in our world. In the natural, unedited world this worked fine. However, in the world of today, where seemingly everything is edited with a purpose in mind (even if it’s as innocent as getting more eyeballs or clicks on a story or video). The fact is that violent crime in the USA has declined steadily since 1991, and yet many of us feel less unsafe than ever. Therefore it is vital that we go analog and back into the world to see for ourselves the reality of…

Disclaimer: This may upset you, but you

Disclaimer: This may upset you, but you can’t do what they do.

When I was a young boy, my mother was adamant about some things, like always requesting a bag from the store clerk for anything I may have purchased. Although she seldom, if ever, explained her directives, I understand now how these rules of hers were meant to keep me safe, safe from a system which would presume my guilt should the question arise. The implicit message in my house, was, “You can’t do what they do.” It wasn’t until I was nearly forty years old, before I began to rethink some of these lessons from my youth. And truth be told, I’ve seldom passed along such suggestions to those coming up behind me, because we’re past all of that, right?

I mean, we’re all so smart now, so post-racial, right? We can say and do as we please now with no consideration of the advancement of a people, right? It’s all about living our individual lives as we see fit, right? Every Sister and Brother for themselves, right?

Here is the reality. Although it can be argued that the majority of our society may see past color, a smaller, but very vocal segment cannot. They remain afraid of us, and look for any opportunity to justify their concerns (that is human nature). They are predisposed against us, they do not respect us and the truth of the matter is that some of us are not helping the situation. “But hold up, why is another man’s dysfunction my problem?” you may ask. Because when we hold each other in such low esteem, how can we ask more of anyone else? We sing and promote songs which glorify the defamation one another and yet want the utmost respect from others. Don’t get it twisted, fear is not respect. If you doubt this, just turn on the evening news. And don’t believe that how we devalue our women doesn’t play a role in all of this as well (how can we diminish our women, and not expect it to diminish our sons and daughters).

Dr. King and the Civil Rights leaders of the day understood that changing the narrative in this country would require more than peaceful civil disobedience. Certainly, that was the centerpiece of the movement, but it was also about the dignity of self. Yes, allow me to vote, allow me to shop in the very store where I work, but also respect my person-hood. “A man cannot ride your back, unless it’s bent.” Civil rights protesters as a part of their non-violence instruction were taught how to conduct themselves when engaging the white public. But in conveying all of this, a message of self-worth was also being communicated. That self-worth, was the engine behind the movement. Sure there were many others, but when I think of this dignity of self, I first think of Rosa Parks.

Now, as a man, honestly, this makes me feel some kind of way. To adjust my way of being, because of someone else’s ignorance, is unsettling to my manhood. Members of other races, don’t have to account for one another, so why should I? And yet, even today, the programming of my youth still resonates within me. I still feel the burden to be better than them, whoever “they” might be and that I represent my race well. This message was embedded in me as a child and I recognize that the stress of it has sent many a black man to early grave. This is simply one of the realities of being an easy target. But the essence of a man is defined by how he responds to his environment. Thus, regarding the realities of the day, we can cry about how far we’ve yet to go, or we can honor our ancestors and march on for the sake of unborn generations.

No, as a nation we cannot do what “they” do. And though we be an imperfect nation, might one day we be known less for the lands we conquered and more for the good news of the equality of all men and women. Let us not forget that this struggle is not with individuals, but rather the systems of control, controls which subvert the dignity of self, be they capitalism, socialism, nationalism, racism and even organized religion, when they tell us…

Fear Fear is why military spending is th

Fear is why military spending is the sacred lamb in our federal budget, even though we’re the most powerful country in the world, by a long shot, outspending the next thirteen countries combined in military spending.
Fear is why we have the highest incarceration rate (mostly, non-violent offenders) in the world by far, even though the rate of violent crime in this country is the lowest it’s been in thirty years.
Fear is why we respond to our neighbors with tanks, tear gas and snipers, when they cry out in pain and confusion.
Fear is only as powerful as we allow it to be. But if fear is a choice, why are we so afraid? I suggest that, in part, our fear is a product of the age in which we live. Even as the Information Age has blessed us with awareness, it has cursed us with an over stimulation of images and information. We’re a country of information addicts. There is a whole progression which has led us to this place (Local news, Cable News, the OJ trial, Internet access, smart phones, Facebook, Twitter), but regardless, here we are trapped in a cycle of irrational fear over the most remote of possibilities.
So, what can we do? Ironically, to survive the Information Age, I think we all need to “Reboot” regularly. In other words, we should all take periodic breaks from the constant flow of content and reattach to the real world. Start with one day a week of no social media. Once you’ve established that habit, try separating yourself from cable news (Fox, MSNBC, CNN, etc…) on that same day of the week as well. Instead, read a newspaper or magazine (The Atlantic and The Economist come to mind). Sure, they report the news as well, but printed media is less stimulating and allows one to process information with more thought and less emotion. There are other things that come to mind (i.e. not posting ratchet material, for one), but this would be a great start.
Fear tells many lies. But in the end, when we are no more, there will be no mention of any nation, religion or pandemic in our obituary. History has shown us that no great empire succumbs to external threats, they collapse from within (Rome slowly eroded from lead in their water, and Egypt from relentless famines as the Sahara became more arid… hint, hint). For if we parish, it will not be at the sword of another, but rather from a lack of faith in one another. And while in this very moment fear whispers to us that we should pull back, faith calls us to reach out, step out, grab a hold and don’t let go.

Two things, First, the most dangerous th

Two things,
First, the most dangerous thing in the world is a closed mind. Secondly, Certainty is an illusion, for there is no certainty in the flesh, never was, never will be. These two facts are the bookends of fear.
We close our minds because we crave certainty, but it is a fool’s quest. Better to learn how to press on despite our fears. For if we give into fear, and close our own minds, be become the very thing that we fear.
In my faith tradition, we call this walking by faith. And dare I say that if I am never uncomfortable, then surely there is a question of whether I am truly exercising my Faith.

Struggling with demons We often see the

Struggling with demons

We often see the challenges in our lives, more specifically the demons we struggle against in our lives as some external force or situation. Meaning that we perceive that some sort of external remedy exists which can be a balm for our affliction. Ergo, often if we are depressed we think that changing our situation will bring happiness or perhaps we look for happiness in others. Many look for some new love interest because of the excitement it brings, when in fact doing so is like using duct tape to repair structural damage in your home. And truth be told, to cost of most “temporary fixes” is a far higher than we first thought. But our demons, if we allow them, will always drive us to self medicate. I spent 7 years writing a book, “To Wrestle with Darkness”, about my own demons and how I realized that these issues are innate and not something to take out on those around me. It’s simply not fair. And let’s be clear, I don’t like pain anymore than anyone else. And battling one’s own demons is painful. But I’d rather suffer through than to cause harm to any innocent. I know that often over the last 30 years our culture has preached that we need to do what makes us happy, to pursue our own truth. But I for one really question that. Every action in the universe has a cost. A price must be paid for every decision we act upon. It may not be us paying the fare, but someone will. Be it our children, spouse, significant other, family or friends. To allow a dysfunction within me to wreak havoc in the world around me is not what I want my life to be about. Granted, even still, being the flawed human that I am, my issues transcend my waking reality and seep out into the world around me. But for the purposes of this commentary, I’m stating that I strive every day, regardless of how I might be feeling on the inside, to be a blessing to others. And in turning my focus so, I slowly choke the life out of my own demons.

In honor of Father’s Day, let’s talk a

In honor of Father’s Day, let’s talk about what Manhood is and what it isn’t.

It’s not about always being right.
It’s about being accountable.

It’s not about the notches in your belt.
It’s about having a full heart.

It’s not about carrying the weight of the world.
It’s about bearing your share.

It’s not about being unafraid.
It’s about moving forwards anyway.

It’s not about getting your way.
It’s about putting your family before yourself.

It’s not about being the strongest.
It’s about helping those in need.

In the final analysis being a man is about doing what needs to be done.

Happy Father’s Day.

Often when we think of love, we think of

Often when we think of love, we think of low hanging fruit love, like loving babies or loving those who love us. But are we not called to a higher love, have we not claimed this love? The love we profess is not an easy thing. In fact, it’s the hardest thing. To that end…

Love is…
Loving those who despise you
Loving those who use you
Loving those who mock you

Love is…
Taking time
Making way
Letting go

Love is…
Forgiving regardless
Seeking no apology
Keeping no account

Love is…
Looking past yourself
Listening without agenda
Feeling uncomfortable


Please share as you are led.

Sunday’s Butler-Banks Book Tour author

Sunday’s Butler-Banks Book Tour author is Davaun Sanders. Please check him out…!

Thanks for checking out the work of all the authors participating in The 2014 Butler/Banks Book Tour. This is a huge year for many of us, and we couldn’t do what we love without the support of YOU, our readers! I hope you’ve been exposed to your next favorite author and encourage you to leave honest reviews of our work wherever you purchased it! Your feedback to other readers who share your interest is pure gold for indy authors.
Please enjoy the excerpt from my first novel, The Seedbearing Prince: Part I posted below. You can download it for FREE on Amazon for a limited time! The Seedbearing Prince: Part II is also available—click here!
Dayn Ro’Halan’s adventures will continue in The Course of Blades, to be released this summer—the third of six total books in the World Breach series. I’m really excited about this novel, it’s going to be the best one yet.
That being said…let’s do a giveaway!
Rules are simple: send me a picture of yourself READING a novel by ANY AUTHOR on The Butler/Banks Book Tour. You use an e-reader? Great. Reading in costume, or upside down? Even better! Go crazy—just keep it SFW please! Share with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
I’ll post your pictures to my Facebook and happily send you a FREE ebook of The Seedbearing Prince: Part II OR “The Course of Blades” when it is released this summer. We’ll all pretty much be famous together. It’s all so clear to me.
Let the photobomb commence, because this giveaway ends with the last day of the Butler/Banks Book Tour, April 30th!

The Seedbearing Prince Part I: Prologue

The torrent shifted again, and a thousand shards of onyx flashed to fire as Corian swept through a roiling field of ice and stone. The sheath on his worn black armor held, but would not last much longer. The stream of rock in the space between the worlds drifted slower here, and boasted several floating mountains large enough to hold a layer of air. Green ferns covered the surface of the nearest, providing plenty of cover. Corian was tempted to stop and rest, but crater wolves likely roamed in such thick foliage. The entire World Belt hung on the message he bore to the Ring, and he could rest after his task was done.
A field of red granite stretched in the space above him like the bizarre clouds of some nightmare, the individual boulders careening off each other by the hundreds. Only the hardest minerals and metals endured the endless pounding of the rock flow, and only the most foolish men would brave such a swath of torrent. They were moving the direction he needed to go, into the flow where the rock moved fastest. In the torrent, speed kills, he reminded himself. He was the best courser among the Ring’s Guardians, but the rock never cared.
Corian deftly attached a new talon to what remained of his silver wingline, then heaved it. The metal hook took hold, his wingline snapped taut, and the boulder yanked Corian into the flow. He repeated the process, each time roping a boulder moving faster, until his last guide rock pulled him along at hundreds of spans a second. A layer of white frost appeared on his armor and mask in a blink. He reeled himself in and clung to the red surface, like a flea riding a river bison in the middle of a stampeding herd. He watched every direction at once from his perch, digging his gauntlets into the crumbling surface. The boulder was actually some ancient rusted metal, not granite as he first thought. The torrent here was so thick he could barely see the stars, and it filled his ears with a distant roar.
He sped along this way for some time, until he spied a pockmarked mass of stone and iron, large as a dwarf moon. A cleft right down the middle threatened to split the entire thing in half. A tower in the northern axis had seen more than its fair share of rust, but the light strobing from it pulsed…

What’s My Writing Process?

What’s My Writing Process? Tagged in Special Blog Hop by Alicia McCalla

Published on Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I’m participating in a special year-long blog hop to explain my writing process. I’ve been tagged by the awesome  Scifi and Urban Fantasy author Alicia McCalla. Here are my responses:

What am I working on? I’m working on a series of Short Stories Related to Sacrifices and To Wrestle With Darkness, which I will release later this summer as a promotional called the Apocrypha. These stories take place between the first two books of the trilogy and the third and final book. The Characters in my books are, shall we say, very gifted. You have Michael the Alchemist, who can transmute matter from one state to another, or from one element to another. He can also see the dreams of others. Then there’s his cousin, Akina, who can walk through time and space as easily as we might walk across a room.

How does my work differ from others in my genre? My books differ from Science Fiction writers in that while my characters are truly gifted, each is flawed in some way, like so many of us. Actually, it is my hope that every person who reads my book sees them self within at least one of the characters.

Why do I write what I do? Not to be vain, but I was made for this. As a child, I used to make up stories for brothers and I to act out during our after school playtime.  I’d daydream all day about the adventures we’d play out. I guess, I was a bit of a dungeon master, well before such a term was in use.   I see writing as a big part of my purpose in this life.

How does my writing process work? I’ve always enjoyed the creative process, but it wasn’t until I was on the student newspaper staff at GaTech (The Technique), that I truly developed a writing process.  Sitting in the student center music room, I discovered that listening to music while I wrote ushered me into a waking dream state that really enhanced my writing.  My go to album (remember those?) was Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.  Sure, things like being at the beach or vacationing somewhere new inspire me, but listening music is something I can pretty much do anywhere, to jump-start my writing. Once I’ve written a piece, I like to let it lay for a bit and then return to review it.  If when reviewing it, I can’t believe that I wrote it, then I know that it’s pretty darn good.

Next Up: Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade