Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sale of the Century

Jay Z raps that he has 99 problems but a female dog ain’t one. Well STOP THE PRESSES, because if you have 99 cents and a Kindle then you too have no problem. No problem obtaining my novel Patches of Grey, that is. March 23rd is my birthday and I’ve decided to mark the occasion in a most celebratory fashion by giving a gift to you. By you, I mean the book buying public. I mean those of you always on the look out not only for a great read, but also a great deal. I mean those of you for which cost may have once been an object, but no more, because it has been reduced from $8.99 to $0.99. My math is terrible but I believe that's a savings of something like 89%! And there's no waiting in a long line to bring it up on your screen. You are now less than a buck and a few mouse clicks away from having an electronic copy of my debut novel in your possession. If you’d prefer to hold a bound copy in hand, if you’re still an old school ink and paper type soul, you can spend a little more to obtain the printed edition from Amazon or one of the independent booksellers that carries it. If you’d like an autographed copy then you’ll need to purchase one directly from me via PayPal. But if all you care to have is the story itself, and if you are currently a Kindle owner or else destined to become one in the not too distant future, your wallet is an extremely light hit away from reading my book. How long will this mega sale last? Well, that’s up to you. I’m not under the impression that Patches of Grey will be making me a rich man. My goal is simply for as many people to read it as possible. I put a tremendous amount of work into it, happen to feel that it’s a fantastic impactful story, and would love for a significant amount of people to check it out and judge for themselves. So long as a respectful number of readers are deciding to give it a shot, the Kindle edition of Patches of Grey will remain at the budget friendly price of 99 cents. To reach the maximum count of people I suppose I could just give it away, but I’m feeling generous, not crazy. Once you’ve read my novel I really hope to hear your thoughts on it. Please leave a line or two on Amazon or GoodReads.com or your book review blog or wherever it is you state opinions on the books that come into your lives. I look forward to finding out what you think, just as I'm anxious to finish the edit of my second novel Matters of Convenience, get it out there, and learn how you feel about that one also. Then once again there will be cause to celebrate. My uncopyrighted motto is "Another Day, Another Milestone". So what are you waiting for? If you’re thinking of getting me something for my birthday, I’ve just given you a mighty big clue what I'd value and cherish most of all. You may come to find that you've given yourself a wonderful gift as well.


p.s. - Please check out my interview at Kindle Author where I talk about, well, being an author, being published on Kindle, my novel Patches of Grey, and a whole lot more

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rivalry Revisited


ESPN recently aired their latest 30/30 documentary about the famous/infamous Fab 5 team from Michigan. Their rivalry with Duke was by necessity a major area of focus. Jalen Rose talks about (and as producer he could of course include and exclude whatever he wished) his impression at the time that Duke recruited black players who were “Uncle Toms.” This didn’t go over well with at least one of those former Duke players – Grant Hill. So there was a little back and forth between them, none of it actually face to face, much of it sent indirectly towards the other rather than naming names. On Twitter Jalen wrote: “I didn’t say anything in the doc that I didn’t say to a players FACE”. Okay, not sure how this excuses the idiocy of his thought process. At best it gives him more “street cred”, something that a so called Uncle Tom would of course be sorely lacking. Jalen continued: “For those MOANING about how something or someone was portrayed in the doc note that it was FRAMED from 1991-1993 not 2011 #quit crying.”

The moaning Jalen Rose referred to was an Op Ed piece written by Grant Hill and published by the New York Times in rebuttal to characterizations made in the documentary. He speaks eloquently for himself so I won’t bother to do much summarizing - [Hill's own words]. Bottom line, Grant Hill does not agree with nor appreciate what Jalen Rose had to say. No surprise there. But what I did find somewhat alarming was people taking sides on Twitter, with a surprisingly robust amount on Team Rose. I’m not talking about people who thought Hill overreacted because Rose was expressing the way he felt in the distant past as a teen, not his current opinions as a grown man with public platform. It’s not entirely clear to what degree Jalen has changed his tune but I’ll take him at his tweet that the mentality was “framed from 1991-1993 not 2011”. No, I’m referring to people who believe that what Jalen Rose said and felt in 1991-1993 was then and is today still valid. Certainly if they think Rose was accurately describing Hill then they themselves describe countless African Americans in such manner. For what sins? Growing up in a two parent home? Getting a college degree? Or perhaps a degree is okay but better not be obtained from too “white acting” a college. Having a corporate job? Speaking in grammatically correct sentences? Writing eloquently? Marrying a white woman? Wait up, Grant Hill didn’t even do that last one. But surely he intends to one day dump Tamia for Kim Kardashian. That’s what Uncle Toms do, no? Perhaps I should have picked someone less ethnic than Kim to make a stronger point. Dame Judi Dench?

Grant Hill’s response may very well have been overkill, but I know why he reacted strongly and I’m glad he did. His rebuttal was not merely directed at Jalen Rose but at everyone who ever thought of him (or any other black person) in such a manner, including all those tweeters I just mentioned. What I read in his words is what I’ve always believed in my heart. There is no right or wrong way to be black. There’s no one way to be black at all. There’s simply being human in the best manner you can manage, regardless of your particular set of window dressing. Be who you are and don’t quietly let anyone disrespect you on account of it. But when they inevitably do, it will always say a whole lot more about them than it says about you.

Below are some thoughts I expressed on the matter one tweet at a time, with a few retweets of sentiments expressed by others sprinkled in. What’s your take?

Didn't see the Fab 5 documentary, just tweets about it. Only catching up now to controversial remarks by Jalen Rose & Grant Hill's response.

The concept that if u aren't "keeping it real", speaking mostly slang, dressing 4 opposite of success, classifies u as "Uncle Tom" must die.

I'm tired of black people beating up on black people for not being "black enough". Progress impossible if holding your own self back

The most devout Jew doesn't criticize another for being less Jewish. Super Italian doesn't diss another for not being Italian enough. But blacks…

Complexion adds a whole other layer of complexity. U can wear dashiki & afro & keep fist raised in air all day, but u light skinned? Denied.

As if people are selecting how much DNA from which branches of the humanity tree they wish to have. That's 5 yrs down the road, minimum

Melanin argument is at least tangible. Retarded, but tangible. Calling someone "not black" because they like to read & excel at math? WTF?!

No people are more bigoted against black people than certain black Americans. There, I said it. It's factual. I see proof on here EVERY DAY.

Just let people be whoever it is they happen to be. If they're not personally f'ing with you, their mode of existence isn't your concern.

p.s.- White people are way less preoccupied w/ keeping blacks down than you may believe. Most people of all races are simply looking out for selves.

And by "selves" I don't mean members of same race. I mean you look out for your own damn self, then your family, then out from there.

You give the biggest white bigot a choice between doing something racist for hell of it or accepting $100, cash gets snatched 9 of 10 times.

And that's the biggest bigot I'm talking about. Most of you have been lucky enough never to have actually met that A-hole, whoever he may be.

So in the words of my man Spike Lee - WAKE UP. After that, get smart & get paid. After that, give back to your community & world at large.

And as you'll see if you check out tweets by @
ClarenceGaines2 most know zilch about Uncle Tom & are insulting incorrectly. READ A BOOK!!!

Surely there are black men out there named Tom who have nephews & nieces. Does this pose a problem for them?

RT @ToureX Grant notes that in the doc Jalen leaves it unclear what he now feels about Black Dukies. His tweeted "clarification" isn't clarifying much.

RT @rodimusprime: Uncle Tom thing is more abt class at this point than it is about race.
To which I replied - Name 1 white man not named Tom ever called Uncle Tom

Fact: No man of any race ever felt badly about being called an Uncle Nate Dogg. Simply implies improved quality by mere presence.

RT @LLCoolChels Bottom line is GH has a right to respond and defend who he was THEN and where he came from just like JR has a right to tell his story.

There is no intelligent explanation for an ignorant opinion. "I was young & misinformed" is the best anybody has ever come up with.

I'm older but not any wiser is a particularly poor argument.

Calling someone an "Uncle Tom" is not matter of perspective (as I just saw somebody categorize it) in most cases, just plain wrong.

RT @Brandale2221 As a Person who has been labeled BOTH an Uncle Tom & a COON .. both by black folks...IMO the problem is how we label ourselves.

To all those tweeps out there raising your kids in two parent households or being raised in one yourself, keep Tomming.

RT @BritniDWrites Folks shld be happy Rose is able to articulate his past hurt & isn't knocking somebody upside the head cuz he can't express his emotions.
To which I replied - Interesting point. I suppose a documentary is slightly less blunt than a bat upside the head.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Birthday Book Giveaway

Spring is approaching, flower buds are appearing, my birthday is nearing, a big announcement from me is forthcoming, and the contest at GoodReads.com for a chance to win a free copy of Patches of Grey is officially underway. Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Patches of Grey (Perfect Paperback) by Roy L. Pickering Jr.

Patches of Grey

by Roy L. Pickering Jr.

Giveaway ends March 23, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win