Musings in the Dark: 2016


Prince's Legacy: #2

#2:  Purple Rain

This is Prince’s 6th studio album, and it is iconic; the definitive Prince album.  It was his second with The Revolution, and it, of course, is the soundtrack to the movie of the same name.

Like, do I even need to say more?  Everyone knows Purple Rain.

I will, because the album deserves the full treatment.  It sold over 22 million copies and is one of the best-selling soundtracks ever, in addition to being one of the greatest albums of all time.  It won two Grammys and an Oscar, and four of the songs became Top 10 hits.  Purple Rain owned #1 on the Billboard charts for 24 consecutive weeks, and was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry for its cultural significance.

Now that is an impressive list of accomplishments.


#3: Prince's Legacy

#3: Sign O’ the Times

This gem of a double album came out in 1987 and it was the first Prince album I actually owned myself and believe me, I played it until the needle broke.  I used to stare at the album cover (inside and out) for hours.  Prince had this whole peach and black thing going on (as mentioned in “U Got the Look”) and the inside cover contains a picture of him sitting in front of what I swear looks like my mother’s living room window sporting a peach outfit, glasses and fierce hair.  He was fucking beautiful and stimulated quite a few dreams and fantasies.   I am not ashamed to admit this.  Hell, y’all know me by now.  Men inspire me.



Hey Dilettantes!

I'm back at work and my workload has doubled.  I'm doing the work of three men (cue massive eye roll) and I rarely have time to do anything not related to my job.  This annoys me because I have my Prince tribute to finish, and it's best to finish within the year he died.  I should have been finished it, but some unexpected fuckitude came up and well...

...Anyway, I will work harder at protecting my writing time, because there's so much to tell.  Black Girl Nerds is having an explosive year, and I'm so proud of our founder Jamie Broadnax for making BGN what it is and for what it will become.  MCP is also having a productive year.  Plans and decisions are being made, and I'm anticipating 2017 to be a very good year.

Talk to you soon!!


Prince's Legacy #4

#4: Musicology

Musicology dropped in 2004.  It’s an R&B-heavy album and was Prince’s most successful album since Diamonds & Pearls.  My bestie and I went to the concert and scored front-row seats.  We were maybe twenty feet from His Royal Badness and it was epic!!!  My bestie is an even bigger fan than I am; she saw him in concert five times.  One of the things she told me was that Prince’s concerts ALWAYS started on time, and that magical Monday night was no different.  The show was from 7:30 – 11:30 and opened with Morris Day & The Time.  We were screaming like lunatics and on our feet the entire time.


Prince's Legacy #5

#5: 1999

1999 dropped in 1982.  It’s synth-heavy; you get the impression that Prince was experimenting with a lot of different keyboards and drum machines.  As a child, I was a fan of keyboard-laden music and so one-nine-nine-nine was right up my alley.  It was the first of his albums to crack the top 10 (peaking at 9 when it was released and 7 after he died).  It’s the album that made people stand up and take notice of the Purple One.  The cover is unbelievable; I haven’t seen an album cover that comes close to the artistry that is 1999’s face.  1999 also marks the introduction of The Revolution.


Prince's Legacy: #6

#6: The Gold Experience

In 1995, The Gold Experience dropped.  The album is a blend of
funk and rock and was arranged as a set of “experiences.” Each song began with a female computer-voice intro informing listeners which experience they were accessing. Prince was still going by the love symbol at that time due to his dispute with Warner Brothers.  TGE snuck up on me because 1995 was a stressful year and a great many things occupied my mind, music being one of the least.  But it is a solid album and I learned to appreciate it later on.  Favorite cuts include “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” “Shhh!,” “I Hate U,” “We March,” “Endorphinmachine,” and “Shy.”


On Sale Now: Nightingales: cool air

I'd like to announce that the second book (Episode 1) of my supernatural mystery series, Nightingales, is ready for purchase. 

Episode 1, cool air, picks up one week after the events of CRASH!!! left off.  cool air takes readers deeper into the lives of Neveyah, Jo, Cressida, Lee-Lee and Monica.  Cressida tries to make sense of what happened to her.  Jo and Neveyah have a tiff and Lee-Lee decides to help Monica bake cookies for the Cookie Throwdown.  Weird things happen to Lee-Lee and Neveyah.

Wanna know what happens next?  Pick up Nightingales: cool air for $2.99 right here.  Thank you for your support!!!


Meet the Nightingales: Cressida

Michelle Krusiec as Cressida Brinton

This is a woman who knows exactly what she wants and will do whatever she feels is required to obtain it.  She is classy, cold, and calculating, with a slew of wealthy men at her beck and call.  But an unforeseen encounter puts her in the crosshairs of the unfamiliar…actually needing someone. 


Just then the woman came back out as the moving men brought in the last of her furniture.  She no longer had her coat or bag and Monica had to nod approvingly at her outfit.  The woman looked at the other ladies.  “I see that you are still here.”
“We live here, bitch,” Jo said.  “You best be glad that Neveyah’s between us, or I would have a size 9 all up in your swanky ass.”
The woman smirked.  “Amusing.  I guess that makes us neighbors.” 
Monica cradled her mug.  “She was planning on throwing an ass-kicking your way.  I’m certain that’s not the welcome you wanted.”
The lady looked at Monica and a small sigh escaped her, as if she couldn’t be bothered.  “Is that supposed to scare me?  Try again.”
Monica raised her eyebrows, reading the woman’s expression.  “All righty then.”  She backed away, drinking her coffee.  Then she started humming the tune for “Have A Little Talk with Jesus.”
Lee-Lee walked up to the lady and extended her hand.  “In that case, let me introduce myself.  My name is Elysie Blake, but everybody calls me Lee-Lee.”  She pointed to Monica.  “That’s Monica, my roommate.  We live in 6B.  Those two are Jocasta and Neveyah.  They live in 6C.”
The lady didn’t extend her hand and Lee-Lee stared at her.  “Your name is…?”
She smoothed her hair and glanced at the movers, who were finishing up.  Her ring caught the light and the stone sparkled like a diamond.  “I suppose I could offer my name.” 
“It’d be nice,” Monica said, trying to keep the sarcasm out of her voice and failing.  “We do live on the same floor.”
The woman sighed again but didn’t extend her hand.  Instead she smoothed her hair again.  “My name is Cressida J. Brinton.  But it is not a pleasure, as I have a broken mirror and a damaged end table to deal with.  These are by far the most incompetent moving men I have ever dealt with.”
“Jeez,” Lee-Lee said.  “You should complain.”
“I plan to.  Now if it is all the same to you,” Cressida said, side-eyeing Jocasta, “I have business to attend to.”


Meet the Nightingales: Neveyah

Jana Mashonee as Neveyah Austin-Malone

Neveyah Austin-Malone is a talented musician and gifted dancer who loves taking off her clothes for a living.  She is a tour de force on stage and has the ability to bring men to their knees.  Neveyah’s been fooling around with powers she has no business messing with, and as a result, has opened the door to something she’s unable to handle on her own.


Neveyah, clad in a pink T-shirt, walked towards their front door with Jocasta following behind, muttering. “Whoever she is, she’s going to get shanked if she doesn’t shut the hell up,” Jo said.  “I’ve been looking for a reason to use Mary Jane.”  Mary Jane was Jocasta’s brand-new pearl-handled switchblade, a gift from her father.
“Joseph should have never gotten you that knife,” Neveyah yawned, unlocking the door.  “He’s a cop; he should know better than to give your unstable ass a blade.”
“Don’t hate,” Jo said.  “You want one yourself.”
“True,” Neveyah replied, opening the door.  She used her foot to push Pretzel back.  “Stay, baby.  Stay.  Sit.”
Pretzel looked up at his mommy and whined, but he sat his fat little ass down.  Neveyah and Jo looked outside.  Down the hall, someone was moving in to Six-A.  The owner of the voice was indeed an Asian woman of average height, sporting a black shearling coat with five-inch heels, McQueen from the look.  Said voice was as grating as nails on a chalkboard.
“Hey!” Jocasta said.  “Folks are trying to sleep, do you mind shutting up?”
The woman turned and eyed Jo and Neveyah.  She blinked dismissively and turned back towards the movers.  Jo looked at her roommate.  “Did she just dismiss me?”

“I guess you’ll need Mary Jane after all,” Neveyah yawned.  “I’m going back to bed.”


Meet the Nightingales: Monica

Chrystee Pharris as Monica

Monica Tierney is a computer geek with a love for languages and the law.  She’s practical, brilliant, and relentlessly planning her future with Chris Chang, her fiance. She’s about to be in over her head in an unexpected spiritual struggle.  A Christian, Monica is unprepared for what is about to be unleashed.


“Let’s deal with this, then,” Monica said.  She took a huge swig of coffee and walked down the hall to the lady, who was running a hand over her perfectly coiffed hair.  Monica tapped her curtly on the shoulder.  “Excuse me.”
The woman turned and looked at Monica, her eyes hard.  “Do not touch me again.”
Monica glared at her.  “I’m not sure if you realize it, but there are others living on this floor and you are making entirely too much noise.  It’s seven in the morning.  Do you mind taking your screaming into your loft so that we can go back to our nice, quiet lives?”
The woman rolled her eyes at Monica before turning back to continue directing the moving men, who were currently bringing in a beautiful green, ivory and red Italian sofa.  Monica bristled as Lee-Lee, Jo and Neveyah joined her, and she tilted her head in annoyance.  “Lady, if you don’t want me to knock your stank ass out, you will answer my question.”
The lady turned again to look at Monica, now flanked by the other girls.  “What is this?  Are you a gang or something?  Do you plan to assault me?  Whatever you think you are going to do, rest assured you will go to jail for it.”  She wasn’t the least bit intimidated.
“My father’s the Chief of Detectives, honey.” Jo said.  “We won’t even make it to lock-up.  Besides, what makes you think that you’ll survive anything we choose to do?”
The woman smiled coldly and rolled her eyes again, shifting her bag to the other arm.  There was a large ring on the middle finger of her right hand; the aquamarine was roughly the size of a sparrow’s egg.  “You will not lay a hand on me.  I will see your Chief of Detectives and raise you the Mayor.  Do you know Kasim?” She paused for emphasis.  “I thought not.  Run along, little girl.”  She turned away and began to follow the men who were carrying two large gold floor lamps into her loft.

Monica was aghast.  She looked at the other girls.  “That rude…!”  Then she sighed dramatically and muttered, “I’m not going to let the devil use me; I’m just not.”  She took another swig of coffee and closed her eyes.


Meet the Nightingales: Lee-Lee

Sujata Day as Elysie "Lee-Lee" Blake

A lover of nature and the occult, Lee-Lee is a doctoral student indirectly studying her origins.  She’s friendly, inquisitive, and blessed with unique abilities.  Her gifts allow her to be a conduit for supernatural forces.  Supported by her skinflint father, yet sustained by her understanding mother, Lee-Lee is determined to know who and what she is.


            Lee-Lee came back inside and sat down at the table.  Monica looked at her.  “Your mail’s on the counter.  What kind of plant was that you just brought in?”
            “A bamboo.  Are you all right?”
            Monica checked her email.  “I’m fine.  Mama wants to know if you’d be interested in judging the next Cookie Throwdown.”  She put the textbook on her desk.
            A grin split Lee-Lee’s face, as she remembered Monica and Chris returning to Six-B five months ago with covered containers full of cookies.  Monica nodded her head.  “I’ll take that as a yes.”
            “I would love to be a judge!  That means I can get all the cookies I want, right?”
            “Count me in!”
            “Lee-Lee, you don’t even know when it is. You may have a deadline or something.”
            “And I don’t care!  Those cookies you brought home last time were fantastic!  Whatever’s going on at that time, I’ll schedule around it!”
            “Fine.  By the way, I’m expected to contribute this time.”
            “Lee-Lee, it is not awesome.  I don’t know how to bake, not at that level.  I’ve got some straight-up hardcore pastry chefs in my family.  Uncle Bunny’s cookies are no freaking joke and Jump’s ain’t nothing to sneeze at either.  Mama can put her foot in some cookie dough too.  I’m out of my league.”
            Her roommate was very excited.  “That’s okay!  We can come up with something, I’m sure!  I’ll ask Mati!  I’ll help you!”  Mati was Lee-Lee’s mother.

            Monica shook her head as she looked at Lee-Lee, who was opening her mail with all the enthusiasm of a teenage girl.  “I know Mati has a bunch of cookie recipes.  Who are you going up against?”


Meet the Nightingales: Jo

Bianca Lawson as Jocasta Dallas

Jo is a genius, an author, a Daddy's Girl, and a popular bartender at a downtown strip club.  She’s at a crossroads in her life, a woman with decisions to make and baggage to claim or release, and finds herself caught up in a situation that tests her heart, her strength, and her abilities.

The patron who ordered the Mojito leered at Jo, a look on his face she was all too familiar with.  “Give a guy a free show, Red.  Flash them titties.”
“Hey—” Mitch began, but Jo put her hand up, walked to the counter and looked the man in the face.  Assholes were a dime a dozen in her line of work and she knew how to handle them.  If Rianne allowed it, she would have Mary Jane on her person at all times.  The customer looked her up and down and licked his thick lips.  He was obviously new to Magic City and so had to get indoctrinated.
“Go ‘head, Red…flash ‘em.  Let me get a peek.”
She looked at Mitch and the look in her eyes was clear. Did he pay for his drink?
Mitch nodded as he handed Jo the Mojito and threw up a high sign to Moose, one of the bouncers.  “Yes.”

The patron smiled when Jo leaned in close and he opened his mouth to speak just as she dumped the drink on his head.  “And would you like a punch in the face with your Mojito, asshole?” she said in her sweetest bartending voice.




The pilot episode of Amaya Radjani’s new supernatural serial novel Nightingales, CRASH!!!
is now available for free for a limited time.

Introduce yourselves to the Nightingales: Jo, Neveyah, Cressida, Monica and Lee-Lee. 

You can download CRASH!!! right now 
from MCP's new store on Shopify: 

This promotion will run for ten days. After June 25, fans can purchase both CRASH!!! and episode 1: cool air for $2.99 each.