Wednesday, September 28, 2022
What's New Pussycat?! Shhh...It's a Secret - Kitty Confidential and Terrier Transgressions - (Pet Whisperer) by Molly Fitz!
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Saturday, September 24, 2022
Talking with Cameron Rascoe, Author, Creator, Poet...Servant of God... And his Book, Restless for Retribution - Getting to Know Him!
It was only recently that I learned that you were also an author, so I've been checking out all that you offer! I loved this book! So decided to contact you to learn more...
One of the first things I wondered about was your choice of the site for the book--Pine Hills, Florida. Do you have a connection to the location? Or, would you share how you happened to choose Pine Hills for this particular book?
Pine Hills is a community near and dear to my heart. It was my refuge, helping me to temporarily escape the vices and abuse of my less than loving parents. Being a product of an addict and a convict made for a trying existence in my youth. Athletics saved my life. It was always a slow start, I was terrible my first year of playing baseball, football and basketball. Never owning a ball or having a father to play catch with stunted my growth as an athlete.
At fourteen I was offered an opportunity to play on a sixteen and under AAU basketball team that was traveling to Central Florida. This was my opportunity to escape my life of strife and start anew in the Sunshine State. We played tournament games all over the city of Orlando, the last being played at Robinswood Middle School in Pine Hills. I knew the school was close to my late Grandmother's home; I'd enjoyed an extended visit there a year earlier. Many tears I shed after practicing all summer with the West Orange High School football team and learning that I couldn't play because I was lacking my school and medical records. My grandmother's evil husband shipped me back to my hell the first opportunity he got.
I worked all summer washing cars on a dealership lot to save the money for my trip. I hid my funds in a coffee can on the roof to prevent it from being smoked up. Heroine and Crack kills! It kills bodies, minds, dreams and especially childhoods of youth like Cam Rascoe--Me! Again, Pine Hills was my refuge, it saved me while helping me to find myself. I would go on to graduate from West Orange High and become the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the football team.
In fact, you use many words that I've had to look up and consider how you've selected them. Take for instance, your title, Restless for Reparation... How did you arrive as that for the book title?
I am continually attempting to expand my vocabulary; the English language is a unique and beautiful tool. My most prized possession it an unabridged dictionary, gifted to me by my loving wife. I want to share what I learn in colorful yet educational ways. I don't do it often, only when necessarily beneficial to the story or lesson. No one wants to read a writer basking in his own intellectual glory. Who cares how many “big” words you know, if in the context of your writing, they have no true meaning. The title, “Restless for Retribution” came to me because I have felt the energy in urban communities after a horrible event occurs. Everyone is restless in their own way. People are confused, they are sad and inevitably mad! They don't want redemption; forgiveness is far from their angry hearts. They want revenge, retribution!
When I wrote these stories I was just trying to find completion. Learning how to wrap a great story idea was something I was still learning. I started to bridge the stories and characters together. Geppetto: The Puppeteer Series and Restless for Retribution are certainly connected,but all of the stories are based in Pine Hills. That was the theme, tales of Pine Hills. I am a novelist but we live in a world where people have short attention spans and they certainly don't read for entertainment anymore. Ask a young person to read a paragraph and they see it as a punishment. I decided that I would always write short stories for my young readers who still loved literature. I wanted to give them adventure, a lesson and closure in less than thirty minutes of reading. I know that once I grab their attention, I can hold them through the climax and into the resolution which offers a lesson or spiritual message. Learning to shorten stories, trimming the fat has been valuable in my novel writing as well. I will always write short stories because it is such a rewarding exercise.
It hurts my heart to see the steady deterioration and decay of the once proud community of Pine Hills. Crime Hills is now the reality. Homeowners of the 1980's and late 90's have been replaced by renters and squatters who don't value the property on which they live or the neighborhood they are residents of. Property is no longer passed down to the next generation of a family, instead it is quickly sold or rented out to transient tenants. Drugs selling, use and abuse has been on the rise since the late 1990's leading to a drastic increase in crime over the past two decades.
I have been living in a town over in Ocoee for the last dozen years and raised my family there. I don't want any of my six children to be exposed to the vile things I experienced as a youth. My decisions have been rewarded, each of my children are successful and good productive people in their own right. I write about and speak to the children of Pine Hills to offer motivation and inspiration, whether it be public speaking or one-on-one conversations. That event I wrote about is still a dream of mine. I would like it to be an annual event held in Pine Hills' own historic Barnett Park. It would be an annual event of healing and unity. It will come to fruition one day, God willing.
Yes, I am the Ras Cat. I was given that name in the early 90's by older men in the community because of the way I moved and things I did at a young age. There are many drawbacks to being born a product of an addict and a convict but there are great advantages as well. You gain independence early in life because you are forced to fend for yourself. Foresight, diligence, perseverance and patience are other attributes a difficult life can offer a young person. Life shapes and molds you into becoming a leader of your peers and sometimes your elders. I was dubbed the Mayor of Pine Hills in my twenties because I became a leader in my community, for good and bad, the youngest in charge. I formed a music group in the early 2000's named after an organization in Pine Hills. I hesitate to call them a gang, but they did some gangster things.
Mostly from one family, Double-O is what they called themselves, tattoos with a sniper's target each of them was branded with. Some of the younger members visited me and asked me to give them a ride to a studio. They were shocked when I got in the booth and spit a rhyme. The three of us stated making tracks and collaborating with other local groups and crews. We recorded a hand full of songs and prepared ourselves for the stage. One member was working on some solo projects and thought himself to be a front man that wasn't in need of a group. He went on his way, we parted amicably.
I talked to the older members of Double-O knowing that some of them possessed musical talent, not just felonies. I reshaped the group and we hit the studio and stage. We were joined by another Philadelphia native who was an extremely talented writer and vocalist. While producing beats, singing hooks and rhyming on stage with the group, I was hosting and throwing talent shows.
I started managing comics while performing in a few sets myself. My Double-O Crew wasn't very happy about all the time I invested in the shows, but I never allowed anyone to alter my creative vision.
Double-O started to falter because of members' extracurricular activities, drug use. Some members were influencing others and the party became all consuming. I felt like I was fathering grown men and the responsibility became too great. Booking studio time, producing every song, singing the hooks, writing the group's bio, marketing, promoting, booking travel and hotel stays got to be too much. I couldn't delegate much because I didn't trust anyone to get things done besides our youngest member whom I started the group with. We had a showcase in Atlanta, and we were rejoined by our original band mate for the shows.
In the back of my mind, I knew it was coming to an end and I made a decision to force my group on stage for an additional set, bad move. The crowd responded but the AR's and promoters were not pleased. The representatives of major record labels in attendance weren't happy either. When we returned to Orlando, I slowly disbanded the group, producing solo songs for those who were serious but no longer holding the hands of grown men with too many felonies and vices.
While doing all of this I started writing. A poem of mine was published in a book “Quicksilver Under the Moon”. The poem was about my faith and deliverance prior to death “Yearning for the Light”. It was just an exercise, I wanted to give something to God, write something good. I was writing erotic stories and partnering with young female writers to write companion pieces to mine. I realized that everything I was using my talents for was serving this world and not the Lord. Writing that poem was a start to me serving God with my talents. I went on to promote, write, host and perform in a variety show featuring many artists I discovered or managed.
Hey, Cam! Interested in sharing your winning poem(s) here? BRH has hosted poetry from a lot of different people already...you're welcome to contribute!
My grandmother fell ill and for three years I was dedicated to her health, care and finances. It was a very difficult yet rewarding time for me. The time spent alone with her was invaluable, lessons, wisdom, family recipes. The responsibility fell on my shoulders because my mother struggled to stay sober and most of our family lived up north. During this time of hardship and reflection I became more spiritual. I looked to God, and he offered me answers. I promised my grandmother that I would become a novelist and serve the Lord with my talents. When she passed and I took care of her final expenses I started my Quest to find my true voice.
Years later now, I understand that all that I did when I was younger prepared me for the valuable work God has for me to do today. I am proud to say that I am a leader at my home church, Quest Church! I attended, then was asked to become a member, later my wife and I became a Deacon and deaconess. I have since been elevated to Elder. Proud member of the Outreach Team, Mission Team, Event Team, I sit in on our Session Meetings and Council Meetings to help decide the direction of the church. I am heavily involved in our Food Distribution Ministry, loading and serving. We had a huge food drive yesterday, what a Blessing it was! Oh, the joy we receive when we give and serve.
I will be taking to the podium in an hour at church to offer announcements about a celebration we are hosting next week to celebrate all of our first responders, law enforcement, fire fighters and medical professionals. Planning and organizing this event has truly been a joy. Our pastor trusts me to write, direct and usually perform in all of our skits and plays for Black History Month.
I also play Peter in our Good Friday Presentation of “The Way of The Cross” depicting the crucifixion of Jesus and the events that surrounded it. As well, I am writing and directing our Christmas program and play this holiday season. It is a joy and a Blessing. It is a must that I serve God with what HE has Blessed me with. So grateful am I for the grace and mercy on my life, for the discernment the Lord has given me through my trials and the opportunity to serve HIM and HIS people. Now that I am doing what I am called to do, the Lord will grant me a greater platform.
Today's music industry is more cookie-cutter than ever and it is sad because the type of music they recycle over and over is filled with negative images and destructive behaviors. There is no more diversity and if you choose to offer a constructive message or heartfelt story in your music, you are not marketed or promoted the same.
This is especially true with Urban Music. The “Conscious Rapper” offering his heart in his music is buried while the artist who follows the trend of negativity is elevated. This has been the case for decades now. When was the last time you heard a Hip Hop song on the radio offering a positive message or something we can grow from? There are many talented female artist that wish to share their life story or struggles but if she isn't talking about her body and all of the lewd things she can do with it, her record won't see the light of day.
A young man sharing his struggles and solutions to his shared problems is no match for the tidal wave of “artists” encouraging kids to indulge in an immoral lifestyle, wasting every dime they earn (or take) and ingesting any and every substance that might get them high. Dreamville is a label that features many artists creating alternative urban music that feels good, offers lessons and provokes deep thought. Not all of their records are positive, sometimes they sing or rap about some of the same things, but they offer diversity in their music, and it is heartfelt.
Instead of bombarding young people with the worst messages, why not allow them some variety in their chosen genre of music? Negativity sells and the bottom line is that it is always about the bottom line not the poison we serve to our youth.
Friday, September 23, 2022
Talking About Ironies: Truncated Tales of Irony Formed in the Creative Mind of CAM RASCOE, Spotlighted Author!
Hypocritically Hypercritical Calvin Combs, married father of six, pillar of the community. A man of faith dedicated to the service of his fellow man, was this Calvin Combs. A motivational speaker who mentored, coached youth sports, taught Sunday School, led food drives and many other charitable acts over the years. Once a member turned Deacon in his home church, Calvin was recently elevated to Elder due to his service and dedication. Oh so proud was he of himself for the life he led. Calvin believed the Lord was pleased with his works, not bad for the product of the union of an addict and a young convict. Mr. Combs was certainly a survivor. He’d overcome dire circumstances to become a productive and contributing member of society, breaking the cycle of self destruction within his family. Calvin Combs, the rose that grew from the concrete. Patriarch of the Combs family, he was intent on providing a better life for his children than he was afforded as a kid. It was important to him that he be a great provider, protector and example of what a good Christian Family Man should be. Despite all of the good he’d done, somewhere Calvin lost himself along the way. Sins come in all different forms, they are not always in the physical.
“Those of us who profess to be the most Holy and righteous are just as sinful as those we profess to be so much morally greater than.” CR
“I believe in HIM therefore, I believe in me.”
The Lord has Blessed each of us with different talents and abilities. To doubt what you can do with them is to doubt HIM. BE thankful for the gifts HE’s Blessed you with and do all that you can with them. But remember, those gifts are to be used for HIS purpose not ours.
This is his first book, Volume 1. I look forward to seeing future books. Rascoe, in order to incite a desire to read within today's youth, has made the decision to write stories, noting that he feels that, if he can get somebody to read a short story in less than a half-hour, he just might hook them into wanting to learn more! Personally, I think this is a wonderful idea...and have already determined that he has had a wide, diverse background, where he could watch people...or, even pull thoughts into a story from his creative mind that would, hopefully, give what I seem to fall back on calling, Life Lessons rather than just short stories...although that, too, is what they are...
Preparing the reader, Rascoe takes the time to set up the type of stories that he will be sharing in Ironies by, first, sharing a basic look at his title...
i·ro·ny [ˈīrənē] NOUN irony (noun) · ironies (plural noun) · dramatic irony (noun) · tragic irony (plural noun) 1. the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect: “'Don’t go overboard with the gratitude,” he rejoined with heavy irony.'”
synonyms: sarcasm · sardonicism · dryness · causticity · sharpness · acerbity · acid · bitterness · trenchancy · mordancy · cynicism · mockery · satire · ridicule · derision · scorn · sneering · wryness · backhandedness
Each of us, at one time or another, might choose to use words that speak...without saying the true words. I tend to choose sarcasm, or did in th past... About the only form I've been using lately is adding a rather new slang word after something is said: Ah...Duh! It's short, humorous most times if it is used that way. If not, then the individual who hears the word(s) might easily get the point made by that one word...
I found it...ironic...to have found an individual story, called "Hypocritically Hypercritical Calvin Combs." which sounded like somebody I know... Which, by the way, reminds me...An interview with our Spotlight Author, Cam Rascoe, is coming next!...
I think the point of the story, above, just might be to remind us that each of us needs to look at ourselves, just as we may see or find something that is bothersome about others. Maybe even realize that we should first look at ourselves--to Know Thyself--first. And, always, that God sees us and knows...us...each... of...us!
About A Girl
An easy friend is what you simply were to me, always with an ear to lend. You certainly fit the shoe but unfortunately for you, you never had a clue.
Never did you mind the bad habits that I had to serve. Your kindness I took advantage of while hanging out to dry. Enamored with my creation you were. The artist in me had your heart, but I could never love you or another more than I loved my vice. It was no longer just a vice it now consumed my life.
While with you I ate, bathed and gained strength to go out and do it all over again. You never judged or condemned me. But you also understood I couldn’t see you every night… free.
After being out in the wilderness or concrete jungle for a while I would come back veins filled with vice, heart weary, body fatigued. I’d be standing on your line. I do hope you have the time.
To me you’ll always be no more than number two but when in need I’d keep a date with you. Again I’ll take advantage while, you hang me out to dry but I can’t see you every night… free.
Whenever I returned you welcomed me with open arms and a warm embrace. From one baby to another it would seem that I’m lucky I met you. You, always the willing victim didn’t mind if my only duty was to completely drain you. You just yearned for that passionate kiss from my mouth to yours, I like you.
I’ll never love you because I couldn’t love myself but I could love myself better than you. You know it’s true so what should I do? When I’m through with you it’s like I’m high up on a plane; I can’t complain. When you are no longer able to satisfy my needs I must bid you adieu. Never will I burden my mind with memories of you. Once were you a person of purpose to me when I was in need of a warm bed and a hot meal. Service you I did as payment for my nourishment and lodging. Tears you shed after I fled but your hurt was of no consequence to me.
The respect you lacked, for yourself made it easier for me to flee because if you can’t love yourself better than this; how can you ever be loved by me?
Sometimes it seems like relationships are always out of sync... One individual might love another more than the other returns that love... Seriously, is that really going to work in a long-term situation? When somebody, especially talking "About A Girl," we may see that she is being used, horribly, by some guy who comes and goes without any feelings of shame. For, surely, she was so needy, he felt, that, really, he just couldn't fall for her... Rascoe has a talent to see that type, or similar types of interpersonal relationships and puts the situation into a few short words, to point out exactly what is going on...So, maybe, just maybe, you can see yourself...and realize, Girl! You Can Do Better!
But the opposite can also be true, right... Some women realize exactly what they are looking for... And, maybe, just maybe, you aren't it?