Ebony Embellished
by Bernard Otto
First Edition Design Publishing

"Her revenge will be a well-crafted work of art."

Success as the best revenge is a theme running through the stories in this collection. In the first and longest story, Black academics work to secure private funding for a Black history museum. Subsequent tales in the book feature a wide range of characters and situations. For example, a man’s choreographed murder gains financial freedom for his family. A nurse schedules surgery on her abuser. A rich senior gifts his care facility the technology that many fellow residents helped build but can’t afford. A woman gets the child she desires from the man she didn’t think she preferred. A Muslim man inherits a dog, although his love for the animal once ostracized him. A soldier leaves his wealth to the lesser of two evils. An ex-prisoner supplies the secret to his girlfriend’s dream restaurant. A motorized scooter ride turns into a story to tell the rider’s granddaughter.

Success in these stories isn’t typical because the winners aren’t, which is a refreshing perspective. Octogenarians, people of mixed race, and less-than-beautiful women are the heroes who benefit from their revenge. Set in the near future, the stories show the present-day dreams of these protagonists, such as Black history treasured, ex-cons finding employment, and diversity celebrated coming to pass. Monetary reward is extra. In fact, the real prize or treat in many stories is the privilege of writing itself. In other words, it is the taking back of the narrative from those traditionally in control. The tales present simple pleasures, like writing, sex, reading, good conversation, and food and drink, as results worth the work of the plots’ backstabbing, covert planning, compromise, and betrayal. The stories predict a just, humorous, and delicious outcome wrought by unlikely and likable heroes.

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