Category Archives: Author Interviews

Books of Soul features interviews with authors to discuss their upcoming or just-released books. In addition, the interviews provide insight on the writer’s inspirations, their writing process & style, their interaction with their fans and readers, and the efforts to promote their works.

Interview with Earl Middleton

Author Earl Middleton

Earl Middleton earned a BBA in accounting from Adelphi University and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, then went on to preach more than 2,000 sermons, create over 400 YouTube teaching videos, and write 10 books under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

A former pastor of congregations in NY, NJ, CT, and CA, he loves preaching and teaching the Word of God across multiple platforms despite his retirement from the pastorate after 22 years of service. He is a past member of the Professional Comedians’ Association, and the creator of the Internet’s first Christian dramedic series, Fine Church Girls.

Author Earl MiddletonA longtime member of Mensa, Earl lives in Los Angeles with his family and throws up a whole buncha shots a day at his local YMCA. He’s currently at work navigating new, hilarious plot twists with Pastor Tony Hook and the rest of the zany characters of the First Baptist Church of Belton, NJ. He is available for revivals, preaching engagements, family healing seminars, writing workshops, and basketball jumpshot coaching.

(1) “Christian and Urban Fiction are bestsellers in African American literature. It appears that you have combined elements of both in your character Pastor Tony Hooks in My Pastor Didn’t Do It. What makes him stand out?”
Tony Hook is a unique character in African American literature primarily because he’s both an urbane and urban black Christian who happens to be the pastor of a traditional black church. His anointing definitely doesn’t match his ministry, and the many molehills that surround his life keep erupting into mountains too difficult for him to scale by himself. He’s the rare example in African American literature of a pastor who is lovable, believes that a merry heart does good like a medicine, and yet lives the kind of clean life that necessarily draws trouble like a magnet. As Paul said, “I find then a law that when I would do good evil is present with me.” With the plethora of shady, hypocritical, and acutely flawed pastoral characters currently flooding the urban Christian fiction landscape, Tony Hook is my response from the other side of the altar. I’ve pastored churches like First Baptist and lived in communities like Belton, so I bring a layer of realism to the character while having a ball inventing new ways for him to get stuck at Baal-Zephon, between a rock and a hard place…or the Red Sea. I believe there’s both room and need in African American literature for a fictional pastor cast as an edgy good guy to restore the audience’s faith in the black pulpit.

(2)What elements, such as setting, character, and plot, drive your story? Are there any personal inspirations in your story?
There’s a strong sense of place in my fiction writing, and I’ve been told that my stories are very descriptive and many of the characters are memorable. But because I’m writing a classic whodunit mystery to introduce Tony Hook and the My Pastor series, I’ve leaned heavily on plot to drive the story. I want readers to wonder what’s going to happen next, and have a difficult time figuring out who did it (obviously, from the title, it wasn’t the pastor…or was it? LOL). The central idea for this story actually comes from a real life cold case murder that took place at one the congregations I pastored…after I left, of course! I wondered what it would have been like if the murder happened while I was still the pastor of that congregation, and before I knew it I had a full length novel on my hands.

(3) There are so many characters in your story. What’s next for them? Do you have any favorites that are going to have their own stories?
Although I write fiction (and non-fiction) I’m really a prophet at heart, and believe that every person’s story is the most important event in their world. As a result I really think there are no minor characters in life, and I bring that conviction to my fiction writing. I wish I had the time to tell all of my characters’ stories in full, and perhaps one day I’ll have enough time to do that. Until then I’ll have to settle on my plans to spin off both Mother Freddy, the gun-toting, sombrero wearing matron of First Baptist Belton, and Cornel Brown, the white pastor with the sweetest whoop in Newark who claims to be a descendent of John Brown, the Harper’s Ferry dude.

(4)What is on your bookshelf or nightstand? Do you have any favorite authors?
Right now on my nightstand there’s an iPad with the Kindle app. I’m totally hooked on digital media. I’ve gotten over paper a long time ago. When it comes to fiction I like a hip, urgent, urbane voice, so I’m drawn to people like John Ridley, Paul Beatty, and Adam Mansbach. I love mysteries and still enjoy rereading Walter Mosley, Janet Evanovich (she’s hilarious), and even Valerie Wilson Wesley. I don’t read a lot of Christian fiction, urban nor prairie, but I respect what Brenda Barrett is doing. That woman’s a machine! When it comes to non-fiction I’m drawn to anything that looks at left brain stuff from a right brain perspective. I’ve been reading a lot of Daniel Pink lately, and of course Seth Godin is required reading for anyone who wants to build or create something salient. And, believe it or not, I do read the Bible. A lot. Still. 😉

My Pastor Didn’t Do It by Earl Middleton
Food for Faith Publications, September 22, 2013, Paperback

Pastor Tony Hook is everybody’s favorite preacher in the quiet Newark suburb of Belton, NJ. Well, almost everybody’s. Conflicts, tensions, and resolutions grace every turn of this clean and humorous black church caper. And it’s all from the witty mind and converted heart of a real seminary trained preacher with 22 years of pastoral experience.

When the sexy Anemone Allon’s body turns up in her basement naked, sporting a hole through the head, the only evidence recovered from the scene is Hook’s DNA, and all he can offer for an alibi is that he was alone in his study, praying for Anemone’s soul. And his own. Of course, golden-eyed detective Sgt. Chris Sears sets her sights on him as her prime suspect, jeopardizing his future at any church, and Pastor Hook launches his own investigation into the murder. With an anonymous rival who will stop at nothing to get him out of the way, and a crusty trustee who will try almost anything to get rid of him also breathing down his neck, only heaven can help Hook out of this mess, but God has chosen this time to go silent on him. Pursued by good and hounded by evil, poisoned by deadly wildlife and stricken with writer’s block, Pastor Hook must overcome Jobian loss and ugly suits, resist witchcraft, brave fire, dodge bullets, survive explosions, and tame ravenous beasts to track down the killer.

As the body count rises, and in spite of “help” from his iconoclastic best buddy, Rev. Cornel Brown, and his nutty adopted mother, Freddie Pearl, Hook unravels the mystery, exposing the killer in a final confrontation before the entire Belton community. In the end almost no one is who they appeared to be in this clerical romp, and Hook realizes that even for pastors some cliches are built on truth: home is where the heart is, and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Interview with Angela Ardis

Angela ArdisAngela Ardis is an exceptional writer of animation, live production, television, film and ghostwriting. She’s also written children’s books, poetry books, erotica, fiction and memoirs. Angela reached international acclaim with her memoir entitled, “Inside A Thug’s Heart,” which was compiled of an exchange of letters, poetry and conversations with the late rapper Tupac Shakur which was published in hard cover in 2004, re-released in paperback in 2009 and an e-book released 2013. This award-nominated book was also translated into Polish.

After a year of co-hosting the internet radio show “Talk with Angela and Hank,” Angela joined as co-host of the popular internet radio show “Lipstick, High Heels and B.S.,” a no-nonsense internet platform that allows her and several co-hosts to express their views on sex, relationships, love, current events and life. Here she was given an opportunity to head two segments, “Shoe Lover Tuesday,” where she expresses details, information and tips for everything shoes and “Lipstick Letters” where she gives advice, help and opinions on questions asked by the public.

Angela Ardis has experienced some success in films (“Black and Blue” and “All I Want“) as well as television shows like (“The Wayan’s Brothers,” “In The House,” “Michael Hayes“). Modeling lent its hand to several projects (fashion shows: Reggio, Banu Paris, Farinae, Bonnie Strauss, and Don Sayres; print: regional and national magazines such as Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Black Man, Jet, Aloette, Profiles Magazine, Black Market, Silk2, Mallory Furs, Playboy).

She released several new projects in 2013: a poetry book “My Mind’s Poetry: Relationships,” a petite help book series for beginning writers “I Have a Story: Getting Started,” and her sophomore novel, the first of a trilogy, entitled “The Block.” In addition, production has begun on a series geared for Showtime television and preparations are being made for a South African book tour in the fall of 2014.

(1) “The Block” is such an intense read. What was your inspiration in writing in it? What has been the reader and critic response to it?
The Block” was inspired by a particular neighborhood in Detroit – not knocking Detroit, but this particular neighborhood was one where sheets adorned the windows, the roofs were caved in, porches broken, stripped paint, fire damage, dirt lawns and trash everywhere. However, the poetry in the view was the music playing loudly, people hanging out on the porches of these, supposed, uninhabitable homes. The children playing looked happy. The people looked content and settled.

It was clear the occupants had ‘leaned into’ their circumstances, environment and their lives. But what were their lives? My brain immediately came up with a synopsis of what I was seeing, put it on steroids and then the voices began telling me their story… Hence, the conception of “The Block.”

Readers and critics have been moved by the story. The rollercoaster ride, the book sends the reader on, exercises every emotion available. Some feel extremely sad by some areas because “The Block” is seen through the eyes of the children and not flashbacks from adults. It’s funny, dramatic, harsh, but most of all it’s real, truthful and unfortunately happens in almost every neighborhood, town, city, state and country. Readers enjoyed and cringe from the rawness. However, overall, most had a hard time getting through the first 3 chapters but couldn’t put the book down after that and are eagerly awaiting the sequel. That excites me.

(2) You mentioned that “The Block” is the first of a trilogy. While you may not want to divulge any secrets, what should we expect?
Jaw dropping revelations! Getting a sense of who these characters are and what you “believe” their circumstances were, was what book one was geared to do. However, “The Block: Truth Revealed,” the sequel, will give you the real truths behind everyone and introduce the parents in a tangible way. However, the danger that lurks throughout book 2 will be felt until the end.

The final installment “The Block: The Labyrinth,” will be the ultimate revelation of what the block really is and how the lives of so many have truly never been their own. Everyone won’t make it to book 3 and some may not make it out of book 2. You’ll have to read to find out!

(3) With this era of books being turned into movies, especially trilogies and other series, are you planning anything beyond the printed word for “The Block“?
Yes. My intention is to mold it into a TV series, then movie and possibly a stage play. It has layers and legs that could and would inspire, move and engage society as a whole.

(4) You have so many interests – acting, modeling, ghost-writing, internet radio host, shoes (!) – how do you find the time to write for yourself? What is your writing process like?
I write on my phone a lot! Between my notepad and voice recordings, there are tons of notes. However, they’re not all geared towards one project. Oftentimes, I find myself awakened in the middle of the night by a voice…loud thought and I begin to night write in the dark. I never turn on the lights. In the morning I’ll read what I wrote and place it in my project folder, for whichever project it’s for. I write while I’m shopping, watching TV, in the movies, at dinner, out with friends, it doesn’t really turn off. Everything I see is inspiring.

The more I tap into that side of myself, the better my writing will become.

My writing process isn’t complicated. I write when my characters speak. If they have something to say, I write it. My job is to tell their story not my version of their story.

Patience is essential. However, I’m creating scenarios all the time for the story but the characters determine where the story is going and when.

(5) What is the process like for promoting your books? As a self-published author, what did you do to get the word out?
Arduous — I definitely prefer going the publishing house route. The work is on them and I show up. However, social media plays an enormous part of promoting. I made a valiant effort to stay connected to the fans who reached out and who continue to reach out from my first release “Inside A Thug’s Heart.” Those loyal fans where some of the first to purchase “The Block,” my poetry book “My Mind’s Poetry: Relationships,” and “I have a Story” which helps anyone trying to get started writing. I’ve also been interviewed by several internet blogs and magazines. Word of mouth has been amazing too!

(6) What is on your bookshelf (or your e-reader)? What are you reading and enjoying? Any favorite authors?
I’m a bookie! LOL! I love the physical copy. I love Eckhart Tolle, Danièle Bott, Terry
McMillan, Sister Souljah (Coldest Winter Ever), Russell Simmons, Dr. Seuss, Gary Zuvak, Rick Johnson, and many more. My book collection is as eclectic as everything else in my world. I’m currently rereading Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” because I got so much from it the first time. I highly recommend it to everyone!

The Block by Angela Ardis
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, April 3, 2013, Paperback

Five children, Robert, Troy, Reigna, Tina and Kora are trapped inside a labyrinth known as “The Block.” The inner workings of these children’s minds are released as we follow them from age ten to eighteen. Experiencing their journey through their struggle to cope, comprehend, and develop while dealing with extreme neglect, physical, mental, verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse. They’re looking for love, all wanting something more, and all trying to figure a way out of their unfortunate circumstances. Born into a “no chance of a childhood” reality, they find each other, forming an alliance against the ills that plague them all. The Block will awaken the very core of the reader. It’s true to life scenarios and graphic dialog will send waves of discomfort, lending extreme compassion to the plights of the children.

Inside A Thug’s Heart by Angela Ardis
Dafina, August 1, 2009, Paperback

Rikers Island is the centerpiece of the New York City Department of Corrections, a sprawling prison city of concrete and steel with housing for more than 16,000 inmates. Early in 1995, it was also the temporary home of legendary rapper and actor Tupac Shakur, incarcerated for a crime he swore he did not commit. And it was there that Angela Ardis, acting on a late-night wager among her friends and coworkers, sent a letter, along with a photo and her phone number. To her utter delight and amazement, Angela’s phone rang a short while later. Tupac Shakur was on the line.

Over the next several months, Angela and Tupac shared a near-daily exchange of letters, poems and phone calls, and their the relationship quickly grew into something neither of them could quite define, a kinship of souls that touched each in unexpected ways. Those original poems and letters, many of them written after Tupac’s transfer from Rikers to Dannemora State Prison, are presented here, along with the increasingly passionate and personal phone calls that touched on every subject imaginable. Far from the media spotlight, Tupac was by turns playful, sensual and serious, offering sharp observations on prison, music and the uncertainties of life. His letters to Angela reflect how he felt about being shot five times and left for dead one terrible night in New York in 1994, and his heartfelt verse encapsulates his dreams for the future–a future that would be so tragically cut short just over eighteen months after their correspondence began.

Tupac Shakur was shot on September 7th, 1996 and died a week later from his injuries. His murder remains unsolved, an ending as enigmatic as his life. But while Tupac may be gone, his words live on here, giving every fan a rare glimpse inside the mind and unbroken spirit of a passionate and unpredictable musical icon.

My Mind’s Poetry: Relationships (Volume 1) by Angela Ardis
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, March 8, 2013, Paperback

A lifetime of experiences, trials and tribulations, heartaches and joy, drama and pain mixed with lessons learned. A real perspective to life through analogies and poetic expression. Nothing like you’ve ever read before. No mixed words or sugar coated verbiage. Lightly illustrated. Contains some adult language.

I Have A Story: Getting Started (Volume 1) by Angela Ardis
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, June 14, 2013, Paperback

After receiving hundreds of emails and letters from people asking me how to get started writing their books, I decided to put together a “petite” book series that will do just that. I Have A Story book series gives potential authors a P.S. version to writing without getting stuck with a barrage of verbiage. As they complete each volume, they will begin to see their ideas come to life on the pages of their soon-to-be publications. Volume One will help you formulate the idea then break it down in an effort to rebuild it as the story you envision.

Interview with Shashana Page

Shashana PageBorn and raised in the city of San Bernardino, California by her loving grandmother, Shashana Page grew up with the support necessary to appreciate family values that most overlook. Determined to overcome the unfortunate circumstances associated with being born to heroin-addicted parents, she obtained a degree in nursing by the age of twenty four. During the course of pursuing her education, Shashana was unexpectedly forced to face single motherhood as a result of the brutal murder of the love of her life and father of her children. Despite the obstacles presented before her, Shashana nurtured two beautiful daughters who now attend college full time.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”
Maya Angelou

Influenced by the legendary Maya Angelou, her gift of writing was unveiled during an English course required for nursing school which opened a door for another business opportunity. After receiving her first review from a short story titled ‘Paris’, her interest in writing awakened a passion for authoring novels and empowering a demographic with similar backgrounds . After maintaining a career as a Registered Nurse for twenty three years, Shashana has allowed her intuition to guide her into this literary and publishing journey.

Shashana Page is now a successful author and CEO of Lost Page Publishing. It’s been a long time coming… Nevertheless, she is finally given the opportunity to share her true passion with the world, as it is revealed in her debut novel, “Intuition.”

(1) How would you describe “Intuition”? A romance? Christian-based fiction? What was your inspiration in writing in it?

Intuition is a fictional story based on a family of three sisters who were raised by their mother. Although she instilled spiritual and moral values within each of them, the choice to follow her wise advice, remains to be seen. As these women face various challenges, adversities, and temptations, the Holy Spirit sends numerous signs to redirect their paths. This novel takes you through the journey of their lives as they choose to follow or ignore their inner voice…. Ultimately, leading to their destiny or fate.

Although many readers feel the book could, very well, be placed into the “Religious Fiction” category, I placed Intuition in the “Contemporary” and “Women’s Fiction” genres. The reason for doing so, was, there are characters who play a role which exhibits vulgar and inappropriate behavior. For that reason, alone, I chose not to disrespect “Religion” or the “Christian” audience. However, the book has won the 2013 Bronze eLit Publishing Excellence Award in the Religious Fiction category.

I was inspired by God. I am not an avid reader, never planned to write a book, nor, have I ever taken any creative writing courses… yet, I’ve written two novels that readers enjoy.

(2) What was your experience like in writing “Intuition”?

Writing Intuition was a wonderful journey and I enjoyed every moment. I’ve spent hours, days, weeks, and months writing Intuition… and over a year, writing my upcoming novel, Grace. It was a great experience of learning, growing, and discovering a true passion. As a first time author, as well as, publisher, I was forced to overcame many obstacles; and although some were more painful than others, I wouldn’t change it for the world… I absolutely love writing and, like they say… “When work entails doing what you love, it’s no longer a job!”

(3) How is the effort to promote “Intuition”? Are you making new fans? What would you tell new authors?

Promoting Intuition was one of the greatest challenges… Being a first time, independent author and publisher, created limited opportunities for exposure. However, social media, as well as events designed to bring authors and readers together has been the greatest tools for marketing my brand.

(4) What’s next for you? Any future projects?

As I mentioned, I’ve recently completed the sequel to Intuition, entitled “Grace,” which is scheduled for release on September 6, 2014. I’m looking forward to promoting both and hearing the readers’ experience, while beginning the third book of the Intuition series….

(5) What is on your bookshelf? What are your favorite authors?

Although, I have several books on my shelf because I like to support authors, I don’t have a favorite author. I’m not an avid reader of fiction… Most of the literature I read is inspirational/spiritual works or informative books that will enhance my role as a publisher. Recently, I was advised to read, simply to learn the various styles of other authors… and I’m considering doing so. However, if I had to choose an author that I most admire, it would be Maya Angelou. Her work is inspiring, uplifting, and she is a phenomenal woman, author, and literary legend.

Intuition by Shashana Page
Lost Page Publishing, September 12, 2012, Paperback

Momma Faye is the link that binds the entire family… Although she has instilled spiritual and moral values within each of her daughters, the choice to follow her wise advice remains to be seen.

The beautiful, intelligent, and stylish Aniiyah is the youngest of Momma Faye s three daughters. Married to Doron, a successful Cardio-thoracic surgeon, Aniiyah is blessed to live a luxurious lifestyle similar to the rich and famous. Doron is everything a woman could possibly desire, but unfortunately, not enough to keep Aniiyah from communicating with the man of her past… Neissah, the middle child of the family, is attractive, educated, and successful. Unfortunately, these attributes cannot fulfill her longing desire to be loved, and Neissah soon finds herself faced with the challenges of dating as a single parent. Desperately seeking a long lasting romance, she becomes prematurely involved with Roman, and is blinded by the fascination of having a man. However, as Roman s unfavorable past is revealed, Neissah s infatuation abruptly comes to an end… Raeyah, the eldest and most wise of the sisters, is widowed and raising three daughters on her own. Her first born, Reign, falls in love with the handsome, charming Mauricio and subsequently, changes his life forever.

Momma Faye always said, The answer lies within! God gave you the innate discernment of good, bad, right, and wrong. Whether you choose to listen or not will, ultimately, determine your destiny or fate …INTUITION!!!

Interview with LaDonna Marie

LaDonna MarieLaDonna Marie is an author, writer, poet, and motivational speaker. She is a Program Coordinator at Goodwill Industries and a contracted Therapist at Malinda Graham & Associates. She is originally from Mississippi and now lives in GA. She discovered her love for words early and started writing poetry pre-teen. It was always her childhood dream to become an author. She loves creating an atmosphere for learning and growth. She has also been a public and motivational speaker for numerous youth groups.

She received her undergraduate degree from Alcorn State University in 2005 with a B.A. in Social Work. She has a M.S. in Counseling Studies from Capella University and a M.A. from South University in Professional Counseling in 2012. LaDonna has two wonderful children, Landon and Lathan Cook.

Ladonna wants her true passion of love of writing, her encouraging word, her humble spirit, and compassion for people to be her message. She uses her poetry to release & teach lessons of growth and evolving from transformations in life. Her biggest motivation is to touch someone with her words and engage them to want to change their perspective. She believes that anyone can change the situation they are in. She believes in being positive and fighting for what one would like to happen. She feels that becoming a writer and her love for words, are her greatest gift from God.

She became apart of and The League of American Poets in 2007, in a collective anthology called Whispers. In 2012, she received a Certificate of Congratulation from Congressman Bennie Thompson 2nd district of MS. Also she was inducted into Who’s Who in Black Mississippi in 2012. In 2013 Best of Liberty Contest she was listed as runner up in the Writer category. Also in November 2013 with her dedication to the youth, she launched her first youth for Christ conference, called Planting Positive Seeds, to help motivate, encourage, and empower the youth. In 2014, she is featured in The Gospel According to Poetry : An Anthology, also in Sibella Women’s Poetry Magazine for the entire year. In 2014, she landed the January cover of Precious Stone Magazine, with Poetry Features and Author interviews in YoUnique Magazine, Shine Magazine, C Hub Magazine and Image & Style Magazines to spread her words of empowerment.


In 2010, she self-published her first book, Expressions of the Mind, Body, & Soul with Xilibris publishing company. She started writing to put a voice to issues that she felt needed to be expressed This is a book of collective poetry that talks about love, relationships, spirituality, and encouragement. Her motto is “Poetry is an outlet for the heart”.

Her second book Until Tomorrow Comes was released in September 2013. This book will also be an eclectic look at growth and awareness while using creative expressions in poetry. Her books can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She is looking in the future to continue writing about encouragement, relationships, and children books.

1. What is your inspiration behind your poetry? At what point, did you want to be a writer/poet?
My inspiration behind my poetry is to motivate and empower others. Poetry became my voice to speak on perceptions I had about life experiences growing up and others that I noticed in day to day life. I often use my pen to bring awareness about love, growth and relationships being able to positively transition in making life better each day at a time.

I started writing during pre-teen, and just wanted to journal things to be able to write out my emotions. I knew after I got to high school, that I wanted to be author and a poet. I started to writing sonnets, love poems and learning about the different styles of poetry. Then as my interest increased I started to write more and more each day from them until now. In high school, I met Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou, I started reading their work and being inspired to use my love of poetry to speak to others.

2. What would be your choice, reading a poem or writing one?
In the beginning when I started writing, I only wanted to be the voice behind the words. Until about a year ago, When God spoke to me to start doing some motivational speaking and sharing my poetry. Now, I love both experiences of writing and reading poem that will uplift or enlighten others. I now recite the poems with the same passion that I write them with.

3. How often do you write (and re-write)? What is your process for writing?
My writing process is based off of inspiration, whenever God gives me a piece. I immediately get a feeling in my chest or a whisper of a line in my head. Then, I start to pull out my pen, pad and write. I normally look over poems about 3 times before I finalize it. During that time I will change anything that I don’t feel with work.

4. What are you reading now? What is on your nightstand?
I am reading Never Again, No More A Novel by Author Untamed, and L.A.P.D. Life after a painful Divorce by Pastor J.K. Sanders

5. Do you have an author crush? Any favorite authors? How about a poem or book that you wish you had written?
No, author crush, but one of my favorite authors is G.P.A. Greatest Poet Alive aka James Gordon. I have all of his six poetry books, to name a few: The Confessional Heart of a Man, The Mind of a Poetic Unsub and his new release Hi, My Name is Bobo.

6. What’s next for you and Until Tomorrow Comes?
Right now I am working on a new empowerment poetry book for girls, that should be coming out soon. I am also working with an artist to get a single made for Until Tomorrow Comes. I have been featuring UTC in Magazines and also in the UK. I would love to continue to share my poetry with the world, with hopes of inspires others.

Until Tomorrow Comes by LaDonna Marie
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, September 25, 2013, Paperback

Author LaDonna Marie wants to introduce through her poetry a journey of growth and awareness with different life experiences. She shares her poetry in efforts to spark reflections and enlighten the reader on your own journey as well. Look inside and answer these questions. Are you feeling lost in some areas of your life? Are you on the verge of giving up? Are you seeking to become stronger and independent? Are you seeking a deeper connection in your spirituality? In answering these questions you may find some come instantly and some may take time. So Until Tomorrow Comes, let’s approach each a day with a positive outlook while finding yourself.

Event: Mindshift 2012

Mindshift 2012 is a panel discussion will be taking place on Saturday March 10, 2012 from
12PM – 2PM.

The event, being held in celebration of Women’s History Month, brings together an eclectic mix of writers and authors will be hosting an open discussion with the public. The event is FREE to the public.

Come Out and be part of the conversation!

Event location: Carson Regional Library, 151 E. Carson St, Carson CA 90745

Professor Robyn McGee, California State University Dominguez Hills ,
Author & Poet Cherise Charleswell,

2012 Baltimore Urban Book Festival on May 6

Author Chris Hicks,AAMBC and The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park present the 2nd Annual Baltimore Urban Book Festival on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 1pm-8pm, at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park, 1417 Thames St, Baltimore MD 21231.

Celebrating Baltimore’s FIRST and ONLY book festival focusing on African American literature.


(early registration ends January 1,2012)

Visit our website to register and purchase at

Featuring some of the country’s most influential bestselling authors; Omar Tyree, T. Styles, JM Benjamin, Jimmy Da Saint, Kiki Swinson, Miss KP, Tamika New House, Trice Hickman, Nicola Mitchell, Chris Hicks, Ladawn Black, Moses Miller, Nikki Turner, Booker T Madison

AAMBC Awards Ceremony honoring this years top performing authors
– Omar Tyree lecture and book signing,
– Chocolate Chat workshop featuring T Styles, Jimmy Da Saint and Miss KP
– The real talk with the men of ECE(ebony chronicles of elevation)featuring Corey Barnes, QB Wells, Moses Miller, Omar Tyree, and Author Chris Hicks
– African American Literature Panel

CHILDREN ACTIVITIES: storytelling, free treats, games, face painting, moon bounce, annual free book giveaway drive and a special storytelling feature from Baltimore Ravens

Some of the proceeds from this event will benefit The Fredrick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park a program of the Living Classroom Foundation, in support of their Voyage of Exploration a science, technology, engineering, and math program (STEM).

MEDIA SPONSORS: Mosiac Books, The Baltimore Times, Urbania Magazine, DMD Experience, BMore News, AAMBC, The Urban Twist, Rolling Out Magazine, Urban Literature Review,, EDC Creations, My Soul,,AALBC, Books of Soul.

Clease contact Chris Hicks directly at or

Interview with Author Sabrina A. Hunter

Sabrina A. HunterSabrina A. Hunter was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised between there and DeRidder, Louisiana. Hunter was introduced to reading and writing at an early age by her grandmother. Her love for literature stayed with her throughout her youth, as she began writing poetry as a young adult.

While attending California State University, San Bernardino as an Accounting major, she began dabbling in modeling and acting, and has been featured in several magazines, music videos and commercials. Realizing quickly that the world of entertainment was not for her, Hunter graduated from college and chose to enter the corporate world as an accountant. Happy with her financial stability, but unsatisfied creatively, Hunter began to write again.

In 2007, Hunter was dealing with a bad breakup and started writing as a form of therapy. After realizing she had written five chapters of material, she decided to dedicate herself to completing a book. In what became her debut novel, Skeletons in the Closet, Sabrina intertwined actual events with imaginary characters and experience to create a story of love, lies, and betrayal.

Now a published author, Hunter is already working on the second installment of Skeletons in the Closet, titled Everybody’s Got One, that continues the story of the main character and her friends and is expected to be released in early 2012. In addition to writing novels, Hunter is working on her first screenplay and creating a treatment for a television show. Hunter currently resides in Houston, Texas and works as a consultant.


(1) Skeletons in the Closet appears to have a very intimate origin. When did you realize that you had the makings of a novel to be published?
I began writing ‘Skeletons’ as a short story but when it kept going, it turned into sort of a challenge to myself to finish a whole book. Once I had the first draft finished, I decided I wanted to publish and that became my goal. So during re-writes, I thought about that.

(2) What was the process like in getting the novel edited and reviewed? What sort of comments did you receive?
During the first round of edits, my format was all wrong and my editor pointed out places where I needed more action or description. She also gave me advice on sections to remove because it was unnecessary to moving the story along. I followed most of her suggestions and then re-submitted mostly for proofreading.

(3) Now as a first-time published author, with plans for a second novel, what have you learned about the process?
I’ve learned so much! I’ve learned about different creative writing processes and the correct formatting. But the most important things I’ve learned have been about the business aspects of publishing. The most important thing I’ve come to learn is about branding and the importance of relating to the readers on a basic and personal level. I’ve never been a traditional “hustler” but in the book-selling industry, if you want to be successful, you have no choice. You have to have a certain “hustler” mentality and you really can’t turn it off. You always have to be “on”. That’s probably been the most difficult but also most enjoyable part of the process to me because I’ve always been a very reserved person but I’ve had to step outside of my box and I’m honestly loving it.

(4) How are you promoting Skeletons in the Closet? Who would be your target reader?
I’m promoting via social networking and by getting out and relating to readers on a personal, grassroots level. My target reader is anyone who wants to read a good story that deals with the same relationship issues everyone has had to deal with a time or two: drama, sex, lies, betrayal, and most importantly, love.

(5) What are your inspirations? What are you reading?
My inspiration is every author who was able to publish their work before me, specifically those who have been able to remain consistent. I am just getting my feet wet as an author, but I want to the level where I have consistently put out good work and readers appreciate me for it.

I’m currently reading ‘Plot and Structure‘ by James Scott Bell as I write my second novel in an effort to improve my craft. Fun stuff I’m reading is ‘Ride or Die Chick 2‘ by JM Benjamin.

Interview with Cherise “Reese” Charleswell

Cherise "Reese" Charleswell

Cherise “Reese” Charleswell is a self- and- internationally published author, describing her self as a poet/spoken word artist, bookworm, fashionista, penny-pincher, accessories designer, music lover, and sista-friend, who has been described as the “Mad Scientist”, due to her varied interests and passions.

She is of West Indian descent, with heritage from numerous Caribbean islands, such as St Thomas, St John, Puerto Rico, Tortola, St Kitts, and Anguilla. Despite her love for the arts, Cherise actually has an educational background in the fields of the biological sciences and anthropology, with degrees from California State University Northridge.

Cherise has also been a fixture in the historic Leimert Park district of Los Angeles, where she stepped in as a producer for the weekly venue Poets Jazz House; which she produced as a member of Liquid Whine Entertainment. The venue was an open mic, literary workshop, and showcase. Cherise is also the Executive Producer of the erotic poetry showcase “The Oralgasm.”

Cherise is also CEO & President of Eclectic Life & Eclectic Life Books.

(1) Real Talk TIPS sounds ambitious. Is it too simple to call it a self-help guide?

When I began the book project, I did realize that it was an ambitious undertaking, midway through I wondered if I actually had enough TIPS to share. I spent more than a year working on the project, when memories of past experiences, mistakes, or wisdom shared with me came to mind, I quickly jotted them down. When I came across something or someone that stood out to me, whether it be in person or via the news and entertainment media, I would write numerous TIPS based on that single observation.

I would say that referring to the book as a self-help guide would be too simple. It is more of a work book, that leaves it up to the reader to identify core areas that they may need to improve in their lives. Each TIP does not pertain to everybody, but everybody should be able to identify a TIP that pertains to and motivates them to make some necessary changes in their lives.

(2) How much of your experiences are reflected in the book?
I would have to say that my experiences, whether it was from direct involvement or direct observation, are reflected in this book. I admit that I have been guilty of a few TIPS, or I have observed family, friends, and acquaintances make a number of mistakes, missteps, and endured setbacks; and I have learned from their experiences.

(3) How are you promoting Real Talk TIPS? Who is the audience that you are targeting?
I actually just published Real Talk TIPS in May of this year, so I am in the early stages of promoting. I have been utilizing word-of-mouth, social media, the blogosphere, and have just begun to directly contact book distributors regarding the book. I am also finding it beneficial to join associations for writers and other authors. Exhibiting at the Los Angeles Black Book Expo will actually be the first event that I use for promotion purposes.

Real Talk TIPS target audience is actually quite diverse. The book is not reflective of any age group or racial and ethnic background, and I believe that this is due to the fact that the TIPS cover such a wide range of topics that many can relate to.

(4) What has been the response to Real Talk TIPS?

Thus far, I have had many positive responses to Real Talk TIPS. The initial response that my readers have shared is that the book was hilarious, and I was a bit amused by this assessment. Although, I did write in a manner, where I used some humor, so the tone of the book wouldn’t seem preachy; I had no idea that what I was writing would be considered that funny.

Interview with Brandon Easton

Brandon Easton
Brandon M. Easton is a professional writer, screenwriter, and educator based in Los Angeles, CA. Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, Easton is a graduate of Ithaca College and Boston University’s prestigious Screenwriting program. With over fifteen years of experience, Brandon has penned articles for the Boston Herald, Crashpad Magazine, and a variety of other publications. After teaching in NYC public schools for six years, he decided to go for his screenwriting dreams in Hollywood and eventually scored a writing gig on Warner Bros. new ThunderCats TV series. His published work includes Arkanium and Transformers: Armada for Dreamwave Productions, a column for, and Shadowlaw, his newest major project that will be released in November 2011 from Arcana/Platinum Studios.

In a future world of giant mechanized armored warriors, a rebellious soldier is sentenced to life in a distant prison colony. There he must stop an advanced race of Vampire lords from taking over the world by way of breaking their restricted feeding treaty with the human race, all the while coping with the fact that his very presence in the colony may be a part of their dark design.

(1) Science Fiction may not be a genre indulged by a number of readers, even in this era of iPads and video games. What do you find attractive about it?
That’s an interesting statement because sci-fi is a genre indulged by many, many readers across the board. Whenever a new Star Wars or Star Trek novel is released, it burns up the sales charts for a few weeks. A quick look at the Mass Market Paperback sales lists in Publisher’s Weekly or the New York Times Review of Books will reveal that. And I won’t even get into how well stuff like Game of Thrones is doing. Conversely, most of the large-scale movies released are based on science-fiction intellectual properties and the audience for that is multi-ethnic.

However, if you were to say that fans of Black Urban Literature aren’t fans of sci-fi I would say that you’d be close to the truth. There isn’t a lot of crossover between fans of Zane and fans of Star Trek, regardless of skin color. Some audiences can’t “get into” things that don’t remind them of the familiar world. It comes down to those who need to have their ideals, mores and social perceptions validated by pop culture; at least in their choice of fiction literature.

I find sci-fi attractive because it takes social, political and economic issues and teleports them into an unfamiliar world which allows the author to fully explore these concepts in imaginative ways. Sci-fi authors tend to be incredibly imaginative and I love seeing new worlds take shape. I like getting lost in new realities and it’s also fun to see how they bind their new universe to the laws of plausibility. Some of the better sci-fi stories are ones that are just a little bit beyond what is possible in the real world.

Also, there’s a ridiculous misconception out there that Black people don’t “like” Science-Fiction. That’s one of the biggest lies ever told about the Black literary audience. I’ve been to the San Diego Comic Con (the world’s largest pop culture/sci-fi/geek convention) multiple times and each year I’ve seen the Black populations grow exponentially year after year. There are two or three Black-themed panels at the convention where people like Bill Duke, Ludacris, RZA (from Wu-Tang) and Reginald Hudlin appear regularly. There are several Black sci-fi/comic book conventions around the country every year, with the biggest being OnyxCon in Atlanta, the East Coast Black Age of Comic Con in Philadelphia and the Motor City Black Age of Comics in Detroit. We’re out here and we’re hardly a minority within the literary fan base.

(2) More to the point, what is Shadowlaw about? What are some of the concept or themes that readers might find interesting?
Shadowlaw takes place a few centuries from now, where the Catholic Church is the dominant global political body. The government is a theocratic technocracy and they maintain military dominance through the use of their giant mech armors. Our story opens as that society is on the verge of political revolution, and because of a series of events, the biggest secret in their history will be unveiled. The story revolves around a disgraced soldier named Rictor Caesaro who ends up in a concentration camp; but what Rictor discovers about the camp leads to a huge revelation about the global establishment and his ultimate role in their plans.

It is a study of what happens when you mix government and religion and how people allow themselves to be manipulated by the powers-that-be. There’s much more that I won’t reveal here, but rest assured, if you’re a fan of complex political conspiracy stories, there is a lot to chew on in Shadowlaw.

(3) What is the process like in working with an artist in producing a graphic novel like Shadowlaw?
That’s a long story (laughs). However, I do a free podcast called Writing for Rookies ( where I explain in great detail the process of finding an artist to work with on a graphic novel project. The first thing a writer must do is advertise for an artist on sites like, Digital Webbing, and a few similar internet hubs. Or a writer can visit any comic book convention and find artists looking for work whose visual style matches the story sensibility you’re going for.

Not all artists will be “qualified” for your graphic novel. For example, you don’t want an artist who draws in the Pokemon style to do a crime-based comic book. It just doesn’t work. There needs to be a marriage of art and story that reinforces your thematic intention. Some other examples would be Sin City (which was made into a film) and The Walking Dead (which is a TV series on AMC), both have very dark, twisted and macabre art work full of death, sex, violence and pain. You would need a very specific kind of illustrator to bring those works to life. Getting the wrong kind of artist on your project is the same as asking a blind dental surgeon with arthritis to perform a wisdom tooth extraction. It’s a bad idea (laughs).

(4) What are you doing to promote Shadowlaw?
Everything I can. Interviews, panels, postcards, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I have done a lot of emailing and having my agent contact people to cover the book. Being a writer on the new Warner Bros. Animation reboot of ThunderCats has helped immensely. People are more likely to take me seriously when they see legitimate Hollywood credits behind my name.

However it has been tough because everyone in the business is in a constant state of hyping their projects so you have to remain consistent and find new ways of getting people’s attention. Since it took so long for me to complete my project (over a period of 6 years) I’ve managed to get people interested over the course of that time. I’m hoping they all show up when my book is released on November 16th.

(5) What is on your bookshelf?  Or, would it be an e-reader that you use? What are you reading and enjoying?
I have a wide variety of interests, but the general selection of books range from politics, sociology, history, sci-fi, true crime, graphic novels and conspiracy literature. Right now, I’m reading a few things including a book called Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, a book on U.S. Civil War history by Kenneth C. Davis while re-reading Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman. I am into a lot different material all the time.

I have to say, I am not a fan of e-readers at this time. I still love the feel of reading a book. I like visiting bookstores and spending time there browsing and checking out new series.

(Interview posted in August 2011.)

Interview with Cartoonist David G. Brown

David G. Brown

David G. Brown is an award winning artist, educator and the winner of a 2009 NAACP Image Award. In 2003, he became the political cartoonist for the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper. He has been awarded the prestigious Merit Award for “Best Editorial Cartoon” from the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). His work is featured in the 2005 thru 2010 editions of the “Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year” by Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. Brown also received the 2007 American Graphic Design, International Davey Silver and Communicator Print Media Awards for his work with the Southern California Automobile Club and California African American Museum.

Barack, Race and the Media: Drawing my own Conclusions is a 2009 NAACP Image Award winning book features a collection of satirical cartoons highlighting the historical campaign of the first African American U.S. President Barack Obama and other significant events effecting America.

(1)Considering that most writers can use an article to make a point, what are your steps in drafting a few cartoon panels to do the same thing?
It all begins with a good idea or concept for the cartoon (which is the most challenging step). Secondly, what is your opinion or perspective on the concept and how do you convey this idea in the simplest and concise way possible. Third, lay out and design (usually involves a series of thumb nail sketches). Fourth step involves the execution of the final illustration Barack, Race and the Media

Throughout this entire process I am constantly revising experimenting and exploring different possibilities. The creative process does not stop until the project DEADLINE.

(2) Taking liberties with a well-known quote, are your cartoons worth a thousand words?

I think that there are concepts, ideas and situations that can best be conveyed in a cartoon. Additionally, we live in a visual society and images can leave a much more powerful and lasting impact then words.

(3) Your work has been widely celebrated and published. What was your favorite moment as a cartoonist?

Sharing the stage with Halle Berry, Tyler Perry and my son at the NAACP Image awards and accepting the Image award for my book.

(4) Who inspires you? Do you have a favorite author or cartoonist?
LIFE and the human spirit inspires me, especially when I think of the challenges of my ancestors. My favorite political cartoonists include Pulitzer winners Paul Conrad and Clay Bennett.

(5) What was the experience like in producing “Barack, Race and the Media: Drawing my own Conclusions“?

During the Obama Presidential campaign when I was producing the cartoons that would later appear in my book, my focus was on capturing the excitement, challenges and drama of this historical time in America’s history. I had been doing political cartoons for five years and though it would be a good time to put together a collection of my work. It then occurred to me to give the collection an Obama theme. I did not decide to do the book until the summer of 2008 only months before the election.

(6) What are your thoughts on the popularity and Hollywood’s, i..e., the film industry’s, big interest in graphic novels? Any plans on doing your own?

I began my career in publishing in the comic book / graphic novel industry. My first self-published book was about an African American Super Hero called the “L.A. Phoenix” ( It was inspired by the Los Angeles riots of 1992. There was interest for a movie or television treatment at that time and I had a few meetings with the studios (Fox Studios, Sabad Entertainment, New Line Cinema and Motown Animation). However, we could not agree on a deal. I do plan to resurrect the character next April, on the 20th anniversary of the riots.

In general I do think the movie studios have done a good job at bringing these properties to the big screen.

(7) What’s next for you?
I will be releasing a new L.A. Phoenix comic book next year, perhaps an updated version of the “Barack, Race and the Media: Drawing my own Conclusions” about the Obama Presidency and I have a children’s comic strip in development.

Thank you for this opportunity to discuss my work.

David G. Brown

(Interview posted, August 2011.)

Interview with Denise L. Cook, The ORACLE

Denise Cook, The ORACLE
Denise L. Cook brings to the stage a wealth of experience as a choreographer, producer, assistant director, published author, actor, dancer, spoken word artist, singer and motivational speaker, and is well known as a healer in the field of massage therapy. Asked what motivated her to pursue such a wide range of interests, she answers, “my father always said ‘anything worth doing is worth doing well. And anything you put your time and effort into, you may as well get credentialed’. I believed him, so doing anything less wasn’t an option. With Daddy excellence was the first line of defense against the big bad wolf of life.”

Denise began her career in the arts at an early age establishing her first dance company at the age of eight. Ms. Cook went on to receive her B.A. in Dance and MFA at U.C.L.A. and later a MEd at National University. She has studied, performed and worked alongside such notables as Carmen De Lavelaude, Chester Whitmore, Fayard Nicholas, Debbie Allen, Steven Simeon, Shirley Martin, the U.C.L.A. Dance Company, Hal DeWindt, Eddie Beale, Peter Long, Curtis Gadson, Saul Bernstein, Delilah Williams, H. B. Barnum and Mark Swinton. Stage credits include producer, choreographer, assistant director, lead, principal, and supporting lead roles in known plays, for coloured girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, Tell Hell I Ain’t Coming, Dream Girls, A Chorus Line, Shades, West Side Story, Oklahoma, Legends and Traditions Claim It and the Special Program, and dramatic plays A Shrine To Junior, Love Makes No Sense, and Looking For A Man. Two years on tour with Vickie Winnans in the award winning gospel, Somebody Oughtta Tell God Thank You, and two seasons on BET television sitcom, The Blackberry Inn as Ms. Laura’s evil sister Ruthie Anne and her one woman show titled “Lena Horn Elegance With Lady Day Style” circa 1945. To top it all off, Denise has ventured into the exciting eclectic realm of Spoken Word Artistry. Denise is a prolific writer and captivating performer bringing to life words penned by her hand and others; she invites in, then envelopes her audience with memorable performances.

Her first book and CD, FULL CIRCLE Balance In Life: A collection of poetry and prose chronicling self-love and self-awareness, was nominated for several awards.

(1)What was the effort like in preparing and producing The ORACLE Speaks?

There really was no effort at all in preparing and producing.

The ORACLE Speaks… just because. After having walked through the publishing process with Cullen Chambers of Back To One Publications on my first book, FULL CIRCLE Balance In Life, this one was a breeze. It took six months to publish the first book, only three with The ORACLE Speaks…

(2)Who (What?) is The ORACLE?

The ORACLE is a wise woman who gives no advice save to hold the mirror of life that you may see your own truth. Like the masterful Oracle of Delphi or Malkeventa Melchizedek, I simply point out the truth as I see it. No agenda, just the truth, sprinkled with love, understanding and unconditional acceptance of who and what you are. Pure love. My claim to fame is that I make people feel good about themselves. My hope is to envelope them with my word and love of self and life, that they may find their own truth.

(3)What are the inspirations behind doing both a book of poetry and a music CD? Who inspires you?

The inspirations behind doing both a book of poetry and music CD came from a deep seeded desire to share my word with the world. What better way than to speak the language of Havona (heaven); MUSIC. So, as with the first book, for which I have a companion CD, I set out to do just that. Only the second CD, I Gotta story To Tell, became more than just spoken word with music. Each piece is stand alone and worthy of radio airplay. They are finger-snapping and toe-tapping in additional to being inspirational. Not churchy, just a real feel good experience.

My inspirations are varied, from the candid truths shared by Kahlil Gibran to the sultry honesty of Nina Simone, to the veiled and hidden messages of life shared by Kurt Vonnegut. As a child I really liked e.e. cummings because he broke the standard “writing rules” and David Frost, simply because I liked his style. I would be wrought not to mention Maya Angelou because she’s bold and in your face, which I can tend to be.

(4) How are you promoting The ORACLE Speaks?

I am promoting The ORACLE Speaks, along with my CD, inspirational booklets and other products via the internet, Social Media, book signings,, mostly word of mouth. I don’t have the budget to do a full out publicity blitz, so I rely heavily on the net. I am also a Motivational Speaker and find I am able to promote from the stage. It’s tricky though, you never want to come across as being “salesy”, so you find a balance. Final answer, word of mouth and lately lots of radio interviews.

(5) With such a variety of interests and experiences, what is next for you?

What is next for me is the next book, Facing The Demons. Although the first two books speak to my life experiences, they are camouflaged in the commonality of life experiences we all share; love, death, hardships of life. This third book will speak specifically to some of the incidents in my life which helped to make me who and what I am. An honest shedding of the mask I, we all wear as a way to protect our inner child (innocence). At 53, I certainly can’t be considered an innocent, but I beg to differ and my writing opens the door to the fantasy of innocence that we all strive to cling to.

Interview with Lorna Clarke Osunsanmi

Lorna O
Lorna Clarke Osunsanmi aka Lorna O. is not your average love coach. She is a life changer with an uncanny knack for vividly identifying self-help strategies. Her witty yet practical style underscores a nurturing demeanor that is a gateway way to big advice. A film and television host and producer of her own show “Yin N Yang” in Hollywood, Lorna O. graduated magna cum laude from Texas Woman’s University. The native Christiansted, St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands is the byproduct of parents who have sustained a 40-year marriage. With two older and younger siblings in 20 and 10-year marriages, respectively, Lorna has seen and heard the gamut of ups and downs in both relationships and marriages. The happily married advice diva continues to live bold daily and has plans for a series of additional inspirational books. Be BOLD and uncover Lorna O’s guidance at and

Becoming Bold unleashes a straightforward guide for delving deep and mining one’s inner audaciousness. With the goal of unmasking and releasing latent deterrents to success, “Becoming BOLD” serves as the definitive guide to self-actualization and transformation. By going for the gusto, we set the pace for achieving ideal love and life.

(1) Among the many volumes of self-help, self-improvement, and self-sustaining that weigh heavy on the store shelves, what makes Becoming Bold stand out?
Becoming BoldThe Orange Lady! Most people love the cover and people have told me how compelling it is. It encapsulates how they feel either as a person stuck in the row or the Orange Lady breaking out of the mold to become the person they want to be. Personally, I am inspired by the Orange Lady!

(2) What were your inspirations in writing it? What is the message that you want to impart to your readers?
I always wanted to be writer growing up. I wrote articles for my school newspaper, I wrote poems, and short stories, but I got serious about having a career as a writer after college. It then decided to pursue a career as a television film writer and ended up working as as Assistant to Executives on a variety of popular shows and on the movie “Get Him To The Greek”. My career expanded early on as a talk show host/producer and with each episode I researched for Yin N Yang, I came up with more and more ideas about how to help people have healthier relationships and fuller lives with themselves and others. I drew from my own journey and my own struggles on how to achieve success, and knew if I was having to become a stronger, bolder person and overcome challenges, that others were going through the same thing. I wanted to tell people that they could change. I wanted to share what I discovered: that with a little bit of courage, fearlessness, your entire life could change for the better. Mine’s did! This is where the idea for Becoming Bold was sparked.

(3) What does “mining one’s inner audaciousness” mean?
Audacious means invulnerable to fear or intimidation, which is essentially being bold! Boldness also includes being direct, clear and honest even in the face of opposition. But I believe everyone has a level of boldness and audaciousness inside of them except the fire burned out. The switch was turned off. Fortunately, that switch is still there. It exists! The ability to be bold, audacious is possible, it’s just deep inside of us. It calls for us to make choices and moves that ignite those bold fires so we can turn that switch back on. When we do we’ll our life will change for the better. I love the quote that I use in the book because it so true and encompasses the ideas in Becoming Bold: “Courage [Boldness] is the greatest of all virtues. Because if you haven’t courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others.” (Samuel Johnson, Novelist, Poet)

(4) What are you doing to promote Becoming Bold?
I’ve been doing radio interviews across the U.S. I’ve also been sited in news articles. I was featured on Tom Joyner’s Black America Web.Com with Erica Taylor; and I’ll be a part of the Author’s Circle at the Tom Joyner Family Reunion in Orlando, Florida next month. With my own dating and relationship talk show, Yin N Yang, I’m able to promote my book and discuss different ideas that I talk about in Becoming Bold. I’m also planning a book tour. Basically, I’m promoting my book in every way possible!

(5) What has been the response like to Becoming Bold?
The response has been fantastic! A friend told me that just by looking at the cover she felt stronger. She made a “bold” decision that she was vacillating on that ended up saving her $3000.00 dollars and she was motivated by the cover of Becoming Bold. Stories like that are what I’ve been hearing. It’s truly a blessing to be a blessing to others. It makes every second I spent writing the book worth it!

Interview with Dameon Wroe

Dameon Wroe
Dameon Wroe is a former member of the R&B singing group, H2O. While recording their first album for Capitol Records, Dameon and his group members were also involved in acting. Dameon landed several featured roles and was also cast in a Dr. Pepper commercial. He has worked with entertainers such as Brian McKnight, Naughty By Nature, Silk, Jennifer Lewis, Robert Townsend, Don Cheadle, and Eddie Griffin. As suggested by many who had either read his poetry or watched him perform, Dameon took his passion for writing to the next level and wrote his first, self-published book of poetry entitled True Inspirations – A Poetry Collection, Vol. I and ultimately persuaded major book stores, such as Borders Books and Barnes & Noble, to carry his book. Dameon has released his second book, No Longer Silent – By Way of Poetry.

Professionally known as “Wroe-Wroe,” Dameon is aggressively searching to give the music industry a much needed face-lift with his innovative, motivational, and cutting-edge style of rap. As a solo artist, Dameon aspires to make a name for himself by writing for accomplished artists and eventually recording a solo record of his own in the future. Dameon has chosen to dedicate his life to reach out to the youth of our society through his music, and inspire them to be leaders in their communities while teaching them the concepts of turning wrongs into rights. Through his publishing company, Dameon is launching an online mentoring program to help better the youth of our society. Having had his life spared on many occasions, Dameon’s lyrical ability is unlike anything the music industry has seen. While focusing on his goals each day, Dameon reminds himself of the words of motivational speaker and author Les Brown who suggests, “You have to be willing to do the things today that others won’t do, in order to have the things tomorrow that others won’t have.”

(1) No Longer Silent – By Way of Poetry is your second volume of poetry. What was the response like to your first, True Inspirations – A Poetry Collection, Vol. I?

The feedback and response in sales that I acquired from my first book, True Inspirations – A Poetry Collection, Vol. I was very encouraging. I say that because I didn’t go into the publishing arena with confidence that I could sell a lot of books. After getting turned down by Barnes & Noble while soliciting stores to carry my book, I became very discouraged but I didn’t quit. I then took my book to a manager at the Borders Bookstore at the Puente Hills Mall in the City of Industry and they agreed to carry 10 copies to start with. Several weeks later, I was notified that Borders needed me to ship them more books because the first supply had sold out. Ultimately, I sold out four times while my books were on the shelves at Borders and the rest was history!

It was the greatest accomplishment in the world to know that I had written a book that other people actually cared about reading. When I got my first few checks from Borders, based on the books I sold, it was proof that I could accomplish whatever I put my mind to. True Inspirations – A Poetry Collection, Vol. I sold enough copies to inspire me to want to write another book, which brings me to the most prolific and awe-inspiring book I have every written…. No Longer Silent – By Way of Poetry. No Longer Silent

(2) Any “learnings” or “discoveries” from True Inspirations that are helping you in producing and promoting No Longer Silent?
By taking the advice of some very prominent,influential business mentors that I confide in, I learned from them that quitters never win. I also learned from them that, if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything. Since I do stand for something, I knew that failure could not ever be an option for me. While learning what it would take to produce my first book, I did not have anyone to lean on along the way to show me how to do this and how to do that. I pounded the pavement on my own and did my homework to make this book come into existence on my own. I knew if I put all my trust and faith in “people” to show me what needed to be done, “people” would let me down. However if I did the work myself and did it the way it needed to be done, I knew that I would never let myself down because I could not afford to fail.

A priceless lesson that I learned while promoting my first book, is to ALWAYS have a book on me to be able to make an immediate sale once anyone were to ever ask to buy a copy. This lesson is definitely helping me promote No Longer Silent – By Way of Poetry because I carry a box of books around in my car at all times, ready and willing to sell it to everyone I come in contact with that may ask me about it. Although millions of copies sold is the goal of every author, we as authors should be ready to sell a book at any given moment because it only takes one important person to get their hands on our book and the rest could be history. If you get your books exposed to the right people as quickly as possible, the rewards for future books can be quite substantial.

(3) How do you think readers will respond to No Longer Silent? How are you promoting it? And, how has been feedback so far?
I know for a fact that every person who has No Longer Silent – By Way of Poetry in their archives will truly be blessed by reading it. This is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of fact. No Longer Silent – By Way of Poetry is far more than just a poetry book; it is far more than just stories told through the eyes of poems… it is a movement. This book is the spokesperson for everyone who has ever wanted to speak their true feelings but allowed FEAR to stop them from doing so. The book is selling consistently thus far and I believe the reason I can make that statement is because I know there are valuable lessons shared in this book that everyone in society can benefit from, regardless of what walk of life they come from.

The majority of the readers who have already purchased the book have already shared with me that they have fallen in love with the book before finishing the third chapter and, for a ten chapter book, that’s a success story all by itself. If you are a person who ever had an absent parent in your life growing up, then this book is for you. If you are a person who has a desire to mend a broken relationship with a sibling, then this book is for you. If you are a person who wants to gain a better spiritual relationship with God, then this book is for you. If you are a person who strives to become more of a leader and not a follower, then this book is definitely for you. If you know of someone who has been in and out of trouble with the law, then this would be a great book to share with them to get them to see that a better quality of life is possible if they want it bad enough. Our company website is currently under construction but No Longer Silent – By Way of Poetry can still be purchased by sending a check or money order to: Another EP Publishing Company P.O. Box 300 Walnut, CA 91788-0300. The book is $10.81 per copy (tax included).

(4) With No Longer Silent just recently being published, I am sure your efforts are around this book. But, what’s next for you? Any future projects?
Although I am working on promoting my current books, I am also currently writing book number three – which has not yet been titled. My third book is scheduled for completion December 31, 2011 and, once that book is finished, I will begin treatments on book number four – which will be my first full-length novel based on a true story.

I am also accepting completed manuscript submissions from writers who are looking for a great publishing home. Whenever I am not writing books, I am in the recording studio writing songs and also stepping up my efforts to get back into my passion for acting and public speaking.

Interview with Tamika Newhouse

Tamika Newhouse
Tamika Newhouse is a self-published bestselling author and founder of Delphine Publications. At the age of 21, Tamika appeared on various bestseller lists and won Self Published Author of the Year at the 2009 African American Literary Awards. Along with Delphine Publications, she is the founder and President of African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC) – an online book club and radio show catering to avid readers across the nation. With future projects in the works from short films, stage plays and much more, Tamika is a young woman on a mission.

Tamika presently tours the country speaking about overcoming her teen pregnancy to fulfill her dream, as well as teaching aspiring writers the publishing ropes. She has hosted her own Internet radio show (AAMBC) for over three years and continues to expand her brand. She lives in San Antonio with her son, and daughter. She is currently working on her fourth novel Cookie: A Fort Worth Story.

(1) Award-winning and bestselling author. Publisher. Social networker, par excellence. How do you find the time to write?
I get asked that all of the time. I simply multi-task and plan the day out. I make a list of things to do and try my hardest to get most of it done. It all boils down to timing. If you can multi-task, you can do so much to reach your goals.

(2) Considering your accolades, what is your proudest moment as an author? As a publisher?
Wow, I have never been asked that and to be honest, my most proud moment was holding my very first book for the first time. I couldn’t believe that a lifelong dream was real. It had come true and I made it come true. As a publisher, my proudest moment was signing great talents and seeing them flourish. I love to mold great writers so that they can be successful.

(3) What would you tell new authors about getting their book published?
This is a process and there is no overnight or quick success. Everything comes in its own time and if you are looking for a quick way to make money, look into another source. You have to be a writer because you love it. Point black period.

(4) What can you tell us about Cookie: A Fort Worth Story? And, what’s next on the horizon for you?

Cookie is based on true events about a young girl who decided to step out of her shell and live on the edge. But unfortunately, living on the edge involves sex, drugs, stealing, lying, murder, rape, and so much more for this young girl. I write it simply to help teens see, that if you choose to be in the in crowd this is what can happen. I am currently writing on two novels that are contemporary fiction. I am working with a agent on a multi-book deal as well. I’m just staying consistent and hoping everything works out.

(5) And, what’s next on the horizon for you? Is there a collaboration in the works?
Yes I am working with another bestselling author, Ni’Cola Mitchell. We have penned the novel, He’s My Favorite Mistake to come out next summer. A tour will follow the release. I am very excited because it’s the first of a few collaborated novels from us.

Interview with Russel Blake

Russel Blake
Over the past 3 decades, Russel Blake has established himself as a professional musician, concert soloist, educator, and author. He carries on the musical legacy of his father, Latin musical great Alexander Blake, and his brother, world renowned jazz bassist, Alex Blake. At the foundation of all of his success is Russel’s impeccable composition, theoretical and musical arrangement skills; all of which are self-taught.

As a public speaker, Mr. Blake eloquently conveys a message of personal empowerment and all-encompassing hope. In a remarkably refined manner he captivated crowds, young and old, by condensing his wealth of musical knowledge, his spiritual resolve, and a genuine love for humanity into a series of inspiring and insightful lecture topics.

To date, he has shared his talents in 65 countries, on five continents, held the title of ‘Adjunct Professor’ at five universities across the country where he has shared his creation, “The Universal Language Music History & Cultural Program” with a variety of audiences from Elementary through High School, Colleges and Universities, Senior Centers, Prisons, Hospitals and Military Installations about the history of Music.

Russel Blake currently holds over 432 pieces within his repertoire encompassing Classical, Spanish Classical, Traditional Jazz, Brazilian, Opera, Latin & Blues music idioms. He performs works from Mozart, Beethoven, Segovia, Albeniz, Cole Porter, Gershwin, Monk, Jobim, Stevie Wonder & Elton John.

Mr. Blake has earned the opportunity to accompany and record with several music giants such as Sonny Rollins, Pharoah Sanders, Hugh Masakela, Cybil Shepherd, Chaka Khan, Harry Belafonte, El Gran Combo, Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and has enjoyed playing as the exclusive bassist for The Lion King, Dream Girls, Angie Stone, Brenda Russell, Mary Mary, to name a few.

Among his highest achievements was his appointment by the U.S. State Department to perform as an Ambassador of Goodwill to Eight West African Nation’s, and was also contracted by the U.S. Department of Defense to lecture on the symbiotic nature of Science and Music for DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Agency) International Conference.

Most recently, Russel Blake authored Proverbs 31: The Virtuous Black Woman Volume 1, in which he communicates the precious and priceless value of Black Women, the right for all women to be treated with unwavering respect and dignity, and the seeds of reverence to be sown by virtue of changing perception one community at a time.

(1) Tell us about Proverbs 31: The Virtuous Black Woman.  What led you to write this book?

The book is the first installment of a three volume series with Volume 1 being authored in dedication to Black Women.

It is 50 pieces of non-fiction with several fictional stories included, composed in a Book Of Psalms/Song of Solomon love lettered form of writing. Each piece addresses an issue pertinent to Black Women. For example, the piece entitled “Masculinity”, addresses the plague of physical, emotional and psychological abuse our women are experiencing at the hands of men and subsequently builds them up with the encouraging truth of who they are and their better tomorrow.

In beholding an incessant barrage of negative portrayals and depictions of Black Women in the media here and abroad, I took up arms with pen in hand to refute the stereotypes, rebuke the lies and restore the rightful truths indigenous to the essence of Black Women. It is the inherent historical, present and future responsibility of every Black Man to defend the Women of his community regardless of what source her enemies originate from.

(2) Who are you trying to reach out to in Proverbs 31:VBW?

In addition to the target audience of Black Women, my hope is for all peoples, especially the Men of our community to reflect within themselves and re-evaluate the vital importance that Black Women have historically and significantly contributed to both our Family and to humanity.

In so doing, we raise our consciousness to be a catalyst for truth, thereby setting emotions to thoughts, thoughts to words and then words to action in challenging every identified threat to the perception of Black Women. As Men, we can then easily segue and share our earnest love and appreciation of God, our children and ourselves for our tomorrows, through loving the beautiful and virtuous Black Women in our lives today.

(3) What was the process like in writing Proverbs 31:VBW and in getting the book published?

No change of significance can ever take place without revolution. In my Spirit an uprising took place to confront the invisible regime of bigotry, misogyny and falsehoods oppressively perpetuated against the Women of our community via the media and institutionalized entities. I am a self-published author due to what amenities availed itself to me at the time of my completed manuscript.

(4) What kind of feedback have you received?

I am humbled by the national and international response and attention to this work. It has resonated with people from all walks of life, religions and ethnic groups. I was contacted recently by a Woman who happened to be white, and in praising the book stated that she wished a white man would have written a work that bestowed honor and uplifted the women of her community in such a positive way.

(5) With “Volume 1” in the title, what can we expect in your next book?

The next work in the series will be titled, “Proverbs 31:The Virtuous Woman Volume II.” Just as a Rose is not the singular flower in every garden, the quality of virtue is not limited solely to Black Women. Therefore in honoring Women of all ethnic groups, volume II expounds upon the theme to encourage the love, appreciation and reverence of their blessed existence and significant contribution to humanity.

Press Release: Eclectic Life Books Exhibiting at the Los Angeles Black Book Exposition Saturday, August 20, 2011

Press Release — Book Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (August 12, 2011)

Eclectic Life Books Exhibiting at the Los Angeles Black Book Exposition Saturday, August 20, 2011

Los Angeles, CA– Author Cherise Charleswell, President of Eclectic Life Books will be exhibiting at the annual Los Angeles Black Book Expo. Ms. Charleswell will be there to debut her book, Real Talk TIPS: Laugh-Out-Loud Pointers & Suggestions For The Morally Challenged, Socially Inept, & The People Who Love Them.

The Los Angeles Black Book Expo is being held on Saturday August 20, 2011 from 10AM to 6PM, inside the Los Angeles Convention Center #403. The LA Convention Center is located at 1201 S. Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015.

The book, just published in May 2011, is a non-traditional, sassy, tongue-in-cheek, and painfully honest self help guide and workbook for the morally challenged and socially inept members of society; as well as those who want to improve on their quality of life. The Adinkra image that graces the book’s cover is called “Mate masie” and it loosely translates to “What I hear, I keep”. The book draws on my experience as a West Indian child, where wisdom was often imparted as a series of “old time” sayings, tips, and proverbs; leaving one to interpret the true meaning and come to their own conclusion and understanding.

The book has always garnered the following praises and reviews:

“Cherise Charleswell is a fresh and funny young voice with wisdom for the ages. The author takes aim at the morally challenged, the socially inept and everyone else and skewers them to hilarious new heights. Highly recommend. ”
Robyn McGee
 Author and Educator at California State University Dominguez Hills


“Bug in your ear wisdom, you have lint in your hair or you missed a

button. A good read intent on being more cautious of our attitudes

behavior and Appearence. Whimsical light hearted Examanation

of pop culture from a concerned sister prospective. Real Talk Tips

Is full of timeless tips, Critiques, and Compliments. Noteworthy

Thoughtful solutions , tuff love with a hug. Its Funny Bitterly

Honest The way family is. A must read for all ages that actually

builds self esteem and self worth.”

Yawo Watts

Writer, Poet, Spoken Word Artist


Contact Person: Cherise Charleswell
Company Name: Eclectic Life
Voice Phone# 818-521-8422
Email Address:

Interview with Lutishia Lovely

Lutishia Lovely
Lutishia Lovely will be appearing at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair on Saturday, June 25.

Lutishia Lovely is the bestselling author of the popular Hallelujah Love Series which includes Sex In The Sanctuary, Reverend Feelgood and Heaven Forbid. A professional writer for more than a decade, she made the leap from stage and screenplays with a children’s book before writing her first full-length novel of contemporary fiction.

The first book in her new series, All Up In My Business, is out now and she’s just completed her fourteenth work. Six are romances penned by her alter-ego, Zuri Day. Lutishia resides in wine country, between LA and San Diego, and in her spare time loves to create delicious, vegetarian cuisine for family and friends. She also enjoys sports, the arts, travel, and most of all hearing from readers. Contact her at

(1) How does it feel to be a full-time writer? Are you living the dream?

Every day I get to wake up and do what I love! I set my own schedule, work from the comforts of my home office, and basically have only due lines as my taskmasters. I work hard, but then I get to play hard. Which means that while I’m working today, Sunday, and will be working through all weekends in July and most of August, I’ll also be taking a month off at the end of the year and heading to Costa Rica! Add to that a fabulous team that includes editor Selena James and agent Natasha Kern and what you get is a woman who doesn’t take any of this for granted and who feels blessed to be living the dream!

(2) What have you learned since your first novel was published? How about after you had your first taste of success?

I’ve learned so many things and the lessons continue! Like many industries, publishing is continually changing and one has to absorb as much information as possible to stay at the top of their game. But specifically since publishing my first novel I’ve learned that the “high class hustle” continues; that just because you’ve got five, ten, fifteen books out there doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. You’ve got to network, promote, and interact with fans to stay visible in a sea swimming with thousands of authors. Most importantly, you’ve got to keep putting out great product. You can’t depend on last year’s well-reviewed book for tomorrow’s sales. When people ask me what’s my favorite book I always answer, “my next one!”

For me, I felt successful from the time I held my first novel, Sex In The Sanctuary, in my hands. I published it independently and as anyone in this biz will tell you, self-publishing is hard work…not for the faint of heart! But all of the blood, sweat and tears was well worth it, especially when publishing that novel led to a book deal the following year.

(3) How have your readers supported your works, especially when you cross church and romance together?

From the beginning, I knew that mixing spirituality and sexuality would be controversial, but I also knew it would be “real talk.” I’m a PK (preacher’s kid), grew up in church, and for many years was intimately involved in various denominations and congregations – from the small town, 50-member church to mega-churches boasting 15,000 members. While these novels are works of fiction, most of the storylines are pulled from real life situations that I’ve witnessed first-hand. That said, I didn’t write this series to make any type of statement. I just want to tell great stories about relationships that involve real characters and real situations. And that’s what I’ve done.

Fortunately, I am blessed to have a large, strong core of readers for the Hallelujah Love series; it’s one of the reasons I’m still a major part of this game. Many of these supporters are pastors, elders, first ladies, and leaders of women’s fellowships, and many don’t go to church at all. The readership is a mix: Black, White, gay, straight, Christian, other. They’ve all kept reading this somewhat controversial combo and that has allowed me to keep writing about these fabulously flawed characters and congregations. So much so that book number seven, Divine Intervention, drops next year with plans for more to follow!

An unexpected blessing has come from this series also. Women and men are feeling free to talk about topics in a more real, less religious way – to discuss in church settings what we’re talking about on the phone! The outline from the Sanctity of Sisterhood (SOS) Summit, a conference that’s put on by the ladies of SITS (Sex In The Sanctuary) has been used by several women’s groups throughout the country and I just found out that several SOS Conferences have sprung up as well!

(4) New novels, new themes? Tell us about your latest book series, and your short stories.

I’m very excited about the Business Trilogy: three books about a hard-working, close-knit soul food dynasty where sizzling scandal and delicious loving is always on the menu. Again, I’m writing what I know, having come from a line of southern cooks whose meals make you want to slap somebody! All Up In My Business is the first novel and is available now. The second, Mind Your Own Business, drops in September and book three, Taking Care Of Business, comes out in the spring of next year. My first novella, Wanted: You, appeared in the anthology CRUSH, with Michele Grant and Cydney Rax. I love writing short stories and networking with other authors. It’s a fantastic way to cross-promote and gain new readers.

My romance writing alter-ego, Zuri Day, is busy as well. Her first novella, Too Hot To Handle, dropped last month alongside veteran writers Donna Hill and Niobia Bryant in a book called Heat Wave. Her newest release, Lovin’ Blue, is out now. It’s about a tree-hugging, peace-loving vegan who falls for a meat-and-potatoes badass cop. Her last release of the year, Love In Play, drops in December.

(5) Of the characters that you have given us, are there any favorites?

I must say that I’m in love with several of my male leads, yes, even the married ones! I love Derrick Montgomery’s love and loyalty, King Brooks’ swagger, everything about heartthrob Cy Taylor and about the fantastically flawed but utterly lovable Reverend Feelgood, otherwise known as Nate Thicke. We don’t read much about “seasoned” citizens and I’ve really enjoyed writing in the voice of 70-something Mama Max, her husband, Obadiah Brook, and their long-time nemesis, Dorothea Bates. Old folks need love too, and often have drama to go along with it!

(6) How can readers contact you, and get more information about your work?

I LOVE hearing from readers and respond personally to every email. Hit me up at and check Zuri out at Please, and thank you! And Eric, thanks so much for the chat. I really enjoyed it.

(Interview posted, July 2011.)

Interview with Mercedes Brown

Mercedes BrownMercedes Brown will be appearing at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair on Saturday, June 25.

Mercedes Tidmore Brown is a California native, born and reared in Long Beach, California. She attended Long Beach City College and California State University Dominquez Hills, where she received a B.A. degree in philosophy and a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling.. She received a Master of Science degree in Community Counseling Psychology from Springfield College of Los Angeles, California. She is currently attending California State University Dominquez Hills, studying to become a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Mercedes, turns her pain into passion, and ultimately to freedom. The freedom from the shames that mothers feel when their child is incarceration. The author becomes transparent as she pens her memoir, sharing the pain of three generations of women in her own family who had a child behind the prison wall.

Mercedes desire is to help others whose soul is incarcerated when their loved ones are incarcerated. She wants to teach other women how to get their life back and triumph over all adversities. Mercedes is utilizing her education in marriage, family and therapy to help others to seek their purpose while pushing beyond their pain. She is available for workshops and seminars on the subject matter.

For more information, review copies, or interviews please contact the author at:

(1) How did you go about writing and producing A Soul Incarcerated? Who are your target readers?

For the past three years I have been a student in the marriage and family therapy program at CSUDH. Some of the chapters in the book are actually assignments (vignettes) that I had to write on my relationships. The poetry and prayers were written years ago during stages of my souls’ incarceration. As a family member who has been impacted by incarceration this memiors was compiled to encourage others who are facing simular challenges and situations, and to erase the stigma of the shame and guilt associated with the incarceration of a loved one. The targeted readers are the communities who have family members incarcerated, individuals who have been abused and/or who have felt isolated, and the constituents and shareholders of the incarcerated.

(2) What did you do to get help in producing the book? Did you get help from readers and colleagues?

I went to Dr. Rosie Milligan for consultation and advice. She worked very closely with me in helping me to compile the contents of the book, as well as the publishing of the book.

(3) What are your plans for A Soul Incarcerated?

My plans for A Soul Incarcerated is to share my story with the global communities and to let them know they are not alone. There are 2.4 million families who are impacted by incarceration and we need to have an open dialogue about the subject, especially in the churches. My desire is to help others whose soul is incarcerated and teach others how to triumph over adversities. I also have plans to write a series of “A Soul Incarcerated” on different subjects and issues.

(4) What is on your bookshelf? What have you read lately that you’d like to share?

I have a wide variety of books on the shelves. From ancient civilization to art, psychology, religion and much more. I’m currently reading “The Value In The Valley” by Iyanla Vanzant.

Interview with Pretty Tony

Pretty Tony offers an urban perspective to the age-old quest of men trying to understand women by first examining themselves with honesty. His first two novels, “Playaology” and “Playa Step Your Game Up” sent ripples throughout the community as his ‘keep it real’ street logic laid it bare. With “Who is she & What is she to you?,” Pretty Tony emerges as a seasoned street master decoding ultimate truths, bring hip hop flavor to the never ending questions men really have about women. He lends great insight from the mindset of a self professed “womanizer” with a perspective that is still relevant to everyday relationships.

(1) Tell us about the “who” in “Who is she & What is she to you?” Who is your book written for?


(2) If you were to break down the book, is there a philosophy or a key insights that are shared?


(3) Why do so many relationships seem to need “counseling”?


(4) Are men missing something in being able to be involved in a relationship?


(5) What has been the feedback like for “Who is she & What is she to you”?


Interview with Shakara Cannon

Shakara Cannon will be appearing at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair on Saturday, June 25.

Shakara Cannon developed her love for writing during her childhood years, writing stories to read to her family at bed time. As she honed her skills, Shakara steadily gained notoriety in high school writing stories that surprised her teachers. She further developed her passion for writing at California State University, Northridge, double majoring in English and Business with a minor in Psychology. Later, writing fiction grew from hobby to therapy after the loss of her daughter’s father.

Shakara’s talent for creating colorful, sexy, and humorous characters, coupled with relative, relatable, and controversial topics brings her novels to life. Each page has you thirsting to know what happens next!

More information can be found at

This Can’t be Life:

Simone Johnson’s repressed memories resurface through a year-long recurring dream unveiling secrets that turn her world upside down. When it seems that her life is in a downward spiral, she meets the man of her dreams and falls in love for the first time. With her 2 best friends by her side – Talise, the romantic, who dreams of a marriage just like her parents, and Stacey, the brother, the shoulder, and the comic relief – and the love of her life in her corner, life is better than it has ever been. But, when tragedy strikes and she finds that the man she’s given her heart to isn’t who she thought he was, Simone falls into an abyss of darkness that she may not find her way out of.

(1) Tell us about This Can’t be Life. What led you to write a novel?

I was led to write this novel after having a recurring nightmare that brought me to the realization that I’d repressed memories as a child. That is how it started, but it grew from there and became its own story.

(2) How did you go about creating and developing your characters? Were there inspirations behind them?

When I created the characters in This Can’t be Life, I first did a complete bio on them all. I wanted background information, what motivates them, what annoys them. I just really wanted to know them inside and out. While doing this, they came alive and was so much easier to tell their story. It’s like it flows through you. None of my characters are based off of anyone I know aside from one. The character Deon Bradford in This Can’t be Life, is based very lightly off of someone I know, but of course in actuality he is no Deon Bradford. You’ll understand after reading This Can’t be Life (wink wink).

(3) What was the process like in getting the This Can’t be Life published?

It has definitely had its challenges, but anything worth doing will be challenging in some way. The main thing that I’ve ran into was figuring out who to hire. When it comes to editors, typesetters, printers, publicist, etc., you want to make the right choice the first time around! Luckily I’ve connected with people that put me in touch with the right professionals that have helped guide me. I can’t say how important it is to have a mentor and join writers groups. Having that support of your piers is priceless. A lot of times you can find someone who can give you advice and prevent you from going down the wrong road.

(4) What are you doing to promote This Can’t be Life?

I’m doing everything possible to promote This Can’t be Life, from having a heavy presence on the social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as prompting reviews, write ups, interviews such as these, book signings, book fairs and expos, etc. I’m working with a very experienced publicist who is doing a lot of promoting which is very helpful to the novice author/publisher. Also, friends and family are doing a lot of promoting as well as avid readers. When they read something they love they speak on it. Good word of mouth is the best promotion in my opinion, because it is unsolicited and honest. You hear it straight from the mouth of someone who has actually read what you are selling.

(5) What are your favorite books and authors? Anything special that you have recently read?

It has always been hard for me to pick favorites, but here goes. Eric Jerome Dickey, Mary B. Morrison, Danielle Steel, Mary Monroe, Jackie Collins, Dean Koontz, Brandon Massey. Again, it’s hard for me to narrow it down because my taste in fiction is so broad. A couple of my favorite books is The Upper Room by Mary Morrison, momma Ruby was nuts! I also love Sleeping with Strangers by Eric Jerome Dickey. Gideon is the love of my life! EJD is an amazing story teller. The Sleeping with Strangers series of books reminds me of the Bourne Identity movies. Very action packed with a great storyline. Love it!

(6) Anything else you’d like to share or say?

Yes! I’d like to thank you for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to the Leimert Park Village Book Fair and meeting lots of readers! This is a great event promoting literacy in our inner cities. I’m a native of Southern California and am truly honored to be a part of this movement.

(Interview posted, June 2011)