Tag Archives: Authors

Living in Fear by Keyanna Ford



NCM Publishing
July 29, 2014
Paperback

Tia Green came from Kalamazoo, a small town in Michigan. From the time she was a child, Tia had known exactly what she wanted out of life and had already dreamed about how to get it a thousand times over. Tia had always planned on attending the University of Michigan with her childhood friend where they both wanted to become nurses. She worked hard in high school and made sure she got good grades. Eventually, that hard work paid off. She was admitted early to U of M with a full scholarship. After going on the college tour, life changed for her in ways she would have never believed!

Ace was the guy that everybody dreamed they had. He was smart, sexy, and athletic, not to mention, the star of University of Michigan’s football team. See, Ace turned heads wherever he went, and people were always striving for his attention, but Ace could care less. He was a player who didn’t believe in giving his heart away to any female due to his childhood, but that all changed when he met Tia. She was everything he had ever wanted, and most importantly, she reminded him of his late mother whom he lost at a young age.

Ace thought Tia was perfect for him. He thought he would finally get the family he had always wanted. He never imagined she’d betray him, especially not with the only other person he loved! Tia and Ace started with a fairy tale romance, truly in love.

As true colors bleed out from the cracks of their exteriors, the couple discovered that their fairy tale romance was turning into a painful nightmare and the dream-filled partnership was on its way to ruins.

About the Author:
Keyanna was born and raised in Kalamazoo, MI. She has always been into school but never knew exactly what she wanted to do. She graduated from Loy Norrix High School in 2005 with high honors and went to college where she studied Criminal Justice at Kalamazoo Valley Community College first then went on to get her bachelors at Western Michigan University where she doubled major and graduated with two majors in Criminal Justice and Social Psychology. After going through a bad situation, Keyanna decided to write about it where she discovered her love for writing and that’s how her debut novel “Living in Fear” came to life.

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.

The Root’s Summer Reading List

The Root’s book selections for the Summer of 2014, featuring “Book of Hours” by Kevin Young, “Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson” by Barbara Ransby, “Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II” by Farah Jasmine Griffin:

Book of Hours: Poems by Kevin Young

A decade after the sudden and tragic loss of his father, we witness the unfolding of grief. “In the night I brush / my teeth with a razor,” he tells us, in one of the collection’s piercing two-line poems. Capturing the strange silence of bereavement (“Not the storm / but the calm / that slays me”), Kevin Young acknowledges, even celebrates, life’s passages, his loss transformed and tempered in a sequence about the birth of his son: in “Crowning,” he delivers what is surely one of the most powerful birth poems written by a man, describing “her face / full of fire, then groaning your face / out like a flower, blood-bloom,/ crocused into air.” Ending this book of both birth and grief, the gorgeous title sequence brings acceptance, asking “What good/are wishes if they aren’t / used up?” while understanding “How to listen / to what’s gone.” Young’s frank music speaks directly to the reader in these elemental poems, reminding us that the right words can both comfort us and enlarge our understanding of life’s mysteries.

Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson by Barbara Ransby

Eslanda “Essie” Cardozo Goode Robeson lived a colorful and amazing life. Her career and commitments took her many places: colonial Africa in 1936, the front lines of the Spanish Civil War, the founding meeting of the United Nations, Nazi-occupied Berlin, Stalin’s Russia, and China two months after Mao’s revolution. She was a woman of unusual accomplishment — an anthropologist, a prolific journalist, a tireless advocate of women’s rights, an outspoken anti-colonial and antiracist activist, and an internationally sought-after speaker. Yet historians for the most part have confined Essie to the role of Mrs. Paul Robeson, a wife hidden in the large shadow cast by her famous husband. In this masterful book, biographer Barbara Ransby refocuses attention on Essie, one of the most important and fascinating black women of the twentieth century.

Chronicling Essie’s eventful life, the book explores her influence on her husband’s early career and how she later achieved her own unique political voice. Essie’s friendships with a host of literary icons and world leaders, her renown as a fierce defender of justice, her defiant testimony before Senator Joseph McCarthy’s infamous anti-communist committee, and her unconventional open marriage that endured for over 40 years—all are brought to light in the pages of this inspiring biography. Essie’s indomitable personality shines through, as do her contributions to United States and twentieth-century world history.

Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II
by Farah Jasmine Griffin

As World War II raged overseas, Harlem witnessed a battle of its own. Brimming with creative and political energy, the neighborhood’s diverse array of artists and activists took advantage of a brief period of progressivism during the war years to launch a bold cultural offensive aimed at winning democracy for all Americans, regardless of race or gender. Ardent believers in America’s promise, these men and women helped to lay the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement before Cold War politics and anti-Communist fervor temporarily froze their dreams at the dawn of the postwar era.

In Harlem Nocturne, esteemed scholar Farah Jasmine Griffin tells the stories of three black female artists whose creative and political efforts fueled this historic movement for change: choreographer and dancer Pearl Primus, composer and pianist Mary Lou Williams, and novelist Ann Petry. Like many African Americans in the city at the time, these women weren’t native New Yorkers, but the metropolis and its vibrant cultural scene gave them the space to flourish and the freedom to express their political concerns. Pearl Primus performed nightly at the legendary Cafe Society, the first racially integrated club in New York, where she debuted dances of social protest that drew on long-buried African traditions and the dances of former slaves in the South. Williams, meanwhile, was a major figure in the emergence of bebop, collaborating with Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Bud Powell and premiering her groundbreaking Zodiac Suite at the legendary performance space Town Hall. And Ann Petry conveyed the struggles of working-class black women to a national audience with her acclaimed novel The Street, which sold over a million copies — a first for a female African American author.

A rich biography of three artists and the city that inspired them, Harlem Nocturne captures a period of unprecedented vitality and progress for African Americans and women, revealing a cultural movement and a historical moment whose influence endures today.


The Cutting Season: A Novel by Attica Locke

Attica Locke‘s breathtaking debut novel, Black Water Rising, won resounding acclaim from major publications coast-to-coast and from respected crime fiction masters like James Ellroy and George Pelecanos, earning this exciting new author comparisons to Dennis Lehane, Scott Turow, and Walter Mosley. Locke returns with The Cutting Season, a second novel easily as gripping and powerful as her first — a heart-pounding thriller that interweaves two murder mysteries, one on Belle Vie, a historic landmark in the middle of Lousiana’s Sugar Cane country, and one involving a slave gone missing more than one hundred years earlier. Black Water Rising was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, an Edgar Award, and an NAACP Image Award, and was short-listed for the Orange Prize in the U.K. The Cutting Season has been selected by bestselling author Dennis Lehane as the first pick for his new line of books at HarperCollins.

Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward

“We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped.” — Harriet Tubman

In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life — to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth — and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.

Jesmyn grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi. She writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the men who can do no right and the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent. She bravely tells her story, revisiting the agonizing losses of her only brother and her friends. As the sole member of her family to leave home and pursue higher education, she writes about this parallel American universe with the objectivity distance provides and the intimacy of utter familiarity. A brutal world rendered beautifully, Jesmyn Ward’s memoir will sit comfortably alongside Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying, Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life, and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

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.

Publications

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.

Black Authors and Readers Rock, October 19-20, Maryland

The Reading Divas presents its 5th Annual Literary Event — The First BLACK AUTHORS & READERS ROCK WEEKEND!

Friday & Saturday October 19 & 20, 2012
at the Metro Points Hotel
8500 Annapolis Road, New Carrollton, MD

Friday 7 -11 pm
Reception/Book Club Meeting including the Book Launch of “An Angry Ass Black Woman” by Karen Quinones Miller​ and a Book Club Meeting featuring Pamela Samuels Young‘s latest novel, “Attorney Client Privilege.”

An Angry-Ass Black Woman by Karen E. Quinones Miller
Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing
Available October 2, 2012 in Paperback

This sassy, shocking autobiographical novel captures the racial tensions, the hardships, and the bonds that formed between families and neighbors growing up poor in Harlem.

The Essence bestselling author of Uptown Dreams delivers a fictionalized look at the life she lived before she achieved success as an established writer. “Ke-Ke” (Kay-Kay) grew up on 117th Street in extreme poverty. After an accident leaves her in a coma in her late forties, her beloved family around her in the hospital, she remembers moments from her childhood and the events that would later shape her desires to get out of Harlem and make something of herself. Her sometimes poignant and sometimes hilarious memories — like trying to rob the landlord to pay her family’s back rent — are interspersed with her present-day family’s concerns for her health. Filled with vibrant anecdotes about childhood in Harlem and her journey from dropping out of school, to re-entering and graduating from college, becoming a journalist and then an author, Miller showcases the love experienced by her family and neighbors and the bond secured between them as part of their common upbringing.

When a hotshot L.A. lawyer takes on a corporation with a long history of discriminating against women, her quest for justice is hindered by a brutal murder, missing documents and an unscrupulous opposing counsel.

Goldman House Publishing
Available June 9, 2012 in Paperback

Saturday Morning 9-11:45
Workshops/Panels:

  • Is Urban Lit Really Literature
  • So You Wanna Write
  • What Impact has the Ebook had on Black Publishing
  • How to Start, Improve and Get the Most Out of Your Book Club

Noon Luncheon 12-3
Featuring Mary Monroe

God Don’t Make No Mistakes by Mary Monroe

Available by Dafina on June 1, 2012 in Hardcover

In the sparkling conclusion to Mary Monroe‘s bestselling God series, two forever friends face their biggest betrayals yet and learn the hard way that putting your trust in the wrong hands can change your life forever!

These days, Annette Goode Davis has a pretty full plate–literally and figuratively. Although she’s trying to reconcile with her husband, Pee Wee, she’s still seeing other men on the side. A woman’s got to cover her bases, right? With her love life hopping, Annette should be as pleased as punch. Instead, the stress has her eating everything in sight and packing on the pounds along the way.

Meanwhile, Annette’s best friend, Rhoda O’Toole, has her hands full–as usual–dealing with her wild child daughter. Jade has always been a cross to bear, but when her antics almost cost Rhoda her man, Rhoda throws Jade out on the street. But Jade soon finds a way to make Rhoda regret her choice.

Privately, Annette thanks her lucky stars that her daughter, Charlotte, has her head on straight. And she’s been doubly blessed to have a strait-laced neighbor look after Charlotte when she’s caught up in Pee Wee and Rhoda’s many problems. But when Annette’s world is rocked by a terrible revelation, she’ll discover that appearances can be very, very deceiving–and she’ll have to summon every ounce of strength she has to protect the ones she loves.

Early Bird Tickets/(after 9/15)
Friday Only – $20/($30)
Saturday Only – $40/($50)
Combined Ticket – $55/($75)

Click on link below to buy tickets!
www.readersrock.eventbrite.com
or send certified check or money order to

The Reading Divas
P O Box 102, Glenndale, MD 20769

Make it a weekend event!
Call for your reservations at Metro Points – (301) 459-6700

Author Ni’cola Mitchell

Ni'cola MitchellStriving to inject her unique flair into the realm of contemporary fiction, Award-Winning, Best-Selling author Ni’cola Mitchell enter the literary scene with one main objective: To Stimulate Your Mind, One Word at a Time.

Through her independent publishing company NCM Publishing, Ni’cola published numerous titles which have been featured on various best-selling lists throughout the country. Much of her work revolves around complex relationship issues and Mitchell’s compulsive desire to see women overcome challenges.

Over and Over Again was featured in the top ten by EDC Creations Recommended Reading List for the 2009 fall season under Mainstream Fiction and Women’s Fiction. Ni’cola was nominated Self-Published Author of the Year with the African-American Literary Award Show for 2010 and 2011. Her short story “The Forbidden Rain” was featured in the Between the Sheets anthology which won 2011 Anthology of the Year with the African-American Literary Award Show. Recently Twisted won Book of the Year for 2011 with the African American on the Move Book Club.

Because of her outstanding representation of Las Vegas’ African American community, Ni’cola Mitchell was featured in the second edition of Who’s Who in Black Las Vegas. Ni’cola was also included in the fourth volume of the I Am Royalty: Profiles in Black History series. She is also a motivational speaker and literary consultant. Currently, she is touring across the country, speaking about the importance of going after your dreams and overcoming obstacles, and how to self-publish your book successfully.

When she isn’t writing, Mitchell loves to spend time with her family and volunteers as a mentor or youth activities. Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, she currently resides in North Las Vegas, Nevada with her two daughters Destani and Diamond. Co-Founder of the Baltimore Urban Book Festival, Ni’cola holds a Bachelors degree of Science in Business Management and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration in Small Business.

Beautiful Liar by Ni’cola Mitchell
(NCM Publishing, October 1, 2013, Paperback)

A night out on the town with her best friend Natalie, was the perfect antidote to her broken heart. Not only was she able to finally not think about Jarvis and allow herself to have a good time, but she was introduced to something new. An interesting couple whose husband, Damien, handpicked her, and wanted to live out their ultimate fantasy; a menage~a~trios. After a night of kinky passion Raquel hoped that the pain of Jarvis’s infidelity, would finally go away, but found her self entangled in a love triangle, where both Damien and his sexy wife Staci wanted her. Falling into the trance that Damien spun around her, Raquel finds herself lost in a bed of deceit and lies. Trying to break away and attempt to love herself, Raquel now has to fight to not only protect herself, but the life of her unborn child. Who can she trust? Is it really a beautiful love that Damien has bestowed upon her, or is he just a Beautiful Liar? From the Pen of Ni’Cola comes a tale that makes the movie Menage~a~Trois seem like a children’s Story and brings Raquel into truths you don’t talk about with your friends.
Love Don’t Walk Away…People Do by Ni’cola Mitchell
(NCM Publishing, April 30, 2013, Paperback)
Sunny, a young attractive choreographer, is attempting to make a name in the industry. Upon attending a youth basketball game she has a chance encounter with DeVe’, an entertainment manager looking to manage the next star on the horizon. The two women decide to become partners on the way to the top and over time they become friends. Besides being young and naive in the entertainment industry, Sunny and DeVe’ have one other thing in common which can be an asset as well as a hindrance. They are both very gorgeous woman in an industry that sees them as nothing more than sex objects to be dismissed when real business is being discussed. During their rise to the top, both women face issues in the industry that seems to be more and more cut throat, so that is what they must become to gain respect. Issues come about as they try to stay consistent in their careers and at the same time hold on to their personal relationships. From the pen of Ni’cola comes a story of two determined women who must manage their careers alongside their personal lives. During this journey, each woman experiences love and lost, heart-ache and pain, judgments and labels, as they find out that love is not the factor that walks away, people do.
A Cold Piece by Ni’cola Mitchell
(NCM Publishing, 2012-04-17, Paperback)
Lisa Oliver had it all. A beautiful home, luxury cars, a lavish lifestyle, and a wonderful husband Anthony who loved and adored her until…. That dreaded morning when her perfect life spiraled into extinction, right before her eyes. After hiring a private investigator, Anthony learns about her dark hidden secrets, and comes up with a plan to get away from this evil seductress.Serving her with divorce papers after a passionate morning sex-capade, Lisa is on wits end because Anthony would not give her a reason and shut her out of his life completely. Solitude makes Lisa go crazy and is on a rampage to get her man back… at any cost. After two years Anthony has gone on with his life, but everything changes when everyone around him comes up missing, hurt, or dead.From the pen of award winning, bestselling author Ni’cola Mitchell comes a cold, gritty tale that takes you into the mind of a woman that has lost everything and there is only one to blame. This suspenseful thriller will remind you of a cross between Obsessed, Single White Female and The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.
Twisted by Ni’cola Mitchell
(NCM Publishing, 2011-02-05)
“I have to do what’s best for me” has been Dionni’s motto since the horrible night she found her finance Dale entangled between the legs of her best friend Eva. Enraged and torn, Dionni goes on a hiatus from Las Vegas to clear her mind and get her heart back in order. Dionni’s much needed vacation is interrupted once she is informed that Tiana, her other best friend was found raped, beaten and now in a coma. Without any family around, Dionni has to return home to face her past while trying to put the shattered pieces of her life back together.Will the demons of Dionni’s past allow her to be free or continue to keep her twisted?Twisted is the highly anticipated sequel to Over and Over Again.
The Appetizer When You’re Not His Main Course by Ni’cola Mitchell
(NCM Publishing, 2010-02-07, Kindle Edition)
Three girlfriends with three totally different lives, or they think……..Yazmin and Trey have been together for five years. Enjoying her life as a stay at home wifey, the couple is expecting a set of twins. Their life could not have been any more picture perfect, until the day that Yazmin was involved in a hit and run accident. Scared for the life of her babies, Yazmin damn near goes into shock after she attempts to call Trey only to be greeted by his wife of the past ten years……Monae and Malik have had a drama free long distance relationship for the last two years. Malik is a Marine, and is stationed in San Diego. They both have an understanding that once Monae graduates from UCLA, they will have their dream wedding. Planning an intimate surprise party just for two in his apartment, Monae discovers that she is not the only woman waiting for “her” man to come home……Knowing that Devaugn is in a relationship, Nia simply don’t care. He is the ideal man, and Nia is convinced that if she works hard enough, she can show him that she is all the woman that he needs. Stephanie will be a thing of the past and Devaugn can start taking care of Nia and her three children full time. Or will he…….These three friends all have one thing in common; they are really their man’s chick on the side. What happens when a woman find’s out that she is not her man’s main course, she is only the appetizer…..
Over and Over Again by Ni’cola Mitchell
(NCM Publishing, 2009-07-09, Paperback)
At first glance, 27-year-old Dionni Stone, owner of Whatever You Like Entertainment seems to have what all black women desire: natural beauty, a successful business, and a beautiful black man on her side. Until…. Dionni has found the love of her life – once again – in a compromising situation. For Dionni, this is the final heart break. With the love and support of her family and friends, she concentrates on her business, and it’s there she meets new client, Xavier “Zay” Grey, an investment banker that hires her to plan a surprise graduation party for his baby sister. Timidly, Dionni begins to think she might have found “the one” for her, but a devastating secret finds her world once again shaken. It also finds her back in the arms of an unlikely man, and even more pain than even she could imagine. Over and Over Again is a funny and sensual tale that weaves between lies and love, deceit and truth, teaching Dionni the ultimate meaning of what is honesty, passion, and friendship.

Event: National Black Writers Conference, March 29 to April 1, 2012

The Eleventh National Black Writers Conference:
The Impact of Migration, Popular Culture, and the Natural Environment in the Literature of Black Writers
Thursday, March 29, 2012 – Sunday, April 1, 2012

As our society becomes increasingly globalized, the themes in the literary texts and literature created by black writers throughout the African diasporic communities of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe are shifting and expanding in varying ways. There is recognition of the importance and value of preserving cultural memory and identity and of cultivating and nurturing cultural and geographical spaces. At the same time, there is also a recognition that politics and popular culture shape what we respond to, what we read, what gets published, what we teach, and what conversations we have in our literary communities, in the media, in our educational institutions, in our work environments, and in our homes.

Through novels, stories, poems, plays, memoirs, and essays, black writers have explored the importance of memory on our concepts of self and family. They have examined the impact of popular culture on our personal lives, belief systems, values, and traditions. And they have chronicled what happens when we neglect and do not nurture our natural environment. In essence, they have used the power of words and the literary arts to stir our imagination and to motivate us to affirm, critique, and reflect on our responses to personal, societal, and environmental issues in our lives. The Eleventh National Black Writers Conference will provide writers, scholars, literary professionals, students, and the general public with a forum for engaging in dynamic and spirited conversations, panel discussions, readings, workshops, and performances on themes related to migration, cultural memory, popular culture, and the natural environment.

Major funding provided by: National Endowment for the Arts

Media support provided by: African American Literature Book Club, AKILA Worksongs, Inc.

2012 NBWC Honorees:

  • Ishmael Reed – John Oliver Killens Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o – W. E. B. Du Bois Award
  • Nikki Giovanni – Gwendolyn Brooks Award
  • Dr. Howard Dodson – Ida B. Wells Institutional Leadership Award

Strings of Color by Marian L. Thomas

Life can grab a hold of you like captivating strings of color. It is a lesson that four women will learn as they each travel down a journey filled with lies, betrayal, and shocking secrets.

Simone. Is immensely talented, yet everything she has ever known will be ripped apart. Her love will be tested. Her heart will call out for a strength that could only exist in moments like this, and her tears will carry her through the storm. Will she be able to give her heart to the love of her life while fighting to open her heart to a mother she has never known?

Naya. While facing her greatest loss, will she be able to find the key to strength, the will to continue on, and the endurance to make it through one of the darkest moments in her life?

Monà. Within her heart is a secret so deep that it could shake the very foundations of two lives. Will she be able to finally look into the eyes of a daughter she has only known from a distance?

Misty. Two paths are set before her; one could lead her back to the life of fame and prominence, which she so desperately wants; and the other could give her the love she so desperately needs. Will she choose the path that is best for her future, or for her heart?

Author’s Website: http://www.marianlthomas.com

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

Contact:
Professor Robyn McGee, California State University Dominguez Hills , robynmarie1973@yahoo.com
Author & Poet Cherise Charleswell, eclecticlifediva@yahoo.com

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.

Eclectic Life Books Exhibiting at 15th Annual Cameron’s Family Book Festival

Cherise Charleswell
Author of Real Talk TIPS: Laugh-Out-Loud Pointers & Suggestions For The Morally Challenged, Socially Inept, & Those Who Love Them

For Immediate Release
Contact: Cherise Charleswell 818-521-8422

Event Date: Saturday October 1, 2011
Time: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Location:
The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center
“The Rave 18”, 6081 Center Dr. Westchester, CA

15th Annual Cameron’s Family Book Festival

The Cameron Eugene Jackson Children’s Library will be hosting the largest book club meeting in the Los Angeles area. The festival is free to the public, and includes a day of author signings, panel discussions, and workshops.

The purpose of this project is to promote and celebrate Literacy, music and “The Arts” as well as to help stamp out illiteracy. We would be honored if you would participate. The success of the Festival is directly due to authors like you who plan to embrace this EVENT with your presence.

For more information please contact Marilyn Pitts, Director/Author-Vendor Booths at (323) 841-BOOK or ccnmax@aol.com.

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 Blacksci-fi.com, 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 (http://writingforrookies.podcastpeople.com/) 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 Deviantart.com, Digital Webbing, Conceptart.org 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” (http://www.facebook.com/pages/LA-Phoenix-super-Hero/141008859274669). 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
http://www.aaeconline.org/cartoonist/profile.cfm/BrownD/

(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, Amazon.com, 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 http://www.lornaonline.com and http://www.mylobsterforlife.blogspot.com.


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.