Thursday, October 30, 2008

Author David Karanga

AUTHOR DAVID KARANJA



David Karanja was born in 1971 in Nairobi, Kenya. He studied anthropology at the University of Nairobi where he graduated in 1995. His first novel, The Girl was Mine, was published in 1996. A Dreamer's Paradise is his second novel.


A Dreamer's Paradise

Let’s start getting your shine on. Tell us who you are beyond an author.

I am 37 years old. I am married and I have a two month old son. Besides writing books, I am a journalist. I have written for various publications worldwide in the past 13 years. For the last four years, I have been working for Nation Media Group as a Sub-Editor for The East African, a weekly business newspaper which is sold in Kenya , Uganda , Tanzania and Burundi .

Show us when you realized you had a passion for writing?

My passion for writing developed in1985 when I was in primary school. My English teacher, Joseph Mburu, started a library for us. He would get books from a library in Nairobi and tell us that we too could become writers. He encouraged us to write short stories, which he would read and give suggestions on necessary improvements. I got interested in writing and the teacher would often read my stories to the rest of the students, describing meas “a good writer.” When I joined secondary school in 1996, I wrote my first manuscript, which was however rejected by publishers. It was only after I joined the University of Nairobi in 1990 that I wrote a book that was published. It is called The Girl Was Mine and it was published in 1996 by East African Educational Publishers.

We understand that uniqueness counts in the literary world, but we equally understand there must be relatability. Tell us an author with whom you share similar writing styles.

I think my writing style is similar to that of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe.

Show us how your styles are similar.

Chinua Achebe writes simple prose about the lives of ordinary people while explaining the culture of his community.In my second novel, A Dreamer's Paradise , I have done the same. Through Mathina, the main character, I tried to show the challenges of life in modern Africa , which has encountered Western influence.

Tell us your preferred writing genre and the genre you prefer to read.

My preferred writing genre is literary fiction. My stories explore themes that are relevant to modern society and my concern is to help push for cultural development. I like reading literary fiction and romance novels.

Show us what your audience looks like.

My books target a general audience,though they are particularly popular with secondary school students. They are taught as literature texts in many of Kenya 's secondary schools.

Tell us an important lesson, on the business side of publishing, that you've learned on your journey.

The most important lesson is that creativity and business are strange bedfellows, especially in Africa .There are very few publishing houses on the continent and these prefer to publish school text books as they have a ready market through government funded schemes. Novels are only published if the publishers have “some free money” in their annual budgets. My first novel, for instance, was published five years after it was formally accepted for publishing.

Going back to the beginning, show us the day you received your publication offer or the first time you saw your bound book.

I was given a publication offer for The Girl Was Mine on 20th July, 1991. The book was however published in May 1996. I was excited when I was given six copies of the book by my publisher. I was confident that I had finally become an author.

Tell us your expectations of an aspiring author approaching you for information about writing/publishing?

An aspiring author should first have a passion for writing. I will be willing to guide the author, including reading for free their manuscript to give an independent review of its quality.

Readyto shine? Tell us the name of your book.

My first book is called The Girl Was Mine. The second one is called A Dreamer's Paradise .

From one of your character's point of view, show us why we should buy it.

The book talks about the tribulations of Africa in the global geopolitical order. It emphasizes the need for Western countries to stop patronizing Africa but instead open their markets for the continent's export products.

Tell us where we can find you on the internet.

The books can be found at http://www.readwidemedia.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Author Gwynne Forster



AUTHOR GWYNNE FORSTER



Gwynne Forster was born in North Carolina, grew up in Washington, D. C., and has lived, studied and worked in New York City ever since she came of voting age. She considers herself a humanitarian, a perspective that she inherited from her mother, a high school principal, and which she also attributes to her work and education in the social sciences, more specifically, demography. Her fiction writing reflects her training in the sociology of the family and her understanding of inter-personal relations. It should not be surprising then, that quite a few of Gwynne’s novels and novellas are set within the context of the family.



Fiction writing is Gwynne Forster’s second career. She holds bachelors and masters degrees in sociology, a master’s degree in economics/demography and has additional graduate credits in journalism. As a demographer, she is widely published. She is formerly chief of (non-medical) research in fertility and family planning in the Population Division of the United Nations in New York and served for four years as chairperson of the International Programme Committee of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (London, England). These positions took her on official business to sixty-three developed and developing countries. Gwynne sings on her church choir, loves to entertain, and is a museum hopper, gourmet cook and avid gardener. She enjoys classical music, opera, jazz and blues with her husband with whom she lives in New York City.

This is just an excerpt of Gwynne's bio; to read the rest head over to her website.

Tell us a little bit about you outside of being an author.

I'm a demographer, and as such, I worked for seventeen years a Chief of Fertility and Planning Research in the Population Division, United Nations, New York. Following that, I served as chairwoman of the International Programme Committe, International Planned Parenthood Federation, London with leadership of its family planning programmes in 126 different countries. These positions have taken me to 63 developing countries that I can count from memory, and I have visited or worked in the vast majority of European countries. I have three university degrees, I love music, especially jazz, blues and all classical forms. I'm married, have raised a stepson, and I live with my husband, who is also a demographer.

What is your earliest writing memory?

I think about age five, because I could read and write at that age, but I don't recall specific things that I wrote.

What feelings do you experience once you are satisfied with your completed manuscript(s)?

Enormous relief. By the time I finish a manuscript, my next one is already fighting for room in my head.

In your upcoming release or newly released book, how did you come up with the idea of your main character(s)?

A Different Kind of Blues is one of two books due out in October. It is mainstream women's fiction. Having to fulfill a contract, I asked myself what kind of heroine would offer a challenge to me after having written almost forty books and novellas. I was watching television and saw a commercial about a woman who'd just been told she had two months in which to live. I didn't want to make it quite that melodramatic, but I wanted a heroine strong enough to cope with a terrible shock without having to write a morbid story about her. I came up with Petra Fields, who set out to do all the things she'd always wanted to do, credit card bills be hanged.

Tell us a little bit about your work in progress and/or your upcoming release.

My current project, Finding Mr. Right, is about a woman hell bent on exercising her right to chose her man herself, without any one's help. Even when the ideal guy is presented to her, she insists on doing her own choosing and nearly ruins everything.

I'm a big believer that word of mouth creates more sales than advertisements. Let's say I've never read any of your books before, how would you pitch the idea of your latest release to me?

My latest release has received outstanding reviews, and if you like enough suspense to keep you turning the pages and even dreading possible outcomes, enough mind-blowing sex to make you jealous of the heroine and an Alpha Male you'll dream about forever, Drive Me Wild is for you.


I consider myself a tough critic when reviewing books. What do or would you do if you receive a mediocre or less than average rating from a reviewer or reader?

I'd shrug it off. A review is just one person's opinion.

What authors influence your writing dreams, goals and aspirations?

I can't think of any author who has influenced my aspirations insofar as fiction writing is concerned. That is because I became a novel writer by chance after having enjoyed a highly successful career as a demographer, one for which I am trained. All I receive from fiction writing is, as far as I am concerned, pure gravy.


What books would you recommend on writing?

John Gardner, The Art Of Fiction

If you could change one thing you did during your road to publication, what would it be and what would you have done different?

I wouldn't have written a romance as my first book. I write mainstream fiction, and some of my books have won awards, but they are always judged as romances, because reviewers associate me with romance. And when they complain about something, it's usually what distinguished mainstream women's fiction from a romance.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Don't be disappointed by rejections. When you get one, clean up the manuscript and send it to the next editor on your list. The appraisal of fiction is, in some important aspects, highly subjective.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

Probably that I have great respect for the English language, don't feel comfortable using blue language and love nature and people, not to mention tall, good-looking, educated and successful men.

You can find out more about Gwynne Forster and her books on her website: www.gwynneforster.com

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Author Stormy Glenn

AUTHOR STORMY GLENN



Let’s start getting your shine on. Tell us who you are beyond an author.

Oh boy, me beyond being an author… that’s a big one. First and foremost, I’m a Mom of six wonderful teenagers, three boys and three girls. I am also married to the man of my dreams, my high school sweetheart (yes, there’s great romance story there), and he is the model I use for all of my heroes. I read like crazy and I love to cook. I also have neon green toenails, I am addicted to iced vanilla mochas with whip cream, and have a secret obsession for B-Rated monster/disaster movies.


Show us when you realized you had a passion for writing?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to write, whether it was for school or for pleasure. I’ve just always done it. I used to get extra credit in school by writing essays. I started writing stories about ten years ago, mostly for my own pleasure and because I had this burning need to get the “characters” out of my head. Once a story idea takes place, I become obsessed with getting it out. I go through withdrawals if I can’t get to my computer to write. It’s not a pretty sight. About six months ago, my husband bought me a laptop. After that, I kind of lost my ever-loving mind. I’ve been writing non-stop ever since.


We understand that uniqueness counts in the literary world, but we equally understand there must be relatability. Tell us an author with whom you share similar writing styles.

Oh, I’m not sure my “style” matches any one author specifically. I have authors I wish I shared a writing style with… J.L. Langley, Carol Lynne, maybe Jade Buchanan. These are some of the authors that I read and wish my style was similar with. If I was to say who my style was most similar to, though, it would be mostly like Carol Lynne.


Show us how your styles are similar.

I think my style is closest to Carol’s because of the way I feel when I read her work. I cry, I laugh, I get angry, I fall in love with her characters. That’s how I feel about my characters. They live in my head (and it’s a mess up there). They live, and laugh, and love through every word I write. That’s what I get from Carol’s books. We both believe in happy endings, that everyone deserves true love, and that to find and keep true love, you have to work at it. But, it’s worth it in the end.



Tell us your preferred writing genre and the genre you prefer to read.

Hmmm… that’s a hard one since I don’t have favorite books, I have favorite bookshelves. But, if I had to nail it down, I would say that I love to read erotic, paranormal, gay, sci-fi, werewolf romances. I also would have a hard time picking a genre for my writing. I write whatever comes into my head. Currently, though, I have been writing erotic paranormal, werewolf, futuristic, contemporary, gay, ménage a trois romances.


Show us what your audience looks like.

My audience would feel a tingle in the middle of their palm when they read a really good erotic romance/romance novel. They would cry at the sad things and the conflicts, maybe even laugh at the humor. They might come across a passage that they just had to read to someone else. It would be all they could do not to go to the end of the book and read it just to make sure that the characters had a happy ending. My audience would believe in true love and happily ever after endings.


Tell us an important lesson, on the business side of publishing, that you've learned on your journey.

The most important lesson I learned was that the work doesn’t stop when you sign the contract. That was the most astonishing thing to me. I just assumed I would send them my manuscript, sign a contract, do a couple of promo things and that was it. Boy, was I wrong! I spend one day doing promos, answering emails, updating my blog, myspace, and website, popping in at my yahoo groups, etc… the other day is spent writing. Luckily, I write fast or I’d never get another book done. And my books haven’t even been released yet. I can’t imagine what it will be like when they are.


Going back to the beginning, show us the day you received your publication offer or the first time you saw your bound book.

My first three publication offers came very quickly, all within the same ten days. Talk about being overwhelmed. But, my first one came on a Sunday. We had been out of town all day and I was checking my email. I was so stunned, I had to read the offer three times before it sank in. I just turned to my husband and said, “I’ve been publish”. It was pretty much the same thing the next week when the next offer came, and four days later when the third offer came. I’m still stunned. I keep reading the offer emails over and over again.


Tell us your expectations of an aspiring author approaching you for information about writing/publishing?

The first thing I would tell them is to never give up. You’re going to receive a zillion rejection letters… expect it. But try to look at it as a learning experience. At least your name is getting out there.


The second thing I would tell you is not to be afraid to ask questions. Most of the authors I have met have been very friendly and helpful. They want to see us all succeed and they know more than you do. And remember that no matter how many books we have published or how long we’ve been in the business, there is always room for improvement.


The last thing I would tell you is to be passionate about what you do… love it, live it, breath it.


Ready to shine? Tell us the name of your book.

Secret Desires, Siren Publishing, October 20, 2008
The Katzman’s Mate, Siren Publishing, release early 2009
A Promise Kept, Torquere Press, release early 2009
And I just received an offer from Siren Publishing for four more books, My Lupine Lover, Sweet Treats, Full Moon Mating, and Forbidden Desires (sequel to Secret Desires). These don’t have a release dates yet.


From one of your character's point of view, show us why we should buy it.

If I were Leyland from Secret Desires I would tell you to buy the book because I’m just that damn cute. How could you possibly pass on a face like this sexy? Just don’t tell my cowboy I said that. He hates it when I flirt. When he gets upset, the fur will fly and I’m not cleaning it up afterwards.


Tell us where we can find you on the internet.

Stormy’s website: www.stormyglenn.com
Stormy at Manic Readers: http://manicreaders.com/StormyGlenn/
Stormy’s Email: stormyglenn@hotmail.com





Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Author Jean Holloway


AUTHOR JEAN HOLLOWAY


Ace of Hearts

(click on picture to purchase)

Jean Holloway says: "I was born October 10, 19… in good ole Queens, New York. I had a difficult childhood, though it’s not your usual abuse story. I developed severe eczema and most of my schoolmates shunned me until high school. Books became my friend.

Early in life, I found myself fascinated by the macabre. I would actually set my alarm if one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Serling or One Step Beyond was coming on late at night. These kept me up ‘til the wee hours of the morning.

Being raised in Amityville was the icing on the cake. My biological mother died when I was thirteen, the age where puberty reared its ugly head. Needless to say, I was a wife and mother by the time I was seventeen, divorced at twenty. Then I met Fred, my second, current and final husband. We’ve been married over 36 years. He helped me become an adult although I went kicking and fighting the whole way. Together, we raised six children.

Reading was my education. I can’t list my degrees or college affiliations. I learned from the masters; Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jean Auel, even Sidney Sheldon. I love you all."


Tell us a little bit about you outside of being an author.

I came from a rather large blended family with 3 sisters and 3 brothers, one deceased.

I'm a wife of 36 years, mother of 6 (5 sons, 1 daughter), Gramma of 9. God & family are the most important things in my life. I can honestly say I'm still in love with my husband, Fred, so I know I'm truly blessed. I love to read and own a small collection of porcelain dolls.

My other claim to fame is I did stand-up comedy for over two years and have been on stage at the Comedy Store. Oprah did a show way back in '85 on "Housewife Comediennes", I think, and they showed a clip of one of my auditions, but while running the credits! Still, it was amazing how many phone calls I got!!

What is your earliest writing memory?

I was more of a reader than a writer, but the first thing I wrote was a poem for my infant son. He's 40 now!! ;o) I actually wrote "Ace" on a dare. My youngest sister, Lori, said "You read so much, I bet you could write a book and I said, "I bet I could" and began thinking of what I'd like to write. My favorite books and movies were always the ones that would grab me in the beginning and then smack me when I didn't see it coming. So that's what I hope "Ace" does to my readers.


What feelings do you experience once you are satisfied with your completed manuscript(s)?

What a feeling of accomplishment. The only thing better was having children! In fact, it's a lot like giving birth without the physical contractions, but you do have a few emotional ones. You should I finished the manuscript in 1982, but after several rejections, I shelved it for the next 22 years while working and raising our family.

In your upcoming release or newly released book, how did you come up with the idea of your main character(s)?

I was brought up in the era of blaxploitation TV and films. When I started "Ace of Hearts", I wanted to portray a strong, intelligent Black heroine, sort of that "Get Christy Love" vibe. You couldn't find that in the books I was reading in the early 80's, so I decided to do it for myself.

Tell us a little bit about your work in progress and/or your upcoming release.

I'm working on the sequel to "Ace of Hearts", continuing to share Shevaughn's life with my readers. She will be immersed in another murder case and there just may be a new love interest in her life (or was he there all along?)

I'm a big believer that word of mouth creates more sales than advertisements. Let's say I've never read any of your books before, how would you pitch the idea of your latest release to me?

"Ace of Hearts" is a hot, romantic thriller that catapults you into the eighties. It will take you down memory lane, but with a lot of twists and turns. To me the best books and movies are ones that hit me when I don't see it coming. My favorite review said it was a roller coaster ride. Another said it was a guilty pleasure because I take you out of your comfort zone, but you can't put it down! I love that.

Enjoy the ride!

I consider myself a tough critic when reviewing books. What do or would you do when you receive a mediocre or less than average rating from a reviewer or reader?

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but that sounds like a challenge! I'm a Gramma, I can take it. Not to brag, but my lowest rating has been 4/5 stars, so I'll deal with it and move on. Okay, here's where the menopausal comes back into play. I'll cry first and then get over it.

What authors influence your writing dreams, goals and aspirations?

Ooh, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jean Auel, I believe in aiming high, but they've all taken me to places I can only imagine. When you're raising 6 kids, it's like a cheap mini-vacation!

What books would you recommend on writing?

Stephen King's On Writing. It helped me through a very difficult editing period and I don't know how I would have overcome it without his book.

If you could change one thing you did during your road to publication, what would it be and what would you have done different?

I wouldn't have waited so long to test the waters again, so to speak, to see if anyone was interested in publishing "Ace." Three months after I went to NBCC (National Book Club Conference) and passed out copies of my manuscript to anyone who wouldn't throw it back at me, I had a contract!

And I would have learned more about promotion and marketing. I thought I was finished working on "Ace" when I first held it in my hands, okay, I cried a little, menopausal and proud of it, but now I'm on a crash web marketing campaign with my own website and I have pages on MySpace, NiaPromotions, GoodReads, BlackPlanet, BookTour, Published, LinkedIn, Tagged, Classmates, AxisAvenue and several smaller sites. Not really into the blogging, though I do have one on Amazon.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

If you feel you have a story to tell, stop procrastinating. Dedicate at least one hour a day (with NO distractions) and write. And once you're happy with your manuscript, look at small independent publishers or even self-publishing. The big boys (and girls) won't be interested until you're a known money-maker. I promise it will all be worth it, maybe not in sales, but in self-satisfaction. Don't get discouraged. It took me 27 years to go from pen to published, so my motto is: Never give up your dream.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

You can go to my website www.deckofcardz.com. While you're there, please join my mailing list.

"Ace of Hearts" has been nominated in the Mystery category for the 2008 African American Literary Awards Show! My name's right under Walter Mosley!! So stop by and vote for me. I have a link to the ballot on my website.

You can also find me at Amazon.com or any of the sites I previously mentioned.

AAMBC (African Americans on the Move Book Club) who concentrate on the independent and self-published authors) has nominated me, Jean Holloway, Best New Author (for 'Ace of Hearts') and Dana Pittman (my publicist) Publicist of the Year. We're definitely the underdogs, so could you please take a moment & vote? You'll actually be able to immediately see the results!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Author Dywane D. Birch


AUTHOR DYWANE D. BIRCH

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you one of my (Dj Frazier) personal favorite authors, Dywane D. Birch. He is the author of When Loving You is Wrong, Shattered Souls, From My Soul to Yours, and was a part of the anthology Another Time, Another Place: Five Novellas. Today he's getting his shine on and introducing us to his upcoming release Beneath the Bruises.


Tell us a little bit about you outside of being an author.

Okay, this is always the part of interviews I like the least. But, I’ll say this: socially speaking, besides being an author, I love traveling to Europe and Egypt. Professionally speaking, I have a master’s degree in psychology and I am a clinically certified forensic counselor, which is just a fancy title for someone who is credentialed to work with offenders in prison-or community-based settings. I’m also a former director of an adolescent crisis shelter, and currently work with adult offenders of domestic violence, as well with adolescents remanded to a youth detention center.

What is your earliest writing memory?

My earliest writing memory is writing in a journal when I was eleven years old. However, writing was never something I aspired to do.

Why do you write?

Honestly, I write to enlighten, entertain, and encourage others. I understand the power of words, so knowing that I am able to touch someone else in some way (no matter how big or small) with my words is what keeps me inspired to write.

What feelings do you experience once you are satisfied with your completed manuscript(s)?

I typically experience a feeling of relief once I am satisfied with a completed manuscript. It’s like WHEW, I’m finally done!

You have the great ability to write, true to form, in a female voice. Besides studying your craft, who else played a part in shaping this skill?

To keep it real with you, I don’t study the craft of writing, never have. However, I guess I should give credit to my mother, aunts, sisters, female companions, and those women who have been a part of my life in some form or fashion for allowing me to listen to them and really hear them. Other than that, I really believe my ability to write in female voice is a gift.

Tell us a little bit about your work in progress and/or your upcoming release.

My most recent project releases November 4th. It’s titled Beneath the Bruises, and it’s an inspiring and touching story about a thirty-something year old mother of five who is trapped in an abusive marriage, but with counseling she is able to find her voice and begin to heal through the power of self-love, self-acceptance and self-discovery. I’m actually really excited about it.

I'm a big believer that word of mouth creates more sales than advertisements. Let's say I've never read any of your books before, how would you pitch your latest release to me if we were standing in a checkout line?

Yes, I agree. Word of mouth is the greatest seller. Speaking of which, I need to thank YOU for being a big supporter of my literary work, and always spreading the word. I truly appreciate the love! Okay, so back to the question. If you were in a checkout line I would pitch my latest book by saying, “hello, my name is . . . if you are looking for a fast-paced, in-your-face book that is filled with drama and steamy sex, then I have just the book for you. It will make you laugh, cry, scream out loud, and wanna slap somebody all in one sitting, and still have you hanging onto the edge of your seat for more. And after you have finished reading it, if you honestly don’t like what you’ve read, I will personally send you your money back.” Then I would flash you my mega-watt smile. lol

How important are book reviews to you?

Good, bad, or indifferent, I believe book reviews are very important. It helps stir interest in your books, and it also gives me the opportunity to honestly consider what is being said/written about my works. I want to know what others think/feel about my writing. I am not able to grow as a writer without honest, constructive feedback.

What authors influence your writing dreams, goals and aspirations?

I cannot say that my writing dreams, goals or aspirations are (or have been) influenced by any other authors. I don’t know if I should feel some kind of way about that, but it’s my truth—and my reality.

What books would you recommend on writing?

I probably should be embarrassed to say this, but I can’t make one recommendation for a book on writing. I’ve never used one. I probably should pick one up, but I haven’t felt the need to. Nor have I ever taken any writing classes.

If you could change one thing you did during your road to publication, what would it be and what would you have done different?

I wouldn’t change one thing. My road to publication has been a very interesting and fulfilling one. That’s not to say that there haven’t been some disappointments and frustrations along the way. But, for the most part, everything I have done thus far has been on my own terms. And, overall, it has been a beautiful journey. One I am still travelling and learning from.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

I would tell any aspiring author to be patient, set realistic goals, be tenacious, be open to criticism, and write for all the right reasons, whatever they may be.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

Well, there’s not much about me readers will learn, but they can definitely learn more about my books by going onto www.myspace.com/dywaneb, www.blackplanet.com/Adulfictionwriter2 or www.freewebs.com/dywanebirch

Off Topic

The last book I read was: the galley for Allison Hobbs’s “Big Juicy Lips: Double Dippin’ 2”

The last CD I purchased was: Wow, it’s been a minute. I think it was Meshell Ndégeocello’s “The World Made Me the Man I Am”

My biggest distraction is: Hmm. Nothing comes to mind. I’m typically a focused being.

My guilty pleasure is: *hangs head* Expensive, designer shoes.

The one thing I want people to know about me is: that I am a private man (with flaws) who strives to be the best that I can be; that I love (and live) life to the fullest with no regrets, and no excuses. Okay, okay, I know, that was more than one thing.

Thanks for extending this interview. And, again, I thank you for your continued support of my literary endeavors, and for spreading the word to whoever will listen. I am sincerely grateful.

Until the next time . . . peace, love & happy reading!

Thank you, Dywane! The pleasure was all ours.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Author Brooklyn Darkchild


AUTHOR BROOKLYN DARKCHILD


Brooklyn Darkchild is a 46 years old mother of nine with a life long passion for writing. A New York transplant born and raised in (you guessed it) the borough of Brooklyn, Ms. Darkchild has called Cincinnati her home for the past ten years. Her debut novel, This Ain't No Hearts and Flowers Love Story won the 2008 Reader Views Book of the Year Award in the Great Lakes/Regional category as well as placing third in the Spiritual/Religion category. Currently a day care teacher, Ms. Darkchild is working on the follow up to her award winning novel in her spare time.

This Ain’t No Hearts and Flowers Love Story



Tell us a little bit about you outside of being an author.

My life has always revolved around children. I’m the neighborhood candy lady whom everybody calls "Grandma." I’ll take as many kids as I can cram into my van to church on Sundays. I’m a mother of nine and grandmother of fifteen with another one on the way. I started babysitting when I was ten, went on to become a part time teacher’s aide, a lead teacher, then a day care administrator.

What is your earliest writing memory?


I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading and/or writing. I learned to read when I was three and learned to write soon after.

What feelings do you experience once you are satisfied with your completed manuscript(s)?

There’s a feeling of elation that I cannot describe, it’s just supremely satisfying. There’s also a let down, because that project is over and done with; and the fear that people might not like it.

In your upcoming release or newly released book, how did you come up with the idea of your main character(s)?

Obie and Princess were characters I’d fooled around with since high school. I wanted to write a love story from the perspective of both the man and the woman and to show how differently two people can view the exact same event. I figured the more opposite the two were the better the drama. Obie was already this hardened street dude so I decided to make Princess this snooty rich girl from Park Ave. I needed a deep bond to hold these two total opposites together, and since Princess was motherless like me, I decided to make Obie motherless too.

Tell us a little bit about your work in progress and/or your upcoming release.

This Ain’t No Hearts and Flowers Love Story is a raw and gritty tale of the love between two people scarred by the absence of their respective mothers. Obie and Princess love each other dearly but their baggage keeps getting in the way. Besides the motherless issue I tackle racial identity and skin color conflict, drug abuse, prostitution, homosexuality, rape, stalking and mental illness. Those are heavy subjects, and parts of this story are very uncomfortable, but the story is told in a way that’s not only poignant but Laugh Out Loud funny as well. This Ain’t No is part of a trilogy: the second book, We Still Ain’t Got This Right is coming out early in 2009 with the third book out sometime in 2010.

I’m a big believer that word of mouth creates more sales than advertisements. Let’s say I’ve never read any of your books before, how would you pitch the idea of your latest release to me?

Start with the question: Is it worse to love your mother only to lose her or never to have a mother at all? Streetwise Obie and rich girl Princess never debated this; being equally motherless has bound these two opposites their entire lives. Obie has always been there for Princess, so when she decides at eighteen to become an R&B diva, Obie: who was discovered dancing on a street corner at age eleven, knows just how to make that dream come true. Along the path to stardom these two inevitably fall in love, but light skinned Obie and dark skinned Princess experience not only social class differences but skin color drama galore. Added to the mix are Obie’s flock of groupies and Princess’s stalking ex boyfriend, but when Obie’s fear of abandonment clashes with Princess’s need for emotional attachment the fireworks really begin. Then the question becomes: can a motherless child ever truly open his or her heart enough to love someone else?

I consider myself a tough critic when reviewing books. What do or would you do if you receive a mediocre or less than average rating from a reviewer or reader?

After I wipe away my tears??? All kidding aside, this is a very strange book: people either are crazy about it or they absolutely hate it, there’s no middle ground; although I thank God for Jesus that the vast majority are crazy about it. Because the premise and the format are so different I realize I can’t please everybody. I try hard to be open minded and weigh each criticism on its own merits but I have to admit it hurts. It’s like someone called my kid ugly, even though I know she’s no stunning super model. It keeps me humble though. God knows my ego needs to be checked every once in a while.

What authors influence your writing dreams, goals and aspirations?

I’ve never patterned myself after anyone else, I just wanna be Darkchild. I’d love to be in the game until I’m old and decrepit, but if I only write one or two books that are impactful, that’s enough for me.
What books would you recommend on writing?

This Ain’t No Hearts and Flowers Love Story broke the mold on a lot of things the books say you shouldn’t do so I may not be the best person to ask that question, but it’s different for a reason. I will say that anyone who even thinks they want to be a writer should sign up for a writing fundamentals class and a creative writing class. At the least. You have to know what the rules are before you decide to break them.

If you could change one thing you did during your road to publication, what would it be and what would you have done different?

At the very beginning I jumped at the first "agent" that accepted me and ended up stuck in a contract with someone who charged a fee for everything except blowing her nose. That wasted six months of not only my life but my book’s life as well. If I had to do it all over again I’d do way more research before signing with anyone.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Beware of leeches and do your homework. There are people out there who don’t give a kitty about your project, they’re only interested in taking your money. That includes the wealth of vanity presses that exist. And don’t let anyone steal your dream. A good friend of mine had the same experience with a less than reputable agent and she gave up on the idea of having her book published. She posted the whole book online instead.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

Readers can find out more about me and read chapter excerpts on my website:

www.brooklyndarkchild.com Or my MySpace: www.myspace.com/bklyndarkchild

Thank you, Brooklyn Darkchild, for taking the time to share with the Wednesdays & Fridays blog family. We wish you continued success in your future endeavors.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Author Samara Leigh


Author Samara Leigh





Let's start getting your shine on. Who are you?

I'm Samara Leigh, a writer, entrepreneur, mom, and wife living in Northeast Ohio. My business writing revolves around topics of interest to job hunters and career changers. My non-fiction and creative writing usually centers on my respect and admiration for women on a journey of self-discovery and growth.

When did you realize you had a passion for writing?

I've enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. It gave me a voice, even after I'd talked my poor parents to death and they just wanted some peace and quiet. What sealed the deal was getting recognition for an essay I wrote in grade school.

All writers adore words. Describe your love affair with writing.

There are two things that I love about writing:

#1. It gives voice to the stories and opinions floating around in my head at any given moment (and I assure you that there is no shortage of them).

#2. I love the latent power of words. One person reads the story and thinks, "That's stupid." But, the next person is moved to tears and - more importantly - to action by those same words. Written words allow us to connect with people that we do not know and will never meet. People who lived centuries before us. Yet their story gives voice to our feelings. It is this power to connect with others through the written word that I find empowering, enchanting, addictive.

Name two authors with whom you share similar writing styles.

As a yet-to-be published author I dread this question. You never really want to compare yourself to other authors, especially the great ones. Being completely honest, I can't really think of any authors that I'd compare my style or voice to. However, there are elements of the writing styles of several authors that I find similar to elements in my writing.

What makes them similar?

I love the quirky, sexy, but not trashy style of Erin McCarthy; the self-deprecating humor of Meg Cabot; and Benilde Little's ability to draw her readers into the internal conflicts experienced by her characters, just to name a few. These are elements that often surface in my writing.

Name and thank one author that has been instrumental in inspiring you to write.

If I have to limit it to just one writer, hands down it is Judy Blume. I loved reading her books as a pre-teen and teen. You could identify with her characters and you felt for them. There were elements of their lives that reflected my own. I wanted to have the power to inform, educate, entertain, comfort, and motivate my readers in the same way that she'd impacted me.

Now let's get to the nitty gritty. What does your audience look like?

Hmm... I'd have to say my audience looks a lot like me. LOL. Not necessarily my age, my height, my size, or my race. But, women that have gone through a similar experience. They've overcome or endured some type of adversity in their lives and are now at a point where they've discovered their beauty, their value, their self-worth. Whether they are 15 or 55 they are getting to know themselves. Not the person that everyone wanted them to be, but the person that they truly want to be at this stage in their lives. If I am forced to put a label on my audience, I'd say that they are are a multicultural cross-section of women ranging from the ages of 29 - 45.

What genre does your story fall under?

Multicultural women's fiction

What's the strangest thing you've seen or heard that somehow made its way into your story?

That would be my best friend's loud declaration at the cash register in Target that I should put back a pair of "baby panties" that I was purchasing for myself. That one made its way into a short story I wrote.

New authors usually lack the business knowledge of writing. What has been the most valuable lesson you've learned about things beyond the page?

Being an entrepreneur has taught me the importance of marketing, creating a business plan, and being systematic in executing your plan. I am trying to incorporate the business lessons that I've learned (many of them the hard way) into my mindset as an author.

What are your thoughts on rejection letters?

Sad, but true story: It was a single rejection letter that made me abandon writing as a career for well over a decade. It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I pursued the thought of being an author again. I now realize that rejection letters are as much a part of the business of writing as is being published. I find stories of famous writers' struggles to get published hugely inspiring. Even writers that we now consider to be veritable geniuses have suffered through their share of rejections. It is a part of the publishing game. But, if you don't play; you won't win.

If you approached an author with questions about writing, how would you expect them to respond?

I imagine that she would cringe at being asked the same question that she's been asked 1,000 times before. But, hopefully she'd be gracious about answering it for the 1,001st time.

Are you ready to really shine? In 100 words or less, tell the Wednesdays & Fridays Blog readers why your manuscript should be published.

My current work in progress is the story of a young woman raised in a super-restrictive, ultra-religious household where freedom of choice and freedom of thought were never on the menu. After two years of saving she goes away to a women's liberal arts college to discover herself, much to her parents chagrin. During Livia's delayed college experience she discovers love, sex, friendship, and long-held family secrets that will either completely destroy her family or begin to heal their seemingly irreparable rift.


Thanks for the opportunity, Ladies.

Thank you for spending time with us!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Author Terra Little


Terra Little

Terra Little is the author of Running from Mercy (JAN 2008: Q-Boro Books) & Where There's Smoke (Coming JAN 2009: Urban Books). You can find her online at http://www.terralittle.com/ and write to her at writeterralittle@yahoo.com. She also writes under the pseudonym, T. Kaye Browne.

Tell us a little bit about you outside of being an author.

I've worked as a probation/parole officer for the past seven years and my one and only child will be 17 in a couple of months. I'll be experiencing "empty nest syndrome" and I won't even be 40 yet! How cool is that? In the not too distant future I'd like to learn to ride a motorcycle and do some traveling.

What is your earliest writing memory?

Putting together a "fashion magazine" using looseleaf notebook paper, staples, crayons and colored pencils; sitting there after I'd stapled the pages together, wondering what in the world I was going to write articles about, being less than 10 years old and all.

What feelings do you experience once you are satisfied with your completed manuscript(s)?

Sadness and anxiety. Sadness, because by the time I'm done, I've developed a relationship with the characters and I'm sad to see them go. I miss them for a while afterward. Anxiety, because, what if I just think I'm done, but it sucks? What if I'm the only one who thinks it's good?

In your upcoming release or newly released book, how did you come up with the idea of your main character(s)?

My upcoming release, "Where There's Smoke", was conceptualized after I came in contact with a client who was struggling with crack cocaine addiction. She came to me after a stint in inpatient treatment, so she had gained weight and was healthy looking, and, looking at her, I was curious as to how she had come to be addicted to crack. Here was this attractive, well-spoken sista, who was far from your everyday idea of a "crackhead", and I asked her what her deal was. As I talked with her, the idea of Anne, one of the main characters in "Where There's Smoke", was coming to life in my head. That client inspired me. I empathized with her and I wanted to do something positive for women who struggle with drug addiction and prevail, as sort of a tribute to that client and women like her everywhere. I was visualizing Anne and thinking, "Who are you and where are we about to go with this?"

Tell us a little bit about your work in progress and/or your upcoming release.

"Where There's Smoke" will be released in January 2009 by Urban Books.
Imagine the inevitable conflict when a two-decades sober drug addict and her former drug dealer, who's been out of the game and in classrooms teaching math, of all things, for almost as long, meet again. Especially when there's a 16 year old son that one of them had no idea existed in the picture. Their son is out of control and Anne is at her wit's end, so she tracks down his father, hoping he can help get the boy back on track. Will she live to regret her decision?

I’m a big believer that word of mouth creates more sales than advertisements. Let’s say I’ve never read any of your books before, how would you pitch the idea of your latest release to me?

Women's lib, bay-bee. LOL. Women don't get a fair shake where drug addiction is concerned. Everybody remembers how Pooky used to smoke crack and how he used to do those things he did for crack. But when he gets clean and jumps up into the pulpit to testify, suddenly everybody has amnesia. On the other hand, Peaches can't live her drug addiction and those things she did for drugs down. Peaches can be clean for twenty years and folks will still be whispering about when she was "out there." This book celebrates women and the awesome spirit that lives within us all. As wives, girlfriends, mothers and sisters, when we give of ourselves, we truly give of ourselves. This book features a sista who will go to the mat for her own life, her son's life and her self-respect. You gotta love it. Who doesn't have an addict of some sort in their family?

I consider myself a tough critic when reviewing books. What do or would you do when you receive a mediocre or less than average rating from a reviewer or reader?

On a basic level, consider the source. In general, I'm going to be considerably more disappointed by a mediocre review from, say, Toni Morrison, than, say, Bey-Bey from the hood. However, both of these reviewers have equally important voices. If I'm going for street-lit flavor and Bey-Bey is a voracious street-lit reader, and she says it stinks, then I need to take a look at that. If I'm trying to dabble in some serious literary fiction and Toni Morrison suggests that I not quit my day job, then I also need to take a look at that. Overall, though, we like what we like and what one dislikes another may love. It's all relative. Content? Mechanics? Style? What is the review saying? That's what I try to focus on. Maybe I can learn something for the next go-round.

What authors influence your writing dreams, goals and aspirations?

Jodi Picoult; Toni Morrison; Alice Walker; James Baldwin; Barbara Delinsky; love me some LaVyrle Spencer and Nora Roberts's older stuff; Sidney Sheldon... (not exhaustive and in no particular order)

What books would you recommend on writing?

I've never read any books on writing or taken any courses, so, unfortunately, I can't recommend any.

If you could change one thing you did during your road to publication, what would it be and what would you have done different?

Everything. Nothing. I don't know. I could've been wasting time on this or that, or I could've simply been getting my feet wet. Who knows? It's definitely been a learning experience and I think I'm better for it. Maybe, not spent as much money as I spent self-publishing? But where would I have cut corners? (shrug)

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Mama, Grandma Bea, Cousin Mookie and them aren't necessarily the best manuscript critics. Get objective, knowledgeable feedback from somebody who doesn't do your hair every other Friday, and listen to it.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?




Thursday, October 2, 2008

Poet Jeff Brown


Poet Jeff Brown
A.K.A.
Poeticsoldier



Let's start getting your shine on. Who are you?

My name is Robert Jeffrey ( Jeff) Brown aka Poeticsoldier

When did you realize you had a passion for writing?

I realized that I had a passion for words when I was Junior High School when I was helping some of my friends write notes to girls.

All writers adore words. Describe your love affair with writing.

I love words because the words can pain pictures in the minds and hearts of people. Words are able to draw someone into the world of the writer. Words can also be used to express a persons affection, desire, passion and fantasies.

Name two poets with whom you share similar writing styles.

I really admire Langston Hughes and Maya Angelo

What makes them similar
?

The things that makes us similar is the passion that they express in their poems. Their poems reaches out and grabs the reader making you sit up and pay attention

Name and thank one poet, dead or alive, that has been instrumental in inspiring you to write.

Langston Hughes

Now let's get to the nitty gritty. What does your audience look like?

That is a tough questions because I have found that audience consist of women of all ages , backgrounds, geographical locations, and races. I have some something for everyone, erotic, uplifting, and self awareness.


New authors usually lack the business knowledge of writing. What has been the most valuable lesson you've learned about things beyond the page?

I still consider myself as young because I still trying to get myself published.

Give me one to four lines that will make us go 'hmmm.'

Cum see what lie's in between and underneath the outer shell of a Southern brother like me. As the blood pumps through these veins of mine shooting adrenaline from every side. As the oxygen causes my life to live the wisdom will always be revealed. Unshaken and unbreakable the poetic word will shape the world.

What advice would you give an aspiring poet regarding publishing?

The one thing that I have found out is that if you want to get yourself published you have to pro-active and think out side the box.

Show me some skills. In fifty words or less, what is poetry to you?

What is poetry to me?

Spoken words

Is away to speak without opening my mouth to express the words that sometimes evades me when I am with that special person. It is a direct line into the heart and mind of the poet

Tickle my ears with your words spoken softly. As your caressing words soothe my soul gently touch my surface. That strokes my dormant desires; those spoken words have been longed for to break the silence in my heart. As your words form in your mind I want to be there from the start. The words that you use must be chosen carefully to ensure that they convey your heart. Spoken Words!!!!!!!!!!!!

Interviewers

JC Martin is an aspiring author, a mother, and a wife. She has been reading books as far back as her memory will allow her to remember. She has always used books as an escape from her everyday life. Her passion for words became evident to her English teacher in the eighth grade. Since then Jennifer has been writing non-stop, but it was not until 2006 when she finally realized her passion. She reviews books because she truly loves reading, and wants to spread the word to more than just the people she knows.
DJ Frazier is an Ohio-born, spoken-word poet who has composed poetry since she was able to hold a laddie pencil. As reviewer for A Place Of Our Own (APOOO) and aspiring novelist, she dabbles in the literary scene from all perspectives. She has been published on www.thebacklist.net, interviewed on www.blogginginblack.com, and is currently submitting fiction manuscripts to publishers while juggling daughterhood, sisterhood, wifedom, parenthood, and of course, writing. Outside of family and all things literary, Darnetta overindulges in Hip-Hop, dabbles in computer graphic design, and creates handcrafted cards, candles, and jewelry.