Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Interview for Constant Tower for Compulsivereader.com

So, your second book has come out? Your first was Wind Follower, right? But. . .five years between your novels?

Yeah, I really am the queen of procrastination. Watching way too many videos on youtube, or playing solitaire. However, I often do some creative procrastination. So I managed to get some good stories written during that time.

And were those stories published?
Most of them, yes. Here and there. In some very good and prestigious anthologies, and in smaller indie collections. I collected some of them and put them in a short story collection, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction by Carole McDonnell. 

And they're mostly speculative fiction?
Pretty much. With all my concerns. Race. Religion. Politicis. Feminism. Fantasy. Steamfunk. Science fiction. Fairytales. Ghost stories. 

You mentioned religion and race. Those matters concern you a lot? Do you think that might put off some people? Especially Christianity. And even with racial issues. Don't people read fantasy to escape the political stuff in the world?

My answer to the first question is that people often think they will be put off by my stories but when they finally sit down to read them they find the stories pretty inclusive. I'm pretty ambassadorial in my writing. White folks don't feel distanced, and non-religious people don't feel put off either. I guess if you really have an intense dislike of Christians or Black people you might find a reason to find something hateful in my stories. One reviewer on Amazon seemed to do just that. But most people see the stories as very accessible. The second answer is that people read fantasy for all kinds of reason and political or not they like seeing themselves reflected in the stories.

So, your new novel is The Constant Tower? What's it about?
It's about a world where humans have no permanent dwelling. IF they are caught alone in the night outside of a dwelling, they are flung by the night to disparate parts of planet. In order to stay together, they live in longhouses..and these longhouses are called clans. In addition, there are towers that are somewhat sentient which gives them some power to steer their own course to their homelands. The towers are still somewht a mystery and the scientists of those clans -- called "studiers of worlds"-- are still discovering how the towers work. But the ultimate goal is to find a way to be able to stay rooted to one place. Some clans are more technologically advanced with their tower lore, some not. And there are people who were caught outside at night and who lost their home tower or home longhouse and awake every morning in a different place. That's the background. The story is about a young lame (and very petulant) prince, a war between two of the larger clans, and a prophecy about the time of the end of towers

Wow, sounds interesting. How did you come up with the idea for The Constant Tower?
I dreamed of such a world. And the characters kept coming to me so I had to write it after a while.

It's fantasy?
Yes, it's fantasy. Epic fantasy. Kings, battles, daggers, chieftains, men controlling women's lives. All that.

Men controlling women's lives? So, is that one of the themes?
One of them, yes. But I hope it's not in your face feminist like that. The largest theme is infighting, how there are battles in the world against great enemies and yet people in certain groups often are fighting against each other. It's also about how the weak, the disabled, the powerless are often treated. The clan my main male character lives in is a very eugenistic warrior clan. But the hero is a lame prince with polio. Of course they don't call it polio but that's what it is. 

You often write about warfare. Why? Because it's epic fantasy and epic fantasy always contains wars and warriors?
Well, maybe that's part of it. But if you look at my stories, although war is all around, I generally don't get into describing battles. Partly because I find battle scenes hard to write but mostly it's that they don't interest me. I seem to always write about people on the outskirts of war, the collateral damage, people who aren't warriors but who are somehow involved in war.  

Your first book Wind Follower received much critical praise but didn't sell many copies. Why?
I was a first time author then, and I am published by Wildside which is a small publisher. In addition, there is an element of readership in fantasy who don't think books by women, minorities, or Christians are really good novels. It's still around. The warfare this year in the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) about nominating of minorities and women was really horrendous. Also Wind Follower was more overtly Christian. The Constant Tower isn't like that. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

My interview with Sith Witch about Constant Tower

1. How would you describe your book? What kind of story are you trying to convey?

It's an anti-fantasy fantasy, I guess. Many fantasies are about "a boy going on a journey" --the Heroes' Journey, etc. But I've always wondered about stasis. What if the hero could not go on a journey? What if the warrior was stuck? What if the warrior did not have a warrior's heart? Heck, what if the warrior was sick and puny? So here we have Psal, the hero. He doesn't like his clan. But he can't escape it because the night prevents journeys. I suppose I want to convey the idea of children being controlled by their parent's, wives being caught in their husband's wake, people being stuck in their own tribe/clan and having no choice of escape.

2. Where did the idea for the book come from? What was it's inspiration?
I had a dream in which someone said to me, "But the towers are constant." In the dream, every morning people would wake to find the geography of their city moved about, as in a puzzle. So everyday on waking they had to discover the paths of their cities again. But there was always a tower which was constant and which didn't move. That would've been a fun story to write but I decided I would write a story where the world's regions stayed the same but the people in that world would be tossed around all over the planet.  Unless they had some control over how they were tossed. The idea of how it was controlled led to figuring out what kind of technology they had, and that's how the towers fit in.

3. How would you describe the main characters in your book? What is the nature of their relationship?
The main characters are relatives, friends, allies, adversaries. There are so many small and large wars going on in Constant Tower. It's a world of different clans and cultures and relationships. Very few of the relationships are smooth. They -- like we-- are fighting each other when all around them the world is falling apart. They are fighting each other when there are larger foes outside. 

4. When a reader finishes the book, what is it you hope they will walk away with?
Perhaps it will make the reader ponder what it is that keeps people chained or fearful of leaving. There is also the religious element. How do we forgive those inside our own clan -- whether it's those who are our own sex, our own race, our own religion? 

5. Do you have any current projects that you are working on? What can you share about any upcoming works?
I'm working on a YA book called "My Life as an Onion." I'll self-publish that because it's a bit odd --being very Christian, very sexual, very fantastical-- and I don't think a publishing company would allow me to do what I want to do with it. Most of my stories are about young people but this is my first contemporary story and it'll be somewhat semi-auto-biographical (but not really.) It'll have my own life's issues  and my might-have-been life. I've always wanted to have a rich flaky lover. 

6. Who are some of your inspirations as a writer? Which other authors do you look to for inspiration and motivation?
I read tons of poetry. I love Shakespeare. I love Henry James. The Bible. James Joyce. 

7. If they made a movie of your book, who would you cast in the lead roles?
 I still don't know who would be the lead. Psal is hard to cast. But his father, the king could be Julian Sand, Ben Cross, or Jason Statham. And weirdly, the bad guy, Cyrt, could be any of those actors as well. 

8. When not writing, what other hobbies and interests do you have?
I love anthropology, linguistics, learning languages, Korean Dramas, and Japanese Dramas.


My interview with Compulsiver Reader

Q: So, your second book has come out? Your first was Wind Follower, right? But. . .five years between your novels?

A: Yeah, I really am the queen of procrastination. Watching way too many videos on youtube, or playing solitaire. However, I often do some creative procrastination. So I managed to get some good stories written during that time.

Q: And were those stories published?
A: Most of them, yes. Here and there. In some very good and prestigious anthologies, and in smaller indie collections. I collected some of them and put them in a short story collection, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction by Carole McDonnell. 

Q:And they're mostly speculative fiction?
A: Pretty much. With all my concerns. Race. Religion. Politicis. Feminism. Fantasy. Steamfunk. Science fiction. Fairytales. Ghost stories. 

Q: You mentioned religion and race. Those matters concern you a lot? Do you think that might put off some people? Especially Christianity. And even with racial issues. Don't people read fantasy to escape the political stuff in the world?

A: My answer to the first question is that people often think they will be put off by my stories but when they finally sit down to read them they find the stories pretty inclusive. I'm pretty ambassadorial in my writing. White folks don't feel distanced, and non-religious people don't feel put off either. I guess if you really have an intense dislike of Christians or Black people you might find a reason to find something hateful in my stories. One reviewer on Amazon seemed to do just that. But most people see the stories as very accessible. The second answer is that people read fantasy for all kinds of reason and political or not they like seeing themselves reflected in the stories.

Q: So, your new novel is The Constant Tower? What's it about?
A: It's about a world where humans have no permanent dwelling. IF they are caught alone in the night outside of a dwelling, they are flung by the night to disparate parts of planet. In order to stay together, they live in longhouses..and these longhouses are called clans. In addition, there are towers that are somewhat sentient which gives them some power to steer their own course to their homelands. The towers are still somewht a mystery and the scientists of those clans -- called "studiers of worlds"-- are still discovering how the towers work. But the ultimate goal is to find a way to be able to stay rooted to one place. Some clans are more technologically advanced with their tower lore, some not. And there are people who were caught outside at night and who lost their home tower or home longhouse and awake every morning in a different place. That's the background. The story is about a young lame (and very petulant) prince, a war between two of the larger clans, and a prophecy about the time of the end of towers

Q: Wow, sounds interesting. How did you come up with the idea for The Constant Tower?
A: I dreamed of such a world. And the characters kept coming to me so I had to write it after a while.

Q: It's fantasy?
A: Yes, it's fantasy. Epic fantasy. Kings, battles, daggers, chieftains, men controlling women's lives. All that.

Q: Men controlling women's lives? So, is that one of the themes?
A: One of them, yes. But I hope it's not in your face feminist like that. The largest theme is infighting, how there are battles in the world against great enemies and yet people in certain groups often are fighting against each other. It's also about how the weak, the disabled, the powerless are often treated. The clan my main male character lives in is a very eugenistic warrior clan. But the hero is a lame prince with polio. Of course they don't call it polio but that's what it is. 

Q: You often write about warfare. Why? Because it's epic fantasy and epic fantasy always contains wars and warriors?
A: Well, maybe that's part of it. But if you look at my stories, although war is all around, I generally don't get into describing battles. Partly because I find battle scenes hard to write but mostly it's that they don't interest me. I seem to always write about people on the outskirts of war, the collateral damage, people who aren't warriors but who are somehow involved in war.  

Q: Your first book Wind Follower received much critical praise but didn't sell many copies. Why?


A: I was a first time author then, and I am published by Wildside which is a small publisher. In addition, there is an element of readership in fantasy who don't think books by women, minorities, or Christians are really good novels. It's still around. The warfare this year in the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) about nominating of minorities and women was really horrendous. Also Wind Follower was more overtly Christian. The Constant Tower isn't like that. 


-- 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Offenders: Saving the world while serving detention by Jerry Craft

THE OFFENDERS:
Saving the World While Serving Detention!

"... funny, exciting, and the most charming thing I've read in ages. Writing something entertaining is tough, but writing something important is even tougher. Jerry and his boys have made it look easy."

-- Drew Pearce writer of Iron Man 3
 
Middle Grade Novel Takes on Bullying ... With a Twist!
 
BULLIES BEWARE! A freak accident gives five middle school bullies super powers. But instead of being able to transform into cool super-beings, they are forced to take on the characteristics of the kids they pick on. Sure their abilities may be at an all-time high, but do they really have what it takes to save their school when their self-esteem is at an all-time low?
 
The only thing they know for sure is they're about to learn one "powerful" lesson in compassion!
 
For more info or to order your copy, visit
 
HUFFPOST LIVE, TV, and MORE!
Our pre-release tour has gotten great press, including my 13 year old son Aren's first live TV interview on Eyewitness News with Tina Martin (photo right)
 
Aren also had the pleasure of being a guest on HuffPost Live and got to talk with Drew Pearce, the writer of Iron Man 3, who also provided the cover blurb above. Watch interview.
 
TV INTERVIEWS

 
 
 
ARTICLES
 
 
 
 
 
Multicultural, Common Core and more!...
Dexter Diaz, one of the few Latinos starring in a middle grade / YA book.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anti Bullying: We show kids how the way they act can effect others.
 
Funny and Exciting: A book that both boys and girls will WANT to read. You can't teach them unless you can reach them.
 
MultiCultural: Our super powered team is made up of 3 boys and 2 girls from various backgrounds: Caucausian, Korean, African American, Mixed Race and Latino.
 
Aligned with the Common Core State Standards:
RL.6.1,2,3,4,5,6,9,10
RL.7.1,2,3,4,6,10
RL.8.1,2,3,4,6,10
 
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Social Issues / Bullying
Guided Reading level – W
Grade level Equivalent- 6
Interest level- grades 5-8 (middle school reader)Ages 12-up
 
IN THE SCHOOLS!
I'm proud to announce that The Offenders has already been chosen by a Junior High School in NY for their One Book One School program. They purchased a book for each of their middle schoolers! I visited the school and spoke to close to 900 kids, including those in detention. :)
 
The photo to the right is from a book fair at a school in CT. My workshops show them what it takes to make a book: Creating characters, writing, re-writing, drawing and publishing.
 
 
 
 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Black Speculative Fiction Month: Minister Faust









  • Paperback: 531 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; First Edition edition (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345466357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345466358

  • Hamza and Yehat are The Coyote Kings–best friends, one a disgruntled dishwasher and the other a video store clerk, but each brilliant in his own right. Yehat builds prototypes of space-age inventions in his spare time, while Hamza, a former English honors student who was kicked out of the university, writes lush, lyrical poems when he’s not blocked–which, these days, is nearly always.

    When the gorgeous, mysterious Sherem shows up in E-Town decked out in desert finery, Hamza’s creative spark is ignited. Who is this sophisticated woman that speaks arcane African tongues, quotes from obscure comics and Star Wars movies, yet seems somehow too ethereal for the world Hamza inhabits? And what is the lost artifact that she and a cast of coiffed collectors and criminal cultists so desperately seek? As Hamza falls blindly in love with Sherem, little does he know that he and Yehat play the biggest part of all in the recovery of the ancient relic–and in the future of all living beings. . . .


    Two Sudanese “Lost Boys.” Both fathers murdered during civil war. Both mothers forced into exile through lands where the only law was violence. To survive, they became ruthless loners and child soldiers, before finding mystic mentors who transformed them to create their destinies. One, known to the streets as the Supreme Raptor. The other, known to the Greeks as Horus, son of Osiris. Separated by seven thousand years, and connected by immortal truth. Both born in fire Both baptised in blood Both brutalised by the wicked Both elevated by mystic madmen Both sworn to transform the world And themselves By the power... of Alchemy. *** A re-imagining of an ancient myth, and the invocation of a modern, urban reality, The Alchemists of Kush is the first novel to explore the lives of Somali and Sudanese youth in North America. Written by the award-winning maverick novelist Minister Faust, who's increasingly described as one of the finest voices of his generation, The Alchemists of Kush is a visionary novel that will anger, shock, profoundly move, and even transform its readers.



    “An outlandish, outrageous tour de force by the most innovative prose stylist in the field.”
    –Robert J. Sawyer, author of Hominids

    They’re Earth’s mightiest superteam–and dysfunctional as hell.

    OMNIPOTENT MAN–a body with the density of steel, and a brain to match

    THE FLYING SQUIRREL–aging playboy industrialist by day, avenging krypto-fascist by night

    IRON LASS–mythology’s greatest warrior–but the world might be safer if she had a husband

    X-MAN–formerly of the League of Angry Blackmen . . . but not formerly enough

    THE BROTHERFLY–radioactively fly

    POWER GRRRL–perpetually deciding between fighting crime or promoting her latest album, clothing line, or sex scandal

    Having finally defeated all archenemies, the members of the Fantastic Order of Justice are reduced to engaging in toxic office politics that could very well lead to a superpowered civil war. Only one woman can save them from themselves: Dr. Eva Brain-Silverman, aka Dr. Brain, the world’s leading therapist for the extraordinarily abled.

    “Faust has pretty much invented his own genre. He’s totally original, full of surprises.”
    –Richard K. Morgan, author of Altered Carbon

    “Samuel Delany, Harlan Ellison, and Ishmael Reed all rolled into one. Faust’s writing is biting, insightful, and hugely entertaining.”
    –Ernest Dickerson, director





    Minister Faust is a long-time community activist, writer, journalist, broadcaster, public speaker and martial artist in several disciplines.

    A lifelong fan of science fiction, his earliest memories of the genre were watching Star Trek: The Original Series in black & white and having his mother read to him from Robert Heinlein's Red Planet.

    After deciding to become a comic book writer and artist when he was ten, he secretly changed his ambition to science fiction novelist after glancing through the glossary to Frank Herbert's Dune. He'd planned to become an ecologist so as to gain Herbert's ecological depth, but before his first university class switched his entire enrollment to English Literature, having concluded that learning to write was more relevant to the career of a writer, and that going to endless lab classes at 7 am for four years would likely be hell on earth.

    Friday, October 4, 2013

    Black Speculative Fiction Month: Masoth: the Journey Beyond


    • Paperback: 408 pages
    • Publisher: Aventine Press (December 6, 2012)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1593308027
    • ISBN-13: 978-1593308025


    "Masoth: The Journey Beyond" is the story of a man named Ezra Lyons who has lost his way. After everything that he has come to accept as reality falls apart he stands at a crossroads wishing that he could start a new life somewhere else. By chance, he finds himself transported, on a journey, to a strange and mysterious universe where the culture he left behind may be the key to finding a purpose beyond anything he could have imagined.

    Ehav Ever - author of
    Masoth: The Journey Beyond - a sci-fi novel-- is an American born Israeli who lives in Jerusalem. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Electrical Engineering from Prairie View A&M University and was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. He is a YouTube video blogger at "The Chronicles of Ehav Ever" and has written articles for the Institute of Jewish Ideas and Ideals.
     
    Drawing upon a mix of interests in science fiction, Senegalese culture, and Jewish philosophy Ehav Ever creates an intricate tale from a perspective rarely seen in sci-fi literature. So, if you are brave enough and strong of heart, join him on this Journey Beyond.

    Thursday, October 3, 2013

    Black Speculative Fiction: Novels by Balogun Ojetade


    “I’m gon’ drive the evil out and send it back to Hell, where it belong!” – Harriet Tubman Harriet Tubman: Freedom fighter. Psychic. Soldier. Spy. Something…more. Much more. In “MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Book 1: Kings * Book 2: Judges)”, the author masterfully transports you to a world of wonder…of horror…of amazing inventions, captivating locales and extraordinary people. In this novel of dark fantasy (with a touch of Steampunk), Harriet Tubman must match wits and power with the sardonic John Wilkes Booth and a team of hunters with powers beyond this world in order to save herself, her teenaged nephew, Ben and a little girl in her care – Margaret. But is anyone who, or what, they seem?




    Sent nearly thirty years into the past as an unwilling subject in a time travel experiment, Ezekiel Cross must save his younger self from the deadly path that forged him into the ruthless killer he is.

    Follow Ezekiel on this edge-of-your-seat adventure that is both gangster saga and science fiction epic.













     September 9, 2012
    An exciting Sword and Soul tale by Balogun Ojetade, Once Upon a Time in Afrika Tells the story of a beautiful princess and her eager suitors. Desperate to marry off his beautiful but "tomboyish" duaghter, Esuseeke, the Emperor of Oyo, consults the Oracle. The Oracle tells the Emperor Esuseeke must marry the greatest warrior in all Onile (Afrika). To determine who is the greatest warrior, the Emperor hosts a grand martial arts tournament inviting warrior from all over the continent. Unknown to the warriors and spectators of the tournament a powerful evil is headed their way. Will the warriors band together against this evil?










    Wednesday, October 2, 2013

    Black Speculative Fiction Month: Charles R Saunders



    Saunders' novel fuses the narrative style of fantasy fiction with a pre-colonial, alternate Africa. Inspired by and directly addresses the alienation of growing up an African American fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy, which to this day remains a very ethnically homogonous genre. It addresses this both structurally (via its unique setting) and thematically (via its alienated, tribeless hero-protagonist). The tribal tensions and histories presented in this fantasy novel reflect actual African tribal histories and tensions, and provide a unique perspective to current and recent conflicts in Africa, particularly the Rwandan genocide and the ongoing conflict in The Sudan.




    The first ever African American 1930s avenger sets out to stop a Nazi plot to subvert a championship fight. From deepest Africa to the streets of 1930s Harlem, the action is none stop. Written by famed novelist Charles Saunders, with interior illos by Clayton Hinkle and a cover by Charles Fetherolf, this is a history making pulp adventure fans do not want to miss.








    Black Speculative Fiction Month: Novels by Octavia Butler


    Here's the blurb:

    Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.



    When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister's young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny... and the birth of a new faith.









    Lauren Olamina's love is divided among her young daughter, her community, and the revelation that led Lauren to found a new faith that teaches "God Is Change". But in the wake of environmental and economic chaos, the U.S. government turns a blind eye to violent bigots who consider the mere existence of a black female leader a threat. And soon Lauren must either sacrifice her child and her followers -- or forsake the religion that can transform human destiny.





















    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    October is Black Speculative Fiction Month!

    Of course it is! It's Halloween month! And horror, skeletons, and speculation work wonderfully together. So yes, Black Speculative Fiction Month! Check out this site to see upcoming events.

    So we folks in Black Speculative Fiction are all doing a blog blast to get you guys out there reading.

    First, there are some folks out there who think
    A) that Black writers only write hood-drug-ho stories OR Christian stories.
    or B) that Black readers aren't interested in scifi, fantasy, speculative fiction.

    Well, those folks are wrong.

    Sales for the anthologies of Milton Davis prove there is a thirst out there in the Black community for fantasy that tells our stories. I would highly recommend buying one of Milton Davis' anthologies if you don't want to dive into the unknown. Most of the stories in these anthologies are written by writers who have already published books.






    One of the biggest frustrations African-American lovers of fantasy have is
    A) Dealing with Irish elves, Euro-stereotypical characters, stories that don't connect to the Black experience, and books with no real Black characters

    B) what our genre is called. Our version of fantasy is called Sword and Soul; our version of Science Fiction is called Afrofuturist; and our version of steampunk and dieselpunk is called Steamfunk and Dieselfunk.

    Where to look to find these books: ONLINE!!!!

    Some great Black authors to look for:
    Valjeanne Jeffers








     There is also moi 




    Monday, September 23, 2013

    The Adventures of Nurse Nicole by Nicole Brown

     

    ABOUT THE BOOK

    The Adventures of Nurse Nicole is a wonderfully cleaver and bright series about a nurse with three children who are curious about nursing. The Adventures of Nurse Nicole: N is for Nurse describes the art and science of nursing from A to Z with positive images of the nursing profession. Nursing is one of the most sought after and trusted professions in the world. This is a must-have book, because everyone will need a nurse one day.
     
    The next book, The Adventures of Nurse Nicole: Wash Your Hands,  is coming soon.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Nicole Brown, MSN, RN, is a nurse educator, Doctoral candidate and an Army veteran. Nicole lives in Central Virginia with her three children and is dedicated to providing positive images of the nursing profession for children and the world.
     
     

    Sunday, September 1, 2013

    Tywebbin virtual Book Tour: Treasures in the Darkness

     

    ABOUT THE BOOK

    Private pain can become public victory.
     
    The strongest believer’s faith can be shaken when faced with tragedy or even disappointment. Bishop Larry Brandon faced this himself when his oldest son, Brandon, was killed. Here he shares his own struggle, pain, and eventual victory in Christ. While it appeared to the world that he was doing well, inside his heart and faith were broken. Only someone who has faced the subtle crumbling and nagging doubts can speak with authority to the pain that readers face in such dark times.
     
    Treasures in the Darkness also turns to the scripture to show how people like Abram, Sarai, David and others who loved God stumbled when their faith was put to the test. Through the text, the reader will gain spiritual understanding to help stay in faith while getting practical tools to help deal with and overcome private pain, whatever it may be. Treasures in the Darkness covers topics such as how to avoid masking one's pain, how to deal with frustration, assumption and presumption, coming through the grief process (the root of private pain), seeing our situation through the eyes of faith, discovering the "hidden treasure" in our pain, and more.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    L. Lawrence Brandon is an author, producer, television and radio host, conference speaker, socially-active entrepreneur and esteemed business and community leader. He is the founder and CEO of LL Brandon Ministries, Inc, Praise Temple Ministries, and University Christian Preparatory School. He also serves as pastor of Praise Temple Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral in Shreveport, LA.


    Tuesday, August 13, 2013

    Color Me English by Caryl Phillips

    Color Me English by Caryl Phillips


  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595588353
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595588357

  • Here's the blurb:
    An “arresting . . . bracing and affecting volume” (Booklist) that “brims with curiosity and cosmopolitanism” (Publishers Weekly), Color Me English was hailed in the Guardian as one of the best books of 2011 by Blake Morrison. This compilation of essays from award-winning author Caryl Phillps is “a polymorphous delight that always retains at its core the notion of identity: how it is constructed, how it is thrust upon us, how we can change it” (The Independent).

    A bold reflection on race and culture across national boundaries, Color Me English includes touching stories from Phillips’s childhood in England; his years living and teaching in the United States during the turbulent times of 9/11; and his travels across Europe and Africa, where he engages with legendary writers James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Chinua Achebe, and Ha Jin. Featured on radio programs including The Leonard Lopate Show and The Diane Rehm Show and covered in Salon, the Huffington Post, and EssenceColor Me English is a stunning collection from Phillips, who “writes wonderfully crafted, deeply meditative treatises . . . [that are] always interesting and informative” (Quarterly Black Review).

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    Small Island by Andrea Levy

    Small Island by Andrea Levy


  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New Edition edition (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312429525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312429522

  • Small Island is an international bestseller.  It won the Orange Prize for Fiction, The Orange Prize for Fiction: Best of the Best, The Whitbread Novel Award, The Whitbread Book of the Year Award, and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize.  It has now been adapted for the screen as a coproduction of the BBC and Masterpiece/WGBH Boston.

    Hortense Joseph arrives in London from Jamaica in 1948 with her life in her suitcase, her heart broken, her resolve intact. Her husband, Gilbert Joseph, returns from the war expecting to be received as a hero, but finds his status as a black man in Britain to be second class. His white landlady, Queenie, raised as a farmer's daughter, befriends Gilbert, and later Hortense, with innocence and courage, until the unexpected arrival of her husband, Bernard, who returns from combat with issues of his own to resolve.
     
    Told in these four voices, Small Island is a courageous novel of tender emotion and sparkling wit, of crossings taken and passages lost, of shattering compassion and of reckless optimism in the face of insurmountable barriers---in short, an encapsulation of that most American of experiences: the immigrant's life.





    Friday, July 12, 2013

    More of Life's Spices, edited by Vicki L Ward

    More of Life's Spices: Seasoned Sistahs Keepin' it Real
    edited by Vicki L. Ward


    • Paperback: 268 pages
    • Publisher: Nubian Images Publishing (June 1, 2013)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0975516272
    • ISBN-13: 978-0975516270


      This is the blurb

    This is the blurb:
    More of Life's Spices, Seasoned Sistahs Keepin' It Real speaks volumes to women. This book helps women reclaim their voices, lifts hearts and lays a path for empowerment. It is a 'sistah circle'--a gathering of women soulfully speaking authentic truths of joyful highs and heart-wrenching trials. Their narratives deepen our belief that life events are universal for all women on life's journey.  
    They speak of self esteem, family dynamics, surviving obstacles, and overcoming trauma. Continuing on this road of life, they bare truths about relationships and intimacy, and gently broach the subject of death, and living with loss.
    Readers will laugh, cry, and relate to the events these writers breathe life into. They will recognize the universal truths these women speak, which bonds them to one another in sistah-hood
    .



    She later refocused her writing on a female audience examining the many life changes women experience, from emerging young women to maturing women. Through these books she seeks to nurture honest dialog among women, strengthen bonds, and to provide tools and guidance to live more empowered lives.

    More of Life's Spices, Seasoned Sistahs Keepin' It Real, and the 2nd Volume in the immensely popular anthology series were released in May 2013, again showcasing the voices of women of color, and continuing to lift up and emphasize the sistahhood of all women.

    Vicki published Savvy, Sassy & Bold after 50, A Midlife Rebirth in 2010, which won Best Women's Self Help Book and Honorable Mention from two Northern California Publishing Organizations. This has proven to be a vital handbook for sistahs navigating this time of life filled with changes, new insight, and new decisions to be made.

    Future Books include:

    Supercharge Your Life after 60; Ten Ways to Ignite your Lifestyle will be released in April 2014. This handbook targets maturing women designed to provide timely advice, and support for the changing needs of women in the decade of their sixties.

    About the author:  Vicki L Ward

    Vicki Ward is editor of Life's Spices from Seasoned Sistahs, an anthology Black Issues Book Review tagged as "a book peppered with candor, dabbed with sassiness and covered with wisdom gained from living...supplying readers glimpses into other cultures plus advice." This popular book has been an assigned text in California college courses for over five years. It garnered Book of the Year Award--ForeWord Magazine, Bronze Award--Independent Publishers Association, and Best Anthology-The Los Angeles Black Book Expo, and is archived in the permanent collection of the African American Museum and Library in Oakland, California.

    Vicki is an author, and speaker. She has conducted women's empowerment workshops at St. Mary's College Women's Conference, East County Women's Conference, and the Empowering Women of Color Conference at U. C. Berkeley. She has spoken at Soroptimist Clubs, American Business Women, San Francisco Library, Book Clubs and Church groups, and college audiences.

    For several years she was an entertainment writer for a regional entertainment magazine. She wrote R & B and jazz concert reviews, interviewed celebrities, wrote stage play reviews and reviewed new CD Releases. 


  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Nubian Images Publishing Company (March 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975516205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975516201


  • "Life's Spices From Seasoned Sistahs" A Collection of Life Stories From Mature Women of Color These are true stories and poems from the voices of women of color. These "seasoned sistahs" hail from all across the United States and also include a sistah living in India. They boldly share the defining events in their lives. They tell of relationships, parenting, family, self esteem, mothers, forgiveness, death, and finding a spiritual path. They describe how they walked these journeys in their lives. This first volume of stories and poetry is for younger women just experiencing life, and for mature sistahs alike. As these "seasoned sistahs" share their lives they enable others to learn from, and gain support through their trials, and triumphs. When you share their stories, you learn the importance of knowing there is similarity of life's experiences for all women everywhere. The book also contains an extensive state by state resource guide for women, which includes many US territories.







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