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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Intimate Conversation with Joyce Nanette Johnson

Intimate Conversation with Joyce Nanette Johnson
 

Calling St. Petersburg her adopted home having lived here for two decades, Joyce Nanette Johnson was born and raised in the central shore area of New Jersey where she remembers looking forward to essay question tests throughout school.  “Even if I didn’t know what the test was about, all I needed were three key ideas about the subject and I’d make it happen,” Johnson said.

The night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was slain, Johnson sat down and put pen to paper and came up with a free verse poem written from her heart. She sent a copy to the local newspaper and one to Dr. King’s wife, Coretta Scott King. Not only did the newspaper print the poem, but she received a thank you card from Mrs. King.

It was then that Johnson began to focus on developing her correspondence skills. The free verse poem was her first and last, but has continued to follow her dream of being a writer.  A veteran writer with years of experience, her work is showcased between the pages of various newspapers, periodicals and magazines. Her writing can be seen in the St. Petersburg Times, Citilife Magazine, St. Pete Bulletin, Essence Magazine, and The Weekly Challenger.

Joyce Nanette Johnson is the owner of Joydee Productions, which developed and produced websites for community organizations and other public relations projects. Joyce Nanette Johnson was a finalist in 2010 and 2011 Tampabay Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists Awards. Ms. Johnson was the recipient of the 2011 Women in Communications Award presented by the Gathering of Women, Inc. St. Petersburg, FL.

BPM: What is your favorite positive saying?
My favorite positive saying or daily mantra is “Be About Your Business.” Now ladies I’m not talking about that gossipy, nosey being in other people’s business like your neighbors, family members, or gossiping about what’s going on in the church with Sister Sneaky and Brother Up to No Good. Which is a total waste of valuable time that could be invested in “self” I’m talking about our “personal business.” The business that God and the fates have destined for us to fulfill. As women we have that nurturing spirit and we should be active and have a vested interest in our homes, our children, our mates, our community and the world at large. But we need to have that purpose for which we were created to be nurtured also. We should carve a few precious moments out of our daily hectic lives for own personal dreams or destiny. My business is writing. 

I have often told my daughter Tracy when I am most tired and feel like quitting that if I don’t write, then the words will not get written. If you don’t pick up that brush no colors will bloom on your canvas. If you do not take the initial baby steps to start that business you will not become a successful entrepreneur. But we as women pile more and more on our shoulders balancing the world’s problems, while our own dreams and desires are shoved to the bottom of the pile like dirty laundry. Once you discover and admit to yourself that this is your dream. You have to “Be about Your Business”, make time for it, and treat it like a jealous lover. Every day the enemy devises more ways for me to stray from the path. Sometimes it can come disguised as family issues, at others times it rears its head as a day of hell with the boss from hell on the job, or just being depressed or tired. I have to remind myself every day to “Be about My Business”

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually write the book?
The media drove me to do this. As a baby-boomer I laughed at all of the commercials and media hype that said all of us were sexy, exciting, vibrant, and fun. When in reality I am not a sexy cougar that can drop it like it’s hot. I’m more like a slow simmering chili, still hot but not bubbling. Commercials show us gleefully hiking down some exotic trail when in reality I am limping down the pathway plagued by arthritis and plantar fasciitis and the glee comes with the relief of mentholated ointment. I wanted to show the reality of women aging while reflecting a humorous bent to the bumpy ride. 

I also wanted to share some baby-boomer type passages in life such as discos, baptismal marijuana smoking, and the joy that existed in sheer sexual abandonment with the advent of the pill and before diseases were racking up death fatalities. I wanted those in baby-boomer years to smile and have out loud belly laughs while their younger counterparts can get an actual picture of back in the day and also to let them know some of the things in store for them as their minds and bodies age. As my mom says sarcastically you got to get old to experience some of this good stuff. Keep on living you’ll see.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Yes, all of my experiences have come together in this book. In the book I talk about what I am experiencing now and then I have a “Back in the Day” section for each chapter. For example I have a chapter on Mother-Daughter relationships. I compare how the roles have been exchanged, I am now the leader and she is the follower. I have taken on the role of caregiver, supporter, and staunch ally. I then go back in the day to relate to a school shopping spree that any daughter can relate to. My experiences that I shared with my best friend as a little girl, whispering secrets and giggling to the best friends of today who area wisecracking, flawed to perfection, and who will sit quietly as I twist and turn with some dire depression and is there is say after my tirade, “Snap out of it.”  The book is a comedic journey of all of the experiences throughout the different stages of my life.

BPM: Introduce as to your current work, what genre do you consider your book?
Funny, Funnier, Funniest and served with a slice of satire. The book is humorously written while taking a swipe at the hypocrisy of the media. I hope to share the fact that though we are Baby Boomers we are still laughing. I want people to laugh out loud at a passage that reminds them of their Mother or an Aunt. I want people to smile as they remember that school girl friend from long, forgotten years ago. And I want people to remember to chuckle as they laugh at themselves as they see themselves and others mirrored in the pages of the book. Aging ain’t perfect, but at the moment it’s the only game in town. Laugh, hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

The book takes you on a hysterical journey that explores how Baby boomers are dealing with some of the same issues they were dealing with in the past, but with a slightly different twist. It explores the sexuality of the Boomer, which though similar it is nothing like the “drop it like it’s hot” acrobatics of today. Another chapter is the Yin and Yang of Life: The biological changes of your period and Menopause. Here ladies I have not found either condition to be the wonderful life changing event they are heralded to be. It looks at clothes today and then and what it represented at the time. Because the chapters are each divided into the now and back in the day it makes for fun stories about the difference in such subjects as exercise, clothes today and yesterday, and even the traditional family holiday is revisited. Over Fifty Ain’t Always Fabulous: Reflections of a Baby Boomer is a shout out to the past, examination of the present, and a celebration of life’s poignant but hysterical journey

BPM: What is the writer’s responsibility to the reader?
To create a believable story that entertains, enlightens and takes the reader on a personal journey along with you. To never take my readers for granted.

BPM: What would you like the readers to take away from your writing?
For the Baby Boomers I want them to see themselves in the past and now in the present and laugh out loud. I want them to celebrate their journey with a smile and an “Oh Well” and satisfied sigh. I want them to know that the advertising is hype and it’s okay to ache and not be a slick cougar, you’re okay. You did not miss the boat. For the younger ones I want them to see and experience some of the world of the Boomers. I want them to feel our spirit, our passion, and the innovation that we brought into the world. I want them to join in the laughter when they read the words and it reminds them of their mothers, aunt, and grandmothers. I want them to know that when they arrive at this stage of life it’s gonna be alight if you just keep your perspective and find the humor in the progression.

Website: www.JoyceNanetteJohnson.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com\joyce.n.johnson.31 


Over 50 Ain’t Always Fabulous-Reflections of a Baby Boomer
by Joyce Nanette Johnson
Link: http://amzn.com/148417626X

 
 
 
 

 
 

Intimate Conversation with Chalecha Cunningham

Intimate Conversation with Chalecha Cunningham

Born and raised in the heart of Dallas, Texas, in Oak Cliff, Chalecha Cunningham is no stranger to all types of people. Life was always in her face. Currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia by way of Baltimore, Maryland; she has never lost her Southern Hospitality. Chalecha is a veteran of the United States Navy, a licensed barber and an Information Systems Specialist. Jackie of all trades.

Chalecha Cunningham is a freelance writer, poet and blogger. Her online blog includes unspokensouthernhospitality.blogspot.com as well as her first published work of poetry, “Unspoken Southern Hospitality” which was published at the end of last year (2013). Chalecha has definitely proven that you are not where you come from but what you do when you get to where you are going.

Chalecha embodies her self-made motto, “built for this life” and she firmly believes you only have one life to live and it’s yours to live it. Through her poetry she speaks of love, cultural biases, heartbreak, life and the courage to live. She takes you on a journey through her poetry that takes you outside of what is expected, into simply being! Chalecha fully engages and encourages her readers to not only live life but to live YOUR life!

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I actually had written this book about a year ago but it is such a personal and intimate part of my life that I was afraid of sharing and allowing so many people to see me. It’s hard being naked and this book is my nakedness. Why now? I decided to put it out there now because it represents a major crossroad in my life. I was in a situation where I could do what would make me happy or stay in a place that limited my happiness. In making the decision to be happy I had to let go of someone who made me very happy and it was very hard so I put it all into my book.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing? 
My upbringing and life experiences definitely are what I draw on for a lot of inspiration in my writings. I was born and raised in the South, in Oak Cliff (Dallas), Texas but I left home my sophomore year in college and joined the military, so where I came from and my values have always been instilled in me. I also have my own personal beliefs and some things that I inherited from my military experience so I have a lot of different things that make me who I am. I have seen a lot of things through others and that also inspires and influences my writing.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from?
My book ideas come from life, LOL. These are some of my experiences and the things that I have been through directly and indirectly. My ideas are the direct images from my mind, which sometimes seep out of my mouth and onto the page. Everything that we do in life has some type of lesson and for me, I draw on every experience and believe that there is some type of plot or purpose for every character or person you meet in life.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work, Unspoken Southern Hospitality.
My current work is a book of poetry titled, “Unspoken Southern Hospitality.” I believe that everyone at some point in life has had an experience in love! The concept behind this book is based on the different types of love that we go through and experience throughout life. It’s about the pain, the joy, the confusion, the want, and unspoken love. It takes you through so many emotions and touches on things that you may have said or have wanted to say but just couldn’t find the words. To me, this book gives love an actual voice.

BPM: Give us an insight into your story. What makes it so special? 
In this particular work, the main character is me and my experiences and it’s special because it’s simply me and it’s pure and real. Everything in this book comes from a very personal place or moment. It comes from something that has drawn me to write about it.  Read more about it and the excerpt here, go.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
I learned how to deal with past hurts and the stigma or ideas that are embedded in us as children and women that we are supposed to be a certain way and do certain things.

Mental illness is a major disease in America and especially in the black community. It is seen as a sign of shame and there is a major stigma associated with it. The more we educate ourselves as well as become more open to conversations about this disease, the better we will become at addressing it. Too many lives are lost to mental illness so don’t be ashamed or afraid; address it!!

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author?
Success for me as a published author came when I held the first copy of my book in my hand and when I was able to send copies to my family and friends and share in that moment. Success for me comes in knowing that I was able to speak to someone that I have never met in life and give him or her a voice and let him or her know that they are not alone in this world.

BPM: What are your ambitions for your writing career? 
My ambitions for my writing career are to be able to grow not only as an author but also as a motivator. It is to share, teach, and heal someone. I want my words to provoke not only thought but I want them to provoke a movement. I want my words to encourage and strengthen someone who may be broken or who may have self-doubt. I want my writing to be the fuel for someone else to do great things in their life!

BPM: What are your expectations for this book?
I honestly don’t have any expectations for this book. I’m just blessed to have my first book published and be able to share my talent.

BPM: What would you like for readers to do after reading this book? 
I would like for readers to reflect and refuel. I want people to read this and again be encouraged, be motivated, and dream. I want people to read my book and become so inspired that they go out and do something that they never thought they could do or at least say something that they have always wanted to say.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 
Readers can follow my blog, unspokensouthernhospitality.blogspot.com to read previews of upcoming projects and learn more about me. Readers can also find me on Instagram at unspokensouthernhospitality and on Facebook at:  facebook.com/CLCunningham44.


Unspoken Southern Hospitality by Chalecha Cunningham
Kindle Link:  http://amzn.com/B00IUV0R7M

Unspoken Southern Hospitality by Chalecha Cunningham
PB Link:  http://amzn.com/1492779482

 
 
 
 
 

Intimate Conversations with Nina Foxx

A Letter for My Mother and Momma: Gone A Personal Story

Nina Foxx is an award-winning filmmaker, playwright, and novelist. She writes as both Nina Foxx and Cynnamon Foster. Her work has appeared on numerous bestseller lists around the country, and her films have won awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, Cannes, and the Rome International Film Festival. 

Originally from Jamaica, New York, she lives with her family near Seattle, Washington, where she works in Human-Computer interaction for a major software company. Nina is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, The Links and Jack & Jill of America. Visit her at http://www.ninafoxx.com or her blog at ninafoxx.blogspot.com

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually start writing this book, A Letter for My Mother?
A year or so ago, I got a call that the woman who used to be my mother in law was dying. We hadn’t had a good relationship, but I was surprised because the news was very upsetting to me. I was across the country and couldn’t go to where she was encouraged by my sister to write a letter to her and tell her what I wanted to say. The idea was that someone who was there with her could share the letter with her.

After I was done, I thought I would blog it or try to have it published in a magazine. My agent suggested that I write this as an anthology instead; so many woman have interesting relationships with their mothers, mother figures and other women in their lives. So I asked my writer and filmmaker friends to contribute to what is now this book. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be for so many people. People caled me crying and struggling through. Others just couldn’t do it so they refused to be in the project. They weren’t ready to face whatever issues they had with their mother-figure. They are people who had things to say but chose to write under pseudonym to conceal their identities. Everyone that participated said the process was cathartic for them and the result are some amazing pieces.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work, A Letter for My Mother.  
A Letter for My Mother is creative non-fiction and essays. It is available where ever books are sold and in all digital formats.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything from writing your book?
Every woman that participated wrote a letter and a short essay, to their mother or mother figure. They had to tell them something that they either never had the chance to, or something they coudlnt’ tell them before. My only requirement was that they had to focus on the positive that they had gained from the relationship with this person. My own mother died when I was a child, and I didn’t think I felt any way about that anymore. After I helped each person write their piece, I realized I had something to say to my own mother and sister. That is the last letter in the book.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book, A Letter for My Mother? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book?
After reading this, I would hope that readers tell a woman they love something they have given them; thank them for whatever that is. I also have related film project in my head.


Discussing Momma: Gone A Personal Story


BPM: What inspired you to write this book, Momma: Gone A Personal Story?

I started writing this many years ago. I think it is actually the first thing I ever tried to write. I had a memory of going to a bar with my mother and wanted to put it on paper. She died before I was seven, so it was very hazy, but more things unfolded from my memory.

BPM: Is this a true story, Momma: Gone A Personal Story?
Absolutely. This book is based on my childhood. It is embellished, of course. Sweetie (main character) had a story that needed to be told.

BPM: Introduce us to Momma: Gone A Personal Story.
Well, this book is literary fiction. If I’d had more courage, I would have written it as Creative non-fiction. This is a story about family and heartbreak as much as it is about loss and recovery. More truth than not, Momma: Gone is a story of survival, where all the lessons are taught by the child who must eventually lead them through and a classic American story of overcoming life’s misfortunes to find the bloom on the other side.

BPM: Tell us about your main characters. What makes them so special?
Sweetie is seven years old when this story begins. She is a precocious child that is very much aware of the things that are going on around her, even though the adults never tell her what is going on. She is aware of her mother’s illness and the effect it has on the family.

“Momma set me on the jukebox.” So begins the personal story of Denise (Sweetie) Wooten, set between a post-civil rights era New York City and a growing, but stale rural Alabama. We are thrust in the midst of a family longing for normalcy, but instead struggling with illness and all that comes with it; denial, anger and misunderstanding and love. As cultures clash, we see the family through a child’s eyes and walk with her as she makes sense of war fought far away, but with effects close to home, and a tragedy that changes her life forever. 

More truth than not, Momma: Gone is a story of survival, where all the lessons are taught by the child who must eventually lead them through and a classic American story of overcoming life s misfortunes to find the bloom on the other side. -Momma: Gone A Personal Story was shortlisted for a Doctorow Award in Innovative Fiction.

BPM: What are your goals for your writing career?
Momma: Gone is my 15th book. I just want to continue to tell good stories and make a few good movies.

BPM: What would you like for readers to do after reading Momma: Gone A Personal Story?
I want people to feel along with the main character as she grows, then go out and tell someone about it. 

Nina’s website: http://www.ninafoxx.com 
Blogging: http://ninafoxx.blogspot.com
Like and follow on Twitter: @ninafoxx


A Letter for My Mother by Nina Foxx

Genre: Creative Non-fiction
Link: http://amzn.com/1593095325



Momma: Gone A Personal Story 
by Nina Foxx

Link: http://amzn.com/0615902162

 
 

Intimate Conversation with M. Ann Ricks


M. Ann Ricks
is a Christian Fiction novelist, living for Christ ON PURPOSE as a literary vessel.  She is a graduate of Rider University. Using Jesus Christ as her example as He shared many parables, M. Ann creates stories with fictional characters who contend with real life issues and inserts the Word of God providing literature that will not only entertain but encourage, enlighten, emancipate and restore. M. Ann is the author of THE BLOOD DONE SIGNED MY NAME and her most recent release, THE SHIFT.

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
So many are believing the lies of the enemy and truth be told, although stating that they are Christians, many are still in bondage. They have yet to be delivered from fear, shame, guilt and even rebellion. Jesus is waiting. He hasn’t forgotten about us regardless of how far we’ve strayed and His love is unending. He is an EVER present in the times of our greatest challenge. Hearts have been broken and even hardened as a result of the enemy’s lies. It’s time for the eyes and hearts of the hurt and confused to be opened so that they can truly experience the freedom and power that being a true and unapologetic follower of Christ affords.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
My upbringing had a great deal to do with my writing style. I was always strongly encouraged to read which resulted in my writing. Everyone in my family enjoyed reading. We also love the Lord as He is and has always been an integral part of our lives. It would only make sense that I would write about Jesus because I love to read about Him. I also loved reading historical novels, harlequin romances, etc. Words have the power to influence and even transport and that has always intrigued me, even as a child. As a result, being very descriptive while telling the story is a large part of my style. I want the reader to find themselves immersed into each scene. I want them to be in the midst, actively observing, whatever is transpiring in the novel. My lifelong love of words, adjectives especially, have a wonderful way of granting the reader deeper access into the story. It’s a blessing.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? 
Honestly, as I began to write THE SHIFT, the ideas just started flowing. The plot was Holy Spirit driven.
I’ve always wanted to incorporate the truth of the supernatural into my writing. I want people to see past what they can physically visualize in the “natural”. Knowing that there is an underlying spiritual aspect to everything that one may encounter is essential. Believe it or not, I had a totally different premise… But GOD! He knows what He’s doing and I’m learning to be obedient. J There’s nothing like the HOLY SPIRIT! Each idea for THE SHIFT was a divine whisper.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? 
My recent release is named, THE SHIFT and it is a Christian Fiction novel but I call it, “Godspirational” as it inspires and reveals as only God can.

I’ll let the synopsis peak your interest… “There is a sense of urgency in the atmosphere as God is transitioning what the world has deemed impossible and unbelievable into the possible and the believable. Pastor Douglass and his family have been chosen for such a supernatural transition but because of the dense fog of deception that seems to surround them, some in the Douglass family have created their own beliefs, fabricating their own sense of self; negating the truth, God’s truth, even when truth is staring them in the face. They, like many, are living lives devoid of the knowledge of who they really are and robbing themselves and those they love of their true identity and freedom. Deeply embedded lies from enemy have blinded eyes, impaired hearing and hardened hearts and Angels from the army of God have been deployed. 

Dreams, supernatural revelation and actual attacks from man’s ultimate foe will expose all and confirm God’s plan for Xion, Veronica, Zeborah, Bo and Pastor Douglas. Can they handle the truth and surrender? The lives of the Douglass family will never be the same and neither will you, because of THE SHIFT!” 


BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 

The main characters are Zeborah, (grandmother, mother,) Xion, (granddaughter),Veronica, ( daughter) Pastor Douglass, ( grandfather, stepdad) and Bo(?, I’ll let the reader decide). Each character has their own destiny which makes them singularly intricate and important to the story but because they are each dealing with issues specific to their own path, they are interdependent upon one another to bring it to fruition and crazily enough, that links each character. I would love the reader arrive at their own reason as to why each character might be deemed special.

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers? 
It is my hope that people will realize while reading THE SHIFT that God is not just an ideal or unapproachable entity. God, the Creator of everything is REAL and most importantly Jesus is waiting. His love is unending. We have the awesome opportunity to be everything God says we are because of Jesus’ unstoppable and unshakable affection towards us. He can suddenly change (hence, THE SHIFT) our lives into ones of true purpose. Lives that will give Him glory! All He desires is a YES!

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Success for me is people receiving Jesus the Christ as their personal Lord and Savior as a result of reading what God has given me to share in my novels. I am a literary vessel. Only what I do for God will last and I know because the novel is infused with His word, that it will get to the intents of the heart of the people who read it and lives will be changes as a result. I am seeking FIRST the Kingdom as everything else, financial security, realized dreams, movies, etc. will come as a result of my obedience to God!

BPM: Were there any challenges in bringing this story to life?
Initially, I was a bit apprehensive about some of the seemingly sensitive subject matter in the novel and I wanted to shy away from it but I realized that I had to be obedient to God as He knew who this novel would help. Once I resolved to simply obey God and write, I found that there wasn’t anything holding me back. I just had to trust God!

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like to accomplish now that it has been released? 
I wholeheartedly expect lives to change as a result of reading THE SHIFT and that people will begin to actually recognize God! I desire that people not simply “know of” Jesus but hunger to actually KNOW Jesus! I really want this novel to take the world by storm and supernaturally bless anyone who reads it! My greatest dream is that THE SHIFT become a major motion picture.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject?
I definitely desire to inspire using the word of God and illuminate Jesus the Christ so that all will see Him and that He might draw men to Him as He is lifted up in my writing.

BPM: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?
The main advantage of self-publishing is calling your own shots, so-to-speak. The self-publishing author makes all of the decisions. The author can be a creative as he or she wishes because there isn’t a cookie cutter guideline that she/he has to follow or adhere to. A disadvantage that many self-publishing authors confront is the marketing and promotions aspect. Because there isn’t a large publishing house representing them, it is sometimes difficult to get their project to the masses in a global and more cost-effective way.

BPM: Where do you see publishing going in the future? In your opinion, will eBooks continue to reign?
Not really, I still hear many avid readers saying that they need to feel the pages and enjoy the feel of the book in their hands. E-books are a great alternative but the hardcover and paperback book is not going anywhere. Not just yet.

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I so appreciate the readers taking the time to read this interview! I feel incredibly BLESSED!! I consider it an honor to write for Jesus the Christ as each kind word, e-mail and communication describing how lives have been changed is confirmation that He had them on His mind when He breathed the words of each novel into my spirit! Continue to pray for me as I pray for you!

Interested readers may find my novels on all online literary websites. (i.e.: http://www.amazon.com / http://www.bn.com). Additionally, feel free to visit my website, http://www.mannricks.net to purchase any of my novels. For speaking engagements, Literary Dialogues and book club gatherings, please feel free to contact me directly using: Godsauthor@mannricks.net. I have an Author’s Page on Facebook, go here  and Twitter: @Hisblessings4me

BPM: Finish this sentence – “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers & authors… ”
“My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors because only what one does for Christ will last. Heaven and Earth shall pass away but the word of God will last forever. Because my novels incorporate the word of God, I am promised legacy that will truly last forever.” – M. Ann Ricks, Christian Fiction Novelist.

Website: http://www.mannricks.net  
Google+ Page:  M. Ann Ricks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hisblessings4me
FB Fanpage: http://on.fb.me/1odZveK

 
 

Intimate Conversation with Curtis Bunn

Curtis Bunn is an Essence Magazine #1 bestselling author of Truth is in the Wine, Homecoming Weekend and A Cold Piece of Work. A Washington, D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, he is the founder of the National Book Club Conference, an organization that hosts an annual literary event for African-American readers and authors. Visit him at http://www.curtisbunn.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I’m almost obsessed with creating stories that are fun and that people can relate to across the board. In the case of The Old Man In The Club, we’ve all see that guy. We all know that guy. I not only asked the question that most people ask –“Why is he in this night club?”–but I also answered the question. And the answer, in this case, is not as simple as a “dirty old man” seeking young companionship. It’s much more intricate and involved. There are a few side stories that are emotional and engaging and will place the reader in the story and make him vested in the outcome of the storylines. Why now? Because all the issues in the book–relationships, family struggles, friendship challenges–are all very real concerns of today.

BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
For sure, my experience as a well-traveled sports journalist for more than three decades has exposed me to a lot of interesting places, people and situations that certainly inspire thoughts and help generate creative flow. I’ve been single, married, divorced and engaged, so I’ve experienced a lot in relationships, too, which also gives me a perspective that is vast. I’m from Southeast, Washington, D.C., worked for 11years in New York and I live in Atlanta. So I have lifestyle perspectives on three amazing but different cities. I’ve traveled the world for work and play, and those experience are priceless and add inspiration to my work. So, I’m inspired from various aspects of life.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  
My books come from anything and anywhere and everywhere. When you’re an author, your senses are more keen and your mind more active. . . at least for me it is. So it’s hard to say one function of my life helps me formulate my ideas. They just come to me and when they hit that chord, I know it instantly. My books are both plot and character driven. I believe the plots should be involved, realistic and engaging, with twists that are unexpected but believable. That’s important: believable. The characters must have layers that show a complete person that is capable of going wherever my imagination take him. Ultimately, you can’t have a plot-driven book with dull characters. Likewise, you can’t have interesting characters with a stale plot.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What kind of growth have you seen in your writing?
I improve everyday as a writer because I write everyday and I work hard at my craft. That’s the only way to get better–to write and study your work and to always, no matter how much you like what you’ve crafted, work hard at making it better. Be a better editor than a writer. That’s where my improvement has been the greatest. When I was a young author, I liked what I wrote and kept it moving. I didn’t explore ways to make it even stronger. Now, every sentence has a purpose, every scene a purpose, every character a purpose. . . all of it to advance the story and make it more clear and engaging to the reader.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
The main character is Elliot Thomas, who is 61 years old and exploring the Atlanta nightlife with twentysomethings. He’s hardly the “dirty old man” preying on young girls. He’s not even the “Sugar Daddy” who gets young women’s attention by giving them things. Rather, he’s a man who overcame some severe challenges and reached a point to live life on his terms. One of them was to recapture his twenties, making him quite an interesting character. He has a lot going on in his life and had some events in his past that contribute to his disposition of going back in time.

Tamara Worthington is the 25-year-old lead female character who always had an attraction to older men. She was considered an “old soul” by her family when she was a girl, and that mentality carried over to her choice of men. So when Elliot approaches her, she’s less turned off than many other women her age. Henry, Elliot’s closest friend, is a major character who shocks and disappoints Elliot. so much so that their friendship is threatened. Elliot is placed in a moral dilemma that will make readers wonder what they would do in his situation.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
To protect the plot, I will say the topics, in general, range from how we select mates, how divorce can impact a family, the value of friendship and what we’d do to protect the people we love. I learned from writing this book that we (my included) have a propensity for judging people without knowing enough to make a judgment. But we do it anyway, which isn’t fair. I also learned that if a friendship is truly of value to you, you have to be loyal to it. . . even if you’re severely tested by it.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Success is defined by the number of people I hear from who tell me they enjoyed my books and that they got something meaningful out of them. Of course, everyone wants the bestseller. But the reasons you want that bestseller’s list could be different. I want to reach the masses because I believe I tell stories that embraceable and learnig and fun and will provide a wonderful reading experience, no matter your background. That’s success for me. And that’s my ambition, too–to reach as many people as possible with a story that they will enjoy, become emotionally invested and close the book at the end feeling like they had a worthwhile reading experience.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book? 
My expectations are that those who support it will love it and share with others in their life that they believe will enjoy it, too. After a reader finishes it, I’d like them to e-mail me about their experience, share knowledge of the book to family and friends and encourage them to read it, too.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
My website is http://www.curtisbunn.com and I’m a constant on Facebook with my person page and author page. I’m on Twitter and Instagram, too: @curtisbunn. I LOVE hearing from readers!!!

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? 
I’m a book club lover. I love meeting with book clubs to discuss my work. The energy and conversation is always fun and lively and I think we all leave the meeting feeling uplifted and like we learned something. So, I look forward to hearing from book clubs about traveling to their city to meet with them and have a fun time.

I am truly grateful for your support. It means more than I can express. I hope you enjoy the book, are entertained by it, learn a few things and think about the old man in the club differently the next time you see him. THANK YOU!!


The Old Man In The Club by Curtis Bunn

He’s the “old guy in the club” who everyone judges and scorns, but there’s so much more to his story…
Travel into the mind and soul of a complex man on the road to redemption in this riveting, true-to-life novel.

Almost everyone who has been to a nightclub has seen him: the proverbial “old man in the club.” He’s the graying, elderly loner looking totally out of place, like he could be everyone’s father. Or grandfather. And almost everyone’s wondering the same thing: Why is he in here?

In Curtis Bunn’s The Old Man in the Club, you learn why.  Meet Elliott Thomas, sixty-one years old, and not afraid of spending a night among twenty-something strangers. But his motivation for hanging out in clubs isn’t his fear of growing old; it’s his desire to “catch up on what I have missed.” Life hasn’t been easy for Elliott, and now he’s on a journey to redemption. How he goes about it, however, gives some people pause. Some find him charming, some find him creepy. The women his age find him disgusting. His buddies marvel at his nerve. His children loathe his existence. But no matter who judges him, Elliott is set on reclaiming his youth—the way he wants to.

A page-turner that outlines the depth, complexities, and motivations of an intriguing character, this novel will surprise you, challenge you and touch you—and make sure you never look at the “old man in the club” the same way again.


Curtis Bunn is an Essence magazine #1 bestselling author of Truth is in the Wine, Homecoming Weekend and A Cold Piece of Work. A Washington, D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, he is the founder of the National Book Club Conference, an organization that hosts an annual literary event for African-American readers and authors. Visit him at http://www.curtisbunn.com and on Facebook and Twitter.


Purchase The Old Man in the Club by Curtis Bunn
Amazon Link: http://amzn.com/1593095724

 
 

Intimate Conversation with J.M. Lominy



J.M. Lominy Speaks on The Deadly Rose, An Assassin’s Tale
.  The impact this book will have on readers is the wonderful reality of humanest, even from the point of view of a ruthless assassin. The primary message in the book is family, religion and politics rule the human world but it is God who decides.

Life began for J.M. Lominy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As a husband, father, nurse and veteran Lominy has been making room to write since 2000. Specializing in Historical Fiction, he is the author of the upcoming book, The Deadly Rose, An Assassin’s Tale. His work, both poetic and determined in voice, places an emphasis on the Haitian experience as witnessed through the life of passionate characters. Mr. Lominy currently resides in Georgia with his wife and his three sons. Visit J.M. Lominy at: http://jmlominy.com

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I got my first inkling to write during my first year of college. It was an emotional time and my life was full of turmoil. After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, my finances were stretched thin, I did not fit in with my peers, and at twenty-two years old I was a husband and father of two.

It was during that time, 1993, poetry came to me as if a flood bursting through a dam. The enormity of it was so strong I had to put it on paper. I always had stories coming to me even as a child and I had difficulty staying focus with all the colorful stories floating around in my mind but they never made it to paper. This continued into adulthood.

At the age of thirty-two I went to Haiti for the funeral of my maternal uncle, who was like a father to me. It was at that time, I realized how disconnected I was with my country of birth. I had limited knowledge of my history. I started to read books on Haitian history and that stimulated a barrage of story ideas. From that time on, I attended writer’s conferences, read books on the art of writing and more than anything else, I wrote.

BPM: Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author?
My wife, has always been that voice to keep me on a straight path. Telling me to stay focus. She was my first critic, a harsh one at that. She also pushed me to pursue what made me happy.

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
In 1957 Haiti was in turmoil. The former president is in exile and his seat is up for grabs. A popular Haitian senator is assassinated and the assassin escapes to find himself hunted by an unknown psychopathic killer.

Pierre-André François is twenty-six years old, a handsome star soccer player. He is pleasant, approachable and adored by thousands of fans. He is sometimes a jokester with witty intelligence. He has a secret; he is the vile and feared assassin known as The Little Rose.

Marie-Anne Savoire, is a young energetic and stylish beauty that dates wealthy men or those in position of power. She has that ability to make a man pause in mid-sentence once she enters a room. She is a close friend of Pierre-André.

Marcel St. Louis is a twenty-four years old medical student with direct lineage from France. He is the son of an influential retired army general. He and Pierre-André have been friends since childhood. Their friendship has developed into something more than friendship.

Frank Gaston, is one of the three leaders in the largest criminal organizations in Haiti. He is a ruthless strategist. He is Pierre-André’s maternal uncle and surrogate father.

My favorite character amongst them all is Marie-Anne. She is full of life and colorful. I consider her sweet and sour; just as she starts to taste good in your mouth she drops you from boredom.

BPM: Which character or topic in the book can you identify with the most? Why?
One of the topics in the book I identify with is family. My main character, Pierre-André is an efficient killer, but deep down in his mind and spirit, he is family centered; that is his core, his Achilles heel. I can identify with that, family is important to me.

BPM: What inspired you to write this book? Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
The inspiration for this book came from the vestibules of knowledge flowing through my mind. It just came to me, like many other ideas that will morph into books. I have a constant flow of thoughts that resonate in my mind while I do my daily activities. Some of them end up on paper. It has always been that way with me.

Faith and education does inspire my writing. It can be found throughout my writing. It is intertwined within my story as though a dash of spice that you know is there but you could barely taste it.

BPM: Is this the book you intended on writing or did the story take on a life of its own as you were writing? How do you stay focused?
What I call the book fairies took over the story and it turned out better than I anticipated. On many occasions I had to take a conscious pause and weight the pros and cons of going with the story in a certain direction. I kept focus by sequestering myself in my office while listening to jazz. Visualizing my book on the shelves of the big bookstores or the retailer’s was also a motivator. I arise daily at 4am to write.

BPM: Share with us a quote from one of the most powerful chapters.
“If a man muddies his shoe, does he not clean it, or should he buy another.”

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want readers to gain knowledge of Haiti, its people and the core that binds us all; family, religion and politics.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Did you set out to educate? Illuminate? Inspire?
My goals as a writer is to educate, entertain and illuminate about the Haitian experience. An experience that is no different than any other human struggle. What makes it unique is that Haiti is rich with colors.

When you’re in Haiti, the air feels alive the stars twinkle hinting at the secrets they keep. Haitians smile no matter their condition. I bring those feelings in my story; a historical fiction that you will want to be true.

BPM: What would you like to accomplish as you continue to write?
I would like to develop a brand that resonates with readers through laughter, excitement, and gratification. Overall, I want readers to know that every time they open a J.M. Lominy novel, they will be entertained in a different and unsuspecting kind of way.

BPM: Finish this sentence- “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers… ”
My writing offers the following legacy, a look into the past that brings clarity to the present.

BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what’s next? How may our readers follow you online?
I am writing the sequel to the current book. In addition, I’m starting another book line under another name and genre. Readers can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and they can sign up for my newsletter at WWW.JMLOMINY.COM.

J.M. Lominy website: http://jmlominy.com  
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jmlominy
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMLOMINY
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JmLominy

Preview The Deadly Rose, An Assassin’s Tale by J.M. Lominy
http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CH6r0Sv4

Purchase The Deadly Rose, An Assassin’s Tale
Available on Kindle and Nook
http://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Lominy/e/B00D4FID66

BOOK 2: The Fatal Rose, An Assassin’s Tale (Coming Fall 2014)
Order here:  http://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Lominy/e/B00D4FID66

 
 

Intimate Conversation with Necole Ryse


Necole Ryse
graduated from Towson University with Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications. Bored with life as an adult, Necole decided to follow her dreams to write fiction and she hasn’t looked back. She joined the Winslet Press family to release her first novel, THE LEGACY. She enjoys chocolate covered pretzels, Criminal Minds marathons, and all things Harry Potter.

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I had no choice. I’ve always been a writer and when I graduated college I felt like it wasn’t a smart career choice to venture into, so I put my dreams on hold while I worked a bunch of jobs I had no passion in. Finally, after a terrible day at work I decided to quit. I gave myself one year to make my dreams come true or I was going back to work. So, I sat down and started writing. Right now, I don’t have children, a husband or a mortgage, so it seemed like the perfect time to take a leap of faith.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?

Sometimes, yes. People always say write what you know. Some of my scenes in the books are from actual conversations or experiences I had, but most come from my imagination.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  
I wish I could tell you where my book ideas come from. They just happen. I will overhear something in a conversation or see someone interesting and start making a story about them. I can find inspiration anywhere. My books are both plot and character driven. Good books have both excellent plots and evolving characters and I focus on developing both at the same time.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
My first novel, The Legacy, is a part of a trilogy called The Birthright Trilogy. It’s a “new adult fiction” book. Since the characters are in college, it isn’t really considered young adult fiction, but since new adult is such a new genre, most people classify it as young adult fiction. As of right now, the book is available on Kindle.

BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
The Legacy centers around 4 girls, Raevyn, Regina, Corrine and Andrea. Raevyn is the narrator or the story and she is one tough chick. Her father drove her cross country to his alma mater, Benjamin Wallace Fitzgerald University, the nation’s first African American Ivy League school, because she got into some trouble with the law. She had to blend in at the school because she couldn’t come back home. The problem is, Raevyn is from a low-income family, and therefore it’s hard to blend in with the posh crowd at the Black Ivy League. Her roommate, Regina Fitzgerald, yes you read that right, Fitzgerald, is the heiress to the Fitzgerald name. Her great-great-grandfather founded the school.

Regina’s friends are Andrea and Corrine. Regina is special because she, like most people, has been hurt. Just because she is the “it” girl at school doesn’t mean her own personal life isn’t falling apart. Because of her internal turmoil she comes off as a bitch to most people. But, once her layers are peeled back, over the course of the trilogy, she reveals herself. Andrea is an Ice Queen. She is the friend who tells it like it is and doesn’t care what you think.

She is my favorite character of all. She holds no cut cards and will provide the readers with a laugh or two throughout the course of the novel. Corrine is the friendly one. She becomes really close to Raevyn and the two begin to bond in places that Regina and Andrea can’t reach. She is sweet as sugar, but like most people at the Black Ivy League, she harbors a lot of secrets.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
In the book, topics range from relationships to love, school work and lots and lots of fashion! From this book I learned that I can’t control my characters. Once I put them on the page they come to life and I have to go with the flow after that.

BPM:  What are your ambitions for your writing career?

My ultimate goal is reaching the NYT Best Seller list before 30. Success for me means touching someone’s life. If a reader says to me, “your book inspired me” or “your story made me feel like I could do anything” I have done my due diligence as a writer. Success is touching someone’s life. I want a Black girl to read my book and see herself. That’s the meaning of success

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book?

My goal for this book is to create a conversation! I want more writers to write for African Americans in higher education. After this book I want readers to tweet me, Facebook me and beg for the next one!

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? How can readers discover more about you and your work?

I can be reached a number of ways: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/necoleryse; Twitter and IG: @necoleryse. I would love to hear from you! I always answer emails, too. necole.ryse@gmail.com

Website: www.necoleryse.com
Twitter and IG: @necoleryse
Facebook: www.facebook.com/necoleryse

 
 
 
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