A Story Of Broken Loyalty

To me, the thing that is worse than death is betrayal. You see, I could conceive death, but I could not conceive betrayal.”

-Malcolm X

As I write this article, America’s attention has been shifted from the Jay-Z/Solange Knowles incident to another high profile showdown between two other high profile celebrities. And, unlike Jay-Z and Solange, T.I. and Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather are pretty used to controversy and trouble. Recently, there’s been publicized rumors about the power couple that is Clifford Harris and Tameka Cottle is close to divorce. While these reports have been dismissed and vehemently denied, several occurrence have gone down over the past few months that leaves many raising eyebrows. Now, another incident is coming from a local Las Vegas Fatburger restaurant. And, once again, T.I. and Tiny’s relationship deterioration has been put on center stage.

Many social media commenter’s attention has been turned to the outcome of a supposed fight between T.I. and Floyd Mayweather. However, in a Facebook status by TMT’s (The Money Team’s) DJ Jay Bling, he explains what really went down. T.I. didn’t swing on Floyd himself, he actually punched a member of Floyd’s entourage. That’s when things got crazy! Tensions flared and a riot ensued. And the confrontation was indeed over Tiny.Money-Team-Statement

Now that we have that clarified, let’s get down to a topic stemming from this ordeal that it seems no one is taking the time to talk about. Tiny is a married woman and a mother of six children. She and T.I. have been together for thirteen years and they got married back in 2010. Can somebody tell me why she is hanging with single Floyd Mayweather and his crew? It’s pretty obvious that T.I. wasn’t really all that cool with her and Floyd’s supposed ‘friendship’. Now, to play the devil’s advocate, Floyd told Nicole Bitche that nothing is going on between them and that he’d never sleep with a married woman. He’d even think twice about getting with a freshly divorced woman. I believe him. But, can we all agree that this situation is rather awkward?

Relationships are all about trust and loyalty. Dictionary.com defines the word loyalty as “faithfulness to commitments or obligations” and the word trust as “confident expectation of something; hope.” Based on these vivid definitions, did Tiny break T.I’s trust? In my personal opinion I believe that Tiny shouldn’t have been anywhere near Floyd. Like I said before, it just doesn’t seem right. It’s not necessarily jealousy. It’s the fact that that’s his wife! Does commitment mean anything anymore? Let’s not forget that these are noted public figures with storied histories with the police.

I know a lot of people that told me that the ‘male friend’ or ‘female friend’ thing should and would die if a relationship with them is TinyHuggedUpWithFloydMayweatherButWhereIsTIlolPhotosInsideexpected to last. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, relationships are fifty-fifty. If you want your woman to be submissive to you, you must be submissive to your woman and vice versa. Why would you stress your spouse or partner’s trust like that?

Tiny is looking rather scandalous in this situation. Just like how T.I. would look if he was hugged up and hanging real tight another celebrity female and their entourage. Let’s this over-the-top celebrity fight story be a lesson to us all. We need to reevaluate our relationship standards when it comes to trust and loyalty. Also, whatever problems you’re going through with your boyfriend/husband or girlfriend/wife need to be kept in secret. If they’re leaked, the fire needs to be contained. Have we heard the full, confirmed story about Jay-Z and Solange? I’m just saying……

 

 

 

 

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You Get What You Pay For

Amazon be like:

“We provide readers with books at yard sale price and constantly develop and refine our technologies all in the name of changing how we read.  Oh and by the way, we are deep in our investment of new authors to the point where we developed and promoted new formats just for them.  These formats have been great for the industry  because it has unearthed new talent and made reading ‘cool’ again.”

That’s the main course meal, but does anyone see the dessert that’s been baked, glazed and steeped in the finest bullshit that millions dollars could buy?  The kind of bullshit that’s revealed when a monopoly rises?

Bon Appetit!money-flying-bills-air

Some authors and publishing houses tried to warn us years ago that Amazon would turn on the industry as well as the customers but we, for the most part, plugged up our ears and rationalized what they were doing with ‘Oh shit this book is just .99 cents lemme one click this,  or ‘What a sweet hustle: I put my book on here for .99 cent a pop and my reader base will eat my stuff up like it’s last thing in the cabinet. Amazon been great for ME! I don’t know nor do I care about the other authors.”

It was all good until Amazon decided to strong arm Hachette.  They began to take down preorder buttons for favorites such as James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks and J.K. Rowling and raising the price of their titles. Amazon also increased the shipping times for Hachette books. All of this mess is about the pricing of e-books.  The word is Amazon’s share of e-book sales is more than 60 percent.  They sell their popular titles at $9.99 a clip. They walk away with  over $6 per book sold, while the rest is divvied up between publisher author and an agent. Since Amazon’s stocks fell, they decided to take it out on some publishers because they could. They’re a monopoly and now they could do whatever the hell they want to.

I’ve always thought that the publisher set the prices on Amazon, but I was wrong. I’m pretty sure that the publishers knew that no one in their right mind would pay $10 for an e-book when they’ve been getting them for a dollar or free on demand.  Amazon proponents in the industry, deep down had to know that Amazon was boosting the prices to only help themselves at the publishers’ and authors’ expense.  However they were blinded by the possibilities of reaching new readers that they ended up getting played.

As far as the readers are concerned, they’ve been played to as far as I’m concerned. Here they are, downloading books for little to nothing and reading, not knowing that doing so gassed Amazon’s head up to the point where they marked up the prices of e-books. “What were the customers gonna do? Go to Barnes and Noble.com and buy the same book  for way more than what we offer at $9?”  was and is the thought here.

The fact of the matter is nothing will change here until the publishers and authors ban together in a class action lawsuit and even set up their own distribution channels. Otherwise, they will continue to pay Amazon to punk them under the guise of  promoting industry growth.

They Aren’t The Cosby’s w/Author Mike O

“Ain’t Nobody f****** with my clique!”

-Kanye West, “Clique” ft. Jay-Z and Big Sean

In the wake of this story about the riot that was ignited off of T.I.’s confrontation with Floyd Mayweather, many different viewpoints and opinions have been expressed. Earlier today, I posted my take on the issue. I think that there’s a loyalty issue going on in their union that needs to be addressed personally. Their dysfunctions shouldn’t be a social media trending topic. However, it shows that everything that glitters isn’t gold.10336740_10154156568440366_9177687378087249987_n

VH1 has been trying their absolute best to brand the hit reality T.V. show T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle as the new age Cosby show. They even changed the theme music for the new season to one that’s similar to The Cosby Show. Many people spoke out against this, citing that comparing the two is disrespectful to the impact and legacy of one of the most galvanizing and influential shows in television history. As a fan of T.I., I tried my best to defend the branding decision. But, I’m forced to admit that the Harris family is the furthest thing from the Cosby’s. Plain and simple!

My DC Bookdiva Publications label mate Mike O immediately hit me up in my Facebook inbox when he heard that I was writing an article on this topic. While his viewpoint is different from mine, it’s something that definitely needs to be taken into consideration when we’re talking about this situation. The question at hand is this: was T.I. directing his energy and anger at the wrong person? Let Team DCB bring some perspective to this topic for you!

Mike O

My view definitely differs from young Randall because I’m coming from that hood point of view. I really think this whole issue stems from T.I.’s infidelities and indiscretions.  Karma is a b**** that hits us right when we don’t want it too. Yes, Tiny is a married woman but who knows what she been through with that man of hers?  All we know is that they are paraded in front of us like the new Cosby’s. Let’s be honest, Dr.  Huxtable and his family have no similarities to a gangsta rapper and his family. How can you compare a fictional TV series to a real life couple?

With that being said, Floyd Mayweather is a celebrity to other celebrities. Who doesn’t want to meet boxing’s flossy bad boy? Tiny just so happens to be a celebrity herself which granted her access to kick it with one of her boxing hero’s. What’s the harm in TI-and-Tiny-grab-lunch-in-West-Hollywoodthat? I’m sure T.I. chills with the opposite sex like it’s nothing, so why couldn’t that situation be the same. We weren’t there and don’t know what the situation is like, all we know is T.I.’s big ego got in the way.

He still believed his raps and still felt like a gangsta from the hood and got his head busted. I mean come on, who still checking dudes over their chick? He should have kept that discreet between him and his wife, but since he cut the fool we all now know about their business. T.I. got caught up in his “respect” as a gangsta to his rapper fan base, put his hands on one of Floyd’s henchmen, and found out he couldn’t really fight like he raps. It happens. Didn’t he just have a baby by another chick?

I’m not saying it’s true because I seen that rumor floating around the internet. Most of the things we see on the internet is a lie, but why did his actions with his wife seem like those of a jealous husband? I thought they were the new Cosby’s? Anyway, I personally don’t see anything wrong with stars meeting stars. It’s not like Tiny was naked or T.I. found inappropriate texts between her and Floyd. She was just kicking it in my eyes. I’m just saying……

Mike O can be found at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewriter.mikeo?fref=ts

Twitter: @MikeO

To learn more about Mike O’s novel Smokin’ Mirrors and other DC Bookdiva Publications projects visit:

http://dcbookdiva.com/

All volumes of The Tweet Files and Fakebook Chronicles can be found on Amazon.com.

The Tweet Files (Volume 1):  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G68G252/ref=rdr_ext_sb_ti_hist_1

Fakebook Chronicles (Volume 1):  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0078GIUG0/ref=rdr_ext_sb_ti_hist_2

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501

Also, check out my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad. It’s coming soon!

http://www.wattpad.com/story/6314747-the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson

Positive Images In Literature w/Author Khara Campbell

“Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensity social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation”

-Angela Davis

Believe it or not, literature is one of the more powerful branches of media. Easy to obtain, good literature tells an authentic story that can touch the lives of thousands upon millions of people around the world. It can be used to entertain, enlighten, emancipate and inspire. It shows us where we’ve been, where we are now, where we’re going and where we need to be going. Simply put, a classic piece of literature is a mirror image of society.

However, the book industry (the black book industry especially) has taken a loss in the number of classic pieces of work that are released each year. With sites like Amazon and Smashwords, the internet has made putting a book out to the public easy. With so much work in the marketplace, it’s hard to decipher good literature from the trash that was put together by someone that considers the artistic form of writing as a simple hobby or a way to come up on some quick money. Standards have been pushed to the side and pervasive ratchetness has reigned supreme.download (4)

Many authors have stopped pushing the envelope and have resorted to putting out novels with repetitive formulas of graphic sex, over-the-top violence, botched themes, shabby editing, misuse and overuse of slang terms and strong language that would make most rappers drop their heads in shame. Meanwhile, good literature has pushed to the side. Stories with a message are seen as “boring” and “slow-paced”. We’ve gotten to a point in our culture where many consumers even turn their heads at the sight of a non-fiction book that isn’t a tell-all from a reality T.V. star or pinned by a celebrity. Information is shunned and mindless entertainment is glorified and celebrated.

However, not all “black books” fall into this hole of repetition. Some authors break the chains of familiarity and write in an authentic voice that makes black literature icons like Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Zora Neale Hurston look unnamed (1) down from heaven and smile. Literature that reflects the troubles and triumphs of  contemporary black society still exist due to contrasting opinion. One piece of  work that comes to mind is the Urban Romance-Christian Fiction hybrid Not My  Will, the storied debut novel by Khara Campbell.

Readers and reviewers are raving over her novel, citing its relatability. Recently,  I got a chance to dialogue with her about her novel, relationships and the  importance of fiction with a message.

Randall: Your debut novel Not My Will is a realistic fictional tale about celibacy,  lust and moral value. How did this story come about and what was your  inspiration behind writing it?

 Khara Campbell: I really didn’t have much of a plot when I first started this novel, however as my mind kept turning with ideas and my fingers typed, the story came about. The inspiration for Not My Will came from my own similar experience with wanting to abstain years ago before I got married. That was a very trying time of my faith during that period.unnamed

 

Randall: Was there a realistic motivation behind the novel?

Khara Campbell: Yes, like I mentioned earlier, the inspiration for the novel came from my own similar experience.  However the novel is fictional, none of the events actually happened in my life. But having dealt with this relevant topic myself, I was able to create realistic characters and scenes which many readers related to.

 

Randall: In your opinion, how important is sex to a healthy relationship?

Khara Campbell: I think sex is an important factor in a relationship. However, it’s not the only factor and sex shouldn’t be the main focus of the relationship either.  Sex should enhance a great relationship not be the basis for it.

 

Randall: Not My Will is different from other Christian Fiction novels in regards to the plot and topics approached. How important is creating a positive image of African-American life to our culture?

Khara Campbell: Black people, which I prefer rather than African-American, have great qualities and have contributed a great deal to our world at large.  Creating positive images is important because unfortunately there are too many negatives ones or misconceptions of Black people in general. We are a great people and should be seen that way.

 

Randall: In your opinion, is there a place in the current black literary market for fiction that has an overt message and tackles real world issues?

Khara Campbell: Yes I do believe there is a place for these types of fiction – which is why I felt my novel Not My Will had to be published and made available in the literary market.  The topic of celibacy, faith and relationships is very relevant for many people. Celibacy is an issue for many men and woman whether it’s for faith reasons or other personal reasons they may have. With weaving this topic into fiction, it gave readers characters they could relate to and also receive some advice or encouragement from while being entertained at the same time. I’ve had a lot of readers tell me personally how they felt like they were Virtue, the main character in the novel, and how Virtue’s approach to the situation encouraged them in their own personal journey. 

 

 

Randall: Do you believe black women are at a disadvantage in the business world? Why or why not?

Khara Campbell: No I don’t. Many opportunities have been made available for women of every race.  Yes it may be a little tough in a “male dominated” business world, but if a woman wants a particular position I believe she can get it, it will take work. I don’t think anyone should expect a position or raise because of their gender – it should be earned.  Intimidation may be one thing that may make some women feel like they’re inferior though, but hard work, determination, and having a virtuous demeanor will pay off in my opinion.

 

Randall: How important is faith to success?

Khara Campbell: I personally believe your faith in God should be your lifestyle, so to me faith is very important to your success.  Do you have faith in fulfilling all that God has for you? If one believes that, takes action in fulfilling what God has for them – success is only inevitable.

 

Randall: What upcoming projects do you have on the horizon?

Khara Campbell: I am working on my second novel, Tears of Purple.  There is no release date or anything yet because it’s still in the first stages.  However I have plans for many more novels so please keep a look out for me.

 

Randall: By the time this article is published, it will be read by many young people. What is your message to them?

Khara Campbell: Don’t give up on your God given dreams!  Keep pushing, keep believing and you will see the fruits of your labor. I know how hard it can get, the self-doubt and disappointment you may feel, but that is only temporary. Many successful people dealt with the same issues, but they didn’t let that stop them – so neither should you!

 

You can find Khara Campbell at:

www.KharaCampbell.blogspot.com

Twitter/Instagram @KharaCampbell

Facebook/Pinterest: Khara Campbell

 

Check out her novel Not My Will today!

Available now on Kindle.

Do you have any questions or comments for me? Is there someone you’d like me to interview? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB & @TeamYGB25

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501

Check out a preview of my debut novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad today! It’s coming soon!

http://www.wattpad.com/story/6314747-the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson

 

 

Growth & Maturity w/Author Shaka Senghor

“A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

-Muhammad Ali

One thing that I’ve discovered in my seventeen years of living on the earth is that maturity is a trait that many will never get the pleasure of obtaining in their lives. It’s foreign or apparent, regardless of age, gender or race.  I searched the internet and all the major dictionary websites and couldn’t find a definition for the word maturity that wasn’t simple in its origin or had something to do with aging fruit. So, after considerable time, I researched heavier and found an article entitled Intellectual Development and Psychological Maturity. The article was exactly what I was looking for and more.

The article, written by renowned American psychologist David Wechsler, defines maturity as “the ability to respond to the environment in an appropriate manner” and “the act of being of the correct time and place to behave and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society one lives in.” Now knowing what maturity really means, ask yourself if the individuals you come in contact with on a daily basis around you or you yourself display maturity. I know I do! It’s a different story for the people around me though…….

Shaka Senghor The ratchetness and unruliness that I see on a daily basis is a sign of major  immaturity. It’s not cute or cool brothers and sisters! Like I said before, age and  circumstances can’t be used as excuses anymore. Think about the quote about  diamonds being made under pressure. The most mature, intelligent and advanced  people come from very negative circumstances and situations. Take for example  author, mentor and motivational speaker Shaka Senghor.

Shaka’s story is simply amazing. He is the epitome of growth and true maturity in  every sense of the definition. He went from a drug dealer who caught a body at the age  of nineteen to a multiple featured speaker on a global platform like TED Talks. He was recently named the national outreach representative for the BMe Community. Recently, I got a chance to dialogue with him about his life  and his rigorous move into the literary industry.

 

Randall: Many assume they know the author based on the book. Yet, tell us who is Shaka Senghor, the person?

Shaka Senghor: I am a writer and mentor and have shared my story of redemption with youth and young adults at high schools and universities across the nation.  While serving nineteen years in prison, I transformed my life, and once I returned home, I began mentoring young males who were headed down the same destructive path that led me to prison. Despite the crime I was convicted of or the lengthy sentence I served, I refuse to allow my past to define who I am or what I am capable of.

 I use my story to inspire and motivate others and unpack the causes of youth violence.  I have worked with youth at the Detroit Job Corps, Cody High School, Don Bosco Hall, Osborn High School, Henry Ford High School, and Tri-County Educational Center. I have also lectured at the University of Wisconsin–Platteville, the University of Michigan, Fordham University, Wayne State University, Marygrove College, and Pace University, and am an invited guest on local radio and television programs.

In 2012, I was awarded the Black Male Engagement Leadership Award and have worked closely with the Knight Foundation to launch the Black Male Engagement (BMe) Community, a network of Black men engaged in their community. I am also a 2013 MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow and Co-Teach a class at the University of Michigan. I recently did a talk at TED 2014 during their 30th year anniversary that was an audience favorite. 

Shaka on the prestigious TED Talks stage.
Shaka on the prestigious TED Talks stage.

 

While incarcerated, I discovered my love for writing, eventually penning six novels, including the highly addictive street lit series, Crack: Volume 1 and Crack: Volume 2 Lockdown.  Most recently, I published my memoir Writing My Wrongs and some of my writings in a book for misguided youth entitled Live in Peace: A Youth Guide to Turning Hurt into Hope, which is a companion piece to my mentoring program, Live in Peace Digital and Literary Arts Project.  

Just as I had used writing to process my emotions while I was incarcerated, I now help youth address emotional, physical, and sexual abuse through the power of writing.  Whether I’m writing or speaking to youth, I always speak the truth about the oppressive conditions of the ‘hood and the not-so-glamorous side of the streets. 

 

Randall: What and who inspired you to become an author?

Shaka Senghor: My inspiration as a fiction writer is Donald Goines, his gritty street tales resonated with me because I grew up in the streets of Detroit that he wrote about.  As a non-fiction writer my two inspirations are Malcolm X and Assata Shakur.

 

Randall: How difficult was it for you to enter the literary field?

Shaka Senghor: It was very difficult to enter the field because I was incarcerated in solitary confinement when I first started writing and published my first book shortly after I was released from solitary into general population, but I found a way to make it happen.

 

Randall: Is it what you expected?

Shaka Senghor: It was nothing like I expected, because I started writing before Urban Fiction went commercial. I take the craft serious and it was sad watching other authors live out their dreams while I was trapped in solitary confinement. Fortunately I didn’t allow my circumstances to stand in the way of what I envisioned for my future as a writer.

 

Randall: Where do you get your story ideas from and what’s the process?

Shaka Senghor: When I started writing fiction I reflected on my experiences growing up during the height of the Crack era. I also get ideas from the other side of street life, because I want people to know there is more to life then catching a bit or getting killed at a young age.  When it’s all said and done I want to leave a literary legacy that honors the best in our culture, respects the craft of writing and storytelling and inspires the next hungry young artist to go after their goals and live out their dreams.

 

Randall: In 3 years, where do you see yourself at?

Shaka Senghor: In the next 3 years i plan to be touring the country and sharing my testimony and work with people all over the world.

 

Randall: Where are you from?

Shaka Senghor: I was born and raised in Detroit up until the age of 19 when I was sent to prison to serve my sentence.

 

Randall: As a professional, you have to put your personal views and feelings to the side for the sake of business?

Shaka Senghor: I conduct myself with the highest level of professionalism.  I believe you should always respect your fans and supporters and be available to them when they come out to support us.  People sacrifice their money and time to come into our world and when they do they should be rewarded with a professional experience.

 

Randall: What genres do you write in and do you have ambitions to dabble in other ones?

Shaka Senghor: I write what I call Conscious Street Lit, however I also write contemporary romance, non-fiction and poetry.  I’m looking forward to writing some horror stories in the near future. I am a writer’s writer and I respect the craft, so I am always finding new ways to challenge myself as a writer.  I don’t believe in comfort zones and believe when you break those molds, you grow as a writer and storyteller.

 

Randall: How can we find your titles and future book signings?

Shaka Senghor: I am preparing for a multi city tour coming soon and plan to hit a few cities on the East coast and down south.  My titles are available on my website at www.shakasenghor.com

 

Do you have any questions or comments for me? Is there someone you’d like me to interview? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB & @TeamYGB25

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501

Check out a preview of my debut novel “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson” on Wattpad today! It’s coming soon!

http://www.wattpad.com/story/6314747-the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson

Writing is an Outlet

I’m very pleased, to have had the opportunity, to interview the remarkable Ms. Rocky Rose. I’ve learned that we share something extraordinary, in that, we are both raising physically challenged young children. Every time I talk to her, I am renewed, as I feel her passion for writing and children.

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Author Rocky Rose, born and raised in New Haven, CT. is the third of four children. Her parents are both ministers. Rocky’s love of writing began with her love of reading; the two going hand-in-hand. Rocky, first, thought about pursuing writing as a career, after being given a short story assignmement, by an English teacher, during her sophomore year of high school. After he read it he told her she had a great talent, but soon after that writing became a distant memory for her.

In, 2010, Rocky met Karen E. Quinones Miller. After talking to Karen, for about two hours, Rocky, then, decided to take the necessary steps to pursue a writing career. So, after attending seminars, by Karen, and other well-known authors, Rocky, started putting the pen to paper. In ,2012, Rocky’s, first work was published. I Win You Lose, was a co-authored compilation of six short stories, dealing with issues of domestic violence. In, 2013, Rocky, released her debut solo novel, My Man My Abuser, a tale loosely based on a relationship she was in, for three years, where she was physically abused. Rocky is currently working on, Stirred & Shaken, and, Bruised Never Broken,which are the two novels that come after My Man My Abuser. Rocky resides in Connecticut with her son and daughter.

Sheri: Tell me a little about yourself and your literary background?

Rocky: My love for reading and writing, I would have to attribute to my mother and my sophomore high school teacher. Every summer when school let out, I was required to read a certain amount of books and do book reports which I had to turn in to my mother. It got to the point where I would literally read a book a day, I loved it. As far as writing goes, it really all started, my sophomore year in high school, when my English teacher made us all write a short story. Needless to say, my story was one of his favorites, even with my very racy sex scenes.

Sheri: What are your goals for your writing career?

Rocky: My ultimate goal is to be a full-time, self-employed author, in the very near future. Writing is a gift God gave me and I want to use it to my full potential. I also want to be a motivational speaker; I want to be able to speak to people about my trials and tribulations, and how I have overcome them.

Sheri: What have you written?

Rocky: I have written countless short stories that have yet to be released. I have a compilation book out titled I Win You Lose, which was released in ,2012, and my solo novel, My Man My Abuser, which was released in 2013.

Sheri: What are you working on now?

Rocky: I’m currently working on a few different projects, namely Stirred & Shaken and Bruised Never Broken, which are the two novels that follow My Man My Abuser, both are set to be released early 2015. I’m also combining some of my short stories into a compilation novel, but no set date for it to be released.

Sheri: Why do you write?

Rocky: Writing started out as an outlet for me, because I never really had the type of relationship, with my parents, where I could go to them and talk to them about different things. Instead of talking to people about my problems or what I was going through, I wrote my feelings out. Then, after doing the short story assignment, my sophomore year in high school, I became hooked on writing and I haven’t put the pen down since.

Sheri: What was/is the hardest thing about writing your newest book?

Rocky: The hardest thing about writing these next two books, is rehashing the memories that I’ve been trying to block for the past six years or so. Writing these books has me reliving all of the hurt, pain and sorrow I endured.

Sheri: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Rocky: I don’t get writer’s block, I listen to music when I write, which helps me with the flow of my story.

Sheri: Shout out your editor! Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?Rocky: I have worked with two different editors, Allyson Deese and Tiffany from Tiff’s Editing Café. Allyson and I had been in talks around the time I completed I Win You Lose . She mentioned the fact that she does editing, so I went with her. For my novel, My Man My Abuser, Tiffany came highly recommended by, the brother, Treasure Blue. When someone of Treasure Blue’s status recommends you, you must be good. I am also currently working with Editor Carla Dean for another project of mine.

Sheri: Shout out your graphic designer! Who designed your book cover/s?

Rocky: I have worked with three different graphic designers, Brittani Williams, Allyson Deese and Gregory Goodwin. With all three of them, I simply told them my vision, gave them an overview of the book and allowed them to take it from there. Not one of them has disappointed.

Sheri: How do you work out being a mom and an author?

Rocky: Being a mother is my first and most important job. If I didn’t have my daughter, I, honestly, don’t think I would have a career as an author. After having her, I vowed to do any and everything I needed, to ensure she had all that she would ever want or need.

Sheri: It takes a lot to raise a disabled child. How much time do you put into writing, marketing and perfecting your craft?

Rocky: I don’t like referring to my daughter as being disabled, it just seems so negative to me. But, raising her and maintaining my career isn’t really all that hard, I think the toughest part is traveling to different writing functions and having to find a sitter or having to have someone come with me to watch her, while I attend literary events. My aunt and my sister are my biggest helpers; they watch her when I need to attend literary functions out of state. My daughter is pretty independent. Even though she is not yet walking, over the years, she has learned ways to maneuver and get around. To be 5, she’s very smart. I try to write everyday so I don’t lose my flow. For now, I am only marketing via social media, radio interviews with Blog Talk and local radio stations.

Sheri: What are your thoughts on reviews?

Rocky: I like reviews. Reviews help me to know what my readers like and dislike, so I’ll know for the next book, what I need to fine tune and work on. I respect my readers opinions, feedback and constructive criticism is great.

Sheri: In what formats are your books available? Rocky: My books are available in paperback and eBooks

Sheri: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Rocky: I can be found on Facebook as Rocky Rose, on Instagram as authorrockyrose and Twitter @naughtyrocky85.

MMMA

Available Now on Kindle 

Sheri Henry-Harrigan started writing at the age of twelve as an outlet for depression. In March 2012 her first project Tales of the Broken Hearted was published. Since then she has penned several titles. She started writing strictly urban fiction. Her most recent work, The Imperfect Love Series is more geared toward the romance genre. As she continues on with her writing career, she plans to move into the crime fiction and thriller genres. Besides writing she is pursing her other passion of becoming a lawyer. Sheri lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

Self Publishing vs. Publishing

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To sign or not to sign, that is the question. Everyone seems to have an opinion  about this, nowadays, yet, no-one’s truly addressing the real questions. It’s  easy, from an egotistical standpoint: why split my money with someone else  when I can keep it all for myself?.  And, this is especially true, when it takes  only a couple hundred bucks to go from manuscript to ebook, then, pay a  small bit for promotions, with the over-all intent that successful ebook sells  will lead to a (paperback) book printing budget, at which point you’ll sell  hand-to-hand, build a buzz, then formulate a “take over” while paying  relatively no start-up costs, overhead, office expenses or taxes. Verily,  verily, verily, life is but…
Not to say that dreams don’t come true, or that hard work and effort don’t pay off. I’m only saying that there’s a point where dreams and reality must confront each other or else it’s just a fantasy. And, many of us are living in a fantasy world; one step never quite leading to the next. Perpetually trapped at a stand-still, with nothing more than an ebook link and cover graphic to show for it.
While I am personally signed to Dc Bookdiva Publications and Ben Official Books, it is in no way my intentions, here, to advocate one way or the other, but, simply to offer an open and honest understanding of both options, and what the overall choices entail. It seems kinda dry, to hear people shout about do this or do that, without rightly explaining the overall challenges or taking an author’s, most times limited, budget and reserved introvertedness, into account.
Writing is a lonely job. Most writers are loners but a writer’s success is not measured by the greatness of his/her writing. For, just as the most intelligent kid isn’t always the most popular or successful, there’s a-whole-nother something which must be taken into account. Some might call it the “it factor” but, more specifically: writing a book and making it a bestseller are entirely two different things, for, you see, selling is an extrovert’s job. It’s that stand in front of a crowd “Hey you. Over here!” Approach that gets some noticed, while others are simply ignored. Now, to look at the points of money and distribution.
  The cost to create and launch an ebook is relatively nothing at all. Especially where so many simply skip the editing process, go with the most basic/inexpensive cover, pay a little bit for social media marketing and then spread the word to their family and friends. Printing/publishing and selling a paperback, however, is a-whole-nother thing, with a slew of other costs, especially if it is to be done right. These costs include, though are not limited to, the costs of bar codes, ISBNs, book printing, print advertisements, book shipping, packaging, storage, accounting, business/corp. start-up, opening business bank accounts, office services/record keeping etc. Not to mention the countless hours needed to network and develop meaningful

distribution channels. These costs and distribution networks are where a publisher’s meaningfulness is found.
Ebook publishers are everywhere. Everyone and their monkey can get signed to an ebook deal. If you’ve got a book, an ebook publisher will take you on, do a quick test read (call it an edit), split the book into 3 to 4 parts (.99, 1.99, 3.99) slap a cover on it and let’s go!  You’ll see your ebook posted and links floating within 30 to 60 days, for 33 to 50% of the profits. What do you gain? The chance to be a part of a large team (usually 15-30 or more authors) who all come in with their own family, friends and legions of followers. These team members will repost your links and yell salute, Salute, SALUTE!  And, you won’t have to worry about the little start-up costs either. So, it’s a pretty hassle-free, fun and exciting trip.  However, though ebook publishers seem to do okay over time, based on their shear ability to continuously crowd the market with new material and new authors almost every other week, the same can not be said for the ebook author who quickly comes, then, goes, relegated to go sit in a corner, write a part 2, 3, 4 and yell SALUTE, SALUTE, SALUTE for their next team member in rotation. At least, I don’t personally know of any such ebook author who’s managed to quit their day job and live off of the profits. For this crowd, writing is not a career, but, merely an after work hobby that gets them a bit of spare change and gives them a cool group to hang out with on line.
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 The paperback publisher, dare I say, is a-whole-nother animal entirely. It’s not just  about who can cover the print costs or who has the largest following on Facebook or  Twitter. A paperback publisher must be more selective, for, they must be willing to  go out there on the limb and risk their money and their name on your product. Look  at it this way, if a book flops the author can shrug and move on, but, all of the books which don’t sell, the publisher  gets stuck with while also tarnishing their brand, image and trust in the eyes of the  book sellers in their distribution network. Thus, they are not so quick to skimp on  costs such as cover designs or editing, as they intrinsically understand that what sells  on Facebook is NOT necessarily what sells in stores.  And, that there’ll be no team of  people standing by to yell salute this or hashtag that to encourage the purchase.  Unlike the .99 ebook craze, which is more like handing a friend or a panhandler a dollar, for a book they’ll probably never read, paperback buyers are a lot more picky and determined to find a good book. They are spending top dollar and they demand to get their moneys worth.

So, in a nut shell, it depends on how far you want to go, how big a network you have, what type of product you’re bringing and what kind of distribution you have available to you. To sign or not to sign?  Ebooks or paperbacks?  Remember (all costs considered) 10% of 5000 paperback copies sold, adds up to a lot more than 1000 ebooks, or even 1000 paperbacks sold on your own (minus all print, shipping, returns and other costs) and, then, there are those who simply don’t have the time to properly build and push a brand/book as a business or those who are trapped in a cage, or otherwise restricted. In those cases, getting signed is a dream come true. There’s a lot to consider, but, in the end, it’s all about what works for you. However, if you do choose to get signed, be sure to look for someone you can trust and someone with the distribution network to get your book on shelves and not just have you yelling BUY MY BOOK on Facebook.
Trust me, it happens.

Wesley “Godfather” Hunter

“GODFATHER” Hunter is an incarcerated author from Los Angeles, Ca. He has  written several books covering a variety of genres, to include self-help/how-to/advisory, autobiography, poetry, urban romance, erotica and street lit. Godfather has even taught urban lit during his many years of incarceration. He makes an added effort to lace his writings with history, social-political consciousness and other such pearls of wisdom while penning  in a style which many have compared to the likes of James Patterson, John Grisham and Michhael Connelly.