Welcome Our New Staff Blogger!




Penelope Christian is a freelance writer and poet with a knack for fiction literature. This up-and-coming novelist resides in Dallas, Texas, where she is set to publish her debut novel, Coffee and Cream. With degrees in Marketing and English from University of Maryland, Christian takes an entrepreneurial approach to her craft. Christian has over 18 years of writing experience and a special interest in short stories and novels (she penned her first novel at only 16 years old). Christian often credits nature, random happenings at the airport, and her mutually quirky friends as creative muses. As an active member of two national organizations — Books & Writers and Authors & Writing Professionals — Christian offers peer-to-peer advice and critique to fellow writers. Streetz Magazine has published several of Christian’s intimate interviews with contemporary artists, shedding light on the meaning of their music and the story of their success. When Christian finds time to close her laptop, she enjoys working out, cooking, and playing in her natural hair.

The Landscape Of Urban Fiction w/Author Nisha Lanae

“To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.”

Charles Caleb Colton

In the subsector of business, things change. The landscape of the particular industry you’re in diversifies  into the future and competition starts to get incredibly steep. How do you make your creative work stand out above the rest of the crowd? In the midst of the trauma and  agony of your fight to be successfully self-employed, how do you keep your sanity? These are two of the many questions that plague authors in the current over saturated urban fiction landscape.

Recently I got a chance to speak with author Nisha Lanae, one of the genre’s unsung success stories, about moving and shaking in the industry as a new author and rising above the competition. Her answers were brief, but also very informative. New authors should most definitely take note!

Randall: As an author, what’s your take on urban fiction today?

Nisha Lanae: It’s a constant change. I was 15 years old when I decided I wanted to write urban fiction, I have seen so many changes within the genre.  From that time, until I published a book at 23. It’s still my number one genre to read, but I think these days we as authors in the urban fiction literary world are catching a lot of flak, for the nonsense and changes going on. Like everything, changes are going to happen, some for the good, and some for the bad. It’s up to us to stand, make a pack and demand changes we want to see, and I think that’s where “WE” as authors are lacking. We are lacking in coming together, and being the force to make urban fiction greater than it is.

Randall: How do you make your novels stand out from the competition?

Nisha Lanae: I give them my all. I write from my heart, and stories I would like to read. In today’s time, so many people are worried about competing and fitting in, rather than just being them. I write to entertain, aspire, inspire and to tell great stories.

Randall: Many skeptics and critics consider the sub-genre of street fiction as the proverbial bastard child of African-American literature and artistic expression. What’s your take on this?

Nisha Lanae: I  don’t feel that way. We are no different than a rapper, rapping about their struggle. Some of them haven’t lived that life, but maybe someone close to them has. We are no different than a writer who writes plays, moves or broadways or actress who put a visual aspect to the writer words. We just choose to express our creative thoughts on paper, in a storyline. Contrary to what people think, those stories relate to everyday life that people go through, and nine times out of ten there is always a message convoyed to the readers.

Randall: What other projects do you have coming up?

Nisha Lanae: I have a few collaboration projects coming up with some talent writers, as well as a few of my own.

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

Nisha Lanae: My advice is to always remain true to you, and your goals in life. I don’t care what someone thinks of them, if it’s something you want to do, work hard for it, and do it. A lot of times people tend to down talk your dreams, goals or aspirations in life, because they were too afraid to live out there’s. I was always told there is never a dream too big to achieve. Set your mind on achieving it, and work every day towards it.

You can find Nisha at:

Facebook: Nisha Lanae

Instagram and Instagram: Pendiva_Nisha

Email: Author.NishaLanae@yahoo.com

Website: WWW.NishaLanae.com



The cover to my novel, The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson. It’s due to come out in late October. You can preoder now at:




Get the first four chapters for only $2.00 today! The money goes to promotion and marketing costs for the novel.


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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

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Luv 4 the Lockdown Radio Show: Tune in Sunday w/ Wahida Clark, National Vice President of Prodigal Sons and Daughters

photo (5)Join Cali Kim and Godfather Wesley Hunter as they discuss the outreach works of Prodigal Sons and Daughters and the programs they provide for those reentering society with National Vice President-Wahida Clark, Director of Behavioral Health Care Services – Henry D. Muhammad and Co -Founder and Director of Program Services- Dennis Porter.

Tune in Sunday, you don’t want to miss this.

Become a friend of the show on the blogtalkradio network and when books for your family and friends on lockdown. (You Must Be Logged In to Win.)



From Surviving to Thriving w/ Beverly Smith


People love to spew inspirational phrases about adversity. They love to talk about how it builds character. How it reveals character,and how it enhances success and progress. For some, those phrases are more than just hollow and vapid cliches. It’s the toughest strand in the fabric of their lives.

For author Beverly Smith, her adversity  fueled her  desire  and motivated her to create her own world.     beverly


Born and raised in Southeast Washington DC, Smith experienced the gamut of negative circumstances-from homlessness to domestic violence, Smith has endured it , but now she took that negativity  and turned it into success.  Three years ago, she released her debut novel ” He Kept Me”, a powerful and soul gripping story about a young woman’s struggle through the streets of DC.  After releasing her novel, Smith went on to establish “Momma’s Safe Haven”, a foundation that offers a bridge of support to those in need of resources to help improve their lives and two businesses.

Recently, I spoke with Smith about her book, some of her favorite things and what’s next  on the horizon for this dynamic woman.



Jannelle: Your book, “He Kept Me” has been out for three years and has received great reviews. For those who aren’t familiar with the book, fill readers in on the theme of the story. Tell them what makes the story “pop”. How does it resonate with your audience? What makes it a great read?

Beverly: The theme of my book is ” My Testimony  straight no chaser!”  What makes it pop is the rawness of the real life situations, representing DC, and landmarks in the city. It resonates with my audience through struggle, This is for  people who have been through the fire. It’s a great read because there is a never a dull moment. It is definitely a page turner that will have you on a emotional roller coaster.

Jannelle: You have a foundation called Momma’s Safe Haven. What kind of projects and programs that your foundation spearhead?

Beverly: At Momma’s Safe Haven, we promote self love, higher education and self employment. We have ‘DC Youth has talent’, which is a program for the youth to display their talents while keeping them engaged. We had our first annual Show in February at  the Benning Park Rec Center.  Currently, we are in the planning process for our 2nd annual showcase. We  also have a program called “Never Give Up”.It is a three hour work shop on wheels. The workshop consist of me sharing my story through my book, encouraging a purge through a writing session, a vision board, letting go of guilt and shame.


Jannelle:  Some foundations sell products and take a percentages of the proceeds to support the the foundations or initiatives etc. Are some of your book sales funding “Momma’s Safe Haven”? If not, is it in the cards for the future?

Beverly:Yes! Momma’s Safe Haven  has several sponsors that help fund our events. Some of the proceeds from “He Kept Me”, D&B Handyman Service, and B’s Natural Products just to name a few. I believe it’s very important to maintain a great relationship with those who are heading in the same direction as you.

Jannelle: What inspired you to take on the publishing world?

Beverly:  I was inspired by pain that was eating me alive! I had to get it out. The purging was great and I knew it had to do something with the strength that I had gained from believing in God. I was inspired by wanting to help someone else who has experienced any of the things that I have been through.

Jannelle:  You are a DV survivor and many people always talk about leaving the situation. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done. What steps did you take to escape your situation?

Beverly: Yes I am a DV survivor and yes for me it was easier said than done. My strength to leave came when I gave birth to my second child my 12 grade year at Cardozo High School. I knew in order for me to provide for my children I had to leave the abuse. The first step for me was when I started to love myself more than I loved him and suddenly my fear of what happen if I left turned into what would happen had I stayed.

Jannelle: What advice do you have for women and even men who are victims of Domestic Violence?

Beverly:  My advice to anyone who are victims of DV is to tell a loved one  and talk to someone who you can trust. Leave them  (the abusers) alone They will never be worth your time because love doesn’t hurt! Love nurtures, caress, protect. Self love is key! I have a support group on my website and you can call DV Hotline 1-800-799-7233.

Jannelle: Describe your writing process for “He Kept Me” ? What was your writing schedule like? How did you deal with writer’s block if you had any?

Beverly: I purged when I wrote my book. I was unemployed, attending Ashford University studying on line for my BA in ECE Administration and I was also studying spanish with Rosetta Stone. So my schedule was pretty flexible. I  moved about an hour away from my family so I had plenty of peace and quiet. No i didn’t have to deal writers’ block. I feel writers’ block is just fear. It took me four months to write my book from beginning to end.

Jannelle: What do you find the most rewarding? Your book or your foundation? Are they equally rewarding? Or are they rewarding in different ways?

Beverly: They are both equally rewarding in different ways. My book is so personal and it draws others who has been hurt. My organization focuses on the healing process from the pain.

Jannelle: I have a few either or questions for you as well.

Jannelle: Paperback or Ebook?

Beverly: Paperback.

Jannelle: Online or Stores?

Beverly: Stores.

Jannelle: Early Bird or Night Owl?

Beverly: Early Bird

Jannelle: Country or City?

Beverly:  City.

Jannelle: Mall or Boutique?

Beverly: Mall.

Jannelle: Dress Up or Dress Down?

Beverly: Dress Up.

Jannelle: Money or Fame?

Beverly: Money.

Jannelle: What is next for you? Please give us some links to where we can learn more about you and your projects.

Beverly: I  have a short film titled  “Still I Rise”.  It’s  a ten minute movie inspired by Dr. Maya Angelou’s  poem. I entered it into a contest and won!! We finished filming my movie in July and it will premiere in the Fall! Stay tuned!

You can pick up “He Kept Me” on Amazon now and don’t forget to leave reviews.


Check out Beverly’s  ” Momma’s Save Haven” as well


About the author

Jannelle is the author of “Wild Cards” “Thirst”, “Thirst II”, and “Love’s Hangover” and is a fresh voice in African-American fiction, spending time on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list for two of her four titles. She’s also a freelance journalist. Her DC Bookdiva Debut, “Uppity” will be released in November, and is available for pre-order now at http://www.dcbookdiva.com




Website: http://www.jannelle.net
Twitter: @jannelle12
Instagram: writerdiva
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jannelle1