Narcissism & Relationships w/ Author Cynthia Blue

“Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational.”

Hugh Mackay

Is it me or have we lost our way in relationships? We’re so obsessed with what makes us happy that we forget that a relationship is a two sided affair. Our rapid narcissism and vain mindset runs every facet of our lives but is most visible in how we handle our personal relationships, both business and intimate. Where’s the feeling of mutual love and affection? Folks are hopping in relationships just to be in one now days! defines the word relationship as a connection, association, or involvement. That definition alone entails that a relationship is meant to be with two consenting people and mutual effort and work must be put in to make it work. The best literature confronts the problems that we face in an entertaining and higher minded manner. Recently I got a chance to briefly talk to author Cynthia Blue about her novel The Lesson, which talks about relationships and dealing with a partner that easily succumbs to his lusting desires.

Randall: Describe to the readers in detail what The Lesson is about.

Cynthia Blue: The Lesson is a love triangle story. The main character Cyrus is in a relationship with his live-in girlfriend Hope. They are having problems. Hope’s job closed down and she has demons in her past which causes her to be insecure and jealous at times. Cyrus loves Hope and wants to be there The Lessonfor her but he doesn’t know how much he can handle. Then her runs into an old friend name Ivy. She’s in her 40s, business savvy, beautiful, and has a strong head on her shoulders. She’s all the things that Cyrus wished that Hope was. When Cyrus and Hopes relationship reaches a boiling point he and Ivy start having an affair. Now he’s juggling the two women in order to feel complete but as we all know that once everything comes to light that’s when the gloves come off.  


Randall: We live in a world where individuals only care about their well-being and desires. In your opinion, how does this collective mindset affect relationships?  Does it even affect intimate relationships at all?

Cynthia Blue: I know a lot about this,  especially with me being in a relationship with a narcissist before. That way of thinking causes so much damage. It’s like no one wants to be patient, understanding and give/take anymore. It’s like either you do everything for me and you be all of this for me or I’m gone. It’s very selfish and a relationship can’t survive on the every man for themselves mentality because at the end someone ends up getting hurt and destroyed.

Randall: Do you believe that a narcissist can ever coexist in a productive relationship?

Cynthia Blue: No I don’t.


Randall: What was your inspiration behind writing this novel?

Cynthia Blue: The inspiration was garnered from personal experience and observations but mostly what I’ve been through in my life.


Randall: What other projects do you have coming up?’

Cynthia Blue: I have a new book coming out soon entitled “The Marshall’s: Loyalty Is Thicker Than Blood”.

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

Cynthia Blue: Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from making your dreams come true.

We came, we saw, we conquered! My debut publishing effort “Riverview High: Circumstances” reached #2 on the Amazon charts! Check it out on Amazon today. Don’t forget to leave a review!

“The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson” is dropping this Friday (October 31st)!

Read The Pre-Release Preview: 

Preorder Now:


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:


Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB


Rich Author, Poor Author: Your Publisher Is Your Partner


Hey, lit world, it’s your girl, Tameeka Mo’Nique: The Dysfunctional Diva, who moves different than the normal writer! For those of you who don’t know me, I am a lover of the pen and word play, a student with a major in business, a lover of music, hustling and keepin’ it real. Always serving it straight to the point with no chaser.

At first, just a hard core reader, I’ve been on the business end of the lit scene for four years now, pushing my pen in pursuit of my happiness. My journey has been filled with blessings, including book tours with move making indie publishers, as well as several urban lit legends. I’ve also been blessed to carve out a pretty nice living, buying books from various publishers, promoting those books, and selling those brands. Sealing the deal, with more money in my pocket at the end. Sure, I had the day job with the bi-weekly pay check. But then I started making those same figures, if not more, in just two hours of selling books out of my back pack, or straight out of the trunk of my car like the dope boys. Go figure… iSellBooksDoU? So, here, I take the time to educate aspiring authors, lacing them to the lit game and warning them against many common mistakes.

For one, clear your mind of any notion that your craft is just a hobby. This is a lucrative business and must be taken seriously! To understand the game, one must understand all aspects of the literary  business. As a rich author or a poor author, remember your publisher is your partner who sponsors your business- you’re the entrepneur who creates a hot product!

Don’t believe me, invest in your future- take a class on publishing and find out how much money your publisher shovels out quarterly. Regardless if they have a team that can cut some of their publishing costs, risks are taken daily, leaving most publishers in the red [negative-net] from authors who don’t uphold their end of the deal and properly promoting their projects, or being diligent in turning in rewrites, sequels, etc. Remember that contract you  were so eager to sign in the beginning of your dream? Your Publisher is your partner-the Sponsor who fronted their money to make your dream a reality. So listen to all of the fruitful pointers your publisher gives and show appreciation for their risks and faith. You just might learn a few valuable lessons and increase the numbers on your royalty checks.

The publishing industry is a numbers game, the more units you move the more you and your publisher stand to gain. People may lie but the numbers don’t. Having your books in stores that keep track of your ISBN is what gets an author numbers. Hello Amazon, Books a Million and Barnes & Nobles! An aspiring author should aspire to see their books on the shelves, not only in your local mom and pop shops recycling black dollars, but also on shelves that can get your numbers closer to becoming a New York Times Best Seller! But no matter where it’s placed, if you’re not motivated to push your product, your book will sit on a shelf and collect dust. I mean, truly, who aspires to be a mere one hit wonder/has-been with fifteen minutes of fame on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Your books don’t sell themselves they require an author’s input. So, come up with a strategy. Discover your strengths. Develop a marketing plan, get some marketing materials, and then, set out on a tour to move those units. You are the IT factor which will get that product popping. Your worth is your brand. Know your target audience and go get that sale!
I’ve sadly sat and witnessed, firsthand, as numerous authors set themselves up for failure, by not following the learned paths: They didn’t spend to invest in themselves and/or they got too caught up in the shenanigans on social networks.

Keep it in mind: any author serious about their craft, and looking to truly succeed in this business, must get off of the internet and take their hustle back to the old ways. They’ve got to get out and explore the great outdoors, introduce themselves to their supporters live and in the flesh!

I understand some authors are shy, but before you sign that contract, understand that the literary industry is a business, just like any other nine to five, and if you don’t put in the work, then you won’t receive a check, at the end of the pay period. Your publisher is your employer/supervisor, and when you put in that work and raise the bar, it’s only right that your publisher blesses you with your royalties! Bottom line is, you signed up for this, promising your publisher/partner that you would do your part. Your publisher believed in your art and sponsored the business, paying out of pocket, to cover the cost of the book cover, proper editing, typesetting, production, printing and getting your manuscript uploaded to all of the various eBook outlets. Your publisher held up their end of the deal, in making your dream a reality. Your publisher is not responsible for pushing your work, this is where you must do your part to uphold your end of the deal!

Reading is truly fundamental, your contract has your numbers shaded in black ink…if you signed up for let’s say 10% off an eBook that goes for $9.99 or $0.99 cents you only made a buzz for ten eBooks to be sold, keep in mind, Amazon gets a hefty cut before proceeds are sent out to your partner/publisher. Do the math. Simple: either hustle hard or stay your broke ass home! You’re a Rich-Author in your mind body and soul. Don’t let your actions cause you to become a Poor-Author singing the literary blues!

I really want to see more urban authors succeed! I’m not just in it to win it for myself, I’m in it to see my community soar to higher levels. The industry is saturated with authors who are so stubbornly stuck on ego that they don’t even realize that they’re only hurting themselves. Trust, I am on the streets daily, and the supporters speak up with no holds barred, but, I’ll save that for the next blog. I believe in leading by example, so my actions speak for themselves… Smile, aspiring authors, and even some of the vets’, let’s show the world what we’re truly made of. There’s power in unity!  Let’s take urban literature back to quality over quantity, like the great black writers before us. The Harlem Writers Guild was a forum set up for African-American writers to develop and perfect their craft. If publishers can stick together and believe in unity, unlike some who are stuck on the crabs in a barrel mentality, so can authors.


Welcome Our New Staff Blogger!

tamekkaEnergized by helping others, Tameeka Mo’Nique is in pursuit of becoming a published writer creating stories with a message to which the masses can relate; a voice for the voiceless and resilience for the misunderstood. Her mission is to let others see some part of themselves in her writing realizing anyone can overcome any obstacle placed in one’s path.

Your past does not define your destiny; The Art of Revenge is Success…I Am Tameeka Mo’Nique!

The Anatomy Of An Award Winning Novel w/Elissa Gabrielle

“Great, big, serious novels always get awards. If it’s a battle between a great, big, serious novel and a funny novel, the funny novel is doomed.”

Neil Gaiman

In the creative and athletic community there’s always been a never ending debate about the importance of awards, milestones and accolades to the success and viability of a career. Because of this debate seeds of doubt have been placed in the heads of various musicians, authors, filmmakers and athletes around the world. If a novel doesn’t hit the New York Times bestsellers list, can it be considered legendary and game-changing? If a player isn’t a part of a championship team in the NBA or NFL do they deserve to be heralded as one of the game’s greats?

As public figures in this current generation, we all long for love and support from legions of dedicated fans. When we don’t achieve these goals, our insecurities start to manifest themselves. Art, at its base form, was an outlet for artistic expression. The concept of commercialism has instead left us with a diluted form of art only made for monetary gain. How far have we progressed as a society when even the tools we use to craft our voice and define ourselves become dictated by the ruthless public court of opinion?

The above fact doesn’t mean that winning an award for your body of work isn’t an impressive feat. In fact, it can make careers and cement you as a legend in your particular field. As a rookie in the publishing world, I only wish to see The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson and my other novels celebrated and given the highest honors in the literary community. But how would I go about doing that? Is it an uphill battle? Is there something that I need to do differently or am I on the right track?

ElissaGabrielleBronzeHeadshotRecently I spoke with Elissa Gabrielle, an award-winning author and entrepreneur in her own right. Peace In The Storm Publishing, her company, took home the best independent publishing house award at the African-American Literary Awards ceremony from 2009 to 2011. She also won the self-published author of the year award for her novel A Whisper To A Scream and In The Heat Of The Night. Not to mention that her story The Other Side Of Midnight was featured in the Zane’s Busy Bodies: Chocolate Flava 4 anthology. She imparted her knowledge about the publishing industry and the true importance of an award to your author platform.

Randall:  In your opinion, what differentiates an award-winning novel from others in its same genre?

Elissa Gabrielle: The difference lies in the attention to quality story telling. Awards are given in the literary field for varying reasons; but in order to be considered for an award—no matter what category the award is given in—the measurement of literary excellence boils down to the ability to tell a good story. For some awards, that is based solely on book sales; and in others, it equates to the quality of the words and the mental visual connection made with a reader. Award-winning novels are the ones that go the extra mile beyond others in its genre. Award-winning novels are the ones that, in one form or another, form a bond with a reader beyond the minimum, the average, or the norm.

Randall: What makes a novel an award winner, the content or the high consumer visibility?

Elissa Gabrielle: First and foremost, any award given to an author is an honor; the recognition alone signifies something of importance. The yard stick used to measure its worth is decided by the one giving the award; but from the recipient’s point of view, the honor lies solely in receiving the recognition for their work. Whether the award is given based on content or book sales, it still is an honor bestowed upon a writer that has stepped beyond other books in the same genre. Whether by content of the words published, or by the ability to make readers yearn for those words at a volume that surpasses others in the form of books sold, the virtue of an award winner lies not solely in content or volume, but in the ability to cultivate the craft of writing to an extent that it becomes noteworthy by others.

Keep in mind, I have no agent, or a publicist, and I am an independent and I’m not signed to a major publishing house. Everything that has been done for me and my writing career has come from blood, sweat, years, tears and overcoming fears. Having said that, I don’t believe I fall into the category of high consumer visibility because of those reasons stated, therefore I can only rely on the quality of content I provide to my readers. It means a lot to me, to have the respect of the people who take the time out of their lives to read my work. I must honor the craft.


Randall: Building off of the previous question, should an author go for the acclaim that writing an award winning novel garners or the monetary gain and commercial success that a bestselling novel brings you?

Elissa Gabrielle: While all authors or most at least, desire the fame and fortune dreamed of in the realm of being an award winning or best-selling author, the true acclaim that should be sought by an author is in using their God-given talent to its full potential to the best of their ability. Our rewards as authors should come in doing what we were created to do. Acclamation should just be a bonus. When we focus on the Zane anthology (resized)gift of writing like it should be done, all of the other things will naturally fall into place. The focus should be on the craft…not in the prize. Additionally, expectation is usually the root of all heartache. If you put yourself in a situation like that, you could be disappointed and then you make the work about the awards and acclaim and not about the work itself. I try not to have those expectations.

Randall:  An author now has an award-winning novel in his portfolio. What should be their next move?

Elissa Gabrielle: To continue to write. And to write with substance and quality. An author should use the awards and titles given to them to promote themselves because they can be beneficial in helping them market themselves as a brand…but that title should never be an excuse to procrastinate, become lackadaisical in their writing skills or to become content in their status concerning their craft. Every author is only as good as their latest novel/book/story. A true author should learn how to use awards and recognition to promote the latest novel in a way that it is not their last. Certainly add it to your literary resume and line of achievements but I live by the motto that I take my work, but never myself too seriously.


Randall: What other projects do you have coming up?

Elissa Gabrielle: So grateful to have two novels releasing in 2015, in addition to a short story series and anthology collaboration.

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

Elissa Gabrielle: If I could turn back the hands of time and talk to a younger version of myself, knowing what I know now…I would remind myself that dreaming big is the only type of dreaming that should be done. Failure is not the end of anything…it is only the beginning. Success is not a ceiling; it is an opening for more to come. We are only as big as our egos and as little as our self-imposed limitations, and at the end of the day…we should never take either too seriously. All we should do is dare to dream.

You can keep up with Elissa Gabrielle at:

We came, we saw, we conquered! My debut publishing effort “Riverview High: Circumstances” reached #2 on the Amazon charts! Check it out on Amazon today. Don’t forget to leave a review!

“The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson” is dropping this month!

Read The Pre-Release Preview: 

Preorder Now:


Cowboys, BBQ & Books?

The city of Dallas located in the North of Texas is known for a lot of things. The most famous is their “All-American” Football team appropriately named The Dallas Cowboys, barbecue meat and perhaps anything fried. Besides the football and hearty meat, Dallas has a budding arts district for the eclectic and artistic individuals as well.              Bookshelf

In self-publishing creating a relationship with an independent bookstore could lead to your book being on the selective shelves of that store, receiving a stellar recommendation from the bookstore owner, and an opportunity to gain new and diverse readers. Before you scratch Dallas off your list of cities not interested in reading, let’s explore some of their coolest independent bookstores tucked into the nooks and crannies of the city.

Chapter Two

2 Highland Park Village, Dallas


High-class and independent. This bookstore’s inventory is filled with local and international authors that talk about art, travel and fashion. A cappuccino shop sits right next door and allows you to browse books, International Vogue magazines and daydream while sipping your brew.

Half-Price Books

(Flagship Store)

5803 E. Northwest Hwy. Dallas, Texas 75231 214-379-8000

Hey Look! A bookstore that was homegrown in Dallas! This bookstore may have 120 locations in 16 states, but the huge flagship store is in Dallas. The flagship stocks used books, but also has a complete section dedicated to new books for readers and host a plethora of author events and book-signings at this location as well.

Lucky Dog

(Oak Cliff Location)

633 West Davis St. Dallas, TX 75208 214.941.2665

Did the name sell you already? It did for me. Lucky Dog has two locations, with one being in Oak Cliff, Dallas. I like to refer to Oak Cliff as a little New York City. All kinds of people live and hangout in Oak Cliff and together they make up one big melting pot of fun! Besides finding the local authors on display here, you can find quirky art hanging from the wall and consulting for young entrepreneurs looking to open their own independent bookstore.

The Wild Detectives

(Oak Cliff)

314 W 8TH ST


Book Bar? Yes! Book B-A-R. I saved the best for last! Beer, wine, or Chai Tea with a snack can be found here along with over a thousand of highly-selected books from local and international authors. Only a select few hit these bookshelves and if you make it in, then your book is sure to be seen by every book-lover in Dallas. A hang-out spot for the locals to drink, converse and talk books, this is a favorite amongst locals.



This was just a few to check in to! I’m on the look-out for more.

So let’s not count out the “everything is big state” just yet. Their list of independent bookstores may be small, but the stores are jewels.


For quick info on how to sell your book to an independent bookstore, click the link below:


Penelope Christian is a freelance writer and poet. She’s currently working on her debut novel, “Coffee & Cream” for publication. When she’s not writing she enjoys working out, cooking and playing in her natural hair.

Facebook: Penelope Christian

Instagram: p_christian_