ULR Feature: The Gift-Knight’s Quest by Dylan Madeley

 

“Chandra had yet to fathom why Jonnecht could not have lived and ruled for many long years, or why it was so urgent that she ascend immediately.”
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Chandra never asked to rule Kensrik, but fate took a strange course. Known as a usurper and sorceress by most and traumatized by all that has transpired, she is forced to make use of the few loyal allies she has in order to hold together her restless empire. In an attempt to identify and defeat the conspirators who inadvertently landed her in power, Chandra risks putting the lives of many in mortal danger, as well as her own.

Derek is an aimless wanderer – the youngest in a lineage that has long fallen from nobility. He finds himself summoned by tradition to serve a family historically considered his bitter enemy. As he journeys down the same path a fateful ancestor once traveled, he struggles with personal demons and begins to reconsider his loyalty to the mission.

Duke Lenn found one true cause in love and it cost him everything. His legacy shaped the present in which Chandra and Derek find themselves. Now their choice will shape the future of Kensrik…

The Gift-Knight’s Quest is set in a new and vividly imagined world, written with delicate prose that will allow the reader to explore their imagination. Inspired by authors such as Michael Moorcock, J. G. Ballard and Roger Zelazny, it will appeal to fans of fantasy and historical fiction.

Purchase The Gift-Knight’s Quest

 

About the Author

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Dylan Madeley is a Torontonian currently working out of a headquarters in Vaughan, Ontario. He is the copy editor of and a frequent contributor to Auxiliary Magazine, an alternative fashion and music zine. His junior copy editors are two chinchillas named Basil and Liam. His first published novel, The Gift-Knight’s Quest, is slated for a spring 2015 release.

Writing Is Art w /Author Jannelle Moore

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”

Andy Warhol

In this world of instant gratification, the concept of making quality work is foreign. The time it takes to make true art is rushed, only to make a quick buck. The reception to this phenomenon varies depending on who you talk to. Casual readers only value a story that can temporarily help them escape from their lives. Avid readers, however, both enjoy and analyze the literary works that they decided to indulge in.  They look at the writing style and character development. They read through plots with a fine tooth comb and try their best to look over tacky typos to prevent them from putting down the book altogether.

Although avid readers are tough critics, they become loyal fans if correctly catered to. The only way to captivate an avid reader is through the correct combination of business and art. Making sure the piece of literary work is visible to your perspective customer is important but why not aim to capture their attention and make them loyal fans of your brand? Why rush your respective art when you can craft it to perfection like a seasoned sculptor and get a fan for life?

Writing is a business. Let’s make this fact plain and clear! But putting together a product worth a customer spending their hard earned money on is the most important part of the business process. I had the chance to talk about this topic with author and journalist Jannelle Moore, among other things. Jannelle the author of Uppity, the explosive novel chronicling the life of feisty superstar journalist Kenya Blades as she manuvers her way around the sexism and bigotry of the print journalism industry. She has a wealth of knowledge about the fine line of art and business in writing that readers and authors alike would definitely benefit from hearing.

Randall: As an author, what genre does your work best fit in?

Jannelle Moore: The genre that my work best fit in is African American Women’s Fiction. I’m okay with that label for my work because it gives me a bit of autonomy in my writing. I’m not stuck in only romance, only street lit or erotica. I believe that the product of an author’s imagination shouldn’t be pigeonholed into one genre, especially if that’s not the author’s intended purpose.

Randall: How has writing changed your life?

Jannelle Moore: I must admit, I have a nasty habit of holding on to grudges. I hold on to them like a singer or rapper holds a microphone sometimes!  Since I started writing creatively, it allowed me to purge those toxic feelings and to create something positive from negativity.

Randall: In your opinion, should literature from African-American authors or about black culture as a whole be separated from books made by authors of other races?

Jannelle Moore: Sadly, African-American books are indeed separated like you implied in the question. If you go to Barnes and Noble, Target and Wal-Mart, you will see a whole section of African-American books. In most stores around the country, that section is apart from the other books in some way. I think it’s problematic for retailers to segregate African-American authored books from works written by non-black authors. This shows me that the retailers lazily generalize us and our work. All of us aren’t writing in the same genre just like all of us don’t look alike. Retailers doing this is the equivalent of saying that we “look” or, in this case, “write” alike.

Randall: Has your previous work experience as a journalist helped you out in your other writings?

Jannelle Moore: It hasn’t. In my case, it’s the other way around. Being an author made me a stronger feature writer.

 Uppity

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?

 Jannelle Moore: Absolutely! The response I received from my latest  book “Uppity” is great example of that.  This book tackles the struggles  of being a double minority in the workplace.   When I shared a few  snippets of the story Facebook statuses earlier in 2014, I received not  only likes but a few comments from my Facebook friends saying, “This  has happened to me too”, “I can relate to this”, and “This sounds like  me”.  This book and others like it will create realistic dialogue about  workplace discrimination as well as entertaining my readers. 

Randall: What’s your take on the “black” book industry?

 Jannelle Moore: I believe that the black book industry is as rich as it  has ever been and we don’t even know it.  I believe we have the  potential to create our own version of the Harlem Renaissance but we  have to consistently put out quality work. We have to stop feuding and  start conducting ourselves like the talented writers that we are. You  look at the Walter Moselys, the Terry McMillians, the Zanes and all  of those mainstream African-American authors and you don’t see a lot  of nonsense that we as indie authors face or indulge in.  We all can be  on the level of these authors but we have to put the work in and realize that success and money, more often than not doesn’t come overnight.  We also have to realize that cranking out the same plots in different covers aren’t getting us anywhere but lumped together.

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

Jannelle Moore: My second full-length novel Uppity is out now! You can get the eBook and paperback versions on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and dcbookdiva.com.

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

Jannelle Moore: My message to them is to always be true to yourself. Don’t let anyone rob you of your ability to dream or deter you from your purpose. People will try to stop you but that’s all they can do if you’re determined!

Purchase Uppity now!

You can find Jannelle on:

-Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jannelle1?fref=ts

-Twitter: @jannelle12

-Website: http://www.jannelle.net/

The Randall Barnes Experience

-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!

http://www.amazon.com/Riverview-High-Circumstances-Young-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00O2FCWGY/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

-“The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson” is out now! Make sure to go get it!

http://www.amazon.com/Diary-Aaliyah-Anderson-Randall-Barnes/dp/0988762196/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404822785&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Diary+Of+Aaliyah+Anderson

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

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB

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

ULR Feature: INDISCRETION by Tonya Lampley

One careless night and a man’s life is changed forever.
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Damon Harris wants a better life than the one he’s currently living. He has a penchant for trouble and a trail of mistakes behind him, but inside he can feel a greater call urging him on to the man he knows he can become. He marries the ideal woman in hopes it might settle him down. But change is hard. Stuck in a self-created prison where the only warden is himself, he’ll do just about anything to break free.

A few drinks, a beautiful girl…was it worth it?

Purchase on Kindle

Purchase in Paperback

About the Author

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Tonya Lampley is a Cincinnati based fiction author writing on life, love and the journey. Her debut novel is titled A Taste of Love and was a 2012 NIEA finalist. Her second novel is titled Indiscretion. To learn more about Tonya and her works or sign up for her newsletter, please visit http://www.TonyaLampley.com.

ULR Feature: Tucker’s Story by Bobbie Asad

 

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A Children’s Story:
Tucker, a German Shepherd mix, has a great home, up until he finds himself homeless. This is his journey from homeless to a business logo. This story is fiction based on truth.

Purchase now on Kindle!

Purchase in Paperback! 

Book Review

“Tucker’s Story” by Bobbie Asad is sweet and heartbreaking – even more so because you know this is a scene that is played out countless times a year across the Country. Tucker was is a German Shepherd mixed breed dog, one who was loved and sheltered in a close family for 3 years. Unfortunately, that relationship came to an end and Tucker was left, alone, in a park.
How many time have I read a news article on line regarding abandoned pets? Too many, way too many. Tucker was lucky, he was found by a rescue – but other dogs and cats are not so lucky. This story ends well, with a smile and a tear in the eye, but it also teaches and relays a very important message. Written from Tucker’s viewpoint and aimed at children 7 and up, it’s a quick tale that will have a lasting impact.
We need to care for the responsibilities we accept, and if life prevents that from happening then please, for the love of everything, take them to a Rescue – don’t leave them alone and don’t take them to the pound.
This story deserves more than 5 stars and I would give them if I could.

 

About  the Author

If you were laid off after 30 years in engineering would it make you mad as a hatter? Bobbie Asad embraced her change and became the owner of Mad Hatter. She took her fascination with hats as a member of the international social group the Red Hat Society, along with her love of teas, and the specialty shop Mad Hatter was born. Bobbie opened Mad Hatter in its present location about a year ago in downtown Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, where the unique shop has been earning rave reviews. Bobbie’s skills as an entrepreneur are apparent in the range of services and delights available in one shop from teas and tastings to hats for every occasion, along with locally produced and sourced lotions, sprays and soaps. Bobbie is a smart retailer who knows hats and her customers – women who want to stand out- no two hats are the same. She has the evolving marketplace that prizes originality and locally produced products well in hand-she even features specialty food items that are also locally produced. Bobbie Asad took the lemons life handed her and made tea!

ULR Feature: The Paragraph Ranch by Kay Ellington and Barbara Brannon

EVERY WRITER KNOWS YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN. But that’s just what is required of West Texas expatriate Dee Bennett-Kaufmann when her mother is badly injured in a mysterious car accident.

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Single-again “Dr. Dee” has never been on the “A-team” in her trendy East Coast MFA program. When a prestigious summer fellowship gives her the chance to finally finish her book, salvage her career, and spend some quality time with her college-age daughter — Dee’s certain her luck is about to change. Returning to care for her irascible, widowed mother threatens all of that.

With so much at stake, Dee engineers a series of unorthodox strategies and creative tradeoffs to keep her options in play—and despite herself finds friendship, love, and the power of words in the unlikeliest of places.

Purchase the book now on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited!

Hardcover and Paperback

Book Review

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I live in Texas and am familiar with the area where this took place and feel that the authors were spot on with the characterizations of what it’s like to live in a small town. Dee’s goal was to get out of this small town as soon as possible and became very successful in her business life although she couldn’t say the same in her personal life. Once she is forced to return to her small town to help her Mother recover from a car accident she goes through an amazing discovery of life, both professionally and personally and realizes that small and simple isn’t so bad after all. Read this book, it’s a quick, easy read and you will really enjoy it. Congrats to Kay Ellington and Barbara Brannon on a job well done on their first book and look forward to the next one.”- Amazon Reviewer

 

About the Authors

Meet Barbara Brannon

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Barbara Brannon studied poetry with James Dickey at the University of South Carolina, where she earned the M.A. and Ph.D. Her poems have appeared in the Asheville Poetry Review, Cenacle, the South Carolina Review, and Yemassee, among other journals and magazines. She is a frequent contributor of travel and feature articles and author of The Ferries of North Carolina: Traveling the State’s Nautical Highways. Now heading up a nonprofit in Texas, she formerly served as managing editor of the University of South Carolina Press and director of the Publishing Laboratory in the Creative Writing Department of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her current projects include a history of the Hampshire Bookshop of Northampton, Massachusetts, a mainstay of American bookselling from 1916 to 1971. She is coauthor, with Kay Ellington, of the novel The Paragraph Ranch.

Meet Kay Ellington

Cotton fields, pumpjacks, and Friday Night Lights defined the world KAY ELLINGTON grew up in West Texas. A gypsy of newspapering, her career took her from New York to California to the Carolinas–and finally, back again to Texas.

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You can find Kay and Barbara on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TheParagraphRanch, and on their website at http://www.ParagraphRanch.com.

Penned for IPhone, Puts Those Dreams of Being a Famous Author in Your Pocket

“Penned creates a community around writers of all kinds – it is a fun and beautiful way to share stories, opinions, and true tales along with a photo from your phone.”

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Penned offers a newly redesigned platform for writers and bloggers to create and share their work on-the-go, while allowing them to interact with others who have similar interests in writing. Whether you are a novelist, poet, song-writer, fan fiction enthusiast, or blogger there is always something you can gain from the app. In this user-friendly and interactive setting, members are able to produce, discover, and share works with the mobile world.

In Japan, mobile story writing has had huge success producing some of the country’s top selling novels in recent years. Yet to find mainstream success in America, Penned hopes to change this mobile writing phenomenon. Penned is more than merely a mobile portal for writers to share their current creations, but aims to be an additional platform of social media. It is strategically positioned in between the more casual-post networks like Twitter & Facebook and longer form writing venues such as Fanfiction.net or publishing an eBook.

Feature Highlights:

  • Post a story accompanied by a cover image
  • Add chapters as you go and let your story unfold into a novel
  • Post to the most popular categories or create your own
  • Add & edit stories straight from the website
  • Connect with your friends and reading audience with comments on each chapter
  • Follow other writers and keep up with their work
  • Easily share to Twitter and Facebook

Penned is available as a free app in the US, but it is also available worldwide in several languages. It is currently in the AppStore, but is coming very soon to the Android market.

Please visit http://www.penned.me for more details.

Penned, a social writing community that help users to engage with their audience and gain a following.

The Hunger Within w/ Shawn Starling

“When my situation ain’t improving, I’m tryna murder everything movin.”             -Jay-Z

A lot in me has changed, over the years. The man I am today is a far cry from who I used to be. The growth in me has emerged. The trials and tribulations of my past are all dealt with. Today, I can honestly say, I’m a grown man. A grown man who’s more than ready for the next set of obstacles, because we all know they do not stop… Neither do I.

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However, this was not something done over night. No, it took some time and doing. This giant transition took place behind the walls of silence. In a place where I was surrounded by thousands and yet I felt all alone. The facade, I once stood so graciously behind,  long gone. There were no more flashy cars, jewels or people who boosted my ego with hopes of getting rewarded in return. In a place where everyone was dressed the same, ate at the same time, and held captive by the same guards, I no longer stood out. I was no longer the captain of my ship. I went from one-of-one, to one-of-many, and for a long time I was bothered by it.

This small bruise to my large ego, was a major turning point in my life. It was what caused the soul searching. My inner voice emerging, as I found myself driven and determined to be different. You see, in the beginning, writing, for me, was a merely a way I figured to  make some money, and prevent from returning to the life which had lead to where I’d found myself. However, as I continued to write, it became my escape. It became a part of me. My release. I wrote lyrics, novels or, sometimes, just my thoughts. I would write for hours and hours. I became hungry for knowledge, and this hunger became a beast that lived in my heart and thoughts. The blood from this beast would bleed through my pen, taking a part of my soul with it every time. It was like a demon which acted beyond my control, scribbling pieces of me, one line at a time. It spoke to me in a monotonous voice that screamed inside my head. In the end what was once an escape had turned into pure passion, and I became one with my writings:

One with this beast within.

While a lot has changed, some things remain the same. This hunger within was in me, when I participated in illegal activities, and it’s remained as I’ve grown into who I am today. I’ve always wanted to be the best. From day 1, I held a competitive nature. I am still a very proud man, only I’ve learned to cross out the foolish pride. My decisions are never based on emotions, but whether simply on that which makes the best sense. Success is what I want, like the air I breathe. It’s my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night. The mere thoughts pushing me, whenever I want to quit. They hold court when it is time for a reality check. They, too, are apart of the beast within.

Laced with wisdom and understanding, I face this world with a ready-for-whatever attitude. Understanding that talent will only get me so far. And, knowing, that hard work is really what separates the good from the greats…  I will be great!

I don’t want people to just read my writing and say, “Yeah, I liked it” or “It was good.” I want people to one day say my writings changed their lives, in the ways that they’ve changed mine. I want the beast within to be understood. I want readers to see it’s face, every time they read my work. I want my pains to be felt, my happiness to give chills, and my journey to be an adventure which readers will never forget.

More than anything, I want people to understand, that the beast in me is hungry. And by all means, HE SHALL EAT.

Interview w/ Godfather

What first inspired you to write?
SHAWN: Well, ever since I can remember, I’ve been a daydreamer. There were times, in my days as a hustla, when I would park my Cadillac on a quiet street and just entertain my own thoughts. Back then, Master P was big and he had just dropped the movie, “I’m Bout It”. Other street related movies, like “Paid In Full”, “Boys N The Hood”, and “Menace to Society” were all inspirations, long before I ever even knew anything about the Urban Lit. Genre. All I knew was, my life was like a movie, minus the director yelling “Cut”. I always wanted to tell my story and be creative, but it wasn’t until I was imprisoned, and forced to actually sit still, that I actually completed anything or was even given the focus. I was just  on my bunk, one night, when my celly tossed a book at me. Interupting my reading of a James Patterson novel. “You always reading that bullshit.” he said.  “Read that.” I looked at the book and it read “Dutch”, the cover was attractive. It had $100 bills on it and the  bills were covered in blood. Instantly, I wanted to read it. And, once I started, I could instantly relate. A light bulb went off in my head. I knew that I could write a book, about the game that I’d once played. I just started writing, without a clue where I was going or even where to start. I just wrote and wrote, and when I let a friend read it, he told me it was terrible. Yet, not one to be too easily discouraged, from there, I started learning about literature. Small things like sentence structure and paragraph formatting. My first manuscript was written at least ten times. Then again when I got home. Bottom line, When I set my mind to something, I’m relentless. Besides, one can never truly succeed, without first knowing what it is to fail. In a nutshell, writing became my escape. My release. My passion.

I know you were in prison when you first started writing. How long were you locked up? Where did you do your time? Talk about that.
SHAWN: Yeah, I did 8 1/2 years in federal prison. I was held at a low facility in Morgantown, WV. We were in the mountains, but we made the best of it. Of course, there were hard times, but there were also a lot of times I remember laughing my hardest. Prison turned me from a boy to a grown man. It shaped me in a way people on the streets, who’ve never been there, would never imagine. I had the honor of being around dudes who had made their way down from high security to where I was. These were men who had been down for 20 and 25 years. Men with great patience and humility. They had tough skin and they taught me how to keep my emotions in check. They helped me see at my own situation as something small in comparison. The hardest part for me, was watching my love ones struggle and not being able to help. Prison made me realize just how much of a needed presence I truly was, and I still keep that in mind to this day.

How many books have you written, and are any of them a part of a series?

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SHAWN: I have ten manuscripts in total. Seven are a series of events which follow my debut, Real Recognize Real. When done, that will be a ten book series. On top of that, I have two unrelated manuscripts, and also a lot of notes which will soon become another manuscript called “Mirror Me Back”, which will be my first non-fiction piece.

Tell us about your debut novel REAL RECOGNIZE REAL. What is it about?
SHAWN: My debut novel, Real Recognize Real, is a story of growth. Readers will go on a journey with a kid who’s earned the name Real. It wasn’t given by a long shot. The title is a double entendre, because not only is the main character forced to recognize what’s real, as far as his perspective on life and people in general, he’ll also be made to uncover and discover that which is real within himself.  A struggling character some might call a villian, while to others he is labled as a hero. A hustler with a conscience, yet affiliated with some considered heartless.

What is it you hope to accomplish with your career?

SHAWN: I hope to become an inspiration just as those writers and film directors, I named, inspired me. Of course I want this to be a career where I can feed my family, but more than anything, I want to remain passionate about my writing. I want my readers to always see the picture I’m painting and to always see my vision.

Talk about the book game in your area. Do you know of any other authors in your area? Are there many independent/urban bookstores in your area?

SHAWN: Besides Nikki Turner, I can’t recall a writer from Richmond, Va with a heavy impact. Nikki set the bar high, and I hope to follow in her footsteps. As for local bookstores, there aren’t many, if any. The college, VCU is taking over everything. However, as an active member of United Distribution, I’ve actually been looking into how to start my own store, and just may do that one day. I believe the paperback market in this city is wide open.

What’s your strong point? What skill do you think you’ve captured best?
SHAWN: Because I could accept constructive criticism, I can say that I now have the ability to tell a story. I now know what readers are looking for. I can take a reader into a setting, and make them feel as if they are actually there. I can give a reader a character that they will either love or hate. I know how to toy with a readers emotions, and take them there, as they practically live within the scene. For instance, I now know that I can’t take a reader to the south of Richmond, without telling them about the horrible smell from the waist factory. Or tell them about, Mosby Court projects, without mentioning how the trees are gone, and the grass has been replaced with manuer. I key in on details. I want the reader to either say I never want to go there, or I need to visit this place. At the end of the day, they have to feel something or I haven’t done my job.

What are your weaknesses? What areas do you hope to work on and develop more?
SHAWN:Time lines. I still struggle with time lines. Like how do I skip from January to April, without dragging the story, or skipping ahead so fast that I lose my reader? Or when is a good time in the story to change the year. I never want the reader to feel like the story is too slow, but I don’t want them to feel like they’ve lost anything either. Finding a good pace, I would have to say. That’s something I’m working on.

On a personal level. I know you’ve got kids. What else is there to know about Shawn Starling?
SHAWN: Two daughters that I love dearly. I was blessed to have them raised, in my absence, by a phenomenal woman. I was also raised by a strong mother and grandmother. They tried to keep me in church, and a lot of those ethics/values stuck with me. I’m thankful for that. I have a crazy past, but there are no regrets, because, I am now a better person. I’ve learned from my journey. I love hard, but I don’t confuse fantasy with reality. To me a spade is a spade, and that’s what I expect from the people in my small circle.

What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about maybe putting a book together?
SHAWN: Do it, but be passionate about it. There is a lot of bad writing in our genre, so don’t get caught up in what you may have read. Stand out and read other genres. I still read James Patterson. As writers, we are putting our work on a platform and giving readers the right to play judge. The story should have flow, and the readers should be able to ride that wave. Also, when you write what is real to you, others will always feel it. Keep it 100 and they’ll applaud you for it. If you don’t, prepare to be crucified.

Is there anything else you want to add?
SHAWN: I’m simple. I believe life is simple, but we as people tend to complicate things. Honesty, loyalty, and trust is rare, but it will take you so much further than deceit. I’m a go-getter, but I also know the power in keeping still. Sometimes, you just have to be calm. That keeps me grounded. Anger not hate, is loves greatest opponent. So, when I do get angry, I’ll be still, until I’m thinking logically again. Then I move. I’m strategic, I’m a thinker and I don’t talk much. Only when I feel something is needed to be said. Humility is a very hard thing to accomplish, I’m still working at it everyday while others label me humble. The only traits of my past that still remain is the pride I put into what I do, and the fact that I will forever be a hustla. New product, but I’m still a huslta.

How can you be reached?

SHAWN: Fb:Author Shawn_ Starling.
Ig:@Therealstreetauthor

 

Click here to purchase Real Recognize Real by Shawn Starling