All posts by authorandallb

Literary Spotlight: Homie, Lover, Friend by Shawn Thompson


H.L.F. Final Cover


2017 is starting off with authors dropping phenomenal books and Shawn Thompson’s newest work is no different! His novel Homie, Lover, Friend is a contemporary look at the relationships of real people with real issues. He touches on the issues of homosexuality, black hypersexuality and the hardships of a working woman. If the storyline doesn’t sound like Being Mary Jane and Empire rolled into one! I got a chance to talk with Shawn Thompson about the novel and all the tantalizing storylines.

What inspired you to write Homie, Lover Friend?

My novel “Homie. Lover. Friend.” was inspired by events in my own life regarding love and relationships as well as the actual song that was created by R. Kelly in the 90’s. My goal was to depict what life is like for twenty somethings in the world we live in today. Being in my twenties, I have gained experience in the art of love and loss, also struggling with what it truly means to have a “Homie. Lover. Friend.” within significant others and partners.

The book seems like a perfect blend of Empire and Being Mary Jane! Give us some details on these characters and the struggles they have to face in the novel.

Funny you say that; I am familiar with both shows and LOVE Empire. Cookie especially! There are three main characters in “Homie. Lover. Friend.” each with their own prospective struggles. Beau is a gay African American male that is anything but stereotypical, he values unconditional love over casual sex and has a hard time finding it. He also struggles with his personal affinity for his best-friend Roland. Roland is a domineering entrepreneur who has issues respecting those around him and uses women and power to boost his ego. Of course, karma has a way of humbling those who feel they can’t be tamed. Within his doggish past, he has dated and hurt Monae but they have remained friends after the end of their relationship. Monae is a successful career woman who seems to have everything going for her except the support of her fiancé Sterling. Over time she is forced to re-evaluate where she is in life and what is most important to her.

Is it easy to write relationship centric books? It seems like the only topic that continues to stay constant, even as life evolves.

I have always had an interest in relationships and love, part of the reason why I have pursued an alternate career in relationship counseling. It is easy for me to write relationship books because I have been in many relationships and friendships that have pruned me to be who I am now. People will always need one another, regardless of what some might think, which makes the relationship topic easy to relate to. Life may evolve but the yearning for others to care about us constant. Love is life and life is love!

Does “Homie, Lover, Friend” have a deeper meaning than it just being the title of the work?

The title “Homie. Lover. Friend.” was created based off the 90’s R. Kelly song. Each character is one part of the title. Homie being Roland because he is a homie to Beau. Lover being Beau because he wears his heart on his sleeve. Friend being Monae because she is a best-friend to the other characters as they all struggle to find their new selves.

What’s next for you?Headshot

Many things. I have a second book coming out in April called “Jaded”. It is a spin-off to H.L.F. and includes some of the main characters from my first novel. I am also experimenting with different writing styles and preparing myself to write my third novel. I currently co-host a podcast “Conscious Convos” which explores a variety of topics that are prominent to 21st century millennials.  

Where can we find you?

You can find me on Facebook and Instagram. My Facebook page is Author Shawn Christopher and my Instagram name is author_shawnchris

Available Now On Kindle Unlimited And Paperback




Creating Business Fiction w/ Rich Marcello

Commercial Photography

By Randall Barnes

As a young entrepreneur, I love media about business. Shows such as “Survivor’s Remorse”, “Shark Tank”, “Black-ish” and “Being Mary Jane” entertain and motivate me to reach for the stars because success is possible no matter where you come from. But, where are the “Business Fiction” novels? Where are the books that takes the elements of the corporate world and make it entertaining? Where are the books about the business of the publishing and entertainment industry that are filled with eye-catching drama but still has enlightening content that makes you think? Rich Marcello has the answer to my questions with his new novel “Beauty In The Fall”.

“Beauty In The Fall” covers the unfortunate life of main character Dan Underlight, tech entrepreneur and create of the “RadioRadio” company. Dan is a realistic character, as he is flawed and the hardships of life have overtaken him. His ten-year old son tragically passed away and his long-time friend and business partner forces him out of RadioRadio. He feels alone, isolating himself from the world. His mind became a prison full of anxiety, doubt and worry.

Dan eventually garners help from Willow, a domestic violence survivor, and he moves ahead in his life, determined to make change. This novel is a direct reflection of life. Sure, sometimes life takes us on twists and turns that are unexpected  but we have to power through. That’s what being a man is. Quite frankly, that’s what being an adult is. I love this novel and it definitely should spark a trend in the industry where authors start to write novels with an overall purpose that focuses on business. Recently, I had a chance to talk with author Rich Marcello about the novel.



RB: Tell us about your new novel Beauty of the Fall.

Rich: The Beauty of the Fall follows Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, who suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss fires him from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, things don’t go well for Dan. He crashes and isolates himself, and for a time believes his life is over.

Then Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, to figure out how he wants to move forward with his life. When he returns, he recruits three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change, a company that is the world’s first Problem Solving Network.

Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts which I won’t give away now.  Suffice it to say that not everyone is excited about Dan’s company the way he is.  As a result, there are a lot of twists and turns as Dan tries to build his company.

RB: Did the novel come from any real life experiences?

Rich: In a way, all of my novels come from real life experience but almost never directly. I’m a believer in the idea that the best fiction comes from dreams, and so, to the extent that my real experiences inform my dreams, they inform TBOTF.  Or stated differently, there isn’t a scene in the TBOTF that happened in my life or anyone else’s life that I know, but there are fragments of real life throughout the book.

RB: In the novel, Dan Underlight has to deal with the death of his eight-year-old son. Even worse, he gets fired from the company he helped to create! What would you tell readers who are going through the same situation and are feeling hopeless?

Rich: One of the main themes of the book is dealing with grief. As you point out, Dan goes through three losses early in the story, and, in a way, the whole story is about overcoming the loss of his son. By serving a broader goal––the formation and growth of his company, Conversationworks––he takes a few difficult steps toward healing. But he also takes a few steps backward. I guess it’s fair to say Dan learns how to generate love in a broad community even though he’s not sure he deserves love himself. So I would say to your reader, the best way to manage grief is to go through it, and the best way to go through it is to serve a higher goal, and, in the end, to accept that everyone deserves to love again after a great loss.

RB: Writing a book with corporate business at the front of the plot is a trend I would love to see other authors hop on! What made you put that business element into the novel?

Rich: I worked in hi-tech for many years, so I’m quite familiar with what happens in a technology company. In literature, technology is often viewed as a negative and sometimes as downright evil.  I wanted to write a story that uses technology as a way to pull people together instead of dividing them.  That was especially important for me given the world we live in today. Conversationworks uses technology to reduce polarization between factions and helps create workable solutions to big problems.  Imagine what the world would be like if this technology actually existed.

RB: What is the main message you want readers to take from the novel?

Rich: To love, in whatever sphere of influence a reader has, and to act with kindness and compassion each day, even when it seems most difficult.

RB: Do your novels The Big Wide Calm and Beauty Of the Fall connect? If so, how?

Rich: Some years ago I got the idea to write three novels about different kinds of love.  

The first one, The Color of Home, published in 2013, is about romantic love. It follows the lives of a man and woman over six years as they figure out what it means to be in a generative, loving relationship.  The second one, The Big Wide Calm, published in 2014, is about a young woman, Paige Plant, who is mentored on her way to making her first album.  That one’s about platonic love.  The third one, The Beauty of the Fall, is about love in a wider sense, about love in community. But it’s also about fathers and sons, loss, technology, and about equality for women.

RB: Is there a consistent theme in the novels you produce?

Rich: As I mentioned above, all three of novels deal with love in one form or the other.  They also deal with overcoming grief, and with how folks might connect with each other with kindness and compassion in a difficult world. My characters don’t always reach a place where they consistently act from love, but they aspire to act that way.

Learn more about Rich Marcello and his novels at:

Available Now on Amazon!

Follow Rich on Instagram

Twitter: @marcellor


randallheadshotRandall Barnes is an nineteen-year old author, social media influencer, HBCU Advocate and mentor who currently resides in Macon, GA. Randall is already renowned for his positive, realistic, moral driven writings. His first novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson has garnered over 59,000 reads on and universal acclaim. He writes for the popular news website Urban Intellectuals, the relationship blog Courting Her and literary blog Urban Literary Review. Randall is also the author of the eShort Riverview High: Circumstances, which hit number #2 on the Amazon charts in the week of its debut, sitting right under bestselling author Zane’s I’ll Be Home For Christmas the weekend of the debut of her movie Addicted.



Bringing Black Literature Back To Mainstream Media w/ Bestselling Author Tamika Newhouse

A problem that’s plagued the literary community for years upon end is the lack of recognition and media attention that black authors get in the mainstream media. Of course big name authors with remarkable PR teams, years of experience and possible backing from a corporate publisher get their just due but what about the independent authors? As social networking has made it easier to connect with our author peers and cultivate nationwide fan bases like never before, it’s also caused the industry to become oversaturated. With over 100,000 books coming out every year, how will yours be recognized?

AAMBC AwardsThe narrative that’s swept black America over the past year is economic empowerment. Why beg for someone to include us when we are more than capable, with our trillion dollars of spending power, to produce our own? Not everyone is waiting for a handout by the corporate infrastructure. Tamika Newhouse has set up to create a literary based awards ceremony that even rivals that of the music and entertainment industry.

Ms. Newhouse is the bestselling, award winning author of sixteen books, most notably The Ultimate No No Series. Her accolades include being honored with the E. Lynn Harris, named after legendary African-American author E. Lynn Harris who left a foot hole in the industry with his innovation before his passing in 2009. Ms. Newhouse is hosting her inaugural awards ceremony for her AAMBC (African American On The Move Book Club) on June 13th at 6:00. Recently, I got a chance to talk about the event and the importance of recognizing African-American authors in an industry that seems to look past them.

Randall: What was your inspiration behind creating the AAMBC Awards

Tamika Newhouse: The inspiration for the awards show was given to me in response to the irritation of not having a platform that celebrated our writers and their works. We are artists too but we are the last to ever be talked about in mainstream media. We aren’t in or on the cover of magazines, we aren’t on radio shows, we don’t grace the red carpet events, we don’t have billboards or commercials on television but we are indeed artists. Why should these platforms only be given to musicians and actors? Creating the AAMBC Awards is giving African American writers our Grammys.

Randall: What differentiates the AAMBC Awards from other literary based award shows such as the African American Literary Awards Show?

Tamika Newhouse: My main  goal with these awards is to build a consistent platform. Our show is a production that not only is entertaining but we have modeled it to mirror that of the BET or Grammys awards. Our goal is to reflect what is accepted in mainstream media and, with brining that element into play and staying consistent, we plan for the AAMBC Awards to be the mecca event for the black book industry. The award show based in New York lacked consistency and effort to ensure it was a smoothly ran operation. You could see over the years that the quality of that awards show was deteriorating.

Randall: How are the nominees and categories chosen?

Tamika Newhouse: The nominees are sent in through public suggestions. An open poll is created and we ask the public to submit their favorites. From there our board of directors cypher through the submissions and look at the quality of work, the brand/artist themselves, and collectively go from there. If an author doesn’t campaign for nominees then obviously they more likely won’t be nominated.

Randall: How important is winning an award to the career of an author?

It is very important nowadays since the word “bestselling” is overused and holds little credit or merit these days. To be able to state that you are an award-winning author is a proud moment. This is one of the reasons why the awards were created. I wanted rising stars to have the chance of being honored with an accolade.

Randall: One of your mottos for the awards is that you want to push urban literature to the mainstream. What motivated you to pursue this tremendous feat?

Tamika Newhouse: Because it is a hard and tedious feat. Not many people hold a platform or desire to be different and to take on a challenge and I am the opposite of that. I have planned and mediated on developing this show for over a year to ensure it was done correctly. The vision for these awards is to attract attention from mainstream media outlets and be the premiere event for African American writers.

Randall: In your opinion, what is a mainstream author and how would an author get to that point in this landscape.

Tamika Newhouse: My definition of a “mainstream author” is an author with a consistent fan base, full length quality novels, professional covers and editing. These authors also are incredibly visible, getting out to meet fans and hold events. Being an author is an art and you wouldn’t see someone like Jay Z put out an album and not tour and promote it now would you? An author should look at themselves as a brand and should strive to always ensure they are reinventing themselves with each project.

Randall: Does having a contract with a corporate publisher matter in giving an author a mainstream push?

Tamika Newhouse: No it doesn’t. Publishing is made easy these days and it doesn’t mean you have a large publishing deal/contract. It’s all about your presentation and your supporters. Many self-published authors sell and make just as much or more as authors with publishing contract with major publishers.

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

Tamika Newhouse: I was a young dreamer. I had dreamed of being an author when I was twelve. I became a teen mother unfortunately but yet I still launched my company at 20 years old. It all starts with a dream and then you follow up with action. Don’t just sit and wait for an opportunity to come to you; create your opportunity. And don’t say you don’t know how when google can be your best friend.

Randall: What’s next on the horizon for your brand?

Tamika Newhouse: Well I am launching a few different companies and a web series called Lit Ish. I will begin to plan out the 2016 AAMBC Literary Awards and maintain the launch of Mahogany Red Books. I am also still writing and releasing books yearly.

You can Find Tamika Newhouse at:

Twitter @TamikaNewhouse


The inaugural AAMBC Literary Awards Ceremony is June 13th at 6:00 PM EST. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime event, bringing black authors into the mainstream! Details below:

Tickets for the Lit Ish “Voices Behind Black Fiction” discussion w/ Mary B. Morrison, Nicki Turner and T. Styles occurring from 12:00 to 3:30 PM EST can be purchased at:

Tickets for the awards ceremony can be purchased at:

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!

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

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


Creating Larger Than Life Characters w/ Author Rich Marcello

Among readers, there is a debate as to what is the most captivating part of a novel. Many say the setting, as it allows the reader to escape from their problems into a seemingly new world. Others cite the plot, saying that the adventures and mishaps of the various characters in the story is what grabs their attention. However, I concede that the cultivation of characters that resonate with readers across geographical and cultural lines give a novel that personally keeps my attention.

A perfect examplThe Big Wide Calme of one of these dynamic characters is Page Plant from Rich Marello’s musically driven coming-of-age novel The Big Wide Calm. Many fans of the novel have noted the sheer authenticity of Page’s voice and journey to success in the music industry. Certainly there’s a method behind creating a character such as Page Plant. Recently, I discussed this very topic with Mr. Marcello.

Randall: Tell us about your novel The Big Wide Calm.

Rich Marcello: The Big Wide Calm is the second of three novels I’m writing about different kinds of love, and deals with platonic love.  The first, The Color of Home, was published in 2013 by Langdon Street Press and deals with romantic love. The third, The Beauty of the Fall, deals with love in the broader community, and will come out in 2016.

The Big Wide Calm is Paige Plant’s story.  From an early age, she’s had aspirations of becoming a famous singer/songwriter, and the book deals with the year in her life in which she makes her first album, The Big Wide Calm.  It’s also the year she grows exponentially as an artist and a woman, and the year that she finally understands all the different meanings of The Big Wide Calm.


Randall: What was the process behind making Page Plant, the explosive main character of The Big Wide Calm?

Rich Marcello: I wrote the first draft of the book very quickly–in about three months. Before I started writing, I spent a great deal of time getting Paige’s voice right, and while I wish I could tell you exactly the process I used to find her, about all I can say is that she emerged from dreamtime. I’m a very disciplined writer and start writing every day at five o’clock in the morning.  So, in a sense, I go directly from one kind of dream time (sleep) to another (writing).  It’s through that process of dream-writing that Paige came to me. In many ways, I felt like I was channeling her each day.  My job was more to accurately get down what she was saying than anything else. It was a great experience.


Randall: In my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson, my main character Aaliyah Anderson is loosely based off my mindset and philosophies on life. That fact is dually noted by my readers, as they all agree that Aaliyah is the female version of me! Do you share that same connection with Page? If so, how?

Rich Marcello: In my first novel, The Color of Home, I shared many of the same philosophies as Nick Satterborn, one of the two main characters in the book.  So from that perspective, I have my own version of Aaliyah. After that book was complete, I wanted to move away from writing characters too much like me. So no, I don’t share that same connection with Paige as I do with Nick. With that said, we all draw from our experiences when we write, so the part of her that’s a musician I can certainly relate to given my musical background, but the rest of her is mostly imagined. 


Randall: What made you write in the voice of Page Plant?

Rich Marcello: I wanted to write a strong, intelligent, artistic character who knew what she wanted and went after it. There aren’t enough strong female characters in literary fiction, so I wanted to add her voice. Some people wonder about a male writing a female character, especially as the protagonist, but my goal from the start has been to write exceptional characters, male or female. For that reason, writing Paige was the right choice for me, and I’m really happy with the way she turned out.


Randall: What is the main message you want readers to take from the novel?

Rich Marcello: That if people truly and deeply love each other, they can change the world.


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

Rich Marcello: If I could give one bit of advice to young people, or to anyone really, it would be to take a vow of unconditional happiness.  This is extremely difficult to practice and most will be challenged by it in big and small ways every day for the rest of their lives. Still, for me, after a great many years of struggle, I found this simple idea to be incredibly powerful. Try it sometime, for a day or an hour or a few minutes, and you’ll see what it brings up.


Find Rich Marcello at:

Twitter: @marcellor




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!

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

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


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.


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

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:


-Twitter: @jannelle12


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!

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

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


Pain Is A Sign Of Worse To Come w/Author Tumika Patrice Cain

“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”

Chuck Palahniuk, “Diary”

One thing that I’ve observed in my three in a half years of being in high school is that we train ourselves to withstand high levels of emotional pain, especially young women, in our intimate relationships. No matter the offense or disrespectful action that our partners commit against us, we continue to stand by them without any recourse or reaction. Even as these actions become more and more of a pattern we continue to go back to the people that hurt us the most until we accumulate unbearable emotional baggage that prevents us from ever being compatible with another person.

Stupid QuoteBeing trapped into anything is destructive. It kills your spirit, weakens your self-esteem and makes you bitter. But we’ve become so used to pain and disappointment that the concept of a good person that’s on point and about their business that also cares for you is foreign. Isn’t that insane? My response to that redundant mindset brings me to a metaphor that I thought of as I was writing on my debut novel The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson (available now). If you witness someone you’re friends with burn themselves on a stove, you’ll run to their aid and check to see if they’re alright and need medical attention. They’re fine though. The first time is an accident.

But they keep burning themselves on that exact same stovetop. Every time they do you become less and less concerned, or at least I hope you would be.  It’s in human nature to shield ourselves from what hurts us. Our senses aid us in doing so. Why does this change in relationships? How do we change this narrative?

I discussed this with Tumika Cain, award-winning author of Seasons Of Change. She gave some insight on the situation that even enlightened me, showing her vast knowledge of the realm of relationships that’s dually reflected in the pages of her novel.


Randall: Tumika, I saw a quote on Facebook recently that said “sometimes the butterflies that tell you you’re in love but the pain.” I understand some adversity but I feel like pain is a strong word! Do you think pain and turmoil is necessary for a growing relationship or is it a sign that you need to leave at the earliest convenience?


Tumika Cain: There are no perfect people, so at some point we all fall short and hurt each other – whether intentionally or not.  In relationships, there is the good and the bad that comes with it.  However, when it comes to a person deliberately mistreating or abusing another person, that is where the line is drawn  The whole premise behind love is that it’s selfless, it’s giving, and it esteems the other person. Love requires commitment, fidelity, sacrifice, compromise, and selflessness. A person who abuses another is obviously not considering what’s in the best interest of their partner.  Too often women stay with men who demean, abuse, neglect, cheat and a host of other attributes that are directly the opposite of what it means to love. It is with great hope that we stay long after the signs have presented themselves telling us that it’s time to go.  We hope the person will change.  We hope the negative behaviors will stop. We hope that he will go back to how he may have been before the mistreatment began.  And in all of this, we forget that we are important, that we have value and that we don’t have to stay with someone who won’t do their part. 


Randall: In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good relationship?

Seasons Of Change Tumika Cain: As I mentioned earlier, love is selfless as a basis, but a good relationship should include some (if not all) of the following attributes:

 Unconditional – we need to go into the relationship accepting the other person for  who they are. Everyone has deal breakers and if the person is functioning in a place  that is a deal breaker, don’t get involved. It’s much better to walk away before it gets  started than trying to change someone later on.

 Selfless – We live in a culture of selfish people who don’t take the time to think about  the needs, wants or desires of anyone other than themselves.  That does not work in a  relationship.  There are two people in a relationship and both of them matter. Which  takes me right to my next point.

 Giving – There has to be a balance in relationships. If one person does all the giving  and the other does all the taking, the relationship is unbalanced.  It is important for  both partners to give and to take, sort of like an ebb and flow. It will not always be  balanced because we’re at different places at different times, with those needs varying  depending on the circumstances.

 Esteems the other higher than themselves – This principle, I think, flies in the  face of everything we are taught in our culture. In a world of narcissism and what’s in  it for me, to say that we esteem someone else higher than ourselves is a foreign  concept.  When it’s done correctly, it creates the perfect balance because if I am focused  on meeting your needs and you are focused on meeting my needs, then both of our  needs are being met pretty consistently.  The problem comes in when you are focused  on you and I am focused on you (and vice versa) or when each partner if focused on  self, no one is considering what’s in the best interest of the other.  We should be

Forgiving – Because we are imperfect being, we all fall short and need to be forgiven. Forgiveness helps us to not get bitter and resentful.  When a person truly forgives, they do not throw the infraction back up in the face of their partner or keep talking about it to other people.  They let bygones be bygones.

Patient – We all come into relationships with our pasts, expectations, and shortcomings.  To expect two people to be on one accord all the time without truly learning each other is absurd. Even the way we communicate can be very different. We need to be patient with ourselves and with each other as go through our learning curves.  There will always be something new to learn and apply because we are constantly changing and evolving.  Patience will always be a necessary ingredient in a healthy relationship.

Kind – Have you ever noticed how people talk to each other? Sometimes I just cringe.  We can be so cruel and thoughtless to the ones we love and nicer to complete strangers. Our words need to minister grace and be soft.  After all, a soft answer turns away wrath. We can diffuse a lot of circumstances by just remembering to be kind to each other and not treating our partner differently that how we’d like to be treated.

Compromise (but never at the expense of one’s morals, values or safety) – No one is right all the time and no two people want exactly the same thing at all times. We have to give some and we have give up some.  If we can remember that both people in the relationship are of equal importance, it would help when it comes time to reach a happy medium.  Not every battle is worth going to war over. Sometimes you have to ask yourself, do I want to right or do I want to be happy?

Good listening skills (we need to hear what the other person is saying and how they are feeling. This includes body language.  We’d get into far less scraps with each other if we learn to listen to what the other person is saying and wait for the appropriate time to bring up an issue.)

Freedom to move, grow and make mistakes (we all make mistakes and life is a series of lessons that make us grow up as we pass them. There has to be freedom to not be perfect without the proverbial foot coming down on the person’s neck for making a mistake. )

Protecting (a mate should be protective of their partner’s feelings, their person, the reputation)

It possesses a level of privacy (it is not everyone’s business what is going on in your relationship with another person.  Too often we blab to family and friends and those people put their two cents in and make things worse instead of better for the couple.

Accountability (a person who is not held accountable to anyone will do whatever he or she wants to do.  Accountability helps keep us in line. We are less likely to behave any kind of way when we know that we’ll have to tell someone else what we’ve done.)

Respect ­– Everyone wants to be treated with respect. Men have an even greater need for respect because it’s how they were designed. This can sometimes be a fragile road to travel because men and women are wired differently, we don’t always know what the other considers disrespectful. This is where learning and listening to your mate helps a great deal.



Randall: Tell us about your award-winning book Season of Change?

Tumika Cain: Season of Change is a dramatic work of fiction that tells the story of Alicia and Avery Ayers. On the surface it looks like they have everything: they are attractive, wealthy, well-respected within their community and careers, and have the trappings of success that money can buy. They make it their business to keep up appearances, but behind closed doors their world is swiftly crumbling as unresolved issues from both of their pasts come back to haunt them. Each has done the best they knew how to sweep their issues under the rug, but never actually dealt with anything.  As it is with life, that which we don’t deal with will always come back around….usually at the least opportune time.  They are faced with real issues and reach a fork in the road where they have to take a real look at themselves, at each other, at their lives and make a pivotal decision. 


Season of Change challenges stereotypes, exposes issues with the Black culture here in the United States, as well as shines a light on severe issues of domestic violence. Even though the issues are multi-faceted and the read is intense, one is not left without a sense of hope, redemption, forgiveness and the chance for a better tomorrow.


Randall: Was there a real live motivation behind the novel? If so, what was it?

Tumika Cain: Season of Change is a fictional piece of work that was written to give a voice to those whose lives have been touched by these issues, but have yet to find their own voice. This is their story, in part it’s my story, and unfortunately, it’s the story of many. While completely fictitious, it was written to be a catalyst for my own healing after being exposed to some of the issues therein.


Randall: Is the concept of a storybook relationship realistic?

Tumika Cain: A while ago someone asked me if I believed in happily-ever-after endings. My response was “Yes. To the degree that you are willing to work on the relationship, that is the level of happily-ever-after you will receive.” We live in a time and in a society that covets having everything right now. All too often I see people striving to have bigger, better, and newer, while never stopping a moment just to enjoy what they already have.  It’s like we’ve gotten to the point where we don’t take the time to nurture what we have to the fullness of its potential. The journey is just as important as reaching the destination.  We go into relationships talking about breaking up.  That is ridiculous. Even the trees we see outside gain strength by weathering adversity.  Is there such a thing as a perfect life?  Absolutely not, because we are imperfect people, living in an imperfect world, but we can be blissfully happy within ourselves and with each other if are only willing to do the work.



Randall: What other projects do you have coming up?

Tumika Cain: By the end of first quarter 2015, I will have two more books out.  On the Pulse of Morning is part two of the Seasons series. It’s a much softer storyline and I am really enjoying writing this book. The Heart of a Woman is my next poetry collection and it will come out around the same time.


In addition, my book club is sponsoring an event on June 6. 2015 called Say What?? Book Club presents Brunch with Your Favorite Authors where 9 of this year’s featured authors will join us and the attendees for an afternoon of fun, fellowship, good food and great books. It’s a book signing and opportunity to meet and greet with the authors.  Our special guest for the event is NAACP Image Award winning author, Beverly Jenkins.  We are all looking forward to and tickets will be going on sale soon so be sure to check it out.


I’ll be hosting a new internet radio show called In the Spotlight starting in January for authors looking for more media exposure.


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

Tumika Cain: You are born with unique gifts, talents and abilities that have to be cultivated.  On your journey, not everyone will understand the goals, dreams and vision you have for your life, but you have to pursue your passion, regardless.  The goal when we reach the end of our lives is to leave here having fulfilled our purpose in life and with few regrets. While tomorrow is promised, it’s not promised to me or you, so each day make dedicated and deliberate steps towards fulfilling your purpose and making your dreams come true.  Don’t worry about who hasn’t done it before you.  When we rise and shine, we give others the freedom to do the same.  Determine that you will live this life full out and know that as you continue on your journey, everything you need to make it will be presented at the proper time.  You can do it!


You can find Tumika Cain at: will be live by the end of 2014

I also have two blogs:


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!


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

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


Keeping Faith Through Rough Circumstances w/Author Snook

“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”

-Malcolm X

One thing that everyone encounters in their life is adversity. defines adversity as adverse fortune or fate; a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress. The definition is incredibly descriptive. It shows me that, no matter what your race, gender, religious/spiritual beliefs, political viewpoints, sexual preference or socio-economic status, you will have problems in your life that’ll make you feel like breaking down and losing faith. No one is exempt from it.

Even though we, as humans, all fall into adverse circumstances in our lives, how we deal with these proverbial road blocks is what differentiates us. Do you break down and accept defeat in your life or do you power through these rough times and grow from them? Most people are weak-willed and lazy, always accepting the status quo and what’s forced upon them. They have no desire to improve their lives and fold when the life creates a mild windstorm that barely even mirrors the hell hurricane that ravishes the surroundings of people in rougher situations.

Stop accepting weakness and defeat family! Put Donnie McClurkin’s classic song We Fall Down in your mental rolodex and keep your faith in the midst of these troubling times in your life. After every storm, there’s always a rainbow right?

“We fall down but we get up

We fall down but we get up

We fall down but we get up

For a saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up”

Recently I talked to Snook, the author of The Day The Walls Cried. The novel is about one family’s adverse circumstances and how they keep going despite it all. She gave some great insight that everyone going through a rough season in their life should read and take into their life.

Snook Article Edited Picture

Randall: Your novel The Day The Walls Cried has a distinct motivation behind it. Tell us what spurred the creation of this story and also what it’s about.

Snook: “The Day The Walls Cried” was inspired by the need to bring awareness to deafness. I know first-hand about growing up with a family member that has a hearing impairment.  I wanted to tell a story about truth and second chances. Truth in the sense that bad things can happen to good people. Second chances aren’t always given, but if you are given a second chance, consider yourself blessed. This story was written from my heart, creating a compelling story.

“The Day The Walls Cried” depicts a story of a young man who is raised by a single mother that is deaf. King and his mother, Jasmine, moves to the worst housing project in the city of Richmond after his grandmother dies. He is forced into an environment where he has to learn fast to survive and where life changes forever. His mother is attacked in her bedroom while he listens from the other side of the wall of his best friend’s bedroom. After his mother’s death, King moves in with Aunt Pearl. There he meets her foster kid, Starr. They bond as brother and sister and vows to be there for one another no matter what. He plan to avenge his mother’s death. Starr being the only person that knows his plan plays the biggest role and she doesn’t know it. When the past collides with the present, King must make a decision to kill or forgive.

Randall: In my opinion, the best literature is one that exposes societal ills in an innovative way. What point were you trying to get across in The Day The Walls Cried? What was the core message behind this story?

Snook: In “The Day The Walls Cried” you will see the struggle of a single mother, the struggle of growing up without a mother or father, and the life of a family dealing with disabilities. The point that I wanted to make is that we can’t let our past dictate our future. Living in our past only holds us back from living. We have a choice to choose a path that leads either left or right. Everyone may not be so blessed to have a second chance, therefore we must make wise choices.

Randall: How important is family unity and stability to proper childhood development?

Snook: Family unity and stability is very important to a child’s development. The first relationship a child has is with their parents and siblings. How those relationships are shaped has a direct impact on a child. These relationships often are reflective of the relationships that a child goes on to develop with others. The rearing of a child starts at home. The home should be stable to provide a strong foundation for a child’s development.


Randall: In this new American society, is having a two-parent home realistic?

Snook: Yes. A two parent home is still realistic in today’s society. No matter how much society changes, you can’t change the fact that it takes the mother and father to raise a child. Although, many are doing it alone, it is still more beneficial that there are two parents in the home.


Randall: In your opinion, what are the biggest problem with our collective viewpoints towards relationships, raising children and family building in this current climate?

Snook: One thing I will say, is that we have changed how we parent. We no longer parent the way that we were parented. Today, people are more sensitive about certain subject matters and are intimidated into being politically correct. This applies to raising our children, our relationships and families.

Randall: Following off the previous questions, what solutions do your propose?

Snook: I don’t think that there is one single solution. We have to respect one another and realize that we are all human. We shouldn’t condemn others for being different but we must unite as human beings. We should respect one another’s point of views.

Randall: What other projects do you have coming up?

Snook: My upcoming project is the highly anticipated title, “Karma’s Kiss 2.” It is set to release next year. It’s the follow up to my debut novel, “Karma’s Kiss” that was originally released in 2012. The Down Turn and Karma’s Kiss will also be re-released next year under Amarquis Publications.

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

Snook: No matter your circumstances, you have a choice how you want to live your life.  If your past or current situation involves abuse, you don’t have to grow up to be the abuser. You have the choice to become something greater. Your choices in life sets the path to your future. Make smart decisions. Don’t let your past dictate your future or hold you back from progress. Choose LIFE.


You can find Snook at:


Fan page:

Twitter: @snook804


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!

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

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