Category Archives: Literary Spotlight

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

 

 

 

Advertisements

Literary Spotlight: Loving You Feels So Right : Alana & Jakobi Story

literaryspotlightnew

Alana Kim is the definition of crazy, sexy, cool. Labeled a man eater by current and former lovers, this wild child lives life on her terms and couldn’t care less what the world thinks of her. Seeking something she never experienced in her home growing up, Alana relishes the affection and attention she receives from the opposite sex. Men absolutely adore her but she’s unable to return those feelings of adoration which causes problems to arise with a longtime lover. For years, Alana has been content having sex without strings or commitments and has no plans to be tied down by anyone. It’s not until she witnesses the lives of the ones closest to her changing, that her past begins to weigh heavily on her heart. Throw into the mix an amazingly handsome man who captures her heart immediately and suddenly she’s changing her tune, considering love for the very first time.

Jakobi Tate is a damaged soul, carrying a load of hurt and pain on his shoulders but from the moment he lays eyes on Alana his life was forever changed. It’s like he’s known her his whole life and with no real family to call his own besides his brother Marcus, Jakobi is hoping to build something solid with Alana. However, he soon discovers that there’s tons of baggage and other men that come along with loving someone like her. Her promiscuous ways along with her detached personality may be just enough to push him away for good. Jakobi is fighting his own demons so he’s left wondering if taking on her issues is worth all the trouble. They have a connection that is out of this world but will that be enough for them to hold on to what they’ve found in one another? Read along as unimaginable revelations come to light and a foolish obsession reaches its breaking point in this steamy urban romance.

Literary Spotlight: Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War

Available now in Paperbackfighterpilots

Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War details author and Professor Mary Lawlor’s unconventional upbringing in Cold War America. Memories of her early life—as the daughter of a Marine Corps and then Army father—reveal the personal costs of tensions that once gripped the entire world, and illustrate the ways in which bold foreign policy decisions shaped an entire generation of Americans, defining not just the ways they were raised, but who they would ultimately become. As a kid on the move she was constantly in search of something to hold on to, a longing that led her toward rebellion, to college in Paris, and to the kind of self-discovery only possible in the late 1960s.

A personal narrative braided with scholarly, retrospective reflections as to what that narrative means, Fighter Pilot’s Daughter zooms in on a little girl with a childhood full of instability, frustration and unanswered questions such that her struggles in growth, her struggles, her yearnings and eventual successes exemplify those of her entire generation.

From California to Georgia to Germany, Lawlor’s family was stationed in parts of the world that few are able to experience at so young an age, but being a child of military parents has never been easy. She neatly outlines the unique challenges an upbringing without roots presents someone struggling to come to terms with a world at war, and a home in constant turnover and turmoil. This book is for anyone seeking a finer awareness of the tolls that war takes not just on a nation, but on that nation’s sons and daughters, in whose hearts and minds deeper battles continue to rage long after the soldiers have come home.

Click Here to read on Kindle

Reviews

Mary Lawlor’s memoir, Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War, is terrifically written. The experience of living in a military family is beautifully brought to life. This memoir shows the pressures on families in the sixties, the fears of the Cold War, and also the love that families had that helped them get through those times, with many ups and downs. It’s a story that all of us who are old enough can relate to, whether we were involved or not. The book is so well written. Mary Lawlor shares a story that needs to be written, and she tells it very well. (The Jordan Rich Show)

Mary Lawlor, in her brilliantly realized memoir, articulates what accountants would call a soft cost, the cost that dependents of career military personnel pay, which is the feeling of never belonging to the specific piece of real estate called home. . . . [T]he real story is Lawlor and her father, who is ensconced despite their ongoing conflict in Lawlor’s pantheon of Catholic saints and Irish presidents, a perfect metaphor for coming of age at a time when rebelling was all about rebelling against the paternalistic society of Cold War America. (Stars and Stripes)

Fighter Pilot’s Daughter. . . is a candid and splendidly-written account of a young woman caught in the political turmoil of the ’60s and the domestic turmoil that percolated around a John Wayne figure who won the Distinguished Flying Cross, eight Air Medals and the Cross of Gallantry across three generations of star spangled blood and guts. … Among the triumphs of the book is Lawlor’s ability to transition from academic – she is the author of two scholarly books and numerous articles about American literature and culture – to popular writing. ‘I tried very hard to keep my academic voice out of the book,’ said Lawlor, who will be retiring as a professor and director of American Studies after the spring semester. ‘In academic writing, you explain and explain and footnote and footnote, and some of the life inevitably comes out of it. I wanted this to have life.’ In so many ways it does….[particularizing] her family, including her mother, Frannie, her older twin sisters (Nancy and Lizzie) and a younger sister (Sarah). . . . In many ways the Lawlor women drive her narrative. … Her principal focus, inevitably, is her Fighter Pilot Father, who, in her words, ‘seemed too large and wild for the house.’ Jack Lawlor was so true to fighter-pilot form as to be an archetype, hard-drinking, hard-to-please, sometimes (though not always) hard-of-heart. Mary does not spare those details.’ (Muhlenberg: The Magazine)

This engrossing memoir adeptly weaves the author’s account of growing up in a military family in the United States and Europe with domestic American and international Cold War events. Mary Lawlor’s descriptions of her parents’ origins and aging, and her perceptive, honest reflections on childhood and young adulthood between the 1950s and 1970s, are illuminated by the knowledge and wisdom that develop over decades of adulthood. In re-visiting her earlier life, the author reveals a process of arriving at a compassionate understanding of the significant people in it—relatives, friends, nuns, boyfriends, and draft resisters, among others—and through this, a clearer understanding of one’s self. She demonstrates that comprehension of the broad historical context in which one lives—in her case, the pervasive global rivalry between communism and anticommunism, and its influences on American ideals about family roles, political values, and aspirations, which she questioned and challenged as a young woman drawn into the counterculture—is crucial for attaining such self-knowledge. (Donna Alvah, Associate Professor and Margaret Vilas Chair of US History, St. Lawrence University)

Also in Paperback

About the Author

mary

Mary Lawlor is professor of English and the Director of American Studies at Muhlenberg College. She is the author of Recalling the Wild: Naturalism and the Closing of the American West, and Public Native America: Tribal Self Representation in Casinos, Museums and Powwows.

 

Meet the Insider: Jaclyn Gary

Meet the Insider Series

By Tiah Short

jackiebookstore.png

Tell us about your bookstore.  Your name and position.  Where you are located and what genres do you carry?

I’m Jaclyn Gary, the owner of Mahogany Reads Café, which is an Indie Bookstore located in Holly Hill, Florida (just outside of Daytona Beach, Florida). We carry all genres of books, such as, both fiction & non-fiction, urban street lit, romance, erotica, and poetry, to name a few.

What inspired you to launch your bookstore?

My husband Hood Ink wrote a book called Bad Karma, that we self-published. Through that journey I realized that there aren’t many platforms available for self-published authors to get their books out to the masses. Bookstores such Barnes & Noble and BAM have strict guidelines as to books they accept into their store. This gave me the idea of starting a bookstore that is geared towards independent authors/publishers.  With all that’s going on in the world today, I just want our people who are doing right to feel accomplished by having their books in print and in a bookstore.

Can readers purchase books from you online?

Readers can purchase books online at http://www.mahoganyreads.com

What authors have you worked with and which one did you enjoy the most?

I’ve worked with Author Bernie Richmond and of course my husband Hood Ink the author. I’ve enjoyed working with them both. Bernie has a bookstore in Miami so she has been kind of a mentor to me throughout this whole process.

What type of books do your customers enjoy most?

Because I just opened my physical store (Saturday 11/5), I’ve only been selling Bad Karma by Hood Ink. The readers seem to like that genre, so I will have plenty of urban street lit in stock.

How do authors and publishers contact to you for book signings and to pitch their books for placement in your stores?

I can be contacted via email at mahoganyreads@gmail.com

What has been one of the challenges of running a bookstore?

The challenge that I’ve faced has been trying to get the store open. Due to Hurricane Matthew that affected Florida’s east coast a few weeks ago, it pushed our renovations back a few weeks. But with God and determination we are now open.

If you had any advice for authors and publishers, what would it be?

I would tell them to remain professional and consistent. This is a great platform for all parties involved (the bookstore owner, the author, and the publisher). If you say you’re going to do something be sure that you do it. If something comes up and what you said you would do changes please keep the line of communication open.

If you had any advice for future book sellers, what would it be?

My advice would be to go for it. You only fail if you don’t try. We need more bookstores. We need more places that cater to us. We need a place to go to make ourselves feel proud to be who we are. So, just go for it!!

Please share with us how authors can contact you via email and social media?

I can be contacted via email mahognayreads@gmail.com,

 

Facebook at www.facebook.com/mahoganyreadscafe, Instagram at www.instagram.com/mahoganyreads and Twitter at www.twitter.com/mahoganyreads

 

tiahnew

Tiah Short is the Founder of Urban Literary Review and CEO of DC Bookdiva Publications, Find her online at dcbookdiva.com.

 

 

ULR Feature: Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War

fighterpilotsFighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War details author and Professor Mary Lawlor’s unconventional upbringing in Cold War America. Memories of her early life—as the daughter of a Marine Corps and then Army father—reveal the personal costs of tensions that once gripped the entire world, and illustrate the ways in which bold foreign policy decisions shaped an entire generation of Americans, defining not just the ways they were raised, but who they would ultimately become. As a kid on the move she was constantly in search of something to hold on to, a longing that led her toward rebellion, to college in Paris, and to the kind of self-discovery only possible in the late 1960s.

A personal narrative braided with scholarly, retrospective reflections as to what that narrative means, Fighter Pilot’s Daughter zooms in on a little girl with a childhood full of instability, frustration and unanswered questions such that her struggles in growth, her struggles, her yearnings and eventual successes exemplify those of her entire generation.

From California to Georgia to Germany, Lawlor’s family was stationed in parts of the world that few are able to experience at so young an age, but being a child of military parents has never been easy. She neatly outlines the unique challenges an upbringing without roots presents someone struggling to come to terms with a world at war, and a home in constant turnover and turmoil. This book is for anyone seeking a finer awareness of the tolls that war takes not just on a nation, but on that nation’s sons and daughters, in whose hearts and minds deeper battles continue to rage long after the soldiers have come home.

Available in Hardcover

About the Author

mary

 

Mary Lawlor grew up in a military family during the Cold War.  Her father was a decorated fighter pilot who fought in the Pacific during World War II, flew missions in Korea, and did two combat tours in Vietnam. His family followed him from base to base and country to country during his years of service. Every two or three years, Mary, her three sisters, and her mother packed up their household and moved. By the time she graduated from high school, they had shifted homes fourteen times. These displacements, plus her father’s frequent absences and brief, dramatic returns, were part of the fabric of her childhood, as were the rituals of base life and the adventures of life abroad.

As Mary came of age, tensions grew between the patriotic, Catholic culture of her upbringing and the values of the countercultural sixties. By the time she dropped out of the American College in Paris in 1968, she faced her father, then posted in Saigon, across a deep political divide.  Inevitably, the war came home.  The fighter pilot, without knowing it, had taught his daughter how to fight back.

Years of turbulence followed.  Then, after working in Germany, Spain and Japan, Mary went on to graduate school at NYU, earned a Ph.D. and became a professor of literature and American Studies at Muhlenberg College.

She and her husband spend part of each year on a small farm in the mountains of southern Spain. More information is available at http://www.marylawlor.net.

Visit Her On Amazon

Available in Paperback

Book Review

I so related to Mary Lawlor’s book. As an American Army Brat growing up in Okinawa, England and Germany, I always felt like an outsider and longed to put down roots and be a “normal American”. Ms. Lawlor captures so beautifully that feeling of wanting to be part of a tribe that is continually shifting. Her descriptions of the Cold War events that shaped her youth are vivid and engaging. Ultimately, one finishes the book realizing that “home is where the heart is”. I loved this book!

Available Now on Kindle

ULR Feature: Ghetto Rose by Nisha Lanae

Available Now From Nisha Lanae!
 
Dahlia is a young, beautiful and ambitious hairstylist trying to focus on her future of owning her own hair shop and settling down with the new man in her life. After suffering years of abuse by the hands of a man she once loved. Dahlia has found love again. But, she never imaged it would turn out without a trip down the aisle. When lies began to unravel, secrets unfold and boundaries are crossed. Dahlia is left with her head spinning, her heart aching sitting in a cold jail cell. Dahlia finds herself on the ugly side of love once again. On top of all the drama in her love life. Dahlia has to put on a happy face and play superwoman to her family.
Love shouldn’t bring hurt and pain but joy and happiness. Through rain and pain a sun will arise and a beautiful rose will blossom or die.
 

ULR Welcomes Nisha Lanae!

Tanisha “Nisha Lanae” Williams hails from the gritty streets of Los Angeles, Ca. At a young age Nisha, feel in love with the art of storytelling, to mentally escape the real life drama and craziness going on in her young life. In 2012, at the tender age of 23. Her childhood dream, had become her reality of becoming a published writer. Nisha signed to a publishing company and release a short bloody e-book series titled “Penthouse”. Although months later she parted ways with the publishing company, she didn’t let that stop her from fulfilling her dreams. Taking what she learned aboutUrban Literature and lots of research she reemerged in 2013, with the re-release of her short e-book series which now is titled “Dice…The Queen of Murder” later that same year she blessed her readers with a heart-pounding street tale titled “Pounding the Pavement. In 2014, Nisha launched her own publishing company “Concrete Rose Publications” with the release of a gimey gangsta tale of lies and greed titled “LAnd of Snakes”


Nisha and Concrete Rose Publications are not currently accepting manuscripts at this time. Nisha does have plans on mentoring and publishing aspiring and current author coming fall 2016… stay tuned for more details.


A firm believer in God. Nisha knows all things through him are possible and no task is too heavy when he is guiding your footsteps. Nisha is currently focused on building a solid foundation for her business and brand where “Quality over Quantity” isn’t just words to her. Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature –Gerard De Nerval
Welcomes.png