Tag Archives: books


Written by: Godfather


A writer writes. Words in the mind of a creative spirit, simply MUST be expressed. Poems, lyrics, letters, novels, notes. We flip and twist; become captured by the sounds and descriptive acrobats of that which flows from our pen.

Umar Quadeer was always talented. From early on, he was spitting lyrics on the stage of name brand acts, and becoming known for his lyrical skills. A man of knowledge and wisdom, while in prison, the guys would often ask, Umar Quadeer, just how it was that he’d ended up there. No matter the options available, or the natural talent we may have, we all choose our paths, even when we don’t consciously make a selection. By NOT tapping into his talent, Umar had let himself down, and left himself to suffer within the troubling travels of his bad decisions.

From Philly, to Sacramento, and now Atlanta, Umar’s life has been a broken journey spotted with imprisonment. In fact, it was while in prison that Umar took the time to write. With 10 manuscripts under his belt, when he paroled, Umar originally tried his hand at self-publishing. However, he was quickly discovered by, Wahida Clark, The Queen of Urban Lit, when he approached her about having some books printed. She saw it. She liked it. She called. And, so the push began, shaping, Umar Quadeer, into one of the next wave of talented urban authors worthy of recognition. And, so, the journey begins.

ENEMY BLOODLINE dropped in June 2014. Now, meet and remember, Umar Quadeer, a man who’ll clearly be around for a while.




What is ENEMY BLOODLINE about? 

Umar: Enemy Bloodline is about a Mixed Italian and black gangster named Spaz. He inherits a multi-million dollar drug enterprise and tries to carry on tradition. But, pretty women, FBI agents, and jealousy make his goal harder than he could ever dream of.

What makes your writing different than what’s out there?

My creativity and originality separates me from the rest.

Who/what were your inspirations? 

A song I wrote, called ‘5 Niggas in the Cadillac’, influenced me to write a book. The underground classic was a story from beginning to end.

Tell us about your rap history. How long were you in the biz? Who all did you work with? Any other music in your future? 

I hit the streets hard for a few years grinding my music. I did a show with the late Notorious B.I.G., but going back and forth to prison is what took me off that path. I’m working on a single as we speak.

I know you’ve acted as an extra in movies. Tell us about that. Which movies were you in? How long were you acting? Any plans for acting in the future?  

I was in this series called City of Angels. That was fun working besides Gabriel Union, she’s beautiful.

What other books do you have coming out, and when should we look for them? 

Enemy Bloodline part two is coming soon and I have an arsenal of other series coming so stay tuned!

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about the business end of publishing? 

Stay on your A-game. You have to write like an author and think like a publisher.

Self-publishing. What were your greatest challenges?

There were a lot of challenges, but mainly the overall grind. Marketing, promotion, distribution and the preparation of the manuscript.

What advice would you give to a new author?

Work on your craft. Study before you dive in, and be yourself.

Marketing: Share one tip you’ve learned? 

Social media is the new stage for authors.

Distribution: Any advice there? 

Books don’t sell themselves.

Book signings: Anything in the works?

Yeah. Dec. 13th book signing, at the Cobb Center in Atlanta, Ga.

What’s next for Umar Quadeer?

Books, music, movies and clothes.

Anything else you want to share? 

Yeah. I want to think the higher power for generating energy inside my brain to be talented, and I want to thank, Wahida Clark, for giving me the chance to show the world my talent.

How can you be reached?

I can be reached easy through Instagram’s direct message.  Umar_quadeer_ on facebook and twitter.

 Purchase Enemy Bloodline now!




Written by: Wesley “Godfather” Hunter

What do you call a man who’s misspent over $20,000 to launch his own publishing company? Who’s acquired promotions and entered into chain store deals requiring him to pay for the printing and shipment of 5000 copies of a paperback, only to have those paperbacks returned less than 60 days later, after being told the chain store had closed? A man who then runs into another bunch of dream sellers, which promise to help re-distribute the few copies which could be salvaged from the jumbled junk which had been literally shoved into a box and returned, only to discover that this group too would almost instantly disappear into thin air, without returning a single copy. Leaving shuttered doors and changed numbers in their wake. Yes, what do you call him? What do you call a man who’s been almost signed, but then warned not to do it? A man who’s chased his dreams, but then given up? A man who’s sat in a cage with a pen and a dream, who was a boss in the streets and commanded his change, but then enters the so-called “legit” world to become a victim of thieves, left suffering with the angers and pains which drive a reformed hustler to his knees: the streets calling, the clouds falling. A dream filled with storms and rains. What do you say? What do you call him?

In 1996, Rumont TeKay, was just 18 years old, when he was captured with a kilo of rock cocaine and sentenced to 35 years in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Rumont was made to serve 12 years on that sentence, and while serving his time, Rumont began to write. A prisoner with a dream and no clue, simply trying to find his way, but as a penpal of a then incarcerated Wahida Clark, he had formed a long term bond which mattered; a bond which even he himself couldn’t know would prove to be so life changing and meaningful.


With the ups and downs of the publishing game; with the twists and turns; with the ones at the  top suddenly in flux, and the entire landscape of the industry so drastically changing, I can promise you that everything you thought you knew just 3-5 years ago; all of the so-called top dogs of the industry, tools, costs and trends: Everything and ALL OF IT has changed. So, just imagine being trapped in a cage, with no mentor, no internet, no phone, no plugs, and no clue… The publishing game can be super challenging and made even more so by the physical state of our struggle. That said, Rumont had taken the journey, put it all on the line to escape old ways and carve out a new life, and, in the end, was left holding a shamefully empty bag loaded down with dull hope. But, then, the Urban Lit. Queen called.

In April 2014, after Rumont had all but given up and walked away from his   dream of becoming an author, Wahida Clark picked up the phone and asked him simply, “you ready?” she said that her people had taken a look at Rumont’s novel ‘Venom in My Viens’ and they instantly knew that they had to have it! Rumont had sent Wahida the manuscript almost a year before and had pretty much forgotten about it as he continued on with day-to-day life. Until, one day, he just happened to call his old penpal friend to check on her. The convo eventually turned to him asking if she’d read the manuscript, he then discovered that she had not and, in fact, that she’d been moving around so much that she didn’t even recall having seen it! Yet, the call lead to the hunt, the hunt then lead to the discovery, and the rest, as they say is history! On, August 26, 2014, VENOM IN MY VIENS by Rumont TeKay, officially dropped, and is currently making major waves, as a part of the WCP Team.


In the beginning, I asked you what you’d call a man like Rumont TeKay. Well, I’ll tell you what I call him: I call him a man with a vision, a man on the move. I call him a serious author/business man who’s taken the risks and paid his dues. I call him reborn, rebirthed, replenished, refilled and ready to take the game by storm!

I promise you, Rumont TeKay, is NOT just another fly-by-night author out to make a bit of extra lunch money on the side, this brother is the honest to goodness built-to-last truth! I assure you, this is a guy who’ll be around for a while, and I’m truly honored to have met him. I definitely see what Lady Wahida saw, and so, now, I share him with you.

Venom In My Veinz. Hell of a title. Tell us about your book, what’s it
about? Why the title?

RT: It’s about a young kid (Bromise Balducci) growing up in the streets of Chicago, fatherless, and worships the ground that his biological grandfather (Brisco Balducci) walks on. It just so happens that Brisco is the Head of one of the two most powerful mobs within the underworld, so Bromise was born in to it. And the story also has a profound love saga inter-woven into the plot, as Chasidy mirrored Bromise’s very image, although they clearly had their differences. And the two make one dynamic team. The title Venom In My Veinz is when pain meets with fury.

I know you’ve spent a lot of money in trying to go it alone. You ran into some struggles. Learned some lessons. Knowing now what you do, would you have done it different?

RT: I have no regrets. Sometimes you have to pay financially to learn from your mistakes. Rather you pay knowingly up front, or get swindled from behind, experience is always the best teacher. However, I will say that the biggest change or difference this go around is that I removed my publisher’s hat and focused only on being a writer.

What advice would you give someone who’s actively building their own company?

RT: Make sure your company is legally registered. Do your due diligence and connect with reputable peers in the business. Start the same way you want to finish. In other words, branding is everything and you start at the onset. Don’t cut corners in the production of your works. And take advantage of every marketing avenue known, be creative, a trailblazer, and create your own lane.

Self-publishing vs. Publishing what advice do you give?

RT: Well, that depends on what the person is trying to achieve and in what order they look to achieve it. It also depends on what the current options are. If you are an aspiring author who has a manuscript that you really believe in, my advice would be to look around at publishing houses, see who’s doing what and where your work would be a good fit, and then submit. Now after doing this a few times, only to receive back rejection letters,then it’s time to think about self-publishing. And never stop networking.

What’s the most challenging part of this business?

RT: Time management.

What marketing tips would you give?

RT: Look at what other successful people in the business are doing. And don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. That’s what separates the men from the boys, the ability to recognize an opportunity and pounce on it like never before.

What distribution tips would you give?

RT: Major distribution is an absolute must if you truly want your voice to be heard by the masses. My tip is to get signed.

How many books have you written? What are the titles?

RT: Venom In My Veinz is the only title that I’m promoting at this time.

Who is Rumont TeKay?

RT: A child of God. A father. A friend. Goofy at times. A realist and an all around cool dude.


What makes your writing different?

RT: I write from the soul through my perspective.

Sitting in a cage with a pen and a dream, what/who inspired you to

RT: While doing time, a very talented author caught my attention with his novels. He wasn’t the first to do it, but his books were the first to resonate with me. His name is Victor L. Martin. After I read his first book, the flame within me was lit. I quickly dove into his second book, finished it and reached out to him with praises and works of my own. He reached back with support and words of encouragement. That was all the motivation I needed. I immediately put my pen to work! Thereafter, we remained in contact and years later, we are now label mates. God is good! Big Shout out to, Victor! Hold ya head, you don’t have much longer!

What advice would you give a new author?

RT: Keep writing. Hone your craft. Work hard at being the best at what you do and the literary world won’t be able to deny you. There’s a place for you, all you have to do is get in where you fit in.

What’s your thoughts about eBooks?

RT: I like paperbacks better.

Speak to the readers: why should they take a chance on Rumont TeKay?

RT: In Truth, my pen recipe contains the ASG formula: Action! Scandal! Grit! Venom In My Veinz will cause sexual arousal to the tenth power, provoke intellect, and take you on a ride you won’t soon forget. Simply put: this book will make your jaw drop.

I know it’s a little early in the progress, but talk about your vision
to marry hip hop music and Hollywood personalities: what, if any,
help/support/talent are you seeking?

RT:  I have a big Book Release Party Celebration scheduled in downtown Chicago on November 15, 2014. And we are looking to do it even bigger the following month in Atlanta. And I’m not stopping there. The plan is to create a movement which will enhance the literary industry as a whole, and bring back the camaraderie. I’m in the process of talking with celebrities who have shown interest in partnering up. So stay tuned for sure.

What’s next for Rumont TeKay?

RT: Expect to see the sequel to Venom In My Veinz, in the near future, and other projects are on the horizon as well. I’ve decided to stick around for a while.

I see you’ve been nominated for Outstanding Author in Urban Literature 2015. Tell us about that. How were you selected? How will the winner be decided?

RT: Yes, and I’m humbled, honored, grateful and every other feeling along those lines. AMB Ovation Awards allows the readers to vote for their favorite authors, and by God’s will I was chosen. I was elated and shocked to say the least, mainly because I wasn’t even aware that the contest was taking place. So I didn’t even get a chance to promote it. The winner will be announced on December2014. I’m up against four powerhouses, so justbeing nominated is a win for me.

Anything else you want to say or share?

RT:  Through it all there’s one thing I’ve learned… and that is, hope never dies just as long as one breathes life into it. Starting small is the beginning of it all, so never-mind your age. You’re never too old to learn, nor too young to teach. Just never lose hope in yourself, no matter the price.

Where can your book be found?

RT: Aside from the usual Amazon, Barns-N-Noble, etc., it could be found wherever books are sold nationwide. Venom In My Veinz is also available in Audio as well.

How can you be reached?


Purchase the book now!




Most people are out to share a vision while making money. What is it that inspires Rich Marcello? I’m mostly interested in truth, and in particular how truth relates to emotional intimacy.


Rich: At some level, what we are all after the most is to be truly seen, yet many of us create obstacles that keep us from getting what we want most. All three of my novels are at the core about truly and deeply loving, and the things that get in the way of that happening.

Why just walk away from what others only dream of? Any regrets?


Rich: No regrets. I had a great career in high technology and I’m very thankful for my time there.  I just reached a point in my life where I realized I needed to change careers and write for the rest of life.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Love. It’s been the common theme of your first 3 books. Does it puzzle you? Interest you? Are you on a hunt for it? Why write about it?

Rich:  About four years ago, I go an idea to write three books about different kinds of love.  The first, The Color of Home, was published in 2013 by Langdon Street Press, and is about romantic love.  The second, The Big Wide Calm, was published in July of 2014, and is about platonic love.  The third, The Beauty of the Fall, will be published in 2016, and is about love in the larger community.  I believe truly and deeply loving in any or all of these ways is what we as humans desire the most, so I wanted to take a shot at writing about it.  I’m really happy with my progress so far, though there have many times along the way where I’ve been puzzled in one way or another.  I wouldn’t say I’m on the hunt, but like most, I’m certainly open to more love in my life.

As a fellow poet, I know that poets are a lover of prose. We collect sayings and hear rhythms in just about all that we do. Do you find this to be true for you as well?


Rich: Yes. Actually, I’m a poet and songwriter in addition to writing novels, so like you I do collect words and hear rhythms. Sometimes I spend hours working on a sentence or a paragraph just to make sure it works. Sometimes I include lyrics or poems in my novels when they make sense.
How would you describe your works? What sets your writings apart?

Rich: I try to write stories that engage on many levels – emotionally, intellectually, philosophically, with voice, with plot. My hope is that the reader will enter into a relationship with the characters in one way or another. When all those layers are working, I believe it really sets my work apart.
What/who are your greatest inspirations?

Rich: I tend to mostly write from dreams.  I’m a big believer that best writing happens early in the morning when, in a way, I’ve just come from one kind of dream time ( sleep) to another ( writing).  Most of my inspiration comes from that dreamlike place.  In terms of people, I like John Lennon  and Milan Kundera a lot for different reasons. Lennon because he was such an idealist, and Kundera because he was a master at melding storytelling and philosophy together in a way that really worked.

Do you plan to write more books? Will they also address matters of the heart?


Rich: I plan to write for the rest of my life.  I probably have a good ten books in me, though all of the topics aren’t clear yet.  After these three books, I’m not sure if I will return to love in the future.

When you write, I’m sure you have a vision in mind, who is your intended audience?


Rich: Anyone is deeply interested in truth, in emotional intimacy, in what it means to go deep to the bottom of things.

What do you hope people will take away, after reading a Rich Marcello novel?


Rich:  I think if one of my novels invokes an emotional reaction in a reader, any really, then that’s a great take away.  I had author, a Pen Faulkner winner, tell me he loved The Big Wide Calm because Paige Plant, the heroine, was such an emotionally deep character.  I had a blogger tell me she hated the same book because she hated Paige.  I value both pieces of feedback because they invoked emotional reactions, albeit much different ones.
What advice would you give a new/aspiring author?

Rich: Write the first pass of any scene very fast and don’t over think it. Then rewrite the scene over and over until it’s sensual enough to transport the reader into the fictional dream you’re trying to create.

When does book three, ‘The Beauty of The Fall’, come out?

RICH: 2016.
Is there anything else you wish to share?

RICH: That’s for taking the time to speak with me and for asking such great questions.
Where can your books be found?

RICH: They’re available all over the world. Amazon. Barnes and Noble. iTunes.  Probably the best place to start is on my website www.richmarcello.com.  You can also check me out on twitter @marcellor and on Goodreads.
How can you be reached?

RICH: My website is the best way to reach me.  http://www.richmarcello.com

Check out his new book The Big Wide Calm!


Paige is a rock star. The world just doesn’t know it yet. She’s got the charisma, the drive, and, of course, the mega-musical skills. All she needs is to make her debut album, one that will change the world, inspire revolutions—and make her galactically famous along the way.

When John Bustin, a former semi-famous singer/songwriter offers to record Paige’s album for free, it feels like destiny, like the next step on her way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Guitar in hand, Paige sets off to John’s recording compound, ready to unfold her future.

But the ever-elusive John, with his mysterious history, and Paige, a big dreamer but naïve about her footing in life, clash as much as they coalesce. Before they can change the world through Paige’s music, the improbable duo must learn to work together.

A coming of age story and retrospective, The Big Wide Calm focuses on human nature and the complexities of love through the eyes of young and old on the journey of creating the perfect album.


Written by Wesley “Godfather” Hunter


I met this man in the darkest of circumstances, yet, I assure you, even then, the light of Stone Ramsey shined brightly, as you can not dim that which comes from within. Intelligent, charismatic, and keen of thought, are all words which only BEGIN to describe this brother. Author/publisher/director/manager/producer, etc. With roots stemming from the rap industry, even after 16 years of incarceration, this brother is a blossoming powerhouse of ingenuity on the move, and trust me when I tell you that if you think he can’t do it, he will definitely prove you wrong.
When I first met Stone, we were just two inmates on a prison tier. He was in the back of the tier, I was in the front. He was from Oakland, I was from L.A. We had nothing in common, but the fact that we were both trapped in a cage in segregation. Dingy lighting, stale air, trapped and controlled like a beast. Someone told me that Stone wrote books, but I’d heard it all before, and truly wasn’t that impressed. After all, I was a published author myself, so why would I be? As time went on, he heard about me, and suddenly a bond was formed.

Stone and I were two men from opposing worlds, but quickly found a commonality. After all, men respect men, steel sharpens steel, and minds detect minds. Almost instantly, Stone and I connected and began to exchange positive energy and thoughts. Our bond growing beyond a cage. Our sharing of wisdoms and resources, far beyond a bag of chips or a shot of coffee. Odd as it may seem to some, over time I would go on to count this man amongst my super-limited list of friends, and can tell you, he is one of only two dudes I continue to keep in touch with, after having met on a prison yard. But, enough about me. This is about Stone.

Author Stone Ramsey, is an Oakland native and the renowned producer of ‘International Blunt Funk’ which is the Bay Area’s version of ‘The Chronic’. Having dropped in 1997, it is a compilation album of all of the hot hiphop artists of its time, including Richie Rich, Keak Da Sneak (of 3x’s Crazy), JT The Bigga Figga, Swoop G (Of Murder Was The Case soundtrack fame), etc. After having been released, in Sept. 2013, Stone Ramsey, has been heavy in the studio, and pushing hard at dropping International Blunt Funk, Vol.2, which is now set to be released in Feb. 2015, and will include such Bay Area notables as Mistah Fab, Philthy Rich, Keak Da Sneak, Too Short, DB Da General, Lorenzo Lamar, etc. Stone has also just released his debut novel, under his own Ramsey Publishing Group. ‘Yadadamean Bay Bizness’ is a joint effort, featuring rap artist Keak Da Sneak, with a foreward by Big Tray Deee (of Da Eastsidaz). Having read the book twice, I can promise you that this is a hot, true-to-life tale of urban love, thug passion, and music industry enlightenment.
An active member of United Distribution, a youth outreach counselor, non-profit organization project coordinator, author, publisher, manager, promoter, music producer, husband, father, son and man on the move. Hell, just call him Boss! And, do know, that I am only giving you the basics. This man knows EVERYONE, and is right there at the beating heart of it all. Yeah, and he’s only just getting started!

A good dude, who’s always spoken with a content and positive spirit. I tell you, when you’ve known a man at his worst, and witnessed him in his darkest hour, it brings nothing but pure joy to witness him emerge into the light of his destiny. And I know he wishes, for me the same. A man I proudly call a trusted friend, here now, is Stone Ramsey:






Bookstore Spotlight: Frugal Bookstore

Urban bookstores are undergoing challenging times. They need authors to place books on their shelves and to come in to do book signings. They need readers to drop in and support (instead of always running off to the big box or chain stores). These are OUR people, selling OUR books. Which helps us to make a living, telling OUR stories, OUR way. And we need to do OUR part to support them. So Dc Bookdiva Publications and StraightChaser.com has decided to do just that. We will now be bringing you a weekly profile of the independent bookstores/vendors across America. We’re doing our part, so, please do yours and contact these  locations for book signings, or simply call them up and order a book. Oh, and don’t forget to always ask about the latest DCB titles. At DC Bookdiva Publications and StraightChaser.com we are always seeking new ways to serve the literary community we love, so hit us up, if you own a bookstore/retail outlet, if you know of a store/outlet/vendor you’d like for us to spotlight, or if you’ve simply got an idea or two. We always love to hear from you, and so would your local vendor. So call them up, to let them know you’ve read their spotlight and tell them you appreciate that they are there. LET’S ALL DO OUR PART!

1. How long has your bookstore/outlet been in business?

We’ve been open since 2008.

2. Do you carry just urban books, or do you carry other genres as well?

We carry all genres including urban books, children’s, crime & mystery, cookbooks, African-American Studies, New York Times bestseller’s and the list goes on.

3. What other items do you carry besides books?

We also carry greetings cards, calendars, journals, art by local authors and planners.

4. Have you ever written a book? What brought you to the retail market?

Neither one of us has written a book, but it has always been a dream of ours to have a bookstore in our community.

5. What are the challenges for book vendors today?

The challenges have been getting people to support a Black-owned bookstore as opposed to buying on Amazon.

6. How has eBooks affected your business?

Ebooks have affected us a lot, because people like the affordability and convenience of downloading an ebook, rather than have a physical copy in their hand.
7. Author support: What actions do you need from authors, to help grow your business?

Authors should promote the bookstores which support them by carrying their titles. Shout them out on social media as much as possible, to help bring in more business.

8. Publisher support: What actions do you need from Publishers, to help grow your business?

The same as above, provide promotional material for advertisement. Encourage authors to visit and conduct book signings.

9. What are your buying/purchasing arrangements and how often do you pay out?

It varies with each publisher and author. Contact us for more detailed information.

10. Any last words to readers, authors or publishers? Any special events or announcements?

Help support black-owned bookstores by encouraging readers to patronize these establishments, because they are diminshing.

Frugal Book Store
“Changing Minds One Book At A Time”
Inside the Washington Park Mall
306 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Boston, MA 02119

The Anatomy Of An Award Winning Novel w/Elissa Gabrielle

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

Neil Gaiman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Randall: What other projects do you have coming up?

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

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

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

You can keep up with Elissa Gabrielle at:










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


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

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