Tag Archives: Godfather

Natural Born Winner w/ Author John Bowens

Written by: Godfather Wesley Hunter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your debut novel, Tropical Illusions, talk about it, what’s it about? 

I appreciate this opportunity! ‘Tropical illusions’ is to me, what ‘Reasonable Doubt’ was to Jay-Z, and what ‘True to the game’ was to Teri Woods, it’s my first love! I wrote Tropical illusions as a tribute to a woman who was like a mother to me, she passed away in 1997 as a result of HIV/AIDS. I wanted to do something to eliminate the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, while simultaneously preserving this woman’s memory. So, in essence, ‘Tropical illusions’ is about HIV/AIDS in the African-American community, and the moral of the story is that we should strive to practice abstinence outside of marriage. We should be responsible in our sexual activities, when we are too weak to practice abstinence. We should know that HIV/AIDS is not exclusive to the gay community, or to intravenous drug users who share needles, and last but not least, everyone should get tested.

Did you always plan to self-publish? What’s the story behind the launch of Step Ya Game Up Publishing?

I didn’t always plan to self-publish. Initially my focus was on finding a publishing company that could satisfy all of my publishing needs, i.e. making my books available as e-books as well as in paperback, marketing to my target audience, being effective in branding my name as an author, etc. After encountering several publishers offering sub-par deals, I decided to study the business on my own, and my goal was to create a company that I would want to do business with, a company that aspires to reach for the next level, a company that aspires to ‘Step Ya Game Up’! Pun intended!!!

What’s next for Step Ya Game Up? New books? New authors? Other plans? 

Right now, the focus is on publishing this Gangsta Paradise series. Which, as of now, consists of 3 books with an underlying moral/message that you shouldn’t do unto others, what you don’t want done to you. We’ll be releasing book one; ‘Anybody Could Be Touched’, within the next 45 days. Also, we’ve been in talks with a number of film producers with the goal of bringing ‘Tropical illusions’ to the big screen sometime in the near future.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about the publishing business, so far?

One of the most important lessons that I learned in this business, is that you shouldn’t take things personally, it’s business!!! As an author, I want readers to purchase books written by, John Bowens, all day everyday, but, as a publisher, I can’t be self-centered and concern myself with only one brand. I have to cater to the appetite of my readers, and consistently give them a variety of books to choose from, so that I can meet their individual, as well as collective, needs.

NowUCme NowUdont. Of course, we all want to know, what’s the meaning and reason behind your unique Facebook handle?  

Lol! Nowucme Nowudont! This moniker has many meanings for me. Anyone who knows me well knows, that I do a lot of traveling, so, I’m here one minute and gone the next, hence, Nowucme Nowudont! But a better description is that ‘Nowucme Nowudont’ is tantamount to saying, “Miss me with that bullshit!”! Real talk, I give everyone a fair chance, but when you bring negativity and foolishness to my table, you already know what it is when you don’t see me anymore, and I refuse to take your calls; Nowucme Nowudont!!!

Some of us call you The Globe Trotter, and I’ve even said that, you probably live on a plane. But, truly, where is John Bowens from? And where is home? 

New York City, born and raised! I’m from South side Jamaica, Queens … Baisley projects stand up!!! I recently relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, where I had a house built from the ground … So that’s the place I call home, although New York will always be in my heart.

You served 16 years in prison. That’s a long time. What was that for? Where did you do your time? 

Wow! The struggle truly defines who we are. On November 8th, 1996, a federal Judge sentenced me to 19 years in prison for conspiracy to manufacture, possess, and distribute schedule 1 narcotics; crack cocaine and heroin. I served 16 years and 4 months which was what the Bureau of Prisons calculated to be 85% of my time. I served my time in USP Canaan and FCI Schuylkill, (which are both located in Pennsylvania), I served time in FCI Bennettsville, in South Carolina, and I was also in, FCI Yazoo city, which is down in Mississippi. At various points of my sentence I passed through the transit centers of USP Lewisburg, USP Atlanta, and the Federal transit center in Oklahoma.

What made you first start writing? What/who were your inspirations? 

I was an avid reader since I was a small child. To this day, I boast that I will read anything, from westerns to sci-fi to horror, and I especially love to read for information. I was always a writer! It started off as rap songs and poetry, then later, developed into what I am doing now. I was inspired to write books by Luisa Henry, the woman who was like a mother to me; the one who passed away due to complications stemming from HIV/AIDS. My writing is a tribute to her, and it was through her that God showed me the path which He intended for me to walk.

Marketing. Give us a take away. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? 

The most important lesson that I learned when it comes to marketing is, that it’s a full time job, 24 hours a day! You have to promote and sell your products shamelessly. You have to do it, at the super market, you have to do it at the post office, you have to do it on the bus, the train or airplane, you have to do it at church. No one will know about your product unless you tell them about it, period!

Distribution. What take away can you give? What lessons have you learned, so far?

When it comes to distribution the most important lesson that I learned is, that team work makes the dream work!!!!! For independent authors, publishers, and book stores, I have a solution to all of your distribution problems … It’s called UNITED DISTRIBUTION!!!

Is there anyone in the business you’d like to work with? Any collab efforts in the works?

I would love to work with my Muslim brother Al- Saadiq Banks, I’m a huge fan of ‘Block Party’, and ‘No Exit’. As far as collaborations, I have something in the works with United Distribution members, we have an Erotic Anthology that should be set for release in 2015. Also, readers can look forward to a collaboration with myself and authors Itchie Mu and Karl Heyliger, we call ourselves the “Ruff Writerz”!!!

You’re very approachable, and you seem to have an honest heart and a joyful spirit.  Were you always this way? Always able to openly connect with others?

As a kid, many of my childhood friends gave me the nickname ‘Smiley’, because I always had a smile on my face. Later in life, I earned the name, Yahya Ruhani, which is translated to mean ‘One with spiritual life’. So, to answer the question, yes, I think I’ve always had a natural ability to deal with others. Even when it comes to people of different nationalities. My partner, Ivan, always points out the energy I bring into a room once I walk in, and I think this plays a huge role in the small amount of success we’ve been able to accomplish thus far.

Tell us about your blogtalk radio show. What does the future hold?

Step Ya Game Up Publishing presents: Let’s Talk Sports with Ivan Keith! I love this show, and not just because, Ivan Keith, is my brother and business partner, but because, even for people who aren’t particularly fanatical about sports, Ivan Keith has a high volume of energy, he’s outspoken, funny, and very entertaining to listen to! This guy is like a walking sports almanac, and he makes it easy to understand what’s going on in the sports world! Don’t take it from me, just tune in every Saturday at 3pm eastern time to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/urbanliteraryreview, or you can LISTEN directly from your phone when you call (347)215-8932 … Via Internet you can even go into the archives and listen to old shows.

Anything else you want to share?

Be on the lookout for my new novel, ‘Anybody Could Be Touched’, and other titles from Step Ya Game Up Publishing as well as from United Distribution. Also, tune in, on Saturdays, at 3pm eastern time, to Let’s Talk sports with Ivan Keith, and Sundays, at 9pm eastern time for Luv4TheLockdown radio show with Cali Kim DaBoss and AuthorGodfather Wesley Hunter.

How can you be reached?

My book, Tropical illusions, is available at Amazon.com in both e-book and paperback form, and I can be reached directly at:stepyagameuppublishing@gmail.com
Facebook: Nowucme Nowudont, or StepYaGameUpPublishing
Instagram: johnbowens69

WHAT DO YOU CALL HIM?

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.

“BE MINDFUL OF THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, FOR YOU NEVER KNOW WHO’S WATCHING.”

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.

“THE SEEDS WE PLANT, BEAR THE FRUITS OF OUR PATH.”

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
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.

 

rumont
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
write?

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?
https://www.facebook.com/rumontTK
https://twitter.com/RumontTeKay
http://instagram.com/rumontvenom

 

Purchase the book now!