Tag Archives: Writing

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

 

 

 

Writing Is My Life w/ Eartha Watts- Hicks

Written by: Sheri Harrigan

Eartha Watts-Hicks is the founder of Earthatone Enterprises and Earthatone Books, an imprint of Earthatone Enterprises, LLC. She has designed and published titles for herself and others, including Miriam Kelly Ferguson. She has also lead self publishing workshops, writing, and publicity workshops for the New York City Parks Department, the National Writers Union, Project Enterprise, and other not for profits. Eartha Watts-Hicks is author of Love Changes, as well as a songwriter, music publisher, and member of ASCAP. A writing fellow of the Center for Black Literature and the North Country Institute, in June of 2013, Eartha Watts-Hicks received the Just R.E.A.D. ‘literary game changers’ Award by the NYCHA branch of the NAACP and was named a 2013 NAACP ambassador for literacy. Love Changes is available on Amazon.com, BN.com, Esspresson.net, Ondemandbooks.com, NYU Bookstore, Sisters Uptown Bookstore, select Barnes & Noble locations, The New York Public Library System, and is also available in Kindle. Eartha Watts-Hicks was featured in the New York Amsterdam News, FAN Magazine, January Magazine, Harlem World Magazine, NAACP Radio, and the Mothership Connection Show on Time Warner Cable Television Channel 57. She has also been accepted to present Love Changes at the Author’s Pavilion of this year’s Congressional Black Caucus.

earthawatts

I had the pleasure to speak to Eartha about her book. Her book was recommended to me in a book group. Once I started reading the book, Love Changes, I couldn’t put it down. Eartha did a great job as a new author breaking into the business. I truly admire an author who is professional and takes their craft as seriously as I do.
I present you all Ms. Eartha Watts-Hicks

Sheri: Tell me a little about yourself and your literary background?

Eartha: To start from the very beginning, I took my first writing classes when I was about eleven years old. I studied poetry and journal writing. I started writing songs (a long-time hobby) when I was around thirteen, so my brain almost automatically cues in to rhyme patterns. In 2001, I started writing Love Changes, believing that I could “teach myself” how to write fiction by checking out library books and complete said novel in three months time. That didn’t happen. Three years later, I took my first writing workshop at the Frederic Douglas Creative Arts Center here in New York. I completed my first draft a little over a year later. The merit of the first draft won me acceptance into quite a few competitive writing programs and in some cases, I was awarded scholarships. These organizations were instrumental in helping me to develop as a writer. I am now a fiction fellow through the Center for Black Literature, a past Hurston/Wright Foundation workshop participant, and a member of the Harlem Writers Guild. I recently won the award for literary in fiction from the N.Y.C.H.A. branch of the NAACP and was named NAACP literacy ambassador.

Sheri: What are your goals for your writing career?

Eartha: My initial goal was to write “positive” books. But I’ve learned that in aiming for “positive,” my work takes on so many layers. There are elements to it that are spiritual, developmental, professional, how-to tips and tricks, mathematical, musical, poetic, as I try to emulate who “we’ were in my generation—brown, brilliant, aspiring, proud, despite our insecurities. And I laid it all out as best I could.

Sheri: What have you written?

Eartha: My debut novel is entitled Love Changes. I have a song catalogue. My song, “Baby You’re the Only One 4 Me” is actually from the Love Changes companion soundtrack. I also blog all over, mostly for Harlem World Magazine.   lovechangesnew

Sheri: What are you working on now?

Eartha: I am now working on the sequel Chocolate Love, as well as a couple of other titles. And I have a collection of poems, short stories, anecdotes, and reflections that I have been growing.

Sheri: Why did you decide to become an author?

Eartha: I had aspirations of being a songwriter. Trying to break into that business was no easy endeavor (to be interpreted as an almost impossible ordeal). Writing and self-publishing was my way of taking control and making things happen.

Sheri: Why do you write?

Eartha: I write because I love to write. I have a strange sense of humor, so there were many times I just had to jot my golden nuggets of observation down to remember them. Writing is second nature to me, as well as my “feel good” space. It is my hobby, passion, expression, and for me, it’s an absolute necessity.

Sheri: Do you write full-time or part-time?

Eartha: That is hard to say definitively, because even when I am not putting pen to pad or fingers to keyboard, my wheels are still spinning.

Sheri: Where do your ideas come from?

Eartha: Everywhere, art, music, work, life, people, human nature, the sky. I try to capture everything beautiful, typical and/or atypical. Anything that tickles my fancy gets scribbled.

Sheri: What is the hardest thing about writing for you?

Eartha: For me, that would be the intimidating blank screen. And trying to forge ahead without peeking at what was already written.

Sheri: What was/is the hardest thing about writing your newest book?

Eartha: Chocolate Love is written in the first person from the Romell character’s perspective. Romell is a twenty-six year old, ambitious, ladies man, who is extremely flirtatious and has a preference for “exotic” women. This story takes place in the mid-nineties. My struggle has been writing in male voice, keeping him true to who he is, without my female self censoring and passing judgment. I, as the writer, have to allow him to be and grow through his mistakes. Whereas, me-the-woman and “black woman” would have told him about himself. My struggle has also been writing this story that takes place in 1995, maintaining a real sense of nostalgia while keeping it “fresh” but not dated or clichéd.

Sheri: How long on does it take you to write a book?

Eartha: I am still not sure. Love Changes took me over 10 years to write and finally publish. Since 2005, I had had editors and literary professional urging me, encouraging me, and even scolding me to find an agent and publish it NOW. At the time, it still felt like it needed work to me, like it needed to be sharpened. I wasn’t ready to let it go.

Sheri: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Eartha: I try everything and if that doesn’t work, I find something new. I read books on the craft, listen to music, do something my characters would do, everything. I even use charts to help me visualize.

Sheri: Do you read much? Who are your favorite authors?
Eartha: I used to be an avid reader. I now dissect and study books. My favorite fiction authors now are Bernice McFadden, Zora Neal Hurston, Jamaica Kincaid, Chris Abani, Dorothy Allison, Marsha Hunt for her title “Joy,” Omar Tyree, E. Lynn Harris, Travis Hunter, Terri McMillan, and so many others.

Sheri: What book/s are you reading at present?

Eartha: I am currently reading Profit with Purpose by Teneshia Jackson Warner. It is a very good book on marketing.

Sheri: Shout out your editor! Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?

Eartha:  My editor is Grace F. Edwards. I was in her novel writing workshop when she agreed to take me on. She has been creative writing professor at several institutions and she is African American. She helped me maintain the essence of my characters, and make the content grammatically correct, without sacrificing voice. That was important to me. My characters are educated but originally from the projects. Ms. Edwards was wonderful in helping to keep them true to life without being stiff. I must also shout out my copy editors, Monica West and Femi Lewis Usanga.

Sheri: Shout out your graphic designer! Who designed your book cover/s?

Eartha: I design my own book covers and interior layout. The sketch work was drawn by an artist I met here in Manhattan named Aleksey Moroz. I manipulated the images myself.

Sheri: Are you self-published or signed to a publisher?

Eartha: I am self-published.

Sheri: What do you do to market your books?

Eartha: I market on social media, through readings and events, vending, radio, print media, blogs, guest blogging, email campaigns. I try every day I can, when I have the time and energy to do so.

Sheri: What are your thoughts on reviews?

Eartha: Having gone through the workshop experience for so long, my attitude had been the worst feedback is none at all. So, I can critique a work backwards and forwards. It is different with reviews. I do not like giving reviews, unless I really enjoy a book. As a creative, I know how personal our work is to us and how much focus it takes to see it through.

Sheri: Which social network works best for your marketing?

Eartha: I like Facebook but I am waiting for the numbers to come in to actually see what working best for me.

Sheri: In what formats is your book available?

Eartha: Love Changes is available as a paperback and Kindle.

Sheri: What advice would you give to new and upcoming writers?

Eartha: I would tell aspiring writer to keep studying the craft, by reading books like Bird by Bird and Walking on Alligators, and just write it before you try to fix it. Get the whole story out of you and then go back and edit.

Sheri: How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Eartha: They can find me on my website, http://www.earthatone.com. I am on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/earthawattshicks.lovechanges and on Twitter and Instagram @Earthatone

Purchase Love Changes Now!

Writing Tip: Sex and Violence

Written by: Wesley “Godfather”  Hunter

 

Though I’ve personally done so, on all accounts, it’s been said that it’s not in good form to show graphic sexual scenes that involve molestation, rape or incest. However, when it comes to sex and violence, for the most part, there are no structural rules.ratchet

Sex and violence are the big payoff. The reader has followed along and patiently waited as you developed the plot and let it unravel, so give them what they’ve earned. Don’t try and cut it short or sum it up in a paragraph or two. Sex and violence are your action scenes and, unless you just go completely beyond the outer realms of all reasonableness, and, as long as the scenes are smooth and well told, the reader will not mind or even notice if you drag these page turning scenes out for a while. In fact, they will be grateful for the on-going element, as long as it’s not all clunky and poorly written. Action scenes are where an author shows their depth and strength as a writer, and if it’s well written, the reader won’t even notice the lengthiness or the rule violations.

For instance, though it normally irritates and takes away from a scene  during the other parts of a story, I personally love to play with the P.O.V. during scenes of sex and violence. Switching with just about each paragraph, to help the reader to get a good feel. From the varied perspectives:

[EXAMPLE]:

”Ooh,” Tanya uttered softly, feeling him pierce her core. ”Go slow,” she whispered. ”It’s been a while.” The hard floor adding to her discomfort. Not to mention the old beer bottles and trash strewn about. In the distance, there was the blaring sound of an ambulance racing by. It was barely night. She wondered if someone might be dying.

Stern was the kind of guy who liked to know that he was felt. Pushing forward, he entered her harsher. Deeper. ”urrrgh! You can handle it.” with his hands beneath, he gripped her shoulders. Pulling her into his charge.

”Wait!” Tanya squirmed  trying to pull away. ”Oh, shit!” she locked her legs around him, then thought better of it, and opened again, while using her thumbs to push at his hips. ”Oow! Stop!”

Stern bit her neck, pulled at her shoulders, and pressed in even harder. ”Uhn! Yeah. Yeaaaah!”

”Oh, my God! Ohh!” she gasped for breath. ”Oh, shit!” she shivered. ”Sss-uh!”

”Shut up.” he whispered. ”Take this big-ass dick, you little bitch.” a crisp wind blew through the broken window. Timbs still on, he had his baggy cargos down around his knees. Her jean skirt was bunched at her wairt. Her jacket beneath her to cover the filthy floor.

Tanya dug her nails in and held on tight, hoping he’d feel her pain. ”oh! Fuck!” she breathed with a growing passion. ”You bastard.” a car raced by. She heard water splash in the wake of the speeding tires. No doubt, having pooled from the growing rains.

Stern bit her neck hard and fucked her harder, burying himself in to the hilt, desperate to bask in the full glories of her womanly wonder.

”My man gon’ kill you.” she said.

”Fuck him.” he told her.

 

The Landscape Of Urban Fiction w/Author Nisha Lanae

“To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.”

Charles Caleb Colton

In the subsector of business, things change. The landscape of the particular industry you’re in diversifies  into the future and competition starts to get incredibly steep. How do you make your creative work stand out above the rest of the crowd? In the midst of the trauma and  agony of your fight to be successfully self-employed, how do you keep your sanity? These are two of the many questions that plague authors in the current over saturated urban fiction landscape.

Recently I got a chance to speak with author Nisha Lanae, one of the genre’s unsung success stories, about moving and shaking in the industry as a new author and rising above the competition. Her answers were brief, but also very informative. New authors should most definitely take note!

Randall: As an author, what’s your take on urban fiction today?

Nisha Lanae: It’s a constant change. I was 15 years old when I decided I wanted to write urban fiction, I have seen so many changes within the genre.  From that time, until I published a book at 23. It’s still my number one genre to read, but I think these days we as authors in the urban fiction literary world are catching a lot of flak, for the nonsense and changes going on. Like everything, changes are going to happen, some for the good, and some for the bad. It’s up to us to stand, make a pack and demand changes we want to see, and I think that’s where “WE” as authors are lacking. We are lacking in coming together, and being the force to make urban fiction greater than it is.

Randall: How do you make your novels stand out from the competition?

Nisha Lanae: I give them my all. I write from my heart, and stories I would like to read. In today’s time, so many people are worried about competing and fitting in, rather than just being them. I write to entertain, aspire, inspire and to tell great stories.

Randall: Many skeptics and critics consider the sub-genre of street fiction as the proverbial bastard child of African-American literature and artistic expression. What’s your take on this?

Nisha Lanae: I  don’t feel that way. We are no different than a rapper, rapping about their struggle. Some of them haven’t lived that life, but maybe someone close to them has. We are no different than a writer who writes plays, moves or broadways or actress who put a visual aspect to the writer words. We just choose to express our creative thoughts on paper, in a storyline. Contrary to what people think, those stories relate to everyday life that people go through, and nine times out of ten there is always a message convoyed to the readers.

Randall: What other projects do you have coming up?

Nisha Lanae: I have a few collaboration projects coming up with some talent writers, as well as a few of my own.

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

Nisha Lanae: My advice is to always remain true to you, and your goals in life. I don’t care what someone thinks of them, if it’s something you want to do, work hard for it, and do it. A lot of times people tend to down talk your dreams, goals or aspirations in life, because they were too afraid to live out there’s. I was always told there is never a dream too big to achieve. Set your mind on achieving it, and work every day towards it.

You can find Nisha at:

Facebook: Nisha Lanae

Instagram and Instagram: Pendiva_Nisha

Email: Author.NishaLanae@yahoo.com

Website: WWW.NishaLanae.com

 

 

The cover to my novel, The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson. It’s due to come out in late October. You can preoder now at:

http://www.dcbookdiva.com/#!product/prd15/2583730071/the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson-(pre-order-only)

or

http://www.amazon.com/Diary-Aaliyah-Anderson-Randall-Barnes/dp/0988762196/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408812333&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Diary+Of+Aaliyah+Anderson

Get the first four chapters for only $2.00 today! The money goes to promotion and marketing costs for the novel.

http://payhip.com/b/DhLU

Like the official webpage on Facebook for news, updates and daily commentary:

https://www.facebook.com/thediaryofaaliyahanderson

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Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB

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

Talking Just To Be Talking

Many people run their mouths and don’t mean half the shit they say. And then there are those like K Sherrie.

This interview is a special one to me. When I first became acquainted with K Sherrie she was an aspiring author. We met in a Facebook group called Sisters into reading/Reviewing Book club where she is an administrator. Upon meeting, K Sherrie expressed interest in joining my Facebook group for Aspiring Authors. I added her to the group and she asked questions and participated in discussions. After talking to her, and assisting her with anything that I could, she has now accomplished her goal of publishing her first book.

ksherrie

K Sherrie is now working on Queen of DC: The Middle which is due out on Sept. 20th. While also working on a project titled Some People Were Made For Each Other. I am indeed so proud of this young lady for all of her hard work and diligence. It’s my pleasure to be able to present to others this great new author. Meet KSherrie.

Sheri: What have you written?
K Sherrie: I released my first book Queen of DC on June 24th of this year. I also have a somewhat weekly blog titled Journey Into My Mind where I just share my thoughts on everything via my website and Facebook page.

Sheri: What are you working on now?
KSherrie: I’m currently working on part 2 of the Queen of DC Trilogy and part 1 of Some People Were Made For Each Other.

Sheri: Do you write full-time or part-time
K Sherrie: Part-Time.  I’m patiently waiting for the day that I am able to write full -time, but until that day comes……I gotta make the doughnuts

Sheri: Where does your ideas come from?
K Sherrie: Life. I take stories or scenarios that I have witnessed or been apart of and use them as my starting point, and from there I let my vivid imagination take flight.

Sheri: How do you deal with writer’s block?
K Sherrie: I disengage.  I will completely remove myself from a project for a week or so. I stop reading and just try to relax and enjoy life.  Once I feel enough time has passed, I revisit the project.

Sheri: Do you read much?  who are your favorite authors ?
KSherrie: A LOT.  I try to commit myself to at least 1 book per week, Sometimes I find myself reading more. My favorites are Jason Poole, Sa’id Salaam, T Styles, Mike O, Eric Jerome Dickey, and of course MYSELF.

Sheri: What book/s are you reading at present?
K Sherrie: I just wrapped up Devil in the Pulpit by K Marquelle…. and I’m getting ready to dive back into Facebook Chronicles series by Mike O since the final chapter is now out.

Sheri: Shout out your editor! Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
K Sherrie: My editor is a close friend of mine name JP. She wants to get into the world of editing and asked me to take a chance on her and I did.  We are jumping off the porch together with this one.

Sheri: Shout out your graphic designer!Who designed your book cover/s?
K Sherrie: Gabrielle Prendenhaust. I came across her work via a post on FB, sent her an email and things took off from there. Www.coveryourdreams.net

Sheri: What are your thoughts on reviews?
K Sherrie: I think HONEST reviews are important. I’ve just put out my first book and I NEED honest reviews.  I don’t feel I, or any other author, can truly grow as a writer, if people only tell us what we want to hear, or hold back true feelings because of what the outcome could be. I want reviews and I want them honest. If you love my work tell me so and WHY. If you hate it, tell me so and WHY.

Sheri: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
K Sherrie: I’m on Facebook what feels like 24 hours a day. You can catch up with me via my promo page at http://www.facebook.com/ksherrie202 Or hanging out in my favorite facebook group “Sisters into reading/reviewing bookclub” I recently joined twitter…still getting used to it so bare with me. @KSherrie2014 is my Twitter name. My email is KSherrie2014@gmail.com

 

Purchase her latest release, Queen of DC now!

 
Sheri Harrigan started writing at the age of twelve, as an outlet for depression. In March 2012 her first project Tales of the Broken Hearted was published. Since then she has penned several titles. She started writing strictly urban fiction. Her most recent work, The Imperfect Love Series is more geared toward the romance genre. As she continues on with her writing career, she plans to move into the crime fiction and thriller genres. Besides writing, she is pursing her other passion of obtaining her Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing . Sheri lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

THE DYNAMIC DUO

Writing is a very important part of my life. When it comes to new authors, I take a very special interest in them. I was interested to find out more about, Shawn Corey, because he works as a team with his wife. I was happy to sit down with the duo and get to know the authors behind the pen.

dynamicduo
Shawn Corey (pen name) is a 31 year old black male who, at the age of 18, caught 15 years back in 2001. His release date isn’t until summer 2015. Basically, he uses writing as a way to keep from sitting by wasting time and opportunity. He doesn’t have much of a literary background, other than the fact that he was born to write and that he loves and lives to do it.

Dorian Stevens a.k.a. “Shante” is a 28 year old female who’d, had a thing for Shawn since they were kids, and so she took a leap of faith and married the man of her dreams. She was an All-American basketball player who, due to injury, stopped playing sports and now coaches instead. She too doesn’t have much of a literary background, other than the fact that She and Shawn used to write short stories to each other, envisioning their life after his release, and talking about the things they’d experienced. From that, this dynamic duo  decided to weave their ideas into books. This is their story:
 
 
Sheri: Where do your ideas come from?

Shawn and Dorian: A lot of times we just think them up using personal experiences of our own or someone else’s. Maybe we’ll come across something we read and take another angle at it. Mostly, though, our stories are close to us, simple life experiences embellished to the point of interest. Things that everyday people can relate to.

Sheri: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Shawn and Dorian: We deal with writer’s block, like we deal with all haters; ignore them! If we get stuck with writing, we move on to the next part of the book mentally, because, and we think this is normal, most of our books are written in our heads first, chapter by chapter, before we put it on paper. Of course, I don’t mean word for word, but the foundation more or less. We’re constantly discussing ideas of what we feel will grab reader’s attention.

Sheri: What are your thoughts on reviews?

Shawn and Dorian: We’re motivated by both good and bad reviews (though we haven’t had a bad review yet). As artists/authors it’s normal for us to be a bit sensitive about our work and we are to a degree. Because our work is a reflection of us, we feel that if you don’t like our work, then you don’t like us. I doubt most people think that way, it’s just our train of thought, we use that to remain motivated.

Sheri: What are your goals for your writing career?

saint

Shawn and Dorian: We want to be ‘That Author/Artist;’ the crème dele crème of the urban fiction game.

Sheri: What are you working on now?

Shawn and Dorian: A suspense thriller entitled “Hello Luv” and it’s kicking our ass. However, with so many urban stories being the same (not knocking anybody) we try to challenge ourselves to stick out a little bit. The finish product will be worth it though, it’s not as fast paced as most urbans, but the ending will justify the means. We are also working on a two-part book entitled “Death Struck Vol.1” and this book is going to be powerful.

Sheri: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your literacy background?
Shawn and Dorian: We are a husband and wife team, who married November 22, 2011.

Sheri: Do you read much? Who are your favorite authors?

Shawn and Dorian: We don’t read as much as we used to, because at one point in time, there were a lot of bad stories out there. The last book we read was Kia Payne’s Paper, Promises, & Punishment 1&2 and they were very good books. Ashley Antoinette & Ja’Quavis Coleman are good, Kia Payne, Sista Soulja; that’s about it.

Sheri: What’s the hardest thing about writing for you?

Shawn and Dorian: Because Shawn is in prison he doesn’t have a laptop, cpu…he literally writes everything, and he says it can be painful, at times, to try and meet our personal deadlines. It’s often a struggle; sending mail back and forth, things being rejected by the prison, post office late on deliveries, etc…We get it done though. We don’t accept excuses, therefore we don’t give any.

The authors can be reached at facebook.com/shantestevens & facebook.com/collie.stevens.7

 

 

 

Sheri Henry-Harrigan started writing at the age of twelve as an outlet for depression. In March 2012 her first project Tales of the Broken Hearted was published. Since then she has penned several titles. She started writing strictly urban fiction. Her most recent work, The Imperfect Love Series is more geared toward the romance genre. As she continues on with her writing career, she plans to move into the crime fiction and thriller genres. Besides writing she is pursing her other passion of becoming a lawyer. Sheri lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soft As Steel

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. -Norman Vincent Peale

steel

 

As authors,  it is a given that we run the risk of readers not liking our work.  Yet, we have two ways to handle it when it happens and how we choose to handle it determines A) how serious we are about the craft and B) what kind of character we have away from the pages.

On my newsfeed a week ago, I read where an author took issue with a book club after receiving a poor review. This person called the reviewers out of their names, cursing them out and accusing them of favoritism. This person acted out so bad that  people were still talking about the incident days later. Other authors, including myself, chimed in with our thoughts and opinions and the general consensus was: ‘This guy had only one job and his job was to take the hit and use it to make himself a better writer”

I hope I’m not coming off self righteous and didactic when  I write this because I understand what it is like to work tirelessly on a story only to have it bashed. A moment that stuck out for me was when I entered a contest and the judges weren’t impressed. Instead of getting my ass on my shoulders and cursing out the judges and acting a fool to put some balm on my ego, I continued to write and practiced showing the reader what was going on instead of telling. I was determined to get better and put in the work to do so.

I haven’t been writing creatively for a long time, but I immediately learned two things: One, any author worth his or her salt, consistently works on the craft. Two, your skin in this business has to be soft as steel.  You can’t let the negative opinion of readers and fellow authors deter you. If anything, use it as fuel to get better.

Yeah, I know that sometimes  we as artists-be it authors, singers, musicians, actors or  actresses, etc get sensitive about our work, but that gives us no excuse to come at our audiences. For the author, especially black authors, bashing book clubs and arguing with readers is a sure way to commit career suicide.

Lashing out doesn’t only effect the offending author, it also effect others. Why?  When authors lash out at the readers, it makes a few apprehensive  about posting reviews. The majority of us rely on these reviews-good or bad because how else are we supposed to give the reader what they want without them telling us via a fair review?  We will mess around and not only have a few reviews here and there, but we won’t  have readers at all if we continue to carry on as some of us have.

I’m not saying that you can’t feel disappointed about a review or even feel angry, I’m saying that you just have to have tough skin to navigate through this industry if you want staying power in it. There are so many constructive ways to deal with a bad review. Again, you can take that review and learn and grow from it during your next project. You could even use that same bad review to move some units and turn a loss into a gain that way.

No mater what you chose to do with that less than favorable review, remember that whatever we create and release to the public is up for criticism and  there’s no getting around it. You can take the criticism, as well the praise, and continue to improve  or you can waste your keystrokes and breath trying to fight a battle you know you cant win when you’re beefing with book clubs and readers and end up being labeled as a “cancer” in the game. Choose wisely!