Tag Archives: Writing

Who Is Treasure E. Blue?

Treasure Blue

1.Many assume they know the author based on the book. Yet, tell us who is Treasure Blue, the person?
A: That is a kind of/sort of correct answer because my writing is a reflection of me. I came to the conclusion years ago, we talking as far back as 30 years, before I even knew or wanted to become a writer, that I can only write what I know, what’s inside me. I give it up, even if it’s dark secrets. I’m not ashamed

2.What and who inspired you to become an author?
A: What inspired me I’ve said it many times in the past, my love for words and a need to regurgitate toxic pain and anger from within.

3.How difficult was it for you to enter the literary field?
A: It was actually a natural progression. I was a screenwriter prior to writing novels, and won several awards in the process. Even in college, I won essayist of the month and things like that. My gift goes way back, plus the fact that I was a lover of books. Had to be, my mother was a school teacher. LOL.

4.Is it what you expected?
A: When you write for the love and for the craft, there are NEVER any downsides to it. It is only when authors write for other motives such as fame or future will they always be disappointed. I just wanted people to read my work; everything else was a plus and a gift.

5.Where do you get your story ideas from and what’s the process?
A: I always have and feel I always will continue to genesis all stories from what I know and build on that. I have a great imagination and think during the process the “WHAT IF THIS HAPPENED” and kick around different mind blowing ideas, with the readers in mind, that they would NEVER see coming. That’s the art of storytelling.

6.In 3 years, where do you see yourself at?
A: Writing….. Period! Whatever beyond that is going to be, I don’t force anything. So when any other grand opportunity comes along, I’m prepared.

7. What type of music do you listen to?
A: Majority of the time 90’s music. That seems to be my theme. I still play my 60’s 70’s & 80’s jams. That’s just me.

8. Where are you from?
A: Harlem Stand Up!

9. As a professional, you have to put your personal views and feelings to the side for the sake of business?
A: I’m not that type to be controlled in my opinion of views…I’m a artist first for Christ sakes. We are supposed to voice our pure and unadulterated feelings, right or wrong. I have little need to be politically correct.

10. What genres do you write in and do you have ambitions to dabble in other ones?
A: I don’t fancy that term genre too much, but Yes, I do dabble in other genres, I put out and released Urban Lit, Chick Lit, and Erotica.

11.How can we find your titles and future book signings?
A:Treasure Blue novels are everywhere, bookstores, online and in local libraries, so I’m available with little problem if you want to check me out. I probably, since the digital era, only travel about a half dozen times to events and signing.

Thanks bro.

I thank you more for giving me a minute this morning. We were up with the sun making it do what it do.

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The Circle Rain's Story

The Boss Life w/ Author & Publisher Rahiem Brooks

“Literature is indispensable to the world. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way a person looks at reality, then you can change it.”

-James Baldwin

All my life, I wanted to be a self-made man. I dreamed of one day becoming my own boss and owning the affairs of my life. I also dreamed about using my writings to uplift people around the world. As I look at the occurrences in my life I see that I’m inching closer and closer to achieving these childhood dreams. However, this task is easier said than done.

In the book publishing world, you have tons of independent publishing houses springing up. Some are legitimate companies releasing quality products in a professional manner to the masses of hungry readers. However, others are delivering hastily written E-Books and literary trash that the families of these authors wouldn’t even feel comfortable supporting. At this juncture in history, it’s hard to separate the real authors and publishers from the pretendersfakes and dirty hustlers.

Dictionary.com defines the word boss as “a person who makes decisions, exercises authority and/or dominates.” Simply put, a boss finds his way to stand above the crowd. You see it in every arena, especially in the sector of business. A boss is someone (male or female) who is defined by their morals and work ethic. They march to the beat of their own drum, forcing others to fall in line with their plans or get crushed if paths are ever crossed. A boss is a BMB (Business Minded Brother) or SRT (Sister Running Things) on steroids!

You can’t put a true boss in a creative prison. They walk their own path and create the projects that they approve of. The funny thing about it is that the work that these bosses release are always critically acclaimed in some sort of fashion. It’s almost like they force the consumers to see the world through their unique viewpoint.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to talk to Rahiem Brooks, owner of the independent publishing company Prodigy Publishing Group. He’s is also an award winning, national best-selling author of five novels. Rahiem is also known for his no-holds-barred advice and opinions on the publishing industry. As you read the interview, make sure you take notes. He’s really dropping jewels on subjects that are rarely discussed!

 

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Randall: How do you feel about the current landscape of the black independent publishing market?

Rahiem Brooks: Great question, which I hope you’re prepared to get me a body guard if I reply honestly. (chuckles) I can’t speak about the landscape per se. I work to be an independent publishing house, and not a “black” independent publishing house. There is a lot of the blind leading the blind. Not many people look to learn the business or pay people to effectively do things for them.

 It’s like being President Obama. He has a cabinet. Each cabinet member advises him on the things that he doesn’t know and provides him with options to make informed decisions. I don’t want to be an author without respect and being recognized for excellence. Outside of the authors performance one of my pet peeves is people that charge to promote sub-par material. It’s very saddening that people promote novels that meet the lowest publishing bar, and have people spend their hard earned money on these products. These same people turn around and want to petition Amazon to stop people from making returns.

I confess that over my four years in publishing, I’ve had three-five returns in the Kindle Store. Quality material is not returned. There are some people that do it right, and I applaud them as they continue to breathe life into the industry. But the many bad apples make people have no faith in the indie process, and prompts them to avoid buying any indie products.

Randall: What distinguishes a quality independent book from one that’s subpar at best?

Rahiem Brooks: Any book should have reputable and professional editing and proofreading. Professional book cover design, preferably one that sets the book apart from it’s competitors. That’s the great divider. The marketing, promotion, and PR will then determine who has the better product. Because an author writes better and has a better story line doesn’t mean they’ll sell more units. How that product is displayed will be the determining factor.

Randall: Earlier this year, you released a Google Play app. What inspired that move?

Rahiem Brooks: I found that my sales and demand was plateauing. I had to sit and think of plans to effective bolster my sales and brand. An app in the Apple and Google Play stores affords me the opportunity to meet people that are not connected to me through my social media networks. I am looking for avenues to advance my platform that doesn’t rely solely on me. All of my Facebook and Instgram friends that want my books and app already have it. The rest don’t and probably never will buy a book, share a status, or be of any benefit to my brand. So, I found it imperative to develop an app, adapt to audio books, and write for CNN iReport. The bigger the audience, the bigger the sales.

Randall: How important is having a strong social media presence to the modern day author?

Rahiem Brooks: Well, I am not so sure that a strong social media presence is a requirement. One thing that I pride myself on is operating the same way that publishing houses did prior to the Internet. As I stated early, you max out on your presence with FB. When I post things, I can predict who will like it. No matter how great you are some people are just not going to pat you on the back.

If they’ve been your FB friend for three years and you’ve published five books and they have none, they aren’t going to buy one. Focusing on them to make a sale is pointless.  Which is why I have been focusing on branding in areas not involving Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I can be at an event and have several people tell me about places I’ve been or things I did, but I don’t recall them liking a pic or discussing any of my posts. I make it a point to participate in my news feed, because I want to be engaging.

Randall: How do you effectively engage your readers?

Rahiem Brooks: I find that my readers like me as a man first and author second. They like my story. Where I’ve come from and what I now represent. Those people are my fans. I like to entertain and some people love me for that and some hate me, although neither group has ever met me. I focus on the people that love me.

Randall: At the 2014 National Black Writers Conference, AALBC.com founder Troy Johnson dropped a bomb on the world about the mass closure of independently owned African-American bookstores. What’s your take on this and how can we turn the tide?

Rahiem Brooks: I’ve written about this before, and I maintain that African-American owned book stores need to maintain a higher level of respect for authors and buyers. Some book stores look to make more off the sale of a book than the author. It’s absurd for an indie author to buy a book for $4 and sell it to a store for $6, but the store sells it to the consumer for $15, for a $9 profit. So the author makes $2. Many indie authors don’t have the capital to buy in bulk to get the bigger discounts. Also, many book stores don’t give new authors a chance. They expect to stay in business selling blockbuster series by K’wan, Wahida Clark, and Deja King. How is that possible? When their customers buy all of the top selling author’s books and there’s nothing new to buy, they have nothing else to offer. Many have not made the move into the 21st century either. If I owned a book store, I would sell E-books, as well. Everything is about going into the future.

 

Randall: Your novels are vastly different from the books that we see released from other black owned, independent publishing companies. How have you been able to keep your projects fresh? Also, how important is diversity in the African-American literary industry?

Rahiem Brooks: I am a black author, but that’s the extent of it. Race doesn’t play any part in this for me. I am keenly aware that I write to entertain fans of a genre, not a race. I had lunch with Walter Mosley for my 34th birthday in New York City. One of the questions that I asked him was should I make my main characters white, so that they’re widely accepted across racial lines. He adamantly told me that was not the way to go. He stressed that all of his heroes are black and no publisher would change that. And I now understand that. I have readers of all races and I’ve been expanding across cultures selling books in India, Israel, Australia and Pakistan. Again, people that like mysteries, thrillers, and suspense are not focused on the race of the characters, but the storyline and storytelling. James Patterson is most famous for the Cross Series. Alex Cross is African-American, the stories are well written, and probably the top selling series of all time.

Randall: By the time this article is published, it will be read by many young adults striving for better in the world. What is your message to them?

Rahiem Brooks: Education is king, know that. That doesn’t mean that you must go to college, but you must read and self-educate to help in making informed decisions. I constantly read magazines, books, and blogs on my profession. I sponge information like a doctor. I am always at workshops and taking courses on business related matters, even things that I may know. A new approach to an old topic could be beneficial. I read books on etiquette, too. I like to know how to act according to the world-at-large and not the neighborhood that I grew up in.

 

Randall: What upcoming projects do you have coming up?

Right now, I am doing more work as an independent editor, typesetter, and reviewer. I do that to have an all-around working knowledge of the business. I have five paperback novels published and working on numbers six ,seven , and eight simultaneously. They are tentatively titled: MURDER IN LOVE PARK (the sequel to MURDER IN GERMANTOWN), PRETTY BOY THUGS, and MR. CONFIDENCE.

Find out more about Rahiem Brooks at:

Web Site: http://www.rahiembrooks.comraheimbrooks

Apple and Google Play App Link: http://rahiembrooks.mobapp.at

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Novelist-Rahiem-Brooks/168128746598922

Instagram: rahiemthewriter

Twitter: @rahiembrooks

 

Do you have any questions or comments for me? Is there someone you’d like me to interview? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB & @TeamYGB25

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

 

Check out a preview of my debut novel “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson” on Wattpad today! It’s coming soon!

http://www.wattpad.com/story/6314747-the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson

 

 

You Gotta Have Fun Sometimes! (A Manifesto)

“I know y’all gonna feel me on this one

You gotta feel me on this one”

-Rick Ross, “Sixteen” ft. Andre 3000

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had the gift of analytical thinking. Well, it’s a gift and a curse. Because of my habit of over analyzing things, I always felt that I stood out among the people of my age group. I covered this in my debut article Setting Relationship Standards. It’s always been hard for me to find others in my age range that were even close to my maturity level. Basically, using the principles I discussed in my debut article, I set too high of standards for people around me.

Like I said, I’ve always been different. While my peers chronicled their many sexual adventures, I was determined to write my first full-length novel and get it published before I turned eighteen. While my peers were mesmerized by the street life, I was infatuated by modern-day societal infrastructures such as Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street and organizations that fought for change like Marcus Garvey’s U.N.I.A and the original Black Panther Party.   The people around me are apt in learning the new hit dance craze and following the ever-changing fashion trends. Meanwhile, I’m avid in learning about the makeup of cultural trends and how to use them to spread  the message of self-respect, class and intelligence to my generation. Do you see my problem now?

Or is it a problem?

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Thinking about this issue takes me back to the days of my adolescence. I’ve always been a huge fan of the iconic cartoon SpongeBob Square pants. One episode that’s burned in my memory is called “Patrick Smartpants”. In this episode Patrick, after losing the top of his head, gains an infinite amount of intelligence. Because of this, he starts to become somewhat arrogant, destroying his friendship with SpongeBob and offending the many people that he was trying to help. He ended up depressed and lonely by the end of the episode.

Using my critical thinking skills, I liken “Patrick Smartpants” to me. Is this why it was always hard for me to build lasting friendships? Who am I to impose these insurmountable standards on the people I come in contact with on a daily basis? Relationships are fifty-fifty. You have to meet people where they are to have them return the favor.

This is a message I also saw echoed in Drumline, one of my favorite movies. In it, Dr. Lee is an old-school brother and a traditionalist when it comes to music. However, his set ways start to become a major problem. The alumni are starting to lose interest in Atlanta A & T’s band program, which means that it could possibly be shut down if something isn’t done to right the ship. But how is Dr. Lee to do that when Morris Brown continues to decimate them every year at the BET Southern Classic?

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I tend to relate to Nick Cannon’s character Devin Miles. He was an exceptionally talented snare drum player that stood out amongst the other members of the drumline. His cocky swagger and immense skill draws a rival in the form of jealous drum section leader Sean Taylor, who is a traditionalist just like Dr. Lee.

Devon eventually ostracized himself from the rest of his teammates and gets kicked off the band after initiating a riot at A &T’s homecoming. Sean helped in jump starting his dismissal by revealing that he couldn’t read sheet music. However, after a snare drum showdown, Devon and Sean put their issues aside and team up to create a BET Southern Classic winning performance piece that also meets Dr. Lee’s high expectations.

Sometimes you have to put your ego to the side and undergo a change. How are you going to lead people to the promise land when you haven’t found yourself? I’m a sure witness of this! I’m officially starting my quest to become a more well-rounded person.  And I’m going to chronicle my physical, spiritual and mental journey in my writings. So watch out world! You’re looking at the rise of a legend!

P.S.: I’m not debunking what I discussed in my Setting Relationship Standards article. I’m just offering another viewpoint. Sometimes you just have to accept people for who they are. They’ll come around eventually. If not, they aren’t even worth wasting time on.

While you discern between the people that you need in your life, I ask you to support me in my endeavors. Introduce any teenagers you know to my various articles. Check out a preview of my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad.com. Follow DC Bookdiva Publications and Young and Gifted Books on the various social media sites. Support Urban Intellectuals!

 Contribute to the conversation. Like my role model Michael Baisden said, “No one man is an island”. We can make a change in our communities together!

 

 

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? Do you want to join the focus group for my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

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

Check out a preview of my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad! It’s dropping soon!

http://www.wattpad.com/story/6314747-the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson

When Characters Speak

Writing Tip: Every time a different character takes the stage by speaking, moving, etc. begin a NEW paragraph.

[EX:] “I just want you to know, you make me sick, bitch.” Tanya, stared at Nichole, with a challenge in her eye.shouting

[NP] Nichole smirked and waved her little sister off, “oh, I see you on some bullshit.” It was her son’s first birthday party. The women had ducked into the back yard. The always turnt-up Tanya claiming she needed to talk.

[NP] “Bullshit?” Tanya’s jaw was tight. She edged closer. Her voice a whisper. “Bitch, you call fuckin’ my man some bullshit?”

[NP] “Huh?” she was caught off guard. “What? Girl, you better…”

[NP] Pow!

[NP] The sudden back-hand caught Nichole off guard. “What the…?”

[NP] “Stay away from my man, bitch.” Tanya pointed. “I ain’t gon’ tell yo bitch-ass again.” She hoped no one had seen what she’d done, but, then again, she really couldn’t give a fuck. “Ole ratchet-ass bitch. I cain’t stand yo ass.”

[NP] As Tanya turned, Nichole watched, rubbed her cheek and smiled.

 

GODFATHER” Hunter is an incarcerated author from Los Angeles, Ca. He has  written several books covering a variety of genres, to include self-help/how-to/advisory, autobiography, poetry, urban romance, erotica and street lit. Godfather has even taught urban lit during his many years of incarceration. He makes an added effort to lace his writings with history, social-political consciousness and other such pearls of wisdom while penning  in a style which many have compared to the likes of James Patterson, John Grisham and Michhael Connelly.

Stop Being Afraid Of Success!

“It’s a Poor Frog Who Doesn’t Praise His Own Pond”

R.C. Moore

success

Last night while scrolling my facebook timeline, I noticed a Madame Noire article titled   “Impostor Syndrome” Afflicts Even The Most Successful Among Us and I just had to click on that link.
The article opened with the author writing about how people  who are on top of their game and who have hit their zone give off the illusion of confidence to most of us, yet struggle with moments of doubt and second guessing, therefore bringing on the “impostor syndrome”  (Damn, folks are always trying to diagnose any and everything these days)  label. It mentioned how Facebook Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandeberg struggles with thoughts of her accomplishments being unwarranted despite being a Jill of All Trades and a Mistress of quite a few of them. However, that part of the article didn’t stick out to me. It was the following paragraph that moved me and inspired me to pen my first post here on “Straight No Chaser”  on this topic:

Many minorities experience the “impostor syndrome”, convinced that their achievements are only due to Affirmative Action. Many people who deal with this syndrome actually turn out to be pretty good employees but , just won’t take credit for it.”

*sighs and sucks teeth*

When will “we” stop believing and drowning in our inferiority complexes?

If you ask me, RIGHT NOW is the perfect time to stop it.

I hate to sound naive, but I’m keeping it one-hundred here! If you as an author, musician, athlete, etc put in the work…the sacrifice… the hustle and effort to make your dream a reality, then there’s no ‘impostor syndrome’ because you are not an impostor. You did that, Okay! Save that ” awe shucks” “lucky me”  shtick and OWN YOUR SUCCESS! EMBRACE YOUR SUCCESS!

Turn that “Why me” into a “Why not me”!  You’ve worked, sacrificed and worked and sacrificed some more to realize your vision and mission. You’ve earned the right to take credit for your success. Only you and your circle know how much you struggled.. .how much you have endured. You don’t have to answer to any man or woman who DARES to question your success and its legitimacy!

When I  think about that quote in the article, I wondered ” Are most people afraid to embrace success because they fear that they wont be true to themselves and the people around them?” If that’s the case, that shouldn’t be an issue. Catch this: Success and money do not change who you are at the core. It only amplifies who you are. Don’t worry about it because it will eventually come out of you in your actions anyway.

Am I advocating flossing your success and walking around like you’re the only thing that’s poppin’? Absolutely not! What I’m saying is embrace what you have accomplished without guilt and without shame and complexes.

When you take this route, you miss out on so much. You miss out on opportunity. If not the opportunity, you don’t really enjoy the ride. You don’t enjoy the moment because you convinced yourself that you don’t deserve it. It’s not fair to you, and it puts all of your efforts and drive in vain.

Think of it this way: You and about four other people completed a project and it was hit at the office. You know you did the brunt of the work but one wanted to take credit for it. You wouldn’t let that slide  in that situation, so don’t let it side anywhere else.  Owning your success will lead to more confidence and eventually more opportunities to grow. Don’t throw that away on a syndrome or a complex!

About the author

 

Jannelle is the author of “Wild Cards”, “Thirst” , “Thirst II” and “Love’s Hangover”, and is a fresh face in African -American  Contemporary fiction, spending time on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list in African-American women’s fiction for two of her four titles.  She’s also a freelance journalist, who also credits her father suggesting her to write books. The proud North Carolina A&T alum  lives in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina.

 

Twitter:  @Jannelle12

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jannelle1

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/author/jannelle1