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A Review of Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

In this book, Zora Neale Hurston told the story of Cudjo Lewis (Oluale Kossola), who was brought over to the United States via the Clotilda as “cargo.” He was held in the barracoon a tight space where he and one hundred other slaves were confined and then sold to work in the fields. Over a three month, Hurston made the trip to see Cudjo, bringing him fruit and other foods while building his trust. Some days they would talk and some days he would turn her away. Although his story was told in his vernacular, I didn’t have a problem with it. Actually, I felt I understood his story on a deeper level as a slave then a freed man, a husband, father and finally a sexton at his church in Africatown (Plateau Alabama).

I found his story heart wrenching especially when he talked about how his village was attached by female warriors who slaughtered his family and friends. He didn’t get the chance to train to be a warrior, get married and start a family before he was snatched away as “cargo.” I tried …

Why Joining A Writing Group Makes You a Star!

November 18, 2018 marked 10 wonderful years with my writers’ critique group members (L. Trovillion, M. Paris and S. Yanguas) aka “The Talented Scribes.” We celebrated by having dinner at a nice restaurant and reminisced about how we started and how far we have grown as writers.

Although we write in different genres of fiction (e.g. romantic suspense, young adult, chick lit) and non-fiction, we have garnered collective strength through our love of writing. We support and cheer each other on throughout the highs and lows of our writing while still having fun.
So, when I recently taught the workshop “Why Joining a Writing Group Makes You a Star!” at the Black Authors and Readers Rock Weekend in Oxon Hill, MD (September 14 – 15, 2018), I didn’t have to look too far for inspiration.
Here are the 7 reasons I shared with the audience why joining a writing group makes you a star:
1.Motivation  a.As writers we tend to want to stay in our comfort zone until we get motivated to see that magic happe…

So You Want to Write!

On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, I was a guest speaker at Professor Kathleen Hellen’s creative writing class at Coppin State University. We met at the Baltimore Book Festival (September 30, 2018) where I was exhibiting at the Black Writers’ Guild tent. She told me that she would love to have writers come to her class and talk about any aspect of the craft of writing. 

When I took her up on her offer, I decided that I would discuss the five elements of a fiction novel. Here’s what I covered during the class:

1.Plot & Structure
a.Beginning, middle and end. b.Having action, conflict and resolution.

2.Setting & Description
a.Where does the story take place? b.Weave in details to add depth to the story. c.Use the 5 senses (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch).

3.Point of View (POV)
a.Whose character’s eyes are you looking though? b.1st person (you’re with the character throughout the entire novel) c.3rd person (gives you more flexibility).
4.Character
a.Identify your protagonist and antagonist. b.…

Interview with Dr. Bruce Dunams, author of Making Dough: A Young Entrepreneur's Tale

Author's Bio:Dr. Bruce D. Dunams is a serial entrepreneur and an expert business strategist who works with hundreds of entrepreneurs every year. His management consulting firm works with hundreds of entrepreneurs and business leaders each year to help improve their effectiveness. Dr. Dunams holds a Doctor of Business Administration focused in Strategic Management and has practical knowledge in business strategy, product development, and project management. He has been an inspiring entrepreneur, and, through this book, he is playing his role in shaping the future generation of entrepreneurs.

Making Dough: A Young Entrepreneur's Tale is a tale of young Maya Santiago, a 12-year-old Latina, who struggles to find her financial independence. She lives in a single-family home with an ill brother. With encouragement from her best friend, Sasha, Maya decides to start her own cookie business to help support her family and gain the financial independence she craves. Each chapter of the bo…

A Review of the Play, A Wonder in My Soul, at the Baltimore Center Stage

I recently saw A Wonder in My Soul, the third play of Baltimore Center Stage’s new season (2018/2019) and loved it. It’s currently playing through December 23, 2018 and you can still get tickets to see this fun and roaringly hilarious play written by Marcus Gardley and directed by Daniel Bryant. 


Anyway, this play represented true slices of Baltimore: neighborhood beauty shops, fried lake trout, half and half, gentrification, politics, and crime. But in the midst of it all it’s a story about family and friendships. So welcome to Gwynn and Swann’s Beauty Palace of Cosmetology, a neighborhood beauty shop owned by two childhood friends (Swann Park Sinclair and Gwynn Oak Falls) where the hair is on fleek and the gossip is on tap. The characters were well-rounded, their dialogue was realistic, and the way they navigated family issues and friendships was spot on.I could feel the pain when things went wrong and the joy when things went right.

I really enjoyed how Marcus Gardley did a play on th…

A Review of the Play, King of the Yees, at the Baltimore Center Stage

This was the second play of the Baltimore Center Stage's new season (2018/2019) that ran from October 25 - November 18, 2018. It was a delightfully funny play that took audiences on a ride through San Francisco’s Chinatown based on playwright’s Lauren Yee’s journey to connect to her family and her heritage. I learned quite a lot about the Chinese culture, the politics (corrupt politician, Leland Yee) and gang violence (Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow the Dragonhead of the Ghee Kung Tong). In the play, the red doors represented a mythic entrance way that connected the audience to the Yee ancestors. The color red symbolizes luck in the Chinese culture and per the principles of feng shui, it means welcome. On the flip side, it’s a symbol of fame and exclusion which the play explores by showing the role that the Yee Fung Toy Family Association played in preserving the Chinese culture and protecting the community from racism.

Although I’ve been to Chinatown in Washington, D.C. and New York, …

Interview with Michele Chynoweth, author of The Runaway Prophet (and The Faithful One and The Peace Maker)

Author’s Bio:Michele Chynoweth is the award-winning author of The Runaway Prophet, The Peace Maker and The Faithful One, contemporary, Bible-based novels full of suspense and romance. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she and her husband have five children and one grandchild and live in North East, Maryland.Prior to becoming a full-time author Michele worked in marketing, publicity and journalism for 30 years. In addition to being an author, Michele is also a college instructor teaching writing, publishing and marketing your first book, an inspirational speaker and a book coach and has helped several writers become successful authors with her writing, editing, publishing and marketing services. Michele has a fourth book due out in June, 2019 titled The Jealous Son, a modern-day murder mystery based on the Bible story of Cain and Abel. For more visit her website, www.michelechynoweth.com

DL:What’s the inspiration for writing your book? MC: Looking back I see God called me to wr…

A Review of Three Ways to Love by Kimberly Posey Latimore

This novel is about three friends who met in high school but after graduating from college they went their separate ways until some unexpected news brought them back together. Kendall Porter, Rachel Donovan and Sasha Fairbanks are all trying to find their way in the professional world while maneuvering the game of love.

Kendall was caught up with Colton, a quintessential womanizer who wanted Kendall back into his life. Rachel was in search of the perfect job and trying to figure if Preston was the man for her. Sasha was a party girl who couldn’t seem to settle down. All three enjoy a great sisterhood of partying, making time to laugh and being there for each other. But they were tested once illness and other health scares placed them in a situation of mistrust. I enjoyed the story and the scenes with all three friends. The dialogue was realistic; however, the characters could have been a bit more developed. Also, there were plotlines that didn’t come full circle and I wanted to see clo…

Interview with Brother Dash, author of Sweet Mojo: One Man’s Descent Through Danger & Delight

Author’s Bio: Brother Dash is an Amazon Bestselling author. He has been featured on BBC World Television, BBC Radio, Ebru TV, Pacifica Radio and a variety of other media outlets in the U.S., Canada, England, Africa, and The Middle East.

He is the author of the novel, The Donor: When Conception Meets Deception, Sweet Mojo: One Man’s Descent Through Danger & Delight and the stage play “Black Mirrors.” He is also an accomplished performance poet with three spoken word albums and has performed for over 100,000 people throughout the US, the UK and Canada. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in English and Sociology and resides in New Jersey.
DL: What’s the inspiration for writing your book? BD: I was interested in creating a Marvel Cinematic type universe with a touch of supernatural mystery, grounded in the everyday and featuring characters of color. I knew I wanted to create a series that readers could follow through several books.

DL: Is there any particular author or…