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Author | Blogger | Workshop Facilitator Visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. Connect with me online @authordeelawrence (Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

2018 Black Authors and Readers Rock Weekend


Sharon Lucas has done it again! YES, the 2018 BARR weekend (September 14 – 15, 2018) at the Harborside Hotel in Oxon Hill, MD was a hit.

On Friday, I taught a workshop titled “Why Joining a Writing Group Makes You a Star!” I had a great group of folks who were interested in learning what to look for in a writing group and how to start one. I will share the tips in a separate upcoming blog post.

Later that evening, the audience tuned in to the Men in Literature Panel that featured Victor McGlothin and Black Topp. Both authors talked about their writing journeys and future plans. This was followed by a reception in honor of the BARR 2018 Literary Icon Tina McElroy Ansa.

On Saturday, there was a live taping of the “The Tea,” an online talk show for people who love books. Janelle Clayton, Deborah Franklin, Nigeria Lockley, and Dina Strachen discussed Barracoon by Zora Neal Hurston. It got very emotional at times. I made a note to put this book in my reading rotation.

Then this was followed by a panel (“Your Book – From Your Head to Print”) led by Cherrie Woods where she interviewed Tina McElroy Ansa, Victor McGlothin, and Renee Flagler. Great stuff!

A delicious lunch was served then it was followed by guest speakers Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. They shared their writing joys with everyone and sold some books too.

Overall, it was a great event. It was also wonderful seeing fellow authors/friends Cherrie Woods, Denise Cuffie, Dr. Hattie Washington, V. Helena Yancey and so many more. Looking forward to 2019 BARR weekend and I hope to see you there too!

Until next time, here are some photos from the event:











A Review of Love...And Lust, a short story by Gil Brewer

In this short story, Gil Brewer introduces us to Cora Fleming a married woman with a past as a “big-time call girl.” Enter Rush Taylor, who poses as her “cousin” who comes to visit Cora and her husband, Ernie who is a very busy writer. Unbeknownst to Ernie, Rush would place horrifying sexual demands on Cora and sometimes even beating her while Ernie is busy typing away on his typewriter. Cora feared that someday Ernie would start asking her about her bruises.

The plot thickens when Ernie suspects something isn’t right with Rush staying under their roof and wants Rush gone. But Cora is in a quandary because although she agrees that Rush should go she doesn’t quite know how to do it. And this is where it gets quite interesting.
Let me just say I didn’t know this short story would be packed with such noir. Gil Brewer did an awesome job at wrapping up this story with a delicious twist! 
Great read! Two thumps way up!
Note: This short story appeared in Gil Brewer’s A Devil for O’Shaugnessy / The Three-Way Split.
My favorite lines:
Cora would stay in her bedroom, reading, waiting for Ernie. Sometimes he never came; working all night long. Then he would sleep during the day.

And Rush would corner her. She admitted there was something magnetic about Rush. Too much of him might turn a girl’s head. Once she’d been deeply in love with him, even with the things he did. Or so she thought.

Two days went by. Ernie asked on the second day, “You speak to him yet?"

No. I haven’t the nerve.”

“Want me to?”

“Oh, no!” She tried to hold his gaze. He turned away. “It’s just that—” she said, “that I should do it. I will speak to him, Ernie. I will.            

“He’s your cousin. Not mine.”

“He’s so alone.”

“Yeah.” Ernie left the room, and soon she heard the typewriter hammering away again.”

Rating: 5 stars


 


Monday, September 24, 2018

Duho Books: Embodying a Cultural Past, With a Metaphor for a Bright Literary Future

DL: Hello everyone! It’s my pleasure to introduce guest blogger, Wendy Coakley-Thompson, President of Duho Books, a boutique press based in the Washington, D.C. area. Wendy will talk about her writing career and her journey into the publishing world.
WCT: Hi Dee. Thanks much for the opportunity. When I talk to people about Duho Books, my new Washington DC boutique publishing company that showcases the vibrant history, culture, and people of The Bahamas, I immediately prepare myself for the barrage of questions.  Questions like “What’s a ‘duhu’?” “Why would you publish books about The Bahamas?”  “Does The Bahamas even have a literary tradition?”  In answering such questions, I find that it helps to return to the past for the answers.
            In the summer of 2016, I’d been musing deeply about my writing career—or what was left of it. Since 2002, when I’d become a serious published author, I’d made myriad attempts at hacking the publishing industry. I’d self-published my first novel, Back to Life, a novel about life and interracial love in the aftermath of the 1989 shooting of Yusuf Hawkins, a black teen, by Italian Americans in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. That novel helped me to get an agent, who secured me a two-book deal with Kensington Books. I thought, “This is it! I’ve made it to The Show.”
            Unfortunately, I believe that Big Publishing didn’t know what to do with a literary platypus like me. My books featured relationships, but they weren’t your typical romance novels. I wanted to feature foreign locales and experiences in my fiction that reflected my Bahamian-American multicultural heritage; editors cautioned me against it, for fear of alienating potential audiences.  I was marketed as part of the new African American literature renaissance, but I also wished to widen my audience to reflect the universality of the human experience. Before long, Kensington dropped me after two books. In 2014, I ended up suing them over copyright infringement, but I digress…
            In the ensuing post-Kensington years, I self-published two novels—Triptych and Writing While Black. In my quest to understand the literal and figurative business end of publishing, I co-hosted the radio show called The Book Squad and covered the industry for Examiner.com, Postscript’d, the Grio, and Washington Independent Review of Books. All the while, I noticed a lack of books about multicultural people like me whose beauty is in being an amalgam of many things that contribute to a greater whole. Particularly, I longed to read about The Bahamas, my ancestral home. Specifically, I knew that there were masterful undiscovered authors in The Bahamas who deserved to have a wider audience for their work. Norman Solomon, a great Bahamian businessman and statesman, once said, “See a need, and fill it.” So, in 2016, instead of cursing the dark, I decided to light a candle—and Duho Books was born. Our mission at Duho is unique and long overdue: We want to preserve Bahamian culture through the written word and disseminate it to the world.
            Why the name Duho Books? Well, I love duhos and what they represent. First and foremost, they are artifacts from a time that predates Christopher Columbus and the misery he brought to the land we now call The Bahamas. They represent the Arawaks and Lucayans who had a so-called “civilization” long before Europeans intruded. Specifically, duhos represent a throne on which a chief, commonly called a cacique, is elevated. I see the elevation of the Bahamian experience to its own metaphorical throne once more for generations present and future. So, the duho is a nod to The Bahamas’s pre-European past and a representation of the hope for the future of her culture.
            In September of 2017, Duho had published its inaugural collection, available wherever books are sold: My Name Is Karma, by Bahamian author N.A. Cash; The Lights of Home, by Bahamian-American author Marin Frederique; and the 15th anniversary edition of my first novel, Back to Life. Three more novels joined them this past spring—N.A. Cash’s sophomore novel, My Name Is Karma: Journey to the Truth; The Left-Over Daughters by Bahamian author S. L. Sheppard; and the re-release of my acclaimed 2005 novel What You Won’t Do for Love. This fall will bring a new crop of work for curious readers to enjoy.
            At Duho, we remain on the lookout for good reads that land squarely in line with our stated mission. We publish both fiction and non-fiction. Whether you’re a Bahamian author, use The Bahamas as a setting for your book, or just include information about The Bahamas in your writing, we would like to hear from you. If your work fits the criteria for Duho Books or if you’re interested in what we have to offer, visit our website at www.duhobooks.com  




Monday, September 10, 2018

Interview with Leo E. Ndelle, author of The Soulless Ones Series (Already here – Baiting the Beast, Book 3 of The Soulless Ones Series)

Author’s Bio: Leo is a Cameroonian-American author. He published his first novel The Bright Eyes, Book One of the series in October 2017. He has a bachelor’s degree in banking and finance and a master’s degree in business administration. He currently works as an auditor for the State of Maryland. He enjoys many activities including sports, fitness, travelling, and martial arts (taijutsu).

DL: What’s the inspiration for writing your books?
LN: The love of writing, of creativity. There is something about transducing a concept to script that is very fulfilling and fun.

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
LN: Robert Ludlum remains my all-time favorite! The Bourne Identity was the first and only book that, once I started reading, I didn’t stop until I was done. The Hermit, by T. Lobsang Rampa, The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, by Levi H. Dowling, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, and the Christian Bible are some of the authors/books that influenced the series.

DL: How long did it take to write your books?
LN: About two-and-a-half years to complete the first drafts of all five books of the series.

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
LN: I start with a complete outline and work with it. I don’t always follow the outline to the letter. But the outline provides a general sense of direction for the story. I actually wrote about this process on my blog. Check it out: https://www.the-soullessones.com/blog/the-writing-process-from-mind-to-matter

DL:  Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
LN: No, I don’t. Music is an enjoyable distraction I can’t afford to have when I’m writing.

DL: What are the keys to success in marketing your books?
LN: My website, social media, blogging, word of mouth, and book events so far. My novels are available on the following platforms: Amazon (paperback and kindle), Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Click on the following link for the direct links to these various platforms: https://www.the-soullessones.com/books

DL: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
LN: Never procrastinate! If you have an idea, follow through with it TO THE VERY END. Rise above any feelings of self-doubt. With the limitless amount of resources out there nowadays, you are the only one who can hold yourself back from writing (and publishing).

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from “Baiting the Beast”?
LN: Sure! This scene occurs when Sarael is going through a test as she faces The Beast.

Copyright@2018 by Leo E. Ndelle 
Marissa remained still. The gigantic, blazing ball of fire incinerated everything in its path as it accelerated towards Marissa. Six miles… Marissa remained still. One mile… Half a mile… Four-hundred yards… Three hundred yards… Marissa did not even blink. She was still. When the ball of fire was two hundred yards away, it burst open and a ten-foot tall creature leaped from its bowels, leaving a trail of fire and smoke as it sailed through the air. The creature landed ten feet away from Marissa in a crouching position before slowly rising to its feet.
 The creature looked human, all nine feet of its smoldering, muscular body, with claws for fingers and toes. It sparked the ethers and a twelve-foot long, smoldering trident coalesced in its right hand. A bright yellow-red flame blazed around its body like a smoldering silhouette. The creature focused blazing yellow-red eyes on Marissa and when it opened its mouth to speak, yellow-red flames spewed from its mouth. The creature lifted its trident and crashed the hilt of the trident three times on the ground. A violent earthquake followed each crash and each earthquake was more violent than the previous one. On the third crash, the earth ruptured and fissured towards Marissa in erratic patterns. When the fissure was close to Marissa, it forked on either side of her as if it was forced to do so by an unseen force. Marissa remained still.
      “You are getting better,” the creature complimented her.

       “You bore me, Beast,” Sarael replied.
 “Oh, Sarael!” The Beast smirked. “You should learn to lighten up!”
 “I won’t fail this time, Beast!” Sarael said and levitated in the air.
 Sarael, also known as Marissa, sparked the ethers. A golden sword formed in her left hand and a golden shield appeared in her right hand. She uncrossed her legs and let them touch the ground as shoes of gold formed over her feet. Then she pulled the shield in front of her and placed her sword next to the shield in a battle stance as an armor of gold formed across her torso and a golden hair band tied her long, black hair in a tight bun. Green flames then erupted from her eyes and mouth at the same time.
 “Today you fall, Beast!” Sarael promised and leaped towards The Beast. 
DL: What’s next for you?
LN: Finalize the manuscript for Celestial Crisis, book 4 of the series, create a trailer and publish.

DL: Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?

·         Website: www.the-soullessones.com

·         Amazon and Smashwords Author Pages: Leo E. Ndelle

The Soulless Ones Series:

The Bright Eyes (Book 1)

An Archangel’s Ache (Book 2)

Baiting the Beast (Book 3)

Celestial Crisis (Book 4, coming soon by end of October 2018)

·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elonendelle/

·         Instagram/Snapchat: @elonendelle

·         Twitter: @ndelleo


It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.