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Showing posts from 2019

A Review of If Only for One Night by Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley

This is a story about two people who are unhappy in their marriages who for one night give into the temptation of being with each other. They believe they are soulmates but they have to decide whether the connection they feel for each other is strong enough to leave their partners.

Angelique and Blu met playing Words with Friends, a word game on an app. Angelique is married to Preston, a consummate workaholic more interested in the financial state of his marriage than its emotional state. Blu is a faithful husband and father of two children but can’t seem to connect with his wife Monica who has been suffering from depression since the birth of their second child. Playing the game was innocent enough until Blu messaged Angelique then they met for coffee, then drinks, then dinner, then finally culminating into a night of passion after Preston didn’t show up at Angelique’s Black Girls Magic (a major foundation in Houston, Texas) gala at the Westin hotel.
For the most part, I liked both cha…

It’s A Book Thing Presents: An Interview with R. Lanier Clemons, author of Five Minutes

Author’s Bio: Born in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, R. Lanier Clemons spent her early years moving from one Air Force base to another. It was her father, a career Air Force Sergeant, who instilled in her the love of books.
In college, she majored in Journalism and received her B.A. from Howard University. That degree helped her land a job as Managing Editor of an employee newspaper for the largest telecommunications company in the Washington DC area. As a horse owner and competitor for 30 years, she finds writing and riding very similar activities. Both require skill, perseverance and practice in order to continue to grow and excel at each craft.
One day, she decided to sit down and write the kind of book she wanted to read. While admiring female amateur sleuths like Kinsey Millhone and Tamara Hayle, she felt the mystery world needed someone else. The world needed a Jonelle Sweet.
DL: What inspired you to write your book? RLC: As an avid reader I realized early on that there weren't …

A Review of the Play, Men on Boats, at Baltimore Center Stage

I recently saw Men on Boats, the third play of the 2019/2020 season at Baltimore Center Stage. This play is written by Jaclyn Backhaus and directed by Jenny Koons. It is a satire based on the one-armed explorer, John Wesley Powell’s expedition and “discovery” of the Grand Canyon and his relationship with his fellow boat mates.
What I enjoyed about this play was the fresh take of having an all-female cast – ten of them portraying an explorer. Although the story takes place in 1869, I loved how the playwright sought to give it a more hip and twentieth century flavor. It was all in the attitude and quips mostly given by some of my favorite characters: John Wesley Powell played by Ceci Fernandez, Old Shady played by Haruna Lee, John Colton Sumner played by Patrena Murray, and William Dunn played by Jessica Ranville.
Watching the interaction of the explorers going through rough seas showed the closeness of them as a team supporting and helping and at times saving each other. It was also …

Interview with Shalanda Campbell, author of Strong Hands

Author’s Bio: Shalanda Campbell is a full-time mom. She works as a nurse and graduated from Sojourner-Douglas College in 2008. She has always had a passion for writing and started journaling in high school. Strong Hands was born out of of her son Christian who encouraged her to write the book. In, her free time, she enjoys helping children and traveling. She lives in Maryland with her family. Strong Hands is her first children’s book.

DL: What inspired you to write your book? SC: My son inspired me to write the book. I want to be the best role model for my child.

DL: Describe your writing process? Do you use an outline or let it flow organically? SC: I don’t use an outline. I write and just let the pen lead the way. I believe it’s in this process of free writing you create your best work.

DL: What do you think makes a good story? SC: I believe true life experiences make a good story, along with getting in touch with your inner child. This is especially important when writing for children.

A Review of John Woman by Walter Mosley

There is something to be said when one of my favorite authors steps outside of his detective series (Easy Rawlins and Leonid McGill) to present a thought-provoking novel that stirs one’s intellectual and moral code. John Woman is such a novel.

I was intrigued by the title and couldn’t wait to follow the transformation of the main character Cornelius Jones (aka CC), the teenage son of an Italian-American woman and a self-educated older black man from Mississippi. Up until his father’s death, CC took over his father’s job as a projectionist at the Arbuckle theater, a New York City landmark, to pay the bills and keep food on the table. But one night when he was confronted by Chapman Lorraine, the theatre owner, he lost it and committed the heinous act of murder.
Fast forward many years later and CC has become John Woman, a history professor pushing the boundaries of his students and pulling from his father’s philosophical teachings in his class: INTRODUCTION TO DECONSTRUCTIONIST HISTORICA…

Interview with Valerie J. Lewis Coleman, author of Oh, The Things I Can Be When I See Me

Author’s Bio: To Valerie J. Lewis Coleman, every conversation with a child is an opportunity to teach. Whether basic life skills, kindness or career aspirations, she encourages her grandbabies and other children to be the best they can be.
As a best-selling author and award-winning publisher, Valerie serves professional speakers and experts to magnify and monetize their message by publishing quality books. With over fifteen years of experience in the book business, she has published more than 130 authors and helped thousands of writers navigate the challenges of self-publishing. This expert divulges industry secrets on avoiding the top five mistakes made by 95% of new authors, pricing your book to sell and identifying shady publishers. Her dynamic presentation and knowledge of the business takes writers from pen to paper to published as they master self-publishing to make money!
DL: What inspired you to write your book? VJLC: My granddaughters are the …

A Review of HIM: After the UFO Crash by Koos Verkaik

Two years ago, I virtually met the author Koos Verkaik when he had read my blog in the Netherlands and reached out to me to interview him for his book The Dance of the Jester. And most recently he reached out again for me to review his book HIM: After the UFO Crash which has been contracted by Three Corners Entertainment for film. So, I feel honored to be selected as a reader of this multi-layered, highly detailed and complex sci-fi novel with various twists and turns.

My interest was piqued because I’m a big X-Files fan---love Mulder and Scully and yes, I do believe the “truth is out there.” Anyway, the big question this novel poses is “What does a thief, a transient, a handyman/builder, a psychiatrist, and a rocket scientist have in common?”And the response after reading and putting together the various storylines is one word…synchronicity. 

The novel takes place in the 1960s and opens with two strangers meeting in Paris at a bistro called La Gargouille that was being renovated.Jasper…

A Review of the Play, Thoughts of a Colored Man, at Baltimore Center Stage

I recently saw Thoughts of a Colored Man, the second play of the 2019/2020 season at Baltimore Center Stage. This play is written by Keenan Scott III and directed by Steve H. Broadnax III with co-production with Syracuse Stage. Per Keenan Scott II, “I’ve lived in New York and in Maryland. I’ve lived in the inner city, a suburb and a rural area. This play is influenced by my upbringing and the things I have experienced in and out of my community in these locations.”

In this play, there were seven facets of the Black man (wisdom, passion, depression, lust, happiness, love, and anger) that were explored over one day in a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood in New York City. Although I had the program which indicated which actor played which part, I wanted to watch the play and guess which facet they each represented. I was right most of the time, but there were moments when an actor exhibited more than one facet (e.g. wisdom and love and happiness; happiness and depression; depression and …

Interview with Gaváta Smith, author of Get Yourself Together First

Author’s Bio:Gaváta Smith is an author, mime, motivational speaker, and Christian educator who is an active member of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, in Washington, DC, under the leadership of Archbishop Alfred A. Owens Jr. There she serves on the Intercessory Prayer Ministry, “The Greater” Magazine, and as the Vice President of the Silent Witnesses Mime Ministry. She holds a Leadership in Ministry Degree with Teaching Credentials from Evangelical Training Association. Currently, she’s studying at Calvary Bible Institute to advance her academic and ministerial gifts while seeking her Degree in Ministry under the Greater Mount Calvary umbrella. Gaváta ministers in Mime at various Christian Faith-Based Organizations under her individual ministry entitled “Mym4Christ”. 

Aside from her church activities, she is an Executive Administrator and Human Resource Specialist, who also volunteers with Catholic Charities in her spare time by mentoring women reentering society from incarceration. …