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An Interview with Ellen Butler, author of Fatal Legislation

Author’s Bio:Ellen Butler is a best-selling novelist writing edgy suspense thrillers and award-winning historical fiction. Ellen holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and Policy. Her experiences living and working in the D.C. area inspired the Karina Cardinal mystery series.
DL: What inspired you to write your book?  EB: [Spoiler Alert] While I was working on the first Karina Cardinal mystery, Isabella’s Painting, I saw an ad on television recalling pacemakers because they could be hacked and thought, “What a diabolical way to kill someone, I’ve got to put that in a book.” 
DL: Describe your writing process? Do you use an outline or let it flow organically?  EB: When I wrote romances, it was very easy to be a pantster over plotter. However, I’ve found with writing mysteries, I have to prepare an outline to make the suspense flow properly, drop clues in the right place, and keep the timeline consistent. 
DL: What do you think makes a good story?  EB: Personally, I prefer stories t…

Black Writers' Guild Workshop: "You Talkin' To Me? Strategies for Effective Dialogue"

On Saturday, May 4, 2019, I attended the Black Writers’ Guild meeting where Margaret Pagan presented a workshop titled “You Talkin’ to Me? Strategies for Effective Dialogue.” Ms. Pagan stated that dialogue is important for many reasons: 1) to learn about the setting and time period of a story, 2) to gain insight about the characters, and 3) to show tension and conflict.

To illuminate these points, she had members from the audience read specific parts of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston to show how masterful Zora was at using dialogue to conjure up images of her characters. The audience members had a blast reading their parts while the rest of us envisioned the setting and how the characters felt about each other.
Next, we broke out in groups of four to read various parts of a short story titled “The Jockey” by Carson McCullers. This story had a lot of twists and turns. However, what I thoroughly enjoyed was how the writer used dialogue to show the intimacy, dislike and…

A Review of Known To Evil by Walter Mosley

Well, I’m officially hooked on Walter Mosley’s latest PI mystery series featuring Leonid McGill. In the second installment, Leonid gets a call from Alphonse Rinaldo, a man who has his pulse on everything that happens in New York City. Rinaldo’s a fixer but has a problem that requires McGill’s help. The task: find Tara Lear and make sure everything is fine. Simple enough, right? Wrong.

This assignment sent McGill chasing down leads and into some dark places, rubbing elbows with some deadly players, and of course being eyed as a suspect for a murder that he happened upon during his search for Ms. Lear. Now McGill is no saint. He has had his share of shady dealings setting folks up to take a fall yet he has a big heart by ensuring they stay safe once his conscience kicks in. He takes his jobs seriously and would go against orders if he feels the subject of the assignment would be in danger then all bets are off.
Yes, I was buckled up and turning every page as Leonid dealt with his family …

A Review of the Play, How To Catch Creation, at the Baltimore Center Stage

A few weeks ago, I saw How to Catch Creation, the final show of the 2018/19 season at the Baltimore Center Stage. This play was written by Christina Anderson and directed by Nataki Garrett.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show because it dealt with so many issues in the lives of the four main characters individuals: love, sexuality, art, choices, introspection, and heartache. I also loved how the playwright seamlessly took the audience back and forth between the mid-1960s to present day showing how a decision made back in the ’60s affected folks in the present day.
Relationships are hard enough and when folks are trying to find themselves artistically and questioning choices they made and yearning for something more out of life, it makes for fine theatre. Nevertheless, it was great to see representation of a Black feminist writer caught in the midst of political and social struggles while carving out a path of Black love. It was also great to see Black men who enjoyed reading (side note – qui…

Interview with Natalina Reis, author of Infinite Blue

Author’s Bio:Natalina wrote her first romance in collaboration with her best friend at the age of 13. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes.

After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.
Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.
DL: What inspired you to write your book? NR: I’m not sure. …

Interview with Sherrita Berry-Pettus, Children's Book Author (Rock On With Your Afro Puffs, etc.)

About the Author: Mrs. Sherrita Berry-Pettus M.Ed. is a mommy, educator, and author. Mrs. Berry-Pettus is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, where she earned her masters in Urban and Minority Education, a B.S in Early Childhood Education, and a B.S. in Family Science. She enjoys playing with her boys and teaching children. 

Sharing messages from her heart to all children of color in the world. Mrs. Berry-Pettus believes children in the world should know and understand that they are perfect exactly the way they are. So she created four fabulous books all children of color should own! 
Mrs. Berry-Pettus is the author of Rock On With Your Afro Puffs, Smile Bright Chocolate Prince, I'm Brown and I'm Smart, and I'm Brown and I'm Pretty! She successfully authored and published four books in less than a year. 
For more information about Mrs. Berry-Pettus, like and check out her Facebook page - facebook.com/MrsBerryPettus. You can also follow Mrs.Berry-Pettus…

My First Kensington Day of the Book Festival!

On Sunday, April 28, 2019 I was one of many exhibitors (authors of various genres, poets, etc.) at the 14th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival in Old Town Kensington, Maryland. This was my first time participating at this book festival which was an outdoor event near the train station. And yes, I did see a few trains go by which garnered attention from both adults and children.

Anyway, after setting up I met my table mates to my left (Mihir Jaiswal) and to my right (folks from The Writer’s Center – Chevy Chase) and across from me the familiar face of F.J. Talley, author of Take Hart, whom I met last year at the Creatures, Crimes and Creativity (C3) writers’ conference in Columbia, MD. The day went by quickly with folks stopping by to browse, purchase my books and/or simply to chat about the art of writing.
I met some other authors whom I connected with on social media (Maria Leonard Olsen, author of 50 After 50 and Glen Mourning, author of the Crunchy Life Kids’ Series Books).…

Hanging in Zora’s Den – Reading Series “In Our Own Words”

On Thursday, April 18, 2019 I was one of three authors who participated in the Zora’s Den Reading Series “In Our Own Words” hosted by its founder, Victoria Adams-Kennedy at Nancy by SNAC in Baltimore, Maryland. The other two authors were Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman and Adina Ferguson.
This reading series had a little something for everyone. Khadijah had a poetic flow going on with her engaging poems, Adina had a real and honest take on life with her non-fiction essays and I had a romantic suspense vibe going on.
There were lots of laughter, vocal high-fives, and support for each other. Yes, indeed it was a great evening spent with wonderful African American sister scribes sharing what we love to do and connecting with the audience too.
I am thankful for this opportunity provided by Victoria in creating a space where we can express ourselves unapologetically in our own voices. Cheers to Zora’s Den!
Side note: Zora’s Den is a secret group on Facebook and membership is by invitation only. It’s…

A Review of Frenzy of Evil by Henry Kane

This was my first time reading anything by Henry Kane and I definitely see myself reading more from him in the future. So, let’s get right into this novel and meet Jonathan Joseph Carson aka Jonathan Joe, an older successful married lawyer who is newly married to Dolores, a much younger woman who could be his granddaughter.

Well, we can all see where this is headed. Yes, husband has jealous rages, beats young woman who then finds a lover whom she hopes will save her, but not before husband devises a plan to murder him. Despite the fact this was written over fifty years ago, the formula still works today.
I loved the twists and turns of this novel especially showing folks are loyal to those who they work for. Also, how far someone would go to frame someone else and quiet those who can point a finger at them. The dialogue was great and the scenes were very descriptive. A must read if you are a fan of suspenseful noir novels.
Two thumbs up!
Here are my favorite lines:
Kelly said, “Your gun, …

Interview with Carlos J. Avent, author of 10 Extraordinary Lessons from an Ordinary Dad

Author’s Bio: Carlos J. Avent was born to Gloria and Horace Avent in Baltimore, MD. He’s an alumnus of Baltimore City College and Morgan State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He earned his Master of Science in Higher Education with a certification in Instructional Design and Technology from Walden University. Carlos resides in Baltimore, MD with his wife, Kelle’ and their daughter, Lyric.

Carlos’ life as a writer and author include theater script writing, being a contributing writer for the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, Baltimore City College Alumni Newsletter, and a review of the nationally toured stage play, “A Night in Miami”. Other writing opportunities included being a featured sports blogger, covering the Baltimore Ravens for Fansided and Fox Sports in 2015 and 2016. In 2018, Carlos released and self-published his first book, 10 Extraordinary Lessons from an Ordinary Dad.
DL: What inspired you to write your book? CJA: I’ve been wanting…