Posts Tagged With: books

Michigan Male Authors: Help support #MotownWriters literacy efforts #RealMenRead #mwn #amreading #MotownLit #Detroit

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Heal Your Heart ~ Dr. Eddie Connor Jr.

Eddie Connor JrEmpowering people to overcome obstacles and walk in their unique purpose is the real life message shared by Dr. Eddie M. Connor, Jr. who is a survivor of stage 4 cancer.

Dr. Connor is a resident of Detroit, Michigan and grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. As a product of a divorced family, Dr. Connor realizes that he was not born with a silver spoon, but discovered strength in the midst of struggle.

Dr. Connor empowers people as an Author, International Speaker, College Professor, Mentor, Political Advisor, Teacher, and Radio/TV Correspondent on CBS/CW 50. He shares his story of overcoming cancer in his 5 books:Purposefully Prepared to Persevere, Collections of Reflections: Symphonies of Strength – Volumes 1-3, E.CON the ICON: from Pop Culture to President Barack Obama, Unwrap The Gift In YOU, and Heal Your Heart.

 

 

Heal Your Heart

Author: Dr. Eddie Connor Jr.

Facebook Page: EddieConnorJr

Twitter: @EddieConnorJr

Amazon: Heal Your Heart

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Motown Writers Network Author Spotlight ~ Rebecka Vigus

 

Rebecka VigusWhere are you from?

West Branch, Michigan
Tell us your latest news?

The third book in the Macy McVannel series, Sanctuary, is being released Aug.22, 2014
When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing at age ten. A teacher told me with my imaginations I would end up in books. I believed him.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In high school, some of my poems were in the school paper, but one of my poems was used by a minister in a sermon.
What inspired you to write your first book?

I had always wanted to write a novel. I became involved with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I wrote my first novel in 21 days.
Do you have a specific writing style?

I write easy to read books. Something you can pick up and knock out in about four hours. But, I have no name for my style other than they are mysteries.
How did you come up with the title?

For my first novel, it was set in a small town and in order to arrest the right person, you had to dig through all the secrets in a small town so Secrets was it. For the novel releasing in August, I had to really think about what the book was offering. Sanctuary is ultimately the goal, so hence, the title.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In the current novel I am dealing with spousal abuse and how to escape it. There is always a way out, you have to be willing to go for it.
How much of the book is realistic?

I write realistic fiction with a twist. So, this book could happen any place, in any town, in any neighborhood.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not it this book.
What books have most influenced your life most?

Mysteries. I love trying to figure out who did it before the author reveals it. Agatha Christie, Patricia Cornwell, Phyllis A. Whitney, Mary Higgins Clark, Lee Child, David Baldacci, there are many who keep me fascinated.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

William Kent Krueger, I had a chance to do a one day intensive writing session with him.
What book are you reading now?

Stolen, by Daniel Palmer
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

C Hope Clark. I have read her book The Shy Writer Reborn and her mystery Palmetto Poison. I just received her first novel, Low Country Bribe to read.
What are your current projects?

I am working on a children’s anthology titled Of Moonbeams and Fairy Dust due out the end of November, 2014. I’m also working on the fourth Macy book, Something Borrowed, Something Blue due out in early 2015.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Blue Harvest Creative are my design team for my books.
Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. It has been my goal for fifty years. I am finding I am growing a fan base.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Absolutely not.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I remember writing non-sense poetry to start, but I have no one defining moment.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Macy McVannel is a police detective who teams up with her college roommate to rescue abused women from their spouses and set them on the path to a new life. This is the third book in the series. The first two were written from Macy’s point-of-view. This one was not written first person, so you get other’s views of Macy.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Making each new book as exciting as or better than the last.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

My current favorite is William Kent Krueger. I love his Corcoran O’Connor character. I love how he submerges you in the landscape of his stories.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not as much as I’d like to. I prefer to do live signings and book talks. I like getting questions from those who want to write or those who’ve read my books. I want to share my love of writing.
Who designed the covers?

Blue Harvest Creative are my design team. They do internal and external design and set up.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? For me the hardest part is knowing how and where to end it.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned even in law the lines are blurred.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing. Read all you can about writing, attend a writer’s workshop or conference, but keep writing.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Please when you’ve read my books, write a review. Reviews sell books. If you didn’t like it, others want to know. If you did they want to know why.

Sanctuary

Author name: Rebecka Vigus
Book Title: Sanctuary
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MWN Spotlight ~ Nancy Barr

Nancy BarrWhere are you from?

I was born in Illinois, lived in Southern California for several years as a child, and have lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula since 1981.
Tell us your latest news?

I switched careers from journalism to higher education about seven years ago and since then have earned a master’s degree in rhetoric and technical communication and started teaching communication to engineering students at Michigan Technological University.  I’m now working on a PhD, but I’ve started a new fiction project as well.  I have no idea when it will be ready for publication, but it’s great to be writing fiction again.
When and why did you begin writing?

I discovered I loved writing when I was still in elementary school.  I started keeping a journal of sorts to help me deal with life.  I never thought of being a professional writer until college and then an internship led me to a job at the local newspaper.  I began my first novel in 2000 because I felt I had a story to tell.  The characters had been developing for a few years and it just seemed time to put them on paper.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first felt like a “real” writer when my second book, “Page One: Vanished,” was released, even though I had been a “professional” for many years by then.  The first book felt like a fluke, a dream, but the second book made me feel like a legitimate author.
What inspired you to write your first book?

There was no single thing that inspired me.  The “Page One” trilogy’s protagonist, Robin Hamilton, was VERY loosely based on my experience as a small-town newspaper reporter.  She’s just prettier, smarter, and scrappier.  None of the other characters have any association with anything real and neither does the plot, except the opening scene in Ludington Park, where the first murder takes place.  I used to walk through the park quite regularly and that’s what started the creative process for that book.
Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, my journalism experience taught me the value of concise writing.  I love words, I just use them strategically.
How did you come up with the title?

The publisher, Susan Bays of Arbutus Press, wanted to develop a brand for the books, thus the “Page One” tag, indicating a news story worthy of page one.  Then each book has a teaser about the plot.  The first one revolves around a hit and a run death, the second book deals with the disappearance of several young women, and the third one deals with the drug trade (the U.P.’s notorious winter is also a character).
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Resilience.  Life deals my characters a lot of heartbreak but they come through it stronger.

 

 

How much of the book is realistic?

These situations certainly could happen, but they are pure fiction.  Unfortunately, “Page One: Whiteout” is the most true-to-life as U.P. communities struggle to deal with the influx of drugs like heroin and home-grown crystal meth.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Robin’s mother died when she was 10, while mine died when I was 9.  I wanted to explore a strong father-daughter relationship, like the one I had with my own father.
What books have most influenced your life most?

Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books and Judy Blume’s books about adolescence got me hooked on reading as a child.  By the time I was 10, I was reading everything mystery or paranormal-related in the school library.  When I read my first Stephen King book, though, I remember thinking, “I could do this, I could see myself writing someday.”  Of course, it was another 15 years before my first book was published, but that’s where it started.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Stephen King.  I must have read his book “On Writing” at least a half dozen times now.  I use his advice about eliminating clutter from your writing when I teach my engineering students.  It’s true regardless of genre.
What book are you reading now?

I’m never reading just one book at a time.  I’m reading a history of the Vikings, a scholarly work by Nancy Hartsock called “Money, Sex, and Power”, and the fifth book in the Harry Potter series (I never had time to read them when they were released!). Next will be “In the Sanctuary of Outcasts:  A Memoir” by Neil White.  It’s Michigan Tech’s Summer Reading Program for our incoming first-year students.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I’m sure there are lots of great ones out there, but I’ve been so focused on my graduate work that I don’t get much time to explore new fiction authors.
What are your current projects?

I’m working on something very different from my first three books.  It’s a mystery of sorts that takes place in the Copper Country in the early 1970s (a period which has really captured my imagination), just after the last copper mine shut down.  It will be darker, edgier, and more along the lines of an early Stephen King work than the “Page One” trilogy.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Teachers!  I was lucky to have some great teachers along the way who pushed me to do my best and challenge myself, never allowing me to settle for “good enough.”
Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely! I write novels for entertainment, academic articles for my day job, and I teach writing.  It’s the only thing I know how to do to pay the bills!

 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Not at all.  What finally made it into print is the third complete rewrite.  My writing has matured over the years so I’m not as enamored with the first one, but many reviewers thought it was a good first effort so I don’t beat myself up about it too much.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My mother was an avid reader and I caught the bug from her.  From there, it was just a natural progression to writing.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?

It has a strong female protagonist (naturally), a newcomer to the Keweenaw who is a product of the Sixties, unafraid to challenge the status quo.  I haven’t quite figured out the trajectory of the plot because it’s early in the creative process, but I’ve sketched out some unique characters.  I’m very big on strong characters in my novels!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Plotting is always the toughest for me.  There’s a balance between simplicity and complexity.  I want the story arc to be simple enough to connect with readers, but to have enough complexity to keep them engaged to the last word.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Other than Stephen King, I have favorite books of certain authors.  I’ve read Daphne Du Maurier’s “Rebecca” countless times (Mrs. Danvers is one of my favorite characters ever!). I love Anne Rice’s first two books in her vampire series.  William Kent Krueger’s mystery series set in and around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is beautifully written. And I could go on and on.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not so much now since it’s been a while since I’ve released a new book, but I still periodically give library talks, which I love!
Who designed the covers?

The publisher, Susan Bays, designed each cover.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Again, it’s always the plotting.  I have the most fun with characterizations.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

With each books I become a better writer and I have learned to appreciate a great editor!
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Focus on developing your craft any way you can.  Write blogs, be a columnist for the local newspaper.  Put together a family history.  Enter short story contests.   Just keep writing and putting your work out there.  Develop a thick skin.  No matter how great your writing, someone will always find fault with it so develop and nurture your own writing style.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I appreciate your loyalty.  I know many people would like to see another “Page One” book, but it’s time we all moved on. I like to think Robin is enjoying her new life.  I look forward to

meeting more of you when the next book is released!

  • Name of Author– Nancy Barr
  • Name of Book(s)– “Page One: Hit and Run” “Page One: Vanished” “Page One: Whiteout”

Excerpt: Page One Vanished excerpt

Page One VanishedPage One WhiteOutPage One Hit & Run

 

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Best Ways to Promote Your Books and ebooks

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Support @Boys2Books, Metro #Detroit Afterschool Literacy Initiative #michlit #mwn #MotownLit

boystobooks

The program focuses on improving the lives of young males through literacy, leadership, and life skills. The program has been receiving local and national attention via BET, PBS, and other media sources.  Boys2Books1

For more info. about Boys 2 Books visit: http://www.eddieconnor.com/boys2books or call 313.469.1947

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MWN Author Spotlight ~ Mary Anne McMahon

 

Mary Anne McMahon

 

This week’s Motown Writers Network spotlight is being shined on Mary Anne McMahon. Mary Anne no longer lives in Detroit; but she regards the Motor City as the place she will ever call home. She is the author of The Motor City and Me: Our Story, a story that tells the remarkable history of Detroit and offers inspiration to the once great American metropolis during its most trying time. Let’s listen in on Mary Anne’s interview so we get to know her better and learn more about her book.

 

Where were you born?

I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I now live in Houston, Texas.

Tell us your latest news?

I have published a book, The Motor City and Me: Our Story, which highlights the rich history of Detroit and how the Motor City has left a lasting impact on my family and me.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have been writing most of my life and have taught writing skills to students for 28 years. After my retirement from education I wrote puppet skits for my puppet performing business, Sassy Celebrations. I then decided to write a book about my beloved hometown.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have always considered myself a writer.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My book evolved from the acquisition of my ancestral history, my happy Detroit childhood and continual connection to my hometown.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I do not have one specific writing style. In my book I utilize both the expository style and the persuasive style.

How did you come up with the title?

The Motor City and Me: Our Story parallels the rise and fall of Detroit with ups and down in my own life. The title reflects our connection.

Is there a message in your memoir that you want readers to grasp?

I overcame major obstacles in my life. I want to inspire Detroiters to overcome the obstacles facing their city today.

How much of the book is realistic?

My book is non-fiction. The events are real.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The experiences are based on my own life.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Mans Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel had a powerful impact on my life. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela inspired me as well.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I would choose John Grogan. His heartwarming book, The Longest Trip Home, about an Irish boy from Detroit resonated with me.  His story inspired me to publish my Detroit memoir.

What book are you reading now?

I am reading I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s writing and especially liked his book, David and Goliath.  The insightful novel, The Invention of Wings, drew me to Sue Monk Kidd.

What are your current projects?

I have begun a second book.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Both professional and non-professional reviewers have given me significant support and encouragement.

Do you see writing as a career?

I want to continue as a writer.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I made many changes as I wrote the book. So, I am quite satisfied now.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My mother influenced me with her love of literature and writing.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Paralleling the rise and fall of Detroit with the ups and downs of my own life, I show readers how Detroit values strengthened and reassured her throughout the difficult times. From the rise and fall of the automotive industry to the city’s recent financial woes, The Motor City and Me strives to take readers on a personal journey through an extraordinary American city. Tracing my family’s Detroit lineage through four generations, my memoirs aims to give readers a thorough look at the city’s history and the indelible mark it has left on me.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

When I wrote my book there were times when thoughts flowed for hours. Other times I had difficulty putting two words together. There was a certain amount of frustration that I had to leave my computer at the “two word” moments.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about his/her work?

I like Ross King. He writes fascinating detailed accounts of engineering marvels and the history that goes with those marvels. I loved his books, Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling and Brunelleschi’s  Dome. 

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I did considerable traveling while writing my book. I traveled to my European roots and ancestral homelands.

Who designed the covers?

My publisher designed my cover. I provided the photo.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The most difficult part was writing about the challenging times in my life.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

While I struggled with revealing challenges, I learned afterward that I am not alone. Everyone has challenges.  My book has inspired others to come forward and share the dark moments in their lives.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is a gift that you give yourself and hopefully to others including future generations.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

The conviction, that we can overcome adversity and that failure is not an option, may be a good beginning for renewal.

MaryAnne Motor City and Me

For more information about the author and her book go to:  http://marymcmahonauthor.com/

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A-Z Guide: How both my books reached #1 on Amazon @Nicholas_Rossis

Pearseus, Rise of the Prince (book 2 in the series) book cover

Pearseus, Rise of the Prince (book 2 in the series) book coverA-Z Guide: How both my books reached #1 on Amazon.

via A-Z Guide: How both my books reached #1 on Amazon.

 

This was an amazing article I read in my research hour on Nicolas Rossis’ website that I must share with you!

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Motown Writers Network Featured Author ~ Jean Scheffler

MeThis week’s featured author, Jean Scheffler grew up “South of Detroit”  and as a child she would sit on her Grandfathers lap at his summer cottage and intently listen to stories of his childhood adventures in early industrial Detroit. As he rocked her in front of the roaring fire, her love for Detroit’s history and its exciting past took root.

The Sugar House, Jean’s literary debut is a step back in time. Join us as we get to know more about Jean and her new historical fiction.

 

Where are you from?

I am from Trenton, MI ( Just 20 Miles south of Detroit)

 

Tell us your latest news?

I published my first novel “The Sugar House” in February.

 

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing three years ago following months (actually years) of research of the history of Detroit.

 

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was going through a transition in my life and I looked around and noticed my children were getting older and knew there were many things that I wanted to accomplish that I had not begun. The first was to write a novel. I had had the idea for “The Sugar House” for a year or so and had been developing it in my thoughts. I decided that it was the time to set aside other things and pursue my dream as an author.

I always wanted to become a writer but life had always seemed to get in the way. Or perhaps I did not make it enough of a priority. Or perhaps I did not have the confidence. Perhaps I just needed the right story.  I had tried once before but the story fell apart as I tried to put it down.  When I decided to really sit down and write “The Sugar House’ I knew I had a great story and an important one. Actually, sometimes I say the story wrote itself. I loved the story so much I was truly worried that I was not worthy enough of writing it. In that I mean that I was a first time writer and I wanted to give value and grace to such an important part of history.

 

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m not quite sure of the categories of writing styles. I write from research and stories and imagination. I like to piece together articles, pieces of stories, historical facts and things that I have experienced or watched my children experience to make a relatable story.

 

How did you come up with the title?

The name “The Sugar House” initially came from the gangster portion of the story. The Purple Gang was originally called the Oakland Sugar House gang. But as the novel developed I saw that it represented many other aspects of the character, Joe’s life.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The main message I want the reader to grasp from my novel is that a person can be stay true to themselves and their faith even faced with great adversity.  While no person is perfect and my break the rules or laws at times they can find their way to a happy, content life in the end if they remember what is important.

 

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The book is historical fiction. That is a broad title that encompasses many types of work. “The Sugar House” is a historical fiction in the strictest sense of the word.  Dates and events that are historically documented are almost all true down to the day.  Many names of the Purple Gang leaders are their actual names.  Many events that involved the Purple Gang are documented as factual.  The story in fact is based on things my grandfather told me occurred in his life. Not all the events that occur in The Sugar House are factual but many are. I tried to create a story that the reader would be able to learn from and at the same time enjoy as a fictional novel.

 

What books have most influenced your life most?

The Little House on the Prairie books were the first influential books of my childhood. I read them over and over again- fascinated by the hardships the Ingalls family dealt with but how their adventurous spirit helped drive them ahead.   Gone with the Wind was my go to book as a teen. Also Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Looking back I guess I have always had a love for great characters who live in a different time and face different adversities but reach within themselves to find a higher ground.

 

What book are you reading now?

I am currently reading several novels by new authors. I am trying my hand in reviewing books to further my abilities as a writer and give back to the writing community.

 

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

My current novel is based on my maternal grandfather who was a railroad conductor before the Depression.

 

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

I have several very good girlfriends who supported my throughout the project. They were always encouraging and are very much the cheerleaders that every first time author should have. I am blessed to have them in my life.

 

Do you see writing as a career?

I would love to make writing a career. I want to be able to tell stories that people will enjoy and learn from at the same time. Perhaps change their perspectives or lives a little.

 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

If I had to do it all over again I would not change anything about my novel (Except my not procrastinate as long as I did)

 

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

As “The Sugar House” is based in Detroit I only had to travel to the city for my research. (I did go to Windsor once for a Prohibition Whisky Tour) My next novel takes place from Michigan to Kansas so I anticipate more travel with that one.

 

Who designed the covers?

I hired a wonderful woman named Karrie Ross from California to design the cover and do the interior design of the novel. The photograph is actually a close up of the suit my grandfather is wearing in the picture on the back cover.

 

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I think the hardest part of writing is two fold. One- finding the inspiration and the time at the same time can be very difficult in a hectic life with children.  Two- once the story is written- having others read your inner thoughts and ideas and judge them.

 

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned a lot from writing my book. I learned so much Detroit history. I learned a lot about the people who made this city Great. I learned a lot about myself, about where I come from and who I am. I know it sounds a little deep but after taking years to research my ancestors, the country they came from, their daily habits, their rituals etc., I think I would only be remiss if I had not learned a whole lot about what it means to be me.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I can not give advice to established writers and this is my first novel however I think that may qualify my to give advice to new and want to be writers.  Once you find the story you want to tell- be confident and tell it.  Don’t worry about what others will say. The ones who judge harshly are the ones who will never leave their mark as you will.

 

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope my readers enjoy “The Sugar House” and learn something about the great city of Detroit. I hope it motivates them to look into the past and see what their own ancestors did to make it in America. And I hope it  inspires them to save the historical parts of Detroit for themselves and to continue to improve Detroit for future generations.

 

The Sugar House

Jean Scheffler

“The Sugar House”

http://www.jeanscheffler.com

Amazon link: http://goo.gl/9GNYvy

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/TheSugarHouseDetroit

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanScheff

 

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Support @Boys2Books, Metro #Detroit Afterschool Literacy Initiative #michlit #mwn #MotownLit

boystobooks

The program focuses on improving the lives of young males through literacy, leadership, and life skills. The program has been receiving local and national attention via BET, PBS, and other media sources.  Boys2Books1

For more info. about Boys 2 Books visit: http://www.eddieconnor.com/boys2books or call 313.469.1947

 

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Motown Writers Network~ Featured Author Cassandra Carter

Cassandra Pic

 

Inspired by a dream at fourteen years old, this week’s featured author Cassandra Carter is best known for her young adult novels. Becoming an author at the age of eighteen, she has since written three books; Fast Life, 16 Isn’t Always Sweet, and her latest novel Love, Lies, & Consequences. Join us as we get better acquainted with Motown’s very own Cassandra Carter.

 

Where are you from?

I was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, on February 21, 1989. I moved to Ann Arbor when I was 9 and I’ve been in Michigan ever since.

 
Tell us your latest news?

Just last month, I released my third novel, called Love, Lies & Consequences! The sequel to my first book, Fast Life (2007), this marks my transition from young adult to new adult fiction. Not to mention, this is my first independent project, so I am super, super excited that I am finally able to share it with the world!


When and why did you begin writing?

Looking back on it, I’ve been writing ever since I knew how. I started off small by writing stories for my Mom. Then I was mostly writing essays for school. I even dabbled in poetry for awhile. I always knew I wanted to write for a living, and even though I received a lot of praise for my work over the years, I thought being an author was “impractical” so I was more focused on becoming a journalist. Even after I signed my Harlequin contract, it took awhile for it to sink in. To this day it is still kind of surreal to refer to myself as an author, but deep down, I know this is what I am meant to do, which is why I decided to take more control of my career moving forward.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was inspired by a dream. I was only 14 at the time, and the thought of writing of book hadn’t even crossed my mind, but when I woke up, a voice told me, “Cassandra, you should write a book about that.” I don’t know what came over me, but I got up and started putting together an outline, along with character names and descriptions right away. I spent my entire summer vacation working on it. It just kind of snowballed from there.

Once my family got wind of what I was doing, they started passing the book around behind my back. They were the ones who encouraged me to publish it. Meanwhile, I was terrified. I never thought to write a book, let alone be published – especially not so young. Fast Life is the first book I ever wrote so I was scared to put it out there for everyone to read and judge.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I would say my greatest strength as a writer is my movie-like descriptive ability. I think my age also gives readers a unique perspective. As an author, I feel like it’s my job to evoke emotion. I try to make sure that each book contains fresh dialogue, and unpredictable storylines that make for a quick, entertaining read.

How did you come up with the title?

After the first book came out, I got a few comments/reviews from people who felt like I was glamorizing the street life instead of focusing on the consequences so that definitely influenced me going into the second. Anyone who has read the book(s) knows that love and lies have always been present in Kyra and Justin’s relationship. After considering all of those factors, it only seemed appropriate I name the sequel, Love, Lies & Consequences.
How much of the book is realistic?

My goal is to keep it as realistic as possible while still preserving a certain element of escape. To me, that’s what makes a good love story. If it weren’t part fantasy, it wouldn’t be interesting.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Yes and no. I’ve always been very observant so I can’t help but draw inspiration from those around me. There are times where I might touch on things I’ve seen, heard or been through, but nothing is ever exact. I always have to put my own twist on it. That’s what makes it so fun.


Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Other than my family, my readers have been the best support system I could ask for. They have been so positive and encouraging. They have the power to turn my whole day around, and it’s always for the better. I love interacting with them. It reminds me that what I am doing is bigger than me. They motivate me to keep writing, even when I feel discouraged.
Do you see writing as a career?

I am still working on making that transition to full-time author/entrepreneur, and in that time, I plan to pursue other interests in addition to writing books. I still hope to contribute to different magazines and publications as a guest writer, in addition to starting my own brand, which would include hosting and modeling. I got a lot of feedback in regards to turning my books into movies so I’m not ruling that out either. I don’t want to limit myself like I did in the past.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

A lot of people don’t know I actually re-wrote the Fast Life sequel after being rejected by the publisher. And while I think every author could pick their work apart over and over again if you let them, I am really proud of what I came up with. I really feel like Love, Lies & Consequences captures the essence of the original – and plants just enough clues for part 3.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I have samples of my rough draft on my blog at www.16dreams.wordpress.com, although I would suggest reading the more updated version on Wattpad.com/CallMeMissCarta. All my books have the “look inside” feature on Amazon as well.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I have a lot more responsibility now that I am older so it’s harder to find time. I have gotten more disciplined when it comes to schedule, but some days it can still be a challenge.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I have done mostly local events at schools and libraries around Ann Arbor and Detroit, but I have had the opportunity to travel to New York and Chicago for speaking engagements as well. Now that the new book is out, I hope I get the opportunity to travel more. I look forward to getting my name out there by networking with other industry professionals, one-on-one. Hopefully, I get to meet a lot more of my fans in-person.
Who designed the covers?

Harlequin/Kimani Tru was responsible for designing the cover for Fast Life. I didn’t have any say in that process. They also picked the title for both books I wrote for them. I played with a couple different concepts for Love, Lies & Consequences before I hired Leah Kaye, who did a phenomenal job!

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I felt like there was a lot of pressure to live up to the first book. I got a lot of good reviews so I was scared the sequel wouldn’t measure up. I often wondered if I was wasting my time considering it had been years since I released anything. I worried I had been forgotten or that the story would be deemed irrelevant. But then I realized that even with all the time that has passed, I still had readers asking about a Fast Life sequel. There are still a lot of people out there who don’t know who I am.


Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I’ve learned a lot. I was just a teenager when I got my start in the business, so my goal now is to show my growth not only as a woman, but as a writer. Since Love, Lies & Consequences was an independent project, I got to be involved in the creative process from start to finish. Not only did I write the book, I came up with the title, synopsis, author bio, etc. I took the time to learn how to properly format the book and paid for editing services. Overall, I would say it’s been an on-going learning experience. There’s a lot more that goes into being an author than just writing the book.


Do you have any advice for other writers?

Stay true to your voice and your ideas. If your goal is to publish, be prepared to hustle, deal or no deal.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I appreciate all of your tweets, emails, and reviews, and I am grateful for your support! XOXO

 

Love Lies & Consequence

Author Info:

 

 

16 Isnt always sweet

fast life

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Motown Writers Network Author Feature~Victor ‘Billione’ Walker

Billione This week’s featured author is no stranger to the limelight, so shining a light on him is something he’s used to! A singer, poet and author, Billione (pronounced bil-LEE-yon) is one of Detroit’s most up and coming people to keep an eye on. He is the author of several books, including his most recent poetic play the Birth of Mars, and No Tea. No Shade, a novel set in Detroit. His thought provoking work touches on various subjects related to being a Detroit native, LGBT experiences and examining masculinity.

Come and experience the gifted one, Billione, as we talk to him about his work!

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Detroit. Most of my writing is pulled from my experiences as a Detroiter.
Tell us your latest news?

I recently released my first work of fiction entitled No Tea. No Shade. Set in Detroit, it is a story about the dapper, charismatic Chauncey King, a successful Editor-in-chief of the Detroit Daily News. Chauncey goes from reporting the news to being the center of his own scandal after coming face-to-face with his turbulent past. His life seems to unravel until he meets Malcolm Dandridge at a local bathhouse and realizes that in order to be happy he must first face his biggest fear.
When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing song lyrics as a child. My mother kept a journal and I would read the words she wrote and sing them. What she wrote sounded like love songs, full of joy and pain.
Other forms of my writing emerged out of my love for reading. As I child, I read books about a number of things but struggled to find characters that were similar to me. After writing song lyrics, I eventually wrote poetry and eventually fiction.

 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer when I began writing news in the Mumford High School newspaper. I didn’t particularly like writing news; my Journalism teacher convinced me that I was good at it. So, I stuck with it. When I went home, though, I secretly wrote song lyrics and poems.
What inspired you to write your first book?

After meeting one of my favorite authors, the late E. Lynn Harris, I mentioned to him how his characters resonated with me, and his writing inspired me to write my own novel. He told me to be sure to send it to him when I did. After getting news of his passing in 2009, I remembered how I never started working on my novel. Remembering that meeting, I began taking notes on ‘No Tea. No Shade,” and dedicated it to Lynn.
Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t know if I have a defined writing style, but I simply write about what I know: Detroit, being Black and gay. It is important to me to stay in my lane and offer my readers an authentic experience.
How did you come up with the title?

The title No Tea. No Shade. is a common phrase in the gay community said when you want to tell someone the truth without offending them. I heard RuPaul say it frequently on RuPaul’s Drag Race and knew it reflected the circumstances of the book.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Our lives are best spent coming to terms with who we are, building authentic relationships and getting our own truths. Life is too short to be spent trying to please others. When we face our darkest fears, it will be then that we can truly deserve to live in the light.
How much of the book is realistic?

Every character in No Tea. No Shade. has elements pulled directly from my life. Of course, there are some elements that are made more dramatic to enhance the reader’s experience, but it’s all realistic and quite autobiographical.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I pulled from everything I know: Personal experiences, things I’ve heard about and things I never read about but wanted to. No Tea. No Shade. is the type of book I would read.
What books have most influenced your life most?

Books like Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Their Eyes Were Watching Godare among my favorite books and have helped shape my personal philosophy.  I have also been influenced by authors like George Orwell, Alice Walker, Ntozake Shange, and Toni Morrison.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I consider Sylvia Hubbard a mentor. She has helped me go from a poet with a desire to self-publish to an author with multiple titles under my belt. I learned almost everything I know about independent publishing from her and the Motown Writers Network. I am sincerely grateful for the guidance and support I’ve received.
What book are you reading now?

I am currently reading an anthology of coming out stories entitled Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, edited by Derrick Tennial out of Atlanta. I contributed a story entitled Thirty-Eight, about my coming out as gay and how the messages I received through television as a child of the 80’s shaped my identity as a man.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I am inspired by a number of new authors, especially those writing poetry. Poets like Joel Fluent Greene of Detroit’s Café Mahogany days is releasing his first book of poetry this month. I am excited to celebrate him and read his new work. Also, Detroit poet T. Miller released a book called Coming Out Of Nowhere that took conversations that happened on social media to a different level.
What are your current projects?

I am currently preparing to bring my poetic play entitled The Birth of Mars to the stage. It was inspired by For Colored Girls by Ntozake Shange and the Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. Mars took 6 years to write and examines masculinity in America.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Being a poet and having the opportunity to perform in Detroit has connected me to so many people. The artist community has been so supportive and encouraging. People like Dimonique Boyd, Crystal Campbell, jessica Care moore, Legacy Leonard, LaShaun Phoenix Moore, Omari King Wise, Kalimah Johnson and so many more have supported me as a poet and fiction writer.
Do you see writing as a career?

From the response No Tea. No Shade. has gotten, I could definitely see that happening. I love writing and enjoy the process of bringing characters to life. It isn’t easy crafting a story that makes sense, but when it’s all over, I feel accomplished and successful.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Not one thing! I love my characters and the story. Well, maybe one thing… I would make it longer. The story is short, but gripping.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My interest for writing grew out of reading. My grandmother was an avid reader and it rubbed off on me.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I am currently finishing up my sixth book of poetry entitled Grand Boulevard. It is mainly about my experiences as a Detroiter. I dedicated it to the late, great Detroit poet Blair.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I am the king of the comma! For some reason, commas end up randomly in my writing, in places I am not so sure they belong. That’s what good editors are for!
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

E. Lynn Harris and Alice Walker are among my favorite authors. Their books resonate with me because they require me to face my fears related to being Black, gay and an artist. They also have the best characters!
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I travel frequently for my books, whether to perform poetry or to discuss some of the themes in them. Sometimes other people make connections in my writing that never even occurred to me.
Who designed the covers?

I designed all of the covers for my books. I am interested in having someone else design the covers for my future publications.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The most difficult part of writing books has been keeping track of the storylines and making sure they don’t conflict with each other.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned that the process of writing novels takes time and cannot be rushed. Creativity in any form should not be rushed.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Observe people in their environments. Find out how people move, speak and interact. I did a lot of people watching in public places for No Tea. No Shade. The descriptions in the book are real. If you go to where my characters are and do the things they do, you will see exactly what they see.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes. Thank you for joining me on this journey and for supporting all of the stories and words that emerge from my mind.

No Tea No Shade

Billione

No Tea. No Shade.

getBillione.com

amazon.com/author/billione

amazon.com/No-Tea-Shade-Billione-ebook/dp/B00E332LZW

facebook.com/getBillione

twitter.com/Billione

Centric

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Michigan Male Authors: Help support #MotownWriters literacy efforts #RealMenRead #mwn #amreading #MotownLit #Detroit

realmenReadAre you interested?

Please fill out the form to show your interest…

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Support @Boys2Books, Metro #Detroit Afterschool Literacy Initiative #michlit #mwn #MotownLit

boystobooks

The program focuses on improving the lives of young males through literacy, leadership, and life skills. The program has been receiving local and national attention via BET, PBS, and other media sources.  Boys2Books1

For more info. about Boys 2 Books visit: http://www.eddieconnor.com/boys2books or call 313.469.1947

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Author Feature~M.R. Bartlett

two foxes

Notes Form A Vehicle, Glitter Untamed, This Too Shall Pass, and The Journey Continues are all titles from this week’s featured author. Read below to learn more about M.R. Bartlett and her books.

Where are you from?

Detroit

Tell us your latest news?

Just finished and published my fourth book.

When and why did you begin writing?

In the fourth grade
When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In High School

What inspired you to write your first book?

The journey of my life over the last 8 years.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, poetry through life reflections

How did you come up with the title?

I am always in my vehicle embarking on my next journey.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

No matter where you come from or what you have endured you are somebody.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of them are parts of me.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Based off of me, through good and bad.

What books have most influenced your life most?

The Bible

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Jack Kerouac

What book are you reading now?

On the Road, by Jack Kerouac

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Yes, Kimberly Brooks

What are your current projects?

Teacher at my church with the M.O.T.S program, Coffee Brand Owner, Volunteer, Donator, became an ordained Minister on November 30, 2013

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My church

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely I am a former journalist.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, it’s apart of my journey.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

From the show Clarissa Explains it all when I was a child.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

“it’s often we the counselor who need consoling,”~ M.R. Bartlett

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

No.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Anne Rice, she gets it right every time.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Yes my writing comes what I see through everyday travel and life.

Who designed the covers?

Me

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Editing

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

That even after 7 years of writer’s block I can still write.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just be you

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Never Give Up

Glitter Untamed

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