Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Check Me Out!

A comment on my blog informed me that I was a link on the "Urban Review" website.

MsJayy said...
Hi Donna, I just found your blog via Urban Reviews. I didn't realize there were this many books on the market with similar covers (the one I did take note of was Crabs in a Barrel/Tastes Like Chicken). As a self-published author, I wonder if it's harder to find that someone else is using the same stock photo. I know that as I looked for a cover for my upcoming novel, I found that several images that I liked had already been used so I passed them over. I do know that there are several versions of the photo that I used on my poetry collection although I've not found anyone else using it - yet. LOL Interesting topic.

Check it out: http://www.urban-reviews.com/ac-feb07.html

F.Y.I.: MsJavy is a self published author/poet...check her out.


I found book covers that used the same model for other book covers

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My Home Library

I moved from the city of Detroit to the suburb of Ypsilanti Township. Our closing and moving day was Valentine's day. What a gift. My husband and I are enjoying the wildlife surrounding our home. Our new deck is the perfect zone for reading a book and drinking crystal light tea (peach is my favorite).

We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by buying me bookshelves from IKEA to hold my 700+ books. Because the house is still under warranty and brand spanking new (new house smell), we cannot remodel for the next 2 years.

My Home Library is slowly coming along. When the shelves are all put together and all the books are in their proper place, to make my library a more useful and comfortable space, such items as a reading chair or small couch and floor lamp will go in front of the library. This will provide a comfortable spot to sit and read. A plush rug will also increase the posh elegance of the space.

I wanted my library to give the room a sense of intelligence and sophistication. This was achieved by picking white free standing shelves with glass doors in uniform material, style and size. They fit into a pre-existing nook. I have room for 2 1/2 more to complete the library.

I welcome suggestions and pictures of decorating ideas. Share your home library transformations. I'll be making revisions to this blog from time to time.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Facts Based Novels or Historical Fiction

Historical fiction may center on historical or on fictional characters but usually represents an honest attempt based on considerable research (or at least serious reading) to tell a story set in the historical past as understood by the author's contemporaries. Historical fiction, unlike history is not constrained to cite its sources with footnotes in the text.

* Fictionalized account of real events
* Stories take place in a definite place in history
* Something similar to the story could have happened. Often based on real people & events
* Can include real facts and places
* Very much like the real world - just at a different time in history
* Teaches us about the past, how people lived
* Much time spent on setting, plot and characters

Red River by Lalita Tademy is based on the Colfax Massacre of 1873

Like Trees, Walking by Ravi Howard is based on the lynching of Michael Donald in 1981

Beloved by Toni Morrison is based on the life and legal case of Margaret Garner in 1856

Washington and Caesar by Christian Cameron is based on the legendary Black Loyalist in 1775

Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala is based on the phenomena of young boys and girls forced into battle and bloodshed, "Child Soldiers" in the embattled villages and hamlets of Africa.

Pride of Carthage by David Anthony Durham focussed on Hannibal Barca of Ancient Carthage and his war with the Roman Republic.

Angel Of Harlem by Kuwana Haulsey is a novel
based on the life of Dr. May Chinn the first black
female physician in New York City

War Child International Network

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Schomburg Collection

Because i'm an avid first edition book collector, I thought a nice framed poster about books (and african american themed at that!) would compliment my library. So...I bid on a poster on eBay.com and won it. As I examined the poster...I see a reference to The Schomburg Collection of the New York Public Library. I've heard this referenced before, but I never knew anything about the Schomburg Collection.

So...I go to my favorite website...Wikipedia and viola!

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg also known as Arthur Schomburg (January 24, 1874-June 8, 1938) born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was a historian, writer and activist, known as "The Father of Black History." Schomburg had amassed a world renowned collection which consisted of artworks, manuscripts, rare books, slave narratives and other remnants of Black history. So impressed was the New York Public Library with Schomburg's collection that the Carnegie Corporation purchased it from him for $10,000 to form the cornerstone of the Library's Division of Negro History at the 135th Street Branch in Harlem. The proceeds from the sale were used to fund travel to Spain, France, Germany and England, to seek out other pieces of black history to further add to the collection. (Wikipedia.com)

On my next visit to New York...I will be visiting the New York Public Library.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Book Recommendation

This is a very detailed account of a runaway slave couple and their journey to freedom, while creating historical movements along-the-way. I will be purchasing this one!

It was the day before Independence Day, 1831. As his bride, Lucie, was about to be “sold down the river” to the slave markets of New Orleans, young Thornton Blackburn planned a daring—and successful—daylight escape from Louisville. But they were discovered by slave catchers in Michigan and slated to return to Kentucky in chains, until the black community rallied to their cause. The Blackburn Riot of 1833 was the first racial uprising in Detroit history. The couple was spirited across the river to Canada, but their safety proved illusory. In June 1833, Michigan’s governor demanded their extradition. The Blackburn case was the first serious legal dispute between Canada and the United States regarding the Underground Railroad. The impassioned defense of the Blackburns by Canada’s lieutenant governor set precedents for all future fugitive-slave cases. The Blackburns settled in Toronto and founded the city’s first taxi business. But they never forgot the millions who still suffered in slavery. Working with prominent abolitionists, Thornton and Lucie made their home a haven for runaways. The Blackburns died in the 1890s, and their fascinating tale was lost to history. Lost, that is, until a chance archaeological discovery in a downtown Toronto school yard brought the story of Thornton and Lucie Blackburn again to light.

Title: I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad
Author: Karolyn Smardz Frost is an internationally recognized archaeologist and historian. She lives in Collingwood, Ontario.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 480 (8 Pages of Black-and-White Illustrations/Notes/Bibliography/Index)
Publication Date: 02/2007
ISBN: 0-374-16481-9
List Price: $30.00
Genre: Non-Fiction/History

Links: http://www.homeingloryland.com/

National Public Radio - Meet the author 3/19/07

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Virginia Polytech Massacre

Authorities ID gunman in Va. Tech rampage
Student’s writings raised red flags; 33 killed, 12 stable in hospitals

‘He was a loner’ Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university’s English department, said she did not personally know the gunman. But she said she spoke with Lucinda Roy, the department’s director of creative writing, who had Cho in one of her classes and described him as “troubled.”

“There was some concern about him,” Rude told The Associated Press. “Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it’s creative or if they’re describing things, if they’re imagining things or just how real it might be. But we’re all alert to not ignore things ike this.”

She said Cho was referred to the counseling service, but she said she did not know when or what the outcome was. Rude refused to release any of his writings or his grades, citing privacy laws.

This is a clip from the MSNBC online news. My heart goes out to the tragic lose of lives in the senseless killing on the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University campus. But as I was reading this, I wondered if the department's director of creative writing was no one other than the noted author Lucinda Roy of "Lady Moses," "Hotel Alleluia," "The Humming Birds" and "Wailing the Dead to Sleep"?

Yes, it is.... Virginia Tech's Creative Writing Program Co-Directors Lucinda Roy and Fred D'Aguiar] features internationally known and widely-published poets and fiction writers, such as...

Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor of Black Studies

Fred D’Aguiar, Professor Co-Director of Creative Writing

Lucinda Roy, Professor of English and Alumni Distinguished Professor Co-Director,
Creative Writing

The Vampire Huntress Legend Series

I have most of the books in L.A. Banks' paranormal Vampire Huntress series. I normally don't read this genre of fiction, but I was so taken in by the artwork on the book cover(s). It 's fine illustration of a very modern day, sexy vampire. Banks' marketing of the book series is genius - see her website. The cover art is by Vince Natale. As a graduate of the DuCret school of art in New Jersey, he has received numerous honors for his comercial and fine art work that ranges from magazine editorials to book covers to advertising. I personally have not read any of L.A. Banks' books, but I think the covers are a story within themselves and look intriguing on my bookshelves. One day I will crack one open and read what's inside.

“Minion” January 2005 - Book 1 of 9
“The Awakening” January 2004 - Book 2 of 9
“The Hunted” June 2004 - Book 3 of 9
“The Bitten” January 2005 - Book 4 of 9
“The Forbidden” July 2005 - Book 5 of 9
“The Damned” January 2006 - Book 6 of 9
“The Forsaken” July, 2006 - Book 7 of 9
"The Wicked" February 2007 - Book 8 of 9
"The Cursed" July 2007 - Book Nine

A new book series from L. A. Banks!

BAD BLOOD The first in a major new book series from L.A. Banks is coming in 2008!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Debut Novel

A new novel will debut February 20, 2007 by author Ravi Howard titled "Like Trees, Walking." The books subject matter revolves around the last American lynching of a black man, Michael Donald, in Mobile, Alabama, in 1981. Howard an Alabama native himself, won the 2001 Nora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award for a short story on this very subject. Although this is a fictionalized account, Howard uses the facts of the case to write an extended version of it's short story.

The body of an African American high school student in Mobile, Alabama, in 1981 is discovered by Paul Deacon, son of a prominent black funeral home director. Initially, three drug addicts are accused of the crime, but the case against them quickly falls apart, and no progress is made for several years, even though it is obvious that local Klansmen are the murderers. Paul's brother Roy recalls these events 20 years later as a grown man with a family of his own. Howard's novel is not primarily a whodunit or a police procedural, although it does have a strong CSI slant. The subject is really the city of Mobile and the rapidly changing Gulf Coast community two decades after the major struggles of the Civil Rights era (Library Journal).

Here is a link to Wikipedia Encyclopedia of the actual case of the lynching of Michael Donald in Alabama. Warning! there are some graphic photos http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Michael+Donald+

This sounds like a great read and was recommended by noted award winning author, David Anthony Durham of "Gabriel's Story," "Walking Through Darkness," "Pride of Carthage" and soon to be released (June 2007) fourth novel "Acacia" a speculative novel set in an alternative world.



Sunday, January 28, 2007

Video Vixen vs. Mob Queen

I was surfing one of my favorite sites - Wikipedia via http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Virginia+Hill and discovered that there was a video vixen before there were video's. Virginia Hill, the steady girlfriend of Hollywood gangster Bugsy Siegel. Siegel's nickname for Hill was "the Flamingo," for her skill at fellatio. Hill entertained Hollywood celebrities in her Beverly Hills mansion and reputedly blackmailed them to keep their private vices secret. Because Hill maintained a lavish lifestyle and believed to have mafia connections, In 1951 she was summoned to testfy in a hearing on organized crime. She told investigators that her income came from gifts her boyfriends gave her due to her prowess in oral sex.

The author of "Bugsy’s Baby: The Secret Life of Mob Queen Virginia Hill," author Andy Edmonds recreates the story of Virginia Hill using mostly old journal entries and interviews with people who ran with her. Famous in organized crime circles for her feisty attitude and her sexual tendencies, Virginia Hill managed to play men off one another and whose lovers included Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and the actor George Raft.

Hill, the daughter of an abusive alcoholic, Virginia was basically a poor farm girl from Alabama who married young and then ran off to Chicago to be a part of bigger and better things. She quickly learned that sleeping with men could get her what she wanted and by the time she met Chicago crime boss Joe Epstein she was already known in the inner world of the mob.

Edmonds claim in the book that Hill made numerous suicide attempts after Siegel’s death. She also claim that in the 1960’s Hill was murdered by mob collaborators when she threatened to have her diary published. However, Wikipedia states that she died of an overdose of sleeping pills in March 1966.

Karrine Steffens (http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Karrine+Steffans) a former hip hop music video performer and actress wrote a very descriptive memoir in 2005 about her sexual liaisons with numerous major stars. She also mentions several encounters in which she traded oral sex for access to prominent roles in rap music videos.

Steffens was born in St. Thomas (Virgin Islands) to an abusive mother, she was sent to live with a father she didn't like in Florida, then Arizona.

She became so famous in the Hollywood circle earning the nickname Superhead by starring in a porn film, credited as "Honey" where she is shown performing a very rapid form of oral sex. She has also starred in the movie "A Man Apart" opposite Vin Diesel and Lorenz Tate.

Since publishing her memoir, Steffens has reportedly been involved with comedian and talk show host Bill Maher and more recently Bobby Brown in which she is rumored to be pregnant with his fifth child. She is completing the follow-up to her memoirs with "The Vixen Diaries" for publication in September 2007. With more revelations including the real deal about Black Hollywood, her upcoming Playboy shoot, and which Hollywood wives call her daily when their husbands 'are out of town'―just to make sure their spouse isn't with her. Plus a fictionalized account of her life story, for publication in Fall 2008.

What do these two woman have in common?

  • Abusive mothers
  • Secrets with Hollywood celebrities
  • Slept there way into inner circles
  • Oral sex abilities

These books sound like a good read....If anyone has read them, please give me some feedback.