Friday, November 20, 2009

Author & Me

Me and author Sapphire for "Push" at Borders, Dearborn, Michigan
September 18, 2009

Book signing with Author Mary Monroe
in picture: Me, Mary Monroe, Jean Winborn, Roberta Thornton

Monday, August 03, 2009

Size Does Matter - The Longest Novels

Some books are a sprint, most involve a few laps of your imagination but others require marathon-like endurance. Leo Tolstoy’s "War and Peace" is legendary for its length but there are many other novels that require patience and stamina from the reader.

In the African American genre there is such heavyweights as "Mosquito" by Gayl Jones, "Roots" by Alex Haley or "Palace Council" by Stephen Carter and much more.

But there are heavyweight readers for heavyweight novels. Some people take long novels in their stride. They enjoy characters that are extremely well developed, relish the enduring plots that twist and turn, and savor those massive novels or non-fiction books that offer so much background.

I belong to a Book club and have been a member for 2 years now. Each person is recruited to select the book for the month and host the discussion on the book of their chosen. For the month of September, 2009 the biggest book I may ever read was selected....there goes my summer reading. "Ida: a sword among Lions" was the chosen book. A massive (800 pages) this book is a heavyweight contender for the title of longest novel. Although it's not a novel but an autobiography of Ida B. Wells, also known as Ida B. Wells-Barnett, who was an African American civil rights advocate and an early women's rights advocate active in the Woman Suffrage Movement. Fearless in her opposition to lynchings, Wells documented hundreds of these atrocities.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is 1,028 pages in paperback - if you give a damn

Friday, July 24, 2009

E. Lynn Harris Dead at 54

E. Lynn Harris, the best-selling Arkansas author known for contemporary stories about African-Americans, died today during a West Coast book tour.

His personal assistant confirmed an unspecified health event for us this morning. He was stricken while staying at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. His death has been confirmed by the local coroner, but an autopsy will be necessary to determine the case of death.

Arkansas Sports 360 provided the first formal report that Harris had died. The item did not cite a source, but Harris was close to the UA Athletic Department and had worked as coach and sponsor of the cheerleaders. Black Voices later confirmed the report, citing a spokesman for his publisher.

Word of the health event began making the rounds on Twitter earlier in the morning.
Born in Michigan, Harris grew up in Little Rock. He attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he was the school's first black cheerleader. He continued to be a diehard Razorback fan. He has taught adjunct courses in the English department, most recently last fall.

His latest book, "Basketball Jones," is about the gay lover of an NBA star. Says the publicity blurb: "In Basketball Jones, E. Lynn Harris explores the consequences of loving someone who is forced to conform to the rules society demands its public heroes follow. Filled with nonstop twists and turns, it will keep readers riveted from the first page to the last." According
to his website biography, Harris, 54, divided his time between Fayetteville and Atlanta.

Posted by Max Brantley on July 24, 2009 09:31 AM

I met E. Lynn Harris several times during the course of his writing career. I own every book he has published and attended book signings/readings. I love his writing style and watched him become more popular by men and women alike. He will definately be missed in the literary world and fans alike. May you rest in PEACE E. Lynn Harris.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson "The King of Pop"

August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009

An Icon
Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 were a big part of my childhood. The album "Ben" was a gift from my parents in 1972 when I was 10 years old. I played this album on my personal pink turntable in my room until the grooves wore out.

May You Rest In Peace

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Author, Daniel O. Black

Members of the African American Authors Book Group attended the discussion of "The Sacred Place" on April 28, 2009 at the Ypsilanti Distric Library. It was a wonderful night of discussions, good food, and picture taking with the invited author, Daniel Black from Atlanta.

Mr. Black graciously accepted by request to attend our discussion on his second novel "The Sacred Place" We communicated by e-mail, text and as the days narrowed in, by phone. Upon Mr. Blacks' request to surprise the group, we were well into our discussion when he surprised the group and made his entrance into the room, where we all sat in a circle. What a wonderful surprise and a wonderfully written book.
My husband made an Italian soup and served old fashion Faygo sodas' with fruit and vegetable trays and cheesecakes for dessert. Yuuummmy.

The Motown Review Book Club was the invited guests to the discussion. All members had already read the book and stated in an interview with that their favorite read author for 2008 was Daniel Black. Also, the author they would like to have dinner with was Daniel Black.

It was a wonderful time had by all. We are awaiting his third novel due to be released in November of 2009 titles "Perfect Peace".

If you have not read any of his books, you must pick it up, either from a bookstore, library or borrow from a friend, you must read it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Phenominal People of Color

Michelle Obama

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (born January 17, 1964) is the wife of the forty-fourth President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the first African-American First Lady of the United States.

Michelle Robinson was born and grew up on the South Side of Chicago and graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. After completing her formal education, she returned to Chicago and accepted a position with the law firm Sidley Austin, where she met her future husband. Subsequently, she worked as part of the staff of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, and for the University of Chicago Medical Center. Throughout 2007 and 2008, she helped campaign for her husband's presidential bid and delivered a keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She is the mother of two daughters, Sasha and Malia, and is the sister of Craig Robinson, men's basketball coach at Oregon State University.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Strong Black Character's in a Novel

An unprecedented number of black characters inhabit today's mainstream fiction best-seller lists, but few of them are created by black authors. Meanwhile, a few books by African American writers manage to attract a crossover audience among white readers. Race/culture play an important part in books. Race is (often) a major component of someone's personal and cultural identity. Individually a book should be a unique experience that reflects the author's attempt to explain the human experience through his or her own creativity.

Listed below are a few authors that are Non-African American in which the main character(s) in their novels are African American.

Beulah Hill by William Heffernan - a strong black male character name Jehiel Flood, Heffernan placed him in a fabulously, complex murder mystery and examination of racial history which takes place in 1933 Vermont.
This book has received outstanding reviews from the African American community.


Barbara Hambly - Benjamin January series. They're pre-Civil War mysteries set in New Orleans, and along with solving crimes, regretting that he can't be a surgeon, and playing the piano, January also navigates through the carefully constructed racial boundaries at the time.

The Benjamin January books are the copious dedications to the Historic New Orleans Collection.

David Handler - Lieutenant Desiree 'Des' Mitry, one of only three women on the Connecticut State Police major crimes squad, the youngest of the three, and the only black. A dedicated high-ranking officer in the homicide department, She is, as well, a closet artist and a complicated and beautiful woman, and she intrigues Mitch from the start.

The Cold Blue Blood (2001)


James Patterson - Patterson has written several mystery thrillers featuring Alex Cross, a black D.C. cop with a Ph.D. in psychology who also works with the FBI as a profiler. Cross is a widower who lives with two of his three children and his paternal grandmother in the nation's capital. He is a good father, a true Southern gentleman to the ladies in his life. He is the perfect role model for males--white or black. The Cross series is immensely popular and three of the novels have been made into movies starring Morgan Freeman as Cross.

Patterson has created another African American character as part of his Women's Murder Club series. Claire Washburn, the heavyset black female medical examiner from San Francisco, joins three white female professionals to solve crimes that have stumped the system. Patterson has published several novels featuring this team. Like Cross, Washburn has a stable family and a comfortable middle-class lifestyle to put white readers at ease.

Alex Cross Series:


Clair Washburn Series:


Robert Parker - "Spenser” novels (the basis of a TV show starring Robert Urich and Avery Brooks), the character “Hawk” a heroic, mysterious black man who both embodies and serves as exception to myriad stereotypes. Hawk is Spenser's best friend a tall black man with a bald head and high cheekbones, a bodyguard and hit man. Hawk is introduced in The Promised Land (1976).

Promised Land
The Judas Goat
Looking for Rachel Wallace
Early Autumn
A Savage Place
The Widening Gyre
A Catskill Eagle
Taming a Sea Horse
Pale Kings and Princes
Crimson Joy
Double Deuce
Paper Doll
Walking Shadow
Thin Air
Small Vices
Sudden Mischief
Hush Money
Hugger Mugger
Widow's Walk
Back Story
Bad Business
Cold Service
School Days
Hundred-Dollar Baby
Now and Then
Rough Weather
Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel


George Pelecanos - who writes many detective books about Black characters in DC. They're imperfect, but he does a good job of avoiding stereotyping his main characters and developing nuanced depictions of life in a very segregated city. Derek Strange a former cop and current private investigator loves funk and soul music from the sixties and seventies, but has a secret passion for the music of old westerns

Right as Rain


Alexander McCall Smith - The African-born author of "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" mystery series were the hero of the books, Precious Ramotswe (Botswana's one and only lady private detective) is an engaging character were people come to her with all sorts of problems that need solving. This series serves not only to entertain but to explore conditions in Botswana.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jill Scott

My Girl, Jill Scott is pregnant and made a HBO Series. This is one talented artist.I have yet to see her live in concert, but I love her music, and I have her book. She is going places. I'm just going to sit back and watch her make-way.

Love ya Jill!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Phenominal People of Color

Eartha Kitt

Entertainer, Born Eartha Mae Keith, she was raised in South Carolina and New York City. She appeared on film and television throughout the 1950s and 1960s while also establishing herself as a recording artist and nightclub singer. In 1968 Kitt made statements critical of the Vietnam War at a White House luncheon, reportededly reducing First Lady Lady Bird Johnson to tears. The public reaction led to her professional exile from the US, but she continued to perform overseas.

Kitt also wrote three memoirs, 1956's "Thursday's Child", 1976's "Alone with Me, and 1989's "I'm Still Here: Confessions of a Sex Kitten." She died after being treated for colon cancer at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital on December 25, 2008 in Weston Fairfield County Connecticut.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Book Covers & Graphic Artwork

Off-the-Rack Stock Photos

Imagine all the energy and time invested into the creative writing, only to have it minimized by a duplicate image by another writer. Stock photography can be a useful tool, but knowing when to use it is beneficial. I've seen the same image on a book cover used in brochures, displays, CD covers, etc.

Stock images are cheap - as little as $1 per image from companies such as iStockphoto, Fotolia, Corbis and Getty Images. Many stock photo companies will let you pay extra for a licensing agreement or a copyright buyout that will give you exclusive use of a photo going forward. But anyone who has alread downloaded the image, can continue to use it fair and square. They also offer services that stamp each image with the number of times it has been downloaded, which can help you decide whether the exclusivity is worth the extra expense ( Magazine, April 2007).

Note: The images on the left were found on or