Interview: Draya Michele Chats It Up with Big Boy


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What I Watched: Fan Made Video of Nicki Minaj + SB


I watched this, thinking it was going to be some sappy ol’ “I Miss You’ type song and it was actually clips of Nicki and SB with various remarks she made about him and their breakup in interviews. Ugh….and it just put me in all of my feelings as I started going down memory lane…Still I wanted to share.

Interview: KeKe Palmer on the Breakfast Club


This interview was originally posted on May 1, 2015, but I never watched it in completion only clips, but there is some really good stuff in here for young adults and women, period.

Here are some highlights:

  • You can be a boss and be sexy at the same time
  • Give in abundance, you get in abundance
  • Nobody’s blessing is going to take away your blessing
  • I shouldn’t have to feel like I need to be defined by social necessities in order to feel like I’m being who I am

Check it out…

Book Spotlight: Irresistible Woman II by J.W. Smith


JW Smith In His Words, Meet Author J.W. Smith:

The man behind the post and this is my story……I am J. W. Smith an aspiring writer, inspirational speaker and motivator to all. I was born and raised in one of the toughest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, California. At a very young age I was taught to survive by any means necessary or fall prey to society’s statistics. In the early 80’s when the crack epidemic hit the circulation of the inner city, I lost my father’s guidance and teachings to the drug, and my virginity to the streets. After many years of incarceration both as a juvenile and an adult, I finally woke up and started taken responsibility for my own actions rather than continuing to search for blame in others. With a lengthy stint of incarceration ahead of me and a high-school diploma to fall back on, I diligently set out to write my first novel “No Love Lost”, while the spirit of God provided the faith and the strength to conquer the obstacles I would face along my journey. I am the proud father of three young adults, two girl and a 23 year old young man, with the youngest graduating high school and set for Texas AM College this semester. My oldest daughter was in a tragic accident at the age of 16, paralyzed from the waist down, with every bone in her body broken per the doctors. She’s the inspiration that I look forward to and my 24 hour rock to lean on. She exudes the unfathomable determination to walk again. She’s the woman that gives me motivation to fight harder in becoming a successful provider, entrepreneur and inspiration to all. The perseverance and dedication within allows me to continue on this journey to master what avid readers can relate to, which is real life. I am the C.E.O of Shinning Starr Publications with several authors in the making on the roster.When I’m not writing I am enjoying a day of relaxation with the family or catching up on the politics of the world. I am Author J.W Smith and leaving a legend to be greatly remembered by is what I awake every morning with the anticipation of doing.

Untitled-1Q& A with Author J.W. Smith

1. What genre are your books?
I write Urban Fiyah with a touch of inspiration for the ladies.
2. How much research do you do?
I write about what I know and what I’ve experience.
3. What are you working on at the minute?
Synopsis for Irresistible Woman II: The Boss Take Over
A series of fast paced events are set in motion when Cynthia is manipulated into captivity by a childhood associate. With the loss of a friend, child and the urgent search for a missing teen triple threat squad formulates a plan of action that will ultimately leave everyone involved, stunned, to the core. This title shows the power of one woman’s sheer determination to break the cycle of generational curse with an unsuspecting person as her mentor. With vivid descriptions and play by play action, Irresistible Woman II will never leave you with a dull moment. This book will have you laughing, crying and filled with an abundance of emotion as you take a tour inside the transitional phase of one woman’s plight to raise the bar on life.
4. Tell us a little bit about you and your books.

Synopsis for Irresistible Woman I:

When three of the most diverse young women are adjoined at the hip by loyalty, the threat of death, murder nor mayhem could separate the trio. Bound by blood and a vow made back in the 3rd grade, the girls are made to endure atrocious activity to survive the gritty streets of Texas.  But when one of the pack member’s are suspected of being an informant for the F.B.I., their loyalty is put through the test.  With Jonetta facilitating the way and Ingrid doing hard time, Samantha is left behind to deal with the dingy street’s alone. With street credentials of a true project Diva, Samantha springs into action, readjust her values and commence to handling her priorities. This book is a fast pace novel, with great influential wisdom throughout it’s contents. These women were born and raised in poverty and destined to be a product of their environment, but eventually through believing in one another’s dreams, goals and aspirations, the girls were able to make a determined transition to the top.   

5.How long have you been writing?

I started this journey of sculpturing my first novel “No Love Lost” in 2004 while incarcerated in Federal Prison.

6. What inspired you to start writing?

Being determined to excel beyond measures.

7.What are your plans as far as writing in the future?

Being able to connect with the people on all level of understanding.

8.What do you hope to accomplish in your books to your readers?

To continue to enlightening the avid readers with Inspirational words of wisdom..(Thanks to the Almighty)

Irresistible Woman II will be released on April 5, 2014. To check out Irresistible Woman I, please click here and to check out No Love Lost by the author, please click here

On My Soapbox: Black Diamonds + T.I. +Addresses + Rolling Out


After being stuck in the house due to the snowstorm, I spent the day, working on Black Diamonds (the fourth book in The Diamond Collection series), watching YouTube (movies, music videos, and interviews), and chatting on Facebook.

One of the music videos I watched and a favorite song of mine by rapper, T.I. is his song, “Addresses” from Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head. The song’s title actually inspired the title of a chapter in Black Diamonds. While watching the video, I noticed there was a video suggestion on YouTube for an interview T.I. conducted with Sway in the Morning. The YouTube video was posted December 17, 2012 by SwaysUniverse. In the interview, T.I. discusses the motivation behind the song, “Addresses,” and says in the interview, “When there is a violation, there must be a demonstration.”

This quote reminded me of the plot of Black Diamonds. If you are familiar with the series then you know that this book is focused on Carmen and Kane, trying to find Kristian, their daughter who has been kidnapped by a drug dealer, Blu. If you are not familiar with the series then this is the storyline of the book. Since Blu has violated them (by kidnapping their loved one), a “demonstration,” must now take place, which will be illustrated in the chapter, “Addresses,” the title inspired by the song by T.I. I decided the name chapter, “Addresses,” because in this chapter they learn the location of where their daughter is.

As I am known to do, I made an InstaQuote picture which contained the quote because it reminded me of my novel (see below).
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In addition, I made another InstaQuote picture, with a lyric from “Addresses” that contained an image of T.I. from the movie Takers, because it reminded me of a scene from my novel as well (see below).
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What I didn’t expect was for T.I. to ever see the picture or repost it. When I saw he did, because I do follow him on Instagram (@troubleman31), I was very excited and even reposted that he had done so (see below).
marilnrepos
Moreover, I didn’t expect for anything else to come of the picture. Since I did use to blog about celebrities, I still follow some online magazines and blog sites. I actually receive a daily email from a few including Rolling Out Magazine. I visited the website to read an article about Michael Ealy’s son and saw the headline, “T.I. Finally Responds to Cheating Rumors.” I read the article and my mouth dropped open when I saw my InstaQuote picture being tied in with his “alleged” response to photos of his wife, Tiny:

“Tip then addressed the criticism he’d received over politely asking his wife to stop posting photos of her butt on Instagram,” was the statement prior to the picture.

rollingout

I cannot speak for T.I. as to what he was thinking when he reposted the picture or what in particular he was addressing. However, I can say that when he initially made the statement, it was in reference to the motivation behind his song, “Addresses,” from his album. The InstaQuote picture was also not created to aid in any of the rumors against him and his wife. I do not know T.I. or Tiny personally and only made the InstaQuote post because it reminded me of certain scenes from my forthcoming novel.

My Thoughts As A New Author & What I Think Now!


The purpose of this blog is just to give a heads up to aspiring authors! Keep writing and keep working towards your goal!

Once my book is published, I’m going to hit it big!
While there are some authors who publish their first novel and hit it big, the majority of authors are nowhere near the level where they would like to be. Success takes a lot of grind and a lot of behind the scenes work that hardly anyone sees (or if they see it, it’s only a portion). Though it may seem that some authors put out a novel and hit it big, there was probably a whole lot of hard work that we didn’t see that contributed to their success.

Maintaining a website, Facebook and Twitter account will ensure that everyone knows about my work.
It is only a start. I can name about five people right now who have a Facebook account, but do not check it. There are also individuals who do not have internet access or have never even heard of Facebook and don’t dare mention Twitter! How do they find out about my work? This is where book signings and word of mouth comes in. Though I did not have a lot of book signings in the past because I couldn’t financially afford to travel or pay the fees, I have now discovered a more economical outlet that will allow me to reach more people beyond social media and help get my book out there (stay tuned for details!)

With an independent publisher, I will receive 15% in royalties based off the retail price of my book.
This thought was absolutely ludicrous. The royalty that is received is a small percentage of the amount that is left over after the print charge of the book is deducted and after the distribution channel takes their cut. For example, if a book is priced at $15, has a print charge of $6.12, Amazon along with other distributors may get a cut of 2.30, which will leave, 6.58. The author may receive 15% of that, which is .98. The rest goes to the publisher. If you only sell 34 books a month then you’ve made 33.32. The life of the rich and famous, right? As an independent author, I have received more in royalties for The Ace of Diamonds (AOD)  then I made last year for Diamonds in the Rough and Diamonds are Forever.

Book Festivals are probably affordable and if I save, I will be able to attend them.
This thought was a result of not doing proper research. The most affordable book festival I have discovered thus far is the one I am attending in April, hosted by Butterfly Editorial and the African American Author’s Expo. I wanted to attend For Sisters Only in Charlotte; however, the cost of a table is $500. I wanted to attend the SC Book Festival; however the cost of a table is $310. I heard that the Decatur Book Festival is one of the festivals that has the best sales so when I got the vendor information, I was ecstatic until I saw that the price of a table is $465. This is just the table fees. This does not include hotel, food, gas, marketing materials, or the books I have to pre-purchase to sell. I am not aware of everyone’s financial situation, but I cannot afford this. Even if I save, I will not have enough money to attend all of these festivals. The money is just not there. If you do have the money and want to donate it, comment or send me an email, lol. For right now, I am trying another approach.

Book Festivals are where people come to buy books. I’m guaranteed to sell out!
The only time I’ve sold out at a book event was at my book release party. When I went to a book fair in ATL, I sold 1 book, which was purchased by another author. When I attended the SC Book Festival, I sold 1 book as well throughout the entire 2 day event. However, when I attended the CLT Literary Festival, I sold 4 books out of the 6 that I brought. Of course, these are only examples and do not reflect every book event I attended. It also does not reflect an author’s success as a whole. My point is; do not fool yourself into thinking that you are going to sell out like I did. If you do, great, but if you don’t, at least you put your book out there!

One author suggested that authors who are not selling at events should look to see what other authors are doing that is selling. Out of every event I attended, with the exception of my book release party, I have been with other authors who ARE selling, but are doing the same thing I am- sitting there, greeting customers, being friendly, and talking about their books. There is nothing extra or special that they are doing that I am not. Some readers you win over, some you don’t.

Paying for interviews guarantees me a spot versus sending an email requesting for a free interview.
I thought this only because when I was sending emails requesting for a free interview or to participate in a blog series, the majority of the time, I would never get a response back. However, with the interviews I paid for, I got a quick response. I thought this to be true until recently when I paid for an interview and never received a word back from the host. I sent two follow-up emails, no response. I called the customer service number for the business and discovered that the number was disconnected. I have since filed a claim with PayPal regarding the issue and am hoping to receive some sort of response by the end of the month. Now, I believe that nothing is guaranteed.

If I send a request for a book review, I should get a response in 24-48 hours.
While this would be nice, it could take a week or two before a response is given. In one night, I sent emails to 10 book reviewers seeking reviews for my book, AOD. The next day, I received responses from 2. In a week, I had received responses from 3 more and maybe one more within the following week. What I’ve learned is that this is all a numbers game. If I want 20 book clubs or sites to review my book then I probably need to contact 60. Of course, this takes a lot of time and research, but it can be done throughout the year until I reach my goal.

I don’t care about sales; I only want to put a book out there for people to read.
Well, guess what, if the book isn’t selling then people aren’t reading (or they’re reading someone else’s copy). Now, I honestly believe that no one should let sales stop them from writing. If you let sales stop you from writing then you’re going to lose the readers who have supported you. Sometimes, we are so busy giving light to the negative that we forget about the positive. Keep your head up, keep writing, and keep being productive. At the end of the day, you will be happy just knowing that you did your best!

The Ace of Diamonds is currently available in ebook on the Kindle/ Nook and in paperback. Please visit http://www.crownjewelzpub.com, Amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com to order a copy.