I keep saying that I am going to update this blog more frequently, but I just can’t seem to find the time. It’s been six months since the last time I wrote a blog post and boy and have I been busy. I’ve been writing two books- Licked Into Submission and Hoop Dreams Deflated. I also started writing the screen play to A Thug’s Redemption and I must say, it is turning out to be much better than the actual book. That’s always been my thing about turning books into movies; it should either be like the book, or BETTER than the book. Movies like Cujo, the original It, (can’t wait to see what they do with this remake) and others disappointed immensely. They didn’t do the book justice and I don’t want to disappoint my readers. One of the reviews that I got a few times about A Thug’s Redemption is that Jamal wasn’t a “thug”. (Tell that to White America…) But by “hood standards”, Jamal was not a thug. And they were absolutely correct. Jamal wasn’t a thug. Maybe a little rough around the edges, but he was never meant to be a thug. It’s just unfortunately because of some of the things he had gotten into, he was perceived and pre-judged with many seeing him as a thug. But in this screen-play, wooo, y’all about to see a side to Jamal that I don’t think y’all are ready for. I made him much more ruthless and “thuggish”. I also changed a couple of things and there’s a major plot twist. So get ready. Now does that mean A Thug’s Redemption is going to get a re-write…? Hmmm… the idea has merit…
In other news, I have signed my first author to Anitbeet Productions. Woo hoo! I am so excited for this author. His penmanship, style and way with words is not only charismatic, but artistic. He paints a vivid picture with his words that brings his story to live and gives you a taste of “the game” raw and uncut. Hood Boy: I Am What I Am by LeRoy Payton is the first of a trilogy telling the story of a young man Javon aka Slim who has a strong desire for freedom and independence, a desire that was brought on by being locked down by his father due to his behavioral problems. He gets a taste of that freedom and independence after being introduced to the street life of hustling and reaping the financial rewards that he technically does not need, but wants all the same. The seduction of the drug game pulls him in deeply and he soon faces what most street niggas face in the game: deceit, hate and threats to his street credibility that he’s worked hard to establish. Like many others, peace is sought outside of the hectic street lifestyle, but with that comes the strong possibility of it being compromised and even destroyed. Author LeRoy Payton definitely has done a great job with putting this book and series together. The ending is sure to leave you craving for the second installment in this amazing book series. So stay tuned! Hood Boy: I Am What I Am will be dropping July 27th 2017 which also happens to be his 37th birthday. I’m teaching myself how to use InDesign so I can design better and more high quality book covers. I am also looking to give Anitbeet Productions website a makeover. Starting in September, I will be taking submissions for urban fiction, erotica, Christian Fiction, thrillers, and more. I am excited to be taking Anitbeet Productions to another level! Lastly, I will be in Harlem, NY for the Harlem Book Festival. I will have all of my books with me with the exception of Terrors from Beyond since that is only in ebook format. Not only will readers be able to get signed copies of my paperback novels as well as Hard Cover copies of Love’s Deadly Masquerade, but I will also have my paypal debit card swipe device to accept credit and debit card transactions and you will be able to purchase ebooks from me as well. I will also be doing book bundle deals and giveaways with purchases to show my support to my readers. I have not been to the Harlem Book Festival since 2013 and I am super excited to be going back! So readers in New York, be sure to come check me out!!! That’s all of the updates that I have for now! I’m super excited for what this summer is going to bring! Until next time folks! And I promise it won’t be another six months before I post again. LOL!
Happy New Year everyone! I’m sure I’m not the only one who is glad 2016 is over. Between all of the bad luck and the celebrity grim reaper, 2016 was definitely one for the books and I don’t mean in a good way. Thank God I made it out alive. Maybe not unscathed, because trust and believe I had my fair share of issues, but I’m happy to be alive and able to say Happy New Year.
I’m going to be doing things differently this year all the way around. Not just when it comes to my books and how I market and promote them, but everything! I started making some serious changes towards the end of 2016. I know that people like to make New Year’s Resolutions, but I feel like if you are alive to make a change today, why not utilize the time you have right now to make those necessary changes, because as we can see from this last year alone, tomorrow is not promised. The first change I made was cutting pork out of my diet, which I’m not going to lie to y’all, it broke my fucking heart! Do y’all know how much I love barbecuing some ribs! Lawd! And pork chops smothered in gravy with onions and rice and corn. Finger licking deliciousness! And don’t get me started on how tasty pork bacon is on the side of some buttery pancakes or a plate of hot, buttery grits with some cheesy, scrambled eggs! So yes, a sister was mad hurt. But I am the kind of person who plays very close attention to my body and I noticed that summer of 2016, I didn’t eat a lot of pork. I ate a lot of fish and chicken and now and again I would have beef, like a burger or grill some steaks. But I rarely ate pork. One day, my mother made some neck bones, and I love those, too. Chile, I used to eat a whole pot of those damned things. LOL! Well, this time when I ate them, I felt sick as shit afterwards. Not just my stomach, but my overall life just didn’t feel right. That’s when I knew the pork had to go. Not only did I ditch the pork, but I joined Planet Fitness. I worked out six days a week (I’ve slacked off recently because I let other things grab my attention, but I will definitely be back in the gym this week) and when I tell you it felt so good to work out! I feel like I was becoming addicted to it. And no lie, I was starting to see results in my waist, my stomach and even my um… lady lumps LOL. I also began drinking more water as well as eating a lot more fruit, less candy and junk food (though occasionally I do like to have my Welch’s Fruit Snacks. Those shits are delicious.) and less fast food. It was one of the best changes I could have ever done for myself. This year, I plan to slowly slide into the vegan life which is going to be hard for me because damn it, I love my macaroni and cheese with fried chicken and candied sweet potatoes. Yum!
Another change that I wanted to make before 2017 was I wanted to experience life more and go out more than I do. Hell, I rarely ever go out. My life revolves around my writing and my children. I need some me time. You all already know that I went to the Beyonce concert, which was definitely an experience. I also went to the Bad Boys Reunion concert which gave me life. I even went to Sesame Place with my children for the first time in my life. I think I had more fun than they did. And since I’ve never been on a plane before, this year I plan to take my first flight to Puerto Rico for my 33rd birthday. I’m terrified to fly but that’s a fear I hope to get over this year because I plan on doing a lot of traveling.
Let’s see what else? Oh yeah, my goal for A Thug’s Redemption as well as all of my other books is to turn them into movies. In order to do that, I needed some serious capital because I don’t want them to be shot in a bullshit, low budget kind of way and I don’t want them to be straight to DVD movies. I want them to be in film festivals and generate a huge audience as well as fan base. So I decided to go back to work. There are things that I want to do for my books and places that I want to promote, advertise and market them that I just don’t have the money to do working where I was working. I must say that the company I am with now is one of the BEST companies I have ever worked for in my life. I love the staff at American Income Life. I love the energy and positivity of my boss, Dave Hausman, and my direct manager and trainers are just so encouraging. My team is so encouraging that I am positive I will be very successful as well as accomplish many great things there. That’s the first time I’ve ever had that feeling with a job that I took on.
It had also been a long time since I was able to trust a man enough to be in a relationship with him after the horrid shit my children’s father did to me. But there was a guy who had been after me for six years who I finally said, you know what, I’m going to give him a chance and see where this goes. So I am seeing someone, though I’m not holding my breath. Perhaps my children’s father turned this optimist into a pessimist. I like to think that I am a realist and there are some things that make me leery. No relationship is perfect of course, but as I said, I’m not holding my breath. I like to proven wrong though. So maybe this will be that rare time where I actually am wrong.
Now let’s get to the books. Am I releasing anything this year? I plan to have at least two releases; Licked into Submission and Hoop Dreams Deflated, which is what I am working on now. But things are going to be a little different from now on. First things first, I shut down all of my social media accounts except for Instagram because there are a lot of pictures on there that I need to download first. But I will not be active on it and I will not be using Facebook, Twitter or any other social media outlet to promote my books. Before any of you give me the screw face, let me explain why. I have almost 1100 followers on twitter and over 3,000 friends on Facebook and hardly any of those people support my work. I can count on one hand how many actively and openly rock with me. Maybe both hands. Yeah, I’ll say both hands just to be nice, excluding a couple people because I know for a fact that a few of them are the type of people who will claim to be proud of what I am trying to accomplish but really don’t. Smiles ain’t matching handshakes and all that shit. So I feel like most of those people are only my page to be nosy and to boost their friend list numbers and I don’t have time for that shit. I’m sure I could go through my list and just have a block party, but I don’t have time for that shit. So I removed myself. I feel like this, if you really fuck with me and my work, you’ll subscribe to my blog for release dates, cover reveals and sneak previews. You’ll follow my Amazon Author’s page so when I drop a book, you get that notification, buy it, read it and leave a review. So this year, outside of the various places I will be promoting and advertising my books, everything will be done from this website. Books will be released here FIRST! For the first 90 days of my new releases, the ebooks and paperbacks will only be available here. Why? Because my pockets are more important than Amazon’s Barnes and Noble’s, Smashwords, Kobo’s and every other ebook outlet and book store. My bottom line comes first. I don’t just want “fans”. I want supporters. Of course when people catch on that I’m not on social media anymore, they are either going to sniff me out and find me here or assume that I quit. And when they do find me here, they’re going to spy just as they do on my social media pages. The only difference is, this is my playground and I set the rules. No hard feelings and no love lost. I’m just simply weeding out the fake while I build.
Be sure to subscribe to my blog for previews and cover reveals, book trailers and other news. Make sure you go to my Amazon Author page and follow me there so you are one of the first to know when a book drops and by all means, when you purchase a book, leave a review. That is the best way to help an author is by leaving a review on their book because it helps the next reader decide if they are going to buy it and read it as well.
Last thing before I close out this blog post, no disrespect to those who are getting into promotions, but I will not be using mom and pop tweet blasters and other promotions like that because I have found in the past that it doesn’t work. I would much rather work with an established book promoting company such as Bookbub and promotions through Publisher Weekly and other Literary companies. I’m aware of the costs, but I’m a firm believer of you get what you pay for. And in most cases, you have to spend money to make money and quality ain’t cheap.
Thanks so much for stopping by, reading my blog and subscribing to it. Feel free to drop a comment. I love interacting with my readers. Just be respectful. I ain’t above cussing folks out! *wink*
What is happening to urban fiction? That seems to be a question that I am coming across a lot on Facebook. A question was posted the other day asking what people are tired of seeing in urban fiction and quite a few things came up that I’ve been saying since I first came on the scene.
The same story-lines again and again by different authors
Authors using the same models for their covers
Hip-Hop and R&B song titles/lyrics as Book Titles
Just to name a few. And those were answers that were coming up more than once. Let’s address these issues.
When I first came out with A Thug’s Redemption, I ordered 50 paperback copies. How embarrassed was I when I was reading it after having sold damn near all 50 copies as well as a few that was given away for reviews and promotional reasons not to mention the hundreds that were sold on Kindle, only to see that I had given the wrong PDF file to the printing company I was using which had MAD errors in it. Oh nigga I almost died. I wanted to crawl under a rock and DIE! I corrected that shit real quick and apologized to my readers for the mistake. I will admit that I was so excited to get my work in print that I confused one file with another. (AThugsRedemption1 was sent instead of AThugsRedemption1a) With my books after that, I scan through them with a fine tooth comb and have a back-up set of eyes (beta reader) to check for what I may have missed. So far so good. But man, I’ve read books where the author used hear instead of here (how sway???) didn’t know when to properly use there, their and they’re (how sway???) had two different names for one character and I don’t mean on some the character had multiple personalities and those were their names, just a complete rookie move on their part. Indie Authors are too busy trying to put out a large quantity of work instead of making sure they are putting out QUALITY work and it’s not a good look.
Same ass tired story lines! Example-
Hood chick snags big time drug dealer for boyfriend and lives the glamorous life until he is tragically killed.
Kingpin of whatever city is betrayed by his workers and doesn’t know who to trust
Project Chick is abused by her mom and meets prominent drug dealer who rescues her. She falls in love only to find out he has another family
Chick is molested by father, uncle, whoever and grows up to be a stripper with low self esteem sleeping with any man who pays her a compliment
Chick takes over drug business for slain or incarcerated drug dealing boyfriend
I’ma just stop right there. How many times are the same damn stories going to be told? Why are the same damn stories being told? Where is the originality? Where is the thought and effort in putting together a well thought out plot for an engaging story? Where, damn it? Where?
Authors using the same model for their covers
Whooo this one right here is grinding my gears and is the reason why here on out I’m using my own models or no models at all. When I first did the cover for A Thug’s Redemption back in April 2012, I specifically wanted a black guy in a hoody. When I came across the young man I’m using, I scanned the urban fiction section of Amazon Kindle to make sure nobody was using him AND THEY WEREN’T. Now all of a sudden I’m seeing his ass on so many different covers its a damn shame. And the only reason why I haven’t stopped using him is because number one, I used him first FOH with the rest of those covers and for two he fits my character Jamal to the letter.
Here are all of the covers that I have him on and he will be on the next cover as well.
These are all of the covers that I’ve been using him on since April 2012 when I first began prepping to release A Thug’s Redemption. Now his fine ass is everywhere. Ya’ll gotta fucking chill! Let me be GREAT!! Maybe I should find him and pay for custom photos that only I have the rights to use…
There is also a light-skinned chick with curly hair that is overly used in urban fiction. I’ve seen that chick on so many covers it makes me not want to read the book because my take on it is, do your research first! If you see another author using a person on more than one of their book covers, (whispers) use another person. It’s really that simple.
Man I’m not even going to get into that again. Go back a couple of blog posts and you’ll see my take on that. We’re getting raped. Period.
Hip-Hop and R&B song titles/Lyrics as book titles.
This is just lack of creativity and originality, period. If I can look at your book title and start rapping or singing a song, you’re dead wrong. I don’t know about some of these other authors, but I don’t want to be remembered as the writer who was too corny to come up with her own shit so she combed through the latest hot songs and used the titles or lyrics as the title of her book. Before I pick a title, I Google it to see if there are any other books with the title I have in mind or songs. If there are, I scrap it and go back to the drawing board. I had to change the title for Love’s Deadly Masquerade four times before I finally came up with Love’s Deadly Masquerade and honestly it fits better than the other titles I was thinking of. I’m at the start of a legal battle right now because I have to trademark A Thug’s Redemption since some chick decided to use that as her book title too. Oh hell no the fuck you will NOT! I changed that book title 3 or 4 times as well nine years ago when I first went with Publish America and was originally going to use A Thug’s Life but that was too Tupac-ish and I believe there was either a song or another book with that title. Any author who strives to be creative and original with their work would take offense with that fuckery as I did. I’ll update y’all soon on how this turns out because I do not like the idea of my books being confused or associated with hers especially after seeing some of home girl’s reviews. Not only did she STEAL my title but she had the nerve to use the same guy I used on her cover. Dick eating shit. This is what I mean when I say do your fucking homework because had she done so, a simple Google search would have shown her that my shit was EVERYWHERE. Who knows, maybe she did and just didn’t give a fuck. Well, she’s about to learn the hard way. I can’t get her for copyright infringement because titles aren’t protected under copyright law. But because my book was a series before her book came out and I also have merchandise and am working on the film for the book, A Thug’s Redemption will be trademarked and she can either take that shit down and change the title, or get ready to pay up.
Back to the matter at hand though…
There are still so many things wrong with urban fiction that is keeping it from being the well respected genre for African Americans. Urban Fiction is losing its flare because too many hacks (yeah I said it) are jumping into this field with poorly written novels. Blatant grammatical errors, authors being unoriginal with their titles, STEALING titles from other authors, hip-hop and R&B song titles and lyrics, and telling the same damn story again and again. It doesn’t take much to be original, to think outside the box, and to tell a story that has not been told before instead of remixing story lines and rehashing the same shit that was written time and time again. How many different ways can you tell the same story about a poor black girl who falls in love with the notorious dope boy only for him to be killed? We are so much more than strippers, dope boys, trap kings, and trap queens. There’s a beauty to our culture that is being left untouched because too many “writers” are putting out bulllshit because it sells. The beauty of our culture is being overlooked by the ratchet shit. Sadly, urban fiction is becoming stale like today’s hip-hop and R&B because not enough writers are being original, they are just hopping on the bandwagon for what’s selling at the time being. The mistake that too many writers are making is thinking that urban fiction is only about drugs, sex, money, designer clothes, bags and shoes and crime. Think outside the box for a change! There are readers out here who won’t touch an urban fiction book because they are worried it’s going to be the same shit, different toilet. We’ve gotta do better or soon White people are going to take this shit over too.
I just received word that Amazon has a new Kindle device and it is the talk of social media! It is called the Kindle Oasis and this is said to be the end all-be all of eReaders that comes with a cover charger (WHAT!), is light weight and delivers MONTHS on battery life. This new kindle device is also said to be one of the most expensive devices under the kindle umbrella, being priced at $289, but after reading about some of the specs, I think it might be worth it. And to be honest with you, it’s about the price of what most people are spending on tablets so, for the extreme book worm and chronic book reader, I think it could be worth the investment. How cool is it that it comes with a cover that charges the device?! That tidbit of information excited me. I usually read my books on my Samsung Galaxy s-5 (I’m upgrading to the s-7 Edge for my birthday because this phone is not popping anymore since the new Android OS upgrade. Keeps freezing and shit. Ain’t nobody got time for that! That’s another rant for later though LOL) or on my Galaxy Tablet, but that Kindle Oasis looks perfect for when I want to curl up on the couch with a blanket wrapped around me and a glass of wine near by while reading a really good book. I might have to put that on my birthday wishlist… right next to that Benz LOL.
So! Something Thuggish This Way Comes tomorrow Yani fans!! Yes, A Thug’s Life Revisited will be available tomorrow! I actually just got a couple of copies in the mail as I was typing this blog entry and I must say, this is one of my thinner books. Still a full length novel, but a little thinner than my other books. I texted my biggest support Tiffany who has been reading my books since I was like thirteen LOL and told her her copy just arrived. I know she can’t wait to get it! As soon as I finish this entry, I’m going to thumb through it myself to see what it looks like just like I do whenever I release a new book.
Now, next up is Licked into Submission and I will get back to working on that today (God Willing) my schedule is just ugh! What I really need from my readers, fans and supporters is to please continue to spread the word to your friends, family and co-workers who you think would enjoy reading my books. For those of you who have read my books already especially Love’s Deadly Masquerade, please, I can’t stress this enough- leaving a rating and a review on Amazon is so conducive to how well we sell our books. When people are shopping for items, they want to know if they will be making a smart purchase with their money. The best way for them to make an informed decision is by readers leaving a review on an author’s book letting other potential readers and buyers know if they liked it or not and why. So please, when you finish reading A Thug’s Life Revisited at the end, Amazon prompts you to leave a review. Click those 5 stars and let the world know how much you enjoy my work.
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and continuing to support my work. I appreciate you more than you know! BTW Love’s Deadly Masquerade is at #60 on the best seller’s list. Let’s continue to push for that number 1 spot. Until next time!
African American Literature, Urban Fiction, Street Lit, Thug Fiction, Erotica, Quality Novels, Reviews, Trendy Topics