A Thug’s Redemption tagged posts
One of things I wanted to do is create a book trailer for A Thug's Redemption. I can see it so clearly in my mind's eye because as I was writing this book when I was a teenager, I always envisioned it as a movie. Being able to see my book as a film has helped me visualize the trailer. Some of the book trailers I have seen were impressive and others were...not so impressive to say the least. I think it is important that an author puts themselves in their audience's shoes and try to see their work from the audience's point of view. What would the book trailer have to include that would grab a readers attention? What should the book trailer show that would be so compelling, readers run out and snatch the book from shelves as quickly as possible?
The last couple of days, I have been in contact with one of the entities from my favorite dynamic duo, Mr. & Mrs Q of Q-Touch Photography, Tyisha Quattlebaum. I went over the idea that I have for my book trailer and it was so awesome being able to have her see my idea as I explained it to her while hearing her excitement match my own. Afterwards, I wrote out the details as to how I wanted the book trailer to play as well as the character descriptions and script. Now here comes the fun part!
I am now auditioning for parts to be played in the book trailer for A Thug's Redemption. These will be small parts and will be NON PAID however, anyone who is chosen for a part will be able to add this to their resume in the event they are pursuing an acting career. I am also working on turning A Thug's Redemption into a mini series on YouTube and those who have been chosen for the book trailer will be considered to reprise their role in the webisodes.
So how do you audition? Simply download this A Thug's Redemption Auditions file which gives the information behind auditioning for the book trailer as well as the character descriptions along with the lines you will need to recite. The auditions need to be recorded in a short video no more than three minutes long with you introducing yourself and stating the role you are auditioning for. Email your video clip to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name and daytime phone number so if you are chosen for the part you are auditioning for, I can contact you.
This is going to be a fun project and I can't wait to get started. Also, if there are any people who want their music included in this book trailer, submit the songs of your choice to email@example.com. Thanks for reading! Peace!!Read More
Hello Readers! I've finally had a chance to get my profile corrected on Goodreads.com so that I can be shown as an author on their site instead of just a reader. There was also a minor issue with another author's books showing up in my profile as being my work and of course the old version of A Thug's Redemption from when I was with Publish America still comes up. Please take note that the only A Thug's Redemption that is out right now is the one with the black cover as seen on the left side of this post. The other version is out dated and not in print any longer. A lot of changes have been made from the time that version was out up until this version was published.
Now that everything has been straightened out, I have created a giveaway on Goodreads.com that is from January 4th 2013 until January 14th 2013. There will be 5 free copies given away. I was shocked that within the first few hours that the giveaway was launched, 39 people were requesting it. Before the end of the first day, over 100 people had entered in to win a copy of my book. It makes me wish I could have made more available for the giveaway but that will be worked out in due time. I also thought that I would have been the one to pick the winners of the book giveaway but that is something that Goodreads handles themselves. I think it's awesome how many readers enjoy free urban fiction books and free street lit novels.
I've also been getting a few more reviews on Goodreads and I received another urban fiction book review on Amazon. I was given 4 stars and the reader commented that my book was very saddening, in your face but very very saddening on so many levels. I appreciate all feedback from my readers!
To enter in the Goodreads giveaway for A Thug's Redemption simply visit
Goodreads Book Giveaway
Giveaway ends January 14, 2013.
See the giveaway details
Feel free to add me as a friend and follow my reviews as well. Thanks for reading! Peace!Read More
How excited am I that the sequel to A Thug's Redemption is completed, edited and just waiting on a cover? Super excited! I finished writing it a little over two weeks ago but I recently finished going through it with a fine toothed comb to make sure all mistakes and errors were corrected and to make sure the plot came together and this black urban street novel was written so vividly that my readers can feel as though they are watching a movie with every page that they turn. I also wanted to make sure the characters from the original ATR had evolved into something more than the troubled youth that they were in the first story.
Click Here for a free preview of A Thug's Redemption and Click Here for a free preview of A Thug's Redemption 2: Jamal's Return. And for all those who are curious as to what the sequel has to bring, hold onto your seats!
Synopsis of A Thug's Redemption 2: Jamal's Return:
After being away from his North Philly neighborhood for more than nine years and starting a career as a Wilmington Delaware Police Detective, Jamal is lured back to North Philly when a shoot-out erupts, killing one of his best friends and critically injuring another. A Detective, who becomes familiar with Jamal's past unravels shocking truths about drugs, dirty cops, and their role in a drug war that is claiming lives in a North Philly neighborhood, daily. Jamal is blackmailed and forced into a position to possibly take down his cousin Samir. With his back against the wall as his past comes back to haunt him one more time, Jamal has to decide whether or not he will return to his life from the past, or honor his badge? Plot twists, turns and jawing dropping, non-stop action from start to finish completes this new street lit novel, with an ending so shocking, readers will undoubtedly speculate that another part is waiting in the wings to conclude this Urban Saga. One thing is for certain and two things are for sure, in this urban fiction sequel, all bets are off and EVERYBODY is expendable...including Jamal.
Are you ready for an excerpt?
The morning of Kiree and Ms. Becky’s funeral arrived quickly. Keisha, Manny and their son got ready early. She grabbed her gun and was about to put it in the small of her back again but Manny stopped her.
“Keesh, we’re going to be in a church and a graveyard. I don’t think anything is going to pop off today. Leave that home.” Manny told her.
Keisha hesitated having a feeling deep in her gut that she should take the gun with her. But she didn’t want Manny to think that she did not trust his judgment. She removed the clip from the gun, put it in its lock box and sat it in the top of their closet out of their son’s reach. They climbed into Keisha’s car and drove to Ms. Becky’s house with D-Ball following behind.
The family limo arrived shortly after Manny and Keisha were in the house greeting other family members. Jamal, Maurice and Deisha showed up and they waited until it was time to get to the funeral. Deisha, Maurice and Jamal stayed with Keisha, Manny and their family so they could walk in together. Manny held it together until he reached Kiree’s casket. Looking at his older brother set him off and he lost it. Keisha did her best to hold him up but he was almost on the floor with his legs giving way. Jamal tried to help her hold him up to get him to his seat. His grief and loud sobs were upsetting their son and Kamir began to cry as well. They sat in the second row with Keisha cradling him in her arms as they cried together. Deisha, Maurice, Jamal and D-Ball sat behind them. Jamal and D-Ball were busy looking at the obituaries but Deisha was watching the people who came in to view Kiree and Ms. Becky. She noticed a tall man who had a stocky build walk over to Kiree’s casket. He was light-skinned, possibly Puerto-Rican, and dressed in an all in one gray Dickie suit with a pair of Timberland boots. He stared at Kiree for a moment, expressionless, and then looked at Keisha and Manny. Deisha stared at him, waiting to see if he was going to view Ms. Becky as well. But when she saw the way he looked at Manny, she caught a bad feeling. D-Ball bent over to tie his shoe, not paying attention to anything and was unseen to the man in the Dickie suit. But the visitor noticed Jamal and turned to leave as quickly as he arrived.
“Did you just see that shit?” Deisha asked Maurice, disregarding the fact that she was using profanity in a church.
“Yeah, I saw that shit.” Maurice said in a low voice as he looked behind him. He didn’t see if the guy sat down or left so he faced forward. He too had a bad feeling.
“Am I crazy or did it look like he was checking to make sure Kiree was dead?” Deisha asked.
“That’s exactly what it looked like. Aww man. This shit got me feeling sick. I got a bad feeling.” Maurice replied.
“A bad feeling like what, what are y’all talking about?” Jamal asked.
Deisha whispered to him what she and Maurice had noticed with the last guy who came in to view Kiree and the way he looked at Manny.
“Shiiiiid,” Jamal mumbled as he looked around. “I didn’t think to have the cops outside of the church.” He pulled out his phone and text Detective Davidson asking him to come to the church where the funeral was being held and to have a unit on stand-by just in case.
“Jamal, are you carrying?” Maurice asked.
“Fucking right I’m carrying. Shit, I’m in Philly. I don’t go no-where without my burner,” Jamal replied. He elbowed D-Ball. “Yo dawg, I know you’re carrying.”
“When am I never carrying?” D-Ball replied. “Why what’s going on?”
Jamal leaned over and whispered in D-Ball’s ear, telling him what Deisha had just said. D-Ball looked around and then turned sideways so the people sitting next to him couldn’t see him pull his gun out. He checked the clip to make sure it was fully loaded and then eased it back where he took it from. He then checked his other one.
“I don’t believe this shit,” D-Ball said as he shook his head. His palms were sweating as the funeral proceeded. Jamal, Maurice, Deisha and D-Ball were all nervous but did not want to alarm Manny or Keisha. Jamal checked his phone and saw Davidson text him back letting him know a unit would be on the corner and he was in the back of the church. Jamal turned around and looked. Davidson nodded at him.
Jamal turned back around and whispered to D-Ball. “Keep Keisha, Manny and Kamir behind you when we leave. I’ma stay on your right and Davidson will be on your left, cool?”
“Got you,” D-Ball replied. They waited out the funeral and finally, the recessional was under way. Little by little, the packed church moved past the two caskets to say their farewells. D-Ball leaned next to Keisha as they stood to the side. “When we walk out of here; you, Kamir and Manny stay behind me and Jamal.” He grabbed her hand and made her touch the small of his back where his gun was. “Pull my gun when you need it.” D-Ball said to her in a low voice. Keisha looked at him puzzled but then nodded her head. The Pall Bearers grabbed the caskets and began walking out of the church. Keisha’s heart was pounding in her chest. She stayed close behind D-Ball with Manny and her son at her side. Jamal walked ahead of them but close to D-Ball with Deisha and Maurice behind him. As they were walking down the stairs, Deisha looked around. She searched the crowd wildly for the man she saw in the church. By the time she saw him, it was too late.
“That’s him,” Deisha said to Jamal as she jerked on his arm. Another gunman came from the left and pulled his gun. Keisha pushed Manny and her son back with her left hand as she pulled the gun from D-Ball’s back with her right. D-Ball pulled his other gun and fired at the man in the all in one Dickie suit as Keisha fired at the one coming towards them. People screamed and started running, pushing to get out of the way. Jamal took two shots to his torso and fell back. D-Ball turned and fired at the other gunman as Davidson fired at him also. Manny grabbed his son and ran back inside of the church. The scene outside of the church was chaotic as people either fell or was knocked down while others pushed and shoved to keep from getting shot. More cops came and grabbed D-Ball and Keisha. Davidson ran over to Jamal to check him. He was almost in a panic hoping that nothing bad happened to Jamal. When he felt the bullet proof vest, he let out a sigh of relief. Jamal was disoriented as he tried opening the vest. It felt like there was too much pressure against his chest. He coughed as he took deep breaths.
“DEISHA!” Maurice called out.
Jamal looked over in their direction and scrambled towards them. Deisha lay on the steps unconscious but still breathing. A bullet hit her in her stomach. Jamal grabbed Maurice and pulled him back.
“I’ve gotta stay with her, man! I’ve gotta stay with her!” Maurice screamed as he struggled against Jamal.
“Listen to me! Listen to me, Maurice! Let the medics do their jobs. She’s going to be alright. Your sister and her son need you.” Jamal said firmly to Maurice. Maurice was trembling as he turned to look at Deisha. The medics were placing her on a gurney and putting her in the back of an ambulance.
“I’ve been where you are, Mar. But you’ve gotta keep a clear head for Deisha, for yourself and for your sister and her son.”
Manny came out of the church with his son in his arms. It took him a moment to calm Kamir down. Davidson was able to talk the police out of arresting Keisha and D-Ball since they both had a license to carry and his guns were registered. Keisha grabbed her son and felt all over his back, checking him to make sure he was okay.
“He’s good, I checked him.” Manny told her. Keisha fell into his arms and cried hysterically.
“They shot Deisha!!” She sobbed in his arms.
Manny held Keisha and looked over at D-Ball with his son. He looked at Jamal and Maurice and saw how distraught he was that Deisha had been shot. He was beyond pissed off and tired.
“Jamal,” Manny called over to him.
Jamal walked over to him and Keisha. “Yo.”
“Samir didn’t even have the fucking courtesy to let me bury my muthafucking mom and brother. He brought the bullshit to their funeral. To their funeral!! You tell that fucking cop he can either bring Samir in tonight or fish his fucking body outta Cobbs Creek tomorrow. He ain’t playing by any rules, why the fuck should we!?” Manny said furiously.
Jamal looked at Manny and Keisha but didn’t have the words to say. He knew Manny was right. He went back over to the cops to assist with the investigation and answer any necessary questions. When they were given the go ahead, Manny and his family headed over to Chelten Hills Cemetery to bury Kiree and Ms. Becky. Jamal and Maurice stayed behind so they could head over to the hospital to check on Deisha.
Maurice sat in a chair in the waiting room leaning on his knees with his hands to his head, shaking his leg. Jamal felt bad for him. He prayed that Deisha made it. He didn’t want Maurice to go through the same thing that he went through with Tamera.
They waited a little longer when finally a doctor came over to them. Maurice stood up. His heart was racing in his chest as he waited to hear what the doctor had to say.
“Ms. Brown was stabilized. It was touch and go for a moment, we almost lost her. The bullet is lodged in some muscular tissue and she had some internal bleeding. We were able to get that under control. She’ll be taken into surgery in the next ten minutes. Thankfully the bullet hasn’t traveled. Once we remove it and repair any damage, she should make a full recovery,” the doctor explained.
Maurice nodded his head and sat back down. Jamal sat next to him when the doctors left.
“She’s going to be okay,” Jamal told Maurice.
“You don’t know that,” Maurice said as he shook his head.
“No, I don’t know that. But I believe that she will be okay. And you need to, too. You have to stay positive for her. Trust me on this,” Jamal said to his friend. Maurice nodded and put his hands back to his head before leaning on his knees again. “I’ll be right back.”
Jamal left the waiting room and called Davidson.
“Davidson,” he answered after the second ring.
“You still think Samir can be taken down by the book?” Jamal asked into his phone, angrily. “Because today shows he doesn’t give a fuck. He attacked at a fucking funeral, my man!”
“I know Jamal, and I understand you’re upset. You should be upset. But we can’t just run around killing people because we think the world will be a better place without them. That’s not up to us to decide,” Davidson argued.
“You do what you gotta do. I’ma do what I gotta do. God bless my vest. Trying to do it your way could’ve gotten me killed today.” Jamal disconnected his call. He needed to move fast. Samir wasn’t waiting. He knew he couldn’t either....
Coming Summer 2013
Hello everyone! Since I self-published my debut novel, A Thug's Redemption, a lot of people have come to me with questions; I have been asked "How do you write a book?"; "How do you get published?"; "How do you become self-published?" For those who are curious, you are in luck because this blog entry will have as much information as possible and if there was anything left unanswered, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will respond at my earliest convenience.
To answer the first question, "How do you write a book?"; with me it really was quite simple. I know some people go to the "drawing board" and they write an outline for the plot of the story, a description of the characters as well as who and how they want them to be in the story, and they proceed from there. For me personally, I simple just start to write. My whole philosophy behind writing a great novel is, if you put too much thought into it, it will inhibit you. It will block your creativity and leave you stuck. This may cause confusion, frustration and ultimately, you may even give up. Simply sit down and start writing. If you have an idea of a great story that you feel as though needs to be told, sit down, close your eyes and visualize the story as if it is a movie and then write down what you see. If it helps, get a tape recorder and speak out loud in regards to what you want your story to be about or how you want it to go and then play it back to help your creative juices flow.
When I started writing A Thug's Redemption, I was 14 years old (about to turn 15). I was familiar with writing stories before but this time was different. I could see my book as though it were a movie happening before my very eyes and I would write down what I saw. I tried to be as descriptive as possible because I want my readers to feel as though they are watching a movie with every word they read. I want them to be able to see the story unfold with every page they turn. (So far so good!) But now it is different for me. When people ask me, "How did you write your book?" my answer is, "I get flashes". That may sound weird but let me explain what I mean. I recently finished writing the sequel to A Thug's Redemption. I knew back in 2005 that there was going to be a sequel, I just needed to see it. I don't like to force my writing no matter how much my readers yearn for more. It has to come naturally because if it is forced, it will be trash. I was sitting on the train on my way to work one day when I got this unbelievable "flash". I could see the first part of my book so clearly. The flash was so strong, I literally had to close my eyes so I did not lose what I was seeing. As soon as I got to work, I immediately began writing down what I saw as vividly as possible and it was on from there.
Another question I am asked frequently is: "How do you become self-published?" This is a biggie because for a while, I had been asking this question. I searched Google, Ask.com, Yahoo and practically every article that came up was just a teensy bit of information to draw you in and then they either wanted you to sign up for something that came with a monthly fee, or they wanted you to buy the information at a ridiculous price. Knowledge should never come at a price. I used to work with a young lady who told me that she self-published her first novel. I asked her the same question that is asked to me; "How?" She explained it quite simply. The first thing you need to do of course is write the book. You then, of course, need to edit it or have someone you can trust edit the manuscript for you. The next thing you want to do is get a copyright by visiting Copyright Associates It's VERY important that you copyright your work before you go shopping it around to publishing companies because thievery is at an all time HIGH! Protect yourself at ALL TIMES! Once you obtain your copyright, you then want to get an ISBN number for your manuscript by visiting ISBN.org You can also obtain a bar-code from that same website that will allow you to attach a price to your manuscript. Now you are almost there!!
The next part is finding a printing company which you can shop around for on-line. Be sure when you are pricing, you make sure you aren't spending too much money on printing that keeps you from profiting from book sales. After that, you need a cover design, and a website as well as a marketing plan, publicity, press releases, trolling for reviews and interviews, book signings, getting bookstores to put your novel on their shelves and that's when the really hard work begins.
Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Yes, it is. It's very hard work and you must be dedicated and not give up no matter how many doors close in your face, you must remain resilient and persistent. Believe in your work and your talent, otherwise no one else will.
For those who are interested in working with Anitbeet Productions and having my publishing company get your work out while helping you accomplish your dreams, you can submit your manuscript to email@example.com. Even if your manuscript is not complete, you can still submit it. If you are in search of an editor, writing coach, PR Services or cover designer and website developer, send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org and a response will be given to you at our earliest convenience. I look forward to working with other authors and will be branching out to other areas as well. (Stay tuned)
In closing, if you have questions that weren't answered in my post, send me an email and I will be happy to assist you anyway that I can. If I personally don't have what you are looking for, I definitely can point you in another direction to help you explore your options. Thanks for reading! PEACE!Read More
I have noticed a trend with a lot of street fiction that is becoming appalling to me when it comes to portraying Black women. In too many of these stories, the roles are always the same; Black women who are trying to get ahead in life so they link up with the most successful hustler or baller so they can be taken care of; Black women who are setting our black men up for failure or to be killed; Black women who are struggling to survive and think the only way out is to either fuck their way to the top, strip or hustle. I once was told that literature is about writing what you know. But is that all that a lot of these authors know? Is that all that Black women in inner cities are seen as? Is that really what the imagination of a lot of authors have been limited to? Or is it a way to cash in on the drama and foolishness seen every day on Jerry Springer, Maury Povich and Cheaters? Whatever the reason is, I find it appalling and disgusting.
Black women are so much more than that. As I was going over my character details in all three of my books, "A Thug's Redemption", "A Thug's Redemption 2: Jamal's Return", and "Obsessive Intimacies", I was happy to see that I did not write my leading women in an exploitative fashion. Each and every one of the Black women in my novels were strong individuals with goals. They aspired for greatness and set out for such. They weren't the Ms. Independent that is misconstrued in today's society who believe they can make it without a man and spent their time tearing down the self-esteem of Black men while emasculating them, yet they did not allow themselves to be at their mercy either. They stood behind their men in my stories, had their backs, supported them and uplifted them as a Black woman should when it comes to sustaining a healthy relationship with a Black man. Some may say, "That's not realistic". I beg to differ. I have quite a few female friends who demonstrate these characteristics and that is the reason why their relationship will stand the tests of times. Kudos to Mrs. Quattlebaum.
I hope that my stories can motivate young Black women and show them that there are greater ways to get ahead in life and experience the finer things. I will never portray a Black woman in my stories as a needy, clingy chick with devious scandals and scams to get over in life (unless she learns the follies of her ways and turns her life around in the story and even then...probably not). There will never be a female in my story portrayed in any fashion as I described above because I know Black Women are so much better than that. If that is what readers are looking for, you have been forewarned that you will not find that kind of foolery in my books.Read More
Yesterday was such an awesome day for me!! I did a book signing at Black & Nobel and though it was a small crowd, I am grateful for those who came out to support. I'm mostly grateful to my older sister, Sharmon, who has come out and shown support throughout the most part of this process. Since I have first started on this self-published journey, I am beginning to see who is supportive of me accomplishing my goals and realizing my dreams and who is not. I do not let it bother me because I know sometimes that is just the way it is. When a dream is only a dream and briefly talked about, some people only talk with you but don't really believe in the dream as you do. When plans are put into motion to realize that dream, the "crabs in a barrel" mindset comes out in full effect. But when the dream is realized and becomes more than a dream but a beautiful reality, the band wagon hoppers quickly try to climb aboard. I'm only interested in those who genuinely support me and those wish me nothing but good things. With that said...
I have been doing a lot of networking for my book. While some choose to promote in clubs, parties and social gatherings, I know with my lifestyle it is just not possible for me to go that route. So I chose another route. I reached out to a few authors, bloggers, editorial journalists etc and imagine my surprise when Omar Tyree (author of the best selling novel, Flyy Girl and For the Love of Money) responded to an email requesting a copy of my debut novel, "A Thug's Redemption" so that he could give me a review! I could not contain my excitement when I saw his email in my inbox this morning after taking my math final. When I say I was a HUGE fan of his as an adolescent, I am NOT lying. I saved his email of course. Getting a reply from him meant more to me than anyone could possibly imagine.
I also received a response to my press release from an editor at BlackNews.com who read the prologue and chapter one to "A Thug's Redemption" and LOVED IT! Here is what he had to say
Yani, I have downloaded what you sent, and just scanning through it I like it. So much so, that I will publish the first chapter in four parts in Black News... I see great potential in you as a storyteller. You go, girl!
I could not contain my excitement! There was one more response that I received that contained the biggest news and proposition for my book. Though I want so badly to reveal exactly what that is, I must remain quiet until all of the details are worked out. But this is just letting me know that I am moving in the right direction and 2013 is going to be a GREAT year for me!
Lastly, I finished "A Thug's Redemption 2: Jamal's Return last Thursday. Let me just say for those who have read the first one, you are in for one hell of a ride with this one. Non-stop action, plot twists at every turn and an ending that will have you holding your breath until the very last sentence. I'm normally not a fan of sequels because too many have been disappointments such as "Terminator 2: Judgment Day", "Nightmare on Elm Street 2", "Halloween 2". "The Crow: City of Angels". The only exceptions that I can think of is "Aliens" and "The Godfather 2". My take on sequels is; if you cannot out do the first one, then don't do it at all. If you cannot leave your target audience totally satisfied, then you are not doing it right. For those who are yearning to know what is next for Jamal, here is a sneak preview of A Thug's Redemption 2: Jamal's Return
That is all for now. Thanks so much for reading! Peace!Read More
Hey everyone! I know it has been awhile since I've posted a blog entry but I have been so busy with school and book shipments along with promotions and PR work. I will try to do better at updating this blog more frequently. Since my last blog entry, I recently decided to utilize my YouTube Channel at the suggestion of a good friend of mine. I've had this YouTube channel since September 2011 but never really put it to use until today. I had been racking my brain for so long as to what I could put up. I didn't want to do the typical "comedy" rants on YouTube because that is being done to death in some of the most tasteless manners. I do have a special project in mind for my YouTube Channel this upcoming year but for right now, I am mostly using it for my poetry and the occasional snippets and teasers that I post for my book. So earlier today, I uploaded a recording of myself reciting a poem that I did in high school entitled "Why Tyrone Can't Read". I swear, this poem is going down in history LOL! I can't believe 13 years later, people still remember that poem and recognize me as the girl who did it. I still remember the moment I recited it. I was so nervous and so scared, but when I heard my friends cheering for me, it was on and popping from there. Here is the video:
I will be posting more videos of myself reciting some of my other poems as well as a few videos reading snippets from my debut novel, A Thug's Redemption as well as the sequel A Thug's Redemption 2: Jamal's Return. I hope everyone enjoys. Don't forget to subscribe, click the like button, leave comments, questions or suggestions. Here is the link to my Youtube Channel Click Here
My book signing is next Friday, December 14, 2012 at Black & Nobel located at Broad and Erie. It will start at 4pm and end at 7pm. Come out and support. I'll be taking pictures of my readers also!
That's that ish I don't like
I am naturally the kind of person that likes to help others whether if it's giving directions to someone who is lost, extending a kind word to lift someone's spirits, coming on the run when family needs me, etc. I've been getting requests from people wanting me to help them write a book and I am all for that. I love being able to point hopeful writers in the right directions and help them tap into their creativity so they can put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). I've even been contacted to help with a possible local movie script for an up and coming director. However, what I don't like is people contacting me and wanting me to write the book for them and they reap the rewards. Who does that? Anything that I write will have my name attached to it and I will hold all rights. There is no room for negotiation. The last person who contacted me actually had the nerve to say "I think you have talent outside of that Thug shit you wrote..." #PAUSE. Wait, this person wants me to collaborate with them but insults my work? That Thug Shit?? So I asked, "Did you read it?" They said "no". I said "okay...did you at least read the synopsis?" They said "no". I asked, "Do you have any idea what the book is about or all you just going off of the title and automatically assuming that it is the typical hood story about Thug Willy, Pooky and Black standing on the corner, pushing dope, smoking dope, killing their rivals while fucking a few bitches in between?" They had no response. I'm not expecting everyone to like my book. That would be unrealistic. But if my work or talent is going to be slandered, at least take the time out to READ it before you call it "Thug Shit". So yeah, they can toss the idea of us ever collaborating together out of the window. So for future reference, before you come for me, make sure you read the book. And then when you read the book and still feel a need to come for me, make sure you come correct. I can humbly pick a person apart...with a smile. :-)
Speaking of which. I recently received a review for my book on amazon. I'm surprised that Amazon posted it because I've been having trouble with my reviews being deleted. But this is what the young lady Tierra had to say:
OMG!!! I purchased this book last month for my everyday 5hr commute to and from work and I must say this book is a serious mouth opener!!!! I freaking loved it from cover to cover! Towards the end I found myself almost in tears on the train! The characters were so easy to relate to! I'm desperately waiting for a sequel!!! This is definitely a must read!!! Go cop up people!!!! Yani you did great!!!!
When she texted me last night, I could feel how much she enjoyed my book just by how her text messages came through. That is why I write. I love entertaining my readers and pulling them in so deeply that they fall in love with the characters, and become enthralled with the story. Thanks so much Tierra!
Okay this was a very long blog post. LOL! Sorry guys! I just had so much to say. But real quick before I go; I have been working dilligently on the sequel A Thug's Redemption 2" and I must say, I amaze myself. This story is more ruthless than the first and all bets are off. I don't want to release it too soon because I want the first one to marinate and leave a lasting impression. But I am having so much fun writing it. Okay, that's all for now. Thanks for reading! PEACE!!Read More
Hello Readers! I know many of you are wondering when I am going to start doing Feature Friday again. I will start again very soon, I've just been a bit busy with promoting my book, spreading the word about my book and scheduling book signings. I miss doing the interviews and talking with people about their work. It's fun for me so I will be doing it again soon. Stay Tuned!!
I am so excited to be doing my very first book signing which will be tomorrow at The Marie Dendy Recreation Center in the North Philly section of the city. It is located at 1oth & Oxford streets and is an event that was created by an old childhood classmate of mine, Janelle Wright who was kind enough to invite me out to do the book signing. I'll have my camera with me and would love to take pictures with my current readers as well as my new readers. Though the event starts at 10am and is until 3pm, I will not be arriving until 12:30pm as I have class that morning. For those of you who ordered my book and would like for me to sign it, stop by and I will be happy to autograph it for you. And for readers who have not gotten the book yet, stop by and get your copy tomorrow.
For the most part, I have been pushing the Kindle version of my book as well as the other ebook formats, with the way technology has advanced over the last few years. I know for some, it is more convenient to read an ebook on their iphone, ipad, Android phone or tablet, Macbook or Laptop. I also am aware of people who are still like me and enjoy the feel of a book in their hands and would rather have the page turning experience verses the electronic one. You have not been forgotten about. A Thug's Redemption will be in Black & Nobel on Broad & Erie Avenues as well as Horizon Book Store in the Gallery Market East. You can also order directly through me using the paypal option on the purchase page to my website (shipping is free through that option). And if you would like the copy you order to be autograph, just send me a message through the contact form with what you would like me to say, and it will be done.
Most of you know I am working on sooo much right now. I've designed this website, I've been promoting my book on social networks, doing interviews and working on getting the word out about my book. I am also currently writing two other books at the same time and (dramatic pause) I'm working on launching my own PR business. I've had some very...strange experiences dealing with PR companies and I don't quite feel as though my needs were met. As the saying goes, when you want something done right you must do it yourself. So far it has been very fun speaking with people from different African American Magazines and newspapers such as Birmingham Times and Atlanta Voice and other places across the country and mostly all of the responses have been positive. Though there is a lot of hard work involved, I'm truly enjoying this experience and I'm very thankful to all of those who has been supporting me from when A Thug's Redemption was just a handwritten juvenile fantasy all the way up to now. PEACE!Read More
How cool is it that Yo! Raps Magazine decided to do an article on my debut novel "A Thug's Redemption"? Super freaking cool! I remember seeing Yo! Raps Magazines and seeing pictures of hip-hop artists being taped to my sister's wall when I was a kid. I would quickly read through some of the articles while standing in line with mom in the old Shop-N-Bag on Girard Avenue as a kid while I waited for her to finish paying for our groceries. I never imagined in a million years that one day an article about me would be done by them. Just to get a preview of what the article said about me, here are a few snippets.
"Aspiring up-n-coming novelist Yani presents her newly released street drama "A Thug's Redemption" via Anitbeet Productions.
"A Thug's Redemption" is about a young Black male named Jamal who decides to take matters into his own hands by avenging his best friend's murder. He is forced into the street life, forever in debt to his cousin Samir, one of Philadelphia's biggest drug lords..."
"The book was inspired by a friend of Yani who was killed at the age of 14 in the streets of Philadelphia. The story doesn't glorify drugs, sex, and the violence that has plagued inner city Philly. It tells the story of the protagonist Jamal, a young man who was just caught up in the streets behind a poor decision that he made and he was trying hard to make amends with his past..."
To read the full article, you can Read More here. Feel free to leave a comment, tweet about it or share it on Facebook to spread the word about my growing success!
This month I will be making appearances for my book as well as giving away free autographed copies of my books. I'm having so much fun fulfilling my dream and this is only the beginning. Trust me, it gets greater later. Thanks for stopping by! PEACE!!
I was going through my emails when I came across this message from one of my readers. I'm not sure if I'm more moved because she said she was a fan (head rush...OMG I have fans!) or if it's because one of the scenes that made her heart race is one that still makes my heart race as well (as if I didn't write the book LOL). You know you have talent when you can look back on your work and read it as if you didn't write it.
I read your book a Thug's Redemption and it brought me back to when I was in high school- Benjamin Franklin Electron C/o '97- growing up in North Philly and hanging with my friends. It was so funny and made me think of me and my girlfriends when we were teenagers. But the part that let me know it was about to get real was the scenes when everything came out about the gun with Shawn, Jamal and Samir. My eyes were glued to the pages and I swear I held my breath when the secrets started coming out! I think you're very talented and I wish you a lot of success as a black woman and author. Your site and blog is great. Philly Support Philly!
Thanks so much Aisha, it means a lot to me when I hear from my readers and I'm told how much they enjoy my work. For those who have not purchased the book yet, here are the scenes that Aisha was talking about:
Check out an Excerpt from my debut novel "A Thug's Redemption"
Shawn was sitting in his room still pondering his situation. He knew if he did the favor, he would risk losing Chanda and could possibly go to jail. He also knew that if he didn’t do it, he could go to jail for murder or Samir was destined to do something stupid. He tossed his ball in the air trying to find a reasonable solution.
Jamal came in his doorway and looked down at him. “What’s wrong?” he asked Shawn.
“Nothing,” Shawn said flatly.
“I know that look. I see through your little ass like glass nigga. You’re worried about that gun situation, aren’t you?”
“Yeah man, this is some bullshit,” Shawn replied as he tossed his ball in the air repeatedly.
“Look, it’s only for a couple weeks. Once it’s over, we go off to college and move on with our lives,” Jamal told his younger brother.
“You really think Samir is just going to let this shit be over and done with? Now the cops are trying to muscle Samir and get more out of the deal by bringing in shit for the Columbians. This shit ain’t gonna stop after one shipment and you know it. They’re not going to let us slide. They’re going to keep hanging this over our heads so they can get us to do what they want us to do for them. This shit ain’t about helping us. This shit is about helping them and getting more paper,” Shawn shook his head and threw his ball at the wall angrily.
Jamal thought about what Shawn said. He knew his younger brother was right because it was a thought that crossed his mind quite a few times since this all hit the fan. He was beginning to understand what Samir’s motives were and how he damned himself the minute he asked for help with carrying out the hit on Khalil. Samir wanted him to be his soldier, not a part-time help. He wanted Jamal sucked into the game simply because Jamal was so ruthless when it came to certain matters. Jamal was trying to humble himself and move past all of that. Unfortunately, Samir wasn’t trying to let him go.
The damage that he had done by killing Khalil was becoming clear. Family or not, Samir was never going to let him go and that murder was his leverage to control him. The only problem was, now his brother was paying for his need for revenge though he had nothing to do with the situation. Anger took over him quickly.
“You know what? Fuck this shit. I lived that street life, not you. And I’m not about to let Samir keep thinking that he can control me behind some shit that happened three years ago, trying to make it seem like I owe him because I don’t owe him shit. When I talk to him, I’ma let him know to leave you out of this. I don’t want you or nobody else to pay for what I did. I pulled the trigger, not you. And if it comes down to it, I’ll take the fall. Don’t worry about it. I got this.”
“Alright,” Shawn replied, not really knowing what else to say.
Jamal left and went straight to Samir’s house. He knocked on his door and waited patiently for an answer knowing that he was home because it was collection day.
Samir opened his door and peaked out. “What’s up, Jamal? I ain’t know you were coming by.” He opened the door wider so Jamal could come in.
“I’m not going to stay long because I have a lot of stuff to do at home. I just wanted to say that y’all need to leave Shawn out of this, for real. He didn’t have nothing to do with Khalil getting killed, that was all me. Just leave him out of this and let me do this like I always do. He’s trying to go to college, just let him chill.”
“What the fuck does that have to do with me? Now I know that your little brother is trying to do his thing with his basketball and everything. But that shit he pulled taking that gun just brought on more problems than I was trying to have to fucking deal with. I got fucking heat on me now ‘Mal! The muthafucking pigs is looking for a reason to pinch me and because of that shit I got to do business with these spick ass Columbians, bring their shit in on my turf and on top of that shit, divvy out more of a cut to keep muthafuckas quiet. Shawn doesn’t know what fucking trouble he’s causing right now behind that shit he pulled last year. So I don’t give a fuck what he’s trying to do. He can either man up on this shit or…” Samir trailed off.
“Or what?” Jamal asked, having an idea of what Samir was thinking.
“Let me just say if y’all had been any other niggas on the street, I would’ve saved myself the aggravation and killed both of y’all,” Samir said with a straight face.
Jamal looked at Samir as if he were crazy. “You’re really going to come out of your mouth and say some shit like that? We’re supposed to be family.”
“Fuck that family shit, Jamal. This is business. Everybody is expendable.”
Jamal became furious. “It’s the fuck like that? How about we do the shit like this? I’ma turn myself in and tell the cops I killed Khalil, fuck it. And when they ask how, I’m telling everything. Fuck that family shit you say? Since it’s fuck me nigga, now it’s fuck you, too.”
Samir snatched Jamal up by his neck and pushed him into the wall. They struggled with each other in a grip pushing back and forth until Samir managed to pin Jamal down on his dining room table. “You're a snitch now, nigga? Huh?! Is that what the fuck you just said, pussy? IS IT!?” He pulled a gun out and turned Jamal over so he could face him and pushed the gun into his face. “I’ll blow your muthafucking scalp off right here, nigga! After everything I did for you, you’re whipping your dick out and telling me to suck it by trying to snitch?”
Jamal looked Samir dead in the eye and said calmly. “I ain’t scared of you, Sa. You’re just another motherfucker off the street.”
Samir cocked his gun. “You ain’t scared nigga? Yeah, just like your fucking pop. That nigga was fearless, too. Ready to ride at the drop of a hat and had niggas shook around here. But unlike you, the nigga was reckless and sloppy until I shut his shit down.”
Jamal looked at Samir wide eyed making sure he understood what Samir had just said to him. He just admitted to killing his father. A man he vaguely remembered. A man that he thought had just upped and left his mother struggling to take care of him and his brother. The room swam as Jamal tried to process what Samir just said.
“That’s right. I got him the fuck out of here so what makes you think I won’t get you and Shawn the fuck out of here too? Y’all niggas ain’t shit to me,” Samir said in a low and threatening tone. Jamal trembled with anger. “Now dig this shit and dig it good, muthafucka. I cleaned up after your punk ass too many times for you to come in my face talking about some snitching shit. Talking about that shit alone is enough to body your bitch ass right now. I’ma leave Shawn out of this. But you nigga, I own your muthafucking ass like I’m your daddy, nigga. I’ma even be nice and let you wait until the end of the school year. Because the more I clean up after you, the more your bitch-ass is going to owe me.” He took the gun away from Jamal’s head and smacked Jamal on the cheek slightly as he smiled. “So we’re cool now? We have an understanding?”
Jamal looked at Samir angrily. “Yeah.”
“Good,” Samir said as he put his gun away. Jamal started walking to the door. “You know, Tamera is too gorgeous to be caught up in something like this. It would be a shame for something to happen to her. After all, danger isn’t for pretty little girls.” He looked at Jamal with a sly grin on his face when he turned to face him. “I’m just saying.”
“You better leave her the fuck out of this. You got a problem with me. Leave the shit with me.” Jamal said through clenched teeth. He swore if he was carrying he would have blown Samir away right then and there.
Samir smiled but then his expression became very serious. “You heard what the fuck I said. If you even try some slick snitching shit, I’ma kill you, Shawn and your fucking wifey.”
They stared daggers at each other for a moment and then Jamal left. He was beginning to think that he had just made matters a lot worse.
Maurice stopped off at Shawn and Jamal’s house to hang out so he didn’t have to be at home when his mother returned.
“Hi Maurice,” Ms. Keyona said when she opened the door for him. “Are you here for Jamal?”
“Yeah, how are you, Ms. Keyona?” Maurice spoke.
“I’m hanging in there. Jamal’s not here. Do you want to see Shawn instead?”
“Yeah, that’s cool,” Maurice replied.
“He’s upstairs. He hasn’t come down almost all day. I don’t know what’s wrong with that boy. I don’t know where Jamal is either. He shot outta here like a bat outta hell earlier without saying one word to me. I swear these boys think they can just come and go as they please and don’t say a word to me. They swear they can handle their problems on their own. That’s why their asses stay in so much trouble. Come on in.”
Maurice came into the house and stood in the living room. Ms. Keyona went to the stairs and called up to Shawn. “Maurice is down here to see you!” She went into the kitchen to finish cooking her dinner. “So how’s school coming along, Maurice?”
“It’s alright.” Maurice replied.
“Have you started applying to colleges yet?”
“Not yet. I’m still looking for one that has my name on it,” he told her.
Shawn came downstairs and gave Maurice a handshake. “What’s up, Mar?” he then whispered. “Is my mom in there?”
“Yeah,” Maurice replied. Shawn motioned for him to come up to his room.
“Shawn, do you know where Jamal went?” Ms. Keyona asked as she came out of the kitchen.
Shawn hesitated. “No, he just said he would be right back. He probably ran to the store or went to see Tamera real quick.” He looked at Maurice and they made a grand exit up to his bedroom. Shawn closed the door behind them once they were inside.
“What’s up with you?” Maurice asked as he sat in the chair at his desk.
Shawn leaned into the wall and told Maurice the entire story about the gun, Samir and the cops that he had on the take and the kind of trouble they were in. “Now Jamal is at Samir’s house trying to see if he can get us out of this shit.”
“Y’all stay in more shit than a little bit. I thought you just told your mom you ain’t know where Jamal was?” Maurice replied.
“If I would’ve told her he was with Samir, she would’ve started bitching and I don’t feel like hearing her shit.”
“I feel you. That’s why I left my house.” They heard the door close downstairs and listened. Jamal exchanged a few brief words with his mother and then came upstairs. He knocked on Shawn’s door and then came in.
“What’s up, Maurice?” Jamal spoke. Maurice nodded his head at him and Jamal closed the door.
“What did he say?” Shawn asked.
Jamal was quiet before he said anything. He was still trying to get over the shock of finding out that his cousin, whom he had trusted all of these years, had murdered his father. “I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. And I got some shit that you won’t fucking believe. What I say in this room doesn’t leave this fucking room.” He looked at Maurice and Shawn both so they could see how serious he was. “Shawn, you don’t have anything to worry about. I got this. But that nigga put a gun to my head and told me he doesn’t give a fuck if we’re family or not. He straight said he would kill me, you, -and get this- Tamera, all because I told him I would take the fall for Khalil’s murder, rather than see you go to jail for some shit you didn’t do, or have him keep thinking he can jerk me the fuck around like he’s been doing these last three years.”
Shawn’s mouth was partially open in disbelief. Maurice shook his head. “That’s some fucked up shit yo,” Maurice commented.
“Yeah, he’s on our ass now. So it’s two things we gotta do: stay outta the way and get you and Tamera the fuck outta here after graduation. Or our asses are gonna be dead before we see college.”
Shawn buried his face in his hands. “This shit ain’t cool, man.”
Jamal looked at his brother for a moment debating on whether or not he should tell Shawn that their father was murdered by Samir. He cleared his throat. “Shawn, it’s something else.”
Shawn looked up at his brother. “Does it get any worse than this?”
Jamal looked at his brother as his eyes watered. He shook his head and then blinked his tears away. “Samir killed our father…”
The silence in the room was loud and painful as Shawn and Maurice looked at Jamal in disbelief. Neither could believe the words that came out of his mouth.
“How do you know? What the fuck do you mean Samir killed our father? That nigga told you that shit!?” Shawn said loud and angrily.
“Shawn, calm down. I don’t know the details. But when he put that gun to my head, he basically told me it wouldn’t faze him if he killed us just like it didn’t faze him when he killed our dad.” Jamal shook his head.
“You can’t be fucking serious, Jamal. Y’all cousin killed your fucking dad? Does your mom know?” Maurice asked.
“That’s a good question,” Jamal replied as he thought about how much their mother hated Samir. It was beginning to become clear.
“We need to go fucking ask her then,” Shawn said as he moved towards the door.
Jamal stopped him, “No. Let me talk to her first. Something is going on with this family. It’s a bunch of secrets and shit going on that’s about to hit the fan and blow around. If Mommy knew all this time that Daddy got killed and Samir did it but she didn’t say anything…” Jamal trailed off unable to finish his thought. Too much was going on in his mind. “I’ma talk to her Shawn, alright? But you need to calm down and chill.”
Shawn was fuming but he took heed to his brother’s warning.
Later that night after Maurice went home and Shawn had gone to bed, Jamal knocked on his mother’s door.
“Yes?” she answered, sounding tired.
“Mom, I need to talk to you,” Jamal replied through the door.
“Come on in Jamal,” Ms. Keyona told him.
Jamal opened the door and came into her room. He closed the door behind him and then leaned onto her dresser. He stared at her for a long time.
“What’s wrong, honey?” Ms. Keyona asked him. She could tell that something was deeply troubling her son.
“Tell me about my father?” Jamal asked in a low flat tone.
Ms. Keyona looked him in his face and then looked away. “What do you want to know?”
“Just tell me about him. I want to know who he is. I want to know his name. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find him,” Jamal studied her facial expressions to see how she would react.
“There’s nothing to tell. His name was Andre Williams. When Shawn was about two years old, he left and never came back.”
Jamal stared at her quietly before he said anything. “You know what? It’s a damn shame that I’m 18 years old, Shawn is 17 and you still won’t tell us the truth. You still won’t tell us the whole story about our father.”
“Watch your mouth!” Ms. Keyona replied.
“Where’s my father?” Jamal asked again.
“I don’t know,” Ms. Keyona replied.
“You don’t know?” Jamal took a couple steps towards her. “Tell me why you never liked Samir, mom?”
“I never said I don’t like Samir. I just know what he’s into and I don’t want him in my house,” Ms. Keyona answered. She was becoming nervous.
“Mom, all these years you let me and Shawn believe our father left you. You let us believe that our dad was this no good bum who walked out and didn’t give a fuck about us. But you knew all along that he was dead.” Jamal’s voice cracked as he continued to talk. “You knew Samir killed my father and you never said anything.”
Ms. Keyona looked at her son wide eyed. “Who told you that, Jamal?”
“How come you never said anything, mom?” Jamal asked. The pain could be heard in his voice.
Ms. Keyona put her hands to her face and started sobbing. “Jamal, I couldn’t say anything,” she sobbed unable to say another word.
“Mom, what happened to my father?” Jamal asked again.
Ms. Keyona wiped her face. She waited a moment before she began speaking. “Your father was out there in the streets hustling. He worked for a man named Smitty but he was like his right hand man. I never really nagged him about his business because he told me from the door that as long as I took care of home, he would take care of us. So I stayed in my place and played my part as you kids would say today. He was respected because he didn’t take any shit. Just like you, Jamal. I swear, the two of you are so much alike, it frightens me.” Ms. Keyona cleared her throat and continued.
“Samir was trying to come up in the streets under Smitty’s rival, Kristoff. Out of no-where, Smitty got locked up one night so your father started taking care of business for him. There was a rumor that someone snitched and that was how Smitty got knocked. A lot of people said Samir snitched to the cops to take the heat off of him and Kristoff. Out of no-where, Smitty was killed in his cell. Knifed in his sleep if I remember correctly. I think they figured if he was dead, that would give them the opportunity to take his territory. But your father maintained things. Samir wanted your father to work for him and Kristoff. Your father turned him down and things got heated. There was supposed to be a truce. One night, Samir came by the house. I remember I had just put Shawn to bed and you were sleep. You were about 4 and Shawn had just turned 3. I remember they were getting loud and normally I would stay upstairs when he was conducting business but I never trusted Samir and had a feeling he was going to do something dirty. I never would’ve thought that he would kill your father, I mean at the time he was only sixteen at best.
“I heard your father say something that alarmed me and I came downstairs. I saw Samir pull the gun. I screamed out something and before I knew it, he shot your father in the chest. He killed your father right in front of me. Kristoff was there too. They told me if I wanted to see both you and Shawn grow up, I’d better keep my mouth closed about what I saw.” Ms. Keyona became silent for a moment. “And so I did.”
“Your father was everything to me. And Jamal I swear you are the splitting image of that man. Seeing you in the streets like this scares the hell out of me because I don’t want the same thing that happened to your father to happen to you. I hate Samir for what he did. God knows I do. And I wish something could have been done but he has too many cops in this city at his back.”
Jamal looked at his mother with mixed emotions. A part of him was angry that she had kept that kind of secret from him and his brother. Another part of him was furious that all of this time Samir had been playing him, using him. The man he trusted and admired for so long was really a back stabbing fraud that murdered his father right in front of his mother and had her living in fear and living a lie for so long.
Jamal walked over to his mother and gave her a hug without saying anything. He kissed her on her forehead and said, “Everything will be fine, mom. Don’t worry.” He went back to his bedroom and sat down. He didn’t want to do anything rash that would cause his brother and girlfriend to be killed. But one thing was for certain and two things were for sure, Samir was going to pay for what he put his family through.
For purchasing options, visit www.anitbeetproductions.net/purchase.html Thanks for stopping by! Peace!Read More