Urban literature tagged posts
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
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
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
I'm so excited to have done my first interview about my novel "A Thug's Redemption" with Joey Pinkney! This entire process of producing and promoting my book has been such a fun and fulfilling journey and experience. But to see an article written about me and my work and even more rewarding! The questions that Joey asked me were great and I felt it gave people the opportunity to get to know "Yani" a little bit more, as well as inform people about my novel, A Thug's Redemption, as well as make readers aware that I am here. Here is a little sample of the interview, 5 minutes, 5 questions.
JP: What sets “A Thug’s Redemption” apart from other books in the same genre?
YA: “A Thug’s Redemption” doesn’t glorify drugs, sex and the violence that has plagued inner city Philadelphia. This is a young man who was caught up in the streets behind a poor decision that he made and he was trying hard to make amends with his past. (read more)
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “A Thug’s Redemption” getting out to the public?
YA: I believe the keys to my success would be for me to make myself more socially available. I’m so used to being closed off and staying to myself. In order for people to know about “Yani”, I need to mix with the people more by promoting, advertising and blogging. (read more)
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish “A Thug’s Redemption”?
YA: I get flashes. That may sound weird to people. I could be sitting somewhere like on a train or at work and all of a sudden, I’ll see something happen in my “creative mind”. I start writing from there. (read more)
JP: What’s next for Yani?
YA: More writing. I’m constantly writing every day. I have seven more novels in my head now that I am trying to get into print. I’m writing 2 books at the same time: “A Thug’s Redemption 2: Jamal’s Return” and “Obsessive Intimacies”. (read more)
To read the full article by Joey Pinkney, Click Here!
If you enjoy reading or if you are an author looking a little exposure, I strongly recommend Joey Pinkney. He is professional, courtesy and a delight to work with. You can also follow him on Twitter as well. I want to thank Joey for the wonderful article. And I want to thank all of my readers for their continued support throughout my journey! Thanks for reading! PEACE!!Read More
Today is a super awesome day for me because I received my first review on Amazon.com!! I've made many sales on Kindle and sold out my first 50 copies of A Thug's Redemption within 48 hours of releasing it earlier this month. I honestly was not expecting such a turn around. I know I had supporters, but I had no idea they would have my back so heavily. I thank each and everyone of them for their support. What sucks is, those who purchased on Kindle, I cannot see who they are so that I can thank them individually. To some, it may not be a big deal, but with me, I would like to have contact with my supporters to let them know "I see you, and you are appreciated." I have had the fortune to have some of my readers send me photos of the book once they received it. And those photos I posted on my Fan Page on Facebook. Anyone who wishes to send me photos of themselves with my book, please feel free to either tag me on my Facebook page or you can email them to me at email@example.com and I will put them up promptly.When I first began selling my novel, I asked for people to leave feedback. But after talking with my dear friend "Kytten", she advised me not to do so; that it would be better if people did it on their own so that the feedback is genuine and seems real. What Candice wrote for my books' Review was genuine and overwhelmed me. I remember how the book Be More Careful snatched me from the very first page, and to be compared to that sort of attention grabbing experience is remarkable. So to Candice, I thank you!People have been asking me when will I be doing book signings. Soon very soon! Since I am self-published, I am pretty much a one woman army, sending out press releases, marketing my book to make sure it is available to as many outlets as possible; not to mention I am a full-time student and a full-time single mom. But I promise my readers and supporters that I will be having a book signing very soon. Once I have booked my first one, I will post about it on My Twitter as well as on Facebook. That's all for now folks! PEACE!!!Read More
I will never forget the day that Tupac was pronounced dead. It was a Friday, Friday the 13th to be exact. I was 12 years old and laying across my mother's bed with my oldest sister Sharmon, and my mother. We were playing "2500". I remember the 11 o clock news came on on Channel 6 and the "Big Story" was Tupac had passed away from gun shot wounds he suffered a week prior. I remember my heart sank into my stomach. The silence in my mother's bedroom after that announcement was deafening. Though I was not allowed to listen to a lot of his music because of the excessive use of profanity, his song "Dear Mama" & "Keep your head up" not only was one of my favorites, but my mother loved those songs, too. I remember she said, "Wow, that's the guy from the movie with Janet Jackson!" Yes, the critically acclaimed multi talented actor and rapper was gone. Who would have known the effects his death would have on hip-hop? I saw Juice when I was a really young kid but man, Tupac played the hell out of the role of "Bishop". And his role as "Lucky" in "Poetic Justice" was breath taking. You cannot deny the man had skills on the big screen when even Siskel & Ebert were giving him his props. In my honest opinion, his death along with the death of The Notorious B.I.G left a void in the hip-hop industry that has not quite been filled. Yes, Jay-Z is great. Sure, Eminem is awesome. But there was something charismatic about Tupac. He wasn't just a rapper. He had a commanding presence and had the heart to speak on some of the very problems we are still battling today.
First ship em dope let em deal to brothers
Give em guns step back watch em kill each others
It's time to fight back that's what Huey said
Two shots in the dark now Huey's Dead
Some people will argue that Tupac was an uncouth thug who only spoke of violence and degraded women. Yet some of those same people ride through the neighborhoods blasting the lyrics of new rappers who are either sampling beats & choruses from artists who came before them or incorporating lyrics from Tupac and other rappers from the 90s in their songs today. These little young thundercats may think what they're hearing is new. But it really isn't. I remember his song "You wonder why they call you B----". Pay attention to the lyrics. He's not calling all women b----es. He's speaking on women who go through great lengths to trap a man in hopes to gaining a big pay day. Women who have no standards- if the money is there, they do not care. If a zebra has stripes don't call it a cheetah. LOL! But he didn't just shine the light on those kinds of women. He paid homage to the everyday BLACK WOMAN who is the back bone and ultimate mother of our communities in "Keep Your Head Up".
And since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman and our game from a woman,
I wonder why we take from our women, why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it's time to kill for our women, time to heal our women, be real to our women
...And since a man can't make one (baby) He has no right to tell a woman
When and where to create one.
So will the real men get up?
I know you're fed up, ladies. But keep your head up...
You cannot deny that Hip-Hop would be a lot better if Tupac and Biggie had lived longer. Greatness was sure to come from both of them. So from myself as well as from every other fan who appreciates what Tupac brought to the industry poetically, through his music as well as on the big screen, Philly pays homage to one of the best to ever do it. RIP Tupac- my Gemini brother! And on that note, I'd like to leave my readers with his poem "Tomorrow"
Today is filled with anger
fueled with hidden hate
scared of being outcast
afraid of common fate
Today is built on tragedies
which no one wants 2 face
nightmares 2 humanities
and morally disgraced
Tonight is filled with rage
violence in the air
children bred with ruthlessness
because no one at home cares
Tonight I lay my head down
but the pressure never stops
gnawing at my sanity
content when I am dropped
But 2morrow I c change
a chance 2 build a new
Built on spirit intent of Heart
based on truth
and tomorrow I wake with second wind
and strong because of pride
2 know I fought with all my heart 2 keep my
Oh My GOD!!! After 20 grueling hours, this blog is finallly finished! The madness that I went through with part of the design, the coding, re-coding, adjusting and readjusting, widget placements and widget cuts...MANNNNNNNN!!! When I tell y'all I need a drink, I'm not bull------- you LOL! Thankfully it is for the most part complete, with just a few more touch ups needed. I'm just happy to have finally been able to launch this blog. WELCOME READERS!!! PHILLY STAND UP!!! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Yani, and I will be the admin of this blog. In this media playground (as I like to call it), you will find all kinds of updates on what's happening in Philly, whether it's in regards to Hip-Hop and R&B, up and coming writers from Philly, fashion designers, models, actors, dancers, scholars athletes, etc! I want people to know about it. Everyday, there is something tragic on the news about Philly. I want people to understand that there are still good things happening in this city, and those Good Things should not be overshadowed by the ugly evils that occur.I told one of my Twitter followers that as I climb my way to the top, I am bringing anyone along who was willing to climb with me. That's what I intend to do through my blog. I know how strong my desire was to not only become a published writer, but to be able to SELF PUBLISH my work. To me, that is the greatest achievement I could have made outside of becoming a mother. It is something that I've wanted since I was 15 years old. At 15 years old, I aspired to be the next Nikki Giovanni. Unfortunately today, girls at that age are aspiring to be the next Nicki Minaj. (To each their own *Yani Shrug*) Anyone who told me I would not become published and I should look into doing something else got the same response from me then that my doubters get from me now: Before I let you make a lie out of me, I'll make a believer out of you. And here I am. Do you believe me now? (smiles) I know that there are others here in Philly just like me who can't think of anything else in this world except for how strongly they want to do something. How badly they want to get up on a stage and sing, how badly they want people to hear and relate to their lyrics and rhymes, or to be able to transform on a runway or movie set. I used to say to my mom and my friends when I was a teenager, "The moment that would make me feel on top of the world is to see someone at the bus stop or on a train reading my book." It may sound silly to some, but to me, that is a joyous moment that cannot be stolen by anyone.My fingers have developed a mind of their own, I'm so happy to have this blog up LOL! Let me close this entry out by saying, this blog is here for anyone from Philly who wants to showcase their work. If you are a rapper, singer, artist, athlete, graphic designer, fashion designer, model or a person in the community trying to make a difference by educating and uplifting our younger generation and want another platform to broadcast your talents, efforts, and hard work, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You must include: Your Name What Part of Philly you're fromEmail AddressA brief introductionIf you are sending music, just send your file(files) as an mp3 or WAV file. If you have a video, please make sure it is no more than 3 minutes and if you are sending photos, no more than 5 images please and thank you! All are welcome to particpate. And on that note, I'm out! PEACE!! :-)Read More