Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Intimate Conversation with author Tash Hawthorne

Intimate Conversation with author Tash Hawthorne

Tash Hawthorne comes out strong and does her thing with her freshman novel... Showing that Karma is definitely a mutha!  --  J.M. Benjamin, Essence Bestselling author of Ride or Die Chick and On The Run With Love

Tash Hawthorne, born in  Summit,  NJ and raised in the Valley section of  Orange,  NJ,  cannot be viewed as the typical Jersey Girl. For the first 18 years of her life, Tash had the rare privilege of being raised by three generations of strong Black women; all who lived under the same roof. Having received such ingredients like fearlessness from her mother, compassion from her grandmother, and resilience from her great grandmother, Tash grew to be a product of her environment. One of pure love and unadulterated passion for the human condition. 

As a child, Tash dreamed of becoming an Olympic gold-medalist in track & field and an Alvin Ailey dancer, but her hopes to run and dance were soon deferred due to medical reasons. Writing evolved from that of her mother. Tash showed early signs of her gift of script at the age of 9; winning second place in a state-wide essay contest for students in grades 4-6. At age 14, she placed first in another essay contest which consisted of 1300 junior high school candidates along the East Coast.
Despite her early accolades, Tash did not seriously begin writing until the age of 17, three months after the untimely passing of her best friend. Writing became a therapeutic way to escape the unpleasant realities of her surroundings. And it was in that time of salutary that her first screenplay, "The Jaded Edge" was born.

After graduating from high school, Tash went on to attend the first college of her choice,  Hampton University, where she furthered her love for the arts, pursuing a degree in theatre. She would soon be faced with another tragedy. Just seven days into her studies at the university, Tash received a phone call from her mother stating that her great-grandmother had unexpectedly passed away. Tash's entire academic world came to a standstill. The woman she used to secretly meet in the middle of the night to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with had been taken away from her. It would take Tash the rest of her tenure at Hampton  to fully recover from the sudden loss. 

Having regrouped and accepted God's will, Tash turned her focus back to her studies. With the help of some of her professors and staff at Hampton, she went from being on academic probation to graduating on time with Honors. During her term, she was able to write a second screenplay entitled "Nu JeruSlum" and a stage play entitled "Mourning Glory."  After returning home to Orange, Tash began to write a third screenplay entitled "Karma." Throughout that year, she experienced unsettling thoughts about the format of the piece. It was not until a year later when she decided to turn it into a novel. “Karma,” like all of Tash's works, encompasses the reality of life as she sees it and knows it.

Ella: Tash, you've had a full life for one so young! Please tell us about your passion for writing. (A)  My passion for writing stems from life experiences (mine and others) and my love for the arts. I write because I believe the genre of urban literature is missing something…and that something is substance. My goal is to give readers an alternate view of the urban world. This goal is what drives me. 

Ella: What legacy do you want your writing to leave future readers?(A)  My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…a legacy of integrity. When I say that, I mean to say that I stood my ground in telling my characters’ stories. It was important to always tell the truth…their truths.

Ella: Introduce us to your new book, Karma with a Vengeance. (ISBN-10: 0981854508)
(A)  There is a time in a young woman’s life where the choices she makes will determine the outcome of her existence in the years (of uncertainty) to come. Those choices will lead to mistakes. The mistakes will lead to hard times. The hard times will lead to answers, searched for by that lost soul. In the urban setting of   Newark,  NJ, we accompany Karma Alonso-Walker, who, on this journey, gains support from an unwanted, unlikely source through life's greatest troubles.

At the age of 17, Karma becomes caught in the middle of her parents' deteriorating marriage. Due to the unexpected appearance of her father's one night-stand at the family's church on Easter Sunday, Karma's perception of men changes for the worst. With an opportunity to join the US Women's Track and Field team for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia, Karma is driven to achieve her dream of winning Olympic gold. But to her dismay, her mother is stricken with Ovarian Cancer. Karma is forced to choose between running professionally at her mother's request or running home to be at her mother's side.

Ten years later, we follow Karma to her mother's home on her fifty-second birthday. Her parents have separated and found comfort in new partners. All the while, unbeknownst to Karma, her mother's boyfriend has made himself a permanent fixture in their life. While trying to protect her mother from her abusive lover, Karma finds herself distracted by the presence of her cousin's new police partner. As distraction and attraction become intertwined, Karma loses focus of her mother's safety. And on the very same celebratory day of her birth, Karma is forced to mourn her mother's death.

Driven by hatred and fury, Karma sets out to find her mother's boyfriend and avenge her death. Having severed her ties with God, been dismissed by her family and the Newark Police Department, Karma becomes a menace to society--and to herself.  This timeless chronicle about a young woman's unyielding loyalty to her mother will open your eyes to the way life can be, even when the glass looks half empty. As Karma’s life spirals out of control, her exploration leads her to self-preservation and true happiness…or does it?

Ella: Who are your two main characters? And what do you like most about them?(A)  My two main characters are Karma Alonso-Walker and Money  Parks. What I like most about Karma is that she is a strong, independent woman who can adapt to any environment. I also admire Karma’s ability to be dependent on someone else when her burdens are too much for her to bear. What I like most about Money is that although he makes many mistakes (terrible ones at that) his intentions are good. 

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?(A)  I want readers to know that there are successful people of color in the inner city. Every woman is not materialistic or abusing the system or bedding multiple men for financial gain. Every man is not a drug dealer or a gangster or a male gigolo. For the most part, people are living their lives trying to do the right thing.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?(A)  I would advise a new writer to not write pieces for the sole purpose of sales or what he/she thinks other people would want to read. I would encourage the writer to write what he/she feels people NEED to know. It is imperative to ALWAYS tell the truth. 

Ella: Name three things that it takes to make a successful author in your opinion. (A)  A writer must have discipline. For instance, they must have the strength of mind and will to be able to shut the world out so they can immerse themselves in their work.

A writer must be able to deal with adversity.  They must have tough skin and be able to take criticism, be it constructive or destructive.  They must have an open mind and be flexible in their approach to the art and craft of writing. 

A writer must be a consummate student. A successful author reads works written by other authors, not only for pleasure, but also to learn new ways to invent and deliver their own stories.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?(A)  You can expect the sequel to Karma: With A Vengeance (wink). Seriously, you can expect a continuation of my works in film and theatre in the future. I believe writers should be multi-dimensional. They should never cripple themselves by writing in only one facet of scribe.

Ella: How may our readers connect with you online?E-Mail Addresses:  or
Web Links:   or

Karma with a Vengeance  by  Tash Hawthorne
Genre: Urban Fiction, Women, African-American, Cuban-American

Purchase the book from Wahida Clark Publishing

Book Reviews for Karma with a Vengeance by Tash Hawthorne

Karma Alonso-Walker loves her family fiercely, particularly her mother Soleil. She would do anything for her mother. So when the beloved matron is killed by her abusive boyfriend, Jimmy, Karma sets out deep into the dark corners of the underworld to take revenge on the man who took away her world. Karma with a Vengeance unfolds through flashbacks and the present day, slowly revealing the real story behind Karma's family and the people she loves.

Author Tash Hawthorne does a great job through most of the twists and turns throughout the story. The characters are not one-dimensional caricatures of good and evil; good people do bad things and bad people have charm. Hawthorne does a nice job in giving them enough depth so that they become human.  All the names are symbolic and Karma's beauty, so essential to the plot, seems a bit beyond belief.

Karma with a Vengeance is entertaining and contains a better storyline than most books of its genre. It is written well enough to keep readers interested.
--- Reviewed by Inda Lauryn "Inda", excerpt from Amazon review

As an only child, 27 year-old Karma Alfonzo-Walker is very close to her parents especially her mother Soleil. Her parents have been separated for some years now since her father Lorenzo keeps his family second to his Military career. Soleil has had enough. And until Lorenzo decides to make her first priority, they will stay apart. Until then Soleil, a beauty in her own right has been keeping company with Jimmy, much to her daughter's Karma disgust. To say Karma didn't like Jimmy would be an understatement...she can't stand him! But with respect to her mother she tolerates him hoping one day Soleil would come to her senses and leave Jimmy behind. Karma is upset with her dad and wishes he would retire from the Military and come back home. She knows deep in their hearts her parents still loved each other and that Jimmy would not be apart of her mother's life if her dad was around.

But tragedy strikes leaving Soleil dead and Karma feeling like the police aren't doing enough to find her mother's killer. Indigo, Karma's cousin and a police officer is none to happy when Karma expresses her need to avenge her mother's murder and take things into her own hands. While Karma maybe putting herself in danger to find her mother killer; she also finds love with police officer Money, Indigo's partner. As her plans for revenge start to take shape and her relationship with Money becomes intense, revelations from the past begin to surface throwing a disturbing light on Karma's new relationship.

I predicted one event prior to it happening, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of this story. As I kept reading nothing prepared me for the in depth back ground information on Soleil and Karma told by the author's timely steps back into their past. I was astonished, at the repercussions of Soleil's abuse that trickled down to Karma paying the price, and I felt the author did a good job developing the love between mother and daughter.

Yes, Karma with a Vengeance is an excellent title for this recommended read. I like the characters enough to want to read the sequel, so I'll wait and see what author Tash Hawthorne has in store for us. Star Rating 4.0- This star rating is based on the story alone, as I read an uncorrected proof copy of the book. --- Reviewed by Locksie, ARC Book Club Inc.

Karma with a Vengeance  by  Tash HawthorneGenre: Urban Fiction, Women, African-American, Cuban-American
Purchase the book from Wahida Clark Publishing

Intimate Conversation with author Mike Sanders

Intimate Conversation with author Mike Sanders

Book Spotlight -- Thirsty by Mike Sanders
Thirsty takes place on the mean streets of Charlotte,  N.C. where you either hustle hard or stay home.  Meet Justice, a half-black, half-Filipino goddess whose appetite for a quick dollar is insatiable. Having moved from Chi-town to Charlotte, North Carolina, at an early age, Justice and her younger brother, Monk, decides to take the streets of the Queen City by storm. Justice and Monk, the two main characters are a team of sheisty individuals definitely hustle hard.

Justice uses her exotic looks to get next to dope boys, then sets them up for Monk and his crew to rob. All is well and their hustle is fruitful until Justice ex-boyfriend Carlos (a vicious drug dealer) is robbed and all fingers are pointed towards Justice and Monk. Subsequently, a war ensues between Monk and Carlos clique of dealers and killers. No one is exempt from the bloodbath!

Justice life begins to spiral out of control. She has sworn off hustlers and is determined to find a guy with a legitimate job to settle down with. She meets J.T., a handsome business man who becomes her every fantasy in human form. J.T. rescues Justice from a deadly and cruel world. Justice thinks she has moved into a safe haven, only to find out that she has actually landed in a snake pit! She decides that her only escape is to leave Charlotte behind altogether. However, this may leave Monk with no one to watch his back.

Justice refuses to leave without punishing all those that caused her harm, but her past soon catches up with her. She is confronted with a bare truth that explodes her world into a million tiny pieces. As her thirst for money grows, so does her appetite for revenge. However, she soon realizes that some thirsts can NEVER be quenched!

Ella:  Mike, tell us a little about yourself. How did you start writing?(A)  I am the author of  "Hustlin' Backwards,"  "Snitch," "Thirsty" and the soon-to-be released  "Thirsty 2."  I was born and raised on the grimy streets of   Charlotte ,  N.C.  which inspired my writing. My writing journey began in 2001 when I penned my first novel and subsequently published it in 2004. I am now with Wahida Clark Presents and I'm currently in the process of penning my fourth novel.

Ella:  What was the most powerful chapter or scene in the book for you?(A)  To me, the most powerful chapter in the book was the last chapter. In this chapter, Justice found out that not only had her brother Monk been murdered but also the guy she had been sleeping with and ultimately murdered was also her brother! That chapter shows how lost alot of us are as far as "family" is concerned. In too many African-American household, the father is not present. Therefore, there is always the possibility of siblings outside of the original household. 

In a lot of cases like that, siblings don't even know one another. I've got a sister 18 months younger than me who I met for the first time in 1995!  We'd been living in the same city all of our lives and never knew the other existed. The situation with my sister was one of the reasons I wrote the storyline of this book the way I did. I sat back and thought about how screwed up it would've been if we had met under different circumstances. It happens!

Ella:  Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp and share?(A)  The message I want readers to grasp is the fact that there are ALWAYS consequences for the actions we choose to take. And without a doubt, KARMA is a bitch!  What goes around definitely comes back to stare you in the face. Most times, it's when you least expect it and it's way more severe than what you dished out!

Ella:  What does your family think of your writing career? (A)  My family is very supportive of my writing. They are beyond proud of the fact that I am finally doing something legitimate with my life now instead of taking penitentiary and graveyard chances. My daughters love the attention they get from teachers and classmates when they find out their father is a published author. My mother who recently passed away was by far my biggest fan...When I write now, I can still see her smiling face all over again just like when she found out my first novel had gotten published. She is my continued motivation.

Ella:  What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?(A)  Actually I have two key pieces of advice to offer aspiring authors. First and foremost, be mindful of who you are trusting with your material. Do your background check on your publisher and check their track record. Don't just sign a contract because you want to see your book on shelves. I guess I'm saying MAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS IS 100!

Secondly, I advise anyone who is thinking about jumping into this game to come with something NEW. There are so many of the same books out there right now just with different titles. Bring something refreshing to the game. The game needs it!!

Ella:  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.(A)  THIRSTY was nominated for a literary award at the African-American Literary Award show last September. It was #2 on Don Diva magazine best-sellers list in the July '09 issue. I am currently working on the sequel to Thirsty which will be out soon.

I can be reached online for interviews and to buy books at: , , , Facebook (Mike Sanders), and I can be emailed at:

Thirsty by Mike Sanders
Purchase the book from Wahida Clark Publishing

Book Reviews for Thirsty by Mike Sanders

This is a story of several people whose lives collide. Choices are made, some of which are terrible. Choices that will forever alter their lives.

Mike Sanders has brought freshness to an all too familiar premise. He has introduced a multi-faceted plot with many characters, and the story is told from four points of view - Justice, Monk, Sapphire and Carlos - in alternating chapters. Each chapter blends into the following effortlessly.
I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. His descriptions are vivid and convincing.

In the end, "Thirsty" is a book that's hard to put away completely. Even long after it's finished, you may find its characters sneaking back into your head. Mike Sanders has spun a wicked tale that MUST be read by everyone. This is my first read by this author and it won't be my last.
--- Reviewed by  Jermaine, OOSA Online Book Club

From the excitement of the first page, THIRSTY moves like a no brakes runaway car that involves stickup boys, drug dealers, hit men, and shady ladies like Justice, who is introduced with a gun in hand in this unpredictable edge-of-the-seat thriller. There's mystery, suspense, gunplay, and a touch of erotica in this street novel that transcends the narrow confines of this genre and becomes a serious minded and entertaining story of sociopaths and the women who loves them. THIRSTY is a not to be missed novel with gritty realism and biting irony, and a must read page turner.
---  Reviewed by  Terry B. author of Dancer's  Paradise: An Erotic Journey, At Midnight: Choice Fowler's Story and The E Collection: A New Definition of Erotica 

Intimate Conversation with author Missy Jackson

Intimate Conversation with author Missy Jackson

Author Tennette “Missy” Jackson hails from Somerset, New Jersey. She has two daughters and three grandchildren. Missy began writing at a very young age and knew it was her passion. After years of drug abuse and numerous prison stints, Missy found an outlet in writing. Cheetah, her debut novel, was written in the state prison. Missy currently lives in Bound Brook, New Jersey  while working on her second novel.

Book Spotlight - Cheetah  by Missy Jackson
Born and raised on the mean streets of   Newark,  New Jersey, Yanika Johnson aka Cheetah is far from your average female. A true thug in every sense of the word, Cheetah has the ego and persona to prove it all. After she and her best friend Naj take Newark  drug trade by storm, the haters begin to do just what they do best...HATE. Can the tough streets of this brick city accept being ran by two women, or will their budding empire come tumbling down?

Cheetah is a young woman with a heart of gold and steel. Follow her journey through a year of murder and madness. In this book, you will see how a true friendship is supposed to be. You will become engrossed in the "Hood Happenings" as you ride the wave of real street life. Cheetah will make you cry, laugh, and truly understand how things work in the ghetto.

Ella:  Missy, please tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite?
(A) My favorite has to be Cheetah, since she was designed from my past. Her gritty, no nonsense attitude, and love for her family made her my favorite. Actually all four of the main characters Nissan, Qua, Naj, and Cheetah are mirrored after my life. I took a piece of me and structured each one.

Ella:  What sets you apart from other books in your genre?(A) The fact that I write from the lesbian point of view, sets me apart from many. When you read about drug dealers, gangs, clique, or a pack of robbers it is usually guys or a mixture of guys and girls. My story shows the struggle of not only the women in the hood, but also the lesbian women. The stereotyping and the differences they face due to life in an alternative lifestyle are prominent.

Ella:  What issues in today's society have you addressed in CHEETAH? 
(A) CHEETAH touched on issues close to home for me. Here are a few of them: how some young people feel as if the only way to make it is to either sell drugs or rob. It touches on how you can even be educated, headed in the right direction; yet allow the lure of the street and the lifestyle to suck you in. My main issue is how most families in society deal with either having a drug dealer, gang banger, or drug user in the household.

Ella:  If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 
(A)  No, I would leave the story as is. Though this is not a true story, it is very dear and personal. I feel that CHEETAH is one of the realest books out there. It portrays the everyday hustle and grind that's going on in every hood. The corner boy/girl hustler, the one who don't see the mansions and millions, and also the brutal end results that most encounter.

Ella:  Missy what's next for you? Are there any new books on the horizon?(A)  My upcoming novel "THE JUMPOFF" is sure to catch the same buzz. Be on the lookout for it summer 2010.

Book Reviews for Cheetah by Missy Jackson

5 Stars by Readers in Motion Book Club
Can't Knock Her Hustle

Meet Yanika Johnson a.k.a. Cheetah, a female thug with more swagger than any male thug on the block. Born and raised in  Brick City, life has been a struggle for her and those she loves. Her ultimate goal is to become financially stable and get out the game. With her best friend, Naj, covering her front and back, nothing is impossible. That is until she runs into a few stick up dudes, who obviously didn't know who they were messing with. Revenge soon becomes added to Cheetah list of goals.

With the love of her life, Naj, and other loyal members of the crew, Cheetah locks down the drug game in Newark. Will she survive being the backbone to her family and loved ones, since her gangsta will be tested time and time again? ---Reviewed by Minah, for Readers in Motion Book Club

4 Stars by  The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
What Goes Around, Comes Around

Cheetah, born Yanika Johnson, is far from the cuddly name presented here. She is a street hustler from  Newark, NJ  and she is no one to mess with. She gives new meaning to the word "thug."  Circumstances make her even more ruthless and she sets about the streets of Newark  on a reign of terror. Eventually what goes around comes around, and unfortunately for Cheetah, it comes around in the worst way. 

CHEETAH was a very powerful read. I could not put this book down. Missy Jackson  gives the reader some insight on what could be happening in the streets where you live. This book fits the bill when we read about or hear about street violence in newspapers and on television everyday, but it hits home once you read it.

The reader gets a glimpse as to what really goes down between street hustlers and crime. It also shines some light on females living in "the life"...the life of lesbianism.

Despite the hard core persona Cheetah portrays, she has a soft heart when it comes to the people she loves. An excellent read!  --- Reviewed by Cheryl Dublin, for RAWSISTAZ Reviewers

Cheetah by Tennette “Missy” Jackson   (ISBN-10: 0981854559)
Purchase the book from Wahida Clark Publishing

The Ultimate Sacrifice by Anthony Fields

Upcoming release by Wahida Clark Publishing

The Ultimate Sacrifice by Anthony Fields
Betrayal is worse than slaughter.  That's what Antonio Ameen Felder always instilled in his friends.  When a murder at the prison threatens to incarcerate them all for life, one man decides to sacrifice himself to free the others. All he asks in return is for his family to be taken care of. Luther Khadafi Fuller is the leader of the recently freed trio. He takes his two friends Boo and Umar on a ride they will never forget through the streets of DC.

Take a ride with these three men as they make love and money, while trying not to forget the man they left behind.  When one wrong move causes things to spiral out of control, can their bond survive the viciousness of the streets? Will their lives be spared? Or will their promises to each other be forgotten?

The Ultimate Sacrifice is a story of love, life, money, sex, betrayal and murder.  This is a page turner that you won't be able to put down.

ISBN-10: 0981854583
ISBN-13: 978-0981854588

Purchase the book from Wahida Clark Publishing

Meet Author and Publisher Wahida Clark

Business Spotlight: Wahida Clark Publishing

Wahida Clark was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey. She is no stranger to the hard work and the sacrifices that breed success. This Trenton native owned and operated L.M. Clark Printers & Publishers Inc., a printing and publishing company in Trenton.   She is crowned the Queen of Thug Love Fiction by Nikki Turner, the Queen of Hip Hop Fiction. Wahida's style of writing is the "TEMPLATE" for urban literature. When you read her novels, they are so real you are convinced of one of three things: you know the characters; you want to know the characters; or you are one of the characters.

Her Essence and Black Issues Book Reviews bestselling novels include Thugs and The Women Who Love Them, Payback Is A Mutha, Payback With Ya Life, and her latest anthology with Kiki Swinson titled "Sleeping With The Enemy."

She has just completed her latest Novel 'The Golden Hustla' which will be released August, 2010. Coming in May is 'What's Really Hood?' Part 1 an Anthology featuring, Wahida, Lashonda Teague, Victor Martin, Shawn 'Jihad' Trump and Bonta. She is vice president of the non-profit organization based out of East Orange, New Jersey, Prodigal Sons and Daughters Redirection Services, a re-entry program for convicts and ex-convicts. The organization also provides support groups and mentors for at-risk youth.

Today, Wahida operates her printing & publishing company out of East Orange, New Jersey, Wahida Clark Presents Publishing. Her first releases include: Trust No Man 1 & 2 by Cash, Thirsty by Mike Sanders, Cheetah by Missy Jackson, Karma With A Vengeance by Tash Hawthorne and The Ultimate Sacrifice by Anthony Fields.

Interview with Conversations Bookclub of Mississippi

Meet Wahida Clark, she is a remarkable woman, grounded by her knowledge of who she is and what she represents. Wahida is first wife and mother, but she excels as a businesswoman in all she does. The writing career that has taken the literary world by storm only began in 2002 or 2003, yet you would think by the accolades she has received that she has been in the game for over a decade.

What led her to writing while in prison? Her answer was simple: "My husband was locked up, I was locked up and we needed money. People don't realize it, but it takes money to live even in prison, and I also needed money for my family on the outside." While in prison she worked in the law library, normally by herself, and she would do a great deal of reading during that time. It was during one of these occasions that she was reading XXL Magazine and read about an author who also had their beginning while incarcerated. "I said to myself that if he could do it then I could as well."

There was a literary agent who was also in prison that decided to teach a course on writing, and Wahida signed on. She wrote on legal pads and let others read it for input. They devoured the pages and were always asking for more. I asked her if she ever worried about not being able to make it in the business. "I knew I would get published," she said confidently. "My work was going to see the light of day."

Who inspired her before she wrote what became THUGS AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM? "I read everything from Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim to James Patterson." When asked who she was initially writing for, she answered that it was the Urban lit market. "My husband told me that if I was going to do this that I had to do my research."

Not long after writing her book, Wahida happened to read "Married Men" by Carl Weber. She noticed that he was getting praise from critics and writers alike so she decided to reach out to him. "I wrote him and told him that I had just finished writing a book and wanted to know what I should do next. He asked me to send him my manuscript. It was from there that he submitted the book to Black Print Publishing. They told me it was too big so I would have to cut it down. The publisher ended up splitting the book, and that manuscript became THUGS AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM and EVERY THUG NEEDS A LADY."

Wahida told us that she can still remember the first time she saw her name on the cover of a book. "I was in Lexington, Kentucky and it was mail call. Some of the ladies on lock down with me had ordered some copies, and they had come in a big envelope with about seven or eight books in there. It was like 'Wow, this is my book.'"

Little did she know that readers all over the world were wowed by her as well.

After her relationship ended with Black Print, Wahida---with the help of her literary agent----was signed to a deal with Dafina, an imprint of Kensington. Ironically, becoming a label mate of Carl Weber, the author who helped her get started in the industry. Her other titles include PAYBACK IS A MUTHA and THUG MATRIMONY.

Today, Wahida's focus is not only her own career as an author, but helping others as well. She has begun her own literary agency to publish new authors, and she is now signed with Warner Books. I mentioned to her that in one interview she said that her writing is meant to entertain. She stood behind that, but added that her agent likes the fact that there are consequences to the things that her characters do. "Once I start writing and get in their heads, they take on a life of their own sometimes. If you get a message from what I write," she said, "then that's wonderful."

A workaholic in every sense of the word, Wahida is working on the 6th book in the THUGS series as well as what she calls her "crossover" book. "I want to get some of those James Patterson" dollars," she told us with a laugh. Also in the works is an anthology with author Kiki Swanson and her novel PAYBACK WITH YOUR LIFE. Robin Garder, a member of the book club asked Wahida if she had thought about writing her autobiography. "People have asked me that," she answered, "but I honestly hadn't thought about it."

With everything that she has been through in the last decade, Wahida related that she can't even look at her jail time as a bad thing. "I can't say it was a negative. Without it there is no way I would've written a book."

When asked what authors have been on her reading list, she told the group that they are diverse as the rest of her life: James Patterson, Guy Johnson, Maya Angelou, Omar Tyree, Dean Koontz and Nikki Turner. Ironically, it was Turner who gave Clark the title of "Queen of Thug Love Fiction." I asked her was there any pressure with titles such as that or "bestseller." Wahida's answer was short and to the point. "I really don't think about that, not as long as I can back it up. It's flattering, but it just means that I have to stay on top of my game everyday."

As we wrapped up the discussion, Wahida was asked what advice would she give those who say they have a story in them. "I would tell them to write. I have had people tell me that they have five books in their head. What I tell them is they need to put them down on paper, because they aren't doing you or anyone else any good while they are just in your head. Do your research and make sure it is the best it can be."

And what did Wahida have to say to her growing legion of fans? The bestselling author actually became emotional before answering. "Thank you so much for your support. Thank you to everyone who wrote me, telling me how much they enjoyed the books. It meant so much for me to get that encouragement."

The future is bright for the author who had no intention of being a writer, but whose literary star is one of the brightest on the market at this time. She has a fan base that at this point is hard to fathom, and has made an impact that will probably take some time to wrap herself around.

One thing that is clear at this point, however, is that Wahida Clark is a fighter in every sense of the world. She is not one to allow her circumstances to define her, but the lives she has introduced us to through her characters will remain with us for years to come.

You can also visit her at:   or  WCP community at:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wretched Saints by Assuanta Fay Howard and Marc Lacy

Book Intro: Wretched Saints by Assuanta Fay Howard and Marc Lacy

Between these covers may be your spark to eternal life or a ticket to everlasting confusion...depending on how you look at it. For we all have the greatest intentions at heart regardless of whatever we may desire to accomplish. Our faith provides energy and focus during the lifelong scamper down the path of righteousness. However, one thing that poses the greatest challenge is the fact that no human being can escape being human... til death do us part. Temptation lies behind each exit off of Heaven's highways. Detours become more alluring as construction takes place within the most crucial times of our lives - in turn, potentially providing a next day delivery service to hell's doorstep.

Wretched Saints provides a literary window through which we may possibly see traits of ourselves within one or more of the characters as they learn the hard way to listen when God is talking. Thus His signal, when digested properly allows suppression of sinful urges opening up the door, for spiritual growth.

Are you a Wretched Saint?  Open the covers...and see.

Of course our desire is to walk within The Kingdom's Neighborhood, but it can be very difficult leaving the alluring amenities of home. We have the protocol down pat; especially when others can witness us witnessing. However, when backs are turned and the sun has set, the righteous hotness of the self-proclaimed saint can suddenly turn lukewarm. Although the tongue can no longer house rationalizations, we still find a way to verbally cover spiritual deficits...thus casting us further into a pit of unrighteous debt surrounded by several unused shovels.

Excerpt from Tornado in Kansas in Wretched Saints
by Assuanta Fay Howard and Marc Lacy

“That doggone National Weather Service and their freakin’ tornado warnings. I don’t know if they’re helping us, or trying to scare us. I do know this…it’s 4:30 and I’m headed away from that blasted medical office and removing my medical consultant cap for the evening,” said Kansas to herself as she barreled down the K-180 in her classic ‘81 Midnight Blue Trans Am, listening to the radio in the midst of rush hour traffic. “Tonight’s gonna be busy as all get out and I refuse to let the weather stop me.”

As more weather updates were broadcast, Kansas called herself trying to pay attention, but she could not stop thinking about her busy evening ahead:

I’ve got to stop at Target, go home, then I’m gonna meet the girls for a quick cocktail, hit bible study, then ladies’ night at Scofield’s will be in full effect.

Kansas continued speeding on the K-180 as if she were qualifying for a NASCAR race. Of course her restored automobile was an eye-catcher by itself, but it wasn’t like the driver was hard to look at either. Even though Kansas Dickerson was an unassuming free- spirited and very independent lady, her fiery red long twists, caramel skin, slanty brown eyes, and well-endowed petite figure didn’t hurt the cause either. Kansas was the prime example of forty being the new thirty.

Target was finally seen on the horizon as rush hour traffic got thicker under a very cloudy sky. Kansas pulled into the parking lot and parked close to the main entrance. As she made her way to the door, Kansas could feel someone’s eyes on her at close range as she noticed a strange lady dressed in Goth and appearing homeless, in the periphery to the left. Kansas never really stopped and looked fully in that direction, but continued walking at an even faster pace.

Once inside the store, Kansas slowed down slightly and pranced through the aisles looking for a disposable digital camera. A modest feeling of guilt overcame her as Kansas made her selection.

I hope that lady is not out there when I return to my car, she thought. I get approached all the time and I’m really getting tired of having to be on the defensive. I wish I could help more people out, but it’s just not safe for a lady to reach into her pocketbook in front of strangers.

Realizing the time, Kansas paid for the camera and dashed out the door moving in a b-line toward her vehicle. She didn’t even look left or right while crossing the pavement between Target and her car. Upon her arrival at the vehicle, Kansas sighed briefly and appeared relieved that the strange lady was not around. As she unlocked the door, a squealing witch-like voice bellowed, “Excuse me, ma’am!”

Kansas’ camera went straight up in the air as she lunged forward and smashed her shoulder up against the open vehicle...then the camera smacked her dead in the head and bounced off of the asphalt like a rubber ball, before settling on the ground behind the vehicle.

“Uhh! Woman, are you out of your mind? What in the world do you want from me?” Kansas yelled. “Can’t you see I’m in a hurry? I can’t even make it to bible study without being badgered to death! Will you please go away and get a life? Better yet, get a freakin’ job!”

“Ma’am, I think your words are totally uncalled for. You have no right to speak to me that way,” countered the lady.

“And you have no right to sneak up on me like you just did. You probably do that to people all day in different parking lots.”

“You don’t know that. You don’t even know what I’m about to say.”

“I don’t care what you have to say. You scared me, I’m late, and I’m pissed. So get the hell out of my face.”

“One day, you’ll not speak to Matilda like that, Ms. Church Lady who is holier than thou.” Matilda then read the tag on Kansas’ car. “God is My Co-Pilot?” and looked Kansas in the eye and added, “Ah, I see you got the Lord riding shotgun. Looks like all the signs of a Bible belt wearer and proverbial follower to me.”

“One day, I hope to never see you again, you scary looking hag,” mentioned Kansas.

“Well God bless you, too,” replied Matilda.

Kansas, boiling, picked up her camera and headed home to change clothes. As she scampered out of the parking lot in route to her loft in Five Points, Kansas was still fuming like parents would when their little girl just lost a beauty contest.

The nerve of that heifer trying to run up on me like that, Kansas thought. If I weren’t a Christian, I’d place my stiletto in her posterior so far she would be the official spokesperson for Kenneth Cole. I have been looking for a reason to use that old broken down nine millimeter Pop left me. And just what does she mean by proverbial follower?

Purchase the book from Amazon

Wretched Saints
ISBN-10: 0974971235
ISBN-13: 978-0974971230
Categories/genre: Fiction/Drama
List distributors of the book: Baker & Taylor; Lushena

About the Author
Marc Lacy, a graduate of Alabama A&M University is a nationally renown, award winning poet/author and spoken word artist. He has performed all of over the country for many national literary events and spoken word venues. Marc is the author of Rock & Fire - Love Poetry from The Core, and The Looking Heart - Poetic Expressions from Within. He is also the producer of REFlux, RTIQLation, and LyriCode 256 spoken word CDs.

Marc is the contributor to many anthologies such as: The Soul of a Man, Step up to The Mic, and Witness the Truth. Marc is a member of ArtNSoul Society of Expression, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Church Street CPCA, Huntsville Literary Association, and National Society of Black Engineers. He credits his faith in God and love of family for providing energy to succeed.

Checkout his latest fiction book, Wretched Saints - When the Righteous Path Leads to Hell's Doorstep at: , , and

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Definition of Love by Nanette M. Buchanan

The Definition of Love by Nanette M. Buchanan

He said he knew a little about "true love", my ears tuned in.....
It had been weeks, no months, a few years.....since we had been just friends.

We had gone to heights where I felt pure pleasure, total ecstasy,
We had explored our minds, entwined our bodies, engaged in shared fantasies.

He said he knew what to say but didn't know what it truly meant
It had be said over and over we were the others angel......the love heaven sent.

We took no chances playing the other for a fool,
Our relationship was based on honesty, it was our silent rule.

He said he lived this night in his dreams from the time we met
We both new what was expected, our love would die now or move on to the next step.

I tried to tell him I loved him, what happened in the past, was explained and defined
His past, their love, was not our struggle, not a part of our time.

He said he thought he loved once before and failed, but found it was not true
Today she told him he was a father, and after three years, what was he to do

He said he didn't really know why he never knew about his responsibility,
But he was now known as "Daddy" to a little girl that was three.

He recognized himself in her tiny face and bright eyes,
He didn't want to lose our love for another, I listened, he cried.

We share our love with his angel, we know this was not a mistake.......
The definition of's never too late.

Copyright 2010, Nanette Buchanan, I Pen Designs

Books by Author Nanette M. Buchanan
• Bruised Love
• Family Secrets, Lies & Alibis
• A Different Kind of Love

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