Important Books by Black Authors

Today I want to take the opportunity to use my platform to showcase some amazing authors of color. I may not have a large following, yet, but I want to help any way I can. All of the books have links, so if any of them sound interesting, please check them out.

Friday BlackNana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Friday Balck is his debut novel and was named a “5 under 35” honoree by the National Book Foundation. This book is filled with satirical stories about the psychic and physical trauma of black life in America. It paints racism in a new light and is a must-read.

Wandering In Strange LandsMorgan Jerkins

This is Jerkin’s second book, and in it, she recreates her ancestor’s migration across the country.

Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid

This is Reid’s debut novel and immediately hit the New York Times bestsellers list. Emira Tucker, a young black woman, is accused of kidnapping when a security guard assumes she has abducted the white girl she is taking care of. You will get to experience the uncomfortable mess that Emira’s boss makes of the situation as well.

Well-Read Black Girl – Glory Edim

This is an inspiring collection of essays by black women and curated by Glory Edim.

I Almost Forgot About You – Terry McMillan

This book is from the same woman who brought you How Stella Got Her Groove Back. It is an inspiring story about a woman who shakes up her life to discover more meaning.

Loving Day – Mat Johnson

This book is hilarious and moving wrapped in one, just like it wraps the opposites in the world bound in love.

Behold The Dreamers – Imbolo Mbue

This is another debut novel. It deals with marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors within the American Dream. This is all about Cameroonian couple creating a new life in New York during the Great Recession.

Luster – Raven Leilani

This is Raven’s debut novel and is a sustaining coming of age story. Edie is a young painter who is stumbling through her 20s, making questionable decisions. She soon starts a relationship with an older man who is in an open marriage. He invites her to his home where she meets his adoptive daughter, Akila.

The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennet

This new book by Brit Bennet focuses on twin sisters who escape their black community in pursuit of two different futures. One sister gets pulled back to the black community while the other passes as white and hides her past from her husband. Their daughters cross paths, which forces them to explore any lingering trauma they may have from their past.

Long Way Down – Jason Reynolds

His book has been decorated with awards, for good reason. The entire novel takes place within 60-seconds as the narrator takes an elevator ride to meet his brother’s murderer with a gun tucked into his pants, and wrestles with whether or not he should kill the man.

The Fox Theater – Arizona

This week we are going to take a trip down to Tucson, Arizona to the Fox Theater. This Theater has a very haunted past.

Tucson, Arizona has quite a few ghost stories, but the Fox Theater is the one that people talk about the most. The Fox Theater opened in the 1930s as a Vaudeville and movie house that entertained the town of Tucson. It closed in 1974 as the downtown area began to decline.

The Fox Tucson Theater Foundation started to restore the building in 2000 and then they reopened in 2006.

There are quite a few spirits that are believed to haunt the halls of the theatre. One of them is a man roams around the lobby and entrance of the theater asking for spare change.

 People have said that a man has asked them for change, and for those who went to give him some, would see it simple drop to the floor. 

There is also a young girl who giggles and plays in the upper and lower lobby. There are also some people who have claimed to have seen a shadowy figure lurking around the projection room. Some of the people who have worked in the booth have seen strange movements and experienced unexplained lights and noises.

Unfortunately, this has caused quite a few people to quit their job.

There is one spooky story that has been around slightly longer than the theater. The tale states that a man died in 1929 during the construction of the theater. There is an arrowed stone decor that faces the wrong direction around the stage that symbolizes this accident.

If you are interested in learning more about this haunted theater, or other haunted areas in Tucson, they have regular ghost hunts that you can be a part of the next time you are in town.

A Question For My Readers

Today’s post isn’t going to be about writing. In fact, I have a question for my readers. Would you like to see blog posts about ghost stories?

I’ve always been a big fan of ghost stories. I’m talking real ghost stories, not just horror books. I’m talking about stories like The Portrait of Theodosia Burr, The Pink Lady at the Grove Park Inn, Ghosts of the USS Constellation, and The Hawthorne Hotel.

I think ghost stories are helpful for writers, especially those of us who want to write horrors or similar genres. Of course, whether you believe they are true or not isn’t relevant. The point is they are fun to read and can give you some clues as to what makes a good spooky story.

I spent a lot of time in high school and college reading books about ghost stories in my state of North Caroline. Trust me, we have A LOT. In the town of Asheville alone, which is about five minutes from me, there are 10+.

My proposition is, would you like a couple (or five) blog posts that share ghost stories from around the world each week along with the regular blog posts. I wouldn’t be replacing my normal writing tips and tricks with the ghost stories. I would simply be supplementing them with some fun spooky stories.

I wanted to get my readers opinion since you guys are the reason I do this. Please let me know what you think if you want me to or not.

If you have your own ghost story, let me know, and I may share it on the blog. With your permission, of course.

“I’ve got quite a vivid imagination and I’m easily overwhelmed by sensations and things that are beautiful or scary. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ghost – I think I’m probably haunted by my own ghosts than real ones.” – Florence Welch

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Get Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles today.

Being True to You

I’ve got another post for you about writing your truth. I told you I had a lot to say about this.

In past posts, I have talked about how to write your truth. Today’s post isn’t going to be much of a how-to. I have something on my chest that I want to share. It was something that hit me when I was getting information together for a book I was ghostwriting.

I freelance write through a company. I ghostwrite books. Part of that requires me to do research on topics because most of what I write is non-fiction books. It’s through this research that I found so many books on Amazon that you can tell didn’t come from a person’s truth.

This post doesn’t have to with my ghostwriting or anything to do with that sort of thing.

What I want to talk about is the sheer number of books available on Amazon that are written for the sole purpose of making money.

Now, you may be wondering how I can tell that there are so many books on Amazon that aren’t written from a person’s truth. I’ll tell you, but first I want you to do something.

Head over to Amazon and pull up a listing of books. More specifically self-help books; weight loss, exercise, mental health, those sorts of things. Now, pull up a few and click on the preview book. Glance through to see what you can glean from it and take a look at the reviews and other information about the book.

You’ll probably start to notice that some books just have a better feel to them than others. There are some that feel like they could actually help you, while others are just ‘eh.’

Now, I don’t know what is in the heart of an author when they write a book, but what I do know is that if they wrote from their truth, from a need to help people or share something, you can feel it in their writing. It comes off as much more honest that fluff writing.

You don’t have to just write novels in order to write your truth. You can write your truth in non-fiction books as well. It means you are sharing truths about you and your passion in order to help somebody else. And this statement is true for fiction and non-fiction because I believe fiction can help people as well.

So many of the books you see on Amazon are books that have been written and published just for the purpose of making money. They weren’t created from a passion deep within somebody. They didn’t come from the heart.

The problem is, though, that all of these books that weren’t written in truth are covering up the books that are written truth. Speaking as an Indie author, there are so many other Indie authors out there that write their truth and have amazing stories to tell through novels and self-help books that get pushed underneath all of these other books that don’t have any heart in them.

I don’t know how these truthless books become successful. (I have my thoughts, but I will keep them to myself.) All I know is, we need to create more books that have heart and truth in them. We need more books in the world that tell stories that help people and entertain people for the sole purpose of helping and entertaining.

There are enough snake oil salesmen in the world. Those of us who truly have a story to tell, who want to share our truth, need to band together and share with the world what it means to love what you do and to love doing it no matter what you get back.

I know there is nothing that can be done about these filler books on Amazon and other sites. They are always going to be there and more will continue to be published. It’s easier today now than it was 20 years ago. You don’t need an agent or a publisher anymore. I’m not trying to start a revolution or what have you to stop these books from being published.

I am here to help and urge those who do have a heartfelt story to share, to share it.

If you are still unsure about what it means to write your truth, you can use these books to help you.

Because trust me, you can tell the difference when you read a book when it has been written from the heart, no matter the genre.

I think I’ll step down from my soapbox for now. I’ve said what I came here to say.

I hope I have helped you just a little bit more when it comes to writing your truth.

“What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly.” – Carl Rogers

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Make sure you keep an eye on Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles. You never know what kind of sale you might find.

A Pep Talk For When You Feel Like Quitting

This weeks post is a little different than my others. I think everybody can use a pep talk from time to time. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. A dark cloud will come through and dampen your spirits. I have a lot of those days, so does everybody else, but the important thing is that you push through.

For anybody who has chosen a career that requires others to purchase something from you or like you enough to take a chance, those dark days can come along quite a lot. As writers, artists, or entertainers, we don’t get a regular check for the hours we work every day.

Somebody has to pay for the work we have already done if they like it. We are judged for what we do more so than any other professional. If not enough people like what we do, we will be eating ramen. This is a tough reality we have to face, but we do it because we love it.

It’s a little easier (I hope) once you have amassed a decent following of people who buy what you do. So when you are starting out, like I still consider myself, and like most people probably do, it’s a bit harder to pump yourself up.

I’m right there with you. The rough days sometimes seem more frequent than the good days. But if we support each other, we will make it through and see the light at the end of the tunnel. To help with those tough days, especially when it has to do with rejection, here are some fun facts about other professionals who weren’t “overnight success”. (Like those even exist)

  1. William Golding’s book Lord of the Flies was rejected 20 times before it was ever published.
  2. Claude Monet, a founder of French Impressionism, was ridiculed for his most famous work “Impression, Sunrise.” He and his family lived in abject poverty until his paintings begin to sell in the 1880s.
  3. Margeret Mitchells’ Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times before it was ever published.
  4. Walt Disney was fired from a job because he “lacked imagination and no good ideas.”
  5. Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting while he was alive.
  6. JK Rowling was fired from Amnesty International because she spent the day writing stories.
  7. Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting poems before any of them were published.
  8. Beatrix Potter had to self-publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
  9. Stephen King’s book Carrie was rejected 30 times before being published.
  10. Madonna was fired from Dunkin’ Donuts for squirting jelly filling on a customer.
  11. Robert Frost had Truman Capote fired from his job at the New Yorker because Capote left in the middle of one of his readings. To be fair, Capote was sick.
  12. Louise May Alcott, the author of Little Women, was told to stick to teaching.
  13. George Orwell was told that is book Animal Farm wouldn’t sell because “there is no market for animal stories in the USA.”
  14. Lucille Ball’s drama instructors tried to get her to follow another profession.
  15. Rudyard Kipling was told he didn’t know how to use the English language.

So there you have it. No matter how down you feel, you are not alone. Every profession has had some tough times. The success you will have will be all the better.

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Make sure you keep an eye on Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles. You never know what kind of sale you might find.