Saturday, August 01, 2009

Conversations about Writing ~ Creating Characters

Authors Shon Bacon (editing guru) and Miki Starr Martin (graphic guru) are back with episode two of their new project, Conversations about Writing as they continue their conversation from June on character. Come read their thoughts on creating characters and share your OWN thoughts!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Got a Great STARTING OVER Story to Tell?

Got a Great STARTING OVER Story to Tell?

Laurene Williams, writer, director, and independent filmmaker, is looking for articles to post on the "Starting Over" section of our the website,, coming this fall.

Perhaps you have a compelling tale to contribute or you know other writers who may wish to contribute. The site will promote a new indie comedy/drama, "Phil Cobb's Dinner for Four." The goal of is to build a community of readers who can empathize with Phil Cobb's on-again/off-again life. Writers who have an inspirational or entertaining take on some of the pain, heartache, and heartburn they've been through as a result of a break-up, divorce, pink slip, new career, alcohol addiction, cross country move or relocation, may submit. The film is about cherishing the relationships in our lives and living beyond our losses.

You can view the trailer for "Phil Cobb's Dinner for Four" on YouTube or on Facebook.

Writers should include bio and byline (or pseudonym). Bios can include links to your website or any pertinent webpages. You can mention upcoming works or previous works, note any upcoming events such as a book signing or speaking engagement. You may submit a photograph for us to spotlight. We encourage you to promote yourself to make this worth your while.

Since our website is not a literary site and because film typically engages such a wide ranging audience, we're hoping writers can reach and cultivate an entirely new group of fans.

New and student writers can use the opportunity to explore their voice.

SUBMISSIONS: Web publication. Creative non-fiction, fiction, first or third person accounts. Submit query or complete ms as an MSWord file with bio by email. Byline or pseudonym. Up to 1,000 words. Format single or double-spaced. Bio, up to 50 words, can include links to your website or relevant webpages; include any notices.


USE: Submissions will be posted on in the "Starting Over" section for one to two week intervals.

DEADLINE: Rolling submissions. Next deadline, August 23rd.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Culture w/ YA Author Diana Rodriguez Wallach

For the months of June and July, All the Blog's a Page (AtBaP) is looking at how culture plays a role in writing. For the final feature, I'm featuring a young adult writer I'm a big fan of; her stories are fun and fast-paced, but they are laced wonderfully with all things that speak of the character's culture: YA author Diana Rodriguez Wallach!

About Adios to All the Drama:

Mariana Ruiz thought she left her summer fling in Puerto Rico, that is until she finds Alex sitting across from her at the breakfast table. Living two doors down from her visiting old flame isn’t easy, especially given the unresolved sparks still lingering for her locker buddy Bobby—and they don’t exactly go unnoticed.

Her best friends are little help as Madison deals with her IM-only “boyfriend” and Emily sinks into secret mode after her parents’ recent breakup. The only relationship that seems to be working is her estranged aunt Teresa who’s tying the knot on New Years with Mariana and her cousin Lilly as bridesmaids. But the last wedding detail left unplanned is who will Mariana kiss at midnight?

Strained friendships, stolen kisses, and secret loves create plenty of surprises to unfold before the New Year’s bells start ringing…

Watch the trailer for Adios to All the Drama below!

When asked In viewing media - TV, movies, books, radio, etc., how do you see your culture being conveyed, Diana replied, "I’m going to assume you probably mean how do I see my Puerto Rican culture being conveyed, and not how I see the Polish culture conveyed (pierogies, anyone?) or Philadelphians in general (our murder rate’s not so great). But as for Puerto Ricans, I think there is obviously still a stereotype that all “real Latinos” speak Spanish as a first language and have dark hair and tan skin. Obviously this is not the case. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…as Seinfeld would say.)

But as for the media’s representation beyond that, I don’t want to make sweeping generalizations. Yes, there are still plenty of shows portraying Latinos as drug dealers or maids, but there are also plenty that don’t (Ugly Betty, Cane, George Lopez Show). And I think the trend is moving away from the stereotypes, at least I hope."

Come by AtBaP to read more of Diana Rodriguez Wallach's insightful comments on culture and writing!

ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE (AtBaP) - Where everything relates to writing


Monday, July 20, 2009

Speaking Culture w/ Activist, Author, Filmmaker Elisha Miranda

For the months of June and July, All the Blog's a Page (AtBaP) is looking at how culture plays a role in writing. This week, I'm featuring a woman I have come to admire; her passion and compassion to fully represent herself and her culture in a positive way ignites me to want to do the same: activist, author, filmmaker Elisha Miranda! You cannot read her feature and nottaste the love she has for her culture and its representation in the media.

About The Sista Hood: On the Mic:

4 Girls, One Mic and Lots of Drama

When Mariposa (aka MC Patria) meets Ezekiel Matthews (aka MC EZ1) they quickly become best friends; together they have the best summer tossing lyrics and rhymes. After the summer ends, Mariposa realizes the only thing she really cares about -- besides becoming the best emcee around -- is getting Ezekiel to love her. Unfortunately, this realization comes at the same time Ezekiel gets a girlfriend -- Jennifer Hoffman (aka J-Ho 5), an emcee with a huge buzz.

When her school announces a talent show, Mariposa understands that this could be her last chance to impress Ezekiel. She decides to form a hip-hop crew -- enter the world of the Sista Hood -- MC Patria, Soul Siren, Pinay-1 and DJ Esa, all divas in their own way. While coming together isn't easy, they're forced to collaborate and their lives are changed forever.


Elisha gave heartfelt, in-depth responses to all the questions; we asked how important is it for her to integrate her cultural experiences into her writing, she responded:

Before heeding the muse and pursuing a career as a filmmaker and writer, I had been an educator, community organizer and emergent urban planner, working with people of various ages, classes, race and ethnicities, sexual identities and national origins and learning about a range of issues from criminal justice to public health. I have worked for the struggling nonprofit organization, and I have served the public as a teacher in public education. I have volunteered for the activist collective, and have taught classes at the university. My professional life has brought me to China and Japan, Wooster College in Ohio and the juvenile facility in San Francisco, California. I have abandoned the tourist bus to hike the back roads of Cuba, Colombia, and Mexico precisely because I’m a Latina who is not Cuban, Colombian nor Mexican.

All these different experiences have brought me a more expansive viewpoint of Latinadad in the United States. I’m a Puerto Rican who grew up in public housing between a working-class Mexican/Chicano community called the Mission and the African American dominant Hunter’s Point. I went on to earn multiple degrees at elite universities, and experienced a creative “recovery” in my late twenties in which I pursued my dream of becoming a professional storyteller.

My mother raised in public housing – herself a native of San Francisco whose father was a merchant marine from Puerto Rico and whose mother settled there from Puerto Rico via Hawaii’s sugar cane fields – raised me and my siblings by herself. I toughed out the failing public elementary and junior high school down the block where all the other kids looked liked me. But when high school arrived, I endured a daily bus ride from my neighborhood to a magnet high school where I was both a racial and economic minority.

I’m an openly bisexual woman who speaks out against racial injustice when others hide behind their fair skin. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and am now a practicing Buddhist who identifies as “spiritual but not religious.” I am a modern Latina, and this is why my body of work resonates not only across the differences within the Latino community but also speaks to audiences beyond it.

It is these experiences that give me the stories I wish to tell, and because I have crossed borders of so many kinds, people of all backgrounds see themselves braided in my yarn. Today many people want to write books and make films about the Latino experience. I have lived that experience and there are many stories to tell. This is not merely something I do as a writer and director. It is how I live and these experiences are very integrated into my art.

Come by AtBaP to read more of Elisha Miranda's wonderful comments on culture and writing...and to check out an excerpt of her novel, The Sista Hood: On the Mic!

ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE (AtBaP) - Where everything relates to writing

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Me and Some Faith-Based Poetry ~~ A Podcast

July marks the second installment of CLG-E's Once Upon a Time... podcast series.

This month, I'm showcasing three faith poems: "On Soft, Tender Knees," "I'm Sorry," and "Loose"!

You can listen below and also take the time to check out my podcast site (CLG-E Podcasts) for future podcasts on writing and storytelling!

Please leave comments - let me know your thoughts!

Writer of All Trades: Kristin Johnson

Head over to ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING where I talk with a writer of all trades: screenwriter, poet, novelist, journalist - Kristin Johnson!

Writer of All Trades: Kristin Johnson


CLG: Talk to us about one of your first YES moments - a time when you received positive reception for your words.

KJ: Reading the wedding poem for my sister and brother-in-law, "On Our Wedding: Ahava," that later won first place in the Blue Mountain Arts Tri-Annual Poetry Competition. That poem was my wedding gift to them. When a local playwriting group staged a reading of my one-act play "Greetings and Salutations" (that later appeared in its playwriting festival and was nominated for five local theater awards), one of the audience members, an actor, jumped up and said, "I love it!"

CLG: You're strutting down the street - looking, feeling like a million bucks - what's your theme song?

KJ: "Wind Beneath my Wings" by Bette Midler, "One Heart" by Celine Dion or "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra.

CLG: What are some of the things you're doing to get your writing into the right hands?

KJ: Beyond the usual, writing contests and submitting to publishers/producers/agents (which I need to do more of), I would say: Networking, networking, networking. I network with people who aren't, strictly speaking, in the business, because you never know. I go to screenwriters' events hosted by Women in Film-Palm Springs, an organization I cannot praise enough. I connect with people through wonderful groups such as the Original Palm Springs Writers Guild, National League of American Pen Women and The MuseItUpClub Online.

CLG: Why do you write?

KJ: Author Christopher Rice, son of Anne Rice and a formidable professional in his own right, spoke to one of my writers' groups recently. He said, "What you do is valuable to our culture." While that's uplifting in the grander scheme (and a comforting thought on those writer's block days), my more elemental answer is that writing is part of who I am. I have a passion for it. Words, ideas, thoughts. A painting can spark a story. Anything I'm reading about or watching inspire stories, or else make it into my writing. I am a voracious reader and moviegoer. The written word is my lifeblood. My great-grandmother was a writer and my mother published a children's book.

To read the rest of Kristin Johnson's interview, head to ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING!

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Chocolate-caramel lattes + Women writers = ONE GREAT TIME!


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Monday, July 06, 2009

Culture & Writing w/ Author Angela Henry

For the months of June and July, All the Blog's a Page (AtBaP) is looking at how culture plays a role in writing. In June, we talked with erotic author Dapharoah69 and women's fiction author Wendy Tokunaga. Up next is an author I have enjoyed for a while now, Angela Henry!

Part-time GED instructor Kendra Clayton's spring break is proving to be anything but relaxing. First her best friend, Lynette, suffers a major panic attack days before her wedding and vanishes. Then her sister, Allegra, who craves attention the way Kendra craves chocolate brownies, arrives in town determined to land an interview with screen legend Vivianne DeArmond for the TV show Hollywood Vibe.

But Allegra's interview plans hit a glitch when she discovers the diva's lifeless body in her dressing room, stabbed in the back with a letter opener. The police peg Allegra as the prime suspect, but Kendra knows her sister is no murderer, even if she is guilty of acting a little too friendly around Kendra's man lately.

As Kendra starts to investigate and whittle down the list of Vivianne's enemies, she uncovers some surprising Hollywood secrets. But she'll need to act fast. Because every step toward the truth puts her in danger of becoming a victim of a ruthless killer's encore performance...

Come by AtBaP to read more Angela Henry's thoughts on the African American culture and writing...and to also read an excerpt from her book, Diva's Last Curtain Call!

ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE (AtBaP) - Where everything relates to writing

Friday, June 26, 2009

Taste Mississippi in Patricia Neely-Dorsey's Poetry

Patricia Neely-Dorsey's Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems is "a true celebration of the south and things southern." The author states, "There are so many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the south in general. In my book, using childhood memories, personal thoughts and dreams, I attempt to give a positive glimpse into the southern way of life. In my book I try to show that there is much is more to Mississippi and the south than all of the negatives usually portrayed. I invite readers to Meet Mississippi (and the south) Through Poetry, Prose and The Written Word."


If you want a glimpse of Southern life,
Come close and walk with me;
I'll tell you all the simple things,
That you are sure to see.
You'll see mockingbirds and bumblebees,
Magnolia blossoms and dogwood trees,
Caterpillars on the step,
Wooden porches cleanly swept;
Watermelons on the vine,
Strong majestic Georgia pines;
Rocking chairs and front yard swings,
Junebugs flying on a string;
Turnip greens and hot cornbread,
Coleslaw and barbecue;
Fried okra, fried corn, fried green tomatoes,
Fried pies and pickles too.
There's ice cold tea that's syrupy sweet,
And cool, green grass beneath your feet;
Catfish nipping in the lake,
And fresh young boys on the make.
You'll see all these things
And much, much more,
In a way of life that I adore.

Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey
from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life In Poems


Monday, June 22, 2009

Making the WORD Work for You: Writer Shari Smothers

Head over to ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING where I talk with a writer who knows the importance of the word: Shari Smothers!

Making the WORD Work for You: Writer Shari Smothers


CLG: Do you find that many of the things you write about are intrinsically connected to you?
SS: Yes, easily, my creative writing is connected with me. With commercial writing, though, I try to connect with my subject in a personal way. It helps me to write authentically even when I’m not writing about me.

CLG: How important is social media to the promoting of your writing?
SS: I think social media is really powerful. I don’t use it regularly to promote my work so much as to socialize. When I do use it for my work, I see the difference in my traffic. For my next book, I will use it much more.

I’ve heard that mainstream publishers are advocating their writers join social media sites, naming Facebook and Twitter. The self-publishing company I used for my book also advocates using social media and provides offers to help you get set up on the sites. Like them, I respect the power of word-of-mouth and personal interactions.

CLG: What is one important thing you've learned through your writing life?
SS: One important lesson that surfaces often is that words have power. And wielding that power is a privilege best tempered by humility and gratitude.

To read the rest of Shari Smothers' interview, head to ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING!

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Chocolate-caramel lattes + Women writers = ONE GREAT TIME!

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Writing in Translation: Author Wendy Nelson Tokunaga

For the months of June and July, All the Blog's a Page (AtBaP) is looking at how culture plays a role in writing. I have a great lineup of six writers, and up next is a writer I enjoy, one who finds herself entrenched within the Japanese culture: Wendy Nelson Tokunaga!

Midori Saito, a young woman, fresh from Japan and too independent for Japanese society, refuses to heed her mother’s advice that marrying a foreigner will bring her nothing but trouble. Turns out Mom was right and Midori is now suddenly on her own in San Francisco. Will she be able to find her American Dream and the perfect dessert?

When asked How important is it for you to integrate your cultural experiences into your writing, Tokunaga said, "As you can probably tell from my photograph, I am not Japanese. I’m Caucasian, was born in San Francisco, and my Japanese last name comes from my husband. Both my novels are about Japan and Japanese culture. When I took my first creative writing class many years ago, the teacher required us to complete three short stories in a semester. And all three that sprang out of me were about some aspect of Japanese culture. I didn’t plan it that way, but that’s what happened, and it made me realize how important this culture has been in my life.."

Come by AtBaP to read more about Tokunaga's appreciation of the Japanese culture and to learn about her next book coming this fall: Love in Translation!

ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE (AtBaP) - Where everything relates to writing

Monday, June 15, 2009

Every Day She's Hustling: Author Ni'cola

Head over to ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING where I interview a new author on the scene, Ni'cola!

Every Day She's Hustling: Author Ni'cola

About Over and Over Again:

At first glance, 27-year-old Dionni Stone, owner of Whatever You Like Entertainment seems to have what all black women desire: natural beauty, a successful business, and a beautiful black man on her side. Until…

Dionni has found the love of her life – once again – in a compromising situation. For Dionni, this is the final heart break. With the love and support of her family and friends, she concentrates on her business, and it’s there she meets new client, Xavier “Zay” Grey, an investment banker that hires her to plan a surprise graduation party for his baby sister. Timidly, Dionni begins to think she might have found “the one” for her, but a devastating secret finds her world once again shaken. It also finds her back in the arms of an unlikely man, and even more pain than even she could imagine.

Over and Over Again is a funny and sensual tale that weaves between lies and love, deceit and truth, teaching Dionni the ultimate meaning of what is honesty, passion, and friendship.


CLG: NI'COLA: THE SOUNDTRACK. What are three tracks that would HAVE to make it onto the soundtrack of your life and why?

Ni'cola: The first song would be Beauty by Dru Hill. I believe Beauty comes from the inside. I will do anything for anyone. I go the extra mile at all times. One thing that I am complimented on is how well I treat others. I believe those attributes is what makes a person beautiful.

The second would be No More Rain (In this cloud) by Angie Stone. Just like anyone else in life, I have been through a plethora of trials and tribulations. I had to decide that I was going to be stop letting life harbor me, and press forward. So I consider the cloud me and my life, and I had to learn to stop crying and start living up to the potential that I know that I have. I’m only half way there though. The storm tends to come, but I do not allow for the rain to develop.

The last song would be Queen of the Pack by Patra. Being from Jamaica, I know all about struggle. But I had to let people know that I am not accepting anything. The song compares life to a pack of cards. It basically states that I am telling you what I am about, and I am not going back on my word. What ever life brings, I will come out on top, and be the Queen of the pack. I make my own destiny, so you better watch out.

CLG: You are indie publishing OVER AND OVER AGAIN through your company NCM Publishing; did you attempt to publish through traditional publishing routes? If so, how was that journey?

Ni'cola: Yes, I did attempt to publish through the traditional, but I am very impatient. By the time I began receiving feedback from a traditional publisher, I was already half way through with self-publishing.

I really have not had any major issues with self publishing. In fact, I believe that this was the best route for me. I prayed about it and jumped in head first. I know this is what I am supposed to be doing because everything has gone smoothly from day one.

To read the rest of Ni'cola's interview, head to ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING!

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Chocolate-caramel lattes + Women writers = ONE GREAT TIME!

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

BOOK BYTES: Something Old Something New (review)

3.5 out of 5 Rating

Love Never Dies

You're the happiest woman on the planet because you are about to marry the love of your life: then tragedy strikes.

Imagine having to go on and live your life as if a huge part of you hasn't died and broken off. Imagine having a mind and a heart that can't let go of that love, that constantly replays precious, wondrous moments of absolute happiness. How do you go on? Can you really?

Erica N. Martin's novel Something Old Something New is a remembrance of love story that shows us through Audrey, the dedicated main character, that love never dies, and when it's real and when it's true, you will never lose it.

Martin does a good job pacing this story to its climactic ending with a nice twist, and what I enjoyed most of the story is the importance of love and memory. We all know the traditional love stories of boy meet girl, gets her, loses her, then gets her back; but this is a story that celebrates the sweet moments of a love story cut short but is determined to return.

If you want a story that reaffirms love, then definitely check out Martin's latest fare.

Click the cover to order your copy of Something Old Something New today!

BOOK BYTES: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict (review)

4.5 out of 5 Rating

It's Hard Being a Woman-No Matter the Time

It's hard being a young woman in today's world - just imagine what it would be like for a gentleman’s daughter from Regency England who is thrust into the technologically-driven, "loose" world of the twenty-first century.

This is the initial setup of Laurie Viera Rigler's novel Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, a novel I highly enjoyed for its great main character, solid storytelling, and social commentary on women, independence, and love.

Rigler does an excellent job keeping the main character Jane Mansfield within her time and culture's speech, a difficult task when placed around the contemporary setting, people, and things that are 21st century L.A. It was that ability of Rigler's that kept me throughout the story, seeing little things like Jane marvel at the TV thinking it to be a window. I believed the main character, and I was willing to follow her throughout the story.

And this was a strong story, a coming-of-age (albeit, in another's body) story that explores the world in which a woman lives in and how she is to find her place in that world. No matter the time period, no matter the language barrier, a woman still needs to find her place, and Rigler does a fine job showing us that this idea crosses time and space.

I don't know how Rigler will top this novel, but I do look forward to seeing where her creative mind wanders next.

Click the cover to order your copy of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict today!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

BOOK BYTES: INTERRUPTION: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine (review)

4 out of 5 Rating

Worth the Interruption

When reading a book, I love to be entertained; even more so, I love to be taught something, and while reading Tracey Michae'l Lewis' latest novel, INTERRUPTION: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine, I definitely received big helpings of both.

Crystal Justine is a young woman in a long line of women in her family to endure a devastating generational curse, a curse that finds the weakest part of the women to crush their spirit and kill them. CJ has a slew of issues, many of them stemming from the mother who succumbing to the curse, died when CJ was young. CJ, searching for a life that is all hers and all good, must battle for every good thing she wants, for evil refuses to allow her to be the interruption to stop the curse from coursing through her family's veins.

Aside from the story itself, which I really enjoyed, my favorite part of this story is its discussion (through literature) of "the generational curse." We are set for victory, but there are a lot of forces that don't want us to succeed, and sometimes, those forces go beyond dealing with a person one-on-one; it infiltrates an entire family, an entire bloodline for the sole purpose of completely obliterating that family.

Lewis' novel vividly shows us how these forces can use everything against you, to include your family, to break you down, but there can be victory if you keep your eye on God, keep your heart on what's true, and what your mind focused on what's right.

I look forward to seeing what Lewis can teach us with her next novel.

Click the cover to order your copy of INTERRUPTION: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine today!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Need a Quickie Lit Treat?

A young, spiritually righteous woman, Faith Darling, must face the fact that you cannot escape from your family and the truth.

When Faith’s notorious great-grandmother, Miss Sunny Vincent, dies, Faith, as the only surviving relative, must arrange the funeral. However, Miss Sunny Vincent’s remains are hard to dispose of because God won’t have her and the Devil don’t want her.

I SO enjoyeed reading this story - Zetta has a great style, voice, and she quickly will bring you into the characters and story. Need a quickie treat during lunch break? Been working all day and need a little quick escape? Click the cover to order your copy of "Devil Don't Want Her" today!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Reigning Supreme with Author Samara King

Head over to ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING where I interview a dear sisterfriend and wonderful writer, SAMARA KING!

Reigning Supreme with Author Samara King

About PULSE:

What’s a woman to do when she discovers she used to be married to a spy?

Cassidy Raleigh Sebastien has learned to live without her ex Gabriel, that is until he returns to New Orleans and sweeps back into her life one night during a masquerade party. She has no plans on letting Gabe see the desire that still makes her heart pound, especially when a mysterious stranger beats him to the punch.

Gone are the days of playing spy for former agent, Gabe Sebastien. His only mission: to reconquer Cassidy’s heart and he’ll start with his own covert

operation of seduction.


CLG: How important is it for a writer to "grow"...and what does growth mean to you as a writer?
SK: Growth is part of the writing journey in my opinion. My writing style now has varied from the work I currently have out – it has broaden which I believe readers will see from my upcoming works. Growth means always placing yourself in a position to learn.

CLG: You've moved into poetry over the last year, and I've had the pleasure of reading them - deep, powerful. What do you get from writing your poetic pieces?
SK: Poetry is a big part of who I am. The words come to me embedded with life experiences, passing thoughts. Poetry for me is born from every breath I take and I learn something different each time. It has helped me step outside my comfort zone and expose another level of my creative self.

To read the rest of Samara's interview and check out Samara's poetic skill, head to ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING!

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Chocolate-caramel lattes + Women writers = ONE GREAT TIME!

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Determined to Educate...COMMUNITIES!

Recently inducted into the National Association for Professional Women, This angelic and poetic songstress comes by way of the Bronx, New York. Vibrant and complete in spirit she has been singing since the tender age of 4. Early on she shared notes with her mom and was influenced by the sounds of Anita Baker, Etta James, Faith Evans, Sam Cooke, Dianne Warren, David Foster and Patti Labelle. Furthering her passion to be a part of the musical universe she participated and tested her abilities in talent shows during her junior and high school years. Possessing a raw determination to get it done, she then proceeded to work on her talents and creating her own mold. As part of her determination to advance she has obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication.

She made it an inner promise to accomplish her aspirations with the untimely departure of her Mother and this past June 2008 her Father, who both always inspired her through music. She has concentrated on her creative vision in songwriting and honing her craft as a vocalist. Well aware that it requires a relentless, dedicated approach in the music industry she has made every effort to elevate her momentum in anyway. She has managed to establish relationships with some reputable talents of today like Multi-talented Wyclef Jean and Producer Younglord with them providing her with feasible insight and direction.

Senyah has remained in the loop in anyway where it can provide her with some form of experience and development whether it is through vocal training to being an extra. In 1998, she actively partook as an extra in the movie “Stuart Little 2”, Marci X featuring Damon Wayans and KC and Jo-Jo’s “All My Life” video. She has also participated as a background vocalist for upcoming artist Mary C. She was most recently cast as “Emma Jackson” in the Off Broadway play “The Sanctuary” written, produced and directed by Anne L. Thompson Stretching. With understanding that one step has to be manifested at a time she also has aspirations on acting and doing the big screen in her career travels. Currently, Senyah is working on her self-written catalogue of music that she hopes to present and make a profound impact to the musical universe through it. She proclaims as a personal quote that “Nothing in life is free, hard work pays off and you must have complete Faith in yourself and in God. With that all things are possible”.

Through all of her personal struggles and experiences she founded the non-profit organization Determined to Educate, Inc. Founder and CEO, Senyah Baah has made a commitment to herself to help those who are less fortunate and need a helping hand. She was inspired by her parents Victoria (Adwoa) and Frank (Kwame) Baah, who have both been called by the Lord. She has promised to continue their legacy by believing in those and helping those to believe in themselves.

What is Determined to Educate? Listen to the commercial below!

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The Interview

What birthed the idea of Determined to Educate (DTE)?
One day I sat at my computer at work and was thinking of all of the issues that people I knew had and even I had. Issues that bothered me and even caused people so much pain. It was a familiar song. There is so much selfishness going around and I said, “Wow, does anyone not care about anyone besides themselves?” Who wants to live like that when life is so precious and short. I wanted to do something or say something to have people recognize that this is not the way we should be living. I know I couldn’t change anyone, but I knew that I could have people thinking in better ways. Then I started typing subjects/issues that needed to be addressed on my computer. I wanted to see how the message could get across and I remembered how much I loved the t-shirts made by “School of the Hard Knocks”. Those shirts always had some kind of word or sentence that stood out to me.

Talk to us about Determined to Educate; what is its mission?
Determined To Educate, Inc. was established to re-invent community. I walk the streets and see that there is no more community. People aren’t helping each other out and everyone is basically staying to themselves. I didn’t grow up like that. It bothers me to see that. I want this organization to bring back the importance of the old educating the young and the young helping the old. We have created two entities which are “Better Man University” and “Better Woman University”. We will be coming out with our third entity mid-summer called “Young Gift Academy” for children ages 22 and under. It’s an intergenerational concept.

What programs and services do you offer through DTE?
We have developed an interactive website. The website is designed to interact with patrons who visit the site. There are a team of “professors” on the site that will give insight on issues that evolve in our communities. These “professors” are not accredited “professors” but “professors” that have lived through these issues. You as the patron will be able to ask a question, give a comment or tell a personal story after each lecture. We do not post derogatory comments. We are working to promote a positive state of mind. Right now to register patrons click on the “admissions” section on the top right corner of the page. We are currently working on the back end of the site so that people will be able to sign in with their email addresses.

I talked with you recently about DTE and your goals, and I love that this vision you have is community-based. We talked a lot about back in the day and how important it is to have that community involvement in an individual's life. Why do you think we have fallen away from that mentality?
I bring the word “selfish” up again because that is indeed what some of us have become. We don’t remember that “Bernadine” on the 7th floor has 3 kids and is a single mom and may need help with the kids tonight because it gets overwhelming. We forget that “Mr. Jenkins” in the next building lost his wife a few years ago and may want company this afternoon just to talk about the old days or current events. Situations like that, we fail to look at. I feel its time we open our eyes.

Check out Cindy Senyah Baah on The Urban Wall Street Project!

Why do you think community involvement is so vital to this project?
I feel that this organization can bring that “GOOD” part of life back into the community. You don’t need money to help your neighbor. All you need is time, patience, KNOWLEDGE and a smile. I know it’s not easy but it is possible. If we can’t come together in our own community and teach ourselves and others better ways of life, we are headed for destruction within ourselves. It’s a cold world out there.

How can people get involved in DTE?
People can log on to the site and read the lectures that we are giving. We have already held a face to face Men’s forum for “Better Man University” and a face to face Women’s forum for “Better Woman University”. Beginning this winter we will be looking for volunteers. Those who wish to volunteer for different events that we have, there will be a posting on the site on how people can get involved on different projects coming up in Winter of 2009.

How do you plan to expand DTE in the future?
We just had our First Annual Book Donation Drive benefiting senior citizens in nursing homes as well as children and adults rehibilating from physical sicknesses in Harlem, NY. We raised over 150 books! At the present time we are based in New York. I’d like to open up a facility in Harlem, NY where we can have more face to face forums and have programs for children. We are actually working on getting a couple of projects started for “Young Gift Academy”. I’d also like to expand to other parts of the country and eventually other parts of the world. We are working on having a one year anniversary fundraiser at the end of the year for Determined To Educate, Inc and much much more…so stay tuned Folks!!

Any last comments you'd like to make?
I’d like to thank everyone that has been supporting the organization and the movement and welcome those who are unaware to log on to our website to find out more about us. Another special shout out to James Watson who designs our website. He does such a phenomenal job and gives great input to the organization. My COO, Donald Baah and brother for his amazing drive at such a young age, My staff and team of “Professors” that volunteer their time and words of wisdom. I would also like to thank everyone who attended/donated and those who helped at the Book Donation Drive and broke some sweat (Claudette, Grace, “Prof”, Shani Myers, Anthony, Janine, Rahman, Owen and family, “Prof”.Jaimie Jennings, Chris, Justice, Maia, Earl, Mali, Cathy, Kimmy, Niko, Jaquan, Sidelle. “Prof” Jai, Earl Christian III and Alan from The Urban Wall Street Project – Thanks so much for all the hard work, it paid off!!!) and a special thank You to our sponsors, Tonnie's Minis in New York, New York (West Village) and Absolutely Creative Advertising in Brooklyn, New York. We are going to have our apparel line coming soon where you can make a donation by buying a t-shirt or other Determined To Educate, Inc. accessories. Proceeds will go to the programs which we support. Let’s give back people! This time it’s real and it’s important.

And I finally I want to thank you, Shon, for all of your help, support and taking the time with me for this interview and getting the word out as much as you can!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Interracial Duo of Interracial Romance - J. M. Jeffries

For the month of May, All the Blog's a Page (AtBaP) proves that love IS color blind as we feature authors of interracial romance!

We conclude the month with the dynamic duo of interracial romance, J. M. Jeffries!

When a girl wants Hot and Spicy, she finds herself a Latin Lover.

In J.M. Jeffries’s "Partners in Crime," Vincent Mendoza is a CIA agent in charge of his first mission. He must liberate some top secret documents and he turns to jailed cat burglar Cleo Harris to help him. To gain her freedom, she must help the sexy agent. Little does Vincent know that the beautiful thief will steal his heart in the process?

Brash, bold, lingerie designer, Honey Harlow, doesn’t believe in love, but she does worship at the altar of lust. In Paris for her new lingerie line, Sweet Nothings, she meets the sophisticated, suave French vintner, Ettiene Marais. Etienne has come to Fashion Week for one goal--to woo the beautiful Honey and add her as the new crown jewel to his business empire.

Honey's her own woman who plays her by her own rules. She's not interested in going upscale. She like the Frenchman just fine and she's happy enough to play with him, but not be owned by him. But Etienne wants what he wants and he wants Honey.

Want to know what J. M. Jeffries' take on interracial relationships and romance is? Head to All the Blog's a Page!

And while there, check out this month's features with authors Tressie Lockwood, Marie Rochelle, and J.J. Murray!

ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE (AtBaP) - Where everything relates to writing


Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Importance of Being SASSY

ARE YOU....SASSY? Come by CLG today to check out my interview with Eva, owner of the site SASSY WOMEN, a place dedicated to creating a community for women of color in their twenties!

When asked, How would you define the typical SASSY young women of color, Eva replied, "Well SASSY Women means Smart, Ambitious, Sexy and Sophisticated Young Women. That's the typical woman. Most of us at least have a BA, but most have some sort of graduate degree or are on the way. A lot of the writers (and readers I imagine) have some sort of hustle, usually in the form of their own business. They do more than just the 9 to 5 and then sit at home. They are of course sexy, beautiful inside and out, and confident. And sophisticated - we are not the stereotypical crazy or angry women. We carry ourselves with grace. (I can't forget that there are SASSY men out there. They are simply amazing too!)."

Check out the rest of my feature on SASSY @ ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING!

ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING

Chocolate-caramel lattes + Women writers = ONE GREAT TIME!


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"Really Real" Love with Author J. J. Murray

For the month of May, All the Blog's a Page (AtBaP) proves that love IS color blind as we feature authors of interracial romance!

This week, we spotlight acclaimed author J. J. Murray!

The first time I saw J. J.'s picture, I have to admit I was shocked. I was used to African American female writers telling the stories of multicultural love. But then I read Renee and Jay. And then I read Renee and Jay 2. And then I read Something Real. And then I read the other books, and I realized two things: Murray's a good storyteller, and what I enjoy the most from his writing is my ability to see he wants to tell a good love story (no matter the color).

J. J.'s Latest

J.J. is a rare breed. He might actually be the only white male author who exclusively writes IR novels, and of course, because of this, I had to pose the following question: "How have readers taken to your work and to you as a white male author of IR?"

Murray replied, "I may be the only one! People generally squint at me a lot at readings for some reason, as if I'm not quite in focus. I sometimes open readings with, "You were expecting someone else?" I have been told that I couldn't possibly be J. J. Murray at writer's conferences--I even had to show ID. I once stood up from a signing in North Carolina to stretch my legs, and my wife signed books for me as J. J. Murray without anyone being the wiser. (I'm such a ghost sometimes). So many readers write to me after reading my books to tell me they didn't know I was a white man, some (not all) of them adding that it didn't matter a bit. I just hope and pray that I can touch a few hearts, pull a few heartstrings, release a few tears, and unleash some laughter in reader's lives. I hope readers smile when they've read the last word."

To read the rest of J. J. Murray's comments on interracial romance and to read an excerpt of Too Much of a Good Thing, head to All the Blog's a Page!

And while there, check out this month's features with authors Tressie Lockwood and Marie Rochelle!

ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE (AtBaP) - Where everything relates to writing


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Author Marie Rochelle Talks Interracial Romance @ AtBaP

For the month of May, All the Blog's a Page (AtBaP) proves that love IS color blind as we feature authors of interracial romance!

This week, we spotlight "The Queen of Tease," author Marie Rochelle!

The Perfect Temptation:

The moment he spotted her he knew that he had to have her. Dave Turner couldn’t get the stunning image of the creamy mocha beauty Charisma Miles out of his mind. He wasn’t going to stop pursing her until she was completely his.

Tall, Handsome and Oh so Yummy!

Muscles and tattoos are her ultimate weakness that’s why Charisma Miles stays as far away from Dave Turner as she can. His rock hard body is constantly the featured attraction in her dreams. He’s her ultimate fantasy, but is she ready for her dreams to become a reality?

For the month of May, I asked SEVERAL questions regarding interracial romance, and ultimately, Marie Rochelle is happy to see the positive climate in interracial romance; she states, "I do believe that writers of interracial romances have come a very long way in the last couple of years. I’m noticing a lot more interracial romance books in bookstores like Kmart, Books a Million, Barnes and Nobles, and Wal-Mart in my hometown. I think it’s wonderful. When I was a teenager and used to buy books, I seldom saw a black woman on the cover with a white man and now I do. It’s truly a wonderful sight."

To read the rest of Marie Rochelle's comments on interracial romance and to read the juicy excerpt to her novel, Tempting Turner, head to All the Blog's a Page!

And while there, check out the features with all of our talented writers on topics such as memoirs, urban fiction, homosexuality, faith, screenwriting, and MORE!

ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE (AtBaP) - Where everything relates to writing

Monday, May 04, 2009

Spring-Summer 2009 Issue of SisterDivas is LIVE!

SisterDivas Magazine - Where REAL Women Congregate

Why should you check out the Spring-Summer 2009 Issue of SISTERDIVAS?

Because @ MEDIA, we feature five individuals whose talents move through words, through song, and through celebrity entertainment: authors Brooke Green, Janete Scobie, and Leah Mullen; musician Roselyn Brown; and entertainment blogger Shari Weiss.

Because this issue of TOTAL BODY, we welcome Yolanda Shoshana as THE LUSCIOUS LIFESTYLE columnist; in her premiere column, she talks about a popular four-letter word.

Because in EPISODE EIGHT of LOVE BYTES, Destiny runs into her ex-fiancé and his new wife and learns news that could send her reeling.

Because over @ LIFE this issue, All That Glitters columnist Melodye Shore poignantly writes about hellos and goodbyes while SD interviews "The Relaxed Writer" Marla Beck, who talks about her career as a life coach for writers.

Because relationships of all kinds are explored this issue @ Relationships as Simone Grant AKA SINgleGIRL talks about being single in the city; Katie Stanton and Gloria Pan of Fem 2.0 discuss the importance of building relationships among women; and Yolanda Shoshana talks about the "luscious lifestyle."

Because over @ BUZZWORTHY, we show you our top pics for hot TV shows, CDs, movies, and books for spring-summer '09.

To contact SisterDivas regarding submissions or other inquiries, please e-mail us at

We work hard to answer ANY and ALL e-mails as quickly as possible.

SisterDivas: Where ALL Women Congregate!

Spring-Summer 2009 Issue of TNC Magazine is LIVE

Why should you check out the Spring-Summer 2009 Issue of THE NUBIAN CHRONICLES?

With our reader-favorite column this issue, we interview authors King Dhakir (I Hate My Job) and Miki Starr Martin (Zella Dora)!

@ DCC, we bring episode 17 of our online serial, EVERYTHING'S GONNA BE ALRIGHT: Randi has to deal with Dru as a fellow employee, and Cassie goes to another man to receive advice on her life.


“Deep in thought?” Randi knew it was Dru and didn’t turn around.

“Just thinking about Clem.”

“You hear anything more since this morning?”

“No,” Randi said, leaning her forehead against the desk. “Cadu mentioned that Clem may stop by to see me, but so far, no Clem.”

Randi heard Dru walk up behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders. Her first instinct was to flinch and tell Dru to back off; she couldn’t think straight with him touching her. But she didn’t. She felt every cell inside of her breathe deeply as she relaxed.

“She’s going to be okay you know,” Dru said, massaging Randi’s shoulders.

“I can’t be sure this time,” Randi said. “This is major. I just wish she would come here. I can’t concentrate on work. I can’t concentrate on anything. I need to see her and see for myself that she’s okay.”

“I understand that, Ran. She’s your best friend.” Randi nodded, feeling a knot in her throat, the pain of her best friend seeping into herself.

“Yeah,” Randi whispered, as emotions began to take her voice. “My best friend.” Randi closed her eyes, feeling Dru’s fingers knead her shoulders, her neck.

Dru’s warm breath made the hairs on the back of Randi’s neck stand. “Feel good?” he whispered.

Randi shivered, moaning softly. She should be fighting this. Fighting the feelings she was feeling. Fighting the tingling sensation that was moving up and down her spine.

Dru pressed his lips against the back of Randi’s neck, kissing her, as she moaned.

“Dru,” she said. “We shouldn’t be doing this.” Randi’s eyes fluttered opened, snapping her back into reality. She saw Clemson down on the floor and jolted.

NUBIAN belles-lettres has four eclectic reads this issue, bring your short stories, novel excerpts, and commentaries on love, relationships, and black literature!

Shadow - Rendezvous at the Lake - (short story) - lovely, head-strong Alison Jamison has vowed to leave the dating scene alone, but when she meets Giovanni Quincy, a handsome, articulate man from New Orleans, she might learn it's better to take a chance in love and life than not to take a chance at all.

Sharon Griffith - The Black Voices - (commentary) - Griffith talks about the journey and the promise for the future of black literature.

Jennifer Coissiere - Pink Ribbon - (excerpt from short story collection) - Coissiere shares with us "Pink Ribbon," part of her Ribbons Pinned series in which varied characters come forward at an annual motivational connection weekend and share a different life altering times represented by causes that different colored ribbon represents.

Erica-Faye Nicole Williams - Divas of Dutchess - (novel excerpt) - true to life story of a family-oriented, African-American young woman coming to terms with life and love and realizing that things and people aren't always what they seem to be.

@ The Poetry Corner, we spotlight the hot poetical prowess of DAMNYO, who when asked what inspires you to write, replied, "What inspires me to write is pain, in my life and in other's lives. My little brother's smile. Indignation in the world, so many things move me. It's hard to capture every single inspiration. I love moving the world with my words. I live poetry. It's my life."

@ IN DA CLUB, mega-reader and book reviewer Sharon Lewis talks about her reading habits, what makes a good book, and more!

@ ASK DEDAN, Dedan Tolbert offers men advice on how to keep their women happy.

In this issue of The Living Room, Anastacia Tolbert gives us the short drama, Let Go and Let Them, about a daughter stuck between a mother and grandmother who can't communicate and the disease that connects them painfully together.

Can't have a story without a plot, and in her latest THE WRITE LIFE article, Shon Bacon discusses how important plot really is to all stories.

To contact The Nubian Chronicles regarding submissions or other inquiries, please e-mail us at

We work hard to answer ANY and ALL e-mails as quickly as possible!

The Nubian Chronicles -!