African American · Self publishing · writing

A Note About “Street Fiction”

For the last week or so, I ventured into a category I thought I laid to rest in 2006.

Street Fiction, or Urban Fiction.

It is gritty. It is real. It can be…nasty, sexually explicit, I mean.

Today I want to briefly explain what Urban Fiction means to me and why I decided to read more of it lately as well as some pitfalls of the category that should be cleaned up by now(I do this with love for black writers and their craft).

Do I Purchase These Books Because I Am Black?

This is not a tough question. The answer is that I love the books because they are just so darn good and the bonus is that the authors and characters look like me and write from a place of understanding what we as African Americans go through- or at least those from low to middle income neighborhoods. I just finished Little Miami Girl, books 1 and 2 and even though I’ve never been to Miami, the reality of aunts hating their own flesh and blood, men who carry guns on the regular and even the reality of rape is so common in some or most of the impoverished black neighborhoods that you feel as if you are reading about someone you know or even yourself.

I read Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree in high school and more of his urban fiction that I could not stop reading. Later on after college I gobbled up Zane, Eric Jerome Dickey, and even Octavia E. Butler books because it interested me. All of this during a time I was falling in love with Amish fiction and medical thrillers.

Can Urban Fiction Be Defined as Real Literature?

A quick Googling will reveal the definition of literature meaning “a work of lasting merit”.

Who deems a book lasting or of merit?

Time.

Walter Dean Myers, Tanarive Due, Octavia Butler’s books will prove to have lasting quality in the future.

Then again, does that mean any good book can be considered literature?

I am a huge fan of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Patterson and most recently Julie Lessman. I believe whatever these writers write, at least half of their stories will become classic literature. But again, it depends on time, lots of it.

The “hood books” I read now are quick reads with drug abuse and sex as the main themes but there are also some which surprised me. A Dopegirl Needs Love Too and A Thug’s Love feature strong, sexy, smart women who make moves in their communities while making mistakes along the way.

But there are problems I see already with current Urban Fiction.

A Competitive, Popular Market

With self publishing being as simple as uploading your manuscript to Kindle or CreateSpace, or even Smashwords and Lulu, one can immediately send off their book.

One problem.

I have this problem too sometimes: self editing.

Many books and not just Urban Fiction included, requires heavy editing- some typos may escape and that is okay, but some Urban books I have been reading have so many hiccups in grammar, it can be trifling.  I am speaking as a bookworm though and not a grammarian.

Also, the pricing of Urban Fiction can be better. The ones I have downloaded cost Free or at least 99 cents with the highest being 3.99 but there are a couple I have seen where the Kindle version is ten bucks! I think that is way too high for a pricing model.

It burns me up badly when I enjoy a series and I find out that the final installment is ten dollars and the magic in all this is that people have paid the money and in their reviews they gripe about it, but they still paid.

All of this to say that street/urban stories has come a long way with more African American publishing companies and editors opening up their doors and the ease of buying them online is also a plus.

I will continue to read and promote these books because they are truly addicting if you can get past the language and “rawness” of the streets in these works. Their redeeming quality is that even though the bad stuff seem glorified, there are real consequences for the characters involved and the messages will be clear to any audience.

If you enjoyed this post, don’t be shy! Like it. Share it. Subscribe to this blog and share The Write Web 🙂

~Ericajean

 

 

 

4 Star reviews · African American · book review · Romance

More Than a Client by Ambrielle Kirk( a review)

more than a client
Cover Image courtesy of Obsidian Gem Publishing

More Than a Client(Seductive Romance Shorts) by Ambrielle Kirk

Published by Obsidian Gem Publishing(2014)

65 pages

Received FREE from InstaFreebie

Martin Johansson wants to keep his customers satisfied. When he goes out of his way to make amends with one of his customers, Tiffany Winters, he gets more than he bargained for. He did not expect the woman, whose voice he’s listened to and flirted with over the phone to be a Nubian beauty.

Tiffany Winters wishes the shipping company would pick up her orders on time and when she complains, the owner of Elite Courier comes to her door and she is unprepared for the owner to be as handsome or as kind.

When they meet in person, it definitely ignites the pages in this short story.

If you want to read a story that you can devour in thirty minutes or less, then this one is for you. The quality of writing and pacing is good and the characters were okay too.

Martin stepped forward. “You heard her. I might look like Vanilla Ice to you, but if you test my patience, you will see what I look like when I knock your lights out.” (More Than a Client, pg. 50)

I liked Martin and Tiffany together and they work perfectly for this little story, but I think I wanted something essentially unique this time. In this story you have Tiffany, her bothersome ex and then her newfound beginning in love all over again.

Same recycled story from most romances but again, it is a short story and I really do like the intense heat and the characters in this one.

For more reviews like this one, subscribe to my blog!

If you have a book you’d like me to read or that you’d like to “buddy read” together, please contact me and we’ll make it work 🙂

-The Write Web

4.5 Star Review · African American · book review · Romance

Driven By Desire by Ambrielle Kirk ( a review)

Driven BY Desire
Cover Design by ResplendentMedia.com

Driven by Desire(Rugged Series, #1)by Ambrielle Kirk

Published: Second Edition-March 2016

Received for free through InstaFreebie.com

Cover Design by ResplendentMedia.com

After reading this review, you will want to click ambriellkirk.com to learn more!

Alright, so after traveling through D.C with the last book, this book by another author now takes us through “HotLanta” or Atlanta Georgia to be more precise- where a sexy biker crew knows how to handle bikes and women.

Tanya is in Ocho Rios for a friend’s wedding, when an extremely good looking stranger drifts into her life.

Fresh from a breakup, Tanya does not want to enter any kind of relationship with Marcus, but with that devilish grin he wears, those alluring tattoos, and deep silky voice, maybe she can play with him just a little while…?

Before long, Tanya finds herself sinking into Marcus’s world and she imagines herself a part of him.

However, Marcus surprised me.

He may be “tatted” up and riding bikes, but this man is a CEO and he knows how to keep his cool under any circumstance. It is Tanya that rattles his soul though. His thoughtfulness, his sweetness and the O.M.G moments they have between the sheets will have you licking your fingers and looking crazy.

I enjoyed this book immensely. There were quite a few grammar errors (who doesn’t have them?) and a slight POV mishap, but it’s a bump in the road, easily crossed.

If you like bikers, tattoos, and incredibly hot romance, I think you ought to grab this one! This one earns 4.5 scorching purple hearts from me!

Need more book reviews? Make sure to subscribe! 🙂

4 Star reviews · African American · book review · Communicating with God · contemporary christian fiction

Her Secret Life by Tiffany L. Warren(a review)

Her Secret Life by Tiffany L. Warren
Published by Dafina Books(2017)
ISBN: 978-1-4967-0872-4
Book received for free from Netgalley

Note: This book can be categorized as Christian Fiction but has a few disturbing scenes and language you may find distasteful.

Her Secret Life was actually a pretty good book. It had all the right ingredients.

Including the ingredient for annoyance.

Onika was born to a cracked out black mother and handsome Puerto Rican father/pimp.

Her grandmother, Earlene ends up raising her in a strict, religious home.

Every day Onika and her grandmother prayed for her mother to be healed by God and for years that never happens. Coupled with Earlene’s ornery attitude, Onika eventually gives up on Church and God completely and no one can blame her at this point.

Eventually, Onika earns a full scholarship to a prestigious college in Washington, D.C. where she meets a handsome guy at least ten years older than she and that is when things get really interesting…

 She was Judy’s child. It was inevitable that she’d be addicted to something.  [Quote from Her Secret Life, 2017]

My Reaction:

Onika, Onika.

She is not my favorite character at all.

The book itself is actually quite good. It kept me up reading very late, I talked my husband’s ears off about it, so yeah it was pretty good.

The author wrote in a way that makes me believe she actually knew these people. I think this is what made me dislike Onika all the way around.

Onika comes off as proud and even intelligent. Then she’d turn around and do something utterly dumb.

There were times in the story where I lost all pity for this girl and I feel bad because I knew people who have been in bad situations like her so she has every right to feel like she need to keep her life private.

But to lie to everyone…?

Then disrespect those helping you?

I could not take it anymore. When I lose connection to a character, the story is lost for me. I began rooting for Graham(Onika’s new love interest) and enjoying Charmagne’s(Onika’s benefactor) character. Even though Charmagne was a holy roller and attributes every single thing to God all the time, she had a Christ-like attitude and was refreshing to the story.

This book also touches on issues such as colorism, drugs, and Christianity/Churchianity.

Again, a very nice book, but I abhorred Onika’s character.

Want more honest reviews about books? Subscribe to my blog 🙂
-The Write Web

African American · Historical Fiction · Saturday Samplers

Sample Saturday: An Extraordinary Union (The Loyal League, #1)

Interracial Romance Extraordinary Union
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

 An Extraordinary Union (The Loyal League, #1)

Author: Alyssa Cole

Published by Kensington March 28, 2017

Get it on the Kindle now and see why this book grabbed five star ratings!

Why did I sample this book?

  1. A fellow blogger on WordPress mentioned the title and just from her praises of the gorgeous cover, I had to read onward.
  2. Did I mention this book has raving reviews?
  3. Did I mention it takes place during the civil war, has a gorgeous black female protagonist paired up with a white detective(possible love interest?)
  4. I have always loved Regency romance and other historical books. I can get swept up in them easily.

Hopefully I have convinced you that a free sample of this book is too yummy to turn down. I think I will order the print version. Seems worth it, don’t you think?  🙂

4.5 Star Review · African American · Creative Writing · writing

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé(Book Review)

Morgan Parker
Blog design by Ericajean using Pixlr/Book Design Courtesy Tin House Books

4.5 Purple Hearts

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce, Morgan Parker

Edition: Paperback

ISBN: 978-1941040539

Price: 14.95 USD(Get First Edition on Amazon for less)

*Book received for free from Netgalley.

With a title such as There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce, Morgan Parker is setting the reader up for poetry that will be evocative, provocative, enthralling and enriched, steeped in the black and black woman experience.

For a greater experience of Morgan Parker’s writing, check out her article on Afrofuturism that is amazing!

My Reaction:

Reading Parker’s poetry was like taking a deep dive into some subconscious quagmire that only those in touch with pop culture will sink into. However it was hard not to judge this book subjectively because with poems like “13 Ways of Looking at a Black Girl”,“Afro”, and “RoboBeyonce” I had a party in my head and I understood exactly where the speaker was coming from.

Take these words for instance:

“I’m too small to see but I’m listening.”

Or

“On the last day of the year I enter a scalding tub and think you away.”

Many poems I understood, just from living it.

However, some poems I came across seemed to be from a stream of consciousness that my mind just froze upon. That is okay. Stream of consciousness is good. I delve into it with my own writing too, creating abstract poems with my abstract brain.

This is a great book of poetry, I do recommend it to those who enjoy poetry infused with pop culture and plenty of interesting, uncharacteristic rhythm.