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

 

 

 

Creative Writing · Self publishing · Smashwords · Uncategorized

Note to Readers of ‘Kiss of Stone’

Note to Readers!

Due to moving around a lot and losing material and technology(I know, really bad), there has been a severe delay in creating a second book to the Mark of Fortune series.

However, I am no longer in denial.

The genie romance was designed to present, simply, an idea. That’s it.

This is not to say that Sam and Stone’s story is completely over. I wrote it during a time that the world was built completely by my imagination and the direction I wish it to go continues to get stifled by the Muse.

Muse wins.

I am deeply sorry to my readers who enjoyed the work. Deeply. My heart breaks when I think of what the series can become.

However, all hope is not lost. I will be publishing great content and working on future genie books following a trajectory I think we all will be satisfied with. For now, join me in my adventure creating content in other genres I enjoy!

XOXO,

Erica

P.S. I am working on a serious memoir and some poems at this time. Visit me at Smashwords to find more of my writings and don’t forget to check out Write Resumes Right 2017, where I hope to collaborate with you on the structure, challenge and rewarding phase of job app writing.

Woot!

 

Author interview · Self publishing

Interview With Trish Marie Dawson

It’s Ya Summer continues now with the wonderful, talented author, Trish Marie Dawson! Author of The Station Series. Book 4: Dying to Know is currently out.

I am so blessed she agreed to do this. Thanks, Trish!

************************************************************

The Write Web: Hi, Trish! It is so nice to finally pick your brain about The Trish Marie Dawson CollageStation series and writing in general. It is such an interesting novel dealing with romance and the afterlife, and so much more- where did the concept originate?

Trish Marie Dawson: Hi Erica, thanks for having me! Working on the Station books have been quite an adventure to write; I’m happy you’ve enjoyed Piper’s story so far.

Most of my books start from a combination of strange dreams and life experiences, and the same is true for the first Station book, Dying to Forget.

TWW: What really grabbed my attention is the very first chapter when Piper is with a guy and he harms her…How difficult was it to write that scene?

TMD: The beginning of DtF is hard to read for most people, but it’s a sad fact that sexual assault is a real problem for our youth. As are the other issues brought up in the series like bullying and of course, suicide.

I don’t think mental health is discussed nearly enough, nor the topics brought up after Piper naively drinks from that red cup. Those scenes were very difficult to write, but unfortunately, they happen to others like Piper every day.

My hope though, is that readers will take away something positive from the read, which is also heavy on humor.

TWW: After reading Dying to Forget, I had to buy the second book immediately! Piper seems to be the “Every Girl” type who experiences a lot in high school, including tragedy.  But the book does focus on some serious issues: Rape, suicide, cyber bullying…What kind of research if any did you have to do for this work?

TMD: There’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of Dying to Forget, so it’s a good thing that the second is out there and ready to read! lol Research on the topic of suicide and assault is pretty depressing, which I did online, and chatting with others, on top of my own life experiences.

A staggering amount of teens and young adults are depressed, or suffer from clinical depression, which is something that shouldn’t be taboo, but is. Since I write about the subject, I wanted to make sure I did my homework and got the stories right.

Yes, I cried. A lot. I still do, even for the fictional characters I created and tortured, but the upside is that people can heal with the right support system. I want readers to know they are never alone.

TWW: I am beyond excited for the next books in this series! But for those who have not read the book, how would you describe the series in one or two sentences?

TMD: I can’t wait to hear back from you after you’ve continued reading! Please let me know what you think. 🙂 Piper Willow is an ordinary girl who dies the summer after she graduates from high school, but wakes up in an extraordinary afterlife place called the Station. She’s offered the chance to make amends for her choices by helping others in need, but not without a price.

I like to tell people that though this story addresses some heavy issues, I want them to walk away from it with a little more hope than they may have had before.

TWW: I have to admit. I am a Sloan fan(swoon much?). It takes incredible talent to write the way you did when Piper was in Sloan’s mind. It felt real.  Was the twist in the end of Book 1, intentional?(wink, wink)

TMD:  I love Sloan Nash! He’s a sexy, yet damaged young man that I think most of us just want to see heal and move on to be a happy person. The ending of the story was intentional and necessary for both characters, but really all of the characters have a reason for being in the books. I won’t say more, because you know…spoilers! 

TWW:  I read on your website you were inspired after reading Stephen King’s The Stand, which is a powerful movie/book by the way. What other writers influence you and who are your favorite authors?

TMD: Oh, Stephen King. He’s a master storyteller and I love his classic work. Most of what I read in the 90’s was a combination of King and Koontz books, so I do love the darker arts.

I’m not really a horror writer myself, so it’s funny that most of what I write now is primarily YA or Dystopian. lol I think everything I’ve ever read has made an impact on my own writing, and writing something unique in your own voice can be hard, but I try my best to do so.

I’m an avid reader, so I know what it’s like to pick up a book and put it down because you feel as if it’s already been done before. The afterlife is nothing new in the book world, of course. But I created the Station out of my mind and put it together over four books sort of like a puzzle. I’m proud of that, and love when I hear from readers that they’ve not read anything quite like it.

Since publishing my first book, I made it a point to start reading outside my normal favorite genres, which means I don’t have a favorite author anymore, but several. And, being an Indie, I try and read as much of my writer friends’ works as I can. 

TWW: What is your writing routine like? And are you a morning or night writer?

TMD: Writing routine, what’s that? LOL Just kidding. Kinda. After I research a book and begin the actual writing process, I need to do so with relative quiet and little interruptions. But I’m married with two kids and three dogs and a cat that thinks he’s a dog, which means my house is never quiet.

If it weren’t for early bedtimes, headphones and lots of wine and chocolate, I wouldn’t be able to finish one paragraph. Once I’m in the groove though, when I write doesn’t matter. I finished the fourth Station book (Dying to Know) at a Starbucks just shy of closing time, but if morning time works, and I’m left alone long enough to finish a thought, I’ll do my best to knock out some serious wordage till life intervenes.

TWW: The Station Series deal with more than just “earthly” issues. Since none of us living folk know about the afterlife, we rely on stories, movies, others accounts and sometimes our beliefs intermingle with it. I will not ask your beliefs about the afterlife, but what do you hope audiences take away from these books?

TMD: One of the most amazing things about reading is how each reader creates their own interpretation of the story. I’ve had readers send me messages thanking me for the Station, because now they imagine their child, a victim of suicide, out there somewhere helping others. Obviously, the Station is a fictional place, but for some readers, it’s very real.

For this story, there is no need to bring any religion into the plot, which was intentional. I want everyone to be able to read it and form their own opinions and thoughts, regardless of what they do or do not believe in. We are all energy, of course, so even for the hardcore Athiest, I think they can read through Piper’s journey fulfilled. There’s no harm is walking away from a story asking, ‘What if?’

One of the most amazing things about reading is how each reader creates their own interpretation of the story.

TWW: Which character was most fun to write? The least?

TMD:  All my babies are fun to write, but some are definitely harder than others. Piper Willow is a complex and beautiful mess. Bringing her full circle through the last four books was a challenge, so I’d say that writing her took the most work.

But the toughest characters to write are the children, though brief in the stories, because their tales are the saddest and most gut-wrenching. A close second would be Andurush, or ‘Rush’; a character that shows up later in the series, because you know, he’s not human. I’ll say nothing more about him. There’ll be spoilers. 😉

TWW: Quick. What comes to mind when I say “Before”?

TMD: Before ‘bed’. Because soon my kids will need to go to bed and I’m sure they’ve not yet brushed their teeth or done anything else they need to do beforehand. lol

TWW: For writers out there who wish to be published, what advice would you give them?

TMD: My initial advice for prospective authors would be to do their research about the writing and publishing industry before choosing which route to go. I’m self-published, which is different from being signed with a traditional publishing house.

Essentially, I’m my own boss, which means I’m also responsible for all the work! lol There are pros and cons with both ways. More advice would be to start sharing their work with their friends and family NOW and learning how to take constructive criticism and feedback before releasing a full book to the public, so they have a great plot, greater characters, and fantastic editing. With those things, they will find a group of readers eager for more.

Finally, writing is a creative process, different for each of us. I tell my readers that writing is for me, but publishing is for them.

It’s my dream job, but not often ‘easy’, and can be isolating. A support system of friends, beta readers and other writers can help greatly with success. 😉

Conclusion: I am so happy Trish Marie Dawson took the time to answer my questions. If you have not read her books, I will put links at the bottom of this post and I encourage you to comment here and share on your networks as well.

Books in The Station Series

Dying to Forget(Station Series, #1)-FREE on Amazon Kindle

Dying to Remember(Station Series, #2)

Dying to Return(Station Series, #3)

Dying to Know(Station Series, #4)

*Grab the Station Series bundle!

Go to Trish Marie Dawson’s site to learn more about her other books and more!

Devices for Reading · Self publishing · Smashwords

Easy Navigation Links for The Write Web(Mobile Users)

 

 

Sometimes, mobile phones do not display all the home page options unless you scroll down ridiculously long posts, then you’ll see all the goodies down there(you know what I mean).

So here are some links to help you navigate around my blog.

  • First, is the Currently Reading section. I am reading  the YA novel, Melt With You: A Totally 80s Romance, by Addison Moore. It is FREE to download!  melt-with-you-cover
  • If you are a writer needing your book formatted for Smashwords, please head over to Eurekajean’s page for more information! A great service for you!
  • Don’t feel like paying for a book you may want to read? Next, is the Loan Book Rangers Club where I offer books I can loan from Loan Book Rangers3my Kindle. Keep checking back for updates!
  • Finally, and importantly- Contact me if you have questions, suggestions, and comments! Go the Contact Page.

Please Note: There are review gems after this post, so don’t stop here! Please keep reading and share what you see. Sharing leaves a good feeling. Promise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Writing · relationships · Romance · Self publishing · Smashwords · Wattpad Stories · Youth/Young Adult

Book Goodies: Weight and See Free eBook Download, So Worth It

“Weight and See” is FREE to download.  It had over 750 reads and likes on Wattpad as well. And over 600 reads on Smashwords now.

Click Weight and See  to download your free eBook NOW!

Here’s a snippet of the story…

I suffer from obesity. Not for the reason you think, but one of the reasons I suffer is that it is a disease that’s noticeable to all and I am teased for it, daily. My mom is a diva and don’t really understand what I go through because she’s always been so perfect. Her boyfriend Kevin understands me a lot. However, the one I dream of at night and want to kiss, is the one who makes my life a living hell. Brenden Harris is the epitome of hotness and intelligence. But if he and his twin sister don’t stop picking on me, I’m afraid I may explode…”- from Weight and See

I guarantee you that after reading this one, you will be squirming for Book 2(which I am currently working on).

Also, I have plenty of artful quotables to share in relation to this book and its second half. Coming soon!

Well guys and gals, this has been an amazing and HOT summer so far(especially in Va), but with YA summer kicking off like this- who’s complaining?

More goodies are in store for you all. I have sample books from other authors to share with you. Interviews, some more giveaways and discounts, just to make your summer that much more cooler.

Stay amazing!

-Erica

Self publishing · Smashwords

No New News: Authors Are Earning Below the Poverty Line

 

Image found on guardianlv.com
Image found on guardianlv.com

“You have to find some kind of stable job in the market. It’s a rat race, Erica. In fact, you like computers so much- choose technology.”

“Dad, I wanna write.”

“It will not be enough, Erica.”

Years later I am looking at this recent article about “Authors Earning Below the Poverty Line

So, who wants to be a writer?

Apparently those who are so brave and hopeful. We are definitely the pen warriors because I bet the daunting statistics I am about to reveal to you from the Publishers Weekly below will not even scare you.

Check this out from PW:

The survey also indicated that not only are many authors earning little, they are, since 2009, also earning less. Overall, the median writing-related income among respondents dropped from $10,500 in 2009 to $8,000 2014 in 2014, a decline of 24%. The decline came for both full-time and part-time authors with full-time authors reporting a 30% drop in income to $17,500 and part-time authors seeing a 38% decrease, to $4,500.

Not much to live on considering rent, mortgage, food, other bills, and other things.

All of a sudden what dad was trying to tell makes so much sense. He never told me to stop writing, he told me to choose an adequate major. I didn’t. I chose social science instead. It gets me by sometimes, but it is not great in the long run of things.

So now the conversation turns into this: Is this where being an independent author balances things out? Does it matter?

According to what I know of self publishing it can be costly paying for your own editor and designer, etc.

Being trad published is also. You still have to procure your editor and you earn less in royalties compared to being self published.

I could be wrong in all this.

But truth be told, it kind of helps to have a side job in this economy. I love having different jobs that force me to exercise a different “muscle”. Perhaps my next job will involve banking, or public relations, fashion.

It will make for a good story.

Until then, I am still a big promoter of Indie books. In fact some of the books I review are found on Wattpad and Smashwords  and have thousands of fans and reviews.

Thoughts on this?

Please share, like, and subscribe if you enjoyed this piece!

book review · New Adult · relationships · Romance · Self publishing · Wattpad Stories

Before Sunday by LD Crichton(a wattpad review)

Sexy passion couple, beautiful young female and male faces closeup, studio shot
Sexy passion couple, beautiful young female and male faces closeup, studio shot

On the eve of her 21st birthday, Lola makes one wish.

To experience a love so deep that it hurts.

The next morning a gorgeously hot guy, Jackson Sunday, is sitting on her bed claiming he is the answer to her wish and he is her husband in the future…ten years in the future.

Lola questions the guy wondering if he is indeed psycho.

But then when she isn’t near him she is so ill, it breaks her down. And when she is around she feels right as rain.

Enticed yet? Read for free by heading over to Wattpad.

Could this be real? Is it true that he is her dream man and husband from the future?

My Reaction:

I sat up all night to read this. And folks who know me by my reviews know that if I am finished with your book within 1-2 days, then it was stellar.

And “Before Sunday” was as sweet as the cupcake Lola wished on and just as emotional. The anguish, the bitterness, the passion between her and Jackson is palpable.

There were small blunders here and there such as word order and tiny plot confusion here and there but it doesn’t matter- the story was delectable and earns five stars from me.

About LD Crichton

LD Crichton is a sought after writer who has written the only official One Direction fan fiction and she has over 62,000 pre-existing fans who love her works.

She has other books out that readers just gush about, so if you aren’t too busy you may want to immerse yourself in these beautifully broken stories about beautifully broken people.