National Black Book Festival


Thursday, August 4, 2011

NBCC and a Tribute to L. A. Banks

I’m back from the ATL attending the NBBC -  National Book Club Conference.  Met some of my favorite authors and a few who I saw in Houston at the NBBF.  So much to talk about and so many books I brought to read and so many more books to buy later, I’m high, just as high as a kite flying over the rainbow with no string attached.  Just flying my but off.  I’m still high from Houston, the books, the authors, and especially Earth, Wind and Fire.  Feeling too good and feeling too ecstatically happy, but lets get to some of the functions first.  It is going to take me a few blogs to get everything in and I may mention some of the authors from Houston.  I won’t let you down.  I will give you the best price and all of the books your behind can handle.  Can you handle it??  (Oh, so old school isn't’ it) 
We arrived Thursday night to attend the ATL NBBC Chocolate Social.  We, I mean Cat, Maya, Flash, Nadia, Veronica and I, a smaller group of the Literary Divas of the Low Country.  We have about 30 members and it’s still growing.  We expected to attend a grand semi-formal dinner to honor the book clubs and authors attending the conference.  What we got was a ballroom of a few authors (will discuss them later) and many speeches from authors, book club presidents and other honorees.  Some were short and to the point, others were just too long and the dinner (Hors d’oeuvre, seriously, we were expecting dinner since we paid for it!!) was disappearing fast, and when I went to get a plate and all the little food was gone, I was stuck with a small brownie and a cup of hot tea.  When I returned to the table with the girls I said, “Somebody better feed me soon!!! I”m hungry.!  Some people were wearing beautiful dresses, some dresses were higher than an plane with no gear under it, some in jeans, some in “I’m still trying to figure it out,” and some, like my group, in simple dresses.  Not quite the “semi-formal.”  
I saw three authors I met in Houston who were surprised to see me, not surprised like a stalker, just surprised and they remember me which was nice.  

CARLEEN BRICE - ORANGE MINT AND HONEY: A NOVEL - $11.99, Mr. Robert Moore, author of THE PRESIDENT’S MEN: BLACK UNITED STATES MARSHALS IN AMERICA and another of my favorite murder mystery writer, Mrs. PAMELA SAMUELS-YOUNG,  Monique D. Mensah, who I will mention her books later and Mrs. JACQUELINE LUCKETT - SEARCHING FOR TINA TURNER
You cannot complain much.  They did the best they could with the funds available.  Hey, at least I got a brownie, that’s something!!!! Let me give you a run down on the authors and their books that night.
MONIQUE D. MENSAH - INSIDE RAIN - $3.99 - - - I brought this first book in Houston at the NBBF.  Now that is one sister who knows how to dress for her body.  She smiles and very personable and friendly to everyone who came to her table.  The book has been mentioned on the Michael Baisden show and I don’t think he would waste his time and neither would I or you on a lousy book. 
After witnessing her mother’s gruesome murder as a child, she is now left piecing together the fragments of her shattered psyche as an adult. Quickly, she is drowning in years of frustration and confusion with no promise of relief. Sinister visions and undying spirits haunt Rain relentlessly, driving her deeper into darkness and lunacy. Rain’s grandmother, GiGi, tries her best to help Rain face the truth, urging her to confront her past, but the past is too painful, it’s easier to hide. As Rain struggles desperately to define herself, she's forced to brave her live-in siblings: a violent and narcissistic brother, Danny, who resents her weakness and Carmen, her promiscuous and hostile older sister, who wishes Rain would disappear. In her fragile mental state, Rain is ill-equipped to handle the chaos of their ruptured lives. When Rain, Carmen, and Danny are submerged into the horrors of prostitution, drug-addiction, domestic violence, and murder, Rain is left alone to face her internal demons and find her identity, with no one to answer to, but herself.

MONIQUE D. MENSAH - WHO IS HE TO YOU - $3.99 - - - Simone, a shockingly beautiful teen, is on the downward spiral of destruction as she battles incest and self-hatred; she finds cutting to be the only way to relieve her pain. Jessica lives the upscale lifestyle of a refined society matron. She strives to be the perfect wife, but without her husband, Ross, she would be nothing more than the abused stripper he rescued 16 years ago. Ryan, a fiery thirty-something, is quickly slipping into depression and prescription drug-addiction as her boyfriend, Anthony, artfully dangles the empty promise of marriage. As the shattered lives of three very different women collide, they find that they have one thing in common: they are all in a desperate fight to hang on to love. But when love involves incest, self-mutilation, drug-addiction and murder, will they continue to fight or will they find the strength to escape before it's too late? 

Monique has received lots and lots of great comments about both of her books and I just can’t wait to get into it.  You know I brought so many books, that I’m still unpacking and I have been back for three days.  That’s a good thing to have to do, unpack books and make a decision where to start first.  Love it, Love it!!!

TERRI D. - YESTERDAY’S LIES - $2.99 - - - This is one of the ladies that I made a McDonald’s run for in Houston and afterwards, sat down and talked a little with her.  Not much to say because my time was short being a volunteer there, but I remember her table looked very quiet and somber.  Like she was not going to push and pull you to buy her book, but when you look at her and the table, you are drawn to it so softly.  It was the same Thursday night at the Chocolate social, very laid back and very quiet.  
What Secrets Do You Keep From The One You Share Everything With? Secrets. Lies. Half-Truths. A poignant tale of a circle of close knit friends whose lives are more intertwined than they realize. That is until the blurred lines of Love, Lust and Friendship begins to reveal the half-truths and lies that exist. Will the secrets they all hold from the past ruin their friendship and lives forever?

You see what I mean, quiet.  I must have picked up 50 of her bookmarks and have passed them around my office.  So far, she has three orders already. Even the bookmark looks soft!
JACQUELINE LUCKETT - SEARCHING FOR TINA TURNER - $9.99 - - - Ms. Luckett has this long, mixture of blond/brown crinkle hair down her back but with a big semi red lipstick smile and bright eyes and funny as hell.  You can talk to her all night.  She is a “Sister friend” and this book was included in our gift packages.  Oh, did I forget to tell you that we did get a gift bag and it was filled with books, a small carry-on bag, book marks of authors works and one piece of Godiva chocolate bar, I guess that was our “Chocolate Social” surprise. 
Lena’s husband, Randall, has been climbing the corporate ladder for years, and Lena has supported him every step of the way, glad to help him and raise their two children. But now she feels as though she has lost herself in the process, and is drowning in luxury. With his goal of becoming the first black CEO of his company in reach, Randall refuses to go to therapy; and with the same determination that has led to his success, he tells Lena to accept the status quo or get a divorce. At 52, Lena knows well how divorce changes everything as friends, and even children, choose sides. Seeking guidance and support, Lena discovers the wisdom of singer and survivor Tina Turner, using Turner’s story as a road map to finding her own happiness and a way back to her dreams. In her debut novel Luckett delivers a strong, likable heroine who comes through her crisis by recognizing her true worth and empowering herself. 

After the “Chocolate Social,” I reminded my “sister friends” that I was hungry and get me to thy dinner some where.  We went to the Hard Rock Cafe on Peachtree Street.  Met Steve, the waiter, I was just calling him that because I was too hungry to remember his real name, but got served some great food.  That  Grilled Mediterranean Shrimp Pasta was the Bomb!!!! I had that in Houston.  

Got to stick on one for Black History Year.  
On a very, very sad note, Ms. L. A. Banks (Leslie Banks) passed away yesterday.  All of the serious book lovers, sci-fi affectionados and many people around the world, are much better to have known her and her works.  You may not have known her as a friend or relative, but through her books, with her fighting agenda, spirit against evil and a black woman who takes no stuff, but loves like no other, romance stories and a bit of history, then you know L. A. Banks.  Over the next few blogs, she will be our black history and I will help everyone to remember her and encourage everyone to buy all of her books.  You will no way possible be disappointed.
L. A. BANKS – MINION (VAMPIRE HUNTRESS LEGEND) $7.99 - - - I love vampires.  Whether it’s Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff (He played a mean Frankenstein.  You can’t tell me you did not like that look with his eyes that tells you he was ready to kick ass;), Frank Langella (He played a sexy vampire, I just loved it when he came into the living room and swooshed the caped around his neck, which also swooshed the damsel in distress, and then I wished it was me. Sick, I know, just sick!), I even liked Eddie Murphy when he played a vampire in “Vampire in Brooklyn” with a bad ass apartment in the middle of the hood.  Yes, it was campy and kooky, and maybe a bit better than Blacula, another 70s black movie with William Marshall and Vonetta McGee, hey I love them.  I get a kick out of vampires.  They are so smoooooth!!!!  This sister in L. A. Banks books can kick some butt and I’m loving it!!

Damali Richards is a rising star of Warriors of Light Records, but her fans would never guess that she is also the most important vampire hunter in a millennium. However, unfortunately for the inexperienced young huntress, the vampires and demons have both discovered her existence. An age-old war escalates to unprecedented heights of violence as the dark forces strive to slay Damali before she comes of age and gains her full powers.
Damali is an appealing heroine, the concept is intriguing, and the series is promising. However, the first novel is rocky. Damali is a vampire-killing martial artist, and Minion presents an epic struggle between good and evil, yet the novel neglects to include a climactic battle between Damali and the bad guys (or much of a climax at all; a sequel is obviously forthcoming). Another problem is that Damali's teacher withholds crucial information from not only the huntress, but also her guardians, who should have learned everything many years ago. In contrast, the characters frequently tell each other things they already know. Readers craving the twisted erotic charge of the Anita Blake novels or the Buffy-Spike relationship may be dissatisfied that sexual tension is less important to Minion; and readers seeking Hamiltonian melodrama may also be disappointed.