National Black Book Festival


Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas at the Asylum & Nicole Dunlap

Christmas at the Asylum
If you remember from last year, my Part time job at the Asylum had a Christmas party that bombed.  I had taken my hard earned money and saved for a few weeks $50.00 for the secret Santa gift and took the time to go to Costco and buy a dish.  Yeah, I know, I should have cooked something, but I didn’t.  I waited at that store for an hour and a half with my friend. I called one of the girls who had just left after closing the store and no body, no damn body, showed up.  I was pissed and vowed to never join them in any function again.
Well, they started up with the secret Santa again and decided to have the party at a local park during the day.  I gave in and asked the guy whose name I got from the secret Santa box what he wanted.  I’m not going around trying to find out what to give him.  I asked him to give me a list of five things he would like and I will select one of them to give.  That way, he will be surprised, at least a little.  He asked for a sweat suit, extra small and told me they were on sale.  The other girl heard his request and told me later that those suits were expensive.  Well, I guess he is not getting that from me.  I’ll give $15.00, maybe.  I don’t think I’m going to the party and maybe after next week when I get paid, I will give him the $15.00 then.  I’m still thinking about it and still a bit pissed about last year.  Though I should forgive and move on.  Maybe that’s what I will do, maybe not.
Let’s move one.  I want to ask again if any of you would please provide me some feedback on how I am doing.  Should I blog more?  Should I blog less about the “Asylum” or more about my asylum compatriots?  Should I blog more reviews of books I read, even though I read about 3 to 5 books at a time and sometimes they are not the best, but OK.  Or should I continue to just give you the 411 on the book.  Just trying to get better at this and get more customers on my Amazon blog.  You may not realize it, but I sell this blog on Amazon for one dollar a month.  It’s easy to get the books downloaded onto your Kindle faster.  So, let me know what you think and no, I do not get offended if it’s bad.  I believe you learn when others help you become better.  Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you are having the best Christmas and New Year!!!!! You deserve it!!!
An author, NICOLE DUNLAP – MISS NOBODY (SHAW FAMILY SAGA, BOX 1) - $3.99, contacted me to review her book.  I was honored.  I have received a few requests from authors to post my review on Amazon, my blog and Goodreads.  Boy, I am always, always happy to do that.
Charlene, a young, black 15 year old living in a small town in North Carolina, runs away from home to escape a boring life and to fulfill her dreams of becoming famous.  Oh, well, life has a way of turning the screws.  She misses the bus to take her out of town and hitches a ride with truck driver Roy.  A year later, Otis and Annette find Charlene in a hospital, bruised, badly beaten and has given birth to Raven. 
While Charlene continues to search for fame, Raven is left with Otis and Annette.  Nicole Dunlap goes back and forth in the story from Charlene’s life once she has achieved the fame she wanted; to Raven who has heard for years gossip about her mother and her grandparents, Otis and Annette, who refuses to talk about Charlene, since they are so high and mighty in their Christian beliefs. 
This creates demons for both, Charlene’s guilt and Raven’s wondering who her mother and father are.  Raven becomes good friends with Jonathan, who parents, a neurotic French mother, Elise and a flaccid father.  A friend who has always been there for her thru her demons and who also has always loved her.  Overtime time, it becomes distributing to Elise that Raven and Jonathan’s friendships blossom and there’s a good reason, Raven becomes pregnant, which becomes worse for Jonathan’s father.  What secret is he hiding? 
There are too many secrets and as with any great story, secrets surface.  Don’t they always come out of the dark?  They fling at your face like a hard smack that’s spins your head completely around.  This book, part one, is just the beginning of hidden secrets, love and forgiveness, with a touch of drugs to boot.  I enjoyed the straightforward writing Nicole gives.    She gets to the point with twists and turns without the long wait.  There are some slow moments in the book, but that’s expected in all books.  They cannot give you all of the secrets at the same time, what fun would that be? 
ERICA L. CRUMP – MISCELLANEOUS BLUES - $2.99 - - - It has been nominated book for the 2012 AAMBC (African Americans on the Move Book Club) Literary Award, scheduled for February 13. 
Miscellaneous Blues is a book which some readers are calling the hottest novel since WAITING TO EXHALE by Terry McMillan.  After I read it, I will decide if that statement is true.  Terry’s first few books took the book world by storm and I was one of the ones who got hooked badly.  Sort of miss her.
It's an explosive book about sisterhood, love, and betrayal! Sisterhood is one of the strongest bonds that women can have. The relationship between sisters is a complex, albeit loving one. Even though these sisters can fight hard, they tend to love even harder. In Miscellaneous Blues, you'll get to explore this intricate relationship of sisters - - Cookie, Victoria, Mya, and Lola. They call themselves "The Dexter Divas" and pride themselves on always being there for each other.
Cookie is trying to keep her marriage on track after her husband throws a curve ball in their "perfect marriage.”  Victoria is trying to lose weight off her body as well as dead weight in a slacker live-in boyfriend.  Mya is determined to get her "married boyfriend" to divorce his wife and finally marry her.  Lola, the baby of the family, is finally trying to move past the violent death of her son's father and allow love into her life again.
They don't always see eye to eye but these sisters realize that through all of life's drama, they can always depend on each other for strength. These Dexter Divas know that no matter what, sisterhood is forever. Miscellaneous Blues will give you a chance to live vicariously through The Dexter Divas as these sisters help each other through their relationships, marriages, and careers. You will become so engrossed in the lives of these sisters that it will feel like you are actually part of the Dexter family.  We’ll see, we’ll see!
Hey, just about the publish my blog, when I find a free book:

J. L. CAMPBELL – DON’T GET MAD….GET EVEN – Free - - - You sometimes never know if a free book is good or not.  I say, give it a try and if it’s as good as you like it, you will find other works by the same author.  Let’s just give it a try.
What choices do you have when you are abused, cheated on and left with a trail of broken promises? Don’t Get Mad…Get Even. Take an inside look at Jamaican culture and lifestyle through a collection of award-winning stories. You will laugh, cry and commiserate with a compelling cast of characters, who conquer their challenges in unique ways.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Warfare at the Asylum

It never fails, it just never fails.  What the hell are they thinking sometimes?  I walked into the “Part Time Job at the Asylum” and was just doing my normal routine in the back, when I heard screaming up front.
Let me first set up the scene.  You enter the front of the store where to the right are the condiments and on the left, a seating area.  Continue to walk a few feet ahead and you will reach the counter where the display of items, prices, cashiers, etc. are.  In the back, supplies, sinks, racks, etc., which is where I was in the back of the store working when I heard loud voices.  I did not pay much attention, since they have been known to get loud and ghetto a few times.  This time, though, the voices became louder and vicious.  I walked to the front and noticed a customer sitting at a table, reading on his computer, and holding his head down.  I knew he heard them because he concentrated further on the screen and push in his ear plugs to drown out the noise.  That’s also when I noticed the four employees, three women and one young man, standing there while two of the four, the older one (about 35) and the youngest (about 23) arguing at the top of their lungs, screaming back and forth.  The other two employees just stood there and said nothing.  I tried to calm them down to no avail, so I grabbed the oldest one with both of my arms and held on, while I dragged her from the front counter, out the door, and into the parking lot.  I talked to her to calm her down because she was on the verge of hitting the other employee. Where was the Assistant manager, you ask? Her but conventionally left out of the back door to smoke a cigarette! She heard it, but did not want any parts of it.
I continued to hold on to her while trying to walk and drag her because she was trying to fight me. Then I said, “Hey, I’m not the enemy and you don’t want to start shit with me. Let’s just keep walking around the back and you can smoke a cigarette until you calm down and talk to me.”  We got around the back of the store and the other girl who witnessed the fight came out to explain her side of the story and I told her to go back into the store and shut the hell up.  She came back out the door and brought the older woman’s purse. 
These are not kids, they are adults.  The older one has worked there from the beginning and the other just started a few months ago.  How did it get started, I don’t know.  I heard various stories and such.  Who the hell cares?  Because I didn’t and it really doesn’t matter what started it. I just could not believe they were fighting in the store and in front of customers.  They also forgot that it was being videotaped.  We are always under surveillance for security purposes.  What the hell were they thinking?!!!  I guess when I get back later this week, either the owners will say or do something or they have enjoyed the thrilled of it.  Who knows!!
Commercial break:  I just heard about all of those young kids and adults killed in Connecticut.  My GOD, what are we doing, what are we doing to ourselves?  Please pray for them.  Please.
Getting back to the Asylum, everything calmed down and the two women went back to talking loudly. The assistant manager continued to ignore them and the rest of us went back to work.  There’s only one way to described this, “Pure Bullshit.”
There are some new books out, and since I'm just drained due to those kids being hurt by a complete jackass, I'm just going to give you a few books to get and review.  I'll be back with two of my own reviews.  Please pray for those families and hug your kids all night if you can. 
BELLA JONES - MEMOIRS OF A TRAPSTAR - $2.99 - - - Memoirs of a TrapStar's Wife takes you on a wild journey into my life. I was just a girl when I first met him, but even at that age I knew he would forever change my life. In the five years we spent together, I learned more about life than I ever would on my own. He changed this young girl into a woman. After his death, I found myself thrown into the lions den of this game called "hustling". At age 19, I made a decision to take over his empire and I did. I managed to do things unheard of in this game as far as a woman is concerned. I did it all.  I made money, I drove the big cars, wore the fancy clothes and then it all came crashing down in a instant. I lost all those close to me in my rise to the top and with out them I could not stay in this game. I made a decision to get out before I suffered the same fate as all those I loved. My story did not end there, I went on to face more trials and tribulations. I am the woman you see today because of all the things I went through yesterday. This is my story, our story, a story of love, money, cars, clothes, greed, and envy. This is my MEMOIRS OF A TRAPSTAR'S WIFE.
This is just too!! too! cute
ReSHONDA TATE BILLINGSLEY - CAUGHT UP IN THE DRAMA - $7.61 - - - For your teenagers and did not know this is the 7th book in the series.  Will have to tell you about the others later.

She’s in the spotlight:

The Good Girlz have always known their girlfriend Camille is a gifted dancer. But when she wins the Search for a Star talent competition, it’s her incredible singing voice that blows them away.  Why didn’t she tell them she could sing like BeyoncĂ© and Ciara rolled into one? And when Camille lands a spot in rap superstar Sisco’s new music video, Jasmine, Angel, and Alexis discover yet another side to their friend—total diva!

Will it get too hot too soon?

With her new hair weave, trendy clothes, and too-cool attitude, Camille is working everyone’s nerves, even her boyfriend Xavier’s. But when a photo of Camille and Sisco causes a tabloid scandal, the wannabe starlet gets a taste of unwanted fame. Meanwhile Alexis, upset over her wealthy parents’ divorce, suddenly disappears. . . . With more than enough drama to go around, what will it take to bring the girlfriends together and keep Camille grounded while reaching for the stars?


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Black Kindle at the National Book Festival 2012

Let me get back to my trip to DC.  After the shopping, eating and visiting all of my favorite stores and restaurants, I finally got to the Library of Congress National Book Festival on the Mall in DC.  The weather was beautiful, not too cold and not to hot.  I have attended this fair many times, but this year, it was packed.  If you think the Mall cannot get filled?  It did.  There were big white tents filled with various authors according to type of books from SciFi, Fiction, History, Children, Mysteries, Teens, and Contemporary Life.  Each tent had scheduled authors and if you did not get a seat two maybe three hours before an author's appearance, you were sitting in the back on the ground or outside around the ten.  I did not get in or even close to sit and listen to R. L. STINE (Goosebumps) and RACHEL RENEE RUSSELL (Dork Dairies).  Their tents were filled from inside and out with kids and teens.  I did hear a little bit, but not much. 

This event was also telecast on BookTV on c-Span, if you want to see it.  Another big tent was filled with representatives from each state on their book festivals, history of the state, their libraries and free give-a-ways.  They also provided a map to fill with a stamp from each state (you had to visit each state table to get it stamped).  After the map was filled, you get a prize.  Not a book, but some neat trinkets. 
 I did get close enough to hear and see Patricia Cornwell.  I have never read any of her books and I’ve seen large amounts of her books at the Charleston Friends of the Library book fairs.  While I was waiting in the author’s signing line for Colson Whitehead; it was better for us to get in the line early than to try to see and hear him in the tent, her autographed line was next to his.  She had finished autographing and she was surrounded by two big, burly men who looked like body guards.  I've heard later that she does have body guards due to some of her previous books that she solved in the books, but there are some nuts out there who believe she's right and want her dead.  I stepped over the rope separating the lines and ask her if I could have her autographed.  Her assistance (I think it was), told me she only signs her books.  I said, “I only want her autographed on the Book festival poster.”  I didn’t have the book because it was sold out and my budget could not accommodate it.  Mrs. Cornwell, while she was sitting down and the large body guard started getting closer to me, said, I will sign your poster, where is it?  Her assistant then said, “We don’t have any more and they cost money.”  A volunteer standing next to Mrs. Cornwell’s both said, “no, they are free,” and she handed one to me.  Mrs. Cornwell signed my poster and I said thank you very much and she responded, “You are most welcome and thank you for being a reader.”  I thought she was just so sweet and nice.  I went back to my place in line (I was second) and I heard Mrs. Cornwell tell her assistance, “Please don’t do that again, I can sign anything any reader wants me to.”  “Without them you would not have a job.”  A few overhead the comment and started to clap.  
I will try and get her first book in this series from the library and see what the fuss is all about.  After my two hour wait in a line that was getting long, not as long as Cornwell, I finally got to see Colson Whitehead up close.  You know how when you get up close to an author or celebrity, that look so damn different from their pictures.  Colson does not, he looks like his pictures.  Tall, cocoa brown skin with twinkles of gray and black on his face; beautiful white teeth and long, scattered deadlocks on his head.  He also has such a soft voice and very pleasant.  He autographed the book I brought there, “ZONE ONE: A NOVEL.”  I did not see his other books at the fair, SAG HARBOR: A NOVEL - $11.99 - Sag Harbor: A Novel (this novel reminds me of The Wedding by Dorothy West. 

THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK - $11.99 - The Colossus of New York

JOHN HENRY DAYS - $11.99 - John Henry Days

APEX HIDES THE HURT - $11,99 - Apex Hides the Hurt, and my favorite

THE INTUITIONIST: A NOVEL - $11.99 - The Intuitionist: A Novel.  I have all of his books at home, but all in all, it was an exciting pleasure to meet and talk to him. 

I did buy some books, but was not able to get their autographs because of the crowds.  I didn’t care.  It was just fun seeing them and hanging out with my kid and the beautiful weather and being home.  I was “home.”

Here are the other authors and they were over 100, that I got a chance to at least see their faces.

DONNA BRITT - BROTHERS (and ME): A MEMOIR OF LOVING AND GIVING - $11.04 - Brothers (and Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving
STEPHEN L. CARTER - THE IMPEACHMENT OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN - $13.99 - The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln.  It just so happens that my girlfriend and I are going to see Steven Spielberg’s movie based on DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN - $9.99 - Team of Rivals.  A co-worker of mine is letting me borrow his book.  He says he really enjoyed it and since he knows I'm a big reader, he states I will like it to.  
WALTER DEAN MYERS - ALL THE RIGHT STUFF - $7.99 - All the Right Stuff .  He has so many books.

TAYARI JONES - SILVER SPARROW - $9.18 - Silver SparrowI meet her last year at the National Book Club Convention.  Great, great book.
NIKKY FINNEY - HEAD OFF & SPLIT: POEMS - $11.53 Paperback - Head Off & Split: Poems

There were over a 100 authors and no way you could see and hear them all.  In essence, it was one of the best book festival I have attended.  Man, to be surrounded by books, authors, kids and more books, my life, soul and heart came alive.
Tell me if you don’t see some comparison between Colson’s book, SAG HARBOR and Dorothy West’s THE WEDDING: A NOVEL - $9.99 The Wedding: A Novel.  The books may be a little different with time periods and some things are written a bit similar, but I read both books and I see that even though time and space have changed, “black bourgeoisie“ has not, even in 2012.  Will it ever? 
SAG Harbor: A tender, hilarious, and supremely original novel about coming-of-age in the 80.  Benji Cooper is one of the few black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own.

The summer of ’85 won’t be without its usual trials and tribulations, of course. There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through and state-of-the-art profanity to master. Benji will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), by the New Coke Tragedy, and by his secret Lite FM addiction. But maybe, just maybe, this summer might be one for the ages.
The Wedding: Before you read about this story, let me tell you that Halle Berry, Lynn Whitfield, Carl Lumbly are in the movie version.  I thought it was OK.  It just did not hit me the way the book did.  Well, you try both and let me know what you think.

Her first novel in forty-seven years, Dorothy West, the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance, offers an intimate glimpse into African American middle class.  Set on bucolic Martha's Vineyard in the 1950s, The Wedding tells the story of life in the Oval, a proud, insular community made up of the best and brightest of the East Coast's black bourgeoisie.  Within this inner circle of "blue-vein society," we witness the prominent Coles family gather for the wedding of the loveliest daughter, Shelby, who could have chosen from "a whole area of eligible men of the right colors and the right professions." Instead, she has fallen in love with and is about to be married to Meade Wyler, a white jazz musician from New York. A shock wave breaks over the Oval as its longtime members grapple with the changing face of its community.”
Well, I’m back in Charleston (No, this is not home and it will never be).  I like Charleston and I have to stay here until I am able to get another job in another state or retire.  In the meantime, I will keep focus on my Dave Ramsey Plan, walk my dog more, work on getting rid of smoking, hanging out with friends and volunteering at the library and stay happy.