October 2001
Page 3

Brandon Massey cont.

Independent bookstores are helping self-published authors become superstars. And a handful of African-American writers routinely hit mainstream bestseller lists--something that never happened twenty years ago.

Due to all the hype, writers who haven't even started a book are hustling to get the inside track. They hobnob with star writers at events, collect business cards as if they're dollar bills, and have mapped out the first ten years of their career, from self-publishing and selling ten thousand copies to signing a mega-deal to finally landing in the coveted guest seat on Oprah.

But the real foundation of a career as a writer is rather ordinary: it is writing.  Day in and day out--writing. You'll never get anywhere without first putting in the work, no matter how many contacts you have, how hot the market is, and how detailed your plan may be.

Good things happen to writers who create good books.  A good book will find a home.  I know this is true: it took me nine years to get a deal.  And yes, the day I got “the phone call” was one of the happiest days of my life.

But guess what I did the evening that I learned a NY publisher wanted to buy the rights to my novel?  I went home and worked on my writing.        

Points to touch on:

-- Self-publishing and promoting and how to get an agent or publisher are all valid topics, but the most crucial and often overlooked subject is how to craft a good book to begin with.

-- The craft of writing includes: well-structured prose; developing characters; building scenes; description; appropriate word choice; plotting; background research; revision.  

Brandon Massey is the author of THUNDERLAND: A Novel of Suspense, winner of the 2000 Gold Pen Award for Best Thriller. He has been featured in Black Issues Book Review, Time Digital Magazine, Black Enterprise, and The New York Times. Originally self-published, THUNDERLAND will be reprinted in Fall 2002 as a hardcover by Kensington Books. To get the latest news on Massey's projects, please visit his site at www.brandonmassey.com and subscribe to his newsletter, The Talespinner.


Market News

Kensington Books is interested in single-title contemporary romance.  They began releasing two contemporary titles per month in February of this year.  They plan to increase to three titles per month soon.  Books should be 100,000 words in length.  Kensington is also looking for stories for their Arabesque line.  Length is 80,000 to 100,000 words.  Check out their Web site for more information.

Rhinestone Books of Phoenix, Arizona is accepting romantic novellas up to 30,000 words.  There is no restriction as to subject matter.  For more information visit their Web site at www.rhinestonebooks.com.  


Lee E. Meadows cont.

 Joining Dart, Johnson and Jones on the list of African-American police officers are Lincoln Prairie Police Detective Marti MacAlister (Bland, 1993), Chicago Police Commander Larry Cole (Holten, 1994), Washington D.C. Police Officer Leigh Ann Warren (West, 1994) and Brookport Police Lieutenant Starletta Duval (Levin, 1996), Kansas City Police Detective Joe Johnson (Alexandria, 1998), Los Angeles Police Detective Charlotte Justice (Woods, 1999), Detroit Police Detective Mary Cunningham (Anthony, 1999) and Chicago Police Detective Ariel Lawrence (Smith, 1997) all follow the models established by their 1990’s contemporaries.

Lee Meadows attended Michigan State University where he earned a BA in Telecommunications, an MA in Counseling and Adult Development and a Doctorate in Higher Education and Management.  He is the husband to an equally talented wife, Phyllis and they are the parents of a six-year-old son named Garrison.  Visit Lee Meadows’ at http://www.geocities.com/murderxpress/meadows.htm to preview the list of African-American Mystery Authors.

Business News

The 7th Annual Black Women Taking Stock in The Future conference is coming to Philadelphia. The conference is sponsored by Onyx Woman magazine, a career, business and financial magazine for women of color.

According to a study conducted by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners and IBM, African-American women are one of the fastest growing segments of business owners. The conference takes place on Saturday, October 6, 2001, at Community College of Philadelphia at the Winnet Student Life Building at 17th Street. You can download a registration form at: www.onyxwoman.com,  or call  (412) 281-9881 for more details.

Check out our GREAT site called www.blackretail.com . We have music, movies, electronics, books, flowers, sporting goods and much more.  Our site is one of the largest Black owned shopping sites and was launched on April 15, 2001.  The best part about our site is that 5% of its profits are donated to charitable causes that support African American communities.  Please help us make this site a success by visiting often and forwarding our URL to everyone you know.  Also, by just telling three friends about this site you could win a Digital Camera. Check BlackRetail.com for details. We plan to make our first donation in July 2001.  Your support is greatly appreciated in making a meaningful first donation.
--Anton Gates

Wanda Moorman cont.

During our meal, we could look out and see small aircraft below us.  My friend commented on how high above the aircraft we actually were.  We even talked about what a tragedy it would be if an airplane would hit the WTC buildings.  Of course, we were referring to an accident, NOT an act of terrorism.  I often wonder if that conversation was prophetic.     

By the grace of God the tragedy didn’t occur on the day that my friend and I were at Windows On The World.  But I am reminded of how precious life is and what a blessing it is to be alive, in good health and enjoying all the other blessings that God abundantly gives us.   And while I am saddened by the tragedy that has struck our country, I am hopeful of the prospects, the promise and the potential that await us in the future. 

May God continue to bless us all!

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What five-letter word, no matter how you pronounce it is always pronounced wrong?

Book Reviews: Beginning next month, LitLine will begin a new feature for book reviews.  We will feature individual book reviews by our readers.  If you would like to submit a book review to LitLine, please submit your review to the publisher/editor at wem777@worldnet.att.net by the 15th day of each month.  The book review for next month is "What You Owe Me" by Bebe Moore Campbell.

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