Interview with An Author – R. Bryant

I went to the best university in the world.  My classmates are some of the most awesomely talented people I know.  And I am so happy to introduce to you R. Bryant, a new author who published her first novel, Yesterday Mourning, earlier this year.  Read below to find out more about Ms. Bryant, her work, and her future plans.

Provide a synopsis of your book:

Yesterday Mourning delves into the reality of what happens to individuals and families when their expectations of one another are rarely spoken and subsequently not met. It deals with love, loss, and the fears surrounding both.

“Yvette is a forty-one year old woman devastated from losing both parents during her twenties—one to terminal disease and the other to life’s complications. Vera is the stepsister she never imagined nor wanted. When their father’s health takes a turn for the worse, both must decide if they have the strength to release yesterday’s burdens or will a childhood secret damage an already broken family.”

How long had you written it before it was published? 

There wasn’t a lot of time that passed between writing the final words and the soft launch in May. I would say about two months at the most.

Where did you get the idea of your story?

The novel is actually inspired by my life, my loss, and my regrets. Back in 2006 my mother, Vanessa, lost her short but painful battle with metastatic melanoma. The cancer is extremely rare in Blacks (lifetime risk of 0.1%) and quite fatal usually due to late detection.  Losing her was devastating for my entire family and we all went through a bit of soul searching.  Yesterday Mourning was a way for me to pay homage to my mother as well as acknowledge some of the unrealistic expectations I had for myself and others during that time in my life.

Do you have plans to write another novel?

Yes. I’m currently working on the second book in the Mourning series and I’ve already started outlines for a few more.

What has been your biggest challenge thus far?

Making sure I make the time. It’s not that I don’t have time to write or to do a lot of the activities that help build a writer’s platform, it’s being committed to it and being okay with sacrificing other things in order to see my dream materialize.

What is your favorite book?

The Alchemist. The themes in that book have had a tremendous impact to how I see the world and my life. Understanding how easy it is to go in search of treasure and become jaded, disheartened, lost, lazy, tricked, etc., only to find the treasure has been right under your nose the entire time. 

Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years regarding your writing?

Several novels, short stories, and poetry collections published along with a very popular blog. I’d also like to start a nonprofit in my hometown that provides writing workshops for young girls.

Where can your book be purchased?

Currently it’s in eBook only and available on Amazon, Smashwords.com, B&N.com, and iTunes. However, the printed version will be available in October! That information is hot off the press!

Where can you be found on social media?

-Facebook.com/YesterdayMourningBook, Twitter: @Atiner, Goodreads,

Blog: myndmatters.wordpress.com

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

I’d like them to know how much I sincerely appreciate their time, their feedback, and their support. It humbles me to hear them tell me how much my novel moved them to tears or made them reconcile relationships that had been non-existent for decades. My readers inspire me and for that, I thank them.

Big “Thank you!” to Ms. Bryant!  And exclusively for Southern Girl in the City readers, you can purchase Yesterday Mourning for only $0.99!  But hurry, this special ends next Monday, September 23.  Visit this site and use coupon code “NT38Z”.  As an avid book reader and self-proclaimed bookworm, this is a read you do not want to miss!  And I can not wait to read future works from Ms. Bryant!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Interview with an Author

Wife. Mother. Teacher. Urban Planner. Author.

These are just a few words that describe novelist Sheryse Noelle DuBose.   With always having dreams of being a writer, Sheryse decided to hit the ground running when she stopped teaching to pursue her dreams of writing full-time.  Her upcoming book, Marshland, will be released this Friday, which also happens to be her birthday.  “My newest novel is fictional, but I received the inspiration from my family’s story,” Sheryse states.  “Marshland is set during the Civil War and tells the story of a slave family that escapes the mainland (of South Carolina) and flees to Pickney Island then to Hilton Head Island.  The family meets various people along the way-some who are friendly and some that are not.”  As a native of Hilton Head Island, SC, Sheryse has always been fascinated with life in the Lowcountry.  While teaching U.S. History, Sheryse discovered the Civil War era was her favorite.  She learned that Black people volunteered and were drafted to fight for the North and the South.  “If any Black (Northern) soldier was caught by the Confederacy, he would be put to death,” DuBose states.  “I tried to stay true to what occurred during that time period in the novel.  While most of it is fiction, I did a lot of reading to include various events and topics.  A number of things that pertain to the family in the story are taken from the stories told at the Aiken Family Reunion (my paternal grandmother’s family).  No one knows where, how, or why we ended up in Hilton Head, so I tried to fill in the blanks.  This story was heavily influenced by my family.”

DuBose’s first novel, The Promise of Palmettos, debuted last October and tells the story of family legacy, land, and loyalty.  DuBose states, “I was inspired to write this book because the places I visited when I was young, growing up in the ’80s, are gone.  This story tells why it’s important to ‘maintain the land’.  I was taught not to sell family property because my grandparents and parents worked hard to obtain it.”  DuBose sat on The Promise of Palmettos for six years, mainly because she wanted to go through a major publishing company.  After speaking with other authors and receiving helpful links, she decided to self-publish.  She advises if you decide to self-publish, to market yourself and your book before it debuts.  “Marketing yourself is a challenge, but you have a lot of freedom.”

Marshland will be available on E-reader first, then will be published in Paperback.  The Promise of Palmettos is currently available on Nook, Kindle, and Amazon.  For anyone that has a dream of becoming an author, DuBose states,  “Don’t give up.  I know it’s a cliche’, but it’s so true.  If it’s something you want to do, keep at it.”  No matter how much of a cliche’ it might be, those are words to live by!

I want to thank Sheryse for allowing me to interview her for SGITC!  To connect with Sheryse, you may do so on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Southern Girl Book Review-“A Belle in Brooklyn”

Elle and Belle!

It’s a hot June night.  I’m driving around downtown DC looking for a parking space.  I’m already late, but I’m hoping to find something close so I can hurry and get in.  Just when I give up and decide to go home, I find a parking space right across the street from my destination.  (God is looking out and WANTS me to attend.) 

I know I’m the last person to walk into the room, but I’m ok with that.  I hear the guest of honor answer one last question and then announce books are for sale and she’ll be signing them, too.  After speaking to a few friends, I grab a copy and wait my turn to speak and get my book autographed.  When I make my way to the table, I gush a little and sound somewhat like a fan (no matter how hard I try not to), but surprise of all surprises, I get a compliment on my necklace! (Thanks “Auntie” Madeline!)  We smile for the camera, I thank her for her time, and make my way to the exit.  I got what I came for, now it’s time to go home, well, after I hit the bar for a signature cocktail made especially for the event.  I had no idea how what was put on these pages would affect my life. 

I was so caught up with A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-To Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life the first time I read it that I don’t think I really comprehended anything.  Demetria Lucas, Relationship Editor for Essence magazine, was talking to ME when she wrote this book.  It wasn’t a self-help book or even an advice book.  It was my girl telling me about her relationship woes-the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I knew I wanted to share my thoughts, but I had to read it again to fully appreciate this gem.  I began reading this book again last week, after finishing it the first time in June, not long after I purchased it. 

I appreciate Demetria for sharing her memoir.  If the book is looked at on the surface, one may think it’s the story of this woman who is bragging about the men she’s dated.  But if the time is taken to dig a little deeper, you see the story of a woman who never backed down, stood up for what she wanted, and never compromised herself, just to say she had a may-an.  We can learn from all of Demetria’s experiences-like how to handle the jock on campus, how to handle the hurt of a true love, and even how to handle date rape.  These stories are shared not to boast, but to teach.  And it’s up to the reader to find your own lesson.

What did Elle get from the book?  During Round 1, I laughed, I cringed, and I was slightly jealous a time or two.  😉 With this most recent reading?  I gained insight.  I used her honesty, bluntness, and openness to affect my life, especially with how I interacted with members of the opposite sex.  I am now more open and honest with others, specifically when it comes to the men that I date.  I no longer have a problem stating what I want and staying true to who I am.  This book was spendidly written with a candidness that you feel like Demetria is your homegirl and you all are going to be hitting up brunch at Busboys and Poets on Saturday (if she’s home for the weekend). 

Did you read the book?  Or, if you remember this summer, did you attend the event at The Park?  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have encouraged others to read it.  I’m sure it will look like my favorite books, worn from reading over and over again.  I’m very impressed, and I’m sure when Demetria writes book # 2, I’ll be at the next book signing (and will arrive on time!)  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

I Shouldn’t Be Reading This…

Disclaimer to Southern Mom:  Mom, if you read this post, my apologies.  Actually, if you come across it, just skip it.  It’s not going to be that interesting.

Now that that’s out of the way…

If you don’t know, Eric Jerome Dickey is my favorite author.  I’ve read every book he’s written and own all of them, except one.  I’ve met him twice, when he came to Jacksonville to do book signings, and stayed long enough to take a picture with him and have him autograph a book or two.  While perusing Amazon.com one day (my favorite site by far), I came across Dickey’s novel entitled Pleasure.  This story follows Nia Simone Bijou, who goes on a quest for…physical satisfaction.  I was thinking, “Wow, I need to get this book.  I don’t think I’ve read it.”  After looking through my boxes of books, I discovered that I in fact do own it.  And it has been at least 2 years since I read it.  In order to save money (and remind myself of what happened in a book), I re-read books.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah and Cheaters by EJD. 

Last week I picked up Pleasure and started reading.  As a single woman, I have absolutely no business reading this book.  Telling a story in a fashion unique to him, EJD is so vivid with his descriptions and story telling that it’s frightening.  Honestly, this is the perfect book to read with a mate to help you “get in the mood”.  I won’t go into too much detail since this is a family blog.  I will say just go get the book. 

Have you read this book or any other book of this type?  Do you think it’s a good idea to read something…adult to get in the mood with your mate?  Or would you rather not tease yourself with a work of fiction?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Way Back Wednesday-Game Change

Happy Hump Day!!!   If you’re like me, you’re just about ready for this week to be over.  Today’s post is going to be a first for me.  I’m going to switch it up a little and do a book review.  The book, “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime”, is a background tell-all book about the election of 2008.  I purchased this book last February (for my friends on Facebook, I was clearly wrong thinking I had ordered this last summer), and just finished it Monday night.  (Hey, don’t judge me.)

The first thing you must be thinking is that, “The book must not have been that good.  It took her a whole year to finish it!”  That is SO far from the truth!!!  While I’m a self-proclaimed bookworm, I was a little overwhelmed by the more than 400 pages so there was a lot of picking up/putting down going on.  (Also, most of my reading is inclusive of Eric Jerome Dickey fiction.)  As someone who loves politics and history, I found this book very intriguing.  It tells EVERYTHING that you ever wanted to know about the primary and the general election of 2008 from the people who were there.  You learn how McCain had NO money during the Republican primary and was almost out of the race altogether, how Palin shut down anytime she was prepped by her staff,  and how during the Democratic primary Edwards knew the story about his mistress was coming out and before irreversible damage was done, was trying to make a deal with Clinton and Obama to serve in either one’s cabinet.  You also see the evolution of how the Clintons and Obama started of as bitter enemies and evolved to having a mutual respect for each other.   This book was really good, and I highly suggest you all read it.  It makes for great discussion and gives you insight to all parties involved.  I will admit it was hard for me to keep track of who’s who in each party’s camp (as some new name and position pops up frequently), but I was able to grasp the main points, which I think was most important.  I was also able to reminisce a little about the election of 2000 and the McCain/Bush debate in South Carolina.  (To keep your attention I won’t go into details, but I do remember when a classmate’s father, who was a Congress person in my home state, pulled his support from McCain when the Senator made disparaging remarks about his alma mater.)   McCain and his wife remembered it, too, and weren’t even sure if John should run again based off his experiences in the Palmetto State. 

So, if you read the book, what did you think about it?  If you didn’t read the book, but want to share some thoughts on the election, feel free.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

The Black History Month fact of the day is about Clennon Washington King, Jr.  King was the first African-American man to run for the President of the United States.  In 1960, King was a candidate of Independent Afro-American Party.