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Intimate Conversation with author Missy Jackson
New Author
Cheetah by Missy Jackson 
cheetahAuthor Tennette "Missy"  Jackson hails from Somerset, New Jersey. She has two daughters and three grandchildren. Missy began writing at a very young age and knew it was her passion. After years of drug abuse and numerous prison stints, Missy found an outlet in writing. Cheetah, her debut novel, was written in the state prison. Missy currently lives in Bound Brook, New Jersey  while working on her second novel.
Spotlight on Cheetah by Missy Jackson
Born and raised on the mean streets of   Newark,  New Jersey, Yanika Johnson aka Cheetah is far from your average female. A true thug in every sense of the word, Cheetah has the ego and persona to prove it all. After she and her best friend Naj take Newark  drug trade by storm, the haters begin to do just what they do best...HATE. Can the tough streets of this brick city accept being ran by two women, or will their budding empire come tumbling down?
Cheetah is a young woman with a heart of gold and steel. Follow her journey through a year of murder and madness. In this book, you will see how a true friendship is supposed to be. You will become engrossed in the "Hood Happenings" as you ride the wave of real street life. Cheetah will make you cry, laugh, and truly understand how things work in the ghetto.

Ella:  Missy, please tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite?
(A) My favorite has to be Cheetah, since she was designed from my past. Her gritty, no nonsense attitude, and love for her family made her my favorite. Actually all four of the main characters Nissan, Qua, Naj, and Cheetah are mirrored after my life. I took a piece of me and structured each one.

Ella:  What sets you apart from other books in your genre?
(A) The fact that I write from the lesbian point of view, sets me apart from many. When you read about drug dealers, gangs, clique, or a pack of robbers it is usually guys or a mixture of guys and girls. My story shows the struggle of not only the women in the hood, but also the lesbian women. The stereotyping and the differences they face due to life in an alternative lifestyle are prominent.

Ella:  What issues in today's society have you addressed in CHEETAH? 
(A) CHEETAH touched on issues close to home for me. Here are a few of them: how some young people feel as if the only way to make it is to either sell drugs or rob. It touches on how you can even be educated, headed in the right direction; yet allow the lure of the street and the lifestyle to suck you in. My main issue is how most families in society deal with either having a drug dealer, gang banger, or drug user in the household.

Read the entire interview  and book reviews here:  
4 Stars by  The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
What Goes Around, Comes Around

Cheetah, born Yanika Johnson, is far from the cuddly name presented here. She is a street hustler from  Newark, NJ  and she is no one to mess with. She gives new meaning to the word "thug."  Circumstances make her even more ruthless and she sets about the streets of Newark  on a reign of terror. Eventually what goes around comes around, and unfortunately for Cheetah, it comes around in the worst way.   
CHEETAH was a very powerful read. I could not put this book down. Missy Jackson  gives the reader some insight on what could be happening in the streets where you live. This book fits the bill when we read about or hear about street violence in newspapers and on television everyday, but it hits home once you read it.
The reader gets a glimpse as to what really goes down between street hustlers and crime. It also shines some light on females living in "the life"...the life of lesbianism.  Despite the hard core persona Cheetah portrays, she has a soft heart when it comes to the people she loves. An excellent read!  
--- Reviewed by Cheryl Dublin, for RAWSISTAZ Reviewers 

Cheetah by Tennette "Missy" Jackson
Purchase the book from Wahida Clark Publishing
 Intimate Conversation with author Tash Hawthorne
New Author 
Karma with a Vengeance by Tash Hawthorne
Tash Hawthorne comes out strong and does her thing with her freshman novel... Showing that Karma is definitely a mutha!  --  J.M. Benjamin, Essence Bestselling author of Ride or Die Chick and On The Run With Love
Tash Hawthorne, born in  Summit,  NJ and raised in the Valley section of  Orange,  NJ,  cannot be viewed as the typical Jersey Girl. For the first 18 years of her life, Tash had the rare privilege of being raised by three generations of strong Black women; all who lived under the same roof. Having received such ingredients like fearlessness from her mother, compassion from her grandmother, and resilience from her great grandmother, Tash grew to be a product of her environment. One of pure love and unadulterated passion for the human condition. 
As a child, Tash dreamed of becoming an Olympic gold-medalist in track & field and an Alvin Ailey dancer, but her hopes to run and dance were soon deferred due to medical reasons. Writing evolved from that of her mother. Tash showed early signs of her gift of script at the age of 9; winning second place in a state-wide essay contest for students in grades 4-6. At age 14, she placed first in another essay contest which consisted of 1300 junior high school candidates along the East Coast. 
Despite her early accolades, Tash did not seriously begin writing until the age of 17, three months after the untimely passing of her best friend. Writing became a therapeutic way to escape the unpleasant realities of her surroundings. And it was in that time of salutary that her first screenplay, "The Jaded Edge" was born.

After graduating from high school, Tash went on to attend the first college of her choice,  Hampton University, where she furthered her love for the arts, pursuing a degree in theatre. She would soon be faced with another tragedy. Just seven days into her studies at the university, Tash received a phone call from her mother stating that her great-grandmother had unexpectedly passed away. Tash's entire academic world came to a standstill. The woman she used to secretly meet in the middle of the night to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with had been taken away from her. It would take Tash the rest of her tenure at   Hampton  to fully recover from the sudden loss. 

Having regrouped and accepted God's will, Tash turned her focus back to her studies. With the help of some of her professors and staff at Hampton, she went from being on academic probation to graduating on time with Honors. During her term, she was able to write a second screenplay entitled "Nu JeruSlum" and a stage play entitled "Mourning Glory."  After returning home to Orange, Tash began to write a third screenplay entitled "Karma." Throughout that year, she experienced unsettling thoughts about the format of the piece. It was not until a year later when she decided to turn it into a novel. "Karma," like all of Tash's works, encompasses the reality of life as she sees it and knows it.

Ella: Tash, you've had a full life for one so young! Please tell us about your passion for writing. 
(A)  My passion for writing stems from life experiences (mine and others) and my love for the arts. I write because I believe the genre of urban literature is missing something...and that something is substance. My goal is to give readers an alternate view of the urban world. This goal is what drives me. 

Ella: What legacy do you want your writing to leave future readers?
(A)  My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...a legacy of integrity. When I say that, I mean to say that I stood my ground in telling my characters' stories. It was important to always tell the truth...their truths.

Ella: Introduce us to Karma with a  with a Vengeance.
(A)  There is a time in a young woman's life where the choices she makes will determine the outcome of her existence in the years (of uncertainty) to come. Those choices will lead to mistakes. The mistakes will lead to hard times. The hard times will lead to answers, searched for by that lost soul. In the urban setting of   Newark ,  NJ  , we accompany Karma Alonso-Walker, who, on this journey, gains support from an unwanted, unlikely source through life's greatest troubles.
At the age of 17, Karma becomes caught in the middle of her parents' deteriorating marriage. Due to the unexpected appearance of her father's one night-stand at the family's church on Easter Sunday, Karma's perception of men changes for the worst. With an opportunity to join the US Women's Track and Field team for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia, Karma is driven to achieve her dream of winning Olympic gold. But to her dismay, her mother is stricken with Ovarian Cancer. Karma is forced to choose between running professionally at her mother's request or running home to be at her mother's side. 
Ten years later, we follow Karma to her mother's home on her fifty-second birthday. Her parents have separated and found comfort in new partners. All the while, unbeknownst to Karma, her mother's boyfriend has made himself a permanent fixture in their life. While trying to protect her mother from her abusive lover, Karma finds herself distracted by the presence of her cousin's new police partner. As distraction and attraction become intertwined, Karma loses focus of her mother's safety. And on the very same celebratory day of her birth, Karma is forced to mourn her mother's death.
Driven by hatred and fury, Karma sets out to find her mother's boyfriend and avenge her death. Having severed her ties with God, been dismissed by her family and the Newark Police Department, Karma becomes a menace to society--and to herself.  This timeless chronicle about a young woman's unyielding loyalty to her mother will open your eyes to the way life can be, even when the glass looks half empty. As Karma's life spirals out of control, her exploration leads her to self-preservation and true happiness...or does it? 

Read the entire interview  and book reviews here: 

Karma with a Vengeance  by  Tash Hawthorne

Genre: Urban Fiction, Women, African-American, Cuban-American
Purchase the book from Wahida Clark Publishing
 Intimate Conversation with author Mike Sanders
Author of Hustlin' Backwards
Book Spotlight -- Thirsty by Mike Sanders  
Thirsty takes place on the mean streets of Charlotte,  N.C. where you either hustle hard or stay home.  Meet Justice, a half-black, half-Filipino goddess whose appetite for a quick dollar is insatiable. Having moved from Chi-town to Charlotte, North Carolina, at an early age, Justice and her younger brother, Monk, decides to take the streets of the Queen City by storm. Justice and Monk, the two main characters are a team of sheisty individuals definitely hustle hard.

Justice uses her exotic looks to get next to dope boys, then sets them up for Monk and his crew to rob. All is well and their hustle is fruitful until Justice ex-boyfriend Carlos (a vicious drug dealer) is robbed and all fingers are pointed towards Justice and Monk. Subsequently, a war ensues between Monk and Carlos clique of dealers and killers. No one is exempt from the bloodbath!
Justice's life begins to spiral out of control. She has sworn off hustlers and is determined to find a guy with a legitimate job to settle down with. She meets J.T., a handsome business man who becomes her every fantasy in human form. J.T. rescues Justice from a deadly and cruel world. Justice thinks she has moved into a safe haven, only to find out that she has actually landed in a snake pit! She decides that her only escape is to leave Charlotte behind altogether. However, this may leave Monk with no one to watch his back.
Justice refuses to leave without punishing all those that caused her harm, but her past soon catches up with her.  She is confronted with a bare truth that explodes her world into a million tiny pieces. As her thirst for money grows, so does her appetite for revenge.  However, she soon realizes that some thirsts can NEVER be quenched!

Ella:  Mike, tell us a little about yourself. How did you start writing?
(A)  I am the author of  "Hustlin' Backwards,"  "Snitch," "Thirsty" and the soon-to-be released  "Thirsty 2."  I was born and raised on the grimy streets of   Charlotte,  N.C.  which inspired my writing. My writing journey began in 2001 when I penned my first novel and subsequently published it in 2004. I am now with Wahida Clark Presents and I'm currently in the process of penning my fourth novel.

Ella:  What is the best advice you would give to an aspiring author?
(A)  Actually I have two key pieces of advice to offer aspiring authors. First and foremost, be mindful of who you are trusting with your material. Do your background check on your publisher and check their track record. Don't just sign a contract because you want to see your book on shelves. I guess I'm saying MAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS IS 100!
Secondly, I advise anyone who is thinking about jumping into this game to come with something NEW. There are so many of the same books out there right now just with different titles. Bring something refreshing to the game. The game needs it!!

Read the entire interview  and book reviews here: 

Thirsty by Mike Sanders
Purchase the book from Wahida Clark Publishing

Book Review for Thirsty by Mike Sanders
This is a story of several people whose lives collide. Choices are made, some of which are terrible. Choices that will forever alter their lives.
Mike Sanders has brought freshness to an all too familiar premise. He has introduced a multi-faceted plot with many characters, and the story is told from four points of view - Justice, Monk, Sapphire and Carlos - in alternating chapters. Each chapter blends into the following effortlessly. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. His descriptions are vivid and convincing.
In the end, "Thirsty" is a book that's hard to put away completely. Even long after it's finished, you may find its characters sneaking back into your head. Mike Sanders has spun a wicked tale that MUST be read by everyone. This is my first read by this author and it won't be my last.
--- Reviewed by  Jermaine, OOSA Online Book Club

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