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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Bestselling author Alisha Yvonne

She has become one of the authors that everyone seems to be talking about. City to city, Bestselling author Alisha Yvonne has caused readers to eagerly anticipate each and every new release---and has not disappointed us yet. Whether through her he said/she said books (LOVIN' YOU IS WRONG & I DON'T WANNA BE RIGHT) or the sassy story of Ivy and Candy in NAUGHTY GIRLS, Ms. Yvonne is putting Memphis on the map with her storytelling and humble personality.

Conversations Magazine talked with the literary princess about her life, the success she has enjoyed and what keeps her grounded.

Your Age?
A true Naughty Girl doesn't reveal her age. (LOL) Just kidding! I'm 34, a single-mother of two, and oh by the way, I'm a Cancer. Oops, sorry--you didn't ask me all of that, did you?

Your hometown?
I'm a native Memphian, where I set all of my books. Even if I decide to buy houses elsewhere in the world, Memphis will probably always be home for me.

When did you know you were interested in writing?
To tell you the truth, I can't remember that far back. (LOL) Seriously, I've been writing since forever. Probably ever since I learned how to spell. I can remember daydreaming about how to create a different scenario for sitcoms such as One Day at a Time and All in the Family, and I was probably only about six or seven years old then.

For so many authors writing began as an escape. Did you see it this way, and if so what relief did it give you?
Writing was definitely an escape for me. Although I was raised in a somewhat hostile environment, the stories I wrote contained some of the same drama that surrounded me. The difference with reality and the stories I created was the fact that the plots were of someone else's issues, and I displayed redemption, resolution, and an outlet for rising up. My living situation didn't seem as promising as the stories I created. It felt good to escape into hope, and on top of that, my teachers, friends and family all gave me positive feedback--fuel to keep writing.

Like so many authors you began with a self-published novel, LOVIN' YOU IS WRONG. Tell us about the process of writing it, making the decision to self-publish and how you went about it.
For seven or eight years, I started and stopped Lovin' You Is Wrong because I was going through a difficult time in my life, and the motivation wasn't there. Once I got my focus, I sat down at the computer and made up my mind to start from the beginning and not quit. I completed the first draft in about seven weeks. However, it was far from perfection. I hired a professional editor, one who knows the industry and what readers are looking for in a good book, and she helped me smooth the story into what it is today. After learning that traditional publishing houses only accept about one percent of everything that comes through their doors, I decided to self-publish. I didn't want hold out for possible rejection. I wanted to show the industry how much I believed in my work and that there was a market for it so they'd all start an auction to buy my title. Well, the auction never happened, but I did capture the attention of a major publisher after having been self-published for only four months.

And your deal with Urban Books? How did that come about?
My book deal was a result of part product and part hustle. What I mean by that, I invested in myself. I took my income tax money and spent it on making sure my product would look just as good as the books released by traditional publishers. I didn't cut corners by any means. When readers held my book, the first thing they'd ask was who was Ebony Literary Grace. I'd explain I was Ebony Literary Grace. Several people told me they couldn't believe I'd put so much effort in making sure my product was well presented and that I'd invested so much into marketing, promotion, and travel. I met an executive asssistant for Urban Books during my experience at the 2004 Book Expo America in Chicago, passed her a book, and received a contract from this mega publisher only months after setting out on my mission to succeed. One of the comments told to me by Carl Weber, CEO and Founder of Urban Books, was that after hearing the positive feedback from his staff, he picked up my book and noticed it had been professionally edited by one of the best editors in the industry, which let him know my work had to be a marketable product.

You are quickly becoming a household name, Alisha. Does it ever seem surreal to you your success up until this point?
There are many days when I pinch myself. When I ask God to make a way for me, He always gives me just a little more than what I ask for. In 2004, when I first released Lovin' You Is Wrong, my aspirations were to see it in print and in the hands of a few more than just my family and friends. I had no idea a major publisher would step in only months later and distribute it on a national level, landing my first baby on the Essence Bestsellers list. Even now, all my endeavors prosper, and knowing my Father, there's more to come.

Your new project, NAUGHTY GIRLS, addresses several social issues, as do your previous work. Do you set out to tackle certain issues or does it just evolve?
I write with a purpose to entertain, but at the same time, I feel my deed as a writer would be remiss if I omitted the opportunity to reach people on positive note while I have their attention. I'm not saying there is something wrong with works that are for sole entertainment. I've read several books that aren't thought-provoking and they served whatever need for me at the time. I'm just saying as for me, I feel my talent is God-given so that I can provide a light and hope for people who live the scenarios I create. If the playas don't get played, all the bad guys win, the hookers never have a conscience, and nobody uses condoms, then my word would be remiss and that's not what I'm about.

(Yvonne seen here with a teen group that meets at the Richard Wright Library (Jackson, MS) in February 2007.)

We were privileged enough to have your tour for the new book start in Mississippi. Tell us about the response you have gotten since the book was released?
Naughty Girls is my third full-length novel to release. I knew my following would have something to say whether it be good or bad because Naughty Girls is far different than my first two novels. I can honestly say, all the response has been positive. Though I tackled a slightly different genre, I managed to deliver a story that would appeal to all ages. The street edge in Naughty Girls only proves that I am who I claim to be--a writer. I've been told readers that they don't know how to classify my style anymore. This is good news for me. The reason my stories are intertwined with drama, suspense, erotica, poetry and even inspiration is because I just want to be known as an entertainer and a motivator. So far, the readers are thanking me for sharing Ivy's story--more fuel to keep doing what I do.
What is coming up next for you this year? Up next in November 2007 is My Girl Friday. I'm very excited about this release because again it shows my ability to be diverse. If you loved I Don't Wanna Be Right, then My Girl Friday is the book for you--only this time the crazy, deranged person is a woman.

Do you have any encouraging words for aspiring authors out there?
To all aspiring authors, I would say, don't give up. Continue to hone your skills by reading and writing every day, and make sure your work is professionally edited. You can't afford to cut corners in the editor department--it can make all the difference regarding advancement.

What would you like to say to your fans?
To my fans, I'd like to say where would I be without you? I can't adequately describe enough appreciation for your dedication and support. You share in my success and I love you.

Alisha Yvonne is featured on the May 2007 issue of the Conversations Magazine that goes on sale on Friday, April 27, 2007. To get your copy ordered click here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bestselling author Anna J gives intimate "conversation"--- Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You will want to join us for tonight's Conversation with bestselling author Anna J. Joining us via conference call will be the Q-Boro author (MY WOMAN, HIS WIFE and THE AFTERMATH) that has taken readers on a fantastic rollercoaster ride... leaving them wanting more. This will take place at 6p.m. CST at the Medgar Evers Library.

P.S. One fortunate attendee will get a free copy of the erotic anthology FETISH, which features Anna J. Will it be you? You have to be present to be eligible!

For more information, contact Medgar Evers Library at 601.982.2867 or Conversations Book Club at thebestbookclub@hotmail.com.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Join Conversations Book Club on Friday for their Nikki Turner book giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who supported our book club discussion with Bestselling author T. P. Carter on Tuesday. Her novel BEHIND THOSE EYES has been highly praised and we had a great discussion with the author as well as one of her biggest fans, book club member Andrea Ruffin. Ruffin was the one who referred Carter's book to the group, and we appreciate the referral.

If you are in the Jackson area on Friday, April 20th, you are going to want to meet with the Conversations Book Club at 6p.m. CST at the Medgar Evers Library.

We will be talking about National Bestselling author Nikki Turner at the top of the hour: about her career, the way she has risen to the throne as the Queen of Urban lit and how her new book FOREVER A HUSTLER'S WIFE, became one of the most anticipated sequels of the century!

During the discussion, Conversations Book Club will be giving away THREE copies of her new book as door prizes.

You don't want to miss this discussion. Also joining us will be Def Poetry Jam poet Poetri.

Keep in mind that the Conversations Book Club meets every Tuesday and Friday at 6p.m., as a partnership with Medgar Evers Library and other book clubs.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at thebestbookclub@hotmail.com or 601.982.2867.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Def Poetry Jam artist C-Bone Jones
Hosted by eSnips

Thanks to everyone who made the FEEL THE PASSION weekend a success! We especially want to thank our special guests C-Bone Jones and E. J. Kemper for coming to Missisippi and showing their love and support for our mission to promote the arts. The pictures from the visited are above!

Both C-Bone Jones and E.J.Kemper will be returning to Mississippi in August as part of the 1st Conversations Literary Ball. Look for details to come on that in the near future.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Def Poetry Jam recording artist C-Bone Jones: Day One

On "lucky" Friday, April 13, 2007, Def Poetry Jam recording artist C-Bone Jones arrived in Mississippi--- and the day was a complete success. We started off with a visit to students at Peeples Middle School. There Jones shared some of his life story through spoken word and encouraged some of the students to share as well, which some did. Much thanks goes out to Ms. Rose Wright of Peeples Middle School (who is also the President of the Savvy Book Club) for helping with the visit.

Later we visited the offices of the Jackson Advocate Newspaper before attending a meet and greet at Richard Wright Library.

The day ended with a visit with the Conversations Book Club.

Don't forget that TODAY, Saturday, April 14, 2007, we will be in Picken, MS for open mike and performances by C-Bone Jones and Louisiana poet E. J. Kemper.

For directions, contact Stanley Clark (For The People Productions) at 773.344.7220.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Bestselling author Thomas Long visits with Conversations Book Club

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Bestselling author Thomas Long will be our guest author via conference call on Tuesday, April 10, 2007. Long is the author of A THUG'S LIFE (which has been turned into a motion picture), CASH RULES and the upcoming release PAPA DON'T PREACH. He has also contributed stories to the AROUND THE WAY GIRLS series by Urban Books.
Join us as we discuss his career, upcoming projects and get a sneak preview of what Long will be doing during his first visit to Mississippi in May 2007.

This is one you don't want to miss. Don't forget that Conversations Book Club meets on Tuesdays and Fridays at the Medgar Evers Library in Jackson, MS at 6p.m. CST.

For more details, contact us at 601.896.5616 or via email at thebestbookclub@hotmail.com.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Introducing Conversations Book Club's newest project: BREAKFAST WITH BOOKS

(Conversations Book Club Founder C. A. Webb seen here discussing his career and future plans with the Clarion Ledger Newspaper in Mississippi.)

There is nothing like the power of the written word. It has been known to spark discussion, debate, alliances and deep thought. Since November 2006 Conversations Book Club has been harnessing that power by hosting book signings and events that serve to introduce authors to Alabama and Mississippi.

Today, we are pleased to announce a new phase of our mission to combat illiteracy and apathy towards reading: BREAKFAST WITH BOOKS.

Thanks to a partnership with For The People Productions and Medgar Evers Public Library, Conversations Book Club will be hosting this event on select Saturday mornings to jumpstart the day with a positive message, good conversation and networking. A major difference to this program from the Conversations Book Club is that the author being discussed will be IN PERSON at each meeting. This means you can bring your copies of their books to get signed or purchase copies during the breakfast.

This project will begin on Saturday, April 21, 2007 with author CORNELIA GAIL being our first guest.

BREAKFAST WITH BOOKS even has its own website so its events can be easily found and marked on your calendars. Simply visit www.breakfastwithbooks.com. When you go to the website you can click on the author's name to be directed to their personal webpages. This will help you to find out what books they have written so you can be prepared before the meetings.

All of the details concerning times and dates can be found at that website, so make sure to share it with other book lovers.

We would like to thank our partnerships with the Ferguson Literary Group, For The People Productions, Tricom Publicity and the authors involved for making this program possible.

This is just the beginning of our movement to encourage reading. Look for our "JOIN THE ADDICTION: GET HOOKED ON BOOKS" bumper stickers and tote bags around town!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Join CBC on Good Friday as we talk with Bestselling author Alisha Yvonne --- Friday, April 6, 2007

Thanks to everyone who supported our Conversation with author M. W. Moore on Tuesday, April 3, 2007. We appreciated his candor as we discussed the book FOR WHAT I HATE I DO, which is a fictionalized version of his life. Look for M. W. Moore to be visiting with Conversations Book Club and the state in August 2007.

We will end the week with a special treat: Bestselling author Alisha Yvonne (author of Lovin' You Is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Right and Naughty Girls) will join us live via conference call on Friday, April 6, 2007 at 6p.m. CST. You might remember that Yvonne began the tour for her new book with Conversations Book Club--- now she will join us to discuss its success, her upcoming projects and how she will be returning to Mississippi this summer to promote additional projects with Conversations Book Club (Yvonne is also featured on the cover of the May 2007 issue of Conversations Magazine, seen here.).

You don't want to miss this! Join us and get your questions answered! We are pleased to inform you that we will have all of her books available for purchasing during the discussion, the cost being $10.00 each.

Learn more about Alisha Yvonne by clicking here.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Picture gallery from Bestselling author K. Elliott now available!

We are happy to release the pictures from the recent visit of Bestselling author K. Elliott to Mississippi on Friday, March 30th and Saturday, March 31st. For background information on Elliott, click here. You can also visit his website by clicking here.

K. Elliott trip to MS --- 03/30-31/07
Hosted by eSnips

M. W. Moore discusses his personal demons with FOR WHAT I HATE I DO--- Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Author M. W. Moore (seen here) will be discussing his thought-provoking book FOR WHAT I HATE I DO on Tuesday, April 3, 2007 with Conversations Book Club via conference call--- and YOU are invited!

FOR WHAT I HATE I DO is the first in a trilogy that explores the turbulent life of a handson, ambitious, young athlete with so much potential but whose future is compromised for a life of living on the edge. Moore is a former four-time NCAA All-American track-and-field champion who attended Mississippi State University studying Industrial Technology.

In 1997 Moore found himself on the wrong side of the law while working as an assistant manager of a coffee shop. He was cornered by police during a raid... and booked on suspicion of felony bank robbery.

He devotes his time to honing his literary skills, speaking to AA groups and community organizations and conducting seminars on Writing as a Therapy. Whhile incarcerated, Moore produced seven books.

This discussion about his book and his life will be discussed at Medgar Evers Library beginning at 6p.m. CST. Admission is free. For more information, call 601.982.2867 or 773.344.7220. You can also visit www.forwhatihateido.com

Want to meet Moore in person? Then make sure you visit our site often to find out when and where M. W. Moore will be in Mississippi August 24-26, 2007!