Yet another NYC institution is closing its doors. Harlem’s Hue-Man Bookstore is closing its brick-and-mortar location on July 31st. An open letter, received by GalleyCat, explained that the folks behind Hue-Man are working on building an “amazing bookstore of the future.” The letter says:

We will continue to be involved in the publishing of books and will ramp up our agency services to writers and publishers alike.  Though we can not give you the future in a nutshell, we can tell you that on September 6th 2012 at 7:30 PM we will launch our new event format with Miami Heat Dwayne Wade. Partnering with a state of the art facility we can begin to create the kind of multi-platform customer experience we’ve always imagined.   Stay tuned! You can continue to buy online…..In fact,  for 3 months beginning Aug 1, 2012 we will be discounting our entire website offerings 30% or better. You can still reach us through facebook and twitter. You can continue to reach us at the same phone number and at the same website and e-mail address … YOU CAN GET DEEP DISCOUNTS ON OUR EXISTING INVENTORY WHICH WE NEED TO LIQUIDATE.

This is no bueno. Not only are we losing an independent bookstore, but it’s one of the very few in New York City that actually cater to an African-American readership. What are your feelings on Hue-Man’s closing? LMK in the comments below!


Original Article

The below quote is from Cressida Leyshon’s recent interview with author Zadie Smith about her upcoming novel NW.

[E]very time I write a sentence I’m thinking not only of the people I ended up in college with but my siblings, my family, my school friends, the people from my neighborhood. I’ve come to realize that this is an advantage, really: it keeps you on your toes. And it seems clear to me that these little varietals of voice and lifestyle (bad word, but I can’t think of another) are fundamentally significant. They’re not just decoration on top of a life; they’re the filter through which we come to understand the world.

I actually feel that’s applicable to my own own approach to writing. Because of my varied life experiences, the stories I wish to tell will be done through a unique filter, one which will invariably mix the profound and the profane, the secular and the sacred, the bourgie and the ghetto.

What about you? Are you a writer and, if so, do you worry about having to, as Zadie puts it, “think yourself into many places at the same time”? Share your thoughts on this in the comments below.

[The New Yorker]

Original Article

My Cocoasis sister and fellow writer Danielle Gilyot has just published her latest short story When the Bough Breaks in Specter Literary Magazine. Check out the excerpt below.

Nadine took the money out of their savings account that morning without telling her boyfriend. 300 dollars. Gabe would have a fit. Half-running down Magazine Street because New Orleans’ buses wanted to be extra slow today, she made it to the fancy baby store within ten minutes to closing time. Thank goodness. No one had bought it yet. The white-wooden jewelry box adorned with small pink flowers on vines. Little hearts instead of thorns. The ballerina’s brown limbs positioned into a perfect arabesque. Nadine looked down at her stomach. Six weeks. It was a girl. She felt it. 300 dollars. Her little girl would be a ballerina, too.

An elderly black woman waved Nadine inside of the store. Nadine smiled with embarrassment. No more window stalking. She had the money.

“Isn’t she lovely?” The woman asked. “I’ve seen you. On your way home, I assume. I think your nose print it still on the window from yesterday.”

“I’ve been waiting for right moment to buy her,” Nadine answered. “I used to dance.”

“I see. Well take your time, dear.”

As the woman disappeared into the back of the store, Nadine looked around. A pink-and-white-lace wonderland. Christening dresses packaged inside clear garment-bags. Tiny black, patent-leather Mary Jane shoes with ruffled socks displayed on a table. Satin hair bonnets, pink-flowered head bands, porcelain piggy banks. This place was made for little girls. The kind of little girl Nadine would have. Cocoa butter and baby powder. Powder-puff cheeks. She’d have Gabe’s beautiful green eyes. Brown skin like the ballerina. Like her Mama. Nadine’s little girl. Sugar and spice and everything nice.

Lifting the jewelry box so she could hear the music up close, Nadine saw the price tag. 375 dollars written in a beautiful green ink. She’d have to wait until payday at the end of the week to get the rest of the money. Using the word “layaway” seemed blasphemous for this kind of store. Placing the jewelry box back into its spot in the window display, she left the store before the woman could see her.

“We’ll get it soon enough,” Nadine said to her stomach.

Man, look, I am so proud of Danielle! Be sure to click the link below to read the entire story! Tssstssstssstsss!

[When the Bough Breaks - Specter Literary Magazine]

Original Article

“Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.” – Jay-Z, “Reminder”

This morning, I checked the sales stats for my two books GUESTLIST and KISSES FOR TATI. You know, just to see how well they were doing.

Well, according to Amazon, the sales rank for KISSES FOR TATI was 280,613; GUESTLIST, which was released back in March, is at 331,939.

Now, some of you may be saying, “That’s not impressive. It ain’t like you hit number one or nothin’.” But I’m a tell you like this, Dear Readers: those rankings are impressive as hell.

First, you must take into account that my books are going up against over EIGHT MILLION other books in Amazon’s database. To be included in the Top 300,000 out of 8,000,000 is fucking extraordinary.

Second, understand that I am practically doing all of this BY MYSELF. I must reiterate this, it’s not like I had a true mentor or helping hand. I had no co-signs prior to publishing any of these books. No hook-ups, no one taking a chance on the kid. I did this all by myself. Plus, the staff of Be Cool Books is exceedingly small.

So I look at these sales rankings with no small measure of pride. I’m making it happen.

Have you read my books yet? If not, what are you waiting on? KISSES FOR TATI already has a 4.5 rating on Goodreads, and GUESTLIST has 4.7 on Amazon.

To buy GUESTLIST at Amazon, click here.

To buy GUESTLIST at Barnes and Noble, click here.

To buy KISSES FOR TATI at Amazon, click here.

To buy KISSES FOR TATI at Barnes and Noble, click here.

To buy either GUESTLIST or KISSES FOR TATI from my store, click here.

GUESTLIST is also available for Kindle, Nook, and iPad. Ebook versions of KISSES FOR TATI are coming soon.

Plus, there are some exciting things happening with Be Cool Books. I can’t wait to share the news with you all. Thanks to all of you for your support. Happy reading! Cheers!

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Original Article

Starting sometime next week, I’m going to give random strangers on the train a copy of my novel GUESTLIST.

My plan of attack will be simple: I’ll approach people with books and eReaders, those who look like they like to read. I’ll ask if they’d like to read my book. If they say yes, it’s theirs. If not, I’ll tell them that I’m not asking them to buy it, I’m asking if they would be interested in reading it. If they still decline, then it’s on to the next one.

We’re not running a big operation over here, so I’ll probably only do this once a week, but hey. Whatever it takes to get the word out.

So, if you’re in NYC and you’d like to check out a dope debut novel by an up-and-coming author, keep an eye out for the handsome young brother offering one to his fellow straphangers.


Original Article

In his most excellent memoir On Writing, the venerable Stephen King wrote, “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot if difference. They don’t have to makes speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”

In this section he talks about how, during the early days of writing his breakthrough novel Carrie, he’d gotten frustrated with the character and threw the manuscript pages in the circular file. His wife Tabitha found these pages while cleaning up and rescued them from the trash.

Both Stephen and Tabitha were writers, English teachers, and, most importantly, kindred souls. They understood one another as well as one another’s needs. Throughout On Writing, King dotes on his wife and it’s apparent that he loves her very much.

I would love to have something like that. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening in the near future.

You see, since writing is my passion, I pursue it with a zeal and passion unreserved for anything else. And since I have a day job, which consumes roughly ten hours of my day, I’m left with precious little time for anything else. Sacrifices must be made. So I sacrifice sleep. I sometimes sacrifice my social agenda. And I sacrifice all hopes of ever having some kind of love life.

I’ve always known this would be the case, though. Whenever I get deep into a project, whether it’s a novel or screenplay or even a series of blog posts, I shut everyone and everything else out. I concentrate solely on what I am working on. As you can imagine, in the case of a novel (such as GUESTLIST) that can be years, son.

While that may be great in creating the next Essence Magazine best seller, it’s not really good for relationships. And over the past few years, I recognize that I’ve lost quite a few opportunities due to my willingness to put writing over women.

Will I ever find myself in a meaningful relationship? Will I ever meet a woman who will understand the weird ways in which my mind works? Will I ever be able to devote myself to a woman as much as I do to my craft, and to sustain our budding connection? Right now, I don’t know. I’d like to think that I’d one day be involved and have kids and all that good stuff. But the reality is, I just don’t know if I’m built for that.

What say you, Dear Readers? Any advice? Can I hear from my fellow creatives in relationships? You don’t have to be a writer — musicians, artists, filmmakers, whoever, let me hear from you. How do you make time for your significant others? How do you make it work? Holler at me, give me tips, share your opinions in the comments below.

Original Article