Saturday, October 24, 2009

Interview with Author & Poet Monica Marie Jones

Join us as we chat with Monica Marie Jones. Author, poet, youth expert, and a sister in the struggle to be curvy in a world that does not always understand the meaning of true beauty. Sit back and learn a little more about an author on a mission to entertain, encourage, inspire and educate readers.

*******CONTEST ALERT: Leave a comment with an email address on the Monica Marie Jones interview and be entered to win a copy of The Ups and Downs Of Being Round and Swag .

1) Tell us about yourself? I consider myself an artist. My artistic medium is paper ink and words. When I am doing anything that has to do with writing or reading I lose all track of time because I love it so much. I am an author, poet, motivational speaker and radio show host. My mission in life is to use my words to entertain, encourage, inspire and educate.

2) What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? I started out by journaling to process my emotions. The journal entries led to poems, and then one day I decided to write a book. After seeing my first book in print, I was addicted. I have not turned back since. Now I am on book number four.

3) You mention on your website that you are a youth development expert. What exactly is the role of a your development expert? Has your work as a youth development expert influenced your writing? In undergraduate school I studied elementary education and in graduate school I studied social work with a focus on youth. After college I enrolled in the High/Scope Educational Research Foundations Trainer Certification Program. I have worked with youth in several capacities since I was a teenager. I have been everything from a classroom teacher to a camp counselor to an after-school program director. I have contributed to literature in the field of youth work as well as curriculum materials based upon the research based best practice approach to youth development. My work with youth directly effects my writing because I am still very connected with youth and I want to inspire and give them something positive to aspire to. I write my urban fiction with them in mind. I know that urban fiction and street lit is what they are into because I see them reading it. So I write story lines that are real, but I don't use any profanity and I always include a powerful inspirational message

4) You have a number of books, essays and poems available to the reading public. Could you give us a brief list of your titles as well as the where we can find your essays and poetry. How many of these books feature plus size characters or are written for a plus size audience? The titles with two stars are written directly for the plus sized audience, the titles with one start have parts that are for the plus sized audience.

  • **Okay to Be Me in Chicken Soup for the Girl's Soul (Short Story)
  • **The Ups and Downs of Being Round (Novel)
  • New Directions in Youth Development (Non-Fiction-Contributing Author to Chapter 3
  • *Taste My Soul (Poetry)
  • FLOSS (Urban Fiction)
  • 44th (Poem within a book about Barack Obama)
  • *Swag (Urban Fiction)
  • ** Fat Girl (Poem) and Don't Wait for the Weight (Essay) in The Souls of My Young Sisters (Anthology-March 2010)
  • The Perfect Stranger (Short Story) in Bedtime Stories 3 (Anthology-August 2010)
5) You describe your novel The Ups and Downs Of Being Round as a coming of age story about a girl who struggles through her life with issues of weight. Could you tell us a little more about this book. What was the motivation behind this novel? The Ups and Downs of Being Round is a coming of age story about a girl who struggles throughout her life with issues of weight. Overweight as a child, Madison Jenson struggles with teasing and physical limitations until she loses the weight during her adolescent years. Just as she begins to enjoy life as a slim girl she gains the weight back during her college years. Finally, being fed up with being unhappily overweight, she loses it again as a young adult, but to her surprise she loses a lot more than just the weight and finds out that physical weight loss does not guarantee happiness. This book is based upon my life. I have always struggled with being up and down in weight. A few years ago I changed my lifestyle and lost 65 pounds...This book follows what that journey was like. This is my first time ever admitting this on record, so it's and exclusive, but, I've gained all but 15 of those pounds back. What people don't realize is that losing weight comes with a huge psychological burden that most people aren't ready for. As a result I have made it my mission to promote self love from the inside out no matter your size.

6) Do you have more Curvy books (books featuring plus size characters) in the works? If so can we get a sneak peek of what is in stored for us lovers of Curvy Books? YES! Right now I am working on the sequel to The Ups and Downs if Being Round. It is called The Flip Side of Fat. It talks about what its like living in a skinny body when your mind still tells you that you are fat. I am trying to decide whether I want to make it fiction based on my life like the Ups and Downs of Being Round, or just the straight up true story.

7) Tell us about your newest release Swag. What is it about? How can fans of your work purchase a copy of Swag. Swag is my pride and joy. Here is the synopsis...Noelle Dresden stepped out on faith and left her full-time job to pursue her passion: singing. Six months later, her singing career hasn't gone much of anywhere and neither has her relationship with her charismatic, yet sneaky boyfriend, Jonah. Although Jonah loves Noelle, he’s not willing to give her the commitment and ring she so desperately wants. After Jonah uses Noelle’s hopes of an engagement for his benefit, Noelle gets fed up and decides to move forward with her career…with or without Jonah.Her pursuit leads her to accept an invitation to be a house guest on the popular, hit reality show, House of Swag. On the show, aspiring entertainers with the potential to take it to the next level are trained to become multifaceted mega stars. While in the house, Noelle catches the eye of the show’s creator, Monroe "Paper" Chase. He uses his good looks and smooth talk to charm her, then he uses his money and power to attempt to subtract Jonah from the equation. Drama only escalates when Noelle has to deal with an envious, hating house guest who is not beyond trying to bring Noelle down to get ahead.As Noelle rises toward super stardom, she has some difficult choices to make. What lies ahead of her looks so much better than what she has left behind. Will she work to keep the love that she and Jonah shares alive, or will she choose fame, fortune and a man who can make all of her dreams come true?Readers can buy Swag on my website at or on

8) What are you reading now? Right now I am reading "Just A Little Boy Crazy" by Teen Author Shelbie Moore, but I am desperately trying to get my hands on a copy of "The Ideal Wife" by Jacquelin Thomas.

9) Who are your favorite authors? My favorite author of all time is Jacquelin Thomas. I also enjoy Robyn Williams, Eric Jerome Dickey, Omar Tyree, T.D. Jakes and Francine Rivers.

10) Tell us about the online and offline personal appearances you have planned over the next couple of months. Where can readers connect with you up close and personal? My online appearances include features on the Motown Writers Network and Michigan Literary Network Sites (, Goddess Girl Online Magazine for Teens (, My weekly column on the I'm A Huge Deal website (, My feature on the Detroit Blog on Time Magazine's Website (

My offline events include the Essence Of Motown Literary Jam, the second weekend of November as well as visits to Chicago, Austin and New Mexico.

11) How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? Yes, readers can get in contact with me on all of the social networks including Facebook (Monica Marie Jones), Twitter (@monicamjones), Myspace ( and of course my website Readers can also email me directly at

12) What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? I want my readers to know that, December will make two years since I stepped out on faith and left my full time job to pursue my passion of writing wholeheartedly. Since then, the blessings have been infinite and I'm not sure that there would have been a space for them if I had not let go and trusted that the walk in my purpose would be a challenging yet rewarding journey. I said all of that to say, chase that dream until you catch it then hang on tight for a wild yet fulfilling ride!

About Monica Marie Jones: Monica Marie Jones is an author whose published works include The Ups and Downs of Being Round (Fiction/Self-Help), Taste My Soul (Poetry) and FLOSS (Urban Fiction). She is a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul, New Directions for Youth Development, and 44th (A full color coffee table book about President Barack Obama that is a compilation of front page reprints of actual African-American published newspapers and poetry.) She has also contributed to several publications and youth development training materials for the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. She has worked as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications and websites including the Michigan Front Page Newspaper and is an active member of the Motown Writer's Network where she is the host of her own show, “Marketing and Motivation Mondays with Monica Marie Jones” on the Michigan Literary Network Radio.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Interview with Critically Acclaimed Author King Dhakir

Join us as we chat with King Dhakir, author the critically acclaimed I Hate My Job. This fierce brother has the drive of 20 writers. His open and honest commentary on his work and the literary world in general is refreshing and inspiring. But don't take our word for it. Check out this interview. This lover of Curvy Books is impressed and will be picking up this books ASAP.

1. Tell us about yourself? I am the one and only King Dhakir. King is what I am, which is royalty due to my ancestral blood, and Dhakir means “Remembering God” in Arabic, which I strive to do amongst the weak and wicked. I’m originally from Chicago. Now I’m a rolling stone bouncing from various cities on the East Coast. I’m basically a Renaissance nomad.

2. How long have you been writing? I've been sharpening my pen for 17 years. Drawing cartoons sketches never worked out because I couldn't raw a lick. So I started writing episodes instead. As I got older, I expanded to lyric writing when I was interested in rapping. MCing has helped me tremendously with story writing because I can incorporate poetics and rhythm to my writings.

3. What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? Winning $25 in an academic contest for writing an essay on a famous Black individual sparked my interest in writing. I won the award for writing an essay on Malcolm X. When one of my classmates had told me I won the award, I didn't believe her until they announced the winners over the loud speaker for the whole elementary school to hear.

I beat out everyone in the 4th grade level at my school, which means I pretty much out wrote roughly 80 students to win the award. So I answered my calling instead of refusing to pick up the phone to speak with opportunity.

4. How long have you been writing books with plus size characters? I Hate My Job is the first piece I focused on plus size characters. I've always dated thick women, at least over size 10, even when I was younger. I just find plus size women attractive, at least those who are well shaped. I really didn't dwell too deeply with plus size characters, but the next book will have sub-plots dedicated to plus size women.

5. Tell us about your book I Hate My Job?
I Hate My Job is not about hating your job, per sé.

The title is a metaphor for doing what you want to do instead of doing what you need to do. You need to work at a desk job or a fast food joint to pay bills, but you probably see yourself traveling across the world. My book is the alpha and omega of living out your vision because I’m sure everybody at one point had felt trapped in a situation, and either fought out of a bad spot or fell victim to their environment. I Hate My Job shows you how to GET OUT troublesome situations in order to become victorious.

I Hate My Job is filled with comedy, drama, suspense, and erotica, and also socio-political issues such as gentrification, which is going on in many inner city communities today.

6. Tell us about the plus size character in your novel. Who is she and what is her role in book? Does her size play an essential role in the book? Felicia is the main plus size heroine of the novel, and Justice’s (the main character) close friend as well as off and on lover.

She’s in the process of losing her home due to gentrification in Brooklyn. Gentrification in short is basically when land and property tax increases push long time residents out the area to make way for a new crop of people. Felicia is a fighter unwilling to back down from developers who are interested in turning her brownstone into a condo. The representation of a strong woman is shown in her character, and might be considered a feminist to some people reading the book because she wants to do for self without help from a man.

I really didn't focus on Felicia’s size as much. I didn't want her image to come across as superficial. I described her physical attributes instead, and only focused on her ambition to strengthen a community that’s fighting to keep their homes. When the average person thinks of BBW (Big Beautiful Women), full figured, or plus size, it’s usually has to do with sex parties, partying in general, modeling or physical appearance. I just wanted to focus on the drive of the woman behind the beauty and the size.

I have two other plus size women in the story, but they play minor roles.

7. Do you plan to write more books featuring plus size characters? No doubt. Every book I write will have plus-size characters. I don’t want to exploit people who are plus size, and that’s why I subconsciously didn't point out that Felicia was full-figured. I would rather EXPLORE the life of a plus-size individual instead of “type-writer pimping” a particular size.
And to add on to that thought, I don’t discriminate. I’m too diverse to pigeon-hole myself as an “author who writes only about full-figured people.” Even when I have full-figured characters, I’ll still maintain a balance of images to cease any biasness.

I also wanna point out just because a person is plus-size doesn't mean he/she is living an unhealthy lifestyle. Sometimes genetics plays a part in how people are built. I plan on dropping jewels here and there about health to show folks you can keep your shape while eating right and exercising. Breast cancer, especially among Black women, is due to the fact that the body is lacking Vitamin D. I’ll touch on that in future books as well.

8. Is there another novel in the works? I started writing my next joint entitled, Cracked Mirrors Are Good Luck. Each word in the title has its own story; five short stories in one book. The piece is basically a Science Fiction joint with mad flavor. It’s gonna be dope. I just wanted to do something different.

There’s at least 2 plus size characters, mainly women, in each short story. I’m gonna push the image of full-figured women to the forefront because it seems like I’m the only writer advocating for the size 10 and up crew.

Forget pushing the envelope, I’m bulldozing the postal office.

9. What are you reading now? Who are your favorite authors? I really don’t have any favorite authors. Donald Goines and Eric Jerome Dickey were my favorite authors in the late 90’s when I started reading fictional work. Since I’ve grown a liking in reading, I really don’t have a favorite as of now. I just love a great book that’ll keep my attention when I’m riding buses and trains.

10. Do you have any public appearances in the near future? Bush Baby Café in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn will be hosting a book-signing for me as well as an open mic Saturday, October 24th. You can check out details of that event and other shows I’m throwing in the future by copying and pasting to your browser.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve, for sure.

11. How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? Anybody can reach me @

Please leave comments and other concerns of yours on the site. I have links to my other pages on social sites like Facebook, Myspace, etc.

12. What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? The world will get their money’s worth with no question. If they support me by purchasing I Hate My Job from my website, I’ll support them with a great read filled with entertainment as well as education.

I don’t play games with mastering my art as a writer. I appreciate all my supporters. So it’s only right for me to serve them timeless material with every release.

13. If you could tell one thing to every aspiring writer what would it be? I can say one thing, but actually I have three.

Don’t write a popular form of book just because everybody and their mamas are doing it. It makes you look weak and a follower, which equals disaster. The FIRST you is better than being the next someone else.

Also, aspiring authors should stop thinking that a lot of money is involved in the book game. You will make dough if you GRIND hard and make the right connects, but overall, a lot of authors still have their day jobs and are broke. It’s no different from the rap game. STUDY the greats who came before you, and learn how to command attention with words by reading books on the English language.

Last but not least, have LOVE for what you’re doing. What’s in your heart and mind will show itself between the lines. PEACE!!!

About the Author: King Dhakir was born and raised in Chicago and now resides in New York City. He keeps his sanity by reading, writing, traveling and working out in the gym. After graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Journalism, he sharpens his writing through lyrics and blogging during his spare time. King is also happily single and currently enjoys the life of a bachelor, but doesn’t rule out the possibility of settling down with a Queen to accompany the throne. King has plans of writing another novel tentatively titled, Cracked Mirrors Are Good Luck, and is shooting for a future release.

*****Contest Alert*****
Comment on any of the October and November Interviews (Except the Interview by Monica Jones) and be entered into a contest to win your choice of one of the many books we have on hand.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Francis Ray

Join us as we chat with New York Times Bestselling Author Francis Ray. Francis Ray has written a number of Curvy Novels including And Mistress Makes Three, the fifth novel in her Invincible Women Series. Sit back and relax and learn more about the woman behand the books.

1. Tell us about yourself? I'm a mother, and work for a large school district in Texas as a School Nurse Practitioner. I love reading and working in my flower garden.

2. How long have you been writing? I've been writing since around 1990. I first sold short stories before selling a full-length novel, FALLEN ANGEL, to Odyssey Books on December 24, 1991.

3.Your books both romance and mainstream fiction feature strong women of various sizes and shapes. Which titles specifically feature plus size woman? How long have you been writing books and stories with plus size woman? I have novellas in BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY and LIVING LARGE. In single mainstream the titles are NOT EVEN IF YOU BEGGED, and AND MISTRESS MAKES THREE. Romance titles include SILKEN BETRAYAL, and DREAMING OF YOU. I've been writing about plus size women for several years
4. Why did you chose to feature plus size heroines in your novels? My daughter, Michelle, is the reason I began writing about full figured women, and the reason I came up with the idea for the Big Girl series. One night while I was writing she asked why the all women were thin. It was a good question and made me think that women of size were just as beautiful, just as independent, intelligent, and as resilient as other women. Since that night, I've looked at opportunities to spotlight women of size.

5. The last two books in the Invincible Women Series, Not Even If You Begged and And Mistress Makes Three, both feature plus size women. Tell us about these books. Why did you choose plus size heroines for both of these books? NOT EVEN IF YOU BEGGED features Traci Evans who distrusts men because her husband died while cheating on her. Worse, he made her doubt her ability to interest another man. In AND MISTRESS MAKES THREE, Gina Rawlings' husband crushed her emotionally. Traci and Gina came to me as full-figured women with issues that are shared by many women - trying to move on after a man has done a number on you. They needed to learn to believe in themselves. By the end of the novel they're their own woman. A good-looking, intelligent and successful man who loves them is a bonus.

6. Are there any more plus size heroines is the works? I plan to have a plus size woman in a new mainstream series I'm working on.

7. What are you reading now? What types of books (genres) do you read in general?
I'm so far behind on my reading. I love Bette Ford work. I'm reading UNFORGETTABLE. I love romance. I want my happy ending.

8. Who are your favorite authors? I love so many authors work. As I said, Bette Ford, Donna Hill, Gwynne Forester, Mary Morrison, Victoria Christopher Murphy, Eric Jerome Dickey, Evelyn Palfrey.

9. Do you have any public appearances in the near future? I'm signing at Borders at Preston and Royal in Dallas on November 7, 2009. Please check my web site at for other dates.

10. How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? Readers can email me at or visit my web site at and join my mailing list so they'll receive updates on books/signings and other information.

11. What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? I'd like for my readers to know how very much I love and appreciate them. Without their continuous support I would not have been able to write over 40 books, made the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers list or any of the other accomplishments I've had writing. Because of them I'm living my dream of being a published writer. Thank you. I wish all of you love, health and happiness and send readers a big cyber hug.

***** Contest Alert *****
Comment on any of the October and November Interviews (Except the Interview by Monica Jones) and be entered into a contest to win your choice of one of the many books we have on hand.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Interview With Torrian Ferguson - Anexander Books Seeking Author To Write About Real Women

Join us as we chat with Torrian Ferguson, Essence Best Selling Author and founder of Anexander Books, a new independent publishers currently seeking authors writing books about plus size women.

1) The primary focus of this interview is to let reader and writers know about Anexander Books. But before we get into that tell us a little about the man behind scenes? I was not always behind the scenes. I'm the Essence Magazine Best Selling author of Swingers and Scandalous. After reading Michael Baisdens God's Gift to Women and Shannon Holmes Bad Girlz. I decided to write a story that had not been talked about before. I wrote Swingers and was immediately signed to a small publishing company. I learned a lot from my time with the company. I learned what to do and what not to do in this industry.

2) What drove you to step into the publishing side of the literary arena? While promoting my books I met several talented authors that were getting discouraged from the lack of support from publishers. So after I finished my writing career I decided to start my own publishing company and sign untapped authors and help them achieve their literary goals and it's been going great thus far.

3) Anexander Books has taken a special interest in novels that feature plus-size, strong African-American women. Why have you decided to focus on the plus-size community? Being honest I got tired of reading stories where plus size women were always talked about in a negative light. Plus size women were always featured as the the best friend that can not get a man, or the girl that's over weight because of being abused as a child. If not that, they were featured as over sexed women that slept with the skinny chick's man just to make her jealous type crap. Enough is enough! I happen to love plus size women and I know some very educated, strong, independent, sexy plus size women that have high self esteem and very confident. It's just time that books are written for everyone not just the size 8 chick. My goal is to eventually have a line of books totally dedicated to Plus size women.

4) What do you look for when choosing novels for publishing by Anexander Books?
I look for a great story that catches my attention right out of the gate. I've never been a fan of books that take forever to get to something exciting. If you read a Torrian Ferguson novel you'll see that my books always start out with a bang to grab your attention and make you want to keep reading. A lot of authors take to long building the plot and back story so by the time they get to the meat of the book the average reader has put the book down saying that it moves to slow. All Anexander Books novels keep you on the edge of your seat from page one!

5) How many books do you currently have in the works featuring plus size women and when can we expect to see these books on the market?
We currently have one author putting together a 3 book series. Her name is LaVonda Howard and the title of her novel is D-Cup Divas. Her first book with Anexander Books releases in the summer of 2010. We are currently looking for other authors that can tell a great story featuring my Plus size Queens.

6) How can authors interested in submitting their books to Anexander Books get in contact with you and/or find more information? They can reach us at I can be reached on Twitter and Facebook under my name.

7) If you could tell one thing to every aspiring writer what would it be? Don't try to be someone else. Be you and write what you want to write. Do not worry about being the next EJD, ZANE or anyone else. Do you and be happy doing you. Long as you are true to your craft your fans will come.

***** Contest Alert *****
Comment on any of the October and November Interviews (Except the Interview by Monica Jones) and be entered into a contest to win your choice of one of the many books we have on hand.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Interview With LaVonda Howard, Author of Diamond Live, Platinum Lives & The D-Cup Diva Series (a new Curvy Novel Series Coming Out Next Year)

Join BBW Reviews as we chat with LaVonda Howard, mother, wife, author and entrepreneur. Learn more about this great author and her new Curvy Novel series D-Cup Divas coming out in 2010.

1) Tell us about yourself? I am a mom of 2 and wife of 13 years. I was born and raised in SW Washington, DC. My hobbies are (of course) writing and graphic design.

2) How long have you been writing? I have been writing since I was about 10 years old. I wrote my first book (unpublished) named “Roses Are Red” that I may publish it as a pre-teen novel one day. I have always had a vivid imagination; I have notebooks full of book ideas and short stories.
3) The first book in the D-Cup Diva Series is due to be released in 2010 by . Tell us a little about the series. Are these your only books with plus size women? “D-Cup Divas” is a 4 book series focusing on the lives 4 women; Chandra, Rossalyn, Samantha and Lanora. These women are all successful, confident, and sexy and sassy.
Right now, these are my only books featuring “real size” women, but it surely won’t be the last. I have plans for many more!

4)What motivated you to write the D-Cup Diva Series? “D-Cup Divas” came to mind when Torrian [Ferguson] mentioned he was looking for stories that featured “real women.” That sparked the idea immediately to do a “Sex in the City” of sorts with plus sized women.

As a “real size” woman myself, I wanted to see a book that depicted women like me having real careers, real sex lives and real issues. Not your standard, low self esteem, over-sexed, drug addict storyline.

5)What books do you currently have on the market and where can interested readers buy your book? Currently I have, my very first book, “Diamond Lives, Platinum Lies” and “It’s Always the Pretty Ones.” Both books are on sale on I also have erotica site that I TRY to update regularly; I have loads of short very erotic stories on there I have named “Sizzle Snippetts”.

6) Are there more books with plus size heroines in the works for Vonda Howard?
Well of course! I have really enjoyed writing the first book in the series. I not only plan on completing the D-Cup Diva Series, I plan to write more books featuring us sexy, and curvy ladies!

7) Tell us about Cupcake Creative Studios, your graphic and web design firm. What services do you offer? How can potential clients contact you? Cupcake Creative Studio (Formerly Designs By Vonda) was started in 2006. I have always loved graphics and designs, so I decided to attend school to sharpen my skill and start my business.

I currently am the exclusive cover designer for Hollygrove Publishing, I have done graphics and websites for Kaira Denee, Marissa Monteilh, and Torrian Ferguson. I do business cards, websites, book covers. You name it…I do it! LOL

Anyone that is interested in seeing my work or placing an order is welcome to visit my website at

8)What are you reading now? What types of books (genres) do you read in general? Who are your favorite authors? Well, I’m not reading anything right now due to time constraints, but when I do have time, I love to read books that have a lot of action and surprise endings. I also love tear jerkers. Some of my favorite authors are (other than myself…LOL) Zane, Jodi Picoult, Meta Smith, Dan Brown, Joel Osteen and Mary B. Morrison.

9)How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? Well, I am always on Facebook (Vonda Howard). LOL Otherwise, I can be reached through my website

10)What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? That I always put my all into my books. My books are like my children. My characters are like real people to me. From the time I published my first book, until now, I have learned so much. I believe in paying it forward, so I am always eager to pass along any tips or things I have learned to up and coming authors. So ask away!
***** Contest Alert *****
Comment on any of the October and November Interviews (Except the Interview by Monica Jones) and be entered into a contest to win your choice of one of the many books we have on hand.