The Industry (Through my Eyes)

Niobia and YA Fiction

Young Adult fiction is my newest challenge, ya’ll.  Why? 

Two main reasons:

  • Simply because I love the genre:  My Mom was a reader.  I fondly recall going downtown every Saturday with her to shop and I knew for sure there were three stores we were going to hit: Woolworth for their lunch (best banana creme pie ever), Macy’s, and the bookstores.  She fed my nosy, being grown interest in her books by buying me books that were age appropriate: Sweet Valley High, the series of Laura Ingall Little House on the Prairie Books, Rosa Guy’s books, etc.  And I loved it.  I would start reading my books on the bus ride home and wouldn’t stop until I was done. I was just a kid reading about a bunch of kids.  I thank my Mom for that.  In hindsight it was refreshing to read stories that didn’t deal with adult issues.  Issues facing pre-teens through teens are serious to them.  Of course we adults look back and think, “Oh God why was I so concerned about that growing up” but in that moment and at that time it (crushes, embarassing school moments, cliques, popularity or lack of it, rumors, etc.)  was a big concern.  So I’m intrigued and excited about tackling  issues kids are facing in a fun and light hearted way. Plus, I still read YA to this day and I particularly care for those that read and feel like YA–no adult drama, no profanity, no sex.  Just a fun book to help kids escape the real world for a minute.  Those books remind me of being a kid and every so often I like feeling nostalgic.


  • My little cousins are always begging to read my books and they are so NOT appropriate for kids in middle school:  Just because I write urban fiction and erotic romance doesn’t mean I would let children read it.  They aren’t for children and I would frown if I saw a thirteen year old reading one of the Hoodwives books.  I screeched when my eleven year old cousin strolled in my office and picked up a copy of my romance HEATED.   I don’t believe in censorship but I do believe parents should try to control what their kids are reading, watching, doing, etc., etc.  So my YA series is for kids–and kids at heart like me–and even though the main characters of my upcoming series of books are seriously over the top, there are lessons to be learned for every child. 

So, I have these YA books coming soon under my newest psuedonym simone bryant for Kimani Tru and I am so excited about it.  I love each and every genre I write in and the variety helps me from getting bored.  Seriously. 

My new YA Fiction page will be up soon with info on the upcoming 7 book Pace Academy series centered around The Pacesetters.

I hope that readers of my romance, mainstream, or urban fiction will help introduce their younger relatives to reading through my YA books–or maybe even check them out for themselves.

The Industry (Through my Eyes)

My Advice on Writing (Updated)

People frequently ask me for advice on this crazy writing biz and I WISH I had all the answers.  Every role or position or experience is different–just like any other aspect of life.  One thing I can promise you is that you need patience.  A lot of writers offer more detailed info but here’s some general advice from me.  Hope it helps some:

  1. the first task is learning these terms and how to complete them.  You need to have these prepared in order to submit to a publisher or agent: query letter, proposal, synopsis, genre, solicited and unsolicited materials
  2. learn more about the publishing industry (there are so many great sites that really can help guide a new author to know more.  This is ultimately a business and a writer should treat it as such (seriously)
  3. be prepared that you may have to actually finish the entire manuscript before an offer is made
  4. decide what genre you want to write in.  Romance is generally easier to get into because publishers will accept “unsolicited materials” or unagented works.
  5. contact various publishers via a letter with a SASE or visit their website to find out their submission guidelines.
  6. write simply for the love of it
  7. be prepared to keep your day job
  8. write what you love to read and remember characteristics or style used by that author and try to emulate it to a degree.
  9. stay determined–just like with anything new you take on in life
  10. don’t let rejection knock you down but also be open to any legitimate or worthwhille criticism–don’t just say they trying to hold you down and squash your dreams.  You may be getting some real advice or some truth about whether your skill in writing lives up to your love.  Remember those folks on American Idol who really think they can sing because someone didn’t have the guts to say: this is not for you.  real talk.

Here are some great writers who put way more into giving out advice than me. LOL.  Check them out:

Lynn Emery’s Get the Facts

Karen E. Quinones Miller’s Help Getting Published.  Karen also has great writing advice via her myspace blog and her new Writing Boot Camp offering onsite workshops, online workshops, and manuscript critiques.


2009 Essence Writing Contest

9/18/08 Update: The new link to the official rules has been added below. 

Deadline : Postmarked by September 30, 2009
PRIZES: One First Prize Winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and publication of her or his contest entry in a winter 2009 issue of ESSENCE magazine.

Has your love of reading books translated into a desire to write–I know that’s what happened for me, and may be a dream of some of you. Essence Magazine is holding its annual short fiction writing contest with the winner to be announced at the 2009 Essence Literary Awards.

I got my start–and my confidence–via short stories and I encourage all those who meet the eligibility requirement of the official rules to give it a try. Good luck to all of you who plan to submit. Please hurry though because the deadline is just a month away.

Please go to Essence website for the official rules here.

Good Luck.

The Industry (Through my Eyes)

Romance Slam Jam (2009 and 2010)

Romande Slam Jam

Emma Rodgers, Ashira Tosihwe and Francis Ray gave birth to the Romance Slam Jam in 1995 in Dallas, Texas, to demonstrate what Nikki Giovanni describes as “The Power, Passion and Pain of Black Love.”  There was much success at Black Images marketing, promoting and selling the works of black romance writers since the early 90’s that they decided it was time to take their love for romance to a new level by bringing writers and readers together.   


Romance Slam Jam 2009

14th Annual National Conference

 March 12 – March 15, 2009

Los Angeles CA


On March 12-15 Slam Jam 2009, will be taking place in the exciting and culturally rich city of Los Angeles. We are so jazzed we were chosen as hosts for this fabulous occasion. We’ve been working diligently to arrange a fantastic conference in 2009.

Romance Slam Jam is being held at the beautiful, historic Beverly Garland Holiday Inn which provides a shuttle to various local attractions such as The Walk of Fame, City Walk, Universal Studios, shopping, and much more. We have a beach party themed welcome party planned, tons of reader and writer workshops and the fantastic L.A. Banks as the keynote speaker.

Los Angeles is going to be a blast and we have no doubt Romance Slam Jam’s Red Carpet Romance will be a smashing success. As we iron out more details we’ll pass them on to you along with small articles about things to do and see while you’re in Los Angeles and post updates on those authors attending, workshops being planned, the Emma Awards and possible activities.

 Aspiring Authors Contest

The 2009 Romance Slam Jam Aspiring Authors Contest is now accepting Submissions. CONTINUE READING

2010 RSJ Conference

April 10, 2010 – April 15, 2010

Romance Slam Jam 15 Year Anniversary Cruise

It’s Romance Slam Jam’s Crystal Anniversary! Our theme is Back to the Future with Rochelle Alers as our keynote speaker! Everyone is Welcome To Join the Romance Slam Jam Crystal Anniversary Celebration Cruise departing from Miami, Florida, Saturday April 10th, 2010. We will be embarking on the five day Carnival Cruise to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands on the “Destiny” Fun Ship.

Come and have fun with the attending authors:

A.C. Arthur, AlTonya Washington, Andrea Jackson, Angela Benson, Angie Daniels, Ann Clay, Barbara Keaton, Beverly Jenkins, Carol Ann Johnson, Chrystal Rhodes, Deatri King-Bey, Dyanne Davis, Gwyneth Bolton, LaConnie Taylor-Jones, Michelle Cameron, Monique Lamont, Niobia Bryant, Pamela Leigh Starr, Pam Osbey, Renee Flager, Rhonda Joseph Jackson, Rochelle Alers, Shirley Hailstock, Victoria Wells, and Wayne Jordan. Author list is subject to change.

For more on the cruise,  which is booking NOW, please go the RSJ site.


Yes, yes, ya’ll the 2010 RSJ cruise is on my list of scheduled events for 2010.