The BackList

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Carl Weber

So I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting and talking with Carl Weber. Can I tell you how impressed I was? I mean he is really doing his thing: publishing company, chain of bookstores, and NYT bestselling author. I had no idea all the things he had going on. He is incredibly knowledgeable about what he does and very down to earth. He's on the pulse of the urban market from street fiction (yall know that ain't my cup of tea) to profitable commercial fiction. Translation: He understands his market. Publishers and booksellers can learn alot from what he is doing. Shoot, I know I did in the hour or so that we talked.

His company opened the first Urban Knowledge bookstore in Mondawmin Mall in my hometown, Baltimore. And there's another in Owings Mills Mall which if you know Baltimore, is a big deal. I'll be down there this weekend to eat turkey wings so I'm definitely going to stop in.

review of Dream Boogie

There is a review of Dream Boogie, the new biography of Sam Cooke in the NYT. Peep the reviewer's Yoruba mentions. I was interning at Little Brown when this book was in production. I was excited about its arrival.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

AOL Blackvoices

Can someone confirm for me that there is no longer a book channel/section on AOL Blackvoices? Maybe I'm not looking under the right section (I looked under arts/entertainment and education). There was a section after was shut down.

What's the deal?

More on 50 cent

So there's all this hooplah about 50's literary agent being accused of blackening novels. I've read the article and am pretty confused. What does "blackening novels" mean? Thought I'd share it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Dark Dreams looking for Submissions

A Collection of Horror and Suspense by Black Writers
Edited by Brandon Massey

DARK DREAMS: A Collection of Horror and Suspense by Black Writers, was a groundbreaking collection of short stories, showcasing the previously unseen talents of black writers in the horror/suspense genre. Featuring the works of authors such as Zane, Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes, L.A. Banks, and many others, the anthology was a critical and commercial success.

VOICES FROM THE OTHER SIDE: DARK DREAMS II, scheduled for an April 2006 publication by Dafina/Kensington, continues in the innovative footsteps of the original. In this volume, perennial New York Times Bestselling Author Eric Jerome Dickey joins a cast of writers, both established and new, who lend their talents to the exploration of this exciting genre.

In DARK DREAMS III, the projected final volume in this series, we are aiming to end on a powerful note. All writers are encouraged to submit work.

CONTENT: Explore your creativity. Stories must fall within the horror/suspense genre, but this allows for an amazing diversity of storytelling. Stories may be erotic, humorous, gruesome, terrifying, political, and so forth--but must have an underlying tension that readers of this genre expect.

I am not adverse to you tapping into common supernatural/horror conventions—vampires, ghosts, werewolves, serial killers, etc..—but you MUST present a fresh angle or twist to such stories. Avoid the clichéd!

LENGTH: I suggest 3,000-8,000 words. But strong work will not be returned simply because it exceeds or falls below this guideline. Do what you must to tell your story well.

FORMAT: Submit your story via email to Submissions must be double-spaced, with standard 1" margins. I prefer to receive stories as Microsoft Word documents.

Please include a bio and a photo of yourself.
Multiple submissions are accepted. Incomplete submissions will be returned.

Submission guidelines are also posted at:

DON'T: Send previously published work or poetry.

DO: Send your best work(s).

DEADLINE: December 16, 2005.

Dafina/Kensington will publish the anthology in Spring 2007. I recommend that you submit your work early, rather than later, when most of the slots are filled and there is less time to work with you on revisions.

TERMS: The fees to contributors begin at $250.

ABOUT THE EDITOR: Brandon Massey is the award-winning author of the thriller novels, THUNDERLAND, DARK CORNER, and WITHIN THE SHADOWS, as well as the editor of DARK DREAMS, and the forthcoming DARK DREAMS II (Spring 2006).

Brandon Massey
P.O. Box 1416
Fairburn, GA 30213-1416
Email Address:

I'm a Hater

Call it hatin, call it what you want. ButI can believe this ish...

From PW Daily:

After conquering the music industry and, most recently Hollywood, rapper 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson), is looking to make his mark in the literary world with his own imprint, G-Unit Books. In cooperation with MTV Books, 50—who is currently starring in a film based on his own life, Get Rich or Die Tryin'—will be collaborating with a roster of friends and members of his entourage (known as the G-Unit posse) to create a series of hip hop novellas and graphic novels that focus on the topics the musician most often addresses in his music: the dangerous ups and downs of life as a street hustler. Hoping to capitalize on the success of recent entries in this genre, namely 50's own bestselling memoir From Pieces to Weight (which MTV Books released in August 2005), G-Unit Books will launch in early 2007 with four different titles, three of them fiction works and the other a graphic novel.

50's new venture also made NYT news and they mentioned that other books will be fictionalized accounts from the lives of Lloyd Banks and other G-unit characters.

I am most definitely knocking his hustle. I dealt with the corrupting of rap and movies, but now books. Say it ain't so!

Willie Perdomo starts publishing imprint

This is great news from E-drum...

Dear Friends & Colleagues--

Recently, I started an imprint with Ram Devineni, president and publisherof Rattapallax Press. The imprint, Cypher Books, will be devoted to publishingthe best in contemporary spoken word/poetry, fiction and creative non-fictionwith the occasional reprint of a classic. (If anyone has seen or heard fromDarius James, author of ?Negrophobia? please tell him to give me a shout).When asked what comes to mind when you hear ?Cypher Books,? Paul Beatty,a Rattapallax contributor replied, "A clandestine room where people with190 IQs are decoding government secrets and rapping during the lunch break.?His response was the perfect mission statement. Cypher Books, in keeping with the Rattapallax vision, aims to create dialogue through art.

Willie Perdomo
Editorial Director
Cypher Books

Saturday, November 12, 2005

NYC Event: Mr. Gordon Parks


A versatile and prolific artist, as well as noted “history maker,” Gordon Parks, Sr. lives up to his iconic status as photographer, composer, director and writer. For many artists—past and present, Mr. Parks serves as an inspiration, not only because of his long-standing presence in visual culture, but his influence on art.

Join us for a celebration of Mr. Parks’ vast achievements and recent publications— A Hungry Heart: A Memoir and Eyes With Winged Thoughts: Poetry & Images—along with invited prominent figures who will reflect on this legend‘s immense impact on their work.

Be sure to arrive early for this already legendary program featuring some of today’s most talented authors. Packed to capacity, Books + Authors is designed to introduce works by literary masters, established living authors and emerging writers. This program also features new titles that explore black culture locally, nationally and internationally. Sometimes it’s a performance and other times it’s a straight reading, but there’s always a discussion filled with rich, diverse perspectives.

Damn he's prolific

Walter Mosley just keeps coming with the books. It's hard to keep up. He is our modern day Langston, dipping into various genres and doing well in them.

His upcoming book is nonfiction and published by Nation Books, entitled: Life out of Context. According to PW, it's about the erosion of the political left. The first couple of sentences from the PW review read:

The isolation and ineffectuality of the American left is lamented in this
brooding, somewhat unfocused cri de coeur. Writing primarily for an
African-American audience, novelist Mosley (the Easy Rawlins mystery series)
argues that today’s political myopia and paralysis are caused by a lack of
"context." Americans, he contends, dwell on their own problems while
ignoring the global context of oppression and exploitation—in Iraq, Africa
and elsewhere—in which they are complicit. They are in turn shut out of
decision-making forums, whose agenda is set mainly by the narrow interests
of the wealthy and privileged.

Hmm, I'm intriguied.

John Crow's Devil

Although I don't read as many books a year as I would like (if I could have things my way, I would probably read 365 books a year). But I am officially declaring John Crow's Devil by Marlon James as one of my favorites.

If you are still a nonbeliever, read the recent NYT review. I think the reviewer really got it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I just realized during my 45 minute subway commute into Manhattan that there's nothing sexier than a brother reading a book on the train. And it really doesn't matter to me what it is--the bible, K'wan, Da Vinci Code, John Grisham, Stanley Crouch. It don't matter.

Shrine of the Black Madonna and BIBR are sponsoring a short story contest. I'm thinking about entering one of the three short stories I have written. Yes I only have three. And trust, I struggled with those...

I know I'm late but the winners of the Hurston/Wright award were announced. Maryse Conde is one of my favorites. I think I have mentioned that before. I thought Chris Abani had other fiction before Graceland (which is on my never-ending list to read). I enjoyed Warrior Poet, read it for a class.

Maryse Conde, Who Slashed Celanire's Throat (Fiction)
Alexis De Veaux, Warrior Poet (Nonfiction)
Chris Abani, Graceland (Debut fiction)
Tracy Price-Thompson, A Woman's Worth (Contemporary fiction)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Back from Vacation

I was on vacation last week on a lovely caribbean cruise. A legitimate excuse for not having any updates lately.

I'm am trying to get back into the swing of things but it is going to take some time.

Anyway, just read that my old professor and wonderful mentor Juris Jurjevics has stepped down from publisher at Soho Press. His book, The Trudeau Vector was just published so he's going to concentrate on his writing career. He'll still be editor-at-large and will continue teaching at Emerson. It was just a shock, but I'm sure it will free him up to pursue more personal projects.

Also on the move, Anita Doreen Diggs, former head of One World/Ballantine will now be a senior editor at Thunder Mouth. Also Stacey Barney, formerly at Amistad has moved onto Kensington as an editor. Lots of changes.

In other news, (can you tell I'm all over the place?), this Saturday I'm going to be interviewed on a new radio show out of San Francisco called 1440. I'll give more details soon, so you can check it out. I'll be talking about Backlist and the world of literature. Thanks Kevin Cartwright for thinking about me.