Hello, my dear followers. I know it has been a while since I last published, but I have been extremely busy with #DemCast and all of the amazing things going on over there. If you aren’t familiar, DemCast is a grassroots media, boots on the ground platform, primarily focused on spotlighting Democratic races, candidates and issues on a local level.
In case you need a refresher for what this “W.O.K.E.” Movement is all about, you can check out the launch announcement here: https://demwritepress.com/2019/08/31/women-our-empowerment-is-up-to-us-w-o-k-e/
In the meantime, let me get you back up to speed. “W.O.K.E.” is an acronym for “Women of Knowledge & Empowerment”. The movement is about uplifting women who are out here making moves and breaking barriers.
“Women need to empower each other for a myriad of reasons. We need love, companionship, and uplifting. We all need knowledge, we all need empowerment. In standing tall together, we learn to appreciate our differences and our strengths and equip ourselves with the courage to draw from the best parts of one another. That’s where I see W.O.K.E. making that change. We as women are going to make this happen.”
WOMEN: OUR EMPOWERMENT IS UP TO US. #W.O.K.E.
So here we are, as 2019 comes to an end, finding ourselves even more in need of encouragement and support from our sister friends of all races, religions, nationalities, and creeds. This W.O.K.E. edition is extremely personal for me. As an African American, female writer, empowering other female authors out here creating their own lane and mastering their craft is a true honor and quite a humbling experience. We, as black female writers, regardless of genre, have consistently and emphatically devoted and exposed ourselves, in order to have our voices heard above the noise. Dating back to slavery, and throughout the Civil war, African Ameican female writers risked their lives to safeguard and conserve our conventions, to tell our enriching history, using OUR own words. I highly encourage any of you to visit the Harlem renaissance era of African American literature with works from Wakins Harper or Charlotte Forten, from the Civil Rights era.
If you are more of a fiction reader, then today’s “W.O.K.E.” woman, Author Ebony Diamonds line of urban fiction tales of heartbreak and woe will provide edification into the evolution of African American literature, especially among young African American women. In the peak of the 2000s, a type of writing that was most popular in the African American community in the 1960s, would once again welcome women. If the streets could literally talk, these are the words they would actually say. That’s my description of Urban Fiction. It’s raw, real, and absurdly imaginative. While certainly not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to leisurely reading, it is worth noting, it takes a genius to think of it, plan it out, and then actually get people to purchase it, which makes this lady so awe-inspiring.
Ebony Diamonds was born and raised on the southeast side of DC, and attended UDC and University of Maryland, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.
Much like myself, Ebony grew up reading urban fiction writers like Eric Jerome Dickey, Sister Souljah, Carl Weber, and Zane. I myself enjoyed Walter Moseley, Alice Walker, and Tina McElroy Ansa.
Inspired by Wahida Clark, Nikki Turner, and Noir: at 33 years old, Ebony has 55 published pieces of work. No that is not a typo. 55 published books, under a national publishing house, and did it all within 5 years’ time. Did I mention she is a stunning mother of 3 children and a wife, bless her heart? She’s also well on her way to becoming one of Amazon’s #1 Bestsellers in the urban fiction romance category, suitable for ages 18+. Then, there’s that.
I had a quick chat with Ebony about Part 2 of her book, Queen, that launches on Saturday on Amazon Kindle (and paperback) about how life has been treating her as an Independent Author. Check out this adorable interview she wanted to do to inspire other women authors, along with a brief excerpt from Queen. The full interview with Ebony will be coming in January. In the meantime, please give her Facebook page a thumbs up, and if you have young adults in your life, consider diversifying their literary exposure, stay “W.O.K.E.”
Describe What it was Like Finding Out You Were Going to Be Published the First Time?
“I was terrified of being published because people would be judging me. I was afraid of the criticism. It felt amazing after I let those feelings die down. My best advice to former me, and future I’s out there, is to don’t let that fear stop you, let it propel you.”
Do You Ever Use Your Family as Character Inspiration?
“I often use my family as inspiration for characters, especially my children’s personalities. I often have their character be one of the characters that play with other kids in my books.” (Laugh) I know how they roll!”
When You Get Ready to Write a New Book, What is Your Process?
“I always just sit still and start to let my mind wander. Almost like a meditation. The first sentence, to me, is the most important. I consistently write that first, knowing this is where the reader gets intrigued. I also think about the end game, why am I writing this story and what is the point.”
As You Look Back on Where You Are, Compared to Where You Were, Any Regrets?
“The only regret I have is not getting published and believing in myself sooner. Black women often beat ourselves up, more than society, and we have to stop doing that. We are infinite, we are wise, and we are some of the most intelligent human beings on the planet. Urban Fiction happens to be one of the ways we express ourselves, it’s our story, our words, without having our essence and our authenticity erased.”
How Does it Feel to Finally Be Independent, After Having Published 55 Books Under a Publishing House?
“As you guys will learn in an upcoming feature with L. Renee’, I feel that I finally have control over my work. Both creatively and career-wise. There’s nothing worse than to have put in all this sweat, money, time, tears, and sacrifice to have someone come along and take everything from you within an instant. Your work, your craft, and your money are off-limits. When my story comes out, I hope that it will be an inspiration to everyone that has ever been taken advantage of, as a black woman, a disenfranchised woman, or simply for being a woman, trying to earn a living from her natural abilities, gifts, and talents. May God have mercy on the person who takes advantage of women. He’s the one that gave us this power.”
One is the One Piece of Advice You Would Like to Give Up and Coming Writers?
“Please. Read all of your contracts, never doubt your ability to deliver, copyright ALL of your work even work that is not incomplete. The most important thing is to be consistent and due your due diligence. Remember, you’re only as successful as you can dreams.”
“Queen Malone grew up knowing she was born to be heartbroken. The rough streets of Miami hardened her heart and fattened her pockets. Queen is used to heartache and losses, with that hurt, she rose to the top and stepped on any man or woman that got in her way. The only thing she didn’t have a handle on is her love life. Never wanting to commit she tried to resist the sexy and savage Wessie Rain, an ex she never lost her fire for and could never let go of.
When Wessie is shot and almost loses his life Queen reevaluates whether or not she needs to drop her wall and declare her love or walk away and stay Queen of the streets to have a family with the man she loves. Wessie Rain is the dope boy your mother told you would ruin your life. He’s sexy, smart and has money, a triple threat. When he relocates to Miami he finds himself back in Queens bed and she fell right back into his heart.
The only problem with that is Wessies’ wife, Queens rival Sonovia Stanfield. Sonia is determined to show the world who Queen really is when she gets a hold of a secret that Wessie may never forgive. Hearts will break and bullets will fly in this gritty urban romance in the 305…”
“Luvin On a Cold Hitta”:
About Ebony Diamonds
L. Renee’ is an Ohio Buckeye, born and raised. She still resides in Ohio with her husband and their 1-year-old dog, an Italian Mastiff, Kane. L. Renee’ has been an avid community activist but became even more involved within the past 2 years. That includes becoming involved at Demcast, taking online courses and self-educating herself, all to further develop her writing skills, public speaking and leadership. L. Renee’ was a Grant Administrator for the State of Ohio, writing a $2 million block grant, right out of high school. She retired at 25 with vested benefits. After retiring, she started her own company and attended classes at Franklin University, all while raising a young son. She hasn’t looked back, self-publishing 4 books and contributing to a regular column on DemWritePress.com. L. Renee’ is the co-creator and co-host of Backwards and In High Heels, the Podcast, with Jenny Gattone. #StayW.O.K.E.
Feel free to follow her on Twitter at @MissLRenee and follow the Podcast @BIHHeels.