Monday, December 18, 2006

Blogging Hiatus

I know I've been a very bad blogger lately. I've got a lot going on with my day job, writing Kendra book #4, planning promo for Kendra book # 3, and the upcoming holidays(I'm not done shopping and still haven't put up my tree : 0). So, I'm taking a break and will be back to blogging the first week in January. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season! See you next year ; ).


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shelving in black & white

Remember a few months ago when I blogged about how my books are shelved in the African-American fiction section instead of the mystery section in bookstores? Well, it seems the mainstream media has finally gotten wind of this controversy. Today's issue of the Wall Street Journal has an interesting story on the front page about where black books are shelved in bookstores. Authors Brandon Massey, Gwen Forster, Terry McMillan, Millenia Black, and Tananarive Due are interviewed in the article. I won't get into all the details of the article but the gist of it is: Bookstores that practice book segregation, and not all of them do, do so, they claim, to make titles by black authors more accessible to black readers. Some black authors have no problem with the practice while others feel it limits thier readership and chances of making the big best-sellers lists.

Personally, I don't know why, as Terry McMillan and others have suggested, books can't be shelved in more than one place in a bookstore: the African-American section AND the mystery section. I've gotten my share of email from both black and non-black readers who tell me they enjoy my books. But I always wonder how and where they got a hold of my book. Mystery lovers no matter what color they are aren't frequenting the AA fiction section of bookstores looking for good mysteries to read. So, my questions to the readers of this blog who've read my books are: How did you hear about my books and where did you get them?

In other news, my first book, THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, was named the 2006 Book of the Year by The Page Turners Book Club in Connecticut! The Page Turners Book Club was founded in January 2006 by a group of friends who share the love of reading a good book. It started with a group of four and has grown to a group of ten members. The club is a forum which fosters sisterhood among women residing or working in the Bridgeport/New Haven/Hartford area. THANK YOU LADIES!!!!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Meet Dakota Knight!

Dakota Knight is the debut author of the thriller SOLA as well as being the driving force behind the Blogging In Black collective blog. She was gracious enough to take time from her busy schedule to answer questions about her new book and her road to publication. SOLA is also the featured title for December on MystNoir. Welcome Dakota!

1. Q: What appeals to you about writing thrillers?

I think thrillers are the perfect entertainment vehicle in the publishing industry. I love the idea of taking readers on a ride. By writing thrillers, I hope to craft stories that readers can’t stop reading until they’ve reached the final page.

2. Q: Was it hard for you to get published?

I wouldn’t say it was hard, but it was long. It’s the process the majority of writers should expect. I sought an agent, had some rejections, and then found my current agent. Then, I had to edit my manuscript so it would be presentable to publishers. It took about six months for SOLA to find a home with Urban Books. Plus, tack on another year before it hit bookstores. The waiting is the hardest. But as a writer, I am used to it.

3. Q: Describe your debut novel, SOLA, and how you came to write it.

SOLA centers on a female assassin, Sola Nichols. She has risen through the ranks of her boss’s organization to become his top killer. When Sola makes a fatal mistake while taking care of one of her boss’s rivals, the huntress becomes the hunted, and she must utilize all of her skills to survive. While she attempts to save her own life, she reflects back on the past and the events that led to her becoming an assassin. For Sola has a secret, a secret that will lead to an epic encounter with a killer she never thought she would have to face.

My initial thoughts about SOLA stemmed from the movie, The Professional, with Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and Natalie Portman. I wanted to explore what circumstances could make a female an assassin, and eventually Sola’s story emerged. From concept to completion, it took several years.

4. Q: How much research was involved in writing your book?

I spent the most time researching the places in the novel. Almost all of them exist or existed. When I was younger, I spent time in some of those places, and I had to revisit them in order to write about them. Some things I gathered from experience. And, of course, I tapped in to my imagination for the rest.

5. Q: Do you write in any other genre?

Yes, I write in other genres. I write in the science fiction, romance, and young adult genres.

6. Q: What is your writing schedule like?

I try to write whenever I can. I’m most productive at night because I can sit in front of my computer without a lot of interruptions. Most of the time, I write from an outline, which helps me a lot, especially when it comes to the dreaded “writer’s block.” At a minimum, I try to write 1,000 words per day, but I often write more.

7. Q: Can you tell us what you're working on now?

I’m putting the finishing touches on what will be my second released novel. It’s imperative that I get that in by December 1st. I’m also working on a mystery, which I will complete by the end of the year. I am also outlining another thriller that I’m very excited about. I hope my agent and publisher will be excited about it as I am.

8. Q: Do you have a website or blog?

I have both. My website,, was recently nominated for a Black Web Award for Best Personal Website by an Individual. The URL for my blog is I am also a regular columnist for Blogging in Black, the largest collective blog of Black writing professionals on the Net. You can read my commentary on the 1st of each month at

9. Q: What good books have you read recently that you'd like to recommend?

I recently finished Great Sky Woman by Steven Barnes. All I have to say is WOW! I highly recommend it.

10.Q: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Keep writing. It’s the best thing an aspiring writer can do. Don’t send out your work until you have a completed manuscript. I would also join a great organization like the International Black Writers Association. It’s a great place to network and hone your craft. There’s so much information out there, and it’s good to have a one-stop shop to get what you need to become a better writer.

Thanks, Dakota!

Thank you, MystNoir and Angela Henry for your support!!!

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