Thursday, June 28, 2007

What's Next on The Book Squad: Ending June With an Explosion!

We're ending the month of June like fireworks -- with a big bang!

We'll be in the presence of greatness when literary icon Walter Mosley shows up as our guest this Friday. We could go on ad infinitum about the twenty-eight best selling and critically acclaimed novels he's written. So few are as well-equipped as he to talk about developing an idea into a manuscript, as he does in his latest, This Year You Write Your Novel, a primer on the writing process.

Next, joining us to discuss her long-awaited memoir is actress, talk show host, and now author Robin Givens. She talks about, among other things, marriage to Mike Tyson, mistreatment from a voracious press corps, and motherhood on her road to self-actualization in Grace Will Lead Me Home.

For our mothers of tweens in our audience, Junie B. Jones enlightens us about her new book, Aloha-Ha-Ha, and about The Stupid, Smelly Bus Tour, appearing here in the DC area on July 2nd.

Come join us on Think of us as the appetizer before your Fourth of July meal of burgers and dogs!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 22, 2007: What's New on The Book Squad: WWD!

Welcome to our WWD show. "WWD?" you may ask. It's Writing While Dead, and it's not as sinister as you might think.

Today, The Book Squad showcases already-successful authors who have taken on the mantle of writing in the style of their deceased contemporaries. We'll delve into what it entails to inhabit the literary skins of the creators of some of this era's most recognizable fiction.

Eric Van Lustbader is the author of numerous best selling novels, including The Testament and The Ninja. He's been commisioned to continue Robert Ludlum's legacy as the author of the Jason Bourne novels, including The Bourne Legacy and the latest, The Bourne Betrayal.

With Juneteenth occurring this week, it's only fitting that we'd have with us John Callahan, who discusses the process of resurrecting Ralph Ellison's novel of the same name -- Juneteenth -- from a manuscript allegedly destroyed by fire in 1967, to having it grace the world's bookshelves decades later. He'll also share with us his latest, A Man You Could Love, in which he poses the question: Can politics be an expression of love? Probably not here in D.C...

Also on the agenda, Karyn regales us with stories from her travels to Florida last week week for The Ultimate Author casting call.
Join us on this Friday at noon. Bring a pulse...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

June 17, 2007: You Say You Want a Revolution? Yes, Please!

This is a statement of fact. My royalty check was late this accounting period. Not one or two days late. Try two weeks late. With no explanations, no apologies for having inconvenienced me, yadda yadda yadda. The check finally arrived via snail mail at the my agent’s on Friday. I, personally, still don’t have cash in hand yet.

As I cannot yet make a living as writer – shocking, I know! – I inhabit a land of civilians where a contract means something, as do the penalties of being in breach in said contract. Only in publishing is a contract a mere suggestion of ways to do business, that dates set forth are decorative… talking points around which to maneuver. For The House, that is. Authors, on the other hand, are held strictly to the letter of any and every contract.

In any other industry, as the aggrieved party, I would have my attorney on speed dial, and we would huddle and strategize as to how to be compensated. In the publishing industry, an author could, of course, do that. However, any author with a lick of sense and her ear to the ground quickly learns that exercising your right to counter The House’s actions would result in blacklisting, with one never getting another book deal ever again. Because editors talk and tag certain authors as “difficult.” In short, The House, like in Vegas, always seems to win.

What editors don’t seem to realize is that authors talk too. If you as informed authors do your homework, you’ll see the shifts that are occurring in the industry. You’ll see the emperors parading themselves at BEA and other industry-wide events and finally realize that yes, they are indeed naked. You’ll hear others tell you, as one person told me, that she’d set her manuscript on fire before she’d sign with a certain publisher. In short, authors aren’t as desperate as we once were to get to The Show. Some of our colleagues are laying in the cut, waiting for the complete paradigm shift, or they’re making one of their own.

I envision the same paradigm shift, a revolution within the publishing industry, a movement that will make this industry friendlier to us who provide the raw materials which The House uses to make almost a one-hundred percent profit off our backs. Think for a second what happened with the music industry. That industry’s moldy, outdated business model wasn’t working for consumers who wanted to enjoy music their way. This desire begat file sharing web sites like Napster and Kazaa, which enabled the consumer to share music they wanted, without having to get fleeced buying an entire CD at inflated prices. Finally, the music industry saw the light and changed. With inventions like iTunes and the like, consumers can now enjoy music the way they want to, and the industry and the artists get paid.

While the revolution in the music industry was consumer-driven, I predict that the publishing industry revolution will be fought by authors like us. I see it happening already. Print-on-demand is bigger than ever. iUniverse, coining the phrase “supported self-publishing,” has snagged heavy hitters like Alan Thicke and Barney Rosenzweig (creator of Cagney & Lacey), who’ve published best selling books with them. Both Margaret Johnson Hodge and Tina McElroy Ansa, successful authors in their own right, have started their own publishing houses. This revolution will make this industry more egalitarian and give a well-deserved systemic shock to self-styled power brokers who believe they’ve “made” authors in general and Black authors in particular. If you’re plugged in, you’ll hear others talking about that revolution too. My advice to authors and to The House alike? Listen up…

Thursday, June 14, 2007

June 14, 2007: What's Next on Tomorrow's The Book Squad

It's June, and t'is the season to be wed. So, on The Book Squad, we'll be talking about weddings, whether you need ideas from a preeminent lifestyle guru, whether you want to run away to tie the knot, or whether your focus is on using the actual wedding ceremony as a tool to build your relationship as a couple.

The preeminent lifestyle guru in the house is Colin Cowie, discussing his eponymous Colin Cowie's Extraordinary Weddings: From a Glimmer of an Idea to a Legendary Event. You've seen Colin over the years on Oprah, Live with Regis and Kelly, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, and Extra! 'Nuff said.

For the couple wanting to chuck the familiar trappings of home in favor of a destination wedding, we have Carley Roney and JoAnn Gregoli, authors of The Knot Guide to Destination Weddings. Carley is the co-founder of, the number one wedding brand worldwide. JoAnn, who has planned over one-hundred destination weddings, is the owner of Elegant Occasions, Inc.

Those into wedding preparation as a relationship builder can learn a thing or two from two PhDs: Judith Sherven and James Sniechowski, authors of The Smart Couple's Guide to the Wedding of Your Dreams: Planning Together for Less Stress and More Joy. Judith and Jim, who are also a married couple, are two of the country's most respected and pioneering authorities on successful relationships.

Toria Wyrick is in the Author Spotlight. And toay's Man-spondent on the subject of love and marriage is David Kletzkin.

So join us on We don't require a lifetime commitment -- just one hour out of your day.

Friday, June 08, 2007

June 8, 2007: What's Next on The Book Squad

The June 8 installment of The Book Squad explores this question: What Do Men Really Want?

We ask Steve Santagati, the author of The Manual: A True Bad Boy Explains How Men Think, Date and Mate -- and What Women Can Do to Come Out on Top. Per Publishers Weekly: "Santagati, a former model and admitted bad boy who has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The View, has expanded on his relationship advice enterprise,, to make this guidebook to dating and taming the wild male."

For balance, we talk to the couple that seems to have the answer to the question: 14-year NBA veteran Doug Christie and his wife Jackie. The pair, stars of BET-J's reality show Committed: The Christies, has written the relationship guide called No Ordinary Love: A True Story of Marriage and Basketball.

We also test drive our first "Manspondent," Chris King, who fills us in on how what men are reading reflects their interests. And Wendy presents her very own Book Expo America wrap-up.

Be there at for our peek into the male psyche.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

June 7, 2006: The Book Squad's Karyn Langhorne Drops "Unfinished Business"

Unfinished Business, by co-host of The Book Squad Karyn Langhorne, hit bookshelves on June 1. The novel, about the unwilling attraction of opposites, is Karyn's fourth. In a taped interview on The Book Squad, Karyn discussed this and her three other novels, her process, and what it's like to be both full-time mom and writer.

Harold Lee Wise, author of Inside the Danger Zone, was the live guest on the June 1st Book Squad. The novel, published by Naval Institute Press, explores the involvement of the United States military in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War.