All Things Literary Awards

Are you tired of the same old American Idol like popularity contest literary awards? Would you love to see an award show that actually judges those based on the quality and merit of their work? A show that recognizes more than the usual suspects and celebrates the craft of good writing? We’re hoping that you desire the same as we present to you the ALL THINGS LITERARY AWARDS to be held at OOSA’s Pajama Book Jam later this year. Details forthcoming…

It is our desire and plan to celebrate great writing and great writers.

Let’s Talk About Sex…Baby

Stepping to the stage is: Tracy

It’s quiz time...come on, no sneaking, peeking, or googling; just 5 quick questions to see how much you really know about a teen’s sex life.

1. Does your daughter like bright colored lipstick? If so, could she be into Rainbow Parties?

2. If you grabbed your son’s (or daughter) cell phone right now, would you find nude or inappropriate pictures?

3. What does CD9, I%I, F/IB, or Q2C, stand for in text talk?

4. Is your teen sexually active? If so, how many sex partners do you think he or she will have by age 18?

5. If your teen was tested for HIV, would he or she share the results with you?

Odd questions, I know, but you would be amazed what our kids are up to these days. As the parent of an 18-year-old, it was very difficult for me to read the statistics on teen sexuality and drug and alcohol use. But as startling as the facts are, I didn’t do like many people and say it isn’t my child. I asked the questions and listened for the answers; not the ones she gave but the ones she may have been trying to conceal.

My new novel, “The Red Bear Society,” is a candid look into the lives of a group of teenagers attending a high school that is nationally recognized for its academic excellence. On the surface these kids are just your average American teens, but remove the athletic uniforms, lay down the pom poms, remove the tiaras, place the books back on the shelf, and you’ll learn the little secrets that their parents will be shocked to uncover.

As I was promoting “The Red Bear Society,” I was asked numerous times what made me write this story. My initial response was: “Why not?” But the truth is I want to write stories that matter. And although the plot deals with serious issues, they are scenarios that people are living everyday. It will be a reality for many if we don't wake up and start a dialog with our kids.

I’ve also been asked how I wrote a story people would want to read. That’s easy; I write about real life. Things I see and hear. Things that are happening right in front of me. How many of us know a teen girl with two or three kids and she’s not even 18? What about the boy(s) who got her pregnant and are already on to the next one? Kids today are receiving so many messages and many are confused about their sexuality. Then we have girls with low self-esteem and boys ready to take advantage of their weaknesses. Now throw in naivety, stupidity, drugs, alcohol, and an “I-just-don’t-give-a-damn” attitude, and you have the makings of a true page-turner. The twist…bringing to the forefront the ramifications of these actions that those of us on the outside looking in rarely get to see or hear about.

What makes “The Red Bear Society” unique is that despite all they experience at the fictitious Johnson White High School, like most kids, they are resilient and able to rise above their adversities and come together to support one another.

Peer pressure can be a good thing when used constructively. Kids learn so much from one another. However, as parents we should be providing the lesson plans and guidance. If you have a teen or know a teen between the ages of 13 and 19, I urge you to pick up a copy of “The Red Bear Society” not only for yourself but the teens in your life. Knowledge is key! “The Red Bear Society” is available at and wherever books are sold. Order from my website,, and get an autographed copy and a free mini-tote is included while supplies last.

Much Love,

So how did you do on the quiz?

1. A Rainbow Party consists of a group of girls wearing bright colored lipstick. The girls perform oral sex on a boy (or boys). The hodgepodge of colors from the lipstick is supposed to resemble a rainbow.

2. Sexting is a serious problem. Kids as young as 11 and adults well into their 40s and older are taking inappropriate pictures with their cell phones sending them to other people. Pictures can then be forwarded to others and even land on sex/porn sites.

3. CD9 = Parents around, I%I = Intercourse and Inebriation, F/IB = In the front or in the back, Q2C = Quick to cum.

4. 25% of teens report having at least 4 sex partners by the time they reach 12th grade.

5. Teens are more likely to confide in a close friend before they would a parent or adult. A teen that is not comfortable talking to their parent(s) is more likely to try and resolve a problem alone. Suicide is often the answer when a teen feels he or she has nowhere or no one to go to for help.

Tracy L. Darity is a resident of St. Petersburg, Florida. She is the author of the “He Loves Me He Loves Me Not!” “Love…Like Snow in Florida on a Hot Summer Day,” and “The Red Bear Society.”

Nakia Laushaul

It is FOR and ABOUT authors. Here we shine the light on authors who we’ve read, reviewed and recommend to others. In this edition we are shining our light on another gifted author...

Nakia Laushaul is an inspirational poet, motivational speaker, novelist and entrepreneur.  Inspired and fueled by attempts to be molded into the norm, she began to write her first collection of poetry and essays titled, “The Truth As I See It: In Poetry & Prose” which was released in 2010 by Serendipity Bound Books. Her sophomore project, “Running from Solace,” a novel was released in 2011. “Running from Solace” is the 2011 USA Book News Best Books Award Winner for African-American Fiction. Nakia is currently working on her third book.

Nakia remains determined to present the truth as she sees it in all facets of her writing, and hopes that her writing will inspire and serve a meaningful purpose for her readers. She is committed to challenging everyone within her reach to find compassion and empathy in the differences that exist among us all.

Nakia resides in Houston, Texas, with her son and is currently working on her third book.


Receipts – keep them or throw them away?  Ouch! I’m an accounting professional by paycheck and so I say keep them until the next tax period. But really, it depends on the receipt because there are so many factors. Let me see it first lol.

Weave is…Just a part of our culture and we might as well get used to it. Now, when it starts looking like you stuck your whole fist in a light socket, then it’s time to step back and smack your stylist. The flyaway weave look is not cute.

Do you always buckle your seatbelt in the car?  Yes! I’m super paranoid. Everything I do, I think about my son and how if I’m not here then he will have no one. After getting this far, I can’t get taken out by my own stupidity now can I?

If I could go back and talk to the 18-year-old me, I’d tell myself:  Little sister, there is no shortcut. Quit running around in circles avoiding your destiny because you’re only pushing it further and further away and in the end you’ll have that much further to go. Just thinking about all the time I was out there spinning my wheels, gaining years and losing progress makes me sad. Hindsight is 20/20, ain’t it?!?

Summer or winter?  Winter! I live in the South and it’s only gonna get but so cold and it won’t last that long either. Plus, I’m in my fashion element because I dig winter clothes; scarves, boots, hats and long skirts.

What advice did your parents give you that you've given to your son?  Truth talk, right? Don’t judge me. Honestly, none that I would be willing to pass on. I’m a generational curse breaker and all that foolishness (with God’s will) ends with me. The only thing they taught me was what not to do. It took me a minute to figure out (light bulb moment) that I should do the exact opposite as them if I wanted better results. My own way worked. 

What has surprised you most about parenting?  That deep down love. I mean, one look at my son and I’m in love with him all over again like I’m just seeing him for the first time. I never knew it was possible to love someone so much more than you love yourself. And he loves me back and I can feel it like its tangible, plugged up into an outlet or something. Like I want to ball him up and put him right back in my stomach so I can protect him and hide him from this ugly ole world. J is the first person I ever truly loved in my life and that kind of love surprised me.

Right now, I am reading...”The Healing of Love and Laughter” by Rickey Teems II.

What is the last thing you do every night before bed?  I usually don’t go to bed—I pass out. This author life is no joke and it eats up every waking minute of my life. I’m either thinking about a story, marketing, going over my calendar, making friends on Facebook/Twitter, talking to God, always something.

My most prized possession is...Do I have to pick just one? I guess since I can’t physically possess J or God, then it will be my memory stick. If my house was on fire I would run back in to save it. Where I’ve been is on that stick as well as where I’m going. I could start over from scratch with that just that little blue stick in my pocket.


“This is a must read.”  – Dream 4 More Book Reviews

“Taking an unflinching approach to some of our most significant modern folkways and mores, ‘The Truth As I See It’ is a powerfully insightful literary collection.  A recommended read.” – Apex Reviews

“Nakia R. Laushaul has penned a striking work of art…Bravo!” – Monique Mensah, author of Smoke Screen


“Nakia Laushaul has written a page-turner that immediately draws the reader into the lives of these women.  The plot is engaging and the characters are well developed…A brilliant story.” – F. Shirer

 “Overall, ‘Running from Solace’ is an engaging novel by Ms. Laushaul that will take readers on an emotional journey…readers and book clubs will enjoy discussing this book.” – KC Girlfriends Book Club

“Nakia Laushaul’s style of writing is phenomenal; she grabs the heart of the reader from the first line of the book…Authors, take note of Nakia Laushaul!!!  I haven’t felt this strong about a book in a long time.”- OOSA

For more information about Nakia, visit her website: or blog, Random Rants of Truth of a Social Butterfly:

This Week's Reviews Include...

This Week's Reviews Include...

Aspiring Authors Take Note and Learn from My Mistakes

As the 1-year anniversary of the release of my debut novel approaches, I have a lot to reflect on. I am sharing my journey through the self-publishing process in hopes that other aspiring authors will benefit from it. Like so many new authors, I jumped into this with both feet and not a clue what I was doing. I always loved to read and write, so that should have been enough to make me a best selling author right? WRONG.

If I could start all over again the one thing I would do is actually research the publishing industry. Research publishing options and weigh the pros and cons of traditional versus self-publishing. Next, I would sit down and come up with a plan. Being an author is just like running your own business. Yes, I love to write, but having a passion for something does not make you an expert by any means. Anyway, back to my point about it being a business. Anyone and I mean anyone can sit down and write a book. It is also easy for just about anyone to publish his or her work. The hard part is taking the time to do research about the industry and developing a business plan. People ask me all the time was it hard to write a book. My answer is: No, that was the easy part. Everything since that time has been very difficult.

If I had taken more time to research the industry and the process, I would have been more prepared. I rushed from finishing my manuscript to getting books printed without having a solid plan for how I would actually sell my books. *Newsflash* People were not just waiting for my book to come out. Independent bookstores are a dying breed and the large chain bookstores do not accept self-published authors with open arms. Getting readers to take a chance on you, a new author, and spend their hard-earned money to purchase your book is not easy.

One key area that I failed in during my journey of becoming a published author was in editing. It’s funny that before I wrote a book and got smacked around by readers and reviewers about editing issues I never realized how prevalent of an issue this is in the industry today. Yes I did pay for an editor but what I didn’t realize is that there are so many aspects of editing and there are so many people who call themselves editors who have no clue what that means. Editing does not mean using spell check. It does not mean hiring someone to simply proofread your work for you. Proper editing should involve several steps and sets of eyes on your work. Someone, not your friends and family, should read your book to provide you with a critique. The first step should be a developmental edit to check for character and plot development. Make sure the story has a logical flow and there are no holes in your story. After this it should go to an editor for line editing. Last but not least, a final proofreading review should be done of your work. This process can take a long time and should be handled by professionals. Again, friends, this is where I made my biggest mistake. I take full responsibility for not handling this particular issue properly.

The next step is having a solid plan for marketing and distribution. Knowing the pros and cons of printing books versus eBooks is key. These are all things that I didn’t fully understand until AFTER my book was in print and I had cases of them sitting in my living room.

My story has somewhat of a happy ending. Over the past year, I have met some wonderful people and many of them have been so kind as to offer advice and guidance. I joined a Facebook group called All4One, which is a group of authors who share advice and information about the publishing process. If I had known about this group before the release of my first novel, things would have been very different. I have since had my novel re-edited by a professional and sales and feedback have improved. I recently finished my second novel and while it is going through the editing process, I am working on my marketing and distribution plan.

In closing, I would like to strongly encourage any aspiring author to follow their dream of being published but to only do so after doing proper research and developing a solid business plan. Your business plan must also include a realistic budget that will not allow you to cut corners and ultimately deliver a less than quality product to consumers. Remember, the readers will make or break you.

Terri D is a long-term transplant resident of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania . She is a single mother of three who has written poetry and short stories all of her life. Her children have always been her inspiration to push to get to the next level. She writes as a way to express herself and to document her inner most feelings. Terri D published her debut novel titled Yesterday’s Lies in 2011 and her second novel Today’s Truth will be released in the spring of 2012. For more information about Terri D please visit her website at or visit her Fan page on Facebook.

Ceasar Mason

It is FOR and ABOUT authors. Here we shine the light on authors who we’ve read, reviewed and recommend to others. In this edition we are shining our light on another gifted author...

Ceasar Mason is a first generation Trinidadian-American. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, to parents that migrated to the United States in the late sixties. His formidable years were spent on the southern Caribbean island of Trinidad.

Between the ages of four and ten, he was immersed in the culture and rich heritage that Trinidad had to offer. It was during this period that he developed a strong discipline and work ethic, to which he credits his Aunt Monica, who raised him during this time.

Ceasar returned to Crown Heights, Brooklyn in the early eighties as the crack epidemic began. Like many young men of his day, the allure of the streets was more fascinating than higher learning. After an arrest that landed him in Baltimore, Maryland’s Herman L. Toulson boot camp, he realized that he had a talent to write.

Upon graduation from boot camp, Ceasar remained in Baltimore where he enrolled at Morgan State University’s business management program. He would never return to the streets. In 1997 he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he currently strives as an entrepreneur. He visits his native New York often but certainly prefers the winters of the South.


You see a quarter on the sidewalk. Do you pick it up? Absolutely; wipe it off, kiss it up to the sky and in my pocket it goes.

If you could posses any superpower, what power would you choose and why? I would like the power to decimate fear. Simply because I watch so many people living lives contrary to their purpose and the only thing that is stopping them is FEAR.

When it comes to virtue, loyalty and honor can’t nobody tell me nothing!

What one thing would an ex say she missed most about you? My attentiveness to her needs.

What is one movie or book you did not like that everyone seemed to love? Titanic; I just did not get it.

The trait I most admire in women is...confidence

What is the first thing you do in the morning? Thank the Creator for opening my eyes.

What has most surprised you about writing? How much your audience could really connect with you.

My greatest regret is...not playing football in college.

Right now I'm reading...Karen E. Quinones Miller’s “Harlem Godfather.” It’s good.


“From the onset you are pulled into his experiences with vivid and graphic detail…Mr. Mason articulates this story in a fashion that allows you the freedom to draw your individual conclusion about each character. You are on an emotionally charged roller coaster ride from page one. I definitely recommend this book for entertainment, education, and information as Mr. Mason takes you inside the adult entertainment and sex trafficking world.” - Sybrena

“I really enjoyed this book it was so well thought out and written, I felt as if I was on a ride with the writer. I could feel every emotion of each character…Can't wait for his next creation. Write on Mr. Mason write on!” - Honei

“It's a dramatic, and sometimes tragic and heartbreaking, book that exposes the danger of escorting and what drives young women into that line of work. Mason tells the story in first person, and the reader is drawn in from the very first line. It's Mason's first book, but reading will make you anxiously await his next.” – Karen E. Quinones Miller, author.

“I found this to be an informative book. Within the pages of ‘OnCall: Escorting in Atlanta,’ Ceasar Mason provided statistics to solidify his information. Escorting and Human Trafficking is real in our world. It's time that we stand up and take notice.” - OOSA

“This is one of the best up close and personal without being in the escort business books you will ever enjoy. I enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end. This one will make you feel a connection to each and every individual…Thank you Mr. Mason for such a life changing novel.” – Rhonda Smith

“I could say hands down, this was one of the best books I've read. I was able to relate to the mentality of the main two women characters in some strange way. The book kept me involved and interested from the beginning to the end. It was definitely an easy read. I am looking forward to a sequel.” – Anissa M
Love & Books
He is an author and the owner/founder of 5ive Star Publications. He represents the struggle of independent authors.

She is the founder of S.T. Ellis & Co., a marketing and promotions company that represents many independent authors. Her mantra is: "Grow...Gain...Give!"

Successful in business, Markeise and Sharmina are also successful in love. A couple for five years, while they may not love the same books, they love each other and they love books.

He Said...5ive 
How did you two meet? We met while I was at work. I'm so stupid because I didn't realize she was flirting with me at the time. She had great conversation and I thought she was beautiful. Once we got to talking for a while, the rest was history.

Do you think the portrayal of black love in books today is an accurate depiction?  Sometimes it can be and other times not so much. I enjoy reading stories when there is a hint of realism in the relationship. And another thing, not every black man is a player and not every young black woman is promiscuous.

What's a romantic night for you two? I love to cook. So I'd prepare us a steak dinner and we'd share a bottle of wine under candlelight. Then we'd spend the rest of the night snuggled up watching a movie or two.

What was it about Sharmina that made you know she was the one? Quite simply, I couldn't imagine living my life without her. It's a distinct feeling that you have. Whenever we're apart from each other I'll think of her smile and I'll go back to the first time I saw it. If I couldn't wake up to that smile everyday I'd go crazy.
She Said...
With hectic schedules, how do you two find the time to maintain a happy and healthy relationship? We have to plan "us" time or lose what we've worked hard for. We've learned to speak things out instead of bottling or yelling things out. The ultimate goal is to find balance and then maintain the equilibrium; we are successful because we trust each other and our love supersedes the stuff that is unhealthy.

You're obviously both readers. Do you read the same books?  Absolutely not! Markeise loves a variety of book genres, mainly urban fiction.  I prefer spiritual, self-help and chick lit. I'll be in the back watching Joel Osteen and he'll be in the front watching 'The Wire.' We are opposites for sure!

What is the key to a long- lasting relationship?Forgiveness is key to longevity in any relationship. In our relationship, it's honoring our word, admitting when we need to walk away and loving despite imperfections.

What was it about Markeise that made you know he was the one? Markeise had an innocence about him. He was bright eyed, bushy tailed and I was like Angela Bassett in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"...ready, willing and able with rose colored glasses on. Most people know that I am a tad bit older than Mr. Washington. While not a cougar, I loved that energy he brought me and the age difference was a compliment to me. I knew that he was the one when my every other thought was consumed by something about him...we would be apart and I could smell him on or around me. I knew that he was special and worth my devotion.

They Said...

"I'll be moving higher
Closer to my dreams
And higher and higher, higher
Feel it in my being

I know that I could not go alone..."

"Closer" by Goapele
*Contest Alert*

If you were to write a book based on your current love life, what would be the title of your book?  There are no right or wrong answers, just creative ones. 
Email your answer  ONE winner will be randomly chosen from all entries.

Offer Expires: February 19, 2012