Book Cover Magazine is setup for aspiring writers, upcoming artists, and published authors. Our goal is bringing authors, artists, and readers together.





Summer Contents

Letter from the Publisher

From the Editor’s Desk

Feature | A Cold Hard Truth | Eric Pete

Social Media Trolling: Selena Haskins

Book Referee’s Shelf: Orsayor Simmons

Book Clubs Across the Nation (10): Sharon Lucas

Writer’s Wellness Corner: Yashika Cherry

From Where I Sit (Male’s view): Akil Victor

Legalese Page: Felicia S. Thomas, Esq.

Entertainment Avenue: Aadila Williamson (ii) interviews)

Amani’s Youth Lounge: Amani N. Williams

Unmasking the Magic of Writing: Suzette Harrison

Special feature… interview with JL King (Releases On the Down Low 2)

Featured author: Hartsel Clifton Shirley (iii words)

Featured bookstore: Solange Bookstore



















Would you be shocked to read that a

bestselling author of eighteen

books, ghostwriter of ten, and

playwright of six touring plays does not

like writing. Add to the mix, teaching

twelve [annual] writing classes which

encourages others to write their own

stories. Writing is painful! The publisher of

Book Cover Magazine is not a fan of


Earning the title of ‘Bestselling Author,” you

must be a great storyteller. What makes a

great book is the story, not the writing.

Editors are paid to turn your stories in to

well-written books. Once you understand

that relationship, the fear of writing

becomes smaller.

When the team decided that our Summer

issue would highlight some of our favorite

male writers, the team brainstormed on

what male authors we could feature.

Women authors outrank men authors five-

to-one. We found some amazing, up-andcoming

male authors to introduce.

I am also excited about introducing Eric

Pete and Hartsel Shirley. Eric Pete, a USA

Today and New York Times Best Selling

Author --- talks of his new release and the

reason for his love of writing movies and

written stories.

I am excited to announce that I have

released On The Down Low 2. This is my

eighteenth book and the one that I am

going out on top with. It is released

almost fourteen years after On The

Down Low’s groundbreaking release. I

hope that you enjoy it and that it brings

education and awareness to everyone

who reads it. On the Down Low 2's

purpose is being a catalyst in creating

healthy relationships between men and

women, gay or straight.

We appreciate and welcome our legacy

and new readers to the Book Cover

Magazine family. Please let me know what

we can do to make Book Cover Magazine

better. We want to ensure that our motto

“We Bring Readers and Authors Together”

is always the number- one reason we work


JL King


From the



The staff at BCM has been working diligently to

bring readers together with authors, poets, artists,

and more creative entrepreneurs. We also enjoy

showcasing traditional, as well as self-published

authors, who are willing to share their personal

and professional experiences with you. While

writing is their primary goal, they’re committed to

staying connected to our audience of avid readers.

Please download the mag and take us along with

you while you’re traveling this summer.

In addition to our five previous columns (Book

Clubs Across the Nation, Book Referee’s Shelf,

From Where I Sit: A Male’s Perspective, Legalese

Page, and the Writer’s Wellness Corner), we have

added two new ones to serve an even more diverse

group of readers: Entertainment Avenue and

Amani’s Youth Lounge. All of these are designed

to keep you updated and motivated to achieve

your reading and writing goals.

If you want even more entertainment, you may

visit our website for poetry and short stories

submitted to the magazine at: We also have a

Facebook page:


Stay in touch!



Do Something New Shunda Brown

belong - fulfilling God's purpose in their


A motivational book designed to inspire

and provoke readers to be doers of the

Word as well as doers of those things that

will enhance their lives.

Do Something New is intended to feed the

spirits of those who hunger and thirst for a

better life. Many inspirational books

inspire readers but stop there. In addition

to inspiration, people need to be

challenged to make positive changes. Do

Something New does that with scriptures

and interesting questions that will make

readers re-examine themselves and those

in their life. Shunda Brown has overcome

many obstacles including the fear of flying

and has traveled around the country doing

what she loves - sharing words of


Readers will receive the Word, a dose of

inspiration, and thought-provoking

questions that will make them think and do

something positive with their lives. In

response to hungry readers, writers, and

bystanders, Shunda Brown has written an

inspiring and stimulating book which

includes journal pages that were created

for readers to jot down their thoughts after

each chapter.

This book was written for those who need

to be uplifted to the place where they



Eric Pete is a New York Times and USA

Today bestselling author of contemporary

fiction spanning relationships, erotica,

paranormal to thriller. Born in Seattle,

Washington, he grew up on a steady diet of

reading and late-night films. Eric is a

graduate of McNeese State University,

served in the United States Army, and a

proud member of Delta Sigma Pi

Professional Business Fraternity.

When asked what compelled his desire for

authoring, he replied, “Stories and movies

floating in my head as a child. However,

my wife inspired me to pen my first novel,

Real for Me.” With love for the written

word, Eric is currently reading, The Secret

History of the CIA by Joseph Trento.

The writing process for each new writing

project is different, but important for every

author. Eric shared. “I generally determine

the ‘mood’ of the story then go about

brainstorming important and critical beats

in the story. If it’s a main character that I’m

already familiar with, it tends to flow

smoother as I already have their voice (one

of hundreds) in my head. If it’s a

completely new main character, my pace is

a little slower as I go about adding layers

to their world.

I’m not one who plots out the entire

storyline, preferring instead to be more

organic and let my subconscious flow as I

type. I tend to know the ‘note’ on which

the story will end. If I know that, the rest

tends to come together a lot faster.

Sometimes a title or song guides the story,

but I usually change the working title once

I’m done.”

Eric has 15 published books and his

current novel , A Cold Hard Truth, features

a main character named Truth. But, if he

ever decided to pen a book about his life, it

would be titled The Adventure Continues,

because it used to be a motto that he had

on the windshield of one of his old cars.



Also, because he recently learned so much

about himself and how he came to be in this

world. It’s almost a soap opera in and of itself.

When asked about the evolving world of

eBooks, Eric stated, “Anything that allows the

written word to be delivered to the readers, I

can’t be mad at. The industry has changed a

ton though from the days of touring in brick

and mortar stores, which I do miss (as well as

the smell of so many printed pages on the

shelves). Also, eBooks allow instantaneous

reach around the world where maybe

traditional distribution channels could be

lacking. You just have to look at it like the

music industry where you once bought vinyl,

then cassettes, followed by CDs; now you

stream or purchase downloads.”

Since Mr. Pete has been in the industry for

over a decade, we asked him to give some

advice to our aspiring authors about the

publishing business, and he said, “Be prepared

to wear both hats; that of the artist / writer as

well as the businessperson. Also, it pays to

have a thick skin. Not everyone will love what

you write, and everyone has different tastes.

Just be the best at your craft in whatever you


However, he self-published his first two

novels as --well as his current release. His

brand, and how he wants to be known is

simple: Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Believe that…

I want to be known as a damn good writer

who entertained, made the reader look at

things in a different way, and the one who got

you lost in his characters’ lives.

BCM’s readers can connect with Mr. Pete at, which has links to his

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. All

of his novels are available either online via

Amazon, Apple,, or by contacting

your local bookstore.

Last, but not least, Eric left us with these

words. “I’m currently working on my next

novel, Gunn & Roses, featuring main

character, Joseline who was introduced in A

Cold Hard Truth. If you’ve been reading my

novels for some time, thank you. I hope

you’re enjoying them. If new, welcome


That says it all!

Eric has been writing under contract with

traditional publishers most of his career.





Social Media Trolling

Selena Haskins

As an author, I enjoy meeting new

people on social media, finding out what

their interests are, and exchanging in

“girlfriend” gossip about pop culture. I’ve

met quite a few people on social media

who have even helped with my writing

career and vice versa.

However, I soon realized that not

everyone uses social media for good

intentions. You have some people who

have social media accounts for the sole

purpose of trolling others. What do I mean

by “trolling?” Trolling is an act in which

someone deliberately provokes others

online, typically through inflammatory,

offensive, or provocative comments.

Their intent is to get an emotional

response from others; particularly, an

angry one. They often veer off subject and

will begin to attack the individual

personally, such as their gender, race,

sexual orientation, or religion. Granted,

everyone has an opinion, but a person

trolling carries that opinion to a

heightened level in order to draw attention

to themselves. They also try to steer others

and get them to chime in and agree with

them. Some of the comments are endless,

and lead to cyber-bullying (a whole other

topic), but trolling is usually how it starts.



Social Media Trolling / Continued

How can you identify someone who is

trolling? Honestly, it depends on the person.

It usually begins with how their words affect

you. Are they using target words that are

offensive, exaggerated or egotistic? Worse,

are their words often discriminatory? Once

you identify someone who is trolling, you

don’t have to accept their behavior.

You have a right to stand up for

yourself. By the same token, you don’t have

to be quick to take offense either. Ask

yourself if what is being said is really that

serious, or if you’re really just having a bad

day. If the offense is not that threatening or

blatantly offensive, you could laugh it off or

just ignore it and move on.

If you read their remarks over and over

again, eventually, their words will evoke a

different emotion inside of you that could

provoke you to lash back.

On the other hand, if someone is

making a false accusation about you or

personally attacking you, you can defend

yourself by stating the facts. Keep your

comment brief though, and try to avoid

going back and forth with the individual.

Otherwise, you just may allow the “troll” to

come out of you! The key is, know yourself,

be discerning of what the other person’s

intentions may be, assess the tone, word

choices, and most of all the subject matter. If

you know you are more sensitive about

certain subjects than perhaps it’s best not to

engage in them at all.

A person who is trolling will always

feed off another person’s sensitivities.

Remember, a person who likes to troll, likes

for the spotlight to hone in on them. They

want to be the center of attention to

compensate for their own insecurities.

Hence, a “troller” would probably never say

what they post online in-person. They don’t

have the courage to do so. Still, you don’t

have to fall into the trap of a troller by

feeling like you need to prove them wrong.

Remember, they are strangers in a lonely

world, and you don’t have to be a part of

their audience. If you have to resort to

blocking an individual, you can do so with

just a click of a button. “Poof be gone!”

There is nothing like having peace of mind

on social media.

Selena Haskins is the best-selling author of

A River Moves Forward, Riding the Waves,

and Just Between Us-Inspiring Stories by

Woman. She lives with her husband and son

in suburban Maryland. For more information

about Selena, please visit website:





The Most Beautiful:

My Life with Prince

Mayte Garcia

April 4, 2017

304 pages

Hachette Books

Almost one year after his death, Prince's first wife, Mayte Garcia, opens up about

her life with Prince. Why now? Why not now?

The title, The Most Beautiful,l is inspired by Prince's hit song, “The Most Beautiful

Girl in The World.” If you're wondering, – yes, the song was written about Mayte.

The first half of the book discussed her childhood and her love of dancing. She

started dancing at the tender age of three. She recalled her mom telling her

when someone asked her age, to show five fingers because the age requirement

for dance school was five. At the age of eight, she appeared on the hit show,

That's Incredible as the youngest professional belly dancer. Mayte wasn't a

stranger to the bright lights, but nothing on the level of brightness when she met


In the second half of the book, Mayte discusses how she met Prince at the age of 16.

After attending a Prince concert, her mom thought it would be a good idea to give

Prince a tape of one of her belly-dancing performances since he had some Arabic music

in one of his sets. As fate would have it, Prince ended up having a concert in her

hometown of Germany. And as they say, the rest is history. - continued



Over the course of the next two years,

Prince and Mayte became pen pals. Yes ...

pen pals! At18-years old, Prince and

Mayte’s relationship reached a new level.

Respectfully, Mayte discussed the ups and

downs of she and Prince’s relationship.

However, the book does not divulge

everything, but Mayte dispels many

rumors which plagued their marriage.

Tears flowed when she opened up about

the untimely death of Amir, their first son,

and the miscarriage that followed. It is

unimaginable the amount of pain Mayte

must have felt during the loss of not one,

but two babies. Prince’s refuge was in

music, but for Mayte that was a different


During the latter part of, The Most

Beautiful, My Life With Prince, Mayte

reveals a kept secret while working on

reality television show, Hollywood Exes.

She spoke of the joys of adopting

daughter, Gia. She also discussed her

feelings and events surrounding Prince's

untimely death.

Writing this book had to be therapeutic for

Mayte. Lots of diehard fans will say she

could have written these thoughts in a

journal, instead of sharing details publicly.

However, setting all preconceived notions

aside, you will see that this book was

written with no malice. I know she could

have revealed much more about her time

with Prince, but some things are better left

unsaid. Mayte was respectful to Prince's

memory while remaining true to herself.

The Most Beautiful is a beautifully, wellwritten

love story. Prepare yourself for a

release of emotions when reading this

book. I listened to the audiobook narrated

by Mayte’s own voice. There were times

she paused and at other times she

shaded tears during the recording, which

evoked my own tears. As a Prince fan, I’m

thankful for Mayte showing us a different

side of Prince she loved and that the

public wasn't privy to. He loved and was

romantic. He was a genius. He was flawed.

He was human.

Among the hundreds of books written, the

world will never truly know Prince, and in

true Prince style, he would want it that way.

He enjoyed keeping people on their toes.

I wish he would have lived long enough to

finish his memoir, but just like he lived his

life... It will remain mysterious!

Orsayor L. Simmons, founder of Book

Referees which spotlights/reviews/

promotion of all genres in the literary

world. Orsayor is the recipient of the 2013

Top 25 Literary Leader Award - 2014 Top

25 Literary Leader Award (presented by

Ella Curry) - 2015 AAMBC Blogger of the

Year - 2016 AAMBC Reviewer of the Year

and 2017 Excellence Literary Award.



Commodo ERAT




Across…the Nation

A story is always better if you have someone to share it with. What

could be better than sharing it with a group of friends who have read

it too? Belonging to a book club encourages readers to stretch beyond

their wildest dreams as they read and discuss works and genres that

they might otherwise have never considered if they weren’t part of a book club. If you

can’t find a book club in your area that meets your needs, start one! You won’t regret it.

Cilla’s Book Maniacs

Online club

Priscilla C. Johnson

Divas Leaving No Pages


Little Rock, AR

Toshona Carter


Turning Pages

San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Deborah Burton Johnson

The Tea Room

Torrington, CT

Shawn Matel

Sweet Soul Sisters


Jacki Lawson

Destined Readers

Atlanta, GA

Destiny Hawkins

Black Women with Opinions

and Attitudes

Chicago, IL

Lissa Woodson

Sisters of Literature

Bowie, MD

Sharita Bullock Phillip

EyeCU Reading & Social


Detroit, MI

Ebony Evans

SAVVY Book Club

Jackson, MS

Rose Wright





Elevation With Essential Oil Aromatherapy

The scene is set. You’ve endured another week of an

extensive work-schedule, family malfunctions, errands,

and occasional teeth-grinding frustration —all for

a“woo-sah” relaxation moment.

Candles lit, bath water at the perfect

temperature, and an added bonus is the

fragranced essential oils fragrances arise from

the bath’s steam. This has become a ritual

release when the world flips upside down. Not

by chance when entering this zone, relaxation

comes easy but not by chance.

Opting to indulge an atmosphere with

essential oils or the time has come to establish

a new ‘intentional’ practice. Essential oils

derive from seeds, bark, stems, root, and flower

of natural plants. It’s basically the beautiful and

powerful smells experienced from various

plants — bottled. More importantly and

unknown, bottled oils are packed with plant

molecules and compounds. These molecules

promote healing and a systematic maintenance

efficacy on our internal and external bodies.

This means, when placing lavender oil drops

(just because) in bath water or a living room

diffuser lemon oil in the living room our

system is undergoing a rejuvenation process by




What should one do if keeping

essential oils in their cabinets to freshen the

air periodically? Keep doing it. Stock up--and

often; the state of your health, mood and your

smell sensory all benefit. Although very

effective, do not be oil-biased by sticking

with the ever popular lavender, lemon, and

rose. Create an essential oil buffet to

introduce your well-being to something great


Mood: ylang-ylang, lavender, bergamot

Creativity: lemon, orange, grapefruit

Relaxation/soothing: chamomile, lavender

Skin: tea tree, bergamot, rosemary, lavender

Antiseptic: oregano, lemongrass, thyme,

peppermint, eucalyptus

Anti-fungal: cedar-wood, clove, tea tree,


Mental clarity: vetiver, rosemary, cedarwood

Yashika Cherry, lifestylist, fitness and

wellness coach, speaker and visionary of the

Cherry On Top brand. Her mission is to

The following oils are reliable for

various reasons, from inner to outer

rejuvenation. They can be applied topically

with a carrier oil, some consumed orally

(check consumption label prior to using

charging women in elevating their living

experience through integrating full spectrum

wellness. Yashika’s book, Awaken Alive:

Create a thriving living experience through

true wellness, will be released soon.

orally) and commonly released through

diffusion and inhalation. Pick a few and make

it a regular practice to inhale your well-being.

Respiratory: peppermint, eucalyptus, winter

Yashika is Social:


Instagram: @yashikacherry

Twitter: @cherry_on_top

garden, frankincense (great to inhale for

congestion or sinusitis





Akin Victor

Each One, Teach One, To Believe

Not long ago, I had a 14-year-old kid tell

me that he doesn’t know what his future

holds and that he feels hopeless. Wow! I

was taken aback to hear such a defeatist

statement flow through the lips of someone

so young. This was a sad thing because we

are defeated without hope. Hope is the last

morsel that sustains us and fuels our desires

to conquer our goals and obtain our needs.

When I asked him to tell me exactly what it

was that made him feel that way, he stated,

“No one believes in me.”

Having someone believe in you is like a

beacon light shining through the bleakest

darkness. The darkness of uncertainty and

that light in the distance urging you to carry

on, go just a little bit further until you reach

your destination. I let this 14-year-old

young man know, in all earnestness that I

believe in him, but it was more important

for him to believe in himself.

That life is made for him to believe and

achieve. The unfortunate thing is that his


counterproductive way of thinking stemmed

from his upbringing and lack of necessary

positive influences. I had a similar situation

when I was around his age, and it led to

gangs and jail.

I came of age in the ‘90s, a huge fan of

basketball with undeniable talent, large

potential, and high hopes. In an era where

Michael Jordan was already considered the

(Greatest of all Times) GOAT and young

guards like Allen Iverson, Stephon

Marbury, and Kobe Bryant were vying for

his spot.

Then there was me, a kid with a dream

who decided to sign up for a competitive

basketball league at the age of 13. I told my

parents enthusiastically, my dad more than

my mother, and urged them to go to my

games. Why not? Most of the other kids had

their support system, by way of family,

there. My best friend included, whose dad

made it to nearly every game.



Akin Victor

Five games into the league’s 13th

season, my dad finally showed up,

sullenly seated, without encouragement

or excitement. I did well that night by

scoring 17 points, 8 assists, and 2 steals.

As the season progressed, I couldn’t

convince him, or anyone else to show up

to lend support and encouragement my

adolescent mind needed. My confidence

and resolve fell considerably.

By the end of the season, I concluded that

no one cared; so why should I? In one

swoop went my hoop dreams, as losing

one’s dreams equates to an altering

reality. My reality was deeply altered by

two bad decisions. With a temporary loss

of hope, feeling of repair and

hopelessness or self-belief I threw my

arms around the streets warmly.

In its simplest form, belief is a state of

mind which has to be instilled in an

individual at one point or another, with

the youth being most receptive and in

need. It is a learned state of mind based

on what one is told, experiences, or

observes. Therefore, the proverbial term,

“Each one, teach one,” is aptly applied.

Having been in that young man’s shoes in

my youth and knowing the potentially

dangerous twists and turns lying ahead if

he stays in a negative state of mind in

regard to his existence, I felt compelled

as an individual of society, who crossed

his path to give him the reassurance that

he needed to hear.

Society is partly defined as a

“collective of humans,” and portions of

society can either succeed or fail based on

the upbringing of its youth. This is why

they have to be observed, supported, and

encouraged until they are prepared to

mentally handle things on their own.

Otherwise, we’ll have fewer dreamers,

made to be believers, who eventually

become achievers.







The Hacks of Life

Perry Busby says he’s still trying to find

out who he is. But at the core, he’s a

computer programmer with a love for

literature and a passion for social

activism. I guess you could say, he’s

gone from writing code to writing


His first published work, “It’s Time for

Good People to Do Right,” was a short

story for a political anthology called

HOWL 2016!: Poems, Rants, and Essays

about the Election. It was a story about

a man who has a Facebook Live

conversation with a visitor from the

future, on the night Donald Trump is


He will be releasing his debut novel,

The Hacks of Life, a general fiction with

a hint of mystery, in October 2017.

When asked why he wanted to become

an author, he responded, “Second to

reading, writing is my favorite pastime. I

learned from an early age that it was an

effective tool for self-expression. For a

kid who wasn’t too outgoing, I found

writing to be a subtle but selfish way to

get my point across without being

interrupted. Also, I have always

dreamed of seeing books with my

name on a library shelf. So, I’ve been on

this mission to discover those books.”

As a book lover, he tends to read

several books at once. “I’m currently

reading Stephen King’s, A Bazaar of

Bad Dreams; The Underground

Railroad by Colson Whitehead, and

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

When he starts writing a book, he

prefers a quiet room with a jazz playlist

pumping through his earphones. If he

was asked to write a story about his life,

he said, “Without hesitation, the title

would be, Risking It All. I am a risk-taker.

However, I don’t believe in taking

stupid risks. That’s not to say that I

haven’t done stupid things, I just try

hard not to do stupid things in risky




Perry notes: “I was a very late adapter

to eBooks. Knowing that sounds hard

to believe for someone who’s

constantly works with technology. I

prefer traditional books, but enjoy the

convenience of eBooks. Perry’s

advice for aspiring authors

pondering entering this business,

“Don’t write in a vacuum. Focus on

improving your craft, versus being


It took me a few years to complete

The Hacks of Life. There was a myriad

of reasons for the delay, but when I

compare the first draft to the final

version, the improvement is quite

noticeable. Finally, find

encouragement in another author’s

success, and cherish the wisdom of

authors who share their struggles.

Their setback will propel you past

many unnecessary obstacles.” Mr.

Busby took the plunge and created

his own publishing company,

Buzzword Publishing. When I asked

why, he responded, “I hadn’t planned

on it initially. After years of being a

self-employed IT consultant, I was

looking to hang the “Closed” sign on

my business and start over. I began to

research and listen to other Indie

authors, and soon decided that

establishing a publishing company

was the next logical step. I also


wanted to establish a business in

which my children could make

meaningful contributions. Working

with them on plot ideas and

marketing strategies has been a

mixed bag of nuts, but I’ve enjoyed

every minute.” Perry wants to

develop his own brand and be

known for writing cool nerd stories

from an African-American

perspective. “With over thirty years in

the tech industry, most of them being

the only African-American in the

group, I have had the privilege to

experience and be a part of some

amazing events, while struggling to

overcome stereotype and prepare

the next generation of young

computer scientists.”

The eBook will be available for preorder

on Amazon. Readers can follow

him on Facebook (Perry Busby),

Twitter @pbuzz3, Instagram


Mr. Busby sums it up as, “My dream

is traveling the country in an RV,

writing books and training future


That sounds like a wonderful dream

to me. Let’s help him make it come







Don’t Just Be a Writer – Be a Wise Reader

Authors are so focused on being writers,

sometimes they forget to be readers.

Information that’s right in front of their

faces goes totally unnoticed. That is, until

someone points it out and they feel, well,


“Oh, I was looking too hard!” or “I don’t

know how I missed that!”

These excuses might be innocuous and

harmless when it comes to reading a

menu, or directions to a particular

location, or instructions for putting

together a shoe rack. It can be disastrous

when it comes to contracts.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had

to counsel people after they’ve entered

into some unholy situation with the

stroke of a pen. They inevitably tell me,

“That’s not what they said.”


My legal training simply fortified what I’d

learned over the years – when entering into

a relationship with someone who benefits

from that relationship, do not never trust

their interpretation of anything you have to

sign. In this fast-paced world, people want

to rush you through documents so they can

get on to the next person.


Be a wise reader. Read every line. Your

signature carries great weight. It’s priceless.

However, put it on a document you don’t

understand, and you’ll learn there is a great

cost to signing without reading. Take your

time. Ignore the attitudes. Put your glasses

on and sit down.

This is never truer than in our profession as

authors. From editors to publishers, we need

to read the contracts we sign to bring our

books to life. Excitement may cloud our

judgment and our eyes. You can taste that

book, so you’re inspired to sign something

to get you that much closer to holding it in

your hands.

If you can’t be objective about the contracts

you encounter, be an even wiser reader by

hiring a lawyer to review them. Many will

scoff at the idea. Why pay all that money

just to have a high-priced, ambulance chaser

interpret something that I’m intelligent

enough to figure out?


Don’t Just Be a Writer – Be a Wise Reader

It’s just like buying a used car when you

are not a mechanic. The car looks good.

The car drives well. The seller says it’s a

great car. So, you skip out on having a

mechanic check it out to save a few bucks.

Then, you drive it off into the sunset, and

that’s where it breaks down, never to run

again. You can’t get your money back –

it’s an “as is” sale. In other words, your

“as is” out-of-luck.

You are entering into a legal relationship

with someone or some entity that can

impact you for years to come. You may

have to review several pages of singlespaced

type with a million legal references

that you don’t understand. You’re

intelligent enough to figure it out, though.

What if your interpretation is wrong?

What if the publishing house retains the

copyright to your novel for 10 years

whether your novel is a best-seller or not?

You missed that, so you have to wait 10

years to get your rights back to sell the

book yourself.

What if the independent publishing

contract you just signed requires you to

pay the publisher royalties for two years?

You missed that, so for every dollar you

make on your books, you owe the

publisher the cost of the book, plus a

portion of whatever’s left over.

Build into your budget the services of an

attorney to review all of your contracts.

Spend the money up front to protect

yourself on the back end. Most attorneys

should be able to review and interpret the

contract. However, an attorney who

specializes in entertainment law is

certainly one you'd want to cultivate a

relationship with. Keep in mind – an

attorney who specializes in a certain field

may charge more than an attorney who

does not specialize.

If an attorney is a family member, friend,

or acquaintance, don’t ask them to just

“take a look at this.” Pay the person for a

few hours of their time. It’s worth it to get

their full, professional advice on the


After all, you don’t want your mechanic

friend to walk around the car once and tell

you it looks good. That mistake will make

you feel stupid, broke, and brokenhearted.

Making Legalese a Little Easier.







Philly takes pride in supporting fellow black

authors. Support and networking among

black authors is vitally important due to his

personal experience of being ignored when

becoming a writer. Many well-known

published authors and writers refused to

share their blueprint of success with him.

Love and relationships

Philly will do anything to help and support

others desiring success. While Philly just

received a copy of Zane’s new book,

Renegade, he also takes a personal route of

supporting one of his favorite local authors,

Mr. Tito Bradley, We Got Issues (A

Conversation about Black Love and

Relationships, Volume 1) and Reciprocation.

He sees the drive and passion in this new

author’s transition and admires his work.

Mr. Philly Weeden’s focus is love and

relationships. He believes in building and

mending the heart. Originally, did not want to

write a book. He posted quotes and statuses

on social media where his fans and followers

encouraged him to write. Philly believes, it’s

not about the content of the book before

purchasing it. But once it’s marketed, the

content is key. Marketing plays a major role

in your book’s success.

When writing a book, Philly has a process

of staying around inspiring things which

helps in staying focused and motivated. He

said, “The main thing is to know what you

are working on and build from there. When

capturing the audience’s attention, you are

able to keep their attention. It’s easy to call

someone to come and talk to you, but when

that person shows up and is standing in

front of you, you have to give them

something for their time and attention.”




Do Better”, under his belt and is currently

working on his third book.


If Philly were writing his memoir, it would be

titled, Not Looking Back, which was a title

given to him by an article written about him;

and he has loved it since then. He does not have

any intentions of looking back, only forward

progress for him. Philly says, “It’s nothing

wrong with being a copycat as long as you are

copying the right cat!” As for his brand, it’s a

bit impossible to sum up as he’s a jack-of-alltrades.

With writing books, playwrights, or

whatever he chooses to do, he gives it all one

hundred percent.

Philly wants readers and supporters to know

that he’s a really awesome guy. A lot of people

are misguided by a perception of him but once

they meet him, they say he’s down to earth.

Philipé Winston Weeden is a Designer, Model,

Ex-Professional Football Player, Public

Speaker, Author, Playwright, and now Screen

Writer. He has two published books titled

“REALationship Breakdown Philly Style:

Based on Real Life Experiences” and “The

Black Man's Guide: If You Knew Better You'd





Quentin Talley

Acclaimed for multiple talents, Quentin Talley is an

accomplished poet, actor, director, and producer.

Quentin is Founder and Artistic Director of OnQ

Performing Arts, a 2012 recipient of the inaugural

Leadership U Fellowship, administered by Theater

Communications Group and funded by The Andrew

Mellon Foundation, and 2003 graduate of Winthrop

University with a BA in Theatre Performance.

Quentin is a kid from the south in love with art and

producing work about black people. He became

involved in theatre in the first grade. It was in his tenthgrade

year that his English teacher made him write six

or seven poems, which introduced him to his love for

art. He’s a social justice and conscious poet more than

anything and has helped playwrights by producing their


Quentin believes that poetry and playwrights go hand in

hand and that theatre is a niche that people enjoy as life

has a bit of theatre. Live theatre is moving and people

are seeing the importance of live performances.

Quentin believes it is important for

black children to find mentors and if

older and experienced, find mentors to

pass along the history and also teach

mentees about the ups and downs of the

industry. Donate to theatre or be an

investor. Quentin is currently reading, Medical

Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington, but his favorite

author is Amiri Baraka – Dutchmen, Black Arts


As a writer, he is trying to point out his thoughts in a

way that it makes sense to readers. He wants readers to

read and learn more on the history of entertainment. He

stated, “Without the black history of music, art, and

theatre, we would not be as involved in entertainment

and arts. By learning the history, you learn more about

black people.” If Quentin had the opportunity to write a

book on his life experience, it would be titled, Home


Currently he’s working on his eleventh season of

shows in Charlotte, NC. This season runs from

September 2017 to May of 2018. He is able to do

shows by applying for grants and raising funds.

Making work that’s authentic is key and OnQ focuses

on educating people about classic and contemporary

work, (i.e. Ed Cullings, August Wilson).

For ten seasons, OnQ has featured artists with amazing

performances celebrating our mission to educate and

produce, classic, contemporary, and original works

reflecting black experiences. Quentin is working on a

new project, “Intergalactic Soul,” which is releasing

this fall.

Quentin believes it is important to have sources like

Book Cover Magazine, because it is imperative for

people to know who is working and putting out great

work in their local communities.





Amani’s Lounge

My name is Amani Nigia Williams. I am 17 years old

and the author of Peace Poems: Created to Promote

Welcome readers,

April, the main library always has a Teen Poetry Jam,

which I had attended in the past. My mom was

supposed to be one of the judges there, but I told her I

wanted to participate in the event, so she couldn’t be a

judge. My mom was so surprised because she didn’t

even know I’d been writing poetry.

Ever since then, I’ve been creating poetry and enjoy

sharing my poems with the world. After the poetry jam,

I told my mom I wanted to publish my poems. She said

that I needed to have at least 50 poems before she

would consider helping me publish them. She gave me

a deadline, and it was the last day of December 2015.

Guess what? I made the deadline and was published at

the age of 15. I am still writing to this day and trying to

get my next poetry book out.

My first book signing was at the main library

downtown. The youth librarian, Ms. Baldwin, invited

me to sell my book at their twenty-fifth anniversary

celebration. She placed me at a table with my mom,

Barbara Joe Williams, and a lot of my friends came out

to support me. I was very thankful and I didn’t even

care about how many books I sold. But once it was

over, I had sold at least 20 books and that was good

enough for me.

Peace (January 2015). I want to talk to my readers

about how I started writing. My journey began when I

was 14 years old. I secretly wrote poems because it

gave me something productive to do in my free time. In

I want to encourage any youth writers out there who are

struggling to get their work out to keep writing. When

you have a dream, you cannot let anybody stop it from

coming true.

Peace, Hope, and Happiness.






By Suzette D. Harrison

escorted inquiring minds into the deep. I invite

you, “aspiring writer,” to join the journey.

Together, let’s unmask this magical world of


But first a disclaimer: There is no magic!

Writing is art. It’s discipline. Writing requires

passion and patience. Writing is as simple as

finding stillness, listening and letting your

thoughts unfold as they will. Writing’s

exhilarating and exasperating. Got that? Good.

Let’s go!

Un-Magic Potion #1: “The Brain


Three people. Seven Days. One inquiry: “How

do I write my book?”

Was it a trick to test my ignorance and my

intelligence? A singer sings. A dancer dances. A

writer writes. Right?

Why would these wonderful souls ask me how

to write? Obviously, my “I Don’t Get It”

outweighed my intelligence. Thankfully, God

cracked me in the head and enlightened my life.

In my hurting-head defense, that basic question

had me going until I realized it wasn’t basic. A

subtle agenda was present. That elusive agenda

popped up and waved at me. Ol’ sneaky thing!

Those inquiring minds didn’t only want tactical

and practical. They desired access and an escort

into some sacred, magical universe where

writing waited. So… I bandaged my head and

Some writers have well-behaved muses. Others

have mischievous muses who delight in Brain

Hurricanes. The mind feverishly races.

Seemingly “random” thoughts and

“nonsensical” plots bombard at inopportune

moments. (Like church. Or when Honey needs

you…) Anyhoo! Remain excited. That’s a story

creating a hurricane in you. Make this pledge

here and now: I will not squash my brain

hurricanes. I will let them blow. And flow.

UN-MAGIC POTION #2: “Your Tool Kit”

These tools are so awesome. You ain’t even

ready for them! Take a deep breath before

reading this list of awesomeness: Computer.

Pencil. Paper. Pen. Dictionary. Thesaurus.

Sticky notes. Note pad. That’s that!That, fellow

scribes, is the bare bones basics of your writer’s

tool kit. Choose which tool(s) suit you best.




Do you prefer to sit with your electronic device

and write? Do you like papery sheets from dead

trees? You could be a combo creator who uses

both at will. Perhaps you love the melodiousness

of your own voice; or have a physical condition

that prevents you from typing. Kindly consider a

voice recorder, or voice recording app such as

Dragon. (They’re especially good while driving).

Whatever your chosen methodology, you will


Writing tools must be ready when Brain

Hurricanes hit. No having wonderful story ideas

and telling yourself “I’ll remember it,” then ten

minutes later, the thought evaporates and

disappears. Store your tools in various places:

the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, car, etc. Be

ready to capture that ‘cane. Special note: When

capturing your brain hurricane, there is no

editing! You simply catch the words as they

come, raw and unadulterated.

UN-MAGIC POTION #3: “Time Line”

Let’s talk time. Not the time you designate for

writing, but linear versus “random” dotting.

What do I mean? I’ll restate a question I was

asked: “Where do I start my story?” My answer:

Start at its hot spot. An idea is plaguing you,

inciting Brain Hurricanes and hollering, “Write

me, pretty please!” That idea won’t let you sleep.

That’s your hot spot crying for release.

“But this hot spot happens in chapter ten. I’m

still on two!” is your comeback? Don’t get

tricked. Plots and thoughts don’t always march

in chronological cadence to the tune of “Keep it

Neat.” If you’re a plotter (a writer who plots

your story before writing), try plotting on sticky

notes. This allows you to move and shuffle

concepts. Writers are part architect. You will

piece this thing together until beautifully

coherent. Whatever you do, don’t douse the fire


or stop the music. Be flexible, not stiff. Writing

is fluid. Don’t command and demand your story

to line up with you. Learn to flow and dance

with it.


Mood is simple: set it! Create a personal, private

cave conducive to your craft. Arrange your space

so that it invites you to do what you want, which

is write. You are the maestro of the mood. Use

tools such as music, lighting, fragrance, and

flavor to set the stage. (Did you know that

peppermint is a mental stimulant? Church lady

candy: now there’s some magic!). When your

stage is set, take a quick moment to clear your

mind. Pray. Meditate. Laugh. Dance. Again,

whatever it takes, do you. But set that ambiance.

Not only are you relaxing and opening yourself,

you’re seducing and welcoming your muse.

don’t argue.

UN-MAGIC POTION #5: “The Potpourri Pot”

Let me go gumbo and pour some final thoughts.

•Write when you write, whether it’s day or night.

There’s no right or wrong time.

•Don’t follow trends. Create from the heart first,

then the head. Confidence is key!

.Suzette D. Harrison, the award-winning author

of Taffy, is a West Coast native and voracious

reader whose dream life is filled with books. A

school librarian and pastry chef, whipping up her

next release …without potions, lotions, or other

mystical nonsense.



•Don’t expose your unpublished baby (i.e. story)

to everyone. You’re both vulnerable. Be a good

guardian and share your work (if at all) with only

those you truly trust.

•Multiple caves are okay! Home office.

Starbucks. Your local library. Sometimes, you

have to change it up. The muse likes to move.

•Set a timer for ten minutes and do nothing

except write!

•Don’t compare your gift with others. You’re

uniquely you.

•Learn to listen. When your muse speaks, don’t



In hindsight, I understand the true crux of that

initial “how to” question. Those precious souls

were seeking affirmation, authentication, and

encouragement. They needed to know their

stories were worthy of life and breath. The

personal pursuit of a dream is often intimidating.

Still, tea leaves, cat bones, and grave dust aren’t

necessary. Inhale. Exhale.

Suzette D. Harrison, the

award-winning author of

Taffy, is a West Coast native

and voracious reader whose

dream life is filled with books.

A school librarian and pastry

chef, Suzette is whipping up

her next release …without

potions, lotions, or other

mystical nonsense.





JL King: On the Down Low 2


- by Barbara Joe Williams

20 historically black colleges and universities

(HBCU’s). King is also working on his 18th

book and splits his time between Brooklyn, NY,

and Atlanta, GA. He recently sat down with

Book Cover Magazine to grant us a special


International speaker and New York Times Best

Selling author JL King appeared in several

national and international publications,

including: Newsweek, Time Magazine, Ebony

Magazine, Essence, Jet (cover), The New York

Post, The Washington Post, and The Chicago

Tribune. He has also appeared as a special guest

on many television shows, including: The

Oprah Winfrey Show (3 times), Inside Edition,

ABC 20/20, CNN, and countless radio shows.

He was listed in Ebony Magazine as one of their

50 Most Intriguing Blacks and honored as an

NAACP Image Award Nominee for

Outstanding Literary Work. In 2006, King

produced, The DL Exposed, an award-winning

documentary broadcasted on Black

Entertainment Television (BET). The

documentary was the number-one watched

program on BET that year.

BCM: Tell us about the new book?

I am excited about my new book, On the Down

Low 2. It will be released 14 years after OTDL

was released in 2004. I never thought I would

write another DL book, but I was asked by so

many of my fans to write an updated story.

There are thousands of people who were young

when the book came out and they need to know

about DL behavior. However, there was one

thing that made me move forward with this

project. Several people asked me who I was

because they had never heard of me, my book,

or DL men. Of course, I was both shocked and


King has spoken at over 200 universities,

including: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Ohio State,

Michigan State, University of Miami, and over



Yes, my feelings were hurt that these people

from Mars had never heard of me. I have been

working on this book for over a year. I wanted

to give a lot of new information, but honestly,

most of it was the same as 2004. What makes

this new book and information different is the

impact of social media and the biggest plus is

that I have a story from a DL sister. I am

excited to share her story.

BCM: What do you hope to gain from

revising this touchy subject?

To bring awareness to women just like the first

book did and educate women of all ages and

races to be careful about who they give their

bodies to. It is not just about HIV, it is about

relationships based on honesty and truth. Being

with a man who lies to a woman about his

sexuality is as emotionally dangerous as getting

HIV. I have met many women who have died

spiritually and emotionally from learning their

man has been having sex with other men. They

could deal with him cheating on her with

another woman, but they couldn’t compete

with a man. This caused them to have selfesteem

issues and question what they did

wrong. In my new book, I will once again,

remind women that it is not their fault and

there’s nothing they could have done to stop

him. I will continue to tell women this, so they

don’t give up on finding love and an honest

relationship if that is their desire. But, I will

also tell them, never be desperate to have a

man. Learn to love being single and putting

self first.

Yes, in fact, I have hired a top-notch tour

manager who will be booking me and

promoting the book. If it happens, I am ready

for it. I love meeting fans when touring and

conducting speaking engagements, especially

at colleges and universities. I want to speak to

this generation who were five or six years old

when "being on the DL launched almost

fourteen years ago. I’m looking forward to

listening to them, seeing how they react to the

behavior, and learning from them.

BCM: Are you ready to be back in the

spotlight? I read that you hated it when you

were all over the news? I can’t answer that

right now. I have prayed and asked God to

guide me like He did in 2004. I prayed for Him

to take control and send me where He wants to


BCM: How do people find the book?

I am only selling my book at: and if it gets picks

up by a distributor, it will be in bookstores

around the country and abroad.

BCM: Any parting comments?

This book is based on the foundation of my

first book, On the Down Low, and my book,

Full Circle, which is my memoir. But it is

better than all my other books. It is my going

out book, and I want it to be the best.

I’m looking forward to sparking conversations

about relationships, teaching both men and

women to live their true self, and love who

they want to without any judgment or secrets.





Hartsel Clifton Shirley Interview

- by Barbara Joe Williams

opinion, is that they are underrated. I literally ‘got

my life’ when I would read books as a child. The

current push for children to be proficient in math and

science is good, but reading opens up the imagination

– and life without imagination is not life.”

Right now, he’s reading several books including, A

Class Divided: Then and Now, by William Peters;

Out At Home, an autobiography by Glenn Burke, and

Lies My Teacher Told Me, a book that corrects the

lies we have been taught in our history classes.

Let’s welcome author Hartsel Clifton Shirley to

Book Cover Magazine. He’s from Waterloo, Iowa.

And so far, he has written one fictional book titled,

Three Words Four Letters, published by Ishai Books,

LLC. His debut novel spins a tale of intrigue and

passion with its share of titillating moments

throughout the book. However, it’s also part of the

Three Words trilogy that he’s planning to release.

When asked why he wanted to become an author, he

responded, “There was no ‘want to become an

author’ for me. I took to reading and writing quickly,

and it came easily from grade school on. Writing is

just a part of me.”

Mr. Shirley describes his writing process for starting

a book. “I usually have a motivating thought or idea,

but I don’t write about it right away. I let it roll

around inside my mind for a while before I write

anything. Once I start writing, it’s a paragraph or so

here and there, and I edit along the way.”

If he had to write a story about his life, it would be

titled, The Cost of Freedom. “I would call it that

because my emerging as my own man out from

under religious, social, cultural oppression was hard


This is how he feels about eBooks, “I greatly prefer

hard copy books. The experience of reading and

handling a book is missed using eBooks. eBooks

have their place in that they are convenient and less

bulky, but the owning of a physical book can’t be


Hartsel had this to say about the current status of

books, “The current status of books, in my humble



Clifton Shirley

- by Barbara Joe Williams

The best advice Hartsel would give to an

aspiring author about this business is, “Write.

Write. Write! Write in your own style and

voice, you have a built-in audience waiting for

you – you all just haven’t met yet. Let nobody

discourage you – no matter who they are.”

Mr. Shirley wants to connect with our readers.

You all can reach him on Facebook, and order

his books through the websites: or

Finally, Hartsel wants to share even more about

himself and his work. “I write what I want. I

don’t do so well with writing for other people. I

write song lyrics as well, and I have a CD out

called, Stay with Me.

All lyrics were written by myself, except

the places where I chose to have a friend

insert his lyrical rapping genius. The CD is

available on or” He added, “I am expecting

to release the second book in July.

The third book may be out late winter or

early spring next year. My follow-up CD is

likely to be out around the same time as the

third book.”

Currently, he’s working on a non-fictional

story. “It’s about a death in my hometown that

was ruled a suicide, but I have connected

enough dots to call it what it was – a racially

motivated murder.”

Hartsel states, “My brand is love and truth. I

was branded a ‘romantic warrior’ by a

classmate years ago in college. It really struck

me and stayed with me because we didn’t

really know each other well and it was from

pure observation.





Maleah Solange Books

Antwan Floyd Sr. is the owner of Maleah

Solange Books located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

He decided to open a bookstore because he


Antwan believes that eBooks and ordering books

online have impacted his business. “As an author,

I can appreciate reaching readers across all

platforms, but it can be a competitive industry.

My titles are available on Amazon and in my store

just to be able to reach more readers.”

He also expressed his feelings regarding the

importance of book reviews to published authors.

“Every good review gives credibility and one

hopes that every bad review makes a better author

for the next novel.”

Mr. Floyd is adamant about encouraging African-

Americans to read and buy more books. He

expresses several ways to accomplish this goal.

“Visibility is crucial. Online and physical book

clubs are a great way to support other AA authors.

Most importantly, encourage kids to read at an

early age.”

had a kiosk to promote his own titles such as:

Crew Love, Dope Fiction, and Piece Keeper. He

said, “Independent authors would ask me to carry

their titles and it grew into Maleah Solange

Books. I have over twenty-five authors and

weekly book signings.”

He currently stocks all genres of independent

authors, from children's titles to erotica. However,

he’s seeking to expand titles in all genres;

especially urban literature, children's literature,

and science fiction.

When asked about the state of black-owned

bookstores, he replied, “They are definitely on the

rise; though I don't think they get the (proper)

exposure as other bookstores. As a black-owned

business, you have to find ways to make your

presence felt in the community.”

In regards to the future for black authors, he

stated, “I think as long as we grow from each

other and support each other we will see black

authors rising in all genres, and that will inspire

young black authors to seek out writing programs

and get their voices heard.”

You can learn more about Mr. Floyd and his store

on their Facebook page.

Maleah Solange Books has consignment contracts

available and look for details on the upcoming

Self-Publishing Seminar in August.










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