Thursday, February 28, 2013

Guest blogger Author Nikki Prince

Hello all I thought I would just introduce myself this first time.  My name is Nikki Prince and I became a author for Mocha Memoirs Press last July 2012 when they published my short story Mocha Kisses for their 31 Days of Steamy Mocha submission call.  A little bit about that later.

I'm a mother of two who developed a love for reading and writing romance at the early age of 12.  From the first moment I picked up a Mills and Boon romance (British part of Harlequin), I was hooked.

I still have the first story I started (no I didn't finish it, but perhaps one day I will) when I decided I could do it just like the authors I was reading at the time. Yep, I thought if they can do it I could do it.  Long story short through my life's journey, working, having kids, traveling etc., I was finally able to settle down long enough last year and get my first book published with Mocha Memoirs Press. It's a short story called Mocha Kisses and it's a best seller at All Romance Ebooks!

It's been an exciting ride since last July when Mocha Kisses was published.  I love the Mocha Memoirs Press family from the Publisher, the authors and to the readers.  I can expect that the reader can look for some exciting reads to come out from this Publisher!

Now let me tell you a little about Mocha Kisses.  It's a 4000 word short and it features friends turned lovers Meredith and Ronan meet up over books and latte's. Be warned this isn't a tame love's as hot as it is short!

Two mocha lattes and a pact.
Though a decade apart in age and from different ethnic backgrounds, will their mutual love of books and addiction to mocha lattes make for one evening of pleasure or something more for geeky Ronan and Meredith? 
Meri didn't think Ronan was serious about their agreement to spend time together if both were single by her thirty-fifth birthday. After all, he was still seeing that redhead when they made the pact.

Ronan worried Meri would think him too young for the kind of commitment he wanted from her. Can one chocolate-drenched encounter overcome all their obstacles and concerns?

You can buy it here:

All Romance Ebooks:

Also you can find me here (I don't mind hearing from you):
Twitter: @AuthorNPrince

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Check One, Check Two...

I've got the mic today and I'm ready to spin some of my lyrical prose...okay not really but because this is my first post of my now designated day at MMP I couldn't help being a little over the top. But for reals I'm super excited to be here and on the 21st of the month you lovely folks will be treated to the literary ramblings of moi.

I feel an introduction is in order, because as much as I believe I am the most popular woman at the party I'm sure there are some that don't know me. I, Janet Eckford, am a writer of sexy time. Be it contemporary, horror, paranormal, scifi, or whatever may catch my fancy. When you go view my backlog at MMP (which by the power of ereaders I compel you to do) it isn't hard to see. I love a good story and am always looking at ways to write one (with sexy time included of course).

Each week when it's my turn at the podium I'm going to do my best to come up with topics that showcase that love for a good story. I'm sure I'm going to be horribly inappropriate at times, my grammar will be atrocious, and there may be a general sense of debauchery at any given point BUT...hey I gotta be me.

So check one, check two...let's get this party started...

*drops mic*

Friday, February 15, 2013

IT AIN’T A $7 CUP O’ JOE, BUT…When Sci-Fi meets the mean streets!

by Balogun

A few nights ago, late night talk show host and comedian, Jimmy Kimmel, conducted a taste test to see how people would react to the new $7 cup of Costa Rica Finca Palmilera coffee that Starbucks is introducing.
However, instead of Costa Rica Finca Palmilera, each participant was presented with two cups of coffee and they had to determine which one was regular coffee and which one was “super-premium”. Unknown to the participants, each cup was poured from the same pot of regular, cheap coffee.
Time and again, the participants claimed one cup was better than the other – how one was richer; one creamier; one much more bold. Finally, one man – who looked like he just stepped off the set of Sons of Anarchy – said that both cups of coffee tasted exactly the same.
Later, that same night, I watched a documentary about Street Lit. Also called “urban fiction”, “hip hop fiction”, “gangsta lit” or “ghetto lit”, Street Lit is a mega-popular genre, especially among readers in their teens and 20s. In the 40-plus years since Robert “Iceberg Slim” Beck released Pimp, the audience for so-called “street literature” has remained faithful, making bestsellers of such successors of Beck as Donald Goines, Omar Tyree, Teri Woods, Vickie Stringer, Sister Souljah and ‘Relentless’ Aaron.
Sessalee Hensley, a renowned fiction buyer for Barnes & Noble, says that urban lit now dominates the shelves of African-American fiction: “We have 25 or so new urban titles a month, versus about one of the literary titles.”
With provocative titles, such as Black and Uglyand Section 8: A Hoodrat Novel, and with covers featuring half-naked women, flashy cars and big guns, these books stand out on the shelves. And standing out equals huge sales.
Around the country, street literature not only outsells novels by such esteemed Black authors as Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker, but also popular genre fiction such as The Da Vinci Code. Owners of independent black bookstores say they must either stock street lit, or by a ton of candles for when the lights are turned off.
However, even with the extraordinary success of street lit, the genre and its authors are still not respected as “real” authors and are, in fact, highly disrespected. In the documentary, entitled Behind Those Books, poets, authors and activists spoke passionately for or against this booming book industry.
In the documentary, Terry McMillan, author of the bestselling novel, Waiting to Exhale, says of street lit, “The fact that they are glorifying things that happen in our communities that shouldn’t be glorified – being a pimp, being a ho, you know? How much we can get away with it is seen as something to be applauded almost.”  She goes on to say – “There will be something sexual to look at and it’s always a black woman. And it insults the hell out of me because it’s almost as if our breasts and our behinds are for sale…In the end [of reading a street lit novel], I want to know, am I a better person? Do I feel better about my son, my mama, my daddy, my brother, my neighbor? Now we are turning on ourselves. THAT’s what I hate about that shit [street lit].”
While street lit is known to be riddled with grammatical errors, misspelling, inconsistencies in the stories – and other issues that scream “Get a damned editor!” – Many authors of street lit actually write well and some even strive to be original in their work.
Despite beliefs to the contrary, Black people actually like science fiction; and, obviously, we love street lit. Thus, it had to happen – street lit / science fiction mash-ups.
To my surprise, some of these “urban science fiction” novels are pretty good reads.
Yes, they are set in the ‘hood, but, as anyone who has lived in the ‘hood can attest, anything and everything happens there. If aliens launch an attack on the earth, I guarantee it will start in the ‘hood. One of my favorite films, Attack the Block, deals with this very subject, with hilarious – and terrifying – results.
Zetta Elliot’s Blacknificent young adult science-fantasy novel, A Wish After Midnight, is about 15 year-old protagonist, Genna, who resides in the projects of Brooklyn. Genna’s mother has a hard time making ends meet and to make matters worse, Genna’s brother is involved in gang life. To escape the stresses of ‘hood life, Genna regularly visits the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, where she finds herself time travelling after making a wish at a fountain.
Genna and her friend, Judah, end up in Brooklyn during the Age of Steam. They eventually become heroes, fighting for justice and equality in the ‘hood of 1860s Brooklyn during the American Civil War.
Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring is set in 21st century Toronto, which has been barricaded off and abandoned by its rich, predominantly white suburbs. Helpless to defend itself against the oppression of a ruthless drug lord, the city becomes one big…you guessed it…’hood.
Are these works Urban Fiction? Science Fiction? Both? Neither?
Is Science Fiction Costa Rica Finca Palmilera and Urban Fiction regular coffee? Or, if done well, can they both be enjoyed from the same pot?
It was actually Hopkinson’s brilliant work that inspired me to write Redeemer, a science fiction novel set in the future – and the present – ‘hood. The pitch: Sent nearly thirty years into the past as an unwilling subject in a time travel experiment, Ezekiel Cross must save his younger self from the deadly path that forged him into the ruthless killer he is. This edge-of-your-seat thriller is both gangster saga and science fiction epic – “Goodfellas” meets “The Time Machine”.
Do readers of science fiction and fantasy love Redeemer? Yep.
Do fans of urban fiction love Redeemer? Yep.
Is Redeemer science fiction, or is it urban fiction? Yep.
Redeemer is whatever genre or subgenre you want, or need, it to be.
Is Redeemer a cup of “super-premium”, Costa Rica Finca Palmilera, or just a regular Cup O’ Joe? Who cares? It’s rich, creamy, bold and stimulating.
Pick up a cup and enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Theft of Souls

Enslaved by the elven leader, King Diniji, 

Tara longs for her freedom and an end

 to the needless stealing of human 

souls. She has an infatuation with Trace, 

the soul snatcher, and would love to 

satisfy her longing for the handsome elf 

and restore a genuine smile to his face. 

Better yet, maybe he will be the key to 

free her and restore the elf community 

to the way it was meant to be.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE: Where, on the map, is YOUR Fantasy?

by Balogun Ojetade

“Map Fantasy” is an umbrella term I use for the Fantasy subgenres of High Fantasy, Heroic Fantasy / Sword & Sorcery and Sword and Soul. If you ever see a book whose cover depicts a guy fighting a dragon, or a freakishly muscled warrior staring off into the distance as a buxom
woman kneels at his feet, crack that mug (in Chicago, where I grew up, we call objects “mug”) open and I bet the first thing you find in there is a map.

You have just discovered a book of “Map Fantasy”. Now, there are exceptions; my own Sword & Soul novel, Once Upon A Time in
Afrika does not have a map (although it does have a glossary). So do not send me any rants or “I told you so”-s. If you still do, know that you are crazier than a mug (yep, we use it like that, too).

Genre is primarily a marketing tool that publishers use to attract a certain demographic of readers and brick-and-mortar bookstores (yes, some still exist) use to categorize books on their shelves.
Secondarily, genre is convenient shorthand – based on typical tropes and themes – to tell readers
what type of book they are about to read.

So, what are the tropes of Map Fantasy?

In general, Fantasy uses the magical or the spiritual as an element of setting or plot. Oh yeah, and
people wield Big Ass Swords.

In High Fantasy, Elves, dwarves, Halflings and other non-human, albeit humanoid, races often
abound and an epic quest is quite common. Of course, the recounting of this quest usually
requires multiple books. The Lord of the Rings and the role-playing game, Dungeons and
Dragons are examples.

Before The Lord of the Rings and High Fantasy, there was Heroic Fantasy, which began with the
pulp hero, Conan, the Barbarian, whose “mighty thews” first appeared in Weird Tales magazine
in 1932.

Back then, speculative fiction wasn’t as clearly defined by genre and subgenre. Fantasy and
horror often lay in the same bed, so Heroic Fantasy was bloody…very, very bloody and magic
was – and often still is – wielded solely by the forces of “darkness”.

Sword & Soul – African-inspired Map Fantasy – is less confined by tropes and can include
elements of both Heroic and High Fantasy. Sword & Sorcery can be quite bloody and magic is
often wielded by the forces of good and evil.

Let’s examine these subgenres a bit closer and see how they are similar and how they differ.

Their Covers

Covers are an easy way to tell the subgenres apart.

On High Fantasy covers, look for men and women wielding swords and dressed in shining armor
– women are usually dressed in the compulsory chainmail bra – and fire-breathing dragons,
unicorns and electricity-wielding Lords of Darkness. You might also find a Castle, looming in
the misty distance, or a wizard with a long, white beard and a pointy hat.

On Heroic Fantasy covers, you will find nearly naked men burying their axes and swords into
the skulls of other bloody, mostly naked men, or into the pallid flesh of some creature that looks
like it crawled out of the Devil’s toilet. You will also find full-breasted, nearly naked women
kneeling at the hero’s feet, with her arms wrapped around his mighty thews. Oh, and as for those
creatures that crawled out of the Devils toilet, those mugs usually have mighty thews, too.

On the covers of Sword & Soul novels, you may find the things you find on the covers of High
and Heroic Fantasy, with one huge difference:

The hero will be Black.

The Effect of Saving, or Finding, a Mug Whether saving a princess or finding nine powerful, magic rings, the heroes of High Fantasy will also save the world. High Fantasy is usually driven by its setting and the world is all-important.

Heroic Fantasy is less magnanimous. The effects are usually personal. If Conan saved the world,
it’d be by accident, and he might curse Crom for allowing him to do so, because, in Heroic
settings, the world isn’t worth – or is beyond – saving. Heroic Fantasy is usually character-

In Sword & Soul, the heroes are usually of higher morals than the heroes – or anti-heroes – of
Heroic Fiction. They may – or may not be concerned with saving the world, but whether the
characters or on a seafaring safari, wandering a vast continent, or battling for the hand of a
princess in a grand tournament, they are, most certainly, character driven.

The Setting
In High Fantasy, the world – yes, the entire world – looks, smells, sounds and acts like Medieval
Europe. The places of good are rolling shires and an occasional stony underworld ruled by
dwarves as strong – and sometimes as hard – as the stone and ore they mine. Kings are brave and
wise and the people are hardy and simple. Of course, there is a Dark Lord just waiting to pass a
shadow over the land.

Heroic Fantasy is a bit more willing to experiment. Medieval Europe abounds, but there are
also other earth-based societies on the fringes. These societies are usually barbarous, grimy
wildernesses (how a wilderness can be grimy is beyond me), swarming with thieves, or exotic
lands in which cultists make sacrifices to naked deer-headed goddesses or monstrosities that
would make Cthulhu soil his knickers. Farms? Hell, agriculture? There is none. I guess plant-life

has a hard time growing when it’s watered with blood.

Sword & Soul is usually set in a city or village based on a real city or village found in ancient
Africa. The people in the story are usually based on the real people who populated the real
setting the story is based on. Thus, most writers of sword and soul are well-versed in history, or,
since they are a lot who often communicate with each other and freely exchange information,
they contact another writer who is well-versed in history, particularly African history.

Its Inhabitants
In High Fantasy, humans are generally the baseline. Humans can be bad or good, in league with
the Dark Lord, ambitious, timid, brave, or cowardly. Basically, they’re people. White people.
Other non-human races exist and their existence is usually a stereotypical one. Dwarves are
drunken, hardy louts who never forget a friend or enemy; Elves are usually arrogant and quite
delicate, despite the fact they have lived, for eons, in the forest; Orcs are evil, stupid, dark-
skinned brutes who are, most likely, servitors of the Dark Lord.

On occasion, one of the other humanoid races will “rise above” his or her stereotypical nature
and act more human (i.e. more white). This “exceptional humanoid usually becomes the sidekick
of the protagonist, eventually earning the respect of all and proving that all people can transcend
their “lowly” upbringing.

Where High Fantasy stories usually veil their racist messages in the actions of its humanoid
races, Heroic Fantasy shrugs its shoulders and screams “Who gives a crap?” as it openly
embraces its racism and sexism. Jungle-residing cannibals, mysterious and treacherous
“Orientals” and sexually insatiable witches are fodder for the mighty thewed heroes’ swords,
clubs, axes and penises. Non-humans are rare. If they do exist, they are usually monstrosities
best left unnamed.

In Sword & Soul, humans are usually the baseline. However, non-humans also often exist and
inhabit the world. These non-humans may be heroes, villains, or just weary travelers looking for
a bed and a hot cup o’ joe.

Monsters of various sorts exist in all three milieus. Vampires, demons, zombies and strange
creatures, whose bodies are half in our world and half in some other world, roam the planet. In
High Fantasy, monsters are varied and quite common. In Heroic Fantasy, monsters are usually
less common and a lot meaner. In Sword & Soul, monsters are usually based on creatures from
African folklore and are thus stranger – and often more frightening – to Western readers.


In High Fantasy, magic can be rare, like in The Lord of the Rings, or it can be so widespread that
one has magical steeds and magical weapons and magical burger joints. Magic is used to heal the
sick and feed the poor, or to infect the healthy with a plague and turn the poor into a shambling

horde of zombies. It might be hereditary, or it might be learned from a wise old wizard or an
arcane text.

In Heroic Fantasy, on the other hand, magic is usually rare, unpredictable, and is often evil. It is
accessible to anyone who is willing to sell a bit of his or her soul to some demonic entity. In fact,
Heroic Fantasy is often concerned with the triumph of the sword over sorcery.

In Sword & Soul, magic is linked more to the spiritual than to the arcane. Magic is usually the
gift – or curse – of some god, or of some powerful ancestor. It can be as common as it is in High
Fantasy, but is always more common than it is in Heroic Fantasy.

The Hero
In High Fantasy, the protagonist is often marked by ancient prophecy to rise to greatness and
to remove the shadow that blankets all the mountains and shires. Often, the hero is an ignorant
farm-boy, who happens to live somewhere out of the Dark Lord’s grasp. Usually, some town
drunk or ne’er do well is secretly the person charged with protecting and teaching the boy when
the time finally comes for the lad to take up his quest.

The hero of Heroic Fantasy is the anti-hero. The best of Heroic Fantasy’s heroes lives by a code
of honor, but will go against that code if need be. Taking a quest because it is “the right thing to
do” is unheard of. Quests, in Heroic Fantasy, are taken for the money, or for sex, or for revenge.

In Sword & Soul, quests are taken for the reasons in both High Fantasy and Heroic Fantasy, but
the hero is usually more like the heroes of High Fantasy in morality and more like the heroes of
Heroic Fantasy in attitude.

The Villain
We have already seen the Dark Lord throughout this work. Evil, in High Fantasy, is an ideal; a
force that must be vanquished. The Dark Lord is an embodiment of that force, so he must also
be destroyed. There are clear delineations of what is good and what is evil in High Fantasy; very
black and white.

In Heroic Fantasy, the villain is usually just a tad bit more unpleasant than the hero. The hero,
however does not wield magic and the villain does. He is not evil for evil’s sake. The villain in
Heroic Fantasy most likely wants power, or booty (money and the other booty), and figures the
best way to get it is by sending his horde of undead warriors to acquire it for him. If you had a
horde of undead warriors at your disposal, you just might do the same.

In Sword & Soul, good and evil is more complex. This is probably because, in most traditional
African societies, good and evil is not really dealt with;appropriateness is. If bandits invade
a hero’s house and attempt to rape his mother, to do nothing, or to run and hide would be
considered “evil”, because it is an inappropriate act in regard to the situation. To kill them

all would be considered appropriate, thus good. If our hero runs next door and kills one of
the bandits’ grandmother, then that would be considered inappropriate, thus evil. In Sword &
Soul, the hero is often forced to deal with such complexities, which makes for some powerful

Where do I get started?

By now, you are surely wondering where you can pick up some of these wonderful books to
read (if not, you are crazier than a mug). While there are works from High and Heroic Fantasy
that I enjoy, I have loved Sword & Soul since I sought it as a child while creating people that
looked like me in the world of Dungeons and Dragons and finding Charles Saunders’ Out of
Africa article as a young man in Dragon Magazine (I did not know Charles was Black back then)
and I have grown to pen a Sword & Soul novel myself and several Sword and Soul short stories.

Thus, I give you a few must have titles to get you started:

Imaro, volumes 1 – 4 by Charles R. Saunders
Imaro is the tale of the titular outcast, wandering warrior and his search for a people and a
community to call his own. Written by the Founding Father of Sword & Soul, Imaro is an
exciting series that is often compared to the works of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice
Burroughs, but, in my opinion, transcends all of the works of those authors and is some of the
greatest writing in print.

Changa’s Safari, volumes 1 and 2 by Milton J. Davis
Driven from his homeland as a boy, Changa Diop travels the 15th Spice Trade world seeking
wealth and adventure. Together with his companions and crew he crosses the Indian Ocean to
fulfill his dreams and destiny. His dhows filled with the treasures of the East, Changa begins his
journey home. But adventure waits with the winds, changing his fortunes and friendships in ways
he could not have imagined.

Griots: A Sword & Soul Anthology by 14 Authors; Edited by Charles Saunders and Milton

Fourteen writers; fourteen artists; one unforgettable anthology! In Griots, Davis and Saunders
have gathered together fourteen stories, written by new and seasoned writers, to answer the
question: What is Sword and Soul? Each story is accompanied by illustrations to give vision
to the prose. A first of its kind, Griotsis an anthology that lays the foundation and expands the
definition of Sword and Soul.

Once Upon A Time in Afrika by Balogun Ojetade
Once Upon a Time in Afrika tells the story of a beautiful princess and her eager suitors.
Desperate to marry off his beautiful but “tomboyish” daughter, Esuseeke, the Emperor of Oyo,
consults the Oracle. The Oracle answers, telling the Emperor Esuseeke must marry the greatest
warrior in all Onile (Afrika). To determine who is the greatest warrior, the Emperor hosts a grand
martial arts tournament inviting warriors from all over the continent. Unknown to the warriors
and spectators of the tournament a powerful evil is headed their way. Will the warriors band
together against this evil?

“Magic and mayhem. Gods and glory. Witches and warriors. Once Upon a Time in Afrika has
all this, and much more. It is Sword and Soul at its finest, casting a long shadow over the ‘jungle
lord’ and ‘lost city’ motifs that have previously prevailed in fantasy fiction set in Africa”

-Charles R. Saunders, author of Imaro & Dossouye, creator of Sword and Soul

“Balogun Ojetade represents a powerful new voice in Sword and Soul. He’s a master storyteller
with an engaging, exciting style. Once Upon a Time in Afrika is well worth the read.”
-Milton Davis, Author of the Meji duology and Changa’s Safari Volume One and Two

Friday, February 8, 2013

Celebrate African-American History Month with Us

We are celebrating African American History Month!

We are celebrating African American History month by going to future! We're spotlighting our signature science fiction titltes that contain an African American protagonist or is written by an African-American author. We invite you to try our well written and thrilling, speculative stories of survival, adventure, and science fiction.

Try these titles today at