I'm excited to have my friend, Christopher Joseph share his new book today. It's set in Detroit, Michigan and sounds amazing! Check out the interview with him!
Tell us about your book:
Well, will share my summary! Zeke’s Kitchen, a well known Detroit, Michigan east side Soul Food restaurant has been devastated by the closing of nearby automobile plants that have fueled it’s eatery for decades.
The Woods family have owned and operated Zeke’s since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. Since the passing of Ezekiel S. Woods Sr. his beloved and devoted wife Mrs. Tyla Woods, known simply as ‘Mama’ has run the historic business.
Collapsing in front of her youngest daughter Silvia forces the estranged adult Woods children to unite for their mother and the fate of the struggling famed restaurant.
Pompous and arrogant lawyer oldest son Ezekiel Woods Jr., successful advertising exec and flamboyant oldest daughter Maureen Woods, missing in action and troubled youngest son Kevin Woods aka Kwame and mousy, withdrawn, college student Silvia along with their extended family and friends are reunited to face their demons and face the challenges that change begets their family.
What inspired you to write this book:
I love good stories. I have hundreds of other stories in various states of completion. Zeke's is my 2nd published novel after Road Kill 'Pathfinder' Pt. 1. I wanted to show the world my diversity as an author and not be stuck in one genre. My next manuscript I'm currently working on is a sci-fi. I have as many different screenplays finished as well.
Zeke's started as an overview of family dynamics especially in the Urban black community. Everybody has a family in some state of being. Could be a tight nit family, always together, holidays are packed tight, everyone looks out for each other. Some families are estranged, people are by themselves, no communication, people lose track of each other. Many are dysfunctional, plagued with arguments, money issues, affairs, drug issues, deceitfulness. Some are utter horrific. Even if one can't place a blood member anywhere nearby, they did at one time have a mother, a father. Our network of friends and co-workers can be our family. Essentially surrounding the core family in Zeke's is a diverse group of workers and friends from all backgrounds that essentially is the culture of the USA. This network of people can be vast, or can be small. Your family always stays in your heart, the good the bad and the ugly. I wanted to tap into that.
Who are some of your favorite authors:
Virginia Hamilton, Alex Hailey, Nathan McCall, Kevin Powell, Katrina Kittle.
What book by another author do you wish you had written:
The Autobiography of Malcolm X... I mean, who would pass on a chance to kick it with and learn from the violate and influential legend?
Are their any particular songs that inspired your writing as you worked on this book:
Absolutely! Music is one of my deepest passions just as writing. Several chapters in this book I quote influential songs while giving proper honor to the artists. I quote everyone from Prince, A Tribe Called Quest, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Roy Ayers, Grand Puba, Eryn Allen Kane, and Louis Armstrong. The story being set in Detroit, Michigan, I pay tribute to many of the cities superstars such as the late J. Dilla, Royce The 5'9, Slum Village, Dwele, Elzhi, Oddisee, E. Dubb Da Gawd, Black Milk and a host of others. Eminem's 'Food stamps' lyrics in particular influenced the entire chapter 'Government Cheese' which is a turning point in the story. Also 'Flapjacks' was inspired by Dwele's song of the same name. The chapter 'Styles upon Styles' mixes a beginning and ending arch that is book ended by the great Roy Ayers masterpiece 'Everybody loves the Sunshine' along with artists that sampled Sunshine, such as the Mary J. Blige 'My Life' and Brand Nubian's 'Wake UP." 'Styles upon Styles' title itself is derived from the late great Phife Dawg.
Who is your favorite character in the book and why:
Freddy Styles. He's a real OG. 70 + and still making things happen! Hopefully I can be like him one day.
Why is it called Eat@Zeke's and you included recipes in the book?
One of the quintessential black family business are restaurants! Black folks love to eat good food and many love to cook. It is ingrained in a way of lifestyle. Soul Food being a staple of the urban community. In this generation, healthy eating is essential to quality life as well as having a stable family support network. Our people valued taste and quantity of food over nutritional values for so long. Possibly stems from the PTSD of our ancestors in slavery or segregation for centuries and not having adequate bounty of food. Our fathers and grandfathers wanted to feast well the spoils of freedom. Least they worry about their heart and arteries. Many men have fallen to this foolishness. The backdrop of Zeke's builds on our ancestry of the passing down of the family business, the legacy of the American Soul Food, the migration of blacks from predominantly small farming communities to urban industrial cores, then the eventual shut down of these lucrative industry jobs and the eventual fall-out of these once thriving cities. Detroit was a prime example of this circle of life. A decayed city with idle factories and vanished residents who have long fled, abandoned homes, failing schools, neighborhoods plagued by violence and exploitation of the remaining few. Alcohol, cigarettes, guns, fried chicken and lottery stands woo the fallen sheep left with nothing. Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Flint, Dayton, they are all the same. Detroit is the big D, while down south on I-75 Dayton is the little D. The pipeline of the drug highway. It's all the same.
Gentrification, the tech boom, reemerging cities and those exploiting the fallen are addressed in Zeke's as a backdrop to the families peril. The cry for 'Eat at Zeke's' is a metaphor, essentially used the same as 'Stay Woke' or 'Black Lives Matter' or the 'Me2' movement. Let's build on and consume goodness, for we all must eat healthy to survive, strengthen our bodies, our spirits, our minds. Strengthen our communities with positivism.
"Zeke" itself was influenced by my late father's nick name. The man loved to eat!
The recipes are a nice addition! The story revolves around food right? I believe I picked some nice healthy ones, sans the dreaded Chicken Gizzards and maybe that yummy pie! The wine was a throwback to my late grandmother Ella, who harvested her own grapes and made her own. Too bad I was too young to enjoy. Wish I could find her recipe!
What else influenced the setting of Detroit:
The awesome history and people of the city! The 'Nain Rouge' is a Detroit urban legendary who curses those that see it and is blamed for many of the cities woes. He wrecks havoc on the Woods family as well as in the primary battle ground of Cass Town.
I honor Detroit's John George of Blight Busters, who is a legend right now building back whole neighborhoods by leading teams of volunteers to attack urban blight one hood at a time. Other cities need to adapt his manifesto to battle urban decay!
Also mentioned is filmmaker Pleze Moore of Related Filmworks, a good friend of mine and Detroit legend in music, film and sports.
Name drop Detroit Lions, Pistons, Red Wings, the awesome Shinola Watches and the abandoned Boblo Amusement park!
Dayton and Detroit have a long history of collaboration and Eat@Zeke's is continuing in that honor. The Lil D makes a few appearances!
Find out more about Christopher here: about.me/christopher.j88
Get the book here:
Remember God by Annie F. Downs
This book was so hard to put down. Many Christian writers try to be vulnerable, but sometimes they try too hard to connect with a reader and it can come across forced. However, Annie Downs lets you into her world in a very real and authentic way. She shares her questions, her journey, uncertainties, and fears with the reader. When she begins to have issues after her book doesn’t get on a certain list, she shares how she handled it and how she went looking for God in all of it. She talks about playing computer games and staying in bed, as well as finding herself counting down the hours and minutes until she can get back to her hotel room bed while out on a speaking engagement. This is the kind of thing that many people face in their lives, but don’t share and it helps to see how Downs deals with her feelings.
Downs lets you into her world when things aren’t going well or things aren’t happening in a way where it’s wrapped up all neatly in a bow. It’s refreshing to have an authentic voice sharing what happens when you’re in a storm and have questions are waiting on an answer. She writes about being in the “wilderness” and trusting God through it. This book feels like reading memoirs or a journal kind of like Gail Godwin’s diaries. It really pulls you in and makes you feel what she’s going through and, in turn, it provides ways to help you in going through what you are dealing with.
Readers who enjoy Downs’ books will love this one and anyone looking for an authentic voice will love it as well. I read a lot of Christian non-fiction and this was my first book I’ve read by Downs, but she’s definitely made a fan here.
I received this book from BH Publishing and Lifeway in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash GiveawayIt’s time for another $100 Giveaway!! Just think how many books you could buy with $100! Or maybe you need a new Kindle! Or maybe you want to try Kindle Unlimited! Or maybe you want to buy a gift for someone! Or maybe you just need an extra $100! I’m excited to bring you another $100 giveaway sponsored by an AWESOME group of authors who write clean romance. Who do you recognize on this sponsor list? Which authors are new to you? Meg Easton Blake Andrews Emma St. Clair Kristy Tate Krysten Lindsay Hager Lorin Grace D.R. Grady Debra Erfert Jenna Brandt Amy Sparling Lynne Marshall Please show these amazing authors some love! Visit their sites. Sign up for their newsletters. Download their books. Review their books. Follow them on Social Media. There are so many ways you can support them!
Giveaway DetailsOne winner will be awarded $100 in Paypal Cash or a $100 Amazon Gift Code! The winning entry will be verified! Make sure you actually subscribe and confirm your entries so you don’t get disqualified. If you already subscribe to an author’s newsletter you can, of course, claim the entry! Ends 2/26/19
OPEN ONLY TO THOSE WHO CAN LEGALLY ENTER, RECEIVE AND USE AN AMAZON.COM GIFT CODE OR PAYPAL CASH. WINNING ENTRY WILL BE VERIFIED PRIOR TO PRIZE BEING AWARDED. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. YOU MUST BE 18 OR OLDER TO ENTER OR HAVE YOUR PARENT ENTER FOR YOU. THE WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN BY RAFFLECOPTER AND ANNOUNCED HERE AS WELL AS EMAILED AND WILL HAVE 48 HOURS TO RESPOND OR A NEW WINNER MAY BE CHOSEN. THIS GIVEAWAY IS IN NO WAY ASSOCIATED WITH FACEBOOK, TWITTER, RAFFLECOPTER, AMAZON, PAYPAL OR ANY OTHER ENTITY UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED. THE NUMBER OF ELIGIBLE ENTRIES RECEIVED DETERMINES THE ODDS OF WINNING. THE GIVEAWAY WAS ORGANIZED BY KATHY FROM I AM A READER/CLEAN WHOLESOME ROMANCE AND SPONSORED BY THE PARTICIPATING AUTHORS. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.Enter the $100 Giveaway via the rafflecopter. a Rafflecopter giveaway
It's my book birthday! I get so many messages about how this book has helped the tweens and teens who read it and how it got them to open up to their moms and grandmothers about things that were on their minds. The book is also free on Kindle Unlimited.
Things seem to be going well in Landry Albright’s world—she’s getting invited to be on local talk shows to talk about her modeling career, her best friends have her back, and her boyfriend Vladi has becoming someone she can truly count on…and then everything changes.
Suddenly it seems like most of the girls in school are into hanging out at a new teen dance club, while Landry just wants to spend her weekends playing video games and baking cup-cakes at sleepovers. Then, Yasmin McCarty, the most popular girl in school, starts to come between Landry’s friendship with her best friend Ashanti. Things take a turn when Yasmin tells Vladi that Landry is interested in another boy. Can Landry get her relationships with Ashanti and Vladi back or will she be left behind?
#YA #Bullies #FamilyValues #LifeLessons
Book Three- http://amzn.to/1Sk7g6E
Book Two- http://amzn.to/1Ok6bYH
Book One- http://amzn.to/1J4WMVU
I'm excited to share with you that Can Dreams Come True is now available as an audio book! You can find it on Audible, Amazon, and itunes. It's such a dream to get to have another audio book. I can't wait for the sequel to come out and I will be sharing the blurb for book two soon.
Find the audio book here:
Start your new year off with a great new book! Please support these awesome authors who are also providing a $50 giveaway!!
[Historical Romance] The Earl and His Lady by Sally Britton
[Contemporary Romance] Hawaiian Masquerade by Rachelle J. Christensen
[Contemporary Romance] The Neighbor’s Secret by Kimberley Montpetit
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[Children’s Fantasy] The Warble by Victoria Simcox
[Middle Grade] True Colors by Krysten Lindsay Hager
[Young Adult Fantasy] Crossroads by Mary Ting
[Young Adult Contemporary] Petals by Laurisa White Reyes
[Romantic Suspense Mystery] Fire Setters by Debra Erfert
[Action Adventure Romance] Griffin Force Boxed Set by Julie Coulter Bellon
[Christian Romance] The Billionaire’s Christmas Miracle by Lorana Hoopes
[Contemporary Romance] The Stand-in Christmas Date by Rachel John
[Historical Romance] Courting Cassandry by Joyce DiPastena
[Contemporary Romance] The Bonnets of Rescue Ranch by Tina Dee
[Regency Romance] When Two Rivers Meet by Deborah M HathawayGiveaway Details $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 1/15/19 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.