"Read My Lips" is the new initiative began in November 2006 to encourage reading and writing among those both young and old. We want to help feed a passion for the written and spoken word to help individuals continue to mold the future. Want to know how you can be featured? Contact us at cawebb4@juno.com or 601.896.5616.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Conversations Talks with Bestselling author ZANE

This is an announcement that has been in the works for months, Conversations Book Club can now confirm that it will be getting an exclusive live interview via conference call with Bestselling author Zane!

This will take place on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 6p.m. CST in a live taping of CONVERSATIONS LIVE! at the Pearl Public Library (Pearl, MS).

Zane is the author of Nervous, The Sisters of APF, The Heat Seekers, Gettin' Buck Wild: Sex Chronicles II, Addicted, The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth, Shame on It All and the soon to be released ADDICTED. She is a trailblazer in the literary industry and the creator of Strebor Books which has released its own roster of bestselling authors.

Join the discussion as we delve into her career, the upcoming new release and the brand that she has established in the publishing industry. You might recall that Conversations will be the FIRST EVER LITERARY GROUP to host a record number of STREBOR BOOKS authors LIVE AND IN PERSON in 2008, including bestselling authors Rodney Lofton, Caleb Alexander, Tina Brooks McKinney, Sylvester Stephens, Allison Hobbs, Lee Hayes, Dywane Birch and Che Parker.

WILL CONVERSATIONS MAKE HISTORY AGAIN AND HOST ZANE AS WELL? Make plans to attend this special discussion and find out!

This is only one part of what we have in store for you in the upcoming weeks... Remember, we are on the verge of changing the way you LOOK at books... So C'mon. What are you waiting for? JOIN THE ADDICTION: Get hooked on books! http://www.thebestbookclub.info

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tru Publishing releases GROWN & GANGSTA by Jacki-O, available NOW!

The franchise that has been created by the hiphop entrepreneur Corey "C-Murder" Miller can be seen in his newest endeavor TRU Publishing (http://www.trupublishing.com). The company which specializes in urban fiction, is a division of the ever-growing TRU family and promises to make a mark that will change the way books are marketed and produced in the future.

TRU is pleased to announced that the first release of their publishing entity is GROWN & GANGSTA by Miami, Florida rapper Jacki-O.

All the laughs, all the loves, all the drama! From Jacki-O comes the story of six friends. Monique, Tatiana, Inch, Malcolm, Quentin and Iz are always there for each other.
Inch is known in the streets for his gun play. He is as flossy as he is grimey. Short in stature but a giant by reputation, will his grimey ways come back to haunt him…
Malcolm is a chameleon of sorts. He slips easily between Wall Street and the streets. Can he have the best of both worlds…
Monique is on the fast track to success as the A & R Rep for Harlem World Records. She has the job, the house, the car and a beautiful son, but the system has her man. Will Monique choose her man or her career…
Iz understood the rules of the game going in, so he took his 15-year bid on the chin and is handling his. Iz is down, but is he out…
Quentin is a restaurant owner recovering from a dead-end marriage. His ex-wife has his back against the wall as she threatens to expose his real “business.” How long will Quentin allow her to use this as leverage…

Settle in with these friends. Share in their joys, pains, loves and losses, as they keep it GROWN & GANGSTA

GROWN & GANGSTA officially hits bookstores Friday, February 15, 2008, but you can beat the rush and get your copy NOW through Amazon.com or http://www.trupublishing.com

TRU Publishing's mission is to be a major force in todays consumer publishing industry and the future of urban literature. Like everything else that Miller has created, this literary entity is dedicated to bringing quality, always keeping it gangsta, taking urban fiction to the next level while pushing the envelope. Simply put: TRU is for the people and gives the readers what they expect from an organization built on the community, designed for the community to empower the community.

For more information, contact Kernell Reynolds at 504.915.8581 or Cyrus A. Webb at 601.896.5616.

EXCLUSIVE: The author of "Street Life" speaks to Conversations

Recently Kevin M. Weeks, the author who has been on the minds and lips of readers and critics for some time now, took time out to speak with Conversations Book Club. When you read his debut novel called "The Street Life Series: Is It Suicide or Murder?," it is evident that he wants the novel to be a conversation with the reader---and it is. The main character, Teco Jackson, is the total package: the man whom women want and love---and the man whom men hate but can't help but respect.


Talking with the author, however, you get a different picture. In his first live interview since the book's release in 2006, Kevin M. Weeks comes across as quiet yet confident, but also as someone who believes strongly in himself. Though he is currently serving time in the Georgia Department of Corrections, it is obvious that his mind and talent are free to roam throughout the world.


Right out of the gate, I asked him about the success he has enjoyed with the book. "It has been great." He responded excitedly. "With the book, I am re-branding myself and showing what I am capable of accomplishing."  Kevin is not just respected by book lovers, but those who are critics in the industry as well. "That has been extremely surprising in some ways."  He admitted. "Being accepted in the publishing industry is not easy."


Where did the idea for his writing career come from? "I started off mentoring some of the younger men in the prison system."  He told Conversations. "They told me that they enjoyed hearing the life experiences I shared with them and that I should write them down." That started what is becoming to be known as the Street Life Series®.


"At first, I sent out some query letters to publishers and was turned down because I didn't have the tools to meet the submission guidelines. Then, I decided to put the book out myself; so, I had to do my research and learn about the business.  Friends were too busy to help.  Fortunately, I found sponsorship from those who believe in the vision for the series."


Kevin goes on to tell us about the main character, Teco Jackson. "Teco seeks a certain lifestyle. However, his world is full of manipulations and he is on a mission to survive." Kevin wants readers to know that no good can come from living the street life. "I want readers to ask themselves the question that is posed in the book.  If a person lives the street life and is killed, was that person a victim of murder or did the person commit suicide for choosing to live the street life?"


The obvious question is how much of the writer is in Teco? Kevin answers this way: "I put a lot into my characters. I know the world that Teco is from. When I am writing these stories, I draw upon situations, people, and settings from my past."


Through his book, "The Street Life Series: Is It Suicide or Murder?", you see so many ingredients that equal a great read: mystery, suspense, romance and moral lessons that can be taken away at the end. That is explained when Kevin talks about the books in his collection. "I read a lot of authors, but I especially like James Patterson. The writing technique he uses to describe crime scenes makes his writings understandable.  This is something I aspire to do as well."


Many in Kevin's situation would have just felt sorry for themselves. Why did he decide to better use his time? "When I study and learn, you can't take away the fact that I know what I know. Being incarcerated allows me the time to sit down and focus on what I need to do in order to be a successful and productive citizen in society. Self publishing means that I have to do most of the work. I have to read each book seven or eight times and find ways to make it better. Going through obstacles in my life and knowing that I can deal with whatever comes my way have strengthened me."


Conversations Book Club chose "The Street Life Series: Is It Suicide or Murder?" as one of its "Best Kept Literary Secrets of 2007" as well as its book of the month for February 2008. Others have also recognized the value of the novel. To all of this, the author says this: "I want to thank you, Cyrus, and the Conversations Book Club for your support.  The awards are a form of validation for what I am doing with the series. At first, I didn't realize the impact I was having, but now I know."


To get your copy of the book in "The Street Life Series", visit http://www.kevinmweeks.com.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Conversations Book Club: Making History One Day at a Time

Since Conversations Book Club began its journey in November 2006, it has been making history... uniting men and women---young and old---in a literary campaign that began in Mississippi but has begun to spread abroad.

(Seen here Bestselling author Lacricia Peters (GIRL, NAW!), C-Murder (DEATH AROUND THE CORNER), Voncele Savage (A LETTER TO MY SISTERS) and Dedra Johnson (SANDRINE'S LETTER TO TOMORROW)

When Conversations Book Club talks about books, people listen and respond.

Now with other 10,000 hits on its main website and literary partners spanning the globe, look for Conversations to continue to bring about historic change in the way that YOU read and discuss books...

So C'mon. What are you waiting for? JOIN THE ADDICTION: Get hooked on books!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Conversations hosts Bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins, Sept. 2008

JUST IN: Conversations Book Club hosts Bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins

It will be THE highlight of 2008 for Conversations Book Club and the South... Bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins of the LEFT BEHIND series and the JESUS CHRONICLES will be hosted by Conversations September 17, 18, 2008 in Mississippi.

Jenkins and Conversations began working together in 2007, with the author granting the group two exclusive interviews (one in print and the other in a live interview with a discussion group). In 2008, the two have made plans to do other interviews where his fans can call in and chat with him, but the main event will be when he visits the Magnolia State later in the year.

Though the schedule is still being finalized, two events have been decided. Conversations will hold a "Breakfast with Books" meet and greet with Jenkins at Barnes & Noble on Thursday, September 18, 2008 beginning at 9:30a.m. There will also be a meet and greet at the Pearl Public Library in Pearl, MS on Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 3:30-4:30p.m. Admission will be free.

Details will be made available by visiting http://www.readingmylips.com. You can also call Robin Gardner at 601.664.8805, Jennifer Vess at 601.932.2562 or Stanley Clark at 1.773.344.7220.

Read our first interview with Jenkins by clicking this link: http://authorstaketen.blogspot.com/2007/07/take-ten-bestselling-author-jerry-b.html

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Conversations goes one-on-one with Ira Dorsey of "The Dayton Family"

A Conversations' EXCLUSIVE: Ira Dorsey of "The Dayton Family"


The warning not to judge a book by its cover couldn't have known anything about Ira Dorsey,33, of Flint, Michigan when it was first spoken; but you would believe it was written with him in mind once you sit down to talk to him. As founder of the gangster rap group The DAYTON FAMILY, Dorsey aka Bootleg has had the best of both worlds, knowing success and failure as well as the ups and downs of coming from the streets.


In the 90s he was respected in the industry, rapping about the world as he knew it and speaking at times from his own experiences. His sincerity and genuineness is unmistakable as he proves that true talent is not based on a catchy hook but the realness of someone who has known personally of the message he preaches over the airwaves and on stage.


Named for the neighborhood that gave them life--and took so many others--- Dayton Family made waves with their first album WHAT'S ON MY MIND and later the blockbuster F.B.I. Both lived up to the hype they generated and showed real staying power from the members: Bootleg, Shoestring and Backstabber.


Dark days, though, loomed ahead. Like others in the entertainment industry and beyond, Dorsey has had his share of legal woes and scathing reports in the media---but he has risen above it all to show that he is really in this game to stay.  In 2005 his lyrical voice was silenced, creating a void for the realness and flow that only he seemed to be about to create. Now three years later he has emerged again, joining with Stanley Clark, President of the Mississippi-based For The People Productions marketing firm to not only bring his skills to the South but look for like-minded talent to spread what the Dayton Family is all about in 2008.


This is an exclusive interview you will find no where else, letting you behind the name of a man that many love, hate, respect and fear.  As Chief of Staff of FTP and President of Conversations Book Club, my interview with Dorsey was not just to announce his return to music. I want to give the world a good look at someone who has been counted out time and again, only to silence his critics with what has been the bases of his life since the beginning: His truth.


This is our conversation.


Ira, thank you for taking out the time to talk with us. I want to take you back to the beginning of your life in Flint, Michigan. When did you first take an interest in music?

I was a young guy, around 10 or 11, writing music, but it was in my early teens that I started to take it seriously. My uncle was a dj and I used to play his mixtapes. I was a Def Jam man, listening to everything from L.L. Cool J to A Tribe Called Qwest. It was real music back then. Some of the tapes I played so much that they broke.


Did you know at that time that you wanted to be an entertainer like the artists you were listening to?

Now then. My career at that time was in the streets. The music was a way of entertaining my neighborhood. You see, we were off Dayton Ave. It was known for the business of the streets, and all of us young people--over a hundred of us---were like a family. When I rapped, I would have 50 or so people in my neighborhood come over to hear me. It made me feel good, because I could see that I was able to make people move, painting a pictures with just what I said.


So when did you see that music could give you the career that the streets were providing you?

I met a guy named Shoestring who also rapped and we started going back and forth spitting rhymes. Someone told us that we needed to go to the studio. The first day I steeped in the booth I was hooked. I knew it right then. Once in the studio I didn't want to leave. Even if I didn't have a way to get there I would walk. That was what I wanted. It was Shoestring that also gave me the name Bootleg, because anything you wanted, I was able to get it somehow. It all continued from there.


I want to go back to what you said about working the streets. What initially brought you to that world?

You have to understand that I grew up without a father and was pretty much having to fiend for myself. I turned to the streets for guidance and leadership. I didn't know any better, so as I grew in the game I was leading others to do what I did. All of us were going astray.


Once the group the Dayton Family was together what did you do at that point?

It was all about getting the word out there. We were out there performing, and the people loved us. This was before we could afford to even have an album. There was one song at the time that we were really pushing, and I used my connections in the inner city to get the finances we needed to fuel the movement we had created. We had 10,000 cds sold in three days or so.


When you compare the two worlds---the streets and the music industry---are you surprised at how alike they are?

Not at all. It is about who has the best product and who markets themselves and their product the best. There is really nothing different about them, just a different product. I had to work at getting my music out there just like I had to work at getting my respect on the streets.


Ira, I found the lyrics to your song "Flint Town" online. I want to repeat some of what you say there and then ask you a question.  "Michael Jackson said it don't matter black or white but it should. Cause Flint, Michigan's a long way from Hollywood. I tried to go to college, but I saw myself stuck in Flint. Beside them college folks don't want no po male black resident. Flint, Michigan's a prison, and we all are locked up. The only good jobs are the jobs that could be rocked up. Refused to work for Burger King and still be livin' po'. How can you work for Burger King an' live in a condo?  My city's being (expletive) by your system, that's evident. Puts bullets in a brother at a club back to ignorent."  My question to you would be this. You say you wrote to entertain, but with lyrics like that do you think it forces people to think as well?

Definitely. If you talk with anyone in Flint, they will tell you that those words are the story of their own lives. It's truth. I want to make people feel good, but I do want them to think about what I'm saying, too. By identifying what the problems are, we are able to work on fixing them.


Let's talk about the line that says "Puts bullets in a brother at a club to ignorent." One thing that has been connected with hiphop is the violence it seems to portray. How have your experiences been influenced by what seems like senseless violence?

I can talk about that because the life I was living at the time put me dead in the middle of it. I was ignorant. The violence couldn't be too far from us because the violence was us. It's just that simple. That's why I can tell them what happens out there. I have learned the power of being free. I have widened the range of the things I'm involved in. I know you can't make money, music or any real moves when you are locked up or dead.


As you can imagine, Ira, there is alot that can be found online. That is where I found those lyrics. Something else that I found about you in my research was not as flattering. A poster to an online bulletin board said this: "Dayton Family is street. Don't ever let anyone tell you they soft. On the day their album was released nationwide, Ira Dorsey was driving around Flint with a woman in the trunk of his car. He had her kidnapped for like 4 days while he went on a drug rampage, and tortured her." What would you say to someone who came across that post?

I would say that you are smarter than that to believe I would do something like that. Believe me, if that was true I wouldn't be here talking with you right not, and that's real. I wouldn't be here. You know, it's like anything else. I don't deal with just anybody, so people are always trying to figure out who I am. To know me you have to be in my inner circle. Those that aren't have to create their own Ira Dorsey. Anything that could jeopardize my freedom you better believe that I wouldn't be out there living it or rapping about it.


You mentioned rapping about things that may or may not be a part of the artist. We are told by some that it is our job to realize that the entertainment industry is just that: entertainment. I'm wondering if you think there is a thin line between what is real and what isn't in the music business.

There is a very thin line between what a rapper says and what a rapper does. Some even cross over the line and get caught up. For me, some try to tie me too close to the music I make. I might say something on a beat, but that doesn't mean I really do that. I'm a messenger of the streets. I write about what I know and what I see. That's what I do.


It has been three years since your last release. The independent album, FAST LIFE, sold over 60,000 units on its own. Do you think the industry has changed alot since you were on the scene?

Definitely. It's not the same game. It's not about painting a picture anymore. It's about a catchy hook and beat. That's not me. I'm going to entertain you, but I'm gonna continue to put my heart in everything I do.


You and I were connected by Stanley Clark of For The People Productions in Mississippi. He told me you wanted to bring a new sound to the music scene with what you're calling Dayton Family South. Why are you looking in the south now?

The South is where it should've been all the time, to be honest with you. That is where our fan base really is. Lots of love from the South. We are always well received there. Look, this move was more than about entertainment. This is business. For me, it's like an athlete. I'm in the fourth quarter of the game, and if I'm going to do something it has to be now.


I know the people in the South that have been looking to break into the industry will be glad to hear that. What are you looking for when it comes adding to the family?

They have to come with it. I want them to have a strong work ethic, be serious about their business and understand that I'm trying to do this write. If you are on the fence about whether to do what is right or wrong, then I can't deal with you. Most of all, you have to have genuine talent. I want people to come with us and be so good that it makes me step my game up. Some labels don't want people among them that are better than them. That's not me. I want you to grow bigger than me. Give me all you got.


Ira, I know you are eager to get back out there with your music, but what else would you like to do?

I want to do everything: books, tv and movies. What I really want to see is a documentary of The Dayton Family. I want to take you behind the scenes of the neighborhood that made me.


Thank you for giving me this access into your life. What would you like to say to the people who are reading this interview and learning about you for the first time.

I would say that if you ever want to hear powerful music then what I bring for you. If you can relate to ever being the underdog or ever at the bottom of anything, then I have the music that will heal you of all the pain you have experienced. I can lift you up.


And to your fans? What would you like for them to know?

I love all of you for sticking by me and not jumping ship like some have done. Believe me when I say that I am going to bring the heat.  You will be seeing me soon. I am going to go out of my way to hit each of your cities soon. Just give a minute. I want you all to know that everything I do is for you.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Bestselling author DeiIra Collard talks about her visit with Conversations

"I just wanted to let you know I had an awesome time while in Mississippi.  Thank you for having me and I look forward to coming back. 
"Again, thank you for allowing the opportunity to spend time with you and your book club and promote my book.  You keep being the president of everything!!"

Bestselling author Brittney Holmes talks about her visit with Conversations

"Hi Mr. Cyrus,
"Mom is right about that tribal name. :D
"I just wanted to let you know that I had a great time as well. Mississippi was not like I expected and earned many brownie points for its overall hospitable atmosphere. Though you kept us busy, the weekend was one of the best I'd had this year in touring my book. Please keep us in mind next year."
Brittney Holmes, author of LIVING CONSEQUENCES

Bestselling author Kendra Norman Bellamy talks about her visit with Conversations

"Hello Cyrus (also known by his Indian tribal name of "He Who Never Sleeps").  :-)
"Brittney (her daughter Brittney Holmes) and I had an absolute blast in our first visit to Mississippi!  I don't know what I expected the great Cyrus Webb to be like, but upon meeting you, I felt like I'd known you all my life.  There was never a dull moment.  The folks in Jackson, Brandon, Crystal Springs, Pearl....wherever we went, welcomed us with open arms and were very accomodating.  I may not have sold as many books on this stop as I did during some of the others that I had in the year 2007, but with all honesty, I can say that Mississippi was definitely one of my favorites for the year.  I, too, feel like I have made a friend for life."
--- Bestselling author Kendra Norman-Bellamy
Kendra Norman-Bellamy
#1 Essence Bestselling author
Founder & Host of Cruisin' For Christ (Christian cruise)

Conversations Announces "Book Lovers Day" * Chicago, IL

Conversations Book Club*, in connection with its literary partners, is pleased to announce that it will be holding its first "Book Lovers Day" in Chicago, IL

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Comfort Inn O'Hare International

2550 Landmeier Road

Elk Grove Village, Illinois

Ph: 847-364-6200 Fx: 847-364-0957

Moderated by Cyrus A. Webb, this event is for male and female book lovers of all races between the ages of 17 and up and will be a chance to discuss books in a variety genres (mystery/suspense/horror/inspirational/romance/erotica/relationship/urban or street/nonfiction).
Look for more details to be released shortly through http://www.thebestbookclub.info.
For more information, contact Cyrus A. Webb at 601.896.5616 or via email at cawebb4@juno.com. Most sessions will be free and open to the public. Workshops will be $10 for each participant and will include Webb's handbook "LESSONS LEARNED: The Life Brand Series".
*     Conversations Book Club is the largest book club in Mississippi with seven chapters in that state as well as one in New Orleans, Montgomery, Memphis and soon to be Little Rock. The purpose of Conversations is to encourage reading among all ages and to show how we can encourage others to open up their minds by opening up a book.
JOIN THE ADDICTION: Get hooked on books.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

BREAKING: Conversations Book Club & RAWSISTAZ forge partnership

Conversations Book Club is pleased to announce that beginning February 2008 you will find "Conversations with C. A. Webb" syndicated on http://www.RAWSISTAZ.com. Conversations' founder Cyrus A. Webb and RAWSISTAZ founder Tee Royal have been working on the partnership for some time now, and with 2008 the marriage between the two will be consummated.
"I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Tee and what she has done for reading with RAWSISTAZ," Webb said in a statement to the Associated Press. "I think having interviews conducted by Conversations syndicated on their site will only add to our brand as well as give the authors we talk to more exposure."
Beginning February 2008 you will also find a link to RAWSISTAZ on all sites associated with Conversations Book Club. (http://www.thebestbookclub.info)
Want to know who will be the first authors to begin the new partnership to be featured on the RAWSISTAZ site? You will have to wait to find out!
Enjoy your day. Enjoy your life. Enjoy your world.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

"My Son's Wife": One of the Most Anticipated Novels of the New Year

With "Into Each Life", Christian Fiction author Shelia E. Lipsey introduced us to characters not unlike those in our own family. Her second novel "Sinsatiable" showed us how we can easily fall prey to what may appear as only a short dance with the Devil. Through her third release, however, Lipsey exposes the hypocrisy and secrets that we all have tried to conceal.
We are introduced to the beautiful Rena Jackson, a woman who is believed to be the perfect compliment to Minister Stiles Graham. Though she has the approval of Stile's family---there is more to Rena than initially meets the eye. With a storyline that develops with the twists and turns of some of the most prolific suspense writers, Lipsey proves why she is an author who definitely gets better with each and every novel.
She also uses the messages in "My Son's Wife"---and there are many of them---to especially get the African American church to look at itself and how it tries to compartmentalize sin. The bottom line: all sin is dangerous. We are also helped to see that no sin is better or worse than any other.
Kudos for a job well done. "My Son's Wife" is definitely a novel that will get those inside and outside the establishment to talking, and I don't think we would expect any less from "Author of the Year", Bestselling author Shelia E. Lipsey.