Monthly Archives: October 2015

Author Interview: Raynesha Pittman


I first met Raynesha Pittman on Facebook. I watched her from afar and was impressed by what I saw. Fate had it that we would connect, and when we did, it was if we knew each other all our lives. I am extremely proud of this talented young lady and believe this is just the tip of the iceberg of her successful literary career. It is my pleasure to introduce to you, Raynesha.

1) Where did you grow up? Did you have a good childhood?

I grew up on the east side of Los Angeles in a area known as the Low Bottoms. Now at thirty-three years old, looking back, my childhood was okay. If you would have asked me this sixteen years ago, I’m sure the answer would have definitely been different. Growth of the mind does change the memories.

2) Did you always want to be a writer?

I have always written to express myself or to entertain my friends. Writing wasn’t the shocker, but being published….now that was the shock.

3) Who was your greatest influence in your life?

My father and maternal grandmother. My father was not the ideal role model or law abiding citizen, but he was my dad. The life lessons he thought me are held near and dear. And my maternal grandmother is the reason why I am not a female version of my father.

4) What motivates you?

I was raised by two street hustlers, so being a go-getter was ingrained in me at an early age. But when that self-motivation begins to run low, my family immediately gives me a refill. I look at my babies faces, and watch my husband work two full-time jobs, so I can stay home to write. I also watch my mother fight her battle with Lupus with so much strength and determination that it recharges me. My family is my largest motivation.

5) Who are some of your favorite authors and what are some of your all-time favorite books?

My list of favorites is long, but John Grisham is number one. I love all of his work that I have read, but there’s something about The Rainmaker that makes me read it at least once a year.

6) Was there a book that changed your life after you read it?

No, not really. I’ve read a lot of eye openers that brought light to issues I’ve faced or a few to bring me to tears, but nothing powerful enough to excite change.

7) What was your experience like self-publishing your first book, Kismet?

Self-publishing was a headache and wasn’t the route I originally wanted to take. When the publisher I initially submitted it to fell through on promises, my alternative was to publish the work on my own. The rainbow that followed that storm was that the publisher walked me through self-publishing. And with a phone call to K’wan for more information, I was able to put it out myself.

8) What are some of the valuable lessons you learned by writing and publishing your first book?

Editing is key!

9) If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently?

I’d definitely hire a professional editor and a couple of proofreaders. I entered the industry trusting everything I heard and it was a very expensive mistake.

10) How have you honed your craft?

I research more and I don’t attempt to publish everything I write. A lot of what I write are skill builders. I take my non-fictional day and turn it into fiction or a medication commercial turns into a story using the side effects. It keeps my creativity going. I’m also in a lot of writer’s groups and I take lots of notes.

11) How did you go from being a self-published author to signing with Write 2 East Concepts? How did that come about?

When I reached out to K’wan in 2010, he wasn’t taking submissions. In 2011, he opened them up briefly, but my writing wasn’t where it needed to be to get signed by him. In 2013, he reached out to me and asked me if I was still writing because he hadn’t seen me mention it. I said yes. He told me to submit a story and the rest is history. He released Dog Food in July of 2014 and Dog Food 2 May of 2015. It still feels like a dream to me!

12) Do you have a writing routine and do you write every day?

No, I do not, but I do write daily when and wherever I am. With eight other people in the house having a real routine would be perfect, but with six of those eight being busy children who need me constantly, I write when I can steal time from them.

13) How do your ideas come for your books?

Life’s seasons and reasons. Everything that catches the attention of my six senses is a story waiting for me to tell.

14) How long does it typically take you to write a book?

It depends on what is going on around me. I’ve written one in three weeks and the longest was three months. It really depends on how much time I can sneak away from my responsibilities to my family. Even with pulling all nighters, there’s never enough hours in a day.

15) What are some of your goals you would like to accomplish in the years ahead?

My biggest goals are to be signed by a major publishing house and get my books on the shelf EVERYWHERE! I’m working hard to be able to cross those goals off my list so I can make new ones that are even larger.

16) What is the hardest thing about writing and publishing?

Writing isn’t hard when you love to do it. My issue with self-publishing is that I don’t have a marketing team or a promotion staff doing my leg work. I’m a one woman team and if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.

17) What would you like to see different in the industry?

The crab in the barrel mentally needs to be done away with. It’s easier to uplift than to breakdown. Hopefully, we will all realize this one day.

18) What do you want readers to get from your books?

I write in different genres but as a whole, a new understanding or view on the issues I touch on. If I wrote to entertain then I hope the book accomplished that goal.

19) Lastly, what advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Study your craft, read contracts before signing them and if you don’t understand the lingo, get a lawyer. Finally, never let anyone stop you from living your dreams. Giving up should NEVER be an option!

Thank you, Raynesha. It was a pleasure to interview you!

Raynesha Pittman grew up as one of Los Angele’s many troubled youth which led her into serving four years around Los Angeles juvenile corrections centers, placements, and camps. She first recognized her love for writing while incarcerated. Her first manuscript was written to her mother in hopes of giving her insight to what Raynesha was going through as a teen, but never published. One positive thing Raynesha had during her troubled years was book smarts, her ticket out of the hands of correctional facilities. She was an honors student since kindergarten, certified gifted in the third grade, and was sent to Woodland Hills, California for a more challenging education, yet she had to be placed in advance placement classes there too. Her temper and fighting had her removed from the enriched schools, but that didn’t stop her. She graduated high school at sixteen years old and received acceptance letters to five out-of-state universities which she later declined offers to due to still being on probation until eighteen years of age and not being able to leave the state. California State University at Los Angeles and Northridge accepted her last minute application with open arms. After attending school for a little over a semester she discovered she was pregnant and decided to put her role as a mother first. She moved to Tennessee for a new start with her boys and received her PTCB national certification in July 2010 after three and a half years of being a licensed Pharmacy technician. It was while working in a pharmacy, she met Michael Antonio of Payne Publishing, Inc., who encouraged her to write a book. She took his opinion to heart and wrote her debut novel, KismetRaynesha currently lives in Tennessee with her husband and their six children.

Raynesha Pittman is the CEO, Founder and a author at Conglomerate Ink, an Urban Literature publishing company established November 2010 to help authors expose and share their talents of storytelling while developing discipline in their craft. In May 2011, Raynesha was offered the opportunity to help promote literacy nationwide by childhood friend, author and now publisher Terry L. Wroten by joining the West Coast Authors Movement also known as W-CAM where Raynesha not only fills the position of an author on the team, but is also over website design and management and acts as W-CAM’s Southern liaison due to her living in the South. Her greatest literary achievement came in January 2014 when she was signed to Write2Eat Publishing under the legendary K’wan Foye.

You can follow Raynesha Pittman on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Author Interview: Faith Cheek Weathers

I first met with Faith months ago on Facebook. It was on King Publishing Group – The Buzz page. We connected instantly. Then I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at the Harlem Book Festival back in July. I have a great deal of respect and love for this talented author. While we were talking the other day, this interview happened. It’s my pleasure to introduce to you, Faith.

1) Where did you grow up? How was your childhood?

I was born in Albany, NY and raised in Syracuse, NY and Louisville, KY. I had a great childhood. I did a MS Readathon commercial. We lived a nice middle class life. My father liked the finer things. My mother stayed at home and always put us first.

2) When you wrote your first book, did you find it hard?

Yes.  I didn’t know first person from third. The editors chopped my book up. I had to change it to make it more urban. But I pulled it together.

3) Is that how you learned to get better, with an editor?

Yes, and I learned quick! When I wrote part two, I didn’t have any rewrites.

4) How long did it take you to write your first book?

It didn’t take that long, a few weeks. But I use to write in notebooks, so it took a while for me to type it up. I wrote Church Whore in two weeks.

I feel closest to God when I’m writing. I’m at peace when I’m writing because I know that’s what I’m supposed to be doing.

Now I type on my laptop, but I still have about ten stories in notebooks. My first book was written in 2008. Shxt Happens was written in 2007.

5) So when did you decide you were a writer?

I’ve always written. I use to write letters for all of my friends in middle school. Break up letters, and love letters.

The first time my teacher noticed my writing was at the end of my eighth grade year and she said, “Had I known you could write, I would have gotten you published.”

I just knew I loved it. My best friend Angie told me that writing was my calling. That was in 2006 before my son was killed.

6) Can I ask what happened?

He was run over by a school bus on Sept 28, 2006. He was 14. He was the second child I lost. I had a stillborn in 1999. I was seven and a half months. I named her little Faith.

7) So would you say this was the impetus which propelled you into writing full-time?

Yes, after Sean died I decided to take my writing more seriously. Because before then I would write movie scripts, but never stories.

8) How do your ideas come to you?

I never know what I’m going to write. I free style. Like with my first series all I knew was I wanted a woman who was strong and no nonsense. I knew I wanted her to have two best friends. That’s all I knew and I just wrote.

The funny thing is one of characters became bi later in the book, but when I first described her, I said she seemed like she could be a lesbian, but I didn’t even remember that.

My friend told me well that’s how you described her. I talk about my characters like they are real and in the house with me.

9) What are some of you all-time favorite books and authors and why?

VC Andrews! I grew up reading all her books. That’s what made me say I want to write. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

This is how God works. Years ago, before I was signed the author, Carla Pennington put up a list for summer reading. Budussy by Eros was on the list. Once I read it, I was hooked. At that moment, he became my favorite author. And years later, not only is he my publisher and mentor, but he’s one of my best friends.

10) What was your most favorite book to write?

Church Whore was my favorite book to write. It just flowed out of me.

11) Do you write every day?

No, I don’t write everyday.

12) What do you believe made you a better writer?

Life experience. Listening to my spirit.

13) Are you working on anything new now?

Yes, Church Whore 3. Plus a few other jewels I’ve started on.

What is the most important thing to you? What inspires you? Pushes you to higher heights?

I want to grow as an author. My parents gave me the gift of words. Watching my father preach and stir up souls made me want to do that in my own way. They taught me the power of words. My kids push me to follow my dreams. I’ve made many sacrifices to do so.

My mother wrote poetry and played for our church, so words were always important. At the end of the day, I always have my words.

14) What advice would you give a new writer?

Stay true to yourself. Stay humble. This game changes people and most times not for the better.

Thank you so much, Faith. Wishing you the world of success and abundant blessings on your literary journey.

Faith Cheek Weathers was born on September 15, 1974 to Rev. & Mrs. Earl Cheek. Faith learned at an early age the importance of words. Faith used to write letters for friends in school and quickly made a name for herself as “The Letter Writer.” Faith would write for fun as she obtained a Bachelors in Psychology. In 2014 she was signed to a publishing company. In September of 2014, she was signed to KPG. Under the direction of her mentor Eros, Faith started to build her catalog. One year later Faith has then ten releases under KPG with many more  to come. Faith resides in Greensboro, NC with her four remaining children. Faith has experienced many trials and tribulations including the death of two children, but she doesn’t let anything stop her. Stat tuned to see what this preachers kid has up her sleeve. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.



Follow Your Passion

Not everything in life is about money. Yes, we need money, I’m not saying we shouldn’t work or be responsible. What I am saying is when we truly follow our passion, money isn’t the motivation, purpose is.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

My wise father once said, do what you love and the money will follow. His passion is cooking, singing and people. If you see my father, you see me. I probably would have followed in his footsteps and taken over his restaurant, if I wasn’t passionate about the arts. I was good in the restaurant business because I love food and people. Yet, the restaurant business wasn’t for me.

My passion was the arts. I spent hours listening to the radio growing up. My mother bought me my first phonograph at the age of seven. I had 45’s and I would listen to them over and over. I would take walks from my house to Sam Goody on Queens Boulevard, where I was introduced to musicians like Al Di Meola, who is a radical guitarist and ahead of his time.

I didn’t realize I had a singing voice until two musical directors from a play I was in, told me I had a beautiful voice. I thought they were just being nice, until my peers started to tell me the same thing. It was then that I started taking singing seriously and found a coach.

In the midst of this, I loved to dance (still do). My mother was a professional dancer, so I started dancing as soon as I learned to walk. But, in order to get into the top clubs in Manhattan, I needed a fake ID. So me and my friends took a trip to 42nd Street and got ourselves some. It was then that I started frequenting clubs like, the Palladium, Red Parrot, Copacabana, Limelight, Tunnel, and much more.

Yes, music is a passion of mine. But so is reading and writing. I started reading books and keeping a journal as a kid. I devoured books and poured my feelings out on to the page. I also started dabbling in poetry, by the time I reached High School, I submitted my poems to the school newspaper and they made it to the front page. I also drew, so I would draw something that would coincide with my poems which was a plus.

But sadly, for years, I didn’t think I was a “writer”. I knew I was an actress, singer, dancer, and artist, but for some reason, I never thought I was a writer. This discovery happened later in life, when I read Jeff Goins book, You Are A Writer.

If you are not sure what your passion or purpose is, I highly recommend reading his other book, The Art of Work. Jeff is a good friend, colleague and mentor of mine. I have watched him do some amazing things over the years. He is inspiration to me. If you don’t follow his blog, I recommend that you do. I have learned so much from him.

If you don’t know what your passion is, you won’t know what your purpose is either, because passion and purpose go hand in hand. I encourage you to explore and discover what your passion and purpose is, because once you do, you will feel fulfilled.

Are you struggling with knowing your passion or finding your purpose? If so, let’s discuss it in the comment section below.