The Gangster, Joseph

Yes! On the eve of the motion picture version of the Novel “Live By Night”, I decided to reblog my review of the novel. Man, I loved it! And can’t wait to see the movie.

James Fant Books


Dennis Lehane puts a pleasant spin on the gritty gangster in his novel “Live by Night.” Joe Coughlin plays the smart and guarded outlaw that doesn’t want anyone to call him “Joseph”. That right and privilege is reserved for his father, with whom he has a strained relationship burdened by the ghosts of things undone and conversations had too late. Nevertheless, acquaintances want to call him Joseph—the gangster, Maso, the Cuban goddess, Graciela—all want Joe to be Joseph. Perhaps they know on some spiritual level that he’s more than a one syllable diminutive. Rather, they realize that Joseph will do what his name means in the Hebrew—he will add. Throughout the novel, Joseph Coughlin added his quick wit and charm to a mixture of thievery and debauchery, slipping several times from the grips of danger and moving with great pomp to a position of power. Ultimately, Coughlin made his abode…

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A Grown Folks Novel


Chance Michaels’ husband leaves her for another woman, in quite an embarrassing fashion. Then Aiden Scott enters the picture and immediately throws his hat in the ring. I do mean immediately. The novel starts out hot and heavy and the author wastes no time with the erotica. The first chapter gets the room steamy and the next few chapters stay on that same vibe. So if super sensual is your thing, then this novel is for you. It’s a grown folks story. Definitely not for virgin ears. And though I’m not that big of an erotica, I can appreciate how the author just jumped right into the story.

The problem for me, was that sex made up the bulk of the novel. Sure, it dealt with Chance’s screwed up marriage. And yes, it delved into the tension between Aiden and Chance’s ex-husband, Ryan. But for the most part, the novel was about the sexcapades of Chance and Aiden. If that’s your cup of tea, cool. It just wasn’t mine.

My main LIKE was the verbal foreplay between Chance and Aiden. There were a few lines in there I could probably use on my wife. My main DISLIKE was the way the author sometimes told instead of showed (e.g. a face that expressed shock instead of wide eyes, a raised brow and a dropped jaw). What I LOVED about the novel was the wise words from Aiden’s father about building a kingdom. About doing the work. I highlighted that statement and plan on reading it again from time to time as I strive to build my own kingdom as a businessman.

I gave this novel 3.5 stars. Because while it had an extremely erotic nature, it did have some nuggets that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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20 Ways to Get Yourself Out There as a Writer

Great tips on getting out there as a writer. Enjoy!

A Writer's Path


by Kelly D. Smith

1. Get out there! Meet people, and don’t be scared to say you are a writer.

2. Blog- now, is blogging really worth it? I’m not sure, I’m actually going to be talking about that soon but I enjoy it!

3. Guest blog, because really if you’re going to do it why not start with someone else’s hard work?!

4. Make sure you have your books on your blog, website, Facebook, and anywhere else!

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The Kingdom: Eloquently Rediscovered


Enter the Kingdom. Seek first the Kingdom. Several parables about the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is at hand. All  of these phrases are emphasized in scripture and Myles Monroe’s REDISCOVERING THE KINGDOM is just a reminder of the message Jesus preached. This book is so enlightening and it doesn’t add anything to the Messianic message; no, it just tells people about it in that eloquent style Dr. Monroe is so well known for.

What did I like about the book? I loved Dr. Monroe’s use of alliteration. He’d hit you with something like “dissatisfied and desirous for more” and that’s just one example of many. His eloquence regarding vernacular is off the charts. Additionally, I liked the way Dr. Monroe challenges the reader at the very onset with his statement about religion. He sets up his contrast of a religious mindset and a kingdom mindset–a contrast that is the topic of much debate nowadays. One review stated that this contrast was a turnoff at the onset. If it is a turnoff, Dr. Monroe is not unique in being the center of that conversation. Kirk Franklin’s LOSING MY RELIGION is case in point. Kirk stated in an NPR interview that “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” Man, Kirk caught flack left and right from a lot of folks in the church because of that album. His take, while bold, is in many ways what Dr. Monroe was saying in his book: get back to relationship. Get back to the relationship lost by Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden. Get back to dominion–not over other people–but over the earth. Manage the physical realm as ambassadors for God in the spiritual realm. Get back to the boldness of knowing that once you’ve entered through the door–Jesus–you have access to the Kingdom and all its benefits.

What didn’t I like about the book? Initially, I would have to say that my only dislike was that Dr. Monroe seemed to repeat things over and over…and over…and over. But then I thought about the old adage of public speaking: tell the people what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them. And in doing that, what happens is the message becomes ingrained into your mind. Your sponge gets saturated because the flow of information is constant. So as I continued through the book, I appreciated more and more his repetition.

If you’re looking for an eloquent, educational, and edifying read (check out that alliteration) please read out REDISCOVERING THE KINGDOM.


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Can a Man and Woman be Just Best Friends…Without Someone Catching Feelings?


Can a man and a woman be best friends without somebody catching feelings?

Travis Barber and Sade Styles are best friends of the opposite sex. Despite what everyone thinks, they are not getting busy…yet.

Co-owners of a popular barbershop/salon in named CoEd, Travis and Sade spend the bulk of their days together. But when Sade’s apartment lease runs out and Travis offers her the spare bedroom of his newly built house, will they end up sharing more than just the utilities?

This witty, fast-paced romance by James Fant seeks to answer the question: can a man and a woman be best friends without crossing that fine line into the land of lovers. Best case scenario, nothing happens. Worst case scenario, they get to know each other a little too well and end up hating each other!

Are Travis and Sade making the best move for their friendship?


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“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley (The Real Frankenstein Monster)

frankensteinBack in the day, on Halloween, kids only had a few masks to choose from to go out into the cold fall night in the hopes of candy and conquest: those were the wolf-man, Dracula, and Frankenstein. Well, we called it Frankenstein but the monster was not named Frankenstein. Rather, it was the “monster,” “creature,” “demon,” even “daemon” in the original novel. Nevertheless, in ignorance, we donned that mask with it’s rectangular head, black matted hair, green skin, yellow drooping eyes, and of course the electrodes protruding from both sides of the neck. We were Frankenstein. But having not read the classic novel by Mary Shelley at the tender age of ten years old, we had no clue that the monster was just the monster and Frankenstein was really a scientist named Victor with aspirations of creating life from death.

I chose the novel  “Frankenstein” in my quest to read more classic literature. Honestly, from page one the prose grabbed me. “…for nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose–a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.” That is but a tidbit of Shelley’s word wizardry. So I one-clicked the novel (having nothing to lose, really, because it was free) and was nevertheless impressed with her alliteration, imagery, and poetry. The novel, while a narrative of something grotesque, is quite beautiful written.

“…to give utterance to the burning ardour of my soul and to say, with all the fervour that warmed me, how gladly I would sacrifice my fortune, my existence, my every hope, to the furtherance of my enterprise.”

Oh, my goodness, Mary Shelley is a beast! And the novel just keeps flowing in this manner: from the epistolary portion of the novel (letters from Captain Robert Walton to his sister) to the narration of Victor (a warning to the former about what I guess was seen at the time of the novel’s publication as foolish ambition). You catch this the more you read. How Victor shows up on that icy snow cap just as Walton is pressing forward in his own scientific pursuits: one which he writes in the first line of the novel as “You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.” This is the driving sentence in the novel, telling us what the theme is all about.

I won’t highlight this review with history of how Mary Shelley came about the novel in a dream and how it was initially published anonymously and didn’t bear her name until five years later (why is that?), how the novel continued to evolve and be perfected even thirteen years later, or how its initial reception was unfavorable. I believe those areas have been well covered. What I would like to do is deal with the lyricist, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Yes! The lyricist. The literary genius. Now, I’m a hip-hop head and in high school spent I my fair share of afternoons on the back stoop behind Greenville Senior High School freestyling or reciting lyrics that I had written previously. The goal, was to get the hearer’s attention, say something snazzy that would make fingers snap, make people say “Oooh!” Exchange high fives. I did this not by putting together some boring lines that any old spitter could spit, but by using allegory, allusion, analogy, alliteration, assonance, consonance, cacophony, euphony, hyperbole, irony, metaphor, onomatopoeia, puns, repetition, and rhyme — poetic devices that drive my point across. For example, I had one line that said:

On the block, quoting scriptures from Alfred Hitchcock

My brain pops with raindrops that umbrellas can’t stop.

Of course there’s the rhyme–always the rhyme. But there’s also allegory. I wasn’t really quoting scriptures from Alfred Hitchcock; he wrote no bible. But what I was saying is that I was relaying dark and gripping words, just as Hitchcock’s stories are dark and gripping. And the second bar deals with the multiple ideas in my head. Ideas so plentiful that they are like a storm that drenches even when using an umbrella. Analogy. I love lyrics like these and I guess that’s why I am a big fan of lyricists like Big Pun.

Take for instance one of Pun’s lyrics from “Super Lyrical”:

Ay-yo my murderous rap verbal attack is actual fact

Tactical tracks match perfectly with graphical stats

Half of you lack the magical dap of tragical rap

That tackles you back and shackles and laughs at you

That’s the mathematical madness I’m on, the savage, the strong

The marriage, a bond of havoc and song

This massacre’s on as if Picasso laced you

There’s lotsa hateful skeletons locked in the closet of my castle of Grayskull

I won’t even go into all Pun’s dealing with in those Bars; I’ll save that for another review.

Big Pun is a dope lyricist. Believe it or not, Mary Shelley is just as dope lyrically. Case in point: I highlighted many dope lines from the novel and while I will not share them all–probably put the whole novel in this blog post if I did–I will show a few to drive my point into the garage.

“Thus far I have gone, tracing a secure way over the pathless seas, the very stars themselves being witnesses and testimonies of my triumph.”

“I believe it to be an intuitive discernment, a quick but never-failing power of judgement, a penetration into the cause of things, unequalled for clearness and precision…”

“My limbs now tremble, and my eyes swim with the remembrance; but then a resistless and almost frantic impulse urged me forward; I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit.”

I could go on and on. But I believe my sedan is in the garage safely, the engine is shut off and we are finally home.

Mary Shelley is a beast. Hear me out on this. When other musicians and great appreciators of musicians hear something otherworldly and utterly profound be done by a musician, they might say, “He is a beast!” And that is not a bad thing. It has nothing to do with his appearance or demeanor but everything to do with the abusive nature in which he just handled his musical business. That run, that riff, that wowing rendition, that makes the listener throw up their hands and make the stank face. “BEAST!” A proficient and polished perfectionist, rendering sounds so pleasing to the ear. Mary had that same effect, only she didn’t use music. She used powerful prose and poetic devices. That is why I subtitled this review The Real Frankenstein Monster. Because it wasn’t the thin skinned, grotesque creation of Victor the Scientist. The author who created Victor and the daemon is the true monster–the true beast. (chuckle) Imagine Mary Shelley in a rap cypher with Big Pun. Yeah, not likely. But one can imagine, can’t he?

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Virtual Book Tour for An Ode for Orchids by James Fant

Romance Date Published: August 30, 2012   Meet Dawn, Brook, Cicely and Karen: four cousins raised under the Southern sun. Their grandmother called them orchids and taught them to be i…

Source: Virtual Book Tour for An Ode for Orchids by James Fant

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