Archive for June, 2010

What’s Really Hood – Wahida Clark

Sunday, June 13th, 2010



Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (May 24, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446539163
ISBN-13: 978-0446539166
Order from here:

This is a collection of Urban Lit short stories. There are five stories, by five authors. Each story deals with the grittier side of life, from crack addiction, to drive by shootings. The five stories are:

Black is Blue: A woman walking the straight and narrow finds out how easy it is to cross the street and get mixed up with the wrong people.
The P Is Free: A story about love, addiction, and the struggle to overcome it.
The Last Laugh: Involves gang violence, and the repercussions resulting from that.
All For Nothing: A small clique called the Point Blank Mob finds themselves on the run when revenge goes wrong.
Makin’ Endz Meet: When Nina gets tired of being taken advantage of by the men in her life, she takes matters into her own hand.

I found these stories entertaining. I got through the book in one weekend. Each story is about 50 pages long. The characters seem true to life, at least from my viewpoint. I grew up on the mean streets of Hurricane, WV. so I haven’t seen, or experienced the lives that these writers or the characters have experienced. All I can go by is through movies and TV shows that I’ve seen.

I could see the conflict in some of the characters, and some of the hopelessness they felt. I’d probably give this book an MC17 rating, due to language, violence, drug abuse, and some sexuality. If you are a fan of Urban Lit, or just fiction in general, and don’t have a strong aversion to the situations mentioned, then pick this book up. I think the stories will be able to keep your attention, and are probably just the right length for those doctor’s office, mechanic, etc. visits.

One drawback that I found, and would be helpful, is some kind of glossary. I realize the audience of this book is probably the young, Urban crowd, but it was hard for me at first, having to figure out what the characters were talking about. There were certain words, clothing items, and just manner, that while undoubtedly accurate to the characters, as a read inexperienced in that life, couldn’t understand. I am still not sure what one character meant when he talked about he used to roll drivers for lambskins, but now had lambskins in every color. I wasn’t sure if lambskins were condoms, or if it related to something else. But this is just my personal lack of knowledge, and doesn’t reflect on the book or the authors.

About the Authors:

Wahida Clark was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey. She is no stranger to the hard work and sacrifices that breeds success.  This Jersey girl owned and operated multiple businesses in Trenton, NJ and Decatur, GA. She decided to write street fiction while incarcerated at the women’s Federal Prison Camp in Lexington, Kentucky.

She was crowned the Queen of Thug Love Fiction by Nikki Turner, the Queen of Hip Hop Fiction. Wahida’s style of writing is the ‘TEMPLATE’ for street lit.  So much so, that the Triple Crown Author, Keisha Erving copied her style, words and even used her characters names. Go to and for more on this deceit called plagiarism.

But when you read her novels, they are so real you are convinced of one of three things: you know the characters, you want to know the characters, or you a character. Her Essence, Don Divas and Black Issues Book Reviews, bestselling novels include: the trilogy Thugs and the Women Who Love Them, Every Thug Needs a Lady, and Thug Matrimony, Payback is a Mutha, and its highly anticipated follow up “Payback With Ya Life.” All published by Kensington/Dafina Books.

Wahida is the first Street Lit author to land multiple publishing deals with two major publishers all while serving an eight and a half years federal prison sentence.  She says it wasn’t easy. 

At press, she has just completed the follow up to Payback is a Mutha, entitled, Payback With Ya Life and is now working on ‘Thug Luvin’, part 4 to her ‘Thug ‘ Series. She is also Vice President of the non-profit organization, “Prodigal Sons and Daughters,” a re-entry program for those previously incarcerated, as well as support group for at-risk youth. Anyone interested in offering assistance to this life changing program can contact them at….

Visit her at, or write her at P.O. Box 8520, Newark, NJ 07108.

Victor L. Martin is the author of four published novels: A Hood Legend, Menage’s Way, For the Strength of You, and Unique’s Ending. He is currently incarcerated in a North Carolina prison.

LaShonda “L.L.Dasher” Sidberry-Teague is a Wilmington, North Carolina native, coming into her own as an up-and-coming author. She is the wife of author Kwame “DUTCH” Teague, one of the hottest street writers, and the mother of five children. She has found her calling in writing, and has her first novel coming soon, entitled Kiss. LaShonda lives by the motto…be a blessing and you will be blessed.

Bonta was born and raised on the mean streets of Chicago’s southeast side. After graduating high school and a brief stay in the U.S. Army, he answered the streets’ calling. His cost of chasing the mirage of fame and fortune was a 151-month federal sentence. While there, the legendary Joe Black inspired him to get serious about writing. Since then, he has written two novels and a few short stories.

Shawn “Jihad” Trump was born in Pennsylvania. In November 1999, Shawn was arrested and subsequently indicted by the federal government and sentenced to 84 months in prison. During his time there he learned to channel his emotions through writing. Since being released, Shawn continues to write and is also the partner of an up and coming indie label, South of the Burgh Entertainment. Shawn is married with two daughters.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anna at Hachette Book Group for a review copy and subsequent giveaway copies. It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Interview – Wahida Clark – Author/Editor What’s Really Hood

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Today we have the pleasure to talk to Wahida Clark. She is an author, and editor of What’s Really Hood. What’s Really Hood is an anthology of Urban Literature stories. She was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey.

Rhodes Review: Who are some of the writers you enjoy? Books?

Wahida Clark:

Donald Goins, Author of Dopefiend and Whoreson
Guy Johnson, Author of Standing at the Scratchline
Al Dickens, Author of Uncle Yah Yah: 21st Century Man of Wisdom

Rhodes Review: How do you get your inspiration/muse to write?

Wahida Clark: My inspiration to write came from working in the library and seeing books, reading books and realizing that I could do it too.

Rhodes Review: How do you come up with Story Ideas?

Wahida Clark: I come up with story ideas by looking and listening to my surroundings then pulling that special something from deep down inside.

Rhodes Review: How did you get interested in writing urban lit?

Wahida Clark: When I first started writing urban lit was just taking off. It was the genre that was growing non-stop.

Rhodes Review: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Wahida Clark: For me the hardest parts of writing are creating the first draft as well as no longer being incarcerated. Writing while incarcerated was very easy in comparison to now being free with so many distractions.

Rhodes Review: What’s the best thing about being an author?

Wahida Clark: The best thing about being an author is trying to outdo myself with the next project.

Rhodes Review: What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Wahida Clark: Write, Write, Write. Also study your craft and understand that once your book is done the journey is just beginning. Being an author is a business for traditionally published as well as self-published authors.

Rhodes Review: What is your current writing project?

Wahida Clark: Right now I’m putting the finishing touches on The Golden Hustla.

Rhodes Review: What was the process like in working on this book?

Wahida Clark: For What’s Really Hood! I put out the call that I was accepting submissions. Then I poured through the submissions to find the perfect blend of hood stories.

Rhodes Review: What made you want to write/compile this book?

Wahida Clark: I had a short story in me and at the time I came across a couple of anthologies. I then told myself, “I can do that”.

Rhodes Review: Your writing journey – how did you get from your first taste of reading/writing to where you are now?

Wahida Clark: I had no plans of writing or any idea that I could pen a novel but once I got started I couldn’t stop. However practice makes perfect. The more you write and read the better you get. Being open to constructive criticism has been a plus for me.

We’d like to thank Ms. Clark for taking the time to answer out questions and thanks to Anna at Hachette Books Group for arranging it.

Success Has a Title – Wahida Clark

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

I believe that there are 3 keys to success.  Opportunity that you create, Knowledge and Action.  There is nothing to it but to do it.  I hate excuses.  You can’t make money or progress coming up with excuses.

Discipline.  You gotta make yourself do what you set out to do.  If you want to be successful you gotta stick to your plans.  You must find ways to train yourself to be disciplined.  I set a schedule for myself.  In prison my day started at 4:45 am.  It started with prayer, writing, perform my assigned prison job, exercise and write some more, including fan mail, editing and reading manuscripts.  Once you make up your mind to do something, don’t let folks talk you out of your plans.  You gotta stay focused and stick to it.

Sacrifice.  With success comes sacrifice.  Sacrifices will have to be made.  You will have to give up something.  I gave up lots of leisure time.  I gave up time that I wanted to use on other things but was it worth the sacrifice?  Absolutely.  I am now beginning to reap the rewards.

If I can beat the odds, so can you.  If I could do it so could you.  Set goals.  Stick to your plans and go for it!


If you are a little cautious you’ll accomplish little.   –Winston Churchill

The future is not something we enter; the future is something that we create.  – Ms. Jan the mail lady.

It’s hard to fail, but worse to never have tried.  – My Uncle John, R.I.P.

You are what you do!  Not what you want to do.  Not what you hope to do, not what you think to do.  – Ms. Ida, my teen Recreation Supervisor

Giveaway – What’s Really Hood

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Thanks to Anna at Hachette Book group I”m able to offer my readers 5 copies of this book.  To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until June 27, 2010.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

Article – Why Kids Need to Read During the Summer – Kelly Wilson

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Kelly Wilson
Teaching Resource Center

Why Kids Need To Read During the Summer

Kids celebrate the end of the school year with the common refrain, “no more teachers, no more books.” While teachers won’t argue the first part, there are three main reasons why kids should spend time getting lost in books during the summer season.

Practice Important Skills

It’s imperative that kids read over the summer. Reading is a skill that, like any other, needs consistent practice. I explain to my kids that knowing how to read is like practicing a skill in sports – to get better, you have to keep trying. If kids don’t read during the summer weeks, their reading skills atrophy and it takes even more work to get them up to speed in the fall.

Provide Down-Time

Summer days are crammed with fun outdoor activities and events, and all of this fun wears us out. Summer reading provides a sacred time during each day for much-needed rest, especially during sweltering afternoons.

Make a consistent time each day to read with your kids. Read their books along with them – I like to read a page and then have my kids read a page from their current chapter book choice. Set aside time for each child to read alone, then pick up your own book or magazine to enjoy. Start the summer with fifteen minute blocks of down-time for reading, and soon you’ll find that all of you will be enjoying longer amounts of reading time.

An Important Transition

Imagine picking up a book to read, only to discover that the text is written in a language you don’t know. Even if you could pronounce the words correctly, you wouldn’t be able to tell someone about the passage you just read.

This is what reading can feel like to kids during their early childhood years. The focus of classroom teachers and curriculum is on skill-building, the process of decoding, and beginning comprehension. All of this can seem like a job.

Summer is the ideal time to make reading enjoyable. When kids take time to read with a parent, friend, sibling or alone, they become more comfortable with reading. Like the movement from sounding out letters to recognizing words, there is a transition from reading as work to reading as fun.

It only takes one time for kids to experience getting lost in a story, and they’ll be hooked! Setting aside time for summer reading is a great way to make that happen.

Kelly Wilson is an editor at Teaching Resource Center. For over 25 years Teaching Resource Center has provided quality <a href=””>reading supplies</a> at discount prices.