Monday, June 14, 2010


Editor’s Note: I’m so excited to be able to introduce you to someone I met online when I first decided to find online writers groups. Shonell and I belong to a few groups and worked together in the beginning of SORMAG. Shonell is an excellent editor and I’ve always admired her for her commitment to the writing industry. Her online magazine The Nubian Chronicles was one of the first online magazines I read.

It is always a pleasure to promote a friend. Go out and help her become a best seller.

A true wordsmith, Shonell Bacon works hard at writing stories that tap into the universal and helping writers become better at their craft. She has published both creatively (novels, short stories) and academically (textbooks). Currently, Shonell is busy pursuing her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University. You can visit her at

How did you start out your writing career?

Well, I started writing way before I had a career. I was ten when I first started writing with the thought that I’d like to do it for a living. My actual “career” started in 1999/2000 when I met JDaniels. We were the founders of The Nubian Chronicles and once we realized we both had the passion for writing, we hooked up and wrote both LuvAlwayz: The Opposite Sex and Relationships and Draw Me with Your Love online via e-mails and chats. We initially self-published LuvAlwayz, but that was short-lived as Zane picked us up through Strebor Books.

What did you learn while writing this book?

While writing Death at the Double Inkwell, I learned that I could write a mystery. Prior to DDIW, most works I wrote were relationship/romantic-oriented or literary, so writing DDIW allowed me to stretch my writing skills.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

A little recognition as a solo writer wouldn’t be a bad thing, :-) I’m hoping that having my first solo project published will push to me seek publication for other works of mine and to finally kick start the Double Inkwell mystery series I wanted to write but stopped working on after the hard time I had getting DDIW published.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Well, it’s a test I still face as a writer—getting others to see that black writers do not fit into one genre, that we are multifaceted and that there is no one way to “write black.”

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

Bernice McFadden – I’m her number one fan and although I’ve interviewed her several times in the last ten years, I would love to just spend a day with her, picking her brain about writing and the industry.

ZZ Packer – she’s my second fave author. Met her when she came to my university years back and was able to introduce her at a reading. I love her writing and I love that she didn’t change her voice to get her work published.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón – I just want to bask in his brilliance, LOL I ADORED his book, The Shadow of the Wind—was just beyond decadent.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

1- Just because you give and support others does not mean they will support you.
2- Having a well-written book does not a book deal make.
3- You can sit on what you think is your best book for ten years before someone sees the goodness in it that you see.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

DO study the craft. It’s great that you love to write, but if you don’t study the craft, you will not grow as a writer.

DON’T give up. Believe me, I gave up several times, but the love of writing and the true belief that I had something worthy of sharing kept me coming back to the words and the pursuit of publication.

I borrowed this question from Author Carleen Brice, What is your author fantasy?

To be a full-time PAID writer (both fiction and screenplays) who can choose to teach (or whatever else I might want to do) because she wants to and not because she has to in order to pay the bills.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

It’s not a hobby. I never got this a lot, if at all. In my life, I’ve been blessed to be around people who saw that whatever I was interested in was worth being interested in. However, I do know of other writers who have had to explain why they spends hours upon hours at their computers, writing, hoping to get their foot in the door of Publishdom.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

The best – Love what you write and don’t change who you are and what you believe as a writer just to get a deal.

Don’t think I’ve ever gotten a bad piece of advice about the industry. As a novice, back in the day, I might have thought, “Hmm, they are crazy,” but I soon learned the wisdom in their advice.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

Sounds funny, but Maine. I plan to retire there someday and fish in the morning and write in the evening.

After that, London. Any place that Shakespeare spent some time can’t be too bad of a place.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I don’t know if there is anything, LOL I’ve been known to do a little of everything. Here’s something most don’t know—I play a lot on Second Life, and I’m even a part of a sorority on SL.

Our theme for this month is Reaching Your Goals? How did it feel to reach your publishing goal?

Hard work and believing in divine providence. There have been moments when something happened and I knew I had to jump on it. Case in point, I had been working with Lady Leo Publishing for a while as an editor, and I had a few of my short stories electronically published through them. But I hadn’t been thinking about getting a book published for some time. My interest had moved to screenwriting as I had gotten very disenchanted with the publishing industry. One day, I got a group e-mail stating that LLP was opening up to print publication again, and I just paused and thought, “This is the time.” And I submitted DDIW to LLP and it was accepted for publication. You have to be open to see and hear and feel the opportunities around you.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that I am a good storyteller that will only get better, and others want to read what I write—even if they don’t know it yet, :-)

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

Actually, right now, I’m working on a screenplay. I wrote the first 100 pages in April during Script Frenzy, and I’m hoping to finish it this summer and revise the crap out of it! It’s untitled right now, but the story is about a woman who returns to her life after a 10-year bid for killing her husband with one thing on her mind: reuniting with the daughter who hates her. In the excerpt below, Peighton (the main character) has been having a hard time getting her daughter (Montgomery) to talk to her. Peighton’s friends decide to help her out—with not great results.


We see Peighton walk in, wetter than before. She’s smiling.

She walks down the hall and turns. Stops.

Oh my God. What in the hell is going on here?

In the LIVING ROOM, we see Carla, Jessica, Georgia, and Dallas scrunched up on the sofa and Montgomery in a dining chair before them. Her hands and legs are tied to the chair. A bandana is tied over her mouth. Montgomery doesn’t look scared. She looks furious.

Like her mother.

Peighton rushes to Montgomery and kneels before her.

Baby, are you OK? I’m so sorry. I knew nothing about this. I’ve missed you so much. I never wanted to leave you. I would never hurt you, you know this, right? I love you.

Peighton removes the bandana from around Montgomery’s face.

Montgomery stares at her for a beat.

So, you gonna do me in like you did my father?

Peighton falls back as if slapped to the ground. She stays there, staring at Montgomery.

The girls stay silent and watch.

Peighton lowers her head.

The room is quiet.

When Peighton lifts her head, anger radiates from her.

The ignorance is about to leave your mouth, Montgomery. You want to keep throwing that up in my face? You think I don’t know what I’ve done? You think I haven’t thought about, haven’t seen what I’ve done for the last ten years?

Slowly, Peighton stands and hovers over Montgomery.

How about this...your father beat my ass because it was Tuesday. Because it was Saturday. Because it was 5:32 in the freaking afternoon. Nobody would help me. Nobody would help us, you and me.

Peighton walks away, turns and faces Montgomery. Montgomery is staring at nothing in particular.

You probably don’t remember me holding you while I sat in the closet, hoping he would forget I even existed. I did not want to die. And I know had he lived, I would have died. It was me or him, and God didn’t seem to be opening any avenues for me. I had to live.

Montgomery looks at Peighton.

Can I go now?

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

My e-mail address is I’ve had it since Creation! Readers can also check out my official website, On the site, I have a page dedicated to DDIW, On that page, I will be showcasing podcasts (excerpts and my journey to publication) and commentaries I write relating to themes within the book. Also, readers can hook up with me on Twitter ( and on Facebook (

Death At The Double Inkwell

Sometimes life is stranger than fiction; take the lives of mystery novelists and twins, Jovan Parham-Anderson and Cheyenne Parham. They are young, beautiful, talented, and on their way to their sixth best-selling novel; that is, until Jo learns her husband, Cordell Anderson, founder of Anderson Technologies, is having an affair with Alisha Stewart, his right hand at Anderson. Before she can confront him, tragedy strikes her home, and Jovan must deal with the fact that the careful, safe life she had with Cordell was merely smoke and mirrors.

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