Saturday, August 2, 2014

Keeping it Light, But Simple. . .

Hey Everyone,

It saddens me to say we only have a few more weeks left to summer.  Where the hell did it go?  OMG, the thought of fall being around the corner terrifies me to no end. I'm sure you parents are getting ready to start buying school clothes?!  

Wow, summer truly doesn't last!  So before school's back in session and vacations are mere memories on a photo, check out AAMBC's latest authors.  Parents listen up! If you have any kids about to embark on college or high school, hell. . .no matter what age they are, this book is definitely a must read.  It's a true memoir about the life of Dr. Anthony Dixon who earned his college degree while living with a secret--the Thug Life!

And ladies, want to spice things up and bring a little drama in your life?  Well. . .in a book perhaps or possibly a movie, but not our real lives, right?  No matter, Keyanna's Living in Fear is going to make things happen!   Before you get totally in 'school' mode, you've got to add these to your end of summer's reading list.  Two dynamic novels!  I can't wait to delve into 'em myself!

So, to learn more about these authors and their great bodies of work, please make sure you go out and pick up a copy, or get those downloading fingers ready to depress the "download now" on your eReaders to begin your reading journey!  Ya'll already know what this is and how we do. . .so let's get 'er done!  

P.S.  Since so many of you have been inquiring about my writing progress on my social media networks, it's hard for me to answer all of you, so I've decided to put a writing meter on the blog.  You'll find the cartoon couch potato on the lower right hand side of the blog. Just scroll down and I'll keep it updated so you know how far I've come.  Again, thanks so much for your love and support!  Here We Gooooooooooo. . .

When a young man grows up with advantages—a good home, good parents, and educational opportunities—the last thing one would expect him to do is to embrace the thug life. That’s exactly what Anthony Dixon did. During his years as a student at Florida State University, he straddled two worlds: the world of an academic and the world of the streets. And the streets led him to a place he didn’t want to be.

Dixon went straight from his university graduation to state prison, where he spent five-and-a-half years examining his life. And what faith and introspection taught him took him all the way to the hallowed halls of Indiana University, where he earned a PhD.

Written in a gritty, compelling voice, this cautionary tale boldly crosses class and generational lines, appealing to teens adults alike. His story will change the way you think about the life choices you make.


I am far from your average ex-convict. I was raised in a middle-class household. My father recently retired from a university after teaching for 35 years. My mother retired as a principal of a public middle school, while both of my siblings attended college on academic scholarships. In fact, given my background and upbringing, the odds against incarceration were in my favor. The question then became how. How did someone like me find myself incarcerated? I realized, while I sat in the county jail awaiting trial, that I did not just end up there. I was on the road to prison long before I actually got there. It was not one bad decision one night. It was a culmination of events; and if I truly wanted to make this my first and last time, I needed to figure out what happened. As far as my childhood was concerned, I realized that there were several factors and two major events that shaped my early troubles.

The first major event that occurred in my childhood was our move to a farm. When I was six years old, my father moved us outside the city limits to a rural farm in the county. Although I was six, I remember parts of that day vividly, but what I remember most was looking out of the back window of my aunt’s VW Beetle crying, as my friends waved briefly then continued to play.

The immediate negative effect of our move to me was most evident in my oldest sister. She was beginning high school, so the move “ruined” her socially. She began to find a scapegoat to vent all of her frustrations. Unfortunately, I became her scapegoat. We would have terrible fights. I could remember always trying to get a punch in before I got tossed across the room and my face scratched up. My other sister and a cousin, to this day, still remind us of the night I threw a fork at her only to be beaten and tossed. Many years later, she revealed to us that she would have nightmares about me retaliating and was often afraid to come home from college because she was afraid of what I might do to her. I realized later in life that she did not really have hatred towards me; she just vented her frustrations with moving and living in the countryside on me. In her eagerness to leave the countryside, she began going to summer school so she could graduate a year early.

My younger sister found another way to cope with living in the country: she mentally escaped by reading. After my oldest sister left for college (I was ten), I would begin to stay in the room with my younger sister, but that lasted for only a while. I would play any game that she wanted, as long as she did not leave me by myself. I remember finally getting fed up playing with dolls. I really wanted a brother to play with, so I attempted to make her into my brother. When that failed, my resentment led me to begin to vent my frustrations out on her and we fought constantly until high school. I was jealous that she had spent so much time with a “sister,” while I yearned for a brother. In time, playing with me became secondary to reading. Also, I recognized that reading was her “thing to do” at home and began leaving her alone while she read. We did not become close until high school.

The television became my escape. Other than that, I simply endured loneliness. I watched any and everything that I could between 6 am and 12 pm. The show Jeopardy became my favorite. I still watch it religiously today. I remember in college, I had people sitting around my apartment drinking, smoking marijuana and trying to beat me at Jeopardy. Even in jail, I had other inmates watching it with me.


Anthony E. Dixon, PhD is a native of Fort Valley, Georgia. In 1994, he received a Bachelor of history, and African History, with a minor in Library Science/Special Collections and Archives. In Science degree in History with a minor in African American Studies from Florida A&M University. In 2001, he received a Master’s of Applied Social Science from Florida A&M University with a concentration in History. In 2001, he received a doctoral fellowship from Indiana University’s History Department where he majored in the African Diaspora. His studies included African American H2002, he received a Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship to Michigan State University’s Summer Cooperative African Language Institute, where he studied the African language Bamana.

Where was Dr. Anthony Dixon raised?
Dr. Anthony Dixon was raised in Fort Valley, Georgia, a rural town in Southern Georgia.

Dr. Anthony Dixon received his Ph.D. from what prestigious university?
After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida A & M University, Dr. Anthony Dixon earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University.

What was Dr. Anthony Dixon’s “street” nickname?
During his days as a violent criminal and drug dealer, Dr. Anthony Dixon was known as “Pretty Tony.”

What incident led to Dr. Anthony Dixon’s decision to stop selling crack?
Dr. Anthony Dixon stopped selling crack as the result of a life-changing experience: looking into the desperate eyes of an addict that reflected more a cry for help than a desire for drugs.

What bone did Dr. Anthony Dixon break in a car accident while fleeing police?  While Dr. Anthony Dixon was fleeing the police with two accomplices, he was involved in an automobile accident and broke his leg. One officer observed, “He’s going one way and his leg is going the other.”

What was the length of Dr. Anthony Dixon’s 1995 prison sentence?
Originally sentenced to the maximum 15 years in state prison, Dr. Anthony Dixon served a total sentence of five and one half years.

What type of classes did Dr. Anthony Dixon teach while incarcerated?
Having discovered a love for teaching, Dr. Anthony Dixon taught GED classes to other inmates while incarcerated.

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Tia Green came from Kalamazoo, a small town in Michigan. From the time she was a child, Tia had known exactly what she wanted out of life and had already dreamed about how to get it a thousand times over. Tia had always planned on attending the University of Michigan with her childhood friend where they both wanted to become nurses. She worked hard in high school and made sure she got good grades. Eventually, That hard work paid off, She was admitted early to U of M with a full scholarship. After going on the college tour, life changed for her in ways she would have never believed… Ace was the guy that everybody dreamed they had. He was smart, sexy, and athletic, not to mention, the star of University of Michigan s football team. See, Ace turned heads wherever he went, and people were always striving for his attention, but Ace could care less. He was a player who didn t believe in giving his heart away to any female due to his childhood, but that all changed when he met Tia. She was everything he had ever wanted, and most importantly, she reminded him of his late mother whom he lost at a young age. Ace thought Tia was perfect for him. He thought he would finally get the family he had always wanted. He never imagined she’d betray him, especially not with the only other person he loved… Tia and Ace started with a fairytale romance, truly in love. As true colors bleed out from the cracks of their exteriors, the couple discovered that their fairytale romance was turning into a painful nightmare and the dream filled partnership was on its way to ruins.


“Bitch, do you think I’m stupid? I fucking heard you say, ‘That was fast’ when I was knocking on the door just a minute ago, so who the fuck were you talking about? And why are you in a room anyways?” he questioned, chocking me harder. I started clawing at his hand, trying to pry it off my neck, but his grip was too tight, and it was getting harder for me to breathe. He wasn’t letting go until I told him who was in the room, but I’ll be damned if I admit to anything.

“Please…let me go,” I whimpered, still trying to pry his hand off.

“Please, what?” he screamed. I can’t hear you, Tia!” He looked me in my eyes choking me harder with every word. “If I find out you’re here with somebody, I’m going to kill you and him. Do you hear me?”

I started kicking my legs and trying to push him off me, but Ace wouldn’t move. Then everything went dark, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up to him standing over me, slapping my in the face and yelling my name.

“What happened?” I asked, looking around the room, out of it. His hands slid to his sides as he towered over me.

“You passed out,” Ace said, peering down at me. He stopped slapping me and stood over me.

“That’s because you wouldn’t stop choking me,” I snapped, rubbing my sore neck.

Just as I finished my sentence there was a knock at the door. I already knew who it was, but I was praying Ace didn’t hear it and he would just go away.

“What was that?” Ace said looking around then turning towards the door.

“Nothing,” trying to act like I didn’t just hear anything, but then it happened again, and it was no was no mistaking the knock this time.

“Somebody’s at the door,” Ace said, his voice menacing, “Let’s go see who it is.” He walked to the door.

I already knew I was in deep shit. I know when this door opens, its over for me, I thought as I sat on the bed, rubbing my stomach. I haven’t even told him I’m pregnant yet, but at this point, it’s really too late. He’s not going to believe it’s his, and when this door opens, I’m dead. As I looked at the door and saw that Ace was already turning the knob, my heart sunk in my stomach and I started shaking. Wanting to run and hide, but I knew there was no use. Whatever was coming my way, I had to prepare for it. The door opened, and the two men in my life stood face- to- face. I could see the pure fear and shock wash over my lovers face.

Ace stood there for a minute in silence, and then calmly closed the door, leaving him in the hallway. He turned towards me with nothing but hate in his eyes. He started walking my way. I just sat there hanging my head and wondering how I got into this situation. I was supposed to be at college, living the young, fun, and party life, but instead I was here, fighting for mines. Tears formed in my eyes as I thought about that tour that changed my life forever.


Keyanna was born and raised in Kalamazoo, MI, she has always been into school but never knew exactly what she wanted to do. She graduated from Loy Norrix High School in 2005 with high honor and went to college where she studied Criminal Justice at Kalamazoo Valley Community College first then went on to get her bachelors at Western Michigan University where she doubled major and graduated with two majors in Criminal Justice and Social Psychology. After going through a bad situation Keyanna decided to write about it where she discovered her love for writing and that’s how her debut novel “Living in Fear’ came to life.


1) What made you start writing?

I started writing for therapy. I was going through a bad relationship and didn’t have anyone to talk to about it, I would have usually read a book in this situation but I decided to put it in a book instead. No that does not mean my book is an autobiography, it means it fiction based on a little fact.

2) Give us an insight into your main character, why is he/she so special?

Tia Green is a high school senior, she na├»ve and a little innocent. She gets good grades, never had a boyfriend or even kissed a guy until Ace comes along. Tia fell head over heels for Ace as most of us did for our first love, it’s just too bad things changed in a blink of an eye and dreams started to become nightmares.

Tia is special because she’s relatable. How many females have lost themselves in what we thought was love? 

I know too many and Tia is no exception. Tia is an example of how quick things can change and one wrong decision can change your life forever.

3) Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas come from real life events, I’ll take something that happened and expand on it. Not necessarily, something that happened to me but maybe something that happened to one of my friends.

4) Do you read often, if so who’s your favorite authors?

Yes, I love to read. Reading has been my passion since about middle school, the first book I ever read was dope fiend by Donald Goines. It was so descriptive it was like watching a movie in my head and that’s when I fell in love with books.

I love to read Wahida Clark books, she’s my favorite author along with Deja King. I also love Nikki Turner, Ashley & JaQuavis. That’s just to name a few, there’s so many other authors I read and I discover new ones every day.

5) Do you write every day, if not how often?

No I don’t write every day, sometimes I go weeks without writing. I binge write as I call it meaning I write nonstop for a few weeks straight, leave for a few week then come back and finish.

6) What’s the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest thing about writing to me is incorporating more than just your main characters. For me I could have wrote about Ace and Tia all day but they had to have friends and a family. Making sure everything flowed and the timeline was right was also a challenge.

7) What are you working on at this moment?

I’m current working on the sequel to “Living in Fear” which should be out next year, along with my third novel not related to this series that I haven’t titled yet.

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

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