Category Archives: triple crown publications

5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Keisha Ervin, author of Gunz and Roses Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Keisha Ervin, author of Gunz and Roses
(Urban Books)

keisha ervin gunz and roses on amazondotcom

Urban fiction diva Keisha Ervin is back with Gunz and Roses, her latest story of street love. Time stands still as up and coming fashion editor Gray Rose watches the man of her dreams walk into the club. The last thing St. Louis kingpin Gunz Marciano wants is to become attached to one woman-until he spots Gray.

After one night of erotic passion, Gunz and Gray embark on a tumultuous journey. When their obsessive love becomes too much and Gunz wants out, Gray is ready to let him go. She learns the identity of his new woman, and things get complicated.

Gunz and Roses is a sensational, passionate drama filled with an intense mix of suspense, lies, and murder.

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Gunz and Roses?

Keisha Ervin: I actually got the story idea from some things that had happened in my own life. In the past two years, I have gone through so much relationship wise that I just felt that I needed to get it out on paper.

I also wanted to show people that I’m not perfect, that I make mistakes and that Iam still growing and learning as a woman. Hopefully, my story will help some other womn that may be going through the same thing.

JP: What sets Gunz and Roses apart from other the other cult-classic Keisha Ervin novels?

KE: This story is different because it’s based on real life events.

JP: The last time you were interviewed for “5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…”, you went from Triple Crown to Priority Books. How did you come to release Gunz and Roses through Urban Books?

KE: To set the record straight, I haven’t been signed to TCP since early 2008. After I left, I was a free agent and trying to broker a new deal. While doing that, the offer from Priority books was set on the table.  My agent and I discussed it and decided that it would be a good idea especially since Priority Books is a St. Louis based publishing company.

I knew that regardless of the publishing company, Gunz and Roses wouldn’t be out until 2009. I wanted to have a book out in-between that time, so I signed the one book deal and wrote my first novella. When I started working on Finding Forever, I signed my new publishing deal with Urban Books.

JP: What is your most memorable moment you experienced while getting this novel ready for publication?

KE: Finding the cover art. With this book, I really wanted the cover to reflect my character in the book. Urban Books presented me with a photo. It wasn’t what I was looking for, so I had to find another cover with in 24 hours.

Thankfully, my agent searched the net and found the cover that is on the book. When she sent it to me, I instantly fell in love with it. Another memorable moment was reliving all the funny and dramatic moments that has happened to me in the past two years.

JP: What’s next for Keisha Ervin?

KE: On August 25th, 2009, Gunz and Roses will be released as well as the fifth book from the Girls From The Hood series which I have a short story in called “Queen Pynn”. Currently, I’m working on my eight novel as well as a collabertive novel with my agent/author Brenda Hampton.

To contact me feel free to email me at or hit me up at

I am a National Best-Selling author and have been #1 on Essence Magazines Best Sellers List three times.

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5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Marlon McCaulsky and Jarold Imes, authors of the Love & Life anthology Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Marlon McCaulsky and Jarold Imes, authors of Love & Life
(Abednego’s Free)

marlon mccaulsky jarold imes love and life on amazondotcom

Popular Street Lit Author Marlon McCaulsky teams up with Editor Jarold Imes to bring two novellas that focus on two of the most things most teens are concerned with… love and life.

“Real Love” by Marlon McCaulsky

When Raina’s family is uprooted from Cleveland to St. Petersburg, FL, she immediately becomes the new “it girl” at Lakewood High School aka “Hollywood High” that every guy wants. She becomes the envy of the snobbish and popular Lissa while catching the eye of her boyfriend Dan.

With friends like Sheena (the self confessed shopaholic), Marcus (the smart-ass jock) and Cory (the wannabe playa), Raina firmly establishes her place at Hollywood High. Can Raina compete with Lissa who is willing to use sex, lies and manipulation to get what she wants. Is real love enough to keep the boy she loves?

“Love No Limit” by Jarold Imes

Dre Lawson has to be everything to everyone: the apple in his father’s eye, whom happens to be the leader of one of the notorious gangs in North Carolina; father to his trifling sister’s son; and leader of his own gang set. Never mind the fact that he still has to do chores and make good grades while running the streets.

When the woman of his dreams finally stakes her claim, what lengths will Dre go to find that love has no limit?

Joey Pinkney: Both of you are well known for your previous releases. How did you go about teaming up with each other for Love & Life?

Marlon McCaulsky: Well, it was Jarold that reached out to me about doing a project together. I was between books, and he came to me with the idea of doing an anthology type book together based on romance. I immediately jumped on it.

Jarold Imes: We met via the Triple Crown Publication forums. I approached Marlon to help me grow and expand the company Abednego’s Free. I had originally approached Marlon about doing a different anthology. When he sent “Real Love”, I told him it wouldn’t fit the concept. However, I felt the story was strong enough to complement another story I had written some years ago. I felt we could do this as a two author anthology instead.

JP: What are the things that differentiate Love & Life from others in its genre?

JI: As far as I know, Love & Life is the first, modern two author anthology for teens. I don’t think there has ever been a two author anthology like ours, especially a street lit anthology that is age appropriate for teens. My teen books have always been strong enough for adults and made for teens and I think we have a project that all can enjoy.

MM: This is my first venture into the teen book market. I didn’t originally write this story with the mind set this is a “teen book”. I just had a story in my head to get out, and it happens to be teenagers in high school that made it work. What differentiate “Real Love” from others in its genre is that I set this story in 1994 to 1995, so it’s kind of a throw back-story. This was the time period I was in high school. I see this story as being a “Teenage Love Affair” written for adults LOL…

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish “Real Love” and “Love No Limit” for Love & Life?

MM: I wrote “Real Love” back in 2003 as a screenplay for a movie I wanted to do. The movie thing never happened, but I loved the story. I kept writing on it over the years, and it became a novella. When Jarold came to me about this project, it was really already done. I just needed to clean it up a bit.

“Real Love” was based on some real life events. Some names have been changed to protect the people involved, and some names weren’t! It was funny to write because of the truth in some of the scenes, although the story itself is fiction.

JI: I write whatever I feel, be it a short story, an article/commentary, participating in different message boards where I try to spread knowledge or just working on my own novels. I always try to write something so I can keep my voice new and fresh.

“Love No Limit” is based on a short story I wrote twelve years ago about a gang member. I wrote it while I was writing what would become Never Too Much – The Remix and U Can’t Break Me. It only took me six weeks to add to the story for what would become Love & Life.

JP: Are you both Mary J. Blige fans? Is it a coincidence that both of the titles are also the title of Mary J. Blige songs?

JI: I’ve liked Mary since she first came out in 1990 when she sang the hook “I’ll Do 4 U” for Father MC. Also, What’s the 411? is the soundtrack to my life in Denver, Colorado.

Marlon’s story was already called “Real Love” when he sent it to me. Mary’s first album was what I thought of when I read his story. I named my story “Love No Limit”, so it could tie into the Love & Life theme we felt both of our stories had.

MM: I am definitely a Mary J fan. I wanted the reader to know that real love was what was really happening between Raina and Dan’s character. Plus, my story is set in that 90s era. It made sense to call my story that. Jarold decided to run with the idea of using Mary’s song titles as a theme of the book.

JP: What’s next for Abednego’s Free?

MM: All I can say is big things are on the way. Jarold is the mastermind behind Abednego’s Free, so he knows more than I do. As for myself, I just hope to continue to give my fans more good books to read. Thank you, Joey!

JI: I will finally get to live my dream and publish a few anthologies. Lord knows I’ve been trying to create one since 1999 when I first came on the scene. Now it’s coming true. Broken But I’m Healed, my inspirational anthology that I’m still collecting submissions for, will come out in October. Love & Life drops on Black Friday.

The Boy is Mine is an anthology featuring my first author, Victoria Vanee Anderson, and a few other friends of mine. That comes out the end of January. Victoria’s first book, Just Me & You, comes out in March. My next teen book, Case of the Fake People, will come out in April. I’m still working on my book now and another anthology project that I can’t talk about just yet.

I hope to begin work on my next Street Christian Lit title next month so I can drop it in 2010 too. Plus, I’m still taking submission for young adult books as well.

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The other side of Vickie Stringer, CEO of Triple Crown Publications

Jonathan Cunningham wrote an interesting article about the (disputed) queen of Urban Lit, Vickie Stringer a couple of years ago. (via jewel’s vox blog)

I enjoyed this article because it got past the glitz and glamour of the drugs to jail to top of the urban lit industry, international publisher, rags to riches story that everyone pumps.

Don’t get me wrong, it covered that ground as a prelude to the Vickie before that time.

Did you know:

  • She wouldn’t curse as child. (Way different from now)
  • She used to carry a bible in her backpack everyday.
  • She went to college and never went to a single class because she fell in love with a drug dealer.
  • She’s from Detroit? (I thought she was from Ohio…)

On the flipside, her life makes for a good story but not a good experience. A lot of time stories like these makes people believe you have to have a terrible life to be validated in the Urban Lit industry.

I would go as far as to say that Urban Fiction is like that rap game: you have to be hood to be good.

In that regard, Ms. Stringer is like my boy O’Shea Jackson. Who? Oh, my bad… Ice Cube. He had both parents, grew up in a middle class household, gang free, blah blah blah… But look at him now. One of the kinds of gangster rap. Go figure.

I digress. It’s good to know that Vickie Stringer is human like the rest of us and has turned lemons to a big tall glass of million dollar lemonade.