Category Archives: Mosaic Magazine

March 26th 2013 – eNewsletter Highlights

Read Our Complete eNewsletter

news-chinua mourns the passing of Nigerian novelist and poet Chinua Achebe (November 16, 1930 — March 22, 2013) Author of classic novel Things Fall Apart

Best-Selling Books’s 25 Best-Selling Books January 1st through February 28th 2013



1. The Perfect Marriage by Kimberla Lawson Roby
2. I Dreamt I Was in Heaven by Leonce Gaiter
3. Scandalous by Victoria Christopher Murray

1. Sistergirl Devotions: Keeping Jesus in the Mix on the Job By Carol M. Mackey
2. Words Cross & Across: Word Search on Barack Obama By Dr. Eugene Williams Sr
3. Understanding Black Male Learning Styles By Jawanza Kunjufu

Check out all 25 Fiction and 25 Non-fiction Best Sellers

Authors You Should Know

nmewsCheikhAntaDiopDr. Cheikh Anta Diop

Born in Thieytou, Center Senegal, Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop (1923—1986) was born to an aristocratic Muslim Wolof family in Senegal where he was educated in a traditional Islamic school. Diop’s family was part of the Mouride brotherhood, the only independent Muslim group in Africa according to Diop. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Senegal before moving to Paris for graduate studies, where he ended his scholastic education.

Diop teaches us in his best-sellin book, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality, that the Black Egyptians are the original settlers of KMT [Kemet]. “The native Sudanese are one of the original pigmented Arabs in that region. They are members of the same ethnic family with the ancient Egyptians, the Ethiopians, the Southern Arabians, and the primitive inhabitants of Babylon. All founders and sustainers of the mighty Nilotic civilization we still admire today.”

Fiction Book Reviews


Gift of Faith by Robert Fleming

This novel raises some conflicting concerns about the nature of faith in our daily lives, while it provides a brief but intimate peep inside the urban black church. In Gift Of Faith, the church is certainly not without its corruptions and venal leadership, as with any secular entity, but it also consists of truly dedicated individuals who struggle mightily with personal, moral, and social issues.

In this regard, Gift Of Faith sends a strong signal that not only is God not dead, but the black church is just getting its second wind as a carrier of the torch of light and truth in this age of quickening darkness.

Nonfiction Book Reviews

news-ramblersRamblers: Loyola Chicago 1963 – The Team that Changed the Color of College Basketball by Michael Lenehan

The civil rights movement is indirectly the focus of Ramblers, a fascinating opus about an integrated team of talented and dignified young men who not only ascended to the top of their sport but simultaneously helped change the color of college basketball once and for all. The book recounts in riveting detail how the Loyola players maintained their composure despite being spat on, cursed at and showered with garbage during NCAA Tournament contests hosted across the South including the Final Four on the floor of the ironically-named Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.

Written by veteran journalist Michael Lenehan, an award-winning editor at the Atlantic and the Chicago Reader, Ramblers is a worthwhile read chronicling a memorable upset and, perhaps more importantly, a triumph of character over cowardice that had repercussions way beyond the basketball court.



Liberia: An African-American Colony in Africa By Keleti Sanon

In 1817, the American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed with the support of Kentucky politician Henry Clay; Francis Scott Key, author of The Star Spangled Banner; Bushrod Washington, nephew of President George Washington and Supreme Court Justice; and William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol. All were slave owners with moderate politics. Quakers also supported the effort, believing emancipation of slaves impossible. Land in Africa was purchased from local tribes for the purpose of creating a colony for slave owners to ship their slaves back to Africa. In 1822, approximately 86 freed slaves voluntarily boarded a ship bound for Africa. Over the next 40 years, nearly 20,000 former slaves would arrive in Liberia.

Film Reviews

Olnews-olympus-has-fallenympus Has Fallen – Starring Morgan Freeman and Angela Bassett

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, Olympus Has Fallen is a derivative action flick which might be best described as a cross of Die Hard (1988) and In the Line of Fire (1993), except that instead of Bruce Willis or Clint Eastwood, we have Gerard Butler playing the invincible, two-fisted protagonist. The fast-paced film is engaging and entertaining enough to come recommended provided you’re willing to put your brain on hold and not question any of the picture’s implausible plot developments.

Featuring pyrotechnics worthy of a 4th of July fireworks display, Olympus Has Fallen is an eye-popping, patriotic, high-octane adventure that leaves no doubt about who’s the vindicated hero that kept the world safe for democracy. The Butler did it! Gerard Butler, that is.

Top Ten Selling DVDs for 2012

thebestsellingdvd1. What Black Men Think
Produced and directed by Janks Morton, What Black Men Think is an in depth view of how myths, stereotypes and misrepresentations render Black men non-necessities in their communities and families.

2. Zane’s Sex Chronicles Season 1
Based on a set of erotic short stories from best-selling author Zane, this urban adult series follows five alluring women who enthusiastically embrace their sexuality, engaging in arousing trysts with their husbands, boyfriends, ex-lovers and total strangers.

Click out the other Top Ten Selling DVDs for 2012


news-terrance-howardTerrence Howard – The “Dead Man Down” Interview

In 2006, Terrence Howard received an Academy Award nomination for his lead role in John Singleton’s Hustle & Flow, and the song which he performed in the film became the first rap song ever to receive an Academy Award. That same year, he was also a member of the all-star cast (along with Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon) of Crash, the Oscar-winning Best Picture.

Here, he talks about his latest film, Dead Man Down, where he plays crime boss Alphonse Hoyt opposite Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace and F. Murray Abraham. You’ll also find Terrance’s earliest memory very interesting. Recommends


Love on the Run by Zuri Day – Voted One of Publishers Weekly’s “Best Books of 2012 – Romance”

Day hits her stride with the enchanting Morgan Men series kickoff. The chemistry is

instantaneous between “forever-grooving-always-moving female magnet” sports manager Michael Morgan and his new client, phenomenal sprinter Shayna Washington. However, the sworn bachelor is uncomfortable dating clients, and Shayna’s self-confidence has been damaged by her stalking ex-fiancé, Jarrell Powell, and her manipulative, selfish mother. When Jarrell beats Shayna and she turns to Michael for help, he realizes his feelings go beyond the professional.

Readers will cheer for the hero and heroine to find a happy ending, especially given Shayna’s heartbreaking past. Day’s characters reach out to the reader from the first page to the last. The story brims with tension, charm, and the power of love. Contemporary romance fans will savor this book while awaiting the next Morgan story.


Save the Date for the Black Pack PartyThe Black Pack Party is an annual celebration of book industry professionals, authors, and friends. It is hosted by, Linda A. Duggins,, and Written Magazine.

Learn About More Book Events

  • Queens Spring Book Fair, April 20, Jamaica, NY
  • 1st Annual Bronx Literary Festival, May 18, Bronx, NY
  • Go On Girl! Book Club – Annual Awards Weekend, May 31 to Jun 2, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Bayou Soul Writers & Readers Conference, July 3, New Orleans, LA
  • Baltimore Urban Book Festival, July 14, Baltimore, MD
  • The QBR Wheatley Book Awards, July 19, Harlem, NY
  • The 15th Harlem Book Fair, July 20, Harlem, NY
  • National Book Club Conference, Aug 2-4, Atlanta, GA
  • Onyxcon V, August 16-17, Atlanta, GA
  • L.A. Black Book Expo, August 17, 2013, Los Angeles, CA
  • Charlotte Book Fair, Oct 5, Charlotte , NC
  • National Black Book Festival, Oct 24-26, Houston, TX

You may easily share information about your events (anywhere in the world), by posting the information on our discussion board and events calendar. Announcements’s Founder, Troy Johnson

Generally people are often surprised to know that I’m the only one who has ever managed the website, blogs, discussion forums even the eNewsletter you are reading now. I started more than 15 years as a learning exercise and it quickly became my life long passion. Visit to learn a little more about me. Be sure to say, “hello” to me at my next event 🙂 Advertising Rates

Launched in 1998 is the largest and most fr


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We utilize a world class advertising server which allows us to target your banner ad to a specific location, from a country down to a zip-code) or to display to during specific times. Great for promoting local or regional events. provides customized services and is able develop an advertising campaign to display our book cover or advertising banner on a single page, throughout or even across multiple partner websites.

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We have the ability to display all IAB standard ad banners sizes, video and Flash banners throughout our website

If you need help just send us an email at It you need even more guidance I also provide private consulting services as well.

What Happened to the Best African American Literary Magazines?

I’m a collector.   My family calls it hoarding.  While I’m a big proponent of electronic books, I still love to surround myself with books and magazines.  Recently I had to admit the space required to maintain such an extravagance was too costly and becoming aesthetically unappealing.   As a result, I’ve either given away or tossed hundreds of old magazines.  I still have hundreds of books in boxes ready to go to anyone interested. (*see note at end of article)

Like any hoarder, worth their salt, I could not purge myself completely.   I managed to hold onto hundreds of books.  I also drew a line with first issues of any book related magazines.   It was these 1st issues that motivated me to write this blog post.

Quarterly Black Review of Books Volume 1, Number 1 August 1993

Quarterly Black Review of Books Volume 1, Number 1 August 1993

Like an old photograph, each of these 1st issues conjures up a wide range of memories and nostalgic feelings.  When I look at these magazines today I still experience the hope and promise they offered.  The hope came from an understanding that the coverage of books and stories written by Black people was a very rare thing.  Each of these magazines covered the wealth, and depth of our stories.  For me they were, and still are, a source of pride.

While I am excited to share information about these magazines, I’m also disappointed when I realize that most are no longer being published.  An even greater source of disappointment is, despite more books being published by Black writers than ever before, there are fewer platforms (television, magazines, newspapers, websites, bookstores) showcasing this work than there were just 5 years ago.

Here are a few of the first issues of magazines I have in my collection.  I have been a staunch supporter of most of them since their inception.  I have contributed content to, or have been featured in articles, in a few of them.  I have subscribed to, sold subscriptions and individual issues, at street fairs and on for most of these publications.

This is not to suggest that I liked everything they’ve published or all the editorial decisions they made.  They are, however, trailblazing publications and I love each of them.

Black Issues Book Review Premiere Issue 1999

Black Issues Book Review Premiere Issue – January – February 1999

Here I share a portion of my experiences and thoughts on a few of the first editions in my collection.

The first time I saw the first issue of Quarterly Black Review of Books (better known as QBR).  I was in a Brooklyn barber shop, waiting to get my hair cut.  I saw this broadsheet newspaper with nothing but information about Black writers in it.  All I could remember was thinking was WOW!

Max Rodriquez, founded this terrific publication in 1993.  The premiere issue measured 14.75″ x 11″ and was loaded with information.  The cover art was Malvin Gray Johnson’s 1934 oil painting the “Postman”.  QBR’s premier issue highlighted Rita Dove who, in 1993, was named Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress.

My copy of this magnificent work was a present from my dear friend and colleague Linda Duggins.  Linda and Max Rodriguez would go on to co-found the Harlem Book Fair.

Black Issues Book Review (BIBR) was founded in 1998 by William E. Cox, Adrienne Ingrum, and Susan McHenry.  The premiere issue debuted in 1999.  The launch party was held in a Borders Bookstore in midtown Manhattan.  It was one of the first industry events that I attended after launching  I did not realize it at the time, but many of the country’s top Black publishing professionals were in attendance — people I would come to know and respect over the next decade.

Mosaic Literary Magazine

Mosaic Literary Magazine – Preview Issue – February 1998

BIBR’s first issue featured the legendary author Octavia Butler.  BIBR did not pick some over exposed celebrity, or trendy rapper, to grace the cover.  They selected a talented writer (the author of one of my favorite books Kindred).  This signaled to me that BIBR was serious about showcasing talent.  In fact, in 1999, Black Issues Book Review was named one of “the ten best new magazines” by The American Library Journal from more than a thousand new publications.

In June of 2005, QBR: The Black Book Review and Black Issues Book Review announced an intent to join forces.   Unfortunately, the QBR and BIBR alliance never bore fruit.   In March of 2006, BIBR announced that it had been acquired by Target Market News, Inc.  Ultimately QBR became a online publication.  Neither magazine would continue as print publications beyond 2006.

Mosaic Literary Magazine (Mosaic) was launched by Ron Kavanaugh in 1998.  Given the history of similar magazines that have come before and after, it is truly a testament to both Ron’s dedication to his mission, and his skill as an entrepreneur, that he has kept Mosaic in print for almost 14 years.

ANANSI: Fiction of the African Diaspora

ANANSI: Fiction of the African Diaspora – Premiere Issue – Winter 1999

I first discovered Mosaic online through it’s sister website  I asked Ron for permission to publish, a list of Black owned bookstores he maintained on  Ron replied, “yes”, emphasizing that, “…this information needs to be shared”.  I knew immediately I was dealing with a conscious brother.  It would be months before we would meet in person, during a chance encounter in a small independent bookstore.  It was during that first meeting that we also discovered we graduated from the same high school, in the same year.  We have been close friends and business associates ever since.

ANANSI: Fiction of the African Diaspora was Founded in February 1999 and published by Sheree Renee Thomas, Angeli Rasbury, and Martin Simmons.  The first issue, featuring cover art by John Biggers, included original short fiction by writers of African descent.

I purchased this numbered (#495), first issue, in 1999 during the ANANSI launch party.  I would go on to work with the publishers Sheree and Angeli on a number of projects.  One of my favorite collaborations was with Sheree; we hosted a performance by Chrysalis Theatre Company of Mindscape during one of’s Brownstone Series events.

Lorraine and James: Global Urban Literature – Vol. 1, Issue 1 – 2005

Lorraine and James: Global Urban Literature was published in 2005.  The tri-annual publication published and edited by Jasia Madden was a high quality, well reviewed publication.

Honestly I’d lost track of this gem of a magazine.  I searched and found this message, the final entry, from the Lorraine and James blog, dated April of 2006:

Effective immediately, Lorraine and James is on hiatus. We are not sure how long this break will last or if we will have to simply call it a wrap – that remains to be seen.

As Editor, I appreciate all of the support and encouragement that I encountered along the way.

Best to all of you on your journey – Writer, may you find the prefect rhythm in your voice. Reader, may you discover and be changed by these worlds within great stories; worlds we might only dream of otherwise.


Lorraine and James

SLR: Street Literature Review

SLR: Street Literature Review – Vol. 1 – Fall 2007

As far as I can tell, Vol. 1 Issue 2 of Lorraine and James was never released.

SLR: Street Literature Review was founded by Jason Claiborne, and Anthony White.  I first saw this magazine at the Harlem Book Fair.  Someone handed me the 2nd issue and I walked around until I found the SLR table and secured the inaugural issue shown here.

Editor-in-chief Blaine Martin pulled together a smart, visually appealing and informative magazine.  The SLR team elevated a genre with the introduction of this magazine in 2007 — at a time where there were few other magazines showcasing Black book and authors.  SLR demonstrated that they were the authoritative voice for Street or Hip-Hop Literature.

As far as I can tell SLR has published three issues since their inception.  Indications are they plan to continue.  I truly hope so.

Fire!! - First Issue

Fire!! – First Issue – November 1926

Fire!!  Devoted to Younger Negro Artists was a quarterly magazine first published in November 1926 and edited by Wallace Thurman.  Thurman’s effort were supported by Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Bennett, Aaron Douglas, Richard Bruce and John Davis

The first issue, was the only issue of Fire!! ever published.

My copy of Fire!!, unfortunately, is just a replica of the original 1926 publication.  The content of Fire!!, relatively mild by today’s standards, was quite controversial in it’s day.  Fire! addressed sensitive issues directly including homosexuality, colorism in the Black community and prostitution.

The following quote best summarizes the importance of Fire!!:

At a time when Black writers were dependent on White editors and publishers, Wallace Thurman had the courage and foresight to plan and publish a quarterly magazine to provide opportunities for new talents. —source of quote

Killen Review of Arts & Letters

Killen Review of Arts & Letters – Fred Beauford, Editor – Published March 2010

Almost 100 years later this very same courage is  needed more than ever before.

Any success these magazines enjoyed is a function of their ability to corral the talents of writers, editors, photographers and other professionals to produce a quality publication.  Of course a quality publication is not enough.

Magazines, especially our book and literary magazines need to be actively supported.  Sure subscribing or making financial contributions are important but,  we can also contribute our time and energy by helping to promote magazines that we enjoy and encouraging others to do the same.

I’ve also observed the most successful magazines, the ones that make it over the long haul, have figured out ways to do two things; (1) Show their supporters that they are appreciated and (2) Develop alliances with other entities even other magazines.

There are so many other magazines I could have written about.  Some were left out simply because I did not have a copy of their first issue.  Below I’ve included a short list of other literary or book magazines still in print:

If you are aware of other book or literary magazines not listed please post them in the comments section.  If I get enough entries perhaps I’ll write a part 2 — especially if I’m sent a copy of the first issue!


Admittedly this last publication, a comic book, does not belong with the rest.  But it does relate to the special feelings associated with 1st issues and speaks to why people get really excited about reading.

I’m old enough to remember, when it was still a big deal to see a Black person on television and an average reader could know the names of all the Black writers published by the major publishing houses.  This was a time were there were less than a handful of Black comic book characters and certainly no super heroes with their  own comic book series.

Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1

Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 Published June 1972

In walks Luke Cage, Hero for Hire.  The first issue was published by Marvel Comics in June of 1972 and featured the cover art of John Romita, Sr.

I purchased this comic and maybe the next 20 or so until I lost interest in comic books about about 35 years ago.  My copy is not nearly as neat as the version depicted here, but it is still just as valuable to me.

Cage was the only super hero that I wanted to relate to — because he was Black!  He was from Harlem and the action took place my neighborhood.

In hindsight, the fist Black super hero comic book series was introduced to capitalize on the popularity of Blaxploitation films of the era.  From the eyes of this young boy, eager to see a Black superhero, Luke Cage was the man!


*Note about my books: I do have several hundred books in boxes ready for donation.  If you are driving distance from Philadelphia area, and would like these books, please email me at  You’ll need to be able to transport the books yourself and be prepared to you to take all of the books.  The vast majority of book were written by African American writers have have been published within the last 10 years.

Please Donate to the Literary Freedom Project

The Literary Freedom Project (LFP) and Mosaic magazine are fighting to keep immersive reading, literary arts, expository writing, and professional development important in the lives of parents, youth workers, primary caregivers, and teachers. LFP’s programs help foster increased cultural identity, vocational prospects, and education opportunities.

It has been a tough year for many non-profit arts organizations.  Income from grants and donations are way down.  The Literary Freedom Project has felt the pinch as well, but they recognize that their mission is more important now than ever.

I encourage you to join by becoming an inaugural member of the Publisher’s Circle with a $100, tax deductible, donation. 

Publisher Circle members recieve Four issues of Mosaic Magazine, Signed copy of Glorious by Bernice McFadden or How To Escape From A Leper Colony by Tiphanie Yanique and donation acknowledgment in Mosaic Magine and the LFP website

The Literary Freedom Project accepts and greatly appreciates donation of any amount; so donate today. 

LFP 2010 Accomplishments

  • Spring Workshops: six professional-development workshop
  • Lesson Plans for Educators: downloadable lesson plans focused on writers of the Diaspora
  • Around Town: A new photo-documentation events page on
  • Mosaic Literary Conference: Zora Neale Hurston documentary and six pro-dev workshops -focus on The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • Original video content: readings by Bernice McFadden, Ntozake Shange, and others
  • Developed print-on-demand Mosaic using
  • Mosaic interviews photographer Jamel Shabazz, novelist Tiphanie Yanique, and poets Tara Betts, John Murillo, and R. Dwayne Betts

The Literary Freedom Project is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt not-for-profit arts organization, established in 2004, that supports the literary arts through education, creative thinking, and new media. Towards this goal, The Literary Freedom Project publishes Mosaic Literary Magazine; develops literature-based lesson plans and workshops; and hosts the Mosaic Literary Conference, an annual literature-education conference.