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Gibran

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Tomorrow, my novel, THE TALENTED Xth will be free on Amazon, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to check the work out. Out of my twenty books, this is the one I like most, Well, actually, it is the one I enjoyed writing the most. The novel is about the first gay heavyweight  boxing champion of the world. Right now, I think that I should give you a heads-up about the book. As a writer, I enjoy taking risks. In fact, I detest literary limitations and I have no patience for writing how others feel I should write. I have developed my own style of writing which I called "The Gibraltar Method' and this is how I do it. 

 

Now, for a bit of background on the book. None of the characters in the book have names, and it was written this way as a homage to the LGBT community who for years had been treated as a nameless, faceless horde of outsiders. When I first went back into the system in 98 , I felt lost and I really needed to write something. I needed to "get my feet under me" because the first days in a new prison can be a harrowing experience, and no matter how many times, I have gone through it, it is always the same. There is a foreboding sense of dread because you don't know  what awaits. The worst possible scenario is to end up in a joint where you have an enemy. He already has a knife----you don't. I remember standing at the desk in the unit where I had been assigned. As soon as you walk into the block, all eyes are on you and you can feel yourself being examined and sized up, but from out of the blue, I hear someone calling my name and I look up to see a friend. Wow...my name had never sounded so good. I was really glad to see an ally.

 

Anyway, I wanted to write badly because I had got the false notion that I was going to write my way out of prison. It may sound silly, but you have to have something to hold on to when you come inside. Otherwise, you die emotionally, and it is a slow, painful demise. What was new this time was that I was going in as an older guy. I was still in prime shape, but prisons were turning into these youth-related gladiator schools and if I could avoid having to knife someone, that is what I wanted to do. I just wanted to write, and I really thought that I was going to write a novel that was going to get me out of the mess I had gotten myself  in. 

 

The very next day, I found a magazine and I rolled it up and went to the yard with it. I don't know if it was Time or Newsweek, but the feature article was about Mathew Shepard, a young gay student who had been brutally murdered because he was gay. It was big news, and what struck me is how they saw him as weak and powerless. I decided to write a book to show how someone deemed weak can rise  up to became the toughest man on the planet.  THE TALEN.TED Xth is that book.

 

Oh yeah, I must relate this because it is how I came to know Brotha Troy. Okay, by ow, I had written a copy of novels and had sent them out to agents. I got so many rejections letters that I could wall paper my cell. Every time, I would get a rejection, I would throw the manuscript into the back of my locker and I would write something else. I would be angry and I would write to show the major houses who I was. And they kept right on rejecting me, but I would not stop. This anger pushed me to get better. By now, my locker was filled with manuscripts.  Then came my birthday, and I was depressed. My birthday always depressed me. I was no closer to writing that great African-American novel so I was sick with despair because I really really thought that I was going to write a great book. 

 

I didn't feel like eating so I went to the yard to run my customary 5 miles a day, but my feet felt like I had on concrete shoes. Going back to the unit, I see a guy I knew who I Knew was working on some deep legal shit about us not being true citizens of the US. As I mentioned earlier, it is vital to a convict's emotional stability to have a dream he can sleep with or else crazy is what  happens to you  because you never ever ever want to confront a prisoner who has lost hope. Anyway, that was my friend's  thing. He was attempting to use this citizenship issue to win his freedom. (It's a long story) Anyway, I told him to give me all his research and let me turn it into a novel. He loved the idea.

 

We finished the book and both were thinking Pulitzer. We were mad with optimism. We contacted Xlibris to publish the book, but found that we had to have our 250 page typed manuscript put on a disc. Xlibris charged us a tidy sum of one thousand dollars for this service. So, already, we're at a crossroads. My job only paid me 80 cents a day so I sure as hell couldn't afford it on my salary. My friend had a higher-paying job. He made about 200 dollars a month. Guess what we did? We made chain-gang wine and sold it!

 

We invested our money into buying sugar, and orange juice and we stole the rest of the stuff we needed from the kitchen. I worked as a janitor. I was the "shower man" and I hid the wine in the shower where I removed the vent at the back of the shower so the five gallons of wine would hang  down there to get right. I would keep the smell of fermenting wine down by spraying the showers down with bleach as needed. Since there was no money in the system, stamps were the currency. One book of stamps equaled 5 dollars so it took a lot of stamps to get a thousand dollars but once we did, we  sold the stamps to the bookies and gamblers who needed a lot of stamps. We would give them the stamps and they, in turn, would have money sent to our designated person. Now, we were off and running. 

 

Sent the book to AALBC, and immediately Brotha Troy schooled us about the cover. Yes, the cover was jacked up. Now, check this out. Brotha Troy was very patience with me as he explained a lot of things to me. During the review of the book, I got info from the reviewer  that the book was on a "par with John Grisham" but that it was in serious need of editing. It was pointed out that the main characters were introduced too late in the book. At first, quite naturally, I didn't want to accept it. After all, this book had Pulitzer written all over it. Now, our dreams were dashed. The other brotha, Greg, took it just as hard, but Brotha Troy was right. Years later, I went back through the book and fixed all the flaws and I'm here to tell you, yeah, it is now ready. And to prove it, I will give it away next week to members of this site only.

 

Oh yeah, this. By now, I was desperate for a hit because I did not want to go home with no money. I was afraid of what would happen to my hometown if they released me and I was broke. I started to look around for something to write about and one day when I walking the yard with Mutulu Shakur, Tupac's stepfather, it dawned on me what to do. Out of that conversation, we decided to do a book about "what if Tupac was not really dead".  Even before we were finished, we had a book deal with Random House, if I remember correctly. Anyway, our editor was Sis. Anita Diggs who loved the book, saying that it reminded of of the book "The Spook Who Sat By The Door".  The book never happened.

 

And to top it all off, when I got ready to go home, I was told that I couldn't go. The feds said that I still owed them ten more years. I'm a month from being free and I couldn't believe this shit. I just gave them ten years and they wanting ten more. I wanted to die. I wanted to kill. I didn't know what to do. And guess what, they didn't let my  black ass go. Took them 21 damned months to find out what happened. Turns out, I was in prison during those so-called missing ten .years, but what happened is that when I changed my name to Gibran Tariq Suleiman Ali someone evidently didn't do their job. Therefore, I almost didn't get the credit for that ten years. My prison number never changed though my name did. Tried to sue them for keeping me in prison for almost two years longer than I should have, but they........well, they did me like they always do me-----. 

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I really didn't know the whole backstory Gibran this is just so interesting. I also never appreciated the challenges endured to get the book done.

 

Anita Diggs is a cool sister an early, in house, supporter of AALBC.

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On 1/6/2019 at 4:52 AM, Troy said:

I really didn't know the whole backstory Gibran this is just so interesting. I also never appreciated the challenges endured to get the book done.

 

Anita Diggs is a cool sister an early, in house, supporter of AALBC.

And that is why we appreciate your help so much. That book was our dream. Man, it was so important to have a dream to hang onto and we really believed in our mission and though we failed miserably, it didn't destroy us completely. Again, thanks. Greg asked about you just last night.  He has been inside for about 30 years now and he is still writing. Those were desperate times but it was fun being caught up in a dream that was too big for us, but we shot our best shot. Xlibris has us thinking that our book was going to be everywhere, but we were ignorant. You be surprised at the dreams guys have inside just to keep them going. I guess no one wants to die inside

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Hey @Gibran no need to quote someone if what they wrote immediately precedes your reply (a lot of people do it when they first get started).


Have you considered joining Amazon's affiliate program?  If you send people there you'll earn commission on sales (in addition to your royalties).  I used to make quote a bit of money with Amazon but since they reached monopoly status they have dramatically reduced what they pay affiliates.  

 

I can't bring up you site right now but I can tell from the URL you are linking to image files. I can add links to your book's buy button to send readers to your site if you are selling your book directly.

 

 

 

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Herein lies my dilemma. I don't really understand that approach, but I do recall

 that you mentioned it a while back. Sadly, I do not sell my books direct. I did once on my other website, but I have never been able to get any traction so I stopped. I am just now re-starting everything. I even went back to the bank to reopen the business account, but because my partner had an issue with owing the bank money on some unclosed accounts, it was taking too long to unravel all the loose ends so I went the Amazonian way. 

I thought that I was copying the link address and I'm sure that is the icon I clicked on. Yet, the link goes to the image. That is precisely why I write and leave the admin stuff to others. Currently, my admin person is on a spiritual mission to "find herself" so I don't know when she will be back. Thx.

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