February 26, 2009

Street / Urban Fic: Markeise Q. Washington, author of Entrepreneur

The Author

Born November 21, 1984, in South Philadelphia, PA, Markeise Q. Washington was always more mature than his age suggested. He is absolutely making his mark with his debut novel Entrepreneur, and the young C.E.O is working diligently to get 5ive Star Publications up and running.

Having been somewhat of a Nomad during his childhood, he is determined to excel at whatever he puts his mind to. Becoming his own boss was one of his goals and aspirations. Being surrounded by supportive parents and siblings only make his journey all the better.

Check out Markeise @ 5ive Star Publications and MySpace.

The Book

Swift is a college graduate determined to establish himself in corporate America. Everyone from his school teachers to his mother has been skeptical of his goals. When he receives his degree, he thinks he’s prepared for the real world. He soon finds it difficult to match jobs with his degree.

After his frustrations reach a boiling point, he turns to the streets for guidance. Swift’s best friend Block is the most feared and respected hustler in Philly. When Swift's dilemma brings their combined efforts together, they both see opportunity.

Swift is convinced that he can make enough start up money for his business ideas. His plan is to build capital and leave the drug game alone. However, that is derailed when Block is incarcerated. The taste of money and power takes Swift for the ride of his life. Soon the underworld looks to him to pick up where Block left off. With cops, rival drug dealers, and stick up kids lurking, Swift is forced to show how much of an Entrepreneur he really is.

Click the cover to order Entrepreneur today!

On Street//Urban Fic

What does urban/street fiction mean to you? Is there a distinction between urban and street?
There has been so much debate over these two little words that it's utterly ridiculous. I hate that we get put in a category, period. I was in Borders the other day looking for the African-American section. The reason I couldn't find it was the black slots that say African American were taken down. I guess they classify street as dealing with drugs, prostitution, hustling, slang, etc. Any neighborhood can be considered urban. Here's the definition- "characteristic of or accustomed to cities; citified." So that means anybody that has lived in a city for a period of time is-you guessed it-urban. To me there is no distinction because literature is literature. Another thing that bothers me is that question that black authors get asked: "Do you plan to write that genre forever?" It has yet to be answered honestly. I haven't heard an author say well no I plan to write street lit until my arm falls off. Authors should write what makes them happy and hope they build a fan base that sticks with them. I don't want to read a romance novel by Teri Woods. I love the style she already has.

Of all the genres present, what drew you to write and publish urban/street fiction?
We publish all types of fiction, but I enjoy reading urban/street fiction - if you will. I know there is a market for it, and if it's good, it should be presented to the public. Simple as that.

What has been - if any - some of the positive and negative comments you have received from readers (as a writer and as a publisher)?
Wow. That's a great question. I take all negativity and view it as constructive criticism. My original cover art started an argument between a older woman and a guy around my age. This was at one of my book signings in Philly. The positive has been there as well. A lot of older women support me and what I do. I love book signings because you get to interact with the people. Those experiences are very positive. I am in the process of re-releasing my debut novel, Entrepreneur. It will be out March 2009. When I was in the process of making it a stronger read, I took certain things out and added things as well. That all came from constructive criticism. Another thing I will agree with is editing. Granted nobody is perfect. But I was reading a book the other day and there were no quotations where the character was talking. As a reader I was disappointed because there is no excuse for that. Instead of the synopsis on the back, it was an author bio. I'm like what the hell? That's why self-published "urban fiction" doesn't get the proper due because of things like that.

In the branch of Black literature, what do you think urban/street fiction brings to the table?
I think it gives people an avenue to represent themselves. It brings another element of fiction. I think it should be looked at as just fiction, period. There is a market for it. As long as there is somebody who enjoys it, it should be produced.

The Excerpt

From Entrepreneur



Nearly a month had passed since graduation, and my mother was already sweatin’ me. Normally, she was a sweet-looking woman, with her 5-feet-6, 175 pound frame and fudge complexion. She had jet black shoulder length hair with bright eyes and long eyelashes. However, at this particular time, she looked like the devil, horns and all. Of course she was on my case about employment. I was submitting applications left and right.

“Swift, get in this kitchen and wash these damn dishes,” my mom shouted loud enough for the entire city of Philly to hear.

“Get him to do it,” I mumbled under my breath. I gave Malik the ice grill as I passed the couch en route to the kitchen. I got in the kitchen and was able to count how many dishes were in the sink. There were two bowls, a plate, and three pieces of silverware. I think she yelled at Malik through me.

Everyday when I came home from community college, Malik was on the couch, hand in his boxers, watching MTV. It amazed me how lazy my brother was. My parents practically spoon fed him and that only made things worse. I could only shake my head in disappointment.

Later that night, I went to my room to finish a term paper. I was the greatest procrastinator on planet earth. I had to type 10 more pages, and I had to be in class at 10 a.m. sharp. I started to type the fastest you can with one finger. After awhile I incorporated a finger on my left hand.

I looked down at the bottom right corner of my laptop and the time read 11:57pm. The next thing I remember was waking up to a string of mismatched letters as a result of falling asleep on the keyboard. I spent 15 minutes deleting the letters. I wasn’t even done typing my paper, and I wasn’t surprised.

I ripped a sweat suit off the hanger, laid it on my bed, and hopped in the shower. I took the quickest shower time would permit and jumped into my clothes and boots. I sprayed on some cologne and tied my do-rag. I put my laptop in my bag and ran up the basement steps clear across the living room out the door.

I didn’t stop running until I was at the corner of 46th and Baltimore Ave. I could see the 34 trolley coming, and I was glad because I could barely breathe. I caught my breath soon as the trolley pulled up. I found a seat in the back by the window. I took out my laptop and took a deep breath before I attempted for a second time to finish this paper. I needed to pass this class to get my degree, and I was determined not to blow it.

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