Carol M. Mackey is editor-in-chief of Black Expressions Book Club, twice voted the best book club by the African American Literary Awards. Named among the “50 Most Powerful African Americans in Publishing” by Black Issues Book Review, Carol’s career has included work at Newsday, as well as for The New York Times and Essence Communications.
Nancey Flowers is the author of the #1 Essence bestselling novel Shattered Vessels. She also penned No String Attached and A Fool’s Paradise, and contributed to Proverbs for the People and I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married. Nancey lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Michael. She’s presently working on the sequel, He’s Still My Man.
Lolita Files is a contemporary African-American author and screenwriter. Her most popular books include Scenes from a Sistah and Child of God. Files has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Florida and resides in Los Angeles, CA. In 2005, rap artist Kanye West optioned the film rights of her fourth novel, Child of God. Files’ sixth novel, Sex.Lies.Murder Lolita Files is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being a pioneer in African American Fiction. Since 2007, Victoria has won six African American Literary Awards for best novel, best Christian fiction and Author of the Year – Female. Her 2013 NAACP Image Award nomination for Destiny’s Divas was her second Image Award nomination.
Melba’s Restaurant opened its doors in 2005 and has come to be regarded as the premier comfort food destination in New York City. The eponymous restaurant was the vision of founder, Melba Wilson. Being born, bred and buttered in Harlem, Melba knew she wanted to stay close to home to nurture and provide an exquisite yet comfortable dining experience to the community that raised her. As a young adult working at Sylvia’s, Rosa Mexicano and Windows on the World restaurants, Melba saw firsthand what it took to own and operate a successful business.
ReShonda Tate Billingsley always did have an active imagination. From making up stories to crafting award-winning poems, the national bestselling author has always maintained a love for telling stories. After numerous rejections from publishers, ReShonda stepped out on faith, established her own publishing company, and released her debut novel, My Brother’s Keeper. The book caught the attention of one of the country’s top literary agents, who secured a deal for ReShonda with megahouse publisher, Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books.
Yona Deshommes is responsible for coordinating publicity for Strebor Books (Atria's African-American literature line) and Infinite Words, a sub-imprint of Strebor Books. She is also the in-house publicity liaison for Enliven Books, Atria’s new age imprint. She has worked with a myriad of authors that include New York Times bestselling authors Charlie Wilson (I Am Charlie Wilson), Issa Rae (Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl) TD Jakes (Let It Go), Zane (Addicted), and Janet Mock (Redefining Realness). Her current and upcoming projects include Nobody by Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Birth of a Nation by Nate Parker, How We Love is How We Live by Academy Award winning song writer/actor Common, and Around the Way Girl by Academy Award nominated actress, Taraji P. Henson
Jerry Craft is the creator of Mama’s Boyz, an award-winning comic strip that has been distributed by King Features Syndicate since 1995; making him one of the few syndicated African-American cartoonists in the country. His comic strip follows the lives of Pauline Porter, a widow raising her two teenage sons (Tyrell and Yusuf) while also running the family bookstore. Jerry has won four African American Literary Award Show Open Book Awards for “best comic strip” (2012, 2011, 2009 & 2004).
RPL was founded in 1999, its services include: event marketing, public relationsm strategic media relations and sales development. We execute vertically integrated corporate/brand special events including trade shows, editorial presentations, charity functions, sales meetings, launches, fashion shows and media presentations. Produce short and long term customized strategic PR and media plans complete with the targeted sales outreach for ticketing and sponsorship opportunities.
Sékou Writes is the editor of When Butterflies Kiss, a serial novel in which ten co-writers each wrote one chapter of the same story. It’s innovative structure and collection of strong literary voices resulted in much critical acclaim, including glowing reviews in Quarterly Black Review, Black Issues Book Review, Honey and even Booklist, which described When Butterflies Kiss as “the telling of the lusts, loves, and agonies of a gifted writer, as told by gifted writers.” When Butterflies Kiss was the first serial novel to be wholly authored by African American writers.
Troy Johnson is the founder and webmaster of the AALBC.com, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). AALBC.com was launched in 1998 and is now the largest and most frequently visited web site dedicated to books by and about black people. Johnson serves as a board member of the Literary Freedom Project. He also has over 20 years of corporate experience in consulting, financial services, and the telecommunications industry.
Tracey V. Green always had a penchant for numbers, so it’s no surprise that in just a few short years she has become the Chief Financial Officer of the New York City Department of Education, Office of School Support Services. Green received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Morgan State University and a master’s in public administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She also received a certificate in financial planning from St. John’s University.
Throughout her career, Joy has created highly creative, specialized PR programs and signature events, focusing on the areas of fashion, lifestyle and nonprofit. A self-described “soup-to-nuts” PR and events specialists; her strengths include developing tailor made strategies for clients, fashion show production, general event planning and management, development of marketing and communications tools (websites, publications, marketing brochures, bios), and media relations. She has been responsible for blanket multimedia coverage and on average 2 million impressions or more for nearly every Client she has represented on both the regional and national levels.
Darin Holt’s career grew wings in 1997 when he was given the opportunity to work in New York as the Executive Assistant/Office Manager for renowned author and life stylist Harriette Cole of Harriette Cole Media. His experiences provided him the ability to continue his career in event planning, project management and consulting for National companies including Macy’s, pharmaceutical advertising agencies, AVON, and EBONY Magazine.