Friday, October 25, 2013
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Hey, sugar and spice and everything nice! MGM salutes the future award-winning entrepreneur in you! Until now, you probably never considered yourself an expert in the kitchen, but why not? Let’s face it, you’re the ex-girlfriend that your ex-boyfriend can’t stop bragging about when it comes to cooking…to his wife at that! To your family, you’re the sister everyone bum rushes the moment you hit the yard at the family cookout, because you’re holding your beloved macaroni and cheese! To your babies, you’re the mother who won’t just open a can of Pork in Beans, slice up some hot dogs and call it a meal. That’s not your style. You’d much rather open the can, slice up a few hot dogs, add a little oregano, a few green peppers, and maybe some onions to save the day!
If you can’t stay out of a kitchen and you love impressing everyone with your meals, it’s high time that you turn that passion into a full fledge business. A good meal is not only the way to a man’s heart, it’s also the way to the bank!
It’s time you stop wasting your good meals and make some major moves. And Mean Girls Magazine has gathered some information we know will be helpful to lead you on the way. So dust off that apron, grease up that big cast iron pan, and set your ideas into motion!
Tips To Get Your Feet Wet
Choose a name:
Make sure it speaks to the diva in you! Example. The Talented Mrs. Crispy’s. Okay, maybe the name is a little corny but you get the idea right? Think of a name that will roll off of your customer’s tongue.
Choose a business entity:
We listed the basics but check your state regulations for more information.
* LLC – Protects you and your personal property from liability issues.
* Sole Proprietorship – Registers you to do business in your state, but doesn’t protect your personal property from liability.
Create a menu – You already know your favorites! Create a cute little menu and wow your friends and family members. They already know how you get down and would love to support you.
Advertise – Solicit your friends and family first. Believe it or not, they’re the best way to get word of mouth. Once they know you’re in business, your company will continue to grow and your business will boom too.
Excited yet? We are too! But before you serve to the general public, do your research. Handling food is profitable but a serious business. Know your laws and know the rules.
Posted by Author T. Styles at 10:08 AM
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Before I pen a book I often interview my main characters on paper. It allows me to get to know them, especially before creating sequels. ‘Raunchy‘ was one of my favorite books to write, because of the emotionally complicated characters. Outside of Kelsi from the ‘A Hustlers Son‘ series, no other character touches my heart more than Madjesty Phillips. This interview is before ‘MAD MAXXX: Children Of The Catacombs‘, of course.
Me: How are you?
Madjesty: (no reply)
Me: So you don’t want to talk to me?
Madjesty: I don’t feel much like talking these days. (Pulls black baseball cap over her eyes)
Me: Why not?
Madjesty: I never know why. I stopped digging around in my head a long time ago. Hurts too much I guess. (Picks up Hennessy and downs half of the bottle)
Me: Wow, you sure drink a lot.
Madjesty: Toy, please don’t start with me. As much vodka as you drink.
Me: (no reply)
Madjesty: Now look who’s quiet.
Me: (clears throat) Your fans want to know about you. What do you want me to tell them?
Madjesty: Tell them that I love them. And tell them that I can feel their hopes and prayers for me. Tell them that I’m a survivor, and with a mother like Harmony Phillips, you got to be. (A tear falls down her face, and she brushes it away roughly, before grabbing the rest of the Hennessy and finishing it off)
Me: You miss her don’t you?
Madjesty: I hate that bitch! I’m gonna always hate that bitch, and fuck you for trying to make me feel any different! (Gets up and walks away)
Stay tuned for MAD MAXXX – Children Of The Catacombs. JULY 2013
Posted by Author T. Styles at 8:13 PM
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
When I was a child, I hated my awkwardness. I was taller than most girls my age, and while my friends were pretending to get married, I was dreaming of the CEO life, with no specific plan in mind.
When I got older, I'll say around my teenage years, I was confused about my feelings toward those I liked. I thought girls were pretty, and if a cute boy smiled my way, I thought he was groovy too. But what about my friends? They didn't share my feelings, and as a result, I was outcast and labeled weird.
In my early twenties it didn't take me long to realize that I didn't fit in to any specific mold. I was neither gay nor straight. I was neither good nor evil. At 5'7, I was neither tall nor short, and in the end, about my late twenties, it became clear that I was just me. I was complex. I was just Toy, but was that cool enough?
After a major event, a strange freedom came over me. I decided that if something happened to me, and I died, the world would live on despite itself. Although appreciated by some, there wouldn't be any strange memorials going up in my honor, and before long I would be loved and soon forgotten.
So what did I do after this life changing recollection? I embraced what it meant to be me! I loved who I loved. Liked who I liked. Fucked who I wanted. Went to as many strip clubs as I desired, and eventually discovered the career I never knew existed...a life as a published author. Before long I saw the power in being different and the glory of standing out, and there was no turning back. I love my awkwardness now. I mean, why I wanna be you when I got my swag by being me?
Something else happened too. I was blessed with a small network of friends, and a massive group of associates, who love me for me (my close friends are small, and its like that by design - MY design). I realize that for me to be me, those who love me don't need to think, feel and act as I do. I'm different from them, and because of it, we learn from each other, and have a larger view of life!
If you're awkward too, take a few moments to consider what that means before you count yourself out, and think your differences are curses. Perhaps there is someone out there just like you, and they need you as their representative. Besides, feeling sorry for yourself is so early eighties, and its time to reach out, tell your story, and help others.
Do you have a handicap? Consider Oscar Pistorius. (minus the alleged murder, of course. That tragic event only showed that we are equal in everything, even our evilness) Still he overcame all kinds of obstacles, and eventually became an Olympic Champion.
Do you desire a career that's totally different than what you're doing right now? Think about me. Before becoming a writer, and owning an urban fiction publishing house, I was a waitress, cashier, mail sorter, model, customer service rep, certified massage therapist, maid, homeless girl, job corp student, prisoner, manager, assistant manager, sales person, shoplifter, gang member, fighter, juvenile delinquent, super hero (its true-gets me into the most trouble even today), complainer, drunk (still working on this one - I loves my vodka) and slacker. Had I embraced any of the above, and believed that was all I was capable of, I wouldn't be doing what I enjoy right now. I probably wouldn't even be alive.
If you are different too, consider the possibilities. Awkwardness is in, and being like everyone else is out. If you can't find your mold in the world, do yourself a favor and create your own!
Nobody remembers the regular guy, but once you embrace who you really are, they will remember you. I know I will.
Come join me. I'm waiting! #TeamAwkward
Posted by Author T. Styles at 6:19 AM
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
It’s no secret that sometimes readers and writers don’t get along. Your favorite authors are like cousins, who you adore, although you don’t always see eye to eye. When a book is great it’s on and ‘we be like two peas in a pod’. You love the story, we love you for feeling us, and all is right with the world! But then something happens that the writer does in the book, that pisses the reader off.You’d give anything to tell us to our faces, but you can’t reach us (we’re probably writing). So what do you do? You swear your irritation with us (sometimes in public – shame on you), and vow to never read another book by us again (even though you secretly wait for the next release).
The reason for your disdain with us could be anything. For instance, you may want us to keep your heroes alive for infinity when to us, sometimes anyway, they simply must die (although it hurts us as much as it does you). And then we do the ultimate, make the book a sequel, which you must wait to read.
I listed below a few reasons why sometimes we must create sequels so you can understand us better:
1. We All Must Grow – Whether it’s the deranged Yvonna Harris from the Shyt List series or Yvette and Mercedes from the Pitbulls In A Skirt series, great characters must have time to grow properly. Sometimes one book is not enough to make the journey authentic, especially when there is lots of drama! You would be pissed if we created a 500-page book (which I did with Redbone).
Think where we might be if we didn’t have Madjesty (from the Raunchy series), a troubled teenager whose alcoholic mother raised her as a boy. Madjesty didn’t come out until book two, but she was a product of a sequel all the same.
2. The Right To Keep It Real – I don’t know about you, but I grow weary of books where our favorite characters do the same thing every time without change. After all, how many times can a fly female character pull a gun on someone, without repercussions? Or how many times can someone seek revenge, without the tables eventually being turned on them?
In life people go through ups and downs, and it is through these ups and downs that we find our strengths and weaknesses. There will be times when your hero reigns, and times when he or she fails, but a real author recognizes the importance of making the journey actual. And a sequel allows for the growth that is necessary, realistic and authentic.
3. Writing Is What We Do For A Living – while its true that writers, who do what they love anyway, never write simply for money, for many of us it is a job. I have dedicated my life to you, and storytelling, and I give it all of my attention. Great characters are as valuable as stocks and bonds, and if you think it’s easy to create people who jump off of the page, think again. I can’t count the number of times where readers want the next book right away, and it is always easier, and more heart felt, to work with characters already developed and loved. It would take more time, if you care about your readers anyway, to create a new world from scratch. Hence the sequel!
ABOUT T. STYLES
Author. Show Host, Motivational Speaker. Award Winning CEO of The Cartel Publications – an international and independent urban fiction publishing house. Toy’s publishing house The Cartel Publications, is the face of today’s urban fiction and street fiction industries. In both the digital and print world, the Cartel represents the best her generation has to offer in African American literature. She has aptly been dubbed “Urban Fiction Empress” and “a literary master”.
Toy is multifaceted and currently runs an independent publishing company, movie production company and popular Washington DC and Maryland area book store. In addition, she facilitates her popular seminar “How To Write A Novel In 30 Days”, using her non-fiction novel of the same title. Toy consults authors and publishing houses on what it takes to achieve success and longevity in the industry.
She has been featured in The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Essence Magazine, Don Diva Magazine and Urban Book Source. She has been awarded Author Of The Year by AAMBC and was voted Most Underrated Author by The Urban Book Source.
When not writing, running the Cartel or producing independent movies based on her company’s novels, Toy travels and shoots videos for Cartel TV, a show geared toward her publishing house. Her first movie, Pitbulls In A Skirt, under her movie production company Cartel Urban Cinema, is due out in 2013.
Her novels include, The End (How To Write A Book In 30 Days), A Hustler’s Son (series), Black & Ugly (series), Raunchy (series), Shyt List (series), Pitbulls In A Skirt (series), Redbone (series), The Face That Launched A Thousand Bullets, Quita’s Dayscare Center, Reversed, Luxury Tax, and Cold As Ice.
Posted by Author T. Styles at 6:04 AM
Monday, February 25, 2013
When Pitbulls was complete, and we read it from top to bottom at Cartel Publications, we all agreed that it is the most emotional book of them all. PBIAS 4, is not just about the gun toting ladies you’ve come to love, it is more about the consequences and dealing with the drama of the past.
In PBIAS 4, Mercedes is dealing with Lil C’s animosity over learning about his father’s murder. Lil C wants nothing to do with his mother and he’s made that very clear. Mercedes does all she can to repair the bond, including a ghastly unconventional method, which blows up in her face. Mercedes’ heart is wide open in this book, and I can feel her pain. Being a single parent with money means nothing, if you don’t have love.
Yvette has never dealt with the emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of Thick. She hid her pain in her relationship with Chris, which proved to be volitle and ended in vain. In PBIAS 4, she can no longer hide from her emotions, which we all know Yvette doesn’t like showing. However there is no where else to run, and Yvette must deal with her insecurities, and she must deal with them now.
Carissa is also dealing with the pangs of the past in PBIAS 4. She neglected her daughters Treasure and Persia, in the pursuit of drugs and money, and now her older daughter is set on ruining her life, and the lives of her friends. There are a lot of emotional scenes in this book, where Carissa is dealing with Persia’s hurtful actions and betrayal. I believe readers will be rooting for Carissa’s reconnection with her daughter, as well as their departure.
PBIAS 4 is everything to me, and I hope you’ll feel the same. Urban Fiction readers, get ready to fall in love with books all over again!
Posted by Author T. Styles at 8:32 AM
Monday, January 21, 2013
I have some great news! I'm a little longwinded, so forgive me in advance.
As you may know a little over five years I received the worst, and best phone call of my life. I had given my all to a company, only to learn that my contract would not be honored. Luckily I was more confident in my abilities at the time, and I made it clear that I would no longer lie down and take the disrespect. In turn I was told that I would not amount to much in this industry. But, what the person said next changed the course of my career forever.
'Toy," the old greedy one said, "if you believe in yourself so much, put your own money where your mouth is."
That statement, although designed to stop me, made me stronger. Because prior to that moment, I felt like my undeserving idol had stomped on my heart, and was telling me I didn't have talent. However this time things felt different. Instead of believing the lies I finally understood what the universe was telling me. There was something greater waiting on me, but it was time to move on.
Besides, I learned so much from that company. For instance I learned how to not treat my authors, and I learned to pay them what's owed. So, it was only fitting that I get from behind the scenes, and step up to become a fair leader. I created a plan, we put it into action, and a few weeks later The Cartel Publications was born.
Something else happened in that same year. I decided that in order to learn the publishing industry, we had to immerse ourselves into the book world. So it was only logical that we open a bookstore. Since we also published books I was confident that our titles alone would cover the lease. And, I was right.
But, and this is very true, I always knew that the bookstore was only a small block in my major plan. My heart wasn't in the day-to-day operations of owning a bookstore. I'm a writer, a leader, and a creator. And, it was always my desire to own and operate the largest publishing house in the world. Big dream right? Well you either dream big or go home. And, considering what the universe has done for us already, I think we have a chance. But first we must once again move on.
This year our lease is up at Cartel Book store in Oxon Hill, MD. We lasted five years in a bookstore where people said we would only last one. We had some good times, and even some bad times. But, I'm a businesswoman and I cannot ignore the obvious...the book industry has changed, and we will not be renewing our lease.
Over the past year or so, The Cartel Publications had been funding the bookstore. We were saddened that the Cartel Café & Bookstore was not able to function as it's own entity, because we adore the neighborhood, and our customers. It was hard to make the decision to close at first, because we weren't suffering on the publishing side. For starters I always believed in living below my means, since I saw first hand where balling out of control can get you, and we managed well. We paid our taxes, and we reinvested into the company, without having to take a loan from a bank.
So if we weren't suffering on the publishing side, and The Cartel Publications was still successful, what was happening to the bookstore? The eBook business was rising, and paperback sales were decreasing. It's certainly not to say that paperbacks aren't still profitable. That is absolutely not the truth. But, it's not profitable enough for me to keep my team at that location, when its time for us to build larger, and higher. Instead, we will be relocating our business. We are focused on building, and we are more committed than ever to bringing you spicy titles, movies, and TV shows, with original concepts.
I am proud of the reputation The Cartel Publications has built, and it is time for me and my team to give her our undivided attention. I also want to be an example for what determined authors can build if they are focused.
There are a lot of people playing unfair in the book industry (even now). And, I want to dedicate my time to assisting hopeful authors in their journey, so that they don't make the same mistakes I did. I'll also be starting my 'SHYT LIST' which will include some dos and don'ts in the industry. Including a list of people/companies that authors should steer clear of. In addition I'll also be blogging more, Ustreaming more, and more than anything, publishing more.
To my customers at the Cartel Bookstore, I want to say thank you for your business. Some of you have been loyal from day one, and we love, and appreciate you for everything you've done. We will never forget you, and we won't allow you to forget us. We ask that you continue to support our company, and our products.
If you're in the area on January 26th come celebrate the release of my upcoming novel 'Pretty Kings' at Cartel Bookstore at 7:00pm. The VP and me will also be celebrating our birthdays, and our new business located in Baltimore, MD. It's a much larger space to handle our publishing needs. It will be our last party in the store, and there will not be another.
Well, it's time for me to get back to work. I asked for a certain thing and God wants me to work to attain it. I truly love you. Thanks for holding us down.
Until we hug again,
Posted by Author T. Styles at 6:37 AM