It feels like there's never a dull moment. Anytime Mike and I get back into the locker room after an hour-long workout, this seems to be yet another story to discuss. Tonight it's Chicago. Yesterday it was Mali. The day before Kenya. You have to wonder if there's any place safe in the world for you to survive, to progress and to be proud of. Personally my days and parts of my evenings are spent in a virtual fortress; surveillance systems in place and doors so stubbornly strong you bet'not get your finger foot or hand caught or jammed. Add to that all my wicked gadgetry and u might as well call this Heaven in the middle of our random Hell. And if national or global news is not enough there's always the local news, Bonnie and Clyde running over an old woman in the Walmart parking lot. Tyrone and Quanah robbing the local liquor store. Multi-vehicle accident. And of course the routine political banter. So this is my day, and I'm guilty of "Living and Thinking Black-While Insulated," guilty of being outspoken, polarizing, and of knowing that there's nothing I can do to give you a "Peace Pass." You need to be savvy enough to find that yourself, according to your own circumstances. That, or submit to pain and confusion. Sure, I could make suggestions but would they even matter to you? Would my mere words mean anything/coming from a man who is admittedly insulated and thus bias with unchallenged judgment? Well, there's still this: you only have two choices in life... ONLY TWO: They are PLEASURE or PAIN. which choice will be yours? Happy Holiday.
Monthly Archives: November 2015
For You’re Holiday: Will It Be Pleasure or Pain?
Posted by Relentless on November 25th, 2015
The Street Writer: Throwback News Article From The Local Westchester Papers
Posted by Relentless on November 22nd, 2015
Less than three years after getting out of prison, author DeWitt Gilmore is making good
By HEATHER SALERNO
THE JOURNAL NEWS
The empty van parked near Mount Vernon City Hall is more than a little conspicuous. It’s big and white and plastered with the face of Relentless Aaron — the pen name of local writer DeWitt Gilmore — along with the bold logo, “Father of Urban Fiction.”
Obviously, Gilmore is somewhere nearby. But he’s not in the neighborhood barbershop or the beauty salon around the corner — the types of places that were daily stops for the ex-con when he was hawking his gritty self-published novels for $10 each.
Now, having landed a stunning 14-book contract with St. Martin’s Press, Gilmore doesn’t have to hustle quite as hard. So he’s taking a break from working the streets in his cramped office three floors above West Prospect Avenue. Kicking back on a black leather couch, he’s talking about his first book with St. Martin’s, “Extramarital Affairs” (out Tuesday), and how his life has shifted since being released from jail three years ago.
In November 2003, Gilmore was paroled from federal prison, where he’d written 30 novels while serving a seven-year sentence for bank fraud — his second time inside. The morning after his release, he had 50 copies printed of “Push,” about a Harlem drug dealer just out of jail and trying to go legit. Gilmore sold all 50, then 300 more, and then 20,000.
A sharp, tireless self-promoter — hence the van — he’s peddled his novels on sidewalks, on the Internet, at book fairs and in bookstores. Today, Gilmore, who’s 41, estimates he’s sold at least 200,000 copies of the 12 books he published on his own. He recently scored two movie deals, too, one for “The Last Kingpin,” which Gilmore says will be the “next ’Scarface.’ ” “I’m looking easily at being a millionaire in the next year,” he says, resting one hand on top of his red “Relentless” cap. “It’s surreal. I don’t really feel it yet. I’m still in the streets.”
“Extramarital Affairs” is about a sex-addicted married couple, whose raunchy threesome ends in the death of their partner one night. Like most of Gilmore’s novels, the book is packed with violence and graphic descriptions of sex acts. Publishers Weekly called it “a smoldering batch of raw erotica and criminality” that “won’t make many Mother’s Day gift lists.”
Gilmore shrugs off criticism that’s been leveled at him and others in the exploding genre of “street lit,” which traces to novelists Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines in the 1960s and ’70s. The genre has boomed recently with books by Sister Souljah, Teri Woods and Shannon Holmes.
This style of fiction — with titles like “To Live and Die in Harlem,” “Whoreson” and “A Hustler’s Wife — are usually hard-knock tales about gangsters, thugs, strippers, prostitutes and inner-city life. Writer Nick Chiles wrote a New York Times op-ed piece lamenting the popularity of such books, horrified that they are on the same bookstore shelves as works by Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison. Argues Gilmore: “To be coined literature versus urban fiction, that’s for all the naysayers. I’ll let them haggle over what’s what.”
St. Martin’s senior editor Monique Patterson pegged Gilmore as a hot commodity after seeing his books hyped by street vendors in her Brooklyn neighborhood. Then editor-in-chief George Witte met him at the Book Expo America convention last summer. Soon Gilmore had secured a deal that included a six-figure advance.
Patterson says that Gilmore’s marketing savvy and strong personality made him attractive to the publishing house. His productivity is a plus, too, she adds. All this combined with his writing talent “makes the difference between something that’s a fad and something that’s here to stay,” says Patterson.
Gilmore was raised in Mount Vernon and he now lives in New Rochelle with his wife, Paulette, and their son, DeWitt, 13, and daughter, Fortune, 10. Growing up, he spent time hanging out and working at his father’s businesses, from a local liquor store to a string of strip clubs. “He had bulletproof glass in the liquor store, so at 10 years old I could go and sell a pint of Wild Irish Rose to a local,” he recalls.
Bootlegging concert videos and credit-card fraud also became a part of what Gilmore calls his “wayward upbringing.” In 1986, he began serving two years in federal prison after writing a letter to authorities that tried to extort $2 million by threatening to poison Tylenol capsules. To this day, Gilmore doesn’t know why he wrote the note. “I think I was alone, I was a loner, feeling kind of misdirected.”
Ten years later, he was locked up again after pleading guilty to a bank scam that involved passing counterfeit checks. His first stint in jail was “summer camp,” he says. “It didn’t mean much.” But his second, longer term had greater consequences. This time, he had Paulette, a 3-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter when he went away. So Gilmore got disciplined, and he used his time inside to “mastermind the greatest plan to succeed.” He spent a year writing “Topless,” his most autobiographical book to date, which drew from nights spent at his dad’s topless bars. For that novel (and those to follow), he chose a pseudonym, taken from his relentless determination and his baseball hero Hank Aaron.
Gilmore was soon able to knock off a book in two weeks, and he left jail with a stack of finished manuscripts. “Every day I wrote,” he says. “I definitely spent quality time within the misery that was there.” Paulette Gilmore says that it was difficult raising their children alone for seven years, and she wasn’t pleased to hear about her husband’s writing ambitions once he came home. “She was like, ’Get a job!’ ” he laughs. “We had our moments,” she says. “But once I saw … how it was his passion, it was OK for me. I had no choice but to support him.”
Patterson says Gilmore’s turbulent background lends believability to his work. “Not every author in this genre has to have gone to prison, but they have to have a working knowledge of the life that they’re writing about,” she says. “It’s hard to fake, and readers can usually sniff it out in two pages.”
Gilmore certainly won over residents of Leake & Watts, the Yonkers treatment center for troubled children, when he spoke to a group of 75 earlier this year. After arranging Gilmore’s talk, work-study program coordinator Willard Pride found out that many of the kids were already reading his books. “I have a rough crowd to please, and they were very excited” about Gilmore’s visit, says Pride. “He had a similar background to a lot of our kids who are at risk. I thought he’d be a good motivator, showing how you can have problems in life and still make something of yourself.”
Actor Bill Duke, who plans to direct a movie trilogy based on Gilmore’s novel “Push,” was also impressed by the author’s turnaround. “I think everything anyone wants to know about this young man is in his name,” says Duke. “He’s relentless in terms of tenacity to achieve, and he’s one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met.” And Gilmore’s working hard on some pretty lofty goals. One of which is to “out-write every other writer in the market,” he says. “(James) Patterson, (Sidney) Sheldon, Elmore Leonard, they’re all gonna see me,” he says. “Whether they’re looking up from the dirt, or looking at me at a literary event, I’m coming for them.”
One Response to “Journal News Article (September 1st, 2006)”
Memories of a Distant Holiday Gathering…
Posted by Relentless on November 22nd, 2015
Within the first year of my arriving to Atlanta, there was this:
As many of you know who read my stuff, I had the honor of meeting Professor Preston King at a Starbucks in-store Dec 12th in Atlanta. I had my books set up for sale; some wild-card-agreement with the manager who (at the time) was a go-against-the-grain type of guy… maybe the reason he’s no longer with the franchise? Anyway, that doesn’t change me making history inside this billion-dollar giant. I’ll make sure to add this slice to my forthcoming book; in the meantime I was just remembering those days and how certain Atlanta dignitaries treated me so well; I felt like a prize-writer. (A prize fighter?) Mr. King invited me out to his home (gated, jazz music, wine–you get the picture) and then to a quaint gathering of Atlanta’s elite. Included in the gathering along with Professor King were Andrea Young (Andrew Young’s Daughter), and Dr. Richard Long, distinguished author and historian.. The gathering was hosted a woman named Mae Gentry, the decendant of a famous painter. Meanwhile, here are some flicks of my awsome Christmas Eve. BTW its such a blessing to have so many professors and teachers to applaud my work. If you happen to one of those who have met me or who are familiar with my body of work, please get in touch with me. I’d like to incorporate your voice into a project we’re putting together. email@example.com
Wow Tisha Campbell!
Posted by Relentless on November 15th, 2015
If you watch my website you know I don’t do too much focusing on celebs. And yet there are those individuals who create movement; movement I feel is of value to my unique audience. Enjoy Tisha’s testimony on the Steve Harvey Show and also her super extreme music video “I’m Still Here.” GO TISHA!
Remaining Relevant in the Slushpile of Storytellers
Posted by Relentless on November 13th, 2015
I recently pulled up the #VivicaFox photo because she recently became relevant in the media (again). This time, she (basically) labeled rapper 50Cent in a comment made on a national late-nite TV show. Altho her comments were confused and she contradicted herself/adding that she had a good time with him (when they were together). In other words, “he was just fine when he was with me,” Really, she just put her foot in her own mouth, because the rapper got back at her TOO fast. [You’ll hafta Google that/it’s not that real;event to this post.] This post tho, (my post) is about remaining relevant in an otherwise busy, confusing world of messaging and commerce. Ideas and life’s algorithms are the pulses that drive consumers these days, unless you’re spending loads of money on advertising. So then, if you’re not spending the dough, the easiest way is to weigh-in on the relevant conversation of the moment. One moment theres a shooting on a campus, and the next a star football player knocks out a woman in a strip club. So, 1) its inexpensive to get your voice into the equation./frere. And 2) hopefully the subject is one you have experience with. In THIS instance, I certainly DO have connectivity (to both parties) and then there’s the subject hee-haw… wrote about that in the Extra Marital Affairs novel. Meanwhile, anytime a celebrity or other well-known personality or brand becomes big news, you essentially get some of the “spillage” (of exposure/ofinterest/of followers when you weigh in, if indeed what you share has value. In this instance its just the photo. I don’t necessarily want to speak on the subject here. (Maybe another time.)
So, check out some of my commentaries (about exposure & Riding The Tiger) early on when I originally posted this photo:
This picture with Vivica Fox is taken at a golf event/one that I played in with Katt Williams & Malik Yoba, some years back, b4 the major book & movie deals. I have Victoreyah Watson and Shana Mac to thank for this encounter. Life: its about RELATIONSHIPS.
— with Shana Mac and Victoreyah Watson at Conyers Square Starbucks.
Up until an hour ago, YEARS after I posted the photo, the comments still come in:
Wakiem Freeman The average don’t understand. Myself, I don’t go after photo. Last artist I meet was Miguel. I go off memory.
Relentless Aaron (Twighlight Zone Theme here) “I go off memory” whats that mean, sir
Wakiem Freeman Simple. I will always remember the encounter. No need for me to ask for photo.
Relentless Aaron oh. gotcha. Well thats a substantial position to take. Less-superficial. And yet, “branding successfully” requires many levels of “strategic alliances” and “riding the tiger.” Some authors are familiar with these terms. Others are not. They simply print and sell. 360-marketing is sometimes necessary when you don’t have the marketing budget and or know-how in getting your books recognized and purchased. In the instance relating to this photo with Vivica, she’s been in over a billion dollars worth of movies. She’s highly recognizable. I was floored when she made the grab for my book and held it up proudly. You WANT that type of promotion for a novel.
Brandon Hardison Very nice person who was willing to help the bebies ina group that I was working with. You have it relationships Relentless, hope that you are feeling better.
Denise Burrows very true and maintaining those connections
Author Press great advice. any advice on publishing? i have a manuscript that I just completed
Relentless Aaron You should publish and sell it yourself Press Bfent Moss You’ve already got a brand (your first name). Run with it
More Video Testimonials
Posted by Relentless on November 6th, 2015
BE CLEAR, THAT I AM EVER GRATEFUL FOR THE BLESSINGS OF MY FANS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY (OF READERS.) I HAVE SACRIFICED EVERYTHING SO THAT COULD BURY MYSELF INTO MY CRAFT, INTO MY WORK AND INTO MY LEGACY. I APPRECIATE YOU, YOUR ENERGY AND RESOURCING WITH YOU.
“Reading Relentless Aaron’s books was like an Eric Jerome Dickey/Sister Souljah sort of thing that was so raw and real and talented in a way that… Definitely the words jumped off the page and wrapped me up in the story until I couldn’t put it down, until I finished all the reading that I had to do. I mean he’s dynamic, he’s awesome! If you’re tired of every other Black author thats telling you the same story, you need his books.” Nia O’Neal - Houston Texas
Posted by Relentless on November 4th, 2015
THIS IS A COLD HARD WORLD. I HAVE BEEN PUSHED BY CIRCUMSTANCES TO STAND STRONG; TO DO WHAT I NEED TO DO TO SURVIVE, TO PLAY THE CARDS I'M DEALT. SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY I HAVE BLESSED SO MANY OTHERS AND I AM HUMBLED AND BLESSED FOR YOUR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF SUCH. I'M NO POLITICIAN, RICH BALL PLAYER OR COMMUNITY LEADER, BUT I STAY MY OWN LANE. I LEAD IN MY OWN MISSION. I APPRECIATE YOU AND I AM HONORED BY YOUR LOVE. #RELENTLESS
"“I find a little bit of myself in your books, bottom line, as a single mom, tryna make it happen in life… Reading your books keep me focused. They show me who I am, where I wanna be, and where I wanna go.” #wow
I Didn’t Merely Love Hip Hop, I Began My Career There…
Posted by Relentless on November 1st, 2015
I LOVED HIP HOP SHIT FROM DAY ONE! SO MUCH THAT I HAD TO GET OUT THERE AND MEET THE KINGS IN THE GAME… SO MUCH THAT I HAD TO BE BEHIND THE SCENES, RUNNING AND PROMOTING THE CONCERTS/WORKING WITH THE STARS AT AGE 19! ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IN THIS WORLD IF YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO IT/IF YOU WORK HARD ENOUGH FOR IT! Thank you Rolando Hudson for being a first-mover, filming this event for me. Its been a pleasure to work with/know you thru the years.
January 11th, 2007 at 4:54 pm […] Getting away from life and life’s priorities is more than a strategy for me and my writing process; it’s a necessity. I happened to find myself buried deep in the dirt some 7 years ago, and after a year of venting on paper, creating a memoir that could be accepted as fiction, I actually did experience that “aha! Jennifer speaks of.” I suppose it was more of a time-released effect, but it hit me hard and fast, nonetheless. And once I got the bug, I didn’t let up. Now, 32 Relentless Aaron books later, I think I more than have the process down to a science. I’ve become a manufacturing plant, where my mind has catalogued so much experience, so much character development, and so much emotion, that I can pretty much challenge the Grishams and Pattersons of the world with my own relevant content and not think twice about the critics as I go for it. Also, that separation (from society) is important since writing books (at least fiction books) is about suspending the reader’s belief systems. Essentially, I can’t write about it while I’m living it. And this just goes to evidence another milestone in this generation, something like what Roger Bannister did in 1954. Up until that time, nobody thought the mile could be run in less than 4 minutes. Same with “Iron” Mile Tyson, who whipped every boxer up until Buster Douglass came along. See, history has been made, folks, but it’s also being written today. And you cannot possibly know what you are capable of unless you try. So, for all of you who subscribe to “writers block,’ and for you others who have surrendered to the fear of failure, I am here to testify that it is possible to win at writing, at self-publishing and to step your game up to deal with the industry at large. To date, because I have become disciplined at mastering my craft, I have been contacted or contracted by some of the worlds most renowned actors, directors, movie studios and media publications. And I’m going to enjoy riding the wave until someone (Maybe Roger Bannister?) can come along a run this race harder, faster and with more capability, discipline and experience than I can.