Category Archives: Writer’s Spotlight

Embracing the Struggle Podcast #1: Shawn Hudson

Hey everyone. I’ve decided to start a new podcast called “Embracing the Struggle.” The podcast is centered around long-form conversations with emerging authors (and others in the creative and entrepreneurial spheres). In these talks, my guests share their experiences as up-and-coming talents and offer tips for others traversing similar paths.

My first guest was Shawn Hudson, author of the novel Just Us, a work of urban fiction. Shawn and I chatted about his writing process, work-life balance, the political nature of all art, and more.


You can listen to my conversation with Shawn by clicking play below.

Word of mouth goes a long way. Consider helping emerging authors like Shawn out by sharing this post on your Facebook or Twitter.

If you want to pick up an eBook of Just Us, click here. If you’d prefer a physical copy, click here.

Follow Shawn at @RBGLiterature.


Feedback on Shawn Hudson’s poetry. 

Interview with Shawn Hudson

Hey everyone! I had a lot of fun talking with one of the finest up-and-coming poets/novelists around, my good friend Shawn Hudson.


(Shawn on the left, rapper Young M.A. on the right)

In our interview, Shawn shares his thoughts on his poetry collection Poetic Thoughts of a Rebel, contemporary politics, hypocrisy in power structures, and life in general.

You can listen to Shawn’s interview by pressing play below:


If you liked Shawn’s interview, help spread the word about his writing by sharing this post on Twitter or Facebook.

If you want to support Shawn’s writing career, you can pick up copies of Poetic Thoughts of a Rebel, By Any Means, By Any Means 2: The Ghetto Gospel, and By Any Means III: Judgment Day on Amazon.

If you want to learn more about Shawn, you can follow him on Twitter @RBGLiterature.

To keep tabs on the latest writing info, inspiration, and entertainment, you can follow me on Twitter @bookcartpusher

Fighting the good fight with you,

Introducing Shawn Hudson, Author of “Poetic Thoughts of a Rebel”

Interview with Shawn Hudson

author photo
Hey everyone!

In a few days I’ll be posting an interview with Shawn Hudson.

Shawn is a talented poet/novelist who has recently released a collection of poems entitled Poetic Thoughts of a Rebel, which you can purchase via Amazon.


In our interview, Shawn and I talked about a wide variety of topics, ranging from poetry to hypocrisy to respectability politics to former NBA great Reggie Miller.

In the meantime, Shawn prepared a little introduction. You can listen to it by pressing play on the audio file below.


If you want to learn more about Shawn, you can follow him on Twitter @RBGLiterature.

To keep tabs on the latest writing info, inspiration, and entertainment, you can follow me on Twitter @bookcartpusher.

Interview with Brian Anderson

If Shawn’s introduction whetted your appetite, why not check out my interview with Brian Anderson, author of Groundwork.

Interested in Promoting Your Book?

Because I want to help authors, I’m now available to do interviews to promote books.

If you’re interested in promoting your book on The Literary Game,  please complete the contact form below and I’ll get back to you ASAP to discuss next steps.



Eventide, by Chance Averill


A few weeks ago, I received an email from Chance Averill, a longtime reader.

Chance told me that she enjoyed my posts, but wondered if I could go beyond the general info provided on the site. She wanted me to coach her in both writing technique and in navigating a successful literary career.

Obviously, I accepted. I mean, helping writers flourish is the reason that I started this blog in the first place.

Over the course of a few weeks of intensive sessions, Chance has developed this first piece that I’ll present to you – Eventide. Enjoy!


Countless times I have sat or lied beside you. Sometimes just in the same room with you in a trance, eyes affixed to a screen. The thought of you stroking yourself off into the night to thousands of little boxes formed into a fantasy, be it organized into cosmic or flesh scene, I always find myself revolted by it. I came from the senses. Scent, sound, touch, taste, the beauty of nature impressed upon me without that incessant buzzing in my ears. I was cultivated to acquire the flavor of salted skin on my tongue. My eyes burned, melting into more than a few others as we’d drift from dusk to dark turned loose in a field, under the trees, locked into a van with the windows condensed so thick with shared breath, they would drip. You are a digital slave and I am an analog damsel held captive in your world where the empty fantasies never end and reality is obsolete. Meanwhile, I itch and boil and ache for my sickly savagery. I almost left to go be with two different self absorbed assholes just because I knew if I touched them, they would feel real: filthy, weathered, connected to cellular entropy, in tune with the cycles of corporeal rise and fall. This is the best time to be with you, listening to you heaving through membranes, forcing air through your nasal passages. You sleep like a beast but you wake and function like a milk cart, the wheels turning incessantly knowing only the draw of compulsion. I knew this when I met you. It didn’t matter then. I just wanted the company of another accepting body in the room. My former partner made my world a living nightmare and I would descend to your basement to get stoned so my awareness of his cruelty could dilute, if only for a while. I had to deal with your e-hive, its whirring and spinning. I knew I’d be leaving that town and would have to acclimate to the electronic grid of a city. So we did it and the hardest thing of all after five years of transition is having shored up a strong desire for community, the touch of other humans amidst the constant interference of electromagnetic bombardment.

The purgatory of commitment gets really bad at night, I imagine walking out into the dark and intercepting some beautifully physically sculpted brother under the moonlight, somewhere the vegetation gets thick and the waves of radiation subside. Where the human organism reclaims its domain of the tangible, receptive and offensive vessel we call a body. I dream of the bicep covered by cotton, the kind I can pull back and feel the skin of humanity spark against my own. Just standing there in the dark holding fast to his arms overcome by the lust of this vehicle. Like an utter stalker in the night, over his shoulder and inhaling his organic pheromones. Somewhere the wires and threads and frequencies can’t find me. Your snoring flaps next to me like a lone car window of four open on a fast highway or like a taut sheet on the line, yanked by a strong breeze. The most agitating and yet one of the few truly human things that you do.

I guess all addiction is human. Like water caught in a dam or cornered in a recess of mud. It’s a blockage. The fluid swirling around in a spiral pressing against the resistance of its mineral boundaries. That’s where I’ve been for too long. Compressed into a bubble of existence with you. Self imposed abduction though you would protest, you wouldn’t find a way to sweep me off into the trees to ravage me; I know this because its been years and you’ve yet to try. You’re not uncivilized like me. You don’t see what’s amiss and if I were to explain it you would find a way to take that upon yourself as criticism but it isn’t. It’s just a fact of my reality, I haven’t been swept away in so long. I don’t even mean the sexual component. Just the pure and concentrated animal intimacy. The grooming and preening, the encompassing tears and sweat and temperature of living beings. Raw epidermal exchange under the canopy of lush green arboreal protection. I long to hear the vocal undulations so close to my ears that I’m actually overwhelmed by tuning in. Intonations traveling the auditory range, so close to a real person you can hear their heart pumping blood through their veins.

This body has become shabby from neglect but I’m determined to rekindle the fires of my will’s hearth to blaze frenzied trails for future deviants to tread. I expect my new style of conditioning will revive this body to its former fusion with the human network in all its disgusting and meaty glory soon enough. I don’t know how you’ll take it when I redeem my soul from the systematic tedium you’ve become accustomed to but I won’t let that deter me from this quest. This is what alive means: knowing instinctively when something is wrong, be it physically imbalanced or psychologically insubstantial. I’ve always been so observant, so detailed, apprehensive and cognizant of my environment and it looks as if I shall remain this way indefinitely. The universe perverted me for its own purposes and this is the crux of my character. By it I have been instilled with a sort of curse to defy the convention of societal inundation and drudgery. The affect of industrialization is lost on me. I am repelled by factory bought or thought and am drawn to invention, defiance and distinction.

The drowsy montage of time flips me forward like a slideshow into a quaint backyard enclosure. The sun shines but the brutal unabating winters from the North clutch desperately onto the breeze here even in the subtropics. Years now and I have yet to run the beach in the notorious birthday suit I donned frequently in the woods I hailed from. It’s not a matter of fear but of liberation. Gotta be able to pay the fines for indecent exposure and gotta have a co-pilot ne’er do well to get caught with. You’re a lovely soul to watch a clock tick beside in content TV dinner, suburban ambiance but you are not what I expected. In your flights of fancy and bold displays of courtship days, the peacock colors you presented to the world I later discovered were a gold dust mirage fashioned by your esteemed PR party planner. She had you impacted in the bowels of her closet and tagged you on the clearance rack or not unlike a fixer-upper staged in presentation for quick sale.

She made you believe you were a bargain basement find and when she set you out on the floor with a ribbon round you, she knew there was sentimental value but grossly underestimated how much. After the transaction was complete and you were no longer a utensil in her drawer, she lamented her lost showpiece. A curio; a trifle and none know better than I the value you have depreciated yourself to match her assessment of you. I challenge your self-analysis and it’s no cake walk to prove your potentiality to you after a lifetime of her training. It’s so strange to watch you shrink small as the curtains of life open wider. With such qualifications as yours, one would think you’d light up naturally luminous under such conditions but the seats are empty, save the one for yourself. I understand your perception, you see no need for masquerade knowing full well what lies beneath. But do you really? You only know the subjective half of it and undercut your own value, by default of course, to the point of discounting your own position as an observer, an objector. That is the gaping seat you refuse to take, declined to applauding yourself on in the moment and instead tolerating the experience with banal filler: activating the digital treadmill and running the program. The one you coded straight from watching your father fall asleep in those aisles despite your exhibitions. I glimpse smiles of accomplishment after the fact when another captures your skill in motion but not so when you are dared to espouse the present moments where your inner critic could be your greatest ally. You deny him and by that mistake diminish the adjective, “potential” as it’s curse word counterpart in noun form. It doesn’t have to be an ends but for that you must make peace with the means to embrace ambition and promote your inherent promise. That dirty word, “abeyant”, “unrealized” “within the realm of possibility”…potential.

Through the viewmaster, my mind frames back as the shadows fall to what I need. The waking hours belong to function and the eventides are bound to form. I always do this… begin with me but somehow end with you. My cold toes cramp my style, waiting for my high noons to return and my deep currents to swell once again. I hope one day your epiphany of this skewed vantage point will strike you and that ambition will engulf you so that you’ll set sail with purpose. You’ll open your eyes to the world waiting for you, one without scarcity and excuses, one lavish with passion, joy and bounty. I long for those days where you leave the false security of her mainland and make the voyage to the claim that we have staked. Long as I might, you may never make that journey.  No matter, you don’t have to be a force of nature but it is inevitable that I must. I only hope you’ll batten down the hatches and find your hands on the wheel ready to navigate the squalls when they arrive. If the lighthouse goes dark, I hope for your sake you’ll have your position ready and your eyes on the stars for when the clouds part. I don’t want you lost out there drifting, a drenched straggler on the liquid frontier as I come ashore and lose these sea legs, primed and ready to be a pioneer.

Leave Your Feedback

What did you think of Chance’s piece? Let us know in the comments below!

Fighting the good fight with you,

Interview with Brian Anderson

I’m privileged to bring my readers a conversation with one of the finest up-and-coming novelists around, my good friend Brian Anderson.

In our discussion, Brian shares his thoughts on his excellent novel Groundwork, the writing process, and many other topics of interest to aspiring writers.

Brian Anderson, author of Groundwork, on the left, Alfonso Colasuonno, founder of The Literary Game, on the right.

Writer’s Spotlight: Punk Science by Dee Em Vine

I would like to thank Dee Em Vine for their wonderful post the other day, which you can read here just in case you missed it: “Writing Through Chaos: Finding The Will To Write When Everything’s A Mess.”

Dee Em Vine is both an incredibly talented writer and a close friend. They have been kind enough to allow me to publish their play, Punk Science. Below is an excerpt. To read the full play, please click here.


So what do you do for a living?


I’m a grad student


Oh, wow. What for?


Creative Writing.


You’re right. I am judging you.

Dee Em Vine is a fiction author, entertainer, and artist. Vine was born in Chicago and raised between Northern Illinois and the Tampa Bay region of Florida. A drifter at heart, they write characters who frequently find themselves on the move. Vine’s literary work seamlessly weaves the fantastical with the political.

You can follow Dee Em Vine on Tumblr by clicking here.

Writer’s Spotlight: Natalie Hernandez

Today, I’m introducing a new feature to The Literary Game. My whole intention here is to help writers grow. I think the opportunity to switch things up once in a while and showcase talented new writers fits well with the whole mission here, so without further ado…


by Natalie Hernandez

His words replayed in my head the whole ride home, “I hate to disappoint you, but I ain’t shit. Honestly, I’m just a druggy who’s nice with words but suffers from a crazy short attention span.”  The rattling of the subway was the soundtrack to my questions, first one being, What the fuck did he mean by that?

Was that his way of telling me that I had been wrong this whole time? I mean sure, he always told me I was too pure to be held by him, but he loved his vices; and once I remember he told me I was “as pure as imported cocaine,” so I know he’s capable of loving me.

His boys warned me, multiple times; but I confused it for jealousy. They couldn’t wrap their small, drug infused minds around the fact that their King had found a good one. Sure, I endured a couple bruises and punches here and there, but he was high. I was in love. We always met each other halfway, even through detours.

The sudden halt of the train jolted my tiny body and I jumped out of my seat; just three more stops and I would finally be home.  At this stop, people coming in from work rushed into the subway like roaches entering the free world-all in packs, stuck together like a fresh pack of Newports.

Mmm…Newports. That smell always reminded me of the long nights Christian and I had on my front porch when we were seventeen. Crazy, to think that both of us would be nearing twenty five this year; and I’m the only one who kept my sobriety a promise. Christian could never, and I knew that…but I had to be the one giving him the benefit of the doubt. His mother walked out on him and his sisters when they were young; his father was never around—and his “boys,” were more like his children. Sucking him out of his money like leeches, just to feed their vices.

Christian once said he fell in love with me because I was nothing like the people around him; and while he was absolutely correct—he never knew the reason why I loved him so deeply.

He was the exact replica of my father: a drunk. The only difference both of them held, was that Christian fed more into the needles and baggies than he did the bottles. I honestly would not have minded if he were just an alcoholic; I know how to deal with those. But drug addicts? I don’t think I had ever met one until he came along.

Before him, I was just Seline. A 16 year old girl trying to get myself through high school with straight A’s, but the only thing straight about me was my edge. I never drank, never smoked; because I had seen what it was doing to my father. Witnessing addiction first hand was the only sign I needed.

But things changed my senior year. Christian had just transferred from a school in Brooklyn to my school in Queens, and I could tell it wasn’t by choice.

“Yo. What’s good love? I’m Chris.”

I looked around, making sure he wasn’t talking to me.

“Yes you, Ma. What’s good? Talk to me. Fuck with me, what’s good?”

“Class, please turn in your papers when the bell rings. Enjoy your day.”

I picked up my books and walked to the front of the class as quickly as I could, trying to avoid him.

Damnit, I remember thinking. This kid moved like Spider-Man, and he was definitely up to something…something nobody at Newtown was ready for.

When I arrived at my locker, he was standing close by. I decided to break the ice, giving him a cold stare.

“My names Seline. I’m 16, and whatever the fuck it is you want, I don’t have it. “

He looked surprised, but his lips curled into this very sexy smirk.

“Oh. So shorty has a name huh? Well, I think Seline should come chill with a real one, let me show you around my city.”

I scoffed. “Excuse me, YOUR city? You’re not even from here, shut the fuck up.”

He laughed. The sound of his laughter brought me back to my favorite summer, it was refreshing; yet…terrifying.

Weeks went by, and Christian and I became closer. I introduced him to my parents; under all the pressure in the world.

Me lo tienes que traer a la casa por lo menos una vez, para conocerlo bien./ You have to bring him home at least once, so we can get to know him better.”

My poor mother. She had no idea that she’d be reconnecting with the teenaaged version of my father all over again. His clothes constantly reeked of marijuana, but it slowly became my favorite cologne.

After school one day, we walked to my house; hand in hand. He was doing something he’d never done before—playing with my fingers.

“Babe, you good? We don’t have to go if you don’t want to; I’ll just tell her you got sick or whatever.”

He shook his head, and straightened his jacket.

“Nah, it’s all good. I just haven’t done this shit in a while, meeting a girl’s parents or whatever. You don’t get it yet babygirl, but I’m no good for you.”

I laughed it off, and continued to walk.

To my surprise, the night went insanely well. We ate, talked, laughed. My mom seemed to really like him, constantly giving me smiles and nods of approval whenever our eyes met.

Gracias Senora Ruiz, esta comida le quedo diivina/ Thanks Mrs Ruiz, the food was amazing.”

I had never heard him speak Spanish before, but I felt my eyes fill up with delight.  After he went home that night, my mom and I sat down for a talk.

“Mija, I like him for you, a lot. He reminds me of your father.”

She nodded in his direction; where he was sitting on the couch; nose buried in a Dean Koontz book.

“I know Ma, that’s why I was afraid of bringing him here. I knew you’d think that.”

She looked at me, shocked. “Porque dices eso?/ Why do you say that?”

“Because Ma, he’s a lot like Daddy. He has vices. He drinks, smokes, he’s not the ideal guy for me, Mami. But I like him.”

My mom shook her tiny head of blond curls in disbelief. She kissed my forehead and said, “Goodnight mi vida, te quiero.”

I’ll always remember that night like it was yesterday….and next month would be seven years since that day.  I’ll never forget he’d write me poems and raps and slip them into my bag every morning on our way to school. He’d buy me anything I ever wanted, and I never had to ask twice for anything.

His mom said I changed her son into the man she’d always knew he would be. But what she didn’t know, was that he was the exact image of my dear father. An addict, dependent on vices that would probably kill him, sooner than later.

When I got home, I showered and slipped into my  favorite pair of leggings and an oversized hoodie, one which I’m sure belonged to Christian.

I heard my phone ring from the other room, and ran to get it.

The name Adrian displayed on my screen.

“Seline? Seline…Seline!….Christian’s dead.”


You can follow Natalie on the Web and social media:
Twitter: natstradamus__
Instagram: redlipstikandhiphop and natstradamusss

If you would like your short fiction or poetry to be featured in The Literary Game, send over your writing by clicking here.

In success,