Queens in a Warzone

Jaytilya M. Watkins

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION DRAMA LGBT SUSPENSE/THRILLER

    Core Theme

    THE STRUGGLES OF FIVE BLACK WOMEN TO FIGHT WHITE RACISM AND SEXISM AND VIOLENCE WITHIN THEIR OWN CULTURE, LEADING TO SUCCESS IN BOTH WORK AND LOVE BUT TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES FOR ONE OF THEM.

    TIME PERIOD

    20th Century (multiple decades), 2000s, Other

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    EMPIRE, SEX AND THE CITY, THE L WORD.

    CHARACTER LIST

    SHAY, 20S. DARK SKINNED, BEAUTIFUL, KIND AND PERSONABLE;

    KAYAN, 20S. MOCHA SKINNED, BEAUTIFUL AND A TALENTED RAP ARTIST/SINGER;

    JAYAN, 20S, MOCHA, HANDSOME, SEXY, KAYA’S TWIN BROTHER AND A TALENTED RAPPER;

    KEISHA, 20S, CARAMEL SKINNED, A GOOFY COMEDIAN;

    SONIA, 20S, LIGHT SKINNED, SEXY, COCKY, WANTS A RICH MAN;

    CASIE, 20S, THE LIGHTEST SKINNED, GREEN EYES, SMART AND SERIOUS BUT ALSO BEAUTIFUL AND SEXY;

    RIB CAGE, BLACK, 36, TALL, MUSCULAR, IMPOSING CLUB OWNER, DRUG AND GUN DEALER FUNNELING MONEY INTO LEGIT BUSINESSES, FALLS FOR CASIE;

    YUGO, 20S, ASIAN AMERICAN, BEAUTIFUL AND WEALTHY, GETS PREGNANT BY JAYAN AND IS JEALOUS OF SHAY;

    JR, 17, BLACK, CAGE'S SON WHO BECOMES OBSESSED WITH CASIE AND RAPES HER, LATER ON KILLING KEISHA ACCIDENTALLY WHEN HE TRIES TO KILL CASIE;

    SIVA, 20S, MIXED RACE, BEAUTIFUL SINGER WHO FALLS FOR KEISHA.

    Logline

    Five young and beautiful Africa American women who grew up in a violent neighborhood while dealing with individual struggles as women. The story will take a dangerous turn when one of them makes a dreadful decision that will chance all of their lives forever.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,13-17

    Target Gender: Female Leaning,LGBT Leaning,Male Leaning,Universal

    Setting

    Birmingham, Alabama in a violent suburb named "Bessemer"

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: iUniverse

    Year Published: 2016

    Starting Description

    The story begins at a funeral with the female narrator Lashay Lanette Adams" describing her feelings about the her best that died. Her name is Keshia Dozer. Both Lashay and Keshia are i This is the type of book that is similar to movies that begin at the end then goes to the beginning.o9f the story.

    Ending Description

    Keshia was shot protecting another member of the five girl group named Casie who about to be shot by her step son outside of a club he was an owner of. Keshia jumped in the way pushing her down to the ground to protect her from getting shot. She was shot three times.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    978153205044

    Mature Audience Themes

    Extreme Violence,Nudity,Sexual Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Coming of Age

    Plot - Premise

    Quest,Tragedy,Other

    Main Character Details

    Name: Lashay, Kayan, Keshia, Sonia, Casie, Jayan

    Age: 20s

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Badass,Sexy,Blunt,Confident,Charming,Clumsy,Power Hungry,Selfless,Outspoken,Funny,Engaging,Flexible,Faithful,Gracious,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Insecure,Seductive,Secretive,Romantic,Sarcastic,Visionary,Skillful,Unapologetic,Naive

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch

    This story is the female story of "Boys In The Hood!" There's always stories of how black men get kill in the hood all day and everyday. But the truth is black women are also getting killed in these violent drug infested neighborhoods also but their stories a silenced and overlooked. Even though this story is fiction it's not too far from the truth. Its the real story of what lots of women go through in a lot of these neighborhoods on a daily basis. One of my female characters is a lesbian. It caters to the members of the LGTQ community while still catering to the straight women also and tells the truth. I'll be waiting on a phone call and hope you don't turn it down.

    Genre

    DRAMA, ROMANCE

    Brief

    The story of five best African American childhood friends growing up in the Birmingham suburb of Bessemer, a place plagued by gang and drug violence. Two of them have babies while still in high school, but go on to become a successful singer and hair salon owner, while their other three friends are equally successful. Life isn’t without its serious ups and downs and in a tragic ending, the bonded women lose one of their own to a shooting.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The logline/summary is a little rough (spelling mistakes, disjointed logline): the author can use this more streamlined summary. "The story of five best African American childhood friends growing up in the Birmingham suburb of Bessemer, a place plagued by gang and drug violence. Two of them have babies while still in high school, but go on to become a successful singer and hair salon owner, while their other three friends are equally successful. Life isn’t without its serious ups and downs and in a tragic ending, the bonded women lose one of their own to a shooting.

    Draw of Story

    Five strong black female leads struggling to rise above drugs and violence.

    Possible Drawbacks

    Dialogue mostly in capital letters - in a new edition, this should be changed to regular font. Too long dialogue scenes with arguments that become repetitive. Cage's explanation of how he and Casie met and fell in love is far too long. Many spelling errors, listed here: 'broom' - should be 'groom'; 'violate' for 'violent'; 'kick to the curve' should be 'kick to the curb'; 'archers' should be 'acres'; 'presuming' for 'pursuing'; 'ligament' for 'legitimate'; 'strewing' for 'screwing'; 'versus' for 'verses'; 'rapped' for 'raped'.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    Five strong female leads giving each other moral and physical support in a dog-eat-dog violent neighborhood. Intense relationships with real life issues.

    Fanbase Potential

    Yes. It's a female-driven version of Empire or a black Sex and the City. African American females will especially love this drama.

    Awards Potential

    The five female leads are all strong roles for talent that could attract award attention.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    EMPIRE, SEX AND THE CITY, THE L WORD.

    What’s New About the Story

    Raw, first hand account of living in a rough neighborhood; the writing or formatting may not be 'professional' but the narrative is authentic. Some astute editing, spelling corrections and more paragraph breaks would make this book more professional and open to commercial publication.

    Lead Characters

    They are five disparate types - Shay, the 'Carrie Bradshaw' of the group, sweet, personable and wants true love; Kaya is the hot, talented singer and rapper with her twin brother Jayan (whom Shay falls for); Keisha is the goofy, stand-up comedian who falls for a woman; Casie is smart, serious and a little insecure, while Sonia is 'all that' and wants to marry a rich man but finds true love. There is a character type for every audience viewer to relate to.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Not really -- the elements are familiar but still well-done but the book requires a lot of professional editing in formatting, layout and spelling to turn it into a commercial read for audiences.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Studio, Indie, Streaming TV Series: Cable, Limited Run / Mini-Series

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    The black female-driven drama is very on-point and in vogue in the current Black Lives Matter and Me Too movement in society. Black female dramas are underserved in the movie and streaming world.

    Brief

    The saga of five African American childhood girlfriends who support each other physically and emotionally as they struggle to rise above a rough hood plagued by drugs and violence.

    What We Liked

    Five African American female leads are rare in the industry and make this material stand out, offering juicy roles for talent. Has strong appeal to a broad African American audience as well as broader appeal to Caucasian and Latino audiences. The five disparate characters all have easily relatable problems with life, love, marriage and motherhood. The contained setting makes it easy to shoot for a price and two of the characters being singers/rappers make this project attractive to real-life talent.

    Film: The project would also make a good stand-alone movie showing how women having each other's backs can help them rise above their circumstances. Black female leads are underserved in movies and thus very attractive roles for A-list talent.

    TV: The multi-layered stories of five characters make this a natural for a streaming television series. The five black female leads have strong appeal to an African American audience, and the drama is filled with plenty of juicy sex, romance, fights and nightclub/glamorous/pop song performances.

    Key points:
    Five disparate African American female leads. An edgy, gritty backdrop with drama and suspense. Rags to riches story, with plenty of wish fulfilment luxury and goal achievements. Intimate scenes dealing with personal relationship matters that everyone can relate to. Hot bodies!

    Synopsis

    Bessemer, present day. LASHAY LANETTE ADAMS (African American, mid 20s) is mourning the sudden death of one of her best friends. Shay’s parents divorced when she was ten and her mother moved from an upscale area of Birmingham to ‘the Bess’, a low-rent hood plagued by gang violence.

    Shay immediately connected with her neighbors and they became unofficial ‘sisters’: KAYAN (female) and her twin brother JAYAN, both talented singers/rap artists; KEISHA, a goofy comedian, CASIE, light skinned, the tech nerd who loves mending computers, and SONIA, also light skinned, who dreams of hooking a wealthy man.

    Kaya became pregnant in 10th grade and kept her son; Sonia also became pregnant by RYAN (17, white) but his racist family forced him to turn his back on her. Kaya stays in school and keeps up with her singing, but Sonia drops out and successfully sues Ryan’s family for child support.

    For various reasons, Shay ends up attending senior prom alone and Jayan offers to be her brotherly date. However, as they dance and hang out, Shay realizes she’s attracted to him, but Jayan is busy with other girls flocking to him. He takes her to a crowded after birthday party for CODY (black, 18) but after a rival guy from Mobile loses a rap battle to Jayan, a fight breaks out and the other guys whip out guns. Chaos ensues, host Cody is shot dead and Shay is wounded in the leg.

    It’s not a serious injury and she is able to go home that night. She’s furious when her uncles hold her down and her mother whips her with a belt for going to a dangerous party! Shay develops a serious crush on Jayan and Kaya admits she knows, as do the other girls. Kaya gives Shay her blessing to date Jayan if she wants.

    The gang graduate high school and attend a campus party with security and no alcohol. Jayan takes Shay to an after party at a wealthy YUGO’s (Asian American, pretty) house and ends up hooking up with her, much to Shay’s disappointment. Handsome, respectful JEE JEE (black, 19) flirts with her, telling her she shouldn’t lower herself to throwing herself at Jayan: he’s a player.

    Shay forgets about Jayan and enjoys hanging out with Jee Jee. Now it’s Jayan’s turn to pursue her! At a group BBQ and sleepover at Jayan’s house, he wakes her up in the middle of the night and admits that he’s fallen in love with her. Shay is thrilled and they kiss. Jayan stops seeing other girls and even posts that they are a couple on Facebook.

    The friends all get summer jobs. Shay is a talented hair stylist and has been making money from jobs since she was a teen. Jayan works at an auto mechanic while Casie fixes computers and starts dating TOMMY (early 20s).

    Shay and Jayan continue dating and she loses her virginity with him. After that, she becomes sex crazy! They do it everywhere!

    Kayan and Jayan perform several successful rap gigs are invited to perform at a fancy nightclub owned by RIB CAGE (36, black, tall, muscular), whose made his wealth from dealing drugs and guns. At first, Kaya is wary because of his background but he proves to be very nice and respectful. Their shows there are big hits. Jayan even writes a song about Shay and they star in a music video together.

    At the end of the summer, the friends enroll in technical college. Shay is studying cosmetology, Kaya office admin, Casie computer science, Jayan auto school and Sonia banking and finance.

    Casie’s relationship with Tommy has turned abusive and the girls finally confront her during a beating and drag her away. Jayan complains about Tommy to Cage (he’s employed by him) and Cage rescues her after they find her being pimped out on the street. His men beat Tommy up and he’s fired.

    Shay finds herself pregnant – and so is Jayan’s ex, Yugo! She has a boy while Shay has a girl, Ava. Kaya and Jayan are signed to Cage’s record label and start making good money.

    Cage employs all of the friends – Casie is his secretary, Sonia runs accounting, Shay does hair and make up for his musical acts and Keisha performs stand-up comedy. Cage buys a tricked-out RV to tour in. They take the babies along.

    Keisha meets pretty singer SIVA (female, black) and they start dating. Cage makes sure they all keep up with their college studies. Jayan runs the studio when Cage goes on ‘business’ trips.

    Cage moves the friends into a brand-new apartment complex that he owns, and he pays all of their rent. Casie shyly reveals that she is dating Cage, having fallen in love with him when he rescued her from Tommy. The girls are judgmental, citing their age difference but they soon see that Cage is a good guy and treats her respectfully. He’s learned from two bad marriages. He acts as a mentor to Casie and makes her more assertive while she makes him kinder.

    Cage’s business expands into restaurants, shops and youth centers, encouraging young black teens to stay away from drugs and guns. Casie gets boob and butt implants. Kayan’s musical career is going great and she starts dating celebrity CURT (30s) whom she met at the BET awards.

    Shay is jealous of the constant stream of female groupies flocking to Jayan and she boldly suggests they have a threesome with former white classmate AMBER (19) to spice up their love life. Soon, they are inviting one groupie after another into their lives until Shay realizes Jayan has become addicted and their relationship is suffering.

    When she confronts him about stopping, he admits that he’s been cheating with Yugo for the last month! Shay is livid and they have a huge fight. Later, Jayan admits it was a big mistake and he’s learned his lesson. He gets down on one knee and proposes! He also files for joint custody of his child with Yugo, digging up her dark past in which she stalked a married lover and stabbed him!

    Shay and Jayan hit another relationship road bump when Yugo reveals she’s pregnant again with Jayan’s child.

    Cage introduces Casie to his son JR (black, 16, tall) who is completely smitten and starts to flirt with her. The group travel to Vegas for one of Jayan and Kaya’s gigs and he persuades Shay to get married! They will have a family wedding party on their return. Unfortunately, photos leak out and it’s all over the news.

    For New Year’s Eve, the group are in New York where Kaya and Jayan have another big gig. Shay notices Casie isn’t herself and confronts her, shocked when she admits that JR raped her at her apartment when he knew she was home alone. She hasn’t dared tell Cage.

    Shay feels bad for Casie when Cage proposes at the New Year’s party, knowing the terrible secret she is hiding. She keeps trying to tell Cage but JR is always hanging around. Casie changes the locks and sets up spy cameras to capture JR confessing to what he did, and threatening to kill her if she tells Cage.

    Shay and Jayan decide to have a double wedding with Cage and Casie and it’s a glamorous affair. There’s a temporary glitch when irate, jealous Yugo tries to stop the ceremony but she is hurried out by security. They all honeymoon in Jamaica and have a wonderful time.

    Back in Bessemer, Shay is on the cover of a hair magazine and gets even more customers. Kaya’s upset when her baby daddy, who she isn’t dating, is shot and killed.

    Casie finds herself pregnant and worries that it could be JR’s. She finally tells Cage that his son raped her and he is livid. He confronts JR at his mother’s house and tells him he never wants to see him again.

    Ryan has come back into Sonia’s life, apologizing for what his parents made him do. He wants to be around for his daughter. Sonia is still angry about him ‘abandoning’ her and their friendship is fraught with fights until they realize they really do love each other. She proposes to him – and he shows he has a ring for her too!

    Keisha has long broken up with Siva but the latter can’t let her go. Keisha allows her to move back into her apartment as roommates. Siva promises she’s got a job and has stopped drinking. However, she soon falls off the wagon and starts using drugs again, and dating a pimp.

    Everyone graduates from college and they have a big celebration party at Cage’s club. The girls give heartfelt speeches about being grateful to their ‘sisters’ each having their back.

    Casie goes out to the parking lot with Keisha to fetch her coat and JR suddenly appears with a gun. Keisha pushes Casie to the ground as he opens fire, fatally hitting Keisha. JR flees and in a police car chase, he crashes and is killed when his vehicle explodes. The girls rush out in shock, horrified that their dear friend has passed away.

    Shay braids Keisha’s hair in her coffin; thousands of mourners show up. Kaya sings a moving version of Amazing Grace. Cage creates the Keisha Foundation, with anti-gun and drug education. Casie has a DNA test and her baby proves to be Cage’s, not JR’s. She has a girl and names her Keisha. Jayan writes a hit song honoring their late friend.

    Sonia and Ryan get married and have a second baby. Kaya, Jayan and Shay pool their money and buy land, building houses on it. The move their parents out of Bessemer to a safer suburb. Sonia’s mother marries Keisha’s father. Kaya gets her own radio show and marries a fellow DJ.

    About The Author

    Jaytiyla M. Watkins is a smart, ambitious and self-taught African American writer whose raw, self-published novels reflect her personal experience growing up in the white South. Her disparate, colorful characters are amalgamations of real life friends and family. Their struggles, problems, joys and sorrows are very relatable and universal in their appeal. From Ms. Watkins' evidence passion for her subject matter, one can expect more works of fiction illuminating the African American female experience.