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Tidak semua lemak itu buruk, karena sebenarnya ada dua jenis lemak yang terkandung di dalam makanan. Ada lemak baik yang biasa disebut dengan HDL, dan ada lemak jahat yang disebut juga sebagai LDL. Nah, lemak jahat memang sebaiknya dihindari demi kesehatan Anda. Tetapi lemak baik justru wajib dihidangkan di dalam menu keseharian Anda. Apa saja sih lemak baik itu. Menurut Reverse Diabetes, beberapa produk makanan ini mengandung lemak baik yang sehat untuk dikonsumsi sehari- hari.

Tidak semua lemak itu buruk, karena sebenarnya ada dua jenis lemak yang terkandung di dalam makanan. Ada lemak baik yang biasa disebut dengan HDL, dan ada lemak jahat yang disebut juga sebagai LDL.

Nah, lemak jahat memang sebaiknya dihindari demi kesehatan Anda. Tetapi lemak baik justru wajib dihidangkan di dalam menu keseharian Anda.

Apa saja sih lemak baik itu. Menurut Reverse Diabetes, beberapa produk makanan ini mengandung lemak baik yang sehat untuk dikonsumsi sehari-hari.

Buah alpukat

Buah ini mengandung lemak yang cukup banyak, sebanyak Anda memesan double cheeseburger. Tetapi kandungan lemaknya adalah lemak baik. Kebaikan lemak pada buah berwarna hijau kekuningan ini dapat menurunkan kolesterol jahat di dalam tubuh.

Agar kebaikannya dapat dipetik secara maksimal, disarankan agar mengonsumsi alpukat tanpa tambahan apapun juga . Sajikan alpukat dalam bentuk plain agar jauh lebih sehat untuk tubuh.

Cokelat

Tidak semua cokelat bisa bikin tubuh jadi gemuk. Jenis dark chocolate mengandung lemak baik dan kaya akan antioksidan yang tinggi. Yang baik merawat kesehatan jantung serta menurunkan tekanan darah.

Disarankan untuk memilih dark chocolate dengan kandungan kakao 70% dan dikonsumsi sedikit saja setiap hari untuk memetik manfaatnya.

Ikan laut

Adalah omega-3 yang merupakan jenis lemak terbaik untuk sistem kardiovaskuler di tubuh. Mengonsumsi ikan laut secara rutin selama dua minggu, kabarnya dapat menurunkan resiko terkena serangan jantung sebesar 36%.

Ikan laut yang disarankan adalah ikan laut dalam atau sejenis tuna dan makarel. Agar tidak kehilangan nutrisinya, Anda dapat mengolah ikan dengan memanggang dalam oven, dikukus, atau dijadikan pepes.

Aneka kacang-kacangan

Kacang dapat menyebabkan jerawat? itu hanya mitos. Kacang tanah, kacang almond, dan jenis kacang lainnya mengandung protein nabati dan lemak yang dapat menurunkan resiko terkena diabetes tipe 2. Penelitian yang dilakukan mendapatkan hasil apabila seseorang mengganti snack dengan kacang- kacangan, maka resiko terkena serangan jantung akan menurun.

Untuk hasil terbaik, nikmati kacang dengan cara mengolah direbus, dipanggang dan tanpa tambahan gula, garam atau MSG.

Minyak zaitun

Judulnya sih minyak, tentunya kaya akan lemak. Tetapi, lemak dari minyak zaitun adalah lemak baik yang bermanfaat untuk menjaga kesehatan jantung.

Sebagian orang menggunakannya sebagai bahan memasak atau membuat kue, sebagian juga menggantikannya untuk media memasak dan ada pula yang meminumnya. Apapun caranya, minyak zaitun mendatangkan kebaikan dan sehat untuk dikonsumsi.

Tuh kan, tidak semua lemak itu jahat. Dengan cermat memilih makanan, maka Anda dapat memiliki tubuh bugar dan sehat serta umur panjang. Stay fit and healthy

Apakah Anda termasuk yang bingung untuk memilih jenis bohlam lampu apa yang tepat untuk jenis aplikasi penggunaan pada ruangan A

Apakah Anda termasuk yang bingung untuk memilih jenis bohlam lampu apa yang tepat untuk jenis aplikasi penggunaan pada ruangan Anda? Jika “Ya”  Anda tidak usah bingung dan sampai harus memanggil konsultan design interior segala kalau hanya sekedar untuk menentukan lampu apa yang cocok buat ruangan Anda. Kalau Anda pernah membaca tulisan saya terdahulu, Baca Tips Design Pencahayaan Lighting Ruang, sedikit pernah saya ulas kalau hakekat design pencahayaan lighting sebuah ruang sebenarnya adalah menganut kaidah siang dan malam.

Untuk dapat memilih lampu yang tepat atau sesuai dengan jenis aplikasi penggunaan pada ruangan Anda, Anda juga perlu melihat beberapa parameter serta jenis yang ada dalam spesifikasi lampunya. Berikut adalah beberapa parameter dan jenis yang ada dalam spesifikasi lampu, yang perlu Anda lihat karena berkaitan erat dengan aplikasi penggunannya:

1. Colour Rendering

Dalam katalog jenis lampu, satuan yang dipakai untuk dapat membedakan warna cahaya lighting atau biasa disebut Colour Rendering adalah Kelvin atau sering disingkat K. Semakin tinggi angka satuan Kelvin-nya, biasanya satuannya dalam ribuan, maka akan semakin putih kebiru-biruan warna cahaya lightingnya. Begitupun sebaliknya, semakin rendah angka Kelvin-nya maka akan semakin kuning kemerah-merahan warna cahaya lampunya. Untuk dapat menentukan warna apa yang tepat buat ruangan Anda maka jika ruangan Anda aplikasinya untuk bersantai, untuk kamar tidur, tempat makan, ruang keluarga, sebaiknya pilih yang warna cahayanya yang kuning. Jangan menggunakan warna putih. Karena apa? Karena warna kuning lebih soft, nyaman untuk nuansa santai dan beristirahat. Sebaliknya, jika aplikasinya buat ruang kerja yang bernuansa serius, pilihlah yang berwarna putih.

Pertanyaan saya bagaimana jika sebuah ruangan misalnya berfungsi ganda? Ya, berfungsi sebagai ruang santai juga ruang untuk bekerja Anda misalnya. Gampang, aturlah sistem pencahayaan ruangan tersebut menjadi dua grup, satu grup lampu dengan cahaya kuning dan satu grup lagi dengan cahaya putih lalu pasanglah saklar seri menjadi dua grup.

Sekedar contoh pada lampu yang ada di pasaran. Saya ambil contoh pada lampu Philips jenis esential type warm white (kuning) satuan Kelvin-nya sebesar 2700 K. Dan kalau type cool daylight (putih) satuan Kelvin-nya sebesar 6500 K.

2. Lumen

Satuan yang telah membedakan kekuatan cahaya bohlam lampu adalah Lumen. Semakin tinggi satuan Lumen sebuah lampu maka semakin terang atau tinggi pula Lux cahaya yang dipancarkannya. Lampu yang baik idealnya adalah ratio lumennya tinggi diatas 50 lm/W. Bahkan kini lampu-lampu Hemat Energi di pasaran sudah ada yang lumen per wattnya cukup tinggi, yaitu 60 lm/W. Untuk dapat menentukan berapa Lux yang tepat buat ruangan Anda maka jika ruangan Anda aplikasinya untuk bersantai, untuk kamar tidur, tempat makan, ruang keluarga, sebaiknya pilih yang watt dan lumen-nya tidak terlalu tinggi. Jangan menggunakan lampu yang terlalu terang pada ruangan tersebut. Karena apa? Karena cahaya yang lebih redup, soft atau tidak terlalu terang lebih nyaman untuk nuansa santai dan beristirahat. Sebaliknya, jika aplikasinya buat ruang kerja yang bernuansa serius, pilihlah yang watt dan lumennya yang tinggi.

Sebagai gambaran misalnya ruangan Anda berukuran 9 M2 dan berfungsi sebagai kamar tidur, kebutuhan lampunya sekitar 300 Lumen sudah cukup untuk dapat menerangi ruangan Anda.

3. Jenis Ballast dan Trafo

Di pasaran pada lampu tertentu, seperti jenis TL, PLC, Metal Halide dan spot ada yang masih menggunakan ballast dan trafo sebagai komponen lampunya. Dan tipe ballast dan trafo yang ada terbagi menjadi dua, konvensional (pakai kumparan/lilitan) dan elektronik. Dari kedua tipe ballast dan trafo tersebut, pilihlah yang dari jenis elektronik, jangan menggunakan yang jenis kumparan. Selain karena alasan Hemat Energi sebab ballast atau trafo elektronik terbukti lebih hemat energi, juga pada lampu yang ber-ballast atau trafo elektronik bentuknya lebih ramping sehingga tidak mengganggu estetika ruangan Anda.

4. Lampu Spot

Untuk obyek tertentu yang telah membutuhkan fokus penerangan seperti poster, lukisan atau obyek-obyek tertentu seperti patung, air mancur, atau pohon dan relief di taman misalnya, yang butuh sekali ditonjolkan, pasanglah lampu sorot yang mengarah ke obyek-obyek tersebut agar obyeknya nampak lebih menonjol dan hidup. Lampu seperti jenis ini dalam istilah design lighting disebut lampu spot. Untuk memilih lampu yang jenis seperti ini, pilihlah lampu yang berjenis PAR.

5. Lampu General Lighting

Untuk tipe general lightingnya, pilihlah yang jenis armaturenya dari downlight karena lebih fleksibel, yang titiknya bisa diatur menyebar mengikuti luas ceiling ruangan. Karena bentuknya yang tidak terlalu besar dan bisa inbow (masuk) ke dalam plafond membuat ruangan lebih indah secara estetika untuk mendukung design interior ruangan Anda.

6. Lampu Indirect Lighting

Untuk sistem pencahayaan ruang yang telah membutuhkan penerangan cahaya secara tidak langsung atau indirect, misal untuk koef ceiling (lekukan plafond) atau pada ornamen pada dinding, pilihlah lampu yang dari jenis TL karena bisa memberikan efek pencahayaan bayangan yang bagus. Lampu TL yang bentuknya memanjang lebih menghemat jumlah titik lampunya. Dan sekarang tersedia pilihan dengan bentuknya yang semakin kecil dan memanjang mirip dengan tubing neon sign yang dulu pada design interior lighting ruangan pernah dipakai juga sebagai lampu indirect lighting. Contoh lampu TL yang kecil seperti ini, pilih jenis lampu TL 5.

Demikian beberapa tips dari saya untuk memilih bohlam lampu yang tepat buat ruangan Anda. Semoga sharing tips ini bisa bermanfaat.

BEIJING (AP) — The head of Taiwan's Nationalists reaffirmed the party's support for eventual unification with the mainland when he met Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of continuing rapprochement between the former bitter enemies.

Nationalist Party Chairman Eric Chu, a likely presidential candidate next year, also affirmed Taiwan's desire to join the proposed Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank during the meeting in Beijing. China claims Taiwan as its own territory and doesn't want the island to join using a name that might imply it is an independent country.

Chu's comments during his meeting with Xi were carried live on Hong Kong-based broadcaster Phoenix Television.

The Nationalists were driven to Taiwan by Mao Zedong's Communists during the Chinese civil war in 1949, leading to decades of hostility between the sides. Chu, who took over as party leader in January, is the third Nationalist chairman to visit the mainland and the first since 2009.

Relations between the communist-ruled mainland and the self-governing democratic island of Taiwan began to warm in the 1990s, partly out of their common opposition to Taiwan's formal independence from China, a position advocated by the island's Democratic Progressive Party.

Despite increasingly close economic ties, the prospect of political unification has grown increasingly unpopular on Taiwan, especially with younger voters. Opposition to the Nationalists' pro-China policies was seen as a driver behind heavy local electoral defeats for the party last year that led to Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou resigning as party chairman.

THE WRITERS ASHLEY AND JAQUAVIS COLEMAN know the value of a good curtain-raiser. The couple have co-authored dozens of novels, and they like to start them with a bang: a headlong action sequence, a blast of violence or sex that rocks readers back on their heels. But the Colemans concede they would be hard-pressed to dream up anything more gripping than their own real-life opening scene.

In the summer of 2001, JaQuavis Coleman was a 16-year-old foster child in Flint, Mich., the former auto-manufacturing mecca that had devolved, in the wake of General Motors’ plant closures, into one of the country’s most dangerous cities, with a decimated economy and a violent crime rate more than three times the national average. When JaQuavis was 8, social services had removed him from his mother’s home. He spent years bouncing between foster families. At 16, JaQuavis was also a businessman: a crack dealer with a network of street-corner peddlers in his employ.

One day that summer, JaQuavis met a fellow dealer in a parking lot on Flint’s west side. He was there to make a bulk sale of a quarter-brick, or “nine-piece” — a nine-ounce parcel of cocaine, with a street value of about $11,000. In the middle of the transaction, JaQuavis heard the telltale chirp of a walkie-talkie. His customer, he now realized, was an undercover policeman. JaQuavis jumped into his car and spun out onto the road, with two unmarked police cars in pursuit. He didn’t want to get into a high-speed chase, so he whipped his car into a church parking lot and made a run for it, darting into an alleyway behind a row of small houses, where he tossed the quarter-brick into some bushes. When JaQuavis reached the small residential street on the other side of the houses, he was greeted by the police, who handcuffed him and went to search behind the houses where, they told him, they were certain he had ditched the drugs. JaQuavis had been dealing since he was 12, had amassed more than $100,000 and had never been arrested. Now, he thought: It’s over.

But when the police looked in the bushes, they couldn’t find any cocaine. They interrogated JaQuavis, who denied having ever possessed or sold drugs. They combed the backyard alley some more. After an hour of fruitless efforts, the police were forced to unlock the handcuffs and release their suspect.

JaQuavis was baffled by the turn of events until the next day, when he received a phone call. The previous afternoon, a 15-year-old girl had been sitting in her home on the west side of Flint when she heard sirens. She looked out of the window of her bedroom, and watched a young man throw a package in the bushes behind her house. She recognized him. He was a high school classmate — a handsome, charismatic boy whom she had admired from afar. The girl crept outside and grabbed the bundle, which she hid in her basement. “I have something that belongs to you,” Ashley Snell told JaQuavis Coleman when she reached him by phone. “You wanna come over here and pick it up?”

Photo
Three of the nearly 50 works of urban fiction published by the Colemans over the last decade, often featuring drug deals, violence, sex and a brash kind of feminism.Credit Marko Metzinger

In the Colemans’ first novel, “Dirty Money” (2005), they told a version of this story. The outline was the same: the drug deal gone bad, the dope chucked in the bushes, the fateful phone call. To the extent that the authors took poetic license, it was to tone down the meet-cute improbability of the true-life events. In “Dirty Money,” the girl, Anari, and the crack dealer, Maurice, circle each other warily for a year or so before coupling up. But the facts of Ashley and JaQuavis’s romance outstripped pulp fiction. They fell in love more or less at first sight, moved into their own apartment while still in high school and were married in 2008. “We were together from the day we met,” Ashley says. “I don’t think we’ve spent more than a week apart in total over the past 14 years.”

That partnership turned out to be creative and entrepreneurial as well as romantic. Over the past decade, the Colemans have published nearly 50 books, sometimes as solo writers, sometimes under pseudonyms, but usually as collaborators with a byline that has become a trusted brand: “Ashley & JaQuavis.” They are marquee stars of urban fiction, or street lit, a genre whose inner-city settings and lurid mix of crime, sex and sensationalism have earned it comparisons to gangsta rap. The emergence of street lit is one of the big stories in recent American publishing, a juggernaut that has generated huge sales by catering to a readership — young, black and, for the most part, female — that historically has been ill-served by the book business. But the genre is also widely maligned. Street lit is subject to a kind of triple snobbery: scorned by literati who look down on genre fiction generally, ignored by a white publishing establishment that remains largely indifferent to black books and disparaged by African-American intellectuals for poor writing, coarse values and trafficking in racial stereotypes.

But if a certain kind of cultural prestige is shut off to the Colemans, they have reaped other rewards. They’ve built a large and loyal fan base, which gobbles up the new Ashley & JaQuavis titles that arrive every few months. Many of those books are sold at street-corner stands and other off-the-grid venues in African-American neighborhoods, a literary gray market that doesn’t register a blip on best-seller tallies. Yet the Colemans’ most popular series now regularly crack the trade fiction best-seller lists of The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. For years, the pair had no literary agent; they sold hundreds of thousands of books without banking a penny in royalties. Still, they have earned millions of dollars, almost exclusively from cash-for-manuscript deals negotiated directly with independent publishing houses. In short, though little known outside of the world of urban fiction, the Colemans are one of America’s most successful literary couples, a distinction they’ve achieved, they insist, because of their work’s gritty authenticity and their devotion to a primal literary virtue: the power of the ripping yarn.

“When you read our books, you’re gonna realize: ‘Ashley & JaQuavis are storytellers,’ ” says Ashley. “Our tales will get your heart pounding.”

THE COLEMANS’ HOME BASE — the cottage from which they operate their cottage industry — is a spacious four-bedroom house in a genteel suburb about 35 miles north of downtown Detroit. The house is plush, but when I visited this past winter, it was sparsely appointed. The couple had just recently moved in, and had only had time to fully furnish the bedroom of their 4-year-old son, Quaye.

In conversation, Ashley and JaQuavis exude both modesty and bravado: gratitude for their good fortune and bootstrappers’ pride in having made their own luck. They talk a lot about their time in the trenches, the years they spent as a drug dealer and “ride-or-die girl” tandem. In Flint they learned to “grind hard.” Writing, they say, is merely a more elevated kind of grind.

“Instead of hitting the block like we used to, we hit the laptops,” says Ashley. “I know what every word is worth. So while I’m writing, I’m like: ‘Okay, there’s a hundred dollars. There’s a thousand dollars. There’s five thousand dollars.’ ”

They maintain a rigorous regimen. They each try to write 5,000 words per day, five days a week. The writers stagger their shifts: JaQuavis goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up early, around 3 or 4 in the morning, to work while his wife and child sleep. Ashley writes during the day, often in libraries or at Starbucks.

They divide the labor in other ways. Chapters are divvied up more or less equally, with tasks assigned according to individual strengths. (JaQuavis typically handles character development. Ashley loves writing murder scenes.) The results are stitched together, with no editorial interference from one author in the other’s text. The real work, they contend, is the brainstorming. The Colemans spend weeks mapping out their plot-driven books — long conversations that turn into elaborate diagrams on dry-erase boards. “JaQuavis and I are so close, it makes the process real easy,” says Ashley. “Sometimes when I’m thinking of something, a plot point, he’ll say it out loud, and I’m like: ‘Wait — did I say that?’ ”

Their collaboration developed by accident, and on the fly. Both were bookish teenagers. Ashley read lots of Judy Blume and John Grisham; JaQuavis liked Shakespeare, Richard Wright and “Atlas Shrugged.” (Their first official date was at a Borders bookstore, where Ashley bought “The Coldest Winter Ever,” the Sister Souljah novel often credited with kick-starting the contemporary street-lit movement.) In 2003, Ashley, then 17, was forced to terminate an ectopic pregnancy. She was bedridden for three weeks, and to provide distraction and boost her spirits, JaQuavis challenged his girlfriend to a writing contest. “She just wasn’t talking. She was laying in bed. I said, ‘You know what? I bet you I could write a better book than you.’ My wife is real competitive. So I said, ‘Yo, all right, $500 bet.’ And I saw her eyes spark, like, ‘What?! You can’t write no better book than me!’ So I wrote about three chapters. She wrote about three chapters. Two days later, we switched.”

The result, hammered out in a few days, would become “Dirty Money.” Two years later, when Ashley and JaQuavis were students at Ferris State University in Western Michigan, they sold the manuscript to Urban Books, a street-lit imprint founded by the best-selling author Carl Weber. At the time, JaQuavis was still making his living selling drugs. When Ashley got the phone call informing her that their book had been bought, she assumed they’d hit it big, and flushed more than $10,000 worth of cocaine down the toilet. Their advance was a mere $4,000.

Photo
The roots of street lit, found in the midcentury detective novels of Chester Himes and the ‘60s and ‘70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines.Credit Marko Metzinger

Those advances would soon increase, eventually reaching five and six figures. The Colemans built their career, JaQuavis says, in a manner that made sense to him as a veteran dope peddler: by flooding the street with product. From the start, they were prolific, churning out books at a rate of four or five a year. Their novels made their way into stores; the now-defunct chain Waldenbooks, which had stores in urban areas typically bypassed by booksellers, was a major engine of the street-lit market. But Ashley and JaQuavis took advantage of distribution channels established by pioneering urban fiction authors such as Teri Woods and Vickie Stringer, and a network of street-corner tables, magazine stands, corner shops and bodegas. Like rappers who establish their bona fides with gray-market mixtapes, street-lit authors use this system to circumnavigate industry gatekeepers, bringing their work straight to the genre’s core readership. But urban fiction has other aficionados, in less likely places. “Our books are so popular in the prison system,” JaQuavis says. “We’re banned in certain penitentiaries. Inmates fight over the books — there are incidents, you know? I have loved ones in jail, and they’re like: ‘Yo, your books can’t come in here. It’s against the rules.’ ”

The appeal of the Colemans’ work is not hard to fathom. The books are formulaic and taut; they deliver the expected goods efficiently and exuberantly. The titles telegraph the contents: “Diary of a Street Diva,” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” “Murderville.” The novels serve up a stream of explicit sex and violence in a slangy, tangy, profane voice. In Ashley & JaQuavis’s books people don’t get killed: they get “popped,” “laid out,” get their “cap twisted back.” The smut is constant, with emphasis on the earthy, sticky, olfactory particulars. Romance novel clichés — shuddering orgasms, heroic carnal feats, superlative sexual skill sets — are rendered in the Colemans’ punchy patois.

Subtlety, in other words, isn’t Ashley & JaQuavis’s forte. But their books do have a grainy specificity. In “The Cartel” (2008), the first novel in the Colemans’ best-selling saga of a Miami drug syndicate, they catch the sights and smells of a crack workshop in a housing project: the nostril-stinging scent of cocaine and baking soda bubbling on stovetops; the teams of women, stripped naked except for hospital masks so they can’t pilfer the merchandise, “cutting up the cooked coke on the round wood table.” The subject matter is dark, but the Colemans’ tone is not quite noir. Even in the grimmest scenes, the mood is high-spirited, with the writers palpably relishing the lewd and gory details: the bodies writhing in boudoirs and crumpling under volleys of bullets, the geysers of blood and other bodily fluids.

The luridness of street lit has made it a flashpoint, inciting controversy reminiscent of the hip-hop culture wars of the 1980s and ’90s. But the street-lit debate touches deeper historical roots, reviving decades-old arguments in black literary circles about the mandate to uplift the race and present wholesome images of African-Americans. In 1928, W. E. B. Du Bois slammed the “licentiousness” of “Home to Harlem,” Claude McKay’s rollicking novel of Harlem nightlife. McKay’s book, Du Bois wrote, “for the most part nauseates me, and after the dirtier parts of its filth I feel distinctly like taking a bath.” Similar sentiments have greeted 21st-century street lit. In a 2006 New York Times Op-Ed essay, the journalist and author Nick Chiles decried “the sexualization and degradation of black fiction.” African-American bookstores, Chiles complained, are “overrun with novels that . . . appeal exclusively to our most prurient natures — as if these nasty books were pairing off back in the stockrooms like little paperback rabbits and churning out even more graphic offspring that make Ralph Ellison books cringe into a dusty corner.”

Copulating paperbacks aside, it’s clear that the street-lit debate is about more than literature, touching on questions of paternalism versus populism, and on middle-class anxieties about the black underclass. “It’s part and parcel of black elites’ efforts to define not only a literary tradition, but a racial politics,” said Kinohi Nishikawa, an assistant professor of English and African-American Studies at Princeton University. “There has always been a sense that because African-Americans’ opportunities to represent themselves are so limited in the first place, any hint of criminality or salaciousness would necessarily be a knock on the entire racial politics. One of the pressing debates about African-American literature today is: If we can’t include writers like Ashley & JaQuavis, to what extent is the foundation of our thinking about black literature faulty? Is it just a literature for elites? Or can it be inclusive, bringing urban fiction under the purview of our umbrella term ‘African-American literature’?”

Defenders of street lit note that the genre has a pedigree: a tradition of black pulp fiction that stretches from Chester Himes, the midcentury author of hardboiled Harlem detective stories, to the 1960s and ’70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, to the current wave of urban fiction authors. Others argue for street lit as a social good, noting that it attracts a large audience that might otherwise never read at all. Scholars like Nishikawa link street lit to recent studies showing increased reading among African-Americans. A 2014 Pew Research Center report found that a greater percentage of black Americans are book readers than whites or Latinos.

For their part, the Colemans place their work in the broader black literary tradition. “You have Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, James Baldwin — all of these traditional black writers, who wrote about the struggles of racism, injustice, inequality,” says Ashley. “We’re writing about the struggle as it happens now. It’s just a different struggle. I’m telling my story. I’m telling the struggle of a black girl from Flint, Michigan, who grew up on welfare.”

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The Colemans in their new four-bedroom house in the northern suburbs of Detroit.Credit Courtesy of Ashley and JaQuavis Coleman

Perhaps there is a high-minded case to be made for street lit. But the virtues of Ashley & JaQuavis’s work are more basic. Their novels do lack literary polish. The writing is not graceful; there are passages of clunky exposition and sex scenes that induce guffaws and eye rolls. But the pleasure quotient is high. The books flaunt a garish brand of feminism, with women characters cast not just as vixens, but also as gangsters — cold-blooded killers, “murder mamas.” The stories are exceptionally well-plotted. “The Cartel” opens by introducing its hero, the crime boss Carter Diamond; on page 9, a gunshot spatters Diamond’s brain across the interior of a police cruiser. The book then flashes back seven years and begins to hurtle forward again — a bullet train, whizzing readers through shifting alliances, romantic entanglements and betrayals, kidnappings, shootouts with Haitian and Dominican gangsters, and a cliffhanger closing scene that leaves the novel’s heroine tied to a chair in a basement, gruesomely tortured to the edge of death. Ashley & JaQuavis’s books are not Ralph Ellison, certainly, but they build up quite a head of steam. They move.

The Colemans are moving themselves these days. They recently signed a deal with St. Martin’s Press, which will bring out the next installment in the “Cartel” series as well as new solo series by both writers. The St. Martin’s deal is both lucrative and legitimizing — a validation of Ashley and JaQuavis’s work by one of publishing’s most venerable houses. The Colemans’ ambitions have grown, as well. A recent trilogy, “Murderville,” tackles human trafficking and the blood-diamond industry in West Africa, with storylines that sweep from Sierra Leone to Mexico to Los Angeles. Increasingly, Ashley & JaQuavis are leaning on research — traveling to far-flung settings and hitting the books in the libraries — and spending less time mining their own rough-and-tumble past.

But Flint remains a source of inspiration. One evening not long ago, JaQuavis led me on a tour of his hometown: a popular roadside bar; the parking lot where he met the undercover cop for the ill-fated drug deal; Ashley’s old house, the site of his almost-arrest. He took me to a ramshackle vehicle repair shop on Flint’s west side, where he worked as a kid, washing cars. He showed me a bathroom at the rear of the garage, where, at age 12, he sneaked away to inspect the first “boulder” of crack that he ever sold. A spray-painted sign on the garage wall, which JaQuavis remembered from his time at the car wash, offered words of warning:

WHAT EVERY YOUNG MAN SHOULD KNOW
ABOUT USING A GUN:
MURDER . . . 30 Years
ARMED ROBBERY . . . 15 Years
ASSAULT . . . 15 Years
RAPE . . . 20 Years
POSSESSION . . . 5 Years
JACKING . . . 20 YEARS

“We still love Flint, Michigan,” JaQuavis says. “It’s so seedy, so treacherous. But there’s some heart in this city. This is where it all started, selling books out the box. In the days when we would get those little $40,000 advances, they’d send us a couple boxes of books for free. We would hit the streets to sell our books, right out of the car trunk. It was a hustle. It still is.”

One old neighborhood asset that the Colemans have not shaken off is swagger. “My wife is the best female writer in the game,” JaQuavis told me. “I believe I’m the best male writer in the game. I’m sleeping next to the best writer in the world. And she’s doing the same.”

 

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