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Give the Gift of Knowledge 
Join Our Online Book Tour!


Our core belief:  We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond.  – Gwendolyn Brooks


EDC Creations, The Sankofa Literary Society and The Black Authors Network are proud to announce the launch of the  2016-2017  "Storytellers Book Tour and Holiday Gift Campaign," bringing readers and authors together to help improve literacy.  You can join the #StorytellersBookTour campaign too, go here!   Please share the Storytellers Book Tour flyer with your friends too:  https://www.smore.com/9yzf  

Each new year, we encourage readers to purchase books to give as gifts 365 days a year.  Listed below are just a few of our book suggestions. Each week we will bring many more! The books are available in our bookstore and in bookstores near you! 

Let's all agree to "Give the Gift of Knowledge" and help to strengthen our future generations by sharing our wonderful literary legacy!  We have selected several hundred books for your library, check them out at our bookstore, go here.  Please consider share this page and the featured books with your network!


Ella Curry, President of EDC Creations
Black Pearls Magazine Online-Founder
Black Authors Network Radio-Founder
Social Media Strategist - Internet Publicist - Branding Coach

 

 

 

 


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What’s in Your Mouth by Hazel Mills

The New Year is an opportunity for creating a new life. Commercials, talk shows and even social media will have us thinking that the yellow brick road to that new life is paved with weight loss, making more money and even finding love. However, one of the most important bricks is often overlooked. The words we speak to ourselves along the journey is just as critical as the journey itself. “What’s in Your Mouth” seeks to inform the reader of the important role words play in the life we seek to create and in how we relate to those around us. The article offers tips on how to begin to change your words to change your life. I believe this article embodies Morning Tea’s mission to encourage, uplift and inspire people from all walks of life.

The late great author and poet, Maya Angelou once said, “Words are things.” You can put certain words together and cause someone to fall in love with you. String another set of words together and you can start a war. The Bible teaches us that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Words are things. Powerful things. As we begin a new year, we are resolving to lose weight, make more money and maybe find love. But perhaps the most critical change we can make is one that can have the most prolific and valuable effect on every area of our lives. We should begin to pay more attention to what comes out of our mouths instead of focusing on what we put in it. The old adage we were all taught as children that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” is not true. Words hurt. Words can cut deeper than any knife; inflicting wounds that can last a lifetime. Want to change your life? There are three ways changing what you say can bring about the transformation you desire.

* BECOME AN ENCOURAGER. The first place to practice being an encourager is with yourself. When faced with a challenging task, pay attention to what you say about yourself to yourself. Instead of saying, “this is too hard for me” or “I can’t do this,” say “this may be hard but I can do it.” Often times we defeat ourselves with words before we have even begun the work at hand. Encouraging is simply a pep talk to inspire courage. It doesn’t require a lot but it could mean the world to you or to someone who is doubting themselves or their abilities. Another way to practice being an encourager is to give compliments. Complimenting someone on their hair or verbally admiring their shoes can go a long way to make them feel good and you may find it gives you a mood boost as well.

* EMPATHIZE. To be an effective encourager, you must develop empathy for the other person. Seeing a situation from another’s perspective will help you learn what is important to them; what they value. Once you learn this, you can offer verbal encouragement to communicate that you care and understand how they feel. This is not the time to be critical, condescending and condemning. Your positive and inspiring words may be just the catalyst someone needs to change direction in life and reach their full potential.

* PUT SOME SUGAR ON IT.
Have you heard that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar? Absolutely true. It is not what you say, it is how you say it. A scowl on your face and a grunt in your voice can turn even the sweetest phrase sour. You may have the other person’s best interest at heart but the message gets lost in the nasty translation. Most often, people hear and interpret the message based on the tone in which it was delivered. The way you express your feelings and desires is very important. No one responds well to harsh language and demands. The goal is to draw people to you and create healthy, meaningful and positive relationships.

Don’t get discouraged if none of the above comes naturally to you. It’s okay. We are all shaped by our experiences and unfortunately, everyone has not had the experience of being encouraged, receiving empathy or being spoken to sweetly. These concepts may appear foreign and seem impossible to some. The good news is you can learn! All that is required is a willing spirit and practice.

Meet the Author
Author Hazel Mills
, has written several short stories, novels and articles for publication. Hazel has been recognized as a part of Who’s Who in Black Birmingham (2009) and Who’s Who in Black Alabama (2014). She was the recipient of an AAMBC Literary Award in 2009 and was a contributor to the African American Literary Award winning anthology, Mocha Chocolate: Taste a Piece of Ecstasy, as well as a nominee for her own book(2008). Hazel’s latest novel series, Mr. Wrong After All and Mr. Wrong After All: Second Chances, was released in 2015 by Mahogany Red Books. She enjoys writing and being a wife and mother of three sons.

www.hazelmillsstories.com
www.twitter.com/hmillsstories
www.facebook.com/hazelmillsstories





Walking on Thin Ice by Re'Gena Bell-Roberts

Re'Gena Bell-Roberts was featured on the Steve Harvey Show as one of the Harvey's Heroes!

Walking on Thin Ice, a memoir of love, hate, envy, and greed traces a young woman's pursuit of stardom down a dangerous road that leads to shattered dreams and a harrowing fate.

Re'Gena Bell-Roberts found herself staring down the barrel of a revolver, and a wave of disbelief rippled through her. An explosion blasted her into a nightmare. The room swirled slowly. Click––click. The sound reverberated each time as the shooter pulled the trigger. She realized this woman was trying to kill her! 

In Walking on Thin Ice, Re'Gena Bell-Roberts shares her riveting story against the backdrop of a childhood sexual molestation. She is one, among a few young girls from the small town of Pasco, Washington, who harbored dreams of fame, fortune, and a craving for the love of a powerful man.

After high school graduation, Re'Gena's life transforms. Despite myriad warnings, she falls for the charming Max Clayton, a thirty-three year old streetwise hustler who entices her into a dark underworld of illicit sex and drugs.

When Max betrays her, their life takes a fateful turn. The gripping saga explodes in the Mount Baker area of Seattle, Washington; and depicts Re'Gena's struggle to deal with a tragic life-changing event that threatens her very existence. But she fights back with unshakable strength, courage, and a will to survive.

5-STAR BOOK REVIEWS


By Brenda Bentley Parrrish 

This book is an awesome read. The determination and persistence of a woman with the willpower to begin productive and purposeful living after bad decision making based upon her love for a man almost cost her, her life. The story paints a picture of a beautiful woman of inner strength with her children giving her courage to become a champion. Her love for her man Max, consumed her very existence: mind, body, heart, soul and spirit. Finally she realized that she was starring in a role that was intended to be her final curtain call. After a near death experience she triumphant and find that God will sometime take you down a long winding road when he is teaching you a lesson to get you where he ordained you to be in this life. The story has several valleys and peaks and even a cliff. I am looking forward to the sequel. Great job ReGena Bell Roberts. Your bravery, persistence and determination are a powerful testimony to many who have fallen head over heels in love. Thank you for sharing your story with the world.

By Lionel Mitchell

This was a story that I could not put down. Re'Gena is so courageous to write her story. I pray that some young women will read it , so that they may not go down the same road. The words on those pages were so descriptive. Drawing you in and making you feel all the life in the story. There is love, laughter, and pain. As a first time author this story should be a best seller.

By Verlean Gladney 

This book made me laugh and cry. It made me happy, sad, angry and a host of other emotions. This book gave me strength and hope. Very well written and totally gripping. I could not put it down. A must read for all you ladies from any walk of life. This book could literally save your life. I thank the author for sharing her life with me. I can hardly wait for her next book!


The San Diego Union-Tribune Featured Story on Re'Gena Bell-Roberts

Re'Gena Bell-Roberts has a life story full of tragedy, pain and redemption. Confined to a wheelchair after she was shot at the age of 21 by a woman her fiance was seeing on the side, Roberts found a way to overcome her disability and, against considerable odds, create a nurturing and supportive environment in which to raise her triplets, who were just 2 years old at the time of the attack.

"You know, God gives you strength to do what you need to do," Roberts said.

These days Roberts, who was an aspiring actress when she was shot, and managed to do some stage work even after she was confined to her wheelchair, is working on her autobiography and hopes to one-day see her story on the big screen.

In the meantime, she will get a little time on the small screen. Roberts will be featured Wednesday on the Steve Harvey Show in a segment called Harvey's Heroes. Roberts' daughter, LyNea Bell, one of the triplets, nominated her mother for the recognition.

Bell, 40, works as a talent agent for Media Artists Group in Los Angeles.

"We never had an excuse," Bell said. "We couldn't have an excuse because the example was right there. So it made it a lot tougher. You couldn't cry, 'No, I can't.' It was, 'We have to.'"

The other triplets are Bell's two brothers -- McClain, an entrepreneur who lives not far from his mother in Southern California, and DeShae, who now lives in Seattle and is hoping to become a welder.

After she was shot in Seattle in 1974 while attending the University of Washington, Roberts briefly moved back home to Pasco, Wash., and in with her mother to rehabilitate from her injuries and get help with the children. But she quickly saw that was not going to be a long-term answer.

"My mother was working full-time and, you know, she'd (have to) get up all the time at night," Roberts said. "And I saw this painful look in her eyes, like it was killing her. She was tired. And I made a decision that I was moving."

Eventually, Roberts landed in Los Angeles, where her best friend from home, Cat Gibson, was living with one of Roberts' sisters. Roberts was able to support herself financially on money she was eligible for through the Washington state crime victims compensation program.

Still, she had to cook, clean and manage the triplets, whom she called little rascals.

"They were a handful," she said. "... plotting, doing what kids normally do."

Roberts is a quadriplegic, but has limited use of her hands.

As the kids got older she enlisted their help, teaching them how to put the coins in the machines at the laundromat, and help her with the folding. After she arranged for an automobile with hand controls, a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, she trained the kids to collapse the chair and pack it in the trunk.

"We had a whole system," Bell said.

Once the triplets got going in school, Roberts had more time on her hands and she went back to college, eventually graduating from UCLA with a history degree. Her mother came down from Washington to attend the ceremony.

"It was an accomplishment," Roberts said. "My mom was very happy. She wore my cap and gown after I took it off. She didn't graduate from high school. So she was very proud of me."

Roberts was the first in the family to graduate.

The second act of her life, which followed, featured a move back to Washington where she jumped into producing, taking part in community theater and putting on gospel showcases. For a few years, she produced and directed the local Martin Luther King Day events.

She and Gibson formed their own production company. Everything was fine, as long as Roberts wasn't part of a committee.

"I didn't have the time to sit around in meetings," she said.

But within a few years, that was exactly what she was doing. After moving the family to Seattle, she dove into government and politics, serving on the Governor's Committee for Disability Issues and Employment, and later as a member of the Seattle Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

For Roberts, acting and producing were replaced by organizing and advocating, although she still performs occasionally under the stage name Re'Gena Bell.

"What goes on behind the scenes in the city, that just mesmerized me," she said.

She ran twice unsuccessfully for the Seattle City Council, on a platform of helping the disenfranchised.

Today, she sits in her comfortable, nicely appointed home in Murrieta, where she has lived with her husband since 2004, and muses about her bucket list. A hot air balloon ride is next up.

A new van would be nice, too. She lost her last one in an accident. The ever-resourceful Roberts is an entrant in an online contest to win just such a vehicle. Anyone interested in voting, can visit www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com.

Bell considers the full depth and breadth of her mother's story, and marvels.

"This is why she's my hero," Bell said. "This is why I wrote in (to the Steve Harvey Show), because I look at all the things of this world, and I look at how much that she's influenced our lives, and I am just so proud. And it's right in front of me every single day."


Original Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune Feature Story on Re'Gena Bell-Roberts


Photo credit: Regina Roberts of Murrieta was featured on the Steve Harvey Show in a segment called Harvey's Heroes. Behind her are her children: DeShae Bell, LyNea Bell, Steve Harvey and McClain Bell.  Courtesy photo — Steve Harvey ShowCourtesy photo


Order Walking on Thin Ice by Re'Gena Bell-Roberts
Download Link:  http://amzn.com/1491764759  
Genre:   True Story. Non-fiction. Memoir 

 

 

 

 

 


Thrive!...Affordably by Jennifer Streaks

Life is meant to be enjoyed, but let’s be honest: It’s almost impossible to live a life of abundance when you are drowning in a sea of debt and suffering under the strain of financial struggle. So many people are not free to enjoy life simply because they don’t have control over their finances. As a result, they go through life surviving and not truly living.

Thrive!...Affordably, takes the headache and the guesswork out of financial management. It is a monthly “how-to” designed to help the reader meet financial goals one step at a time. The book offers tips, advice, and basic financial management lessons geared towards helping the reader highlight strengths, identify missteps, and take control over finances. If you are looking for a way to permanently free yourself from debt, this book is for you. Jennifer Streaks takes the mystery out of management, making financial freedom attainable for anyone willing to do the work.

You deserve to live your best life. Don’t just survive...Thrive!


Purchase Thrive! ... Affordably: Your month-to-month guide to living your 
BEST life without breaking the bank by Jennifer Streaks
Link: http://amzn.com/0692625941  




About the Author

Jennifer Streaks
, an Affordable Lifestyle Expert, started her career working in financial compliance for major banking institutions. In 2005, when the economy started a downward spiral and the housing bubble burst, Jennifer, armed with an MBA, found herself at the center of the storm helping individuals save their homes and pay off their credit card debt.

Jennifer has been on every major TV and radio network (MSNBC, FOX, Fox Business, AlJazeera, CCTV, MarketWatch) and has been published in several national magazines providing practical financial advice that everyone and anyone can immediately put to use to see a change in their financial picture. She has also been called on to report on major financial changes and disruptions such as the foreclosure mess, changes in credit card rules, the increase in prepaid debit card usage and the continued shortage of jobs and the impact on the economy.

Consistently, described as “highly intelligent, witty & easy to work with, Jennifer has earned a law degree from Howard University School of Law and an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business.

Follow Jennifer Streaks, MBA, Financial & Affordable Lifestyle Expert
http://www.JenniferStreaks.com 

 

 

 

 

 


Jacob’s Eyes by Anita Ballard-Jones

In this dark time in our history, two brothers, Jacob and Jackson shared the same loving father, the same mansion home, but were separated by age and the circumstances of life; Jacob, a mulatto slave and Jackson, the sole heir to their father’s plantation. They were mirror images of each other, both tall and having golden hair, blue eyes and creamy white complexion. Jacob had the soul of a black man and Jackson’s soul was only fed by cruelty, possessions and hatred. Once Jacob was free it wasn’t long before he realized that passing for white was a powerful weapon to be used to free his enslaved family and friends, specially his black pearl, Sula who was pregnant with his child. 

Nothing could stop him in his quest to reach the safety of Canada before the start of the Civil War, not even murder, assault, thievery or arson. He found great pleasure standing his ground against other white people. 

Throughout Jacob’s triumphs, Brother Jackson was in hot pursuit of him, but little did Jackson know revenge was not in his favor. Jackson’s attempt to kill Jacob would end up causing him more inescapable pain than he could ever have imagined; pain that was a thousand times worse than the pain he allowed his overseers to inflicted on his slaves; pain that could not be undone.

Purchase Jacob’s Eyes by Anita Ballard-Jones
Link:  http://amzn.com/B01ABD7XTQ  
Historical Literature > Christian Fiction > African American 



Meet the Author 

Anita Ballard-Jones is the acclaimed author of the novels, Rehoboth Road, The Dancing Willow Tree and Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down. She is a native of Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of C.W. Post, at Long Island University. She is retired from New York State’s Long Island Developmental Disabilities Service Office where she worked as a Treatment Team Leader. She is a long time resident of Long Island, New York and enjoys spending time in North Carolina and Florida. She loves hearing from her individual fans, as well as book clubs.

Website:

http://anitaballardjones.com 

Goodreads
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/807519.Anita_Ballard_Jones 

Barnes & Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Anita+Ballard+Jones%22 

Facebook Fanpage
https://www.facebook.com/Anita-Ballard-Jones-Fan-Page-121616341210058/ 

 

 

 

 

 


Her Perfect Catch (A Novella) 
by K.L. Brady

Sometimes love is in your grasp All you have to do is hold on… 

Nerdy, struggling sports writer Melanie Vincent needs a miracle when her dream of running a nationally recognized blog hits a snag due to low readership. After Mel is gifted a pair of Super Bowl tickets for years of faithful dog sitting, she has a chance encounter with her favorite football player that leads to the inside scoop on the biggest story of her career...and maybe the love of a lifetime.


Excerpt: Her Perfect Catch by K.L. Brady 


"Wow. This place is absolutely amazing. You’d think we landed in Italy...or someplace more exotic than, you know, Houston." 

"Yeah, it's kind of romantic, right?" Mel replied. "Well..." Dylan flashed a thin smile.?"I know, I know. Too bad you're stuck with me and Mack, right?"?

"Small sacrifice for a Super Bowl ticket," he replied with a shrug and chuckle. "Anyway, let's get checked in." 

The lobby was no less elegant than the hotel's exteri- or, draped in luxurious natural-colored decor with reddish accents, Italian marble, and ornate European-styled furniture placed in cozy, conversational arrangements. The desk attendant, an older gray-haired lady with a southern twang, shifted her eyes between them. 

"Well, don’t you two make the cutest couple?" 

"We do, don’t we?" Dylan said, wrapping his arm around Mel's shoulder, grinning as if he’d won the lottery. With one eyebrow up, Mel glanced at his hand and then brushed it off. "Uh, no, no. We're best friends." 

"Oh, I get it. Friends with benefits." She winked.?"No, no. Just buddies."?

"Well, if he's not with you"—she reached between her ample bosom and pulled out a business card—“he can give me a call. I get off in an hour." 

"Uh, ma'am, we'd just like to check in, please. Any additional rooms available?" 

She pursed her lips and gave Mel every bit of her atti- tude. "Afraid not. We're all booked up until Monday. Super Bowl." 

Mel handed the woman her credit card, then waited for her to process it for incidentals and pass her the keycards. “Room 315. Up the elevator to the third floor; your room is on the left at the end of the hall.” As Mel dragged her suitcase and Mack toward the elevator, his carrier handle started to cut into her finger so she swapped him for one of Dylan's bags. Then they pressed ahead through the pristine, marble lobby to catch a ride to their room. 

"Mel, why do you keep doing that?" Dylan asked as they waited for the elevator to alert its arrival. 

"Doing what?" 

"Telling everyone we're not together as if I’m a leper or something." 

"If my memory serves me correctly, denying that we're a couple used to be your role. How many times have you told your potential prey that I'm your little sister?" Mel responded, giving him the side eye. "Guess you taught me well, Obi-Wan." 

He grimaced as the elevator doors opened, motioned her inside, and pressed “3.” 

"Listen, I've wanted to talk to you about Gizelle. She didn't cancel. I did...and there's a reason, something I didn't realize until recently." 

"How many times did I tell you Gizelle was all wrong for you?" 

"About a thousand, but that's not what I'm—" 

She let out a long exasperated sigh. "Dylan, while I just love hearing about your sexual exploits and break- ups," she said facetiously, "how about you hold that thought until after I'm out of a hot shower and into some pajamas." 

"But you don't understand. What I'm trying to say is—" 

Just then the doors opened and Mel stepped off the elevator. It was too late when she heard someone yell, "Go deep!" 

An object collided against her temple, causing a dull aching pain to stretch across her skull and into her neck. Dylan's voice screamed, "Watch out!" before all light and sound faded and the hall went black. 


( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, K.L. Brady. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Her Perfect Catch by K.L. Brady, featured in the Valentines Pets & Kisses Box Set with 14 USA Today bestselling, national bestselling, and award winning authors. Only 99 cents until Valentine's Day.
http://www.amazon.com/Valentine-Pets-Kisses-Fourteen-Romances-ebook/dp/B019B7MN6G 

Amazon Download Link:




 

 

 

 


Jason's Valentine Gift 
by Janice L. Dennie

Jason Underwood returns home from Afghanistan only to find his girlfriend happily married to another man. To help him get some rest, Jason’s sister, Tisha convinces him to accompany her on a vacation to Napa, California to visit their relatives. Upon arrival, Jason realizes the airlines has misplaced his bag containing his pain medication. He visits the local VA hospital where he is treated by Nurse Amber Carrington, who threatens to crack his icy exterior. But Jason is determined not to allow another woman past his carefully guarded heart. 

Amber Carrington is on a mission to heal as many veterans as possible after losing her ex-boyfriend in Afghanistan. To Amber, Lieutenant Jason Underwood comes off as a bossy, commando type of soldier, used to barking out orders to his subordinates. But she’s accustomed to that kind of behavior from her patients, and sees through Jason’s tough exterior. She sees a man who, like her, suffers from a broken heart. Will Jason allow Amber to heal his wounded leg as well as his wounded heart? Will Amber overcome losing her ex-boyfriend?

Note: Kindle eBook Short Read > African American > Romance 

Download Your Copy Today! 
Link: http://amzn.com/B019UGKS9W 


ABOUT THE UNDERWOOD’S OF NAPA VALLEY SERIES 
The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting their families. The matriarch of the family, Henrietta Underwood, has dubbed each one of her five grandchildren with a character trait. As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.” He’s protective of his family and environment, and stays busy running his family’s winery. Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. Justin Underwood is “the strong one.” He’s the hotshot civil rights attorney who carries his family with his strength in the court of law. He fights, in court, to protect the woman he loves. But, Ashley Jacobs, has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series takes place in a romantic setting that enhances love, passion and relationships, and changes personalities forever.

Order the complete Underwood's Of Napa Valley (3 Book Series) 
http://www.amazon.com/Underwoods-Napa-Valley-Book/dp/B016DMMXUI 

Embracing Black Love by Janice L. Dennie

What’s the difference between Black love, White love, Asian love, Latino love, Native American love or interracial love? We are all God's creations and we all seek to be loved and nutured! But, today my focus is Black Love and I think it comes down to our unique history and the love of our diverse cultures. In writing this article about Black love, I decided to go back to a time in American history, when it was against the law for African Americans to love, marry or have a family. Even under those harsh circumstances, forced laborers still found a way to express their love. Since church weddings were unlawful, they came up with the idea of jumping the broom to demonstrate their love and commitment to each other. 

One thing we have learned throughout American history is that Black love is strong. It has survived the Jim Crow period—a time plagued with unjust laws and rampant lynching. It survived the Greenwood and Rosewood race riots, and others all over the country. It survived the civil rights era when people died fighting segregation and for the right to vote. Black love has survived under the harshest circumstances imaginable.

Today, in the midst of ratchet reality T.V. shows with it fighting, arguing and high drama designed to increase ratings, Black love may appear to be hiding under a rock. But then it raises its beautiful head in the lives of people like President Obama and Michelle, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, and Ruby and Ossie Davis. Black love also shows up in the souls of the people behind the “Black Lives Matter,” movement. 

Even though Black love had a rough beginning, it is still alive and well today. It manifests itself in a young man, working in a low paying job, yearning to give his beloved a five carat diamond ring but expressing his love with a simple gold band that fits his budget. It lives in the life of a young woman fighting to believe that she needs love, even though, her peers tell her that she does not. 

Like breathing air, all humans need to love and be loved by others in order to survive. Even roughneck, bad boy thug types, need love. Some people become lonely and depressed, and commit terrible crimes against humanity, in the absence of love or belonging. The need for love can overpower the need for relationships basic sustenance like bread and water. 

I enjoy writing about love and relationships, because everyone wants to be in love. In my romance novels, I create stories about handsome heroes and feisty heroines who approach love from different perspectives. But love always conquers whatever obstacles my characters face. 

I’m thinking about blogging about love and relationships on my website http://www.janicedennie.com  Stop by, when you get a chance and tell me what you think about this article. 

Meet the Author

Romance readers everywhere are enamored of Janice L. Dennie's handsome heroes and feisty heroines as they tumble breathlessly in love among the pages of exciting stories set against the backdrop of California's Napa Valley Wine Country. With a sensual voice and luxuriant style reminiscent of the great romance writers, Ms. Dennie's romances are dishes of luscious ice cream with candy sprinkles that keeps readers coming back for more of her smooth literary desserts! 

Born to a military family that settled in San Francisco, California, where Ms. Dennie attended middle and high school. She later graduated from California State University, and began a career with a federal agency. 

Ms. Dennie wrote and published two novels that launched her into the limelight of the romance industry. She continues to write romance novels that have readers reaching for her books time and again as she delivers love stories featuring beautiful, independent women and tall, dark and dangerous men. 

Determined to enjoy her life as she writes her way to the top of the bestseller lists, Ms. Dennie enjoys watching football with her husband, and visiting her family. She still has time to garden, volunteer in her community, and read her beloved romance novels! 

Stamped with her signature of excellence, Ms. Dennie's latest series, THE UNDERWOODS OF NAPA VALLEY series are heartwarming romances woven into the gorgeous tapestry of the wine industry, its lush vineyards and the elegant men and women who still believe in the power of love! To learn more about Janice L. Dennie and her books, visit www.JaniceDennie.com and indulge in delicious claret of literary pleasure!

Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/author/janicedennie 

Website: http://janicedennie.com 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jdennieauthor 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaniceDennieAuthor 
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/janicedennie/kentons-vintage-affair 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/578414.Janice_L_Dennie 

 

 

 

 

 


Second House from the Corner: A Novel
by Sadeqa Johnson

In the tradition of I Don’t Know How She Does ItSecond House from the Corner centers on the story of Felicia Lyons, a stay-at-home mother of three drowning in the drudgeries of play dates, lost pacifiers and potty training who occasionally wonders what it would be like to escape the demands of motherhood. But when an unexpected phone call threatens to destroy her life, Felicia is forced to return to her childhood home where she must wrestle with an ex-lover and long buried secrets to save the family and home she loves despite the daily challenges.

Felicia Lyons is a character who mothers can identify with and laugh along with. You can't help but cheer for her in Johnson's engaging and well-written novel.


PRAISE FOR SADEQA JOHNSON 

“A captivating tale to savor…Felicia is a wonderfully flawed, compelling main character, one who has stayed with me long after I finished the book. A winning novel from a writer to watch.”
—Benilde Little, bestselling author of Welcome to My Breakdown and Good Hair

"Sadeqa Johnson is one of those authors you rarely find these days. Her gift of writing sings on every page. When reading her second novel, Second House From the Corner, you can't help feeling like you just received a letter from an old friend.... or an old lover. It is a must read!"
—Here's the Story Bookstore in Union, NJ



Excerpt from Second House from the Corner: A Novel


PART 1

To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings— all in the same relationship. — Clarissa Pinkola Estes


The Witching Hour


That four-hour window between after-school pickup and bedtime?  It’s like walking a tightrope with groceries in both hands. The slightest hiccup will land any mother in a quagmire with her legs in the air. For me the whole afternoon was a fail. I locked myself out when I went to pick the kids up from school, but didn’t notice the missing house keys until I pulled into the driveway. The snacks had been demolished at the playground, so the hunger meltdown began on the drive to my husband’s office for the spare key (a drive that usually takes seven minutes, but ended up being twenty round-trip because of traffic). Things got even shoddier once I discovered we were out of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. My children will not eat baked chicken unless I dip the pieces in buttermilk, roll them in cornflakes, and bake until crispy. The oven was preheated, the potatoes were boiling for the mash, and I was thirty-three minutes off schedule without the magic cereal that makes my chicken finger-licking good. No time to change the dinner plan. So I swap in seasoned bread crumbs and cross my toes that they won’t notice.

“Mama, this doesn’t taste right.” My son, Rory, frowns.

“Just eat it. There are children right down the street who are starving.”

“But it’s disgusting,” whines Twyla.

How does a four-year-old know what disgusting is?

“Just eat.”

“I have to go pee pee and poo poo.”

“Stop smiling at me. Mommy, she’s smiling.”

“Can we just have dessert?”

“Maaaaaaaa.”

“Mommmmm.”

“Momeeeeeeee.”

Like a song on repeat. Like it’s the last word in the English dictionary. They call “Mommy” until my lips pucker, eyebrows knit. And it takes all my strength not to respond with that inside voice that nobody hears, that you wish would stay quiet, that tells the truth you don’t want anyone to know. That damn voice is hollering. Shut the fuck up!

At what point do I get to shout What the fuck do you want from me? I wouldn’t drop an F-bomb in front of the mommy crew at the park, and I hate to see parents on the street cursing out their kids. But here in my kitchen with everything working against me, I would like to liberate myself just once and let the profanity rip. It’s the nipping at my nerves that gets me. The feasting on my flesh like starved sea urchins. Them, fighting like thieves for their individual piece of me. Me feeling like I have nothing left to give. Any mother who says that she has never felt like her whole life was being sucked out through her nostrils is a damn liar. I feel it every day. Especially when I don’t get at least five hours of shut-eye, like last night.

Twyla (whom I call Two) walked her four-year-old self into my room every hour complaining about being scared. Scared of what? The curtain, the bed, the wall—she had an excuse for each visit. Never mind that she had to walk past her father to get to me. They never bother him. It’s always Mommy. So I upped and downed all night while he slept like a hibernating black bear. 

Breathe.  

I hate when I feel like this. My chest rising and falling. Momentum of failure piled. Anxiety has swept through my belly and is curled against my organs like a balled fist. Just one happy pill would make it all better. But I’ve been on the happiness-comes-from within kick for a few months, so no more pills. Instead I’ve started tapping. 

Tapping out my emotions so I can get back to feeling right. It’s that new technique where I say what my issue is and use my fingertips and hit my meridian points until I’m back to even. It usually takes about five minutes and several rounds before I feel centered and strong. My husband, Preston, calls it woo-woo, but he’s not at home with three children all day. I am, and I have to use what I’ve got to carry me through. I turn my back to the kids at the kitchen table, take two fingers, and tap the side of my hand while whispering my setup statement.

“Even though I feel stressed out, anxious, and tired of being alone and responsible for my kids I love and accept myself.”

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

“Calming down.” I try whispering the statement again but Tywla is out of her seat.

“My stomach hurts.”

Rory puts his fork down. “I’m full.”

My fingers stop. I haven’t made it through one minute, much less the five I need. I take a deep breath and usher everyone upstairs. Maybe Preston will surprise me and come home early. The damn voice laughs. When was the last time he did that? He never makes it home before their bedtime and I bet that’s on purpose.

Rory moans. “That’s my boat.” 

“Dad gave it to me.”

“No, he didn’t.”

Breathe. “Cut it out and get undressed.”

I run their bath and sneak in a quick tap. Repeating my setup statement, I move from my hand to my forehead, to the side of my eye, under my eye, under my lip, under my chin, full hand on chest, bra strap and top of the head. Fill my lungs with air and exhale. Twyla and Rory are back. I read my body. Better.

“Can I bring this in the tub, pretty please?” Twyla clutches the mesh bag with their toys.

“Sure.”

They climb into the bathtub and play. This should give me a few minutes alone with the baby.

“Guys, I’m going to change Liv into her pajamas. No water on the floor.”

“Can we have more bubbles?”

“No.”

“Awwww, man,” Rory replies, imitating Swiper the Fox. “You only gave us a little bit.”

I cut my eyes in the direction of my six-year-old and hold his gaze for a beat longer so that he knows I mean business.

The upstairs of our house is small, and it only takes three long strides to the girls’ bedroom. Liv, the baby, squirms in my arms and I find solace burying my head in her neck. I could sit and smell this child all day. At ten months old, she still has that fresh-to-the-earth smell that forces me to slow my pace. It’s hard to look at her without feeling deep sighs of relief. She is our miracle child.

When I was twenty weeks pregnant with Liv, a routine sonogram found something suspicious. I was sent to the Robert Woods Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick to see a pediatric cardiologist. There was a pinch in her heart that could hemorrhage. Her chances of being stillborn were high. When the doctor suggested that we terminate the pregnancy, I was bilious. By then I had already heard her heart beat, felt her flutter and kick, loved her. Preston didn’t even look my way when he simply told the batch of white coats that we would take our chances.

On our way home, the traffic on the Garden State Parkway held us hostage. I slobbered and blubbered against the passenger seat window, trudging through my past, knowing which karmic act brought this down on our family. My husband kept patting my hand, but when that didn’t work, he pulled our ice-cream-truck size SUV over to the side of the road and pressed the hazard lights.

“Foxy, look at me.” He is the only person who calls me Foxy, and even with hearing my personal pet name, I couldn’t bring my eyes to his. Tilting my damp chin, he forced eye contact. “This is not your fault.”

But it is.

“You trust me?”

I shake my head, of course, because there really is no other response when your husband asks you that question.

“So the baby is healed. It’s done, no more worries.” Preston clapped his hands, as if he had just entered a contract with God.

“Now stop blaming yourself, you didn’t do anything.”

As our vehicle crawled up the Parkway, he informed me that we’d name her Liv.

“Not short for anything. Just Liv.”

I knew what I had done to deserve this even though my husband did not. I wanted it to be all right. Needed something to cling too, so I agreed to everything that Preston offered because the only hope I had for a favorable outcome was him. I had burned my bridge with God a long time ago. 

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sadeqa Johnson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Second House from the Corner: A Novel
Contemporary Women Fiction



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About the Author

SADEQA JOHNSON is a former public relations manager who spent years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debut novel, LOVE IN A CARRY-ON BAG was hailed by Ebony.com as “this summer’s hottest read.” It was the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction and the 2012 USA Best Book award for African-American fiction. Originally from Philadelphia, she now resides in Virginia with her husband and three children. SECOND HOUSE FROM THE CORNER is her second novel.  For more visit: http://www.sadeqajohnson.com 

 

 

 

 


Earth’s Quiet Chaos: A Novel 
by Tomeekha Pitre

Earth’s Quiet Chaos is set in a historically significant community in Los Angeles, California. Earth Hartley is an African American businesswoman whose life is consumed by caring for her older sister, Moon, and trying to save Moon from the consequences of her careless behavior and substance abuse. 

Moon is paranoid, violent, erratic, and irrational. She thrives in her life of chaos, and has no regard for the pain it causes her family. 

Ra, their brother, is the lifeline between his two sisters. He’s the glue that holds the family together until a horrible and violent act results in Moon’s arrest.

The story of Earth’s Quiet Chaos is about finding and holding onto true love while dealing with family issues that are considered to be taboo in the African American community, but are relatable to all.


Excerpt: Chapter 2

Rashidah and I giggle at ourselves as we walk from store to store in the open-air mall called The Grove. It’s a hot summer day and we duck into my favorite store to temporarily escape the blazing heat. 

“I love the artistic vibe of the designs and fabrics in this store.” 

Rashidah holds the tag on a cute shirt and murmurs 

“Look at these high ass prices!” 

We pick out some outfits to try on. I find some tops, pants and a dress to add to my wardrobe. We walk out of the store and look for a shady spot where it’s cool. 

“Xavier will like me in the long summer dress, don’t you think?” 

Rashidah doesn’t respond. After a short break, we continue shopping. 

We hit up the computer store where she buys herself an iPad for scheduling client appointments. We grab a half veggie sandwich and salad from The Veggie Grill. We hit up every store at The Grove before heading to the Beverly Center. 

“I want to treat myself to one of those small flat Louis Vuitton cross body purses.”

We find it at the Louis Vuitton store and then check out other stores that aren’t at The Grove.

Pleased with my purchases and delighted to spend time with Rashidah, the one who knows me best, I’m all shopped out. 

“Rashidah, can you believe that I don’t have any plans tonight other than dinner with Ali and a dress rehearsal for the play?” 

“Well, you never know. Maybe Xavier will surprise you and he’ll be the one sitting at the dinner table when Ali brings you to the restaurant.” 

She has a half grin. She’s in the know of something that I’m not. 

“Now that would be the surprise of a lifetime, but if something goes down, I’m ready to dress and impress. That’s for sure.” 

Then it hits me to check my cell phone for the time. “Speaking of time, its 3:45. Are you ready to roll?”

“Yep, I think we’ve done enough financial damage for the day.” 

“You’re right about that!” 

We make our way to the parking lot, fill the trunk with our bags, and drive off.

We go to my place and, like we always do when we go shopping together, Rashidah comes in with her bags and we go through each and every item, trying them on as we help each other change. Rashidah takes down my locs and sections them into twisted bantu knots all over my head. 

“Okay, here you go Earth, give it an hour and then we’ll take down the bantu knots and your locs will be slightly curly and I’ll do a quick style for your date tonight.” 

“Please, dinner with Ali is not a date. We are friends and are going to catch up with each other. That’s all. Now, if Xavier is at the table that will be an entirely different story.” 

“And that is what I’m talking about. We have to stay ready so we don’t have to get ready. So, you are going to pick out your dress and we are going to do your hair and makeup as if Xavier will be somewhere waiting to surprise you tonight.” 

She’s in her beauty makeover mood. I’m excited about the thought Rashidah planted in my head. We begin our mission for me, Earth Hartley, to look like a million bucks for my man tonight wherever he may be and at whatever time he decides to show up. 

“Besides, it is my B-Earth-Day today, I can look fabulous all day if I decide to do so.”

I need to keep myself in the moment and not get too excited and set myself up for a letdown.

This time of the year in southern California, the weather is unpredictable. But today is nice and hot so we go with it and choose the long summer lounge dress. It’s a sheer fabric so I glide into a white ankle length cotton slip to wear underneath. The dress fabric has water colored flowers of purple, yellow, orange, and green. The butterfly sleeves are elbow length and the front of the dress has a low V-neck. Since I am going out with Ali, who stands six feet, five inches, I put on my four inch gold sandals that tie up the leg. 

When I turned 16, my Baba gave me one yellow gold and one white gold chain necklace, one with an Ankh pendant and the other with a Gye Nyame pendant. Both pendants have a crystal planted in the middle. I fasten the white gold chain. The end of the Ankh hangs perfectly at my cleavage. I keep on the earrings that Rashidah gave me and add white gold and yellow gold bangles, and the gold Ankh ring that Momma gave me a long time ago on my right hand and a turquoise ring that Baba gave me on my left hand.

Rashidah takes down the bantu knots, pins up the back and allows the locs to fall in the front to frame my face. She beams with the look of a proud Mother. 

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Tomeekha Pitre. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

 

 

 

 


One Sunday at a Time by E. N. Joy 

What does crazy look like? Let Deborah tell it, it's the reflection that looks back at her in the -mirror. She has a career she loves, two beautiful children and a handsome and successful husband. Her life seems to be the blueprint almost every woman she knows would kill to live. But working full-time, being a full-time mother, full-time wife and a full-time Sunday only Christian seems to be taking its toll on her. With all the scheming and shenanigans Deborah orchestrated to get this lifestyle, she might have to come up with a whole set of new ones to maintain it.

Lynox is Deborah's husband who she thanks God for putting back into her life after a game of cat and mouse that defies the laws of romance. He feels that all Deborah needs is to let her hair down, maybe make some new friends and live a little. When Deborah agrees and then suspects Lynox of having an affair with the woman that he suggested she form a friendship with, will he live to regret his own advice?


Excerpt: One Sunday at a Time by E. N. Joy 

Prologue

“You can’t leave me!” Deborah yelled at Lynox, spittle flying from her mouth. She looked like a madwoman. She felt like a madwoman. Her hair was in disarray, and perspiration had beaded up on her forehead. It was a wonder she didn’t have foam caked up in the corners of her mouth. She was acting rabid, like the victim in a science fiction horror movie who had failed to escape the vicious plague that was attacking all of Earth.

She needed help; that was no longer the million-dollar question. The question now was, why hadn’t she gotten the help she so desperately needed, or rather, why hadn’t she continued getting the help she’d once been receiving? For a minute there she had felt that she’d been doing so well that she didn’t need any help. There had always been the possibility that if she fell back into her slump again, she could just pick up where she’d left off in her treatment. Not only had some of her old traits reared their ugly heads, but she was far worse off now than she had ever been before. What had started off as a manageable snowball was now an avalanche. If Lynox didn’t get out of the way, he’d be buried alive underneath it.

“I can leave you, I am leaving you, and I’m taking the kids with me,” was Lynox’s reply to his wife’s statement.

So now not only was her husband leaving her, but he was also taking their two sons with him? The rage that welled up in Deborah’s being was uncontrollable. That didn’t come as any surprise. She’d lost jurisdiction over her emotions a long time ago. At first, when her life had seemed to be getting hectic, she had managed somewhat. She’d hidden the darkness under the beam of an invisible flashlight. Outsiders couldn’t see the darkness or the object projecting the false lighting. But then, emotionally, it had felt as if one thing was piling on top of the other. Anger issues. Depression. Anxiety. The need to be in control. Compulsion for order.

There had been times, after researching the term, when she’d even thought she might be bipolar. Heck, maybe she had been experiencing a little bit of all of them, which was a recipe for disaster. With her husband standing in front of her, a suitcase in hand, and threatening to leave her, it looked like the recipe had been followed to a tee, and now the timer on the oven was sounding. It was done. Over. Finished. Kaput.

“Why are you doing this?” Deborah cried out. “Why are you hurting me?” Deborah stood there, blocking the closed bedroom door. She’d already told Lynox that he was leaving over her dead body. Those hadn’t merely been desperate words flung out of her mouth. She’d meant it.

“I was hurting you when I was pampering and pacifying you, instead of making you go do something about it,” Lynox told her.

“So now what?” Deborah raised her arms and then allowed them to fall to her sides.

“You call this helping me?”

Lynox shook his head. “No. I call this giving you the opportunity to help yourself.”

Lynox slowly walked toward his wife. It pained him so much to see her like this. He didn’t understand how a person’s emotions and behavior could shift so erratically. Why was it that he and Deborah could experience the best night in the world, but then Deborah would wake up mad at the world? Or how could one little thing that threw her off schedule or was out of order send her on a rampage?

Although Deborah loved her job as a literary agent and an editor, it was hard for Lynox to tell sometimes. Getting steady, good-paying projects was every freelance editor’s dream. But as an agent, sometimes Deborah could get overwhelmed by submissions or needy authors. So when all her projects collided or piled on top of one another, she often operated out of fear of not getting done what she already had on her plate before another healthy portion was served up. When Deborah was working on one project, her mind would already be on the next one, and the one after that. God forbid Lynox or the children needed her to do something for them. She’d bite their heads off just for asking.

For Deborah, there were instances when she felt pangs of guilt for feeling as though she’d put her job before her family. She’d be regretful, which would make her feel like less than a good wife and mother, sending her into a bout of depression. Everything about her life was like a double-edged sword, and now she was cutting up. Lynox had already received one wound too many. It was time for him to go, but Deborah wasn’t going to allow that without putting up a fight.

“I promise I’ll be better,” Deborah pleaded, looking into her man’s eyes. “I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” Deborah bounced up and down like a child begging her parent to buy her something from the ice-cream truck.

Lynox rested his hands on Deborah’s shoulders. The gesture was both to comfort her and to make her stop bouncing. He could see that his leaving was eating her up. He was afraid. He really didn’t know what his wife would do after he walked out that door, but he was more afraid of what might happen if he didn’t.

“Don’t you get it, baby? I don’t want you to do whatever I want you to do. I want you to do what you need to do. You need help, and unless you feel that you need help and you get that help for yourself, things won’t get better.”

Lynox was right. The way Deborah stared into his eyes with no rebuttal was silent proof that she agreed. Still, if she did get help, she wanted him to be there by her side during the process.

“I will be getting help for myself because I want to,” Deborah said. “But I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t doing it for the family too. I know if I’m better, then you guys will be better,” she said. Made sense too, because when she wasn’t happy, nobody was happy. Her misery seemed to eject from her pores, bringing everyone in the house down or forcing them to walk on eggshells. Even her nine-month-old son was whiny and cranky when Deborah was having a bad day or just a bad moment even.

“I will support you,” Lynox said. “For the sake of our children and our marriage, I will support you.”

Deborah exhaled a gasp of hot air. “Oh, yes. God, thank you!” Deborah threw her arms around Lynox and cried. This time hers were tears of joy and relief. She gripped his shirt, holding on to him as if she never wanted to let go. She didn’t want to let go.

“But I’ll just be doing it from another address.”

Instantly, Deborah’s demeanor changed. She stiffened, and her tears of joy seemed to stop midway down her cheeks. She pulled back from Lynox but still gripped his shirt.

“You’re dying to go out there and be with her, aren’t you?” Deborah glared at Lynox.

“That’s what your leaving is really about.”

“Be with who, Deborah?” Lynox noticed that Deborah’s eyes were turning wild. “No.

You know what? I’m not even about to do this with you. Not again.” Lynox removed Deborah’s hands from his shirt and walked over to the door. He turned to face Deborah. “Call me when you get some help . . . for real this time.” He opened the door, his back now to Deborah.

He should have thought twice about turning his back on Deborah. The Beats Pill speaker crashing against the door, missing Lynox’s head by inches, was proof of that. Lynox held the doorknob. He gripped it tightly, causing the palm of his hand to turn red. The veins in his hand were pulsating. He squeezed his eyes shut so hard that he got an instant headache. It was like déjà vu all over again from only a couple of months ago. He had to get out of there before things got physical, like they had the last time. He still carried far too much regret from that night to pile on more. He opened his eyes and took two steps out the door.

“You took vows. You said you would be with me until death do us part,” Deborah shouted at Lynox’s back.

Deborah’s words stopped Lynox in his tracks. He turned around and faced his wife.

“The death of what, though, Debbie? The death of being in love? The death of trust? Given how our marriage is disintegrating, the death of one of us? How many things have to die, things that are supposed to be the foundation of our marriage, before the marriage itself dies?”

Deborah had no reply for her husband. Sure, the vows they’d each read from the Bible and exchanged included the words “till death do us part.” But Lynox was right. Their vows didn’t specifically say that this death was the physical death of the husband or the wife. So many things had already died, some that probably couldn’t even be resuscitated. Deborah was willing to ride this thing out, though, until the wheels fell off. That was easy for her to say, considering that she was the one wearing them down until they did.

How had things gotten this bad? They were at the point of no return. And now she feared that once Lynox walked out that door, he wouldn’t return. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself knowing that she was the cause of her marriage being over, the cause of her family being split. She couldn’t live like that. She couldn’t live without Lynox. She couldn’t live without her family together as one. She couldn’t live. She wouldn’t. So allowing Lynox to walk out that door and go on with his life, leaving her on her own to bear such devastation, wasn’t an option. So Deborah did what she had to do to stop the pain before it ever hit.

( Continued... )


Meet the Author


BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy is the writer behind the five book series, “New Day Divas,” the three book series, “Still Divas,” the three book series, “Always Divas,” and the forthcoming three book series, “Forever Divas,” which have been coined “Soap Operas In Print.” She is an Essence Magazine Bestselling Author who wrote secular books under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY.

This award winning author has been sharing her literary expertise on conference panels in her home town of Columbus, Ohio as well as cities across the country. Her children’s book titled The Secret Olivia Told Me, written under the name N. Joy, received a Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association. The book was also acquired by Scholastic Books and has sold almost 100,000 copies. Elementary and middle school children have fallen in love with reading and creative writing as a result of the readings and workshops E. N. Joy instructs in schools nationwide.

In addition, she is the artistic developer for a young girl group named DJHK Gurls. She pens original songs, drama skits and monologues for the group that deal with messages that affect today’s youth, such as bullying.

You can visit BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy at www.enjoywrites.com or email her at enjoywrites@aol.com.


Purchase One Sunday at a Time by E. N. Joy 
(Christian Fiction)



 

 

 


The Sisterhood: Book One 
(The Sisterhood Trilogy) 
by Nichol Bradford




The Sisterhood: Exploring mental freedom through fiction!

The Sisterhood tells the story of what becomes possible when intelligence and hope are channeled into an outrageous mission. Founded by Vivian Delacroix, The Sisterhood Foundation is a non-government organization funded by MSK Incorporated, a massive multinational built over decades by an organization of black women. The women invest billions into leading edge technology, pooling their profits into communities, schools, and treatment centers in the battle against Cocanol, a new and addictive drug.

The group is overwhelmingly successful until their progress is noticed by the Raptor, a ruthless enemy with pawns in the US government and ties to the Cocanol manufacturers and international power houses intent on controlling the world. As a first step in a war on the Sisterhood, Vivian is assassinated, triggering a Homeland Security investigation, a Senate inquiry, and a series of increasingly dangerous events.

To survive, the women, led by Chief Security Officer Tonia Rawlings, must fight against unseen forces. Battling across a public stage of media coverage and Wall Street, the women rush against all odds to outwit their foes—even as they execute the final stage of Vivian’s secret plan. 

As their enemies draw near, the women risk everything, testing the bonds of faith, marriage and friendship. Along the way, they discover awful truths, make strange alliances and learn why they are the most dangerous women the world has ever seen. Together, they put everything on the line—testing themselves and the limitations the world tries to place on them.


EXCERPT: CHAPTER 1


Friday, December 5th - 2:00 am

Sisterhood Headquarters - Middleburg, VA, outside Washington D.C.


Tonia Rawlings strode down the long, empty corridor. Her urgent steps made sharp echoes on the granite floor. Outside, her security team was assembled, awaiting her command. It seemed fitting that she was the last to leave…given what she was about to do. Tonia took one last look to sear the memory in place before stepping out into the night.

“Do it,” Tonia ordered.

Flames exploded through the windows, shattering glass across the grounds. They licked the sky in swaths of bright hungry reds, violent oranges and insatiable yellows. The fire jumped from building to building, laying waste to years of effort and thousands of sacrifices. “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” Tonia whispered.

Pamela Griffin turned. The mother in her heard a strange break in Tonia’s voice. Pamela shivered, feeling the severe night chill that found its way under collars and inside gloves. An acrid cutting smell of smoke filled the air. She stole another glance at Tonia but could read nothing from the woman at her side. How awful it must be to give tonight’s order, to destroy something loved, even to preserve something valued. But, following Vivian Delacroix’s lead had always meant sacrifice. No one was exempt.

Pamela touched her lightly on the arm. “Tonia, it was planned.”

“Yes, it was,” she nodded without turning. The last thing Tonia needed right now was direct eye contact with Vivian’s first recruit. Architects had created the exterior of the Sisterhood’s headquarters, but Tonia was the one who massaged the plans to meet their unique need – a fortress, destructible from within but impregnable from without. 

Was it really so long ago that she and Vivian had found the site? Tonia remembered how Vivian had jumped out of the car and sprinted, laughing, across the property. Tonia ran right behind her, eyes trained on the tree line for enemies, ever Vivian’s protector. Vivian stopped, spun around, her arms held high. Her eyes sparkled with destiny. “Here, Tonia. Can’t you see? This, this, is where we will gather our strength.”

They had laughed then, in the exact spot where Tonia now stood. Every computer system in the Sisterhood’s vast holdings updated to servers in a manmade cavern beneath her feet. Their entire history, recorded in bits and bytes, was a maze of money and covert investments. One explosion would obscure hundreds of millions of dollars in assets as well as their research, the research that had likely brought disaster to their door. 

“Move out,” Tonia bellowed, her voice returning to its normal boom. The women, jolted into action, leaped into their Jeeps. They divided into pairs and raced away. Any law enforcement officer worth his badge would take one look at their expressions, unblinking eyes, bodies rippling with strength, and become suspicious. The women were not assassins or Marines, but they sure as hell looked the part. They were more than capable of protecting their own; after all, they were their Sister’s Keepers. 


( Continued... )

© Reprint 2015. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Nichol Bradford. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 


Download The Sisterhood: Book One 

Amazon Link: http://amzn.com/B006IMLCRE
Afro-futurism, African American Fiction; Mystery; Thriller & Suspense




About the Author

Nichol Bradford, CEO/Founder, Willow.  Nichol Bradford is fascinated by human potential, and has always been interested in how technology can help individuals expand beyond their perceived mental limits to develop and transform themselves to the highest level. She spent the last decade exploring these ideas in the online game industry, serving as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations and marketing for major brands that include: Activision/Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi.

Most recently she managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China. Now, as the CEO of the Willow Group, Nichol is applying same skills to the realm of elevating psychological well-being. Willow is a transformative technology company focused on employing rigorous scientific research to develop training protocols, hardware and software that can produce a reliable and positive change in the human experience.

Nichol has an MBA from Wharton School of Business in Strategy, and a BBA in Marketing from the University of Houston. She is a fellow of the British American Project, currently serves on the board of the Brandon Marshall Foundation for Mental Health, and is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of The Sisterhood, and an amatuer boxer.

Website: http://www.nicholbradford.com  
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholbradford 
Ebook: http://www.amazon.com/The-Sisterhood-Book-One-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B006IMLCRE 

 

 

 

 


Lies of Blue by Lynne Forde



What is the price for fulfilling your dreams?

Lies of Blue is the story about a young woman who tries to reach her dream by making sacrifices. Somewhere along the line, the wrong sacrifices get made. It’s Training Day meets OZ, with a twist of Set It Off.

When Forde gets tired of her dead end job in the City Courts, she embarks on a career in the belly of the beast. With a degree in hand and a little bit of street sense, she decides to try her hand working in River Edge Jail Complex. From day one at the Academy to her last day at Prison, Forde evolves from your average "rookie" into something other than just a woman. To make matters worse, if you put a sexual being in the midst of some of the city’s most conniving men and women, you are bound to come up with something a little kinky and very destructive. The more dangerous the game became, the more erotic the encounters became. She goes from dfficer, to hustler, to victim, to CEO in a matter of 8 years.

#LiesofBlue is an exposé of what goes on in the depths of prison, through the eyes of one woman. Lies of Blue teaches you that there are so many people you may come across in life, you never know who is real and who is fake, but that the journey can become a battle of life or death. Choose wisely. What is the price for fulfilling your dream?


CHAPTER 6


Made Woman



From January to the end of March, Develin was completely engrossed in school. He was learning about cars and automotive technology. Can you imagine how I felt? Actually, I was so happy to see it happening before my eyes. He was becoming a productive member of society. He wasn’t really earning any money, but he was getting welfare and going to school, and after school, he was home studying and being with me. We would share our stories of what happened at work that day and just grow together. I had my boyfriend back. It was great and I proved to myself that you could help a person change their life. Develin was living proof.

I don’t want you to think that things stopped on the job. I was still bringing stuff in to my peoples and paper was steady, thousands! In fact, they were paying my rent; my bills were getting paid. Yo’ Bigs made sure I didn’t want for anything. Each time the orders would get more and more crazy. Yet I was still the girl making it happen. It was a business within my business. I had a job and once I got to work I had a million other things to take care of besides my normal eight-hour B.S. Mr. Big and I were becoming untouchable, or at least we thought so. He made simple requests and I made them happen. The little things can make a bid a little easier to deal with. He kept me laced and I kept him laced as well. He ate only food from the street now, drank Bacardi 151 with every meal. He held me down and I looked after him as if he was my lover. But he was better than a lover, he was straight business and I was making straight paper.

One night in May, I had a job to do. I went to meet Mr. Big’s peeps uptown in Hightown. I picked a spot near Dev’s family; that way I could wait at Dev’s family's for the call from my connect. When the phone call came through it was almost 8:30 at night. They were downstairs and told me to come to the car on the corner. I told them what I had on, but they already knew all about me—who I was, what I looked like, the whole nine. When I came out of the building, the only car I saw was a brand spanking new Lincoln Town Car, limo style, with tinted windows and the whole nine. The plates weren't livery, so somebody important owned this fly ride. I started walking towards the car and the locks popped open. A guy jumped out of the front and opened the door for me in the back. 

 

 

 

 

 


When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change 
by Tumika Patrice Cain

The stars seemed to have been aligned for Avery and Alicia. From the outside looking in, Lady Luck passed their way and left a fortune! They had a whirlwind, fairytale romance filled with all the little things that make dreams come true, a wedding of grace and beauty, and perfectly magical careers that produced almost enough money to burn. They were the picture-perfect couple.

Unfortunately, time has a way of revealing fissures in what appears to the naked eye as impenetrable. The results send this fairytale romance spiraling out of control.

Avery, as perfect and so right as he seemed, struggles to free himself from his demons. He clings to this delicate relationship that he desperately needs as if his last breath depends on it. Alicia, on the other hand, struggles to make the necessary corrections that will release her from a prison of unexpected, agonizing turmoil.

A novel of enduring strength, undeniable empowerment, and the compelling ability to overcome incredible odds, Book one in the When a Man Loves a Woman series is a powerhouse that will impact readers long after the last words have been read.

Excerpt: When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change


That was one of the best days of my life. I'd finally gotten what I'd wanted forever. Someone who loved me. Loved me so much he wanted to tell the world. Wanted to make me his forever.

We slowly made our way out on the balcony, where all of the preparations had been made. It was all so lovely. Michael had black wrought iron patio furniture where we sat and ate the tantalizing dishes the caterers had prepared. There was fresh steamed lobster with lemon butter sauce, New England crab cakes, seafood kabobs and a wide range of other seaside resort foods that reminded me of the first weekend we’d spent out of town.

At Avery's request I'd gotten off of work early one Friday and met him at the airport. The spontaneity of the whole weekend made everything seem so fresh. Northwest Airlines took us to Massachusetts where we spent four glorious days at Martha's Vineyard. Just lying on the beach and soaking up the rays. I didn't even have a change of clothes. Ave said not to worry about it; we'd just go shopping when we got there. That's exactly what we did. A perfect weekend spent miles away from reality. In a cove on the beach is where we first made love. I'll never forget it.

Once the sun set and we were slow dancing on the verandah, Avery touched my arm and motioned for me to look out across the river. I couldn't believe my eyes. Usually the Cadillac Club in Windsor was all lit up at night in white neon. But instead of the marquee reading “Cadillac Club” it read, instead, “Alicia Will You Marry Me?” I remember being speechless for endless moments as tears welled up in my eyes, the lump in my throat rendering me incapable of speaking. The only response I gave was to gently touch his face and shake my head yes, while tears of happiness poured down my cheeks. So much for my mascara. He picked me up and swung me around for the longest time, whispering in my ear “I love you” time and time again.

It was several long minutes before I could compose myself. All remaining memories of that night are now a blur, except for us nibbling on the most succulent strawberries a mouth could feast on. And us making slow, sweet love all night under the stars while the moonlight caressed our skin.

Book Reviews: When a Man Loves a Woman 

Tumika Patrice Cain has poured her abundant faith, wisdom and passion for helping others into a new book that tackles one of the toughest of family crises. Tumika’s extensive experience ministering to others through writing and counseling, as well as many years in human services, make her a voice worth hearing. 
~ Sheri Fink, Pulitzer Prize Winner & Author of War Hospital


Tumika Cain did an outstanding job on this novel and I am just still reeling from the contents. 
~ OOSA Online Book Club


This has to be the best book I have read this year. 
~ Book Referees


It is tragedy and triumph in its most raw form. 
~ Matthew Keith Reviews


Cain is a true wordsmith, and her writing has a refreshing maturity. 
~ Sweet Georgia Press


This reviewer urges you to give Tumika Cain's premiere novel, When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change, a chance today! These pages leave no stone unturned, and no heart untouched. 
~ Lindsay McDonald, Indyscribable


A powerful read with many powerful messages, When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change shows we have to be willing to move on in order to grow. 
~ Cyrus Webb, Conversations Live


Purchase When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change
Link:  http://amzn.com/B019HLV65U 




Meet the Author
Tumika Patrice Cain
is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life. She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the internet radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain, In The Spotlight, and Say What?? Author Spotlights. In addition, she is a respected book reviewer and columnist for PEN’Ashe Magazine, a contributing writer for BLOG and Belief Magazines, and editor for two smaller publishing companies. 

A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but whose marketing budgets are limited. Inkscriptions, her publishing company, offers a myriad of book publishing services. Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path. 

She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012), a novel that has since been picked up by Shan Presents and will be re-released as When a Man Loves a Woman – A Season of Change in December 2015. To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March 2014) and The Heart of a Woman (August 2015). Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.

 

 

 


Hands Off My Man 
by Monica Lynne Foster

A Chanelle Series Novel – Book 2


Chanelle Slate believes she has it all. Beauty, a six-figure career, love of family, and a ride or die best friend. But the best part of her life is that she’s in love with a man she’d only dreamed about. She knows her marriage proposal is around the corner and she can’t wait to be Mrs. Chanelle Faust. Then she meets her man’s ex, and discovers his ex suffers from a mental illness. Will Chanelle find a way to keep her man without crossing the line and driving his ex over the edge?

Twyla Logan-Faust is used to being a kept woman. But when her boyfriend is sentenced to life without parole and her accountant takes off with her money, her world falls apart. She turns to her ex-husband, Rick, hoping to resume her position as his wife. Rick is the only man who knows about her bipolar condition and he’s the only one she can trust. Even when she discovers he’s moved on, she remains confident that no other woman can replace her. With a little coaxing, she’s positive she’ll be Mrs. Twyla Faust again.

Rick Faust is caught in the middle. His love for Chanelle is undeniable, but he was married to Twyla for years. He knows Twyla’s condition is real and he’s worried about what she might do if he rejects her. It’s impossible to make both women happy and he realizes his decision will change all of their lives forever.

The battle is on! With both women determined to be the new Mrs., who will be able to say… Hands Off My Man!


Hands Off My Man Book Reviews 


I'm telling you, within a year, this is a writer everyone will know. 
– Victoria Christopher Murray, award-winning author of Stand Your Ground


Monica Lynne Foster is an extraordinary new voice in African American fiction whose writing captivates you from beginning to end. The novel is intriguing, loving, suspenseful and well written. 
– Maria D. Williams, Film/TV Producer 


Reading Monica's story was a pleasure. She has created characters that leap off the page, and she has captured the secret formula to crafting a great novel. 
– Richelle Denise, Co-Author of Pay Day


Hands Off My Man captured my attention at page one. This is sign of a great read when you care about the characters! Monica Lynne Foster does that well. 
– Carolyn Barry-Ginyard


This is the first piece of literature I have read by Mrs. Foster and it will not be the last. She keeps her readers on the edge of their seat from page one. It is a must read. 
– Kanika N Payne, Greensboro NC

Using the precision of an expert weaver, Monica has crafted a tale of mystery and intrigue, while also calling attention to the issue of mental illness. This book is definitely a must read! 
– Arnitris L. Strong, Creator of blessedbethetie.com 


Monica has done it again! Reading this book was very enjoyable. I could not tear myself away. This book contains all of the good stuff. It is juicy, has action, emotions, thrills, and chills. 
– Debbie Greggs


I read this book without reading the first book in the series, but I wasn't disappointed! Monica's writing style is easy to read and straight to the point, which made it easy to follow the storyline. Great read! 
– Rochelle Prestage



Excerpt from Hands Off My Man

Chapter 1 – Chanelle Slate


Did my boyfriend’s ex-wife really call and say she was taking him back from me? I looked over at him, sitting on the couch watching television, and my spirit filled with more love than I ever thought was possible. He was everything I’d asked God to bring me. Strong arms that held me when I needed it. Hazel eyes that looked at me with passion, love, and the right amount of lust. Broad shoulders designed just for me to lean on. And deep pockets that allowed him to spoil me. But the best part of my man, was his big heart. A heart that had enough room to love me unconditionally. I could feel my marriage proposal coming and I was excited about starting our life together as one. And then I got that call from that heifer.

Well, actually, it wasn’t me she called. It was him. A week ago today, Rick received a call from Twyla, but I was the one who answered his phone. I thought back to that day…

“Hey, sweetie,” Rick said, meeting me out on the deck where I was grilling salmon and asparagus.

“Hey, babe.” I greeted him with a peck on the lips. “Dinner is almost ready so go wash your hands.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he joked, and set his sunglasses and phone on the table before heading inside.

As he walked out of the sunroom, his phone rang. “Babe, would you grab that?”

Still smiling, I said, “I got it.” I glanced at the caller ID and it said, “Unknown.”

“Hello?”

“Who is this?” a female voice asked.

“Who is this?” I responded with my own question.

“This is Rick’s wife. Twyla.”

I was taken aback. “Excuse me, but don’t you mean his ex-wife?” I corrected her.

“Once a wife, always a wife. Now is Rick there?” she demanded. “Because I want to speak with my husband.”

Was she serious? “My man is unavailable at the moment, but I’ll tell him you called. Would you like to leave a message?”

In a tone drenched with sex, she replied, “Humph. Yeah, as a matter of fact I do. You tell him that we’re not over. I’m comin’ back to take what’s mine. He knows the number. Have him call me.” Then she hung up before I had a chance to respond.

“Babe, who was on the phone?” Rick asked, coming up behind me and nuzzling my neck.

I turned to face him. “That was your ex-wife. She said to call her. She wants you back.” I pushed the cell phone into his chest and stormed out of the room.

He was speechless and in an instant, I saw the peace of my life shatter. I had a feeling I would be calling Michele later that evening because I had a problem and she was the only one I trusted to help me fix it.

And I did call Michele, who was my best friend since childhood, and my ride or die when necessary. She’d been married for years and told me that it wasn’t unusual for a woman to occasionally reach out to her ex to test the water. She said I handled it appropriately and not to worry. I was reminded that Rick was in love with me and wasn’t going back to Twyla. But I’d wasted the better part of my twenties and the beginning of my thirties with a man who I discovered was on the down low. Now that I had Rick and the love I wanted, I wasn’t going to let anything steal my future. A future that I’d waited far too long to become my present.

Rick reassured me that he hadn’t loved her in years and I had nothing to fear. But still, I didn’t like the fact that she’d resurfaced after so much time had passed. There was no way any good would come of her return and I was going to nip this, whatever ‘this’ was, in the bud.


( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Monica Lynne Foster. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Order Hands Off My Man by Monica Lynne Foster
A Chanelle Series Novel – Book 2
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit
http://monicalynnefoster.com/books-by-monica 


 

 

 

 


Bad Choices Can Be Deadly 
by Monica Lynne Foster

A Chanelle Series Novel – Book 1

Even beautiful, professional, successful women can have relationship drama. And that's Chanelle Slate. First she catches her boyfriend of 12 years in a compromising position. In their bed. And she makes it clear to him and his new lover how she feels about his betrayal. Then, against heavenly advice, she seeks comfort in the arms of her married colleague... until he decides to work on his marriage and moves out of state with his wife. 

By the time the love she's wanted all of her adult life is finally in front of her, the mistakes, and sins, of her past come back to haunt her. And she quickly learns that it will be impossible for everyone to make it out alive.


Bad Choices Book Review 

Monica Lynne Foster is an excellent writer. Just excellent. In her novel, Bad Choices Can Be Deadly, she had my heart racing, trying to figure out who was stalking. It was well-written, fast-paced, a true page-turner. 
Victoria Christopher Murray, Author of Stand Your Ground


Chapter Excerpt from Bad Choices Can Be Deadly

Prologue


I dropped the handle of my suitcase. “What are you doing?” I screamed to my boyfriend of 12 years as he scrambled to cover himself and I picked up my emergency baseball bat by the side of my bed.

“Chanelle! Chanelle! I can explain.”

I swung the bat and lucky for him he ducked, because the whack of the bat put a nice size dent in my headboard. “You can’t possibly explain this!” My eyes had to be betraying me. There was no way I’d just come home from a business trip and found the love of my life in our bed with his personal trainer. His male personal trainer.

“Honest to God, Chanelle, this isn’t what it looks like!” He held his arms out in front of him, in a futile attempt to block the inevitable future swing of my get-even tool. 

“Don’t you dare bring God into your sordid mess! It’s exactly what it looks like! How could I have been so stupid to trust you and give you 12 years of my life! 12! Ugh!” I said, as I swung again, missing him, but connecting with my lamp. Then I turned my fury on Rocco. “And you! I welcomed you into my home!”

“It’s not my fault you can’t give him what I can,” the home wrecker taunted me.

“Not now, Rocco,” Michael yelled. 

We’d been together long enough for Michael to know what I was capable of doing, and at this moment, I was thinking I could handle a 20-year bid at the state prison. “Get out! Both of you get out!”

They jumped out of the bed without a stitch of clothing and bent down to pick up their pants. 

“No! You don’t get to put on clothes,” I continued shouting, while brandishing my bat.

“Chanelle, it’s winter and it’s freezing outside,” my now ex pleaded.

“You say that like I care! You have exactly one second to be out of my house or I swear to God, I’m gonna catch a case. Now go!”

I chased them down the steps and out my front door. Watching them run butt naked and barefoot down the snowy street of my posh subdivision was suddenly comical. And I began laughing. I sat on the porch and laughed until I cried. But the tears of humor quickly turned to tears of pain as the betrayal set in. Pain that what I thought was a solid relationship was really a sham. Pain that I’d wasted years of my life with a man who could never be committed to me. Pain that I was now… alone.

 

 

 

 

 


Sin and Suffer 
by Beverly Taylor 

Have you ever wondered whether the sins of your ancestors have an effect on your life today? Are generational curses real?

Meet Big Blue. The husband of the pastor's daughter. Big Blue suffers with sexual addiction. His sickness leads to deviant activities and eventually his death. He leaves behind five children, three from his wife and two from his prostitute lover. He passes his lustful spirit to his offspring. Or have he? 

A son of Big Blue is Willie Moss, alias Ba'Bruh, alias, Rev. William Braxton. Ba’Bruh has lead a life of havoc, destruction, deception, wickedness, and everything in between. But it's not all his fault. In the 1960's, at the age of 12, his grandmother, a highly respected pastor of a pentecostal church in the town of Cottonplant, Georgia, forced him to commit murder and then she ran him out of town so that it could not be traced back to her.

Ba'Bruh lives in the streets and in and out of prison for most of his young adulthood before he is sentenced to a lengthy prison term as a result of a corrupted district attorney name Nick Papally. Ba'Bruh became Nick's street informant and Nick sets him up to commit a bank robbery which Ba'Bruh is later identified as the armed robber. When he is released from prison, Nick offers him a life as a well-paid preacher of a large congregation where the two of them become involved in fraudulent ministry.

However, the table turns when Ba'Bruh meets Nick's wife and falls in love with her. Ba'Bruh wrestles with the notion of plotting to interfere in his marriage so that he can have his wife. But when the DNA results came back regarding Nick's stepdaughter's child, it revealed that Nick was the biological father and he is sent to prison. While Nick is in prison, the associate pastor finds out that Ba'Bruh is a fraud and she plots to have him removed from the church so that she can resume the senior pastor position that she has long lusted after.

Many sinister and vile occurrences take place within the story such as adultery, prostitution, murder and deadly violence. The characters are confronted with continuous accounts of sheer madness due to their perfidious and wretched lifestyles, primarily refocusing on Blue’s and Nick’s lifestyle.

Hold on to your seat and your stomach because you are about to embark upon the roller coaster ride of your life! Sin and Suffer has suspense, deception, lust, debauchery, lies, malice, and more! It's mayhem with a message.


Excerpt: Sin and Suffer by Beverly Taylor

At exactly 9:14 a.m., two black men wearing eye masks entered the Wellington National Trust Bank. One of them jumped over the counter waiving a .38 special, blue steel, snubnose pistol with a walnut grain handle, shouting, “Ev’body down. Ev’body hit the flo’ an’ keep yawl head down.”

One of the four customers that were in line had lain on her stomach and tried to take a sneak peek. “Don’t look at me! Don’t yawl freakin’ look at me! I said keep yawl head down,” he yelled mercilessly. The woman quickly tucked her head inside her arm.

His partner pulled the shades down on the doors and front windows and yelled at the two tellers to pull the shade at the drive-thru. The robber standing on the counter looked at the overweight security guard and told his partner to grab his gun. The security guard offered no resistance. He said, “Yawl go ’head, it ain’t my money. Take whatever yawl want, just don’t hurt nobody.” The way he was carrying on, one would think he was in on it too.

One gentleman, probably the branch manager, was standing at a file cabinet in his large window office. He was reviewing papers he’d pulled from a hanging file. If he’d been sitting at his desk, he might’ve had time to press the emergency button underneath it to signal for help.

“C’mon up outta there,” the bank robber standing on the counter yelled at him. “Close that doe and don’t try no funny stuff either. You try to be a super hero and you’ll end up a dead one.” The branch manager was moving in slow motion. “Hurry up, man,” the robber snapped. “Get over there with the rest of ’em.” The robber’s gun followed the professionally dressed supervisor cautiously. The man dropped to his knees and landed face down to join the others.

The bandit standing on the counter was handsome. He had a tree trunk colored complexion, full lips, and beautiful straight teeth. All he needed was a good dental hygienist to clean them. His beard and mustache needed trimming and his hair could stand to be re-braided.

The other thief was clean-shaven. He had a wide nose and thick lips to match. His hair locked into dreads. He looked fresh—styling and profiling in some overpriced, name brand gear called PEEPS. His entire upper grill was solid platinum with a dollar symbol engraved on a front tooth. It appeared as if they’d pulled this gig before in order for him to afford that expensive cheese work.

“Man, hurry up and get the money!” the handsome one snapped at his partner as he alternated pointing his gun at everyone.

“Ain’t no need in me just aimin’ this gun on Barney Fife,” the one with the wide nose said, pointing it at the security guard. “Yawl prob’ly could care less if he got shot—so long as it ain’t yawl—right?” he snickered. “Look like you been eatin’ a lot of Aunt Bee’s apple pies there, Fife.” He laughed at the security guard’s overlapping gut.

“Man, shut up! You talk too doggone much! This ain’t no Showtime at the Appollo. Just handle yo bi’ness,” the handsome one chastised his crime buddy. He was serious, stern, and all about business. “Hurry up, lady! Bofa yawl. Put all of it in the bag.” He continued pointing his gun at them and flashed a hardcore wrestler’s look with his lips. “All of it lady! Hurry up!” he yelled and cussed at the jarred tellers. “Keep yawl hands on top and yawl feet back. Don’t try nut’n stupid. I mean it! ’Cause I’ll pop bofa yawl bahinds.”

He glanced over at a woman who looked to be in her seventies. She was quietly whispering the name, Jesus. Probably somebody’s grandma withdrawing money from her skimpy retirement or meager Social Security account to pay a bail bondsman to get her own grandboy outta jail. She may very well be the reason why no one got hurt.

 

 

 

 


Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom 
by Alysia Burton Steele

GLORIA STEINEM - This window into the Mississippi Delta is a labor of love by Alysia Steele -- to bring us the lives of the warrior queens and rescuers known as grandmothers. To meet them is to be rescued and inspired. If they did so much, who are we not to do whatever we can? Buy the book!

Feeling the emotional pull to reconnect to her grandmother’s wisdom and her African-American heritage, award winning photojournalist, Alysia Burton Steele, embarked on a personal mission to interview, photograph, and document Mississippi Delta women of her grandmother’s generation. Their stories and portraits are beautifully captured in Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom. 

Mrs. Tennie S. Self shares her experience of buying a new Cadillac and her right to have “Mrs.” by her name in the telephone book: “I just speak and if I have to die for what I believe in, then so be it.”

Mrs. Lillie B. Jackson, whose husband prepared Emmett Till’s body for his funeral, shares family stories and how she does the best that she can as a mother.

Mrs. Myrlie Evers, widow of Civil Rights leader, Medgar Evers discusses her grandmother and the power of prayer.

Mrs. Lillis M. Roberts expresses pride in her activity in the NAACP, as the first Black citizen in Coffeeville, MS to register to vote.

Each experience is as different as the woman who lived it, yet all of their experiences have a common landscape, the Mississippi Delta. Alysia Burton Steele complements the rich narrative with her poignant photographs illuminating her appreciation of each of the precious Jewels, who have endured inequality, injustice and heart-wrenching tragedy. 

These inspiring portraits reflect the faces of love and triumph that will inspire readers to hold on to their faith and exhibit courage in the most challenging or ordinary circumstances.


BOOK ENDORSEMENTS


LEONARD PITTS, JR. - Delta is a place in memory–a repository of the cotton we picked, the "Whites Only" signs we obeyed, the strange fruit found hanging in the trees and bobbing in the rivers during the long, strange night of Jim Crow's America. Veteran photojournalist Alysia Burton Steele plumbs that place in memory through the words and images of over 50 ordinary mothers who made it through and emerged with tales to tell.  
—Leonard Pitts, Jr., nationally syndicated columnist and author of Freeman


RACHEL ELIZA GRIFFITHS - Alysia Burton Steele’s Delta Jewels presents to us a visual landscape of immeasurable wealth, wisdom, and dignity. We witness truth, history, memory, and the unforgettable legacy of fifty extraordinary women who share their stories and lives with us. Steele’s photographs are hymns, diamonds, work songs, and enduring fields of the South’s strongest flowers. Their faces and voices speak clearly in the bright gospel of Steele’s intimate and spiritual testimony. Here, you will find in the honor of Steele’s portraits, again and again, the triumph of joy and survival in the church of elder women's eyes that shine back at you. 
—Rachel Eliza Griffiths, photographer, author of Mule & Pear, and recipient of the 2012 Inaugural Poetry Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association


SUSAN GLISSON - “It has been said that when an old person dies, a library burns to the ground. Alysia Steele's Delta Jewels prevents the tragedy of such a monumental loss by lovingly documenting and curating the powerful stories of these amazing Mississippi women. They are the stories that our culture most often overlooks, underestimates, or denies, but exactly the ones we most need to hear in our troubled times, if we are to learn of grace and dignity and resilience and liberation.”
—Susan M. Glisson, Executive Director, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. 


Excerpt - Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom


My paternal grandmother, Mrs. Althenia Aiken Burton, died in 1994. Although I’ve taken photos since I was 15 years old, I never thought about taking Gram’s photograph or recording her voice when she was alive. When we’re young, we think we’re going to live forever and just assume our family will, too.

I missed her increasingly over the years. Time didn’t stop my brain from trying to remember, having regrets, wondering what I could have done to preserve every single thing about her, before her ways, her tone, the color of her nail polish, her mannerisms, her looks at me became a shadow of a memory.

Gram was originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina, not too far from Aiken. My great grandma Marie Aiken never talked about her upbringing, but their name, “ Aiken,” and roots made me think they were enslaved. As a Northerner, when I ventured to Mississippi to accept a teaching position in 2012, I saw cotton for the first time and began to wonder about my black family. Gram Larson, my white grandmother, is amazing at family history. That side of my family knows our history from County Meath, Ireland. This photographic journey began because I wanted to connect with my black side, the black women of my grandmother’s generation. How many picked cotton, were treated poorly, and took beatings? 

That’s what I wondered when I saw the rows of cotton growing in the Mississippi Delta and took my first photo of it in 2013. I have severe asthma and allergies, which worsened in Mississippi because all this greenery doesn’t agree with me, but even with allergies, it’s beautiful. It feels just like the cotton balls that I buy in a plastic bag at a drugstore. When I drove past the cotton fields, darn it if I didn’t start thinking about my grandmother and how much I missed her. I wondered what she would think if she saw the cotton.

I had a successful career as a newspaper photojournalist and picture editor for 12 years. I was on the Dallas Morning News photo staff that won a Pulitzer Prize for its Hurricane Katrina photographic coverage. I was a picture editor on staff and called my supervisor before the storm touched down. 

“The storm sounds worse than expected,” I told him.

“I think we should send more staff.” 

“You make a decision,” he told me, and so I started calling the staff to see who would start the trek to New Orleans. 

As I photographed vast fields of snowy flowers, I wondered if Gram would be proud of my accomplishments, what she’d think of me living in the South, if Gram would be proud of me teaching at a university. She never wanted me to be a photographer. She worried I would not find employment and make a decent living. 

“How many black girls from Harrisburg made a living in photography?” she’d ask me. 

I would do anything to hear her voice one more time. How I wish I’d captured her image and voice.

“I could honor her memory by recording stories from other grandmothers of her generation,” I said to myself. 

I began to interview and photograph grandmothers in Mississippi, my new home state. These Delta grandmothers are matriarchs to their families, like my grandmother. They are ordinary women, like Gram, who have lived extraordinary lives under the harshest conditions of the Jim Crow era and were on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. They are church women. I needed help finding the women who would help me find memories of my grandmother and honor her.

 

 

 


Best Friends Forever 
by Kimberla Lawson Rob


In this page-turning marital saga, Roby tells the story of a woman who, only days apart, learns that she has breast cancer and that her husband is having an affair—yet this doesn’t stop him from leaving her for the other woman.

After being rejected by numerous literary agents and publishing houses in 1996, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby started her own company and self-published her debut novel. Now, Roby is releasing her 23rd family drama, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, which centers on a wife, her husband, breast cancer and infidelity. Roby has sold more than 2.6 million copies of her books and is the 2013 NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER tells the story of Celine Richardson, her husband, Keith, and their 10-year-old daughter, Kassie. But this once loving marriage and happy family unit turn devastating when, only days apart, Celine is diagnosed with breast cancer and learns that Keith is having an affair. Worse, Keith still leaves her for the other woman. Celine then wonders how she’ll navigate the difficult process of surgery and additional cancer treatment, but comfort and support come in the form of Celine's best friend, Lauren. They've been attached at the hip since they were children, and it is Lauren who's there for Celine in her darkest moments. Of course, Keith may want to come back home, forcing Celine to consider some tough decisions relating to the marriage and otherwise—and for the very first time in her life, she wants to give up. Lauren vows to help her best friend in any way she can, but will it be too late?

Roby can discuss issues covered in this thought-provoking read that many also face in real life via Skype, video chats, teleconferences and over social media chats or in person meetings:  “Regardless of what family we're talking about, breast cancer affects all colors, nationalities, and social status in a heartbreaking fashion—and sometimes so does infidelity in a marriage,” Roby says. “So, in BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, I wanted to show what happens when, only days apart, a woman discovers she has breast cancer and learns her husband is having an affair. Additionally, I wanted to explore how the family is affected when a husband leaves his wife for the other woman, and the woman’s best friend is forced to step in.” 

Roby’s novels—which address true-to-life issues—have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, ESSENCE, and Publishers Weekly magazines, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Walmart and many others. 


Chapter 1: Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby 



"Keith, do you know what time it is?" Celine Richardson asked her husband as he walked into their bedroom. She'd just turned on her lamp and was sitting against two pillows.

"Five a.m.," he said, clearly sounding as though this was no big deal.

"And you think you can just leave the house and waltz back in here whenever you feel like it? You must be out of your mind if you think I'm going to put up with this kind of crap. I almost called the police to report you missing."

Keith pulled his short-sleeve knit shirt over his muscular shoulders and dropped it on the chair. "Time got away from me."

Celine folded her arms. "Where were you, Keith?"

"At a friend's. A bunch of us guys played cards and had a little too much to drink. And I fell asleep."

Celine laughed out loud. "And you think I believe that? You think I'm that naïve?"

"Believe whatever you want. That's on you."

"You have a lot of nerve staying out till the wee hours of the morning and then acting like you're the one who's upset. How dare you."

"I'm upset because anytime a wife decides that her work is more important than her husband, she shouldn't worry one bit about where he's going...or what he's doing."

"Excuse me? So you're now staying out late and sleeping with only God knows who because you feel neglected? Please."

"I've been telling you this for months. More like a whole year. But nothing's changed.

You spend all your time online doing work for your clients, and that's basically where things end with you."

"That's not true, and you know it."

"Well, actually, you're right. You spend lots of time with Kassie, but with the exception of our daughter, everything else revolves around your business. Which means there's no time for me."

"Why is it that you can spend all the time you want focusing on your career, but I can't?

It took a lot of hard work for me to build up my client list, and it's completely unfair for you to ask me to give that up. Especially since I've never asked you to give up anything."  Keith was vice president of sales for a health care insurance company, and Celine had always supported him and encouraged him to excel every step of the way. So none of his complaints about her spending hours on her social media marketing business made sense.

It was as if he now despised the fact that she was finally seeing some real success with her career. She'd started her business five years ago, and she'd worked her behind off, doing everything she could not only to get it off the ground, but also to gain as much exposure as possible with small companies and major corporations. It was the reason she now sometimes had to pass on projects or refer clients to some of her colleagues.

 

 

 


 


Ellis and The Magic Mirror 



by Cerece Rennie Murphy (Author)  and  Gregory Garay (Illustrator)

Ellis Monroe has always been curious about the world. When his father brings home an ancient mirror with the power to reveal the truth about the people and things around him, Ellis begins to see the world in a whole new way. But things get more than a little strange/even more interesting when Ellis brings the mirror to school. While on the playground with the mirror and his best friend Toro, Ellis discovers that someone or something is hiding out at Harriet Tubman Elementary and trying to stop children from learning. 

Determined to solve the mystery, Ellis, Toro, and his little sister, Freddye go on a secret mission to find out the truth about the mischievous Buddy Cruster and stop whatever he has planned. Join Ellis, Freddye and Toro as their quest leads them deep into the forest and on an adventure you will never forget.


Message from Cerece Rennie Murphy

Besides my immediate family, you are among the FIRST to see the official cover of the upcoming Ellis and The Magic Mirror early reader chapter book. This story has been a labor of love that began about a year ago, when my 6 year old son asked me to write a book for him. 

He told me upfront that sword-fighting, a skateboard and his stuffed penguin "Chirpy" had to be in the story. With my work cut out for me, I began writing, and thanks to the exceptional artistic talents of Gregory Garay of Visual Verbosity, I finally have a story that my son not only approves of, but is excited about. 

The book is intended for readers like my son, who was ready to begin reading chapter books, but was a bit intimidated by "too many words" and too few pictures. Ellis and The Magic Mirror has about as much action and suspense as I could throw into a children's book and still keep it "kid-friendly".  My target reading audience is between 6-10 years old. 

Would you like to read Ellis and The Magic Mirror to a little person who is near and dear to your heart? 
Preview the book Ellis and The Magic Mirror, click here.   This is truly a special moment for me, as a writer and a Mom.  To learn more about the story click here


You can also order your copy on Amazon here: 

http://www.amazon.com/Ellis-Mirror-Cerece-Rennie-Murphy/dp/0985621052 

Ellis and The Magic Mirror by Cerece Rennie Murphy 
Order Link: http://amzn.com/0985621052 





About the Author

Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with science fiction at the age of seven, watching "Empire Strikes Back" at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., with her sister and mom. It's a love affair that has grown ever since. As an ardent fan of John Donne, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut and Alexander Pope from an early age, Cerece began exploring her own creative writing through poetry. 

She earned her master's degrees in social work and international relations at Boston College and Johns Hopkins School for Advance International Studies, respectively, and built a rewarding 15-year career in program development, management and fundraising in the community and international development arenas - all while appreciating the stories of human connection told in science fiction through works like Octavia Butler's "Wild Seed," Frank Herbert's "Dune" and "The X-Files." In 2011, Cerece experienced her own supernatural event - a vision of her first science fiction story. Shortly after, she began developing and writing what would become the "Order of the Seers" trilogy.

Cerece lives just outside of her hometown of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda.

 

 

 


Real Street Kidz: Good Ideas 
by Quentin Holmes
 

Q, Jazz, Chase, Ginger, Los, Kawena, and Lucky, are the adventure seeking Real Street Kidz. An extraordinary group of kids who live life in a big way and prove that you’re never too young to make a difference. During the summer the Real Street Kidz Chased Action and mastered the Art of Authenticity, but with the arrival of a new school semester the RSK are in serious need of Good Ideas. The kids are immediately faced with frustrating challenges from a rigid new school’s “Pilot Program,” that includes excessive pop-quizzes, strict dress codes, and a disgusting “healthy choice” menu. 

Things really get worse when their old rival Junior puts the entire school in jeopardy with his “Me First” re-election campaign for school president. Q and Jazz decide to run against him to stop Junior’s reckless campaign from ruining the student body, but that’s when things become even worse! The entire school becomes divided and everyone is desperate for an infusion of Good Ideas to help put things back together again. 

Whose side will the friends choose? Which side would you choose? Making the wrong choice could cost everyone a lot more than just a school election; it could cost everyone a better world!

Select the Real Street Kidz series for your book club meeting and Quentin will join you in person, via webcam or via speaker phone. To schedule Quentin’s visit, email him at realstreetkidz@hotmail.com.  Read more about the Multicultural Children’s Book Series: http://realstreetkidz.com/?page_id=32


Purchase Real Street Kidz: Good Ideas by Quentin Holmes 
Series: Real Street Kidz Multicultural Children’s Books 
Link: http://amzn.com/0996210245 




About the Author
Author, entrepreneur and brand creator, Quentin “Q” Holmes has dedicated his life to empowering the world’s youth through trendsetting literature, media, and fashion. The son of a hard-working father whose career advancement moved the family to nearly every region of the country, Quentin gained exposure to people from all walks of life. Quentin earned his bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Michigan, further enriching his perspective on social diversity. 

The Real Street Kidz book series, created in 2009, promotes positive life messages to modern day youth. Examples of multiculturalism, along with heightening positive individual differences to achieve success, are a continuous theme across the books of this exceptional series. This type of awareness builds reading patterns of success for kids everywhere. Through reading Chasing Action, Art of Authenticity, and Good Ideas, Quentin hopes that kids will begin thinking “outside the box” and realize that teamwork and individuality are the greatest formula for success. 

 

 

 

 


Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Comparing the real-life police shootings of African-American men to the fictional shooting in his novel that propels the plot forward, Pitts says that he "knew that Grant Park was timely, but I could not be coming out at a better time."  Pitts is hoping to "fire up some dialogue" about race with his third novel, Grant Park (Agate Bolden, Sept.), which features an African-American journalist and his white editor, both veterans of the 1960s civil rights movement, who collide on the eve of Obama's election as president. Malcolm Toussaint, the journalist, is "sick and tired of being sick and tired" of how Americans deal with race after hearing of an unarmed African-American being shot by Chicago police even as people are celebrating Obama's historic presidential campaign and certain victory over John McCain.

Grant Park is a page-turning and provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blending the absurd and the poignant in a powerfully well-crafted narrative that showcases Pitts's gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories.

Grant Park begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King's final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 election, and cuts between the two eras as it unfolds. Disillusioned columnist Malcolm Toussaint, fueled by yet another report of unarmed black men killed by police, hacks into his newspaper's server to post an incendiary column that had been rejected by his editors. Toussaint then disappears, and his longtime editor, Bob Carson, is summarily fired within hours of the column's publication.

While a furious Carson tries to find Toussaint—at the same time dealing with the reappearance of a lost love from his days as a 60s activist—Toussaint is abducted by two improbable but still-dangerous white supremacists plotting to explode a bomb at Obama's planned rally in Grant Park. Toussaint and Carson are forced to remember the choices they made as idealistic, impatient young men, when both their lives were changed profoundly by their work in the civil rights movement.


Praise for Leonard Pitts, Jr.'s novel Grant Park

"The state of US race relations in 1968 and 2008 is seen through the eyes of two veteran Chicago newsmen, one black and one white, in this opportune novel. . . . Pitts adroitly blends history with fiction and actual figures (King, Obama) with characters in a plot that builds suspense around the supremacists’ plans as anger between the races gives way to understanding. A novel as significant as it is engrossing." —Booklist, starred review


"In the aftermath of this summer's racially motivated mass murder in Charleston, South Carolina, by an avowed white supremacist, there's near-eerie prescience in Pitts' historical novel. . .[Grant Park], with urgency and passion, makes readers aware that the mistakes of the past are neglected at the future's peril." —Kirkus Reviews


"This high-stakes, hard-charging political thriller from Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Pitts (Freeman) tells the saga of two journalists, switching between the time periods of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 assassination and election day 2008. Sixty-year-old Malcolm Toussaint is a popular black syndicated news columnist writing for the Chicago Post who has two Pulitzer Prizes and resides in a “trophy” mansion. 

However, he has grown “tired” if not embittered over the frustrating lack of progress in race relations between whites and blacks. After receiving one too many racist emails from his readers, he responds by composing a blunt, scathing column, but his white editor, Bob Carson, kiboshes it. After Malcolm hacks into Bob’s computer and publishes the controversial column anyway, both men are deemed culpable and fired. 

Following this, a pair of white supremacists kidnap Malcolm; they also reveal their heinous plan to detonate a “McVeigh bomb” in Grant Park when Barack Obama appears there, as the clock begins ticking to stop them. Pitts effectively builds the backstory in which young Malcolm witnesses King’s fatal shooting in Memphis, and young Bob falls in love with the political black activist Janeka Lattimore, who now resurfaces in his life. 

The sharply etched characters, careful attention to detail, and rich newspaper lore propel Pitts’s socially relevant novel." —Publishers Weekly Review for Grant Park


GRANT PARK: CHAPTER ONE

Martin Luther King stood at the railing, facing west. The moon was a pale crescent just rising in early twilight to share the sky with a waning sun. He leaned over, joking with the men in the parking lot below. A couple of them were wrestling playfully with James Orange, a good-natured man with a build like a brick wall.

“Now, you be careful with preachers half your size,” King teased him.

“Dr. King,” called Orange in a plaintive voice, “it’s two of them and one of me. You should be asking them not to hurt me.”

“Doc,” someone called out from below, “this is Ben Branch. You remember Ben.”

“Oh yes,” said King. “He’s my man. How are ya, Ben?”

Another voice yelled up from below. “Glad to see you, Doc.”

As Malcolm Toussaint moved toward King, it struck him that the preacher seemed somehow lighter than he had the last time Malcolm had seen him. It had been late one night a week before, by the Dumpsters out back of the Holiday Inn. The man Malcolm met that night had seemed… weighted, so much so that even Malcolm had found himself concerned and moved—Malcolm, who had long scorned the great reverend doctor, who had, in the fashion of other young men hip, impatient, and cruel, mocked him as “De Lawd.” But that was before Malcolm had met the man. That was before they had talked. Now he moved toward King, his mind roiling with the decision that had sprung from that moment, the news he had come to share. King, he knew, would be pleased. There would be a smile, perhaps a heavy hand clamping on Malcolm’s shoulder. “Good for you, Brother Malcolm,” he would say. “Good for you.”

Malcolm was vaguely amused to find himself here on this balcony, anticipating this man’s approval. If you had told him just a few days ago that he would be here, ready to go back to school, ready to embrace nonviolent protest, he would have laughed. But that, too, was before. Malcolm meant to raise his hand just then, to catch King’s attention, but a movement caught his eye. Just a reflected ray of the dying sun, really, glinting off something in a window across the street. Something that—he knew this instinctively—should not have been there. He wondered distractedly what it was.

King’s voice drew him back. “I want you to sing it like you’ve never sung it before,” he was calling to someone in the parking lot below. “Sing it real pretty.” And Malcolm realized he had missed something, because he had no idea what they were talking about. His attention had been distracted by… what was that?

“It’s getting chilly.” Yet another voice calling to King from below. “I think you’ll need a topcoat.”

“Okay, Jonesy,” King was saying. “You really know how to take good care of me.”

And here, the moment breaks, time fracturing as time sometimes will into its component parts, until an event is no longer composed of things happening in a sequence, but somehow all happens at once. And you can see and touch and live all the smaller moments inside the right now. This is how it is for Malcolm Toussaint now. King is laughing. Malcolm is taking a step toward him. King is straightening. Laughter is echoing from below. King is reaching into a pocket for his cigarettes. He is becoming aware of Malcolm on his left. His head is coming around. There are the bare beginnings of a welcoming smile. And Malcolm knows. Suddenly knows. And Malcolm is leaping, leaping across space, across time itself, becoming airborne—he was sure of it, that detail felt right, even though by this time King is barely six feet away. Malcolm grabbing two hands full of expensive silk, yanking Martin Luther King off balance, yanking him down hard in the same instant they all hear the popping sound like a firecracker, in the same instant he feels the soft-nosed 30.06 bullet whistle past his cheek like a phantom breath, in the same instant he falls awkwardly across King’s chest.  And then…

 

 

 

 


Hood Secrets: A Ghetto Who-Dun-It 
by Angee Parker

Welcome to a housing project in Chicago. Where sex, drugs and murder pour down onto the community like a thunderstorm.

WHO KILLED JEROME?

When convicted sex offender and alleged pimp, Jerome Sanders was found dead in his apartment. The neighborhood was transformed into its own version of the game CLUE. Because everyone wanted to know WHO KILLED JEROME? 

Deceitful and treacherous, Jerome called himself a businessman, but in reality he was a cold-blooded killer. Everyone hated him and a lot of people wanted him dead. The list of suspects was long and constantly growing. But, WHO KILLED JEROME?

There were accusations, finger pointing and speculations. Jerome had done so many terrible things to so many people. Every one of them had a good reason and motive to kill him. No one but the real killer knew for sure WHO KILLED JEROME, and why.


Book Review by Jackie Johnson, Streetfiction.org

Hood Secrets follows the murder of a neighborhood terrorist named Jerome. He is linked to the destruction of many families throughout the Chicago area turning women into drug addicted prostitutes. Young men who fall prey to his evil ways find themselves dead or selling the very drug that destroyed their family's lives. With a growing investigation of his murder there are more and more possible suspects piling up.

The story jumps right into the drama showing the point of view from those who were affected by Jerome's manipulation. It's raw telling of truth shows how cruel and unforgiving the hood can really be. The author's ability to give you such an up close and personal view into each characters life was outstanding. It's isn't for the faint of heart. Many of the characters like Momma T made me beyond upset and a few times I found myself talking out loud at the book. I gave the story four stars and would highly recommend it readers who are looking for an in your face novel with lots of shock and awe factor.


Book Review by Amazon Customer, Verified Purchase

What a great read! Interesting, realistic not your basic soap opera. Real life experiences everyone can relate to. What a killer ending never would have guessed!! This is a definite must read.... I can't wait for the series!

Graphic & Adult Content Warning.  Excerpt from Hood Secrets


(PROLOGUE)

THE CHICAGO COURIER SCORCHED BODY FOUND IN ENGLEWOOD CHICAGO, ILLINOIS:

A 45-year-old convicted sex offender and alleged drug dealer Jerome Sanders was found dead in his home last night.
Sanders’ body was discovered by firefighters after they extinguished the 3-alarm fire.  Detectives said they believed the fire had been started in the living room. An accelerant was used on the chair where the body was found, in a possible attempt to conceal the murder.  An autopsy is pending. Police and fire officials are investigating the incident as an arson/homicide.  No suspects have been charged as of yet in connection with the death.


(MOMMA T)


Momma T knew that karma was the wrong bitch to try to mess over. Because once she put you on her shit list, best believe when she came for your ass it was not going to be pretty. Jerome unfortunately had to find that out the hard way. No one was shocked that he was killed. Everyone was just surprised it took so long for someone to finally do it.  Jerome was low down and treacherous and everyone hated him. He called himself a business man but he was just a drug dealer and Internet pimp. He liked to compare himself to Donald Trump. He would say that he ran his stable of young girls like Trump ran his boardroom, with fear. The only difference was Jerome never fired anyone. He killed them.

Momma T met Jerome when he was seventeen years old and just starting out in the pimping game. He was a smooth talker and charmer and it was easy to get caught up in his web of deceit. He had mesmerizing brown eyes and the body of a Greek god. He had a way of making a woman believe that he was the man of her dreams. But he was a nightmare that they could not wake up from. Momma T fought hard all of her life to stay away from men like Jerome. Choosing the wrong man was a skill that she had perfected. She was very good at her trade.

Her first love was her daughter Crystal’s father. They grew up next door to each other. He was her first crush, her first kiss, and her first sexual encounter.  He was also her oldest brother’s best friend, so they had to keep their relationship on the low. Her brother would have killed his friend had he known his twenty-one-year old homie was screwing his thirteen-year-old sister. 

Momma T grew up in a housing project on 63rd and Calumet in Chicago. On her block there was a high-rise building with sixteen floors and two rows of eight connected houses that they called the row houses. The people in the row houses thought that they were better than the people in the high rises. They believed that their living conditions were better, just because they were not stacked on top of each other. But at the end of the day it was all still the ghetto.

As in most project homes, somebody was always there. So to hook up, Momma T and her guy would wait late at night until after everyone had fallen to sleep. Then they would sneak out to the back of the houses. It was pitch dark back there, a perfect spot for secret lovers trying to get their groove on. Their rendezvous ended the moment he found out that Momma T was pregnant. She was devastated. Not only did he deny his baby, he also left her alone and in a horrible situation. She expected the impossible she wanted him to save her from her circumstances. But he could not because his living conditions were just as messed up as hers. Did she expect him to move her from the bedroom she shared with her three sisters, to the bedroom he shared with his two younger brothers?

Momma T felt that their love could conquer all. She needed to believe that he loved her and that he would take care of her. But he was just like all the rest of the sperm donors that populated the projects. After they got what they wanted, they moved on to the next conquest. Once he took her innocence and cheated her out of a halfway decent future, he avoided her. So she set aside her childhood fantasies and joined the rest of her family on that vicious cycle of welfare and poverty.

Momma T had her second child, Diamond, when she was fifteen. She never wanted to sleep with that sperm donor, but he wanted to have her. Because he was bigger and stronger, he took what he wanted. That horrific night was permanently
etched in her mind. The day was like every other summer day in the projects, too hot to be outside and damn near suicide to be inside. The cement blocks that the houses were made out of stayed cold in the winter and hot as hell in the summer.

Momma T sat on the front stoop of her house waiting on the “chokes” truck. During the summer once a day a big brown truck would pull up, filled with government-subsided food to feed all the underprivileged ghetto kids. The people in the neighborhood did not care how the truck ended up there, they were just glad that it came. For most of them that was their only meal of the day. They were given a piece of fruit, a juice box, and two thick slices of bread with a small piece of processed meat in between it. The sandwiches were so thick and dry that if it was not chewed thoroughly you would choke.

The screeching sounds of an ambulance and police cars racing up the block took everyone’s attention off the chokes truck and onto the disturbance down the street. Everyone ran to see what the commotion was all about. Screaming and crying could be heard blocks away. Shock and disbelief shook the crowd once they realized the bloody mass that was splattered on the cement was Nita and her six-month-old baby.  Big-nose Steve, Nita’s boyfriend and the baby’s father, was in the apartment trying to talk his way out of the predicament he found himself in. But no amount of talking was going to get him out of his troubles.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Angee Parker. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 

Purchase Hood Secrets: A Ghetto Who-Dun-It by Angee Parker
Link: http://amzn.com/B0178751CO  
http://www.angeeparker.com/#!shop/c6kj

 

 

 

 

 


Lawful Deception 
by Pamela Samuels Young

"Pamela Samuels Young has crafted a page-turner that will keep you engrossed until the very last page. If you’re a fan of smart legal thrillers with brisk pacing, crackling dialogue and edgy, intriguing characters, Lawful Deception is for you.” --Dwayne Alexander Smith, Award-winning Author of Forty Acres.

Once again, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young delivers another captivating legal thriller full of unexpected twists and jaw-dropping moments you never see coming. The beautiful Bliss Fenton won't be winning any awards for Mother of the Year. Truth is, motherhood isn't nearly as important to Bliss as the cottage industry she's created: extorting wealthy men for the hefty child support she can collect.

But Bliss' greed goes too far when she takes on Fletcher McClain. The handsome music industry mogul refuses to accept her conniving conduct lying down. He retains high-profile attorney Vernetta Henderson to sue Bliss for fraud.

Enter Bliss’ unscrupulous attorney, Girlie Cortez, who has a personal score to settle with Vernetta. As the two lawyers once again go head-to-head, their legal battle quickly escalates from merely contentious to downright deadly.
 

Prologue

Bliss Fenton took a sip of champagne as she glared across the room at the obnoxiously happy couple. They indeed made a striking pair. Their slim, toned bodies draped in designer wear and expensive jewelry. So trendy. So California chic. Setting her champagne glass on the tray of a passing waiter, Bliss snaked her way through the crowd, hoping to get a better view. As she moved, her blonde curls bounced as if lifted by a cool breeze. At 5’8” and 120 pounds, her delicate frame was all slopes and curves. A body specifically designed for exhibition.

The partygoers were packed like human matchsticks inside the gaudy Hollywood Hills mansion. The home, if you could call it that, was a testament to excess. Just like the couple. Too much of everything. Too many art deco chairs, too much bronze and glass, and so much artwork the walls could barely breathe.

Only a few feet away from the couple now, Bliss found herself shoulder-to-shoulder with a too-tanned man with greasy hair. He winked at her. She sneered back at him and moved on. A devious smile fractured Bliss’ face as she returned her attention to the couple. She imagined the angst they would experience the minute they spotted her among the partygoers. Fletcher’s lips would contort into an ugly grimace, but then coolly transition to a barely perceptible smirk. He was not the kind of man who was easily rankled. That was the reason he was a millionaire several times over. 

Mia, however, would not be able to hide her emotions. Fletcher’s prissy little black princess would toss Bliss a snarl that bellowed, What the hell are you doing here? It was Mia she wanted to punish most. Bliss had pleaded with God to curse her former friend with a pain ten times more intense than her own. She wanted Mia to live it. Breathe it. Curl up in bed with it. Just as she had.  Bliss refused to blame Fletcher for the poor choices he’d made. He was a man. And men, by nature, were weak. Still, he too would pay just the same.  The call of vengeance tugged hard at Bliss’ soul, urging her, daring her, to march right up to the couple and confront them. But she held back. For the moment. Patience had always been her most virtuous trait. 

Fletcher hustled to the front of the room and began singing the praises of the newest songstress to be added to his stable of artists, LaReena Jarreau. Bliss remembered cuddling in bed with Fletcher and listening to him brag about creating her stage name, since Janice Harris had no pizzazz.

“The first time I heard her voice,” Fletcher said, throwing his arm around the bony twenty-something dressed in hooker gear, “I knew she was going to hit the music world by storm. You have to agree that what we heard tonight was—as the youngsters say—off the chain.”

Everyone applauded as the hip, dark-haired CEO of Karma Entertainment grinned, happy to be on show. The only thing Fletcher enjoyed more than being rich was having everyone know it.

Mia remained off to the side, perfecting the look of the coy, supportive fiancée. That had been Bliss’ mistake. Accepting her at face value. While Mia’s visual package was quite alluring—all charm and beauty—on the inside, she was pure evil. Truth be told, Mia wasn’t all that different from her.  Bliss Fenton, not Mia Richardson, should have been on the arm of the music industry mogul tonight. It had never occurred to Bliss that her long-time yoga buddy could walk into a party and take her new guy’s breath away. Literally. 

At the time, Bliss had been dating Fletcher for a short six months. She’d invited Mia to the party at Fletcher’s Beverly Hills home for the sole purpose of showing off her new man to her smart, uppity faux-friend. Bliss could still remember Mia waving as she glided into the party, the crowd parting so effortlessly it almost seemed choreographed.

Seconds before, Fletcher had been talking nonstop about his label’s next release, but the sight of Mia had caused him to lose his train of thought. When Bliss had formally introduced them, the lust in Fletcher’s eyes further telegraphed the gravity of her mistake.

Only days after the party, Bliss’ time with Fletcher began to dwindle, explained away by late night meetings that couldn’t be avoided or last-minute business trips to New York. Mia, too, had started cancelling their after-yoga coffee chats and finally stopped coming to yoga class altogether. 

It was a month later, when Bliss saw Fletcher and Mia pictured together in Billboard, that she first learned of their betrayal. Her subsequent rage-filled calls to both of them had been ignored. And now, Mia was at Fletcher’s side, while Bliss had been pushed right out of his life.

A burst of applause snapped Bliss back to the present. As Fletcher seemed to be wrapping up his speech, Bliss moved closer, stopping inches behind Mia. She leaned in, her lips almost grazing Mia’s right ear. 

“Congratulations on your engagement.”

Mia’s head whipped around, her dark brown skin now ashen gray. “You ... you shouldn’t be here.” 

Bliss spoke in a firm whisper. “Neither should you. You backstabbing bitch.” 

Mia took a step back. “This is not the place to make a scene.”

“Okay, then,” Bliss said, moving into the space Mia had abandoned. “Shall we step outside?”

A second later, Fletcher wedged himself between them. “You walk yourself out of here right now,” he said through clenched teeth, “or I’ll have security carry you out.”

Although no voices had been raised, all heads turned in their direction. Mia didn’t move.

Fletcher, always cognizant of appearances, wore a stiff smile as he spat into Bliss’ face. “If you don’t leave, I swear I’ll have you arrested.”

After three long beats, Bliss winked. “You’ll both be hearing from me.”

Bliss couldn’t help smiling as she sashayed through the buzzing crowd. 

Fletcher and Mia would suffer for their disloyalty. Bliss only wished she could be there to see their stunned faces when they learned what she had done and realized there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.


Chapter 1



I should have shown Fletcher McClain to the door 30 minutes ago, but the words seem to be stuck in my throat. I hate to admit it—even to myself—but I like having him in my space again. 

“So will you take care of this for me, Vernetta?” 

He’s been pacing the length of my office for several minutes now. When he first stormed in and slapped the Petition to Establish Parental Relationship on my desk, he was so wound up I thought he might be on the verge of a stroke.

“I’m not a family law attorney, Fletcher.” 

Employment law and some occasional criminal work are more up my alley.

“I don’t need an expert in family law,” Fletcher insists. “What I need is a good negotiator. Someone who can talk some sense into this nutcase and make her go away. And I’m confident you can do the job.”

The issue isn’t whether I could handle his case, but whether I should. They say a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. Perhaps a lawyer who goes to battle on behalf of an ex-lover is just as foolish. Especially if the old flame hasn’t quite flickered out yet.

According to the petition, Fletcher’s ex-girlfriend Bliss Fenton has named him as the father of her three-month-old daughter, Harmony. Fletcher, however, claims the petition is all lies. Even though he hasn’t taken the court-ordered paternity test yet, he wants me to set up a meeting with Bliss and offer her some “chump change,” as he puts it, to go away. 

“It looks like she filed that petition herself. I need this nonsense over and done with before she gets an attorney involved.”

I take another look at the petition. Bliss has indeed filed it in pro per, which is easy enough to do. The petition is a simple two-page form that requires checking a few boxes. Falling into one of the chairs in front of my desk, Fletcher fixes me with a look so intense I almost shudder. 

“I really need you, Vernetta.” 

His lips angle upward, just slightly, and I feel a warm tingle in a place where my happily married self definitely should not be tingling. I break his gaze and fiddle with my cuticle. Classically handsome, Fletcher has sandy hair, strong cheekbones and wide brown eyes with lashes too long and thick for Mother Nature to have wasted on a guy. He’s still the only white guy who ever stole my heart. 

“Fletcher, you could find a million attorneys to handle this. Why don’t you let me recommend a friend who has expertise in family law?”

“See, that’s what I love about you, Vernetta. I don’t know many lawyers who would turn away a paying client with my kind of dough. You’re the real deal.”

“Unbelievable.” I stare across the desk at him, shaking my head. “You’re still as cocky as you were when we were know-nothing sophomores back at USC. It’s not always about money, Fletcher.”

“It’s always about money, my sweetness.”

Damn him. Hearing his pet name for me after all these years has me tingling again. A quiet chirp interrupts his subtle flirting. He pulls the phone from the inside pocket of his jacket. Glancing at the screen, he frowns and sets it on the corner of my desk.

“How can you be so sure it’s not your kid?” I ask.

“Because we broke up almost a year before that kid was born.”

“Shouldn’t you wait for the results of the paternity test?”

“Don’t need to. It’s not my kid.”

“I’m confused. If it’s not your kid, once you have the results, it’s over. Why pay her anything?”

“You don’t know Bliss Fenton. Even after the results come back, she’ll have something else up her sleeve. I need this thing buttoned up once and for all. Paying her off will accomplish that.”

My gut and years of legal experience tell me there’s more to the story. “You certainly seem awfully stressed over an allegation that has no merit. What’s the real deal?”

Fletcher repositions himself in the chair. 

“I’m getting married in three months and this whole thing has my fiancée climbing the walls. Bliss timed this to embarrass Mia right before our wedding. I need it resolved as soon as possible.”

The news that Fletcher is getting married surprises me. I’ve followed his career for years and figured he was a confirmed bachelor. 

“So what’s Bliss got against Mia?”

“Well ... um ... they used to be friends.” 

I squint. “Oh, so we’re dealing with a woman scorned.” 

It’s one thing to lose your man to another woman. It’s quite another to lose a charming, high roller like Fletcher McClain to someone you considered a friend.

He shrugs. “That’s basically the crux of it.”

“But it still doesn’t make sense. Bliss wouldn’t serve you with a paternity suit if there were no chance you could be the father.”

“You haven’t been listening. This woman is extremely conniving. She probably read that Forbes article and came up with this scheme to shake me down.” He pauses. “Did you happen to see it?”

Fletcher landed the number three spot on Forbes’ list of the top music industry moguls. He’s the only one on the list under 40. His net worth is estimated at $450 million, just behind Clive Davis and JayZ.

“Of course I saw it. Very impressive.”

He points a finger at me. “You haven’t done too bad yourself, counselor. You’ve handled some pretty high-profile cases.” 

Over the years, Fletcher sent me handwritten notes, congratulating me when one of my trials hit the press. Keeping up with his achievements is the only reason I read Billboard.

“So how much do you plan to offer her?”

“A hundred grand should do it. I’m willing to go higher if I have to. Maybe two-fifty. And I want a written agreement with an ironclad confidentiality provision.” 

I’m about to say he’s putting up a lot of cash to get rid of a bogus claim, but for a man with Fletcher’s bank account, we’re talking peanuts. 

“We may have to play dirty to force her into a settlement. I want you to retain a private investigator to dig up some dirt on her in case we need it. And trust me, it’s out there.”

“Are you serious?”

“As a heart attack. Once you meet her, you’ll understand.”

“How’d you even end up with this woman?”

“It’s your fault,” he quips. “After you broke my heart, I was so devastated, I opened up my heart to whoever came along.”

“Yeah, right.” I scan the petition again. “It says here the child was born in January of this year and she’s three months old.” I glance skyward and do the math in my head. “Let’s see ... Assuming a nine-month pregnancy, that would place conception sometime in April of last year.”

“Exactly. The kid can’t be mine. We broke up in February, eleven months before she was born. I remember because it was two weeks before Valentine’s Day.”

“Maybe your timing is off.”

“It’s not.”

“And there were no hookups after that?”

“Nope.” He brushes the lapel of his Canali suit, then raises his right hand. “Scout’s honor.”

“I still don’t understand why you don’t want to wait for the test results before approaching her. You’d be in a much better negotiating position.”

“I’m taking the test tomorrow, but it could be a couple of weeks before I get the results. I want this thing resolved yesterday.” 

His cell phone chirps again. He grunts and picks it up. “Excuse me a second.”  His long fingers awkwardly tap the screen. I assume he’s sending an email or text message. Another minute or so passes before he looks up, his face full of annoyance.

“Uh, that was Mia calling from the lobby.” He scratches his jaw. “She’s on her way up.”

“Hmmm. So it’s your fiancée who’s running this show.”

“Not really. Well, I mean—” 

I’m not used to seeing the smooth-talking Fletcher McClain at a loss for words. He moves to the edge of the chair. The relaxed air we’d been basking in has been sapped from the room. 

“The real deal is Mia wants me to sue Bliss for defamation. She thinks I’m meeting with you to talk about the defamation case. But I think it makes more sense to give Bliss a few dollars to disappear.”

“Okay, now I get it.”

“Let’s keep that under our hat. And, um,” he rubs his chin, “Mia’s a bit on the jealous side. Let’s not mention that we used to be an item, okay?”

Fletcher was never the type of guy who’d let his woman call the shots. This alpha dog has turned into a poodle. 

“No problem. Our conversations are attorney-client privileged.”

Fletcher straightens in his chair. “Oh, so I’m your client? Great!”

I raise both hands, palms out. “I haven’t committed yet. But your fiancée can’t—”

“Just flow with me on this, okay? I’ll handle Mia. You just play along.” His confident charm reminds me of the first time we met over a decade ago. 

I was walking across campus when Fletcher stopped me with a corny pick-up line.

“Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk by again?”

I’d never met a white guy—certainly not one as gorgeous as Fletcher McClain—who had the swagger of a brother. After a bit of prodding, I agreed to meet him for lunch. And here he is still charming me more than a decade later.

My assistant pokes her head in the door. “I have a lady out here who says she—”

The door flies open and a woman bustles past Deena into my office.  A perfectly coiffed, black beauty marches right up to my desk and peers down at me. I have to push my chair back to get her out of my personal space. 

“You better be a barracuda,” she says, firing her words at me. “Because that’s the kind of attorney we need to show that scandalous slut Bliss Fenton that she’s playing with fire.” 


( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Pamela Samuels Young. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 


Purchase Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young
(Vernetta Henderson Series, Book 5)

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About Pamela Samuels Young
When attorney Pamela Samuels Young, a NAACP Image Award winner, isn’t fulfilling her duties as legal counsel for a major corporation in Southern California, you can usually find her penning her next legal thriller.

Her acclaimed novel, Anybody’s Daughter, is what garnered Pamela her first NAACP Image Award win in the category of Outstanding Literary Work (Fiction).

Fed up with never seeing people of color, especially women, depicted as savvy, hot-shot attorneys in the legal thrillers she read, the Compton, CA, native decided to create her own. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, Pamela accomplished her ambitious goal by getting up at 4am to write before work, dedicated her weekends to writing and even spent a large portion of her vacations glued to her laptop. In doing so, she discovered her passion for writing.

A graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and a Master’s Degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a diehard member of Sisters in Crime-L.A., an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers.

She lives in Southern California and attends Hope in Christ Community Church. Visit her website to read excerpts from the books, to see the more than 380 bookclubs she has visited and to follow her online: 

Pamela is also a frequent speaker on the topics of writing fiction, discrimination law and pursuing your passion.
Pamela loves to hear from readers, so use one of the avenues listed below to reach out to her.

Pamela's website:  http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com 
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Jasper's Cafe On The Boulevard 
by Tracey Fagan Danzey

Although the world hasn't carved out a proper identity for Torie Lynn Harper, she is about to present one that will keep them all talking. Torie is an elite cultural “mutt” and social hybrid raised in an affluent suburban community in Connecticut. Following a move to the nearby city, she would learn that being Black, educated and gorgeous would prove insufficient to being heralded into this urban community that doesn't embrace her. While she would find many that may look like her, undoubtedly, none that speak or share like mannerisms. 

Desperate to fit in, Torie quickly becomes a member of a grassroots movement determined to thwart the closing of the iconic “Jasper’s Café” on the boulevard. Torie would soon become the envy of many and enemy to one following a swift climb up the corporate ladder. Millie becomes unable to ignore her concerns as threats to her friend increase. The next 18 months would strip Torie of her family, a fiancé and her identity as she'd known it. Torie must search for herself amid deception, workplace improprieties and a weathered romance. 

For the first time, both old and new friendships will be confronted with cultural differences, opening doors to humorous exchanges, tempered debates and social explorations. It's an unraveling suspense that's moving the story forward amid a group of friends that are sharing the most authentic and underexposed relationships.



Excerpt: Jasper's Cafe On The Boulevard


“Just look at my baby girl!” She blots her ageless cinnamon face that nearly matches her bronze dress, her thin youthful body always made it difficult to pass as anything other than a sister or friend of Simone’s, but certainly not her mother. 

“Mommy, please don’t come in here making me cry . . . I’ve just gotten my makeup done.”

“I knew from the first day that I saw those slanted eyes stealing their first peek of me and this world that you were finding your way.”

“Oh, Mom,” Simone sniffled after seeing her mother’s eyes well up. 

“Oh, no you don’t, Simone Renee Jackson. Don’t you take this moment away from me; I’ve been waiting too long! I certainly knew that you didn’t have a problem in taking the lead and that you were not going to let any man or anyone else stop you when you had your mind made up.” 

“It was very telling that you came on out fast and with little notice while Sinclair stayed put for nearly another two hours even with the doctors prompting his little behind.”

We laughed at the idea of Sinclair ever being little.

“He’s always chosen to approach life the hard way, taking me along with him, always making sure that he’s alright. I often remind him that I sport a permanent scar on my belly for a C-section that didn’t have to be, messing up this temple!”

Mrs. Jackson walked over to the ottoman and picked up her purse and removed a small manila envelope from inside and walked back over to Simone.

“Now I want you to take this and buy as many pieces of furniture that you can for that big house on the Cove. My baby is moving to the Cove!” She proudly hands the unsealed envelope to Simone.

I couldn’t have been happier when both Simone and I revealed a bank check in the amount of $25,000.

“Where did you get this from?” 

“What do you mean, where did I get this from? Baby, haven’t I always had to work more than one job at a time?”

“I know, but why haven’t you used it on you?”

“I have everything that I need. As I said, I knew that my baby girl was smart as a whip and that I had to start saving for school early on, but your little smart behind and Torie knowing all about those grants and scholarships paid your way right on through that school.” 

“Oh. My. God!” Simone says in disbelief. 

“Oh yes, he sure did have a lot to do with it too,” her mother replied and then smiled and winked.

“I figured that I would save it for your wedding, but you and that brilliant soon-to-be son of mine had taken care of everything already. So I thought I’d give you a down payment and you all could find a home. I was too late for that too.”

“Mommy, stop playing!!” 

“Oh, I don’t have time to play. I have a wedding to attend and the bride just happens to be my baby.”

Simone no longer cared about her hair or make up in that moment as she grabbed her mother from behind squeezing her shoulders so tightly nearly pulling them both to the floor. Mrs. Jackson prepares to go and find Tessa so that she could refresh Simone’s face with the few remaining minutes.

Simone turned to me and said, “I still can’t get over the fact that you and Quinn still haven’t seen each other.”

“Sim, you’re the one who had me running around and having me miss the rehearsal. By the time I got to dinner that night, he’d already left.”

“Listen, don’t say anything about this to your brother; I’m going to hang on to his a little while longer. God only knows what I’ll end up letting him use his for,” she mumbled while walking out the door.

“Bail.” Simone thought she’d whispered it, but to our surprise, her mother obviously heard her and responded, “Don’t talk that way about my baby boy; you know I don’t play that!!”

 

 

 

 

 


Her Chance At Love by Nicki Night 



The Barrington Brothers are here! Meet Blake… 

Trust doesn't come easily to senator's daughter Cadence Payne—especially after her disastrous engagement. Dating is no longer at the top of her to-do list, no matter how persistent fellow attorney Blake Barrington may be. Yet the sexy, notorious lawyer makes a very convincing argument. Cadence is almost tempted to give in…until Blake's implicated in a scandal and hires her to defend him! 

Little by little, Blake is getting past Cadence's defenses and giving a whole new meaning to attorney-client privilege. But days and nights spent in close proximity prove dangerously distracting. If Blake loses this case, his career, Cadence's reputation and their romance will all be in jeopardy. Can he convince her to believe in him despite her fears—or is he gambling with his future and her heart?
 

Praise for Her Chance at Love by Nicki Night 


Reviewed By Amazon Customer 

Her Chance At Love by Nicki Night is an enjoyable read. Cadence and Blake are perfect for each other. Cadence Payne gives arrogant, charismatic, confident lawyer Blake Barrington a run for his money.She finally gives in to her emotions and succumbs to the romantic advances of Mr. Blake Barrington. In the blink of an eye life circumstances happens and Cadence and Blake stand the chance at losing it all. Blake's refusal to give up on Cadence and what they were beginning to have, begins to wear her down. It takes everything in Cadence to keep up that wall to protect her heart. Nicki Night did a wonderful job on her debut novel.  Can't wait to see what else Nicki Night has in store for us with the other Barrington brothers


Reviewed By Shavonna Futrell 

Her Chance At Love By Nicki Night is her debut novel introducing us to the first of the three Barrington Brothers. Night introduces us to Hunter, Blake and Drew, Her Chance At Love focuses on the very handsome middle Barrington brother, Blake who is a lawyer and has no problems getting what he wants when it comes to the ladies, until he meets Cadence Payne who is also an attorney and recently engaged but not married and has decided to put dating on the back burner and focus solely on her career. Blake is determined to get what he wants.

I met this author at a literary event and decided to support this author on her new book, I am glad I picked this up because I would have missed out on a great romance, I really enjoyed Blake and Cadence's love story, the thing I enjoyed most was the dates Blake took Cadence on there was nothing traditional about them and I appreciated that and it gave me some ideas, if you want to read a great romance I highly recommend this book. I really hope Drew Barrington's story is next.


Excerpt: Her Chance At Love by Nicki Night 


"You haven't had sex in how long?" Alana Tate shrieked.

Cadence Payne recoiled as her eyes darted around the bustling coffeehouse and then landed on the shocked wide-eyed expression on her closest friend's face. She couldn't believe how loud she had just said that. "Alana! " she chided, embarrassed for both of them.

"Don't Alana me!" she said, still speaking at the same volume that she had just used to let everyone in proximity know that Cadence hadn't had any in a while. "What are you waiting for? Please don't tell me you're still pining over that loser Kenny. I thought you were over him!" she said, referring to Cadence's ex-fiancé, Kenneth Dalton. "I still can't believe he married that woman so soon after you two broke off the engagement. Jerk."

"Shh!" Cadence waved her hand at Alana, urging her to lower her voice before the entire coffeehouse ended up knowing all her business. "It has nothing to do with Kenny," she found herself whispering, then rolled her eyes and sighed. She knew Alana meant well, but she needed to reel her in before she went too far. Shaking her head, she took a sip of her chai latte. "I just haven't found anyone that I'm interested in dating, let alone sleeping with."

"That's because for the past six months you've dated your job. With the time you've put into working, there's no room for anything else." Alana gave her a pitiful look. "You need to get out more."

"Well, once I make senior counsel, then maybe I'll have time for a date or two." Yeah, right. She hoped her statement would be enough to get Alana off her back—even if she didn't believe it herself. Cadence was hurt when Kenny abruptly ended their engagement. Not only did the breakup severely bruise her ego, but also she didn't know love could hurt so badly. Then Kenny poured salt into her already wounded heart when he married another woman a few short weeks after. Cadence stood, indicating that it was time to go. Grabbing her empty cup, she started for the trash can, and then headed for the door. Cadence wanted to get out of that place and away from their topic as quickly as possible, adding distance between her and the notion of dating anyone. Alana was fast on her heels.

"You're coming with me tonight!" Alana declared.

 

 

 

 

 

 


When All Is Said and Prayed by E N Joy
Book One of the Forever Diva Series 

 It ain’t easy being saved, sanctified, and single. Try being a once divorced, now widowed single mother of two on top of that. Thank God the Lord built Paige Vanderdale to be able to bear all of those titles without becoming weary to the point of giving up. From the outside looking in, that life looks good on her. On the inside, though, Paige is coveting what so many others around her seem to have, which is true love.

In the past, everything that she thought was love was either something far from it, or was taken away from her. Now Paige is afraid to let her hair down and open herself up to love again.

Paige struggles with the decision to reach out to an old flame to rekindle their spark. When the blaze gets too high, will Paige do what she always does, which is grab the nearest fire extinguisher and try to put it out? Or will she utilize her backup plan and run? The decision is abruptly removed from Paige’s hands when something else begins to pull her away—something that just might be the thing that finally breaks her.


Excerpt from When All Is Said and Prayed by E.N. Joy

Chapter 26



When Paige looked out the peephole and saw who it was, her heart rate sped up. She no longer saw the woman standing on her porch as a friend and confidant. Had she known the true identity of this woman, she wasn’t sure she would have ever befriended her in the first place. Paige now knew her as the mother of her psycho ex-husband. She looked out the peephole again. Paige loved this woman. Loved her to life and death. Paige was confused right now, but what she did know was that she could not—she would not— make this woman pay the price for her son’s sins. After all, even if she was the mother of her abusive ex-husband, that meant that she was also her oldest daughter’s grandmother.

Paige unlocked the front door and opened it. She pushed the screen open enough for her uninvited and unexpected guest to enter her home.

The woman looked up at Paige with what looked like regret in her eyes. She then entered.

Paige closed and locked up the door behind them. When Paige turned around, Blake’s mother was just standing there looking at her. Both women seemed to fill up with emotions. Before either one knew it, they had charged toward one another to embrace in a deep, heartfelt hug. Tears were unstoppable as each woman cried.

“I’m so sorry.” Blake’s mother spoke first. 

“You don’t have to apologize,” Paige said.

“I do. I owe you several apologies.”

The women hugged for a few more seconds until they finally separated. Paige went and got them both some tissue to wipe their faces.

“Thank you,” Blake’s mother said, taking the tissue from Paige and then blowing her nose with it.

“You’re welcome.” Paige wiped her tears away. She then looked to the woman. “You said you owed me several apologies. I don’t understand.”

Blake’s mother took a deep breath and then gave off one of those “Here it goes” looks. “First off, let me just say that I honestly had no idea who my boy was. Initially, I didn’t even know if my child was a boy or a girl. I would have never asked you to help me search for him had I known.”

“I know that,” Paige said sincerely. She never thought the god-fearing woman standing before her would have knowingly solicited her assistance in the search for her long lost child.

“Wait. Please let me finish.” Blake’s mother found the courage to continue speaking. “I did know who he was, though, by the time I brought him to meet everyone.”

Paige shook her head with such disappointment.

“I didn’t do it that way to hurt anyone. I just felt it was better that way. I knew if I had told you all in advance, he would have never been allowed to step foot in the house. No one would have ever given him a chance.” She put her head down. “Not that anyone gave him a chance this way either.”

Paige just stood there. She really had no idea what to say about the confession.

“I wasn’t betraying you or trying to trick you,” Blake’s mother offered. “I love you like a daughter. Like you were my own child.” Her eyes spilled with tears. “You truly are the daughter I never had. And to think that once upon a time you really were my daughter, my daughter-in-law…But because of me, my son treated you like a dog on the street.” She keeled over in tears.

“I won’t let you blame yourself for what your son did to me,” Paige said, walking over and putting her hand on the heartbroken woman’s back. “You weren’t the one who raised him to treat women like that.”

The woman gained her composure and stood erect. “Exactly. I wasn’t there for him in the beginning…From the start of his precious life. That’s when I really needed to be there, and I wasn’t. I might not have been the one who raised him to treat women like that, but I wasn’t there to raise him on how, in fact, he is supposed to treat women. When a mother fails her son, she fails all the other women in his life too. And I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Paige. Will you forgive me?” She was crying out hard. “I was such a broken woman when I gave birth to Blake. His father was another woman’s husband at the time. He was born into a broken situation. He was raised broken by a woman who I’m sure was broken as a result of the role I played in tainting her marriage. My boy was then abandoned by yet another woman that at the time he thought was his birth mother. Even though he was a man when he married you, that broken boy was still inside of him. Still controlling his life. He was angry inside. He might have been good at hiding it, but only for so long.”

Paige could almost feel the pain herself that Blake’s mother was in as she cried out apologizing. Tears fell from Paige’s eyes just watching the woman. Paige still didn’t feel as though his mother owed her an apology for what Blake had done to her.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Redeemed by Patricia Haley and Gracie Hill 



Sequel to their edgy #1 Christian Fiction Bestseller - Relentless 

#1 Essence and Christian fiction bestselling author Patricia Haley teams up with national bestselling Gracie Hill in this edgy new drama series. The Redeemed Series is comprised of modern stories, loosely based on the attributes of the Apostle Paul and struggles he encountered with churches in the New Testament. Relentless is the first book in the series.  Redeemed by Patricia Haley-Glass and Gracie Hill, is book two in the series.  Details below.

Everything isn’t as successful as it appears in the life of hard-hitting civil attorney Maxwell Montgomery, who has his own way of tackling demons from the past. His self-appointed crusade to root out corruption in the church has cost him greatly, and the price continues to rise, as his personal life spirals out of control. His former love is engaged to someone else, and his troubles don’t stop there. Maxwell is shouldering an unexpected burden of guilt when he is forced to wonder if his pursuits have landed an innocent man in prison.

Instead of dealing with his conscience, Maxwell shoves the emotions deep within and presses on to the next case. Along the way, he amasses quite a list of enemies, including his former paralegal, who is desperately seeking retribution. With the weight of his mission becoming too heavy to bear, Maxwell doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust.

Despite his high-flying lifestyle, his past finally catches up to him. Maxwell is still unwilling to surrender, however, until an unavoidable set of circumstances forces him to make a life-changing decision. Having fallen so far, his only shot at redemption is through God’s mercy, but will the mighty Maxwell Montgomery forego his pride and accept it?


Redeemed: Chapter 1


Activity inside the Philadelphia law firm, located in the heart of downtown, was often hectic, but today it seemed manageable. 

“Make no mistake about it, he’s a snake, just like the rest of them,” Maxwell Montgomery rattled off as he reared back in his favorite chair, comfortably situated in his private office. 

Garrett, his lead private investigator, didn’t respond immediately.

Maxwell carried on with his tirade. “You know I’m telling the truth.” The infamous civil attorney leapt to his feet and approached Garrett, who was sitting across the room. “Name one honest preacher that you know.” Not allowing Garrett ample time for a response, Maxwell continued. “See? You can’t think of one, not a single one,” he said, pointing at Garrett and bursting into a flurry of laughter. “Not one.”

“Whatever you say, boss.”

“Because you know I’m right,” he said. “A bunch of self-righteous, moneygrubbing, power-hungry hypocrites, every one of them.” Maxwell sailed back to his chair in an animated fashion. “When you think about it, I shouldn’t complain. They’ve all been good to me.”

“How?” Garrett asked, seeming confused.

“Heck, look at this.” He tapped on a stack of files on his desk. “Case after case, they’ve made me a boatload of cash,” he said, rubbing his index finger and thumb together briskly.

Garrett’s head tilted to the side, and his lips tightened. “Can’t deny that.”

“I know you can’t. Man, these cats are a gold mine. Uncovering their sin is as easy as taking candy from a baby. I have more work than I can handle, going after these weasels.” He plopped into his seat. “Some of these cases blow my mind. Remember the priest in Allentown who secretly had three sets of children and wouldn’t agree to pay child support for any of them?”

“I remember. One mother was a nursing student who was struggling to stay in school.”

“Yeah, and he wouldn’t pay her the measly five hundred dollars a month that she needed,” Maxwell said.

Garrett leaned forward and rubbed his head. “I bet if he could do it all over again, he’d gladly pay the five hundred, and probably even five thousand a month.”

“I bet he would too. Once I found out about his other two sets of children he’d conveniently hidden from the archdiocese, paying that skimpy child support was the least of his worries. Staying out of prison for messing around with a seventeen-year-old girl took precedence.”

“And the church wasn’t too happy about the kind of publicity you were threatening to send their way.”

“That’s right.” Maxwell chuckled. “I did put some heat on them.” He spun a little bit in his chair. “I love my job, and what’s great about it is that there are plenty more creeps out there begging for me to come after them. Take Bishop Jones. He practically dared me to bring him down, and that whole cast of characters at Greater Metropolitan.” 

Satisfaction washed over Maxwell. Every single day of his career, Maxwell had dreamed of bringing down the mighty bishop Ellis Jones, the man who’d single-handedly destroyed the Montgomery household. Nearly three decades ago, his parents had been a cog in the mighty preacher’s wheel of deceit. The memory used to be painful and would ignite extreme disdain in Maxwell, but that was before the bishop was sent to prison last year. Now Maxwell reveled in the bishop’s predicament. Jones had lost his church, freedom and, most importantly, his reputation.

 

 

 

 

 


Tell the Truth The Devil Won't 
by Colette R. Harrell 

Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t  is the sequel to The Devil Made Me Do It.  Second stand alone book in the Heaven Over Hell Trilogy. The Love Zion members are in the middle of a spiritual tsunami. The flood has them up to their necks, deep in muck and mire, and treading water looking for a life raft. 

The full-figured Esther Redding doesn't realize it, but she desperately needs a change. Her Cinderella tiara is tarnished, and her glass slippers are cracked. 

Briggs Stokes has always had a soft spot for Esther. She was in his blood, and he didn't want a transfusion. When he returns to Detroit, he decides that nothing will keep him from her door. Well, nothing but once reformed bad girl Monica Stokes Custer. She's Briggs's ex, and she wants to be his "give me one more chance again" wife. The tug of war that ensues may be the catalyst that destroys the person they both love the most. 

Don't blink—pray. These shenanigans are too juicy to miss.


Excerpt: Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t

Chapter One


It was dead cold. The air crackled with the sound of ice-covered tree branches crashing onto cement sidewalks; it was an unnatural arctic day, even for Harlem. There were motorists stranded on every major highway as an epic ice storm settled over the length of New York City. And while the air over those highways was filled with road rage, explicit language, and hunger pains, the contrasting hush of the opulent brownstones on 132nd Street was shattered by an eerie scream that filled the bitter air.

Monica Hawthorne, the ex-Mrs. Briggs Stokes, stood shaking uncontrollably. Her beloved, risked-everything she-had-to-have-him husband of one month, Randall, lay in a pool of blood on their imported Brazilian cherry kitchen floor. If Randall could, he would have stood up and told her for the tenth time that ten thousand dollars for a floor was too much, and just because she could buy it didn’t mean she had to. But Randall couldn’t utter a word. She watched horrified as his blood seeped into the natural grooves of the wood, giving credence to the fact that maybe the cost was too much.

Monica blinked, but he wasn’t getting up or giving her advice about her newly acquired wealth, because standing over him was his newly divorced wife, the ex-Mrs. Meredith Hawthorne. This She-Spawn-from-the-Pits, with her six hundred-dollar hairdo mussed, her designer clothes askew, and her chest heaving in spastic breaths, clutched the knife that once protruded from Randall’s chest. Words of explanation weren’t necessary; the vivid picture painted its own morbid story.

Monica was spellbound. She was in her own home. The ordeal of leaving one husband to claim another’s was behind her. The guilt had been laid aside. The shame stamped down, at least temporarily. It was Randall and her against the world. But it had all just changed—drastically. Snapping to, Monica shrieked, “Oh sweet Jesus! What have you done? You crazy—!” Her cries were halted by the demented gleam in the ex-Mrs. Hawthorne’s eyes. The maniac’s focus switched from Randall to her, then back to Randall.

Mrs. Hawthorne had gone mad, crazy, bonkers, cray cray. Monica’s head hurt at the thought that she was still addressing this woman by what was rightfully her new name. It bore psychological study that she could only think of the witch as Mrs. Hawthorne. For over three years the woman had railed it at her, negating Monica’s right to ever wear the title. She’d stood in haughty arrogance and promised in divorce court that she would never relinquish it. At the time, Monica didn’t care; she felt Mrs. Hawthorne could keep the last name, as long as she had the man. Now she felt she had been short-sighted. If in the middle of a bloody rampage, she thought of her that way, then who was she?

The murderous interloper looked on in glee as blood bubbled out of Randall’s mouth. Monica observed her spiteful approval as Randall’s hand feebly stretched over his wound, but failed in mustering the strength to staunch the flow of his river of life. His eyelids fluttered—pausing, fighting to focus as he scanned beyond Mrs. Hawthorne’s face. His eyes settled on Monica’s outstretched hands.

“Randall,” Monica whispered. She swayed in agony. Time was grinding to a stop, like an old-fashioned watch discarded in a moth-eaten hope chest, it would soon end, and Randall would be done. She needed a way to get close to him, but Mrs. Hawthorne stood as she had for the last three years, directly in her path.

Always . . . in my way.

Rage bubbled into a go-for-broke moment. Monica launched forward and charged Mrs. Hawthorne with a Joan of Arc warrior’s roar. The sound of the impact and responding grunt was dulled by the body that crumpled to the floor. Monica gambled . . . and lost. Her body fell inches from Randall’s.  Her hands bloodied, Mrs. Hawthorne rocked in despair. She had meant to take her time with the slut, but her offensive attack had taken her by surprise.

Then . . . Monica moved.

What she was witnessing had Mrs. Hawthorne’s keening wail ricochet throughout the spacious brownstone. She glowered in anguish, howling as Monica’s fingers inched toward Randall’s, and they entwined even in their near-death status. She watched in ghoulish repulsion as the almost loving tableau played out before her. Her eyebrows arched as she made out Monica’s pleading words, “Jesus, help us.”

A rattle of air descended from Randall . . . and then stillness.  In slow motion, Mrs. Hawthorne turned in robotic movements away from the scene. Her steps faltered when she heard Monica’s fading voice, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The prophetic words washed over her as she stood in cold resolution. Shaking it off, she strutted away from the two people who had humiliated her in public and had caused her heart to bleed dry for three unbearable years. Randall had won his freedom, imprisoning her in her own madness in the process.

She had sworn to Randall’s dying mother, there would be no divorce. Tears gathered at the end of her hawkish nose, dribbling onto her twice-a-week, spa-waxed upper lip, then streamed down her cosmetic-tightened neck. She was Mrs. Meredith Hawthorne, of the Hawthornes, and failure was foreign to her.

In agony, she backtracked, and stumbled, tumbling over the bodies. Blindly, Meredith wiped her eyes, reared back, and spit in Monica’s face. Still feeling empty and unfulfilled, she stared, craving the ability to wake Monica and kill her again.  Rising, she noted Randall’s discarded, prized Civil War-era, matching pearl- and jewel-handled knives. She blew a kiss at him, and left the knives there. It was only fitting Randall have ownership of what he demanded in the divorce decree. What better way to deliver his bounty, then to use it as the method of obliteration for both he and his tramp?

Mrs. Hawthorne reached into her purse and pulled out her derringer. Acting as a lover whose desire is close to fulfillment, she caressed it.

Her insides churning, she panted, taking one last glance at the coconspirators to her destruction. She could answer Monica’s final question. God had forsaken Monica because she was a Delilah home wrecker. What Mrs. Hawthorne wanted to know, was why He had forsaken her.

She lay the letters for her children—who never called—on the solid mahogany credenza, then her purse. All she’d had was the facade of a happy life. She’d paid for it in an avalanche of tears as she played dumb blonde to Randall’s neglect and numerous indiscretions over the years, anything to keep him home.

And how had he repaid her? By falling for a nasty, ashy-prone, ghetto rat. The slut’s resulting pregnancy, and his request for a divorce, “so he could be happy” was the Joker’s wild card. How many wrongs was she expected to endure?

 

 

 

 

 


Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley

Shy, nearsighted caregiver, Gaia Telfair always wondered why her father treated her a little differently than her siblings. She never guessed she couldn't claim his love because of a family secret, her illicit birth. With everything she knows to be true evaporating before her spectacles, can the mulatto passing for white survive being exposed and shunned by the powerful duke who has taken an interest in her?

Ex-warrior, William St. Landon, the Duke of Cheshire, will do anything to protect his mute daughter from his late wife's scandals. With a blackmailer at large, hiding in a small village near the cliffs of Devonshire seems the best option, particularly since he can gain help from the talented Miss Telfair, who has the ability to help children learn to speak. If only he could do a better job at shielding his heart from the young lady whose honest hazel eyes see through his jests as her tender lips challenge his desire to remain a single man.

Unmasked Heart is the first Challenge of the Soul Regency novel. 


Excerpt: Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley


Father moved toward the boxy pianoforte, his spindle legs drifting. "I wasn't aware, but it is of no consequence. The man doesn't look at you that way. Though he's good to his brother's household, I see him going to study in London. That's too far to watch over Timothy."

"I need a chance to convince him. If he could like me, I'm sure he will help in my brother's care."

He leaned on the instrument. "I can't be at peace if all my children are tossed to the streets. You owe this to me, to all the Telfairs."

Owe? "What do you mean, Father?"

"Don't, Mr. Telfair. She doesn't need to know. Gaia can be reasoned with without saying anything more."

The warning sent a chill down Gaia's spine, but she had to know. "Tell me why I owe my flesh and blood."

Father took her hand and pulled it to his pale face. "Do you think it's possible that fair Telfair blood could produce this?"

Her heart stopped, slamming against her ribs. "My mother's Spanish roots have browned my skin. That's what you've always said."

He dropped her palm as his head shook. "It was a lie to cover my first wife's harlotry. You're a Telfair because I claimed you."

Gaia couldn't breathe. She crumbled to the floor. Hot tears drenched her face as she wished for a hole to break open and swallow her. "A mistake. Please, say this is a mistake."

The man whom she'd called father, whom she’d worshipped, shook his head again.

She lifted a hand to grasp his shoe but stopped, missing the black leather.

Was this why she’d always felt as if she could never grasp a hold of his love? Is this why he treated her a little differently from the rest? "Then who am I? Whose am I?"

"Some traveling bard, some African poet who captivated her whilst I travelled. When you came out so close to white, with so little color, the ruse was borne; no scandal would befall my name. I'm just lucky you weren't a boy. Then, Chevron would fall to a mulatto. How would the Telfair line handle that tragedy?"

She waved her fingers, studying the light pigment coloring her skin. Mulatto. All this time she’d blamed her flesh on fate or heritage, not lust. She tugged at her elbows, feeling dirty. Glancing at him between tears, she silently begged for him to say it didn't matter, that he loved her still. "Father?"

With a grimace painting his silent mouth, he buttoned his waistcoat. "I'm going to lie down. Talk to her, Sarah; make her understand."

Desperate, Gaia's hand rose this time, but his back was to her in a blink as he plodded from the room. Her fingers felt cold and numb as they sank onto the thin rug. The breath in her lungs burned. Adultery, not a Telfair by blood – these thoughts smashed against her skull.

Sarah knelt beside her and stroked her back. "I'm so sorry. You should never have known."

Gaia shook her head and pulled away. "No more lies."

"Please, I'm not the enemy."

Rearing up, she caught the woman's beady gaze. "You want me to believe you don't want the almost-bastard to be a servant to Timothy? Would you wish one of your children be given this sentence, to become a governess to their own flesh and blood? Well, at least they can claim to be flesh and blood to Timothy."

Sarah reached again and wiped tears from Gaia's cheek then opened her arms wide. "You are his sister. You love him so. This is no failing of yours."

At first, Gaia fell into the woman's sturdy embrace, then she stiffened and pulled away. She needed to flee, to let her brain make sense of the emotions whipping inside. Her slippers started moving. "I must go."

"Sweetheart, wait!"

Gaia shook her head and backed to the threshold. "Why? Is there something else you have to disclose to steal the rest of my dreams?"

Without a thought for a bonnet or coat, she rushed down the hall and out the front door.

Wham! She slammed into a man in fancy, sky-blue livery. The servant was tall and black. Black, like some part inside of her. Her eyes fixed on his bronze skin and wouldn't let go.

"Miss? I've come from Ontredale. Are you well, miss? You look pale enough to faint."

Not pale enough; never would be. "Sorry." She ducked her eyes and sidestepped him.

"Ma'am, I bear a note—"

"You want a Telfair. They are inside." She started running and kept going until not a cobble of Chevron Manor could be seen. Salty drops stung and blurred each step. She strode forward, deeper into the welcoming woods. A hint of spring blooms stroked her nose, but the streaks lining her wet face obscured them.

A fleeting thought to go to Seren's crossed Gaia's mind, but she couldn't let her friend see her like this. She was even more pitiful than normal. Would Seren even want to be her friend if the truth of her birth became known? "God, I have no hope."

As if her slippers bore a mind of their own, they led Gaia back to her special place. Heather grasses and lousewort danced about her mighty oak, like there were something to celebrate. Her dance card was now filled with pity. Her fortunes forever changed. Nothing good ever changed for Gaia. "God, spin back time. Let me be ignorant again - ignorant and meek and unnoticed. I won't complain this time."

Anything was better than what she was, a secret bastard. If not for the covering lies of the Telfairs, she would be a by-blow. She studied her shaking hands. If she'd been dark like the servant she'd collided with, would she have been tossed away?

 

 

 

 

 


The Bargain IV by Vanessa Riley

Time is running out for Port Elizabeth. A missing chief and his daughter, tensions among frightened colonists, and the trembling of a difficult labor, threaten to break the fragile bonds of its survival. 

Precious Jewell will do what is right to protect those she cares for, even for the man she won't admit to needing. 

For Gareth Conroy, death doesn't matter anymore, and he purposes that his spilt blood will bring salvation for the colony, but will he realize too late that no single man of flesh and blood can bring redemption? 

Will the burgeoning hope of two stubborn, wounded souls fray or smolder in this exciting conclusion of The Bargain? 


About The Bargain Series: 


Coming to London has given Precious Jewell a taste of freedom, and she will do anything, bear anything, to keep it. Defying her master is at the top of her mind, and she won’t let his unnerving charm sway her. Yet, will her restored courage lead her to forsake a debt owed to the grave and a child who is as dear to her as her own flesh? 

Gareth Conroy, the third Baron Welling, can neither abandon his upcoming duty to lead the fledgling colony of Port Elizabeth, South Africa nor find the strength to be a good father to his heir. Every look at the boy reminds him of the loss of his wife. Guilt over her death plagues his sleep, particularly when he returns to London. Perhaps the spirit and fine eyes of her lady’s maid, Precious Jewell, might offer the beleaguered baron a new reason to dream. 

The Bargain is a serialized story or soap opera told in episodes. Each episode averages from three to eight chapters, about 15,000 to 30,000 words. Each episode resolves one issue. Emotional cliffhangers may be offered, but the plot, the action of the episode, will be complete in resolving the main issue.  

My promise to you is that the action will be compelling, and I will tell you in the forward the length of the episode. This episode, Episode III, is eleven chapters long, 30,000 words. There are 4 episodes total for Season 1. Enjoy these Regency Tales set in South Africa.  -
Vanessa Riley 


Excerpt: The Bargain IV by Vanessa Riley


Twisting stairs leading to her small chamber below sat in front of her. Forty-five steps and she'd be inside her closet-sized quarters, one shared with a scullery maid. In Charleston, the slave quarters were big but shared by four or five. Maybe the small cellar room was what the lowest of servants of the house could have. Once the master left, how much longer would Mr. Palmers let her stay in it? He didn’t think she deserved anything but a hay bale, to be stabled like an animal.

If he tossed her out, would she become a Blackamoor at a brothel or worse, sold again and returned to South Carolina or Jamaica? Her fingers latched onto the waxed rail for strength. The smooth wood felt good beneath her thumb, cooling the fever of thoughts running rampant.

A memory of Eliza pushing her, encouraging her to slide down the big one at her pa's manor in Charleston, fluttered in her mind's eye. Precious had held her breath, put her bottom on the banister and slipped the length of it. For a few seconds, it felt like flying. It was reckless and heady and would've earned Precious such a beating if Mr. Marsdale had caught her, but sailing free was worth it. Wasn't freedom worth every risk?

Thunder erupted, and the storm pelted the roof in a steady punching manner. Her breath came in spurts as she remembered a backhand to the jaw, the stings of a whip, all endured protecting herself. The freedom to refuse sweaty advances was worth the beating, so complete freedom had to be, too.

Precious unglued her hand, pivoted, and headed for the study. Pausing, she counted the dents in the fretwork trim surrounding the threshold. At ten, she leveled her shoulders and knocked on Lord Welling's study door.

Nothing. No grunt. No deep voice, full of command, answered.

But no turning back either.  She pried open the heavy double doors and slunk inside. The heat of the room stung her cheeks. The stench of liquor and cigar smoke hung in the air, adding a sheen to the measly candlelight in the corner.

A few more steps and she spied her master.  Lord Wellings slumped at the fireplace. His tall formed hunched over the white wood mantle as the huge portrait of Eliza hung over him. The fastidious man had his shirttails exposed beneath a rumpled waistcoat. A cranberry coat lay dumped on the floor. His head, crowned with thick brown hair, sat tucked in one arm. A clear goblet hung from the other.

How drunk was he? Could she reason with him cast to the winds? The first day she saw him, his lean face held a hardy laugh. His wit, Mr. Marsdale said, could dice up a hard turnip. Maybe liquor slowed his brainbox down enough to agree to anything.

"Aw, Eliza's Precious Jewell. My Precious Jewell."

His voice with the stiff accent would be perfect for sermon-making. The authority in the deep tones prickled her skin, made her feel as if she'd been caught being naughty. She nodded. "Yes, sir."

He downed the amber contents of his drink then pounded the mantle. "Isn't—" A hiccup left his pursed lips. "Isn't your job to see that the child sleeps? Madame, aren't you missing a moment to mother him?"

Was he taunting her? Why? It was her responsibility to see about the child. His harsh tone almost sounded jealous. That couldn't be right. Alcohol was an evil thing.

"What does the mouse want?”

She should just say it. Give me papers to keep me free, off slave ships, and out of brothels. Then no man could have the right to touch her. Looking into the baron's red-rimmed eyes, the words stuck in her craw. Courage dropping away, she turned. "Good night."

"So the mouse is running away? Fine. Leave me, too."

She weren't a rat, nothing that low. She fiddled with the pocket of her apron then rotated to face him. "You drink too much drink. There's no reasoning with a bottle."

Like a foaming wave at the ocean, laughter poured out of him. "Tell me something that's not so obvious." He straightened and waved her forward. "You should drink with me too. You know what tonight is?"

Of course she did. Everyone in Firelynn Hall knew. Precious just stared at him.

He grunted hard and eyed her too. "It's the day I let your Miss Eliza die."

Thunder crashed outside, and his hand closed tight about the glass, breaking it. Red poured from his palm. "Augh. Bloody thing."

Precious dashed to his side and drew his hand up in her apron. "Foolhardy man."

He winced, snatched his hand away. "I chose to go to my uncle, to do his bidding. Who knew they'd both die that night?"

She felt for him, remembering the arguments Eliza had had with the master about who he loved more. Sympathy ate at her gut, but it disappeared when Precious spied her pristine apron darkening with growing red spots. "You fool. You’re bleeding to death."

Charging him, she seized his palm, and plucked out two shards of glass. The fire spit at her as she tossed them to the hearth. "You think dying will bring her back? Nothin' will do that."

His deep blue eyes beaded as he yanked his back arm. "That hurts, woman. Leave me. Let me drink to my lady gone."

Droplets trickled onto his waistcoat as he gazed at Eliza's portrait. The eyes formed of paint seemed focused on him, probably disgusted at his drinking.

The proud man would bleed to death and, with the smears on her apron, she'd be blamed. Precious came in here for freedom, not a heap more trouble. She grabbed his hand again and bound it tightly, wrapping it around and around in her poor apron. "You got a boy. Eliza's son needs you."

 

 

 

 

 


Introducing the Black Bird Detective Series by Sage


When you begin to read Assumptions Abound you step inside of the book and journey along with the characters. Assumptions Abound will keep you on the edge of your seat as you ride every twist and turn.

Assumptions Abound is a murder mystery, thriller and thought-provoking novel combined into one. This novel is told through the words of Monét Worthington.  Monét is a naïve girl with a tumultuous past and a troublesome childhood. Subjected to rape, mental and physical abuse, Monét is terrified to think about her future. Her terror continues as she finds herself running for her life! Lucky for Monét she has Victoria to protect her. Victoria loves Monét and she is willing to do anything for her, including commit murder. Only Monét has no idea that Victoria exists.

Monét tells her life story as her loved ones and those around her are brutally murdered. The plot twists and turns as the murder investigations ensue. This psychological thriller has all of the key ingredients to create an explosive literary masterpiece.

Detective Nina Kelsey is also introduced in this series. Detective Kelsey is not who she appears to be. A complex person with her own dark past, Detective Kelsey is always searching for more. She is determined to solve the Cold Creek murders before another life is lost.

Fireworks will ignite when Detective Kelsey and Monét Worthington meet and someone ends up dead.

Through this story, the Black Bird Detective Series is born. Assumptions Abound is the first book in the Black Bird Detective Trilogy. This series features characters from Assumptions Abound, including Raven Carter. Raven is a young African-American detective determined to solve murders in the small town of Cold Creek.  As she solves mysteries, she also works to uncover the truth about her past. The trilogy continues with Seeking Truth and Sweet Revenge.


Assumptions Abound by Sage

Assumptions Abound is a murder mystery, thriller and thought-provoking novel combined into one. This novel is told through the words of Monét Worthington. Raised by her father and stepmother during a difficult part of their marriage, Monét is on a mission to find true love and answers. Monét is a naïve girl with a tumultuous past and a troublesome childhood. Subjected to rape, mental and physical abuse, Monét is terrified to think about her future. Her terror continues as she finds herself running for her life! 

Lucky for Monét she has Victoria to protect her. Victoria loves Monét and she is willing to do anything for her, including commit murder. Only Monét has no idea that Victoria exists.  Monét tells her life story as her loved ones and those around her are brutally murdered. The plot twists and turns as the murder investigations ensue.

Enter Detective Kelsey. Someone is murdering the citizens of Cold Creek County and Detective Nina Kelsey is determined to find out whom. Lonely and running from a haunting past, she finds solace in her work. She has pledged to solve this mystery at all costs.

Will her life be the ultimate price?


Prologue


The darkness enveloped my room as I lay in bed with my eyes shut tightly and my arms wrapped across my chest. My heart beat steadily and rapidly against my chest. I said a silent prayer that tonight would be different, but I knew in my heart that tonight would be like so many other nights before it.

When I heard his footsteps in the distance I closed my eyes tightly and prayed that he would walk by my room. He quietly opened the door and pried the covers away from me. He lay in the bed next to me and I cried as another night passed by without an answer to my prayer. I decided that if I wanted to get away from him, I would have to take matters into my own hands.

He kissed my cheek and whispered “good night” in my ear. I didn’t respond. I was hoping that he would die right there. He didn’t care about me. My thoughts were swirling around in my head. I realized that nobody could save me from this monster. Then suddenly I heard a voice.

The voice whispered in the darkness, “You must do it. Who else will protect you, but you?” I listened to the voice. “Have you ever killed anyone?” said the voice. “No!” I responded. I was only seven years old. I knew nothing about death. I thought to myself. The voice heard my thoughts. “True you are only seven, but we can show them that it doesn’t matter how old you are. You can still make a difference.” The voice calmly replied.

And so it began… 

Have you ever killed anyone? I have and I must say it is the most exhilarating experience in the world. If I had to quantify it I would say that committing a murder is more exhilarating than sky diving, surfing or skiing down a hill at top speed. There is something powerful about watching the life leave a person’s body and hearing them take their last breath.

The first person I killed was my mother’s boyfriend Luciano. He was a handsome Italian man with dark hair and dark brown eyes. I remember everything about him. He would touch me in my special place, even after I told him that he shouldn’t. He took advantage of me and I promised myself that I would never let another person take advantage of me again.

I took a knife out of the drawer in the kitchen and hid it under my pillow. I knew that once my mother fell asleep, he would creep into my room and that particular night I was ready for him. I pretended like I was sleeping when he slowly opened the door and walked into my room. I felt him climb into the bed behind me and snuggle close to my back. I felt his breath on my neck. When he reached around to take my nightgown off of me, I grabbed the knife. Before he could react, I shoved the kitchen knife into his throat.

I still remember the look on his face. His eyes bulged out of his head and he grasped at his throat trying to stop the blood. My heart was beating so fast and I felt a rush of pure adrenaline. I watched him closely as he struggled to breathe. I put my ear close to his face; smelling the metallic scent of his blood and listening to him mumble inaudible words.

I watched intently as his chest rose and fell for the last time. As I watched the life leave his body, I knew that this could not be the end.

Luciano died that cold rainy night, he was the first person to meet the real me. Luciano met Victoria as his life slowly crept away from his body. 

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sage. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Order Book 1: Assumptions Abound (Black Bird Detective Series) 

Link: http://amzn.com/B00642W77M 




Seeking Truth by Sage

The characters from Assumptions Abound are all grown up and searching for answers. Detective Raven Carter is on a quest. For years her mother lied to her about her past and now that her mother is dead, Raven wants to know the truth. 

Joel knows that his past is riddled with secrets, whispers and lies, but wait until he finds out that it also involves murder. Joel and Raven are engaged and planning their future together. Little do they neither past will be the ultimate deciding factor for their future. 

Meet Raymond Thomas, the Superintendent of Cold Creek Public Schools. As the Superintendent of a large school district, Raymond has alot to prove. When his employees are systemically murdered, Raymond may have more to prove than he could ever imagine.

Order Book 2: Seeking Truth by Sage

Link: http://amzn.com/B008D2ZARA 




Sweet Revenge by Sage
A high profile murder sets Raven on a wild goose chase to find the killer. Her boss is pressuring her to handle the case and he is personally involving himself. Raven must be careful; as she chases the next criminal, someone is chasing her. She hasn’t forgotten about her estranged husband. He is the love of her life, only problem…he wants her dead, or does he? 

The wealthy son of a local socialite and businessman are adding to Raven’s headache. He is demanding answers that Raven does not have. When the case heats up, Raven may end up burned.  Raymond is back with an ax to grind. He has enacted a plan to take down those who damaged his reputation, stole his money and ruined his life. Will he succeed? 

Everyone is out for revenge….but as the saying goes, Revenge is a dish best served fast and cold!

Order Book 3: Final Book - Sweet Revenge 
Link: http://amzn.com/B012P17C1Q 




 

 

 


A Heart Not Easily Broken by MJ Kane 
Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs 

What secret would you keep to protect the ones you love?

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn't expect is a blond haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge. 

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.


A Heart Not Easily Broken Reviews from Amazon 


"In "A Heart Not Easily Broken" MJ Kane gives us a front row seat in observing the interracial relationship between Ebony and Brian. The story is told from their perspectives, and addresses the challenges, the insecurities and the potential emotional pitfalls that an interracial couple must face as individuals and as a couple. Some of them are common to every couple. Some are unique to interracial couples. Others are uniquely the challenges faced by a white man and black woman who love each other.

And if that dynamic weren't enough, Ms. Kane delivers a shocking incident that threatens to destroy Brian and Ebony's love and relationship. It teaches us that in the end, "race" is not as important as the love and trust between two people, and that secrets kept are cancers that can fester and grow until it becomes fatal to the relationship."
- Christopher L. Bynum- 5- Stars


"I could wax eloquent about this book for hours. I loved it so much, and it instantly became my standard against which I will assess all other IR romances. "Jaded", the second book in the series, was another fantastic read, with richly drawn characters and some twists and turns I didn't expect. The story truly pulled me in."
- portiapm- 5-Stars


" I am a avid reader and this book reached into my soul. I found myself cheering and crying for Brian and Ebony. The author made you feel every emotion they were going thru. Her words and her style of writing brought you close to the relationship of the main characters. It wasn't the type of story of boy meets girl, and they end up in bed... The love story moved slowly and built with each encounter. You hated for each chapter to end, but you couldn't wait for the next one to begin. The relationships with other characters added a balance to the storyline."
- Bookworm1120- 5 Stars


A Heart Not Easily Broken: Chapter One

Chapter 1



“This is the last time I wear this dress.”

“Oh, please, Ebony,” Yasmine, my best friend and roommate, yelled in my ear.

The music pounding out of the nightclub’s speakers made it nearly impossible to hear her.

“Stop fidgeting. You look uncomfortable,” she added, winking at the bartender who handed us our drinks.

No matter how many times I adjusted the hem of my dress, it was impossible to ignore the warm air tickling the backs of my thighs as people pushed past me in the crowded bar. It would take more fabric to keep my shapely derriere from involuntary exposure.

“Thanks.” I slipped money into the bartender’s tip jar, and he rewarded me with a gorgeous smile. “For the record, I am uncomfortable.” I turned to face Yasmine. “Freakum dresses are your thing, not mine.”

Yasmine laughed. “True, true, everyone’s not blessed with a body like mine.” She ran a hand over her hips, striking a pose. “Besides, I love showing mine off.”

I smirked before sipping my margarita. Yasmine’s light-skinned complexion, slender ballet dancer body, long legs, and B-cup breasts suited her personality. There were times I wished my body was more like hers, though. It would make shopping for clothes a lot easier. As it was, I had been blessed with the shapely figure my Nana called ‘bootylicious’. According to her, and her photo albums, I looked just like her when she was my age, with caramel-colored skin, perfectly proportioned hips, a butt that drew major attention, and D-cup breasts, making it hard for a man to look me straight in the eye.

I groaned while making another wardrobe adjustment. The jaw-dropping cleavage of my dress threatened to give my ‘girls’ their own airtime.

“I love my body, too. I’d just rather not show it to everyone.”

Yasmine shook her head while my attention went back to the patrons of the club. A wide variety of men lined the dark walls, standing just out of range of the overhead lights, making it impossible to pick out their faces in the smoky room. No doubt, many were on the hunt, looking for an easy lay. It shouldn’t be hard; one scan of the room revealed potential opportunities in every direction. Nearly every woman in the club wore a dress so tight it appeared to be a spray on, with skirts stopping just below their hips. I cringed. That sounded like my attire. Self-conscious, I tugged on the edges of my dress again.

The next time we go out, Yasmine is not selecting my outfit.

“That dress is going to get you some major action tonight. You’ll be thanking me in the morning…or afternoon.” She laughed.

I rolled my eyes. “I don’t have time to get into a real relationship right now. Finishing this last year of college is my focus. I’ve got to get that veterinarian job at the zoo, I’ve worked too hard to mess up now. Besides, I don’t need a man to take care of me.”

Yasmine smirked.

“Financially,” I clarified. “Having a nice body to lie against is a different story.”

She laughed and held out her hand for a high-five. “That’s my girl. Look around tonight. I bet you’ll find someone.” Her attention went to a dark skinned guy headed in our direction. He glanced over, smiled, and kept walking. “There’s one right there.”

He was attractive all right, but not the physical type I preferred. I was attracted to men who were tall, had thick lips, and eyes that peered into the depths of my soul. A man with the body of a sex machine, yet had no problem working hard for a living and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

One of the first things I noticed about a man was not his shoe size, but his hands. If they were too pretty and soft, the man didn’t believe in hard work. If they were overly calloused with visible dirt under the nails and full of scrapes and bruises, those were signs that a man didn’t take care of the little things, which meant the rest of him would be questionable. Now, a man with hands somewhere in between, calloused from work with no traces of dirt under his nails, those were signs of a hardworking man who could clean up nice. Everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Glimmer in the Darkness 
by Nicole Hampton

For Shannon Johnson, full-time wife, mom and freelance writer, life as she knew it changed one spring afternoon with the ringing of her doorbell. On the other side stood Vaneetra James, former mistress of Shannon’s husband, Daniel. With two sons, Shannon resisted the urge to leave Daniel in order to keep her family intact. However, she refused to deal with the issues resulting from Daniel’s extramarital affair. 

When Shannon thought her life couldn’t get any worse, a tragic turn of events in Vaneetra’s life turned Shannon’s already fractured world upside down, sending her marriage into an even deeper peril.

Feeling desperate and trapped, Shannon made a series of rash decisions that landed her in the arms of another man, bringing her already fragile world crashing downward. Having to come to grips with the reality that the man she once thought was extraordinary was just ordinary, she had to trudge the road of forgiveness, while learning to love again and accept what she never imagined could ever exist.


Excerpt: Glimmer in the Darkness by Nicole Hampton

Shannon had gotten up to get a drink of water when the doorbell rang. She walked to the front door, thinking that maybe it was the FedEx man delivering the contract for her new writing assignment. Without bothering to look through the peephole, she opened the door, ready to retrieve her package. She was surprised to see an unfamiliar woman standing on her steps with one hand on her hip, the other poised in front of the doorbell. “May I help you?” Shannon’s eyes grazed over the beautiful woman standing in front of her. She took note of the annoyed look on her face, and her defensive posture. 

“I am sure you can’t, but I am here anyway.” Vaneetra looked Shannon up and down, smirking at how clueless she was about the fact that her life was about to change. She gave Shannon the once over, noticing her lean legs covered by black leggings, and how her waist did not indicate she had given birth to children. Nevertheless, Vaneetra knew this pathetic version of a housewife Nicole Hampton 10 could not hold a candle to her, not even under the current circumstances. 

Vaneetra’s condescending attitude rubbed Shannon the wrong way. “Excuse me? Do I know you?” Vaneetra turned as if looking around, and set her focus back on Shannon. “You have a nice house. Daniel has good taste…in homes, that is.” 

“Do you work for my husband? Are you a new assistant at his firm?” An uneasiness about this woman rose from the pit of Shannon’s stomach. She sensed she was trouble and would suggest that Daniel fire her. 

Vaneetra laughed. “I guess you can call me an assistant. For the past several months, I have been assisting Daniel with some pretty important issues—helping him to stay hard and on his game is a better way to put it.” She took step closer to Shannon. 

Fed up with the woman standing at her door, Shannon snapped, “Look, I don’t have time to play word or guessing games with you. You need to get off my property. While you are at it, collect your belongings from my husband’s firm, you won’t be working there anymore.” Shannon turned to close the door, but Vaneetra’s next words stopped her dead in her tracks.


( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Nicole Hampton. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

About Nicole Hampton

Nicole is an avid reader, with a passion for understanding people and relationships. Her love for reading is only surpassed by her love for writing and bringing characters to life. Nicole is a member of the North Carolina Writer’s Network. She lives with her husband of fifteen years, six children and family dog in the surrounding area of Raleigh, NC.


Order Glimmer in the Darkness by Nicole Hampton
Link: http://amzn.com/0996539700 


 

 

 


The Fatal Rose by J.M. Lominy 

Killing had always been sweet for Pierre-André François, the ruthless assassin known as The Little Rose. Wherever he struck, fear closely followed, his victims he left as bloody works of art. The finishing touch on his canvas was a carefully placed rose, a signature on his deadly motif that haunted crime scenes, not to mention the police investigating them.

A man who takes joy in killing should never fear dying, and in fact, The Little Rose embraced death. So finding himself alive—after what he knew should have been a fatal dance with his foe, Millard Le Beast—was disappointing. Not only was the Beast stronger and faster, he slaughtered Pierre-André’s dearest love. 

But now, awakened, fully recovered (in body, anyway), and a fugitive on foreign soil, The Little Rose is forced to carry on. Having lost all desire to laugh, love, and kill, his sole purpose remains to seek revenge. But how can Haiti’s most feared assassin endure with no motivation?  Fortunately, revenge has no shelf life.

The Fatal Rose Video Book Trailer

https://youtu.be/4f0V9Ekzjko 


Excerpt from Chapter 1


It was Tuesday just past midnight, a time when the bells for mass were already a distant memory. Only by the grace of God would they ring again. The moon and the stars had retired, and the sun was nowhere to be found. An occasional insect wandered about to remind the darkness of the existence of life.

Father Jean-Marie Lumier and the church’s groundskeeper struggled under the weight of the man they carried, who was injured and soaked in blood. They headed down Rue des Miracles, one block away from the National Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The head of the man they carried was wrapped like a mummy’s with seven holes to accommodate his eyes and orifices. The mummy-faced man was not dead, but his condition was poor and deteriorating rapidly.

Dressed in civilian clothes, Father Lumier held on to his patient tightly as the groundskeeper hailed a lone taxi on the deserted streets. Seeing the taxi, they felt Father God was watching over the poor soul whose life teetered on a delicate string. The priest would have gladly paid more than twenty thousand Haitian gourdes, which he did not have, if it would save the man’s life.  The rescuers labored to get the injured man into the cab, but their hands slipped, causing his legs to flop to the ground. The body they struggled with was muscular and as unmoving as a whisker plucked from an alley cat’s face.

The cabbie felt sorry for the two weak fools and came around to help. He took charge and showed them how to get an unconscious man into a car: ass first into a sitting position, and then lay him onto the seat. The interior light of the cab was enough for cursory visibility. Blood was everywhere.

The patient moaned and feebly opened his light brown eyes. A color uncommon among Haitians, they matched his light skin. The cab driver, always aware of every detail he had ever seen from the time he was able to control his bladder, was taking mental notes of this night’s unusual events.

The priest gave hurried directions to a clinic managed by the Catholic Church on Rue Dr. Audin, a short distance from the Sacred Heart Parish. He had already sent the yard boy ahead with a message for his friend Dr. Dennis to meet him at the clinic.  Looking around, Father Lumier searched for a sign from God. All he saw was darkness; then he felt the rumbling of his stomach—a reminder that his last meal had been over twelve hours ago. Used to the habit of fasting for his Lord God, Father Lumier closed his eyes in prayer. Then he went on a spontaneous spiritual journey with God as his coachman. After mumbling his impromptu prayer, he focused on the patient and held on tight.

The cabbie was driving as if being chased by Satan, making the tires squeal with every turn. He maneuvered the old Ford, breaking the speed limit, knowing life was more important than any infraction he could incur. He was well aware most policemen were in whatever lair they went to for their nightly hibernation and the risk of receiving a contravention was minimal.

From the look and condition of the man in his backseat, the cabbie reasoned it would take a miracle or devil’s play to save the sorry sap. He recognized the priest after he got a better look at the pudgy groundskeeper, who often carried messages for the church via this very taxi. The cleric looked different in civilian attire: just an ordinary face, dark skin with inquisitive eyes, and a long chin.

The cabbie learned a long time ago to ask no questions, to simply observe and listen; one learned more with silence, and information was valuable. Port-au-Prince was full of surprises. A man risked a premature death by asking too many questions. Let the gods deal with the mischiefs and miracles.

Father Lumier had the wounded man’s head on his lap and kept his hands on the patient’s wrist, counting the pulse and watching his chest as it labored between breaths. His own slacks and shirt were covered with blood. Aesthetics were his last concern when death was a phantom companion licking at the other man’s heels.

Using the assessment skills he learned while helping at the clinic, Father Lumier was well aware the man’s wounds should not have been bleeding as they were. He had one cut under his armpit and another on the bicep of the same arm—both were deep. Whoever inflicted them was skilled and angled his blade to sever the veins in a way that facilitated rerupture with minimal movement. The priest was anxious to get to the clinic so the wounds could be sutured, and with all the loss of blood, Pierre-Andre´ Franc¸ois would need a blood transfusion.

Father Lumier did not care that Pierre-Andre´ had come to his bedchamber as the Little Rose, the most feared assassin in Haiti, with the intention of murdering him. It would have been the assassin’s final act, satisfying a lifelong vengeance: a thirst for retribution birthed ten years ago on an empty lot turned into a soccer field.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, J.M. Lominy. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 

Purchase The Fatal Rose by J.M. Lominy
Link: http://amzn.com/B014PU82QY  




About the Author 

Life for J.M. Lominy began in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where he spent his first years with his maternal Aunt and Uncle.
At the age of seven, Lominy and his older sister immigrated to the United States in order to reunite with their mother in Brooklyn, New York.

After graduating from James Madison High School, Lominy entered the United States Marine Corps and served during the first Gulf War. At the age of 22, he was honorably discharged and returned home to attend school. He went on to earn his Bachelors of Nursing degree from the City College of New York.

His work, both poetic and determined in voice, places an emphasis on the history of the Haitian experience as witnessed through the life of passionate characters. A husband and father of five boys, Lominy has been writing since 2000 and specializes in historical fiction.

Mr. Lominy currently resides in Georgia with his wife of 15 years and his three younger sons. When he’s not working or taking care of his family he is writing. Lominy states, “I am a writer with a lot of passion and fury.”

Follow J.M. Lominy Online

Email listings:  http://jmlominy.com 
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JMLOMINY 
Instagram:  https://instagram.com/jmlominy  
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JmLominy 

 

 


Ungolden Silence 
by Lydia E. Brew

Beatrice James and Elaine Wilson work for a marketing firm in Houston, Texas. Life hasn't been easy for Elaine as she copes with her disability, and at the same time manages to function in her everyday life. The two coworkers and friends jump at the opportunity to help run a Disabled Awareness Campaign when Mrs. Stevens, from Washington D.C., calls the ladies up and pitches the idea. Elaine agrees to chair the campaign and Beatrice agrees to be second chair. Both women agree to meet with Mrs. Stevens in Washington to get the campaign set-up and running. All goes well until Thomas Paige enter the scene.

Mrs. Stevens herself is excited to meet, for the first time, the dapper and charming Thomas Paige, who is a well-known community leader. It doesn't take long for the charm to evaporate and Thomas to begin to shed his wool, revealing the wolf underneath the sheep's clothing. Elaine begins to sense that there's something more to Thomas than what he's presenting, but will it be too late when she finds out for certain?

Ungolden Silence will have you peeling off what's underneath a man's exterior, before peeling back the sheets.


Book Reviews for Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew 


MUST READ WITH SENSITIVE ISSUES 
Reviewed by Misty Iputi 

Ungolden Silence is one powerful book. It may be a work of fiction, however it has some real issues. The issues are to be addressed in the book. This book does give a look at the strength of Christian faith has in dealing with the problems.  If I could give this more than 5 stars it would be well worth it.


Emotional Read
Reviewed by My Cozie Corner Book Reviews 

"Ungolden Silence" is an easy read, but hard read that is well written and very emotional with a topic that needs more recognition. A recommended read to all women.


Book Like No Other
Reviewed by Mz Tiffany Divine Reviews 

I just finished reviewing Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew and I honestly can say it’s not like no other book I have read before. In Ungolden Silence you will meet Beatrice who will take you on a world wind journey of being raped and how it not only affects her but other’s around her. Lydia brings emotions out that you may never knew existed. I was immediately drawn into the characters and could feel the pain that some of them were going through. Lydia E. Brew does an awesome job with this book and I look forward to reading more by her.


Let the Victim Be Heard
Reviewed by Teresa Beasley 

Ungolden Silence is an informative book about disability, rape with a hint of racism. Ungolden Silence brings out different emotions because it deals with a sensitive topic. Any type of abuse causes a difficult change in the victims’ lives. Rape is a violent act, mainly against women, that leaves a lasting effect on the victims. This was expressed throughout this book and needs to be read by all women young and old.


Powerful, Provoking and Inspiring
Reviewed by Beth Cutwright 

Wow. I just finished reading Ungolden Silence. Usually I take a day or two to mull a book over before I try to write my review. But this book was so compelling, I felt the need to share my thoughts immediately, while they were fresh and burning in my soul. This book was definitely enlightening, powerful, painful and emotional. My emotions were totally invested, probably because the subject of rape is so frightening. If we can learn to discuss this type of material, I think we would all be better for it.


Excerpt from Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew


As the four talked for an hour or so, Mr. Thomas Paige did not take his eyes off Beatrice. He ignored Elaine completely. He would often sit by Beatrice and, after a few minutes, she would move. Elaine could see that Mr. Paige liked Beatrice, but she didn’t return the feeling and was uncomfortable and a bit irritated with his attention. When Mrs. Stevens offered to show Elaine the baby grand piano in her music room, Mr. Paige and Beatrice were left alone. Beatrice decided she needed to get a few things straight.

“Look, you seem to be a nice guy, but I’m not interested. You’re making me very uncomfortable,” Beatrice added. 

Mr. Paige did not seem to hear her. “Alone at last, Miss James,” he said in a soft, gentle voice as he stroked her face.

The second that Beatrice felt his fingers on her face, her anger turned to fear. She did not want to let Mr. Paige know that he frightened her.

“I did not give you permission to touch me! Listen, I’m not interested in you in any way. Please, just leave me alone!” Beatrice said angrily. 

The pleasantness was gone and her teeth were clenched. However, before she finished her statement, Mr. Paige had his hands on her buttocks. In that instance Beatrice remembered when she was sixteen. It was a hot summer day and she was lying on the sofa half asleep. She awakened to her uncle kissing and caressing her face. He did not stop there. He unzipped his pants and began to slide his hand and was pulling down her panties when Judy came into the room. Beatrice’s mind came to the present.

“Oh now, I think that we can have a good time this week,” he said in the same manner as before.

“I said no! Now get your hands off me!” Beatrice snatched her body away from his reach, knocking his shades off. The man’s breath had a faint odor of alcohol. His eyes were glassy red. However, Beatrice did not take notice. She was so shocked from the memory of what her uncle did to her, and the fact that this man was making a move on her was overwhelming. 

Mr. Paige returned to his seat and put his shades back on his face only because he heard Mrs. Stevens and Elaine returning. When Elaine walked in and sat down, she picked up on some strange vibes from Beatrice. There was a strange look in her colleague’s eyes. This troubled Elaine because she knew something was upsetting Beatrice.

This man had just made unwanted sexual advances to Beatrice, but she told Elaine and Mrs. Stevens that she had a headache.

( Continued... )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Lydia E. Brew. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Excerpt from Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew


Shara stepped to the microphone and said, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Attitudes must change if this problem is going to be solved. I went to Washington the second that I heard Beatrice had been raped. The firm had a limo for Elaine and Beatrice so that Elaine could be as independent as possible. When I got to Washington, the rape and the act that a “community leader” was accused of rape was a major story. The limo driver just knew that the lady was a hooker, and he was mad. Again, it was the victim’s fault. This driver did not have the facts. Why didn’t I set him straight? Well, I thought I had to protect Beatrice’s privacy, right?”

“Right,” the crowd answered slowly.

“No, wrong, ladies and gentlemen. This is what we are talking about; wrong because rape is a crime! When it comes to sexual harassment or anything about sexual dysfunction, we don’t listen, we don’t tell. It is personal, private. No! It is a crime and everybody needs to tell the world. Beatrice was not the first female that the man raped; not even close to the first.

“Each case of rape is different. In Beatrice’s case, this man was chasing her all the time that she was in Washington. Am I blaming her? To a degree, yes.”

The audience seemed repulsed.

“People, please understand that what is being said here tonight is known by all people in the firm, especially top team members. I am not saying this to hurt my colleague. This is to make you see and understand what we are saying. The man who raped her stalked her all week. The women who saw the “bad” side of him kept quiet. That enabled him to cause more pain. He used that silence, and his list of victims got longer and longer. The women kept silent because they did not want to face the attitude that we as a society give them; oh, it was nothing. 

“Well, it was something when Mr. Paige touched my colleague inappropriately the second they were alone. She did not want him. We must allow women to say what they do and do not want men to do to their bodies. We must change the attitude about sexual problems, and we must listen when a woman is trying to get a man to stop. When a woman says a man is bothering her, we must hear and make sure the man understands that he must stop.”


( Continued... )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Lydia E. Brew. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Ungolden Silence 
Link: http://amzn.com/1425798918


 

 

 

 

 


You Get What You Pray For 
by E.N. Joy

Lorain has been a prisoner of secrets almost all of her life. At the age of thirteen, she'd managed to keep her pregnancy a secret, discarding the infant she'd given birth to and leaving it for dead. She also never revealed the fact that the baby's father was her middle school guidance counselor. Years later, Lorain's mother had finally met the love of her life, and Lorain couldn't find the courage to tell her mother that her new beau was the man who molested Lorain. To complicate matters, Lorain discovered that the baby she'd abandoned all those years ago had survived, and God had placed Lorain in the now adult child's life. It seemed like the legacy of secrets had been passed on, too, as Lorain helped her daughter conceal the true details behind her own pregnancy. 

Lorain has managed to maneuver the secrets and lies like a strategic game of chess, and is now living the lavish fairytale life of a doctor's wife. But even that is a lie. With the rug about to be pulled from underneath Lorain by the woman who raised her abandoned child, all Lorain prays for is that everything will end well. In this cycle of lies, secrets, shame, and guilt, will Lorain get what she prays for?


Praise for You Get What You Pray For


"It was a very good book from the beginning to the end. I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys a good Christian love story."  - Michael Dothard

"In true E. N. Joy fashion, this book presented characters who were crazy, funny, and off the chain enjoyable. This story was filled with enough ups and downs, lies and truths to keep the reader's attention. I loved it!  FIVE STARS!!"  - Tanishia Pearson-Jones


Excerpt: You Get What You Pray For

Lorain closed the door to her last guest, walked into her great room and flopped down on the couch. She took off her shoes and flung them across the room, simultaneously closing her eyes.

“Whoa. I’m glad to see you too.”

Her eyes opened to the medium height, dark skin man. Her sparkling stilettos were at his feet. He stepped over them and walked toward her.

Lorain smiled. “You are exactly what I need right now.”

“Leon is always right on time,” he said, speaking in the third person. “Where’s everybody?”

“The staff is in the kitchen.”

“Your mother and the girls?”

“Next door.” Lorain nodded in the direction of her mother’s house.

“Then it sounds like Leon can take you in his arms.” He walked over to Lorain. “And do things to you that your husband could never dream of doing.”

“Oh, Nicholas can dream, but what Leon does to me is every woman’s fantasy come true.”

“Then why are we wasting time talking, when we—”

“Are all them stuck-up hussies gone?”

Eleanor’s voice came booming from the dining room.

“Looks like Leon will have to take a rain check,” Nicholas said, putting away his alter ego.

Lorain loved it when her husband role-played as Leon. Leave it to Eleanor to spoil the moment.

“Hello, Mother,” Lorain said as Eleanor entered the great room. She looked behind her mother, certain she would have seen two mini figures trailing behind her, but she didn’t. “Where are the girls?”

“In the kitchen eating up those desserts,” Eleanor replied.

“Mom, you can’t let them eat all that sweet stuff,” Lorain said. “You know diabetes runs on my father’s side of the family.”

“It ain’t running that fast,” Eleanor said, “seeing that it ain’t caught up with him and killed him dead. Besides, I don’t see you depriving your size fourteen self of any cupcakes.”

“Twelve,” Lorain said, correcting her.

“Your clothes might be a twelve. That little black thing you wear up under them that cuts off your blood circulation might make you look like a ten, but them hips scream fourteen.”

Lorain was offended. “Well, I never.”

“You never what? Been black before? Because that’s sure how you acting.” Eleanor shook her hand at Lorain. “We black folks . . . that’s what we do . . . eat.”

“And we get high blood pressure and sugar diabetes,” Lorain argued. “I don’t want my girls having to stick a needle in their stomach and prick their fingers all the time.”

“Heck, you married a doctor.” Eleanor rolled her eyes. “Let him do it.” She shooed Lorain. “You worry too much. Let them kids be.” Eleanor pushed Lorain out of the way and headed for the couch. “Now, move before you make me cuss.” She sat down in a huff. “And I ain’t like them ole fake Christians, talking about the cussword slipped out. I cuss on purpose, and you know I know how to string my words together to cut you up so tough, it’ll make ya heart bleed.” She looked up, for the first time acknowledging her son-in-law. “Hey, Nick. How you doing, sweet baby?” Her tone was now as sweet as could be.

“I’m good, Ma.” He walked over and kissed Eleanor on the forehead.

“I don’t know how you stay good.” She pointed at Lorain. “With that one acting like Diahann Carroll, a black woman trapped in a white woman’s body.”

“That is not who Diahann Carroll is,” Lorain said. “That’s just a role she played.”

“My point exactly. You been pretending to be somebody you’re not ever since you got involved with those doctors’ wives.” She shook her head at Nicholas, as if he’d fibbed. “And you good. Tell me anything.” She looked back at her daughter. “But I know you good . . . good at pretending. I watched how you were around them women at that last party thing y’all had here at the house. The all of you fake as a two-dollar bill.”

“Two-dollar bills are real,” Lorain said.

“Then a two-dollar bill’s got one up on you,” Eleanor snapped back.

Nicholas let a chuckle slip out.

Lorain snapped her neck toward Nicholas. “Nick, really?” You’re going to let her talk to your wife like that?”

Nicholas shrugged. “She’s yo’ mama. Besides, if I don’t take her side, she might not make me her famous neck bones and black-eyed peas.”

“Hmm,” Lorain said to Nicholas. “You need to be worried about what you might not get from me.”

“Child, you are forty plus,” Eleanor said. “He ain’t studdin’ none of that vintage vagina.”

“Ahem.” Nicholas cleared his throat. “I’m going to leave you two alone.” He headed off.

“Coward,” Lorrain shot at him, then looked at her mother. “I can’t believe you waste your time going to church Sunday mornings and use that mouth to praise the Lord, when all week long nothing but junk comes out of it. Just sickening.”

“Ain’t church for sick people to go and get better?”

 

 

 

 

 

 


Life On Fire 
by Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley

Brooklyn Saunders' life is set ablaze when her ex, Dante Nines, and a newly single friend, Hunter Torres, vie for the number one spot in her heart. Unknowingly, Dante brings trouble to her door causing their personal and professional lives to collide in the worst way. The entanglement unleashes a danger that will have both of the men she loves fighting to keep her safe. Will Brooklyn survive the chaos threatening to destroy her very existence? And if she does, who will she choose?


Excerpt: Life On Fire 


Hunter cleared his throat. Brooklyn and Dante broke apart and she looked up sheepishly at Hunter. "I think it's time for you to call that cab for me."

Dante sat with a smug look, as though he was waiting for her to introduce him. When she didn't, he stated, "Hey, I'm Dante, her ex." He sized Hunter up with his eyes.

"Nice meeting you." Hunter nodded as Brooklyn gave him her S.O.S. signal by pulling her earlobe twice.

"Come on, BK, I need you to sign off on your check before you go. I'll get Carlos to call you a cab." Hunter nodded his head for her to follow him.

Brooklyn nudged Dante to move out of her way and gave an impatient, "Excuse me," when he stayed put.

He turned to her, giving her a big grin. "This conversation's not over," he promised, standing at the edge of the booth to let her out.

Brooklyn had finally reached her drink limit. Downing that last pitcher that fast was probably a bad idea. She didn't know if it was the gin or seeing Dante again that had her legs all wobbly as she eased herself up. Not wanting her unsteadiness to make her look weak and vulnerable, she jutted her chin out and proclaimed in a defiant voice, "I would say it was nice seeing you again, but that would be a lie. Take care of yourself."

As she sashayed over to Hunter, she heard Dante call out, "We're not done by a long shot. I'll see you later."

Hunter slid his arm around her waist and led her through the crowd to his office. Once behind closed doors, he rounded his desk and picked up the phone to have Carlos get her a cab. "I guess we won't be enjoying each other's company tonight, or shall I say this morning," he commented.

"It never seems to be the right time for us," Brooklyn replied. "It's a rare occasion that we're both single at the same time. Now we are, and …"

"And your ex pops up, wanting to reconnect. By the lip lock I found you two engaged in, you're clearly not over him." Hunter leaned onto his desk and pulled her to him.

"As if you're over Sophia," Brooklyn whispered, resting her hands on his chest as he wrapped his arm around her back.

He pulled her closer to him. "I should have pulled you back here and swept the desk when you first came through that door tonight. I don't know how we remained friends so long without crossing the line."

Brooklyn linked her arms around his neck. "I've been waiting for your fine behind to be single, but the line to get to you is always too long."

"Hell, I was planning to spend more time with you tonight, but you were rarely without company. Look what happened when I left to wrap up for the evening so I could." Hunter's cell phone buzzed. He took a quick glance at it. "It looks like your cab has arrived."

Brooklyn tipped forward, kissing him on the cheek. "You're too good to me. You know that?"

"I'm surprised Sophia never spilled a drink on you," Hunter teased as he released her.

"It's only because when you met her, I was with Max. I was absolutely no threat to her." Brooklyn stood straight.

"If you haven't gotten back with your ex by tomorrow, roll through the club and we can decide if the time is right for us to find out if there's any real magic behind our attraction." Hunter stood, walking with her out of the office and to the exit.

"That's if I'm not dead to the world tomorrow night from being out until two-thirty in the morning then trying to make it to work by seven a.m." She yawned as she followed him to the coat check. Hunter helped her put on her coat then walked her out to the waiting cab.

"Hey, make sure you text me and let me know you made it safely home." He pulled her into a quick hug before opening the cab door.

"Yes, sir." Brooklyn slid into the cab. Hunter shut the door and waved as the cab pulled off.

A flash of Dante's face saying they were not done entered Brooklyn's mind. She knew that devious expression too well. As she leaned forward to give the cabbie her address, she thought, Dante Nines. What are you up to?


( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 


Purchase Life On Fire by Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XNZPNFG 




Meet the Author

Karen D. Bradley
while being a creative mind, English and Grammar were never her strongest subjects. As life would have it, her weakest link would become her saving grace. It was during college she penned her first suspenseful drama to help her cope with the death of her father, the upheaval of emotions, and her changing family dynamics. Writing fiction soon became one of her favorite pastimes. She has since published a total of five novels. What she enjoys most about being an author are the lively real talk sessions with readers about topics from her books.

 

 


Where Do We Go From Here 
by Andrea Clinton



Coming April, 2016

Geeda spends most of her life growing up around the hard streets and ghetto, placing value and working toward a healthy life on the other side of the fence. However, when her husband is away on business longer than normal, Geeda loses it and surounded by the wealthy insane, finds out the hard way that life isn’t greener on the other side. Instead, it’s a different kind of madness and a life she wants nothing more to do with.


Excerpt from Where Do We Go From Here 


Looking ashamed to say where she was from, Geeda stared out and didn't say a word, but then she realized she was speaking to a bum, a woman who literally lived in the streets, "I lived on Bergen Street in Newark, Li’l City in East Orange, then around the corner near Death Valley," pausing, "but," squirming on her hospital bed with chills, "about ten years ago we moved on up like the Jefferson's to Maplewood," pausing, "a few miles from the middleclass section. Poverty is horrible living," Geeda said as she shivered.

"I'm sure it wasn't that bad. I walk the beat in that area sometimes, met a few older guys and gals my age and play chess in the park. Not so bad, at least not until the kids come around and those crack heads of course. Boy I'll tell ya, crack heads will shake anybody down to see what they have, even a bum on the streets."

Pulling her cover over her, trying to warm up, "I hate that place. Nothing but zombies and their eff'd up families there—never going back. It was awful living," Geeda said.

"Now," Paula continued, "how could it have been hard for you when it was your parents who were working to feed and clothe you?" Pauses to no response. "They don't want you to fall back to sleep, might as well talk."

"It's not just growing up there that I hate, it’s hunger, police, fighting, stabbing, shooting; and, some kids, they had a dad or step dad, I had Morris.

"Don't seem like a man with a name like Morris could be mean or as bad as you make him seem. Morris seems like a good guy," she said, noticing Geeda getting more irritated, sickly and wanting to burst her bubble. "I'm sure he had some good qualities. Birthdays?" Geeda cut her off.

'You ever tell anybody, I'll use this razor to cut your throat!' is what Morris use to say to me each time he snuck in my room from my bedroom window. Then he would reach in his pants and empty the contents of his pocket on my nightstand.

'Turn over, don't look at me. It makes me uncomfortable,' he would say. Then, he'd take out a thick piece of a short rubber rope; I always saw him start to tie it around his arm as I slowly turned around to face the other direction. I felt so uncomfortable. I didn't know what he was going to do, even when I saw the dope, needle and spoon he placed on the nightstand by my bed—I was 9, how would I know.

"With all or most of my friends being molested by their mother's boyfriend, neighbor or uncle, who knew what he was capable of? When he came in the window like that, back then, he never touched me. He was focused. I just lay there until he finished shooting his drugs and left out the window again. Those few minutes seemed like forever, and I had to wait through the nodding and waking up, beginning to leave and then nodding again. When he did go out the window, I closed and locked it, then ran in the room with my mother, locked her door and put the dresser in front of it and got in the bed with her in case he came back.

That happened off and on until I was 12-years-old. I'd sleep with my mother a few nights, then, she'd take him back and he'd just sneak in the bathroom to get off on his drugs. Then when they'd argue, because he stole from her, or slapped her for accusing him, she'd put him out and call the cops, well, vice versa. Then, I'd have to worry about him sneaking in my room again. I was smart, I'd always lock the window. But, my mother would often go in the room to vacuum or get my laundry and would leave the window open to, 'Let it air out,' she'd say. That's when he'd catch me off guard again. And just when I thought he'd moved on or heard he found a girlfriend or went back home to Brooklyn with his mom’s or to Philly with his wife, he'd be right back at my window, threatening me. The only time I was sure he wouldn't come in through my window was when he was locked up and that was never for long; a weekend, a month or two, then, he'd be right back out with me fearing his face behind the glass, rapping at my window showing me a knife or gun when it was locked to pump fear in my heart so I'd open or unlock the window."

"Why didn't you tell your mother?" Paula asked

"It never made sense to tell my mother. After he'd go to church for a month, come back holding her hand, giving her rent money and calling her pet names, she'd take him back. I never knew if she really believed in him, or was money hungry or just believed herself when she said, 'For a man to give up all that money when he could've gone and gotten high, he must want to do right. He must—' she'd say. Then, my friends, their mothers and all the women he'd con in between jail and making up with my mother, would laugh at my moms for believing in him and taking him in again.


( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Andrea Clinton. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


About the Author

Andrea Clinton is the niece of Rock and Roll Hall of fame’s George Clinton of the funk band Parliament/Funkadelic. She’s an award winning Playwright, winning the Union County, Board of Chosen Freeholders Advancement Community Theatre 2015 grant award for her play, Murphy’s Law: Group Therapy Gone Wild. 

She’s also a Screenwriter/Filmmaker, Novelist and Essayist. Andrea is a Montclair State University Graduate where she achieved a Master’s degree in Theatre Studies, as well as undergraduate degrees in: English, Film and Journalism. 

She’s the founder and CEO of People Helping People, Inc., a non-profit organization, whose mission is to help citizens become independent and self-sufficient.  Publisher: www.AroundTheWayPublishing.com

 

 

 

 


We’re All Wearing the Racial Lens 
by Lydia E. Brew

It is hard for African Americans to be totally objective when it comes to race United States. It is equally hard for White America huh? We all are wearing the racial lens on our eyes and we can’t see straight.

When thinking of how the United States was founded it was based on freedom, especially freedom of religion. The United States was to be the picture of a beautiful “world” where everybody would free. All men would be equal. However, here we are at the end of 2014 and we’re still not there yet.

I believe some of the Founding Fathers did want everyone to be free, but the slave owners needed their slaves. Believe it or not slavery was about money NOT one’s skin color or the intelligence of the Negro. The Founding Fathers needed the Southern colonies to ratify (approve) the Constitution that would abolish slavery, so the Negro became three-fifths of a person. Perhaps the Founding Fathers thought that eventually all citizens of the United States would be free.

Instead many were told that the Negro was from Africa and that they ware inferior to the White man. Africa is the cradle of humanity.  Native Americans who were here first, and later forced on reservations, when they rebelled, the United States went to war. People were told that Native Americans were not civilized, so they were treated badly.

The list of what people are told about other races goes on and on.  Even after the Civil War, the Emancipation of the slaves, the Civil Rights movement, and even now with an African American president, there is still something we can’t quite get together.

Many White Americans and African Americans can’t seem to understand that there is just one race. We are confusing race with culture. We need to remember the past by trying to let each and every person, black, white, homosexuals, whoever live the American Dream. The racial lens needs to be removed from our eyes. Somehow we have to stop letting the history of racism control our future existence together.

Shortly after President Obama was sworn in, a college professor lost his keys and broke into his own house. The man was an African American professor and the officer who showed up on the scene was White. The professor was under stress and had his racial lens on. The officer was trying to get the facts. He was doing his job – he did not know that the man lived there. The professor did not see that the officer was investigating a crime. All he saw was the racial turmoil history that the United States can’t seem to find a solution for continuous racial problems.

The racial problem is a human condition and it affects everybody in a different way. We need to take off our racial lens and see the problems in society. Ferguson and the “I Can’t Breath” cases are not just about racism, but point to a United States that can’t seems to be the nation that the Founding Fathers envisioned.


About the Author
Lydia E. Brew
was born with cerebral palsy but has not allowed her physical limitations to stand in her way. Her writing provides insights into the world of the physically challenged. She graduated from Texas Southern University where she received The Society of Professional Journalist Sigma Chi Citation for Achievement. She was a member of the drama club and pledged Alpha0 Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Under the leadership of one of her journalism professors, Miss Brew penned her first book Edith, The Story of Edith Irby Jones, M.D. about the first African-American to graduate from The Arkansas School of Medicine. Upon finishing college, Miss Brew worked with the Houston Association of Black Journalists. She is a Christian and attends St. Stevens United Methodist Church.

Miss Brew founded Lydia’s Educational and Charitable Organization (LECO) when she decided to encourage young people to write. LECO did this by sponsoring a yearly contest in which the contestant had to write about positive role models who were alive and from the Houston area. Each student who wrote an eligible essay was given a certificate of participation. Winning writers received cash prizes.

Her second book titled Our Learn Together Book is a book for young readers based on the biography of Dr. Jones. It tells her story in a simplified format on one page and allows the reader to write their own biography on the other. There are activities in the back where younger children can learn developmental skills and older children can learn to do research.

Purchase Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew
Link: http://amzn.com/1425798918 

 

 

 

 

 

 


God’s View of HEALTHY 
by Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley

Imagine you could walk through an imaginary door, and on the other side you would magically and immediately be completely healthy. Would you do it? Would you recognize yourself? What, if anything, would be different about you from what you are right now? And does God really care about you being healthy?

Think of the billions of dollars spent and the entire industries built around people trying to get healthy or feel better in some way. That includes weight loss systems, nutritional supplements, plastic surgery, life coaching, marital counseling, stress management and wellness seminars, retreats, and products, and much of the healthcare industry itself. Makes you tired just thinking about it! It’s only in the last several decades that much of this phenomenon has come to be. Come to think of it, what did people do before self-help groups, General Nutrition Centers, and bariatric surgery?

I’m being only slightly facetious. There’s much of value in the various products, services, and industries trying to help people experience a better life. But what are we really after? What kind of “health” are we trying to achieve?
“If you aim at nothing,” someone has quipped, “you are sure to reach it every time.” While God never shows us every detail of the future He has for us, He allows enough sneak previews to make us hungry for it. He calls us to a life that’s more challenging, meaningful, and abundant than anything we could ask for or achieve on our own.

I believe healthy is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).  Here’s what that looks like physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually:


Fully Alive Physically

God cares about your body. He created it. It’s His temple through His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). When He was here on Earth, Jesus spent much of His time healing people physically (Mathew 4:24; Luke 6:19). God wants you well!  That doesn’t mean He isn’t with you when you’re sick, or that He guarantees a completely illness-free life in the here and now. We still live in a sinful, messed up world. But as your healthy lifestyle and God’s blessing work together, your physical body can be vibrantly alive (Romans 8:11).  That looks like:

* Generally strong and energetic a majority of the time
* Physically able to fully engage in the purpose God has for you
* No addictions or lifestyle illnesses
* Free from destructive lifestyle behaviors, such as substance abuse or unhealthy sexual behavior

Your physical body, and how you care for it, can be a demonstration of God’s restoring, healing, and sustaining power.



Fully Alive Mentally and Emotionally

God cares about your mind and emotions. Rather than fear, He promised “power, . . . love, and . . . a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). He goes about transforming and renewing your mind as you continue walking with Him (Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 1:13).

Many of the challenges you and I face in this world come through our thoughts and emotions. Remember that Jesus experienced fatigue, loneliness, and sadness (Mathew 26:37–40; Mark 4:38). We will continue to experience negative feelings as long as we’re in this world, but we don’t have to be controlled by them. You can have a sound mind and a healthy emotional life.  That looks like:

* Able to experience the full range of human emotions—sadness, grief, pain, joy, love, hope
* Not being stuck in a state of anger, fear, anxiety, bitterness, or other destructive emotions
* Mental and emotional ability to fulfill the purpose God has for you
* Mental clarity in discerning and interpreting God’s voice

God promises you can have a mind like Jesus’ (Philippians 2:5). That’s not some nebulous spiritual idea; it’s the result of His renewing of your mind.



Fully Alive Relationally

God cares about your relationships. God Himself is relational, and He desires relationship with you (Jeremiah 31:33,34). Families are a part of His plan (Psalm 68:6). The relationship between husband and wife is a picture of how close He wants to be with you and me (Ephesians 5:31,32), and our love for others is a demonstration of our connection with Him (John 13:35).

There is probably no bigger factor in your own well-being, or in the impact your life has on others, than the quality of your closest relationships. Those relationships can be characterized by the same quality of love and strength God demonstrates to us.  What that looks like:

* If you’re married, your relationship with your spouse characterized by love and respect
* If you’re single, living a full and vibrant life connected with others in healthy ways
* Living with sexual integrity, whether married OR single
* Having a full range of connections with others, characterized by mutuality, love, and growth

You’re going to be living in relationship with other people for eternity. The richness of that life can begin now.


Fully Alive Spiritually

God cares about your heart, your innermost being, your soul, your spirit. That’s the part of you that connects with God most directly. It’s precious, and it’s worth protecting with everything you have (Proverbs 4:23).

There’s an all-out assault going on, a battle for your heart. As long as we live in this world, heart wounds and battle scars mean that we’ll need God’s presence to keep, preserve, and make alive this most unique and valuable part of who we are. Regardless of any other circumstances, God will strengthen our hearts (Ephesians 3:16–19). What that looks like:

* A relationship with God that is resilient, growing, and real
* Continuing to experience God’s transforming power in all aspects of your life
* Participating in the advance of God’s kingdom on Earth
* Demonstrating hope for the future in the midst of troubles now

God’s presence making your inner being fully alive will “leak out” and make the other parts of you alive as well.


Does that picture of “healthy” sound like an impossible dream? It isn’t! It’s never too late to get better, and it’s never too early to start.  Rather than becoming discouraged by such an ambitious goal, let it inspire you, encourage you, and motivate you to work together with God more than ever before in finding and living the full life He has for you.

About the Author

Dr Carol Peters-Tanksley M.D., D.Min.
, is a licensed practicing OB-Gyn physician, and also an ordained Christian minister. As an author and speaker she is passionate about helping others discover the full and joyous life Jesus came to bring. Find out more on her website http://www.drcarolministries.com. And join her on Twitter or Facebook.  Dr Carol and her husband Al make their home in Austin, Texas.

Listen to the radio show: http://www.drcarolministries.com/radio-archives/ 
Shop for the Live Healthy, Live Whole book:  http://www.drcarolministries.com/live-healthy-live-whole/ 

 

 

 

 



Let Me Wipe Your Tears by Natasha Frazier

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. (1 John 4:11 NLT)

Lately, my mornings have not been going as planned. The general plan is to dress myself and then wake my children to get them ready. Since we’re totally off track, my childrenget out of bed before I’m ready, thus slowing us down and usually adding chaos to our morning routine.

My toddler is on a path to get into everything that he shouldn’t. This particular morning, he was going through my bathroom cabinet space pulling out my feather comb. Problem with this is that the handle is long with a pointy end. Of course I took it away several times but the final time, he couldn’t take it anymore. He had a fit! A stream of tears and an extremely pouty face followed.

In the midst of that, my daughter did something that both surprised and encouraged me. She sat down on the bathroom floor next to him and said, “Let me wipe your tears,” and proceeded to do just that. To my amazement, he stopped crying. I couldn’t believe it. In that moment, the Holy Spirit nudged me. We should show that kind of love to the people in our lives. Loving them through their pain instead of judging them. Sometimes all it takes is a listening ear and someone to wipe away the tears. Whose tears can you wipe today?

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, give me a heart that is loving and pure. Help me not to be judgmental but to show the kind of love that pleases You and encourages those You place in my path.

Additional scripture reading 1 John 4:7-21

Meet the Author
Natasha Frazier
has penned a Readers' Choice award-winning devotional, The Life Your Spirit Craves. The Life Your Spirit Craves is a 30-Day devotional and journal that encourages readers to seek, accept and pursue their God-given assignment.. Her second book, Not Without You: 365 Days in the Lord’s Presence encourages readers to make devotion a part of their everyday life by seeking God every day. Not Without You has been nominated for the Henri Award. The Henri Award recognizes excellence in Christian literature. Her debut fiction novel, Love, Lies & Consequences has also been nominated for the Henri Award. 

Pursue Purpose; It is never too late to do what you have been predestined to do!

Website: www.natashafrazier.com
Blog: www.blessedisshethatbelieved.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/craves.2012
Twitter and Instagram: @cpAKAuthor

 

 

 


Just Traveling Through by Kesha Redmon


Life can be very daunting at times; with its up and downs, twists and turns, and endless barrage of sad and depressing news. We should wonder how we dare to face the outside world on a daily basis. To think about it- some do not have the strength to carry on because life has beaten them down to where there will to survive is nonexistent.

How do we handle life’s disappointments? How do we garner the strength to face the challenges that seem to appear at every idle and waking moment? How do we find the courage to help others in their time of need, when we ourselves are standing in the same spot?

As puzzling as these questions are, there is an answer. Actually, it’s a learned behavior. We get through all these things with the grace and mercy of a higher power. Two magnificent acts working together in our favor. We learn over time that nothing lasts forever. With bad times, there are good times. With sad times, there are happy times. This life is a journey. Each day we continue on our own separate roads. Sometimes our roads crosses path with others and sometimes our paths end.

Through every difficult circumstance, every brow beating trial, every breath taking moment; life is just a journey and we’re just traveling through. The marvelous thing about this journey and the road we use to navigate it is the fact that if we don’t like the road we’re traveling on; we are free to get off at the next intersection, or turn down a different street. So although in the grand scheme of life, we have a limited control of the bumps and bruises that come our way; we can however change our paths. We can decide if we want to make a change. We don’t have to stay in abusive relationships, unhappy jobs, or depressing moments. This life is full of possibilities and potential. Let’s choose to make the best of it. We only get one life and one journey. Let’s travel through it well.

 

 

 


MOVE by Colette R. Harrell

This is an exciting time in my life. An opportunity to be astounded at where God has brought me. An opportunity to reach out to those who are waiting for their “shift.” And, yes, I am still on the journey, but thank God I have moved. My pastor, once taught on how the properties of the Dead Sea incorporated the action of taking and not giving; therefore, it was stagnant. Stagnation aborts growth and fosters inertia. What a life lesson! We should move, but in the direction of giving more than receiving. Can I get an Amen? What does your journey look like? Stagnation? Or movement?

On a shopping spree with friends one day, some wanted to split up and look for things on sale to meet their own specific needs. Having divalicious taste in shoes that day, my feet hurt. Those cute ten-minute shoes—so fashionable—so wrong—so I decided to sit down and wait. After sitting for a few minutes, the Holy Spirit nudged me to “move.” So, even though my feet still hurt, I was obedient. I stood and walked, but in a different direction than my friends. It was an unbeaten path. 

Later, I returned to my friends, arms loaded with all types of goodies. I was joyful because I had found favor with several salesmen and for very little cost, I had items that would bless my home and others. 

When they saw me, one of my friends exclaimed, “You weren’t where we left you!”

I smiled, and replied, “No, I moved.”

I realized then and there that it was in the movement (you see, it is a hearing and doing “thang”) that I received my blessing. And I’m doing a new thang as an author: publishing a book and giving my inner thoughts to others. There is some fear in the unknown, but I want to be a prisoner of hope. If anything should chain me, let hope have its way! 

I pray that we are NOT where we were the last time mama, daddy, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, friend or foe saw us last. If you ever put out a spiritual APB (missing person report) on me, tell them not to look where I was last seen, because, honey, I will have moved. I will have made some progress, even if I only moved a short distance forward. I would have . . . moved. 

I ain’t bragging ’cause He’s no respecter of persons. I’m just saying through my obedience (even when I’m tired) and through my tribulations (even when I want to give up), I am Moved! Lord, help me, somebody!

Don’t let anybody (even yourself) put you in a place where you don’t move (that’s right, DON’T, not CAN’T—it is a CHOICE). Let your spirit stand in agreement with the One who brought you. To stand still and know He is God is a forward move, not a stalemate. Every day they passed by the man that lay by the pool of Bethesda, and he was always there . . . lying and waiting. He had to come into agreement BEFORE he could move. 

Don’t be afraid if your forward move takes you along an unbeaten path. Get your life. He is faithful, and He will plant you where you will grow and flourish. And while you are planted in rich soil, you will move—first in the hidden places, then upward! Yes, my beloved, grow into maturity, dependence on God, and the ability to carry the seed to its birthing season.

I am praying with you today that you will pick up your bed of fear, debt, pain, sorrow, rejection, abandonment, and loneliness—and MOVE. He promises that the trip will be worth it. 


About the Author

Colette Harrell, wants you to know that she’s like you, God’s chosen vessel. She has come to be a gift, to be an encourager and a light that reflects God’s goodness.

She’s a wife, mother, author and playwright. A Detroit native, she currently calls Ohio home. She holds a master’s and is a Director of Social Services. Writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”

Her latest novel, Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t will thrill readers as much as The Devil Made Me Do It, her debut novel. It is filled with wisdom and humor. This adventurous love story goes where Ms. Harrell loves to tread, down an unbeaten path. No millionaires rescuing damsels in distress—although she enjoys these reads herself—but every day people, falling and getting back up. 

The Devil Made Me Do It, her debut novel, was nominated for The 2015 Phillis Wheatley Book Awards in First Fiction. It has been held as one of Black Pearl Magazine’s, top ten Christian fiction books for 2014. In addition, Read Between The Lines radio show, named it as one of its overall top ten books for 2014.

Make no mistake, her sophomore novel, Tell The Truth, The Devil Won’t will cement her as an author to watch. 

Website:  http://www.writespirit.org  
Twitter: @ColetteRHarrell  or   https://twitter.com/ColetteRHarrell  
Colette R. Harrell Pinterest:   http://www.pinterest.com/coletteharrell/  
Amazon Books:  http://www.amazon.com/Colette-R.-Harrell/e/B00II98JUI  

Tell the Truth The Devil Won't (Book 2)

Link:  http://amzn.com/1622868196 

The Devil Made Me Do It (Book 1)

Link:  http://amzn.com/1601627823   


 

 



Your Breakthrough Is In Your Press by Chantea M. Williams



Focus - Mark 5:25-29 (KJV)

25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.


So many times we go to people we trust to help us and when the outcome is not what we expected it can make us bitter instead of better. There will be times when people we know won’t help us or are unable to help us. Regardless of the reason, we cannot stay stuck on it. God has a way of blocking people from rescuing us so that it will draw us to Him. I’m going to say that one more time. God has a way of blocking people from rescuing us to that it will draw us to Him.

If this woman had been healed through the doctors, then she would have never had an encounter with Jesus to know that He is a healer. Had she been healed by the doctors she would have never had a PRESS in her to release. Think about when God prevented certain people in your life from being what you needed them to be at that particular moment and how that drew you closer to Him.

Had you not keep pressing where would you be? Had you stop believing where would you be? Had you not stepped out on faith where would you be? Had you not had an encounter with the Lord where would you be? Instead of us having hard hearts towards them we should just begin to thank God and position ourselves for God to release more of Him into our lives. Sometimes we just need to get out of our feelings and get in His presence. We don’t know what God may be trying to do in us and through us.

I knew immediately when the Lord dropped this passage in my spirit after prayer this morning that He wanted me to encourage you not to give up. I know you have been waiting for your breakthrough that seems like forever and it still has not come to pass but keep pressing in.   If you only focus on the length of time it is taking before the promise is manifested then you will miss it. It doesn’t matter how many times it has prophesied to you keep pressing in. God had to keep reminding you in order for you to keep believing. He does not lie! If He said it, then you can bet your life on it.

If this woman had given up after she had spent everything she had on trying to get healed from the doctors, then she would have missed the presence Jesus. Be like this woman and encourage yourself. She said within herself if I can only touch his clothes, I shall be made whole. You have to know that when you come into the presence of God that you will never be the same.

This woman did not worry about the crowd. She was no longer concerned about their opinion of her condition. She did not let the majority over rule her desire to touch His clothes. So many times we hinder our own breakthrough because we are too concerned with insignificant people. Don’t miss that statement. So many times we hinder our own breakthrough because we are too concerned with insignificant people. In spite of what it looks like and how it may make us feel, we got to press our way in the natural and the spirit. We have to endure in order to win! You may have a down moment but you better get back up stronger than ever declaring I’M GOING TO PRESS MY WAY TO MY BREAKTHROUGH!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Victory Belongs to You by Natasha Frazier

His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!” (Judges 7:14 NLT)

Fact: God has a plan for you.

Fact: God will give you guidance regarding this plan.

Fact: You have been given the victory and the enemy knows that you have been given the victory!

When I studied this passage, I did a little dance afterwards. Why? I think there is something very important about this story. You see, even though God had already told Gideon that He would give him victory, He also allowed Gideon to receive confirmation. The awesome part is that the confirmation came from the enemy’s camp. Wow! Life lesson: The enemy will fight you even though he knows that he will lose the battle. Therefore, you cannot become discouraged.

Although the voice of the enemy that you hear may not be as positive as Gideon’s confirmation, it is confirmation nonetheless. The voices of negativity, discouragement and defeat are not from God and are simply designed to get you off track. Don’t fall for it! Don’t lose focus!

All you have to do is be obedient to what you have been called to do. Fight! You already have the victory and the enemy knows it. It’s about time that you know it (and act like it) as well.

Prayer for Today: Lord, Thank You for the victory that You have given me. Thank You for giving me confirmation to keep me on track. Help me to always discern Your voice and follow it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Additional Scripture reading: Judges 7 and Romans 8.

Meet the Author

Natasha Frazier has penned a Readers' Choice award-winning devotional, The Life Your Spirit Craves. The Life Your Spirit Craves is a 30-Day devotional and journal that encourages readers to seek, accept and pursue their God-given assignment.. Her second book, Not Without You: 365 Days in the Lord’s Presence encourages readers to make devotion a part of their everyday life by seeking God every day. Not Without You has been nominated for the Henri Award. The Henri Award recognizes excellence in Christian literature. Her debut fiction novel, Love, Lies & Consequences has also been nominated for the Henri Award. 

Pursue Purpose; It is never too late to do what you have been predestined to do!

Website: www.natashafrazier.com
Blog: www.blessedisshethatbelieved.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/craves.2012
Twitter and Instagram: @cpAKAuthor


 

 

 


Is Sending a Thank You Note Becoming Obsolete? 
By Vivienne Diane Neal


It is a nice gesture to say thank you when a person gives you a gift. Furthermore, it is a sign of your appreciation and respect if you take the time out of your demanding and fast pace schedule to write a personal note or send a card of gratitude. Writing a thank you note does not have to be the great American novel. A simple Thank You for the Gift will suffice. Of course, to acknowledge the receipt of any gift is a point that should be made early in life. If a child never learned to say thank you for what is given to him or her, then chances are when that child becomes an adult, he or she will never give thanks for anything.

I do not know if this is a growing trend, but for the last forty years, I have attended many weddings and have always presented the bride and groom with a gift, either in person or by mail. However, I can count on one hand or better yet on half a hand, the number of notes of appreciations, which I have received.

In many cases, weddings can be a big production. Couples are under a lot of stress during this period. A great deal of time, energy and money go into planning that perfect and unforgettable event. Nowadays, the average wedding can cost up to $50,000.00. A bride would never forget to purchase her wedding gown, nor would the groom neglect to buy or rent his tuxedo. A couple will plop down a certain amount of money for their rings, food, drinks, flowers, music, video and photography and on many other products and services. Yet, many couples, for one reason or another, never remember to take time out to send a simple thank you message. After all, the giver has taken the time out of his or her hectic timetable to purchase a present for the bride and groom.

You may ask who is responsible for sending out the thank you notes. In my book, it is both the husband’s and wife’s responsibility. A person can never be too engaged to be grateful. One of the couple’s main priorities should be to acknowledge the giver of a gift. It is imperative to be courteous and appreciative.

So the next time someone gives you a gift, whether it is for a wedding, birthday or any occasion, have the decorum to send a thank you communiqué, because it lets the person know that you have placed great importance on the giver and the gift.

About the Author

Born in 1946, Vivienne Diane Neal is a writer, blogger, and an author. She is a storyteller with a wicked sense of humor, has been writing articles for over thirty years and started penning fictional short stories in 2007. Vivienne gets her story ideas from observing people, places and things and watching true TV court cases and talk shows. Her most recent novel is “Deception in Plain Sight,” a fictional crime story with a Hitchcock vibe.

Now, semi-retired, she continues to write short stores and articles on love, romance, relationships, and other topics of interest on her blog at: http://www.oneworldsinglesblog.net  and manages her dating site at http://www.oneworldsingles.com 

Email: hmcsromanceinternational@juno.com 
http://www.oneworldsinglesblog.net  
http://www.oneworldsingles.com 
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003ONO6G44 
http://facebook.com/viviennedianeneal 
http://twitter.com/boomer63  

 

 

 

 


The Math of Health & Wellness: Nutrition + Exercise + Peace 
by Brittani D. Williams

Everybody wants to live a healthier lifestyle but not everybody knows exactly what to do, they want a quick fix, or they lack the discipline it takes to apply the equation to their lives. So I want to share some tips to help in your quest for a healthier lifestyle the right way; Nutrition + Exercise + Peace = Total Health and Wellness. 

Starting with some nutritional things to consider, there are so many things that can hinder progress of a healthier lifestyle. For example:  (1) Please do not assume eating less is always better; your body needs nutrients to maintain an optimal metabolic rate. Depriving yourself of nutrients harms your body way more than it helps. 

(2) Calorie counting is not the ONLY thing to consider when trying to improve health/weight management. The process of calorie burning is different depending on the person, your metabolic rate, daily activity, etc. The listed amount of calories on a product is derived from perfect conditions during lab test and all calories burn at the same rate in in a lab, but our bodies don’t mirror “perfect conditions”. 

(3) You cannot eat whatever you want, exercise, and still be “healthy”. Health is defined by Webster in one definition as; flourishing condition: well-being. How can one truly flourish when he/she puts junk into his/her body? Skinny doesn’t automatically equal. Good nutrition is about eating clean, and healthy bodies are made 70% in the kitchen.

But it is quite simple to achieve a healthy nutritional lifestyle. Be mindful of the ingredients that you are consuming, remain diligent, and portion control. 

When it comes it exercise, a lot of us “can’t find the time to work out”, at least that was my biggest excuse (+) 99 pounds ago. I personally hate working out. But, in order to obtain my body goals I must make time to be active. Daily exercise is essential to health. I wake up an hour before I have to get the kids up, pop in a workout DVD, open up an app, or even YouTube.com, just to start my day with some type of activity. Anything stopping you from being active is an excuse, just 7 minutes a day of movement and determination can begin changes. 

Finally, the very most important piece of the equation is peace. Negative emotions yields emotional eating which equals weight gain. It is so very important to a weight loss journey that your mindset is a positive one. You can never have too much happy and it shows in your health. The happier you are; the more positive neurotransmitters are flowing, the better you feel, and the easier it is to make healthier choices (i.e eating cleaner and exercising). Find ways everyday to de-stress yourself.

I hope that you understood the math of health as I presented it to you. As you can see each component of the equation [ Nutrition + Exercise + Peace] is vitally important to total mind and body health and wellness. Allow me to leave you with a few daily practices to incorporate into your daily routine:   (1) Find a healthier swap for one meal a day. (ex; homemade turkey wrap vs fast food, salad vs corn as a side, WATER vs soda) 

(2) MAKE TIME to exercise 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week (I prefer morning workouts, let me know what works best for you) 

(3) Write it down. Studies show that people who journal their feelings can aid in reduced stress and aid in weight loss. 


About the Speaker

Brittani D. Williams, wife, and mother of two, is the owner of “It’s Not a Piece of Cake” Nutritional Coaching and Education, where her programs empower people to achieve weight goals by living a healthier lifestyle. 

Her passion began after she got tired of being overweight and unhappy with her appearance. She has been on her healthier lifestyle journey for over two years now and has lost a total of 100 pounds with healthier eating and exercise. She began making small dietary changes and incorporating her favorite exercise, walking, into her daily routine. As, time progressed her passion became stronger and she began researching, obtained a certification as a nutrition coach, and then sharing her passion.  For more about Brittani or her services email: itsnotapieceofcake@gmail.com

 

 

 


Did I Choose or Was I Chosen?
By E. N. Joy


There are Christian fiction writers and then there are Christians who write fiction. There is Christian fiction, then there is what some consider to be church fiction or church drama. You have some authors who didn’t necessarily set out to write Christian fiction, but they were placed in that category by either their publisher, or the book stores simply shelved them that way. And of course you have the writers whose work is categorized as Christian fiction but they do not write for a Christian fiction imprint, which means they are not necessarily writing with any type of guidelines. I can’t speak for any other Christian fiction author or author who either chose or by default was placed in the Christian fiction genre, but I am a Christian fiction writer who writes for a Christian fiction imprint. That is my choice on purpose. 

I’ll be the first to admit that yes, I have a ghostwriter; the Holy Ghost! I take dictation from the Holy Spirit when I write my stories. My Holy Spirit does not cuss nor does He describe explicit sex scenes for me to deliver to God’s people. I write Christian fiction, not inspirational fiction, not faith based fiction or anything else. Christ is in what I do; “CHRISTian” fiction. I’m not solely concerned with keepin’ it real as much as I am keepin’ it holy. The Bible is as real as it gets and if the Holy Spirit didn’t instruct the authors of the Bible to cuss people out and describe explicit sex scenes, then I’m okay with Him not choosing me to do it either. I believe that in my writing I have managed to both “keep it real” (as the world would say) while keepin’ it holy (for the kingdom). My ultimate goal is, yes, to please the readers, but I must first please God. I believe with everything in my heart that God will get my book into the hands of those He intended to receive it…with my hard work and obedience of course. I urge every author to be obedient to what their own assignment is and the instructions as to how they are to complete it.

Do books with cussing, sex or even things that some Christians might find offensive to the Word of God minister to people’s heart, spirit and soul? Absolutely. To this day the book I get the most feedback on from readers as to how it changed and/or saved their lives is from my secular book titled If I Ruled the World. So with that being said, who am I to say who and what God will and won’t use to deliver His children a message? Sometimes other authors get offensive when I say I don’t use cussing and sex in my books. They begin justifying why they do. It shouldn’t provoke a person to go into defense mode just because I’m following specific instructions. Some even get mad at me. All I do is shake my head and say to myself, “Don’t get mad at me, get mad at the Holy Spirit, because it sure ain’t me who is making you feel convicted or some sort of way. I don’t have that kind of power.” Real writers, on the other hand, are totally unaffected. Real writers write what they want no matter what anyone says or what other writers are writing.

My writing style and who I am as an author is personal for me. Never do I try to push my style of writing on anyone else. I ultimately turned my pen away from writing street lit, erotica and women's lit filled with sexual tension and expletives in order to serve God with my talent. God has always been there keeping, watching over and protecting me, but it wasn’t until I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior did I acknowledge just how much God loves me. Now I live to glorify Him in everything I do, including my writing. So I’m now not only proud to be a Christian, but proud to be a Christian who writes Christian fiction. In writing in the Christian fiction genre, I try very hard to keep my mind clear; to make sure I’m in tune with the Holy Spirit when I’m writing. But I’m going to tell the truth and shame the devil; I’m human, so just like in everyday life, when it comes to my writing, I do sometimes allow my flesh to rise up and do its own thing. 

I have written things that I thought the reader might want to read without consulting the true author. Do I get convicted for it? Yes, via readers’ emails and reviews…and some of them, unlike God, have no mercy. So I try my best to stick to ghostwriting…Holy Ghost writing that is.

 

 

 

 

 

 



POEM: Forward by Felicia Scott

Transitions man
Plans and steps and maps to take
I thank God for the time I've wasted sort of speak
It makes me fear being lazy so I work
And pain and hate it but
Gain enough to keep going
I plan I pray I prepare
For a future I've hardly worked for
Too busy tryna make it day by day 
I'll work twice as hard for my child's tomorrow
What's the point of having a helping heart when I'm
Too broke to adopt the children I want 
That kills me man
Not allot of time to talk no more
Its a distraction anyway
Those people
Who listen and attack are all here and I'm not sure how I feel about that 
Too many to drop 
To heavy to carry at a time
I know what happens once I speak.
Grabbing a controller to a game that's off limits to me, no thank you
You can play against a more worthy opponent man
Just you and the computer bump a past
Bump a secret man
Bump a loved one that stopped
And bump the rumors from the clique
That I no longer run with
Its Never personal until I respond to something
You initiated, I know...
I get it...
I still love you though
Regardless

About the Poet

Born in Marietta, Georgia, Felicia Scott only hopes to inspire as many people as she can with her writings.  Email:  FeliciaM.Scott@yahoo.com 


 

 


Your Deliverance is Closer than You Think 
by Stacy-Ann Facey

Your deliverance is closer than you think. However, if you look at situations with your natural eyes, you will never understand that truth.

Listen, in the Book of Mark 5:21, Jesus was by the lake and a synagogue leader, Jairus, came to Him. This man fell to his feet and told Jesus that his little daughter was dying. “Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live” (verse 24), so Jesus went with him.

However, on His was to heal Jairus's daughter, the faith of sick woman captured Jesus's attention. We have all heard about the woman with the issue of blood, right? Well, this desperate woman who had been sick for 12 years activated her faith, touched Jesus, and was healed immediately.

Then Jesus asked, “Who touched my clothes?” The lady acknowledged what she had done and He blessed her by saying, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (verse 29).

Now, remember, Jesus was on His way to heal Jairus's sick child, right? Well, in stopping to communicate with the woman who had an issue with blood, Jesus learned that the little girl died.

“Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Jesus heard their conversation and replied, “Don't be afraid; just believed.”

Jesus then traveled to Jairus's house and told the mourners that the child was only asleep; however, they laughed at Him. So, what did Jesus do? He put out all the doubters and wailers.

“After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was” (verse 40). Jesus then took her by the hand and said, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). The girl immediately stood up and began walking around.

You see, the little girl's healing was coming, even though there was a delay. All the blessings that have been delayed are being delivered to us, and all the wailers who think God cannot restore us will live to eat their own mockery.

Get rid of all the people who are around you speaking death into your situation. Put them out and shut the door. There is healing, deliverance, and restoration in Jesus, but these promises will be continuously delayed if you keep hanging around doubters.

Arise and live in the name of Jesus. Believe and get up from among the tombs. God has called us to live abundant lives through Yeshua. AMEN! 

About the Author

Stacy-Ann Facey is a college graduate who is passionate about teaching. She is a graduate from UMASS Boston with a BA in English and holds a master's degree in Education. She is the founder of Prophecies, Inc. and is a self-published author of several books.  Follow the Speak Truth Blog: http://speaktruth1.weebly.com


 

 

 



Are You Dealing With the Consequences of a Messed Up Mind?
by Danyelle Scroggins

WOW!  What a question! The questions of all questions; but basically, the question that makes me really take a look at my life and discern am I the reason for my unfortunate circumstances. For years I considered myself a hustler. Always trying to figure out how to get a dollar, make a dollar, keep a dollar, etcetera. The world could be crumbling around me but as long as I had some money, I was ok. For a long time, I made money that made others happy but I still had no real peace and all my life entailed was work. I realized that my money gave me leverage and those whom benefited from my money never told me anything other than the things they thought I wanted to hear. Come on, I know you know where I’m coming from. People are afraid of offending the people who give them money for fear that they will be cut off.

This is exactly why people with money live life as they please and the only people who criticize them are those who don’t benefit from their funding. This is why it’s so easy for gossip magazines to sale stories and social media lights up when news worthy gossip about stars or celebrities appear. Those who don’t benefit are have no connections find it easy to judge and criticize people’s actions. So in the course of my life, I realized I’d become a flesh pacifier. I could shut people up and live my life (no matter how horrible) the way I wanted to; because people who walk by the flesh considers no one’s laws~ no even God’s. 

My money plugged the mouth of those who might criticize me into correction and everything was done my way or no way. My flesh was the driver of my life and so faith would not even get in my vehicle. Then it happened. God allowed every source of income to dry up and then lead me to Romans 8.As I took careful consideration of Romans 8:5-8, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God nor indeed can be. So those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

I realized a couple of things that I desire to share with you. I started first with the end of these passages because the flesh cannot please God caused me to go directly in my mind to Hebrews 11:6 which says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” I saw clearly there are two people who cannot please God: those who are in flesh and those who have no faith. In fact I realized as long as you live according to your flesh, you will never walk in faith. Why? Normally flesh looks at the circumstances surrounding the situation and can see no farther than the result presented, but faith looks beyond the circumstances surrounding any situation and sees the promises of God as the basis for any ending result based upon this… “All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

People who walk in their flesh put their flesh in operation and anywhere flesh is operating, the mind is carnal. Carnal mindedness is and exclusive trait of a flesh operator. Not only does your mind block the very voices of others; when you are carnal minded, it also blocks the very voice of God. A carnal mind finds:

1) Every excuse to erase what God says.

2) Shuts out any information except that which is already stored in fabrication.

3) Builds walls of restraint that impede and block growth. And

4) Refuses to embrace truth.

Maybe the things you’ve been going through are a direct result of you having a messed up mind. If you’ve been experiencing the same thing year after year, and will not respond to the wisdom of someone who is trying to get you to see beyond yourself, you may have a messed up mind. Carnal mindedness is death; not just to your soul but to your life’s circumstances and situations. It also causes death to your goals and your dreams. Do you know someone who always gives up or quits? Do you know someone who always displays stinking thinking? They are the products of carnal mindedness and could be flesh operators. A carnal mind is like having a body full of bad gas. It comes out whether you want it to or not, and others smell it even when you don’t.

 

 

 

 

 


Matters of the Heart by Chantea M. Williams



Focus:   Joel 2:12-13 (NLT)

12 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.

Have you checked your heart lately? Do you ever wonder why it seems like you do so much but still don’t get anywhere? Have we truly given our hearts to God or are we just doing what needs to be done so that it looks like we love God?

It’s sad to say but we have gotten so caught up in church work that we are far from doing ministry. There is a difference. Church work can become busy work while ministry is solely focused on honoring God. Church work can become self-centered while ministry is serving God by serving others. Ministry can go unseen but still reach the heart of God while church work must be acknowledged and seen at all times. It’s a matter of the heart!

The children of Israel had the same problem. They did their own thing (church work) but God wanted their hearts (ministry). He’s asking us the same thing today. What has your heart been saying lately?

He doesn’t want us to look churchy but He wants our hearts. Our hearts are the core of our being. Our hearts determine our actions. Out of the heart flow the issues of life. (Prov 4:23) If you really want to know about a person, examine their actions because it is a reflection of what is already in their heart.

As we are in the Holy Week, let us rend our hearts to the Lord. Let us not get so familiar with the Easter celebration that we lose sight of the real meaning. The power of the cross is still evident in our lives today. If you don’t still get excited about the cross, then check the matters of your heart.

Father, search the matters of my heart. Heal me of my issues. Let my heart be a true reflection of who You are. I want my heart to be your dwelling place. Help me to release everything that does not honor You. Help me to hide Your word in my heart so that when things arise that should not be, I can speak Your word and overcome it. In Jesus’ name, Amen!


About the Author

Chantea M. Williams
is a Christian writer, Bible teacher and speaker who loves encouraging women to become greater through the word of God. Through her gifts, God created the Greater Working Women Ministries. They strive to encourage, empower and equip women from all walks of life to live out their God-given purpose with holy boldness.

She has also launched her teen mom mentoring program, I Am Still Somebody™. One of her many passions is baking, especially during the holidays. Check out her newly released book The Greater Working Woman Prayer Book, Volume 1 and The Greater Working Woman Prayer Devotional, Volume 1. Don't miss her upcoming book series for teen mothers to be released in early 2016.

Chantea M. Williams, Ministry Leader Greater Working Women Ministries
Website: www.greaterwomen.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/GreaterWomen
Periscope: www.periscope.tv/GreaterWomen
Instagram: www.instagram.com/greaterwomen
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/GreaterWomen
Facebook: www.facebook.com/greaterwomen

 

 

 


The Princess Within by Tumika Patrice Cain

Inside every woman is an inner princess. That place which beckons to be pampered, adored, adorned, and treated with the kidskin gloves of royalty. It is not in the fantasies of little girls because Disney created Cinderella and a host of princesses thereafter. Instead it stems from a reality that we are from the stock of true royalty. Divinity, even. We are the result of having been created from the ultimate King. The Most High, the most royal, the most divine is our Father. And just like in the fairytales, we earthly princesses have come across evil witches, possessed octopuses, and bitten into poisonous apples given by beguiling serpents who have planned our demise. All in an attempt to strip us from our rightful place in the kingdom. All in an attempt to convince us that we are not who we were born to be; created to be. All in an attempt to persuade us that the only life that lies ahead for us is that of a pauper. 

And for many years, many of us choose to believe these lies. We begin to attract men who tear us down with their harsh words, hard hands and complete ignoring of our needs. In our attempts to get our needs met, we chase them. Chase them hard. We think, I don't want him to forget me. Maybe if I call him more, buy him what he wants, make myself available to his beck and call, then he will be willing to stand up and be the prince I know I need. It is with each attempt that we lose more and more of our layers of divinity. No longer do we walk with our heads held high. The straight ramrod posture we used to have is replaced with slumped shoulders. The princess has begun to carry burdens she doesn't have the strength, the stamina or the stature to hold. She wasn't created to; we weren't created to. What was once a sparkle in her eyes falls away to a dull glimmer and eventually the light extinguishes altogether. In the midst of all of this, she has forgotten who she is; we have forgotten who we are. She doesn't dress the same, walk, talk or move the same. 

Meanwhile the evil one plotting her demise sits along the sidelines laughing, convinced she will lay down and die. Convinced we will lie down and die. But princesses are strong. We are made that way. For how can you care for the needs of others and make life better for those who haven't tapped into their inner power if we are weaklings. No, the call of a princess is to offer a better chance for those who have not yet found their way. Truly things look as if there is no answer in sight. There appears to be no knight in shining armor or prince whose kiss is so potent it can withstand the walls of darkness, but I remind you again that we come from the root of all royalty. And our champion is there to save, to heal, to rescue and to set us on the right course leading back to our rightful place. That is, if we are willing to do the work.

This is the piece the fairytales fail to mention. There is work involved in getting back to a place of wholeness. But as the old adage goes, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." There are times it feels we will never reach the end from all the damage that has been done. But truly we are able. One step at a time, albeit however slow those steps might be. Slow and steady. That is the key. And, of course, obedience to the One who knows the very path we need to take in order to get out of the enchanted forest and back onto the palace grounds.

Like Esther who went through a year of beauty treatments before being presented to the king, our lives should reflect that same level of care. Our skin should glow from the delicious, healthy foods that have been placed on the earth for us to eat. We should be rubbed with the finest oils as the tension is massaged out of our bodies. Our teeth should gleam because we take the time to take care of them. There should be so much bounce in our hair that a slight breeze causes it to lift and fall right back into place. And our eyes should sparkle like starlight because we get enough rest. As daughters of the King, it is important for us to take time to reflect; to figure out if we are on course, and if not, design a plan to get us where we want to go. 

Everything in the universe was designed to help us maximize our life's experience. It is not for the kingdom princesses to be burdened down with relationships with those who cause stress, discord and unrest. The life of a princess should be easy. Easy on the eyes, easy on the mind, easy on the body, easy on the spirit. And of the ladies in waiting, we have no time for jealousy, backbiting, or rude attempts to tear down. Not everyone will be where we are and that is okay. But it is not for us to sacrifice the life we are destined to have to those who have not stepped into their own kingdom position. Living the life of a princess means embracing who we were created to be. It may be necessary to cut some people loose, but don't lose heart, dear one. He who sees all, created all, will send others to fill that place. Keeping our hearts open and full of light is our only job as it pertains to this part of life.

Love those who have hurt us - even if we have to love them enough to let them go and love them from a distance. Whatever was done isn't worth the turmoil and lack of peace it takes to keep reliving the experience. Hurting people hurt people...and they hurt themselves, too. Since we know who we are and we know what we give, it is a hurt to their own selves when they mistreat us and have the access to our lives severed. Their leaving is not a reflection on us, no matter what evil words they let spew from their own mouths. It is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. So we love them and pray blessings of healing and love, direction and deliverance, health and prosperity into their lives - never forgetting the kiss that woke us up out of a terrible slumber and started us on the road to our own place in the kingdom. We don't forget, but we don't have to be part of everyone's journey either.

So, today go and get pedicures, after all we cannot have chipped toenails while wearing glass slippers. And when we step out, it is with confidence and assurance in who we are and what we deserve. We are daughters of the Most High, princesses in our own right. If perhaps we have not been willing to truly accept our role, today we make the decision to step into our rightful place. If we have accepted that we are princesses, then we take some time to reflect to make sure all is as it should be. Either way, there is an amazing life awaiting each one of us. Today is the day we decide will not live beneath our privilege. Others are waiting on us to take our rightful place to see by example that they can do it too. This is our role as princesses: to encourage, uplift and help others realize their own potential for greatness.

Changing lives one word at a time...Tumika Patrice Cain


Meet the Author

Tumika Patrice Cain is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life. She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the internet radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain, In The Spotlight, and Say What?? Author Spotlights. In addition, she is a respected book reviewer and columnist for PEN’Ashe Magazine, a contributing writer for BLOG and Belief Magazines, and editor for two smaller publishing companies. A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but whose marketing budgets are limited. Inkscriptions, her publishing company, offers a myriad of book publishing services. Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path. She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012), a novel that has since been picked up by Shan Presents and will be re-released as When a Man Loves a Woman – A Season of Change in December 2015. To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March 2014) and The Heart of a Woman (August 2015). Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.

 

 

 

 


Everything Old, Is New Again 
by A. Yamina Collins

If Amazon's recent Kindle Serials debut back in 2012 is any indication of current publishing trends, then releasing a novel in episodes may be the hottest new thing publishing has seen in a while - even though there is actually nothing new about the serialized format. 

Years ago, it was the print novel that was being serialized rather than digitized works of today, and no less than Charles Dickens helped to establish the format with the release of his first novel, The Pickwick Papers back in 1836. In fact, that book is largely considered to have been the prototype of all serialization and indeed most of Dickens subsequent novels were originally published serially as well - in both weekly and monthly magazines, and often in as many as twenty monthly installments.

And make no mistake - Charles Dickens was not the only famous author to have tried his hand at serialization. French author Alexandre Dumas dolled out his Count of Monte Cristo in eighteen parts in the Journal des Débats, with publication running from August 28, 1844 to January 15, 1846, while Uncle Tom's Cabin, the American classic by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was serialized beginning in June 1851, over a 40-week period in an abolitionist periodical called National Era.

It's true that serialization sputtered in the early to mid-twentieth century and pretty much died. It's also true that now days audiences seem to have the attention span of two-year olds, making it difficult to hold readers interest in books that are dolled out slowly for public consumption. Yet it should not be assumed that there is absolutely no consumers for the serialized format.

In fact, one could make the argument that series books such as Harry Potter, Twilight and the Hunger Games, are themselves episodes told in larger, lump sum quantities (seven novels for Potter and three for Twilight and Hunger Games respectively). 

There have been even success stories of authors actually serializing a single novel in this day and age. In 2011, for example, author Hugh Howey wrote the indie sci-fi book "Wool". The book had been conceived as a stand-alone shorty story, but as its popularity increased, so did Mr. Howey's need to expand on the story, and thus a series was born - and a wildly successful one at that. 

But what are some of the benefits of serializing a book today? For starters, serialized formats can help build up readership for unknown authors, and help create greater interaction between an author and his or her audience (it has been said that for Charles Dickens, this format created greater intimacy between he and his readers). 

Another advantage is that authors can revise the novel even after it is serialized, in preparation for its stand-alone publication. As recent as 1984, Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities, ran in twenty-seven n parts in Rolling Stone magazine for which he was paid $200,000 for and yet, Mr. Wolfe went on to heavily revised the work before it was released in full form. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Losing Myself  
by Jan Ackerson


Dan and I married young—we were children, really—but I was charmed by the curls that played at his neck, and by his raspy chuckle. Those were reasons enough to marry, as it turns out. Years later, those same qualities still quicken my breath.

Not long ago, we waved at our darling Lily as she embarked on a new life with her own curly-haired charmer, in a flurry of lace. Dan’s arm tightened around my waist as their car disappeared, and he whispered in my ear. “We’re still young, sweetheart. Time to do something new.”

"Something new" was a spiritual itch that had plagued him for months. Dan wanted to be a missionary—had felt the call and started to research mission fields and financial arrangements while I was occupied with Lily’s wedding. I strained to hear the same voice that had reached my husband’s ears, but God was silent to me. I followed Dan anyway, transported to a distant land by the power of my love for him.

The air in my new country was richer than that of my home, thicker with exotic smells. Colors were more brilliant, the music filled with stranger harmonies. The language, when I learned it, fell softly from my tongue. The children were precious with their quick and dazzling smiles, the women sweetly shy. Yet I resisted falling in love with my new residence. My heart was home with Lily and her husband, with the granddaughter whose growth was chronicled in a well-worn photo album.

A few mornings ago, I awoke realizing that I had dreamed not in English but in my adopted tongue. I felt bemused, as if I was losing myself. The feeling intensified as I shopped for vegetables in the open-air market. Surrounded by the liquid syllables of native speakers, I was startled when an English-speaking tourist grasped my elbow and asked for directions. I blinked at her, uncomprehending, having to translate her words mentally before I could formulate a reply.

And yesterday, I sat in the front row of our cinder-block church, listening to the linguistic dance of Dan and his co-pastor, partners in the Lord. Dan spoke, his partner translated, the congregation laughed at his self-deprecating humor—and I realized that I had not heard Dan’s words at all, but had waited for the translation. I am fading away, I thought. If we stay here, I will disappear.

I spent the afternoon in something more closely resembling whining than prayer. "Your work is flourishing here, Lord. Dan loves it. But I have done nothing for Your kingdom, and I am all alone. Why did You bring me here if only to watch me evaporate? How can I serve You if I don’t know who I am?" My vaulted and chained spirit locked out God’s reply.

This morning, I kissed Dan good-bye, wrapped a colorful skirt around my waist, and prepared a cup of the local tea, spicy and sweet. While I sipped, I listened to the cacophony of accusing birds in the trees outside and explored the borders of my soul. My reverie was interrupted by a knock at the door.

It was my neighbor, a quiet woman with whom I’d occasionally shared a loaf of flat bread or a fruit-filled treat. Tears streaked her cheeks and she fell into my arms, weeping her husband’s name. He had been unfaithful to her, I learned, because of her inability to bear him a child. His mistress was now pregnant, and he had put her from their home, penniless and bereft.

I held her stiffly at first, unsure how to minister to this grieving woman, but my arms relaxed as a peacefulness settled upon me—a warmth that spread from the roots of my hair to my sandaled feet. My neighbor’s tears subsided, and she whimpered a proverb used to communicate despair: literally translated, she told me "with every rising of the sun, my teeth are broken anew."

God’s words filled all of the empty spaces in my spirit. “He is faithful,” I said, using the pronoun that means 'the Holy one.'  “With every rising of the sun, His mercy comes anew.”

She cradled her head on my shoulder, drawing deep breaths. The mirror on the wall reflected my blonde hair mingling with her raven tresses, her chocolate arms intertwining with my pale ones. I locked eyes with the missionary in the mirror and smiled. We held each other for many minutes, two women discovering grace.


About the Author
Jan Ackerson
is a Christian who has traveled though sorrow and depression, and has found victory and grace. She dedicates all writings to her Heavenly Father. Contact Jan for writing projects at jackerso@remc11.k12.mi.us  © Jan Ackerson--2012   Article Source: Faith Writers


 

 

 


HEART AND SOUL
by D. A. Sears

There are approximately 2.2 billion children who live and play in the global village we know as Planet Earth. We are connected to each of them. And they are connected to us. They are our children – the heart and soul of our global village. Their melodious laughter, incessant inquisitive banter, and irrepressible enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring. We feel their joy. The village – our global village – would be a desolate place without them. Can you imagine living in a world devoid of laughter, joy, and irrepressible enthusiasm?

Yet, we allow approximately 1 billion children in our global village to live in poverty.  We allow 640 million children in our global village to live without adequate shelter. We allow 400 million children in our global village to live without access to safe water. We allow 270 million children to be denied access to health services. And every year, death silences the melodious laughter, incessant inquisitive banter, and irrepressible enthusiasm of approximately 1.4 million children – our babies -- because they do not have access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation in our global village. 

How will living in poverty and not having access to adequate shelter,  safe drinking water, and adequate sanitation shape these children’s perception of the world outside of their immediate environment and their place in it?  Will they see a world that offers unlimited opportunities? Will growing up in abject poverty without access to adequate shelter, safe drinking water, and adequate sanitation shatter the souls and break the spirits of these children – our babies – and the global village’s Next Generation of Husbands, Wives, Mothers, Fathers, and Leaders?


Then there is the issue of the education of our children – the heart and soul of our global village. 
The number of children throughout our global village who are not attending school is shocking and tragic. At least 67 million primary school-age children are not attending school. Approximately 45% of these “out of school” children live in sub-Saharan Africa and approximately 24% of “out of school” children live in South and West Asia. Forty percent of “out of school” children in South and West Asia were previously enrolled in school but dropped out of school at some point. 

In Arab states, “out of school” children number approximately 5.8 million; 2.2 million “out of school” children exist in North America and Western Europe; Central and Eastern Europe estimates that its “out of school” children number 1.1 million; East Asia and the Pacific has approximately 8.3 million “out of school” children; and approximately 2.8 million “out of school” children can be found in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is estimated that at least 72,000,000 children of lower secondary school age are “out of school” and approximately 10,000,000 children in sub-Saharan Africa drop out of primary school each year. 

The village suffers when its children – its heart and soul – are allowed to languish in poverty, live without adequate shelter, safe drinking water, health services, sanitation, and not attend school or drop out of school We must rethink how we can provide access to economic opportunities to the parents of the children in our global village who are impoverished. We must build and adequately maintain sewage treatment plants that will pump out unhealthy and deadly waste materials and water treatment plants that pump in water that is safe to drink, cook with, and bathe in throughout our global village. It is imperative that we create accessible and affordable health resources and support services. We must look at why so many of our children – the village’s heart and soul – are not going to school or are dropping out of school. 

Let’s resolve the issues that prevent our children from attending school and staying in school. Let’s rethink how we are educating our children. Are we providing them with the skills they will need to become productive and successful adults in a global marketplace that is driven by information technology? 

 

 

 

 

 


God’s Timeline 
by Catherine Flowers


Often, we look for solutions outside of God’s plan. We have an urgency that is not compatible with His timeline. It becomes a challenge to wait on God. And so without consulting Him, we make choices that turn out to be mistakes. And then we expect God to bless something that He has never played a part in, something He has never condoned.

Psalms 127:1 tells us, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain…” That means if God is not a part of our plan, we’re going to have some problems with it whether it be in the execution of it, the structure, or the maintenance.

Waiting on God’s timing is sometimes hard to do. But I have faith in His wisdom that surpasses mine. And it’s worth it because God (the One who created us) knows what’s best for us (His creation). Likewise, He knows when it’s best for us. And I can testify that the reward for waiting is well worth it.

I had been waiting a year and some months for God to answer a particular prayer of mine. While He did not answer my prayer directly, He indirectly answered it by not opening any doors for me or allowing any alternatives that I could see. That clearly said to me, “wait”. And so I did.

Sometimes, though the enemy will throw a distraction at you in the midst of your waiting period. It becomes unclear whether the distraction is God answering your prayer or whether it is from the enemy.

This is when wisdom and spiritual discernment become invaluable tools. As a believer, I asked myself the following questions in order to discern whether the answer I received was from God or was a distraction from the enemy.

– Am I ready and in a position to receive that which I have been praying for?
– Is the answer I’ve received going to require much difficulty and discomfort on my part?
– Does the answer appear to be logical or does it create a whole new scenario of unanswered questions?
– After receiving an answer, is there still a sense of uncertainty within me?

It was clear that the answer I received was from God. It was clear because what once seemed impossible had now become quite achievable. Everything fell into place and the door that had been shut was thrust wide open for me to walk through.

So just when it felt like the last minute was upon me, it wasn’t; it was just God working on His own timeline. He had answered my prayer, and the thing once withheld from me was now mine to have.

Some have no desire to wait for Lord. They exclaim “I know what’s best for me!”, as if they are truly the captain of their own ship…well, to some extent they are. We all are when it comes to the ability to make choices – and even that is a gift from God.

So we can choose not to wait on God and execute our own plans, but if we wait on the Lord and let Him guide our footsteps, we’ll always have a 100% guarantee that everything will turn out fine.

If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, consider turning your life over to Him.
Come before Him in repentance, and stop trying to do it all on your own. It’s okay to look to the Lord for your direction. It’s okay to wait for His guidance. He will never steer you wrong.  Nothing offers a 100% guarantee on all things at all times…but waiting on the Lord truly does!

About the Author

Catherine Flowers
is the creator of www.freefrombondage.com, a Christian blog where she shares the word of Christ through her encouraging words and experiences. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys writing on-line content for multiple websites as well as editing the creative works of others. Her leisure activities include reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. A Sad Soul Can Kill You is her second novel. 

To learn more about the author, please visit www.freefrombondage.com or e-mail her at authorcatherineflowers@aol.com. You can also contact her on Facebook: Author Catherine Flowers 

A Sad Soul Can Kill You by Catherine Flowers 
Link: http://amzn.com/1622868056 

Yesterday's Eyes by Catherine Flowers
http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/C7Q4pGvx 

 

 

 

 


Save for Retirement or Pay Down Debt
by Harrine Freeman


Your financial, family or health situation can change at any time so it’s better to have little to no debt. Here are 5 ways to help you plan for retirement and pay down debt. 


1. Downsize or downgrade. Scale back temporarily by making adjustments to your lifestyle by moving to a smaller home or trading in your luxury car for a compact or mid-size car. 

2. Retirement. Contribute the maximum amount towards your retirement.

3. Debt. If you’re in debt due to credit cards, student loans or late payments paying those off should be a priority. Focus on one bill at a time starting with the smallest bill. 

4. Peer Pressure. Avoid peer pressure from your co-workers, children and friends to buy things you can’t really afford. This behavior results in financial disaster.

5. Automate. Get organized and automated your finances. Use tools to help track your money and pay bills online or use automatic paycheck deduction. This will prevent you from paying late fees, help you easily keep track of your money and help you achieve financial goals.

Here are some helpful links regarding personal finance from Harrine Freeman:
http://www.hefreemanenterprises.com/resources.html 


Purchase How to Get Out of Debt: Get an a Credit Rating for Free 
http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Out-Debt-ebook/dp/B004KKXR5Q 

 

 

 

 

 


Tips on How to Get Approved for a Mortgage Loan 
by Harrine Freeman


A home is one of the largest purchases you will ever make in your lifetime. Here are some ways to ensure you get approved for a mortgage loan. 

1.  Proof. Showing proof that you have funds available to cover the down payment. 

2.  Sourced and seasoned. Sourced means the lender can determine where the assets came from. Seasoned means that the assets have been in your bank account for at least 30 days but varies by bank. 

3.  Debt. Pay down as much debt as possible. Your debt-to-income ratio should be 36% or less (your monthly debt divided by your monthly income).

4.  Income. You must show proof of income and taxes filed for the past three years. 

5.  Collateral. Possessing collateral or assets such as a retirement account, stocks, bonds, a car, real estate, art, etc. eases banks fears that you will default on your mortgage loan.

6.  Credit. Possess a credit score of at least 700. Explanation of any late payments in the past 2 years. 

Here are some helpful links regarding personal finance: http://www.hefreemanenterprises.com/books.html 


How to Increase Your Credit Score by Harrine Freeman


Credit scores are used to determine: if you will be hired for a job, approval for credit, interest rates, terms and conditions, down payment costs, rates for medical and other insurance coverage, approval for cable and internet service and more.  A credit score ranges from 300-850 with 850 being the highest score and 300 being the lowest core. A good credit score is 700 or above. Here are 6 things you can do to increase credit score:

1. Review. Review your credit reports at least once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com and fix any errors on your credit reports.

2. Balances. Keep credit card balances at 20% or less of the credit limit.

3. New Accounts. Don’t open more than one new account every 2 years. 

4. Payments. Pay all your bills on time. Get current on any late accounts.

5. Credit. If you have bad credit open a secured credit card to help reestablish your credit history. 


Meet the Author

Harrine Freeman is an authority on personal finance. She is a financial counselor, CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises and Author of "How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free," a self-help book that provides a step-by-step plan on how to get out of debt, increase credit scores and plan for the future. 

She has impacted the lives of thousands through speaking engagements and counseling. She helps client's prepare for financial freedom, by providing useful advice to steer clients in the right direction. 

She is a member of Credit Professionals International, American Association of Daily Money Managers, American Association of Individual Investors and National Speakers Association. Harrine has been featured in: Featured in Market Watch, Wall Street Journal, Forbes,The Washington Post, NASDAQ, Huffington Post, MSN Money, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Ebony, and Woman’s Day magazines. 

Connect with Harrine Online 
http://www.hefreemanenterprises.com 
http://www.twitter.com/harrine 
http://www.youtube.com/user/HarrineFreeman/feed  
http://www.amazon.com/Harrine-Freeman/e/B002BLU9WK 

 

 


 


Benefits of Attending Literary Events 
by Sheryl Lister 


Imagine standing in a large ballroom filled with over 2,000 agents, editors, authors and aspiring authors. Sound overwhelming? It definitely was for me when I attended my first literary conference. But, if you are an author or aspiring to be one, attending a literary conference is one of the best investments you can make in your career for several reasons. I’ll highlight a few:

1. Networking – From agents, editors, publishers and other industry professionals, you won’t find a better opportunity to meet them in person. They want to talk to attendees and, who knows, one of them may discover you and your talent. But beware, it’s probably not a good idea to approach them about your book while they’re in the restroom, standing in the buffet line or working out in a gym. Just like you, they need privacy and doing this will most likely get you a rejection on the spot.

2. Building Relationships – Let’s face it, writing is a solitary endeavor and many writers (yours truly included) are introverts. We are also misunderstood. How many of you have said to family members, “I can’t believe my secondary character is trying to take over the story,” or “These characters kept me up all night talking” and got a blank stare? Take heart, at a literary conference you will meet others just like you who ‘get it’. You’ll laugh and swap stories, but the best part is some of these encounters turn into lifelong friendships.

3. Improving Your Craft – Whether you’re just starting out as a writer, have a few books under your belt, or are trying to figure out this thing called self-publishing, most conferences have speakers who are working professionals ready to teach. They can be pretty pricey, so be sure to attend the conference(s) that fit you, even if it’s only one per year. Topics range from plotting, characterization, marketing and publishing, to getting that novella paced just right and writing the dreaded query letter and synopsis (shudders). A word of caution: Don’t try to attend everything…you won’t be able to. Remember those relationships from number two, above? If you find two workshops you want to attend being held at the same time, you might try attending one and approaching a fellow writer and asking them to record the other one for you.

Another great investment is attending reader-based events. These retreats give readers a chance to meet and interact with authors, as well as ask those burning questions about characters you’ve always wanted to know. As an author, you get an opportunity to connect with your fans and, hopefully, make some new ones.

So, are you ready to grab a notebook, pack your suitcase and head to a conference? Good! Hope to see you there.

Meet the Author

Sheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Her first novel, Just To Be With You, earned her a 2015 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Debut Author of the Year. When she's not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three and pediatric occupational therapist.

Twitter: @1slynne
Website: http://www.sheryllister.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sheryllisterauthor 
Books:  http://www.amazon.com/Sheryl-Lister/e/B00JB0J858/ 

Photo from a Sept. 2015 book signing. Got to hang out with my BRAB sisters, Sharon Blount and Poetry Is My Passion. A special shoutout to Gary Shumlai.

 

 

 


The Greatest Ah Ha Moment 
by E. N. Joy

My life just completely changed. I always say that the greatest "Ah Ha" moment a person could ever have is when their life begins to make sense. I live, breathe, see, hear, eat, sleep, think, taste, feel, smell the written word. It is my life. I've made bestsellers lists, won awards, appeared in magazines, had books translated to different languages, put on audio and more, but I was always yearning/desiring/chasing more. I can’t put my finger on one specific thing. Perhaps I was longing for more notoriety, money or what have you. I achieved things that I am most proud of and that other authors have yet to accomplish. But nothing was filling on a long-term basis. Nothing made me feel like I knew what my purpose in this writing thing was. I just knew that it took up all of my time and all of my money, and in most cases, with a very small financial return. 

Of course the wonderful feeling of gratitude I receive from readers is priceless. I love love love my readers, their testimonies, support and reviews. They are the boss of me. They give me a high, but then eventually I find myself back in that space again where I'm seeking , not just an answer, but a feeling; that feeling of everything making sense. "Why am I doing this outside of the fact that I love writing so much?" "Is this what I'm called to be doing or only what I want to be doing?” “Is there something else I should be doing instead?" "Why?" "Why not?"

One time I was at a literary event and at times I felt inferior to some of the National Bestselling authors that occupied the room. Their literary reputations preceded them. Everyone in the room seemed to know who they were and acknowledged them with huge applause. I reflected back on that moment and said in prayer, “God, I want to know what it feels like to enter people's presence and everyone in the room already knows who I am." His reply to me was, "Me too."

It was then I had my greatest “Ah Ha” moment. My ministry is delivering God's message through the written word in the form of literary entertainment in order to point the world in the direction of the kingdom. In doing so I FINALLY realized that E. N. Joy's job is not to make herself famous, but to make God famous. In spite of what some may think, not everybody knows God. Even God Himself knows that; He told me so!

I feel so free now knowing that even though my husband, children and so many family members, friends, readers and strangers have supported me in my literary endeavors, that I don’t have to prove to them that their love and support and bragging about me was not in vain by becoming the most famed and richest author in the world. I don't have to make the New York Times, my books don't have to be turned into Lifetime movies or chosen as Oprah's book of the month. My job is not to become a famous author through my writing, but to make God famous through my writing. So no longer is my motivation to become Bestselling Author E. N. Joy-One Million Copies Sold, but instead: BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy-One Million Souls Saved!

Meet the Author
E. N. Joy
Meet the Author
E. N. Joy
is the author behind the "New Day Divas," "Still Divas," "Always Divas," and "Forever Divas" series, which have been coined soap operas in print. Former acquisitions editor of the Urban Christian imprint, Joy is now writing full-time, doing freelance editing, ghostwriting, Literary Consulting and some agenting. She is also the founder, host, organizer and feature author of Literary Feast 2015, which takes place this year in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, October 10, 2015. You can find this author on Facebook under E. N. Joy, but today she's here to talk to us live.

You Get What You Pray For by E.N. Joy 

Lorain has been a prisoner of secrets almost all of her life. At the age of thirteen, she'd managed to keep her pregnancy a secret, discarding the infant she'd given birth to and leaving it for dead. She also never revealed the fact that the baby's father was her middle school guidance counselor. Years later, Lorain's mother had finally met the love of her life, and Lorain couldn't find the courage to tell her mother that her new beau was the man who molested Lorain. To complicate matters, Lorain discovered that the baby she'd abandoned all those years ago had survived, and God had placed Lorain in the now adult child's life. It seemed like the legacy of secrets had been passed on, too, as Lorain helped her daughter conceal the true details behind her own pregnancy. 

Lorain has managed to maneuver the secrets and lies like a strategic game of chess, and is now living the lavish fairy-tale life of a doctor's wife. But even that is a lie. With the rug about to be pulled from underneath Lorain by the woman who raised her abandoned child, all Lorain prays for is that everything will end well. In this cycle of lies, secrets, shame, and guilt, will Lorain get what she prays for?

Website:  http://www.enjoywrites.com 
Twitter Link:  http://www.twitter.com/enjoywrites 
Facebook Link:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorENJOY
Instagram: https://instagram.com/blessedselling_author_enjoy/  
Video Introduction:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1-f4KPOPwc
New Day Divas Fans: 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Day-Divas-Fan-Page/135990139770880 

 

 

 

 


 

How to Find Your Serenity Place 
by Kerri Herndon


My typical day begins at 5 am. Today, I truly look forward to rising before the sun and greeting everyone with joy. I must admit, it took me some time to find my morning glory. Blissful rest was always interrupted by insidious honking and silenced with with my right hand as I quickly hit the snooze button to give me at least 10 additional minutes of sleep. The plush purple toasty fur lined slippers that awaited the arrival of my feet to slide in to begin the normal daily routine, were very rarely in reach. 

Next, as I waddled downstairs to grab the kettle from the stove, fill it with water for coffee (still yawning), dings from my iPhone alerting me to brand new emails, text messages, FaceBook messages and notifications and invites to events that I would never attend grab the first moments of my day.  As I pour the creamer in my coffee, my mind is already beginning to list out all the items that will be placed on the “to do list” creating my agenda for the day. Before I have taken one sip or sat down for devotion, my mind has dictated at least twenty tasks that need to be accomplished by 3pm.  With my mind racing around everything that needs to be done for the day, enjoying the solitude while basking in serenity is slipping away…

But wait.


I woke up early for solitude and devotional time to clear my mind thus bringing forth feelings of serenity and clarity to pave the way for a more productive day…

If any of this sounds remotely familiar then you can more than likely also relate as the day unfolds, so do the responsibilities and the ever increasing demands that are piled upon you. Within the midst of all of it, are your personal ambitions and desires.  Without surrendering your white flag, you begin to read books and listen to audios on how to jam seven hours into three to become more efficient so that you have more “me” and family time. You up your intake of vitamins and supplements, temporarily change your eating habits and join the gym all attempting to continue ironing your shero cape and not relent. Yet, feelings of fatigue, low energy, occasional mood swings and irritability have now become a part of your personality while stress and thoughts of depression are knocking at the door for permanent residency.

I’m reminded of the 80’s song by Karen White, where in the video poised with strength, she serenades her uniformed husband, I’m not your superwoman. The scenes switch back and forth as we viewers are relating to the stamina she excludes as she is hanging up laundry and then cooking dinner ( all while looking good in her heels). What is it in some of us that believes we can and should play the balancing act of twenty item task list and still meet the needs of others around us?

The above daily routine I described, used to be me. Running the hamster wheel wore me out and left me feeling overwhelmed and discontent. I still wake each day at five am with the same responsibilities yet with a new mindful approach in gaining my morning glory. I believe in the search of happiness, fulfillment, security, financial stability, career advancement and other personal goals, our true focus gets lost. With so many distractions; a lack of direction and/or definite purpose, daily stressors, family responsibilities, demands of co-workers, expectations of others, and personal ambitions, our judgment gets cloudy leaving some in a standstill of hazy mental fog. 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Big Goals - Small Steps! 



Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? Zechariah 4:10 TM

While it's tempting to think that the amount of time required is too long, those days and years will pass - whether you're pursuing your goal or not! God wants you to heed His call, to show up for duty and leave the provisions - including the time, money, open doors, favorable relationships and material resources - to Him. If you do your part, He'll do His. The Psalmist writes: "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly" Psalm 84:11. Just trust God and take the first small step!

Is God nudging you to take small steps towards a larger goal?
Is it past time to return to school, change careers, or move closer to your long-awaited dream? Have you allowed excuses and fear to immobilize and constrict your next step? Alternatively, have you taken the first step towards fulfilling a lifelong dream? Did you decide to prayerfully count the cost and take a leap of faith? Are you energized by the vision of victory and sense of accomplishment flowing through your life?

Saints, reaching big goals begin with steadily moving forward in small steps.
As we venture deeper into life, our hearts will greatly yearn to accomplish certain dreams or goals. With prayer, meditation, and faith - we can move into a season of life wherein hard work pays huge dividends. If our dreams and goals align with His will for our lives, God will nurture the desire and provide provision. 

Although it may not come in the package or timing that we would prefer, we can trust that God is working in our hearts throughout the process. We may look back over our lives and realize that it was God who carried us through the small steps. He simply asked that we trust Him and take the first step. He will do the rest - spiritually, emotionally, and in the physical realm. We simply become co-partners in strict obedience to His vision for our lives. Let's begin today by taking that first small step! 

Your Sister in Christ,
Rugina Poellnitz 



History of  The Morning Teas

The Morning Teas were written by Diann Thomas in 2000 and distributed by Linda Cunningham-Hames. My role in them is to (1) read as a personal devotional and (2) write a mini intro posing questions and a message of encouragement.  During 2011, Diann Thomas passed away unexpectedly and sadly, Linda Cunningham-Hames passed away on July 24, 2012. I've never met either in person, only corresponded with Linda via email, and never corresponded with Diann. We were connected via technology and hearts for God.  Going forward, I intend to continue to share Morning Teas in their honor (as well as add my Mother, Evelyn Carter-Pete, since she prayed and inspired me (and others) to live faithfully and abundantly prior to her passing in 2007).

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Re'Gena Bell-Roberts

Re'Gena Bell-Roberts was featured on the Steve Harvey Show as one of the Harvey's Heroes!

Re'Gena Bell-Roberts is an actress, poet, award-winning playwright and author whose published work includes a collection of prose and poetry. She earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of California at Los Angeles and raised her four children as a single parent while continuing to pursue a career.

Re’Gena won the Rockefeller Foundation award for her play "Eclipse"; and a Prose award from Culver City Community College. She produced and directed an NAACP Martin Luther King Day celebration event; and received numerous awards for her community service. She was featured on the Steve Harvey Show and honored as one of “Steve Harvey’s Hero.”  Re’Gena resides in Murrieta, California.


BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you? What impact do you want your book to make on the readers?
My passion for writing began at an early age while searching for a voice among my seven siblings. It was then that I discovered the power of the written word in the form of poetry or short stories. I am driven to write because it empowers me as an artist to evoke my inner feelings, thoughts and emotions and share them with others.

I want Walking on Thin Ice to take the reader on an unforgettable journey of love, pain and heartbreak that will inspire, motivate an empower them to make better choices and decisions in order to have a better quality of life.


BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book. 
Walking on Thin Ice is a love story told amid the backdrop of passion, betrayal and pain. The book opens up with all the candor –– frustration, love, trial, tribulation and humor –– indicative of the human spirit. I wrote the book after cultivating it mentally and physically for many years.

Walking on Thin Ice, a memoir of love, hate, envy, and greed traces a young woman's pursuit of stardom down a dangerous road that leads to shattered dreams and a harrowing fate.

The young woman longed for fame and fortune until at last a man comes to set her free - only to be betrayed again. The saga portrays her tumultuous life as she struggles to deal with a tragic life-threatening event. Against life’s most overwhelming odds, she fights back with unshakable strength, courage, and a will to survive.

BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... 
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... a message of hope in the face of adversity.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
My primary quest in publishing the book was to share my story–– my struggles, my truths and my journey to convey a message of love, hope and redemption.

BPM: Who did you write this book for? Why?
I wrote this book for young girls and women who are craving the love of a man, as I did, and who are interested in or can relate to the ups and downs of a tumultuous relationship, and the risks of following your heart and desires into dangerous territory. I wrote this book for anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship whether it’s physical, emotional or psychological. The story is as relevant today as it was decades ago.

BPM: Walk us through your journey to success. How did you get to this point? What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My success came after my lowest point and on the threshold of losing faith until I surrendered the reigns of my life to God. My faith allowed me to trust God and understand that sometimes the plans we make for ourselves is not the plan that He has for us. At that point I prepared to use my gift of writing knowing that it would be a long and arduous task.

My greatest challenge was facing reality –– the truth about the choices I made and how they impacted not only my life, but the lives of my family and friends—my loved ones. I overcame the experience first by accepting responsibility in the detrimental role I played in self-destruction and second, accepting the amazing grace of a second chance.

BPM: At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
I discovered my real worth the moment I regained use of my hands and placed wet ink on paper. I claimed it and took ownership of it.

BPM: Was there anyone early in your career that recognized your talent and help cultivate it?
Yes. It was definitely two of my English/literature teachers in high school who encouraged my writing talent and offered personal selections of books for me to read.

BPM: Do you feel as if your writing is making a positive impact on readers, women, or the world?
Yes. I do believe my writing is making a positive impact on readers of both gender, male and female. I feel that my book causes readers to pause and examine their relationships. It draws them deep into the very fiber and psyche of how it feels to be “Walking on Thin Ice.”


Connect with Re'Gena Bell-Roberts 

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/rlbroberts  
Website:  http://walking-on-thin-ice.com 
Facebook:  http://facebook.com/regena.bellroberts


Order Walking on Thin Ice by Re'Gena Bell-Roberts
Download Link:  http://amzn.com/1491764759  
Genre:   True Story. Non-fiction. Memoir 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Angee Parker 

Angee Parker is called a visual storyteller. Her words and style of writing kidnaps the reader and holds them hostage until the very last page. She began her love of story telling at a young age. Deemed a "Drama Queen", she takes the flair that she has for the dramatic and transposes it into each character that she creates. And the "Drama" resonates all through her writing.  Angee was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, where she still resides.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My book is called Hood Secrets (A Ghetto Who-Dun-It). It’s about the killing of the most notorious and hated man in the neighborhood, Jerome Sanders. He had so many enemies and everyone had motive and a desire to kill him. But no one knew WHO KILLED JEROME? So the neighborhood was transformed into its own version of the game clue. Because everyone wanted to know WHO KILLED JEROME? 

The book is set in one of the most dangerous housing projects in Chicago. The story is told from the perspective of the many victims and their families who were affected by Jerome’s evil and malicious ways.

BPM: Are any scenes from your book borrowed from your world or your experience?
Oh definitely yes! I grew up in the housing project depicted in my book. This was my world, this was my life. I can only write from experience and then expand from there. So yes a few things really happened and a few things were created from my imagination. But I will never tell which is true and which is made up. I will never divulge my HOOD SECRETS.  Although in the book I focused more on the dark side of living in a housing project that was not my only experience. Growing up on 61st and Calumet was the best times of my life and I am thankful for my upbringing there.

BPM: How did you begin your journey to become an author?
I am an avid reader of all genres of novels. And the more I read the more the seed that was planted in me at an early age began to grow. My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Abell told me that I had the gift of words and the flair for the dramatic. She also told me if I kept at it I would be a great writer one day.  So the more I read the more I wanted to tell my own stories. So I read and read until that seed finally grew and blossomed into Hood Secrets (a ghetto who dun-it). Thanks Mrs. Abell for planting that seed.

BPM: Who is your favorite author and how have they influenced you?
My favorite author is J. California Cooper. The first book I read by her was Homemade love. It’s a collective of short stories in which each character was striving to better themselves. Her style of writing was simple and direct. I was fascinated at how each character was able to draw you deeper into their stories. So I mirrored her style in my writings. My characters not only draw you into the story. They also hold you hostage until the very last word is read.

BPM: What are some of the benefits of being an author that makes it all worthwhile?
I get to tell my story, my way. I get to place the reader on a roller coaster ride while they scream out for more. As an author I able to let the reader into my thoughts and perceptions. So they can see and experience my world, according to Angee. And having the ability to do that is amazing. And it makes writing worthwhile.

BPM: Can the readers expect more from you? What’s next?
Hood Secrets (A Ghetto Who-Dun-It) is part of a trilogy. Next up is Hood Secrets (evil returns). And then Hood Secrets (Nafee’s revenge). The Drama and excitement intensifies with each book, so keep reading.

BPM: How can the readers follow you online?
They can get updated and exciting information from my website: www.angeeparker.com

Connect with Angee Parker Online
Website: http://www.angeeparker.com 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/msangeeparker 
Instagram: http://instagram.com/msangeeparker/ 
Shop: http://www.angeeparker.com/#!shop/c6kj 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/angela.parkerjehan  

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Anita Ballard-Jones

Anita Ballard-Jones is the acclaimed author of the novels, Rehoboth Road, The Dancing Willow Tree and Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down. She is a native of Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of C.W. Post, at Long Island University. She is retired from New York State’s Long Island Developmental Disabilities Service Office where she worked as a Treatment Team Leader. She is a long time resident of Long Island, New York and enjoys spending time in North Carolina and Florida. She loves hearing from her individual fans, as well as book clubs.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? 
I was in my early fifties, not like most writers who say they had been writing for as long as they could remember. My unpublished manuscript, Broken Bond, is a memoir about my young life and relationship with my brother who had special needs. It was completed twenty years ago and it was not written for publication. I just needed a vessel to pour out my soul and to come to terms with the issue of the purpose of life for those individual having serious developmental disabilities. I had lived and worked with special needs children and adults almost all of my life and I was searching for their purpose. By the time I completed this manuscript I was at peace; I felt blessed and had my answers. A few months later, I believed the Lord handed me my gift of writing and I wrote the first one hundred pages of the acclaimed Rehoboth Road in just fourteen hours.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
I love to write, but I don’t have a writing routine. I am retired and I am not looking for a career. My greatest joy is pleasing my readers. Sometimes I’ll write a very short story, and other times that short story could be as long as 7,000 words. I don’t push my writing or write outlines; I wait. I guess you could say I wait on the Lord; He sends me pictures and somehow I know it’s going to be another novel. I only create when I’m inspired by my pictures. If I don’t have the inspiration to create, and I want to work, I use the time for refinement and editing. 

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish? 
Yes, after I completed Rehoboth Road, I sent out fifty query letters just to locate an agent and I received fifty rejections. Then, I self-published and sold over three thousand copies. Within that year I signed with a publishing company that never paid my royalties on time, if at all. The one great thing they did was sell my book to Black Expressions Book Club, and I knew I had arrived, even after being contractually cheated on this sale. I found a loophole in the contract and was released from my second book deal and vowed to remain a self-publish author. I told myself that my joy comes from writing and pleasing my fans, and with the proper branding agent and publicist, I could do a very good job marketing myself. 

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
Yes, all of my books stewed with the exception of The Dancing Willow Tree. This book is the sequel to Rehoboth Road. I received hundreds of emails from my readers requesting a sequel; many people made suggestions of what they thought should happen. I was inspired, I had my visual images, my fans suggestions, and a few twist in mind; The Dancing Willow Tree was completed in three months. 

BPM: Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change? 
Without questioning the Lord, I wish I had received my gift when I was younger, but the Lord knows best. I wonder if I would have appreciated it, would I have earn my lifetime experience badge or if I would have had the time to dedicate to the craft? Sometimes I think, if I could have accomplish writing success back in my earlier life I might have been another Alice Walker or Toni Morrison, not for the fortune, but for the pleasure of knowing something I created bought pleasure to so many people.

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner? 
I believe the real hurdle is the process of editing. I have hired a professional editor and have used my edit team and there were still problems. Other than the editing process, researching self-publishing and learning all of the aspects of the process are the hardest. 

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
Be able to respond positively to constructive criticism. A writer should never believe they are so great that they have nothing to learn about their craft. 

BPM: At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
Growing up, I always wanted to be a registered nurse. There were two professions I didn’t want any part of, a medical doctor or a writer. The novels, Little Women, Clarence Darrow and Return of the Native, and the likes, really turned me off during my high school literature classes. I cried through them; I am a pre-baby-boomer who attended George Wingate High School in Brooklyn, New York when the African American student enrollment was only two percent. No one told me about Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, James Baldwin and the others. If you didn’t know about the Harlem Renaissance, you didn’t know to ask and seek it out. I remember standing outside a theater on Manhattan’s Broadway, staring at the marquee and large posters of the play, Porgy and Bess. It was hard to believe these were black people like me, doing what white people did. It seems so funny now, but today’s young people believe they have been robbed of opportunity and I wish I could take them back to my early time and shake them. 

I discovered my worth as an individual early in life, having a very successful career and lifetime experiences. I said I didn’t want to be a doctor, but I became a Treatment Team Leader, whereas I managed an interdisciplinary treatment team which included medical doctors and twenty years of report writing was the precursor to my writing profession in retirement. And now I write.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
In this dark time in our history time, two brothers, Jacob and Jackson shared the same loving father, the same mansion home, but were separated by age and the circumstances of life; Jacob, a mulatto slave and Jackson, the sole heir to their father’s plantation. They were mirror images of each other, both tall and having golden hair, blue eyes and creamy white complexion. Jacob had the soul of a black man and Jackson’s soul was only fed by cruelty, possessions and hatred. Once Jacob was free it wasn’t long before he realized that passing for white was a powerful weapon to be used to free his enslaved family and friends, specially his black pearl, Sula who was pregnant with his child. Nothing could stop him in his quest to reach the safety of Canada before the start of the Civil War, not even murder, assault, thievery or arson. He found great pleasure standing his ground against other white people. 

Throughout Jacob’s triumphs, Brother Jackson was in hot pursuit of him, but little did Jackson know revenge was not in his favor. Jackson’s attempt to kill Jacob would end up causing him more inescapable pain than he could ever have imagined; pain that was a thousand times worse than the pain he allowed his overseers to inflicted on his slaves; pain that could not be undone.

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? Why?
This is a book of historical fiction, pre-Civil War (1860). With the exception of my memoir, most of the time I write fiction, but I tend to write in different eras from 1950 through 1990. As mentioned earlier, my inspiration comes in the form of pictures. I have my ideas of what I want to write about, but after a few paragraphs my story will take on its own life. Very often this dictates the era, storyline, characters and location. For example, someone once told me my grandfather walked from northern North Carolina to south central Virginia. I was thinking what it must have been like for a black man to walk alone on a country road around 1900. The next thing I knew I was writing Jacobs Eyes. My grandfather was a short, small framed man, with ebony colored skin and nappy hair, and Jacob was tall, well built, blue eyes, golden hair and a white complexion. The only thing they had in common was that they walked on the road. 

BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject? 
I don’t necessary set out to educate, but my goal is to keep my stories socially clean, historically accurate, entertaining and inspiring. I research even the smallest issue. In my book, Rehoboth Road, I wanted one of my characters to purchase a specific type of car. When I researched the car I found out it had not come out for another five years. In Jacob’ Eyes, I had to learn about growing cotton, the railroad lines that were running in 1860, what shipping lines were sailing. How Lincoln was placed on the ballot, and most of all, documents related to the sale and release of slaves and many other issues. To say the least, I was educated and inspired during the writing of this novel and I hope and pray others will learn from it too.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing this book?
Yes, first of all I received a history lesson, and then I learned about herbal tea, juju bags secondary railroad cars, Southern myths and much more. Most of all I learn about myself and to appreciate my gift. I had not worked at writing a novel in some time. My pictures were there for me, but I allowed life and circumstances to pull me away from what I really love doing. I have to say thank you to Jacob’s Eyes for reminding me of my gift and to be grateful to my Lord for it.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book? Why now?
I did give mainstream publishing serious thought, then I remembered my previous experience and I was not willing to lose my literary rights to my work forever. But I am like an abused woman, time will tell.

BPM: What would you like to accomplish after this book is released?
I just want to keep writing and promoting my work. I love public speaking and traveling, so with the release of this book I will be destination bound. 

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
No, Jacob’s Eyes is a product of my imagination and research.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
Just enjoy this book for its historical quality and storyline. This is not just another slave book; this is a book where the slaves win. This is a feel good book that will leave the reader saying, “Yes!” Spread the word: ask their local libraries to order it, ask their school board to place it in their high school libraries, introduce it to historically black colleges and universities, suggest it to book clubs, share the book with a young adult and don’t forget to write me and share their thoughts and feeling.

BPM: What are your career goals as a writer? Have you accomplished most of them?
I am retired and I write to please my readers. My goal is to continue writing and sell, sell, sell my work. Nothing makes me happier than to have my fans love my work. My goal is to have a well known name in the industry and I have no accomplished that. 

BPM: What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?
There are people, other than my family, who appreciate what I have to offer. My family loves me unconditionally. My fans love me and my work; that’s why I always want to give them my very best.

BPM: What are some of the benefits of being an author that makes it all worthwhile?
Being an author, actor, singer or whatever, it really does not matter. We are all people first. Even if I were a filthy rich author it wouldn’t make a different to me; being a good person is more important. For me, the only benefits of being an author are my personal satisfaction and knowing I have made other people happy. This is my gift, but Dear Lord, I always prayed to be a great singer, but I guess You know what’s best for me, so thank you Lord.

BPM: What are you the most thankful for now?
I am most thankful for my Lord and Savior, life and good health, family, friends, my gift, fans and a good life. I am truly blessed; I have it all.

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Study and do your research before you decide, and then learn to do as much as you can for yourself.

BPM: Finish this sentence - “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors...”
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors because I try to write unforgettable novels that provide teachable moments without an expiration date.”

BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what's next? 
My long term goal for the next year is to produce my first manuscript, Broken Bond, my memoir, as well as a book of short stories and to continue as a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel monthly news magazine, A Better You,

BPM: How may our readers follow you online? 
At my website:  www.anitaballardjones.com  or on  Facebook at" Anita Ballard Jones

Purchase Jacob's Eyes by Anita Ballard-Jones

Link:  http://amzn.com/B01ABD7XTQ  
Historical Literature > Christian Fiction > African American 

 


 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Nichol Bradford


Nichol Bradford, a proud Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sister, is fascinated by human potential, and has always been interested in how technology can help individuals expand beyond their perceived limits to develop and transform themselves to the highest level.

She spent the last decade exploring these ideas in the online game industry, serving as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations and marketing for major brands that include: Activision Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi. Most recently she managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China.

Now, as the CEO of the Willow Group, Nichol is applying those same skills to the realm of elevating psychological well-being. Willow is a transformative technology company focused on employing rigorous scientific research to develop training protocols, hardware and software that can produce a reliable and positive change in the human experience. She is also a member of the African-American MBA Association

Nichol has an MBA from Wharton School of Business in Strategy, and a BBA in Marketing from the University of Houston. She is a fellow of the British American Project, currently serves on the board of the Brandon Marshall Foundation for Mental Health, and is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I wrote the book I wanted to read about strong yet vulnerable and intelligent black women committed to a great and grand goal — mental freedom and empowerment for all. I was tired of not seeing heroes that looked like me. I wanted to see someone like me save the world, not as a side-kick or agency head, but as the actual, certifiable central hero. I wanted to read about Olivia Pope back then, but since she didn’t exist yet, I wrote my own. I also wanted really well-developed characters who had something on their minds other than men. So some of the characters are happily married, and some are single, but most of all their focus is not just on their men (or lack thereof) but on their friendship and common goals. I also love technology and so wanted the women to be deeply immersed in that world.

I am deeply motivated by the memory of my mother, Vivian Jones Bradford. My mother is the model for the visionary leader of the Sisterhood, Vivian Delacroix. My mother was an entrepreneur. She was completely committed to helping women and supporting the efforts of black women in particular. She believed most in defending the defenseless and used her legal education to do so. I started volunteering by her side when I was a child and she made sure that my values included service to the betterment of society. 

Like the CEO on the book, my mother died suddenly and unexpectedly (months after I graduated from college). She was a young fifty, healthy, and we were very much alike. My last conversation with her was the morning of her death, and I’m so grateful for that. I was devastated. It took at least a year for me to reorient myself. The shock of losing her shaped the way I approach life. It instilled a sense that there’s plenty of time, but no time to waste. I believe in being passionate about the work that you do and who you do it with, because none of us knows how much time we have. I believe in being mission driven. I have the loss of my mother to thank for what I feel is a highly effective approach to a full life.

I’m deeply motivated by the idea of empowering people to free their minds in order to create choice and options in their lives. That thread runs through most of what I’ve done — from writing the Sisterhood, to working at a senior level in the video game industry, to launching an online meditation course, to pioneering the transformative technology sector. 

Transformative Technology is about making the technology in our lives support our well-being and not just our productivity. The last decade found me exploring the idea of transformative technology in the video game industry, where I served as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations, and marketing for games internationally for major brands that include: Activision/Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi. 

Most recently I managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China. During this time, I also began to meditate and saw interesting parallels between it and gaming. Both enable delight, flow, and access to dynamic states of consciousness. Meditation, though, goes even further and can profoundly and positively impact well-being. It seemed logical to me that technologies that directly impact human experience could do so as well, but no one seemed to be seriously working on it. So, I left Blizzard to pioneer Transformative Technology.


BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
My books are for women who want to make a difference with their lives — women who care about their communities, families, and lives and want to make positive change. Black women have a beautiful heroic nature, and I wanted to show that you don’t have to be wearing head-to-toe spanx to be heroic. The “Superwoman” meme sells us short. It makes us think that there’s something wrong with our heroism. We believe that our heroic nature will ensure that we are single and have nine cats so we reject our nature in order to not be alone. 

Or we believe that we can’t be heroes and also be vulnerable so we build walls around our hearts while we work ourselves to death. Real heroism is the flexibility to be strong AND vulnerable AND all of those things - while keeping focused on our wider mission. As far as role models go, I think that anyone who is positive and lives with integrity can be a role model — so if an author is doing that, then yes — she or he is a role model.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
The Sisterhood started on a late night drive home from a success workshop I gave during college. That night, I had this group of beautiful young black women stand in a circle and tell each other, one at a time and by name, that they were smart, beautiful, and could have anything that they wanted and worked for. It was a hard session, each and every young women cried when the group told her that she could actually have what she wanted. And I realized that we don’t know this...not really (even I didn’t always believe this and still have my moments where I don’t).

As I drove home, I felt really inadequate. I know that workshops can help, but they don’t last long enough to really shift someone...or help someone shift themselves. I started thinking about how I could show what it would look like, to be women who believed they could have what they wanted and worked individually and together to make that a reality. So I decided to write the Sisterhood. I conceived of an organization of women, who faced a series of challenges. Addressing those challenges would allow me to show versus tell how an individual can be successful. I went home and jotted the basic plot down which today is more or less the same. 

However, it was another eight years before I actually started writing. The events that prompted me to write the book in the Fall of 2000, to actually sit down and type the first word was a break-up that triggered a recommitment to myself. I was in business school and had been dating a sweet man, who though wonderful in many way, was not the right person for me. I also had been interviewing for jobs that truthfully, I was only interested in for the security and the salary. Essentially, I was headed towards a life that was not aligned with my inner North Star. Luckily, the man did something break-up worthy (and so we did) and none of the jobs came through (thank goodness). 

I’m a Virgo baby, so every September I do an assessment on my life — where am I mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and professionally. During this period, I also try to clean things up — I ask forgiveness, forgive, clean out my closets, and think about what my goals are for the following year. As a part of this, I had been thinking about my goals, and realized that I had put “write the Sisterhood” on my list for eight years — and I just refused to start another year without having taken an action. Taking that action, after all the difficult things that had happened that year, was a proxy for a commitment to myself, to my intuition, to the life that I truly wanted to lead. It took another eight years to write the entire book, and then two more to publish it.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
All of the Sisterhood characters are smart and strong...yet flawed like all real human beings. They aren’t perfect — but by working together they complement one another and accomplish great things. Tonia Rawlings is the main character that you follow and I just love and admire her. She’s the head of security for the Sisterhood and carries the weight of her best friend’s death on her shoulders because Vivian, the CEO of the Sisterhood, is assassinated on the first page. 

Vivian’s death triggers a chain of events where Tonia is tested more than ever — which is saying allot given a life story that includes an abusive husband, a drug conviction, and the death of a child. In order to navigate the danger, she has to change herself. Watching her wrench a new version of herself from the old is a powerful illustration of how to do the same thing.

The nine leaders in the book are based on ALL the women I know - from the amazing women I grew up around, to those I pledged AKA with in 1990, to the women I met at in the African-American MBA Association at business school, to all the women I’ve met along the way . One of the things I love about this book is that it represents the full diaspora - every size, shape, and hue of black women.  The women come from all backgrounds, educations, and geographies but they share a common bond through their desire to positively impact their world. They are all women who have integrity with themselves and with their Sisterhood, showing what that looks like and the real possibilities it can create in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Sadeqa Johnson

Sadeqa Johnson is a former public relations manager who spent years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debut novel, LOVE IN A CARRY-ON BAG was hailed by Ebony.com as “this summer’s hottest read.”  It was the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction and the 2012 USA Best Book award for African-American fiction. Originally from Philadelphia, she now resides in Virginia with her husband and three children. SECOND HOUSE FROM THE CORNER is her second novel.

BPM:  When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I’m originally from Philadelphia. As a kid, I started off wanting to be an actress. When I graduated high school, I moved to New York and attended Marymount Manhattan College as a Theatre Arts major. It was as a student that I started fooling around with poetry, which turned to playwriting, screenwriting and ended up with novel writing. I landed a job working in publishing after college and it was there that I became very serious about my writing. My first novel, Love in a Carry-on Bag took me over ten years to finish. I started writing it when I was a publicity manager at G.P Putnam’s Sons.

Every day I would close my office door at four o’clock and write for the last hour of the workday. On my commute home, I edited the pages. Once I got married, I left my corporate job to write and raise my children, but still nursed a burning desire to tell stories. I wrote during naptimes, between feedings, in the midst of sleep deprivation and my kid’s ear infections. The daily pressures of caring for a young family motivated me to finish the book. I was very much like Felicia in Second House From the Corner. As much as I loved being a mother, I didn’t want that role to be my only claim. I knew that it was important for me to carve out something that was only for me, and writing novels was it. My novels are my legacy.

BPM:  What makes your writing different than others?
I’m a lover of words and keep a thick, old school thesaurus on my desk, which I use to deepen the meaning of the text. I don’t like to rush when I’m writing, and I’ll work on a paragraph for three days if it takes that long to make it sound good. Although I’m a commercial fiction writer, I work to bring poetry, beauty and music to my work. My goal is to make readers pause over a delicious sentence, giving them no choice but to read it again.

BPM:  Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.
I love everything about Second House From the Corner. In the novel, Felicia Lyons, a stressed out stay-at-home mom struggles to sprint ahead of the demands of motherhood, while her husband spends long days at the office. Felicia taps, utters mantra and breathes her way through most situations but on some days, like when the children won’t stop screaming her name or arguing over toy trucks and pretzel sticks, she wonders what it would be like to get in her car and drive away.

Then one evening the telephone rings, and in a split second Felicia’s innocent fantasy becomes a hellish reality. The call pulls her back into a life she’d rather forget. Felicia hasn’t been completely honest about her upbringing, and her deception forces her return to the Philadelphia of her childhood, where she is forced to confront the family demons and long buried secrets she thought she had left behind.

BPM:  Did you learn anything personal from writing this book? 
I wrote Second House From the Corner in about a year and a half, which was much different from my ten-year haul with Love in A Carry-on Bag. I learned to outline and draft quickly, and then to just punch the story out and fix it later. There were a lot of loving hands that touched Second House From the Corner and for that I am so grateful and utterly proud of the finished product.

BPM:  What would you like to accomplish after this book is released? 
Don’t laugh, but my deepest desire is to be on the New York Times best sellers list. I have been putting that out into the Universe since day one so I know it’s going to happen. I also plan to sell the movie rights and be paid (well) to consult on set as the movie is being filmed. My children are going to love walking the red carpet. Selling the foreign rights and seeing my novel printed in several languages would also make me happy. Eventually I’d like to teach a writing group and get out on the motivational speaking circuit.

BPM:  Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences? 
Oh, yes. I am a mother of three children. My kids were about the age of Felicia’s when I started writing the book and a lot of her experience of feeling overwhelmed and worn out with the duties involved with caring for small children was what I felt as a young mother. I still feel it at least four times a week. She taps her way through it, I go to hot yoga, run and meditate to find my center.

BPM:  What should readers DO after reading this book? 
Tell all of their friends to buy a copy. I really believe it takes a village to make a best seller. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising so please, please tell a friend. Your review on goodreads.com and all of the retailer’s website would also be wonderfully helpful.

BPM:  What are your career goals as a writer? Have you accomplished most of them? 
Right now I really admire Attica Locke. She wrote a book called The Cutting Season that I couldn’t put down. Then one night I was watching the show Empire, and her name popped up in the credits as producer and writer. Immeditately, I had goosebumps. I’m so proud of my fellow writers when they cross over and do big things. As I sat watching, I thought, could I write for television?  Mmmm, I’m just going to let that thought marinate. Hosting a show on television would also tickle my fancy.

BPM:  What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author? 
I’ve realized that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Every moment in my life from going to college in New York City as Theatre arts major, to my first two jobs in publishing as a publicist, to starting my own publishing house and having to do everything possible to get the word out on Love in a Carry-on Bag has led me to this moment. I’ve worked hard, I deserve to be right here and my future is even brighter. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me.

BPM:  What are you the most thankful for now?
I’m grateful for my health and the health of my family and close friends. I enjoy waking up every morning, getting my kids off to school (most times without arguments and tears but not always), putting on a pot of coffee and going to work in my robe. God is always amazingly good to me. Oh, and I have a sexy, supportive husband to boot.

BPM:  Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Don’t quit. Writing takes time and dedication and it is very important to be true to the craft. Take writing classes, form a writing group and read as much as you can. Give yourself time and permission to grow, and be patient with yourself. Believe in your creativity above all. Allow the magic to flow.

BPM:  What’s next?
I’m working on my third novel, And Then There Was Me. It’s about deception and betrayal. It’s scheduled to be published by Thomas Dunne Books spring of 2017 so stay tuned. And click right over to my website, www.sadeqajohnson.net and subscribe to my blog. I’ll keep the latest news listed there. I’m on all of the social media outlets so get in touch with me. I’d really love to hear from you.   

Love, Light and Laughter.

Connect with Sadeqa Johnson

http://www.sadeqajohnson.net 
https://twitter.com/sadeqasays 
https://instagram.com/sadeqasays 
https://www.facebook.com/SadeqaJohnson 

Purchase Second House from the Corner: A Novel
iBooks:  http://smarturl.it/SHFCAWIB 
Indiebound:  http://smarturl.it/SHFCAWIN 
Walmart:  http://smarturl.it/SHFBAWWAL 
Amazon:  http://smarturl.it/SHFCAWAM 
Barnes & Noble:  http://smarturl.it/SHFCAWBN 
Books-a-Million:  http://smarturl.it/SHFCAWBAM 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Sage

Sage was born and raised in Huntingtown, MD. She has been married to her best friend, for over ten years and they have two amazing sons. She is also an Autism advocate and a parent of an autistic child, which inspired her to write a non-fiction book on raising a child on the Autism spectrum, The Optimistic Autistic: Our Testimony.

Sage also writes mysteries centered on characters that are close to the heart. She has vowed to produce books that encourage the reader to deliberately read; not just for entertainment but to read with the intention of solving the mystery along with the Detective.

Her belief that, “if you don’t see the books you’re searching for write them” has inspired her to write with a purpose and a passion. 

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? 
Reading and writing are life-long passions of mine. I have been indulging in my passion of writing since I was 13. I want to share my passion of writing psychological thrillers with the world.  My mother was the first person to place a book in my hands. My father taught me how to work hard at the things that I wanted in life. I worked at achieving my Master’s Degree in Computer Science in 2009. I am now funneling that same determination and tenacity in marketing my book series.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you? 
I love to read different types of books, but I have a preference for mystery and thrillers. I enjoy a heart pumping adrenaline rush type of book. It was my love of mysteries and thrillers that stoked my interests in writing. The underrepresentation of African American characters in the books I read resonated within me. I am inspired to fill the void with my murder mystery series. 

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner? 
It’s difficult to get noticed in this industry as a mystery author. It seems like the publishers want to pigeon hole authors into one genre. It is my goal to abolish the myth that we only write urban themed books. My goal is to show through my books that black authors write thought provoking, suspense-driven novels as well.

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion? 
Passion is the most important quality a writer can possess. Passion invokes determination, which in turn creates a hunger so intense that the writer can’t sleep, eat or function without transferring their story from their mind to paper. That is what I consider pure magic. If passion doesn’t drive you then you can’t make magic happen.

BPM: Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on many levels. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it? 
I started writing when I was a teenager. The turning point in my life was when my oldest sister suddenly died of a heart attack, then less than four years later my other sister was diagnosed with heart failure. I became determined to see all of my dreams come true. No matter what, I want to see my book in the hands of every reader. I’m driven by the spirit of my sister and the support of my family; with determination such as that I will be successful. 

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? Why? 
The Black Bird Detective Series is a mystery book and a psychological thriller, combined. I love to write mystery books because they keep the heart pumping with the turn of each page.  

I also wrote a non-fiction book on Autism. Autism has touched our family in such a tremendous way. Both my 10-year-old son and 10-year-old nephew are Autistic.  Through the years we have experienced many different emotions while raising Jordan. As I write to you today, the strongest emotion that I feel is pride. I am proud of our children for their ability to be independent of the label that society has placed on them.  Many times parents hear the word Autism and have no idea what it really means. The moment we received Jordan’s diagnosis our lives changed. Initially, we thought the world was closing in around us. Then, we found our strength. We realized that through telling our stories we gain strength. So we wrote, The Optimistic Autistic – Our Testimony, which is also available on Amazon.com.

BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject? 
I set out to entertain my readers. I want readers to be entertained and while they’re being entertained, they’re learning something. I conduct a great amount of research for the developing of each book to ensure that readers learn something they never knew. I love to inspire readers to continue reading. 

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book? 
Believe in what you are writing. As long as you believe in your writing and the purpose for what you do, there is nothing that can stop you. You must take the first step though. If you want to write a book, start writing. Don’t put it off any longer. If you need assistance with writing or publishing your book please contact me at rcscomputerpros@gmail.com.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book? 
Once readers have put down Assumptions Abound, make your next purchase of Seeking Truth and Sweet Revenge. I tell you to purchase them both, because you will not want to wait for the book to ship to find out what happens next.  The book series is so enthralling that you will not want to miss a beat.

BPM: What are your career goals as a writer? Have you accomplished most of them?
My career goals as a writer are to assist others with living out their dreams of writing a book. I have written and published over 10 books and I don’t plan on stopping. I want to show others that there is a way to get their thoughts, words or message out there and I am willing to help them.

I have accomplished many of the goals that I have set regarding my writing, but there is so much more work left to be done. I plan to turn my mystery trilogy series into a mini-series. I would love to see Raven on the big screen. 

Website:  www.blackbirddetectiveseries.com
Instagram: sageauthorsitall;   Facebook: Sage

Check out Books by Sage
The Optimistic Autistic: Our Testimony by Sage (Non-fiction)

http://www.amazon.com/Optimistic-Autistic-Our-Testimony/dp/1480108782 

Assumptions Abound Available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Assumptions-Abound-Black-Bird-Detective-ebook/dp/B00642W77M 

Seeking Truth Available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Seeking-Truth-Black-Detective-Mystery-ebook/dp/B008D2ZARA 

Sweet Revenge Available on Aamazon: 

http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Revenge-Sage-ebook/dp/B012P17C1Q 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Tumika Patrice Cain

Tumika Patrice Cain is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life. She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the internet radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain, In The Spotlight, and Say What?? Author Spotlights. 

In addition, she is a respected book reviewer and columnist for PEN’Ashe Magazine, a contributing writer for BLOG and Belief Magazines, and editor for two smaller publishing companies. A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but whose marketing budgets are limited. Inkscriptions, her publishing company, offers a myriad of book publishing services. Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path. 

She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012), a novel that has since been picked up by Shan Presents and will be re-released as When a Man Loves a Woman – A Season of Change in December, 2015. To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March, 2014) and The Heart of a Woman (August, 2015). Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.


BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I was an early reader, so the love of words was already there. A classroom assignment when I was in the second grade would become my raison d’etre. I found my reason for being early on. The teacher introduced poetry and gave us the opportunity to write a poem. I loved how the words came together and that feeling the completed work gave me. The seed had been planted and I continued to write. Growing up in turmoil and being very shy, writing gave me a voice when I felt voiceless. For many years I didn’t know that I had any talent, I only knew that I liked to write. By the time I was in junior high, I had started to receive recognition for my work and in high school I started winning awards. It wasn’t until I wrote my first novel while in my early twenties, which many years later became When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change, that I decided I wanted to do something professionally with the gift. Combining my love of writing with my passion for empowering others seemed the ideal solution.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
Through my writing I am able to give a voice to the voiceless, to shine a ray of hope for someone who has lost their hope. Even through fiction, lives can be changed. I write to empower others. I write to free myself. I write to free others. I write because I have something to say. I write because others have something to say and many have yet to find their own voice, so I tell their stories. I write to uplift. And I write to impart the message that with each new day, we can have a fresh start. We can decide in this moment to start living authentic, abundant lives. Writing gives me wings. My tag is Changing lives one word at a time…. It’s more than just a quote, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not just what I do, it’s who I am.

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner?
When I first wrote the novel and tried to get it published almost twenty years ago, the market was very different and there wasn’t really a place for me. I put the book up for quite a few years knowing that eventually it would be published. Around 2011 I started getting the “feeling” to pull it back out and look into publishing it again. While I had done my research years before, lots had changed that I had not kept up with. When someone that I knew started a publishing company, I just went with it. Since it was a vanity press, once she received her money, her commitment to me was done. I learned very quickly that in choosing to work with people on your vision; your dream, it’s important to connect with those who are as concerned about your success as they are their own. Many services that had been provided were only marginally done and I had to pay out of pocket to have things redone. It was stressful and very frustrating. 

However, the silver lining is that out of that experience was birthed Inkscriptions, my publishing company, and Say What?? Book Club. Being a solution-focused person, I was able to put systems and programs in place to streamline and improve the process for other writers. In the end the challenges I experienced turned out to be a tremendous blessing.

BPM: Success leaves clues, whose clues did you follow on your journey?

I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings when I was in elementary school. Maya Angelou had a way with words that didn’t just tell me that what I had to say was important, her words told me that who I am is important. Through her writings, I felt encouraged to share my sacred truth, and to keep writing that truth. Through her writings, I learned that I had a voice worth hearing.

My paternal grandmother was also a woman who used her words with power. She was classy and elegant and could put you in your place without raising her voice, swearing or belittling. I saw her write to corporate heads when products and services she’d spent money on left her displeased….and change would come as a result of her expressing herself. That was very powerful and had a lasting impact.

When the literary market began to change about twenty years ago, the writings of authors like Beverly Jenkins, Pearl Cleage and Terry McMillan gave me hope that my works could also be in print. I am thankful for reach one and how their lives have impacted my own.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.
In When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change (book one in the When a Man Loves a Woman series), readers meet Avery and Alicia Ayers. They are a couple who appear to have the perfect life. To their credit they are attractive, wealthy, successful, and esteemed. It’s a life anyone would want. However, what others can’t see are the cracks that exist in their persons and in their relationship. They’ve built an amazing life on a shallow foundation. Each must face themselves and determine if the life they are living is true, is healthy, is empowering and decide where to go from there.

This award-winning, full length, standalone novel is a gripping tale in women’s contemporary fiction that will make readers think, feel, celebrate love when it’s beautiful and right, and reflect on its demise when it’s not.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
I would encourage readers to stop for a moment and reflect. Think about which scenes in the book left a lasting impact and why. I would tell them to reflect on the areas of their lives where they have not been living their truth and make a decision to live authentically from that point forward. Life is short and to spend it unfulfilled is a great travesty. If the book struck a chord and they felt a sense of connection to it, I’d encourage them to share information about the book so others can purchase it. And of course, I’d ask that they leave a review on Amazon so I can know what they thought about it – good or bad.

BPM: What are you the most thankful for now?
I am thankful for Shan Richardson seeing potential in my work, enough where she signed me to a three (3) book deal. Working with her has been a great blessing. We are able to share ideas and work together as a team. I am thankful to be able to reach a larger platform of readers with my work with her help.

I am also very thankful for my family and handful of people who support me behind the scenes. It takes many hands and lots of effort to get and keep our works in front of the others. I could never do it all on my own, or have gotten as far as I have without them. I am truly grateful.

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?

Believe in yourself. Not everything is for everyone, so some people will not buy into your work. That doesn’t mean you can’t write. That person just may not be your audience. Hone your skills, take classes to make sure you are putting out a quality product, learn the business of writing, and keep forging on. At some point you will connect with those who will help make your dream a reality.


BPM: How may our readers follow you online? Please share your social media links.

Email: inkscriptionsllc@ymail.com
Website:  www.TumikaPatrice.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TumikaPatrice 
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/TumikaPatrice 
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/TumikaPatrice 
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/TumikaPatrice 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Tumika-Patrice-Cain-254769847981922 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Cerece Rennie Murphy 

Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with science fiction at the age of seven, watching "Empire Strikes Back" at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., with her sister and mom. It's a love affair that has grown ever since. As an ardent fan of John Donne, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut and Alexander Pope from an early age, Cerece began exploring her own creative writing through poetry. 

She earned her master's degrees in social work and international relations at Boston College and Johns Hopkins School for Advance International Studies, respectively, and built a rewarding 15-year career in program development, management and fundraising in the community and international development arenas - all while appreciating the stories of human connection told in science fiction through works like Octavia Butler's "Wild Seed," Frank Herbert's "Dune" and "The X-Files." 

In 2011, Cerece experienced her own supernatural event - a vision of her first science fiction story. Shortly after, she began developing and writing what would become the best selling "Order of the Seers" trilogy.

Cerece lives in her hometown of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda. 

BPM: As a full time writer, how did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?

Wow, we're starting right in with the deep stuff! OK. You know, I really think that God has led me to where I am in my life today. As a young girl, I never expected to be happily married with two beautiful children. I never expected to be a writer, much less a published author. Honestly, I expected my life to be rewarding career wise and lonely in every other sense. I'd worked hard to get a good education, so I expected to be financially independent. I also knew I wanted children, so I planned to be a mother, but I expected to be on that journey alone. If I got married, I expected to get divorced and have to raise my children alone. I know that sounds pretty bleak, but it's the truth of how I saw my life right up until my early 30s. When I look at my life now, it is very clear that this is God's vision for my life, not mine, and I'm so grateful that God had bigger dreams for me than I ever could have imagined for myself. 

But through everything, I always knew that God was with me and I got that knowledge from my mother, who is THE MOST spiritually connected person that I know. She prays without ceasing with a prayer book that was handed down to her from my grandmother who was a PRAYER WARRIOR. Grandma Mary was NO joke! No weapon against her had any hope of prospering! Though she passed more than a decade ago, I know I live in the benefit of her prayers today. These two women, my mother and my Grandmother, are women of incredible faith and courage. I stand on their legacy and it has always motivated me to do and be my best.

BPM: Was there ever a time in your life you let FEAR block your path? If so, how did you overcome it?

Me and fear are well acquainted. Though I don't know if I've ever let fear block my path, it sure has slowed my progress quite a bit. The fear and doubt around writing and publishing the Order of the Seers trilogy was brutal at times. With the second book especially, it was like doing battle every day, just to get a page written. I would cry and shake, convinced that no one would like what I'd written, that I had no talent or no right to do what I was doing.

But the thing about me is that, on some very visceral level, I hate being afraid. I hate letting fear control me. There are many good reasons not to pursue something, fear is rarely one of them. I have been an avid reader since I was 5 years old. I know what a story can do. I know that each story you are given is a blessing from God - a calling. That's why I feel so honored to be a writer, to be given a story to tell. So if I let the fear win, what I'm saying to God is, "You gave me this blessing, but I'm too afraid to share it. I know you would not have given me this blessing if I wasn't equipped to share it, but hey, it doesn't matter. I think my fear is more important than your purpose." 

Can you imagine saying that to GOD? Yeah, exactly - me neither! My fear of wasting the breathe of God within me trumps almost any fear I have. But that doesn't mean I no longer feel afraid. I think, with each thing I do, I just get better at managing the fear, so that I can get what I need to get done. If that doesn't work, then I remember that the bottom line for me is, these stories are not about me at all. They are about the people who will be blessed, inspired and entertained by them. 

BPM: As the author of novels for adults, who does your body of literary work speak to?

I think my work speaks to people who are seeking thought-provoking literature that many not be conventional - readers who want to be spiritually-inspired and entertained. Although Order of the Seers is adult science fiction and Ellis and The Magic Mirror is a children's fantasy adventure, they are essentially about the same thing - people discovering their true calling and power and using that gift to change the world for the better. 

Watching the news these days can be a soul crushing experience. It's so easy to be overwhelmed by all the horrible things that are happening. But I believe that ordinary people can save the world. I believe this because I know there is no such thing as an ordinary person. We are all superheroes, but most of us have no idea how powerful we are and so we act like ants when we're actually giants - giants who can see the future because we create the future with our thoughts, our words and our actions. We can do these things because we are children of God and God has given us these abilities. 

My writing is all about finding that awareness in myself and helping my readers discover the same truth for themselves because I believe, once we understand our true power, nothing can stop us from healing this world. If you like your spirituality wrapped in an action packed adventure, you'll probably enjoy my books. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent novel for young readers? 

Sure. I'm so excited that my first children's book titled, Ellis and The Magic Mirror! This is a very special book to me because my son asked me to write it for him and we worked on the story together - from story concept to illustration and cover approval. Ellis and The Magic Mirror is about a very curious boy named Ellis who finds a magic mirror and discovers that there is a secret society of trolls at his school who are trying to stop children from learning. Ellis, his little sister, Freddye, and his best friend, Toro go on an adventure in the forest to uncover the mystery of the trolls and stop whatever they have planned. It's an early reader chapter book with lots of action. The book is targeted towards readers age 6-10 who are transitioning from story book to chapter book. The feedback that I've been getting from educators and kids is really exciting. I can't wait to share it!

Our son, Aryeh, picked up a copy of my sci-fi trilogy Order of the Seers and asked me if he could read it. I told him that my books were for adults and that he would have to wait until he was older. 

To this, he frowned and said, "Well, will you write me a book that I can read?" I was so surprised and honored that he asked me that I HAD to say YES! 

Since then Aryeh and I have worked together to bring "Ellis and The Magic Mirror" to life. Aryeh gave me the "must haves" in the story he wanted which included, a skateboard, an "awesome" fight scene and an appearance by his favorite stuffed animal "Chirpy". I pitched the story concept. He approved or revised as needed. Every chapter I wrote, he read and changed according to his preferences. Every character sketch, Aryeh approved, until we had a story he liked. Along the way, my husband and our daughter made their contributions to the story as well. Seeing our son and daughter in their beds, reading their own book has been one of the best moments of my life. We had a great time creating this story. We hope you have almost as much fun reading it.

Greg and I meet at a comic convention in Chicago in 2014. As soon as I saw the incredible energy in his drawings, I knew I wanted to work with him. In fact, Greg is the only illustrator I considered for this project. Luckily, he had the time, interest and incredible generosity to take us on. Through late night meetings on Google Hangout, Greg listened patiently to comments and ideas from *every* member of our family. He's the best. 

BPM: What inspired you to publish it for the world and not just for your family?

The fact that my son asked me to write him a book was really all the inspiration I needed. I don't think it would have occurred to me to write a children's book without him asking me, but it was such an honor that I couldn't refuse. But besides that, I noticed that there was a real need for chapter books that helped with the transition from storybook to chapter book. Last year, before my son first asked me to write a book for him, I knew his teacher was struggling to find reading material that held his interest. To make matters worse, his teachers and I couldn't get him to try chapter books, even though he was more than capable of reading them. When I asked him why, he said to me that "There were too many words and no pictures." So when he asked me to write him a book, I knew it was my chance to address a need that I was seeing in our home, hearing from his teachers and other parents who were experiencing the same thing I was. I set out to develop a story that combined full color illustrations with a complex narrative and as much action as I could get away with in a children's book. 

My husband and I also noticed that it was getting harder and harder to find more advanced books that featured children of color - even more rare, was a child of color in a fantasy adventure. Most parents don't have the knowledge on how to produce a children's book, even if they want to, but when my son asked me, I thought, "I actually know how to do this." I'm proud to be a part of the #weneeddiversebooks movement. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book, Ellis and The Magic Mirror?

I loved working with our son on this book and seeing him see himself in the story. He owned every part of the creative process. He told me what he wanted in the story. I wrote the words and he edited them, telling me what made sense, what didn't, and what he thought would be "even cooler". His confidence in participating (and expecting to participate) in the development of this book made me so proud. He's actually really good at giving constructive criticism in a very thoughtful way! I also loved being able to show him how much I love him by writing and publishing a story just for him. 

BPM: Why should our readers and educators add Ellis and The Magic Mirror to their collection?

As a mother of a 8 year old boy and a 5 year girl, I know that there are a lot of great books out there for kids. My husband and I are avid readers and have been committed to encouraging literacy in our kids since before they were born. But as our son's reading level matured, we noticed that the books available to him seemed to hold less of his interest. The early reader chapter books that we found often lacked the action and adventure he craved. And when they did have action, they had little or no pictures (and rarely in color) to accompany the story line. This often left him too intimidated to give them a try ("There are too many words, Mommy!")even though he had the ability to read them. We also noticed that protagonists who looked like him were getting harder and harder to find. I heard the same struggle echoed by parents and teachers of kids around our son's age. We were all looking to fill the gap between the Fly Guy series and the next Rick Riordan book. 

And that's how I came up with the concept for The Ellis Series.

With full color illustrations integrated throughout the five-chapter story, Ellis and The Magic Mirror was written and designed to facilitate an easier transition from storybook to chapter book for young readers (ages 6-10 years old). By combining the vibrant images that storybook readers are accustomed to with a more challenging narrative, Ellis and the Magic Mirror strives to encourage early readers to dive into more complex stories, without sacrificing beautiful imagery. 

Ellis and The Magic Mirror can contribute to your collection in 3 main ways:


* It is unique in the world of early reader chapter books that typically leave vibrant illustrations at the front cover,

* It fills a growing need among parents and teachers for books that capture the attention of reluctant readers, (especially boys) while still moving their reading abilities forward, and

* It offers a diverse group of main characters who are doing cool things in a world that is modern and full of possibilities. 

In addition, the story of Ellis and The Magic Mirror is laced with themes that emphasize character building, the unique qualities that reside within every child and the value of learning, family and friendship. These messages could be used in any school, library, home school or church setting to enhance and enrich a range of character building and educational activities. (It also makes a great bedtime story!) 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Lydia E. Brew

Lydia E. Brew was born with cerebral palsy but has not allowed her physical limitations to stand in her way. Her writing provides insights into the world of the physically challenged. She graduated from Texas Southern University where she received The Society of Professional Journalist Sigma Chi Citation for Achievement. She was a member of the drama club and pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. 

Miss Brew founded Lydia’s Educational and Charitable Organization (LECO) when she decided to encourage young people to write.  LECO did this by sponsoring a yearly contest in which the contestant had to write about positive role models who were alive and from the Houston area. Each student who wrote an eligible essay was given a certificate of participation. Winning writers received cash prizes.

Her second book titled Our Learn Together Book is a book for young readers based on the biography of Edith Irby Jones, M.D.  It tells her story in a simplified format on one page and allows the reader to write their own biography on the other.  There are activities in the back where younger children can learn developmental skills and older children can learn to do research.   She is a Christian and attends St. Stevens United Methodist Church.

BPM: Lydia, tell us about yourself and how you started writing.

I was born with cerebral palsy but never allowed my physical limitations to stand in my way. I hope that some of my writing also provides insights into the world of the physically challenged.  Under the leadership of one of my journalism professors, I penned my first book Edith, The Story of Edith Irby Jones, M.D.  about the first African-American to graduate from The Arkansas School of Medicine. Upon finishing college, I worked with the Houston Association of Black Journalists. I am a Christian and attend St. Steven’s United Methodist Church.

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 

When I did the first draft of the Ungolden Silence I did no research and I wrote from my daydreams. Like another author said; she made up and wrote the story. That is what I did. People who read the first draft of the story told me that I needed to do some research, which I ultimately did. My research showed that my story was not that far off. 

One thing the book shows is that we do not know what a rapist looks like; it could be anybody. In my story, two women go to the nation’s capitol on business. When they first meet an African American man they did not think that they needed to be careful as if they were in a dark alley.  He was a serial rapist. Most rapists are.  People do not know what a rapist looks like. 

I like both reading and writing drama. I chose this particular subject to write about because I did not like the way that the media was so-called “protecting” perpetrator of rape by withholding their names. Yes, rape is a violation, but so is murder. The minute a murdered victim’s family is notified, then the name of the victim is released. Domestic violence crimes are just like any other crime. In Ungolden Silence readers can see where secrets were kept and it led to other problems. Yes, I want to entertain with drama, but I also want readers to think about the problem of rape, which is a part of domestic violence.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it? 

My stories are from my daydreams and I guess you can say that they stew in my head until I put them on paper. I have many ideas in my head, but when I actually write them down, they may end up being something totally different, but will still represent the basic idea/concept. So, yes, a story must stew until everything is mixed in the pot and comes together to create a delicious literary feast.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  

As I mentioned earlier, my ideas come from my daydreams. My stories are my daydreams transformed into the written word. In order for me to create a good character I need to see the character. What I do is use the body of a person that I know or am familiar with. I then give them the personality I need them to have to fit the role in the story that I’m placing them in. When it comes to saying whether my books are plot driven or character driven, it’s hard to say. Perhaps a little bit of both. 

In Ungolden Silence, it’s definitely more plot driven because even though I wanted to create engaging and memorable characters, I did not want them their drama to overshadow the important subject matter of the story. It was a challenge to find that proper balance. 

BPM: What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? 

Society needs to change the way that is deals with the social taboo of rape.  Ungolden Silence is a novel that will leave the reader with many questions. It will also attempt to answer some of the questions that society asks but never seem to want the answers to. We must look at the history of how men have been allowed to treat women. It is important not to just know the information, it is important to act on it.

Ungolden Silence will illustrate that the criminal is a real person, and rarely do they commit crimes just for fun. 
What makes Ungolden Silence different from the millions of other books out there, namely that deal with the issue of rape, is that it tells the story of rape and focuses on more than just the victim. There are many people affected by the crime, including the rapist and his family. Am I kidding? No. In a lot of cases the rapists are well respected. The novel is divided into four parts, The Silent Problem, The Aftermath, Hard to Come Forward, and Something to Consider. I specifically set out to break down all aspects of the issue, versus just the single one that most books about rape address.  The book is available in digital forms.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 

Ungolden Silence is about changing the way that society thinks about sexual abuse as well as the issue of protecting the name of sexual victims. In my opinion, we need to focus on the abuser and putting him or her away. Society hears the words “sexual abuse” and they start blaming the victim by asking what was she wearing or doing. We do not do this for any other crimes. 
For example: When a person is murdered, the name of the victim is given when the family is notified.  But when a person is sexually assaulted then it is said that the person needs privacy because he or she had been violated.  Hello, taking someone’s life is the ultimate violation. Society needs to understand that abuse of any kind is wrong. Ungolden Silence is an attempt to make society think about victims of rape and how other domestic crimes are treated.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Tomeekha Pitre

Tomeekha is a successful business professional within the corporate world of medical healthcare. She is a zealot for multi-media art and community advocacy for artists. 

Tomeekha is the co-owner of Black Cotton, LLC where she is Publisher of literary projects for the Black Cotton Publishing division. Her expertise in business and the arts allows her to enjoy consulting for startup businesses and creative projects.

Her debut novel, Earth’s Quiet Chaos, is a fictional narrative inspired by life experiences. She is spirit-led to share stories that will uplift, empower, educate and inspire individuals to live in the highest version of self. 

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
TPE: This is an interesting question because it reminds me of a haiku I wrote to address questions about why I paint. It goes like this,

Music is the reason
Painting is my life
I write to tell the story

In the past, I mostly wrote poems and short essays. It wasn’t until the year of 2012 that I acknowledged my passion to tell stories. I love to write. If I’m thinking it, I have a strong need to write it.

What drives me is being of service. I’ve adopted something my husband always says, “We were born of creativity to create.” This statement resonates with me because I strongly feel that we show each other the way by sharing our stories.

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish?  
TPE: In 2013, my husband and I published our first book. That book is an art photography coffee table book titled, “Black Cotton”. The development and research took so much time and we learned so much that we decided to birth an LLC named after our first published book, Black Cotton LLC. Our business is a media and publishing company. The purpose of our business is to create an opening for independent authors with the intent to (not just publish their book) work side by side. This way the author learns each step of the publishing process. The goal is to provide them with the tools to self-publish their next project and create their own businesses.

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner?
TPE: WOW! Let me start with business owner; and I’m going to keep it real because I’m all about sharing lessons learned. Our biggest hurdles were accounting, marketing, sales and promotions. These “lessons learned,” taught us that we couldn’t do everything as well as we thought we could on our own. We had to come real in knowing our skill set, know our weak areas and pay someone with the proven skill to fill our weak areas and trust them to do what they do. The other lesson is there has to be a benefit value for everyone and everything you do and plan for, for the best results.

As an author, my biggest hurdle writing conflict. Oh, my goodness. I was so scared because I know the power of written words. I was scared to write some deadly horrible for a character or have a character get shot or anything. OH MY GOODNESS… I had to get over it. It was the hardest thing as a writer for me to overcome. 

BPM: Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on many levels. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
TPE: YES! Great question. I’m 42 and I didn’t get this until the age of 37 or 38 and it’s something that I wish I had discovered at 28. We can’t expect others to respect our worth if we don’t own it ourselves. What that means is – I know I’m really good at taking an idea and through the planning, development and implementation phases. So if I’m going to be of service for anyone in this area, I have a minimum and maximum price for my services. Because I’m serious about what I do, putting a price tag on my work will only attract those that are serious about their work and will pay for what they need.

BPM: Success leaves clues, whose clues did you follow on your journey?
TPE: I followed and follow the clues left behind from my ancestors. 
However, in 2012 I attended a healing retreat with Queen Afua. After that retreat, the group decided to continue our meet ups via conference call. We were doing the gateway work outlined in Sacred Woman by Queen Afua. The first gateway was: Sacred Words. Within each gateway we’re to create an altar in the spirit of the spiritual guardian and in gateway 1 the Kemetic Spiritual Guardian is Tehuti (The scribe). The altar is to consist of specific artifacts that carry the energy of each gateway. It also calls for adding pictures of ancestors, elders, and contemporaries to follow in their footsteps. So I posted the following pictures on my wall and typed out each of their names under their pictures:

Ancestors: Zora Neale Hurston and Phillis Wheatley
Elders: Sonia Sanchez and Maya Angelou (living at the time)
Contemporaries: Sister Souljah and Edwidge Dandicat

I wasn’t thinking of writing a book of any kind at this point. My purpose in conquering this gateway was to journal every day. Little did I know, that God had another form of journaling in store for me. During gateway 1, is when I began writing the story of Earth’s Quiet Chaos.


BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject? 
TPE: My purpose in displaying any of my gifts is done in the spirit of healing and inspiring others. I used to co-host a poetry venue and one of the things I’d always say is that we learn and heal from each other. Which is why it is a requirement in life for us to share our stories (even those we are ashamed of) and our gifts, because for every person who thinks you or your story or your gift is whack, there is that one that will be healed and inspired to BE. So, with that, I’d say I set out to inspire and heal.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing this book? 
TPE: Although this book is fictional, it was inspired by my relationship with my youngest sister. Writing it was healing for me. It was like I gave birth to something new and refreshing. One of the big things I learned was taking it one step at a time. Don’t rush the process. This was really hard for me because I have a project manager background, so I was stressing and getting overwhelmed when I wasn’t sticking to the timeline. Then a soft voice said, “Why are you rushing? This book isn’t being created for you. Let it take its time and it will be the right time.” I was like, “Yeah. Right on!” So, I learned how to take my time and not rush.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book? Why now?
TPE: My quest in publishing this book is to make it available for people to read in hopes that it reaches the eyes of those in need of it. Why now? Well, because the book chooses its own time to be released.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
TPE: Well, after recommending the book and/or purchasing for their friends or family – Pray, meditate, and give thanks for no longer allowing another person’s journey to compromise their own.

BPM: Readers you can follow the author online at the links below.
Tomeekha's website: www.tomeekhapitre.com 
FB: TomeekhaPitre
Instagram: Tomeekha
Twitter: @tomeekha

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Monica Lynne Foster

Monica Lynne Foster is an international selling author of fiction novels and Non-Fiction inspiration. Her novels focus on the lives of relatable characters who continually find themselves at a crossroads. Sometimes they make the right decisions…and sometimes they don’t. 

In addition to being an author, Monica and her husband own American Gas Works, a gas contracting company in Michigan. She’s also the co-founder of Women Who Run Their World, a women’s organization whose purpose is to Encourage, Inspire, and Support our Sisters in Our Pursuit to Live Our Lives on Our Terms. 

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? 

I started writing when I was seven. I wrote a four page story titled Charlie and the Dunce. I remember reading it to my family and receiving applause. Only God knows if it was actually any good. Interestingly enough, my aunt kept it and showed it to me recently. I re-read it and it was pretty good, if I do say so myself. LOL. But it was the beginning of the 2000’s when I read Temptation by Victoria Christopher Murray that the desire to write novels was truly sparked within me. I remember reading her novel and it was the first time I’d read a novel that I enjoyed and didn’t blush my way through it! In 2003, I began working on Bad Choices Can Be Deadly and, because of my corporate career, it took me over eleven years to finally bring it to life. 

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
I write because I love it. It gives me life. I write both novels and inspirational non-fiction. With my novels, I enjoy the feeling of freedom that I experience when my mind gets to break away from reality and enter the realm of fantasy. I can be as outrageous or as tame as I want to be. My characters can say and do things that Monica would never say or do! And I always hope and pray that my readers get to take that same mental escape when they’re enjoying my work. When I write my inspirational pieces, I share my life story and how I transitioned from being a corporate executive to an entrepreneur and author. And I write a blog that is a by-product of my quiet time with God.

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish? 
I am a self-published author and I love it. If I’m being honest, I’ll say that when I first published, I had a negative view of self-publishing. As though self-publishing was inferior to traditional publishing. But what I’ve learned through several bumps in the road is that being a self-published author, with the right team, can be very lucrative and rewarding. 

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
Absolutely! I let my first book stew for eleven years!  LOL. But seriously, I do put books on pause for various reasons. The books and the characters tell me when they’re ready to be written. I give myself target dates to complete my work, but I’m gentle with myself and if it takes a little longer than I’d anticipated, then I just flow with it. 

BPM: Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change? 
Not at all. Because every step we take, even the steps that hurt, lead us to where we are. And I’m very happy with where I am and where I’m going. 

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
There’s more than one that rank side by side at the top of the list. Writers need to be observant. A great idea for a storyline can come from anywhere. Writers need to have thick skin. Everyone has an opinion and some will have opinions about our work that are complimentary, and others may have negative views. And the same Internet and social media worlds that we need to support us, are the exact same worlds that can crush our bubble. Give everyone the space to have their own thoughts about our work and be okay when it’s less than flattering. Understand that writing is only part of the journey. If we want people to read our work, then we have to be ambassadors for our brand and let people know what we have to offer. And finally, keep the joy. It can be tough at times, dealing with the ancillary parts of the business and the industry. But it’s necessary. Just remember how great you feel when you’re creating. And when you have a particularly tough day, go write something. You’ll feel better!

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.

My upcoming novel, Hands Off My Man is the second book in my Chanelle Series. It asks the question, “How far would you go to protect your relationship?” It’s a story that many women will initially find familiar. The title character, Chanelle, has kissed a lot of frogs and now has her Prince Charming. However, her happily ever after is threatened when her man’s ex-wife resurfaces and decides she wants him back. The situation is further complicated by his ex’s mental illness. Is Chanelle able to hold onto her relationship without pushing his ex over the edge? You have to read it to find out. ? 

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? Why?

The Chanelle Series is Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit. My novels are all written in this genre. My non-fiction work is Christian motivation/inspiration. I write in the genres that I enjoy reading. 

Listen to a reading from Bad Choices Can Be Deadly – Book 1 in A Chanelle Series.
http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CRkzZSqx 

BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject? 

In my novels I like to explore the imperfections in people who have good hearts and mostly good intentions, but who make costly mistakes. And I do that in an entertaining fashion. With my inspiration, I hope that by being transparent with my life, my shortcomings and challenges, as well as my triumphs, I can inspire others to go after what they want out of their own lives. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Leonard Pitts, Jr.  is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novels Freeman (Agate Bolden, 2012) and Before I Forget (Agate Bolden, 2009); the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities (Agate Bolden, 2009); and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (Agate Bolden, 2006). 

Pitts’ work has made him an in-demand lecturer. He maintains a rigorous speaking schedule that has taken him to colleges, civic groups and professional associations all over the country. He has also been invited to teach at a number of prestigious institutions of higher learning, including Hampton University, Ohio University, the University of Maryland and Virginia Commonwealth University. In the fall of 2011, he was a visiting professor at Princeton University, teaching a course in writing about race.

Twice each week, millions of Miami Herald newspaper readers around the country seek out his rich and uncommonly resonant voice. In a word, he connects with them. Nowhere was this demonstrated more forcefully than in the response to his initial column on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Pitts' column, "We'll Go Forward From This Moment," an angry and defiant open letter to the terrorists, circulated the globe via the Internet. It generated upwards of 30,000 emails, and has since been set to music, reprinted in poster form, read on television by Regis Philbin and quoted by Congressman Richard Gephardt as part of the Democratic Party's weekly radio address. 

Born and raised in Southern California, Pitts now lives in suburban Washington, D.C., with his wife and children.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?

People ask all the time: "Why did you decide to be a writer?" It's a question I always struggle with, because I never decided to be a writer. In other words, there was a never a decision process, per se. I knew from the time I was five that this was what I was put here to do. So the goal for the remaining years of my childhood and, indeed, my professional life, was simply about trying to become good at it and then trying to become better. From the time I was young, I liked telling stories, I enjoyed getting reactions. I think all of us are given certain gifts, certain aptitudes, certain things that fit us, that seem to come more easily to us than they do to other people. For me, that was words. In school, I sweated and worked my tail off for "C" I ever got in math. But every "A" I got in English was as easy as pie.

BPM: Mr. Pitts, how did you get started as a writer?

Well, I began to think of myself as a writer from the time I was five years old, which was a good thing, because it gave me a lot of time to be bad at it. I started sending poems and stories to magazines when I was 12 years old, first became published when I was 14, and first got paid for being published when I was 18. I spent the next 18 years working primarily as a music critic for a variety of magazines and radio programs. 

I was editor of SOUL, a black entertainment tabloid, did freelance work for such magazines as Spin, Record Review and Right On!, co-created and edited a radio entertainment news magazine called RadioScope and was a writer for Casey Kasem's radio countdown show, Casey's Top 40. 

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?

I write because it's my profession, I write because it's the only thing I've ever wanted to do. I write because, if it wasn't my profession and nobody was paying me to do it, I know that I would be still be doing it. I write because this is what I love and it's who I am. I think we tell stories to figure out who we are and what we are about and I am proud of being part of that continuum. I am also driven by the need to see if I can better my best. It's a never-ending game of "Can you top this?"

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
I've never left a book for months. I've been forced to leave a book for weeks though, because sometimes, life intrudes. But the best way to write a book is in one long push of consistent, daily effort. A novel is, at bottom, an elaborate lie. It's an unspoken bargain between writer and reader: I'm going to tell you this story of things that never happened - maybe never could happen – and in exchange for you suspending your disbelief, I'm obligated to make sure this tale I tell is entertaining, funny, gripping, suspenseful, emotionally involving, whatever. But to sell the "lie" you're telling as a writer, you have to first believe it yourself. And I've found that if you stay away from a novel for too long, it can damage your ability to believe in the "lie" - the situations and characters you're chronicling can start to seem cardboard, less real to you. And if you don't believe in them, the reader definitely won't.

BPM: Introduce us to your book, Grant Park and the characters.
Grant Park is a novel about racial disillusionment, friendship, and what I have taken to calling the “stupidification” of America.

Forty years ago, two young men had life-altering encounters with Martin Luther King. Malcolm, a black kid, was a college dropout who scorned nonviolent protest, and embraced street violence as a way of bringing social change. A chance meeting one night with King turned him around, forced him to see the limitations of street violence and convinced him to return to school. He was on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, about to share this news with King when James Earl Ray fired his fatal shot. He has never gotten over what he saw. Bob, a white kid, was attending a Bible college in Mississippi where he fell powerfully in love with Janeka Lattimore, a young black civil rights activist. They attended King's last march – the one in Memphis that ended in a riot. Bob was beaten bloody by an angry young black man in the crowd and right after that, Janeka left him, saying she wanted to go to a black school now, saying she wanted to "be with her people." "I thought I was your people, too," said Bob. He has never gotten over losing her.

Forty years later, Malcolm is a celebrated columnist for a Chicago newspaper, burned out by one too many cases of police violence against unarmed African-Americans and white people not caring about. He writes an angry column - "I'm sick and tired of white folks' bullshit," he says – and when the newspaper refuses to publish it, he hacks his editor's computer and publishes it anyway - one the front page of the paper, on Election Day of 2008. Then unbeknownst to anyone, he is kidnapped by two would-be white supremacist terrorists who intend to blow him up in Grant Park, where President–elect Barack Obama is scheduled to speak. 

Meantime, Bob is now an editor at a Chicago newspaper and before dawn on Election Day, he gets a phone call telling him one of his columnists has hacked his computer to publish an incendiary, offensive column. Bob gets fired for it. The former civil rights activist was already sick and tired of black people always complaining, never being satisfied. Now he's lost his job over black people's whining, and he's furious, ready to strangle Malcolm – if he can only find him. Then he gets an email. Janeka is back in town and she wants to see him.

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
Oh, yes. Much of the frustration Malcolm experiences in dealing with white readers who will not engage on the subject of racial injustice is something I have experienced firsthand. And the one reader email that sends him over the edge is cobbled together from hundreds of similar emails I have received over the years. I identify with Malcolm's angst, though not with his chosen solution.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Inspire? 
I think you write to entertain, first and foremost, to tell a story a reader will lose herself or himself in. You try to create characters that will seem real to the reader and then put those characters into situations of physical or emotional danger. Secondarily, you hope that in entertaining people, you can also manage to say something of value, make some observation that will touch them or inspire them or cause them to see old things in new ways. 

BPM: What are some of the benefits of being an author that makes it all worthwhile?
Writing a novel is a year, two years, or more of lonely work, staring at blank screens and not really knowing if what you're doing works or makes any kind of sense. So the best thing about being published is receiving feedback from readers. When somebody tells me they were hurt by something one of my characters did, or a situation a character found him or herself in made that reader cry, that is the highest validation and best compliment I can ever receive. It means the characters seemed real and the story works. Feedback is what makes that lonely year or two worthwhile.

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
Probably persistence. You have to believe in and hone your talent as a writer and cling to it, sometimes against all odds and common sense. You have to eat rejection for breakfast.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from reading your book?
I want them to gain enjoyment and entertainment obviously. I'd love for them to think about some of the issues the book raises.  If you or your readers would like to set up a Skype visit to discuss Grant Park or Freeman, go to my website and contact me there: http://leonardpittsjr.com.  I'm available for blog tours as well. 

BPM: How may our readers follow you online? 
Books:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/leonard-pitts-jr.  
Keep up with Leonard at his website:  www.leonardpittsjr.com  
Read Miami Herald column at:  http://www.miamiherald.com/leonard_pitts   
Like Leonard Pitts on FB:  https://www.facebook.com/LeonardPittsJr 
Follow on Twitter: Leonard Pitts Jr can be found at @LeonardPittsJr1.

Order Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr. 

Link: http://amzn.com/1932841911 


Other Titles by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
* Becoming Dad
* Before I Forget
* Forward From this Moment
* Freeman
* Grant Park

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Alysia Burton Steele 

Alysia Burton Steele is a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi and author of Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom. In 2006, she was a picture editor for The Dallas Morning News photo team that won the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for their Hurricane Katrina coverage. She designed the National Urban League’s 100th commemorative poem booklet written by Maya Angelou. Prior to teaching, Steele was a photojournalist, who later became a photo editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Articles about her book have appeared in The New York Times, NBC.com, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times and Southern Living.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Where does it stem from?
My passion for writing comes from talking with others and sharing history. I focus on nonfiction, narrative stories. I am a journalist by trade and by passion. I've always enjoyed talking with people, so it's just a natural fit to interview people and write about life experiences. I want more African-American history, as told by our people, to be in books. I want a better collection of oral histories. Our country needs it and I am convinced that if more young people-children read our stories, they'd understand their history that's not mentioned in classrooms and in school books - and these stories should be included. 

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom?
I did this book, Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother's Wisdom, because I missed my grandmother, Mrs. Althenia Aiken Burton. I moved to Oxford, MS to become a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS. I saw scenery in the Mississippi Delta that reminded me of my childhood summer days at Gram's family home in Spartanburg, SC. I wanted to pick up the phone to call and tell her what I was seeing and feeling, but I couldn't. She passed away 20 years go. She raised me from the time I was 4 years old and she died when I was 24 years old. I regret never really asking her about her life growing up in SC. And I started thinking about all the time I wasted arguing with her over boys, makeup, school, chores - instead of sitting down to listen and learn more about her. When you age you reflect on life. I missed my grandmother. I missed the smell of her perfume, the way she stood in the doorway to watch her loved ones leave. I thought about the skills I had acquired as a journalist and decided I would pay it forward and interview other people's grandmothers. I wanted to take beautiful, dignified professional photographs of their grandmothers and record stories. Somehow, by the grace of God, it became a book. 

BPM: Who did you write this book for? Why?
Initially, I wrote this book for me. I was on a personal journey to understand my grandmother's contemporaries. It was never meant to be a book, but a project. I was going to self-publish to give the mothers, who agreed to be interviewed, a copy for their families. I couldn't talk to my grandmother, but I could talk to the women of her generation. I needed their wisdom in my life. I missed my sweet Gram. After The New York Times wrote about my project, I received several offers to publish a book. So, Delta Jewels was published. I am hoping this book inspires MANY younger women to talk to their female elders, male too, but I want the women to have some glory. We need it. I want more African-Americans to record histories. In my opinion, there isn't enough published in school books, so let's publish it ourselves and teach our children. 

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I've met and have been welcomed into the lives of 54 new grandmothers and you know 19 pastors helped me. Couldn't have done it with Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett, who gave me pastors' cell phone numbers. I called one and we talked. That's how it started. Rev. Juan Self was the first pastor, and he also the architect who redesigned the Memphis Civil Rights Museum. I drove 6,000 miles to interview women in 27 Mississippi Delta towns. 

I even got to interview Mrs. Myrlie Evers, widow of slain civil rights leader Mr. Medgar Evers. She even shares what "their song" was and it's a precious moment for me. I've met Mrs. Tennie Self, 88, who was so angry when a car dealership refused to sell her a Cadillac, she drove almost two hours, bought one in Memphis and then drove past the dealership who refused to sell her one, honked the horn and waved at them everyday. 

I met Mrs. Leola Dillared, 103, who was thrown off a cotton plantation in Yazoo City, MS because she refused to have her little girls pick cotton. She wanted them to go to school. She was told she would be thrown off the land if she insisted because she would "ruin" the other blacks, who would want to send their children to school. She chose to be thrown off the land. All of her children have masters' degrees and one has a Ph.D. 

I have Mrs. Velma Moore, 78, mother of 15, grandmother of 145 (yes, 145!) who dragged a woman out of church because she was talking about how fine Mrs. Moore's husband was. She felt disrespected. The woman said she didn't know he was her husband, but she meant what she said, so Mrs. Moore said she meant was she was fittin' to do - and she punched the woman in the face. Stories that make you laugh, cry and beam with pride. I love each and every one of these mothers and am blessed to know them. Unfortunately four have passed away since the book came out nationwide on April 7, 2015. And this drives home the point of why we must capture our history. 

BPM: Walk us through your journey to success. How did you get to this point? 
I started Delta Jewels in summer 2013, so it's been two years. I didn't know anyone, didn't have a grant or sponsors. I saved up $50 here, $100 there - literally, for nine months, for gas money to go interview the women. They all lived two - four hours away from me, and I was teaching three classes at the time, but I drove on days I wasn't teaching or went on weekends. Thank goodness for my husband who was, and continues to be, supportive. He held it down. He was there every step of the way. He's a blessing and a man of God. I couldn't have done it without him. It was tiring, but exhilarating. I had my own private history lesson for nine months - a time I treasure. If I could do this full-time for the rest of my life, I'd do it. I'd just go and collect stories and archive them. I love it. It's my passion. 

Anyway, I reached out to one pastor, who agreed to meet me, hear what I wanted to do and liked my spirit and idea. He connected me to one mother, who connected me with another. In the end I had 19 pastors helping me, initially talking to the mothers for me, who would then talk to me. It was a domino effect. By chance I had a breakfast meeting with my assistant dean, several colleagues and a columnist for the NYT, who was intrigued by my project. Sam Freedman, the columnist, flew down, rode in the Delta with me and wrote about my project. The day it published in the NYT, I had a publisher writing to me. When God gives you a blessing, when you have a destiny, you follow it. I did what I was supposed to do. The women often thank me, but it was me they saved, so I thank them. I think I understand my Gram now. 

I'm filing my IRS paperwork to start the nonprofit called Delta Jewels Support Foundation. I am hoping to receive grants, donations to offer college scholarships to children who live in the Mississippi Delta, who attend or graduated from county and city schools only. I am also hoping to give the mothers honorariums and then I want to travel to teach oral history workshops to churches, school, universities, any organization that wants to learn how to do it. Again, I want a movement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Lloyd Johnson


Lloyd Johnson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although he has dabbled in the creative arts since elementary school, he rediscovered his passion for writing in 2004, and has been working on his craft ever since.

Lloyd has traveled both domestically and abroad, having visited 14 countries. Besides the relaxation traveling has afforded him, he has found much of his creative inspiration. An avid reader, he enjoys African-American fiction and biographies. Lloyd Johnson is currently working on his third novel. He lives in New England.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?

I think just experiencing life has brought me through to where I am today. I like to think that my 20s were the time to mess up in the world; my 30s was intended to learn from my 20s; and my 40s allows me to hit the reset button and take all the lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn and move forward.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I consider E.Lynn Harris a role model. He defined a genre. He had a very simple, unpretentious style of writing. I have secretly coveted his demographic: 60% women; 20% gay men; 20% other, all within the 18-49 age brackets. I’ll be happy if I can crack those demographics.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I saw the movie “Precious” and subsequently read the book, “Push” by Sapphire. I was blown away and decided to write a book with a female protagonist who encounters adversity, but manages to come out on the other side. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book, The Dog Catcher?
I enjoyed two things: The art of creating and secondly, writing the story was very cathartic for me. I was able to get a lot of anger out.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your recent work, The Dog Catcher?

The Dog Catcher is the story about Cheryl Greene’s choices in men, and how those choices dismantle her life. She’s someone to root for because her intentions are good. She doesn’t dive into drama just for drama’s sake. There is a lot of growth in her arc. It takes her time, but she gets there eventually.

Plez Jackson is evil personified, though that isn’t what we see when we meet him. But he is beguiling enough to make this woman lose herself to him. He has a method to stripping Cheryl down. Plus, his brutality, anger and unpredictability keeps the reader on edge. I had fun writing this villain because he’s one that many women have known. He stays with you.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.

Sexuality is addressed in this book. Cheryl has two gay friends. Her dealings with them inform her views on homosexuality when the issue hits close to home.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
One thing I’m proud of is Cheryl’s spiritual arc. When we meet her, she is completely turned off to religion and spirituality because her mother is very hardcore. But as Cheryl moves through the story, she develops her own relationship with God, and calls upon that faith throughout her journey. But she does so in what I think is a realistic way. She doesn’t go from zero to ten, but does the best she can.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book, The Dog Catcher?
I learned that I held a lot of stuff inside and the emotions connected were still very raw. For example, much of what transpires between Cheryl and her eldest son, Lawrence, is based from events that happened to me. To draw from those memories and create fiction was painful at times.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Andrea Clinton

Andrea Clinton is the niece of Rock and Roll Hall of fame’s George Clinton of the funk band Parliament/Funkadelic. She’s an award winning playwright, winning the Union County, Board of Chosen Freeholders Advancement Community Theatre 2015 grant award for her play, Murphy’s Law: Group Therapy Gone Wild. 

She’s also a Screenwriter/Filmmaker, Novelist and Essayist. Andrea is a Montclair State University Graduate where she achieved a Master’s degree in Theatre Studies, as well as undergraduate degrees in: English, Film and Journalism. 

She’s the founder and CEO of People Helping People, Inc., a non-profit organization, whose mission is to help citizens become independent and self-sufficient.

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. Do you have favorites?
The main character is Geeda. What makes her special is that she is resilient and has overcome a nightmare of obstacles and committed to her goal of moving on up like the Jefferson's on the TV show. However, when she feels she stands to lose everything, all those nightmares come relishing back on Geeda and from the beginning of the book we find Geeda walking down the street in her sleevless t-shirt and tweety bird pajama pants lost in need of being found. 

Paula is one of my favorite characters. She's quirky and a mental hot mess. She's been through so much and has educated herself so much, her mind has flipped much like the video games when you reach the high score and then you start back at the beginning. Paula is so smart and well educated she's resorted back to finding her way or not quite getting it, life; although, you ask her, life just sucks and she's not going to conform. 

Shell is a retired psych hobo. I can't say homeless because it's not the case. Like many hobo's we've seen on TV shows, he wants to travel aimlessly with nothing or no one, just passing by people with no want for quality of life. But he's smart, sharp as a whip. He offers a load of good advice to all that cross his path. Geeda crosses his path and he makes her think in a way she'd never thought before. He helps her see there's no such thing as a pity party for one, it's a festival of pity shared by everyone; he helps her see she was her own worst enemy because, although we all have a story, she bought into hers and took herself all around John Henry's barn just to realize...

BPM: Which character or topic in the book can you identify with the most? Why?
Geeda, the main character is my favorite because she is me. She's living out something I live through often, visions of the past. Things are happening to her as they happened to me. You have this ugly past and it's the past, behind you, supposedly; that's what everyone tells you. In time you buy into it, only to in turn be faced with having to possibly re-live it again because your present situation threatens to change. Honestly, it's like it's always over your head that what once was may be again, whether its hurt/pain, poverty, etc. Geeda is living my nightmare. Honestly, I didn't think of it until now, being asked this question and all. When I wrote Geeda and her life I related, but I didn't realize I was writing about myself, my inner feelings or fears of my past and bad dreams of it.

BPM: What drew you to tackle the topics in your book?
The characters in this book are people from all walks of life and the thing they have in common is they suffer their own issues. Whether it's a defect or a life event, they go through the motions of dealing with their issues and not always in a positive manner. I wanted and always want to bring attention to mental health, which is why I address it in my play, Murphy's Law: Group Therapy Gone Wild. Life is no easy task and the things that happen to us and the people we deal with in life don't make it easier. Put that with chemicals in our foods that affect the brain, in our milk and in our medicines which add to a failing mental health and you see why we've got to begin fighting for our rights to have a healthy mental well being. You've seen the commercials on TV where medicines, "…may cause suicidal thoughts…"

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Yes. So many experiences, learned lessons, life events lend to me wanting to share. Additionally, other's experiences inspire me to want to write, not just what they're going through but how they deal with it, their decisions when faced with an atrocity and more. I think all of our experiences make up a good story, which is why I love writing in the realism and naturalism tradition. 

BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
You see mental health all over the news today. People killing, killing themselves, others and it's because they are dealing with mental health issues that is really not getting the attention it needs. The nation has succumb to using chemicals, the same ones that killed and handicapped Vietnamese and our soldiers in Vietnam when they tried to wipe out the foliage for warfare, their used on our foods and the adverse affect is cancer and mental health issues or issues in the brain; there are commercials for medicines that will help you in one way but have you kill yourself in taking them. We've always have people with mental health issues however, the number has grown so much that they are everyday people. Once they commit a crime they are treated like the average Joe and yet most of the issues mental health patients suffer is because of the way we do things or the things we allow in this country.

Geeda, the main character didn't ever think about these things before. However, when she is forced to have to be around these people, she realizes there's a world of things going on that she never, ever had a clue about. She's stumped and each day grows wiser and wiser, yet weary, except for those times she is fed up and snaps, has an outburst. She grows up and learns there's more to life than her past, she learns the hard way and it's not a happy enlightening.

BPM: Finish this sentence - “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... ”
My writing offers the legacy of life as it was and often repeats itself. People will be
able to read my books and know what was happening in the time the books are
set in. They'll experience the mood of the people and the day and time.

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.  
Well, I won a grant for my play MURPHY'S LAW: Group Therapy Gone Wild. The production is the first of prayerfully many, performing at Hamilton Theatre in Rahway, NJ November 13-15. I won a spot in the DC Black Theatre Festival for my play in 2016. 

The sequel to my 1st novel, titled OMAR: Silent as a Lamb is coming Spring of 2016, followed by Tracy, which is the 3rd book will go into publication in the Fall of 2016. I'm going to be meeting with some film and TV people in November/December of 2015 for some scripts I have ready. 

I'm just ready to take some of my writings I've been sitting on and bringing the to life for audience and reader's enjoyment. I love entertaining in any fashion. I have almost 5,000 followers on Facebook. I believe almost 2,000 on Instagram and Twitter.

Connect with Andrea on Social Media:

Website: www.AroundTheWayPublishing.com
Instagram & Twitter: @Teaclinton13 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndreaClinton13
Blog: www.AndreaClinton.me
Blog: http://around-the-way.blogspot.com
Newspaper: http://paper.li/f-1326915658#
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3214167.Andrea_Clinton


 

 


#LifeAfter by Bernice L. McFadden

In 2008, the writing was on the wall that things in my life were about to change and not for the better. The stock market had crashed, taking sixty percent of my retirement money right along with it. To make matters worse - I was out of not one, but two writing jobs. My daughter was in her second year of college, I had a car note, two homes – which of course meant two mortgage payments and a manuscript that no one seemed to want to publish. Oh yeah, and I had no income.

It would take a book to accurately convey how I made it though that dark period of my life. For brevity sake, I will say this: for years, God had been walking a plethora of good, kind and generous people into my life. That combined with my faith and prayer – saw me through.

At the end of 2012, I sold my Brooklyn home and set off on a journey of renewal and rediscovery which I happily refer to as #LifeAfter.  People always ask, what does #LifeAfter mean? What it represents for me is my life after fear and loss.  Between 2009 and 2012 I was so afraid of losing everything I had worked so hard to accumulate, that it nearly drove me insane. After much meditation, tantrums and tears, I came to the realization that holding on to a life that no longer wanted me was affecting my emotional, physical and mental health. 

So, I turned in my car, sold my house, threw caution to the wind and set out to rediscover myself.  Some folks climbing out of trauma crave stability and solace, but I have a roaming spirit and so the best medicine for me has always been escape. A few weeks after I closed on the sale of my home, I was on a plane. In three years I’ve managed to wander as far away as Australia and as close to home as Canada. The thing that I learned while collecting all of those precious air miles, was that the world is indeed round and so is life. 

What the old people say is true: God doesn’t close a door without opening a window.  Being forced to let go of possessions I believed I couldn’t live without, was the best thing that happened to me because now I have less “stuff” and more joy and happiness in my life than I have had in a very long time.

My #LifeAfter has been amazing and as the late great, Ms. Maya Angelou liked to say: “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”  I'm looking forward to seeing what  #50Forward will bring!  


Latest Novel:   Loving Donovan by Bernice L. McFadden

A long-awaited reissue of this deeply thoughtful novel about hope, forgiveness, and the cost of loving Donovan, a complex man with a shattered history.

The first section of McFadden’s unconventional love story belongs to Campbell. Despite being born to a brokenhearted mother and a faithless father, Campbell still believes in the power of love . . . if she can ever find it. Living in the same neighborhood, but unknown to Campbell until a chance meeting brings them together, is Donovan, the “little man” of a shattered home—a family torn apart by anger and bitterness.

In the face of daunting obstacles, Donovan dreams of someday marrying, raising a family, and playing in the NBA. But deep inside, Campbell and Donovan live with the histories that have shaped their lives. What they discover—together and apart—forms the basis of this compelling, sensual, and surprising novel.

What people are saying…


One of Library Journal's 25 Key Indie Fiction Titles for Fall 2014-Winter 2015!

Bernice L. McFadden is one of the best contemporary literary writers out there today . . . Her brilliance, her talent as a novelist, is the very life she breathes into all of her characters.” —Terry McMillan, from the Introduction


"A two-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist also twice honored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, McFadden presents a love story starring Campbell and Donovan—both from shattered homes, both still hopeful, and both shaped more by history than they can imagine. Don't miss."
—Library Journal Prepub Alert

"Loving Donovan firmly establishes McFadden among the ranks of those few writers of whom you constantly beg for more." —Black Issues Book Review

"McFadden is clearly adept in keeping the reader entertained, captivated, and on our toes to try to figure out what's going to happen next. The rich characters, life situations, and language all wrapped up in such a small book and saying so much is a feat."  —Brown Girl Reading


Purchase Loving Donovan by Bernice L. McFadden 

Link: http://amzn.com/1617753181

Bernice L. McFadden photo credit: Eric Payne

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Kimberla Lawson Roby

New York Times Bestselling Author Kimberla Lawson Roby has published 20 novels which include A CHIRSTIMAS PRAYER, THE PRODIGAL SON, A HOUSE DIVIDED, THE PERFECT MARRIAGE, THE REVEREND’S WIFE, SECRET OBSESSION, LOVE, HONOR, and BETRAY, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PRAY FOR, A DEEP DARK SECRET, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, ONE IN A MILLION, SIN NO MORE, LOVE & LIES, CHANGING FACES, THE BEST-KEPT SECRET, TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING, A TASTE OF REALITY, IT’S A THIN LINE, CASTING THE FIRST STONE, HERE AND NOW, and her debut title, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, which was originally self-published through her own company, Lenox Press. 

Kimberla has sold more than 2,000,000 copies of her novels, and they have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Emerge Magazine, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin Chronicle to name a few, and both BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and CASTING THE FIRST STONE were #1 Blackboard bestsellers for four consecutive months in both 1997 and 2000. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was the #1 Blackboard Best-selling book for paperback fiction in 1997.

Kimberla is a 2014 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the 2013 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the recipient of the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Author of the Year – Female award presented by the African-American Literary Award Show in New York, the recipient of the 2014 Black Pearls Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, the recipient of the 2014 AAMBC Award for Female Author of the Year, the recipient of the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE, the recipient of the 1998 First-Time Author Award from Chicago’s Black History Month Book Fair and Conference, and in 2001, Kimberla was inducted into the Rock Valley College Alumni Hall of Fame (Rockford, IL).

Each of Kimberla’s novels deal with very real issues, including corruption within the church, drug addiction, gambling addiction, infidelity, social status, single motherhood, infertility, sibling rivalry and jealousy, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness, care-giving of a parent, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, and overweight issues to name a few.

Kimberla resides in Illinois with her husband, Will. Her 22nd title, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL was released June 9, 2015.


BPM: Share with us your personal journey into publishing. Was this a fun time in your life?
Writing was not a lifelong dream of mine, however, back in April 1995 I sat down and began writing my debut novel, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. It took me about seven months to complete, and I then began querying literary agents in search for representation. I was rejected by all of them. Finally, I submitted query letters directly to editors at publishing houses and received rejection letters from them as well. This is when my husband suggested that I start my own company to self-publish my book, and I did. My mom kept telling me not to give up also. As it turned out, I learned a wealth of important and very helpful information about the business of publishing, and I sold just over 10,000 copies within the first 6 months of publication. This was truly a fun and exciting time in my life.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
My mother and my maternal grandmother were two of the kindest and wisest women I have ever known, and they began instilling a certain level of Christian and family values and wisdom in me from the time I was a small girl. Even after all the rejections, my mom told me I shouldn’t give up (I miss her tremendously), and my husband continues to be my biggest encourager and supporter as well.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I believe my literary work speaks to everyone in one way or another. I write about real-life social issues that can and do affect all human beings. Corruption within the church, infidelity, domestic violence, drug addiction, gambling addiction, adult sibling rivalry, care-giving of a terminally-ill parent, childhood sexual abuse, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, social status, overweight issues, and the list goes on. There is also always some level of redemption and forgiveness in every single book I write. I don't consider myself to be a role model per se, but if someone does in fact view me in that manner, my prayer is that I am able to represent myself well, particularly to young people.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
The latest novel is titled The Ultimate Betrayal, which is my 22nd book and the 12th title in my Reverend Curtis Black Series. It will be released, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. It’s been four years since twenty-eight-year old Alicia Black, daughter of Reverend Curtis Black, divorced her second husband, the most womanizing and corrupt man she has ever known. Since then, Alicia has been dating her first husband, Phillip Sullivan, a wonderfully kind and true man of God whom she’d hurt terribly by cheating on him. Alicia has worked hard to prove herself worthy of his trust once more, and when he asks her to marry him again, she couldn’t be happier. 

But Levi Cunningham, the drug dealer Alicia had an extramarital affair with, has just been released from prison, and he has completely turned his life around for the better. Still head-over-heels in love with Alicia, he will do whatever is necessary to win her back. 

Remarrying Phillip is the one thing Alicia has wanted for years, but she can’t get Levi out of her mind. Alicia and Phillip aren’t the only ones in the middle of a crisis. Their best friends, husband and wife Brad and Melanie Richardson, are struggling to keep their marriage together. 

Workaholic Brad is never home and has begun losing thousands on bad investments. Or so he says. Melanie, who is certain there’s more to the story, is determined to get at the truth. At the same time, her frustration and stress cause her to eat a lot less, and she behaves in an extreme fashion. Alicia worries that she could be suffering from anorexia, but Melanie steadfastly denies it. Their friendship begins to suffer, and it isn’t long before they’re talking to each other like enemies. 

Fresh betrayal leads to consequences no one saw coming, and Alicia’s relationship with Phillip might not be the only thing that needs saving. But is it already too late?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Janice L. Dennie

Romance readers everywhere are enamored of Janice L. Dennie’s handsome heroes and feisty heroines as they tumble breathlessly in love among the pages of exciting stories set against the backdrop of California’s Napa Valley Wine Country. With a luxuriant voice and style reminiscent of the great romance writers, Ms. Dennie’s romances are dishes of luscious ice cream with candy sprinkles that keeps readers coming back for more of her smooth literary desserts!

Born to a military family that settled in San Francisco, California, where Ms. Dennie attended elementary, middle and high school. She later graduated from California State University, Hayward, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Ms. Dennie worked for a federal agency until retiring in 2011. 

Ms. Dennie wrote and published two novels that launched her into the limelight of the romance industry. Since her retirement, Ms. Dennie has returned to her first love—writing romance novels that have readers reaching for her books time and again as she delivers love stories featuring beautiful, independent women and tall, dark and dangerous men. Ms. Dennie has made a big splash in a big pond—not bad for a woman who read her first romance novel at 21!

Determined to enjoy her life as she writes her way to the top of the bestseller lists, Ms. Dennie enjoys watching football with her husband, Gregory, and fun visits with her family. Yet she still has time to travel, volunteer in her community, garden, and read her beloved romance novels! 

Stamped with her signature of excellence, Ms. Dennie’s latest series, THE UNDERWOOD’S OF NAPA VALLEY are heartwarming romances woven into the gorgeous tapestry of the wine industry, its lush vineyards and the elegant men and women who still believe in the power of love! To learn more about Janice L. Dennie and her books, visit www.JaniceDennie.com and indulge in delicious claret of literary pleasure!

BPM: Family is so important in your books. Tell me a little about your family. 
I’m married to Gregory D. Reed, Sr. Together we have three adult children, Gregory D. Reed, Jr., Sharita Reed and James Reed and nine grandchildren.

All of the men in my family, with the exception of my paternal grandfather, served in the military. My maternal grandfather, Albert S. Jackson, of Sapulpa, OK, served in France during World War I. My father Lawrence H. Dennie Sr., served in the Korean War. My mother, Wilma Jean Jackson-Dennie, served as a (WAC) Women’s Army Corp during the 50’s. My oldest brother, Lawrence H. Dennie Jr., served in Vietnam, and my youngest brother Albert S. Dennie, served in the Army after the Vietnam War. My paternal grandfather, Alfred S. Dennie was a Jazz musician in Kansas City, MO. He played tenor saxophone with the Benny Moten Band which included Count Basie and other jazz greats.

My parents moved to San Francisco from Denver, Colorado, where I was born, in the 1960s. My siblings and I attended elementary and middle school in San Francisco, before moving to the East Bay. I graduated from California State University, Hayward with a degree in business administration, and began a career with a federal agency, in San Francisco, before retiring in 2011. My sister Linda lives in Tulsa, OK and my youngest sister, Camille lives in Southern California.

BPM: Why did you begin to write?
I am fascinated with making “something out of nothing.” “I began writing because I wanted to create my own stories and see myself reflected in the character of the heroine. I’m inspired by writers such as James Baldwin, Walter Mosely and Jane Austin. 

News articles also inspire me to write. I was inspired to write ‘Kenton’s Vintage Affair,’ when I read a news article about Dr. Earnest Bates, part owner of Bates Winery in Napa Valley. I never knew there were Black wineries in Napa, and I visited wineries there numerous times. That news article inspired me to create the fictitious Underwood family, and give each member a story.”

There are five books in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series. “Justin’s Body of Work,” will be released in May, 2015. Carter’s Heart Condition, will be released in December, 2015.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
My body of literary work speaks to anyone who enjoy reading romances and learning about Black culture and history. My first book The Lion of Judah introduces the reader to the idea of Black royalty. Since we do not live in a country that has kings and queens, I looked to Africa for inspiration. I read an article in Newsweek magazine that referred to Emperor Haile Selassie as The Lion of Judah. I researched the subject and found out the Lion of Judah ruling dynasty descends without interruption from the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. I was shocked. My book came next. After that, I wrote Moon Goddess, Queen of Sheba.

I’ll never forget the time I took a black history class in college and learned about Black scientists and inventors. I brought that book home and my father, an engineer, took it from me after I finished the class. He gave me the strangest look I’d ever seen on his face. He couldn’t believe there was a book about 19th-century black scientists and inventors. I’ve often wondered why African American’s and their great accomplishments were excluded in our American history books. So I set out on a journey to learn as much as I could.

I do consider authors as role models especially for impressionable youth. It’s amazing how words can hurt or help people. I prefer to write stories that uplift the human spirit. I like writing about how characters transform into different people.

BPM: What inspired you to write The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series?
The News. I was inspired to write “The Lion of Judah,” after reading an article in a news magazine about Emperor Heile Selassie, of Ethiopia. Although we don’t have royalty in the U.S., I thought it was fascinating that he traced his ancestry back to The Lion of Judah ruling dynasty originating with King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The article inspired me to research the topic and write “The Lion of Judah,” followed by “Moon Goddess Queen of Sheba.”

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK? Why now?
President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, and their positive attitude toward women’s rights. Although I don’t consider myself a hard core feminist, I do appreciate when people take up a shield to protect women and children. I decided to write JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK, book 2 in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series because Justin’s book is next in line after KENTON’S VINTAGE AFFAIR. Justin’s story came into sharp focus after Attorney General, Eric Holder went to Ferguson, to help the disenfranchised people. I always root for the underdog. Justin fights for disenfranchised, particularly in cases involving sexual harassment, domestic abuse and equal pay. As a successful civil rights attorney, Justin is a modern day knight in shining armor. A man with characteristics every woman dreams about. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK?
I enjoyed creating Justin’s character. I wanted to create a strong male character that women could look up to and respect. So many modern day single women have had to be the mother and the father in many Black families. I wanted to write a story about a woman who could be a woman, and a man who could be her knight in shining armor. I know this sounds unrealistic or archaic at best, but this is the story I wanted to write. I wanted to create an over the top hero who would save the heroine from a vicious lawsuit in the court of law.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
The heroine, Ashley Jacobs relishes in providing her customers with a soothing and healing environment at her day spa in the Silverado area of Napa Valley. She maintains her even temper and peace of mind, avoiding anger at all costs. But when she faces a vicious lawsuit, from someone she least suspects, her peace of mind comes to a complete halt.

Justin Underwood is a successful attorney with a stellar resume and a body of work that consists of winning civil rights cases for the disenfranchised. The moment he hears Ashley’s sultry voice and feels her gentle touch, he finds comfort simply by being in her presence. He becomes hopelessly drawn to the siren with the sexy bedroom eyes. But Ashley has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. After taking her case, he watches her coast along, with her head in the clouds, turning a blind eye to the facts of her lawsuit. Can Justin get Ashley to commit to him, and open her eyes to the facts surrounding her lawsuit? Can Ashley overcome her family’s secret that prevents her future happiness?

What makes Ashley so special, is why she reacts to conflict the way she does. What makes Justin so special is his love for Ashley and his deep desire to protect women’s rights.

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with E. N. Joy


BLESSEDselling author E. N. Joy is the writer behind the "New Day Divas,” “Still Divas,” “Always Divas,” and the forthcoming “Forever Divas,” series, which have been coined “Soap Operas In Print.” 

She is an Essence Magazine Bestselling Author who once wrote secular books under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY.  Her children’s book titled The Secret Olivia Told Me, written under the name N. Joy, received a Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association. The book was also acquired by Scholastic Books and has sold almost 100,000 copies. Elementary and middle school children have fallen in love with reading and creative writing as a result of the readings and workshops E. N. Joy instructs in schools nationwide. 

BPM: Tell us about your journey becoming a successfully published author. What challenges did you face, if any? 

I have been writing since the days of elementary school journals and rainy day writings. I started out just writing poems, then short stories. My first self-published book, Please Tell Me If the Grass Is Greener, is a mixture of poetry and short stories. Well, actually it’s poetic short stories; short stories told in a rhythmic flow. Kind of like a Dr. Seuss book for Grown-ups-LOL. I love La La Land. Growing up, my escape from reality was the La La Land I invented with pen and paper. So, I guess that is truly what drove me to pick up the pen for the first time. It was an escape. Some people use drugs, some people use alcohol, some people use sex while other people use guns. I used a pen. I wrote and self-published my first full-length novel, The Root of All Evil, under the name Joylynn M. Jossel. I wrote that manuscript with the intentions of eventually selling it to a major publishing house. So, while it was in manuscript form I sent it off (un-agented) to a major publisher for publication consideration. 

But in the meantime, I eventually sent the manuscript off to the printer as well. I received a rejection letter from the publisher before the books even came off the press. But that didn’t stop me. I simply sold copies from my trunk in hopes of creating a buzz. Well, the buzz was created. I got an agent and the agent submitted the manuscript to a major publishing house that did end up giving me a three book deal. Ironically, the same publishing house who sent me my very first rejection letter was the same publisher who ended up giving me my very first book deal. After having sold 12,500 copies of the self-published edition in one year, The Root of All Evil was re-released under my first publishing contract. While it was going through the editing process, I wrote a street lit book titled Dollar Bill for Triple Crown Publications under the name JOY. It turned out to be an Essence Magazine bestseller, appeared in Newsweek and was translated to Japanese. 

When I dedicated my life to Christ, a great deal of things changed in my life. I couldn’t do some of the things I used to do. I couldn’t say some of the things I used to say and I couldn’t go some of the places I used to go. Well, I soon found that I couldn’t write some of the things I used to write. That’s what prompted the change from being a secular author to a writer of Christian fiction. Now, as a Christian Fiction author, my biggest challenge is pleasing both the readers and God. I’m not just doing writing anymore, I’m doing ministry. So whatever I do has to please God while at the same time send His message to His people and, of course, entertain them and keep them engaged. And boy, oh boy, have I learned that the lives of Christian folk and church folk is beyond engaging and entertaining. 

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
 
I hear authors say it all the time: “I write my book for everybody-not just one particular audience.” That’s all fine and well, but the book business is just that-a business. In dealing with business you have to have a target audience that you start off promoting and marketing to. Once you have saturated your target audience, then you have the bull’s eye affect, where you begin to expand outward into other areas. There is absolutely no shame in my game; I write my books for my sisters. If anyone outside of my target audience wants to pick up my books, that is an awesome blessing. But I want to make sure that my sisters-my target audience-can walk right into the book store and know exactly where to find me. 

Richard Ridley once said, "Many writers make the mistake of thinking that bigger is better when it comes to defining a book's target audience. They believe that if a potential reader is simply made aware of their book, then surely they'll take a chance and buy it. But by choosing this "big pond" approach, those authors are being overlooked, and they're missing the opportunity to stand out in a smaller pond. You'll have much better success being a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond."

Yes, all authors would eventually love for everybody to read a copy of their book. But when you sit down to pen a book you have to know who you are penning it for...who you want to read it. Who will understand your words? Who will they resonate with and touch? For me, my target audience is African American women. I used to even put an age limit on it, but when readers as young as thirteen started reaching out to me about how my work has changed and/or saved their life, I stopped doing that. These young thirteen year old readers are the very reason why I'd have to say that authors are role models as well. So what we don't get the press that other entertainers such as singers and actors get. So what that even if an award show does have a category for literature, they don't deem literacy an important enough honor to air on television. People are still watching us...thanks to social media. 

Everything we think, tweet and eat is being watched. Either folks are going to look down on us or up to us. I prefer the latter. I know this might sound dramatic and too deep for some, but as an author, my connection with someone could determine whether or not they ever pick up a book to read. I can say this because I spoke at a graduation. Afterward I had a mother of five who was in her thirties purchase one of my books. It was the first book she had ever purchased in her life so this was a milestone for her. To be a part of a milestone in someone's life...to make that kind of impact on someone's life. Do I really have to continue to argue my case???

BPM: Could you tell us something about  You Get What You Pray For, Always Divas Series, Book Three?
 
You Get What You Pray For is my latest title and it is book eleven in my divas installment. Coined soap operas in print, readers know to expect a fast paced, character shifting, scene changing, drama filled read with a pinch of shenanigans and just enough over the top encounters to still make it all believable. Intertwined and in the midst of it all is that life changing message that makes the emotional roller-coaster well worth the death defying ride. I know that was a mouthful, but so is this read. 

The main character, Lorain, will have the reader feeling like she's a hamster in a wheel; doing so much but going absolutely nowhere. Lorain has it all, but having it all and keeping it are two different things. As she fights to hold onto all that is dear to her, she finds herself in a game of tug-o-war. But in this case, she's the one being pulled in two different directions. With the struggle being between good and evil, it would seem like a no-brainer that Lorain would go willingly to what is right, but doing that could mean losing everything, which includes her daughters and her husband. Before even considering continuing to play games with the devil, Lorain should have realized that doing so could lead to hell. But then again, being a prisoner of secrets and lies for the better part of her life has been a living hell for Lorain anyway. When her cell mates (the secrets and lies) begin to unravel, it definitely becomes hell on earth!

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 

Eleanor is the main character's, Lorain, mother. This old lady right here will give any reality television mother a run for her money. She is a ball of fire that the fire chief himself couldn't put out. Eleanor tends to irritate a reader or two by constantly being in Lorain's business, but they can't argue that mother knows best and delivers some tough love and advice. Just like any hard-headed child, Lorain doesn't always appreciate what her mother dishes out, but she does honor her. That wasn't always the case though. Once upon a time Lorain and Eleanor had a relationship that was so volatile, it's shocking that these two even speak to one another, let alone practically live together; Lorain in the main house and Eleanor in the in-law suite. But that's what makes these two and their relationship so special. 

By reading Facebook posts on any given day, I could see how so many women struggle in their relationship with their mothers. I believe Eleanor and Lorain give readers hope that a parent-child relationship can be healed and mended. The Bible says we must honor thy mother and father. We should love our mothers the way Jesus loved Mary. No, maybe our mother was no Mary, but heck, some of us weren't a Mary to our own children either. 


BPM: What was your purpose or mission behind writing this book?

My mission behind this book is for the reader to walk away knowing that even when we have everything that we have ever prayed for, we still need the One who answered those prayers. Lorain went from the hood life, to the good life. At first she was in awe of why God would even do it for a wretch like her. She got so caught up in her amazing lifestyle and getting everything she'd ever dreamed of, that the fear of all that changing led her to take things into her own hands instead of having faith that God's will would be done. 

My career plans are not only to continue penning stories that are so emotionally explicit that the reader feels as if they are in the story experiencing exactly what the characters are, but to continue to help other writers/aspiring writers to evoke that same thing through my literary services. Getting to the point where you are no longer writing about characters but are writing about people takes your writing gifts and talents to whole new levels.


BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey? 

This question is hitting home for me. If I was doing a live televised interview, the audience would see me break down with my ugly cry right about now. As I mentioned earlier, In You Get What You Pray For, readers get to see the result of what once was a terrible mother-daughter relationship after God has done His healing thing. Lorain had not always respected or honored her mother. Lorain had harbored ill feelings toward her mother for things that had happened to Lorain in the past. Some people assume all mothers and daughters have this strong bond, but that is not always the case. There are daughters out there in their adulthood who wish they had a close-knit relationship with their mother, but can't get over the past. I believe this ties in to under-represented groups or ideas that are featured in my book. 

I think back to a status I posted on Facebook Mother's Day 2014. It took me quite some time to hit the post button, but I really felt compelled to do so. The post read as follows: "I do not talk to my mother every day. As a matter of fact, when my phone rings and I look down at my Caller ID and see that it is her my blood sometimes begins to boil. I've had anxiety attacks even. "Should I answer the call? Should I send it to voice-mail?" If I answer the call, I know from the moment I say hello she is going to tell me what an awful day it has been for her, how much pain she is in, what hurts and then talk about somebody like a dog. If I don't answer the call there is going to be a nasty voice-mail message that is going to piss me off even more-make me want to call her back and let her know how she makes me feel. But I wouldn't dare cuss or fuss my mother. No, Ma'am, no , Sir. The devil ain't gonna get me there. But it doesn't mean that desire hasn't been within.

I read FB posts everyday with quotes about removing poisonous and negative people out of your life. But your own mother???? It drains me to talk to her or be in her presence and it takes every ounce of energy in me to bear the negativity she is going to spew. When I walk into her home I feel suffocated by the black cloud that seems to dwell there. I'm not exaggerating y'all-I feel it. My children feel it, begging me not to make them go inside. Sometimes after talking with her I can't even write anything, or edit a book because my spirit feels poisoned and I don't want to inject that into anything else I am doing. Have you ever just talked to someone and felt so vexed afterward?

I listen to and watch how she talks to and treats people and I cringe, often having to apologize on her behalf or ask them not to take it personal. I see my friends and the love and relationships they have with their mothers and I just don't get it. But today, my friends, I GET IT! My mother is not a hateful, evil, mean person, of which for years I mentally described her as. But what my mother is is full of hurt, pain, guilt and shame. The person I deal with is not the sixty-one year old body I'm looking at. Instead, I now realize that the person I deal with is that young girl whose uncle violated her. That young girl who didn't have a relationship with her father. That young girl who got pregnant in tenth grade and got kicked out of school for being pregnant. That young girl who was abused horribly by her husband for years. I can still hear the fights, her getting pistol whipped, her getting turned out on drugs and her own husband pimping her. Her husband picking her up from work in his mistress' car with the mistress in the backseat. Then to go on in life only to be abused by future men, all the while doing whatever she had to do to feed her babies. So heck yeah she was mad, angry and bitter. I get that now. I finally get it.

I know this is not the typical Mother's Day post everyone is putting on their wall. There is no bouquet of flowers, balloons or chocolates attached with this one. But what is attached to this one is regardless of what our relationships were like with our mother, grandmother, auntie-whoever raised us-we have absolutely no power to manipulate it into something other than what it was. A person's perception is their reality. Therefore we have to accept it for what it is. We don't have to walk around feeling heavy or wishing we had the kind of relationship someone else has. But what we do have the power to do is choose what we want that relationship to be today. So on this Mother's Day 2014 I pray love, peace, blessings, deliverance and healing to every mother, especially my own and including myself. May God keep our minds to remember all those wonderful things and traits about the women who raised us and all they sacrificed in order for us to make it this far. To forgive and forget those things that serve no purpose but to vex our spirits, so that we may walk forward in a future untouched by pasts hurts designed to keep us bound. I thank, you , Lord, on this day for your mighty revelation. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen!"

I received a multitude of likes, comments and in-box messages on that post. So many women came out of the woodwork to say that my story was theirs. I truly pray that readers of my work, especially women who have had issues with their own mothers, can see where Lorain and Eleanor came from, to where God has brought them now and be encouraged by that.

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Colette R. Harrell

Colette R. Harrell, wants you to know that she’s like you, God’s chosen vessel. She has come to be a gift, to be an encourager and a light that reflects God’s goodness.

She’s a wife, mother, author and playwright. A Detroit native, she currently calls Ohio home. She holds a master’s and is a Director of Social Services. Writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”

Her latest novel, Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t will thrill in October 2015. It is filled with wisdom and humor. This adventurous love story goes where Ms. Harrell loves to tread, down an unbeaten path. No millionaires rescuing damsels in distress—although she enjoys these reads herself—but every day people, falling and getting back up. 

The Devil Made Me Do It was her debut novel. It was nominated for The 2015 Phillis Wheatley Book Awards in First Fiction. It has been held as one of Black Pearl Magazine’s, top ten Christian fiction books for 2014. In addition, Read Between The Lines radio show, named it as one of its overall top ten books for 2014.

Make no mistake, her sophomore novel, Tell The Truth, The Devil Won’t will cement her as an author to watch. 

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
My sophomore novel is titled Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t.  It continues the story of some key characters from my debut novel, The Devil Made Me Do It. I had a ball writing this! It deals with overcoming betrayal, second chances at love, and redemption. We find out what happened to our reluctant, tarnished, tiara-wearing Cinderella princess, Esther Wiley. We scream, I told you so, at Briggs Stokes, our long-suffering pastor. Finally, he learns the wisdom . . . If you want to help others, you first have to put the oxygen mask on your own face and breathe! And, there’s Roger, our prisoner of hope. Ready to face the world again—if he can only catch a break.

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
Perseverance! You can tell a good story . . . know grammar and syntax . . . but, baby, if you can’t stick with it, your writing career will be toast! Despite your nine-to-five job, your family commitments, your church and community responsibilities, and the days you just can’t pull it all together, you have to rock with it! And when you fall behind due to life pushing you around? You have to roll up your sleeves, get it together, and go back after it.

BPM: Did you learn anything from successfully publishing The Devil Made Me Do It? 
Yes, I learned that fear can’t hold me. We can get real caught up in what people may or may not say about us. So much so that it ends up crippling our ability to move. I learned to talk myself off the ledge and place myself into the fray by doing each step by faith. I can tell you this, sometimes the crocodile tears tried to limit my vision, but guess what? I stuck my hand out there and felt my way through.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing the second book? Why now?
I felt like the story The Devil Made Me Do It’s original characters weren’t finished telling their story. As long as we are alive our stories continue to unfold, so I knew they had more to tell. Could Briggs and Monica make it? Did Lawton and Esther really ride off into the sunset? Whose baby was Monica having? How did prison affect Roger? And, just a little secret . . . My readers from The Devil Made Me Do It were messaging me, e-mailing me, and stopping me in public. The common thread of their questions? Where’s the doggone second book?!

BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what's next?
Oh my goodness! A lot is happening. I am currently writing my third and final book in this series, The Devil Wears Two Faces, and it will be released in April 2016. This book is predominantly new characters, with some characters from the previous two books as backstory. 

This year, I received a nomination for my first novel, The Devil Made Me Do It, from the 2015 Phillis Wheatley Harlem Book Awards. Black Pearls magazine named it as one of their top ten Christian books of 2014, and Read You Later radio show named it as one of their top ten books for 2014. My first year has been eye-opening, dramatic, and a roller-coaster ride. I’m praying that we continue the journey—no seat belts needed.

BPM: How may our readers follow you online? Please share your social media links. 
My biggest challenge is staying up to date on my social media. But, there is nothing more inspiring than hearing from my readers. Y’all hit a sistah up!  It Takes A Village To Raise A Dream.  Be A Part Of Someone's Village!

Author website:  http://www.writespirit.org 
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/coletteharrell/ 
FB Profile:  http://www.facebook.com/Colette.R.Harrell 
Fanpage:  https://www.facebook.com/ColetteRHarrellFans 


Order Tell the Truth The Devil Won't (Book 2)
Link:  http://amzn.com/1622868196 

Order The Devil Made Me Do It (Book 1)
Link:  http://amzn.com/1601627823  

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Angelia Vernon Menchan

Angelia Vernon Menchan is an author, publisher and entrepreneur seeking to share and assist through the written word. She is often asked to speak to issues concerning growing and grown women. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband, Maurice who supports her efforts and designs her covers. They publish her work and the work of other authors through their company, Honorable Menchan Media. 

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?

My life is built on faith, hard work and taking chances to live my dream. I am motivated by my desire to reach and mentor. I was very motivated by being raised by seven amazing women. 

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?

My literary work speaks to a cross section of readers because I consider myself genre less... However, growing and grown women are most supportive. All hard working artists who give and support are role models. 

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

I was asked by Aja Graves a fellow writer and Facebook friend to please write something about the issues that plague young women such as men and boys, self-esteem, self-worth and faith. It seems she and others find what I post and talk about mentoring worthy and what a blessing that is. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Sharing me with others to create some small change.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
Life and observation. This book is non-fiction but my fiction books are born of watching and listening and applying my imagination. The world is full of book food. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 
It is an open letter to growing women. Real conversation from a real woman to real women on real issues. How real is that? 

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? 
This book is for women of color, more than anyone. We need to feel we are enough and value ourselves and support each other in a culture that does not. 

BPM: How does your book relate to your present journey?
I am these women and mentoring is what I do, what I offer, who I am. 

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I learned how many people I have interacted with on my journey and how much I learned about me from them. It is continually revealing. I loved seeing myself as I grew. 

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

To reach out and say, Someone understands and gets it. Just that simply. Many responses indicate I have. 

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

I am currently working on a few of my ongoing series and publishing other authors. 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 

I am on Facebook as AngeliaM;   Twitter as AngelMenchan 
Website: http://angeliavernonmenchanserials.blogspot.com  

#JUSTLOVE - JUST LOVE and BLESSINGS!


Order Sister You ARE More Than Your assETS from the author and a free journal is included but only if ordered directly from her blog: http://angeliavernonmenchanserials.blogspot.com  


Order Sister You ARE More Than Your assETS by Angelia Vernon Menchan 
Amazon Download Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1519432747  



 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Vanessa Riley

The Regency era (early 1800s), which captivated Vanessa Riley, also made her wonder why faces of color who were integral to the building of this society: serving in her wars, adding to her arts, loving and dying for her causes, were missing. Now she brings the flavor of diverse peoples to these stories, restoring these old souls to historical romances for all the world to read. Riley is the author of "The Bargain", A Port Elizabeth, South African Regency serial and Regency novels: "Unmasked Heart", Madeline's Protector, and "Swept Away.”

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I've been writing and telling stories since I was a little girl. I remember keeping myself and my younger brothers enthralled with sweeping tales of adventure. By the time I was seventeen I began winning writing competitions. But, like many college-bound students, I put creative writing on hold, while I pursued degrees in Engineering. I made myself very busy building a career in Technology.

It wasn't until my husband and I were expecting our first child, that God got a hold of me. I suddenly had to slow down and set my pen to paper. He gave me a gift, and it wasn't just to write technical briefs! Obedient to this calling, I read books, I took courses, and I joined writing organizations like the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. I did everything to strengthen my craft. My first novel, Madeline's Protector, was published by Pelican in 2013. It hit the top ten on Christianbook.com in December of that year.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
I love sweeping romances with a holy passion. The hero and heroine are challenged by their goals and desires, and by their Faith, too. I want to write words that have the power to energize the possibility for change. Maybe my words will help to change how you see things, or the words might offer a new perspective on how to deal with life. Mostly, I just want my words to affirm who you are in God's eyes. 

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner?
For me the biggest hurdle is to learn how to grow my audience. I write Regencies or Jane Austen sounding work. In my stories I love to show the reader how we are all woven into God’s ‘Fabric of Time’. People of color didn't disappear after 300 BC suddenly to return as slaves in 1865. We are in the fabric of time. Our stories need to be told. I want to capture my reader’s imagination, so they lose themselves in the tales I weave.

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
I believe a writer should be hungry and fully awake with a thirst to do amazing things. Readers can taste passion in every bite of a book. We honor our readers by writing with passion and meaning.

BPM: Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on many levels. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
I am still very new in my career. I began to get emails and letters about how my books touched a reader. I’ve been told that I bring joy with my words. This gives me a strong sense of fulfillment. The stories in my head are meant to help someone. I’m sure of it! If I can bring you a smile or offer hope, I'd say I've been that hungry writer who has passion and commitment.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.
There is that moment in a good book, when all secrets are exposed and there is nowhere to run. In Unmasked Heart Gaia Telfair discovers the truth about her illicit birth. She is not a gently-bred daughter of a gentleman, but a mulatto who has been passing for white. Her world changed. In a time where birthright defined everything about your life, she had to learn to love herself and to know she was worthy of love. Just as she was ready to tell her secret, the man who is the one for her, learns his father was responsible for destroying hers. Everything changes again.

I write very long novels and serials. A serialized story is told in episodes. The episode is completed by solving one problem. The overarching problem---will the couple be together? Will they survive the war? Those problems are resolved as the season is released. 

The Bargain, a serialized Regency Romance, is set in the colony of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I love the multicultural cast of warriors, brothel workers, heroes and heroines. The theme of this first season is about scars. Are you defined by your scars? Precious Jewell was an enslaved maid from Charleston, who has to decide if she is defined by her own scars. Her scars are both physical and emotional. I hope The Bargain challenges readers to deeply examine these lies, to uncover who we are in God's Light.

BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what's next? 
The finale episode IV of The Bargain releases November 22, 2015. This series has really captured readers’ imagination. Good news! Season Two releases in Fall of 2016. All of your favorites (if they lived) will be around in the next season. The central story will surround cast members you met in season one. I will also be releasing a Regency Romantic suspense in Spring of 2016, Unveiling Love. This one will keep you on the edge of your seats! You’ll be rooting for celebrated mulatto barrister Bradley Norton, and his half-Egyptian, half-Spanish wife, Ariana. Together we will solve the mystery of London's Dark Walk Abductor.

Follow Vanessa on Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/vanessariley 
Email: vanessa@christianregency.com 
Website: http://www.Christianregency.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristianRegency 
Books on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Vanessa-Riley/e/B00C55DARS/ 

Unmasked Heart (Challenge of the Soul Book 1) 
Link: http://amzn.com/B00WDR6C7S



The Bargain (A Port Elizabeth Regency Tale: Season One Book 4)
Link: http://amzn.com/B014BRM80M 


 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Benilde Little

Benilde Little is the bestselling author of the novels Good Hair, The Itch, Acting Out and Who Does She Think She Is? She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Jet, People Magazine, Heart and Soul, More magazine, among many others. She has had numerous media appearances including NPR, the Today Show, and Tavis Smiley. 

The Go On Girl Book Club selected Good Hair as the best book of the year. Natalie Cole bought the film rights. Benilde’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Honey Hush and About Face. She was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. 

A former reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Star Ledger, People and senior editor at Essence, she has been a creative writing professor at Ramapo College. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, two children and dog. 


BPM: You are known for your novels, Good Hair, The Itch, Who Does She Think She Is?, Acting Out, why nonfiction, why now?
It wasn’t a conscious, creative choice to write a non-fiction book. It was the place I was emotionally in, where this was all I could write. The feeling of hopelessness, grief and sadness was so all consuming that I had to get it out of me. I suppose I could’ve approached those feelings in a fictional form, but that never even occurred to me; wasn’t a thought. It was not the write format. Toni Morrison has said to write the book you want to read. I believe that, but I also know that this was a book I had to write and I did write it for me.


BPM: Welcome to My Breakdown, the title of your new book suggests a light tone, but the book is anything but. You write that when your mother died you weren’t sure how you would survive. Was it difficult for you to write about your depression? 
Sometimes, but not as much as one might imagine; I wrote this book in pieces, so sometimes when I was writing about it, I wasn’t consistently living with it. When I’d research other writers talking about their depression, William Styron and David Forster Wallace, in particular, but also Terrie Williams, in her book Black Pain (in which she writes about her own depression and others’), I felt less alone. Feeling less alone helped me to feel somewhat better. What was hard was re-reading the descriptions of that time. There were times when I’d scan it and other times when I’d cry and sometimes I could read it at a remove.


BPM: Do you think that this book might encourage candid conversations in all communities, but particularly the African American community about depression? 

That is my sincere hope. I think it will. It’s been said that the book is honest and bare and I think that will give some people permission to take a deep look at one’s self in an honest, and hopefully compassionate, way.


BPM: Clara Little is the beating heart of this book. What a remarkable woman your mother was, a loving, devoted mom, a wife, a political activist, community organizer, a feminist before the word had currency. What was it like to be the center of that much love and affection? 

You don’t know what you don’t know. I thought all mothers were like her. It wasn’t until I was in adolescence when I began spending lots of time at the homes of friends where I got to see other moms, who were very different than mine. I realized and appreciated her as an adult and especially when I became a mother and I could finally realize what sacrifices she made and what a difference in my life all that love and affection made. It’s why I could grow up in Newark and have the life I have now. Her expectation of my brothers and me was that we become productive, college educated citizens of the world. She’s why we didn’t become teenage parents or get addicted to drugs or crime. And we weren’t put in a bubble, either. The downside of all that intense love and affection is that I have a very high bar for what I expect love to feel like. It’s another reason my grief was so great--knowing that no one will ever love me like she did. It’s a somewhat hybrid blessing.


BPM: Clearly you and your husband are more affluent than you were growing up, you live in a wealthy suburb, and enjoy many material possessions that were beyond your parents’ reach. There are hints here that you are an old school, hands on mother like your mother was. Do you consider yourself the same kind of mother as your mother? What’s the same, what’s different? What’s your most important job as a mother in your view? 

To me the most important thing a mother can give her child is a solid sense of self. I’m not sure it’s possible to do this completely but if you can instill in your kids that they are good just the way they are, then they can do anything. They can be fulfilled, they can be secure and can find their purpose. I don’t think our parents were thinking much, if at all, about our psychological health. 

I think my mother was ahead of her time and she was very intuitive, but I know she wasn’t consciously thinking about it. She didn’t belittle us; she would never slap us in the face because she believed that was demeaning (although she did get that strap and put it on the butt). I’m similar in how I’ve raised my kids in terms of being fiercely in their corner, advocating for them, loving them fiercely, but no spanking. I believe that that diminishes them and it’s not effective. I don’t want to rule from a place of fear. I think if they respect you, they want to please you. This is not to say that they won’t mess up and that they won’t do things that hurt and disappoint you, but ultimately disappointing a good parent is not something a child will want to do. When I got older, college age probably, it was hell to me to disappoint my mother. I see a lot of that in my daughter. It’s there with my son, but buried, I think because he’s a teenager. I believe in punishment for bad behavior. Like my mother, I hate lying and go nuts when my kids have. 


BPM: Readers will welcome your candor about dating, marriage, family, and children. You are in a long marriage with a child in college and another in middle school. Can you tell us succinctly how the dream of having it all, like your character Alice in Good Hair reconciles with the reality of family, marriage, and children? 

Well, what I know for sure is that there is no such thing. There have been tradeoffs. I began writing fiction shortly after we got married in anticipation of having children and wanting to be home with them. I began a career I could have and still be home with my kids. I quit my job at Essence because, for me, it was too demanding to do and be the kind of mother I wanted to be. I don’t know if I’d make the same decision today, but that’s what I was thinking at the time. There’s no easy, right answer. You give up your job, you give up part of an income, which impacts your lifestyle, which can impact your relationship. I don’t know if one ever truly reconciles. You might be able to “have it all,” but not at the same time.


BPM: We lose our parent, that’s an inescapable truth. Is there anything about the grieving process that you can share with others to help them through grief? 

Give yourself time. There’s no one-way to grieve and there’s no time limit. There are those stages: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, sadness, acceptance. Those things can show up in different order or you may not experience each one. For me, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. It was a wave that simply knocked me down and I was in an undertow. The best was to recover in an undertow is to give in to it. I gave over to it. Now, I didn’t have a job in an office where a boss was expecting me to perform everyday. For people who have to get back to work, I would still advise them to give the grieving process as much time as you need. Do your work and go home and give yourself permission to feel like crap, to cry, to rail, all of it. 


BPM: In the end, would you say that there was anything beneficial or redeeming about your depression? 

It made me more compassionate, less arrogant, but also less tolerant of people who sit on the sidelines of their feelings. It helped me get clear about who I wanted in my life. I got in touch with my need for gentleness, gentle people who are also willing to be vulnerable and real. I’m no longer close to people who are disconnected from their feelings, because they can’t truly be aware of others.


BPM: What’s the takeaway? What do you want people to get, to do?

To take off the mask. I look forward to having honest conversations about some of the topics in the book, grief, motherhood—staying home/having a career, depression, mid-life, perfection pressure. So much of what we do in this culture is to soothe our wounds: we buy too much, eat too much, and drink too much. Don’t get me wrong, doing the work, looking at one’s self and examining all those warts is not easy. But I believe, in the long run, it’s the only option. 

The epigram I used in Good Hair says this beautifully: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will destroy you.”—Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas 

Order Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir by Benilde Little

http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-My-Breakdown-A-Memoir/dp/1476751951 
http://books.simonandschuster.com/Welcome-to-My-Breakdown/Benilde-Little/9781476751955 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with AlTonya Washington

AlTonya Washington has been a published romance novelist for 10 years and is a two time winner of The Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer's Choice Award. In addition to being an author, AlTonya also works as a college Reference Librarian. Writing as T. Onyx, AlTonya has also crafted a string of very popular erotica titles. Her long-running and popular Ramsey/Tesano romantic suspense series will soon conclude. "Lover's Origin: Black Island", "A Lover's Return" and "Book of Scandal: The Tesano Elders" will mark the last three titles in the saga.


BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you? 
Hard work and persistence. I recall the early submission letters sent to BET Arabesque. Being consistent in my follow-up correspondence with editors is what I believe got me noticed. From there it was the hard work put into forming my titles that completed the task of getting their interest. Diligence and discipline were the other pieces that proved instrumental in getting my writing contract as well as a degree in library science which is my other passion. I suppose the sense of accomplishment is what truly motivates me.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 
My body of work speaks to adult readers who enjoy a good, dramatic story with a dynamic mix of multi-dimensional characters. I suppose authors are the best role models for other authors.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now? 
I wrote Between Love and Hate long before I had my first writing contract. The idea came to me at a time when the term ‘male-bashing’ was first being tossed around. I make a point of not doing that in any of my stories (unless it’s with a villainous secondary character ?) I wanted to create a story where both characters were equally endearing, yet guilty of mistakes that I attempted to display equally in amount and magnitude.

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Christine Young-Robinson

Christine Young-Robinson is the author of the novels Do What You Gotta Do and We Didn’t See It Coming and the short story “Miss Amy’s Last Ride,” which was featured in the anthology Proverbs for the People. A wife, mother, and grandmother, Christine resides in South Carolina. She is the co-chairperson of the Eleuthera Book Club. 

BPM: Who or what motivated you?

First and foremost, God. I’m blessed with great parents, family and friends.  I got to where I am by having faith and trusting in God.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?

My work speaks to lovers of stories about family suspense. I personally don’t consider myself a role model but I’m grateful if someone can draw from the goodness in me.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? 

My ideas come from my imagination, dreams, and things I observe in my surroundings. My books are plot driven but at times, it can be a mixture of both.  I enjoyed writing the craziness of my characters and great storyline. 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Karen D. Bradley


Karen D. Bradley while being a creative mind, English and Grammar were never her strongest subjects. As life would have it, her weakest link would become her saving grace. It was during college she penned her first suspenseful drama to help her cope with the death of her father, the upheaval of emotions, and her changing family dynamics. Writing fiction soon became one of her favorite pastimes. She has since published a total of five novels. What she enjoys most about being an author are the lively real talk sessions with readers about topics from her books.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
Life experiences positioned me where I am today. My life shifts forward or stalls based on my ability to learn my lessons and move forward with blessings. I fell into writing due to the need to survive and stay focused on moving forward. No matter how off track I get at times, I know life will send someone or something my way to either whip me into shape or motivate me to keep going.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
My body of literary work speaks to people who enjoy suspenseful drama. However, through hosting panel discussions, as well as book discussions, I realize it also speaks to those who are looking for an entertaining platform to discuss real life issues and to talk honestly under the guise of commenting on characters.

There are several authors that I enjoy reading, but for a role model I would say Naleighna Kai. Naleighna is all about her craft, but she is also about building people up and teaching them how to let their talent shine. She represents who I want to be in life. All about being the best version of me that I can be while also helping others do the same.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
The seed was planted during a time when I wasn’t comfortable with the title author/writer. In my mind, a writer had a great understanding of all the rules and regulations of grammar and writing and knew how to use them well. I knew I was the run-on sentence and comma splice queen. Anytime someone would ask me about my writing journey, I would respond that my sister was the real writer in the family. The first question many people asked was, have you written anything together? It wasn’t until one of my cousins told me that she thought my writing style was similar to my sister’s that I decided we should write a book together. I brought the idea to my sister and she was on board. Since I was shifting gears, trying to position myself to produce my first movie, and debating whether to continue to release my books to the public; I thought co-writing Life on Fire with my sister was a now or possibly never thing.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
The process of writing with my sister was an exciting experience. I enjoyed not knowing whether the story would end as I imagined. It was difficult not having complete control of the story, but I liked the challenge of figuring out where to go after my sister threw off the story line I had going in my head. It was fun for me to work through numerous scenarios to see if, like a GPS system, I could get the story rerouted back to where I was headed or did I have to go with the flow and select a new destination.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
My book ideas come from anywhere and can be inspired by anything; a snippet of conversation overheard on the bus, a dream, drama unfolding on the street, the rumor mill and the list goes on. Most of my published books have been plot-driven. It is because of my love of action and mystery, as well as my tendency to over analyze things that happen around me, that most of my books are plot-driven vs. character-driven.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 
My most recent work is the novel I co-wrote with my sister, Jenetta M. Bradley, entitled, Life on Fire. It is available on Nook and Kindle. Life on Fire is a story about Brooklyn Saunders' life being set ablaze when her ex, Dante Nines, and her newly single friend, Hunter Torres, vie for the number one spot in her heart. Unknowingly, Dante brings trouble to her door, causing their personal and professional lives to collide in the worst way. The entanglement unleashes a danger that will have both of the men she loves fighting to keep her safe.

Behind the scenes, Dante and his partner, Liang, work to try to diffuse the situation. All their efforts go up in smoke when Brooklyn comes into possession of certain documents. Brooklyn is taken before Dante can put together the pieces of the puzzle and he finds himself teaming up with Hunter to save her. Each man is put in the position to risk their lives for a woman that may decide not to spend the rest of her life with him.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
Brooklyn is a head-strong senior analyst with an eclectic group of friends. She is stubborn, smart and sassy. She makes you want to cheer for her one minute and yell at her the next. Dante is Brooklyn’s ex whose work at an elite investigation firm causes a few challenges in his personal life. He is an addictive mix of manliness, compassion and spontaneity. Hunter is a club owner and an entrepreneur with ties to people who don’t always abide by the law. He is dependable with an alluring blend of sex appeal and charisma.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
This is an interesting question and my interpretation of it may not be correct. I believe any time authors write the African American story, we are writing about an under represented group. In so many areas of life, we are often underrepresented. Brooklyn being a black woman in Corporate America attempting to get an Assistant Vice President position, unfortunately, makes her a part of an underrepresented group. 

However, the story does not dig deep into the struggle of the black woman in Corporate America. The story more or less highlights the topic of the challenge in selecting between two great options and how the fear of making the wrong choice sometimes complicates the decision making process.

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with M.J. Kane 

M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free. Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history. 

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
MJ: Life experiences and curiosity. I learned first-hand that you can’t look at someone and assume you know what’s going on in their lives or what type of experiences they have had that make them react to situations the way they do. That motivates me to write stories that explore how and why people react to life changing events, good or bad.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
MJ: I write for the reader who is looking for a story that deals with the reality of life. I don’t do fantasy or unrealistic stories. It’s all life…an exploration of relationships between family, friends, and lovers. It’s about discovering yourself, and evolving into something better. I write stories my readers can relate to, see themselves in, and hopefully find peace or motivation to try something new. Do I consider authors as role models? Of course! If it weren’t for my love of reading and discovering authors who have taken their talent and created stories that touched me, I would never have been able to discover how to find my writing voice, much less get brave enough to put my work in the hands or readers.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
MJ: I wanted to take a conventional idea of a BW/WM romance and explore the reality of what it would be like realistically for two people to open their minds and hearts and look beyond skin color to discover a love neither of them were looking for. I also wanted to see what would happen when the relationship was tested by outside forces that had absolutely nothing to do with race. In today’s society people are finding love openly in relationships some of us may not be able to relate to, I thought it would be good to recognize that despite the external differences a couple has, when it all comes down to it, we all face the same issues and problems. What makes us strong is the way we address them. How we handle them is shaped by our beliefs and past experiences. I don’t write un-flawed characters. We are imperfect and we make bad decisions…its how we learn and grow. If we’re lucky, we survive the journey and come out on the other side as stronger individuals.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing A Heart Not Easily Broken?
MJ: A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs)  is the first book I’ve ever written, so the entire experience was wonderful! I had the most fun diving into the heads of the characters and for once, allowing my imagination to run free and listen to the ‘inner voices’ that became my characters. Each one is like a real person to me, so I guess it’s like having family that will never leave!

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
MJ: The ideas for my novels come from watching and listening to people around me. It can be something I’ve heard in the news or an idea I’ve seen in a movie. My stories are definitely character-driven. I will take a ‘what if’ scenario and see what would happen if two people from various social, economic, and racial backgrounds fell in love and had to face a life changing situation.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
MJ: The series I am writing now is called The Butterfly Memoirs. The first novel in the series is A Heart Not Easily Broken. My most current release is the fourth novel, Nobody’s Business. For this part of the series, I decided to flip the script a bit and focus on a male character and the issues he faces when he discovers he has a two-year-old son with a past girlfriend, and his son is ill. To make matters worse, he has an eye on a women he met during a one-night stand, but is fighting an internal war with his heart. Should he rekindle the romance with the mother of his child and build the perfect family for his son, or should he follow his heart and seek out the woman who’s captured it. All of my novels are available on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Smashworks, as well as paperback. A Heart Not Easily Broken can also be found on Audible.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
MJ: My goal with all of my novels is to allow readers to hear the characters voices as they go about their lives. By writing in first-person narrative, you get a chance to see inside of them, to know what they are thinking and what motivates them to make the decisions they do. It’s so much easier to ‘experience’ emotions and feelings instead of being ‘told’ how someone feels. It draws readers into the story on a true emotional level and allows them to learn and grow along with the characters. One recent reader told me that she had just finished ‘walking’ with the character and loved it!

The Butterfly Memoirs Series

Butterflies symbolize change, evolution, the shedding of the old and bringing out the new. A memoir is a story, a narration told first hand, of someone’s personal experiences. Like butterflies in the spring that disappear into cocoons and emerge, completely changed, my characters are no longer the same when their story ends.

The Butterfly Memoirs are stories told by the characters themselves. It is Women’s Fiction, Contemporary and Interracial Romance. Each story addresses the realistic trials every woman and man face in a relationship. My goal is to inspire hope, comfort, and encourage anyone who may be able to relate to these stories.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
MJ: No, but what I do have are themes that deal with real-life issues faced by men and women, regardless of race or background. I try to represent each characters race and background to the best of my ability.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Quentin Holmes

Author, entrepreneur and brand creator, Quentin “Q” Holmes has dedicated his life to empowering the world’s youth through trendsetting literature, media, and fashion. The son of a hard-working father whose career advancement moved the family to nearly every region of the country, Quentin gained exposure to people from all walks of life. Quentin earned his bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Michigan, further enriching his perspective on social diversity. 

The Real Street Kidz book series, created in 2009, promotes positive life messages to modern day youth. Examples of multiculturalism, along with heightening positive individual differences to achieve success, are a continuous theme across the books of this exceptional series. This type of awareness builds reading patterns of success for kids everywhere. Through reading Chasing Action, Art of Authenticity, and Good Ideas, Quentin hopes that kids will begin thinking “outside the box” and realize that teamwork and individuality are the greatest formula for success. 

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write?

In high school I wrote my first poem. It was well received by my teacher and the class. It was at that moment that I discovered I had a talent for writing, I viewed writing as a good way to creatively express myself, and I also learned that writing was a great way to connect with and inspire people.

BPM: Why did you decide to write a multicultural children’s book series?
In 2009, I developed a children’s brand called the Real Street Kidz, which captures the real essence of modern preteens who have broken out of society’s stereotypical boxes and embraced new trendsetting styles, fashions and interests of kids in other cultures. Multiculturalism, along with the heightening of positive individual differences for success, is a key theme across the books in this series. It is this type of awareness that builds a pattern of success for kids everywhere, no matter their background. Through reading Chasing Action, Art of Authenticity, and Good Ideas, I hope that kids will begin to think “outside the box” and realize that teamwork and individuality is the greatest formula for success.

BPM: Why should parents buy these books for their children?
Filled with colorful characters, rising action and page-turning suspense, the Real Street Kidz series and its accompanying website gives preteens, as well as anyone involved with young people, easy-to-read, empowering and entertaining lessons on friendship, teamwork, social diversity, and overcoming adversity.

BPM: Please introduce us to your new Real Street Kidz book, Good Ideas.
Q, Jazz, Chase, Ginger, Los, Kawena, and Lucky, are the adventure seeking Real Street Kidz. An extraordinary group of kids who live life in a big way and prove that you’re never too young to make a difference. During the summer the Real Street Kidz Chased Action and mastered the Art of Authenticity, but with the arrival of a new school semester the RSK are in serious need of Good Ideas. The kids are immediately faced with frustrating challenges from a rigid new school’s “Pilot Program,” that includes excessive pop-quizzes, strict dress codes, and a disgusting “healthy choice” menu. 

Things really get worse when their old rival Junior puts the entire school in jeopardy with his “Me First” re-election campaign for school president. Q and Jazz decide to run against him to stop Junior’s reckless campaign from ruining the student body, but that’s when things become even worse! The entire school becomes divided and everyone is desperate for an infusion of Good Ideas to help put things back together again. Whose side will the friends choose? Which side would you choose? Making the wrong choice could cost everyone a lot more than just a school election; it could cost everyone a better world!

BPM: In addition to the new book, tells us about your new Good Ideas video.
Online I found that people love to talk about what’s wrong with today’s generation. However, as I researched the good ideas being developed by pre-teen today for my new book, I became inspired by the large number of kids that were making a difference through social ideas, tech ideas, and green ideas. I decided to team up with Boys & Girls Club of Watts (California) to start a social conversation on good ideas for today’s generation of kids. 

We developed a short form video that is posted on YouTube that we hope will inspire kids around the globe to CREATE, SHARE, and PARTICIPATE in GOOD IDEAS. Take a look at the video today at YouTube.com/RealStreetKidz. Please share the video on your social networks using the hashtag #GoodIdeas. Also, please highlight the good ideas of the preteens on your social network. Together we can all inspire the next generation to make a difference and we can change the online conversation to celebrate the #GoodIdeas of today’s generation. 

BPM: Why should teachers introduce your book series into their classrooms? 
Fostering a love for reading should be a goal of every teacher. Books for many children often serve as good friends that will be cherished forever. These friends can be from any part of the world. It is the job of every teacher to make sure that every student finds that one great literature “friend”, that students can relate to on many levels. The Real Street Kidz series is helping teachers make the connections for students across the globe.

I’m confident that the Real Street Kidz books and the free Teacher’s Guides (book #1 & #2 only) will provide them with useful resources to assist them in the classroom. Through the series and this guide, I also hope that students will continue to look at character and not appearances.  Teacher’s can download the guides for free at RealStreetKidz.com.

BPM: How may our readers follow you online? 

Please visit the Quentin Holmes Amazon Author Page
http://www.amazon.com/Quentin-Holmes/e/B00J1QJ1FO 

Email: quentinholmes@hotmail.com
Author website: RealStreetKidz.com
Twitter.com/quentinholmes
Facebook.com/realstreetkidz
YouTube.com/quentinholmes

BPM: Book Clubs and Youth Group Request Interviews (In-person or via Skype Video)
Select the Real Street Kidz series for your book club meeting and Quentin will join you in person, via webcam or via speaker phone. To schedule Quentin’s visit, email him at realstreetkidz@hotmail.com

Order Real Street Kidz: Good Ideas by Quentin Holmes 
Link: http://amzn.com/0996210245




 


 


Intimate Conversation with Tracey Fagan Danzey

Tracey Fagan Danzey is an author and occasional blogger who has been described more than once as a natural storyteller. It is her passion for writing that allows her to create an experience, conjure emotions and share vivid views for her readers through her pictorial descriptions. To further pursue her craft and aspirations of becoming a published author, Tracey elevated her commitment by becoming a member of the Westport Writers’ Workshop, critique groups and book clubs. 

“Where Is The Box For Someone Like Me?” is a project that advanced in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and has since developed into Tracey’s debut novel, “Jasper’s Cafe On The Boulevard”.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
What's the best thing about being a writer? Well, that's easy for me to answer. It's being able to create lifestyles and events as I see fit. With the stroke of a pen and my generous imagination, I can allow my friends (characters) to live the reader’s dreams or to overcome common obstacles, or simply fall in love! I’ve always been described as that child with a vivid imagination! Oh . . . I was SO dramatic and everything I did was in the form of a mini-production. Whenever I told a story, people surrounded me and would cling onto my forming words.

BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject?
Yes indeed! I’m not that writer who likes to write in vain; I want to be used and inspire. It’s my intention to absolutely entertain with humor and create getaways for the reader. However, I do like to present real-life controversial situations with the hope of igniting discussions that will be corrected through dialogue. I don’t want to be a preachy writer! I prefer to be much more subtle and make the reader flush it out.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.
“Jasper’s Café,” was written to spotlight, celebrate and share the many positive aspects of Black culture, encourage women’s relationships with one another and crossing cultural groups, while bridging common gaps and sharing our strength! Equally important for me was to showcase coveted and authentic depictions of successful Black love . . . this writing would leave no doubt that we love too! I wanted to ensure that my readers would experience the purest and most transcendent relationships that I could conjure through words. It worked!  My readers have let me know that Torie’s success as both a professional and classy sexy woman worked. This combination allowed her to be the perfect match for one specific suitor. 

Quinn Matthews and Nigel Brooks have proven to be the barometers of what it takes and means to be a real man. This doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean bringing a combination of core essentials to the relationship in order to sustain it. I’m not going to give it all away, just know that you will close this book feeling inspired, warm and hopeful! 

BPM: What are some of the benefits of being an author that makes it all worthwhile?
Hands down, getting to meet so many kind and beautiful spirited women! You know, I have been on the road for the past few months promoting and sharing “Jasper’s Café On The Boulevard,” in Maryland, New York, Connecticut, etc. I am always amazed and flattered that a reader wants to spend time speaking with me. Seriously, the time that a reader is willing to devote to coming out to these events, to have read my book and further wants to share their experience with it . . . Ah! I’m tearing up. I can’t tell you what that means to any writer. I thank each of you from the core of my being! 

BPM: What are you the most thankful for now?
Very simple. I am incredibly thankful for life, getting to be among the living and living a dream like this, with people like you!

BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what's next? 

I am currently working on the sequel to “Jasper's Cafe On The Boulevard” and I’ve titled it “A View From Harlem.” Yes ladies, that chocolate surprise that was introduced later in Jasper’s Café! This sequel shares the perspective of Harlem Brooks as he struggles to shift his naughty past behavior into something positive. I really have committed my writing to celebrate our Black men and Black love, so it’s a pleasure to have a say as the author. 

Email: traceydanzey@aol.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FaganDanzey 
Website: http://www.authortraceyfagandanzey.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortraceyfagandanzey 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25073544-jasper-s-cafe-on-the-boulevard 



 


Intimate Conversation with Tracie Loveless-Hill

Tracie Loveless-Hill was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. She has been married for 26 years to the love of her life, Cedric. They have two wonderful children, both adults: Taneya and Cedric II.

Tracie attended Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi and later Hawkeye Community College, earning associates degrees in Criminal Justice and General Studies. Her plans are to further her education with hopes of attaining B.A. Degrees in Criminology and Social Work, with aspirations of working with women in and transitioning from the prison system.

Tracie has enjoyed singing with two local community gospel groups and loves to sing at weddings, funerals, and other social events. Her hobbies include writing, collecting porcelain dolls and elephants with their trunks pointing upwards--a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Her latest achievement's was putting a fully operating media center in her church for the community. But the biggest joys in her life are curling up with a good novel, listening to traditional gospel music, working for the betterment of her community, or just spending time with those she loves the most: her family.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?

I have always loved to write. Poetry, short stories, etc.... I even wrote poems for my college newspaper. I really begin to write seriously after becoming disabled. But I had no idea that anyone would be interested in my stories or what I had to say.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you? 
When I am writing it is like when you first fall in love, especially when I am in a zone. It is like an emotional high for me. There is no better feeling than to write what is in your heart and to get it out, To make it all come together.

BPM: Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change?
No. You should never apologize or regret what has come from your soul.

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner?
Patience. I had to learn patience. Because things do not come to you overnight. Money, recognition, fans, etc...none of it comes before you put in the work.

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
Being able to evoke emotions in the reader. When that reader closes that book you want them to be able to take a deep breath and feel satisfied. Like they have been on a roller coaster of a journey.

BPM: At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
When I realized that writing made me feel good. But when people come up to me and tell me that one of my books have helped them through something, something difficult. One young man said that this book helped him through his mother's death. And a young woman in her 30's died from cancer. She loved the book so much that her family actually placed it in her hands in her casket. My mother died from cancer and believe me this took me away. It made me realize that what I was doing meant something.

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the characters.
Acts of Betrayal is a Christian Fiction  novel with a street edge. Michael and Lorece Moreland were high school sweethearts. Their faith is truly tested when they hit upon hard times. The meet a Bishop and his very well known in the community and extremely aggressive wife. She promises to take their 5 children in until they are able to get on their feet. In the process secrets comes out about past lives. And they are in for a fight when they have to go up against the Bishop and his wife.

BPM: What would you like to accomplish after this book is released?

To be honest more fans. I have places a full access media center in my church for our community. It is for children as well as adult's that do not have access to computers. And I have every type of book that you want to read in it. Law, Black History, Biographies and so on. I feel that more books will allow me to do more in my community.

Order Acts of Betrayal by Tracie Loveless-Hill
Link: http://amzn.com/1622868072  

Order Preying Time by Tracie Loveless-Hill
Link: http://amzn.com/1601626711 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Nicole Hampton

Born in the South Suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, Nicole Hampton’s love for reading developed at an early age. She often spent hours becoming lost in the worlds of characters of her favorite books. Reading offered an opportunity for Nicole to dream about life outside of her community and fed her desire to want to explore the world beyond her modest surroundings. Wanting to find a way to help people see the struggles in their lives differently, Nicole wrote skits and plays for her church that addressed real life issues, and helped people to see God in their situations. The accolades given by those who saw her plays fueled her determination to write her first novel, Glimmer in the Darkness, and continue to address issues that occur in day-to-day life. 

Nicole earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work, and utilizes the skills and knowledge learned to address the issues presented in her debut novel in a manner that allows people to connect and understand the struggles of her characters. Nicole lives in North Carolina, is a dedicated wife and mother of six, who spends any time she can snatch, developing characters and story lines to share with her readers. 

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? 

My desire to become an author developed in 2006. It was a long process getting from having a thought to actually writing a novel. When I finally built up the nerve and become serious, I took writing courses and was surprised to find out that I knew quite a bit about the process. I didn’t stop there, I have attended as many workshops as I possibly could about writing and publishing and sought the advice of other authors and people in the writing and publishing business. Doing those things was a great investment of my time and resources. It took a couple of years to actually finish Glimmer in the Darkness, but I learned a lot during the process; the most important being how to become disciplined with my time. 

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?

When I write, I feel empowered and a deep sense of satisfaction that I have not ever felt with my other profession. I write, because I want to touch the lives of others on a larger scale. I am driven by wanting to do what I never thought imaginable, that is to live my life with no regrets, to dare to dream and be willing to fail a time or two, along the path leading to my idea of success.

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner?

The largest hurdle I have had to overcome is being afraid of rejection. I had to come to the realization that I could write the most beautiful novel ever created, and someone will still find fault with it. There will always be someone who will not like it. Another major obstacle that I had to overcome is time. My life prior to writing a novel was extremely busy with meeting the needs of my family and working a full time job. However, I had to learn to make time for myself and pursue what I found to be important.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and characters.

My debut novel, Glimmer in the Darkness will take readers into the life of Shannon Johnson, who much like the rest of us, poured her everything into her family. So much so, that she didn't realize that part of her family unit was suffering, until the unthinkable occurred.

Daniel Johnson, is Shannon’s hard working husband, who is a great provider, but does not do well with communicating his needs to his wife. Daniel feels unappreciated and opens a door in his marriage that he will never be able to close.

Vaneetra James, is the bane of Shannon’s existence. Her presence in Shannon’s and Daniels life, has brought about earth shaking challenges.

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? Why?

Glimmer in the Darkness is a women’s contemporary fiction novel. At this time, I have not written in any other genres, but have plans to write children’s book, one in particular to address traumatic injury. I would one day love to write mystery and suspense novels.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?

After reading this book, readers should encourage their friends to buy and read Glimmer in the Darkness, so that they can have a conversation about the real life issues addressed in it.

BPM: What are your career goals as a writer? Have you accomplished most of them?

My number one career goal is to be able to write full time. After I accomplish that, I plan to write across a couple of different genres. Overall, my goal is for any book I write to help the reader in some form or fashion. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Return2Sender 
by Curtis Anthony Brittingham, Sr.

Coming Winter 2016

“Return2Sender” is the first release of phenomenal author Curtis Anthony Brittingham. A true story, it is riveted with the real life and after life experiences of Curtis Anthony Brittingham who was shot nine times, pronounced dead, experienced Heaven and brought back to earth by the Almighty God. 

Years later, Curtis has agreed to share his miraculous story of pain, desperation, life and hope. Growing up in the streets of Trenton, New Jersey, the author shares his testament and faith in a town that held both good and horrific memories. Not only does the author share this true story, he captures the hearts of each reader by making his story relatable to others. Inspirational is just the beginning of what the author delivers to his readers. 

Most importantly is the author’s clear instruction to return those things that you don’t want to accept in your life back to the sender! A must read you don’t want to miss!

Meet the Author
Curtis Anthony Brittingham, Sr. is a native of Trenton, New Jersey. He matriculated at Philadelphia Bible College, and Luther Rice Theological Seminary. Once under the leadership of City of Refuge and the didactical Bishop Noel Jones, Mr. Brittingham has pastored in Union City, Georgia. 

These days, Mr. Britingham evangelizes across the United States and abroad. One of the most profound preachers of the gospel, he most enjoys ministering one on one with his prophetic gifts and letting others know that regardless of your circumstances, “You Can Make It!” 

 

 

 


Go On Girl! Book Club - National Chapters

Responses submitted by Willette Hill. Willette is the Corresponding Secretary for the Go On Girl! (GOG) Book Club. As the Corresponding Secretary, Willette writes letters to the authors and publishers based on members' review of the books on the GOG reading list. Willette is the facilitator of the DC1 chapter and is a member of the organization's Executive Committee. She also chairs the book club's National Awareness Committee and is a member of the book club's Reading List Committee. With the exception of a three-year break, she has been a member of GOG since 1993. 

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! When did your group begin, what year? How many members do you have? 
The Go On Girl! Book Club is the largest national reading organization in the U.S. for black women. Our national headquarters are in New York. In 1991, founders Monique Greenwood, Lynda Johnson and Tracy Mitchell-Brown decided to turn their office chat about the latest offerings from Black authors into formal book discussions with their immediate circle of girlfriends in New York City. 

At the end of the club's first year, Evalyn Rose Hamilton relocated from New York to her native Washington, D.C., and the second chapter of the Go On Girl! Book Club was born. Since 1992, more than 30 chapters have sprung up across the country in much the same way — started by former members relocating to new cities or by members' relatives and friends living in other or the same cities. 

Chapters are limited to 12 members to keep meetings intimate and manageable. In 1995, the club became a legally incorporated non-profit organization, and it currently boasts more than 300 members in cities across the country. We currently have chapters in Alabama, California, DC, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington and Virginia. 

The overall agenda, goals and duties of the organization are administered by an executive committee of 10 women: Lynda Johnson (Co-founder/Chair and Media/Author Relations Chair), Vivian Phillips-Husband and Shirley Coker (Co-Chairs); Valeria Porterfield (Recording Secretary); Evalyn Rose Hamilton (Historian); Tracy Grady (Treasurer); Willette Hill (Corresponding Secretary); Elaine Spears (Parliamentarian); Judy Ivory (Membership Chair) and Joyce Williams (Reading List Chair).

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? 

Our purpose: To expand the members' personal literary experience by:
* Reading quality works written by authors of Black African descent
* Reading a selection of titles that vary in genre from new and classic fiction to science-fiction/fantasy and mystery to social commentary and history to autobiographies/biographies

To encourage responsible writing and publishing of literature written by people of Black African descent by:
* Providing book reviews and letters of encouragement to authors and publishers
* Presenting recognition awards for outstanding literary works
* Purchasing books preferably from African-American booksellers
* Supporting literary events
* Making group investments towards worthy literary endeavors

To provide an open forum for the exchange of ideas and opinions by:
* Having monthly book discussions
* Networking with other book clubs and literary organizations

To expose the Black African Diaspora to literature written by people of Black African descent by:
* Sponsoring Junior Go On Girl! book clubs for young girls
* Hosting/sponsoring literary events on our own or jointly with other organizations and institutions
* Sponsoring/supporting Community Literacy Projects

To strengthen the world community's recognition of literature written by people of Black African descent by:
* Partnering with media outlets to showcase Go On Girl! book selections, discussions, and events in print, radio and television

* Maintaining a comprehensive website that features the complete list of Go On Girl! book selections and award winning authors

BPM: Tell us about your members. What is the demographic of your group? How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
GOGs range in age from twentysomething to sixtyplus and they have varied professional backgrounds and personal interests. Each chapter is unique, but what we all share is a love of reading books by authors of the Black diaspora and our love for the Go On Girl sisterhood.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
Our Reading List Committee researches and puts together a list of books it feels will be of interest to our members. Every chapter reads the book assigned for that month. The reading list is created twice a year. While our focus for each meeting is the discussion of that month's book, it is common for members to discuss other books of interest at our meetings. 

We use social media to share our featured books with other readers and members in other GOG chapters. In addition to our organization's website, GOG has a Twitter handle, a Facebook page, a Goodreads page, and a Pinterest page. And we will soon launch a GOG blog.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
GOGs like variety. We have discovered that having books on our reading list from a variety of genres ensures that our members will read books that they might not otherwise read and be introduced to new authors. Our reading list contains titles from the following genre categories: anthology, short story, new author, classic fiction, novel/pop fiction, science-fiction/fantasy, mystery, social commentary, history, and autobiography/biography.

BPM: Do you write and post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
The Corresponding Secretary sends a letter to the author and the publisher. During the chapter meeting, members complete a questionnaire and send it to the Corresponding Secretary. She uses the members' feedback to write a letter to the author and publisher of the book. It's rare that a book on our reading list is disliked by all GOGs. Some books are enjoyed by a majority of GOGs; some books are enjoyed only by a few. When writing to the author, the Corresponding Secretary strives to write a balanced letter. She lets the author know what members liked; she uses phrases such as "we were confused as to why …" or "we weren't clear about …" or "some of our members didn't like …" to let the author know what didn't work for us. Members also post comments on our members-only Facebook page and our members-only Goodreads page. 

BPM: What are you reading now? What books are on your reading schedule?
Our book for September is Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith. This is his first book, so he is our New Author category. His book, as well as all other books, were voted on by our Reading List Committee for our July through December list. October's book will be The Sport of the Gods by Paul Laurence Dunbar in our classic category. November's book will be The Granta Book of the African Short Story by Helon Habila in our anthology category. 

And in December, rounding out the year in our autobiography/biography category will be Eslandia: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson by Barbara Ransby. In October, the Reading List Committee will begin looking for books for our January through July reading list.

BPM: Do you host special events during the year? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?
YES! GOG hosts an annual Author Awards Weekend held in a different city every year and attended by all the chapters in the organization. Members vote for a winning author in two categories: New Author of the Year and Author of the Year. The winning authors are invited to attend our Author Awards Weekend. The chapter(s) in the designated city is our host chapter. At the author awards lunch (or dinner), the authors are given a handmade plaque especially designed for them. 

Our Author Awards Weekend serves two purposes: it gives our members a chance to express our love and appreciation to the winning authors, and it provides all the chapters a chance to get together to meet/greet and express love for our literary sisterhood. Interviews of our winning authors are published in an annual GOG Magajournal and distributed to our members. 

In between the author awards luncheon or dinner, GOGs enjoy the hospitality and activities that our host chapters plan for us. In 2016, we're excited to be celebrating our 24th Annual Awards Weekend and our 25th Anniversary as a book club in New Orleans, June 2-5. Our website, www.GoOnGirl.org has the details. 

Many of our members socialize outside of our book club meetings. Chapter members also attend author readings and signings in their area to support our writers. For the past two years we have worked collectively with the NAACP by reading, reviewing, and voting for books being considered for their Literary Image Awards. Some of the authors on our reading list were discovered from participating in this project.

BPM: Which is the preferred way to find new books: a friend's recommendation; on social media; or advertisement for the book, such as: online radio, newsletter eblast, contests or tagging on FB?
Members of the Reading List Committee use any and all resources available to find books for our reading list. We scour the internet, read book reviews in magazines (online and paper), listen to interviews and check literary websites, publisher websites, blogs, etc. Sometimes we get book recommendations from GOGs, friends; sometimes authors reach out to us. We're forever searching for that next good book.

BPM: Would you like to chat with your favorite authors on Skype, FaceTime or over the phone? 

YES! GOG has a public Facebook page, as well as a GOG-only page and our members post comments about the books we're reading. We also have a Goodreads page and a Pinterest page. Last but not least, GOGs tweet. Chapters have invited authors to book club meetings and have had phone discussions with authors as well. 

BPM: How can we follow you online? 
Our website:  http:// www.GoOnGirl.org 
Follow us on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/gogbookclub 
Our Facebook page:  http:// www.facebook.com/GoOnGirlBookClub 
Our Goodreads page:  http:// www.goodreads.com/group/show/31026-go-on-girl-book-club 

 

 



Keisha the Librarian - Suburban Chicago

Keisha Hester is a librarian residing in Chicago. She connects readers with books on a daily basis, and is in the process of writing of her first novel. 

BPM: Please tell us about your work in the library. Are libraries still connecting readers with books?
KH: I’m currently a department manager in a suburban Chicago public library, overseeing instruction and research services for teens and adults. Part of that work is connecting readers with books (readers’ advisory) and leading book discussions. I also schedule classes and events for teens and adults, which includes bringing in instructors to teach our fiction writing classes. 

If nothing else, our library has books. This is not true in some cases, as budgets have fallen and no purchases of newer materials can be made. However, though we cannot buy every book ever printed, we are tapped into a network of libraries throughout the state and country and are likely to be able to obtain material for the reader. Furthermore, we are likely to know about forthcoming books and can put the reader on alert for it once they are published.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?

KH: Certainly we expect that everyone has read the book, even if they don’t like it. Far too often we think we have to like a book, agree with it 100%, in order to discuss it. In actuality, those who have some parts with which they disagree feed into the discussion, because more facets to the story come about to consider. Reading guides help to get a discussion started, however those questions tend to be more esoteric than anything. When we read books, we want to connect the story to our lives, our own experiences, no matter how fictional. We insert ourselves into the plot lines and begin thinking about the character’s next move as if the character were us. Reading guide questions, I’ve found, don’t really delve this deeply into the personal aspects of connecting the reader to the story.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?

KH: Decide the ground rules from day one. If your group will actually discuss the book at length, then requirement number one is that everyone reads it. If it will be more social in nature, then pick books that are light and quicker to read. Also, feel free to totally judge a book by its cover! If it is aesthetically appealing to you, chances are higher that you will read it to completion.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors?

KH: My only preference for the type of book that I read is that it is a good story. Everything that I read, whether personally or professionally, helps me to connect readers with books they might like. It’s what being a librarian is about. I have chosen not to specialize in one genre because I just love reading. There are so many ways to tell a story and I don’t want to miss out! I absolutely support self-published authors, though I wish more of them would take the time to understand what makes a book publishable. Sadly, many that we receive as donations for our collection have failed to go through any creditable editing process. They don’t understand that it’s more than just writing it and selling it on Amazon through CreateSpace. While I don’t want to be a book snob, I want self-published authors to realize that there are publishing standards that apply no matter how the book was produced. When those standards are followed, it adds an air of authority that the book will stand the test of time and continue to be read many, many years into the future.

BPM: Do you host special events during the year?

KH: We sure do! My library offers two writing classes, one for beginners and one for more seasoned writers, both hosted by award-winning, national bestselling authors. These courses help people to find their voice and tell their story. We will also host author showcases and other literary events to get people interested in other authors.

BPM: Which is your preferred way to find new books?
KH: I don’t have a preferred method, as working in a library affords me the opportunity to get pre-publishing information on lots of great titles. We are always talking about books. My patrons will also come in and tell me about books they’ve read and ask for others by certain authors.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore?  
KH: I primarily get my books through the library! I will purchase those that have made the greatest impact on my life that I would want to read again and again. And as much as I want everyone to go out and purchase the book from the author so that the author makes a sale, this just isn’t possible for everyone to do. So libraries stand in that gap. You may have a library patron who has to make the choice between buying a book or buying food. It doesn’t mean that this person forgoes all pleasures of life, including reading, but that there are other decisions to be made from the choices at hand. Being able to borrow a book from the library still exposes the reader to great writers, and is a way to track how many times that book has been shared. We do sometimes turn this data around and approach publishers, and authors, with it letting them know there is a demand for a particular work. We will also use this data to bring the author into the library for an event or class, giving them more of a platform to share their work.

BPM: How do ebooks play into this? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
KH: Libraries now offer ebooks through various platforms to patrons, though not every ebook is available for libraries to purchase. The publishers have placed certain restrictions on their digital works, which is unfortunate. Personally, I would never stop buying printed books. Here’s why: you don’t actually own the digital book itself in some cases. Publishers can essentially encrypt files to self-destruct after a certain time period, as it were, which is what happens when you borrow it from a library. After the loan period is up, you can no longer access the ebook unless you check it out again. And the platform that you use to access that ebook could also go away. What would you do with the files then, if the platform used to access them no longer existed? With the printed word, all you have to do is go to your book shelf, pull it off, sit down, and read!

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions?
KH: I would love to be part of future events! Please do invite me.
Instagram: thatotherkeisha
Facebook: www.facebook.com/keisha.thelibrarian

 




Books and Booze - Chicago 

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! What is the name? Where are you located? 
I'm Lutisha Bass from the Books and Booze Book Club. We are based in Chicago, IL. A few of us have known each other for years and knew we shared a love for reading. One day our founder, Jomonique Moore, posted a request online asking anyone if they'd be interested in forming a book club. The response was great and we've been meeting ever since. That was over a year ago to date. Our first meeting was Aug 2014. We have 62 online members that join our chats via social media. However, we have 15 members who come out face-to-face every meeting. We have not elected any officials for the group. 

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group?  
A: The genre of our books vary. I would like to see our group venture off into possibly making our own 'books n'booze guide to 'Owning your own kind of beautiful, self love and empowering women' kind of guide. Some of the experiences we've shared with each other has the capability to reach other women in a positive way. I really don't know if the types books have change over time.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? 
A: Primary way to find a book: Usually I stick with the authors of books that I've previously read and enjoyed BUT if I step outside of that norm I seek the recommendations of friends/associates whose opinions I value.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? 
A: Our next read is Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely. How we work is, the person who chooses to host the meeting at their home chooses the book. We never know exactly why they pick certain books unless they share at the meeting. Also, so far, we don't have a reading schedule. Everyone likes the element of surprise of not knowing what's coming next. 

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
A: Great characters will help a book remain in the mind long after the last page. If you can't remember the characters you are less likely to remember what they did. 

BPM: Do you host special events during the year? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?
A: We don't host special events outside of our reading meetings. However, many of our members belong to other groups. We try to support our members in their other endeavors. It is always great to show support to our artists, musicians, and other authors of the group. We are planning to host an annual summer picnic for family and friends of Books and Booze.  

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them?
A: The only problem we've faced is scheduling our meetings. With everyone leading fruitful and busy lives everyone is not always available. We are now trying to be a static date, like the last Sunday every other month, to meet so people can plan their lives around the block club date.

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions?
I would love to be part of future events! Please do invite me.

 

 

 

 


TaNisha Webb - KC Girlfriends Book Club 

TaNisha Webb is the president of the award winning KC Girlfriends Book Club. TaNisha is also the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Book Club 101 Magazine, founder of Book Club 101 University and author of The Ultimate Book Club Experience: How to Create & Maintain a Successful Book Club.

BPM: Please tell us about your blog, bookstore or book club! Where are you located? 
KC Girlfriends Book Club is located in the Kansas City Metropolitan area. Our book club was established in 2002 by a group of girlfriends that decided to create a book club to discuss their favorite authors’ books. In 2003, our book club dwindled down to two members due to various reasons. The sole original member and I decided to advertise the book club on a local social event calendar and our book club grew from two members to forty-one members within one and one-half years. We are now at a comfortable and dedicated twelve members at this time.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events?
The purpose of the KC Girlfriends Book Club is to support new and underexposed authors. The books we discuss have to be written by an African American author or the main character has to be African American. Our book club have supported authors by coordinating literary events and sponsoring book signings in our area.

BPM: What has the main focus become over the years? What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
I believe our main focus over the years has been to shine a spotlight on new and underexposed author by providing years of our book selections on our website, which has provided free marketing for authors. We were also one of the first book clubs to have our own online radio show that provided opportunities for new and underexposed authors a platform to share their work, along with our literary events and sponsored book signing opportunities throughout the years.

BPM: Tell us about your blog and any contributing members. What is the demographic of your group? 
Our group is made up of all women, although we’ve had a few men join our group over the years. The age range of our group is from late-20’s to mid- 50’s.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Has it been difficult to get people to join the group or to stay in the group? 
As a KC Girlfriends Book Club member you have to be able to meet on a regular basis and keep up with the selected reading material. We look for members that is willing to help us coordinate and/or host events as well. Because we have a strong internet presence with our website we do not have any difficulties finding new members. We have an application process to help us initially figure out who would be a good fit for our book club. The applicant is invited to sit into our next book club meeting to see if we all mesh. We only accept fifteen members at one time. 

We’ve had members come and go for personal reasons over the year. Some come back and some don’t. Our former members are still family and are welcome to come back. Ultimately, we’re not concerned how big or small our book club is but more focused on attracting the right members to help sustain our book club for 13+ more years!

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?

The first thing that makes a good book discussion is when all of the members have read the entire book. Regardless if the book is good or bad you really can’t have any discussion if no one has read the entire book. Having a group in various age range also helps with having a great discussion because everyone has different prospective versus a group that’s the same age. Coed book clubs probably have better book clubs than same sex book clubs because men will bring an entirely different prospective to a discussion. 

All good book clubs will generally roam off topic! LOL Generally this happens because we’ll begin to discuss our own personal experience that the book reminded us. These particular part of the discussions actually helps book clubs to become like family because we learn more about one another when we discuss our personal experiences. 

A good facilitator will know when to move the discussion along. For our book club the reading guide doesn’t help our discussions at all because we’re already thinking of questions as we’re reading the book. We’ve never gotten through even half of the questions of a reading guide because we will generally think of better questions to ask, which will take the discussion in an entirely different direction. However, reading guides can be very helpful for new book clubs.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month?  Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?

The past 3-4 years have been rough for our book club due to the poor book selections so this past year we decided to change the way we select books. We now select a book theme/genre and the facilitator has to select three books that fit that particular theme/genre. Our book club then vote on an online poll and whichever book gets the most votes is selected. All of our book club members read outside of our book selection but we do not discuss other books other than our book selection with one another. I generally will share what our book club is reading on the day we meet. All of our book selections are listed on our website as well.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? 
Our book club mainly read books by authors of color but over this past year we have allowed books by other authors as long as the main character is of color. Our main reason for this is because we read new and underexposed authors and sometimes the selections are very slim and we’ve quite frankly have had way too many bad experiences with book selections over the past 3-4 years. 

We do support self-published authors and have had the pleasure of watching many grow into well-established authors over the years. Some of us do borrow books from the library. The library can be a great resource for book clubs and it also helps some of our members that may not be able to afford to purchase books all the time.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read? Have the types of books changed over time?
We read all books except poetry, most autobiographies, erotica and street lit.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? What books are on your reading schedule?
We’re currently reading Supreme Justice by Gary Hardwick. I’m not sure how one of our members heard about this particular book but we’re all connected to social media, attend literary events and also take suggestions from other book clubs and readers. We do not have any other books on our schedule for this year. We will begin selection books for 2016 soon and generally try to have at least four months of books selected at a time.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? What are some things you would like to see at events? Any dislikes? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book?
We like attending book signings, literary festivals and events. Our book club generally learn about new and underexposed authors at various literary events and tend to suggest the books of the authors that we meet and like as book selections.

Honestly, I really think it depends on the type of event on what I like to see. I do like events that introduce new authors that have well-written books. Those are the authors I tend to look for at events and not so much of the well-known authors (outside of the ones that I’m a real fan.) 

I do not like events that are not well balanced and do not understand who their audience is. There’s absolutely no reason to have the majority of panel discussions focused on the publishing industry/marketing when your audience are primarily readers and book clubs. I do like to her authors read from their book but no more than five minutes.

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors? Do you like to find new authors and interact online? 

Interacting with authors on social media has definitely changed my perspective both good and bad. I think some authors share way too much about their personal and sometimes professional issues that have no place on social media and definitely changes my view on them. I’m not interested in knowing every aspect of anyone’s life, including authors. However, there are some authors that give you just enough and are quite pleasant online that enjoy quite a bit. I do like finding new authors and interacting with them online.

BPM: How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?
Website: www.kcgirlfriendsbookclub.com 
Book Club 101 Magazine’s website www.bookclub101mag.com
Twitter: KC_Girlfriends
Instagram: tanishawebb1
Facebook: KCGirlfriendsBookClub

 




Reading with Soul - Columbus, Ohio

BPM:  Please tell us about your bookclub. How did you come together as a group?
My name is Sheryl Towns, President of "Reading With Soul." We are located in Columbus, Ohio. Reading has always been a passion. I had friends, family and co-workers who read all the time. We would share books and discuss them whenever we got together. I was a member of a bookclub previously and I realized I wanted to join another bookclub, but then I choose to start my own. I made fliers, posting them in places where you would see readers (hair salon/work).

In November, 2006 we had our first meeting at Barnes and Noble. We started with five members. Those same five ladies are still members. Our membership has been up and down. Thank God we are blessed to have a total of nine members.

BPM: I love the photos submitted with the interview and how you submitted the interview! 
Thank you.  Each member has answered a question for this interview.  The two pictures shown are from a recent event with author EN Joy and the next photo is from one of our meetings. We had two very special guests, Joy who is an honorary member of our book club and the author of a book we read that recently D. L Augustine. 

BPM: What is the purpose of your organization?
Our purpose is to give back to the community and to read for enjoyment, enrichment and knowledge. -Pat, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
We are in an age range from 40's and up. Some have known each other over the years and become close over time. We all seem so much like family and have a great time during each meeting. You will always feel the love we have for each other.  -Sandy, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Which is the preferred way to find new books: a friend’s recommendation; on social media, or advertisement for a book, such as; online radio, newsletter e-blast, contests or tagging on FaceBook?
My preferred method of finding new books is by going through the books recommended to me on my Kindle e-reader. These selections are based on the types of books that I have purchased previously; I have found a lot of good books that way. However, if I don’t like any of the books recommended to me on the Kindle e-reader; I will ask friends and family about the books they are currently reading or have read in the past. Recently, I have found a couple of good books based on advertisements on my Facebook timeline. -Keisha M. Flood, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
We can read books by any author, but we mostly read authors of color. Yes, I will support self-published authors, yes will borrow from the library as well as downloading onto my Kindle. -Debbie, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
The key factors that I look for and remain long after the last page are, when a book club member relates, and feel happy or sad for a character, or when we want to just say a prayer for when the pain of a character effects our soul.
-JoAnna Clark, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore?
I prefer to read hard copy books, because I prefer to read hard copy books and keep them as keepsakes. The price of the books does not matter to me. I would not stop buying hard copies and I doubt that I would switch to digital books permanently.  -Deanne Payne, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation?
In my opinion a book that contains controversial characters; characters that some will like and others will dislike. I also think the topic of the book will make for good book club conversation.  -Monte, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities?
We haven't hosted any special events yet that invite outside guest. For our charitable giving, and as our way of giving back and supporting the community, since our book club started we have been involved with a homeless family shelter. A couple times a year we purchase food, cook and serve the residents. In addition to that, we donate items and gift cards to this shelter.  -Leslie, Reading with Soul Member




 

 


Chocolate Beauties - Pontiac, Michigan

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! What is the name? Where are you located? 
We are the Chocolate Ceauties Cookclub  located in Pontiac, Michigan.  We were established in 2010 by our president/founder Angela Hunt.  Currently we have 14 members.

BPM: what is the purpose for your organization?
We are a sisterhood of fun loving, reading women.  The Chocolate Beauties purpose:
• To have a strong, positive and divine sisterhood
• To uplift and not tear one another down
• To push each other forward when we are stuck in our situations
• To encourage each other to reach our goals
• To pray for one another
• To fellowship and have fun
• And of course to discuss the book of the month

BPM: Tell us about your members. What is the demographic of your group? 
We are all African American women (single, married, mothers, working, 35 years or older)  Our Group Personality: good hearted, comedians, some what serious – great combination that works together

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Has it been difficult to get people to join the group or to stay in the group? 
New members should love to read, ready to share, ready to have fun, enjoy working with the community and be dedicated.  We try to stay away from negative people.  Our membership goes up and down due to work, schedules and/or loss of interest. There is no online version of the group.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
A good book club conversation is when the whole group has read the book and comes to the meeting ready to share their thoughts, opinions, personal feelings and/or what they thought should have happened in the book. The questions in the back of the book helps, but the members generally come with their set of questions.  Side bar conversations are not allowed in the meeting…..helps to keep the meeting on track.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
• Our books are generally selected by the hostess for the meeting.
• Some members have time to read outside of the book of the month.
• As of today, we do not use social media to share our featured books with other readers.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
• 100% of the books that we read are by authors of color.
• Yes we support self-published authors.
• Yes, some members borrow books from the library.

BPM: What type of books have generated the most interesting discussions? Why?
True, gritty stories (storylines where the members can relate.)

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons?
The Stalker Chronicle Series by Electa Rome Parks;  The Man In 3B, Family Business Series, and the Choir Director Series all by Carl Weber.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book?
We are reading “The Ties That Bind” by Electra Rome Parks. Next readings are selected by the meeting hostess.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? 
We as a group will be attending our 1st book signing on November 8th. However, some members have attended book signings prior to joining the book club.

BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?
No special events are held. However, we held a celebration in July 2015 to celebrate our 5th year anniversary.  Yes, we get together as a group outside of book club meeting to attend other social events and to support fellow book club members in their community activities.

BPM: What is the preferred way to find new book?
Most books are selected/found via book club members or friends.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer to read digital books? Does the price of ebooks play a big part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
Members are responsible for purchasing their books. Most are purchased online and/or in bookstores. Some members use/have the Kindle reader. Cost/price does not play a part in book selection/purchase. Yes, we will continue to purchase printed books.

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them?
We have had an issue with members keeping their personal woes out of the meetings and/or group. Generally the President will have a 1 on 1 with them.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?
• Be patient
• Keep mess and messy people out
• Enjoy the fellowship/sisterhood
• Have fun

BPM: How can we follow you online? 
Facebook: CHOCOLATEBEAUTIES BOOKCLUB


 

 



Sisters With Books - Los Angeles California

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How many members do you have? 
We are "SISTERS WITH BOOKS." We are located in Los Angeles California. Our group began in 1995. A group of black women mainly educators decided they wanted to discuss books after they've read them. On roll, we have 25, we average 15 to 20 every month.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Does the name have a special meaning?
The purpose of our reading club is sisterhood, and to read books written by black women. We have made exceptions: Leonard Pitts, Amy Tan, Daniel Black, and Guy Johnson.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group?
Sisters With Books consist of black women, ages 40's 50's 60's and 70's. We're high energy, love to debate and generous.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? 
We have an open door policy. Our core members have been constant (15 members) we read a book a month, which can be challenging for some women who have younger children. If you're an introvert, Sisters With Books probably is not the group for you.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
A twist in a story leads to a good book club discussion. Loving Donanvan by Bernice Mcfadden, lead to a discussion about our black men, and how so many of them have not been taught. We almost always have "side bars," a OJ SIMPSON TRIAL TERM. Each facilitator is different. We have some pretty creative women, a reading guide is good but not necessary.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? 
We select our books for the next year in November. We don't meet in December, because that month gets busy with holiday activities. When suggesting a book, it should have been read by the person recommending. We have side books that are put on an alternative list. The side books don't necessarily get discussed in our group. Two or three will get together outside the group. Our group of women are just becoming social media friendly.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you borrow books from the library?
Authors of color, absolutely. We feel we're their voice. Pamela Samuels is one of our favorite authors. She has been brave enough to come to our book circle. The library is our friend. It can be costly purchasing a book every month. Most of the women have a Kindle or iPad, but everyone agrees, there's nothing like holding an actual book.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group?  
We love historical fiction, we don't do well with biography, although Dorothy Dandridge was well received. We have a tendency of going back to our favorite authors: Bernice McFadden, Pamela Samuels Young, Ayana Mathis, Pearl Cleage, Anita Buckley, Dolen P. Valdez,Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant. Leonard Pitts, Dwayne Smith, and Daniel Smith. 

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
In "Freeman" the charcter's quest to find his wife.
In "12 Tribes of Hattie" each character could have been a book.
In "Silver Sparrow " we knew of someone living a double life.

BPM: Do you post book reviews? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
Individuals have posted reviews. We give suggestions and identify what we didn't agree with. In 2011, Sisters With Books participated in DIGG INTO BOOKS web show, created by 4 Hearts Productions. It can be found on YouTube

BPM: What type of books have generated the most interesting discussions? Why?
The historical fiction "Wench" was the book we discussed on YouTube slavery vs enslaved. "Gathering of Waters" by Bernice McFadden, spirits, and so many of the women experienced spirits. "Before I Forget" by Leonard Pitts Jr., a Blackman realizing he wasn't a good father.

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons?
FREEMAN by Leonard Pitts Jr.
Before I Forget by Leonard Pitts Jr.
Loving Donovan by Bernice McFadden
What Looks like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? 
We
're reading 40 Acres bybDwayne Smith, a recommendation from a book club member.  Next up: 
1. My Name is Butterfly by Bernice McFadden
2. Murder at Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey
3. Balm by Dolen P. Valdez 

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? 
Love book signings and love to hear the author read from their book. We've had the privilege of having: 
Anita Buckely, Dwayne Smith, Pamela Samuels Young and Eric Jerome Dickey.

BPM: Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?
We've attended Alvin Ailey dance performance of "Stormy Weather" a Lena Horn play.  Attended a garden tour. Attended an opera performance by Lauren Michelle (a book club member's daughter who is scheduled to perform at the DC OPERA HOUSE and ST. LOUIS OPERA HOUSE next year. We're proud! We also attended the Obama Inauguration. 

BPM: Which is the preferred way to find books:  recommendations, social media or advertisements?
Recommendations are how we prefer to select books for the group and personally.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? 
I still support our community black bookstore Esowon. We give them our book list for the year and they will purchase. They also give us a discount. There are some books that can only be bought online.

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them?
One of our original book club members, lost her only child in a horrific car accident. It was in the month of June, she had just retired from teaching, her anniversary week-end and Father's Day.  We rallied around her. There are some books, that are just to difficult for our sister friend to handle. She has started attending book club again. This happened 3 years ago.We had a special meeting just to talk, it was therapeutic. This is an example of how our book club has served many purposes.

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors? 
Social media has not changed me, because I seek out new authors, new books because I love to read!

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?
Do it for the love of the written word, everything else will follow. Respect other points of view. We can agree to disagree.

BPM: Do attend Twitter chats or Facebook chats? Ever viewed a Goggle Hangout or Periscope show? 

Haven't attended chats, would love to Face Time with our favorite authors, such as Bernice Mcfadden and Leonard Pitts Jr.   

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
Sisters With Books' legacy will be black women coming together through adversity as well as celebrating each other.

 

 

 

 


Marcus Book Club - Oakland, CA 


Interview with La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson & Yolanda Smith, (original members) of Marcus Book Club (MBC)

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How did your club get started?
MBC: Marcus Book Club started in August of 1997, in Oakland, CA as a part of Marcus Book Store (the oldest, African American owned bookstore in the nation.) We gathered that first time as a group of 232 readers, divided into 6 “Chapters.”  Each Chapter met once per month, at the book store. Our first book was “My Soul To Keep” by Tananarive Due, who remains a favorite author. Over time the numbers decreased, eliminating the need for Chapters. Today we are 12 – 15 strong and meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Meetings are still held at Marcus Book Store.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Does the name have a special meaning?
MBC: Our book club’s main focus is in alignment with the tradition of Marcus Books; to read and discuss books BY and ABOUT Black People everywhere. The book club has the name of the bookstore, which was named in honor of Marcus Garvey.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
MBC: Our book club is primarily female, black and over the age of 30. We tend to be serious about great literature and sometimes have to remind ourselves to “lighten up” and make some “completely fun” book selections. We enjoy diverse opinions and lively discussions.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
MBC: A good book club discussion usually includes one or all of the following: thoughtful and diverse opinions and perspectives, a moderator who is comfortable with differing ideas and is able to bring in the less talkative members, provocative and interesting discussion questions and FUN!!! 

We often develop our own questions, but have also used reading guides. We allow for “roaming”, particularly when current events connect to our book discussion, and keep the conversation on topic to respect the reason everyone came together – to discuss the book.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
MBC: Each member is responsible for facilitating a discussion. The facilitator selects 2 – 3 books for the group to vote on and the book with the most votes is then read and discussed. We usually do not discuss books outside of our selection, but often recommend books to each other that members are reading outside of the book club. While individual members most definitely share with their networks what we are reading, we do not use social media to do this.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? 
MBC: Yes and Yes again. Occasionally, we read a book by an author who is not Black, but the topic is always about Black people. We support self-published authors. As a book club that originated out of a book store and feel very strongly about supporting independent booksellers, all book club selections are purchased from Marcus Book Store.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
MBC: We read from a variety of genres; ranging from mystery to fantasy. We read both fiction and non-fiction. The only genre that we haven’t read has been romance. This has not changed over time.

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
MBC: The key factor that usually keeps us talking about a book is usually the characters. We also find ourselves referring back to books that were very well written or helped us to see and/or understand something from a new perspective.

BPM: What types of books have generated the most interesting discussions? Why?
MBC: Books that force us to address cultural and societal issues have generated the most interesting discussions because everyone has some level of investment in the topic. It is not out of the ordinary that we will “agree to disagree” during these discussions.

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons?
MBC: This is an avid reader’s least favorite question, with so many wonderful books that have expanded our horizons. Forcing ourselves to pick, here goes….1- Men We Reaped (Jesmyn Ward), 2 -Perfect Peace (Daniel Black), 3- The Warmth of Other Suns (Isabel Wilkerson), 4 – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot), and 5 – Anybody’s Daughter (Pamela Samuels-Young.) 

BPM: What are you reading now? What books are on your reading schedule?
MBC: Right now we are reading Attica Locke’s “Pleasantville.” She has fast become a book club favorite. Up next for us are “Driving The King” by Ravi Howard and an author who is new to the book club, Bryan Stevenson (“Just Mercy.”)

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book?
MBC: Individually and as a book club, we enjoy attending book signings, literary festivals and events. Several of our members are regulars at the National Book Club Convention held in Atlanta and The United California African American Bookclubs “Fall Into Fiction Event” held each September. There is nothing like hearing the author read from the book. It often brings a better understanding of book and/or characters. Raffles and Gift Giveaways at these events are always a PLUS!

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
MBC: We purchase all our book club selections from Marcus Book Store. While most of our members also read digital books outside of the book club we would never consider not buying printed books.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who are in or who might want to start a book club?
MBC: Have fun, give everyone equal voice and be open to reading books you might not choose on your own. There have been many times when we did not like the book and had amazing discussions or developed a different appreciation for the book.

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions? How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?
MBC: We don’t have an online presence separate from the bookstore. Gives us something to consider. In the meantime you can reach us via Marcus Books on Facebook. 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/marcusbooks

Shown in the  First Picture: 
(Left to Right) Standing: Dera Williams, Freda Pleasants, Denise Crawford

(Left to Right) Seated: Yolanda Smith, Iris Brooks

Members not pictured:

Blanche Richardson (founder), Deborah Burton, Tira McDonald, Jim McDonald, Christine Munroe, Barbara Taylor, Phil Wilhite, Bernardean Broadous, Monica Brandon, Lucretia Cotton

 

 

 


Soul Sistahs Book Club - Chattanooga, TN

Soul Sistahs Book Club was founded in 2011 by Kenya Ervin of Chattanooga, TN. Initially comprised of coworkers, membership has been extended to close family and friends that share a passion for books. Soul Sistahs Book Club's mission is to promote literacy and encourage sisterhood among women of all ages and backgrounds through the love of reading and lively conversations.  Interview questions completed by Kenya Ervin, President, Soul Sistahs Book Club.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How many members do you have? 
SSBC: Soul Sistahs Book Club was founded in September 2011 by Kenya Ervin. Currently, we do not have officers assigned, but everyone comes together to get things done. We are located in Chattanooga, TN and we have five active members. Our club was started because I loved to read but I never had anyone to talk to about the books after I finished. I sought out like-minded individuals that were looking for the same thing and a book club was born. 

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole? 
SSBC: Our group consists of professional African-American women in our thirties. We all have extremely different personalities so when we come together, it makes for a very animated discussion. We really enjoy having fun and thought provoking discussions during our meetings.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person?  Do you have an online version of the group?
SSBC: When accepting members into the group, we explain all of our requirements in detail. We look for people that love to read and are willing to commit to attending meetings once per month. Over the years, it has been difficult for people to stay in the group due to their lack of commitment and participation. We do not offer an online version of the book club at this time but we do have dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages to interact with other readers and authors.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
SSBC: In my opinion, being honest and open-minded makes a good book club conversation. Our conversations roam to different topics most of the time but we are usually able to reel everyone back in to finish the topic at hand. We use reading guides for some of our discussions and they can be really helpful in keeping the discussions on track.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? When do you select the books? 
SSBC: When we started the book club, I would search online and best sellers lists to choose our book of the month. I would choose three books and allow my members to vote on the book they would like to read for the following month. Recently, I started a "Book Box". I allow my members to write names of books on a slip of paper and drop it into the box whenever they like. Each month, I draw from the box and that's what we will read. It's been very interesting so far.

BPM: Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month?
SSBC: Absolutely! We're always reading and if someone reads a book that they enjoyed, we love to talk about it and possibly add it as a book of the month selection.

BPM: Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
SSBC: Yes. Twice a month I share what we're reading on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer to read digital books? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
SSBC: We primarily purchase our books online. Most of my members prefer to read digital books. I am still partial to printed books and I will never stop buying them.

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions? How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?
SSBC: Yes to all of the above! We can be reached at the following locations:
Twitter: @BookSistahs
Facebook: www.facebook.com/soulsistahs.bookclub

 

 

 


Book Pearls Book Club- Chester, Virginia 

There are readers, individuals who may casually stroll from series to series as film adaptations have peaked their interest and driven them to the nearest bookstore or library. Then there are literary advocates, individuals who believe that books are as recreational as they are academic and socially impactful; these are individuals who have made it their life's work to foster and nourish the livelihood of literature despite society's shift and focus on media that can be absorbed quickly. 

Opting to combine the base philosophy of literary advocates like herself with her personal beliefs, Yvonne Bailey has founded Book Pearls, a book club devoted to increasing readership within Black communities and uniting women through sisterhood and fellowship. 

The Book Pearls meet monthly to discuss the chosen book of the month. Each discussion is different as these women have chosen to embrace all literary genres. "We love to read all genres, each book that we read carries a different message and has touched our lives in various ways".

Often, the monthly meetings carry the Pearls to various locations within their community and surrounding areas as they believe literature is a moving art form that reflects the world we live in. As the Pearls grow, they hope to become more involved within their local communities and reading communities worldwide. 

Currently, the Book Pearls are reading Crazy Rich Asian by Kevin Kwan. You can join their discussion by liking them on Facebook at Book Pearls.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How many members do you have?
Book Pearls: We are an awesome group of women who love books, family and each other. The name of our book club is Book Pearls and we are located in Chester, Virginia which is located about ten minutes outside of Richmond, Virginia. The group was started in September of 2012 after an interest meeting and as of today we currently have six members.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
Book Pearls: I have the pleasure of knowing five spirited women who not only love me and allow me to be in their presence but also uplift and nourish who i am destined to be. These women share a love of life that only comes around once in a lifetime and I am honored to be a part of their lives. Book Pearls is composed of six strong willed, enjoying life, open-minded women.

BPM: In your opinion what makes a good book club discussion? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
Book Pearls: A good book club discussion should always have you wanting more. As a reader, I am always searching for ways that I can either relate to the characters or the story, in the event i am unable to personally relate to the character or topic of the book then i revel in the opportunity to have been introduced to new ideals. As a group we are always looking to better our discussions by being able to relate or place ourselves in the characters shoes. As the leader I try to keep the discussion on topic as much as I possibly can however, there will be times when it is necessary to go off topic as it relates to either of the members lives or we may just need a moment to vent. I have found in the past that a reading guide can be helpful but it is also intriguing to see what questions the host may create as well.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
Book Pearls: Whoever host for that particular month gets to choose the book. This gives each member a voice and a chance to pick a book they may have been wanting to read for some time. We generally do not read and discuss books outside of our book club pick. We may read other books during the month and suggest them to one another but we do not discuss them. We are currently on Facebook and will be branching out to Instagram and twitter within this month. We share our bookclub meetings as well as our featured books on Facebook.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
Book Pearls: As a group we love our authors of color and try to support them as much as we possibly can but we generally read all authors. We support self-published authors and the public library is our friend.

BPM: Do you write and post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
Book Pearls: We love to write reviews. This allows us to voice our opinion and to give the author honest feedback. As for bad reviews or flopped books, the authors should be told. As readers we pay for a book hoping for the best, in many cases the books turn out to be decent and in the event that is does not, the author needs to know the readers thoughts.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? What books are on your reading schedule?
Book Pearls: We are currently reading, Crazy, Rich, Asians by Kevin Kwan. This book was chosen by Lady Pearl Candice. We choose books on a month to month basis so we do not have a reading schedule.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book?
Book Pearls: Book Pearls love to attend book signings and literary events. We just attended The Black Authors and Readers Rock literary event. While we love self-published authors, we would love to see more known authors at some of these events. 

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who are in or might want to start a book club?

Book Pearls: The biggest advice to give to someone who is wanting to start a book club, Go for it! Life is too short to not live it beautifully, so why wait or let fear cripple you. Call a few friends who share the love of reading and choose a book. If you would like please follow us on Facebook: Book Pearls. Interview submitted by Renee Bailey, president of Book Pearls Bookclub.

 



Mocha Girls Read Book Club 

BPM: Please tell us about your book club!  How did your club get started? 
Hi there, I'm Alysia Allen. We are Mocha Girls Read an online and in person book club for Black women. We are located in five cities right now in Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Tempe, Arizona; New Lenox, Illinois and now Waldorf, Maryland. For our members who can’t make a meeting or don’t live near a meeting area they can go online to http://mochagirlsread.com and at http://goodreads.com

Mocha Girls Read started in October, 2011 after I looked all over the internet for a book club, I found two and joined them both. They were good and I have made a few new friends from them. But I noticed one thing about both of them…I was the only black, woman of color, African-American, mocha girl in the clubs. I thought about this for a while and finally said to myself, “Self, there has got to be some sistas in LA who like to read.” After much thought and discussion with family and friends MOCHA GIRLS READ was born. As of today Mocha Girls Read book club has about 2,000 members world wide.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Does the name of the club have a special meaning?
We are a group of black women who love to read, want to read more and meet like-minded women. The books we read range from fiction, self-help, historical romance, best sellers, good ol’ short stories and basically anything we can get our hands on. Mocha Girls Read brings black women in the community together to read great literature, online and in person chit chatting about the monthly selection and a whole lot more. We are different form other book clubs because:

1. We read all genres, by authors of all genders and races, and from any publication date. 
2. We are free to all women.
3. We never close meetings and membership. 
4. We are ageless. We just ask that members under 18 years old have the permission of a parent each month. 

The name of the book club is based on our skin color, our gender and our hobby. Mocha Girls Read.

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
Our main focus has been sisterhood. Our members are so diverse and have various reasons for joining but the end result seems to be the same. We love being in each other company. I hope Mocha Girls Read brings the joy of read to each community and uplifts the Black women in each chapter through fellowship.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
Mocha Girls Read members are all ages. Our youngest member in 21 years old and our oldest is in her 80’s. We have working mom’s, single women, grandmothers and newly weds. We even have a few non Black members who just love what we are about and want to support us in all our efforts. 

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person?
We are an open book club so members can come and go, as they like. We understand life, family, work come first and reading is a past time when permitted. We have two policies about membership. Members never have to host meeting in their homes and you don’t have to read the book to join in. Come as you are. Those two things seem to bring women in to the club (and it’s free) more than anything. 

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
Each month I pick a theme (ie, October’s theme is a scary book), the members then have the chance to nominate one book based on the theme. Then the following week all members get to vote on three titles from the list of nominated books. The book with the most votes wins. We are bookworms so yes we talk about books each of us are reading outside of the book of the month at meeting or other book club gatherings. We are going to start using our social media outlets for more month interactions with members.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you borrow books from the library?
We read books by all authors despite race. So far in our 4 years of reading together we have read books by Chinese-American authors, Indian authors and White authors. To make the book of the month available to all members it has to be in e-book and physical form. Some members share books, buy the books from Amazon, or get them from the library. So anything goes. 

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
We read all genres so that at the end of the year a Mocha Girl has read at least read one non-fiction, one fiction, one poetry and one award-winning book. 

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them?
We have faced some really big challenges with the building of this book club. The location for the Los Angeles chapter is too small and we are desperately seeking a new free venue to hold 40 plus members. The Waldorf chapter is also looking for a place to call home. Other chapters are having a hard time getting members to understand the mission of reading outside of their race. But the big hurdle we have is finding a core group that will be dedicated to the building of the online community. 

BPM: Can we invite you to future events and discussions? How can we follow you online?
Twitter: @mochagirlsread
Website: http://mochagirlsread.com 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/mochagirlsread  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mochagirlsread 

BPM: Thank you Alysia Allen and Classandra "Classy" Green.



 


Unique, Sophisticated, Girlfriends Inspirational Reading & Literary Society 

U.S.G.I.R.L.S. Interview conducted by Founding Members: Karen Lewis, Jennie Blue, Valerie Jefferson and Ardee Harris.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How did your club get started?
Founding Members: Unique, Sophisticated, Girlfriends Inspirational Reading and Literary Society (U.S. G.I.R.L.S.), located in Jacksonville, Florida formed in October 2004.

It all began with an email from founding member, Karen Lewis, in September 2004 entitled: “Calling All Bookworms.” With the new phenomena of book clubs forming throughout the city, Karen visited several, with intentions of joining, but was not impressed with any of them. She called upon her friend, Jennie who was in another book club and her sister-in-law Ardee “Dee” to consider forming a book club. Jennie then called her friend, Valerie who was also in a book club at the time.

Karen hosted our first meeting in October of 2004 with The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips. During this meeting, the four of us formed by-laws for our book club and gave suggestions for a name. We were nameless and simply referred to ourselves as “the book club” until 2007, when Karen came up with our clever name and acronym “U.S. G.I.R.L.S.” During the formation meeting we also agreed that we would not elect officers, and preferred to have the "Founding Members" designated as the governing body. 

We have a membership limit of twelve and currently have nine active members. Last month we lost two members due to job relocations, and created a new non-member title of “permanent visitor.” This title gives these individuals an open invitation to our meetings. 

In addition to the aforementioned Founders, our members are: Bonnie Surrency, Ka Saundra Hosea, Celeste Merrix, Rosalyn Amaro and Sharron Marshall.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Is there something in particular that makes your group/blog different from other groups? Does the name of the club/blog or store have a special meaning?
Founding Members: When we started the book club our purpose was to share our love of reading and have fun while engaging in passionate discussion of books about people of color, with the African-American experience being the common theme. 

U.S.G.I.R.L.S. is different in that we try to keep the focus on actually discussing the book and not let the main agenda be just a social gathering with no book discussion. While keeping our meetings tasteful, we often have lively, thought-provoking discussions while keeping an open mind regarding the topic of the day. We love bringing the readers and the writers together through author participation because often while reading you try to delve into the minds of the writer. Through active participation by the author we get a much better understanding of their thought processes while writing the book. 

We came up with the name U.S. G.I.R.L.S. (Unique, Sophisticated, Girlfriends Inspirational Reading and Literary Society) because it describes just who we are – a unique family of educated and sophisticated women who have an avid love of reading. 

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
Founding Members: As our mission statement says, our main focus is to bring attention to issues of interest to women of color, while encouraging and increasing an appreciation for literature. Over the years we have become more than a book club. We are not only “black women who read” but we are have also extended our involvement through book drives and other community outreach ventures. We feel that those watching in the community see us an active group of black women operating with a spirit of excellence in our endeavor to uplift, inspire, promote and encourage women both young and old, while building lifelong friendships and relationships. 

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
Founding Members: We are all professional women of color; our youngest member in her early 40s. We have various undergraduate and graduate degrees, and possess strong, diverse personalities which always make for an interesting meeting. We enjoy debating and agreeing to disagree on various book discussion topics.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? 
Founding Members: Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, a serious reader and recommended by a current member. All applicants must attend a meeting and membership is voted upon by the founding members. We are not a book club that gets together for wine and cheese and the book discussion is secondary. We take our literature seriously. 

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
Founding Members: Our discussions are always engaging and typically stay on point of the current book. At one point the books we were reading centered on discussions about family bloodlines. During those discussions it often came up about family secrets and if it was okay to have family secrets. Those discussions were always interesting, insightful, and debatable. Our group is very conscientious of our time together and holds that time sacred to ensure the discussions are relatable and if we veer off point, the host quickly brings everyone back to the discussion at hand.

The reading guides (when available) are helpful, however we generally either add to the reader’s guide or generate our own. In December 2012, we read The Healing by Jonathan Odell and the hostess developed a reading guide. The guide was sent to Jonathan Odell, who participated via Skype. He was so impressed with the guide that added it to his website, with an “U.S. G.I.R.L.S.” By-line. We were very excited.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
Founding Members: Each book club member selects the book they are hosting, the club members are responsible for checking the website for the selection as well as checking for the questions at least one week in advance. 

Recently, one of the founding members signed U.S.G.I.R.L.S on Twitter. Prior to our Twitter account we used our personal Twitter accounts to connect with authors and other book clubs. Our book club meets every other month, and takes a sabbatical during the summer. During our off months individually, members often read other books and share at meetings, or utilize that time to research and plan for their meetings.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
Founding Members: Upon inception of the book club, we decided to mainly read books that deal with issues facing African American women and women of color, while at the same time using our book choices as a way to extend our support to black authors. While our preference is to be the audience of black authors, we have read several selections by white authors whose topics were related to the African-American experience. We do and have supported self-published authors, including authors Angelia Vernon Menchan and Shakira R. Thompson. Some of our members choose to borrow books from the library while others prefer purchasing their books, be it e-books or hard cover books.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
Founding Members: U.S. G.I.R.L.S. makes an attempt to read different genres throughout the year to keep our reading experiences exciting. By allowing each member/hostess to choose the genre of book up for discussion, our varying literary tastes often open new doors and interests for us. We have read several novels of historical fiction about African-Americans, where it feels as if we are re-living history through the stories and experiencing first-hand what the characters had to endure in the past, however this genre is not our main focus. We also love reading that allows us to travel the world through books, taking us places and allowing us to experience different cultures and traditions via literary travels. 

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
Founding Members: Books that we can connect to will remain on our minds long after the last page. If we can make a connection such as book to self, book to book, or even book to world today. Those are the books that we remember long after the last page is turned.

BPM: Do you write and post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
Founding Members: Individually each member is responsible and asked to post book reviews on Amazon. We have reminders on our website, as well as encourage members to complete the reviews after our meetings. Our group is not shy, and does not hesitate to appropriately rate a book. If a book is bad, our individual members, call it from, 
“ A Sleeper to Wasteful Reading.”

BPM: What type of books have generated the most interesting discussions? Why?
Founding Members: There is not one particular type of book that has generated the most interesting discussions. Strangely, some of our liveliest discussions came from books that many of us really disliked. . I believe that our various backgrounds and life experiences cause differences of opinion whether we are debating about an unliked character or questioning the author’s style of writing and thought process. 

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons?
Founding Members: There have been several books that we have considered 5-star; namely:
* The Healing: Jonathan Odell
* The Supremes at Earl’s All You Can Eat: Edward Kelsey Moore
* Calling Me Home: Julie Kibler
* The Secret of Magic: Deborah Johnson
* Queen Sugar: Natalie Baszile
* Forty Acres: Dwayne Alexander Smith

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? What books are on your reading schedule? 
Founding Members: Our next meeting, will be hosted by Celeste Merrix, and is scheduled for October 3rd at One Ocean Resort located on Jacksonville Beach. This will be our 11th Anniversary and Celeste selected Toni Morrison’s God Help The Child after a very laborious internet search. She read over six before selecting Ms. Morrison’s newest offering. 

Our next hostess, Bonnie Surrency has selected Kimberla Lawson Roby’s The Ultimate Betrayal for our December meeting. We have a library of all the books we have read since our conception on our website.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book?
Founding Members: Many of our members have attended book signings and literary events. We like to meet the authors and have an opportunity for a photo opportunity and to have question and answer sessions with the authors. It’s okay if the author wants to read his or her favorite parts of the book and share why they chose to write certain scenes.

BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?
Founding Members: U.S. G.I.R.L.S. has worked with several non-profit organizations over the years, and have hosted several events. As a group, we have gotten together to socialize with other book clubs and support charitable fund raisers hosted by members.

BPM: Which is the preferred way to find new books: a friend's recommendation; on social media; or advertisement for the book, such as: online radio, newsletter eblast, contests or tagging on FB?
Founding Members: I think that the best way to find new books is on a friend’s recommendation. We check out different book sites that will recommend books, but the best books are the ones that someone we know has already read or recommended.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer to read digital books? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
Founding Members: Our group is very diverse in how we purchase books. Some members make a point to visit local Libraries, most purchase e-books, while others prefer having hardbacks. Often when a local author is invited, each member purchases a hard copy to have signed by the author. As an example, a hostess gift of a signed hard copy of “Forty Acres” was presented to the host, when a member purchased the hard back, and requested the author personally sign and ship back in time for the meeting. I can say at each meeting, all three methods are seen, library, e-books, and hardbacks. I can say our group will never stop buying printed copies.

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them?
Founding Members: We faced the serious illness and passing of one of our members recently. We watched our member/sister’s health deteriorate for almost two years as she battled lung cancer. She was very private about her illness and although it was difficult, we all respected her decision to remain private. After she transitioned in February of 2014, we remembered her at our next meeting with a vacant chair, balloon release and a pictorial tribute on our website. 

Fortunately, we have not faced any challenges that relate to membership or membership discord. 

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors? Do you like to find new authors and interact online? 
Founding Members: Yes, social media has had an impact on our viewpoints about certain authors. Some authors are very receptive when reaching out for book club meeting interaction, and some are not. I remember one incident where we reached out to an author, and he committed to participating via Skype, however when the designated time arrived, we could not reach him. He never sent us an email as to what happened and it did leave U.S. G.I.R.L.S slightly disenchanted to say the least. 

We have found that newer authors are more receptive to book club interactions vs. veteran authors. This is by no means a “snub” to seasoned authors, but an observation that maybe they should be more receptive to their core market.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?
Founding Members: Remember to have fun, plan your meetings months in advance, prepare discussion questions, invite guests, invite authors, and again have fun. We look forward to our book club meetings because we all share a love for reading and discussing books.

BPM: Do you attend Twitter chats or Facebook chats? Have you ever viewed a Goggle Hangout or Periscope show? Would you like to chat with your favorite authors on Skype, FaceTime or over the phone? 
Founding Members: We have not participated in any chats; however we have had several authors Skype or phone into our meetings. The first author to join our meeting (prior to our current technological advances) via telephone was L.Y. Marlow in November of 2007. Since that time, the following authors have joined our meetings via Skype: Jonathan Odell, The Healing; Julie Kibler, Calling Me Home; Deborah Johnson, The Secret of Magic; and Dwayne Alexander Smith, Forty Acres.

We have also had local independent authors Angelia Vernon Menchan, Glowing Embers in a Dying Fire and Shakira R. Thompson, High Noon Justice, physically join our meetings

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions? How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?
Founding Members: Yes, U.S. G.I.R.L.S. would love to be invited to future events. Our follow, website and contact information are below:
Twitter: @usgirls2004
Website: http://usgirls04.wix.com/usgirls

Founding members in collage photo from top left: Karen Lewis and Ardee “Dee” Harris; bottom left: Valerie Jefferson and Jennie “JayBee” Blue

Please feel free to connect with U.S. G.I.R.L.S. online
Thank you,
Karen Lewis
Jennie "JayBee" Blue
Valerie Jefferson
Ardee "Dee" Harris

 

 

 

 


Real Divas Read and More, Social Club - Conley Georgia

BPM: Please tell us about your reading group!  How did your club get started? 
The Real Divas Read & More Social Club, located in Conley Georgia, began in 2013, and currently has 10 members. The conception of RDR was an idea that Diva Wanda established, after not receiving the fulfillment and satisfaction that she truly desired out of other groups, therefore; she blended her love of reading and interacting with other women that shares the same passion as she does. 

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Is there something in particular that makes your group different from other groups? Does the name of the club have a special meaning? 
The RDR social club was conceived, to build everlasting friendships with beautiful women who are ambitious, hardworking, optimistic, passionate and enthusiastic about life and reading. As a “Sisterhood”, our book club signifies the words of our mission statement as follows: “Enlightening, Uplifting, and Empowering Women through Fellowship, Service and Support”. The women of this group portray a more positive, sisterly and supportive attitudes with one another to debunk the myths about all of us being catty and confrontational, which ideally sets us apart from groups.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole? 
The demographics of the RDR are all women between the ages of 33 to 55. The personality of the group is that of Performing. This is a stage of a fully functional group where members see themselves as a group and get involved in the task. Each person makes a contribution and the authority figure is also seen as a part of the group. Group norms are followed and collective pressure is exerted to ensure the Process of Group effectiveness.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Do you have an online version of the group? 
The Real Divas Read is a social club with a flair for reading, with that being said we welcome women who are authentic. They must enjoy participating in community awareness events, social events, and of course have a passion for reading. We would like to have divas that have the time, dedication, and openness to be a part of our club. Life happens to all of us, therefore ones priorities change because of circumstance, so we understand when a diva wants to leave the group. Ladies do request to be a part of the group all the time. We utilize Meetup as a way to invite potential divas to be a part of our club. Meetup and our Real Divas Read Facebook page are the two ways women who are interested can learn more about our group.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion? 
To have a good book club conversation, foremost you must have read the book to be a part of the discussion. Stating open ended questions will keep the dialog going instead of asking yes/no questions. A character analysis of the main character(s), would allow the readers to see how their views may differ from that of other readers. Also asking readers if they can relate to any of the characters will allow the conversation to flow.

It is best to keep the conversation on topic to allow time for the book to be discussed in detail. Although at times it’s easy to get off the subject, but try to keep it to a minimum amount of time.

Yes, a reading guide does help. Often the guide assists in posing questions that the reader would not have thought of, and it helps with the flow of the book discussion.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers? 
We individually select a book we think will be interesting for the group to read for the month, when the prologue is read out loud on a few of the selections, we vote, and then the decision is made.
Some Divas are avid readers, yes some read additional books but the Divas only discuss our book once a month in our intimate setting.

Yes. We are on social media on Meetup.com and Facebook.com. Search for us at (Real Divas Read & More Social Club), we encourage others to see what we are reading and attend a meeting if they are interested.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library? 
We actually don't have a preference, however, the topic and delivery (whether Fiction or Non Fiction) plays a big part in our selection of authors. Yes. Absolutely, we do support self-published authors. We have read and met a number of Authors who have written and published their own novels. We love to see authors promote their literary work. 

Yes. Currently they are a few of our members that borrow their books from the library.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? What books are on your reading schedule? 
The group is currently reading My Wife’s Lover by RM Johnson. A few of the Divas met the author at the National Book Club conference; he introduced his novel and was invited to be our guest at our October meeting. Unfortunately; this will be our last book for the year as the holidays are approaching, but the club will resume again beginning a new year in January 2016.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book? 
Several of the Divas had the privilege of attending the “The World's Largest Book Club Meeting” The National Book Club Conference. Attending events like this gave us the opportunity to see famous authors and interact with other book clubs who shared the same passion in reading as we did. The conference included everything and much more, that consisted of numerous book club meetings, panel discussions and other events that gave readers face time with the authors of their choice. It was a great forum to offer authors, both newly published and established an opportunity to interact, both formally and casually, with so many fans. There were breakout sessions at the conference in which the audience was given the opportunity to listen to authors reading from their books. As the reader, hearing the author's voice adds a wonderful dimension to the words of the story.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer to read digital books? Does the price of ebooks play a part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books? 
The days of purchasing printed/hard copy books has become obsolete, but in order to support authors that are invited to our meetings we do support them by purchasing their novel and having it signed. Although, the price is cheaper that is not our deciding factor. Ebooks come in to play because they are convenient. A member can log on from any device to enjoy a great read on a tablet, phone or desktop at work. Being avid readers who may travel a lot, digital books provide the convenience (no packing) of having several books on hand at once not to mention purchasing a book in a matter of seconds.

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them? 
Yes. We have faced challenges as a group. We all are from different cultures, back grounds and upbringings. Being in a group especially with deferent personalities, it can be quite challenging to agree on one thing and communicate effectively. All members of RDR have a common goal in which we practice first and foremost, and that is to Encourage, Enlighten and Uplift other woman.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club? 
A book club brings together a group of people to discuss something they all have in common a book everyone has read. Book clubs can be a whole lot of fun and provide a great social outlet. All it takes is a few attentive readers, a book of interest to the group, a place to meet, and a bit of planning and don’t forget the refreshments.

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community? 
The main focus has always been about uplifting and supporting women and we are able to do this through fellowship, services and support of each other and our community. For those watching in the community they can tell we love helping others. Whenever organizations reach out to us (due to prior volunteer work) we are eager to help. We also do not skip out once we have committed to an event even if there is one of us going someone will always be there.

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Soul Sistahs Book Club



Read all of the book club interviews, click here now.

The Soul Sistahs Book Club was founded in 2011 by Kenya Ervin of Chattanooga, TN. Initially comprised of coworkers, membership has been extended to close family and friends that share a passion for books. Soul Sistahs Book Club's mission is to promote literacy and encourage sisterhood among women of all ages and backgrounds through the love of reading and lively conversations. 

BPM: Introduce us to your group. What was the first book you read as a group?
SSBC: Soul Sistahs Book club was founded in September 2011 by Kenya Ervin. Currently, we do not have officers assigned, but everyone comes together to get things done. We are located in Chattanooga, TN and we have seven active members. The first book that we read was G-Spot by Noire. It was a very lively and interesting discussion.

BPM: Why was your organization created? Do you write and post book reviews? Do you host events?
SSBC: Initially, our organization was created because I loved to read and I wanted to discuss what I read with an interested party. Most people that I talked to did not share the same passion that I had for reading. I asked a few coworkers if they would be interested and it took off from there. Now we are a group of sisters that not only share a love of reading, but we share things about our personal lives as well. The members that write book reviews are Kenya Ervin, Shannon Pasley, and Treneka Jackson. Our club anniversary is usually a festive occasion. We have author visits (Tameka Newhouse and Electa Rome Parks), food, entertainment and lots of dancing. We have also hosted other authors during the year. In 2014, I hope that we can have a greater presence in the community.

BPM: What are some of your pet peeves when it comes to book promotions?
SSBC: Flooding our newsfeed and email with their books and flyers. It's ok to post one or two. Anything more than that can become annoying. 

BPM: Do you prefer to only read books written by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? 
SSBC: We try to support all authors but we do prefer authors of color. I think it's easier to identify with the subject matter that's presented by authors of color based on life experiences. We also support self-published authors. 

BPM: Would you ever stop buying printed books? Do you think digital books will ever replace printed books? 
SSBC: I love printed books! I don't believe I will ever stop buying printed books. Although digital books have become very popular, I don't believe they will ever replace printed books. I have several book club members that love digital books and I am slowly embracing them. I love that it allows you to get a book faster than regular mail.

BPM: Does the price of a digital book play a big part in your purchase? 
SSBC: I think the price of a digital book plays a part in my purchase. If the digital copy is the same price as a printed book, I would purchase the printed book instead. I think the free ebooks are a double-edged sword. It's great that the price makes it easier to get books in the hands of more readers but the quality of the material in the books have decreased somewhat.

BPM: Does social media influence your reading selections at all? Would a online radio interview, video chat or Twitter chat influence you enough to purchase a book?
SSBC: Social media is a huge influence on our reading selections. I have chosen several of our book of the month selections based on online radio interviews and Facebook chats. It allows the reader to get up close and personal with an author to see how passionate they are about their work. An author's passion, dedication and great attitude makes us want to support them as much as we can.

President: Kenya Ervin, Soul Sistahs Book Club
Facebook: 
www.facebook.com/soulsistahs.bookclub 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sistah Minds In Motion Book Club - Atlanta, GA

I'm Bobbi Ramey Founder and President of Sistah Minds In Motion Book Club (SMM). 

Sistah Minds In Motions Book Club (SMM) was established in November, 2009 by Bobbi Ramey. The first official book club meeting took place on January 16, 2010. Bobbi Ramey is an avid inspirational reader happily married for almost 16 years with two children. Her idea was to bring together a diverse group of women who enjoy reading and to bond spiritually. She asked her family and friends if they would be interested in joining and the rest is history! SMM was born! SMM is a small African American book club and social organization for positive, spiritual women who enjoy reading.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How did your club get started? 
Sistah Minds In Motion Book Club (SMM) is located in Atlanta, GA. Bobbi Ramey asked family and friends if they would be interested in joining the rest is history! SMM was established in November 2009 by Bobbi Ramey. Our first official book club meeting took place on January 16, 2010. SMM currently has ten members.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Is there something in particular that makes your group different from other groups?  
The purpose of SMM is to advocate sisterhood and share our love for reading with others. To advocate literacy throughout our community with volunteer efforts, to have women contributing to a collection of wisdom with an environment of lively discussions and to build lifelong friendships, to fellowship and host monthly meetings in order to share ideas and dialogue about a variety of books and finally to build strategic relationships, advocate book clubs, African American authors and other literary organizations and events. 

What makes SMM different? SMM values and lives in a manner that shows leadership and respect for all living beings by fostering healthy relationships and mutual respect. To work together as a team to respect opinions and views of others while appreciating and discussing quality literature as well as the power of unity among women. Sistah Minds In Motion Book (SMM) Book Club Enlightens your mind through the power, spirit, soul of sisterhood and reading. SMM means Sistah’s minds forming together in motion to promote one cause.

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
SMM main focus is support surrounding areas charity events. SMM would like to leave a legacy on building strategic, relationships with advocate book clubs, also with African American authors and other literary organizations and events.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole? 
SMM are women that are married, single, employed, in school, educators, working moms, stay-at-home moms and women from all walks of life. The demographics of these ladies are diverse backgrounds located in the surrounding areas of the greater Atlanta area. The ladies of SMM chose to come together to share wisdom, advice, opportunities and discuss the ripples of day to day issues in life.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Do you have an online version of the group?
When accepting new members, SMM looks for members that enjoy reading. Yes and No. Getting people to join is no problem but due to day to day issues, it’s hard for some members to be consistent and they began to drift off. But each former member is still in contact and also friends with SMM book club and they also try to attend events when they are able to. At this time SMM does not have an online group.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers? 
Each member is unique and has the opportunity to choose a book and location once a month. Yes we do discuss other books outside of the book if the month. Yes, SMM posts monthly on Facebook & Twitter for the book of the month.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
Yes, SMM enjoys reading selections by authors of color. Yes, SMM support self-published authors. No, SMM will mostly purchase each book of the month.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? Has this changed over time? 
SMM reads all genres to include Christian fiction, non-fiction, fiction, inspirational, romance and a wide variety of other topics chosen by our members. No, the types of books have not changed over time.

BPM: Do you write and post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
Yes, SMM writes reviews on Amazon.com. SMM really does not write bad reviews, like my mother always said, if you cannot say anything good, do not say nothing at all!

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions? How can we follow you online?
Yes, SMM would love to be invited to your future events, social media chats and discussions.
Website: http://smmbookclub.com 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sistahmindsinm1 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sistah-Minds-In-Motions-Book-Club-119574314731811/timeline/ 

 

 

 


Prominent Women of Color - Jacksonville, FL 

PWOC or Prominent Women of Color is a group of women dedicated to the exploration of collected written works in all platforms. This a collection of eclectic perspectives dedicated in enhancing the minds of its members and others in the intricate world of literature. PWOC is well versed and well-traveled in all manner of the written word and that devotion is shown in this delicate array of women who make up this sisterhood. 

BPM: Where is your book club located? How many members do you have? 
PWOC is located in Jacksonville, FL and St Mary’s GA. And was formed in 1999 and we currently have 14 members. The purpose of PWOC is to enrich and enhance our knowledge through our love for reading and encourage one another through fellowship. We promote literacy in every way possible.

BPM: How do you make your book selection?
Our BOM (Book of the Month) is chosen by our hostess for that month based on the theme for that month. Yes, several members do read other books and they are shared throughout the month with others in the group. We share our BOM on Social Media monthly and a picture of the current hostess with their chosen book and/or author. We also often Skype with various authors when we have chosen to read their book for that month.

BPM: Do you prefer to read book by authors of color only? What genre does the group prefer?
The majority of the books we read are from authors of color. We do support various self-published authors and often borrow books form the local library. The majority of our members have e-readers, but some still prefer hard copy books. We read books of all genres, we have member that prefer romance, Sci-Fi, murder mystery and others who prefer urban lit and biography. So as you can see, we dabble in all types of genres.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? 
When we hear about a book signing, or literary event we are ecstatic. If it is within a 2 hour driving distance, we are there supporting the author, (we call these Road Trips) We also as a group try to attend most of the literary festivals and events such as Romance Slam Jam, National Book Club Conference, and authors sponsored cruises. These are the things we plan for throughout the year.

BPM: Do you host events throughout the years? Do you get together to socialize outside the meetings? 
We as a book club invite other authors to Jacksonville, and also invite other local book clubs and various book lovers to help the authors promote their books.  

We support local charities such as Clara White Mission where we go and assist in distributing much needed clothing and food. We also donate to local outreach programs for nursing homes in which we supply blankets, pajamas, arts and craft supplies, etc. We donate school supplies to schools in both Jacksonville and Georgia at the beginning of each school year. 

We look forward to attending movies, pool parties, and we have a mother’s day luncheon every year. We also host an annual Christmas party for our book club members and their families. 

BPM: When accepting new members in your book club, what are you looking for in this person? 
We look for a person who is an avid reader and has a genuine love of books. Qualities should include a person who loves to travel, loves to host meetings and has great sense of humor and adventure because we are a unique group of women who have been together for many years. It would take an equally unique person to feel at home in PWOC.

BPM: What has your main focus become over the years regarding your book club?
 Incorporating sisterhood with the love of literature. 

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussion? 
Yes, we look forward to being included in any social media chats and literary events. You can find us at:  https://www.facebook.com/pwoc.jacksonville 

BPM:  Thank you Vanessa Phillips, Karesa Ruffin and Mrs. Nelson for this interview.

 

 

 


The Book Worm Diva's Book Club

Hi I am Shabrika Mitchell, The Secretary/Treasurer of The Book Worm Diva's Book Club. The members consists of Val Hinton as The President, Tamika Cloud as The Vice President, and myself, as The Secretary/Treasurer.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How many members do you have? 
The Book Worm Diva's Book Club is located in Newnan, Georgia. Myself (Shabrika), Val, and Tamika started the club because we all had an interest in reading. We started the club in March, 2010 and we consist of 9 members. 

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Does the name have a special meaning? 
We are a group of women together reading books and doing a lot of things for our community. We are women doing something we enjoy doing. Of course our name has its own special meaning each letter stands for something different. BOOKWORM DIVAS means Brilliant Obedient Observative Kind Women Outstanding Reliable Mindful Dedicated Intelligent Vibrant Awesome Sisterhood...

BPM: What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community? 
We enjoy reading and meeting with authors and helping others and putting smiles on people faces as well. We will be remembered and recognized as those women who did a lot for our community and enjoyed doing it.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Do you have a online version of the group? 
We are looking for a commitment and passion for reading and helping others. We have a probation period before you become a member. Basically a trial period to see if your heart is really in it. We have a Facebook page which is open to the public. 

BPM: Do you host special events? Do you go out together as a group to socialize? 
Yes, we host several events yearly such as an Easter Egg Hunt, Family and Friends Day, Thanksgiving Dinner, and a Christmas Toy Drive. We sometimes do a girls night out or just hang out other times. 

BPM: How do you feel about attending booksignings, literary festivals and events? 
We love attending book signings, literary festivals and events and love meet and greet with Authors. We enjoy hearing the authors reading from their books. 

BPM: What type of books have generated the most interesting discussions?
Romance and Christian reads because they are very interesting and based on real life events and stories. We seem to relate to those topics. 

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who want to start a book club? 
Yes, make sure everyone has love and passion for reading and set goals and achieve them. Also, set rules for everyone to follow and it should help the club last a long time. We are 5 years and counting and we love it!!! 

Interview submitted by: Shabrika Mitchell, Secretary/Treasurer of The BookWorm Diva's BookClub

 

 

 

 


Victorious Ladies Reading Book Club - North Carolina

Michelle Chavis is a native of Brooklyn, New York and now lives in Creedmoor, North Carolina. She has 2 children, Laticia and Trevon. Michelle Chavis is the President of Victorious Ladies Reading Book Club. When she started reading novels it gave her a peace of mind and helped her relax. She has encouraged and helped others to also fall in love with reading. Recently Michelle has become a Total Life Changes (TLC) Representative. Her genuine, honest spirit allows people to feel comfortable talking her about anything. She has also been called a “Life Coach”. She is very passionate about helping people find their true purpose and becoming their best. 

BPM: Please tell us about your book club!  How did your club get started? 
Victorious Ladies Reading is located in the Raleigh/Durham North Carolina area. God gave Lacha Mitchell the vision to start the book club, through that vision we started the Victorious Ladies Reading Book Club. We first met as a group almost a year ago. Our second anniversary is in October. We currently have 10 members. We are group of  beautiful women, of all personalities, that mesh well together.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Does the name have a special meaning? 
I feel the purpose of our organization is to unite monthly and discuss great books and fellowship. I think what makes us different is we are all women of God. The name of our club let's everyone know we are victorious. 

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? 
When I first joined the group the President and Vice President alternated months and picked the books, we now take suggestions from the members. Yes we have read other books that was not the book of the month and had a call to discuss the book. We may post book covers and suggestions on our own Facebook post and share them. 

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you borrow books from the library?
Yes, I prefer to read books by authors of color, but I will read others also. Yes, I support self published authors and I also borrow books from the library. To add to that, I give the library a list of AA authors and their books every quarter for them to add to their selection.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
As a group we read Christian fiction. We did step out this month and read a non- Christian fiction.

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons? 
Mama's Boy and Stand Your Ground. 

BPM: What are you reading now? What books are on your reading schedule?
Jezebel's Daughter, we are hosting the author for our October meeting, Water Colored Pearls is on our reading list. 

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book? 
I love attending book signings and literary events. To me, authors are celebrities and I have a chance to meet the person that wrote the wonderful book I love to read. I love hearing their voice as they read from their book. If I have not read it yet, when I do read the book, in my mind I hear their voice.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?
Communication is the key to every relationship, when you have that you will have a successful book club. Be passionate about your membership, participate as much as you can.

 

 

 


Lady LOTUS Book Club - Louisiana


Tammy Washington, Lady LOTUS Bookclub Founder
, is a country girl at heart, with a love for reading that takes her imagination beyond the stars. She is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She is an Early Childhood & Elementary Ed. Curriculum Monitor. 

Tammy has been married to the love of her life, Rod Washington for 17 years. Together they have two delightful and daring boys, and two fun and feisty girls. She says her family is heaven sent and truly her JOY.

She enjoys so many authors and quotes, but she most admires author, Maya Angelou. One of her favorite quotes by Maya Angelou is, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." 

Most of her adult life has been dedicated to mentoring and servicing children and families. Tammy said, this is not just a passion, but her ministry. She loves to encourage others with a famous quote by Dr. Seuss, "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." She shares this quote in an effort to help others embrace who they are in spite of what society says they should be. Tammy's very own quote is, "True beauty begins with the heart and mind, and then flows to be seen through the eyes and smile."

Amanda Presley Lady LOTUS Bookclub Co-Founder,  is somewhat of an Army brat. Both her parents were in the army. She was raised and still lives in Monroe, Louisiana. She currently works at an elementary school as a Pre-K Paraeducator. She has been in this position for the last seven years. Amanda also does after school tutoring through the school's tutoring program. 

Within the last year she has started her own business, a LadyBugz a party supply store. She is praying that her business is successful enough for her to go at it full time. Amanda is a wife and mother. She has been been married to her husband Richard for 11 years. She has three daughters that keep her very busy with various activities. She is very active in the church. She sings in the church singing group and also work with the mentor program. She loves spending time with her family and friends, especially her girls. In her alone time, give her a good book and she is good to go.

BPM: Share with us the history of the organization. How did you get started?  What was the first book that you read as a group? What literary events do you attend each year?
Tammy has always enjoyed reading, but for a short while, she allowed the hustle and bustle of life to pull her away from taking advantage of it more. Her mother-in-law (Barbara) in Shreveport, LA, showed her another level of reading pleasure when she began sharing books that her book club was reading; as well as, inviting her to the meetings and events. Tammy searched the internet and asked around to find a local book club in Monroe, LA, but was unsuccessful. Barbara encouraged Tammy to start her own book club for quite a while. 

It wasn't until Tammy and her friend Amanda, who also has always shared a love of reading, began sharing books. It was shortly afterwards that they then decided to begin a book club together.

The Lady L.O.T.U.S (Loving Others Through United Sisterhood) book club began in July 2013. They are located in Monroe, Louisiana. The Lady L.O.T.U.S book club consists of 20 sisters (members).The first book that they read was "The Reverend's Wife" by Kimberly Lawson Roby. Their first literary event will be the National Book Club Conference to be held in August of theat year.


BPM: Do you host events? Donate to charities or provide any service for the community?
In 2013, the Lady L.O.T.U.S's hosted their 1st annual Christmas Gala, in which they invited three authors and two bookclubs from the surrounding area to attend. During the month of December, Lady L.O.T.U.S. held a book and toy drive for less fortunate families. The toy drive culminated at their Christmas Gala as the guest and authors also donated. They were blessed to surpass their toy-giving goal, and was able to help six families (ranging in size from 4-11 people per family). This year they plan to host an even bigger Christmas event.

Also in 2013, they provided Thanksgiving meals to eight families. The L.O.T.U.S bookclub has also established an annual book club scholarship fund, and in May 2014, awarded financial scholarships to two deserving graduating seniors. The Lady L.O.T.U.S. book club is also planning to do something in support of cancer awarenesss. Members of the bookclub have participated in breast cancer (Susan G. Komen) and Down syndrome (Buddy Walk) walks. They even visit various schools within their community and read to the students. 

BPM: What impact has reading had on your life? Have there been any books that help shape your life? Give us a deeper understanding of how important reading is to you.
Other than the Holy Bible, books and poetry such as those by Maya Angelou, Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison and a host of other books capture Tammy’s undivided attention. These books have helped shape her life because of the reality in the stories. The thought provoking richness in the story lines comes to life. Tammy enjoys Christian Fiction, Poetry, Romance, Suspense and many other genres. 

BPM: What legacy will your bookclub leave for those watching in the community? 
The lesson and legacy that Lady L.O.T.U.S bookclub purposes to leave is that reading is not only an outlet, but can unlock doors in the mind to build, strengthen, and enhance knowledge (spiritually, mentally and academically). They strive to model UNITY and SERVICE to our community. As God allows us to be a blessing to one another, so shall we be to our community.

BPM: How many books do you read in one month? Would you say you read more for escape, for educational purposes or for entertainment? 
The book club reads one to two books a month. Lady L.O.T.U.S, Michelle Esters reads two books a month. She reads for ESCAPE. This is a way for Michelle to get away from life and escape to a new land. 

Amanda may read three to four books a month. She uses reading mainly as an escape and for entertainment.

La-Shondra states, "As a child I used to read for an escape. While "escaping" I felt like I was apart of the book and I could feel and see everything hands on. It gave me hope outside the small town that I lived in. As an adult I read more educational books so I can spiritually and mentally. I enjoying learning new thing about God and myself. I read inspirational books so I can be a better mother, wife and friend." (Lady L.O.T.U.S, La-Shondra Weathersby)

BPM: Do you prefer a hard copy book or a digital book, such as a Kindle book? Do you think digital books will ever replace a printed book? 
Lady L.O.T.U.S, Natasha Bosworth prefers to read digital books because she loves technology. She thinks eventually with the changing times digital books will replace hard copies. 

Tammy loves to read digital books also. However, she does not feel digital books will replace hard copies because of the history, value and appreciation still shown for hard copies.


BPM:  Let's have some fun now!  Finish these fun loving sentences with the question and answer. What's on your nightstand now: 
Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes & Blessings From the Father, by Michelle Larks (Lady L.O.T.U.S, Tammy Washington)

BPM: Favorite book when you were a child:
The giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein as a child& Sweet Valley High Series, by Francine Pascal as a preteen/teen (Lady L.O.T.U.S, Tammy Washington).  A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown and The Shaggy Dog which was one of the Golden Book Series. (Lady L.O.T.U.S, Jamekia Dial-Hunter)

BPM: Book all readers should own excluding the Bible: 
“The Shack”, by William P. Young (Lady L.O.T.U.S. Rose Lee) As a person of deep faith who is constantly striving to develop a deeper, stronger relationship with God and a better understanding of the connection between religion and spirituality, I was both astounded and uplifted by the novel, The Shack, by William P. Young. As stated in an online review: In a world where religion seems to be growing increasingly irrelevant, The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” 

Although the Bible is barely ever mentioned in the novel, the narrative centers on dialogues between Mack, the main character, and three unorthodox characterizations of the Holy Trinity. The answers the main character receives in his quest for understanding both comforted and reiterated to me that God is an ever-present, loving force in our lives, even in the midst of our darkest hours. The sense of peace I felt after reading the novel compelled me to encourage fellow book club members and others I know to read this book. (Lady L.O.T.U.S Rose Lee)

BPM: Book you gave as a gift:
The most recent books gifted are, Taylor’s Strawberry, by Taneka Fuller and Naughty or Nice, by Eric Jerome Dickey.  Taylor’s Strawberry is a book for young children to promote self-awareness, self-confidence and acceptance of oneself no matter what physical flaws exist.  Naughty or Nice is of course an adult novel that I gifted to a friend & bookclub member. (Lady L.O.T.U.S. Tammy)

BPM: Book you most want to read AGAIN much slower, to savor:
Lady L.O.T.U.S, Andresca Moss would read Afterburn by Zane over and over. It’s just simply a good love story even with a sad ending. Also, The Coldest Winter Ever, by Sista Souljah. She loves the raw and gangsta storylines.   Lady L.O.T.U.S, Jacquie Matthews plans to read again The Blessings of Brokeness by Charles Stanley and The Tongue: a Creative Force by Charles Capps.

BPM: Favorite genre, series or sequels:
Andresca’s favorite genre is Erotica and Fifty Shades of Grey is her favorite series. Amanda's favorite genre's are romance, exotica, mystery and drama. Her favorite series are The Westmorelands by Brenda Jackson and The Family Business Series by Carl Weber.  Jacquie’s favorite series is Bride Quartet, by Nora Roberts. Her favorite character is Alex Cross from James Patterson books.  Lady L.O.T.U.S Alecia Murphy’s favorite series include: Kimbela Lawson Roby: Reverend Curtis Black Series and Mary B Morrison: The Darius Jones Series.

BPM: Book that should be a movie or play:
Little Black Girl Lost Series, by Keith Lee Johnson (Lady L.O.T.U.S Adrian Williams)
Mama, by Terry McMillan (Lady L.O.T.U.S Shafonda Kline)
The Gift, by Danielle Steele(Lady L.O.T.U.S La-Shondra Weathersby)

BPM: Name three authors you would like to do a phone chat with this year.
Amanda would love to do a phone chat with: Carl Weber, Lutisha Lovely and Brenda Jackson.
~You can find our group on Facebook as, Lady LOTUS Bookclub
~Website is currently being created at this time. Update will come soon.

Again, thank you so kindly for allowing us the opportunity to share our group with you and the rest of the reading world.

Second Photo:  Lady LOTUS Book Club Leaders
Tammy Washington, President
Amanda Presley, Vice President
 

 

 


Round Table Readers Literary Book Club - Danville, VA

The Round Table Readers were founded by La Sheera Lee. The book club is located in Danville, VA. The group was founded on the principles of spreading literacy, fostering sisterhood, and assisting their local community. 

The Round Table Readers has hosted three events to date. Each event presented their local communities with the opportunity to meet their favorite authors and to learn about the world of publishing. The literary events have also served their communities. One event featuring Zane, raised funds for a Breast Cancer Survivor. Attendees of other events, have donated can goods and school supplies for admission. 

The Round Table Readers also likes to connect with other book clubs. The Sisters of the Red Tent, Sistahs of Urban Literature, and Victorious Ladies of Reading are all considered their sister book club. The Round Table Readers have enjoyed organizing book club events with these wonderful ladies! 

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How did your club get started? 
The Round Table Readers were founded by La Sheera Lee. The book club is located in Danville, VA. The group was founded in 2010. Currently, we have eight members. There names are Tora Ballard, Latonya Terry, Hannah Lee, Kay Edmondson, Traci White- Williams, Twozynn McGhgee and Joyce Laverne Mayo. 

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors?
Generally speaking, the majority of the books we read are from authors of color. We have hosted several self-published authors at our book clubs and literary events.

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about authors? Do you like to find new authors and interact online? 
Social media has forever changed the literary landscape. Authors, book clubs, readers are able to engage and discuss books. Video sharing platforms have also made it easier for readers to virtually host authors for meetings etc. 

However, I think that authors need to be mindful of comments or pics presented online. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions. However, if you are a public figure, you must be mindful of the impact your actions might have own your readership. 

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? 
The group was founded on the principles of spreading literacy, fostering sisterhood, and assisting their local community. 

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?
It is essential for all members to respect the time and opinions of all members. It is also important to make sure you have members who personalities click. 

BPM: Can we invite you to future events and discussions? How can we follow you online?
Contact Round Table Readers Literary Book Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Round-Table-Readers-Literary-Book-Club-130723156983225 

Contact La Sheera Lee, Founder Read You Later Communications: 
http://www.readyoulater.net  
https://twitter.com/readyoulater 
https://www.facebook.com/lasheera.lee
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/readyoulater 

 

 



Girl Fridayz Book Club - Buffalo, New York

BPM:  Give us the history on your organization. How many members do you have?
The Girl Fridayz Book Club was conceived in August 2005 out of the founder’s love of reading. She brought together a group of “sisters” who also have a love of reading and on September 30, 2005, the Girl Fridayz Book Club was born. We meet the last Friday of each month with different members hosting the meeting. The founder’s name is Karyn Davis and she and the other members of the book club reside in Buffalo, New York. We currently have ten active members.

BPM:  What is the misson for your organization? Do you host events during the year?
The main purpose of our book club is to strengthen our passion for reading, share our faith, explore quality works by African-American authors, share ideas and opinions and fellowship with like-minded friends. We have supported authors who have come to our city for book signings/workshops (Virginia DeBerry, Kayla Perrin and Beverly Jenkins), as well as other book clubs who host authors. Also, at least once a year, we contribute to a young adult pursuing his/her dreams. This year we contributed to a young athlete so that she would be able to attend the regionals for track and field. Last year, we contributed to a young lady’s fundraising efforts for Jabberwock, an evening of elegance and entertainment that showcases the gifts and talents of the young women participating in the program while advancing the goals and objectives of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s scholarship program.

BPM:  Has there been any books that helped shape your life or gave you inspiration?
Yes, there have been several, The Allure by Jackie King-Scott, Perfect Peace by Daniel Black, The Deal, the Dance and the Devil by Victoria Christopher Murray and Redeeming Waters by Vanessa Davis Griggs. There seemed to be a common factor in these books; that being the character(s) had life-changing decisions to make and the decisions they made had a huge impact on the lives of their loved one. The decisions made by these character(s) resulted in lengthy discussions and caused us to take a hard look at the decisions we make sometimes and how we want to make better decisions for ourselves and our loved ones while always keeping God in the mix.

BPM:  Do you feel as if African Americans are represented in a good light in the novels you read?
Our book club read mostly African-American Christian fiction. Although some of the characters get themselves into situations that are not very Christian-like, they usually find their way out through prayer and a willingness to do what is right. What we feel puts African Americans in a bad light is when characters consciously conduct themselves in a certain way without thought of consequences and repercussions.

BPM:  Do you think digital books will ever replace a printed book? Does the price of eBooks play a big part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
We don’t believe that digital books will ever replace a printed book. We love to be able to turn the pages in the book and most of our members will not purchase a e-book priced more than $5.00 The majority of our members will NEVER stop buying printed books and the only way we could be forced to not buy them is if they stopped selling them.

BPM:  What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?
Our book club would like to leave a legacy of improving literacy in our community. For those watching in the community, we hope they will see us as Christian women who were consistent in trying to teach the community, especially children the importance of reading.

BPM:   How may we find out more about your club? 
Please visit our Facebook, GirlFridayz BookClub. We are currently putting together a website, but in the meantime, if anyone needs more information about our book club or just needs to contact us, please contact Karyn Davis on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/girlfridayz.bookclub

 

 


Book Referees Founder Orsayor L. Simmons 

Orsayor L. Simmons is the founder of Book Referees. Book Referees spotlights/reviews/promote all genres in the literary world. She is the recipient of the 2013 Top 25 Literary Leader Award - 2014 Top 25 Literary Leader Award (presented by Ella Curry) and 2015 AAMBC Blogger of the Year.

BPM: Please tell us about your blog and review team. How did you get started? 
Book Referees was formed by me (Orsayor L. Simmons) - it was formed to get me amd my book loving friends to read/review/and to spread the word out about their favorite book.. but now it seems to take on a life of its own. I'm now spreading the word through my blog - interviewing authors - and getting books in the hands of celebrities. The blog continues to grow so now I have added reviewers to my team. Now when readers log on to my blog they are able to read reviews from different perspectives than it being all about me. Because when it boils down to it - it's about the BOOKS!  Books are the common demoninator to bringing us together.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors?
Book Referees read and reviewed all genres!! We also support self-published authors.

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors?
Yes! Social media has changed how I feel about a few authors, but I have learned over the years that I can't hang on every word an author post on Social Media. Authors like anyone else are entitled to their opinions especially if you friend them on their personal page. When it boils down to it - you have to be able to draw a line in the sand. Are you reading to be liked by an author? or Are you reading for the joy of reading? Life is too short to get caught in the "mess" of Social Media.  On the flip side, I have been introduced to some wonderful authors on Social Media. That's life... There's always a good/bad side to things.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? 
Book Referees is here to serve the literary community by being committed to getting word out about the importance of reading, the importance of reviewing, and importance of supporting authors. Book Referees has added promotional services to our services - with over 19,000 followers on Twitter - we are a 24/7 book alert system.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book blog?
Don't let fear stand in your way! Just do it! You won't know everything when you begin your club or blog - but you will learn many new things along the way. Do not ever compare your club to other groups - every book club or blog has something special to offer to the literary community. 

BPM: Can we invite you to future events and discussions? How can we follow you online?
Yes! I would be honored!
Orsayor L. Simmons Contact Information
On the Web - http://www.bookreferees.org 
On Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Orsayor   
Book Referees on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BookReferees 
On LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mrs-simmons/26/904/754 
On Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/OrsayorSimmons 
Book Referees on FB: http://www.facebook.com/TheBookReferees 

 

 




Black PageTurners Founder King Brooks

BPM: Please tell us about your blog and Black Page Turners. How did you get started?
King Brooks: Black Page Turners was formed by me (Cleavester b.k.a. King Brooks) in 2013. Before Black Page Turners, I hosted an online radio show and various other book magazines and websites. I am a team of one. What inspired me to start Black Page Turners was the closing of Black Issues Book Review. I wanted a place where I could come and find out all about African Americans books, publishing info, writer tools, etc. 

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors?
King Brooks: Yes, I love books by black authors and I support self-publish authors that are properly edited.

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors?
King Brooks: No, I have learned how to separate the work from the person. So I want be disappointed. As long as you write a good book. I have no problem with you; but if the book is not good, then we have a problem. In the words of Don Miguel Ruiz "Don't Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." 

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization?
King Brooks: The purpose of Black Page Turners is to inform readers about books written and about African Americans. 

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book blog?
King Brooks: In the famous words of Nike 'Just Do It.' If you are getting into this business to be about yourself or to be famous. Turn and exit now. Be prepared to invest long hours into your blog and be patient. The followers, authors, and publishers don't come over night. If anyone tells you 'No,' don't take it personal. Just keep moving forward and be very creative. 

BPM: Can we invite you to future events and discussions? How can we follow you online?
King Brooks: You can.

Cleavester 'King' Brooks, Publisher/Editor

Website:   http://www.blackpageturners.com
Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/blackpageturners
Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/bpageturners

 

 

 


Diamond's Literary World Literary Blog

BPM: How did your blog, Diamond's Literary World, get started?
One night, my future husband Darrell ( apparently very tired of hearing me go on and on and on about another fictional character) suggested that I start a literary blog, and after much consideration…Diamond's Literary World was created.

BPM: Is there something in particular that makes your blog different from the others? 
I believe Diamond's Literary World is different, because it is not focused on one particular genre. My posts include books and events from several genres, not limited to, but including Christian Fiction, Romance, Urban/Street Lit, Erotica, Biography, Autobiography, Self-Help, Muslim and Crime Fiction. The name Diamond's Literary World is special to me because my knowledge and love of books over the last 35 years, allows me to be a diamond that stands out from the rest.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book conversation? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
A good book conversation consists of character development, climactic effect and the meat of the book. The ending also plays a large role (i.e. Did the ending surprise you?) Sometimes, it's hard to stay on topic when you have a room full of people who have various emotions about the same scene. Add a little wine, and there's no telling where the conversation may lead.  I, for one, NEVER use the reading guides, because I develop my own questions along the way.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you use social media?
My book selections are determined by my mood. If I'm in a romantic mood, I'll choose Romance. When I need took feed my spirit, I immediately go to something religious based or Christian Fiction. Feeling a little perturbed, Urban/Street Lit is where I turn to. If I feel inspired, I'll reach for a self-help book. Social media has become my outlet when it comes to sharing my featured books with readers, in hopes that they will pick it up, too.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you borrow books from the library?
I will read a good book by anyone who writes a good story…it doesn't necessarily haves to be a person of color. I believed in supporting self-published authors, because so many of them are people I actually know, she's I believe in supporting someone else's dream. You never know if or when you will need someone to support a dream of yours. I have not borrowed a book from the library in over 15 years, because I always end up buying the book for my personal collection. As a matter of fact, I received a library card 3 days ago. It felt kind of weird! LOL.

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
Key factors that always help a book remain on my mind are strong characters, some type of twist and a powerful message. I love a book that I can immediately pull from my mental Rolodex, years down the road. One such book would be The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley, which I read in the 7th grade, along with my classmates. This book depicts the life of a troubled young man who canned from humble beginnings,become a man that not only changed his life, but stood up and made a difference in the world. It blew my young, impressionable mind and remains there to this day.

BPM: Do you post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews?
My book reviews can be found on Amazon, Facebook, WordPress, Goodreads, Shelfari, and Twitter. If a book is mediocre, I will be honest and hope that the author will take my words and use them to improve their craft.

BPM: Can you share a few 5 star books that have expanded your horizon?
I would happy to share Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray, Strongholds by Vanessa Davis Griggs, The Man in 3B by Carl Weber, Silence of the Nine by T. Styles, and Ghetto Bastard by K'wan. They are many more, but these are the first to come to mind.

BPM: What are you reading now? What books are on your reading schedule?
I am currently reading Mama B: A Time for War by Michelle Stimpson. I found out about this book, which is the fifth installment of the Mama B series, from several posts on Facebook. My next read is Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young…another book I found out about on Facebook. I'm actually pretty excited about this upcoming release!

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events?
I love to attend book signings and literary events, because I get to meet new authors, as well as catch up with some veterans. I would like to see more people come out and support these artists, if not financially, then emotionally. Let them know what you thought of their book(s) and encouraged them to keep perfecting their craft. I really don't have any dislikes about events and I really don't mind whether an author reads from his/her but, but it does intrigued the mind sometime.

BPM: What is your preferred way to find new books?
I prefer to find new books from a friend's recommendation and social media.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer digital books? 
I buy books online and at my local African American owned bookstore. I have no preference of digital or printed books, but somehow, I read the digital ones faster. The price of an e-book does not play a part in my purchase.

BPM: Do you attend Twitter chats or Facebook chats? Have you ever viewed a Google Hangout or Periscope show?
I have only attended Facebook chats and never viewed A Hangout or Periscope show. If given the opportunity, I would love to chat with Vanessa Davis Griggs or John Grisham.

BPM: Can we invite you to future social media events and discussions?  
I would love to be invited you anything literary related. I can be found online at this sites:
Website: diamondsliteraryworld.wordpress.com
Twitter: purplepassion802
Facebook: Diamond's Literary World
Goodreads: Diane Rembert

 

 

 


Indulge Book Club 
Micole Marbury, Coordinator/Founder


BPM: Give us a little history on your organization, Indulge Book Club.  How many members do you have?
Indulge Book Club was started December 2005. We are located in Washington DC. We currently have ten members. Indulge Coordinator/Founder is Micole Marbury, Secretary is Marcia Horton, Activities Coordinator Latarsha Reid, Photographer Chaquita Goode, Indulge little readers facilitator Mailka Watkins

We started Indulge because we love to read and we wanted an outlet from our daily lives and to fellowship with friends. We are a group of individuals who meet every 1st Sunday at various member homes from 4pm to 6pm for book discussions. We are varied in age and are of numerous backgrounds. We are passionate readers who have been reading together for ten years in December, 2015. 

BPM: What is the mission of the group? Tell us about your work in the community. 
The mission of the group is to free our minds from the stresses of life and indulge ourselves in great books, food and conversation. Indulge was not originally establish for community service purposes but in the upcoming years we plan to start promoting the importance of reading.

BPM: What types of monthly activities do you enjoy as a group? Do you travel?
We meet once a month for our book club meetings. We have activities planned for every three months in the year. We have an annual game night, we see movies together, go to dinner together, and for our 5th Anniversary on went on a cruise on the Odyssey. 

BPM: What impact has reading or being in a organized group had on your life? 
As the Organizer/Founder of Indulge Book Club, it has been a great pleasure to know and meet so many amazing people and to hear there thoughts and emotions. The experience helps us grow as individuals. The books are a bonus

BPM: How do you feel about electronic books such as for the Kindle, Nook or iPad, etc?
These devices are good because it helps the reader now have so many books all over the place. But they do not hold the same substance as books.

BPM: How may we find out more about your club? 
You can contact us at www.Facebook.com/Indulgebookclub,  and (website is under construction www.indulgebookclub.com).  Email us for the mailing address to send books for review.


 

 


Mississippi Magnolias Book Club 

BPM: Introduce us to your group. What was the first book you read as a Group?
MMBC: Mississippi Magnolias Book Club was founded November, 5, 2012 in Gulfport, Mississippi by Antionette Gates, President.  MMBC officers are Antionette Gates, President, Ethel Smith, Vice-President, Taironzika Wesley, Secretary, Angela McNair, Treasurer, Photographers, Lisa Ladner and Kimberly Robins. MMBC currently have ten active members. Our first book read was Money Can’t Buy Love by Connie Briscoe.

BPM: Why was the organization created? Donate to charities or provide any services for the community?
MMBC was created from avid readers that also happen o be members of Unity Festival, Incorporated, a non-profit organization. Yes, a few of us post reviews on Amazon. We contribute to all UFI events throughout the community; Thanksgiving baskets to needy families, books or prizes for the Children’s Book Jamboree, and sponsor Angel Tree children, at Christmas. MMBC members also volunteer at the organizations various functions including the neighborhood Unity Festival in March of each calendar year.

BPM: What type of books does your group read? Are there any genres that you will not read? 
MMBC: Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Erotica and Mysteries are group favorites. Some members thoroughly enjoy paranormal books as well. There is no genre that we absolutely will not read. A book excerpt does not help in the book selection.

BPM: Do you prefer to only read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors?  
MMBC: The majority of books read by MMBC are by authors of color, but books have been chosen by authors who aren’t of color. MMBC members definitely support self-published authors. Any support given self-published authors help promote awareness of the book and enlighten other readers about both the author and their books. This action in turn will someday garner a larger following for the self-published author.

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
MMBC: A few key factors are great characters, realistic problems or events, and a fantastic location.

BPM: What authors have been able to capture your imagination and support far beyond the last page?
MMBC: Authors Beverly Jenkins, Francis Ray, Brenda Jackson, Marissa Monteilh, Janet Evanovich, Kimberly Lawson Roby, Eric Jerome Dickey, and the E. Lynn Harris have created characters with strong personalities, endearing qualities and life situations. They make you wonder about the characters and events they will write about next.

BPM: What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?
MMBC: Our goal is to improve our community through literacy and literature. We hope to bring a sense of joy, hope, and adventure associated with the love of reading, and volunteerism to the youth on the coast. It is our goal to further these efforts in future through a youth reading group or book club.

BPM: How may we find out more about your book club?
MMBC: For more information contact us on Facebook at  Mississippi Magnolias Book Club @ www.facebook.com.


 

 

 


Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned

BPM: Give us the history on your club. How many members do you have? Tell us about the members.
My name is Toshona E. Carter and I am the Founder and President of this great group of women called Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned.  My bookclub got started on July 17, 2010 as a request from some sister friends whom loved to read. They knew I had previously been a member in another club. 

The members names are the following:
LaToshia Enoch-Elston
Cassandra Wallace
Tacarla Young
Jayla Davis
Angela Davis
Erica Whitfield
Jennnifer James
Shantwan Vickers
Shereen Watkins

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events during the year?
Our bookclub focuses on community service. We want to promote literacy and help provide a positive atmosphere for children & families. Also to provide a nuturing environment for all women of color. When were not reading and having a book discussion, we are usually participating in some type of community service project. We recently participated in a homeless facility called the Union Rescue Mission where we packed boxes for families for Thanksgiving.  We also donated to the Ronald McDonald House and  took up a cash donation forThe Salvation Army.

BPM:  Have you always liked to read?  What you love most about reading? Favorite authors? 
I have loved reading since I was a small child. I feel that reading opens your mind to so many possiblities. I do believe knowledge is Power.  Some of my favorite authors include Mary Monroe, Adrienne Thompson, Francis Ray, Terry McMillan, Daniel Black, E.Lynn Harris, Rita Williams- Garcia, Zane, Toni Morrison, and Dr. Maya Angelou.

 

 


 


Coffee Beanz N Readz Book Club 

BPM: Welcome!  Please share with us the history of the organization. How did you get started? 
Hi my name is Sheridan Akens founder of  Coffee Beanz N Readz Book Club but you can call me Mz. Coffee Bean. I was born in Los Angeles  CA. and moved to Texas at an early age. I currently reside in Houston, Texas where I’m raising two beautiful daughters. I’ve always had a strong passion for reading, so it was no surprise when I began my search within the city to find a book club to join. But to my surprise I found this task somewhat challenging. So I decided to do the next best thing and start my own club. 

Because of my cheerful spirit and the strong family-oriented values bestowed upon me, I made the choice of this not being just a club but a SISTAHOOD.  The name Coffee Beanz N Readz was created from my thoughts of snuggling up with a good book and having a smooth cup of coffee.  The two together are a great blend and well the ladies are the whip cream on top. The club is a way for each “Bean” to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A place and time where you can sit, relax and savor a great discussion with your “sisters”. 

Coffee Beanz N Readz Book Club  began in April 2010 in Houston, Texas . The motivating factor to start a club came with the network of the book Push by Sapphire to my co-workers on the job. It was then, that I realized there were many people around me that shared my same passion. I asked co-workers, family and friends to join. We were blessed to have our first meeting with a noted author, Brianne Smith.  Her novel, Ms. Onda-Stould became our first book to read. 

Our family consists of 12 members from different walks of life. And like our background differences, each sister has a nickname derived from different flavors, roasts and blends of coffee (i.e. Mz. Richly Brewed, Mz. Columbian Bean, Mz. Frappuccino and Mz. Premium Roast). We meet every third Saturday of each month. We select a different host each month. The host does make the selection for our “Book of the Month”.   Our reads are compiled from different genres, but  all from African-American Literature.  We are also actively involved in community volunteer events (i.e. Methodist Hospital Stride for Stroke Walk, Walk to Cure Diabetes, Susan G. Komen Walk, etc.).   December 2010 we started our own Adopt-A-Family program in which we were able to make a mother of three, holiday season less stressful.

Beanz Cabinet
Chellsi Akens (Miss Vanilla Bean Whipped) – Spirit Leader
Katashia DeWalt (Mz. Frappuccino) – Administrative Assistant
Sheila Henry (Mz. Café Latte) - Treasurer
Antrese Knighten (Mz. Premium Roast) – Photographer

BPM: What is the vision for Coffee Beanz N Readz Book Club?
Our mission is to enhance our member’s passion for reading and inspire others to appreciate the joy of reading. To promote sisterhood by building lifelong friendships.  To support and  network with African-American authors, while purchasing their books and  attending their literary events. To support our community by volunteering in different organizations. 

BPM: Give us a deeper understanding of how important reading is to you.
Reading will open your eyes to a world you’ve never known. It gives you a world of knowledge, power, relaxation, inspiration, travel, courage, hope, love and much more. Reading is the BEST gift a person can give to themselves.

BPM: On your nightstand now:
The Eternal Engagement by Mary B. Morrison

BPM: Favorite book when you were a child:
Freckle Juice by Judy Blume

BPM: Book you've bought for the cover:
Moth To A Flame by Ashley Antoinette. Those eyes read “something serious is going down – turn the pages and follow me now.”

BPM: Book you most want to read AGAIN much slower, to savor:
72 Hour Hold by Bebe Moore Campbell . This book was very emotional and eye-opening to the issues on mental illness. It also showed the unconditional love a mother has for their child(ren).

BPM: Book that should be a movie or play:
The Million Dollar Divorce by R M Johnson

BPM: Name three authors you would like to do a phone chat with this year.
Mary B. Morrison, Allison Hobbs and Kimberla Lawson Roby

Sheridan Akens, President and Founder Coffee Beanz N Readz Book Club
“Enhancing your passion for reading”
Facebook: www.facebook.com/coffeebeanznreadz

 

 

 

 


Fourth Sunday Book Club - Maryland

A Book Club wrote a book about The Journey of a Book Club. The six authors of Fourth Sunday – The Journey Of A Book Club, Francesca Cook, Chyla Evans, Clarita Frazier, Allita Irby, Donna Neale, and Yolanda Yates are members of a book club based in Maryland. They have been featured in various publications, showcasing their decision to write their own novel.  Add Fourth Sunday – The Journey Of A Book Club to your list of books to read!   What happens when a real life book club decides to write their own novel? The result is a fresh, fun story about a group of women who have more in common than just the books they read.

FOURTH SUNDAY written by B.W. Read (aka “Because We Read” ) is the tale of seven women and their journey towards friendship by way of a simple book club.  Over time, their friendship grows beyond books, as their lives, relationships, careers, and families become one. The core group of women—Gwen, Natalie, Allana, Brianna, Camille, Destiny, and Adriane—shares not only their love of books at these monthly meetings but their life experiences as well.  During a two year period, the women undergo a number of trials within their own lives as they confront divorce, illness, romantic highs and lows, sexual experimentation, and career challenges. Throughout the good times and bad times, their book club family provides support, encouragement, laughter, and love.

Written by six women of a real-life book club who no longer wanted to read about characters they could not identify with, FOURTH SUNDAY is the answer for the everyday woman. FOURTH SUNDAY is timeless cosmopolitan literature.   The novel incorporates intellect and riveting facts about medical, political and small business state of affairs while balancing playfulness and sensuality. It is funny, it is sad, it is contemporary, but most of all it is real.


BPM: Give us a little history on the 4th Sunday Book Club
The 4th Sunday Book Club was founded in the 1994 by six professional African-American women from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area . These women shared a desire to read books of quality and substance and formed a loosely structured book club simply referred as “the book club”.  The objective was to read books written by African-American authors. Over time the club diversified to include at least one non-fiction book per year and has grown beyond solely African-American authored works.

The book club, which met on fourth Sundays, soon found that contemporary literature did not reflect them or their lives. Motivated by this realization, the club began writing its own book. The result is Fourth Sunday: A Journey of Book Club, which was written under the pseudonym B.W. Read and published in May 2011 by Strebor Books for Simon and Shuster. In honor of the success of the book, “the book club” was renamed “4th Sunday Book Club.”

The 4th Sunday Book Club has grown in membership and purpose. The club now has 13 active members. However, it remains an unstructured, intimate club where books are our connection and our bond is our strength.

BPM: In your opinion, why is reading important in our lives?
Reading is important because it exposes us to experiences and information we may not otherwise encounter. Reading helps us to become more educated and well rounded. Books, like "A Wrinkle In Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, influence lives at an early stage and have lasting effects.

BPM: What types of books does your group read? How do you select the featured books?
The club reads11 books per year. At least one non-fiction and a book with a romantic theme or undertone are read each year in February. The club meets only once during the summer months of July and August, for a co-ed meeting where spouses or significant others are invited is held. Books are selected at the January meeting and are selected by consensus. 

BPM: What are you reading now as a group? How did you come by this selection? 
This year’s co-ed book is “Before I Forget” by Leonard Pitts.  The club attempts to select co-ed books that are (1) fiction with contemporary stories and themes that may appeal to the male perspective or (2) non-fiction and address contemporary issues and subject matters. 

BPM: What are your all-time favorite book  selections? 
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, everything written by Tananarive Due, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Red Tent by Anita Diamante, and Topping from Below by Laura Reese to name a few.

BPM: Are you satisfied with the legacy books written by African American authors will leave our future generations?
NO and NO. For the past 20 years or more, books written by black authors that are profiled or placed front and center by bookstores and the media are classified as “Urban Literature.” Most often found under this classification are books that reflect the urban hip-hop culture, baby mama drama, hustler, or mad black woman perspectives that feed the majority’s opinion. Contemporary books are capturing the moment, the flavor of the month, sometimes for shock value. Only a few of these books will be classics 20, 30, years from now. 

Books of depth and substance are painted with this broad monolithic “Urban Literature” brush and are too often looked over when books get promoted. They are ultimately lost to the readers and we are left with a legacy of more widely read black books that stereotype us, our lives, and our desires. 

BPM: Is there anything you would love to see more of in books? 
YES. More diversity including, but not limited to mixed race couples, gay characters that aren't caricatures or stereotypes, people doing meaningful things with their lives that make them happy, and people being accountable for the decisions (good and bad) they make without blaming society, lack of money or their parents.

Interview submitted by Allita Irby, Fourth Sunday Book Club


 

 


Our Reading Circle of Friends - Washington, DC

BPM: Give us a little history on your organization. How many members do you have?
Our Reading Circle of Friends (RCOF) was founded in 1995 by sixteen African American women bound by friendship, a love of reading and a commitment to support African American authors. We all live in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Most of us have been friends for more than 20 years and Circle members for at least 10 years. Seven of the current members are founding members of the Circle! 

BPM: What is the mission of the group? Tell us about your work in the community

Our mission is to: 
· encourage African American women to find time for themselves 
· read and promote books penned by African American authors 
· encourage reading as a lifelong hobby 
· inspire others to read by demonstrating our commitment to literacy 
· heighten awareness of social and cultural issues 
· provide a forum where friends share life lessons 
· share our time and talents with our community 
· serve as activists for social justice 

BPM: How does your book club celebrate special occasions? 
In honor of Valentine's Day, the February gathering is open to men. Each member may invite her spouse, significant other or good friend to attend. The book for Men's Night is selected and moderated by a male guest. 

Each November, we have a special pre-Thanksgiving dinner as we discuss that month's book. It serves as a gentle reminder of all the things for which we are grateful; including one another and our beloved RCOF. 

The RCOF provides opportunities for friends to reconnect, read regularly and reflect as we explore literary works together. Our monthly gatherings allow us to etch out some time for "us" as we share our hopes, dreams and concerns through lively discussions. 

BPM: How are book selected? What happens at a RCOF gathering? 
Individual Circle members make book recommendations to the group. Once the recommendation is made, the group commits to read the selected book. Though we prefer that the books be written by African American authors, we do sometimes read books written by non-African American authors. The Circle member who selects a particular book, serves as the moderator for the discussion of that book and helps members make personal connections with the text. Most times, gatherings are hosted in a member's home. The evening consists of dinner and conversations that are sparked by the book. 

BPM: How does your book club make the connection between the book and real life? 
Each year, after we have read his/her book, one author is selected to join the Circle discussion in person. A few of the authors the Circle has hosted include: A'Lelia Bundles, AJ Verdelle, Pearl Cleage, , Lyah LaFlore, Pearl Cleage, Dr. George Jenkins, Pulitzer Prize winner, Edward P. Jones, The Honorable Kweisi Mfume and Pamela Samuels-Young. In some instances we have even been able to introduce our children to these prominent authors and they have welcomed the opportunity to interact with literary giants they never dreamed that they would meet. 

BPM: WHO'S IN THE PICTURE? 
Front row: Melissa Hinkson*, Denise Simmons, and Karen Murrell 
Second row: Stephanie Fulcher, Robin Evans, DeVon Caldwell-Brown, Deborah Crimes*, and Myla Moss* 
Back row: Shebbie R. Rice*, Joy Jackson*, and Yvette Downs 

BPM: WHO'S MISSING FROM THE PICTURE? 
Trisana Cephas, Ronicsa Chambers, Dana Duncan, Kathryn Keys, Laverne McAllister, Aricka Porter*, Robyn Simmons*, Marchetta Powell, Carolyn Tharpe-Robinson*, and Rhonda White 
* Members since 1995 

 

 

 

 


Smooth Essence Book Club - Orlando, Florida

Smooth Essence Book Club "SEBC" has originated in July, 2012 in Orlando, Florida by a young lady name Deborah "Diva Dee" Walker . This organization is fairly new however the group of women are very close. SEBC is a group of women who has monthly chats and craft sessions of books they have select for that particular month.They cater to African American novels from fiction to non-fiction. They are also in the process of doing community events with women who have survived Domestic Violence. They will be donating used books to the shelters in the Downtown Orlando area for the women who love to read. Smooth Essence Book Club is not only a book club but a group of women who grow and bond together as a whole. 

BPM:  Give us the history on your organization. How many members do you have? 
Prior to this book club, actually me and two other member were in an existing book club but i decided to branch out on my own and start my own club. So in July, 2012 SEBC came to life, with only 2 members and now we are at 6 and growing. SEBC member consist of me, Deborah"Diva Dee" Walker- President, Monik Obrin- Vice-President, Marva Rodriguez- Secretary and Carlyn Herard, Barabara Loiseau, Marjorie Valmir. We are located in Orlando, FL.

BPM:  What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events during the year?
The purpose of our organization is to empower each other with love and encouragement. We are more than just a book club. We are here to support each other in every aspect of life. Our mission statement is "The essence of women growing and bonding".  As of right now we haven't hosted any events but we're just getting started and have numerous goals we want to accomplish within our book club.

BPM:  As a loyal reader, what are some of the things you want to see more of in books? Do you read mostly fiction or non-fiction?
We are happy with what we see in African American books. Just keep the drama coming! The books Smooth Essence Book Club read currently are fiction and non-fiction.

BPM: Do you feel as if African Americans are represented in a good light in the books you read?
I do feel African American are represented in good light in our books. Our author are keeping it real by writing about various characters ranging in all degrees and stages in life. Expressing the low and high struggles we as black people go through. 

BPM:  Speak directly to the writers of the world, what advice would you offer them on capturing a reader's attention and keeping it? 
I would say to my writers, keep it real!! never lose your touch, write what's on your heart because a reader can and will notice if the writer is truly sincere on what they are writing. That is what keep us Book Clubs going and purchasing when a writer is real and is true to there story.

BPM:  What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?
The legacy we hope Smooth Essence Book Club leave for those watching n the community is that we together as black women can unite and have meaningful, deep conversation from books to everyday life. We are here to support the people in our community, each other and bring positive atmosphere.

BPM:  How may we find out more about you or your group? 
You can contact Smooth Essence Book Club via Facbook at: www.facebook.com/smoothessencebookclub 

Interview submitted by Dee Dee Walker, President & CEO Smooth Essence Book Club
"The Essence Of Women Growing & Bonding"




 



Literary Ladies Book Club - Rahway, New Jersey

BPM:  Give us the history on your club. Where are you located? How many members do you have? 
In October 2008, the Literary Ladies Book Club was established in Rahway, New Jersey by sisters, Sandi and Maria. As busy career women with little free time to enjoy friends, fellowship, adult conversation and a good “Girl’s Night Out”; the sisters decided to start a book club driven by their love of African American Literature and their shared desire to engage in honest, enthusiastic, enlightening discussions with other individuals that truly enjoy reading. In order to rise to their fullest and purest potential not only as readers but also as women, they encouraged members to empower one another by sharing ideas and materials throughout the month that promote personal growth and enhance awareness within literary, social, spiritual and economic areas. 

In a nutshell, the original eight members gathered with the purpose of creating unity, friendship, and sisterhood amongst positive women of color. Presently, we have 11 active members who are in the process of determining to which organizations this year’s charitable donations will be made as well finalizing the details for our annual bowling party and literary luncheon. 

*  PRESIDENT / FOUNDER - Sandra Randolph
*  VICE PRESIDENT / FOUNDER - Maria Jackson
*  TREASURER - Paola Colon
*  SECRETARY - Deanna Wharton
*  CHAPLAIN - Ayona Hill
*  FACEBOOK ADMIN/PHOTOGRAPHER - Rashonda Jones-Aiken

In addition, our members are busy scheduling authors to participate in future monthly discussions. Currently, approximately 80% percent of our monthly discussions entail author participation either in person or via video or phone conference.

BPM:  What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events during the year or provide services for the community?
The purpose of our group is to gather literary women who enjoy reading. We come together to fellowship and discuss our book of the month along with what is going on in the literary world. We explore many different genres and writing styles. Literary Ladies looks forward to growing the club, possessing a stronger presence in the literary world and to whatever the universe has in store. We host an annual bowling party every August and we recently had our first "Lunch with the Literary Ladies Book Club & Friends” on October 20th.

BPM:  As a loyal reader, what are some of the things you want to see more of or less of in books?
The African American community includes people from all socio-economic levels; so we’d like to see a broader representation of us as a people overall in African American Literature. We would also like to see more books for teenagers. As loyal readers, our biggest pet peeve is poor editing. Often, there are so many typographical and grammatical errors that it becomes necessary to go back and reread a sentence, paragraph or worse yet an entire page in order to understand and follow the storyline. It is very frustrating to say the least.

BPM:  Has there been any books that helped shape your life or gave you inspiration?
*  The Holy Bible
*  Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
*  When Your Past Becomes Your Present by Dr. Henry Cloud
*  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

BPM:  What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
The Literary Ladies Book Club’s collective purpose is still evolving. Having just hosted our first luncheon which showcased 11 local authors, we hope to continue to showcase authors in a more formal setting allowing veteran author to mentor up and coming writers. We will continue to support local African American authors, host fundraisers and make charitable donations to various charities. We not only gather to fellowship and talk about our monthly book(s) but we also socially conscious.

BPM:  Are you satisfied with the legacy black books will leave our future generations? Do you think the writings of today's authors are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations? If so, who?
We feel that the books written today are speaking of life, the streets and not all have a happy ending. The books of yesterday are more about history, where we come from as a race; they taught you something…made you think. You can't compare history with "entertainment." With writings from authors such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou and Alice Walker just to name a few; the legacy of black books is strong. In our opinion, not enough of today’s authors are building upon this legacy. However, authors’ such as Pamela Samuels-Young, Bernice L. McFadden and Moody Holiday give us hope.

BPM:   Do you feel as if African Americans are represented in a good light in the books you read?
Although negative stereotypes are perpetuated far too often, it really depends on the author and what they are writing about. In some of the books we’ve read African Americans are represented in a positive light; however, in other books we were our non black equals; educated, religious, prosperous, entrepreneurs, executives, valued high in society but still have to struggle to prove ourselves... We feel that African Americans are often represented as we have been socially regarded.

BPM:  Do you think digital books will ever replace a printed book? Does the price of eBooks play a big part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
No, not 100% because you will always have people who like the feel and smell of a new book, but as history has proven electronics are the way of the future. Yes, price does matter, but overall convenience will probably win You have to ask, is it less expensive to download an electronic version that costs $1 more or drive to the store or pay shipping to purchase the hard copy? No, we would never stop purchasing printed books. In fact, we purchase printed books, if the author is in attendance and signing for keepsake purposes.

BPM:  What are some of the changes you have seen in the last 5 years, in publishing, that you dislike?
We have a problem with the overall lack of support given to African American Literature by larger publishing houses. Authors are now forced to self publish their work. The authors lose the value of editing, marketing and distribution when that happens. In addition, it seems that many authors who by chance are able to land a deal with a major publisher are pigeon holed into writing what they (the publishers) think the black audience wants.

BPM:  Speak directly to the writers of the world, what advice would you offer them on capturing a reader's attention and keeping it?
Be creative in your approach. Don't involve too many characters in the plot. Keep the readers interested by feeding them just enough to keep them hungry and thirsting for more. There should not be multiple plots and definitely don’t drag them out. Please, please, please have your books properly edited and also take into consideration how that printed copy will appear when converted to an electronic version. 

BPM:  How may we find out more about you or your group? 
We are on Facebook at: LiteraryLadies Bookclub

Photo credit: Literary Ladies of Central NJ with Bernice L. McFadden

 


 


Girlfriends Book Club -  Dallas Chapter

BPM: Give us a little history on your organization. How many members do you have? 
My name is Shameka Latimer, President of Girlfriends Book Club Dallas Chapter. GBC was founded in 2004 by Tamika Shamberger, CEO in Sacramento, CA. Dallas Chapter Officers are: Shameka Latimer- President/Secretary, Tonya Henderson-Smith-Vice President and LeTanya White-Kennedy- Treasurer. GBC Dallas was founded in July 2009 and is the fifth out of seven chapters. As of now we have a total of eight members.

BPM: What is the mission of the group? 
Our mission is to promote sisterhood and utilize this book club for self, as a stress reliever and a motivational tool. We look forward to working with all local and mainstream authors as much as possible to promote their novels. 

BPM: What type of activities do you enjoy as a group? Do you travel? 
We meet every third Saturday of each month to discuss our featured selection. Each member hosts a meeting either in their home or a surrounding venue. Since we love good food each member brings a dish. We also try to have authors attend our meetings which is always fun. The authors we've featured were the ladies who wrote "MANY PATHS, MANY FEET"  and Brian W. Smith author of  "MAMA LIES, DADDY PAIN."

Our organization has three Annual Events (Family Day, Group Trip, and Holiday Christmas Party). Our chapter does things from movies, to shopping, team building, and etc. 

BPM: How are you celebrating the holidays? Will you have a group party?
We will all celebrate the holidays with family and friends. We also have our holiday party to exchange gifts, talk, eat, awards, and just party and have a great time. 

BPM: What impact has reading had on your life? 
Reading has been a stress reliever for us. It helps to take our mind off of things we may be going through. Reading has opened me up to new author and great discussions.

BPM: What impact has being in a organized group had on your life? 
GBC has been more then just a book club, it has been an outlet for me. All women face challenges, everyday, be it at home or in the work place. When we get together we open up our hearts to each other. This organization has led me to meet some wonderfully encouraging women. It's like having an extended family. 

BPM: What is your favorite genre of books? What are the key factors that make a book remain on your mind long after you read the last page? 
This is a tough question. We enjoy Contemporary, Memoirs, Biography, Self help, Mystery, Romance, and other genres. Since we all have different personalities our taste in books varies. Books that relate to our everyday lives are the ones that remain on our mind long ever the books are closed. 

BPM: How do you feel about electronic books such as downloads for Kindle, Nook or iPad, etc?
As far as electronic book, I think its convenient and great. I think it depends on the person because some people want to collect the books they have read and some don't. 

BPM: Do you think our authors are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations? 
Yes, I do think the authors of today are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations and some are leaving even better ones!

BPM: How may we find out more about your club? 
Corporate website: www.girlfriendsbookclub.com 
Dallas Chapter website: www.gbcdallas.webs.com  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/gbcdallas 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/gbcdallas 

 

 

 


Girlfriends Book Club
Germeko Murray, GBC Atlanta President


BPM: Give us a little history on your organization, Girlfriends Book Club, Atlanta Chapter. 
Our organization name is Girlfriends Book Club and we are the Atlanta Chapter. Our organization was founded in 2004 in Sacramento, CA. by CEO Tamika Shamberger. The Atlanta Chapter was founded in 2008 and we are the fourth of seven chapters. Officers of the Atlanta Chapter are Germeko Murray- President;  Vegletta Cook-Lewis- Vice President, Sherica Tate- Treasurer and Stephanie Jett- Secretary. As of now we have nine members. 

BPM: What is the mission of the group? Tell us about the GBC work in the community. 
In the process of doing what we love which is reading we want to promote sisterhood. We would like to be a national known book club combating the stereotype that African American women can not get along, we would like show that it can be done in a positive way. 

BPM: What type of monthly activities do you enjoy as a group? Do you travel? 
Well, we do have our monthly book meetings, but we also try to get together as often as we can for social events such as: Book Expos, Birthdays and Girls Night Out. We have several annual events Parent/Family Day, Holiday Party and Annual Trip also we do several community services per year. 

BPM: How are you celebrating the holidays? Will your club have a group party? 
All of the members are very family oriented and will be celebrating the holidays with their families but we will most definitely get together for our Annual Holiday Party which will consist of dinner, games, gift exchange, a little partying and most of all enjoying the sisterhood!!! 

BPM: What impact has reading and being in an organized group had on your life? 
Reading is a comfort zone that sometimes takes you out of your element and it gives you a visual of situations and people that you may have never encountered or some you may know. Being in Girlfriends Book Club has allowed me to meet women from different backgrounds and experiences. I have also been able to participate in things that I would have not normally in return it has made me more open minded and appreciate sisterhood more. 

BPM: How may we find out more about your club?
You can find out more about all our organizations chapters at www.girlfriendsbookclub.com  and more about the Atlanta Chapter at www.gbcatlanta.webs.comwww.facebook.com/gbcatl

Submitted by: 
Germeko Murray, GBC ATL President
www.gbcatlanta.webs.com 
www.facebook.com/gbcatl 
www.girlfriendsbookclub.com   

 

 


The Sista Girl Book Club - PA and NJ

BPM: Give us the history on your organization.  How many members do you have? 
Sista Girl:  It was my personal challenge to read at least one book a month that lead me on this literary journey. My name is Michelle and I started “The Sista Girl Book Club” back in September, 2005, with some of my co-workers. It has been an interesting adventure to say the least. If any book club has been together more than a couple of years they can attest to the fact that a positive book club is hard to maintain. We started with five members ,we at one time had eleven members and back down to the four core members and the last three years we had five members. This May we added our sixth member to our club, we will wait another year see how this works out and may consider adding another member and take it a year at a time. We are primarily located in PA with one member from NJ.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events during the year or provide services for the community? 
Sista Girl:  We are a group of ladies whom love to read and get together the last Saturday of each month to break bread, relax and catch up on each others lives in the midst of discussing a common book we have read. Our sole purpose is having a Sista Night Out! We all have busy lives, families, jobs and such and we are taking one night out of our busy months for some Sista time!

BPM: Are you satisfied with the legacy black books will leave our future generations? Do you think the writings of today's authors are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations? If so, who?
Sista Girl: I am so proud to introduce someone to the African American authors that I have come to know. The writings of my people can not be housed in just one category as even I thought when I began my reading journey almost seven years ago. We have authors such as Mary Monroe and then you go all the way to the other side with a Monique D. Mensah and I will throw in a Eric Pete, Lori Johnson, Daniel Black, Tracy Brown and my newest author Victor McGlothin in the middle. What you have here is Good reading for the young and the old.

BPM: Do you feel as if African Americans are represented in a good light in the novels you read?
Sista Girl: This is an internal debate that I have with myself about the books by my people. Do I pick a book just because I want to just support my people or do I pick a book because the author is a good author?   The Sista Girl Book Club has chosen to support whom ever we tell can tell a good story, simple! 

The Urban/Hood books that I read, it’s like the lights are out!  Don’t get me wrong these are some of the best books that I have come to know and authors that I continue to support, but face it we look bad in most of them.   My husband always tells me to stop reading those comic books. Then we have some books that I tend to remove from that Urban category but are by African American authors and these books tell stories that shed better lighting to us as African American people. These books make you think a little harder it seems and they definitely lend to a better discussion.

BPM: Do you think digital books will ever replace a printed book? Does the price of ebooks play a big part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
Sista Girl:  Well what can we say about technology? The price of the e-books definitely caused me to purchase more books than I would have normally. I think the easy access to purchase and read the books right away also lends to why e-books have become more popular. I have noticed that my son reads more than he did with his e-reader than his printed books, not sure why but he does. I have some diehard friends whom swore that they were not going to stray from printed books and where are they getting their books from right now? You guessed it, from the comfort of their homes, work. or wherever they are on their electronic e-readers! I will buy a printed book when necessary or at an event to support an author that I like, so I won’t rule out buying a actual printed book!

BPM: How may we find out more about your club? Please share your FB link and website address. 
Sista Girl: Like us on Facebook as Sista Girl Book Club.  You can check out the Sistas & Sista Happenings on our website:  www.Sistagirlbooks.com  

 

 

 


The Black Pearls Magazine family would like to thank each of you for joining us monthly in celebrating the best in literature and the arts.  Our team of writers, bookclubs and authors are so humbled that you have allowed us entrance into your life. It amazes me each month as I check our subscribers how many of  you deem us worthy of your time and support. 

We appreciate each of you for telling 10 people about the magazine and for driving people to this site. YOU make Black Pearls the magnificent publication that it is, by sharing the Gift of Knowledge!

Please know, as we prepare each issue for you, we look for those stimulating conversations, the most thought provoking articles and most of all, the best books on the shelves. We want each page of this magazine to add value to your lives!  Your comments and feedback are welcomed. Join our blog and share your news, advice and wisdom with the other readers. Tell us what you want to read too!

As we enjoy this exciting year, we hope to bring you more provocative topics and life empowering books to shape your lives. We have contests for the readers and more interactive sections added to the magazine. Let us know what you think of the fresh new content by emailing us here.  Thank you!


Ella Curry, President of EDC Creations
Founder & Editor In Chief Black Pearls Magazine

Disclaimer:  The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing articles for Black Pearls Magazine are theirs alone, and do not reflect the views, opinions or positions of Ella Curry, EDC Creations Media Group, Crown Holders Transmedia Group, Black Pearls Magazine or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or guest writers for this online magazine and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use. If issues should arise, please contact the author or the publishing firms directly. 

 

 

 

 


 

BLACK PEARLS MAGAZINE WINS AGAIN!  

2013, 2014 and 2015  BEST LITERARY MAGAZINE AWARD 


Presented by the African American Literary Awards Show

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

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