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Presented by the 10th Annual African American Literary Awards Show

 

 

 

 


A CHRISTMAS PRAYER 
by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Alexis Fletcher hasn't had a merry Christmas in five years-not since her mother passed away. Every December she remembers the joy her mother brought to everyone during the holiday season and feels the pain of her absence, even more so now that she and her sister are barely speaking. More than anything, Alexis wishes her family could be whole again.

However, with her wedding fast approaching, Alexis might just be ready to make some holiday memories with a new family of her own. Alexis's fiancé, Chase Dupont, is everything she ever dreamed of. He's kind, handsome, fully supportive of Alexis's career, and the CEO of a large company. But outside forces threaten to derail this happy couple from ever reaching the altar.

As tensions rise, a dramatic event causes Alexis to question everything. Will fate give her what she needs to finally embrace the season that has brought her so much pain? Will Alexis get her wish for a happy holiday? Or will her Christmas prayer go unanswered? 


Chapter 1 - A Christmas Prayer 


It was Black Friday, and while millions of folks were out chasing some of the most colossal deals of the century, all Alexis wanted was for this whole Christmas season to be over with. There were times when she wished she could feel differently, but ever since her mom had passed away five years ago, she hadn’t wanted anything to do with it. Of course, she did still recognize and mentally rejoice at the beautiful birth of Christ, but when it came to huge family celebrations and festive gatherings, she wanted no parts of them. What she did instead, mostly, was pray that New Year’s Day would come as quickly as possible so she could get on with her life.

Alexis curled her body into a tighter ball, picked up the remote control, and looked toward the flat-screen television on her bedroom wall. It was shortly past one in the afternoon, yet she still lay in her dark mahogany sleigh-style bed with her pajamas on. She just didn’t feel like doing anything, and the fact that almost every news channel she turned to showed massive shopping crowds and footage of customers and workers being trampled, well, that made Alexis want to turn off the TV altogether. As it was, she had already been trying her best to avoid every one of those sappy Hallmark Christmas card commercials, and she’d certainly been staying clear of one of her personal favorites—the Hallmark Channel itself, since they were doing what they did every year: airing those depressing Christmas movies day in and day out, twenty-four seven .

If only her mom were still here, Alexis would be so much happier. Even now, she couldn’t help thinking about how much her mom had loved, loved, loved Christmas. It had been by far her favorite holiday, and she’d adored it so much that she would immediately begin decorating the day after Thanksgiving. She would celebrate in various other ways, too, the entire month of December, including playing some of her favorite Christmas carols, such as “Silent Night,” “Away in a Manger,” and “The First Noel.” Then, on the twenty-fifth, she would host a huge family dinner. She bought gifts for everyone, she baked and cooked and baked and cooked some more, and on Christmas afternoon, she would say, “I almost hate to see the sun go down, because Christmas will be just about over.”

This was how it had always been, and it was because of these kinds of sentiments that Alexis was full of happy childhood memories. She even had fond memories from her adult life…that is, until her mom had passed. Now her heart was consumed only with sadness.

Alexis flipped through more channels, sighing heavily. But then she came upon one of her favorite movies, This Christmas, starring Loretta Devine, Regina King, and Idris Elba. She could tell the movie had been on for a while because Chris Brown was already walking toward the front of the church, preparing to sing…“This Christmas.” Alexis watched and listened, though she wasn’t sure why she tortured herself this way, because not once had she ever watched this scene without breaking into tears. It was such a reminder of her mom and the way she had loved and doted on her family. It also reminded Alexis of how her mom had taught her children exceedingly strong Christian values. She’d raised Alexis and her younger sister, Sabrina, to treat all people the way they wanted to be treated and to keep God and family first in their lives. The two of them had been very blessed to have such a loving, caring, and compassionate mother—and it meant everything.

Alexis watched Chris Brown singing from the depths of his soul and then saw family members standing and walking into the church aisle, embracing one another. It was after this that Alexis’s eyes welled up with tears, and she cried uncontrollably. She missed her mother so tremendously that her chest ached. Then, to make matters worse, the next scene showcased the entire family gathered around the dinner table. They looked as though they couldn’t be happier, and Alexis couldn’t help thinking how this was the way she’d once felt, too.

But as the saying went, that was then and this was now. Her mother was gone, and as far as Alexis was concerned, there wasn’t a single thing or person that could make her feel better about it, not even the people Alexis loved. Paula, her best friend since childhood, had been trying to lift her Christmas spirit for years, and so had Alexis’s fiancé, Chase, for the time he’d known her. But if anything, Alexis seemed to feel sadder with each passing year. In fact, this year she’d begun dreading the whole idea of Christmas as early as September. She wasn’t sure what had set her off, exactly; all she knew was that not long after Labor Day, the thought of Christmas had entered her mind and she’d become depressed. It was as if the simplest anticipation of it all had been enough to ruin Alexis’s day, which was the reason she’d taken that particular afternoon off. This hadn’t been hard to do, since she was self-employed as a motivational speaker and her hours were flexible, but she still hated that mere thoughts of Christmas affected her so gravely.

It also didn’t help that she and her sister, Sabrina, were usually at odds about one thing or another. Alexis and Sabrina had never gotten along the way sisters should. They were just too different, she guessed. But at least when their mom had been alive, they’d worked harder at it and tolerated each other more. Now, Alexis practically had to beg to see her niece, Courtney, and there were times when Sabrina still told her no just to be spiteful. The two of them had a lot of bad history, but that was a whole other story and one Alexis didn’t want to think about because it was far too distressing.

As one thought after another raced through her mind, Alexis wept like a child. She was miserable, and she wished she could sleep for the next week. She knew this wasn’t logical, but she just wanted this awful pain to go away. She wanted to be at peace, and before long, she glanced over at the bottle of amitriptyline on her wooden nightstand. Her doctor had prescribed it for insomnia, and although she only took one ten-milligram pill at bedtime, and sometimes only half a pill, she contemplated taking much more. Or maybe all she needed to do was take two of them, because she knew one woman who took twenty-five milligrams for unexplained abdominal pain and another who took more than that for depression. 

 

 

 


A Husband for Christmas 
by Nakia R. Laushaul

What all the single ladies really want—a husband!   For a measly $29.99 a month, Pretty Brown Eyes is all set to snag one by Christmas. But when she learns that her father is ill, the race is on to find the perfect man to take home to meet daddy and maybe she can finally fulfill her father’s biggest wish.

You've got to meet Pretty Brown Eyes & Black Caesar in A Husband for Christmas, a romantic and humorous story of online dating: http://t.co/6cK0kO1djr 


Review by Rhonda McKnight: “Very, very cute and extremely original. Laushaul takes some very serious issues and delivers them with just the right touch of sentiment and humor. I really enjoyed this story. I laughed so loud at the last line. Not to be missed. Great read.”


Chapter 1  



PRETTY BROWN EYES: Pretty Brown Eyes.

MR. 69 ALL DAY: U know that I see them. j/k I meant UR real name.

PRETTY BROWN EYES: Uh. My online name will have to do for now.

MR. 69 ALL DAY: Well. Okay. How bout U send me a pic of U?

PRETTY BROWN EYES: I have about ten photos on my profile. What else do you want to see? They’re all fairly recent—last six months or so.

I asked Santa for one thing—a man—and all I kept getting was an inbox full of coal. Bah humbug! I was convinced that he, God, Santa, somebody didn’t like me. I’d been a good girl … or as good of a girl that I could have been. I went to church most Sundays, volunteered at the food pantry once a month, and didn’t cut people off on the freeway anymore. I respected my parents and tried to keep my legs closed—hence the drought I was currently experiencing—and still, a fat lump of coal.

MR. 69 ALL DAY: I’m ah breast man muhself. I wanna see what U really working with though. LOL. LOL. B’s or D’s babygurl?

And on that note, I logged off of Black Christian Hook-Up. I had about twelve more days before my membership expired on Christmas Day, and I would be glad to let it go. Unfortunately, my resolution to have a man by Christmas was also about to expire. I would have just gone ahead and closed out the account completely, but $29.99, for a frugalista like me, was real money. I wasn’t wasting a penny or a day. I was going to ride out the membership until the last second. Not that I was broke or damn near starving or anything, I just hated to waste money.

I felt like a fool for wasting my time even chatting with a grown man calling himself MR. 69 ALL DAY. I mean, how desperate had I gotten that I had entertained that loser anyway? What grown, supposedly college-educated man speaks that way? I know it’s just online, but still. I could only imagine how he sounded in person.

I got up from my desk, flopped onto the sofa, buried my face in a pillow, and screamed. What did I have to do to get a decent date? There had to be something wrong with me. I pulled my cell phone out of my back pocket and called my mother to find out what gene she had that I didn’t inherit. By the time she was forty years old, she had been married four times already and was pregnant with me. I hadn’t even been proposed to, not even once, and I was thirty-five.

My mother didn’t believe in boyfriends and girlfriends, it was marriage or nothing with her. If a man didn’t plan on buying the cow, then he’d eat dry cornflakes. And even if she married him, and he so much as sneezed without covering his mouth, well, let’s just say she had a lawyer on retainer at all times. Fortunately for me that by the time she met my father, she was a little more accepting, not to mention ready to start a family. They dated two weeks, got married, and had me nine months later. They were thirty-six years into a wonderful marriage, and I wanted that too. It wasn’t too late for me—I hoped.

“You have to change your perspective, honey,” my mother said.

“Mom, you always say that. I’ve changed my perspective. My perfume. My hair color, my eyebrows, and even my underwear. What else is there left to change?” I pouted.

“Why don’t you try one of those online dating deals? That’s where Charlene’s daughter met her husband, and he’s quite a catch. A little chubby, kind of weird, but a really nice guy.”

“What about all that stuff you said before?” I asked.

“It’s a new day, sweetie. Even this old cat knows that.” She chuckled. “Give it a try and see what happens. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. You’re not getting any younger and me either. I want grandkids. Look, I gotta go. Your father and I are hosting game night and everybody will be here in a few minutes. I’m making margaritas. I picked up a mix from Kroger’s. You should try it sometime. It’s called—”

“Mom?”

“What honey,” she waited.

“I’m gonna kill myself,” I whined.

She laughed. “Don’t do that. Not until you give me some grandkids. Charlene might be here tonight, and I’ll ask her what site her daughter met her husband on. If it worked for her, it should work for you. You’re much prettier than she is.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I winced at my already failing attempt at online love. “You guys have fun. Tell Daddy I said hello.”

Just a year ago, my mother was completely against online dating. She said there was nothing but sickos, pedophiles, and serial killers lurking online, waiting for a good girl like me. So quickly, the tide had turned, and even my seventy-six year-old mother was getting desperate enough to pawn me off on a strange man. She was willing to risk my life for grandkids.

I tossed my phone onto the sofa just as the notification alert buzzed. I picked it back up and scrolled through the incoming message. It was MR. 69 ALL DAY again…

( Continued... )


© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Nakia R. Laushaul. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 

Purchase A Husband for Christmas
Genre: Holiday Romance


 

 

 


Christmas Greetings by Pat Simmons

For every bad holiday memory, there are good ones waiting to be created. And maybe, just maybe, all it takes is a greeting card to mend broken hearts.

Saige Carter loves everything about Christmas: the shopping, the food, the lights, and of course, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without family and friends to share in the traditions they’ve created together.

Daniel Washington is no Scrooge, but he’d rather skip the holidays altogether than spend them with his estranged family. After one too many arguments around the dinner table one year, Daniel had enough and walked away from the drama. As one year has turned into many, no one seems willing to take the first step toward reconciliation.

Saige is extra excited about her line of Christmas greeting cards hitting store shelves right before the holiday. As Daniel reads one of her cards, he’s unsure if words are enough to erase the pain and bring about forgiveness. Daniel and Saige’s story will stay with you long after the tree is taken down and the Christmas lights are turned off.

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28-29


Sneak Peek from Christmas Greetings by Pat Simmons


“Okay, ladies, remember, we’re all are going undercover,” Saige Carter reminded her accomplices with glee at the thought of being scandalous. From her home computer, she stared at her five friends that were in the video chat room with her, one of them her childhood and closest—Maxi Winters.

They all had pledged their allegiance to her cause—staking out their area retails stores to spy on customers. “Remember, be subtle. Whatever you do don’t bring attention to yourself or our mission.” They were to target three cities, more if she had more commitment, but still Saige would take any volunteers she could get. At thirty years old, she was about to see her dream come true.

The covert operation would take place at three retail stores within the St. Louis area; the other two in their respective cities of Indianapolis and Kansas City. Saige noted the time, “We better get to our locations. Let’s get our party started!” She grinned and raised her arms in the air like a cheerleader.

“Let’s not get arrested,” Maxi countered.

This was the day she hoped to make her mark on the art world like Brenda Joysmith had with her figurines, Annie Lee with her paintings, and Harriet Rosebud with her stylish hats on miniature mannequin heads. True, Hallmark’s Mahogany greeting card line was one of the first choices for African-American cards, but she wanted her cards to have such a personal touch that people could pick them out in a line up, or in a bin with hundreds of others.

But this was more than about her. It had been the Lord Jesus who nudged her in this direction. Bowing her head, she whispered a quick prayer, “Thank you for this is a talent You’ve given me, but in the end let my work be a blessing to someone in need, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Shutting down her computer, Saige stood and surveyed her attire in her bedroom mirror. She had to dress the part just right. She wanted to look like any other consumer walking in off the street, so as not to draw attention to her subtle methods of persuasion. The black turtleneck always complemented her high cheek bones on her brown sugar skin tone whenever she brushed up her hair into a ball on top of her head. Saige smoothed down her long denim skirt, then slipped her stocking feet into leather boots that added a couple of inches to her five-feet-seven inch height.

With her car keys in hand, she put on her black jacket and wrapped a colorful scarf around her neck. “Ready.” She took a deep breath and left her second floor, two bedroom apartment that was twenty minutes from her parents’ spacious home in Hazelwood, Missouri, a suburb in St. Louis County.

Crossing Whispering Cove’s parking lot, she climbed into her Elantra. Although she loved living on her own, Saige hoped to be married one day and fill her home with children—three to be exact. Maybe it was wishful thinking as an only child. But the man-picking was in God’s hands. Until then, she had a mission.



 

 


His Last Wife: A Southern Scandal Novel
by Grace Octavia

“This latest Southern Scandal book is a great story with Octavia’s usual twists and turns, full of unexpected surprises, mama-drama, and treacherous Atlanta politics. Loved it!.”–RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

In Essence® bestselling author Grace Octavia's most exciting, volatile novel yet, charismatic bad boy mayor Jamison Jackson has finally taken a spectacular fall. But that doesn't mean he's going down alone.


Since the night Atlanta mayor, self-made millionaire, and womanizer Jamison Jackson plummeted from the top floor of a downtown hotel, everyone seems to have profited, from vicious criminals to corrupt politicians. Everyone except his jilted first wife, Kerry. Once a socialite, she's now the prime suspect in Jamison's alleged murder. Dhe swears she's no killer—and surprisingly, Jamison's widow, Val, agrees. For all they know, it was Coreen, the mother of Jamison's secret love child. After years of extortion, Coreen's cash flow has come to an end. The reality is, Jamison had a murky past and a legion of enemies old and new who’ll do whatever it takes to cover up the truth…and it's even more scandalous, unexpected, and filled with secrets than anyone suspects.

Praise for Grace Octavia

"His Third Wife kicks off with a murder and a mystery. And if that's not enough to hook you, there's also sex, politics, shady characters and plenty of 'mama drama' to be had. A must-read!" --RT Book Reviews 


Read an Excerpt His Third Wife by Grace Octavia

CHAPTER 1

"His Next Wife"


Everything started when a mother came to town. Quiet and all alone, she got off a Greyhound bus across the street from a conveniently placed strip club. Had on fake pearls and a red lace-front wig. Her daughter picked her up in a shiny new Jaguar with two seats and the top down.

After maybe thirty minutes of silent riding, the mother was standing at the window in the big house—there were pillars out front and all. She was looking away from everything beautiful behind her. Clutching her purse like she wasn't staying. Thinking. Trying to decide how she should tell her smiling baby girl, who always wanted more than she could hold in her arms, that she ought to get on the next bus and go back to Memphis with her.

"I don't know why you didn't accept the tickets I sent you. First-class flight? I thought you'd like that," Val, her daughter, said. Maybe she was sipping her mimosa or waiting for the maid to pour her another glass.

"Memphis ain't but a stone's throw away," the mother mumbled. Her name was Mama Fee—everyone had always called her that, even before she'd had children. "Takes more time to get on the plane and fly than it does to get on the bus and ride. And I don't do big birds. Like to see the earth."

"That's old talk. This is a new world."

"Is it? Is it really, Val? You tell me."

"Yes, Mama Fee. You still act like flying is just for white folks. Or rich folks—"

"Ain't said nothing like that."

"Well, that's good, because it isn't. As long as you can pay, you can play. That's the Atlanta way." Val chuckled and looked at Lorna, the maid holding the pitcher of mimosa to her glass, to support the comedy of her play on words with laughter. "I'm just saying, it's 2012—not 1902!"

"What does that matter?" Mama Fee asked. "Po' folks still the same. Rich folks still the same."

Lorna was only able to produce a half smile before Val shooed her away with a tired wave. As soon as Lorna stepped over the threshold, the mother turned and looked at her daughter.

"Seems like you shouldn't be drinking," she nearly whispered before turning back to the window. "Not in your condition."

"Condition? Please! What do you know about it?"

"Plenty. Had you and your sisters. Doctor says it's bad."

"No. Doctor says it's good. Helps to relieve stress. A little won't hurt the baby at all." Val downed the last of her drink. There was an audible gulp that resonated with pangs of short nerves or anxiety. "And I need it today—with it being my wedding day and all." She looked at the big blue diamond on her ring finger. She'd purchased it a week ago with her fiancé's credit card and full blessing. "I need to relax."

Mama Fee was still looking out the window and thinking. The shiny Jaguar was resting in the middle of a circular drive that was filled with perfectly shaped creamy stones and purple pebbles that made the whole world outside the house look like a giant fish tank.

"Maybe you should've waited until the baby was born," she said. "At least until we could've had a proper wedding—your family come. You know? Like Patrice and Rhonda did. Still don't see why you couldn't invite your own sisters to your wedding."

"Would you stop it? I didn't invite you hear to go drilling me about everything."

"I ain't drilling you. They're your sisters. You were in their weddings."

"Yeah, and they married big fat losers. Is Patrice's husband out of jail yet?"

"You watch your mouth," Mama Fee said, finally turning to look at her daughter again. But she needed no confirmation that it was Val who could bring up such a thing. Her youngest child had been born spitting fire at anything that didn't seem to pick her up in some way that she deemed acceptable. This might've been considered gross ambition or maybe even unapologetic drive if it weren't for the fact that sometimes Val's desire for uplift went beyond frustrated tongue lashings and straight to unmitigated evil—well, the kind of evil a girl from Memphis who'd barely graduated high school could spin.

When Val was fifteen, Patrice had just finished beauty school and her prized graduation gift was a beauty box filled with emerald and sea foam and lavender and canary eye shadow. Lipsticks of every shade of red and pink. After Val had begged to sit and try just one shadow, paint her lips in one red, Patrice balked and hid the box beneath her bed. The next morning, the rainbow of shadows and lipsticks were floating in a river of bleach on the bathroom floor. Mama Fee nearly killed Val with her switch in the backyard after that incident, trying to teach the girl a lesson. But Val didn't cry one tear.


His Last Wife by Grace Octavia


Series: A Southern Scandal Novel Series 



Meet the Author
Essence bestselling author Grace Octavia has published ten contemporary African American novels with Kensington Publishing. Her witty, insightful fiction, which presents wicked humor and spunk has garnered her sparkling reviews in Essence, Publisher’s Weekly, The Romantic Times, Booklist, Rawsistaz, APOOO and the Urban Reviewers.

Her first novel, Take Her Man, was a selection at the 2007 Zora Neale Hurston Literary Conference in Tulsa, Okla. and she received a best new author’s award from the national Real Ladies Read Book Club. A frequent book club selection, it earned her invitations to speak to thousands of readers at the 2008 South Carolina Book Festival and the Delta Sigma Theta national convention. Her second novel, His First Wife, was the first reading selection for the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN), a Black Expressions Book Club selection, May 2008 Essence Magazine bestseller and the winner of the National Readers' Choice Award for the Romantic Times in 2008. Of her fourth novel, Playing Hard to Get, a review in Publisher’s Weekly proclaimed, “Octavia gives Sex and the City a smart Afrocentric update.”

Her 2011 release, Should Have Known Better, was selected as a featured read for the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System 2012 adult summer reading program and will be read by groups throughout the public library system. The noted novel was also nominated for the Romantic Times’ 2011 top multicultural fiction novel award.

She’s presented papers about her writing and read at Georgia Tech University, the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and the University of Texas at the African American Women’s Language Conference in 2008. Her work has also appeared in Sisterfriends by Julia Chance, numerous journals and anthologies.

A native of Long Island, Octavia is a graduate of New York University, she completed her PhD in English at Georgia State University. A proud sister of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, she is also a member of the Sigma Tau Delta National English Honor Society. The former editor of Rolling Out Urbanstyle Weekly, she lives in Atlanta, GA. She enjoys international travel, hiking, cooking, and being with her girlfriends. She currently teaches writing at Spelman College


 

 


The Pleasure Trap 
by Niobia Bryant

Introduced in Niobia Bryant's bestselling Mistress series, he's the ultimate irresistible temptation, and he's always in control.  Until now…

Pleasure is his name, one that women whisper—and scream—with desire. As a popular exotic dancer and top escort, he strokes his clients' deepest longings and fulfills their every sexy fantasy. His climb has taken him from the streets' most lethal ride-or-die ladies to the even more dangerous world of wealthy, powerful women. All along, he believed leveraging his chiseled body for a life of luxury would help him outrun his tormented childhood and bitter distrust.

Now a mysterious woman has him at her mercy, determined to punish him for reasons he doesn't understand. Saving his own life means Pleasure must figure out which of the women from his past has a deadly obsession, brought on by either the insatiable passions he ignited, or the pain he caused. When a long-buried secret arises, will he be able to survive, or will facing it completely destroy him?


RT Book Reviews on THE PLEASURE TRAP

“The Pleasure Trap is another testament to Bryant’s awesome imagination. She takes us inside the head of Pleasure as he transitions from tricking for a madam to scheduling his own appointments. Shockingly, this installment opens with him drugged and bound in his own home. He’s literally tied to his past as we struggle with him to learn why and by whom. Flashing back to his relationships, we are swept off our feet during the climatic reveal.”  –RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars


BOOK EXCERPT:  THE PLEASURE TRAP


Pleasure looked up and shifted his eyes to look around as much as he could at the living room of his Jersey City penthouse apartment. The rich black and charcoal gray décor. The floor- to- ceiling windows that overlooked the Hudson River and showcased the New York skyline across the water. However, it felt almost surreal as he struggled to remember just how he came to be naked and tied to a chair.  'Think, man, think.'

But his thoughts were clouded and varied. He couldn’t get a firm grasp on anything. 'What’s wrong with me?'

His eyes drifted closed and his body slackened, with just the ties at his wrists and ankles to keep him in the chair.

“Do you remember me, Pleasure?”

A firm brown hand roughly grabbed his chin and jerked his face up. He opened his eyes to a woman as she stood before him dressed in all black with her face covered by a black ski mask and her hands in leather gloves. He shook his head yet again to clear it.  WHAP.  He winced from the pain. She’d used the back of her hand that time and her knuckles dug into his cheek with the blow.

“Well, I remember you,” she said snidely into his ear, from behind him now.

She lightly bit one of his broad muscled shoulders. Slowly she deepened the bite.

“Sh*t,” he swore sharply, his tall and muscled frame jerking.

She laughed and smacked the back of his head before coming around his body with her hand trailing across his chest. “Not bad at all for a man-whore,” she said, leaving him.

He eyed her as she moved about his living room and touched things that apparently caught drew her eye.

“Who is she? What does she want?”

(  Continued...  )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Niobia Bryant.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

The Pleasure Trap by Niobia Bryant



Meet the Author

Niobia Bryant is the national bestselling and award-winning author of more than a dozen “Sexy, Funny & Oh So Real” novels. As Meesha Mink, she’s also the co-author of Desperate Hoodwives and Shameless Hoodwives. A proud native of Newark, New Jersey, Niobia currently writes full time and splits her time between New Jersey and South Carolina.


 


My Wife's Baby
by RM Johnson



Does the love for a wife and the jealousy for an infant, warrant murder? 

After ten years of bad dates and worse relationships, Stan is in heaven for he has finally found his soul mate, Erica—a beautiful, caring woman who shares all his beliefs, to include not wanting children. They discussed this over bottles of red wine the night they met and promised, if ever they became a couple, they would remain childless and forever the other’s priority.

One year after being married, Erica tells Stan she’s pregnant: news she’s very happy about. Stan considers talking Erica out of it, but that would mean aborting her child, something he knows Erica would never do. 

Two months into the pregnancy, Stan notices changes: times he and Erica enjoyed as a fun-loving childless couple are no longer; Erica’s attention is occupied with all things related to the forthcoming baby, and Stan has gone without sex for months.

The child arrives and things get even worse; Stan feels like an outsider: a stranger living among his wife and her son. Erica gives all her time, attention and love to the infant, leaving none for her husband. Stan becomes envious; he looks at the newborn as a threat, tells himself something must be done—but what? He fights his jealous thoughts, knowing horrible things would happen if he were ever to act on them. But one night while drunk, Stan attempts to make love to his wife but is once again rejected. His pride hurt and feeling disowned, Stan stumbles into the baby’s room with intentions of eliminating his problem once and for all, knowing there can only be one man in Erica’s life. That is the promise his wife had made him on the night they met, and it is the promise he intends to make her keep. 


AMAZON READER REVIEWS


5.0 out of 5 stars written by Paula Wheeler
This book will have you on the edge of your seat like all of his books. RM Johnson you did it again. This book make you reflect on relationships, marriages and most of all promises that was made but never kept.


5.0 out of 5 stars written by Amazon Customer 
Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Wow!! Mr. Johnson you truly got me with this story! I was so upset with Stan, through out the entire book, and then...you got me, I never saw that coming! I can't believe you wrote this story the way you did! Readers, you just HAVE TO read this book! Just get ready, and hold on tight, you will be in for a real SHOCK!!

I don't like to give away any parts of a book, but just this one time, I am really tempted! I feel like reading it again, now that I know what happened!! Great job Mr. Johnson!


Excerpt—My Wife’s Baby: I Am Not A Murderer


Twenty stories up, the harsh, cold wind swept across my face, tested my grip, tried to rip them from my hands. Sweat spilled from my brow in large round beads, plopped into the eyes of my wife who dangled from one of my arms. From the other, my thirteen year old daughter clung, crying, begging, “Daddy, daddy! Please don’t let go!”

I can’t remember how we found ourselves here—me hanging, waist deep out the window of our high-rise condo, the two people I loved most in the world, swinging from my ever loosening grasp. My palms were coated with hot sweat, the tendons in my shoulders felt as though they were on fire, would be ripped from their sockets if I didn’t free myself of the weight pulling on them.

Squinting against the pain, so far below us, like tiny diligent ants, I saw the men file from the fire engine—red lights flashing on its roof, attempting to extend some giant ladder, rig a safety net, proposing to catch my wife and child as they plummeted toward the hard concrete. The thought comforted me only momentarily, because I knew those men could not make it happen, that ladder would never reach, the net would never open, at least not in time; a decision had to be made now.

I loved my daughter from the day she was born, from the moment her mother smiled in my face, pressed her warm cheek to mine, whispered in my ear that we were pregnant. I never thought I was the father she deserved, that she was worthy of, but she triumphed in spite of me, always telling me I was her hero, snuggling up to me nights when we watched TV, as though I were her favorite blanket. She made me the best man I could be, forced me to never stop trying to be better. Now hanging from my arm, my little girl glanced down, screamed then turned back to me, wind whipping her hair into her face. I saw the certainty in her eyes; she knew she’d die. I cursed God for putting me here, for making me chose. 

“Stan…” my wife moaned, her hands wrapped tight around my wrist, her nails drawing blood from my skin; I saw the red lines crawling down, spiraling around her forearms, but her eyes were calm, she was content, ready to face what she knew was inevitable. “…I’ll be fine. Just let me go.”

 

 

 



My Little People: A Social Worker's Journey

by Annie Clara Brown

"Life is uncertain, but death is sure" is a saying that I heard many years before I started my professional journey in social work. Death is a bleak subject; who wants to discuss dying? Even though the Holy Scriptures speak much about the subject, it is not one of those subjects that the average person is comfortable about discussing. While God is a healer, it remains a mystery why some people with certain illnesses live longer and others die sooner. In the midst of the whys and how comes, many things we will not have an answer to until the return of Christ.

As we have moved from generation to generation, we have learned new ways to take care of a person who has a terminal diagnosis and has been given a time limit on their life. When I was a child people died at home, but they did not have the comforts that have come into existence for people in the twentieth century. So what has changed? It is called hospice...

Annie Clara Brown is passionate about her work in hospice. It is gratifying to have embraced the social work profession in this manner. She cares deeply for her patients and caregivers, and she has developed a healthy sense of humor working in an area that can be demanding physically and emotionally.

My Little People is educational, informative and can be used as a self-help tool/resource for the terminally ill, caregivers, social workers, clergy, counselors, friend of a loved one, and other healthcare professionals. The primary subject matter is hospice and the benefits of having hospice involved in end of life care.


My Little People Book Reviews

My Little People: A Social Worker's Journey is a self-help and educational hospice resource. 

"If you are searching for answers about Hospice care this is an extraordinary read. This book not only defines who, what, when, and where of Hospice, but also tells the heartfelt stories of a humbled medical social worker making the best of heart wrenching situations. Ms. Brown addresses many of society's questions regarding Hospice in general. She ties in her personal experiences to make an informative, yet personal, story to educate individuals and families on Hospice. I enjoyed reading about the various encounters Ms. Brown has experienced. These experiences, most of all, enlightened me to a deeper journey in Hospice Social Work. This book is a must read!"
---Amanda Johnson, MSW


My Little People is a virtual gift to those who read it, in that its author has managed to successfully interconnect valuable, historical hospice social work information for its use in a professional forum and for the sake of the individual battling terminal illness. This book serves as an invaluable tool for any caretaker or loved one navigating the end of life process.
--- Marta James Harris, LBSW


Excerpt: From Introduction Part 1


Even with today's sometimes unfathomable advances in technology, many terminally ill persons and their family members believe that chasing curative care is their only option, and are unaware of both the benefits and accessibility of hospice care. In her new book, Social Worker Annie Clara Brown tells her own story of working with hundreds of terminally ill patients, and provides a vital guide to those considering hospice care for themselves or a loved one.

'My Little People: A Social Worker's Journey' is part memoir and part guidebook; a game-changing text for those exploring options for making someone's final days pain-free and harmonious.

So why do I consider it important to write a book on hospice care? One reason is because I believe it is important for social workers, patients, and caregivers to understand how rewarding it is to be able to assist families at one of the most critical times in their lives as the patient is preparing to make a transition from earth to eternity.

Another reason is that as the generation of baby boomers are aging and suffering from terminal diseases, there is going to be a greater need for compassionate social workers to take care of us. Also patients' caregivers need to understand that they have help available to them so they do not have to take the journey alone. I have witnessed that having hospice in the home and being spared some of the stress of trying to get the patient to a doctor's appointment or go for tests is invaluable.

Finally, in earlier years, I was a caregiver for several of my family members who suffered from a terminal illness and I had no idea that the option was available to have my family members cared for at home; therefore, it is my personal mission to help educate others about such a vital service to patients and their families. In hindsight, if only I had known some of the following information, some of the wear and tear on my body and unnecessary trips late at night to the hospital could have been avoided. I did not know, but I want you (the readers) to know.

Purchase My Little People: A Social Worker's Journey
Link: http://amzn.com/B00PFY3P3K 

 

 

 

 


Yesterday's Eyes 
by Catherine Flowers

Catherine Flowers brings readers the powerful story of three generations of women who must come to terms with the past and learn how to forgive one another if there is any hope of healing.

When Ida is sent to prison for the negligent homicide of her infant son, her six-year-old daughter, Tia, ends up in the custody of her grandmother, Mavis Dolittle. It's a heartbreaking situation, made even worse when Ida claims that the boy was the son of Mavis' husband, Henry, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.

Emotionally detached from the granddaughter she's never really known, guilt-ridden about the way she raised her daughter, and reeling from her husband's dalliance with his stepdaughter, Mavis faces the biggest crisis of her life. Brutality, coldness and indifference have shaped three generations of women, and to be healed, they will have to learn how to care, to love, and to forgive one another.


Praise for Yesterday's Eyes by Catherine Flowers


WOW While reading this book I frequently had tears in my eyes... The characters, the mother alone could have filled a thousand pages. I could identify with a certain individual within these pages. As a young adult this book took me to a place that I had pushed out of my mind. A place that was so real, when the mother was in her room with the kids showing them her box that was to NEVER be touched it sounded sooo familiar, I could picture them in that room, & if they were actual people they would never ever forget that moment. Again WOW...
Review written by Tye Cooper


I bought this book because of all the positive reviews I read. This book captured my attention from the very beginning. The storyline and characters were realistic and the forgiveness that occurred between Tia, Ida and Mavis was really amazing. This book is definitely a great read, well worth five stars!!!
Review written by Lovely Lady


Having waited for months for her new book, Yesterday's Eyes, to be published, I was thrilled to get my hands on it and start reading! I really enjoyed this book. It was intriguing, exciting, breathtaking and thought-provoking from the very beginning. The author paints a vivid picture of the characters to help the reader identify with each character.

Yesterday's Eyes was more than I could have imagined. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. I'm going to have such a hard time waiting to read your next book. In fact I honestly feel like I am going to explode from anticipation!!!

Without reservation, I whole heartily recommend this book! In my humble opinion, this is a bestseller book!!!
Review written by Ms Spirituality


Excerpt: Yesterday's Eyes


Ida was on her way back home when she saw the ambulance and the squad cars parked in front of her house. Halfway down the block, she could see the white woman escorting Tia out to a car, and she began yelling out Tia's name while running toward the house. By the time she made it to the steps, the police officers were waiting for her with their questions and handcuffs ready.

"Are you the mother?" one of the officers asked.

"Yes, I am," she answered in between short and heavy breaths.

"Ma'am, are you aware that one of your children is dead?"

Ida thought about the hundred dollars she had accumulated that night. She thought about all the things she had done and tried not to remember what she'd felt while she was doing them in order to get what she'd needed. But the nausea in her stomach began to rise, and all the dollar bills in the world were not going to be able to settle it. She turned sideways and hunched over. If only he could have held on a little longer! The foul-smelling liquid spewed out of her mouth as the police officer jumped backward. She had the money now! She had enough to buy food and milk that would get all three of them through until the end of the month! She gasped for air before the next round found its way onto the ground. Exhausted from the liquid heaves and other activities no woman should have to engage in, she sat down on the curb next to the squad car.

She held her breath. "Where's my daughter?"

"She's being taken to a safe place for the night."

"Where?" She stood up. "A shelter?" She could not keep her voice steady. "A foster home? Where?"

"Might be either one, ma'am. But I'm going to need you to calm down, turn around, and put your hands behind your back."

"For what?" She was screaming now. "I just went to get some money so I could feed my kids! Do you know what I had to do to get this money?"

"Ma'am," the officer raised his voice, "you left two kids alone in the house with no food, and one of them is dead." He snapped the second handcuff around her slim wrist. "We're going to have to take you downtown." He led her, struggling, to the backseat of the squad car.

"Watch your head getting in," he said.

Ida smirked at the irony of going back to the area that she'd just come from, and she couldn't decide which was worse-going downtown to sell her body for money or going downtown to sit in a jail cell charged with the death of her baby. As the squad car drove away, she looked up at the window across the street, and just as she suspected, there stood her mother, a distant shadow, doing nothing as always.

( Continued... )

© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Catherine Flowers. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Sequel: A Sad Soul Can Kill You, coming in May 2015!
Purchase copies of Yesterday's Eyes



 

 



Celebrate Black Speculative Fiction (#BSF)


FREE: Click to Read Three Episodes of The Last King

The Last King by A. Yamina Collins 

The Last King has already made been in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller List in no less than four separate genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Christian Women’s Literature/Women's Fiction Literature. Told in fifty-page volumes to be released over the course of the next year and a half, the book is a trilogy, and it is packed with enough drama and suspense, so far, to keep readers engaged for the long haul.  Yes, at the at its heart is a love story, but one that spans the cosmos, traces itself through history, and will leave your heart pounding in the arms of modern day New York. You can now read 320 pages, the first 3 episodes, of The Last King for free!  All the author wants is honest reviews posted on Amazon.  Go here to read the PDF file for the ebooks.


Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in---she's six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore---she just wants her shattered life to be normal again.

Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George's newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people whose Great Ancestor marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.

But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings because God considers the Edenites' possession of immortality to be theft. And for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a "Glitch" ---an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen "property" of immortality and kill them off.

When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead's Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead's vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.

Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat---they're also their greatest love. 
Check out a new excerpt from Episode 5 of this fantasy/romance novel, The Last King:
http://www.yaminatoday.com/2014/10/12/excerpt-from-episode-5-of-the-last-king/ 


PRAISE FOR THE LAST KING


The Last King by A.Yamina Collins, a Science Fiction Romance, is a marvelously layered story filled with drama, suspense and memorable characters. The author, a masterful storyteller, brings to life a story about a line of people who cannot die because their ancestors marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the tree of life. God, however, considers this act, and the subsequent immortality that came with it, to be theft. God wants their immortality returned and he deals with their transgression by playing a cosmic sort of chess game with the Edenites!

The Last King is part fantasy, romance, religion and history. What an interesting mix for an 11 part series. This was my first time reading a serial novel and I have to say this one was excellent! I can't wait to read the other chapters to this phenomenal storyline. I highly recommend this serial novel to the readers. 
--Reviewed by Ella Curry, publisher of Black Pearls Magazine Online



Sankofa Literary Society Book Review

Historical Fantasy set in Science Fiction modern day. In everyday America, this book takes place in contemporary 2014 in fictional Glen Falls New York. Emmy Hughes is being loved on by her family while she recovers from an accident. Emmy Hughes age 28 lives in Lake George, NY with her father. Emmy is a regular girl living her life who takes sick and is under the auspices of her dad until she gets better.  

The Last King is riveting in terms of the author releases a chapter at a time to give you a tease and keep you coming back for more. She leaves unanswered questions which in turn is impulse to keep you wanting more. The dialogue between the two rather odd doctors in their gothic home is classic of a ragged twist as they look into their atypical past. I gave her first two chapters a five star rating for excellence. Collins goes straight for the African American literary community’s heart for a viable Science Fiction novel. 

“Colorism is the most unaddressed issue of mental health in our community.” Classist systems still exist in American and Collins makes a great point to show the different classes and how we look down upon each other because we think we live better than the poor class. Homeless man was walking down the street and noticed a man spread his wings thirty feet high by twenty feet in length. He imagined it was his alcohol and surmised that he was delusional after all “who would miss a drunk?”

In the 20th century anything is possible. Check your neighbors out and know who and what goes on next door to you. On a cold winter’s night surrounded by a fire place this is a great book to read. If you are a scary cat like me, leave your lights on. 
This book is worth reading if you are into historical fantasy and science fiction. I would recommend this book to Star Trek and Sy-Fy friends to deliberate and dissect. 
--Reviewed for the Sankofa Literary Society by Marilyn Diamond. Book provided by the author.


About the Author

A. Yamina Collins
is the author of the quirky short story collection The Blueberry Miller Files. A graduate of New York University, she lives in Manhattan. The Last King is her first novel, and it has already been in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller’s list in Fantasy, Science-fiction, Women’s Fiction Literature and Christian Women’s Literature. Check out her blog at Yaminatoday.com.  Readers can now explore 320 pages, the first 3 episodes, for free!  All the author wants is honest reviews posted on Amazon.com.  Go here.

The Last King: Book I, Episode #1
Link: http://amzn.com/B00HJZVMJW 
The Last King: Book I, Episode #3 
Link: http://amzn.com/B00K1QFKSK  
The Last King: Book I, Episode #2 
Link: http://amzn.com/B00IC0M8HS 
The Last King: Book 1,Volume #4 
Link: http://amzn.com/B00M9AU9QE 


 

 


Introduction to the Order of the Seers Trilogy 
by Cerece Rennie Murphy



What would you do if you held infinite power in the palm of your hand?


The Order of the Seers trilogy poses this question within a story that fuses action, mystery, romance, and adventure in a science fiction novel that keeps you at the edge of your seat.


Order of the Seers begins with the journey of Liam and Lilith Knight, a brother and sister who are hunted by The Guild, a ruthless world organization that seeks to capture and exploit Lilith’s unique ability as a Seer to envision the future. Soon after they are forced to leave their home, Lilith and Liam discover that she is not alone. Other Seers like Lilith are routinely kidnapped and enslaved by the Guild for the purpose of consolidating wealth and power around the world. But from within the organization, Marcus Akida, a captured Seer with powerful visioning capabilities, quietly plots his daring escape with the help of a beautiful and tortured Seer named Alessandra. When the escaped Seers are drawn to the same remote commune in Iowa as Liam and Lilith, they each find a place where they can rebuild their lives and rediscover their passion for life and love. 

As the Guild’s efforts to find them intensifies, the Seers ban together with outlaws from the commune to fight back against the organization that threatens their lives – setting off a chain of events that will unleash the full power of the Seers and change everything we know about the true potential that lies dormant in each of us. 

The Red Order - Book II  in the Order of the Seers Trilogy continues the epic battle for freedom which began in Order of the Seers, revealing the secret motives behind an organization that exists to exploit and a renegade movement that seeks to usher in the next phase in human evolution. 

So begins The Last Seer - Book III  in the Order of the Seers Trilogy - When the fall of one nemesis unleashes an even greater danger into the world, Lilli, Joel and the Lost Seers must stand against a new enemy with the means and the will to destroy all of mankind, starting with those they hold most dear. As the Seers mobilize to confront this new evil, the Guild tries desperately to uphold the crumbling world order on which it depends. When their attempts to manage the crisis fail, the members of the Guild are forced to place themselves at the mercy of an unlikely ally. 

But the Guild isn't the only one interested in maintaining control. An agreement made in secret threatens to destroy any hope of a peaceful alliance before it can be made and as the betrayals unfold, no one is safe against a power that will stop at nothing to get what it wants. 

To defeat this threat and ensure the survival of the human race, the Seers must push the boundaries of their abilities beyond any limits they have known and risk crossing the line between life and death. How far would you go to protect what matters most?


Purchase The Last Seer (Book 3 in the Order of the Seers Trilogy)

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Order-Seers-Last-Seer-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00MQZRXL6 


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. 


Books by Cerece Rennie Murphy: 
B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/cerece-rennie-murphy  
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Cerece-Rennie-Murphy/e/B008G6XXBS 

 

 

 

 



Intimate Conversatio
n with Kimberla Lawson Roby 

New York Times Bestselling Author Kimberla Lawson Roby has published 20 novels and she 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.

Kimberla is a 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 Literary Excellence Award from Black Pearls Magazine, 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 21st title, A CHRISTMAS PRAYER will release on October 28, 2014.


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? Is this book availableon Nook and Kindle?
A CHRISTMAS PRAYER centers on Alexis Fletcher, who sadly, hasn't had a merry Christmas in five years—not since her mother passed away. Every December, she remembers the joy that her mother brought to everyone during the holiday season and feels the pain of her absence. This is even more so now that she and her sister are barely speaking, and her future mother-in-law would do anything—anything at all—to stop her son, Chase, from marrying Alexis. 
Yes, it is available in all digital formats.


BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
Alexis is kind, compassionate and very intelligent, yet she is struggling with lots of sadness because of the passing of her mother. No matter what she does or how wonderful every aspect of her life is, she still can't seem to get beyond her feelings about the holidays. 


BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
About three years ago, my editor, Beth de Guzman suggested that I write a Christmas book, and while I wasn't sure what I would center the story on, I told her about my own personal feelings about Christmas, and she said, "Well, that's the story." I can't personally relate to every aspect of Alexis Fletcher's life, but I can certainly relate to not truly wanting to celebrate Christmas since the passing of my own mom 13 years ago.


 

 


What If It Feels Good 
by D.J. McLaurin

In this story of love, betrayal, and revenge, bonds are tested, friendships are challenged, dark secrets surface and an epic romance blossoms amidst a media circus.

Michael Bagley, street savvy and beautiful, learned the art of the con and sleeps with older women to survive. When an accidental shooting sets off a citywide manhunt and thrusts Michael into certain danger, his mother, a stripper at a local nightclub, is finally forced to confront the biological father who didn’t know Michael existed. Soon, Michael finds himself whisked off the streets of Detroit and into a world of champagne dreams with more money at his fingertips than he ever thought possible.

But Michael’s life takes a bizarre turn as he bonds with his newfound father’s best friend. Chachi is a charming, down-to-earth ladies’ man, who awakens sensations Michael can’t explain, throwing him into identity turmoil. When the dust settles, Michael learns that neither riches, fame, nor age has anything to do with love.

As Michael struggles to find his place in a new world, he hopes the streets have toughened him enough to hold on to a secret relationship that may be against the odds and out of his league, and win the fight for the love of his life. 


Book Review Written by Minnie E Miller


Looking for love, wherever!


In “What If It Feels Good?” D.J. McLaurin makes it clear in her opening that Michael Bagley is not your typical teenager. McLaurin’s skillful mapping of Michael’s life would seem to some “unspeakable.” Conversely, to Michael it was a matter of survival. Michael runs head-on with his mother’s boyfriend because of his abuse, which leads to a near fatal conflict between the two, causing the 14-year-old kid to escape into the streets, and live among the homeless. Legal trouble lands Michael into a home for adolescent boys. A friend of Michael’s biological father begs and threatens him into rescuing his bastard son, and taking him into his established family. Michael goes from rags to riches under Joe’s roof. The mixture is not mixing well, however. 

Young Michael’s needs overpower his logic, and he falls in love with an older man, who is fascinated by the young boy’s wit and wisdom, feels he is 14 going on 30. The odd couple receives constant blows to the stomach about their relationship, especially from an ex-girlfriend. This novel makes it even more evident that the need for love does not go away unless it’s satisfied, no matter the age. As I sat glued to D.J.’s novel, my emotions were on a roller coaster ride. I felt fear, anger, happiness, and sadness for Michael.

D.J. McLaurin is a professional author with undeniable talent, depth, and perception. She made a believer out of me, a seasoned woman, and author. I give the novel 5 stars.

Review written by Minnie E Miller, Author

http://msminerva.wordpress.com 
minnie247@sbcglobal.net
minniemiller247@gmail.com

Book Excerpt: What If It Feels Good 


The phone rang. Michael ran to it.

“That little fool!” Sarah screeched. “He hung up on me!”

“Who?” Michael asked.

“I called the number you gave me and respectfully asked to speak to Joe, right? Why did that little prick ask me how I got the number? Like it was any of his business!”

“Who, ma?”

“I oughta hop a plane right now and go beat the crap out of him! I see what you mean now, honey! I don’t want you there anymore!”

“Ma, what are you talking about? Who hung up on you?”

“David! I asked to speak to Joe and he told me he couldn’t take my call, and just hung up on me--”

Michael dropped the phone and headed for the door.

“Uh, Oh,” Eric muttered. He and Leah scurried after him.

“What’s going on?” Leah asked as they descended the staircase. Michael ignored the both of them.

“Look man, this is just ridiculous!” Eric put his hand on Michael’s shoulder but, with a shake, Michael sent him sailing down several stairs before Eric was able to stop his fall by grabbing hold to the banister railing. 

Michael searched rooms, kicking doors open, until he found David in Joe’s study, reading an investment magazine. David spun around in surprise.

“You hung up on my mother, you little prick?” Michael growled.

“Wha….?” 

Michael’s fist made contact with David’s jaw, knocking him backward out of his chair.

“Daaaad! Daaaad!” Leah shrieked. 

Michael grabbed David by his shirt collar and punched him over and over again. 

Eric made a fruitless attempt to separate them before Joe and Dominic came rushing from the adjoining office.

David’s shirt was already splattered with the blood oozing from his nose and mouth when Joe reached them. 


 

 

 


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A Vision of Angels: The Battle Begins 
by Alexandra Lane (2nd Edition)


What happens when you’re born into a world of darkness where there are no choices? Where the undercurrents of evil are so strong you can’t fight your way out. What do you do?


Minty, a slave, was born into a world that offered no solace, no happiness but more than anything, no hope. But on a cold, bitter night, Minty will be forced into making one of the hardest decisions of her life; to leave everyone that she knows and loves behind. Her decision will bring forth an evil that will stop at nothing to keep her from reaching her destiny. For it knows, it sees what Minty does not.

Jack, a loner with a dark past, and a few men will pursue her in the dark swamps of Maryland, along with Red, a sinister gray-eyed man who is the perfect embodiment of evil.

Unaware of what’s waiting for him at Little Canyon, Jack will be faced with unbelievable events that will cast him into some of the most frightening experiences of his life. A weary search, wrought with unexplainable happenings, will begin to take its toll. Fateful choices will be made. Choices that will bring about an unimaginable outcome.


This story is a looking glass into the world of angels and the incredible feats they performed for the sake of these two lives. To understand why, you will have to read the story. This is about hope in the face of hopelessness and redemption when one feels there is none.



Chapter Excerpt: The Beginning


Minty has just suffered a horrific beating by one of the slave masters who believed she and a few other slaves were trying to escape. She's lying on the ground unconscious because the pain was unconscionable. Zacharius, one of the young male slaves picks her up and takes her to her mother, Old Rit. This is a pivotal moment in the book. 
(Readers, please keep in mind these are slaves, so they will speak differently.)



Zacharias quickly carried Minty to her mother’s quarters and stood before the door, kicking it and yelling for Old Rit to let him in. Old Rit opened the door with concern etched in her face. When she saw her daughter’s flaccid body draped in the young man’s arms, her eyes immediately reflected the fear that rose up inside her.

“She ain’t dead! She jus’ passed out,” said Zacharias.

Old Rit looked up at the young man to make sure she heard him correctly.

“She ain’t dead,” he repeated.

“Take her and lay her in dah bed.”

Old Rit scrambled around the room looking for salve and clean rags.

Zacharias gently laid Minty on the bed and then turned toward Old Rit with the front of his shirt soaked with her blood.

“I’s kin fetch some water from dah well fo’ ya, but den I’s gotta go and work dah fields befo’ old man

Brodess finds out where I is.”

Then Zacharias grabbed a small tin bucket on the floor and ran out the door.

As many times as Old Rit had seen her daughter like this, it never got any easier, for tears would still well up in her eyes, but this was the worst she had seen.

Almost immediately, Zacharias returned with the bucket, and with water spilling everywhere, he fretfully placed it on the floor in front of Old Rit then quickly left out running toward the lumber yard.

As she sat cleaning Minty’s cuts, she began to think about her daughter’s plight and what her end would be on this earth. Minty thought she had a right to humanity and to freedom, and because of that very thought, she was subjected to many beatings. She knew Minty’s stubborn nature, along with her illness, would either get her killed or sold, for she was as rebellious as a wild stallion.

However, some of the younger slaves didn’t agree with her ways. They said she was a twenty-seven-year old married woman, and she should know better. They never quite understood why she just wouldn’t humble herself and simply follow the master’s rules as they did.

After regaining consciousness, Minty realized she was lying on her mother’s bed, naked and bleeding. With her jaws tight and her face stern, she secretly promised herself and God that Ben would never beat her again.

“Ouch!” Minty yelled as her mother sat by her side spreading salve on the open wounds. But the constant writhing from the sting of the herbal ointments was making it difficult for Old Rit to apply.

“Now you’s gotta try and lie still why I’s fix yo wounds ‘cause you’s got quite a few of dem dis time,” she said.

“It hurts, Momma!”

“I’s know, baby, but you’s gotta go through dah pain to get to dah healin’.” Then silence filled the room as Old Rit worked on her daughter’s body like a skilled doctor.

“I’s had enough, Momma,” Minty suddenly said, breaking the silence. “I’s can’t take no mo. Two days ago, Zacharias told me ’bout a white man, a abolishnist that was helpin’ slaves scape ta dah North. So ’bout three months ago, I’s went to ’im, and he gave me a map showin’ me how ta get ta dah river where’s a boat would be waitin’ that would take me up north, close to a place called a safe house,” she explained.

 

 

 


Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life: Childless By Choice 
by Marian L. Thomas 



Author Marian L. Thomas delivers a hilarious, yet candid discussion of why she made the life-long decision to remain childless. This chapbook has the perfect blend of non-fiction and fictional elements that make it the perfect recipe for a delightful read.

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, “Millennial-focused media is just beginning to recognize this emerging mindset and celebrities are popularizing and glamorizing this path, too, with powerful women like Chelsea Handler, Zooey Deschanel and Cameron Diaz leading the charge.”

Thomas said it’s a myth that she just doesn’t like children. “It’s like saying, I don’t like ice cream. I don’t want to make it, but I certainly enjoy it on occasion. Similarly, I don’t want children, but I certainly do love children...I don’t want to babysit them either (just in case any of my friends are reading this book). I’m okay with being childless!”

Another article from the Huffington Post reported the happiest couples are those without children-- at least, that's according to research out of the United Kingdom's Open University. The study titled "Enduring Love?" found that childless married and unmarried couples reported being more satisfied in life and feeling more valued by their partners than did pairs with kids. Unmarried parents were found to be slightly happier than married parents.”

Thomas was also quoted as stating: “Being childless, is not a revolution. Being childless can be a good decision for you. Your decision to remain childless doesn’t need validation from others.”


Pre-orders for this entertaining new book started on November 7, 2014 and the official release date is January 20, 2015. For more information on how to order the book, please visit the website: http://www.theemptycarriagelife.com 




Order on Kindle: 
http://www.amazon.com/Living-Empty-Carriage-Way-Life-ebook/dp/B00P16OFYA 

Print Edition: 
http://www.amazon.com/Living-Empty-Carriage-Life-Chapbook/dp/0984896783 


 

 



ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground 

by Michelle Spady (Author) and  Bradford Spady (Illustrator)

Written by Michelle Morgan Spady and illustrated by her son, Bradford O. Spady, ‘ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground’ is an unusual and creative new book about a topic on everyone’s minds: bullying, and what to do about it. 

Sometimes, the road to success is not a simple one – and no one knows that truism better than Michelle Morgan Spady. A former educator, Spady has endured hardships beyond many people’s wildest nightmares – including the death of her firstborn son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, an event that devastated her, and changed her life forever. It was only many years later that the light began to shine once more – when Spady and her husband welcomed their son, the man she now calls “a visual storyteller”.

With the formation of their company, ‘B’Artful’, dedicated to promoting emerging artists and writers and the release of their second book together, the duo are on a roll. Michelle Spady and Bradford O. Spady co-produced the anti-bullying tale, titled: ‘ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground’. 

Written in poem format, the book uses vibrant illustrations, and a good dose of positivity to encourage children to look at bullying from another perspective. ShoozyQ and her “crew” persuade a schoolyard bully to change his behavior without being mean and abusive themselves – something that is often overlooked in books with an anti-bullying message.

“I’ve witnessed many children being bullied over the years,” says Michelle Spady. “Normally, when we discuss this with children, we don’t emphasize how vital being positive is – ShoozyQ doesn’t need to be cruel or ‘tough’ to stop the bully. She also doesn’t just ignore it and hope it will stop. Instead, she uses her powers of persuasion to intercede and change the bully’s mind about his actions. It’s a compelling message of love, gentleness and compassion.”


ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the playground 

Sometimes you can find a bully on the playground. This story about a bully on the playground is written in poem format. It is about a little girl named ShoozyQ and a group of her friends who call themselves the "AB Crew" which stands for anti-bully. They are against bullying and there is one on their playground who has been harassing them and their friends. One day ShoozyQ and her AB Crew walk to the playground to confront the bully. You'll be surprised at the tools that they use to talk to the bully. There is a surprise ending. In the back of the book are activities for parents and teachers to use to talk with students about bullying; vocabulary; role plays, and discussion questions. The colorful drawings and simple, effective language all tie together to make ShoozyQ an exciting read for kids, and a learning tool for parents and teachers.

“We include activities so that educators can get the discussions going with children,” says Michelle Spady. “It’s important to keep the ball rolling after the story is over, and really get to the root of what the kids have learned from ShoozyQ’s experiences.”

After the successful release of their first book, ‘An Artist and His Obsession’, Michelle Spady and Bradford O. Spady are hard at work on their company ‘B’Artful’ and on further projects. “Working with my son is just a joy. He is 100% an artist and a visionary. He’s an inspiration to me, and others and he shows himself through his work.”

Continuing: “Currently, my son and I are working on a comic book and the story is about bullying on another level - hazing at a college. The comic will be titled, ‘7 Days to 2 Tell’. The students will make a moral judgment as to whether they should tell what they saw. Obviously, this subject is close to our hearts and it’s something we feel passionate about communicating to others. If we preached kindness more often, I think it would change the lives of our children.” 

 

 

 

 


Growing into Greatness with God
7 Paths to Greatness for Our Sons & Daughters
by Janet Autherine 




"Every child matters. Every child was born with greatness!" -- Janet Autherine

Author, attorney Janet Autherine, is on a mission to empower children to see themselves as unique and amazing—already blessed with what they need to succeed in life and to achieve their dreams.

On a daily basis, children are bullied into feeling “less than.” “The truth is every child matters. Every child is unique. Every child has been created with greatness.” says Janet Autherine, Author of Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths of Greatness for our Sons and Daughters.

Kids love superheroes. But, how many kids believe that they themselves are heroes? With all the mixed messages kids are bombarded by on a daily basis—about looks, intelligence, athletic ability, and more—it can be hard for them to believe that they are special.

The book, Growing into Greatness with God teaches kids to recognize the greatness they were born with and to nourish the love, faith, courage, leadership, happiness, gratitude, and confidence planted within them as they learn to become their best selves. Referencing biblical heroes, and through actionable wisdom, offering practical ways to “grow into greatness,” this easy-to-read guide ignites hope in young readers and sheds light on their path to a bright future.

Parents are excited to find a book that will inspire and empower their children. Moms are saying the following: “I use Growing Into Greatness With God for quiet reading moment with my children. There are steps at the end of each section that you and your children can discuss and reflect upon. Growing Into Greatness With God provides the applicable tools by which children can live by. It reminds children that they are children of God and destined for greatness. Great book!”


Purchase Growing Into Greatness with God: Seven Paths to Greatness for our Sons and Daughters
by Janet Autherine.  Amazon Link:  http://amzn.com/0991200004 

 

 

 


Was it Good For You Too? 
by Naleighna Kai

Tailan Song has four days to pull off the biggest accomplishment of her career or lose everything she’s worked so hard to gain. Throwing all her energy into making a Midwest tour for twenty-one authors work when everyone expects failure is certain to keep her mind off of the turmoil in her personal life. That is, until her high school sweetheart, Delvin Germaine, now an Oscar-winning actor, lands on the bus at the last minute, and the heartthrob spells certain trouble for Tailan.

Years before, the couple complicated their lives by bringing another woman into the relationship to bear Delvin’s children. When threatened with losing the family he always wanted, Delvin felt he had no choice but to marry the surrogate and send Tailan packing, in spite of the fact that he loved Tailan like he loved no other woman.

Now seven years later, Fate has given Delvin four days to right old wrongs, and he’ll use everything in his power to win Tailan back. Unfortunately, Tailan is harboring a secret that she’s kept not only from him, but from the world. His determination to have her will turn the tables and make him have to either share Tailan with another man or walk away from the strongest love he’s ever known.


Praise for Was it Good For You Too? by Naleighna Kai

“Was it Good For You Too? is sexy, sensational and an emotional rollercoaster that every reader will love to ride. Naleighna Kai has penned the perfect book to follow her provocative novel, Open Door Marriage.”
—Martha Kennerson, author of Choices and Consequences



Excerpt: Was it Good For You Too? by Naleighna Kai

Chapter 2


Delvin didn’t have a quick comeback for Tailan. He could only take in the anger flashing in her soft brown eyes. She had creamy golden skin, a pert nose, almond-shaped eyes, and inviting lips—a beautiful, exotic combination. She looked absolutely sexy with a touch of magnificent thrown in to give him an erection that could plow through rush hour traffic.

Anger often made Delvin play dirty. He tossed over his shoulder to Tailan’s boss, “I see I’m not the only star on this bus.”

The warning look David flashed Tailan made her whisper to Delvin, “I’m going to put you over my knee and spank that ass.” But she sat back down, scooting over to the window seat.

“Was that a promise or a threat?” he drawled.

She threw him a look that could melt the North Pole.

Delvin ignored her animosity and joined her. She kept her gaze firmly fixed outside the window, but he plucked the novel from her manicured fingers to get her attention and placed the book behind his back. “How’ve you been?”

Tailan’s eyes nearly cut him in half as her head snapped in his direction. She dashed a quick glance to David, who continued to throw daggers her way. She took a deep breath and mumbled, “I was wonderful until you showed up.” She gave a quick “I’ll get to you later” nod in David’s direction before turning her heated gaze again to Delvin. “You’re playing with my livelihood, Delvin,” she strained through a tight smile. “David is the Vice President of Nelson Entertainment Group. Because of you, he’s watching me more closely during one of the most challenging events of my career.”

“It’s your own fault. All—”

“Shut it,” Tailan commanded, snapping her fingers together like a duck’s beak. “It’s taken me months of fancy footwork and my best impression of James Brown’s baby, baby, baby pleeeeeeeassse, to get the publishers and big-box retailers on board.” Her eyelids dipped over her incredible eyes. Her lips pursed in a thin line, and Delvin realized he wanted to kiss them. She rubbed her temples as she continued. “Everyone expects this book tour to fail. David has already warned—hell, more like flat-out threatened—that if this tour doesn’t meet the projected numbers I guaranteed …” Tailan shook her head and turned away.

Being in her presence was pleasure and pain. Delvin had loved this woman since the summer he had found her hiding in a classroom at school. She had no place to go and had eaten her last meal two days before. Even in her most vulnerable state, she was still the most courageous person he knew. He loved her to this day, and he knew that would never change. He had to make things right between them.

Tailan dug in her bag for another book. He confiscated that one too.

She looked over to David, who was now completely absorbed in his tablet, then back to Delvin.

Delvin waited. Tailan said nothing. Delvin waited some more. She still remained stubbornly silent.

He blew out a weary breath. “Talk to me.” Delvin held out her coveted novel, and she placed it on her lap. “There’s nothing to talk about.”

“I’ve missed you.”

Tailan waved her hand dismissively. “No doubt,” she taunted. “Is your wife still serving it up to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, Sally, Sue, and Mary Jane?”

Delvin felt the volcanic rush of blood through him. “That was low, even for you, Tai.”

“Really?” she asked with a toothy grin. “I learned from the best, so I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Delvin’s surrogate-turned-last-minute wife had caused Tailan years of unnecessary tears and grief. Evidently that grief had turned into an anger so large it needed a zip code of its own.

After shooting three movies back to back, he had hoped this tour would afford him some quiet time to reflect on his next move in life, especially since Gabrielle’s publicist recently leaked a “major alert” that they weren’t divorcing—a blatant lie. His agent sold him on being part of the Woodland tour to promote his new novel. But Delvin saw the move for what it really was—a way to keep Delvin away from Gabrielle until this new issue was sorted out.



Purchase Was it Good For You Too?
Contemporary Fiction

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NBA6Q8G 



 


Endangered: A Novel 
by Jean Love Cush 

A MOTHER’S WORST FEAR...

             A SON ACCUSED OF MURDER...

                                      A SYSTEM RIDDLED WITH BIAS...


An innocent black teenager is accused of murder in this provocative and compassionate thriller that skillfully probes issues of race, class, crime, and injustice and offers a searing portrait of modern America.


From the time her son, Malik, could walk, Janae Williams taught him that the best way to stay alive and out of trouble with the law was to cooperate. Terrified for his safety, she warned him, “raise your hands high, keep your mouth shut, and do whatever they say,” if the police ever stopped him. But when a wave of murders hits Philadelphia and fifteen-year-old Malik is arrested, Janae’s fear is compounded by guilt and doubt—would Malik have escaped jail if he’d run?

Unable to pay for legal fees, Janae reluctantly allows Roger Whitford, a white human rights attorney, to represent Malik. With the help of an ambitious private attorney named Calvin Moore, Roger is determined to challenge the entire criminal justice system and expose its inherent bias against all black men. Armed with two decades of research, the attorneys make the unprecedented argument that black males should be protected under the law as an endangered species. This controversial case starts a media blitz that results in a firestorm of debate on race, prison and politics in America.


CHAPTER ONE

BEFORE THE SOUND OF THE SIRENS . . .



Four boys were hanging out on Fortieth Street. They had skipped school because they wanted to extend the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. They were dressed alike in blue jeans, leather jackets, and sneakers as if they were part of the same team. Except, one wore a green wool hat low on his head to protect his ears from the frigid cold.

The wind blew Malik Williams’s hoodie off his head, and he quickly snatched the covering back on. Eric Richardson’s numb hands were stuffed in his pants pocket. He drew his neck deeper into his leather jacket, wishing he had worn a scarf.

“Dude, give me some of your chips,” Eric said.

“I only have a little bit left,” D’Andre responded, flicking the outside of the foil bag with his gloved fingers.

“Then give me half of that.”

D’Andre extended the bag to Eric, then quickly tilted it to his own mouth and downed the rest of the crumbled potato chips.

Malik laughed. “Sucker! He played you.”

Eric shoved his hand, empty, back into his pants pocket. Embarrassed, he teased, “Who got played earlier today?”

Malik twisted his lips into a frown. “Man, you weren’t even there. What are you talking about?”

“Oh, snap!” D’Andre instigated, “Tell us again. Tell us what said to Sean G.”

Feeling himself, Malik puffed out his chest. “I was like hell no!”

Suddenly, there was the sound of police sirens. The noise was getting closer, clearly heading toward the young boys. Louder and louder. The sound of fifty cats screaming. Malik could feel the building vibration of the noise through the soles of his sneakers. His heart began to beat faster.

The potato chip bag fell to the ground as red and blue lights flashed brightly against the dimming sky.

Eric tugged on his friend Malik’s arm, but Malik was an immoveable force. His mother’s words, which rang in his head, would not allow him to go along and escape with the others. For me, Malik, do what they say. He could see her warm smile in his mind and knew there was no way he was going to let her down. Eric tried to pull him again before running away at full speed, knowing the police were there to harm them, not help.

Malik spun around in a slow circle, a delayed reaction to his friends scrambling like ants to get behind closed doors. Before Malik could turn around completely, three Philly police cars came to a screeching halt in front of him, blowing up dis- carded fast-food wrappers, cigarette butts and mangled plastic bottles. Drivers’ and passengers’ doors swung open. Five officers exploded out of the cars with their guns drawn.

“Hands up! Hands up!” a short, white, balding man in uni- form ordered. The other four followed after him in V formation like geese migrating south.

Heavy, hot breath gushed from the lead officer’s mouth. His gun was pointed at Malik’s head. Four more barrels were directed at his chest.

“I didn’t do nothing,” Malik blurted as his hands went straight up. A lump formed in his throat, making swallowing almost impossible.




Purchase Endangered: A Novel by Jean Love Cush

Fiction; Thriller; Probes issues of race, class, crime, and injustice 


 



Golden 
by Charmaine Galloway


Twenty year old Golden Brown was a complete mess. On the outside she was cool, calm, and collected. On the inside she was hiding secrets so deep and so dark that thoughts of them made her sick to her stomach and often sent her spiraling into a psychosis that required medication to pull her out. She trusted no one, had faith in no one, got close to no one. But when Marquis Jones, the man of her dreams, came along, everything began to change. 

No longer was she able to bury the past in the dredges of her mind. Now it was time to face the demons that had been plaguing her since she was a child. But could Golden do it? Could she conquer a past so sinister it almost killed her just as it had killed another. Or was she destined to let it defeat her and destroy life as she knew it?


Book Review from Amazon Customer - 5 Stars by KAH

This is a beautifully "MUST READ" written story about a woman who has been through a very traumatic childhood and has a strong God Fearing man that stood by her every step of the way without knowing the horrible secrets she fought with everyday of her life. This story hit home for me in so many ways that I felt Ms. Galloway was inside my head that I cried reading some parts. You are a very talented God Fearing woman, I loved how you took us through the life and struggles of Miss Golden Brown, you made us as readers feel her pain and happiness and incorporating God's word to let us know that with him you can make it through ANYTHING. Keep doing what you're doing and may God continue to Bless You, your mind, body and soul to produce the work that will touch others lives in a special way. God Bless KAH

Book Review from Amazon Customer - 5 Stars by Alisha

I loved every page of this book. Charmaine Galloway never disappoints me. When I pick up one of her books I know that the book will in some way touch me. I can't say much because I don't want to ruin the book for others but I have to say Golden is a strong woman and she deserved everything she got at the end. Charmaine, I'm looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us readers in 2014, I hope to see many more books written by you in the near future. You have a gift to not only tell a great story but to send a message after all your books. This is a 5 star book and I will be recommending this book to everyone I know that reads!!!


Excerpt from Golden


“Who did this to you?” Ms. Thomas cried out. She continued without waiting for me to answer. “Golden, your face is busted up pretty badly, you are going to need medical attention. Ms. Jones call the paramedics and when they arrive, direct them to my office.” Ms. Jones didn’t say a word as she walked out and followed Ms. Thomas’ demands.

“Golden, please talk to me, Sweetie, you know you can confide in me,” she said as she held me in her arms.

It had been a long time since I had felt a warm, tender, caring touch and not a touch that would scar me or leave me with guilt and humiliation. I held on to her tightly and sobbed in her arms as I thought of all I had been through the past year. When I finally built up the strength and courage to talk to her, I pushed away from her and that’s when I saw the blood from my face all over her shoulder.

“Ms. Thomas, I’m so sorry for ruining your shirt. I didn’t know I was bleeding that bad.”

“It’s okay, Golden,” she said reassuringly. “What I need from you right now is for you to tell me what happened to you,” she said as she looked me in my eyes.

Something about the sincerity in her voice made me believe she could help me, let me know she was trustworthy. Before I could stop my mouth from moving, I spoke, “I came here because you are the only one I can trust, there is no one else I can talk to. I need you Ms. Thomas. I have so much pain inside of me and I need to let it out before I go crazy. Uhhhhhhh”, I yelled as I felt the pressure in my chest.




Books by Charmaine Galloway

http://www.amazon.com/Charmaine-Galloway/e/B00C3URE2C


 


 


Tyree's Love Triangle 
by Charmaine Galloway

Things aren’t always what they seem and that’s certainly true for Tyree Bell, a handsome and successful businessman with a wife and child who adores him. On the outside it appears he has it all together. On the inside he’s holding onto something so immoral, if ever it’s revealed his perfect family could be forever destroyed, but only after he lost his life. How long can Tyree keep his skeletons in the closet? Will he let go of his sin and let God take care of him? Or will he carry his secrets to the grave and go insane in the process? 


Excerpt from Tyree’s Love Triangle


The house was dark, quiet, and it seemed empty, but still he maneuvered carefully, not willing to relax until he got to the bottom of things. So he continued searching for her, searching for anything and anyone that could have been the source of her hysteria.

He’d rushed to the house after receiving a call from her, a call in which she was crying hysterically. She has to be in serious danger from the way she screeched, was all he could think as he drove through stop signs and sped through yellow lights to rescue her.

With sweaty hands a rapid heartbeat, he drove as fast as he could to get to her and save her from whatever was causing her to be in such a traumatic state of mind. He hadn’t known what to expect when he arrived. 

He entered the living room with caution, that’s when he saw her, sitting on the loveseat in the dark staring at the wall. Her face twisted in anguish. She’s alive, thank God!

“What’s going on?” Tyree squinted his eyes as he stared at her, watching her rock back and forth like an addict fiending for their next hit, his vision trying to adjust to the darkness.

Realizing that she was okay, his heart began to beat at a steady pace. He knew she was there alone and he could now put his guard down. But as soon as he made his presence known, she rose from her seat like her butt was on fire and Tyree’s guard immediately went back up.

“Tyree, how could you?” she spoke as if she was mentally tormented. “How could you lie to me and hurt me this way?” Anguish poured from her voice. She charged towards him with rage pumping through her veins. She was furious as she glared into his eyes.

Tyree was silent. He looked at her with his forehead creased with confusion. He was caught off guard at her rage towards him. He had thought that someone harmed her, but he saw that the commotion was all because of him.

“I loved you,” she spat with fury rumbling in her chest. “You are the only man I have ever loved,” she declared as she looked at him with venom in her eyes. “I can’t believe I gave myself to you and you took advantage of me you filthy bastard!” She shouted so hard that it sounded as if she would bust a blood vessel, so hard that it made her lose her voice. “Why me, Tyree?” Her heart thumped against her chest as she waited for him to answer.

Tyree looked at her with sorrow in his eyes.

He knew that she had been upset with him since they had their last conversation a week ago, but now he could see why she was sobbing uncontrollably over the phone. She was hurt, hurt from the pain he had caused her.

All he wanted to do was to comfort her and to tell her that he was sorry for hurting her. “Please calm down and stop crying.” He pulled her close and caressed her head against his chest. He had been a fool, a reckless and careless fool, and he prayed that she would somehow find it in her heart to forgive him. He cared for her deeply and hoped they could work things out.

Intense anger made her push away from him. As she took a step back she wiped her eyes with her sleeve and said sharply, “Calm down?” “Don’t you dare tell me to calm down! You hurt me to the core and you have the audacity to tell me to calm down!”

She stepped closer to him and continued her rant through clenched teeth as she pointed her finger in his face. “You lied to me. You used me you… You selfish, good for nothing...” She paused in mid-sentence, realizing her words were not enough to express the pain she was feeling.

 


Purchase Tyree's Love Triangle by Charmaine Galloway
http://www.amazon.com/Charmaine-Galloway/e/B00C3URE2C 



 

 


Virtuous Deception 
by Leiann B. Wrytes

Only one thing stood between Frank Mason and his $20 million inheritance -- a wife. When he found, Lisa, he didn't waste any time marrying her, but their fairytale romance was not built to last. Lisa's infidelity doesn't go unnoticed, but Frank has his reasons for maintaining his silence. That's until he uncovers some new information about his step ford wife that lands him in jail. Only then does their picture-perfect life start to unravel, dragging every last skeleton out of his closet.

Lisa Raine was an exotic dancer desperately seeking a way out. Frank Mason posed as the perfect escape. However, Lisa's ex-lover, Lewis, was not willing to let her go without a price. After years of paying Lewis to keep her past a secret, the money soon dries up, and both Lisa and Lewis are forced to alter their arrangement. Things take a turn for the worse and only one of them may make it out alive.

Michelle Lewis, a private investigator, has managed to avoid mixing business with pleasure until an assignment sends her world colliding into the Mason's. When Brianna Mason is kidnapped, it is left to Michelle and her boyfriend to find her. Michelle unexpectedly stumbles across startling evidence that will irreversibly alter her and Brianna's life. Desperate for the truth, Michelle sifts through their families past, ripping old wounds, exposing forbidden relationships, and breaking years of silence to get it. Will the truth set them free or is it only the beginning of their parents arranged virtuous deception?


Excerpt: Virtuous Deception


Lisa inhaled deeply, the cold autumn air filling her aching lungs. This moment had been a long time coming. She wondered if the earth felt her vibration, if he knew how much she needed this. She rose to her feet anxiously awaiting her turn. Lisa had not intended on sharing this moment with so many, but out of all the people present, his was the only familiar face. The soft ground was porous, its delicate constitution nearly mirroring her fragile state of mind. Even in her flats, it was difficult to keep her feet from sinking into the earth during the walk. The air felt different as she drew near to his side, each step speaking to the miracle of her living. Before long it was time as she stood beside the man she had loved. She brazenly ran her fingers across his cold, full lips, and etched them along his square jaw line. He was beautiful lying there. 

As tears filled her eyes, she let them roam over his six-foot frame and drink in his chocolate features. It was certainly worth the wait. His wife had chosen well; his navy blue suit was impeccable. The brother was designed for Tom Ford. She stifled a moan as memories flooded her mind. She could still feel him. For a moment she longed for more time before dismissing the thought as quickly as it came. As she turned to leave, she shot a quick glance at the weeping widow. The poor girl didn’t know the man she married. She chuckled at the thought and raised her face to the peaking sun. The rays highlighted her caramel complexion. A smile found its way out as she departed the funeral grounds. She sighed with relief. The bastard was dead and Lisa was free.

...Three weeks earlier


Lisa sat on the edge of the bed and fumbled with the zipper on her dark denim jeans. She had spent the better half of the last thirty minutes, vainly, trying to repair it. She looked out the window and admired the view from the penthouse suite. She was impressed. The soft white sand against the beautiful blue Caribbean Sea made for a truly breathtaking scene. Charlie caught her by surprise with this but the trip was only prolonging the inevitable. Their getaways were becoming too commonplace, risky, but Lisa could never turn down a trip to Saint Maarten. She felt like the air wrapped itself around her there. She could only guess that was why Charlie suggested it. 

Charlie began as a random Instagram snapshot and it would’ve ended with their drunken dance beneath sheets had Lisa not received a special request every day for three weeks. Though she should have probably been alarmed by the persistent, nearly stalker, vibe, she was turned on by it instead. Giving up on zipping her jeans Lisa walked out onto the balcony. There was something about the water that gave her peace. She lost her thoughts in the waves. Frank. She was missing Frank, her husband. For a second she wondered how she had arrived at this intersection in her life, a point where no available direction seemed optimal. 

Lisa hoped it was not too late to go back. Charlie might have had her singing a sweet melody in the early morning hours, but Charlie was no Frank. Frank alone had the power to alter her soul, if he cared enough to try. Lisa loved Frank but he failed her. Frank lost his ambition, his drive. She had big plans before she met Frank. Plans before her heart nestled with his and on the eve of the big “4-0,” she felt like her life was losing its hue. Frank had only managed to provide her with moments of greatness when she wanted a lifetime. 



Virtuous Deception by Leiann B. Wrytes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Link: http://amzn.com/B00MW0MQIA 



 

 


Kenton's Vintage Affair 
by Janice L. Dennie 

Unemployed chef, Briana Rutledge, inherits a cottage on one thousand acres of land in California’s Napa Valley, making her a millionaire. She sets out to turn the cottage into her dream restaurant. But others have agendas to destroy Briana and her plans.

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 women and children. As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood has been betrayed and no longer believes women need his protection. He has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. But Briana harbors a deep seated fear that prevents their future happiness. Kenton has also been scarred by an obsession that fuels his competitive behavior. Can their relationship survive Kenton’s obsession and Briana’s fear?


Excerpt from Kenton's Vintage Affair 

Author reading:  http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CPT6vSfx 


“Want some wine?” 

“Sure, I’ll have a glass.”

Kenton walked over to the butler’s pantry to select a bottle of wine. He grabbed two red wine glasses, a corkscrew and walked back to the sofa. After leaving the wine bottle on the coffee table, he walked over to his Bose docking station and selected the John Legend song, Best You Ever Had from his iPod. As the music began to play, and the base thumped, Kenton sang along with the song. Baby tonight’s the night….

The excitement of hearing Kenton’s melodic voice singing along with the music added shine to Briana’s eyes. She watched Kenton hold out his hands beckoning her to dance with him. He pulled her up from the sofa. “Come on baby let’s dance.” A faint light twinkled in the depths of his eyes when he pulled her up, holding her around her waist. He pressed her body to his, spinning, swaying and dipping her. Briana realized he was stepping Chicago style. Determined to keep up with his pace, Briana felt dizzy following his lead. She hadn’t stepped in a long time, but the movements came back, like riding a bike. Briana felt alive dancing, spinning, swaying, dipping and twirling in Kenton’s arms. 

Kenton complimented her. “You’re a good dancer,” he said, holding her in his embrace. He continued to sing along with the song. I don’t wanna brag…. Briana grinned and leaned her head back in delight. He slowed down, and sang into her hair I’ll be the best you’ve ever had….

“You remembered my favorite artist.” Briana closed her eyes as she laughed. The sound of the music, the smoothness of Kenton’s dancing and singing fascinated Briana. Kenton was the best man she’d ever known.

“How could I forget?” Kenton said in between words to the song.

Briana began to sing along with Kenton. They sang her favorite part simultaneously with loud voices, the best you ever had…. They both paused for a few seconds which felt like an eternity. Within seconds, Briana snapped back into real time, although she felt as if she’d been hanging in space for hours. Looking into Kenton’s eyes, she melted in the tenderness of his gaze.

Kenton twirled her around and then pulled her close. Staring into her eyes, he gave Briana a smoldering look. “How did you like that?”

( Continues... )

Copyright © 2014 by Janice L. Dennie. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Janice L. Dennie. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you like this promotional excerpt.



Purchase Kenton's Vintage Affair by Janice L. Dennie
The Underwood's of Napa Valley Book 1 
Purchase your copy: http://amzn.com/B00NS4KW0I 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Annie Clara Brown

Annie Clara Brown is a licensed social worker who holds a Baccelerate of Social Work (BSW) from the University of Montevallo and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Alabama. She currently works as a hospice social worker with Lakeside Hospice in Pell City, Alabama. Her job duties makes her responsible for conducting psychosocial assessments, counseling patients and their families about end of life issues, helping patients and their families to access community resources, and conducting grief support groups as needed.

Annie Clara Brown is passionate about her work in hospice. She finds it gratifying to have embraced the social work profession in this manner! She cares deeply for her patients and care-givers, she has developed a healthy sense of humor working in an area that can be demanding both physically and emotionally. Annie's strengths lie in the personal stories and her personal feelings, reactions, and experiences. Annie hopes to inspire caregivers and patients to choose hospice care when faced with terminal illness at the end of life. She further wants social workers and healthcare workers to know that hospice care can be one of the most challenging but fulfilling areas to serve mankind.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

My journey into social work began when my job in textile was sent overseas. However, in hindsight, there has been an innate desire in my heart to help others since I was a child and saw so much poverty in my neighborhood. Who or what motivated you? My greatest motivation came from God who gave me a heart for people and my family who were so supportive during my transition from textiles to becoming a social work professional. It was not easy going back to school at age forty-six.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?
This work can be for any layperson, terminally ill person, social workers, or other healthcare professional. Do you consider authors as role models? Yes, I believe any area of your life that you are passionate about, whether it be an author or social worker should be an extension of who you are. 

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
Mostly reflections and seeing an increase in the use of hospice care over the last ten years. Why now? I am getting ready to retire in a couple of years; therefore, I wanted to have a book out about hospice care from a social worker prospective.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed remembering the different patients who became part of my journey and has such an impact on my life.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from?
Most of my ideas came from the need for the terminally ill and their families to understand there are options when they are tired of aggressive care and the care is not effective. Are your books, plotting-driven or character-driven? This particular work is somewhat plot-driven and character-driven. Why? I believe because there is a sort of plot which would be to move from one care-plan to another while this book tells the stories of many patients and their journey from earth to eternity.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
Yes. My recent work is about my personal journey as a social worker as I tell about the gratification I have experienced as I have embraced the profession as a hospice social worker. The work has been challenging, but yet fulfilling because I have been invited into the lives of various aged persons, social economic status groups, ethnicities, races at one of the most critical times in their lives. Regardless, of who they are, if they have or have not death does not discriminate and if God does not perform a miracle of healing, then the one thing they all have in common is death at the end. Is this book available on Nook and Kindle? Yes the book is available on Nook and Kindle.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main speakers.
I cannot pick a main character unless it would be the lady that gave me the idea for the name of the book. I learned so much from each one of the people in the book and my life is so much richer because whether it was a special shared moment or fulfilling a need for the family I got to serve God's people.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present journey?
End of life issues includes so many diverse and complex issues in that retrospect death and dying bring your own immortality into a reality of it could be me. Therefore, it causes me to examine myself to say if the Lord were to call me home would I spend eternity with God. That same principle is applicable to every living human being because we do not know when our time is up on this earth and we do not know what avenue we may have to move out. So each day I am concerned about the emotional and spiritual state of the patient and their families that I encounter. 

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Yes, I did or actually writing about the services of hospice has reaffirmed for me personally that if I was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was told that there were no curative measures; then, I would personally choose hospice care. 

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
Actually, I share about some of my patients in the book; however, my coworkers have some interesting stories to tell about some of their encounters and some of the bloopers they experienced. There was a phone call made to the office one day and the patient's son was adamant about his mother having a Paracentesis (removal of fluid off a person's stomach when they have liver disease. Our receptionist who is Tam took the call. After giving the son's phone call to the appropriate healthcare person, Tam seemed so upset because she could not understand why someone with a terminal illness would need a new pair of "teethies"

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 
My goals are educational and supportive. I believe that the book can be used as a go to guide when someone is asked about hospice and what hospice does. The book also gives some great personal self-care tips for laypersons, pastors, social workers or healthcare professionals.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present? 
I am working on any updated edition of my first book Christians with Pervasive Issues. Also, I am offering workshops to churches and communities on end of life issues.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Twitter: https://twitter/annieclara2002
Website: http://www.anniecbrown.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/annie.brown.1804

Purchase My Little People: A Social Worker's Journey
Link: http://amzn.com/B00PFY3P3K


 

 


Intimate Conversation with Catherine Flowers

Catherine Flowers is a former registered nurse who also majored in English/Professional Writing at Mount Mary University. She is the creator of www.freefrombondage.com, a Christian website, and is a contributing writer for www.lovettpublishing.com. In her spare time she enjoys writing on-line content for other websites as well as providing content editing for up-and-coming authors. Her second novel A Sad Soul Can Kill You is the sequel to Yesterday's Eyes and will be released in May 2015.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I've always had a love for writing. I think I started writing poetry at the age of 10 or 13 years old. I always envisioned seeing my book in a bookstore one day. But life happens. Sometimes dreams get put on hold and I'm not so sure that's a good thing. Anyway, after practicing nursing for 16 years, I began to wonder when I would pursue my life-long desire to become a published author.

It was a chain of events that motivated me to end my nursing career and pursue my dream. First, I came across a saying at the bottom of a magazine one day. I can't remember the exact wording but it read something like this: "You will never swim the ocean, if you're afraid to step away from the shore." I remember tearing that piece of paper out of the magazine and taping it to the top of my alarm clock where it stayed for a long time.

Then an acquaintance announced she was leaving her office job to pursue her true passion which had nothing to do with the corporate world. I took that as a sign that I should be doing something else (writing). I began praying for direction, and after many months of praying, I stepped out on faith. I resigned from my nursing position, and began pursuing my dream of becoming a published author.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?
My work speaks to those who are imprisoned by the past and are unable or unwilling to forgive. Without forgiveness there can be no healing. Without healing there can be no moving forward, and without movement you can never be free.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 
The book had actually been written years ago but the manuscript was just sitting in a drawer. When my youngest child graduated from high school, I felt like it was now or never. I began to notice so many people holding on to unnecessary grudges and the emotional pain it was causing. As a Christian, I know that Jesus is the answer. He is the deliverer. He sets the captives free. We just have to surrender our will and let His will be done. I wanted to inspire those people to turn to Jesus for deliverance.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven?
I get ideas for my books from everyday life, the people around me, and people on television. My books are mainly character-driven but it's the plot that causes action or a reaction from the character. So I would say my books have a little bit of both - plot-driven and character-driven.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
My most recent novel A Sad Soul Can Kill You is due to be released in May 2015. It's a sequel to my first novel, Yesterday's Eyes. Although this second novel is also a work of fiction, the topics are taken from real-life issues. My characters are all connected in some way and each of them is dealing with issues that range from homelessness to addiction.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
One of the main characters in Yesterday's Eyes is Tia, a six-year old girl. The story follows her through an abusive and neglectful childhood into young adulthood. She grows up fatherless, and with a lot of resentment towards her mother and grandmother.

The other two main characters are Tia's mother and grandmother. All three characters are dealing with unresolved issues that have kept them estranged from one another. All of them are special because underneath their pain is a desire to be set free, to love and be loved.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
Yes, I touch on the plight of single mothers living in poverty, and a system that is not designed to help as much as it is to hinder.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?
Yesterday's Eyes relates to my belief in the power of Jesus Christ. No thing is impossible with Him.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goal was to let people know that Jesus is the answer. I wanted to inspire people to turn to Him for deliverance from whatever burdens or grudges they may be carrying. I feel that I have achieved that goal. I've had people tell me that the book really touched on some of their own personal issues. When people ask me how the book is doing, I tell them, "It's doing exactly what God wants it to do!"

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I've just completed the sequel A Sad Soul Can Kill You. It's due for release in May 2015.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Readers can visit my website www.freefrombondage.com to learn more about me. I can also be reached on Facebook: Author Catherine Flowers, and Twitter @YesterdaysEyes.

Connect with Catherine Flowers, author of Yesterday's Eyes
Facebook: Author Catherine Flowers
Twitter: www.twitter.com/@YesterdaysEyes
Website: http://www.freefrombondage.com
Breaking the chains of bondage one link at a time!



 


Intimate Conversation with Alexandra Lane

Alexandra Lane was born in Fayetteville, NC but due to her father’s military career she has lived in various states and countries. To have the opportunity to become familiar with other cultures and their traditions was an uplifting and educational journey. One she was glad to have participated in.

She later returned to Fayetteville where she attended Fayetteville State University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration/Management. Upon graduation she worked in the financial world of banking. Although she enjoyed her years as a Banking Center Manager she wanted to devote more of her time to writing and telling compelling stories. This is her first novel. She is currently working on her second.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book. 
A Vision of Angels: The Battle Begins is the story of a woman name Minty, a slave and Jack, a slave hunter. Both their lives are shattered beyond what most people would be able to bear.

Minty will make a decision to run away to save her life and Jack and a few men will pursue her in the dark swamps of Maryland. However, Jack is unaware of what he is about to encounter at a place called, Little Canyon. Unimaginable, is how I would describe what happens next. Evil is amongst them, but more than anything, it is very aware of these two souls.

This story is a looking glass into the world of Angels and the incredible feats they performed for the sake of these two lives. This is a story of hope in the face of hopelessness and redemption even when one feels there is none.  Of course, you will have to read the story to understand why.


BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  
The idea came about one day when I was watching a daytime talk show. There was a man on the show that described an incredible situation where he survived a paragliding incident that should’ve robbed him of his life. But thankfully, he lived. However, he went on to say he was incredibly “lucky.” 

I saw it different. I saw his angels safely guiding him to earth because his purpose had not yet been fulfilled here on earth. So I wondered how amazing it must look to see our angels in action. How does it look when they’re doing extraordinary things behind the scenes for us? Like saving us from danger, protecting us from harm and even guiding us through life? That is when the story was born.

So far as plot or character driven, I would have to say that this is more character driven because I wanted to focus more on the people in the story. Who they are, and what made them that way. We are all flawed in some way, but there are some people who have more challenges and bigger road blocks in their lives. As a result they develop certain “defenses” to help them cope with the more strenuous obstacles of life. It makes for some very interesting outcomes. 


BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
Well the main characters are Minty, Jack and Red. What makes Minty special is her spirit. Even as a slave she doesn’t lose hope. She never stops believing that she can, one day, be free. Even when everything around her, the environment, the other slaves and her husband, says NO YOU CAN’T.

Jack is special because his life started out one way but made a drastic turn when his parents died. He tries hard to fight the dark emotions that try to rule over him but it’s difficult. He actually has a good heart but it worthless to him. So, he just drifts through life trying to run from a past he hates but realizes it follows you wherever you go.

Red is different. He was born with these awful, menacing eyes that frightens everyone. But as he gets older and begins to partake in some unsavory acts, those eyes are not only frightening but they become occupied with something more sinister than himself.

And I don’t want to make light of Patty and Melinda because they are both instrumental in the story as well. Patty is the owner/madam of a saloon. Her reason for becoming a madam is very interesting.

Melinda
is a young woman who was taken in by Patty when she was kicked out of her aunt’s home. However, things begin to take a turn when she and Jack meet for the first time.


BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
Yes. Although this story takes place in 1849 around the time of slavery, I picked this time to show that even in the direst situations, there is still hope. Keep in mind slavery can come in many forms. Sometimes we are enslaved to our environment: Poverty, crime, drugs, domestic violence, abuse and the list goes on and on. Sometimes when it's all you know and you don't see a way out, it's easier to give in and accept it as your fate. (Just as the other slaves did in this story) But I strongly believe you can change your outcome. 

A Vision of Angels is a story about hope, looking beyond your circumstances and what everyone else is saying and doing and fighting for a better life. Start preparing, set a plan in motion, study hard, hold onto patience and above all have faith in God and follow your angel that He has assigned to you. Do these things and you can make it out of whatever hell you may be in.

Is it going to be easy? No. Are there bumps and bruises in attempting to free yourself? Yes, many. But how great is the reward that awaits when you’re finally free. 




 

 


Intimate Conversation with RM Johnson

RM Johnson is the author of twenty novels to include, The Harris Men, The Million Dollar Divorce, and the soon to be released, Hate the Air series. He holds an MFA in creative writing, is the recipient of the African American Arts Alliance Award among many others, and he resides in Atlanta, GA. 

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
It took hard work, dedication and sacrifice. Although that sounds like a generic answer, it is true. As a novelist, you alone, do all the work. As another writer said, “There’s no one to throw the ball back to you.” You must be dedicated; writing a novel is not a sprint, but a marathon. It can take quite a long time to write a great one, equally as long to pen one that is horrible. Both are accomplishments, but you can’t finish either unless you stick to it. Referring to success: it likely won’t come without sacrifice. I have an undergraduate degree in science. I left a lucrative career in the medical field to pursue my passion for writing. As any artist will attest, there are as many valleys—if not more—as peaks, but many of chose this: to sacrifice a normal life for that of an artist’s, not for the money, but because we feel this is why we’ve been put on this earth. 

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 

My work speaks to Black folks: men and women, married and single, young and old, fatherless and motherless, divorced, deceived and cheated on, poor and affluent. My work speaks to readers who want relevant, heartfelt, relatable and suspenseful fiction. In regard to authors being role models, I’d say only if one wants to be a writer oneself, then authors might be seen as inspirational. Aside from that, I’d say no; authors should not be seen as role models, because many of us can be pretty screwy in the head. 

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

Five years ago, a 44 year-old, good friend told me how disappointed he was with the turn his new marriage had taken. During their one-year marriage, he and his wife traveled, partied, drank and loved more than couples half their age. When they had their first child, he noticed a shift in the attention he was getting. It was a hard adjustment for him to make, and although he didn’t say he was, I detected a jealous tone in his voice. I felt there was an intriguing story there: man becomes envious of his newborn son, and does whatever he must to revert things back to the way he preferred them. I decided to write this book when I did, because, for the past several months, I’ve been working on a dystopian novel: Hate the Air, and I needed a break from the heavy lifting of that book, to something a little lighter, more familiar to me. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved writing this book. Like I said, I’ve been working on something far less familiar to me—something that required a lot of research. “My Wife’s Baby: I Am Not A Murderer” is right in my wheelhouse—my comfort zone. If you’ve ever read “The Million Dollar Divorce” or “Bishop”, you know that I often write about unsettling family situations and the toll taken every day, just to exist in them. This book is first person, from my main character, Stan’s POV, so the reader is right there in his head, experiencing his every thought as he grapples with his unwanted, jealous feelings toward his son.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?

The idea for the current novel, like I said, came from a friend. My novels are definitely character driven. I love the conflict, the havoc, the destruction caused by differing opinions: each character believing he or she is right, attempting to impress their beliefs upon the other. It creates the potential for great drama.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Available on Nook and Kindle?

“My Wife’s Baby: I Am Not A Murder” is available on Nook and Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.com. The premise: Stan doesn’t want children and marries a woman who says she feels the same. They have a great year of marriage, childless and obligation-free, traveling and over indulging in each other, when Erica winds up pregnant. To Stan’s dismay, she decides to have the baby. After the baby arrives, she spends almost all her time with the infant, neglecting Stan, and forcing him to take the drastic and unthinkable measure of eliminating the issue he believes is stealing his wife from him.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 

I like to put my main characters in positions where, the result of them not accomplishing their goal is equivalent to the worst fate imaginable. In other words: if they fail, they die—or they will feel as though they’d want to. So when I write a character that feels he or she must succeed at all costs, they let nothing stand in their way, making them desperate. Those, in my opinion, are the most interesting characters to read.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.

What’s notable in this book are the intimate, emotional, non-fantastical struggles that Black men contend with everyday. It’s not about a kingpin drug dealer, or a cheating minister, or a thug that sleeps with his team of prostitutes. “My Wife’s Baby: I Am Not A Murderer”, is just an extremely intense look inside the thoughts of a Black man when faced with the notion he might lose the woman he loves most in this world. 

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or journey?

It really doesn’t. I don’t have an infant child. I’ve never experienced the jealousy, Stan, my main character, has. But men very close to me have. I’ve seen marriages fall apart because—with the addition of the baby—couples seemingly forget how to function as they had before: they forget what brought them together, what made them happy, and in some instances—not all—the mother puts the wellbeing of the baby so far ahead of the father that he feels he no longer has a place in the mother’s life.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 

I think I’m learning more from the reader responses to the book than from the actual writing of it. This is a controversial piece of work: there is subject matter here that some people would rather not address, and issues that provoke people to think about how they relate to their most significant other and their infant. I think the female reader—if nothing else—will be forced to ask herself if she might’ve neglected her husband while caring for her newborn, or the male reader may question if he was understanding enough of the mother’s responsibilities, and was not needlessly envious of his own child during this period.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

I met a woman with two children, both over the age of 18. When I asked her what her situation was like soon after she had given birth, she told me that she spent most of her time with her newborn: some days she spent as many as fourteen hours alone with the child. This time would be spent away from her husband, because she was so engrossed in the care of the infant. What was most intriguing was that she was shocked at the idea that she had done something wrong. She did say that her husband was gone a lot during this period; she did not relate it to the possibility that she might have been shutting him out, just thought his job had suddenly become more demanding. She said, looking back, if she had considered the possibility that her husband might have been envious of the time and attention not given him, she might’ve made more of an attempt to him include him more.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 

The most major intention of this book was to shed light on the possibility that some men might find themselves jealous of their own children and enlighten mothers that this envy is real, and although they feel—as one mother told me—that men should be just as excited and wanting to spend every minute of the day with the new baby, that is not always the case. Not to say that fathers don’t love their children as much as mothers do, but when the baby arrives, we have not had the opportunity to bond with the infant. We have not carried the baby for nine months, so we might need more time to build a relationship with the infant.

Do I feel I achieved my goal in the writing of this novel? I’m not certain. I think the novel will incite some serious discussion and maybe a few arguments, but I also believe, those of you who read it, will find it intriguing, disturbing, suspenseful and very enjoyable—which is always my ultimate goal. 

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

My next work, “Hate The Air” is about all human beings over the age of twenty years old dying, due to something in the air. Left alive are young adults to fend and fight for themselves, to run the country and to solve the problems of ensuring humanity does not die. It was inspired by the often self indulgent and over confident opinions of kids today believing they could do a much better job running the world than their elders. It will be an ongoing series, but I haven’t determined just how many books there will be. 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 

My readers can always contact me directly via email: RMNovels@yahoo.com, Twitter: @Marcusarts and on Facebook at: Facebook.com/RMNovels



Purchase My Wife’s Baby: I Am Not A Murderer  
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/rm-johnson 
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/My-Wifes-Baby-not-murderer/dp/098951143X  


 


Intimate Conversation with Andrea Clinton

Andrea Clinton is a graduate of Montclair State University, where she's recently achieving her master's degree in Theatre Studies. She's written four books with 3 additional to go into publication in 2015. Andrea is the Editor in Chief of AMISTAD newspaper. She's produced, written and directed a documentary on a young man's journey in the martial arts, several short films and has now written and produced Murphy's Law, Group Therapy Gone Wild, a stage play.

BPM: Andrea, introduce us to your current work.
What I did was bring a few of my characters to life in this play, Murphy's Law - Group Therapy Gone Wild, in an effort to give them and their issues or life event a voice. Since I write fiction as a remedy or anecdote, I thought these particular character's story would not only hi-light the high points in my previous novels, but lend to the play's touch on life's issues. The book's genre is Thriller/Urban Romance.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this play?
I believe I am obsessed with addressing or helping others deal with life's issues. I've had some really dark days in my life that honestly, just made me wanna take the long ride, go to sleep, the long one. But, the sun always shined the next day, things never seemed as bad as they initially were, an answer was always around the corner and things eventually calmed down, felt better or worked out. Moreover, discussing it and seeing I wasn't the only one with issues or problems helped. I just wanted to show group therapy as a remedy.

BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Very much so. I've been through a lot and the things I've experienced or watched others suffer, do and/or experience, has left such a huge affect on my life, I have no choice but to share those experiences with the world with hopes others can learn from my or other people's experience, like I have. Regarding my upbringing, I can't say it has influenced my writing, maybe I'll start looking into that, but i do add those old wives (wise) tales in my books, plays and screenplays, along with folk tales. And yes, I ALWAYS put previous relationship drama, wants, needs, goings on, etc. into my fiction. It's my reality and reality is always a great foundation for a good story and captures the attention of readers.

An example is in high school, an ex boyfriend wanted to take a break, (a birdie told me he wanted to seduce another girl for her gold chain). I flipped it and told him it was best we did part ways and I was moving on. Angry, he couldn't handle it and flipped out. You see this exact situation in A Blessing and a Curse, when Hooch tells his wife he wants to take a break to experience life without bills, her, etc., only for her to flip the script and go to the islands leaving him regretful, lonely and alone.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? Why?
ABSOLUTELY character driven, for most of the books. You get that almost immediately. Why? I just love Realism and Naturalism and one of the characteristics of those 2 genres is that the story is character driven and the drives that move these stories forward are Self preservation (greed, ambition, thievery) and Sex drive (attraction, desire, lust, etc.). I love, love love it because it is man's natural reaction to desire and to have the want to carry on, survive life.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
DR. PEW is special because she is quirky, weird and wacky and will say or do some of the most weird things, you'd think you were watching comedy of the absurd; NOREEN, Pew's assistant is trying to hold Pew together; Shay is another Sha Nae Nae, always doing something for attention or stirring up Stuff, LOL.; Moe is a reformed acid/LSD/Mushroom addict who is totally unpredictable; ChollyWest is a player/pimp who can't help but shake his head at everyone, as if he is perfect; Sharrin is a teen convict who feels she's the most normal of the bunch; Jerry, like ChollyWest looks among the group and shakes her head; Hubert's having a ball hanging out with people he'd normally have never considered; Malika is the seer of all things, literally who takes the group therapy on a journey; and Tina can't even bring herself to hold it together enough to attend. Together they all make a wacky bunch, and then there is the surprise meeting with two characters that goes left...

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your play?
The topics discussed are: abuse, rape, addiction, divorce, abandonment, mommy issues and how mis-or non-communication can wreck a life, family, relationship. I absolutely learned a lot. I first worked as dramaturg doing research on dramatic group therapy and how it works, the outcome, and more. This was so interesting, it helped me to take the the play in various directions to bring forth the meat & potatoes of the comedy, even in its darkest hour, moments.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this play?
I read about a girl in dramatic group therapy who after allowing herself to open up, from the 1st session and continuously, was able to be around her sexually abusive father, stay in the house with him for a week while visiting him to check up on him and the house in his later years, after her mother passed away and he had no one else. When she returned from her visit home, she told the therapist after confronting another patient in therapy, using drama/monologue to convey her feelings, yell at him, cry and have outbursts, she was able to see her dad after years and not feel uncomfortable. She still locked her bedroom door at night, but the closer it got to her leaving, she'd forget to lock it. This showed me dramatic group therapy works on many levels, including forgiveness, even though they only spoke when necessary. It revealed that with dramatic group therapy you can go on living.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
What defines success for me is when you can fulfill your dreams and money, resources and connections, etc. is no issue. Regarding ambitions in my writing career, I want to write in most of the platforms and in various genres and be successful at it, which is why I furthered my education in: Journalism, Fiction, Film and most recently, Theatre Studies.

 

 


Conversation with William Ashanti Hobbs

William Hobbs (aka William Ashanti Hobbs, III) is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida by way of Atlanta, GA. While attending Florida A&M University (FAMU), the college junior was inspired to publish Pseudonymous, a collection of short stories and poems and the novel "The Chosen People: Africa's Lost Tale of Meroe", all in the same year. Sales allowed Hobbs to publish " Unconditionally " in 1996 as he graduated from FAMU. Hobbs' passion for writing and won him a McKnight Fellowship, which allowed him to pursue a masters and doctorate degree in creative writing from Florida State University (FSU). 

He graduated from FSU in 2004 and now teaches Creative Writing at Florida Memorial University. Hobbs has published an essay and poem in Journey into a Brother's Soul by Kimani Press. Hobbs is married to Dr. Tameka Hobbs and has two sons, Ashanti and Amiri. The martial arts lover enjoys his foray into blogging williamhobbs247.wordpress.com, is forever noodling with a guitar and exploring filmmaking with his first film short, "North of the Grove." www.northofthegrove.com His goal for filmmaking: "to help bring the visions and dreams of others to film and video."

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book?
My novel, North of the Grove, is tough, gritty little book that is packed with surprises. Not gritty as in sex scenes and excessive violence or even a lot of cursing, but deep, dark, soulful moments men and boys keep to themselves. This book is contemporary urban fiction suitable for audiences ages 14 and up. 

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
Howard Capelton, from a distance, is a successful insurance agent and avid jogger who knows he can no longer run from the turmoil of his past. His experiences violent panic attacks at the idea of being a father.

David Troy is an angry third grader and talented artist who has survived living in cars for weeks and an assault on his family. He does what he can to watch over his beautiful and damaged mother, Sharia, who has a weakness for alcohol, drama and thuggish men.

Tiffany Capelton is Howard’s educated and successful wife. She orchestrates David to partake in a mentoring program to ease him into sharing her pregnancy with him, but grows uneasy of the attachment Howard develops toward David and Sharia. 

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
It is loosely based off of my experience at being an in-home counselor in Virginia. My family and I moved afterwards to Miami but that family I had worked with, and all we had been through, just stayed with me and I could better understand domestic abuse, why men abandon families and how young boys are affected in single-parent homes because of it. Statistics started becoming faces and names. I wrote North of the Grove as an acknowledgment to how important an experience my time as a counselor was for me. 

BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Yes indeed! I was raised in a time where children seen and not heard. Couple that with a genuinely expressive child walking the line between middle class and ‘hood sensibilities and it had to come out somehow. I noticed not many people around me had the time or the interest read a kid’s musings. I suppose the idea was as long as it kept me out of trouble or asking for anything, it was enough as it was. I wrote with the idea that whatever I said would be safe from reproach.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? Why?
They come from life! It could be something a friend’s posts on facebook, a piece of some haunting story on NPR’s Snap Judgment, a line from a passing conversation between students on campus (I’m a creative writing professor at Florida Memorial University). Life is too bizarre today to have to create aliens and oncoming asteroids for a story.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
North of the Grove explores the importance of knowing what it means for someone to call themselves a man (especially a black man), mentorship (and that even the mentor needs a mentor), the power of redemption and the importance of healthy, non-violent relationships between men and women.

Did I learn anything personal? Well, I’d say I learned that we all have the same problems, that one’s socio-economic status has a major influence on how society judges you and your issues. One’s abortion is another’s D&C, a drug problem in the ‘hood leads to jail time, for others, rehab. A kid from the ‘hood acting a fool behind the wheel, hitting someone and driving off is doing time. A kid, especially a white one, from some well-off family is looking to get off because of affluenza. Only arrogance makes us think otherwise.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
My students were key in fine-tuning the story. A student would read the rough draft of a chapter and tell me about being in a fist-fight with their mother’s boyfriend over his knocking her around. Another would talk of raising a little brother so completely that their mother, strung out on drugs or simply in the streets, would go for weeks and not know about teeth that had come out or new shoe sizes. Reading drafts of this would just peel the veneer of some of my toughest students and they would reveal molestation, suicidal moments. David and Howard became their hope and vindication. 

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I define success as being able to achieve a substantial impact on the community by way of my writing. This is why I am looking to get the book into high schools, boot camps and mentoring programs. I want to sit and talk with the kids that read it and get that sense of them being able to purge from reading the story. I want to hear about their dreams for the future, how they will do better than situations they’ve come from. 

I am excited about the process of making this into a film as well. As an artist, I am always up for exploring new avenues of expression. Screenwriting is so much more economical than prose. We’re still in the early phase of putting things together in order to get it shot and all. I have only made a trailer of how I want it to go on northofthegrove.com thus far.
From a business standpoint, I want my publishing company, Meroen Press, to continue to grow. I want to publish other people’s books. Of course I want it to be a financial success. You need that for more freedom to create and say what needs to be addressed to get our communities moving towards recovery.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book? 

Stylistically, I wanted to created emotional whiplash… I wanted readers to gasp, scream, laugh and well up within several pages. Over all, I want them to look into mentoring, especially the brothers. I have recently began mentoring with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. We have to do it – in some form or fashion. We have to get to know neighbors again. It helps us get to know ourselves in a way that going from the car to the office and back will never provide. I get the hesitation, the fear. The news has you thinking anything done with good intentions will go wrong but the news is drawn to negativity and violence. For every car-jacking, somebody talked a kid out of doing something stupid. The media has made murder and madness sexy so you get to thinking that that is all that exists. We have to reach out in spite of our fear.

BPM: Do you feel as if you are a role model for women and other authors period?

I have my flaws. I can be a bit blunt I’m told. I’ve taught my students to not idolize anyone. Any figure in history that seems like they have it going on to the fullest will ultimately disappoint you if you get too deep into their business. The key is learning what you can take from their philosophy, their brilliance, and keep it moving afterwards. If I inspire writers to write where full steam into they hurt inside, where truth is hard to look at and form words to express, that’s enough for me. 

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

The movie and push to have a book tour (of sorts) is first and foremost. I’m writing movie and music reviews for Empower Magazine. I’m also creating an online class for people wanting to learn how to write and self-publish a novel made for social impact as opposed to merely entertainment. There’s always writing bits and pieces of what could be my next novel as well.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

My site is www.northofthegrove.com.  To get the inside scoop on my journey into make North of the Grove a film, check out:
https://williamhobbs247.wordpress.com. My Twitter: https://twitter.com/williamahobbs.  My Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/northofthegrove 

Purchase North of the Grove by William Hobbs
Link: http://amzn.com/1496171306 



 

 


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 also 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, Inc. 

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 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.


BPM:  What inspired to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

In the 1990’s I kept noticing that during the news when a crime was reported the name of the victim was given. The news always waited until the next of kin was notified and then the name was release to the public.  However, when it came to sexual crimes the names of the victims were not given. The policy of most news organizations was not to give the names of the victims to protect their privacy. Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her home. Nine months later she found and appeared on Oprah. Oprah talked about everything. However, when it came to the fact that Elizabeth was violated Oprah said that it was private and went on with the show. Another story that comes to mind is of three girls who were kidnapped and found at first their names were given, however, it was discovered they were violated their name were not given anymore.

Society has in my opinion has sexual assault and lovemaking confused. This started the daydream that led to Ungolden Silence. The first draft was done from my daydreams. After from several people who told me that I  needed to do some research?  It was during the research I realized that Ungolden Silence is not that far off.

While Ungolden Silence focuses on rape, society needs to understand that rape comes under the domestic violence umbrella.  Society needs to understand that mental, physical, and sexual abuse in any form is a crime. Stop worrying about keeping the names private. Rape victims need to come forward. They did not asked to be rape. It does matter they was wearing.


BPM:  Could you tell us something about your recent work? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?

I believe that the reader can get a lot from Ungolden Silence. First of all it is a novel  and it is entertainment. The reader can relax and get involved with the story.

I recently saw a play about Nat King Cole. The play dealt with what he went through when he had his own show in the 1950’s. It was hard for me to enjoy the play because I read his biography. I just could not get into the play because I knew that man had to go through a lot. His voice was beautiful. Even though he died in the 60’s, his music it still heard around the world.

When a person reads Ungolden Silence, he or she can enjoy the story. The characters are not real.  The characters decide that society needs to become aware of the problems that a victim face when she does comes forward. What about the families and co-workers of victims?  Society cannot forget the rapist and their families. What? Yes, because the rapist is a human being. Not a good one, but there is family and love ones. Nothing is simple.  This works is meant to provoke thought and perhaps create understanding about the world of domestic violence. Yes, the book is an e-book.


BPM:  Give some insight into your main characters or speakers. What make each so special?

Elaine Wilson  was based on me. I wanted her disability to be identical to mine. I cannot speak plainly or walk well. I needed to show that I am physically disabled, not mentally.  Elaine worked for a marketing firm, and was given a million dollar account. She was put in charge of a marketing campaign for the disabled. Elaine knows that she can handle the work, but this client was in Washington, D.C. Elaine’s co-worker Beatrice James also knows that Elaine is capable of during the work and convinces her boss and Elaine’s parents that she wants to take Elaine on her first professional trip.

Elaine and Beatrice are excited as they begin their work in Washington, D.C. It is the charming Mr. Paige that changed the story. Mr. Paige a well-known community leader it not the man he seems to be. The second that Elaine and the client, Mrs. Stevens, steps out of the room, Mr. Paige begins sexually harassing Beatrice. Upon her return Elaine knows something is not right, especially when Beatrice in anxious to leave. Mr. Paige tries to use the fact that Elaine is physically disabled to his advantage.

Beatrice usually is a strong woman. However, being sexually harassed while on a business trip is something that she refuses to acknowledge. She also refuses to let this ruin this for Elaine.  Both of these women are strong but however, they kept silent about what Beatrice was going through.



Ungolden Silence: A Thought Provoking Novel
Purchase Link: http://amzn.com/1425798918

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Kristin L. Mitchell

KRISTIN LYNN MITCHELL, M.Ed. was born in Washington, D.C. She was formerly educated in the District of Columbia Public School system, from grades K-12. Because of her immense desire to become an educator, aiding in positively changing the lives of students in the District of Columbia, she decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. While at Spelman, Kristin became a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc., following in her mother’s footsteps.

Kristin always excelled academically. She graduated from Spelman number ten in her class, Phi Beta Kappa, and with high honors—summa cum laude. After graduating from Spelman, Kristin was accepted into Teach For America, and began her career as a high school, special education teacher at Anacostia Senior High School in Washington, DC. During her first year of teaching, Kristin set out to pursue her Master of Education in special education from George Mason University. Kristin graduated from George Mason with a perfect 4.0 GPA and high honors. Kristin credits her success to her mother, Erica J. D. Jones, and her earnest desire to teach to Ms. Griselda Y. Rutherford, her fifth grade teacher.

Kristin currently resides in Washington, D.C., with her pet tortoise, Brylen, and is still striving to make a positive change in the lives of students who reside in the southeast quadrant of Washington, DC. 


BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 

My relationship with an ex-boyfriend was my inspiration for writing, He Wasn’t My Daddy. The demise of this relationship catapulted into a platform that is relevant to millions of women across the globe. This platform is that of being a “fatherless daughter.” This relationship allowed me to realize that I was a “fatherless daughter” and that I had, “daddy issues.” Thusly, I began to realize the importance of having that father figure in your life, and the detriment that can be caused when that presence is absent, as in my case. 

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?

Absolutely! In this book, I am speaking from a very personal place. I am telling, “Kristin’s story, based on Kristin’s perspective.” My story is all about my upbringing, being raised by a single mother, and being a, “fatherless daughter.” I speak to how not having the presence of a father figure in my life affected me, how it caused me to cling onto situations and people and look for that unique love in all the wrong places. 

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?

You know, this is a story about love, loss, abandonment, and restoration! It truly takes you through the journey of a “fatherless daughter.” It is written in a way that bonds “fatherless daughters” across the world. It connects us by teaching and allowing the reader to see that so many of us share the same and/or similar stories, as it relates to this platform. It provides real-life examples of how to reach a happier ending; and most importantly, it’s expression of vulnerability and emotional exposure makes it easy for readers to relieve some of the shame and/or guilt for the decisions that they might have made, as a result of not having that father figure. 

He Wasn’t My Daddy is honest, holds nothing back, and allows for others to witness that it is okay to expose all, in an effort to heal open wounds. Yes, it will be available on Nook and Kindle.

BPM: Give us an insight into the relationships discussed in the book. What makes each one so special? 

The two biggest relationships that I discuss in the book are the relationship with my ex, L.B. and the relationship between my father and I. Where do I begin? My relationship with L.B. was my first real, “adult” relationship. I would have moved Heaven and Earth for that man. There was something about the genuine care and concern that I believed he felt for me that drew me into him. I mean, I don’t recall ever feeling as if a man felt that type of genuine care and concern about me before. He wanted the best for me, he cared about my well being, he was interested in my finishing undergrad; he just wanted the overall best for me. No wonder I latched on! I quickly and unknowingly, placed him on a pedestal: one so tall that I left no room for him to fall – no room for error. I believe this is where I subconsciously placed him in the role of a father figure. He became my “everything!” 

After L.B. and I broke up, and I began to experience an, “emotional rollercoaster.” During the aftermath, I began to realize what I had subconsciously done; but it took me four long years! I realized that I did have, “daddy issues” and all this time, I was looking fort L.B. to fulfill that role. I mean I had never had my father around growing up. He was imprisoned when I was so young. All those years that I missed out on having my father around, affected me in a very subconscious way. All this time I thought that I was just looking for and yearning for L.B.’s love; when all the while, I was yearning for the love of my father; the type of love that L.B. would never have been able to give me, no matter how hard he tried. Needless to say, the book definitely speaks to my father and my estranged relationship and the journey that we are on to build what should have always been there. 

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 

Wow! This book delves deep. He Wasn’t My Daddy speaks to various topics, platforms. The primary one being that of, “fatherless daughters.” Additionally, I discuss mental illness, suicidal ideations, sexual promiscuity, love & relationships, and self-esteem. Writing this book was definitely therapeutic for me. It allowed me to uncover a LOT of deep-rooted baggage that I was blindly carrying around. Being able to share my story and connect with other women in the same and/or similar circumstances is a pure blessing! 

BPM:  What was your biggest challenge writing this particular book?

The biggest challenge I face while writing the book was having to relive some painful situations and recall some painful memories. It took a lot of strength to get through writing many off the chapters, as they are true reflections of my life and recant very painful experiences that I have endured. However, in an attempt to deliver something that was as authentic as possible, I had to ensure that I captured all of what I experienced and felt in my life, especially during those pivotal times. I'm hopeful that readers will appreciate this emotional sacrifice.

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers? 

I want readers to take away that if I can make it, Lord knows they can too! I mean, the struggle is definitely real, and there will be days that seem unbearable. However, I want to be the voice that says, “You can make it. Don’t give up and stay the course.” Look at the bright side, having the opportunity to reconnect to your father, or any parent is a blessing. It allows you to learn more about yourself, repair other broken relationships, set realistic expectations and ways of being for romantic relationships, and it opens up so many doors for emotional healing. 

Lastly, I want readers to realize just how much not having a relationship with a parent can affect romantic relationships. We wonder why we as women put up with so much from the men in our lives; here is a good reason why! 


 

 


Intimate Conversation with D.J. McLaurin

Chicago native, DJ McLaurin, is the author of the provocative novel, What if it Feels Good. A graduate of DePaul University and a Certified Public Accountant, DJ has worked in various fields including banking, auditing, a twenty-two year stint in radio, and, most recently, the Theatre Industry. Prior to venturing into the world of writing contemporary fiction, DJ wrote plays for local venues which are still in circulation today. She resides in South Holland, Illinois, with her husband and her two daughters, where she is working on Age of Consent, Falling Up, Metamorphosis, and Pretty Boy, all riveting follow-ups to What If It Feels Good, as well as a new venture into the genre of the supernatural titled In The Company of Ghosts.

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 
I worked for the company that produced the Today’s Black Woman Expo in Chicago, and author Naleighna Kai would appear as guest speaker annually. I would sit in the back and watch her work that room. One year, I gathered enough nerve to approach her and talk about a novel idea I had been keeping in my heart. She was so appalled that I let fear snatch my pen. She literally threatened that I’d better not attend another one of her events without that manuscript in my hand. It was completed by the next event and she guided me from there.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Absolutely! I am 4th from the bottom of 11 children. Inside that brood, I rarely got enough attention. I had my siblings to play with, but it was mostly my imagination that I turned to for comfort. To help my mother with the younger siblings and cousins, I would draw pictures and tell them stories from the pictures. When I was older and able to write coherently, I began reading to them, both from my own writings and from books. I would read anything: food labels, dictionaries, encyclopedias, weekly readers, Jet Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Readers Digest, Life Magazine…anything I’d find laying around the house. When I read a story and didn’t like the ending, I’d rewrite it.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? 
My books are mainly character driven. Characters form themselves in my head and live out many lives for many months—years even—until the events of their lives began to stitch themselves into novels worth sharing. I like stepping into the shoes of folks who are completely unlike me.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? 
In this Contemporary, Alternative Fiction, story of love, betrayal, and revenge, bonds are tested, friendships are challenged, dark secrets surface and an epic romance blossoms amidst a media circus.

Michael Bagley, street savvy and beautiful, learned the art of the con and sleeps with older women to survive. When an accidental shooting sets off a citywide manhunt and thrusts Michael into certain danger, his mother, a stripper at a local nightclub, is finally forced to confront the biological father who didn’t know Michael existed. Soon, Michael finds himself whisked off the streets of Detroit and into a world of champagne dreams with more money at his fingertips than he ever thought possible.

But Michael’s life takes a bizarre turn as he bonds with his newfound father’s best friend. Chachi is a charming, down-to-earth ladies’ man, who awakens sensations Michael can’t explain, throwing him into identity turmoil. When the dust settles, Michael learns that neither riches, fame, nor age has anything to do with love.

As Michael struggles to find his place in a new world, he hopes the streets have toughened him enough to hold on to a secret relationship that may be against the odds and out of his league, and win the fight for the love of his life. 





Intimate Conversation with Naleighna Kai

Naleighna Kai is the national bestselling author of Open Door Marriage, Every Woman Needs a Wife, co-author of Signed, Sealed, Delivered ... I'm Yours, and Baring it All: The Ins and Outs of Publishing. She started writing in December of 1999, independently publishing her first two novels before acquiring a book deal with an imprint of Simon & Schuster and most recently a book deal with an independent publishing house. She is a contributing author to a New York Times Bestseller, an award-winning author, and The E. Lynn Harris Author of Distinction.

Naleighna is the CEO of Macro Marketing & Promotions Group, the founder of Macro Literary All-Stars (M-LAS), as well as the marketing consultant to several national bestselling and aspiring writers. She is also the brainchild behind the annual Cavalcade of Authors events which takes place in her hometown of Chicago. Naleighna pens contemporary fiction, erotica, and speculative fiction and is currently working on her next novels: Rich Woman's Fetish and Slaves of Heaven.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?

The only answer to that question is the Creator has a purpose for my life. A purpose that included surviving sexual abuse by two separate male family members as well as physical abuse by my mother. All of which have been something that my female lead characters have overcome in my novels. At one point, the will to survive motivated me, then it was my only child, J. L., then it was healing from the things that happened to me, lately it has been helping others to heal and to live their dreams. Even more pointedly, it has been the members of M-LAS, an author support group that I founded in May. The women (and one male), have provided a whole new set of life lessons as well as personal growth that I would not have been able to experience elsewhere.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 
My body of work speaks to women who have been caught between a rock and hard place, or places that were just plain hard. It is my hope that something that is between the pages of my novels speaks to the heart, helps them to heal, or provides some insight into dealing with something they’re going through at the moment. Authors can be role models, and because I realize that what I put into print can impact other people’s lives, I try to write novels that speak to the human condition and tastefully tackles complex situations.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
After writing four books that focused on a trio relationship that was all about two women and one man, I thought I would flip that scenario on its head and write something where the woman was in a dilemma where there are two men she loves dearly and an opportunity where both men would have to accept her choice.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
In the beginning of the story, I was able to relive my time on the Soul Expressions Wal*Mart tour with so many wonderful authors. It was the only tour of its kind and even now I wish Pam Nelson was still with Levy and could do it all over again. And I was able to express some ideas gleaned from what I learned during that time and from the people who put that tour together. I also posed a question in the novel that I have been afraid to do so before now: where was God? Where was God when my father raped me? Where was God when my father molested me? Where was God when all these horrible things happened. The answer that came as I wrote the words was something intensely beautiful and healing. I don’t think I was ready to address that question before now, and I’m glad the book provided the opportunity.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why? 
What if’s always drive my novels. The what if’s make for an interesting experience because I don’t always anticipate the outcome. I’m taking a journey just like the reader is. My books tend to be more character driven because I’m drawing on splinters of my soul in order to lay a situation on the page and explore the outcome through my character’s eyes. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available in digital formse?
My current book, Was it Good For You Too?, is a slide into the polyamorous lifestyle that many are hearing about these days—in articles and in the news. Instead of polygamy one man with many women, this is a look at the flipside, one woman who is in love with two men, and only one of them is her husband who introduced the practice into their relationship only to have second and third thoughts when his wife’s first love enters the picture again. The novel is available in all ebook forms and in trade paperback.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
Tailan is a lot like me when it comes to strength and determination. She is also like me in the since that I never wanted a child, but I’m so happy that I have my number one son. She is also like me in the fact that she, like me, overheard my mother’s biological brother and sister, discussing an arrangement for my uncle to come to her home every week to have sex with me. Like my main character, I too, ran away from home. Unfortunately, I met with different results than my character, Tailan.
Delvin is representative of a man who makes a mistake and does everything in his power to right old wrongs. It’s also about a man who stands strong in his convictions when it comes to the woman he loves. At first, he will go along with the program, then he realizes that in order to have what he wants he will have to assert his innate beliefs—even if it pains him to do so.


 


 


Intimate Conversation with S.D. Skye

S.D. Skye is a former FBI Counterintelligence Analyst in the Russia program and supported cases during her 12-year tenure at the Bureau. She has personally witnessed the blowback the Intelligence Community suffered due to the most significant compromises in U.S. history, including the arrests of former CIA Case Officer Aldrich Ames and two of the Bureau's own—FBI Agents Earl Pitts and Robert Hansen. She has spent more than 20 years in the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Skye is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She’s addicted to writing and chocolate—not necessarily in that order—and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. Skye is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of the series.


BPM: Share with us your personal journey into publishing. Was this a fun time in your life?

My personal journey into publishing came on the heels of a major break up and right before turning the big 4-0. After a “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?” moment, I dug deep down and decided to finally explore this gift of writing that I’d had since I was 7 or 8. I never thought I could be a published author. To me, authors were like gods on Mt. Olympus that worked a special brand of magic not available to mere mortals to write my favorite books. They didn’t sit down and grind every day and type. Oh, what a rude, but happy, awakening I had when I realized how wrong I was. This is definitely something that everyone can do…but you have to work really hard to do it well, and consistently well, through every book. 

That was 5 years ago, this year (2014)…and I’m 7 books in now. Pretty incredible journey. Has it been fun? I can say without hesitation that finding my voice as a writer has not only been fun, but it’s been satisfying, enjoyable, and often cathartic. I found myself…and my true purpose through writing. How often do people get to do that? More than that, it is often the only thing that stands between me and insanity. 

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?

My life is a universal lesson in perseverance and finding success through failure. That’s it. I had a successful 22 year in the U.S. Intelligence Community as a Senior Intelligence Analyst at the FBI, on the Joint Staff, at the Director of National Intelligence, and Coast Guard Intelligence, because I learned from every mistake and used them to help me grow and get better. Learning to take criticism (e.g., getting your head ripped off) by full-bird Colonels, and 2,3,4-star Generals at the Pentagon really strengthened my backbone and resolve—it takes a lot to rattle me now. More than that, the experience made me learn how to get things right quickly. I earned respect through achieving excellence and got the opportunity to support a lot of amazing operations—military, intelligence, and law enforcement. 

What motivated me most was refusing to fail—twice. In other words, I’d spot myself the first failure, we all make mistakes. But what I couldn’t accept is knowing that I’d failed once and then do things the exact same way again. I forced myself to find ways to succeed and that worked really well throughout all of my careers, including being an author. Lord knows, I’ve made my mistakes there, but I’ve overcome them, too. 

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?

Collectively, I think my body of speaks to strong, funny, flawed girls and women who make a lot of mistakes, but fight past their setbacks and personal problems to become better people—and make others around them better, too. I’ve never thought about it before, but, actually, this is the theme that ties all of my books together, even though they are in very diverse genres. 

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

My three main characters are FBI Special Agents J.J. McCall and Tony Donato—and CIA Case Officer Grayson Six Chance.   J.J. McCall is an African American, female FBI Special Agent. She’s great at her job but is fighting some demons with an alcohol addiction and a mystery surrounding her mother’s death which has been dogging her since Book 1. What’s great about J.J. is that she’s a human lie detector – when people lie to her she feels a sensation akin to an itch, hence the word “Itch” in all of the series’ titles. 

Tony Donato is also based on an agent that I worked with briefly in New York. He was Italian and the nicest guy, but a good agent. The complexity in his character comes from his background. His father is a mob boss who was convicted and serving time. He broke away from the family and decided to become an FBI agent despite their protests…and of course that has caused major tension in the family, but it also shows how strong minded Tony is. He is J.J. McCall’s primary love interest. 

Grayson “Six” Chance is the bad boy of the story. He’s J.J.’s ex and a bit of a cowboy, which no doubt comes from the fact that he’s a CIA Case Officer who specializes in Counterintelligence. He has decided he can’t live without J.J. since their break (his fault) so he’s come back with a vengeance to reclaim her heart—of course, causing friction between J.J. and Tony whenever possible.  I LOVE these characters. Six is quickly becoming a strong favorite. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available in digital forms?
A No Good Itch (A J.J. McCall Novel) is Book 3 in my FBI Espionage Series—it will be released December 16th, just in time for Christmas. And the storyline centers around two subjects very near and dear to my heart – Mafia and Spies—Oh my! It’s kind like Covert Affairs and Scandal meet The Sopranos. 

It picks up where Book 2 left off — FBI J.J. McCall and her co-case agent, Tony Donato, are headed to the Big Apple to take down the financial network that is supporting moles inside the U.S. government. But they have an even bigger problem on their hands. A Russian Mafiya henchman, infamously known as Mashkov, avenges the death of slain a Russian sleeper agent and accidentally hits the son of an Italian crime boss—Tony’s brother. So they are not only have to take down the financial network, they are stepping into a possible war between Russian and Italian organized crime. Meanwhile, CIA Case Officer Grayson “Six” Chance is in Moscow trying to capture a runaway American who has stolen intelligence from the White House and is planning to pass it to the Russians—putting Six in a moral dilemma he may not be prepared to handle. 

Also—readers will FINALLY find out how J.J.’s mother, a former FBI Agent, died in the line of duty.  And I’ll just say that, the ending might get me killed, but it’s all for a good cause.  A No Good Itch is available right now for pre-order on Kindle. It will be available in all ebook forms in March. 



 


Intimate Conversation with Jean Love Cush

A native of Philadelphia, Jean Love Cush graduated magna cum laude from Temple University School of Communication. She later earned a law degree, and worked as a prosecutor for the Philadelphia district attorney's office. Jean also served as a family law attorney helping low-income women escape domestic-abuse situations through community outreach, advocacy, and legal representation. 

As the host of her own weekly radio show, Jean continued to pour her energy into issues that matter to her. As the on air personality of A View From the Summit, she tackled such issues as public safety, education, inner city violence and the plight of African American youth. It was while at the radio station that the idea and research for her novel Endangered came about.

Endangered was published by Amistad/HarperCollins and has received rave reviews. New York Times best selling authors Ashley and JaQuarvis call it “a gripping tale that captivates from the first page to the very last.” Publishers Weekly said the author “crafted a compassionate story that commands the reader’s attention,” while Ebony Magazine declared Endangered a “page turner.”

Jean is currently working on her third novel, The Missing, which is scheduled for release sometime in 2016.  While writing books has been a dream of Jean’s since childhood, her greatest loves are God, her two beautiful daughters Sydney and Haley and her husband Charles Cush.

BPM: What is Endangered about?

Endangered is about Janae Williams whose 15-year-old son, Malik, is accused of the latest murder in a wave of violence that has just been relentless in Philadelphia. She is desperate to prove his innocence but does not have the money it will take. In steps the internationally renowned human rights attorney Roger Whitford with an offer of a free legal defense, but there’s a catch. In exchange for his representation, Janae must allow Roger and his partner, Calvin Moore, to use her son’s case to expose what they believe is the inherent bias in the criminal justice system against all black males. They argue that black males should be protected under the law as an endangered species.

BPM: Tell us about your main characters. What makes each one special?
Endangered has a wonderful cast of characters. Janae Williams is by far the most complex character, and who grows the most in the story. From the moment she hears her son has been arrested for murder, she is absolutely convinced that he is innocent. Her greatest challenge is coming to terms with the fact that she was completely unprepared for what could have been predicted in their crime-ridden community. She’s been drifting through life—surviving but not really living. Her son’s arrest is a wake up call that could change their lives forever. 

Then there’s Roger Whitford, the successful and maybe even fanatical human rights attorney. He’s waited his whole life to bring down what he believes is a criminal justice system riddled with bias against black males. He thinks he’s found the perfect client in Janae’s son Malik. 

Finally, Calvin Moore rounds out the three main characters. He’s the self-made, high-powered attorney. He wants nothing to do with his underprivileged past until his philanthropic boss persuades him to help out on Malik’s case. Slowly he comes around, and with as much passion as his partner, he is determined to prove Malik’s innocence.



 

 


Intimate Conversation with Michelle Morgan Spady

The author, Michelle Morgan Spady, is a retired child care center owner, and teacher of English and Computer Technology. Ms. Spady loves reading and writing and tells many of her stories from her memories of days in the classroom and on the playground. She says that her writings are enriched by the illustrations provided by her artist son, whose love is in creating characters for her to develop in her stories. They work as a mother and son team.

With the formation of their company, ‘B’Artful’, dedicated to promoting emerging artists and writers and the release of their third book together, the duo are on a roll. Michelle Spady and Bradford O. Spady co-produced "An Artist and His Obsession", "7 Days 2 Tell" and the anti-bullying tale, titled: ‘ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground’. Ms. Spady lives in McLean, VA with her husband and son.

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I work with children all the time, and throughout many of my interactions with them, I am always conscious of the way they talk to each other and the way the solve their problems. I used to get very involved when my son would come home with stories of how he had been "over-powered" or "bullied" by some kid. One day this poem came to me and I wrote it down. I found some of my son's characters that he had drawn that I thought would fit the story perfectly. That's what got me started on the idea of writing and publishing a book.

BPM: What motivated you to become an indie author?
I like challenges, and I have been keeping journals for years saying that one day I was going to write a book. I still have not penned the book that I have had in my heart. for years There is a story that I want to tell. Right now, I'd like to help my son launch his career for storytelling and drawing.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?
My son, Bradford came up with the idea of his first book "An Artist...". ShoozyQ..." and "7 Days..." were my idea. We write about what we're interested in. We don't want to be "pigeon-holed" into any one category. He likes to draw characters first and then write stories around them. I help him a lot with the writing, so it is challenging for me sometimes to have to come up with a story that he has already "drawn". He is of course, visual and he can draw a whole story. I have find the narrative.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
Well ShoozyQ and the AB Crew is a book about a group of kids who play on the playground every day and there is a bully who taunts them. One day ShoozyQ decides to stand up to the bully and she gathers her friends and tells them to follow her, she has an idea of how to get the bully to change his ways and just play with them instead. Without giving away the whole book, she uses positive words.

What makes our book different is that it is "written in poem format, the book uses vibrant illustrations, and a good dose of positivity to encourage children to look at bullying from another perspective. ShoozyQ and her “crew” persuade a schoolyard bully to change his behavior without being mean and abusive themselves – something that is often overlooked in books with an anti-bullying message.

“We include activities so that educators can get the discussions going with children. It’s important to keep the ball rolling after the story is over, and really get to the root of what the kids have learned from ShoozyQ’s experiences." It is available on Kindle and IBooks.

BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Because our characters are "cartoony" their very fun. My son, allows me to name them most of the time, so by the time we have completed a story we feel as though we know each one. My favorite character in the ShoozyQ book is the little African American girl named Kiana. She's got personality and she wears red cow girl boots. I went out and bought me a pair the character motivated me so. Actually, we have plans to promote Kiana little more after we get the ShoozyQ book off the ground.

 

 

 


Conversation with Janet Autherine

Janet Autherine was born in St. Thomas, Jamaica, and immigrated to the United States when she was twelve. She grew up in Philadelphia and she went on to study at the Pennsylvania State University and Boston College Law School. After launching her legal career in Washington, D.C., she was eventually drawn back to the sunshine, and she now lives in Florida with her husband and their three sons.

Her juvenile nonfiction book, Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths to Greatness for our Sons and Daughters is inspired by her own journey from poverty to a successful legal career. She believes that every obstacle can be a stepping stone to success. The book teaches children and young adults to recognize the greatness they were born with and empowers them to nourish the virtues of love, faith, courage, leadership, happiness, gratitude and confidence within themselves. Her book conveys the following message: Every child matters. Every child is unique. Every child has been born with greatness. Her personal journey is discussed on the website:www.GrowIntoGreatness.com, in the post, MY STORY.

BAN: When and why did you begin writing?

I was a very shy child so the only way that I could express myself was with a pen. I excelled in classes that were graded based on writing skills. I had a vivid imagination and would create elaborate stories. I promised myself that one day I would write them all. Over the years, I have written many stories but Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths to Greatness for our Sons & Daughters is the one that I had to give birth to before I could publish the others. It was inspired by my experiences growing up in a small, relatively poor town in St. Thomas, Jamaica. This book is a “thank you” to God; it is an acknowledgment of how he blessed and sustained me in good and bad times, and a testimony to other children that he can do the same for them.

BAN: What was the inspiration for your book, Growing into Greatness with God? 

In the book, Growing into Greatness with God, the words of wisdom that accompany the stories are inspired by all the advice given to me by my mothers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and all the "old souls" that entered my early years. I grew up in a house where family, faith, good food and hard work were celebrated. A two bedroom house was home to three generations. It wasn't unusual for an 11 year old to walk 1/2 mile to fetch water before school, walk home, get ready for school, walk at least 1/2 mile to school, be respectful and attentive, participate in field day, take the long walk home with friends (not forgetting to stop and say hello to all the neighbors), pick fruit or dig yams for dinner, complete homework assignments, and end the day by having dinner and fellowship with family. That was my daily life growing up in Jamaica. I didn't fully appreciate it back then, but I certainly do now. I want children to have confidence in the fact that they are unique, amazing, born with greatness and can overcome any obstacle.

BAN: What is your spiritual background?
I gained my confidence in a little church in St. Thomas, Jamaica, called the Hampton Court Seventh Day Adventist church. That church was the cornerstone of the community and it was where I learned and recited bible scriptures, sung gospel songs and recited poetry. It is where I made some of my best childhood friends, picked cherries from the best cherry tree in town and listened to the sermons that inspired me to keep God the center of my life. Love the Lord God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself is my guiding principle in life. My family currently worships at a beautiful Episcopal church in Florida. 

BAN: How does your new book, Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths to Greatness for our Sons & Daughters, relate to your spiritual journey?
The book, Growing into Greatness with God, was born from those early bible study groups in church. The stories of young David (the boy who defeated the Giant), Daniel (a man who stood without fear among lions), Solomon (the wise king) and Ruth (the loyal friend), as well as many others, all resonated with me. We were too poor to afford the latest toys and there was no television in our home, so these characters became my heroes. We were poor but it didn't define our lives; we were rich in love, faith and community, and we had big dreams. 

BAN: Your book is titled, Growing into Greatness with God. How do you define greatness?
We are all unique beings, so greatness will mean something different to each person. I think greatness is finding your natural talent, fueling it with passion, planting it in well nourished soil, and toiling in the garden until it breaks through the earth and reaches for the stars. You must then use everything that you have achieved to serve others. Service is the heart of greatness; for me, there is no greatness without service.

BAN: What do you think about the culture of bullying in our schools?
It breaks my heart that fear instead of love is consuming some of our children. I say fear because most bullies are acting based on their own fears and insecurities. They seek to feel better about themselves by hurting others. When children feel whole on the inside, there is no need fill that void in their spirit by hurting others. Unfortunately, we cannot always protect our children from mean-spiritedness, but we can empower them with the knowledge that they are unique, their thoughts and feelings are important, that God is with them even when they feel alone and they can overcome any obstacle. I hope that in some small way Growing into Greatness with God can help children shine a positive light on themselves. 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Gracie Hill

GRACIE HILL is the award-winning author of five faith-based novels. She has also contributed to a book of anthology and written for several magazines. Gracie is an entrepreneur and a Spirit filled woman of God. She is a member of the Chicago Writers Association and lives with her husband and children in the Chicago, IL area. Visit her at www.graciehill.com. Follow her on Facebook and become a Facebook friend at Gracie Hill.

PATRICIA HALEY
is a trailblazer in the modern-day Christian fiction genre. She is an award winning, #1 Essence national bestselling author of twelve faith-based novels and two anthologies. She’s a senior project manager, born again believer, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Patricia lives with her loving husband and precious daughter in the Chicago, IL area. Visit her on www.patriciahaley.com. Become a Facebook friend at Patricia Haley-Glass or join her fan page at Author Patricia Haley.

BPM: Gracie, how did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
My mother was a tremendous influence in my life. She was strong, independent, intelligent and a successful entrepreneur. She taught me to work hard and encouraged me to live my dreams.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?
It speaks to those who need to be encouraged that their challenges in life are temporal. It speaks to those who need direction and a source of strength that is available and reliable.

BPM: Do you consider authors as role models?
I consider them as a source of encouragement and as a catalyst that drives me to stretch out, challenge myself and go to the next level. I am an avid reader. There are so many awesome entertaining authors. I read to relax and allow my mind to experience a journey that someone else has paved for my enjoyment. I like the feel of a book in my hand. Reading other author’s work gives me confidence that the heights in excellence other word smiths have achieved is just as possible for me.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
The book was co-authored with National Bestselling author, Patricia Haley. She envisioned a series comprised of modern stories, loosely based on the attributes of the Apostle Paul and struggles he encountered with churches in the New Testament. She asked me if I would be interested in writing the series with her. Of course, I happily said, “Yes.”

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Developing the characters, especially the protagonist, Maxwell Montgomery. I enjoyed the challenge of sculpting his personality, strengths and weaknesses and folding those into his relentless mission to pursue corrupt church leaders while realizing his own flaws as the story unfolded.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Relentless is the first book in the Redeemed Series. Maxwell Montgomery is the protagonist. Relentless depicts him amassing a long list of legal victories in the war he’s waged against corruption and religious hypocrisy, single-handedly bringing down one of the most popular churches in Philadelphia. He’s estranged from his family and unable to have a successful relationship. Maxwell cannot focus on anything but his mission. He has a single vision and he doesn’t need God or trust God. I think this makes him a relatable character for many people who struggle with past hurts and disbelief or uncertainty of who God is and his power. He struggles with forgiveness and allowing those who have hurt him a second chance. His personal conflicts make him real and believable. The same personal conflicts make him many of us if we take a good look at ourselves.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?
The book takes you on a journey and so does life. I was raised in the church and have been Spirit filled for over twenty years. My Christian walk has been one paved with struggles, successes, disappointments and joyous celebrations. I have grown in my knowledge of the Word of God and my Christian character has matured and helped to shape the woman of God that I am today. I thank God for placing me in the right church where the Bible is experienced. Promise of Life Ministries in Rockford IL has been a blessing in my life for many years. If we allow God to lead us, we will always end up in the right place.


 

 



Intimate Conversation with Charmaine Galloway

Charmaine Galloway was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. Writing has been her passion and a positive emotional outlet since middle school. As a teen, writing in her journal allowed her to escape the negativity of her world. Around that time she also began writing her first Christian fiction novel. She finds joy in creating unique and awe-inspiring storylines for the characters in her stories. Ingenuity and imagination is a mainstay and compass in her work.

Titles by Charmaine includes: My World, Through My Eyes, a poetry book. Girlfriends Secrets, The Secrets They Kept, Tyree’s Love Triangle and Golden are Amazon Bestselling novels. Heaven’s Cry, a short story. Girl Talk and Find The Princess Within are two inspirational books for teen girls. I love Myself As I Am and Mommy’s Little Superhero, are two children’s book.

Ms. Galloway has a Bachelor of Arts in Family Life Education and an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. Becoming a fierce advocate and supporter of troubled young women has been a goal of hers since overcoming struggles of her own as a young woman. “I believe turning a blind eye or deaf ear to our struggling youth only promotes destruction and demise. They are human. They have a voice. You’ll be surprised by what you can learn from them if you just listen.”

Being the wearer of many proverbial ‘hats’, Charmaine is the founder of Charming Gal Publications. She is the CEO and jewelry designer at Forever Divas Fashionable Jewelry, her online jewelry boutique and owner of Amazing Grace Childcare. However, the most important ‘hat’ she wears is that of Mom to her two children. Following her dreams as a writer and entrepreneur will leave a beautiful legacy for them by encouraging them to work hard to achieve their dreams because their Mom didn't quit reaching for hers.

“As a new author I think it is very important that my readers get to know me. I'm a writer with Christian values and I hope to inspire people with the stories that I pen. My characters are everyday people going through struggles and obstacles because life is not perfect.  With every story I create, there is a testimony that my characters will share about life and how they were transformed to become better people. Every story does not have a “happily ever after” ending and neither does real life.”
Charmaine is currently working on new projects so keep a look out for her upcoming releases. Please visit www.charmainegalloway.com to check out her blogs and new blurbs.


BPM: Share with us your personal journey into publishing. Was this a fun time in your life?

I began writing in my journal as a teen and then my journal entries lead to me writing poetry about personal events and issues in my life. I started writing my fist manuscript while I was attending college. But being a single parent and trying to finish my education, I had no time to complete it so I shoved the manuscript under my bed and that is where it stayed for over ten years. In 2012 my cousin introduced me to a guy she went to school with who was an author and a designer. We talked and he told me what I needed to know to self-publish my book. In 2013 I self-published my debut novel, Girlfriends Secrets. That was a very fun, proud 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?

I have ten books, that are now available in paperback and most of them are in eBook format. I got where I am today by the grace of God and by doing my research, working really hard to get the word out about my books and a lot of sleepless nights. I love reading and learning new thinks about marketing, promotions and perfecting my craft. My two children are my motivators. I want them to know that they can do anything they set their minds to do. I also want to leave a legacy for them after I am gone.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?

My body of literary work speaks to the whole family (adults, teens and children) Yes I do consider some authors as role models they have paved the way and now it’s my time to shine and write the best stories that I can write.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 

My recent work is titled Tyree’s Love Triangle which is the third and last book in The Secrets Trilogy. Tyree struggled to keep his family together after his wife found out about the secret he had been holding on to. This book is available in paperback and eBook format.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 

Tyree is the son of one of the women from the first two books in the trilogy. He has been through a lot and seen a lot in his life. Now that Tyree is grown, he is suffering from some of the demons in his past. He will have to come to his senses and let God into his word so he can save his family before he loses them. 

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

Tyree has an addiction that most people do not want to talk about. I wanted to write about it to inform people that the addiction is present in a lot of people’s lives. I write to shed light on things that are relevant in the world today. The issues that most people want to stay quiet and not speak about.


 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Christine Y. Robinson 


Christine Young-Robinson was raised in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, but she now resides in her place of birth, Columbia, South Carolina. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother. 

No stranger to the literary world, Christine has spent the last few years working with her children’s books, Isra the Butterfly Gets Caught for Show and Tell, Chicken Wing, and the young adult ebook Hip-Hop and Punk Rock. Her short story, "Miss Amy’s Last Ride," was featured in the anthology Proverbs for the People. 

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?

Ans. We Didn’t See It Coming is a compelling story about three sisters who come from a family of wealth—and whose lives are shattered by tragedy, scandal, secrets, and betrayal. It's contemporary fiction. The book is available in digital form for readers that love to read on their Nook or Kindle.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? Why?

Ans. 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. 

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 

Ans. The Houston sisters come from wealth and have been cared for and protected by their parents. Kenley, the youngest sister is outspoken, where as Noelle, the middle sister is modest. The oldest sister, Milandra, is the arrogant one. No matter what, each sister loves and values their family.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?

Ans. Family issues, sisterhood, abuse and relationships. I have learned to be aware of people who attempt to prey on others who are going through a family crisis. 

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? 

Ans: Success to me is that this miracle-writer finally gets to do what she loves and share it with others. If it’s God will, I pray to have more published work. 


 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Victoria Elaine Jones

Victoria Elaine Jones is a writer, lawyer, and mother living in Dallas, Texas. Her poetry has been published in several magazines and anthologies. Reason is her debut novel.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I am the product of so many people’s love and assistance, it’s not even funny. I’ve had teachers and community members and agencies and friends who took a personal interest in my life from day one. I actually acknowledge two of them in this novel, Ms. Lenigan, whose first name I never knew, and Ms. Logan, with whom I still have a close relationship. Ms. Lenigan was the student teacher in my 3rd grade class, but she was the first person ever to encourage me to write. That was important because at the time she knew me, my home life was really tumultuous and there wasn’t a lot of support. My regular teacher only saw me as this student who missed a bunch of school and never turned in assignments, but it was wonderful to have this teacher take a personal interest in me. I never saw her again, wouldn’t know how to track her down if I wanted to, but I said that to remind everyone of the impact a teacher can have on a child, and of the need to sometimes see what’s below the surface. Some children seem like problem kids but they really just need a little extra love. And then Ms. Logan was the first person to introduce me to feminism, although we talk sometimes about how my feminism has evolved and distinguished itself from her, but she wonderfully was willing to bring her own passions to a class of 6th grade kids.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I have been in love with Toni Morrison since I was maybe 12 years old. I think I read Song of Solomon first, and I just fell in love. I enjoy how she’s able to contain multiple stories in one, while still creating a consistent narrative. She makes each character distinguishable and interesting, without detracting from the main character. When I was in middle school, about the time I discovered feminism, I started reading everything I could find by her, Richard Wright, Anais Nin was my secret pleasure, sooooo many romance novels, Gabrielle Garcia Marquez, Charles Beautillaire, who was it who wrote A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, there were such wonderful stories in books! My mom had no clue that I was living in this very adult world, and she could never punish me because you can’t really take away books from kids.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
My writing is character-driven. And I have no idea where the ideas come from, they always feel to me as if they just are. Like, they exist independent of me, these are real stories, real people. I’m just transcribing their lives.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this? 
These characters had been living in my head for so long. I was glad to get them on paper and leave a little space for some other people to take root and grow.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character-driven? Why?
Reason is a revenge novel, really. It’s all about justice, about community justice and how sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes we judge people based on what we know and we’re not wrong, exactly, we’re just ignorant. In Reason, the town acts on their limited knowledge and their actions harm a little girl. The girl acts on her limited knowledge and harms someone else. Everyone in the town has little bits and pieces of knowledge, and they’re all trying to do what they believe is right, but they’re all also acting in a way that harms others, too. So I guess it’s also about how we treat one another, and how we protect ourselves.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
Each of the characters in Reason has an entire backstory that is the foundation of why they do what they do. Some of them, I tell you their backstory. But many of them, you just have to wonder. Maybe in the next book… But what I hope is that my readers, they might not like a person, they might not agree with what they do, but I hope they will understand things from that character’s perspective and consider whether they might not do the same, given the same information.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideasfeatured in your book? If so, discuss them.
Of course there are! Reason has everything that is me, so while there are some issues of race and gender, there are also themes of sexual orientation, religion, and inter-generational considerations.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?
So my writing is where I really get to be me, and where I get to bring all the conflicting parts of me together. I define myself as a fiscally-conservative, religiously-conservative radical leftist liberal Black feminist. So as you might imagine, different parts of me are constantly at war with others. My writing gives me the opportunity to explore all of those different facets without judgment, to let them confront each other. Sometimes I learn things about myself in my writing. So when I finished Reason, for example, I started thinking maybe I have some issues with religion that I need to resolve, because I tend in this book to portay a stark contrast between religion and “true religion.” Of all the characters in the book, there is one woman, Lady, that I think has the truest sense of religion and yet she’s living in a house with several men with whom she has ongoing sexual relations!


Purchase Reason by Victoria Elaine Jones
Link: http://amzn.com/0985166436 

 

 



Intimate Conversation with Aletta Hodges

Author Aletta Hodges is poet and writer born and raised in Mid-Michigan. Her debut novel, Dangerously In Love was published in August 2014 on Cinematic Ink, a subsidiary of SBR Publications, owned and operated by best selling author David Weaver. Aletta currently lives in Lansing Michigan where she is a Dental Assistant and Tax Preparer. She began writing poetry at the age of twelve and has always been an avid reader. Her poems have long been sought out by fans and friends alike for years. Her book, Dangerously In Love is a trilogy series that chronicles a love tale filled with danger, passion and one woman’s dream of escape.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you? 

My father is a big part of who I am today. He always encouraged me, telling me I was chosen and special. He always taught me to stay positive and keep going no matter what was going on around me.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? 

I think my book is speaking to women going through domestic violence relationships, as well as teen mothers and women in general. My hope is that this book will inspire women to overcome these challenges. I do believe that as authors, we have a responsibility to encourage and lead by some sort of precedent through our literary gift.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book?

I've always wanted to write a book since I was a little girl. I write poems mostly; they were my first love. I did a lot of work on myself spiritually and as I explored myself and the pain of an abusive relationship in my life those emotions fell out of me and into the pages of this book.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 

I enjoyed knowing that I finished a major milestone in my own healing by writing this book. That feeling was similar to the joy I felt after giving birth to my first daughter. Knowing that I had the support and trust from a publisher was also significant for me.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven?
 
My books are character driven focusing on a main character named Reminisce, where she walks you through her life dealing with real life issues of being poor raising children everyday struggles women go through.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 

Reminisce would blame the streets for the way her life turned out. She grew up poor, insecure and wanting the finer things in life. That’s where Jimmy came in at. He was a hustler and soon able to give Reminisce all the things in life she dreamed of. The problem was, Jimmy not only took care of her, and he also indulged in the finer things of life too. He was an obsessive cheater and a womanizer. 

Their relationship was entering the fifth year and things had gotten worse. But Reminisce loved Jimmy and was willing to put up with his mess as long as the money kept coming. But things changed when some men broke in the house to rob Jimmy and nearly killed them both during the robbery. Reminisce wanted out. She retreated to writing poetry, something she used to do as a little girl. She soon found strength in her heart to want out.  Jimmy got arrested and she found her first real chance of leaving Jimmy. But would she make it on her own without the drug money Jimmy provided? Reminisce blames the streets but the streets doesn’t owe anyone any loyalty. Dangerously In Love is a modern love tale filled with danger, passion, and one woman’s dream of escape.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 

My main character Reminisce is a survivor who’s dealing with anxiety issues stemming from when she was a child in a drug raid. She grew up in an urban area. Jimmie also grew up urban. He mentally and physically abuses Reminisce. He has issues of his own which I am going to tackle in my second book. “Dangerously in Love” is a trilogy.


Dangerously In Love: Blame it On the Streets by Aletta H.


Reminisce would blame the streets for the way her life turned out. She grew up poor, insecure and wanting the finer things in life. That’s where Jimmy came in at. He was a hustler and soon able to give Reminisce all the things in life she dreamed of. The problem was, Jimmy not only took care of her, and he also indulged in the finer things of life too. He was an obsessive cheater and a womanizer. 

Their relationship was entering the fifth year and things had gotten worse. But Reminisce loved Jimmy and was willing to put up with his bullshit as long as the money kept coming. But things changed when some men broke in the house to rob Jimmy and nearly killed them both during the robbery. Reminisce wanted out. She retreated to writing poetry, something she used to do as a little girl. She soon found strength in her heart to want out. 

Jimmy got arrested and she found her first real chance of leaving Jimmy. But would she make it on her own without the drug money Jimmy provided? Reminisce blames the streets but the streets doesn’t owe anyone any loyalty. Dangerously In Love is a modern love tale filled with danger, passion, and one woman’s dream of escape.

Purchase Your Copy of Dangerously in Love

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NF9HBEG     

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Martha Kennerson

Martha Kennerson has enjoyed a successful career in executive management for over twenty years; half of which have been in marketing and outreach. Her love of reading and writing is a significant part of who she is and she uses both to create the kinds of stories that relay a message of healing and forgiveness. In addition to Consequences, Martha has written a gripping novel about survival titled Choices and has contributed to two additional books; Baring it All: The Ins and Outs of Publishing and Signed, Sealed, Delivered…I’m Yours, a romance anthology penned with the members of M-LAS. Her first romance novel for the Harlequin Kimani line is scheduled for release in the summer of 2015.

Martha lives with her family in League City, Texas. She believes her current blessings are only matched by the struggle it took to achieve such happiness. To find out more about Martha and her journey check out her website at www.marthakennerson.com. 

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you? 

I worked hard to get healthy and gain the courage to write something personal in such a way that people will enjoy as well as learn a few lessons.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 

I like writing works with a message that can touch people, specifically women, on a number of levels. Authors should be praised and admired for their work but not for the way they live their lives.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 

Why now? My eldest daughter helped me see that this was a survivor’s story that needed to be told and now I’m healthy enough to tell it.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available in digital forms? 
Consequences is a story about a young woman named Kristine whose set to have everything she’s ever wanted until an ill-fated encounter changes everything. While waking up naked in bed with a couple she barely knew wasn’t Kristine’s choice, how she deals with the consequences of that night creates a series of shocking choices that have a domino effect of turmoil to those close to her. Consequences is available both digitally and paperback form.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 

My main character Kristine survived a horrific night of violence and while it wasn’t easy, she managed to heal, forgive and ultimately love again. 

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideasfeatured in your book? If so, discuss them. 

Surviving a sexual assault by both a man and a woman is hard enough. Choosing to keep the child that was the result of such an act of violence is life altering and for some devastating. For me, it was life saving.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book? 
Consequences is based on my personal journey so sharing it in this manner helped to further my healing process.  Sharing my story through my book is just one more reminder that I made it through to the other side.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 

I hope my book helps other women that may have had similar experiences see that you can get through it and from the feedback that I’ve received, I’ve done just that.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present? 

I’m currently working on a romance series for the Harlequin Kimani line and the first book in that series will be released in August of 2015.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 

Readers can find out more about me and my work either on my website at: www.marthakennerson.com or through social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Purchase Consequences by Martha Kennerson

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Terrance Tykeem

Terrance Tykeem was born in Atlanta,Georgia, spending equal time between Atlanta and Philadelphia before becoming an NFL walk-on. Due to early injury his NFL career was short lived and Terrance deftly transitioned into the entertainment industry. Terrance has signed with two different record labels and developed a TV show called the Players Club. [ A show whose name he eventually sold to Rapper and Director “ICE CUBE”.]

In recent years Terrance's focus has shifted to social reform which resulted in the 2013 release of "Guilty by Reason of Arrest” and his third book “Touched” in 2014.  His second and third books, deal with mass incarceration and child molestation, respectively. Growing up between relatives and the Foster care system Terrance provides first hand insight into the issues plaguing our communities.

As a writer, speaker, and activist, Terrance is not afraid to challenge the system and does not shy away from asking or answering difficult questions. Terrance has founded the We Stand Up Coalition a non-profit that tours nationally providing education and awareness on such issues.


Author/Singer Terrance Tykeem releases Touched a short film music video to address the issue of Child Sexual Abuse. While in the Foster Care System a young Terrance Tykeem witnessed first hand the sexual abuse of countless boys and girls and barely escaped being a victim himself. These images have haunted him for years.  This short film music video has some of today's well known actors, reality stars and personalities such as Eva Marcille, Chaz Shepherd, Ramona Rizzo, Mama Jones and many others. The music video can be found at:  http://vimeo.com/99473045



BOOKS WE'RE DISCUSSING

1. Guilty By Reason Of Arrest by Terrance Tykeem
2. Touched: When Innocence is Stolen the Pain Lasts Forever by Terrance Tykeem

Books can be purchased on Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Terrance-Tykeem/e/B00J1I7X20


BPM:  Tell us about your journey and the beginning of your career.  How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you? 

I was motivated to become an activist and advocate after my own experiences with the legal system. I also learned from my various life experiences that it was more worthwhile and important to me to help others than to use my money for selfish motives.

BPM:  Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
The Guilty by Reason of Arrest book speaks to an audience that wants to better understand how the legal system is biased and places minorities and those in low socioeconomic status at a greater risk of being incarcerated than their affluent white counterparts. It also deals with the injustice that privatized prisons causes our society as a whole.
Touched speaks to adults survivors of child sexual abuse, young adult victims, and their family members that may want to better understand what it is like to be victimized.

I think some authors are role models but I don't think it applies to every author. As an artist whether I am writing a song, producing a movie or writing a book my intention is to find a way to move the intended audience. If an author can create a piece of work that pushes the audience to think differently, to challenge the status quo, or even to inspire than I think they are a role model.

BPM:  What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book, Touched? Why now?
I was inspired to write Touched because when I was working on the song alot of individuals chose to disclose their stories of abuse to me. I just wanted to share a few of the stories as told to me.

BPM:  What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The song birthed the book Touched, the book in turn birthed my non-profit foundation, and the non-profit is currently working to birth an entire national movement. To see an idea that existed only in ether come to life and have a following of people behind it is pretty great. To talk with the people that are moved by the song and what we are doing makes you feel like you are building a legacy. I want to have bodies of work that really change peoples lives. I think this is what is beginning to take hold now.

BPM:  Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? 

I have lots of ideas, they are mostly plot-driven. The news, current events, the political climate, the financial climate, it all impacts me as an artist. Sometimes it moves me to write music, sometimes I write books, other times I am working on screen plays.

BPM:  Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Are your books available in digital forms?
My most recent work is a documentary also titled "Touched" that was an idea I got when I received feedback from the music video. Yes, my books are available on Kindle.

BPM:  Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers from both books. What makes each one so special? 
Guilty by Reason of Arrest references actual legal issues that affected either myself or those I knew. Touched has two stories, each told by the victim in their words. Each book is educational and can also be viewed as self help.

BPM:  Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured if your books? 

If so, discuss them. Guilty by Reason of Arrest speaks to minorities, less educated and low socioeconomic status individuals. Touched raises awareness of the pandemic of child sexual abuse. Approximately every 2 minutes a child is sexually abused.

BPM:  How does your books relate to your present career path, spiritual practice or journey?

My books are a reflection of what issues are really weighing on me. These are topics that have resonated within me because of personal experiences coupled with the reality of how often these crimes are occurring in our communities.

BPM:   Did you learn anything personal from writing your books? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching the books?
I have met really genuine people that are really invested in changing their communities. Conversely, I have met alot of people that verbally supported the causes but when our organization reached out to them to help with community events or cameos in the documentary it was apparent that in spite of the cause or even that they themselves were victims, some activists and celebrities were more concerned about how much we were willing to pay them for their time. I was really disappointed in that aspect.

As for the people that I met while writing my books, or the people whose stories I used, they were amazing individuals that I think were courageous. It takes alot to share your darkest secrets. It is hard for most people to trust another [person] to share such horrific details with but because they were victims and by the very nature of the crimes committed against them, these individuals already have a history of broken trust. The fact that these individuals (and others as we are touring) share their stories with me is definitely courageous.

BPM:   What were your goals and intentions for crafting the two books, and how well do you feel you achieved them?  
I feel like each book accomplishes what I intended. I just wanted to be able to educate others on the given topics. I can't speak for other authors but I know I can re-read my books a thousand times before they go to publishing and be happy with them but as soon as I get them back bound and beautiful I think of different ways I could have expanded certain parts of the books. I find my works are like living objects because they are created in a form I create and then as they get viewed and taken in by others and I get feedback, I feel like they take on a form of their own. I also think of how I could have done the subject matter more justice. I'm very Type A though so I don't know if I will every be completely content with any one body of work I've created. I'm always looking for how to out do myself on the next project.

BPM:   What projects are you working on at the present?

My current project is to complete the documentary, Touched. I also have a few television shows I also would like to do a national tour in some format.. like visiting alternative schools inspiring adolescents, speaking in juvenile detention centers and prisons. The staff of my non profit are also working on a national tour in collaboration with treatment facilities for sexual abuse. We would like to have individuals create glass tiles from all 50 states to create a national mosaic tile memorial piece dedicated to victims and families of child sexual abuse. We have a wonderful artist Susan Jablon and her daughter Emily that have graciously agreed to create the piece with us. 

BPM:   How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Follow me on social media.. like my non-profit on Facebook, We Stand Up Coalition, attend one of my events. Book me for speaking engagements. We Stand Up Coalition Website: www.we-stand-up.org
Terrance Tykeem | Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/terrance.tykeem


Guilty By Reason Of Arrest by Terrance Tykeem

There have been countless books, movies, TV Shows and documentaries describing the criminal justice system and the people who control it. What they all have failed to do is make clear the true motives of those behind what can actually be described as the “In-Justice system”.

The police, politicians, court and prison officials have waged war on the poor and minority citizens of this country for financial and political reasons among others, while successfully turning millions of our nations less fortunate into commodities and stock options in the process.

Each of these five step chapters will do what others have refused to, by describing in great detail who, where, when and why the self-proclaimed land of the free has become the world leader in incarcerating and disenfranchising it’s poor.

Guilty By Reason of Arrest, will not only shed light on what has become a human rights atrocity, but also provide a blueprint to assist scores of others from getting caught up in an ever expanding web.


Touched: When Innocence is Stolen the Pain Lasts Forever  

There will be 500,000 babies born this year in the United States alone that will be sexually molested before the age of 18 (http://cachouston.org/child-sexual-abuse-facts). This means there are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S.( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006). Children of every gender, age, race, ethnicity, background, socioeconomic status and family structure are at risk.

It isn’t strangers our children have to fear…

Most child sexual abusers are respected members of the community drawn to settings where they gain easy access to children like schools, clubs and churches. Even worse to comprehend is when the abuser is a parent, foster parent, or relative.

The two individuals that allowed me to share their heartbreaking stories of molestation are part of a fraternity of millions whose lives have been forever changed by individuals that were entrusted to be their protectors but instead would become their tormentors.

“What I do know is that sexual abuse is completely preventable. We, as parents, educators, siblings, and caretakers should bear the responsibility to take all measures to keep our children safe. When we allow our children to have their innocence stolen it saddles the victims with feelings of shame, self hatred and pain. The long term consequences can be devastating” – T. Tykeem



Books can be purchased on Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Terrance-Tykeem/e/B00J1I7X20

 

 

 


The Last Seer 
by Cerece Rennie Murphy

The Seers face the ultimate challenge in The Last Seer, the third and final book in the Order of the Seers trilogy.

When the fall of one nemesis unleashes an even greater danger into the world, Lilli, Joel and the Lost Seers must stand against a new enemy with the means and the will to destroy all of mankind, starting with those they hold most dear. 

As the Seers mobilize to confront this new evil, the Guild tries desperately to uphold the crumbling world order on which it depends. When their attempts to manage the crisis fail, the members of the Guild are forced to place themselves at the mercy of an unlikely ally.

But the Guild isn’t the only one interested in maintaining control.


An agreement made in secret threatens to destroy any hope of a peaceful alliance before it can be made and as the betrayals unfold, no one is safe against a power that will stop at nothing to get what it wants. To defeat this threat and ensure the survival of the human race, the Seers must push the boundaries of their abilities beyond any limits they have known and risk crossing the line between life and death. 

How far would you go to protect what matters most?



Praise for The Last Seer

"Once enemies the Seers and Guild now have to come together to end a new reign of terror... I can’t say too much as I was already kindly scolded on Twitter for my excitement of the book..., so what I will say is the book series closes with much praise, “That each of us is infinite and capable of wonders.”  --- Reviewed by Black Girl Nerd



Excerpt from THE LAST SEER

Prologue


The Cover of Darkness

Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan



The high-pitched wail of the creatures was deafening as their black wings beat against the red sky. From the caves scraped out of the mountainside, the valley looked desolate, a place of ruin. Beasts ruled the heavens as the damned lay broken below.

And in between, Ghazal, and what was left of her village, huddled, trapped between two hells.

Whether anyone else in the world was aware of what was happening to them, Ghazal had no way of knowing. With the preparations for her dowry, her family didn't have the money to replace their old TV when it died and the radio they had was gone-smashed to pieces in the rush to escape the creatures that now held them confined in their cave.

Barely half an hour before, while the watchmen were catching their first glimpse of something on the horizon, Ghazal's neighbors had only just entered her home, carrying news of strange sightings from around the world-Geneva, London, Paris-places she had read about, but was sure she would never see.

Though at first their forms were little more than blotches against the setting sun, the screeching sounds that echoed before them erased any question in the watchmen's minds about the nature of what approached. Whatever it was meant them harm. They sounded the alarm. Her betrothed, her father, and all the other men of the valley ran forth to set a perimeter and face the threat head on.

The clerics, the women, and the children were left behind to run and endure as best they could. It was just as in her vision.

At the time, Ghazal had called after the men wildly, telling them it was useless, but no one listened. She had to be dragged away in her grief as she saw her vision unfold-bodies thrown, fires burning, and the sound of bones crushed under the weight of merciless feet.

Clarity came at the mouth of the precipice. She looked back at those who had carried and comforted her up the mountain one last time before stepping out onto the cliff's edge. The blue draping of her burka billowed and soared in the hot air as she leapt off into the unsuspecting clutches of a beast that had no hope of surviving what she could do.

Chapter 1: Set in Motion

They drove back to Geneva in silence, each consumed by the dread of what was to come. Occasionally, you could hear the soft vibration of Joel's thumb tapping his phone screen as he made arrangements for a plane to take them back to London, but
otherwise, no one made a sound. Though unspoken, each of them understood that they were listening for the screeching sounds that had been echoing in their ears ever since they left Crane's castle.

"I'm sorry," Lilli finally said to no one in particular as she stared out of the backseat window. Joel tried to bring her closer into his one-armed embrace, but she resisted,
feeling unworthy of the comfort.

"You did everything you could, Lilli. Everything," Joel whispered.

"Yeah. Maybe I did too much. Look at what's happened. There are more, you know, so many more. 'Legions', he said, and I can feel them. I know Maura can too, like a darkness spreading."

"This wasn't your fault," Joel tried again, but his words made no difference.

"He was their leader. He kept them...contained," Lilli continued. "But now...I've unleashed them. They follow no one."

"How do you know this?" Joel asked. He had no choice but to focus on her words. Her mind was moving too fast for him to comprehend.

Lilli turned from the window to face him. For an instant, she wondered why he didn't know the answer, just as she did. But then she felt it, the incongruence in their thoughts.

For the first time since they'd met, she realized that her consciousness had become somehow separate from his, and the new distance hurt her deeply.

"Because I know." Lilli answered with tears burning in her eyes.

As Joel watched them run silently down her cheeks, he understood what she was trying to tell him. From the place she now inhabited, she could sense them clearly. She could see and understand more than she ever had before.

It won't be long, he thought. I will join you whenever we decide.

Lilli nodded her head slightly after shooting a quick glance at Liam in the driver's seat.

Closing her eyes, Lilli willed her thoughts to slow until she could feel her connection with Joel restored.

Yes, she answered in relief, after we tell him. We'll wait until then.

Having resolved at least one of the many problems that plagued her mind, Lilli finally allowed herself the comfort of Joel's embrace. She'd just begun to release the tension in her body when Liam spoke up.

From the driver's seat, Liam had been listening in on their conversation, hoping to glean something that would explain what they'd witnessed. But just as she and Joel had finally gotten to the heart of his questions, they fell silent. As the quiet stretched on, Liam risked an impatient glance in the rear view mirror to find them engrossed in silent conversation.

"Ah, you guys mind sharing with the rest of the class?" Liam asked. "Who or what was that back there? I'd like to know what we're dealing with."

"The demon you saw was Crane," Lilli explained. "I killed him, but in doing that I think I've unleashed something worse. Something that was at least partially under control before, but now...now, they are more dangerous."

"The creatures..." Liam said.

"Yes, they were with Crane. But those were just a few. There are more-many more-that have been unleashed because of me."

Liam squinted at his sister in the rearview mirror. "Why do you keep saying that-'because of me'? Even you have blind spots, Lilli. How could you have known? You were fighting for your life." When she didn't immediately disregard what he'd said, Liam seized the chance to ask one of the questions he really wanted to know.

"And how did you kill him, by the way? You didn't even lift a finger. You just...spoke to him. I've never seen you do that before. When did you learn that?"

As Liam was talking, Alessandra turned in her seat to look back at Lilli. She had seen the difference in Lilli as soon as they broke down the castle door. In the heat of the moment, Alessandra hadn't given it any thought, but looking at her now, even the feeling of Lilli's presence in the Collective was different. Brighter, but somehow more dispersed.

Don't say anything! Please! Not yet.

Alessandra heard Lilli's pleading words in her mind clearer than she ever had before. Not spoken through the Collective, but directly into her thoughts.

Why? She asked silently.

Because I am becoming something different...

Alessandra eyed Lilli and Joel suspiciously, but said nothing as she processed the warning in Lilli's words-the clear notion that "different" was not a good thing in this case. Liam, she realized. This is about protecting Liam.

Yes, Lilli answered while keeping her outward attention on her brother.

Alessandra hesitated for only a moment before turning back around in her seat. Whatever Lilli had to say would hurt Liam and as far as Alessandra was concerned, there was no need to do that now.

Before her silent exchange with Alessandra was over, Lilli answered her brother aloud, as if theirs was the only conversation taking place.

"No, I didn't know this would happen, but I should have tried to see it. I was just so focused on him not hurting me or you guys that I just wanted him gone."

Liam was quiet again, considering the few facts he knew with the guilt he could still hear in Lilli's voice.

"Listen, you did what you had to back there. Demons, flying creatures, whatever-this whole thing is crazy. Crazy. I don't think any of us could have imagined how deep this thing really is. We still don't even know exactly what we're into now, so let's just try to make it home, regroup with the others, and figure this out. We're going to figure this out, Lilli. Don't worry."

As Liam watched her from the rearview, Lilli made sure she gave him the small smile he was looking for even though she wasn't at all sure that what he said was true.

Satisfied that Lilli seemed a little more settled, Liam shifting his attention to the shaken man directly behind him.

"What about you, Christof?" Liam asked. "Should we drop you somewhere or are you coming with us?"

Christof turned his weary gaze away from the blurred landscape outside his window to meet Liam's eyes in the mirror.

"Where else am I going to go?"


( Continued... )


© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Cerece Rennie Murphy. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.


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The Journey Begins with Order of the Seers - Book I in the Order of the Seers Trilogy

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The Journey Continues with The Red Order (Book II in the Order of the Seers Trilogy)

Link: http://amzn.com/0985621028  

The Journey Ends with The Last Seer (Book III in the Order of the Seers Trilogy)

Link:  http://www.amazon.com/Order-Seers-Last-Seer-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00MQZRXL6 


 

 


He Wasn't My Daddy
My Road to Restoration and Redemption 
by Kristin L. Mitchell 


He Wasn’t My Daddy is a memoir that speaks to several different platforms, which I have personally experienced, throughout my life. Fatherlessness, promiscuity, mental illness (depression) and suicide are all issues that have plagued my life in very negative ways. After several stints in psychiatric wards, I came to the realization that I was tired of being alive and not living. I decided to begin the journey of taking my life back and really doing the work to uncover the hidden truths behind why I was so broken. I realized that not having the love of my father, led me to suffer through a long road of depression, try and commit suicide twice and I coped with it all through sex.

I wrote this book for two reasons - the first, for cathartic purposes and the second, to help others who have struggled through the same or similar issues. I have become keenly aware of so many hidden truths, of my own, and have been able to help to heal those wounds. I wish to share the knowledge that I have learned, the healthy coping skills that I have developed, and the skill-sets that I have developed, in order to help women to gain the knowledge and do the work, required to heal themselves.

Although the title of the book is, He Wasn’t My Daddy, I want people to understand that this book is not just for people who did not have a father in the home. Do understand that being fatherless doesn’t mean that your father is not in the home. You can be fatherless with a father who comes home, daily. Your father can be emotionally and mentally absent. More than that, he can be physically absent, while he is in the household, because he can be non-participatory.

Aside from fatherlessness, this book discusses depression, in detail. It also discusses suicide, which is a symptom of depression, and promiscuity, as well. I want people to understand that just because you come from a dual parent household, with a favorable socio-economic status, and a favorable educational background, does not mean you are exempt from the issues that are discussed in this book.

I want to touch the lives of many, and spark a dialogue about these issues so that optimal healing can take place.



Excerpt: He Wasn't My Daddy: My Road to Restoration and Redemption 


Chapter 17


My Ah-Ha Moment


“I learned that I had depended on the approval of other people to validate my self-esteem and worth.”


It is necessary to sit in your discomfort in order to break unhealthy attachments. Whenever I feel weak, I pray, I journal, I read previous journal entries, and I remind myself of things I have discovered and why I am doing this. Sometimes, we have to make difficult decisions in order to save ourselves.

While revisiting pages of my journal, I came across an entry that I wrote to myself. This journal entry was an ah-ha moment for me. This was a time in my life when I decided to live for me and me alone.


Dear Lonely Kristin:

I notice you tend to surface when nobody is around. When you are not in a relationship and when you are not around friends and family. You always need someone around, or to know they are coming back and distinctly yours in order for this emotion to be suppressed. This is evident that you have not built a satisfying relationship with yourself. You believe you are not good enough for certain people because you have yet to learn how to be good enough for yourself. This revelation makes you want to begin the process of building that satisfying, enjoyable relationship with yourself. But how? Perhaps spending time alone and doing fun things alone. This way, you may discover more of your positive attributes. Once you discover them and believe them, you will rely less on others being around you to make you feel comfortable and secure. Being alone or without a relationship should not make you feel lonely. I wish you did not have to be with someone romantically in order to not feel lonely. This notion evokes another emotion—sadness. Being lonely makes you feel sad because it’s an empty feeling. Your goal is to strive to be satisfied with self, as not to need anyone around for companionship (a man) to feel complete, secure, and not lonely. Love, date, and truly take care of yourself as you would expect a man to.

Signed, Lonely Kristin 

I learned that I had depended on the approval of other people to validate my self-esteem and worth. How people reacted to me and what they thought of me was what I was excessively dependent upon because I validated myself through other people’s eyes. Growing up, I never received validation from my father. Yet, from Lenny, I received validation at every turn. I also learned a lot about being a fatherless daughter. While living in Fatherless Land wasn’t a big Disneyland, it taught me a few things about myself and why I gravitated toward Lenny. Without realizing it, Lenny took over the role of being my father. He did everything a father does for his daughter. He protected me. He made me feel loved. He motivated and inspired me toward my goals. He nurtured me and taught me about relationships. 

While our relationship was muddy at the end, in the beginning, we were like a hand and glove. He took care of me. Everything I missed from my father, I gained from Lenny. He cherished me and he put me first. Something I never got from my father. My relationship with my father is slowly building, but the choices he made in life to keep his family in a certain lifestyle jeopardized my life. It made me fatherless. My father’s absence in my life caused a natural reaction, which was to constantly blame myself and become fixated on my shortcomings. I suffered from low self-esteem, which then affected other aspects of my life. This negative sense of self resulted in depression that still comes and goes. I was a fatherless daughter who sought a father’s love through a man who took on the responsibility of being my father.

That was yesterday. Today, I can honestly say I am whole because I have two fathers—Ray and Dad—and I know what a father’s love genuinely feels like.


Chapter 18

Restoration and Recovery—It Comes Full Circle



“Time will reveal.”


Restoration brought everything full circle. I thank God for the order He restored in my life, the relationships He mended and the positive way He allowed me to move

forward, leaving so much pain behind, putting peace in my heart and opening doors and opportunities for me to share my story. I chose the subtitle: My Road to Restoration to show how my life has come full circle, and relationships mended because of this journey. All of this aided in a new and better me. I am not perfect, but I am on my way to being a more complete and fulfilled me.

My road traveled has not been easy. However, I was willing to put in the work and the results are so with it. I committed myself to restoring Kristin. I put my mental health and me first.

I have a team of people that help keep me together—two therapists and a psychiatrist. Some people in the African- American community shy away from therapy. For some reason, there is a stigma associated with therapy. Why is that? Just as it is important for us to be physically and spiritually healthy, it is also important to be mentally healthy. There is nothing wrong with therapy. It allows you to heal from past wounds, making sense of things that you may be unclear about, learning more about yourself, finding a direction for your life that will positively propel you forward, and so much more. We must invest in our mental health....


( Continued... )


© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Kristin L. Mitchell. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 


About the Author

Kristin L. Mitchell, M.Ed. is a native Washingtonian. She graduated from Spelman College and George Mason University, with high honors and degrees in education and special education. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and enjoys a career as a special education teacher with the District of Columbia Public School system. 


He Wasn't My Daddy: My Road to Restoration and Redemption by Kristin L. Mitchell 


Kindle Edition- http://www.amazon.com/He-Wasnt-Daddy-Restoration-Redemption-ebook/dp/B00NF5JRJW

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Relentless by Patricia Haley and Gracie Hill

Scarred by a childhood betrayal, Attorney Maxwell Montgomery vowed never to let his fate be dictated by anyone – not his parents, or God, and definitely not the church. He doesn’t need anyone including the woman who’s put her life on hold for him. He’ll be successful, powerful and rich enough to avoid ending up like his father. Maxwell’s on top of the world and isn’t ready for what’s heading his way.

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.


Excerpt from Relentless



Adrenaline surged. Maxwell couldn’t think of a greater satisfaction than hearing the jury foreman echo those melodious words, “We find in favor of the plaintiff.” The sum of the judgment didn’t quench his legal thirst, although four million dollars wasn’t bad for a day in court. Best news was that there were plenty more to come. So long as there were churches on earth, the exhilaration surfing through his body was a sensation he could ride indefinitely.

Maxwell saw the wave of reporters waiting on the courthouse steps. He jiggled the knot on his tie and straightened his Armani suit coat. “Are you ready to face the crowd,” Maxwell asked his client.

She grabbed his arm, shaking. “Do we have to go out there? Now that we’ve won, I just want to get out of here.”

Absolutely not is what he should have told her, but there was no need for further convincing. He’d proven that his plan worked best. She was walking out with a civil case victory against the almighty Reverend Morgan, the so-called anointed leader of one of the largest ministries in the tri-state area. Whatever he was supposed to be, reverend, doctor, Bishop, the well-deserved label of being a bona fide predator could also be added to his bio. No way was Maxwell going to pass up a prime opportunity to shout their victory over the airwaves. He’d send a message to the rest of the perpetrators that there would be no rest as long as Attorney Maxwell Montgomery was alive and breathing. Churches were on notice and they’d better take him serious.

He expeditiously ushered his client towards the door. She gave some resistance which didn’t deter his movement. Six months ago she was deemed a fired disgruntle employee who was pressing false charges against one of the most prestigious ministers in Philadelphia . He kept pulling her towards the door, with the media closing in. Thanks to him, her indiscretions had been legitimized. It was no longer her fault, and on top of it, she was going to get four million, less his forty percent cut. So, as far as he was concerned, she didn’t get a say in how the rest of the day was going to play out of course. He forcefully pushed open the door leading from the courthouse and braced against the gust of wind.

The clicking sound of cameras, microphones shoved near his face, onlookers lining the steps, and incoherent chants equaled mayhem for most. But the controlled chaos was a work of beauty to Maxwell. His client was squeezing his arm so tightly that he had to peel a few of her fingers back to loosen the grip.

“Do you feel vindicated?” one reporter blurted out. 

As his client stammered, Maxwell jumped in. Microphones honed in. “Justice was rendered today. The past six months have been a pure nightmare for my client. Her reputation has been maligned. She’s been hounded by church members simply because she was willing to come forward and expose the truth. She should be praised for her courage, not hounded, and today is the first step towards her getting back to a normal life.”

“Were you really expecting to win such a substantial settlement from a church?”

“It’s the only fair outcome, doesn’t matter if it’s the church or the Vatican , wrong is wrong, and we have the court of law to right those wrongs,” Maxwell echoed, fueled with satisfaction.


 

 


North of the Grove 
by William Ashanti Hobbs

Consider North of the Grove only if you seek to be enraged, charmed and uplifted all at once. Experience a story told through email, texts, instant messaging – as if you had hacked into a man’s computer – to find his hopes, dreams and fears over becoming the man his family and community must depend on.

North of the Grove revolves around Howard Capelton, a successful insurance agent. Howard yearns to make amends for a troubled past and prepare for impending fatherhood by mentoring David, an angry 9-year-old boy from a nearby housing project. Tensions in both Howard and David’s homes, as well as the gang culture in the streets, lead them to make decisions neither is prepared for. As a result, Howard finally comes to a bittersweet realization on what it means to be a man as he and David's lives are forever changed.


EXCERPT: North of the Grove


I sat with David at the dinner table. Sharia began cooking and her boyfriend Roman, appearing to be in even more of a foul mood, went out on the front steps with a cell phone, slamming the door behind him. David appeared tense. I asked how everything was going with school and the after-school program. He said it was alright, stating that he “gets real close” to adults before he says all that “army slave mess” (ma’am, sir) I taught him to say. David spoke up and said he would never say that to Roman… Sharia went out of kitchen. David admitted that the “after-school people” were now listening to his “words” more, but he felt that they were only doing it because I would call up there and start asking questions instead of Sharia who would just… He lowered his voice and motioned a slap alongside his head. 

David said he noticed Sharia says “army slave” words to important people. I asked him to hand me a napkin that was within his reach. I added please and a thank you, sir, to show him that he was important, too. David told me not to call him sir yet because he “was still just a boy” and that he “has to grow and do stuff that makes people want to say that to him.” 

I asked how David and his friend Effrom were getting along. He said Effrom doesn’t like Roman either and cannot read very well. David said Effrom likes to talk in class when David is asked to read out loud by the teacher. He said Effrom is a little nicer and keeps asking him how he knows so many words. I said a lot of kids who are smart usually get teased that they are “acting white” when they do well in school, especially boys. David asked why kids make fun of smart kids. I said most kids are jealous that smart kids know and discuss things they can’t figure out. I also shared that many kids think that smart kids are trying too hard to make certain adults, whites especially, like them by simply doing what they are supposed to do in class in the first place. I assured David that he would start hearing kids get teased like this soon enough. I stressed that this is why people tend to judge people based on the friends they choose. I stated that people are usually friends with each other because they think and act a lot alike. 

I presented David with paper and color pencils. I instructed David to draw his very own super-hero. He laughed nervously and stated he could “draw good, but not enough for a hero.” I assured him that he could. After several attempts, he came up with an amazing picture of Metal Man, a man that resembles a wrestler and an armored knight. Metal Man appears to wear Sunblocker-looking shades like “old people with bad eyes but these play ITunes and shoot lasers.” Metal Man has long metal claws on each hand because he and X-men hero Wolverine “have the same daddy.” He stated that Metal Man wears so much metal so he can’t be shot or stopped and that no one can ever hurt him again. I asked how Metal Man was hurt the first time. He said Metal Man will never tell. I asked why not. David asked if I told him everything that hurt me before. Checkmate. 

Sharia came into the kitchen and began frying fish. I asked what would be Metal Man’s weakness. David thought long and hard. He eventually stated that he saw an old bike near his bus stop and that the chain on it was brown and crusty. He said he put his foot on the chain and it popped easily. I informed him that the chain was rusty, which was caused by rain or water. He stated that water would be Metal Man’s weakness; if he cried or sweated because something was hard to do, his armor and weapons would rust and he’d be helpless. He eyed Sharia cooking and then looked over to me warily. 

David asked what I had done as a kid that would make my father not like me much anymore. I remembered having said something along those lines during the previous session. I shifted in the rickety chair and said I had done stupid things as a kid and would talk about it at some other time. I hugged David. I had to. I was passed the satisfaction of him needing me, of not always seeing me as the man with no street sense, the kid, in the relationship. Now, it was different, as if he’d respect me now no matter what he would ever learn about me. The way I dream of it being with you, Tiffany, with dad and mom. It must have been the same for David, too because he did not push my embrace away, yet did not hug back. I thanked him for such an awesome super-hero and asked if I could keep it. David gave it to me, said I was “like Metal Man a little bit,” and continued to watch Sharia.

( Continued... )


© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, William Ashanti Hobbs. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 

Purchase North of the Grove by William Hobbs
http://amzn.com/1496171306  



 

 

 


An Elderberry Fall 
by Ruth P. Watson
 

This sequel to the historical bestseller Blackberry Days of Summer reunites the people of Jefferson County, Virginia, with yet another murder and the resurrection of an evil thought to be dead and gone.

As she adjusts to a new beginning in Richmond, Virginia, Carrie Parker finds herself juggling motherhood, work, school, and increasing strains on her new marriage to Simon. Carrie and Simon are happy parents, but sometimes Carrie feels there’s something dark and evil about her little baby’s eyes, and it scares her. She vows he will not be anything like his real father—a beady-eyed womanizer now long gone.

But the past has a strange way of creeping back into the present…


Just as the dust is settling on the murder of Carrie’s stepfather, Herman Camm, everybody in Richmond is shocked to find out his memory is not yet gone. Did he really die? And what part did Carrie play? Soon she is forced to answer questions and return to a past ridden with abuse, corruption, scandal, and deceit. Will she be able to move on with her life, or will the past follow Carrie and her family wherever they go?

An Elderberry Fall - Chapter 1

On February 4th, 1921, I gulped a breath of fresh air before I took the last step down the train steps onto solid ground. The brisk wind caressed my skin, and alerted me to a new reality. “So this is Richmond, Virginia,” I said to myself, gazing around at the cobblestone sidewalks and cars. My six-month-old son, Robert, had his head resting on my shoulder as I struggled with my overloaded suitcase, straining every muscle in my body, but I could not have cared less. Who would have believed a young girl like me would be here—in the big city, with streetcars and tall buildings and with colored people strutting around in fine, fashionable outfits, like the kind white folk wore in Jefferson County on special occasions? The coloreds appeared proud, like they owned the town. It felt good, and I fought to slow my heart down from the rush of anxiety. It was certainly different here. Most of the folks I knew probably thought I would live forever in Jefferson County amongst the sour memories and shame from the child I bore out of wedlock. But I was not so ready to stay there. When Simon asked me to come to Richmond, Virginia, my real transformation began.

• • •

My child, Robert, is beautiful. He is almost flawless. Each day I study the ridges around his little fingers, waiting to see if his tan color and fine features and that innocent, charismatic smile will remain. He favors me for the most part. However, there are times when his eyes seem dark and mysterious, and it sends chills throughout my body.

Robert, Simon and I live in a small apartment on the west side of Richmond—Jackson Heights, they call it. It’s the colored section of town. It is a fine neighborhood, with shrubbery and flowers planted tastefully in front of well kept tenement houses and single-family row homes. Our place is a small, brick, two-story house with a cast-iron fence around it. Alongside the yard is an elderberry bush, which reminds me of the sweet jam Momma made in the fall. Most of the neighborhood residents are colored and oblivious to the surrounding communities. Everything seems to be within walking distance—the grocer, tailor, the cobbler, and the feed and seed store. The corner store has everything we need. Farmers are unloading crates of vegetables every day, and hanging inside are hams, and there is a meat counter where slices of select meat can be packaged. It is well stocked, and I am overwhelmed that I no longer have to work in a field with the hot sun beaming down on me. Simon has a rooster and two hens in the backyard, mainly for eggs. But, I can imagine them on the table stuffed with cornbread dressing.

We share our backyard with a couple downstairs. They are on the front porch every day sitting in a porch swing with wide smiles swept across their faces as if the stresses of life had floated past them even though they are different from others in the neighborhood. Most people stare transfixed by their difference. The lady is white, very pale, and the man is colored. Most feel their living together is a disgrace to everyone around them. It is alright with me because they seem happy. And from where I come from, happiness is the center of life and satisfaction. 




 


Untraditional Love In The Dark 
by Victoria Warren Jackson

Samantha learns a valuable lesson about self-love after Isaiah, her future husband, jogs into her life one windy morning. On the rebound, Samantha marries Isaiah to later discover he has a violent temper. He is physically abusive, lazy, and has a naughty secret. Samantha is about to face the fight of her life when she discovers Isaiah is bisexual. As her life unravels, Samantha faces death and must triumph over adversity to rebuild her life. The conclusion is a definite surprise.


Reviewed by Michelle Robertson for Readers' Favorite


In Untraditional Love In The Dark by Victoria Warren Jackson, Samantha is a successful college graduate with a busy and prospering boutique that she owns, but her personal life has many faults. Sam has been through many unsuccessful relationships in her 30 years of life. One after another seemed to have their own way of causing her grief, embarrassment, and complete sadness. Sam has dealt with a disease-inflicting boyfriend, a 'married with kids' boyfriend, and then the winner of them all, a bisexual husband. Sam needs to learn how to love herself and not just love and want to love men. 

Author Victoria Warren Jackson entertains readers with her realistic, suspenseful and dramatic romance novel. The story plot created within this novel is one most readers can relate highly to, knowing someone in the same position or being in the same position themselves. For a woman though, Sam's experiences with men could possibly be the worst nightmarish thing to happen in a relationship. Victoria writes with such emotion and description that readers can feel themselves being mesmerized by the sequence of events told. The book is a nonstop read and a page-turner. 

Untraditional Love In The Dark is a great novel, especially for women. The author provides highly relatable characters and scenes within each chapter. It is like reading a friend's diary. The book has some R-rated content and language within, and therefore is more suited to mature readers.


Book Excerpt: Chapter 1 - Untraditional Love In The Dark


It was December 19, and there I was strolling down the beach. I don’t truly know what had possessed me that morning. I had been awake, crying practically all night long. My heart was heavy and overflowing. I wanted to leave my body, to escape it all. I had only gotten about two hours of sleep. Those two hours were not a peaceful sleep. I had a nightmare. I dreamed I was driving across a bridge in New Orleans. The bridge suddenly collapsed. Within seconds, my car was covered with water. I tried to continue driving. The car would not move. The engine made a clicking sound. I saw other cars floating on by. I saw what appeared to be seaweed or some type of plant. I could not get my car door to open. I used the heel of my shoe to kick the window’s glass. It did not break. My eyes opened wide as I struggled. It was to late for me to escape.

I awoke from the dream gasping for air, almost as if I had swallowed some seawater. The water engulfing me was a sign of how I felt about my life. I was in too deep. My body was totally drained after the dream. I guess I was physically struggling while I was asleep. I could not get myself to relax. I was so angry and bitter. My emotions were out of control. It felt worse than being trapped in a tornado. I was stuck in a miserable life based on the lies fed to me by a man.

I was tired of wasting time pretending I was going to get some sleep. I wanted to sleep, to dream, to be held, but I was far from getting any of the three. I decided to go out on the beach, just to think for a while. I thought being near the water would work magic on my situation.

If it didn’t, I could always have jumped in and got my clothes wet. That was a stupid thought. Not to mention, sharks are known to swim close to the shore before dawn. Sharks are more prone to attack if a swimmer is alone as opposed to being in a group. A kid was attacked by a shark three weeks beforehand. The shark devoured the child’s arm in one bite. Beach-goers were being more cautious. Besides, I had enough problems already to add pneumonia and a shark bite to the list.

The water is extremely fierce on the beach early in the morning. It was around six-thirty a.m. The wind was kind of chilly but not too cold. The sky was a medium shade of gray with bits of white peeking through the center. I could smell salt water and fish. Around Christmas time in Miami, it always gets windy. The change in weather signals Christmas has arrived.

Usually when a person is depressed, the first thing to go is their appearance. Depression has a way of making a person forget about materialistic things. I was bundled up in a cream colored sweater, an old sweatshirt, and a pair of jogging pants. I didn’t want to get cold when the waves blew in towards the shore. I was having a bad hair day. I used my fingers to comb my hair towards the back.

Living in Miami kind of spoiled me as far as the weather is concerned. I was accepting of the brief visits of wind during the holiday season mainly because Miami is mostly sunny year round.

On my feet, I wore a pair of Nike Tennis and regular cotton socks. It would not have been a wise idea to wear open-toed shoes especially if I didn’t want to get sand on my feet. And God knows. I did not want any jellyfish finding a resting place on my feet. Those little things have a sting strong enough to send you to the hospital. Better yet, the poison from their sting can swell your feet bigger than a grapefruit. I once had a jellyfish to land on my feet while I was walking near the shore. I did not realize it was there until a sharp pain shot up my leg. I started running and screaming, “A shark got me. Run everybody, run.” I worked myself up so bad. I nearly fainted. I got weak in the knees, and I collapsed on the beach.

The lifeguard pushed his way through the crowd of people who had circled around me. I assumed he looked at my legs and did not see any torn skin or ligaments, so he knew it was not a shark attack. He laughed as he rubbed my right leg. “You are not dead. I think a jelly fish bit you,” he told me.

Yes, I was embarrassed. There I was lying on the beach. Thank God I had a sense of humor. I lowered my head and smiled. Through all of the commotion, I noticed the lifeguard’s muscular build. If the circumstances were different, I probably would have flirted with him.

The beach-goers were irritated when he said jellyfish. They grunted and walked away. I heard a teenage boy tell his friend, “She got everybody all worried. She knew she was lying. She thought they were going to put her on the six o’clock news or something.”

Fresh mouth kid. He was lucky I was not his relative. I had the mind to take my shoe off and give him a good whipping. I was not worried about getting on the news. I honestly thought I had been attacked by a shark. How was I supposed to know it was only a jellyfish?

( Continued... )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Victoria Warren Jackson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Book Trailer: Untraditional Love In The Dark Youtube 
Watch now - http://youtu.be/73AtQi77w74 




Untraditional Love In The Dark 
Available from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com 


 


Explore the World of FBI Special Agent J.J. McCall 


In the Game of Espionage, Spy Takes Traitor.   J.J. McCall takes Over. 



The Seven Year Itch - Book 1 by S.D. Skye 


FBI Special Agent J.J. McCall and her co-case agent, Tony Donato, are drawn into an unsanctioned mole hunt when a Russian intelligence officer, working for the FBI, is murdered and they suspect a traitor burrowed deep inside the U.S. Intelligence Community is responsible. 

"The Seven Year Itch" is a mystery thriller from S. D. Skye ... hard to put down for lovers of spy fiction, highly recommended. -- Carl Logan, Midwest Book Review (April 2013) 

"Thick with layers, THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH is filled with strife, deceit, lust, pain, mystery, and humor." 
--OOSA Online Book Club 



Son of a Itch - Book 2 by S.D. Skye 


The award-winning follow up to The Seven Year Itch which takes J.J. and her counterintelligence task force on the hunt for Russian moles who breached the nerve center of U.S. national security. 

2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award for Multicultural Fiction 
" If you like a brilliantly executed, thrilling, and addictive suspense novel, Son of a Itch is for you. S. D. Skye can flat write her butt off, I was sold, and tagged. This is a great series and J.J. is Jack Ryan with a [lady part]." ~ Sebella Blue 


A No Good Itch - Book 3 by S.D. Skye 

J.J. and Tony's next mole hunt takes them to the Big Apple where the worlds of Counterintelligence and Organized Crime collide. The investigation to dismantle the financial hub of a Russian sleeper cell is sidetracked when an act of vengeance for Lana Michaels' murder targets the wrong man and threatens to spark a war between Russian and Italian mafia factions.


Excerpt from A No Good Itch - Book 3 by S.D. Skye
(Coming December 16, 2014) 


This is the opening scene of the new J.J. McCall novel--still in progress but will be ready for delivery on December 16th as promised.   The series of events that follow may or may not be inspired by an actual meeting that I can neither confirm nor deny ever happened...


Prologue


“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” ~ Sun Tzu


In the convoluted world of intelligence and spies, nothing made more friends of enemies than fear, failure, and the fear of failure. This fact was no doubt why the FBI representatives had been summoned to the Russian Embassy in Washington.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs reeled after a reported "heated discussion" with the U.S. Secretary of State, who promised harsh and swift diplomatic sanctions following the arrest of Secret Service agent Maddix Cooper for spying on behalf of a the Russian Foreign Intelligence--the SVR. Coupled with the identification and death of Svetlana Mikhaylova, a Russian sleeper operative caught operating deep inside the FBI, the arrest of FBI Agent Chris Johnson for serving as Svetlana's cutout, filling andretrieving all of her dead-drops to keep her identity concealed, and international heat for military incursions into the Ukraine, the tense political situation had outraged their now tight-lipped government contacts in Washington and New York and dried up critical sources of American intel, threatening to paralyze the SVR's intelligence mission across the United States unless they quelled the fury. Thus, the come-to-Jesus meeting called by the SVR Resident was inevitable and necessary.

FBI Special Agent J.J. McCall marveled at the embassy's ornate grand lobby. The rich white and dark European marbles accented by cardinal red carpet runners, a stately winding staircase crowned in gold, and paintings of lush landscapes brightening the halls and sitting areas, was among the most beautiful embassies she'd visited. The sight was impressive if also a stark reminder of the country's willingness to spare no expense when it came to putting up deceiving fronts and paying American traitors.

"We'll need a dump truck for the bullshit about to be heaped on us today," J.J. whispered to her co-case agent, Tony Donato. As the lead case agent behind the ruckus, she'd been ordered to listen and not respond.

"Shhh," Tony whispered in reply. "The walls have ears."

Resident Andrei Komarov, the Russian equivalent to the CIA Station in Moscow, led J.J., Tony, and the Assistant Director of Counterintelligence John Nixon through the hallowed embassy halls until they reached a well-appointed conference room. It contained a stately mahogany-paneled walks, large open armchairs, and an oversized table large enough to seat Komarov's ego and attitude, both massive in her past experience.

The group, all dressed in their services' uniforms--pin-sharp woolen suits in late fall hues concealed under beige all-weather overcoats--was met by the only other declared SVR officer in the Russian Embassy, Security Officer Aleksey Dmitriyev.

Jolted by his appearance, J.J. avoided his gaze, kept their handshake and greeting brief. The last time they met, he was not working for her. Now, he was--and the only other person in the group aware of his status was Tony. Butterflies rolled in her stomach as everyone took their seats and the meeting began. She forced a poker expression and prepared herself for the barrage of lies.

Komarov settled in at the head of the table and prepared to talk, his face reddened and contorted as if every word he was about to speak, no doubt carefully selected by the Foreign Minister, would sear his throat and exit his lips like sharpened razors carving him from the inside.

"We've all met before and are quite familiar with one another," Komarov began, shooting a slicing glare through J.J. Her aggressive targeting of SVR officers for recruitment was legendary...or infamous, depending on which side of the table you were sitting. She sat in awe of him, the Russian James Bond in looks and dress, who was void of any semblance of his accent. "So, I'll feel free to dispense with the introductions and pleasantries since we all understand why we are here today."

J.J., Tony, and Nixon exchanged strained glances before she took a deep breath to brace herself as Komarov progressed through the four steps of surviving a massive operational failure.

Step 1: Admit nothing.

"There has been a spate of unfortunate and seemingly unfounded reports regarding the activities of our foreign intelligence service inside the United States," he said.

Her birthright, her gift, the ability to detect lies, sent the sensation of an army of crawling ants through her fingertips and up the length of both arms. She clenched her teeth and prepared for Step 2: Deny Everything.

"We have no information to substantiate the many reports circulating in the media nor can we speak the involvement of any of our staff. However, I can assure you that if any such activity had occurred it was orchestrated by rogue officers conducting unsanctioned operations. If ever discovered, they will be dealt with accordingly. Which brings me to my next point..."

As the lies continued, the annoying sensations intensified. The itch stretched through her back and up into her neck. She shifted in her seat and tensed her body to suppress it.

A moment of relief would come with Step 3: Demand Proof.

"If your Secretary of State persists in her current path and continues to threaten sanctions against our diplomatic corps, we must require access to the evidence used to justify these unfounded accusations against our government or we will be forced to reciprocate and target the U.S. embassy in Moscow."

They always demanded proof because they knew the FBI couldn't provide the most critical elements, at least not so early in the investigations. Such provisions risked revealing FBI sources and methods, potentially compromising the Russian Embassy recruitment sitting across the table from J.J., as well as the FBI's knowledge of the existence of the listening device found in the White House Situation Room, and announce the President had postponed for reasons unbeknownst to her.

Nixon cleared his throat. "It's forthcoming," are the only two words he offered, which was two too many in J.J.'s book. He said, "Continue with your little speech, please," in his typical condescending, patronizing way.

From the pinched expression on Komarov's face, he took the comment in the spirit in which it was intended, just as J.J. would've, which certainly contributed to Step 4: Make counter-accusations.

"And if your government should bring forth any evidence against the Service, we may be required to present our own proof that these arrests are merely a provocation to discredit Russia and increase hostilities within the international community given U.S. opposition to our security operations in the Ukraine."

Bullshit. But J.J. gave credit where it was due--the guy was good.

"We're not here to debate the validity of your political and military agenda," Nixon replied. "The FBI's primary concern is securing the homeland from terrorists and spies. So, if we could cut to the chase, why have you requested our presence here today?"

J.J.'s eyebrow arched. She'd never known Nixon to be a man with backbone. He usually preyed on the weak rather stand up to the strong.

"Ahh, yes," Komarov said, relaxing his tone and his posture, resting his back against the chair. "We brought you here to extend an olive branch, if you will. I've been asked to assure you that the Service is not controlling any operations targeting citizens inside the United States. I've been informed that negotiations regarding the specifics the new plans are underway within our executive channels that will demonstrate this new era of cooperation. We would like to collaborate on issues, such as terrorism, which would be of great benefit to both our countries."

By now the itching sensation had permeated J.J.'s entire being. If the body had over a billion nerves, every one of hers had been stimulated in the worst way. She clenched her legs together and strained not to dissolve from her chair into the floor in a scratching frenzy.

But the truth had been revealed. They wanted to purchase conciliation with terrorism intelligence. J.J. felt relieved. With FBI Director Russell Freeman at the helm, U.S. national security could never be bought for so cheap a price. 

( Continued... )

Intrigued yet? Make sure you catch up with Books 1 & 2 if you haven't done so. Book 3--A No Good Itch will not disappoint!
    © 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, S.D. Skye. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 



SpyCatcher Ebook Box Set by S.D. Skye

Skye's SpyCatcher Book Set, filled with mystery, espionage, romance, and suspense, will keep you burning through the pages until J.J. catches the very last mole.  Now available in one box set, the first 3 books in the planned 5-book FBI Espionage Series featuring the lie-detecting FBI Special Agent J.J. McCall who, along with her co-case agent Tony Donato, is embroiled in a the post-Cold War mole hunt for Russian spies. In the Game of Espionage, Spy Takes Traitor. J.J. McCall takes Over.

Download the Spycatcher – J.J.McCall Books (3 EBOOK Set) 

http://www.amazon.com/Spy-Catcher-McCall-Novels-Espionage-ebook/dp/B00NUHIIG8 


Purchase Printed and Digital Books by S.D. Skye 


The Seven Year Itch (Book 1)
www.amazon.com/Seven-Year-Itch-McCall-Novel/dp/0983920230 

Son of a Itch (Book 2)
www.amazon.com/Son-Itch-J-J-McCall-Novel/dp/0983920257  

A No Good Itch (Book 3)
www.amazon.com/Good-Itch-McCall-Novel-Espionage-ebook/dp/B00NMFWP30  



About S.D. Skye 
S.D. Skye
is a former FBI Counterintelligence Analyst in the Russia program and supported cases during her 12-year tenure at the Bureau. She has personally witnessed the blowback the Intelligence Community suffered due to the most significant compromises in U.S. history, including the arrests of former CIA Case Officer Aldrich Ames and two of the Bureau's own—FBI Agents Earl Pitts and Robert Hansen. She has spent more than 20 years in the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Skye is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She’s addicted to writing and chocolate—not necessarily in that order—and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. Skye is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of the series.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SDSkye1  
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorsdskye  
Author Center: http://www.amazon.com/S.D.Skye/e/B00AMAUFK8  
And don't forget to subscribe to: http://authorsdskye.com for automatic updates. 

 

 


Eye of the Beholder
by Elissa Gabrielle

The true measure of our existence begins with the way we view the world...

Jerusalem "Jay" Jones, Iraq war veteran is a hero to most as he's bravely put his life on the line to serve his country. His second tour of duty has ended and Jay lies in a veterans hospital bed recovering from injuries he sustained while at war. His present circumstances should be a cake-walk for Jerusalem considering the tragedies he experienced as a child. Love, laughter and life have always seemed to elude Jerusalem, unfortunately, from his early days as a child growing up abused and terrorized on the tough streets of Newark. Vulnerable and reclusive, Jerusalem must now face the world in which he escaped, seeking a more fulfilled life, albeit, with dark secrets that burden his psyche as well as his physicality.

Jill Lopes, a hospital social worker who recently made a career change, longs to heal the broken. But, before she can heal the sick, she must first break through inner battles of unhappiness and resistance. When fate boldly enter Jerusalem's and Jill's life, they realize that the challenges we meet in life hold the power to open us to higher consciousness. Will Life become both meaningful and joyful when Jerusalem and Jill know the greater truth of who they are?

Does beauty really lie in the eye of the beholder? Experience the power of love on this redemptive journey where the purpose of the problems in one's life, will be empowered to uncover the gifts they bring.


PRAISE FOR EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
USA TODAY recommends EYE OF THE BEHOLDER! Read full recommendation:  http://alturl.com/i2y4d

"The beauty of Gabrielle's voice is the deep emotional cadence as we enter each character's point of view. In those special worlds, she writes with the talent to keep you immersed so that you can understand and empathize with their motivations and the conflicts that may overwhelm. Skillful and full of artistry, Gabrielle shares a powerful romance worthy of its resolution."
~ Michelle Monkou for USA TODAY

"If the moon and the stars align Elissa Gabrielle will be a literary rock star. Eye of the Beholder marks in stunning fashion the return to readers the craft of writing that book lovers eyes should be awarded. A heartrending endorsement of losing trust, crossing lines and seeking forgiveness, Eye of the Beholder is a story of emotional deprivation beyond one's control, and searching for inner soul sustenance. Elissa Gabrielle has penned word by word and line by line from the beginning to the end poetic justice poetically in this novel. Eye of the Beholder is comparable in scope, texture, and depictions with the classics because of the strong wit and passionate intelligence."
~Alvin L. A. Horn?, author of Perfect Circle

"Elissa Gabrielle's Eye of the Beholder takes you to another place and time. Vulnerability and hope are the backdrop of this riveting novel. Gabrielle's words are like cool water for a thirsty soul, each one dripping with lyricism and purpose. Eye of the Beholder will cause you to experience firsthand the transformative power of love."
~J'son M. Lee, Author/Editor


Excerpt: Eye of the Beholder

"My music is the spiritual expression of what I am - my faith, my knowledge, my being. When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups ... I want to speak to their souls." ~John Coltrane



Chapter 1

Jerusalem  Introspection


I wake to the sound of my own voice howling a blood-curdling scream into the cold, brisk air which fills my bedroom. The sound, even though it comes from my own body, startles me; causing me to sit up straight to regain my mentality and composure. I'm scared beyond belief; to the point of feeling my own body shake and tremble in fear beneath me. "It's a night terror, not current reality," I tell myself, but my mind could care less about the distinction as it relives the pain.

The chill in the air is offset by the warm beads of sweat dripping from the terror-filled adrenaline pumping through my body, drenching me from head to toe while warming me and causing my temperature to rise. My heart races and I inhale deeply, trying to catch breath that escapes me. The source of my screams, sweat, and tears is the same recurring invader plaguing my mind, from time to time, over the years without rhyme or reason. It is a mental sensation I have not been able to shake since the day I saw her in the hospital more than two decades ago. A mind-altering intruder of mine is more vivid and real than any nightmare a person could ever have, simply because it is my reality instead of being a product of an over-active imagination. Even in the realm of dreams, reality trumps fantasy. It is my mind's way of reliving the beginning source of my pain and my soul's way of reminding me never to forget.

The Evian water bottle on the nightstand next to me finds its way cleverly and productively into my hands, as it routinely does when my mind starts playing tricks on me during the night. I gulp down its purifying contents without missing a beat. Yet, no matter how hard I try to soothe the savage beast of my past, the water cannot drown the images that linger in my head no matter how fast or how hard I choose to swallow. Even as I quench the fire of my exhausting night thirst, I can't extinguish the fire ignited by my dreams-the contents of which refuses ignoring.

I still see her. I smell the scent of her Chanel No. 5, as if she is standing right next to me and I remember that day, as if it were today. I'm lost in that moment in time. My night terror ensures that I will never forget that day or her for that matter; despite how many minutes, hours, days, years or decades that pass. That day will always be today and she will always invade my dreams.

When the beginning of my end began, I was ten years old. That is the moment in time that changed my life-the point of definition known to me as the history of my life.

A ten-year-old does not possess the wherewithal to appreciate the blessings that make up life. A ten-year-old lives in the here and now; unaware of the need to smell the flowers of life along the way, or of how good life really is. If I had have known then, what I know now, maybe my life wouldn't be attacked routinely by night terrors clubbing me over the head while begging me to be thankful for what I currently have. Maybe, if I had have been a little more grateful, she would still be here. My dreams impose that mentality on me. They make me pose that inquiry to myself each time I awake in cold, night sweats remembering that day. Even as an adult, I know that rationale has no basis in fact, and was not the case then or now, yet my nightmares still make me wonder. In the instance of wanting to blame someone other than God for the fact that sometimes shit happens in life, my dreams still make me want to point the finger of blame at myself. That is what children do. Their minds often place blame on themselves instead of on the foundations concerning the cycle of life.

Even though I am an adult, remembrance of my mother is still through the eyes of a child. I do not see her weaknesses; a mother is Wonder Woman in the eyes of her child. Mothers are invincible; as such, I will forever see her in that manner. I couldn't see that she, just like all human beings, had the capability of being vulnerable. My mind cannot comprehend that her life was what it was intended to be-as God made it.

I look at things concerning her through the eyes of a child missing his mother; and all I can see is invincibleness; as such, all I can do is wonder what I did wrong that might have caused her to be taken away from me. Through the eyes of a child is how I see things when it comes to my mother. The view lies in the eye of the beholder, and the day it all began and ended still invade my dreams.

It began innocently enough. There was a carnival at school and Mom agreed to make cookies. I sat in the kitchen as she pulled the cookie sheets out of the oven, one by one. There were at least five dozen, if not more, and the aroma filled our house in a manner that only home-baked sweets can. I could not sit still because the smell was making my mouth water. I reached for one as she placed the cookie sheets on the top of the stove to cool.

"Can I have one?" I asked, as my hands hung midair in an attempt to have the first bite of what I knew would be pure, sugar-filled heaven. She had a way of making the best cookies in town; at least in my opinion, even if I was a little bias.

Her...

My Mom was the epitome of grace. I realized it then, I yearn for it now. The King of kings kissed her and turned her skin bronze; it was always aglow. Her deep, dark, penetrating almond-shaped eyes made my father weak. Full, thick, jet black hair; she wore it in a side sweep on special occasions, but mainly tied it up under a soft, satin scarf. Dad loved that. The sight of her face alone was enough for him.

 

 

 

 


The Virus: When Love Turns Deadly 
by Valarie Prince

When a man is a virus who infects women with false hopes and the promise of love, the cure is often forged in revenge.

After decades of living under the radar, Nina Brody decides to take life by the throat and choke the hell out of it. She has a fantastic career, a best friend who never falters in that role and that means she’s only missing one thing—a quality man to love. After a horrific encounter crushes her hopes, Nina bravely accepts a friend request from a man who could possibly be the answer to her quiet prayers…or maybe not.

Deon Parker has an uncanny knack for attracting women who are stuck on stupid and glued to dumb. He never imagined finding the right woman could be so riddled with chaos. Deon is not looking for just any woman. He’s looking for his woman—an intelligent woman who is comfortable in her skin and in his bed. So after a run-in with a deranged ex-girlfriend, Deon takes a step back and decides to start over. When he connects with a woman online, Deon wonders if his search for his woman is finally over or if he has just opened the door to the most deadly threat to his heart and his secrets.

As their relationship evolves into something more than just friends, secrets from Deon’s past drives Nina to the edge of her sanity. Armed with a healthy dose of rage and formidable determination, she takes Deon on at his own game and proves that she is more than his equal—she might be his worst nightmare.


Book Reviews for The Virus: When Love Turns Deadly 

5.0 out of 5 stars written by Amazon Customer.

Page turning, juicy drama and hot sex, is just the few things that kept me intrigued the whole time while reading this book. Valarie Prince is truly an excellent storyteller and her stories always keep me spellbound. YES YES YES!!!!


5.0 out of 5 stars written by Sylvia Riddick.

I couldn't stop reading this page turner! VP kept me guessing about the fates of Nina and Deon right up to the end. I've been a devoted fan of Valarie's spicy, erotic fiction over the years and I was thrilled with the new direction of this book. Great, fast, fun read...left me wanting more.


5.0 out of 5 stars written by Willona Booker.

This book is truly a page turner. It will have you on a roller coaster ride for sure. You have romance, love, sex, sadness, anger, revenge all in this book. From the moment Nina and Deon meet, you will find yourself wanting to know about where their relationship is going. The romance that is shared between the two is beautiful, but when it turns deadly....Deon may have met his match with this one. Nina gives him a run for his money. When you come to the realization that it's time to stop playing games, it is at that moment that you are able to truly love someone the way they should be loved. I loved the friendships in this book. It reminds me of my true friends and who has my back when times get rough and who will be brutally honest in those tough times. This book will make you smile, giggle, laugh, cry, and take your imagination of love making to a whole new level.


Excerpt: The Virus: When Love Turns Deadly

Deon was genuinely surprised by how excited he was about seeing Nina again. He’d kept his word and they’d spoken many times during the week, but when they ended their calls, he always felt compelled to call her right back. He resisted that urge because he didn’t want to seem … desperate? A first for him to want to reconnect so soon and so often.

He liked her bold opinions, her sassy charm and he adored her subtle sensuality. Not often did he encounter a woman who fascinated him. She could hold her own in a conversation about the breakdown of morals in professional sports, or the new wave of millennials demanding special treatment in the workplace because they felt entitled. And she insisted that rainy Sundays were nature’s hidden mini-holidays to escape into laziness and be a bum with ease.

Twenty minutes later, Deon was startled when his phone chirped. He cringed as he said, “Hey mama.”

“Don’t ‘hey’ me, young man,” Fiona scolded over the device. “I called and texted you earlier this week. So did your father.”

He dropped his head. “Sorry, mama. It’s been crazy at work.”

“Ain’t nobody that busy, boy.”

Deciding not to argue, he bleakly added, “I’ll get back on track. How’s everything with you and Daddy?”

“We’re good. I wanted to know when you can come down and visit.”

“It’ll have to be later this year. I’m in the height of busy season for several more months.”

“But I thought when you took that job; you’d have more free time to have a life. I was hoping you could make it down next month.”

“Mama, what are you really up to?”

“Nothing, baby. Well, okay, maybe a little something,” she amended. “Our neighbor’s daughter is visiting next month from Europe. I thought you two could maybe meet—get to know each other.”

“I’m good on the date tip, thank you.” Deon at least hoped he was. It was almost one and still no sign of Nina. “Please stop helping me with my love life.”

“What love life? What life for that matter?” Fiona countered, and he could imagine her pacing in the open kitchen with her hand on her hip. “Your father and I have been waiting for you to get settled with a wife and kids. You’re not getting any younger, you know.”

Deon glared at the phone, insulted. “Mama, I want to find the right woman. I’m not rushing into anything as big or as serious as marriage again.”

“Michelle really did a number on you.”

Deon flinched. Fiona knew how to twist the knife every time.

“She’s water under the bridge and you’re playing in the shallow end of the pond. Baby, you got to dive into life.”

Deon groaned. He closed his eyes and tried not to blast his mom. Slowly he lifted his lids and the gods above granted him mercy. “Mama, let me call you back.”

“But when—”

“Love you, ma.” Deon quickly ended the call.

Deon’s reaction to Nina when she cleared the line of tall trees almost hurt. His nerves were as jumpy as the need for a cup of Joe, but it was more than that … he needed his “Nina fix.” He had talked to her in small snatches of time throughout the week.

She was simply breathtaking. Long dark brown ringlets were pinned up loosely on her head. A few strands had escaped their prison and rested on her neck and shoulder. Dark sunglasses shielded her smoky brown eyes, but oh, her mouth was on sumptuous display. Thick, shapely lips were painted in deep red lipstick that made her mouth kiss-worthy.

She hadn’t noticed him yet and he took full advantage of the moment to drink her in.


 

 


Signed, Sealed, Delivered … I’m Yours



Written by Naleighna Kai, Tanishia Pearson-Jones, L. A. Lewis, 
Joyce A Brown, D. J. McLaurin, Candy Jackson, Valarie Prince, 
Martha Kennerson, and Susan D. Peters 

M-LAS, nine authors, including national bestsellers and award-winners, bring the romantic heat with stories featuring leading men who are at your service from the military, law enforcement, and civil service. The leading ladies, professionals who are successful in their own rights, are all posing the type of challenge that means love won’t come easy—these men are going to have to work for it. Will they succeed in winning their woman's heart? 

These nine stories are a little bit naughty and a little bit nice, but we hope you’ll find them every bit of enjoyable. Most women can appreciate a man in uniform … perhaps even more when it comes off.


Excerpt from Signed, Sealed, Delivered … I’m Yours



“When did policemen start looking like that?” Elise Payne gasped, putting a tighter grip on the steering wheel.

She had been pulled over for speeding but she couldn’t believe that someone as breathtaking as Officer Friendly had stepped out of the cruiser. The man had expressive, dark brown eyes and smooth golden features—a proud nose and sensuously curved lips—carved into a ruggedly handsome face that was damn pleasant to look at along with a muscular body that was nothing but pleasure to watch. Elise normally enjoyed milk chocolate, but maybe it was time to give vanilla bean some consideration. 

The fact that this delay would probably make her miss the train slipped her mind as she became totally smitten by the most handsome male since Jesus turned water into wine. She could picture those gorgeous lips doing wicked, forbidden things to her—the kind of things that made a woman start speaking in tongues, the kind of things that made a woman leave religion at the altar and dive headfirst into temptation, skinny dip in an overdose of sin, and— 

“License, insurance, and registration, ma’am.”

Her fantasy circled the bowl and flushed right down the drain with those words. She let out a long, slow breath and said, “May I take my hands off the steering wheel?”

He nodded, grimacing as he did so. 

Elise inched her hand into her satchel and produced a license, then leaned toward the glove compartment and froze at the thoughts whipping through her mind. Registration, no problem. Insurance, huuuuge problem. Expired. Five hundred dollars. 

She tried to keep the despair from showing on her face as she slid the documents to him. Elise watched his every move as he snailed a walk back to his cruiser.

Seriously? Can’t you go any faster?!

Several minutes ticked by before he returned. She quickly put her hands on the wheel before he made it all the way to the driver side window. 

This time, he sighed with impatience. “It’s safe to take your hands off the wheel, Ms. Payne. I’m a Burnham officer. It’s the Chicago police who are trigger-happy.”

Elise remained completely silent. Maybe if she zipped her lips, he would give her the ticket and let her be on her damn way.

“Do you realize you were going 77 in a 45?” he asked. 

“Actually, I thought it was just 65, but 77 it is,” she shot back.

He paused for a moment, his right eyebrow lifting. Elise saw a sudden slight uplift at the corners of his lips. There was a fullness that made them the most kissable pair she’d seen in a long time. What was it about this man’s lips that invited her to give him a second and third look? What was it about those dark brown eyes that held a sparkle of mischief, but a smidgen of pain behind them? And how was that so easy for her to recognize?

“Why were you going so fast?” he asked.

“Because I was trying to catch that train riiiiight there,” she replied, gesturing to the silver and orange commuter whizzing past them on a black bridge overhead. Her heart sank. All hopes of landing that new position were gone.

“There’ll be another one coming along.”

 

 

 


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 take off in this new 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

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

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