image
image
image

Sign Up for Black Pearls 
Literary News

  Join Our Network  
Enter your email address to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter. View the current edition, go here.

Privacy Policy

We respect your email privacy and will not sell, share, or rent your information to anyone for any reason.

 


 


 

Black Pearls Magazine 

Celebrating Our Heroes 365!

What We're Reading Now!


 

 

Special Features


Give Great 
Books as Gifts!




Black Pearls 
Online Bookstore


Purchase Books Here

 


Book Club Tribute

Read the Collection 




Reading Room
RAVES
View more here.






























 

 

 


 


Mobile Book Club



View Now

 

 


Featured 
Black Pearl Selections

 



















 

 

 

 




Give the Gift of Knowledge 
Join Our Online Book Tour!


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


EDC Creations
, The Sankofa Literary Society and The Black Authors Network are proud to announce the launch of the  2015-2016  "Storytellers Book Tour and Holiday Gift Campaign," bringing readers and authors together to help improve literacy.  You can join the #StorytellersBookTour campaign too, go here!   Please share the Storytellers Book Tour flyer with your friends too:  https://www.smore.com/9yzf  

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

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


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

 

 

 


 

BLACK PEARLS MAGAZINE WINS AGAIN!  

2013 & 2014 BEST LITERARY MAGAZINE AWARD 


Presented by the 10th Annual African American Literary Awards Show

 

 

 

 


Explore Black Pearls  
We Know You Want More!

Short Stories &  Articles Children Books & Authors  Featured Books and Products
Latest Buzz & Motivation

Dreamers & Achievers

What We're Reading Now

 

 

 


A REASON TO BELIEVE 
by Ella D. Curry




SIGN UP TODAY TO RECEIVE A FREE COPY ON JUNE 1, 2015

Sign Up for the Ebook

In A REASON TO BELIEVE, serial entrepreneur Ella D. Curry provides inspiring and practical advice to lead you through every step of both defining and fulfilling you life's purpose. With more than 25 years of experience in promoting authors and assisting small business owners, Ella offers clear, step-by-step guidance that can make launching your first product or business seem like an adventure waiting to happen.

Rich with humor, social media secrets, and action plans, A REASON TO BELIEVE is essential reading for anyone seeking a refreshing glimpse into the life of a solopreneur or entrepreneur.

For beginners overwhelmed by too many choices as well as seasoned professionals eager to improve their business model, A REASON TO BELIEVE is full of strategies that have been proven to work in the real world.  Every task or resource has been used by Ella to develop her own PR firm, award winning online magazine and radio show.

This is a valuable guide to understanding how to develop powerful marketing programs using social media platforms to reach millions with just a few effective measures.  It offers step-by-step action plans for harnessing the power of Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram,  Pinterest and content marketing to communicate with your audience in real time, raise visibility, and increase your sales.  Here are just a few things you will learn in the book:

* Developing a marketing timeline from pre-launch to post-launch.

* Difference between a solopreneur vs entrepreneur.

* 50 tips on becoming a social media influencer.

* Secrets to demystifying the social media marketing.

* Monetizing your magazine, radio shows and blog.

* Identify your purpose and discover self-acceptance.

* How to develop a working control center for home businesses.

*How to use apps and tools to upgrade your company's message.

* Humanizing your brand with storytelling and visual promotions.

* Introduction to mobile marketing and promotions.

* How to use social media as a lead generator.

* How to build a targeted social media strategy.


A REASON TO BELIEVE takes you through the process of developing your branded story so that it informs, entertains and compels customers to act without actually telling them to.  This groundbreaking guide gives you all the tools to start creating and spreading the word about your branded message, leading directly to greater profits and growth for your company.

A REASON TO BELIEVE offers tips, advice and resources on build a sound marketing plan and social media strategy to grow any business. It was written for women entrepreneurs, business owners, nonprofit organizers, as well as those planning their first business. This book is an honest, detail rich, resource to launching your products and starting a online business from scratch.  It gives readers a concrete plan on how to survive the first years in business and how to turn it into a prosperous, purpose driven career. It also encourages the reader to move forward with far less fear, worry, stress, frustration or pressure.

Over the course of thirty simple but powerful daily challenges, this book will empower, enable, and inspire you to take the first steps to a better life and a more prosperous business.  Ella's mission in writing this book was to inform readers of the most innovative measures to launching a product, but it’s much more than that.  This book will encourage and empower you to dream and to dream out loud. Putting the plans in this book into action will be your first step to achieving maximum business success!

 
Meet the Author 

Ella D.Curry is the president of EDC Creations Media Group. She brings more than 25 years of PR and marketing experience to clients in film, music, publishing and corporate event planning. Her expertise in start up marketing and collaborative approach with clients have earned her a reputation as a respected leader in the publishing industry.

Ms. Curry has enjoyed an extensive tenure in media promotions and book publicity. She started out as a corporate event planner and website developer; later becoming a buyer for the legendary Karibu Bookstore chain. Her career now includes services such as keynote speaker, blog tour coordinator, book coach, video journalist and literary publicist.

Ms. Curry lives in Maryland with her daughter and partner. When she's not working, she loves to travel, write short stories, and chatting in Internet groups with her international group of friends. As her entrepreneurial spirit guides the way, she continues to involve herself in challenging, life enhancing projects.

Explore the incredible services provided by Ella Curry and her team at EDC Creations Media Group, go here. They will work with publishers, authors, small business owners and non-profits. Marketing and promoting is what we do best!


If you would like more information or have comments, you may reach her via email at: elladcurry@edc-creations.com or visit the parent website at: www.edc-creations.com

 

 

 

 


 

Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir 
by Benilde Little


The nationally bestselling author of Good Hair and The Itch pens her first book of nonfiction book about her own journey caring for aging parents, raising children, being married, plunging to the depths of depression, and climbing her way out.

A major bestselling novelist and former magazine editor, long married to a handsome and successful stockbroker with whom she has a beautiful daughter and son, Benilde Little once had every reason to feel on top of the world. But as illness, the aging of her parents, and other hurdles interrupted her seemingly perfect life, she took a tailspin into a pit of clinical depression.

Told in her own fearless and wise voice, Welcome to My Breakdown chronicles a cavern of depression so dark that Benilde didn’t know if she’d ever recover from what David Foster Wallace called “a nausea of the soul.” She discusses everything from her Newark upbringing, once-frequent visits to a Muslim mosque, and how it felt to date a married man, to her doubts about marriage, being caught between elder care and childcare, and ultimately how she treated her depression and found a way out.

Writing in the courageous tradition of great female storytellers such as Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, and Pearl Cleage, Benilde doesn’t hold back as she shares insights, inspiration, and intimate details of her life. Powerful, relatable, and ultimately redemptive, Welcome to My Breakdown is a remarkable memoir about the power within us all to rise from despair and to feel hope and joy again.


PRAISE FOR THE BOOK


"Welcome To My Breakdown will put you face-to-face with the realities of personal pain. What Benilde shares is a heroic demonstration of how to turn depression and loss into a path back to self. Her willingness to be open and authentic creates a healing prescription for us all. What a blessing!"
(Iyanla Vanzant, author of In the Meantime and Every Day I Pray on Welcome to My Breakdown)



"Benilde Little takes the fabric of suffering and weaves it into a raw, honest, and wonderful story of love and loss. Readers who have felt the depth of enduring sadness will see themselves in this deeply moving memoir."
(Janet Taylor, MD, MPH on Welcome to My Breakdown)


"When we face the fire and come out on the other side, we learn what it is we are called to do. Benilde has written so beautifully and eloquently about the soul-crushing experience of depression -- whether it is named or not. Throughout this defining journey, we see, hear, and feel deeply the signs of a despair that longs for light and relief. The healing is in us sharing our stories with one another... and knowing we are not alone."
(Terrie M. Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting)



Order Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir by Benilde Little

http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-My-Breakdown-A-Memoir/dp/1476751951 
http://books.simonandschuster.com/Welcome-to-My-Breakdown/Benilde-Little/9781476751955 


About the Author

Benilde Little
is the bestselling author of the novels Good Hair, The Itch, Acting Out and Who Does She Think She Is? She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Jet, People Magazine, Heart and Soul, More magazine, among many others. She has had numerous media appearances including NPR, the Today Show, and Tavis Smiley. 

The Go On Girl Book Club selected Good Hair as the best book of the year. Natalie Cole bought the film rights. Benilde’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Honey Hush and About Face. She was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. 

A former reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Star Ledger, People and senior editor at Essence, she has been a creative writing professor at Ramapo College. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, two children and dog. 

 

 


God’s Timeline 
by Catherine Flowers


Often, we look for solutions outside of God’s plan. We have an urgency that is not compatible with His timeline. It becomes a challenge to wait on God. And so without consulting Him, we make choices that turn out to be mistakes.

And then we expect God to bless something that He has never played a part in, something He has never condoned.

Psalms 127:1 tells us, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain…” That means if God is not a part of our plan, we’re going to have some problems with it whether it be in the execution of it, the structure, or the maintenance.

Waiting on God’s timing is sometimes hard to do. But I have faith in His wisdom that surpasses mine. And it’s worth it because God (the One who created us) knows what’s best for us (His creation). Likewise, He knows when it’s best for us. And I can testify that the reward for waiting is well worth it.

I had been waiting a year and some months for God to answer a particular prayer of mine. While He did not answer my prayer directly, He indirectly answered it by not opening any doors for me or allowing any alternatives that I could see. That clearly said to me, “wait”. And so I did.

Sometimes, though the enemy will throw a distraction at you in the midst of your waiting period. It becomes unclear whether the distraction is God answering your prayer or whether it is from the enemy.

This is when wisdom and spiritual discernment become invaluable tools. As a believer, I asked myself the following questions in order to discern whether the answer I received was from God or was a distraction from the enemy.

– Am I ready and in a position to receive that which I have been praying for?
– Is the answer I’ve received going to require much difficulty and discomfort on my part?
– Does the answer appear to be logical or does it create a whole new scenario of unanswered questions?
– After receiving an answer, is there still a sense of uncertainty within me?

It was clear that the answer I received was from God. It was clear because what once seemed impossible had now become quite achievable. Everything fell into place and the door that had been shut was thrust wide open for me to walk through.

So just when it felt like the last minute was upon me, it wasn’t; it was just God working on His own timeline. He had answered my prayer, and the thing once withheld from me was now mine to have.

Some have no desire to wait for Lord. They exclaim “I know what’s best for me!”, as if they are truly the captain of their own ship…well, to some extent they are. We all are when it comes to the ability to make choices – and even that is a gift from God.

So we can choose not to wait on God and execute our own plans, but if we wait on the Lord and let Him guide our footsteps, we’ll always have a 100% guarantee that everything will turn out fine.

If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, consider turning your life over to Him.
Come before Him in repentance, and stop trying to do it all on your own. It’s okay to look to the Lord for your direction. It’s okay to wait for His guidance. He will never steer you wrong.  Nothing offers a 100% guarantee on all things at all times…but waiting on the Lord truly does!

About the Author

Catherine Flowers
is the creator of www.freefrombondage.com, a Christian blog where she shares the word of Christ through her encouraging words and experiences. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys writing on-line content for multiple websites as well as editing the creative works of others. Her leisure activities include reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. A Sad Soul Can Kill You is her second novel. 

To learn more about the author, please visit www.freefrombondage.com or e-mail her at authorcatherineflowers@aol.com. You can also contact her on Facebook: Author Catherine Flowers 

A Sad Soul Can Kill You by Catherine Flowers 
Link: http://amzn.com/1622868056 


Yesterday's Eyes by Catherine Flowers
http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/C7Q4pGvx 

 

 

 


Save for Retirement or Pay Down Debt
by Harrine Freeman


Your financial, family or health situation can change at any time so it’s better to have little to no debt. Here are 5 ways to help you plan for retirement and pay down debt. 


1. Downsize or downgrade. Scale back temporarily by making adjustments to your lifestyle by moving to a smaller home or trading in your luxury car for a compact or mid-size car. 

2. Retirement. Contribute the maximum amount towards your retirement.

3. Debt. If you’re in debt due to credit cards, student loans or late payments paying those off should be a priority. Focus on one bill at a time starting with the smallest bill. 

4. Peer Pressure. Avoid peer pressure from your co-workers, children and friends to buy things you can’t really afford. This behavior results in financial disaster.

5. Automate. Get organized and automated your finances. Use tools to help track your money and pay bills online or use automatic paycheck deduction. This will prevent you from paying late fees, help you easily keep track of your money and help you achieve financial goals.

Here are some helpful links regarding personal finance from Harrine Freeman:
 http://www.hefreemanenterprises.com/resources.html 

Purchase How to Get Out of Debt: Get an a Credit Rating for Free 
http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Out-Debt-ebook/dp/B004KKXR5Q 


Meet the Author

Harrine Freeman
is an authority on personal finance. She is a financial counselor, CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises and Author of "How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free," a self-help book that provides a step-by-step plan on how to get out of debt, increase credit scores and plan for the future. 

She has impacted the lives of thousands through speaking engagements and counseling. She helps client's prepare for financial freedom, by providing useful advice to steer clients in the right direction. 

She is a member of Credit Professionals International, American Association of Daily Money Managers, American Association of Individual Investors and National Speakers Association. Harrine has been featured in: Featured in Market Watch, Wall Street Journal, Forbes,The Washington Post, NASDAQ, Huffington Post, MSN Money, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Ebony, and Woman’s Day magazines. 

 

 

 


A MOTHER’S CRY
by J.E. Greene

I am the mother of two African American males. That fact alone makes my voice a necessity in society. Through the years, I have experienced both joy and excruciating pain because of this. I have seen them conquer and be deeply wounded by various obstacles that the journey called “life” brings their way. I have laughed wholeheartedly with them at their successes. Likewise, I have cried from my soul at their failures.

As I was raising my sons, they were both extremely involved in sports. Over time, I began to notice that the fathers of the boys playing at these events were most usually and obviously absent. Whenever, the boys would experience the highs and lows involved with organized sports, it would be the mothers on hand to deal with the effect on our sons. This fact really bothered me. 

In addition, there were mothers who were sometimes present, but not actively involved. I remember once I was screaming and yelling at one of my son’s games and he asked me to tone it down. Smile. Immediately, one of his teammates said to him, “Man I love how your mom acts at the games. It shows she loves you. I have been playing ball for years and my mom hasn’t been to one game.”

Both of my sons had friends who would come to visit our home, and end up spending nights! One day I asked a young man did his mother know where he was and why hadn’t I heard from her about her son staying at my home. He responded that she didn’t really care where he was. She never asked him where he was going or what he was doing.
That day, something was ignited in my spirit. I couldn’t even imagine how a mother could be so emotionally removed from her children. What could SHE possibly be dealing with that would allow her to be so disconnected from the daily life of her children? What was making her spirit so weary that she had no energy left to bond with her children? What could I do to help HER? What could I do to help mothers understand that we have a predestined responsibility to our children that does not end when we hand them over to the teacher on the first day of school. We have a life-long commitment and we must honor it.

That day, “A Mother’s Cry” organization was birthed in my spirit. It is my desire to provide a format wherein both mothers and children will find healthy, secure and productive life relationships. AMC (A Mother’s Cry) provides assistance and uplifting to mothers through seminars; workshops; retreats; empowerment groups and book clubs. It is my desire that mothers form a bond with other mothers and learn their power and importance of their VOICE. We are often the voices of and for our children. We cry physically and verbally with and for them. We stand with and for them.  Helping mothers understand and appreciate their worth will consequently help our children be the best that they are destined to be.

About the Author

Jamesina Greene
manages more than speaking engagements as the owner of DESTNE Enterprises. Jamesina’s commitment to leading her fan-base with thought-provoking inspiration stems from her experience in helping others in transition. 

Jamesina began her journey towards motivation at the age of 17. While most teens made the usual high school memories, Jamesina became an ordained minister, writer and speaker. After building an early foundation, she immediately created a platform, which allowed her to share the Gospel to others. With years of Entrepreneurship already under her belt, Jamesina expanded her brand, through singing, songwriting, authoring and other avenues. A former Residential Counselor and Mentor, Jamesina leverages over 30 years of knowledge of Christianity to bring Destine Enterprises to God's people throughout the world – as an ordained minister. 

It is Jamesina's literary work which has earned her numerous recognition. She is the author of six self-published works and a Contributing Author of a Bestseller, written with other Mothers. Her first book, Help, I Don't Like Myself!, shares her personal experience with Depression and the the true story of her escape from depression, and her daily walk to maintain her deliverance. In addition to her books, she is writer of a Blog, “I AM a Voice” and Host of “The Voice of Triumph” Radio Show. She is the Founder of the “A Mother’s Cry” organization and hosts an Annual Conference to encourage and minister to the hurt, wounded and the broken. 

Learn more about how Jamesina is leaving her mark by visiting www.jamee2001.wordpress.com, www.jamigreeneministries.com, on Facebook and Twitter @SheInspires61. To schedule an interview with Jamesina, send an email to destne61@gmail.com.

 

 



Making a Mother's Day Memory



"Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother." Lin Yutang

When Anna Jarvis stood at her mother's gravesite nearly one hundred years ago, she vowed to establish a day to honor not only the mother in her own life--but to honor mothers everywhere. The activism she observed firsthand in her mother's fight to improve the living conditions of those battling poverty motivated her to carry on an activist project of her own: celebrating mothers who had come before her, mothers in her own lifetime, and mothers whose times had not yet come.

The tradition of giving white carnations to mothers was started just a couple years later, and within nine years--with the U.S. Congress passing a joint resolution--Mother's Day was officially established to celebrate a woman's role in the family. The holiday was never to have been made into a commercial brouhaha. Indeed, Anna Jarvis would be rolling over in her grave with the success of Hallmark's Mother's Day revenues alone. For she desired that the day be celebrated with sentiment rather than with profit; that flowers and hand-written notes of appreciation be given away.

So just how can we celebrate Mother's Day as a holiday with those we love--and yet honor the wishes of its founder? How can we encourage others to express loving sentiments to us--rather than encourage them to purchase loving sentiments? And where does chocolate fit into the Mother's Day equation for crying out loud?!?

Get started:

Encourage handmade. I have saved every one of the handmade cards my children have ever made me. Cute as they are upon presentation, they are downright priceless a decade later. Call me a sentimental schmuck: the same hand that wrote my first Mother's Day card is now filling out college applications. Don't ever let your kids buy commercial Mother's Day cards. Make sure they know where the stamps, ink pads, stickers, glitter (I know I know), glue, colored markers, art pencils, and blank stationery are stored in your home. And encourage their creativity.

Encourage home baked. There is, after all, nothing quite like breakfast in bed. Especially on Mother's Day. It reads: "I adore you, my love. Stay in bed awhile. Relax. You've worked so hard." Or something like that. You get the idea. Encourage your entourage to treat you with home baked coffeecake, cinnamon rolls, biscuits, or buttered toast; they'll be special because your hubby and children made them just for you. Even if they whacked the can against the kitchen counter to produce those little tasties, go with it and relish the moment.

Encourage home cooked. But only if he can do it. I mean, seriously, if the guy can't boil water, don't expect him to produce a gourmet six-course dinner. Much better to go to your local diner. But if he becomes inspired to cook for you--as mine did only once in twenty-two years--then go for it. Relax on your favorite upholstered chair and let him go crazy in your kitchen, if just for a day.

Encourage hand picked. Ok. It's a stretch. But expensive roses are not for everybody, you know. While a bouquet of hand-picked wild flowers may or may not cut it for me, a bunch of daffodils would. As would a single lovely hyacinth. If the scent of spring flowers wafting through your home arouses your aesthetic sensibilities, then tell hubby that this year, you'd prefer sprouted bulbs.

Get brilliant: 

For those of us too addicted to our society's conceived notions of the proper care and feeding of mother on Mother's Day, here are a few more options.

Go fancy. Leave the kids at home and let hubby treat his queen to the most exquisite restaurant he can afford. Mother's Day comes but once a year, after all. Get gussied up, dressed up, and psyched up for a night out on the town. Splurge big-time. No holds barred. It'll fill your tank for months.

Go custom. Encourage hubby to treat you to something that you really really want. Granted, the elm wood Venetian easel with a lovely oil finish that I've asked for might not turn you on, but it is what I really really want for Mother's Day this year. My oil paintings have taken over our major living areas and I need another easel. But the survey would say: you could probably care less for that. What do you dearly desire? Put a bug in hubby's ear and encourage him to surprise you on Mother's Day. A spring outfit? Cute handbag? New perfume? Pedicure? It's easy. Just let your kids figure it out and they'll pass it on to the wallet-holder in no time.

Go chocolate. It's always the answer. I don't care what the question is. The predilection for chocolate is nearly universally human--as proven by at least seventeen university studies--and carries back, by some estimates, to more than 75,000 years. Early explorers in South America used it as currency and sold it in solid bars. My favorite is as bitter and dark as you'll ever find, with 85% cocoa. Yours might be sweet milk chocolate. Indulge. But be careful. You don't want to die from chocolate-induced coma on Mother's Day.

Go easy. Most of all, you need a break on Mother's Day. Put your feet up. Get comfortable. Relax with a book. Or a magazine. Allow yourself the dizzying liberation of being downright lazy for just one day. 

Most importantly, love the ones you're with. My guess is they are the very ones who made you a mommy in the first place. Happy, Happy Mother's Day!



About the Author

Carolina Fernandez
earned an M.B.A. and worked at IBM and as a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch before coming home to work as a wife and mother of four. She totally re-invented herself along the way. Strong convictions were born about the role of the arts in child development; ten years of homeschooling and raising four kids provide fertile soil for devising creative parenting strategies. These are played out in ROCKET MOM! 7 Strategies To Blast You Into Brilliance. It is widely available online, in bookstores or through 888-476-2493. lease visit [http://www.rocketmom.com]. 

 

 


12 Ways to Be a Good Mom
by Lori Newman

Are you a good mom? Do your children have the skills needed to make wise decisions and healthful choices when you’re not around? You’ve got a limited amount of time to teach them how to get their needs met, why they must do chores (it’ll help them fend for themselves), develop good eating habits and know how much you love them. Here’s how…


Discipline
Discipline doesn’t have to mean punishment or create anger and hurt feelings on both sides. It can be a win-win for both you and your child, says Spencer Kagan, Ph.D., author of Win-Win Discipline (Kagan Publishing).

That means finding a way to encourage your children's good behavior without getting frustrated yourself, according to Kagan. Here are some of his tips:

Good mom tip #1: Turn anger into rational decision-making
It can be difficult to avoid screaming at your kids, especially when you're stressed, tired or frustrated, and they’ve just broken something you told them not to touch.  Raising your voice to vent may feel good – and scare your kids into temporary stunned silence. But shouting teaches children that yelling when they’re mad is appropriate and that lashing out is OK, instead of solving a problem.

“When we meet [children’s] needs or give them respectful and responsible strategies for dealing with their unmet needs, disruptive behaviors drop away,” Kagan says. “They get their needs met or learn how to deal with their needs.”

Good mom tip #2: Take a breather
A better idea is to walk away from the situation – perhaps to go into another room for a few minutes. Take a few deep breaths, then start over. 

Good mom tip #3: Be calm and gentle
When you’re ready to deal with the situation, take your child gently by the shoulders or cup his face, and ask them to look at you. When you have your child's full attention, calmly state what went wrong and why you’re not pleased with their behavior.

Good mom tip #4:  “It’s not OK to…”
Use sentences like: “It's not OK to push your brother,” or “It's not OK to touch something I asked you not to touch.”  By starting your sentences that way, you’re telling children the behavior isn’t acceptable without accusing anyone. Accusations often make your child defensive or defiant.

Good mom tip #5: Explain why it’s not OK
After describing the undesired behavior, Kagan’s win-win discipline technique includes telling a child why that behavior isn't appropriate.   For example, a child scolded for pulling a cat's tail knows only that doing so will get them in trouble. They may not understand that the cat felt pain or that they could’ve been scratched.

Discipline often must include a clear explanation of why the parent is correcting the child and why the behavior wasn't the right choice, Kagan says. Then the behavior is likely to stop. 


Good Eating Habits 
If you feed your child nutritious foods when they’re young, they’re likely to continue eating healthfully when they’re away from you.  Here’s how to instill good eating habits in your children:

Good mom tip #6: Plate meals
If you set bowls and platters of food on the table and invite everyone to dig in, children will grow accustomed to eating larger portions.  Instead, serve meals “restaurant-style,” advises cardiologist James Beckerman, M.D., author of The Flex Diet: Design-Your-Own Weight Loss Plan (Touchstone). It discourages going for seconds, he says. 

Good mom tip #7: Serve full glasses of water with each meal

Encourage conversation and sipping water between bites, Dr. Beckerman advises.

This stretches mealtimes and togetherness, allows feelings of hunger to disappear and helps children form the habit of drinking plenty of water.

Good mom tip #8: Talk about food
Mealtime is also a good opportunity to talk about foods that are healthy and which – and in what portions – can lead to obesity and disease. “No matter how strong outside influences are, what we do at home is stronger,” says Nancy Tringali Piho, author of My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything (Bull Publishing Co.).

Tringali Piho says parents often avoid exposing their children to a variety of foods and flavors – especially vegetables and foods low in salt, processed flour and sugar – simply because they’re afraid their kids won’t like or eat them. 

Good mom tip #9: Ease them into good eating habits

Childhood obesity is on the rise, and processed fast foods are a big part of the problem. If your kids are hooked on a convenience food diet, don’t force them into a “health food” regimen all at once. To develop their good eating habits, start small and stick to your guns, Tringali Piho advises. For example, offer a piece of whole-grain bread topped with hummus and cucumber slices for an after-school snack or lunch, instead of cookies, chips or a peanut butter and jelly on white bread.  Or set out a plate of celery sticks filled with almond butter or low-fat cream cheese instead of crackers topped with processed cheese spread.  

If they protest at first, let them know that going back to their favorite empty-calorie foods isn’t an option.
“Success’ is not defined as ‘no conflict,’” Tringali Piho says. “No one ever said it will be easy!” 


Chores
Mom is usually the family problem solver. But that doesn’t mean she should look for a child’s lost books, shoes or jackets. Or that she run another load of laundry because they forgot to put their favorite jeans into the hamper, according to Sherry Blake, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Atlanta and author of The Single-Married Woman (Touchstone Psychological Services).  “The kids are being manipulative,” she says.

Good mom tip #10: Teach them to be self-sufficient
Make your kids more responsible by having them do chores properly and on time.

Just about any child who can reach the controls on the washing machine can do at least one load of laundry a week, including proper sorting, temperature selection, folding and putting everything away, Blake says.  The same goes for clearing the table, washing dishes or loading the dishwasher, sweeping, mopping and vacuuming.

Kids love knowing how to do things. So let them, Blake advises. By teaching and requiring your kids to do chores, you’ll reduce your own workload and be able to spend more quality time with them. Bonding Time
Having dinner together at the end of each day is the ideal time to strengthen family bonds. But for many families today, that ideal is unattainable because of busy schedules. At 6 p.m., Jason is still at football practice, Jenny’s piano lesson starts and Mom and Dad might not get home until later. Nevertheless, make time for the following:

Good mom tip #11: Make a family meal the rule at least two days a week
Teens who enjoy family support and camaraderie are more sociable and better equipped to survive their challenging adolescent years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Teens who rarely eat dinner with their families are more than three times more likely to abuse drugs, the agency reports. Girls whose families eat together at least five times a week are one-third less likely to develop eating problems, including anorexia, binge eating and constant overeating, HHS says.  Turn off TVs, radios and cell phones before the meal so conversations will be uninterrupted. 

Good mom tip #12: Create other opportunities to talk with your children

Use these bonding times to find out what’s really going on with your children and their friends, in school and out. If you have more than one child, make individual dates to do something with each one at least once a week.

  • Go for a family walk. It’s is another way to foster healthy habits, as well as closer relationships. “Just 20 minutes of strolling at a comfortable pace together will be enough to get caught up on your kids’ latest exploits,” Dr. Beckerman says.

  • Tuck your children in. No matter how old your children are, taking a few minutes to tuck them into bed each night will give you one more opportunity to make sure everything is OK with them, and to let them know you really care about their lives.


Rose Alexander, James Beckerman, M.D., Mari Cartel, Jennifer Gruenemay, Stephanie Tallman Smith and Wendy Travis contributed to this story. What’s your parenting style? Take this  quiz to find out. Are you making your child fat? Take this  quiz to find out. Do you have what it takes to be a good parent? Take this  quiz to find out.

 

 

 

 


What Will Your Legacy Be?



"A good man . . . leaves an inheritance" Proverbs 13:22 (NIV)


Have you considered your legacy lately? Are there certain tangible and intangible items that you'd like to pass on to loved ones and the world? Have you prayerfully identified those items and began to live accordingly? Alternatively, have you doggedly avoided this area of life? Does it seem too far away to address when daily living consumes your energy and attention? Do you believe that you have very little or nothing to leave behind whether tangible or intangible?

Saints, we are able to leave a tremendous legacy for our loved ones, Christian community, and the world at large. Although we may believe that legacies are for loftier and more successful individuals, God has placed the keys to leaving godly treasures behind within each of us. Material items are a blessing to leave for those you love but a legacy of love, hope, and faith is far more valuable. Let's pray and meditate on the legacy that we desire to leave behind and get started living it today.

I hope you will enjoy the devotional shared below.


Each life touches other lives in seen and unseen ways. You don't necessarily have to know somebody in order to experience the blessings of their legacy. Like walking into an empty room and catching a whiff of somebody's perfume, your influence can continue long after you're gone.

Usually, we don't like to think about this, because: 1) we associate legacies with dying, and we don't particularly enjoy thinking about that topic; 2) we assume that since our legacy won't be revealed for years, we don't need to start investing now; and 3) we feel as if we've little or no control over what we leave behind anyhow.

The Bible says, 'A good man . . . leaves an inheritance . . .' So what will yours be? More important -what is it going to cost? If you just want to leave material things, that's easy. Work hard, invest wisely and build your net worth. But since the best gifts aren't always handed down in your will, why not leave something more meaningful - something that points to who you were?

It's one thing to measure your success by the money in your bank account, the size of your estate holdings, or the value of your stock portfolio. It's entirely another to measure it by intangibles like being a faithful, loving spouse, raising godly children, being a spiritual mentor and leaving the lights on when you go!

All great legacies come with a price tag. To move beyond mediocrity, you must invest every day in the invisible accounts of those who follow you!


Your Sister in Christ, Rugina


 

 

 


 

How to Find Your Serenity Place 
by Kerri Herndon

My typical day begins at 5 am. Today, I truly look forward to rising before the sun and greeting everyone with joy. I must admit, it took me some time to find my morning glory. Blissful rest was always interrupted by insidious honking and silenced with with my right hand as I quickly hit the snooze button to give me at least 10 additional minutes of sleep. The plush purple toasty fur lined slippers that awaited the arrival of my feet to slide in to begin the normal daily routine, were very rarely in reach. 

Next, as I waddled downstairs to grab the kettle from the stove, fill it with water for coffee (still yawning), dings from my iPhone alerting me to brand new emails, text messages, FaceBook messages and notifications and invites to events that I would never attend grab the first moments of my day.  As I pour the creamer in my coffee, my mind is already beginning to list out all the items that will be placed on the “to do list” creating my agenda for the day. Before I have taken one sip or sat down for devotion, my mind has dictated at least twenty tasks that need to be accomplished by 3pm.  With my mind racing around everything that needs to be done for the day, enjoying the solitude while basking in serenity is slipping away…

But wait.


I woke up early for solitude and devotional time to clear my mind thus bringing forth feelings of serenity and clarity to pave the way for a more productive day…

If any of this sounds remotely familiar then you can more than likely also relate as the day unfolds, so do the responsibilities and the ever increasing demands that are piled upon you. Within the midst of all of it, are your personal ambitions and desires.  Without surrendering your white flag, you begin to read books and listen to audios on how to jam seven hours into three to become more efficient so that you have more “me” and family time. You up your intake of vitamins and supplements, temporarily change your eating habits and join the gym all attempting to continue ironing your shero cape and not relent. Yet, feelings of fatigue, low energy, occasional mood swings and irritability have now become a part of your personality while stress and thoughts of depression are knocking at the door for permanent residency.

I’m reminded of the 80’s song by Karen White, where in the video poised with strength, she serenades her uniformed husband, I’m not your superwoman. The scenes switch back and forth as we viewers are relating to the stamina she excludes as she is hanging up laundry and then cooking dinner ( all while looking good in her heels). What is it in some of us that believes we can and should play the balancing act of twenty item task list and still meet the needs of others around us?

The above daily routine I described, used to be me. Running the hamster wheel wore me out and left me feeling overwhelmed and discontent. I still wake each day at five am with the same responsibilities yet with a new mindful approach in gaining my morning glory. I believe in the search of happiness, fulfillment, security, financial stability, career advancement and other personal goals, our true focus gets lost. With so many distractions; a lack of direction and/or definite purpose, daily stressors, family responsibilities, demands of co-workers, expectations of others, and personal ambitions, our judgment gets cloudy leaving some in a standstill of hazy mental fog. 

The lack of serenity skills to assist us with balancing the surge of raging emotions that swing like pendulum to meet the pressures of life unfortunately result in the inability to focus and remain grounded. Yet there are some who pick up other peoples burdens and responsibilities adding them to an already jam-packed schedule; over-stuffing their own nap-sack causing complications and strain. This “strain” is the emotional baggage (nap-sack) causing tension, headaches, fatigue, irritability and more. Trying to rearrange your day, adding supplements, vitamins and the like only temporarily mask the symptoms of what your body and spirit are trying to tell you. Burnout and exhaustion have arrived and if not tended, the toxicity from uncontrolled emotions can have catastrophic effects in the spirit, soul and body.

Your spirit eventually becomes weighed down which can leave feelings of doubt, insecurity and anxiety. Proverbs 12:25 provides a timely reminder that we should not allow anxiety to take root as it can cause depression. Today we see more and more commercials for medications to treat the symptoms of depression. Depression has been commonly referred to as the “common cold” of mental illness and if left untreated can lead to suicide. It’s time to deal with the root causes and stop masking symptoms of burnout and exhaustion to prevent full blown depression. But how?

One approach…Morning Glory.

Morning Glory is a serenity skill that I have developed in preparation for daily devotional time. It will give a guide to quieting the “white noise” or clear the mental fog so you can focus on learning to live a life of love and appreciation. It provides you with some basics to develop compassion for self and others using the power of imagination to heal the soul while releasing toxic emotions.


Let’s begin!


Keeping in mind that we are three-part beings (spirit, soul and body), every part of you is connected. If you have a tense mind (which resides in your soul), you have a tense body. Optimal results are achieved when allowing at least 20 minutes to perform The Morning Glory Serenity in the morning prior to your personal devotional time. It will assist you with clearing the clutter and the random thoughts that try to invade your mind as you seek wisdom in asking the Lord God to establish your thoughts and steps for the day.

Find a comfortable place to sit and pay attention to your breathing. Focus on the love of God, His grace and mercy being extended to you this morning. Begin to focus on your breathing. Imagine that each breath you take is the Spirit of the Living God coming into your body cleansing and healing it. Concentrate on the sensation of the cleansing air moving in and out of your nose and mouth. Notice your belly move in and out.

Pay attention to your breathing. Allow your belly to rise as you inhale and to slowly fall fall back down as you exhale. Take some time to breathe deeply as you prepare to welcome the Holy Spirit.

First concentrate on your forehead. As you breathe in, notice the muscles of your forehead. Become aware of any muscle tension in this area of your body. As you breathe out, let go of any muscle tension you find by purposely relaxing the muscles. It begins with an awareness of the tension on the in-breath, and letting go of the tension on the out-breath. Repeat for several slow deep breaths.

Next concentrate on any muscle tension in a particular body area as you inhale (like your shoulders). Now, as you exhale, consciously loosen and release that tension. Imagine the breath traveling into that particular area is a radiant healing light, then traveling out as you exhale. As the breath leaves the area, visualize the muscles slackening, as if your breath is carrying away any tension and stress you may have. Each time you breathe, make sure you are taking slow, deep breaths, concentrating on noticing how your belly rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale.

You may be aware of thoughts or feelings rising into your consciousness, or even possibly images popping up in your mind’s eye. Perhaps you are aware of impinging worries, anxieties, fears, fantasies, or other preoccupations involving the past or future. It’s okay and do not allow it to distract you. It is not a “failure” of your efforts to relax or become mindful; you are learning a brand new skill to support you in learning to take control of random thoughts and responses.


Begin to recite the following phrases (or an affirming scripture focused on love):


* I am filled with love, joy, peace.
* I am filled with longsuffering, kindness, goodness.
* I am filled with faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
* I am filled with the wisdom and knowledge of God.
* I am strengthen with might through His Spirit in my inner self.
* I have been renewed in the spirit of my mind through Christ.


Allow the feelings to arise with these words. Repeat the phrases, letting the feelings permeate your mind and body. (Continue this practice for a few weeks until you sense an authentic loving kindness toward yourself.)

If and when you notice that you’ve been carried away in a stream of associations, merely observe them. Then, gently return your awareness to your breath. Your breath is the gift of God giving you life; healing and cleansing your spirit, soul and body. Allow your breathing to once again become your focus, letting your thoughts recede to the background. Your awareness of your breathing helps anchor you in the present.

For the remaining time, keep your awareness focused on your breath and how it travels into your body; healing all tension and stress restoring the presence of peace and the euphoria of love. Gradually bring your consciousness back to your surroundings.

When you feel ready, start with this meditation practice, using the same phrases, but gradually expand the focus of your love, kindness, and appreciation to include others. Imagine the person and thoughtfully recite the phrases:

* I am filled with love, joy, peace.
* I am filled with longsuffering, kindness, goodness.
* I am filled with faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
* And so on (same as above).

Remember, consistency is the key. The more consistent practice of this practice along with other spiritual beliefs (attending church services, praying regularly, etc.) along with serenity skills such as Morning Glory can greatly reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and overwhelm. Thoughtfully consider including a regular exercise program and vitamin supplement and gain overall tremendous health benefits.

Morning Glory Serenity has the potential to bridge the gap between yourself and others replacing fear, worries, and anxieties with love and compassion. I would love to hear how Morning Glory is working for you! Post how it’s going for you and what you are receiving below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Blessings, Kerri Herndon


About the Author
Kerri Herndon,
affectionately known as Coach Kerri the Life Transformation Coach is a Motivational Speaker, Radio Talk Show Host, Entrepreneur, Author, and Founder of one of the fastest growing organizations dedicated to empowering women of all ages. Her B.A. Biblical Studies and M.A. in Christian Counseling coupled with an unflinching and honest understanding of today’s woman, enables her to skillfully assist others with indentifying the root causes of their personal dilemmas.

Coach Kerri specialty lies in assisting women with breaking the barriers of limitations and achieving emotional wholeness. Living by the mantra of "Create the life you love", Coach Kerri implements this truth into powerful coaching programs that equip women with eliminating fear and stress and bridging passion to purpose.  Remaining true to her powerful message of transformation, in her recently published book, "Simply Me - Taking Off the Mask Through Effectual Prayer", she provides practical self-help tools along with spiritual insight that explains how traumatic experiences such as depression, rejection, abortion, attempted suicide can alter the course of destined purpose. 

Coach Kerri's testimony and life-transforming messages share the miracle working power of God and how He is able to use all our baggage for His greater purpose. She is a walking representation of the WORD at work and has made it her life mission to allow the Holy Spirit to use her to impact the lives of others. Her inspiring stories and personal reflections have made her a highly respected and sought after speaker with women’s groups, conferences and churches.   Website: www.coachkerri.com

 



Big Goals - Small Steps! 



Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? Zechariah 4:10 TM

While it's tempting to think that the amount of time required is too long, those days and years will pass - whether you're pursuing your goal or not! God wants you to heed His call, to show up for duty and leave the provisions - including the time, money, open doors, favorable relationships and material resources - to Him. If you do your part, He'll do His. The Psalmist writes: "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly" Psalm 84:11. Just trust God and take the first small step!

Is God nudging you to take small steps towards a larger goal?
Is it past time to return to school, change careers, or move closer to your long-awaited dream? Have you allowed excuses and fear to immobilize and constrict your next step? Alternatively, have you taken the first step towards fulfilling a lifelong dream? Did you decide to prayerfully count the cost and take a leap of faith? Are you energized by the vision of victory and sense of accomplishment flowing through your life?

Saints, reaching big goals begin with steadily moving forward in small steps.
As we venture deeper into life, our hearts will greatly yearn to accomplish certain dreams or goals. With prayer, meditation, and faith - we can move into a season of life wherein hard work pays huge dividends. If our dreams and goals align with His will for our lives, God will nurture the desire and provide provision. 

Although it may not come in the package or timing that we would prefer, we can trust that God is working in our hearts throughout the process. We may look back over our lives and realize that it was God who carried us through the small steps. He simply asked that we trust Him and take the first step. He will do the rest - spiritually, emotionally, and in the physical realm. We simply become co-partners in strict obedience to His vision for our lives. Let's begin today by taking that first small step! 

Your Sister in Christ,
Rugina Poellnitz 



History of  The Morning Teas

The Morning Teas were written by Diann Thomas and distributed by Linda Cunningham-Hames. My role in them is to (1) read as a personal devotional and (2) write a mini intro posing questions and a message of encouragement. 

During 2011, Diann Thomas passed away unexpectedly and sadly, Linda Cunningham-Hames passed away on July 24, 2012. I've never met either in person, corresponded with Linda via email, and never corresponded with Diann. We were connected via technology and hearts for God.  Going forward, I intend to continue to share Morning Teas in their honor (as well as add my Mother, Evelyn Carter-Pete, since she prayed and inspired me (and others) to live faithfully and abundantly prior to her passing in 2007).

 

 

 

 


Author KAI Speaks on Love & Poetry

Poetry is my first love because writing starts with an emotion. Normally, there is an indescribably emotion that I seek to form into words or thought and it becomes a poetic idea or phrase. And from there a character or storyline is born. But, when I don't have time for a fully developed story, I can still explore that emotion, encapsulate it into a poem. 
The following poem is heartbreak, at its peak. I included this in Daughter of the Game Prequel-In the Shadows:

Toxic Love by KAI

How do you stop love’s rollercoaster, when there are no brakes?
How do you get off, when he won’t slow down?
Steady accelerating with each loop and every dive
Spinning and shaking, twisting and turning

Transforming the thrill into a continuous nightmare
Repeating the same pattern over and over and over
Each time more exaggerated and delirious
Each time more dangerous than before

Excitement turns to dread
Adrenaline rush turns to fear
You finally realize that he can’t stop
Won’t ever stop
Making you sick, dizzy, nauseous

Something once so intriguing
Is now nothing more than a death trap
How do you escape?
There is no safe way out, nothing to save you

When you’re finally thrown, or your heart finally gives out
When the spin finally snaps your neck, or your sanity finally breaks
Because on his ride, your death is inevitable
Accept that there is no safe escape

You have only one option
When love’s rollercoaster is at its lowest point
Tuck in your chin, close your eyes, pray
Jump
And hope you survive the fall

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

Check out Daughter of the Game 3 by KAI
Link: http://amzn.com/0985438681 

 


About the Author

KAI is the author of the critically acclaimed Daughter of the Game series (Daughter of the Game I, II, III and Prequel) and The Loudest Silence. KAI's story Twisted Loyalty is featured in Gutta Mamis, published by Strebor in the Streetz (Simon and Schuster). She is also a contributing author to Solo Shivers and That Good Grind by Wilson.

She is a nationally recognized poet and was named AAMBC's 2013 Poet of the Year for her Peaceful Resolution collection. Her poem Pre-Destiny, was featured in the April 2008 issue of Essence Magazine.

KAI has served as a Guest Reviewer for RAWSISTAWZ Reviewers. An alumni of Hampton University, SUNY Brockport and Georgetown University Law Center, she is a licensed attorney in two states and a proud parent.

Connect with KAI online: 

Website: www.discoverkai.com
FB: facebook.com/authorkai
Twitter: twitter.com/authorkai
IG: instagram.com/authorkai1

 

 

 

 


The Light of the World 
by Elizabeth Alexander 


Elizabeth Alexander is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University. Her memoir, The Light of the World is the #1 May Indie Next list title pick. The Light of the World’s amazing Los Angeles Times review really says it all.


“I just finished The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander. It’s a memoir about coping with the death of her husband, and it’s magnificent.”  —First Lady Michelle Obama, from an interview in The Skimm


"The Light of the World is an extraordinary book--the writing exquisite, clear as water, astonishingly moving, and beautiful."  —Elaine Pagels, Harrington Professor of the History of Religion, Princeton University


“This is a gorgeous love story, written by one of America’s greatest contemporary poets. Graceful in its simplicity, sweeping in scope, this book is proof that behind the boarded-up windows of America’s roiled marriages and ruined affairs, true love still exists, and where it does exist, it graces the world—and us—with light and hope. Elizabeth Alexander is a prose writer of deep talent and affecting skill. With ease, she peels back layer after layer to show the soft secrets of affection, the kindness, and the wide open generosity of a full-hearted man and talented artist, who had more love to give in his relatively short lifetime that most of us will ever know.” 
— James McBride, National Book Award-winning author of "The Good Lord Bird" and #1 New York Times bestseller "The Color of Water"


In THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD,  Elizabeth Alexander—poet, mother, and wife—finds herself at an existential crossroads after the death of her husband, artist and chef Ficre Ghebreyesus. Reflecting with gratitude on the exquisite beauty of her married life that was, grappling with the subsequent void, and feeling a re-energized devotion to her two teenage sons, Alexander channels her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid prose that describes a very personal and yet universal quest for meaning, understanding, and acceptance, taking stock of herself at the midcentury mark. This deeply resonant memoir is about being strong when you want to collapse, being grateful when someone has been stolen from you—but mostly, it's about discovering the truth in life's journey: that love is what matters most.

Professor Elizabeth Alexander 
is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher.  In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. She has published six books of poems, two collections of essays, and a play. Her book of poems, American Sublime (2005), was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and was one of the American Library Associations “Notable Books of the Year.” Her play, “Diva Studies” (1996) was produced at the Yale School of Drama. 

Professor Alexander is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University. She is the former Chair of the African American Studies Department at Yale University.

Purchase The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander


 

 

 


Childless by Choice: Why I’m More Like Oprah Winfrey, Than I Realized
By Marian L. Thomas

Yes, we both have beautiful black skin, strong hearts, and are great at multi-tasking. It seems we both enjoy natural hair, the bigger the better. Yet, there is something deeper that connects the Oprah Winfrey’s outlook on life to my own: our childless by choice decision.

It’s a tough decision for many to accept. Hard for many to fathom that a black woman who has much to give would consider not giving. I am an educated black female. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Communications. I have written five fictional books that have received some level of recognition including one that was a recommended “must-read romance” by Michele Monkou, USA Today book reviewer. Of course, not on the Oprah Winfrey level, but nonetheless, each book was a dream that I had to work hard to accomplish. Reaching dreams and accomplishing goals is highly important in Oprah Winfrey’s eyes. As an author, she has written articles, conducted national conferences, and spoke very highly and boldly on the subject of attaining goals. She also has spoken about her decision to remain childless by choice; a term I refer to as being an ‘empty carriage woman’.

Empty Carriage Woman: a strong, loving, kind, unselfish woman who has decided to forgo pushing the baby carriage.

While the term ‘empty carriage woman’ may not be familiar to many reading this, it is in fact not a new concept. A report posted by the Pew Research Center back in 2010 showed that 24% of women between the ages of 40-44 who held a higher-education degree, had not had children. The study also reported that the while white women are more likely to not to have children, the childless rate among black women had risen rapidly over the past decade. 

Can an empty carriage woman really be deemed unselfish? Absolutely! Oprah is a classic example of this. Years back, she opened a beautiful school for young females. She gave unselfishly of her time, energy, and love to each of them. No, I haven’t opened a school, but I do give my time, energy, and love to volunteer work that I know benefits others, young girls and the like. 

So, while I don’t have millions. Oprah and I do have more things in common, than even I realized. We both have made the decision to put on our empty carriage t-shirt, so to speak, and wear it out in a society where being childless by choice is still unthinkable.

Isn’t that how dreams are accomplished? Doing the unthinkable?


About the Author
Marian L. Thomas
is the award-winning author of the new book: Living The Empty Carriage Way of Life, see here.
She is a dynamic story-teller with five engaging novels to her credit. Her books have been seen on national television stations such as, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Ovation and the A&E Network. She has been featured in print magazines, newspapers and a guest on many broadcast and online radio stations.

Her latest title, "Blue Butterfly" recently scored top honors as one of the 2014 USA BEST BOOK AWARDS Fiction/ African-American Finalist. Each of her contemporary fiction books have reached a bestseller position on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Visit the Author's Website: http://www.marianlthomas.com  

 

 

 



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.”


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 

 

 


How to Get Out of Debt
Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free Revised
by Harrine Freeman

Do you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck, stop harassing creditor calls, get out of debt or increase your credit score? Do you have a financial advisor or financial coach? Well now, you can be your own financial advisor. The fastest way to your financial success is getting advice from someone who has experienced the same financial issues you are going through – losing a job, considering filing for bankruptcy, working two jobs, bad credit, debt, repossession, and more. 

I was once $19,000 in debt only making $21,000 a year and was successfully able to get myself out of debt without filing for bankruptcy. Each day you procrastinate is one more day you go deeper into debt and one more day closer to legal action being taken against you. 

My book, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free will give you new insight, a plan for managing your finances and provide clarity on how to improve your financial situation. Credit affects several aspects of your life and is used for employment so it is critical that you maintain good credit. Credit should be used as a secondary not a primary form of payment. 

You will learn how to repair your credit for free and get out of debt without filing for bankruptcy or going to a credit counseling agency. The book includes: strategies to increase your credit score, methods to get out of debt, practical ways to manage your money, sample letters to fix errors on your credit report, sample letters to negotiate with creditors, financial worksheets, financial tools and much more!


Book Reviews for How to Get Out of Debt

"Like many Americans, Harrine Freeman, has been through credit difficulties. But not only has she turned her situation around, she has gone on to help others do the same with her straightforward guide to better credit, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating For Free. Her book is here at a time when so many people need this kind of help." 
--Gerri Detweiler, consumer advocate and author of The Ultimate Credit Handbook


"How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating For Free by Harrine Freeman is full of practical advice on where to file complaints, sample letters, spending plan spreadsheets, statute of limitations time periods, and much more. For the past five years, Ms. Freeman has been the CEO of a credit repair and money management company, so she knows what she is talking about".
-- Alan Caruba, Editor, Bookviews.com

“This is a must read…that will empower readers to reevaluate their spending habits and become focused on securing their financial future”.
-- Books2Mention Magazine


"When I first opened it, I sighed, wondering how it could be any different from the advertisements that come on after hours, promising all the information in the world for just $19.95, and offering you no more than what you already knew and never implemented. As you can tell from the review, I have struggled from undergraduate debt; I know this merry go round well. Three hours later, I had devoured Ms. Freeman's guide, tucking it on my shelf of "very necessary day-to-day living" reading. No doubt, folks, this one is a keeper".
-- Read Zone Book Reviewers


I have read several books on this subject, and this is the first one that actually offers a reasonable and achievable solution. Harrine Freeman talks about the ‘grand scheme’ but actually uses small and attainable goals. Essentially you can ‘Nickel and dime’ your way out of debt. 
-- Simon Barrett, Author Blogger News Network


Chapter Excerpt: How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free Revised 

The country experienced another financial crisis in October 2013 - the government shutdown which lasted for 2 ½ weeks causing approximately 800,000 employees to be furloughed. The shutdown also affected small business owners, contractors, consultants, social service companies or nonprofits that receive federal funding, social service programs, and state governments. 

We can no longer depend on the government for assistance. As individuals we must take accountability for our actions. We spend the most money per person/family than all the others countries in the world. We have become so obsessed with things and using credit that we have become addicted to shopping. No one would ever admit to it but we have. 

What happened to the days when you only purchased items that you could afford? These are the things our parents and grand-parents are familiar with. If you wanted to buy a home you had to save your money for a down payment and have a really good credit score otherwise you would be quickly escorted out the doors of the bank for wasting their time. 

Money can make people do crazy things. A major factor of the mortgage industry failure was due to greed. I would like to ask Wall Street and the mortgage and banking industry professionals, was it worth it, was the greed and fraud used to make millions of dollars’ worth it. No, it was not. The saying “an honest day’s work for an honest pay” no longer applies to America. Other countries now look down on us and laugh. Our country is the butt of many jokes.

It is disappointing that a catastrophic event like the recession and government shutdown had to occur to bring the country back to reality. Unfortunately, some Americans are still in denial about their financial situation and are holding on for dear life to their “things”. If you own a home, car, boat or investment property and can’t bear the thought of losing it because you can’t afford to make the payments. Stop, take a deep breath and just let it go – let go and rid yourself of the stress, headache, heartache, worry and anxiety of trying to figure out how to make the payments or catch up on payments you have missed. Losing “things” should not make you feel sad, depressed or angry. Losing “things” should teach you a valuable lesson – things have no value, but your life does so live your life to the fullest. 

Do things that have value such as community service, spending time with you family, getting an education, learning a new skill or hobby, starting a business that provides a desperately needed service, and focusing on what’s really important - knowing yourself and loving yourself. No matter what method you choose to change your lifestyle and spending habits you must make a permanent lifestyle change. 

( Continued... )

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


Purchase How to Get Out of Debt: Get an a Credit Rating for Free 
http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Out-Debt-ebook/dp/B004KKXR5Q 

 

Meet the Author
Harrine Freeman
is an authority on personal finance. She is a financial counselor, CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises and Author of "How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free," a self-help book that provides a step-by-step plan on how to get out of debt, increase credit scores and plan for the future. 

She has impacted the lives of thousands through speaking engagements and counseling. She helps client's prepare for financial freedom, by providing useful advice to steer clients in the right direction. 

She is a member of Credit Professionals International, American Association of Daily Money Managers, American Association of Individual Investors and National Speakers Association. 

Harrine has been featured in: Featured in Market Watch, Wall Street Journal, Forbes,The Washington Post, NASDAQ, Huffington Post, MSN Money, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Ebony, Woman’s Day magazines. 

 

 

 

 


Daughter of the Game III: Burning Waters 
by KAI

When animosity rains down like lava spewing from a volcano, even the Waters can't extinguish the fire!
Ricardo's twisted plans to snatch the Waters' empire from Armand have create unexpected results. While Pete executes his final plan, Armand is left gathering the remains of TW2: Monique and Michelle. As secrets tumble out, the Waters wage a battle that might cost them everything. This time, it's every man and woman for themselves. Game Over.


Excerpt: Daughter of the Game III: Burning Waters


Monique's phone vibrated. It was her study alarm. She glanced around the room. The sun was fading. Armand was still knocked out asleep.  Monique looked at his body. There were two new tattoos. He had turned on his side, and the silhouette of his mother, grandmother and sister, were still there.  She moved closer, noticing that he had another new tattoo on his back. It was a roaring wave, crashing into the sea shore like an explosion. Waters. It was a monument to being with the Waters.  Armand was part of the circle, too. He was part of her strength and protection also.  She leaned in closer, careful not to touch him, her eyes following the intricate detail of the water exploding on his back. Suddenly, he shouted in his sleep. The sound was deep and painful. Monique jumped back, expecting him to yell at her for being so close. But he wasn’t awake. She watched as he coughed and clenched his fists. Monique had forgotten about his nightmares, about how vivid they were, so much so that he would start fighting and she would have to jump out of the bed to keep from being pummeled. She had been accidentally elbowed more than once.

Monique started to return to her chair when he shouted again, this time screaming out in agony. The sound made her spin around and look at him, wondering what he was reliving that was so awful. Tears ran down his face. Armand didn’t cry awake. In fact, his eyes were always dry. But, in his sleep, he flinched, shouted and cried. Crying meant the nightmare was an emotional one, not a survival one. He wouldn’t throw blows tonight. But he would shake, clench, moan and be in turmoil. The fighting ones were better for her to endure, at least they didn’t show how much pain Armand was really in, deep down within him.  The tears on his cheeks made her feel so sad. Whatever he was dreaming, Monique didn’t want to ever experience it. Whatever made his eyebrows twitch, his lips curl and his jaw clench was something she knew she couldn’t handle.

He flinched again, clenching his fist, and shouted, “No…please, no.”

Monique grabbed him, laying down next to him and wrapping her arms around him. “It’s okay, Army. I’m here. It's all right.”

After a couple of minutes he relaxed. She held on to him, rubbing his back.  Monique couldn’t help herself. She kissed his cheek, the taste of his tears on her lips. His eyes opened and met hers, but they were blank. His mind wasn’t there, it was still in the dream world. She wiped his face and kissed his forehead. She rubbed his arm. “It’s okay, Army. I’m here.”

He focused on her. She could tell when reality came back to him and the black pupils actually registered her. For an awful second, Monique thought that he was going to send her back to the chair. He flinched. A second later, he relaxed. As her lips brushed his cheek, he sighed. He shook his head, as if he wanted to stop himself, but then he let go. She felt his entire body relax against her. Armand lifted her up, slowly and gently, and wrapped her in his arms, holding her tightly. He tucked her body into his, pressed his lips against her neck, and fell back to sleep.

This time his breathing was steady, no ragged, jarring snores. This time the eyebrows were relaxed instead of furrowed, his jaw was slack instead of gritted.  This time his sleep was peaceful.

Monique lay awake as long as she could and swore to remember each and every second of feeling his heartbeat against hers. Being with Armand was more than a notion, it was a privilege. When someone so guarded actually allowed a window to their soul, it was an honor. Monique had taken that lightly, so used to being around warriors with steel cages walled around their emotions. But, she realized in the split second when he looked at her and let her kiss him, let her rub him, and allowed himself to yield to her, that loving him was a gift that she would never again undervalue. 

( Continued... )

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


Purchase Daughter of the Game III: Burning Waters  

(Book 3 in Daughter of the Game Series)



About the Author
KAI
is the author of the critically acclaimed Daughter of the Game series (Daughter of the Game I, II, III and Prequel) and The Loudest Silence. KAI's story Twisted Loyalty is featured in Gutta Mamis, published by Strebor in the Streetz (Simon and Schuster). She is also a contributing author to Solo Shivers and That Good Grind by Wilson.

She is a nationally recognized poet and was named AAMBC's 2013 Poet of the Year for her Peaceful Resolution collection. Her poem Pre-Destiny, was featured in the April 2008 issue of Essence Magazine.

KAI has served as a Guest Reviewer for RAWSISTAWZ Reviewers. An alumni of Hampton University, SUNY Brockport and Georgetown University Law Center, she is a licensed attorney in two states and a proud parent.
Books by Kai on Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/kai 

 

 

 

 


The Dog Catcher 
by Lloyd Johnson

The Dog Catcher is the story about Cheryl Greene’s choices in men, and how those choices dismantle her life. She’s someone to root for because her intentions are good. She doesn’t dive into drama just for drama’s sake. There is a lot of growth in her arc. She's a woman most can identify with, in her struggles. 

Plez Jackson is evil personified, though that isn’t what we see when we meet him. But he is beguiling enough to make this woman lose herself to him. He has a method to stripping Cheryl down. Plus, his brutality, anger and unpredictability keeps the reader on edge. Plez is a villain that many women have known. He stays with you long after the last page is turned.

Cheryl Green thinks she's found perfection in sexy Plez Jackson. But she soon finds what she thinks is perfection...is hardly that!  Can she teach this DOG new tricks?  Or will she leave him where she found him, wagging his tail?


Chapter One: The Dog Catcher by Lloyd Johnson

Let me go ahead and put it out there; men are ridiculous. Worse than that, they’re dogs. They all start biting sooner or later.  All the men in my life have been dogs. My daddy, dog number one, is probably the grandfather of all hounds. He finally stopped beating my mama when I turned 15, around the time we moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, from Jackson, Mississippi.

Mama got a job as a surgical tech at Mount Sinai Hospital, but Daddy could barely hold a job that first year. Instead, he spent his days at some bar, usually the Spruce, chasing butt. Not a day went by that Mama and us kids weren’t finding some strange woman’s earrings or watch in the car. One time I found some lady’s nasty panties underneath the car seat. After awhile, Mama stopped letting on that she knew what was happening, even though we knew she knew. She was from that generation where marriage really was, “Till death do us part.” But that meant putting up with all the bullshit in between.

I don’t know how she made it through all of that. Maybe it was her faith in God. She believed that everything was possible through Him. Yeah, everything but my daddy keeping his pants zipped.

By the time I turned 16, I’d had enough. Mama kept turning her head to what was going on, and Daddy wasn’t even trying to hide the women he was laying up with.

I got so fed up, I wanted to ask Mama why she didn’t leave him. At that point she was practically supporting us all by herself, so it’s not like she needed him for anything. But I knew she’d say that I needed to stay in a child’s place. That’s one of the things I hated about my mama. She never took the time to explain anything. If she told you to do something, you couldn’t ask why, because she would just say, “Because I said so, damn it!”

When my body first started changing, I don’t think she even took the time to explain what I was going through, or what I could expect. The day I first got my period, I was scared. I didn’t know why there was blood in my panties. When I told her, all she said was, “Oh, you’re startin’ to get your service once a month.” Then she went into the closet and fished out a pad and said, “Here, use that.”

Daddy had been getting paid under the table, working as a second-rate fix-it-man around the neighborhood, but finally got a real job unloading trucks downtown. I was just as glad because instead of him being home all day, telling me how no good I was, he’d work all day and hang out at the bar all night. But when he was liquored-up I’d hear it.

One night, I got up to get a drink of water from the kitchen. When I went downstairs I overheard Daddy telling Mama how I had all kinds of boyfriends. “Ain’t you noticed anything different about your daughter?” Daddy asked, deep in the booze.

“Which daughter you talkin’ about, Joshua? Cheryl or Marva?”

“I’m talkin’ about Cheryl. You don’t see nothin’ wrong with her wearin’ all that makeup?”

“Well, she’s gettin’ to that age, Joshua. She don’t wear nothin’ but a little lip rouge,” Mama said.

“She’s gonna be a tramp. You mark my words,” Daddy said, taking another swig of booze.

I snuck back upstairs and went to the bathroom to run my hand under the faucet and drink some water. Then I got into bed and cried myself to sleep, because it was sad to live under the same roof with folks who were supposed to be family, and yet they didn’t even know me. If my parents had taken the time to ask me, they would’ve known there was only one person I cared about; dog number two, and his name was Diallo Washington.

 ( Continued... )


*NOTE* The following excerpt has been modified from its original text and is suitable for general audiences.

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


Purchase The Dog Catcher by Lloyd Johnson
Watch the video book review by Bondy Blue, go here.

http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Catcher-Lloyd-Johnson/dp/0990432432  
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dog-catcher-lloyd-johnson/1110155407  

 

 


Tricks for a Trade 
by Lloyd Johnson

How far would you go to get what you want?

After receiving an indecent proposal, Armando must decide if he's willing to do anything in the name of love. Or, will his girlfriend's insecurities about his past drive him away for good?

Tired of living under his wife's shadow, Gary is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Can he go the distance? Or, will his wife's ambition ruin them both?

Cabrien falls in love with his client, a man who knows how to pull everyone's strings. But Cabrien makes a discovery that threatens to destroy the lives of those involved!

Everyone has an angle, and deception and manipulation are the laws of the land. In a time of instant gratification, TRICKS FOR A TRADE asks: Does the end always justify the means?


Chapter One: Tricks for a Trade  


Friday, June 6, 2008

5:40 AM


“You on your period, now? Really?” Karen turned her back to Armando in bed. He didn’t know why she would even bother telling that lie. Was a time when I’d bring the thunder in the bedroom, and ol’ girl would be so tired, she couldn’t fuss or ask a lot of questions, he thought to himself. Now, Armando was getting nonsense excuses AND no sex. He wondered if he was losing his touch.

Karen wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous, but she was cute to look at. Medium brown, with long-lashed, warm eyes. She kept her hair done--always permed and together. None of that new-growth-busting-through stuff.

There was a gap between her two front teeth, but it didn’t make her teeth look wrecked. You had the feeling her smile wouldn’t have been as beautiful if she ever got her teeth fixed. God must’ve skipped out on her in the self-esteem department, though. It seemed like everyone but Karen knew she was a good woman. Sure, she’d tell you that she was, but it’s not like she really believed it. Every time Armando stroked her hair, he was stroking her ego. He was a good man who’d found his good woman. He was just waiting on her to believe it too.

“So, I guess I can’t get none before work, huh?” Armando asked, his thick arms crossed, his gray eyes seductive.

She sat up in the bed, intentionally allowing the bed sheet to fall. “Boy, you better stop playing with me,” she said, unfazed by his eyes’ magic. She’d seen them before.

Armando jumped from the bed and stared at Karen with both anger and lust in his eyes.

Determined to remain strong she asked, “Have you given any more thought to what we talked about?”

“Karen, don’t start that again, all right?”

“No, Armando. I’m going to keep on it. I’m getting tired of hearing my mama suck her teeth, telling me how I’m living in sin.” 

“I don’t know why you gotta tell your mama everything in the first place,” he said.

“Because she’s my mama!”

“Oh, please. Y’all don’t even get along.”

“Don’t try and change the subject,” Karen said, shaking her always well-manicured hands and rolling her neck. “When are we getting married?”

“I gotta go to work.”

“Yeah, that’s right. Take your black ass to work. But we ain’t finished with this conversation. Believe that. But I know one thing; I better not find out that you’re sleeping with some other woman, Armando. Because if you are, you better take a good look down below, baby.”

“What, you’re gonna go Lorena Bobbitt on me?” he asked with a chuckle, trying to lighten the mood.

“Hell yeah. But in your case, they won’t find it in no bushes.”

“Why is it every time you hear something you don’t like, I gotta be messing around?”

Karen didn’t care how many times he claimed his whoring days were over. He hadn’t proposed to her yet, so he must be out laying every female who would let him. She gave him the iciest of stares, her arms folded, like she was expecting a full confession to some bogus stuff he’d been doing.

Instead, Armando went to the bathroom; his jet stream of piss turned the toilet water yellow as Karen stood in the doorway. Her words began sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher’s “Wah wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah!”

Armando flushed the toilet, hearing her say, “Enough of the dumb stuff!” He slammed the door in her face, which was met with angry pounding. He locked the door and turned on the shower, jumping in quickly. She didn’t deserve his thunder anyway.

After his shower, Karen had quieted down. But he wasn’t going to risk starting her up again, so he avoided eye contact and put on his underwear, undershirt, black work pants, and white golf shirt in record speed. Karen sat on the side of her bed with her back toward him.

Karen had told him a thousand times--she felt used and abused. He got it. And he was sorry she felt that way, but it wasn’t going to change who he was. He did want to marry her…someday. But since leaving home at eighteen to get away from his mother and her boyfriend drama, he’d been in survival mode, always thinking, “Be loyal to yourself. Everything and everyone else comes after.” Freedom pulsed through his blood, and Armando wasn’t ready to give that up.

Why couldn’t she just relax and enjoy the orgasms he put on her? But maybe that was the problem. Maybe she wasn’t strong enough to handle it. It spun her around and left her all out of breath…and paranoid. 

Armando walked up to Karen, kissing her on the side of her temple. “I’ll call you later,” he said.

“Whatever.”

He left for work, not feeling too badly about any of it. She was twenty-seven, just like him. They were both grown and she knew how he was. Armando had to do things on his own timetable. He had told her that a thousand times.

( Continued... )


*NOTE* The following excerpt has been modified from its original text and is suitable for general audiences. 
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Lloyd Johnson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 


Purchase Tricks for a Trade by Lloyd Johnson


http://www.amazon.com/Tricks-Trade-Lloyd-Johnson/dp/0990432408 
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tricks-for-a-trade-lloyd-johnson/1120828795  

 


 


Justin's Body of Work 
by Janice L. Dennie


A Woman in Denial
Ashley Jacobs relishes in providing her customers with a soothing and healing environment at her day spa in the Silverado area of Napa Valley. She maintains her even temper and peace of mind, avoiding anger at all costs. But when she faces a vicious lawsuit, from someone she least suspects, her peace of mind comes to a complete halt.

A Modern Day Knight
Justin Underwood is a successful attorney with a stellar resume and a body of work that consists of winning civil rights cases for the disenfranchised. The moment he hears Ashley’s sultry voice and feels her gentle touch, he finds comfort simply by being in her presence. He becomes hopelessly drawn to the siren with the sexy bedroom eyes. 

But Ashley has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. After taking her case, he watches her coast along, with her head in the clouds, turning a blind eye to the facts of her lawsuit. Can Justin get Ashley to commit to him, and open her eyes to the facts surrounding her lawsuit? Can Ashley overcome her family’s secret that prevents her future happiness?

Order your copy today!

http://www.amazon.com/Justins-Body-Work-Underwoods-Valley-ebook/dp/B00U54S8IC 



THE UNDERWOOD’S OF NAPA VALLEY SERIES 

The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting their families. The matriarch of the family, Henrietta Underwood, has dubbed each one of her five grandchildren with a character trait. 

As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.” He’s protective of his family and environment, and stays busy running his family’s winery. Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. Justin Underwood is “the strong one.” He’s the hotshot civil rights attorney who carries his family with his strength in the court of law. He fights, in court, to protect the woman he loves. 

But, Ashley Jacobs, has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series takes place in a romantic setting that enhances love, passion and relationships, and changes personalities forever.


CHAPTER 1
Unedited Book Excerpt: ARC version


Ashley Jacobs drove her Mazda Miata convertible in the warm morning sun humming to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. She was happy because she’d just read an online review in the Napa Register News about her spa. Ashley’s Day Spa in Napa Valley is a hidden jewel that provides its customers with a tranquil and healing environment to rest and rejuvenate.

Her day spa was a jewel because she trained her employees to create a peaceful and harmonious environment at work. She taught them to approach customers with an even-tempered attitude, at all costs.

Ashley drove up the circular driveway and listened in horror as Christina, her female masseuse, and India, her top hair stylist, argued with voices so loud that she could hear them from her car.

Ashley entered her spa through the elegant glass doors and stopped at the receptionist desk. The arguing immediately stopped.

“What’s the matter Chris?” Ashley asked her best friend in a soothing voice.

“India is calling me names.” Christina held her hands on her hips.

Ashley placed her briefcase and purse on the reception desk and walked over to Christina. Taking her by the hand, Ashley led Christina to the massage chairs in the manicure room.

“Have a seat Chris. I want to talk to you.”

Ashley and Christina met each other in middle school when both of their father’s served in Desert Storm, and a time in their lives, when they were both awkward tweens. When they turned sixteen, Ashley had developed into a beautiful young woman, but Christina developed into a unattractive young woman with bad skin, that she concealed with heavy makeup. 

“India come and have a seat with me. I want to talk to you.” Ashley took India by the hand and led her to the massage chairs in the manicure room. She sat between the two women.

“This is a place of healing. Our priority here is to provide our customers with a peaceful and relaxing environment, so we cannot have any arguing.”

“But Christina is always flirting with every man that walks through the door.” India barked out.

“This wouldn’t have anything to do with the new barber I just hired, would it?”

“That’s what this is all about,” India said. “Christina is already dating the man.”

Christina gave India a cool look. “You’re just mad because he didn’t ask you out.”

“Ashley’s Spa has standards of conduct. I had gone over all of that with both of you before you started working here. I’ll remind you again that arguing in this establishment is off-limits. If you two must argue, wait until you are off work and away from these premises. Do you both understand me?”

Christina turned away and inspected her nails. India nodded and turned her face away from Christina.

Ashley’s voice had a soothing effect on them.

“Now, while both of you are at work, I expect you to respect each other. No cursing or gossiping or loud voices. Why don’t you both come into the kitchen and have a cup of chamomile tea with me? There are some positive things that I want you to know about each other.”

The two women acted cordially toward each other in front of Ashley, but Christina cut her eyes at India, giving her an evil look, indicating that this fight was not over. Ashley put the entire incident behind her. She shared her thoughts on some of their positive attributes over a cup of tea. After the discussion, both women went back to their workstations, with a better attitude.

Ashley walked into her office and sat down at her desk. She twisted in her chair thinking about the changes she wanted to make to expand her spa. She wanted to add three more workstations, two more shampoo bowls, two hair dryers and another massage room in the back of the spa near the whirlpool.

An hour later, a man delivered an envelope requiring a signature to Amara, the receptionist, and water therapist.

“I need a signature for this letter.”

Amara looked at the letter and thought it looked important. “Please wait while I get the owner.”

Ashley came out and signed the letter. After opening it, she saw that it was a personal injury lawsuit naming Ashley’s Spa as the defendant and Kimberly Lewis as the plaintiff suffering from a neck injury caused by a massage at the spa. 

She and Christina were the only masseuses at the spa. Ashley’s mouth went dry. She tried to remember, but the plaintiff’s name didn’t ring a bell. She’d never met a client named Kimberly Lewis. She picked up the appointment book and took it with her to her office.

“Everything okay?” Amara’s eyes clung to Ashley when she removed the appointment book.

“I’ll bring it back. I want to check something.” Ashley walked away from Amara. “I’ll be in my office if anyone needs me.”

Ashley sat silently for a long time on her white leather sofa in her office. She had a tendency to bottle up her feelings, in an effort to remain even-tempered. Crossing her legs, she leaned back and continued to read the document. She saw that the plaintiff was claiming damages in the amount of $250,000.


( Continued... )

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


Purchase Justin's Body of Work by Janice L. Dennie
The Underwood's of Napa Valley Book 2



About the Author
Veteran author, JANICE L. DENNIE, has returned with a heartwarming new romance set in California’s lush Napa Valley. Kenton’s Vintage Affair, book 1 in the Underwood’s of Napa Valley series, introduces the reader to the fictitious Underwood family, owners of a successful winery in Napa Valley. Justin's Body of Work (The Underwood's of Napa Valley Book 2) will be available on May 15, 2015. 

Janice began her her writing career in 1997 with her debut novel, The Lion of Judah. Her second novel, Moon Goddess Queen of Sheba, was published in August 1999.

Janice was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Northern California. After graduating from college, she began working for a federal agency. However, writing has always been her passion. Janice services her community through various charities, and non-profit organizations. She currently writes full-time and lives in Northern California with her family.

Visit Janice's website at:  www.janicedennie.com 
Find her books here: www.amazon.com/Janice-L.-Dennie/e/B000APUISO 

 

 

 

 



WHAT’S SO ROMANTIC ABOUT NAPA VALLEY? 
By Janice L. Dennie

JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK, Book 2,  in The Underwood's of Napa Valley series  is scheduled to be released on May 15, 2015.   I decided to describe the wine country for those who have never heard of Napa Valley. It is a region in Northern California filled with vineyards, wineries, fine restaurants, quaint bed and breakfasts, spas, boutiques and art galleries. 

The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting their families. The matriarch of the family, Henrietta Underwood, wants to marry off all five of her adult grandchildren to loving spouses. She has dubbed each one with a character trait. As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.” He’s protective of his family and environment, and stays busy running his family’s winery. Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. 

The next brother, Justin Underwood is “the strong one.” He’s the passionate civil rights attorney, a modern day knight in shining armor, who fights to protect the woman he loves in the court of law. But, Ashley Jacobs, has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. There are three more siblings in the series who have their stories to tell. 

The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series takes a look at a family that enhances love and relationships in the wine country, and changes personalities forever.

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



 

 


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 by Janice L. Dennie
Listen to the author reading from the book:
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 
Contemporary African American Romance
Print or eBook:   http://amzn.com/B00NS4KW0I 

 

 

 

 


Hate the Air: The Abbreviated Life of Shea Kennedy 
by RM Johnson


HATE THE AIR is a combination of Sci-fi, Dystopia, Mystery, Romance, Action and Adventure. This exciting, speculative, story asks: what would you do if you could only live until your twentieth birthday?

The world’s air became toxic two decades ago. All who have breathed it over that duration have died in the last four months, leaving only those under twenty years old alive. Their parents, guardians and all other influential adults are dead. The new adults scramble to forge a new life and protect themselves against starvation, home invasion, crime, rape and murder.

Seventeen year old Jenna Sawyer, daughter of the deceased President of the United States, was recently elected the new commander in chief under the Legacy Appointment Act—a law passed before the last of the White House cabinet members died, stating: individuals twenty years old and below will be responsible for keeping order, educating our children, caring for our population, defending our nation against threat and preserving humanity. In order for her to manage that task, President Jenna Sawyer asked the remaining living population to come to D.C. to develop a plan for a new world order.

Meanwhile, Shea Kennedy, newly elected Legacy Sheriff and best friend of the president, gathers the last survivors of her small town, her police dog, Tornado, and they start the perilous journey across hundreds of miles to the capital. Even though they resent Shea's authority, the caravan hopes to arrive before any of them reaches the age of twenty and succumbs to the air. 


Excerpt from HATE THE AIR


I stepped into the open door of the house. I saw no signs of a break-in: the living room hadn’t been ransacked: no furniture upended, cushions knifed open, legs torn off end tables, or lamps broken like cracked egg shells on the carpet. It was the opposite: books lay neatly on the coffee table, burned down candles sat beside them, pocket change: pennies, dimes and a quarter were spread nearby. The kitchen was clean: no trash overflowing in the corner pail. But the cabinet doors hung open. Inside of them there was nothing. 

I climbed the stairs, stopped in the second floor hallway, surrounded by four doors, all of them closed. I reached to open one, heard movement behind another, spun and with a grunt, kicked it open. The shadow of a boy rummaging through drawers whirled around, and in the splash of flashlight, I saw the gun as it was turned on me. 

“Don’t do it. I’ll shoot!” I cried, my voice tense, high pitched, terrified. The 
flashlight beam bounced around his body and face, the thing trembling uncontrollable in my hand. He wore dark pants, a sweater and a ski mask pulled over his head. 

“Whatever you have, put it down now!” I demanded.

“Who are you?”

“Sheriff!” I said, trying to sound authoritative. 

“Legacy?” He scoffed. 

“Freakin sheriff!” I said, again, jabbing my gun at him. “Put it down now or I’ll—“ before I could finish, I felt an excruciating pain shoot through my skull, shudder down my spine, dropping me to the floor. Movement around me, I felt someone step over me, wrench my gun from my hand. My flashlight lay somewhere on the floor, casting a tall, oblong, light circle in the corner of the room. Within it stood the stretched shadow of the boy who had knocked me over the head from behind. He grinned, pulled his bandana down, revealing yellow crooked teeth. 

“You about to say you was gonna shoot my friend?” The boy asked, pressing the side of his gun to my head. 

I raised my palms, expecting to die, and thinking how disappointed Dad would’ve been if he could see me now. “Please,” I begged.

“It’s a little late for that,” he said, grinning wider, dragging the tip of the gun down my face, pressing it against my cheek so hard I cried out. 

“Stop!” The boy I had snuck up on, said. “We’re not here to kill. Food is all we need. Besides, she’s the sheriff.”

The boy with the ugly grin looked harder at me. A glint of flashlight caught the point of a star on my badge. He reached down to snatch it. I grabbed his hand before he could tear it off of me, fought him for it, was ready to die before I let him take it. 

“Leave it!” the boy wearing the black mask ordered. 

He came up behind Yellow Grin, yanked him off of me, pointed his gun at me, while holding out his palm to his partner, gesturing for him to hand over my gun. He ejected the magazine, the bullet in the chamber and pushed both into his pocket, then threw my gun across the room. He handed the bag of stolen goods to his creepy friend and told him to take it outside. 

I stared at the boy through the eyeholes in his mask, watching him, wondering if he’d kill me. 

“Mother or father was a cop? Probably your hero, and you’re trying to do what they did,” he said, his gun still on me. “Right?”

My heart pounding, I couldn’t speak, could barely breath. 

“Things are different. No more heroes. Just people gagging in the street, and people who gonna gag in the street. Leave this place like everybody else, before you get yourself killed.” 

He shoved his gun in the waist of his pants, turned, left me on the floor, shaking, terrified of moving until I heard the downstairs door slam shut. I rolled on my belly, shimmied across the carpet, grabbed my flashlight then found my gun. 

Downstairs, I stepped out on the porch, shielded my eyes against the piercing sunlight. Tornado barked frantically at me as though he knew I had acted stupidly—almost got myself killed trying to defend an empty house. 

“Shhh, boy. Shhh!” I told him. 

I climbed on my bike, kick-started the engine, about to pull off, when the realization that I had almost died hit me hard. Tears came to my eyes and with both gloved fists, I started hitting the bike’s dented gas tank, screaming as Tornado barked louder. “Why would you leave me with this? Why would you think I could do it? Why, Dad?” I cried.

I hammered the tank over and over until my hands ached, finally lowering them on the dented metal. I stayed like that, stretched over the bike until I could stop crying. 

Tornado had gone silent, too. I looked at him. He stared back, his head tilted to a side as if to say, now that you got that out of your system, can we please go?

I smiled a little, wiped my face and sat up straight on the bike. Glancing upward, I said, “Sorry Dad, for acting like a little girl. Won’t happen again, okay.”

I pulled down my goggles, toed the Harley into gear then sped off. 


( Continued... )

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

New Adult Fiction -  Hate the Air: The Abbreviated Life of Shea Kennedy
Link: http://amzn.com/B00WQ3M9AI





 

 


A Sad Soul Can Kill You 
by Catherine Flowers 

Sequel to Yesterday's Eyes


After reconciling with her mother and grandmother, Tia Sparks has made a new life in Chicago with Lorenzo, her husband of thirteen years. Still, overcoming the trials and tribulations from her past has not prepared her for this latest set of disheartening challenges.

Lorenzo has been harboring a secret for years and it’s threatening to physically destroy him. It’s turning him into a man that Tia no longer recognizes. With her frustrations continuing to mount, Tia makes a decision that she quickly finds herself regretting. 

Serenity, their thirteen year old daughter, struggles to find her place amidst her own low self-esteem and the distance of her parents. With nowhere to turn, she makes an irrational choice that places her directly in the path of an unstable neighbor.

Soon all of them begin to realize the high price they must pay for their discontentment, and Lorenzo fights to relinquish the nightmare he’s been holding onto.

With God all things are possible. But can each of them find redemption and deliverance before a marriage is destroyed and lives are changed forever?

Excerpt from A Sad Soul Can Kill You

Tia pulled the hood of her coat on top of her head and got out of her car. She shuddered as she moved swiftly up to the door. She stopped to catch a glimpse of herself in the reflection of the large office window. The white fur that trimmed the hood of her coat made her think of the storybook character, Little Red Riding Hood . . . only Tia wasn’t going to Grandma’s house. 

Just as she put the key in the lock, the door swung open and Scamp, the nickname she’d given him, stood before her.

“Hello,” Scamp said expectantly.

She smiled nervously as she entered the sparsely furnished room. The only source of light was an old bronze lamp mounted on the wall. Its silhouette cast an indistinguishable shadow over the built-in desk below it. A chair accompanied the desk, along with a queen-size bed as the room’s only décor. Tia noticed a Bible prominently displayed on the center of the desk, and she quickly looked away.

Scamp closed the door behind her as a feeling of disappointment slowly began to creep into her. She hadn’t expected to walk into a luxurious suite, but she’d expected a little bit more than these shabby surroundings.

He removed her coat, throwing it across the chair. She smoothed the layered sections of her hair down with the palm of her hand and looked around the room again. She sighed heavily. This room was little more than a meeting place for—

“I’ve missed you,” Scamp said as he gave her a big hug.

He hovered a full eight inches over her five foot four-inch frame, and Tia closed her eyes and let her head rest on the center of his chest. She allowed herself to enjoy the pleasure of his embrace, and the light, airy scent of cologne that wafted from his shirt made her forget the disappointment she’d felt when she’d first walked into the room.

She remembered how they’d first met right after the New Year—a little over a month ago.

“Excuse me,” Scamp had said to her while she had been picking through a bushel of apples in the produce section of the grocery store, “don’t you live on Cooper Circle?”

She’d looked up, startled by his approach. She had been prepared to brush him off when she looked into his hazel eyes, and whatever she was going to say disappeared from her thoughts.

“The cul-de-sac,” he’d said. “I live one house down from the entrance. I’ve seen you driving by on occasion. You have a daughter, right?”

At first she’d been hesitant to answer since she wasn’t in the habit of divulging her personal information to every stranger who approached her. “Yes,” she’d finally answered.

She remembered how awkward she’d felt just standing there talking to him. Now she couldn’t decide which felt more awkward—standing before him in the grocery store or standing alone with him in this room with her head resting on his chest.

She remembered inhaling the sweet scent of his cologne he’d had on in the store; it was the same scent he wore now, and she should have known then that she might be in trouble. . . 


( Continued... )

© 2015 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. 


Purchase A Sad Soul Can Kill You by Catherine Flowers 
http://www.amazon.com/Sad-Soul-Can-Kill-You/dp/1622868056




About the Author
Catherine Flowers
is the creator of www.freefrombondage.com, a Christian blog where she shares the word of Christ through her encouraging words and experiences. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys writing on-line content for multiple websites as well as editing the creative works of others. Her leisure activities include reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. A Sad Soul Can Kill You is her second novel. 

To learn more about the author, please visit www.freefrombondage.com or e-mail her at authorcatherineflowers@aol.com. You can also contact her on Facebook: Author Catherine Flowers 

 

 


Heart Breaker by Briana Cole

Sexy and voluptuous, Jayla Morgan believes a woman can hook any man as long as you have "the right bait". The fact that Jayla IS the right bait, puts her in a dangerous position. Managing a profitable and successful business as a Heart Breaker and labeled a borderline prostitute by her family, Jayla does all she can to ignore the death threats of disgruntled lovers, while trying to secure a love life of her own. 

Unfortunately, success has its consequences and all that Jayla has managed to conceal may cause her to leave the luxurious lifestyle behind. But before Jayla can taste happiness, she has to untangle the dangerous web of twisted lies and deception she’s weaved. However, when Jayla’s scandalous ways are exposed, what results is an orgasmic infusion of love and drama beyond her wildest dreams. Readers beware!


Chapter Excerpt: Heart Breaker by Briana Cole


Jayla leaned in closer, pushing her body against him. She glanced at his full lips, then back up to his eyes.

“You want to take me home?” she whispered. She felt his body stiffen. Before he could pull away, she leaned in and pressed her lips against his.

Reggie snatched away. The abrupt withdrawal had Jayla stumbling to catch her balance.

“I…” A combination of fear and embarrassment tinted his face. “I’m sorry I--,”

“What’s wrong? I want you Reggie. You are so sexy and I want you. Don’t you want me?”

“I have a girlfriend,” he said. “This is wrong.”

Jayla hadn’t expected the confession and she bit her lip in consideration. Next move, next move. What to do? What to do?

His cell phone went off, slicing the sexual tension like a knife. He fumbled for the device before pulling it from his pocket. Wiping his lips, he answered, “Yeah?” He glanced back to the bar.

Jayla rolled her eyes. His friends were hating. Probably jealous she was all but throwing it at him all night and not them.

“I’m coming,” he said and hung up. Reggie looked at Jayla again and mumbled a short “get home safe” before turning and trekking it back across the parking lot.

She sighed. The regret was more than prominent in his voice. Fine. Next time she saw Reggie, she would pull the apology card. Weak, vulnerable… that would probably turn him on even more than the direct approach.

Jayla had just slid behind the wheel when her own phone rang. She already knew it was Heather before she picked up. “Hello?”

“How did it go?”

“It will be in my final report,” she said, exasperation bringing on a slight headache. “If you want to discuss details prior to that, remember it must be done in person.”

“I know, I’m sorry.” It was Heather’s turn to sigh. “I don’t know. I just. . . you’re right. Guess I just got a little anxious when Reggie didn’t come home and didn’t call.”

“I’m not done yet,” Jayla said. Pause.

“Ok, um…” It was too obvious she had something else to say.

“What is it?” Jayla prompted, slightly irritated. “Do you want me to stop?” Another pause.

Heather’s voice was soft as she spoke again. “Once you’re done and he doesn’t cheat with you, is it safe to say he passed?”

“I don’t think I understand the question,” Jayla said, frowning.

“Like, you can report he is faithful.”

“Um…” Jayla thought back a minute and had to stifle a smirk. Now that was funny. “I’ve yet to have that happen,” she admitted. “But I guess we’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it.”

Heather’s disappointed silence wanted to tug on her heart. The truth hurt, she knew. But it was a matter of choice. Either she wanted to know, or she didn’t. Simple as that.

When they hung up, Jayla laid her head back on the rest. Any man can be hooked. You just need the right bait. Jayla closed her eyes at the thought. She had proven the concept true thus far. It was only a matter of time.


( Continued... )

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


Purchase Heart Breaker by Briana Cole

Adult Spiceual Romance, Uncensored
Genre: Urban; Contemporary Erotica 
Link: http://amzn.com/1943174016  


About the Author

Briana Cole
is an Atlanta native and proud mother of two. Having graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2009, she immediately began working for the federal government. Briana enjoys acting and public speaking but writing is her first passion. She has coined the term 'spiceual' to describe her style of writing; a mix of spicy and sensual romance that stimulates the reader mentally, physically, and emotionally. Tired of reading the same type of books in the urban industry, Briana prides herself on bringing unique plots and a distinct voice to the bookshelves. Her debut novel, Heart Breaker, is only the beginning in, what Briana considers, ‘a new experience’ in African-American literature. Her motto and ultimate drive towards success is a famous quote from Mae West: "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." For more information on Briana Cole, please visit her website at www.brianacole.com.

 

 

 

 


Enough was Never Enough: A Novella
by Michelle Morgan Spady

Evelynn “Jade” Baxter, author and successful businesswoman, commands a crowd of young, urban, up-and-coming women. Jade's followers believe she is the epitome of success, but what they don’t know is Jade is haunted by her past. Despite her success, more than anything Jade wants to forget her painful past. Unfortunately for Jade, someone very close has no intentions of letting her forget her not so illustrious beginning. 

When her twin sister, Lynn Baxter, decides to expose Jade's past to her followers, she sets off an emotional roller coaster in Jade's life, as well as her own. To make matters worse, Lynn's cruelty could cause Jade to lose the man she loves. 


EXCERPT:  INNONCENCE TAKEN, STRENGTH GIVEN

Look at her, there she goes again. Always dressed to the nines, make that to the tens. It’s rare that you’ll find anything wrong with her, no one does. It’s her self-confidence and the way she just shows up. She enters a room with that big smile, head up, back straight and one long leg before the other. Even the right shade of panty hose. You can’t help but notice them as the bellman opens the door of that bright red, shiny, 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder, and she swings those legs out, tightly closed so that you never see what’s between them, or has been. Only those who’ve been there can testify to that, and boy would they have a story to tell. If thighs could talk.

That car is worth over $800,000, add a few options and you’re way over $900,000. True testament to what she’s pulling in nowadays for a salary. Her black six inch Jimmy Choo heels slowly hit the street, like a RG III pass to Desean Jackson or Pierre Garcon. Every strand of hair in place. No weave for her. Her salon attendant can attest to that. Why? Because she sees her once a week, and even more if she’s making an appearance that day. Like today, she had made a stop in her salon right before this appearance.

It’s obvious her favorite color must be red because the color is represented from her car to the soles of her Jimmy Choo shoes. Today it is the slim pencil black skirt and crisp white long sleeved blouse. Sleeves and collar turned up. Blouse tailored to fit her perfect size eight top, just as the skirt hugs her 24 inch waist and 34 inch bottom. Even the jewelry is carefully selected. Never too much to let the public know how really well she is doing, but just enough to make the statement that she wants for nothing. Chanel earrings, Michael Kors necklace, Rolex watch; not much, but just enough to speak volumes about who Evelynn “Jade” Baxter really is. The public knows, author, entrepreneur, sought after public speaker, twin sister of Lynn Baxter. Noted for her affiliations in various elite women’s organizations, explained why her Google Plus calendar was always maxed out for time. She wore so many hats, that it was very easy for her to pick one for the day, and toss it aside for another in a matter of minutes.

Today she was
Evelynn “Jade” Baxter, author. Scheduled to speak before a crowd of hungry, aspiring young women all wanting to be like Jade. She was known as Evelyn only around family, and even that was shortened to Eve when she was on good terms with everyone, which was rare.

“Welcome, Ms. Baxter! May I help you with something today?” The bellman extends his hand as she begins to push a button to turn everything off in that automobile of intelligent technology before she exits. Before she made her decision on the car, she did her research to see what other famous person was driving one. She had heard that actor, Jerry Seinfeld was among the first to accept delivery in America on a 918 Spyder. It impressed her to read somewhere that tennis ace, Maria Sharapova, was a noted Porsche ambassador, and known to favor the 918. She reads up on stats like these before she indulges in any materialistic object. Her name is among the rich and famous at the age of thirty-six. And in a town this small, it’s not hard to stick out and be noticed for anything that you do, be it good or bad.

“Sure, Jeffrey, thanks, and it’s great to be back! Gorgeous Spring day isn’t it?”

( Continued... )


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


Purchase Enough Was Never Enough: A Novella 
by Michelle Morgan Spady
Link: http://amzn.com/0991460030 

 


About the Author
Michelle Morgan Spady
is the author/co-author of four self-published books,  Enough Was Never Enough: A Novella, An Artist and His Obsession, 7 Days 2 Tell, and ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground.  Her children's book projects were collaborated with her son, Bradford O. Spady, an artist and visual storyteller. 

Michelle is the VP of Creative Services with B'Artful, LLC in McLean, VA.  B'Artful is a company that empowers, inspires, and promotes emerging authors, and visual artists by providing them with opportunities, and space to enhance, and exhibit their creative talents.

 

 


Hostile Eyewitness by Tyora Moody
Serena Manchester Series (Book One)

Depressed from the complications of a head injury, SERENA MANCHESTER seeks solitude in the hometown she left almost twenty-five years before. Unknown to Serena, her hometown's landscape has changed and unseemly elements have seeped into the quaint Southern seaport town.

One night Serena witnesses a gang-related crime. She thinks she recognizes one of the young men, but chooses not to identify him. What if her brain injury has deceived her perceptions? Her estranged family has already reminded her why she left town in the first place. Drawing attention to herself and perhaps threatening her well-being is the last thing Serena needs.

Serena is determined to keep a low-profile, but Trey Evans persistently tries to draw her from her hiding place. With her track record with men, Serena isn't interested. What does she have in common with a minister even if they were childhood friends?

When tragedy strikes close to home, Serena can no longer keep her head in the sand. Feeling responsible, Serena's reporter skills kick in and to the angst of the local police, she decides to start her own investigation.

What began as journey to recover her sanity now becomes a fight for redemption.


Excerpt from Chapter 1 of HOSTILE EYEWITNESS, Serena Manchester Series, Book 1


The boy in the aisle seemed to be backing up to the end of the aisle, away from the front. It occurred to me that he would see me, so I scrambled around to the other aisle. I looked around at my surroundings, trying to figure out what to do. I turned my attention to the mirror to observe the approaching boy. He seemed to be scared and not sure of himself.

It suddenly dawned on me that if he turned around and looked up, he would be able to see me in the mirror. The mirror was angled in such a way that he might be able to see me crouching down like a hopeless idiot. As I attempted to steady my rapid breathing, distant police sirens sounded outside the store.

The boy wearing the red jacket shouted, “Let’s go! Now!” Then he headed out of the store, the boy in the hoodie running after him.

The boy who was down the aisle didn’t move as fast, and he turned his head as he went, as if looking for an alternate door through which to exit the store. As I crouched on the floor, pain shot through my calves. But that pain didn’t rock me as much as the glimpse I got of the boy in the aisle. Despite the dark blue Charlotte Bobcats cap hanging over his eyes, when he turned, I saw his face in the mirror.

I know him.

I sucked in my breath sharply as I watched the young man finally decide to run toward the front of the store. As he exited the store, in the back of my mind I hoped he didn’t get caught. If he was who I thought he was, I felt for sure that young man was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I waited a minute or two, and then I stood, feeling sharp pains up and down my legs, especially the leg that had the broken ankle a year ago. I limped to the front of the store, almost tripping over my own feet.

“Marty! Marty, can you hear me?” I shouted.

I peered over the counter, catching a glimpse of blood spatter across the tile floor and on items behind the counter. Marty lay in a pool of blood, which appeared to have formed around his head. That boy had aimed directly at Marty’s head. The second shot had been unnecessary, and so vicious. The boy had shot to kill him.

Why was the boy in the Bobcats cap with them?

From the corner of my eye, I could see flashing blue lights as a vehicle pulled into the store parking lot. I would have to figure out what to tell the police when they came inside. I hoped with all my heart that I was mistaken about whose face I had seen. He was family. My family had a reputation is this town, which was one of the many reasons why I had left.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Tyora Moody. I have permission as her online publicist to promote this excerpt. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 


Purchase Hostile Eyewitness: Serena Manchester Series (Book One)
http://astore.amazon.com/edcmagazine-20/detail/1622868005 


Meet the Author
Tyora Moody
is an award-winning author and literary entrepreneur. Tyora has coined her fiction books as Soul-Searching Suspense. Her debut novel, When Rain Falls, was released March 2012. This is the first book in the Romantic Suspense driven Victory Gospel Series. The second book in the Victory Gospel Series, When Memories Fade, was released in April 2013. The final book in the series, When Perfection Fails was released March 2014. The series was published via Urban Christian/Kensington.

Hostile Eyewitness, the first book in the Serena Manchester Series will be released March 31, 2015. This is a spin-off series from the Victory Gospel Series.

Tyora also writes Cozy Mysteries. Deep Fried Trouble, the first book in the Eugeena Patterson Mystery series was released June 2013. The second book in the series, Oven Baked Secrets, was released January 2015.

As a literary-focused entrepreneur, she has assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via her company, Tywebbin Creations LLC since 1999. Popular services include online publicity, social media management, book trailers and book covers.

In 2012, Tyora started Tymm Publishing LLC. Under her publishing company, she has published the Eugeena Patterson Mystery Series, Stepping Into Victory Anthologies and The Literary Entrepreneur’s Training Series. On the 1st and 3rd Mondays, Tyora hosts The Literary Entrepreneur Podcast.

When Tyora isn’t working for a client or doing something literary, she enjoys spending time with family, catching a movie on the big screen, and traveling. For more information about her literary endeavors, visit her online at TyoraMoody.com.

 

 

 


Mafietta Movement Sparks Initiative To Change Lives 

E.W. Brooks author and owner of E.W. Brooks Books LLC, Launches Campaign to Introduce Methods of Empowerment via countless digital platforms.  The Mafietta Movement began last year when E.W. Brooks penned her first book "Mafietta." The term was meant to describe women, ready to rise above their circumstance to achieve their dreams. While the Movement empowers and educates; the Mafietta Novella Series is strictly geared to entertain. Watch Mafietta's sneak peek to see what all the hype is about and then read the series that has its readers talking and wishing for more.

E.W. Brooks, author of one of Amazon Book’s fastest selling ebooks titled “Mafietta -The Rise of a Female Boss” has focused her attention on cultivating entrepreneurs young and old to think out side of the box using today’s digital space for empowerment and self-improvement.

E.W. Brooks is currently on tour conducting radio interviews, lectures, speaking engagements, seminars and workshops on how to use the various digital platforms such as online blogs sites, internet radio, social-media, YouTube, and digital book distributors giving one the creative & artistic freedom to set you on a path to financial independence.

Before she had thoughts of pursuing a writing career, E.W. Brooks was an advocate of literacy and realized that the rise of the digital age is an asset to growing businesses as well as a tool to teach individuals basic life skills such as reading writing and arithmetic. Studying abroad, attending brick and mortar schools and other digital courses ultimately lead to E.W. Brooks establishing her own LLC,  E.W. Brooks Books.

Now as a successful author with a string of Urban Lit releases, a digital radio show called “Mafietta Radio” on www.Blog talk radio.com/Mafietta, The Mafietta Short Film being screened in film festivals around the nation promoted by a video trailer that earned over 40k views within 3 days of its upload to YouTube while adapting the short film into screenplay for a made for T.V. Series.  E.W. Brooks is taking the “Mafietta Movement” from city to city to share proven ways to take advantage of the many digital platforms which have become the home to her creative bodies of work.

E.W. Brooks decided to distribute the Mafietta series in paperback and digitally because the term Mafietta was more than just a title but as E.W. Brooks describes it: “a way of thinking, a confident attitude that inspires one to push past any barrier or obstacles in the way of their life goals.”

As a living testament to her own theory E.W. Brooks has been inspiring the young wives of men enlisted in the armed forces to arm them with the Mafietta Mantra to utilize the various digital outlets available to earn a living while remaining flexible to the frequent changes of residence due to the relocation which is part of military life.

E.W. Brooks herself is an Army Wife, big sister and mentor with a big imagination. She is the founder of the Campbell Sisterhood, a group of women who support and empower each other as well as other Army Wives.

Mafietta: Rise of A Female Boss (The Mafietta Series)
When my children ask me how I came to power, I tell them I watched the mistakes of those that came before me. Then I used their mistakes to create the playbook that built our empire. Up until our time, many were the stories of kingpins turned inmates. Most often, the girlfriends, mistresses, and wives who survived the experience were lost once their man was shipped away on a forced vacation. This would not be me. I turned this paradigm on its head. I loved my man and our family and we would survive. I turned trouble season into double season. I became Mafietta.

Mafietta follows Clarke, a woman tired of bankrolling her suitors, entertaining a man she normally wouldn’t consider - a man from the underworld.

Errol, the head of the Bellow Brothers, is tired of the opportunistic women that find their way into his path. He was done with love, but meeting Clarke changed all of that. Their perfect love story falls apart when a tragic turn of events sends Errol behind bars and forces Clarke to run the family business. When a good girl turns mafia queen, she is forced to choose between the love she's always wanted and a lifestyle she's grown to hate

A non-stop action thriller, Mafietta is a cacophony of action that expresses the deep passion and unique skill that E.W. Brooks possesses.


Mafietta 2: Rise Of A Female Boss by E.W. Brooks 

Some people get in the game to better themselves. Those are the ones who make enough money to roll into something legit and then bail. Others are in it for the 'hood credit that comes along with it. It was never about the fame for me. It was always about the bottom line and staying out of jail. Jail sentences aren't kind to families. It test their strength and resolve. When tempers flare and money comes up missing, Errol must uncover the true thief. Is it his childhood and lifelong friend or is it the woman who holds his heart? 

Watch the mini-movie here: http://mafietta.com/mafietta-tv/ 
Order your books from the publisher:  http://mafietta.com/buy-mafietta/ 
Order your copy from Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/EW-Brooks/e/B00DYSN63S 

Campbell Sisterhood

E.W. Brooks also donates 10% of book proceeds to the Military Matters Project. However, she says her greatest joy comes from spending time with her family and seeing the smiling faces of those she’s helped to find a bit of light along their journey.  Read more here:  http://mafietta.com/mafietta-movement-sparks-initiative-to-change-lives


Order your copy today:  http://www.amazon.com/EW-Brooks/e/B00DYSN63S 

 

 

 

 


Return2Sender 
by Curtis Anthony Brittingham, Sr.

Coming July 2015

“Return2Sender” is the first release of phenomenal author Curtis Anthony Brittingham. A true story, it is riveted with the real life and after life experiences of Curtis Anthony Brittingham who was shot nine times, pronounced dead, experienced Heaven and brought back to earth by the Almighty God. 

Years later, Curtis has agreed to share his miraculous story of pain, desperation, life and hope. Growing up in the streets of Trenton, New Jersey, the author shares his testament and faith in a town that held both good and horrific memories. Not only does the author share this true story, he captures the hearts of each reader by making his story relatable to others. Inspirational is just the beginning of what the author delivers to his readers. 

Most importantly is the author’s clear instruction to return those things that you don’t want to accept in your life back to the sender! A must read you don’t want to miss!

Meet the Author
Curtis Anthony Brittingham, Sr. is a native of Trenton, New Jersey. He matriculated at Philadelphia Bible College, and Luther Rice Theological Seminary. Once under the leadership of City of Refuge and the didactical Bishop Noel Jones, Mr. Brittingham has pastored in Union City, Georgia. 

These days, Mr. Britingham evangelizes across the United States and abroad. One of the most profound preachers of the gospel, he most enjoys ministering one on one with his prophetic gifts and letting others know that regardless of your circumstances, “You Can Make It!” 

 

 


12 Honeymoons by K.L. Brady

Miki Vincent, the poster child for the lost and directionless, is addicted to simplicity and hope of new beginnings. That’s why she believes she and the 90-day rule were a match made in heaven. Find a prospective partner, let him treat her like a queen without the complications of sex in the early stages of a relationship, fall in love. 1-2-3 magic. 

She learned the hard way that holding out on sex doesn’t always expose Mr. Right…and when Mr. Wrong threatens to land her in jail enough is enough. She flips the script, turns the 90-day rule in her favor—the Honeymoon Plan. 

Forget love. Forget rules. Enjoy the best part of each relationship--the beginning--and get out. Never endure another heartbreak again. When a brush with the law and a series of life-altering changes breathe new life into her quest for love—there’s only one glitch in her Honeymoon Plan. It just might work.

Miki’s best friend Pam, a repressed artist, struggles to keep her marriage together until she can no longer ignore the blatant evidence indicating her husband is having an affair. A different kind of “honeymoon plan” designed to free her from her troubles and a chance meeting with a handsome artistic stranger, help reignite her passions—but will they destroy her marriage in the process? 

Read an excerpt: http://www.freado.com/book/18608/12-honeymoons 



About the Author

K. L. Brady
is a D.C. native but spent a number of her formative years in the Ohio Valley. Her writing career started in the pages of diaries when she was 7 or 8 years old. But it wasn’t until her 40th birthday and an Oprah “Live Your Best Life” moment that she finally answered her calling and wrote her first novel–The Bum Magnet. The originally self-published novel was picked up by Simon & Schuster in a two-book deal, and K.L. hasn’t looked back since, penning the follow-up, Got a Right to Be Wrong and self-publishing the first books in two young adult series and a spy thriller series based on her 20+-year career in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

She has a B.A. in Economics, an MBA, and is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, Romance Writers of America, Sisters In Crime, 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. She is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of the series.  Website:
http://klbradyauthor.com  

 

 

 


Tempting the Artist 
by Sharon C. Cooper

Award-winning and bestselling author Sharon C. Cooper brings you another exciting romance!

Christina “CJ” Jenkins, a free-spirited painter by trade is juggling her obligation to the family construction business, with the demands of her secret passion. A secret life she has successfully hidden until recently. When sexy, bad-boy attorney, Luke Hayden, enters the picture, he steals her heart. But the truth of Christina’s double life buried under lies, threatens to destroy them both.

Luke is leaving New York to escape the drama, which is his life. Starting over in Cincinnati with Christina appeals to him more than he will admit. Although her secret jeopardizes their steamy affair, it’s not until someone threatens to destroy the Jenkins family empire, and uses Luke to carry out their plan, that their relationship is truly tested. Luke will do what he can to help the Jenkins family, but he will stop at nothing to tempt the woman who has captured his heart.


Book Reviews for
Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper


Amazon Customer
“The Jenkins family series gets better and better. Christina needed to trust herself and her achievements. Luke was stubborn and prideful. Once those two got past there own issues, there love over flowed!”

Barnes & Noble Customer
“You will LOVE THE JENKINS SERIES...Awesome Books to Read...Great plot and story lines.
The characters are some one we can relate to or with...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO TRUE READERS!”



Excerpt from Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper


“I think your family is cool, but I’m just not into the lovey-dovey, let’s get together every week scene. I get this is what you guys do, but you have to understand. That’s not who I am.”

“That’s nonsense. We both know why you don’t want to get close to others. But let me explain something to—”

“Christina, baby, let’s not do this.” He stood abruptly with his coffee mug, his chair scraping across the travertine floor. His hasty retreat to the coffee pot across the kitchen confirmed what she suspected. 

“Let’s not do what, Lucas? You don’t want me to call you out on your fear of letting anyone get close to you? Or is it that you don’t want to get close to anyone for fear of one day losing them? Which is it?”

He refilled his mug without responding. She didn’t miss the way his jaw clenched or the death grip he had on the handle of the coffee pot. Maybe she needed to try a different approach.

“I can’t even imagine what it’s like to not have a family to call on in the time of trouble. Or a family that doesn’t butt in when you don’t want them to. But I do know what it feels like to laugh and joke with people who love you. Or how it feels to have someone be there to hold you up when your heart breaks or your knees go weak.” She thought of Jada and the way she and Zack rallied to get her and Luke back together.

Luke turned and faced her, his back leaning against the counter. “Can’t you accept that I just might not want to be around a lot of people tomorrow?”

“No.” She stood and approached him. “There will be times when we don’t want to do something that the other wants to do or go someplace the other wants to go. But if you asked me to go anywhere with you. Do you know what I’d do?” When he didn’t respond, she continued. “I’d go. Do you know why?” Still no response. “Because I love you. That’s what people who love each other do. And I love you so much at times if feels as if my heart is going to explode.”

“Christina.”

“I’m inviting you because I want you there with me.” She felt herself getting choked up but refused to let any tears fall. “No, I don’t expect you to be all lovey-dovey with my family. Or automatically fall in love with them. What I want is for you to try to get to know them because they’re important to me. I know they can be intimidating, but …”

“Stop.” Luke set his mug on the counter and grabbed hold of her hand, pulling her against his body. “Just stop. There is nothing I won’t do for you. Understand? If attending the brunch means this much to you, consider it done. You’re right. Letting others into my world doesn’t come easy, but I understand how important your family is to you. I will try to be more … social. Just don’t cry. I can’t handle seeing you cry.”

Christina wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head against his chest. Hearing his heart beat wildly against her ear, she should have felt guilty for forcing him to go with her, but she didn’t. No way would she let him close himself off because of fear of getting too close to others. He deserved to experience what it was like to have a close family love on him. And the Jenkins’ were just the people to show him what that was like.


( Continued... )

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


Purchase Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Jenkins Family Series (Book 3)

Tempting the Artist available at these retailers 

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1EF9vG8 
Nook: http://bit.ly/1FUU6oY 
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1HC7WyI 



About the Author
Award-winning and bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, spent 10 years as a sheet metal worker. And while enjoying that unique line of work, she attended college in the evening and obtained her B.A. from Concordia University in Business Management with an emphasis in Communication. Sharon is a romance-a-holic, loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies or real life. She writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course). To read more about Sharon and her novels, visit www.sharoncooper.net  


 

 


Black Coffee by R.L. Byrd 

In 2008, radio station K103.5 aired a radio talk show called The Love Forum with six women sassily discussing their lives, loves and relationships with millions of Dallas, Texas listeners. One year later, the brothers (the husbands, boyfriends and lovers of those women) now may have their chance to chime in on those discussions. 

DK “Love” Niles, emotionally ill-at-ease by the death of a friend, and troubled by his past, is searching for answers and trying to find his way in life. Lost, he agrees to meet Jessie—the protagonist in the first book—at the infamous restaurant Baileys for lunch. A lunch where his world is turned upside down by what she tells him (and gives him), and puts him on a course that would eventually change his life. 

Now with a mysterious blue letter in his hand, and shaken to his core by what she’s told him, he asks the waitress to read the letter given to him—he’s asked to fulfill a wish by his dead friend. A wish to continue and become the moderator of the new Love Forum which will become known as the Brotherhood; and if he does, he’ll find the answers he’s been searching for and bring a voice to the world—the black male voice—that’s been silent for way too long.

DK, through Jessie, enlists the help of a psychiatrist; and with his radio sidekick, they begin to honor his dead friend’s wish by flying The Brotherhood to Juneau, Alaska for a 4-day, 3-night retreat to get to know each other. But he quickly learns that with nine brothers, there’s going to be personality clashes, egos, and outside influences that will wreak havoc on the Brotherhood’s success. 

With The Brotherhood airing to millions, Jessie, in an attempt to garner more listeners, decides that she needs more drama on the show and devises a plan to reintroduce the wives, girlfriends and lovers on one of the Brotherhood’s forums—with a clairvoyant. Emotions run high and drama fills the radio station’s studio; leaving the brothers to drop out and not return. DK, in a quandary, and left to figure out how to bring the brother’s back—or better yet, if The Brotherhood should even continue—has to devise a plan to get the forum back on track.

After painstakingly getting The Brotherhood back on course, long lost fathers and sons are discovered, sexual twists are revealed, and loved ones are lost, leaving The Brotherhood in shackles once again—unrepairable. Devastated that The Brotherhood is in disrepair, DK (and Jessie) find their promises to keep the Love Forum going is broken. Determined to honor his promise, DK devises a plan to bring the Love Forum back and repair some of the damaged lives as a result. With the help of the remaining brothers and psychiatrist, he begins to play a major role in making positive changes to the brother’s lives and eventually finds the answers he’s been searching for and finds his way in life; touching upon topics the black community has thrown up under the rug. 

Although sad that some of The Brotherhood brothers fell by the wayside; DK kept his promise to his dead friend, found the answers he so desperately needed answered to move forward with his life, and brought a voice to the world—the black male voice—that had been silent for far too long.


Black Pearls Magazine Question:
What inspired you to write Black Coffee from the black male point-of-view?
When the reviews came out for Looking for Sweet Love, one reviewer said it would have been nice to hear the men speak in the book, and I nodded and said, "My point exactly." I had just accomplished what everyone else was doing at the time: Catering to the female audience. Everything up to that point had been told from a black woman's perspective and there was a period where everything was pro-female and anti-male (or so it seemed). Everywhere I went the discussions amongst the brothers was the same: Where's our voice?

Black Coffee was my attempt at providing that voice. Everything that we had seen (the abuser); heard about (the DL brother); or were portrayed to be (the non-committal man or womanizer); I flipped it and said, "Look, we're all human here. It's a two-way street you know. Men get hurt; men get cheated on; men have not-so-great relationships. Let's hear those stories too." But as I laid out the story-line, it quickly became not only that voice, but my social issues book for men of color.


Black Coffee Book Reviews


"As the men get to know each other, readers learn of their past secrets, career aspirations, and of the emotional turmoil in their lives. By the time the story is over, love triangles will be revealed, past physical and emotional abuse will come out, and unexpected family relationships are revealed. (Think Maury Povich.) . . . And what one man reveals while under hypnosis is worth the price of the book itself." 
- AALBC.com

"There are many flavors of life, but they all share a uniting trait. 'Black Coffee' is a novel from R. L. Byrd as he tells the story of DK 'Love' Niles, a Dallas Disc Jockey who discusses relationships and love from a black perspective, and draws on the expertise of other people in his brotherhood to give readers a taste of the many types of love we face. 'Black Coffee' is a strong pick for those looking for a novel with romance and good wisdom for any relationship." 
- Midwest Book Review


Black Coffee Book Excerpt: Chapter 2


Reminisce with main character, DK “Love” Niles . . .



After a full night of worrying my ass off, ill-at-ease and a whole lot of sleepy, I finally dragged my ass out of bed, washed up (hittin’ all the hot spots), threw on one of my good old sweat suits (that would be the blue one, that shows that d thang swinging in them boxers), and started the thirty-mile drive—in a light rain, I might add—to meet Jessie at Bailey’s. Damn! Bailey’s. It was the first time that I’d been back since Melissa died. I can remember the first time she told me about it, and I can’t help but laugh. That crazy girl ran into my office, with her hands on her stomach, all hunched over, talking ‘bout, “Ungh-ungh, boo-boo, got your message, and boy, I am not trying to go to Big Jim’s Rib Shack today, and definitely not for the third time this week! Ungh . . . ungh! Not even trying to go there with you, boo. And boy, if I have to shit out one more rib, it is not going to be pleasant up in here! You heard?”

Damn! One thing that I loved about my girl was that she didn’t hold anything back. Nada! She told me that a good friend of hers had just opened up a small, but trendy joint, a few blocks down from the radio station (some sort of small-time chef breaking out on his own) and she wanted to go check him out, give him a little support. I looked at her crazy butt, laughing, and said, “Aiight, Lis, we can go check your lil’, small-time friend out,” although, those ribs were calling my name. DK, come get us! But when she said the magic words, “My treat, boy,” I was like, Oh hell, yeah! That’s what I’m talking ‘bout. And never giving up a free meal—especially when a sista is paying (now, how often is that?)—we ventured off and pulled up to what had to be, damn near, the busiest place I’ve been for lunch (especially in Dallas) in quite a while. Hell, just to get into the parking lot alone, we waited damn near ten minutes. (And doesn’t it make you mad when you have to pay to park just to get something to eat?) 

Man, oh man, there were people and cars everywhere, and as soon as we made it into the parking lot and found a place to park (and I put my hard-earned money into that damn pay box), I started noticing that most of the K103.5 crew were either walking out of, or going into Bailey’s. That girl! I guess she told everybody about Bailey’s grand opening, and if you knew Melissa, you knew that she had the gift of gab and a knack for persuasion. Not only could the girl talk you to death, but she could get you to do just about damn near, anything, for her crazy ass; although I gotta give, my girl, her props on this one. This shit right here, this joint, was just effin’ unbelievable!

We made our way through all the madness (walked right up to the front door, skipping all the people waiting in line) and rushed inside where we met this character by the name of Chef Luda (Luda was his first name, Bailey his last). He stood at the front door, greeting people, talking about some “comment ça va, Lissie,” and I looked at him, all frowned up, and said, “Huh? Excuse me. What did you just say?”

Melissa saw the look on my face and threw her hands up as if to say, Come on, DK, get it together. She sounded out “Coam-on-sah-vah” and said, “It means, how am I doing, silly.” She put her hands on her hips, flashed one of those big-ass smiles (which meant she was up to something), and gave me one of those looks that said, Watch me work this.

I smiled and looked in another direction, shaking my head and saying to myself, Oh Lord, here we go. All I could do was stand there, with this stupid grin on my face, and watch her do her thing.

“Well, I’m doing just fabulous, Luda. And, boy, you’re talking to me like I’m used to that Cajun tongue of yours. That would be a big not! But rather than how am I doing, I think the tea is, or should be, how-you-doing?” Lis turned around and gave me a big wink as she wrapped her arms around Chef Luda’s waist and looked up at him with those big puppy-dog eyes.

“You sure you’re doing okay, boo-boo?” she asked.

Chef Luda returned the intimate gesture and wrapped his arm around Lis’s shoulders and answered, “Well, baby gul, I’s doing mighty, mighty fine. ’Bout as fine as dis old man can expect, under da circumstances.”

“Oooh! That’s good news, Luda. Good news! Lord knows, I’m so happy to hear you’re doing fine. And what you talkin’ about you being old? Puh-lease!”

Chef Luda laughed at Melissa, and she gave him one of those Don’t even try it looks of hers. “Now, Luda . . . whew! You got it smelling too good up in here, and your girl, and my boy here, are starving! By the way, you do know I’m eating for two, don’t cha? Yes, yes, your girl is expecting. So get the purse ready, baby. You gone have to loosen up the purse-strings, for sure, for this one. You’re paying for three today, boo, and did I mention, we . . . are . . . starving? Oooh, what we gots to eat?”

Chef Luda shook his head and grabbed Melissa’s crazy butt, engulfing her in a big bear hug, while I stood there looking at them (like an idiot), thinking, Damn, I’ma have to tune out everything and listen real hard just to understand what this brother is talking about. As soon as those thoughts cleared my head, Chef Luda answered Melissa, or Lissie as he called her, in that unforgettable Cajun drawl. “Well, I do believe I can fix dat eatin’ part. Don’t know much ’bout da oda stuff going on in dat belly of yo’s, but it sho’ is good to see ya! And who’s dis here friend you done brought wit cha?” Chef Luda let out a hearty chuckle and extended his hand for me to shake while introducing himself.

“I’m Chef Luda, and yous be?”

“I’m DK Niles, better known as DK Love. Me and Melissa work—”

“Yah. Yah. Da DK from da DK and Melissa Morning Show. Boy, you knows, yous a fool on dat there radio. Have me’s a-cracking up. Mmm-huh! And you sho’ do look familiar too—you sho’ do. Humph!” Chef Luda scratched his head and stared at me real hard. “So, Mr. DK—and you too, Ms. Lissie—wha’ y’all critters think ’bout da place?”

I said to myself, Critters! Well, I be damned. First, the nigga interrupts me. And now he has the nerve to be calling somebody—hell, anybody for that matter—a critter. Up in here looking like the last damn critter, his own damn self. Like the last Spike Lee reject—balding something terrible on top of that. I mean terrible as in patches, yo. Guess he didn’t get the memo that sometimes you just gotta let that shit go. And if the Spike Lee–reject look and the balding didn’t beat all, dude was blown up a good two hundred pounds or so (hell, we definitely could see where the food was going). Can you believe that shit? My boy Spike would not be pleased! Not pleased at all. I just looked at him (sizing him up, you know how we black people do), shook his hand, and gave him one of those quick and dirty smiles (fake as it was) as he and Melissa started chatting again. While they chatted, I took a quick look around and thought, Damn, this Negro ain’t no effin’ joke (despite that damn critter comment). I asked myself, What is Melissa talking about? This definitely ain’t no small-time chef (no pun intended). I’m telling you, this place was absolutely the shit! And by this time, I was a-scratching and a-itching to get a peek at—and a little taste of—what Bailey’s had to offer. And for the first time ever, I forgot all about Big Jim’s Rib Shack and those meat-be-falling-off-the-bone ribs.

( Continued... )

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


Purchase Black Coffee by R.L. Byrd 

Book genre: Romance; Fiction
Link: http://amzn.com/B00MG8D3QW 



Black Coffee Social Issues Highlighted
(Project  H.U.S.H.)

• Homicide-
Homicide is the No. 1 killer of black men between the ages of 15 and 34 in 2011. 

• Unemployment-
As of January 2015, unemployment among black males was 10.3% as compared to 4.5% for white males.

• Suicide-
In 2011, Suicide was the #3 cause of death among black males aged 20-24, accounting for 8.8% of deaths among this demographic. 

• HIV-
Blacks/African Americans continue to experience the most severe burden of HIV, compared with other races and ethnicities. Blacks represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, but accounted for an estimated 44% of new HIV infections in 2010. 

• Education-
At the national level, the 2012-13 school year estimates indicate a national graduation rate of 59% for Black males, 65% for Latino males and 80% for White males. 


About the Author

R.L. Byrd
lives in Atlanta, GA, where he works on his life's passions—writing and architecture. He is known for writing Contemporary Realistic Fiction with memorable characters and vivid scenes of confronting personal and social issues. Mr. Byrd donates his time to many community service programs, and is the founder of social media campaign Project H.U.S.H. (an acronym for Homicide, Unemployment, Suicide, and HIV/AIDS). The campaign promotes discussion about the many social inequalities faced by black males and is rapidly gaining follows on Facebook and Twitter. For more information visit www.richardleonbyrd.com

 

 


Beyond the Blue Cypress 
by Ann Clay


Like the bald cypress, Drace Breaux anchors her family on the soft muddy soils of Grand Isle, determined to never abandon the homeland she loves more than anything. But when a stranger comes to town, stealing her heart and soul, she is torn between two affections. Demarcus Grimillion’s insertion into her life thrusts her on a rocky journey packed with love, calamity, and a yearning that only one man can fulfill.

Demarcus Grimillion nearly lost his tread the warm summer night he stumbles on the young woman wandering the secluded beach. He blindly steps into her world, not overly concerned with the deep traditions and colloquialisms of bayou living. He vows to walk through hell to love and protect her. Only he doesn’t count on the jaws of swamp gris-gris to be so powerful; enough to kill them all.

Drace and Demarcus’s story starts on the coastal island in the 1950’s, a time when the rural south challenged the will of even the strongest of families. But through the spirit of time they finally meet the chance to keep their sacred promise.

Note from Ann:
The crew from Gumbo Love has stirred the mixture a bit with Drace Grimillion adding shrimp and blue crab to the bayou's favorite meal.  Many readers wanted to know more about Autumn's mysterious grandmother, from the title Blue Autumn in the Bayou. Well, Drace's story is revealed and begins on the coastal Grand Isle in the 1950's. Meet the Grimillions on their journey to promise.

Excerpt from Beyond the Blue Cypress by Ann Clay


“Hi, beautiful. What are you up to this morning?”  He looked so different than he did last night, taller, more handsome. He had a small cleft in the center of his clean-shaven chin. Her gaze traveled from his eyes to the prominent lines of his jaw, chin, and then the root of her admiration, his lips. She stared at them remembering how soft and tender they felt, how unbelievably sweet they tasted.

He stepped closer and all the air in her lungs forced her chest to rise up and forward. Drace tilted her head up to keep him in her line of sight. His lips moved and she actually heard the words, but her mind would not free her mouth to speak.

“Are you just gonna stand there, darling, or must I kiss you into speech?” His smile widened and the heat of his body made her woozy.

“I came to see you.” She moved closer to the fence poking her nose and mouth between the holes.

When he lowered his face, he kissed her nose, and she pulled away, disappointed his kiss had not met her hopeful target. She gazed up into his smiling face again.

“You look beautiful this morning, cher. I was hoping to see you today. I have to admit I didn’t think it would happen so soon.”

“Are you disappointed?” Drace finally found her voice and most of her senses began to work again.

“Mais, not at all. You’ve been on my mind since I left you last night.”

She looked away. The penetration of his bold appraisal, especially in the light of day made her feel naked standing beneath him. “I must admit I wanted to see you again.”

He touched her face, bringing her eyes to his. “Your words make me happy, Drace. I don’t have much time, but would you meet me again, tonight? Same place, maybe?”

“Yes, I’ll meet you tonight.”

“I get off at six. How about I meet you at your favorite spot? I’ll come after I wash up.”

“Okay. That will be fine.” She shifted from one foot to the other awaiting his reply. Her fingers closed tighter around the wire coils in hopes Demarcus would touch her again. She didn’t have to wait long.

“Then seven. I’ll see you tonight, darling.” He stuck the set of gloves beneath his arms, leaned forward, and placed both hands against hers. His mouth moved mere inches from her now parted lips. “I’ll see you later, okay?” The fence denied her the opportunity to tip up and capture them.

“Okay.” Drace smiled and stepped back once he released her hands and turned to leave. She stood and watched him and when he was almost to the wide opening to the building he turned briefly before stepping through the doors.

The sun stood high and bright in the sky, adding heat to the already muggy air. Still its brilliance did little to compete with the heat ignited by Demarcus’s simple touch. She rubbed her hands down the sides of her face until they landed at the center of her chest. She sighed and continued to watch until he totally disappeared from her view.


( Continued... )

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

Purchase Beyond the Blue Cypress by Ann Clay
Gumbo Love - Volume 2 
Link: http://amzn.com/1508466203  



 

 


Curse of the Whiskey House 
by Marc Lacy

Jesus once saved Lazarus, but some wonder if the City of Lazarus is beyond saving. This historic Bible Belt homestead located in Hawthorne County, Alabama has a population of 45,000 and is nationally renowned for its fine whiskey. Lazarus, a lively city that was once a resting spot for the Buffalo Soldiers, has a lot of heritage, history, and religion. Maybe too much of each.

The Hawthorne County Whiskey Stop, the city's most profitable tourist attraction, gets thousands of customers per year from in and out of town. But the Hawthorne County Whiskey House, its counterpart, is anything but good and sacred. Just ask the beloved Mayor of Lazarus, Samuel Justice, who has enough skeletons in the closet to fill the local cemetery. 

The level of treachery and mayhem spawned within the whiskey house is uncharted despite the fact that Reverend Jackson Jones, the pastor of the Central Baptist Church, owns it. Many believe that a lot of spirits are uneasy and that a curse lingers around Lazarus and Hawthorne County because of the crass circumstances that surround the whiskey house. There's an old saying around Lazarus, "Once you enter the whiskey house, if you should ever come out, your life goes south." 

There is also an eerie prophecy tied to the whiskey house that no one wants to acknowledge; they keep quiet about it hoping it will just disappear. Detective Brock Taylor is the only hope in saving Lazarus from total destruction. But will he be able to extinguish the curse and bring happiness back to the lives that have been maimed by the misgivings at the whiskey house? Or will he be another victim of the devastating curse? This time, even Jesus may not want anything to do with Lazarus.


BOOK REVIEWS


Lazurus, Alabama, a community rich with history, heritage and religion, could be any one of thousands of American towns from east coast to west coast, but the contrasting popularity of the Hawthorne County Whiskey Stop and the more dubious Hawthorne Whiskey House makes it much more. In this first in a trilogy of novels, 'Curse of the Whiskey House: When Life Is the Principle and Death Is the Practice,' author Marc Lacy offers a compelling drama centered around the tensions created by secular and spiritual forces experienced through the characters, most notably Reverend Jones and Detective Taylor. 'Curse' is a page turner that consistently draws you deeper into the storyline while exploring basic human values like choice, integrity and morality and will have you anxiously anticipating the next book in the series. 
--Kenny Anderson, Maximum Life Enhancement


Everyone has heard the phrase? There is something rotten in the state of Denmark.? I must say, that phrase cannot compare to the rotten, low-down, animalistic activities that take place in the Whiskey House, a house that is cursed from the depths of Hell. Here, you will meet Black Abe, a highly regarded man of the cloth and his cultish followers. Even though he is not what he seems, no one wants to go against him- except Brock Taylor. He wants to make sure that the secrets of the Whiskey House are burned to the ground, but there are two people in his way, Ace Honeycutt, his nemesis, and Brooklyn Fontroy, his girlfriend. Be prepared to take horrifying roller-coaster ride to the black abyss, because Marc Lacy is not afraid to take you there. Buckle up, and enjoy the ride! 
--Pamela D. Rice, Author


PROLOGUE


If Jesus could save Lazarus again, I guess I would have to put the bottle down...well at least for a day. Shoot, let me quit lyin’. Sometimes I don’t know what’s better, straight Jack shots or moonshine samplers. I even drank moonshine in a Jack bottle an’ Jack from a moonshine pitcher. Hell, it’s all whiskey...an’ if you a drunk like me, it don’t matter. Well, on second thought it do matter. ‘Cause there was nothing like the moonshine Lulamae Gerther Jones used to make in that ol’ whiskey house on Turner Road. 

Whew. Them Buffalo Soldiers would come through an’ fetch a good nip, an’ be on they way. Matter-fact, World War II was a good time for me. After I enlisted, I never went into battle or shot one gun - I reckon it was preparin’ me for these recent gun-law debates or something. But I sho shotgunned me some whiskey...yes suh. Private Rufus McClendon, that’s me. Supposed to have gone out to Arizona with the 92nd Infantry Regiment an’ then on into the Pacific to fight; but I never made it out of the state, ‘cause the bottle wouldn’t let me go. Well that was over three score ago and needless to say, I’m still a private wandering ‘round Lazarus an’ Hawthorne County. But that old whiskey house ain’t been the same since. I mean, I can’t judge a soul the ways I been my whole life. But good God A’mighty, I know a foul odor when I sniff one. An’ let me tell you, the stench is badder than death itself. I guess when the whiskey died, it left a bad spirit. An’ that spirit is doin’ somethin’ to this town. 

Lazarus, Alabama located in the Northeastern part of Hawthorne County in the west central part of the state, got just the right history, climate, an’ bad people for the perfect spooky story. I don’t believe in them goblins myself. But boy when somethin’ wicked takes over...it takes over. People won’t talk about it, but it’s there. 

It all started when Lulamae’s grandson used to roll to the whiskey house with us. Now young Jackson Jones seemed like he was ordinary minded; but I said all along...there’s something funny ‘bout that lanky boy. Lulamae raised him as best she could. Raised him in that ol’ whiskey house. Back then, that house had so much space in the front yard comin’ off a Turner Road, you could park a few airplanes an’ trucks out there. Then they had a front porch, a carport garage so folk could grab an’ go, a living room for brewin’, kitchen, one full bath, two bedrooms, a back yard for days, an’ a crawl space for storage. 

Matter-fact, the back yard was so close to the Hawthorne County Woods, that if somebody was afraid of gettin’ caught with illegal booze, all they had to do was either run in the woods, or throw they bottle. Wadn’t no police gone chase nothin’ in them woods. Shoot, they wadn’t gettin’ enough pay for all them bee stings, snake an’ chigger bites they woulda got. Nowadays, the house looks mostly the same; but it got runnin’ water, ‘lectricity, an’ some renovations been done. One of them bedrooms was knocked out so the living room could be bigger. But yep, Lulamae raised that boy Jackson in that house. She ain’t have no choice. Wit’ his daddy being a molester an’ mama a prostitute, they was both no good for him. 

An’ even though Lulamae gave him a roof over his head, she also showed him some thangs that came with being a hustler. So by the time it was all done an’ over with, young Jackson knew how to brew moonshine, shoot skeet, an’ be a good cheatin’ gambler. He was such a good shot, that he could probably close his eyes, shoot straight up in the air, an’ the bullet would land on a lost Florida ballot. In ’65, Jackson went into Vietnam as a sniper, an’ has been snipin’ ever since. Got a eye like a eagle an’ he still loves to shoot skeet, throw them arrows, an’ would take yo’ tax money in a game of Horseshoes. He mostly mild mannered; but will snap like a twig if somebody drove him to that point. I believe he got that PDSD, or PPDD, or PTSD whatever they callin’ it. Jackson even part of local hunt club, too. Some folk think that hunt club is like a secret militia. Hmmm, I don’t know. Maybe that’s how a seventy-year-old preacher can keep his aim sharp...I guess.

Now with all that, he also inherited Lulamae’s gift of gab. Yessuh. The boy was good at talkin’. An’ when his granny died, she left the house to him. Then out of nowhere, this multi-faceted young’n became a grown Baptist minister, still ministering today, an’ is still doin’ stuff with that whiskey house. I think people don’t want to say it. But I’mma say it anyway. Jackson may be the only black southern Baptist preacher who part of that NRAA National Rifles of America Agency or something like that. I tell you what, if good ol’ Abraham Lincoln had a twin who was black, he would be Jackson Roosevelt Jones. Ol’ Jackson ain’t nowhere near honest as they said Abe was; but he tall like him, an’ he mysterious lookin’ like him.

( Continued... )

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


Purchase the brand new action-packed page turner from Marc Lacy. Curse of the Whiskey House is the first book of a fiction-thriller trilogy. You will not be disappointed!




Download a copy of Curse of the Whiskey House by Marc Lacy

http://www.amazon.com/Curse-Whiskey-House-Principle-Practice-ebook/dp/B00UTLAND4


 

 


With These Hands: A Country Girl Came To Town 
by Bonnie Taylor-Williams


With These Hands is an inspiring story of the life of Selena, who as a young girl in 1941 arrived in the big windy City of Chicago on a bus from Memphis Tennessee by way of Clarksdale Mississippi with all that she owned in her two hands. Her new baby girl in one arm, her suitcase and handmade quilt was in her other arm. Away from her mother, family and everything considered home for the first time in her young life Selena had no idea what the future held for her…but God knew. 

As a young newlywed, new mother in a new town, from cooking all of her meals in her one speckled pan to becoming a successful business woman owning multiple beauty and hair weev salons in Chicago and Detroit. Selena who began as a “kitchen beautician” went from charging fifty cents a head in her kitchen to charging hundreds and then thousands per head in her professional salons. 

Teaching and sharing her craft of Hair Weev Technology with cosmetologists all over the world exposed Selena’s perseverance which has always been a part of Selena’s nature way back then and has served as an inspiration to many others ever since.

*Weev: patented spelling


Excerpt from Chapter Nine

Being a single mother, working day and night, trying to feed her four children, it took some time before Mary noticed. Six months passed; Selena began to gain weight and her mother finally figured it out. She didn’t know when, where, how or who, but she knew her daughter’s belly was growing. The baby was just about due by this time. Selena remembered taking her usual bath in the tin wash tub that the family had and noticing her stomach getting bigger, but she didn’t know why. 

Mary never, ever talked to Selena about anything. Selena didn’t know about sex and its relationship to making babies. She didn’t even know about her monthly period, until it happened. I guess some parents, especially back in those days, felt if they did not speak about those things, there was a better chance that nothing would happen. They acted as if their children, especially their girls, didn’t know anything; they couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything…so much for that theory. 

“WHO DID YOU GO WITH”? Mary yelled at Selena while looking at her stomach. Selena didn’t even know what that meant. 

Mama’s voice went up a few more octaves. “Did you lay down with somebody? Who did you lay down with? Who was it?”

Selena began to tell her about JW coming by Daddy’s house because his car had stopped and Daddy and Paul were out in the field working. Mama didn’t say much more to her, except that she would have to write and tell the boy. She instructed her to wait until the baby was born, which wouldn’t be long and send a picture.

Mary had the wind knocked out of her, knowing the difficulties she faced as a single mother, trying to feed her four children and herself while making fifty cents a week doing domestic work, but she cow girled up and did what she knew how to do. She worked hard, prayed and trusted in God. 

Once he realized that Mary was not coming back to him or Mississippi. Henry sent money to Mary in Memphis from his wages he received from working in the fields. Cousin Booker was still one of God’s angel’s helping Mary feed her children and helping in any other way that he could.

Mary wrote and told Henry about their daughter’s pregnancy. He was shocked, but he increased his financial support as often as he could. 

Paul was old enough to help out now and he got a job working at the drug store, making deliveries, where he met and made a new friend, Elmer Parker. Elmer had a bike that he used to make his deliveries and get around. As Elmer and Paul’s friendship grew stronger, they became real buddies.

The drugstore was owned by a white husband and wife who had a baby. By this time Selena had stopped going to school in the ninth grade. She would stay home most of the time, but she would go to work with her brother, Paul, to get out of the house. The store owner began paying Selena to watch her baby, which allowed the store owner a little more freedom to help her husband in the store. Selena would play with the baby, rock or push the baby around in the buggy for a while.

That is when Paul introduced his sister, Selena, to his new friend, Elmer. Overnight, it seemed, the three of them became tight. Paul and Selena took him home to meet Mama and their two younger sisters. Sometimes he would eat supper with them; sometimes he wouldn’t out of fear that he would wear out his welcome. Though Mary didn’t have much, she would always offer to share whatever she had with him and anybody else. 

Elmer liked his new friends. He liked that they were a family. Most of all, he loved the way they treated him. He began to feel a part of their family, but who he liked the most was Selena. She was pretty to him and his heart went out to her as a young girl pregnant, whereas whoever the man or the boy responsible was virtually invisible. There was no one in sight ever, not even a mention of whom the father could be, until Elmer asked. Selena explained that the boy lived in Mississippi. According to her, the putative father was a nice person, who didn’t know that she was pregnant. However, Selena assured Elmer once the father found out about the impending birth; he would help her take care of their baby. 

To Elmer, the coast wasn’t totally clear, but he couldn’t stop his heartfelt feelings from growing for Selena and her unborn child. He was very attentive to her whenever he was around her, which was every day as Elmer, Paul and Selena would walk home together. On the days that Selena didn’t work, Elmer would still walk with Paul, rolling his bike alongside of him, just to be able to see Selena.

***

Selena thought of Elmer as a real nice person and a good friend. In fact, she liked him. She liked the way he treated her, but she had reservations when it came to Elmer. For one, she thought as soon as JW and his family found out about the baby, they would probably get married. At the very least, they would see to it that she and the baby were taken care of.


( Continued... )


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


Purchase With These Hands: A Country Girl Came To Town 

Link: http://amzn.com/B00T57OR76


Meet the Author
Bonnie Taylor-Williams, a twenty-plus years cancer survivor, a professional third generation Hair Weev* technician, designer and instructor credits her mother for igniting her love for reading. Bonnie’s mother began sitting Bonnie and her brothers at the kitchen table and walking them to the neighborhood Chicago public library instilling the importance of reading at a very early age. Unwilling to completely rely on her children’s school teachers and they had great teachers, Bonnie’s mother taught them how to sound out the words, breaking them into syllables, teaching them spelling, how to look them up either in the back of their spelling books or the dictionary and how to create sentences. 

As a child Bonnie loved listening to the history of her family through the stories shared and told by her mother Juanita, her grandmother Selena and her great grandmother Mary. Bonnie’s love of reading books and listening to the family storytelling was soon escalated into desires of writing books herself but wondered how it could be possible when she had never seen any books with people or characters on them that looked like her. Neither had she seen any writers of any books she had read that looked like her as a child until that one day her mother surprised her with a brand new book. The book was “I Know Why the Caged Bird sings” by Maya Angelou. 

Maya Angelou was one of the people who came on TV along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, President Kennedy, Barbara Jordan and Muhammad Ali that everyone in the house had to be real quiet and listen, so that the adults could hear. Therefore Bonnie knew who she was. After reading “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” it was like the lighting of the Christmas tree, an electrifying spirit of hope and excitement filled her heart, mind and body.
Bonnie stated, “It has taken me several years to complete this dream/ book due to everyday life which translates to a lack of dedication. Now, I am loving this writing thing, I knew I would! It takes dedication like anything else you really desire.”

 


Embrace My Heart 
by AlTonya Washington 

All of the delights and none of the drama—that's what heiress and gallery owner Vectra Bauer wants from her fling with Qasim Wilder. The gorgeous financial adviser has been Vectra's platonic friend, but now, after the end of her last painful relationship, she's ready to take a small risk and open her heart. 

Settling for a little of anything isn't Sim's ideal. Possessive by nature, he makes no secret of how much he wants Vectra. And he can't understand why she's hiding from their intense connection that's way more than just physical. The man who always gets what he wants is embracing his biggest challenge yet: to make the woman he adores believe in love once more…

Excerpt: Embrace My Heart 

They had been friends long enough for her to know that he hated ties. He usually discarded whichever one he wore either just before or right after lunch. The guy loved his comfort and the fact didn't diminish the stunning craftsmanship of his body or face.

Bottomless dark eyes competed with the ebony richness of heavy brows and the sleep cap of hair he wore close cut. His facial hair was tamed into an intentional five o'clock shadow that partly hid a cleft chin and the faint lines that proved he was easy with his smiles.

Vectra blinked suddenly, at once regretting and realizing how much time she'd taken to admire the man's face and form. The fact made her wonder whether she'd subjected any of her other male friends to such scrutiny. Doubtful. Her male friends were just that—just friends. Or, rather, they had been…until she met Qasim; he was a male friend she would have preferred become much more.

He opened one of the towering maple doors leading to his office. Vectra quickened her pace when she realized he was going to hold it for her as though she were an actual welcomed visitor. In spite of his polite manners, however, she could've sworn she picked up on a low yet distinctive sound of agitation. That sound rumbled through his chest when she passed him on her way into the room.

If ever there was an office that personified its owner, it's Qasim's, she thought.

The place was a testament to pretty much everything he held dear. One far, expansive corner was a hive of activity with wide-screen monitors broadcasting both financial and sports news from their perches atop a pair of pristine maple desks. Towering bookcases lined the room and were filled with pictures, plaques, awards and books spanning a range of genres. Above the cases nearest the desks was a stock ticker.

Vectra set her tote on one of the square black leather chairs that surrounded an impressive gaming area. She wondered if nice or nasty was the way to begin their conversation. She didn't have long to debate.

"Coming to invite me to another party, Vec?"

The words carried over Qasim's broad shoulder as he headed into his work area. He removed his suit coat, slung it over the back of the sofa he passed and smiled in her direction when he turned.

Okay, then… she decided, accepting that the conversation would be a tad strained. "Actually, I came to ask why I've been selected as the lucky one to get the brunt of the petty side of your personality?"

He smiled. While the gesture held a great deal of humor, the air of agitation remained.

"Qasim?" Vectra's attempt to remain steely gave way, and her curiosity got the better of her. "Why are you angry with me?" She didn't care for the pleading tone that clung to her words, but she wanted answers.

Qasim appeared taken aback, but recovered soon enough. "I'm not angry with you." He made a pretense of reviewing the folders lying open on his desk.

"Well, you're something. What'd I do?" Curiosity had given way to a smidge of self-consciousness while she stood before him. Something changed. His smile was gone, and the look that replaced it was observant in a way that made Vectra flush with heat.

Another of the agitated rumbles surged in Qasim's chest, and he pushed back the wide black leather chair behind his desk.

Vectra could hear nothing over her heart beating wildly as anticipation had its way with her.

Qasim didn't take a seat in the chair; instead, he headed in Vectra's direction and then shifted toward the maple wet bar, which displayed a wide array of liquor bottles in various shapes and sizes.

Quietly, Qasim went about preparing Vectra's vodka tonic, which he set firmly upon the bar top. From the full-size black fridge behind him, he retrieved his beer of choice and popped the top.

He tipped the bottle to his mouth. "I'm not angry with you."

Vectra stood in place, nervously rubbing her fingers together while she observed Qasim with a wary gaze. He motioned with his bottle for her to take the vodka. Vectra didn't care how eagerly she accepted. The drink went a long way in calming her ridiculously frazzled nerves.

The lush line of Qasim's mouth grew even lusher as a smile emerged. She rolled her eyes. "You said that already, so excuse me for not believing you." She gave him her back, keeping the drink clutched securely between her hands.

Qasim allowed his emotions greater purchase while Vectra's back faced him. He didn't realize the blackness of his stare softened as it always did when just the mere thought of her stirred.

He watched her sip from the glass but noticed that she didn't empty it. She put more distance between them, which gave him time to absorb the missed sight of her.

The more time they spent together, the more she stunted his ability to properly think or even speak. He'd masked it for as long as he could. When he could no longer do that, he latched on to his only option.

Because he didn't want to be her friend. He wanted much more.


( Continued... )

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


Purchase Embrace My Heart (Kimani Hotties) by AlTonya Washington

http://www.amazon.com/Embrace-My-Heart-Kimani-Hotties-ebook/dp/B00OY9ZAC6  

About the Author
AlTonya Washington
has been a published romance novelist for 10 years and is a two time winner of The Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer's Choice Award. In addition to being an author, AlTonya also works as a college Reference Librarian. Writing as T. Onyx, AlTonya has also crafted a string of very popular erotica titles. Her long-running and popular Ramsey/Tesano romantic suspense series will soon conclude. "Lover's Origin: Black Island", "A Lover's Return" and "Book of Scandal: The Tesano Elders" will mark the last three titles in the saga.  Visit AlTonya On The Web: www.lovealtonya.com www.alsreaders.com 

 

 

 


Peace in the Valley
by Angelena Vernon 

PEACE IN THE VALLEY is the debut book of author and poet Minister Angelena Vernon. Minister Vernon takes the reader on a journey through some of life’s experiences and puts them in poetic form and gives us a way to have Peace and Serenity in all that we do. You will walk through this book with a tranquility that will give you so much joy and promise from the inside out. 

This book will make you think and see how life is just a compilation of situations and circumstances that we navigate through with God guiding us every step of the way. Her words will make you laugh, think, cry and feel comfort as you go from one experience to the next in each poem. So, take the journey, embrace your inner peace and be guided to that place we all long to be and have in our lives. You can have PEACE IN THE VALLEY! 


I AM IN THE POTTER’S HANDS
by Angelena Vernon


I watched the potter stand very still, when he placed some clay on a wheel.

I watched the potter stand very still, when he placed some clay on a wheel.

The potter was wordless and did not speak, as he shaped the clay and applied heat.

The clay could not shine as gold, until the burning fire hit the mold.

God is the potter and I am the clay, he is in control every step of the way.

God sent a fiery test to purify me, only I was not happy to a degree.

I cried out in animosity to say, why are you molding this vessel of clay?

These pains are not what I want to feel, it hurts when you put me on that wheel.

I wasn’t a baby in the potter’s hand, nor was I in authority to command.

The whole process let me see myself, also why I was placed on God’s shelf.

God showed me bitterness in my heart, the root, the cause, and where it starts.

I kept asking God, why so much pain, yet, he kept cutting against the grain.

I resented going through so many test, therefore, I cried out in agony and distress.

God knew my thoughts afar off, He knows my words were not soft.

God did not have to see the sin that dwelled inside of me.

God heard the words I spoke to him, so back on the wheel I had to spin.

God turned up the heat and tied me down, only this time I did not make a sound.


( Excerpt from  Peace in the Valley by Angelena Vernon )


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


About the Author 
Ms. Angelena Vernon
was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and received her education from the Baltimore City public school system. She furthered her education by attending Coppin State College University, where she received her Bachelor Degree in Social Work. She resides on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with her Husband and children.


Purchase Peace in the Valley by Angelena Vernon
Go here:  http://bit.ly/1y5iYcY  

 

 

 


Maternal Secrets 
by Brookita Braxton 

Weary from a messy break up two weeks before her wedding Coldra Ashe decided to start over in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Returning home for the first time in many years she soon discovers secrets from her mother, Lauren Ashe’s past. Her mother’s lies quickly wreak havoc on Coldra’s life and her mother’s secrets will test her tenacity.


CHAPTER ONE: The First Sign

Coldra 

2012


Our wedding is only five months away. I sat across my dining room table. Jamal kept playing with his cell phone. His text messages kept pinging. In the past few months he was always busy when it came time to discuss wedding plans.

"So here is the final proof for the wedding invitation.” I pushed it across the table.

Jamal let out a big sigh. "Is everything alright babe? We're just getting started. That is unless you want to cancel." I let out a chuckle. Jamal continued to stare at the invitation.

Jamal sighed again.

"You look tired maybe we can pick this up tomorrow”, I said.

"Col, we need to talk."

I pushed him out the door. "We can talk tomorrow."

I sat down on my couch and began to cry. Maybe I was the fool by refusing to believe what was obvious. I knew it was over. Tomorrow I'd meet him for lunch and I would ask him point blank.

****

I was supposed to have my bridal shower this weekend. I guess the other woman living with my ex-fiancé made sure that didn’t happen. I arrived to find my mother, Lauren, waiting for me at the loft-style apartment right off of Twentieth Street downtown that I’d rented. After three years of scrimping and saving for my wedding, my three thousand dollars served another purpose. I should have been married to Jamal now, but his affair dictated otherwise. Seeing my mother’s face reminded me of her life lesson about rainy day funds. “Every woman should have a rainy day fund, for fair-weather people.” Her advice proved to be right. At five foot three she barely saw over her luxury SUV’s steering wheel. I was quite amused at her navigating through the building’s turnabout. She didn’t care; I was with her at the dealership the day she picked it up. It was one of the many lavish birthday gifts she received from my father over the years. We had that kind of life. 

“Dressed for the spring, I see. You couldn’t wait to put your capris on. Could you?”

“As a matter of fact, I think I look exceptionally good in my capris for my age. And besides, you are living on the waterfront, so I had to look the part.”

Living right off of the river was going to be perfect, which was why I didn’t have to visit the apartment before signing the contract. I knew my city which influenced my decision to move back home. Lord knows I needed some peace and tranquility. At night I would be able to sit on my deck and watch the city lights reflect on the river’s water. In the morning the sun would shine on my deck. Unfortunately, the beauty of my hometime also reflected the darkness of the economy. There were many abandoned factory buildings up for sale.

“How was your trip?” my mother asked me right when I walked in the door.

“It was uneventful. I packed my bags and left. I hope my furniture has made it to the apartment.”

“It did. I had the movers place everything by room.”

My mother started eyeing me. I hate it when she does that.

“Uneventful. When my clients used to say it, it meant the exact opposite.”

“Mom, it’s stuffy.” I walked over to the factory-size window and attempted to open it.

“Ow…oww.” I had put my all into punching Jamal. He didn’t even have the decency to wait before he moved his other woman into our home. How did I find out? Well, the day I was supposed to get on the road, I had to pick up one last box. He was adamant about me coming to get it. This a-hole answered the door with the same executive assistant who was at his beck and call. He put the box in my car and expected a hug. Well, he got my fist instead.

“Are you okay? Let me see. Your hand is swollen. You need to see a doctor.”

“Ice will be fine, Mother. I am fine.”

“Your hand is swollen. You should see a doctor soon. Uneventful…yeah, right,” my mother said. “How about telling me how your hand became swollen? How are you supposed to hold babies with a swollen hand?”

“Babies?” Jill’s mother, my mother’s cousin, had wasted no time telling my mother that her daughter would be my boss.

Can anyone keep a secret in this family? I thought.

“What did you say?”

“I didn’t say anything, Mother.”

Her eyes widened, then became like slits, a sure sign she was perturbed. “You know your cousin can’t keep a secret. I already knew you were going to work at the daycare. I personally think it is beneath you to work in that science experiment.”

“Just because she is not in a nice neighborhood does not mean the daycare is a science experiment.”

“I want to know what happened to your hand!” she replied.

I rolled my eyes. “Mom, it is so not important. I sorta, kinda hit Jamal.”

“You hit Jamal!”

“Yes, I went to pick up my last box, and his ‘other woman’ answered the door.”

“You hit him?”

I threw up my hands, waving her off.

“Go ahead, Mom, I’m ready. Let me have it.”

( Continued... )

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


Purchase Maternal Secrets by Brookita R Braxton

Women's Fiction/Paranormal
Amazon: http://tiny.cc/vtfwvx 




Meet the Author
Brookita R Braxton
, an Air Force Veteran and a government employee, has always been intrigued by the mother/ daughter relationship dynamic. After being given up for adoption at an early age and losing her adopted mother to a terminal illness, her curiosity evolved into story lines. Brookita lives in Alexandria, Virginia. She attends church and spends time with her family and friends. Maternal Secrets is her first novel.

Twitter: @write2freeu
Website: www.brookitabraxton.com 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/brookitabraxtonauthor

 

 

 


Between Love and Hate 
by AlTonya Washington

Cahlir Decker and Bizay Donneeter had an extraordinary involvement that resulted in more than either of them ever intended. Their connection went deeper than the sexual chemistry that sizzled to life between the powerful corporate consultant and the lingerie entrepreneur. At least, that was what Biz thought until their enjoyable time together ended when she woke one morning to an empty bed and no sign of Cahlir. Biz refused to acknowledge how deeply the man had wounded her-how deeply her feelings for him had grown in the short span of time they had known each other. She was angry and hurt and leaned on a fair amount of hate to survive. Not a bad plan until she received word that her family’s advertising firm was in trouble and that Cahlir was its new owner.

Biz didn’t have time to let fear register over the unexpected turn of events. Fear however, did eventually find its way to the forefront of her mind as did a healthy dose of suspicion. Did Cahlir know that she’d left San Diego pregnant with their child? What would he do when he realized she’d had their daughter and had kept her from him for four years?


Excerpt: Between Love and Hate by AlTonya Washington


Biz had never considered herself a short person, but even in the stylish strappy heels, she felt exceptionally small next to Cahlir. He had placed both arms around her waist and held her close to his muscular frame. Biz rested her hands on his chest and enjoyed the scent of his cologne.

"I wonder how I missed you all night." She said, without realizing she had spoken aloud.

"Excuse me?" Cahlir dipped his head lower.

Biz leaned away from him, so she could look directly into his eyes. "I was just wondering how I missed you all night." She admitted. 

A one-dimpled smirk crossed Cahlir's face. "Were you looking for me?" 

"Well, not exactly, but handsome men interest me. Especially, when there's a brain to match. I make an extra effort to get to know them."

Cahlir's sleek, dark brows rose slightly. "You don't bite your words, do you?"

"Never," Was her simple reply.

If possible, he pulled her even closer. "Well, I'd appreciate the chance to show off my braininess by talking to you some more." 

Biz nodded slowly. She took the arm he offered and they walked towards the balcony.

"So, besides being a good friend of my sister's, who are you?" Cahlir asked, once they stopped in the far corner of the balcony and leaned against the railing.

"Well, I've been in San Diego opening my second lingerie store. It's right next to one of Carla's nail salons. On a whim, I stopped inside one day and had my nails done. Carla was there at the time, we just started talking and here I am." She told him.

"You aren't from California, are you?" 

"No, Atlanta."

"I figured."

A small frown clouded Biz's lovely face. "What? Could you detect my Southern drawl?" She asked, deliberately drawing out the last word.

Cahlir smiled in spite of himself. "Faintly."

"Mmm...well is there anything else you want to know?" She asked, tossing her head slightly.

Cahlir bent over the railing and looked up at her. "You seem pretty young to have opened two stores." He detected.

Biz nodded, acknowledging his statement. "Well, actually I'm in grad school for my MBA. During college, I worked in my family's company. Then, I decided I wanted something for myself, so I opened my first store. I've done pretty well with it."

"I'm impressed." Cahlir complimented. "So you’re a woman who knows what she wants."

Biz pinned him with a steady gaze. "I know what I want and I go after it."

The two of them stared at each other for a long while. Biz took a deep breath, and then shook her head as if to clear it.

"Well, now you know my life's story and then some. So? What about you?" She asked, her brown eyes narrowing slightly.

Cahlir turned and leaned back against the railing. "What would you like to know?" He asked.

Biz's slender shoulder rose in a lazy shrug. "Well, besides being Carla's little brother, who are you?"

"Well, I've already got my MBA." He playfully boasted. "Like you, I started my business before I got out of grad school. It's a consulting firm and my accountant says I should be proud."

Biz was intrigued. "Well, if you can retain an accountant, you should be proud." She agreed, clearing her throat. "So, uh-is there anyone to share your success?" She asked, hoping she had not overstepped. 

Cahlir did tense a bit over the last question. His daughter and the divorce were two things he couldn’t bring himself to discuss, though he found Biz very easy to talk to. "There's no one right now." He finally told her.

"I find that very hard to believe." She noted. 

Cahlir shrugged. "It's true. I think I'm involved with my business more than anything else."

"That can't be any fun." Biz told him, her voice very low.

"It's not." Cahlir admitted, his silvery eyes narrowing.

Strangely, Biz found herself sensing sadness in the man. He seemed to be fighting against something, and was failing miserably. She thought she could see shades of regret in the striking silver depths of his eyes. Deciding that it was not her place to question his mood, she fixed him with a bright smile and nudged his arm with her shoulder. 

"How about we go check on that soup?" She suggested.

Cahlir offered her his hand and they went back inside. 

The caterers had just set out a piping hot tureen of the creamy creation. Cahlir and Biz were like two starving people as they filled their soup bowls to the rim.

"Would you feel comfortable taking this up to Carla's den?" He suggested.

Biz smiled at the way he phrased the question. She saw that behind his incredible face and body, his manner had a thoughtful, mellow quality. It was a trait she found very appealing. Very appealing indeed.

"Just show me the way." She said. 


( Continued... )

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


Purchase: Between Love and Hate by AlTonya Washington


Barnes & Noble: 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/between-love-and-hate-altonya-washington/1121530327

 

 


The Ultimate Betrayal 
by Kimberla Lawson Roby 

Announcing the 12th novel in my REVEREND CURTIS BLACK SERIES!

It’s been four years since twenty-eight-year old Alicia Black, daughter of Reverend Curtis Black, divorced her second husband, the most womanizing and corrupt man she has ever known. Since then, Alicia has been dating her first husband, Phillip Sullivan, a wonderfully kind and true man of God whom she’d hurt terribly by cheating on him. Alicia has worked hard to prove herself worthy of his trust once more, and when he asks her to marry him again, she couldn’t be happier. 

But Levi Cunningham, the drug dealer Alicia had an extramarital affair with, has just been released from prison, and he has completely turned his life around for the better. Still head-over-heels in love with Alicia, he will do whatever is necessary to win her back. 

Remarrying Phillip is the one thing Alicia has wanted for years, but she can’t get Levi out of her mind. Alicia and Phillip aren’t the only ones in the middle of a crisis. Their best friends, husband and wife Brad and Melanie Richardson, are struggling to keep their marriage together. 

Workaholic Brad is never home and has begun losing thousands on bad investments. Or so he says. Melanie, who is certain there’s more to the story, is determined to get at the truth. At the same time, her frustration and stress cause her to eat a lot less, and she behaves in an extreme fashion. Alicia worries that she could be suffering from anorexia, but Melanie steadfastly denies it. Their friendship begins to suffer, and it isn’t long before they’re talking to each other like enemies. 

Fresh betrayal leads to consequences no one saw coming, and Alicia’s relationship with Phillip might not be the only thing that needs saving. But is it already too late?


Excerpt from Chapters 1 & 2: The Ultimate Betrayal 

Chapter 1


Alicia’s prayers had been answered. She and Phillip were finally going to be married—again. It had been six years since their first wedding, but in two months, she would walk down the aisle of her father’s church and live happily ever after. She was fully committed to Phillip this time around, and unlike before, she wouldn’t betray him. She wouldn’t sleep with another man behind his back. Just thinking about how selfish she’d been and how terribly she’d treated Phillip still upset her, but thankfully, he finally trusted her again. There had been moments when Alicia hadn’t been sure he ever would. Still, she’d gone out of her way doing all she could to show him just how much she loved and adored him and wanted to be his wife. From this point on, they would be together until death do us part, no matter what.

Phillip stood at the bedroom window of Alicia’s condo, looking as handsome as ever, and Alicia smiled at him. He winked at her but continued his phone conversation. He’d driven over last night and was now on the phone with her dad, discussing church business. Phillip had returned to his assistant pastor position at Deliverance Outreach in Mitchell, Illinois, which was the reason he and Alicia had purchased a home there. With all his church responsibilities, it was better for him to reside in the same city as his job so he would have quick access to the church and to any members who needed him. Phillip had moved in a month ago, but it wouldn’t be long before Alicia joined him, as she now had a buyer for her Chicago-area condo and would be closing on the sale in six weeks. She’d even begun moving some of her belongings out to the house in Mitchell. She would certainly miss Covington Park, along with much of the culture and excitement that the Chicago area provided, but she also couldn’t wait for her and Phillip to live as husband and wife again.

Things were going to be good between them. They would have a great life, and she thanked God for second chances. As a matter of fact, God had blessed her in such a tremendous way that she sometimes shed tears uncontrollably. Here she’d committed adultery against Phillip—hurting him to the core—yet he’d found it in his heart to forgive her. And he’d never once stopped loving her.

Then, there was that awful second marriage she’d entered into with the likes of Pastor JT Valentine. The man had slept around with more women than Alicia could count, and the whole experience had been a nightmare. Still, God had delivered her from JT and his madness and allowed her to move on and forget about him.

And if those blessings hadn’t been enough, she was a successful novelist who would be releasing her fourth book in a few months. She had such a wonderfully kind and loyal audience of readers; some of whom read her work because of her father’s worldwide status, but the majority seemed to genuinely love her stories and she was grateful for that.

Phillip ended his call. “I’m gonna get ready so I can head back home. Your dad and I and some of the other officers are meeting for lunch today.”

“I need to get ready myself. I’m meeting Melanie at noon so we can pick out our jewelry for the wedding.” Melanie Richardson was Alicia’s best friend, and she and her husband, Brad, who was Phillip’s best friend, were going to be their attendants. Alicia and Phillip had considered having bridesmaids and groomsmen, too, but then decided they wanted to keep their ceremony as intimate and as meaningful as possible. That way their day would be about them and the love they shared, versus some massive, impersonal affair.

“Oh yeah, that’s right,” he said, strolling over to Alicia and hugging her. “But more important, have I told you how beautiful you are today?”

“As a matter of fact, you have,” she said, kissing him. “You’re so good to me, and you make me so very happy.”

He squeezed her tighter. “Not as happy as you make me.”

“My life is finally complete.”

“I’m glad to hear that. And although it took a while for me to propose to you again, I hope you know that I never stopped loving you. Not once.”

“I know you didn’t, and I never stopped loving you, either. And I’m also sorry for…well, everything. I destroyed our marriage, and I will always be indebted to you for forgiving me the way you did.”

“God forgives us all, and we have to do the same thing with others. Sometimes though, just because you’ve forgiven someone it doesn’t mean you can still be as close with them. You can still love them and be there for them if they need you, but forgiving someone and trusting them again are two different things. So I thank God that in our case, I was able to do both.”

“You’re a good person with a huge heart, and I love you with everything in me,” she said.

“I love you, too,” he said, kissing her.

Alicia’s yearning for Phillip was strong and intense—it was the kind of yearning she couldn’t act on or ask him to satisfy. He talked a lot about how he couldn’t wait to make love to her again, except Alicia wasn’t handling this celibacy thing nearly as well as he was. She knew Phillip was a minister and that he was serious about his faith, but Alicia had certain needs and desires. For her, kissing and cuddling only meant tons of torture, and she longed for their wedding day. It couldn’t come fast enough, and she’d gone without for so many years that it was almost funny. Especially since the sole reason she’d done so was because Phillip had made it clear that he wouldn’t have it any other way. He’d insisted that the only way things could work between them was if her love and respect for God were sincere. This, of course, meant living by the Word and not having sex until they were remarried. Still, she’d be lying if she said she was okay with it, because she wasn’t. She was twenty-eight, and she couldn’t help the way she felt. Phillip was only ten years older, so she couldn’t see how he was able to deal with this either. But he was, and he seemed to do it with ease.

After Phillip left, Alicia finished getting dressed and grabbed her large black leather tote from her bed. She disconnected her phone from its charger and saw that she had new emails. When she opened her mailbox, she scrolled through three department store sale reminders and a couple of other unimportant messages. But she swallowed hard when she saw the next one. The subject line said, “Hey Beautiful,” and the sender’s name was listed as Levi Cunningham.

She covered her mouth with her hand, whispering out loud, “No, this just can’t be.”

She took a deep breath and sat down on the leather chaise in shock. Her heart beat faster with every few seconds, and although she was curious about the contents of the email, she was afraid to open it. What could Levi possibly want? She hadn’t heard from him in five years, not since he’d called her from prison. She’d wondered then how he was able to contact her and talk for as long as he wanted, until she’d learned that he’d gotten in pretty good with one of the correctional officers. He’d called her twice. Once to let her know how much he still loved her, and the second time to tell her that her husband at the time, JT, was sleeping around on her and committing other unimaginable sins.

Although, now that Alicia thought about it, she had spoken to Levi a third time, and that was when she’d told him she was going to do everything she could to get back with Phillip. Levi had been disappointed, but it wasn’t like he could offer her something better, not with him still serving time for drug-related felony charges. Back then, he’d been sure he’d be out within a few months, since his attorney had discovered new evidence to help exonerate him. Levi had also cooperated with the authorities, which likely meant he’d told on the right people. Still, as far as she knew, nothing had ever panned out in terms of his getting a new trial.

Alicia stared at her phone, debating whether she should open the email. Her common sense begged her to delete it, but her heart pleaded for something different. And she knew why: after all these years, she’d never fully gotten over him. She’d buried her feelings and gone on with her life, but she’d never forgotten their genuine chemistry. Their hearts had bonded naturally, and their deep emotional connection had been indescribable. It was the kind that only true soul mates could share—the kind she had never experienced with another man, not even Phillip. Although, what harm could Levi do from a prison cell?

Alicia debated no further. She opened the message and read it.


Hey Beautiful,
I’m sure I’m the last person you ever expected to hear from, right? I’m a little surprised myself, but I’m happy to say I finally got my new trial, and I was released yesterday. I’m a free man, and although it hasn’t even been a full 24 hours yet, I’ve never felt better. I wanted to contact you as soon as my mom and my boy Darrell picked me up, but I decided I would spend some quality time with my mom last night first. She has been my rock through all of this, so I owed her that. But this morning, I woke up thinking about you and how much I missed you. So can you please email me back? I really want to see you. Oh, and I’m not sure whether you noticed or not, but after being locked down for all this time, I went back to school and learned a lot about commas and when to include them. ? Even better, I now have a bachelor’s degree in business. Amazing what you can do online these days, and I can’t thank God enough for it. I’m a totally different man. Anyway, I hope you respond. I can’t wait to hear your voice.

Talk to you soon.
Levi

P.S. I never stopped loving you, sweetheart. Not for a second.
Alicia didn’t move. She couldn’t have if she’d wanted to. Was it really true? Was Levi out of prison and living back in Mitchell? The same city she was returning to as well—the city where she and Phillip were making their permanent home? This was all too much for Alicia to digest, but as she sat thinking, she realized something. Levi’s email wasn’t going to change anything. She loved Phillip, she was marrying him in two months, and that was that. This was her reality. This was all of their reality. End of story.



Chapter 2

“Brad, what is this?” Melanie exclaimed, holding her husband’s latest credit union statement.

Brad frowned. “What is what?”

Melanie passed him the document. “Here, see for yourself.”

“Where did you get this? Were you rummaging through my desk?”

“No, I was looking for a black marker, and I just so happened to see it.”

“Do I search through your things?”

“I wouldn’t care if you did. I don’t have anything to hide.”

“Neither do I, but I also don’t like stuff moved around in my office.”

“Normally, you lay your mail on top of your desk. But not this, though.”

Brad ignored her. “What would make you rummage through my stuff like this?”

“You know what, that’s neither here nor there. I just wanna know what you needed ten thousand dollars for.”

Brad sighed. “I can’t believe you went through my desk and opened my mail.”

“We’ve been married for, what? Three years? So as your wife, I have a right to see everything. And until now, you’ve never had a problem with that.”

“Whatever, Mel.”

“Why aren’t you answering my question? Are you doing something I need to know about?”

“No, I made a bad investment, and I lost some money.”

“How?” she said, folding her arms. “Playing around with the stock market again?”

“I wasn’t playing around with it. I read about a couple of hot items, and they didn’t pan out.”

“But ten thousand dollars? You lost ten thousand dollars, and you’re acting like it’s no big deal?”

“I never said it wasn’t a big deal.”

“But you’re sounding like you lost ten pennies. Not to mention, it’s bad enough that you lost more than thirty thousand a year ago for the same reason.”

Brad rolled his eyes. “Oh, here we go. Bringin’ up the past again.”

“I’m simply making a point. It’s not like we’re getting any younger.”

“Are you serious? Mel, you’re only twenty-eight years old.”

“But you know how careful I’ve always been when it comes to money. I was cautious and saving as much as I could before you ever asked me to marry you. And since you’ll be forty in a couple of years, I would think you’d start being a lot more cautious, too. Especially when it comes to your savings account.”

“Look, baby,” he said, calming his voice. “I’m sorry. I hear you, and I promise it won’t happen again.”

“You said the same thing last year.”

“I know, but I mean it this time,” he said, leaning against his desk. “I traded some pretty high-risk stocks online, and it was only because I thought I could make a lot of money from it. But I’ve learned my lesson.”

“So this wasn’t even done through a broker? You did this on your own?”

“Yeah, but I’m done. I know you don’t believe me, but losing all this in a matter of days really opened my eyes.”

Melanie spoke in a softer tone. “You can’t keep doing this.”

Brad’s cell phone rang, and he pulled it from his blazer. “Baby, it’s the office. Just give me a second, okay?”

Melanie sat down in the supple brown leather wing-back chair and waited for him to finish his call. She was trying not to be angry, but she couldn’t understand why Brad did this kind of thing. She was just the opposite, so it didn’t made sense to her. She could never blow that kind of money unnecessarily, not from her individual savings, checking, retirement, or any other account. They had two joint money market accounts as well, and for the most part, she pretended those didn’t exist. She just couldn’t see spending money so frivolously like there would be no tomorrow. There were times when she knew she might have gone to a bit of an extreme with her vigilant money-management philosophy, but who knew what the future held? Anything at all could happen. Loss of employment, illness, or even death.

Then, to think how hard they’d worked to get where they were professionally. Brad was the newest senior partner at the firm he’d been practicing at since graduating law school—a firm that was known statewide—and Melanie was a nurse practitioner at the most highly recommended internal medicine office in Mitchell. Also, last year they’d built a six-thousand-square-foot home and furnished every room with all new furniture and accessories. Melanie had thought they were spending way too much money, but once Brad had convinced her that they could afford it and that he wasn’t working all his life for nothing, she’d gone along with it. Of course, that had been well before she’d known he was going to throw away thirty thousand dollars only three months after breaking ground. She certainly hadn’t known he was going to lose ten thousand more last month. It was common for the stocks and bonds that made up their retirement portfolios to fluctuate, but the idea of buying risky items for no reason was uncalled for.

Brad ended his call and reached out his hand to Melanie. “Baby, come here.”

“Why?”

“Just come here. Please.”

She got up and walked over to him.

Brad sat back onto the top of his desk, drew her closer, and wrapped his arms around her waist. “I’m really sorry. I got a little carried away, and I messed up. Can you forgive me?”

Melanie looked at him but didn’t say anything.

He caressed the side of her face. “You know you can’t stay mad at me forever, right?”

“I just wish you wouldn’t do things like this. I mean, if you’re just dying to give away money, I’d rather see you give it to families or organizations in need. Because to me, when you throw away money that God has blessed you with, you’re being ungrateful.”

“I agree. But do you forgive me?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Not really,” he said, wrapping Melanie’s arms around his neck and kissing her.

Melanie hated arguing with him, and it felt good holding him and trying to get past what had happened.

“I was planning to wait to bring this up, but now is just as good a time as any,” he said.

Melanie wondered why he looked so serious. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. But I do want us to think more about starting a family. I want you to stop taking your birth control pills.”

“I don’t know,” she said, and although she wanted a child, too, she wasn’t sure this was the right time anymore. Not with Brad’s latest financial move. She wanted to believe him when he said this would never happen again, but she needed to see it. Another thing that had started to concern her quite a bit was the fact that he worked a lot of hours. She clearly understood what his job entailed, but for the last few months they’d sometimes barely seen each other except on Sundays. They’d had words about that very thing a couple of weeks ago, and she didn’t want to be the kind of mother who raised her child alone.

But then there was her other reason, the one she didn’t have the courage to tell Brad about. She was terrified of gaining a huge amount of weight from being pregnant. As it was, she was already struggling to lose the same ten pounds she’d been trying to get rid of for more than a year. She was sure ten pounds didn’t seem like a lot to most people, but the last thing she wanted was for her mother to start harassing her again—spewing some of the same hurtful comments she’d dished out for years. Melanie had been a chubby child, and her mother had been repulsed by it.

“Why aren’t you saying anything?” he asked.

“No reason. I just wanna make sure we’re ready.”

“Baby, how much more ready do we need to be? We have more than enough room, and we can definitely afford it. Plus, you know it’s still my dream to be able to give our children what my parents weren’t able to give me. When they were alive, they took care of me the best they could, but they barely made ends meet, and I went without a lot. Even in college.”

“I know. Why don’t we talk about it more tonight?”

“Fine. And hey—are you losing weight?”

“I wish.”

“Why? Because it’s not like you need to. You look perfect.”

“I’m glad you feel that way,” she said, wondering how he could possibly think she’d lost even a few ounces, let alone enough weight that was noticeable enough to see. Especially since she weighed herself every single day, and not much had changed. Although maybe working out six days a week without fail was helping her lose inches.

Brad kissed her again, this time with more passion. “Make love to me.”

Melanie gently pressed both her hands against his chest. “Baby, I can’t. I have to get dressed so I can drive over to Schaumburg. I’m meeting Alicia, remember?”

“Oh yeah. Well, I guess I’ll let you off the hook this one time. I expect you to make this up to me tonight, though,” he said, smiling.

Melanie was relieved, because her plans to drive over and meet Alicia weren’t the only reason she was putting him off. Truth was, she had long stopped wanting to make love to him in broad daylight because of how pathetic she looked when she was naked. At five foot nine and 165 pounds, she wore a size ten and looked like Miss Piggy, which was one of the many names her father had called her when she was a child. She wasn’t nearly as heavy now as she’d been back then, but she was still a size ten for heaven’s sake. Just the thought of it made her want to burst into tears. Brad deserved so much better. A wife he could be proud to have on his arm—just like her mother regularly told her. And if it was the last thing she did, she would make that happen. She would do whatever was necessary to drop those ten horrible pounds she was parading around with. That way, she could fit back into her size eights the way she was supposed to. She wouldn’t be happy—and neither would her mother—until she did.


( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Kimberla Lawson Roby. Ella D. Curry has permission as her online publicist to promote this excerpt. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 


Purchase The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Available June 9, 2015!
Link: http://amzn.com/1455559563 


About the Author
Kimberla Lawson Roby
is the New York Times bestselling author of the highly acclaimed Reverend Curtis Black Series. She lives with her husband in Rockford, Illinois.  Website:  http://www.kimroby.com 

 

 

 


DONUM: A Novel 
by Alexandra Lane




Coming June, 2015

A prophecy was foretold, death and destruction were released and Armageddon would soon be upon the world. But before the world knew what was coming, what was waiting in the shadows, it all began in the small town of Capers, NC. 

Born, Charles Leonardis, Jr., with light teal colored eyes mingled with a hint of light, his given nickname is, Teal. His eyes will be the beginning as things slowly develop and strange phenomena begin to happen to him as a child. His eyes will become a window into many things, things that are of this world and some that are not, and some things he'd wish he'd never seen. 

Meanwhile, the townspeople of Capers embrace a new stranger, Noigel Braddock, a rich, handsome billionaire from New York who will start a huge profitable Tech company in downtown Capers. He will make new acquaintances and make many of them very rich. However, there is something far more sinister about Noigel than anyone truly realizes. His arrival will unleash a hell upon the town of Capers that they never thought possible.

The townspeople will begin to change, they will start behaving irrationally; committing atrocities they otherwise would not. Teal, who sees the town being slowly pulled apart will have the daunting task of confronting evil head on as things escalate out of control. 

Chaos will ensue, crime and death totals will rise and life will change forever, from what they once knew. The question is, how do you stop evil, when you don’t know that it is? 


EXCERPT FROM DONUM


Pastor Wright took her hand in his. “I don’t think you’re crazy at all. I think it is truly a miracle from God and I believe every word you’re saying.”

Tears welled up in her eyes again. “Thank you, Pastor. I thought I was going to explode if I didn’t tell someone what actually happened to me. I can’t even tell my own family because they’re all hypochondriacs, and they’ll just think the cancer shifted from the lower part of my body to my brain and start thinking I have a brain tumor. So, I keep my mouth shut,” she said with a little chuckle.

“What if I was to tell you that the little boy is standing in the hallway waiting to meet you?”

She instantly stood up. She looked towards the doorway.

“Let me get him,” he said. “Are you okay with that?”

Eliza shook her head, yes, for she couldn’t conjure up the words. Teal and Katy walked in the room. Eliza walked over to Teal and knelt down, she looked at him intensely then she softly wrapped her arms around him and held him.
Teal looked up at his mother. Katy could see he was questioning what was happening. Pastor Wright walked over and touched Eliza’s shoulder, she looked up at the Pastor, dabbed her eyes then she looked over at Katy.

“This is your little boy?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“He’s a blessing. A true gift,” Eliza said.

“Yes, he is definitely a gift to Charles and me,” Katy said smiling, but she was recounting in her head the many years they tried to conceive but couldn’t.

Eliza looked at Teal. “Do you remember me?”

“Yes.” Teal touched her head. “You’re all better now?”

She laughed. “Yes, I’m all better now.” 

“Then why are you crying?” Teal asked with his head slightly tilted.

“Because God sent you to me,” she said looking through a well of tears. All of a sudden, Eliza’s family entered the room and she stood and wiped her face. 

“Everything ok, Eliza?” her father asked as he looked at the guest in the room.

“Yes, papa. I’m just happy to see Pastor Wright and this sweet little boy. I didn’t think I would ever be standing here talking to anyone ever again. So, these are tears of joy, papa.”

Pastor Wright picked his hat up from the table. “Well, we won’t take up anymore of your time. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you in church soon and we’ll talk some more then.”

“Yes you will Pastor,” she said with a big smile. They hugged once more. Then Katy, Teal and the Pastor all left. When they got in the car Katy glanced back at Teal who was playing with his Spiderman and Superman action figures. Katy oddly looked at Pastor Wright. “What was that all about Pastor Wright?” she inquired as she started the car and headed back to the church.

“Katy, I’m going to ask you to do something that’s going to sound really strange to you,” he said with great hesitation. 

“What’s that, Pastor?” she asked wondering.

“I need you to shift your mind from everything you’ve ever learned as a Psychologist and open your mind to something that is going to be very difficult to absorb,” he said looking towards Katy. He was agonizing over how to present the words to her.

Looking worried, Katy asked, “What is it, Pastor?”

He looked at Teal, then to Katy. “Katy, your son has a gift.”

When he said those words, Katy’s mind automatically went back to the old woman in the park. “That’s what that old woman said.”

Pastor Wright was thrown off by her statement. “What old woman?” he asked. 

“I took Teal to the park one day and an old woman came up to him and called him a strange name. She kept saying he was DONUM and that I had to protect him. She also said he had gifts and that he needed to understand how to use them, and what was happening to him. She told me to bring my son to you and you could help him.” Katy had turned into the church parking lot and parked the car. She looked at Pastor Wright like she had a lot on her mind. “As a matter of fact, when I visited one of my patients in the hospital this morning she said the same thing as the old woman and used the same word. She said that an angel told her to tell me to watch after my son, he was the key. Then she said the same word the old woman had said; DONUM. Then she died,” Katy said with a blank stare.

“She died?”

“Yes. They were calling it an attempted suicide, but she told me she didn’t try to kill herself, she said that something came into her room last night and tried to kill her,” Katy said with a blank expression. She was having a hard time with the words she was saying.

The Pastor removed his hat and rubbed his bald head. He took out his handkerchief and dabbed it across his forehead and neck. “Katy, something is happening here in Capers and apparently it’s only going to get worse. To have had two people give you the same message about your son could only mean that he is going to be crucial to whatever is coming and, he needs to be ready for it. 

“Pastor Wright,” Teal called.

“Yes, Teal.”

“Do you know what pro-phas-sy is?” Teal asked trying to remember how to say the word.

Pastor Wright wondered for a few seconds. “Do you mean, Prophecy?” he asked curiously.

“Yes, that’s what she said.” Teal replied.

“Who? Who said something about prophecy?” asked Pastor Wright looking at Teal.

Katy interrupted. “Oh, I forgot to tell you about the dream he had,” Katy said with her same blank stare but with a hint of sarcasm.

“After a horrible night of Teal being attacked,” she said with air quotes. “Later that night in the hospital, he said that a lady spoke to him in a dream and said he was going to be alright. She also told him that evil was here in Capers and…” she was trying to remember the rest of his words.

“Arm-getton, mommy,” Teal said reminding her.

“Armageddon?” The Pastor asked looking at Teal.

“Yes,” he answered. Pastor Wright put his hand to his mouth, he was sweating, his eyes wondered all around as he tried to piece it all together. “Oh my dear God,” he mumbled.

“Katy, I need you to listen to me, please.” There was silence as Katy coolly looked at him. He dabbed his forehead again. “There’s no easy way for me to say this, so I just have to say it. Your son has the gift to heal. When he says they took something from him, he means the energy that leaves his body when they’re being healed from touching him. In the bible, it talks about the woman that had the issue of blood, if you remember, she touched Jesus’s robe and was healed instantly. But the thing that made this healing stick out from the others was, there was a multitude of people surrounding Jesus that was pushing on him and touching him, but he could still tell that someone had touched him and was healed because he said ‘virtue is gone out of me.’ To heal another, drains that person’s body of energy when something as powerful as your son’s gift is activated.”

He sat silent and never took his eyes from Katy’s. Katy turned away and closed her eyes. She raked her fingers through her hair and pulled. 

“Stay with me Katy, please,” Pastor Wright implored. “The word DONUM is a Latin word that means, Gift. That old woman you saw in the park was a messenger of God, and that thing that attacked Teal, that was one of Satan’s demons trying to kill your son.”

Katy’s head shot around towards Pastor Wright when she heard those words. 

“Katy, your son is not a typical, everyday boy. Your son is a gift from God and he was sent here to do something of great importance either for someone, or some people, maybe the whole town, I’m not sure. But that’s why the messages are being sent to you, and they’re right, we must protect him,” Pastor Wright said anxiously. 

“Your son said, Armageddon, this word is from the book of Revelations where it talks about the last days. This is where the devil, the Anti-Christ and the false prophet rise to bring destruction and desolation upon the earth. We need to start finding answers Katy, and I mean, now,” Pastor Wright said with utmost seriousness. “And I believe it all starts with your neighbor, Noigel Braddock. Evil has beset this town from the very first day he arrived here. I believe he is the core to whatever is getting ready to happen.”  There was silence. “Katy?” 

Katy didn’t answer. She just stared out the window. Pastor Wright sat still and didn’t speak a word. He knew it was a lot for her to absorb, but he was praying she wouldn’t dismiss it either.  “I need some time, Pastor,” she finally said.

“Sure, Katy. I know this is a lot,” he said empathetically. “But I need you to understand one thing. We don’t have a whole lot of time. We need to get Teal ready for…”

“For what?” she belted out as she sharply snapped her head around looking at Pastor Wright. “What?!” she asked again.

“Katy, I don’t have all the answers right now, but I promise you, I will have more to tell you when I see you next time. But you need to open your eyes and see, Katy.” 

“Well Pastor, I’m not sure if I’m the right person because I am a trained Psychologist and you have to know how all of this sounds to me right now!” Katy bellowed out.

“I do,” he softly responded.

“It’s going to be ok, mommy,” Teal said from the back seat. “The lady said so,” he said with sweet innocence.

Katy looked at her son, turned back and heavily rubbed her hands over her face. “I need to get Teal home and I have to get to work,” she said looking forward.

“I understand.” Pastor Wright unbuckled his seatbelt and got out of the car. Katy quickly put the car in reverse and backed out hurriedly. She didn’t speak another word as she drove off.

Pastor Wright stood in the parking lot and watched as she drove away. Katy took a quick glimpse in the rearview mirror. She could see that he looked troubled; frightened. But one thing Katy knew for sure, he wasn’t as frightened as she was.


( Continued... )

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


DONUM: A Novel by Alexandra Lane
Coming Soon! Start following the journey today, links below!
Twitter Link:  https://twitter.com/DONUM15 
FB Link:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/DONUM/635799543190833 



Meet the Author
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. She is currently working on her next novel.

Website:  http://alexandralane.tateauthor.com  
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/avisionofangels 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/alexandra.lane11 




THE LAST KING 
by A. Yamina Collins 

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. 


EXCERPT – The Last King, upcoming episode #5


Stepping quietly into the greenroom, he can tell, before he fully enters, that Emmy is in a deep sleep, just by the rhythm of her breathing.

Good, he thinks. She’ll be out for a long while yet.

At first, he moves towards the window, looking out into the night sky. It’s going to rain soon, yes even in the middle of July.Then he turns a lamp on and inspects the bed and rug. Clean as a whistle. Matilda has done a marvelous job, and even Emmy’s clothes are back on, looking good as new.

Standing over to the bed, he studies Emmy for a while.

It could be done so easily; he could kill her in the flick of an eye —split her body apart like he was splitting hairs.

Matilda has leaned the Sword of Jarden up against the dresser, and it sits there now, sparkling and bright.

Picking it up, Gilead wields the sword in his hand with such speed and dexterity that it makes a sound as he cuts it through the air.

It’s tempting isn’t it, he tells himself? To use it on her.

Very tempting. And it really would be less of a hassle if ended this thing tonight, just as his mother wants him to do. But…but…

Gilead sighs.

The sword is heating up in his grip. In a couple of minutes it will be so hot that fire will leap from around the edges of the blade.

Quickly, he lays the sword down on the window sill, then meanders back to the bed, and watches Emmy again.

Now is as good a time as any, he decides.

Carefully, he turns Emmy over on her stomach, and placing a hand in his pocket, he takes out a small syringe whose needle point he positions against the skin of his own forearm. It’s the radial vein he wants, and the tip slides in so easily, so smoothly, that seconds later, the syringe is being filled with the gold-colored, hot fluid that is his blood.

The fluid pulsates, some would say like lava, and when he is done filling up the syringe, he stabs the needle through the back of Emmy’s t-shirt, allowing the needle point to settle against her skin.

Any location will do, he knows. As long as it’s in the general vicinity, his blood will seek out what is broken in a person, what is not perfection, and instantly fix it.

But to be sure, Gilead gives her three injections instead of one – in the mid-section of her back, at the base of her spine, and finally at the nape of her neck.

A faint snapping sound can be heard. It is not the snap of bone or of disks being broken, but that of shattered parts of the body being sealed back into place.

When he finishes, he puts the syringe back in his pocket, moves to the edge of the bed, and just sits there, deep in thought for a while.

Outside, the rain has started, but only a drizzle it seems.

Looking down at Emmy, his eyes fall on the rounded smoothness of one of her shoulder’s, which is half exposed

Scratching his chin, Gilead hesitates, then moves back toward the center of the bed, peering all the more closely at her.

Skin is a funny thing. It’s a fascinating material. It can be ugly and withered, or smooth and alluring. Hers is the type of skin that will never see veins popping through it, nor will age touch it too quickly.

Gilead looks towards the door, then back again at Emmy. How still she is – as still as the grave.

Uneasily—why am I doing this, he asks himself?—he lies down on the bed beside her, facing the ceiling, and he crosses his arms over his chest.

No one will enter the room, he figures. Or at least, no one should.

Matilda has done her job and won’t come back, and as for Markus – Gilead swears to himself that if Markus comes nosying around here, he’ll beat him through and through.

Markus, he snarls. The little brat!

Isn’t Gilead free to do as pleases? Can’t he lie here for a few seconds, undisturbed? There is no harm in this, and he is only curious, that’s all.

Closing his eyes, he leans his head closer to Emmy, and with trepidation, he slowly presses his cheek against her shoulder. A clean, soapy scent rises from her skin.

What was that scent on her earlier, he ponders? Was it cinnamon or sugar or peaches or….?

He inhales, pauses, then looks again towards the door. Is someone on the other side, out in the hallway? No.

Finally he rests his head more fully upon her. There is something about her darkness that is elegant, mysterious and delightful.

He exhales.

Men are fools when they succumb to the flesh of women, but for Gilead this is only a single, innocent moment. After this, he will go back to his wisdom, and his strength of mind, and never will he think about her again.

It’s only for this brief instant in time that he wants to lay here, in the quiet space of this room. Can he not just close his eyes? He’s been alive so long, and never does he feel like he has truly rested.


( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, A. Yamina Collins. 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.


Purchase THE LAST KING by A. Yamina Collins 
Genre: Fantasy/Romance


http://www.amazon.com/A.Yamina-Collins/e/B008KF2XZM 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20813560-the-last-king 



 

 


Play It Forward by Frederick Smith


In the spirit of the work of the late E. Lynn Harris comes Play It Forward, a novel that continues the conversation about Black men, relationships, mentoring, community engagement, and encouraging the Black community to accept that all Black Lives Matter in our community dialogues. 

Malcolm Campbell is the director of a south Los Angeles organization focused on mentoring Black youth, and his nineteen-year-old nephew, Blake, is being sent to stay with him for the summer. Malcolm has always been a community and family role model everyone looks up to. But he also has a secret he never knew he had... until it pops up on the Internet.

Across town, in the closed and secret world of Black Hollywood celebrity, pro-basketball player Tyrell Kincaid and R&B singer Tommie Jordan are public heroes with a very private relationship, which becomes fodder for speculation by the paparazzi and nationally-known gossip reporter Livonia Birmingham.

Despite living in two different worlds in L.A., Malcolm, Blake, Tommie, and Tyrell find themselves in the same arena, where they'll have to risk it all to protect their hearts and their destiny.

What People Are Saying


"Unapologetically Black, Smith is a great writer akin to the luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance and James Baldwin. His wonderfully vivid literary style offers the reader layered, complex portraits of African American men devoid of stereotypes and cliched sentimentalities."
-- Reverend Irene Monroe, religion columnist, The Religion Thang and Huffington Post

"Funny, touching, and intoxicating. Smith has written yet another compulsive read." 
-- Maurice Jamal, writer and director of Dirty Laundry and The Ski Trip



Excerpt: Play It Forward by Frederick Smith


Chapter 1

June 2009


Much of the trouble started when that video I made, but didn’t really make, hit the Internet.

I was on my second round of Grey Goose and tonics with my best friend Kyle and his long-time love, Bernard. It was a seventy-degree Sunday evening in June, just before the large rush of younger Black guys made their way into The Abbey in West Hollywood, just before the ambient lounge music transitioned to the current hip-hop songs. Though we enjoyed a good time out, we enjoyed it with the company of other thirty-somethings, and at a time of day when we could actually hear our conversations above the sound of music.

Kyle, Bernard, and I were this close to winding down our time together, as we all worked and had somewhere to be on Monday morning, when Bernard, trouble-maker that he is, brought up the long-gone Clinton-Obama rift of 2008. He knew how to get me started, and thus delay our departure.

“I still can’t believe you voted for that lady, Malcolm,” Bernard said rather loudly, his cocktail swirling but never spilling out of the glass in his left hand. “I am still holding that against you. You lost your Black card with me.”

That’s when I noticed my phone ringing. A call from my sister in Indiana. A downer much like the political debate Bernard was trying to reel me into again. I wasn’t feeling having this political commentary over cocktails, especially for an election competition a year behind us.

Bernard kissed Kyle on the cheek, and they gave each other that look lovers give when they want to do “couples things” later. I felt like quite the third wheel. We’d been doing our Sunday afternoon meetings at The Abbey for years, even before Black people started taking over Sundays there.

The Abbey was known for its pricey mojitos and martinis of all flavors, but most people ignored the prices, as the bar was the best place to be seen in gay and gay-friendly L.A. We were all playing a Hollywood role, even if it wasn’t our reality. I’d exchanged my standard khaki pants and button down for something casual and Abbey-worthy. Hollywood, I could never quite fit the part or find myself paying for those designers and labels that many wore… just because. I’d never been the fit-in-just-because type.

As my friends continued their PDA, out of the corner of my eye I could see a group of young brothas, probably in their early twenties, staring and pointing our way. First, I thought it was the rare surprise of seeing Black-on-Black romance in West Hollywood that caught their curiosity and attention. Black guys were friends only with each other in West Hollywood. I was sure none of them had had any Black romantic couples as role models, but then again I couldn’t assume anything these days. My work with young, Black gay men at the LADS organization opened my eyes that not everyone grew up middle-class with two parents like I did. The job definitely challenged my upbringing and comfort zone. Nothing was a surprise. Anything could happen, and often did.

Much like when one of the twenty-something men, dressed in a black v-neck t-shirt, gray shorts, and Oakland Raiders hat, nodded his head at me -- a directive to walk his way. I excused myself from Kyle and Bernard, and walked across the room toward the massive fireplace near the front of The Abbey where brotha stood.

“Hey,” I said.

Didn’t know much else to say. His presence intimidated me a bit. Young, athletic, cute, masculine brotha. Definitely not the type that would put me in his target demographic. I knew he had to be a good ten years younger than me. But I wasn’t looking for any type of romantic relationship, so shyness and intimidation wasn’t necessary. As I got closer to him, I could tell he loved Hanae Mori cologne. Smelled good on him.

“Whaddup bro? I’m Compton.”

“Not much,” I said. “I’m Malcolm.”

He held out his free hand to fist bump mine.

“What you up to?”

“Just about to head out,” I said, deepening my voice, shortening my phrasing, performing masculinity. “Came in earlier with a couple buddies over there.”

This small talk on looking good was definitely a set-up for a one-nighter, since we hadn’t exchanged much info yet. After a couple drinks, I could have been game, had brotha not looked like some of the clients I served at LADS. I wasn’t going to turn into one of those thirty-something mid-life-crisis cases who got off on picking up guys who could be their younger brother, cousin, or worst yet, son. Back in my twenties and early-thirties, when I was single and desperately looking for anyone, and working at the bank, I would have taken a guy like this home for the night. No questions asked. No background check. Sometimes no names exchanged. That’s how I’d ended up with a string of ex’s whose lives were the social issue of the month. Now, I was happily single and looking for more than a one-night-only kind of arrangement. And I definitely wasn’t looking for drama or to help someone else solve their drama. That was only for work.

My phone rang again. My sister, again, from Indianapolis. Must be urgent. No one calls long distance, over and over, without some kind of emergency. I knew something had to be up.

( Continued... )

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


Purchase Play It Forward by Frederick Smith
Link:  http://amzn.com/1626392358  

 

 

 

 


Divided Heart: Queens of Kings 
(Book 2) by LaQuette

The last two years of Heart MacKenzie Searlington’s life have been a constant forward motion of change. 

She’s been promoted to NYPD captain of the seventy-fourth precinct in Brooklyn, a job she never wanted, but is slowly finding her way through with the help of a dedicated second in command and a house full of exemplary officers. 

Married to the sexy and powerful mogul, Kenneth Searlington, Heart is living all of the dreams she never knew to ask for before she fell in love with the man that stole her heart. Although Kenneth bathes her in his love and devotion, insecurities from the past still haunt her and cast a dark veil over their union.

Kenneth Searlington knows only one thing, he worships his wife. He has a singular purpose: to love her as hard as he can for the rest of their lives and to neutralize any threat that dares to come up against them. But how does he protect them when that threat comes from the woman he loves?

Thrown by a devastating loss, Heart allows pain and despair to drive a wedge so large between them they may never be able to recover. Pushed beyond his limits, excluded and taken for granted, Kenneth has to decide whether to allow darker urges to control him, or to use his rage to fight for the one thing he adores, Heart.

Can they mend the rift, or will a divided heart end their legendary love?


Excerpt from Divided Heart: Queens of Kings, Book 2


He was a tall man with alabaster skin and midnight locks that fell beyond his shoulders and down his back. He was dressed in a crisp grey business suit that made his crystal blue eyes sparkle. He wore a knowing smile that said, “I know you know that I’m the ish.” He was a cocky bastard, true, but she had firsthand knowledge of just how amazing he really was. She also had firsthand knowledge that everything that self-assured smile promised he was more than capable of delivering. He sat on her desk with his long legs stretched out in front of him and crossed at the ankles. Easy, calm, confident, and sexy as all hell.

“You know you’re risking life and limb by sitting on my desk like you own it, right?” she asked as she closed the door behind her. She looked around to make certain the blinds on her office windows and doors were in a closed position, this was a moment that was meant solely for the two of them.

“I may not own the desk, but I own the woman that it belongs to…so I kinda do own it if you think about it,” he said as the silky sureness of his voice traveled across the room and pulled her to him. 

Before she could say just how it happened, she was standing in front of him between spread legs, falling into the broad expanse of his chest. “You own me do you?” her voice hitched as she felt his fingers skate from her fingers to her arms causing her skin to sizzle.

“I thought that’s what these rings we wear meant? I own you, you own me? Was I wrong?” He leaned in and placed a light kiss on her cheek, and just like any other time his skin met hers, a sensual burn began to singe the area where his lips had rested for only a brief second.

“Mmmm,” she moaned. “You bet your pretty ass we belong to each other.” She wrapped her hand in his long tresses and pulled him to her, letting her body sink into his and searching for the connection only his kiss could bring. She found his warm, soft lips and mewled into the decadence of the pleasure they ignited inside her.

“God I wish we were home instead of in my office,” she said when they broke apart lungs burning from lack of air. She dived in for one more kiss and then leaned back to look into those hypnotic blue eyes of his. “When did you get back, Kenneth? I thought you weren’t coming home for another three days.”

With Kenneth being gone for the last week on a business trip, she’d only spoken to her husband via video chat and stolen moments through text messages. To have him here, this close to her, close enough to smell and taste… She was just this side of tempted to say to hell with the workday and go home and sex her man until they were both too exhausted to do anything but sleep.

“That was the original plan, but I needed my wife, missed you too much. I don’t think I slept more than a couple of hours at a time, needed you next to me. Not to mention I was a growly beast because I missed you so much. I think the team worked triple time just to get me home to you and out of their hair.”

She smiled at him, always happy to know he was just as addicted to her as she was him. “I’m glad you stopped by, I missed you too. I know you’ve been on the other side of the world, but over here, it’s the start of the work day.”

“Come on,” he wined, pouting his bottom lip out like a petulant child. “You’re the boss, can’t you play hooky today Captain Searlington?”

She shook her head. “Not today. I have a meeting with the inspector in a few hours. I need to prep for it. I may be top cop in this house, but I still have bosses.”

He pulled her to him and nuzzled the exposed skin of her neck. “What time do you think you’ll be home?”

“As long as brass doesn’t lay anything too heavy on me at this meeting, it should be a regular day. I can probably be home by five or six.”

Kenneth groaned. “You can’t do any better than that? I haven’t seen my wife in over a week”

“Go home and go to sleep,” she said softly as she let her hand slide over the broad expanse of his chest. “Be ready for me when I get home. I promise I will show you just how much I missed you.”

“Mmm, see that right there…,” his kissed her lightly on the lips, “…Captain Searlington…,” he nipped her bottom lip with his teeth, “…is exactly why I love you.”


( Continued... )


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


More About LaQuette

A native of Brooklyn, New York, LaQuette spends her time catering to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother, and Educator. Writing: her escape from everyday madness has always been a friend and comforter. She loves writing and devouring romance novels. Although she possesses a graduate degree in English Lit, she'd forego Shakespeare any day to read something hot, lusty, and romantic.

She loves hearing from readers and discussing the crazy characters that are running around in her head causing so much trouble. Contact her on Facebook, Twitter, her website, Amazon, and her Facebook group, LaQuette’s Lounge.

Connect with LaQuette, Romance Author

http://www.LaQuetteLikes.com 
https://twitter.com/LaQuetteLikes 
https://www.facebook.com/Laquettetheauthor 
http://www.amazon.com/LaQuette/e/B00H0IN16K 

 

 


King George’s Boys 
by Terry Germaine

At the dawn of the American Revolution, life is harsh for blacks and whites in the wealthiest colony in North America. Coffy has worked for ten years to buy his freedom, but love, war, and a preacherman threaten to tear his dream apart. How far would you go to be free?

Amazon Reader Review 

"King George's Boys" is one of those stories that sticks with you long after you've turned the last page. Coffy's struggle to survive and free himself from slavery is an emotional gut punch. It is a grim and gritty look at the lives and struggles of African slaves in the USA during a time of war and social upheaval. Coffy's story is both painful and full of hope, as he endures the hand he's been dealt in life while never losing faith that someday, he will be free. As the first in the series it lays an excellent foundation for what looks to be a very driven, compelling series, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book. – Cat Jones, Top 500 Reviewer

This book follows Coffy and other enslaved African Americans as they work their way to freedom. Coffy wants to buy out of slavery while others cook up a plan to escape the rice plantation they work on. Great tale of love and heartbreak and the horrendously true reality that was the slave trade. Very intriguing, I can't wait for book two! You'll get pulled right into the story and won't want to put it down. Recommended! – Amazon Reviewer


Excerpt from King George’s Boys by Terry Germaine


Prologue

Gator Bait



“Do you hear a baby crying?”

I’m too tired to think. We have been walking all night and I’m just happy to reach this creek before sun up.

“I hear something,” I reply. “But it can’t be a baby.”

“Kofi, that is definitely a baby crying,” says Collie. He says that only his mother in Ireland calls him “Colin Lowery,” he prefers to be known as Collie. Driggus and Jaco chime in.

“I don’t hear anything,” says Jaco.

“If it’s something,” says Driggus. “I pray we look into it.”

“Maybe it’s a bear giving birth,” says Joe.

“No,” says Driggus. “I fear your brother was correct in his earlier assessment.”

Joe and I fill our canteens with water and the five of us walk along the creek’s edge toward the noise.

“Do they have alligators this far north?”

“You afraid of gators, Jaco,” asks Collie.

“I don’t fear much,” says Jaco. “But it would explain why there’s a crying baby in a swamp.”

“How is that?”

I see her. 

“There’s a pikinine tied to that tree with a rope around her neck and torso,” I say.

“A pee kee what?” asks Collie.

“He means you were right about hearing a crying baby,” says Driggus. “My old eyes spy her under that cottonwood tree.”

I walk ahead of the others.

“She can’t be more than two years old,” I say.

“Hold up,” says Collie. “What did you mean about alligators?”

“Let it go, mountain man,” says Driggus. “You and Joe haven’t been Americans as long as the rest of us.”

I get to the girl and reach down, loosening the rope around her neck before trying to pick her up. I’m actually not sure which would be worse: running into the gator she was set out as bait for or meeting the hunters who left her here. My answer came with the loud crack of a long gun.

“Asambone!”

I feel the ball tear through my left wrist. I tuck the child closer to my right side. My dear mother would slap me if she’d heard me curse so loudly, but it feels like I was just set on fire.

Driggus is calling behind me, but I can’t make out what he is saying. Am I falling? I see a blue coat running past me. The ground is cold this morning. I am lying on my back and the baby in my arms is still crying. I have got to get myself together. I hear another loud crack, it’s another gunshot.

“Them big and black, but better than catching gators,” says one of the bluecoats. Soldiers? No. Partisan guerillas like us. Colonial partisans are rushing us.

The regular armies on both sides fight on battlefields head on. This is the other side of the war, bands of five to ten guys burning down farms, disrupting supply lines and fighting one-on-one on the edge of swamps and creeks. At our best, we lay the groundwork for those larger battles giving our side the upper hand. 

The one who ran past me is wrestling with Jaco – not a smart move. I wish I had his fighting skills right now. I hear horses. I’ve got to get hold of myself. I cannot see my left hand, it’s covered in blood.

“Sorry, likkle one.” I have to put the girl down to reach for my knife, but there’s a colonial right on top of me. He grabs me in a chokehold before I set the girl down.

“Likkle?” he mutters with his hands tightly around my neck. “Can’t you boys talk good English?”

I can’t let him choke me out.

“Run,” I say pushing the girl away. She just sits down, covered in my blood and crying. I guess she’s safer there than in my arms right now.

I grab toward his waist with my free hand. I feel a bit light-headed, but it can’t end like this. The bluecoat is mumbling something.

“When you’re dead,” he says.

Mostly, I just hear the child crying. The partisan is squeezing tighter as I strike gold. His pistol is in his waist, lodged between his gut and the buckle of his belt. Got it! The muffled pop of his flintlock wakes me up as his grip fades.

Collie bayonets a man while Jaco stands over another. Driggus isn’t faring as well. 

“There are more coming.” says Joe. He kneels to get a good aim as a horseman charges him. I step over the child to help Driggus, who is staggering back into the creek. I hear more men running toward us as Joe fires.

“Why so many?”

Joe shoots the rider, but another man charges him from the ground as he reloads. The leader arrives on horseback, with his sabre drawn.

“Tarleton’s quarter,” he says, howling louder than I had been when I got shot. “Remember Waxhaw!”

Tarleton? Tarleton is one of our paymasters; five pieces of gold for every farm raided. Now I get it. These guys aren’t hunting alligators, they’re hunting us.

I should be plotting our escape, but I can only ask myself, “How did we get into this mess?”

 ( Continued... )


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


Download King George’s Boys by Terry Germaine 




About the Author  

Terry Germaine is a native of Houston, TX living outside Washington, DC with his wife Nana Yaa Bernice. A graduate of Howard University, his writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Njozi Magazine, and Mosaic Literary Magazine. A portion of all sales go to support Making a New United People (M.A.N.U.P.), where Terry mentors at-risk youth in his free time.

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/terry_germaine 
Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terrygermainewriter 


 

 


Jacmuir: Trust Stained Lies 
by Angeline M. Bishop

Oastomin, a university freshman and the newest Crimson Knight, consents to rigorous training so he can follow in his father’s footsteps and be accepted among his peers. A few months into his preparation, his dad, King Natro of Jacmuir, dies. Oastomin soon discovers his father’s power came at the high price of a long buried secret.

Seventeen year old Maia has a daily habit of pushing the “gray” boundary between right and wrong, but when she secretly rallies college-aged young men to undermine her father’s petitions for an alliance, her parents deliver a harsh punishment. Maia is forced to leave home but she decides to use her eviction as the perfect time to learn the secrets of the Crimson Knights.

Oastomin and Maia must decide if they are willing to sacrifice their principles in order to preserve their way of life. They will discover if it’s possible to slide across a moral line and openly challenge their parents’ expectations, while trying not to be held accountable for their powerful fathers’ mistakes. 

Note from the Author

JACMUIR: TRUST STAINED LIES was inspired by answering the youth's demand for more inspirational stories featuring multicultural characters transitioning into adults.

The diverse, intelligent young adults in this series are forced to challenge their belief systems and deal with the fundamental core tenets of trust and loyalty within modern monarchies. JACMUIR (Book One) explores the topics of brotherhood, betrayal, honesty, secrets, narcissism, and presenting your authentic self to others.

Readers will understand that although men and women mature physically and become more capable in their practical lives, many fail to achieve emotional maturity.

If you've ever been betrayed and wished for friends that would have your back when your world fell apart, then please read JACMUIR: TRUST STAINED LIES. I hope you'll be entertained as you explore the brotherhood of the Crimson Knights and watch these young people navigate the burden of living up to powerful parental expectations. 

*Please note that Jacmuir (Book One) can be read as a standalone*


Excerpt: Chapter One 

OASTOMIN



We sprint into the courtyard as Faymer leads with enraged anger. “No, no, no! You should have moved! He meant you no harm!” Faymer yells at Maia.

Maia whirls around and addresses him. “How would you know? I was facing the devilish snarl on his face and purpose in his steps, not you. You observed the animal’s backside.”

“He’s my horse! My horse! I know his intentions. I raised him since he was a young calf,” Faymer seethes, his face just inches from hers. He’s breathing so hard the small tendrils of hair covering her forehead start to part.

But she stands her ground, steels her precarious eyes, and intensifies her grip on the bow. “The horse will heal after a season of rest; the wounds are not severe.”

“You have no idea what you’ve done!” Faymer bellows as curses fall from his lips. “Wounding a horse at full gallop is like taking away a warrior’s desire to charge into battle. Physical wounds can heal, but emotional ones last a lifetime.”

“Then make the person who released him in this courtyard pay for your loss,” she snaps and lifts her chin, meeting his icy gaze head on. “The problem isn’t mine! I was defending myself!” 

“In the time it took you to fit arrows in your bow, you could have moved out of the way! Have you no regard for any animal other than your own?” 

Now I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never observed a girl like this one. Pretty, confident, and audacious enough to not back down to Faymer. See, if I could get a better view of her legs, I could tell you if she was worth the headache he’s facing. It’s too bad she wears a frown most of the time and has a reputation for being too bossy for her own good. 

Seeing neither party is going to back down, I step between the two as Peverell tends to the fallen steed. “Faymer, don’t forget whom you’re addressing. She’s a royal guest in Jacmuir.”

Faymer starts to object when the whimpering exhale of his horse causes him to dash to his animal’s side. I also join Peverell to assess the damages; we talk in hushed tones. Somewhere along the way, the princess leaves us and moves toward the stable. 

As Peverell tends to the championship horse, Faymer fumes in my ear. “Trouble, Your Highness! Do you see what I mean? Wounding my horse instead of moving aside, what kind of girl did your parents invite to Jacmuir?” 

I nod in agreement, wondering who else she will tick off during her visit and how soon it will be before the citizens who were watching this scene post photos of Faymer’s steed on the internet.

( Continued... )


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

Purchase Jacmuir: Trust Stained Lies by Angeline M. Bishop

Inspirational Multicultural New Adult Fiction
Link: http://amzn.com/B00S5U8O32 

 

 

 


The Long Way Home 
by Andrena Sawyer


What happens when Mr. Wrong turns out to be Mr. Right?

Alonna Jones is no stranger to disappointments and heartbreaks. Struggling to deal with a devastating breakup and the lingering effects of bad decisions, she decides to move back east. As the secrets of her past continue to haunt her, she vows that she will never allow another man to get close to her heart again. On her journey back to the place she's always called home, Alonna learns that home is not only where the heart is, but also where redemption and healing can take place.

Chapter 18 Excerpt: The Long Way Home Excerpt 

She looked up occasionally only to gauge whether he was still sitting there. She’d half-expected that he had ran out after hearing all of the gory details. She’d confessed most of the details of how her relationship with Ray went from one of complete bliss to disaster overnight, and how she endured the verbal abuse, mostly because her self-esteem had been so damaged by that point. She talked about the humiliation of calling off the engagement after walking in on Ray with another woman, and the lack of support from her father because he’d assumed she’d driven him away. By this time she was already in tears at having to relive the last few years all over again. While it was cathartic to talk about it with someone, for Alonna it also felt like someone was ripping off the bandage from an old wound.

When she couldn’t avoid saying it anymore, she confessed to the details of the operation. Shawn hadn’t asked. In fact, he’d barely spoke since she started talking, but she knew that her story was incomplete without talking about the one decision that still haunted her. The dark halls, the cold feel of the instruments, and the shameful looks of the other women in the waiting area, she talked about it all. She spared no detail, because at this point, there was no going back.

Alonna could recall the looks of the other women. That was the most startling part of the whole experience. She’d expected to see a room full of scared teenage girls. Instead she saw a mixture of young girls with adult boyfriends or overbearing mothers, well-groomed professional women who appeared undisturbed by the whole process, and a few young adults with looks of concerned etched on their faces.

When she could not talk anymore, Alonna breathed a sigh of relief and buried her face in her hand. The weight of the baggage had finally been released, but the embarrassment was too much to bear, and she did not want to face Shawn.

She'd just made the biggest confession of her life, and all she could think about was Shawn’s response. Would he curse her, laugh at her or expose her? Alonna became lost in her own thoughts. She could not stand the thought of losing him, but she would understand if he never wanted to see her again.

She was startled by the hand that was now enclosing hers. She looked over at Shawn, whose eyes were closed as if he were deep in thought. His lips remained still, and for the seemingly unending moments that passed his hand never left hers. In all of the scenarios that she had conjured in her mind, this was not the response she expected.

His expression was serene. He was non-judgmental, even supportive. As if she wasn't already feeling this way, she was now certain that she loved him. She knew that she had given him news that would cause many to run away from the stigma attached to it. She could not understand how he could respond like that, especially after what she did to him. As if he could feel her eyes on him, Shawn intertwined their fingers together as a show of solidarity. Alonna remained speechless and simply allowed the tears to flow. She’d finally done it. She no longer carried the weight of her past and what she had done. Perhaps now the cries that she heard at night would cease.

Shawn was the first to speak.

“Alonna, I understand how you feel, but not every man will treat you the way that idiot treated you.”

He was now facing her.

“I wish I could make all the pain go away. If I could, I would.” He continued as his hands balled up.

“If I knew where that coward was right now, I would gladly give him a dose of his own medicine, and make him pay for being a coward and making you go through that alone.”

Alonna cried and buried her head in his chest. Shawn stroked her hair as the two rocked back and forth. After a few seconds, he managed to say, “Thank you for telling me.”

Alonna nodded in silence.

He continued, “I can imagine the fear and the anxiety of not wanting to tell anyone.”

Alonna continued nodding. 

Shawn leaned back and held Alonna’s face in his hands. Seeing her so distraught made him forget how upset he’d been with her. “I know this was hard for you to tell me, and the only thing I have to say is please let me be there for you,” he pleaded

With tears filling her eyes, Alonna shook her head.

“You don’t have to make a decision now, but I would still like to be there for you. I won’t lie to you. I accept you with mistakes and all, and nothing will change that.”

( Continued... )

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

Purchase The Long Way Home by Andrena Sawyer
Christian Romance;  Download:  http://bit.ly/1rfx6N7




Meet the Author

Andrena Sawyer
is the President of P.E.R.K. Consulting. She has published several other works including The Other Side of Assertiveness, and various personal development articles for women. The Long Way Home is her first full-length novel. She is a graduate of Howard University, who is passionate about seeing women reach their full potential based on their understanding of who God says they are.

Originally from Freetown, Sierra Leone, she credits her family’s journey during Sierra Leone’s civil war for her interest in human triumph and perseverance. She regularly speaks at special events, conferences and workshops around the country. Visit Andrena Sawyer's website: www.thelongwayhome2015.com  or follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Andrena.sawyer2014 

 

 

 


Angels Make Their Hope Here 
by Breena Clarke

From the author of the bestselling River, Cross My Heart—a compelling and lyrical new novel about a young black woman in the Civil War era who finds refuge in a racially tolerant community.

ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE is set in an imagined community in a mountainous area roughly north and west of Paterson, New Jersey in the 19th century. Russell’s Knob is a hidden, secretive place settled by people who might be described today as bi-racial or tri-racial. The inhabitants describe themselves as runaways and stay-aways. They are people who reject the limiting definitions of racial identity and character of 19th century, mid-Atlantic, North America and live outside of the “white” towns. They are spoken of derisively as “amalgamators” and “race mixers” though their true history is as complex as is the history of settlement in the region.

Dossie, a young girl on the cusp of puberty is conducted on the Underground Railroad from an island plantation in southern Maryland in hopes of finding freedom with the help of the bold, committed individuals who lead escapees through the region toward the free states and the Canada border. Duncan Smoot, one of Russell’s Knob’s bold, charismatic, entrepreneurial citizens, a member of a distinguished founding family, is a conductor on the Underground Railroad. It falls to him to rescue the young wayfarer when another conductor is arrested and tortured. He brings Dossie to Russell’s Knob—to his home—and she comes to believe that she has reached the promised land, a heaven.

Dossie has reached her haven in Russell’s Knob, a complex and often troubled refuge that is a beacon to the escaping slave and a bulwark against their pursuer. Dossie matures and flourishes in the community and with the Smoot family until a violent confrontation causes her to leave, seek refuge in New York City, then abandon the town during the Draft Riots of July, 1863.

With the same storytelling brio that distinguished the acclaimed novels River, Cross My Heart and Stand the Storm, Breena Clarke weaves the richly dramatic story of one woman's triumph in the crucible of history.



Excerpt: PART ONE


SHOULD HE OR SHOULDN’T HE burn the lowlander’s house? Was he a burner? Should he burn them people’s house to free the girl? Did he know what way the wind was blowing? Was she safe in the barn?

Indians, Africans, and amalgamators! Always caught up in fire startin’ is what the whites say. The lowland white farmers are scared of burnouts from hostiles. Ha! Well they ought to be. The People have redressed wrongs and prevented trouble by burning their enemies before.

Burning folk out—ruining what they built—is a serious thing, though. Maybe the slavery of one little girl ain’t enough to make it justified? Ah, these people are not fit for their farm! Their enterprises have failed. They have brush near the house. The woman is lazy. They have no water trough close by. The man is stupid. They should abandon the place.

Maybe they will blame the boy who works for them? He is a white, but he’s a motherless bastard they despise. That boy will be lighting out soon. He’s putting things by. That boy will take a horse and head off as soon as he sees a chance. Is it horse stealing if you take a thing that is owed to you for the life you put into an enterprise? Duncan thought not!

Duncan Smoot has never honored a bargain that was breached by carelessness, disregard, dishonor. The boy was doing what any sound man or boy would do under the current situation. But with him gone these folk will put more work onto the little bond child. They will likely run her down to her skeleton.

Duncan Smoot, a practiced hunter, kept himself concealed. He looked up into the sky—into the trees—and saw few birds. But bird sounds reached him. They were incongruous. He observed the girl’s travails. Is she the one he’d missed taking up because of the arrest of the Evangelist? Was this the very same girl after so long a time? He knew what happened to the Evangelist. Word was passed. They said the young girl was traveling with her. They lost her on the road when the Evangelist was taken up. It was the policy of those who transported the secret cargo on the canals and rivers that they off-load their responsibilities at different and varied stops so that risks were shared and watchers were fooled. It was vital also that, at the busy docksides and way stations, the wayfarer not be lost to the hands of a profiteer. Stationmasters and other agents of the shadow network knew when to expect their packages as information traveled ahead. Is this the girl he was to have taken up? Had the Abingdon ring grabbed her instead? If so, these lowlanders—these so-called farmers—had bought her off the Abingdons and were using her like she’s a slave.

Evangelist Zilpha Seabold was a clever, well-prepared wanderer, but she had been caught. There was no reliable information about the girl she was conducting when arrested. Duncan Smoot was to have been the next link—the next conductor. He was to have met her near the town of Peach Bottom and taken her on to other helpers. He was a happy cog. He was satisfied to be neither the first nor the last of the chain. But the failure of this endeavor stung him. It irked him being unable to find the girl and know she was freed.

Duncan canvassed the colored towns and the fringe settlements looking for her. If she’d been taken in or helped along, then he would be content. He would know. He looked and searched in the woods where the girl was separated from the Evangelist. He talked to like-minded folk. News of Evangelist Zilpha Seabold was troublingly consistent. The hooting and hollering preacher woman was said to have been put in stocks and, by all accounts, tortured. Duncan’s informants said her face was pulpy and her legs broken when they last lay eyes on her. No word of the girl. Reports of the pitiful state of the Evangelist surely meant that she had not given up any names or hideouts. Bless her, she had suffered for her folk!

It is time for a bold action! Duncan thought. He knew himself to be a man consecrated to a cause and pledged to a purpose. Mostly he worked within the system and was one of a chain of folk who followed on the information of others. Now was time for him to act on his own gut.

“What you thinkin’ ’bout, Duncan? You’re a-ponderin’?” Mama would say when he was small and thoughtful. Duncan had been a ponderer when he was a young boy. Then when his sister, Hattie, came, his mama forgot to hold off his tormentors. His cousins, a few years older, were cruel boys. They toughened him up and turned him quickly from a ponderer to a plotter, a schemer, a burner, and an eye gouger.

New York! New Amsterdam! Ach! Grandmother spit when she say it. She say “since when is new?” Grandmother’s spittle runs into our creeks. It sustains us. We won’t die of thirst in these hills. Our Grandmother sleeps there up ahead. She is taking her well-earned nap. Her lips fall back. Spittle runs out of the side of her mouth while she sleeps. The hills, the outcroppings, the ridges, these are her misshapen teeth. Them sharp juts are what remain when flesh pulls back from bone.

It is no doubt that grabbing off this girl from the lowlanders is against some law. Thou shalt not steal off your neighbor’s bond servant, your neighbor’s slave, or your neighbor’s wife. Can you steal off a girl who has already been stolen? Duncan knew he was taking a lot on himself, but surely these lowlanders were holding her by illegal and immoral means. It itched him. It bothered him.

The ring had been uncovered and verified in Philadelphia. They were nefarious. They worked by chicanery to take custody of their victims. Josiah Abingdon and his confederates were a clutch of despicable pirates of all colors who operated a shadow underground. Young escapees were lured or fell into their hands then were sold outright to a variety of work situations. Profit from the sale of children was good because they offered little resistance, and their fear and confusion made them easy to control.

This much Duncan knew for certain: the child he had been searching for had passed into unscrupulous hands, was sold and taken off by this derelict farmer named Logan and his wife.

Was he so fixed on it because of what had happened to Pippy?

As Duncan advanced his plan he mulled the man whose destiny he was changing. Logan was a fool with no neighbors. He’d not even made a dam to exploit the stream that ran in back of his place. If he had water and buckets to dip it, he might save some portion of the house. He is stupid and lazy and not one who would stick in this place.

Duncan watched. They had no dog to raise an alarm that an interloper was nearby? He wondered at a keen man being so careless. At his home in Russell’s Knob no unknown man or animal could come so close unobserved.

She’s a wisp of a child. She’s a bit younger than the boys—than Jan and Pet. Oh! His sensitive insides were softening for her? Pinched and burdened with work, she is losing strength with each day. They feed her little—just bread and what she takes from the cow. Pet’s dogs sleep closer to the fire.

She is kept punishingly busy with tasks. The farmer’s wife seems only strong enough to force the girl to lift and haul and sweep and fetch. She misses no chance to beat and slap at the girl.

Duncan flushed with remorse remembering his chastisement of his nephew, Jan. He’d been so angry that he’d forgotten Jan was a child. He was a willful, irresponsible child who was a bad influence on his younger cousin. But he’d been too hard with him. The child had knelt all night, had listened to him rail, had collapsed in a faint at dawn. Later he had run off.

He resolved to grab the girl up. He resolved to burn the lowlanders out. He figured they meant to use up the little girl, then sell her south. Neither of them was above it. They had a smell about them—an aroma of unconscionable avarice. They would sell her and have the money to go to fail in the farther west.

Duncan Smoot knew the house would burn as he meant it to. He resolved firmly to burn it for them.

He risked a lot of trouble for a little dross. No, no. No. They called her Dossie. Her name is Dossie. Was it for the little Dossie he did it? Was it on account of her that he did so grave a thing? Her tiny goodness and complete helplessness was what did it then—that convinced him? She has two eyes still! Take her up while she still has two eyes to see from. Dossie, Dossie, Dossie. Was it a chirrup from a bird he’d never before listened to?

Duncan attached a bundle of dry brush to the tail of a possum and lit it and chased the poor terrified animal into the yard that had more dry grass and brush. An untidy farmstead is a dangerous place. There is much fodder for flames. And because the wind came in from the northwest and Duncan Smoot knew that it would, it whipped the fire and pushed it toward the Logans’ house and away from the barn.

Duncan knew there was time enough for Mister and Missus to run out of their beds and escape with their lives. They would be startled out. No dog to raise a ruckus! The boy would call out before he rode off. They would certainly rush for their clothes and their money.

And he could escape with the girl. Dossie. The name made him smile. He had heard them calling her in calloused voices. He knew it was a sound that sang and delighted the ear if the voice but said it right.

The girl had come to feel that the cow loved her—cared for her—was concerned with her fate. The animal responded kindly. She turned her head when her teats were touched, and her milk let down when the girl stroked her flank. Her tail brushed gently and distributed her smelly gases far and wide.

“You got a deliverer coming,” the cow said with satisfaction. She moved her mouth in its customary circuit. “Stay alive until he comes,” the cow exhorted upon an exhalation—a snort of breath that raised up chaff and dander. As the pressure in her udders eased under the girl’s squeezes, she added brightly, “He’s coming soon.”

The girl was given only bread and the cow’s milk. Since she was given no other thing—no meat or apple—to fill up, her stomach was stalled and queasy. The cow pitied her and wished she could nibble on grass. The cow swatted flies off her own ass and wondered what was taking the deliverer so long to come.

When in the morning the heavens were clear. Dossie opened the door to the barn a crack and peeped. The bright light startled her. It was the same as to open all the windows in a house and let the sunshine come in like streams of yellow glory. Dossie felt the hot air on her face and sang her morning birdcalls like Bil and Ooma would do when the day came bright. She stood in the doorway of the barn, looked back at the cow, smiled, and thanked her. Though she would leave off sleeping with cows, she was filled with a notion of kind regard for and heartfelt appreciation of cows. Dossie turned and walked off. She looked back again to see the boy leading a horse with a bundle tied to the saddle. She saw the unsteady, middling tree that stood aside the house fall in and crush what remained of the charred roof. Smoke smell was in the air. Feeling still in her head, she walked away to the clearing at the edge of the Logans’ tract where their cries of alarm did not reach.

Duncan Smoot took the girl away from the Logan farm on foot uphill—her small hand buried completely in his much-larger one. They followed a trail cut by a stream and marked by slick boulders. Water ambled downstream and reflected sparkles of the sun. She walked behind him and troubled to keep step. Perhaps he lifted her from the ground? Yes, when they reached the tall marsh grass at the edge of the stream, he lifted her and carried her across it. Did he carry her through the dense cover that bordered the Logan farm? No. No. He put her down and her feet passed over the ground—over rocks, moss, through a dry streambed.

She felt herself borne along with the man as a mite in his pocket or a string on his sleeve. Her breath came ragged as they climbed. She was unused to the terrain. Her mind formed little or no idea about her fate. She ought perhaps to have been frightened, but she was not. She believed the cow. At every turn she was treated to a different wonder.

( Continued... )


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


Purchase Angels Make Their Hope Here by Breena Clarke

Link: http://amzn.com/0316254002 



About the Author

Breena Clarke's debut novel, River, Cross My Heart, was an October 1999 Oprah Book Club selection. Ms. Clarke, a native of Washington, D.C., is the recipient of the 1999 award for fiction by the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and the Alex Award, given by the Young Adult Library Services Association.

Breena, who has survived the death of her only child, writes with depth and clarity about grief. Her work is marked by compassion and magnificent use of language. Fascinated by the vast array of small and insignificant objects that contain finely detailed denigrating images of African-Americans, Breena is a passionate collector of Black Memorabilia.

A graduate of Howard University, Breena Clarke is co-author with Glenda Dickerson of Remembering Aunt Jemima: A Menstrual Show, which is anthologized in Contemporary Plays by Women of Color and Colored Contradictions, An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Plays. Her short fiction is included in Black Silk, A Collection of African American Erotica, and Street Lights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience. Her recollections of Washington, D.C. are included in Growing Up In Washington, D.C., An Oral History, published by The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Breena credits having learned to swim eight years ago with changing her life. After completing a course of classes at New York's Asphalt Green Aqua Center, she has become a member of an aqua aerobics class, swims three times a week and practices Qi Gong.

Breena Clarke is an advisor to the board of A Room Of Her Own Foundation, is co-organizer of the Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers and is on the faculty of Stonecoast MFA University of Southern Maine.

 

 


Oven Baked Secrets by Tyora Moody 
A Eugeena Patterson Mystery, Book 2

EUGEENA PATTERSON is not happy about her next-door neighbor, Louise Hopkins, being sent to live in a nursing home. Without her fellow neighborhood watch buddy, Sugar Creek isn’t the same anymore. In fact, life after retirement has become a whole new adventure of exploring social media and blogging. 

While she tries not to meddle into her adult children’s lives, Eugeena can’t help but dish out relationship advice. Eugeena’s own budding romance with Amos Jones has her emotions in upheaval. Is she really finding love again as she turns sixty? 

When a stranger reveals a stunning secret about Louise’ past, Eugeena questions if the young woman’s claim is for real or if she is a con artist? Roping in Amos for help, Eugeena digs up a few skeletons from her elderly friend’s closet. When Eugeena stumbles upon a long forgotten murder case, she realizes the layers of a long dormant secret still have the potential to be deadly.

Meet Eugeena Patterson on her blog: http://eugeenapatterson.com  or join her fans on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eugeenapatterson.  Don't forget to check-out the first book in the series, Deep Fried Trouble, Book 1


Excerpt:  CHAPTER TWO


I blinked. I opened my mouth and then shut it to give my mind a chance to process. I stared at the girl. Despite her creative outfit, she was really a pretty little thing, her big eyes were slanted and she had full lips that would’ve rivaled Angelina Jolie’s. I guess what I was seeking was some resemblance. It occurred to me despite my rash response, that the girl could’ve been telling the truth.

Louise’s son, William, wasn’t exactly the most responsible man in the world despite him being well over forty years old. He’d never married, but it’s quite possible he had a love child. How often had I heard Louise talk about wanting to be a grandmother? Why would William keep that from his mother? Or did William know he was a father?

I motioned for the girl to walk away from the side of Louise’s bed. As she came closer, I placed my hand on my hip. “Are you trying to tell me you’re Louise’s granddaughter?”

The woman shook her head like she had a puppet master pulling her strings. “Yes, ma’am.”

I looked at her for a minute and then shook my head as if this was a bad dream. Despite my better judgment, I said exactly what came to my mind. It just slipped out. “No sugar, that can’t be.”

The girl stepped back as if offended. “Ma’am?”

“You see I’ve known Louise for many, many years. If this woman had a grandchild she would’ve told the whole world.”

The girl put her hand on her hip. “I told you I’m her granddaughter. My mom told me so and she wouldn’t lie about it.”

I held my hand up as if stopping traffic. “Okay, calm down. Let’s start over. I don’t think I introduced myself. I’m Eugeena Patterson, Louise’s next door neighbor. Now tell me your name?”

The girl let out a sigh before responding. “I’m Jocelyn Miller.”

“That’s a pretty name. So, you live around here?” I hated small talk, but I was really digging for more information. What I did know was William didn’t stay put for long and he’d only recently been back in South Carolina the last few months.

“I was raised in Beaufort.”

“Oh. Gullah country.” The language from West Africa still thrived in certain areas of South Carolina and mixed with English it was known as Gullah.

Jocelyn smiled. “Yes, I have relatives that talk Gullah or Geechee.”

I glanced over at Louise, wondering if she could hear us. Was she just pretending to be sleep or had that medicine really knocked her out? I wanted to shake her awake. Jocelyn seemed like a nice woman, but I still wasn’t sure what was going on.

I cleared my throat. “Jocelyn, did your mother tell you about your father? I mean have you met him?”

She frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Your dad is Miss Louise’s son.” Knowing his egotistical behind, William might have known about his daughter and rejected the girl. That would have been a real shame.

Jocelyn started to shake her head furiously. “My dad’s name is David Miller.”

Words escaped me. And my head started to hurt because this girl was confusing the mess out of me. “Is David your dad or your step-dad?”

“My biological dad.”

I’m a smart, educated woman, with three grown children, four grandchildren and one on the way. Children aren’t this complicated. Okay some of us do come in the world a bit willy-nilly, me being one of those people. But this girl can’t be related to Louise as much as she would like to be. “Honey, I’m trying to work with you here. Are you sure you have the right room?”

“Mrs. Patterson, I promise you; I have the right room. This woman is my grandmother. Look, I will show you something and you tell me what you see.” Jocelyn went over to the chair in the corner.

I hadn’t noticed the hot pink backpack. I watched her pull out a black marbled notebook. She flipped it open and pulled out what appeared to be a photo. Jocelyn walked around the bed and handed it to me. “Here, this is my family. I’m much younger on this one, only about sixteen. There’s my mom, dad and my brother. My dad passed away a few years ago.”

I took the photo from her. Now I could tell this girl was telling the truth about her father. Despite the difference in skin tones, Jocelyn was the spitting image of the dark brown-skinned man. Jocelyn definitely had his eyes. 

Now Jocelyn shared the same honey-colored complexion as her mom. Both mom and daughter shared the same full lips.

That’s when it hit me.

The more and more I stared at Jocelyn’s mom, I started to see something. It was the heart shape of the woman’s face and her eyes. The woman’s complexion was more bronze, but her eyes were vivid blue. I glanced at Jocelyn, who was staring back at me with bated breath.

Then I looked back at the photo. 

Dear Lord!

Louise moaned from the bed. I stared over in her direction catching as my friend’s eyes flickered open.

Louise Hopkins, you got some explaining to do.

There was no denying this one. In a lifetime I didn’t know anything about, had my dear old friend given birth to a daughter? It didn’t go past me that the woman in the photo was mixed race. So who could have been the father of Louise’s love child?



( Continued... )

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


Oven Baked Secrets by Tyora Moody
Link: http://amzn.com/B00S2AORI6 




Meet the Author
Tyora Moody
is the author Soul-Searching Suspense novels in the Serena Manchester Series, Victory Gospel Series and the Eugeena Patterson Mysteries. As a literary-focused entrepreneur, she has assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via her design and marketing company, Tywebbin Creations LLC. Popular services include online publicity, social media management, book trailers and book covers. She is also the author of the nonfiction series, The Literary Entrepreneur's Toolkit, and the host of The Literary Entrepreneur Podcast.

Tyora won 2nd Place for the 2014 Yerby Award for Fiction. She is the 2013 Urban Literary Awards Debut Author Winner and 2013 Urban Literary Awards Mystery / Thriller / Suspense Winner. 

Tyora is a member of Sisters in Crime and American Christian Fiction Writers. For more information about her literary endeavors, visit her online at TyoraMoody.com

Tyora "Ty" Moody, Author and Literary Entrepreneur
TyoraMoody.com   |   TheLiteraryEntrepreneur.com
Books by Tyora: http://www.amazon.com/Tyora-Moody/e/B005966RJ8 

WHAT'S NEXT?
Oven Baked Secrets, Eugeena Patterson Mysteries, Book 2 (January 20, 2015)
The Literary Entrepreneur Virtual Events Planner (March 2015)
Hostile Eyewitness, Serena Manchester Series, Book 1 (March 31, 2015)
When Women Become Business Owners, Stepping Into Victory Anthology (May 2015)

 

 


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.

Message from the Author
North of the Grove was born out of my time as an in-house counselor while living in Virginia several years ago. I signed on to counsel a fourth grader who was more than his single mother could handle. Even with extended family pitching in when they could, it was obvious an older male’s influence was needed. I learned a lot about perseverance and faith after he began to trust me. I would come to his home aggravated because of traffic or the weather, only to sit wide-eyed and speechless from hearing about some of his experiences. I began to look forward to seeing him just to get a better perspective on my own challenges.Several family members had abused and let this young man down in ways I still have trouble putting into words. He managed to forgive them all, so much so that he indirectly showed older members of the family how to do so. This really got me to thinking about the power of forgiveness and redemption. 

As a writer (I teach creative writing at Florida Memorial University), I found myself writing a story that was clearly inspired by my experience as an in-house counselor. Questions arose as I developed characters like Howard Capelton, the story’s educated, middle-class mentor: at what point does one draw a line between sustaining their own family and trying to save someone outside of it? Isn’t that question at the heart of the breakdown of so many communities today? The story became a novel, of which I've recently published recently to bring more awareness to the funding of the film. (Please see press release) Many have enjoyed the novel as it developed, all the while insisting it had the rhythm and sensibilities of a movie.

The message in North of the Grove is simple: we all need to reach out to one another - in spite of ourselves. With a shaky economy and an endless stream of tragic news stories, it seems perfectly understandable to go through life from your driveway straight to work and back. It makes sense to keep windows up and doors locked, in a sense, when others ask for help. This, however, narrows one’s vision to miss what one needs to feel like a complete human being. This movie is about the highs and lows of being distracted, selfish, flawed, and yet still trying to make a difference. In doing so, I seek to have the novel version of this project become a valued resource in prisoner advocacy and youth groups and have the project as a whole become part of a viable young male mentoring program in the Miami Gardens area. For more information, go to: http://www.northofthegrove.com 


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
Link: http://amzn.com/1496171306 



 

 

 


The Black Names Book: Dissecting and Defining 
the Origins of Contemporary 'Ghetto' Names 
by Bobby Cenoura 

Can you pronounce “Breionshay” , “Zacombrion” or “Tayvarius”? The Black Names Book investigates the origin of names commonly referred to as “Ghetto”, “Ratchet” and “Hood”, in American society by dissecting them. The lesson that the book teaches is that the lion share of “Black Names” aren’t African at all, but are unique names that come from combinations of two or more names, names constructed with common prefixes and suffixes, “foreign” names, and names of other nouns. In many cases, names are “conjugated” with a formula that can be applied to names such as DaNiqua, LaNisha, and Tayshaun. 

In between the different naming conventions, research is addressed regarding the affect that these unique names have on society such as getting job interviews. At the back of the book are the definitions of the “Base Names” which are the “common” names that the Black Names are derived from. 

This book is the first installment in what may be a further investigation into unique naming conventions used by different ethnic groups in America, as well as a second edition to this book from the suggestions received by readers to our author. Reader suggestions for names can be emailed to:  blacknamesbook@gmail.com  

The Black Names Book: Dissecting and Defining the Origins of Contemporary 'Ghetto' Names by Bobby Cenoura.  Purchase the book online: http://amzn.com/B00SBI3HIA 



Intimate Conversation with Author Bobby Cenoura


Black Pearls readers, I’d like to welcome back Bobby Cenoura, who has been with us before and has promoted his two previous literary fiction novels, Seoul Revelations and Male Angst Vol 1: FML I Always Get ‘Those’ Chicks through Black Pearls Magazine and BAN Radio Show.  Bobby’s newest book will spark your synapses. The Black Names Book: Defining and Dissecting the Origins of Contemporary ‘Ghetto’ Names is an informative reference guide that uses tables and research to explain the method to the madness of Black Names. 

BPM: We’ve all heard from different African American personalities that what we name our kids can affect the way society perceives them.  We're showcasing an author who not only will tell you where the name “LoQuisha” comes from, but shares HIS views on how naming your daughter “LoQuisha” can affect her socio-economic prospects.  So Bobby, where does “LoQuisha” come from?
The name “LoQuisha” can be broken into two parts. First the “Lo” part. The Lo part is the part I call a “Short Vowel Prefix”. Short vowel prefixes originate from the French and Spanish prepositions “La” and “De” from names like “De La Croix” (De La Cruz) which were common names of slaves from Louisiana if the slave owner’s name was “Croix”. “De La” means “of the” or “belonging to” it’s analogous to using an apostrophe s. Since Croix means “Cross”, it’s like saying “Cross’s” (since the slaves belonged to Cross). 

This is also why black folks tend to have the name Davis because their owner was proabably David. In Spanish the word “Lo” is actually a Spanish pronoun meaning “him” or “it” (masc) and in the same token “La” means “her” or “it” (fem). Hence the prefix “Lo” in “LoQuisha” can be replaced by many different prefixes and have the name stay readily in tact. Some of the prefixes I have in the book based off of the logic I presented above are as follows: Ja, Sha, Ta which would produces JaQuisha, ShaQuisha, TaQuisha. I know that was a mouthful, but now to explain the “Quisha” part. Quisha has two parts. First the “Kwee” sound in “Quisha” that comes from “Qu-“ is derived from Jaqueline. The “eesha” part from “-isha” is derived from Keisha, which itself comes from the Hewbrew name “Keziah” who was one of the daughters of Job. The name Keziah is said to be the equivalent to Cassia which is a spice tree. So the name is of something aromatic and bountiful. 

BPM: My I never thought about the name in that way. Can you tell us a little bit about how the book breaks down the names for readers? 
The book breaks down names across a few sections as follows: Affixes, which literally means ‘attachments’ that include prefixes and suffixes. Prefixes like I mentioined in the previous example and suffixes which you will actually find that your first name, “Ella” is actually a part of!  But more popular ones end in “-dae” like Jondae and Shardae, which are the names John or Joan + dae and Charlend and/or Charla + dae.

Then a section called “Concatenations” which are combinations of two or more names. So say for example, a man “Ronald” and a woman named “Taylor” were expecting a baby and they wanted to decide on a name. They could choose Tayron or Rontay. This particular section we are still looking for reader suggestions—which we have a concession for that in all parts of the book.

Then we have a couple more sections.  “Foreign Lands Names” are names wholly or partially influenced by names from other cultures and other points in time. One common theme we find in black names are borrowings from Ancient Rome and Arabic. Names that you hear such as “Quintavius” is nothing more than the combination of two Roman names: “Quintus” and “Octavius” , which mean “Fifth” and “Eighth” (of a house) respectively. Arabic names come from actual adoptions like Rakeem to combinations such as Jamar (Jamal + LaMar) .

Finally “Miscellaneous Names” that include odds and ends such as being named after a place (Kenya, Rawanda, India, Asia), being named after a consumer good like Covasha (Courvasier + Tasha) and spelling names with symbols involved like the infamous “La-a” for LaDasha and other names such as “LaR&a” (LaRanda). All of these names are tabular so the reader can read from right to left about the black name and all of the inherent parts that compose it.

BPM: So I’m curious Bobby since you mentioned it, how does my name appear in the book?
Your name appears in the book, and it is not considered a Black Name. It is actually considered either a base name, which are one of the many “original” names from which the black names are derived, or as a suffix diminutive. Let me explain each in its turn. 

As a base name the name “Ella” means “goddess” in modern Hebrew. As a suffix diminutive, it is found in names like Donnella, Jonnella, Dannella, and Rochella. Using the word “-ella” after a name “softens” or makes it “cute”. Diminutives are like kitchenettes (mini kitchens), raisinettes (mini raisins), etc. “elle” and “ella” are also used for diminutives, so the names I mentioned above mean “little Donna”, “little Joana” , “little Daniel”, and “little Roche” respectively. 

BPM: What is the book genre, target audience and subject matter of the book?
Non-fiction and the target audience are primarily African Americans but anyone who is interested to learn about different ways to view the Black Names and their origins.

BPM: You mentioned that there were socio-economic effects to giving our kids “Black Names.” Are they in the book? What are they?
The data I compiled while putting this book together indicates that people with Black Names got 50% less callbacks on job applications. In addition, research has indicated that white applicants (equivalently applicants with white-sounding names) received 30 percent higher callbacks for increased resume quality (i.e. having a college education) as opposed to 9 percent for Blacks.

BPM: What is the lesson your book is trying to teach?
The lesson here is that if you want to name your kid an exotic or unique name and you are African American, be cognizant of the potential societal effects it could have on your children if you foresee them working in corporate America. However, if the child is to be an artist or if there is already a family business in force or connections in a particular industry, then less awareness is needed.

BPM: Where can we find your book and how can we contact you for questions about it and the name suggestions? 
Sure, my book can be found on Amazon under “The Black Names Book.”  I can be emailed at blacknamesbook@gmail.com.  And follow me on Twitter at @BobbyCenoura for updates to this book and other upcoming literary ventures.

More Books by Bobby Cenoura


 

Disclaimer:  The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing written interviews and articles for Black Pearls Magazine are theirs alone, and do not reflect the views, opinions or positions of Ella Curry, EDC Creations Media Group, Crown Holders Transmedia Group, Black Pearls Magazine or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or guest writers for this online magazine and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

 

 

 



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



 

 


In Love With The Other Man 
by Francina Lucas

This novel is about four women that are best friends and they all have separate lives. Denise, an Office Manager who is madly in love with her husband Eric. She will never do anything to jeopardize their relationship. Keisha, a Top Real Estate Agent and had a mental abusive relationship for 2 years. After she discontinued her relationship she found herself and realized that she doesn’t need a man in her life. 

Keisha is living her life to the fullest and making a great income. Liz is a married woman and a homemaker with three beautiful children. Liz has low self-esteem and she never had a chance to see the real world she was always taking care of people before herself. 

Tonya is a nurse who still lives with her mother and has a five year old child name Alexis. Tonya is the youngest of the women and she is the type of woman that will do anything. She leaves all her responsibility with her mother to take care of her daughter. Tonya is a party animal and she does whatever she wants when she wants and it’s all about Tonya nothing else matters. 

Chapter One:  In Love With The Other Man


It’s 3:00 a.m., and Denise keeps tossing and turning. Her mind is racing, and she has to get up in a few hours to go to work. Denise heart is beating fast, and she can’t breathe—what is going on with me? Denise wants to sleep. GOD, please help me go to sleep. What can I do to get to sleep? Maybe some warm milk will help me ease my mind, and I can sleep. So, Denise gets up, get some warm milk, and head back to bed. Finally, Denise falls asleep. But as soon as Denise fall asleep, the alarm clock rings, and it’s time for her to get up. Denise slowly gets out of bed and drags herself to the shower. The time is flying, and she has to be at work by 8:00 a.m. There is no way she will make it on time. As she is getting dressed, Keisha calls her. Denise answer the phone with a tone of disgusted. Keisha asked what was wrong with Denise, and if she was ready for work. Denise reply, “No, Keisha, I am not ready for work.” 

In turn she replies with laughter, “You better hurry up and get dressed before you get fired.” 

Keisha told her she will call her later. Denise hung up the telephone and continued getting dressed. Again, the phone rings, and this time it is her mom. Denise answered with a feeling of joy, “Hey, Mom, what is going on with you?” 

She replies, “Nothing, hon, I am just checking on you.” 

As she speaks with her mom, she continues to put on her makeup. 

Denise mom continues saying, “Well, hon, I am going to let you get back to what you were doing.” 

Denise sadly replies, “OK, Mom, and I love you.” Denise hung up the telephone, and finally, she was ready to go to work. Denise looks at the time, and she has twenty minutes to get to work. She walked out the door and hurry to her car. Denise gets into her car and speed to work, hoping and praying that a cop will not stop her. “With my luck, I will get stopped by the cop, “said Denise. Its 7:59 a.m., and she rushed, into the building and head toward the elevators. She patiently waits for the elevator, and it seems like it is taking forever. Hurry! Hurry! OMG I am going to be late, she said. Finally, the elevator comes down, the doors open, and she gets in and goes to the third floor. As she reached the third floor, she gets out of the elevator and walks towards her desk. As Denise was walking toward her desk, she felt people watching her. She turned around to see them watching and she continued walking to her desk. As she reached her desk, she sees her boss coming toward her cubicle. She just knew he was going to say something about her being late—she could feel it inside, so her heart starting beating really fast. Denise started to sweat because he told her never to be late again. As he approached her desk, he asked her about the Johnson file. Yes! He didn’t say anything to me, Denise said in a whispering voice. I really didn’t want to lose my job, she was thinking. Denise kindly said to him, that she put the file on his desk yesterday. 

“Thank you,” he said and walked away. 

As Denise was wiping the sweat from her brow, she received a text from her husband, Eric, telling her that he would be home tomorrow morning and that he wanted to take her out to lunch. Yes, I am very excited to see my husband; he means everything to me. This will definitely make me have a productive day, said Denise. As she started to work, Eric texts her again and tells her that he loves and misses her. Denise responded back with “I love you too, sweetie, and I can’t wait until you come home.” 


( Continued... )

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

Purchase In Love With The Other Man by Francina Lucas
Link: http://amzn.com/B00HB7I7DM 


Meet the Author
Francina “Ms Caramel” Lucas
is a first-time published author and a former self-employed model and a radio personality with HOT1079 out of Charlotte, North Carolina. She is has been a Notary Public since 2013 in the State of Florida and also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary since 1997 and the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) since 2014. Francina is now on a new journey that has always been her passion. She loves the adventure and the emotions she gives to her readers. Francina has a very outgoing spirit and an imagination that is out of this world. She loves to write about romance, drama, exotic and funny. You will never have a dull moment reading her book and/or books. 

When Francina is not writing she loves spending her time her husband and her family. Francina is very close with her mother Susann Bartlett and her Aunt Susette Johnson who both raised her. They encouraged her that sky is the limit and continue pursing your dreams. Francina has a huge family and love them all. They all give her the motivation to continue to become successful and continue to be her number 1 fans. Francina also loves watching TV, dancing and enjoying life to the fullest.  For more information visit: http://francinalucas.wix.com/ms-caramel#!/cgkn  

 

 

 


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

NOOK eBook- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/he-wasnt-my-daddy-kristin-l-mitchell/1120324025 

 

 

 


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

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."

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Benilde Little

Benilde Little is the bestselling author of the novels Good Hair, The Itch, Acting Out and Who Does She Think She Is? She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Jet, People Magazine, Heart and Soul, More magazine, among many others. She has had numerous media appearances including NPR, the Today Show, and Tavis Smiley. 

The Go On Girl Book Club selected Good Hair as the best book of the year. Natalie Cole bought the film rights. Benilde’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Honey Hush and About Face. She was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. 

A former reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Star Ledger, People and senior editor at Essence, she has been a creative writing professor at Ramapo College. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, two children and dog. 


BPM: You are known for your novels, Good Hair, The Itch, Who Does She Think She Is?, Acting Out, why nonfiction, why now?
It wasn’t a conscious, creative choice to write a non-fiction book. It was the place I was emotionally in, where this was all I could write. The feeling of hopelessness, grief and sadness was so all consuming that I had to get it out of me. I suppose I could’ve approached those feelings in a fictional form, but that never even occurred to me; wasn’t a thought. It was not the write format. Toni Morrison has said to write the book you want to read. I believe that, but I also know that this was a book I had to write and I did write it for me.


BPM: Welcome to My Breakdown, the title of your new book suggests a light tone, but the book is anything but. You write that when your mother died you weren’t sure how you would survive. Was it difficult for you to write about your depression? 
Sometimes, but not as much as one might imagine; I wrote this book in pieces, so sometimes when I was writing about it, I wasn’t consistently living with it. When I’d research other writers talking about their depression, William Styron and David Forster Wallace, in particular, but also Terrie Williams, in her book Black Pain (in which she writes about her own depression and others’), I felt less alone. Feeling less alone helped me to feel somewhat better. What was hard was re-reading the descriptions of that time. There were times when I’d scan it and other times when I’d cry and sometimes I could read it at a remove.


BPM: Do you think that this book might encourage candid conversations in all communities, but particularly the African American community about depression? 

That is my sincere hope. I think it will. It’s been said that the book is honest and bare and I think that will give some people permission to take a deep look at one’s self in an honest, and hopefully compassionate, way.


BPM: Clara Little is the beating heart of this book. What a remarkable woman your mother was, a loving, devoted mom, a wife, a political activist, community organizer, a feminist before the word had currency. What was it like to be the center of that much love and affection? 

You don’t know what you don’t know. I thought all mothers were like her. It wasn’t until I was in adolescence when I began spending lots of time at the homes of friends where I got to see other moms, who were very different than mine. I realized and appreciated her as an adult and especially when I became a mother and I could finally realize what sacrifices she made and what a difference in my life all that love and affection made. It’s why I could grow up in Newark and have the life I have now. Her expectation of my brothers and me was that we become productive, college educated citizens of the world. She’s why we didn’t become teenage parents or get addicted to drugs or crime. And we weren’t put in a bubble, either. The downside of all that intense love and affection is that I have a very high bar for what I expect love to feel like. It’s another reason my grief was so great--knowing that no one will ever love me like she did. It’s a somewhat hybrid blessing.


BPM: Clearly you and your husband are more affluent than you were growing up, you live in a wealthy suburb, and enjoy many material possessions that were beyond your parents’ reach. There are hints here that you are an old school, hands on mother like your mother was. Do you consider yourself the same kind of mother as your mother? What’s the same, what’s different? What’s your most important job as a mother in your view? 

To me the most important thing a mother can give her child is a solid sense of self. I’m not sure it’s possible to do this completely but if you can instill in your kids that they are good just the way they are, then they can do anything. They can be fulfilled, they can be secure and can find their purpose. I don’t think our parents were thinking much, if at all, about our psychological health. 

I think my mother was ahead of her time and she was very intuitive, but I know she wasn’t consciously thinking about it. She didn’t belittle us; she would never slap us in the face because she believed that was demeaning (although she did get that strap and put it on the butt). I’m similar in how I’ve raised my kids in terms of being fiercely in their corner, advocating for them, loving them fiercely, but no spanking. I believe that that diminishes them and it’s not effective. I don’t want to rule from a place of fear. I think if they respect you, they want to please you. This is not to say that they won’t mess up and that they won’t do things that hurt and disappoint you, but ultimately disappointing a good parent is not something a child will want to do. When I got older, college age probably, it was hell to me to disappoint my mother. I see a lot of that in my daughter. It’s there with my son, but buried, I think because he’s a teenager. I believe in punishment for bad behavior. Like my mother, I hate lying and go nuts when my kids have. 


BPM: Readers will welcome your candor about dating, marriage, family, and children. You are in a long marriage with a child in college and another in middle school. Can you tell us succinctly how the dream of having it all, like your character Alice in Good Hair reconciles with the reality of family, marriage, and children? 

Well, what I know for sure is that there is no such thing. There have been tradeoffs. I began writing fiction shortly after we got married in anticipation of having children and wanting to be home with them. I began a career I could have and still be home with my kids. I quit my job at Essence because, for me, it was too demanding to do and be the kind of mother I wanted to be. I don’t know if I’d make the same decision today, but that’s what I was thinking at the time. There’s no easy, right answer. You give up your job, you give up part of an income, which impacts your lifestyle, which can impact your relationship. I don’t know if one ever truly reconciles. You might be able to “have it all,” but not at the same time.


BPM: We lose our parent, that’s an inescapable truth. Is there anything about the grieving process that you can share with others to help them through grief? 

Give yourself time. There’s no one-way to grieve and there’s no time limit. There are those stages: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, sadness, acceptance. Those things can show up in different order or you may not experience each one. For me, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. It was a wave that simply knocked me down and I was in an undertow. The best was to recover in an undertow is to give in to it. I gave over to it. Now, I didn’t have a job in an office where a boss was expecting me to perform everyday. For people who have to get back to work, I would still advise them to give the grieving process as much time as you need. Do your work and go home and give yourself permission to feel like crap, to cry, to rail, all of it. 


BPM: In the end, would you say that there was anything beneficial or redeeming about your depression? 

It made me more compassionate, less arrogant, but also less tolerant of people who sit on the sidelines of their feelings. It helped me get clear about who I wanted in my life. I got in touch with my need for gentleness, gentle people who are also willing to be vulnerable and real. I’m no longer close to people who are disconnected from their feelings, because they can’t truly be aware of others.


BPM: What’s the takeaway? What do you want people to get, to do?

To take off the mask. I look forward to having honest conversations about some of the topics in the book, grief, motherhood—staying home/having a career, depression, mid-life, perfection pressure. So much of what we do in this culture is to soothe our wounds: we buy too much, eat too much, and drink too much. Don’t get me wrong, doing the work, looking at one’s self and examining all those warts is not easy. But I believe, in the long run, it’s the only option. 

The epigram I used in Good Hair says this beautifully: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will destroy you.”—Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas 

Order Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir by Benilde Little

http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-My-Breakdown-A-Memoir/dp/1476751951 
http://books.simonandschuster.com/Welcome-to-My-Breakdown/Benilde-Little/9781476751955 

 



Intimate Conversation with Kimberla Lawson Roby

New York Times Bestselling Author Kimberla Lawson Roby has published 20 novels which include A CHIRSTIMAS PRAYER, THE PRODIGAL SON, A HOUSE DIVIDED, THE PERFECT MARRIAGE, THE REVEREND’S WIFE, SECRET OBSESSION, LOVE, HONOR, and BETRAY, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PRAY FOR, A DEEP DARK SECRET, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, ONE IN A MILLION, SIN NO MORE, LOVE & LIES, CHANGING FACES, THE BEST-KEPT SECRET, TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING, A TASTE OF REALITY, IT’S A THIN LINE, CASTING THE FIRST STONE, HERE AND NOW, and her debut title, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, which was originally self-published through her own company, Lenox Press. 

Kimberla has sold more than 2,000,000 copies of her novels, and they have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Emerge Magazine, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin Chronicle to name a few, and both BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and CASTING THE FIRST STONE were #1 Blackboard bestsellers for four consecutive months in both 1997 and 2000. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was the #1 Blackboard Best-selling book for paperback fiction in 1997.

Kimberla is a 2014 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the 2013 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the recipient of the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Author of the Year – Female award presented by the African-American Literary Award Show in New York, the recipient of the 2014 Black Pearls Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, the recipient of the 2014 AAMBC Award for Female Author of the Year, the recipient of the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE, the recipient of the 1998 First-Time Author Award from Chicago’s Black History Month Book Fair and Conference, and in 2001, Kimberla was inducted into the Rock Valley College Alumni Hall of Fame (Rockford, IL).

Each of Kimberla’s novels deal with very real issues, including corruption within the church, drug addiction, gambling addiction, infidelity, social status, single motherhood, infertility, sibling rivalry and jealousy, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness, care-giving of a parent, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, and overweight issues to name a few.

Kimberla resides in Illinois with her husband, Will. Her 22nd title, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL will be released June 9, 2015.

BPM: Share with us your personal journey into publishing. Was this a fun time in your life?
Writing was not a lifelong dream of mine, however, back in April 1995 I sat down and began writing my debut novel, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. It took me about seven months to complete, and I then began querying literary agents in search for representation. I was rejected by all of them. Finally, I submitted query letters directly to editors at publishing houses and received rejection letters from them as well. This is when my husband suggested that I start my own company to self-publish my book, and I did. My mom kept telling me not to give up also. As it turned out, I learned a wealth of important and very helpful information about the business of publishing, and I sold just over 10,000 copies within the first 6 months of publication. This was truly a fun and exciting time in my life.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
My mother and my maternal grandmother were two of the kindest and wisest women I have ever known, and they began instilling a certain level of Christian and family values and wisdom in me from the time I was a small girl. Even after all the rejections, my mom told me I shouldn’t give up (I miss her tremendously), and my husband continues to be my biggest encourager and supporter as well.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I believe my literary work speaks to everyone in one way or another. I write about real-life social issues that can and do affect all human beings. Corruption within the church, infidelity, domestic violence, drug addiction, gambling addiction, adult sibling rivalry, care-giving of a terminally-ill parent, childhood sexual abuse, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, social status, overweight issues, and the list goes on. There is also always some level of redemption and forgiveness in every single book I write. I don't consider myself to be a role model per se, but if someone does in fact view me in that manner, my prayer is that I am able to represent myself well, particularly to young people.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
The latest novel is titled The Ultimate Betrayal, which is my 22nd book and the 12th title in my Reverend Curtis Black Series. It will be released, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. It’s been four years since twenty-eight-year old Alicia Black, daughter of Reverend Curtis Black, divorced her second husband, the most womanizing and corrupt man she has ever known. Since then, Alicia has been dating her first husband, Phillip Sullivan, a wonderfully kind and true man of God whom she’d hurt terribly by cheating on him. Alicia has worked hard to prove herself worthy of his trust once more, and when he asks her to marry him again, she couldn’t be happier. 

But Levi Cunningham, the drug dealer Alicia had an extramarital affair with, has just been released from prison, and he has completely turned his life around for the better. Still head-over-heels in love with Alicia, he will do whatever is necessary to win her back. 

Remarrying Phillip is the one thing Alicia has wanted for years, but she can’t get Levi out of her mind. Alicia and Phillip aren’t the only ones in the middle of a crisis. Their best friends, husband and wife Brad and Melanie Richardson, are struggling to keep their marriage together. 

Workaholic Brad is never home and has begun losing thousands on bad investments. Or so he says. Melanie, who is certain there’s more to the story, is determined to get at the truth. At the same time, her frustration and stress cause her to eat a lot less, and she behaves in an extreme fashion. Alicia worries that she could be suffering from anorexia, but Melanie steadfastly denies it. Their friendship begins to suffer, and it isn’t long before they’re talking to each other like enemies. 

Fresh betrayal leads to consequences no one saw coming, and Alicia’s relationship with Phillip might not be the only thing that needs saving. But is it already too late?


BPM: Where do your book ideas come from?
With every book I write, I first decide which social issue I'm really feeling passionate about at the time and then I create my characters around it. From there, I outline the story.

BPM: Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
My books can tend to be both, depending on which title. What I hear most often than not, though, from the majority of my readers is that they can always relate to both my characters and the overall storyline.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your books? If so, discuss them.
In many of my books, there are. One example, is my novella, A DEEP DARK SECRET where I wrote about a 12-year-old girl who was being sexually molested by her stepfather who was an upstanding deacon in the church. She was suffering in silence and so are millions of children in this country who never tell anyone what's happening to them.


BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Readers can visit my web site, www.kimroby.com. or visit me through social media at www.facebook.com/kimberlalawsonroby  or  www.twitter.com/KimberlaLRoby 


Purchase The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1455559563/kimlawroby-20

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Janice L. Dennie

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

Born to a military family that settled in San Francisco, California, where Ms. Dennie attended elementary, middle and high school. She later graduated from California State University, Hayward, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Ms. Dennie worked for a federal agency until retiring in 2011. 

Ms. Dennie wrote and published two novels that launched her into the limelight of the romance industry. Since her retirement, Ms. Dennie has returned to her first love—writing romance novels that have readers reaching for her books time and again as she delivers love stories featuring beautiful, independent women and tall, dark and dangerous men. Ms. Dennie has made a big splash in a big pond—not bad for a woman who read her first romance novel at 21!

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

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

BPM: Family is so important in your books.
Tell me a little about your family. 
I’m married to Gregory D. Reed, Sr. Together we have three adult children, Gregory D. Reed, Jr., Sharita Reed and James Reed and nine grandchildren.

All of the men in my family, with the exception of my paternal grandfather, served in the military. My maternal grandfather, Albert S. Jackson, of Sapulpa, OK, served in France during World War I. My father Lawrence H. Dennie Sr., served in the Korean War. My mother, Wilma Jean Jackson-Dennie, served as a (WAC) Women’s Army Corp during the 50’s. My oldest brother, Lawrence H. Dennie Jr., served in Vietnam, and my youngest brother Albert S. Dennie, served in the Army after the Vietnam War. My paternal grandfather, Alfred S. Dennie was a Jazz musician in Kansas City, MO. He played tenor saxophone with the Benny Moten Band which included Count Basie and other jazz greats.

My parents moved to San Francisco from Denver, Colorado, where I was born, in the 1960s. My siblings and I attended elementary and middle school in San Francisco, before moving to the East Bay. I graduated from California State University, Hayward with a degree in business administration, and began a career with a federal agency, in San Francisco, before retiring in 2011. My sister Linda lives in Tulsa, OK and my youngest sister, Camille lives in Southern California.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
 Higher education was stressed in my family. My parent’s exposed us to as much as they could when my siblings and I were children. Earning anything lower than a C in grade school was unacceptable and meant automatic punishment. My oldest brother was a straight A student, my other siblings and I were A & B students. Both of my parents motivated me to want to accomplish something in life. My parents always said, if you’re going to stay at home, you must either go to school or work; no sitting around. It was implied that they expected me to make something out of myself. I got to be where I am because of my faith in my heavenly father, and the sacrifices of my family. As a working woman, my mother became a strong role model for me to pattern my life after. 

BPM: Why did you begin to write?
I am fascinated with making “something out of nothing.” “I began writing because I wanted to create my own stories and see myself reflected in the character of the heroine. I’m inspired by writers such as James Baldwin, Walter Mosely and Jane Austin. 

News articles also inspire me to write. I was inspired to write ‘Kenton’s Vintage Affair,’ when I read a news article about Dr. Earnest Bates, part owner of Bates Winery in Napa Valley. I never knew there were Black wineries in Napa, and I visited wineries there numerous times. That news article inspired me to create the fictitious Underwood family, and give each member a story.”

There are five books in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series. “Justin’s Body of Work,” will be released in May, 2015. Carter’s Heart Condition, will be released in December,
2015.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
My body of literary work speaks to anyone who enjoy reading romances and learning about Black culture and history. My first book The Lion of Judah introduces the reader to the idea of Black royalty. Since we do not live in a country that has kings and queens, I looked to Africa for inspiration. I read an article in Newsweek magazine that referred to Emperor Haile Selassie as The Lion of Judah. I researched the subject and found out the Lion of Judah ruling dynasty descends without interruption from the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. I was shocked. My book came next. After that, I wrote Moon Goddess, Queen of Sheba.

I’ll never forget the time I took a black history class in college and learned about Black scientists and inventors. I brought that book home and my father, an engineer, took it from me after I finished the class. He gave me the strangest look I’d ever seen on his face. He couldn’t believe there was a book about 19th-century black scientists and inventors. I’ve often wondered why African American’s and their great accomplishments were excluded in our American history books. So I set out on a journey to learn as much as I could.

I do consider authors as role models especially for impressionable youth. It’s amazing how words can hurt or help people. I prefer to write stories that uplift the human spirit. I like writing about how characters transform into different people.

BPM: What inspired you to write The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series?
The News. I was inspired to write “The Lion of Judah,” after reading an article in a news magazine about Emperor Heile Selassie, of Ethiopia. Although we don’t have royalty in the U.S., I thought it was fascinating that he traced his ancestry back to The Lion of Judah ruling dynasty originating with King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The article inspired me to research the topic and write “The Lion of Judah,” followed by “Moon Goddess Queen of Sheba.”

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK? Why now?
President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, and their positive attitude toward women’s rights. Although I don’t consider myself a hard core feminist, I do appreciate when people take up a shield to protect women and children. I decided to write JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK, book 2 in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series because Justin’s book is next in line after KENTON’S VINTAGE AFFAIR. Justin’s story came into sharp focus after Attorney General, Eric Holder went to Ferguson, to help the disenfranchised people. I always root for the underdog. Justin fights for disenfranchised, particularly in cases involving sexual harassment, domestic abuse and equal pay. As a successful civil rights attorney, Justin is a modern day knight in shining armor. A man with characteristics every woman dreams about. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK?
I enjoyed creating Justin’s character. I wanted to create a strong male character that women could look up to and respect. So many modern day single women have had to be the mother and the father in many Black families. I wanted to write a story about a woman who could be a woman, and a man who could be her knight in shining armor. I know this sounds unrealistic or archaic at best, but this is the story I wanted to write. I wanted to create an over the top hero who would save the heroine from a vicious lawsuit in the court of law.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
My book ideas come straight from my imagination and my love for African American culture and history. My creative imagination stems from my childhood when I created something out of nothing. My father was a great storyteller who made up this story called THE HARD BISCUIT, which turned out to be a little scary for a five-year-old. I dreamt about that story and even had nightmares, nonetheless, it was my father’s storytelling that also sparked my creative imagination. 

My books are character driven because I enjoy falling in love with my characters. I gave all four brother in this series their own love story and a defining character trait. Kenton is the “protective one,” in his book. Justin is the “strong one,” in his book. Justin carries the disenfranchised with his strength in the court of law. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 
JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK, book 2 in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series, is about a successful Napa Valley attorney, Justin Underwood who falls in love with a beautiful spa owner, Ashley Jacobs, who is facing a serious lawsuit. The book is available in Kindle format and paperback on Amazon.com.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
The heroine, Ashley Jacobs relishes in providing her customers with a soothing and healing environment at her day spa in the Silverado area of Napa Valley. She maintains her even temper and peace of mind, avoiding anger at all costs. But when she faces a vicious lawsuit, from someone she least suspects, her peace of mind comes to a complete halt.

Justin Underwood is a successful attorney with a stellar resume and a body of work that consists of winning civil rights cases for the disenfranchised. The moment he hears Ashley’s sultry voice and feels her gentle touch, he finds comfort simply by being in her presence. He becomes hopelessly drawn to the siren with the sexy bedroom eyes. But Ashley has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. After taking her case, he watches her coast along, with her head in the clouds, turning a blind eye to the facts of her lawsuit. Can Justin get Ashley to commit to him, and open her eyes to the facts surrounding her lawsuit? Can Ashley overcome her family’s secret that prevents her future happiness?

What makes Ashley so special, is why she reacts to conflict the way she does. What makes Justin so special is his love for Ashley and his deep desire to protect women’s rights.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
The issues women face on the job and everywhere, from sexual harassment, equal pay and domestic abuse. All of these issues are discussed in the book.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
Like myself, the hero and heroine are both college educated, Christian, and business owners. 

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
Several years ago, I sat on a jury in a sexual harassment case. I couldn’t believe how much people lied under oath until I sat on that jury. Writing this book has taught me to scrutinize our justice system and unjust laws such as “stand your ground.” I spoke with the prominent civil rights attorney who represented the plaintiff in the sexual harassment case. After winning the case, she encouraged me to believe that justice is actually possible for the disenfranchised. After viewing that football player knock his wife unconscious in an elevator, I also began researching “adult women of domestic abuse and how it affects their intimate relationships.” I gave my heroine some of those character traits.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goal was to show readers how domestic abuse can affect the way a woman handles her life and intimate relationships. 

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I am working on Book #3 in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series, coming out in December 2015. Books #4 and #5 will come out in 2016. 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Amazon.com Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/author/janicedennie 

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


 

 


Intimate Conversation with Harrine Freeman

Harrine Freeman is an authority on personal finance with over 10 years of experience under her belt. Freeman is a financial counselor, CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises and Author of "How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free," a self-help book on credit repair that provides consumers with a step by step plan on how to get out of debt, increase their credit rating and plan for the future. 

She has impacted the lives of thousands of people in the United States through public speaking engagements and financial counseling. She is called upon by business owners, CEO’s, celebrities, students, teachers, sororities, fraternities, displaced workers, veterans and families. She helps client's prepare for financial freedom, by providing useful advice, resources and the tricks of the trade to ease concerns and really steer clients in the right financial direction. 

She is a member of Credit Professionals International, American Association of Daily Money Managers, American Association of Individual Investors and National Speakers Association. She has been featured in: Featured in Market Watch, Wall Street Journal, Forbes,The Washington Post, NASDAQ, Huffington Post, MSN Money, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Ebony, Woman’s Day magazines. 


BPM: Tell us about the book, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free Using the System I’ve Used Successfully With Thousands of Clients Revised.
How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free is my second non-fiction self-help financial book. It provides practical information to help readers assess and resolve their financial situation, no matter what their financial issue – debt, credit, budgeting, saving or planning for the future. The book provides information on critical financial issues affecting many Americans which will help to ensure Americans remain on the right path to financial success now and in the future.

BPM: What can readers expect to get out of the book? 
The book covers various financial topics such as: How to Repair Your Credit on Your Own, How to Pay Down Debt, How to Create and Maintain a Budget, How to Save and Invest, How to Buy a Home, How to Pay Off Student Loans, and Identity Theft. It provides easy to follows tips, sample letters, spreadsheets and tons of resource information listed by state as well as definitions and other tidbits of lesser known financial information. 

The primary message in the book is that no matter what financial setback you have experienced you can overcome it. It may seem that there is no light at the end of the tunnel but there is because I have personally experienced it and overcame many financial struggles. I was unemployed three times and was considering filing bankruptcy and overcome it and you can too!

BPM: What's your favorite chapter in the book?
My favorite chapter in the book is on Credit. I love helping people with credit because when you have good credit you have so many options available to you. “Remember that credit is money, just not yours. – Harrine Freeman

BPM: Where can readers get a copy of previous book, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free?
Readers can order now on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Sony eReader and www.ebookit.com. To learn more about the book, you can also visit the website, www.hefreemanenterprises.com. 

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
My journey began in college. By the time I graduated I had 13 credit cards. When I started working my first job I was earning $21,000 and owed $19,000 in debt. I lost my job and was unable to make the monthly payments. I was able to regain employment and got a part-time job. I put myself on a strict budget – I didn’t go out to eat, buy any new clothes, go to the hairdresser or hang out with my friends. I took public transportation and took my lunch to work every day. It took 4 years but I was able to pay everything off and restore my good credit rating. I then began helping family and friends. Next I got financial training and became a financial counselor. Then I wrote my book to prevent others from making the same mistakes I did. I now provide financial literacy education to youth and adults and provide one-on-one financial counseling. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
Yes. I am currently working on my second self-help financial book entitled, “How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free Revised” available in April 2015. The book covers various financial topics such as: credit, debt, budgeting, How to Invest, How to Buy a Home, How to Pay Off Student Loans, How to Establish Business Credit and How to Survive a Financial Crisis. 

BPM: Will this book be available on Nook and Kindle? 
Yes the book will be available on Nook and Kindle in April 2015 in conjunction with National Financial Literacy Month.

BPM: Why should readers buy your book?
People should read my book because it is an easy read; there are no complex financial terms that you have to get a dictionary to understand. There are tons of easy to follow tips on how to overcome different financial challenges as well as information on how to create a budget, pay down debt and negotiate with creditors. The message I want to share with readers is don’t give up. No matter how bad it may seem right now you can overcome your financial situation. 

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
In many cases other authors do not have personal experience with credit or debt or write books using complex financial terms. What makes my book different is: simplicity, ease of reading, unknown or hidden information consumers are not aware of, and my personal experiences with credit and debt. The message I want to share with readers is that there is no gimmick to my book. I state the facts and provide information to help readers who are facing various financial challenges.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present? 
I am working on ideas for a third self-help financial book and writing my autobiography which are both untitled. 

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

My books can be found online at: 
http://bit.ly/GzvFRk      (Nook)
http://bit.ly/1ftdKd1      (iTunes)
http://amzn.to/TKNlPl   (Kindle)
http://bit.ly/ZGJy9w      (Kobo)

I would love for your readers to network with me on the social media sites listed below:
Twitter: https://twitter/harrine 
Website: http://www.hefreemanenterprises.com  
Blog: http://hefreemanenterprises.blogspot.com 
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HarrineFreeman/feed 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/HE-Freeman-Enterprises/79463044117 

 

 


BAN RADIO INTERVIEW WITH KAI

KAI is the author of the critically acclaimed Daughter of the Game series (Daughter of the Game I, II, III and Prequel) and The Loudest Silence. KAI's story Twisted Loyalty is featured in Gutta Mamis, published by Strebor in the Streetz (Simon and Schuster). She is also a contributing author to Solo Shivers and That Good Grind by Wilson.

She is a nationally recognized poet and was named AAMBC's 2013 Poet of the Year for her Peaceful Resolution collection. Her poem Pre-Destiny, was featured in the April 2008 issue of Essence Magazine.

KAI
has served as a Guest Reviewer for RAWSISTAWZ Reviewers. An alumni of Hampton University, SUNY Brockport and Georgetown University Law Center, she is a licensed attorney in two states and a proud parent.


BAN RADIO: What was the inspiration for Daughter of the Game?

As a book reviewer, I reviewed a number of urban fiction novels that dealt with the drug game and its players, and the women loving them or using them, but I hadn’t read a story about the family structure—people closely related to drug dealers who aren’t in the game. I wanted to explore that reality and, in my own way, humanize the main drug dealer to expose his weakness and vulnerability. That is why Ricardo feels fear in his heart, or Armand contemplates why his life seems to be predestined for disaster, or Pete loves Miriam but can’t put it to words, and Monique worries about the generational curses her father’s empire will have on her and her children. Although Monique is the main character, I explore the different men and their choices and decisions as well.

BAN RADIO: Who is your favorite character?

That is hard to say. I have a deep affinity for Ricardo, Monique’s brother, and Chew, the man who loves Monique but knows he can never have her. I also enjoy Anji, Titan’s girlfriend. Her spirit and creativity made her fun to write. Michelle, Monique’s big sister, seems to be the favorite character among my readers. I have received many demands that she have a bigger role in the series. Michelle’s relationship with Pete is touching and she is a fighter, possessing that wild “around the way girl” charm that everyone knows and loves. But my favorite character is Armand. I love his sexiness and his bad boy charisma. Armand is the type of man who can be dead wrong and it doesn’t matter—you will love him anyway. Case in point: I have yet to meet one reader who dislikes him despite him leaving Monique alone in the trap so that he could hide the stash.

BAN RADIO: What is a question most asked by readers?

I am constantly asked to reveal Armand’s true identity. This series is fiction. One of my biggest pet peeves is that people assume the story is about someone they know or someone in my life. I cannot tell you how many people have tried to guess who Armand really is in my circle. They will never get it right because Armand is a fictional character. I think that many of us know these personality types, so the characters feel very real to us. I study people, how they react to situations, how they express themselves, how they communicate and it is reflected in the characters I create. The closest person to Armand I ever met grew up in Rochester, New York with me, was my close friend and he still lives there. And even he is not Armand. I must admit, I am surprised by how deeply attached to Armand the readers are and the stories they share with me about men very similar to him. There is an affinity among women who have loved men like him, and only other women who have been in that situation can relate and understand. He is a magnetic character, flawed but genuine.

BAN RADIO: You place a lot of emphasis on love in both the Daughter of the Game series and in The Loudest Silence. Are these love stories?

The concept of love fascinates me, I must admit. When I think of love, I think of the fairy tales and the “love conquers all” theory. When we listen to music most songs are about love: craving it, needing it and doing anything for it. But what does it mean in real life. Should we really love unconditionally? How high is the price of love? What happens when you strip away your dignity in the name of love? Is that really love? Many of my works also challenge the concept of love being forever. I believe that love is demonstrated by action, such as being considerate or selfless. But what happens when a person truly loves you and has no idea how to show it? Or what happens when his expression doesn’t fit your idea of what love should look like? Obviously, I don’t have any answers. But playing with the different types of “love” tends to make my characters struggle in different ways. 

Check out Daughter of the Game 3 by KAI:  http://amzn.com/0985438681  

More Books by KAI on Amazon:   http://amazon.com/author/kai  

Connect with KAI online: 

Website: www.discoverkai.com
FB: facebook.com/authorkai
Twitter: twitter.com/authorkai
IG: instagram.com/authorkai1

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Briana Cole

Briana Cole is an Atlanta native and proud mother of two. Having graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2009, she immediately began working for the federal government. Briana enjoys acting and public speaking but writing is her first passion. She has coined the term 'spiceual' to describe her style of writing; a mix of spicy and sensual romance that stimulates the reader mentally, physically, and emotionally. Tired of reading the same type of books in the urban industry, Briana prides herself on bringing unique plots and a distinct voice to the bookshelves. Her debut novel, Heart Breaker, is only the beginning in, what Briana considers, ‘a new experience’ in African-American literature. Her motto and ultimate drive towards success is a famous quote from Mae West: "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I got to where I am today because I am a very determined person. I’ve always wanted to succeed and I am the epitome of a ‘go-getter’ and doing things that, to others, seem overreaching. I am motivated because of my positive attitude, my family, and most importantly, my kids. I want to lead them by example, showing them that they can achieve their goals. I stand by that Mae West quote in my biography. “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” That pushes me to continue setting new goals and striving to reach them because that is the only way to succeed.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your work? What genre is it? Is it in ebook format too?
Absolutely! My book is titled Heart Breaker and it is an urban erotic fiction novel that centers on a woman with a very… unique business. She is paid to “bait” men to test their loyalty. The plot is very different and very scandalous with lots of suspense, secrets, and drama. It is due for release May 25th and yes, it will be available in both paperback and Kindle version.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
My main character is Jayla Morgan. Jayla is completely raw and for the most part, a self-centered, arrogant chick and master manipulator. She is used to getting her way, even if that means hurting those she loves. But as the story progresses and Jayla is wrapped up in all the mess she has created, you’ll find out she has put up this hard exterior to mask her feelings. She doesn’t like to be hurt or vulnerable, and her weakness is this subconscious desire for happiness. She is special because some of the things she says and does are quite memorable. Plus, like most readers, Jayla is constantly dealing with inner demons and struggling to bury past mistakes while opening up to love. Readers will recognize that conflict and they will definitely relate.

Readers will fall in love with Jayla’s love interest, Derrick. He has his flaws like anyone, but he is a genuine sweetheart. I wanted Derrick to be that guy every woman wanted for themselves and thus, would grow more resentful towards Jayla for getting him tangled in her deception.

Jasmine is Jayla’s niece who falls in line to be the next Heart Breaker. As the author, even I underestimated Jasmine. She is the one you always want on your team because when she’s against you, it’s ugly.

Tara is Jayla’s best friend and Patricia is Jayla’s mentor. Both women have dominating personalities and you’ll see how Jayla is able to mix so well with them.

My characters are very real because I based on people I’ve known. I wanted readers to hear and see them so clearly, it is as if they are watching a movie. I got so close to these characters, they became like family (A very dysfunctional family). I want readers to feel the same way.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I had been toying with the idea for a while. But between being a single mother and having a full-time job, I just couldn’t seem to find the time to write it. I would do a little bit here, a little bit there but I was not in the routine of writing everyday so months would go by without me touching the story. One day, a coworker of mine mentioned she had published her children’s book and invited me to her book signing. I’m not sure she realizes how that moment was an epiphany for me. She was pursuing her dreams. That is what I needed to do. I had been talking about publishing a book since I could hold a pen and I didn’t want to look up in another 20 or 30 years still saying, “Someday, someday…” If not now, then when?

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book, Heart Breaker?
I thoroughly enjoyed exercising my creativity. I feel I was challenged to think outside of the box since this is my first book. It was fun when my characters came to life and started to jump off the page because the story began developing on its own, despite what I, as the author, wanted to happen. I hated and loved my characters for putting me in that position.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
Because my stories are so wild, I get that question A LOT. My stories are a combination of my fantasies, a little bit of personal experiences, and some crazy ‘what-if’ scenarios I have managed to weave from something I’ve seen or heard. There is nothing off-limits when it comes to my writing. I tend to think, “Even if I wouldn’t do that, I can surely write about someone who will.” Also, I’m into theater and roleplaying so that is another factor.

My books are a refreshing mix of both plot and character-driven narrative. I say that because my characters are often times battling some internal struggles, but there are quite a few external conflicts getting in the way. These external conflicts tend to lead to the character wanting to change and better themselves, but I’m not about to make that easy for them.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
My book puts a new spin on infidelity, trust, communication, and the lengths people go through to feel secure in a relationship. All are popular themes and very relatable to the average reader, but I am excited to bring a new take on these ideas. I even touch on sensitive and complex issues such as abortion and same-sex relationships. Not to say that these topics are under-represented, but I do feel there are many authors that present them in the same fashion. That is what I did not want to do.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
I feel my book somewhat mirrors my present journey because I, too, am struggling to rectify some past mistakes. Nothing as serious as my characters but we know hindsight is 20/20 and we have all made decisions we wish we could un-do. Also like Jayla, I am constantly juggling priorities, all while trying to make time to nurture my relationships.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?
It speaks mainly to women. Even though the story is classified as ‘urban’ because of the predominantly African-American characters, women of all races can relate and appreciate my stories. That’s not to say men won’t find value in my books, as well, because I am digging into the female psyche. My work is definitely for mature audiences.

BPM: Do you consider authors as role models?
Of course! A role model is defined as someone whose success can be emulated. I believe authors are striving to set positive examples. The money and notoriety are a bonus. When a younger generation can look up to you for that motivation and inspiration, that is priceless.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book, Heart Breaker?
I sure did. One of my children’s favorite movies is Finding Nemo and there is a somewhat wise character named Dory in the movie. Dory’s famous line is, “Just keep swimming.” I liken that to myself while writing this book and I feel it is very applicable. “Just keep pushing.” Many people may not realize how demanding the writing lifestyle is. You are constantly balancing writing, marketing, and even working on multiple projects at once. There were nights I had to sacrifice sleep to meet a deadline or I did not ‘feel’ like writing at all. However, I kept pushing through it. Now that I have almost crossed the finish line for this first leg of my writing career, I feel that much more accomplished because I know how hard it was.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book? 
Thankfully, my book did not require too much research but I did meet some phenomenal people during the writing and publishing process. For starters, the staff and other authors at Life Changing Books were instrumental in guiding me. This entire process is brand-new so I can definitely appreciate everyone’s advice. I am also very grateful for the constructive criticism from my test readers because they challenged me. Without their feedback, my book would not be as strong as it is now.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
With my first novel, I wanted to break into the industry with a bang. I wanted my novel to be a packed, page-turning explosion of quality writing, unique plots, and a fresh voice. I want to entertain as well as educate and leave my readers mind-blown and thirsting for more. My story went through many revisions to get it to this point but I feel I achieved just that with Heart Breaker.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I have already written an eshort story that I’m giving away to my mailing list subscribers and I’m currently working on another. I’m also working on the second part to Heart Breaker, and of course, all the associated marketing events for my debut novel. I have a book release party planned for Saturday June 13 in College Park, GA and I’m organizing my book signings and events for the summer. I’m especially excited about the events because I plan to travel. Keep an eye out because I may head your way!

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 
Thank you so much for having me.  I’m very active on social media so follow me, I'd love hearing from you!
Website: www.brianacole.com
Twitter: @BrianaCSpice
Instagram: @BrianaCSpice
FB: www.facebook.com/BrianaCSpice
Amazon page: www.amazon.com/author/brianacole 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Marian L. Thomas

Award-winning novelist, Marian L. Thomas is a dynamic story-teller with five engaging novels to her credit. Her books have been seen on national television stations such as, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Ovation and the A&E Network. She has been featured in print magazines, newspapers and a guest on many broadcast and online radio stations.

Her latest title, "Blue Butterfly" recently scored top honors as one of the 2014 USA BEST BOOK AWARDS Fiction/ African-American Finalist. Each of her contemporary fiction books have reached a bestseller position on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Visit the Author's Website: http://www.marianlthomas.com 

BPM: Tell us about the book, Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life.
Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life is my first non-fiction, chapbook. It's a quick easy-to-read, hilarious ( I hope) but candid take on my decision to remain childless. Some call it, CBC (childless by choice).

BPM: What can readers expect to get out of the book? 
The book covers some common misconceptions about me and why I made the decision to remain childless. It also gets into some interesting topics that I think would make for a very lively book club discussion such as:
a. Do women without children take freedom for granted.

b. Is it a myth or fact that women who make the "childless" decision do so because they don't like children.

c. Do women who decide to be childless do so because they feel they aren't parent material.

d. Is there really such a thing as being "Phobic" about giving birth? 

Readers have to keep in mind that I can only speak for myself. I don't claim to represent every woman out there who has made the decision to be childless.

BPM: What's your favorite chapter in the book?
Well, Living The Empty Carriage Way of Life  is broken down into situations that I have found myself in over the years. I added some elements of fiction in each one, but then I give you my candid and honest take on it afterward. My favorite chapter is on the subject of a woman's biological clock. I cracked up just doing research on it.

BPM: Do you think that women who decide to remain childless seek some sort of validation from others?
In 2008, 24% of women between the ages of 40-44 who held a bachelor’s degree, refrained from entering into the nine-month birthing cycle. So, I think that women are finding that it’s okay to be childless. That making the childless by choice decision is not some type of a movement and it’s certainly not a revolution against motherhood. In fact, being childless can be a good decision and that decision doesn’t need or require validation from others.

BPM: Where can readers get a copy of Living The Empty Carriage Way of Life?
Readers can order now on Amazon and get the book delivered to their front door within days. It's also available for most digital readers too. The reader can check out the book immediately. To learn more about the book, you can also visit the website, www.theemptycarriagelife.com  or my author website at www.marianlthomas.com

 


Intimate Conversation with Sharon C. Cooper

Award-winning and bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, spent 10 years as a sheet metal worker. And while enjoying that unique line of work, she attended college in the evening and obtained her B.A. from Concordia University in Business Management with an emphasis in Communication. Sharon is a romance-a-holic, loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies or real life. 

Sharon writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course). 

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

I think my literary work is for those who enjoy romance and women’s fiction with a happily-ever-after. This book will also speak to those who enjoy the dynamics of a strong, loving family who not only work together, but who are also supportive.  For me, there are definitely authors who I would consider role models (Farrah Rochon, Delaney Diamond, Phyllis Bourne, Candace Shaw, and a host of others). Not only do they lead wonderfully by example, but they are always willing to share information, support and encourage me. 


BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?

My current work, TEMPTING THE ARTIST is about a woman from a very large family who has a secret. She feels that if her well-known family discovers her other life, they might be disappointed and disown her. She’s not willing to take that chance. When she meets and fall in love with a bad-boy defense attorney, she wants to share her secret, but feels that it might jeopardize their relationship. The story is centered around trust, forgiveness and family. This story is available on Nook and Kindle.


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

My main characters, Christina and Luke are in their late twenties and early thirties respectively. Christina works in construction and enjoys her job, but has a side hustle –a secret - that she has kept to herself for years. She fears that her family and friends will judge her. When it comes time to share her other life with the man she loves, she clams up. Not trusting him enough, she risks losing him instead of being honest with him.

Luke is one of the most sought after lawyers in New York. Due to personal loss and a need to take his life in a different direction, he quits his job and relocates to Cincinnati. He’s looking forward to the move, not only because Christina, his love interest, lives there, but also because the city offers a slower pace than New York. He and Christina come from two very different backgrounds, but they are perfect together. Yet, Christina has secrets and what Luke can’t handle are secrets and lies. With Christina, he’s dealing with both. But Luke quickly finds out that despite what she’s keeping from him, he’s madly & passionately in love with her and will do whatever necessary to have her in his life.


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

TEMPTING THE ARTIST is part 3 of one of my most popular series - the Jenkins Family Series. It was time to tell Christina Jenkins (CJ) story. She is a painter by trade and works for her family’s large construction company. She has a secret that she’s held close to her heart for years, but now that she’s in a serious relationship, she has to decide whether or not she’s ready to share another part of her life with the man she loves.

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

I love books that are a part of a series, especially when they are a family series. What I enjoyed most about writing this story was watching this couple learn to trust each other, grow together, and then get to their happily-ever-after. I also enjoyed the family dynamics that take place in the story and think most readers will be able to relate to some of the situations.

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

My ideas come from: my over active imagination, television, newspapers, and sometimes magazine articles. This particular story has elements around art – which was inspired by my painting hobby. My contemporary romances are more character driven, whereas my romantic suspense tend to be more plot driven. I enjoy writing both character and plot driven. 

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

My goal for this book was to continue the Jenkins Family Series while telling a light, entertaining story that anyone can read and relate to. And yes, I think I achieved that goal. Besides watching the ups and downs of relationships, the reader will also get to experience the love of a close family.

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

I have a number of projects in the works. I’m currently working on book 4 of my Reunited Series (romantic suspense) – OPERATION MIDNIGHT. I’m also working on two Harlequin Kimani books (A Dose of Passion & the other is untitled).

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


Find Sharon online:

Website:   http://sharoncooper.net 
Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSharonCCooper21  
Twitter:   https://twitter.com/#!/Sharon_Cooper1 
Subscribe to blog:   http://sharonccooper.wordpress.com/ 
Goodreads:   http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5823574.Sharon_C_Cooper 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Brookita R. Braxton

Brookita R Braxton, an Air Force Veteran and a government employee, has always been intrigued by the mother/ daughter relationship dynamic. After being given up for adoption at an early age and losing her adopted mother to a terminal illness, her curiosity evolved into story lines. Brookita lives in Alexandria, Virginia. She attends church and spends time with her family and friends. Maternal Secrets is her first novel.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I am where I am because of my father and my faith. I had a very structured upbringing. As I child I was labeled with a reading comprehension problem. My father didn't allow them to place me in a special class. Instead he started me on a reading program of his own. I read books and completed book reports outside of my normal school assignments. Eventually I grew to love reading and writing. By sixth grade I was reading and comprehending on college sophomore level.

My faith has sustained me through the process of writing and publishing. Over the last seven years I've had a lot of setbacks but my belief in writing as my God ordained purpose kept me from giving up.


BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 
I believe my body of work speaks to women who are at different stages in their lives. Some of the topics include caring for elderly parents, sibling issues, dating, religion and personal choices. I don't think an author is a role model. I think we're messengers. Our purpose is to get you think and see outside of your own situation, good or bad.


BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I started writing Maternal Secrets in the year 2007. I woke up from a dream with a melody in my head. I actually start writing my first chapter to the melody. The hook was simple "Why are you peaking into my dreams?" From there Coldra Ashe introduced herself then her mother Lauren came to me. Lauren has twin sister named Karen. Initially they were the same person but Karen became the antagonist of Coldra and Lauren.


BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing Maternal Secrets?
I enjoyed when the characters spoke to me. It felt like I was interviewing them.


BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
My book ideas come from my meditation time and dreams. I see scenes when I am sleeping; when I awake I will make a note on my phone. Other times they come when I'm meditating. A character will make one statement. Then over a few weeks different elements are revealed. This particular book is character driven because it focuses on personal choices and consequences. Everyone makes mistakes.


BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters in Maternal Secrets. What makes each one so special? 
Coldra Ashe is a young woman who thought her life was going as planned. She never paid attention to the obvious even when it was in her face. When reality hit her, she went back home to her mother, Lauren. Lauren is known to have all the answers all the time. She is a respected mental health professional. Unfortunately Coldra learns that her mother doesn't have the answers and her life isn't as neat as she would like it to be. Both women want to be understood by each other even though their choices don't reflect that fact. Coldra and Lauren are on the same journey to healing whether they realize it or not.


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

Maternal Secrets touches on the family dynamic of going against tradition. It has been my experience that exploring religions outside of a family's tradition is frowned upon. Lauren faces this because she gave up her family's religious practices to marry her husband. This book also touches on the decisions families make when dealing with a chronically ill relative's fight to remain independent.


BPM: How does your book relate to your journey?

I was adopted and then lost my mother two years later. This book helped me to heal in ways I would have never thought possible. It also allowed me to get to know my deceased mother because her friends would open up to me after hearing about my book. During the time that I was writing this book I found out that I have two sisters and reconnected with my biological mother. The story has evolved with me over these last seven years. I would say that this journey has brought me into a new awareness of who I am. I was new to the process of writing when I began this novel. Through trial and error I've learned and am still learning about the craft of writing.


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

The biggest lesson I learned from writing this book is that life will give you another chance if you allow it. You can't control people but you can control the choices you make. You won't always make the right decision but always look for an opportunity to make a wrong decision right.


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

I wanted to finish the book. This is my first novel and I am excited because I didn't allow fear to keep me from moving forward.

Twitter: @write2freeu
Website: www.brookitabraxton.com  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/brookitabraxtonauthor 

Purchase Maternal Secrets by Brookita R Braxton
Women's Fiction/Paranormal
Amazon: http://tiny.cc/vtfwvx


 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Francina Lucas

Francina “Ms Caramel” Lucas  is a first-time published author and a former self-employed model and a radio personality with HOT1079 out of Charlotte, North Carolina. She is has been a Notary Public since 2013 in the State of Florida and also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary since 1997 and the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) since 2014. Francina is now on a new journey that has always been her passion. She loves the adventure and the emotions she gives to her readers. Francina has a very outgoing spirit and an imagination that is out of this world. She loves to write about romance, drama, exotic and funny. You will never have a dull moment reading her book and/or books. 

When Francina is not writing she loves spending her time her husband and her family. Francina is very close with her mother Susann Bartlett and her Aunt Susette Johnson who both raised her. They encouraged her that sky is the limit and continue pursing your dreams. Francina has a huge family and love them all. They all give her the motivation to continue to become successful and continue to be her number 1 fans. Francina also loves watching TV, dancing and enjoying life to the fullest. 

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
God gave me the motivation, determination to work hard for everything that I do.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 
I feel that my literary speaks to anyone that is going through the same situation as the character in the book. 
Yes, I feel that author are role models. We are more then authors we are mentors because people are reading the words we write. So, I feel authors has a huge impact on people.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
My mother is my motivation. She is my inspiration. I have been writing for a long time it goes back to elementary school. But who inspired me was my mother. She always told me that i should write a book so the world can see what I can do.

Why now? I wanted to set a goal for myself and accomplish and achieve it. Meanwhile, make my mother proud of me.  I enjoyed writing the characters with their different personalities and that was fun.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
I have a creative mind. I am always coming up with unique ideas. I will say both plot and character driven. The reason why I said both is because my book has a plot twist, external conflicts and action and on the other hand my book has creativity and feelings.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 
I have a new book that will be launching in March of 2015 called "Rebecca Meets Phillip." My book is on Nook and Kindle.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
Well, my main characters are Denise, Keisha, Liz and Tonya. Denise is a married woman who is very dedicated to her husband. The reason why she is special is because she is the peace maker and she is like the mother of the best friends. She has a very good heart. Keisha is very independent and outspoken woman. She doesn't sugar coat how she feels towards anyone. She is special because she strong and represents all the independent women. 

Keisha and Denise are closer than the other women and she always have Denise back. Keisha is a true friend. Liz is a married woman and a homemaker with three children who never had a chance to see the real world. She is definitely a home body. Liz is special because in the book she finally comes out her eggshell and start to live life. 

Tonya is the youngest of the friends. Tonya and her five year old lives with her mother and Tonya leaves all her responsibility with her mother. She does not care about anybody but herself. Tonya is special because she starts to realize who is important to her and start realizing that her daughter is her priority.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?
Basically the book represents my journey. As I was writing the characters I took a little piece of me in each character to make who they are beside Tonya, lol she a character that I studied. My book will keep me focus and continue do show people different scenarios and show them that they are not alone.

 

 

 


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.

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Catherine Flowers

Catherine Flowers is the creator of www.freefrombondage.com, a Christian blog where she shares the word of Christ through her encouraging words and experiences. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys writing on-line content for multiple websites as well as editing the creative works of others. Her leisure activities include reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. A Sad Soul Can Kill You is her second novel. To learn more about the author, please visit www.freefrombondage.com or e-mail her at authorcatherineflowers@aol.com. You can also contact her on Facebook: Author Catherine Flowers 
.

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.

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Bonnie Taylor-Williams

Bonnie Taylor-Williams, a twenty-plus years cancer survivor, a professional third generation Hair Weev* technician, designer and instructor credits her mother for igniting her love for reading. Bonnie’s mother began sitting Bonnie and her brothers at the kitchen table and walking them to the neighborhood Chicago public library instilling the importance of reading at a very early age. Unwilling to completely rely on her children’s school teachers and they had great teachers, Bonnie’s mother taught them how to sound out the words, breaking them into syllables, teaching them spelling, how to look them up either in the back of their spelling books or the dictionary and how to create sentences. 

As a child Bonnie loved listening to the history of her family through the stories shared and told by her mother Juanita, her grandmother Selena and her great grandmother Mary. Bonnie’s love of reading books and listening to the family storytelling was soon escalated into desires of writing books herself but wondered how it could be possible when she had never seen any books with people or characters on them that looked like her. Neither had she seen any writers of any books she had read that looked like her as a child until that one day her mother surprised her with a brand new book. The book was “I Know Why the Caged Bird sings” by Maya Angelou. 

Maya Angelou was one of the people who came on TV along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, President Kennedy, Barbara Jordan and Muhammad Ali that everyone in the house had to be real quiet and listen, so that the adults could hear. Therefore Bonnie knew who she was. After reading “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” it was like the lighting of the Christmas tree, an electrifying spirit of hope and excitement filled her heart, mind and body.
Bonnie stated, “It has taken me several years to complete this dream/ book due to everyday life which translates to a lack of dedication. Now, I am loving this writing thing, I knew I would! It takes dedication like anything else you really desire.”   *Weev: patented spelling

BPM: How did you get where you are in life today? Who motivated you?
Through prayer, perseverance, great guidance, awesome examples to follow, hard work and obedience. Although I had awesome, inspiring examples to follow through my family, especially my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother leading the way I was always a good listener. I didn’t want to learn the hard way, if they told me “this is good or this is bad” I listened. Not all of the time but most of time I took heed and followed. My family motivated me for the most part and I was exposed to many others in my grandmother’s business that played significant parts in my life as well. Intelligence over ignorance (if you don’t know or are unsure keep your mouth closed) is something my mother was adamant about along with respect, honesty, fairness, treating others the way you want to be treated and she always instilled in me that I could do anything I put my mind to. 

My grandmother taught me the importance of work ethics and people skills. She believed in hard work “Get up early and stay up late! Nothing comes to a sleeper but a dream” she’d say. If you want anything you have to work for it. If you don’t work you will steal because you will get hungry. My great grandmother would give you her advice but when she really wanted you to understand the consequences she would say “You gone have a hard row to hoe”. I didn’t want anything to be hard or difficult in my life if I could help it. Of course that’s not real life, there will be challenges and there have been but not because I didn’t listen to my elders or was blatantly disobedient. Obedience is better than sacrifice. 

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book about your family? Why now?
I’ve actually been working on books about my family for years but never completed them. As a child I always loved listening to my family share stories whether we were home with our mother on a cold snowy day listening and learning about her childhood, sitting at the counter in the kitchen as my great grandmother cooked and told stories of her life growing up in Friars Point Mississippi or listening and laughing about the many characters of my grandmother’s salons before I was even born…I LOVED IT! I wasn’t the only one; my brothers loved them as well we often wished that we were back there in those times.

Also many others including clients and employees would often tell my grandmother she should write a book. Although my grandmother has done many things including co-writing a Hair Weev text book with Natalie Haskell of New York she never had time to write a book on herself so I decided I would. It’s time to show my appreciation while we’re both still here. She has influenced and motivated many others, this book “WITH THESE HANDS; A COUNTRY GIRL CAME TO TOWN” is giving her her flowers while she can smell them. They say write what you know, I know her and I know the story. I am paying tribute to her because I like so many others believe she’s extraordinary. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your childhood watching this legacy unfold?
I always felt Blessed. It was exciting, educational and fun. It seemed like there was plenty…of everything; work, food, money, excitement, hair, hustling, pretty cars & clothes and above all respect. Never having to stand in line anywhere we went, especially at Gladys’s Luncheonette because Selena was well known, if they didn’t know her they knew of her, admired and respected her. Watching my mother, uncle and aunt working for and with my grandmother and what it meant to the clients was very impressive, truly exceptional. As soon as my brothers, my cousin and I could read, write and count we were learning the business, Hair Looming (making up hair), tagging and bagging hair and on Saturday mornings delivering dinners that our great grandmother sold in the neighborhood. 

Although my mother Juanita took us on vacations when we were small my grandmother Selena began increasing her territory which meant increasing her entourage which included us her grandchildren. We traveled together as a family doing various tradeshows in many cities and states. We already knew how to behave, greet the people etc. now we were learning how to show and sell. The Bronner Brothers show, The NBCL and the Allied Cosmetology Association were yearly staples that we would attend. 

The most important lesson I learned as a child…Keep God First. Aside from attending church every Sunday, choir rehearsal every week we were taught to begin everything with prayer. Whether we were having a business meeting, hosting one of our annual Hair Weev conventions which were held nationally or just teaching a class which we taught internationally as well and still to this day in my mother’s school bus transportation business we begin with prayer. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Reminiscing! I really enjoyed remembering the stories and reliving the feeling of the spirit in which they were shared. 

 

 



Intimate Conversation with Ann Clay 

Ann Clay resides in Southern Illinois with her family. She enjoys reading, writing, crafts, traveling, and family time. She began writing in 1999 and is a member of the Romance Writers of America. Thanks to the support of family and friends, Ann shares her heartwarming stories with readers of the heart.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? 

Final Play is a contemporary romance, released October 30, 2014, and is available in both print and digital forms. Final Play is readily available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, but could also be ordered from your local book store. It is also accessible through Kindle, Nook, and other digital sources.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 
This title is what I call my in-between-book. I'm in the heat of finishing the second book from my Gumbo Series, also in the contemporary romance genre, entitled 'Beyond the Blue Cypress'. Because the second title starts in the early 1950's, I have to do some research to make sure the text and the feel of the book mirrors that time. So in-between writing 'Beyond the Blue Cypress',  I got the idea for this book as the football season rolled in. I thought it would be nice to have a good weekend book to read in between quarters of a football game. The story introduces the steamy romance formed between a formal pro-football player and a young doctor he meets just as he leaves his football career to enter another.

BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Always! I've always been an avid reader. Reading was my means of escape when I was a child. Also, I come from a long line of storytellers. My father and brothers could spin a tale without thought or effort. Just pick a topic, we could make up a story, and then, could spin it any way you choose... funny, sad, or adventurous. So, while writing is different from storytelling in a sense, I often use ideas I've seen, heard, or experienced to help me create the plots of my stories.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? Why?
I'm fortunate enough to be able to travel, and in my travels I see a lot of story potentials/ideas. Sitting in the airport is a people-watching opportunity for me. While some people work on their electronic devices or read or talk, I watch people. Their movements, how they interact with strangers, all to me tell stories of everyday living. So I use those things to come up with ideas. I try to write stories I'm interested in. The characters, once they form themselves, pretty much run the story. I just happen to be at the keyboard, jotting it all down. I’m not one of those authors who sketches out the entire story. I pretty much have a concept, I know what the characters will and will not do, and I kind of, sort of know the ending... sometimes. Other than that, I allow the characters to tell their stories.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Anree Alexander, a formal star football player, hangs up his helmet for a prestigious position at a national sports network as a sports analyst. He's popular, smart, driven, yet very modest. Anree loves family, but at the time he meets our heroine is not particularly ready to settle down or start a family of his own.

Rhonda Mitchell, had to overcome a tumultuous past, but champions her struggles with a lot of hard work and support. She lost both parents at an early age, but was blessed to have a godmother, her mother's best friend, as a guardian. Rhonda manages to finish college and med school before many of her peers. And at the time she meets Anree, is steadily focused on establishing her practice and managing other priorities in her life. Which means she's not looking for a serious relationship.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Wow! Key plots deal with self-assessment, what we think is important in life, overcoming heartaches, how much time we spend on ourselves, fear, expectations, commitment, parenting, love or the lack of it, manipulation, protecting the people we care about, promises, hope, healing, and celebration.

This story deals with opening oneself up to possibilities. We never know just how much or how far we can go, never know what we can achieve, if we don't open our minds and hearts to it.

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with AlTonya Washington

AlTonya Washington has been a published romance novelist for 10 years and is a two time winner of The Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer's Choice Award. In addition to being an author, AlTonya also works as a college Reference Librarian. Writing as T. Onyx, AlTonya has also crafted a string of very popular erotica titles. Her long-running and popular Ramsey/Tesano romantic suspense series will soon conclude. "Lover's Origin: Black Island", "A Lover's Return" and "Book of Scandal: The Tesano Elders" will mark the last three titles in the saga.


BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you? 
Hard work and persistence. I recall the early submission letters sent to BET Arabesque. Being consistent in my follow-up correspondence with editors is what I believe got me noticed. From there it was the hard work put into forming my titles that completed the task of getting their interest. Diligence and discipline were the other pieces that proved instrumental in getting my writing contract as well as a degree in library science which is my other passion. I suppose the sense of accomplishment is what truly motivates me.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 
My body of work speaks to adult readers who enjoy a good, dramatic story with a dynamic mix of multi-dimensional characters. I suppose authors are the best role models for other authors.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now? 
I wrote Between Love and Hate long before I had my first writing contract. The idea came to me at a time when the term ‘male-bashing’ was first being tossed around. I make a point of not doing that in any of my stories (unless it’s with a villainous secondary character ?) I wanted to create a story where both characters were equally endearing, yet guilty of mistakes that I attempted to display equally in amount and magnitude.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 
I enjoyed the dynamic between the main characters Cahlir Decker and Bizay Donneeter especially in their roles as parents.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why? 
The ideas can come from ANYWHERE!! I’m as avid an observer as I am a reader. I enjoy observing others and wondering what their stories could be. Even a phrase or the look one character might share with another in a movie can motivate me to want to delve in and explore the meaning behind such actions.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 
Cahlir Decker and Bizay Donneeter had an extraordinary involvement that resulted in more than either of them ever intended. Their connection went deeper than the sexual chemistry that sizzled to life between the powerful corporate consultant and the lingerie entrepreneur. At least, that was what Biz thought until their enjoyable time together ended when she woke one morning to an empty bed and no sign of Cahlir. Biz refused to acknowledge how deeply the man had wounded her-how deeply her feelings for him had grown in the short span of time they had known each other. She was angry and hurt and leaned on a fair amount of hate to survive. Not a bad plan until she received word that her family’s advertising firm was in trouble and that Cahlir was its new owner.

Biz didn’t have time to let fear register over the unexpected turn of events. Fear however, did eventually find its way to the forefront of her mind as did a healthy dose of suspicion. Did Cahlir know that she’d left San Diego pregnant with their child? What would he do when he realized she’d had their daughter and had kept her from him for four years?

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
What makes our hero Cahlir Decker so endearing is the fact that he’s a wounded hero despite his alpha tendencies. The death of his first child is a scar he can’t hide. Our heroine Bizay Donneeter endears herself to us in how determined she is not to be hurt. She’s so determined that she winds up being hurt because of the lengths she goes to in hopes of protecting herself from it.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? 
If so, discuss them. I would suppose our little four year old doll Olivia Donneeter would represent that category. Parents don’t always stop to think of how actions can affect the child when they are so young. I believe we as parents believe that; so young, perhaps the child is unaware of all that’s going on around them. That is so often NOT the case.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present  journey? 
As a parent I’ve had and continue to have to make choices that will have a direct impact on my child. It’s not always an easy existence, but I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book? 
A lot of my ‘research’ came from within-from where I’ve grown in my role as a parent. I started this book before I became a parent and the amount of personal knowledge I’ve gained since that long ago time is unbelievable!

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 
I wanted to create a well-rounded story balanced with the mistakes and triumphs (lessons learned) on both sides. I believe I accomplished that.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
“Lover’s Origin: Black Island”; which is a novella/prequel for the upcoming “A Lover’s Return”, will be releasing in March.   “A Lover’s Return” will release fall of this year. I am currently celebrating the release of my latest Kimani title “Embrace My Heart.”

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 
Visit with me at: www.lovealtonya.com  or  www.alsreaders.com  

Books by AlTonya Washington

http://www.amazon.com/AlTonya-Washington/e/B001JS2S7U 

Connect Online with AlTonya Washington
www.lovealtonya.com
www.alsreaders.com
www.twitter.com/Ramseysgirl 
www.altonyasblog.wordpress.com
www.facebook.com/altonyaw

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Angelena Vernon

Angelena Vernon was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and received her education from the Baltimore City public school system. She furthered her education by attending Coppin State College University, where she received her Bachelor Degree in Social Work. She resides on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with her husband and children.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in life today? Who or what motivated you?
There are many factors that played a part in how I got to where I am today; one major factor is my personal relationship with God who gave me a mind to follow my dreams. My vision was to write a book with all types of poems in it. Through God‘s guidance, grace and strength, the book was written— “Peace in the Valley”.

BPM: Who does you body of literary work speak to?
My poems speak to everyone. Each poem has a different meaning and message for the readers. Everyone can benefit from reading “Peace in the Valley” because the book speaks on life’s circumstances, people we encounter and things we face on a daily basis. The poems will minister to those who need comfort and closure after dealing with things beyond their control.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing a book? Why Now?
What motivated me to write was God. He inspired me to sit down and write as he gave me the words to write on paper. I would not have known what to write had God not given me the revelation and knowledge of things I had not known.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed how God used the words I wrote to actually encourage ME.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? 
Some ideas came from experiences, while others came from insight that God gave me.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Kindle?
It’s an awesome poem book that speaks on the many circumstances of life. It is meant to be thought provoking, funny, and most of all uplifting. It will be available on Kindle.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
The book takes the reader on a journey through many life experiences and puts them in poetic form.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
There is one poem in particular that speaks on child molestation. I believe that this is a topic that people feel awkward and shameful about discussing.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present spiritual practice or journey?
My book continues to inspire and uplift me in many aspects of my life.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
I learned that God can take words you wrote and comfort you with them. He can and will use anything to bless you.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goal and desire for my book was that it would touch the hearts of those who read it. I wanted the words of the poems to inspire, heal, comfort and deliver those who read them. I feel that the goal was accomplished because the book has been a comfort to me.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present time?
I’m currently working on another poem book that elaborates more on life’s journeys. One particular poem speaks on being in a comfort zone.

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Angeline M. Bishop 

Angeline M. Bishop writes contemporary New Adult and romance fiction and has a growing fan base. Her novels are thought provoking and refreshingly entertaining.

Angeline is the Vice President of the Cultural, Interracial, and Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of Romance Writers of America and enjoys helping authors strengthen their craft. She co-hosts the AMB Talk Radio podcasts with her pop-culture loving, college-aged daughter. And she’s the founder of the AMB Ovation Awards (The Angie) which provides honor and recognition of authors’ outstanding achievements in the multicultural romance literary profession.

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

AMB: It would have to be by the grace of God. He placed the right people in my life at the right time to me motivated to achieve my goals. I was very fortunate to have wonderful mentors and teachers in my life when I didn’t have that support in my immediate household. 

If I had to list a few people that pushed me to achieve my goals they would be my grandfather, my daughters, and some important life teachers that came into my life in various times.

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

AMB: I’m at the beginning of my literary career and I hope to create stories that speak to readers that want to be entertained. My contemporary romances are for adult readers but my Inspirational New Adult novels are for everyone. 

As for authors as role models… yes, I can see how someone would want to emulate an author they admire. But if there is someone out there that wanted to be like me, I’d have to remind them I’m not perfect and have never professed to be. 

I have no problem sharing what I’ve learned along the writer’s path but I also understand each of us are on our own journeys. What works for me, might not work for you but if you wish to give it a try I say ‘Go for it!’

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

AMB: The Jacmuir series is a long time in the making. If I look over my life the seeds of this series were planted in me when I was a young girl fascinated with knights, brotherhood, loyalty, and family. Back then, when I read books or watched movies about knights they were never men of color and yet Black and Latino young men gravitate toward that symbol of chivalry and loyalty. 

This series highlights a strong need for young people to get back to the basics. Strong friendships aren’t formed over a wall post or a tweet, the come from sharing life experiences. And although men and women mature physically and become more capable in their practical lives, many can fail to achieve emotional maturity.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
AMB: I enjoyed the characters’ journeys and the insight into their friendships. It was also a lot of fun to see adults through their eyes.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
AMB: I’m a plotter to a fault. Have you seen Oastomin, Alikon, and Maia’s character bios on my website? You would think I’m ready to cast the movie roles. (Grins) When I fail to plot out a book I can easily drift back into stereotypical, one-dimensional characters.

As for where do I get my book ideas, they are born from my author tagline “Our Love Stories, Our Community, Our Connections". 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
AMB: JACMUIR (Book One) touches on brotherhood, betrayal, honesty, secrets, narcissism, and presenting your authentic self to others. Readers will understand that although men and women mature physically and become more capable in their practical lives, many fail to achieve emotional maturity.  Yes, it’s available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Smashwords and iBooks

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
AMB: Okay, here’s the condensed version of the three highlighted on the cover of book one. Oastomin, a university freshman and the newest Crimson Knight, is trying to follow in his father’s footsteps. He wrestles to understand the complexity of ruling a kingdom while keeping his moral compass intact.

Maia, the daughter of a neighboring monarch, has a daily habit of pushing the “gray” boundary between right and wrong. Her parents are determined to protect their kingdom by getting Maia betrothed to Oastomin to seal their alliance. Maia is determined to prove she can defend Shelene another way.

And Alikon, the oldest Crimson Knight, is a disenchanted loner with no family ties. He’s a loyal Crimson Knights but he’s strangely fascinated with Maia and finds himself wondering if pursing her breaking the sacred bond of the knight brotherhood. 

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
AMB: Book one deals with betrayal. If you’ve ever been betrayed and wished for friends that would have your back when your world fell apart, then this novel is for you.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or journey?
AMB: I’ve had my fair share of betrayals and difficulties and I’m fortunate that I have Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries as a spiritual shepherd to help me right my spiritual compass. The Jacmuir series is beginning to prompt many conversations about parental expectations and how young people gain more autonomy.

There is also a strong inner journey aspect to the youth featured in the novel. It’s my hope that the readers will be able see how these characters’ choices mature them over the course of the series. 

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
AMB: Being a teenager is hard but being the parent of a teenager may be even harder. Any parent of an adolescent knows the pain of being rejected or artfully critiqued by their teenager. But being pushed away is only the half of it. Raising teenagers that have a hunger for freedom and independence is down right agonizing. The young characters focuses on the inner turmoil of young people struggling to find their own voice as they test their friendships.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
AMB: I’ve talked to many college students while researching the Jacmuir series and the underlying themes of those conversations will be revealed in each book. I enjoyed learning the lengths the youth go to to be completely different from their parents and yet they secretly long to make them proud at the same time. 

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 
AMB: JACMUIR: TRUST STAINED LIES was inspired by answering the youth’s demand for more stories featuring multicultural characters transitioning into adults. 

The young characters are forced to challenge their belief systems and deal with the fundamental core tenets of trust and loyalty within modern monarchies. I think I’ve achieved the goals I wanted to reach with this first book. It sets up the series well.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
AMB: I’m currently working on Jacmuir, Book Two and another installment to the Sheridan series.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?  
AMB: Readers can find me at: http://www.angelinembishop.com  
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ambishop1  
Instagram – http://instagram.com/angelinembishop#  
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/angeline.bishop  
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/108093223816799786481/posts  


Purchase Jacmuir: Trust Stained Lies by Angeline M. Bishop
Inspirational Multicultural New Adult Fiction
Link: http://amzn.com/B00S5U8O32  

 


 


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 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.

 

 

 

 


Intimate 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. 

 

 

 

 


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 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 Shay Spivey 

Shay Spivey, BSW, MSW is a scholarship and financial aid advisor specializing in helping students understand and prepare to win scholarships for college. Shay was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and earned her Bachelor and Master of Social Work from Indiana University. She has studied scholarships and free financial aid extensively and developed a passion for helping others find free money for college. 


Featured Book:  How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application: Secret Techniques I Used to Win $100,000 in College Scholarships by Shay Spivey, BSW, MSW.  Shay Spivey shares her proven tips and techniques that helped her win over $100,000 in college scholarships and free financial aid toward her own undergraduate and graduate degrees. 


Excerpt from How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application:

“Congratulations on your decision to search for alternative ways to pay for college!

As a scholarship winner and college graduate, I have developed proven tips and techniques that helped me win over $100,000 in college scholarships and free financial aid. As a proven expert and professional consultant in my respective field, I am devoted to helping others find, apply, and win free money to go to college. In this guide I will share with you my proven tips and techniques on how to submit a winning scholarship application.”


BPM: What sparked the idea for your book? 

I wrote this book to fill a special need in the community. I wish I had this book when I was in high school because I would not have felt so lost. I dropped out after my sophomore year when I ran out of money. Years later I decided to return to college as an adult and began researching alternative ways to pay for college. I won $100,000 in college scholarships and want to help others find free money to complete their degree. Readers can check it out on Amazon: amzn.to/Wrnot7 

BPM: How personal is your writing? 
I decided to return to college as an adult and spent a significant amount of time researching alternative ways to pay for college. I am passionate about scholarships and financial aid and I hope that comes through in my writing. When trying to find a way to put myself through college as a single parent, I was blessed to find my purpose in life. Every step of my journey has led to this moment and I believe that with all my heart. I sincerely want to help others achieve their educational goals without going into debt.

BPM: Why are scholarships and free financial aid important?
College is expensive. Scholarships and financial aid are vital to the equal access, enrollment, and retention of underrepresented students in colleges and universities. Tuition costs are rising at an alarming rate and the rising costs of higher education have many people wondering if they can afford college. Education changes lives and scholarships and free financial aid make it affordable.

BPM: What do you want readers to get from your book?
There are several things I hope readers learn after reading my book: (1) An understanding about scholarships and financial aid; (2) how to submit a winning scholarship application; (3) how to prepare in advance; (4) how to create an advantage; and (5) what scholarships judges are looking for. Most importantly, I want people to walk away feeling empowered, knowing that they too can change their life.

BPM: How did you win $100,000 in college scholarships?
I won over $100,000 in college scholarships which allowed me to return to college and change my life. Returning to college was a priority for me. Therefore, I made finding the money to pay for it a priority as well. One thing was certain in my situation: No money, no college. 

I treated the process of applying for scholarships and free financial aid like it was the last chance I might ever have to return to college... because it was. This was it. College was my ticket out of poverty, my chance to change my life, and the opportunity I had been waiting for. 

If I could not convince scholarship organizations to help me financially, I had no other way to pay for college. I put my heart and soul into telling my story and getting it into the hands of anyone who could help. Applying for scholarships opportunities became my part-time job, and I was determined to give it my best shot. 

BPM: What motivated you to return to college in your thirties?
There were many motivating factors that played a part in my decision to return to college and earn my degree. One motivating factor was feeling stuck in an entry level job, living paycheck to paycheck, struggling, and watching the world pass me by. I attempted several times to apply for better positions, however I learned that without a college degree opportunities for advancement did not exist for me. I needed to make a change or I felt like I would die a death of stagnancy. I felt like my life was going nowhere.

BPM:  How can readers get this book?  What is next for you, Shay?
I am currently working on my next project which addresses another need: Scholarships and financial aid for private high schools. Readers can purchase How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application  at: amzn.to/Wrnot7

Connect with Shay Spivey, BSW, MSW
About.me/shay.spivey
Blog: scholarshipadvisor.blogspot.com
Blog: shayspivey.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorshayspivey
Twitter: @ShayMSpivey


Watch & Share the How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application
Book Trailer:  http://youtu.be/QEE8tCfJf5s 


Purchase How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application: amzn.to/Wrnot7 
Purchase on Barnes and Noble:  http://bit.ly/1D9issS



 


 

 


The Black Pearls Magazine family would like to thank each of you for joining us monthly in celebrating the best in literature and the arts.  Our team of writers, bookclubs and authors are so humbled that you have allowed us entrance into your life. It amazes me each month as I check our subscribers how many of  you deem us worthy of your time and support. 

We appreciate each of you for telling 10 people about the magazine and for driving people to this site. YOU make Black Pearls the magnificent publication that it is, by sharing the Gift of Knowledge!

Please know, as we prepare each issue for you, we look for those stimulating conversations, the most thought provoking articles and most of all, the best books on the shelves. We want each page of this magazine to add value to your lives!  Your comments and feedback are welcomed. Join our blog and share your news, advice and wisdom with the other readers. Tell us what you want to read too!

As we enjoy this 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

Disclaimer:  The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing articles for Black Pearls Magazine are theirs alone, and do not reflect the views, opinions or positions of Ella Curry, EDC Creations Media Group, Crown Holders Transmedia Group, Black Pearls Magazine or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or guest writers for this online magazine and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use. If issues should arise, please contact the author or the publishing firms directly. 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

HOME     |     Author Interviews      |    Bookclub Interviews     |   Featured Articles     |    Book Store