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Black Pearls Holiday
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Black Pearls Magazine 2013 Holiday Gift Guide
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Black Pearls Magazine is an
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We believe in Giving the Gift of Knowledge! We are here to bring you those
extraordinary literary jewels, Black Pearls, that are sure to bring you and your love ones much pleasure and empowerment.
Tantalizing stories, memorable characters, provocative storylines are all here!
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Bonding Thru Books Literary Festival
WE HAD A BALL!
Explore a replay of the event now, go here.
Hosted by BAN Radio Show
Missed the shows, catch up below!
WE WILL LEAVE A LEGACY! WHAT WILL THAT LEGACY BE?
Bonding Thru Books
Festival, a totally online literary event, was created to start a national conversation about what we want our literary legacy to be. Each night
8-10:00 pm EST, we will discuss how we can use the leaders, icons and storytellers of today, to create body of works that will assist emerging writers and authors in being more responsible with their work and positions.
Enter the chatroom:
Everyone has a story! But, does that story have a purpose? What will the people in your life say about you after you are gone? What does your story hold for future generations?
Let's create a life, a story, a journey that others will want to emulate! You are important to this community and we want to hear from you too.
PURPOSE OF BONDING THRU BOOKS -
We're hosting this online book festival to connect avid readers with the authors of quality books, written with a purpose. Each year thousands of people - educators, concerned parents, community leaders, authors, poets and publishers - devote their time and resources to presenting the reader with great books! However, too many outstanding books do not get the attention and reader support that they deserve.
We want to help with this state of affairs, so we encourage readers to purchase books to give as gifts 365 days a year.
the fun here.
WHAT IF HE CRIES?
By D.A. Sears
“What if he cries? What do I do if my husband cries?” she asked me. Her husband had just experienced the sudden death of a close family member. The days ahead for this young couple – particularly the husband – would be emotionally and mentally challenging. A funeral and a burial would take place in a few days.
It was obvious to me that this young newlywed was deeply concerned about her husband’s emotional and mental well-being. Without hesitation, I told her what to do:
“If he cries, without hesitation, run to him . . . hold him . . . comfort him. Tell him that you are here for him and that you love. Let him know that he can shed tears in front of you and that it will, in no way, in your eyes, diminish his manliness. He needs to know that you view his expression of his emotions . . . his sharing with you of his deepest feelings – a sacred act. He needs to know that he can trust you enough to be vulnerable and bare his soul.”
I wanted to help this young woman “get it right” about what her husband would need and want from her – emotionally and mentally. Many of us have it “all wrong” when it comes to what Men need – emotionally and mentally – from the Women in their lives. It is important that Women “get it right” about the emotional and mental needs of Men. Why? Because we are connected to each other. Our belief system about the emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs of Men is shaped during our journey from childhood to adulthood by our parents and family members, society, and to some degree, the images and stereotypes of men depicted in film, television, and music videos.
As a result, many of us feel that Men have different emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs. The truth of the matter is that we were all endowed with the same range of emotions when we emerged from the womb and entered this space and place we know as Planet Earth. Men and Women ask the same question: “Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter?” Men are not emotionless automatons. Men laugh, love, hurt, and experience joy and pain. And yes, Men cry. There is nothing wrong with a man shedding tears. It does not diminish his “manliness” nor is it a reason to call his manhood into question.
For Women, supporting the emotional and mental well-being of our husbands, sons, fiancées, brothers, uncles, fathers, grandfathers, nephews, and cousins will require us to examine everything we have been taught about Men and to weigh whether it is true or not. We cannot begin to help and support Men if we cling to false and stereotypical beliefs about them. Our conscious and subconscious beliefs about Men drive our behavior towards them. Women with open minds and open hearts can create a “safe harbor” for the Men in their lives -- a place where Men can bare their souls and lay down their emotional baggage.
The “safe harbor” is a place that is “drama free” – a place where unconditional love, respect and trust abides. If a Man feels and knows that you respect him, he will trust you and allow himself to be vulnerable. He will bare his soul. It will happen without warning. It will be the responsibility of the Woman in his life to instinctively recognize that he is pouring out his heart and soul to her and to respond accordingly. When Men bare their souls, it is a sacred act and the Women in their lives must honor it.
On International Men's Day -- and every day -- let's support the emotional and mental well-being of the Men -- through words and deeds -- that they are worthy . . . that we hear them . . . see them . . . love them . . . that they matter.
About the Author
Diane A. Sears is the Managing Editor of a quarterly international male parenting journal -- IN SEARCH OF
FATHERHOOD(R) Forum For and About the Fathers of the World and a member of the University Council for Akamai University in connection with its Fatherhood and Men's Studies program. Ms. Sears has published interviews of more than 100 Men who are Fathers.
Sears is featured in the 2003-2004 National Register's Who's Who In Professionals and Executives and is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
Diane A. Sears
The Best Holiday On the Net!
Special -- $100.00 per campaign
November 30, 2013 is Small Business Saturday® –
a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their
communities. Please join EDC CREATIONS and organizations across the country in
supporting your local small business by shopping at a small business. We
are offering authors and small business owners fantastic packages to spread the
word about their products. Take a look below and let us know if we can help you
announce your latest project! Read
EDC Creations Holiday
Visit the EDC main website for more details on
the services we offer in the way
of promoting books, small business owners, publishers and event planners!
Give the Gift of Knowledge
Give Books as Gifts 365!
Appreciate the Book Lovers of the World!
Creations, The Sankofa Literary Society and The Black Authors Network
are proud to announce the launch of the 2013-2014 "Give the Gift of Knowledge Campaign," bringing readers and authors together to help improve literacy.
Each holiday season, we encourage readers to purchase books to give as gifts. 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!
Each year thousands of people - educators, concerned parents, community leaders, authors, poets and publishers - devote their time and resources to presenting the reader with great books!
However, too many outstanding books do not get the attention and reader support that they deserve.
It is our mission to connect readers with these hidden gems and bring them books that will change their lives.
Instead of giving expensive gifts that don't shape lives --- let's "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.
Ella Curry, President of EDC Creations
Black Pearls Magazine Online-Founder
Black Authors Network Radio-Founder
Social Media Strategist - Internet Publicist - Branding Coach
is National Adoption Month
Kiera Finds Peace and a Family
by Kiera J. Northington
~ Don't GO through life, GROW through life! ~
As an adoptee, I’m often asked questions like: “Why are you searching for your birth family? At your age, why even bother? How do your adopted parents feel about that? Why did your mother give you away?” My response is always, “Everyone has a right to know who they are, and where they come from. It doesn’t matter how they feel; it’s my choice. Mommy didn’t give me away, she died.” My circumstances are different from lots of other adoptees in the fact that I knew my birth mother and maternal grandparents; my life was perfect, I had all the love a child could possibly want and need. I never knew my birth father, not even his name. But, I never thought much about it; I had so many people loving me, that I really didn’t notice the gap.
I will never forget the day the phone call came, to let us know that my mother had a massive heart attack, and was admitted to the hospital. Back then, children weren’t allowed to visit the ICU under any circumstances; the last memory I had of Mommy was her brushing my hair that morning before school, and she didn’t come home. Two weeks later, my mother’s best friend sat me down, to tell me that Mommy had gone to heaven. At the age of eight years old, I was suddenly motherless. The world as I knew it had suddenly changed, and it wasn’t about to get any better. Children’s Services said that my grandparents were too old to take care of me, and since my mother’s best friend, whom I’d called “Auntie” ever since I’d learned how to talk, wasn’t a blood relative, she couldn’t keep me either.
I was placed into foster care, and later adopted by my foster family. At the age of 10, I went to family court with my soon to be adoptive family; the judge read over the paperwork, and then he asked me if I wanted to be adopted and why. I told him, “Yes, I want to be adopted, because I want to be part of a family.” Then he asked me if I wanted my name changed; I replied, “No, because then when I look for my real family, they won’t know who I am. The judge smiled at me, and signed the paperwork. He also ordered that my given name, middle name, and surname remain the same; my adopted last name would be hyphenated with my birth surname.
The day I was adopted, the court clerk slipped me my original birth certificate, and told me to hide it for future reference; in NY, once a child is adopted, their ORIGINAL birth certificate is permanently destroyed, and a new one issued with the new parents' names on it. It's like they erase your roots, permanently. Your adoption record is PERMANENTLY sealed, never to be accessed by you, the birth parents, ever again!
For 9 years, after I was adopted, I was physically abused by my adopted dad. It started when I was 9, while I was still their foster child, and finally ended the night I graduated high school. I've had a fractured skull, broken ribs, broken wrist, dislocated and broken fingers, dislocated shoulders, twisted ankles, and black eyes. The doctors now believe that all of these old injuries are what caused me to develop fibromyalgia, and also to suffer from PTSD.
Once I graduated high school, I moved to Georgia, put myself through college, got married, and had kids; finally, I had what I thought was a normal life. I was now a wife, and mother, determined not to treat my children the way that I’d been treated. On the outside, everything looked fine; I was able to function normally. But, inside, I was a hot mess; I had flashbacks, and horrible nightmares. I constantly looked over my shoulder, and would jump out of my skin at the slightest noise. Eventually, my marriage ended badly, and I was left to raise my son alone.
My youngest son had been murdered, and things had deteriorated for me health wise to the point where I couldn't work any longer. I was depressed; tired of the physical / emotional / mental suffering and in 2009, tried to commit suicide. I had to hit rock bottom in order to pull myself back up. With counseling, and support from my son, I was able to get myself back together, slowly. The therapist told me that I couldn't move on, because I kept rooting myself in the past. He said that I had to forgive in order to be free of the things holding me down!
I had not contacted my adoptive parents since 1980 (the year I graduated); so I made the decision to call him; I gave my adopted dad the option to admit what he'd done, and to apologize, so that we could move forward, and be a family in the true meaning of the word. He refused, so I told him I forgave him, and I wouldn't contact them again. Talk about freedom! I felt like I'd finally shed the shackles that bound me! I pulled out my old birth certificate, and started reading all kinds of books about making a family tree; I opened an account on Ancestry.com, after seeing one of those commercials. A close friend had encouraged me to give it a shot; what could I lose?
It was a few weeks after that, I found my father's side of the family on Ancestry.com; it was as if in order to make room for them, I had to let go of the hatred and hostility in my heart to make room for the love that was out there waiting on me! I first made contact with 2 of my brothers; my oldest brother told me that my father looked for me until the day he died, and that if I found him, to tell me he loved me! Do you know what a feeling that gave me? And come to find out, when I was contacted by my baby brother, he lived 30 minutes away from me!!!
This gave me the energy to track down my birth mother's family, and I managed to find her first cousin, aged 87, who'd done a family tree for me! He said, "I did a family tree for you just in case you ever came back home." Now on both sides, I know names, and how they're related to me. Sadly, on Mommy's side, her cousin is the eldest member of the family, and at 51, I'm next in line.
That was one of the reasons that I've been so diligent about finding my birth family; since finding them, and getting to know them, for the first time in a long time, I've felt loved, wanted, needed, and most of all, I've got a sense of belonging. To know who I am and where I came from, that is truly the biggest blessing of them all!
Follow Kiera on Facebook:
History of National Adoption Month
Across the United States, November is recognized as National Adoption Month!
National Adoption Month is a time to celebrate family and to bring about awareness that there are hundreds of thousands of children in foster homes awaiting adoption. States, communities, and agencies hold events during the month to bring the need for families into public view.
The celebration usually includes National Adoption Day with courthouses throughout the nation participating and hundreds of adoptions being finalized simultaneously.
In 1976, the governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, announced an Adoption Week for his state. Later that same year President Gerald Ford proclaimed that Adoption Week would be celebrated nationally. According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, President Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week in 1984. As more and more states started to participate in Adoption Week it became clear that more time was needed for holding events and in 1995, President Clinton, proclaimed November as National Adoption Month.
For information on what you can do to help the children who are waiting for a family contact your local state agency.
Significance of Thanksgiving
by CD Mohatta
imagine, what would be a world where there is no Thanksgiving.
'Thank you' are one of the most beautiful words in a dictionary. It is said
that, gratitude may not be the greatest of all virtues, but it is surely the
parent of all other virtues.
Thanksgiving is a day celebrated post harvest. It is a day when people
worldwide thank God and give praises to him for the harvest received by them.
It symbolizes the values of gratitude, love, respect and honor. It brings
about the feeling of togetherness and care among the members of a family and a
community. It is said, 'A family that prays together, stays together'. A
festival like Thanksgiving gives a reason for families to sit together, pray
and thank God for his blessings. The Thanksgiving meal is the main part of the
Thanksgiving celebration. It encourages families to sit together for a family
dinner. It generates the feeling of harmony among families and communities; a
trait that seems to be missing these days.
The traditional symbols like pumpkins, cranberry, corn, turkeys, etc.
epitomize the festival of Thanksgiving further. They signify various things.
There are various stories of Thanksgiving told by the elders to children on
the day of Thanksgiving. Such practices are not only a ritual but they are
also so much fun. Children get to learn more about their elders and it
increases the bonding between family members. They bring the family close
together. The family senses a feeling of mutual joy and pride.
also reminds them that God is always with them. It inculcates in them the
values of never forgetting to come back to thank God no matter how happy they
are in life. On day of Thanksgiving the family enjoys a lovely home cooked
meal, as opposed to the other festivals when normally packed or canned food is
ordered from restaurants. It not only makes them learn to believe in God
but they also learn that the fruits of joy can only be attained with a
combination of hard work and the blessings from God. In the absence of a
festival like Thanksgiving, the world would be immensely missing on something
worthwhile. Article Source: http://www.ArticleBlast.com
7 Ways to Empty The Cup
by Talayah G. Stovall
There is a saying, "Empty the cup. Every time you empty it, it comes back twice as full."
Thanksgiving is a time for expressing gratitude and appreciation for our many blessings. Real wealth begins with giving. Here are several ways that you can make a difference this holiday season by pouring into the lives of others:
1. Give Your Time
- Babysit for someone who can't afford to hire a sitter. Take food to someone who is sick. Visit a nursing home. Send a note to brighten someone's day. Volunteer at a local shelter for whatever cause you support - women, children, the homeless, even your favorite animal shelter.
2. Give Your Talents
- What can you do that would make a difference in someone's life? Can you knit? Style hair? Sing? Do you like to clean and organize? Extend yourself this holiday season by using your gifts to help and cheer others.
3. Give Your Blood
- Every two seconds someone in America needs blood. Currently, only 3 out of 100 people give. Every pint of blood can save up to three lives. Contact the Red Cross for information.
4. Give Your Organs
- Leave a lasting legacy. Register with your state and sign the donor form on your drivers' license.
5. Give to a Good Cause
- There are many organizations that are doing great things to help those who are less fortunate. Rather than recreating the wheel, consider giving to an established organization. I'd suggest:
a. Joyce Meyer's Hand of Hope Ministry is providing shelter, clean water, schools and more in countries all over the world, including India, Pakistan, Haiti, Zimbabwe and more.
b. To help halt the cholera outbreak in Haiti, the International Preparedness Network provides Lifestraws, that filter drinking water for flood victims for a $5 -10 donation.
6. Give From Your Home
- Donating items from your home will not only give you a warm feeling; it will help you to create more space in your home. Consider donating any of the following:
a. Clothes, children's toys, kitchen tools, books, furniture, appliances to your local Salvation Army, Unique Thrift Store or Goodwill. If you live in the Chicago area, The Bottomline (Operated by Bridge to Success), 1236 S. Halsted St. Chicago, IL has a program to give gently used business clothing to women who are seeking employment.
b. Cell phones - Your old phone might seem outdated to you, but it can help someone. Contact the Charitable Recycling Program. http://www.charitablerecycling.com/CR/home.asp.for collection sites across the United States.
c. Glasses - to donate, contact your local Lions Club.
d. Food - contact a local shelter, food bank, church or the Boys Scouts of America.
7. Give a Surprise
- pay for a stranger's meal at a restaurant, send someone a gift card "just because" or pick up a home-bound person for an outing.
As you enjoy the holiday season, remember to reach out to others and share from your bounty. Happy Thanksgiving! Share this article with your Colleagues, Friends, and Family! Thank you in advance for your support! Please feel free to share your feedback by emailing me at: email@example.com.
About the Author
Talayah G. Stovall, Pres., TGrace, is an author, keynote speaker, radio host, life purpose coach and Managing Director of Vision Catalyst Consulting. Visit Talayah's website for information on speaking or coaching. By visiting the websites listed below you can find her motivational audio CDs, “P.U.M.P. It UP! and 7 Secrets to Ignite Your Dreams, her book, Crossing the Threshold: Opening Your Door to Successful Relationships, eBook, 150 Important Questions You Should Ask Before You Say “I Do. ” Her newsletter “EmPOWERed to…”, can be found by visiting: http://www.talayahstovall.com, http://www.visioncatalystconsulting.com, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use Your Passion to Tap Into Your Purpose!
Talayah G. Stovall
Author, Speaker, Life Purpose Coach
Homeless for the
An American Family Epidemic
By Alicia Singleton
Firelight catches the Christmas tinsel in mid-dance, reflects its amber brilliance amid the bedazzled fir branches. Squeals of joy from children melds with their parent’s laughter. Families gather around the glow of the Menorah to give thanks. The seven principles of Kwanza renew a community’s spirit, its soul.
Tis the season for warm wishes, merriment, family, food and thanksgiving. But, for many American families, this holiday season is marred by a new found, depressing reality. Family homelessness. The statistics are staggering.
• Families comprise 40% of all who are homeless.
• 42% of homeless children are under the age of 6.
• According to the 2010 United States Conference of Mayors Report, family homelessness increased by 9%.
• Families with children comprise one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population today.
• More than 15% of Americans live in poverty, including 1 in 5 children (22%), the highest rate in the
The suspense thriller, Dark Side of
Valor, delves into the harrowing world of teen homelessness. Lelia Freeman’s fictitious life of homelessness and tragedy are the real life experiences of many American teens.
With the aid of her community, Lelia’s story ends in triumph. There is hope for families as well as youth and teens battling homelessness. Youth and family shelters, organizations that aid families in crisis and ordinary citizens engaging in random acts of kindness need our help. American families need our help. Donate. Volunteer your time. Together, America can defeat family homelessness.
Meet Author Alicia Singleton
Alicia Singleton, an award winning author, was born and raised in Philadelphia. The Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving older sister. Alicia resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son. Still an avid reader, Alicia is currently at work on a new novel. Visit her website at
Is Stress Damaging Your Marriage?
by Jewell R.
Life is busy. Life is stressful. These are facts of life, but how we handle that busyness and stress makes all the difference in our lives and especially in our marriage. A common scenario for busy couples is for the husband and wife to get wrapped up in their individual projects and issues. Instead of managing the stress together, they may find themselves trying to deal with it all alone, which can actually create space between husband and wife, rather than creating unity. Being able to identify when stress may be damaging your marriage is the first step for taking control, so you and your spouse can work together to focus on protecting and strengthening your relationship.
The Bible actually addresses stress and anxiety many times and for good reason. Our human side, our flesh has a tendency to give into stress, so we NEED the reminders and promises from God to help us keep our Godly focus and know where to turn when challenging times come. Can you identify certain issues in your life that create the most stress? Whether they are problems within the marriage itself or external stressors, the same promises from God apply.
Stressors Are To Be Expected
In Isaiah 40: 30,31, we can read,
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." This verse shows us that YES stressors will come, you will grow weary, you will fall, but when you place your trust in the Lord, your strength will be renewed and you will soar.
So don't get down on yourself or your marriage if you and your spouse are experiencing stress. This is normal and to be expected. However, allowing stress to damage your marriage relationship is where you have to draw the line. While we cannot control the stressors we encounter in life, we can control our responses.
Choosing the right responses to stress will minimize or even eliminate problems it can create in marriage.
Signs Stress May Be Damaging Your Marriage
None of us is perfect, and the human side of us may allow stress to do some damage. Below are some warning signs to look out for in your marriage relationship:
* Arguing or "snapping" at each other
* Tension that seems to hang around continually.
* Rarely spending time with each other.
* Difficulty communicating without arguing or disagreeing.
* Decreased intimacy, both sexual and otherwise.
* Financial struggles.
* Critical comments or even just critical thoughts about each other.
If one or more of these seem to be a common occurrence in your relationship, it is time to seek some spiritual healing for your marriage as well as the Godly insight to help you learn to cope with stressors together as a couple. The good news is that God is more than capable of helping you through this stressful time. Trust in Him, connect with God and each other through prayer, and you will find your relationship bond is strengthened and you have the firm foundation you need to withstand the storms that life can bring.
5 Ways to Deal with Stress as a Couple
Whether you are newly married or have been married for years, learning how to deal with stress as a couple is a learned skill. Rarely is it something that people just know how to do intuitively. Instead, it is a choice that one must make. However, it is never too late in the marriage to begin making good choices and learning new coping skills.
Unfortunately, too many people rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms that do not strengthen the marriage and in most cases do nothing to alleviate stress and may even cause MORE stress. Alcohol, drugs, sex, affairs, gambling, overeating and shopping are some of the activities that may seem to improve stress levels for a moment, but the repercussions can be devastating.
Because you are reading this newsletter, it is safe to say that you want to choose healthy coping methods and you care about your marriage. When you or your spouse is dealing with stress, consider these healthy ways for making it through stressful situations as a couple:
1. Be a peacemaker.
Matthew 5:9 tells us, "blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." It is clear that the Lord wants us to be peacemakers. When you strive to create peace in your home, you will find that stress has much less impact on your marriage. You can create peace through prayer, striving to see the best in people, giving them the benefit of the doubt, and showing unconditional love.
2. Communicate effectively, don't stuff!
Some of us have become very skilled at "stuffing" emotions. The problem with holding it all inside is that eventually you cannot contain it any longer and it all comes exploding out, and when that happens people can get hurt and relationships can get damaged. The solution is to practice good communication skills with your spouse. Set aside a time to talk a few times a week (daily would be ideal). Put aside distractions like smartphones and laptops or television and really share what's on your heart.
3. Have fun!
Enjoying yourself is a natural way to de-stress and when you can do that with your spouse you are simultaneously decreasing stress and strengthening your marriage. Being able to have fun together is essential to a healthy, well-balanced relationship. It is a scientific fact that laughter decreases mental, emotional and physical stress. Pick up a new hobby together. Read a funny book together. Go to a comedy club. Go rollerskating. The list goes on and on, but whatever you do, make an effort to enjoy life together and watch the stressors in your life become less of a focus.
4.Choose be positive.
Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. It's okay to put-on positivity, even when you do not feel like it. Philippians 4:4 tells us to "Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice!" It doesn't say "rejoice when you feel like it" or "rejoice when things are going your way." It uses the word "always." Positivity is the antidote for stress. It's hard to be stressed-out when you are focused on being positive. Practice positivity with your spouse. Encourage each other with positive words. Decide to live a positive life together and you will be amazed by how it will eliminate the impact stressors can have on your life.
5. Put it in God's hands.
This can be explained in one simple verse: "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall" Psalm 55:22. When you or your spouse has stressors hanging over your head, give them to God. He instructs us to do this, because he wants us to live an abundant life, not one burdened with worry and stress. He is big enough to handle all of the worries and anxieties you
Take your "de-stress your marriage" project a step further by checking out these excellent marriage resources to help strengthen your marriage, improve communication skills and prevent stressors from encroaching on your marital relationship:
* The Stress-Free Marriage by Jimmy Evans
* 30 Minute Read: Stress-Proof Your Marriageby Cory Busse
* A Positive Plan for Creating More Calm Less Stress by Karol Ladd
* Communication: Key to Your Marriage: The Secret to True Happiness by H. Norman Wright
© 2013 by Jewell R. Powell, Marriage Coach and Author of Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith, visit us at www.marriage101.us
by Rugina Poellnitz
"God wants us to grow up . . . like Christ in everything." Ephesians 4:15 TM
Too many of us grow old without ever growing up! We're stuck in spiritual infancy. Why? Because we never intended to grow! Spiritual growth isn't automatic. You must want to grow, decide to grow, make an effort to grow, and persist in growing.
Growth always begins with a decision. Jesus calls us and we respond: Listen: "Come, be my disciple . . . So Matthew got up and followed him" (Matthew 9:9 NLT). Matthew didn't understand all the implications of his decision, he simply decided to follow Jesus. That's all you need to get started - a decision! Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you make; they develop you or destroy you, but either way they define you. Tell us what you're committed to today, and we'll tell you what you'll become twenty years from now!
It's at the point of commitment that most of us miss God's best.
Because we're afraid to commit to anything we:
(a) drift through life aimlessly;
(b) make half-hearted commitments to too many things and end up living in frustration and mediocrity;
(c) make a commitment to the wrong things such as becoming wealthy or famous, and end up with regrets.
Every choice you make has consequences, so choose wisely! Christ-likeness is the result of making Christ-like choices, then depending on Him to help you fulfill those choices. Listen: "God accurately reproduces his character in you" (Ephesians 4:24 TM).
"Like father, like son," God wants you to bear His likeness. That's what growing up is all about!
Have you continued to grow in faith, commitment and dedication to the Lord? Is God urging you to grow up
and become more like Christ through various opportunities? Are you excited about the many blessings that will
come about as a result of taking hold of these opportunities? Alternatively, are
you resisting God's tug on your heart to continue to grow up within your faith walk? Are you uncomfortable with the new areas and levels of
commitment God is requesting? Do you tend to be fearful and afraid of new things, situations or circumstances?
Saints, God is asking each of us to grow up! We are to grow up in our levels of commitment and dedication within
our faith walks. God may be allowing us to encounter new experiences and seasons so that we gain a glimpse into
different aspects of His character. It may, also, be an opportunity to allow us to move into a deeper relationship with
Him and others. As we walk throughout life's various happenings, we can look at each as an opportunity to grow and expand our service.
On the other hand, if we opt to refuse to grow up and move into different seasons as ordained by God - our faith walk may become stunted. We may miss out on multiple blessings and growth opportunities. Let's grab hold of opportunities to grow up!
History of Morning Teas by Rugina Poellnitz
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).
Yourself in 5 Easy Steps
By Delaina Miller
all struggle to find the energy we need to make our dreams a reality. Yet
there are many easy and fun things you can do to motivate yourself into
action. In this article I share five ways that I motivate myself and others.
Take the five or ten minutes of your snooze time to do two things. First,
think about all of the things you are grateful for in your life. If you wake
up feeling a little grumpy and cannot think of anything to be grateful for
start with your bed.
Second, envision your day. Start with the tasks you are not excited about,
ticking them off of your list quickly, and then envision all of the things you
want to accomplish. When that alarm goes off, jump out of bed because you are
all fired up to get on with your day.
(The key to both of these assignments is to feel good about your life. As the
warm glow begins to rise in your heart, focus on it and how good you feel. )
It is a basic law of physics that a body at rest stays at rest but a body in
motion stays in motion. Most people do not like exercise, so don't exercise,
play! Allow yourself to feel like a kid again and just play with movement.
Dance or invest in a rebounder and jump. Kick your legs out and feel the air
rush around your head and play. You will find yourself bouncing, twisting, and
doing high leg kicks you didn't know you could do. Before you know it, you
will have cleaned out your lymph nodes, worked up a sweat, and all with a big
grin on your face.
Because many of us are auditory learners affirmations can be used as personal
validation as well as motivation tools. We need to hear good things about
ourselves and expecting others to fill this role is unrealistic. It might seem
ridiculous the first couple of times you do it but before you know it these
positive declarations will become personalize positive feedback.
Mentally affirmations are healthy because they allow us to validate ourselves.
As you are telling yourself such things as: "My challenges are
opportunities to grow," you are giving yourself positive reinforcement.
After all if you are not in your own corner then who will be?
A smile, a favorite scent, and 'feel confident' clothes are at least three
things we can wear that make us feel motivated. The most important of these
items is a smile. Yeah a smile, try it right now even if it is forced, make
your lips curl in an upward position and hold it, keep holding it. Did you
just chuckle at yourself? Good that is the whole point. People cannot stay sad
with a smile on their face. Even if that smile felt forced it just motivated
you to chuckle at yourself. So pull up that frown, spritz yourself, and wear
your favorite outfit and say out loud "Look out world here I come to rock
you off your axles!"
Believe it or not sharing is a great motivator. We have all felt that
empowered feeling that floods us when we have done something that helped
someone. When we are helpful we feel good about ourselves and that feeling
motivates us to help more.
The world's inhabitants all have one great equalizer - time. It is what we do
with our time that makes us different. Yet that realization is not always the
motivator we need to feel motivated. Therefore we must find ways to inspire
ourselves through our visions, our actions, our words, our inspirations to
motivate us into action.
About the Author
is an Independent Information Professional that enjoys
helping others through her writing and research. You can read more of her
motivational ideas and tips at: http://tunein2life.com.
7 Tips for Identifying Your Passion
and Turning it into a Profession
by Trice Hickman
1. Write down the things you would do for free (things you would enjoy doing every day even if you didn’t get paid a dime for it). Most likely, there’s a profession disguised as one of your hobbies!
2. Find a way to make your passion work for you. Ask yourself; Can I provide a service to others through my passion? Are people willing to pay for the service my passion offers? How can my passion add value to a potential customer’s life?
3. Develop a plan. Successful ventures start with a good plan because good plans shape good decisions. Chart your course—If you know and understand the direction in which you’re headed, the journey getting there is much smoother.
Surround yourself with others who are doing what you aspire to do. Learn from
them, network with them, and build your platform, i.e., who you are, what you
stand for, and what you have to offer?
What If Your Marriage is Your Mission Field?
Presented by Jewell R. Powell
"Christianity has long called us to this truth: Marriage must be about more than itself because love that does not serve life will die."
— Evelyn and James Whitehead
When we think of the mission field, images come to mind of children in need of medical care and food, or entire groups of people who do not know Jesus. These are incredibly worthy mission causes, but what if your marriage is your mission field? Isn't it too a cause worthy of extensive time, effort, and prayer?
In our society, we have been sold the lie that marriage is about making us happy, and bringing us fulfillment and warm fuzzies. A wonderful book called "Sacred Marriage" by author Gary Thomas asks the difficult question, "What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?" Oh, no that's a tough one, isn't it?
Of course, we can experience incredible joy and fulfillment in our marriage, but that is not the entire purpose. But if that's not the purpose, what is?
God uses marriage to shape us into the individuals He wants us to be:
Getting through the tough times builds our character.
Learning to put the other spouse's needs before our own makes us more like Jesus.
Depending on Jesus to give us the strength to stay committed and devoted to our marriage, even when it doesn't "feel" good and when the grass looks greener on the other side teaches us what it means to fully trust in Him.
In Ephesians 4:2-3, the Lord's instructions are clear (and how perfect are they for how to treat each other in marriage?): "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
E. N. Joy Admits to Having a Ghost Writer
There are Christian fiction writers and then there are Christians who write fiction. There is Christian fiction, then there is what some consider to be church fiction or church drama. You have some authors who didn’t necessarily set out to write Christian fiction, but they were placed in that category by either their publisher or the book stores simply shelve them that way. And of course you have the writers whose work is categorized as Christian fiction but they do not write for a Christian fiction imprint, which means they are not necessarily writing with any type of guidelines.
I can’t speak for any other Christian fiction author or author who either chose or by default was placed in the Christian fiction category, but I am a Christian fiction writer who writes for a Christian fiction imprint. That is my choice on purpose.
I’ll be the first to admit that yes, I have a ghost writer; the Holy Ghost!
I take dictation from the Holy Spirit when I write my stories. My Holy Spirit does not curse nor does He describe explicit sex scenes for me to deliver to God’s people. I write Christian fiction, not inspirational fiction, not faith based fiction or anything else. Christ is in what I do “CHRISTian” fiction. I’m not worrying about “keepin’” it real.
The Bible is as real as it gets and if the Holy Spirit didn’t instruct the authors of the Bible to curse people out and describe explicit sex scenes, then why on earth should He start using me to do it now? So my concern is not about “keepin’ it real” for the world as much as it is keepin’ it holy for the Kingdom. My ultimate goal is, yes, to please the readers, but I must first please God.
P.S. Maybe Peter did curse. But even the author of the Bible didn’t feel the need to write the actual curse words.
Women Take a
Stand Against Recidivism
and Pleads For Help
Written by Jamila Davis
More woman are entering the United States Prison System than any other country in the world! According to the Sentencing Project's September 12, 2012 Fact Sheet, the number of incarcerated women in prison in the U.S. increased by 646% between 1980 and 2010, rising from
15,118 to 112,797.1. According to this report, more than 205,000 women are now incarcerated in our nation, including in local jails.
One of the most concerning issues about the the alarming rates of incarcerated women in the U.S. is that most of these women are mothers. What will happen to the future of the children of these women? How will they manage to survive with the absence of their mothers?
The biggest misconception about this unique population of women is their make-up. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of these women are not armed-robbers, rapist, murderers or violent offenders that are a threat to society, they are non-violent drug offenders. Although many of these women have victimized others through their crimes, most of them are also victims. Studies show 57.2 percent of females report abuse before admission to state prison versus 16.1 percent of males. Additionally, 6 in 10 women in state prison had experienced physical or sexual abuse in the past. (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, published December 1999).
Law makers and criminal justice advocates have spent many years collecting data and researching the cause behind the dramatically increasing female incarcerated population. There are still many unanswered questions: Why are so many women committing crimes? And, after these women are released from prison, why are so many returning?
The truth is most women offenders have unique needs that must be addressed, yet the rehabilitation efforts for both male and female offenders are typically treated as one in the same. Too frightened to expose their own vulnerability, very few women actually address their past issues that led to their imprisonment. Instead, life's adversities and their own low-self esteem often keep them bound. As a result, they remain stagnant- a prisoner both emotionally and physically. How do I know? I am one of these women! I am a prisoner.
On July 16, 2008, I was sentenced to 12½ years in federal prison for bank fraud. I was convicted of being the 25 year old mastermind who devised an elaborate mortgage fraud scheme to victimize the now defunct Lehman Brothers Bank. In my case, time wasn't on my side. Just 59 days after I was sentenced as a mastermind and Lehman's victimizer, Lehman collapsed and was exposed for its nationwide fraudulent lending practices which ultimately caused the company's demise and plummeted the the 2008 worldwide Credit Crisis which nearly destroyed the American economy.
At the age of 31 years old, I was sent to prison to serve a lengthy sentence, and I was forced to leave my two small children behind. As the prison bars shut behind me, I had no clue how I would manage. I would often close my eyes tightly, wishing I would just die. That didn't work, so I had no choice but to find a way to cope.
Prison life for me was a drastic change. From my three-level luxury condo to a 5 ½ x 9 prison cubicle, I was forced to adjust. I was accustomed to secured living behind the gates of my gated community, but that was no comparison to the barbed-wired fences and the armed guards that surrounded my new home - the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution for women, in Connecticut. At first glance, the women I was surrounded by were very different than myself. Many of them did not share my background, nor have the prestige I experienced as a lead go-to-person in the Hip-Hop Music Industry and multi-millionaire. Yet, as time went by I discovered, for the most part, we were one in the same.
We were women who were plagued by the thorn of materialism and low self-esteem. Our lives became a chase, seeking inner fulfillment. We chased acceptance, notoriety and the esteem of our peers. We utilized material possessions and the esteem of others to define our self-worth. Caught up in the chase, people, places and things became our idols. Many of us abused drugs and alcohol and they also became our gods. Seeking to repress our inner void we were willing to do whatever it took. Desperate, we sought after peace and happiness, yet we chose the wrong avenue to obtain them.
Many of us were told from a young age that we would never amount to anything and we would end up in jail, these prophetic daggers ignited and became our reality. Others were robbed of their childhood and innocence. Confused on how to obtain emotional healing, we vigorously chased false idols, believing our fulfillment lied within them.
Consequently, our new homes are behind the prison walls. As a whole, we aren't bad people and our lives are no different from many others in society who just haven't got caught. We are women who have experienced trying times in life and made bad choices which have altered our futures. Do we deserve to be thrown away or forgotten? You be the judge!
by Diane A. Sears
Read the original article and leave comments here.
Fourteen years ago, immediately after the launch of IN SEARCH OF
FATHERHOOD(R), something very profound happened. I began receiving letters from young men—Our Sons. Their letters enclosed brilliantly crafted essays and soulful poems. They asked me to publish them. And I did. In exchange for their essay or poem, they received a free copy of
IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R). A number of these young men continued to send essays and poems. And they sent letters. These were young men—Our Sons—from, among other places, New York, California, Texas, Alabama, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Indiana.
So, what was profound about receiving poetry, essays, and letters from these young men?
Each letter had a similar introductory sentence:
"I am 23 and I have been incarcerated since I was 18. Will you publish my essay? Can I get a free copy of your publication? " or
"I am 28 and I have been incarcerated since I was 16. I'm sending you a poem I'd like you to publish." Many of these young Men—Our Sons are Fathers—
Fathers of daughters and sons. They do not tell me how or why they embarked upon a path that led them to a maximum security correctional facility. Nor do I ask.
But I do have questions:
What is going on with Our Sons? What is going on in Our Sons' homes, schools, and communities? And how do we fix whatever is going on that is driving Our Sons down the path to prison with all deliberate speed?
EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE AND CHAOS
IN OUR COMMUNITIES
by D.A. Sears
Our communities have become spiritually and psychologically toxic environments. How did our communities get this way? Chaos abounds. Why? Emotional baggage!
Let's go back to the day that you were born. When you emerged from the womb and entered the space and place we know as Planet Earth -- our global village -- your soul and your spirit were pure . . . intact . . . You were a whole person. You were a sensitive, trusting, compassionate and loving soul. You were curious about the new world you found yourself in. You gurgled with joy and laughter when you were happy and amused. You cried when you were hungry, angry or lonely in the hopes of getting the attention of the adults who were in your world so that you could get what you needed for your intellectual, physical, and emotional development. As time progressed, you developed a vocabulary.
You began to speak -- first in words -- then in full sentences.
You reached a point where you could clearly articulate what you needed and wanted. You learned these words and sentences from the adults in your immediate environment and from other children. You asked questions about everything you saw, heard, and did not understand. Your eyes sparkled with delight as you made new discoveries about the world inside and outside of your immediate environment. You sang when you were happy. You were resilient, enthusiastic, spontaneous, energetic, and so very imaginative.
And then somewhere during your journey from childhood to adulthood something happened. Maybe it was something that someone you trusted said to you. Maybe he or she told you that you weren't smart or talented or worthy or pretty or handsome. Perhaps when you shared your dreams -- dreams of your future -- with this person, he or she told you that you were not capable of accomplishing what you dreamed about because you weren't smart enough, worthy enough, pretty or handsome enough. What you heard hurt you . . . crushed your spirit and and shook your soul to its core. The pain was too great.
You were too young to learn how to effectively and correctly deal with emotional and psychological pain, disappointment, rejection, and humiliation. No one provided you with the correct "coping tools" that you needed which would have helped you deal with your emotional and psychological pain. So, for your own sanity and survival, you found a way to numb the pain. You kept your ambitions and dreams to yourself. You hid your real emotions. You had to protect yourself.
You were not going to "put yourself out there" ever again and get smacked around. You pretended to yourself that you didn't feel the pain of ridicule, rejection, disappointment and humiliation. You silently told yourself, "I don't feel this pain -- this disappointment -- this humiliation -- this rejection."
And on the conscious level, perhaps you were able to numb the pain. But you can never fool your soul and your spirit. So, what happened to the pain? It made its way to the floor of your soul. Throughout your journey from childhood to adulthood, every disappointment, every rejection, every humiliation made its way to the floor of your soul. The floor of your soul is cluttered with layers upon layers of pain from disappointments, rejections, scorn, and humiliation. These layers of pain are "clutter". And the "clutter" that resides on the floor of your soul that is choking the life out of your spirit is "emotional baggage". This emotional baggage drives every decision that you make.
You cannot separate yourself from your emotional baggage. You drag it to work, to school, into your marriage or your relationship with your significant other, into your parenting, into your children's lives, and into the lives of your friends and neighbors. Everywhere you go, your emotional baggage follows. It is the reason you are unhappy, unmotivated, unproductive, unsuccessful, angry, and violent. It is the reason that you feel abandoned, unloved, and unworthy. It is the reason that you are a bully or an abuser. It is the reason that you allow yourself to be abused or bullied.
It is the reason you allow the wrong people to enter and share your most intimate and sacred place. It is the reason that you are unable to and cannot fulfill your destiny and do the work that you were here on Earth to do. It is the reason you do not understand that you have an obligation to overcome the environment that you were born into. It is the reason that you are self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, food, or sex. It is the reason why you are in a prison cell.
Note to Self…The Diary of a Divorcee
by Shana Burton
The most tumultuous period of my life was from November 2008-October 2009. Within a year’s time, I went from being a happily married woman to a disillusioned wife, watching my marriage’s slow hemorrhage, which led to its eventual death. By the end of fall 2009, I was no longer a wife. I was a divorcee and single parent. More importantly, I was a woman brave and crazy enough to step back into the dating arena after a 12-year hiatus in the hope of finding a love that’s everlasting.
Thus began the journey of 1,000 dates and just as many lessons about love and life, all documented in my personal journals that make up this book. Written with humor and often brutal honesty, Note to Self is realistic first-hand account of challenges professional women over age 30 face when re-entering the dating market, proving that even for authors, real life is often stranger than fiction!
Excerpt: Note to Self: Size Always Matters!
After toiling through seven months of celibacy, I discovered that the absence of a sex life can have several unintended consequences. It can make one cranky. It can also make one’s 60-year-old neighbor suddenly seem attractive, and it can cause one to invest an embarrassing amount of money in double-A batteries. It can also cause one to consider a one night stand. After surpassing the first three groups, I found myself in the fourth one.
Still reeling from the pangs of divorce, I wasn’t quite ready to date yet. Surprisingly, though, I was very ready to mate. My hormones were out of control, and a life of celibacy was starting to take its toll on me. Something had to be done—or more to the point—someone!
I found the model rebound, one night stand candidate in Small Wonder. Small Wonder was exactly what I wanted in a meaningless tryst: healthy, cute, and horny. His most appealing quality was that he elicited absolutely no emotional attachment for me. Sex with him could be quick, dirty, and utterly forgettable. If I played my cards right, the encounter would be just blasé enough for him not to want to call back for a repeat performance. Considering that he was the typical male and had no qualms about having sex with someone he’d met five minutes ago, I didn’t anticipate any objection to my plan.
Of course, everyone knows what they say about the best laid plans…
August 8, 2009
Last night was fascinating if nothing else. It was also a much needed break from the monotony of sitting home stewing over whatever Wuzband had done today or would do to piss me off tomorrow. My girl Karldre invited me over to a mutual friend’s house for one of their infamous “Meeting of the Mind” gatherings. Apparently, as a married mother, I was ineligible to attend, but as a single woman on the prowl, I was welcomed with opened arms.
One highlight of the evening was meeting Small Wonder, who became notably intrigued with me after watching me devour the banana. Out of all of the men present, he was probably the fifth cutest and pretty much the average non-descript anthropoid: average height, average build, average job, barely above average looks, slightly below average intelligence. But at 1:00 a.m., he’s pretty much what any woman out looking for a quick hit is searching for. I knew he wouldn’t ask too many questions or be too clingy.
We took a stab at small talk. Most of his conversation consisted of telling me how pretty he thought I was and how I looked in my jeans. The conversation was about as stimulating as watching ice melt, but my intellect wasn’t what I needed stimulated, especially during the wee hours of the morning.
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 an Elf 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 who 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. Indeed, 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" 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: Book I - Series 1
It is doubtful the Master will ever hear of what is about to take place, Markus thinks, standing at the bank of this deserted lake. The branches on the trees around him sway peacefully, and the evening air hums a lullaby.
Markus does not suppose that the Master will hear about this and, really, what difference should it make if he does? It's just an old homeless guy that is going to die: Markus feels no guilt about it, so how could his thoughts give him away?
In a moment, he removes his hand from the old man's mouth because he knows the poor fool is too stunned to scream anyway---people are always speechless when they first see Markus's wings, stretched out as they are, twenty feet on either side of him, and tonight the old man simple blinks and lets spittle hang from the corners of his lips.
Markus does not know his victim's name, but his victim certainly knows it: Johnnie is what they call him, Johnnie Kubrick, and his very soul seems to have unzipped itself from his body and stepped outside of him. He is not just rigid but catatonic, and he longs for this to be some terrible dream he will soon wake up from.
But this is no dream, this is reality: there is a man standing before Johnnie who looks human, yet has glass wings on his back that are yellow and whose edges taper off to a thin, razor like end. The wings make a sound like metal crashing against metal as they flap - it is a harsh sound, a cold sound. And yet the wings themselves do not frighten the old man as much as what is attached to the wings do.
Johnnie's pale lips tremble.
"Wha---what are you?" he finally stutters. He does not mean to ask questions. He means to beg for his life because he does not want to die like this---not in these shabby clothes, near a bed of water where he can easily be disposed. He wants to die in a warm room, with someone who loves him holding his hand; Johnny Kubrick wants to die with dignity, different from the way he lived.
The old man chokes on his tears, wishing he was important again, the sort of man who would be missed in death, and he tries to recall how he ever became the sort of person other people diverted their gaze from on the streets. How had he become nameless, faceless, and useless to the world? When he was a boy, he never imagined the day his red hair, so straight and neat, would be constantly matted against his head.
Johnnie wants his mother here with him, so he could take in the soapy smell that was always on her, and smile at the sight of her emerald green eyes. If Johnnie's mother were still alive she would shield him from this boogeyman, and sing to him, like she did that Christmas morning when the cold of winter snapped at his bones but he happily cradled a shiny new firetruck in his arms.
A Madaris Bride for Christmas
by Brenda Jackson
It’s only fitting that bestselling author Brenda Jackson’s 100th book is A MADARIS BRIDE FOR CHRISTMAS (Harlequin Kimani Arabesque Press; November 2013) as she began her writing career with the Madaris family in her first novel — Tonight and Forever. Throughout the years millions of readers have come to love the Madaris family and have made them part of their own.
This November, Jackson brings readers another Madaris family romance. A MADARIS BRIDE FOR CHRISTMAS features one of Jackson’s most unforgettable Madaris heroes yet — Lee Madaris. Lee isn't letting anyone control his destiny to find the woman he wants to marry. But one-by-one, the Madaris men have surrendered to the matchmaking schemes of Felicia Laverne Madaris, matriarch of the family. Lee is determined to bring a bride of his own choosing to the family's holiday gathering—if only his hotel's gorgeous new chef will agree to a marriage of convenience.
Brenda Jackson weaves this tale with twist and turns – a born storyteller – romance being the icing on the cake.
With this novel, Jackson taps into all of the remarkable storytelling gifts that are the mark of her fiction—polished and confident writing, a sexy spark and characters that burst off the page. A MADARIS BRIDE FOR CHRISTMAS is one of Jackson’s best books yet and a milestone for this bestselling author.
Brenda Jackson, a prolific writer of contemporary multicultural romance novels, is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the first African-American female romance writer to become a USA TODAY and New York Times bestselling novelist. Jackson continues to reach new milestones as A MADARIS BRIDE FOR CHRISTMAS is her 100th original work.
EXCERPT: A MADARIS BRIDE FOR CHRISTMAS
“Is there a reason you were dancing alone?”
Carly Briggs' face warmed as she wondered if Lee Madaris thought she’d looked ridiculous. “It’s my birthday and—”
“Happy birthday,” he said.
Carly smiled up at Lee. “Thanks. I was having my own private party of one.”
He tilted his head. “That’s no fun. A beautiful woman should never party alone.”
He was smooth, she thought. As smooth as he was handsome. And she’d noticed he wasn’t wearing a ring. She knew some men didn’t cherish the sanctity of marriage vows, but she did.
“For me that’s no problem. I’m a loner anyway,” she said.
She doubted he wanted to listen to her sob story. She had few friends and had learned early on that the only person she could truly trust was herself. “I prefer things that way. What about you?”
I Ain't Me No More
by E. N. Joy
Helen wasn't just born the devious vixen of New Day Temple of Faith. There had to be something rooted deep within her to make her inflict and feed off of other people's pain.
Perhaps it was her own pain that she had suppressed for so many years-an unimaginable pain-that created an internal prison of which her mind was the only captive. But once the demons within her break free, those around her better beware, as Helen surely becomes the epitome of the saying, "Hurt people, hurt people."
In I Ain't Me No More, Helen has no shame displaying that she hasn't been saved all her life. Will the divas of New Day Temple of Faith think Helen's worth saving? But more importantly, can God save Helen from not only her evil past; can He save her from herself?
First Chapter Excerpt
Man, I hate the cleaning guy! Why does he have to do his job so well? Can’t he ever leave just one spot, smear or smudge on this dang stripper pole? Something so that I don’t have to see myself so painfully visible like this? What makes him think I want to be able to see myself twirling around this pole like some skilled monkey—caught up in the powerful grip of the almighty dollar; a grip known to have choked the life out of many while leaving others gasping for their last breath?
“That’s for you,” Damon spoke out over R. Kelly’s “Your Body’s Calling.” With his chestnut brown, bald head and facial hair that is edged up nice and clean, Damon licks his thumb and uses it to flick a twenty dollar bill off the stack of money he’s palming.
I swivel my body down to the ground the way the vanilla and chocolate swirl ice cream at the DQ makes its way from the machine to the cone. “Baby, you know it takes gas to keep a Cadillac like myself going,” I say to Damon. “As long as you keep filling up the tank, I’ma go-go all night.” I swivel my body back up to a standing position while adding, “In any direction you want me to go.”
Damon’s lips part into that sexy signature smile of his.
“Whatever you want,” Damon said. “It’s your Caddy. I’ll drive, ride, heck, I’ll even be a backseat passenger. Just know that I got you, Ma.” Damon begins to flick off bills like he’s the dealer in a game of spades.
I’m very much content with the hand I’m being dealt. So much so that I want to drop to my knees and begin scooping like a kid standing under a piñata that has just been busted open. But I don’t want to appear too desperate. Resolving to strip in the first place was out of desperation. At the time of making the decision I felt trapped, like Jonah in the belly of the big fish. I was always trying to make ends meet, but neither of my ends were the least bit interested in getting to know one another. Bills were due. I weighed some options on my immoral scale of desperation and stripping was a less load to travel with in my mental carry-on. I mean, at least I’m not selling my whole self --just bartering off a piece of me.
“Go on, Go-Go Girl. You know you wanna bend that thang over and pick up that loot.”
Living Separate Lives
by Paulette Harper
Four Friends, One Secret and The Weekend That Changed Their Destiny
Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows, but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes. What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse?
For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised. Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats.
Although they have been friends for years, they thought they knew each other well. But will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn?
Excerpt: Living Separate Lives by Paulette Harper
“Who cares anyway if I die? I hate my life; I curse the day I was born,” said Candace as she rolled out of her twin bed to face yet another day of sheer disappointments. Her feet landed on the beige, shaggy, dirty carpet that had seen better days. As she sat on the edge of her bed, she looked around the small apartment as though she was expecting to see something different, but nothing had changed.
“Lord, can I get a break? Can something good happen in my life?” she cried as her head collapsed in her hands. She knew within herself that today would be like all the rest: gloomy, sad, and most of all, lonely. After all she had experienced in life, how could she think today would be any different?
Candace lived in a small studio apartment off of School Street in the city of Pittsburg, California, a city surrounded by the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Her apartment had enough room for only one dresser and a nightstand, which she got at the neighborhood Goodwill store.
The walls of her apartment were dirty from years of cigarette smoke that didn’t escape out of the window. Her kitchen table was made of plywood, which she covered with a red tablecloth. The table was encompassed by two chairs, one for her and the other one she had hoped would be occupied by someone who genuinely wanted to be with her. The blue and cream décor in her kitchen came from visiting the neighborhood garage sales. Her neighbors knew her so well because of the frequent visits she made to their sales. Although Candace always had a roof over her head, she did not like the environment in which she lived. After looking intently at her dwelling place, she lay back on her bed and stared at the ceiling. Her thoughts shifted from her disappointing apartment to her anger about the issues she had to deal with, problems that had been with her for years, issues with her family.
From Sagging to Success
by Florence M. Howard, Illustrated by Emery Franklin
“From Sagging to
Success” is a message to urban youth and the adults who want to help them become extraordinary. Young people are unfairly judged because of their appearance and cultural misperceptions. They need to be made aware of the repercussions of sagging. Sagging pants even might be an indication of a sagging mindset or low self-esteem. A fictionalized character in book illustrations, Derrick goes from sagging to success as he learns about Black history, reads books read and written by successful people and changes the way he thinks.
He shares his new knowledge with his parents who also embrace a positive outlook, productive behaviors and principles of success. At the end of the book, Derrick and his parents have successfully transmitted principles of success to the next generation. The book is beautifully illustrated and the paintings were created first as a library gallery exhibit.
The book educates readers our history and successes, illuminates concepts of success and inspires them to act on what they learn. Readers are motivated to examine their thinking patterns, to recapture the dreams that they laid aside or never attempted and to accomplish them. They gain the wisdom and tools to become successful and are equipped to share those ideas, concepts and actions with others.
Excerpt from Introduction – From Sagging to Success
Author Note: The book contains 15 paintings by illustrator Emery Franklin. The 14 of the illustrations are from his narrative art series, Crossroads: From Sagging to Success art series, that was on exhibit at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library during February 2011.
Sagging is the fashion style of intentionally wearing your pants so that your underwear shows. This style is much older than the last 15-20 years. The trend can be traced back to urban teenagers of the 1970’s and the popularity of silk underwear. As one friend put it, “We sagged because it was cool and to show our manhood. It was our way of saying, ‘Look! I’m wearing silk, these ain’t cotton.’” If you’re under the age of 15, ask your mother, grandmother or aunt, if she wore bell-bottoms, platform shoes, halter tops and mini-skirts during her teens. Chances are she did. Fashion trends come and go, and come again.
MTV, BET, YouTube, and DVDs have transformed this 1970’s rite of passage into a universal statement of individuality. It has lasted and lasted and crossed generational lines. Baby boomers in their 50’s and 60’s have been sagging along with their grandchildren.
* * *
In From Sagging to Success, the story is told through the eyes of a fictional young man who is inspired to take a look at sagging, and its place in urban society. His name is Derrick and he contemplates the struggle for freedom and equality through the eyes of his ancestors…. Derrick is searching for the secret to success. Once he finds it, he shares it with his family and friends.
As the series opens, Derrick is thinking about the history of African Americans and how Africans came to America ’s shores. He daydreams of a time after the 13th Amendment. In his mind, he envisions a man of African descent returning to his homeland, and his roots, on the continent of Africa.
Excerpt from Chapter One:
Derrick sees an ex-slave lying on a golden sand beach on the Gold Coast of Africa. The chain that once bound him and his ancestors for 400 years in America , the long night of physical slavery, was broken by the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that abolished slavery in 1865.
Interestingly, the man’s body is free but the way he thinks about himself has not yet changed. He struggles with his innate knowledge of being a king in Africa and the former inferior and lowly treatment of him and his people in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.
It is almost moonset and the weary man lies with his strong arm outstretched toward the African village. He is an ex-slave who refused to remain enslaved and who left America because he was tired and weary of the sagging mindset that seems to be everywhere he went after he gained his freedom. Industrious and determined, he traveled in the boat he built himself.
The broken chain illustrates that he is free but not totally. There is conflict between how others see him and how he sees himself.
Looking for Trouble
by Trice Hickman
Some dreams will test your head and your heart...
John Small may be a successful Wall Street banker, but at heart he's a country boy from the sleepy town of Nedine, South Carolina. John wants to open Nedine's first black-owned bank. But big dreams can bring big problems and John's snooty New York City girlfriend, Madeline, is just the beginning. John is about to learn some hard truths about money, power, love, and loyalty. And when his future, and his family's legacy, is in danger, help will come from where he least expects it...
Alexandria Thornton is a hard-working corporate attorney by day, but she's passionately pursuing her dream as a spoken word artist by night. Frustrated with her career and her lackluster love life, Alexandria's ready to throw in the towel on both that is, until a man from her past reenters her life and changes everything. But her newfound happiness is short-lived when old lovers, lingering secrets, and hidden desires threaten to end it all...
Sharing one of Trice Hickman's favorite quotes from LOOKING FOR TROUBLE:
"Alexandria took another deep, cleansing breath, releasing the last of her fears. "I know exactly what I desire," she said, and then paused. "I want to experience real love. The kind of love I don't have to question. The kind I can believe and trust in. The kind that'll have my back when the chips are down and support me when I need it most. The kind of love that'll catch me if I fall, and then help me stand up tall again. And I want the kind of love that'll make me cry out in sweet ecstasy when he's making love to me. How many of y'all out there want that kind of love?"
Excerpt from Chapter 13
After leaving his grandmother’s house, John felt renewed. But he also understood that his newfound comfort was only a temporary state because it came wrapped in a sense of uncertainty about what was on the horizon. He sighed deeply as he steadied himself and made a sharp turn into the Holiday Inn parking lot. So many things were going through his mind, making his head swim with questions he couldn’t answer. He parked his car, then sat with the engine running. He took two deep breaths and reflected on the events of the last twenty-four hours. He was grateful for the advice his Grandma Allene had given him. Her words of wisdom had been like a heaping dose of medicine that lifted his ailing spirit. “Grandma’s always right,” he whispered to himself. “Madeline might not be the one for me.”
“Why didn’t I see this side of her before now?” John whispered to himself. But if he was really honest about things, he knew the reason, and it was because he’d chosen to see what he wanted. Given his busy work schedule, which included twelve-hour days, and Madeline’s hectic calendar, the only real time they spent together was on weekends, and most of those hours centered around his bed or hers, enjoying each other’s bodies as a physical release from their long, power-packed weeks. He realized that although they’d been seeing each other for a year, their limited contact was almost like being in a long distant relationship. And now, for reasons he couldn’t explain, Madeline suddenly wanted more.
After a few more minutes of reflective thought, John finally decided to turn off the engine, head inside, and brace himself for whatever awaited him once he entered his hotel room. When John walked into the room, he found Madeline stretched out across the bed. The South Carolina heat outside was brutal, but the air in the room was unbelievably frigid, just the way Madeline liked it.
Intimate Conversation with Ed Wyns
Ed Wyns discovered he had a knack for writing when he entered a literary competition in high school. Though he’ll always be a Floridian at heart, after graduating from Bethune-Cookman University, he moved to Charlotte, NC, where he lives with his wife and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading, going to wine tastings or watching Scandal. He is the author of When Everything Isn’t Enough, and the upcoming novel My Last Breath.
BPM: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
EW: I not only remember how my interest in writing originated; I also remember approximately how old I was and what I wrote about. I was around 14 years old, had just finished reading The Diary of Ann Frank, and my English teacher gave an assignment to write from one of the characters point of view while in hiding. I got an A on the assignment, realized that I not only liked writing the story, but also had a natural talent for writing and telling a story.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
EW: The main characters are David Tanner, Mia Collins Tanner, and CJ Fields. The characters are all like my children. I can’t say that any one is my favorite; I love them all…differently.
David Tanner: A man who believes he’s lost everything that makes him a man, and goes down a destructive path of alienating his one true love. The thing that makes David special is his intelligence, his love for his family, and his loyalty.
Mia Collins Tanner: A woman who suddenly realizes the man she’s built her life around no longer wants what she desires to give him. The thing that makes Mia special is her strength and her unyielding faith.
CJ Fields: A self-made man that spends his adult life amassing a fortune and using women as his sexual toys, all in a vain attempt to vicariously exert his will over those who caused him so much pain. The thing that makes CJ special is his brutal honesty.
BPM: What drew you to tackle the topic of infertility?
EW: Simply put, this is a story that either hasn’t been told at all, or not enough. After getting the idea, I researched the subject, and couldn’t find one novel on infertility that was written from the male’s perspective. The subject is raw, emotional, and painful.
BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters agreed? Disagreed?
EW: There were a number of areas in which the main characters agreed and disagreed. Mia and David agreed that David’s fourteen year old cousin should abort her child, and Mia and David disagreed on when they should start working on conceiving a child.
BPM: How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books?
EW: Because I am a collector of books; I prefer print books. I like to be able to see the number of pages decrease as I read. As an author I personally don’t have a preference as long as the book is purchased.
BPM: Do you think book sales are the only indicator of your success as a writer?
EW: I don’t think book sales are the only indicator of success; it really depends on the author. Authors publish for different reasons. As for me, book sales are the barometer that determines success followed closely by shinning a light on the subject of infertility.
BPM: What can we expect to see/read from you during the next stage of your career?
EW: I am currently working on the sequel to When Everything Isn’t Enough, My Last Breath, and from there a possible a spinoff book.
BPM: Share with us your latest news. How may our readers follow you online?
EW: I have an interview that’s being posted on the Urban Fiction News site (the date has yet to be determined). My Last Breath is tentatively scheduled to be released the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015. Readers can reach me at www.edwyns.com and on Facebook under Ed Wyns.
Intimate Conversation with Sabrina Sims McAfee
Sabrina McAfee is your bestselling author of suspense drama. She also writes romantic suspense and mainstream. Originally from Florida, she’s a current resident of Myrtle Beach, SC.
In her leisure she likes spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and watching reality and suspense TV shows.
Sabrina’s goal is to someday produce one of her books into a movie. As she strives toward her dream, she plans to try her hardest to bring readers great satisfying stories. She thanks all of her readers.
Listen to Sabrina on BAN
Radio with Ella Curry.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
My book Sinful Seduction is a suspense drama packed with sensual romance that begins with Katilla.
Katilla is a nurse that was recently dumped by her NFL superstar boyfriend. The sudden breakup leaves her scorn and unable to trust. Now that she’s out on the dating market again, she’s determined not to let any man break her heart. Believing that true love is impossible, she meets fine, and handsome Dr. Kenneth Michaels. Because of her past, Katilla only has one thing on her mind, and that’s seducing Kenneth so she can get accepted into medical school.
Kenneth is a leading cardiologist still grieving the death of his wife when he meets Katilla. Feeling as if he’s already had his opportunity at true love, he’s surprised when he begins a steamy love affair with her and begins to fall madly in love. But then suddenly, when he learns of Katilla’s seductive secret to use him so she can get accepted into medical school, and her destructive ex boyfriend returns with a scandal of his own, things become explosive! They’re thrown them into a painful web of lies, deceit, and danger!
has many twists and turns, ups and downs, and evokes many emotions. However, in the end it demonstrates that true love prevails.
Katilla is special because she’s a dedicated friend, has a good heart, and goes to back for the people she loves. Kenneth is special because when he finally gives love a second chance, he gives it 100 percent and he’s a strong, likeable man.
THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE
Intimate Conversation with Shana Burton
is a college instructor and bestselling author of Suddenly Single, Catt Chasin’, Flaws and All, Flaw Less, Flawfully Wedded Wives and First Comes Love (Kensington Publishing.) Note to Self…The Diary of a Divorcee is her first work of nonfiction. She resides in Georgia with her two sons.
BPM: What is your definition of success? Does money play a part in how you gauge success?
Of course money plays a part, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. My job as a college program director paid very well, but I wasn’t really fulfilled in that position. Success to me is being able to take of my family while doing something that allows me express myself creatively.
BPM: What books or authors made a difference in your life?
My all-time favorite book is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Zeale Hurston. It completely changed the way I create characters, develop conflict, and use dialogue in my stories. Contemporary authors have made a difference in my life for a different reason. Today’s authors are truly building a brand instead of just writing books, and it inspires me to take my career to the next level.
BPM: How many books have you written? How has your writing style evolved over the years? What stimulated your growth the most?
I’ve written seven books. I can safely say that I’m a much stronger writer now than I was when my first novel, Suddenly Single, came out six years ago. Back then, I tried to write what I thought people wanted to read or emulate what other authors were doing. Now I trust my instincts. I write the book that’s in my heart and in my spirit. I’m a bit competitive, so when I read a really good book, a part of me is saying, “Yeah, I’ve got to step my game up if I’m going to compete with this chick!” Striving to be one of the best, if not the best, motivates me to come back harder, stronger, and better with each book.
BPM: What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?
I’ve realized that I need to develop a thicker skin to have a presence in this arena. By nature, I’m sort of quiet, and I hate conflict. In the past, I used to be afraid to speak up for myself if I didn’t like a book cover my publisher submitted or I would gave away books and writing sessions that I probably should’ve gotten paid for. Now, I’m about my business. If I don’t like something, I say it. I stick to my guns more, and I demand respect. Being a nice girl has had to take a backseat to being a business woman.
BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Learn everything you can about the craft, then learn everything you can about the publishing business. They go hand-in-hand. It doesn’t matter how great the book is if nobody is reading it or knows it exists. By the same token, all of the marketing and promotion in the world can’t save a book that sucks.
BPM: Introduce us to your book. What genre is the book? On Kindle or Nook?
It’s a memoir, so I’m the main character, and the guys featured in the book are certainly characters themselves. This memoir chronicles my first year of dating following my divorce. I was an absolute mess. I hadn’t dated in over a decade. The rules, the expectations, and the dating pool had changed since I was last on the market. Plus, I was a lot older trying to date. Dating in my 20s was a cake-walk compared to dating in my 30s with two kids!
Note to Self…The Diary of a Divorcee is now available on Kindle.
BPM: What compelled or inspired you to write this book? Why now? Ever experience writers block?
Before she died, my publicist Dee Stewart said she wanted me to start a “Divorced to Dating” blog chronically all of my dating adventures. I kept a journal detailing the dates I had with men, but we never set the blog site up. As it got closer to the year anniversary of her death (October 5, 2012), I wanted to do something to honor her memory. I thought this would be the perfect way since it was her idea for me to start my dating journal. Thankfully, since the majority of the book came directly from my personal journals, writer’s block wasn’t really an issue.
THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE
Intimate Conversation with Paulette Harper
Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008. Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print.
BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I actually started my publishing journey in my mid-forties. It was during a major transition in my life that the passion and desire to write became apparent. I wrote my first non-fiction book in 2007, and it was released in 2008; and I have continued to release a book each year thereafter.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters.
Living Separate Lives, a Christian Novella, centers around four high school friends, who have not seen each other in years. Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have agreed to come together for a mini retreat in Napa County. A well-planned out weekend of fun, relaxation and a reunion turned into a nightmare.
BPM: What makes each characters special?
Each of the characters is dealing with their own personal issues. For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised. Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats.
BPM: Do you have any favorites in Living Separate Lives?
I would have to say Tiffany Thomas. She is very successful, opinionated, and knows exactly what she wants. Her strength as a woman is something I truly admire.
BPM: Which character can you identify with the most? Why?
I am able to identify with each of the characters in Living Separate Lives. The book opens up by introducing Candace, who is reflecting on her life, her troubled family and the consequences of the decisions she has made. There are other characters such as Kaylan, who is a giving person and only believes the best in people. She demonstrates the character of Christ. Tiffany is in a league of her own. She’s independent and strong, yet she recognizes her weaknesses. The innocence of Jordan leads her into unfamiliar territory that will rock her faith and cause her to take a step back and evaluate the one person she thought she knew well.
THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE
Intimate Conversation with Sampson Davis M.D.
Dr. Sampson Davis was raised as the fifth of six children in Newark, one of New Jersey's poorest cities. As a child Dr. Davis grew-up in cramped living quarters, surrounded by fragmented families, crime, and drugs. Still, he was a good student, able to strike the fragile balance between being smart yet socially acceptable on the streets. It was this combination of skills, Dr. Davis says, that were most critical to his survival.
In February 2013 Dr. Davis released his newest book, "Living & Dying in Brick City--An E.R. Doctor Returns
Home" In addition to discussing Dr. Davis' riveting experiences as an ER physician, the book will also offer preventative guidance as a means of supporting healthier communities.
Dr. Davis was honored in 2000 with the Essence Lifetime Achievement Award and also named one of their forty most inspirational African Americans in the country. He is the youngest physician to receive the National Medical Association’s highest honor, The Scroll of Merit, and was previously honored on 2009 BET Awards.
Today Dr. Davis spends his time practicing medicine and traveling the country delivering keynote speeches with timely messages. Dr. Davis believes it is important to give education a sense of style and fashion. To glorify and glamorize education is the key. A face must be present, a concrete image that all individuals across America can draw inspiration from. Dr. Davis considers his 3 D’s, Dedication, Determination and Discipline, as the necessary ingredients to success.
Dr. Davis is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician at St. Michaels Medical Center in Newark NJ. He has been a weekly correspondent on the Tom Joyner Morning Radio Show and CNN where he highlighted prevalent and life-changing medical topics. Dr. Davis has also co-authored three New York Times best-selling books entitled The Pact, We Beat the Street and The Bond.
BPM: Please introduce us to your current book. What topics are discussed in this book?
In my newest book, Living and Dying in Brick City: An E.R. Doctor Returns
Home, I share the story of my return as an emergency room doctor to the hospital where I was born in Newark, New Jersey. Through the riveting life-or-death stories of the patients I encounter there, I explore the health care crisis in this country, particularly in the nation's urban core, from the perspective of a doctor who has lived the life of many of his patients. I share my own reflections of losing friends to gun violence, including one encounter on my first day as a resident in a trauma unit, losing my sister to AIDS, helping my father through a bout with prostate cancer, and even talking my reluctant landlord into finally seeing a doctor to care for a painful knee. I also share lifesaving information aimed at helping us all take better care of ourselves.
Intimate Conversation with E. N. Joy
BLESSED selling Author
E. N. Joy is the writer behind the five book series, “New Day
Divas,” the “Still
Divas” three book series and the “Always Divas” three book series, which have been coined the “Soap Opera In Print.”
The “New Day
Divas” series includes the titles: She Who Finds A Husband, Been There Prayed That, Love Honor or Stray, Trying to Stay Saved and I Can Do Better All By Myself.
Divas” series includes the titles: And You Call Yourself a Christian, The Perfect Christian and The Sunday Only Christian. The “Always Divas” series includes the titles I Ain’t Me No More, More Than I Can Bear and You Get What You Pray For.
Joy writes children’s and young adult titles under the name N. Joy. Her children’s story,
The Secret Olivia Told
Me, received the American Library Association Coretta Scott King Honor. Book club rights were acquired by Scholastic Books and the book has sold almost 100,000 copies. Elementary and middle school children have fallen in love with reading and creative writing as a result of the readings and workshops Joy performs in schools nationwide.
Currently, Joy is the executive editor for Urban Christian, an imprint of Urban Books in which the titles are distributed by Kensington Publishing Corporation. In addition, Joy is the artistic developer for a young girl group named DJHK Gurls. Joy pens original songs for the group that deal with messages that affect today’s youth, such as bullying. You can visit Joy at
BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in I Ain't Me No
When I started this book five years ago, at the time, I was so displeased with who I was. The problem was, I didn't want to admit who I was, which was an angry, hurt and bitter person who had internalized and held onto those things, circumstances and situations that had made me that way. Doing so gave me an excuse to be mad. If I held onto what so and so did to me umpteen years ago, it justified the way I could treat so and so today. You can't quit it if you can't admit it.
So I had to take a for real-for real look at myself in the mirror, tell that reflection staring back at me just what I thought about her, and once I turned away from that mirror, make a conscious decision to leave her behind. I declared that I would do everything in my power to not be that person anymore...because she was disgusting and I hated her. If you go through life hating who you are, displaying love to others (heck, even like for that matter) is next to impossible. I had dealt with so much hurt and pain in my life that it ultimately became my normal. So if you wanted to fit into my normal world, you had to bring the hurt, bring the pain. When I got into church and got saved, I thought I was fixed. I was still broken though. It takes more work than just showing up at church every week and running down to the altar for someone to touch and agree with you or lay hands on you to get fixed.
The main character in I Ain't Me No
More, Helen, is mad, bitter and angry at the hand she was dealt in life. Her problem; does she want to be fixed or is she so comfortable with pain that she wouldn't know how to live without it? Plain and simple: Helen is not that likeable. As a matter of fact, the last book I wrote, The Sunday Only Christian, the main character in that one wasn't so likeable either. So as God kept giving me these unlikable people as main characters, I got scared. As an author there was a fear that if readers didn't like my main character, then they wouldn't like my book. So during prayer I expressed to God my concerns. His reply: "This book is not for people to like the main character. This book is for people like the main character."
THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE
Intimate Conversation with Charmaine R. Parker
Charmaine R. Parker started writing fiction during early childhood. She is the publishing director of Strebor Books, an imprint of Atria/Simon & Schuster and the sister of New York Times bestselling author Zane. After wearing many hats in both the newspaper industry and the book publishing arena, the former journalist finally took the step to write her own novels.
She has a bachelor’s of fine arts from Howard University and a master’s in print journalism from the University of Southern California. Born in North Carolina, she was raised in Washington, D.C. Her experiences with a mix of Southern living and a cosmopolitan lifestyle have shaped her world. She resides in Maryland.
BPM: Please introduce us to your current book. What topics are discussed in this book?
The Trophy Wives features three close-knit friends—Shayla, Kyle and Amber—who harbor secrets from each other. Follow the trio as they showcase how to enjoy life through lunches and ladies nights. However, despite the beauty, glitz and wealth, all is not perfect in paradise. Beneath their camaraderie lurk false images and eventually, their worlds start crashing, forcing them to expose what’s covered.
The novel delves into sexual addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder and domestic abuse, all through the development of the characters. Marital relationships and vows are viewed as each wife has her own complexities. Mental health, encouragement to follow one’s dreams, and the lack of young African-Americans in baseball are explored.
BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in your book?
In general, a recurring theme in my novels is female empowerment. I encourage women to open lines of communication and bond. Live life to the fullest. I believe some display happiness in a luxury environment, but behind closed doors, there are deeper issues, which can be dangerous physically and mentally. Domestic abuse is on the rise and frequented in the headlines. Wives featured in the reality TV shows depict drama. I desired to go deeper with my female characters and take a look inside their minds and show why they act as they do.
I’ve been surrounded by baseball and softball in my immediate family. Young African-American males covet specific sports with dreams of playing in the majors, however, few show an interest in baseball. It is sad that professional teams lack players of color, and baseball programs at some historically black colleges and universities have closed. We do not want Jackie Robinson or the Negro League players to have championed their cause in vain. We need to continue their legacy.
BPM: How has your writing evolved?
I have been writing since I can remember. In elementary school, I traveled throughout the country and this experience sparked an interest in creating poems about places I visited. An avid reader, I also wrote short stories and skits, including one that I performed with friends in our classroom. After college, I decided to pursue a career as a journalist and worked as a reporter and features writer. Writing news stories and non-fiction was satisfying for a while, however, I reverted back to my creative writing days when I started working in publishing.
After almost a decade of working with manuscripts and the publishing process, I finally penned my debut novel, The Next Phase of Life.
BPM: What advice would you offer aspiring authors?
Study the craft and ensure that your work is thorough and that you are satisfied with the finished product. Do not rush writing your manuscript and then submit or self-publish poor quality. Ensure your manuscript is professionally edited. Or you may review basic English and read, read, read. If you plan to submit to an agent or a mainstream publisher, your chance of acceptance is greater when you turn in a polished project.
BPM: Life's greatest teacher is:
Observation and experience. Be cognizant of your surroundings and people watch.
BPM: Success means:
Challenging times, then learning how to pull your head above water.
BPM: Faith allows you to:
Stay positive, be strong and maintain an open mind.
BPM: How may readers connect with you online?
Readers may find me on Facebook: Charmaine Roberts Parker.
The Trophy Wives by Charmaine R. Parker
Three trophy wives explore ways of finding satisfaction beyond their marriages.
Shayla, Kyle, and Amber have a lot in common: stunning good looks, college educations, rich husbands, and—despite their affluent lifestyles—dissatisfaction with their lives. Each feels there is a void and seeks fulfillment beyond the routine of a trophy wife.
The three often draw support from each other, but despite their close-knit relationship, each has her own secret she’s not willing to share. So when another woman, Terra, befriends the trio, it isn’t certain whether she’s sincere or whether she has her own special agenda…
As the skeletons in their closets start to come out, Shayla, Kyle, and Amber discover that glamorous looks and coveted worlds cannot shield them from the realities of life. Discover what happens when scandal meets suspense among these smart, rich—yet vulnerable—women.
an excerpt from the book, here.
The Trophy Wives: A Novel (Zane Presents)
by Charmaine R. Parker
Intimate Conversation with Sonja Lewis
Author of The Barrenness, Sonja Lewis has appeared on CNN and The Tom Joyner Morning Show. She has also been featured in Black Enterprise, and in the media in Canada and the United Kingdom. A former reporter for The Albany Herald (Georgia), Sonja has also written for British newspaper The Guardian. Currently, she writes a blog for the Huffington Post, UK. A member of the Society of Authors, Sonja lives in London with her husband, Paul.
BPM: Introduce us to your book, The Blindsided Prophet, and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
The Blindsided Prophet
is the story of a modern day prophet who is caught unawares by a tragic event when he is a teenager. This alters his life forever. Fifteen years later, at God’s bidding Isaiah Brown returns to Coffee, GA, to unravel the tragedy, make reparation and prevent an even worse tragedy.
The main character, Isaiah Brown, is probably my favorite because he is original. I don’t know anyone like him. Naturally, he had to come from somewhere so I must have drawn on characteristics of some of the world’s great people, some perhaps renown. In any case, he is unique. He is a modern-day prophet.
Also, I favor Mae Cook as she is so very much like many people I know—well meaning, good to the core, but gets it wrong a lot of times. At middle age, she learns valuable life lessons. Through Mae, we see that it is never too late to grow-up.
BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in The Blindsided Prophet?
My faith, I suppose is the short answer. I remember being called arrogant once by a young preacher when I talked of my own personal relationship with God. I wanted to show that faith is not just about religion, it is about dwelling/residing within yourself if you will. Deep within you meet God as and when you please. You just have to focus. There, you find the answers.
Intimate Conversation with Zuri Day
Recently Ella Curry, president of EDC Creations, had the opportunity to sit down and chat with award winning author
Zuri Day. She resides in Los Angeles with her family and when she isn't writing loves to travel the world, cook vegetarian food, work out, watch sports, attend concerts and theatre and enjoy the simple things in life.
Zuri Day is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. An EMMA and African-American Literary Awards winner, two of her novels were also finalists in the Romantic Times Best Multicultural Romance category. Along with titillating the sensual senses, Zuri loves to stimulate provocative thought on timely, relevant topics that will benefit her community of readers.
She believes in true love, half-full glasses and dreams coming true. Along with writing, hearing from readers is one of her favorite things to have happen, so she’d love to hear from you! Connect via her website, ZuriDay.com or on Facebook at haveazuriday.
BPM: How did you get started writing romance?
I'd just turned in a contemporary fiction novel when my editor, Selena James, asked if I could write romance. I said “Sure!” I'd grown up reading romance and thought writing one would be a breeze. Boy, did I have a lot to learn: about the formula, the dos and don'ts, the various types of romance. Thanks to my editor's patience and my agent's wisdom, Lies Lovers Tell was born. That first romance will always hold a special place in my heart.
Many people have given up on love, much less romance. I'm hoping that somehow in the love-filled pages of my romance novels, they can ignite the desire to believe again. Anything is possible, when we believe...
BPM: Tell us about your latest book, A Good Dose of
Pleasure, from the Morgan Men series.
A Good Dose of Pleasure, when artist Anise Cartier leaves Nebraska for L.A., she's finally ready to put the past and its losses behind her. She’s even taken a new name to match her new future. And she soon finds a welcoming committee in the form of one very handsome doctor, Gregory Morgan. Their attraction is instant. So is their animosity.
Anise's goal is to start an art gallery, while Gregory is in a fierce competition for a multimillion-dollar medical research grant . His opponent for the coveted funding is not Gregory’s only problem. The beloved artist community where Anise plans to set up shop is the same location slated to be demolished to make way for the new research center.
Soon, it’s a battle between art and science—one that neither Anise nor Gregory intend to lose. Their passion is intense, but can this heated war of wills lead to a lifetime of red hot love?
BPM: What inspired the Morgan Brothers series?
I knew I wanted my next set of romance novels to involve a family. I love the idea of readers being able to delve into the hero or heroine's inner circle and extended family, so much so that they actually become a part of the reader's lives. A series allows that to happen.
A Good Dose of Pleasure by Zuri Day
Intimate Conversation with Florence M. Howard
Florence M. Howard is an accomplished, dynamic and compassionate visionary. She obtained her first library card at the then-recently integrated Main Library on Peabody in Memphis . Director of Community Affairs for WREG-TV, she established and ran the Knowledge Bowl quiz show and Emmy-winning Kids Count campaign for 12 years. She obtained degrees in Journalism from the University of Memphis . Today, she is an author, publicist, event coordinator, and inspirational speaker. She opened her company, Secret Shop Communicators (http://www.sscommpr.com/) in 1999.
BPM: What does “growth” mean to you?
Growth means changing for the better, personal improvement. I am not the same person that I was two years ago, five years ago and certainly not 20 years ago –emotionally, spiritually, physically or professionally. I once heard a man who was being interviewed on a talk show and applauded for his accomplishments as a scientist, inventor, writer, etc. He answered, “All that is true but I didn’t do it all at the same time.” That said to me that we don’t have to do everything at once to become the person that God has called us to be but we should be working on some aspect of the plan daily.
BPM: Introduce us to your book, From Sagging to Success and the primary message.
My book, “From Sagging to
Success” is a message to urban youth to inspire them to be much more than what people say they are and for the people that want to help them become extraordinary. The primary message of the book is that sagging pants might indicate a sagging mindset and how we think about ourselves influences how we act. Urban youth are often viewed unfairly and stereotyped based on their appearance. They are misjudged due to cultural misperceptions. Young people need to be aware of the repercussions of sagging.
The book addresses these issues through the fictionalized account of the life of a youth named Derrick and the illustrations of Emery Franklin. The book is beautifully illustrated and the paintings were created first as a library gallery exhibit.
This book will change the way you look at young people and, perhaps, inspire you to make your own dreams come true. It also gives you talking points and tools to help other people. Read “From Sagging to Success” and become better informed about Black history, inspired to grow and be more successful.
BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in your book?
I was inspired to turn pictures from a Black History month art exhibit into words and motivate young people, about the world, about life in general and about Black life in particular. The first painting in the book is timed after the Emancipation Proclamation, the second painting looks at the Reconstruction Period, another focuses on the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike. That strike is part of my history because my mother and stepfather participated in those marches in 1968.
I ran News Channel 3’s Knowledge Bowl competition from 1987-1998 and I saw firsthand how little of our history young African American know. I have seen them drop their heads when slavery is mentioned instead of realizing that they are the descendents of survivors. From 2002- 2008, I worked with the local NAACP running the Voter Empowerment Campaign and the Get-Out-To-Vote effort. It is sad to say that our children do not know our history and what they know is not in the context of our experiences.
As the author, I gave history and background information to put the paintings, their time and place or subject they illustrated into context from an African American perspective. I bring my perspective to the topics in the book – low self-esteem, the after-affects of mistreatment, voting in local, state and federal elections, changing the way your think, educating yourself, recognizing your own genius, committing yourself to being successful – all of it.
BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want my readers to recapture the dreams that they laid aside or never attempted and to accomplish them. I want them to go from a sagging self-concept to an empowered experience and feeling of success. I want everyone to realize that how you think is more important that how you dress.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or other life path?
Thanks to self-publication of “From Sagging to
Success,” my life-long dream of being a published book author has come true. Writing the book made me examine my own actions and attitudes toward success and to refocus my understanding of what the Bible says – “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Now I challenge every negative thought and loudly and intentionally practice anticipation and thankfulness. I also think of the outcome that I want to see happen so that when God does it, He gets all the credit and the glory.
Intimate Conversation with R.J. Tolson
is the CEO of RJTIO and its divisions RJTINC, RL Infinity Int., and world renowned Forever Trust Charity and the author of the critically acclaimed fiction novel Chaos Chronicles book 1: Zephyr the West Wind. Currently on tour to promote the Chaos Chronicles and the art of writing and reading, along with his new series titled Project: Limitless, R.J. is bent on encouraging those around him to try use their limitless potential.
BPM: Tell us about your journey becoming a successfully CEO while in your teens. Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your journey?
In all honesty, looking back on the journey it feels like it went by way too quickly. I remember coming up with a way to make money using the limited resources I set for myself, and the skills I could use in making my ideas a reality, and then things took off. Now, it wasn’t easy. I learned a lot of my ethics and drive from my Grandfather, a great businessman in his own right. I worked all day, especially during my “free time” during high school, which at that point was hard considering all of my friends had been doing activities.
And as I advanced in the business world, I found because of my age, and sometimes my race as well, that people often looked down upon me. Coincidentally, they still do, and from that I learned to take each of those experiences and make it a challenge. From those continuous challenges, I was able to get to where I am now through hard work, hope, and determination.
BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? What road did you travel? How do you feel about self-publishing?
Originally I had been posting my chapters on a website called Wattpad, where I quickly had a reading count by thousands. By the time I finished, and before I took off the novel from the website, I had millions. I decided to hastily self-publish, only to find a few months later by chance that one of my online readers happened to be a publisher at the Universal Kingdom Print publishing house. I signed on with them, and re-published Zephyr. The republishing process took almost a year, as the book was dwindled down from 800 pages to 400. In reference to self-publishing, I think it is a great platform for literary work that has revolutionized the way literature can be spread across the world. It’s a great start when done wisely.
BPM: What is your definition of success?
The achievement of self-enlightenment would be the best way of putting it for me. I think if we all work to make ourselves better people, through knowledge, experience, understanding, and love, we are not only successful in how we live our lives, but in how we leave our mark.
BPM: What books or authors made a difference in your life?
There are many books that have made a difference in my life, most prominently Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Plato’s Republic, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, D.J. Machales Pendragon, C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
BPM: Do you have any advice for other young people seeking to publish a book?
First, I suggest you do your research. It will save you a lot of time and money in the long run, as well as give you far more opportunities because you will know what to look for. I also advise posting your work on a safe social literary website like I did, because you will be able to get reception on your book and see what it feels like to get both bad and good criticism, as well ideas and a chance to improve your writing before putting it out into the world officially.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. Do you have any favorites? What genre is the book? On Kindle or Nook?
The main cast of characters for Zephyr the West Wind includes Zephyr (a strong willed and empathetic person), Leon (a boy with a dark mysterious past that haunts him) and Kolt (the underdog who yearns for power). In terms of having a favorite character, I would have to say Zephyr is my favorite. I connect with him the most, and he makes me believe there is good in everyone, no matter how bad they may seem. The Chaos Chronicles is a fantasy series that is available on both kindle and Nook.
Intimate Conversation with Trice Hickman
Trice Hickman is an award winning, bestselling author of contemporary fiction. Her love of reading and words led her to become a writer. Determined to have her voice heard, Trice self-published three novels before signing a book deal with Kensington (Dafina Books), who will re-release her original works. Trice is currently writing her next novel, and in her spare time she enjoys cooking, reading, home improvement projects, and traveling.
BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. What drives you?
My passion for writing stems from my love of the written word. I love how words, when thoughtfully constructed, can have a profound impact on its reader. I write because it gives me joy! Writing is something you have to love because even when you're good at it, it doesn't always come easy. If you love it, you will continue to do it. Writing is a practice in patience, and writing is re-writing. I'm driven by my desire to be the best "me" that I can be. I continually strive to improve myself as I learn how to appreciate my achievements and grow from my mistakes. I hope that my book can impact readers in a meaningful way.
After reading my books, it is my hope that the story will resonate in such a way that makes the reader think about social issues they've never thought about before, discover a new word they've never heard of, or simply receive hours of enjoyable entertainment. That, to me, is be worth the journey of writing.
BPM: Do you consider yourself a role model for the community and other authors?
Yes, I do, for my community. Some people shy away from that categorization, but I don't. I think young people (especially in the African American community) need to see positive images of people who care about making this world a better place for our fellow brothers and sisters. Good manners, kindness, integrity, thoughtfulness, education, and respect for oneself and others are values and actions that I'd like to impart upon young people.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
My novel, Looking for
Trouble, is the third book in the Unexpected Love Series. It's a heartfelt story about one family's hopes, dreams, and the secrets that threaten to destroy them. The storyline fuses the past with the present through two characters, Grandma Allene and Alexandria Thornton, who have the gift of prophesy. Each of the characters in this family saga is unique because they have strong personalities mixed with a determined strength that makes them fight for what they believe it--good or bad. My favorite character in this story, hands down, is Grandma Allene, who is named after my maternal grandmother, and to whom this book is dedicated.
Intimate Conversation with Dionne Peart
Born in England to Jamaican parents, Dionne Peart
grew up in Canada and later moved to the U.S. Her debut novel, Somerset Grove, was inspired by the many stories of Caribbean transplants she grew up with while living in Winnipeg. When she isn’t writing, Dionne loves to read stories that explore another time, place and culture.
Dionne currently resides in Washington, D.C. where she practices law and is working on her second novel.
BPM: Tell us about your journey becoming a successfully published author. Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author?
Since childhood, I’ve always wanted to be a writer and long before I went to elementary school, I’d always loved to read. I remember my parents would scold me whenever I read at the dinner table or used the TV as my reading light.
Growing up in Canada, diversity was everywhere, but the numbers representing each ethnic group were very small, especially where I lived in Winnipeg. As a first generation person of Jamaican heritage, I never came across books by or about people that looked like me. That all changed when I entered university and was introduced to writers like Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. I think that’s when I first thought that I really could become a writer too.
I ended up taking a different path and became an attorney, partly because my parents wanted me to be one, and it was a safe choice. It’s been a great experience and I’ve been exposed to a lot of different people and places as a result. But, somewhere around my sixth year of legal practice when other associates were seriously contemplating partnership in the firm, I was seriously contemplating becoming a writer and challenged myself to write a novel. It took me over two and a half years of waking up an hour earlier every morning so that I could do some writing before going to the office, but I did it. I had a lot of support from friends and family along the way, so that helped me accomplish my goal of publishing my first novel. I really enjoyed the writing process and I’m looking forward to finishing my next book.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. Do you have any favorites? What genre is the book? On Kindle or Nook?
Somerset Grove is a story about a family of three generations of Jamaican women whose conflicts and family ties take them on a journey from a small town in Jamaica to Canada and back again. You get to experience their internal conflicts, as well all the life challenges they face, such as issues with education, socioeconomic status and immigration. The biggest challenge they each face is dealing with their pride, which keeps them from connecting with each other on a level they really want.
The first character you meet is Angelique, a beautiful and savvy 16-year-old who sees herself as an uptown girl trapped in a rural existence. She’s ambitious and prideful, and those things get in the way of her being the person you really think she can be. It is 1967 when Angelique discovers that she is pregnant and contemplates how to handle the situation with her mother. Ruby, Angelique’s mother, is the second character you meet and her story begins in 1949. We find Ruby as a young woman in a marriage where her heart gets broken and her pride takes a blow.
Finally there is Carmen, Angelique’s daughter. She is headstrong, determined and smart. She’s a survivor, but she is always looking for affection from her mother and estranged father. She doesn’t know how to get it, and so we see her bitterness emerging as a result.
Ruby is my favorite, though she didn’t start out as a main character. Ruby asserted herself in my story and demanded to have a bigger role and she got it. I like the way she evolves as she gets older, but still remains true to herself.
Somerset Grove is available in paperback on Amazon
and through Barnes and
Noble. It is also available electronically on Kindle,
Nook and Kobo.
Intimate Conversation with A. Yamina Collins
BPM: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I recall how and where. I was nine-years old, standing in my grandmother's living room when I had a clear epiphany that I was going to be a writer someday. As for the how, I remember reading books like The Bluest Eye, The Turn of the Screw and To Kill a Mockingbird and thinking how stunning it was that those stories could move my soul. That's what I want to be able to do as a writer; to move people with my words.
BPM: What does “challenge” mean to you? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Challenge means not writing the same kind of stories I tend to see in African-American literature; specifically, I decided to write a different sort of black male character, one who had, in my opinion, a real inner life and one who was not a stereotype. I wanted to see a man like Gilead Knightly be a master and king, and I wanted to abandon any concept of black male bashing. This is not to say that Gilead does not have some major character flaws, because he does. But he is not a black male archetype.
It was also a psychological challenge to write the dark-colored girl as the beautiful love interest. You would think that as a black woman that would have been easy for me to do. Not so. A history of literature had conditioned me to think otherwise - or at least to give her light skin with straight hair. But I abandoned that model altogether because it's been played out and I believe that it harms black women's self-esteem.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
The Last King is about a line of people who cannot die because their ancestors marched into the
Garden of Eden and ate from the tree of life. God, however, considers this act, and the subsequent immortality that came with it, to be theft. He wants their immortality returned and he deals with their transgression by playing a cosmic sort of chess game with them - each individual Edenite has a Glitch that's meant just for them. A Glitch is a human who acts as an agent to retrieve the stolen property of immortality and kill off the Edenite. But all The Edenite has to do in return is kill his or her Glitch, and the game is over. But there is a conflict: and Edenite's Glitch is also their greatest love. Emmy, my female protagonist, is the Glitch for Gilead Knightly, the male protagonist.
But of all the two, is definitely my favorite. I love his complexity; in so many ways he is a torn man - he is in love yet hates that he is in love; he is a protector and as well as the man whom Emmy should fear. He is the antagonist and the protagonist both at the same time. He is, to me, a man of great contradictions, and I love that about him.
BPM: Why did you choose to write in your particular genre? If you write in more than one genre, how do you balance them?
The Last King is a science-fiction romance, but its location is rooted here on earth. I chose science fiction and romance because, as far as I am aware, we don't have a lot of African-American books that deal with these two genres in the same breath, let alone separately. The book also has a historical bent to it and I was fascinated by African history. The history of black people - Africans, African-Americans etc. - goes beyond us being slaves in America, entertainers or thugs, and through Gilead I wanted to start exploring those other parts of our heritage. So yes, I write in more than one genre - really four genres (religious, historical, science-fiction and romance). As to how I managed to balance the genres, ha! I am not sure that I have. It will be up to the readers to decide if I've done a good job of balance, I guess. We shall see.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or other life path?
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." That's a quote from proverbs 28: 18 in the King James versions. And that's what I think the African-American literature has been suffering from lately - vision of what we can be Caucasian authors let their children dream of being superheroes and princesses and the Harry Potter's of the world. But much of our fiction, while not all bad, nonetheless keeps us confined to baby mama drama, hustlers, players and thugs - tons of stories filled with unending pain. But where are the heroes that inspire us? Where are the beautiful black women who get to be the love interest? Where are the kings and queens of old? Can't a black male turn out to be the hero in the end? That's the path I want to be on with my stories: now, don't get me wrong - Gilead in particular is no saint, but he is on a journey to someplace great, I think. And that's what I liked about him.
BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in The Last King?
I, personally, have gotten tired of either reading slave narratives (though they do have their place in our world, so this is not to put them down - we do need them) ghetto lit stories, stories about bad black women and no-account black men. Yeah, I just got exhausted of it. I wanted to see black love written about , but one that jumped outside of the prisms of what we are used to hearing and seeing. And I wanted to address it from a fantasy perspective. I dig the world of fantasy. I think it can be fun and your characters get to be larger than life. And Gilead Knightly is definitely larger than life. I mean, the man keeps panthers with him in his bedroom, for crying out loud!
BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
Ha, ha. Okay, I must admit that, as a writer, I dreams of writing The Great American Novel. Yes, I admit it. It's a lofty dream, but it is a dream that inspires to want to be excellent, and not just run of the mill.
My other goals are to educate and inspire. Like I said in an earlier question, I intentionally created a dark-skinned girl as the love interest to a black man because I wanted to combat the same old-same old notion of what beauty is; and I wanted to combat the increasingly odd assumption that black love is a bad thing, or an unrealistic thing. Yes, I've been wanting to see more of such books. So I thought to myself 'Well, I'll start to be the change I want to see, I guess."
Intimate Conversation with Norma L. Jarrett
Norma L. Jarrett
is the author of the novels Sunday Brunch (Best Girlfriend Book – Upscale Magazine/Rawsistaz Literary Group), Sweet Magnolia (An Essence magazine national book club selection) and The Sunday Brunch Diaries (Essence Bestseller) all published under Doubleday/Harlem Moon.
Her work has gained attention in Ebony, Essence, Gospel Today, Jewel, Publisher’s Weekly, Rolling Out, Southern Living, Upscale, and USA Today. Norma has been a featured guest on ABC 13’s Crossroads, Outlook Houston, the Yolanda Adams Morning Show, and other media outlets. Among other honors, Ms. Jarrett has received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for her literary work.
She travels the country as a sought after panelist and speaker for events such as the Baltimore Book Festival, Faith & Fiction Retreat, Harlem Book Fair, Miami Book Fair, and other venues. Ms. Jarrett is a graduate of North Carolina A & T State University and Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Norma is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Junior Service League and a founding member of The Anointed Authors on Tour. She is married and resides in Houston, Texas, where she attends Lakewood Church.
BPM: Introduce us to your latest book. What genre is this book?
– Inspirational Fiction eBook. The primary character, Haven Powell is a culinary school graduate. However, she’s working two jobs because she can’t find a job in her field. To make matters worse she’s forced to move in with her near perfect younger sister Haven, a veterinarian who has no shortage of dates. The holidays cause Haven to evaluate her life and lack of romance. When it seems like everyone around her has a significant other, including her seventy-something co-worker at her part time job she realizes it’s time to do something.
When her sister Harper joins on they launch “Project + One” in hopes that God (or Santa) will deliver Haven’s dream man by 11:59 p.m. December 31st. It’s a fun, lighthearted holiday read that will inspire the reader. The characters are relatable and the theme is one that will resonate beyond the holidays. I was inspired to write the story because the holidays can be a blessing but an extra sensitive time for all of us, especially singles. We tend to reflect on loss, life position and other things that get us all melancholy. But
delivers hope and a dose of faith for us all. Available on both the Nook and Kindle.
BPM: Success means:
Doing what you love, fulfilling your divine purpose (hopefully they are the same thing), enjoying wealth and having somebody to share it with who honors and respects you and inspiring others to do the same.
BPM: Will the printed book ever become obsolete?
I hope not. I love the printed book. But technology is moving so fast, I’m not sure it’s impossible.
BPM: What legacy do you wish to leave future generations of readers?
Books and stories that speak to the heart, makes the reader laugh, love and understand how much God loves us.
Read more about Norma L. Jarrett at her website: www.normajarrett.net
Intimate Conversation with Debra Owsley
Debra Owsley turned her love for reading and her hobby to support her book habit, into the reading accessory and consulting business, www.Simply-Said.net. Debra works with several major bestselling authors, and independent book stores creating unique gift-marks, book thongs, creative displays and promoting literacy. She also coaches authors on how to promote and market their book on a budget.
Debra never dreamed her two loves would turn into a marketing and promotional business, allowing her to meet authors she has read and admired, working at book events and book festivals selling her treasures. She enjoys meeting other avid readers and book club members. Debra is quoted as saying, “These are my passion marks!”
BPM: How did you get your start in this business/industry?
Honestly I started this business quite by accident! I am a hair stylist and every year I give my clients a gift as appreciation for their business. We always discuss books we’re reading and most clients read under the dryer. I simply decided to give them bookmarks as a Christmas gift that year. They loved them! Some asked me to make more so they could give as gifts. These were something I only made for myself at that time, just because I loved to read and love collecting quotes, so I put them on bookmarks so I could enjoy them!
Marcia King-Gamble was a client of mine at the salon before I knew who she was! She was also one of the clients who saw the bookmarks and asked me to customized some for her for the Goodie Room at the Romantic Times convention. I had been reading her for years and just never put the two together. She is also the person who told me about the trade shows, book events and different festivals that went on. She introduced me to a whole new world I never knew existed.
Donna Hill was my next author client. She saw the Book Thongs at a 100 Black Women’s Coalition event and she literary took me under her wings and gave my products her seal of approval, which made other authors take a closer look at what I was doing and the philosophy behind it; “give them something they want to hold on to and they also hold on to you.”
BPM: Tell us about your most popular service and products.
The “Gift-marks” are bookmarks have great quotes or sayings that are designed to inform, encourage and inspire. They come in two sizes full size is 3.5 x 8 and the half sizes are 3.5 x 4. They can be customized to any book, event, or occasion. They are durable and are heavily laminated and cut by hand with scalloped or torn paper edges to add to their uniqueness. They are the most effective and versatile item because they are more of a gift than just a bookmark.
The Paper Chase Collection was added to the line earlier this year. These have sarcastic book remarks and other things that readers say when reading their books. This collection contains bookmarks, card sized bookmarks and door hangers.
The Book Thongs are book jewelry for book lovers. They are gorgeous bookmarks that can be beaded or with charms. They will fit just about any size book and they absolutely deliciously girly and we call them Book Charming!
The “Book Lovers Book Boxes” I recently added to the Simply Said Reading Accessories line. They are beautiful boxes shaped and styled like books that are filled with all the treasures we book lovers love. Gift-marks, book thongs, a book light, a tote bag, postcards, note cards, book plates, a notebook and pen , even a change purse (if chosen), just to give an idea of treats are available! There are several themes available and it also comes wrapped with a beautiful ribbon. These are a few of our best selling products from Simply Said Reading Accessories.
The products mentioned here are not merely created for readers, I also create custom work for many bestselling authors, party planners, wedding planners, organizations, sororities, and many other types of events. They have also been used as coupons and event tickets/ souvenir for many social and corporate events. I’ve also done work for birthdays or shower gifts for guests. The possibilities are endless and everything is “remarkable.”
Intimate Conversation with Flo Anthony
Busy is the only way to describe Flo
Anthony. Under the umbrella of her own company, Dottie Media Group LLC, partnered with Superadio, Flo hosts the daily syndicated radio shows "Gossip On The Go With Flo" and "Flo Anthony's Big Apple Buzz, taking the scoop of the entertainment industry nationwide to top markets including New York City, Oklahoma City, Charlotte, North Carolina, Detroit, Rochester, New York and Reno, Nevada. The show is heard by 3 million listeners daily.
A triple media threat, Flo also writes a weekly syndicated column, "Go With The Flo." A stringer for the New York Daily News "Confidential" column, she is also the publisher/editor-in-chief of Black Noir Magazine. Not to be left out of cyberville, Flo has joined blogosphere, with Glitterai Gold at floanthony.blogspot.com.
is seen almost daily on TV One's Life After, and, after twenty years as an entertainment journalist, she continues to be a familiar face on entertainment shows such as OMG:The Insider and Entertainment Tonight. In the past she has been featured on such shows as Dr. Drew, Showbiz Tonight, Joy Behar, Joan Rivers, Geraldo, Inside Edition, Maury Povich, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNBC, WPIX and Good Day New York. A former publicist for legends like Muhammad Ali, the late Butch Lewis, Michael Spinks, Larry Holmes, Lynn Whitfield and Tyra Banks, Flo still reps a very exclusive group of clients.
worked at the New York Post for almost a decade where she was the first African-American female to work in the Sports Department and first African-American to work in the Entertainment Department and the world-renowned Page Six. She was also the first African-American to write a weekly column inn the tabloid, the National Examiner. A graduate of Howard University and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Flo resides in the East Harlem section of New York
BPM : Please introduce us to your current book. What topics are disccussed in this book?
FA: The name of my new novel is Deadly Stuff Players. It is a black Hollywood murder mystery. There are murders, a love triangle, a horse kidnapping and a happy Christmas Day ending.
From Hollywood’s hottest nightclubs to the boardrooms behind the scenes, the trendiest restaurants to the bedrooms of the biggest stars—it’s all here in a steamy murder mystery from the celebrity journalist who knows the entertainment world better than anyone.
Valerie, the most popular African-American gossip columnist in the United States, and NFL Hall of Famer Rome Nyland are the go-to team for solving Hollywood mysteries. When Andrea Dumas, wife of billionaire Victor Dumas, is found murdered in a sports bar, suspicions arise. Now someone is threating their son, jockey Vance Dumas.
Roshonda Rhodes, a former hooker rumored to have a sex tape with Vance, was allegedly seen fleeing the sports bar the night of the murder. Did she kill Andrea? Or did drug-addicted Jermonna Bradley do it? Valerie and Rome are hard on the case, determined to get to the bottom of it before the killer strikes again.
Intimate Conversation with Shamara Ray
Shamara Ray’s love affair with books began as a child and by the time she reached high school, her enjoyment of reading developed into a passion for writing. At Syracuse University, Shamara’s writing grew deeper and richer—that’s when a dream began to form. It wasn’t until years later, when her dream began to take shape. She was inspired to write her own novels and tell her own stories.
Her first book – Recipe for Love – married her love of writing with her passion for cooking. She landed a deal with Zane’s Strebor Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Recipe for Love received critical acclaim, established her as an author to watch, and had fans looking forward to her next book, Close Quarters. Shamara’s third novel,
You Might Just Get Burned, hit stores on August 6.
BPM: Please introduce us to your current book, You Might Just Get
Burned. What topics are discussed in this book?
What happens when the man you fall for isn’t who he says he is? As games are played and disguises are shed in this intriguing story, more than hearts are at stake for a man who toys with others’ emotions.
Meet Marcel, Camden, and Julian. They’re all experts at the same game, but each in his own way: Marcel has perfected the art of first impressions and can charm a woman out of her clothes with his hypnotic gaze and dazzling smile; Camden is master of the million-dollar image, donning designer labels and driving exotic cars; and Julian is the king of romance— he’ll pen poetic verses, send a woman flowers, and bathe her by candlelight until she’s drowning in notions of love. Any woman would dream of having one of these men in her life. But what happens when that perfect man turns out to be someone else—a perpetrator named Avery Woodson? Things aren’t always as they seem…
Posing as Marcel, Camden and Julian, Avery has been playing games with women for years. To him they’re entertainment and nothing more. Predictable. Interchangeable. Expendable. Avery enjoys the challenge of collecting hearts, and after each acquisition he pursues an even greater conquest—until he meets Indiya Spencer. He soon finds it hard to toy with Indiya the way he does other women and discovers that he’s not immune to falling for someone. As Avery slips deeper emotionally and falls prey to Indiya’s wiles, it becomes apparent that she’s hiding her own dark secrets. The perpetrator has finally met his match and stands to lose more than just his heart—he might just get consumed by the flames.
You Might Just Get Burned
takes the premise of meeting someone’s “representative” to the next level. The novel presents a unique twist on the ambiguity of new relationships. It’s an exploration of how men and women throw caution to the wind, exploit the naïveté of others and misrepresent themselves, all in the name of playing the dating game. You Might Just Get Burned exposes the risks of opening yourself to someone new and the repercussions or rewards that result.
Purchase You Might Just Get Burned
Intimate Conversation with Wayne Dawkins
Wayne Dawkins is author of three books,
Son”, “Rugged Waters” and “The NABJ Story.” He is subject of a chapter in “Out of the News” by Celia Wexler and “My First Year as a Journalist” by Dianne Selditch.
Dawkins wrote three dozen entries media, music, inventors and sports figures for six encyclopedias. Dawkins is an associate professor at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications. Before that he was a reporter, editor, editorial writer and columnist for daily newspapers in New York, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. Dawkins is founding editor of the Black Alumni Network newsletter [Columbia University].
BPM: Please introduce us to your current book. What topics are discussed in this book?
WD: “City Son: Andrew W. Cooper’s impact on Modern-Day
Brooklyn.” This biography covers Cooper’s 1960s voting rights activism that was responsible for the election of Shirley Chisholm to Congress. In the 1970s Cooper [1927-2002] was a political columnist for the Amsterdam news and at the end of the decade established Trans Urban News Service in Brooklyn. In the 1980s Cooper and Utrice Leid launched the City Sun, a feisty Brooklyn-based weekly that covered Mayor Ed Koch, Rev. Al Sharpton, Spike Lee and hot-button topics including Howard Beach, Tawana Brawley and the Crown Heights riot.
Intimate Conversation with Monica Cost
Brand Strategist, Author and Speaker Monica
Cost, knows all too well what it feels like to be stuck, have regret and to be overwhelmed with the noise of external expectations and labels. From her profession to her relationship, Monica’s finances to her spirituality, it was all closing in. Chasing the ever elusive status of “successful” and coveted societal labels became exhausting. She quit her job, made a change in her relationship, explored her spirituality, dug into her emotional wounds, started living beneath her means and otherwise making every life decision according to her discovered personal values. She ventured!
She gained! She is free!
BPM: Please introduce us to your current book. What topics are discussed in this book?
The Things I Used to do to Sneeze!: How to Live an Authentic Life with Awesome Sensations is a book that takes readers on a journey of self discovery and leads them to a life free of future regret. The book addresses one's authentic truth regarding appearance, spirituality, relationships, finances, profession, emotional baggage and parenting. Readers become unstuck and well on their way to true freedom and fulfillment.
BPM: Which topic in the book can you identify with the most? Why?
Living your most authentic life. Because for so long I lived the facade of being successful, fulfilled, spiritually sound, emotionally healed, happy in my relationship and professionally satisfied when I was struggling to identify and portray the real me.
BPM: What drew you to tackle the topics in your book?
The hundreds of people that I interviewed and met who are struggling everyday with escaping the label chase. Statistics continue to show people's dissatisfaction with their lives. It doesn't have to be this way. We can live fulfilled starting now.
Intimate Conversation with Angela L. Harris
Angela L. Harris is the founder of ALHsuccesslines LLC., a spiritually based company with the mission to empower females to live purposeful lives. She is also a Life Skills Counselor, motivational speaker and author. Angela holds a master’s degree in Counseling with a focus on Women’s Studies. Her book has been widely received by parents, educators, community outreach organizations and of course young girls. It is important to reinforce the notion that children must see their visions so that they can be their visions. Once a child dreams it, the next step is to believe it which will ultimately lead to the child achieving it. Through Angela’s compilation of work; she is instrumental in moving girls along the path of success in life.
BPM: Please introduce us to your current book. What topics are discussed in this book?
The title of the book is, Mommy What is a
CEO? I wrote this book to encourage success for young girls in a fun and motivational manner. I believe every girl can be successful if parents and educators recognize the individual strengths that are instinctive to the child and in doing so, cultivate such talents. The key point of the book is to expose girls at an early age to the idea of leadership and entrepreneurship. I aim to plant the seeds that girls can and should go after their dreams no matter what career choices they pursue. The overall belief and one that is carried out in the story is, the desire and ability to do great things starts with the thought that they can. I wish to instill the acceptance that girls should become the CEO’s of their lives
BPM: Which topic in the book can you identify with the most? Why?
The book was actually inspired by my daughter Faith (who happens to be the main character in the story). Faith witnessed my unwavering commitment and determination to pursue my dream to own a business. As a result,
Faith became increasingly curious and when she was younger asked the important
question, “Mommy What is a
BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in your book?
I have a heart for devising and implementing programs to inspire and boost self-esteem in girls. My platform aims to motivate young girls to not only dream of the endless possibilities available as they prosper toward adulthood—but provide a foundation as it relates to boosting healthy self-esteem. Because of varied challenges girls encounter, feelings of low self-esteem may surface starting as early as the preteen years. For some, such feelings can cause them to feel worthless, unlovable and incompetent. I wrote this book with the intent to reach girls at an early age and to plant the seeds of optimism in them.
Intimate Conversation with M. Yvette Turner
M. Yvette Turner was born and raised in Jackson, MS where she graduated from Lanier High School in 1982. While graduating from Mississippi College with a B.S. and obtaining M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Jackson State University, she continues her dedication to over 20 years in P-16 education where her experiences includes middle school science teaching, college teaching, STEM teacher professional development, and P-12 school and higher education administration.
In 2011, Dr. Turner began a publishing company, Excel Publishing, LLC and, in October 2012, under this company, released her first book, which is a memoir entitled “The Grievance: One Woman’s Ordeal with Sexual Harassment, Hypocrisy, Humiliation, and Hurt.”
Dr. Turner is a single mother who has successfully raised three sons and is a passionate advocate for important women and single parent family issues. Her personal research interests also include: causes and effects of school dropout, resilience in African American youth, single parenting, employment discrimination as it relates to women, workplace sexual harassment, and women’s rights.
BPM: Please introduce us to your current book. What topics are discussed in this book?
The title of this book is, The Grievance: One Woman’s Ordeal with Sexual Harassment, Hypocrisy, Humiliation, and
Hurt. “The Grievance” is a memoir that reflects the true story of a woman’s horrific experience with workplace sexual harassment. Carmen Johnson is a young single mother working toward the Ph.D. and is very excited and feels quite blessed as she begins a new job at Magnolia State University as the executive assistant for Dr. Calvin Ryan. Dr. Ryan is an intelligent, charming, and charismatic man who works as a vice president at the university. As it turns out, he is also a man with a dubious and secret past. Almost immediately after beginning her new job, Carmen becomes aware that Dr. Ryan wants more from her than a working relationship.
Already dedicated to her fiancé, Julian, she resists the repeated requests for dates from her boss. Although uncomfortable, the resistance works for a while. Then one day, under difficult and unplanned circumstances, Carmen makes one of the worst decisions she has made in her life…, she relents and meets with Dr. Ryan where at the end of the date, she sleeps with him. For Carmen, the date was a “one night thing,” however; Dr. Ryan had no intention of ending this new arrangement and when Carmen tries to resist his subsequent advances, her life becomes a living nightmare.
The Grievance moves quickly and smoothly to reveal a myriad of unbelievable circumstances involving the sexual harassment and other threating behavior that Carmen experiences while working for Dr. Ryan. It then, equally as important, describes in detail the subsequent grievance process that follows. One that is, supposedly, designed to elicit the truth from key witnesses that is needed to assist the administration in making decisions that would justly a fair outcome for all involved. However, as the story unfolds, Carmen finds herself in the middle of politically swayed and equally threatening investigation that is, ultimately, aimed solely at protecting and defending the very powerful and favored perpetrator by leading administrators at the university and, consequentially, having no regards to the very real, horrendous, and catastrophic life and career consequences for the victim involved.
Which character or topic in the book can you identify with the most? Why?
Intimate Conversation Jerri Lee George
Jerri Lee George is a chef, franchise founder, and thirty year veteran of the food service and catering industry turned author. A native Floridian, Jerri began her catering career in Miami in 1981 orchestrating posh weddings and extravagant soirees. She later developed a “desktop dining” food franchise concept and founded Catering by George, Inc. relocating it to Colorado by 2005.
Stricken with Bacterial Meningitis in late 2009, the 55 year old mother of two slipped into a month long coma. Shocking the doctors she woke but serious side effects hampered Jerri’s ability to continue with her lifelong passion. Down but not out, she decided to write about her culinary career in an effort to help others succeed and shares her expertise and secrets of success in
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the topics within the book?
The book CATER$AVVY "Secrets of the Trade Revealed" is unique in the fact that it offers a perspective on catering that has rarely been revealed. Forced into retirement by my illness, I decided if I could no longer "do" I might as well "teach". After opening and operating two successful catering businesses in life both Catering by George and Vision Catering of Denver, I chose topics like sales techniques, talking points for initial inquiry calls, marketing goals, publicity methods, grand opening ideas, menu construction and pricing. It took nearly a year to hammer out my part of the book but I wanted to expand its value. Using social media, I contacted caterers from all over the US and invited them to join me. My goal? To gather stories/advice and recipes from all walks of catering life. I found them...male and female, newbies and seasoned professionals with concepts ranging from food trucks to hog roasting/barbecue experts to high-end premier event caterers.
Their stories are compiled in
CATER$AVVY along with special sections for brides, event planners and corporate organizers to help them better choose a caterer and know what to look for. For your publication it would be good to know that at least 3 of the caterers are from the black community with Octavia Smith from Tay's Homestyle Cooking practicing in Jacksonville, FL from the south.
Now recovered as fully as possible and sporting a cochlear implant, I have begun a new journey. Nearly devastated by the loss of my business, credit standing, home, and marriage over the past 4 years; my faith and hope is undaunted as I plan to hit the road in October to attend book signings in TX, TN, GA and my native FL (if all goes well, I'm doing AZ, NV and CA in January with the east coast slated for late Spring). I am hoping to rectify my personal financial situation (which was close to homeless) and showcase the Cater$avvy contributing caterers in their markets as well as help increase awareness of Meningitis across the country by donating a % of book sales to The Meningitis Foundation of America. The MFA has recently partnered with me and are behind CATER$AVVY efforts which is championing their mission of education, vaccination and eradication.
Intimate Conversation with
Mary B. Morrison
New York Times bestselling author Mary B. Morrison believes that women should shape their own destiny. Born in Aurora, IL, and raised in New Orleans, LA, she took a chance and quit her near six-figure government job to self-publish her first book, Soulmates Dissipate, in 2000 and begin her literary career. Mary’s books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, and she’s a frequent contributor to The Michael Baisden Show.
Mary is also actively involved in a variety of philanthropic endeavors, and in 2006 she sponsored the publication of an anthology written by 33 sixth-graders. In 2010, Mary produced a play based on her novel, Single Husbands, which she wrote under her pseudonym, HoneyB.
In addition to her novels and play, Mary has a multi-film development deal with Codeblack Entertainment for her Soulmates Dissipate series. Mary currently resides in Oakland, CA, with her wonderful son, Jesse Byrd, Jr., who is following in his mother’s creative footsteps and pursuing a career in TV/film and writing.
BPM: What topics does your latest book, I’d Rather Be With You,
MBM: Deception runs deeper than love. Men and women will lie to get what they want, fight to keep the person they don’t deserve, and hate the one they love most. People do this because they don’t know who they are but believe they can define their partner.
BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?
MBM: Everyone that reads or listens to my books on audio. I’m pro-female empowerment. I write strong female characters. No matter how difficult the journey may be for my heroines/protagonists, they almost always overcome their obstacles. I believe women rule. The problem, as I see it, irrespective of socio-economic status, is that most women don’t realize how powerful they are.
BPM: You believe strongly in:
MBM: God. Sexual liberation. Self-actualization. Non-judgment. Taking risk.
BPM: Faith allows you to:
MBM: Overcome fear of failure. God never fails us. He never lets us down. If we fall, He extends a hand. Faith allows me to stand-in ‘my’ truth and stand-up for what ‘I’ believe in.
BPM: Criticism makes you:
MBM: Stronger. I wholeheartedly embrace freedom of speech and expression. What people say about me and/or my work expresses how they feel about themselves. How and what I respond to defines me.
BPM: Do you consider yourself a role model:
MBM: I don’t consider myself a role model. I feel I’m an inspiration to many of my fans and readers. Eddie Murphy, Terry McMillan, Tyler Perry, and Wendy Williams are just a few of the people who inspire me because I aspire to do more than what they’ve done.
Intimate Conversation with Pamela Samuels Young
Pamela Samuels Young is an author and practicing attorney who’s taken a brief hiatus from crafting her fast-paced mystery novels to write about her newest passion: natural hair care. In her first non-fiction book,
Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide to Going Natural, Pamela chronicles her transition to natural hair. A literal treasure trove of information,
Kinky Coily is a roadmap for anyone interested in beginning a natural hair journey.
A bona fide natural hair enthusiast, Pamela is excited about sharing her new found knowledge in the hope of helping other women learn the beauty and versatility of their kinky coils. You can visit Pamela’s YouTube channel,
KinkyCurlyPamela, and her website, www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com, for more hair care tips and videos.
Have you been thinking about transitioning to natural hair, but don’t know where to start?
Then Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide for Going Natural is just the book for you.
You’ll find the best bloggers, the best books and magazines, as well as recommendations on how to select the right hair care tools and products.
Better yet, you’ll learn how to begin your natural hair journey, how to develop a weekly hair care regime and how to track your progress. Whether you’re transitioning from a relaxer, ready to give up your weave or flat iron, or already rocking your natural locs,
Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide for Going Natural will open your eyes to the true beauty and versatility of your naturally kinky coils.
BPM: Why did you go natural? How did you start the journey from permed hair to natural hair?
I decided to go natural after my hair started falling out from a relaxer. One day I had a head full of hair and only a few months later, I had patches of bald spots. My hair was shedding at an alarming rate every single day and neither I nor the hair stylist I was seeing knew how to stop it. A friend of mind had recently gone natural and introduced me to her natural hair mentor, Deanie. Deanie met me at the beauty supply, told me about sulfates and moisturizing, recommended conditioners and protein treatment, and gave me a list of do’s and don’ts. After the very first treatment, my hair stopped falling out—immediately. That’s when I became a believer and set out on a journey to take charge of my own hair care.
THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE
Intimate Conversation with Shaquana Jackson
Shaquana Jackson was born in Lafayette, LA but
currently resides in Abbeville, LA. She has a degree in General Studies with an concentration in Liberal Arts. She began writing at the age of ten when she encountered an accident that changed things in her life from that point on. However, she says it was a blessing because she may have never discovered her talent given from God above.
BPM: Introduce us to your book, Now That the Cover is Removed and the main characters.
Now That the Cover is Removed will be released on Tuesday, November 4, 2013. Makeup and laughter is what Justina uses to cover up her beatings and pain that comes from within her very own home. She's living a life that she never thought she would live with her mother and the misery from her past. Along with abuse, Justina has to deal with a long lost sibling who wants her dead and seeks to carry out a wayward dream of becoming Justina. Justina’s past love interests tag along for the thrill of keeping her in despair. The past knows Justina weakness and tests her to see how long it will be before she will break free from all harm. Will she have enough strength and determination to forgive her abusers, find redemption and stare danger in the face to remain alive?
Colleen is a successful counselor who seems to have more problems than her patients. Along with dealing with family issues at home, she puts herself in harm’s way when trying to counsel someone she has a strong connection with. Getting too close to her patients opens doors that no one can seem to close. She begins to lose her ability to keep work, because she becomes too intimate with her client's lives and struggles. This also causes major problems within her marriage. Will Colleen lose what she has spent her life working for as she tries to capture what she lost years ago?
Aalisa's dream of becoming a New York Times bestselling author has come true, but it brings along the unforeseen dangers of becoming famous, which opens her life up for scrutiny. On her rise to the top, Aalisa has to come to grips with the fact she doesn't know how to accept the good along with the bad. A diabolical stalker from the past finds her and refuses to leave her alive this time! Her stalker’s obsession has taken precedence in Aalisa’s life because it now involves the safety of her only child. Aalisa must find a way to destroy her past, so that she can save her child. Will she stop the stalker and continue on with her life, so that she can focus on the romance she so longs for?
To conquer all the drama and heartache the three friends face, they must confide in one another and let their damaging secrets be known, in order to help conquer their situations. Even though it’s a hard pill to swallow, telling each other the shocking secrets they have held in for years might change their lives for the better and even put their past to rest at last.
THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE
Intimate Conversation with Honey
Honey the author is a native of Macon, Georgia. She currently resides in McDonough, Georgia with her husband and son. Honey graduated from Fort Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in education and worked as a social worker for the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services for many years. Honey has been writing stories since childhood, but didn’t pursue her dream to become an author until after retirement. Her first novel
is now available.
BPM: What are you doing to celebrate the release of your new book?
Honey: Initially, I'll be attending the fabulous Chocolate Social in Atlanta. August 1st, the date of the event, happens to coincide with the release date of my debut novel
Love. It is my first project with G Street Chronicles. I think it's the perfect opportunity to be in the midst of African American literary heavyweights mixing it up, talking about my book, future projects and other literary events. Some of my family and friends will be in attendance which will make it extra special. There are other signings and other marketing opportunities for Deranged Love being planned for the near future.
BPM: Introduce us to your latest book and the main characters. What makes this one special? Do you have any favorites?
Honey: The title of my book is Deranged Love. The King siblings, Zach and Jay King, are my main characters. They are a pair of educated, successful African American siblings who were raised with very close family ties in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia. Zach and Jay suddenly find themselves in a love triangle. I know it sounds like a story that has been told thousands of times before. Well, it's NOT. Zach is Jay's older brother. Yes, he falls in love with his little sister's Jamaican lover named Jill and then the drama begins. And when I say drama, I mean drama at it's highest degree and in the most unbelievable series of events. My book is a sure fire hit because the plot will catch readers off guard. Sisters have fought over a sexy man, and brothers will throw down of a fine woman. But a brother and sister rivalry at an extreme level over the same woman is a sucker punch!
A Good Dose of Pleasure
by Zuri Day
When artist Anise Cartier leaves Nebraska for L.A., she's finally ready to put the past and its losses behind her. She’s even taken a new name to match her new future. And she soon finds a welcoming committee in the form of one very handsome doctor, Gregory Morgan. Their attraction is instant. So is their animosity.
Anise's goal is to start an art gallery, while Gregory is in a fierce competition for a multimillion-dollar medical research grant . His opponent for the coveted funding is not Gregory’s only problem. The beloved artist community where Anise plans to set up shop is the same location slated to be demolished to make way for the new research center. Soon, it’s a battle between art and science—one that neither Anise nor Gregory intend to lose. Their passion is intense, but can this heated war of wills lead to a lifetime of red hot love?
A Good Dose of Pleasure
"People pursuing their dreams is always a good starting point for love, but drama will
–RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
an Excerpt from CHAPTER 1
She couldn't do it. After waiting two months, three weeks, four days, six hours, and a few nervous minutes, Anise Anna Cartier couldn't find the courage to open the envelope and discover her fate. Heck, it had been an easier act to change her name from Shirley Anne Carter to the one she now bore, and that's something that had belonged to her for twenty-five years. This dream right here, the fate of which she now held in her hands, had only been hers for a matter of months.
"Boomer, what do you think it says?"
Her best friend, a Bernese mountain dog that weighed almost as much as its owner, wagged his tail and trotted over.
"Here," she continued, holding the envelope down near the dog's nose. "Do you want to read it and tell me?"
Boomer sniffed the paper, then walked back over to his pillow and plopped down on it. For him, the paper obviously didn't convey that it was something to eat.
She reached over for a pair of scissors that was on her messy worktable, amid acrylic and oil paints, brush sets, various types and scraps of paper, block pads, cold and hot press sheets, matting, frames, tissues, a soda can, and a half-eaten bag of potato chips. Her hand shook as she used the sharp edge to slit the envelope, the one showing the company name, The Creative Space, in the return address.
The Creative Space. Leaving her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, and becoming a student at the Kansas City Art Institute, she'd quickly learned that in the art world it was the place of legends. She'd known nothing about this Los Angeles treasure until she was eighteen years old. That's when her favorite art teacher and now mentor, Jessica Price, told her all about the place where she'd fallen in love with art and with the man who was now her husband and father to their four kids. The place that was like an exclusive club—an artist couldn't just show up there, he or she had to be recommended and/or invited. That's how Anise had gotten the inspiration to live her dream of moving to Los Angeles and learning from the best. The invitation to move to LA had come from her aunt, Aretha Williams. The recommendation had come from Jessica.
Her phone rang and, as had often been the case with the woman Anise swore was psychic, it was Jessica.
When Everything Isn’t Enough
by Ed Wyns
What do you do when the thing that torments you, does so in the light? When everything that you’ve worked for is the one thing that drags you into an abysmal darkness, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do...
“When Everything Isn’t Enough by Ed Wyns” traces the lives of three very disparate souls: David Tanner, who leaves his mother’s broken home and hangs with his drug-dealing cousins; Mia Collins, the oldest of three children growing up in the comfortable home of two middle-class parents; and CJ Fields, an orphan who as a child moves from one abusive home to another. Each finds the strength, though, to become financially successful and soon appears to have all that they would ever desire.
Then David discovers he is unable to father children, sending him into a downward spiral of depression as his very definition of what being a man means no longer applies to him. As he grows apart from his wife and high school sweetheart, Mia (née Collins) Tanner, he succumbs to an affair with the 24-year-old daughter of one his company’s largest clients.
Shattered, Mia bounces between forgiveness and anger, uncertain if she ever can resurrect her marriage with the one man who means more to her than anything. Then, one day, she meets a man she only could despise, CJ Fields, yet slowly finds herself more and more attracted to him and eventually has an affair with him, ends up getting pregnant, but isn’t sure of the paternity of the child.
CJ spends his adult life amassing a fortune and using women as his sexual toys, all in a vain attempt to vicariously exert his will over those who caused him so much pain. Soon, though, CJ discovers he has a daughter, and when her mother dies, faces a major decision: Should he become something he believes himself wholly unprepared to be – a father – or let the daughter he never knew enter the very foster care system where he once was abused? Then he meets Mia, a woman who is entirely not his type, and finds himself irresistibly attracted to her.
As their three lives become entangled, each one literally realizes that “everything isn’t enough” as they must decide with who their loyalties and future lies.
Excerpt from Chapter 28
…If anyone had told me that I would handle the news of the infertility the way that I was handling it, I would have called them a liar to their face. Mia and I always talked about adopting a child, when I thought that the problem was with her. I thought that I would have been fine with adopting. I had grown in my faith and love for God, I read my Bible daily, was active in our church. I thought that there wasn’t any test of faith I wouldn’t pass with flying colors…I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I’d heard our pastor say countless times, “It’s easy to praise God when things are going good, but will you praise him when things are going bad?” My answer to that question prior to finding out that I was basically sterile was always a resounding yes. I will praise God in good times and in bad. However I could no more praise God, than I could love an adopted child. I felt as if I was alone in a sea of darkness, without anyone to talk to because no one could truly empathize with what I am feeling, only someone that was taking the same journey through this thing called life.
I hated when someone that knew about the infertility would tell me, “It’s not that bad,” “The way that you’re handling it is all wrong,” or they would get holier than thou, and say something like, “Let go, and let God,” and when they did, I was just as forthcoming with what I thought about their advice by telling them that it was easy for them to tell me I shouldn’t be depressed about my situation, when they didn’t have a damn clue about how I was feeling.
People were so willing to stand in front of their glass houses and throw stones. How in the hell could you talk to someone that had a terminal illness, about what they should or shouldn’t feel, when the worst pain that you’ve ever felt was the flu, or a broken bone! I’m not minimizing what people with a terminal illness go through, nor do I think what I feel is anywhere near the same level as what they feel. What I am however suggesting is that my pain is just as real, and every bit as painful to me, and unless you’ve experienced a life altering event, who in the hell are you to tell me what I should or shouldn’t feel.
A woman could miscarry or abort a child, suffer from depression, and mourn the loss of her child for the rest of her life and it was understood and accepted. But I’m supposed to suck it up, move on, and not endure the pain that I’m feeling. Forget that! I didn’t ask for this, and sure as hell don’t like dwelling in this dark and miserable place, but this is what losing the child that I would never have did to me.
I felt as though I was being tormented, and there was nothing I could do about it. Every time I turned around there was my daughter, Kennedy, being manifested in another man’s daughter. I recall the day that I was sitting in a McDonalds eating a quick lunch when the prettiest little girl caught my attention, or should I say, demanded my attention by trying to play with me. She was smiling at me, laughing and doing what children do. Before I could stop it, I was wiping tears from my eyes.
The countless Sunday’s in church that there always seemed to be a little girl sitting in the pew directly in front of Mia and me that wanted to play peek-a-boo. Again I would have to wipe away tears and try to keep my composure, because as Michael Baisden so eloquently penned, Men Cry in the Dark. What do you do when the thing that torments you, does so in the light? When everything that you’ve worked for is the one thing that drags you into an abysmal darkness, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do...
( Continued... )
© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Ed Wyns. 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 legal issue. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.
When Everything Isn’t Enough
Genre: Urban Fiction
Primary Topic Discussed: Infertility
Somerset Grove, A Novel
by Dionne Peart
Three generations of the women in the Wright family all dream of leaving their home in a small Jamaican town, but each woman encounters obstacles that keep her from living the life she wants.
Angelique, strong-willed and adventurous, chooses between her daughter and opportunity as she contemplates leaving her behind to move to Canada. After experiencing heartbreak, proud matriarch Ruby is determined to see that no one ever has a reason to look down on her or her family, even if it means alienating the ones she loves. Granddaughter Carmen is torn between her feelings of resentment and longing, as she strives to be independent while trying to build a relationship with her distant mother.
Traveling between the tropical heat of the fictional town of Somerset Grove, Jamaica and the cold promise of Canada, the women struggle to resolve the conflicts within themselves and between each other.
Excerpts From Chapter 2
The early morning light filtered in through the yellow lace curtains. Ruby lay in bed still wearing the dress that she’d had on from three days ago. It was thoroughly wrinkled now, showing no signs of the crisp starchiness that she had carefully pressed into it when she had first put it on. The other dresses she owned had been neatly packed into the worn suitcase her mother had borrowed from her friend, Lily.
Lily had been more than happy to part with her only luggage so that her goddaughter could pack all of her things to join her new husband in England though she couldn’t figure out for the life of her why the girl’s husband never sent money so that his bride could buy a trunk of her own.
Four days earlier, Ruby had said her goodbyes to one of her two best friends. Anne had come over before Ruby was to depart on the ship in two days. Though she was sad that she may never see her friends again, Ruby enjoyed seeing what she thought was envy flickering in her friend’s eyes as she told her about her anticipated journey to join Winston. Her friend had listened with a half-hearted smile on her face as Ruby reminisced about how Winston had swept her off her feet, promising to take her away from the little two-room house with the outhouse in back that she shared with her mother. Their new home in England, Winston told her, had running water and a beautiful indoor kitchen, so she wouldn’t have to prepare their meals in a cook shed anymore. And with the money he would save working as a mechanic, there would be enough to send her to school to become a nurse or teacher if she wanted. Ruby was disappointed that Anne’s sister, Cynthia, hadn’t come to see her off, but didn’t think anything of it when Anne told her that Cynthia had gone to visit family. She was sure Cynthia would stop by before she left, maybe even ride with her to the ship’s dock.
by Pamela Samuels Young
Available November 5, 2013
When 13-year-old Brianna is forced into the horrifying world of human sex trafficking, her Uncle Dre, a former drug dealer, scours the dark corners of L.A. determined to find her. He ultimately comes up with a daring plan, one that puts many lives in danger. But will he find Brianna before it's too late?
Brianna sat cross-legged in the middle of her bed, her thumbs rhythmically tapping the screen of her iPhone. She paused, then hit the Send button, firing off the text
message ready? Her soft hazel eyes lasered into the screen, anticipating—no craving—an instantaneous response. Jaden had told her to text him when she was about to leave the house. So why didn’t he respond?
She hopped off the bed and cracked open the door. A gentle tinkle—probably a spoon clanking against the side of a stainless steel pot—signaled that her mother was busy in the kitchen preparing breakfast.
Easing the door shut, Brianna leaned against it and closed her eyes. To pull this off, Brianna couldn’t just act calm, she had to be calm. Otherwise, her mother would surely notice. But at only thirteen, she’d become pretty clear after finding ways around mother’s unreasonable rules.
She gently shook the phone as if that might make Jaden’s response instantly appear. Brianna was both thrilled and nervous about finally meeting Jaden, her first real boyfriend—a boyfriend she wasn’t supposed to have. Texts and emails had been racing back and forth between them ever since Jaden friended her on Facebook five weeks earlier.
It still bothered Brianna—but only a little—that Jaden had refused to hook up with her on Skype or FaceTime or even talk to her on the phone. Jaden had explained that he wanted to hear her voice and see her face for the first time in person. When she thought about it, that was kind of romantic.
If it hadn’t been for her Uncle Dre, Brianna would never have been able to have a secret boyfriend. When her uncle presented her with an iPhone for her birthday two months ago, her mother immediately launched into a tirade about perverts and predators on the Internet. But Uncle Dre had teased her mother for being so uptight and successfully pleaded her case.
Thank God her mother was such a techno-square. Although she’d insisted that they share the same Gmail account and barred her from Facebook, Brianna simply used her iPhone to open a Facebook account using a Yahoo address that her mother knew nothing about. As for her texts, she immediately erased them.
A quiet chime signaled the message Brianna had been waiting for. A ripple of excitement shot through her.
Jaden: hey B almst there cant wait 2 c u.
Brianna: me 2
Jaden: cant wait 2 kss dem lips
Jaden: luv u grl!
Brianna: luv u 2
Brianna tossed the phone onto the bed and covered her mouth with both hands. OMG!
She was finally going to meet the love of her life. Jaden’s older brother Clint was taking them to the Starbucks off Wilmington. Her mother kept such tight reins on her, this was the only time she could get away. Jaden had assured her that Clint would make sure she got to school on time.
Turning around to face the mirror on the door, Brianna untied her bushy ponytail and let her hair fall across her shoulders. The yellow-and-purple Lakers tank top her Uncle Dre had given her fit snugly across her chest, but wasn’t slutty-looking. Jaden was a Kobe Bryant fanatic just like she was. He would be impressed when she showed up sporting No. 24.
Brianna slung her backpack over her shoulder and trudged down the hallway toward the kitchen.
All That I Desire
by Francis Ray
Francis Ray has finished her life chapter here,
now she begins her eternal series!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
Francis Ray was a native Texan and lived in Dallas until she passed
away on July 2, 2013. A graduate of Texas Woman’s University. In 1999 and 2000 she was nominated for Texas Woman’s University Distinguished Alumni Award. She was honored to give the 2010 winter commencement address. Ms. Ray’s titles consistently make bestseller’s lists such as Blackboard and Essence Magazine. INCOGNITO, her sixth title, was the first made-for-TV movie for BET. She has written fifty-four titles to
New York Times bestselling author Francis Ray turns up the heat in this sizzling Grayson Friends novel about a woman’s life, liberty…and pursuit of passion.
LOVE IS NEVER PICTURE-PERFECT…
Nothing can stop a woman like Skylar Dupree once she makes up her mind. Defying her family and leaving law school, she’s landed her dream job as an event director at the prestigious Navarone Resorts and Spas in Arizona. It’s all that Skylar’s ever desired—until she sees Rio Sanchez, the resort’s head of security and Blade Navarone’s own personal bodyguard. He’s the sexiest, most striking man she’s ever met.
SOMETIMES IT’S EVEN BETTER…
When Skylar starts planning a huge charity auction at the resort, it’s Rio’s job to keep an eye on the prized art she collects from donors. Though he’s not blind to Skylar’s beauty, Rio is nothing if not professional—and he refuses to make a move. But when a mysterious stranger enters the picture—and puts Skylar’s life in danger—Rio attempts to protect her…only to be told, in no uncertain terms, that Skylar is capable of taking care of herself. Her brazen independence is enough to drive Rio crazy…with desire. Could it be that the strong, hard-hearted Rio has finally met his match?
Read an Excerpt
Skylar Dupree wasn’t the risk-taking type, but neither was she the type of woman to falter once she’d made up her mind. The only other time in her twenty-six years she dared do anything remotely defying tradition was leaving law school. Yet that had been more for self-preservation. Her parents were pragmatic; she tended to be more easygoing and laid-back.
Skylar paused on the curved stone staircase of the thirty-five-room castle. Easygoing wasn’t going to cut it this time, not if she wanted to grab Rio’s attention.
Just the thought sent her heart rate skittering out of control. Rio could look straight through you with hard, unblinking black eyes. He exuded danger. Nothing seemed to bother him. She could count on one hand the number of times she’d seen him smile, and those times had been when he was with his closest friends, Blade and Shane. As far as Skylar knew, he’d never bestowed upon anyone else a smile, let alone his laughter.
The task she’d chosen for herself was scary. Since Shane’s marriage, Rio was head of security for Blade’s business as well as Blade’s personal bodyguard. Even Rio’s security team had a healthy fear of the man reported to be deadlier than a viper, and just as stealthy. She’d heard one of his men refer to him as “smoke” because of his elusiveness.
Skylar had flown in that Sunday afternoon from Navarone Resorts and Spas’s headquarters to go over the final preparations for a charity auction and ball to benefit the Music Department of St. John’s College, where Mrs. Grayson was chair. The auction was two weeks away. The big draw to get the right people to come was that the auction would be held in Navarone Castle, near Santa Fe, a place heretofore off limits to anyone but close family and friends.
Much had been speculated about the home of the billionaire, which had a real moat, a working drawbridge, a helipad, and a lake. Sierra, Blade’s wife, might have owned the castle before her marriage, but Blade ensured their privacy by buying up all the surrounding property within fifty miles. You might get on the property, but with its constant patrols, you were quickly escorted off, which gave Navarone Castle even more of an air of mystique.
Continuing down the stairs with her iPad clutched to her chest, Skylar stepped into the comfortable great room. Sitting in sky-blue leather chairs and love seats were Blade, Sierra, and her mother on one side. On the other were Shane and his wife, Paige. Rio, arms folded, standing by the immense stone fireplace, glanced up. Her heart did a fast jitterbug.
The Blindsided Prophet
by Sonja Lewis
1980. Coffee, Georgia. A mass killing in a church claims the lives of twelve people. Isaiah Brown, a fourteen-year-old prophet, fails to predict the massacre, in which his mother and grandfather die.
After the killings, a blind and traumatized Isaiah flees the scene, disappearing into the woods.
Fifteen years later, at God's bidding, and able to see again in all senses, Isaiah returns to Coffee, to make reparation and free himself from his past.
There, he finds the people of Coffee on the brink of an even worse trauma than that experienced in 1980. Can Isaiah discover what was behind the original tragedy, and why he didn't foresee the event? Will he be able to prevent another impending tragedy? Or will he be blindsided by his love for one woman?
The Blindsided Prophet explores man's relationship with God and its effect on daily living. Also, the novel examines beliefs and values at the deepest level, as well as how they shape our thoughts, ideas, and experiences.
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 1
The tall man freed himself of his friend’s hand on his shoulder and walked ahead. The shorter one stared at him for a few seconds, his cigar between his lips, and then he followed. Lydia waited until they were on the porch. They lingered there for longer than she wanted them to, both taking off their hats and looking out over the land. She moved back further behind the tree, and held her breath; when she thought they were inside, she shot back towards the woods. In her haste to get out of there, she slammed into a white boy, knocking him to the ground.
She tried to keep going, but he caught her leg, tripping her to the ground, too.
"Hey," he said, "who are you? Why are you trespassing on my property?"
She was just trying to free herself, but she noticed that his voice was distinctly southern and more refined than the other two men’s. When she finally stopped struggling and looked back, she was moved by his frightened green eyes in a way she had not been expecting. She seemed to have the same effect on him. He released her.
"You remind me of somebody," he said.
"Yeah, right," she said.
Still he gazed at her until she felt hot and uncomfortable. She lowered her eyes and pushed herself up to her feet. He stood, too, and brushed off his suit. Though he wasn’t even as tall as she was, he was quite handsome, with a head full of hair the color of hers. It was parted to one side.
"Who are you?" she asked.
"That's what I want to know about you."
"I come from the other side of the woods," she said.
“A colored preacher lives on the other side of the creek,” he said, squinting.
This word “colored” stirred her violently, always did, even when her daddy referred to himself as colored. Wasn’t everybody colored? She swung around and walked off.
He ran behind her. "Whoa!"
"Whoa is for mules," she said.
"You are about as stubborn as one." He jumped into her path. “Why you mad?”
"If you don't know, that's your problem—not mine!"
“It ain’t safe for you to be hanging out in these woods,” he said.
“And why is that?”
"I told you that you're trespassing." He scratched his head. She knew what he was thinking, but he didn’t have the guts to say it, so she said it for him.
"I am not afraid of the Ku Klux Klan." She swung her blondish brown hair around. "Why should I be?"
“You say your daddy is a colored man,” he said. “That means, ah . . .”
“Jess,” a man called out. “Jess, Uncle Rodney is about to head on back."
The look in his eyes had tensed up again. “You better go on,” he said.
She tore off running. She didn’t look back until she was on the other side of the creek. Her shoes were now ruined because she forgot to take them off at the creek. Her heart was hammering. Jess—his name was Jess. Was that short for Jesse? She turned thoughts of him over and over. She had never felt so mesmerized in the presence of a boy. She wondered if she would ever see him again. Would she pluck up her nerve to go back and seek him out? Suddenly she thought of her father. She would have to settle for thinking about Jess, hold him in her heart, for she could not go back to the other side of the woods. Not ever.
( Continues... )
Copyright © 2013 by Sonja Lewis. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author. 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.
Heat And Chemistry
by Darvanni Autonomy
a young beautiful woman absconds from her deranged boyfriend Wayne and strives to regain the love and happiness of her life.
But there's one thing Keisha's missing, the man whose spirit ignites the chemistry between them, and who is brave enough to protect her from her stalking, absurd ex-boyfriend Wayne. Traumatized by life's problems, Keisha
escapes the madness in Chicago and finds herself in a world of danger. Will she survive and meet her king? And will the heat of her love ever be quenched?
Download Heat and Chemistry by Darvanni Autonomy: http://amzn.com/1492332402
Excerpt from Heat And Chemistry
A YEAR EARLIER
Turtle Island, Fiji. Early August, 2008
The Fiji islands are a paradise on earth during sunset, with clear light blue waves rippling against the island’s shoreline, fresh breezes blowing off the ocean surface now and then, long shadows of tall tropical trees stretching across the sands, all beneath a magnificent dark reddish orange sky. Suddenly, dark gray rain clouds blew in from the east, threatening, Demarcus Good’s perfect evening.
Demarcus and Porsha Smith strolled hand in hand along the ocean front on one of Fiji’s secluded islands. Porsha took a seat in a blue lounge chair as he knelt down on one knee in the white sand. He took her beautiful hands into his own and gazed into her eyes.
Demarcus expressed, “The first day I laid eyes on you, I knew you were special and perfect for me. You brought so much into my life, things I didn’t acknowledge to exist. That’s when an Angel came down to earth and stayed. Your smile brightens up my days.”
Porsha smiled with adoration.
He continued, “You changed my life in so many astonishing ways. Your love touches every part of my life. Your love grew and now my love for you is without end, like the universe. All I
want to do is love you forever.”
Porsha’s heart skipped a beat as her eyes batted.
He licked his lips then formulated, “We came along way from home and reached this moment at last. We’re twenty-eight and we’re not getting any younger. Porsha, you complete me . . . you make me-me str-str-onger.” Emotionally tongue tied, he bowed his head and slowly returned his eyes to hers. “Every morning I want to wake up with you by my side . . . I want to share my world with you, grow old with you . . . let’s become one . . . I’m asking you from my soul, from the bottom of my heart.”
Demarcus reached into the pocket of his shorts and revealed a cream colored ring box and opened it. Porsha was captivated by the size and the gleam of the ring.
He gently squeezed her hand and she stared into his light brown eyes with a tear streaking her face.
He sung the hook from Jagged Edge’s song “Let’s get married” and asked, “Will you marry me?”
Her whole body trembled. “Yes, yes, I will marry you.” The sky began to cry softly.
by R. A. Russell
The author discusses the book on BAN Radio Show, go here.
Recalling such epic novels as Roots and The Joy Luck Club, R. A. Russell’s sweeping drama chronicles four generations of the Tilman family as they search for the things that will relieve the pain of the past. With its roots in 1975, Raising Redemption is a stirring and provocative story of the shame, secrets, sacrifice and struggle of an African American family who has worked to establish a name synonymous with respect, honor and dignity. Raising Redemption brings readers on a journey to discover the ultimate gift of love and the true legacy left for the Tilman women to embrace.
For Alicia Tilman, a seventeen-year-old girl on her way to Radcliffe, meeting her parents’ expectations means everything. But when Dickey Samson comes around, Alicia defies her father’s longstanding rule that she stay away from the boy, and is unprepared for the consequences that rain down upon her: a baby, a near shooting, estrangement.
Learning the dark family secret behind her father’s warning, Alicia leaves her home in Chesapeake, Virginia, and heads for San Francisco, a big city on the opposite coast, whose pictures always look pretty. Alone, pregnant, and homeless, Alicia makes a decision that will alter her relationship with her family forever: making a new home for herself at Lil’s Place, an escort service of girls who become Alicia’s confidantes, sisters.
After placing her son for adoption, Alicia realizes that success is the only solution to shame, and struggles to become worthy of the symbolic silver teapot handed down among the noble Tilman women. As the years go by, and her efforts build, Alicia is determined to reconnect with her mother, her father, and her son, whose life she had protected at the risk of ruining her own.
Raising Redemption is a sweeping tribute to the salvation we can only find from within. More about the book and the author:
Excerpt from Raising Redemption
The Taste of Soil 1930
Mabel Tilman stooped over a wood-burning stove, stirring simmering rice. Shadows crept around her. She lit a kerosene lamp and hobbled to the front door of her three-room shanty, then peered outside as dusk settled on Chesapeake. “Marjorie?” she yelled, searching for her daughter. “Marge?”
Should have been home by now, thought Mabel. Maybe she helping out one of them teachers of hers. She gone be somebody, doing all that homework I can’t help her with no more, all them crazy numbers and letters she got going this way and that in the math she taking. She just like her daddy was, smart as a whip. She grown up, too, already fifteen, and the men done started eyeing her.
Mabel moved back to the stove and eased the pot off the fire. I better get to the outhouse ’fore it get too dark. She grabbed a walking stick and ambled outside, crunching over dried dirt and windblown leaves. When she returned to her doorstep, Mabel scanned the nearby woods, but she saw only emptiness amongst the trees. Where is that girl? she wondered, stomping off debris. Then she stepped inside and felt the presence of another. She brandished her stick, searching across the room until she found the outline of her daughter cowering in a corner.
“Marge, where you been? I been worried about you, girl. What you doing over there? Come out so I can see you. Come give your mama a hug.”
Marjorie staggered out of the shadows, her eyes cast downward. Mabel squinted at features once clean and sharp, now bloodied and swollen. She bolted for her daughter.
I'd Rather Be
(If I Can't Have You Sequel)
by Mary B. Morrison
I’d Rather Be With You . . . Relationship satisfaction is never guaranteed.
From New York Times
bestselling author Mary B. Morrison comes the sizzling tale of two
friends and the provocative bet that forever changes their lives. Now, with
their futures up in the air, who will play one vengeful game too many? And who
will wish she wasn’t left standing?
I’m the wife Madison’s husband really deserves. Why won’t she let him go?
Nursing wealthy businessman Chicago DuBois back to health was the least
Loretta Lovelace figured she could do. After all, it was her bet that made Madison
the object of a crazed stalker’s affections and put Chicago at
death’s door. With Madison’s marriage on the rocks, Loretta couldn’t
resist looking after Chicago’s interests and reigniting his passion for life.
But now Madison wants to take back what’s no longer hers. . .
I’ve got a fresh chance to start over. But letting Loretta walk away with my
old life—that’s not going to happen. Madison’s life was perfect before
Loretta introduced her to Granville Washington
and initiated the bet that ruined Madison’s reputation and marriage. Now with
a baby on the way and a family empire to save, Madison knows it’s past time to
make some tough decisions. To get her life back on track, she’ll have to
settle the score with Loretta and deal with Sindy Singleton, another
woman who’s trying to make a play for Chicago. But this spoiled beauty has
just the plan to handle her competition, her stalker, and her straying husband.
Excerpt from I’d Rather Be With You
Have you ever loved someone so much you could kill him? My signature was a
heartbeat away from doing that. I’d signed the authorization to take my
husband off life support. He was a good man. But there were times when being a
good person wasn’t enough. Some would say he did all the right things in our
relationship, but he did them for the wrong woman. I’d disagree. Unlike most
women, I knew my self-worth. The brilliant diamond wedding ring on my finger was
there because I’d earned it.
“Mrs. DuBois,” the doctor softly said. “I still have the paper in my hand.
It’s not too late to have a change of heart.” He stood in front of me as
though my time was up. In a small private space, there was a desk, two chairs, a
computer, the doctor, and me. The door with a large square windowpane was
The room suddenly got colder as though someone had locked me in a morgue, alone,
with the Grim Reaper. The chill penetrated me so deep I froze from the inside
out. Reminded me of a trip I’d taken to New York City to celebrate New Year’s
Eve. I was in the midst of tens of thousands of people bundled in coats. Their
faces were wrapped with scarves. My feet were stuffed in fur-lined boots. My
hands were inside cashmere-coated gloves and I was in Times Square,
Tapered to my body, the sleeveless black dress I’d chosen to put on this
morning was midthigh. The back of my legs stuck to the hard plastic chair. I
hugged myself, then slid my hands up and down the chill bumps covering my arms.
I wiggled my fingers; they were stiff. I pressed them together; then I rubbed
them back and forth. I wanted to cry for my husband, for myself, but this was
not the time to break down. There were too many what-ifs in my mind competing
for attention; it felt like my head was going to explode. My unchanging heart
was heavy and numb. I’d heard the doctor, but I didn’t respond.
I sat staring at the beige tile beneath my four-inch black platform stilettos.
What if my husband died before I made it to the hospital’s exit? What if all
of his football fans blamed me for his death? What if I hadn’t had sex with
that idiot, Granville? What if the baby growing inside me was the result of my
infidelity? What if the tape Granville stole from my house of us having sex
ended up online for millions to see? What if I continued to delay having surgery
for my breast cancer? What if something went wrong with my operation and I ended
up on life support? Would I want someone to take me off?
Gazing into the doctor’s eyes, I told him, “My decision is final.”
Sister Betty Says I
by Pat G'Orge-Walker
inspiring, devilishly funny tale of hope, secrets—and hard-knock faith that
can make the most impossible situations right. . .
For Sister Betty, the marriage proposal from trustee Freddie Noel is
a once-in-a-lifetime surprise blessing. Unfortunately, she knows the chances of
having a peaceful ceremony in their beloved Crossing Over Sanctuary Church are
slim to none. But she's armed with enough sense and scripture to keep
contentious church busybodies Bea Blister and Sasha Pray Onn from sowing even
more chaos amid the congregation—until a rehearsal disaster and an unexpected
secret causes Freddie to break off the engagement without explanation. . .
While this no-nonsense prayer warrior needs all the holy backup she can get, her
pastor, Reverend Leotis Tom, is desperately dodging temptation as Mother Pray
Onn's wild-child niece and Betty's young cousin compete to become his First
Lady. With her happiness, the church's future, and Tom's sanity on the line,
Sister Betty will need to kick some spiritual butt, take names—and fight for
some major soul-saving miracles.
BOOK REVIEW FROM THE LIBRARY JOURNAL
(PICK OF THE MONTH)
Sister Betty Sarah Becton
and Trustee Freddie Noel (skinny and yellow as a number two pencil) are both on
the far side of 60 but decide to jump the broom. But there ain’t no drama like
wedding-planning drama, especially in the small South Carolina town of Pelzer.
Sweating in the Southern heat like “Friday night strippers sitting on Sunday
morning church’s second pew,” church mothers Sasha Pray Onn and Bea Blister
worry over Sister Betty’s plans. But Freddie’s off-and-on health issues may
delay the big event. A wild bunch of extended family and church folk meddle in
the plans lending the story a hilarious reality show vibe.
scenes are Sweet Betty’s cousin Sharvon and sexy hot Ima, each batting their
eyelashes at muscled and sexy Rev. Leotis Tom. Down-home humor, scripture
readings, and outrageous trash talk. Priceless. VERDICT Might there be an
emerging subgenre of urban Christian romantic comedy? No matter how vendors
categorize G’Orge-Walker’s work (Sister Betty! God’s Calling You, Again;
Don’t Blame the Devil) it’s a wonderful romp that will have wide appeal to
both sinners and saints.
Sister Betty Says I Do by Pat G'Orge-Walker.
Excerpt from Sister Betty Says I Do
“Oh, man, please,” Thurgood said as he placed his hands on his hips. “You
need to calm down. You already taking medicine for that high blood pressure.”
Thurgood suddenly smiled. “Although, I got to tell you that you really
surprised me back at Betty’s.”
Freddie stopped and spun around. “What are you talking about now?”
“I’m talking about the way you was reacting when my Dee Dee was reading that
piece from the Song of Solomon. A man knows what another man is thinking.”
“Uh-huh.” Thurgood smiled. “I’m crazy enough to know that whatever you
taking for your high blood pressure ain’t stopping Freddie Junior from trying
to strike out on its own.”
A shade of red Thurgood had never seen before suddenly spread across Freddie’s
“Don’t be embarrassed,” Thurgood told him. “Dee Dee can cause a stir in
Freddie hung his head. “I guess now I’m being a bit hypocritical. I’m
sorry,” he told Thurgood. “I’m not lusting after your wife. It’s Betty I
Thurgood laughed. “Man, please. I ain’t hardly mad at you. Me and the whole
world know that Dee Dee is a fine woman, and a gorgeous one at that.”
“She’s very pretty,” Freddie remarked. “But she’s not my Honey Bee.”
“Lord, no!” Thurgood blurted. “But I am glad to hear you say that. I mean,
there’s a lot of playas out here and inside the church that would’ve had
“I’m no playa.”
“Of course you are,” Thurgood told him. “You’ve probably been running
away and escaping the marriage claws by inches.”
“No, I haven’t,” Freddie admitted. “I’ve never been within reach of a
“Really?” Thurgood said. He then folded his arms across his chest and leaned
against the living room wall. “I betcha when you rode a horse, you tamed that
filly, didn’t you?”
“I did ride a couple of horses back in the day, but as soon as I’d feel them
bucking, I’d fall off too soon. . . . Word got around quick that I was no
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by Zuri Day
Seduction in the lap of luxury?
Award-winning wines have helped Dexter Drake turn his family's luxury resort and spa into the most successful vineyard in Southern California. Yet Dexter has another talent—his prowess with women. He is having too much fun to settle down?until he meets Faye Buckner, a guest at the vineyard's hotel. Her act of kindness makes it impossible for him to get the beautiful doctor out of his mind.
Faye believes in making the world a better place, and has dedicated her career to saving lives. She plans to concentrate on her work. But she soon discovers that the breathtaking playboy isn't just gorgeous—he is intelligent and compassionate, too. Should Faye remain focused solely on her career or listen to Dexter's passionate promises?and her own heart?
Excerpt from Platinum Promises by Zuri Day
Practical, no-nonsense Dr. Faye Buckner lay in uncharted waters—literally and figuratively—feeling wanton, wicked and
strangely free. The water swirled around her body as her lover's tongue traced circles against her heartbeat, causing flutters from her stomach to her heat. Ah, yes. The beautiful beaches of Haiti. But how did I get here with him?
"Relax." Her lover's voice was as soothing as the water and as warm as a summer breeze. "I can't."
"Yes, you can. I'll help you." He laid a trail of kisses down her neck, over her collarbone and on her shoulder, all the while brushing feathery fingers up and down her arm. Goosebumps appeared on the upper part of her body. A furnace of passion exploded within. He captured a nipple with his teeth, pulled it inside his mouth. Not wanting to appear rude or neglectful, he slid his hand to her other nipple, pebbling it between his thumb and forefinger before moving his hand down farther?to her navel, hip and inner thigh.
A foreign feeling of losing control caused her to squeeze her legs together.
Her lover raised up on one elbow as his finger slid up and down the crease caused by her tightly clenched thighs. She closed her eyes.
"Don't be shy," he said with a chuckle. "Trust me."
He leaned over and placed a soft, reverent kiss just below her navel.
Her breath came fast, and her heart beat faster.
He eased back up to her breast. Feathery kisses rained down on her dewy, soft skin, a trail of tantalizing sensations across the fleshy plains of her softness, her boyishly lean frame a perfect canvas for his oral artistry. He reached the thighs, which were still pressed against each other. He lowered himself farther, kissing, rubbing and licking the line that served as the gateway to her desire.
She moaned, shaking her head from side to side. She couldn't. She wouldn't! But why not? She had no answer to that question. Her mind was muddled, logic elusive. How can this be happening? But it was. She could feel it, could feel him, everywhere.
"Don't think, baby. Just feel. Give yourself to me." His tongue stiffened, became more insistent even as he eased his hands underneath her booty, licking a wedge between her armor, causing her thighs to part of their own volition. The act was unexpected, the air against her love button a delicious friction. How is the wind blowing there? She dared open one eye and look downward. His bow-shaped lips were parted; it was he who fanned her flame. There, in the most intimate of places. Hot breath touched her feminine furnace as he spread her legs and then kissed her inner thighs. Before she could ponder the deliciousness of the way his skillful tongue felt against her sensitive skin, he moved on to an even more sensitive spot and kissed it. She gasped, taking in a mouthful of air, releasing a lifetime of inhibitions. Without waiting for instruction or permission, her hips began a circular dance, lifting up to meet his tongue. Again, her rational self tried to intervene, tried to argue that such gyrations were inappropriate, lewd, nasty.
Baldwin Hills Housewives
by Patricia Anne Phillips
Baldwin Hills Housewives is a story of five women that lives in Baldwin Hills, in the county of Los Angeles, California, and supports each other personally and professionally without hesitation.
Shonna Dupree, a lawyer that practices Family Law. She takes on clients and fights to win as she is struggling through her own divorce. Her husband Ron Dupree divorces her for someone else he is in love with, a man.
Robin Flanigan, a successful Real Estate Agent with a background that only one housewife knows about. She gets a phone call from Child Services; her cousin died and left her eight year old daughter for Robin to take in. Robin knows nothing about parenthood. The father is believed to be dead, until one evening a stranger rings her doorbell.
Sky Landers and her husband Monte have a wonderful marriage. Monte owns his own Construction Company and accepts a job in Las Vegas. The job is completed, and Monte goes home, but when he arrives in LA, only blocks from his home, he stops at a florist to buy roses for Sky, and is caught up in a dangerous robbery.
Karla St. James and her husband Martin are happily married. Karla is a bestselling novelist; Martin has his own publishing company. They are financially secured, but Karla has one secret, she shoplifts in different malls.
Candace Brown and her husband Kenneth are a close, religious family with an eleven year old daughter. The ladies respect Candace for her wisdom and encouragement. Candace owns a local restaurant and has three employees. The restaurant catches on fire with Candace and her employees inside. Candace is forced to figure a way out to save their lives.
Baldwin Hills Housewives supports each other. Although they have different views about life, they will be friends forever.
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Baldwin Hills Housewives by Patricia Anne Phillips
Falling In The Deep by Patricia Anne Phillips
Falling In The Deep
by Patricia Anne Phillips
Falling In The Deep is a novel that gives the true meaning of rivalry, betrayal and deception, and no meaning at all for marriage vows, such as . . . through sickness and health.
Falling In The Deep is a gripping, hurtful story of Sabrina Chapman who is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Readers will feel her pain and wonder about the true meaning of their own marriage vows. Also, it will give readers awareness of MS and the symptoms.
The story takes place in Mill Valley, a middle class neighborhood near the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. Sabrina Chapman had the perfect life, a loving husband and two adoring children. She was happy, living the life she always wanted and deeply in love with her husband, or so she thought until she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and the essence of life she once taken for granted no longer existed.
Jason Chapman is disappointed with the news of his wife health; it was no longer the life they had planned. Why should he stay in a marriage that he didn’t ask for? After all he wasn’t the one with MS? He wanted to make career moves, and have a healthy, beautiful wife by his side.
In Falling In The Deep, readers will cry, laugh and follow one woman’s life of bravery, as she forges ahead to make a life for her and her two children, and with the help of someone that see’s her as the beautiful, smart woman she always was.
Falling In The Deep can be purchased on Amazon for books and Kindle, also in various stores.
What is Multiple
Sclerosis or MS?
Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, resulting in loss of muscle control, vision, balance, and sensation (such as numbness). With MS, the nerves of the brain and spinal cord are damaged by one's own immune system.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the condition affects approximately 400,000 Americans and is, with the exception of trauma, the most frequent cause of neurological disability beginning in early to middle adulthood.
Multiple Sclerosis is two to three times as common in females as in males and its occurrence is unusual before adolescence. A person has an increased risk of developing the disease from the teen years to age 50, with the risk gradually declining thereafter.
For more information on MS, go here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/DS00188
Falling In The Deep Interview with Ella Curry and Patricia Anne Phillips
Listen to a
reading from Falling In The Deep by Patricia Anne Phillips
Path to Promise
by Sherryle Kiser Jackson
Sequel to Land of Promiscuity
the author read from the book.
There’s a difference between running scared and running free.
Rebecca Lucas is on the run again, running from rumors, running from reality, and most of all, running from Will, her best friend and soul mate. This time Rebecca is ready to reclaim the life she left behind in Salisbury before the burial of her mother and the handling of her mother’s estate. Time away, however, has done little to alleviate her biggest problem—her coworker Kenny Burke and the indecent proposal he pitched to her before leaving town. She’s back, and he uses every resource at his disposal to get her to go along with his plan.
Will Donovan, the man left in the trail of Rebecca’s taillights and exhaust fumes, has a few problems of his own. His father’s secrets have left the senior Pastor Donovan ousted from his longtime position as leader of Grace Apostle Methodist Church, and Will with one foot in the door. As a mandate of the church board, Will must apply and compete for his dad’s job. His competition is the very charismatic and well-connected Danny Glass Jr., heir of a televangelist empire. Will seems to be the only one questioning why Danny is on his turf when he has his own father to succeed. He struggles with the integrity of his decisions in an effort to carve out his own identity in ministry.
For Will and Rebecca, the Path to Promise
is far from a utopian street paved with gold. Will their paths, marred with their own obstacles, cross and lead them to the promises of God?
Excerpt from Path to Promise
The next day Rebecca clung to her sixteen-ounce Colombian roast as life support to get her through the day. She practically had to reintroduce herself to the firm’s fifth-floor administrative assistant, Celeste, after she called out to the slightly older woman to hold the elevator on the ground floor. No greeting and no apology came from her colleague when they came face-to-face after Rebecca sacrificed her umbrella handle to prompt the door to open again.
“Thank you,” Rebecca said sarcastically before the elevator car became crowded with associates, who were just as rude, pushing them farther back with their wet umbrellas, their lawyer-speak, and their arrogance.
Their building had ten floors; the top five were occupied by the largest law firm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. When the elevator reached the fifth floor, an older man in an all-weather coat pushed the close button so quickly that Rebecca and Celeste couldn’t move forward and get off the elevator in time. The man acting as the lift operator then spoke loudly into his cell phone, letting the person on the other end of the line know his estimated time of arrival in the suite of offices on a higher floor. Having missed their floor, an indication of how insignificant they were on the firm’s totem pole, Rebecca and Celeste shared a perturbed look.
The Drew Smith Series
by Norwood Holland
Sleepless Nights abounds with despicable and loveable characters.
(The Drew Smith Series- Book 1)
Trial attorney Drew Smith a solo practitioner takes on shady clients solving cases fraught with danger and romantic intrigue. Through Sleepless Nights the urban legal wizard while frolicking with an exotic dancer succumbs to a midlife crisis. Haunted by foreshadowing nightmares an awakening reveals an empty life but Smith finds solace with therapist Zöe Settles.
In an already complicated life Smith is pressed into service when a vicious robbery leaves three dead and the city enraged. Drew Smith and his devoted sidekick Julio Mejia work to free his young client on the trail of a crazed gunman responsible for a growing body count. In the end, the gunman and the dancer combine forces to bring Smith down.
When death comes knocking Drew Smith faces the fight of his life.
Purchase your copy of Sleepless Nights
One is the prequel to The Drew Smith Series.
Back to the beginning of Drew Smith's legal career this is a retrospective narrative of the attorney’s first case. The recent law school graduate awaiting his bar exam results Drew Smith takes a job as a Concierge in a 5 star hotel, and befriends two bellmen an Arab and a Latino, Medhat, and Julio. Medhat is a spoiled brat estranged from his wealthy father with a penchant for partying, cocaine, prostitutes and barroom brawls. Julio is a smart high school dropout and a former street gang member. The son of peasant Nicaraguan immigrants he is forced to become the head of household when his father is killed in a construction accident leaving his mother and five siblings without a provider. This eclectic trio form a solid friendship put to the test when Medhat in his overindulgence runs up a drug tab he can't pay. Kidnapped and rescued by Drew and Julio, Medhat becomes a prime suspect when the drug lord is found dead.
All three cope with romantic entanglements. Drew is captivated with the pretty Latina, Nina whose father objects to her dating a Black man. Julio falls head over heels and knocks up Chevy, a lovely Filipina. Medhat has a passion for blondes and night club owner Carol fits the mold perfectly.
Life takes a turn when Drew becomes a member of the bar. Medhat is caught red handed and charged with murder. Drew and Julio sleuth to uncover the real killer. Minus One captures Drew Smith's evolution from youthful indiscretion to a professional burdened with the seriousness of purpose.
Minus One (The Drew Smith Series)
Excerpt from Chapter 1
The officers were dispatched on a possible domestic dispute. They didn’t know what to expect when Mrs. Oliphant met the two at the elevator, one Latino the other African-American, both towering over the blue haired dowager. Nervous and animated, she spoke as rapidly as she stepped, guiding them to the apartment door.
“Are you related?” asked the stocky dark haired Latino.
“No. I'm Carol's next door neighbor. There was a fight and I heard the disturbance,” Mrs. Oliphant sighed and shook her head as though shaking off a secret annoyance. “Mind you, I don't eavesdrop but I couldn't help hearing--you know thin walls and vents carry conversations. This is her apartment.” They stopped in front of the corner apartment at the end of the hall. “I have the key,” she said.
Mrs. Oliphant's tiny trembling liver spotted hand offered it up between the thumb and forefinger. With a nod the Latino urged her to open the door. “Hard to make sense of it all,” she continued her prattle fumbling to get the key in the keyhole, “I could only piece things together. She's so distraught almost hysterical--it had to be something traumatic. I gave her a sedative.” She relaxed with the key finally in.
“Did you go in?” the Latino asked. He reached over her shoulder, turned the knob and pushed the door open.
“No, she told me to call the police.” Mrs. Oliphant followed the two in.
A deathly silence hung in the air of the spacious and well-appointed apartment. The other officer – a tall, black, athletic man – stepped around the sofa with Mrs. Oliphant right behind him. They both nearly tripped over something crumpled on the floor, and when they looked to see what it was, they found a body, lying face down in a pool of blood that trailed to the rear of the apartment.
Somewhere Between Here and There
by Jason Gilmore
Somewhere Between Here and There is the story of
Corey Oakley and Melissa Forrester, headstrong teenagers who meet and bond over their desire to escape life in mid-1990s Toledo, Ohio, where twin traps of violence or complacency await them at every turn. As
Jason Gilmore chronicles the mercurial but genuine progression of their unlikely friendship across colleges, states and relationships, he creates an engaging portrait of religion, sex, ambition, loyalty, adulthood and the cost of dreams.
Somewhere Between Here and There is one of the most dazzling coming-of-age novels to emerge in recent American literature.
Excerpt from Somewhere Between Here and There
It was the longest quick trip of my life. But I was calm all the way there: across 80 East through Ohio, skirting the perimeter of bumpy, useless West Virginia, detouring before the frenzied DC beltway. But there was something about actually arriving on campus – about seeing all the fresh faces and impending freedom – that made me realize I had to ditch my dad.
“That’s pretty much it,” he said. I guessed I should’ve been more appreciative, since he’d carried all my crap up to the third floor and down the hall pretty much by himself. Not to mention that he’d driven me there in the first place.
“Yeah,” I said, hoping he’d get the hint, “it is.”
“Sure you don’t need anything else?” he said. “It’s gonna take you a while to unpack and get everything set up.”
“No, that’s okay,” I said. I opened the front door, thinking it might be helpful.
“Make sure you get this cleared out by the time your roommate gets here. You know what I always tell you about first impressions.”
“Okay, Dad.” I grabbed his arm and guided him towards the door. “My roommate won’t be here until the fall.”
“Melissa, if I can speak on your mom’s behalf, we’re both very proud of you. You’ve been such a good daughter.”
Now he wanted to turn this into an after school special. And when did he ever speak on Mom’s behalf? Christ, why hadn’t he left yet??
“Dad, thank you. But you’ve got a long drive ahead of you. You need to get back on the road.”?He gave me this puzzled look, like he didn’t know he was leaving. He looked out the window. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”?
I hugged and kissed him. He probably thought I was going to walk him to the car. I didn’t. I hurt him, probably, I was sure. But he was a parent. Wasn’t the first time, wouldn’t be the last. I couldn’t linger there, there was too much to do. And Toledo had wasted enough of my time.
I spent 18 years as a larva. It was time to become a butterfly.
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The Other Side of Divine
by Vanessa Davis Griggs
Can a dream come true be a mixed blessing?
Paris Simmons-Holyfield is finally pregnant with the baby she's dreamed of for so long. There's just ONE complication: she's not sure who the father is.
Meanwhile, after a battle to keep her adopted daughter and an ugly confrontation with Paris's family, Gabrielle Mercedes has finally found love and happiness. But when someone from her past shows up, it is merely another round of trouble.
Darius Connors is still...well, he's still being Darius Connors. As all three navigate the path from sin to redemption, can they forgive their way to the other side?
The Other Side of Divine (Blessed Trinity Series)
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.--Ephesians 6:17
When I tell you how beautiful, you’re not going to believe just how much so. In fact, beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it or give it justice.
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I’m getting ahead of myself here. I hate when someone starts in the middle of a conversation as though you’ve taken part in what was apparently going on in their heads before they began to speak and you have no earthly idea what they’re jabbering on and on about.
To those who don’t know me, my name is Esther Crowe. Those who know and love me best call me Esther, Aunt Esther, or Miss Crowe. A few folks even call me Zion from my days when I had a dance group called the Daughters of Zion many forgotten years ago. The miss part of Miss Crowe is actually a miss statement. There I go again: my attempt at a little humor and playing on words. I love words. For anyone who may have missed it, I was playing on the word misstatement.
I was born Esther Morgan, no middle name. I married into the last name of Crowe. My husband died young (much too young) early into our marriage, from complications of an illness called lupus, to be exact. I don’t like talking much about it. Suffice it to say: I never remarried; I never got around to finding anyone special enough to fill his space.
Then there was that terrible automobile accident that pretty near claimed my life here on earth. I was spared, although barely. For ten years, it was as if I didn’t really exist. But then my nephew, Dr. Zachary Wayne Morgan, stepped into that Chicago nursing facility, bringing with him someone near and dear to my heart: my dear, sweet Gabrielle Mercedes Booker all the way from Birmingham, Alabama and all grown up now.
Gabrielle dropped the last name of Booker and goes by Gabrielle Mercedes. That poor child has indeed lived a hard life. That wretched woman who was given charge over the almost four-year-old at the time was actually the cause of Gabrielle (eight years old when I first met her) and I becoming acquainted. I was out in the community on a summer jog and Aunt Cee-Cee (Mrs. Cecelia Murphy) was out there treating that sweet child like she thought her name was Cinderella (before the glass slippers). I laugh sometimes because Gabrielle has told me on more than one occasion that I was like her very own fairy godmother.
I suppose it’s true what some folks say: What Satan meant for bad, God will use it for good.
Sing a New Song
by Michelle Lindo-Rice
If you found out you were dying, would you suddenly confess all your past sins?
When former chart-topper Tiffany Knightly learns that she’s dying from cancer, she leaves behind her plush California lifestyle to return to Hempstead, New York, with Karlie, her reluctant teenaged daughter. Her fans think she has simply gone home to die, but Tiffany has another mission. She desperately wishes she could leave her past in the past, but in order to secure her daughter’s future, she must tear open past wounds.
Life wasn’t always easy for Tiffany. With a stepfather who abused her and a mother who didn’t believe her, she acted out by becoming promiscuous. Fifteen years later, she’s back to reveal to her ex-husband that he might not be Karlie’s biological father. In fact, there are four men who could have fathered Karlie—four that she’s willing to acknowledge, anyway.
As Tiffany reveals her truth and searches for Karlie’s father, she reconnects with old friends and old lovers. Some reunions are happy, but some innocent lives are torn apart, leaving Tiffany to wonder if she’s doing the right thing. Through it all, she will have to learn to rely on the healing power of God’s unfathomable love.
Read an Excerpt from Chapter One
“I’m sorry, Tiffany. We’ve done all that we can do.” Dr. Ettelman spoke those words with great dread.
Tiffany Knightly leaned back in the plush black chair across from Dr. Ettelman’s wide mahogany desk. The sun beamed on her honey-blond curls and heightened her hazel-colored eyes. From her vantage point of three floors up, she could look out the window behind him and make out the business-clad people scurrying like ants to keep appointments.
Tiffany blinked in slow motion. How could the world go on when she had just received the most devastating news of her life?
Dr. Ettelman must have moved from behind his chair, though Tiffany did not recall seeing him move. But the next thing she felt were his hands gently squeezing her shoulders. Instinctively she shrank away from him. He was the monster at that moment.
“Whoosh.” Tiffany finally exhaled the breath she had been holding. Vehemently, she shook her head. “No, Dr. Ettelman, I must not have heard you correctly,” she croaked in a voice she hardly even recognized. She panted hard, feeling as if she was about to pass out from the magnitude of emotions hitting her all at once.
Dr. Ettelman’s face reflected empathy. He was still talking about something. What was he even saying?
“We’ve done all that we could do, Ms. Knightly. Is there someone that you can call?” She heard the hopeful inquiry but robotically shook her head. She needed some alone time to process the news she’d just received, and did not feel like calling anyone.
Sinful Seduction by Sabrina Sims McAfee
Sins, Secrets, and Scandals Series - Book
THIS HOT NURSE is the MASTER OF
Nurse Katilla Richardson was recently dumped by her NFL superstar boyfriend. Now that she’s out on the dating market again, she’s determined not to let any man break her heart. Believing that true love is impossible, she sets out to seduce a renowned wealthy physician for her own personal gain. However, she’s shocked when her hot game of seduction backfires after she ends up in the fine doctor’s bed.
THE GAME of SEDUCTION GETS HOTTER
Dr. Kenneth Michaels is a leading cardiologist still grieving the death of his wife. Feeling as if he’s already had his opportunity at true love, he meets a beautiful woman that changes his mind about second chances. As he engage in a steamy love affair with the pretty lady he’s so smitten with, he begins to fall madly in love with her. But then suddenly, when he learns of the seductive nurse’s secret, and someone from her past returns, things become explosive!
Will Kenneth and Katilla’s relationship survive her deceitful game of SINFUL SEDUCTION?
Excerpt Sinful Seduction
Heartland Memorial Hospital
“Get the OR - stat!” Dread strained from Dr. Maze’s tight vocal cords as his bloody, gloved covered hands maneuvered the trapped fetus stuck inside the womb of his pregnant patient. With her thighs parted wide cupping her knees, her leaking entrance was clenching the fetus’ head, preventing it from moving further down her constricted canal.
Nurse Katilla towered over the doctor, fighting hard to keep her raw emotions in check. Before she turned on her heels, the woman on the birthing table bolted upright and pushed. Clenching her teeth, she grunted, “Aaagghhh!” A clear, thick film excreted from her opening onto the crisp white sheets beneath her.
“Push, Margie! Push!” The urgency in the physician’s voice caused Katilla’s heart to spin and had her hustling to the other side of the room, where she made an emergency call, requesting OR preparation for an emergency cesarean. She slammed the phone back on the receiver, then hurried back over to where Dr. Maze was still struggling to deliver the baby.
Katilla stood slightly behind Dr. Maze and glared down over his shoulders between the pregnant woman’s bloody thighs. She then looked at the confident physician, Dr. Maze. Tiny beads of sweat dotted his crinkly forehead as he slid the length of his arms up inside the woman’s stretched vagina, twisting and turning them as he maneuvered the stuck fetus.
With no success, the brainy doctor extended a red, stained gloved hand toward Katilla and she lowered a shiny silver instrument to his palm so he could perform an episiotomy on the distressed woman.
Katilla’s intense gaze went to the heart monitor posted beside the patient, Margie’s, bed. The red number on the machine was steadily increasing, worrying the heck out of Katilla.
Oh no! Margie’s heart rate is rising! We need to deliver this baby now!
Life in Spades
by Frances Frost
Life in Spades explores the
lives, loves and friendships among four contemporary African-American women.
Set in Washington, D.C. and its surrounding suburbs, Life in Spades is about the friendship of four thirty-something African-American women who regularly get together to play the card game Spades. Away from the card table, Gina, Sherry, Laura, and Cookie face challenges in inter-racial dating, impending motherhood, finding love, and recovering from an attack.
Gina, an admittedly unathletic runner, is training for a marathon with her white boyfriend in an effort to change her mother’s mind about interracial dating.
Sherry divorced her husband after he was convicted and imprisoned on charges of financial wrong-doing and is now enjoying her new single life. While debating her own possibility of motherhood, she is forced to help out her pregnant niece.
Laura, a professional escort, plays by a strict set of self-imposed rules in order to maintain her one-woman business.
Cookie, a cupcake baker, wrestles with memories of her late fiancée and an obvious attraction to the delivery man who comes by every day. An attack in her bakery scares all of the women and they are each inspired to figure out the next best hand to play.
With humor and insight, Frances Frost weaves a story of these women as they face their personal insecurities, negotiate love, strengthen their friendship, and define happiness.
About the Author
Frances Frost is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Wake Forest University. She chronicles her thoughts on motherhood, books, and crafts on Just Piddlin’ (www.slackermomof4.blogspot.com), a Circle of Moms “Top 25 Family Blog by Moms”.
She lives in Maryland with her husband, four children, and rescued pup where she is active in her community and sorority. Life in Spades is her first novel. Connect with her on Facebook – “Frances Frost – Author”;
Twitter @FrancesFrost; and her website, www.francesfrost.com
Life in Spades by Frances Frost
- Fiction; Women’s Fiction; African-American Fiction
- Available on Amazon.com
- Available on BarnesandNoble.com
Mama Don't Like Ugly
by Rekaya Gibson
Mama Don't Like Ugly takes readers on a journey of Dana Calhoun's life growing up in Nautica, Louisiana. Her mama finds her dark skin repulsive, so she abuses and neglects her. Also, she constantly compares Dana to her light-skinned sister. Regardless of Dana's unconditional love for her mama, she still encounters a cycle of torment. Will mama finally realize that Dana is a beautiful person in spite of her dark skin or will she continue to spew those hateful words, "Mama don't like ugly?"
Intimate Conversation with Rekaya Gibson
Rekaya Gibson is the author of three fiction titles: “Mama Don’t Like Ugly,” “The Food Temptress,” and the sequel, “The Food Enchantress,” She launched her freelance writing career in 2005 by writing for several magazines. She reviews cookbooks for Cuisine Noir, a foodies and wine magazine for African Americans, as well as writes articles for the Hampton Food Examiner. In addition, she offers grant writing services/consultations and grant writing workshops. She resides in Virginia.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters.
“Mama Don’t Like Ugly” is a fiction story about Dana, a dark-skinned girl, growing up in a household with a mama who dislikes her because of her skin color. Her mama not only abuses and neglects her, but she constantly compares her to her light-skinned sister. In spite of her situation, she still loves her mama unconditionally.
BPM: Who were your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
My favorite character is Dana. I want readers to connect with her because she is intelligent and resilient. In spite of her situation, she still loves her mama unconditionally. Most importantly, her beauty radiates from the inside and she does not let her imperfections dictate her destiny.
BPM: What situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
I am fascinated that people’s behaviors and/or perceptions about skin color are passed from generation to generation - consciously and subconsciously. I have seen this in so many families. It has made some stronger while it has destroyed others.
Believe in Me
by Regena Bryant
In the next ninety days, Kitty Franklin will have to choose between love and loyalty.
Kitty is the jaded, outspoken daughter of a scandal-plagued, multi-term congressman. As her father’s attorney she discreetly cleans up his political and personal dirty laundry. She’s lost all faith in God, government and men.
Despite the rumors, Davis Thornton is moving home to Rock Hill, South Carolina, to run the faith-based community empowerment center established by his childhood hero, Congressman Roosevelt Franklin. Honest, hard-working, Davis must unite a staff divided by a salacious, viral internet scandal, while trying to nurture a relationship with the woman striving to cover it all up.
While Kitty works to shut down the blog dedicated to exposing the Congressman’s many indiscretions, she and Davis falter. Her commitment to keeping her father’s secrets doesn’t sit well with Davis. When she fails to complete the investigation at download speed, her father questions her dedication to his cause.
The scandal shakes Kitty’s fragile faith and may prevent her from believing in anything or anyone ever again.
Meet the Author
In 2004 Regena Bryant made a pact with her nephew, “… if you give me a college degree, I’ll write a book.” In 2011 her first novel, Except on Sunday was published. She lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two sons and nephew’s college diploma gracing the mantle.
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Believe in Me by Regena Bryant
Currently Available on all e-formats
Genre: Romance and Women’s Fiction Readers
Topics: Relationships, forgiveness, and political families
Print copies available at: http://www.regenabryant.com
Sienna St. James Series
by Leslie J. Sherrod
She’s a sleuth. She’s a scorned wife. She’s a sista on a mission.
Sienna St. James is more than a sharp-witted social worker. She’s a problem solver who keeps getting pulled into life-and-death mysteries that only complicate her already complex life. With a head-strong teenage son and a missing, estranged husband - who could be anywhere on the globe - Sienna has to figure out what gets her focus first: the questions she has about her own love and loss or the dangerous quirks and dark confusion of her current clients... And then there are the current eligible men around her who are jockeying for position, waiting for her to make up her mind about it all.
Featured Books by Leslie J. Sherrod
* Losing Hope (Available Now)
* Without Faith (Coming Fall 2013)
* Sacrifices of Joy (Coming Spring 2014)
About Losing Hope:
Social worker Sienna St. James is a woman with a complicated past and an alarming Tuesday morning. In one single day, every advance Sienna has made in getting over her long lost globe-trotting husband unravels in unexplainable fashion. From a mysterious package that hails from another continent to a new teen client who claims to have a missing sister, Sienna finds herself in the middle of a city-wide scandal, all while sorting out the painful details of her personal life. At center are two suspicious foster parents, a mega-church ministry leader, and Sienna's own fragile emotions over a man who changed the direction of her life.
t's a test of her professional and moral will as Sienna seeks closure from a love she never understood and answers about whether a little girl named Hope ever existed. And if she did, where is she now? In this first installment of the suspenseful Sienna St. James Series, finding hope in the midst of questions and chaos becomes essential when life takes an unexpected turn.
About Without Faith:
She’s moved forward, but has she really moved ahead? Social worker Sienna St. James is no stranger to setbacks. As far as she is concerned, her estranged husband set her back and off course over a decade ago. Now, she has reclaimed her sense of hope and purpose, set up a new therapy practice, bought a new home, and has finally moved on. Maybe.
When a wealthy, secretive new couple she’s counseling pulls her into their very real life-and-death drama, and her long-lost husband’s whereabouts can no longer be ignored, Sienna realizes the truth about what has kept her emotionally frozen and fragile—it’s fear. Ready or not, she has frightening challenges to overcome: a kidnapping, a teenage son who’s gone AWOL, a tired-of-waiting potential new beau, and a journalist who’s made it clear that he’s interested in getting more from her than the breaking news the twists in her life are offering. Torn by professional and personal struggles that have now become a full blown war, Sienna must come face-to-face with her deepest fears—and survive them—before it’s too late.
Excerpt from LOSING HOPE
“So Dayonna has been here a few days now. Tell me how things are going for each of you.” I made certain to share eye contact with all three to ensure nobody felt excluded from my invitation to talk. In doing so, I did not miss the brief moments of silence that suddenly took over the room. The Monroes looked at each other again, though I could not read what emotion passed between them.
“Everything has been quite perfect, to be honest with you.” The gap in Mrs. Monroe’s upper teeth showed through her smile.
But her bottom lip was quivering.
“Yes, indeed.” Mr. Monroe’s voice sounded louder than necessary. “No problems here.”
I looked over at Dayonna, who stared back at me with a blank look on her face. “Your thoughts on how things are going so far?” I inquired.
She said nothing, only continued to stare at me with that blank, unreadable look.
Teenagers were some of the most difficult people to navigate, even without a mental health diagnosis.
“Well . . . ?” I shuffled through some papers in my lap, trying to figure out what words would break the apparent agreed-upon code of silence suddenly permeating the living room. Despite all my training, at times I still felt like a novice. “So . . . ,” I said, beginning again, “everything is going well?”
“All is well.” Mr. Monroe gave a plastic grin.
Mrs. Monroe nodded her head in agreement, a crazed smile on her face.
“Perhaps I can talk to each of you individually.” I glanced over at Dayonna, whose lips were pursed, as if she was about to finally speak.
by Renee Daniel
Renee’s work has been described as “deliciously dramatic”
Holiday has decided to call foul and leave her destructive marriage. But her
cheating husband, Jaylin, decides he needs her money to survive and
insists on a rematch. Usually, Blue would be game, but after discovering the
depths of his depravity, she drops him from her roster of eligible’s.
Unaccustomed to rejection, especially from his wife, Jaylin decides to take what
he feels is rightfully his. Problem is, he forgot a woman in love will put up
with a lot. But a woman enraged, she’ll let you think you’re winning, just
before she snatches it all. Raging Blue is a contemporary romance by
author, Renee Daniel Flagler.
Raging Blue Chapter 1
He slapped her so hard that her sight blurred for a minute. After a few moments,
Blue Holiday focused on her husband’s towering frame as it loomed over her.
Jaylin Mack’s rich, dark complexion appeared even darker. His French-cuffed
shirt was half buttoned and sloped lazily off his shoulders. His slacks hung low
around his slim waist, and his belt was only partially looped.
“See what you made me do!” he screamed, applying pressure to his temples
with the fingers of both hands.
Shocked into silence, Blue stood still, absorbing the verbal assault. Tears had
yet to find their way down her cheek. In the five years they’d been married,
Jay had never put his hands on her. However, she’d grown accustomed to his
crassness, initially intrigued by what she'd perceived as confidence.
The slap still sent a pulsing sensation across her cheek. The tears finally
appeared, welling up in her eyes. Her unresponsiveness fell away in clumps. She
stared at his moving lips and began to hear him clearly. His words carried as
much sting as the slap.
“See what you made me do,” he repeated. The liquor made his tongue lazy,
causing each word to slide into the next.
Blue looked into his wild eyes and blinked. Tears trickled down her cheeks,
making dark circles wherever they landed on her champagne-colored cocktail
dress. She swatted them away. Her eyes were fixed on Jay. He was obviously
hopped up on something more potent than scotch.
Blue’s eyes darted around the living room of their lavish penthouse, taking in
the massive floor-to-ceiling windows that framed the dazzling Manhattan skyline.
A pair of handsome floor vases sprouting dried flora caused Blue to pause, but
they were too heavy to pick up. Her sight then rested on his set of prized golf
clubs. Blue took slow steps in the direction of the irons as Jay continued
“Don’t walk away from me. You’re supposed to be my wife! A woman! Act.
Like. One!” he yelled as Blue continued to walk towards the clubs. “I saw
you whispering to that man,” he said, his voice growing louder. “I saw him
Blue shook her head. Jay’s words lashed at her back. She swatted at them in
her mind and imagined the cold steel of the golf club in her hands—as
protection. With a few short steps, Jay was right behind her just as she reached
for a club. He grabbed at her, pulling her from the pit of her thoughts.
The Seth St. James
by Kiffany Dugger
The Green Eyed Butterfly by Kiffany Dugger
Unlocking the Mystery...
People have always been intrigued by Seth St. James, especially her green eyes. After all, she looks nothing like the woman who raised her. But Seth's past is cloaked in mystery. No one knows about the tragic accident that left eight-year-old Seth an orphan in the care of her surrogate grandmother, Madelyn. Together the two have worked hard to keep what really happened that fateful night a secret.
Windows to the Soul...
Twenty years after that mysterious accident, Seth has worked even harder to lead a normal life. And she seems to have put the past behind her. But a visit from a stranger jolts her back to the night her family was killed and the memories send her world spiraling out of control. As she struggles to hang on to her sanity, Seth sets out to uncover the truth surrounding that horrible night. It's not long before she discovers life-changing details about her family's sordid past and the man who may have murdered them all – a man she was learning to love. Filled with deception, sensuality, and suspense, The Green Eyed Butterfly will take you on a transforming journey and just when you think you know what's going on...you'll be forced to think again!
Twisted Truth: The Legend of Seth St. James by Kiffany Dugger
A Family Affair...
Almost two years after tracking down and murdering the men that destroyed her family, Seth St. James is finally able to pick up the pieces of her broken life. Enjoying motherhood and wedded bliss, Seth's husband Alex is tragically killed in a car accident. Still mourning the loss of her husband, a knock at the door reveals yet another illegitimate sibling. Haunted by his own past, Seth's new brother has one request. He needs Seth to help him find out what happened the night his mother was killed by their father over twenty years ago.
Uncovering the Truth One Lie at a Time…
Trying to help her brother discover the truth about his mother, Seth uncovers more skeletons from the past. A three a.m. phone call from a familiar stranger sends Seth out into the dead of night to uncover a body that was buried in her backyard more than two decades prior. Uncovering the body turns Seth's life upside down as she becomes the prey instead of the hunter. With few options, she must turn to her ex-lover and the possible "real" father of her child to help her take on the notorious gangster who has a price on her head.
Forced into hiding Seth struggles with being the ruthless killer that she knows lives inside her or disappearing forever to protect her family. Once again, Seth St. James takes you on a wild ride as she uncovers the twisted truth one lie at a time! Filled with deception, sensuality, and suspense, Twisted Truth will take you on a transforming journey and just when you think you know what's going on...you'll be forced to think again!
by JC Gardner
A family saga full of lust, lies and deceit, along with a nice heaping of spice!
Are you ready to take a ride on the wild side?
Smooth talking pretty boy David Jarconni, son of a millionaire businessman and a doting mother, is overprivileged and doesn’t appreciate anything. Destined to run the family business, he’d rather run the streets than be in a business suite.
His younger sister, Carol, is an overachiever who has already staked her claim to the company fortune. She undermines David at every turn.
His new lady love, super model Danielle, provides him with a safe haven to escape the reality of his jacked up situation. And an old nemesis comes out of the woodwork for sweet revenge!
is bound to keep readers up into the wee hours of the night with its complex relationships and jaw dropping plot twists. It lives up to the fiery chili pepper on the cover…it’s smokin’ hot!
Book Excerpt: Sinful Liaisons
David had been sitting in his cell for two hours coming down from his high, going over the events that led to his current predicament. He was supposed to call Danielle after that horrid dinner, but he was so wound up after visiting his parents’ house, that was the last thing on his mind. Sitting at the dinner table with them was hell. All
Carol could talk about was work and how rewarding it was, and Lewis would just grunt and mumble about how he should give it a try. Then Carol retired to her room to work on her schedule for the next day and Lewis went into his study for some quiet time.
David knew that meant some quiet time with his friend Jack…Daniels.
Genre: Romance, Ssuspense
Historical Fiction Uses Genealogy to Trace African American and Native
American Connections. Geared Toward Readers Ages 8 and Up
Learn About America’s Forgotten African-American and Native American Patriots
There were anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 soldiers of African and Native American descent who served under
General George Washington in the Continental Forces. Fighting for a country under which they had no legal rights was not an easy road to travel. The stunning new picture
book Patriots of African Descent in the Revolutionary War: Part 1 is fiction, as told by a family historian to his greatgrandson
about their family’s service as African-Americans during the Revolutionary War. Readers ages 8 and older will be fascinated as they read about a nearly forgotten chapter in American history.
Genealogy is a hot topic. We would all love to know our family history, but it’s not always possible. Sometimes we must depend on oral
history passed down through the generations, and many times it fosters questions. Some African American families may have
Native American connections. This fascinating historical fiction picture book serves as an example of how such connections and disconnections can be made.
The main characters, Jeremy and his great-grandfather, were in the author’s first book, Patriots of African Descent in the Revolutionary War: Part 1.
This second book, More than One Ancestry: Part 2, fills in more of the blanks of where we come from and who we are.
The story is geared for readers ages 8 and older. It was written to inspire research into our family
ties and to foster interest in participating in family reunions. What could be more important?
Patriots of African Descent in the Revolutionary War by Marion T. Lane
There were anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 soldiers of African and Native American descent who served under General George Washington in the Continental Forces.
Fighting for a country under which they had no legal rights was not an easy road to travel. The stunning new picture book Patriots of African Descent in the Revolutionary War: Part 1 is fiction, as told by a family historian to his great-grandson about their family’s service as African-Americans during the Revolutionary War. Readers ages 8 and older will be fascinated as they read about a nearly forgotten chapter in American history.
More Than One Ancestry by Marion T. Lane
In many African American families, there have been discussions about Native American family connections. This historical fiction picture book, More than One Ancestry: Part 2, serves as an example of how such connections and disconnections were made. This informative book was written to inspire research into family ties and to foster interest in family reunions for readers ages 8 and older.
Meet the Author
Marion T. Lane is one of the few African American members of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the National Gavel Society and serves as the National President of the Society of Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge. In addition, this retired public school educator is a Board member of the Friends of Valley Forge National Historical Park.
To follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SBPRA
To follow us on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/2cwerv7
Purchase books here: http://sbpra.com/mariontlane
The books are also available at Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com
The Red Order by Cerece Rennie Murphy
Order of the Seers Trilogy - Book 2
The quest to control the power of the Seers continues. After successfully destroying the Guild’s Purification Center in Chicago, The Lost Seers, led by Joel Akida and Lilli Knight, embark upon a world-wide mission to save their kind from the tyranny of the Guild and unveil their greatest weapon – The Restoration Project. Developed in secret, The Restoration Project has the potential to awaken the supernatural ability within every man, woman, and child on earth and bring down the very foundation of the Guild’s power and authority.
But the Guild has other plans. Driven by the necessity for control, Crane Le Dieu creates The Red
Order, a new league of clairvoyants whose sole purpose is to hunt down and annihilate the Lost Seers. Without the Guild’s mind-controlling drugs,
The Red Order is able to develop its gifts far beyond the capacity to see the future, honing their skills to become the ultimate threat against the Lost Seers. But the question remains – will the power of The Red Order be enough to defeat them?
The Red Order continues the epic battle for freedom which began in Order of the
Seers, revealing the secret motives behind an organization that exists to exploit and a renegade movement that seeks to usher in the next phase in human evolution.
Order of the Seers Book
"With masterful storytelling and a brilliant plot that holds you in suspense from page-to-page, Order Of The Seers, is a well-written, gripping tale."
– Trice Hickman, Bestselling Author of, Playing the Hand You're Dealt
“Order of the Seers is an interesting take to just what our world might be like with people who could see the future, complete with action, romance and thrills that will appeal to science fiction fans of supernatural powers. I look forward to reading the sequel to see what happens next.”
– S.J. Wist, Author of The Dragon Aster Trilogy
from The Red Order by Cerece Rennie Murphy
After a surprise defeat in Chicago, the Guild creates The Red Order, unleashing a new weapon against those who dare to challenge their authority. To survive, a band of renegade Seers, led by Joel Akida and Lilli Knight, must fight against their own kind to protect a truth so powerful that it will destroy the very foundation upon which the Guild is built.
Chapter 1 Excerpt: The Defeated
The fact that Crane Le Dieu had barely escaped with his life intact less than ten hours ago did nothing to humble his demeanor as he stormed out of the steel-glass elevator, as bold and arrogant as always.
“You!” Crane shouted, pointing his finger at the middle-aged Asian woman who sat at the far side of the room. “Did you hear what happened? How could you let this happen?”
As he cut across the sea of cluttered work stations that made up the office level of the Guild’s lead research facility in Geneva, Dr. Ming Jhu seemed all but oblivious to Crane’s approach. In contrast to the crackling tension in the room, Ming looked utterly detached as she took a long draw from her cigarette and stared at the email message on her laptop. As head of Research and Development, it was bad form for her to just be sitting there, so indifferent to her superior while the other scientists around her froze in terror at Crane’s presence. But she’d been like this for at least an hour. Even with the Guild’s lockdown protocol, which had them sequestered in their offices at 11 o’clock at night, Crane bursting into their facility yelling demands at her was nothing new. What felt refreshing was that for the first time, Ming didn’t give a damn.
It would have been nice, she thought, to have had this objectivity twenty years ago, before she had bartered her life away while most of her colleagues were being killed. In the early days of the International Science Team’s research on Seers, Eli Tanner, Gerard Morrow, Willem Knight, Neeva Patel, Hasaam Al Attar, and the other lead scientists had been such good mentors to her that she had considered them family, or so she thought, before she choose self-preservation and advancement over them.
By the time the Guild had asked for her allegiance, she knew Willem Knight and Gerard Morrow were dead because of their refusal to cooperate with the Guild’s new agenda to catalog and harness new Seers against their will. Back then, she was just another eager, twenty-nine year old junior researcher, but she had shown tremendous promise, and the Guild made their interest in her known as soon as it was clear that most of the Seer Project’s lead scientists would need to be replaced. With the gift of hindsight and twenty-three years of experience behind her, Ming could almost laugh now at the fact that she had been naïve enough to be more flattered than frightened when Crane came to her apartment to recruit her. It was only later that she learned how much blind ambition and stupidity had in common.
But Ming’s desire for advancement wasn’t the only thing that kept her with the Guild. She had also just met Thea Case and was only starting to learn what it meant to find the one person you would do anything for. In the years that followed, Thea made most of the despicable things Ming had done bearable, if not quite worth it. The irony of what Ming now knew made the rims of her weary eyes burn with the need to cry, but she refused to do that here. Instead, she squinted at her computer screen while flicking the ash from her unfiltered Dunhill on the floor before taking another long deep drag. And it’s all for nothing now. It’s all for nothing, she thought as she exhaled the smoke from her cigarette and read the email in front of her for the 47th time.
by Jason Mott
"In his exceptional debut novel, poet Mott brings drama, pathos, joy, horror, and redemption to a riveting tale." -Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were."
Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.
All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.
With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.
Meet the Author
Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various journals such as Prick of the Spindle, The Thomas Wolfe Review, The Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets, Measure and Chautauqua. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award.
He is the author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and "...hide behind me..." The Returned is his first novel.
The Returned has also been optioned by Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B, in association with Brillstein Entertainment and ABC. The pilot is currently being filmed.
Visit the author's website for more information: http://jasonmottauthor.com
Read the PW Article:
Conversation With Jason Mott: How the Idea for the Apocalypse Started
Books by Jason Mott
Life In Prison With Lauryn Hill
Written by Jamila T. Davis
On July 8, 2013 my existence as I have known it for the past 5 years in prison instantly changed. I had been so drained, physically, emotionally and spiritually that I had no idea how oppressed my spiritual being really was. In the midst of my own internal chaos a beautiful, chocolate face with a warm smile and bright spirit spoke life back into my dry bones.
Lauryn Hill has sparked a worldwind of knowledge, faith and courage into my broken spirit. It was a tremendous boost, at a time and place where I least expected it. Through her purity and candidness, she has encouraged me to be myself, with no cut on it, despite the barriers that divide me from the free world.
At first sight I admired Lauryn's courage, which I quickly found out was contagious.
reminds me of Angela Davis or Assatta Shakur because of her knowledge and strength. Like a soldier who was trained for war, she jumped right into the prison routine and hasn't missed a beat. Surprisingly, she didn't shed a tear or complain. Instead, she opened up her spirit for God to use her. Almost immediately, she reached out to listen and comfort the many hurting souls at the Danbury Federal Prison Camp. I am one of them.
I had the pleasure to spend many hours on end just talking to Lauryn about life and her experiences. In such a short period of time I learned so much! I had no clue how intelligent she truly is. I only saw her as a singer, but the truth is she has vast knowledge on so many different levels that it is almost scary. It was shocking to see that we share many things in common, including hardships. In just a few days she became like the sister I had from the same father, but a different mother who I had never met. After 5 years of what seemed like endless pain and disappointments, through Lauryn's company I experienced intense joy, which is a rare experience in prison.
BUSINESS ETIQUETTE 101 FOR NON PROFITS
by D.A. Sears
A nonprofit is a corporation or an association that conducts business for the benefit of the general public without shareholders and without a profit motive. Nonprofits are also called not-for-profit corporations. A vast number of organizations qualify for nonprofit status. Nonprofit organizations include organized book clubs, churches, soup kitchens, charities, political associations, business leagues, fraternities, sororities, sports leagues, Colleges and Universities, hospitals, museums, television stations, symphonies, and public interest law firms.
The number of nonprofit corporations in the United States continued to increase into the twenty-first century. Although nonprofit corporations cannot produce dividends for investors, they provide income for the employees, and they foster work that benefits the public. Are you ready to serve the people as a nonprofit?
In the world of business, only three things matter:
1. What do you know?
2. What do you have to offer?
3. Can you be trusted?
Being brilliant and possessing top notch skills and a track record of producing high quality goods and services are a few "pieces of the puzzle" to succeeding in the business world. But it is not enough. Whether you are the CEO of a for-profit or not for profit organization, your intellectual capital, skills, and ability to produce high quality goods and services will not do you much good if you cannot be trusted. Why? Because the world of business runs on trust!
How does the world determine whether or not you can be trusted? Your adherence to the unwritten rules of etiquette is the yardstick the world of business utilizes to determine if you are trustworthy. Your professional reputation and success and that of your organization is directly tied to whether you abide by or violate the written and unwritten rules of etiquette. While the world listens to what you have to say, it pays very critical attention to what you do and what you don't do.
When you commit an offense, the world will not confront you, tap you on the shoulder, and say:
"Hey! You committed a breach of etiquette. This is what you did wrong. Here is what you should have done and this is how you should correct it." Instead, the world watches silently, makes note of your offense(s), and decides whether it will do business with you and whether it will tell others in the business world not to do business with you or provide you with critical resources -- such as funding -- based on the severity of the breach of etiquette you have committed.
Now, why would the world sit back and watch you commit a breach of etiquette and not tell you? Because the world of business implicitly expects you to know and understand etiquette. The business world takes the view that if you have reached the pinnacle of owning or running a company -- be it a "for profit" or "not for profit" organization -- surely, you must know the rules of engagement. Surely, somewhere along the way, someone mentored you and taught you etiquette.
What exactly is "etiquette"?
Some refer to it as "manners." While others refer to it as "protocol" or "home training". For those of us who were raised by the village, as we made our journey from childhood to adulthood, our parents, family members, and Elders in our communities taught us "etiquette". We were taught to say "Thank you"; "Please"; "Excuse me"; and "You are welcome". We were taught to always be punctual for an appointment -- tardiness was inexcusable. And we were also taught to honor our commitments -- that our word should be our bond.
In other words, if you say you are going to do something, do it!
In retrospect, in their infinite wisdom, our parents, family members, and Elders in our communities were providing us with the rules of engagement to successfully navigate the environment outside of our immediate environment. We were given the fundamentals of business etiquette.
Philanthropists, foundations and Fortune 500 corporations are constantly searching for non-profit organizations that need funding and with whom they can develop and maintain mutually beneficial strategic alliances. Why? It makes good business sense for Fortune 500 corporations to fund and form mutually beneficial collaborations with non-profit organizations that are empowering the communities in which their clients and prospective clients live and work. But philanthropists, foundations, and Fortune 500 corporations want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will receive a return on their investment.
And providing a non-profit organization with funding or engaging a non-profit organization in a strategic alliance is, in the eyes of philanthropists, foundations, and Fortune 500 corporations, an investment. Key officers of a non-profit organization who engage in the types of behavior described below run the risk of having their organizations characterized as "bad investments" by philanthropists, foundations, and Fortune 500 corporations:
1. Scheduling meetings with individuals and organizations and not bothering to show up or calling in advance to advise the individuals and organizations in question that the meeting has been canceled.
2. Scheduling telephone conference calls which you say you are going to initiate and not making the conference calls and not notifying the participants that the conference calls will not take place.
3. Failing to return telephone calls from clients, prospective clients, vendors, colleagues, etc.
4. Failing to respond to e-mail communications from clients, prospective,
vendors, colleagues, etc.
The types of behavior that I have just described are, in fact, breaches of etiquette.
Would you do business with an individual or organization that exhibited any of the behaviors I have just described? Would you have confidence in an individual or organization that engaged in any of the behaviors I just described?
Think about it!
About the Author
Diane A. Sears is the Managing Editor of a quarterly international male parenting journal -- IN SEARCH OF
FATHERHOOD(R) Forum For and About the Fathers of the World and a member of the University Council for Akamai University in connection with its Fatherhood and Men's Studies program. Ms. Sears has published interviews of more than 100 Men who are Fathers.
She has authored and published reviews of numerous books which explore Fatherhood and men's rights issues, including "Father And Child Reunion" by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.; "Swallowed By A Snake: The Gift Of The Masculine Side Of Healing," by Thomas R. Golden, LCSW; and "The Ultimate Survival Guide for the Single Father" by Thomas Hoerner.
Sears is featured in the 2003-2004 National Register's Who's Who In Professionals and Executives and is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
How Workers Can Secure Their Employment Future
Dr. Daryl Green
future is filled with uncertainty. More and more jobs go abroad. Companies
continue to shrink in size in hopes of being more competitive. Business
executives understand the power of technology and outsourcing to gain a
business edge. Yet, many workers must rely on the good will of their employers
to stay gainfully employed. Sadly, many workers do not fully understand the
merits of indispensability in their lives. Bloomberg
Businessweek magazine editor Josh Tyrangiel called indispensability the
new word of 2011. Tyrangiel notes, "How do we make people smarter and
save them time?"
my clients and students, I have emphasized the importance of building customer
value in everything that they do. In fact, it is an attribute to one's
branding strategy to be unforgettable to others. However, many workers operate
in the dark shadows of their organizations.
preacher Richard S. Brown, Jr. proclaims to his audience, "Everyone wants
to be outstanding but no one wants to stand out." Yet, it is the
"standing out" that catches everyone's attention. I've written
several books on this new 21st-century theme, including Breaking
Organizational Ties, Publishing for Professionals, and Job
Strategies for the 21st Century. If you do the same things that
you've always been doing, then you shouldn't be surprised if you get the same
influence is therefore critical in achieving any substantial level of success
in life. When an individual has a clear platform as an expert, people tend to
listen. In fact, a person can often gain more influence at work and in the
community with a clear personal strategy. This article provides individuals
with a proven method for becoming indispensable in their organizations in
order to build sustainability in their professions.
economic pressures, organizations look to streamline and drop processes and
people that do not add value to their bottom-line. Some people sit back and
hope that business will create more jobs. With a weak economic growth rate of
3%, these jobs will not rapidly appear anytime soon for the 15 million people
still unemployed. This reality speaks to the record number (1.3 million) of
"discouraged" workers. Discouraged workers are individuals not
currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them.
need to create greater value to secure future job opportunities.Indispensability
means adding value to your customers and organization. In the classic sense, indispensability
means being absolutely essential or necessary. Yet, it goes to the heart of
being relevant. Are you indispensible to your organization or community? If
not, why not? Being indispensable speaks the pressing needs of organizations
to compete in a global environment.
following are a few strategies for gaining indispensability:
(a) Devote time to solving important problems for your customer; (b) Showcase
your expertise (blogs, media expert, etc.); (c) Be a great source of
information by writing and speaking; (d) Champion a significant cause in a
nonprofit organization such as United Way; (e) Help people solves their
problems solutions; and (f) Network regularly with others (i.e. Linkedin.com).
Missing this concept of value is like losing money in the lottery. Can you
afford to lose out on job opportunities?
the lack of employment opportunities, individuals must look for innovative job
strategies. Indispensability speaks to concept of gaining more influence in
life. With millions of people searching for full-time employment, it pays to
distinguish yourself from others by building skills that speak to the concept
of indispensability. Individuals need to retool their thinking about
indispensability before it is too late.
2013 by Daryl D. Green
Daryl Green has done extensive research on cultural issues impacting today and
future leaders. His last book, Job
Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today's College
Students during Economic Turbulence, has been rated number one on
Amazon.com. For more information, you can contact him at www.darylgreen.org
Black Pearls Magazine
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Ella Curry, President of EDC Creations
Founder & Editor In Chief Black Pearls Magazine