image
image
image

Sign Up for Black Pearls 
Literary News

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

Privacy Policy

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

 


 


 

Black Pearls Magazine 

Celebrating Our Literary Heroes 365!

What We're Reading Now!


 

 

Special Features


Give Great 
Books as Gifts!




Black Pearls 
Online Bookstore


Purchase Books Here

 


Book Club Tribute

Read the Collection 




Reading Room
RAVES
View more here.













 

 


 


Mobile Book Club



View Now

 

 


Featured 
Black Pearl Selections











 

 

 




Give the Gift of Knowledge 
Join Our Online Book Tour!



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


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

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

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


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

 

 

 


 

BLACK PEARLS MAGAZINE WINS AGAIN!  

2013 & 2014 BEST LITERARY MAGAZINE AWARD 


Presented by the 10th Annual African American Literary Awards Show

 

 

 

 


Explore Black Pearls  
We Know You Want More!

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

Dreamers & Achievers

What We're Reading Now

 


Authors You Should Know!  



Enjoy the awesome #StorytellersBookTour

 

 

 



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



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

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

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

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

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


Official release date is January 20, 2015.  For more information on how to order the book, please visit the website:  http://www.theemptycarriagelife.com 




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

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

 

 

 


The Long Way Home 
by Andrena Sawyer


What happens when Mr. Wrong turns out to be Mr. Right?

Alonna Jones is no stranger to disappointments and heartbreaks. Struggling to deal with a devastating breakup and the lingering effects of bad decisions, she decides to move back east. As the secrets of her past continue to haunt her, she vows that she will never allow another man to get close to her heart again. On her journey back to the place she's always called home, Alonna learns that home is not only where the heart is, but also where redemption and healing can take place.

Chapter 18 Excerpt: The Long Way Home Excerpt 

She looked up occasionally only to gauge whether he was still sitting there. She’d half-expected that he had ran out after hearing all of the gory details. She’d confessed most of the details of how her relationship with Ray went from one of complete bliss to disaster overnight, and how she endured the verbal abuse, mostly because her self-esteem had been so damaged by that point. She talked about the humiliation of calling off the engagement after walking in on Ray with another woman, and the lack of support from her father because he’d assumed she’d driven him away. By this time she was already in tears at having to relive the last few years all over again. While it was cathartic to talk about it with someone, for Alonna it also felt like someone was ripping off the bandage from an old wound.

When she couldn’t avoid saying it anymore, she confessed to the details of the operation. Shawn hadn’t asked. In fact, he’d barely spoke since she started talking, but she knew that her story was incomplete without talking about the one decision that still haunted her. The dark halls, the cold feel of the instruments, and the shameful looks of the other women in the waiting area, she talked about it all. She spared no detail, because at this point, there was no going back.

Alonna could recall the looks of the other women. That was the most startling part of the whole experience. She’d expected to see a room full of scared teenage girls. Instead she saw a mixture of young girls with adult boyfriends or overbearing mothers, well-groomed professional women who appeared undisturbed by the whole process, and a few young adults with looks of concerned etched on their faces.

When she could not talk anymore, Alonna breathed a sigh of relief and buried her face in her hand. The weight of the baggage had finally been released, but the embarrassment was too much to bear, and she did not want to face Shawn.

She'd just made the biggest confession of her life, and all she could think about was Shawn’s response. Would he curse her, laugh at her or expose her? Alonna became lost in her own thoughts. She could not stand the thought of losing him, but she would understand if he never wanted to see her again.

She was startled by the hand that was now enclosing hers. She looked over at Shawn, whose eyes were closed as if he were deep in thought. His lips remained still, and for the seemingly unending moments that passed his hand never left hers. In all of the scenarios that she had conjured in her mind, this was not the response she expected.

His expression was serene. He was non-judgmental, even supportive. As if she wasn't already feeling this way, she was now certain that she loved him. She knew that she had given him news that would cause many to run away from the stigma attached to it. She could not understand how he could respond like that, especially after what she did to him. As if he could feel her eyes on him, Shawn intertwined their fingers together as a show of solidarity. Alonna remained speechless and simply allowed the tears to flow. She’d finally done it. She no longer carried the weight of her past and what she had done. Perhaps now the cries that she heard at night would cease.

Shawn was the first to speak.

“Alonna, I understand how you feel, but not every man will treat you the way that idiot treated you.”

He was now facing her.

“I wish I could make all the pain go away. If I could, I would.” He continued as his hands balled up.

“If I knew where that coward was right now, I would gladly give him a dose of his own medicine, and make him pay for being a coward and making you go through that alone.”

Alonna cried and buried her head in his chest. Shawn stroked her hair as the two rocked back and forth. After a few seconds, he managed to say, “Thank you for telling me.”

Alonna nodded in silence.

He continued, “I can imagine the fear and the anxiety of not wanting to tell anyone.”

Alonna continued nodding. 

Shawn leaned back and held Alonna’s face in his hands. Seeing her so distraught made him forget how upset he’d been with her. “I know this was hard for you to tell me, and the only thing I have to say is please let me be there for you,” he pleaded

With tears filling her eyes, Alonna shook her head.

“You don’t have to make a decision now, but I would still like to be there for you. I won’t lie to you. I accept you with mistakes and all, and nothing will change that.”

( Continued... )

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

Purchase The Long Way Home by Andrena Sawyer
Christian Romance;  Download:  http://bit.ly/1rfx6N7




Meet the Author

Andrena Sawyer
is the President of P.E.R.K. Consulting. She has published several other works including The Other Side of Assertiveness, and various personal development articles for women. The Long Way Home is her first full-length novel. She is a graduate of Howard University, who is passionate about seeing women reach their full potential based on their understanding of who God says they are.

Originally from Freetown, Sierra Leone, she credits her family’s journey during Sierra Leone’s civil war for her interest in human triumph and perseverance. She regularly speaks at special events, conferences and workshops around the country. Visit Andrena Sawyer's website: www.thelongwayhome2015.com  or follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Andrena.sawyer2014 

 

 

 


Oven Baked Secrets by Tyora Moody 
A Eugeena Patterson Mystery, Book 2

EUGEENA PATTERSON is not happy about her next-door neighbor, Louise Hopkins, being sent to live in a nursing home. Without her fellow neighborhood watch buddy, Sugar Creek isn’t the same anymore. In fact, life after retirement has become a whole new adventure of exploring social media and blogging. 

While she tries not to meddle into her adult children’s lives, Eugeena can’t help but dish out relationship advice. Eugeena’s own budding romance with Amos Jones has her emotions in upheaval. Is she really finding love again as she turns sixty? 

When a stranger reveals a stunning secret about Louise’ past, Eugeena questions if the young woman’s claim is for real or if she is a con artist? Roping in Amos for help, Eugeena digs up a few skeletons from her elderly friend’s closet. When Eugeena stumbles upon a long forgotten murder case, she realizes the layers of a long dormant secret still have the potential to be deadly.

Meet Eugeena Patterson on her blog: http://eugeenapatterson.com  or join her fans on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eugeenapatterson.  Don't forget to check-out the first book in the series, Deep Fried Trouble, Book 1


Excerpt:  CHAPTER TWO


I blinked. I opened my mouth and then shut it to give my mind a chance to process. I stared at the girl. Despite her creative outfit, she was really a pretty little thing, her big eyes were slanted and she had full lips that would’ve rivaled Angelina Jolie’s. I guess what I was seeking was some resemblance. It occurred to me despite my rash response, that the girl could’ve been telling the truth.

Louise’s son, William, wasn’t exactly the most responsible man in the world despite him being well over forty years old. He’d never married, but it’s quite possible he had a love child. How often had I heard Louise talk about wanting to be a grandmother? Why would William keep that from his mother? Or did William know he was a father?

I motioned for the girl to walk away from the side of Louise’s bed. As she came closer, I placed my hand on my hip. “Are you trying to tell me you’re Louise’s granddaughter?”

The woman shook her head like she had a puppet master pulling her strings. “Yes, ma’am.”

I looked at her for a minute and then shook my head as if this was a bad dream. Despite my better judgment, I said exactly what came to my mind. It just slipped out. “No sugar, that can’t be.”

The girl stepped back as if offended. “Ma’am?”

“You see I’ve known Louise for many, many years. If this woman had a grandchild she would’ve told the whole world.”

The girl put her hand on her hip. “I told you I’m her granddaughter. My mom told me so and she wouldn’t lie about it.”

I held my hand up as if stopping traffic. “Okay, calm down. Let’s start over. I don’t think I introduced myself. I’m Eugeena Patterson, Louise’s next door neighbor. Now tell me your name?”

The girl let out a sigh before responding. “I’m Jocelyn Miller.”

“That’s a pretty name. So, you live around here?” I hated small talk, but I was really digging for more information. What I did know was William didn’t stay put for long and he’d only recently been back in South Carolina the last few months.

“I was raised in Beaufort.”

“Oh. Gullah country.” The language from West Africa still thrived in certain areas of South Carolina and mixed with English it was known as Gullah.

Jocelyn smiled. “Yes, I have relatives that talk Gullah or Geechee.”

I glanced over at Louise, wondering if she could hear us. Was she just pretending to be sleep or had that medicine really knocked her out? I wanted to shake her awake. Jocelyn seemed like a nice woman, but I still wasn’t sure what was going on.

I cleared my throat. “Jocelyn, did your mother tell you about your father? I mean have you met him?”

She frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Your dad is Miss Louise’s son.” Knowing his egotistical behind, William might have known about his daughter and rejected the girl. That would have been a real shame.

Jocelyn started to shake her head furiously. “My dad’s name is David Miller.”

Words escaped me. And my head started to hurt because this girl was confusing the mess out of me. “Is David your dad or your step-dad?”

“My biological dad.”

I’m a smart, educated woman, with three grown children, four grandchildren and one on the way. Children aren’t this complicated. Okay some of us do come in the world a bit willy-nilly, me being one of those people. But this girl can’t be related to Louise as much as she would like to be. “Honey, I’m trying to work with you here. Are you sure you have the right room?”

“Mrs. Patterson, I promise you; I have the right room. This woman is my grandmother. Look, I will show you something and you tell me what you see.” Jocelyn went over to the chair in the corner.

I hadn’t noticed the hot pink backpack. I watched her pull out a black marbled notebook. She flipped it open and pulled out what appeared to be a photo. Jocelyn walked around the bed and handed it to me. “Here, this is my family. I’m much younger on this one, only about sixteen. There’s my mom, dad and my brother. My dad passed away a few years ago.”

I took the photo from her. Now I could tell this girl was telling the truth about her father. Despite the difference in skin tones, Jocelyn was the spitting image of the dark brown-skinned man. Jocelyn definitely had his eyes. 

Now Jocelyn shared the same honey-colored complexion as her mom. Both mom and daughter shared the same full lips.

That’s when it hit me.

The more and more I stared at Jocelyn’s mom, I started to see something. It was the heart shape of the woman’s face and her eyes. The woman’s complexion was more bronze, but her eyes were vivid blue. I glanced at Jocelyn, who was staring back at me with bated breath.

Then I looked back at the photo. 

Dear Lord!

Louise moaned from the bed. I stared over in her direction catching as my friend’s eyes flickered open.

Louise Hopkins, you got some explaining to do.

There was no denying this one. In a lifetime I didn’t know anything about, had my dear old friend given birth to a daughter? It didn’t go past me that the woman in the photo was mixed race. So who could have been the father of Louise’s love child?



( Continued... )

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


Oven Baked Secrets by Tyora Moody
Link: http://amzn.com/B00S2AORI6 




Meet the Author
Tyora Moody
is the author Soul-Searching Suspense novels in the Serena Manchester Series, Victory Gospel Series and the Eugeena Patterson Mysteries. As a literary-focused entrepreneur, she has assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via her design and marketing company, Tywebbin Creations LLC. Popular services include online publicity, social media management, book trailers and book covers. She is also the author of the nonfiction series, The Literary Entrepreneur's Toolkit, and the host of The Literary Entrepreneur Podcast.

Tyora won 2nd Place for the 2014 Yerby Award for Fiction. She is the 2013 Urban Literary Awards Debut Author Winner and 2013 Urban Literary Awards Mystery / Thriller / Suspense Winner. 

Tyora is a member of Sisters in Crime and American Christian Fiction Writers. For more information about her literary endeavors, visit her online at TyoraMoody.com

Tyora "Ty" Moody, Author and Literary Entrepreneur
TyoraMoody.com   |   TheLiteraryEntrepreneur.com
Books by Tyora: http://www.amazon.com/Tyora-Moody/e/B005966RJ8 

WHAT'S NEXT?
Oven Baked Secrets, Eugeena Patterson Mysteries, Book 2 (January 20, 2015)
The Literary Entrepreneur Virtual Events Planner (March 2015)
Hostile Eyewitness, Serena Manchester Series, Book 1 (March 31, 2015)
When Women Become Business Owners, Stepping Into Victory Anthology (May 2015)

 

 


The Black Names Book: Dissecting and Defining 
the Origins of Contemporary 'Ghetto' Names 
by Bobby Cenoura 

Can you pronounce “Breionshay” , “Zacombrion” or “Tayvarius”? The Black Names Book investigates the origin of names commonly referred to as “Ghetto”, “Ratchet” and “Hood”, in American society by dissecting them. The lesson that the book teaches is that the lion share of “Black Names” aren’t African at all, but are unique names that come from combinations of two or more names, names constructed with common prefixes and suffixes, “foreign” names, and names of other nouns. In many cases, names are “conjugated” with a formula that can be applied to names such as DaNiqua, LaNisha, and Tayshaun. 

In between the different naming conventions, research is addressed regarding the affect that these unique names have on society such as getting job interviews. At the back of the book are the definitions of the “Base Names” which are the “common” names that the Black Names are derived from. 

This book is the first installment in what may be a further investigation into unique naming conventions used by different ethnic groups in America, as well as a second edition to this book from the suggestions received by readers to our author. Reader suggestions for names can be emailed to:  blacknamesbook@gmail.com  

The Black Names Book: Dissecting and Defining the Origins of Contemporary 'Ghetto' Names by Bobby Cenoura.  Purchase the book online: http://amzn.com/B00SBI3HIA 



Intimate Conversation with Author Bobby Cenoura


Black Pearls readers, I’d like to welcome back Bobby Cenoura, who has been with us before and has promoted his two previous literary fiction novels, Seoul Revelations and Male Angst Vol 1: FML I Always Get ‘Those’ Chicks through Black Pearls Magazine and BAN Radio Show.  Bobby’s newest book will spark your synapses. The Black Names Book: Defining and Dissecting the Origins of Contemporary ‘Ghetto’ Names is an informative reference guide that uses tables and research to explain the method to the madness of Black Names. 

BPM: We’ve all heard from different African American personalities that what we name our kids can affect the way society perceives them.  We're showcasing an author who not only will tell you where the name “LoQuisha” comes from, but shares HIS views on how naming your daughter “LoQuisha” can affect her socio-economic prospects.  So Bobby, where does “LoQuisha” come from?
The name “LoQuisha” can be broken into two parts. First the “Lo” part. The Lo part is the part I call a “Short Vowel Prefix”. Short vowel prefixes originate from the French and Spanish prepositions “La” and “De” from names like “De La Croix” (De La Cruz) which were common names of slaves from Louisiana if the slave owner’s name was “Croix”. “De La” means “of the” or “belonging to” it’s analogous to using an apostrophe s. Since Croix means “Cross”, it’s like saying “Cross’s” (since the slaves belonged to Cross). 

This is also why black folks tend to have the name Davis because their owner was proabably David. In Spanish the word “Lo” is actually a Spanish pronoun meaning “him” or “it” (masc) and in the same token “La” means “her” or “it” (fem). Hence the prefix “Lo” in “LoQuisha” can be replaced by many different prefixes and have the name stay readily in tact. Some of the prefixes I have in the book based off of the logic I presented above are as follows: Ja, Sha, Ta which would produces JaQuisha, ShaQuisha, TaQuisha. I know that was a mouthful, but now to explain the “Quisha” part. Quisha has two parts. First the “Kwee” sound in “Quisha” that comes from “Qu-“ is derived from Jaqueline. The “eesha” part from “-isha” is derived from Keisha, which itself comes from the Hewbrew name “Keziah” who was one of the daughters of Job. The name Keziah is said to be the equivalent to Cassia which is a spice tree. So the name is of something aromatic and bountiful. 

BPM: My I never thought about the name in that way. Can you tell us a little bit about how the book breaks down the names for readers? 
The book breaks down names across a few sections as follows: Affixes, which literally means ‘attachments’ that include prefixes and suffixes. Prefixes like I mentioined in the previous example and suffixes which you will actually find that your first name, “Ella” is actually a part of!  But more popular ones end in “-dae” like Jondae and Shardae, which are the names John or Joan + dae and Charlend and/or Charla + dae.

Then a section called “Concatenations” which are combinations of two or more names. So say for example, a man “Ronald” and a woman named “Taylor” were expecting a baby and they wanted to decide on a name. They could choose Tayron or Rontay. This particular section we are still looking for reader suggestions—which we have a concession for that in all parts of the book.

Then we have a couple more sections.  “Foreign Lands Names” are names wholly or partially influenced by names from other cultures and other points in time. One common theme we find in black names are borrowings from Ancient Rome and Arabic. Names that you hear such as “Quintavius” is nothing more than the combination of two Roman names: “Quintus” and “Octavius” , which mean “Fifth” and “Eighth” (of a house) respectively. Arabic names come from actual adoptions like Rakeem to combinations such as Jamar (Jamal + LaMar) .

Finally “Miscellaneous Names” that include odds and ends such as being named after a place (Kenya, Rawanda, India, Asia), being named after a consumer good like Covasha (Courvasier + Tasha) and spelling names with symbols involved like the infamous “La-a” for LaDasha and other names such as “LaR&a” (LaRanda). All of these names are tabular so the reader can read from right to left about the black name and all of the inherent parts that compose it.

BPM: So I’m curious Bobby since you mentioned it, how does my name appear in the book?
Your name appears in the book, and it is not considered a Black Name. It is actually considered either a base name, which are one of the many “original” names from which the black names are derived, or as a suffix diminutive. Let me explain each in its turn. 

As a base name the name “Ella” means “goddess” in modern Hebrew. As a suffix diminutive, it is found in names like Donnella, Jonnella, Dannella, and Rochella. Using the word “-ella” after a name “softens” or makes it “cute”. Diminutives are like kitchenettes (mini kitchens), raisinettes (mini raisins), etc. “elle” and “ella” are also used for diminutives, so the names I mentioned above mean “little Donna”, “little Joana” , “little Daniel”, and “little Roche” respectively. 

BPM: What is the book genre, target audience and subject matter of the book?
Non-fiction and the target audience are primarily African Americans but anyone who is interested to learn about different ways to view the Black Names and their origins.

BPM: You mentioned that there were socio-economic effects to giving our kids “Black Names.” Are they in the book? What are they?
The data I compiled while putting this book together indicates that people with Black Names got 50% less callbacks on job applications. In addition, research has indicated that white applicants (equivalently applicants with white-sounding names) received 30 percent higher callbacks for increased resume quality (i.e. having a college education) as opposed to 9 percent for Blacks.

BPM: What is the lesson your book is trying to teach?
The lesson here is that if you want to name your kid an exotic or unique name and you are African American, be cognizant of the potential societal effects it could have on your children if you foresee them working in corporate America. However, if the child is to be an artist or if there is already a family business in force or connections in a particular industry, then less awareness is needed.

BPM: Where can we find your book and how can we contact you for questions about it and the name suggestions? 
Sure, my book can be found on Amazon under “The Black Names Book.”  I can be emailed at blacknamesbook@gmail.com.  And follow me on Twitter at @BobbyCenoura for updates to this book and other upcoming literary ventures.

More Books by Bobby Cenoura


 

Disclaimer:  The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing written interviews and articles for Black Pearls Magazine are theirs alone, and do not reflect the views, opinions or positions of Ella Curry, EDC Creations Media Group, Crown Holders Transmedia Group, Black Pearls Magazine or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or guest writers for this online magazine and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

 

 

 



My Little People: A Social Worker's Journey

by Annie Clara Brown

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

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

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

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


My Little People Book Reviews

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

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


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


Excerpt: From Introduction Part 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 


Yesterday's Eyes 
by Catherine Flowers

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

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

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

Praise for Yesterday's Eyes by Catherine Flowers

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


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


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

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

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


Excerpt: Yesterday's Eyes


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Watch your head getting in," he said.

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

( Continued... )

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

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



 

 

 


In Love With The Other Man 
by Francina Lucas

This novel is about four women that are best friends and they all have separate lives. Denise, an Office Manager who is madly in love with her husband Eric. She will never do anything to jeopardize their relationship. Keisha, a Top Real Estate Agent and had a mental abusive relationship for 2 years. After she discontinued her relationship she found herself and realized that she doesn’t need a man in her life. 

Keisha is living her life to the fullest and making a great income. Liz is a married woman and a homemaker with three beautiful children. Liz has low self-esteem and she never had a chance to see the real world she was always taking care of people before herself. 

Tonya is a nurse who still lives with her mother and has a five year old child name Alexis. Tonya is the youngest of the women and she is the type of woman that will do anything. She leaves all her responsibility with her mother to take care of her daughter. Tonya is a party animal and she does whatever she wants when she wants and it’s all about Tonya nothing else matters. 

Chapter One:  In Love With The Other Man


It’s 3:00 a.m., and Denise keeps tossing and turning. Her mind is racing, and she has to get up in a few hours to go to work. Denise heart is beating fast, and she can’t breathe—what is going on with me? Denise wants to sleep. GOD, please help me go to sleep. What can I do to get to sleep? Maybe some warm milk will help me ease my mind, and I can sleep. So, Denise gets up, get some warm milk, and head back to bed. Finally, Denise falls asleep. But as soon as Denise fall asleep, the alarm clock rings, and it’s time for her to get up. Denise slowly gets out of bed and drags herself to the shower. The time is flying, and she has to be at work by 8:00 a.m. There is no way she will make it on time. As she is getting dressed, Keisha calls her. Denise answer the phone with a tone of disgusted. Keisha asked what was wrong with Denise, and if she was ready for work. Denise reply, “No, Keisha, I am not ready for work.” 

In turn she replies with laughter, “You better hurry up and get dressed before you get fired.” 

Keisha told her she will call her later. Denise hung up the telephone and continued getting dressed. Again, the phone rings, and this time it is her mom. Denise answered with a feeling of joy, “Hey, Mom, what is going on with you?” 

She replies, “Nothing, hon, I am just checking on you.” 

As she speaks with her mom, she continues to put on her makeup. 

Denise mom continues saying, “Well, hon, I am going to let you get back to what you were doing.” 

Denise sadly replies, “OK, Mom, and I love you.” Denise hung up the telephone, and finally, she was ready to go to work. Denise looks at the time, and she has twenty minutes to get to work. She walked out the door and hurry to her car. Denise gets into her car and speed to work, hoping and praying that a cop will not stop her. “With my luck, I will get stopped by the cop, “said Denise. Its 7:59 a.m., and she rushed, into the building and head toward the elevators. She patiently waits for the elevator, and it seems like it is taking forever. Hurry! Hurry! OMG I am going to be late, she said. Finally, the elevator comes down, the doors open, and she gets in and goes to the third floor. As she reached the third floor, she gets out of the elevator and walks towards her desk. As Denise was walking toward her desk, she felt people watching her. She turned around to see them watching and she continued walking to her desk. As she reached her desk, she sees her boss coming toward her cubicle. She just knew he was going to say something about her being late—she could feel it inside, so her heart starting beating really fast. Denise started to sweat because he told her never to be late again. As he approached her desk, he asked her about the Johnson file. Yes! He didn’t say anything to me, Denise said in a whispering voice. I really didn’t want to lose my job, she was thinking. Denise kindly said to him, that she put the file on his desk yesterday. 

“Thank you,” he said and walked away. 

As Denise was wiping the sweat from her brow, she received a text from her husband, Eric, telling her that he would be home tomorrow morning and that he wanted to take her out to lunch. Yes, I am very excited to see my husband; he means everything to me. This will definitely make me have a productive day, said Denise. As she started to work, Eric texts her again and tells her that he loves and misses her. Denise responded back with “I love you too, sweetie, and I can’t wait until you come home.” 


( Continued... )

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

Purchase In Love With The Other Man by Francina Lucas
Link: http://amzn.com/B00HB7I7DM 


Meet the Author
Francina “Ms Caramel” Lucas
is a first-time published author and a former self-employed model and a radio personality with HOT1079 out of Charlotte, North Carolina. She is has been a Notary Public since 2013 in the State of Florida and also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary since 1997 and the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) since 2014. Francina is now on a new journey that has always been her passion. She loves the adventure and the emotions she gives to her readers. Francina has a very outgoing spirit and an imagination that is out of this world. She loves to write about romance, drama, exotic and funny. You will never have a dull moment reading her book and/or books. 

When Francina is not writing she loves spending her time her husband and her family. Francina is very close with her mother Susann Bartlett and her Aunt Susette Johnson who both raised her. They encouraged her that sky is the limit and continue pursing your dreams. Francina has a huge family and love them all. They all give her the motivation to continue to become successful and continue to be her number 1 fans. Francina also loves watching TV, dancing and enjoying life to the fullest.  For more information visit: http://francinalucas.wix.com/ms-caramel#!/cgkn  

 

 

 


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



Coming February, 2015 

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Weev: patented spelling

 

 

 


Return2Sender 
by Curtis Anthony Brittingham, Sr.

Coming May 2015

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


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


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

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

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

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

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



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


Chapter 17


My Ah-Ha Moment


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


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

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


Dear Lonely Kristin:

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

Signed, Lonely Kristin 

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

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

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


Chapter 18

Restoration and Recovery—It Comes Full Circle



“Time will reveal.”


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

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

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

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


( Continued... )


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


About the Author

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


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


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

NOOK eBook- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/he-wasnt-my-daddy-kristin-l-mitchell/1120324025 

 

 

 


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


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



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

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

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

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



Son of a Itch - Book 2 by S.D. Skye 

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


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


A No Good Itch - Book 3 by S.D. Skye 

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


Excerpt from A No Good Itch - Book 3 by S.D. Skye

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


Prologue


“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” ~ Sun Tzu


In the convoluted world of intelligence and spies, nothing made more friends of enemies than fear, failure, and the fear of failure. This fact was no doubt why the FBI representatives had been summoned to the Russian Embassy in Washington.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs reeled after a reported "heated discussion" with the U.S. Secretary of State, who promised harsh and swift diplomatic sanctions following the arrest of Secret Service agent Maddix Cooper for spying on behalf of a the Russian Foreign Intelligence--the SVR. Coupled with the identification and death of Svetlana Mikhaylova, a Russian sleeper operative caught operating deep inside the FBI, the arrest of FBI Agent Chris Johnson for serving as Svetlana's cutout, filling andretrieving all of her dead-drops to keep her identity concealed, and international heat for military incursions into the Ukraine, the tense political situation had outraged their now tight-lipped government contacts in Washington and New York and dried up critical sources of American intel, threatening to paralyze the SVR's intelligence mission across the United States unless they quelled the fury. Thus, the come-to-Jesus meeting called by the SVR Resident was inevitable and necessary.

FBI Special Agent J.J. McCall marveled at the embassy's ornate grand lobby. The rich white and dark European marbles accented by cardinal red carpet runners, a stately winding staircase crowned in gold, and paintings of lush landscapes brightening the halls and sitting areas, was among the most beautiful embassies she'd visited. The sight was impressive if also a stark reminder of the country's willingness to spare no expense when it came to putting up deceiving fronts and paying American traitors.

"We'll need a dump truck for the bullshit about to be heaped on us today," J.J. whispered to her co-case agent, Tony Donato. As the lead case agent behind the ruckus, she'd been ordered to listen and not respond.

"Shhh," Tony whispered in reply. "The walls have ears."

Resident Andrei Komarov, the Russian equivalent to the CIA Station in Moscow, led J.J., Tony, and the Assistant Director of Counterintelligence John Nixon through the hallowed embassy halls until they reached a well-appointed conference room. It contained a stately mahogany-paneled walks, large open armchairs, and an oversized table large enough to seat Komarov's ego and attitude, both massive in her past experience.

The group, all dressed in their services' uniforms--pin-sharp woolen suits in late fall hues concealed under beige all-weather overcoats--was met by the only other declared SVR officer in the Russian Embassy, Security Officer Aleksey Dmitriyev.

Jolted by his appearance, J.J. avoided his gaze, kept their handshake and greeting brief. The last time they met, he was not working for her. Now, he was--and the only other person in the group aware of his status was Tony. Butterflies rolled in her stomach as everyone took their seats and the meeting began. She forced a poker expression and prepared herself for the barrage of lies.

Komarov settled in at the head of the table and prepared to talk, his face reddened and contorted as if every word he was about to speak, no doubt carefully selected by the Foreign Minister, would sear his throat and exit his lips like sharpened razors carving him from the inside.

"We've all met before and are quite familiar with one another," Komarov began, shooting a slicing glare through J.J. Her aggressive targeting of SVR officers for recruitment was legendary...or infamous, depending on which side of the table you were sitting. She sat in awe of him, the Russian James Bond in looks and dress, who was void of any semblance of his accent. "So, I'll feel free to dispense with the introductions and pleasantries since we all understand why we are here today."

J.J., Tony, and Nixon exchanged strained glances before she took a deep breath to brace herself as Komarov progressed through the four steps of surviving a massive operational failure.

Step 1: Admit nothing.

"There has been a spate of unfortunate and seemingly unfounded reports regarding the activities of our foreign intelligence service inside the United States," he said.

Her birthright, her gift, the ability to detect lies, sent the sensation of an army of crawling ants through her fingertips and up the length of both arms. She clenched her teeth and prepared for Step 2: Deny Everything.

"We have no information to substantiate the many reports circulating in the media nor can we speak the involvement of any of our staff. However, I can assure you that if any such activity had occurred it was orchestrated by rogue officers conducting unsanctioned operations. If ever discovered, they will be dealt with accordingly. Which brings me to my next point..."

As the lies continued, the annoying sensations intensified. The itch stretched through her back and up into her neck. She shifted in her seat and tensed her body to suppress it.

A moment of relief would come with Step 3: Demand Proof.

"If your Secretary of State persists in her current path and continues to threaten sanctions against our diplomatic corps, we must require access to the evidence used to justify these unfounded accusations against our government or we will be forced to reciprocate and target the U.S. embassy in Moscow."

They always demanded proof because they knew the FBI couldn't provide the most critical elements, at least not so early in the investigations. Such provisions risked revealing FBI sources and methods, potentially compromising the Russian Embassy recruitment sitting across the table from J.J., as well as the FBI's knowledge of the existence of the listening device found in the White House Situation Room, and announce the President had postponed for reasons unbeknownst to her.

Nixon cleared his throat. "It's forthcoming," are the only two words he offered, which was two too many in J.J.'s book. He said, "Continue with your little speech, please," in his typical condescending, patronizing way.

From the pinched expression on Komarov's face, he took the comment in the spirit in which it was intended, just as J.J. would've, which certainly contributed to Step 4: Make counter-accusations.

"And if your government should bring forth any evidence against the Service, we may be required to present our own proof that these arrests are merely a provocation to discredit Russia and increase hostilities within the international community given U.S. opposition to our security operations in the Ukraine."

Bullshit. But J.J. gave credit where it was due--the guy was good.

"We're not here to debate the validity of your political and military agenda," Nixon replied. "The FBI's primary concern is securing the homeland from terrorists and spies. So, if we could cut to the chase, why have you requested our presence here today?"

J.J.'s eyebrow arched. She'd never known Nixon to be a man with backbone. He usually preyed on the weak rather stand up to the strong.

"Ahh, yes," Komarov said, relaxing his tone and his posture, resting his back against the chair. "We brought you here to extend an olive branch, if you will. I've been asked to assure you that the Service is not controlling any operations targeting citizens inside the United States. I've been informed that negotiations regarding the specifics the new plans are underway within our executive channels that will demonstrate this new era of cooperation. We would like to collaborate on issues, such as terrorism, which would be of great benefit to both our countries."

By now the itching sensation had permeated J.J.'s entire being. If the body had over a billion nerves, every one of hers had been stimulated in the worst way. She clenched her legs together and strained not to dissolve from her chair into the floor in a scratching frenzy.

But the truth had been revealed. They wanted to purchase conciliation with terrorism intelligence. J.J. felt relieved. With FBI Director Russell Freeman at the helm, U.S. national security could never be bought for so cheap a price. 

( Continued... )

Intrigued yet? Make sure you catch up with Books 1 & 2 if you haven't done so. Book 3--A No Good Itch will not disappoint!
    © 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, S.D. Skye. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 



SpyCatcher Ebook Box Set by S.D. Skye

Skye's SpyCatcher Book Set, filled with mystery, espionage, romance, and suspense, will keep you burning through the pages until J.J. catches the very last mole.  Now available in one box set, the first 3 books in the planned 5-book FBI Espionage Series featuring the lie-detecting FBI Special Agent J.J. McCall who, along with her co-case agent Tony Donato, is embroiled in a the post-Cold War mole hunt for Russian spies. In the Game of Espionage, Spy Takes Traitor. J.J. McCall takes Over.

Download the Spycatcher – J.J.McCall Books (3 EBOOK Set) 

http://www.amazon.com/Spy-Catcher-McCall-Novels-Espionage-ebook/dp/B00NUHIIG8 


Purchase Printed and Digital Books by S.D. Skye 


The Seven Year Itch (Book 1)
www.amazon.com/Seven-Year-Itch-McCall-Novel/dp/0983920230 

Son of a Itch (Book 2)
www.amazon.com/Son-Itch-J-J-McCall-Novel/dp/0983920257  

A No Good Itch (Book 3)
www.amazon.com/Good-Itch-McCall-Novel-Espionage-ebook/dp/B00NMFWP30  



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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SDSkye1  
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorsdskye  
Author Center: http://www.amazon.com/S.D.Skye/e/B00AMAUFK8  
And don't forget to subscribe to: http://authorsdskye.com for automatic updates. 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Marian L. Thomas

Award-winning novelist, Marian L. Thomas is a dynamic story-teller with five engaging novels to her credit. Her books have been seen on national television stations such as, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Ovation and the A&E Network. She has been featured in print magazines, newspapers and a guest on many broadcast and online radio stations.

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

BPM: Tell us about the book, Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life.
Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life is my first non-fiction, chapbook. It's a quick easy-to-read, hilarious ( I hope) but candid take on my decision to remain childless. Some call it, CBC (childless by choice).

BPM: What can readers expect to get out of the book? 
The book covers some common misconceptions about me and why I made the decision to remain childless. It also gets into some interesting topics that I think would make for a very lively book club discussion such as:
a. Do women without children take freedom for granted.

b. Is it a myth or fact that women who make the "childless" decision do so because they don't like children.

c. Do women who decide to be childless do so because they feel they aren't parent material.

d. Is there really such a thing as being "Phobic" about giving birth? 

Readers have to keep in mind that I can only speak for myself. I don't claim to represent every woman out there who has made the decision to be childless.

BPM: What's your favorite chapter in the book?
Well, Living The Empty Carriage Way of Life  is broken down into situations that I have found myself in over the years. I added some elements of fiction in each one, but then I give you my candid and honest take on it afterward. My favorite chapter is on the subject of a woman's biological clock. I cracked up just doing research on it.

BPM: Do you think that women who decide to remain childless seek some sort of validation from others?
In 2008, 24% of women between the ages of 40-44 who held a bachelor’s degree, refrained from entering into the nine-month birthing cycle. So, I think that women are finding that it’s okay to be childless. That making the childless by choice decision is not some type of a movement and it’s certainly not a revolution against motherhood. In fact, being childless can be a good decision and that decision doesn’t need or require validation from others.

BPM: Where can readers get a copy of Living The Empty Carriage Way of Life?
Readers can order now on Amazon and get the book delivered to their front door within days. It's also available for most digital readers too. The reader can check out the book immediately. To learn more about the book, you can also visit the website, www.theemptycarriagelife.com  or my author website at www.marianlthomas.com

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Francina Lucas

Francina “Ms Caramel” Lucas  is a first-time published author and a former self-employed model and a radio personality with HOT1079 out of Charlotte, North Carolina. She is has been a Notary Public since 2013 in the State of Florida and also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary since 1997 and the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) since 2014. Francina is now on a new journey that has always been her passion. She loves the adventure and the emotions she gives to her readers. Francina has a very outgoing spirit and an imagination that is out of this world. She loves to write about romance, drama, exotic and funny. You will never have a dull moment reading her book and/or books. 

When Francina is not writing she loves spending her time her husband and her family. Francina is very close with her mother Susann Bartlett and her Aunt Susette Johnson who both raised her. They encouraged her that sky is the limit and continue pursing your dreams. Francina has a huge family and love them all. They all give her the motivation to continue to become successful and continue to be her number 1 fans. Francina also loves watching TV, dancing and enjoying life to the fullest. 

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
God gave me the motivation, determination to work hard for everything that I do.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 
I feel that my literary speaks to anyone that is going through the same situation as the character in the book. 
Yes, I feel that author are role models. We are more then authors we are mentors because people are reading the words we write. So, I feel authors has a huge impact on people.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
My mother is my motivation. She is my inspiration. I have been writing for a long time it goes back to elementary school. But who inspired me was my mother. She always told me that i should write a book so the world can see what I can do.

Why now? I wanted to set a goal for myself and accomplish and achieve it. Meanwhile, make my mother proud of me.  I enjoyed writing the characters with their different personalities and that was fun.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
I have a creative mind. I am always coming up with unique ideas. I will say both plot and character driven. The reason why I said both is because my book has a plot twist, external conflicts and action and on the other hand my book has creativity and feelings.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 
I have a new book that will be launching in March of 2015 called "Rebecca Meets Phillip." My book is on Nook and Kindle.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
Well, my main characters are Denise, Keisha, Liz and Tonya. Denise is a married woman who is very dedicated to her husband. The reason why she is special is because she is the peace maker and she is like the mother of the best friends. She has a very good heart. Keisha is very independent and outspoken woman. She doesn't sugar coat how she feels towards anyone. She is special because she strong and represents all the independent women. 

Keisha and Denise are closer than the other women and she always have Denise back. Keisha is a true friend. Liz is a married woman and a homemaker with three children who never had a chance to see the real world. She is definitely a home body. Liz is special because in the book she finally comes out her eggshell and start to live life. 

Tonya is the youngest of the friends. Tonya and her five year old lives with her mother and Tonya leaves all her responsibility with her mother. She does not care about anybody but herself. Tonya is special because she starts to realize who is important to her and start realizing that her daughter is her priority.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?
Basically the book represents my journey. As I was writing the characters I took a little piece of me in each character to make who they are beside Tonya, lol she a character that I studied. My book will keep me focus and continue do show people different scenarios and show them that they are not alone.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I learned that I have many personalities..lol and that I truly have a creative mind.  I have met a lot of wonderful people in this journey. I have many wonderful stories. From filming the movie trailer of the book to introducing the cast members. So I just cant tell only one because all of them are amazing.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goal for this book was to have people relate to the book. Either they know someone who is going through the same situation or they are going through the situation. They can actually see what they are going through or see what the person is going through in their life. I feel that I have achieved it very well.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
Right now I am launching my new book called "Rebecca Meets Phillip" and I am planning my next event Published Author 1st Entrepreneur Networking Event for March of 2015.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Thank you for your support and looking forward in doing business with you.   Readers can view the movie trailer for the book " In Love With The Other Man" at:  http://youtu.be/GOKvtjrThi8 

For more information about me and my books to to:  http://francinalucas.wix.com/ms-caramel#!/cgkn 

If anyone wants an interview with me email me at francinalucas@gmail.com 
www.twitter.com/Ms__Caramel
www.instagram.com/Caramel1971
www.linkedIn.com/PublishedAuthor
www.francinalucas.wix.com/ms-caramel 
www.facebook.com/TheBossCaramelceo
www.facebook.com/TheModelMscaramelSpokesperson




 


Intimate Conversation with Annie Clara Brown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Catherine Flowers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Bonnie Taylor-Williams

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

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

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

BPM: How did you get where you are in life today? Who motivated you?
Through prayer, perseverance, great guidance, awesome examples to follow, hard work and obedience. Although I had awesome, inspiring examples to follow through my family, especially my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother leading the way I was always a good listener. I didn’t want to learn the hard way, if they told me “this is good or this is bad” I listened. Not all of the time but most of time I took heed and followed. My family motivated me for the most part and I was exposed to many others in my grandmother’s business that played significant parts in my life as well. Intelligence over ignorance (if you don’t know or are unsure keep your mouth closed) is something my mother was adamant about along with respect, honesty, fairness, treating others the way you want to be treated and she always instilled in me that I could do anything I put my mind to. 

My grandmother taught me the importance of work ethics and people skills. She believed in hard work “Get up early and stay up late! Nothing comes to a sleeper but a dream” she’d say. If you want anything you have to work for it. If you don’t work you will steal because you will get hungry. My great grandmother would give you her advice but when she really wanted you to understand the consequences she would say “You gone have a hard row to hoe”. I didn’t want anything to be hard or difficult in my life if I could help it. Of course that’s not real life, there will be challenges and there have been but not because I didn’t listen to my elders or was blatantly disobedient. Obedience is better than sacrifice. 

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book about your family? Why now?
I’ve actually been working on books about my family for years but never completed them. As a child I always loved listening to my family share stories whether we were home with our mother on a cold snowy day listening and learning about her childhood, sitting at the counter in the kitchen as my great grandmother cooked and told stories of her life growing up in Friars Point Mississippi or listening and laughing about the many characters of my grandmother’s salons before I was even born…I LOVED IT! I wasn’t the only one; my brothers loved them as well we often wished that we were back there in those times.

Also many others including clients and employees would often tell my grandmother she should write a book. Although my grandmother has done many things including co-writing a Hair Weev text book with Natalie Haskell of New York she never had time to write a book on herself so I decided I would. It’s time to show my appreciation while we’re both still here. She has influenced and motivated many others, this book “WITH THESE HANDS; A COUNTRY GIRL CAME TO TOWN” is giving her her flowers while she can smell them. They say write what you know, I know her and I know the story. I am paying tribute to her because I like so many others believe she’s extraordinary. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your childhood watching this legacy unfold?
I always felt Blessed. It was exciting, educational and fun. It seemed like there was plenty…of everything; work, food, money, excitement, hair, hustling, pretty cars & clothes and above all respect. Never having to stand in line anywhere we went, especially at Gladys’s Luncheonette because Selena was well known, if they didn’t know her they knew of her, admired and respected her. Watching my mother, uncle and aunt working for and with my grandmother and what it meant to the clients was very impressive, truly exceptional. As soon as my brothers, my cousin and I could read, write and count we were learning the business, Hair Looming (making up hair), tagging and bagging hair and on Saturday mornings delivering dinners that our great grandmother sold in the neighborhood. 

Although my mother Juanita took us on vacations when we were small my grandmother Selena began increasing her territory which meant increasing her entourage which included us her grandchildren. We traveled together as a family doing various tradeshows in many cities and states. We already knew how to behave, greet the people etc. now we were learning how to show and sell. The Bronner Brothers show, The NBCL and the Allied Cosmetology Association were yearly staples that we would attend. 

The most important lesson I learned as a child…Keep God First. Aside from attending church every Sunday, choir rehearsal every week we were taught to begin everything with prayer. Whether we were having a business meeting, hosting one of our annual Hair Weev conventions which were held nationally or just teaching a class which we taught internationally as well and still to this day in my mother’s school bus transportation business we begin with prayer. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Reminiscing! I really enjoyed remembering the stories and reliving the feeling of the spirit in which they were shared. 

BPM: Did your family help write the book? Did your grandmother have any input?
No one else worked on writing the book except me. However, my brothers Bryant and Scotty equally share the love of our family stories. When I would get to certain story that I know we all loved I would let them know and we would have a good laugh and or they would critique me as well as bring up another significant story or person. My mother Juanita would join in too. I am sooo grateful for her having one of my favorite publicity photos of my grandmother which is used for the cover of “WITH THESE HANDS”. 

My grandmother is the reason for the story, although she didn’t help write the book she was happily surprised when I presented it to her on my IPad. She began reading the story I asked her to read and to her amazement it was about her! She screamed as she looked up at me “WHO WROTE THIS?” “THEY GOT IT, THEY GOT IT DOWN”! I responded “Me”! She laughed before shedding tears of pride and joy. “It’s going to help somebody, it’s going to sell!” She approved!

BPM: Are there business tips or hair care tips featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
There are no specific tips featured in the book but a few people who have read the book including my editor Dr. Maxine Thompson have stated that they have learned some business tips from reading the book.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present spiritual practice or journey?
It has confirmed yet again that I can do all things through Christ. Also time and health are the most precious commodities we have. I am grateful to be a survivor, a cancer survivor who comes from a legacy of survivors and I don’t want to waste any time.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Yes, I learned that actually sitting down dedicating your mind and your time to writing and completing a book can be challenging with everything else in one’s world constantly revolving and evolving but when you do it’s quite rewarding. 

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My first goal has always been to share the story for so that others can know about the history of hairdressers. Another reason I wrote the book was to give someone hope; to let them know you can always begin again, as long as you’re alive because every day we get another chance. An unplanned pregnancy, a divorce, a mistake, any act or decision that caused a detour in the path of your dream destiny cannot cause the death of your dream only you can by not pursuing it. If you’re above ground you’re already on top!  I hope to bring laughter and perhaps some familiarity to people. Of course I would love for it to be an award winning, phenomenal success but if it helps some, inspires some and make some laugh then it will have served it’s purpose. 

BPM: What projects are you working on after this one is released?
I'm working on the second part to this book and a book about my great grandmother, her hardworking entrepreneurial spirit even as she sharecropped in the south, yet leading her children and descendants in the spirit faith and hope through prayer, focusing on possibilities instead of the lack thereof. 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 
Through my website: bonnietaylorwilliams.com Facebook: Bonnie Taylor-Williams Twitter: Bonnie Taylor Williams @BonnieTaylorWil Pinterest: Bonnie Taylor-Williams bonnietaylorwil

Coming Feb. 2015: With These Hands by Bonnie Taylor-Williams 
Follow on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/bonnie.taylorwilliams  

 

 



Intimate Conversation with Ann Clay 

Ann Clay resides in Southern Illinois with her family. She enjoys reading, writing, crafts, traveling, and family time. She began writing in 1999 and is a member of the Romance Writers of America. Thanks to the support of family and friends, Ann shares her heartwarming stories with readers of the heart.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? 

Final Play is a contemporary romance, released October 30, 2014, and is available in both print and digital forms. Final Play is readily available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, but could also be ordered from your local book store. It is also accessible through Kindle, Nook, and other digital sources.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 
This title is what I call my in-between-book. I'm in the heat of finishing the second book from my Gumbo Series, also in the contemporary romance genre, entitled 'Beyond the Blue Cypress'. Because the second title starts in the early 1950's, I have to do some research to make sure the text and the feel of the book mirrors that time. So in-between writing 'Beyond the Blue Cypress',  I got the idea for this book as the football season rolled in. I thought it would be nice to have a good weekend book to read in between quarters of a football game. The story introduces the steamy romance formed between a formal pro-football player and a young doctor he meets just as he leaves his football career to enter another.

BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Always! I've always been an avid reader. Reading was my means of escape when I was a child. Also, I come from a long line of storytellers. My father and brothers could spin a tale without thought or effort. Just pick a topic, we could make up a story, and then, could spin it any way you choose... funny, sad, or adventurous. So, while writing is different from storytelling in a sense, I often use ideas I've seen, heard, or experienced to help me create the plots of my stories.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? Why?
I'm fortunate enough to be able to travel, and in my travels I see a lot of story potentials/ideas. Sitting in the airport is a people-watching opportunity for me. While some people work on their electronic devices or read or talk, I watch people. Their movements, how they interact with strangers, all to me tell stories of everyday living. So I use those things to come up with ideas. I try to write stories I'm interested in. The characters, once they form themselves, pretty much run the story. I just happen to be at the keyboard, jotting it all down. I’m not one of those authors who sketches out the entire story. I pretty much have a concept, I know what the characters will and will not do, and I kind of, sort of know the ending... sometimes. Other than that, I allow the characters to tell their stories.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Anree Alexander, a formal star football player, hangs up his helmet for a prestigious position at a national sports network as a sports analyst. He's popular, smart, driven, yet very modest. Anree loves family, but at the time he meets our heroine is not particularly ready to settle down or start a family of his own.

Rhonda Mitchell, had to overcome a tumultuous past, but champions her struggles with a lot of hard work and support. She lost both parents at an early age, but was blessed to have a godmother, her mother's best friend, as a guardian. Rhonda manages to finish college and med school before many of her peers. And at the time she meets Anree, is steadily focused on establishing her practice and managing other priorities in her life. Which means she's not looking for a serious relationship.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Wow! Key plots deal with self-assessment, what we think is important in life, overcoming heartaches, how much time we spend on ourselves, fear, expectations, commitment, parenting, love or the lack of it, manipulation, protecting the people we care about, promises, hope, healing, and celebration.

This story deals with opening oneself up to possibilities. We never know just how much or how far we can go, never know what we can achieve, if we don't open our minds and hearts to it.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I did meet a very interesting man in the Dallas airport. Nothing like a good looking black man in jeans, hat, and cowboy boots. He saw me taking notes as people passed and asked what I was doing. No... he wasn't flirting, well... maybe he was. That's a whole other conversation. LOL! But we struck a very promising conversation. I got a chance to ask him some very candid, what-guys-won't-really-tell-you man-questions, and he honestly answered the without caveat. He gave some very helpful information.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My writing projects are for sharing with readers who like the stories I like. I try to write stories that are appealing to the kinds of novels I read. So for me, the story has to be likable, a story where the readers can relate to the characters and their challenges. Success for me is writing a story I love. Trust me, readers see it in the pages when I do.

I hope to continue writing solid stories, with plot and character building. I plan to finish the Gumbo Love Series in 2015, and hopefully began a different series based on new characters now waiting in the wings for their turn to shine.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book?
I expect that there will be readers who will love the characters, love the story line. The story has great breath and covers a lot of different, everyday issues. So people will be able to recognize one or more of the characters, perhaps in someone they already know. I think it will do great. And I hope readers will continue to give me feedback on what the did and did not like.

BPM: Did you ever ask yourself, "Why am I doing this? Should I change course and maybe try something else?
Sometimes I don't always know how to get through a story. And that's just me being really transparent. Like I've indicated before, I allow the characters to lead the story. In this book, I did have to do a little backtracking, because I wanted to make sure my hero wasn't talking out of both sides of his mouth. We have a tendency to allow men to say one thing and then do something different. All in all, I think the outcome was very positive and understandable, even with the characters' flaws.

BPM: Do you feel as if you are a role model for women and other authors period?
Role model... let's see. To me, role models are people who inspire others to do things they may not ordinarily do or think they can do. So, in that case, yes. I really love the written word. And I try to share what I know with others, even encouraging people I meet along the way to write their story. Everybody has a story, you know.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I am currently finishing the second book of the Gumbo Love Series, entitled Beyond the Blue Cypress. This story picks up with one of the couples from the previous title, Blue Autumn in the Bayou. Beyond the Blue Cypress will start in the 1950's. It's a story of a love lost for more than 50 years, and is restored after the couple's granddaughter accidentally stumbles into her estranged grandfather. Two more titles should follow this one, and hopefully will be done by summer of 2015.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Readers can find out more about my work at my website: www.annclay.com or check out my author's page on Amazon. Also, readers can contact me directly by emailing me at annclay@annclay.com. I'm always interested in reader's feedback, and love the opportunity to work and speak to book clubs. Happy Reading! 

Website:  http://www.annclay.com 
Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/ann.clay.31  

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Alexandra Lane

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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




 

 


Intimate Conversation with Andrea Clinton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with William Ashanti Hobbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Kristin L. Mitchell

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with D.J. McLaurin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



Intimate Conversation with S.D. Skye

S.D. Skye is a former FBI Counterintelligence Analyst in the Russia program and supported cases during her 12-year tenure at the Bureau. She has personally witnessed the blowback the Intelligence Community suffered due to the most significant compromises in U.S. history, including the arrests of former CIA Case Officer Aldrich Ames and two of the Bureau's own—FBI Agents Earl Pitts and Robert Hansen. She has spent more than 20 years in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Skye is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She’s addicted to writing and chocolate—not necessarily in that order—and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. Skye is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of the series.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

 

 


The Black Pearls Magazine family would like to thank each of you for joining us monthly in celebrating the best in literature and the arts.  Our team of writers, bookclubs and authors are so humbled that you have allowed us entrance into your life. It amazes me each month as I check our subscribers how many of  you deem us worthy of your time and support. 

We appreciate each of you for telling 10 people about the magazine and for driving people to this site. YOU make Black Pearls the magnificent publication that it is, by sharing the Gift of Knowledge!

Please know, as we prepare each issue for you, we look for those stimulating conversations, the most thought provoking articles and most of all, the best books on the shelves. We want each page of this magazine to add value to your lives!  Your comments and feedback are welcomed. Join our blog and share your news, advice and wisdom with the other readers. Tell us what you want to read too!

As we enjoy this new year, we hope to bring you more provocative topics and life empowering books to shape your lives. We have contests for the readers and more interactive sections added to the magazine. Let us know what you think of the fresh new content by emailing us here.  Thank you!


Ella Curry, President of EDC Creations
Founder & Editor In Chief Black Pearls Magazine

Disclaimer:  The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing articles for Black Pearls Magazine are theirs alone, and do not reflect the views, opinions or positions of Ella Curry, EDC Creations Media Group, Crown Holders Transmedia Group, Black Pearls Magazine or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or guest writers for this online magazine and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use. If issues should arise, please contact the author or the publishing firms directly. 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

HOME     |     Author Interviews      |    Bookclub Interviews     |   Featured Articles     |    Book Store