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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

 

 

 


 

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A REASON TO BELIEVE 
by Ella D. Curry



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

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

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

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

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

* Difference between a solopreneur vs entrepreneur.

* 50 tips on becoming a social media influencer.

* Secrets to demystifying the social media marketing.

* Monetizing your magazine, radio shows and blog.

* Identify your purpose and discover self-acceptance.

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

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

* Humanizing your brand with storytelling and visual promotions.

* Introduction to mobile marketing and promotions.

* How to use social media as a lead generator.

* How to build a targeted social media strategy.


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

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

 
Meet the Author 

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

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

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

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


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

 

 

 

 


The Greatest Ah Ha Moment 
by E. N. Joy

My life just completely changed. I always say that the greatest "Ah Ha" moment a person could ever have is when their life begins to make sense. I live, breathe, see, hear, eat, sleep, think, taste, feel, smell the written word. It is my life. I've made bestsellers lists, won awards, appeared in magazines, had books translated to different languages, put on audio and more, but I was always yearning/desiring/chasing more. I can’t put my finger on one specific thing. Perhaps I was longing for more notoriety, money or what have you. I achieved things that I am most proud of and that other authors have yet to accomplish. But nothing was filling on a long-term basis. Nothing made me feel like I knew what my purpose in this writing thing was. I just knew that it took up all of my time and all of my money, and in most cases, with a very small financial return. 

Of course the wonderful feeling of gratitude I receive from readers is priceless. I love love love my readers, their testimonies, support and reviews. They are the boss of me. They give me a high, but then eventually I find myself back in that space again where I'm seeking , not just an answer, but a feeling; that feeling of everything making sense. "Why am I doing this outside of the fact that I love writing so much?" "Is this what I'm called to be doing or only what I want to be doing?” “Is there something else I should be doing instead?" "Why?" "Why not?"

One time I was at a literary event and at times I felt inferior to some of the National Bestselling authors that occupied the room. Their literary reputations preceded them. Everyone in the room seemed to know who they were and acknowledged them with huge applause. I reflected back on that moment and said in prayer, “God, I want to know what it feels like to enter people's presence and everyone in the room already knows who I am." His reply to me was, "Me too."

It was then I had my greatest “Ah Ha” moment. My ministry is delivering God's message through the written word in the form of literary entertainment in order to point the world in the direction of the kingdom. In doing so I FINALLY realized that E. N. Joy's job is not to make herself famous, but to make God famous. In spite of what some may think, not everybody knows God. Even God Himself knows that; He told me so!

I feel so free now knowing that even though my husband, children and so many family members, friends, readers and strangers have supported me in my literary endeavors, that I don’t have to prove to them that their love and support and bragging about me was not in vain by becoming the most famed and richest author in the world. I don't have to make the New York Times, my books don't have to be turned into Lifetime movies or chosen as Oprah's book of the month. My job is not to become a famous author through my writing, but to make God famous through my writing. So no longer is my motivation to become Bestselling Author E. N. Joy-One Million Copies Sold, but instead: BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy-One Million Souls Saved!

Meet the Author
E. N. Joy
is the author behind the "New Day Divas," "Still Divas," "Always Divas," and "Forever Divas" series, which have been coined soap operas in print. Former acquisitions editor of the Urban Christian imprint, Joy is now writing full-time, doing freelance editing, ghostwriting, Literary Consulting and some agenting. She is also the founder, host, organizer and feature author of Literary Feast 2015, which takes place this year in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, October 10, 2015. You can find this author on Facebook under E. N. Joy, but today she's here to talk to us live.

You Get What You Pray For by E.N. Joy 

Lorain has been a prisoner of secrets almost all of her life. At the age of thirteen, she'd managed to keep her pregnancy a secret, discarding the infant she'd given birth to and leaving it for dead. She also never revealed the fact that the baby's father was her middle school guidance counselor. Years later, Lorain's mother had finally met the love of her life, and Lorain couldn't find the courage to tell her mother that her new beau was the man who molested Lorain. To complicate matters, Lorain discovered that the baby she'd abandoned all those years ago had survived, and God had placed Lorain in the now adult child's life. It seemed like the legacy of secrets had been passed on, too, as Lorain helped her daughter conceal the true details behind her own pregnancy. 

Lorain has managed to maneuver the secrets and lies like a strategic game of chess, and is now living the lavish fairy-tale life of a doctor's wife. But even that is a lie. With the rug about to be pulled from underneath Lorain by the woman who raised her abandoned child, all Lorain prays for is that everything will end well. In this cycle of lies, secrets, shame, and guilt, will Lorain get what she prays for?

Website:  http://www.enjoywrites.com 
Twitter Link:  http://www.twitter.com/enjoywrites 
Facebook Link:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorENJOY
Instagram: https://instagram.com/blessedselling_author_enjoy/  
Video Introduction:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1-f4KPOPwc
New Day Divas Fans: 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Day-Divas-Fan-Page/135990139770880 

 

 

 


God’s Timeline 
by Catherine Flowers


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

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


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

 

 

 


Save for Retirement or Pay Down Debt
by Harrine Freeman


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Meet the Author

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

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

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

 

 

 


A MOTHER’S CRY
by J.E. Greene

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


What Will Your Legacy Be?



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


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

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

I hope you will enjoy the devotional shared below.


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

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

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

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

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


Your Sister in Christ, Rugina


 

 

 


 

How to Find Your Serenity Place 
by Kerri Herndon

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

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

But wait.


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

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

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

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

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

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

One approach…Morning Glory.

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


Let’s begin!


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings, Kerri Herndon


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

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

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

 

 



Big Goals - Small Steps! 



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

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

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

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

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

Your Sister in Christ,
Rugina Poellnitz 



History of  The Morning Teas

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

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

 

 

 


Author KAI Speaks on Love & Poetry

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

Toxic Love by KAI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


About the Author

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

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

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

Connect with KAI online: 

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

 

 

 

 


Ellis and The Magic Mirror 



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

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

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


Message from Cerece Rennie Murphy

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

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

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

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


You can also pre-order your copy on Amazon here: 

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

Ellis and The Magic Mirror will be released on August 11, 2015
by Cerece Rennie Murphy (Author) and Gregory Garay (Illustrator)
Order Link: http://amzn.com/0985621052 





About the Author

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

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

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

 

 

 


12 Honeymoons by K.L. Brady

Miki Vincent, the poster child for the lost and directionless, is addicted to simplicity and hope of new beginnings. That’s why she believes she and the 90-day rule were a match made in heaven. Find a prospective partner, let him treat her like a queen without the complications of sex in the early stages of a relationship, fall in love. 1-2-3 magic. She learned the hard way that holding out on sex doesn’t always expose Mr. Right…and when Mr. Wrong threatens to land her in jail enough is enough. She flips the script, turns the 90-day rule in her favor—the Honeymoon Plan.

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

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

Chapter Excerpt: 12 Honeymoons: A Novel by K.L. Brady


"Now, where was I...a broken nose, sprained ankle, and bruised tailbone," Judge Baxter said, pausing to lean forward in his seat, apparently eager to glimpse my expression. I couldn't wait to hear it too...because I didn't have a clue about what I'd planned to say. How would I convey this story in a way that wouldn't suggest I kicked Mitch's ass when, in fact, that's exactly what happened? How could I feign innocence when my only true regret centered on the unfortunate show of restraint that resulted in him leaving the scene in an ambulance—and not a coroner's van. Wished I could plead temporary sanity because beating him down in the street like a purse snatcher on payday served as a sign I'd finally come to my senses. 

He continued. "Since your vast education equipped you with sufficient knowledge to provide me with the definition of laceration, I wonder if you'd share with the court how you would define the cause of Mr. Wiggins' injuries? If not simple assault?" 

I chewed on the words like cud in a cow's mouth before spitting them out, believing my statement could be the difference between hitting a bar after my hearing--or sleeping behind bars. "With all due respect, I believe the word you're looking for is comeuppance." My response sparked a wave of laughter among the spectators. "You must...I mean, please understand, sir. We dated for three months," I said, thrusting my three fingers in the air like a Hunger Games salute. As I glanced at my digits, I realized the brief length of time might sound ridiculous to some, but wasting time with a lying dog always felt like too much time, whether three minutes, three months, or three years. "When I met him, he rolled beside me in a wheelchair. Claimed he'd been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. He was handsome, seemed pretty smart, and I don't discriminate against wheelchair people, so I agreed to lunch. Truthfully, I was starving, my Jimmies were squeezing my toes, and I knew wherever he invited me to we'd be both sitting down. To my surprise, we hit it off. Shared the intimate details of our lives, including my recent receipt of a sizeable inheritance. After a few weeks had passed, he began asking me for money to obtain advanced physical therapy. Said he'd rise like Lazarus and walk again except he wasn't dead...yet. As Ray Charles could see, this so-called victim didn't need physical therapy, and the only thing he needed to put in a wheelchair was his limp—" 

"Ms. Vincent!" Judge Baxter interrupted. 

"Wrist, your honor. Wrist," I said, flapping my hand to mimic him. "He always did this ‘honey-child' thing with his wrist. Drove me nuts. Perhaps mental therapy would've been in order." The two-faced weasel dressed in a pity suit and he had a thick white bandage strapped across his nose like a badge of brutality. Poser. "Later, I discovered his deception in the worst way." 

"Mmm hmm," Judge Baxter nodded. "Please continue." 

"So, on the day in question, I'm in Bethesda, driving down Wisconsin Avenue in my new Mercedes Benz. Fresh off the lot. I was barely a mile from the dealership when BAM! I'm rear-ended at a red light. At first, I'm in shock. So I check myself in the rear view mirror to make certain I'm okay. I see a man, from the chest down, slow jogging toward my car. Imagine my surprise when I turned down the driver side window and Mr. Wiggins' face was in my face...and he's trotting around like a prized stallion." The lying sucker sat face-forward with a smug grin, looking like a black light bulb with his baldhead sticking out of a neck brace. "He had no idea I'd be the one sitting in the driver's seat. So when he bent down to hand me his insurance card, let's just say I hope he was wearing a diaper." 

"I see," Judge Baxter said amidst the courtroom chuckles. "What happened next?" 

I cleared my throat, you know, to cough up the lie. Then I took a long Southern-belle dramatic breath. "So, now we're face-to-face. And I'll admit I'm a bit surprised because he'd been missing in action for a month, since the day after we slept together. But I'm willing to listen to reason and discuss the repairs to my vehicle. So I decide it's best to step out of my vehicle to speak to him, calmly of course. Man-to-woman, eye- to-eye. But I, uhh, first stuck my fist out the window to uhh...to check the temperature outside. Imagine my surprise when my knuckles accidentally grazed his nose. He could've dodged me, but I think the muscular dystrophy slowed his hand-to-nose coordination." I scanned the room to see if the fish were biting this bait and, from my perspective, they were hooked on every word I spoke. That's when I held up my hand to show my jewelry. "I wear a lot of rings, as you can see. I suspect this one might be responsible for the teeny tiny lacerations around his whopping honker. It's Tiffany's—a platinum band with cushion-cut tanzanite and a double row of diamonds. Two karats. His nose? This ring? Pretty hard to miss. 

"Anyway, I'm concerned about his well-being because he's bent over, yelling expletives and all. So I open my car door to check on his physical state. In all of the excitement, I misjudged the distance between Mr. Wiggins' head and the car door so it may have slammed into his skull, just a smidge. The next thing I knew he crumpled to the ground and curled into the fetal position. By now, I'm overridden with guilt to the point that my suffering was nearly too much to bear." 

"Hmph. Sounds as if you weren't alone," he said. 

After I had cleared my throat, I examined Judge Baxter's face for signs he'd bought this steaming pile of cow pucky, bit my bottom lip, and continued, treading carefully. "So I bend down, in my new dress and heels...and snatch him...er, I mean, grabbed...I mean lifted him by the shirt collar to help him up. But he's a big guy, as you can see, and I'm a little unsteady in my shoes. So I'm like 'oh my God I'm gonna drop him' because he's heavy, and my knuckles are still sore from when I grazed him earlier. After I get him half way off the ground, I lose my grip, and BAM! He slams flat onto the hard, cold asphalt, right next to shards of glass from a broken bottle, which also may have contributed to the teeny tiny lacerations. Maryland must improve its litter law enforcement. Someone could get killed. Anyway, by this time, he's barely responsive. So, I softly called his name—" 

"Your Honor, she didn't softly say anything. She...she called me a lying son of a bitch so loud my mother heard it," Mitch hollered. "And she's in Cleveland." 

Of course, those were the only words of truth to escape from his cracked, ashy, lying lips. But it wasn't his turn, and he'd interrupted my story. What's worse? Judge Baxter appeared to give his interruption some credence. So I panicked. 

"I object! Leading the witness!" I responded. Unfortunately, the only phrase I could've spoken that was more irrelevant was "Pick-up on Aisle three!" 

More like Strike three. 

"You are out of order, Ms. Vincent," Judge Baxter said in a near growl. He turned to my accuser. "No more outbursts, Mr. Wiggins. Your opportunity to tell your side of the story will come soon enough. Now, please finish your account of what happened, Ms. Vincent." 

"Well, when he was non-responsive, I softly patted his face." Translation: Pimp-slapped him so hard I left a palm print. "And then I called 911." 

A stone silence settled over the courtroom as we all watched Judge Baxter's facial expression for a reaction. When he didn't budge or speak, I decided to deliver my rousing conclusion. "So I believe I've demonstrated there was no intent to assault anyone. These unfortunate coincidences were all innocent mistakes." 

That's when Mitch coughed BS. Honestly, I tried to keep my mouth shut but what fell out of my lips next probably sealed my fate. 

"And if you think about it, Your Honor, Mr. Wiggins claimed he suffered from an affliction that required a wheelchair. So, I believe God used me as His vessel to make an honest man out of him. He may have arrived in a Lexus but, thanks to me, he left on a gurney. I saved his soul." 

The court erupted in laughter, but I didn't. Neither did Judge Baxter. 

( Continued... )

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



Purchase 12 Honeymoons: A Novel by K.L. Brady
Link: http://amzn.com/B00X6TCUPU

More Books:  http://www.amazon.com/K.-L.-Brady/e/B002O15D78


About the Author

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

She has a B.A. in Economics, an MBA, and is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, Romance Writers of America, Sisters In Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She’s addicted to writing and chocolate—not necessarily in that order—and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. She is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of the series.  Website:
http://klbradyauthor.com    

 

 

 

 

 


Secret Indiscretions 
by Trice Hickman



The first book in the Dangerous Love Series 

Two couples, two unhappy spouses--one shocking solution. . .

Five years into her happy marriage, Geneva Mayfield is devastated to find that things have taken a turn for the worse. Her husband, Johnny, is suddenly hard to reach, distant, and works late too often for Geneva not to be suspicious. Is it because she's been pressuring him about having a baby? Feeling lonely and neglected, Geneva bonds with Robert Owens, a colleague who is having marital trouble of his own. Soon, their relationship blossoms into an uncontrollable affair. 

Bored with her husband, Robert, and dead set against having a child with him, Vivana Owens is biding her time until she's ready to leave--and she's spending it with Johnny Mayfield. It's just a fling--until Vivana becomes obsessed with Johnny, especially once he tries to win back his wife. But affairs don't end easy--and soon one of the unfaithfuls will end up dead, one will end up in jail, and one just might get away with murder. . .


Praise for Trice Hickman 


“Trice Hickman is an amazing writer and storyteller!” 
--Kimberla Lawson Roby, New York Times bestselling author

“I can't wait to see what Trice Hickman does next!” 
--Mary Monroe, New York Times bestselling author



Excerpt: Secret Indiscretions 

Prologue


I wish I could have taken a picture of the look on Johnny’s face when I pulled out my gun and aimed it between his eyes. But then again, I didn’t need a picture because that sweet memory will be etched on my brain for the rest of my life. And besides, a photograph would be evidence, and after the time and effort I put into planning this son of a bitch’s murder, the last thing I need on my phone is a picture of a dead man.

Usually when someone shows up at a person’s doorstep late at night, a booty call is more than likely on the agenda. But because there’s no way in hell that was the case between us, Johnny knew right away that this visit wasn’t going to end well. I was actually surprised that he opened the door once he realized that it was me standing there, but then again, too much alcohol can make a person do things they normally wouldn’t. He smelled of liquor and he could barely keep his balance.

“What’re you doing here?” he asked, slurring his words. 

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, and I believe that to be true. From the moment we looked into each other’s eyes, Johnny knew that I came here tonight to kill him. 

We stared at each other for what felt like a long time, but was only a brief minute. His eyes said he was sorry for what he’d done to me, and to a host of other people, too. But my eyes told him that I didn’t give a damn about his remorse, and after what happened a week ago today, he had to have known that he was going to have to pay for his sins. I guess that’s why he opened the door for me in the first place. 

He quickly sobered up when I pointed my gun between his eyes, and that’s when he allowed the reality of what was about to happen to sink in. He didn’t put up resistance. He didn’t fight. And he didn’t plead for his life. He did none of the things I thought he would do, and I was glad because that made my job easier. The bastard actually helped me by taking a few steps back into the kitchen, eliminating the need for me to drag his body out of plain sight once I did what I came to do.

I didn’t want to prolong this because I knew I had a set amount of time to get in and get out. But I also wanted to enjoy this moment, savor it, and swallow the sweet taste of revenge. However, I had to use my head, otherwise all my planning would go right down the drain, and I’d end up in jail. I couldn’t let that happen, so I lowered my gun to Johnny’s chest and smiled as I pulled the trigger.

( Continued... )

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


Meet the Author

Trice Hickman is a self-proclaimed Southern girl, and award-winning, bestselling author. Trice's love of reading and the power she recognized in the written word inspired her to become a writer. After receiving rejection letters from every agent and publisher she submitted her work to, Trice was determined to bring her stories to life. She self-published her first three novels to great success, and shortly thereafter, landed a multi-book deal with Kensington Publishing Corp.(Dafina Books) where she is currently published. When she's not busy writing and reading, Trice enjoys cooking, traveling, decorating, and meeting good people. Learn more about Trice at www.tricehickman.com, and join her blog at  www.fabuloussouthernbelle.blogspot.com 

Purchase Secret Indiscretions by Trice Hickman 

The first book in the Dangerous Love Series 
Link: http://amzn.com/1617737437



 

 

 


The Ultimate Betrayal 
by Kimberla Lawson Roby 

Announcing the 12th novel in the Reverend Curtis Black Series!

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

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

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

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

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


Excerpt from Chapters 1 & 2: The Ultimate Betrayal 

Chapter 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“My life is finally complete.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Talk to you soon.
Levi

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



Chapter 2

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

Brad frowned. “What is what?”

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

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

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

“Do I search through your things?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Whatever, Mel.”

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

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

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

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

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

“I never said it wasn’t a big deal.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You said the same thing last year.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why?”

“Just come here. Please.”

She got up and walked over to him.

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

Melanie looked at him but didn’t say anything.

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

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

“I agree. But do you forgive me?”

“Do I have a choice?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I wish.”

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

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

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

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

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

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


( Continued... )

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


Purchase The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Link: http://amzn.com/1455559563 


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

 

 


Balm: A Novel 
by Dolen Perkins-Valdez 

The New York Times bestselling author of Wench returns to the Civil War era to explore the next chapter of history---the trauma of the War and the end of slavery---in this powerful story of love and healing about three people who struggle to overcome the pain of the past and define their own future.

The Civil War has ended, and Madge, Sadie, and Hemp have each come to Chicago in search of a new life. 

Born with magical hands, Madge has the power to discern others' suffering, but she cannot heal her own damaged heart. To mend herself and help those in need, she must return to Tennessee to face the women healers who rejected her as a child.

Sadie can commune with the dead, but until she makes peace with her father, she, too, cannot fully engage her gift.

Searching for his missing family, Hemp arrives in this northern city that shimmers with possibility. But redemption cannot be possible until he is reunited with those taken from him.

In the bitter aftermath of a terrible, bloody war, as a divided nation tries to come together once again, Madge, Sadie, and Hemp will be caught up in a desperate unexpected battle for survival in a community desperate to lay the pain of the past to rest.

Beautiful in its historical atmosphere and emotional depth, Balm is a stirring novel of love, loss, hope, and reconciliation set during one fo the most critical periods in American history. 


Editorial Reviews


“Elegantly crafted …captures the fierce energy, diversity, and suffering of Civil War-era Chicago…Perkins-Valdez moves gracefully among her three protagonists’ viewpoints as they struggle to claim their authentic gifts and free themselves of the pain of their pasts. Her spare, lyrical voice is unsentimental yet compassionate.” 
(Publishers Weekly)

“From the first page, I fell under the spell of the magical BALM. Powerful characters and exquisite prose bring to life a tumultuous period of American history that still demands our attention…With emotional depth and evocative detail, Dolen Perkins-Valdez has written a beautiful novel I will not soon forget.” 
(Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of HOUSE GIRL)

“Full of love and loss, meaning and mystery, BALM draws you into a world in tumultuous transition. Hold on tight as Dolen Perkins-Valdez weaves a story you have not heard before; one which you will find impossible to forget. ” (Pearl Cleage, author of THINGS I SHOULD HAVE TOLD MY DAUGHTER)

“In BALM, Dolen Perkins-Valdez effectively reveals the emotional injury suffered by everyone following the Civil War. All of the characters came alive and I cared for them deeply. That, to me, is the best kind of book.” 
(Kathleen Grissom, author of THE KITCHEN HOUSE)

“Dolen Perkins-Valdez is an ambitious writer who looks to the past with a calm gaze and a sympathetic heart. In her new novel BALM, as in her startling debut novel WENCH, the complexity of her characters and visual power of her prose make for riveting reading.”
(Valerie Martin, author of THE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE)

“Fiercely creative and exquisitely rendered...In sweeping prose, Perkins-Valdez transports you to Chicago after the Civil War, with Madge, a freeborn black woman, Sadie, a young white woman, and Hemp, a freedman looking for his wife. Their journeys of love, loss and reconciliation become your journeys. A must read.” 
(Lalita Tademy, New York Times bestselling author of CANE RIVER and RED RIVER)

“Perkins-Valdez deftly weaves her characters’ longings with the gritty realities of American life after war’s devastations…No sophomore slump is in evidence here. Readers who were captivated by Perkins-Valdez’s first novel, Wench, will be intrigued by the post-Civil War lives of three Southern transplants to Chicago.” 
(Library Journal)

Meet the Author Featuring Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Join New York Times bestselling author, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, for a stirring conversation about her new book, Balm. In this powerful story of love and healing, Dolen has created yet another story which draws readers in with “powerful characters and exquisite prose." 

Beautiful in its historical atmosphere and emotional depth, Balm is a stirring novel of love, loss, hope, and reconciliation set during one of the most critical periods in American history. We encourage you to join us for what promises to be a great evening for lovers of unforgettable storytelling from a charismatic and engaging author.

When: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 

Doors open at 6:30PM.  Event begins at 7:00PM.


Where: Oxon Hill Library

6200 OxonHill Rd., Oxon Hill, MD 20745 


General Admission: Entry is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Seating is very limited, reserve your seat now at: http://dolenperkinsvaldez.eventbrite.com. Only books purchased at the event or pre-ordered at MahoganyBooks.com will be autographed.


Balm: A Novel by Dolen Perkins-Valdez 
Purchase books here: http://www.mahoganybooks.com/9780062318657 

 

 

 


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




The Sisterhood: Exploring mental freedom through fiction!

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

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

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

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


Special Message From the Author


I wrote the book I wanted to read about strong yet vulnerable and intelligent black women committed to a great and grand goal—mental freedom and empowerment for all. 

The characters in the book are well-developed women, healthy but plagued at times by guilt and self-doubt even as they put on a strong face to the world –— just like many of us. Some are happily married, and some are single, but most of all their focus is not just on their men (or lack thereof) but on their friendship and common goals.

On the surface, The Sisterhood is an epic action-thriller set in the context of a vast business empire. More deeply, the book is about friendships between women as they fight to protect a dream larger than themselves. Set in the not too distant future, The Sisterhood is Afro-futurism, with high stakes conspiracies, financial battles, deadly car chases, double agents, and martial artistry. 

Action-thrillers tend to address some change in the world while literary fiction often addresses the growth of the individual. I was intrigued by the degree to which the transformation of the individual transforms the world. So the book explores how these women evolve as the pressure mounts, and how their new perspectives help them to fulfill their mission. 

Oprah once asked Bishop Desmond Tutu what was required for peace in the world. He answered in a single sentence… “It is time for the women to revolt.” The women in The Sisterhood challenge the status quo by doing just that. 

Who is a woman of the Sisterhood? She could be you or the woman next door. From businesswomen to teachers to any profession, any smart and talented woman you admire could be a secret member of The Sisterhood. 


EXCERPT: CHAPTER 1


Friday, December 5th - 2:00 am

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


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

“Do it,” Tonia ordered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


( Continued... )

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


Download The Sisterhood: Book One 

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




About the Author

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

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

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

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

 

 


Stand Your Ground: A Novel 
by Victoria Christopher Murray


From the #1 Essence bestselling and award-winning author Victoria Christopher Murray comes Stand Your Ground, a new novel about two women who are faced with the same tragedy.

A black teenage boy is dead. A white man shot him. Was he standing his ground or was it murder?


Janice Johnson is living every black mother’s nightmare. Her seventeen-year-old son was murdered and the shooter has not been arrested. Can the D.A. and the police be trusted to investigate and do the right thing? Should Janice take advantage of the public outcry and join her husband alongside the angry protestors who are out for revenge?

Meredith Spencer is married to the man accused of the killing and she sees her husband and the situation with far more clarity than anyone realizes. What she knows could blow the case wide open, but what will that mean for her life and that of her son? Will she have the courage to come forward in time so that justice can be done?


Book Reviews for Stand Your Ground


“Murray has written a tension-packed novel around the hot-buzz national topic of an unarmed black youth shot by a white male, an act then subjected to the Stand Your Ground rule as a legal defense tactic. . . . Murray’s writing admirably shows the often overlooked human emotions following racial violence. . . . The pulled-from-the headlines storyline will captivate readers." (Library Journal - Starred Review)

“With artful descriptions, Victoria put me inside their hearts and minds. I did not just enjoy this read, I lived it.” (Michelle Lindo Rice, bestselling author of the Able To Love Series)


Chapter Except: Stand Your Ground



The doorbell rang and a hard knock followed.

Tyrone and I frowned. It was a little after nine, and Marquis and his friends knew they couldn’t hang out on school nights.

Just a couple of seconds passed before the visitor knocked.

“Who can that be?” I asked, pushing myself up.

Tyrone held up his hand. “You stay here. I’ll get it.”

Before my husband could make it to the top of the staircase, I wrapped myself inside my robe and stepped into the hallway. Marquis’s bedroom door was closed, which was the only reason why I was sure he hadn’t bounced down the stairs to get to the door before his father.

By the time I made my way to the top of the stairs, Tyrone was at the bottom and opening the door.

“Mr. Johnson?”

The door was open wide enough for me to see the two policemen, one black, one white, standing shoulder to shoulder, like soldiers.

“Yes,” my husband said, his voice two octaves deeper, the way it always dropped when he stood in front of men wearing uniforms.

“May we come in?” the black one asked.

Those words made me descend the stairs even though I wasn’t properly dressed for company. Not that policemen showing up could ever be called welcomed visitors.

“What’s this about?” my husband asked.

The policemen stepped inside, though Tyrone hadn’t extended an invitation. Both men glanced at me as I stood on the second stair, gripping the lapels of my bathrobe and trying to come up with a single reason why two officers would be in our home.

“Ma’am.” It seemed the black officer had been assigned to do all the talking.

“What’s this about?” Tyrone asked again.

They stood at attention, as if this were a formal visitation. “Would you mind if we went in there?” The black officer nodded toward our living room.

If the officer had been speaking to me, I would’ve said yes because it seemed like the polite thing to do.

But Tyrone said, “That’s not necessary,” because my husband had been raised on the hard streets of Philly, where a policeman, no matter his color, was never an invited guest.

The officers exchanged glances before the black one said, “Marquis Johnson, is that your son?”

Tyrone’s eyes narrowed while mine widened.

“What’s this about?” That felt like the fiftieth time my husband asked that question.

“There’s been a shooting . . .”

“Oh, my God,” I gasped. “Did something happen to one of our son’s friends?”

The officers looked at each other again before the black one continued, “It’s your son, Marquis. He’s been shot.”

“What?” Tyrone and I said together.

“That’s impossible,” Tyrone said. “Marquis is in his room.” He yelled out, “Marquis, come down here.”

Not even a second passed before I dashed up the stairs, moving like I hadn’t in years. Not that I had any doubt. Of course Marquis was in his bedroom. He’d come home while Tyrone and I . . . had been spending personal time together. I mean, Marquis hadn’t come into our bedroom when he came home, but he never did when we had the door closed.

Tonight, he’d been home by eight, nine at the latest. I was sure of that.

I never entered Marquis's room without knocking. But tonight, I busted in. And then I stood there . . . in the dark. I stood there staring at the blackness, though there was enough light for me to see that Marquis wasn’t sitting at his desk, he wasn’t lying on his bed.

“Marquis,” I called out anyway, then rushed to the bathroom. “Marquis!” Just like with his bedroom, I busted into the bathroom and stared at the empty space.

Then, I felt my heart pounding, though I’m sure the assault on my chest began the moment the policeman had told that lie that my son had been shot.

“Marquis,” I shouted as I searched our guest bedroom.

I returned to his bedroom and swung open the door to his closet before I crouched down and searched under his bed. “Marquis,” I screamed, wondering why my son was playing this game of hide-and-seek, something we hadn’t done since he was four.

I rushed back into the hallway and bumped right into Tyrone. “He’s not up here,” I said to my husband as he grasped my arms. “He’s downstairs; did you check the kitchen or the family room?"

“Janice.”

I looked up into Tyrone’s eyes, which were glassy with tears.

“What?” I frowned. “You don’t believe those policemen?”

He nodded and I shook my head.

“They’re lying.”

“They’re not lying,” Tyrone said softly. “They showed me a picture.” 

Now I whipped my head from side to side because I didn’t want to hear anything else. I couldn’t believe that Tyrone would accept the word of men in blue. Wasn’t he the one who said the police couldn't be trusted?

If he wasn’t going to look for our son, I was. “Marquis!” I screamed.

Now a single tear dripped from Tyrone's eye. “Janice, listen to me.”

I tried to remember the last time my husband cried. And I couldn’t think of a single time.

“Janice.” He repeated my name.

“No!”

“Marquis is gone.”

“No!”

“He was shot over on Avon Street.”

“No!”

“He’s dead.”

“Why would you believe them,” I cried. “Why don’t you believe me?”

My husband looked at me as if I was talking foolishness. And I looked at him and begged for him to tell me that he was wrong. Or for him to wake me from this nightmare. Either would work for me.

But Tyrone did neither of those things. He just stared into my eyes. And as I stared into his, I saw the truth.

Not many words that Tyrone had shared had made it to the understanding part of my brain. But four words did: Marquis. Gone. Shot. Dead.

“Marquis is gone?” I whispered.

Tyrone nodded.

“Someone shot my son?”

He nodded again.

“And now he’s dead?”

This time, Tyrone just pulled me close, so close that I could feel the hammering of his heart. But though I always wanted to be held by my husband, I didn’t want him to hold me now. Because if what Tyrone had said was true, then I didn’t want to be in my husband’s arms.

If what he said was true, then all I wanted was to be dead, too.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Books by Victoria Christopher Murray

Contemporary Women Fiction >African American > Christian Fiction 

http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Christopher-Murray/e/B001IO9LP2

Meet the Author
Victoria Christopher Murray always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton University where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating, Victoria attended New York University where she received her MBA.

Victoria spent ten years in Corporate America before she tested her entrepreneurial spirit. She opened a Financial Services Agency for Aegon, USA where she managed the number one division for nine consecutive years. However, Victoria never lost the dream to write and when the “bug” hit her again in 1997, she answered the call.

Victoria originally self published her first novel, Temptation and in 2000, Time Warner published that novel. Temptation made numerous best sellers list and remained on the Essence bestsellers list for nine consecutive months. In 2001, Victoria received her first NAACP Image Award nomination for Temptation.

Since Temptation, Victoria has written over twenty other adult novels, including: JOY, Grown Folks Business, The Ex Files, The Deal, the Dance and the Devil, Never Say Never and the popular Jasmine Cox Larson Bush series.

Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being a pioneer in African American Fiction. Since 2007, Victoria has won seven African American Literary Awards for best novel, best Christian fiction and Author of the Year – Female. Her 2014 NAACP Image Award nomination for Never Say Never was her third Image Award nomination.

Several of Victoria's novels have been optioned to become movies, including The Deal, the Dance and the Devil and the Ex Files series.  With over one million books in print, Victoria is one of the country’s top African American contemporary authors.

Victoria splits her time between Los Angeles and Washington D.C. In Los Angeles, she attends Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church under the spiritual tutelage of Dr. Beverly “BAM” Crawford. She is also a very proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  Stand Your Ground available nationwide and online June 30, 2015!

Connect with Victoria Christopher Murray

#standyourgroundthenovel
Website:     http://www.victoriachristophermurray.com 
Twitter:       https://twitter.com/victoriaecm 
Instagram:   https://instagram.com/victoriachristophermurray  
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/victoriachristophermurray 



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

 



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



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

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

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

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

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


For more information on how to order the book, please visit the website:  http://www.theemptycarriagelife.com 




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

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

 

 

 

 


The Dog Catcher 
by Lloyd Johnson

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

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

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


Chapter One: The Dog Catcher by Lloyd Johnson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 ( Continued... )


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

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


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

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

 

 


Tricks for a Trade 
by Lloyd Johnson

How far would you go to get what you want?

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

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

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

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


Chapter One: Tricks for a Trade  


Friday, June 6, 2008

5:40 AM


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Because she’s my mama!”

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

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

“I gotta go to work.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Whatever.”

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

( Continued... )


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


Purchase Tricks for a Trade by Lloyd Johnson


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

 


 


Justin's Body of Work 
by Janice L. Dennie


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

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

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

Order your copy today!

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



THE UNDERWOOD’S OF NAPA VALLEY SERIES 

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

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

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


CHAPTER 1
Unedited Book Excerpt: ARC version


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ashley’s voice had a soothing effect on them.

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

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

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

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

“I need a signature for this letter.”

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

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

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

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

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

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


( Continued... )

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


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



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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 



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

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

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

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

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

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



 

 


Kenton's Vintage Affair 
by Janice L. Dennie
 

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

The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting women and children. As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood has been betrayed and no longer believes women need his protection. He has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. But Briana harbors a deep seated fear that prevents their future happiness. Kenton has also been scarred by an obsession that fuels his competitive behavior. Can their relationship survive Kenton’s obsession and Briana’s fear?


Excerpt from Kenton's Vintage Affair by Janice L. Dennie
Listen to the author reading from the book:
http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CPT6vSfx  


“Want some wine?” 

“Sure, I’ll have a glass.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


( Continues... )

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

Purchase Kenton's Vintage Affair by Janice L. Dennie
The Underwood's of Napa Valley Book 1 
Contemporary African American Romance
Print or eBook:   http://amzn.com/B00NS4KW0I 

 

 

 

 


 

Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir 
by Benilde Little


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

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

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

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


PRAISE FOR THE BOOK


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



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


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



Order Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir by Benilde Little

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


About the Author

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

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

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

 

 

 


American Pool Player 
by Calvin W. Maxwell 

Set in 1984, just as hip-hop culture was beginning to takeover the world, Grice "G-Man" Grafton is a teenager about to enter high school. He loves playing pool but is naive. His friendship with a streetwise kid causes Grice to accept a challenge from a ruthless thug called "Dragon" who is a notorious pool hustler. The days leading up to the match test not just Grice's confidence as a pool player, but his very soul. 

American Pool Player Chapter 1: The Game


My parents didn’t mind me playing pool every afternoon as long as my homework was always done and my grades didn’t meager. I think my parents were proud of the fact that I took such an effortless interest in a sport that didn’t have any remote possibility of concussions or broken bones. Besides, I really didn’t have much of an appetite for boxing gloves or shoulder pads. 

From the time I was 9 to 14 years-old, I would play 8-ball, 9-ball, or straight pool almost every day with Mr. Evans or his youngest son Roy or even sometimes my Dad would play when he didn’t have to work overtime. I studied the legends of the game, like Willie Mosconi, Minnesota Fats, Ralph Greenleaf, Jimmy Moore, Luther Lassiter, Steve Mizerak, and Mike Sigel. I wanted to absorb all I could about those who achieved prominence in the cue arts. I was particularly interested in any great black players. Were there any? Yes. 

His name was Cisero Murphy and he stood toe-to-toe with the best pool players of his era. He was a champion who played the game with intelligence, class and he never forgot where he came from. Other than my father and Mr. Evans, Cisero Murphy became one of my early boyhood heroes. 


Amazon Customer Book Reviews


Reviewed by Heidi -American Pool Player is amazing and the writing style is fun and easy to follow. When you start reading it, you just want to continue in order to find out what happen next. The story reflects our everyday life and it shows the reader that learning one lesson does not mean that we actually learn everything in life. I recommend reading it.

Reviewed by Vera Dow -American Pool Player really made me reflect on my childhood and what it was like growing up in the 80s. And this book take a serious hard look at the issues then that mode many of us into who we are today. Very funny parts in the book too :) GREAT READ!!! 

Reviewed by SCP -Mr. Maxwell it's a pleasure to endorse your book thank you for inspiring our youth, as you well know anything that will capture the attention of young minds is a true blessing and it appears you have an absolute WINNER here!

Reviewed by Book Lover -Calvin W. Maxwell is an inspiring author and paints a joyous picture of hope through his book "American Pool Player" I would reccommend this as a must read for any Christian today! 

Reviewed by Jessica Miller-Greene -Awesome! Creatively written. Thank Mr.Maxwell for creating a character who is so realistic, and a story of faith and love. 


Purchase American Pool Player  by Jr. Calvin W. Maxwell 
Printe  and  eBook Download Link: http://amzn.com/1622301412
Christian Hip Hop.  No profanity, drug use or sexual content. Mild violence.



About the Author

Calvin W. Maxwell, Jr. is a teacher and sports fan that lives in the Greater New York area. He writes to encourage and inspire young people. 

 

 

 

 


Made to Love You 
by Sheryl Lister



ONLY $.99 Cents Through August 14, 2015! 

Devin Simms has never forgiven the woman who walked out on him, but when he sees her again, he realizes the passion between them still burns--and even hotter than before. As they spend an unexpected two weeks together beneath the Caribbean sun he knows he wants more. Can he learn to forgive and reclaim the only woman who's claimed his heart? 

Floral shop co-owner Vivian Michaels believes she has finally put her past to rest. But when a wedding in Jamaica brings her face-to-face with the man she loved and had to leave behind, she realizes that she never stopped loving Devin. Every kiss reminds her of what she's missed, and perhaps what she can still have if she would only trust him with the truth. 


Excerpt: Made to Love You by Sheryl Lister


As soon as they checked in and deposited their bags, the women rushed back to the lobby for the meeting with the wedding planner. They would have had a few minutes to rest, but Vivian was trying to avoid Devin after deplaning and they got caught in the long customs line. She couldn’t help but wonder where he was staying. Seeing him again was hard because, although she had ended their relationship—she didn’t have a choice—she still loved him.

“Too bad you two have to meet with the wedding planner,” Dawn said as they waited at the front desk. “I’ve seen some fine brothers walking around here.”

Vivian laughed. “Try not to have too much fun without us.”

“Yeah,” Mariah added. “Save some fun for after Friday night. There are a couple of tours we should do. I really want to tour the Bellefield Great House and Gardens.”

Dawn rolled her eyes. “Hmph. I should’ve known you’d want to go somewhere that has to do with gardens and flowers.”

“I want to go, too,” Vivian said. “Dawn, it’s one of the oldest sugar plantations in Jamaica.” 

“Ms. Irving said she’ll be down in a moment,” the front desk clerk said after hanging up the phone.

“Thank you,” Vivian and Mariah said at the same time.

“Viv and I shouldn’t be long, Dawn. An hour tops. We’re just going over the order with the hotel staff to make sure I have everything I need. We can have dinner afterwards.”

Dawn glanced down at her watch. “If y’all take too long, I’m going to ask one of these sexy men running around here to join me, like that one,” she whispered and pointed to a dark-skinned man who had obviously just left the pool or beach. His damp, muscled skin glistened in the overhead lighting.

Vivian shook her head at her outrageous friend. “Girl, I don’t know about you. Try not to get into trouble while we’re gone.”

“I’ll see what I can do, but don’t hold me to it.”

They all laughed.

“Um, Viv,” Dawn started, her laughter fading, “remember when you said this was a big island? Don’t look now, but I think it just shrunk.”

Vivian followed Dawn’s gaze and her stomach dropped. “I don’t believe it.” Out of all the hotels on the island, what were the odds that she and Devin would end up at the same one? She watched as he and Tony, who she remembered as being one of Devin’s friends, shared a one-arm hug. “This can’t be happening.”

“Oh no.” Mariah laid a hand on Vivian’s shoulder. “Sweetie, I’ve got bad news.”

She couldn’t imagine anything being worse and wasn’t sure she wanted to know, but asked the question anyway. “What is it?”

“That guy Devin was just talking to is Samantha Green’s fiancé. The one time he came with her to the shop, you were out, so I didn’t get a chance to introduce you.”

Vivian was wrong. It could be worse.


( Continued... )

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


Purchase your copy of Made to Love You

Novella, Approximately 37k Words 
Link: http://amzn.com/B00YB50K7S




About the Author

Sheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Her first novel, Just To Be With You, earned her a 2015 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Debut Author of the Year. When she's not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three and pediatric occupational therapist.

 

 

 


You Get What You Pray For 
by E.N. Joy

Lorain has been a prisoner of secrets almost all of her life. At the age of thirteen, she'd managed to keep her pregnancy a secret, discarding the infant she'd given birth to and leaving it for dead. She also never revealed the fact that the baby's father was her middle school guidance counselor. Years later, Lorain's mother had finally met the love of her life, and Lorain couldn't find the courage to tell her mother that her new beau was the man who molested Lorain. To complicate matters, Lorain discovered that the baby she'd abandoned all those years ago had survived, and God had placed Lorain in the now adult child's life. It seemed like the legacy of secrets had been passed on, too, as Lorain helped her daughter conceal the true details behind her own pregnancy. 

Lorain has managed to maneuver the secrets and lies like a strategic game of chess, and is now living the lavish fairytale life of a doctor's wife. But even that is a lie. With the rug about to be pulled from underneath Lorain by the woman who raised her abandoned child, all Lorain prays for is that everything will end well. In this cycle of lies, secrets, shame, and guilt, will Lorain get what she prays for?


Praise for You Get What You Pray For


"It was a very good book from the beginning to the end. I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys a good Christian love story."  - Michael Dothard

"In true E. N. Joy fashion, this book presented characters who were crazy, funny, and off the chain enjoyable. This story was filled with enough ups and downs, lies and truths to keep the reader's attention. I loved it!  FIVE STARS!!"  - Tanishia Pearson-Jones


Excerpt: You Get What You Pray For

Lorain closed the door to her last guest, walked into her great room and flopped down on the couch. She took off her shoes and flung them across the room, simultaneously closing her eyes.

“Whoa. I’m glad to see you too.”

Her eyes opened to the medium height, dark skin man. Her sparkling stilettos were at his feet. He stepped over them and walked toward her.

Lorain smiled. “You are exactly what I need right now.”

“Leon is always right on time,” he said, speaking in the third person. “Where’s everybody?”

“The staff is in the kitchen.”

“Your mother and the girls?”

“Next door.” Lorain nodded in the direction of her mother’s house.

“Then it sounds like Leon can take you in his arms.” He walked over to Lorain. “And do things to you that your husband could never dream of doing.”

“Oh, Nicholas can dream, but what Leon does to me is every woman’s fantasy come true.”

“Then why are we wasting time talking, when we—”

“Are all them stuck-up hussies gone?”

Eleanor’s voice came booming from the dining room.

“Looks like Leon will have to take a rain check,” Nicholas said, putting away his alter ego.

Lorain loved it when her husband role-played as Leon. Leave it to Eleanor to spoil the moment.

“Hello, Mother,” Lorain said as Eleanor entered the great room. She looked behind her mother, certain she would have seen two mini figures trailing behind her, but she didn’t. “Where are the girls?”

“In the kitchen eating up those desserts,” Eleanor replied.

“Mom, you can’t let them eat all that sweet stuff,” Lorain said. “You know diabetes runs on my father’s side of the family.”

“It ain’t running that fast,” Eleanor said, “seeing that it ain’t caught up with him and killed him dead. Besides, I don’t see you depriving your size fourteen self of any cupcakes.”

“Twelve,” Lorain said, correcting her.

“Your clothes might be a twelve. That little black thing you wear up under them that cuts off your blood circulation might make you look like a ten, but them hips scream fourteen.”

Lorain was offended. “Well, I never.”

“You never what? Been black before? Because that’s sure how you acting.” Eleanor shook her hand at Lorain. “We black folks . . . that’s what we do . . . eat.”

“And we get high blood pressure and sugar diabetes,” Lorain argued. “I don’t want my girls having to stick a needle in their stomach and prick their fingers all the time.”

“Heck, you married a doctor.” Eleanor rolled her eyes. “Let him do it.” She shooed Lorain. “You worry too much. Let them kids be.” Eleanor pushed Lorain out of the way and headed for the couch. “Now, move before you make me cuss.” She sat down in a huff. “And I ain’t like them ole fake Christians, talking about the cussword slipped out. I cuss on purpose, and you know I know how to string my words together to cut you up so tough, it’ll make ya heart bleed.” She looked up, for the first time acknowledging her son-in-law. “Hey, Nick. How you doing, sweet baby?” Her tone was now as sweet as could be.

“I’m good, Ma.” He walked over and kissed Eleanor on the forehead.

“I don’t know how you stay good.” She pointed at Lorain. “With that one acting like Diahann Carroll, a black woman trapped in a white woman’s body.”

“That is not who Diahann Carroll is,” Lorain said. “That’s just a role she played.”

“My point exactly. You been pretending to be somebody you’re not ever since you got involved with those doctors’ wives.” She shook her head at Nicholas, as if he’d fibbed. “And you good. Tell me anything.” She looked back at her daughter. “But I know you good . . . good at pretending. I watched how you were around them women at that last party thing y’all had here at the house. The all of you fake as a two-dollar bill.”

“Two-dollar bills are real,” Lorain said.

“Then a two-dollar bill’s got one up on you,” Eleanor snapped back.

Nicholas let a chuckle slip out.

Lorain snapped her neck toward Nicholas. “Nick, really?” You’re going to let her talk to your wife like that?”

Nicholas shrugged. “She’s yo’ mama. Besides, if I don’t take her side, she might not make me her famous neck bones and black-eyed peas.”

“Hmm,” Lorain said to Nicholas. “You need to be worried about what you might not get from me.”

“Child, you are forty plus,” Eleanor said. “He ain’t studdin’ none of that vintage vagina.”

“Ahem.” Nicholas cleared his throat. “I’m going to leave you two alone.” He headed off.

“Coward,” Lorrain shot at him, then looked at her mother. “I can’t believe you waste your time going to church Sunday mornings and use that mouth to praise the Lord, when all week long nothing but junk comes out of it. Just sickening.”

“Ain’t church for sick people to go and get better?”

Lorain threw her hands up. “Why do I bother? I can’t beat you.”

“And I thought by now you would’ve stopped trying. But I’m glad you haven’t. Keeps my mind sharp.”

“You mean your tongue?”

As crazy as the stuff that came out of Eleanor’s mouth was, it tended to be on point. Lorain had been trying to cover up her old life because there was too much guilt and shame in acknowledging it. She only needed enough time to pass where she felt comfortable enough to be real . . . with everybody. But time needed to hurry along. If not, one of two things was going to happen. Everyone was going to eventually see right through her phony, plastic self. Or she was going to suffocate underneath it all.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase You Get What You Pray For
 
Always Divas Series Book Three
Genre: Christian Fiction 
Link: http://amzn.com/1601626975  




About the Author

BLESSEDselling Author E.N. Joy is the writer behind the “New Day Divas,” “Still Divas,” “Always Divas,” and “Forever Divas” series, coined soap operas in print. And just like real televised soap operas, these stories are filled with drama, romance, chances, coincidences and fate. But more importantly, they are filled with characters that will make you feel young and restless, bold and beautiful; all as the world turns upside down. These divas will be your guiding light to a literary feast. Don't miss out on the series of a lifetime, because remember, you've only got one life to live. Start living it with the New Day Divas.


 

 


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

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

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

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

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


Book Reviews for How to Get Out of Debt

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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Continued... )

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


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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


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


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

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

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

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


Excerpt from HATE THE AIR


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

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

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

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

“Who are you?”

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

“Legacy?” He scoffed. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Shhh, boy. Shhh!” I told him. 

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

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

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

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

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


( Continued... )

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

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



 

 

 


Corporate Thugs 
by Bridgett Renay

What’s the first sign that lets you know you’re dealing with a sociopath? 

Corporate Thugs is riddled with clues.

Set in the new reigning hub of African-American drama – suburban Atlanta – it’s the scandalous saga of the ambitious and untamed Gerald Alexander that chronicles his descent into the dismal world of irrationality. From high school to college and throughout the pros – his story will have you watching your back ever so closely.

Gerald had only two dreams, to play professional football in the NFL and to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. When the former became a reality it was short-lived due to a serious injury. And just like that, all the fame, fortune, parties, and women… gone. On the contrary, his best friend since childhood, Marcus Stone, was on top of the world – a successful business, a beautiful wife, and a fat bank account…he seemed to have it all.

Being a supportive friend, Marcus offers Gerald a job hoping Gerald would have a positive impact on his company. But when jealousy and murder come between them, which one will fall? Could Gerald be so callous that he'd set his best friend up? Is Marcus even capable of unleashing his own wrath?  They solved the riddle. Can you?


Corporate Thugs Book Reviews


I never heard of Bridgette Renay, I was looking for a good book to download, read the synopsis and just had to read the book. I can honestly say that once I started reading I couldn't put my Kindle down until I finished the book. Very well written and thought-provoking, filled with an array of mystery, drama and intrigue the plot was on point and the characters were real and believable. Bridgette Renay is an author to watch for if all her books are like this one!  --Ms. Mikki, Amazon Review

Corporate Thugs is a for sure "must read"!!! This book had me on edge from start to finish. If you think you know your friends, throw money in the mix and you will find out just who has your back and who will stab you in the back! This will be a stocking stuffer this year for some of my friends. Congratulations, and Thanks Ms. Bridgett Renay for shedding some light on Corporate America. DAMN this was goood!  --Jeffrey B. Johnson, Amazon Review



Excerpt: Corporate Thugs by Bridgett Renay

Brenda and Coach Daniels hosted a Christmas party mid-December and all were invited. Terrell didn’t like hanging out with Fallon’s people, they acted too peculiar around each other for his taste, but he made an exception after Fallon told him she was pregnant.

She didn’t actually tell him she was pregnant, it was more like him noticing the changes she was going through – her behavior, eating habits and weight gain gave her secret away. She told him about the positive pregnancy test, but convinced him she was only waiting to find out for certain from her gynecologist because she didn’t want to cause any false alarms.

Terrell was excited and couldn’t wait to share their news with everyone, but at the last minute Fallon convinced him to wait until after the holidays. She knew how much the news would hurt Dionne who appeared to be in great spirits at the party.

Out of nowhere, Dionne steals the spotlight and makes an over-the-top announcement. Using a butter knife to tap on her glass of water, Dionne got everyone’s attention and spoke in one of her snottier vernaculars she saves for auspicious occasions such as this, “Everyone, everyone, can I have your attention. My husband Marcus and I have some wonderful news we would like to share with you.”

Brenda gave a look that said she didn’t appreciate Dionne taking over her Christmas party, especially without warning the hostess, but she let it go. Being around Dionne was like walking on egg shells. Everyone treated her with kid gloves for the sake of her health.

While Marcus remained seated, Dionne stood up and put one hand on his shoulder striking a distinguished pose as if they were royalty and proudly announced, “The love of my life, Marcus, has been chosen as one of this year’s prestigious Power 30 Under 30. For those of you who don’t know what that is…”

Marcus interrupts, “Baby, I think even if anybody here has never heard of the award, they can imagine from its name what it represents,” Marcus light-heartedly laughs.

Dionne proceeds to lead the crowd in applause. Terrell applauds, but isn’t too happy. Why does everyone always let Dionne steal the scene whenever she wants to throw their accomplishments in other people’s faces? They’re not the only ones living happy, successful lives.

Fallon has had Terrell’s nose wide open since the beginning of their relationship, but this time he wasn’t about to obey her commands. If Dionne can share their good news, so could he. As the applause died down, Terrell stands up and makes an announcement of his own, “Everyone, Fallon and I also bring good news. We’re expecting a baby! She’s three months pregnant!”

Most guests were genuinely happy for the couple. Dionne pretended to be thrilled. Brenda pretended to be surprised. Gerald immediately did the math in his head. 

( Continued... )

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


Order copies of Corporate Thugs by Bridgett Renay
Link: http://amzn.com/B00UTZFYIO 




Meet the Author

Never has there been a time in Bridgett Renay’s life where she’s laughed harder or played more vigorously…all thanks to writing. Everything she’s done in life has led to this moment. From both an undergraduate and graduate degrees to twenty-four years of service as a Navy Reservist tells the story of a journey that took her to faraway places, introduced her to intoxicating people, and shaped the way she views the world and her place in it. What better time to pen the tales that dances inside her head.

Bridgett: http://www.bridgettrenay.com 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BridgettRenay 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bridgett.renay.3 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/undistractedbridgettrenay/ 
Books by Bridgett Renay: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UTZFYIO 

 

 


A Sad Soul Can Kill You 
by Catherine Flowers 

Sequel to Yesterday's Eyes


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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from A Sad Soul Can Kill You

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

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

“Hello,” Scamp said expectantly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


( Continued... )

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


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




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

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

 

 


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 
Purchase copies of Yesterday's Eyes



 

 

 


Ungolden Silence 
by Lydia E. Brew

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

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

Ungolden Silence will have you peeling off what's underneath a man's exterior, before peeling back the sheets.


Book Reviews for Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew 


MUST READ WITH SENSITIVE ISSUES 
Reviewed by Misty Iputi 

Ungolden Silence is one powerful book. It may be a work of fiction, however it has some real issues. The issues are to be addressed in the book. This book does give a look at the strength of Christian faith has in dealing with the problems.  If I could give this more than 5 stars it would be well worth it.


Emotional Read
Reviewed by My Cozie Corner Book Reviews 

"Ungolden Silence" is an easy read, but hard read that is well written and very emotional with a topic that needs more recognition. A recommended read to all women.


Book Like No Other
Reviewed by Mz Tiffany Divine Reviews 

I just finished reviewing Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew and I honestly can say it’s not like no other book I have read before. In Ungolden Silence you will meet Beatrice who will take you on a world wind journey of being raped and how it not only affects her but other’s around her. Lydia brings emotions out that you may never knew existed. I was immediately drawn into the characters and could feel the pain that some of them were going through. Lydia E. Brew does an awesome job with this book and I look forward to reading more by her.


Let the Victim Be Heard
Reviewed by Teresa Beasley 

Ungolden Silence is an informative book about disability, rape with a hint of racism. Ungolden Silence brings out different emotions because it deals with a sensitive topic. Any type of abuse causes a difficult change in the victims’ lives. Rape is a violent act, mainly against women, that leaves a lasting effect on the victims. This was expressed throughout this book and needs to be read by all women young and old.


Powerful, Provoking and Inspiring
Reviewed by Beth Cutwright 

Wow. I just finished reading Ungolden Silence. Usually I take a day or two to mull a book over before I try to write my review. But this book was so compelling, I felt the need to share my thoughts immediately, while they were fresh and burning in my soul. This book was definitely enlightening, powerful, painful and emotional. My emotions were totally invested, probably because the subject of rape is so frightening. If we can learn to discuss this type of material, I think we would all be better for it.


Excerpt from Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew


As the four talked for an hour or so, Mr. Thomas Paige did not take his eyes off Beatrice. He ignored Elaine completely. He would often sit by Beatrice and, after a few minutes, she would move. Elaine could see that Mr. Paige liked Beatrice, but she didn’t return the feeling and was uncomfortable and a bit irritated with his attention. When Mrs. Stevens offered to show Elaine the baby grand piano in her music room, Mr. Paige and Beatrice were left alone. Beatrice decided she needed to get a few things straight.

“Look, you seem to be a nice guy, but I’m not interested. You’re making me very uncomfortable,” Beatrice added. 

Mr. Paige did not seem to hear her. “Alone at last, Miss James,” he said in a soft, gentle voice as he stroked her face.

The second that Beatrice felt his fingers on her face, her anger turned to fear. She did not want to let Mr. Paige know that he frightened her.

“I did not give you permission to touch me! Listen, I’m not interested in you in any way. Please, just leave me alone!” Beatrice said angrily. 

The pleasantness was gone and her teeth were clenched. However, before she finished her statement, Mr. Paige had his hands on her buttocks. In that instance Beatrice remembered when she was sixteen. It was a hot summer day and she was lying on the sofa half asleep. She awakened to her uncle kissing and caressing her face. He did not stop there. He unzipped his pants and began to slide his hand and was pulling down her panties when Judy came into the room. Beatrice’s mind came to the present.

“Oh now, I think that we can have a good time this week,” he said in the same manner as before.

“I said no! Now get your hands off me!” Beatrice snatched her body away from his reach, knocking his shades off. The man’s breath had a faint odor of alcohol. His eyes were glassy red. However, Beatrice did not take notice. She was so shocked from the memory of what her uncle did to her, and the fact that this man was making a move on her was overwhelming. 

Mr. Paige returned to his seat and put his shades back on his face only because he heard Mrs. Stevens and Elaine returning. When Elaine walked in and sat down, she picked up on some strange vibes from Beatrice. There was a strange look in her colleague’s eyes. This troubled Elaine because she knew something was upsetting Beatrice.

This man had just made unwanted sexual advances to Beatrice, but she told Elaine and Mrs. Stevens that she had a headache.

( Continued... )

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


Excerpt from Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew


Shara stepped to the microphone and said, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Attitudes must change if this problem is going to be solved. I went to Washington the second that I heard Beatrice had been raped. The firm had a limo for Elaine and Beatrice so that Elaine could be as independent as possible. When I got to Washington, the rape and the act that a “community leader” was accused of rape was a major story. The limo driver just knew that the lady was a hooker, and he was mad. Again, it was the victim’s fault. This driver did not have the facts. Why didn’t I set him straight? Well, I thought I had to protect Beatrice’s privacy, right?”

“Right,” the crowd answered slowly.

“No, wrong, ladies and gentlemen. This is what we are talking about; wrong because rape is a crime! When it comes to sexual harassment or anything about sexual dysfunction, we don’t listen, we don’t tell. It is personal, private. No! It is a crime and everybody needs to tell the world. Beatrice was not the first female that the man raped; not even close to the first.

“Each case of rape is different. In Beatrice’s case, this man was chasing her all the time that she was in Washington. Am I blaming her? To a degree, yes.”

The audience seemed repulsed.

“People, please understand that what is being said here tonight is known by all people in the firm, especially top team members. I am not saying this to hurt my colleague. This is to make you see and understand what we are saying. The man who raped her stalked her all week. The women who saw the “bad” side of him kept quiet. That enabled him to cause more pain. He used that silence, and his list of victims got longer and longer. The women kept silent because they did not want to face the attitude that we as a society give them; oh, it was nothing. 

“Well, it was something when Mr. Paige touched my colleague inappropriately the second they were alone. She did not want him. We must allow women to say what they do and do not want men to do to their bodies. We must change the attitude about sexual problems, and we must listen when a woman is trying to get a man to stop. When a woman says a man is bothering her, we must hear and make sure the man understands that he must stop.”


( Continued... )

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

Purchase Ungolden Silence 
Link: http://amzn.com/1425798918


 

 

 


Embrace My Heart 
by AlTonya Washington 

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

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

Excerpt: Embrace My Heart 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another of the agitated rumbles surged in Qasim's chest, and he pushed back the wide black leather chair behind his desk. Vectra could hear nothing over her heart beating wildly as anticipation had its way with her.

Qasim didn't take a seat in the chair; instead, he headed in Vectra's direction and then shifted toward the maple wet bar, which displayed a wide array of liquor bottles in various shapes and sizes. Quietly, Qasim went about preparing Vectra's vodka tonic, which he set firmly upon the bar top. From the full-size black fridge behind him, he retrieved his beer of choice and popped the top.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


( Continued... )

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

Purchase Embrace My Heart by AlTonya Washington
Link: http://amzn.com/B00OY9ZAC6



 

 

 

 


What You Won't Do for Love 
by Keleigh Crigler Hadley



Unconditional Love. Unthinkable Choice. 

Eden Price, an unlucky-in-love nurse finds herself in the midst of a heated love triangle. Globe-trotting missionary, Gabe Clark ignites her soul. Who doesn't want a man with a connection to God? Hard-working, Nemo Gates speaks to her heart. His past has caused a rift between him and God and Eden wants to help him heal. 

She ultimately chooses the man that makes her passions come alive, but did she make the right choice? Her husband stuns her with a desperate plea; to prove her love for him in the most unthinkable way - to help him die with dignity. 


Book Review: What You Won't Do for Love


Get the tissues out! What You Won't Do for Love is a emotional roller-coaster ride. 


The story centers around, Eden Price and the two men in her life, Gabe Clark and Nehemiah Gates. The author, Keleigh Hadley creates an intriguing love triangle and I found myself cheering for one guy, then cheering for the next guy - I was torn! I connected deeply with the main character, Eden Price because she was quirky, compassionate and realistic. Ultimately the love triangle is broken and Eden chooses one of the men, but he asks her to do the unthinkable. I have to be honest, I thought one way about the subject the author tackles in this book, but after reading this and connecting with her struggle, I feel differently. I won't say how because that would spoil the plot twist. In the end, I greatly appreciated the spiritual insight and encouragement I felt after reading and look forward to reading many more books from Keleigh Hadley.  --- Reviewed by Gina Johnsond, Reading DIVAZ


Excerpt: What You Won't Do for Love 


“There goes that Price girl again.” Verdeen Washington exclaimed to her hard-of-hearing sister, Pearleen. They rocked in unison, in the twilight air on their front porch.

Eden Price noted the puzzlement in Verdeen’s booming voice as she steadily passed them by. Heck, the whole neighborhood could hear it.

“She’s a strange bird, if I ever saw one.” Pearleen looked over her thick glasses and pursed her wrinkled lips.

“Good evening, Washington sisters.”

Eden smiled, nodded and kept her legs pumping. She knew they shook their gray wigs as she passed them, but her jogging pace didn’t diminish and she kept on singing.

She knew she was a sight to see and hear.

“Wishing, and hoping and thinking and praying...
planning and dreaming each night of his charms…”

That’s it, Dionne.

Eden sang the tune to Dionne Warwick’s 1950’s classic song. The lyrics had been stuck on repeat in her head all day and the only way to get a song out, is to sing it. So in between breaths, she belted out the infectious tune.

So Dionne, is this the formula for catching a man?

The cushion in her Nike trainers flattened and rebounded as she reduced her pace from a slow jog to a brisk walk. She was two blocks from home and needed to start her cool down.

“...do the things he likes to do… wear your hair just for him… 'cause you won’t get him,
thinking,
and praying,
and wishing,
and hoping...”

Her worn out sports bra allowed too much jiggle and wiggle room for her girls. She could never hope to get a good run in anymore wearing three year-old running shoes and a five year-old bra, but budget constraints did not allow for such luxuries. 

Eden adjusted ‘Ben and Jerry’ again to the safe confines of her bra, before she was arrested for exposing herself. Eden hunched over for a moment to catch her breath. Just a few more feet to go. She righted herself, hit her corner, and turned at the intersection of Third ave and 33rd place.

Three threes. The number meant something to her father, God rest his soul. It was his favorite number and one of the reasons he purchased a house on this block. But today, the number three held relevance to Eden too.

This was her thirty-third year of life, she was suffering from her third night of insomnia, and on March third, in three days her life would change - “for better or worse.”


( Continued... )

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

Order What You Won't Do for Love  

Available nationwide and online August 4, 2015
Debut book for the Brown Girls Faith fiction book line 
BGF website: http://www.browngirlspublishing.com 
  

About the Author

Keleigh Crigler Hadley is an author, speaker, and teacher who is thankful God can use her messes for His glory.
She has always loved stories, and she believes the story of the Bible contains the biggest, the most redemptive dose of grace humankind has ever, and will ever, experience. She is the Christian Fiction author of the Preacher's Kids series, Revenge Inc., and What You Won't Do for Love with Brown Girls Faith.

If she were to define herself in one sentence, she would say, "I'm a girl who loves to see God working."  Keleigh writes soul-stirring fiction, with real characters that stay with readers long after they have closed the book, (or turned the e-reader off.)  The only thing she loves more than writing is reading, so contact her on social media and let her know what you're reading!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/khadley11 
Website: http://www.keleighcriglerhadley.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkeleigh 
Books: http://www.amazon.com/Keleigh-Crigler-Hadley 

 

 


My Wife's Lover by RM Johnson


My Wife's Lover by RM Johnson is filled with deceit, suspense, drama and mystery. It will have you guessing and shocked at what this story brings. 


Stan’s wife Erica, told him she was pregnant by another man who wanted no part in raising the baby. Contracts were signed transferring custody and all fatherly rights to Stan. But three years later, he walks in his house to find his wife and her ex-lover in a compromising position. A horrible accident has happened and Michael, the biological father, wants his child back. Erica tells Stan she won’t let the boy be taken, but Stan finds text messages between Erica and Michael, finds proof they’ve been seeing each other, and wonders if Erica is planning on leaving him and taking the little boy to reunite him with his natural father. 

Abandoned as a child by his own father, and forced years ago to surrender custody of his daughter, Stan will do whatever he must not to lose his son, including taking a life.

Purchase My Wife's Lover by RM Johnson 

Sequel to My Wife's Baby 
Link: http://amzn.com/B00ZAD8WR0 




My Wife's Baby by RM Johnson


My Wife's Baby is a story of Romance, Suspense, Erotica, Family Life, Drama and Mystery. It will have you guessing and shocked at what the end brings. 

Does the love for a wife and the jealousy for an infant, warrant murder? 
My Wife's Baby is a story of Romance, Suspense, Erotica, Family Life, Drama and Mystery. It will have you guessing and shocked at what the end brings. 

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase My Wife's Baby by RM Johnson 

Link: http://amzn.com/B00P3CHSWI

 

 

 

 



From the Florist to the Forest: Think Deep Before You Leap 
by Charlie Marcol 

Compelling, Real, Essential, Riveting are just a few words to describe From the Florist to the Forest. Invitations, themes, cakes, floral design and bridal fashions have transcended the objective of the institution of marriage. While marriage rates are declining, divorce rates are escalating. This is a cause for concern not only for the institution of marriage itself, but also the stability of families. Marriages are failing because people fail to prepare for matrimony. Everyone has their own vision of love, but there must be a willingness to communicate that vision.

A lack of communication leads to unrealistic expectations, which can cause the demise of a relationship. Discover what you need to know and forget about superficial trappings. In the end, the flowers on your wedding day won't matter when happiness is but a dream deferred.


Book Reviews

"From the Florist to the Forest is a beautifully transcribed testimony of growth and triumph over uncertainty and disappointment. Charlie's bravery to share her relationship journey will bless you! Her insight originates from an honest place that many women won't dare to venture. Her inward self-reflection causes you to assess your own relationship needs, wants, and intentions. This isn't your momma's relationship guide! I highly recommend this book for women and men, young and old." 
-Dr. Pamela Price

As a single woman, "From the Florist to the Forest" helped me recognize the part I play in relationship mistakes of the past and has helped me develop a better and introspective attitude about love.
-Melody Kym, Houston

As a woman who has journeyed from the florist to the forest and barely survived it, I wish this impactful and honest account of the reality of matrimony existed for me to learn from while in a daze at the florist. The journey is real, and Ms. Marcol has done an exceptional job highlighting the struggle of two becoming one. Marriage should not be taken lightly and is not for the faint at heart. I recommend this to every woman who "thinks" they are ready for the ministry we call marriage!
-Dr. Quincy Miller, Houston 

Hi beautiful! I just had to let you know I absolutely LOVED your book! From the personal message (thank you) to the last sentence (I don’t want to be like Lott's wife either!) It truly blessed me, it made me laugh, cry, shake my head, but more importantly it reminded me that God knows what’s best for me! And while I’m waiting I should be working for HIM, as well as on me, so I can be ready for him. The one God made for me. Your book is anointed and I know it will bless many ladies' lives, because it certainly blessed mine so keep doing what you’re doing. I love you! I want to know how I can buy copies of the book for my friends :)
-Nakia Williams, California, Houston



Excerpt: From the Florist to the Forest Chapter One 

“The Season of Singleness and the Pressure”



Seasons, people, and trends all change and eventually your season of singleness will change if that is God’s will for your life. The season of singleness can be tough on any woman that has everything her heart desires. I mean, she has it all . . . the car, house, decent career, designer clothes, supportive friends, great family, active in the community and she may even have children. What she does not have is a husband to complete her happily ever after. She’s missing a mate that will display Christ-like love and sweep her off of her feet. 

It seems as if a single woman over the age of 30 should walk around with a scarlet “S” on her chest. The “S” is not because she is a super person, but because she is super single and everybody knows it. Society has painted the picture that by the age of 30, a woman should be married, with 2.5 kids, a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, dogs running in yard, and a SUV sitting in the driveway. This ideology is so deeply woven into society’s tapestry that if a woman has not met these objectives in life, then “something must be wrong with her!” 

The irony is that society has drastically changed its view on marriage within the last decade, but the view for heterosexual women has remained the same. This new-age view of marriage reminds me of a fast food restaurant where you can have it your way: quick and made to order. Everything goes from reserved, open, gay, with or without children, pets as children, and some couples don’t even live in the same house. It is complicated, unequally yoked, arranged and deranged, and maybe even common law. Everything else is the new normal, except when it comes to heterosexual women.

For that single woman over 30, the number one question at social functions and family gatherings is “When are you going to get married?” Inquiring minds want to know and people begin to pry and probe. Happy thoughts turn to “Oh no, here it comes . . . the pressure,” followed by doubt, with mixed emotions. Even the overtly confident single woman may begin to question herself and ask “What is wrong with me?” or “Why I am not engaged?” Listening to naysayer’s opinions about your singlehood creates obsessive thoughts about being married. I know it’s hard not to consider others’ judgments, but you must stop over-analyzing “the whys” and the “what ifs” and know that God is working on your behalf. Instead, praise God for his divine protection for preserving you for the right someone. God has a blessing in store for you, but you must wait and be of good courage. 

1 Corinthians 7:7 tells us that God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of married life to others. Right now may not be your time but I promise you, it’s not the end of the world. While others are focusing on what is wrong with you, ask yourself, “What is right with me?” No, you don’t need to cut your hair, go natural, get Botox, add extensions, get braces, enhance your breast, whiten your teeth, or lose a few extra pounds to make him come or have an infinite attraction to you. If you want to partake in those things to make you feel better, then by all means go ahead, but if you are doing all that for the sake of a man and a relationship, then stop it! Just continue to be you, the way God made you. When you do some self- reflection, you will learn that everything you thought was wrong is perfect. There is someone that will love your imperfect self, perfectly.

Sure, you probably could be married, with kids, a mansion in the hills, and a nice luxury car; but would you be completely happy with your life and your mate? Alexander Pope once said, “Fools rush in” and some of the fools end up in miserable marriages. Thank your lucky stars that is not you! You are single for a reason . I am certain there have been suitors in your life but you did not settle because you are waiting on him. Hopefully your him is God. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being single when it is a part of God’s plan. In Jeremiah 29:11, the Lord tells “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” There is still hope for your future. God ordained marriage and He made time. Everything that we do is on God’s watch and with his infinite wisdom He will pour out a blessing that you don’t have room to receive when the time is right. 

Real Talk

Okay, so you are single. To be single is a blessing from God in disguise. Ask the Apostle Paul. He believed being single was a gift and an opportunity to develop a relationship with the Heavenly Father. You may not think so, but God has you in a particular place and space for a reason. For example, how is your emotional landfill? You know that place . . . that ugly, nasty, stinky section of our minds where we burry the truths of our lives. Piling trauma, hurt, calamity, and drama in our emotional landfill should only be temporary, but sometimes we hold on to these memories longer than we should. We learn how to compartmentalize so we can “survive” for the moment. Sadly, too often those moments end up lingering and affecting our relationships. When our emotional landfill starts to overflow, it is because it is too painful to go back to process the situation. Healing only comes when we can fully process the hurt and the pain. Is your landfill spilling over because you refuse to heal and forgive? 

It is impossible to be in a healthy relationship when your emotional landfill is filled to capacity. Ask yourself, would you marry you if you were carrying all that junk around?

( Continued... )

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

Order From the Florist to the Forest: Think Deep Before You Leap  
Non-fiction; Self-discovery and Self-help
Link: http://amzn.com/B00UXP213Q



Meet the Author

Charlie Marcol, was born and raised in the great state of Texas. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of Houston, where she became a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. She also earned a Master of Education Degree in Counseling from Texas Southern University. From the Florist to the Forest is her debut novel. Although she is new to the publishing world, her book is spreading like wild fire. She was featured on the Day Break morning show in Dallas instilling her motto to "Think Deep Before You Leap" into marriage. Charlie seeks to empower women through awareness, discussions and self-love. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending quality time with family. Charlie currently lives in Houston with her adorable 10 year old son Gavin. 

Twitter: @CharlieMarcol
Instagram: #charliemarcol 
http://www.charliemarcol.com 
http://www.facebook.com/charliemarcol 

 

 

 


The Perfect Revenge 
by Lutishia Lovely




The Shady Sisters Trilogy Book 3


In this sexy page-turner from Lutishia Lovely, a conniving seductress embarks on a spectacular finale as her need for revenge—and for the object of her obsession—reaches a boiling point…


After a nightmarish two years, Nathan Carver thinks he can relax. His sister, Sherri, and her husband, Randall, are once again enjoying life and time with their family. Then they get bad news. Jacqueline Tate, the woman who’s been a walking, talking tornado of trouble in all of their lives has been released from prison. They decide to take reasonable precautions and let God take care of the rest. But Jacqueline hasn’t changed one bit, and she has plans of her own…


Excerpt from The Perfect Revenge


CHAPTER 1



Where to, pretty lady?"

Jacqueline knew exactly where she wanted to go. She also knew she wouldn't travel there in a straight line; one of the reasons for walking two miles from the prison she'd just been released from to a gas station and getting the attendant to call her a cab.

"That's a good question."

The taxi driver viewed his passenger from the rearview mirror and was rewarded with a genuine smile. Two years, eight months, four days, and seven hours ago, Jacqueline would have ignored this stranger, maybe even cursed him out for attempting to flirt. But after so long with so little contact with people in general and men in particular, she allowed herself a moment to relax, and feel grateful to breathe free air.

It wouldn't last long.

"You new in town?"

"Just passing through. You?"

"Raleigh, born and raised."

"So you probably know where I should go to get a good meal."

The driver's smile increased. "I know all the places you can go."

Jacqueline laughed.

"Do you like soul food?"

"Love it." Actually, she could take it or leave it. But for her plans it was the location, not the food, that mattered most.

"What do you want? Ribs, fried chicken, pork chops, greens, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese ..."

"Please stop! You're making my mouth water."

"There's this place tourists like to visit. It's in the heart of downtown. The food's good there."

The last place Jacqueline wanted to be was in a heavily populated area filled with cameras to chart her moves.

"Is that where you go when you want a good meal?"

"Naw, baby. I go to my mama's house."

"Well, I wouldn't dare think of bothering your mom. Where's the next best place?"

"It's a little hole in the wall in the hood but I don't think you want to—"

"That's exactly where I want to go."

The driver nodded, reached the corner, and turned left. Jacqueline noticed how the driver kept glancing at her through the mirror. He was obviously smitten. Good. "I like your hat."

"Ah, yeah?" He pulled the ball cap off his head and looked at the logo. "Got so many of these things I forgot who I put on this morning."

"The Carolina Panthers are my favorite team."

They'd been so for a whole minute or two, since seeing a billboard a few miles back.

"You like football?"

Not at all. "Don't know much about it but, yes, I'm a fan. I'm only going to be here until the morning. Maybe I can find a Panthers cap somewhere besides the airport. Everything's so expensive there."

"I'd give you this one if it weren't so dirty."

"Really? That's so sweet of you. I'd love to have it!"

"Oh no, darling. A woman as pretty as you don't deserve to wear a cap holding this much of a working man's sweat."

"I'll wash it before I wear it." She reached for her bag and eyed him through the mirror. "How much?"

At the next light the driver removed the cap, brushed it against his pant leg in a failed attempt to remove grime, and handed it to her. "You've just paid for it with that pretty smile."

"You sure?"

"Positive."

Jacqueline made a big deal of admiring the cap. "Thank you."

After a cab ride made shorter by the driver's running commentary on the place he'd only left a handful of times since birth, they arrived at the aptly described eatery located on a corner marred by trash and weeds. Jacqueline paid the driver and went inside. It was early. The place was almost empty. Though her stomach growled at the smells that assaulted her, she ordered a glass of tea, waited ten minutes, and called another cab. After walking out of the eatery, she casually donned the dirty ball cap. Once in the cab she just as casually braided her hair and stuffed the twists beneath it. That the driver had spent the entire ride on his cell phone, engaged in what seemed to be a heated conversation (not knowing the language he spoke, she couldn't be sure), worked to her advantage. If asked, she doubted he could give anything other than the most basic description of the passenger he'd dropped off at the post office five miles away.

While behind bars, Jacqueline had eventually cut ties with all but three people. Phillip was a longtime fellow Canadian friend with whom she'd stayed during a three-month US-based assignment. She'd reconnected with him several months ago, right before he'd moved to Europe and just before the illegal cell phone she'd used was discovered and confiscated. The first call was mere chitchat. Thereafter, the reasons for their communication became crystal clear. She'd laid them out with the precision of a general planning a sneak attack on a terrorist group. By the time she'd finished giving Phillip her side of why she'd been sent to prison, the only side of the story that mattered, he'd been more than willing to help her. As she retrieved the items from the post office box, the calculated decision to trust her old friend with a secret or two proved to be a wise one. Now she had what she needed for the games to begin.

Four hours later, a casually dressed woman possessing an understated elegance and pulling a small carry-on bag approached the counter of a five-star hotel, one of only a handful in Raleigh.

One of the employees, a tall, good-looking Black man around twenty-five, straightened his posture and flashed a dimpled smile as the guest approached. A pronounced Southern accent added to his charm.

"Good evening, ma'am, and welcome to our hotel. How may we provide you with quality service this evening?"

"You're off to a good start." The woman gifted the smitten young man with a pearly dazzle of her own while reaching into an oversized designer bag and retrieving a driver's license and credit card. "I have a reservation." Her clipped British accent was flawless.

The young man took the cards and entered the information into the computer. "Ms. Smith ... Alice?" He looked up.

She nodded.

"It shows here that you've prepaid for the room, so your credit card will only be charged for incidentals." He quickly finished the reservation and handed Jacqueline two card keys. "We're fairly light this evening, so I've provided you with a complimentary upgrade to one of our suites."

"I appreciate that, but it wasn't necessary."

"It's just our way of thanking you for your business and hopefully leaving you with a favorable impression that you will share with others when you return to England."

"I certainly shall."

Jacqueline scanned the lobby, but her steps did not slow until she reached the elevator. Moments later, she placed a key card into the double-door entrance. Once inside, she shed "Alice," a persona created with a short blond wig and black reading glasses that resembled the picture on the best fake drivers license money could buy. Tossing them on a table, she removed the clothes she'd donned in a mall public restroom, and after ordering room service, took a long, hot shower. Not long enough to wash away the memories of prison, but enough to make her feel more like herself.

While she was blow-drying her hair, room service arrived. Wrapping her luscious black locks in a towel and donning the black glasses, she welcomed in the sumptuous feast she'd ordered. With a satiny nightie caressing her skin, Jacqueline enjoyed her first meal of the day: radicchio salad with pears, pomegranate and ham; seared foie gras, and a Kobe beef rib eye, perfectly medium rare. As the news hour approached, Jacqueline turned the television to a local channel. There was a breaking news story.

"Police have no leads and are asking for the public's help in determining the cause of death for Charlotte Stockton, known as Charlie to her friends, a guard who held various positions within the North Carolina Corrections system for the past ten years. Stockton was discovered by a concerned neighbor after the guard's beloved dog exhibited highly unusual behavior, and seemed to be locked outside of the home, something that according to the neighbor Stockton would never do.

"'That dog was her child,' the neighbor said, still clearly shaken. 'He kept barking and running between their yard and mine. I knew something was wrong.'

"While Stockton's sudden death seems suspicious, police have no theories as to what might have happened, and no suspects or persons of interest. Anyone with information is asked to call the number that appears on the screen."

Jacqueline picked up the bottle of champagne she'd ordered along with her meal, popped the cork, and filled a crystal flute. "One down, seven to go." She lifted her glass.

"Cheers."

She drained the flute and reached for one of three burner phones she'd purchased at the mall. It was time to contact the other two people with whom she'd kept in touch, and begin the next phase in the big payback.


CHAPTER 2

Carroll, New Hampshire


Laughter mixed with flurries of snow as four waterproof-nylon-clad skiers removed their skis, stomped the snow from their feet, and entered their private Snow Ridge home, where a blazing fire was the perfect welcome.

"That was fun!" The twelve-year-old boy rubbed his hands together, still basking in the aftermath of his successful run down a pretty tough hill.

His fourteen-year-old sister gave him a playful shove that sent the unsuspecting lad tumbling to the floor. "Ha! You conquered a snow-covered mountain but can't handle a hardwood floor!"

The boy jumped up, ready to defend his honor and give his sister a taste of her own medicine.

Their parents intervened at once.

"Albany, stop it."

"All right, Aaron, cut it out."

The Atwaters—Randall, Sherri, Albany, and Aaron—were enjoying an impromptu yet much-needed vacation at the Bretton Woods Ski Resort, a trip born out of a dinner discussion about whether more fun could be had in snow or sun. The men said snow offered more opportunity, while Sherri and Albany said it was sun, hands down. This trip had been planned immediately so that Randall and Aaron could prove their point. Later in the year, when the family went to their home in the Bahamas, the women would get their turn.

Aaron removed his shoes and began peeling out of his snow suit. "I'm hungry, Mom."

Randall laughed. "You're always hungry."

"I think that ski slope worked up an appetite for everybody. Y'all go on up and shower and change. By the time you come back downstairs, I'll be well on my way to a killer pot of chili."

Aaron punched the air with his fist. "Yes! That sounds good."

"That does sound good, baby," Randall agreed, pulling off his snow pants before padding over in his sock feet to give Sherri a kiss.

Albany walked to the wall mirror by the door, checking to make sure the woolen cap she'd worn to protect her shoulder-length locks hadn't smooshed her fluffy hairstyle to the point of no return. "Will it be made with ground turkey?"

"No, sweetie, ground round."

"Then could I have baked chicken, please? I've given up red meat and pork."

"Since when?" Aaron's face was a mask of disbelief.

"I guess since she finished that bacon she gobbled up this morning," Randall replied.

Albany gasped. "Stop teasing, Daddy. That was turkey bacon. Right, Mom?" Her eyes begged Sherri to agree.

"Sorry, sweetheart. That was good old thick-sliced oink."

Aaron snorted rhythmically as he strutted toward her.

"Eewww, I'm going to be sick!" She rushed out of the room and up the stairs, with Aaron the Irksome Pig hot on her trail.

Randall watched Sherri retrieve peppers, onion, and garlic from the refrigerator and walk over to the cutting board on the counter. He let her get in a few good slices before easing over to embrace her from behind and nibble her neck.

"Ooh, that feels good. But if you want to have chili in an hour, you should probably follow your children upstairs and take a nice hot shower."

He ground himself into her and mumbled, "Right now, I need a cold one."

"There's beer in the fridge."

"Ha!" With one last kiss on her neck, Randall leaned against the counter and continued to watch Sherri slice and dice.

"Are you going to stand there until everything is in the pot?"

"I like watching you. I like this ... you in the kitchen fixing our dinner, the kids bonding upstairs. Quality family time, with just the four of us. Life has been so busy the past couple years. We need to do this more often."

"I agree." Sherri poured a generous amount of olive oil into a pot before adding the peppers, onions, and garlic. She walked over to the refrigerator and retrieved the ground beef. "And as much as I believe Mama loves living with us, and we love having her there, I think she's enjoying her time in Raleigh, visiting her former church members and catching up with Miss Ridley."

"I think you're right. You want a glass of wine?"

"That sounds good."

Randall walked over to the cabinet, retrieved two wine glasses, and grabbed the corkscrew from a nearby drawer. "It's good to see Aaron playing around and being silly again," he said as he pulled the cork from the wine bottle and poured two full glasses. "The therapy sessions have definitely helped."

"I'm just thankful his teacher was astute enough to recognize what we didn't, or as she and the therapist said, what he'd kept mostly hidden. That incident traumatized him more than any of us realized, and continued even after the handful of family therapy appointments we set up. Trying to hurt us is one thing, but what Jacqueline did to my kids makes her the lowest type of human being that I can imagine."

Randall looked up in surprise, looked toward the stairs and back at his wife. "We're speaking her name now? Since when did this become okay? I remember a conversation as recent as a couple months ago when I forgot your rule and got punched in the chest."

"That may have been an overreaction."

"You think?"

Sherri reached over and gave him a quick peck on the lips. She stirred the meat mixture that was gently sizzling in the pot before opening a cabinet door and pulling out a chili seasoning packet and a jar of tomato sauce. "Mom and I were talking the other day. What she said made me realize that my demanding that her name not be uttered reflected the fear and hatred I still harbored against her. She pointed out that as long as these feelings remained, Jacqueline was still controlling a part of my life. She suggested I forgive her, not for anything I owed Jacqueline but for what I owe myself. So while I pray there will be little reason to mention her name in the future, the rule against doing so is gone. Jacqueline is in prison, where she belongs, and where she will be for a very long time. I have no need to fear her, or that name. And by the way, I didn't hit you that hard."

"You did, but it's okay. Later tonight, I'm going to punch a part of your anatomy with something hard. So we'll be even."

"I look forward to it." Sherri added the rest of the ingredients to the pot, then lowered the fire so the chili could simmer. She picked up her glass of wine and reached for Randall's hand. "I'm going to let that simmer about thirty minutes and in the meantime, go take a shower. You want to join me and start delivering a few of those punches you promised?"

A sexy smile crept onto Randall's face. "Oh yes, I most definitely want to do that. Or, as the kids would say, mos def."

"Kids don't say that anymore, Randall. Men trying to hang on to youth long gone say it"

"Oh"

"Ha! I love you mos def, Randall"

He placed his arm around her shoulders as they mounted the stairs. "I love you, too."

 
( Continued... )

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


Purchase The Perfect Revenge by Lutishia Lovely 
The Shady Sisters Trilogy Book 3 
Link: 
http://amzn.com/B00ONTS5AG 


About the Author

Lutishia Lovely burst onto the literary scene with Sex In the Sanctuary and now, more than a dozen books later, hasn’t even thought about slowing down. When not writing contemporary fiction, she lends her muse to her alter-ego, Zuri Day, and writes steamy romances. But all work and no play makes Tish a dull girl, so she knows how to put down the pen and pick up a good time—which isn’t hard to do in southern California’s wine country, where she resides. Lutishia loves to hear from readers, so visit her online at LutishiaLovely.com, or on Facebook and Twitter @lutishialovely. 


 

 

 


Life On Fire 
by Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley

Brooklyn Saunders' life is set ablaze when her ex, Dante Nines, and a newly single friend, Hunter Torres, vie for the number one spot in her heart. Unknowingly, Dante brings trouble to her door, causing their personal and professional lives to collide in the worst way. The entanglement unleashes a danger that will have both of the men she loves fighting to keep her safe. 

Behind the scenes, Dante and his partner, Liang, work to try to diffuse the situation. All their efforts go up in smoke when Brooklyn comes into possession of certain documents. Brooklyn is taken before Dante can put together the pieces of the puzzle and he finds himself teaming up with Hunter to save her. Will Brooklyn survive the chaos threatening to destroy her very existence? And if she does, who will she choose?


EXCERPT:  Life On Fire by Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley


Hunter cleared his throat. Brooklyn and Dante broke apart and she looked up sheepishly at Hunter. "I think it's time for you to call that cab for me."

Dante sat with a smug look, as though waiting for her to introduce him. When she didn't, he stated, "Hey, I'm Dante, her ex." He sized Hunter up with his eyes.

"Nice meeting you." Hunter nodded as Brooklyn gave him her S.O.S. signal by pulling her earlobe twice.

"Come on, BK, I need you to sign off on your check before you go. I'll get Carlos to call you a cab." Hunter nodded his head for her to follow him.

Brooklyn nudged Dante to move out of her way and gave an impatient, "Excuse me," when he stayed put.

He turned to her, giving her a big grin. "This conversation's not over," he promised, standing at the edge of the booth to let her out.

Brooklyn had finally reached her drink limit. Downing that last pitcher that fast was probably a bad idea. She didn't know if it was the gin or seeing Dante again that had her legs all wobbly as she eased herself up. Not wanting her unsteadiness to make her look weak and vulnerable, she jutted her chin out and proclaimed in a defiant voice, "I would say it was nice seeing you again, but that would be a lie. Take care of yourself."

As she sashayed over to Hunter, she heard Dante call out, "We're not done by a long shot. I'll see you later."

Hunter slid his arm around her waist and led her through the crowd to his office. Once behind closed doors, he rounded his desk and picked up the phone to have Carlos get her a cab. "I guess we won't be enjoying each other's company tonight, or shall I say this morning," he commented.

"It never seems to be the right time for us," Brooklyn answered. "It's a rare occasion that we're both single at the same time. Now we are, and …"

"And your ex pops up, wanting to reconnect. By the lip lock I found you two engaged in, you're clearly not over him." Hunter leaned onto his desk and pulled her to him.

"As if you're over Sophia," Brooklyn whispered, resting her hands on his chest as he wrapped his arm around her back.

He pulled her closer to him. "I should have pulled you back here and swept the desk when you first came through that door tonight. I don't know how we remained friends so long without crossing the line."

Brooklyn linked her arms around his neck. "I've been waiting for your fine behind to be single, but the line to get to you is always too long."

"Hell, I was planning to spend more time with you tonight, but you were rarely without company. Look what happened when I left to wrap up for the evening so I could." Hunter's cell phone buzzed. He took a quick glance at it. "It looks like your cab has arrived."

Brooklyn tipped forward, kissing him on the cheek. "You're too good to me. You know that?"


( Continued... )

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

Order Life On Fire by Jenetta and Karen Bradley
Genre:  Fiction, Drama and Suspense
Link:  http://amzn.com/B00XNZPNFG




Meet the Authors
Chicago natives, Jenetta and Karen Bradley, are sisters and authors. Jenetta has always had a love for writing and has written and published five fictional books. She also post weekly updates to The SSMD, her online, interactive fiction story. Her younger sister, Karen, didn’t start off sharing the love of writing. It was during college she wrote her first book to help her cope with the death of her father, the upheaval of emotions, and her changing family dynamics.

Jenetta M. Bradley - Author Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenetta-M-Bradley-Author-Page/121523264026 


 

 


The Reeducation of Aria Jackson 
by Angelia Vernon Menchan

Aria Jackson left Greenfield in search of an MBA from Wharton and her dignity. She felt escaping the hood and her uneducated but loving mother would validate her. However, a job as the youngest Vice President at a local bank brings her home and she has to realize her hometown, her mom and nothing else was what she thought and that one can never escape who they are or where they are from and what part will local philanthropist and entrepreneur, Saul Rathbone add to her mix?

The Reeducation of Aria Jackson covers timely and sensitive issues that plague the prodigal daughters of America's inner cities.


Excerpt from The Reeducation of Aria Jackson by Angelia Vernon Menchan

Turning to grab a plate, her heart caught in her throat when she saw Saul standing inches from her.

"Are you still ashamed of us Aria or are you finally home?" His voice was low and melodious, sending a thrill up her spine.

"I'm in this town but I'm not going to live in this neighborhood. Left up to me, my mom wouldn't either." She snapped. She hadn't seen Saul in years and they were already in combat. He was a few years older than her but had always taken pleasure in teasing her. She was once good friends with his sister.

"Why not Aria? This is a great neighborhood. It's chockfull of professionals with white and blue collars and it spawned us, you and I, college educated and upwardly mobile."

"This is you Saul, not me. It also spawned crack addicts and the like and I want nothing to do with that!" A slow smile covered his face.

"It did, like my sister and your former friend but Sandra is clean and sober and working as a counselor and you know why?"

"I'm sure you're going to tell me..."

"It's because of this place and people like your mom. They were never ashamed of her. They loved on her and chastised her and never gave up on her. This neighborhood is famous for that."

"Well good for them and you but this is no longer me. If my mom weren't here..."

"You would never come this way... That's too bad Aria because it's you we need. The girl born to the single mom who worked cleaning hotel rooms and selling dinners to allow her to live in her own home instead of an apartment or the projects and to go away to get an education. Those checks she mailed you were mailed from the hood post office. So instead of being ashamed of all this, you should be thanking God, Ms. Helen and this hood... But do you. By the way, you look good but you really do need a couple of those wings."


( Continued... )

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


Order The Reeducation of Aria Jackson by Angelia Vernon Menchan
Link: http://amzn.com/B00UZFZZDM 



About the Author

Angelia Vernon Menchan is a publishing author and entrepreneur who respects history while embracing the future. Through her publishing company, Honorable MENCHAN Media, she and her husband have published more than thirty full length books and countless novellas and short stories of her work. Menchan has also allowed unpublished authors to realize their dreams by publishing their work. To date she has provided that opportunity to twelve authors. When not writing, Menchan is a mentor and public speaker who fearlessly address the issues of young women in today's world.

Email: acvermen@yahoo.com
Blog: http://acvermen.blogspot.com 
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AngelMenchan 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/angeliam
Website: http://angeliavernonmenchanserials.blogspot.com 

 

 



 

The Lion of Judah 
by Janice L. Dennie



Revised Edition. New Release Aug 8, 2015

Prince Johannas of Ethiopia is torn apart by the escalating civil war in his country. Knowing a new constitution will end the war, he comes to the United States to finish the precious document. He never expects, however, to meet the woman of his dreams, especially when a deadly accident throws her literally at his feet. 

Shana Zachary has given up on relationships in general, men in specific, and doesn't intend to change her mind...until danger and intrigue force her to choose love.

Purchase The Lion of Judah by Janice L. Dennie

1st Edition Featured in Romantic Times Magazine
Link: http://amzn.com/B00YO166ZO 




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

Born to a military family that settled in San Francisco, California, where Ms. Dennie attended elementary, middle and high school. She later graduated from California State University, Hayward, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Following college, Ms. Dennie worked for a federal agency until retiring in 2011. 

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

Determined to enjoy her life as she writes her way to the top of the bestseller lists, Ms. Dennie enjoys watching football with her husband, Gregory, and fun visits with their three adult children and grandchildren. Yet she still has time to garden, volunteer in her community, and read her beloved romance novels! 

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

JANICE L. DENNIE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

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


 

 

 


Lawful Deception 
by Pamela Samuels Young

The beautiful Bliss Fenton won't be winning any awards for Mother of the Year. Truth is, motherhood isn't nearly as important to Bliss as the cottage industry she's created: extorting wealthy men solely for the hefty child support she can collect. 

But Bliss' greed ultimately goes too far when she takes on Fletcher McClain. The handsome record industry mogul insists there's no way he's the father of Bliss' third child. But when the results of the paternity test are finally revealed, a stunned McClain refuses to take them lying down. He hires accomplished L.A. attorney Vernetta Henderson to sue Bliss for fraud. 

When an unscrupulous attorney from Vernetta’s past reappears to represent Bliss, Vernetta's faithful sidekick Special steps in to join the fight. While Special is hard at work digging up dirt on Bliss, she’s distracted by an investigation of a more personal nature, one that ends up challenging her prejudices as well as her heart.

As Vernetta goes head to head against her corrupt opponent, the stakes get higher and higher and in a flash, the lawsuit goes from contentious to outright deadly.


About Pamela Samuels Young

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read an excerpt at:  http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com 
Follow me on Twitter at:  http://www.twitter.com/pamsamuelsyoung 
Follow me on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/pamelasamuelsyoung 

 

 

 


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



Available nationwide on October 27, 2015

Sequel to The Devil Made Me Do It. Second stand alone book in the Heaven Over Hell Trilogy.

The Love Zion members are in the middle of a spiritual tsunami. The flood has them up to their necks, deep in muck and mire, and treading water looking for a life raft. 

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

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

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



Order Tell the Truth The Devil Won't
(Book 2)
Sequel to The Devil Made Me Do It. 
Second stand alone book in the Heaven Over Hell Trilogy.
Link: http://amzn.com/1622868196 

Order The Devil Made Me Do It (Book 1)
Link: http://amzn.com/1601627823  


About the Author 
Colette Harrell
, Christian Fiction novelist, wants you to know that she’s like you, God’s chosen vessel. She has come to be a gift, to be an encourager and a light that reflects God’s goodness.

She’s a wife, mother, author and playwright. A Detroit native, she currently calls Ohio home. She holds a master’s and is a Director of Social Services. Writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”

Her lastest novel, Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t will thrill this October 2015. It is filled with wisdom and humor. This adventourous love story goes where Ms. Harrell loves to tread, down an unbeaten path. No millionaires rescuing damsels in distress—although she enjoys these reads herself—but every day people, falling and getting back up. 

The Devil Made Me Do It  was her debut novel. It was nominated for The 2015 Phillis Wheatley Book Awards in First Fiction. It has been held as one of Black Pearl Magazine’s, top ten Christian fiction books for 2014. In addition, Read Between The Lines radio show, named it as one of its overall top ten books for 2014.

Make no mistake, her sophomore novel, Tell The Truth, The Devil Won’t will cement her as an author to watch.

 

 

 


Protecting the Heiress 
by Martha Kennerson



From strictly business to pure pleasure! 

Stepping up as head of her family's international security firm gives Francine Blake, heiress and eldest Blake triplet, almost everything she's ever wanted. The one thing missing is the sexy, stubborn company partner who's been in her fantasies for too long. She refuses to give in to their attraction unless he can love her as his equal. But working together to safeguard a celebrity client is sweeping Francine closer to total surrender. 

Security specialist Meeks Montgomery can think of any number of places he'd love to see gorgeous Francine every day. Behind her desk—fine. In his bed—even better. In the field on dangerous assignments? His heart can't stand it. Until a new case puts them both in the line of fire, proving how much he'd risk to be the one who protects her forever… 


Order your copy today: http://bit.ly/1FyNl8H 

Miniseries: The Blake Sisters 
Category: African-American Fiction/Romance
Harlequin Kimani Romance. Released Aug 2015 

 

 


Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr.

After the breakthrough success of Freeman in 2012, Leonard Pitts returns with an even richer, more complex, and more suspenseful story—one that takes on the past four decades of US race relations through the stories of two veteran journalists, a superstar black columnist and his unheralded white editor.  Leonard Pitts Jr. new book GRANT PARK will be available nationwide October 13, 2015!

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

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

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

About the Author

Leonard Pitts, Jr. is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novels Freeman (Agate Bolden, 2012) and Before I Forget (Agate Bolden, 2009); the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities (Agate Bolden, 2009); and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (Agate Bolden, 2006). Born and raised in Southern California, Pitts now lives in suburban Washington, D.C., with his wife of 34 years and his children.

Pre-order Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr. 

Link: http://amzn.com/1932841911 




 

 

 


Do What You Gotta Do 
by Christine Young-Robinson



Sequel to We Didn't See It Coming
 

A compelling story about three Houston sisters, Milandra, Noelle, and Kenley who come from a family of wealth—and whose lives are shattered by tragedy, scandal, secrets, and betrayal.


In this sizzling story of family drama, money, and seduction, one woman’s desire for a luxurious lifestyle leads her to prey on a vulnerable man—until his father’s suspicions threaten to undo everything.


Aniyah Sanchez is a wild, sexy, and seductive woman—and has just been released from prison for crimes of fraud, kidnapping, and embezzlement.

Without parents to turn to, she’s surprised when her aunt Tessa comes to her rescue and sets her up in an apartment until she can find work. But Aniyah is determined to move out and start a new life her own way—by finding a wealthy man who can provide the extravagant lifestyle she longs for.

That man turns out to be Jarvis Powell, Jr., who finds Aniyah very attractive and gives her a job at one of the banks owned by his father. There’s just one problem: Jarvis’s father is suspicious of Aniyah and will do everything in his power to protect the family legacy…especially from a woman he suspects is trying to ensnare his son to get to the family fortune.

Now, with Jarvis, Sr. watching her like a hawk, Aniyah is more determined than ever to win over his son. Will the bond of a father and son undo her plan, or will she finally get her chance at a new beginning?


Excerpt: Do What You Gotta Do 

Chapter 1


At last, Aniyah Sanchez would no longer be like a lion locked up in a cage. After spending four years in a South Carolina prison for fraud and kidnapping, she was being released. 

As she stepped out of her cell, a male prison guard whispered in her ear, “Fruitcake, I’ll see you when you get back.”

Sniffing the fish odor that escaped from his breath, Aniyah turned up her nose. Didn’t he know after lunch to eat a peppermint? 

“Goodbye, Slut,” an inmate yelled from another cell to her.

“You better get your last feel, Officer Mann,” another inmate added.
The inmates laughed throughout the ward, including the guard who sported a broken front tooth. He cupped Aniyah’s left breast with his right hand. Then he took the club he held in his other hand and placed it between her legs.

“I don’t think so!” Aniyah snapped her head, brushing him away. “Your time has expired.” 
During her prison term, she had fulfilled the guard’s sexual needs in exchange for protection from conflicts that she had endured with other female inmates. 

Aniyah, almost jogging, hurried ahead until she came to a point where she met up with another guard and other inmates that were being released.  Once the official documents were finalized, the guard let Aniyah out of the last door that gave her back her freedom. A chill ran through her body, but it quickly disappeared once the doors were slammed shut behind her. Turning around, she took one last look at the place of residence she had called home. The fourth inmate in line wearing loafers donated by church volunteers, her feet made contact with the concrete ground. 
Aniyah adjusted her eyes to the sunlight that blinded her. She pulled down on her red spandex dress that had risen up to her hips. It was the same dress she had worn before she became a part of the prison system.  Her once slender hips stretched the dress to its limits, but Aniyah strutted as if the garment was brand-new. She faulted her excessive weight gain from her no longer being able to shake her hips in the nightclubs. In prison, she mostly sat on her rear in her cell or in ongoing therapy sessions. 

Under her armpit, she carried a plastic bag of her belongings and a pair of pumps. Her hands free, she twisted her flowing black hair up in a bun. Other released inmates stopped to say farewell to each other, but Aniyah kept walking, too afraid that she might be called back by one of the guards.  Two female inmates ran past her, once they saw familiar faces of loved ones waiting to take them home. Aniyah was not looking for any family to come to her rescue. She would not know her father from any other black man on the streets. He was her mother’s one-night stand with no name.  Julia, her mother, had died two months ago in Mexico, during the time dyed eggs were given to inmates for holiday treats. Aniyah remembered the day the warden delivered the news to her. Guilt troubled her, since she had run away from home at the age of sixteen, leaving her mother behind to suffer a broken heart.  The only family she had left was her mother’s sister, Tessa Sanchez-Chavis. And she was not counting on her self-righteous aunt to come to her rescue.  Where am I going? I have no idea.  As the heat beamed down on her forehead, sweat dripped down her neck. The spandex dress felt like rubber against her body. 

“Rosie Aniyah Sanchez.” She heard the name echoing in her ears. 

Her eyes lit up, when she recognized the familiar voice. She locked eyes with her aunt. The solemn look on her face turned into a bright smile. “Aunt Tessa.” 

She studied her aunt, noticing how much she had aged. Streaks of gray highlighted Tessa’s jet-black hair. Aniyah, elated, ran into her aunt’s arms. “I can’t believe you’re here.” 

“You’re family,” her aunt said humbly in her Spanish accent and giving her niece a kiss on the cheek.

Together, they strolled to a parked black Mercedes-Benz. 

Admiring her aunt’s ride, before prison life and without hesitation, if a man were driving the Benz, Aniyah would have easily flagged down the ride. She would have unraveled her bun to let her hair fall past her shoulders, propped one hand on a hip and batted her dark brown eyes. Then she would have worked her charm on the man behind the wheel, giving him her middle name instead of using her first name, Rosie. Played him for a sucker.  After all the counseling, her former lifestyle of being an escort and manipulating people, especially men, was supposed to be her past, but only time would tell. Tessa unlocked the car door, hopped in and quickly Aniyah jumped in and took a seat on the butter-colored leather seats. A free ride from her aunt would do.

“How did you know I was getting out?”

Tessa reached over and gave her niece another loving hug. Then she became emotional. “I’ve been keeping up with you. And although I can’t forget what you did to the Houstons or me, you’re still family. I have made peace with it.”

“How about your lawyer-hubby, Baron?”

“He’s Mr. Chavis to you from now on. And, he’ll never forgive you for what you did to the Houston family, nor him,” Tessa admitted with a hint of bitterness.

“It’s not like it was his money.” Reaching down between the seats, Aniyah picked up a bag of boiled peanuts. She cracked open the peanuts, tossing a few in her mouth. While chewing, she continued to speak. “The Houstons are garbage people. Mr. Houston was a male whore. How can you defend him?”

“Don’t speak of the dead in a bad way,” Tessa argued. She recalled working as a young woman in the home of Rupert Houston, owner of Houston Commercial Construction Company. He was a man who loved to have his way with his beautiful female workers. 

Aniyah sucked her teeth. “Mr. Houston can rot in hell. And so can his spoiled-ass daughters.” She slouched back in the seat. In past years, Aniyah had crossed paths with her aunt’s prior boss, Rupert. Her greed for money led her to become his mistress. He had promised her a false dream on Lake Murray, South Carolina, to later do away with her. Aniyah vowed to get revenge on him. To keep her quiet, Rupert included her in his will. Aniyah took a few more peanuts, folded the bag, and placed it back where she got it. “I still say you were more loyal to his spoiled-ass daughters than you were to me.”

Staring at her aunt as she drove, Aniyah wanted to grab and shake her. Rupert’s unexpected death had left her a happy and wealthy young woman, instead of his three daughters, until Tessa discovered her wrongdoings. Instead of living the life of royalty, Aniyah had landed in prison. Tessa sensed Aniyah was still bitter. “I believe in doing what’s right. You had no right to do wrong.”

“I didn’t want to be a maid like you and mama. I could have sent plenty of money to Mama.” Aniyah lowered her voice. “Now she’s dead.”

Tessa was surprised. “I asked the warden to not tell you about Julia.”

“You should have come and told me yourself.”

“I didn’t want you to be hurt. You couldn’t go to Mexico to your mama’s funeral.” 

“Did you go?” Aniyah asked sadly.

“I went to visit her in her sickbed a month before she went to her heavenly home. She wanted so much for you to come to her bedside. I simply couldn’t tell her that I found you. You were in jail for doing bad things. It would have destroyed her. I stayed by her side to the end.”

Tears flowed down Aniyah’s face. “I’m glad you didn’t tell her.” 

Tessa softly patted her niece on the hand. “Your mama loved you with all her heart.”

“I know…I miss her.” Aniyah wiped away her tears. 

“Let’s go shopping. You don’t need to dress like you’re a loose girl.” Tessa had witnessed her niece’s dress code. The dress had risen up on Aniyah. It resembled a tunic shirt.

“I’ll go shopping. But I’m not throwing away this dress.”

“It’s too little.” 

Aniyah saw her aunt glancing at her. She tugged at her dress, trying to cover her exposed thighs. “So I gained a few pounds. No big deal.”

“After shopping, you’ll trash it.”

“This hot dress stays with me.”

Tessa concluded that it was going to be a long day for her. The sooner she took her niece shopping and got her settled, the sooner she would be rid of her. She sighed. “Aniyah, you have always been difficult.”

“I think for myself. No one tells me what to do.”


***

After shopping, Tessa drove Aniyah to a two-story apartment complex in nearby downtown Columbia. 

Aniyah looked out at the buildings as Tessa parked. Startled, she said, “This is where you and Baron live now. What happened to his house?”

“We still have our home. This is where you’re going to rest.”

Aniyah’s voice escalated. “Are you for real? Here?”

“I’m sorry, but there’s no way Baron will let me bring you into our home.”

“I’m your niece. He can now trust me.” 

“I’m afraid not.”

Aniyah marveled. She heard the nervousness in her aunt’s voice. She was flattered that her aunt thought of her as a threat. In the past, she had seduced her aunt’s husband, prior to their marriage, in order to manipulate him to get to his client’s fortune. 

They got out of the vehicle, carrying shopping bags by the handles. Aniyah followed her aunt to the front door. Unlocking it, they entered the one-bedroom apartment. 

She proceeded to the middle of the living room, while Tessa, clenching her handbag, stayed put near the door. 

Aniyah felt her aunt’s eyes piercing on her, well-informed that she was uncomfortable being alone with her, but her attention was focused on her living arrangements. Next to a small wooden table, she tossed the bags that she held on a futon. Then she headed to see where she would sleep; leaving her aunt on edge to figure out if she would show any signs of psychotic symptoms. 

Inside the bedroom, Aniyah spotted a four-drawer chest and twin-sized bed that was the bottom half of a bunk bed. Secondhanded crap.

“I hope you like it.” Tessa dropped the other bags on the linoleum floor. 

Aniyah mumbled under her breath, “No bigger than a jail cell.” 

Returning back into the living room, Aniyah decided not to complain. She was convinced without her aunt rescuing her, she might be sitting on a bench like a homeless person.

Aniyah grinned. “It’s good.”

“There’s food in the refrigerator. I’ve stocked it with a few things, sodas and sandwich meats. In the cabinets, there’re cans of corn, black beans and a five-pound bag of rice.”

“Any steaks, lobster tails or shrimp?” 

Tessa laughed. “There’re frozen foods, and chicken for you to cook. Tonight you can heat a frozen chicken TV dinner.”

Aniyah went directly into the kitchen adjacent to the living room. She looked in the freezer to see that few products loaded the freezer, including one ice tray. She slammed the door shut. Then she opened the refrigerator section. Removing a can of orange soda, she snapped it opened and took a swallow, quenching her thirst. 

Tessa entered. As she watched her niece’s every move, she noticed the spandex dress Aniyah wore had risen up her thighs. “I say you should change into something more appropriate.” 

Aniyah tussled with the dress. “Stop looking at my clothes. It’ll fit fine once I lose a few pounds. I’ll get sexy-looking again.” Shaking her hips, Aniyah looked around the kitchen, noticing something was missing. “Hold up…no microwave?”

“You can use the stove to heat a TV dinner.”

“Whatever.” Aniyah rolled her eyes. 

“Change your style of dressing. Start off fresh by getting yourself decent work. And, find a good man that you can start a family with,” Tessa lectured with an air of sophistication. 

Aniyah stared at her aunt as though she were a hated prison guard. She had not thought about a job. She twirled around. Cheerfully, she said, “I can use a money man.” 

“It’s nothing like making your own money.”

Aniyah walked past her aunt, stepping back into the living room. Tessa followed behind her while Aniyah searched for any sign of communication technology.

“No telephone in here?” 

Tessa shook her index finger at her. “When you get work, you can buy one.”

“If you want me to get a job, at least get me a cell phone.” 

“For now, no phone. I’ll be coming by to check on you.”

Aniyah slouched down on the futon. She shoved her fist into the cushion, feeling the steel frame underneath. “I hate being broke.”

“In due time, you’ll find work. Make your own money.”

“I have no skills. No one will hire me.”

“There has to be something you like to do or you can go to college.”

“Aunt Tessa, getting out of jail is not the same as getting out of high school. I didn’t just graduate. No college for me.”

“You know how to clean.”

Aniyah jumped to her feet. Her mind went to the days she was forced to clean the toilet in her jail cells. Enraged, she yelled, “Hell to the no. I’ll die before I scrub another toilet.”

“It’s an honest living.”

“Never!” Aniyah snapped as she sat back down. “I’ll find something else to do.” 

“Start looking for some kind of work.”

Aniyah banged her fist on the table. “I need money now.” 

Tessa eased her way near the door. Digging in her purse, she pulled out a few bills. “This should be enough to get you by.”

Aniyah hurried over to her, snatching the money out of her aunt’s hand. Before she shoved the bills down in her bra, she counted up to a hundred.

“The rent on this apartment is paid in full for three months. By then you should’ve found work.”

“Give me a break. That’s not enough time.”

“You must have work by then. Baron won’t allow me to give you any more money after that.”

“He rules you.”

“Nonsense. We agreed on that decision.”

“Tell him what you want…you’re his wife, Mrs. Tessa Sanchez-Chavis. Stop being too easy.” 

“I’m loyal to my husband. He’s a good man. I won’t let you ruin my marriage. Three months it is.” Tessa peered at her through hooded eyes. 

Aniyah heard the authority in her aunt’s voice and said no more. She was not about to let three months turn into get-out-right-now. 

“In the drawer, there’s a nightgown for you to rest in.” Tessa jingled her car keys as she made her way to the door. “I must go. I must prepare dinner for my husband.”

“I need to eat, too.” 

“Heat your dinner. I pray you’ll turn your life around. My sister would want that for you. I’ll see you in a few days. And for God’s sake, don’t go anywhere near Milandra, Noelle or Kenley Houston. Baron and I have agreed not to disturb them about your release. They’re in a good place in their lives.”

Aniyah chuckled. “The fake sisters are history to me. I’m going to be in a much better place then, them uppity snobs.” 

“I have faith that you’ll do fine, once you find work.” Tessa noticed she still had the apartment key in her hand. “You’ll need this.” She tossed the key to Aniyah. “Don’t lose it.” 

Following her aunt outside, Aniyah watched as she got into her vehicle. “Weak bitch,” she hollered, once Tessa drove away. 

Back into the apartment, Aniyah slammed the door behind her. She stood in the middle of the living room, sniffing the stale odor. She screamed, “I’m still in jail. The one time my Aunt Tessa could do right by me and she put me in a hell hole.” 

Aniyah went into the bedroom. She bounced on the bed. “Dead mattress,” she fussed. “Aunt Tessa is going home to her fancy bed. I’ve got to sleep on a board for a mattress. Once again she shouted, “Weak bitch. Get a job, no way. My job will only be to find me a man with money. You and anyone else that gets in my way, will pay for treating me like I’m beneath you.”


( Continued... )

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


Purchase Do What You Gotta Do by Christine Young-Robinson

Genre: Fiction. Suspense
Released on August 11, 2015
Link: http://amzn.com/1593096275 

 

About the Author
Christine Young-Robinson is the author of the novel, We Didn't See It Coming and the short story "Miss Amy's Last Ride," which featured in the anthology, Proverbs for the People.  A wife, mother, and grandmother, Christine resides in South Carolina. She is the co-chairperson of Eleuthera Book Club. Follow her on social media: 

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/christineyr 
Website:  http://www.christineyoungrobinson.com 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/christineyr  
Instagram:  https://instagram.com/christineyoungrobinson  

 

 

 


Daughter of the Game III: Burning Waters 
by KAI

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


Excerpt: Daughter of the Game III: Burning Waters


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Continued... )

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


Purchase Daughter of the Game III: Burning Waters  

(Book 3 in Daughter of the Game Series)



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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 


The Devil Made Me Do It 
by Colette R. Harrell

The voluptuous Esther Wiley has always known that she is special. She’s a tiara-wearing, wand-carrying kind of Cinderella princess in disguise. The problem that her very own Fairy Godmother, the Prophetess Mother Reed, struggles with is getting her to live like it.

Briggs Stokes is the reluctant heir to his father’s worldwide, multimillion-dollar televangelist ministry, yet he yearns to be his own man. His past mistakes have caused him a private life of hurt and loneliness.

Esther and Briggs meet and develop a deep soul connection, until tragedy strikes and the two are thrust apart. Their separation leads each down a different path scattered with emotional minefields. While each step they take brings them closer to who they were always meant to be, the devil is on assignment. He sends in reinforcements to usher in confusion and create chaos, and soon no one is safe. The members of Love Zion church reel from the rumors, innuendo, and downright sabotage that is going on around them.  

When others devise evil schemes to seek the destruction of Esther and Briggs through jealousy, greed, and murder, only divine intervention can save them. As an all-out battle for dominion breaks out in the heavens, will Esther and Briggs become a casualty of war?
 

Book Review for The Devil Made Me Do It  

"The Devil Made Me Do It"  is Christian Fiction at its best. The novel is full of lessons about passion, pain and God's abundant blessings. Filled with suspense, laughter and touching moments, this page-turning novel will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page. Colette is a new author to definitely watch. Brava, Ms. Harrell.
--- Victoria Christopher Murray, Best Selling Author

 
 

Excerpt from The Devil Made Me Do It

Prologue
               1975
                   

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep (Genesis 1:2).

Two ominous figures sat in quiet contemplation, the larger one’s head was gargantuan in nature, and foul droplets of acidic mucus fell from his protruding fangs. The smaller one stood sixteen feet tall and his rapier tail was wrapped protectively around his middle. He sat as still as cold hard stone. His sinister eyes were yellow rimmed and telegraphed evil cunning. He was known as The Leader.  Their silhouettes cast eerie shadows against the backdrop of the smoke-filled flames that spewed from the lake of fire.

“Ummm, this is my favorite place. Listen to the melodic sound of souls screaming in agony—it is music to my ears.  If you concentrate, you can hear the desperate pleas for release. Yessss . . .It allows me to know that all is right in our world,” The High Master said.

The Leader shuddered as the menacing timbre of The High Master’s voice snaked fear around his chest. For him, it was equal to the singe of demon skin from a thousand innocent prayers; he loathed it. His tail subconsciously tightened as he awaited his newest orders.  

The High Master continued, “These human souls are pathetic with their self-serving natures. They frighten at the sound of our bumps in the dark, but create havoc in their own lives. What idiots they are and not fit for company until they have totally crossed to our side. And even then they tire me soooo . . .”

The Leader didn’t stir; his thoughts were of survival. He refused to speak. He knew a wrong word could cause such suffering and pain. The High Master’s punishments are prompt and fierce. One seeks death, but yet, death will not come.

The High Master continued his tirade, his grimace displaying double rows of slime-covered fangs. His was a chilling profile. “Your charges are young. Both are being raised in good homes, and, as a result, they are overconfident creatures. Leader, do not underestimate their youth; innocence is a powerful weapon. In their kingdom, the weak become strong. But we must prey on that weakness and use it to our advantage. You must destroy them before they complete their purpose. I am giving you this head start; you must not fail.”

After speaking, he stood his full twenty feet in height, his shoulders reared back as his frame vibrated with his frustrated bellowing. “In the beginning, we owned their world. After the fall, we adjusted; the land we were given was dark and empty, but we were content with our lot. Then He whose name is not spoken, created man, and we were once again demoted. All we seek is our rightful power, our rightful place. Make haste, bold one, and steal, kill, and destroy all that stands in your way.”

The Leader bowed his head in submission.

“And, Leader—this was a most productive conversation. You are learning.”

The Leader’s tail unwrapped from his torso as he swiftly rose and slithered toward his point of ascent into the Earth realm. He was determined not to fail. 


Chapter One


The Detroit pollution and cold, foggy weather covered Esther Wiley’s shivering body in crisp, arctic shades of blue gray, reminiscent of watercolors dancing in the jelly jar after her arts and crafts class. She shivered, but stubbornly refused to let her mother put a scarf around her small head. She was going to be Cinderella. Cinderella didn’t wear an old ugly scarf. Well, maybe when she was cleaning, but she wasn’t trying to be that kind of Cinderella. No ashes to ashes and dust to dust for her. She was all about glass slippers and diamond tiaras.

Esther’s round cheeks were rosy from the wind, her hated freckles beet red glowing in contrast to the caramel cream of her skin. Her knobby knees were pressed together whenever she wasn’t bouncing from foot to foot in the frigid air. She was on a mission. She wasn’t allowing a hideous scarf to mess up her hair in exchange for a little warmth. She had endured two hours of “hold the grease jar lid on your ear pain” that produced silky pressed hair. There was torture in the quest for straight tresses. In her seven-year-old mind, her priorities were clear.

Esther’s petulant voice screeched. “Mama, how much longer do we have to wait? I can’t stand it. I want to try on the glass slipper—right now.”

“Mind your manners. In a moment, I’m going to give you what your Grandma Vic used to call a private deliverance in a public place.”

 A curl of warm breath escaped when Esther sighed. She turned away, rolled her eyes, and then stared defiantly at her mother. The same hands that calmly cuddled her at night now moved restlessly after giving up trying to place a warm scarf on Esther’s head. Esther didn’t dare speak. She had badgered her mother to bring her and her two best friends to downtown Detroit for the Cinderella contest. When they arrived, the line to enter the historical skyscraper snaked around the building. Two hours later they still couldn’t see the front entrance. As the wind bellowed, time stood still, but because of her mother’s mood, she resisted the urge to tell her she was freezing.  

She peeked at her friends’ reaction to her mother’s scolding. She could see Sheri and Deborah were indifferent to her embarrassment; their faces tense as they craned their necks to see the start of the line.  

Esther puffed warm breath into her mittens. “Y’all shouldn’t have come if you didn’t want to wait.”

Sheri’s elfin face was etched in anxiety. Her shoulders sagging, she grimaced at the time on her watch. She leaned forward in a panicked whisper. “You know I had to sneak out of the house to come. If my mama finds out I’m here, I’ma get a whipping.”

“You should have told her,” Deborah smacked her sour grape gum, then twirled it around her finger.

Sheri’s jaw tightened. “I tried.” She pointed her finger in a mock role play of her mother. “‘Ain’t no such thing as Cinderella, and sho’ ain’t no Prince Charming. Get in them school books. There isn’t anything worse than being ignorant.’ Y’all know how my mama gets.”

Laughing, Deborah slapped her hand against her thigh. “Uh, uh, uh,” she stuck her gum back into her mouth and popped it. “Girl, you sounded just like your mama.”

With hands on her small hips, Esther swung her head toward Deborah. “Well, what about you? You could have stayed home.”

“Oh no, where you two go, I go. You can’t leave me out. I can stand this girly stuff for one day.” Deborah eyeballed her and popped her gum for emphasis.

Esther sighed in her trademark dramatic fashion. “Please stop playing with your gum. That’s just nasty.”

She wished her friends cared as much about the Cinderella contest as she did. Sheri was the smart one, but her whippings from her mama were the talk of the block. Deborah was the tomboy; she had seven brothers.

Esther’s older sister, Phyllis once said, “Deborah’s mama better take that chile in hand quick ’cause if she don’t, she gon’ end up funny.”

Esther tried to explain that’s what she liked about Deborah—that she was funny. Phyllis just stared at her with small slit eyes, sucked her teeth, and told her to get out of her room.

She didn’t know why Phyllis always said that because half the drawers and closet space were hers, and she slept on the bottom bunk bed. But before she got pinched . . . Or worse, she’d leave the room.

Esther understood her friends’ mood; it was her mother, she couldn’t figure out. Mrs. Wiley reminded her of herself when she had to go to the doctor and get a shot; frightened.

Esther swallowed, summoned her courage, and pulled on her mother’s coat sleeve. “Mama, what’s wrong? Why did you say we might have to leave before I try on the slipper?”

Her mother’s eyes blinked in rapid succession. “I—well—I—girl, quit asking me questions.”

In a huff, Esther folded her arms, and clamped her lips tight. In a snail-like increment, thirty minutes dragged by, and finally they entered the department store.

***

It was so beautiful; Hudson’s department store had turned the tenth-floor lobby into a lighted winter wonderland. In the center of the room, a handsome prince with dark hair and sapphire eyes kneeled before each little girl as she sat on the white, satin bench and tried on the glass slipper. To a young heart, it was breathtaking.


Esther was so excited that she peed—just a little—in her underwear. When it was her time to approach the bench and sit down, she closed her eyes, folded her hands, prayed, and waited for the miracle that her grandmother had assured her God could deliver.

“Yes. Yes . . . Yes!” she squealed. The glass slipper fit her small foot perfectly.

Her mother cried out, “Oh my goodness; you won, you won.”

Her friends danced around, and they all jumped up and down together. It took them a few minutes—the silence around them incredulous—to notice that they were the only ones celebrating.

Esther hugged her mother around the waist and peeked at the crowd. Somber pale faces reflected shock, anger, and disbelief; it was plain that their small entourage’s happiness lacked the crowd’s support.

The distressed prince rose, his back ramrod straight. He confidently looked over at the tall, austere man who seemed to be in charge.

“I am sorry, miss,” the man advanced on Esther’s mother, his hawkish nose tilted in an imperious manner. “It isn’t a proper fit. Please relinquish the slipper to the next person. You and your daughter are holding up the line.”

Esther wailed in protest. “But, Mama—” Her mother placed a finger over her mouth and used her other hand to wipe her burgeoning tears.

Mrs. Wiley’s voice was soft and gentle, her hands tender in their ministrations of comfort. “Shush, baby, let’s go.” Her face was strained, and her eyes inflamed with a century of unspoken words and kindled rage.

Esther discerned something unspeakable had happened, and she should not ask about it. She grabbed her mother’s hand and placed her other hand in Sheri’s, who then took hold of Deborah’s. They were linked; one.

The friends were confused; somehow they had done something . . . Wrong. The swirling abyss in their stomachs paid homage to their guilt. Shame hovered over them like the Detroit factory’s smokestack stench. They huddled together, drawing comfort from each other. Stiff and silent, they exited the store into fresh falling snow. Esther felt the chill of the cold air all around her. She released Sheri’s hand and with tears frozen on her face, spoke in a meek, trembling voice. “Mama, my face is cold.”

Her mother reached down and slowly tied the ugly floral printed scarf around her silky pressed hair.

As the small, dejected group hurried down the street, a shadow followed along the wall; its long form slithered between the cracks of worn buildings as it hissed along the way. It was oblivious to the noise of traffic and other people rushing to and fro. It was a single-minded creature, and they were not his problem. He was only concerned with his assignment.

Today had been a good start, and he was pleased but not satisfied. He was like The High Master in that regard. Until the fruit from the vine was spoiled, his job wasn’t complete. For each of his young assignments, he was just beginning. He knew from experience it was better to catch the fruit before it matured. He watched as they scrambled forward, seeking solace in each other’s presence. As he followed, he wore a look of utter contempt for his charges. His yellow eyes gleamed eerily with a malignant delight against the growing darkness of the day. After all, it was a job well done.


(  Continued...  )

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

Purchase The Devil Made Me Do It  by Colette R. Harrell
Amazon   |   Barnes and Noble   |   Powells   |   Walmart   |   On Facebook
Topics include: suicide, abuse, adultery, company fraud, and obsession.


Genre: Christian Fiction 

 

About the Author
Colette Harrell
, wants you to know that she’s like you, God’s chosen vessel. She has come to be a gift, to be an encourager and a light that reflects God’s goodness.

She’s a wife, mother, author and playwright. A Detroit native, she currently calls Ohio home. She holds a master’s and is a Director of Social Services. Writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”

Her latest novel, Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t will thrill this October 2015. It is filled with wisdom and humor. This adventurous love story goes where Ms. Harrell loves to tread, down an unbeaten path. No millionaires rescuing damsels in distress—although she enjoys these reads herself—but every day people, falling and getting back up. 

The Devil Made Me Do It was her debut novel. It was nominated for The 2015 Phillis Wheatley Book Awards in First Fiction. It has been held as one of Black Pearl Magazine’s, top ten Christian fiction books for 2014. In addition, Read Between The Lines radio show, named it as one of its overall top ten books for 2014.

Make no mistake, her sophomore novel, Tell The Truth, The Devil Won’t will cement her as an author to watch. 

Connect with  Colette R. Harrell 

Tell the Truth The Devil Won't 
Sequel to The Devil Made Me Do It
Website:  http://www.coletteharrell.com 
https://www.facebook.com/ColetteRHarrellfans 
http://www.facebook.com/Colette.R.Harrell  

 

 

 

 

 


Enough was Never Enough: A Novella
by Michelle Morgan Spady

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

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


EXCERPT:  INNONCENCE TAKEN, STRENGTH GIVEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Continued... )


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


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

 


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

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

 

 

 


Heart Breaker by Briana Cole

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

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


Chapter Excerpt: Heart Breaker by Briana Cole


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How did it go?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Like, you can report he is faithful.”

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

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

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


( Continued... )

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


Purchase Heart Breaker by Briana Cole

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


About the Author

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

 

 

 


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

I know him.

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

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

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

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

Why was the boy in the Bobcats cap with them?

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

( Continued... )

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


Beyond the Blue Cypress 
by Ann Clay


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

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

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

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

Excerpt from Beyond the Blue Cypress by Ann Clay


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, I’ll meet you tonight.”

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

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

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

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

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


( Continued... )

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

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



 

 

 


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


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

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

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

*Weev: patented spelling


Excerpt from Chapter Nine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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


( Continued... )


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


Purchase With These Hands: A Country Girl Came To Town 

Link: http://amzn.com/B00T57OR76


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

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

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

 

 

 


Peace in the Valley
by Angelena Vernon 

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

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


I AM IN THE POTTER’S HANDS
by Angelena Vernon


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


( Excerpt from  Peace in the Valley by Angelena Vernon )


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


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

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

 

 

 

 


Between Love and Hate 
by AlTonya Washington

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

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


Excerpt: Between Love and Hate by AlTonya Washington


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

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

"Excuse me?" Cahlir dipped his head lower.

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

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

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

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

"Never," Was her simple reply.

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

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

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

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

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

"No, Atlanta."

"I figured."

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

Cahlir smiled in spite of himself. "Faintly."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cahlir offered her his hand and they went back inside. 

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

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

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

"Just show me the way." She said. 


( Continued... )

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


Purchase: Between Love and Hate by AlTonya Washington


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

 

 

 

 


Mafietta Movement Sparks Initiative To Change Lives 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Campbell Sisterhood

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

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

 

 

 


Tempting the Artist 
by Sharon C. Cooper

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

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

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


Book Reviews for Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper


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

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



Excerpt from Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Christina.”

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

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

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


( Continued... )

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


Purchase Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper

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

Tempting the Artist available at these retailers 

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



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


 

 


Black Coffee by R.L. Byrd 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Black Coffee Book Reviews


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

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


Black Coffee Book Excerpt: Chapter 2


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m Chef Luda, and yous be?”

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

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

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

( Continued... )

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


Purchase Black Coffee by R.L. Byrd 

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


About the Author

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

 

 

 


DONUM: A Novel 
by Alexandra Lane



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

What if you moved to a small town because you loved the isolation from the rest of the world? And what if evil decided to move to that very town for the same reason? More than a century ago, a prophecy was foretold that a stranger will arrive as a light, but darkness will besiege his heart. That a child will be born who will rise up in strength and power, and see through the eyes of God. However, when the two come to fruition, Armageddon would soon be upon the world. But before the world knew what was coming, what was waiting in the shadows, it all began in the small town of Capers.


DONUM is the story of a young man named Teal, whose birth will signify the end of days and an epic battle between good and evil. However, between the angels of God and the demons of Satan lies the small town of Capers, North Carolina. A caring and peaceful community where Teal is born and raised with little knowledge of the terrible burden that awaits him when he’s older. It is the entrance of the mysterious billionaire, Noigel Braddock, that will set Teal firmly on the path to his destiny. Noigel will start a tech company in Capers and introduce new innovation that’s quickly embraced by the community. It will change how business is done and make many rich. Yet, there is something far more sinister about Noigel than anyone truly realizes. Masked by a handsome face, suave demeanor and Ivy League education, lies a heart of pure evil. 

It is when dark forces try to confiscate Teal's life that he discovers his unusual but powerful gifts. Slowly, the once tranquil town begins to change as townspeople commit atrocities they otherwise would not. Strange encounters with the unknown take place as demons roam the streets and death stalks the town. And when Noigel's dark secret for Capers is exposed, Teal will work against time to save the townspeople from total destruction. He will be tested and shaped by his friendships, loss and love--and of God.

The prophecy has begun.


EXCERPT FROM DONUM


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

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

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

She instantly stood up. She looked towards the doorway.

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

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

“This is your little boy?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“He’s a blessing. A true gift,” Eliza said.

“Yes, he is definitely a gift to Charles and me,” Katy said smiling, but she was recounting in her head the many years they tried to conceive but couldn’t.

Eliza looked at Teal. “Do you remember me?”

“Yes.” Teal touched her head. “You’re all better now?”

She laughed. “Yes, I’m all better now.” 

“Then why are you crying?” Teal asked with his head slightly tilted.

“Because God sent you to me,” she said looking through a well of tears. All of a sudden, Eliza’s family entered the room and she stood and wiped her face. 

“Everything ok, Eliza?” her father asked as he looked at the guest in the room.

“Yes, papa. I’m just happy to see Pastor Wright and this sweet little boy. I didn’t think I would ever be standing here talking to anyone ever again. So, these are tears of joy, papa.”

Pastor Wright picked his hat up from the table. “Well, we won’t take up anymore of your time. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you in church soon and we’ll talk some more then.”

“Yes you will Pastor,” she said with a big smile. They hugged once more. Then Katy, Teal and the Pastor all left. When they got in the car Katy glanced back at Teal who was playing with his Spiderman and Superman action figures. Katy oddly looked at Pastor Wright. “What was that all about Pastor Wright?” she inquired as she started the car and headed back to the church.

“Katy, I’m going to ask you to do something that’s going to sound really strange to you,” he said with great hesitation. 

“What’s that, Pastor?” she asked wondering.

“I need you to shift your mind from everything you’ve ever learned as a Psychologist and open your mind to something that is going to be very difficult to absorb,” he said looking towards Katy. He was agonizing over how to present the words to her.

Looking worried, Katy asked, “What is it, Pastor?”

He looked at Teal, then to Katy. “Katy, your son has a gift.”

When he said those words, Katy’s mind automatically went back to the old woman in the park. “That’s what that old woman said.”

Pastor Wright was thrown off by her statement. “What old woman?” he asked. 

“I took Teal to the park one day and an old woman came up to him and called him a strange name. She kept saying he was DONUM and that I had to protect him. She also said he had gifts and that he needed to understand how to use them, and what was happening to him. She told me to bring my son to you and you could help him.” Katy had turned into the church parking lot and parked the car. She looked at Pastor Wright like she had a lot on her mind. “As a matter of fact, when I visited one of my patients in the hospital this morning she said the same thing as the old woman and used the same word. She said that an angel told her to tell me to watch after my son, he was the key. Then she said the same word the old woman had said; DONUM. Then she died,” Katy said with a blank stare.

“She died?”

“Yes. They were calling it an attempted suicide, but she told me she didn’t try to kill herself, she said that something came into her room last night and tried to kill her,” Katy said with a blank expression. She was having a hard time with the words she was saying.

The Pastor removed his hat and rubbed his bald head. He took out his handkerchief and dabbed it across his forehead and neck. “Katy, something is happening here in Capers and apparently it’s only going to get worse. To have had two people give you the same message about your son could only mean that he is going to be crucial to whatever is coming and, he needs to be ready for it. 

“Pastor Wright,” Teal called.

“Yes, Teal.”

“Do you know what pro-phas-sy is?” Teal asked trying to remember how to say the word.

Pastor Wright wondered for a few seconds. “Do you mean, Prophecy?” he asked curiously.

“Yes, that’s what she said.” Teal replied.

“Who? Who said something about prophecy?” asked Pastor Wright looking at Teal.

Katy interrupted. “Oh, I forgot to tell you about the dream he had,” Katy said with her same blank stare but with a hint of sarcasm.

“After a horrible night of Teal being attacked,” she said with air quotes. “Later that night in the hospital, he said that a lady spoke to him in a dream and said he was going to be alright. She also told him that evil was here in Capers and…” she was trying to remember the rest of his words.

“Arm-getton, mommy,” Teal said reminding her.

“Armageddon?” The Pastor asked looking at Teal.

“Yes,” he answered. Pastor Wright put his hand to his mouth, he was sweating, his eyes wondered all around as he tried to piece it all together. “Oh my dear God,” he mumbled.

“Katy, I need you to listen to me, please.” There was silence as Katy coolly looked at him. He dabbed his forehead again. “There’s no easy way for me to say this, so I just have to say it. Your son has the gift to heal. When he says they took something from him, he means the energy that leaves his body when they’re being healed from touching him. In the bible, it talks about the woman that had the issue of blood, if you remember, she touched Jesus’s robe and was healed instantly. But the thing that made this healing stick out from the others was, there was a multitude of people surrounding Jesus that was pushing on him and touching him, but he could still tell that someone had touched him and was healed because he said ‘virtue is gone out of me.’ To heal another, drains that person’s body of energy when something as powerful as your son’s gift is activated.”

He sat silent and never took his eyes from Katy’s. Katy turned away and closed her eyes. She raked her fingers through her hair and pulled. 

“Stay with me Katy, please,” Pastor Wright implored. “The word DONUM is a Latin word that means, Gift. That old woman you saw in the park was a messenger of God, and that thing that attacked Teal, that was one of Satan’s demons trying to kill your son.”

Katy’s head shot around towards Pastor Wright when she heard those words. 

“Katy, your son is not a typical, everyday boy. Your son is a gift from God and he was sent here to do something of great importance either for someone, or some people, maybe the whole town, I’m not sure. But that’s why the messages are being sent to you, and they’re right, we must protect him,” Pastor Wright said anxiously. 

“Your son said, Armageddon, this word is from the book of Revelations where it talks about the last days. This is where the devil, the Anti-Christ and the false prophet rise to bring destruction and desolation upon the earth. We need to start finding answers Katy, and I mean, now,” Pastor Wright said with utmost seriousness. “And I believe it all starts with your neighbor, Noigel Braddock. Evil has beset this town from the very first day he arrived here. I believe he is the core to whatever is getting ready to happen.”  There was silence. “Katy?” 

Katy didn’t answer. She just stared out the window. Pastor Wright sat still and didn’t speak a word. He knew it was a lot for her to absorb, but he was praying she wouldn’t dismiss it either.  “I need some time, Pastor,” she finally said.

“Sure, Katy. I know this is a lot,” he said empathetically. “But I need you to understand one thing. We don’t have a whole lot of time. We need to get Teal ready for…”

“For what?” she belted out as she sharply snapped her head around looking at Pastor Wright. “What?!” she asked again.

“Katy, I don’t have all the answers right now, but I promise you, I will have more to tell you when I see you next time. But you need to open your eyes and see, Katy.” 

“Well Pastor, I’m not sure if I’m the right person because I am a trained Psychologist and you have to know how all of this sounds to me right now!” Katy bellowed out.

“I do,” he softly responded.

“It’s going to be ok, mommy,” Teal said from the back seat. “The lady said so,” he said with sweet innocence.

Katy looked at her son, turned back and heavily rubbed her hands over her face. “I need to get Teal home and I have to get to work,” she said looking forward.

“I understand.” Pastor Wright unbuckled his seatbelt and got out of the car. Katy quickly put the car in reverse and backed out hurriedly. She didn’t speak another word as she drove off.

Pastor Wright stood in the parking lot and watched as she drove away. Katy took a quick glimpse in the rearview mirror. She could see that he looked troubled; frightened. But one thing Katy knew for sure, he wasn’t as frightened as she was.


( Continued... )

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


DONUM: A Novel by Alexandra Lane


Twitter Link:  https://twitter.com/DONUM15 
FB Link:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/DONUM/635799543190833 



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

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

Website:  http://alexandralane.tateauthor.com  
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/avisionofangels 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/alexandra.lane11 



 


THE LAST KING 
by A. Yamina Collins 

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

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

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

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

Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat---they're also their greatest love. 


EXCERPT – The Last King, upcoming episode #5


Stepping quietly into the greenroom, he can tell, before he fully enters, that Emmy is in a deep sleep, just by the rhythm of her breathing.

Good, he thinks. She’ll be out for a long while yet.

At first, he moves towards the window, looking out into the night sky. It’s going to rain soon, yes even in the middle of July.Then he turns a lamp on and inspects the bed and rug. Clean as a whistle. Matilda has done a marvelous job, and even Emmy’s clothes are back on, looking good as new.

Standing over to the bed, he studies Emmy for a while.

It could be done so easily; he could kill her in the flick of an eye —split her body apart like he was splitting hairs.

Matilda has leaned the Sword of Jarden up against the dresser, and it sits there now, sparkling and bright.

Picking it up, Gilead wields the sword in his hand with such speed and dexterity that it makes a sound as he cuts it through the air.

It’s tempting isn’t it, he tells himself? To use it on her.

Very tempting. And it really would be less of a hassle if ended this thing tonight, just as his mother wants him to do. But…but…

Gilead sighs.

The sword is heating up in his grip. In a couple of minutes it will be so hot that fire will leap from around the edges of the blade.

Quickly, he lays the sword down on the window sill, then meanders back to the bed, and watches Emmy again.

Now is as good a time as any, he decides.

Carefully, he turns Emmy over on her stomach, and placing a hand in his pocket, he takes out a small syringe whose needle point he positions against the skin of his own forearm. It’s the radial vein he wants, and the tip slides in so easily, so smoothly, that seconds later, the syringe is being filled with the gold-colored, hot fluid that is his blood.

The fluid pulsates, some would say like lava, and when he is done filling up the syringe, he stabs the needle through the back of Emmy’s t-shirt, allowing the needle point to settle against her skin.

Any location will do, he knows. As long as it’s in the general vicinity, his blood will seek out what is broken in a person, what is not perfection, and instantly fix it.

But to be sure, Gilead gives her three injections instead of one – in the mid-section of her back, at the base of her spine, and finally at the nape of her neck.

A faint snapping sound can be heard. It is not the snap of bone or of disks being broken, but that of shattered parts of the body being sealed back into place.

When he finishes, he puts the syringe back in his pocket, moves to the edge of the bed, and just sits there, deep in thought for a while.

Outside, the rain has started, but only a drizzle it seems.

Looking down at Emmy, his eyes fall on the rounded smoothness of one of her shoulder’s, which is half exposed

Scratching his chin, Gilead hesitates, then moves back toward the center of the bed, peering all the more closely at her.

Skin is a funny thing. It’s a fascinating material. It can be ugly and withered, or smooth and alluring. Hers is the type of skin that will never see veins popping through it, nor will age touch it too quickly.

Gilead looks towards the door, then back again at Emmy. How still she is – as still as the grave.

Uneasily—why am I doing this, he asks himself?—he lies down on the bed beside her, facing the ceiling, and he crosses his arms over his chest.

No one will enter the room, he figures. Or at least, no one should.

Matilda has done her job and won’t come back, and as for Markus – Gilead swears to himself that if Markus comes nosying around here, he’ll beat him through and through.

Markus, he snarls. The little brat!

Isn’t Gilead free to do as pleases? Can’t he lie here for a few seconds, undisturbed? There is no harm in this, and he is only curious, that’s all.

Closing his eyes, he leans his head closer to Emmy, and with trepidation, he slowly presses his cheek against her shoulder. A clean, soapy scent rises from her skin.

What was that scent on her earlier, he ponders? Was it cinnamon or sugar or peaches or….?

He inhales, pauses, then looks again towards the door. Is someone on the other side, out in the hallway? No.

Finally he rests his head more fully upon her. There is something about her darkness that is elegant, mysterious and delightful.

He exhales.

Men are fools when they succumb to the flesh of women, but for Gilead this is only a single, innocent moment. After this, he will go back to his wisdom, and his strength of mind, and never will he think about her again.

It’s only for this brief instant in time that he wants to lay here, in the quiet space of this room. Can he not just close his eyes? He’s been alive so long, and never does he feel like he has truly rested.


( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, A. Yamina Collins. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.


Purchase THE LAST KING by A. Yamina Collins 
Genre: Fantasy/Romance


http://www.amazon.com/A.Yamina-Collins/e/B008KF2XZM 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20813560-the-last-king 



 

 


Jacmuir: Trust Stained Lies 
by Angeline M. Bishop

Oastomin, a university freshman and the newest Crimson Knight, consents to rigorous training so he can follow in his father’s footsteps and be accepted among his peers. A few months into his preparation, his dad, King Natro of Jacmuir, dies. Oastomin soon discovers his father’s power came at the high price of a long buried secret.

Seventeen year old Maia has a daily habit of pushing the “gray” boundary between right and wrong, but when she secretly rallies college-aged young men to undermine her father’s petitions for an alliance, her parents deliver a harsh punishment. Maia is forced to leave home but she decides to use her eviction as the perfect time to learn the secrets of the Crimson Knights.

Oastomin and Maia must decide if they are willing to sacrifice their principles in order to preserve their way of life. They will discover if it’s possible to slide across a moral line and openly challenge their parents’ expectations, while trying not to be held accountable for their powerful fathers’ mistakes. 

Note from the Author

JACMUIR: TRUST STAINED LIES was inspired by answering the youth's demand for more inspirational stories featuring multicultural characters transitioning into adults.

The diverse, intelligent young adults in this series are forced to challenge their belief systems and deal with the fundamental core tenets of trust and loyalty within modern monarchies. JACMUIR (Book One) explores the topics of brotherhood, betrayal, honesty, secrets, narcissism, and presenting your authentic self to others.

Readers will understand that although men and women mature physically and become more capable in their practical lives, many fail to achieve emotional maturity.

If you've ever been betrayed and wished for friends that would have your back when your world fell apart, then please read JACMUIR: TRUST STAINED LIES. I hope you'll be entertained as you explore the brotherhood of the Crimson Knights and watch these young people navigate the burden of living up to powerful parental expectations. 

*Please note that Jacmuir (Book One) can be read as a standalone*


Excerpt: Chapter One 

OASTOMIN



We sprint into the courtyard as Faymer leads with enraged anger. “No, no, no! You should have moved! He meant you no harm!” Faymer yells at Maia.

Maia whirls around and addresses him. “How would you know? I was facing the devilish snarl on his face and purpose in his steps, not you. You observed the animal’s backside.”

“He’s my horse! My horse! I know his intentions. I raised him since he was a young calf,” Faymer seethes, his face just inches from hers. He’s breathing so hard the small tendrils of hair covering her forehead start to part.

But she stands her ground, steels her precarious eyes, and intensifies her grip on the bow. “The horse will heal after a season of rest; the wounds are not severe.”

“You have no idea what you’ve done!” Faymer bellows as curses fall from his lips. “Wounding a horse at full gallop is like taking away a warrior’s desire to charge into battle. Physical wounds can heal, but emotional ones last a lifetime.”

“Then make the person who released him in this courtyard pay for your loss,” she snaps and lifts her chin, meeting his icy gaze head on. “The problem isn’t mine! I was defending myself!” 

“In the time it took you to fit arrows in your bow, you could have moved out of the way! Have you no regard for any animal other than your own?” 

Now I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never observed a girl like this one. Pretty, confident, and audacious enough to not back down to Faymer. See, if I could get a better view of her legs, I could tell you if she was worth the headache he’s facing. It’s too bad she wears a frown most of the time and has a reputation for being too bossy for her own good. 

Seeing neither party is going to back down, I step between the two as Peverell tends to the fallen steed. “Faymer, don’t forget whom you’re addressing. She’s a royal guest in Jacmuir.”

Faymer starts to object when the whimpering exhale of his horse causes him to dash to his animal’s side. I also join Peverell to assess the damages; we talk in hushed tones. Somewhere along the way, the princess leaves us and moves toward the stable. 

As Peverell tends to the championship horse, Faymer fumes in my ear. “Trouble, Your Highness! Do you see what I mean? Wounding my horse instead of moving aside, what kind of girl did your parents invite to Jacmuir?” 

I nod in agreement, wondering who else she will tick off during her visit and how soon it will be before the citizens who were watching this scene post photos of Faymer’s steed on the internet.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Jacmuir: Trust Stained Lies  
Inspirational Multicultural New Adult Fiction
Link: http://amzn.com/B00S5U8O32 


 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Nichol Bradford


Nichol Bradford, a proud Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sister, is fascinated by human potential, and has always been interested in how technology can help individuals expand beyond their perceived limits to develop and transform themselves to the highest level.

She spent the last decade exploring these ideas in the online game industry, serving as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations and marketing for major brands that include: Activision Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi. Most recently she managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China.

Now, as the CEO of the Willow Group, Nichol is applying those same skills to the realm of elevating psychological well-being. Willow is a transformative technology company focused on employing rigorous scientific research to develop training protocols, hardware and software that can produce a reliable and positive change in the human experience. She is also a member of the African-American MBA Association

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

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I wrote the book I wanted to read about strong yet vulnerable and intelligent black women committed to a great and grand goal — mental freedom and empowerment for all. I was tired of not seeing heroes that looked like me. I wanted to see someone like me save the world, not as a side-kick or agency head, but as the actual, certifiable central hero. I wanted to read about Olivia Pope back then, but since she didn’t exist yet, I wrote my own. I also wanted really well-developed characters who had something on their minds other than men. So some of the characters are happily married, and some are single, but most of all their focus is not just on their men (or lack thereof) but on their friendship and common goals. I also love technology and so wanted the women to be deeply immersed in that world.

I am deeply motivated by the memory of my mother, Vivian Jones Bradford. My mother is the model for the visionary leader of the Sisterhood, Vivian Delacroix. My mother was an entrepreneur. She was completely committed to helping women and supporting the efforts of black women in particular. She believed most in defending the defenseless and used her legal education to do so. I started volunteering by her side when I was a child and she made sure that my values included service to the betterment of society. 

Like the CEO on the book, my mother died suddenly and unexpectedly (months after I graduated from college). She was a young fifty, healthy, and we were very much alike. My last conversation with her was the morning of her death, and I’m so grateful for that. I was devastated. It took at least a year for me to reorient myself. The shock of losing her shaped the way I approach life. It instilled a sense that there’s plenty of time, but no time to waste. I believe in being passionate about the work that you do and who you do it with, because none of us knows how much time we have. I believe in being mission driven. I have the loss of my mother to thank for what I feel is a highly effective approach to a full life.

I’m deeply motivated by the idea of empowering people to free their minds in order to create choice and options in their lives. That thread runs through most of what I’ve done — from writing the Sisterhood, to working at a senior level in the video game industry, to launching an online meditation course, to pioneering the transformative technology sector. 

Transformative Technology is about making the technology in our lives support our well-being and not just our productivity. The last decade found me exploring the idea of transformative technology in the video game industry, where I served as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations, and marketing for games internationally for major brands that include: Activision/Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi. 

Most recently I managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China. During this time, I also began to meditate and saw interesting parallels between it and gaming. Both enable delight, flow, and access to dynamic states of consciousness. Meditation, though, goes even further and can profoundly and positively impact well-being. It seemed logical to me that technologies that directly impact human experience could do so as well, but no one seemed to be seriously working on it. So, I left Blizzard to pioneer Transformative Technology.


BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
My books are for women who want to make a difference with their lives — women who care about their communities, families, and lives and want to make positive change. Black women have a beautiful heroic nature, and I wanted to show that you don’t have to be wearing head-to-toe spanx to be heroic. The “Superwoman” meme sells us short. It makes us think that there’s something wrong with our heroism. We believe that our heroic nature will ensure that we are single and have nine cats so we reject our nature in order to not be alone. 

Or we believe that we can’t be heroes and also be vulnerable so we build walls around our hearts while we work ourselves to death. Real heroism is the flexibility to be strong AND vulnerable AND all of those things - while keeping focused on our wider mission. As far as role models go, I think that anyone who is positive and lives with integrity can be a role model — so if an author is doing that, then yes — she or he is a role model.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
The Sisterhood started on a late night drive home from a success workshop I gave during college. That night, I had this group of beautiful young black women stand in a circle and tell each other, one at a time and by name, that they were smart, beautiful, and could have anything that they wanted and worked for. It was a hard session, each and every young women cried when the group told her that she could actually have what she wanted. And I realized that we don’t know this...not really (even I didn’t always believe this and still have my moments where I don’t).

As I drove home, I felt really inadequate. I know that workshops can help, but they don’t last long enough to really shift someone...or help someone shift themselves. I started thinking about how I could show what it would look like, to be women who believed they could have what they wanted and worked individually and together to make that a reality. So I decided to write the Sisterhood. I conceived of an organization of women, who faced a series of challenges. Addressing those challenges would allow me to show versus tell how an individual can be successful. I went home and jotted the basic plot down which today is more or less the same. 

However, it was another eight years before I actually started writing. The events that prompted me to write the book in the Fall of 2000, to actually sit down and type the first word was a break-up that triggered a recommitment to myself. I was in business school and had been dating a sweet man, who though wonderful in many way, was not the right person for me. I also had been interviewing for jobs that truthfully, I was only interested in for the security and the salary. Essentially, I was headed towards a life that was not aligned with my inner North Star. Luckily, the man did something break-up worthy (and so we did) and none of the jobs came through (thank goodness). 

I’m a Virgo baby, so every September I do an assessment on my life — where am I mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and professionally. During this period, I also try to clean things up — I ask forgiveness, forgive, clean out my closets, and think about what my goals are for the following year. As a part of this, I had been thinking about my goals, and realized that I had put “write the Sisterhood” on my list for eight years — and I just refused to start another year without having taken an action. Taking that action, after all the difficult things that had happened that year, was a proxy for a commitment to myself, to my intuition, to the life that I truly wanted to lead. It took another eight years to write the entire book, and then two more to publish it.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
All of the Sisterhood characters are smart and strong...yet flawed like all real human beings. They aren’t perfect — but by working together they complement one another and accomplish great things. Tonia Rawlings is the main character that you follow and I just love and admire her. She’s the head of security for the Sisterhood and carries the weight of her best friend’s death on her shoulders because Vivian, the CEO of the Sisterhood, is assassinated on the first page. 

Vivian’s death triggers a chain of events where Tonia is tested more than ever — which is saying allot given a life story that includes an abusive husband, a drug conviction, and the death of a child. In order to navigate the danger, she has to change herself. Watching her wrench a new version of herself from the old is a powerful illustration of how to do the same thing.

The nine leaders in the book are based on ALL the women I know - from the amazing women I grew up around, to those I pledged AKA with in 1990, to the women I met at in the African-American MBA Association at business school, to all the women I’ve met along the way . One of the things I love about this book is that it represents the full diaspora - every size, shape, and hue of black women.  The women come from all backgrounds, educations, and geographies but they share a common bond through their desire to positively impact their world. They are all women who have integrity with themselves and with their Sisterhood, showing what that looks like and the real possibilities it can create in our lives.

BPM: So, who would be a woman/member of the Sisterhood? 
If you are reading this interview then she might just be you. Or maybe she’s the woman who works next to you. From businesswomen to teachers to any profession, any smart and talented woman you admire could be a secret member of The Sisterhood.  That’s part of the fun of the book too - wondering about the women in your life to guess who might be in The Sisterhood already - because maybe it isn’t just a book. ;-)

BPM: Why are there nine leaders in the Sisterhood?
The Sisterhood is more than a book, it is also a teaching narrative. Each of the women represents one of nine leadership traits (discipline, self-knowledge, financial stewardship, service, sacrifice, education, vision, innovation, and entrepreneurship). In The Sisterhood, how they address challenges to their survival illustrates what is possible with collective action and individual excellence. They present a powerful illustration of what a group of focused women can do together.

The concept came to me on a late night drive home from a success workshop I gave during college for a group of high-school girls. That night, I had the group stand in a circle and tell each other, one at a time and by name, that they were smart, beautiful, and could have anything that they wanted and worked for. It was a hard session, with most of the girls unable to accept the endorsement without tears. So many of them simply could not see it, much less believe it.

As I drove home, I thought that there had to be a better way to illustrate what fulfilling one’s potential would look like - something more penetrating than quotes from self-help books and short workshop sessions. On that drive, I decided to write The Sisterhood. I conceived of an organization of women, who faced a series of challenges. Addressing those challenges would allow me to “show” versus “tell” how an individual can be successful. I went home and jotted the basic plot down which today is more or less the same. 

BPM: What inspired the amazing book cover for The Sisterhood? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
I love the new cover of the Sisterhood. It captures the blend of drama, focus and technology that sits at the heart of the novel. You can see it in the eyes of Tonia, the woman on the cover, she will not rest until she perseveres. Also, it has the iconic Sisterhood sword on the cover blended with a data stream that I think is also ancient and futuristic. 

The sword comes from a quote I once read about how the vast continent of a woman’s life crosses the shadow of a sword, where one side lies the known, but the other lies adventure. I would say to the other side also lies purpose and mission. We are vessels of potential and we realize it now more than ever. The e-book is available on Kindle and the hard copies are available at www.mskincorporated.com.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed learning how to actually write. Though I was an avid reader, I didn’t know how to write fiction. I didn’t know how to show not tell. I had to learn how to write in order to share the story I had in my heart. I was lucky enough to meet the legendary literary agent Marie Brown, who introduced me to the woman who became my editor and my teacher. I remember sitting at my computer at times, crying, because my skills didn’t yet allow me to tell the story I could see in my mind. But I refused to give up. I didn’t stop until The Sisterhood was complete. 

Since I was working full time, and more, I wrote at 5AM before work, after work and weekends. I missed parties, dates, and trips. But I got that story out of my heart and onto paper, dammit. It was the most wonderful/horrible thing I have ever done, and I grew as a person and a woman by doing it. I highly recommend making a goal that requires you evolve and learn something new in order to achieve it.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? 
My books are mission driven (thank you Mom!). I think of the effect I want a book to have and then craft a story that makes that point. However, even with a mission-driven writing process, the story has to stand on its own, and be worth reading even without an underlying message.

The Sisterhood is more than a book, it is also a teaching narrative. Each of the women represents one of nine leadership traits (discipline, self-knowledge, financial stewardship, service, sacrifice, education, vision, innovation, and entrepreneurship). In The Sisterhood, how they address challenges to their survival illustrates what is possible with collective action and individual excellence. They present a powerful illustration of what a group of focused women can do together. 

The book can be read just for entertainment, or it can be read as a skills blueprint. Each of the characters is informed by several major skills and personality testing programs, like the Meyers-Briggs test and the Leadership Women’s EQ. There’s a workbook that allows the reader to assess her own skills as she reads the book and then make an action plan to fill in the areas where she’d like to excel. 

I write mission-driven books in order to illustrate a world where women are awake, think for themselves, live with purpose, and work together. All of this is possible, and if we were to live this way, then we could transform our lives, our communities and the world.

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

I’ll answer this question with a summary that was written by one of the LA talent agencies on the Sisterhood. 
In this empowering story, African-American women joining together to fight slavery in the new millennium. A reinvention of the futuristic action genre, intelligent technology, hot cars and sleek offices are paired with unique heroines, proud black women. The book is based on a revolutionary premise: black female action hero moguls.

The book's concept is an original rendition of a classic crime-in-the-future story, replete with a mysterious threat, a radically different government, and teams of highly trained civilian forces. The leads happen to be almost uniformly African-American, and this is, of course, a major difference. The combination of glossy urban environs with soulful leads with deep appreciations of their histories is an original, welcome twist.

In terms of characters, the book is dominated by strong African-Americans who work in a host of capacities, from banking to science, law and law enforcement. All of the leads have well-developed personalities, can effortlessly crunch numbers and beat down villains. They also have highly-defined back stories, husbands, children, professions, which lend them necessary substance. The book thus provides a phenomenal vehicle for female African-American talent.

I love all of the new TV shows with amazing black female leads—when I wrote the Sisterhood these characters were rare in film and TV. Still missing though, is media showing black women working together to achieve something extraordinary. The ensemble casts with black women today show women supporting one another in their private lives with men, children and neighborhood dramas, but not as a team in the world. The Sisterhood represents the next step and as such, is still an underrepresented idea.

BPM: Why should I tell my friends about the Sisterhood and this new movement?
You should tell your friends that you’ve found this great book where the black women save the world. Then tell them that there’s a character in it that reminds you of them - because that will happen while you read it - you will see yourself and all of your closest friends. Then challenge them to read it in the next 30 days so you can talk about it and make your action plans together to fulfill your absolute potential and make all your hopes and dreams possible.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
I wrote each of the characters as a trait—so at any time you can be like any one of the characters. When you are visionary—you are a Vivian. When you need to connect with your warrior—then you are a Tonia. Likewise, for your entrepreneurial time, your community time, or whatever, you can bring forth the trait that you need when you need it. So what is interesting to me is how I cycle through being “like” the character whose trait I need at that time as I continue my journey. 

This also is relevant for teams. Since all nine traits are important for a successful team, you can use the Sisterhood framework to “bring forth” a trait from yourself or recruit someone with the missing trait in order to have a full set of skills on your team.

On a high-level, the work that I am doing in the world mirrors the work that the women in the Sisterhood. Meditation leads to mental freedom, the same objective the Sisterhood pursues. My secular meditation course is very successful at helping people to remove limiting mental blocks and psychological conditioning. We’ll reach tens of thousands easily with our program. My work in Transformative Technology is about doing that at massive scale, and our goal is to help no less than 100M people transform their lives by 2025.

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

I learned that I do not quit. I refuse to quit. No matter how hard, or lonely, or tough something gets, I do not quit. That’s a powerful self-lesson to learn. Now that I’ve learned that I do not quit, at the tender age of 43, I’m learning when I should “leave well enough alone” which is an entirely different lesson. LOL.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My core goal and intention with the book was to inspire women to have the courage to believe in their potential and take action to bring that potential into existence because I believe that empowered women can save the world. I feel that I have achieved the ability to inspire with The Sisterhood based on the emails that I get from women who read the book and then bet on themselves. The email I recall most was from a young college student who had been a child in Rwanda during the genocide. To me, anyone who survived and thrived after witnessing that horror is a hero and has my unending respect. 

She wrote an email describing how she was on the verge of a major decision — one path leading to safety and security — and the other leading to a path where success was not certain and winning would require her to become everything she was capable of being. She was struggling with the decision — and then someone gave her the Sisterhood. 

After reading that book she took the harder, but more rewarding road. I cried when I read that email because staying committed for 16 years to something is not easy — I definitely sacrificed to write that book. But that one email made everything worth it because one woman stepped towards her full potential.

BPM: What message do you hope for readers of The Sisterhood to gain from reading it?
I’d like women who read the Sisterhood to become inspired to create positive change in their lives and communities. I hope that they embrace their heroism and technology. Black female heroism is perfectly suited for technology because it directly maps from our desire to be the agents of change to the ability to have an exponential impact on the world.

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

The book is not just a personal blueprint, but a community building blueprint with real-world insight on how you would fund an endeavor like the Sisterhood to radically transform our communities. The Sisterhood makes its initial wealth from very well placed investments in technology companies. They use that to buy into established but declining industries that they innovate and to set up their own labs to create the technology of the next generation. Being tech-aware and tech-savvy is at the core of their success. 

So the people that I met while researching the book were entrepreneurs, financiers, strategists, technologists, and community activists. One person who stands out is Pamela Jolly — a strategist, banker, and more — who is actually written into the novel due to her cutting edge ideas on economic empowerment for communities of color.

BPM: How can I use the Sisterhood to make a Life Action Plan?
The book can be read just for entertainment, or it can be read as a skills blueprint. Each of the characters is informed by several major skills and personality testing programs, like the Meyers-Briggs test and the Leadership Women’s EQ. There’s a workbook that allows the reader to assess her own skills as she reads the book and then make an action plan to fill in the areas where she’d like to excel.  The workbook is free to anyone, just send me an email at: info@mskincorporated.com and I will send you the PDF.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I am really focused on getting the word out about the Sisterhood. The Sisterhood is a part of a trilogy, all of which are outlined. I’m focused on getting part one out to as many women as possible and then will hide myself away somewhere and write the sequel.

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

Website: http://www.nicholbradford.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicholatsisterh 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nichol_bradford 
 
MSK website: http://www.mskincorporated.com  
Biz Networks: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholbradford 
Community: http://www.mskincorporated.com/nichol-bradford/ 
Purchase Books: http://www.amazon.com/author/nicholbradford 

Like on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Sisterhood-by-Nichol-Bradford/136723666351091 



Download The Sisterhood: Book One Today!
Amazon Link: http://amzn.com/B006IMLCRE 
Afro-futurism; African American Fiction; Mystery; Thriller & Suspense 


 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Victoria Christopher Murray

With over one million books in print, Victoria Christopher Murray is one of the country’s top African American contemporary authors.  Victoria always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton University where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating, Victoria attended New York University where she received her MBA.

Victoria spent ten years in Corporate America before she tested her entrepreneurial spirit. She opened a Financial Services Agency for Aegon, USA where she managed the number one division for nine consecutive years. However, Victoria never lost the dream to write and when the “bug” hit her again in 1997, she answered the call.

Victoria originally self published her first novel, Temptation and in 2000, Time Warner published that novel. Temptation made numerous best sellers list and remained on the Essence bestsellers list for nine consecutive months. In 2001, Victoria received her first NAACP Image Award nomination for Temptation.

Since Temptation, Victoria has written over twenty other adult novels, including: JOY, Grown Folks Business, The Ex Files, The Deal, the Dance and the Devil, Never Say Never and the popular Jasmine Cox Larson Bush series.

Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being a pioneer in African American Fiction. Since 2007, Victoria has won seven African American Literary Awards for best novel, best Christian fiction and Author of the Year – Female. Her 2014 NAACP Image Award nomination for Never Say Never was her third Image Award nomination.

Several of Victoria's novels have been optioned to become movies, including The Deal, the Dance and the Devil and the Ex Files series.

Victoria splits her time between Los Angeles and Washington D.C. In Los Angeles, she attends Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church under the spiritual tutelage of Dr. Beverly “BAM” Crawford. She is also a very proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I would have to say my parents had the greatest impact on my life. Not only did they have me believing that I was THE Queen Victoria (I was seven when I discovered that I wasn't), but they made me believe that I could be and do anything. My parents have been my greatest supporters, my biggest fans and I've always wanted to do well and be well to make them proud. My father passed away and my mother is now in her eighties...and I still want to be the kind, generous, giving person that they raised me to be. I want to follow the examples that they set. I still want to make my parents proud and that drives me every day.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
Even though I've been considered a Christian fiction writer for a long time, I don't feel like that's who my writing speaks to alone. I write to speak to women who can see themselves in some of the situations that are plots in my novels. I want people to enjoy my books, and even receive a message. Now, I don't write with messages in mind. Truly, I think that God meets the readers on the pages — of not only my books, but any book. And readers always receive the message they're supposed to.

As far as being a role model, I think established authors are role models for up and coming authors and I take that responsibility seriously. I believe that not only am I responsible for telling entertaining stories, but I must help others who have the same dream. I have to. 

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
The idea for this book came to me over a year and a half ago, when the first verdict in the Michael Dunn trial came down. During the first trial, Michael Dunn (who shot into the car killing Jordan Davis) the jury couldn't come back with a decision. It was a mistrial and so many people were angry with the jurors. But I had read the transcript and the judge's instructions to the jury during the George Zimmerman trial and I knew that if anyone used the Stand Your Ground defense as part of their self-defense, that was going to be a hard case to prove. But most people didn't know that, most people didn't understand the law. Heck, most people didn't know that Stand Your Ground was in dozens of states besides Florida.

So, I believed that I had a platform to not only entertain, but to educate and hope that the education would get us to stand our ground and do something about this legal license to kill. This law must be repealed in every state.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I've always felt a little challenged about the types of books that I've written. Yes, I try my best to tell entertaining stories, and yes, I work very, very hard on the craft so that with each book readers can see my growth (readers deserve that.) But to be honest, I've never felt that I've used this gift to do anything important. I've always wanted to write important books, books that make a difference, books that matter. I think Stand Your Ground is the first time I've accomplished this. And for me, that made writing this book enjoyable.

BPM: Where do you book ideas come from? 

Even though I "think" I get my ideas from things that happen in the news or around me, I honestly believe that all of my ideas have come from God. This writing is a gift that He's given to me...a gift that He's given to me completely. So I have the gift of writing well, I have the discipline to do it, and He's even given me the stories.

BPM: Are you books plot-driven or character-driven?
My novels are more character driven than plot driven which can be an issue in this market. Readers love drama, drama, drama. (And I'm a reader who loves drama, so I can say that!) Character driven novels move slower because the story unfolds in the character's time. But, I love being a character driven novelist. I love spending time with my characters (that's why it takes me longer to write a book.) I love developing characters that stay with the readers long after the story is over.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Available on Kindle and Nook?
I'm going to sum up my most recent work in just a few words: A black teenage boy is dead. A white man shot him. Was he standing his ground? Or was it murder? 

And yes, Stand Your Ground is available, on KindleNook iTunes...everything. It's available in Barnes and Noble, Walmart and Target. There will even be an audio version with the actress Suzzanne Douglass reading the novel.

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

I wrote Stand Your Ground from two points of views: the first from the mother of the victim and the second from the wife of the shooter. I loved telling these two stories because there was such contrast — one black, one white...which tells the whole story in a situation like this. Janice Johnson is a mother who adores her only child, her son who she knew was special from when she carried him in her womb. And now she finds herself in the middle of a nightmare. Meredith Spencer is living a life of privilege, though her world is not all that it seems to be. And she has a secret; she knows something that could send her husband to prison for the rest of his life. 

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

That's an interesting question. If there is any idea in Stand Your Ground that you don't see often, it's the anger that is brewing in the African American community with all of the murders that have come to light. We feel frustrated, and sometimes helpless. Those emotions play an important part in Stand Your Ground and were the driving forces that led to the shocking end of the book.

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

I don't think this book has anything to do with my present situation alone. Stand Your Ground tells the collective story of all of our frustrations. The stories keep repeating themselves in the news: unarmed black teen murdered by a white man/a white cop/a black cop. It plays over and over. And I wonder what are these stories doing to the psyche of us as men, women, mothers, fathers...and especially, what happens when our young black boys see these stories over and over? That's what I wanted to write about.

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

I learned everything that I could about the Stand Your Ground law so that I could pass it on to my readers. 

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

It's interesting that you ask that because for the first time, I received a lot of help from men when writing this book. I wanted to put the real emotions of black men on paper. I could imagine how this would affect a mother, but what are fathers thinking/feeling? So, I met a high-powered attorney in Philly who really helped me. And then a young entrepreneur, who actually owns a wine company; he really helped me with the ending of the book. So I'm a novelist who primarily writes for women, but this time, I needed the men to make it happen!

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

There are a few projects I'm working on — my 2016 novel...the working title is Madam Vice President about a black woman on the presidential ticket...as a Republican. And, I keep thinking about writing The Autobiography of Mae Frances, the story of one of my beloved characters — this is a story that readers continue to ask me to write.

Connect with Victoria Christopher Murray

Join the Movement: #standyourgroundthenovel
Website: http://www.victoriachristophermurray.com 
Twitter: @VictoriaECM, https://twitter.com/victoriaecm 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/victoriachristophermurray  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoriachristophermurray 



Purchase Stand Your Ground  by Victoria Christopher Murray
Contemporary Women Fiction >African American Christian Fiction 
http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Christopher-Murray/e/B001IO9LP2 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stand-your-ground-victoria-christopher-murray/1120678787 
http://books.simonandschuster.com/Stand-Your-Ground/Victoria-Christopher-Murray/9781476792996 


 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Lloyd Johnson


Lloyd Johnson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although he has dabbled in the creative arts since elementary school, he rediscovered his passion for writing in 2004, and has been working on his craft ever since.

Lloyd has traveled both domestically and abroad, having visited 14 countries. Besides the relaxation traveling has afforded him, he has found much of his creative inspiration. An avid reader, he enjoys African-American fiction and biographies. Lloyd Johnson is currently working on his third novel. He lives in New England.

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

I think just experiencing life has brought me through to where I am today. I like to think that my 20s were the time to mess up in the world; my 30s was intended to learn from my 20s; and my 40s allows me to hit the reset button and take all the lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn and move forward.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I consider E.Lynn Harris a role model. He defined a genre. He had a very simple, unpretentious style of writing. I have secretly coveted his demographic: 60% women; 20% gay men; 20% other, all within the 18-49 age brackets. I’ll be happy if I can crack those demographics.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I saw the movie “Precious” and subsequently read the book, “Push” by Sapphire. I was blown away and decided to write a book with a female protagonist who encounters adversity, but manages to come out on the other side. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book, The Dog Catcher?
I enjoyed two things: The art of creating and secondly, writing the story was very cathartic for me. I was able to get a lot of anger out.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your recent work, The Dog Catcher?

The Dog Catcher is the story about Cheryl Greene’s choices in men, and how those choices dismantle her life. She’s someone to root for because her intentions are good. She doesn’t dive into drama just for drama’s sake. There is a lot of growth in her arc. It takes her time, but she gets there eventually.

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

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

Sexuality is addressed in this book. Cheryl has two gay friends. Her dealings with them inform her views on homosexuality when the issue hits close to home.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
One thing I’m proud of is Cheryl’s spiritual arc. When we meet her, she is completely turned off to religion and spirituality because her mother is very hardcore. But as Cheryl moves through the story, she develops her own relationship with God, and calls upon that faith throughout her journey. But she does so in what I think is a realistic way. She doesn’t go from zero to ten, but does the best she can.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book, The Dog Catcher?
I learned that I held a lot of stuff inside and the emotions connected were still very raw. For example, much of what transpires between Cheryl and her eldest son, Lawrence, is based from events that happened to me. To draw from those memories and create fiction was painful at times.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I think the characters in the book are composites of people I’ve known in my life. People I went to school with and worked alongside with.

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

I had three objectives, really. First was to write in a consistent female voice. I think I accomplished that. Secondly, I wanted to write a good book that would allow people to get lost in the characters. I think I did well on that also. 

Thirdly, I wanted to bring awareness to domestic violence. People still behave as though this is something that happens every day, but with other people. Especially in light of Chris Brown and Ray Rice who have sort of become the poster boys for men who like to beat up women . But I think that if people really stopped and paid attention they could find people close to them. In fact, some people need only hold a mirror up.

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

I have a computer filled with files of things I could work on. Some things I work on more diligently than others. I have a story called, “The Broken Dolls Club” which I’m debating whether to leave it as a novella or if I could legitimately stretch it into a full novel.

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

This is the best part. I enjoy interacting with the readers. They can go to my webpage, www.lloydljohnson.net; author Lloyd Johnson on Facebook; and my Twitter handle is @lloydjohnson19.



Purchase The Dog Catcher by Lloyd Johnson
Link: http://amzn.com/0990432432  

Purchase Tricks for a Trade by Lloyd Johnson
Link: http://amzn.com/0990432408  

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Trice Hickman


Trice Hickman is a self-proclaimed Southern girl, and award-winning, bestselling author. Trice’s love of reading and the power she recognized in the written word inspired her to become a writer. After receiving rejection letters from every agent and publisher she submitted her work to, Trice was determined to bring her stories to life. She self-published her first three novels to great success, and, shortly thereafter, landed a multi-book deal with Kensington (Dafina Books) where she is currently published. When she’s not busy writing and reading, Trice enjoys cooking, traveling, decorating, and meeting good people. Learn more about Trice at www.tricehickman.com.

BPM: Tell us about your journey becoming a successfully published author. What challenges did you face, if any?
My journey to becoming a published author has been full of ups and downs, and I’m appreciative of each experience because they have shaped me and helped me grow. I’d suffered from writer’s block for years before I wrote my first book, and once I finally finished it the manuscript was rejected by everyone I sent it to. Talk about disappointing! 

But that disappointment taught me a valuable lesson—just because someone tells you no, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it just means you’re not going to do it with them—it’s up to you to turn your dreams into reality. I formed my own publishing company and published the book myself. I worked hard to market and sell my work and when I least expected it, a publisher contacted me and offered me a book deal. That’s proof that things don’t necessarily happen over night, in many cases they happen over time.

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

My upcoming novel, SECRET INDISCRETIONS, is the first book in the Dangerous Love series. I’m excited about this story because it’s very different from the previous books I’ve written. I describe this work as edgy sophistication mixed with jaw-dropping drama and mayhem. The first paragraph of the book starts off with a gun pointed between the eyes of one of the main characters, so readers immediately know they’re in for a wild ride!

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

There are four main characters in the book. Johnny and Geneva Mayfield, and Samuel and Vivana Owens. These two couples become involved in a dangerous love quadrangle that eventually turns deadly. Johnny is a womanizer whom readers will love to hate, and his wife, Geneva, is a good sister who will have readers cheering for her while covering their eyes at the train wreck that becomes her life. Samuel’s character is a testament to that fact that there are still good men out there who want to do the right thing, and his wife, Vivana, is proof positive that you can’t apply logic to an illogical mind! There’s also an interesting secondary character named Donetta, a trans woman who offers startlingly raw insight and perspective on relationships. She’s the type of friend every woman should have because the only way she knows how to communicate is from with and from her heart. 

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

I wanted to explore the importance of choosing the right mate. It’s common to hear about relationships that start off well and end badly. But what about relationships that are bad before the “I do’s”, yet the couple still chose walk down the aisle? That kind of relationship is almost certain to careen in a downward slope. Many people who find themselves in bad relationships—if they’re honest—will admit that they saw the warning signs early on, but chose to ignore them. Love isn’t blind, it sees what it wants, and it can make a person justify practically anything to suit their needs. I thought it was important to write this story now because people need to see that it’s possible to start off badly but end up end up happy, if you learn how to make the right choices. Although there’s a lot of deceit within the pages, there’s also a lesson about true love, and how to live your best life when you do it as your authentic self.

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

 I enjoyed the twists and turns the characters took me on, which at times made me shake my head and say, “Did I just write that?” I also enjoyed connecting with trans women, whom I met during my research. These women opened my eyes to a part of life that has made me more aware, tolerant, and informed of something I knew very little about.

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

My book ideas come from asking the question, what if? You can have a very basic idea and turn it into a completely different situation by asking, “What if such and such happened?” My books are character driven because I find human nature to be so very interesting. Human beings are beautifully complex people, and we make for some great stories.

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

Yes, the trans community is underrepresented in our society, and I introduce readers to that world through one of the secondary characters named, Donetta Pierce. I wrote a character bio of Donetta in 2013, two years before Caitlyn Jenner’s presence brought gave attention to a community that has long been present, but tucked away in the shadows. I know many people have strong views about gender and sexuality, which are two different things. But I think we can all agree—no matter your position on the issue—that the overwhelming majority of people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status, all want to be loved. This book is about choosing love.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
I sure did! The characters in this book taught me how important it is to balance making good decisions with taking chances. It sounds easy, but it can be a tricky thing.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
 If I’m able to complete a story, that is success! If someone reads and enjoys my book, that is success! Whether I sell ten or ten million books, that is success! I measure success the way I take life, one step at a time. Each day I open my eyes and move forward, that’s success! My ambitions for my writing career is to continue to write interesting, thought-provoking stories that will entertain and delight readers.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
 I’m currently putting the finishing touches on DEADLY SATISFACTION, which is the sequel to SECRET INDISCRETIONS. I’m also gearing up for a book tour to promote SI, as well as providing book coaching sessions for aspiring authors, and re-designing my blog, Fabulous Southern Belle.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?  
 I absolutely love connecting with readers! To learn more about me and my work, you can visit my website, www.tricehickman.com.   I’m a down-home Southern girl, and I invite readers to check out my blog www.fabuloussouthernbelle.blogspot.com 

You can also reach me by email at tricehickman@yahoo.com. Readers can connect with me through social media on the flowing sites:

facebook/tricehickman
twitter/tricehickman
instagram/tricehickman
pinterest/tricehickman
linkedin/tricehickman

Order Secret Indiscretions by Trice Hickman 
First book in the Dangerous Love Series 
Link: http://amzn.com/1617737437 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Calvin W. Maxwell, Jr.

 

Calvin W. Maxwell, Jr. is a teacher and sports fan that lives in the Greater New York area. He writes to encourage and inspire young people. 

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

After being laid-off from my job in corporate and receiving my severance package a few years ago, I took my sister’s advice and became a substitute teacher. At first it was a serious mental adjustment to make - going from a quiet civilized corporate environment to dealing with children, but I liked it. I decided to go back to college and become a classroom teacher. While in college, a professor told me that she thought my writings were good and I should consider doing something real with that skill. Afterwards, as I was working towards becoming certified, I was also working on my first book.

BPM: Who or what motivated you?

John Grisham is my favorite author and in a TV interview he said a good writer needs to write a page a day. I told to myself  “I can do that.”

BPM: Please tell us something about your most recent work? 

I wrote “American Pool Player,” in part, as a way of trying to encourage young black teenagers, particularly boys, to write whether its fiction or non-fiction; western or science fiction. Just write. Tell your side of the story. Record your point-of-view. Write.

BPM: Take us inside the world of your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 

There’s Grice, Knowledge Born, Brenda, and Dragon. Grice is the good-hearted hero that understands the pool table much better than he understands the game of life. Knowledge Born, Grice’s best friend, is the exact opposite. He knows how dangerous the streets are and is always up for the fight. Brenda, Grice’s next door neighbor, is a popular, smart girl that loves to tease and verbally torment Grice. 

Dragon is a pool shark and the meanest thug in the neighborhood. The match between Grice and Dragon isn’t only about winning money. There’s way more on the line than that…

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

Yes. When I go into bookstores I see a lot of books aimed at white teenagers. However, I see nothing for black teens to read. I want to change that. If we want our young to people to read more, we need to write more.

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

The body of my literary work speaks to young black people. Not all black teens are lost and troubled. There are good young people out there. They need guidance. And for the ones that are lost and troubled, I feel we can still inspire, encourage and save them.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing American Pool Player? Why now? 

I realize in life, if you don’t stand up and speak up for yourself and your community – things will go backwards. For me, writing is my way of standing up and speaking up, especially for those who are no longer among the living.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Where do your book ideas come from?
I played pool as a youngster and my ideas came from that.  I enjoyed reminiscing on my childhood especially the funny parts. Some of the stuff I wrote in this book even made me laugh.

BPM: Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?

My books are definitely character driven. Life is filled with the amazing characters we meet along the way, isn’t it? Sometimes, it’s the worst characters we encounter in life that teach us the most about ourselves. 

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

In my book, all my characters are in one form or another fighting for respect. I suppose I’m fighting for that too. 

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book,
American Pool Player?
I learned that I have a serious funny bone as a writer. That’s a good discovery. 

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

My imagination and some free time on my hands was mostly all I needed to write this book. I only had to research a few dates and historical facts so that the timeline in the story was accurate.

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

I want to represent my community and my generation in a positive, impactful way that inspires the next generation. Only time will tell, if it worked. At least I’m no longer frustrated sitting down and watching the New York Knicks go through another losing season. I’ve learned to utilize my free time more wisely. Writing for me is a blessing. I hope it can be a blessing for others.

BPM: What are the readers saying about your book? I can only imagine their excitement about a book for young men. The fact that the book is labeled Christian Hip Hop is new and refreshing in itself! I love the fact that it doesn't have any profanity, drug use or sexual content and only mild violence.
I'll share just a few of the Amazon Customer Book Reviews for American Pool Player. Here we go: 

Reviewed by Heidi  -
American Pool Player is amazing and the writing style is fun and easy to follow. When you start reading it, you just want to continue in order to find out what happen next. The story reflects our everyday life and it shows the reader that learning one lesson does not mean that we actually learn everything in life. I recommend reading it.

Reviewed by Vera Dow  -
American Pool Player really made me reflect on my childhood and what it was like growing up in the 80s. And this book take a serious hard look at the issues then that mode many of us into who we are today. Very funny parts in the book too :)  GREAT READ!!!  

Reviewed by SCP  -Mr. Maxwell it's a pleasure to endorse your book thank you for inspiring our youth, as you well know anything that will capture the attention of young minds is a true blessing and it appears you have an absolute WINNER here!

Reviewed by Book Lover -Calvin W. Maxwell is an inspiring author and paints a joyous picture of hope through his book "American Pool Player" I would reccommend this as a must read for any Christian today!   

Reviewed by Jessica Miller-Greene  -Awesome! Creatively written. Thank Mr.Maxwell for creating a character who is so realistic, and a story of faith and love. 

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

I’m currently working on a black western book. Not nearly enough of those. No title as of yet. 

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

I’m currently on Twitter: @calvinmaxwelljr

Purchase American Pool Player  
Link:  http://amzn.com/1622301412 






 


Intimate Conversation with Bridgett Renay

Never has there been a time in Bridgett Renay’s life where she’s laughed harder and played more vigorously while remaining self-assured…all thanks to the power of the written word. Everything she’s done in life has led to this moment. From both an undergraduate and graduate degrees to twenty-four years of service as a Navy Reservist tells the story of a journey that took her to faraway places, introduced her to intoxicating people, and shaped the way she views the world and her place in it. What better time to pen the tales that dances inside her head.

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

The United States Navy motivated me and has played a huge role in where I’m at today. Before 9-11 I was a regular Navy Reservist – weekend warrior – who was also very comfortable in my cushy, corporate job. But after 9-11 I was recalled to active duty where I served in the Middle East as a security patrolman. Not only did I spend ten months seeing first-hand how other cultures lived in dire straits, but I also saw a lot of my military comrades either lose their lives or lose their ability to function normally. It reminded me how fortunate I was to have so many opportunities in America that I made a promise to myself and God that if he returned me home in one piece I would follow each and every dream I’ve ever had. I can honestly say that I have. 

Since returning home I’ve earned a B.S. and a Master’s degree, purchased my own home as a single Black woman, finished out my military career and retired with twenty-four years of service, and I’ve written and published my first novel. And every day is a new journey to be grateful for.

BPM: Was there ever a time in your life you let FEAR block your path? If so, how did you overcome it?

Yes, I’m originally from Los Angeles. It was there where I lived the most self-destructive life one could ever imagine. I didn’t know my self-worth and that fact paralyzed me emotionally and spiritually. As I moved into my late twenties, I began to realize how much of a loser I was. I overcame it once I accepted the fact that I had no one to blame but myself because I simply ran out of excuses for being pitiful. I realized what I needed was to remove myself from that lifestyle. 

It was then when I stepped out on faith and moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Georgia. Just like that – no job, no money, and no clue as to what I would find in Georgia, but I knew God pointed me in this direction for a reason. Next to going to the Middle East in uniform, it was the scariest thing I have ever done. I have absolutely NO REGRETS in leaving everything behind and starting anew.

BPM: In the beginning of your career, did you ever have a mentor or coach?

No, I didn’t have a mentor and my first publishing experience failed miserably. It actually wasn’t until I saw the promotion for the 2014 Atlanta Chocolate Social that I began to emerge myself amongst other writers and mentors. It really changed the game for me and it’s why I use my book tour to teach and inspire those by using the power of the written word.

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

Corporate Thugs is the scandalous saga that ingeniously answers the questions, “When do you know your competition has crossed over to that distant dark side and how can you tell when their wrath is headed straight towards you?” It depicts the hardcore competitiveness of professional football alongside the cut-throat battle for corporate success. I used the psychology of nature versus nurture to tell this wicked tale about two young men.

Gerald Alexander and Marcus Stone were best friends since early childhood despite contrasting upbringings. Gerald was raised in an environment that included abandonment and serious trust issues. Though his talent geared him towards a career in professional football, statistically, his chances were slim. Marcus, on the other hand, was raised in a different environment. He was a clean-cut scholar groomed for the domination of corporate America.

Once adults, their worlds collide and their competitiveness explodes into a page-turning epic where jealousy, greed, and betrayal play host. Whoever said a good friend will only stab you in the front was lying.

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

Once the storyline began to form and a couple of characters were developed, I began taking notes. At one point it seemed like every hour of every day the characters started taking on a life of their own and began showing themselves off in my head. I took that as a sign that I was ready to begin my publishing journey.

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

I wrote Corporate Thugs for myself and I believe my audience is people who are a lot like me – people who love fictional drama that doesn’t mirror their own life; people between the ages of 21 and 40 who perhaps work in Corporate America and love to escape it with stories about good people doing bad things.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoy knowing what real happiness is and living my dream. I love the company I get to keep being an author. Everything about this craft fascinates me.

BPM: Writing gives you a way to share your boundless imagination in your fiction books. But this book is different. How do you use your writing to serve other in this book?

The first sentence in my book’s synopsis is “What is the first sign that lets you know you’re dealing with a sociopath?” There’s so much to that question because a lot of us live our lives allowing other people to share it with us even when we know they are on a path to self-destruction. We forget that people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Just because we know that person doesn’t mean we’re obligated to them forever or to the point where their destructive lifestyles begin to affect our way of life and especially our peace of mind. My book, Corporate Thugs, serves the purpose of when you see signs that a person has taken a negative turn and is trying to take you along for the ride; it’s time to let them go. Don’t wait around for something to happen that you can’t reverse.

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

What I’ve learned is that you don’t have to be famous to have a voice. The reality is in the majority of cases, you don’t become famous until you let your voice be heard. I’ve learned that my voice is just as important as anyone else’s and I plan to use it to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. I’ve learned that I don’t have to always sit in the stands. I have the talent and courage it takes to be center stage.

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

The goal for this book was to fulfill a childhood dream of being a part of the literary world. Also, to write something people not only enjoy reading, but something they can learn from. According to my reviews, I believe I have accomplished just that. People are not just praising my writing style, but the lessons learned within the writing as well. For me to be able to give that to the literary world is definitely an achievement I can be proud of.

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

I have two projects I’m working on – a book tour and my next novel. My book tour, Sacred vs. Scandalous, is a partnership between myself and a dear friend who also happens to be a published author, Sonya Cato-Howard. Together we tour various venues to not only talk about books, but to inspire people to pen their own stories that change lives and leave legacies. Our message focuses on the pathway to freedom and the rewards of living life undistracted.

My next novel, LLP – Lust, Lies & Propositions, is due Fall 2015 and it’s about the frustrations of being Black in Corporate America wrapped in a love story where a bodacious young woman has to choose between love or power.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 
 
Bridgett: http://www.bridgettrenay.com 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BridgettRenay 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bridgett.renay.3 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/undistractedbridgettrenay/ 
Books by Bridgett Renay: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UTZFYIO 

Order copies of Corporate Thugs by Bridgett Renay
Link: http://amzn.com/B00UTZFYIO 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Charlie Marcol

Charlie Marcol, was born and raised in the great state of Texas. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of Houston, where she became a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. She also earned a Master of Education Degree in Counseling from Texas Southern University. From the Florist to the Forest is her debut novel. Although she is new to the publishing world, her book is spreading like wild fire. 

She was featured on the Day Break morning show in Dallas instilling her motto to "Think Deep Before You Leap" into marriage. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending quality time with family. Charlie seeks to empower women through awareness, discussions and self-love. Charlie was recently featured in the March issue of Rebook discussing 'Happy At...' as a way to share ways to live within your means.


BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you? What impact do you want your book to make on the readers?
Writing is very cathartic for me. It started when I was in elementary school as a daydreamer with pieces of paper and eventually I moved over to a diary. I found that I was able to share my inner most feelings that I could not express verbally. Writing has been a part of my healing process. Instead of internalizing the pain and self-doubt as a result of a failed marriage, I recognized an opportunity to share my personal journey. 

The things that motivate me is when I see I have inspired or helped someone else on their journey. That’s what life is about. Helping others see the “big picture.” I’d like to think of myself as a Titus woman. The whole goal of a Titus woman is to train younger women in a Biblical, simple-to-measure, Spirit-empowered, love-based living. They train others in the pattern they have learned. A Titus woman walk speaks louder than her talk. 

So, instead of choosing to take negative energy from the divorce I transformed it into a tool to help those struggling with the same issues. I want readers to walk away knowing that I am a survivor. I did not allow divorce to shake me or break my spirit. It may seem like you are a victim of your circumstance, but with God, time, prayer and a great support system you WILL become victorious. This book serves as my personal testimony of self-discovery and redemption.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
Compelling, Real, Essential, Riveting are just a few words to describe my latest project. From the Florist to the Forest is a modern girls guide and reference book while she is dating and waiting for her mate. Invitations, themes, cakes, floral design and bridal fashions have transcended the objective of the institution of marriage. While marriage rates are declining, divorce rates are escalating. This was cause for concern to me not only for the institution of marriage itself, but also the stability of families. Marriages are failing because people fail to prepare for matrimony. Everyone has their own vision of love, but there must be a willingness to communicate that vision.

I found out that a lack of communication leads to unrealistic expectations, which can cause the demise of a relationship. I wanted people to discover what they really needed to know and forget about superficial trappings that we get caught in. In the end, the flowers on your wedding day won't matter when happiness is but a dream deferred.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
This book was designed for the reader to search within to assess the reasons for desiring marriage. Is it the marriage you want or the wedding? I truly believe that people are marrying out of convenience and not for love. Tina Turner asked a question in her famous comeback song of 1984, "What's love got to do with it?” Love has everything to do with Marriage. 

Marriage is the first institution that God created and we are not giving it the respect and honor that it deserves. At one point, everyone around me was getting a divorce. Now, I was joining the ranks too. I hated that I was going to be another statistic so I decided to write a self-help book to share the real, the good and the truth about the marriage process.

BPM: Who did you write this book for? Why?

As women we sometimes mimic what we see. With the explosion of wedding reality TV shows within the last decade, the focus of getting married started to change. It was more about the latest trends and making grandiose statements. Brides opted for over-the-top high end weddings but had lackluster commitments. People were marrying for fantasies and not realities including myself. I too fell victim to the trend. My wedding was my dream but the marriage was a nightmare. This book is open to all; men and women married, single or engaged. Everyone can receive something from the knowledge that I share. There are so many factors that plague single women. Time, age, finances, and the biological clock. 

When writing From the Florist to the Forest, I was thinking about that woman because that woman was me. My prayer is that this book will give the reader insight to look deep before taking the leap. Look deep within yourself and your potential mate. Stop skimming the surface and get to know the real person, not the representation. In the long run it will save them heartache, trouble, money and even a failed marriage.

BPM: How do you stay on top of your game professionally?

Unfortunately, the reality of life is that it’s not what you know, but whoyou know. That means you should make networking and marketing a priority. Research and networking is vital to any success. Use social media for what it was intended for. Conferences are a great place to network and connect with experts in your field as well. I am a novice to this industry so it is important for me to make a good impression. Sometimes that’s the last. I look for opportunities to connect and be visible with individuals that will take an active interest in me and my brand. It helps that I have an excellent mentor too. She is my accountability partner keeping me abreast of what’s going on, encouraging me and offering advice and ideas.

BPM: How can one live authentic life, true to self, personally and professionally?

I try to remain true to myself in all facets of my life by staying grounded, wearing humility as my smile and not becoming pretentious. More importantly, I have a strong spirit of discernment to guide me before making hasty discussions. (The last time I completely ignored my spirit of discernment, I ended up in a miserable marriage.) In order for me to live an authentic life, I must keep genuine people around me in my circle that really love me and desire God’s best for my life. Naysayers, non-supporters and negativity are not welcomed.

BPM: How do you balance your personal life with your professional life?

God and prayer! He is my rock. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul who said, "Whatever state I am in, therefore will I be content." I may not make as much money as I would like, but honestly I am happy where God has me at this point. At the end of the day, none of frivolous things matter if you don't have balance and some peace of mind. I find happiness in the simple joys in life. My child's smile, a kind word spoken or given, Mexican food, a great work-out, waking up each day with my health and strength.

BPM: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...

Invest in your marriage, not your wedding. I truly believe there would be more successful marriages, if people would take the time to know themselves first before they seek to explore the mind of someone else. Don’t get caught up in the superficial things, eventually that will all fade away.



From the Florist to the Forest: Think Deep Before You Leap  
Non-fiction; Self-discovery and Self-help
Printed: http://www.amazon.com/Florist-Forest-Charlie-Marcol/dp/0692305203 
E-books: http://www.amazon.com/From-Florist-Forest-Think-Before-ebook/dp/B00UXP213Q 

 

 

 



Intimate Conversation with Keleigh Crigler Hadley

Keleigh Crigler Hadley is an author, speaker, and teacher who is thankful God can use her messes for His glory. If she were to define herself in one sentence, she would say, "I'm a girl who loves to see God working."

She has always loved stories, and she believes the story of the Bible contains the biggest, the most redemptive dose of grace humankind has ever, and will ever, experience. She is the Christian Fiction author of the Preacher's Kids series, Revenge Inc., and What You Won't Do for Love with Brown Girls Faith.

Keleigh writes soul-stirring fiction, with real characters that stay with readers long after they have closed the book, (or turned the e-reader off.)  The only thing she loves more than writing is reading, so contact her on social media and let her know what you're reading!

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

The life story and choices of two very different women with the same medical diagnosis - Kara Tippets and Brittany Maynard inspired What You Won't Do for Love. 

BPM: What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? 

What You Won't Do for Love is fresh, original and unexpected in the Christian Fiction genre. Rhonda McKnight, Publishing Manager for the Brown Girls Faith brand, says that my writing voice is unique, (my mother always said I was a little different), so that uniqueness sets me apart. Here's more about What You Won't Do for Love:

Unconditional Love. Unthinkable Choice. 

Eden Price, an unlucky-in-love nurse finds herself in the midst of a heated love triangle. Globe-trotting missionary, Gabe Clark ignites her soul. Who doesn't want a man with a connection to God? Hard-working, Nemo Gates speaks to her heart. His past has caused a rift between him and God and Eden wants to help him heal. 

She ultimately chooses the man that makes her passions come alive, but did she make the right choice? Her husband stuns her with a desperate plea; to prove her love for him in the most unthinkable way - to help him die with dignity. 

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? 

I want them to feel engrossed and entertained while reading, and when they close the book, feel as if they are closer to the Creator.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? 

In What You Won't Do for Love, the crux of the story is euthanasia. Would you put your husband out of his misery if he asked you to. Do you love him that much? 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/khadley11 
Website:  http://www.keleighcriglerhadley.com 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorkeleigh 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Benilde Little

Benilde Little is the bestselling author of the novels Good Hair, The Itch, Acting Out and Who Does She Think She Is? She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Jet, People Magazine, Heart and Soul, More magazine, among many others. She has had numerous media appearances including NPR, the Today Show, and Tavis Smiley. 

The Go On Girl Book Club selected Good Hair as the best book of the year. Natalie Cole bought the film rights. Benilde’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Honey Hush and About Face. She was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. 

A former reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Star Ledger, People and senior editor at Essence, she has been a creative writing professor at Ramapo College. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, two children and dog. 


BPM: You are known for your novels, Good Hair, The Itch, Who Does She Think She Is?, Acting Out, why nonfiction, why now?
It wasn’t a conscious, creative choice to write a non-fiction book. It was the place I was emotionally in, where this was all I could write. The feeling of hopelessness, grief and sadness was so all consuming that I had to get it out of me. I suppose I could’ve approached those feelings in a fictional form, but that never even occurred to me; wasn’t a thought. It was not the write format. Toni Morrison has said to write the book you want to read. I believe that, but I also know that this was a book I had to write and I did write it for me.


BPM: Welcome to My Breakdown, the title of your new book suggests a light tone, but the book is anything but. You write that when your mother died you weren’t sure how you would survive. Was it difficult for you to write about your depression? 
Sometimes, but not as much as one might imagine; I wrote this book in pieces, so sometimes when I was writing about it, I wasn’t consistently living with it. When I’d research other writers talking about their depression, William Styron and David Forster Wallace, in particular, but also Terrie Williams, in her book Black Pain (in which she writes about her own depression and others’), I felt less alone. Feeling less alone helped me to feel somewhat better. What was hard was re-reading the descriptions of that time. There were times when I’d scan it and other times when I’d cry and sometimes I could read it at a remove.


BPM: Do you think that this book might encourage candid conversations in all communities, but particularly the African American community about depression? 

That is my sincere hope. I think it will. It’s been said that the book is honest and bare and I think that will give some people permission to take a deep look at one’s self in an honest, and hopefully compassionate, way.


BPM: Clara Little is the beating heart of this book. What a remarkable woman your mother was, a loving, devoted mom, a wife, a political activist, community organizer, a feminist before the word had currency. What was it like to be the center of that much love and affection? 

You don’t know what you don’t know. I thought all mothers were like her. It wasn’t until I was in adolescence when I began spending lots of time at the homes of friends where I got to see other moms, who were very different than mine. I realized and appreciated her as an adult and especially when I became a mother and I could finally realize what sacrifices she made and what a difference in my life all that love and affection made. It’s why I could grow up in Newark and have the life I have now. Her expectation of my brothers and me was that we become productive, college educated citizens of the world. She’s why we didn’t become teenage parents or get addicted to drugs or crime. And we weren’t put in a bubble, either. The downside of all that intense love and affection is that I have a very high bar for what I expect love to feel like. It’s another reason my grief was so great--knowing that no one will ever love me like she did. It’s a somewhat hybrid blessing.


BPM: Clearly you and your husband are more affluent than you were growing up, you live in a wealthy suburb, and enjoy many material possessions that were beyond your parents’ reach. There are hints here that you are an old school, hands on mother like your mother was. Do you consider yourself the same kind of mother as your mother? What’s the same, what’s different? What’s your most important job as a mother in your view? 

To me the most important thing a mother can give her child is a solid sense of self. I’m not sure it’s possible to do this completely but if you can instill in your kids that they are good just the way they are, then they can do anything. They can be fulfilled, they can be secure and can find their purpose. I don’t think our parents were thinking much, if at all, about our psychological health. 

I think my mother was ahead of her time and she was very intuitive, but I know she wasn’t consciously thinking about it. She didn’t belittle us; she would never slap us in the face because she believed that was demeaning (although she did get that strap and put it on the butt). I’m similar in how I’ve raised my kids in terms of being fiercely in their corner, advocating for them, loving them fiercely, but no spanking. I believe that that diminishes them and it’s not effective. I don’t want to rule from a place of fear. I think if they respect you, they want to please you. This is not to say that they won’t mess up and that they won’t do things that hurt and disappoint you, but ultimately disappointing a good parent is not something a child will want to do. When I got older, college age probably, it was hell to me to disappoint my mother. I see a lot of that in my daughter. It’s there with my son, but buried, I think because he’s a teenager. I believe in punishment for bad behavior. Like my mother, I hate lying and go nuts when my kids have. 


BPM: Readers will welcome your candor about dating, marriage, family, and children. You are in a long marriage with a child in college and another in middle school. Can you tell us succinctly how the dream of having it all, like your character Alice in Good Hair reconciles with the reality of family, marriage, and children? 

Well, what I know for sure is that there is no such thing. There have been tradeoffs. I began writing fiction shortly after we got married in anticipation of having children and wanting to be home with them. I began a career I could have and still be home with my kids. I quit my job at Essence because, for me, it was too demanding to do and be the kind of mother I wanted to be. I don’t know if I’d make the same decision today, but that’s what I was thinking at the time. There’s no easy, right answer. You give up your job, you give up part of an income, which impacts your lifestyle, which can impact your relationship. I don’t know if one ever truly reconciles. You might be able to “have it all,” but not at the same time.


BPM: We lose our parent, that’s an inescapable truth. Is there anything about the grieving process that you can share with others to help them through grief? 

Give yourself time. There’s no one-way to grieve and there’s no time limit. There are those stages: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, sadness, acceptance. Those things can show up in different order or you may not experience each one. For me, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. It was a wave that simply knocked me down and I was in an undertow. The best was to recover in an undertow is to give in to it. I gave over to it. Now, I didn’t have a job in an office where a boss was expecting me to perform everyday. For people who have to get back to work, I would still advise them to give the grieving process as much time as you need. Do your work and go home and give yourself permission to feel like crap, to cry, to rail, all of it. 


BPM: In the end, would you say that there was anything beneficial or redeeming about your depression? 

It made me more compassionate, less arrogant, but also less tolerant of people who sit on the sidelines of their feelings. It helped me get clear about who I wanted in my life. I got in touch with my need for gentleness, gentle people who are also willing to be vulnerable and real. I’m no longer close to people who are disconnected from their feelings, because they can’t truly be aware of others.


BPM: What’s the takeaway? What do you want people to get, to do?

To take off the mask. I look forward to having honest conversations about some of the topics in the book, grief, motherhood—staying home/having a career, depression, mid-life, perfection pressure. So much of what we do in this culture is to soothe our wounds: we buy too much, eat too much, and drink too much. Don’t get me wrong, doing the work, looking at one’s self and examining all those warts is not easy. But I believe, in the long run, it’s the only option. 

The epigram I used in Good Hair says this beautifully: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will destroy you.”—Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas 

Order Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir by Benilde Little

http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-My-Breakdown-A-Memoir/dp/1476751951 
http://books.simonandschuster.com/Welcome-to-My-Breakdown/Benilde-Little/9781476751955 

 


 


Intimate Conversation with Kimberla Lawson Roby

New York Times Bestselling Author Kimberla Lawson Roby has published 20 novels which include A CHIRSTIMAS PRAYER, THE PRODIGAL SON, A HOUSE DIVIDED, THE PERFECT MARRIAGE, THE REVEREND’S WIFE, SECRET OBSESSION, LOVE, HONOR, and BETRAY, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PRAY FOR, A DEEP DARK SECRET, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, ONE IN A MILLION, SIN NO MORE, LOVE & LIES, CHANGING FACES, THE BEST-KEPT SECRET, TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING, A TASTE OF REALITY, IT’S A THIN LINE, CASTING THE FIRST STONE, HERE AND NOW, and her debut title, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, which was originally self-published through her own company, Lenox Press. 

Kimberla has sold more than 2,000,000 copies of her novels, and they have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Emerge Magazine, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin Chronicle to name a few, and both BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and CASTING THE FIRST STONE were #1 Blackboard bestsellers for four consecutive months in both 1997 and 2000. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was the #1 Blackboard Best-selling book for paperback fiction in 1997.

Kimberla is a 2014 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the 2013 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the recipient of the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Author of the Year – Female award presented by the African-American Literary Award Show in New York, the recipient of the 2014 Black Pearls Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, the recipient of the 2014 AAMBC Award for Female Author of the Year, the recipient of the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE, the recipient of the 1998 First-Time Author Award from Chicago’s Black History Month Book Fair and Conference, and in 2001, Kimberla was inducted into the Rock Valley College Alumni Hall of Fame (Rockford, IL).

Each of Kimberla’s novels deal with very real issues, including corruption within the church, drug addiction, gambling addiction, infidelity, social status, single motherhood, infertility, sibling rivalry and jealousy, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness, care-giving of a parent, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, and overweight issues to name a few.

Kimberla resides in Illinois with her husband, Will. Her 22nd title, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL was released June 9, 2015.


BPM: Share with us your personal journey into publishing. Was this a fun time in your life?
Writing was not a lifelong dream of mine, however, back in April 1995 I sat down and began writing my debut novel, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. It took me about seven months to complete, and I then began querying literary agents in search for representation. I was rejected by all of them. Finally, I submitted query letters directly to editors at publishing houses and received rejection letters from them as well. This is when my husband suggested that I start my own company to self-publish my book, and I did. My mom kept telling me not to give up also. As it turned out, I learned a wealth of important and very helpful information about the business of publishing, and I sold just over 10,000 copies within the first 6 months of publication. This was truly a fun and exciting time in my life.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
My mother and my maternal grandmother were two of the kindest and wisest women I have ever known, and they began instilling a certain level of Christian and family values and wisdom in me from the time I was a small girl. Even after all the rejections, my mom told me I shouldn’t give up (I miss her tremendously), and my husband continues to be my biggest encourager and supporter as well.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I believe my literary work speaks to everyone in one way or another. I write about real-life social issues that can and do affect all human beings. Corruption within the church, infidelity, domestic violence, drug addiction, gambling addiction, adult sibling rivalry, care-giving of a terminally-ill parent, childhood sexual abuse, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, social status, overweight issues, and the list goes on. There is also always some level of redemption and forgiveness in every single book I write. I don't consider myself to be a role model per se, but if someone does in fact view me in that manner, my prayer is that I am able to represent myself well, particularly to young people.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
The latest novel is titled The Ultimate Betrayal, which is my 22nd book and the 12th title in my Reverend Curtis Black Series. It will be released, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. It’s been four years since twenty-eight-year old Alicia Black, daughter of Reverend Curtis Black, divorced her second husband, the most womanizing and corrupt man she has ever known. Since then, Alicia has been dating her first husband, Phillip Sullivan, a wonderfully kind and true man of God whom she’d hurt terribly by cheating on him. Alicia has worked hard to prove herself worthy of his trust once more, and when he asks her to marry him again, she couldn’t be happier. 

But Levi Cunningham, the drug dealer Alicia had an extramarital affair with, has just been released from prison, and he has completely turned his life around for the better. Still head-over-heels in love with Alicia, he will do whatever is necessary to win her back. 

Remarrying Phillip is the one thing Alicia has wanted for years, but she can’t get Levi out of her mind. Alicia and Phillip aren’t the only ones in the middle of a crisis. Their best friends, husband and wife Brad and Melanie Richardson, are struggling to keep their marriage together. 

Workaholic Brad is never home and has begun losing thousands on bad investments. Or so he says. Melanie, who is certain there’s more to the story, is determined to get at the truth. At the same time, her frustration and stress cause her to eat a lot less, and she behaves in an extreme fashion. Alicia worries that she could be suffering from anorexia, but Melanie steadfastly denies it. Their friendship begins to suffer, and it isn’t long before they’re talking to each other like enemies. 

Fresh betrayal leads to consequences no one saw coming, and Alicia’s relationship with Phillip might not be the only thing that needs saving. But is it already too late?


BPM: Where do your book ideas come from?
With every book I write, I first decide which social issue I'm really feeling passionate about at the time and then I create my characters around it. From there, I outline the story.

BPM: Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
My books can tend to be both, depending on which title. What I hear most often than not, though, from the majority of my readers is that they can always relate to both my characters and the overall storyline.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your books? If so, discuss them.
In many of my books, there are. One example, is my novella, A DEEP DARK SECRET where I wrote about a 12-year-old girl who was being sexually molested by her stepfather who was an upstanding deacon in the church. She was suffering in silence and so are millions of children in this country who never tell anyone what's happening to them.


BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Readers can visit my web site, www.kimroby.com. or visit me through social media at www.facebook.com/kimberlalawsonroby  or  www.twitter.com/KimberlaLRoby 


Purchase The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1455559563/kimlawroby-20

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Janice L. Dennie

Romance readers everywhere are enamored of Janice L. Dennie’s handsome heroes and feisty heroines as they tumble breathlessly in love among the pages of exciting stories set against the backdrop of California’s Napa Valley Wine Country. With a luxuriant voice and style reminiscent of the great romance writers, Ms. Dennie’s romances are dishes of luscious ice cream with candy sprinkles that keeps readers coming back for more of her smooth literary desserts!

Born to a military family that settled in San Francisco, California, where Ms. Dennie attended elementary, middle and high school. She later graduated from California State University, Hayward, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Ms. Dennie worked for a federal agency until retiring in 2011. 

Ms. Dennie wrote and published two novels that launched her into the limelight of the romance industry. Since her retirement, Ms. Dennie has returned to her first love—writing romance novels that have readers reaching for her books time and again as she delivers love stories featuring beautiful, independent women and tall, dark and dangerous men. Ms. Dennie has made a big splash in a big pond—not bad for a woman who read her first romance novel at 21!

Determined to enjoy her life as she writes her way to the top of the bestseller lists, Ms. Dennie enjoys watching football with her husband, Gregory, and fun visits with her family. Yet she still has time to travel, volunteer in her community, garden, and read her beloved romance novels! 

Stamped with her signature of excellence, Ms. Dennie’s latest series, THE UNDERWOOD’S OF NAPA VALLEY are heartwarming romances woven into the gorgeous tapestry of the wine industry, its lush vineyards and the elegant men and women who still believe in the power of love! To learn more about Janice L. Dennie and her books, visit www.JaniceDennie.com and indulge in delicious claret of literary pleasure!

BPM: Family is so important in your books.
Tell me a little about your family. 
I’m married to Gregory D. Reed, Sr. Together we have three adult children, Gregory D. Reed, Jr., Sharita Reed and James Reed and nine grandchildren.

All of the men in my family, with the exception of my paternal grandfather, served in the military. My maternal grandfather, Albert S. Jackson, of Sapulpa, OK, served in France during World War I. My father Lawrence H. Dennie Sr., served in the Korean War. My mother, Wilma Jean Jackson-Dennie, served as a (WAC) Women’s Army Corp during the 50’s. My oldest brother, Lawrence H. Dennie Jr., served in Vietnam, and my youngest brother Albert S. Dennie, served in the Army after the Vietnam War. My paternal grandfather, Alfred S. Dennie was a Jazz musician in Kansas City, MO. He played tenor saxophone with the Benny Moten Band which included Count Basie and other jazz greats.

My parents moved to San Francisco from Denver, Colorado, where I was born, in the 1960s. My siblings and I attended elementary and middle school in San Francisco, before moving to the East Bay. I graduated from California State University, Hayward with a degree in business administration, and began a career with a federal agency, in San Francisco, before retiring in 2011. My sister Linda lives in Tulsa, OK and my youngest sister, Camille lives in Southern California.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
 Higher education was stressed in my family. My parent’s exposed us to as much as they could when my siblings and I were children. Earning anything lower than a C in grade school was unacceptable and meant automatic punishment. My oldest brother was a straight A student, my other siblings and I were A & B students. Both of my parents motivated me to want to accomplish something in life. My parents always said, if you’re going to stay at home, you must either go to school or work; no sitting around. It was implied that they expected me to make something out of myself. I got to be where I am because of my faith in my heavenly father, and the sacrifices of my family. As a working woman, my mother became a strong role model for me to pattern my life after. 

BPM: Why did you begin to write?
I am fascinated with making “something out of nothing.” “I began writing because I wanted to create my own stories and see myself reflected in the character of the heroine. I’m inspired by writers such as James Baldwin, Walter Mosely and Jane Austin. 

News articles also inspire me to write. I was inspired to write ‘Kenton’s Vintage Affair,’ when I read a news article about Dr. Earnest Bates, part owner of Bates Winery in Napa Valley. I never knew there were Black wineries in Napa, and I visited wineries there numerous times. That news article inspired me to create the fictitious Underwood family, and give each member a story.”

There are five books in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series. “Justin’s Body of Work,” will be released in May, 2015. Carter’s Heart Condition, will be released in December,
2015.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
My body of literary work speaks to anyone who enjoy reading romances and learning about Black culture and history. My first book The Lion of Judah introduces the reader to the idea of Black royalty. Since we do not live in a country that has kings and queens, I looked to Africa for inspiration. I read an article in Newsweek magazine that referred to Emperor Haile Selassie as The Lion of Judah. I researched the subject and found out the Lion of Judah ruling dynasty descends without interruption from the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. I was shocked. My book came next. After that, I wrote Moon Goddess, Queen of Sheba.

I’ll never forget the time I took a black history class in college and learned about Black scientists and inventors. I brought that book home and my father, an engineer, took it from me after I finished the class. He gave me the strangest look I’d ever seen on his face. He couldn’t believe there was a book about 19th-century black scientists and inventors. I’ve often wondered why African American’s and their great accomplishments were excluded in our American history books. So I set out on a journey to learn as much as I could.

I do consider authors as role models especially for impressionable youth. It’s amazing how words can hurt or help people. I prefer to write stories that uplift the human spirit. I like writing about how characters transform into different people.

BPM: What inspired you to write The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series?
The News. I was inspired to write “The Lion of Judah,” after reading an article in a news magazine about Emperor Heile Selassie, of Ethiopia. Although we don’t have royalty in the U.S., I thought it was fascinating that he traced his ancestry back to The Lion of Judah ruling dynasty originating with King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The article inspired me to research the topic and write “The Lion of Judah,” followed by “Moon Goddess Queen of Sheba.”

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK? Why now?
President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, and their positive attitude toward women’s rights. Although I don’t consider myself a hard core feminist, I do appreciate when people take up a shield to protect women and children. I decided to write JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK, book 2 in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series because Justin’s book is next in line after KENTON’S VINTAGE AFFAIR. Justin’s story came into sharp focus after Attorney General, Eric Holder went to Ferguson, to help the disenfranchised people. I always root for the underdog. Justin fights for disenfranchised, particularly in cases involving sexual harassment, domestic abuse and equal pay. As a successful civil rights attorney, Justin is a modern day knight in shining armor. A man with characteristics every woman dreams about. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK?
I enjoyed creating Justin’s character. I wanted to create a strong male character that women could look up to and respect. So many modern day single women have had to be the mother and the father in many Black families. I wanted to write a story about a woman who could be a woman, and a man who could be her knight in shining armor. I know this sounds unrealistic or archaic at best, but this is the story I wanted to write. I wanted to create an over the top hero who would save the heroine from a vicious lawsuit in the court of law.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
My book ideas come straight from my imagination and my love for African American culture and history. My creative imagination stems from my childhood when I created something out of nothing. My father was a great storyteller who made up this story called THE HARD BISCUIT, which turned out to be a little scary for a five-year-old. I dreamt about that story and even had nightmares, nonetheless, it was my father’s storytelling that also sparked my creative imagination. 

My books are character driven because I enjoy falling in love with my characters. I gave all four brother in this series their own love story and a defining character trait. Kenton is the “protective one,” in his book. Justin is the “strong one,” in his book. Justin carries the disenfranchised with his strength in the court of law. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 
JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK, book 2 in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series, is about a successful Napa Valley attorney, Justin Underwood who falls in love with a beautiful spa owner, Ashley Jacobs, who is facing a serious lawsuit. The book is available in Kindle format and paperback on Amazon.com.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
The heroine, Ashley Jacobs relishes in providing her customers with a soothing and healing environment at her day spa in the Silverado area of Napa Valley. She maintains her even temper and peace of mind, avoiding anger at all costs. But when she faces a vicious lawsuit, from someone she least suspects, her peace of mind comes to a complete halt.

Justin Underwood is a successful attorney with a stellar resume and a body of work that consists of winning civil rights cases for the disenfranchised. The moment he hears Ashley’s sultry voice and feels her gentle touch, he finds comfort simply by being in her presence. He becomes hopelessly drawn to the siren with the sexy bedroom eyes. But Ashley has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. After taking her case, he watches her coast along, with her head in the clouds, turning a blind eye to the facts of her lawsuit. Can Justin get Ashley to commit to him, and open her eyes to the facts surrounding her lawsuit? Can Ashley overcome her family’s secret that prevents her future happiness?

What makes Ashley so special, is why she reacts to conflict the way she does. What makes Justin so special is his love for Ashley and his deep desire to protect women’s rights.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
The issues women face on the job and everywhere, from sexual harassment, equal pay and domestic abuse. All of these issues are discussed in the book.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
Like myself, the hero and heroine are both college educated, Christian, and business owners. 

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
Several years ago, I sat on a jury in a sexual harassment case. I couldn’t believe how much people lied under oath until I sat on that jury. Writing this book has taught me to scrutinize our justice system and unjust laws such as “stand your ground.” I spoke with the prominent civil rights attorney who represented the plaintiff in the sexual harassment case. After winning the case, she encouraged me to believe that justice is actually possible for the disenfranchised. After viewing that football player knock his wife unconscious in an elevator, I also began researching “adult women of domestic abuse and how it affects their intimate relationships.” I gave my heroine some of those character traits.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goal was to show readers how domestic abuse can affect the way a woman handles her life and intimate relationships. 

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I am working on Book #3 in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series, coming out in December 2015. Books #4 and #5 will come out in 2016. 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Amazon.com Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/author/janicedennie 

JANICE L. DENNIE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Website: http://janicedennie.com 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jdennieauthor 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaniceDennieAuthor 
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/janicedennie/kentons-vintage-affair 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/578414.Janice_L_Dennie 


 

 


Intimate Conversation with Lydia E. Brew

Lydia E. Brew was born with cerebral palsy but has not allowed her physical limitations to stand in her way. Her writing provides insights into the world of the physically challenged. She graduated from Texas Southern University where she received The Society of Professional Journalist Sigma Chi Citation for Achievement. She was a member of the drama club and pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. 

Miss Brew founded Lydia’s Educational and Charitable Organization (LECO) when she decided to encourage young people to write.  LECO did this by sponsoring a yearly contest in which the contestant had to write about positive role models who were alive and from the Houston area. Each student who wrote an eligible essay was given a certificate of participation. Winning writers received cash prizes.

Her second book titled Our Learn Together Book is a book for young readers based on the biography of Edith Irby Jones, M.D.  It tells her story in a simplified format on one page and allows the reader to write their own biography on the other.  There are activities in the back where younger children can learn developmental skills and older children can learn to do research.  
She is a Christian and attends St. Stevens United Methodist Church.

BPM: Lydia, tell us about yourself and how you started writing.

I was born with cerebral palsy but never allowed my physical limitations to stand in my way. I hope that some of my writing also provides insights into the world of the physically challenged.  Under the leadership of one of my journalism professors, I penned my first book Edith, The Story of Edith Irby Jones, M.D.  about the first African-American to graduate from The Arkansas School of Medicine. Upon finishing college, I worked with the Houston Association of Black Journalists. I am a Christian and attend St. Steven’s United Methodist Church.

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 

When I did the first draft of the Ungolden Silence I did no research and I wrote from my daydreams. Like another author said; she made up and wrote the story. That is what I did. People who read the first draft of the story told me that I needed to do some research, which I ultimately did. My research showed that my story was not that far off. 

One thing the book shows is that we do not know what a rapist looks like; it could be anybody. In my story, two women go to the nation’s capitol on business. When they first meet an African American man they did not think that they needed to be careful as if they were in a dark alley.  He was a serial rapist. Most rapists are.  People do not know what a rapist looks like. 

I like both reading and writing drama. I chose this particular subject to write about because I did not like the way that the media was so-called “protecting” perpetrator of rape by withholding their names. Yes, rape is a violation, but so is murder. The minute a murdered victim’s family is notified, then the name of the victim is released. Domestic violence crimes are just like any other crime. In Ungolden Silence readers can see where secrets were kept and it led to other problems. Yes, I want to entertain with drama, but I also want readers to think about the problem of rape, which is a part of domestic violence.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it? 

My stories are from my daydreams and I guess you can say that they stew in my head until I put them on paper. I have many ideas in my head, but when I actually write them down, they may end up being something totally different, but will still represent the basic idea/concept. So, yes, a story must stew until everything is mixed in the pot and comes together to create a delicious literary feast.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  

As I mentioned earlier, my ideas come from my daydreams. My stories are my daydreams transformed into the written word. In order for me to create a good character I need to see the character. What I do is use the body of a person that I know or am familiar with. I then give them the personality I need them to have to fit the role in the story that I’m placing them in. When it comes to saying whether my books are plot driven or character driven, it’s hard to say. Perhaps a little bit of both. 

In Ungolden Silence, it’s definitely more plot driven because even though I wanted to create engaging and memorable characters, I did not want them their drama to overshadow the important subject matter of the story. It was a challenge to find that proper balance. 

BPM: What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? 

Society needs to change the way that is deals with the social taboo of rape.  Ungolden Silence is a novel that will leave the reader with many questions. It will also attempt to answer some of the questions that society asks but never seem to want the answers to. We must look at the history of how men have been allowed to treat women. It is important not to just know the information, it is important to act on it.

Ungolden Silence will illustrate that the criminal is a real person, and rarely do they commit crimes just for fun. 
What makes Ungolden Silence different from the millions of other books out there, namely that deal with the issue of rape, is that it tells the story of rape and focuses on more than just the victim. There are many people affected by the crime, including the rapist and his family. Am I kidding? No. In a lot of cases the rapists are well respected. The novel is divided into four parts, The Silent Problem, The Aftermath, Hard to Come Forward, and Something to Consider. I specifically set out to break down all aspects of the issue, versus just the single one that most books about rape address.  The book is available in digital forms.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 

Ungolden Silence is about changing the way that society thinks about sexual abuse as well as the issue of protecting the name of sexual victims. In my opinion, we need to focus on the abuser and putting him or her away. Society hears the words “sexual abuse” and they start blaming the victim by asking what was she wearing or doing. We do not do this for any other crimes. 
For example: When a person is murdered, the name of the victim is given when the family is notified.  But when a person is sexually assaulted then it is said that the person needs privacy because he or she had been violated.  Hello, taking someone’s life is the ultimate violation. Society needs to understand that abuse of any kind is wrong. Ungolden Silence is an attempt to make society think about victims of rape and how other domestic crimes are treated.

BPM: Were there any challenges in bringing this story to life?

After I did the first draft of Ungolden Silence, I let a few people read it and the feedback was that I needed to do some research on domestic violence. I decided that each of the main characters should write an article for the magazine in which the characters work for. The story is fictional, however, the articles are real with true and factual information. The challenge was to write the articles from the point of view of that character. Writing novels and articles are two totally different animals. Articles are fact based, so of course, I had to get the facts of the subject matters my characters were writing about and weave it into a fiction story.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire?
As a writer I think that a story has to incorporate a little bit of everything. It should educate, inspire and entertain. And at the end of the day, or should I say story, there should be an obvious message connected to a particular subject matter. Any story must grab the attention of the reader; that is part entertainment. A story can and needs to be both inspirational and educational. Who wants to close a book and be left feeling heavy and drained instead of uplifted or at least enlightened? That is what I think Ungolden Silence does.

BPM: What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?

It is my hope that while the reader will not only be entertained, they will begin to learn many things about the victim as well as the rapist or batter. Why does anyone stay with a person who abuses him or her? Why does an abuser say that it will never happen again but always does? The answer is never just that simple.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Readers can visit me at my website: www.ungoldensilence.com  or email me at leco@wt.net 
I have a blog readers can subscribe to and follow:   www.lydiaebrew.wordpress.com 
And, of course, they can reach out to me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Ungoldensilence 



Purchase Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew
Link: http://amzn.com/1425798918 



 

 


Intimate Conversation with Harrine Freeman

Harrine Freeman is an authority on personal finance with over 10 years of experience under her belt. Freeman is a financial counselor, CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises and Author of "How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free," a self-help book on credit repair that provides consumers with a step by step plan on how to get out of debt, increase their credit rating and plan for the future. 

She has impacted the lives of thousands of people in the United States through public speaking engagements and financial counseling. She is called upon by business owners, CEO’s, celebrities, students, teachers, sororities, fraternities, displaced workers, veterans and families. She helps client's prepare for financial freedom, by providing useful advice, resources and the tricks of the trade to ease concerns and really steer clients in the right financial direction. 

She is a member of Credit Professionals International, American Association of Daily Money Managers, American Association of Individual Investors and National Speakers Association. She has been featured in: Featured in Market Watch, Wall Street Journal, Forbes,The Washington Post, NASDAQ, Huffington Post, MSN Money, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Ebony, Woman’s Day magazines. 


BPM: Tell us about the book, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free Using the System I’ve Used Successfully With Thousands of Clients Revised.
How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free is my second non-fiction self-help financial book. It provides practical information to help readers assess and resolve their financial situation, no matter what their financial issue – debt, credit, budgeting, saving or planning for the future. The book provides information on critical financial issues affecting many Americans which will help to ensure Americans remain on the right path to financial success now and in the future.

BPM: What can readers expect to get out of the book? 
The book covers various financial topics such as: How to Repair Your Credit on Your Own, How to Pay Down Debt, How to Create and Maintain a Budget, How to Save and Invest, How to Buy a Home, How to Pay Off Student Loans, and Identity Theft. It provides easy to follows tips, sample letters, spreadsheets and tons of resource information listed by state as well as definitions and other tidbits of lesser known financial information. 

The primary message in the book is that no matter what financial setback you have experienced you can overcome it. It may seem that there is no light at the end of the tunnel but there is because I have personally experienced it and overcame many financial struggles. I was unemployed three times and was considering filing bankruptcy and overcome it and you can too!

BPM: What's your favorite chapter in the book?
My favorite chapter in the book is on Credit. I love helping people with credit because when you have good credit you have so many options available to you. “Remember that credit is money, just not yours. – Harrine Freeman

BPM: Where can readers get a copy of previous book, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free?
Readers can order now on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Sony eReader and www.ebookit.com. To learn more about the book, you can also visit the website, www.hefreemanenterprises.com. 

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
My journey began in college. By the time I graduated I had 13 credit cards. When I started working my first job I was earning $21,000 and owed $19,000 in debt. I lost my job and was unable to make the monthly payments. I was able to regain employment and got a part-time job. I put myself on a strict budget – I didn’t go out to eat, buy any new clothes, go to the hairdresser or hang out with my friends. I took public transportation and took my lunch to work every day. It took 4 years but I was able to pay everything off and restore my good credit rating. I then began helping family and friends. Next I got financial training and became a financial counselor. Then I wrote my book to prevent others from making the same mistakes I did. I now provide financial literacy education to youth and adults and provide one-on-one financial counseling. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
Yes. I am currently working on my second self-help financial book entitled, “How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free Revised” available in April 2015. The book covers various financial topics such as: credit, debt, budgeting, How to Invest, How to Buy a Home, How to Pay Off Student Loans, How to Establish Business Credit and How to Survive a Financial Crisis. 

BPM: Will this book be available on Nook and Kindle? 
Yes the book will be available on Nook and Kindle in April 2015 in conjunction with National Financial Literacy Month.

BPM: Why should readers buy your book?
People should read my book because it is an easy read; there are no complex financial terms that you have to get a dictionary to understand. There are tons of easy to follow tips on how to overcome different financial challenges as well as information on how to create a budget, pay down debt and negotiate with creditors. The message I want to share with readers is don’t give up. No matter how bad it may seem right now you can overcome your financial situation. 

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
In many cases other authors do not have personal experience with credit or debt or write books using complex financial terms. What makes my book different is: simplicity, ease of reading, unknown or hidden information consumers are not aware of, and my personal experiences with credit and debt. The message I want to share with readers is that there is no gimmick to my book. I state the facts and provide information to help readers who are facing various financial challenges.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present? 
I am working on ideas for a third self-help financial book and writing my autobiography which are both untitled. 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your published works?  

My books can be found online at: 
http://bit.ly/GzvFRk      (Nook)
http://bit.ly/1ftdKd1      (iTunes)
http://amzn.to/TKNlPl   (Kindle)
http://bit.ly/ZGJy9w      (Kobo)

I would love for your readers to network with me on the social media sites listed below:
Twitter: https://twitter/harrine 
Website: http://www.hefreemanenterprises.com  
Blog: http://hefreemanenterprises.blogspot.com 
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HarrineFreeman/feed 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/HE-Freeman-Enterprises/79463044117 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with RM Johnson

RM Johnson is the author of twenty-two novels to include, The Harris Men, The Million Dollar Divorce, the Hate the Air Series (NA), My Wife's Lover and My Wife's Baby.  He holds an MFA in creative writing, is the recipient of the African American Arts Alliance Award among many others, and he resides in Atlanta, GA. 

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?

It took hard work, dedication and sacrifice. Although that sounds like a generic answer, it is true. As a novelist, you alone, do all the work. As another writer said, “There’s no one to throw the ball back to you.” You must be dedicated; writing a novel is not a sprint, but a marathon. It can take quite a long time to write a great one, equally as long to pen one that is horrible. Both are accomplishments, but you can’t finish either unless you stick to it. Referring to success: it likely won’t come without sacrifice. I have an undergraduate degree in science. I left a lucrative career in the medical field to pursue my passion for writing. As any artist will attest, there are as many valleys—if not more—as peaks, but many of chose this: to sacrifice a normal life for that of an artist’s, not for the money, but because we feel this is why we’ve been put on this earth. 

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 

My work speaks to Black folks: men and women, married and single, young and old, fatherless and motherless, divorced, deceived and cheated on, poor and affluent. My work speaks to readers who want relevant, heartfelt, relatable and suspenseful fiction. In regard to authors being role models, I’d say only if one wants to be a writer oneself, then authors might be seen as inspirational. Aside from that, I’d say no; authors should not be seen as role models, because many of us can be pretty screwy in the head. 

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

Five years ago, a 44 year-old, good friend told me how disappointed he was with the turn his new marriage had taken. During their one-year marriage, he and his wife traveled, partied, drank and loved more than couples half their age. When they had their first child, he noticed a shift in the attention he was getting. It was a hard adjustment for him to make, and although he didn’t say he was, I detected a jealous tone in his voice. I felt there was an intriguing story there: man becomes envious of his newborn son, and does whatever he must to revert things back to the way he preferred them. I decided to write this book when I did, because, for the past several months, I’ve been working on a dystopian novel: Hate the Air, and I needed a break from the heavy lifting of that book, to something a little lighter, more familiar to me. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved writing this book. Like I said, I’ve been working on something far less familiar to me—something that required a lot of research. “My Wife’s Baby: I Am Not A Murderer” is right in my wheelhouse—my comfort zone. If you’ve ever read “The Million Dollar Divorce” or “Bishop”, you know that I often write about unsettling family situations and the toll taken every day, just to exist in them. This book is first person, from my main character, Stan’s POV, so the reader is right there in his head, experiencing his every thought as he grapples with his unwanted, jealous feelings toward his son.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
The idea for the current novel, like I said, came from a friend. My novels are definitely character driven. I love the conflict, the havoc, the destruction caused by differing opinions: each character believing he or she is right, attempting to impress their beliefs upon the other. It creates the potential for great drama.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Available on Nook and Kindle?
“My Wife’s Baby and My Wife's Lover” are available on Nook and Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.com. The premise: Stan doesn’t want children and marries a woman who says she feels the same. They have a great year of marriage, childless and obligation-free, traveling and over indulging in each other, when Erica winds up pregnant. To Stan’s dismay, she decides to have the baby. After the baby arrives, she spends almost all her time with the infant, neglecting Stan, and forcing him to take the drastic and unthinkable measure of eliminating the issue he believes is stealing his wife from him.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
I like to put my main characters in positions where, the result of them not accomplishing their goal is equivalent to the worst fate imaginable. In other words: if they fail, they die—or they will feel as though they’d want to. So when I write a character that feels he or she must succeed at all costs, they let nothing stand in their way, making them desperate. Those, in my opinion, are the most interesting characters to read.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
What’s notable in this book are the intimate, emotional, non-fantastical struggles that Black men contend with everyday. It’s not about a kingpin drug dealer, or a cheating minister, or a thug that sleeps with his team of prostitutes. “My Wife’s Baby: I Am Not A Murderer”, is just an extremely intense look inside the thoughts of a Black man when faced with the notion he might lose the woman he loves most in this world. 

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or journey?

It really doesn’t. I don’t have an infant child. I’ve never experienced the jealousy, Stan, my main character, has. But men very close to me have. I’ve seen marriages fall apart because—with the addition of the baby—couples seemingly forget how to function as they had before: they forget what brought them together, what made them happy, and in some instances—not all—the mother puts the wellbeing of the baby so far ahead of the father that he feels he no longer has a place in the mother’s life.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
I think I’m learning more from the reader responses to the book than from the actual writing of it. This is a controversial piece of work: there is subject matter here that some people would rather not address, and issues that provoke people to think about how they relate to their most significant other and their infant. I think the female reader—if nothing else—will be forced to ask herself if she might’ve neglected her husband while caring for her newborn, or the male reader may question if he was understanding enough of the mother’s responsibilities, and was not needlessly envious of his own child during this period.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I met a woman with two children, both over the age of 18. When I asked her what her situation was like soon after she had given birth, she told me that she spent most of her time with her newborn: some days she spent as many as fourteen hours alone with the child. This time would be spent away from her husband, because she was so engrossed in the care of the infant. What was most intriguing was that she was shocked at the idea that she had done something wrong. She did say that her husband was gone a lot during this period; she did not relate it to the possibility that she might have been shutting him out, just thought his job had suddenly become more demanding. She said, looking back, if she had considered the possibility that her husband might have been envious of the time and attention not given him, she might’ve made more of an attempt to him include him more.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 
The most major intention of this book was to shed light on the possibility that some men might find themselves jealous of their own children and enlighten mothers that this envy is real, and although they feel—as one mother told me—that men should be just as excited and wanting to spend every minute of the day with the new baby, that is not always the case. Not to say that fathers don’t love their children as much as mothers do, but when the baby arrives, we have not had the opportunity to bond with the infant. We have not carried the baby for nine months, so we might need more time to build a relationship with the infant.

Do I feel I achieved my goal in the writing of this novel? I’m not certain. I think the novel will incite some serious discussion and maybe a few arguments, but I also believe, those of you who read it, will find it intriguing, disturbing, suspenseful and very enjoyable—which is always my ultimate goal. 

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
“Hate The Air” is about all human beings over the age of twenty years old dying, due to something in the air. Left alive are young adults to fend and fight for themselves, to run the country and to solve the problems of ensuring humanity does not die. It was inspired by the often self indulgent and over confident opinions of kids today believing they could do a much better job running the world than their elders. It will be an ongoing series, but I haven’t determined just how many books there will be. 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?  
My readers can always contact me directly via email: RMNovels@yahoo.com, Twitter: @Marcusarts and on Facebook at: Facebook.com/RMNovels




Purchase My Wife's Lover by RM Johnson (Book 2)
Link: http://amzn.com/B00ZAD8WR0  

Purchase My Wife’s Baby by RM Johnson (Book 1)
Link: http://amzn.com/B00P3CHSWI  

Purchase Hate the Air: The Abbreviated Life of Shea Kennedy
Link: http://amzn.com/B00WQ3M9AI 
New Adult/Urban Fiction by RM Johnson
Post-Apocalyptic Fiction; Dystopian Fiction; Suspense; Mystery; Romance


 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Colette R. Harrell

Colette R. Harrell is a wife, mother, author, poet, songwriter, and playwright. She holds a master's degree in science and is in senior management at a non-profit agency. She is co-owner of COJACK Productions, a Christian entertainment company. As an active member of her church, she oversees the drama ministry, as well as being an intercessor and in women's leadership. She is a motivational speaker and has taught numerous workshops on a national level. A Detroit native, she currently resides in Ohio.

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually start writing your book series?
Pure guts and faith, I didn’t know I had. You have this dream of living your passion. So, you take steps to make your dream a reality. I sent a short story into this or that magazine with no response back. I’ve started and stopped a million times. Then one day I sat down at a computer, prayed, and a story began to take shape. I’m a little different, and my story is different. But I wrote it anyway, because it wanted—needed—to be told, the way I was telling it. 

The story of The Devil Made Me Do It resounded in my spirit because I always liked romance, science fiction, and paranormal stories. I wanted to tell a Christian tale with supernatural activity. God is ever present, but I wanted to also show demons, imps, etc., at work. The resulting story became a page turner.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Absolutely. I’m this city chick with a Southern twang from the hood of southwest Detroit. I was raised in a two-parent household with four siblings. My parents were all about reading versus television consumption. I think we were the last household in the neighborhood to purchase a color television. What we did have were books, magazines, and newspapers. At a young age, reading was my passion, and it still is.

For me, a good book is like good gossip—you just have to share it. By sharing other’s stories, I began to want to tell my own, my own way.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew—leave it for months, and then come back to it?
Maybe not months. I can’t leave my child alone that long (that would be child abuse). But, yes, I have had to leave it. To let fresh eyes take another look at it later, and create, once again, from the heart. To pray that God gives me an understanding of where my characters are headed and how they will get there. In the meantime, I’m working on something else. Eventually, I will go back to the book and complete it; after all, you have to give the child you birthed a happy ending . . . Or maybe not.

BPM: Introduce us to your books: The Devil Made Me Do It  and  Tell the Truth The Devil Won't. What genre do you consider your books? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?

Yes, both of my books are definitely in Kindle and Nook digital format.  The books are Christian fiction with an “edge.” I say that because, yes, my main characters are Christian, but they aren’t perfect, and they don’t part the Red Sea or walk on water (although I do believe that miracles and wonders still occur). My characters sometimes make poor choices, and they have to face the consequences of those choices. They are not plastic people, but realistic, dealing with current issues.

My main character, Esther, is a beautiful, full-figured woman who always wanted to be the princess at the ball, courted by the Prince Charming. Instead, she settled for the frog, who shared her lily pond. The handsome, charismatic Briggs Stokes appears to have it all—but at what price?

The Devil Made Me Do It  takes a glimpse into the supernatural provides a twist that is “cover-your-eyes scary,” and in the next chapter, “slap the table, fun and humorous.”

Tell the Truth The Devil Won't  comes out on October 27, 2015.  Here's the scope:
The Love Zion members are in the middle of a spiritual tsunami. The flood has them up to their necks, deep in muck and mire, and treading water looking for a life raft. 

The full-figured Esther Redding doesn't realize it, but she desperately needs a change. Her Cinderella tiara is tarnished, and her glass slippers are cracked. 

Briggs Stokes has always had a soft spot for Esther. She was in his blood, and he didn't want a transfusion. When he returns to Detroit, he decides that nothing will keep him from her door. Well, nothing but once reformed bad girl Monica Stokes Custer. She's Briggs's ex, and she wants to be his "give me one more chance again" wife. The tug of war that ensues may be the catalyst that destroys the person they both love the most. 
Don't blink—pray. These shenanigans are too juicy to miss.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?

Esther dares to believe, even from a young age, that she is a tiara-wearing, wand-carrying, princess extraordinaire. Her acting on that belief produces trauma that has a rippling effect. As she suffers a tremendous loss, she vacillates between doubt and hope. Her way of coping is to become the poster child for doing good, even though the devil is prompting her to be bad.

Briggs is a son of privilege, but it’s that same privilege that makes him come to believe that in his truest self, he is invisible. It’s not just about his inherited money, but about who he really is. He struggles with the question: How do you grow up around God’s anointed superstar and still be seen for yourself?

Identity theft was committed long before the computer age. Briggs’s and Esther’s failure to know their purpose could result in a destiny of abusing it.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?

Yes, they deal with suicide—a taboo subject in most communities. They also deal with lust and adultery. All of America is hooked on a television show built around adultery with one of the most powerful men in the country. It’s entertaining; it’s riveting . . . but is it biblical? 

The characters have to come to terms with physical and verbal abuse, suicide, corporate fraud, and stalking. I also discuss how choices affect our lives. I ask and answer the question: Can one childhood incident shape the rest of your life?   I learned that my best writing came when I allowed my own pain, joy, or insecurities to be transparent in my storytelling.

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing?

I want them to be entertained. I want them to have Aha! moments that set them on the road to self-discovery. I want them to draw closer to a God who loves them unconditionally.

BPM: How do you go about reaching new readers?

Three avenues: The best compliment I received was from someone stating that their friends who were not Christians would read The Devil Made Me Do It because it was so entertaining. First, tell a good story. 

Second, in an excerpt reading with men (who were coerced to come by their wives), their feedback was that it wasn’t the normal chick-flick literature they thought it was going to be, and they all asked me to keep reading. Tell a good story that others can relate to. 

And, third, hopefully, people who read this interview will be inspired to run out and buy The Devil Made Me Do It, and then tell others to buy it too. Tell a good story and it promotes itself!  (See how I keep mentioning the name of the book? Subconsciously, you’re hearing—buy the book, buy the book . . . LOL.)

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author?

Well, here is where I get very philosophical and state that I’m not in this for the money. NOT! This is a time-consuming, not-for-the-fainthearted venture. So, maybe not first, even though it’s listed here as first, I’d like to make a living at this. That would be one form of success.

Another would be for others to enjoy the story so much that they reread it. And that they sit in anticipation for the next book. Those both would be a form of success.

Last, but most important, I would define success as something on the inside of the reader that transcends the mundane and spiritually enhances their life. That would be the ultimate form and definition of success for me as a published author.


BPM: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Up, up, and away! I would love to do this when I am retired and old, sitting on my screened-in porch, sipping on a mango lemonade under a blue summer sky, typing away. You gotta love it!

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? How can readers discover more about you and your work?
My goal is to continue writing beyond my Heaven over Hell trilogy. I plan to be around for a while. This is that second half in life, the career that everyone is saying is possible.

You can stay current through my blog and website: Writespirit.org, located at ColetteHarrell.com 

I’ve developed a fictional character by the name of Mother Maku Sweat, and her husband is Bishop Mo Sweat. She’s a feisty evangelist, full of the wisdom of the ages. I plan to have Mother Sweat’s video advice column on my website as well. Look for Mother Sweat beginning in Fall 2015!

Website: http://www.writespirit.org 

Twitter: @ColetteRHarrell or https://twitter.com/ColetteRHarrell 
Colette R. Harrell Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/coletteharrell/ 
Colette R. Harrell FB Profile: http://www.facebook.com/Colette.R.Harrell 
Colette R. Harrell Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/ColetteRHarrellFans 
Amazon Purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Colette-R.-Harrell/e/B00II98JUI 




Tell the Truth The Devil Won't (Book 2)
by Colette R. Harrell 
Link: http://amzn.com/1622868196

The Devil Made Me Do It (Book 1)
by Colette R. Harrell
Link: http://amzn.com/1601627823  

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with E. N. Joy


BLESSEDselling author E. N. Joy is the writer behind the "New Day Divas,” “Still Divas,” “Always Divas,” and the forthcoming “Forever Divas,” series, which have been coined “Soap Operas In Print.” 

She is an Essence Magazine Bestselling Author who once wrote secular books under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY.  Her children’s book titled The Secret Olivia Told Me, written under the name N. Joy, received a Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association. The book was also acquired by Scholastic Books and has sold almost 100,000 copies. Elementary and middle school children have fallen in love with reading and creative writing as a result of the readings and workshops E. N. Joy instructs in schools nationwide. 

BPM: Tell us about your journey becoming a successfully published author. What challenges did you face, if any? 

I have been writing since the days of elementary school journals and rainy day writings. I started out just writing poems, then short stories. My first self-published book, Please Tell Me If the Grass Is Greener, is a mixture of poetry and short stories. Well, actually it’s poetic short stories; short stories told in a rhythmic flow. Kind of like a Dr. Seuss book for Grown-ups-LOL. I love La La Land. Growing up, my escape from reality was the La La Land I invented with pen and paper. So, I guess that is truly what drove me to pick up the pen for the first time. It was an escape. Some people use drugs, some people use alcohol, some people use sex while other people use guns. I used a pen. I wrote and self-published my first full-length novel, The Root of All Evil, under the name Joylynn M. Jossel. I wrote that manuscript with the intentions of eventually selling it to a major publishing house. So, while it was in manuscript form I sent it off (un-agented) to a major publisher for publication consideration. 

But in the meantime, I eventually sent the manuscript off to the printer as well. I received a rejection letter from the publisher before the books even came off the press. But that didn’t stop me. I simply sold copies from my trunk in hopes of creating a buzz. Well, the buzz was created. I got an agent and the agent submitted the manuscript to a major publishing house that did end up giving me a three book deal. Ironically, the same publishing house who sent me my very first rejection letter was the same publisher who ended up giving me my very first book deal. After having sold 12,500 copies of the self-published edition in one year, The Root of All Evil was re-released under my first publishing contract. While it was going through the editing process, I wrote a street lit book titled Dollar Bill for Triple Crown Publications under the name JOY. It turned out to be an Essence Magazine bestseller, appeared in Newsweek and was translated to Japanese. 

When I dedicated my life to Christ, a great deal of things changed in my life. I couldn’t do some of the things I used to do. I couldn’t say some of the things I used to say and I couldn’t go some of the places I used to go. Well, I soon found that I couldn’t write some of the things I used to write. That’s what prompted the change from being a secular author to a writer of Christian fiction. Now, as a Christian Fiction author, my biggest challenge is pleasing both the readers and God. I’m not just doing writing anymore, I’m doing ministry. So whatever I do has to please God while at the same time send His message to His people and, of course, entertain them and keep them engaged. And boy, oh boy, have I learned that the lives of Christian folk and church folk is beyond engaging and entertaining. 

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
 
I hear authors say it all the time: “I write my book for everybody-not just one particular audience.” That’s all fine and well, but the book business is just that-a business. In dealing with business you have to have a target audience that you start off promoting and marketing to. Once you have saturated your target audience, then you have the bull’s eye affect, where you begin to expand outward into other areas. There is absolutely no shame in my game; I write my books for my sisters. If anyone outside of my target audience wants to pick up my books, that is an awesome blessing. But I want to make sure that my sisters-my target audience-can walk right into the book store and know exactly where to find me. 

Richard Ridley once said, "Many writers make the mistake of thinking that bigger is better when it comes to defining a book's target audience. They believe that if a potential reader is simply made aware of their book, then surely they'll take a chance and buy it. But by choosing this "big pond" approach, those authors are being overlooked, and they're missing the opportunity to stand out in a smaller pond. You'll have much better success being a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond."

Yes, all authors would eventually love for everybody to read a copy of their book. But when you sit down to pen a book you have to know who you are penning it for...who you want to read it. Who will understand your words? Who will they resonate with and touch? For me, my target audience is African American women. I used to even put an age limit on it, but when readers as young as thirteen started reaching out to me about how my work has changed and/or saved their life, I stopped doing that. These young thirteen year old readers are the very reason why I'd have to say that authors are role models as well. So what we don't get the press that other entertainers such as singers and actors get. So what that even if an award show does have a category for literature, they don't deem literacy an important enough honor to air on television. People are still watching us...thanks to social media. 

Everything we think, tweet and eat is being watched. Either folks are going to look down on us or up to us. I prefer the latter. I know this might sound dramatic and too deep for some, but as an author, my connection with someone could determine whether or not they ever pick up a book to read. I can say this because I spoke at a graduation. Afterward I had a mother of five who was in her thirties purchase one of my books. It was the first book she had ever purchased in her life so this was a milestone for her. To be a part of a milestone in someone's life...to make that kind of impact on someone's life. Do I really have to continue to argue my case???

BPM: Could you tell us something about  You Get What You Pray For, Always Divas Series, Book Three?
 
You Get What You Pray For is my latest title and it is book eleven in my divas installment. Coined soap operas in print, readers know to expect a fast paced, character shifting, scene changing, drama filled read with a pinch of shenanigans and just enough over the top encounters to still make it all believable. Intertwined and in the midst of it all is that life changing message that makes the emotional roller-coaster well worth the death defying ride. I know that was a mouthful, but so is this read. 

The main character, Lorain, will have the reader feeling like she's a hamster in a wheel; doing so much but going absolutely nowhere. Lorain has it all, but having it all and keeping it are two different things. As she fights to hold onto all that is dear to her, she finds herself in a game of tug-o-war. But in this case, she's the one being pulled in two different directions. With the struggle being between good and evil, it would seem like a no-brainer that Lorain would go willingly to what is right, but doing that could mean losing everything, which includes her daughters and her husband. Before even considering continuing to play games with the devil, Lorain should have realized that doing so could lead to hell. But then again, being a prisoner of secrets and lies for the better part of her life has been a living hell for Lorain anyway. When her cell mates (the secrets and lies) begin to unravel, it definitely becomes hell on earth!

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 

Eleanor is the main character's, Lorain, mother. This old lady right here will give any reality television mother a run for her money. She is a ball of fire that the fire chief himself couldn't put out. Eleanor tends to irritate a reader or two by constantly being in Lorain's business, but they can't argue that mother knows best and delivers some tough love and advice. Just like any hard-headed child, Lorain doesn't always appreciate what her mother dishes out, but she does honor her. That wasn't always the case though. Once upon a time Lorain and Eleanor had a relationship that was so volatile, it's shocking that these two even speak to one another, let alone practically live together; Lorain in the main house and Eleanor in the in-law suite. But that's what makes these two and their relationship so special. 

By reading Facebook posts on any given day, I could see how so many women struggle in their relationship with their mothers. I believe Eleanor and Lorain give readers hope that a parent-child relationship can be healed and mended. The Bible says we must honor thy mother and father. We should love our mothers the way Jesus loved Mary. No, maybe our mother was no Mary, but heck, some of us weren't a Mary to our own children either. 


BPM: What was your purpose or mission behind writing this book?

My mission behind this book is for the reader to walk away knowing that even when we have everything that we have ever prayed for, we still need the One who answered those prayers. Lorain went from the hood life, to the good life. At first she was in awe of why God would even do it for a wretch like her. She got so caught up in her amazing lifestyle and getting everything she'd ever dreamed of, that the fear of all that changing led her to take things into her own hands instead of having faith that God's will would be done. 

My career plans are not only to continue penning stories that are so emotionally explicit that the reader feels as if they are in the story experiencing exactly what the characters are, but to continue to help other writers/aspiring writers to evoke that same thing through my literary services. Getting to the point where you are no longer writing about characters but are writing about people takes your writing gifts and talents to whole new levels.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from?
 
First off, I need to make my usual disclaimer; I have a ghostwriter. Yep, I said it. I sit down at my computer without a thought, care or outline in the world and I take dictation from my ghostwriter. And everyone who knows me knows that my ghostwriter is none other than the Holy Ghost. I allow God to give me the messages He wants for His people. His timing is always right, so readers seem to get the message right when they need it most. I'm sure tons of authors who are Holy Ghost writers can attest to this. We'll go back and read the proof pages of our books and say, "Who wrote this amazing book?" LOL. We can't remember writing half the stuff or even where it came from. We ask ourselves how did we ever come up with that idea. Well, we didn't. God's not going to give you a gift and a talent and, one, not make room for it, and two, not show you how to use it. So my ghostwriter comes up with the book ideas and my fingers just run with it!

BPM: Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why? 

Neither. My books are people driven. I only refer to the people I write about as characters for industry sake. When I first started writing books I wrote about characters. Once I started to receive emails and testimonies from readers about how the lives in my stories mirrored their own or someone they knew, I realized then that some readers didn't see the people I was writing about as some fictitious being. They were real and their lives were real. More importantly, they were emotionally connected. At that point I knew I couldn't deny my readers of what they longed for (a connection/relationship with the people I write about) and just create characters from dust. I had to give them real live people with real life situations. I could no longer create these plots and scenarios just because they sounded like they would make for good drama and a great twist. Heck, real life is filled with enough drama, twists and turns of its own. So why not just bring the real and bring the truth? Readers can relate to something that not only feels real, but they know to be real.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey? 

This question is hitting home for me. If I was doing a live televised interview, the audience would see me break down with my ugly cry right about now. As I mentioned earlier, In You Get What You Pray For, readers get to see the result of what once was a terrible mother-daughter relationship after God has done His healing thing. Lorain had not always respected or honored her mother. Lorain had harbored ill feelings toward her mother for things that had happened to Lorain in the past. Some people assume all mothers and daughters have this strong bond, but that is not always the case. There are daughters out there in their adulthood who wish they had a close-knit relationship with their mother, but can't get over the past. I believe this ties in to under-represented groups or ideas that are featured in my book. 

I think back to a status I posted on Facebook Mother's Day 2014. It took me quite some time to hit the post button, but I really felt compelled to do so. The post read as follows: "I do not talk to my mother every day. As a matter of fact, when my phone rings and I look down at my Caller ID and see that it is her my blood sometimes begins to boil. I've had anxiety attacks even. "Should I answer the call? Should I send it to voice-mail?" If I answer the call, I know from the moment I say hello she is going to tell me what an awful day it has been for her, how much pain she is in, what hurts and then talk about somebody like a dog. If I don't answer the call there is going to be a nasty voice-mail message that is going to piss me off even more-make me want to call her back and let her know how she makes me feel. But I wouldn't dare cuss or fuss my mother. No, Ma'am, no , Sir. The devil ain't gonna get me there. But it doesn't mean that desire hasn't been within.

I read FB posts everyday with quotes about removing poisonous and negative people out of your life. But your own mother???? It drains me to talk to her or be in her presence and it takes every ounce of energy in me to bear the negativity she is going to spew. When I walk into her home I feel suffocated by the black cloud that seems to dwell there. I'm not exaggerating y'all-I feel it. My children feel it, begging me not to make them go inside. Sometimes after talking with her I can't even write anything, or edit a book because my spirit feels poisoned and I don't want to inject that into anything else I am doing. Have you ever just talked to someone and felt so vexed afterward?

I listen to and watch how she talks to and treats people and I cringe, often having to apologize on her behalf or ask them not to take it personal. I see my friends and the love and relationships they have with their mothers and I just don't get it. But today, my friends, I GET IT! My mother is not a hateful, evil, mean person, of which for years I mentally described her as. But what my mother is is full of hurt, pain, guilt and shame. The person I deal with is not the sixty-one year old body I'm looking at. Instead, I now realize that the person I deal with is that young girl whose uncle violated her. That young girl who didn't have a relationship with her father. That young girl who got pregnant in tenth grade and got kicked out of school for being pregnant. That young girl who was abused horribly by her husband for years. I can still hear the fights, her getting pistol whipped, her getting turned out on drugs and her own husband pimping her. Her husband picking her up from work in his mistress' car with the mistress in the backseat. Then to go on in life only to be abused by future men, all the while doing whatever she had to do to feed her babies. So heck yeah she was mad, angry and bitter. I get that now. I finally get it.

I know this is not the typical Mother's Day post everyone is putting on their wall. There is no bouquet of flowers, balloons or chocolates attached with this one. But what is attached to this one is regardless of what our relationships were like with our mother, grandmother, auntie-whoever raised us-we have absolutely no power to manipulate it into something other than what it was. A person's perception is their reality. Therefore we have to accept it for what it is. We don't have to walk around feeling heavy or wishing we had the kind of relationship someone else has. But what we do have the power to do is choose what we want that relationship to be today. So on this Mother's Day 2014 I pray love, peace, blessings, deliverance and healing to every mother, especially my own and including myself. May God keep our minds to remember all those wonderful things and traits about the women who raised us and all they sacrificed in order for us to make it this far. To forgive and forget those things that serve no purpose but to vex our spirits, so that we may walk forward in a future untouched by pasts hurts designed to keep us bound. I thank, you , Lord, on this day for your mighty revelation. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen!"

I received a multitude of likes, comments and in-box messages on that post. So many women came out of the woodwork to say that my story was theirs. I truly pray that readers of my work, especially women who have had issues with their own mothers, can see where Lorain and Eleanor came from, to where God has brought them now and be encouraged by that.


BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career? 

Book sales are not the only indicator of my success as a writer. Once upon a time I used to desire to be a New York Times bestselling author. That motivated me to no end. But then I watched Spike Lee do an interview in which he stated that you cannot allow an award or organization to validate who you are in your craft. Talk about a revelation! I heard his words. I got it. Plain and simple I got it. It was at that moment I knew that my success was not based on sells, awards, titles or anything else. Success is personal. So my ambitions for my writing career are no longer based on being a bestselling author-one million books sold. It's to become a BLESSEDselling author-one million souls saved.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present? 

I'm currently planning the release of my next Divas installment titled When All is Said and Prayed. It will be featured at Literary Feast 2015 which will take place Saturday, October 10, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio.  More info is available at https://eventbrite.com/event/16847639744/

Instead of just doing a regular book release, I like to treat my readers and supporters to something fun, different, unique and entertaining. We have food, workshops, live entertainment, vendors, open mic poetry, a pampering lounge, an Authors' Lounge and of course the celebration of my book release that includes a live reading, Q&A and swag bag giveaway quiz session moderated by Reading With Soul Book Club. 

I'm also working on putting the "Angel" eBook only series, which includes She's No Angel, Angel on the Front Pew and California Angel, in print. I would love for readers to visit me at www.enjoywrites.com

I can be reached out to via email at enjoywrites@aol.com. I'm on Twitter @enjoywrites,  on Instagram as blessedselling_author_enjoy   and on Facebook as E N Joy.  And for those who want to keep up with the divas, there is a  "New Day Divas Fan Page" on Facebook  as well as a discussion group, E. N. Joy's Readers' Lounge.


BPM: Readers, you can visit BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy at: www.enjoywrites.com or email her at: enjoywrites@aol.com.  They can also watch the video trailer for the series, by clicking here and leave comments.


Website: www.enjoywrites.com
Instagram: blessedselling_author_enjoy 
Twitter Link: www.twitter.com/enjoywrites 
Facebook Link: 
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorENJOY    


Purchase You Get What You Pray For 
Always Divas Series Book Three
Genre: Christian Fiction 
Link: http://amzn.com/1601626975  

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with K. L. Brady

K. L. Brady is a D.C. native but spent some of her formative years in the Ohio Valley. Her writing career started in the pages of diaries when she was 7 or 8 years old. But it wasn't until her 40th birthday and an Oprah "Live Your Best Life" moment that she finally answered her calling and wrote her first novel–The Bum Magnet. The originally self-published, award-winning novel was picked up by Simon & Schuster in a two-book deal, and K.L. hasn't looked back since. She penned the follow-up, Got a Right to Be Wrong and self-published the first books in two young adult series and a spy thriller series based on her 20-year career in the U.S. Intelligence Community. 

She earned a B.A. in Economics, an MBA, and is a member of the Maryland Writer's Association, Romance Writers of America, Sisters In Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She's addicted to writing and chocolate— not necessarily in that order—and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. She is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of her spy thriller 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 finally decided to 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 unavailable 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 it was when I realized how wrong I'd been. 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. I wrote my first book in four months, published it a year later—and the rest, as they say, is history. 

That was five years ago, this year (2014), and I'm eight 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. My success is largely due to learning from every mistake and using them to help me grow and get better. Learning to take criticism (e.g., getting my 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 well throughout all of my careers, including being an author. Lord knows, I've made my mistakes there, but I've overcome them, too. 

I think in some measure I used to fear success. Now I fear failure more than success, and for me failure is not trying, not fulfilling my purpose. 

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.

I think authors can be role models, especially for up and coming authors like myself. I learn a lot through osmosis, especially on Facebook where authors post so much wisdom and industry knowledge. I learn from whatever I see, and I pass on what I know to authors who follow me. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available in digital forms?

I have this theory about how people find their purposes and destinies.  Some people know what they are meant to do, almost from birth. They go through every day of their lives knowing what their gift or talent is and spend most of their time trying to figure out how to bring it into the world. 

For others, they have zero clues about who they are meant to be. These people seem flighty and switch from job to job or "thing" to "thing" because they are desperately searching for their purpose and won't stop searching until they find it. 

For yet others, they discover their purposes at a very early age, but they talk themselves out of believing they can't do it. Some fear failure, others fear success. They don't have faith that if God has given them a purpose, he has also equipped them to fulfill it. So they bounce around aimlessly from "thing" to "thing" trying to discover what they've already known for most of their lives. 

This book is about Miki Vincent, a woman who fits squarely into the latter category. She's known her purpose from a very early age but fears failure and perhaps success. She's addicted to beginnings because she's afraid of endings—in life and love. So, instead she's accomplished nothing, committed to no one and gets into a lot of trouble because of it. This book chronicles the part of her journey where paying for her mistakes and some rude awakenings help her to embrace what's she's already known her entire life. 


BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 

Miki Vincent is the main character. Her caring, generous nature is cloaked by an exterior that, at times, seems shallow and thoughtless, even a bit narcissistic. She's lost, hasn't discovered her purpose or the love of her life. After too many disappointments, she tries to flip the script on life but learns the hard way, that 

Pam, her best friend, is Miki's savior and going through issues of her own. She knows her purpose is being an artist, a painter, but she's so busy creating this secure home and giving her husband the chance to find his purpose that she's sacrificed her dreams for his. But that all comes to an end when she finds evidence that suggests he's having an affair. She flips the script on her hubby and begins to find herself again with the help of a handsome stranger. 


BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I started this book five years ago and then put it down because I got stuck. I couldn't figure out what the story was supposed to be. Took five years later, but I figured out what it was supposed to be. I really allowed the story to come through me rather than impose my will on it, and I think that's why it's one of my favorite romances to have written. And it truly is much more romantic than any book I've written today. There's more "heat" in it than in any book I've written to date. It feels close to a category romance, but not quite because of Pam's story. 

Also, in every book I find an inherent challenge that I have to meet for it to feel like a success. In this book, my goal was to maintain the humor of my books with minimal or no cursing. The characters, as I heard them, didn't curse, so I didn't want to force the words in there when the characters weren't speaking them. So, we'll see how the audience likes it, but I think I accomplished the feat successfully.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? 
Mostly from life and living. Thinking about challenges I've faced in my own life—romantic issues, finding my destiny—and then translating my experiences into stories that will not only entertain but may help someone else figure out the mysteries of their own lives. If I can make someone laugh, identify with my characters, and think, I'm a happy author. 

BPM: Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?

My stories are all character-driven no matter the genre. For my stories, the character is king. When readers care about or identify with the characters, they will follow them through the twists and turns of just about any plot because they want to figure out how the story ends and the character's fate. I write very tightly plotted books in other genres but what I believe makes readers love them even more is the fact they want to know what happens to these characters they care about. 

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
In my writing journey, I too fell into the category of someone who knew who they were meant to be from a very early age but allowed my dreams to be drowned alive in self-doubt…at least until I hit the big 4-0. I'm hoping that anyone who reads this book and denies their true purpose, will be inspired to stop being afraid to pursue it. 

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

It's now back to the spy thrillers for me. I'm writing the 4th book in the J.J. McCall series next and then two young adult novels, back to back for release in 2016. 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

They can always find me online and busy in the social networks. 
http://awww.KLBradyauthor.com 
http://awww.twitter.com/KarlaB27 
https://www.facebook.com/KLBRADY



Order 12 Honeymoons by K.L. Brady
Link:  http://amzn.com/B00X6TCUPU 


 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Christine Young-Robinson

Christine Young-Robinson is the author of the novels Do What You Gotta Do and We Didn’t See It Coming and the short story “Miss Amy’s Last Ride,” which was featured in the anthology Proverbs for the People. A wife, mother, and grandmother, Christine resides in South Carolina. She is the co-chairperson of the Eleuthera Book Club. 

BPM: Who or what motivated you?

First and foremost, God. I’m blessed with great parents, family and friends. 
I got to where I am by having faith and trusting in God.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?

My work speaks to lovers of stories about family suspense. I personally don’t consider myself a role model but I’m grateful if someone can draw from the goodness in me.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? 

My ideas come from my imagination, dreams, and things I observe in my surroundings. My books are plot driven but at times, it can be a mixture of both. 
I enjoyed writing the craziness of my characters and great storyline. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent books? 

We Didn’t See It Coming is a compelling story about three sisters who come from a family of wealth—and whose lives are shattered by tragedy, scandal, secrets, and betrayal.

Do What You Gotta Do is the sequel to We Didn't See It Coming. Here is the official synopsis: 
A compelling story about three Houston sisters, Milandra, Noelle, and Kenley who come from a family of wealth—and whose lives are shattered by tragedy, scandal, secrets, and betrayal.

In this sizzling story of family drama, money, and seduction, one woman’s desire for a luxurious lifestyle leads her to prey on a vulnerable man—until his father’s suspicions threaten to undo everything.

Aniyah Sanchez is a wild, sexy, and seductive woman—and has just been released from prison for crimes of fraud, kidnapping, and embezzlement.  Without parents to turn to, she’s surprised when her aunt Tessa comes to her rescue and sets her up in an apartment until she can find work. But Aniyah is determined to move out and start a new life her own way—by finding a wealthy man who can provide the extravagant lifestyle she longs for.

That man turns out to be Jarvis Powell, Jr., who finds Aniyah very attractive and gives her a job at one of the banks owned by his father. There’s just one problem: Jarvis’s father is suspicious of Aniyah and will do everything in his power to protect the family legacy…especially from a woman he suspects is trying to ensnare his son to get to the family fortune. Now, with Jarvis, Sr. watching her like a hawk, Aniyah is more determined than ever to win over his son. Will the bond of a father and son undo her plan, or will she finally get her chance at a new beginning?

BPM: Are your books available on Nook and Kindle?

We Didn’t See It Coming is available on Nook and Kindle. Do What You Gotta Do will be available on August 11, 2015.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers.

In my upcoming novel, Do What You Gotta Do, Aniyah Sanchez is a wild, sexy, and seductive woman. She yearns for a wealthy man so that she can live a luxurious lifestyle. Jarvis Powell, Jr., a kind-hearted man becomes Aniyah’s target but his father, Jarvis Powell, Sr., a banker is suspicious of her and he’ll do everything in his power to protect his family legacy.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?

The title of the book is sentimental to me. Do What You Gotta Do are the words of my deceased brother’s voicemail. I can still hear his voice saying these words.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?

I learned that people do crazy things to suit their own needs. My goal is to give the reader a novel to enjoy and escape from their busy lives.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

I am working on another novel, Now I See.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?  

Readers are welcome to visit my website at: www.christineyoungrobinson.com 
Twitter:      https://twitter.com/christineyr 
Website:     http://www.christineyoungrobinson.com 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/christineyr  
Instagram:   https://instagram.com/christineyoungrobinson  



Purchase Do What You Gotta Do 
Genre: Fiction. Suspense
Released on August 11, 2015
Link: http://amzn.com/1593096275 


 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with KAI

KAI is the author of the critically acclaimed Daughter of the Game series (Daughter of the Game I, II, III and Prequel) and The Loudest Silence. KAI's story Twisted Loyalty is featured in Gutta Mamis, published by Strebor in the Streetz (Simon and Schuster). She is also a contributing author to Solo Shivers and That Good Grind by Wilson.

She is a nationally recognized poet and was named AAMBC's 2013 Poet of the Year for her Peaceful Resolution collection. Her poem Pre-Destiny, was featured in the April 2008 issue of Essence Magazine.

KAI
has served as a Guest Reviewer for RAWSISTAWZ Reviewers. An alumni of Hampton University, SUNY Brockport and Georgetown University Law Center, she is a licensed attorney in two states and a proud parent.

BAN RADIO: What was the inspiration for Daughter of the Game?

As a book reviewer, I reviewed a number of urban fiction novels that dealt with the drug game and its players, and the women loving them or using them, but I hadn’t read a story about the family structure—people closely related to drug dealers who aren’t in the game. I wanted to explore that reality and, in my own way, humanize the main drug dealer to expose his weakness and vulnerability. That is why Ricardo feels fear in his heart, or Armand contemplates why his life seems to be predestined for disaster, or Pete loves Miriam but can’t put it to words, and Monique worries about the generational curses her father’s empire will have on her and her children. Although Monique is the main character, I explore the different men and their choices and decisions as well.

BAN RADIO: Who is your favorite character?

That is hard to say. I have a deep affinity for Ricardo, Monique’s brother, and Chew, the man who loves Monique but knows he can never have her. I also enjoy Anji, Titan’s girlfriend. Her spirit and creativity made her fun to write. Michelle, Monique’s big sister, seems to be the favorite character among my readers. I have received many demands that she have a bigger role in the series. Michelle’s relationship with Pete is touching and she is a fighter, possessing that wild “around the way girl” charm that everyone knows and loves. But my favorite character is Armand. I love his sexiness and his bad boy charisma. Armand is the type of man who can be dead wrong and it doesn’t matter—you will love him anyway. Case in point: I have yet to meet one reader who dislikes him despite him leaving Monique alone in the trap so that he could hide the stash.

BAN RADIO: What is a question most asked by readers?

I am constantly asked to reveal Armand’s true identity. This series is fiction. One of my biggest pet peeves is that people assume the story is about someone they know or someone in my life. I cannot tell you how many people have tried to guess who Armand really is in my circle. They will never get it right because Armand is a fictional character. I think that many of us know these personality types, so the characters feel very real to us. I study people, how they react to situations, how they express themselves, how they communicate and it is reflected in the characters I create. The closest person to Armand I ever met grew up in Rochester, New York with me, was my close friend and he still lives there. And even he is not Armand. I must admit, I am surprised by how deeply attached to Armand the readers are and the stories they share with me about men very similar to him. There is an affinity among women who have loved men like him, and only other women who have been in that situation can relate and understand. He is a magnetic character, flawed but genuine.

BAN RADIO: You place a lot of emphasis on love in both the Daughter of the Game series and in The Loudest Silence. Are these love stories?

The concept of love fascinates me, I must admit. When I think of love, I think of the fairy tales and the “love conquers all” theory. When we listen to music most songs are about love: craving it, needing it and doing anything for it. But what does it mean in real life. Should we really love unconditionally? How high is the price of love? What happens when you strip away your dignity in the name of love? Is that really love? Many of my works also challenge the concept of love being forever. I believe that love is demonstrated by action, such as being considerate or selfless. But what happens when a person truly loves you and has no idea how to show it? Or what happens when his expression doesn’t fit your idea of what love should look like? Obviously, I don’t have any answers. But playing with the different types of “love” tends to make my characters struggle in different ways. 

Check out Daughter of the Game 3 by KAI:  http://amzn.com/0985438681  

More Books by KAI on Amazon:   http://amazon.com/author/kai  

Connect with KAI online: 

Website: www.discoverkai.com
FB: facebook.com/authorkai
Twitter: twitter.com/authorkai
IG: instagram.com/authorkai1

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Briana Cole

Briana Cole is an Atlanta native and proud mother of two. Having graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2009, she immediately began working for the federal government. Briana enjoys acting and public speaking but writing is her first passion. She has coined the term 'spiceual' to describe her style of writing; a mix of spicy and sensual romance that stimulates the reader mentally, physically, and emotionally. Tired of reading the same type of books in the urban industry, Briana prides herself on bringing unique plots and a distinct voice to the bookshelves. Her debut novel, Heart Breaker, is only the beginning in, what Briana considers, ‘a new experience’ in African-American literature. Her motto and ultimate drive towards success is a famous quote from Mae West: "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I got to where I am today because I am a very determined person. I’ve always wanted to succeed and I am the epitome of a ‘go-getter’ and doing things that, to others, seem overreaching. I am motivated because of my positive attitude, my family, and most importantly, my kids. I want to lead them by example, showing them that they can achieve their goals. I stand by that Mae West quote in my biography. “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” That pushes me to continue setting new goals and striving to reach them because that is the only way to succeed.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your work? What genre is it? Is it in ebook format too?
Absolutely! My book is titled Heart Breaker and it is an urban erotic fiction novel that centers on a woman with a very… unique business. She is paid to “bait” men to test their loyalty. The plot is very different and very scandalous with lots of suspense, secrets, and drama. It is due for release May 25th and yes, it will be available in both paperback and Kindle version.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
My main character is Jayla Morgan. Jayla is completely raw and for the most part, a self-centered, arrogant chick and master manipulator. She is used to getting her way, even if that means hurting those she loves. But as the story progresses and Jayla is wrapped up in all the mess she has created, you’ll find out she has put up this hard exterior to mask her feelings. She doesn’t like to be hurt or vulnerable, and her weakness is this subconscious desire for happiness. She is special because some of the things she says and does are quite memorable. Plus, like most readers, Jayla is constantly dealing with inner demons and struggling to bury past mistakes while opening up to love. Readers will recognize that conflict and they will definitely relate.

Readers will fall in love with Jayla’s love interest, Derrick. He has his flaws like anyone, but he is a genuine sweetheart. I wanted Derrick to be that guy every woman wanted for themselves and thus, would grow more resentful towards Jayla for getting him tangled in her deception.

Jasmine is Jayla’s niece who falls in line to be the next Heart Breaker. As the author, even I underestimated Jasmine. She is the one you always want on your team because when she’s against you, it’s ugly.

Tara is Jayla’s best friend and Patricia is Jayla’s mentor. Both women have dominating personalities and you’ll see how Jayla is able to mix so well with them.

My characters are very real because I based on people I’ve known. I wanted readers to hear and see them so clearly, it is as if they are watching a movie. I got so close to these characters, they became like family (A very dysfunctional family). I want readers to feel the same way.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I had been toying with the idea for a while. But between being a single mother and having a full-time job, I just couldn’t seem to find the time to write it. I would do a little bit here, a little bit there but I was not in the routine of writing everyday so months would go by without me touching the story. One day, a coworker of mine mentioned she had published her children’s book and invited me to her book signing. I’m not sure she realizes how that moment was an epiphany for me. She was pursuing her dreams. That is what I needed to do. I had been talking about publishing a book since I could hold a pen and I didn’t want to look up in another 20 or 30 years still saying, “Someday, someday…” If not now, then when?

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book, Heart Breaker?
I thoroughly enjoyed exercising my creativity. I feel I was challenged to think outside of the box since this is my first book. It was fun when my characters came to life and started to jump off the page because the story began developing on its own, despite what I, as the author, wanted to happen. I hated and loved my characters for putting me in that position.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
Because my stories are so wild, I get that question A LOT. My stories are a combination of my fantasies, a little bit of personal experiences, and some crazy ‘what-if’ scenarios I have managed to weave from something I’ve seen or heard. There is nothing off-limits when it comes to my writing. I tend to think, “Even if I wouldn’t do that, I can surely write about someone who will.” Also, I’m into theater and roleplaying so that is another factor.

My books are a refreshing mix of both plot and character-driven narrative. I say that because my characters are often times battling some internal struggles, but there are quite a few external conflicts getting in the way. These external conflicts tend to lead to the character wanting to change and better themselves, but I’m not about to make that easy for them.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
My book puts a new spin on infidelity, trust, communication, and the lengths people go through to feel secure in a relationship. All are popular themes and very relatable to the average reader, but I am excited to bring a new take on these ideas. I even touch on sensitive and complex issues such as abortion and same-sex relationships. Not to say that these topics are under-represented, but I do feel there are many authors that present them in the same fashion. That is what I did not want to do.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
I feel my book somewhat mirrors my present journey because I, too, am struggling to rectify some past mistakes. Nothing as serious as my characters but we know hindsight is 20/20 and we have all made decisions we wish we could un-do. Also like Jayla, I am constantly juggling priorities, all while trying to make time to nurture my relationships.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?
It speaks mainly to women. Even though the story is classified as ‘urban’ because of the predominantly African-American characters, women of all races can relate and appreciate my stories. That’s not to say men won’t find value in my books, as well, because I am digging into the female psyche. My work is definitely for mature audiences.

BPM: Do you consider authors as role models?
Of course! A role model is defined as someone whose success can be emulated. I believe authors are striving to set positive examples. The money and notoriety are a bonus. When a younger generation can look up to you for that motivation and inspiration, that is priceless.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book, Heart Breaker?
I sure did. One of my children’s favorite movies is Finding Nemo and there is a somewhat wise character named Dory in the movie. Dory’s famous line is, “Just keep swimming.” I liken that to myself while writing this book and I feel it is very applicable. “Just keep pushing.” Many people may not realize how demanding the writing lifestyle is. You are constantly balancing writing, marketing, and even working on multiple projects at once. There were nights I had to sacrifice sleep to meet a deadline or I did not ‘feel’ like writing at all. However, I kept pushing through it. Now that I have almost crossed the finish line for this first leg of my writing career, I feel that much more accomplished because I know how hard it was.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book? 
Thankfully, my book did not require too much research but I did meet some phenomenal people during the writing and publishing process. For starters, the staff and other authors at Life Changing Books were instrumental in guiding me. This entire process is brand-new so I can definitely appreciate everyone’s advice. I am also very grateful for the constructive criticism from my test readers because they challenged me. Without their feedback, my book would not be as strong as it is now.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
With my first novel, I wanted to break into the industry with a bang. I wanted my novel to be a packed, page-turning explosion of quality writing, unique plots, and a fresh voice. I want to entertain as well as educate and leave my readers mind-blown and thirsting for more. My story went through many revisions to get it to this point but I feel I achieved just that with Heart Breaker.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I have already written an eshort story that I’m giving away to my mailing list subscribers and I’m currently working on another. I’m also working on the second part to Heart Breaker, and of course, all the associated marketing events for my debut novel. I have a book release party planned for Saturday June 13 in College Park, GA and I’m organizing my book signings and events for the summer. I’m especially excited about the events because I plan to travel. Keep an eye out because I may head your way!

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 
Thank you so much for having me.  I’m very active on social media so follow me, I'd love hearing from you!
Website: www.brianacole.com
Twitter: @BrianaCSpice
Instagram: @BrianaCSpice
FB: www.facebook.com/BrianaCSpice
Amazon page: www.amazon.com/author/brianacole 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Marian L. Thomas

Award-winning novelist, Marian L. Thomas is a dynamic story-teller with five engaging novels to her credit. Her books have been seen on national television stations such as, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Ovation and the A&E Network. She has been featured in print magazines, newspapers and a guest on many broadcast and online radio stations.

Her latest title, "Blue Butterfly" recently scored top honors as one of the 2014 USA BEST BOOK AWARDS Fiction/ African-American Finalist. Each of her contemporary fiction books have reached a bestseller position on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Visit the Author's Website: http://www.marianlthomas.com 

BPM: Tell us about the book, Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life.
Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life is my first non-fiction, chapbook. It's a quick easy-to-read, hilarious ( I hope) but candid take on my decision to remain childless. Some call it, CBC (childless by choice).

BPM: What can readers expect to get out of the book? 
The book covers some common misconceptions about me and why I made the decision to remain childless. It also gets into some interesting topics that I think would make for a very lively book club discussion such as:
a. Do women without children take freedom for granted.

b. Is it a myth or fact that women who make the "childless" decision do so because they don't like children.

c. Do women who decide to be childless do so because they feel they aren't parent material.

d. Is there really such a thing as being "Phobic" about giving birth? 

Readers have to keep in mind that I can only speak for myself. I don't claim to represent every woman out there who has made the decision to be childless.

BPM: What's your favorite chapter in the book?
Well, Living The Empty Carriage Way of Life  is broken down into situations that I have found myself in over the years. I added some elements of fiction in each one, but then I give you my candid and honest take on it afterward. My favorite chapter is on the subject of a woman's biological clock. I cracked up just doing research on it.

BPM: Do you think that women who decide to remain childless seek some sort of validation from others?
In 2008, 24% of women between the ages of 40-44 who held a bachelor’s degree, refrained from entering into the nine-month birthing cycle. So, I think that women are finding that it’s okay to be childless. That making the childless by choice decision is not some type of a movement and it’s certainly not a revolution against motherhood. In fact, being childless can be a good decision and that decision doesn’t need or require validation from others.

BPM: Where can readers get a copy of Living The Empty Carriage Way of Life?
Readers can order now on Amazon and get the book delivered to their front door within days. It's also available for most digital readers too. The reader can check out the book immediately. To learn more about the book, you can also visit the website, www.theemptycarriagelife.com  or my author website at www.marianlthomas.com

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Sharon C. Cooper

Award-winning and bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, spent 10 years as a sheet metal worker. And while enjoying that unique line of work, she attended college in the evening and obtained her B.A. from Concordia University in Business Management with an emphasis in Communication. Sharon is a romance-a-holic, loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies or real life. 

Sharon writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course). 

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?

I think my literary work is for those who enjoy romance and women’s fiction with a happily-ever-after. This book will also speak to those who enjoy the dynamics of a strong, loving family who not only work together, but who are also supportive.  For me, there are definitely authors who I would consider role models (Farrah Rochon, Delaney Diamond, Phyllis Bourne, Candace Shaw, and a host of others). Not only do they lead wonderfully by example, but they are always willing to share information, support and encourage me. 


BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?

My current work, TEMPTING THE ARTIST is about a woman from a very large family who has a secret. She feels that if her well-known family discovers her other life, they might be disappointed and disown her. She’s not willing to take that chance. When she meets and fall in love with a bad-boy defense attorney, she wants to share her secret, but feels that it might jeopardize their relationship. The story is centered around trust, forgiveness and family. This story is available on Nook and Kindle.


BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?

My main characters, Christina and Luke are in their late twenties and early thirties respectively. Christina works in construction and enjoys her job, but has a side hustle –a secret - that she has kept to herself for years. She fears that her family and friends will judge her. When it comes time to share her other life with the man she loves, she clams up. Not trusting him enough, she risks losing him instead of being honest with him.

Luke is one of the most sought after lawyers in New York. Due to personal loss and a need to take his life in a different direction, he quits his job and relocates to Cincinnati. He’s looking forward to the move, not only because Christina, his love interest, lives there, but also because the city offers a slower pace than New York. He and Christina come from two very different backgrounds, but they are perfect together. Yet, Christina has secrets and what Luke can’t handle are secrets and lies. With Christina, he’s dealing with both. But Luke quickly finds out that despite what she’s keeping from him, he’s madly & passionately in love with her and will do whatever necessary to have her in his life.


BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

TEMPTING THE ARTIST is part 3 of one of my most popular series - the Jenkins Family Series. It was time to tell Christina Jenkins (CJ) story. She is a painter by trade and works for her family’s large construction company. She has a secret that she’s held close to her heart for years, but now that she’s in a serious relationship, she has to decide whether or not she’s ready to share another part of her life with the man she loves.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I love books that are a part of a series, especially when they are a family series. What I enjoyed most about writing this story was watching this couple learn to trust each other, grow together, and then get to their happily-ever-after. I also enjoyed the family dynamics that take place in the story and think most readers will be able to relate to some of the situations.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?

My ideas come from: my over active imagination, television, newspapers, and sometimes magazine articles. This particular story has elements around art – which was inspired by my painting hobby. My contemporary romances are more character driven, whereas my romantic suspense tend to be more plot driven. I enjoy writing both character and plot driven. 

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 

My goal for this book was to continue the Jenkins Family Series while telling a light, entertaining story that anyone can read and relate to. And yes, I think I achieved that goal. Besides watching the ups and downs of relationships, the reader will also get to experience the love of a close family.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

I have a number of projects in the works. I’m currently working on book 4 of my Reunited Series (romantic suspense) – OPERATION MIDNIGHT. I’m also working on two Harlequin Kimani books (A Dose of Passion & the other is untitled).

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 


Find Sharon online:

Website:   http://sharoncooper.net 
Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSharonCCooper21  
Twitter:   https://twitter.com/#!/Sharon_Cooper1 
Subscribe to blog:   http://sharonccooper.wordpress.com/ 
Goodreads:   http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5823574.Sharon_C_Cooper 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Brookita R. Braxton

Brookita R Braxton, an Air Force Veteran and a government employee, has always been intrigued by the mother/ daughter relationship dynamic. After being given up for adoption at an early age and losing her adopted mother to a terminal illness, her curiosity evolved into story lines. Brookita lives in Alexandria, Virginia. She attends church and spends time with her family and friends. Maternal Secrets is her first novel.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I am where I am because of my father and my faith. I had a very structured upbringing. As I child I was labeled with a reading comprehension problem. My father didn't allow them to place me in a special class. Instead he started me on a reading program of his own. I read books and completed book reports outside of my normal school assignments. Eventually I grew to love reading and writing. By sixth grade I was reading and comprehending on college sophomore level.

My faith has sustained me through the process of writing and publishing. Over the last seven years I've had a lot of setbacks but my belief in writing as my God ordained purpose kept me from giving up.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 
I believe my body of work speaks to women who are at different stages in their lives. Some of the topics include caring for elderly parents, sibling issues, dating, religion and personal choices. I don't think an author is a role model. I think we're messengers. Our purpose is to get you think and see outside of your own situation, good or bad.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I started writing Maternal Secrets in the year 2007. I woke up from a dream with a melody in my head. I actually start writing my first chapter to the melody. The hook was simple "Why are you peaking into my dreams?" From there Coldra Ashe introduced herself then her mother Lauren came to me. Lauren has twin sister named Karen. Initially they were the same person but Karen became the antagonist of Coldra and Lauren.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing Maternal Secrets?
I enjoyed when the characters spoke to me. It felt like I was interviewing them.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
My book ideas come from my meditation time and dreams. I see scenes when I am sleeping; when I awake I will make a note on my phone. Other times they come when I'm meditating. A character will make one statement. Then over a few weeks different elements are revealed. This particular book is character driven because it focuses on personal choices and consequences. Everyone makes mistakes.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters in Maternal Secrets. What makes each one so special? 
Coldra Ashe is a young woman who thought her life was going as planned. She never paid attention to the obvious even when it was in her face. When reality hit her, she went back home to her mother, Lauren. Lauren is known to have all the answers all the time. She is a respected mental health professional. Unfortunately Coldra learns that her mother doesn't have the answers and her life isn't as neat as she would like it to be. Both women want to be understood by each other even though their choices don't reflect that fact. Coldra and Lauren are on the same journey to healing whether they realize it or not.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.

Maternal Secrets touches on the family dynamic of going against tradition. It has been my experience that exploring religions outside of a family's tradition is frowned upon. Lauren faces this because she gave up her family's religious practices to marry her husband. This book also touches on the decisions families make when dealing with a chronically ill relative's fight to remain independent.

BPM: How does your book relate to your journey?

I was adopted and then lost my mother two years later. This book helped me to heal in ways I would have never thought possible. It also allowed me to get to know my deceased mother because her friends would open up to me after hearing about my book. During the time that I was writing this book I found out that I have two sisters and reconnected with my biological mother. The story has evolved with me over these last seven years. I would say that this journey has brought me into a new awareness of who I am. I was new to the process of writing when I began this novel. Through trial and error I've learned and am still learning about the craft of writing.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book, Maternal Secrets?

The biggest lesson I learned from writing this book is that life will give you another chance if you allow it. You can't control people but you can control the choices you make. You won't always make the right decision but always look for an opportunity to make a wrong decision right.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 

I wanted to finish the book. This is my first novel and I am excited because I didn't allow fear to keep me from moving forward.

Twitter: @write2freeu
Website: www.brookitabraxton.com  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/brookitabraxtonauthor 

Purchase Maternal Secrets by Brookita R Braxton
Women's Fiction/Paranormal
Amazon: http://tiny.cc/vtfwvx


 

 


Intimate Conversation with Catherine Flowers

Catherine Flowers is the creator of www.freefrombondage.com, a Christian blog where she shares the word of Christ through her encouraging words and experiences. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys writing on-line content for multiple websites as well as editing the creative works of others. Her leisure activities include reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. A Sad Soul Can Kill You is her second novel. To learn more about the author, please visit www.freefrombondage.com or e-mail her at authorcatherineflowers@aol.com. You can also contact her on Facebook: Author Catherine Flowers.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I've always had a love for writing. I think I started writing poetry at the age of 10 or 13 years old. I always envisioned seeing my book in a bookstore one day. But life happens. Sometimes dreams get put on hold and I'm not so sure that's a good thing. Anyway, after practicing nursing for 16 years, I began to wonder when I would pursue my life-long desire to become a published author.

It was a chain of events that motivated me to end my nursing career and pursue my dream. First, I came across a saying at the bottom of a magazine one day. I can't remember the exact wording but it read something like this: "You will never swim the ocean, if you're afraid to step away from the shore." I remember tearing that piece of paper out of the magazine and taping it to the top of my alarm clock where it stayed for a long time.

Then an acquaintance announced she was leaving her office job to pursue her true passion which had nothing to do with the corporate world. I took that as a sign that I should be doing something else (writing). I began praying for direction, and after many months of praying, I stepped out on faith. I resigned from my nursing position, and began pursuing my dream of becoming a published author.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?
My work speaks to those who are imprisoned by the past and are unable or unwilling to forgive. Without forgiveness there can be no healing. Without healing there can be no moving forward, and without movement you can never be free.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 
The book had actually been written years ago but the manuscript was just sitting in a drawer. When my youngest child graduated from high school, I felt like it was now or never. I began to notice so many people holding on to unnecessary grudges and the emotional pain it was causing. As a Christian, I know that Jesus is the answer. He is the deliverer. He sets the captives free. We just have to surrender our will and let His will be done. I wanted to inspire those people to turn to Jesus for deliverance.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven?
I get ideas for my books from everyday life, the people around me, and people on television. My books are mainly character-driven but it's the plot that causes action or a reaction from the character. So I would say my books have a little bit of both - plot-driven and character-driven.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
My most recent novel A Sad Soul Can Kill You is due to be released in May 2015. It's a sequel to my first novel, Yesterday's Eyes. Although this second novel is also a work of fiction, the topics are taken from real-life issues. My characters are all connected in some way and each of them is dealing with issues that range from homelessness to addiction.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
One of the main characters in Yesterday's Eyes is Tia, a six-year old girl. The story follows her through an abusive and neglectful childhood into young adulthood. She grows up fatherless, and with a lot of resentment towards her mother and grandmother.

The other two main characters are Tia's mother and grandmother. All three characters are dealing with unresolved issues that have kept them estranged from one another. All of them are special because underneath their pain is a desire to be set free, to love and be loved.

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Ann Clay 

Ann Clay resides in Southern Illinois with her family. She enjoys reading, writing, crafts, traveling, and family time. She began writing in 1999 and is a member of the Romance Writers of America. Thanks to the support of family and friends, Ann shares her heartwarming stories with readers of the heart.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? 

Final Play is a contemporary romance, released October 30, 2014, and is available in both print and digital forms. Final Play is readily available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, but could also be ordered from your local book store. It is also accessible through Kindle, Nook, and other digital sources.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 
This title is what I call my in-between-book. I'm in the heat of finishing the second book from my Gumbo Series, also in the contemporary romance genre, entitled 'Beyond the Blue Cypress'. Because the second title starts in the early 1950's, I have to do some research to make sure the text and the feel of the book mirrors that time. So in-between writing 'Beyond the Blue Cypress',  I got the idea for this book as the football season rolled in. I thought it would be nice to have a good weekend book to read in between quarters of a football game. The story introduces the steamy romance formed between a formal pro-football player and a young doctor he meets just as he leaves his football career to enter another.

BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Always! I've always been an avid reader. Reading was my means of escape when I was a child. Also, I come from a long line of storytellers. My father and brothers could spin a tale without thought or effort. Just pick a topic, we could make up a story, and then, could spin it any way you choose... funny, sad, or adventurous. So, while writing is different from storytelling in a sense, I often use ideas I've seen, heard, or experienced to help me create the plots of my stories.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? Why?
I'm fortunate enough to be able to travel, and in my travels I see a lot of story potentials/ideas. Sitting in the airport is a people-watching opportunity for me. While some people work on their electronic devices or read or talk, I watch people. Their movements, how they interact with strangers, all to me tell stories of everyday living. So I use those things to come up with ideas. I try to write stories I'm interested in. The characters, once they form themselves, pretty much run the story. I just happen to be at the keyboard, jotting it all down. I’m not one of those authors who sketches out the entire story. I pretty much have a concept, I know what the characters will and will not do, and I kind of, sort of know the ending... sometimes. Other than that, I allow the characters to tell their stories.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Anree Alexander, a formal star football player, hangs up his helmet for a prestigious position at a national sports network as a sports analyst. He's popular, smart, driven, yet very modest. Anree loves family, but at the time he meets our heroine is not particularly ready to settle down or start a family of his own.

Rhonda Mitchell, had to overcome a tumultuous past, but champions her struggles with a lot of hard work and support. She lost both parents at an early age, but was blessed to have a godmother, her mother's best friend, as a guardian. Rhonda manages to finish college and med school before many of her peers. And at the time she meets Anree, is steadily focused on establishing her practice and managing other priorities in her life. Which means she's not looking for a serious relationship.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Wow! Key plots deal with self-assessment, what we think is important in life, overcoming heartaches, how much time we spend on ourselves, fear, expectations, commitment, parenting, love or the lack of it, manipulation, protecting the people we care about, promises, hope, healing, and celebration.

This story deals with opening oneself up to possibilities. We never know just how much or how far we can go, never know what we can achieve, if we don't open our minds and hearts to it.

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with AlTonya Washington

AlTonya Washington has been a published romance novelist for 10 years and is a two time winner of The Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer's Choice Award. In addition to being an author, AlTonya also works as a college Reference Librarian. Writing as T. Onyx, AlTonya has also crafted a string of very popular erotica titles. Her long-running and popular Ramsey/Tesano romantic suspense series will soon conclude. "Lover's Origin: Black Island", "A Lover's Return" and "Book of Scandal: The Tesano Elders" will mark the last three titles in the saga.


BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you? 
Hard work and persistence. I recall the early submission letters sent to BET Arabesque. Being consistent in my follow-up correspondence with editors is what I believe got me noticed. From there it was the hard work put into forming my titles that completed the task of getting their interest. Diligence and discipline were the other pieces that proved instrumental in getting my writing contract as well as a degree in library science which is my other passion. I suppose the sense of accomplishment is what truly motivates me.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 
My body of work speaks to adult readers who enjoy a good, dramatic story with a dynamic mix of multi-dimensional characters. I suppose authors are the best role models for other authors.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now? 
I wrote Between Love and Hate long before I had my first writing contract. The idea came to me at a time when the term ‘male-bashing’ was first being tossed around. I make a point of not doing that in any of my stories (unless it’s with a villainous secondary character ?) I wanted to create a story where both characters were equally endearing, yet guilty of mistakes that I attempted to display equally in amount and magnitude.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 
I enjoyed the dynamic between the main characters Cahlir Decker and Bizay Donneeter especially in their roles as parents.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why? 
The ideas can come from ANYWHERE!! I’m as avid an observer as I am a reader. I enjoy observing others and wondering what their stories could be. Even a phrase or the look one character might share with another in a movie can motivate me to want to delve in and explore the meaning behind such actions.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 
Cahlir Decker and Bizay Donneeter had an extraordinary involvement that resulted in more than either of them ever intended. Their connection went deeper than the sexual chemistry that sizzled to life between the powerful corporate consultant and the lingerie entrepreneur. At least, that was what Biz thought until their enjoyable time together ended when she woke one morning to an empty bed and no sign of Cahlir. Biz refused to acknowledge how deeply the man had wounded her-how deeply her feelings for him had grown in the short span of time they had known each other. She was angry and hurt and leaned on a fair amount of hate to survive. Not a bad plan until she received word that her family’s advertising firm was in trouble and that Cahlir was its new owner.

Biz didn’t have time to let fear register over the unexpected turn of events. Fear however, did eventually find its way to the forefront of her mind as did a healthy dose of suspicion. Did Cahlir know that she’d left San Diego pregnant with their child? What would he do when he realized she’d had their daughter and had kept her from him for four years?

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
What makes our hero Cahlir Decker so endearing is the fact that he’s a wounded hero despite his alpha tendencies. The death of his first child is a scar he can’t hide. Our heroine Bizay Donneeter endears herself to us in how determined she is not to be hurt. She’s so determined that she winds up being hurt because of the lengths she goes to in hopes of protecting herself from it.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? 
If so, discuss them. I would suppose our little four year old doll Olivia Donneeter would represent that category. Parents don’t always stop to think of how actions can affect the child when they are so young. I believe we as parents believe that; so young, perhaps the child is unaware of all that’s going on around them. That is so often NOT the case.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present  journey? 
As a parent I’ve had and continue to have to make choices that will have a direct impact on my child. It’s not always an easy existence, but I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book? 
A lot of my ‘research’ came from within-from where I’ve grown in my role as a parent. I started this book before I became a parent and the amount of personal knowledge I’ve gained since that long ago time is unbelievable!

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 
I wanted to create a well-rounded story balanced with the mistakes and triumphs (lessons learned) on both sides. I believe I accomplished that.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
“Lover’s Origin: Black Island”; which is a novella/prequel for the upcoming “A Lover’s Return”, will be releasing in March.   “A Lover’s Return” will release fall of this year. I am currently celebrating the release of my latest Kimani title “Embrace My Heart.”

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 
Visit with me at: www.lovealtonya.com  or  www.alsreaders.com  

Books by AlTonya Washington

http://www.amazon.com/AlTonya-Washington/e/B001JS2S7U 

Connect Online with AlTonya Washington
www.lovealtonya.com
www.alsreaders.com
www.twitter.com/Ramseysgirl 
www.altonyasblog.wordpress.com
www.facebook.com/altonyaw

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Angelena Vernon

Angelena Vernon was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and received her education from the Baltimore City public school system. She furthered her education by attending Coppin State College University, where she received her Bachelor Degree in Social Work. She resides on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with her husband and children.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in life today? Who or what motivated you?
There are many factors that played a part in how I got to where I am today; one major factor is my personal relationship with God who gave me a mind to follow my dreams. My vision was to write a book with all types of poems in it. Through God‘s guidance, grace and strength, the book was written— “Peace in the Valley”.

BPM: Who does you body of literary work speak to?
My poems speak to everyone. Each poem has a different meaning and message for the readers. Everyone can benefit from reading “Peace in the Valley” because the book speaks on life’s circumstances, people we encounter and things we face on a daily basis. The poems will minister to those who need comfort and closure after dealing with things beyond their control.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing a book? Why Now?
What motivated me to write was God. He inspired me to sit down and write as he gave me the words to write on paper. I would not have known what to write had God not given me the revelation and knowledge of things I had not known.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed how God used the words I wrote to actually encourage ME.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? 
Some ideas came from experiences, while others came from insight that God gave me.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Kindle?
It’s an awesome poem book that speaks on the many circumstances of life. It is meant to be thought provoking, funny, and most of all uplifting. It will be available on Kindle.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
The book takes the reader on a journey through many life experiences and puts them in poetic form.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
There is one poem in particular that speaks on child molestation. I believe that this is a topic that people feel awkward and shameful about discussing.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present spiritual practice or journey?
My book continues to inspire and uplift me in many aspects of my life.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
I learned that God can take words you wrote and comfort you with them. He can and will use anything to bless you.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goal and desire for my book was that it would touch the hearts of those who read it. I wanted the words of the poems to inspire, heal, comfort and deliver those who read them. I feel that the goal was accomplished because the book has been a comfort to me.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present time?
I’m currently working on another poem book that elaborates more on life’s journeys. One particular poem speaks on being in a comfort zone.

 

 


Return2Sender 
by Curtis Anthony Brittingham, Sr.

Coming Fall 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!” 

 

 


The Black Pearls Magazine family would like to thank each of you for joining us monthly in celebrating the best in literature and the arts.  Our team of writers, bookclubs and authors are so humbled that you have allowed us entrance into your life. It amazes me each month as I check our subscribers how many of  you deem us worthy of your time and support. 

We appreciate each of you for telling 10 people about the magazine and for driving people to this site. YOU make Black Pearls the magnificent publication that it is, by sharing the Gift of Knowledge!

Please know, as we prepare each issue for you, we look for those stimulating conversations, the most thought provoking articles and most of all, the best books on the shelves. We want each page of this magazine to add value to your lives!  Your comments and feedback are welcomed. Join our blog and share your news, advice and wisdom with the other readers. Tell us what you want to read too!

As we enjoy this exciting year, we hope to bring you more provocative topics and life empowering books to shape your lives. We have contests for the readers and more interactive sections added to the magazine. Let us know what you think of the fresh new content by emailing us here.  Thank you!


Ella Curry, President of EDC Creations
Founder & Editor In Chief Black Pearls Magazine

Disclaimer:  The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing articles for Black Pearls Magazine are theirs alone, and do not reflect the views, opinions or positions of Ella Curry, EDC Creations Media Group, Crown Holders Transmedia Group, Black Pearls Magazine or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or guest writers for this online magazine and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use. If issues should arise, please contact the author or the publishing firms directly. 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

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