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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 and Barnes & Visit the Author's Website:  




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: 

Order on Kindle: 

Print Edition: 




P.W.I.T Phenomenal Woman In Training
A Guide for Girls by Lorna “L.A.” Lewis

Author's Misson: Preparing girls to make the transition from young lady to phenomenal woman! 

Phenomenal Woman In Training: A Guide for Girls was written to inspire and motivate young girls and prepare them for life as a phenomenal woman. As an educator and mother, it's my mission to touch the lives of as many girls as I can. Losing my mother at the age of 13 would've left a huge void if it were not for the wonderful women God placed in my life. Working in education affords me the opportunity to interact with many girls, and it saddens me to see how many are lacking that positive female role model. Phenomenal Woman In Training was written with the wisdom my grandmother, aunts, and church ladies taught to me, and the same lessons I'm teaching my own daughter. The book explains what it means to be a phenomenal woman. It breaks down the word phenomenal, starting with the letter P for positive and ending with L, let your light shine bright. All young ladies from age 10-18 can benefit and learn from this book. 

Purchase P.W.I.T Phenomenal Woman In Training: A Guide for Girls
Inspirational/Motivational; Girls ages 11-18

About the Author
Lorna “L.A.” Lewis
is an author, educator, and motivational speaker. L.A. was hit by the writing "bug" in the spring of 2009, she self-published her first novel Dirty Little Secrets and her daily devotional The Gift of An Abundant Life within weeks of each other. Both books received raved reviews. In March 2012, she published her second novel Dirty Little Secrets II: Expect the Unexpected. L.A. has also written a motivational book Why Not Me?! She is a contributing author to national best-selling author, ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s anthology Motherhood Diaries.

L.A. Lewis landed a book deal with Brown Girls Publishing. A publishing company owned by two of her literary idols, ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray. L.A's next novel Sex, Lies, and Secrets is expected to be released Summer 2014. She is currently working on her fourth novel, Wife Swap.

Although L.A. loves the fact that she's an author, the titles that she's most proud of are wife and mother. Her husband Cornelius, and their two children are her biggest cheerleaders. "I work hard because I want to leave a legacy for my children and my grandchildren. I want their lives to be ten times better than mine, and my life is really good." L.A. Lewis says.   Check out the Lorna “L.A.” Lewis website:




by Curtis Anthony Brittingham, Sr.

Coming May 2015

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

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

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

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

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


Daughter of the Game III: Burning Waters 
by KAI

When hate and revenge rain down like lava spewing from a volcano, even the Waters can't extinguish the fire.
Ricardo triggered a war with plans to snatch the Waters' empire from Armand, but just like a match dropped in the dry woods, no one can control the explosions that ultimately tear across the city and his family. While Pete executes revenge, Armand is left gathering what's left of TW2: Monique and Michelle. As secrets tumble out, and the threat of elimination becomes a reality, the Waters wage a final war that will 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
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: 




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 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.  



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.


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  


DONUM: A Novel 
by Alexandra Lane

Coming June, 2015

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

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

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

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

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


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.


“He’s a blessing. A true gift,” Eliza said.

“Yes, he is definitely a gift to Charles and me,” Katy said smiling, but she was recounting in her head the many years they tried to conceive but couldn’t.

Eliza looked at Teal. “Do you remember me?”

“Yes.” Teal touched her head. “You’re all better now?”

She laughed. “Yes, I’m all better now.” 

“Then why are you crying?” Teal asked with his head slightly tilted.

“Because God sent you to me,” she said looking through a well of tears. All of a sudden, Eliza’s family entered the room and she stood and wiped her face. 

“Everything ok, Eliza?” her father asked as he looked at the guest in the room.

“Yes, papa. I’m just happy to see Pastor Wright and this sweet little boy. I didn’t think I would ever be standing here talking to anyone ever again. So, these are tears of joy, papa.”

Pastor Wright picked his hat up from the table. “Well, we won’t take up anymore of your time. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you in church soon and we’ll talk some more then.”

“Yes you will Pastor,” she said with a big smile. They hugged once more. Then Katy, Teal and the Pastor all left. When they got in the car Katy glanced back at Teal who was playing with his Spiderman and Superman action figures. Katy oddly looked at Pastor Wright. “What was that all about Pastor Wright?” she inquired as she started the car and headed back to the church.

“Katy, I’m going to ask you to do something that’s going to sound really strange to you,” he said with great hesitation. 

“What’s that, Pastor?” she asked wondering.

“I need you to shift your mind from everything you’ve ever learned as a Psychologist and open your mind to something that is going to be very difficult to absorb,” he said looking towards Katy. He was agonizing over how to present the words to her.

Looking worried, Katy asked, “What is it, Pastor?”

He looked at Teal, then to Katy. “Katy, your son has a gift.”

When he said those words, Katy’s mind automatically went back to the old woman in the park. “That’s what that old woman said.”

Pastor Wright was thrown off by her statement. “What old woman?” he asked. 

“I took Teal to the park one day and an old woman came up to him and called him a strange name. She kept saying he was DONUM and that I had to protect him. She also said he had gifts and that he needed to understand how to use them, and what was happening to him. She told me to bring my son to you and you could help him.” Katy had turned into the church parking lot and parked the car. She looked at Pastor Wright like she had a lot on her mind. “As a matter of fact, when I visited one of my patients in the hospital this morning she said the same thing as the old woman and used the same word. She said that an angel told her to tell me to watch after my son, he was the key. Then she said the same word the old woman had said; DONUM. Then she died,” Katy said with a blank stare.

“She died?”

“Yes. They were calling it an attempted suicide, but she told me she didn’t try to kill herself, she said that something came into her room last night and tried to kill her,” Katy said with a blank expression. She was having a hard time with the words she was saying.

The Pastor removed his hat and rubbed his bald head. He took out his handkerchief and dabbed it across his forehead and neck. “Katy, something is happening here in Capers and apparently it’s only going to get worse. To have had two people give you the same message about your son could only mean that he is going to be crucial to whatever is coming and, he needs to be ready for it. 

“Pastor Wright,” Teal called.

“Yes, Teal.”

“Do you know what pro-phas-sy is?” Teal asked trying to remember how to say the word.

Pastor Wright wondered for a few seconds. “Do you mean, Prophecy?” he asked curiously.

“Yes, that’s what she said.” Teal replied.

“Who? Who said something about prophecy?” asked Pastor Wright looking at Teal.

Katy interrupted. “Oh, I forgot to tell you about the dream he had,” Katy said with her same blank stare but with a hint of sarcasm.

“After a horrible night of Teal being attacked,” she said with air quotes. “Later that night in the hospital, he said that a lady spoke to him in a dream and said he was going to be alright. She also told him that evil was here in Capers and…” she was trying to remember the rest of his words.

“Arm-getton, mommy,” Teal said reminding her.

“Armageddon?” The Pastor asked looking at Teal.

“Yes,” he answered. Pastor Wright put his hand to his mouth, he was sweating, his eyes wondered all around as he tried to piece it all together. “Oh my dear God,” he mumbled.

“Katy, I need you to listen to me, please.” There was silence as Katy coolly looked at him. He dabbed his forehead again. “There’s no easy way for me to say this, so I just have to say it. Your son has the gift to heal. When he says they took something from him, he means the energy that leaves his body when they’re being healed from touching him. In the bible, it talks about the woman that had the issue of blood, if you remember, she touched Jesus’s robe and was healed instantly. But the thing that made this healing stick out from the others was, there was a multitude of people surrounding Jesus that was pushing on him and touching him, but he could still tell that someone had touched him and was healed because he said ‘virtue is gone out of me.’ To heal another, drains that person’s body of energy when something as powerful as your son’s gift is activated.”

He sat silent and never took his eyes from Katy’s. Katy turned away and closed her eyes. She raked her fingers through her hair and pulled. 

“Stay with me Katy, please,” Pastor Wright implored. “The word DONUM is a Latin word that means, Gift. That old woman you saw in the park was a messenger of God, and that thing that attacked Teal, that was one of Satan’s demons trying to kill your son.”

Katy’s head shot around towards Pastor Wright when she heard those words. 

“Katy, your son is not a typical, everyday boy. Your son is a gift from God and he was sent here to do something of great importance either for someone, or some people, maybe the whole town, I’m not sure. But that’s why the messages are being sent to you, and they’re right, we must protect him,” Pastor Wright said anxiously. 

“Your son said, Armageddon, this word is from the book of Revelations where it talks about the last days. This is where the devil, the Anti-Christ and the false prophet rise to bring destruction and desolation upon the earth. We need to start finding answers Katy, and I mean, now,” Pastor Wright said with utmost seriousness. “And I believe it all starts with your neighbor, Noigel Braddock. Evil has beset this town from the very first day he arrived here. I believe he is the core to whatever is getting ready to happen.”  There was silence. “Katy?” 

Katy didn’t answer. She just stared out the window. Pastor Wright sat still and didn’t speak a word. He knew it was a lot for her to absorb, but he was praying she wouldn’t dismiss it either.  “I need some time, Pastor,” she finally said.

“Sure, Katy. I know this is a lot,” he said empathetically. “But I need you to understand one thing. We don’t have a whole lot of time. We need to get Teal ready for…”

“For what?” she belted out as she sharply snapped her head around looking at Pastor Wright. “What?!” she asked again.

“Katy, I don’t have all the answers right now, but I promise you, I will have more to tell you when I see you next time. But you need to open your eyes and see, Katy.” 

“Well Pastor, I’m not sure if I’m the right person because I am a trained Psychologist and you have to know how all of this sounds to me right now!” Katy bellowed out.

“I do,” he softly responded.

“It’s going to be ok, mommy,” Teal said from the back seat. “The lady said so,” he said with sweet innocence.

Katy looked at her son, turned back and heavily rubbed her hands over her face. “I need to get Teal home and I have to get to work,” she said looking forward.

“I understand.” Pastor Wright unbuckled his seatbelt and got out of the car. Katy quickly put the car in reverse and backed out hurriedly. She didn’t speak another word as she drove off.

Pastor Wright stood in the parking lot and watched as she drove away. Katy took a quick glimpse in the rearview mirror. She could see that he looked troubled; frightened. But one thing Katy knew for sure, he wasn’t as frightened as she was.

( Continued... )

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

DONUM: A Novel by Alexandra Lane
Coming Soon! Start following the journey today, links below!
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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.



Divided Heart: Queens of Kings 
(Book 2) by LaQuette

The last two years of Heart MacKenzie Searlington’s life have been a constant forward motion of change. 

She’s been promoted to NYPD captain of the seventy-fourth precinct in Brooklyn, a job she never wanted, but is slowly finding her way through with the help of a dedicated second in command and a house full of exemplary officers. 

Married to the sexy and powerful mogul, Kenneth Searlington, Heart is living all of the dreams she never knew to ask for before she fell in love with the man that stole her heart. Although Kenneth bathes her in his love and devotion, insecurities from the past still haunt her and cast a dark veil over their union.

Kenneth Searlington knows only one thing, he worships his wife. He has a singular purpose: to love her as hard as he can for the rest of their lives and to neutralize any threat that dares to come up against them. But how does he protect them when that threat comes from the woman he loves?

Thrown by a devastating loss, Heart allows pain and despair to drive a wedge so large between them they may never be able to recover. Pushed beyond his limits, excluded and taken for granted, Kenneth has to decide whether to allow darker urges to control him, or to use his rage to fight for the one thing he adores, Heart.

Can they mend the rift, or will a divided heart end their legendary love?

Excerpt from Divided Heart: Queens of Kings, Book 2

He was a tall man with alabaster skin and midnight locks that fell beyond his shoulders and down his back. He was dressed in a crisp grey business suit that made his crystal blue eyes sparkle. He wore a knowing smile that said, “I know you know that I’m the ish.” He was a cocky bastard, true, but she had firsthand knowledge of just how amazing he really was. She also had firsthand knowledge that everything that self-assured smile promised he was more than capable of delivering. He sat on her desk with his long legs stretched out in front of him and crossed at the ankles. Easy, calm, confident, and sexy as all hell.

“You know you’re risking life and limb by sitting on my desk like you own it, right?” she asked as she closed the door behind her. She looked around to make certain the blinds on her office windows and doors were in a closed position, this was a moment that was meant solely for the two of them.

“I may not own the desk, but I own the woman that it belongs to…so I kinda do own it if you think about it,” he said as the silky sureness of his voice traveled across the room and pulled her to him. 

Before she could say just how it happened, she was standing in front of him between spread legs, falling into the broad expanse of his chest. “You own me do you?” her voice hitched as she felt his fingers skate from her fingers to her arms causing her skin to sizzle.

“I thought that’s what these rings we wear meant? I own you, you own me? Was I wrong?” He leaned in and placed a light kiss on her cheek, and just like any other time his skin met hers, a sensual burn began to singe the area where his lips had rested for only a brief second.

“Mmmm,” she moaned. “You bet your pretty ass we belong to each other.” She wrapped her hand in his long tresses and pulled him to her, letting her body sink into his and searching for the connection only his kiss could bring. She found his warm, soft lips and mewled into the decadence of the pleasure they ignited inside her.

“God I wish we were home instead of in my office,” she said when they broke apart lungs burning from lack of air. She dived in for one more kiss and then leaned back to look into those hypnotic blue eyes of his. “When did you get back, Kenneth? I thought you weren’t coming home for another three days.”

With Kenneth being gone for the last week on a business trip, she’d only spoken to her husband via video chat and stolen moments through text messages. To have him here, this close to her, close enough to smell and taste… She was just this side of tempted to say to hell with the workday and go home and sex her man until they were both too exhausted to do anything but sleep.

“That was the original plan, but I needed my wife, missed you too much. I don’t think I slept more than a couple of hours at a time, needed you next to me. Not to mention I was a growly beast because I missed you so much. I think the team worked triple time just to get me home to you and out of their hair.”

She smiled at him, always happy to know he was just as addicted to her as she was him. “I’m glad you stopped by, I missed you too. I know you’ve been on the other side of the world, but over here, it’s the start of the work day.”

“Come on,” he wined, pouting his bottom lip out like a petulant child. “You’re the boss, can’t you play hooky today Captain Searlington?”

She shook her head. “Not today. I have a meeting with the inspector in a few hours. I need to prep for it. I may be top cop in this house, but I still have bosses.”

He pulled her to him and nuzzled the exposed skin of her neck. “What time do you think you’ll be home?”

“As long as brass doesn’t lay anything too heavy on me at this meeting, it should be a regular day. I can probably be home by five or six.”

Kenneth groaned. “You can’t do any better than that? I haven’t seen my wife in over a week”

“Go home and go to sleep,” she said softly as she let her hand slide over the broad expanse of his chest. “Be ready for me when I get home. I promise I will show you just how much I missed you.”

“Mmm, see that right there…,” his kissed her lightly on the lips, “…Captain Searlington…,” he nipped her bottom lip with his teeth, “…is exactly why I love you.”

( Continued... )

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

More About LaQuette

A native of Brooklyn, New York, LaQuette spends her time catering to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother, and Educator. Writing: her escape from everyday madness has always been a friend and comforter. She loves writing and devouring romance novels. Although she possesses a graduate degree in English Lit, she'd forego Shakespeare any day to read something hot, lusty, and romantic.

She loves hearing from readers and discussing the crazy characters that are running around in her head causing so much trouble. Contact her on Facebook, Twitter, her website, Amazon, and her Facebook group, LaQuette’s Lounge.

Connect with LaQuette, Romance Author 



King George’s Boys 
by Terry Germaine

At the dawn of the American Revolution, life is harsh for blacks and whites in the wealthiest colony in North America. Coffy has worked for ten years to buy his freedom, but love, war, and a preacherman threaten to tear his dream apart. How far would you go to be free?

Amazon Reader Review 

"King George's Boys" is one of those stories that sticks with you long after you've turned the last page. Coffy's struggle to survive and free himself from slavery is an emotional gut punch. It is a grim and gritty look at the lives and struggles of African slaves in the USA during a time of war and social upheaval. Coffy's story is both painful and full of hope, as he endures the hand he's been dealt in life while never losing faith that someday, he will be free. As the first in the series it lays an excellent foundation for what looks to be a very driven, compelling series, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book. – Cat Jones, Top 500 Reviewer

This book follows Coffy and other enslaved African Americans as they work their way to freedom. Coffy wants to buy out of slavery while others cook up a plan to escape the rice plantation they work on. Great tale of love and heartbreak and the horrendously true reality that was the slave trade. Very intriguing, I can't wait for book two! You'll get pulled right into the story and won't want to put it down. Recommended! – Amazon Reviewer

Excerpt from King George’s Boys by Terry Germaine


Gator Bait

“Do you hear a baby crying?”

I’m too tired to think. We have been walking all night and I’m just happy to reach this creek before sun up.

“I hear something,” I reply. “But it can’t be a baby.”

“Kofi, that is definitely a baby crying,” says Collie. He says that only his mother in Ireland calls him “Colin Lowery,” he prefers to be known as Collie. Driggus and Jaco chime in.

“I don’t hear anything,” says Jaco.

“If it’s something,” says Driggus. “I pray we look into it.”

“Maybe it’s a bear giving birth,” says Joe.

“No,” says Driggus. “I fear your brother was correct in his earlier assessment.”

Joe and I fill our canteens with water and the five of us walk along the creek’s edge toward the noise.

“Do they have alligators this far north?”

“You afraid of gators, Jaco,” asks Collie.

“I don’t fear much,” says Jaco. “But it would explain why there’s a crying baby in a swamp.”

“How is that?”

I see her. 

“There’s a pikinine tied to that tree with a rope around her neck and torso,” I say.

“A pee kee what?” asks Collie.

“He means you were right about hearing a crying baby,” says Driggus. “My old eyes spy her under that cottonwood tree.”

I walk ahead of the others.

“She can’t be more than two years old,” I say.

“Hold up,” says Collie. “What did you mean about alligators?”

“Let it go, mountain man,” says Driggus. “You and Joe haven’t been Americans as long as the rest of us.”

I get to the girl and reach down, loosening the rope around her neck before trying to pick her up. I’m actually not sure which would be worse: running into the gator she was set out as bait for or meeting the hunters who left her here. My answer came with the loud crack of a long gun.


I feel the ball tear through my left wrist. I tuck the child closer to my right side. My dear mother would slap me if she’d heard me curse so loudly, but it feels like I was just set on fire.

Driggus is calling behind me, but I can’t make out what he is saying. Am I falling? I see a blue coat running past me. The ground is cold this morning. I am lying on my back and the baby in my arms is still crying. I have got to get myself together. I hear another loud crack, it’s another gunshot.

“Them big and black, but better than catching gators,” says one of the bluecoats. Soldiers? No. Partisan guerillas like us. Colonial partisans are rushing us.

The regular armies on both sides fight on battlefields head on. This is the other side of the war, bands of five to ten guys burning down farms, disrupting supply lines and fighting one-on-one on the edge of swamps and creeks. At our best, we lay the groundwork for those larger battles giving our side the upper hand. 

The one who ran past me is wrestling with Jaco – not a smart move. I wish I had his fighting skills right now. I hear horses. I’ve got to get hold of myself. I cannot see my left hand, it’s covered in blood.

“Sorry, likkle one.” I have to put the girl down to reach for my knife, but there’s a colonial right on top of me. He grabs me in a chokehold before I set the girl down.

“Likkle?” he mutters with his hands tightly around my neck. “Can’t you boys talk good English?”

I can’t let him choke me out.

“Run,” I say pushing the girl away. She just sits down, covered in my blood and crying. I guess she’s safer there than in my arms right now.

I grab toward his waist with my free hand. I feel a bit light-headed, but it can’t end like this. The bluecoat is mumbling something.

“When you’re dead,” he says.

Mostly, I just hear the child crying. The partisan is squeezing tighter as I strike gold. His pistol is in his waist, lodged between his gut and the buckle of his belt. Got it! The muffled pop of his flintlock wakes me up as his grip fades.

Collie bayonets a man while Jaco stands over another. Driggus isn’t faring as well. 

“There are more coming.” says Joe. He kneels to get a good aim as a horseman charges him. I step over the child to help Driggus, who is staggering back into the creek. I hear more men running toward us as Joe fires.

“Why so many?”

Joe shoots the rider, but another man charges him from the ground as he reloads. The leader arrives on horseback, with his sabre drawn.

“Tarleton’s quarter,” he says, howling louder than I had been when I got shot. “Remember Waxhaw!”

Tarleton? Tarleton is one of our paymasters; five pieces of gold for every farm raided. Now I get it. These guys aren’t hunting alligators, they’re hunting us.

I should be plotting our escape, but I can only ask myself, “How did we get into this mess?”

 ( Continued... )

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

Download King George’s Boys by Terry Germaine 

About the Author  

Terry Germaine is a native of Houston, TX living outside Washington, DC with his wife Nana Yaa Bernice. A graduate of Howard University, his writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Njozi Magazine, and Mosaic Literary Magazine. A portion of all sales go to support Making a New United People (M.A.N.U.P.), where Terry mentors at-risk youth in his free time.

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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 


We sprint into the courtyard as Faymer leads with enraged anger. “No, no, no! You should have moved! He meant you no harm!” Faymer yells at Maia.

Maia whirls around and addresses him. “How would you know? I was facing the devilish snarl on his face and purpose in his steps, not you. You observed the animal’s backside.”

“He’s my horse! My horse! I know his intentions. I raised him since he was a young calf,” Faymer seethes, his face just inches from hers. He’s breathing so hard the small tendrils of hair covering her forehead start to part.

But she stands her ground, steels her precarious eyes, and intensifies her grip on the bow. “The horse will heal after a season of rest; the wounds are not severe.”

“You have no idea what you’ve done!” Faymer bellows as curses fall from his lips. “Wounding a horse at full gallop is like taking away a warrior’s desire to charge into battle. Physical wounds can heal, but emotional ones last a lifetime.”

“Then make the person who released him in this courtyard pay for your loss,” she snaps and lifts her chin, meeting his icy gaze head on. “The problem isn’t mine! I was defending myself!” 

“In the time it took you to fit arrows in your bow, you could have moved out of the way! Have you no regard for any animal other than your own?” 

Now I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never observed a girl like this one. Pretty, confident, and audacious enough to not back down to Faymer. See, if I could get a better view of her legs, I could tell you if she was worth the headache he’s facing. It’s too bad she wears a frown most of the time and has a reputation for being too bossy for her own good. 

Seeing neither party is going to back down, I step between the two as Peverell tends to the fallen steed. “Faymer, don’t forget whom you’re addressing. She’s a royal guest in Jacmuir.”

Faymer starts to object when the whimpering exhale of his horse causes him to dash to his animal’s side. I also join Peverell to assess the damages; we talk in hushed tones. Somewhere along the way, the princess leaves us and moves toward the stable. 

As Peverell tends to the championship horse, Faymer fumes in my ear. “Trouble, Your Highness! Do you see what I mean? Wounding my horse instead of moving aside, what kind of girl did your parents invite to Jacmuir?” 

I nod in agreement, wondering who else she will tick off during her visit and how soon it will be before the citizens who were watching this scene post photos of Faymer’s steed on the internet.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Jacmuir: Trust Stained Lies by Angeline M. Bishop

Inspirational Multicultural New Adult Fiction




The Long Way Home 
by Andrena Sawyer

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

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

Chapter 18 Excerpt: The Long Way Home Excerpt 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shawn was the first to speak.

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

He was now facing her.

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

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

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

Alonna nodded in silence.

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

Alonna continued nodding. 

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

With tears filling her eyes, Alonna shook her head.

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

( Continued... )

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

Purchase The Long Way Home by Andrena Sawyer
Christian Romance;  Download:

Meet the Author

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

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




Angels Make Their Hope Here 
by Breena Clarke

From the author of the bestselling River, Cross My Heart—a compelling and lyrical new novel about a young black woman in the Civil War era who finds refuge in a racially tolerant community.

ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE is set in an imagined community in a mountainous area roughly north and west of Paterson, New Jersey in the 19th century. Russell’s Knob is a hidden, secretive place settled by people who might be described today as bi-racial or tri-racial. The inhabitants describe themselves as runaways and stay-aways. They are people who reject the limiting definitions of racial identity and character of 19th century, mid-Atlantic, North America and live outside of the “white” towns. They are spoken of derisively as “amalgamators” and “race mixers” though their true history is as complex as is the history of settlement in the region.

Dossie, a young girl on the cusp of puberty is conducted on the Underground Railroad from an island plantation in southern Maryland in hopes of finding freedom with the help of the bold, committed individuals who lead escapees through the region toward the free states and the Canada border. Duncan Smoot, one of Russell’s Knob’s bold, charismatic, entrepreneurial citizens, a member of a distinguished founding family, is a conductor on the Underground Railroad. It falls to him to rescue the young wayfarer when another conductor is arrested and tortured. He brings Dossie to Russell’s Knob—to his home—and she comes to believe that she has reached the promised land, a heaven.

Dossie has reached her haven in Russell’s Knob, a complex and often troubled refuge that is a beacon to the escaping slave and a bulwark against their pursuer. Dossie matures and flourishes in the community and with the Smoot family until a violent confrontation causes her to leave, seek refuge in New York City, then abandon the town during the Draft Riots of July, 1863.

With the same storytelling brio that distinguished the acclaimed novels River, Cross My Heart and Stand the Storm, Breena Clarke weaves the richly dramatic story of one woman's triumph in the crucible of history.

Excerpt: PART ONE

SHOULD HE OR SHOULDN’T HE burn the lowlander’s house? Was he a burner? Should he burn them people’s house to free the girl? Did he know what way the wind was blowing? Was she safe in the barn?

Indians, Africans, and amalgamators! Always caught up in fire startin’ is what the whites say. The lowland white farmers are scared of burnouts from hostiles. Ha! Well they ought to be. The People have redressed wrongs and prevented trouble by burning their enemies before.

Burning folk out—ruining what they built—is a serious thing, though. Maybe the slavery of one little girl ain’t enough to make it justified? Ah, these people are not fit for their farm! Their enterprises have failed. They have brush near the house. The woman is lazy. They have no water trough close by. The man is stupid. They should abandon the place.

Maybe they will blame the boy who works for them? He is a white, but he’s a motherless bastard they despise. That boy will be lighting out soon. He’s putting things by. That boy will take a horse and head off as soon as he sees a chance. Is it horse stealing if you take a thing that is owed to you for the life you put into an enterprise? Duncan thought not!

Duncan Smoot has never honored a bargain that was breached by carelessness, disregard, dishonor. The boy was doing what any sound man or boy would do under the current situation. But with him gone these folk will put more work onto the little bond child. They will likely run her down to her skeleton.

Duncan Smoot, a practiced hunter, kept himself concealed. He looked up into the sky—into the trees—and saw few birds. But bird sounds reached him. They were incongruous. He observed the girl’s travails. Is she the one he’d missed taking up because of the arrest of the Evangelist? Was this the very same girl after so long a time? He knew what happened to the Evangelist. Word was passed. They said the young girl was traveling with her. They lost her on the road when the Evangelist was taken up. It was the policy of those who transported the secret cargo on the canals and rivers that they off-load their responsibilities at different and varied stops so that risks were shared and watchers were fooled. It was vital also that, at the busy docksides and way stations, the wayfarer not be lost to the hands of a profiteer. Stationmasters and other agents of the shadow network knew when to expect their packages as information traveled ahead. Is this the girl he was to have taken up? Had the Abingdon ring grabbed her instead? If so, these lowlanders—these so-called farmers—had bought her off the Abingdons and were using her like she’s a slave.

Evangelist Zilpha Seabold was a clever, well-prepared wanderer, but she had been caught. There was no reliable information about the girl she was conducting when arrested. Duncan Smoot was to have been the next link—the next conductor. He was to have met her near the town of Peach Bottom and taken her on to other helpers. He was a happy cog. He was satisfied to be neither the first nor the last of the chain. But the failure of this endeavor stung him. It irked him being unable to find the girl and know she was freed.

Duncan canvassed the colored towns and the fringe settlements looking for her. If she’d been taken in or helped along, then he would be content. He would know. He looked and searched in the woods where the girl was separated from the Evangelist. He talked to like-minded folk. News of Evangelist Zilpha Seabold was troublingly consistent. The hooting and hollering preacher woman was said to have been put in stocks and, by all accounts, tortured. Duncan’s informants said her face was pulpy and her legs broken when they last lay eyes on her. No word of the girl. Reports of the pitiful state of the Evangelist surely meant that she had not given up any names or hideouts. Bless her, she had suffered for her folk!

It is time for a bold action! Duncan thought. He knew himself to be a man consecrated to a cause and pledged to a purpose. Mostly he worked within the system and was one of a chain of folk who followed on the information of others. Now was time for him to act on his own gut.

“What you thinkin’ ’bout, Duncan? You’re a-ponderin’?” Mama would say when he was small and thoughtful. Duncan had been a ponderer when he was a young boy. Then when his sister, Hattie, came, his mama forgot to hold off his tormentors. His cousins, a few years older, were cruel boys. They toughened him up and turned him quickly from a ponderer to a plotter, a schemer, a burner, and an eye gouger.

New York! New Amsterdam! Ach! Grandmother spit when she say it. She say “since when is new?” Grandmother’s spittle runs into our creeks. It sustains us. We won’t die of thirst in these hills. Our Grandmother sleeps there up ahead. She is taking her well-earned nap. Her lips fall back. Spittle runs out of the side of her mouth while she sleeps. The hills, the outcroppings, the ridges, these are her misshapen teeth. Them sharp juts are what remain when flesh pulls back from bone.

It is no doubt that grabbing off this girl from the lowlanders is against some law. Thou shalt not steal off your neighbor’s bond servant, your neighbor’s slave, or your neighbor’s wife. Can you steal off a girl who has already been stolen? Duncan knew he was taking a lot on himself, but surely these lowlanders were holding her by illegal and immoral means. It itched him. It bothered him.

The ring had been uncovered and verified in Philadelphia. They were nefarious. They worked by chicanery to take custody of their victims. Josiah Abingdon and his confederates were a clutch of despicable pirates of all colors who operated a shadow underground. Young escapees were lured or fell into their hands then were sold outright to a variety of work situations. Profit from the sale of children was good because they offered little resistance, and their fear and confusion made them easy to control.

This much Duncan knew for certain: the child he had been searching for had passed into unscrupulous hands, was sold and taken off by this derelict farmer named Logan and his wife.

Was he so fixed on it because of what had happened to Pippy?

As Duncan advanced his plan he mulled the man whose destiny he was changing. Logan was a fool with no neighbors. He’d not even made a dam to exploit the stream that ran in back of his place. If he had water and buckets to dip it, he might save some portion of the house. He is stupid and lazy and not one who would stick in this place.

Duncan watched. They had no dog to raise an alarm that an interloper was nearby? He wondered at a keen man being so careless. At his home in Russell’s Knob no unknown man or animal could come so close unobserved.

She’s a wisp of a child. She’s a bit younger than the boys—than Jan and Pet. Oh! His sensitive insides were softening for her? Pinched and burdened with work, she is losing strength with each day. They feed her little—just bread and what she takes from the cow. Pet’s dogs sleep closer to the fire.

She is kept punishingly busy with tasks. The farmer’s wife seems only strong enough to force the girl to lift and haul and sweep and fetch. She misses no chance to beat and slap at the girl.

Duncan flushed with remorse remembering his chastisement of his nephew, Jan. He’d been so angry that he’d forgotten Jan was a child. He was a willful, irresponsible child who was a bad influence on his younger cousin. But he’d been too hard with him. The child had knelt all night, had listened to him rail, had collapsed in a faint at dawn. Later he had run off.

He resolved to grab the girl up. He resolved to burn the lowlanders out. He figured they meant to use up the little girl, then sell her south. Neither of them was above it. They had a smell about them—an aroma of unconscionable avarice. They would sell her and have the money to go to fail in the farther west.

Duncan Smoot knew the house would burn as he meant it to. He resolved firmly to burn it for them.

He risked a lot of trouble for a little dross. No, no. No. They called her Dossie. Her name is Dossie. Was it for the little Dossie he did it? Was it on account of her that he did so grave a thing? Her tiny goodness and complete helplessness was what did it then—that convinced him? She has two eyes still! Take her up while she still has two eyes to see from. Dossie, Dossie, Dossie. Was it a chirrup from a bird he’d never before listened to?

Duncan attached a bundle of dry brush to the tail of a possum and lit it and chased the poor terrified animal into the yard that had more dry grass and brush. An untidy farmstead is a dangerous place. There is much fodder for flames. And because the wind came in from the northwest and Duncan Smoot knew that it would, it whipped the fire and pushed it toward the Logans’ house and away from the barn.

Duncan knew there was time enough for Mister and Missus to run out of their beds and escape with their lives. They would be startled out. No dog to raise a ruckus! The boy would call out before he rode off. They would certainly rush for their clothes and their money.

And he could escape with the girl. Dossie. The name made him smile. He had heard them calling her in calloused voices. He knew it was a sound that sang and delighted the ear if the voice but said it right.

The girl had come to feel that the cow loved her—cared for her—was concerned with her fate. The animal responded kindly. She turned her head when her teats were touched, and her milk let down when the girl stroked her flank. Her tail brushed gently and distributed her smelly gases far and wide.

“You got a deliverer coming,” the cow said with satisfaction. She moved her mouth in its customary circuit. “Stay alive until he comes,” the cow exhorted upon an exhalation—a snort of breath that raised up chaff and dander. As the pressure in her udders eased under the girl’s squeezes, she added brightly, “He’s coming soon.”

The girl was given only bread and the cow’s milk. Since she was given no other thing—no meat or apple—to fill up, her stomach was stalled and queasy. The cow pitied her and wished she could nibble on grass. The cow swatted flies off her own ass and wondered what was taking the deliverer so long to come.

When in the morning the heavens were clear. Dossie opened the door to the barn a crack and peeped. The bright light startled her. It was the same as to open all the windows in a house and let the sunshine come in like streams of yellow glory. Dossie felt the hot air on her face and sang her morning birdcalls like Bil and Ooma would do when the day came bright. She stood in the doorway of the barn, looked back at the cow, smiled, and thanked her. Though she would leave off sleeping with cows, she was filled with a notion of kind regard for and heartfelt appreciation of cows. Dossie turned and walked off. She looked back again to see the boy leading a horse with a bundle tied to the saddle. She saw the unsteady, middling tree that stood aside the house fall in and crush what remained of the charred roof. Smoke smell was in the air. Feeling still in her head, she walked away to the clearing at the edge of the Logans’ tract where their cries of alarm did not reach.

Duncan Smoot took the girl away from the Logan farm on foot uphill—her small hand buried completely in his much-larger one. They followed a trail cut by a stream and marked by slick boulders. Water ambled downstream and reflected sparkles of the sun. She walked behind him and troubled to keep step. Perhaps he lifted her from the ground? Yes, when they reached the tall marsh grass at the edge of the stream, he lifted her and carried her across it. Did he carry her through the dense cover that bordered the Logan farm? No. No. He put her down and her feet passed over the ground—over rocks, moss, through a dry streambed.

She felt herself borne along with the man as a mite in his pocket or a string on his sleeve. Her breath came ragged as they climbed. She was unused to the terrain. Her mind formed little or no idea about her fate. She ought perhaps to have been frightened, but she was not. She believed the cow. At every turn she was treated to a different wonder.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Angels Make Their Hope Here by Breena Clarke


About the Author

Breena Clarke's debut novel, River, Cross My Heart, was an October 1999 Oprah Book Club selection. Ms. Clarke, a native of Washington, D.C., is the recipient of the 1999 award for fiction by the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and the Alex Award, given by the Young Adult Library Services Association.

Breena, who has survived the death of her only child, writes with depth and clarity about grief. Her work is marked by compassion and magnificent use of language. Fascinated by the vast array of small and insignificant objects that contain finely detailed denigrating images of African-Americans, Breena is a passionate collector of Black Memorabilia.

A graduate of Howard University, Breena Clarke is co-author with Glenda Dickerson of Remembering Aunt Jemima: A Menstrual Show, which is anthologized in Contemporary Plays by Women of Color and Colored Contradictions, An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Plays. Her short fiction is included in Black Silk, A Collection of African American Erotica, and Street Lights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience. Her recollections of Washington, D.C. are included in Growing Up In Washington, D.C., An Oral History, published by The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Breena credits having learned to swim eight years ago with changing her life. After completing a course of classes at New York's Asphalt Green Aqua Center, she has become a member of an aqua aerobics class, swims three times a week and practices Qi Gong.

Breena Clarke is an advisor to the board of A Room Of Her Own Foundation, is co-organizer of the Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers and is on the faculty of Stonecoast MFA University of Southern Maine.



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

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

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

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

Meet Eugeena Patterson on her blog:  or join her fans on Facebook:  Don't forget to check-out the first book in the series, Deep Fried Trouble, Book 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I was raised in Beaufort.”

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

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

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

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

She frowned. “What do you mean?”

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

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

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

“My biological dad.”

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

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

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

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

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

That’s when it hit me.

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

Then I looked back at the photo. 

Dear Lord!

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

Louise Hopkins, you got some explaining to do.

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

( Continued... )

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

Oven Baked Secrets by Tyora Moody

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

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

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

Tyora "Ty" Moody, Author and Literary Entrepreneur   |
Books by Tyora: 

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



North of the Grove 
by William Ashanti Hobbs

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

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

Message from the Author
North of the Grove was born out of my time as an in-house counselor while living in Virginia several years ago. I signed on to counsel a fourth grader who was more than his single mother could handle. Even with extended family pitching in when they could, it was obvious an older male’s influence was needed. I learned a lot about perseverance and faith after he began to trust me. I would come to his home aggravated because of traffic or the weather, only to sit wide-eyed and speechless from hearing about some of his experiences. I began to look forward to seeing him just to get a better perspective on my own challenges.Several family members had abused and let this young man down in ways I still have trouble putting into words. He managed to forgive them all, so much so that he indirectly showed older members of the family how to do so. This really got me to thinking about the power of forgiveness and redemption. 

As a writer (I teach creative writing at Florida Memorial University), I found myself writing a story that was clearly inspired by my experience as an in-house counselor. Questions arose as I developed characters like Howard Capelton, the story’s educated, middle-class mentor: at what point does one draw a line between sustaining their own family and trying to save someone outside of it? Isn’t that question at the heart of the breakdown of so many communities today? The story became a novel, of which I've recently published recently to bring more awareness to the funding of the film. (Please see press release) Many have enjoyed the novel as it developed, all the while insisting it had the rhythm and sensibilities of a movie.

The message in North of the Grove is simple: we all need to reach out to one another - in spite of ourselves. With a shaky economy and an endless stream of tragic news stories, it seems perfectly understandable to go through life from your driveway straight to work and back. It makes sense to keep windows up and doors locked, in a sense, when others ask for help. This, however, narrows one’s vision to miss what one needs to feel like a complete human being. This movie is about the highs and lows of being distracted, selfish, flawed, and yet still trying to make a difference. In doing so, I seek to have the novel version of this project become a valued resource in prisoner advocacy and youth groups and have the project as a whole become part of a viable young male mentoring program in the Miami Gardens area. For more information, go to: 

EXCERPT: North of the Grove

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Continued... )

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

Purchase North of the Grove by William Hobbs




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

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

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

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

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

Intimate Conversation with Author Bobby Cenoura

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Books by Bobby Cenoura


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




My Little People: A Social Worker's Journey

by Annie Clara Brown

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

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

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

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

My Little People Book Reviews

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

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

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

Excerpt: From Introduction Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase My Little People: A Social Worker's Journey





Yesterday's Eyes 
by Catherine Flowers

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

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

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

Praise for Yesterday's Eyes by Catherine Flowers

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt: Yesterday's Eyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Watch your head getting in," he said.

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

( Continued... )

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

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



In Love With The Other Man 
by Francina Lucas

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

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

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

Chapter One:  In Love With The Other Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thank you,” he said and walked away. 

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

( Continued... )

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

Purchase In Love With The Other Man by Francina Lucas

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

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




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 


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.”





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 17

My Ah-Ha Moment

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

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

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

Dear Lonely Kristin:

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

Signed, Lonely Kristin 

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

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

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

Chapter 18

Restoration and Recovery—It Comes Full Circle

“Time will reveal.”

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

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

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

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

( Continued... )

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

About the Author

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

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

Kindle Edition-

NOOK eBook- 




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

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

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

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

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

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

Son of a Itch - Book 2 by S.D. Skye 

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

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

A No Good Itch - Book 3 by S.D. Skye 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Intimate Conversation with 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 and Barnes & Visit the Author's Website: 

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,  or my author website at



Intimate Conversation with Francina Lucas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Intimate Conversation with Annie Clara Brown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Intimate Conversation with Catherine Flowers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Intimate Conversation with Bonnie Taylor-Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Intimate Conversation with Ann Clay 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Intimate Conversation with Alexandra Lane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Intimate Conversation with Andrea Clinton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Intimate Conversation with William Ashanti Hobbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Intimate Conversation with Kristin L. Mitchell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Intimate Conversation with D.J. McLaurin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Intimate Conversation with S.D. Skye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Intimate Conversation with Shay Spivey 

Shay Spivey, BSW, MSW is a scholarship and financial aid advisor specializing in helping students understand and prepare to win scholarships for college. Shay was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and earned her Bachelor and Master of Social Work from Indiana University. She has studied scholarships and free financial aid extensively and developed a passion for helping others find free money for college. 

Featured Book:  How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application: Secret Techniques I Used to Win $100,000 in College Scholarships by Shay Spivey, BSW, MSW.  Shay Spivey shares her proven tips and techniques that helped her win over $100,000 in college scholarships and free financial aid toward her own undergraduate and graduate degrees. 

Excerpt from How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application:

“Congratulations on your decision to search for alternative ways to pay for college!

As a scholarship winner and college graduate, I have developed proven tips and techniques that helped me win over $100,000 in college scholarships and free financial aid. As a proven expert and professional consultant in my respective field, I am devoted to helping others find, apply, and win free money to go to college. In this guide I will share with you my proven tips and techniques on how to submit a winning scholarship application.”

BPM: What sparked the idea for your book? 

I wrote this book to fill a special need in the community. I wish I had this book when I was in high school because I would not have felt so lost. I dropped out after my sophomore year when I ran out of money. Years later I decided to return to college as an adult and began researching alternative ways to pay for college. I won $100,000 in college scholarships and want to help others find free money to complete their degree. Readers can check it out on Amazon: 

BPM: How personal is your writing? 
I decided to return to college as an adult and spent a significant amount of time researching alternative ways to pay for college. I am passionate about scholarships and financial aid and I hope that comes through in my writing. When trying to find a way to put myself through college as a single parent, I was blessed to find my purpose in life. Every step of my journey has led to this moment and I believe that with all my heart. I sincerely want to help others achieve their educational goals without going into debt.

BPM: Why are scholarships and free financial aid important?
College is expensive. Scholarships and financial aid are vital to the equal access, enrollment, and retention of underrepresented students in colleges and universities. Tuition costs are rising at an alarming rate and the rising costs of higher education have many people wondering if they can afford college. Education changes lives and scholarships and free financial aid make it affordable.

BPM: What do you want readers to get from your book?
There are several things I hope readers learn after reading my book: (1) An understanding about scholarships and financial aid; (2) how to submit a winning scholarship application; (3) how to prepare in advance; (4) how to create an advantage; and (5) what scholarships judges are looking for. Most importantly, I want people to walk away feeling empowered, knowing that they too can change their life.

BPM: How did you win $100,000 in college scholarships?
I won over $100,000 in college scholarships which allowed me to return to college and change my life. Returning to college was a priority for me. Therefore, I made finding the money to pay for it a priority as well. One thing was certain in my situation: No money, no college. 

I treated the process of applying for scholarships and free financial aid like it was the last chance I might ever have to return to college... because it was. This was it. College was my ticket out of poverty, my chance to change my life, and the opportunity I had been waiting for. 

If I could not convince scholarship organizations to help me financially, I had no other way to pay for college. I put my heart and soul into telling my story and getting it into the hands of anyone who could help. Applying for scholarships opportunities became my part-time job, and I was determined to give it my best shot. 

BPM: What motivated you to return to college in your thirties?
There were many motivating factors that played a part in my decision to return to college and earn my degree. One motivating factor was feeling stuck in an entry level job, living paycheck to paycheck, struggling, and watching the world pass me by. I attempted several times to apply for better positions, however I learned that without a college degree opportunities for advancement did not exist for me. I needed to make a change or I felt like I would die a death of stagnancy. I felt like my life was going nowhere.

BPM:  How can readers get this book?  What is next for you, Shay?
I am currently working on my next project which addresses another need: Scholarships and financial aid for private high schools. Readers can purchase How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application  at:

Connect with Shay Spivey, BSW, MSW
Twitter: @ShayMSpivey

Watch & Share the How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application
Book Trailer: 

Purchase How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application: 
Purchase on Barnes and Noble:




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. 

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

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

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

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



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