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Intimate Conversation with Sistahs and Friends Book Club

Founders of Sistahs and Friends - Yvette Barrett, Malinda Burden and Priscilla Myers. In December, 2014 we lost our 4th founder, Theresa Jackson.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How did your club get started?  Does the name of the club have a special meaning? How many members do you have? 

Sistahs and Friends Book Club started in 1997, in Chicago, when 4 young professional co-workers, Priscilla Myers, Theresa Jackson, Malinda Burden and Yvette Barrett discovered they shared a common passion. That passion was the love of reading and the desire to share their thoughts with each other. We had our first book club discussion in a conference room during our lunch hour. It was such a great experience that we decided to continue and called ourselves, Sistahs Bookclub. Later on we had a male that wanted to join us. So in fairness to him and other potential males, we changed our name to Sistahs and Friends Bookclub. We started with 4 and currently have 12 members.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Is there something in particular that makes your group different from other groups? 

Sistahs and Friends unites mature women and men from diverse backgrounds together in sister and brotherhood. We promote spiritual, motivational and intellectual development and awareness through the reading of fiction and non-fiction books, embracing the style and diversity of each member and each author. What we thought would be just a past time, for getting together among friends and sharing views on literature, led to so much more. We increased our membership, produced a mission statement, elected officers, created by-laws, paid dues, and 19 years later we are still Sistahs and Friends Book Club. 

BPM: What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?

Sistahs and Friends exemplify the true essence of sisterhood. Our legacy will be that true Sistahs support, lift and motivate each other not tear them down. 

BPM: Tell us about your members. What is the demographic of your group? How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole? 

Our members are mature professionals who all grew up from various backgrounds and areas in the city of Chicago. We started this group 19 years ago as "Bubbies" and have grown into mature outgoing, outspoken women who love a great book, with a great meal, a great glass of wine and a great discussion. These is no room and no tolerance for pettiness and or catiness. We may not always agree on the rating of a book but we will always have a great debate regarding the merits of our selections or lack thereof. 

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Has it been difficult to get people to join the group or to stay in the group? Do you have an online version of the group?

We look for someone who will fit in our circle and have the passion for reading as we do. When a vacancy occurs, we invite the potential member to a meeting to ensure that their personalities mesh with the current membership. We have never had a problem attracting members however in the beginning we had problem retaining them. Some members were not committed to reading which lead to the creation of bylaws which have proved to solve the problem. Our current members have been active 10 years or more. 

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?

By everybody sharing their own opinion of the book it leads to great conversations. Sometimes we can walk into the meeting ready to give a low rating and after much discussion it can easily be adjusted higher. Our sistahs are definitely not shy, they are very outspoken and will tell you like it is with no regrets. Many authors have experienced the brutal truths of Sistahs and Friends. Sometimes a reading guide is helpful but we don’t always use. We have very creative members who come up with games, quizzes, etc. to engage the group and stimulate conversation during the meeting. 

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers? 

Sistahs and Friends Book Club’s season is from September - May. During the May meeting members randomly select a month to host for the next season. It is the responsibility of the host to select the book for the month which she is hosting. Most of the members make their selection based on recommendations from family and friends, reading over the summer or just reading reviews on-line. There have been times when some of us have read another book and discussed it outside of the book of the month for the bookclub. We share our book selections (2011 to present) on our website. 

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?

In the early years of Sistahs and Friends we only read books by African American authors. However over the years we have developed an appetite to broaden our horizon and not limit ourselves. During the years we have supported all authors as well as self-published authors and invited some of them to attend our bookclub discussions (via in person, Skype, FaceTime and conference call). Yes, a few of our members still borrow books from the library but the majority have Kindle or a Reader. 

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? Have the types of books changed over time? 

The types of books we prefer to read has changed over the years, in the beginning we read books by authors like E. Lynn Harris, Michael Baisden, James Patterson, Eric Jerome Dickey, Terry McMillan, Zane and J. California Cooper. The books dealt with short stories, sex and relationships respectively. As we have matured so have our books. Today, we read books by authors like Brandon Massey (Don’t Ever Tell), Khaled Hosseini (Kite Runner), Pamela Samuels Young (Anybody’s Daughter), Dwayne Alexander Smith (Forty Acres), and Daniel Black (Perfect Peace) and Naleighna Kai (Every Woman Needs a Wife). As you can see our selection of books have expanded and our members have welcomed all authors regardless of ethnicity. 

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons?
 
Here are a few that received the highest rating that we give - (5stars) Good To The Last Drop. 
Standing at the Scratch Line - Guy Johnson
Forty Acres - Dwayne Alexander Smith
Perfect Peace - Daniel Black
Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skoot
The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
My Soul to Keep - Tananarive Due
Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers
The Douglass Women - Jewell Parker
No Regrets - Patricia Haley

BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?

Sistahs and Friends started out doing a grab bag each Christmas but decided that we wanted to give back to the community instead. So now we do just that. We have worked with Chicago Public Schools, DCFS, and St. Joseph Children’s Hospital. Through them we have provided children with everything from clothing, school supplies to toys. This year we decided to change our focus gave to a domestic violence shelter. We provided them with purses filled with all the day to day necessities. We are very proud of our accomplishments and it fills us with such satisfaction to see the smiles. Sistahs and Friends have an outing once a year in the summer (during our break) to do something fun with each other (dinner, painting, plays, and architectural tours). We have also hosted a luncheon, had weekend trips to Wisconsin, San Francisco and next year our 20th Anniversary (TBD). 

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who are in or who might want to start a book club?

Don't be discouraged if you don't start out with committed members. It took us at least 10 years before we had truly committed members. We had to develop bylaws to vet out serious readers versus those who were only in the club to eat, drink and be merry. As a result, some members have come and gone. Also, don't look for members who are all exactly like you. You will end up with the Stepford Book Club and this will make for very boring conversations. What has kept us going over the years is our passion for good reads, our like of each other and our mutual respect of each others differences. 

BPM: Can we invite you to future events and discussions? Do you have a website or social media pages?

We would love to receive an invite for future events, chats and discussions. You can follow us below on our website, email and Facebook. 

Website: sistahsandfriendsbookclub.com
Facebook: Sistahs and Friends

 

 

 

 


The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney 
by Eartha Dunston


Meet Princess Lindsey Sidney, a precocious little girl with big, bushy hair! Join Lindsey Sidney for a week of “hair adventures” as she watches her hair transition from bushy, to straight and all styles in between. She celebrates her unique styles each day of the week. 

The hair adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney is the first in a series of children's books entitled the Princess series. Each book aims to serve as a dialogue for children, parents and educators to address such issues as positive self-image and dealing with the loss of a loved one. I hope you enjoy reading about Princess Lindsey Sidney in this book as she celebrates her beauty; and later, as she triumphs through difficulties in "Grandma is Dancing in Heaven."

Meet the Author 

Eartha Dunston has been writing since she was a freshman at Alabama State University. She first realized her love for writing when one of her best friends secretly entered her into his fraternity’s poetry slam. She anxiously shared her writings publicly for the first time and received an overwhelming standing ovation! It was a pivotal moment, and she knew in that instant she would one day write professionally. Her educational background coupled with becoming a mom, inspired her to begin writing about issues that affect children such as positive self-image and loosing a beloved family matriarch. She has spent the past few years honing her craft under the tutelage of many award winning and accomplished authors.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Clinical Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University. Eartha enjoys traveling, encouraging others through life’s obstacles, reading and crafting stories in all genres. She currently resides in South Florida. Her first Children's novel is entitled "The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney." The book introduces us to a beautiful princess who celebrates her hair as it transitions textures and styles throughout the week.

 

 

 


A Sinful Calling 



(A Reverend Curtis Black Novel) by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Book 13 – Reverend Curtis Black Series

Dillon hadn't been called by anyone. He'd called himself and he wasn't ashamed of it. But no good can come from . . . 

Two years ago, to everyone’s surprise, Dillon Whitfield Black, the secret son of Reverend Curtis Black, boldly moved back home, married a woman named Raven, decided he was going to become a minister and then founded a church right in the center of his living room. Today he’s pastor of a 1000-plus-member congregation, and new members are joining weekly. Sadly, behind closed doors, Dillon is far from being a saint. Dillon has become more like the man his father was thirty years ago–consumed with money, power and lots of women. His family may have forgiven him, but they continue to keep their distance.

Not Alicia, though. This daughter of Curtis Black joins Dillon’s congregation, leaving her father’s church behind. The family has forgiven Alicia for marrying Levi Cunningham, the former drug dealer she had an affair with, however, once Alicia realizes they will never fully accept Levi, she decides to see her family less and less.

But when Raven decides she wants a higher position in the church and Alicia hides a devastating secret, the entire family is affected in ways they don’t see coming. In the end, no one will be able to trust anyone…and for very good reason.


Excerpt: Chapter 1


As the choir sang, Dillon gazed across his 1,000-plus-member congregation and could barely contain himself. His heart raced with excitement, and it was all he could do not to break into laughter. The reason: He felt more like a rock star than he did a pastor, and his plan was working brilliantly. Even from the pulpit, he could tell that the members of New Faith Christian Center loved and worshiped everything about him, and he couldn’t have been more pleased.

And who would have guessed that a man of his character, someone tainted with such a sinful past, could achieve this kind of glorious success? Especially with the way Dillon had tried blackmailing his own father, the infamous Reverend Curtis Black, and had slept with his own brother’s wife. Those two indiscretions alone had occurred just over three years ago, however, thankfully—for whatever reason—Curtis and Matthew had forgiven him. Dillon and Matthew certainly weren’t the best of friends, and Dillon could tell that his dad still didn’t trust him, but again, they no longer held his past crimes against him. Although, it wasn’t like they ever called or spent time with him, either. 

But the best news of all was that his sister Alicia had turned out to be his favorite person, and she was now closer to Dillon than she was to any other family member. The two of them could easily serve as poster children for popular clichés, as they were definitely thick as thieves, two peas in a pod, bosom buddies, and the list went on. They were as close as any brother and sister could be, and they stood up for each other—probably because they were now both the black sheep of the family. Still, they’d made a pact, and because Dillon didn’t have much of a relationship with anyone on his mom’s side, God rest her soul, he cherished the one he had with his sister. This was part of the reason that he’d decided very quickly that she would be New Faith’s chief operating officer. He was also grateful to his brother-in-law, Levi, who’d invested all the initial funding to get the church up and running. 

Because of drug-related charges, Levi had done time in prison, but he was a changed man and anyone could see that he loved Alicia with his entire being. Levi had also proven beyond question that he would do anything to protect Dillon and the ministry, and he was the perfect chairman of the church’s elder board.

Although, it wasn’t only Alicia and Levi who genuinely cared about Dillon, because he now had a gorgeous wife who loved him, too. Raven, who sat smiling at him in the front row, was his everything, and he couldn’t be more grateful to have married her. He was thankful to finally have found a woman he trusted and appreciated, because before Raven, it had been no secret that he’d never had much respect for any woman, not even his own mother. 

Of course, there was no denying that, like his own, Raven’s past wasn’t pretty, but she loved, honored, and respected Dillon, and that was all that mattered to him. Yes, Raven had once served as chief financial officer at his dad’s church, and she’d served a few years in prison for embezzling a hundred thousand dollars from the ministry—out of desperation to repay her gambling debts—but today, she was a different woman. She’d been completely delivered from her casino addiction, and she was the ideal first lady. The women of New Faith Christian Center certainly thought so, and they viewed her as a stellar example. To them, she represented the fact that anyone could change for the better if he or she wanted to, and they admired that. Dillon was also happy to say that part of his success as a pastor, as well as the growing of the congregation, was a result of Raven’s notable business acumen. She was exceptionally good with numbers, and while she wasn’t New Faith’s CFO, she’d given Dillon daily advice in terms of how to handle church finances in an entrepreneurial fashion. Dillon had listened to every word and had carefully followed her suggestions, and as a result, the church leadership as a whole had very few complaints when it came to his operational decisions. It was the reason the membership was solid and increasing weekly.

But on a more personal note, Raven was the kind of woman most men would be proud to have. Not only was she head-to-toe beautiful, she was also highly intelligent, confident, and sophisticated. She didn’t seem at all like the woman he’d heard about before meeting her—nothing like the felon who’d finished a stint in prison. It was as if she’d taken lots of time to learn everything she could about culture, class, and elegance, because along with her dressing the part, she decorated their home in the same manner. She carried herself with total refinement, and Dillon was glad she’d contacted him right after he’d become estranged from his dad and siblings and had been forced to move back to Atlanta. Raven had told him that she didn’t want anything from him, but that a friend of hers had filled her in on his situation. She’d certainly understood what he was going through, particularly since she’d made her own mistakes and had been ousted from her CFO position by his dad. She’d then shared that because she’d had the opportunity to work so closely with his father and his church, she knew the ins and outs of Deliverance Outreach’s daily operations. This conversation alone had gotten the wheels spinning in Dillon’s head, and it was then that he’d decided he was going to become a minister. It was true that he’d learned a long time ago that it was much more customary for a minister to be called by God to preach, but truth was, Dillon hadn’t been called by anyone. He’d called himself, and he wasn’t ashamed of it. He’d founded his own church in the living room of his tiny apartment, and he was prospering nicely because of it.

This, of course, made Dillon think about his former fiancée, Melissa. What a dimwit she’d been, and while he hadn’t seen or heard from her since that night she’d confronted him three years ago, he hadn’t forgotten what she’d done to him—and he wasn’t planning to leave this earth before paying her back. Just thinking about the way she’d taken all his money and run off with their idiot lawn boy, Country Roger, made him cringe. Yes, Roger was a grown man, but to Dillon, he’d been nothing more than a raggedy-mouth child who’d needed tons of dental work. Dillon had known from the time he’d hired him that he was a knucklehead, but Country Roger had come cheap and he was good at what he did. Still, not once had Dillon imagined that Melissa would be foolish enough to start sleeping with Roger behind his back and then run off with him, taking just about every dime Dillon had.

Not long after Dillon had met his dad for the first time, Curtis had given him five hundred thousand dollars, trying to help make up for all the years he hadn’t been a father to Dillon, and his aunt had left him a hundred fifty thousand when she’d passed. But after spending two hundred thousand buying a condo and furnishing it, that had left him around four-fifty, and Melissa had gotten into all his bank accounts and taken the money for herself. She’d then betrayed him even further by giving proof to his dad that Dillon had been trying to blackmail him. Worse, the night she and Country Roger had left, Country Roger had held Dillon at gunpoint so that Melissa could say everything she wanted to him. Melissa had somehow, out of nowhere, discovered that she had a backbone, and she’d spoken to Dillon as if he were some moron. She’d acted as though she’d never loved him and was no longer afraid of him. The latter had shocked Dillon the most, because for years he’d controlled her every thought and move and had kept her in line. He’d made sure she’d known who ran things in their relationship, and sometimes when she’d acted stupidly, he’d had no choice but to physically remind her. But on that final evening, she’d turned into a woman he hadn’t recognized and had seemingly lost her mind.

That was okay, though, because again, Dillon would eventually seek retribution. It was true that three years had passed, but he hadn’t forgotten, and there were times when he lay awake at night thinking about it. He wished he could simply move on the way he knew some good Christians would, but no one stole from him or humiliated him and got away with it. He just couldn’t live with something like that, and when the time was right he would handle things the way he saw fit. He’d made a promise to himself that he would never put his hands on a woman again the way he had with Melissa, but he would still find a way to get his revenge.

After the choir finished singing its last song, a few church announcements aired on the TV monitors, and Dillon got up. He buttoned his Italian-made black pinstripe suit and stepped in front of the glass podium.

“This is the day the Lord hath made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it.” He began with the same scripture he quoted every single Sunday. He didn’t speak these words because the scripture meant any more to him than any other scripture he’d read; he did it because it was the scripture he’d always heard his father open with. He’d even once heard his dad say that he also quoted it each morning when he woke up, so Dillon decided that if this particular scripture was working for his dad, it would certainly work for him, too. But Dillon had taken his approach a step further, because he had taught his members to quote it back to him.

“This is the day the Lord hath made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it,” his parishioners spoke in unison.

“It is truly a blessing to be alive,” Dillon said. “It’s a blessing just to be able to say we woke up this morning in our right minds and in good health. Amen?”

“Amen,” everyone said.

“You know, for some reason I feel like sharing my testimony this morning. Many of you have heard it before, but today I feel led to share it for our new members and any visitors who are present.”

Dillon looked toward the ceiling of the sanctuary and closed his eyes. He did this to gain sympathy, and he didn’t open them until he’d mustered up real tears. He wasn’t in the mood for doing any crying today, but he’d learned early on that his church members pitied him a lot more when he did. It was one thing for a woman to shed tears, but it was something totally different when a grown man did it, and he gave them a great performance.
Dillon opened his eyes and sniffled.

“Take your time, Pastor,” more than one person said.

Dillon took a deep breath, and tears streamed down his face. “I’m so sorry, but I just feel full today. God has been so very good to me, and He’s brought me a mighty long way. My aunt used to say those very words all the time, and now I know what she means. Life hasn’t always been this great, though, because no matter how much I’ve forgiven my father and moved past what he did, it’s still very hard sometimes. It’s hard to imagine that any man would sleep with a woman, get her pregnant, and then cut her off like a piece of trash. But that’s exactly what my dad did. Then when my mom gave birth to me and asked him to take care of me, he refused. And not only did he refuse, but when he was forced to take a paternity test, he somehow worked it out so that his play brother took the test instead. But even that wasn’t enough, because then my dad paid off a couple of strippers my mom worked with. He got them to say my mom had been stealing money from the strip club she worked at, and she was fired.”

When Dillon saw a couple of women already wiping tears, he swallowed hard and sniffled again for deeper effect.

“Please excuse me, but telling this story never gets easier.”

Many people nodded with approval and gave their full attention to Dillon.

“After my mom got fired, though, and then learned that the paternity test showed my dad wasn’t my father, she begged him to tell the truth. She begged him to help take care of me. She also threatened to tell his fiancée everything. And that’s when I suddenly ended up missing one day. Then, about an hour after I was taken, my dad called my mom and told her that if she ever wanted to see me again, she would sign a document stating that he wasn’t the baby’s father. She then had to agree to never contact him again. Of course, my mom signed it, but she couldn’t live with losing her job and having my dad deny me the way he did. So she borrowed a friend’s car and crashed it into a tree. She killed herself when I was only a newborn. My mom was a stripper, and knowing what she did for a living caused me a lot of pain —it was the reason I grew up having no respect for any woman except my aunt—but she didn’t deserve to die.”

Dillon shed more tears, and although his initial tears had been forced and phony, the ones he shed now were very real. His heart ached terribly, and it was all because he’d never gotten to know his mother. His mom’s sister had been the best mother figure she could be, but Dillon still longed for his birth mother. He also wasn’t sure he’d ever stop blaming his father. He’d tried to love his father and forget about what Curtis had done, but he couldn’t. Maybe if Curtis had welcomed him with open arms and immediately loved him the way he loved his other three children, Dillon could have felt better about things. But that hadn’t happened. Instead, his dad had made it very clear that his precious Matthew was the son he truly loved and that his two daughters, Alicia and that brat Curtina, were the loves of his life also.

“I’m sharing this story because I want people to understand that when parents make selfish decisions, they affect a child for the rest of his or her life. Being forced to basically grow up as an orphan is the reason I made so many bad choices. I committed a lot of sins and hurt a lot of people, but today I’m a completely different man. God has delivered me from sin. He called me to minister, and I thank Him for giving me another chance. He’ll give everyone in here another chance as well. He’s a good God, and none of us would be anything without Him,” he proclaimed, speaking louder than he had been. “We don’t deserve his grace, mercy, and favor, but I’m here to tell you that He gives it to us anyway. He forgives us because He loves us, and if you agree, you ought to give Him a huge amount of praise today! Praise His sweet, holy name!”

The entire congregation applauded and most stood up. Many shouted their words out loud, all while in tears. Dillon smiled and was glad to know his testimony still worked. It made people take notice and feel sorry for him. He watched the reaction of his parishioners and daydreamed about the ten-thousand-member congregation he wanted. His goal and dream was to have the largest church in Mitchell, Illinois. 

More than anything, he wanted to have a church larger than his dad’s, and he wanted this sooner rather than later. His dad’s existing sanctuary seated two thousand people, so to accommodate five thousand members—four thousand of whom attended regularly—he had to hold two services. Every week, Deliverance Outreach operated at 100 percent capacity, and for this reason, Curtis was finally building a five-thousand-seat building adjacent to the current one. That way, all his members could worship together at one service, and there would also be room for new parishioners. New Faith could hold two thousand people as well, but since Dillon only had one thousand members, the church never filled more than half its space. This wasn’t good enough for Dillon, and his plan was to have twenty-five hundred members by the end of this year, a total of five thousand twelve months from now, and another five thousand within two years.

He wasn’t sure what he’d have to do to make this happen, but he’d decided a while ago that he was willing to do whatever it took. Nothing was off-limits…not even sleeping with the woman he now glanced at in the audience. Her name was Porsha Harrington. He’d tried his best to ignore her, and until three months ago, he’d been successful. But now he couldn’t get her out of his mind or his system, and he saw her as much as possible…regardless of how much he loved his wife. He didn’t fully understand why his genuine love for Raven wasn’t enough or why he had this burning desire to sleep with someone else, but he couldn’t help it. For now, though, he had to refocus on the matter at hand. He had his congregation right where he wanted them, and as soon as everyone settled down and took their seats, he smiled and said, “I know you’ve already given your tithes and offering this morning, but when God speaks to me I’ve learned not to disobey him. So let us turn our Bibles to Second Corinthians nine, verses six through seven.”

Dillon waited for everyone to open their printed editions or pull up their electronic versions.

“Are we all there?”


“Yes,” everyone replied.

“And it says, ‘The point is this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.’”

Dillon gazed at his members and never said another word. He didn’t have to. Not when they were already pulling out additional cash and writing new checks. He’d heard lots of stories from Alicia about how when she was a small girl, their dad had been loved by all. She’d told him that members of his church seemed to have no problem doing anything he asked, including giving whatever amount of money he requested. She’d insisted that it was simply a gift that their father had been blessed with. He was a handsome, charismatic, and very smart man, and people gravitated to him. Dillon hadn’t been sure he’d believed her, but when many of his congregants had begun saying how much he looked and sounded like his dad, he’d known he could use his father’s good genes to his advantage.

He’d decided that not only could he be his dad, he could be better. When it was all said and done, the good Reverend Curtis Black would be history and Pastor Dillon Whitfield Black would be all the city of Mitchell cared about.


( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Kimberla Lawson Roby. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase A Sinful Calling by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Book 13 – Reverend Curtis Black Series
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1455559598/kimlawroby-20 

About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby has published 24 novels. She is the author of the highly acclaimed Reverend Curtis Black Series.  She has sold more than 2.7 Million copies of her novels, and they have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, AALBC.com, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin Chronicle to name a few. Kimberla is also the 2013 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction. 

Kimberla’s novels deal with very real issues, including corruption within the church, drug addiction, gambling addiction, infidelity, social status, single motherhood, breast cancer, infertility, sibling rivalry and jealousy, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness, care-giving of a parent, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, and overweight issues to name a few.

Kimberla resides in Illinois with her husband, Will. Her 24th title, A SINFUL CALLING, will be released June 21, 2016.  Website: http://kimroby.com 

 



Words From the Spirit for the Spirit 
by Cheryl Polote-Williamson

Diagnosed with a serious heart condition, losing a mother-in-law to cancer, and caring for a husband also facing prostate cancer, Cheryl Polote-Williamson had every opportunity to lose hope and sink into despair. Instead she dug deep and found strength to encourage herself in the Lord.

Now a philanthropist, entrepreneur and inspirational speaker, Cheryl shares the truths that the Holy Spirit used to bring her from hopelessness to emotional, physical and spiritual vitality. Like an energy drink for the soul, Words from the Spirit for the Spirit is grounded in the principles of Scripture, fortified with practical insight for everyday life, including:

- Spirit affirmations to speak over your life
- Prayers of petition, dedication, thanksgiving and praise
- Quotes to motivate and encourage readers—from homemakers to businesspeople
- And much more …

Words from the Spirit for the Spirit is an inspirational, user-friendly book with nuggets of truth that can be mined on a lunch break, on the way to a job interview or as you prepare to face a new day.


Book Reviews for Words From the Spirit for the Spirit

By Stephanie Nellons-Paigeon 

As I read this book and meditate on the words, I feel the spirit taking over. Whether you are going through, with your heart torn to pieces or you are flowing in the Joy of The Lord, this book is an inspiration. I bought several copies to send to people to encourage them. Where ever you are in your spiritual life; this is the book to take you to another level. Read and let it take you to the KING!

By Elenaon
 
In just a few pages, Cheryl Williamson has given us powerful, inspirational and motivational nuggets. Her writing is almost as if we were reading pages from her own diary...personal discoveries, lessons learned, and messages from the God of her salvation. Encouraged by her pen, I found myself writing reminders to myself in the margins!! I am still chewing on "God is a straight-A God!"

By Lynda 

I started reading Mrs. Williamson's book and could not put it down! The more I read, the more I could feel the presence of the Lord. This book is truly inspirational. I am thankful to the Lord that Mrs. Williamson obediently allowed God to use her to write a book that would be of such great help to others. She gets right to the point. She does not sugar-coat her words. She has shown that she is a true woman of God, who loves the Lord with her entire being. This project is truly a wonderful work, that gives God all of the praise and all of the glory! I love it!

By Wanda Bolton-Davis 

Small in size, but packed with powerful affirmations and words to encourage and lift your spirit. A book of short sayings that can be read in one sitting or used for a "daily dose of inspiration." One of my many favorite quotes include, "Show the people you love as much love as you can. One day God may want them back." This is an example of the many sayings that will remind you of God's love, bring a sense of gratitude in your heart and ignite your spirit. Once it has blessed you, you will want to share it with others. Great gift idea, coffee table book or "just because". I love it!!!

Order Words From the Spirit for the Spirit by Cheryl Polote-Williamson

http://www.amazon.com/Words-Spirit-Cheryl-Polote-Williamson/dp/1938624424  
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/words-from-the-spirit-for-the-spirit-cheryl-polote-williamson/1114560002 



Meet the Author 
A Lover of God, Best Selling author, Kingdompreneur, Mother, Speaker, Motivator, Chief Encouragement Officer, and Title Boxing Club Franchise Owner- Cheryl Polote-Williamson is an action-oriented business woman and second generation entrepreneur possessing exceptional strategic thinking, relationship building, and marketing and communication skills. In May 2013, Cheryl published her first book, “Words From the Spirit For the Spirit” which has inspired and encouraged many to live their dreams and is available in multiple languages. Cheryl has been featured on Dallas Fox 4 News, Eclipse magazine, Rolling Out Magazine, Heaven 97 (970AM), and a blog series telling her story about hurt and betrayal. Cheryl has won numerous awards for entrepreneurism, and maintaining strong client relationships. She continues to write with strength and wisdom as an Amazon Bestselling author for the anthology “Shift ON”, released in February 2016. 

Cheryl is a highly sought after transformational, inspirational, motivational speaker. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Links, Inc. -Cheryl has been married for 23 years to her husband, Russell, has three beautiful children: Russ Jr, Lauren, and Courtney, and one granddaughter, Leah. They are active members of St. John Church.  Website: http://cherylpolote-williamson.com 

 


 


Passion Whispers an Execution: Book 1 - Tease Me! 
by Victoria A. Young

Passion Whispers tells the story of Yashani, an irresistibly sexy heroin addict who craves domestic bliss with her husband, smoking hot Ivy Flint, NY Senator and man about town. He craves the same, but Yashani harbors some secrets from her past and Ivy is tired of playing the game. When his wife disappears for four days, his meandering search to find her, leads him to file for a divorce. While waiting for his wife to sign the petition to get a calendar date, she refuses, dropping him into chaos: An older woman having several personalities who escaped jail and the asylum. 

He sleeps with one of the several personalities housed in a sizzling female body, waking all of them to come after him in a variety of hilarious, sex-fraught and dangerous scenes, spiraling the story’s twists to a breathtaking thriller. Each of these personalities is uniquely and finely drawn, and brought to life with brilliantly written dialogue, creating a truly different take on the stalker persona. 

In the meantime, Yashani’s vengeful exploits against Nathan, the head of the heroin syndicate still haunts her after the death of her sister, her ex, who ran for the Governor in San Francisco, taking her to New York, San Francisco, Paris and Tblisi. Woven throughout the ins and outs of the troubled couple’s travels are sex scenes that pop the buttons right off your clothes in their eroticism, that are edged with longing and desire that makes you wonder, will Yashani clear her head of the opium fog and finish Nathan? Will Ivy ever escape from his many-personalities fatal attraction? 

Will Yashani and Ivy get back together and settle down—forget that—will they ever finish what they achingly tease each other with, in the bedroom—will Yashani finally let Ivy do those things to her that they both desperately need him to do? 

Passion is a story of cultural interest, personal love and loss, and, seriously, teasingly, drive-you-crazy hot sex. The characters are funky, unique, and real. It’s also a compelling blend of intrigue, action, and romance that explores such psychological and cultural themes as distrust, addiction, wealth, politics, forgiveness and chauvinism, all disguised as pure, raucous titillating entertainment.


Book Reviews: Book 1: Tease Me! 

Watch the Tease Me Video Intro: https://vimeo.com/120534672

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
Passion Whispers an Execution: Book 1: Tease Me! by Victoria Young is a psychological erotic thriller. Senator Flint is looking for his wife. He is full of charm and captivates everyone, especially the ladies, with his personality. While he loves his wife very much, he can’t seem to stop himself from becoming sidetracked by Poisette. A very sexy woman, she has a dangerous past and a scary motive for wanting the senator. When he succumbs to her charms, he finds out that she has several personalities, all of them depraved. One wants to connect to him spiritually while another wants multiple orgasms and will stop at nothing to get them. Visiting her at her home, he finds yet another personality. One who threatens him that he has just 2 weeks to get her pregnant or escape before she reveals her true nature, the one that pities no one, not the senator, nor his wife. Where will the hell end for the senator? Where is his wife? And just what does Poisette want from him?

Passion Whispers an Execution: Book 1 was a thriller all the way. Erotic and passionate, the story was full of thrilling twists and turns that left me a little breathless trying to keep up. The story is part erotic romance and part thriller, with organized crime, drug lords and thugs woven in with tales of erotic suspense. This is a deeply passionate book, one that will have you turning the pages, desperate to see where the story is going next. It was fast paced, well thought out and well written, and I would recommend it for anyone who wants a good read on holiday. Can’t wait for the next one.

5 star Review Written by Laura

Passion Whispers has surprising depth for a romance/thriller novel. The characters are funky, unique and real. The dialogue is genius. And don't get me started on the sex! An entertaining read, Passion is also a compelling blend of intrigue and romance that explores such psychological and cultural themes as addiction, wealth, politics and chauvinism. 

5 star Review Written by Nycole Lee 

Victoria Young brings us a masterpiece filled with love, lust, and intrigue that would look spectacular on the big screen as a movie, or as a riveting TV show. Her writing style is poetic and packed with passion. The characters, Yashani, Ivy, and Poisette take the story on a multi-layered thrill ride that will keep the reader engrossed from the very first line.

Yashani, a woman whose demeanor screams sensuality is much like that of a female James Bond. You have no idea what her skills are, or what she is capable of, but you enjoy every moment of her piece in this story.

Senator Ivy Flint, bent on finding his missing wife, has a personality and charm that seems to captivate all of the ladies. He loves his wife, and yet his attentions are diverted by none other than the infamous Poisette. Sexy and enchanting, she is a woman with a dangerous past, and an even more frightening motive.

The combination of these characters takes us around the world, where thugs and organized crime surface, secrets are unveiled, and love is tested by lust. Even the supporting characters contribute to the greater picture in their own way, with interesting backgrounds, and motives of their own.

Indeed there is passion in this book, with erotic scenes that reveal the inner sexuality of the characters, as well as stimulate the mind when you delve deeper into the character’s psyche. Passion Whispers an Execution is one that will keeps readers on the edge of their seat from beginning to end.


Excerpt: Passion Whispers an Execution: Book 1 - Tease Me!


PROLOGUE


My scream smashed the ceiling. Distorted by blood, my passion harbored murder. I’ll poison him, slash his throat, and then shove him in a body bag, positioning him out of his misery, right now. My husband would never understand the degree I’d have to go to kill him. What more would they do to me? Life in prison or the death penalty? Someone will shed false concern and they’ll throw me in the crazy house. Far along, they’d find out I’m a basket worse than any case. 

A late summer day, I stood in line at a Whole Foods in San Francisco, absorbing a tall woman in front fiddling her holy pendant. She wore white shorts and a white halter-top. Murdering him didn’t grow stale the more I gazed at her whites, showing blood. Blood attacked my russet arms. I dropped my handcart of groceries and dashed to the bathroom. The faster I wiped the blood off, the faster more invaded. “Blood, blood, get off,” I couldn’t help but yell.

At a nearby sink, a pleasantly plump woman’s eyes widened when she said, “There’s no blood.” 

She didn’t understand that the blood is there and sometimes gone. I didn’t want her to tell me another lie, like how; now, blood trapped my dark tangerine dress. I tightened my headscarf and sped out of the market fast as I could. 

The sun’s rays followed for about a quarter of a mile southeast of Sutay, falling to rest on California’s paths and poppy fields. The condition of the air had gone stale. High-grade heroin controlled by a string of drug slingers infected the town. No mystery they didn’t care for crumbled homes. Sutay endured a wicked match compared to the prominent waterfronts and sweet lords who left their widows festering. Passion for control had grown in Paris, San Francisco, and New York for more than ten years. The scandalous vied for control in Yenitch, an unknown city below San Francisco’s grounds. Yenitch had it all. Power, wealth, and hijacking women’s worth. Unable to position the thunderous tune to rest, something hustled me. Gasps escaped. Run, Yashani. Run fast as you can. Whistling breezes rippled through willows. I landed in the back of Governor Giannelli’s aged colonial, squinting side to side, up and about the willows and junipers until I no longer saw the sun above the trees. Dark, ragged cloudlets gazed over his gloomy house. When I dug in the ground, I lost it all and kept digging deeper and deeper. Dirt flew everywhere. My five-foot-six feline body fell over, my dark hair hung in a long, graceful mess while my raging breath knew nothing about calm until a hand tapped my shoulder. 

His slippers caught the dirt I had shoved. Though his greeting prompted a strong suggestion of reproach, his Italian accent was accepting. It broke my trance, my sinking arrangement, and my dearest as I tried lifting her out of the ground. 

“Yashani, this is heavier than the freedom of truth,” he said. 

“You have a hard time seeing what’s dear to me,” I replied. 

“I’m aware how much you love your sister.”

“Which doesn’t ease how a man never understands a woman.”

“It’s getting late. Ready to give me my meds?” 

When I looked up past his paisley pajamas, Giannelli’s eyes brewed concern, and his salt and pepper hair glistened. He brought me up from the ground into his snowy chest for two minutes, near the cushion wrapped around his body, embracing my disturbing memories. My breathing slowed. We paced to his porch. Huddling in his arms eased a bit. 

We entered his run-down colonial filled with old-fashioned furniture. He wouldn’t get a maid, fearing she’d be too much in his business, finding out he had something to do with the Edirp scandal. Frequently, he moped; regretting how Nathan blackmailed him, then involved him in the scandal. 

His wife had fled to Vegas, feeding her gambling addiction, leaving his house in disarray. Not that she cleaned up when she was around, but when she visited him once every two months, she cared even less for their marriage. She hated me to the point of spreading rumors that I’d murdered Brad. Little did she know there was more meat to the Edirp scandal than what she thought. Blood, sweat and sweet payback would soon tell it all. 

As he led me through the darkened room, he tripped over a box and lost his balance. 

I had to help him up. His overbearing weight might be the reason his wife doesn’t appreciate him any longer. “Sit right here. And where are your meds?”

“Under my mattress.” 

I gave him his meds, washed his dishes, sanitized the house, then fed him. He’s paralyzed on one side and able to wash himself. If I had to wash him, it’d ruin our ten-year friendship, or he’d want me in a sexual upheaval. Though he wasn’t hard on the eyes, I wouldn’t be able to comply. At this stage of anticipated murder, I relied on his service. Before his age-related illness took over, he was my enemy’s number one comrade. Just a matter of time before Giannelli streamlined his overseas chums for ricin, my enemy, and his hooligans would share my wrath. 

I said, “Appreciate your concern for my sanity where others think I’m irrational.” 

He replied, “Because I’m confident when you get tired—”

“I’m already there.”

“You’ll take care of business.”

“If Nathan or my sister don’t kill me first.” 

For about an hour, we planned my strategy for avenging Nathan’s empire. 

He drew from under his chair a camera. “Your ruling passion for justice will never be destroyed.” 

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Victoria A. Young. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Order Passion Whispers an Execution: Book 1 - Tease Me! 

Series: Passion Whispers An Execution
Mystery & Thrillers > Erotic Suspense
http://www.amazon.com/Passion-Whispers-Execution-Book-Tease/dp/1500814903


Meet Victoria A. Young

Winning an essay contest for Fannie Mae landed me on Good Morning America, spring 2000 under the maiden name: Victoria A. Martin. My appearance encouraged and brought to fruition that my writing can move people. I developed a passion for writing inspiring themes whether it's in poetry, plays, screenplays, or novels. Presenting my characters with challenging situations and allowing their emotions to guide me give me the greatest pleasure with writing. I've written and produced three 2 hour plays and three short plays affording me the opportunity to refine my skills on my first novel trilogy: Passion Whispers an Execution.

I developed the love for the arts at the age of thirteen when I had a report due one Monday. I ran the streets with my friends disregarding report. Aware that my parents were going to scold me if I didn't have the report completed, I stood home one Sunday ignoring all calls. And read a book in one day: Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun. The report took me about three hours to complete. From that point, I fell in love with poetry and how words can tell a beautiful story. 

My writing has been compared to Quentin Tarantino with a classic flair, emotional and provocative. I believe in writing oh my God stories, which close out with a bang and bring a joyous spirit to the human experience. 

When I'm not sitting in my office scrambling my brain for flawed characterization, I enjoy reading, producing fashion shows, designing fashions, traveling, using my creativity for church functions, and choreographing praise dancing. Dancing has been incorporated in all my plays as well as my first novel. I've danced ballet, jazz, African, and contemporary from the age of thirteen. I was truly blessed to have my dancers perform for Congressman Charlie Rangel. They were also given the opportunity to perform at all-paid-expense trips traveling out of New York State for church retreats. Today my dancers are in college and some took on the role of motherhood. I give thanks to God for keeping them.

Website:  www.victoriayoungpassion.com 
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VictoriaYoung58 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/victoria.martinyoung.3 
Facebook Fan Page:  https://www.facebook.com/Book-Series-625256147595222/ 

 


 


Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray 
by Dorothy Love

In a story spanning crude slave quarters, sunny schoolrooms, stately wedding parlors, and cramped birthing rooms, novelist Dorothy Love amplifies the astonishing true-life account of an extraordinary alliance and casts fresh light on the tumultuous years leading up to and through the wrenching battle for a nation’s soul. 

Mary Anna Custis Lee is a great granddaughter of Martha Washington, the wife of General Robert E Lee and heiress to Virginia's storied Arlington estate and General Washington's personal treasures.

Born in bondage at Arlington, Selina Norris Gray learns to read and write in the schoolroom Mary and her mother keep for the enslaved children and eventually becomes Mary's housekeeper, personal maid and trusted confidante. Forced to flee Arlington at the start of the civil war, Mary trusts the keys to Arlington to Selina. When Union troops begin looting the house, Selina confronts their commanding general and saves many of its treasures.

A classic American tale, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray is the first novel to chronicle this beautiful fifty-year friendship forged at the crossroads of America’s journey from enslavement to emancipation.

Book Reviews for Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray


A beautifully written novel. A TOP PICK.
— RT Reviews

"Love succeeds [ in creating] a sympathetic portrait of these two women that both engages and educates the reader." —Publisher's Weekly


Excerpt: Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love


My dear Mary, I am very anxious about you. You have to move and make arrangements to get to some point of safety which you must select. The Mt Vernon plates and pictures ought to be secured. Keep quiet while you remain and in your preparations. War is inevitable and there is no telling when it will burst around you.

"Mother?" Agnes joined me in the parlor. "You are pale as milk. What is it?"

I handed her the letter. "Your father thinks we may be invaded."

Only three weeks earlier Robert, newly appointed to lead the Confederates in Virginia, kissed us in farewell and rode away from Arlington. Now he was preparing for the worst while I still prayed for some miracle to save us all from the coming carnage.

Agnes frowned. "What shall we do?"

"Pack up the Washington treasures as he directs. But I'm not certain we need to leave just yet."

"I read in the paper last week that some in the south are burying their treasures in their back yards," Agnes said.

I had stopped reading the papers, especially those from the North for they were full of hatred for my husband.

If Mr Custis could have lived until now he would have good cause to be bowed down in grief and sorrow to behold his son-in-law following in the footsteps of Benedict Arnold.

I penned a succinct reply to the Washington paper: I cannot conceive why Lincoln has assembled such an army if it is not his intention to crush the South. I have but one great consolation now, that my dear parents are both laid low in their graves, where but for my children I would gladly lie beside them.

"So will we bury the silver, Mother? The paintings and the plates? And where shall we go?"

I called for Selina. Together we filled two crates with our silver, our papers, and those of President Washington. Those I sent by rail to Robert for safekeeping. My books and engravings were locked into storage. Draperies and carpets, the Washington china and the punch bowl that had been used at my wedding were hidden in the cellar. My girls and I worked feverishly by day and lay down at night in rooms stripped bare save for our beds. I slept fitfully, knowing that sooner or later I must flee. Dreading the moment when I must take my daughters and make for safety on my own.

A few days later I was outside enjoying a rare moment of quiet among my flowers. The May morning had dawned warm and fair. The first roses had come into bloom and air around me was thick with their fragrance.

Markie's brother Orton Williams rode into the yard and began speaking before he dismounted. "Mary, the Union army is camped across the river. You are going to have to get out. Today if you can manage it."

I set Daniel and his son to packing up our trunks, some paintings and our housekeeping items. Daughter and Agnes went back and forth from the house to the wagons, loading their belongings. I was too busy and too frightened for emotion until Selina appeared with a bundle of clean linens.

"Here you are, Miss Mary. These are the ones scented with the lavender you're partial to."

My heart was so heavy and my nerves so frayed that my reserve crumbled.

Selina frowned. "Now you listen to me. You are just as well to dry those tears. We all got to be strong till this is over. Nothing we can do to change it so we have to get through it best we can."

"Missus?" Daniel looked worried. "If we don't get going soon we gone be half the night getting to Ravensworth and you told me yourself what your cousin said about soldiers camping in these parts."

Selina stood there with her hands on her hips, her eyes welling up. My own eyes burned. For thirty years Selina had been my great comfort. At times she had been my conscience. I wanted to do something to help her. Something to keep her safe.

Agnes returned with her tom snuggled securely in the crook of her arm. "I'm ready, Mama."

Selina said, "All right then. You planning to stand there till sundown or are you going to give me the keys?"

"What?"

"Well, somebody's got to look after Arlington till you get back."

Without another word I handed Selina the keys. Daniel helped me into the carriage. The reins snapped and the wheels turned, taking me into exile.

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Dorothy Love. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Order Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love 

Women's Fiction > Biographical > Historical Fiction 
http://www.amazon.com/Mrs-Lee-Gray-Novel/dp/0718042441 

 

 

 

 


Walking on Thin Ice by Re'Gena Bell-Roberts

Re'Gena Bell-Roberts was featured on the Steve Harvey Show as one of the Harvey's Heroes!

Walking on Thin Ice, a memoir of love, hate, envy, and greed traces a young woman's pursuit of stardom down a dangerous road that leads to shattered dreams and a harrowing fate.

Re'Gena Bell-Roberts found herself staring down the barrel of a revolver, and a wave of disbelief rippled through her. An explosion blasted her into a nightmare. The room swirled slowly. Click––click. The sound reverberated each time as the shooter pulled the trigger. She realized this woman was trying to kill her! 

In Walking on Thin Ice, Re'Gena Bell-Roberts shares her riveting story against the backdrop of a childhood sexual molestation. She is one, among a few young girls from the small town of Pasco, Washington, who harbored dreams of fame, fortune, and a craving for the love of a powerful man.

After high school graduation, Re'Gena's life transforms. Despite myriad warnings, she falls for the charming Max Clayton, a thirty-three year old streetwise hustler who entices her into a dark underworld of illicit sex and drugs.

When Max betrays her, their life takes a fateful turn. The gripping saga explodes in the Mount Baker area of Seattle, Washington; and depicts Re'Gena's struggle to deal with a tragic life-changing event that threatens her very existence. But she fights back with unshakable strength, courage, and a will to survive.

5-STAR BOOK REVIEWS


By Brenda Bentley Parrrish 

This book is an awesome read. The determination and persistence of a woman with the willpower to begin productive and purposeful living after bad decision making based upon her love for a man almost cost her, her life. The story paints a picture of a beautiful woman of inner strength with her children giving her courage to become a champion. Her love for her man Max, consumed her very existence: mind, body, heart, soul and spirit. Finally she realized that she was starring in a role that was intended to be her final curtain call. After a near death experience she triumphant and find that God will sometime take you down a long winding road when he is teaching you a lesson to get you where he ordained you to be in this life. The story has several valleys and peaks and even a cliff. I am looking forward to the sequel. Great job ReGena Bell Roberts. Your bravery, persistence and determination are a powerful testimony to many who have fallen head over heels in love. Thank you for sharing your story with the world.

By Lionel Mitchell

This was a story that I could not put down. Re'Gena is so courageous to write her story. I pray that some young women will read it , so that they may not go down the same road. The words on those pages were so descriptive. Drawing you in and making you feel all the life in the story. There is love, laughter, and pain. As a first time author this story should be a best seller.

By Verlean Gladney 

This book made me laugh and cry. It made me happy, sad, angry and a host of other emotions. This book gave me strength and hope. Very well written and totally gripping. I could not put it down. A must read for all you ladies from any walk of life. This book could literally save your life. I thank the author for sharing her life with me. I can hardly wait for her next book!


The San Diego Union-Tribune Featured Story on Re'Gena Bell-Roberts

Re'Gena Bell-Roberts has a life story full of tragedy, pain and redemption. Confined to a wheelchair after she was shot at the age of 21 by a woman her fiance was seeing on the side, Roberts found a way to overcome her disability and, against considerable odds, create a nurturing and supportive environment in which to raise her triplets, who were just 2 years old at the time of the attack.

"You know, God gives you strength to do what you need to do," Roberts said.

These days Roberts, who was an aspiring actress when she was shot, and managed to do some stage work even after she was confined to her wheelchair, is working on her autobiography and hopes to one-day see her story on the big screen.

In the meantime, she will get a little time on the small screen. Roberts will be featured Wednesday on the Steve Harvey Show in a segment called Harvey's Heroes. Roberts' daughter, LyNea Bell, one of the triplets, nominated her mother for the recognition.

Bell, 40, works as a talent agent for Media Artists Group in Los Angeles.

"We never had an excuse," Bell said. "We couldn't have an excuse because the example was right there. So it made it a lot tougher. You couldn't cry, 'No, I can't.' It was, 'We have to.'"

The other triplets are Bell's two brothers -- McClain, an entrepreneur who lives not far from his mother in Southern California, and DeShae, who now lives in Seattle and is hoping to become a welder.

After she was shot in Seattle in 1974 while attending the University of Washington, Roberts briefly moved back home to Pasco, Wash., and in with her mother to rehabilitate from her injuries and get help with the children. But she quickly saw that was not going to be a long-term answer.

"My mother was working full-time and, you know, she'd (have to) get up all the time at night," Roberts said. "And I saw this painful look in her eyes, like it was killing her. She was tired. And I made a decision that I was moving."

Eventually, Roberts landed in Los Angeles, where her best friend from home, Cat Gibson, was living with one of Roberts' sisters. Roberts was able to support herself financially on money she was eligible for through the Washington state crime victims compensation program.

Still, she had to cook, clean and manage the triplets, whom she called little rascals.

"They were a handful," she said. "... plotting, doing what kids normally do."

Roberts is a quadriplegic, but has limited use of her hands.

As the kids got older she enlisted their help, teaching them how to put the coins in the machines at the laundromat, and help her with the folding. After she arranged for an automobile with hand controls, a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, she trained the kids to collapse the chair and pack it in the trunk.

"We had a whole system," Bell said.

Once the triplets got going in school, Roberts had more time on her hands and she went back to college, eventually graduating from UCLA with a history degree. Her mother came down from Washington to attend the ceremony.

"It was an accomplishment," Roberts said. "My mom was very happy. She wore my cap and gown after I took it off. She didn't graduate from high school. So she was very proud of me."

Roberts was the first in the family to graduate.

The second act of her life, which followed, featured a move back to Washington where she jumped into producing, taking part in community theater and putting on gospel showcases. For a few years, she produced and directed the local Martin Luther King Day events.

She and Gibson formed their own production company. Everything was fine, as long as Roberts wasn't part of a committee.

"I didn't have the time to sit around in meetings," she said.

But within a few years, that was exactly what she was doing. After moving the family to Seattle, she dove into government and politics, serving on the Governor's Committee for Disability Issues and Employment, and later as a member of the Seattle Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

For Roberts, acting and producing were replaced by organizing and advocating, although she still performs occasionally under the stage name Re'Gena Bell.

"What goes on behind the scenes in the city, that just mesmerized me," she said.

She ran twice unsuccessfully for the Seattle City Council, on a platform of helping the disenfranchised.

Today, she sits in her comfortable, nicely appointed home in Murrieta, where she has lived with her husband since 2004, and muses about her bucket list. A hot air balloon ride is next up.

A new van would be nice, too. She lost her last one in an accident. The ever-resourceful Roberts is an entrant in an online contest to win just such a vehicle. Anyone interested in voting, can visit www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com.

Bell considers the full depth and breadth of her mother's story, and marvels.

"This is why she's my hero," Bell said. "This is why I wrote in (to the Steve Harvey Show), because I look at all the things of this world, and I look at how much that she's influenced our lives, and I am just so proud. And it's right in front of me every single day."


Original Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune Feature Story on Re'Gena Bell-Roberts


Photo credit: Regina Roberts of Murrieta was featured on the Steve Harvey Show in a segment called Harvey's Heroes. Behind her are her children: DeShae Bell, LyNea Bell, Steve Harvey and McClain Bell.  Courtesy photo — Steve Harvey ShowCourtesy photo


Order Walking on Thin Ice by Re'Gena Bell-Roberts
Download Link:  http://amzn.com/1491764759  
Genre:   True Story. Non-fiction. Memoir 

 

 

 

 


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




The Sisterhood: Exploring mental freedom through fiction!

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

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

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

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


EXCERPT: CHAPTER 1


Friday, December 5th - 2:00 am

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


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

“Do it,” Tonia ordered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


( Continued... )

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


Download The Sisterhood: Book One 

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




About the Author

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

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

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

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

 

 


Introducing the Black Bird Detective Series by Sage

When you begin to read Assumptions Abound you step inside of the book and journey along with the characters. Assumptions Abound will keep you on the edge of your seat as you ride every twist and turn.

Assumptions Abound is a murder mystery, thriller and thought-provoking novel combined into one. This novel is told through the words of Monét Worthington.  Monét is a naïve girl with a tumultuous past and a troublesome childhood. Subjected to rape, mental and physical abuse, Monét is terrified to think about her future. Her terror continues as she finds herself running for her life! Lucky for Monét she has Victoria to protect her. Victoria loves Monét and she is willing to do anything for her, including commit murder. Only Monét has no idea that Victoria exists.

Monét tells her life story as her loved ones and those around her are brutally murdered. The plot twists and turns as the murder investigations ensue. This psychological thriller has all of the key ingredients to create an explosive literary masterpiece.

Detective Nina Kelsey is also introduced in this series. Detective Kelsey is not who she appears to be. A complex person with her own dark past, Detective Kelsey is always searching for more. She is determined to solve the Cold Creek murders before another life is lost.

Fireworks will ignite when Detective Kelsey and Monét Worthington meet and someone ends up dead.

Through this story, the Black Bird Detective Series is born. Assumptions Abound is the first book in the Black Bird Detective Trilogy. This series features characters from Assumptions Abound, including Raven Carter. Raven is a young African-American detective determined to solve murders in the small town of Cold Creek.  As she solves mysteries, she also works to uncover the truth about her past. The trilogy continues with Seeking Truth and Sweet Revenge.


Assumptions Abound by Sage

Assumptions Abound is a murder mystery, thriller and thought-provoking novel combined into one. This novel is told through the words of Monét Worthington. Raised by her father and stepmother during a difficult part of their marriage, Monét is on a mission to find true love and answers. Monét is a naïve girl with a tumultuous past and a troublesome childhood. Subjected to rape, mental and physical abuse, Monét is terrified to think about her future. Her terror continues as she finds herself running for her life! 

Lucky for Monét she has Victoria to protect her. Victoria loves Monét and she is willing to do anything for her, including commit murder. Only Monét has no idea that Victoria exists.  Monét tells her life story as her loved ones and those around her are brutally murdered. The plot twists and turns as the murder investigations ensue.

Enter Detective Kelsey. Someone is murdering the citizens of Cold Creek County and Detective Nina Kelsey is determined to find out whom. Lonely and running from a haunting past, she finds solace in her work. She has pledged to solve this mystery at all costs.

Will her life be the ultimate price?


Prologue


The darkness enveloped my room as I lay in bed with my eyes shut tightly and my arms wrapped across my chest. My heart beat steadily and rapidly against my chest. I said a silent prayer that tonight would be different, but I knew in my heart that tonight would be like so many other nights before it.

When I heard his footsteps in the distance I closed my eyes tightly and prayed that he would walk by my room. He quietly opened the door and pried the covers away from me. He lay in the bed next to me and I cried as another night passed by without an answer to my prayer. I decided that if I wanted to get away from him, I would have to take matters into my own hands.

He kissed my cheek and whispered “good night” in my ear. I didn’t respond. I was hoping that he would die right there. He didn’t care about me. My thoughts were swirling around in my head. I realized that nobody could save me from this monster. Then suddenly I heard a voice.

The voice whispered in the darkness, “You must do it. Who else will protect you, but you?” I listened to the voice. “Have you ever killed anyone?” said the voice. “No!” I responded. I was only seven years old. I knew nothing about death. I thought to myself. The voice heard my thoughts. “True you are only seven, but we can show them that it doesn’t matter how old you are. You can still make a difference.” The voice calmly replied.

And so it began… 

Have you ever killed anyone? I have and I must say it is the most exhilarating experience in the world. If I had to quantify it I would say that committing a murder is more exhilarating than sky diving, surfing or skiing down a hill at top speed. There is something powerful about watching the life leave a person’s body and hearing them take their last breath.

The first person I killed was my mother’s boyfriend Luciano. He was a handsome Italian man with dark hair and dark brown eyes. I remember everything about him. He would touch me in my special place, even after I told him that he shouldn’t. He took advantage of me and I promised myself that I would never let another person take advantage of me again.

I took a knife out of the drawer in the kitchen and hid it under my pillow. I knew that once my mother fell asleep, he would creep into my room and that particular night I was ready for him. I pretended like I was sleeping when he slowly opened the door and walked into my room. I felt him climb into the bed behind me and snuggle close to my back. I felt his breath on my neck. When he reached around to take my nightgown off of me, I grabbed the knife. Before he could react, I shoved the kitchen knife into his throat.

I still remember the look on his face. His eyes bulged out of his head and he grasped at his throat trying to stop the blood. My heart was beating so fast and I felt a rush of pure adrenaline. I watched him closely as he struggled to breathe. I put my ear close to his face; smelling the metallic scent of his blood and listening to him mumble inaudible words.

I watched intently as his chest rose and fell for the last time. As I watched the life leave his body, I knew that this could not be the end.

Luciano died that cold rainy night, he was the first person to meet the real me. Luciano met Victoria as his life slowly crept away from his body. 

( Continued... )

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


Order Book 1: Assumptions Abound (Black Bird Detective Series) 

Link: http://amzn.com/B00642W77M 




Seeking Truth by Sage

The characters from Assumptions Abound are all grown up and searching for answers. Detective Raven Carter is on a quest. For years her mother lied to her about her past and now that her mother is dead, Raven wants to know the truth. 

Joel knows that his past is riddled with secrets, whispers and lies, but wait until he finds out that it also involves murder. Joel and Raven are engaged and planning their future together. Little do they neither past will be the ultimate deciding factor for their future. 

Meet Raymond Thomas, the Superintendent of Cold Creek Public Schools. As the Superintendent of a large school district, Raymond has alot to prove. When his employees are systemically murdered, Raymond may have more to prove than he could ever imagine.

Order Book 2: Seeking Truth by Sage

Link: http://amzn.com/B008D2ZARA 





Sweet Revenge by Sage
A high profile murder sets Raven on a wild goose chase to find the killer. Her boss is pressuring her to handle the case and he is personally involving himself. Raven must be careful; as she chases the next criminal, someone is chasing her. She hasn’t forgotten about her estranged husband. He is the love of her life, only problem…he wants her dead, or does he? 

The wealthy son of a local socialite and businessman are adding to Raven’s headache. He is demanding answers that Raven does not have. When the case heats up, Raven may end up burned.  Raymond is back with an ax to grind. He has enacted a plan to take down those who damaged his reputation, stole his money and ruined his life. Will he succeed? 

Everyone is out for revenge….but as the saying goes, Revenge is a dish best served fast and cold!

Order Book 3: Sweet Revenge 
Link: http://amzn.com/B012P17C1Q 





The Butterfly: A Novel by Sage

Meet the Butterfly, sexy, intelligent and lethal but severely lacking in self-esteem. With nothing to lose and everything to gain she is on a journey. A journey to make everyone who hurt her, pay. As confident as she is about her journey, there is one thing that she never considered. Will that thing be her ultimate destruction? 

Order  Book 4:  The Butterfly:A Novel by Sage
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 
Black Bird Detective Series
Link: http://amzn.com/1522738673 

 

 

 

 

 


The Perfect Find by Tia Williams

Will a forty-year-old woman with everything on the line her high-stakes career, ticking biological clock, bank account risk it all for an intensely lusty secret romance with the one person who could destroy her comeback, for good?

Jenna Jones, former It-girl fashion editor, is broke and desperate for a second chance. When she s dumped by her longtime fiancé and fired from Darling magazine, she begs for a job from her old arch nemesis, Darcy Vale. The beyond-bitchy publisher of StyleZine.com, Darcy agrees to hire her rival only because her fashion site needs a jolt from Jenna s old school cred. But Jenna soon realizes she s in over her head. She s working with digital-savvy millennials half her age, has never even Twittered, and pretends to still be a Fashion Somebody while living a style lie (she sold her designer wardrobe to afford her sketched-out studio, and now quietly wears Walmart's finest).

Worse? The twenty-two-year-old videographer assigned to shoot her web series is driving her crazy. Wildly sexy with a smile Jenna feels in her thighs, Eric Combs is way off-limits but almost too delicious too resist.

Written by the bestselling author of The Accidental Diva, The Perfect Find is a scandalously sexy, laugh-out-loud funny, utterly quotable saga about star-crossed love and starting over.


Reviews for The Perfect Find 


“A page-turner that’s epically witty, juicy and irresistible. What a perfect, fresh take on the high stakes that come when we fall, pick ourselves back up, and step unsurely into the future. It doesn’t get more real than this.”
— Denene Millner, New York Times bestselling co-author of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man 

“The Perfect Find is a deliciously good time!”
– Nicola Kraus, co-author of the national bestselling The Nanny Diaries

“A saucy, cutting-edge love story amidst the backdrop of the New York City fashion world, with delicious dialogue that rang in my ears and screamed ‘real deal.’ Refreshing and engaging with a cast of characters that stayed with me long after the last page had been turned.” 
— Sadeqa Johnson, author of Second House From the Corner 

"The Perfect Find is a fun romp through the world of new media fashion reporting. Tia Williams writes with juicy, behind-the-scenes details that let us know she’s been there and survived. Mixed with a generous dash of rivalry, love – both lost and crazy – it is a yummy cocktail. Cheers!"
— Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant, authors of Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made

“The story of 40-year-old former It girl Jenna Jones stumbling upon that giddy kind of passion will have you longing for someone to sext — even if you haven’t sexted since 2008. Equal parts heartwarming and electrifying, when you really get into The Perfect Find, make sure you have a fan ready.”
— Helena Andrews-Dyer, columnist and author of Bitch is the New Black

 

Excerpt from The Perfect Find by Tia Williams


CHAPTER 3

The Refectory had once been a dorm for monks, and looked it. Elodie had taken advantage of the gothic, cathedral-esque space by going for an “Eyes Wide Shut” vibe with the decor. Billowing, sheer white curtains sectioned off six separate areas – each with its own bar. Crimson candles dripped on to every surface, massive gold chandeliers hung from the arched ceilings; and overstuffed purple velvet chaises were arranged in darkened, sexy corners. As was custom with any event where models were the centerpiece, there were men everywhere.

The book party’s crowd was a sampling from every scene, a perfect storm of NYC nightlife. The Weeknd and Drake were blaring – but no one was dancing, except for the guest of honor’s fellow Victoria’s Secret models (who
had allowed their lingerie to be used for the canine portraits in the gauche photography book everyone was celebrating). Posed in clusters throughout were their boy-model counterparts, dressed in lumberjack shirts and reeking of Parliaments and Bushwick boredom. Holding court at the bar were the Suits, who kept the scene going by financing most of Elodie’s celebrity pet projects.

Hovering above the crowd was a handful of NBA and NFL stars, who were a must at these things, because both the models and the Suits appreciated them. And then there were a few chic hookers (these were for the Suits too charmless to score a model). Weaving throughout were bespectacled, indie-cute journalists on the arts/lifestyle beat, and young fashion girls, who were as sexy as the models, but short and poor. Jenna hadn’t been in the room for two seconds before her best friend grabbed her arm.

“I found you a man,” said Elodie, who’d spent the last twenty minutes shirking her event-planning duties to play matchmaker for Jenna. “All I know is he went to Yale and he’s a radiologist. He’s walking toward us now.”

“Wait! I’m not ready…”

“You haven’t had sex since the Bush administration. You’re ready.” She shoved a glass of champagne at Jenna.

“Dialo Banin! This is Jenna Jones. Jenna, this good man has been dying to meet you. Talk amongst yourselves, while I go bounce a few VH1 reality show whores.”  With that rushed introduction, Elodie dashed off into the crowd. Dialo stood in front of Jenna, affixing her with a brilliant white smile. He was wearing an achingly expensive suit, a tangerine day scarf arranged just so, and aviators. Indoors. At night.

“So…what were your other two wishes?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Where’s your sense of humor, hon?” he asked, smiling. “It was an icebreaker.”

“Oh! Well, ice broken.” Coming from this man, with his florid accent, in that getup, the “wishes” line sounded like a come-on that Truman Capote would’ve delivered at a dude disco in Vegas.

“Would you like to sit down?”

“I’d love to,” she said, making a mental note to destroy Elodie for this. Dialo touched her elbow and led her over to an itty-bitty reserved cocktail table flanked by two high-backed, wrought iron chairs. He sat back in his chair, stretching out his legs. There was now no room for her under the table, so she wrapped her ankles around her chair legs, like a schoolgirl. Nervous, she folded her hands in her lap, and then accidentally lasered-in on Dialo’s burgundy velvet YSL slippers. Jenna understood exactly who Dialo was. He was one of those fake-flashy Euro neo-dandies who hung “WC” signs on the bathroom doors in their Murray Hill rentals.

“I have to admit, I’m not a book enthusiast. But I’m glad I came,” he said, stroking his chin. “You’re lucky to be here.”

“I know, it’s a great party.”

“No, I mean you’re lucky to be here. With me. I don’t usually date black women. But when I Googled you on my phone, I had to make an exception.”

“Huh. But you’re black. Why don’t you…” She stopped talking, because she noticed that Dialo wasn’t even looking at her. He peered over her shoulder. She darted her eyes in that direction, and saw a group of twenty-year-olds in tiny dresses – the knockoff version of hers.

An hour before, Jenna had felt a degree of excitement while getting dressed for her first night out since returning to New York. She’d almost felt like a dewy-eyed recent college grad, heading out for a naughty night of club-hopping
and hopefully getting pawed by a baby Leo DiCaprio in VIP. But her options were no longer limitless. She was decades older, and being ignored by a fancypants douche she wasn’t even attracted to.

“I’m black,” he continued, “but not American black like you. I’m from Ghana via London. And relax, I just find white women to be more easygoing.”

“Ohhh, you’re one of those.” Jenna swirled her straw in her drink, trying to figure out how to lose this bozo. “But I’m clearly black, so why are you here?”

“I do enjoy some biracial women, which is what I figured you were from your pictures. So you get a pass, love.” He cackled.

“Nope, not biracial. I’m one hundred percent all-American black. So black that my middle name is Keisha.”

Dialo grimaced. “Anyway, when I found out you used to be a famous fashion editor, I was impressed. I have a superb publicist, should you need one. He’s so stylish. He hooked me up with this Matthew Williamson scarf.”

“That’s a woman’s piece, you know.”

“But it works with a strong seamed jacket.”

“Indeed.” Jenna vowed to kill Elodie. “So, should a radiologist have a publicist? Isn’t that breaking some sort of Hippocratic oath?”

“I mostly have A-list clients, so…” he trailed off. “I must say, you look just like a girl I went to Yale with. But surely you’re a good ten years younger than me, little lady.”

Jenna grinned, deciding to mess with him a little. “Doubt it. I’m forty-five.” She added on five years, just to watch his head explode. “How old are you?”

“Forty-five? I’m forty-three!”

“So, we’re contemporaries.”

“But I thought…wow, forty-five? I wouldn’t have guessed.” His entire body language changed. He shook his head, as if rejecting the entire notion. And then actually looked at his watch. 

She signaled a waitress. “Sweetie, could we get some napkins?”

“Why do you need napkins?” Then Dialo lowered his voice and asked Jenna, “Am I making you wet?”

Jenna finished the rest of her champagne and then stood up, slowly rearranging her dress. As she did, she allowed her bag to tip the remaining splash of his cocktail onto one of his velvet slippers. As Dialo squealed like Babe, she hurried away, grabbing two glasses of champagne from a cater waiter’s tray. He was vile. But the worst part? He
wasn’t at all unique. He was the classic New York mover-and-shaker. A doctor with a publicist. Straight, but so fey you could smell the Kiehl’s eye cream.

Jenna stormed through the party, looking everywhere for Elodie. Since she was nowhere to be found, she planted herself next to a bar and downed both glasses. Just then a group of guys swept by her, all Suits. She’d known them
peripherally for years – and tonight, they were surrounded by six hotties in their twenties (in outfits Jenna would later describe as being a cross between “Atlanta Prom” and “Who Gives a Fuck”). The guys gave Jenna air-kisses, and the May-December group went on their way.

“What is this?” she murmured out loud to no one, shaking her head in frustration. The room swayed a little bit. Steadying herself by grabbing the edge of the bar, she asked the willowy bartender, “If you have a Brazilian and no one sees it, does it exist? You know, like the tree in the forest thing?”

The girl giggled. “What’s wrong, doll?”

“Can I get another glass of Prosecco?” The chick slid her one, Jenna’s fourth, and she threw it back. She was well on the road to sloshed. “What’s up with the twenty-year-old girls? These men are my age. The guys get older, the
girls get younger, and where does that leave me? I was with one man my whole life. I’m forty and basically dating for the first time. I have no idea how to naviglate… nafligate…navigate this world.”

Finishing her drink, she saw one of her Suit friends catch her eye and then point at his model’s ass behind her back. He leered. Jenna shot him her middle finger. “Honey,” said the waitress, “why don’t you go sit down for a little bit?”

“Speshtacular idea.” Jenna spotted an empty chaise in a dark corner, half-hidden by one of the swaying curtains. She managed to weave her way through the crowd and plunk herself down on the little couch. She must’ve dozed off, because the next thing she knew, someone tapped her shoulder.

“You okay?’

Jenna sat up straight, jerking her head up so fast that her hair got caught in her lip gloss. A man sat next to her. A kid, really -- he looked barely out of his teens, wearing Jordans, distressed jeans and a black tee that shouted “Blame Society” in red typeface. A busy swirl of tattoos erupted from his shirtsleeve and covered his arm, stopping at his wrist. His look was effortlessly crisp, in a Red Hook hipster-meets-hip hop way. Lanky and tall with I-play-basketball-allweekend biceps, he looked like a person who was well aware that he was, by far, the coolest sophomore at NYU.

He eyed her with furrowed concentration. “You okay?” he repeated.

“Yes! I’m fine. I’m great great great.”

“Yeah, you sound it.” He smiled. “How many drinks?”

“Four. No, five. Are you as drunk as me?”

He nodded, lifting up his glass. “And high. On too many things.”

“But you’re like, eighteen. Are you even legal? What are you doing here?”

“I’m twenty-two! I have a seriously elite college degree from USC Film School.”

“USC Film? Color me impressed! If I wasn’t in fashion, I’d be in film. In high school, I thought about being a film historian, but my mother was like, what the hell is a film historian, so I never…” Aware that she was rambling, she
stopped herself. “She has a very strong personality. Anyway, that’s fantastic.”

“Not even. None of us can get jobs. The acceptance rate at USC Film is lower than Harvard Law. We worked our asses off for no reason. I’m here to pick up my boy, one of the waiters. Yo, this guy’s one of the illest cinematographers of my generation, and he’s serving moscato to a Basketball Wife.”

“Yikes, Elodie’s gonna be furious. She didn’t want any reality people in here.”

“They’re here. I was just over in the fake butt section.” He shuddered. “I haaate plastic surgery. Hard, balloon breasts. And what’s that thing women do when they suck the fat out of their thighs?”

“Liposuction.”

“Terrible. I like for women to have…” He paused, making grabby gestures in the air. “Smush.”

Jenna got comfy, curling up against the back of the couch. “I’ve always wanted smush, but I’m too skinny. I’ve had curve-envy my whole life.”

“You have smush somewhere. Besides, you’re not skinny, you’re…svelte. Sinuous.”

“You like S words.”

“Yeah, I had a lisp in kindergarten, so I like to stunt with my superior “S’ game.”

“Awww!”

“I’m cutting myself off.” He put his glass down on the cocktail table, shaking his head. “The lisp? Information not to disclose upon meeting a staggeringly pretty girl.”

“You think I’m staggeringly pretty?”

He nodded. “Absolutely. You’re, like, next-level fancy. Incapable of having a tacky moment. I was just at a party with girls filming twerk videos on Vine, so I can say this with authority.”

“Twerk videos on Vine?” Jenna paused, and then frowned. “Actually, I don’t even know what or where Vine is.”

“You’ve never heard of Vine?”

She shrugged apologetically. “I’ve been away.”

“See? I feel like you’re a different breed of woman. Like you’re from a planet of angelic goddesses who are, like, made of the sugary oozy stuff inside Cadbury eggs and speak in Ezra Pound stanzas. And own tiny condos inside of
rainbows.”

Jenna’s mouth opened, and then she howled with unselfconscious laughter. “I’m what? You’re so weird!”

“I know,” he said, looking bashful. “I read too much science fiction.”

“So do I. And weird is good. I love it.”

“As long as you love it,” he said. And then he grinned at her. Jenna’s heart almost stopped. His smile tore through her like lightening. She felt it in her thighs. Jesus, that mouth. Those puffy, bitable lips…

“You know what else you look like?”

“Tell me,” she said.

He folded his arms across his chest and studied her, long and indulgently. Jenna’s stomach flip-flopped – she was mesmerized. His eyes were arresting, almond-shaped and beyond black, like ink dipped in water. God, he was
beautiful. Finally, his mouth curled into a secret smile, and Jenna smiled back, and then they were two strangers smiling giddily at each other, for no reason.

“You look like you need to be kissed. Badly.”

“How could you tell?”

“’Cause you’re staring at my mouth with laser-like focus.”

“Cocky.”

“Self-aware.”

“Well, it’s true. Your mouth is really…good.” Was it the alcohol, or was he the most fuckable person she’d ever seen? Jenna bit her bottom lip, her mind racing. She could feel her cheeks getting hot. She wanted to rip this kid’s clothes off. Was she drunk enough to do this?

“Do you want to kiss me?” she asked.

“Is that rhetorical?”

She shook her head, scooting a bit closer to him.

“If you knew what I wanted to do,” he said, “you’d call security.”

“Kiss me, then. We’re both wasted. That means we won’t muh-member…I mean, remember any of this tomorrow.”

Oh, I’ll muh-member.”

They both peered over the back of the couch to see how conspicuous they were. They were facing a corner, and the almost-sheer panel billowing from the ceiling was half-shielding them. Everyone was busy doing whatever people do
at parties for dog books. Plus, it was really dark.

“No one’s looking,” she said. “So give me your best kiss. Your A-plus kiss.”

“I’ll give you the B-plus one. ‘Cause I’m a gentleman.”

“Lana Turner said a gentleman is a patient wolf,” she whispered, tipping her face up to his.

“Lana Turner was correct.” He leaned in, his lips almost touching hers.

“So…now?”

“Now.”

He brushed his lips across hers, barely grazing her. A thousand tingles shot through her body. He kissed her again, his lips soft, but firm. Then things got serious. He slid his hand into her hair, angled his mouth over hers and kissed
her deeply, languidly. A moan escaped her lips – she was totally caught off guard by how electric it felt. He pinned her against the chaise, tonguing her mouth with such sensuous rawness, it was like he was inside of her – and it was so achingly good that she forgot where she was, hiking her leg up around his waist, the hem of her dress sliding all the way to her hips. Holding her still by her hair, he kept at it, unraveling her, all giving, no taking – so that all she could do was grip his sides and drown – until an unimpressed waiter bumped into Jenna while collecting their drinks. Jolted, they drew apart and just looked at each other. Stunned.

“Your turn,” he said, his fist still tangled in her hair. “I want your B-plus.”

“I’ll give you my B,” she murmured. “I don’t want to destroy you.”

“Cocky.”

“Self-aware.”

Jenna pushed him back and climbed onto his lap, straddling him. Holding the top of the couch for balance, she kissed him with total voraciousness, letting loose all the lust and sexual frustration she’d had for years. He matched her intensity, bruising her lips with his and gripping her where her ass met her thighs.

“Smush,” he growled into her mouth. “Told you.”

“I…I can’t believe I’m making out in the middle of a party,” said Jenna, breaking their kiss. “I’m too old for this, we have to stop!”

“Yeah, definitely,” he said, planting hot, open-mouthed kisses down her neck.

“I swear to God,” she panted, “I think I love you.”

“I know I love you,” he murmured against her throat. Then, he looked up at her. “Wait, what’s your name?”

“Jenna Jones!”

They both looked up in surprise at Elodie and her intern, Misty, who was struggling not to laugh. They tore away from each other, landing on opposites sides of the couch.


(Want more? Order your copy today!!)



Check out Tia's Amazon Author Page
http://www.amazon.com/Tia-Williams/e/B001IR1Q1G 


Meet the Author
Tia Williams
is the ultimate style insider. For fifteen years, she was a magazine beauty editor (at Elle, Lucky, Glamour, Teen People, and Essence.com), and created one of the first style blogs, the award-winning Shake Your Beauty. She’s the best-selling author of The Accidental Diva and the It Chicks series, and co-writer of Iman’s The Beauty of Color. Currently a copy director at Estee Lauder Companies, Tia lives in Brooklyn with her 7-year-old diva daughter and their various accessories.

Follow Tia for chit-chat, beauty babble, and book updates:

· Twitter: @ShakeYourBeauty
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· Blog: http://www.shakeyourbeauty.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 


When a Man Loves a Woman 2: A Love Divine 
by Tumika Patrice Cain 

Have you ever been in love? Has your path ever crossed with someone that caused every cell in your body to wake up and take notice?  Meet Jacquie & Michael!  Share their love, the journey, in When a Man Loves a Woman 2: A Love Divine.  It is a story of hope, accepting love, embracing one’s personal truths, and making no apologies for it. 

Jacquie remembered a time when she was once a tender, caring, hopeless romantic. But happily-ever-after’s and once-upon-a-time fairytales, proved over time to be just that – fairytales. After what she feels has been “a lifetime” of true love eluding her, she loses all hope, resigning to live a single (and loveless) existence. As time passes, she shifts her focus, choosing to concentrate on her career and makes the best of it…alone.

Gorgeous, artsy and charismatic was the man who Jacquie’s eyes fell upon, causing her heart to beat in a rhythm she’d forgotten existed. Michael was more than enough man to make her lose herself inside dreams of a future interwoven with the very fabric of all that defined the beauty of being in love.

But just like in fairytales, there’s always something out of place. For alas, this knight in chocolate armor, was twelve years her junior – an age gap that defined a cultural difference and a major problem for Jacquie’s overbearing mother. Will pressure from family and other obligations turn their love into a nightmare? Or can Michael and Jacquie tune out the rest of the world, embrace the sweetness that they share, and build a foundation that lasts?


Excerpt: When a Man Loves a Woman: A Love Divine

Jacquie didn’t know exactly when it happened. She just knew that it did. She found herself in love. And what was funniest of all was how different he was than what she’d always thought she wanted or been told she should want. He was twelve years her junior, but more man than anyone who had ever come before him. Dealing with him was like a welcomed cool lakeside breeze on a scorching summer day.

Michael was everything she’d ever dreamed of, but didn’t know that she needed or wanted. Tender. Sweet. Attentive. Strong, but not overbearing. All things cool. So opposite of her in many ways, yet so like her in many ways that mattered. It was a perfect fit. 

There was a vibrancy about him that instantly caused everything in her to perk up and take notice. He made her want to wear bright colored clothing and flowers in her hair. Big hoop earrings and sexy sandals to show off blood red toenails and fresh pedicures. This was such a huge shift for her. Always prone to muted colors and conservative clothing, she had been raised to subdue everything about herself, almost to the point of extinction of her authentic self. At times she didn't quite know what to make of the changes taking place in her life. When it became scary, she urged herself to press on pass the fear. This was such a great time to be alive, and for the first time in her life, she actually found that she was happy to be in the land of the living.

It’s funny, but she hadn’t realized how much of a drag her life was until being in his presence made her feel so alive. Made her wonder how long had she been walking around half dead just waiting on someone to breathe life into her. Well, whatever he had, made her spirit soar high above the clouds. In his presence, she became a bird; free to roam, to fly unhindered, to just be. He was the key that unlocked the cage she’d lived in her entire life. Suddenly, she felt years younger. Almost how the teenage years should have been if she hadn’t been so bogged down with responsibilities and pressures. Finally, she felt like other girls looked: youthful, carefree, lovely. She was loving every minute of it!

Old behaviors didn’t just disappear overnight. The practicalities making up her personality were still very much alive and at work. What was different was a newness to get out from under the mundane and do something…anything…new. This newfound state put her in a place where she could dream again. Come to think of it, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d dreamed about doing anything. Clueless as to how to change her life, the dreams slowly faded away like the last refrain of a song. Repeat, repeat, then fade, fade, fade until finally it was gone. Over. Finito. That’s what happened to Jacquie. Her dreams had died into the empty pause that lives between songs. He was her new song.

This season would start with a fresh hairdo. The signature wrap, although lovely and perfectly coiffed, would have to go. Surely she could find some sort of sweeping updo that could be versatile enough for both day and night, work and play. Until the right look came along, Jacquie found herself really studying the looks of other women who had some of what she felt being birthed in her spirit. That’s what made her decide to finally let the soft coral nail color go in search of something vibrant and popping. Yep….fire engine red. How about that?! She found a similar color for her lips, as well as a plum, bronze and a translucent shade to switch up her looks.

Clothing was next. Flirty skirts, fitted tops, and big belts replaced stiff suits and pleated pants. And for leisure, she went all out. Wide-legged pants, fitted jeans, long tops, high heeled boots, funky jewelry. She was absolutely loving this transformation. Her new colors were extreme. Orange, fuschia, lime green, hot pink, reds, plums, emeralds, bronze, cobalt – even in the winter. A host of jewel tones to help celebrate her new found Queendom. Yes, it was high time a daughter of royalty looked like one. She had been a King’s kid living beneath her privilege for far too long.

For as much as she came into the self that had been hidden all those years, the more the world presented other opportunities for her to embark upon. Her appetite had been whetted and a deep desire to explore the world had been birthed. Even alone, she found herself doing all sorts of things she would not have done before.

This transition had her giving serious thought to her future and what she really wanted to do with the rest of her life. She knew that being an executive assistant wasn’t it, although she had not figured out exactly what it was. Inside she could feel a stint with school coming. And travel. Lots and lots of travel. She was looking forward to all of it.

( Continued... )


Copyright 2016 Tumika Patrice Cain - excerpt from When a Man Loves a Woman 2: A Love Divine.


Book 1: When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change
Book 2: When a Man Loves a Woman: A Love Divine


A novel of enduring strength, undeniable empowerment, and the compelling ability to overcome incredible odds, book one in the When a Man Loves a Woman series is a powerhouse that will impact readers long after the last words have been read.

Purchase Book 1: When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change
Link:  http://amzn.com/B019HLV65U 




Meet the Author
Tumika Patrice Cain
is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life. She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the internet radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain, In The Spotlight, and Say What?? Author Spotlights. In addition, she is a respected book reviewer and columnist for PEN’Ashe Magazine, a contributing writer for BLOG and Belief Magazines, and editor for two smaller publishing companies. 

A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but whose marketing budgets are limited. Inkscriptions, her publishing company, offers a myriad of book publishing services. Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path. 

She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012), a novel that has since been picked up by Shan Presents and will be re-released as When a Man Loves a Woman – A Season of Change in December 2015. To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March 2014) and The Heart of a Woman (August 2015). Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.

US: http://amzn.to/1SIDVTo 
UK: http://amzn.to/202zgjR 
CA: http://amzn.to/202zurb 
AS: http://bit.ly/1lPvnvV 

 

 

 


When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change 
by Tumika Patrice Cain

The stars seemed to have been aligned for Avery and Alicia. From the outside looking in, Lady Luck passed their way and left a fortune! They had a whirlwind, fairytale romance filled with all the little things that make dreams come true, a wedding of grace and beauty, and perfectly magical careers that produced almost enough money to burn. They were the picture-perfect couple.

Unfortunately, time has a way of revealing fissures in what appears to the naked eye as impenetrable. The results send this fairytale romance spiraling out of control.

Avery, as perfect and so right as he seemed, struggles to free himself from his demons. He clings to this delicate relationship that he desperately needs as if his last breath depends on it. Alicia, on the other hand, struggles to make the necessary corrections that will release her from a prison of unexpected, agonizing turmoil.

A novel of enduring strength, undeniable empowerment, and the compelling ability to overcome incredible odds, Book one in the When a Man Loves a Woman series is a powerhouse that will impact readers long after the last words have been read.

Excerpt: When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change


That was one of the best days of my life. I'd finally gotten what I'd wanted forever. Someone who loved me. Loved me so much he wanted to tell the world. Wanted to make me his forever.

We slowly made our way out on the balcony, where all of the preparations had been made. It was all so lovely. Michael had black wrought iron patio furniture where we sat and ate the tantalizing dishes the caterers had prepared. There was fresh steamed lobster with lemon butter sauce, New England crab cakes, seafood kabobs and a wide range of other seaside resort foods that reminded me of the first weekend we’d spent out of town.

At Avery's request I'd gotten off of work early one Friday and met him at the airport. The spontaneity of the whole weekend made everything seem so fresh. Northwest Airlines took us to Massachusetts where we spent four glorious days at Martha's Vineyard. Just lying on the beach and soaking up the rays. I didn't even have a change of clothes. Ave said not to worry about it; we'd just go shopping when we got there. That's exactly what we did. A perfect weekend spent miles away from reality. In a cove on the beach is where we first made love. I'll never forget it.

Once the sun set and we were slow dancing on the verandah, Avery touched my arm and motioned for me to look out across the river. I couldn't believe my eyes. Usually the Cadillac Club in Windsor was all lit up at night in white neon. But instead of the marquee reading “Cadillac Club” it read, instead, “Alicia Will You Marry Me?” I remember being speechless for endless moments as tears welled up in my eyes, the lump in my throat rendering me incapable of speaking. The only response I gave was to gently touch his face and shake my head yes, while tears of happiness poured down my cheeks. So much for my mascara. He picked me up and swung me around for the longest time, whispering in my ear “I love you” time and time again.

It was several long minutes before I could compose myself. All remaining memories of that night are now a blur, except for us nibbling on the most succulent strawberries a mouth could feast on. And us making slow, sweet love all night under the stars while the moonlight caressed our skin.


Book Reviews: When a Man Loves a Woman 

Tumika Patrice Cain has poured her abundant faith, wisdom and passion for helping others into a new book that tackles one of the toughest of family crises. Tumika’s extensive experience ministering to others through writing and counseling, as well as many years in human services, make her a voice worth hearing. 
~ Sheri Fink, Pulitzer Prize Winner & Author of War Hospital


Tumika Cain did an outstanding job on this novel and I am just still reeling from the contents. 
~ OOSA Online Book Club


This has to be the best book I have read this year. 
~ Book Referees


It is tragedy and triumph in its most raw form. 
~ Matthew Keith Reviews


Cain is a true wordsmith, and her writing has a refreshing maturity. 
~ Sweet Georgia Press


This reviewer urges you to give Tumika Cain's premiere novel, When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change, a chance today! These pages leave no stone unturned, and no heart untouched. 
~ Lindsay McDonald, Indyscribable


A powerful read with many powerful messages, When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change shows we have to be willing to move on in order to grow. 
~ Cyrus Webb, Conversations Live


Purchase When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change
Link:  http://amzn.com/B019HLV65U 




Meet the Author
Tumika Patrice Cain
is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life. She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the internet radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain, In The Spotlight, and Say What?? Author Spotlights. In addition, she is a respected book reviewer and columnist for PEN’Ashe Magazine, a contributing writer for BLOG and Belief Magazines, and editor for two smaller publishing companies. 

A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but whose marketing budgets are limited. Inkscriptions, her publishing company, offers a myriad of book publishing services. Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path. 

She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012), a novel that has since been picked up by Shan Presents and will be re-released as When a Man Loves a Woman – A Season of Change in December 2015. To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March 2014) and The Heart of a Woman (August 2015). Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.

 

 

 


Second House from the Corner: A Novel
by Sadeqa Johnson

In the tradition of I Don’t Know How She Does ItSecond House from the Corner centers on the story of Felicia Lyons, a stay-at-home mother of three drowning in the drudgeries of play dates, lost pacifiers and potty training who occasionally wonders what it would be like to escape the demands of motherhood. But when an unexpected phone call threatens to destroy her life, Felicia is forced to return to her childhood home where she must wrestle with an ex-lover and long buried secrets to save the family and home she loves despite the daily challenges.

Felicia Lyons is a character who mothers can identify with and laugh along with. You can't help but cheer for her in Johnson's engaging and well-written novel.


PRAISE FOR SADEQA JOHNSON 

“A captivating tale to savor…Felicia is a wonderfully flawed, compelling main character, one who has stayed with me long after I finished the book. A winning novel from a writer to watch.”
—Benilde Little, bestselling author of Welcome to My Breakdown and Good Hair

"Sadeqa Johnson is one of those authors you rarely find these days. Her gift of writing sings on every page. When reading her second novel, Second House From the Corner, you can't help feeling like you just received a letter from an old friend.... or an old lover. It is a must read!"
—Here's the Story Bookstore in Union, NJ



Excerpt from Second House from the Corner: A Novel


PART 1

To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings— all in the same relationship. — Clarissa Pinkola Estes


The Witching Hour


That four-hour window between after-school pickup and bedtime?  It’s like walking a tightrope with groceries in both hands. The slightest hiccup will land any mother in a quagmire with her legs in the air. For me the whole afternoon was a fail. I locked myself out when I went to pick the kids up from school, but didn’t notice the missing house keys until I pulled into the driveway. The snacks had been demolished at the playground, so the hunger meltdown began on the drive to my husband’s office for the spare key (a drive that usually takes seven minutes, but ended up being twenty round-trip because of traffic). Things got even shoddier once I discovered we were out of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. My children will not eat baked chicken unless I dip the pieces in buttermilk, roll them in cornflakes, and bake until crispy. The oven was preheated, the potatoes were boiling for the mash, and I was thirty-three minutes off schedule without the magic cereal that makes my chicken finger-licking good. No time to change the dinner plan. So I swap in seasoned bread crumbs and cross my toes that they won’t notice.

“Mama, this doesn’t taste right.” My son, Rory, frowns.

“Just eat it. There are children right down the street who are starving.”

“But it’s disgusting,” whines Twyla.

How does a four-year-old know what disgusting is?

“Just eat.”

“I have to go pee pee and poo poo.”

“Stop smiling at me. Mommy, she’s smiling.”

“Can we just have dessert?”

“Maaaaaaaa.”

“Mommmmm.”

“Momeeeeeeee.”

Like a song on repeat. Like it’s the last word in the English dictionary. They call “Mommy” until my lips pucker, eyebrows knit. And it takes all my strength not to respond with that inside voice that nobody hears, that you wish would stay quiet, that tells the truth you don’t want anyone to know. That damn voice is hollering. Shut the fuck up!

At what point do I get to shout What the fuck do you want from me? I wouldn’t drop an F-bomb in front of the mommy crew at the park, and I hate to see parents on the street cursing out their kids. But here in my kitchen with everything working against me, I would like to liberate myself just once and let the profanity rip. It’s the nipping at my nerves that gets me. The feasting on my flesh like starved sea urchins. Them, fighting like thieves for their individual piece of me. Me feeling like I have nothing left to give. Any mother who says that she has never felt like her whole life was being sucked out through her nostrils is a damn liar. I feel it every day. Especially when I don’t get at least five hours of shut-eye, like last night.

Twyla (whom I call Two) walked her four-year-old self into my room every hour complaining about being scared. Scared of what? The curtain, the bed, the wall—she had an excuse for each visit. Never mind that she had to walk past her father to get to me. They never bother him. It’s always Mommy. So I upped and downed all night while he slept like a hibernating black bear. 

Breathe.  

I hate when I feel like this. My chest rising and falling. Momentum of failure piled. Anxiety has swept through my belly and is curled against my organs like a balled fist. Just one happy pill would make it all better. But I’ve been on the happiness-comes-from within kick for a few months, so no more pills. Instead I’ve started tapping. 

Tapping out my emotions so I can get back to feeling right. It’s that new technique where I say what my issue is and use my fingertips and hit my meridian points until I’m back to even. It usually takes about five minutes and several rounds before I feel centered and strong. My husband, Preston, calls it woo-woo, but he’s not at home with three children all day. I am, and I have to use what I’ve got to carry me through. I turn my back to the kids at the kitchen table, take two fingers, and tap the side of my hand while whispering my setup statement.

“Even though I feel stressed out, anxious, and tired of being alone and responsible for my kids I love and accept myself.”

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

“Calming down.” I try whispering the statement again but Tywla is out of her seat.

“My stomach hurts.”

Rory puts his fork down. “I’m full.”

My fingers stop. I haven’t made it through one minute, much less the five I need. I take a deep breath and usher everyone upstairs. Maybe Preston will surprise me and come home early. The damn voice laughs. When was the last time he did that? He never makes it home before their bedtime and I bet that’s on purpose.

Rory moans. “That’s my boat.” 

“Dad gave it to me.”

“No, he didn’t.”

Breathe. “Cut it out and get undressed.”

I run their bath and sneak in a quick tap. Repeating my setup statement, I move from my hand to my forehead, to the side of my eye, under my eye, under my lip, under my chin, full hand on chest, bra strap and top of the head. Fill my lungs with air and exhale. Twyla and Rory are back. I read my body. Better.

“Can I bring this in the tub, pretty please?” Twyla clutches the mesh bag with their toys.

“Sure.”

They climb into the bathtub and play. This should give me a few minutes alone with the baby.

“Guys, I’m going to change Liv into her pajamas. No water on the floor.”

“Can we have more bubbles?”

“No.”

“Awwww, man,” Rory replies, imitating Swiper the Fox. “You only gave us a little bit.”

I cut my eyes in the direction of my six-year-old and hold his gaze for a beat longer so that he knows I mean business.

The upstairs of our house is small, and it only takes three long strides to the girls’ bedroom. Liv, the baby, squirms in my arms and I find solace burying my head in her neck. I could sit and smell this child all day. At ten months old, she still has that fresh-to-the-earth smell that forces me to slow my pace. It’s hard to look at her without feeling deep sighs of relief. She is our miracle child.

When I was twenty weeks pregnant with Liv, a routine sonogram found something suspicious. I was sent to the Robert Woods Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick to see a pediatric cardiologist. There was a pinch in her heart that could hemorrhage. Her chances of being stillborn were high. When the doctor suggested that we terminate the pregnancy, I was bilious. By then I had already heard her heart beat, felt her flutter and kick, loved her. Preston didn’t even look my way when he simply told the batch of white coats that we would take our chances.

On our way home, the traffic on the Garden State Parkway held us hostage. I slobbered and blubbered against the passenger seat window, trudging through my past, knowing which karmic act brought this down on our family. My husband kept patting my hand, but when that didn’t work, he pulled our ice-cream-truck size SUV over to the side of the road and pressed the hazard lights.

“Foxy, look at me.” He is the only person who calls me Foxy, and even with hearing my personal pet name, I couldn’t bring my eyes to his. Tilting my damp chin, he forced eye contact. “This is not your fault.”

But it is.

“You trust me?”

I shake my head, of course, because there really is no other response when your husband asks you that question.

“So the baby is healed. It’s done, no more worries.” Preston clapped his hands, as if he had just entered a contract with God.

“Now stop blaming yourself, you didn’t do anything.”

As our vehicle crawled up the Parkway, he informed me that we’d name her Liv.

“Not short for anything. Just Liv.”

I knew what I had done to deserve this even though my husband did not. I wanted it to be all right. Needed something to cling too, so I agreed to everything that Preston offered because the only hope I had for a favorable outcome was him. I had burned my bridge with God a long time ago. 

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sadeqa Johnson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Second House from the Corner: A Novel
Contemporary Women Fiction



Amazon: http://smarturl.it/SHFCAWAM 
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About the Author

SADEQA JOHNSON is a former public relations manager who spent years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debut novel, LOVE IN A CARRY-ON BAG was hailed by Ebony.com as “this summer’s hottest read.” It was the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction and the 2012 USA Best Book award for African-American fiction. Originally from Philadelphia, she now resides in Virginia with her husband and three children. SECOND HOUSE FROM THE CORNER is her second novel.  For more visit: http://www.sadeqajohnson.com 

 

 

 

 


Into The Mist by Lynn Emery
Book 4: LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series 

Children are missing in ever increasing numbers. LaShaun Rousselle and Deputy Chase Broussard have to make sure their child isn’t next. After a series of gruesome murders, LaShaun has to answer one critical question to stop the bloodbath: are the children victims or weapons?

LaShaun Rousselle finds herself and her young family at the center of a devious and deadly series of crimes once more. A girl goes missing, bad enough. Yet when LaShaun follows the threads, she discovers the six year old is only one of many. What’s the connection to a string of attempts to get at LaShaun’s own child, Joëlle? She must help sort through the facts and evidence to convince level-headed law officers that supernatural forces are at work. Her life and the lives of those she cherish depend on LaShaun making a way out of no way.

LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series - A Darker Shade of Midnight is the first book in the LaShaun Rousselle paranormal mystery series. The second book is Between Dusk and Dawn. The third book is Only By Moonlight. Into The Mist is the fourth title in the LaShaun Rousselle mystery series.


NEW FALL 2016 RELEASE - Into The Mist by Lynn Emery
Book 4: LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series 

Topics: Faith, Supernatural forces, Family loyalty, Redemption, Creole and Cajun Culture
Available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iTunes, Audible, and Smashwords


Excerpt from Book 1: A Darker Shade of Midnight 

LaShaun went to her. She kissed the hand that had guided her through childhood. Now the knuckles were knotted, the tapered fingers weakened by arthritis. Yet, the skin appeared strangely smooth. 

“Bon soir, Monmon. You should be in bed.” LaShaun kissed her forehead. She breathed in the familiar scent of Cashmere Bouquet. The fragrance of lavender and chamomile came from another era.

“So, you finally come home. To watch me die, eh?” Monmon Odette patted LaShaun’s cheek.

“To celebrate your life, sweet mother,” LaShaun whispered. A tear slipped down her face. No need to make pointless protestations otherwise. They both knew Monmon Odette’s time on earth was growing shorter. 

Monmon Odette shushed away her sadness with a soft hiss. She produced a scented lace handkerchief from the pocket of her robe and dabbed away the tear. LaShaun sat on the floor and rested her head in Monmon Odette’s lap.

“Don’t grieve just yet, Cher . The blood is still runnin’ warm in these old veins. I’ve got just enough time left I think.” 

“Time for what?” LaShaun toyed with the hem of her grandmother’s cotton gingham robe. 

“You’ll know soon enough. But tonight you need rest after a long journey. You’ve come back home through time and space I think,” Monmon Odette murmured.

LaShaun looked up at her. “Has anything changed here?” 

Monmon Odette patted her shoulder as a signal she wanted to stand. With a short grunt from the effort, and a hand from LaShaun, she rose from the chair. Monmon Odette held LaShaun’s arm as they walked down the hallway to her bedroom.

“Some things are eternal. The movement of the wind, the heat on the bayou when summer comes. All that is the same.”

“The land stays the same if people don’t ruin it. Like they ruin a lot of things,” LaShaun said softly.

“Human nature doesn’t change either, Cher .” Monmon stopped and gave LaShaun a sideways glance. “The same deadly sins rule a man’s nature.”

“And women,” LaShaun added raising an eyebrow back at her. 

Monmon Odette laughed and started walking again. “True. But age does make a difference. When you get to be old you look at things differently.”

They arrived at the door to her grandmother’s bedroom. As they entered, LaShaun let her go in first. Then she fluffed the down pillows as her grandmother sank onto the bed. LaShaun helped her remove the robe and ease back onto the pillows. Once she’d tucked the vintage quilt around Monmon Odette’s chest her grandmother sighed. 

“Thank you, sweet girl. Now sit with me awhile.” 

LaShaun sank onto the cushioned seat of a large oak rocking chair next to the bed. A Bible was on the nightstand. “Of course. Shall I read to you?” 

“Non.” 

Monmon Odette closed her eyes after a few moments. LaShaun watched the slight rise and fall of her grandmother’s chest. After a while, she gazed around. Monmon Odette had redecorated. Her grandmother had a fondness for antiques, history and tradition. Yet, Monmon Odette was no old lady clinging to the past. LaShaun smiled when she saw the combination radio and compact disc player on the other wide nightstand. The high tech device didn’t clash with the country style décor. Curtains with a lovely old rose pattern on a cream background matched the quilt, the rug and pillow shams. An overhead cane ceiling fan looked old enough to have come from one of the plantation homes along Vermilion River. Then LaShaun saw the family photos on a round table. She left the rocker and went to it. Several pictures were sepia toned, taken before the turn of the last century. “Celie LeGrange, 1866-1932” was written at the bottom of one. Monmon Odette’s mother. Jules Paul LeGrange, husband to Celie and Monmon Odette’s father, stared stone-faced from another photo. An even older picture of a lovely woman dressed in a long dress and button top shoes sat next to it. LaShaun did not have to read the faint letters to know her. Acelie LeGrange stared at her descendant across time, two hundred years to be exact. LaShaun’s mother stared from a photo taken in 1982. She looked beautiful in a flowered sundress. Francine stood next to a five year old LaShaun. Both wore forced smiles trying hard to look happy for the camera. LaShaun didn’t remember that particular day, but she remembered her mother’s overwrought disposition. Still in love with Antoine St. Julien even five years after he married another, Francine never found happiness.

“I’m glad you’re home, Cher . Have you forgiven me?”

LaShaun looked up to find her grandmother’s dark gaze fixed on her. “I didn’t blame you for anything that happened to me, Monmon.”

“Maybe you should have, and for your maman, too. So many mistakes and no time to fix them. But I may still have time to do some good for you.” Monmon Odette inhaled deeply causing a rattling sound deep in her chest. She breathed out slowly then closed her eyes.

“I made my own choices, and my own mistakes.” LaShaun blinked away tears.

Monmon Odette nodded without opening her eyes. “Maybe Le Bon Dieu will have mercy on this old woman.”


( Continued... )

© 2014 All rights reserved. A Darker Shade of Midnight is the first book in the LaShaun Rousselle paranormal mystery series. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Lynn Emery. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase books from the LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series 

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Smashwords: https://goo.gl/sgHm7u 



A Darker Shade of Midnight - Book Review Written by Beverly Jackson VINE VOICE 


In A Darker Shade of Midnight by Lynn Emery, LaShaun Rousselle is returning home to Vermillion Parish, Louisiana because her grandmother is dying. Shortly after crossing the county line, LaShaun finds herself sitting in the sheriff's station wondering what bogus charges warranted her being detained. Yes, she has a scandalous past that caused her to leave home ten years ago, but that is the past. When the sheriff department finds nothing but a broken taillight, feisty LaShaun cannot help shaking up the sheriff and the department by issuing them a challenge, knowing some fear her voodoo powers. With that settled, LaShaun is looking forward to making peace with her grandmother, Monmon Odette, and catching up with family. Unfortunately, life will be anything but peaceful for LaShaun - greedy relatives, a sadistic ex-lover, an attraction to a deputy, an evil force and murder all come into her life. Fearing that mayhem and evil are a curse she cannot overcome, LaShaun starts to despair that she should not have returned home. Will LaShaun be able to trust her psychic powers, and accept help from unexpected sources, or will the demon win this round for her soul?

A Darker Shade of Midnight is a tale of revenge, deceit, betrayal and political corruption. This combination makes for a juicy murder and the plot serves up several victims. Drama of the family fighting among themselves adds another layer of tension and intrigue to a plot with all kinds of twists. Emery is known for her love of Louisiana, a setting she vividly brings to life in this story. I enjoyed how the paranormal elements were skillfully woven into the storyline with grace and ease, being a natural part of the locale. 

LaShaun is an alpha female who fights back at the least challenge, but over the course of the story she learns to accept who she is and how to accept genuine help. It is a nice touch to see her interact with the sexy deputy, Chase Broussard, as the attraction between them allows the reader a respite from all of the mayhem in the story. While fans of the author will love visiting with old friends and new readers will be entertained by the characters, they might be slightly confused by references to previously mentioned events.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy paranormal mysteries and fans of Lynn Emery. A good read for a summer night, as the forces of good and evil battle with each other.

This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Reviewed by Beverly, APOOO Literary Book Review



Purchase books from the LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series 

Amazon: http://goo.gl/XbzkOM 
Audible: http://goo.gl/lT9aji 
Nook: http://goo.gl/WKS71d 
Kobo: https://goo.gl/BFYaF9 
Smashwords: https://goo.gl/sgHm7u 

Meet the Author

Mix knowledge of voodoo, Louisiana politics and forensic social work, and you get a snapshot of author Lynn Emery.  Lynn’s recent titles include murder mysteries set in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana featuring a Creole psychic and a Cajun deputy. The titles in this series are: A Darker Shade of Midnight (#1), Between Dusk and Dawn (#2), and Only By Moonlight (#3). Into The Mist (#4) continues the harrowing case files of LaShaun Rousselle and Deputy Chase Broussard. Into the Mist will be released in fall 2016.

 

 

 

 


Earth’s Quiet Chaos: A Novel 
by Tomeekha Pitre

Earth’s Quiet Chaos is set in a historically significant community in Los Angeles, California. Earth Hartley is an African American businesswoman whose life is consumed by caring for her older sister, Moon, and trying to save Moon from the consequences of her careless behavior and substance abuse. 

Moon is paranoid, violent, erratic, and irrational. She thrives in her life of chaos, and has no regard for the pain it causes her family. 

Ra, their brother, is the lifeline between his two sisters. He’s the glue that holds the family together until a horrible and violent act results in Moon’s arrest.

The story of Earth’s Quiet Chaos is about finding and holding onto true love while dealing with family issues that are considered to be taboo in the African American community, but are relatable to all.


5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review Written By Amazon Customer 

This is a MUST READ, not only for the African-American community but for all. It is relatable, inspiring, educational and a very easy read. It is unique in it's style and content. It was difficult putting the book down once I began to read it. After completing the book, I was encouraged and motivated again. It inspired me to begin meditation activities; to stay hopeful and to progress forward no matter what the circumstances of my or my families' life were. The author blessed us with this story and helped to make the quiet chaos in my life more manageable.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Book Review Written By Paulette 
The author has written an excellent book about the emotional turmoil experienced between close siblings and their significant others when the eldest appears to be in denial about being controlled by substance abuse. It's evident the three siblings, the main characters, love each other as they endure many struggles in their attempts to keep the family intact. Blessed with great parents who instilled spiritually-driven values, the younger two are committed to doing whatever it takes to save their sister.

The character descriptions and actions are so vividly detailed you find yourself communicating with them and reluctantly putting the book down to sleep. Although the story was complete, I'm still hooked and crave more about the secondary characters who helped to make this story seem more real than fiction. I hope the author takes the hint and blesses us with a sequel.


Excerpt: Chapter 2

Rashidah and I giggle at ourselves as we walk from store to store in the open-air mall called The Grove. It’s a hot summer day and we duck into my favorite store to temporarily escape the blazing heat. 

“I love the artistic vibe of the designs and fabrics in this store.” 

Rashidah holds the tag on a cute shirt and murmurs 

“Look at these high ass prices!” 

We pick out some outfits to try on. I find some tops, pants and a dress to add to my wardrobe. We walk out of the store and look for a shady spot where it’s cool. 

“Xavier will like me in the long summer dress, don’t you think?” 

Rashidah doesn’t respond. After a short break, we continue shopping. 

We hit up the computer store where she buys herself an iPad for scheduling client appointments. We grab a half veggie sandwich and salad from The Veggie Grill. We hit up every store at The Grove before heading to the Beverly Center. 

“I want to treat myself to one of those small flat Louis Vuitton cross body purses.”

We find it at the Louis Vuitton store and then check out other stores that aren’t at The Grove.

Pleased with my purchases and delighted to spend time with Rashidah, the one who knows me best, I’m all shopped out. 

“Rashidah, can you believe that I don’t have any plans tonight other than dinner with Ali and a dress rehearsal for the play?” 

“Well, you never know. Maybe Xavier will surprise you and he’ll be the one sitting at the dinner table when Ali brings you to the restaurant.” 

She has a half grin. She’s in the know of something that I’m not. 

“Now that would be the surprise of a lifetime, but if something goes down, I’m ready to dress and impress. That’s for sure.” 

Then it hits me to check my cell phone for the time. “Speaking of time, its 3:45. Are you ready to roll?”

“Yep, I think we’ve done enough financial damage for the day.” 

“You’re right about that!” 

We make our way to the parking lot, fill the trunk with our bags, and drive off.

We go to my place and, like we always do when we go shopping together, Rashidah comes in with her bags and we go through each and every item, trying them on as we help each other change. Rashidah takes down my locs and sections them into twisted bantu knots all over my head. 

“Okay, here you go Earth, give it an hour and then we’ll take down the bantu knots and your locs will be slightly curly and I’ll do a quick style for your date tonight.” 

“Please, dinner with Ali is not a date. We are friends and are going to catch up with each other. That’s all. Now, if Xavier is at the table that will be an entirely different story.” 

“And that is what I’m talking about. We have to stay ready so we don’t have to get ready. So, you are going to pick out your dress and we are going to do your hair and makeup as if Xavier will be somewhere waiting to surprise you tonight.” 

She’s in her beauty makeover mood. I’m excited about the thought Rashidah planted in my head. We begin our mission for me, Earth Hartley, to look like a million bucks for my man tonight wherever he may be and at whatever time he decides to show up. 

“Besides, it is my B-Earth-Day today, I can look fabulous all day if I decide to do so.”

I need to keep myself in the moment and not get too excited and set myself up for a letdown.

This time of the year in southern California, the weather is unpredictable. But today is nice and hot so we go with it and choose the long summer lounge dress. It’s a sheer fabric so I glide into a white ankle length cotton slip to wear underneath. The dress fabric has water colored flowers of purple, yellow, orange, and green. The butterfly sleeves are elbow length and the front of the dress has a low V-neck. Since I am going out with Ali, who stands six feet, five inches, I put on my four inch gold sandals that tie up the leg. 

When I turned 16, my Baba gave me one yellow gold and one white gold chain necklace, one with an Ankh pendant and the other with a Gye Nyame pendant. Both pendants have a crystal planted in the middle. I fasten the white gold chain. The end of the Ankh hangs perfectly at my cleavage. I keep on the earrings that Rashidah gave me and add white gold and yellow gold bangles, and the gold Ankh ring that Momma gave me a long time ago on my right hand and a turquoise ring that Baba gave me on my left hand.

Rashidah takes down the bantu knots, pins up the back and allows the locs to fall in the front to frame my face. She beams with the look of a proud Mother. 


( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Tomeekha Pitre. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.



Order Earth's Quiet Chaos: A Novel by Tomeekha Pitre 
https://www.amazon.com/Earths-Quiet-Chaos-Tomeekha-Pitre-ebook/dp/B01F16HN8E 

About the Author
Tomeekha is a successful business professional within the corporate world of medical healthcare. She is a zealot for multi-media art and community advocacy for artists. 

Tomeekha is the co-owner of Black Cotton, LLC where she is Publisher of literary projects for the Black Cotton Publishing division. Her expertise in business and the arts allows her to enjoy consulting for startup businesses and creative projects.

Her debut novel, Earth’s Quiet Chaos, is a fictional narrative inspired by life experiences. She is spirit-led to share stories that will uplift, empower, educate and inspire individuals to live in the highest version of self. 

Website: www.tomeekhapitre.com 
FB: TomeekhaPitre
Instagram: Tomeekha
Twitter: @tomeekha

 

 

 

 

 

 


This Too Shall Pass 
by Patricia A. Saunders 

This book of poetry spans the journey of life, death, grief, love, and weathering all storms. When life has thrown you curveballs and you think that it’s over, no one is there for you, or no one can love you, it is in those moments when you have to hang on. There is hope, there is love, and there is a second chance. You just have to believe that this too shall pass!

Excerpt: This Too Shall Pass

Bang, Bang!
As kids we played cowboys and Indians
Got older and it was cops and robbers
Bang, Bang! was so innocent
Parents would buy toy guns
Boys would pretend to shoot, get hit, fall down and die
Some things changed over the years
The games became reality
Guns are brought to schools
Drive-by shootings are killing little babies
Bang, Bang!
Someone call 911
There are killings taking place everywhere
Churches, movie theaters, college campuses, Shady Hook, Planned Parenthood
Unarmed or armed
Bang, Bang!
You’re dead!

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Patricia A. Saunders. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase book by Patricia A. Saunders 

http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-A.-Saunders/e/B008DOOOCK

About the Author

Self-published author, Patricia A. Saunders was born and raised in Connecticut before relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area nearly 20 years ago. She received her Master's in Management from the University of Phoenix in 2011. After the passing of her mother who had Alzheimer's, Patricia decided that all the words that she kept to herself were to be released. 


 

 


All That Is, Dance of Mindfulness & Gratitude 
A Quest for Wholeness. A Creative Non-Fiction book 
by Skywalker Payne

Now is the Only Time to Begin Your Mindfulness Practice

Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and registered nurse, Skywalker Payne unites spiritual and health benefits of mindfulness and gratitude. Using a conversational style, she shares scientific studies, spiritual insights, personal stories, and poetry to reveal how these practices can enrich your life. You not only share one woman’s journey, but also learn techniques and approaches to integrate mindfulness and gratitude into your daily life.

* You can end overwhelm.
* You can live a fulfilling life of health and vitality.
* You can be aware and appreciative of every precious moment.

A profound book that sets the reader thinking about big subjects, all within the context of mindfulness. Skywalker introduces the idea of how mindfulness could transform more than just individual’s lives, but also how we as a society govern ourselves. She includes her own process through a mindfulness course, demonstrating commitment and insights that are useful for anyone considering learning about mindfulness. A thought-provoking and inspiring read. – Jane Duncan Rogers, Author of Gifted By Grief: A True Story of Cancer, Loss and Rebirth

Book Reviews for Skywalker Payne 


An honest, authentic look into the wonderful mind of Skywalker Payne. If you are working on improving or perfecting your mindfulness practice, pick up this book. 
– Tom Morkes, CEO of Insurgent Publishing

"All That Is" - a beautifully written book. It's meant for all peoples. Before I got a copy my perception of gratitude and mindfulness was guided by my Christian teachings and knowledge acquired as a scientist. After I immersed myself in the read, I became reeducated and had a deeper appreciation of the themes gratitude and mindfulness. Through Skywalker’s stories - some personal - I learned ways by which I could make that deep profound connection with my inner self, with nature, and ways to express gratitude - not just to others, but for everyday living and situations. One mustn't be rich or famous to attain contentment. All one needs, as Skywalker projects via her book, is to search within and adopt a simple yet wholesome approach.”
– Uzoma Okoroafor, 85degrees.wordpress.com


Excerpt from All That Is

02/18/2015

I practice Tibetan Buddhism. Vipassana, the meditation technique that led Jon Kabat-Zinn to develop MBSR is from this tradition. Today was the day for me to practice Gutor in preparation for Tibetan New Year.

My teacher, Dungse Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche explained, "In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition the Gutor Reversing Practices work for future prosperity in general and help in removing obstacles to life in particular."

Of course as a solo practitioner, my practice is limited but I do my best. Another important practice on this day is house cleaning. And once again, in my unmindful manner, I took on more than I should have. But, I achieved my most important objectives.

Mindfulness was not in my thoughts as I worked but I did pay attention to each task and worked as efficiently as I could. The sun shone brightly and when I stepped on the porch to shake out the dust mop, the temperature was comfortable without a jacket. So, I said to Brian, "Do you want to go for a walk?"

"I don't know, I'm still going through my Facebook newsfeed."

"Well, I might go by myself."

After doing a little more work, I prepared lunch. I was aware of my preparation. I speeded up the process by tearing several leaves of spinach instead of tearing one leaf at a time. As I prepared the food, I offered it to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This is a form of Buddhist prayer and blessing. Eating was as enjoyable as yesterday. The sun streamed through the window and its reflection sparkled over the bay.

I watched four small motorboats speed over the water. This spinach salad was easier to eat than the kale and lettuce of the day before, the tastes and textures smoother. I heard the crunch as I chewed the walnuts and sunflower seeds. And even though I talked with Brian, I maintained attention on the food I ate. I looked at the water and felt the warmth of the sun on my face. A walk called to my mind but my body, and my legs particularly, felt sore and tired. Brian wanted to finish his Facebook news feed, vacuum, and take a bath before we left.

"What time is it?" I asked.

"Three-thirty."

"Why don't we just plan to go for a walk tomorrow because you're not going to be ready in time."

I didn't tell him that my legs were too sore for me to try and walk the rocky beach. But, I could not resist the seductiveness of the bright sun and clear blue skies that come so infrequently I treasure them like discovered gold. So, I used taking the grocery bags to the car and checking the mailbox as my brief escape into the sunshine.

Homer is a tourist town with a permanent population of over 5,000. It has a reputation for being an artistic and free-spirited, creative community. This reputation was developed in the sixties by a progressive group of people called the Barefooters. Yes, they walked barefoot. But, in actuality, Homer is like any other small town. People are initially welcoming and superficially friendly. And, as in any small town, developing true friendships is a slow process.

We came to Homer with the hope of making it our home. I was recruited by the local hospital to be a labor and delivery nurse and also to work on the medical-surgical ward. During the brief phone interview with the unit manager I told her my medical-surgical experience was limited to a four-bed ward in the Hopi Health Care Center in Polacca, Arizona. The center did not perform surgery and only cared for low level, acute illnesses, elderly, and dying patients. The manager told me the Homer hospital had similar patients. Furthermore, I told her I had spent the last year as a school nurse. So, any discerning person would know my medical-surgical nursing skills were limited considering I'd only been nursing for six years. But she offered me the job.

So, Brian and I trekked off to the last great American frontier and drove to Alaska. That is I drove and he navigated. Brian does not drive. I was willing and up to driving through the states, but the thought of driving through Canada did not appeal to me. We were fortunate to get a cabin on the Alaska Ferry in Bellingham, Washington and ride through the beautiful northwest waters. The ferry ride was the most enjoyable part of our travel. We traveled from Washington State, through the northern waters, passing most of Canada, ending in southern Alaska at a small town called Haines. 

Driving kept me in a state of constant stress. The car was packed to the hilt and the weight caused it to accelerate going downhill. Unfortunately, the roads going west and northward are along mountainous areas. So the drive was a continuous succession of steep ascents and descents.

But we survived the journey and arrived without mishap. We have a beautiful view of Kachemak Bay ringed by snow capped mountains and glaciers.

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Skywalker Payne. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase All That Is - Dance of Mindfulness & Gratitude by Skywalker Payne 

From the Author
https://skywalkerpayne.com/book-store 





 


Praying My Way Out of the Struggle 
by Sierra J.D.

Most people have a special place in their hearts for their hometown, but with 18-year-old Trina Capone, it's the complete opposite. Trina despises Baton Rouge, where she has been born and raised. Following the divorce of her parents, Trina has had to take on the responsibility of being the woman of the house, including raising the siblings left to her when her mother becomes addicted to drugs. All Trina wants to do is graduate high school. But one thing after another happens that could either break her or make her into the woman she desires to be – all things opposite of her crack-fiend mother. 

Little does Trina know, the very city that she couldn’t wait to get away from becomes the city she doesn’t want to leave. As a person who has never accepted that life could either break her or make her into the woman she desires to be - all things opposite of her crack-fiend mother. The love of God the Almighty leaves her speechless and craving for more of his tender love and mercy.

Praying My Way Out of the Struggle is the first installment of the seven-novel Family Matters series. The Family Matters novels brings you into the lives of individuals who are members of or are connected to Kingdom Bound Church. The series sheds light on marriage, drugs, addictions, teenage pregnancy, abuse, suicide, identity, racism, sexuality, gangs, crime, the laws of the United States, and more.

Excerpt: Praying My Way Out of the Struggle 

What’s up? It’s your girl Trina. So, I heard through the grapevine that you heard about me and wanted to see what all of the hype was about for yourself. Good for you! I’m so delighted that you believe that my story is worth your precious time. Do you honestly believe that you can handle all of my drama though? Do you, really? Well, let me give you a lil’ introduction so that you can prepare yourself better for what is to come.

Well, to start off, today is my 18th birthday. You would think that I would be going out to the club and enjoying myself, but I’m not. Unlike other 18-year-olds, I have real responsibilities to tend to other than wasting a wad of cash to get pretty and stand up in a club all night. My responsibilities are not “normal” things like doing chores around the house and finishing homework before I can ask for permission from my parents to go somewhere. My responsibilities includes studying hard to pass all of my classes, so that I can graduate high school in eight months, working to pay household bills and to keep food in the house, making sure everyone in my house has decent clothes to wear to accommodate this bipolar Louisiana weather, making sure that my mama doesn’t do anything crazy to get me evicted from my apartment, and taking care of four children in addition to myself and my unborn baby. So no, I’m not celebrating the birthday that I’ve always looked forward to celebrating by club-hopping like most of the girls in my senior class gets to do. Don’t get me wrong. There ain’t nothing wrong with shakin’ ya rump-shaker and getting wasted if that’s what you like to do. 

You don’t have to worry about me judging because the Bible says let he that is without sin cast the first stone and baby I am nowhere near to being like Jesus just yet. So keep on doing what you do just as long as you get it right before the second coming of Christ. But as for me going out to the club, I was never really able to do that even if I did want to. It seemed like every time I was given the opportunity to experience the night life, another baby that I had to take care of was getting ready to pop out. When you have four kids at home who need you to watch over them, you can’t be risking their safety to sweat your weave out in a hot club and walk out smelling like marijuana.

And heck no, they ain’t my kids! But, you might as well call ’em mine, though, because my mama sure ain’t taking care of ’em. Ol’ good for nothing, nappy-headed a-…Hold up, let me not get started on her just yet and bring it back to me because I could write a whole ’nother book about the mother I ain’t had since I was around two years old. Speaking of, you know what I would really enjoy doing on this birthday? Taking a walk with Jesus to that birthday. I don’t remember much about it. Based on what my daddy says and the pictures that I have, I feel as if it was one of the most exciting days of my life…other than finding out that I was going to be a mother. The pictures from that day proves that everything was as happy and peaceful as my daddy describes, too. In every picture of me, I am smiling hard and clinging to my mama and daddy, surrounded by family that I haven’t seen since before my parent’s divorced.

The pictures shows a side of my mama that I don’t remember. She was happy. She looked healthy. She looked like a real mother. My mama was thick as a milkshake with silky black hair pulled up into a high ponytail with a bang. She was a showstopper, dressed in a Coogi shirt, black high-waist pants, and kitten heels. Her smile is contagious in those pictures, but then I am reminded of what the reality is when it comes to her, and I start to cry. My daddy said that she was even a tongues-speaking, prayer warrior back then. A mixture of being hurt by family and the church took a toll on her heart, and she turned to the devil for healing.

Now, her sins cause my hell. But not today Satan! I will not allow you to get me emotional on my birthday. I work tirelessly every day taking care of what she should and today, one out of 365 days, I choose to be happy.

My introduction is probably scaring you off, so let me switch gears. This story is about me, Trina Capone, and the people that takes a part of making me all that I am. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a cool chic. I respect you if you respect me. I’m ’bout my business. I’m a fashionista, I’m a hairstylist in the making. I value my free education. And, currently, I am preparing myself to be a born again Christian. I know where I have been, and I know where I am headed. This Christian thing is new to me, so I ask that you bear with me through it all as I try to conquer the old me and defeat the enemy. I’m far from perfect, and you are, too, so keep that in mind as you are strapping on your six-inch heels. While you’re at it, you might want to grab a bag of popcorn, turn your cell phone on silent, log off of all of your social network accounts, and buckle up and get ready. It’s time you let go of that wall you’re holding onto. My life is pure struggle. And, in the struggle, there are no training wheels to stable you up; you just have to keep getting up until you get your balance. I don’t know how this story will end, but I know that God is in control. The elders at the church that I recently became a member of told me that when God wants you to grow, he makes you uncomfortable. I’ve been uncomfortable with my life for a while. Well, my growth must gonna be phenomenal because my discomfort has been severe and as long – the entire span of my life.

Chapter One

Trina


“Twenty dollars at pump one,” I told the cashier as I handed her Josh’s gas money.

Josh, my boyfriend, claims that he has a special day planned for my birthday, which started out with a shopping spree. Since I’m four months pregnant, there isn’t too much that I can do now a days, but clap and shout in church. So I’m really looking forward to seeing where else we’ll go. I know you’re probably thinking about how big of a hypocrite I am right now for being pregnant by my boyfriend, but I just recently started building a relationship with God, and he ain’t done working with me yet. I wasn’t worrying about what God thought about me back then, but I surely thank him for carrying me through all that I go through now.

“Well how you been, son?” a dark skinned, heavy set woman was asking Josh as I was walking back to the car. Son? What the heck does she mean “son”?  We’ve been together for a good year and some months and I’ve met everyone in Josh’s family…well, except for his mama. The only thing that I know about that situation is that his daddy raised him because his mama wasn’t being a good role model in his life, whatever that means. His parent situation is screwed up, and so is mine. So, I don’t judge. I guess that’s why our relationship is as strong as it is.

I looked at Josh and the woman crazy as I opened the passenger’s door to his white Camaro and got inside. The music was so loud in the car that I couldn’t even get my ear hustle on. All that I could see was Josh getting angry, walking towards the passenger’s door. When he opened the door, I got a lil’ scared.

“What?” I asked, like I was minding my business the whole time.

“Man…Trina, this my mama. Mama, this is my girl,” Josh introduced.

“Hey,” I said as I waved to the lady that stood on side of him. With that attitude, I don’t know whether to be happy or not. Obviously, all of his good looks came from his daddy, because she is nowhere near being as good-looking as Josh is. She bit her lips in a manner that oozed sex and dirty, inappropriate thoughts as she stared back at me, making me feel very much violated.

“I know you from somewhere,” she said.

“No, you don’t know me because I surely don’t know you,” I said, nodding my head no.

“Yeah…You one of Tina girls, huh? The oldest one, right?”

“Yeah. How you know my mama?” I said with a smirk and a raised eyebrow.

“Everybody knows your mama, baby girl… You pregnant?” She said, pointing in the direction of my stomach. I know you see I have a lil’ pudge in my stomach huh?

“Yeah.”

“For my son?”

Who else would it be for woman?


“Yeah.”

“Uh huh, you a fine lil’ thing,” she said right before Josh slammed the door and got into the car. I know she felt hurt when he drove off, leaving her there looking stupid all by herself.

“What’s up, bae, talk to me,” I said, as we turned into Sherwood Lane apartments, where I live.

“I ain’t like the way she was looking at you,” he replied, parking in front of my apartment building.

“Yeah, I ain’t like that either. She’s a lesbian or something?”

“Yeah, and one of my ex-girlfriends is her girlfriend right now.”

“Ugh.”

“I know right…and I’ll be damn if I let her take you,”

“Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-”

“Don’t do it. Don’t let that situation make you curse. You haven’t cursed all day, so don’t do it,” he said as soon as he saw me rolling my neck about to go into a cursing binge.

“Jesus, please be my tongue,” I said, holding my chest and nodding my head, like I was out of breath. “Oooh, Lord, thank you because you know I was about to put you in your place, right? But, bae, why are we here? I thought we were going somewhere else?” I said getting out of the car, after him.

“I have to get this sell right quick,” he replied, opening the back door.

“While we’re supposed to be celebrating my birthday? Are you fu- freaking serious?”

“Yeah, I promise we gon’ go where I wanted to take you in like a hour or two,”

“Man forget it, whatever!” I yelled, as I started walking up the steps to the apartment that I was forced to call home.

My mama, my lil’ siblings, and I live here and I hate it, but it’s better than living how we use to live, with the crack man. After I saw him beat the living day lights out of my mama, I called my daddy so fast, and he moved us into an apartment the next day. We left her behind since it seemed like she didn’t mind having the crack man go upside her head, not if it meant she got laid, as well as supplied with goods she craved.

The new apartment my dad moved me and my siblings into was decent at first. I could tolerate it being near the hood and having the lil’ wannabe drug dealers roaming around the apartment buildings because nobody bothered me. But, the intolerable drama began when my lil’ sister Kayla brought Mama home with her after school one day. She made herself right at home and went ahead and moved in. It hurts living with the fact that I have a fiend for a mother and that she cares more about drugs than her own kids. It’s a good thing my parents were married when I was born into this messed up world, or I would be just like my lil’ sisters and brother. They don’t know who the heck their daddy is.

So I guess you’re wondering what happened to my daddy, huh? Well, he divorced Mama after she had the first two kids by men she didn’t even know, just for crack. Daddy accepted the first child, Kayla. But when Mama got pregnant with Nina, he had enough of Mama’s problems. Who the men are? We have no idea. She doesn’t even know her own self. If you happen to know, please shoot them in the groin area for busting inside of my mama. I bet that’ll hurt! Oh, Lord, I didn’t really mean that. Forgive me, Jesus! I know, I know. The power of life and death lies in the power of the tongue. I’m sorry.

Anyway, my daddy tried taking me, and Kayla and Nina, who were then babies, to live with him in Houston, but my mama carefully broke into my daddy’s apartment and took us back to Baton Rouge in the middle of the night. Since then, she has given birth to two more virtually fatherless kids for crack! I don’t know how they came out healthy, though. I guess God must’ve really been watching over her during her pregnancies.

I’m glad that she tied her tubes after the last one, though, because she doesn’t even take care of the kids that she has now. And, I’m pretty sure that the good Lord knows that I can’t bear taking care of anymore of her kids. She’s so lucky that I take care of us well enough that everyone around the ‘hood hasn’t ever bothered to call Child Protection Services on her. But, I can’t take all of the credit because my daddy helps me out a lot. If it wasn’t for having a man like him as my daddy, I don’t know what I would do. It’s been him assisting me in teaching my sisters about hygiene and my brother about guy things. If it wasn’t for my daddy, I wouldn’t have known that my brother and baby sister were only supposed to eat certain food as babies. If it wasn’t for my siblings, I would’ve been got away from here and moved to Houston with my daddy. But, here I am playing a mommy of four while my mama waste her life away.

Most people love their hometown, but I could care less about this messed-up city. How can I love my hometown when the people here are helping my mother kill herself? They don’t call it Jigga City for nothing. Whoever thought of that nick name, knew just what they were talking about. I don’t know how much more I can take living around this mess. That’s why my daddy helped me get a lil’ townhouse because I can’t take the thought of having to raise my child around this mess. It’s not too far from where we live now, but it’ll be just enough of distance for me to finally be at peace and to better work on my relationship with God. At the apartment with my mama, it’s so hard for me not to cuss or want to fight my mama and fast-tail 16-year-old sister. The townhouse is on a better street, near the schools that my siblings and I attend, and surrounded by couples who have been living there for decades. I’ll take the nosey neighbors and quiet streets over going outside and seeing people make drug deals in the open and prostitutes walking around at night. It’s enough my lil’ sisters and brother got exposed to that life. But, I refuse to expose my unborn baby to this whenever he or she gets here.

It is a shame that my daddy has to call me every day, worried about if I’m gon’ lose my mind and kill myself one day. I don’t know what put it into my mind to finally take my godsister Larissa’s offer of going to Kingdom Bound Church with her that day, but I haven’t been the same since I left. So as long as I continue to take a walk with Jesus, I know that I’ll be alright. Taking those walks has saved so many females, including my mama, from getting their butts whooped these last few months. The good Lord knows if it had not been for me trying to turn my life over to him, I would have been knocked out about two of those females for picking with me behind my man, and I would have been slapped my mama upside of her head for all that she does to make my life more difficult than it already is! But, God! They better thank the Lord that I’m trying to change and get my life together before my baby gets here.

In a couple of months I’m gon’ have my own little one, and I’m gon’ be the best mother a child could ever have, the total opposite of my mama. It kind of sucks that it looks like I’ll be raising my child as a single mother, though, because, at the rate that Josh is going with selling drugs and all, our relationship will not last much longer. Our bond is strong, but the way that my God is set up, I can’t have one foot in the church and the other foot in the world. Although I love him with all of my being, I have to do what’s right. If marrying me and getting our lives right for the Lord isn’t in the plans, we will just not be together.

“What’s good Trina?” Carl, one of the ‘hood young drug dealers, asked. This dude picks with me every day, knowing dang well I can’t stand his black behind. I don’t even know why he continue to bother talking to me when he knows he’s going to get ignored, just like I’ve been doing for the past year and a half. I guess he’ll never learn.

“Uh, huh, there you go ignoring me again,” he added, after watching me open the door without acknowledging his presence.

“Get a life, lil’ boy!” I said as I walked into the apartment.

“I’ight, I’ll leave you alone. You lucky you’re JJ’s girl because I would’ve been tapped that there just like Trey doing your lil’ sister right now.”

“What?!” I yelled, stepping back into the doorway.

“Awwww, girl, cut that s*$% out.”

“No, dude. You cut that cursing out. You’re lucky I’m even letting you talk to me right now, so check your mouth.”

“Awwww, that’s right. They say you a lil’ church girl now. But, I was just saying, don’t try to act all surprised n’ sh-stuff. You know that’s nothin’ new. When ya’ moms ain’t got no money for her goods, you already know the deal. It’s either Nina or Kayla to spread them legs, and Lil’ NiNi wasn’t home. You know Roscoe been wanted her lil’ fine a- self.”

“Mess with Nina, and y’all will mess up y’all life. And, I promise you that I’ll have y’all family dressed in all black. Take it how you want to!” I said, before slamming the door in his face.  I locked the door and turned around to a real messed-up scene that I’m tired of witnessing: my lil’ brother rocking my baby sister to sleep on the couch while my mama is getting high in the kitchen. Yeah, she’s one bold woman, and she doesn’t give a rat’s behind when or where she’s getting her fix at because, in her mind, that’s her only purpose in life. Nope, she doesn’t even care that she is contaminating the minds of her young children. I really think that she wants us to be just like her. Broke, with no goals, just wasting our lives away, while we’re strung out on a crack addiction.

My mind is officially made up: I can’t take this mess no more; I’m moving into my apartment today, and I’m taking all of my siblings, except for Kayla, with me. I’ve been around drugs practically my whole life, and I’m just tired of it! Father God, work on my tongue, Lord! Don’t curse, Trina, don’t curse, Trina, don’t curse!

“And, you call yourself a woman?!” I said, standing onside the couch, facing the kitchen.

“And, I hear that you are so say calling yourself a Christian now, huh? Walking around here, pregnant for a dope dealer, and talking to me any kind of way you want to. You ain’t no woman! The Bible says to honor your mother, and what you doing?” she boldly told me back.

“God still working on me, and you of all people doesn’t have any room to judge me, woman. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have a couch to sleep on or a pot to pee in, so watch it. I’m more woman than you’ll ever be, that’s for sure! I didn’t ask for this life or to grow up earlier than I was supposed to. YOU made me! And, don’t you find it kinda’ hard for me to honor you? You don’t even give a fu- you don’t even care that Scooby and Bunni are right there watching you get high!”

“You better watch who you talking to like that, lil’ girl, before I make you mad and call on your lil’ Joshy boy for my goods. And, don’t worry about what I’m doing! They alright!” she said as she began to clean up her lil’ drug shop on the kitchen counter.

“You’re bold. Call him, and see me pop out the lil’ bit of brains that you have left.”

“Just for that, I will call him, and I’ll show him what it feels like to be with a real woman,” she said, twirling her hips around.

“You washed up piece of trash! If I find out that you ever even try to put your finger on him, I’ll make you wish you never had me! C’mon, Scooby, and take Bunni with you!” I told my little brother as I began walking towards the bedroom.

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sierra J.D. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

About the Author

Author Sierra J.D. is a wife and mother, living in her home state of Louisiana. Sierra found her love of writing at twelve years old when she was first introduced to poetry in Junior High School. She enjoyed crafting stories into poems and a few years later wrote her first novel. Writing allowed Sierra to escape depression during her adolescence and she has since created a goal to make a career out of her passion of writing. With her collegiate degrees giving her the skills and foundation needed to be a successful business woman, Author Sierra J.D. has decided to enter the literary world as an author and Independent Publisher. With the assistance of her husband, Dion, the couple founded Destined Eloquence Publishing. The Mission of Destined Eloquence Publishing is to publish works that will bring awareness and help to various issues of our day and time as well as inspire, uplift, and motivate.

Purchase Praying My Way Out of the Struggle

Website: DestinedEloquence.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sierra.jones.3538 
Purchase from the author: http://www.destinedeloquence.com/events.html 

 

 

 

 


One Sunday at a Time by E. N. Joy 

What does crazy look like? Let Deborah tell it, it's the reflection that looks back at her in the -mirror. She has a career she loves, two beautiful children and a handsome and successful husband. Her life seems to be the blueprint almost every woman she knows would kill to live. But working full-time, being a full-time mother, full-time wife and a full-time Sunday only Christian seems to be taking its toll on her. With all the scheming and shenanigans Deborah orchestrated to get this lifestyle, she might have to come up with a whole set of new ones to maintain it.

Lynox is Deborah's husband who she thanks God for putting back into her life after a game of cat and mouse that defies the laws of romance. He feels that all Deborah needs is to let her hair down, maybe make some new friends and live a little. When Deborah agrees and then suspects Lynox of having an affair with the woman that he suggested she form a friendship with, will he live to regret his own advice?


Excerpt: One Sunday at a Time by E. N. Joy 

Prologue

“You can’t leave me!” Deborah yelled at Lynox, spittle flying from her mouth. She looked like a madwoman. She felt like a madwoman. Her hair was in disarray, and perspiration had beaded up on her forehead. It was a wonder she didn’t have foam caked up in the corners of her mouth. She was acting rabid, like the victim in a science fiction horror movie who had failed to escape the vicious plague that was attacking all of Earth.

She needed help; that was no longer the million-dollar question. The question now was, why hadn’t she gotten the help she so desperately needed, or rather, why hadn’t she continued getting the help she’d once been receiving? For a minute there she had felt that she’d been doing so well that she didn’t need any help. There had always been the possibility that if she fell back into her slump again, she could just pick up where she’d left off in her treatment. Not only had some of her old traits reared their ugly heads, but she was far worse off now than she had ever been before. What had started off as a manageable snowball was now an avalanche. If Lynox didn’t get out of the way, he’d be buried alive underneath it.

“I can leave you, I am leaving you, and I’m taking the kids with me,” was Lynox’s reply to his wife’s statement.

So now not only was her husband leaving her, but he was also taking their two sons with him? The rage that welled up in Deborah’s being was uncontrollable. That didn’t come as any surprise. She’d lost jurisdiction over her emotions a long time ago. At first, when her life had seemed to be getting hectic, she had managed somewhat. She’d hidden the darkness under the beam of an invisible flashlight. Outsiders couldn’t see the darkness or the object projecting the false lighting. But then, emotionally, it had felt as if one thing was piling on top of the other. Anger issues. Depression. Anxiety. The need to be in control. Compulsion for order.

There had been times, after researching the term, when she’d even thought she might be bipolar. Heck, maybe she had been experiencing a little bit of all of them, which was a recipe for disaster. With her husband standing in front of her, a suitcase in hand, and threatening to leave her, it looked like the recipe had been followed to a tee, and now the timer on the oven was sounding. It was done. Over. Finished. Kaput.

“Why are you doing this?” Deborah cried out. “Why are you hurting me?” Deborah stood there, blocking the closed bedroom door. She’d already told Lynox that he was leaving over her dead body. Those hadn’t merely been desperate words flung out of her mouth. She’d meant it.

“I was hurting you when I was pampering and pacifying you, instead of making you go do something about it,” Lynox told her.

“So now what?” Deborah raised her arms and then allowed them to fall to her sides.

“You call this helping me?”

Lynox shook his head. “No. I call this giving you the opportunity to help yourself.”

Lynox slowly walked toward his wife. It pained him so much to see her like this. He didn’t understand how a person’s emotions and behavior could shift so erratically. Why was it that he and Deborah could experience the best night in the world, but then Deborah would wake up mad at the world? Or how could one little thing that threw her off schedule or was out of order send her on a rampage?

Although Deborah loved her job as a literary agent and an editor, it was hard for Lynox to tell sometimes. Getting steady, good-paying projects was every freelance editor’s dream. But as an agent, sometimes Deborah could get overwhelmed by submissions or needy authors. So when all her projects collided or piled on top of one another, she often operated out of fear of not getting done what she already had on her plate before another healthy portion was served up. When Deborah was working on one project, her mind would already be on the next one, and the one after that. God forbid Lynox or the children needed her to do something for them. She’d bite their heads off just for asking.

For Deborah, there were instances when she felt pangs of guilt for feeling as though she’d put her job before her family. She’d be regretful, which would make her feel like less than a good wife and mother, sending her into a bout of depression. Everything about her life was like a double-edged sword, and now she was cutting up. Lynox had already received one wound too many. It was time for him to go, but Deborah wasn’t going to allow that without putting up a fight.

“I promise I’ll be better,” Deborah pleaded, looking into her man’s eyes. “I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” Deborah bounced up and down like a child begging her parent to buy her something from the ice-cream truck.

Lynox rested his hands on Deborah’s shoulders. The gesture was both to comfort her and to make her stop bouncing. He could see that his leaving was eating her up. He was afraid. He really didn’t know what his wife would do after he walked out that door, but he was more afraid of what might happen if he didn’t.

“Don’t you get it, baby? I don’t want you to do whatever I want you to do. I want you to do what you need to do. You need help, and unless you feel that you need help and you get that help for yourself, things won’t get better.”

Lynox was right. The way Deborah stared into his eyes with no rebuttal was silent proof that she agreed. Still, if she did get help, she wanted him to be there by her side during the process.

“I will be getting help for myself because I want to,” Deborah said. “But I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t doing it for the family too. I know if I’m better, then you guys will be better,” she said. Made sense too, because when she wasn’t happy, nobody was happy. Her misery seemed to eject from her pores, bringing everyone in the house down or forcing them to walk on eggshells. Even her nine-month-old son was whiny and cranky when Deborah was having a bad day or just a bad moment even.

“I will support you,” Lynox said. “For the sake of our children and our marriage, I will support you.”

Deborah exhaled a gasp of hot air. “Oh, yes. God, thank you!” Deborah threw her arms around Lynox and cried. This time hers were tears of joy and relief. She gripped his shirt, holding on to him as if she never wanted to let go. She didn’t want to let go.

“But I’ll just be doing it from another address.”

Instantly, Deborah’s demeanor changed. She stiffened, and her tears of joy seemed to stop midway down her cheeks. She pulled back from Lynox but still gripped his shirt.

“You’re dying to go out there and be with her, aren’t you?” Deborah glared at Lynox.

“That’s what your leaving is really about.”

“Be with who, Deborah?” Lynox noticed that Deborah’s eyes were turning wild. “No.

You know what? I’m not even about to do this with you. Not again.” Lynox removed Deborah’s hands from his shirt and walked over to the door. He turned to face Deborah. “Call me when you get some help . . . for real this time.” He opened the door, his back now to Deborah.

He should have thought twice about turning his back on Deborah. The Beats Pill speaker crashing against the door, missing Lynox’s head by inches, was proof of that. Lynox held the doorknob. He gripped it tightly, causing the palm of his hand to turn red. The veins in his hand were pulsating. He squeezed his eyes shut so hard that he got an instant headache. It was like déjà vu all over again from only a couple of months ago. He had to get out of there before things got physical, like they had the last time. He still carried far too much regret from that night to pile on more. He opened his eyes and took two steps out the door.

“You took vows. You said you would be with me until death do us part,” Deborah shouted at Lynox’s back.

Deborah’s words stopped Lynox in his tracks. He turned around and faced his wife.

“The death of what, though, Debbie? The death of being in love? The death of trust? Given how our marriage is disintegrating, the death of one of us? How many things have to die, things that are supposed to be the foundation of our marriage, before the marriage itself dies?”

Deborah had no reply for her husband. Sure, the vows they’d each read from the Bible and exchanged included the words “till death do us part.” But Lynox was right. Their vows didn’t specifically say that this death was the physical death of the husband or the wife. So many things had already died, some that probably couldn’t even be resuscitated. Deborah was willing to ride this thing out, though, until the wheels fell off. That was easy for her to say, considering that she was the one wearing them down until they did.

How had things gotten this bad? They were at the point of no return. And now she feared that once Lynox walked out that door, he wouldn’t return. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself knowing that she was the cause of her marriage being over, the cause of her family being split. She couldn’t live like that. She couldn’t live without Lynox. She couldn’t live without her family together as one. She couldn’t live. She wouldn’t. So allowing Lynox to walk out that door and go on with his life, leaving her on her own to bear such devastation, wasn’t an option. So Deborah did what she had to do to stop the pain before it ever hit.

( Continued... )


Meet the Author


BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy is the writer behind the five book series, “New Day Divas,” the three book series, “Still Divas,” the three book series, “Always Divas,” and the forthcoming three book series, “Forever Divas,” which have been coined “Soap Operas In Print.” She is an Essence Magazine Bestselling Author who wrote secular books under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY.

This award winning author has been sharing her literary expertise on conference panels in her home town of Columbus, Ohio as well as cities across the country. Her children’s book titled The Secret Olivia Told Me, written under the name N. Joy, received a Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association. The book was also acquired by Scholastic Books and has sold almost 100,000 copies. Elementary and middle school children have fallen in love with reading and creative writing as a result of the readings and workshops E. N. Joy instructs in schools nationwide.

In addition, she is the artistic developer for a young girl group named DJHK Gurls. She pens original songs, drama skits and monologues for the group that deal with messages that affect today’s youth, such as bullying.

You can visit BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy at www.enjoywrites.com or email her at enjoywrites@aol.com.


Purchase One Sunday at a Time by E. N. Joy 
(Christian Fiction)



 

 

 

 


Her Kind of Man by Elle Wright



When Mr. Right is Oh So Wrong

I’ll never let you go…Allina had always dreamed of hearing those words. But when her fiancé, Isaac, utters them, it isn’t a promise—it’s a threat. Scared and confused, with only moments before the wedding, Allina knows what she must do. Forget walking down the aisle; it’s time to run. Back to Michigan. Back to Kent.

Kent has loved Allina for longer than he can remember. Out of respect for their friendship, he’s never crossed the line, but when she turns up on his doorstep wearing her torn, tearstained wedding gown, the fire inside him ignites. He’ll do whatever it takes to make Allina feel safe—like the beautiful, desirable woman she is. But as Kent and Allina grow closer, and their passion pushes deeper, it’s clear that something bigger than a botched wedding still lingers between them . . .

Elle Wright Book Reviews 

“Simply put… Fantastic!!!” 
– Tanishia Pearson-Jones on Her Kind of Man

“My favorite romance of 2015!!!” 
–Tiffany Tyler on His All Night

“Scandal never read so good! Elle Wright wraps passion, desire and taboo into a delicious read.” 
– Cheris Hodges on The Forbidden Man

“What an emotional journey! Elle Wright's debut release, The Forbidden Man, will hit the right chord for romance readers. From the first few pages, drama unfolds and maintains a steady pace that keeps any sagging bits out of sight. The launch of this new series - Edge of Scandal - starts with a strong, compelling introduction of family and friends. Through Wright's craft, we see the characters at their best and at their worst. As a result, tension and conflict intertwine to test the boundaries and stamina of the hero and heroine, providing us with rich content to devour. So now that Wright has us hooked, we eagerly await the next installment, His All Night.” 
– USA Today on The Forbidden Man

“This gripping debut is packed with drama and a love triangle that will certainly tug at the old heartstrings. Ms. Wright's entry into the world of romance is a memorable one that I'm sure readers will enjoy from the first page to the last.” 
– J.D. Mason, Bestselling Author of the Beautiful, Dirty, Rich series on The Forbidden Man

“4 stars! Scorcher! An emotional story that causes one to evaluate just how much one's past experiences should color one's present. The portrayal of the heroine's huge struggle with allowing anyone to get close to her and the hero's patience and support are outstanding.” 
– RT Book Reviews on His All Night

“From the first sexy encounter, it's obvious this couple belonged together. Elle Wright weaves an angst-ridden story with smoking hot love scenes that will make you keep reading until the perfectly sweet conclusion.” 
– Delaney Diamond, USA Today bestselling author on His All Night


Excerpt: Her Kind of Man by Elle Wright

The doorbell rang. Kent rushed to the front door and swung it open. Allina stood before him in the doorway, her head down, clutching her purse against her chest. Closing his eyes, he slumped forward in relief.

“Allina?” He tilted her head up to get a good look at her face.

Letting his gaze wander over her, he took in the lightweight jacket she wore and the…wedding dress. It was dirty and ripped at the bottom. She was soaking wet, from head to toe. Her hair covered her face like a veil, her hands were clenched together, and her shoulders were slouched. Swallowing, he reached out and swept the hair out of her face.

“Allina,” he called to her softly. “Are you okay?”

Slowly, she raised her head. When their gazes met, he was hit with an overwhelming urge to hold her, which wasn’t really new. It just wasn’t normal. But he’d do anything in that moment to make it better. Her bottom lip trembled and he inched closer to her. When she let out a whimper, he pulled her to him in a tight hug.

As she cried into his chest, he whispered that she’d be okay, that he’d protect her, that he’d help her. But the more he assured her, the louder she cried. His chest tightened as he rubbed her back. His thoughts were spinning. What the hell had happened? He had so many questions, but God, please let her stop crying. It was pure torture. And he’d had the nerve to think Morgan was soft. He hated to see anybody he loved cry. But Allina…she wasn’t an overly emotional person. In all the years he’d known her, he’d only seen her cry a handful of times. That last time had been here, the last time he’d seen her. An ache settled in his throat as she sobbed.

When the tears finally tapered off, he glanced out the door and noticed the cab still sitting in the driveway. Reluctantly, he tapped her arm lightly. She pulled back and her big, glassy eyes stared back at him. He swept his thumbs under her eyes.

“Let me go take care of the fare, okay?”

She nodded, setting her purse on a small table by the door.

“I’ll be right back,” he said gently.

He pulled his wallet out of his pocket and ran out to the cab. After he paid the driver, he returned to the house and kicked the door closed behind him. Wrapping an arm around her, he led her into the living area.

She tugged off her small jacket, giving him a complete view of the form-fitting silk dress. Without a word, she dropped down on the couch. He sat down next to her, their knees touching. “It’s going to be okay,” he murmured, rubbing her arms. “I’ll take care of you.”

Peering up at him, a pained expression in her eyes, she let out a slow breath. “I didn’t get married. I ran. I didn’t even think to change clothes. I just had to get out of there. I bought a train ticket, and then I fell at the station. My dress is ruined,” she cried. “Everything is ruined. I’m ruined.”

He grabbed a box of Kleenex off the coffee table. “You’re not ruined. Stop saying that. Can you tell me what happened?”

“I don’t have anything with me, obviously,” she continued. He could tell she was trying to pull herself together. She cupped a hand over her mouth and let out a muffled sob. “My phone broke. I dropped it, and then Isaac took it.”

He’d replace her phone in the morning, but he had to know… “Did he…hurt you?” he asked. Kent steeled himself for her answer. If he hurt her, I’ll hurt him.

Allina closed her eyes and hugged herself. Shaking her head, she said, “Not really, not physically.” Her hands gripped her elbows.

Her tears continued to fall unchecked. He grabbed a few tissues and wiped her eyes, then her cheeks. “What did he do?” he asked.

“I’ll tell you. I promise. But do you mind if I take a shower, get out of this dress? I can’t stand being in it another minute.”

Sighing, he nodded. “Whatever you need.” It wasn’t a surprise that she’d changed the subject without answering his question. Allina did things on her own time, in her own way. And he’d wait. He always did.


( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Elle Wright. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase Her Kind of Man by Elle Wright
Series: Edge of Scandal (Book 3)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Purchase: http://amzn.com/1455560405  


Check out the books in the Edge of Scandal Series

Edge of Scandal Book One – The Forbidden Man (released July 28, 2015)

Tag Line: She’s walking out on her no-good fiancé… and into the arms of his brother.

Edge of Scandal Book Two – His All Night (released November 24, 2015)

Tag Line: No expectations, no commitments, no one gets hurt…or so she thought.

Order all of the books in the Edge of Scandal Series
http://www.amazon.com/Elle-Wright/e/B00VMEWB78 

Meet the Author
Born and raised in Southeast Michigan near Ann Arbor, Elle learned the importance of reading from her mother. It was also her mother who, later on in her life, gave Elle her first romance novel: Indigo by Beverly Jenkins. From that moment on, Elle became a fan of Ms. Jenkins for life and a lover of all things romance. An old journal she wrote back in college became her first book (which she still wants to publish one day).

Visit Elle's Amazon Author Page 
http://www.amazon.com/Elle-Wright/e/B00VMEWB78 

 

 

 

 


Life & Love: The Journey In Verse 
by Pat C. 

Life and Love - The Journey in Verse speaks from the heart of the author as she revisits, observes and fantasizes the beauty of love. It immediately becomes apparent that the reader will be personally escorted by verse to observe and to understand the language that only love speaks. The couplets and the tone capture the beauty of the soul, the mindset and compatible lives being joined together in unity by the power of love. The mood has been meticulously established for reading. I was captivated.” - Dr. Claudia Wells Hamilton Secondary School Principal

Excerpt from Life & Love: The Journey In Verse

Romance Section/ Pg 36:  This poem was written about two soul-mates, who had met again years later. This was written as an invitation to embrace the gift of a second chance by sealing it with marriage.

~A New Song~ 


I want to write a new song with you.
The harmony will be tighter,
The tone deeper, the melody richer,
The chorus louder and it shall repeat itself more than before.
The rhythm will be mellow and sure.
Our new song will remain a classic,
A love story second only to our first.
Come, let’s write the final version,
‘Til death do us part.


Pg 31:  This poem was tells of love and intent of an affectionate relationship, leading to a well rounded marriage. It express hope, delight and commitment.


~Please Allow Me~


For all the years I loved you and was not present,
Please let allow me to love you... more and more each day.
For all the kisses I didn't get to place on your sweet lips,
Please allow me to kiss you... slow and long.
For all times we missed holding hands,
Please allow me to hold your hand gently in mine...'till the end of time.
For all the laughter we missed sharing,
Please allow me to laugh with you...on and on.
For all the moments we missed in each other's arms,
Please allow me to hold you tight...never letting go.
For all the moments we missed,
In the bliss of us,
Please allow me to give all of me to you now...until the end

Pg 28:  This poem was written after the breakup/separation, in attempt to get the attention of a mate, letting them know the importance and necessity of their love.

~My Table~

My table for two will soon be our table.
A place where we will enjoy the blessing of each other,
Eat great food, and drink fine wine.
A place where we will look into each other's eyes,
And see the reflection of a love we've waited a lifetime for.
A love that will grow and get sweeter with time.
At our table, we will discuss
Family, friends, foe, and current events,
It will be our sanctuary of love,
The bridge to our blissful bed of love and back.
A place of prayer and romance,
Telling each other secrets, sharing hopes and dreams.
The realization of a divine love made in heaven,
With continual renewal and verbal profession
Of our love for one another.
A love built on mutual love and adoration. 
Our table will always be an extension of our love
For family, friends, or a passerby in need.
This my love, is my table.
Soon to be our table.


© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of Pat C., author of “Life & Love: The Journey In Verse”, a collection of poems. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Life & Love: The Journey In Verse by Pat C. 



About the Author

Pat C. was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Pat is a mother, grandmother, poet, trainer, a certified life coach and now author. Pat C. possesses a natural gift for coaching and encourages all to live and love to the fullest.

Pat C. can be found on social media at:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/copperlovely 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/PatCauthor/  
Website:  http://www.thomaspatricia360.wix.com/patc 

 

 

 

 


Jacob’s Eyes by Anita Ballard-Jones

In this dark time in our history, two brothers, Jacob and Jackson shared the same loving father, the same mansion home, but were separated by age and the circumstances of life; Jacob, a mulatto slave and Jackson, the sole heir to their father’s plantation. They were mirror images of each other, both tall and having golden hair, blue eyes and creamy white complexion. Jacob had the soul of a black man and Jackson’s soul was only fed by cruelty, possessions and hatred. Once Jacob was free it wasn’t long before he realized that passing for white was a powerful weapon to be used to free his enslaved family and friends, specially his black pearl, Sula who was pregnant with his child. 

Nothing could stop him in his quest to reach the safety of Canada before the start of the Civil War, not even murder, assault, thievery or arson. He found great pleasure standing his ground against other white people. 

Throughout Jacob’s triumphs, Brother Jackson was in hot pursuit of him, but little did Jackson know revenge was not in his favor. Jackson’s attempt to kill Jacob would end up causing him more inescapable pain than he could ever have imagined; pain that was a thousand times worse than the pain he allowed his overseers to inflicted on his slaves; pain that could not be undone.

Purchase Jacob’s Eyes by Anita Ballard-Jones
Link:  http://amzn.com/B01ABD7XTQ  
Historical Literature > Christian Fiction > African American 



Meet the Author 

Anita Ballard-Jones is the acclaimed author of the novels, Rehoboth Road, The Dancing Willow Tree and Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down. She is a native of Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of C.W. Post, at Long Island University. She is retired from New York State’s Long Island Developmental Disabilities Service Office where she worked as a Treatment Team Leader. She is a long time resident of Long Island, New York and enjoys spending time in North Carolina and Florida. She loves hearing from her individual fans, as well as book clubs.

Website:

http://anitaballardjones.com 

Goodreads
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/807519.Anita_Ballard_Jones 

Barnes & Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Anita+Ballard+Jones%22 

Facebook Fanpage
https://www.facebook.com/Anita-Ballard-Jones-Fan-Page-121616341210058/ 

 

 

 

 


LLP – Lust, Lies & Propositions 
by Bridgett Renay

Bridgett Renay unleashes a political drama that would make all Presidential front-runners take cover.

With her having a fairytale upbringing, no one could blame Essence St. Clair for expecting every entitlement seen fit for the beautiful and elite. But it only takes one vice to wreak sheer havoc. And it’s going to take more than a fairy godmother if she wants to survive corporate America; even though she’s the daughter of the ultraconservative Marshall St. Clair, patriarch of Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest religious empires. But no longer in the comfort zone of daddy’s like-minded tribe, Essence is thrust into a world where black liberalism is the definitive.

Not only was she groomed to head a Fortune 500, Essence craved it. And she was used to getting what she wants, including whichever man she desires. But after the untimely death of her mother, a very distracted Essence became the cause of a devastating family secret. And the one thing she didn’t count on was being blackmailed because of that youthful indiscretion.

Now it seems everyone’s out to get her. She doesn’t know who she can trust. The walls are closing in and Essence has to act fast if she wants to preserve her sanity along with her family’s noble reputation. 

Does daddy’s little girl have the street smarts it takes to crush her enemies? Will she overcome one distraction after another to fulfill her goals of corporate dominance? Can she keep the love of her life, the captivating Dex Dunnavant, from learning about her tainted past?

Anyone standing in her way is about to find out.


Prelude:  LLP – Lust, Lies & Propositions 


Once upon a time after a long and nefarious civil war was fought that ended in 1964, there survived a land where a gargantuan Golden Dome sat at its center. Its settlers were frequent visitors of the huge, beautiful park where forbidden lovers openly danced and children played with joy. Exotic birds of prey roamed free. Hawks soared through the air while Falcons glided on the surface. Brave gladiators defended their title as the toughest adversaries while Bulldogs protected the terrain with a rich history of total domination. It was called The Land of Opportunity and a new movement had begun.

Hidden in the outskirts lived a Nubian child who dreamed of greatness. She was the hardest working girl in school and knew one day she would triumph amongst the elite. All of the other children were jealous. They knew she was deserving of greatness so they tried every distraction they could to convince her she was not worthy of such – scandalizing her name, exposing youthful indiscretions, and even unfairly politicizing her world views. But the Nubian child’s thinking stood out from the rest, and therefore, she often stood alone. She paid no attention to such antagonism and just kept working harder and harder.

Then came the day she waited all her life for. She went to the ruler’s palace with a satchel full of accolades. With confidence in her stride and a huge smile on her face, she stood in front of the ruler and his servants and boldly stated, “I have come for my opportunity.”

The ruler looked over her proof as his servants held their breaths and patiently waited for him to respond. He scanned document after document taking notice of how she excelled to the top of her class in everything. Her academic scores were that of a genius, she set new standards with regards to community service, and her refined stance and beauty could only be matched by that of angels. He then raised his head staring intently at the Nubian child for what seemed like an eternity.

Giving her a glimmer of hope, the ruler began to smile. It soon turned into roaring laughter. He pierced into the Nubian child’s eyes and lashed out, “How dare you try to enter my kingdom with your dreams of grandeur! How dare you come to my face and ask me to grant you opportunity! Have you not looked into a mirror all your life? Do you not see that I am of pure white flesh while your flesh is muddied like dirt?”

He continued to taunt, “You think because we allowed that one muddied King to excel we will allow the same for you?” He flung his hand in the air as to swat away a pest, “Why he was just a fluke!” His eyes pierced even deeper as a more disdainful smirk appeared on his face, “And as for you…go back to the jungle where you belong.”

And they all laughed and laughed as the ruler raised his scepter and pointed it in the direction of the exit. Huge golden doors opened to display the most spectacular view of the land. The Nubian child looked across its rich acreage knowing she was unfairly denied the opportunity to frolic amongst the elite. She lowered her head in anguish.

Suddenly, after a burst of crackling thunder, a dark cloud appeared. It hung seemingly over only the Nubian child’s head. Rain drops the size of fairy pebbles could not compare to the tears drops that tumbled down her sculptured cheeks. As she turned around in despair, she slowly walked away and proclaimed to herself, “Vengeance shall be mine…and vengeance shall be sweet”.

And as told by the conservators of the land, this is her story.


Order LLP – Lust, Lies & Propositions by Bridgett Renay
Fiction, African-American, Drama, Political Thriller
Link: http://amzn.com/B01C6J2VEK 




About the Author 

The only thing best-selling author Bridgett Renay loves doing more than writing is breathing. If you let her tell it, the first spoken words from the quiet but observant Navy veteran were, “I should really write this down”.

As a young girl she undoubtedly had the gift. Everything from poetry to short stories filled her PeeChee folder with fantasies as well as the realities of life growing up in south central Los Angeles. And her talents didn’t go unnoticed. A Thanksgiving poem she wrote in elementary school found its way into the neighborhood newspaper, but it wasn’t a sign of what was to immediately come.

Before pursuing her dream of becoming an acclaimed novelist, the pragmatic Bridgett Renay believed she had to first make good on a promise she made to God. That promise revolved around the pursuit of higher learning and community service and was made after He healed her from a traumatic childhood incident.

The years of personal triumphs earning a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication and a Master of Business Administration, as well as professional growth as a corporate operative and Navy Reservist, tells the story of a journey that took her to faraway places, introduced her to intoxicating people, and shaped the way she viewed the world and her place in it. 

Now that she has reached the top of her pyramid, per se, Bridgett Renay is ready for the novelistic spotlight. The pen is back, the passion never left …another journey begins.

Website: http://www.BridgettRenay.com 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BridgettRenay 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bridgett.renay.3 
Author's Blog: http://www.bridgettrenay.com/ 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/undistractedbridgettrenay/ 

 

 

 

 


The Allundae of Earth and Mars: Sci-fi Bundle 

CRIME-PHYTER by James Lee Nathan III

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” Lao Tzu

CRIME-PHYTER is a non-stop scifi trip, that spans three decades in the lives of four different people. All of whom are being manipulated towards one singular purpose, JUSTICE. 

Story 1 - Revolves around the discovery of a mystical plant in south America and the life of one Kieran Church. He loses his wife and son to street violence and when the court system fails to convict, he strikes out on his own. But that is not the end or beginning of Mr. Church's problems. 

Story 2 - Is No free rides. It begins with the savage assault on a female member of the special forces. But the perps and their protectors, did not count on the involvement of a friend of hers. His justice is swift, but it comes with a cost. 

Story 3 - I need an ALIBI, continues the story of Rachel Holt and her protector Paco, as the plant takes a full grip of both of their lives.

The final story is all about regret. It is called Not 4 Nuthin; when a reluctant arms dealer sells access and arms to terrorists that attempt to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993, he seeks not only revenge but redemption. 

The mysterious plant is highly involved in the lives of all the main characters and the stories culminate in an unlikely conclusion.  No capes, no masks, only JUSTICE.


IBRAHIM UNITES by James Lee Nathan III


Are There No More Dragon Warriors? The final chapter of the Dragon Warriors saga has arrived. The battle against evil resumes and the training of the Last Dragon Warrior continues. Siobhan leads and Ibrahim Unites!

ZION RIVERS, an international man of action and the last ALLUNDAE GRANDMASTER, is a member of an ALIEN race that came to earth over 40,000 years ago. He searches for the remnants of his kind, to halt a growing EVIL in the guise of cult leader LANDEN MUELLER (an Allundae of lesser stock known as the SANGANESE). 

Mueller has developed a cult following numbering in the tens of thousands and seeks to corrupt mankind by replacing established religions with his own perversion. He is allied with an ancient enemy of the Allundae, the FICAR EGO, from the planet MAKUWE in the CYGNUS star system. SWORN ENEMIES of the Allundae who now seek to colonize earth.

Mueller is clever in hiding his crimes and even more devious in assigning dark deeds to underlings. Zion has chased him down for decades and now has this elusive serial killer cornered. But he cannot defeat him alone. Powerful and resourceful in his own right, Zion enlists the help of another. RAHEEM FLOROS a racially ambiguous man, a veteran, capable researcher and single parent suffering from PTSD; who just so happens to be afraid of the dark. An unlikely pairing, but Zion requires his assistance. Raheem is the key to the last battle and does not know it.

Sold separately, these ebooks have a suggested price of $16.98
Buy them together for $8.99 now on Leanpub!
https://leanpub.com/b/theallundaeofearthandmars 



Book Excerpt: Ibrahim Unites 

His Holiness


The Mayor intercedes on Landen’s behalf, and now he sits in the offices of the Arch Bishop waiting for His Holiness the Cardinal. The huge office is dark and Landen sits in an even darker corner for effect. Only his brown Italian leather loafers are visible. The door swings open and the Arch Bishop along with two aides hurries through and into the dark suite.

“Is he here?” the Bishop asks. “I have no time to play games, where is he” A cough interrupts the Bishop from a dark corner. He now sees the brown loafers and something else.

“You pious men are always worried about your time. I am here to tell you that your time is running out.” Two eyes peer through the dark corner like a hot knife through butter. They are amber, gold, and rather large, resembling those of a large predator. One of the aides faints. The Bishop glances at his aid as Landen Mueller fills the dark space with his presence.  Arch Bishop Rhys Simmons, is not a man who yields to intimidation. He excuses his staff members and raises the lighting within the space. Once they are, alone he speaks to Mueller.

“Mr. Mueller you can come out now. No one here will hurt you, in spite of your theatrics. Ya know the first time I beheld eyes like that on a man, was in the jungles of the Congo in 1967.” The Bishop pours two whiskeys and walks to a seating area in the suite.

“The Congo you say?” Mueller asks as he accepts the whiskey. “Yes if my research is correct, and it always holds up to scrutiny. The ‘Allundae’ were anchored on two major continents before spreading out in numbers in both 10,000BC and the early 12th century.” He sips the whiskey and places his tumbler on a table in front of Mueller.

“How have you managed to stay alive knowing this much information about the Allundae?” Mueller asks.

“Well I am not one if that is what you’re thinking.” He says in return, and then adds… “They hide in plain sight, silly man. Surely, how else would one of lesser bloodlines such as yourself, have ever been able to find them at all? Yet you have, but back to my story. The warrior fought off raiders from a rival tribe that sought retribution from a slight that occurred many years before. None the less, he dealt with them all, and the sight of this magnificent being wielding his ‘Cee’ and Obsidian blades against seven men was a thing to behold.” He sips his drink once again.

“So can I assume that you are no longer intrigued by such unexplained things anymore Bishop?” he asks.

“To the contrary Mr. Mueller, my curiosity and thirst for knowledge of the Allundae continues to this day.” The Bishop stands, and walks over to a massive oak desk.

“Sir you have caught me at a loss for words.” Mueller acknowledges.

“Mueller allow me to share three things about me and the church. One, I know who and what you are; two we are not intimidated or afraid of you; and lastly we are concerned and fearful of the one who hunts you.” The Bishop sits.

‘Is he going to propose an alliance before I have the chance to do the same? What concerns the church about Zion, more than my cult and emerging political power? Take your time here Mueller this old man is cagey.’

“Go on Bishop I am all ears.” Mueller says.

“The lesser of two evils is to deal with the devil you know first. I am much more confident in my abilities to work with a lesser than I am with having more of the Allundae appear in great numbers. The presence of an Alien race among us creates many issues for an institution steeped in 2000 years of dogma.” The Bishop’s eyes tell all.

“How would this infringe on anyone’s belief system? God did make the heavens and Earth, so why not other life forms?” Mueller says mocking the dilemma for religions with the existence of extraterrestrials.

“I can only assume that you want an alliance of some sort that will insure the continued rise of my message.” Mueller asks.

“Yes, with our support your cult will grow within our fold. However, understand that we will reserve the right to step away from you if called for. So do keep your spiritual rhetoric within bounds Mr. Mueller.”

“Yes of course Bishop but what of Zion?” Mueller asks.

“He is your concern but we will pressure the authorities to suspend their pursuits and harassment of your followers. That should give you room to work and eradicate your foe.” The Bishop pushes a button on the left corner of his desk, and the doors to the suite swing open.

“I guess we are done?” Mueller asks.

“Yes we are. The next time you see me we will be at the side of his holiness. That should be all the validation you need. Good night.” Five well-built guards escort Mueller out of the suite.  The Bishop pushes another button on his desk, which closes the door to the suite, and a holographic image appears behind him. An image of Cardinal Angelino Enrico appears and now speaks.

“He suspects nothing, my friend.” He says.

“Mueller is a cannibalistic narcissist who is hell bent on power. His kind is easy fodder for the Allundae, but this one has managed to elude them.” The Bishop says.

“Fine, we will continue to fan the flames of his confusion and coordinate his betrayal with Zion.” The Cardinal explains.

“Yes your Holiness. The devil we know is a great partner in maintaining our prestige in the world although the reason for his support defies all logic.” The Bishop pours more whiskey.

“Zion understands the need for hope in this world. Religion, in all of its forms, gives hope to men. But I fear man has outlived his Gods, and the time grows near for him to have hope and faith in himself.” the Cardinal says.

“Your eminence that is insane, we are the protectors of the faith and await the return of our lord and savior. How can you, of all people, suggest otherwise?” the Bishop says.

“Steady my friend, faith in our purpose and lord is strong and righteous. But I cannot say the same of man and his belief in us or God. The presence of these beings will illicit much acrimony on formal religion and its doctrines. So watch them both. You have studied their ways use this to our advantage and buy us time.” The Cardinal’s image disappears from behind the Bishop. He contemplates the possibilities of such a betrayal and its ramifications going forward and makes a decision to stay the course.

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, James Lee Nathan III. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Ibrahim Unites Print Edition Available Now:
http://www.amazon.com/Ibrahim-Unites-There-Dragon-Warriors/dp/1483566471  


About the Author
James Lee Nathan III (JLN3)
, is the self-published author of two novels and nine novellas, spanning many speculative fiction sub-genres. JLN3 is best known for his scifi erotic crime drama series Robert Manis and No Brakes, both of which are bestsellers on the leanpub author platform. His latest works, CRIME-PHYTER, and Ibrahim Unites, introduce readers to his Next Level Fiction experience. Read more about all of his books: https://leanpub.com/u/jamesleenathaniii 

 

 

 

 


Novels by Regina Neequaye

360 Degrees: A Novel by Regina Neequaye

What would you do if you lost the mother you loved at the hands of the father you adored?


After of her mother’s murder, Thandisha is placed in the care of a maternal grandmother so absorbed in her own grief, she is incapable of providing an environment for Thandisha to heal. Thandisha finds solace in the arms of Andreas, her first love. Her life spirals out of control after an unwanted pregnancy leads to a drug addiction. In order to heal, she is forced to journey 360 Degrees to the day her father killed her mother. 

The multi-dimensional characters in 360 Degrees will stay in your heart long after you turn the last page.


Urban Tango: A Novel by Regina Neequaye 

When you want it all and will do anything to get it…

Ayanna Williams has it all, wants more, and will do whatever it takes to get it. Her promotion to Senior Deputy Assistant to the District Attorney is the next move to her best move. Jefferson Thomas is a handsome, politically connected, business man who finances many key players in the political class. Ayanna and Jefferson find themselves for the second time on opposite sides of justice. Bringing Jefferson Thomas down for human trafficking is the catalyst for her next, best move.

Read sample chapters from both books by Regina Neequaye
http://reginaneequaye.com/books-by-regina-neequaye
 

About the Author
Regina Neequaye is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Art degree in English. She is the author of  “360 Degrees” and “Urban Tango.” She is currently working on her third novel “Central Drive”. Regina’s cyber home is http://reginaneequaye.com. She can be reached by email at: regina@chapterpreview.com. She lives with her husband, Lamar Crowell, in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

Email:  regina@chapterpreview.com
Website: www.reginaneequaye.com

 

 

 

 


Best Friends Forever 
by Kimberla Lawson Rob


In this page-turning marital saga, Roby tells the story of a woman who, only days apart, learns that she has breast cancer and that her husband is having an affair—yet this doesn’t stop him from leaving her for the other woman.

After being rejected by numerous literary agents and publishing houses in 1996, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby started her own company and self-published her debut novel. Now, Roby is releasing her 23rd family drama, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, which centers on a wife, her husband, breast cancer and infidelity. Roby has sold more than 2.6 million copies of her books and is the 2013 NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER tells the story of Celine Richardson, her husband, Keith, and their 10-year-old daughter, Kassie. But this once loving marriage and happy family unit turn devastating when, only days apart, Celine is diagnosed with breast cancer and learns that Keith is having an affair. Worse, Keith still leaves her for the other woman. Celine then wonders how she’ll navigate the difficult process of surgery and additional cancer treatment, but comfort and support come in the form of Celine's best friend, Lauren. They've been attached at the hip since they were children, and it is Lauren who's there for Celine in her darkest moments. Of course, Keith may want to come back home, forcing Celine to consider some tough decisions relating to the marriage and otherwise—and for the very first time in her life, she wants to give up. Lauren vows to help her best friend in any way she can, but will it be too late?

Roby can discuss issues covered in this thought-provoking read that many also face in real life via Skype, video chats, teleconferences and over social media chats or in person meetings:  “Regardless of what family we're talking about, breast cancer affects all colors, nationalities, and social status in a heartbreaking fashion—and sometimes so does infidelity in a marriage,” Roby says. “So, in BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, I wanted to show what happens when, only days apart, a woman discovers she has breast cancer and learns her husband is having an affair. Additionally, I wanted to explore how the family is affected when a husband leaves his wife for the other woman, and the woman’s best friend is forced to step in.” 

Roby’s novels—which address true-to-life issues—have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, ESSENCE, and Publishers Weekly magazines, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Walmart and many others. 


Chapter 1: Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby 



"Keith, do you know what time it is?" Celine Richardson asked her husband as he walked into their bedroom. She'd just turned on her lamp and was sitting against two pillows.

"Five a.m.," he said, clearly sounding as though this was no big deal.

"And you think you can just leave the house and waltz back in here whenever you feel like it? You must be out of your mind if you think I'm going to put up with this kind of crap. I almost called the police to report you missing."

Keith pulled his short-sleeve knit shirt over his muscular shoulders and dropped it on the chair. "Time got away from me."

Celine folded her arms. "Where were you, Keith?"

"At a friend's. A bunch of us guys played cards and had a little too much to drink. And I fell asleep."

Celine laughed out loud. "And you think I believe that? You think I'm that naïve?"

"Believe whatever you want. That's on you."

"You have a lot of nerve staying out till the wee hours of the morning and then acting like you're the one who's upset. How dare you."

"I'm upset because anytime a wife decides that her work is more important than her husband, she shouldn't worry one bit about where he's going...or what he's doing."

"Excuse me? So you're now staying out late and sleeping with only God knows who because you feel neglected? Please."

"I've been telling you this for months. More like a whole year. But nothing's changed.

You spend all your time online doing work for your clients, and that's basically where things end with you."

"That's not true, and you know it."

"Well, actually, you're right. You spend lots of time with Kassie, but with the exception of our daughter, everything else revolves around your business. Which means there's no time for me."

"Why is it that you can spend all the time you want focusing on your career, but I can't?

It took a lot of hard work for me to build up my client list, and it's completely unfair for you to ask me to give that up. Especially since I've never asked you to give up anything."  Keith was vice president of sales for a health care insurance company, and Celine had always supported him and encouraged him to excel every step of the way. So none of his complaints about her spending hours on her social media marketing business made sense.

It was as if he now despised the fact that she was finally seeing some real success with her career. She'd started her business five years ago, and she'd worked her behind off, doing everything she could not only to get it off the ground, but also to gain as much exposure as possible with small companies and major corporations. It was the reason she now sometimes had to pass on projects or refer clients to some of her colleagues.

 

 

 

 


Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Comparing the real-life police shootings of African-American men to the fictional shooting in his novel that propels the plot forward, Pitts says that he "knew that Grant Park was timely, but I could not be coming out at a better time."  Pitts is hoping to "fire up some dialogue" about race with his third novel, Grant Park (Agate Bolden, Sept.), which features an African-American journalist and his white editor, both veterans of the 1960s civil rights movement, who collide on the eve of Obama's election as president. Malcolm Toussaint, the journalist, is "sick and tired of being sick and tired" of how Americans deal with race after hearing of an unarmed African-American being shot by Chicago police even as people are celebrating Obama's historic presidential campaign and certain victory over John McCain.

Grant Park is a page-turning and provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blending the absurd and the poignant in a powerfully well-crafted narrative that showcases Pitts's gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories.

Grant Park begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King's final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 election, and cuts between the two eras as it unfolds. Disillusioned columnist Malcolm Toussaint, fueled by yet another report of unarmed black men killed by police, hacks into his newspaper's server to post an incendiary column that had been rejected by his editors. Toussaint then disappears, and his longtime editor, Bob Carson, is summarily fired within hours of the column's publication.

While a furious Carson tries to find Toussaint—at the same time dealing with the reappearance of a lost love from his days as a 60s activist—Toussaint is abducted by two improbable but still-dangerous white supremacists plotting to explode a bomb at Obama's planned rally in Grant Park. Toussaint and Carson are forced to remember the choices they made as idealistic, impatient young men, when both their lives were changed profoundly by their work in the civil rights movement.


Praise for Leonard Pitts, Jr.'s novel Grant Park

"The state of US race relations in 1968 and 2008 is seen through the eyes of two veteran Chicago newsmen, one black and one white, in this opportune novel. . . . Pitts adroitly blends history with fiction and actual figures (King, Obama) with characters in a plot that builds suspense around the supremacists’ plans as anger between the races gives way to understanding. A novel as significant as it is engrossing." —Booklist, starred review


"In the aftermath of this summer's racially motivated mass murder in Charleston, South Carolina, by an avowed white supremacist, there's near-eerie prescience in Pitts' historical novel. . .[Grant Park], with urgency and passion, makes readers aware that the mistakes of the past are neglected at the future's peril." —Kirkus Reviews


"This high-stakes, hard-charging political thriller from Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Pitts (Freeman) tells the saga of two journalists, switching between the time periods of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 assassination and election day 2008. Sixty-year-old Malcolm Toussaint is a popular black syndicated news columnist writing for the Chicago Post who has two Pulitzer Prizes and resides in a “trophy” mansion. 

However, he has grown “tired” if not embittered over the frustrating lack of progress in race relations between whites and blacks. After receiving one too many racist emails from his readers, he responds by composing a blunt, scathing column, but his white editor, Bob Carson, kiboshes it. After Malcolm hacks into Bob’s computer and publishes the controversial column anyway, both men are deemed culpable and fired. 

Following this, a pair of white supremacists kidnap Malcolm; they also reveal their heinous plan to detonate a “McVeigh bomb” in Grant Park when Barack Obama appears there, as the clock begins ticking to stop them. Pitts effectively builds the backstory in which young Malcolm witnesses King’s fatal shooting in Memphis, and young Bob falls in love with the political black activist Janeka Lattimore, who now resurfaces in his life. 

The sharply etched characters, careful attention to detail, and rich newspaper lore propel Pitts’s socially relevant novel." —Publishers Weekly Review for Grant Park


GRANT PARK: CHAPTER ONE

Martin Luther King stood at the railing, facing west. The moon was a pale crescent just rising in early twilight to share the sky with a waning sun. He leaned over, joking with the men in the parking lot below. A couple of them were wrestling playfully with James Orange, a good-natured man with a build like a brick wall.

“Now, you be careful with preachers half your size,” King teased him.

“Dr. King,” called Orange in a plaintive voice, “it’s two of them and one of me. You should be asking them not to hurt me.”

“Doc,” someone called out from below, “this is Ben Branch. You remember Ben.”

“Oh yes,” said King. “He’s my man. How are ya, Ben?”

Another voice yelled up from below. “Glad to see you, Doc.”

As Malcolm Toussaint moved toward King, it struck him that the preacher seemed somehow lighter than he had the last time Malcolm had seen him. It had been late one night a week before, by the Dumpsters out back of the Holiday Inn. The man Malcolm met that night had seemed… weighted, so much so that even Malcolm had found himself concerned and moved—Malcolm, who had long scorned the great reverend doctor, who had, in the fashion of other young men hip, impatient, and cruel, mocked him as “De Lawd.” But that was before Malcolm had met the man. That was before they had talked. Now he moved toward King, his mind roiling with the decision that had sprung from that moment, the news he had come to share. King, he knew, would be pleased. There would be a smile, perhaps a heavy hand clamping on Malcolm’s shoulder. “Good for you, Brother Malcolm,” he would say. “Good for you.”

Malcolm was vaguely amused to find himself here on this balcony, anticipating this man’s approval. If you had told him just a few days ago that he would be here, ready to go back to school, ready to embrace nonviolent protest, he would have laughed. But that, too, was before. Malcolm meant to raise his hand just then, to catch King’s attention, but a movement caught his eye. Just a reflected ray of the dying sun, really, glinting off something in a window across the street. Something that—he knew this instinctively—should not have been there. He wondered distractedly what it was.

King’s voice drew him back. “I want you to sing it like you’ve never sung it before,” he was calling to someone in the parking lot below. “Sing it real pretty.” And Malcolm realized he had missed something, because he had no idea what they were talking about. His attention had been distracted by… what was that?

“It’s getting chilly.” Yet another voice calling to King from below. “I think you’ll need a topcoat.”

“Okay, Jonesy,” King was saying. “You really know how to take good care of me.”

And here, the moment breaks, time fracturing as time sometimes will into its component parts, until an event is no longer composed of things happening in a sequence, but somehow all happens at once. And you can see and touch and live all the smaller moments inside the right now. This is how it is for Malcolm Toussaint now. King is laughing. Malcolm is taking a step toward him. King is straightening. Laughter is echoing from below. King is reaching into a pocket for his cigarettes. He is becoming aware of Malcolm on his left. His head is coming around. There are the bare beginnings of a welcoming smile. And Malcolm knows. Suddenly knows. And Malcolm is leaping, leaping across space, across time itself, becoming airborne—he was sure of it, that detail felt right, even though by this time King is barely six feet away. Malcolm grabbing two hands full of expensive silk, yanking Martin Luther King off balance, yanking him down hard in the same instant they all hear the popping sound like a firecracker, in the same instant he feels the soft-nosed 30.06 bullet whistle past his cheek like a phantom breath, in the same instant he falls awkwardly across King’s chest.  And then…

 

 

 

 


Lawful Deception 
by Pamela Samuels Young

"Pamela Samuels Young has crafted a page-turner that will keep you engrossed until the very last page. If you’re a fan of smart legal thrillers with brisk pacing, crackling dialogue and edgy, intriguing characters, Lawful Deception is for you.” --Dwayne Alexander Smith, Award-winning Author of Forty Acres.

Once again, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young delivers another captivating legal thriller full of unexpected twists and jaw-dropping moments you never see coming. The beautiful Bliss Fenton won't be winning any awards for Mother of the Year. Truth is, motherhood isn't nearly as important to Bliss as the cottage industry she's created: extorting wealthy men for the hefty child support she can collect.

But Bliss' greed goes too far when she takes on Fletcher McClain. The handsome music industry mogul refuses to accept her conniving conduct lying down. He retains high-profile attorney Vernetta Henderson to sue Bliss for fraud.

Enter Bliss’ unscrupulous attorney, Girlie Cortez, who has a personal score to settle with Vernetta. As the two lawyers once again go head-to-head, their legal battle quickly escalates from merely contentious to downright deadly.
 

Prologue

Bliss Fenton took a sip of champagne as she glared across the room at the obnoxiously happy couple. They indeed made a striking pair. Their slim, toned bodies draped in designer wear and expensive jewelry. So trendy. So California chic. Setting her champagne glass on the tray of a passing waiter, Bliss snaked her way through the crowd, hoping to get a better view. As she moved, her blonde curls bounced as if lifted by a cool breeze. At 5’8” and 120 pounds, her delicate frame was all slopes and curves. A body specifically designed for exhibition.

The partygoers were packed like human matchsticks inside the gaudy Hollywood Hills mansion. The home, if you could call it that, was a testament to excess. Just like the couple. Too much of everything. Too many art deco chairs, too much bronze and glass, and so much artwork the walls could barely breathe.

Only a few feet away from the couple now, Bliss found herself shoulder-to-shoulder with a too-tanned man with greasy hair. He winked at her. She sneered back at him and moved on. A devious smile fractured Bliss’ face as she returned her attention to the couple. She imagined the angst they would experience the minute they spotted her among the partygoers. Fletcher’s lips would contort into an ugly grimace, but then coolly transition to a barely perceptible smirk. He was not the kind of man who was easily rankled. That was the reason he was a millionaire several times over. 

Mia, however, would not be able to hide her emotions. Fletcher’s prissy little black princess would toss Bliss a snarl that bellowed, What the hell are you doing here? It was Mia she wanted to punish most. Bliss had pleaded with God to curse her former friend with a pain ten times more intense than her own. She wanted Mia to live it. Breathe it. Curl up in bed with it. Just as she had.  Bliss refused to blame Fletcher for the poor choices he’d made. He was a man. And men, by nature, were weak. Still, he too would pay just the same.  The call of vengeance tugged hard at Bliss’ soul, urging her, daring her, to march right up to the couple and confront them. But she held back. For the moment. Patience had always been her most virtuous trait. 

Fletcher hustled to the front of the room and began singing the praises of the newest songstress to be added to his stable of artists, LaReena Jarreau. Bliss remembered cuddling in bed with Fletcher and listening to him brag about creating her stage name, since Janice Harris had no pizzazz.

“The first time I heard her voice,” Fletcher said, throwing his arm around the bony twenty-something dressed in hooker gear, “I knew she was going to hit the music world by storm. You have to agree that what we heard tonight was—as the youngsters say—off the chain.”

Everyone applauded as the hip, dark-haired CEO of Karma Entertainment grinned, happy to be on show. The only thing Fletcher enjoyed more than being rich was having everyone know it.

Mia remained off to the side, perfecting the look of the coy, supportive fiancée. That had been Bliss’ mistake. Accepting her at face value. While Mia’s visual package was quite alluring—all charm and beauty—on the inside, she was pure evil. Truth be told, Mia wasn’t all that different from her.  Bliss Fenton, not Mia Richardson, should have been on the arm of the music industry mogul tonight. It had never occurred to Bliss that her long-time yoga buddy could walk into a party and take her new guy’s breath away. Literally. 

At the time, Bliss had been dating Fletcher for a short six months. She’d invited Mia to the party at Fletcher’s Beverly Hills home for the sole purpose of showing off her new man to her smart, uppity faux-friend. Bliss could still remember Mia waving as she glided into the party, the crowd parting so effortlessly it almost seemed choreographed.

Seconds before, Fletcher had been talking nonstop about his label’s next release, but the sight of Mia had caused him to lose his train of thought. When Bliss had formally introduced them, the lust in Fletcher’s eyes further telegraphed the gravity of her mistake.

Only days after the party, Bliss’ time with Fletcher began to dwindle, explained away by late night meetings that couldn’t be avoided or last-minute business trips to New York. Mia, too, had started cancelling their after-yoga coffee chats and finally stopped coming to yoga class altogether. 

It was a month later, when Bliss saw Fletcher and Mia pictured together in Billboard, that she first learned of their betrayal. Her subsequent rage-filled calls to both of them had been ignored. And now, Mia was at Fletcher’s side, while Bliss had been pushed right out of his life.

A burst of applause snapped Bliss back to the present. As Fletcher seemed to be wrapping up his speech, Bliss moved closer, stopping inches behind Mia. She leaned in, her lips almost grazing Mia’s right ear. 

“Congratulations on your engagement.”

Mia’s head whipped around, her dark brown skin now ashen gray. “You ... you shouldn’t be here.” 

Bliss spoke in a firm whisper. “Neither should you. You backstabbing bitch.” 

Mia took a step back. “This is not the place to make a scene.”

“Okay, then,” Bliss said, moving into the space Mia had abandoned. “Shall we step outside?”

A second later, Fletcher wedged himself between them. “You walk yourself out of here right now,” he said through clenched teeth, “or I’ll have security carry you out.”

Although no voices had been raised, all heads turned in their direction. Mia didn’t move.

Fletcher, always cognizant of appearances, wore a stiff smile as he spat into Bliss’ face. “If you don’t leave, I swear I’ll have you arrested.”

After three long beats, Bliss winked. “You’ll both be hearing from me.”

Bliss couldn’t help smiling as she sashayed through the buzzing crowd. 

Fletcher and Mia would suffer for their disloyalty. Bliss only wished she could be there to see their stunned faces when they learned what she had done and realized there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.


Chapter 1



I should have shown Fletcher McClain to the door 30 minutes ago, but the words seem to be stuck in my throat. I hate to admit it—even to myself—but I like having him in my space again. 

“So will you take care of this for me, Vernetta?” 

He’s been pacing the length of my office for several minutes now. When he first stormed in and slapped the Petition to Establish Parental Relationship on my desk, he was so wound up I thought he might be on the verge of a stroke.

“I’m not a family law attorney, Fletcher.” 

Employment law and some occasional criminal work are more up my alley.

“I don’t need an expert in family law,” Fletcher insists. “What I need is a good negotiator. Someone who can talk some sense into this nutcase and make her go away. And I’m confident you can do the job.”

The issue isn’t whether I could handle his case, but whether I should. They say a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. Perhaps a lawyer who goes to battle on behalf of an ex-lover is just as foolish. Especially if the old flame hasn’t quite flickered out yet.

According to the petition, Fletcher’s ex-girlfriend Bliss Fenton has named him as the father of her three-month-old daughter, Harmony. Fletcher, however, claims the petition is all lies. Even though he hasn’t taken the court-ordered paternity test yet, he wants me to set up a meeting with Bliss and offer her some “chump change,” as he puts it, to go away. 

“It looks like she filed that petition herself. I need this nonsense over and done with before she gets an attorney involved.”

I take another look at the petition. Bliss has indeed filed it in pro per, which is easy enough to do. The petition is a simple two-page form that requires checking a few boxes. Falling into one of the chairs in front of my desk, Fletcher fixes me with a look so intense I almost shudder. 

“I really need you, Vernetta.” 

His lips angle upward, just slightly, and I feel a warm tingle in a place where my happily married self definitely should not be tingling. I break his gaze and fiddle with my cuticle. Classically handsome, Fletcher has sandy hair, strong cheekbones and wide brown eyes with lashes too long and thick for Mother Nature to have wasted on a guy. He’s still the only white guy who ever stole my heart. 

“Fletcher, you could find a million attorneys to handle this. Why don’t you let me recommend a friend who has expertise in family law?”

“See, that’s what I love about you, Vernetta. I don’t know many lawyers who would turn away a paying client with my kind of dough. You’re the real deal.”

“Unbelievable.” I stare across the desk at him, shaking my head. “You’re still as cocky as you were when we were know-nothing sophomores back at USC. It’s not always about money, Fletcher.”

“It’s always about money, my sweetness.”

Damn him. Hearing his pet name for me after all these years has me tingling again. A quiet chirp interrupts his subtle flirting. He pulls the phone from the inside pocket of his jacket. Glancing at the screen, he frowns and sets it on the corner of my desk.

“How can you be so sure it’s not your kid?” I ask.

“Because we broke up almost a year before that kid was born.”

“Shouldn’t you wait for the results of the paternity test?”

“Don’t need to. It’s not my kid.”

“I’m confused. If it’s not your kid, once you have the results, it’s over. Why pay her anything?”

“You don’t know Bliss Fenton. Even after the results come back, she’ll have something else up her sleeve. I need this thing buttoned up once and for all. Paying her off will accomplish that.”

My gut and years of legal experience tell me there’s more to the story. “You certainly seem awfully stressed over an allegation that has no merit. What’s the real deal?”

Fletcher repositions himself in the chair. 

“I’m getting married in three months and this whole thing has my fiancée climbing the walls. Bliss timed this to embarrass Mia right before our wedding. I need it resolved as soon as possible.”

The news that Fletcher is getting married surprises me. I’ve followed his career for years and figured he was a confirmed bachelor. 

“So what’s Bliss got against Mia?”

“Well ... um ... they used to be friends.” 

I squint. “Oh, so we’re dealing with a woman scorned.” 

It’s one thing to lose your man to another woman. It’s quite another to lose a charming, high roller like Fletcher McClain to someone you considered a friend.

He shrugs. “That’s basically the crux of it.”

“But it still doesn’t make sense. Bliss wouldn’t serve you with a paternity suit if there were no chance you could be the father.”

“You haven’t been listening. This woman is extremely conniving. She probably read that Forbes article and came up with this scheme to shake me down.” He pauses. “Did you happen to see it?”

Fletcher landed the number three spot on Forbes’ list of the top music industry moguls. He’s the only one on the list under 40. His net worth is estimated at $450 million, just behind Clive Davis and JayZ.

“Of course I saw it. Very impressive.”

He points a finger at me. “You haven’t done too bad yourself, counselor. You’ve handled some pretty high-profile cases.” 

Over the years, Fletcher sent me handwritten notes, congratulating me when one of my trials hit the press. Keeping up with his achievements is the only reason I read Billboard.

“So how much do you plan to offer her?”

“A hundred grand should do it. I’m willing to go higher if I have to. Maybe two-fifty. And I want a written agreement with an ironclad confidentiality provision.” 

I’m about to say he’s putting up a lot of cash to get rid of a bogus claim, but for a man with Fletcher’s bank account, we’re talking peanuts. 

“We may have to play dirty to force her into a settlement. I want you to retain a private investigator to dig up some dirt on her in case we need it. And trust me, it’s out there.”

“Are you serious?”

“As a heart attack. Once you meet her, you’ll understand.”

“How’d you even end up with this woman?”

“It’s your fault,” he quips. “After you broke my heart, I was so devastated, I opened up my heart to whoever came along.”

“Yeah, right.” I scan the petition again. “It says here the child was born in January of this year and she’s three months old.” I glance skyward and do the math in my head. “Let’s see ... Assuming a nine-month pregnancy, that would place conception sometime in April of last year.”

“Exactly. The kid can’t be mine. We broke up in February, eleven months before she was born. I remember because it was two weeks before Valentine’s Day.”

“Maybe your timing is off.”

“It’s not.”

“And there were no hookups after that?”

“Nope.” He brushes the lapel of his Canali suit, then raises his right hand. “Scout’s honor.”

“I still don’t understand why you don’t want to wait for the test results before approaching her. You’d be in a much better negotiating position.”

“I’m taking the test tomorrow, but it could be a couple of weeks before I get the results. I want this thing resolved yesterday.” 

His cell phone chirps again. He grunts and picks it up. “Excuse me a second.”  His long fingers awkwardly tap the screen. I assume he’s sending an email or text message. Another minute or so passes before he looks up, his face full of annoyance.

“Uh, that was Mia calling from the lobby.” He scratches his jaw. “She’s on her way up.”

“Hmmm. So it’s your fiancée who’s running this show.”

“Not really. Well, I mean—” 

I’m not used to seeing the smooth-talking Fletcher McClain at a loss for words. He moves to the edge of the chair. The relaxed air we’d been basking in has been sapped from the room. 

“The real deal is Mia wants me to sue Bliss for defamation. She thinks I’m meeting with you to talk about the defamation case. But I think it makes more sense to give Bliss a few dollars to disappear.”

“Okay, now I get it.”

“Let’s keep that under our hat. And, um,” he rubs his chin, “Mia’s a bit on the jealous side. Let’s not mention that we used to be an item, okay?”

Fletcher was never the type of guy who’d let his woman call the shots. This alpha dog has turned into a poodle. 

“No problem. Our conversations are attorney-client privileged.”

Fletcher straightens in his chair. “Oh, so I’m your client? Great!”

I raise both hands, palms out. “I haven’t committed yet. But your fiancée can’t—”

“Just flow with me on this, okay? I’ll handle Mia. You just play along.” His confident charm reminds me of the first time we met over a decade ago. 

I was walking across campus when Fletcher stopped me with a corny pick-up line.

“Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk by again?”

I’d never met a white guy—certainly not one as gorgeous as Fletcher McClain—who had the swagger of a brother. After a bit of prodding, I agreed to meet him for lunch. And here he is still charming me more than a decade later.

My assistant pokes her head in the door. “I have a lady out here who says she—”

The door flies open and a woman bustles past Deena into my office.  A perfectly coiffed, black beauty marches right up to my desk and peers down at me. I have to push my chair back to get her out of my personal space. 

“You better be a barracuda,” she says, firing her words at me. “Because that’s the kind of attorney we need to show that scandalous slut Bliss Fenton that she’s playing with fire.” 


( Continued... )

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


Purchase Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young
(Vernetta Henderson Series, Book 5)

Link: http://amzn.com/B015TBKI3S  
http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com/books/index.html

About Pamela Samuels Young
When attorney Pamela Samuels Young, a NAACP Image Award winner, isn’t fulfilling her duties as legal counsel for a major corporation in Southern California, you can usually find her penning her next legal thriller.

Her acclaimed novel, Anybody’s Daughter, is what garnered Pamela her first NAACP Image Award win in the category of Outstanding Literary Work (Fiction).

Fed up with never seeing people of color, especially women, depicted as savvy, hot-shot attorneys in the legal thrillers she read, the Compton, CA, native decided to create her own. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, Pamela accomplished her ambitious goal by getting up at 4am to write before work, dedicated her weekends to writing and even spent a large portion of her vacations glued to her laptop. In doing so, she discovered her passion for writing.

A graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and a Master’s Degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a diehard member of Sisters in Crime-L.A., an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers.

She lives in Southern California and attends Hope in Christ Community Church. Visit her website to read excerpts from the books, to see the more than 380 bookclubs she has visited and to follow her online: 

Pamela is also a frequent speaker on the topics of writing fiction, discrimination law and pursuing your passion.
Pamela loves to hear from readers, so use one of the avenues listed below to reach out to her.

Pamela's website:  http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com 
Follow me on Twitter at:  http://www.twitter.com/pamsamuelsyoung 
Follow me on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/pamelasamuelsyoung 

 


 


Ungolden Silence 
by Lydia E. Brew

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

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

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


Book Reviews for Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew 


MUST READ WITH SENSITIVE ISSUES 
Reviewed by Misty Iputi 

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


Emotional Read
Reviewed by My Cozie Corner Book Reviews 

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


Book Like No Other
Reviewed by Mz Tiffany Divine Reviews 

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


Let the Victim Be Heard
Reviewed by Teresa Beasley 

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


Powerful, Provoking and Inspiring
Reviewed by Beth Cutwright 

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


Excerpt from Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Continued... )

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


Excerpt from Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew


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

“Right,” the crowd answered slowly.

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

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

The audience seemed repulsed.

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

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


( Continued... )

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

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


 

 

 


Life On Fire 
by Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley

Brooklyn Saunders' life is set ablaze when her ex, Dante Nines, and a newly single friend, Hunter Torres, vie for the number one spot in her heart. Unknowingly, Dante brings trouble to her door causing their personal and professional lives to collide in the worst way. The entanglement unleashes a danger that will have both of the men she loves fighting to keep her safe. Will Brooklyn survive the chaos threatening to destroy her very existence? And if she does, who will she choose?


Excerpt: Life On Fire 


Hunter cleared his throat. Brooklyn and Dante broke apart and she looked up sheepishly at Hunter. "I think it's time for you to call that cab for me."

Dante sat with a smug look, as though he was waiting for her to introduce him. When she didn't, he stated, "Hey, I'm Dante, her ex." He sized Hunter up with his eyes.

"Nice meeting you." Hunter nodded as Brooklyn gave him her S.O.S. signal by pulling her earlobe twice.

"Come on, BK, I need you to sign off on your check before you go. I'll get Carlos to call you a cab." Hunter nodded his head for her to follow him.

Brooklyn nudged Dante to move out of her way and gave an impatient, "Excuse me," when he stayed put.

He turned to her, giving her a big grin. "This conversation's not over," he promised, standing at the edge of the booth to let her out.

Brooklyn had finally reached her drink limit. Downing that last pitcher that fast was probably a bad idea. She didn't know if it was the gin or seeing Dante again that had her legs all wobbly as she eased herself up. Not wanting her unsteadiness to make her look weak and vulnerable, she jutted her chin out and proclaimed in a defiant voice, "I would say it was nice seeing you again, but that would be a lie. Take care of yourself."

As she sashayed over to Hunter, she heard Dante call out, "We're not done by a long shot. I'll see you later."

Hunter slid his arm around her waist and led her through the crowd to his office. Once behind closed doors, he rounded his desk and picked up the phone to have Carlos get her a cab. "I guess we won't be enjoying each other's company tonight, or shall I say this morning," he commented.

"It never seems to be the right time for us," Brooklyn replied. "It's a rare occasion that we're both single at the same time. Now we are, and …"

"And your ex pops up, wanting to reconnect. By the lip lock I found you two engaged in, you're clearly not over him." Hunter leaned onto his desk and pulled her to him.

"As if you're over Sophia," Brooklyn whispered, resting her hands on his chest as he wrapped his arm around her back.

He pulled her closer to him. "I should have pulled you back here and swept the desk when you first came through that door tonight. I don't know how we remained friends so long without crossing the line."

Brooklyn linked her arms around his neck. "I've been waiting for your fine behind to be single, but the line to get to you is always too long."

"Hell, I was planning to spend more time with you tonight, but you were rarely without company. Look what happened when I left to wrap up for the evening so I could." Hunter's cell phone buzzed. He took a quick glance at it. "It looks like your cab has arrived."

Brooklyn tipped forward, kissing him on the cheek. "You're too good to me. You know that?"

"I'm surprised Sophia never spilled a drink on you," Hunter teased as he released her.

"It's only because when you met her, I was with Max. I was absolutely no threat to her." Brooklyn stood straight.

"If you haven't gotten back with your ex by tomorrow, roll through the club and we can decide if the time is right for us to find out if there's any real magic behind our attraction." Hunter stood, walking with her out of the office and to the exit.

"That's if I'm not dead to the world tomorrow night from being out until two-thirty in the morning then trying to make it to work by seven a.m." She yawned as she followed him to the coat check. Hunter helped her put on her coat then walked her out to the waiting cab.

"Hey, make sure you text me and let me know you made it safely home." He pulled her into a quick hug before opening the cab door.

"Yes, sir." Brooklyn slid into the cab. Hunter shut the door and waved as the cab pulled off.

A flash of Dante's face saying they were not done entered Brooklyn's mind. She knew that devious expression too well. As she leaned forward to give the cabbie her address, she thought, Dante Nines. What are you up to?


( Continued... )

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


Purchase Life On Fire by Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XNZPNFG 




Meet the Author

Karen D. Bradley
while being a creative mind, English and Grammar were never her strongest subjects. As life would have it, her weakest link would become her saving grace. It was during college she penned her first suspenseful drama to help her cope with the death of her father, the upheaval of emotions, and her changing family dynamics. Writing fiction soon became one of her favorite pastimes. She has since published a total of five novels. What she enjoys most about being an author are the lively real talk sessions with readers about topics from her books.

 


Brandon's Artistic Passion 
by Janice L. Dennie

Brandon Underwood is one of Napa Valley’s hottest artists, who has lost his passion for painting. He finds inspiration in a brilliant ballerina, who he claims as his ideal woman. But Brandon’s heart is as complicated as his art. His failed relationships haunt him until someone reveals a family secret.

Ciara Alexander is a talented principal dancer at a small ballet company. To further her career, she dreams of joining a major company, but competition is stiff, and her biological clock is ticking. After Brandon attends one of her fiery performances, he regains his passion for painting. He creates a dramatic masterpiece of a ballerina wearing a red tutu with a purple feather in her hair. He entitles it, Ciara. 

Now that Brandon has regained his passion for painting and found his ideal woman, will he ruin his chance for love by falling back into old habits? Will Ciara’s ambitious dream, of joining a major ballet company, take precedence over the man who loves her?


About the Underwood’s of Napa Valley Series

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

As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.” He’s protective of his family and environment, and stays busy running his family’s winery. Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. 

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

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

Meet the Author

Janice L. Dennie is an Amazon.com bestselling author of Romantic Fiction and World Literature. Her books include, The Underwoods of Napa Valley Series, and The Lion of Judah Series. She has another contemporary series coming in 2017.

Her love for writing romance novels have readers reaching for her books time and again as she delivers love stories featuring tall, dark, handsome heroes and feisty heroines as they tumble breathlessly in love among the pages of exciting stories. 

Born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Northern California, Ms. Dennie graduated from California State University, before starting a career with a Federal Agency. She enjoys watching football with her husband, Gregory, traveling, and visiting her family. 

Ms. Dennie is introducing a line of historical romance novels. Please visit her historical website at http://www.JaniceDennieHistoricals.com. 

Ms. Dennie regularly posts the release of new books on her janicedennieauthor, Facebook page, and Twitter @jdennieauthor. She'd love to hear from you, and will reply to any email sent to her at janicedennie1@gmail.com.

To read more about Janice, visit her website at: http://www.janicedennie.com 

Order Brandon's Artistic Passion (Book 4)

The Underwoods of Napa Valley Series
Order books here: http://www.amazon.com/author/janicedennie

 

 

 

 


The Real Housewives of Adverse City 
by Shelia E. Bell

Avery, Eva, Meesha, and Peyton, live the type of lives everyday women can only dream of. One thing for sure, there is always drama and never a dull moment when it comes to these ultra-rich housewives.

Eva Stenberg is the wife of Dr. Harper Stenberg, a cardiovascular surgeon, NY Times bestselling author and Chief Medical Director of Adverse City Hospital. Harper is a man dedicated fully to his career and his position, which leaves Eva frustrated and lonely. The fact that Harper desires no children adds a blazing fuel to an already out of control inferno. When Harper’s twenty three year old son comes to visit, will he be the one to put out the blaze or start a whole new one. Peyton Hudson, the mother of one son is married to Derek Hudson, a wealthy App developer and President of Adverse City Bank. When someone from her past resurfaces, her world is turned upside down and life as she has known it will never be the same.

First Lady, Meesha Porter, the mother of four sons and the wife of Senior Pastor Carlton Porter who founded the 20,000 member Perfecting Your Faith Ministries, believes she has the perfect marriage, until from out of nowhere, Carlton tells her that he wants a divorce.

Avery Mitchelson, a former high priced call girl and the mother of two girls allows her past to almost destroy her marriage to multi-millionaire trial attorney, Ryker Mitchelson when she makes a decision that could cost her everything.  Welcome to their world!


BOOK REVIEWS


5-Star Review Written By Lacricia Wilson

The characters are so true to life. They pull you into their lives and trap you. I hung on every word. I cannot wait to see what is going to happen with these Housewives! This book is a must read!!!! 

5-Star Review Written By Sherri Gregory 

Shelia, you have done it again, your writing style, storyline and great details as always is above and beyond . From page one to the end, I was talking to myself and turning the page to see what are they going to do next?
I got into each character individually and as couples, the drama and life situations are here and there is a lot! !! Everybody has a separate journey, and I can't wait to see how they handle this. Shelia, please come on with the next book. I can't give anything away (as bad as I want to, especially Pastor Carlton Porter- he is all over the place and he is spreading more than the gospel around). but I can tell you this please get your copy, I'm telling everybody I know this is a must read, you will enjoy.


Excerpt: Chapter 1


“Real friends don’t get offended when you insult them. They smile and call you something even more offensive.” Unknown

“Girl, I don’t know how you do it,” Avery said, stirring the lemon in her flavored seltzer water.

“Do what?” asked Meesha, sipping on a virgin lime margarita. The sun was high, and the breeze from the Florida coastline swayed her Brazilian weave from side to side.

“You know what I’m talking about; deal with all of those hoochies at the church pawing all over Pastor Porter.”

“Don’t mind Avery,” Peyton said, sucking down her second full strength Vodka martini.

“I pray about it and go about my business. I can’t live my life distrusting my husband. Besides, I keep myself fit and fabulous for him. Those so-called, uh, what are they called today?”

“THOTS,” Peyton answered quickly.

“Those THOTS don’t stand a chance.” Meesha laughed, throwing her head back, revealing her flawless figure.

“Four kids, you’re doing more than staying fit and fabulous. Sounds like you keeping him happy between the sheets, too,” Eva, a native of Bolivia, said in her thick Spanish accent. She pushed back her long, flowing, thick black hair from off her face. Hair that women like Meesha paid for.

The four housewives sat on the outside patio of one of Adverse City, Florida’s most exclusive restaurants, dining on some of the best foods and drinks in the city.

Adverse City, a quaint town was tucked between Fisher Island and Miami Beach, with homes of the rich and famous lining the white sandy beaches of the Atlantic Coastline. The temperature hovered most of the time between 70-80 degrees.

“Anyway, I have too many other things to deal with besides worrying about what woman is chasing after Carlton. I’m secure in our marriage. I’ve given him four sons and this body can give him more kids, if that’s what he wants.”

“Girl, please. You better sit yourself down somewhere.” Peyton finished off her vodka martini and beckoned their server. “I’ll have a cosmopolitan this time.”

Yes, ma’am,” the male server stated. He left and moments later returned with her drink.

Peyton lifted the glass to her lips and scoured. “Take this back,” she told the server before he had time to leave her table. “Tell the bartender to fix me a real drink, top shelf! I don’t taste a hint of vodka in this.”

“I apologize, ma’am. I’ll bring you another one.”

Meesha, Eva, and Avery laughed as the young man scurried away from the table.

“What’s so funny?” asked Peyton.

“You. Girl, you had that young boy so scared, I thought he was going to pee in his pants,” cracked Avery.

The young server returned with another drink. Peyton tasted it, looked at him, and nodded her approval. He smiled and looked pleased then turned and walked away.

“Seriously, you need to hold back on the liquor, girlfriend. The day is still long,” advised Meesha.

“I can handle my own. These drinks are nothing more to me than what you’re drinking.”

“Okay, whatever. But, you’re the one always crying about your weight. I’m just saying, liquor adds fat and calories to your waistline.”

“Just because you’re skin and bones, don’t eat meat, and don’t drink liquor, don’t try to judge me.”

“I’m not trying to judge you. I’m just saying, you’re the one who’s always the first to cry about being overweight.”

“Whatever, Meesha.” Peyton flung her blonde locks back off her face and threw up one hand.

“Now ladies, ladies,” Avery interjected. “We’re here to enjoy what’s supposed to be our girls’ day out. It’s supposed to be fun and relaxing. You know how hectic all our schedules are, and it’s not often that we can get together for some girl time. Don’t blow it with all of this female bickering. We are not like those TV housewives.”

“Avery’s right. I have enough drama in my life on a daily basis. When I’m with my girls, I don’t want to hear all of this ying yang,” added Eva.

Peyton rolled her blue eyes in her head and took another swallow of her cosmopolitan.

“Tell us what’s going on with you and Ryker. I saw on CNN that he was representing that NFL player who was accused of giving some stupid girl that went up to his hotel room, the date rape drug.”

“Some of these women out here need to get somewhere and sit down,” Meesha said.

“They act like they don’t understand what they’re getting into when they agree to go to a hotel room with a man just because he’s rich and famous,” Avery said.

“I think they’re no different from a prostitute,” Eva stated.

“I agree with you, but that still doesn’t give him the right to drug her. If she’s willing to go to his room, she was probably going to give up the cookies anyway. All he had to do was play his cards right. He was just as stupid,” Peyton added, as she turned up the cosmopolitan and took her last swallow. She followed up by tracing her lips with her tongue like she was trying to savor the taste of the mixed drink for as long as she could.

“Anyway, since you all are so nosy, and always wanting to know about me and Ryker, let me assure you that we’ve never been better.” Avery’s eyes flitted over the faces of each of her friends. Each of them looked genuinely attentive to what she was saying about her recently troubled marriage.

‘That was quick,” Peyton said and chuckled.

Avery gave Peyton a raised eyebrow and then kept on talking. “I think Ryker and I are finally back on track. I know things were rough this past year, but I love my man, and I’m not about to give up on my marriage.”

Meesha spoke up while she used her fork to play around in her garden salad. “God is in the business of making crooked places straight, which is why I had no doubt he would heal your marriage.”

“Good for you, and for Ryker too, if he realizes that he almost lost a good woman.” Eva frowned slightly. “I mean, I don’t know if I could have been as strong as you if I discovered Harper cheated on me. It’s just too much.”

“I’m not saying it was easy. Quite the opposite; it was tough, real tough. I thought I was going to lose my mind when I found out he was cheating. Then you know that skank didn’t have any morals whatsoever. You would think that she would have realized that he wasn’t going to leave a wife and two young children.”

“Most married men never leave their wives for the other woman,” said Meesha. “She’s a lawyer, just like Ryker. Seems like she would have had enough smarts to know that.”

“Obviously, she didn’t,” Avery said. “I guess she really had the notion that sleeping with the head of Ryker and Klein Law firm would help her make partner. Instead, what she got was humiliated and pushed out the door.”

“Probably because Ryker realized if he kept screwing around that he was going to lose you and his girls,” Peyton told her.

“Not only that,” Meesha said, “you could have taken his butt to the cleaners and left him high and dry.”

“I know that’s right,” Eva said. “Girl, if that had been Harper, he wouldn’t have a law firm or anything else.”

All the ladies laughed.

“I agree,” Peyton added. “Hey,” she called out as the server walked pass their table. She lifted her glass toward him. “I’ll have another one.”

The server nodded in response.

“You need help,” said Avery.

“She needs prayer,” Meesha corrected.

“Look, I don’t need help or prayer. I have this under control. Now I wish you all would get off my back.”


( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Shelia E. Bell. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase The Real Housewives of Adverse City by Shelia E. Bell

http://www.amazon.com/Real-Housewives-Adverse-City/dp/153030265X 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Eartha Dunston

Eartha Dunston has been writing since she was a freshman at Alabama State University. She first realized her love for writing when one of her best friends secretly entered her into his fraternity’s poetry slam. She anxiously shared her writings publicly for the first time and received an overwhelming standing ovation! It was a pivotal moment, and she knew in that instant she would one day write professionally. Her educational background coupled with becoming a mom, inspired her to begin writing about issues that affect children such as positive self-image and loosing a beloved family matriarch. She has spent the past few years honing her craft under the tutelage of many award winning and accomplished authors.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Clinical Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University. Eartha enjoys traveling, encouraging others through life’s obstacles, reading and crafting stories in all genres. She currently resides in South Florida. Her first Children's novel is entitled "The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney." The book introduces us to a beautiful princess who celebrates her hair as it transitions textures and styles throughout the week.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write?
I've always enjoyed writing. I started keeping a journal and writing poetry when I was in college. At the time, I never intended to share my writings publically. I was going through a very tough time. Both of my parents were terminally ill. I was struggling emotionally, financially and every way imaginable. Writing consoled me. It was my escape. I always felt better because my journal and poems were the one place I could be totally raw and honest about my feelings. I could cry out to God and be mad at him at the same time for what I was going through; and no one was there to judge me.

One of my friends discovered a poem I had written, and he persuaded me to perform at his fraternity's poetry night. I protested with everything in me, but eventually gave in. I was determined not to cower. To my amazement, the audience loved it; and I received a standing ovation. I knew in that instant I wanted to write professionally one day.
Within the next few days, several individuals and organizations invited me to perform on campus and at local spots in the city. It was an epiphany for me.

BPM: How did you advance the call for writing?

After graduate school, I settled into a comfortable career, and tucked my writing dreams away. However, the passion never died. I was visiting my brother in Atlanta one summer, when I received profound confirmation about my writing that changed my life. I dusted off all my old ideas and put work behind my faith and dreams. I started traveling the country to attend writing seminars and conferences. I ventured to New York, Houston, and Atlanta to name a few. I soaked up as much knowledge about the industry and writing process as I could. I attended seminars and writing classes featuring some of the best in the business.

A couple of the authors and I connected. One accomplished, seasoned author took me under her wings and began to motivate me with words of encouragement. Another well-known author referred me to her publicist, and things took off immediately. It got to the point where all the things I thought would be a challenge were lining up without much effort. It’s as if my dream started chasing me. I had written the Princess series of books a couple years earlier but never attempted to publish them. I had also started working on a novel. A couple of my writing mentors continued to nudge and encourage me to move forward. I could no longer mask the dream.

I knew it was time to launch my long-desired writing career. I knew all this was not coincidental, but divine connections orchestrated by God, in His timing.

BPM: Introduce your book, The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney and the characters.
The main character of the book, Princess Lindsey Sidney, admires her hair each day of the week as it transitions from straight to frizzy and all textures in between. My debut children’s book, entitled The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney, was birthed out of the struggles with my daughter’s hair. I was never good at hair. I cropped mine off years ago and never looked back. God really has a sense of humor. He gave me a beautiful daughter with the biggest, thickest, and coarsest hair I’ve ever encountered. I knew I was in trouble when it came to grooming it. I knew there had to be other parents going through the same struggles. I knew others could benefit from a book that celebrated various phases of our sometimes straight, sometimes kinky.

I would spend hours every Saturday on my daughter’s hair trying to wash it, comb it and make it pretty. It would never be as sleek or straight as I wanted. We would both be in tears. However, I noticed when her father and I told her she was a beautiful princess with the prettiest hair, she believed it! Even with a pile of untamed frizz on her head, she would stand in the mirror and admire it because we told her she was beautiful. It made me realize the power of instilling positive self-image in children at a young age. She thought her hair was beautiful in all its imperfection because we told her so. 

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?

I write because it’s liberating. I write because it is the one thing I will always do even if I never make a dime from it. I love writing and if my writing can help someone along the way, even better. Creating characters and giving them life is exhilarating. I ‘m driven by the power and emotion well developed characters evoke. I’ve gotten feedback from beta readers that tell me they can’t stop thinking about a particular character in my novel or they really felt as if they were there with the characters. When I hear that, I know I am on the right track. I will always have a passion for writing, whether it’s another Children’s book, a simple article, or a fast-paced spy novel. I’m just getting started! 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Re'Gena Bell-Roberts

Re'Gena Bell-Roberts was featured on the Steve Harvey Show as one of the Harvey's Heroes!

Re'Gena Bell-Roberts is an actress, poet, award-winning playwright and author whose published work includes a collection of prose and poetry. She earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of California at Los Angeles and raised her four children as a single parent while continuing to pursue a career.

Re’Gena won the Rockefeller Foundation award for her play "Eclipse"; and a Prose award from Culver City Community College. She produced and directed an NAACP Martin Luther King Day celebration event; and received numerous awards for her community service. She was featured on the Steve Harvey Show and honored as one of “Steve Harvey’s Hero.”  Re’Gena resides in Murrieta, California.


BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you? What impact do you want your book to make on the readers?
My passion for writing began at an early age while searching for a voice among my seven siblings. It was then that I discovered the power of the written word in the form of poetry or short stories. I am driven to write because it empowers me as an artist to evoke my inner feelings, thoughts and emotions and share them with others.

I want Walking on Thin Ice to take the reader on an unforgettable journey of love, pain and heartbreak that will inspire, motivate an empower them to make better choices and decisions in order to have a better quality of life.


BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book. 
Walking on Thin Ice is a love story told amid the backdrop of passion, betrayal and pain. The book opens up with all the candor –– frustration, love, trial, tribulation and humor –– indicative of the human spirit. I wrote the book after cultivating it mentally and physically for many years.

Walking on Thin Ice, a memoir of love, hate, envy, and greed traces a young woman's pursuit of stardom down a dangerous road that leads to shattered dreams and a harrowing fate.

The young woman longed for fame and fortune until at last a man comes to set her free - only to be betrayed again. The saga portrays her tumultuous life as she struggles to deal with a tragic life-threatening event. Against life’s most overwhelming odds, she fights back with unshakable strength, courage, and a will to survive.

BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... 
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... a message of hope in the face of adversity.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
My primary quest in publishing the book was to share my story–– my struggles, my truths and my journey to convey a message of love, hope and redemption.

BPM: Who did you write this book for? Why?
I wrote this book for young girls and women who are craving the love of a man, as I did, and who are interested in or can relate to the ups and downs of a tumultuous relationship, and the risks of following your heart and desires into dangerous territory. I wrote this book for anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship whether it’s physical, emotional or psychological. The story is as relevant today as it was decades ago.

BPM: Walk us through your journey to success. How did you get to this point? What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My success came after my lowest point and on the threshold of losing faith until I surrendered the reigns of my life to God. My faith allowed me to trust God and understand that sometimes the plans we make for ourselves is not the plan that He has for us. At that point I prepared to use my gift of writing knowing that it would be a long and arduous task.

My greatest challenge was facing reality –– the truth about the choices I made and how they impacted not only my life, but the lives of my family and friends—my loved ones. I overcame the experience first by accepting responsibility in the detrimental role I played in self-destruction and second, accepting the amazing grace of a second chance.

BPM: At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
I discovered my real worth the moment I regained use of my hands and placed wet ink on paper. I claimed it and took ownership of it.

BPM: Was there anyone early in your career that recognized your talent and help cultivate it?
Yes. It was definitely two of my English/literature teachers in high school who encouraged my writing talent and offered personal selections of books for me to read.

BPM: Do you feel as if your writing is making a positive impact on readers, women, or the world?
Yes. I do believe my writing is making a positive impact on readers of both gender, male and female. I feel that my book causes readers to pause and examine their relationships. It draws them deep into the very fiber and psyche of how it feels to be “Walking on Thin Ice.”


Connect with Re'Gena Bell-Roberts 

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/rlbroberts  
Website:  http://walking-on-thin-ice.com 
Facebook:  http://facebook.com/regena.bellroberts


Order Walking on Thin Ice by Re'Gena Bell-Roberts
Download Link:  http://amzn.com/1491764759  
Genre:   True Story. Non-fiction. Memoir 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Dorothy Love

Dorothy Love is an award-winning author who brings her passion for history to her fiction writing in novels depicting the lives of 19th century American women. Known for her historical novels of mystery and suspense, Dorothy touches the minds and hearts of her readers through deep characterizations and the painstaking reconstruction of a lost
world. Her new novel, Mrs Lee and Mrs Gray brings to life the enduring friendship between Mrs Robert E Lee and Selina Norris Gray, an enslaved woman at famed Arlington house, a friendship that left a lasting American legacy.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write and how did you advance the call for writing?

DL: My dad had to leave school at an early age to take care of his mother and younger siblings and never got to finish his education. I'm his first daughter and from my earliest days he read books to me, bought books for me, and recited poetry he had memorized. He filled our house with books and magazines. I especially remember The Saturday Evening Post with its Normal Rockwell covers. I loved making up stories based on the covers. I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer.  In college I worked as a journalist and later as a free lancer but my goal was to write novels. I started attending writers workshops, studied the craft, and finally began publishing in 1994. It has been a great ride.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?

DL: I love history, especially the history of 19th century America. It was a time when women were not allowed to vote and when they were discouraged from any work except teaching. The Civil War brought terrible hardships to Southern women who were left to fend for themselves against an invading army. Despite everything, many 19th century era women managed to accomplish great things that often go unnoticed. Elizabeth Blackwell became the first American woman to get an medical degree. Harriet Tubman became an abolitionist, an armed scout and a Union spy. Emma Willard fought for women's rights and established the Troy Female Seminary for the education of women. Elizabeth Allston Pringle took over the running of her family's rice plantations after the Civil War. There are countless stories like theirs. My passion is to dramatize those stories in a way that entertains and educates readers.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and characters?

DL: I would love to! Mrs Lee and Mrs Gray is a biographical novel about the enduring friendship between Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee ( Mrs Robert E Lee) and Selina Norris Gray, an enslaved woman who became the
head housekeeper at Arlington house. Mary was the only child of George Washington Parke Custis and Mary Lee Fitzhugh, and the heir to Arlington and its contents which included many of George Washington's belongings.

Selina was born at Arlington, a second generation slave whose parents, Len and Sally Norris, are said to have been favorites of Mrs Custis. Mary and her mother taught the Arlington slaves to read and write. At some point Selina was brought into the house to train as a housekeeper. Mary Anna Custis, who was fifteen years older than Selina developed a particular affection for Selina that continued after Mary's marriage to Robert E Lee. Mary, who suffered from arthritis almost all of her life was often at Arlington with her growing brood of children that would eventually number seven in all, and during these times, presumably the bond between Mary and Selina grew even stronger. A letter from Selina to Mary written the year before Mary's death expresses Selina's desire to see her old friend, and offers hope that Mary will regain ownership of Arlington that was illegally taken from her during the war. It was the
discovery of that letter that served as the catalyst for this novel.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book? Why now?

I had two goals in mind. One was to introduce readers to Mary Anna Custis Lee, who has so often been portrayed negatively in biographies of her husband. She has been described as slovenly, self centered, unattractive, and dull. General Lee was famously known as the handsomest man in the army, a brilliant soldier, and a talented engineer. Why would such a man choose as his wife an unattractive, selfish, stupid woman? I set out to learn more about Mary and
discovered that although she admitted to being less than punctual and that she cared little for fashion, she was in fact exceptionally well educated for a woman of her times. She mastered four languages, read four newspapers every day, and became an accomplished painter of the people and landscapes of Arlington. One of her paintings of a young
enslaved girl was recently purchased for the art museum in Williamsburg.

After her father's death she edited his "Recollections" and wrote a memoir that was published in 1860. She may not have been the most beautiful of the Virginia belles but she has been described as lively and flirtatious. Among her suitors were Robert E Lee's brother Smith Lee, and Sam Houston who would one day become president of the Republic of Texas. Mary believed in emancipation for all enslaved people but felt that freedmen would not be treated fairly in America. She sold flowers from her gardens to support the American Colonization Society's efforts to purchase slaves' freedom and help them to immigrate to Liberia. The Society became controversial over the years, but even William Lloyd Garrison who became its most vocal critic, allowed that those involved sincerely believed they were doing the Lord's work. At least one Arlington slave family, that of William Custis Burke, made the journey to Liberia. Both he and his wife Rosabella exchanged letters with Mary until at least the late 1860's. A devoted wife and mother, Mary packed up her children to join Robert at his military postings whenever possible. She spent the last two years of the war in Richmond to be closer to her husband. This is the Mary Anna Custis Lee that I want readers to know.

Secondly, I wanted to tell Selina's remarkable story. When the Civil War erupted, Selina, her husband Thornton Gray and their children were among the sixty enslaved persons at Arlington. Abolitionists were active at Arlington for several years, encouraging the Custis slaves to run away. In the years just before the war, many of them left. As the Union army approached Arlington, Mary and her daughters packed up as many of their belongings as they could and went to stay with relatives, leaving Selina in charge of Arlington. When the soldiers began looting the house, taking items that had belonged to President Washington, Selina confronted the Union general with the demand that they stop stealing "Miss Mary's things." He responded by packing up the Lee's possessions and shipping them to the US Patent Office for safekeeping. Selina is known among historians as "the savior of the Washington treasures."  Without her extraordinary bravery, those treasures--which represent a part of our common history--would have been lost. Selina Norris Gray deserves to be more widely known than she is. With so few actual historical documents to rely upon, I had to imagine much of Selina's story. I hope I have done her justice in the pages of this novel and that everyone who reads Mrs Lee and Mrs Gray will come away with a greater appreciation of both women, and of their friendship that
fostered a lasting American legacy.

BPM: What are you the most thankful for?

DL: I've been blessed with work I love, readers I cherish, with a loving family, and with good health. It's so easy to take it all for granted. I try every day to be mindful of how lucky I am.

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?

DL: Unless you have a spouse with a great job and a dental plan, do not give up your day job. It is very difficult to make a living writing books, but if that's your passion, then absolutely you must pursue it. I'd suggest taking lots of workshops, reading everything you can get your hands on, and most importantly, writing something every day. Your
first draft and maybe your second and third drafts too will be awful.  Embrace this awfulness as part of the creative process. Polish your work until you are deathly sick of it before you approach an editor or agent. Of course now anyone can bypass those gatekeepers and simply publish a book independently. But most of those that I've seen were prematurely published and would have benefited greatly from an editor and a proofreader. The most important thing must be passion. Passion for your subject, passion for the story, passion for the creative process.

BPM: How may our readers follow you online?

DL: My website is www.dorothylovebooks.com. I love chatting with readers on my Facebook author page or on Twitter.

Website:  www.DorothyLoveBooks.com 
Twitter:   www.twitter.com/writerDorothy 
Amazon Books:   www.amazon.com/Dorothy-Love 
Facebook::   www.facebook.com/DorothyLoveBooks 



Women's Fiction > Biographical > Historical Fiction 
http://www.amazon.com/Mrs-Lee-Gray-Novel/dp/0718042441

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Victoria A. Young

Winning an essay contest for Fannie Mae landed Victoria A. Young on Good Morning America, Spring 2000 under the maiden name: Victoria Martin. This brought to fruition that her writing can move people. She has written and produced three 2 hour plays and three short plays affording her the opportunity to refine her skills on Passion Whispers an Execution Book Series. She has also produced fashion shows, designed fashions, and choreographed dancing. Dancing ballet, jazz, African, and contemporary from the age of thirteen, blessed her to train God’s Mercy dancers to perform for Congressman Charlie Rangel. Her dancers were also given the opportunity to perform at all-paid-expense trips traveling out of New York State for church retreats. 

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write? 

I developed the love for the arts at the age of thirteen when I had a report due one Monday. I ran the streets with my friends disregarding report. Aware that my parents were going to scold me if I didn't have the report completed, I stood home one Sunday ignoring all calls. And read a book in one day: Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun. The report took me about three hours to complete. From that point, I fell in love with poetry and how words can tell a beautiful story. Later on, I won an essay award and appeared on Good Morning America. From there, I began writing inspirational plays, combining dancing, poetry and fashion shows with a following of two hundred to seven hundred people, who are today, waiting for the next play. I’ve written three, two hour plays and three short plays. 

BPM: Why do you write? 

Taking my characters through fire as they search for hope is a passion that boils my blood. I believe in writing oh my God and tainted stories, which close out with a bang, bringing a joyous spirit to the human experience with powerful messages. Life is about change. Without it, you’ll never grow. What drives me is the experiences I go through with my characters. I experience their emotions, heartbreaks, joy and full journey. It inspires me to make them stuggle through hell and make it to other side of heaven. Tears actually fall from my eyes when I end the story because I know the hell I brought them through was certainly fire. 

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? 

I began writing Passion Whispers an Execution as a screenplay with the name Unpredictable. As I ventured into editing, editors told me that I write like a novelist; and, to write Unpredictable as a novel, then have someone adapt it into a screenplay. Since I’m open and highly appreciate criticism, I took their advice. Scouting the options of Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing, I decided to Self-Publish unitl I’m acclimated with the publishing industry. 

BPM: What genre is this book? 

Psychological and Action Thriller combined with Romance. I will write all my books in this genre due to the nature of my writing, always ending on an inspirational message the way I did with my plays. 

BPM: Do you set out to educate, inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject? 

I aim to do it all. Subjects I write about are: forgivness, trust, injustice, faith, self-esteem, cheating women and men or any subject that highlights the human experience. I use various cultures, the tainted, the unorthodox, and characters traveling through darkness in order to entertain. My plays were a mixed cast of cultures. I tend to go with the realism of our world. Real life is that way. Nor do we live in a world where perfection exists in any given country, state or neighborhood. By the time my stories end, a powerful theme explodes, resonating with various cultures. 

BPM: Are any scenes from the books borrowed from your world or your experiences? 

Of course. Truth be told, working with New York City Police Department for 15 years inspired me to write about mental illness, which is the soul of Passion Whispers an Execution. I experienced Bipolar Depression and panic attacks after caring for my mom with breast cancer until God took her home. She didn’t want to die in the hospital or nursing home. My husband, son and siblings took turns caring for her at home. I went through three years of breast cancer symptoms with her. After death, I began having nightmares about her bones disentigrating, waking up screaming. Due to the jealousy and the close relationship I had with my uniform bosses, my civilian supervisor discriminated againt my mental illness. I filed a report with the Human Rights Divison. From there, I resigned to write novels and to open my own business. Also, I grew up watching heroin addicts and wanted to use that as I thought it would be interesting since it’s trending now. 

BPM: What hurdles did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner? 

I do own a business devoted to women in the line of beauty and inspiration. Trying to combine my many talents with my books became difficult. Another hurdle was I had a massive following when I wrote plays, but didn’t have the massive following with my books in the beginning, December 2014. I thought everyone liked to read. I soon found out, in many cultures, some didn’t know how to read, and others just are not readers. After a year of learning, I found out I had to find readers instead of people. 

BPM: What is the most important quality a writer should have? 

Transform into each one of your characters from the beginning of a story to the end. Get your book edited. Our brain is unable to edit due to one part being creative, we won’t catch errors. And do your research. I was never addicted to drugs. I had to do plenty of research on heroin in order to bring my lead female character addiction to fruition. Reviews have been written about her because of my research. Yashani is a favorite. 

BPM: How may our readers follow you online?
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VictoriaYoung58 
VC Website: www.victoriayoungpassion.com  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoria.martinyoung.3 
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/Book-Series-625256147595222/ 


Order Passion Whispers an Execution: Book 1 - Tease Me! 

Series: Passion Whispers An Execution
Mystery & Thrillers > Erotic Suspense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Tia Williams

Tia Williams is the ultimate style insider. For fifteen years, she was a magazine beauty editor (at Elle, Lucky, Glamour, Teen People, and Essence.com), and created one of the first style blogs, the award-winning Shake Your Beauty. She’s the best-selling author of The Accidental Diva and the It Chicks series, and co-writer of Iman’s The Beauty of Color. Currently a copy director at Estee Lauder Companies, Tia lives in Brooklyn with her 7-year-old diva daughter and their various accessories.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
TW: I’ve always been a writer. I can’t do math, I have zero business sense, and I’m a disaster in the kitchen. But writing always felt right to me. I wrote my first book at age 7! And two weeks after I graduated from college, I moved to New York to become a magazine beauty writer. I also knew I wanted to publish books, but at twenty-two, I felt like I hadn’t had rich enough experiences to inspire juicy fiction. But after five years in New York – falling in love with a couple of charismatic lunatics, having my heart broken, experiencing a career in fashion magazines, finding a colorful community of young black journalists and authors in Brooklyn – I felt like I had enough material for my first novel, The Accidental Diva!  Five books later, I’m still at it.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?

TW: Growing up, I loved Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz's books...their protagonists were always strong, glamorous women with creative jobs, passionate love stories, and exciting lives in cities like Manhattan or L.A. But I never found books like this with black characters, so I made it my mission to change that. 

As a kid, I wanted to be the black "version" of their main characters. With all my novels, whether they’re adult, like The Perfect Find and The Accidental Diva, or YA, like my It Chicks series – I try to create dynamic, fabulous characters so this generation of readers won't have to be the black "version " of anything! It’s so satisfying for me to introduce quirky, weird, witty, sexy, brainy, fully three-dimensional characters from all backgrounds – just being black and excellent, out in the world.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.

TW: The Perfect Find is a juicy, hilarious story about star-crossed love and starting over! Jenna Jones a 40-year-old fashion editor who, in one nightmare week, gets dumped by her fiancé of two decades, fired by Darling magazine, has a nervous breakdown – and then reinvents herself at an online fashion ‘zine, where she’s working for her evil rival from the ‘90s, Darcy Vale. But Jenna, who doesn’t have Facebook and has never “Twittered,” finds herself in over her head and surrounded by uber-cool millennials who think she’s a dinosaur. 

Worse? At her first party back in NYC, she gets tipsy and hooks up with a fine 22-year-old, Eric Combs, who ends up driving her nuts in all the right, but also wrong ways (especially since he has a secret identity that makes him the one person who could destroy her big comeback). Will she risk it all for love? Read it to find out!

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? Why?

TW: The Perfect Find is chick lit (my favorite genre). I’ve always been drawn to big, sexy love stories set in the world I know best – the beauty and fashion industry, in New York. There’s so much material in that world; so many delicious characters.

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?

TW: Absolutely. Jenna Jones is the alter ego I created when my own life imploded. I was laid off from my magazine, got divorced, lost everything, and had to start again. I lived vicariously through her fight to start-over, and such a late stage. Jenna was a type-A weirdo like me, a perfection addict, and when things fall apart she discovers what she’s truly made of – and comes out on the other side, more powerful than ever before. She inspired me to chase my own comeback!

BPM: How may our readers follow you online?

TW: Readers can check out my website, shakeyourbeauty.com, or follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @shakeyourbeauty, and Facebook at Tia Williams.

Follow Tia for chit-chat, beauty babble, and book updates:


Shake Your Beauty Blog

http://www.shakeyourbeauty.com  

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/shakeyourbeauty 
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/shakeurbeauty  
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TiaWilliamsWrites  



Purchase The Perfect Find by Tia Williams

Available on Kindle, Nook, and in Paperback
Chick Lit, Steamy Romance, Workplace Drama, Fashion Fiction
Check out a free chapter! See more at: http://www.shakeyourbeauty.com  


 

 


Intimate Conversation with Elle Wright

Born and raised in Southeast Michigan near Ann Arbor, Elle learned the importance of reading from her mother. It was also her mother who, later on in her life, gave Elle her first romance novel: Indigo by Beverly Jenkins. From that moment on, Elle became a fan of Ms. Jenkins for life and a lover of all things romance. An old journal she wrote back in college became her first book (which she still wants to publish one day).

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I would not be where I am today without God. Without Him, I’d be nothing. My mother used to sing a song when I was little that says “Without Him, my life would be drifting like a ship without a sail.”

I’m where I am as a writer because of hours spent daydreaming, hard work, and perseverance. I’ve always wanted to do more, be more. My mother inspired me to read. My children inspire me to create, to follow my dreams. How can I instill in them follow their dreams if I don’t lead by example?

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I think my body of literary work speaks to lovers of romance and drama! I love to write love stories and delve into how people find love, sustain it. There are so many authors that I consider role models; authors who are doing their thing in this genre and others. I’m always amazed and very grateful for the many authors who’ve given awesome advice, shared my book, and read my work.  It’s been a wonderful experience meeting authors I’ve read and getting a chance to pick their brains or just chat with them.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

Her Kind of Man is book 3 in my Edge of Scandal Series. When I started the series, I wanted to explore the dynamics of a close-knit group of friends. There is a theme in each of the books. This book delves into unrequited love. There is something about Allina and Kent that is pure magic. There’s an innocence to their relationship. I had a good time heating them up, but I especially loved the bonding scenes. They had an ease and genuine affection for each other that made me smile. I love it!

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Actually, the best part of writing this book was that was so challenging. I really had to push myself with this one. There are disturbing moments in the book, but mostly, it’s a journey to happiness. Allina and Kent had to climb out of that box they put themselves in; in their careers and in their relationship with each other.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
Usually, my book ideas come from weird questions posed by friends or family. The Forbidden Man came about when a friend asked the simple question, “What would happen if a woman was torn between two brothers?” From there, it became my goal to write a book where the reader would sympathize and even root for the forbidden relationship.

Character-driven. I want my characters to make sense, so I spend a lot of time with characterization. My cousin always tells me “if it doesn’t make sense, don’t do it.” For example, Allina was a runaway bride. She left her wedding, her parents, and her groom behind because she felt like she was in danger. She was dealing with so much in the present that was bringing up demons from her past. So, I had to slow the romance part down because it didn’t make sense for her character to rush it. Also, Kent was so noble, he would have never taken advantage of her.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
Engaged to a prominent preacher, Allina Parker is the envy of Cleveland. But instead of walking down the aisle, she’s running out the door. After her groom-to-be reveals his true nature, she flees to Michigan, back to Kent. Kent is the man she left behind, the one man she knew she’d always love. He is also one of her dearest friends. When she appears on his doorstep, Kent makes it his mission to protect her and finds out that there is more to her story than she’s telling him. The book is available on Nook, Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
Allina is incredibly intelligent and creative. She’s the friend that you know is going to support you through whatever while remaining calm and collected. Her dream of dreams is to design wedding gowns, but she’s left that behind to marry. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize that her Prince Charming was a sociopath. The best thing about Allina is that she surprises me. On the surface, she seems one way. But there’s so much more to her. I enjoyed figuring her out.

Kent is… loyal, dedicated, handsome, strong, protective, and funny. I absolutely loved him in all three books. He was my comic relief, but he’s also the type of friend everyone needs. He’s creative and extremely hardworking: the perfect book boyfriend.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book?  
Yes! I love to write African American romance. I love writing diverse characters. It’s my reality.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or journey?
Honestly, I think I was Allina. I was the good girl. I married my best friend. I’ve struggled with living up to people’s perception of me. Yep, she’s me and I am her. LOL

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
One thing I always learn when writing my books are new ways of thinking about things. Each character approaches decisions differently. Most of the time in ways I would never think of.

I’m laughing because I found out that yoga pants are apparently sexy to some men. So I put that in the book. I also had to learn about different sketchpad apps for a particular scene, which was neat.

I’m from Michigan (GO BLUE), and part of the book takes place in Cleveland, so I got a chance to talk to a few friends who are from the Buckeye state. I learned about a few festivals and restaurants there that I’d want to visit one day.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 

My goal was to write a different book. I didn’t want all the books in the series to be the same. Each couple was very different. They all had their own crosses to bear, things to overcome. I needed to do each character justice. I feel that I achieved that in this book. It’s nothing like the first two books of the series, in my opinion.

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

At the moment, I’m plotting two contemporary romance series. Both feature secondary characters introduced in the series. Also, I’m plotting a romantic suspense series and a Women’s Fiction.

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

Website: http://www.ellewright.com 
Twitter: @LWrightAuthor
Instagram: @lrwright09
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElleWrightAuthor



Purchase Her Kind of Man by Elle Wright

Series: Edge of Scandal (Book 3)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 


Check out the books in the Edge of Scandal Series


Edge of Scandal Book One – The Forbidden Man (released July 28, 2015)

Tag Line: She’s walking out on her no-good fiancé… and into the arms of his brother.

Edge of Scandal Book Two – His All Night (released November 24, 2015)

Tag Line: No expectations, no commitments, no one gets hurt…or so she thought.

Order all of the books in the Edge of Scandal Series

http://www.amazon.com/Elle-Wright/e/B00VMEWB78 


 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Nichol Bradford


Nichol Bradford, a proud Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sister, is fascinated by human potential, and has always been interested in how technology can help individuals expand beyond their perceived limits to develop and transform themselves to the highest level.

She spent the last decade exploring these ideas in the online game industry, serving as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations and marketing for major brands that include: Activision Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi. Most recently she managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China.

Now, as the CEO of the Willow Group, Nichol is applying those same skills to the realm of elevating psychological well-being. Willow is a transformative technology company focused on employing rigorous scientific research to develop training protocols, hardware and software that can produce a reliable and positive change in the human experience. She is also a member of the African-American MBA Association

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

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I wrote the book I wanted to read about strong yet vulnerable and intelligent black women committed to a great and grand goal — mental freedom and empowerment for all. I was tired of not seeing heroes that looked like me. I wanted to see someone like me save the world, not as a side-kick or agency head, but as the actual, certifiable central hero. I wanted to read about Olivia Pope back then, but since she didn’t exist yet, I wrote my own. I also wanted really well-developed characters who had something on their minds other than men. So some of the characters are happily married, and some are single, but most of all their focus is not just on their men (or lack thereof) but on their friendship and common goals. I also love technology and so wanted the women to be deeply immersed in that world.

I am deeply motivated by the memory of my mother, Vivian Jones Bradford. My mother is the model for the visionary leader of the Sisterhood, Vivian Delacroix. My mother was an entrepreneur. She was completely committed to helping women and supporting the efforts of black women in particular. She believed most in defending the defenseless and used her legal education to do so. I started volunteering by her side when I was a child and she made sure that my values included service to the betterment of society. 

Like the CEO on the book, my mother died suddenly and unexpectedly (months after I graduated from college). She was a young fifty, healthy, and we were very much alike. My last conversation with her was the morning of her death, and I’m so grateful for that. I was devastated. It took at least a year for me to reorient myself. The shock of losing her shaped the way I approach life. It instilled a sense that there’s plenty of time, but no time to waste. I believe in being passionate about the work that you do and who you do it with, because none of us knows how much time we have. I believe in being mission driven. I have the loss of my mother to thank for what I feel is a highly effective approach to a full life.

I’m deeply motivated by the idea of empowering people to free their minds in order to create choice and options in their lives. That thread runs through most of what I’ve done — from writing the Sisterhood, to working at a senior level in the video game industry, to launching an online meditation course, to pioneering the transformative technology sector. 

Transformative Technology is about making the technology in our lives support our well-being and not just our productivity. The last decade found me exploring the idea of transformative technology in the video game industry, where I served as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations, and marketing for games internationally for major brands that include: Activision/Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi. 

Most recently I managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China. During this time, I also began to meditate and saw interesting parallels between it and gaming. Both enable delight, flow, and access to dynamic states of consciousness. Meditation, though, goes even further and can profoundly and positively impact well-being. It seemed logical to me that technologies that directly impact human experience could do so as well, but no one seemed to be seriously working on it. So, I left Blizzard to pioneer Transformative Technology.


BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
My books are for women who want to make a difference with their lives — women who care about their communities, families, and lives and want to make positive change. Black women have a beautiful heroic nature, and I wanted to show that you don’t have to be wearing head-to-toe spanx to be heroic. The “Superwoman” meme sells us short. It makes us think that there’s something wrong with our heroism. We believe that our heroic nature will ensure that we are single and have nine cats so we reject our nature in order to not be alone. 

Or we believe that we can’t be heroes and also be vulnerable so we build walls around our hearts while we work ourselves to death. Real heroism is the flexibility to be strong AND vulnerable AND all of those things - while keeping focused on our wider mission. As far as role models go, I think that anyone who is positive and lives with integrity can be a role model — so if an author is doing that, then yes — she or he is a role model.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
The Sisterhood started on a late night drive home from a success workshop I gave during college. That night, I had this group of beautiful young black women stand in a circle and tell each other, one at a time and by name, that they were smart, beautiful, and could have anything that they wanted and worked for. It was a hard session, each and every young women cried when the group told her that she could actually have what she wanted. And I realized that we don’t know this...not really (even I didn’t always believe this and still have my moments where I don’t).

As I drove home, I felt really inadequate. I know that workshops can help, but they don’t last long enough to really shift someone...or help someone shift themselves. I started thinking about how I could show what it would look like, to be women who believed they could have what they wanted and worked individually and together to make that a reality. So I decided to write the Sisterhood. I conceived of an organization of women, who faced a series of challenges. Addressing those challenges would allow me to show versus tell how an individual can be successful. I went home and jotted the basic plot down which today is more or less the same. 

However, it was another eight years before I actually started writing. The events that prompted me to write the book in the Fall of 2000, to actually sit down and type the first word was a break-up that triggered a recommitment to myself. I was in business school and had been dating a sweet man, who though wonderful in many way, was not the right person for me. I also had been interviewing for jobs that truthfully, I was only interested in for the security and the salary. Essentially, I was headed towards a life that was not aligned with my inner North Star. Luckily, the man did something break-up worthy (and so we did) and none of the jobs came through (thank goodness). 

I’m a Virgo baby, so every September I do an assessment on my life — where am I mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and professionally. During this period, I also try to clean things up — I ask forgiveness, forgive, clean out my closets, and think about what my goals are for the following year. As a part of this, I had been thinking about my goals, and realized that I had put “write the Sisterhood” on my list for eight years — and I just refused to start another year without having taken an action. Taking that action, after all the difficult things that had happened that year, was a proxy for a commitment to myself, to my intuition, to the life that I truly wanted to lead. It took another eight years to write the entire book, and then two more to publish it.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
All of the Sisterhood characters are smart and strong...yet flawed like all real human beings. They aren’t perfect — but by working together they complement one another and accomplish great things. Tonia Rawlings is the main character that you follow and I just love and admire her. She’s the head of security for the Sisterhood and carries the weight of her best friend’s death on her shoulders because Vivian, the CEO of the Sisterhood, is assassinated on the first page. 

Vivian’s death triggers a chain of events where Tonia is tested more than ever — which is saying allot given a life story that includes an abusive husband, a drug conviction, and the death of a child. In order to navigate the danger, she has to change herself. Watching her wrench a new version of herself from the old is a powerful illustration of how to do the same thing.

The nine leaders in the book are based on ALL the women I know - from the amazing women I grew up around, to those I pledged AKA with in 1990, to the women I met at in the African-American MBA Association at business school, to all the women I’ve met along the way . One of the things I love about this book is that it represents the full diaspora - every size, shape, and hue of black women.  The women come from all backgrounds, educations, and geographies but they share a common bond through their desire to positively impact their world. They are all women who have integrity with themselves and with their Sisterhood, showing what that looks like and the real possibilities it can create in our lives.

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Sage

Sage was born and raised in Huntingtown, MD. She has been married to her best friend, for over ten years and they have two amazing sons. She is also an Autism advocate and a parent of an autistic child, which inspired her to write a non-fiction book on raising a child on the Autism spectrum, The Optimistic Autistic: Our Testimony.

Sage also writes mysteries centered on characters that are close to the heart. She has vowed to produce books that encourage the reader to deliberately read; not just for entertainment but to read with the intention of solving the mystery along with the Detective.

Her belief that, “if you don’t see the books you’re searching for write them” has inspired her to write with a purpose and a passion. 

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? 
Reading and writing are life-long passions of mine. I have been indulging in my passion of writing since I was 13. I want to share my passion of writing psychological thrillers with the world.  My mother was the first person to place a book in my hands. My father taught me how to work hard at the things that I wanted in life. I worked at achieving my Master’s Degree in Computer Science in 2009. I am now funneling that same determination and tenacity in marketing my book series.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you? 
I love to read different types of books, but I have a preference for mystery and thrillers. I enjoy a heart pumping adrenaline rush type of book. It was my love of mysteries and thrillers that stoked my interests in writing. The underrepresentation of African American characters in the books I read resonated within me. I am inspired to fill the void with my murder mystery series. 

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner? 
It’s difficult to get noticed in this industry as a mystery author. It seems like the publishers want to pigeon hole authors into one genre. It is my goal to abolish the myth that we only write urban themed books. My goal is to show through my books that black authors write thought provoking, suspense-driven novels as well.

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion? 
Passion is the most important quality a writer can possess. Passion invokes determination, which in turn creates a hunger so intense that the writer can’t sleep, eat or function without transferring their story from their mind to paper. That is what I consider pure magic. If passion doesn’t drive you then you can’t make magic happen.

BPM: Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on many levels. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it? 
I started writing when I was a teenager. The turning point in my life was when my oldest sister suddenly died of a heart attack, then less than four years later my other sister was diagnosed with heart failure. I became determined to see all of my dreams come true. No matter what, I want to see my book in the hands of every reader. I’m driven by the spirit of my sister and the support of my family; with determination such as that I will be successful. 

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? Why? 
The Black Bird Detective Series is a mystery book and a psychological thriller, combined. I love to write mystery books because they keep the heart pumping with the turn of each page.  

I also wrote a non-fiction book on Autism. Autism has touched our family in such a tremendous way. Both my 10-year-old son and 10-year-old nephew are Autistic.  Through the years we have experienced many different emotions while raising Jordan. As I write to you today, the strongest emotion that I feel is pride. I am proud of our children for their ability to be independent of the label that society has placed on them.  Many times parents hear the word Autism and have no idea what it really means. The moment we received Jordan’s diagnosis our lives changed. Initially, we thought the world was closing in around us. Then, we found our strength. We realized that through telling our stories we gain strength. So we wrote, The Optimistic Autistic – Our Testimony, which is also available on Amazon.com.

BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject? 
I set out to entertain my readers. I want readers to be entertained and while they’re being entertained, they’re learning something. I conduct a great amount of research for the developing of each book to ensure that readers learn something they never knew. I love to inspire readers to continue reading. 

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book? 
Believe in what you are writing. As long as you believe in your writing and the purpose for what you do, there is nothing that can stop you. You must take the first step though. If you want to write a book, start writing. Don’t put it off any longer. If you need assistance with writing or publishing your book please contact me at rcscomputerpros@gmail.com.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book? 
Once readers have put down Assumptions Abound, make your next purchase of Seeking TruthSweet Revenge and The Butterfly: A Novel. I tell you to purchase them both, because you will not want to wait for the book to ship to find out what happens next.  The book series is so enthralling that you will not want to miss a beat.

BPM: What are your career goals as a writer? Have you accomplished most of them?
My career goals as a writer are to assist others with living out their dreams of writing a book. I have written and published over 10 books and I don’t plan on stopping. I want to show others that there is a way to get their thoughts, words or message out there and I am willing to help them.

I have accomplished many of the goals that I have set regarding my writing, but there is so much more work left to be done. I plan to turn my mystery trilogy series into a mini-series. I would love to see Raven on the big screen. 

Website:  www.blackbirddetectiveseries.com
Instagram: sageauthorsitall;   Facebook: Sage

Check out Books by Sage
The Optimistic Autistic: Our Testimony by Sage (Non-fiction)

http://www.amazon.com/Optimistic-Autistic-Our-Testimony/dp/1480108782 

Assumptions Abound Available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Assumptions-Abound-Black-Bird-Detective-ebook/dp/B00642W77M 

Seeking Truth Available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Seeking-Truth-Black-Detective-Mystery-ebook/dp/B008D2ZARA 

Sweet Revenge Available on Aamazon: 

http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Revenge-Sage-ebook/dp/B012P17C1Q 

The Butterfly: A Novel Available on Aamazon: 
http://www.amazon.com/Sage/e/B01CC290ZE 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Patricia A. Saunders

Self-published author, Patricia A. Saunders was born and raised in Connecticut before relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area nearly 20 years ago. She received her Master’s in Management from the University of Phoenix in 2011. After the passing of her mother who had Alzheimer’s, Patricia decided that all the words that she kept to herself were to be released.

She released her first self-published book Through the Fire (March 2012) which covered situations, circumstances, and life lessons that have influenced her over her lifetime. Last year, the book was featured on a Coast to Coast Book Tour at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Tucson Book Festival, Miami International Festival of Books and AARP Life@50+ Spring Convention. 

Her work has been featured on In the Company of Poet, Women Owned Business Club Magazine, and Alysha Live! Radio Show and Coach Deb Bailey Secret of Success Talk Radio. She performs locally at spoken word events and Capital Jazz SuperCruise Open Mic with Grammy Award Winner Eric Roberson. She is a monthly guest blogger contributor to Author House Author’s Digest Blog. As well as writing her own blog Blessed & Curvy. 

On a mission to complete a book a year she released her second book Loving Me (2013) and third Let It Rain (2014) which is also self-published and covers various topics from love, grief, self image, self esteem, bullying, and discovery of self love. Her latest book (2016) This Too Shall Pass was released by AuthorHouse Publishing.

She works as a supervisor for a corporate financial organization. In her spare time, Patricia enjoys writing poetry, traveling, spending time with family and wine tasting. Her books are available at your local book retailers, at www.patriciaasaunders.com, www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com 

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? By the faith of God because there has been challenges. Who or what motivated you? 
My parents motivated me by understanding that no one can take from you what you don’t give them. When I was going through all of my storms in life I was reminded of my faith. 

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? 
It speaks to those who have loved and been wrong, it speaks to those grieving and those who have thought about giving up. 

BPM: Do you consider authors as role models? 
No, I think an author is someone who sheds light on various topics and people can take from it to make decisions. 

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 
I always wrote poetry as a kid but as an adult when my Mother first was diagnosed with dementia it made me think what if I get the disease what about my words.  Why now? Once she passed and had Alzheimer’s my pledge was to write until the pen stopped.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 
Re-living memories of my past that were filled with laughs, good times, and sharing with focus groups.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? 
My books are birthed out of experiences, media, and anything that strikes me. This Too Shall Pass is poetry and some of the pieces are autobiographical. Why? It was easier to release my feelings. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
I went through a deep depression in 2007 and three women sent me words of encouragement to hang on. I saved those notes and it inspired me to write “This Too Shall Pass” because I came through those storms. This book is now available on Nook and Kindle.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
When reading the book you can’t put it down because the emotion it takes you through. There is poetry about being in a toxic relationship, growing older, death, and faith. You want to turn the page and either relate to the situation or gather some encouragement yourself to make it through. 

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book?
My mother was an ordained minister so I can’t help but write about faith yet there is struggles that I faced that I questioned God. 

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey? 
My book of poetry talks about adultery, Christianity, suicide, and more. A person young or old would be able to relate. 

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
I learned that I made it through those storms that I thought would kill me. I learned that when I sat down to write the book so many words flowed that I didn’t expect. 

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book? 
I love my Saturday Morning Hair Salon Divas. We talk about everything and they helped me work through the pieces when telling about experiences. 

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 
I wanted to write a book that another person could pick up and though it was poetry making it simple so that they got the intent, complex to keep other’s attention, and not too preachy so that everyone would get the message.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present? 
I am preparing to start working on the 5th book of poetry. 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 
Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/blessedpoetpat 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPoetPatricia 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6034696.Patricia_A_Saunders 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Skywalker Payne

After Third World Press published her first book of poetry in the seventies, Skywalker Payne went on to write feature articles, fiction, scripts, and blogs. She was a choreographer and performing artist for twenty years and earned a summa cum laude BA in communications/storytelling. Later, experiencing a midlife crisis, she became a registered nurse. She currently lives in Homer, Alaska with her husband, Brian Payne, creator of Zinc Comics. 

Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and registered nurse, Payne unites spiritual and health benefits of mindfulness and gratitude. With an engaging conversational style, she places a revealing spotlight on the limitations of the current US medical system and offers wellness-promoting alternatives. Using personal stories, poetry, and spiritual insight she shares knowledge gained from her life-long mindfulness and gratitude practice. Payne shows how these simple practices can benefit and enrich your life.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you? 
Writing has been my companion, my confessor, my creative impulse, and my communication with the world since I was a child. Being raised in an Air Force family, I grew up never spending more than two years in any school, including college. This gypsy life meant that I was never able to build up those true, long lasting friendships and relationships that happen when you grow up in one community. But I always had my writing. When I was in fifth grade I read the Diary of Anne Frank and began my life-long obsession with journaling. That year I also wrote my first short story and my fifth grade teacher also told me I would be a writer.

I also loved dance and performance. In my twenties after initial publications, but no continued support of my writing or writing employment, I turned to sharing my writings in original productions with dance. Dance provided physical release and expressiveness that was exhilarating and provided immediate contact and response with others.

Writing can be a lonely process. But, even as I often battled with myself, “Do I want to live an exciting life” or write about one, writing always called out to me. I knew whatever would remain of me, my legacy, is what I write.

BPM: Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on many levels. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
Paradoxically, it wasn’t until after I began working full time as a labor and delivery nurse that I found my grounding as a writer. Part of my difficulty in establishing my career was my innate gypsy lifestyle and my inability to handle rejection. Working 36-hour night shifts provided me a disciplined lifestyle, secure financial stability, and multiple days off to write.

When I began blogging in 2012, I received comments from readers that let me know, immediately, that what I wrote was of value and literary merit. Blogging not only provided me an outlet, it gave me the practice and discipline to produce. As I continued to write, while nursing, I began to see I was a writer, and nursing was just a job. I recognized my value and owned I am a writer above all other occupations or employment.

BPM: What genre is this book? Will you write all of your books in this category? Why?
I classify All That Is, Dance of Mindfulness & Gratitude – A Quest for Wholeness as creative non-fiction because the book is about my life written in a creative fashion to be entertaining as well as educational. And this is my preferred method of writing. Having thousands of pages of journals, I can either fictionalize my life, or make conscious choices of what I want to share to provide illumination into a specific area of life or experience.

Even though I read fiction in my youth and young adult years, I’ve grown to prefer creative non-fiction, non-fiction, and books on spirituality. So, I’m writing in a genre I like to read. However, I do like to write short fiction and like sharing folklore, historical, and original stories verbally.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing All That Is, Dance of Mindfulness & Gratitude – A Quest for Wholeness?
My goal in publishing was to introduce mindfulness to a wider and more diverse audience. As I explain in the book’s introduction, the practice of mindfulness can lead to the creation of a more compassionate world. And at this time, we need more and more people practicing mindfulness to increase compassion to overcome this worldwide onslaught of hatred, bigotry, racism, and violence fed by ignorance and greed.

Unlike many other books on mindfulness, mine tells a story, my story, and I feel my story can serve as an example to anyone that you too can practice mindfulness. You can work a 40-hour week job and have family commitments, you can like to watch TV, or drink wine and still practice mindfulness. You can get angry or be impatient but with the practice of mindfulness you’ll be better able to handle those emotions and in time see them pass quickly. And most importantly, you can increase your compassion and recognize everyone is like you seeking happiness, fulfillment, and meaning to life.

BPM: Why do you say now is the only time to begin practicing mindfulness?
Because all we have is now, this now moment. Mindfulness practice empowers us to live in the now moment, to become aware of exactly what is happening now. In the next second that now moment will change.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
After reading All That Is, Dance of Mindfulness & Gratitude – A Quest for Wholeness, a reader should begin to practice mindfulness with the goal of becoming a more aware and compassionate person. The book includes a chapter on a simple method to begin a mindfulness practice. And for those who haven’t yet purchased my book, they can receive a free PDF copy by enrolling in my new on-line course Renew Yourself.

BPM: What are your career goals as a writer? Have you accomplished them?
When I was in my twenties, living in Washington, DC, more than one astrologer told me I would inherit money from a relative and become famous in my old age. The first part of that prediction has occurred. So, my career goal as a writer is to make the second part of the prediction come true. I want Skywalker Payne, Wordsmith & Storyteller to become as well known as Oprah Winfrey. And no, I have not accomplished that goal yet, but I see it manifesting as clearly as I see the view outside of my window of snow-capped mountains and a crystal blue bay. Five years ago I had no idea that I would be fortunate enough to live in a place with such beauty able to look on it every day from my home. So, I’m grateful for being able to live in Alaska and having the time to write and live at a slower, more mindful pace. 

BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what’s next? 
In addition to my on-line course Renew Yourself, this year I am telling three 3-minute stories weekly on my Youtube Channel, Skywalker Payne Storyteller, Home of the 3 Minute Story. I include Black history, world folklore, and my own original and improvisational stories.

My next book, “Breathing Through the Eye of A Needle, Stories of Living in the Moment from Birth to Death, continues the theme of mindfulness with stories that show how important it is to be aware of each moment we are living.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 
My website address is: https://skywalkerpayne.com  where my book can be purchased. The paperback and Kindle ebook are also available on Amazon  and other online retailers. Thank you for this opportunity to talk with you and I look forward to seeing your readers reviews on Amazon.

You and readers can enroll in Renew Yourself – my new online course and receive a free PDF copy of my book with first month’s enrollment - http://renewyourself.teachable.com 

Please Like my Facebook page Skywalker Storyteller:
https://www.facebook.com/SkywalkerStoryteller/ 

Follow me on Twitter @Skywalkerstory: 
https://twitter.com/Skywalkerstory 

Connect on LinkedIn: 
https://www.linkedin.com/in/skywalkerpayne 

Subscribe to my Youtube Channel: 
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiEo2sq3GdPDWoHBcPwEwWQ 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Sierra J.D. 



Listen to the Virtual Launch Party on BAN Radio Show
http://tobtr.com/s/8159663 

Author Sierra J.D. is a wife and mother, living in her home state of Louisiana. Sierra found her love of writing at twelve years old when she was first introduced to poetry in Junior High School. She enjoyed crafting stories into poems and a few years later wrote her first novel. Writing allowed Sierra to escape depression during her adolescence and she has since created a goal to make a career out of her passion of writing. With her collegiate degrees giving her the skills and foundation needed to be a successful business woman, Author Sierra J.D. has decided to enter the literary world as an author and Independent Publisher. With the assistance of her husband, Dion, the couple founded Destined Eloquence Publishing. The Mission of Destined Eloquence Publishing is to publish works that will bring awareness and help to various issues of our day and time as well as inspire, uplift, and motivate.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you? 
Having perseverance and strong determination allowed me to get to where I am today. I have always known that I couldn’t sit around and wait for someone to pave the way for me. I have to make moves for myself. I do not want to be the next anyone, I want to be the FIRST Sierra Demouchet.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models? 
My debut series Family Matters speaks to families of every background. From single parent households to families of prestigious college graduates. The stories within the Family Matters series are meant to inform and get the readers to address their own problems and situations in their families. Oftentimes, church is looked at as a perfect place. In the series, I expose the lives of some of the people of the church to show that although a person is a Christian or headed into that direction, they are not exempt from dealing with life. I admire several authors. However, I love the work of Tyler Perry, Toni Morrison, Nikita Lynette Nichols, and Joan Vassar. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work, Praying My Way Out of the Struggle? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle? 
The entire series will be a page turner! The series will be available as a paperback, large print text, and e-book. It will be available on Kindle. At the end of the series, it will be available as an audiobook.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now? 
I initially wrote Praying My Way Out of the Struggle eight years ago as an unpublished Street Lit novel entitled Tryna Make it Outta the Struggle. I was in a dark phase in my life. The counseling sessions that I were enrolled in were barely working for me, but my counselor did get me to realize that writing was my happy place. I’ve always liked to write stories as poems so I decided to write my pain and depression away. Writing this story saved my life. After completing the story, I found myself stuck with writer’s block for five years. With maturity and growth, I began to dig deeper into Christ and one day it hit me! I asked God, “Am I supposed to be writing about you?” And it was as if he pat me on the head and said, “Duh!” After I received confirmation about my purpose in life, several stories and situations came flowing into my head. I revised Tryna Make it Outta the Struggle, turned it into Praying MyWay Out of the Struggle, and connected all of the stories together to create this series.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing Praying My Way Out of the Struggle? 
I enjoyed channeling my spiritual life through my main character, Trina. It delivered me. I became closer to God than I was before and I’ve gained clarity of just how loved I am by him. The Holy Spirit revised this story for me. I have probably read it a thousand plus times and I still cry and laugh at the things that goes on in the story. The story always moves me to the point that I have to remind myself that I am the person who actually wrote this story.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? 
My ideas are divine creations. God gives me bits and pieces of stories and I mix them in with my own experiences and imaginations. My books are a mixture of plot and character-driven. Praying My Way Out of the Struggle is character driven because I wanted to show all aspects of this character through many different situations that she is forced to be a part of while in the midst of finding herself and God. The rest of the series is heavily plot driven because I want to dissect the different family relationships.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 
There are six speakers in the story. Trina is the main character and the storyline is based off of her life. She is a typical Louisianian: quick to say how she feel, whenever she feel like saying it. She doesn’t take any mess or disrespect. But now she is faced with the biggest dilemma of all: Christ. Being a Christian is new to her. She’s went 18 years with being of the world so it’s …different. Her boyfriend’s name is Josh. Josh is an all-star athlete and is one of the most popular guys around the town. Mix that with being the son of a doctor and one of the hottest drug dealers in the city and he thinks that he is untouchable. 

And then there is one of Trina’s sisters, Kayla. Trina and Kayla are almost always at odds with each other because while Trina is trying her best to keep the family going in a good direction, Kayla is a typical ignorant 16-year-old, only caring about herself. Instead of helping their mama get clean off of drugs, Kayla has sex with just about anyone to support her mama’s drug habit.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book?
The under-represented groups and ideas in my novel is young adult Christians, individuals who struggle with their identity, suicide, and the life that children with divorced parents are left to deal with. There isn’t much that I can say without telling more of the storyline, but what I will say is this. I’ve read dozens and dozens of Christian books and I have yet to read a novel that addresses a person who is in the age group of 18-24 as a Christian. In my book, I address the coming to Christ in that age group. Of course, 18-24 is not the only age group that I deal with in the series, but in the first book, my character, Trina, is within that age group.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or journey? 
As I have said, I channeled my spiritual life through Trina. I am a bit more advanced in my Christian journey, but as a baby Christian we are in the same boat with the constant spiritual warfare. Thankfully, I have not had to go through all of the things that she has had to go through, but I have experienced and witnessed several of the things that she went through. In the book, Trina is in her last year of high school and dealing with the most! In real life, I am in my last month of school before receiving my undergraduate degrees and this rode has not been easy one bit. Something has happened every semester that I felt was meant to get me unfocused, but thank God, I kept it moving. 

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book? 
I have learned to keep my faith in check AT ALL times and to always expect favor. I attended several Women Empowerment sessions as I wrote this book which played a part in how I felt in the moments of revising and editing the story. The funniest thing of all is that I changed the church’s name to Kingdom Bound from New Life because I became a member of a church named New Life Church International and as it is in the story, the 1st Lady of the Church truly is a counselor. God is funny!

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 
My goal is to give my readers hope and encourage them to fix “it” at all cost. God does not want anyone to suffer, be in lack, or to struggle. If we all live another day, it is another chance to get it right.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present? 
I am currently in the middle of completing the Family Matters series. I am excited to introduce the rest of the members of Kingdom Bound Church.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? 
Readers can visit my website to read more on the series at: DestinedEloquence.com
Instagram:   MRS_SIERRAJD
Facebook:  Sierra Jones-Demouchet (MrsDemouchet)
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/sierra.jones.3538  


 

 


Intimate Conversation with Pat C.

Pat C. was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Pat C. is a mother, grandmother, poet, trainer, a certified life coach and now author. Pat C. possesses a natural gift for coaching and encourages all to live and love to the fullest.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?

My first inkling that I was a poet came when I was separated from my second husband. I began to write as if journaling. It kept going in a sporadic sort way and then I came to realize that I possessed talent in poetry writing. I was inspired by my hurt of a broken marriage, as well as good memories of the marriage. My writings continued over the next 14 years before I published my book and are continuing.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
I love writing because my writings surprise me. They come out of no where, are spiritual inspirations, epiphanies, and emotional, concerning things happening to me or around me. My writings fulfill my need for self-expression. Life experiences with love drive me to write. When I least expect it, I find myself with pen to paper, writing about a situation. I write as long as the words come. I don't change them nor do I rearrange them. I don't use a particular style or form, I just let it flow I know that when the inspiration comes, the words must be written at that moment, because that moment of inspiration cannot be recaptured. I don't work on a poem, I simply write, once and done. I write because I want to be heard and understood concerning my views of love, as I feel that love is the most beautiful thing in life. I am a communicator and writing poetry further enhances that.

BPM: Our life experiences, challenges, and success help define who we are on many levels. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
My life struggles with life and love certainly have been a challenge and continues to be. After realizing that people seem to gravitate to me for advise, which is why I am now a certified life coach as well, I wanted to own my challenges by writing a book to encourage people to love and not be afraid to love. And also to let the world know that romantic love is somewhat the same at any age, as it encompasses joy and pain. Real worth was felt after writing each poem and is confirmed when readers, say to me that my words are words they want to express and can now do it!

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters?
My poetry career began as an alternative to keeping a personal diary of the account of my daily emotions. My talent as a poet surprised me at first. I always loved writing and considered myself to be good at it. As time went by, I came to accept that I was a a writer of love & romance.

The contents of my book were inspired by by personal journey. Thus the tile was born: Life & Love: The Journey In Verse. The writings expel the joy and pain of love and shares them with the reader, helping him to relate and evaluate their journey. As the reader takes in the words he may begin to understand things like butterflies do count! You can't have love without them! My words go on to tell of the pain in love and that you can survive and start over again.

Here is a review that sums it up perfectly:

“Life and Love - The Journey in Verse speaks from the heart of the author as she revisits, observes and fantasizes the beauty of love. It immediately becomes apparent that the reader will be personally escorted by verse to observe and to understand the language that only love speaks. The couplets and the tone capture the beauty of the soul, the mindset and compatible lives being joined together in unity by the power of love. The mood has been meticulously established for reading. I was captivated.” - Dr. Claudia Wells Hamilton, Secondary School Principal

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this commitment? Why?

The genre of my book is poetry. I plan to write a cookbook, as cooking is another a passion of mine. Poetry invokes and summons emotion. Read my book and allow your senses to yield to all that love has to offer life. 

BPM: Did you set out to inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject?
Yes, love on all counts. I feel that love is the most important thing in life. "And the greatest of these is love." I Corinthians 13:13b)  I want to tell to world to NEVER give up on life and love! You must allow yourself to become more transparent, allowing all the beauty that love has to offer into your life!

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or personal experiences?

Yes, this book is about many of my personal experiences. You must stand up for love and most of all communicate with your partner all of your feelings. Your best speech may be when you are in pain. Love involves fluffy and real. Experience it all to the good of your life! My book lives it for you and helps to understand and accept who you are!

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?

I want readers to love more passionately and gain or regain a zest for life and never be afraid to give love away! Don’t be afraid to tear down the curtain, allow yourself to be seen and to be vulnerable. Let love in! Pursue love and allow yourself to be loved!

BPM: What are some of the benefits of being an author that makes it all worthwhile?

The pleasure of readers expressing that my book helped them through a difficult time and that my words help them to express themselves.

BPM: What are you most thankful for now?
My joy and pain in love helped me to see myself in a better light and to know who I really am. Being happy is essential and it enables you to contribute to the happiness of others.

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Do you have something to say that people want to read about? If you have a thought or an idea in your head, begin to create a manuscript. Keep a journal near at all times. Research publishers and read their offerings and compare their offerings to your goals. Gather up those small efforts and collectively, they may just equal a bestseller!”

BPM: A legacy is something that is handed down from one time period to another. Finish this sentence; “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors.”:
“My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors: To live your life without fear, step out on faith if you truly believe in yourself and what you are writing about. Just close your eyes and jump, I did! For me, when an idea pops into my head, I put pen to paper and it just begins to flow out of me! 

BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what's next? 

Watch for my new book, "Gems of Life & Love," to be released later this year. A cookbook, “Queen’s Soul-Full Gourmet”, is also in the works.

BPM: Please share your social media links with the readers.
Pat C. can be found on social media at:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/copperlovely 
Her website: http://www.thomaspatricia360.wix.com/patc 
Facebook: Pat C, Author - www.facebook/PatCauthor 


Life & Love: The Journey In Verse by Pat C. 

“Life and Love - The Journey in Verse speaks from the heart of the author as she revisits, observes and fantasizes the beauty of love. It immediately becomes apparent that the reader will be personally escorted by verse to observe and to understand the language that only love speaks. The couplets and the tone capture the beauty of the soul, the mindset and compatible lives being joined together in unity by the power of love. The mood has been meticulously established for reading. I was captivated.” - Dr. Claudia Wells Hamilton Secondary School Principal


Purchase Life & Love: The Journey In Verse 
 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Lynn Emery

Mix knowledge of voodoo, Louisiana politics and forensic social work, and you get a snapshot of author Lynn Emery. Lynn’s recent titles include murder mysteries set in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana featuring a Creole psychic and a Cajun deputy. The titles in this series are: A Darker Shade of Midnight (#1), Between Dusk and Dawn (#2), and Only By Moonlight (#3). Into The Mist (#4) continues the harrowing case files of LaShaun Rousselle and Deputy Chase Broussard. Into the Mist will be released in fall 2016.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? 

I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd when I was ten years old. I already loved reading, but that book with its twist at the end did it. I closed the book and decided I wanted to write mysteries. I didn’t even know who Agatha Christie was, or that she was a white Englishwoman who was already dead by then. I didn’t think about being a poor little black girl living in the south who couldn’t even get to a library. I didn’t consult anybody, which meant no one told me my aspiration was outlandish and impossible. I simply said, “I’m going to write a murder mystery. Life happened. High school, college and my entrance to the adult world of working nine to five. Yet twenty years later I went back to my dream and started writing again.

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish? 

I attended a writer’s conference within driving distance of my hometown. I took a fellow author’s advice to attend writing events where editors and agents would be presenters and taking appointments. The advice I didn’t take was to schedule an appointment with them, a mistake that almost cost me dearly. You see Monica Harris, the founding editor of Arabesque, was there. But I lacked confidence because I hadn’t finished my first book. I was told more than once not to expect to sell that first book. I also was told editors don’t consider, much less buy, unfinished books, certainly not from first time authors. 

Another published author who belonged to my RWA chapter was horrified when I told her I hadn’t scheduled to meet with Monica. I was literally the only writer of color at this conference, and Monica was hungry for submissions. A young editor, Monica had been only recently hired by Kensington Publishers and her big assignment was to launch the first, and at that time only, line of African-American romances. My work-in-progress was romantic suspense. 

This published author pushed me, not so gently, into approaching Monica during a break between her presentations. I went to my hotel room and quickly practiced a three to five minute pitch. I sweated during her workshop, and then screwed up the guts to follow Monica and introduce myself. In the hotel lobby I breathlessly pitched my book in the five minutes she graciously allowed me. About five or six weeks later, Monica called to offer me a contract. I sold my first book, and even though Monica knew it was unfinished. Night Magic was released in 1995.

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?

I would have to say courage, with a capital “C”. If I hadn’t pushed up my own courage, I wouldn’t have met Monica at all at that small conference. So writers should have courage, which will lead you to another capital “C” word, confidence. Courage will give you the confidence you may lack in your developing skill as a story teller and promoter of your own work. Courage will help writers overcome the tendency to stay in their isolated, insulated little worlds. When you step out of your comfort zone, you’re willing to network with and talk to other writers and publishing professionals.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.

Into The Mist is the fourth title in the LaShaun Rousselle mystery series set in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana. LaShaun teams up with Cajun Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Chase Broussard to solve grisly killings in this lovely bayou setting. Using her psychic abilities and Chase’s crime fighting skills, they fight human and supernatural killers.

LaShaun Rousselle led a bad girl life in her teens and twenties, using the spells Monmon Odette, her beloved grandmother, taught her for all the wrong reasons. The results led to such a horrible string of events, that she left Beau Chene, Louisiana. LaShaun moved to Los Angeles with the thought that she would never return to Louisiana, much less Beau Chene. The series opens with her arriving back because of Monmon Odette, and over the course of the first three books she builds a life that she didn’t expect to have at all, including or especially in Beau Chene.

Into The Mist opens with LaShaun being drawn into yet another of Chase’s cases, a kidnapping. As the story unfolds, the evil that that seems to have put a child’s life in danger creeps ever closer to those LaShaun loves the most. Everything LaShaun holds most dear is on the line, and she has to find answers to protect her family and the world.

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?

As a clinical social worker, I’ve been involved in child welfare cases, attended school conferences to advocate for children, and conducted abuse investigations. I also worked as a juvenile court consultant and in a psychiatric hospital. Although I do research even with my experience, a lot of the issues about children in the child welfare and special education systems come from what I’ve seen up close. The children in Into The Mist face these same challenges for a unique reason, and flaws in both systems only add to their vulnerability, as LaShaun and Chase discover.

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? Why?

Into The Mist is a mystery with paranormal elements. I write mysteries now, though my first seven books are romantic suspense. What’s interesting is I never intended to write romance. The first writing group I found, or rather a member found me because we worked in the same building, was a local chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America). I even told her that I wasn’t writing romance, but she said that didn’t matter. So I joined. A published author who belonged to that RWA chapter advised me to try writing romance because editors were in the market for them in a big way (this was the mid-1990s). Breaking into the mystery genre was tough, but for writers of color it was pretty much impossible back then. I felt very discouraged until she told me about romantic suspense, the subgenre I hadn’t even heard of at the time. Once I found out I could kill people, the words started flowing on my first book.

BPM: Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change? 

I’ve learned and been blessed to see the lesson in everything that has happened in my journey, so I can’t honestly say I’d change much. Even the bad helped make me either a better writer or better professional writer in terms of the business side of publishing. In 2000, I was blessed to have BET produce a made for television movie based on my novel After All. Holly Robinson Peete starred as Michelle Toussaint, a character I created. Seeing her on the screen saying that name gave me chills. Still I couldn’t really celebrate because BET used the old publishing contract I’d signed, and they were known at the time, to pay well below the industry standard for the movie rights. That was one bitter pill to swallow. Even worse, I couldn’t stop them from making the movie. Thankfully the script, performance and production came out fine. The only thing I would change, if I could, was for myself and the other Arabesque authors to have more leverage, support or legal alternatives back then. Still, I had fun throwing a premier party at my house. I got to ride in a limo to BET studios twice for interviews. And it’s kind of fun to say, “My second novel was made into a movie.”

BPM: How may our readers follow you online? 

Readers are welcome to visit my website at www.lynnemery.com. I’d love for them to sign up for my monthly newsletter while they’re there. The newsletter includes exclusive free books and other goodies available only to subscribers, in addition to fun articles. Let’s socialize!

Connect with Lynn Emery on Social Media 

Tweet: @LynnEmeryWriter 
Lynn Emery website: http://www.lynnemery.com 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lynn.emery.author 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lynnemerywriter 
Pins: https://www.pinterest.com/lynnemery/ 
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/lynnemery 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Cerece Rennie Murphy 

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

She earned her master's degrees in social work and international relations at Boston College and Johns Hopkins School for Advance International Studies, respectively, and built a rewarding 15-year career in program development, management and fundraising in the community and international development arenas - all while appreciating the stories of human connection told in science fiction through works like Octavia Butler's "Wild Seed," Frank Herbert's "Dune" and "The X-Files." 

In 2011, Cerece experienced her own supernatural event - a vision of her first science fiction story. Shortly after, she began developing and writing what would become the best selling "Order of the Seers" trilogy.

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

BPM: As a full time writer, how did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?

Wow, we're starting right in with the deep stuff! OK. You know, I really think that God has led me to where I am in my life today. As a young girl, I never expected to be happily married with two beautiful children. I never expected to be a writer, much less a published author. Honestly, I expected my life to be rewarding career wise and lonely in every other sense. I'd worked hard to get a good education, so I expected to be financially independent. I also knew I wanted children, so I planned to be a mother, but I expected to be on that journey alone. If I got married, I expected to get divorced and have to raise my children alone. I know that sounds pretty bleak, but it's the truth of how I saw my life right up until my early 30s. When I look at my life now, it is very clear that this is God's vision for my life, not mine, and I'm so grateful that God had bigger dreams for me than I ever could have imagined for myself. 

But through everything, I always knew that God was with me and I got that knowledge from my mother, who is THE MOST spiritually connected person that I know. She prays without ceasing with a prayer book that was handed down to her from my grandmother who was a PRAYER WARRIOR. Grandma Mary was NO joke! No weapon against her had any hope of prospering! Though she passed more than a decade ago, I know I live in the benefit of her prayers today. These two women, my mother and my Grandmother, are women of incredible faith and courage. I stand on their legacy and it has always motivated me to do and be my best.

BPM: Was there ever a time in your life you let FEAR block your path? If so, how did you overcome it?

Me and fear are well acquainted. Though I don't know if I've ever let fear block my path, it sure has slowed my progress quite a bit. The fear and doubt around writing and publishing the Order of the Seers trilogy was brutal at times. With the second book especially, it was like doing battle every day, just to get a page written. I would cry and shake, convinced that no one would like what I'd written, that I had no talent or no right to do what I was doing.

But the thing about me is that, on some very visceral level, I hate being afraid. I hate letting fear control me. There are many good reasons not to pursue something, fear is rarely one of them. I have been an avid reader since I was 5 years old. I know what a story can do. I know that each story you are given is a blessing from God - a calling. That's why I feel so honored to be a writer, to be given a story to tell. So if I let the fear win, what I'm saying to God is, "You gave me this blessing, but I'm too afraid to share it. I know you would not have given me this blessing if I wasn't equipped to share it, but hey, it doesn't matter. I think my fear is more important than your purpose." 

Can you imagine saying that to GOD? Yeah, exactly - me neither! My fear of wasting the breathe of God within me trumps almost any fear I have. But that doesn't mean I no longer feel afraid. I think, with each thing I do, I just get better at managing the fear, so that I can get what I need to get done. If that doesn't work, then I remember that the bottom line for me is, these stories are not about me at all. They are about the people who will be blessed, inspired and entertained by them. 

BPM: As the author of novels for adults, who does your body of literary work speak to?

I think my work speaks to people who are seeking thought-provoking literature that many not be conventional - readers who want to be spiritually-inspired and entertained. Although Order of the Seers is adult science fiction and Ellis and The Magic Mirror is a children's fantasy adventure, they are essentially about the same thing - people discovering their true calling and power and using that gift to change the world for the better. 

Watching the news these days can be a soul crushing experience. It's so easy to be overwhelmed by all the horrible things that are happening. But I believe that ordinary people can save the world. I believe this because I know there is no such thing as an ordinary person. We are all superheroes, but most of us have no idea how powerful we are and so we act like ants when we're actually giants - giants who can see the future because we create the future with our thoughts, our words and our actions. We can do these things because we are children of God and God has given us these abilities. 

My writing is all about finding that awareness in myself and helping my readers discover the same truth for themselves because I believe, once we understand our true power, nothing can stop us from healing this world. If you like your spirituality wrapped in an action packed adventure, you'll probably enjoy my books. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent novel for young readers? 

Sure. I'm so excited that my first children's book titled, Ellis and The Magic Mirror! This is a very special book to me because my son asked me to write it for him and we worked on the story together - from story concept to illustration and cover approval. Ellis and The Magic Mirror is about a very curious boy named Ellis who finds a magic mirror and discovers that there is a secret society of trolls at his school who are trying to stop children from learning. Ellis, his little sister, Freddye, and his best friend, Toro go on an adventure in the forest to uncover the mystery of the trolls and stop whatever they have planned. It's an early reader chapter book with lots of action. The book is targeted towards readers age 6-10 who are transitioning from story book to chapter book. The feedback that I've been getting from educators and kids is really exciting. I can't wait to share it!

Our son, Aryeh, picked up a copy of my sci-fi trilogy Order of the Seers and asked me if he could read it. I told him that my books were for adults and that he would have to wait until he was older. 

To this, he frowned and said, "Well, will you write me a book that I can read?" I was so surprised and honored that he asked me that I HAD to say YES! 

Since then Aryeh and I have worked together to bring "Ellis and The Magic Mirror" to life. Aryeh gave me the "must haves" in the story he wanted which included, a skateboard, an "awesome" fight scene and an appearance by his favorite stuffed animal "Chirpy". I pitched the story concept. He approved or revised as needed. Every chapter I wrote, he read and changed according to his preferences. Every character sketch, Aryeh approved, until we had a story he liked. Along the way, my husband and our daughter made their contributions to the story as well. Seeing our son and daughter in their beds, reading their own book has been one of the best moments of my life. We had a great time creating this story. We hope you have almost as much fun reading it.

Greg and I meet at a comic convention in Chicago in 2014. As soon as I saw the incredible energy in his drawings, I knew I wanted to work with him. In fact, Greg is the only illustrator I considered for this project. Luckily, he had the time, interest and incredible generosity to take us on. Through late night meetings on Google Hangout, Greg listened patiently to comments and ideas from *every* member of our family. He's the best. 

BPM: What inspired you to publish it for the world and not just for your family?

The fact that my son asked me to write him a book was really all the inspiration I needed. I don't think it would have occurred to me to write a children's book without him asking me, but it was such an honor that I couldn't refuse. But besides that, I noticed that there was a real need for chapter books that helped with the transition from storybook to chapter book. Last year, before my son first asked me to write a book for him, I knew his teacher was struggling to find reading material that held his interest. To make matters worse, his teachers and I couldn't get him to try chapter books, even though he was more than capable of reading them. When I asked him why, he said to me that "There were too many words and no pictures." So when he asked me to write him a book, I knew it was my chance to address a need that I was seeing in our home, hearing from his teachers and other parents who were experiencing the same thing I was. I set out to develop a story that combined full color illustrations with a complex narrative and as much action as I could get away with in a children's book. 

My husband and I also noticed that it was getting harder and harder to find more advanced books that featured children of color - even more rare, was a child of color in a fantasy adventure. Most parents don't have the knowledge on how to produce a children's book, even if they want to, but when my son asked me, I thought, "I actually know how to do this." I'm proud to be a part of the #weneeddiversebooks movement. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book, Ellis and The Magic Mirror?

I loved working with our son on this book and seeing him see himself in the story. He owned every part of the creative process. He told me what he wanted in the story. I wrote the words and he edited them, telling me what made sense, what didn't, and what he thought would be "even cooler". His confidence in participating (and expecting to participate) in the development of this book made me so proud. He's actually really good at giving constructive criticism in a very thoughtful way! I also loved being able to show him how much I love him by writing and publishing a story just for him. 

BPM: Why should our readers and educators add Ellis and The Magic Mirror to their collection?

As a mother of a 8 year old boy and a 5 year girl, I know that there are a lot of great books out there for kids. My husband and I are avid readers and have been committed to encouraging literacy in our kids since before they were born. But as our son's reading level matured, we noticed that the books available to him seemed to hold less of his interest. The early reader chapter books that we found often lacked the action and adventure he craved. And when they did have action, they had little or no pictures (and rarely in color) to accompany the story line. This often left him too intimidated to give them a try ("There are too many words, Mommy!")even though he had the ability to read them. We also noticed that protagonists who looked like him were getting harder and harder to find. I heard the same struggle echoed by parents and teachers of kids around our son's age. We were all looking to fill the gap between the Fly Guy series and the next Rick Riordan book. 

And that's how I came up with the concept for The Ellis Series.

With full color illustrations integrated throughout the five-chapter story, Ellis and The Magic Mirror was written and designed to facilitate an easier transition from storybook to chapter book for young readers (ages 6-10 years old). By combining the vibrant images that storybook readers are accustomed to with a more challenging narrative, Ellis and the Magic Mirror strives to encourage early readers to dive into more complex stories, without sacrificing beautiful imagery. 

Ellis and The Magic Mirror can contribute to your collection in 3 main ways:


* It is unique in the world of early reader chapter books that typically leave vibrant illustrations at the front cover,

* It fills a growing need among parents and teachers for books that capture the attention of reluctant readers, (especially boys) while still moving their reading abilities forward, and

* It offers a diverse group of main characters who are doing cool things in a world that is modern and full of possibilities. 

In addition, the story of Ellis and The Magic Mirror is laced with themes that emphasize character building, the unique qualities that reside within every child and the value of learning, family and friendship. These messages could be used in any school, library, home school or church setting to enhance and enrich a range of character building and educational activities. (It also makes a great bedtime story!) 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Sadeqa Johnson

Sadeqa Johnson is a former public relations manager who spent years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debut novel, LOVE IN A CARRY-ON BAG was hailed by Ebony.com as “this summer’s hottest read.”  It was the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction and the 2012 USA Best Book award for African-American fiction. Originally from Philadelphia, she now resides in Virginia with her husband and three children. SECOND HOUSE FROM THE CORNER is her second novel.

BPM:  When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I’m originally from Philadelphia. As a kid, I started off wanting to be an actress. When I graduated high school, I moved to New York and attended Marymount Manhattan College as a Theatre Arts major. It was as a student that I started fooling around with poetry, which turned to playwriting, screenwriting and ended up with novel writing. I landed a job working in publishing after college and it was there that I became very serious about my writing. My first novel, Love in a Carry-on Bag took me over ten years to finish. I started writing it when I was a publicity manager at G.P Putnam’s Sons.

Every day I would close my office door at four o’clock and write for the last hour of the workday. On my commute home, I edited the pages. Once I got married, I left my corporate job to write and raise my children, but still nursed a burning desire to tell stories. I wrote during naptimes, between feedings, in the midst of sleep deprivation and my kid’s ear infections. The daily pressures of caring for a young family motivated me to finish the book. I was very much like Felicia in Second House From the Corner. As much as I loved being a mother, I didn’t want that role to be my only claim. I knew that it was important for me to carve out something that was only for me, and writing novels was it. My novels are my legacy.

BPM:  What makes your writing different than others?
I’m a lover of words and keep a thick, old school thesaurus on my desk, which I use to deepen the meaning of the text. I don’t like to rush when I’m writing, and I’ll work on a paragraph for three days if it takes that long to make it sound good. Although I’m a commercial fiction writer, I work to bring poetry, beauty and music to my work. My goal is to make readers pause over a delicious sentence, giving them no choice but to read it again.

BPM:  Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.
I love everything about Second House From the Corner. In the novel, Felicia Lyons, a stressed out stay-at-home mom struggles to sprint ahead of the demands of motherhood, while her husband spends long days at the office. Felicia taps, utters mantra and breathes her way through most situations but on some days, like when the children won’t stop screaming her name or arguing over toy trucks and pretzel sticks, she wonders what it would be like to get in her car and drive away.

Then one evening the telephone rings, and in a split second Felicia’s innocent fantasy becomes a hellish reality. The call pulls her back into a life she’d rather forget. Felicia hasn’t been completely honest about her upbringing, and her deception forces her return to the Philadelphia of her childhood, where she is forced to confront the family demons and long buried secrets she thought she had left behind.

BPM:  Did you learn anything personal from writing this book? 
I wrote Second House From the Corner in about a year and a half, which was much different from my ten-year haul with Love in A Carry-on Bag. I learned to outline and draft quickly, and then to just punch the story out and fix it later. There were a lot of loving hands that touched Second House From the Corner and for that I am so grateful and utterly proud of the finished product.

BPM:  What would you like to accomplish after this book is released? 
Don’t laugh, but my deepest desire is to be on the New York Times best sellers list. I have been putting that out into the Universe since day one so I know it’s going to happen. I also plan to sell the movie rights and be paid (well) to consult on set as the movie is being filmed. My children are going to love walking the red carpet. Selling the foreign rights and seeing my novel printed in several languages would also make me happy. Eventually I’d like to teach a writing group and get out on the motivational speaking circuit.

BPM:  Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences? 
Oh, yes. I am a mother of three children. My kids were about the age of Felicia’s when I started writing the book and a lot of her experience of feeling overwhelmed and worn out with the duties involved with caring for small children was what I felt as a young mother. I still feel it at least four times a week. She taps her way through it, I go to hot yoga, run and meditate to find my center.

BPM:  What should readers DO after reading this book? 
Tell all of their friends to buy a copy. I really believe it takes a village to make a best seller. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising so please, please tell a friend. Your review on goodreads.com and all of the retailer’s website would also be wonderfully helpful.

BPM:  What are your career goals as a writer? Have you accomplished most of them? 
Right now I really admire Attica Locke. She wrote a book called The Cutting Season that I couldn’t put down. Then one night I was watching the show Empire, and her name popped up in the credits as producer and writer. Immeditately, I had goosebumps. I’m so proud of my fellow writers when they cross over and do big things. As I sat watching, I thought, could I write for television?  Mmmm, I’m just going to let that thought marinate. Hosting a show on television would also tickle my fancy.

BPM:  What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author? 
I’ve realized that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Every moment in my life from going to college in New York City as Theatre arts major, to my first two jobs in publishing as a publicist, to starting my own publishing house and having to do everything possible to get the word out on Love in a Carry-on Bag has led me to this moment. I’ve worked hard, I deserve to be right here and my future is even brighter. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me.

BPM:  What are you the most thankful for now?
I’m grateful for my health and the health of my family and close friends. I enjoy waking up every morning, getting my kids off to school (most times without arguments and tears but not always), putting on a pot of coffee and going to work in my robe. God is always amazingly good to me. Oh, and I have a sexy, supportive husband to boot.

BPM:  Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Don’t quit. Writing takes time and dedication and it is very important to be true to the craft. Take writing classes, form a writing group and read as much as you can. Give yourself time and permission to grow, and be patient with yourself. Believe in your creativity above all. Allow the magic to flow.

BPM:  What’s next?
I’m working on my third novel, And Then There Was Me. It’s about deception and betrayal. It’s scheduled to be published by Thomas Dunne Books spring of 2017 so stay tuned. And click right over to my website, www.sadeqajohnson.net and subscribe to my blog. I’ll keep the latest news listed there. I’m on all of the social media outlets so get in touch with me. I’d really love to hear from you.   

Love, Light and Laughter.

Connect with Sadeqa Johnson

http://www.sadeqajohnson.net 
https://twitter.com/sadeqasays 
https://instagram.com/sadeqasays 
https://www.facebook.com/SadeqaJohnson 

Purchase Second House from the Corner: A Novel
iBooks:  http://smarturl.it/SHFCAWIB 
Indiebound:  http://smarturl.it/SHFCAWIN 
Walmart:  http://smarturl.it/SHFBAWWAL 
Amazon:  http://smarturl.it/SHFCAWAM 
Barnes & Noble:  http://smarturl.it/SHFCAWBN 
Books-a-Million:  http://smarturl.it/SHFCAWBAM 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Tumika Patrice Cain

Tumika Patrice Cain is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life. She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the internet radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain, In The Spotlight, and Say What?? Author Spotlights. 

In addition, she is a respected book reviewer and columnist for PEN’Ashe Magazine, a contributing writer for BLOG and Belief Magazines, and editor for two smaller publishing companies. A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but whose marketing budgets are limited. Inkscriptions, her publishing company, offers a myriad of book publishing services. Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path. 

She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012), a novel that has since been picked up by Shan Presents and will be re-released as When a Man Loves a Woman – A Season of Change in December, 2015. To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March, 2014) and The Heart of a Woman (August, 2015). Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.


BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I was an early reader, so the love of words was already there. A classroom assignment when I was in the second grade would become my raison d’etre. I found my reason for being early on. The teacher introduced poetry and gave us the opportunity to write a poem. I loved how the words came together and that feeling the completed work gave me. The seed had been planted and I continued to write. Growing up in turmoil and being very shy, writing gave me a voice when I felt voiceless. For many years I didn’t know that I had any talent, I only knew that I liked to write. By the time I was in junior high, I had started to receive recognition for my work and in high school I started winning awards. It wasn’t until I wrote my first novel while in my early twenties, which many years later became When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change, that I decided I wanted to do something professionally with the gift. Combining my love of writing with my passion for empowering others seemed the ideal solution.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
Through my writing I am able to give a voice to the voiceless, to shine a ray of hope for someone who has lost their hope. Even through fiction, lives can be changed. I write to empower others. I write to free myself. I write to free others. I write because I have something to say. I write because others have something to say and many have yet to find their own voice, so I tell their stories. I write to uplift. And I write to impart the message that with each new day, we can have a fresh start. We can decide in this moment to start living authentic, abundant lives. Writing gives me wings. My tag is Changing lives one word at a time…. It’s more than just a quote, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not just what I do, it’s who I am.

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner?
When I first wrote the novel and tried to get it published almost twenty years ago, the market was very different and there wasn’t really a place for me. I put the book up for quite a few years knowing that eventually it would be published. Around 2011 I started getting the “feeling” to pull it back out and look into publishing it again. While I had done my research years before, lots had changed that I had not kept up with. When someone that I knew started a publishing company, I just went with it. Since it was a vanity press, once she received her money, her commitment to me was done. I learned very quickly that in choosing to work with people on your vision; your dream, it’s important to connect with those who are as concerned about your success as they are their own. Many services that had been provided were only marginally done and I had to pay out of pocket to have things redone. It was stressful and very frustrating. 

However, the silver lining is that out of that experience was birthed Inkscriptions, my publishing company, and Say What?? Book Club. Being a solution-focused person, I was able to put systems and programs in place to streamline and improve the process for other writers. In the end the challenges I experienced turned out to be a tremendous blessing.

BPM: Success leaves clues, whose clues did you follow on your journey?

I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings when I was in elementary school. Maya Angelou had a way with words that didn’t just tell me that what I had to say was important, her words told me that who I am is important. Through her writings, I felt encouraged to share my sacred truth, and to keep writing that truth. Through her writings, I learned that I had a voice worth hearing.

My paternal grandmother was also a woman who used her words with power. She was classy and elegant and could put you in your place without raising her voice, swearing or belittling. I saw her write to corporate heads when products and services she’d spent money on left her displeased….and change would come as a result of her expressing herself. That was very powerful and had a lasting impact.

When the literary market began to change about twenty years ago, the writings of authors like Beverly Jenkins, Pearl Cleage and Terry McMillan gave me hope that my works could also be in print. I am thankful for reach one and how their lives have impacted my own.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.
In When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change (book one in the When a Man Loves a Woman series), readers meet Avery and Alicia Ayers. They are a couple who appear to have the perfect life. To their credit they are attractive, wealthy, successful, and esteemed. It’s a life anyone would want. However, what others can’t see are the cracks that exist in their persons and in their relationship. They’ve built an amazing life on a shallow foundation. Each must face themselves and determine if the life they are living is true, is healthy, is empowering and decide where to go from there.

This award-winning, full length, standalone novel is a gripping tale in women’s contemporary fiction that will make readers think, feel, celebrate love when it’s beautiful and right, and reflect on its demise when it’s not.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
I would encourage readers to stop for a moment and reflect. Think about which scenes in the book left a lasting impact and why. I would tell them to reflect on the areas of their lives where they have not been living their truth and make a decision to live authentically from that point forward. Life is short and to spend it unfulfilled is a great travesty. If the book struck a chord and they felt a sense of connection to it, I’d encourage them to share information about the book so others can purchase it. And of course, I’d ask that they leave a review on Amazon so I can know what they thought about it – good or bad.

BPM: What are you the most thankful for now?
I am thankful for Shan Richardson seeing potential in my work, enough where she signed me to a three (3) book deal. Working with her has been a great blessing. We are able to share ideas and work together as a team. I am thankful to be able to reach a larger platform of readers with my work with her help.

I am also very thankful for my family and handful of people who support me behind the scenes. It takes many hands and lots of effort to get and keep our works in front of the others. I could never do it all on my own, or have gotten as far as I have without them. I am truly grateful.

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?

Believe in yourself. Not everything is for everyone, so some people will not buy into your work. That doesn’t mean you can’t write. That person just may not be your audience. Hone your skills, take classes to make sure you are putting out a quality product, learn the business of writing, and keep forging on. At some point you will connect with those who will help make your dream a reality.


BPM: How may our readers follow you online? Please share your social media links.

Email: inkscriptionsllc@ymail.com
Website:  www.TumikaPatrice.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TumikaPatrice 
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/TumikaPatrice 
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/TumikaPatrice 
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/TumikaPatrice 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Tumika-Patrice-Cain-254769847981922 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Anita Ballard-Jones

Anita Ballard-Jones is the acclaimed author of the novels, Rehoboth Road, The Dancing Willow Tree and Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down. She is a native of Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of C.W. Post, at Long Island University. She is retired from New York State’s Long Island Developmental Disabilities Service Office where she worked as a Treatment Team Leader. She is a long time resident of Long Island, New York and enjoys spending time in North Carolina and Florida. She loves hearing from her individual fans, as well as book clubs.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? 
I was in my early fifties, not like most writers who say they had been writing for as long as they could remember. My unpublished manuscript, Broken Bond, is a memoir about my young life and relationship with my brother who had special needs. It was completed twenty years ago and it was not written for publication. I just needed a vessel to pour out my soul and to come to terms with the issue of the purpose of life for those individual having serious developmental disabilities. I had lived and worked with special needs children and adults almost all of my life and I was searching for their purpose. By the time I completed this manuscript I was at peace; I felt blessed and had my answers. A few months later, I believed the Lord handed me my gift of writing and I wrote the first one hundred pages of the acclaimed Rehoboth Road in just fourteen hours.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
I love to write, but I don’t have a writing routine. I am retired and I am not looking for a career. My greatest joy is pleasing my readers. Sometimes I’ll write a very short story, and other times that short story could be as long as 7,000 words. I don’t push my writing or write outlines; I wait. I guess you could say I wait on the Lord; He sends me pictures and somehow I know it’s going to be another novel. I only create when I’m inspired by my pictures. If I don’t have the inspiration to create, and I want to work, I use the time for refinement and editing. 

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish? 
Yes, after I completed Rehoboth Road, I sent out fifty query letters just to locate an agent and I received fifty rejections. Then, I self-published and sold over three thousand copies. Within that year I signed with a publishing company that never paid my royalties on time, if at all. The one great thing they did was sell my book to Black Expressions Book Club, and I knew I had arrived, even after being contractually cheated on this sale. I found a loophole in the contract and was released from my second book deal and vowed to remain a self-publish author. I told myself that my joy comes from writing and pleasing my fans, and with the proper branding agent and publicist, I could do a very good job marketing myself. 

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
Yes, all of my books stewed with the exception of The Dancing Willow Tree. This book is the sequel to Rehoboth Road. I received hundreds of emails from my readers requesting a sequel; many people made suggestions of what they thought should happen. I was inspired, I had my visual images, my fans suggestions, and a few twist in mind; The Dancing Willow Tree was completed in three months. 

BPM: Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change? 
Without questioning the Lord, I wish I had received my gift when I was younger, but the Lord knows best. I wonder if I would have appreciated it, would I have earn my lifetime experience badge or if I would have had the time to dedicate to the craft? Sometimes I think, if I could have accomplish writing success back in my earlier life I might have been another Alice Walker or Toni Morrison, not for the fortune, but for the pleasure of knowing something I created bought pleasure to so many people.

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner? 
I believe the real hurdle is the process of editing. I have hired a professional editor and have used my edit team and there were still problems. Other than the editing process, researching self-publishing and learning all of the aspects of the process are the hardest. 

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
Be able to respond positively to constructive criticism. A writer should never believe they are so great that they have nothing to learn about their craft. 

BPM: At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
Growing up, I always wanted to be a registered nurse. There were two professions I didn’t want any part of, a medical doctor or a writer. The novels, Little Women, Clarence Darrow and Return of the Native, and the likes, really turned me off during my high school literature classes. I cried through them; I am a pre-baby-boomer who attended George Wingate High School in Brooklyn, New York when the African American student enrollment was only two percent. No one told me about Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, James Baldwin and the others. If you didn’t know about the Harlem Renaissance, you didn’t know to ask and seek it out. I remember standing outside a theater on Manhattan’s Broadway, staring at the marquee and large posters of the play, Porgy and Bess. It was hard to believe these were black people like me, doing what white people did. It seems so funny now, but today’s young people believe they have been robbed of opportunity and I wish I could take them back to my early time and shake them. 

I discovered my worth as an individual early in life, having a very successful career and lifetime experiences. I said I didn’t want to be a doctor, but I became a Treatment Team Leader, whereas I managed an interdisciplinary treatment team which included medical doctors and twenty years of report writing was the precursor to my writing profession in retirement. And now I write.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
In this dark time in our history time, two brothers, Jacob and Jackson shared the same loving father, the same mansion home, but were separated by age and the circumstances of life; Jacob, a mulatto slave and Jackson, the sole heir to their father’s plantation. They were mirror images of each other, both tall and having golden hair, blue eyes and creamy white complexion. Jacob had the soul of a black man and Jackson’s soul was only fed by cruelty, possessions and hatred. Once Jacob was free it wasn’t long before he realized that passing for white was a powerful weapon to be used to free his enslaved family and friends, specially his black pearl, Sula who was pregnant with his child. Nothing could stop him in his quest to reach the safety of Canada before the start of the Civil War, not even murder, assault, thievery or arson. He found great pleasure standing his ground against other white people. 

Throughout Jacob’s triumphs, Brother Jackson was in hot pursuit of him, but little did Jackson know revenge was not in his favor. Jackson’s attempt to kill Jacob would end up causing him more inescapable pain than he could ever have imagined; pain that was a thousand times worse than the pain he allowed his overseers to inflicted on his slaves; pain that could not be undone.

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? Why?
This is a book of historical fiction, pre-Civil War (1860). With the exception of my memoir, most of the time I write fiction, but I tend to write in different eras from 1950 through 1990. As mentioned earlier, my inspiration comes in the form of pictures. I have my ideas of what I want to write about, but after a few paragraphs my story will take on its own life. Very often this dictates the era, storyline, characters and location. For example, someone once told me my grandfather walked from northern North Carolina to south central Virginia. I was thinking what it must have been like for a black man to walk alone on a country road around 1900. The next thing I knew I was writing Jacobs Eyes. My grandfather was a short, small framed man, with ebony colored skin and nappy hair, and Jacob was tall, well built, blue eyes, golden hair and a white complexion. The only thing they had in common was that they walked on the road. 

BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject? 
I don’t necessary set out to educate, but my goal is to keep my stories socially clean, historically accurate, entertaining and inspiring. I research even the smallest issue. In my book, Rehoboth Road, I wanted one of my characters to purchase a specific type of car. When I researched the car I found out it had not come out for another five years. In Jacob’ Eyes, I had to learn about growing cotton, the railroad lines that were running in 1860, what shipping lines were sailing. How Lincoln was placed on the ballot, and most of all, documents related to the sale and release of slaves and many other issues. To say the least, I was educated and inspired during the writing of this novel and I hope and pray others will learn from it too.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing this book?
Yes, first of all I received a history lesson, and then I learned about herbal tea, juju bags secondary railroad cars, Southern myths and much more. Most of all I learn about myself and to appreciate my gift. I had not worked at writing a novel in some time. My pictures were there for me, but I allowed life and circumstances to pull me away from what I really love doing. I have to say thank you to Jacob’s Eyes for reminding me of my gift and to be grateful to my Lord for it.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book? Why now?
I did give mainstream publishing serious thought, then I remembered my previous experience and I was not willing to lose my literary rights to my work forever. But I am like an abused woman, time will tell.

BPM: What would you like to accomplish after this book is released?
I just want to keep writing and promoting my work. I love public speaking and traveling, so with the release of this book I will be destination bound. 

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
No, Jacob’s Eyes is a product of my imagination and research.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
Just enjoy this book for its historical quality and storyline. This is not just another slave book; this is a book where the slaves win. This is a feel good book that will leave the reader saying, “Yes!” Spread the word: ask their local libraries to order it, ask their school board to place it in their high school libraries, introduce it to historically black colleges and universities, suggest it to book clubs, share the book with a young adult and don’t forget to write me and share their thoughts and feeling.

BPM: What are your career goals as a writer? Have you accomplished most of them?
I am retired and I write to please my readers. My goal is to continue writing and sell, sell, sell my work. Nothing makes me happier than to have my fans love my work. My goal is to have a well known name in the industry and I have no accomplished that. 

BPM: What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?
There are people, other than my family, who appreciate what I have to offer. My family loves me unconditionally. My fans love me and my work; that’s why I always want to give them my very best.

BPM: What are some of the benefits of being an author that makes it all worthwhile?
Being an author, actor, singer or whatever, it really does not matter. We are all people first. Even if I were a filthy rich author it wouldn’t make a different to me; being a good person is more important. For me, the only benefits of being an author are my personal satisfaction and knowing I have made other people happy. This is my gift, but Dear Lord, I always prayed to be a great singer, but I guess You know what’s best for me, so thank you Lord.

BPM: What are you the most thankful for now?
I am most thankful for my Lord and Savior, life and good health, family, friends, my gift, fans and a good life. I am truly blessed; I have it all.

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Study and do your research before you decide, and then learn to do as much as you can for yourself.

BPM: Finish this sentence - “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors...”
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors because I try to write unforgettable novels that provide teachable moments without an expiration date.”

BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what's next? 
My long term goal for the next year is to produce my first manuscript, Broken Bond, my memoir, as well as a book of short stories and to continue as a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel monthly news magazine, A Better You,

BPM: How may our readers follow you online? 
At my website:  www.anitaballardjones.com  or on  Facebook at" Anita Ballard Jones

Purchase Jacob's Eyes by Anita Ballard-Jones

Link:  http://amzn.com/B01ABD7XTQ  
Historical Literature > Christian Fiction > African American 


 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversations with James Lee Nathan III

James Lee Nathan III (JLN3), is the self-published author of two novels and nine novellas, spanning many speculative fiction sub-genres.  JLN3 is best known for his scifi erotic crime drama series Robert Manis and No Brakes, both of which are bestsellers on the leanpub author platform. His latest works,CRIME-PHYTER, and Ibrahim Unites, introduce readers to hisNext Level Fiction experience. James is also the #1 bestselling author of erotic crime dramas on leanpub.com. 

James is a retired US Air Force veteran, and currently works as a senior systems integrator for a large telecommunications corporation. 

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

To answer your first question, more than one person has prayed for me throughout my life. I guess that is how we all survive or perish in this world, through the love, grace, and mercy of others. My motivations have always been to improve upon my family name, and to live a life worthy of remembering. I never sought glory only respect and appreciation. 

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

I write in three specific genres, and sometimes all in one. My stories are what they are, if one decides they are scifi, urbanfantasy, erotic crime dramas, or suspense thrillers then so be it, but I typically try to tell a good tale that takes the reader on a journey. One in which they ask themselves the very questions I pose in my tales. So if you are of the mind to question the known and seek to understand the unknown, then this is for you. 'Writers as role models' hmmm I think we should expand this construct and say 'Artisans' because I believe that all 'free thinkers' and creators in society, deserve to be recognized for what they bring to our culture. Remember, if you destroy the art, the words, and pictures, you can remove a culture or race from existence. 

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

O-M-GEEE, so this book is the culmination of about five years of effort and wrestling with doubt. Two things are important here; my daughter's inquisitive mind after she read the first unfinished work and asked 'Are there no more Dragon Warriors?' and then being compelled to write a tale of struggles and triumph that restore balance to the universe. But before you can write about balance you must be in balance. Once my life eased into a stable state, the words flowed. 

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The characters gave me great pleasure. There is a sense of DEPTH to them, even the ancillary ones offer you a sense of complexity. 

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?

I am asked this question often, and I truly cannot narrow it down to any one thing other than I draw stimulation from many sources. There can be an interaction at a grocery store between two people that catches my eye, and I will create a scene, a story, a title out of just that one random thing. So in this regard, I seek out situations for my characters to be in and then write to that. 

Each reacts to situations and stimuli differently, however, all are in proper context to the story/plot I am developing. I have actually changed my mind about a quarter way through a novella and moved the protagonist through a series of plot devices to support where I wanted the tale to evolve. All stories have a beginning , middle, and end, but not all stories move you to finish each with lust for the next. So that is what I strive for in my plot, to make you anxious about turning to the next page, or frustrated in how the last chapter ended so you read more and then you're hooked. 

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Kindle?

Yes my latest book, Ibrahim Unites, is the conclusion to 'Are there no more Dragon Warriors?' however, you do not necessarily need to read the other two books to appreciate this release. It did'nt start off that way, but somewhere around the 100th page, I realized that this was actually a standalone piece. Now there is a large gap in the timeline that I do address in the supplemental bonus chapters called 'Tales of Valor', but readers are all advised to read CRIME-PHYTER for even more backstory (it is a darker tale with some graphic violence and sexual situations, not erotica just a bit more than you will see in Ibrahim). Now Ibrahim Unites is available on ebook (with CRIME-PHYTER as a bonus all three formats for ebooks) and in print through AMAZON, go here

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 

The three strong tenets that weave their way through the story are INTUITION, Siobhan struggles with reconciling what she knows and what she is feeling, which will cost many lives; HATE and the blood oath of Ibrahim's ancestors still lives and breathes within him. It also infects all it touches; and finally HOPE manifested in Zion Rivers, who must balance hope with faith lest it becomes pretentious in nature. 

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or journey?

It speaks to many questions I had early in my life, and how I came to believe in a universal consciousness for all. 

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 

My intentions with Dragon Warriors as a whole was to interject little-known bits of information on historical figures and cultures into the plot and then speculate on if they were indeed aliens. By the time I write Ibrahim, that is still the intention, however, I now have this notion of balance and retribution. 

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

Right now I am storyboarding my next two novellas 'Robert Manis: Kill Something He Loves' and 'Me, Jesus, and the Bodega Murders', both should be out in the Summer and Fall. 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
 
Twitter: @nykingmd
Instagram: @nykingmd
Purchase Books:   https://leanpub.com/u/jamesleenathaniii 
Facebook Fan Page:  https://www.facebook.com/jameslee.nathaniii 
Amazon Page:   http://www.amazon.com/James-Lee-Nathan-III/e/B01DWNFUYM 

Ibrahim Unites Print Edition Coming April 28, 2016, check it out:

http://www.amazon.com/Ibrahim-Unites-There-Dragon-Warriors/dp/1483566471 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Lydia E. Brew

Lydia E. Brew was born with cerebral palsy but has not allowed her physical limitations to stand in her way. Her writing provides insights into the world of the physically challenged. She graduated from Texas Southern University where she received The Society of Professional Journalist Sigma Chi Citation for Achievement. She was a member of the drama club and pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. 

Miss Brew founded Lydia’s Educational and Charitable Organization (LECO) when she decided to encourage young people to write.  LECO did this by sponsoring a yearly contest in which the contestant had to write about positive role models who were alive and from the Houston area. Each student who wrote an eligible essay was given a certificate of participation. Winning writers received cash prizes.

Her second book titled Our Learn Together Book is a book for young readers based on the biography of Edith Irby Jones, M.D.  It tells her story in a simplified format on one page and allows the reader to write their own biography on the other.  There are activities in the back where younger children can learn developmental skills and older children can learn to do research.   She is a Christian and attends St. Stevens United Methodist Church.

BPM: Lydia, tell us about yourself and how you started writing.

I was born with cerebral palsy but never allowed my physical limitations to stand in my way. I hope that some of my writing also provides insights into the world of the physically challenged.  Under the leadership of one of my journalism professors, I penned my first book Edith, The Story of Edith Irby Jones, M.D.  about the first African-American to graduate from The Arkansas School of Medicine. Upon finishing college, I worked with the Houston Association of Black Journalists. I am a Christian and attend St. Steven’s United Methodist Church.

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

When I did the first draft of the Ungolden Silence I did no research and I wrote from my daydreams. Like another author said; she made up and wrote the story. That is what I did. People who read the first draft of the story told me that I needed to do some research, which I ultimately did. My research showed that my story was not that far off. 

One thing the book shows is that we do not know what a rapist looks like; it could be anybody. In my story, two women go to the nation’s capitol on business. When they first meet an African American man they did not think that they needed to be careful as if they were in a dark alley.  He was a serial rapist. Most rapists are.  People do not know what a rapist looks like. 

I like both reading and writing drama. I chose this particular subject to write about because I did not like the way that the media was so-called “protecting” perpetrator of rape by withholding their names. Yes, rape is a violation, but so is murder. The minute a murdered victim’s family is notified, then the name of the victim is released. Domestic violence crimes are just like any other crime. In Ungolden Silence readers can see where secrets were kept and it led to other problems. Yes, I want to entertain with drama, but I also want readers to think about the problem of rape, which is a part of domestic violence.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it? 

My stories are from my daydreams and I guess you can say that they stew in my head until I put them on paper. I have many ideas in my head, but when I actually write them down, they may end up being something totally different, but will still represent the basic idea/concept. So, yes, a story must stew until everything is mixed in the pot and comes together to create a delicious literary feast.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  

As I mentioned earlier, my ideas come from my daydreams. My stories are my daydreams transformed into the written word. In order for me to create a good character I need to see the character. What I do is use the body of a person that I know or am familiar with. I then give them the personality I need them to have to fit the role in the story that I’m placing them in. When it comes to saying whether my books are plot driven or character driven, it’s hard to say. Perhaps a little bit of both. 

In Ungolden Silence, it’s definitely more plot driven because even though I wanted to create engaging and memorable characters, I did not want them their drama to overshadow the important subject matter of the story. It was a challenge to find that proper balance. 

BPM: What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? 

Society needs to change the way that is deals with the social taboo of rape.  Ungolden Silence is a novel that will leave the reader with many questions. It will also attempt to answer some of the questions that society asks but never seem to want the answers to. We must look at the history of how men have been allowed to treat women. It is important not to just know the information, it is important to act on it.

Ungolden Silence will illustrate that the criminal is a real person, and rarely do they commit crimes just for fun. 
What makes Ungolden Silence different from the millions of other books out there, namely that deal with the issue of rape, is that it tells the story of rape and focuses on more than just the victim. There are many people affected by the crime, including the rapist and his family. Am I kidding? No. In a lot of cases the rapists are well respected. The novel is divided into four parts, The Silent Problem, The Aftermath, Hard to Come Forward, and Something to Consider. I specifically set out to break down all aspects of the issue, versus just the single one that most books about rape address.  The book is available in digital forms.

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

Ungolden Silence is about changing the way that society thinks about sexual abuse as well as the issue of protecting the name of sexual victims. In my opinion, we need to focus on the abuser and putting him or her away. Society hears the words “sexual abuse” and they start blaming the victim by asking what was she wearing or doing. We do not do this for any other crimes. 
For example: When a person is murdered, the name of the victim is given when the family is notified.  But when a person is sexually assaulted then it is said that the person needs privacy because he or she had been violated.  Hello, taking someone’s life is the ultimate violation. Society needs to understand that abuse of any kind is wrong. Ungolden Silence is an attempt to make society think about victims of rape and how other domestic crimes are treated.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Tomeekha Pitre

Tomeekha is a successful business professional within the corporate world of medical healthcare. She is a zealot for multi-media art and community advocacy for artists. 

Tomeekha is the co-owner of Black Cotton, LLC where she is Publisher of literary projects for the Black Cotton Publishing division. Her expertise in business and the arts allows her to enjoy consulting for startup businesses and creative projects.

Her debut novel, Earth’s Quiet Chaos, is a fictional narrative inspired by life experiences. She is spirit-led to share stories that will uplift, empower, educate and inspire individuals to live in the highest version of self. 

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
TPE: This is an interesting question because it reminds me of a haiku I wrote to address questions about why I paint. It goes like this,

Music is the reason
Painting is my life
I write to tell the story

In the past, I mostly wrote poems and short essays. It wasn’t until the year of 2012 that I acknowledged my passion to tell stories. I love to write. If I’m thinking it, I have a strong need to write it.

What drives me is being of service. I’ve adopted something my husband always says, “We were born of creativity to create.” This statement resonates with me because I strongly feel that we show each other the way by sharing our stories.

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish?  
TPE: In 2013, my husband and I published our first book. That book is an art photography coffee table book titled, “Black Cotton”. The development and research took so much time and we learned so much that we decided to birth an LLC named after our first published book, Black Cotton LLC. Our business is a media and publishing company. The purpose of our business is to create an opening for independent authors with the intent to (not just publish their book) work side by side. This way the author learns each step of the publishing process. The goal is to provide them with the tools to self-publish their next project and create their own businesses.

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner?
TPE: WOW! Let me start with business owner; and I’m going to keep it real because I’m all about sharing lessons learned. Our biggest hurdles were accounting, marketing, sales and promotions. These “lessons learned,” taught us that we couldn’t do everything as well as we thought we could on our own. We had to come real in knowing our skill set, know our weak areas and pay someone with the proven skill to fill our weak areas and trust them to do what they do. The other lesson is there has to be a benefit value for everyone and everything you do and plan for, for the best results.

As an author, my biggest hurdle writing conflict. Oh, my goodness. I was so scared because I know the power of written words. I was scared to write some deadly horrible for a character or have a character get shot or anything. OH MY GOODNESS… I had to get over it. It was the hardest thing as a writer for me to overcome. 

BPM: Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on many levels. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
TPE: YES! Great question. I’m 42 and I didn’t get this until the age of 37 or 38 and it’s something that I wish I had discovered at 28. We can’t expect others to respect our worth if we don’t own it ourselves. What that means is – I know I’m really good at taking an idea and through the planning, development and implementation phases. So if I’m going to be of service for anyone in this area, I have a minimum and maximum price for my services. Because I’m serious about what I do, putting a price tag on my work will only attract those that are serious about their work and will pay for what they need.

BPM: Success leaves clues, whose clues did you follow on your journey?
TPE: I followed and follow the clues left behind from my ancestors.  However, in 2012 I attended a healing retreat with Queen Afua. After that retreat, the group decided to continue our meet ups via conference call. We were doing the gateway work outlined in Sacred Woman by Queen Afua. The first gateway was: Sacred Words. Within each gateway we’re to create an altar in the spirit of the spiritual guardian and in gateway 1 the Kemetic Spiritual Guardian is Tehuti (The scribe). The altar is to consist of specific artifacts that carry the energy of each gateway. It also calls for adding pictures of ancestors, elders, and contemporaries to follow in their footsteps. So I posted the following pictures on my wall and typed out each of their names under their pictures:

Ancestors: Zora Neale Hurston and Phillis Wheatley
Elders: Sonia Sanchez and Maya Angelou (living at the time)
Contemporaries: Sister Souljah and Edwidge Dandicat

I wasn’t thinking of writing a book of any kind at this point. My purpose in conquering this gateway was to journal every day. Little did I know, that God had another form of journaling in store for me. During gateway 1, is when I began writing the story of Earth’s Quiet Chaos.


BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject? 
TPE: My purpose in displaying any of my gifts is done in the spirit of healing and inspiring others. I used to co-host a poetry venue and one of the things I’d always say is that we learn and heal from each other. Which is why it is a requirement in life for us to share our stories (even those we are ashamed of) and our gifts, because for every person who thinks you or your story or your gift is whack, there is that one that will be healed and inspired to BE. So, with that, I’d say I set out to inspire and heal.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing this book? 
TPE: Although this book is fictional, it was inspired by my relationship with my youngest sister. Writing it was healing for me. It was like I gave birth to something new and refreshing. One of the big things I learned was taking it one step at a time. Don’t rush the process. This was really hard for me because I have a project manager background, so I was stressing and getting overwhelmed when I wasn’t sticking to the timeline. Then a soft voice said, “Why are you rushing? This book isn’t being created for you. Let it take its time and it will be the right time.” I was like, “Yeah. Right on!” So, I learned how to take my time and not rush.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book? Why now?
TPE: My quest in publishing this book is to make it available for people to read in hopes that it reaches the eyes of those in need of it. Why now? Well, because the book chooses its own time to be released.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
TPE: Well, after recommending the book and/or purchasing for their friends or family – Pray, meditate, and give thanks for no longer allowing another person’s journey to compromise their own.

BPM: Readers you can follow the author online at the links below.
Tomeekha's website: www.tomeekhapitre.com 
FB: TomeekhaPitre
Instagram: Tomeekha
Twitter: @tomeekha

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Leonard Pitts, Jr.  is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novels Freeman (Agate Bolden, 2012) and Before I Forget (Agate Bolden, 2009); the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities (Agate Bolden, 2009); and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (Agate Bolden, 2006). 

Pitts’ work has made him an in-demand lecturer. He maintains a rigorous speaking schedule that has taken him to colleges, civic groups and professional associations all over the country. He has also been invited to teach at a number of prestigious institutions of higher learning, including Hampton University, Ohio University, the University of Maryland and Virginia Commonwealth University. In the fall of 2011, he was a visiting professor at Princeton University, teaching a course in writing about race.

Twice each week, millions of Miami Herald newspaper readers around the country seek out his rich and uncommonly resonant voice. In a word, he connects with them. Nowhere was this demonstrated more forcefully than in the response to his initial column on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Pitts' column, "We'll Go Forward From This Moment," an angry and defiant open letter to the terrorists, circulated the globe via the Internet. It generated upwards of 30,000 emails, and has since been set to music, reprinted in poster form, read on television by Regis Philbin and quoted by Congressman Richard Gephardt as part of the Democratic Party's weekly radio address. 

Born and raised in Southern California, Pitts now lives in suburban Washington, D.C., with his wife and children.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?

People ask all the time: "Why did you decide to be a writer?" It's a question I always struggle with, because I never decided to be a writer. In other words, there was a never a decision process, per se. I knew from the time I was five that this was what I was put here to do. So the goal for the remaining years of my childhood and, indeed, my professional life, was simply about trying to become good at it and then trying to become better. From the time I was young, I liked telling stories, I enjoyed getting reactions. I think all of us are given certain gifts, certain aptitudes, certain things that fit us, that seem to come more easily to us than they do to other people. For me, that was words. In school, I sweated and worked my tail off for "C" I ever got in math. But every "A" I got in English was as easy as pie.

BPM: Mr. Pitts, how did you get started as a writer?

Well, I began to think of myself as a writer from the time I was five years old, which was a good thing, because it gave me a lot of time to be bad at it. I started sending poems and stories to magazines when I was 12 years old, first became published when I was 14, and first got paid for being published when I was 18. I spent the next 18 years working primarily as a music critic for a variety of magazines and radio programs. 

I was editor of SOUL, a black entertainment tabloid, did freelance work for such magazines as Spin, Record Review and Right On!, co-created and edited a radio entertainment news magazine called RadioScope and was a writer for Casey Kasem's radio countdown show, Casey's Top 40. 

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?

I write because it's my profession, I write because it's the only thing I've ever wanted to do. I write because, if it wasn't my profession and nobody was paying me to do it, I know that I would be still be doing it. I write because this is what I love and it's who I am. I think we tell stories to figure out who we are and what we are about and I am proud of being part of that continuum. I am also driven by the need to see if I can better my best. It's a never-ending game of "Can you top this?"

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
I've never left a book for months. I've been forced to leave a book for weeks though, because sometimes, life intrudes. But the best way to write a book is in one long push of consistent, daily effort. A novel is, at bottom, an elaborate lie. It's an unspoken bargain between writer and reader: I'm going to tell you this story of things that never happened - maybe never could happen – and in exchange for you suspending your disbelief, I'm obligated to make sure this tale I tell is entertaining, funny, gripping, suspenseful, emotionally involving, whatever. But to sell the "lie" you're telling as a writer, you have to first believe it yourself. And I've found that if you stay away from a novel for too long, it can damage your ability to believe in the "lie" - the situations and characters you're chronicling can start to seem cardboard, less real to you. And if you don't believe in them, the reader definitely won't.

BPM: Introduce us to your book, Grant Park and the characters.
Grant Park is a novel about racial disillusionment, friendship, and what I have taken to calling the “stupidification” of America.

Forty years ago, two young men had life-altering encounters with Martin Luther King. Malcolm, a black kid, was a college dropout who scorned nonviolent protest, and embraced street violence as a way of bringing social change. A chance meeting one night with King turned him around, forced him to see the limitations of street violence and convinced him to return to school. He was on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, about to share this news with King when James Earl Ray fired his fatal shot. He has never gotten over what he saw. Bob, a white kid, was attending a Bible college in Mississippi where he fell powerfully in love with Janeka Lattimore, a young black civil rights activist. They attended King's last march – the one in Memphis that ended in a riot. Bob was beaten bloody by an angry young black man in the crowd and right after that, Janeka left him, saying she wanted to go to a black school now, saying she wanted to "be with her people." "I thought I was your people, too," said Bob. He has never gotten over losing her.

Forty years later, Malcolm is a celebrated columnist for a Chicago newspaper, burned out by one too many cases of police violence against unarmed African-Americans and white people not caring about. He writes an angry column - "I'm sick and tired of white folks' bullshit," he says – and when the newspaper refuses to publish it, he hacks his editor's computer and publishes it anyway - one the front page of the paper, on Election Day of 2008. Then unbeknownst to anyone, he is kidnapped by two would-be white supremacist terrorists who intend to blow him up in Grant Park, where President–elect Barack Obama is scheduled to speak. 

Meantime, Bob is now an editor at a Chicago newspaper and before dawn on Election Day, he gets a phone call telling him one of his columnists has hacked his computer to publish an incendiary, offensive column. Bob gets fired for it. The former civil rights activist was already sick and tired of black people always complaining, never being satisfied. Now he's lost his job over black people's whining, and he's furious, ready to strangle Malcolm – if he can only find him. Then he gets an email. Janeka is back in town and she wants to see him.

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
Oh, yes. Much of the frustration Malcolm experiences in dealing with white readers who will not engage on the subject of racial injustice is something I have experienced firsthand. And the one reader email that sends him over the edge is cobbled together from hundreds of similar emails I have received over the years. I identify with Malcolm's angst, though not with his chosen solution.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Inspire? 
I think you write to entertain, first and foremost, to tell a story a reader will lose herself or himself in. You try to create characters that will seem real to the reader and then put those characters into situations of physical or emotional danger. Secondarily, you hope that in entertaining people, you can also manage to say something of value, make some observation that will touch them or inspire them or cause them to see old things in new ways. 

BPM: What are some of the benefits of being an author that makes it all worthwhile?
Writing a novel is a year, two years, or more of lonely work, staring at blank screens and not really knowing if what you're doing works or makes any kind of sense. So the best thing about being published is receiving feedback from readers. When somebody tells me they were hurt by something one of my characters did, or a situation a character found him or herself in made that reader cry, that is the highest validation and best compliment I can ever receive. It means the characters seemed real and the story works. Feedback is what makes that lonely year or two worthwhile.

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
Probably persistence. You have to believe in and hone your talent as a writer and cling to it, sometimes against all odds and common sense. You have to eat rejection for breakfast.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from reading your book?
I want them to gain enjoyment and entertainment obviously. I'd love for them to think about some of the issues the book raises.  If you or your readers would like to set up a Skype visit to discuss Grant Park or Freeman, go to my website and contact me there: http://leonardpittsjr.com.  I'm available for blog tours as well. 

BPM: How may our readers follow you online? 
Books:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/leonard-pitts-jr.  
Keep up with Leonard at his website:  www.leonardpittsjr.com  
Read Miami Herald column at:  http://www.miamiherald.com/leonard_pitts   
Like Leonard Pitts on FB:  https://www.facebook.com/LeonardPittsJr 
Follow on Twitter: Leonard Pitts Jr can be found at @LeonardPittsJr1.

Order Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr. 

Link: http://amzn.com/1932841911 


Other Titles by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
* Becoming Dad
* Before I Forget
* Forward From this Moment
* Freeman
* Grant Park

 

 


#LifeAfter by Bernice L. McFadden

In 2008, the writing was on the wall that things in my life were about to change and not for the better. The stock market had crashed, taking sixty percent of my retirement money right along with it. To make matters worse - I was out of not one, but two writing jobs. My daughter was in her second year of college, I had a car note, two homes – which of course meant two mortgage payments and a manuscript that no one seemed to want to publish. Oh yeah, and I had no income.

It would take a book to accurately convey how I made it though that dark period of my life. For brevity sake, I will say this: for years, God had been walking a plethora of good, kind and generous people into my life. That combined with my faith and prayer – saw me through.

At the end of 2012, I sold my Brooklyn home and set off on a journey of renewal and rediscovery which I happily refer to as #LifeAfter.  People always ask, what does #LifeAfter mean? What it represents for me is my life after fear and loss.  Between 2009 and 2012 I was so afraid of losing everything I had worked so hard to accumulate, that it nearly drove me insane. After much meditation, tantrums and tears, I came to the realization that holding on to a life that no longer wanted me was affecting my emotional, physical and mental health. 

So, I turned in my car, sold my house, threw caution to the wind and set out to rediscover myself.  Some folks climbing out of trauma crave stability and solace, but I have a roaming spirit and so the best medicine for me has always been escape. A few weeks after I closed on the sale of my home, I was on a plane. In three years I’ve managed to wander as far away as Australia and as close to home as Canada. The thing that I learned while collecting all of those precious air miles, was that the world is indeed round and so is life. 

What the old people say is true: God doesn’t close a door without opening a window.  Being forced to let go of possessions I believed I couldn’t live without, was the best thing that happened to me because now I have less “stuff” and more joy and happiness in my life than I have had in a very long time.

My #LifeAfter has been amazing and as the late great, Ms. Maya Angelou liked to say: “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”  I'm looking forward to seeing what  #50Forward will bring!  


Latest Novel:   Loving Donovan by Bernice L. McFadden

A long-awaited reissue of this deeply thoughtful novel about hope, forgiveness, and the cost of loving Donovan, a complex man with a shattered history.

The first section of McFadden’s unconventional love story belongs to Campbell. Despite being born to a brokenhearted mother and a faithless father, Campbell still believes in the power of love . . . if she can ever find it. Living in the same neighborhood, but unknown to Campbell until a chance meeting brings them together, is Donovan, the “little man” of a shattered home—a family torn apart by anger and bitterness.

In the face of daunting obstacles, Donovan dreams of someday marrying, raising a family, and playing in the NBA. But deep inside, Campbell and Donovan live with the histories that have shaped their lives. What they discover—together and apart—forms the basis of this compelling, sensual, and surprising novel.

What people are saying…


One of Library Journal's 25 Key Indie Fiction Titles for Fall 2014-Winter 2015!

Bernice L. McFadden is one of the best contemporary literary writers out there today . . . Her brilliance, her talent as a novelist, is the very life she breathes into all of her characters.” —Terry McMillan, from the Introduction


"A two-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist also twice honored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, McFadden presents a love story starring Campbell and Donovan—both from shattered homes, both still hopeful, and both shaped more by history than they can imagine. Don't miss."
—Library Journal Prepub Alert

"Loving Donovan firmly establishes McFadden among the ranks of those few writers of whom you constantly beg for more." —Black Issues Book Review

"McFadden is clearly adept in keeping the reader entertained, captivated, and on our toes to try to figure out what's going to happen next. The rich characters, life situations, and language all wrapped up in such a small book and saying so much is a feat."  —Brown Girl Reading


Purchase Loving Donovan by Bernice L. McFadden 

Link: http://amzn.com/1617753181

Bernice L. McFadden photo credit: Eric Payne

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Kimberla Lawson Roby

New York Times Bestselling Author Kimberla Lawson Roby has published 20 novels which include A CHIRSTIMAS PRAYER, THE PRODIGAL SON, A HOUSE DIVIDED, THE PERFECT MARRIAGE, THE REVEREND’S WIFE, SECRET OBSESSION, LOVE, HONOR, and BETRAY, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PRAY FOR, A DEEP DARK SECRET, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, ONE IN A MILLION, SIN NO MORE, LOVE & LIES, CHANGING FACES, THE BEST-KEPT SECRET, TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING, A TASTE OF REALITY, IT’S A THIN LINE, CASTING THE FIRST STONE, HERE AND NOW, and her debut title, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, which was originally self-published through her own company, Lenox Press. 

Kimberla has sold more than 2,000,000 copies of her novels, and they have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Emerge Magazine, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin Chronicle to name a few, and both BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and CASTING THE FIRST STONE were #1 Blackboard bestsellers for four consecutive months in both 1997 and 2000. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was the #1 Blackboard Best-selling book for paperback fiction in 1997.

Kimberla is a 2014 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the 2013 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the recipient of the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Author of the Year – Female award presented by the African-American Literary Award Show in New York, the recipient of the 2014 Black Pearls Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, the recipient of the 2014 AAMBC Award for Female Author of the Year, the recipient of the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE, the recipient of the 1998 First-Time Author Award from Chicago’s Black History Month Book Fair and Conference, and in 2001, Kimberla was inducted into the Rock Valley College Alumni Hall of Fame (Rockford, IL).

Each of Kimberla’s novels deal with very real issues, including corruption within the church, drug addiction, gambling addiction, infidelity, social status, single motherhood, infertility, sibling rivalry and jealousy, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness, care-giving of a parent, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, and overweight issues to name a few.

Kimberla resides in Illinois with her husband, Will. Her 22nd title, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL was released June 9, 2015.


BPM: Share with us your personal journey into publishing. Was this a fun time in your life?
Writing was not a lifelong dream of mine, however, back in April 1995 I sat down and began writing my debut novel, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. It took me about seven months to complete, and I then began querying literary agents in search for representation. I was rejected by all of them. Finally, I submitted query letters directly to editors at publishing houses and received rejection letters from them as well. This is when my husband suggested that I start my own company to self-publish my book, and I did. My mom kept telling me not to give up also. As it turned out, I learned a wealth of important and very helpful information about the business of publishing, and I sold just over 10,000 copies within the first 6 months of publication. This was truly a fun and exciting time in my life.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
My mother and my maternal grandmother were two of the kindest and wisest women I have ever known, and they began instilling a certain level of Christian and family values and wisdom in me from the time I was a small girl. Even after all the rejections, my mom told me I shouldn’t give up (I miss her tremendously), and my husband continues to be my biggest encourager and supporter as well.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I believe my literary work speaks to everyone in one way or another. I write about real-life social issues that can and do affect all human beings. Corruption within the church, infidelity, domestic violence, drug addiction, gambling addiction, adult sibling rivalry, care-giving of a terminally-ill parent, childhood sexual abuse, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, social status, overweight issues, and the list goes on. There is also always some level of redemption and forgiveness in every single book I write. I don't consider myself to be a role model per se, but if someone does in fact view me in that manner, my prayer is that I am able to represent myself well, particularly to young people.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
The latest novel is titled The Ultimate Betrayal, which is my 22nd book and the 12th title in my Reverend Curtis Black Series. It was released, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. It’s been four years since twenty-eight-year old Alicia Black, daughter of Reverend Curtis Black, divorced her second husband, the most womanizing and corrupt man she has ever known. Since then, Alicia has been dating her first husband, Phillip Sullivan, a wonderfully kind and true man of God whom she’d hurt terribly by cheating on him. Alicia has worked hard to prove herself worthy of his trust once more, and when he asks her to marry him again, she couldn’t be happier. 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


Return2Sender 
by Curtis Anthony Brittingham, Sr.

Coming Winter 2016

“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!” 

 

 

 


Go On Girl! Book Club - National Chapters

Responses submitted by Willette Hill. Willette is the Corresponding Secretary for the Go On Girl! (GOG) Book Club. As the Corresponding Secretary, Willette writes letters to the authors and publishers based on members' review of the books on the GOG reading list. Willette is the facilitator of the DC1 chapter and is a member of the organization's Executive Committee. She also chairs the book club's National Awareness Committee and is a member of the book club's Reading List Committee. With the exception of a three-year break, she has been a member of GOG since 1993. 

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! When did your group begin, what year? How many members do you have? 
The Go On Girl! Book Club is the largest national reading organization in the U.S. for black women. Our national headquarters are in New York. In 1991, founders Monique Greenwood, Lynda Johnson and Tracy Mitchell-Brown decided to turn their office chat about the latest offerings from Black authors into formal book discussions with their immediate circle of girlfriends in New York City. 

At the end of the club's first year, Evalyn Rose Hamilton relocated from New York to her native Washington, D.C., and the second chapter of the Go On Girl! Book Club was born. Since 1992, more than 30 chapters have sprung up across the country in much the same way — started by former members relocating to new cities or by members' relatives and friends living in other or the same cities. 

Chapters are limited to 12 members to keep meetings intimate and manageable. In 1995, the club became a legally incorporated non-profit organization, and it currently boasts more than 300 members in cities across the country. We currently have chapters in Alabama, California, DC, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington and Virginia. 

The overall agenda, goals and duties of the organization are administered by an executive committee of 10 women: Lynda Johnson (Co-founder/Chair and Media/Author Relations Chair), Vivian Phillips-Husband and Shirley Coker (Co-Chairs); Valeria Porterfield (Recording Secretary); Evalyn Rose Hamilton (Historian); Tracy Grady (Treasurer); Willette Hill (Corresponding Secretary); Elaine Spears (Parliamentarian); Judy Ivory (Membership Chair) and Joyce Williams (Reading List Chair).

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? 

Our purpose: To expand the members' personal literary experience by:
* Reading quality works written by authors of Black African descent
* Reading a selection of titles that vary in genre from new and classic fiction to science-fiction/fantasy and mystery to social commentary and history to autobiographies/biographies

To encourage responsible writing and publishing of literature written by people of Black African descent by:
* Providing book reviews and letters of encouragement to authors and publishers
* Presenting recognition awards for outstanding literary works
* Purchasing books preferably from African-American booksellers
* Supporting literary events
* Making group investments towards worthy literary endeavors

To provide an open forum for the exchange of ideas and opinions by:
* Having monthly book discussions
* Networking with other book clubs and literary organizations

To expose the Black African Diaspora to literature written by people of Black African descent by:
* Sponsoring Junior Go On Girl! book clubs for young girls
* Hosting/sponsoring literary events on our own or jointly with other organizations and institutions
* Sponsoring/supporting Community Literacy Projects

To strengthen the world community's recognition of literature written by people of Black African descent by:
* Partnering with media outlets to showcase Go On Girl! book selections, discussions, and events in print, radio and television

* Maintaining a comprehensive website that features the complete list of Go On Girl! book selections and award winning authors

BPM: Tell us about your members. What is the demographic of your group? How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
GOGs range in age from twentysomething to sixtyplus and they have varied professional backgrounds and personal interests. Each chapter is unique, but what we all share is a love of reading books by authors of the Black diaspora and our love for the Go On Girl sisterhood.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
Our Reading List Committee researches and puts together a list of books it feels will be of interest to our members. Every chapter reads the book assigned for that month. The reading list is created twice a year. While our focus for each meeting is the discussion of that month's book, it is common for members to discuss other books of interest at our meetings. 

We use social media to share our featured books with other readers and members in other GOG chapters. In addition to our organization's website, GOG has a Twitter handle, a Facebook page, a Goodreads page, and a Pinterest page. And we will soon launch a GOG blog.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
GOGs like variety. We have discovered that having books on our reading list from a variety of genres ensures that our members will read books that they might not otherwise read and be introduced to new authors. Our reading list contains titles from the following genre categories: anthology, short story, new author, classic fiction, novel/pop fiction, science-fiction/fantasy, mystery, social commentary, history, and autobiography/biography.

BPM: Do you write and post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
The Corresponding Secretary sends a letter to the author and the publisher. During the chapter meeting, members complete a questionnaire and send it to the Corresponding Secretary. She uses the members' feedback to write a letter to the author and publisher of the book. It's rare that a book on our reading list is disliked by all GOGs. Some books are enjoyed by a majority of GOGs; some books are enjoyed only by a few. When writing to the author, the Corresponding Secretary strives to write a balanced letter. She lets the author know what members liked; she uses phrases such as "we were confused as to why …" or "we weren't clear about …" or "some of our members didn't like …" to let the author know what didn't work for us. Members also post comments on our members-only Facebook page and our members-only Goodreads page. 

BPM: What are you reading now? What books are on your reading schedule?
Our book for September is Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith. This is his first book, so he is our New Author category. His book, as well as all other books, were voted on by our Reading List Committee for our July through December list. October's book will be The Sport of the Gods by Paul Laurence Dunbar in our classic category. November's book will be The Granta Book of the African Short Story by Helon Habila in our anthology category. 

And in December, rounding out the year in our autobiography/biography category will be Eslandia: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson by Barbara Ransby. In October, the Reading List Committee will begin looking for books for our January through July reading list.

BPM: Do you host special events during the year? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?
YES! GOG hosts an annual Author Awards Weekend held in a different city every year and attended by all the chapters in the organization. Members vote for a winning author in two categories: New Author of the Year and Author of the Year. The winning authors are invited to attend our Author Awards Weekend. The chapter(s) in the designated city is our host chapter. At the author awards lunch (or dinner), the authors are given a handmade plaque especially designed for them. 

Our Author Awards Weekend serves two purposes: it gives our members a chance to express our love and appreciation to the winning authors, and it provides all the chapters a chance to get together to meet/greet and express love for our literary sisterhood. Interviews of our winning authors are published in an annual GOG Magajournal and distributed to our members. 

In between the author awards luncheon or dinner, GOGs enjoy the hospitality and activities that our host chapters plan for us. In 2016, we're excited to be celebrating our 24th Annual Awards Weekend and our 25th Anniversary as a book club in New Orleans, June 2-5. Our website, www.GoOnGirl.org has the details. 

Many of our members socialize outside of our book club meetings. Chapter members also attend author readings and signings in their area to support our writers. For the past two years we have worked collectively with the NAACP by reading, reviewing, and voting for books being considered for their Literary Image Awards. Some of the authors on our reading list were discovered from participating in this project.

BPM: Which is the preferred way to find new books: a friend's recommendation; on social media; or advertisement for the book, such as: online radio, newsletter eblast, contests or tagging on FB?
Members of the Reading List Committee use any and all resources available to find books for our reading list. We scour the internet, read book reviews in magazines (online and paper), listen to interviews and check literary websites, publisher websites, blogs, etc. Sometimes we get book recommendations from GOGs, friends; sometimes authors reach out to us. We're forever searching for that next good book.

BPM: Would you like to chat with your favorite authors on Skype, FaceTime or over the phone? 

YES! GOG has a public Facebook page, as well as a GOG-only page and our members post comments about the books we're reading. We also have a Goodreads page and a Pinterest page. Last but not least, GOGs tweet. Chapters have invited authors to book club meetings and have had phone discussions with authors as well. 

BPM: How can we follow you online? 
Our website:  http:// www.GoOnGirl.org 
Follow us on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/gogbookclub 
Our Facebook page:  http:// www.facebook.com/GoOnGirlBookClub 
Our Goodreads page:  http:// www.goodreads.com/group/show/31026-go-on-girl-book-club 

 

 



Keisha the Librarian - Suburban Chicago

Keisha Hester is a librarian residing in Chicago. She connects readers with books on a daily basis, and is in the process of writing of her first novel. 

BPM: Please tell us about your work in the library. Are libraries still connecting readers with books?
KH: I’m currently a department manager in a suburban Chicago public library, overseeing instruction and research services for teens and adults. Part of that work is connecting readers with books (readers’ advisory) and leading book discussions. I also schedule classes and events for teens and adults, which includes bringing in instructors to teach our fiction writing classes. 

If nothing else, our library has books. This is not true in some cases, as budgets have fallen and no purchases of newer materials can be made. However, though we cannot buy every book ever printed, we are tapped into a network of libraries throughout the state and country and are likely to be able to obtain material for the reader. Furthermore, we are likely to know about forthcoming books and can put the reader on alert for it once they are published.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?

KH: Certainly we expect that everyone has read the book, even if they don’t like it. Far too often we think we have to like a book, agree with it 100%, in order to discuss it. In actuality, those who have some parts with which they disagree feed into the discussion, because more facets to the story come about to consider. Reading guides help to get a discussion started, however those questions tend to be more esoteric than anything. When we read books, we want to connect the story to our lives, our own experiences, no matter how fictional. We insert ourselves into the plot lines and begin thinking about the character’s next move as if the character were us. Reading guide questions, I’ve found, don’t really delve this deeply into the personal aspects of connecting the reader to the story.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?

KH: Decide the ground rules from day one. If your group will actually discuss the book at length, then requirement number one is that everyone reads it. If it will be more social in nature, then pick books that are light and quicker to read. Also, feel free to totally judge a book by its cover! If it is aesthetically appealing to you, chances are higher that you will read it to completion.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors?

KH: My only preference for the type of book that I read is that it is a good story. Everything that I read, whether personally or professionally, helps me to connect readers with books they might like. It’s what being a librarian is about. I have chosen not to specialize in one genre because I just love reading. There are so many ways to tell a story and I don’t want to miss out! I absolutely support self-published authors, though I wish more of them would take the time to understand what makes a book publishable. Sadly, many that we receive as donations for our collection have failed to go through any creditable editing process. They don’t understand that it’s more than just writing it and selling it on Amazon through CreateSpace. While I don’t want to be a book snob, I want self-published authors to realize that there are publishing standards that apply no matter how the book was produced. When those standards are followed, it adds an air of authority that the book will stand the test of time and continue to be read many, many years into the future.

BPM: Do you host special events during the year?

KH: We sure do! My library offers two writing classes, one for beginners and one for more seasoned writers, both hosted by award-winning, national bestselling authors. These courses help people to find their voice and tell their story. We will also host author showcases and other literary events to get people interested in other authors.

BPM: Which is your preferred way to find new books?
KH: I don’t have a preferred method, as working in a library affords me the opportunity to get pre-publishing information on lots of great titles. We are always talking about books. My patrons will also come in and tell me about books they’ve read and ask for others by certain authors.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore?  
KH: I primarily get my books through the library! I will purchase those that have made the greatest impact on my life that I would want to read again and again. And as much as I want everyone to go out and purchase the book from the author so that the author makes a sale, this just isn’t possible for everyone to do. So libraries stand in that gap. You may have a library patron who has to make the choice between buying a book or buying food. It doesn’t mean that this person forgoes all pleasures of life, including reading, but that there are other decisions to be made from the choices at hand. Being able to borrow a book from the library still exposes the reader to great writers, and is a way to track how many times that book has been shared. We do sometimes turn this data around and approach publishers, and authors, with it letting them know there is a demand for a particular work. We will also use this data to bring the author into the library for an event or class, giving them more of a platform to share their work.

BPM: How do ebooks play into this? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
KH: Libraries now offer ebooks through various platforms to patrons, though not every ebook is available for libraries to purchase. The publishers have placed certain restrictions on their digital works, which is unfortunate. Personally, I would never stop buying printed books. Here’s why: you don’t actually own the digital book itself in some cases. Publishers can essentially encrypt files to self-destruct after a certain time period, as it were, which is what happens when you borrow it from a library. After the loan period is up, you can no longer access the ebook unless you check it out again. And the platform that you use to access that ebook could also go away. What would you do with the files then, if the platform used to access them no longer existed? With the printed word, all you have to do is go to your book shelf, pull it off, sit down, and read!

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions?
KH: I would love to be part of future events! Please do invite me.
Instagram: thatotherkeisha
Facebook: www.facebook.com/keisha.thelibrarian

 




Books and Booze - Chicago 

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! What is the name? Where are you located? 
I'm Lutisha Bass from the Books and Booze Book Club. We are based in Chicago, IL. A few of us have known each other for years and knew we shared a love for reading. One day our founder, Jomonique Moore, posted a request online asking anyone if they'd be interested in forming a book club. The response was great and we've been meeting ever since. That was over a year ago to date. Our first meeting was Aug 2014. We have 62 online members that join our chats via social media. However, we have 15 members who come out face-to-face every meeting. We have not elected any officials for the group. 

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group?  
A: The genre of our books vary. I would like to see our group venture off into possibly making our own 'books n'booze guide to 'Owning your own kind of beautiful, self love and empowering women' kind of guide. Some of the experiences we've shared with each other has the capability to reach other women in a positive way. I really don't know if the types books have change over time.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? 
A: Primary way to find a book: Usually I stick with the authors of books that I've previously read and enjoyed BUT if I step outside of that norm I seek the recommendations of friends/associates whose opinions I value.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? 
A: Our next read is Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely. How we work is, the person who chooses to host the meeting at their home chooses the book. We never know exactly why they pick certain books unless they share at the meeting. Also, so far, we don't have a reading schedule. Everyone likes the element of surprise of not knowing what's coming next. 

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
A: Great characters will help a book remain in the mind long after the last page. If you can't remember the characters you are less likely to remember what they did. 

BPM: Do you host special events during the year? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?
A: We don't host special events outside of our reading meetings. However, many of our members belong to other groups. We try to support our members in their other endeavors. It is always great to show support to our artists, musicians, and other authors of the group. We are planning to host an annual summer picnic for family and friends of Books and Booze.  

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them?
A: The only problem we've faced is scheduling our meetings. With everyone leading fruitful and busy lives everyone is not always available. We are now trying to be a static date, like the last Sunday every other month, to meet so people can plan their lives around the block club date.

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions?
I would love to be part of future events! Please do invite me.

 

 

 

 


TaNisha Webb - KC Girlfriends Book Club 

TaNisha Webb is the president of the award winning KC Girlfriends Book Club. TaNisha is also the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Book Club 101 Magazine, founder of Book Club 101 University and author of The Ultimate Book Club Experience: How to Create & Maintain a Successful Book Club.

BPM: Please tell us about your blog, bookstore or book club! Where are you located? 
KC Girlfriends Book Club is located in the Kansas City Metropolitan area. Our book club was established in 2002 by a group of girlfriends that decided to create a book club to discuss their favorite authors’ books. In 2003, our book club dwindled down to two members due to various reasons. The sole original member and I decided to advertise the book club on a local social event calendar and our book club grew from two members to forty-one members within one and one-half years. We are now at a comfortable and dedicated twelve members at this time.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events?
The purpose of the KC Girlfriends Book Club is to support new and underexposed authors. The books we discuss have to be written by an African American author or the main character has to be African American. Our book club have supported authors by coordinating literary events and sponsoring book signings in our area.

BPM: What has the main focus become over the years? What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
I believe our main focus over the years has been to shine a spotlight on new and underexposed author by providing years of our book selections on our website, which has provided free marketing for authors. We were also one of the first book clubs to have our own online radio show that provided opportunities for new and underexposed authors a platform to share their work, along with our literary events and sponsored book signing opportunities throughout the years.

BPM: Tell us about your blog and any contributing members. What is the demographic of your group? 
Our group is made up of all women, although we’ve had a few men join our group over the years. The age range of our group is from late-20’s to mid- 50’s.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Has it been difficult to get people to join the group or to stay in the group? 
As a KC Girlfriends Book Club member you have to be able to meet on a regular basis and keep up with the selected reading material. We look for members that is willing to help us coordinate and/or host events as well. Because we have a strong internet presence with our website we do not have any difficulties finding new members. We have an application process to help us initially figure out who would be a good fit for our book club. The applicant is invited to sit into our next book club meeting to see if we all mesh. We only accept fifteen members at one time. 

We’ve had members come and go for personal reasons over the year. Some come back and some don’t. Our former members are still family and are welcome to come back. Ultimately, we’re not concerned how big or small our book club is but more focused on attracting the right members to help sustain our book club for 13+ more years!

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?

The first thing that makes a good book discussion is when all of the members have read the entire book. Regardless if the book is good or bad you really can’t have any discussion if no one has read the entire book. Having a group in various age range also helps with having a great discussion because everyone has different prospective versus a group that’s the same age. Coed book clubs probably have better book clubs than same sex book clubs because men will bring an entirely different prospective to a discussion. 

All good book clubs will generally roam off topic! LOL Generally this happens because we’ll begin to discuss our own personal experience that the book reminded us. These particular part of the discussions actually helps book clubs to become like family because we learn more about one another when we discuss our personal experiences. 

A good facilitator will know when to move the discussion along. For our book club the reading guide doesn’t help our discussions at all because we’re already thinking of questions as we’re reading the book. We’ve never gotten through even half of the questions of a reading guide because we will generally think of better questions to ask, which will take the discussion in an entirely different direction. However, reading guides can be very helpful for new book clubs.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month?  Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?

The past 3-4 years have been rough for our book club due to the poor book selections so this past year we decided to change the way we select books. We now select a book theme/genre and the facilitator has to select three books that fit that particular theme/genre. Our book club then vote on an online poll and whichever book gets the most votes is selected. All of our book club members read outside of our book selection but we do not discuss other books other than our book selection with one another. I generally will share what our book club is reading on the day we meet. All of our book selections are listed on our website as well.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? 
Our book club mainly read books by authors of color but over this past year we have allowed books by other authors as long as the main character is of color. Our main reason for this is because we read new and underexposed authors and sometimes the selections are very slim and we’ve quite frankly have had way too many bad experiences with book selections over the past 3-4 years. 

We do support self-published authors and have had the pleasure of watching many grow into well-established authors over the years. Some of us do borrow books from the library. The library can be a great resource for book clubs and it also helps some of our members that may not be able to afford to purchase books all the time.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read? Have the types of books changed over time?
We read all books except poetry, most autobiographies, erotica and street lit.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? What books are on your reading schedule?
We’re currently reading Supreme Justice by Gary Hardwick. I’m not sure how one of our members heard about this particular book but we’re all connected to social media, attend literary events and also take suggestions from other book clubs and readers. We do not have any other books on our schedule for this year. We will begin selection books for 2016 soon and generally try to have at least four months of books selected at a time.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? What are some things you would like to see at events? Any dislikes? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book?
We like attending book signings, literary festivals and events. Our book club generally learn about new and underexposed authors at various literary events and tend to suggest the books of the authors that we meet and like as book selections.

Honestly, I really think it depends on the type of event on what I like to see. I do like events that introduce new authors that have well-written books. Those are the authors I tend to look for at events and not so much of the well-known authors (outside of the ones that I’m a real fan.) 

I do not like events that are not well balanced and do not understand who their audience is. There’s absolutely no reason to have the majority of panel discussions focused on the publishing industry/marketing when your audience are primarily readers and book clubs. I do like to her authors read from their book but no more than five minutes.

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors? Do you like to find new authors and interact online? 

Interacting with authors on social media has definitely changed my perspective both good and bad. I think some authors share way too much about their personal and sometimes professional issues that have no place on social media and definitely changes my view on them. I’m not interested in knowing every aspect of anyone’s life, including authors. However, there are some authors that give you just enough and are quite pleasant online that enjoy quite a bit. I do like finding new authors and interacting with them online.

BPM: How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?
Website: www.kcgirlfriendsbookclub.com 
Book Club 101 Magazine’s website www.bookclub101mag.com
Twitter: KC_Girlfriends
Instagram: tanishawebb1
Facebook: KCGirlfriendsBookClub

 




Reading with Soul - Columbus, Ohio

BPM:  Please tell us about your bookclub. How did you come together as a group?
My name is Sheryl Towns, President of "Reading With Soul." We are located in Columbus, Ohio. Reading has always been a passion. I had friends, family and co-workers who read all the time. We would share books and discuss them whenever we got together. I was a member of a bookclub previously and I realized I wanted to join another bookclub, but then I choose to start my own. I made fliers, posting them in places where you would see readers (hair salon/work).

In November, 2006 we had our first meeting at Barnes and Noble. We started with five members. Those same five ladies are still members. Our membership has been up and down. Thank God we are blessed to have a total of nine members.

BPM: I love the photos submitted with the interview and how you submitted the interview! 
Thank you.  Each member has answered a question for this interview.  The two pictures shown are from a recent event with author EN Joy and the next photo is from one of our meetings. We had two very special guests, Joy who is an honorary member of our book club and the author of a book we read that recently D. L Augustine. 

BPM: What is the purpose of your organization?
Our purpose is to give back to the community and to read for enjoyment, enrichment and knowledge. -Pat, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
We are in an age range from 40's and up. Some have known each other over the years and become close over time. We all seem so much like family and have a great time during each meeting. You will always feel the love we have for each other.  -Sandy, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Which is the preferred way to find new books: a friend’s recommendation; on social media, or advertisement for a book, such as; online radio, newsletter e-blast, contests or tagging on FaceBook?
My preferred method of finding new books is by going through the books recommended to me on my Kindle e-reader. These selections are based on the types of books that I have purchased previously; I have found a lot of good books that way. However, if I don’t like any of the books recommended to me on the Kindle e-reader; I will ask friends and family about the books they are currently reading or have read in the past. Recently, I have found a couple of good books based on advertisements on my Facebook timeline. -Keisha M. Flood, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
We can read books by any author, but we mostly read authors of color. Yes, I will support self-published authors, yes will borrow from the library as well as downloading onto my Kindle. -Debbie, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
The key factors that I look for and remain long after the last page are, when a book club member relates, and feel happy or sad for a character, or when we want to just say a prayer for when the pain of a character effects our soul.
-JoAnna Clark, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore?
I prefer to read hard copy books, because I prefer to read hard copy books and keep them as keepsakes. The price of the books does not matter to me. I would not stop buying hard copies and I doubt that I would switch to digital books permanently.  -Deanne Payne, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation?
In my opinion a book that contains controversial characters; characters that some will like and others will dislike. I also think the topic of the book will make for good book club conversation.  -Monte, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities?
We haven't hosted any special events yet that invite outside guest. For our charitable giving, and as our way of giving back and supporting the community, since our book club started we have been involved with a homeless family shelter. A couple times a year we purchase food, cook and serve the residents. In addition to that, we donate items and gift cards to this shelter.  -Leslie, Reading with Soul Member




 

 


Chocolate Beauties - Pontiac, Michigan

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! What is the name? Where are you located? 
We are the Chocolate Ceauties Cookclub  located in Pontiac, Michigan.  We were established in 2010 by our president/founder Angela Hunt.  Currently we have 14 members.

BPM: what is the purpose for your organization?
We are a sisterhood of fun loving, reading women.  The Chocolate Beauties purpose:
• To have a strong, positive and divine sisterhood
• To uplift and not tear one another down
• To push each other forward when we are stuck in our situations
• To encourage each other to reach our goals
• To pray for one another
• To fellowship and have fun
• And of course to discuss the book of the month

BPM: Tell us about your members. What is the demographic of your group? 
We are all African American women (single, married, mothers, working, 35 years or older)  Our Group Personality: good hearted, comedians, some what serious – great combination that works together

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Has it been difficult to get people to join the group or to stay in the group? 
New members should love to read, ready to share, ready to have fun, enjoy working with the community and be dedicated.  We try to stay away from negative people.  Our membership goes up and down due to work, schedules and/or loss of interest. There is no online version of the group.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
A good book club conversation is when the whole group has read the book and comes to the meeting ready to share their thoughts, opinions, personal feelings and/or what they thought should have happened in the book. The questions in the back of the book helps, but the members generally come with their set of questions.  Side bar conversations are not allowed in the meeting…..helps to keep the meeting on track.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
• Our books are generally selected by the hostess for the meeting.
• Some members have time to read outside of the book of the month.
• As of today, we do not use social media to share our featured books with other readers.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
• 100% of the books that we read are by authors of color.
• Yes we support self-published authors.
• Yes, some members borrow books from the library.

BPM: What type of books have generated the most interesting discussions? Why?
True, gritty stories (storylines where the members can relate.)

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons?
The Stalker Chronicle Series by Electa Rome Parks;  The Man In 3B, Family Business Series, and the Choir Director Series all by Carl Weber.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book?
We are reading “The Ties That Bind” by Electra Rome Parks. Next readings are selected by the meeting hostess.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? 
We as a group will be attending our 1st book signing on November 8th. However, some members have attended book signings prior to joining the book club.

BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?
No special events are held. However, we held a celebration in July 2015 to celebrate our 5th year anniversary.  Yes, we get together as a group outside of book club meeting to attend other social events and to support fellow book club members in their community activities.

BPM: What is the preferred way to find new book?
Most books are selected/found via book club members or friends.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer to read digital books? Does the price of ebooks play a big part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
Members are responsible for purchasing their books. Most are purchased online and/or in bookstores. Some members use/have the Kindle reader. Cost/price does not play a part in book selection/purchase. Yes, we will continue to purchase printed books.

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them?
We have had an issue with members keeping their personal woes out of the meetings and/or group. Generally the President will have a 1 on 1 with them.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?
• Be patient
• Keep mess and messy people out
• Enjoy the fellowship/sisterhood
• Have fun

BPM: How can we follow you online? 
Facebook: CHOCOLATEBEAUTIES BOOKCLUB


 

 



Sisters With Books - Los Angeles California

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How many members do you have? 
We are "SISTERS WITH BOOKS." We are located in Los Angeles California. Our group began in 1995. A group of black women mainly educators decided they wanted to discuss books after they've read them. On roll, we have 25, we average 15 to 20 every month.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Does the name have a special meaning?
The purpose of our reading club is sisterhood, and to read books written by black women. We have made exceptions: Leonard Pitts, Amy Tan, Daniel Black, and Guy Johnson.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group?
Sisters With Books consist of black women, ages 40's 50's 60's and 70's. We're high energy, love to debate and generous.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? 
We have an open door policy. Our core members have been constant (15 members) we read a book a month, which can be challenging for some women who have younger children. If you're an introvert, Sisters With Books probably is not the group for you.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
A twist in a story leads to a good book club discussion. Loving Donanvan by Bernice Mcfadden, lead to a discussion about our black men, and how so many of them have not been taught. We almost always have "side bars," a OJ SIMPSON TRIAL TERM. Each facilitator is different. We have some pretty creative women, a reading guide is good but not necessary.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? 
We select our books for the next year in November. We don't meet in December, because that month gets busy with holiday activities. When suggesting a book, it should have been read by the person recommending. We have side books that are put on an alternative list. The side books don't necessarily get discussed in our group. Two or three will get together outside the group. Our group of women are just becoming social media friendly.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you borrow books from the library?
Authors of color, absolutely. We feel we're their voice. Pamela Samuels is one of our favorite authors. She has been brave enough to come to our book circle. The library is our friend. It can be costly purchasing a book every month. Most of the women have a Kindle or iPad, but everyone agrees, there's nothing like holding an actual book.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group?  
We love historical fiction, we don't do well with biography, although Dorothy Dandridge was well received. We have a tendency of going back to our favorite authors: Bernice McFadden, Pamela Samuels Young, Ayana Mathis, Pearl Cleage, Anita Buckley, Dolen P. Valdez,Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant. Leonard Pitts, Dwayne Smith, and Daniel Smith. 

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
In "Freeman" the charcter's quest to find his wife.
In "12 Tribes of Hattie" each character could have been a book.
In "Silver Sparrow " we knew of someone living a double life.

BPM: Do you post book reviews? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
Individuals have posted reviews. We give suggestions and identify what we didn't agree with. In 2011, Sisters With Books participated in DIGG INTO BOOKS web show, created by 4 Hearts Productions. It can be found on YouTube

BPM: What type of books have generated the most interesting discussions? Why?
The historical fiction "Wench" was the book we discussed on YouTube slavery vs enslaved. "Gathering of Waters" by Bernice McFadden, spirits, and so many of the women experienced spirits. "Before I Forget" by Leonard Pitts Jr., a Blackman realizing he wasn't a good father.

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons?
FREEMAN by Leonard Pitts Jr.
Before I Forget by Leonard Pitts Jr.
Loving Donovan by Bernice McFadden
What Looks like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? 
We
're reading 40 Acres bybDwayne Smith, a recommendation from a book club member.  Next up: 
1. My Name is Butterfly by Bernice McFadden
2. Murder at Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey
3. Balm by Dolen P. Valdez 

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? 
Love book signings and love to hear the author read from their book. We've had the privilege of having: 
Anita Buckely, Dwayne Smith, Pamela Samuels Young and Eric Jerome Dickey.

BPM: Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?
We've attended Alvin Ailey dance performance of "Stormy Weather" a Lena Horn play.  Attended a garden tour. Attended an opera performance by Lauren Michelle (a book club member's daughter who is scheduled to perform at the DC OPERA HOUSE and ST. LOUIS OPERA HOUSE next year. We're proud! We also attended the Obama Inauguration. 

BPM: Which is the preferred way to find books:  recommendations, social media or advertisements?
Recommendations are how we prefer to select books for the group and personally.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? 
I still support our community black bookstore Esowon. We give them our book list for the year and they will purchase. They also give us a discount. There are some books that can only be bought online.

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them?
One of our original book club members, lost her only child in a horrific car accident. It was in the month of June, she had just retired from teaching, her anniversary week-end and Father's Day.  We rallied around her. There are some books, that are just to difficult for our sister friend to handle. She has started attending book club again. This happened 3 years ago.We had a special meeting just to talk, it was therapeutic. This is an example of how our book club has served many purposes.

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors? 
Social media has not changed me, because I seek out new authors, new books because I love to read!

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?
Do it for the love of the written word, everything else will follow. Respect other points of view. We can agree to disagree.

BPM: Do attend Twitter chats or Facebook chats? Ever viewed a Goggle Hangout or Periscope show? 

Haven't attended chats, would love to Face Time with our favorite authors, such as Bernice Mcfadden and Leonard Pitts Jr.   

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
Sisters With Books' legacy will be black women coming together through adversity as well as celebrating each other.

 

 

 

 


Marcus Book Club - Oakland, CA 


Interview with La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson & Yolanda Smith, (original members) of Marcus Book Club (MBC)

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How did your club get started?
MBC: Marcus Book Club started in August of 1997, in Oakland, CA as a part of Marcus Book Store (the oldest, African American owned bookstore in the nation.) We gathered that first time as a group of 232 readers, divided into 6 “Chapters.”  Each Chapter met once per month, at the book store. Our first book was “My Soul To Keep” by Tananarive Due, who remains a favorite author. Over time the numbers decreased, eliminating the need for Chapters. Today we are 12 – 15 strong and meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Meetings are still held at Marcus Book Store.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Does the name have a special meaning?
MBC: Our book club’s main focus is in alignment with the tradition of Marcus Books; to read and discuss books BY and ABOUT Black People everywhere. The book club has the name of the bookstore, which was named in honor of Marcus Garvey.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
MBC: Our book club is primarily female, black and over the age of 30. We tend to be serious about great literature and sometimes have to remind ourselves to “lighten up” and make some “completely fun” book selections. We enjoy diverse opinions and lively discussions.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
MBC: A good book club discussion usually includes one or all of the following: thoughtful and diverse opinions and perspectives, a moderator who is comfortable with differing ideas and is able to bring in the less talkative members, provocative and interesting discussion questions and FUN!!! 

We often develop our own questions, but have also used reading guides. We allow for “roaming”, particularly when current events connect to our book discussion, and keep the conversation on topic to respect the reason everyone came together – to discuss the book.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
MBC: Each member is responsible for facilitating a discussion. The facilitator selects 2 – 3 books for the group to vote on and the book with the most votes is then read and discussed. We usually do not discuss books outside of our selection, but often recommend books to each other that members are reading outside of the book club. While individual members most definitely share with their networks what we are reading, we do not use social media to do this.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? 
MBC: Yes and Yes again. Occasionally, we read a book by an author who is not Black, but the topic is always about Black people. We support self-published authors. As a book club that originated out of a book store and feel very strongly about supporting independent booksellers, all book club selections are purchased from Marcus Book Store.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
MBC: We read from a variety of genres; ranging from mystery to fantasy. We read both fiction and non-fiction. The only genre that we haven’t read has been romance. This has not changed over time.

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
MBC: The key factor that usually keeps us talking about a book is usually the characters. We also find ourselves referring back to books that were very well written or helped us to see and/or understand something from a new perspective.

BPM: What types of books have generated the most interesting discussions? Why?
MBC: Books that force us to address cultural and societal issues have generated the most interesting discussions because everyone has some level of investment in the topic. It is not out of the ordinary that we will “agree to disagree” during these discussions.

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons?
MBC: This is an avid reader’s least favorite question, with so many wonderful books that have expanded our horizons. Forcing ourselves to pick, here goes….1- Men We Reaped (Jesmyn Ward), 2 -Perfect Peace (Daniel Black), 3- The Warmth of Other Suns (Isabel Wilkerson), 4 – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot), and 5 – Anybody’s Daughter (Pamela Samuels-Young.) 

BPM: What are you reading now? What books are on your reading schedule?
MBC: Right now we are reading Attica Locke’s “Pleasantville.” She has fast become a book club favorite. Up next for us are “Driving The King” by Ravi Howard and an author who is new to the book club, Bryan Stevenson (“Just Mercy.”)

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book?
MBC: Individually and as a book club, we enjoy attending book signings, literary festivals and events. Several of our members are regulars at the National Book Club Convention held in Atlanta and The United California African American Bookclubs “Fall Into Fiction Event” held each September. There is nothing like hearing the author read from the book. It often brings a better understanding of book and/or characters. Raffles and Gift Giveaways at these events are always a PLUS!

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
MBC: We purchase all our book club selections from Marcus Book Store. While most of our members also read digital books outside of the book club we would never consider not buying printed books.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who are in or who might want to start a book club?
MBC: Have fun, give everyone equal voice and be open to reading books you might not choose on your own. There have been many times when we did not like the book and had amazing discussions or developed a different appreciation for the book.

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions? How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?
MBC: We don’t have an online presence separate from the bookstore. Gives us something to consider. In the meantime you can reach us via Marcus Books on Facebook. 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/marcusbooks

Shown in the  First Picture: 
(Left to Right) Standing: Dera Williams, Freda Pleasants, Denise Crawford

(Left to Right) Seated: Yolanda Smith, Iris Brooks

Members not pictured:

Blanche Richardson (founder), Deborah Burton, Tira McDonald, Jim McDonald, Christine Munroe, Barbara Taylor, Phil Wilhite, Bernardean Broadous, Monica Brandon, Lucretia Cotton

 

 

 


Soul Sistahs Book Club - Chattanooga, TN

Soul Sistahs Book Club was founded in 2011 by Kenya Ervin of Chattanooga, TN. Initially comprised of coworkers, membership has been extended to close family and friends that share a passion for books. Soul Sistahs Book Club's mission is to promote literacy and encourage sisterhood among women of all ages and backgrounds through the love of reading and lively conversations.  Interview questions completed by Kenya Ervin, President, Soul Sistahs Book Club.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How many members do you have? 
SSBC: Soul Sistahs Book Club was founded in September 2011 by Kenya Ervin. Currently, we do not have officers assigned, but everyone comes together to get things done. We are located in Chattanooga, TN and we have five active members. Our club was started because I loved to read but I never had anyone to talk to about the books after I finished. I sought out like-minded individuals that were looking for the same thing and a book club was born. 

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole? 
SSBC: Our group consists of professional African-American women in our thirties. We all have extremely different personalities so when we come together, it makes for a very animated discussion. We really enjoy having fun and thought provoking discussions during our meetings.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person?  Do you have an online version of the group?
SSBC: When accepting members into the group, we explain all of our requirements in detail. We look for people that love to read and are willing to commit to attending meetings once per month. Over the years, it has been difficult for people to stay in the group due to their lack of commitment and participation. We do not offer an online version of the book club at this time but we do have dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages to interact with other readers and authors.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
SSBC: In my opinion, being honest and open-minded makes a good book club conversation. Our conversations roam to different topics most of the time but we are usually able to reel everyone back in to finish the topic at hand. We use reading guides for some of our discussions and they can be really helpful in keeping the discussions on track.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? When do you select the books? 
SSBC: When we started the book club, I would search online and best sellers lists to choose our book of the month. I would choose three books and allow my members to vote on the book they would like to read for the following month. Recently, I started a "Book Box". I allow my members to write names of books on a slip of paper and drop it into the box whenever they like. Each month, I draw from the box and that's what we will read. It's been very interesting so far.

BPM: Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month?
SSBC: Absolutely! We're always reading and if someone reads a book that they enjoyed, we love to talk about it and possibly add it as a book of the month selection.

BPM: Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
SSBC: Yes. Twice a month I share what we're reading on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer to read digital books? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
SSBC: We primarily purchase our books online. Most of my members prefer to read digital books. I am still partial to printed books and I will never stop buying them.

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions? How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?
SSBC: Yes to all of the above! We can be reached at the following locations:
Twitter: @BookSistahs
Facebook: www.facebook.com/soulsistahs.bookclub

 

 

 


Book Pearls Book Club- Chester, Virginia 

There are readers, individuals who may casually stroll from series to series as film adaptations have peaked their interest and driven them to the nearest bookstore or library. Then there are literary advocates, individuals who believe that books are as recreational as they are academic and socially impactful; these are individuals who have made it their life's work to foster and nourish the livelihood of literature despite society's shift and focus on media that can be absorbed quickly. 

Opting to combine the base philosophy of literary advocates like herself with her personal beliefs, Yvonne Bailey has founded Book Pearls, a book club devoted to increasing readership within Black communities and uniting women through sisterhood and fellowship. 

The Book Pearls meet monthly to discuss the chosen book of the month. Each discussion is different as these women have chosen to embrace all literary genres. "We love to read all genres, each book that we read carries a different message and has touched our lives in various ways".

Often, the monthly meetings carry the Pearls to various locations within their community and surrounding areas as they believe literature is a moving art form that reflects the world we live in. As the Pearls grow, they hope to become more involved within their local communities and reading communities worldwide. 

Currently, the Book Pearls are reading Crazy Rich Asian by Kevin Kwan. You can join their discussion by liking them on Facebook at Book Pearls.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How many members do you have?
Book Pearls: We are an awesome group of women who love books, family and each other. The name of our book club is Book Pearls and we are located in Chester, Virginia which is located about ten minutes outside of Richmond, Virginia. The group was started in September of 2012 after an interest meeting and as of today we currently have six members.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
Book Pearls: I have the pleasure of knowing five spirited women who not only love me and allow me to be in their presence but also uplift and nourish who i am destined to be. These women share a love of life that only comes around once in a lifetime and I am honored to be a part of their lives. Book Pearls is composed of six strong willed, enjoying life, open-minded women.

BPM: In your opinion what makes a good book club discussion? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
Book Pearls: A good book club discussion should always have you wanting more. As a reader, I am always searching for ways that I can either relate to the characters or the story, in the event i am unable to personally relate to the character or topic of the book then i revel in the opportunity to have been introduced to new ideals. As a group we are always looking to better our discussions by being able to relate or place ourselves in the characters shoes. As the leader I try to keep the discussion on topic as much as I possibly can however, there will be times when it is necessary to go off topic as it relates to either of the members lives or we may just need a moment to vent. I have found in the past that a reading guide can be helpful but it is also intriguing to see what questions the host may create as well.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
Book Pearls: Whoever host for that particular month gets to choose the book. This gives each member a voice and a chance to pick a book they may have been wanting to read for some time. We generally do not read and discuss books outside of our book club pick. We may read other books during the month and suggest them to one another but we do not discuss them. We are currently on Facebook and will be branching out to Instagram and twitter within this month. We share our bookclub meetings as well as our featured books on Facebook.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
Book Pearls: As a group we love our authors of color and try to support them as much as we possibly can but we generally read all authors. We support self-published authors and the public library is our friend.

BPM: Do you write and post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
Book Pearls: We love to write reviews. This allows us to voice our opinion and to give the author honest feedback. As for bad reviews or flopped books, the authors should be told. As readers we pay for a book hoping for the best, in many cases the books turn out to be decent and in the event that is does not, the author needs to know the readers thoughts.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? What books are on your reading schedule?
Book Pearls: We are currently reading, Crazy, Rich, Asians by Kevin Kwan. This book was chosen by Lady Pearl Candice. We choose books on a month to month basis so we do not have a reading schedule.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book?
Book Pearls: Book Pearls love to attend book signings and literary events. We just attended The Black Authors and Readers Rock literary event. While we love self-published authors, we would love to see more known authors at some of these events. 

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who are in or might want to start a book club?

Book Pearls: The biggest advice to give to someone who is wanting to start a book club, Go for it! Life is too short to not live it beautifully, so why wait or let fear cripple you. Call a few friends who share the love of reading and choose a book. If you would like please follow us on Facebook: Book Pearls. Interview submitted by Renee Bailey, president of Book Pearls Bookclub.

 



Mocha Girls Read Book Club 

BPM: Please tell us about your book club!  How did your club get started? 
Hi there, I'm Alysia Allen. We are Mocha Girls Read an online and in person book club for Black women. We are located in five cities right now in Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Tempe, Arizona; New Lenox, Illinois and now Waldorf, Maryland. For our members who can’t make a meeting or don’t live near a meeting area they can go online to http://mochagirlsread.com and at http://goodreads.com

Mocha Girls Read started in October, 2011 after I looked all over the internet for a book club, I found two and joined them both. They were good and I have made a few new friends from them. But I noticed one thing about both of them…I was the only black, woman of color, African-American, mocha girl in the clubs. I thought about this for a while and finally said to myself, “Self, there has got to be some sistas in LA who like to read.” After much thought and discussion with family and friends MOCHA GIRLS READ was born. As of today Mocha Girls Read book club has about 2,000 members world wide.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Does the name of the club have a special meaning?
We are a group of black women who love to read, want to read more and meet like-minded women. The books we read range from fiction, self-help, historical romance, best sellers, good ol’ short stories and basically anything we can get our hands on. Mocha Girls Read brings black women in the community together to read great literature, online and in person chit chatting about the monthly selection and a whole lot more. We are different form other book clubs because:

1. We read all genres, by authors of all genders and races, and from any publication date. 
2. We are free to all women.
3. We never close meetings and membership. 
4. We are ageless. We just ask that members under 18 years old have the permission of a parent each month. 

The name of the book club is based on our skin color, our gender and our hobby. Mocha Girls Read.

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
Our main focus has been sisterhood. Our members are so diverse and have various reasons for joining but the end result seems to be the same. We love being in each other company. I hope Mocha Girls Read brings the joy of read to each community and uplifts the Black women in each chapter through fellowship.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
Mocha Girls Read members are all ages. Our youngest member in 21 years old and our oldest is in her 80’s. We have working mom’s, single women, grandmothers and newly weds. We even have a few non Black members who just love what we are about and want to support us in all our efforts. 

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person?
We are an open book club so members can come and go, as they like. We understand life, family, work come first and reading is a past time when permitted. We have two policies about membership. Members never have to host meeting in their homes and you don’t have to read the book to join in. Come as you are. Those two things seem to bring women in to the club (and it’s free) more than anything. 

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
Each month I pick a theme (ie, October’s theme is a scary book), the members then have the chance to nominate one book based on the theme. Then the following week all members get to vote on three titles from the list of nominated books. The book with the most votes wins. We are bookworms so yes we talk about books each of us are reading outside of the book of the month at meeting or other book club gatherings. We are going to start using our social media outlets for more month interactions with members.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you borrow books from the library?
We read books by all authors despite race. So far in our 4 years of reading together we have read books by Chinese-American authors, Indian authors and White authors. To make the book of the month available to all members it has to be in e-book and physical form. Some members share books, buy the books from Amazon, or get them from the library. So anything goes. 

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
We read all genres so that at the end of the year a Mocha Girl has read at least read one non-fiction, one fiction, one poetry and one award-winning book. 

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them?
We have faced some really big challenges with the building of this book club. The location for the Los Angeles chapter is too small and we are desperately seeking a new free venue to hold 40 plus members. The Waldorf chapter is also looking for a place to call home. Other chapters are having a hard time getting members to understand the mission of reading outside of their race. But the big hurdle we have is finding a core group that will be dedicated to the building of the online community. 

BPM: Can we invite you to future events and discussions? How can we follow you online?
Twitter: @mochagirlsread
Website: http://mochagirlsread.com 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/mochagirlsread  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mochagirlsread 

BPM: Thank you Alysia Allen and Classandra "Classy" Green.



 


Unique, Sophisticated, Girlfriends Inspirational Reading & Literary Society 

U.S.G.I.R.L.S. Interview conducted by Founding Members: Karen Lewis, Jennie Blue, Valerie Jefferson and Ardee Harris.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How did your club get started?
Founding Members: Unique, Sophisticated, Girlfriends Inspirational Reading and Literary Society (U.S. G.I.R.L.S.), located in Jacksonville, Florida formed in October 2004.

It all began with an email from founding member, Karen Lewis, in September 2004 entitled: “Calling All Bookworms.” With the new phenomena of book clubs forming throughout the city, Karen visited several, with intentions of joining, but was not impressed with any of them. She called upon her friend, Jennie who was in another book club and her sister-in-law Ardee “Dee” to consider forming a book club. Jennie then called her friend, Valerie who was also in a book club at the time.

Karen hosted our first meeting in October of 2004 with The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips. During this meeting, the four of us formed by-laws for our book club and gave suggestions for a name. We were nameless and simply referred to ourselves as “the book club” until 2007, when Karen came up with our clever name and acronym “U.S. G.I.R.L.S.” During the formation meeting we also agreed that we would not elect officers, and preferred to have the "Founding Members" designated as the governing body. 

We have a membership limit of twelve and currently have nine active members. Last month we lost two members due to job relocations, and created a new non-member title of “permanent visitor.” This title gives these individuals an open invitation to our meetings. 

In addition to the aforementioned Founders, our members are: Bonnie Surrency, Ka Saundra Hosea, Celeste Merrix, Rosalyn Amaro and Sharron Marshall.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Is there something in particular that makes your group/blog different from other groups? Does the name of the club/blog or store have a special meaning?
Founding Members: When we started the book club our purpose was to share our love of reading and have fun while engaging in passionate discussion of books about people of color, with the African-American experience being the common theme. 

U.S.G.I.R.L.S. is different in that we try to keep the focus on actually discussing the book and not let the main agenda be just a social gathering with no book discussion. While keeping our meetings tasteful, we often have lively, thought-provoking discussions while keeping an open mind regarding the topic of the day. We love bringing the readers and the writers together through author participation because often while reading you try to delve into the minds of the writer. Through active participation by the author we get a much better understanding of their thought processes while writing the book. 

We came up with the name U.S. G.I.R.L.S. (Unique, Sophisticated, Girlfriends Inspirational Reading and Literary Society) because it describes just who we are – a unique family of educated and sophisticated women who have an avid love of reading. 

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
Founding Members: As our mission statement says, our main focus is to bring attention to issues of interest to women of color, while encouraging and increasing an appreciation for literature. Over the years we have become more than a book club. We are not only “black women who read” but we are have also extended our involvement through book drives and other community outreach ventures. We feel that those watching in the community see us an active group of black women operating with a spirit of excellence in our endeavor to uplift, inspire, promote and encourage women both young and old, while building lifelong friendships and relationships. 

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole?
Founding Members: We are all professional women of color; our youngest member in her early 40s. We have various undergraduate and graduate degrees, and possess strong, diverse personalities which always make for an interesting meeting. We enjoy debating and agreeing to disagree on various book discussion topics.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? 
Founding Members: Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, a serious reader and recommended by a current member. All applicants must attend a meeting and membership is voted upon by the founding members. We are not a book club that gets together for wine and cheese and the book discussion is secondary. We take our literature seriously. 

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
Founding Members: Our discussions are always engaging and typically stay on point of the current book. At one point the books we were reading centered on discussions about family bloodlines. During those discussions it often came up about family secrets and if it was okay to have family secrets. Those discussions were always interesting, insightful, and debatable. Our group is very conscientious of our time together and holds that time sacred to ensure the discussions are relatable and if we veer off point, the host quickly brings everyone back to the discussion at hand.

The reading guides (when available) are helpful, however we generally either add to the reader’s guide or generate our own. In December 2012, we read The Healing by Jonathan Odell and the hostess developed a reading guide. The guide was sent to Jonathan Odell, who participated via Skype. He was so impressed with the guide that added it to his website, with an “U.S. G.I.R.L.S.” By-line. We were very excited.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
Founding Members: Each book club member selects the book they are hosting, the club members are responsible for checking the website for the selection as well as checking for the questions at least one week in advance. 

Recently, one of the founding members signed U.S.G.I.R.L.S on Twitter. Prior to our Twitter account we used our personal Twitter accounts to connect with authors and other book clubs. Our book club meets every other month, and takes a sabbatical during the summer. During our off months individually, members often read other books and share at meetings, or utilize that time to research and plan for their meetings.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
Founding Members: Upon inception of the book club, we decided to mainly read books that deal with issues facing African American women and women of color, while at the same time using our book choices as a way to extend our support to black authors. While our preference is to be the audience of black authors, we have read several selections by white authors whose topics were related to the African-American experience. We do and have supported self-published authors, including authors Angelia Vernon Menchan and Shakira R. Thompson. Some of our members choose to borrow books from the library while others prefer purchasing their books, be it e-books or hard cover books.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
Founding Members: U.S. G.I.R.L.S. makes an attempt to read different genres throughout the year to keep our reading experiences exciting. By allowing each member/hostess to choose the genre of book up for discussion, our varying literary tastes often open new doors and interests for us. We have read several novels of historical fiction about African-Americans, where it feels as if we are re-living history through the stories and experiencing first-hand what the characters had to endure in the past, however this genre is not our main focus. We also love reading that allows us to travel the world through books, taking us places and allowing us to experience different cultures and traditions via literary travels. 

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
Founding Members: Books that we can connect to will remain on our minds long after the last page. If we can make a connection such as book to self, book to book, or even book to world today. Those are the books that we remember long after the last page is turned.

BPM: Do you write and post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
Founding Members: Individually each member is responsible and asked to post book reviews on Amazon. We have reminders on our website, as well as encourage members to complete the reviews after our meetings. Our group is not shy, and does not hesitate to appropriately rate a book. If a book is bad, our individual members, call it from, 
“ A Sleeper to Wasteful Reading.”

BPM: What type of books have generated the most interesting discussions? Why?
Founding Members: There is not one particular type of book that has generated the most interesting discussions. Strangely, some of our liveliest discussions came from books that many of us really disliked. . I believe that our various backgrounds and life experiences cause differences of opinion whether we are debating about an unliked character or questioning the author’s style of writing and thought process. 

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons?
Founding Members: There have been several books that we have considered 5-star; namely:
* The Healing: Jonathan Odell
* The Supremes at Earl’s All You Can Eat: Edward Kelsey Moore
* Calling Me Home: Julie Kibler
* The Secret of Magic: Deborah Johnson
* Queen Sugar: Natalie Baszile
* Forty Acres: Dwayne Alexander Smith

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? What books are on your reading schedule? 
Founding Members: Our next meeting, will be hosted by Celeste Merrix, and is scheduled for October 3rd at One Ocean Resort located on Jacksonville Beach. This will be our 11th Anniversary and Celeste selected Toni Morrison’s God Help The Child after a very laborious internet search. She read over six before selecting Ms. Morrison’s newest offering. 

Our next hostess, Bonnie Surrency has selected Kimberla Lawson Roby’s The Ultimate Betrayal for our December meeting. We have a library of all the books we have read since our conception on our website.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book?
Founding Members: Many of our members have attended book signings and literary events. We like to meet the authors and have an opportunity for a photo opportunity and to have question and answer sessions with the authors. It’s okay if the author wants to read his or her favorite parts of the book and share why they chose to write certain scenes.

BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?
Founding Members: U.S. G.I.R.L.S. has worked with several non-profit organizations over the years, and have hosted several events. As a group, we have gotten together to socialize with other book clubs and support charitable fund raisers hosted by members.

BPM: Which is the preferred way to find new books: a friend's recommendation; on social media; or advertisement for the book, such as: online radio, newsletter eblast, contests or tagging on FB?
Founding Members: I think that the best way to find new books is on a friend’s recommendation. We check out different book sites that will recommend books, but the best books are the ones that someone we know has already read or recommended.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer to read digital books? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
Founding Members: Our group is very diverse in how we purchase books. Some members make a point to visit local Libraries, most purchase e-books, while others prefer having hardbacks. Often when a local author is invited, each member purchases a hard copy to have signed by the author. As an example, a hostess gift of a signed hard copy of “Forty Acres” was presented to the host, when a member purchased the hard back, and requested the author personally sign and ship back in time for the meeting. I can say at each meeting, all three methods are seen, library, e-books, and hardbacks. I can say our group will never stop buying printed copies.

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them?
Founding Members: We faced the serious illness and passing of one of our members recently. We watched our member/sister’s health deteriorate for almost two years as she battled lung cancer. She was very private about her illness and although it was difficult, we all respected her decision to remain private. After she transitioned in February of 2014, we remembered her at our next meeting with a vacant chair, balloon release and a pictorial tribute on our website. 

Fortunately, we have not faced any challenges that relate to membership or membership discord. 

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors? Do you like to find new authors and interact online? 
Founding Members: Yes, social media has had an impact on our viewpoints about certain authors. Some authors are very receptive when reaching out for book club meeting interaction, and some are not. I remember one incident where we reached out to an author, and he committed to participating via Skype, however when the designated time arrived, we could not reach him. He never sent us an email as to what happened and it did leave U.S. G.I.R.L.S slightly disenchanted to say the least. 

We have found that newer authors are more receptive to book club interactions vs. veteran authors. This is by no means a “snub” to seasoned authors, but an observation that maybe they should be more receptive to their core market.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?
Founding Members: Remember to have fun, plan your meetings months in advance, prepare discussion questions, invite guests, invite authors, and again have fun. We look forward to our book club meetings because we all share a love for reading and discussing books.

BPM: Do you attend Twitter chats or Facebook chats? Have you ever viewed a Goggle Hangout or Periscope show? Would you like to chat with your favorite authors on Skype, FaceTime or over the phone? 
Founding Members: We have not participated in any chats; however we have had several authors Skype or phone into our meetings. The first author to join our meeting (prior to our current technological advances) via telephone was L.Y. Marlow in November of 2007. Since that time, the following authors have joined our meetings via Skype: Jonathan Odell, The Healing; Julie Kibler, Calling Me Home; Deborah Johnson, The Secret of Magic; and Dwayne Alexander Smith, Forty Acres.

We have also had local independent authors Angelia Vernon Menchan, Glowing Embers in a Dying Fire and Shakira R. Thompson, High Noon Justice, physically join our meetings

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions? How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?
Founding Members: Yes, U.S. G.I.R.L.S. would love to be invited to future events. Our follow, website and contact information are below:
Twitter: @usgirls2004
Website: http://usgirls04.wix.com/usgirls

Founding members in collage photo from top left: Karen Lewis and Ardee “Dee” Harris; bottom left: Valerie Jefferson and Jennie “JayBee” Blue

Please feel free to connect with U.S. G.I.R.L.S. online
Thank you,
Karen Lewis
Jennie "JayBee" Blue
Valerie Jefferson
Ardee "Dee" Harris

 

 

 

 


Real Divas Read and More, Social Club - Conley Georgia

BPM: Please tell us about your reading group!  How did your club get started? 
The Real Divas Read & More Social Club, located in Conley Georgia, began in 2013, and currently has 10 members. The conception of RDR was an idea that Diva Wanda established, after not receiving the fulfillment and satisfaction that she truly desired out of other groups, therefore; she blended her love of reading and interacting with other women that shares the same passion as she does. 

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Is there something in particular that makes your group different from other groups? Does the name of the club have a special meaning? 
The RDR social club was conceived, to build everlasting friendships with beautiful women who are ambitious, hardworking, optimistic, passionate and enthusiastic about life and reading. As a “Sisterhood”, our book club signifies the words of our mission statement as follows: “Enlightening, Uplifting, and Empowering Women through Fellowship, Service and Support”. The women of this group portray a more positive, sisterly and supportive attitudes with one another to debunk the myths about all of us being catty and confrontational, which ideally sets us apart from groups.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole? 
The demographics of the RDR are all women between the ages of 33 to 55. The personality of the group is that of Performing. This is a stage of a fully functional group where members see themselves as a group and get involved in the task. Each person makes a contribution and the authority figure is also seen as a part of the group. Group norms are followed and collective pressure is exerted to ensure the Process of Group effectiveness.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Do you have an online version of the group? 
The Real Divas Read is a social club with a flair for reading, with that being said we welcome women who are authentic. They must enjoy participating in community awareness events, social events, and of course have a passion for reading. We would like to have divas that have the time, dedication, and openness to be a part of our club. Life happens to all of us, therefore ones priorities change because of circumstance, so we understand when a diva wants to leave the group. Ladies do request to be a part of the group all the time. We utilize Meetup as a way to invite potential divas to be a part of our club. Meetup and our Real Divas Read Facebook page are the two ways women who are interested can learn more about our group.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion? 
To have a good book club conversation, foremost you must have read the book to be a part of the discussion. Stating open ended questions will keep the dialog going instead of asking yes/no questions. A character analysis of the main character(s), would allow the readers to see how their views may differ from that of other readers. Also asking readers if they can relate to any of the characters will allow the conversation to flow.

It is best to keep the conversation on topic to allow time for the book to be discussed in detail. Although at times it’s easy to get off the subject, but try to keep it to a minimum amount of time.

Yes, a reading guide does help. Often the guide assists in posing questions that the reader would not have thought of, and it helps with the flow of the book discussion.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers? 
We individually select a book we think will be interesting for the group to read for the month, when the prologue is read out loud on a few of the selections, we vote, and then the decision is made.
Some Divas are avid readers, yes some read additional books but the Divas only discuss our book once a month in our intimate setting.

Yes. We are on social media on Meetup.com and Facebook.com. Search for us at (Real Divas Read & More Social Club), we encourage others to see what we are reading and attend a meeting if they are interested.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library? 
We actually don't have a preference, however, the topic and delivery (whether Fiction or Non Fiction) plays a big part in our selection of authors. Yes. Absolutely, we do support self-published authors. We have read and met a number of Authors who have written and published their own novels. We love to see authors promote their literary work. 

Yes. Currently they are a few of our members that borrow their books from the library.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? What books are on your reading schedule? 
The group is currently reading My Wife’s Lover by RM Johnson. A few of the Divas met the author at the National Book Club conference; he introduced his novel and was invited to be our guest at our October meeting. Unfortunately; this will be our last book for the year as the holidays are approaching, but the club will resume again beginning a new year in January 2016.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book? 
Several of the Divas had the privilege of attending the “The World's Largest Book Club Meeting” The National Book Club Conference. Attending events like this gave us the opportunity to see famous authors and interact with other book clubs who shared the same passion in reading as we did. The conference included everything and much more, that consisted of numerous book club meetings, panel discussions and other events that gave readers face time with the authors of their choice. It was a great forum to offer authors, both newly published and established an opportunity to interact, both formally and casually, with so many fans. There were breakout sessions at the conference in which the audience was given the opportunity to listen to authors reading from their books. As the reader, hearing the author's voice adds a wonderful dimension to the words of the story.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer to read digital books? Does the price of ebooks play a part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books? 
The days of purchasing printed/hard copy books has become obsolete, but in order to support authors that are invited to our meetings we do support them by purchasing their novel and having it signed. Although, the price is cheaper that is not our deciding factor. Ebooks come in to play because they are convenient. A member can log on from any device to enjoy a great read on a tablet, phone or desktop at work. Being avid readers who may travel a lot, digital books provide the convenience (no packing) of having several books on hand at once not to mention purchasing a book in a matter of seconds.

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them? 
Yes. We have faced challenges as a group. We all are from different cultures, back grounds and upbringings. Being in a group especially with deferent personalities, it can be quite challenging to agree on one thing and communicate effectively. All members of RDR have a common goal in which we practice first and foremost, and that is to Encourage, Enlighten and Uplift other woman.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club? 
A book club brings together a group of people to discuss something they all have in common a book everyone has read. Book clubs can be a whole lot of fun and provide a great social outlet. All it takes is a few attentive readers, a book of interest to the group, a place to meet, and a bit of planning and don’t forget the refreshments.

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community? 
The main focus has always been about uplifting and supporting women and we are able to do this through fellowship, services and support of each other and our community. For those watching in the community they can tell we love helping others. Whenever organizations reach out to us (due to prior volunteer work) we are eager to help. We also do not skip out once we have committed to an event even if there is one of us going someone will always be there.

 

 

 

 

 


Intimate Conversation with Soul Sistahs Book Club



Read all of the book club interviews, click here now.

The Soul Sistahs Book Club was founded in 2011 by Kenya Ervin of Chattanooga, TN. Initially comprised of coworkers, membership has been extended to close family and friends that share a passion for books. Soul Sistahs Book Club's mission is to promote literacy and encourage sisterhood among women of all ages and backgrounds through the love of reading and lively conversations. 

BPM: Introduce us to your group. What was the first book you read as a group?
SSBC: Soul Sistahs Book club was founded in September 2011 by Kenya Ervin. Currently, we do not have officers assigned, but everyone comes together to get things done. We are located in Chattanooga, TN and we have seven active members. The first book that we read was G-Spot by Noire. It was a very lively and interesting discussion.

BPM: Why was your organization created? Do you write and post book reviews? Do you host events?
SSBC: Initially, our organization was created because I loved to read and I wanted to discuss what I read with an interested party. Most people that I talked to did not share the same passion that I had for reading. I asked a few coworkers if they would be interested and it took off from there. Now we are a group of sisters that not only share a love of reading, but we share things about our personal lives as well. The members that write book reviews are Kenya Ervin, Shannon Pasley, and Treneka Jackson. Our club anniversary is usually a festive occasion. We have author visits (Tameka Newhouse and Electa Rome Parks), food, entertainment and lots of dancing. We have also hosted other authors during the year. In 2014, I hope that we can have a greater presence in the community.

BPM: What are some of your pet peeves when it comes to book promotions?
SSBC: Flooding our newsfeed and email with their books and flyers. It's ok to post one or two. Anything more than that can become annoying. 

BPM: Do you prefer to only read books written by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? 
SSBC: We try to support all authors but we do prefer authors of color. I think it's easier to identify with the subject matter that's presented by authors of color based on life experiences. We also support self-published authors. 

BPM: Would you ever stop buying printed books? Do you think digital books will ever replace printed books? 
SSBC: I love printed books! I don't believe I will ever stop buying printed books. Although digital books have become very popular, I don't believe they will ever replace printed books. I have several book club members that love digital books and I am slowly embracing them. I love that it allows you to get a book faster than regular mail.

BPM: Does the price of a digital book play a big part in your purchase? 
SSBC: I think the price of a digital book plays a part in my purchase. If the digital copy is the same price as a printed book, I would purchase the printed book instead. I think the free ebooks are a double-edged sword. It's great that the price makes it easier to get books in the hands of more readers but the quality of the material in the books have decreased somewhat.

BPM: Does social media influence your reading selections at all? Would a online radio interview, video chat or Twitter chat influence you enough to purchase a book?
SSBC: Social media is a huge influence on our reading selections. I have chosen several of our book of the month selections based on online radio interviews and Facebook chats. It allows the reader to get up close and personal with an author to see how passionate they are about their work. An author's passion, dedication and great attitude makes us want to support them as much as we can.

President: Kenya Ervin, Soul Sistahs Book Club
Facebook: 
www.facebook.com/soulsistahs.bookclub 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sistah Minds In Motion Book Club - Atlanta, GA

I'm Bobbi Ramey Founder and President of Sistah Minds In Motion Book Club (SMM). 

Sistah Minds In Motions Book Club (SMM) was established in November, 2009 by Bobbi Ramey. The first official book club meeting took place on January 16, 2010. Bobbi Ramey is an avid inspirational reader happily married for almost 16 years with two children. Her idea was to bring together a diverse group of women who enjoy reading and to bond spiritually. She asked her family and friends if they would be interested in joining and the rest is history! SMM was born! SMM is a small African American book club and social organization for positive, spiritual women who enjoy reading.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How did your club get started? 
Sistah Minds In Motion Book Club (SMM) is located in Atlanta, GA. Bobbi Ramey asked family and friends if they would be interested in joining the rest is history! SMM was established in November 2009 by Bobbi Ramey. Our first official book club meeting took place on January 16, 2010. SMM currently has ten members.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Is there something in particular that makes your group different from other groups?  
The purpose of SMM is to advocate sisterhood and share our love for reading with others. To advocate literacy throughout our community with volunteer efforts, to have women contributing to a collection of wisdom with an environment of lively discussions and to build lifelong friendships, to fellowship and host monthly meetings in order to share ideas and dialogue about a variety of books and finally to build strategic relationships, advocate book clubs, African American authors and other literary organizations and events. 

What makes SMM different? SMM values and lives in a manner that shows leadership and respect for all living beings by fostering healthy relationships and mutual respect. To work together as a team to respect opinions and views of others while appreciating and discussing quality literature as well as the power of unity among women. Sistah Minds In Motion Book (SMM) Book Club Enlightens your mind through the power, spirit, soul of sisterhood and reading. SMM means Sistah’s minds forming together in motion to promote one cause.

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
SMM main focus is support surrounding areas charity events. SMM would like to leave a legacy on building strategic, relationships with advocate book clubs, also with African American authors and other literary organizations and events.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole? 
SMM are women that are married, single, employed, in school, educators, working moms, stay-at-home moms and women from all walks of life. The demographics of these ladies are diverse backgrounds located in the surrounding areas of the greater Atlanta area. The ladies of SMM chose to come together to share wisdom, advice, opportunities and discuss the ripples of day to day issues in life.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Do you have an online version of the group?
When accepting new members, SMM looks for members that enjoy reading. Yes and No. Getting people to join is no problem but due to day to day issues, it’s hard for some members to be consistent and they began to drift off. But each former member is still in contact and also friends with SMM book club and they also try to attend events when they are able to. At this time SMM does not have an online group.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers? 
Each member is unique and has the opportunity to choose a book and location once a month. Yes we do discuss other books outside of the book if the month. Yes, SMM posts monthly on Facebook & Twitter for the book of the month.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
Yes, SMM enjoys reading selections by authors of color. Yes, SMM support self-published authors. No, SMM will mostly purchase each book of the month.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? Has this changed over time? 
SMM reads all genres to include Christian fiction, non-fiction, fiction, inspirational, romance and a wide variety of other topics chosen by our members. No, the types of books have not changed over time.

BPM: Do you write and post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
Yes, SMM writes reviews on Amazon.com. SMM really does not write bad reviews, like my mother always said, if you cannot say anything good, do not say nothing at all!

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussions? How can we follow you online?
Yes, SMM would love to be invited to your future events, social media chats and discussions.
Website: http://smmbookclub.com 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sistahmindsinm1 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sistah-Minds-In-Motions-Book-Club-119574314731811/timeline/ 

 

 

 


Prominent Women of Color - Jacksonville, FL 

PWOC or Prominent Women of Color is a group of women dedicated to the exploration of collected written works in all platforms. This a collection of eclectic perspectives dedicated in enhancing the minds of its members and others in the intricate world of literature. PWOC is well versed and well-traveled in all manner of the written word and that devotion is shown in this delicate array of women who make up this sisterhood. 

BPM: Where is your book club located? How many members do you have? 
PWOC is located in Jacksonville, FL and St Mary’s GA. And was formed in 1999 and we currently have 14 members. The purpose of PWOC is to enrich and enhance our knowledge through our love for reading and encourage one another through fellowship. We promote literacy in every way possible.

BPM: How do you make your book selection?
Our BOM (Book of the Month) is chosen by our hostess for that month based on the theme for that month. Yes, several members do read other books and they are shared throughout the month with others in the group. We share our BOM on Social Media monthly and a picture of the current hostess with their chosen book and/or author. We also often Skype with various authors when we have chosen to read their book for that month.

BPM: Do you prefer to read book by authors of color only? What genre does the group prefer?
The majority of the books we read are from authors of color. We do support various self-published authors and often borrow books form the local library. The majority of our members have e-readers, but some still prefer hard copy books. We read books of all genres, we have member that prefer romance, Sci-Fi, murder mystery and others who prefer urban lit and biography. So as you can see, we dabble in all types of genres.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? 
When we hear about a book signing, or literary event we are ecstatic. If it is within a 2 hour driving distance, we are there supporting the author, (we call these Road Trips) We also as a group try to attend most of the literary festivals and events such as Romance Slam Jam, National Book Club Conference, and authors sponsored cruises. These are the things we plan for throughout the year.

BPM: Do you host events throughout the years? Do you get together to socialize outside the meetings? 
We as a book club invite other authors to Jacksonville, and also invite other local book clubs and various book lovers to help the authors promote their books.  

We support local charities such as Clara White Mission where we go and assist in distributing much needed clothing and food. We also donate to local outreach programs for nursing homes in which we supply blankets, pajamas, arts and craft supplies, etc. We donate school supplies to schools in both Jacksonville and Georgia at the beginning of each school year. 

We look forward to attending movies, pool parties, and we have a mother’s day luncheon every year. We also host an annual Christmas party for our book club members and their families. 

BPM: When accepting new members in your book club, what are you looking for in this person? 
We look for a person who is an avid reader and has a genuine love of books. Qualities should include a person who loves to travel, loves to host meetings and has great sense of humor and adventure because we are a unique group of women who have been together for many years. It would take an equally unique person to feel at home in PWOC.

BPM: What has your main focus become over the years regarding your book club?
 Incorporating sisterhood with the love of literature. 

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats and discussion? 
Yes, we look forward to being included in any social media chats and literary events. You can find us at:  https://www.facebook.com/pwoc.jacksonville 

BPM:  Thank you Vanessa Phillips, Karesa Ruffin and Mrs. Nelson for this interview.

 

 

 


The Book Worm Diva's Book Club

Hi I am Shabrika Mitchell, The Secretary/Treasurer of The Book Worm Diva's Book Club. The members consists of Val Hinton as The President, Tamika Cloud as The Vice President, and myself, as The Secretary/Treasurer.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How many members do you have? 
The Book Worm Diva's Book Club is located in Newnan, Georgia. Myself (Shabrika), Val, and Tamika started the club because we all had an interest in reading. We started the club in March, 2010 and we consist of 9 members. 

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Does the name have a special meaning? 
We are a group of women together reading books and doing a lot of things for our community. We are women doing something we enjoy doing. Of course our name has its own special meaning each letter stands for something different. BOOKWORM DIVAS means Brilliant Obedient Observative Kind Women Outstanding Reliable Mindful Dedicated Intelligent Vibrant Awesome Sisterhood...

BPM: What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community? 
We enjoy reading and meeting with authors and helping others and putting smiles on people faces as well. We will be remembered and recognized as those women who did a lot for our community and enjoyed doing it.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Do you have a online version of the group? 
We are looking for a commitment and passion for reading and helping others. We have a probation period before you become a member. Basically a trial period to see if your heart is really in it. We have a Facebook page which is open to the public. 

BPM: Do you host special events? Do you go out together as a group to socialize? 
Yes, we host several events yearly such as an Easter Egg Hunt, Family and Friends Day, Thanksgiving Dinner, and a Christmas Toy Drive. We sometimes do a girls night out or just hang out other times. 

BPM: How do you feel about attending booksignings, literary festivals and events? 
We love attending book signings, literary festivals and events and love meet and greet with Authors. We enjoy hearing the authors reading from their books. 

BPM: What type of books have generated the most interesting discussions?
Romance and Christian reads because they are very interesting and based on real life events and stories. We seem to relate to those topics. 

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who want to start a book club? 
Yes, make sure everyone has love and passion for reading and set goals and achieve them. Also, set rules for everyone to follow and it should help the club last a long time. We are 5 years and counting and we love it!!! 

Interview submitted by: Shabrika Mitchell, Secretary/Treasurer of The BookWorm Diva's BookClub

 

 

 

 


Victorious Ladies Reading Book Club - North Carolina

Michelle Chavis is a native of Brooklyn, New York and now lives in Creedmoor, North Carolina. She has 2 children, Laticia and Trevon. Michelle Chavis is the President of Victorious Ladies Reading Book Club. When she started reading novels it gave her a peace of mind and helped her relax. She has encouraged and helped others to also fall in love with reading. Recently Michelle has become a Total Life Changes (TLC) Representative. Her genuine, honest spirit allows people to feel comfortable talking her about anything. She has also been called a “Life Coach”. She is very passionate about helping people find their true purpose and becoming their best. 

BPM: Please tell us about your book club!  How did your club get started? 
Victorious Ladies Reading is located in the Raleigh/Durham North Carolina area. God gave Lacha Mitchell the vision to start the book club, through that vision we started the Victorious Ladies Reading Book Club. We first met as a group almost a year ago. Our second anniversary is in October. We currently have 10 members. We are group of  beautiful women, of all personalities, that mesh well together.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Does the name have a special meaning? 
I feel the purpose of our organization is to unite monthly and discuss great books and fellowship. I think what makes us different is we are all women of God. The name of our club let's everyone know we are victorious. 

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? 
When I first joined the group the President and Vice President alternated months and picked the books, we now take suggestions from the members. Yes we have read other books that was not the book of the month and had a call to discuss the book. We may post book covers and suggestions on our own Facebook post and share them. 

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you borrow books from the library?
Yes, I prefer to read books by authors of color, but I will read others also. Yes, I support self published authors and I also borrow books from the library. To add to that, I give the library a list of AA authors and their books every quarter for them to add to their selection.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
As a group we read Christian fiction. We did step out this month and read a non- Christian fiction.

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons? 
Mama's Boy and Stand Your Ground. 

BPM: What are you reading now? What books are on your reading schedule?
Jezebel's Daughter, we are hosting the author for our October meeting, Water Colored Pearls is on our reading list. 

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? Do you like to hear the author reading from the book? 
I love attending book signings and literary events. To me, authors are celebrities and I have a chance to meet the person that wrote the wonderful book I love to read. I love hearing their voice as they read from their book. If I have not read it yet, when I do read the book, in my mind I hear their voice.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?
Communication is the key to every relationship, when you have that you will have a successful book club. Be passionate about your membership, participate as much as you can.

 

 

 


Lady LOTUS Book Club - Louisiana


Tammy Washington, Lady LOTUS Bookclub Founder
, is a country girl at heart, with a love for reading that takes her imagination beyond the stars. She is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She is an Early Childhood & Elementary Ed. Curriculum Monitor. 

Tammy has been married to the love of her life, Rod Washington for 17 years. Together they have two delightful and daring boys, and two fun and feisty girls. She says her family is heaven sent and truly her JOY.

She enjoys so many authors and quotes, but she most admires author, Maya Angelou. One of her favorite quotes by Maya Angelou is, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." 

Most of her adult life has been dedicated to mentoring and servicing children and families. Tammy said, this is not just a passion, but her ministry. She loves to encourage others with a famous quote by Dr. Seuss, "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." She shares this quote in an effort to help others embrace who they are in spite of what society says they should be. Tammy's very own quote is, "True beauty begins with the heart and mind, and then flows to be seen through the eyes and smile."

Amanda Presley Lady LOTUS Bookclub Co-Founder,  is somewhat of an Army brat. Both her parents were in the army. She was raised and still lives in Monroe, Louisiana. She currently works at an elementary school as a Pre-K Paraeducator. She has been in this position for the last seven years. Amanda also does after school tutoring through the school's tutoring program. 

Within the last year she has started her own business, a LadyBugz a party supply store. She is praying that her business is successful enough for her to go at it full time. Amanda is a wife and mother. She has been been married to her husband Richard for 11 years. She has three daughters that keep her very busy with various activities. She is very active in the church. She sings in the church singing group and also work with the mentor program. She loves spending time with her family and friends, especially her girls. In her alone time, give her a good book and she is good to go.

BPM: Share with us the history of the organization. How did you get started?  What was the first book that you read as a group? What literary events do you attend each year?
Tammy has always enjoyed reading, but for a short while, she allowed the hustle and bustle of life to pull her away from taking advantage of it more. Her mother-in-law (Barbara) in Shreveport, LA, showed her another level of reading pleasure when she began sharing books that her book club was reading; as well as, inviting her to the meetings and events. Tammy searched the internet and asked around to find a local book club in Monroe, LA, but was unsuccessful. Barbara encouraged Tammy to start her own book club for quite a while. 

It wasn't until Tammy and her friend Amanda, who also has always shared a love of reading, began sharing books. It was shortly afterwards that they then decided to begin a book club together.

The Lady L.O.T.U.S (Loving Others Through United Sisterhood) book club began in July 2013. They are located in Monroe, Louisiana. The Lady L.O.T.U.S book club consists of 20 sisters (members).The first book that they read was "The Reverend's Wife" by Kimberly Lawson Roby. Their first literary event will be the National Book Club Conference to be held in August of theat year.


BPM: Do you host events? Donate to charities or provide any service for the community?
In 2013, the Lady L.O.T.U.S's hosted their 1st annual Christmas Gala, in which they invited three authors and two bookclubs from the surrounding area to attend. During the month of December, Lady L.O.T.U.S. held a book and toy drive for less fortunate families. The toy drive culminated at their Christmas Gala as the guest and authors also donated. They were blessed to surpass their toy-giving goal, and was able to help six families (ranging in size from 4-11 people per family). This year they plan to host an even bigger Christmas event.

Also in 2013, they provided Thanksgiving meals to eight families. The L.O.T.U.S bookclub has also established an annual book club scholarship fund, and in May 2014, awarded financial scholarships to two deserving graduating seniors. The Lady L.O.T.U.S. book club is also planning to do something in support of cancer awarenesss. Members of the bookclub have participated in breast cancer (Susan G. Komen) and Down syndrome (Buddy Walk) walks. They even visit various schools within their community and read to the students. 

BPM: What impact has reading had on your life? Have there been any books that help shape your life? Give us a deeper understanding of how important reading is to you.
Other than the Holy Bible, books and poetry such as those by Maya Angelou, Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison and a host of other books capture Tammy’s undivided attention. These books have helped shape her life because of the reality in the stories. The thought provoking richness in the story lines comes to life. Tammy enjoys Christian Fiction, Poetry, Romance, Suspense and many other genres. 

BPM: What legacy will your bookclub leave for those watching in the community? 
The lesson and legacy that Lady L.O.T.U.S bookclub purposes to leave is that reading is not only an outlet, but can unlock doors in the mind to build, strengthen, and enhance knowledge (spiritually, mentally and academically). They strive to model UNITY and SERVICE to our community. As God allows us to be a blessing to one another, so shall we be to our community.

BPM: How many books do you read in one month? Would you say you read more for escape, for educational purposes or for entertainment? 
The book club reads one to two books a month. Lady L.O.T.U.S, Michelle Esters reads two books a month. She reads for ESCAPE. This is a way for Michelle to get away from life and escape to a new land. 

Amanda may read three to four books a month. She uses reading mainly as an escape and for entertainment.

La-Shondra states, "As a child I used to read for an escape. While "escaping" I felt like I was apart of the book and I could feel and see everything hands on. It gave me hope outside the small town that I lived in. As an adult I read more educational books so I can spiritually and mentally. I enjoying learning new thing about God and myself. I read inspirational books so I can be a better mother, wife and friend." (Lady L.O.T.U.S, La-Shondra Weathersby)

BPM: Do you prefer a hard copy book or a digital book, such as a Kindle book? Do you think digital books will ever replace a printed book? 
Lady L.O.T.U.S, Natasha Bosworth prefers to read digital books because she loves technology. She thinks eventually with the changing times digital books will replace hard copies. 

Tammy loves to read digital books also. However, she does not feel digital books will replace hard copies because of the history, value and appreciation still shown for hard copies.


BPM:  Let's have some fun now!  Finish these fun loving sentences with the question and answer. What's on your nightstand now: 
Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes & Blessings From the Father, by Michelle Larks (Lady L.O.T.U.S, Tammy Washington)

BPM: Favorite book when you were a child:
The giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein as a child& Sweet Valley High Series, by Francine Pascal as a preteen/teen (Lady L.O.T.U.S, Tammy Washington).  A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown and The Shaggy Dog which was one of the Golden Book Series. (Lady L.O.T.U.S, Jamekia Dial-Hunter)

BPM: Book all readers should own excluding the Bible: 
“The Shack”, by William P. Young (Lady L.O.T.U.S. Rose Lee) As a person of deep faith who is constantly striving to develop a deeper, stronger relationship with God and a better understanding of the connection between religion and spirituality, I was both astounded and uplifted by the novel, The Shack, by William P. Young. As stated in an online review: In a world where religion seems to be growing increasingly irrelevant, The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” 

Although the Bible is barely ever mentioned in the novel, the narrative centers on dialogues between Mack, the main character, and three unorthodox characterizations of the Holy Trinity. The answers the main character receives in his quest for understanding both comforted and reiterated to me that God is an ever-present, loving force in our lives, even in the midst of our darkest hours. The sense of peace I felt after reading the novel compelled me to encourage fellow book club members and others I know to read this book. (Lady L.O.T.U.S Rose Lee)

BPM: Book you gave as a gift:
The most recent books gifted are, Taylor’s Strawberry, by Taneka Fuller and Naughty or Nice, by Eric Jerome Dickey.  Taylor’s Strawberry is a book for young children to promote self-awareness, self-confidence and acceptance of oneself no matter what physical flaws exist.  Naughty or Nice is of course an adult novel that I gifted to a friend & bookclub member. (Lady L.O.T.U.S. Tammy)

BPM: Book you most want to read AGAIN much slower, to savor:
Lady L.O.T.U.S, Andresca Moss would read Afterburn by Zane over and over. It’s just simply a good love story even with a sad ending. Also, The Coldest Winter Ever, by Sista Souljah. She loves the raw and gangsta storylines.   Lady L.O.T.U.S, Jacquie Matthews plans to read again The Blessings of Brokeness by Charles Stanley and The Tongue: a Creative Force by Charles Capps.

BPM: Favorite genre, series or sequels:
Andresca’s favorite genre is Erotica and Fifty Shades of Grey is her favorite series. Amanda's favorite genre's are romance, exotica, mystery and drama. Her favorite series are The Westmorelands by Brenda Jackson and The Family Business Series by Carl Weber.  Jacquie’s favorite series is Bride Quartet, by Nora Roberts. Her favorite character is Alex Cross from James Patterson books.  Lady L.O.T.U.S Alecia Murphy’s favorite series include: Kimbela Lawson Roby: Reverend Curtis Black Series and Mary B Morrison: The Darius Jones Series.

BPM: Book that should be a movie or play:
Little Black Girl Lost Series, by Keith Lee Johnson (Lady L.O.T.U.S Adrian Williams)
Mama, by Terry McMillan (Lady L.O.T.U.S Shafonda Kline)
The Gift, by Danielle Steele(Lady L.O.T.U.S La-Shondra Weathersby)

BPM: Name three authors you would like to do a phone chat with this year.
Amanda would love to do a phone chat with: Carl Weber, Lutisha Lovely and Brenda Jackson.
~You can find our group on Facebook as, Lady LOTUS Bookclub
~Website is currently being created at this time. Update will come soon.

Again, thank you so kindly for allowing us the opportunity to share our group with you and the rest of the reading world.

Second Photo:  Lady LOTUS Book Club Leaders
Tammy Washington, President
Amanda Presley, Vice President
 

 

 


Round Table Readers Literary Book Club - Danville, VA

The Round Table Readers were founded by La Sheera Lee. The book club is located in Danville, VA. The group was founded on the principles of spreading literacy, fostering sisterhood, and assisting their local community. 

The Round Table Readers has hosted three events to date. Each event presented their local communities with the opportunity to meet their favorite authors and to learn about the world of publishing. The literary events have also served their communities. One event featuring Zane, raised funds for a Breast Cancer Survivor. Attendees of other events, have donated can goods and school supplies for admission. 

The Round Table Readers also likes to connect with other book clubs. The Sisters of the Red Tent, Sistahs of Urban Literature, and Victorious Ladies of Reading are all considered their sister book club. The Round Table Readers have enjoyed organizing book club events with these wonderful ladies! 

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How did your club get started? 
The Round Table Readers were founded by La Sheera Lee. The book club is located in Danville, VA. The group was founded in 2010. Currently, we have eight members. There names are Tora Ballard, Latonya Terry, Hannah Lee, Kay Edmondson, Traci White- Williams, Twozynn McGhgee and Joyce Laverne Mayo. 

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors?
Generally speaking, the majority of the books we read are from authors of color. We have hosted several self-published authors at our book clubs and literary events.

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about authors? Do you like to find new authors and interact online? 
Social media has forever changed the literary landscape. Authors, book clubs, readers are able to engage and discuss books. Video sharing platforms have also made it easier for readers to virtually host authors for meetings etc. 

However, I think that authors need to be mindful of comments or pics presented online. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions. However, if you are a public figure, you must be mindful of the impact your actions might have own your readership. 

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? 
The group was founded on the principles of spreading literacy, fostering sisterhood, and assisting their local community. 

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club?
It is essential for all members to respect the time and opinions of all members. It is also important to make sure you have members who personalities click. 

BPM: Can we invite you to future events and discussions? How can we follow you online?
Contact Round Table Readers Literary Book Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Round-Table-Readers-Literary-Book-Club-130723156983225 

Contact La Sheera Lee, Founder Read You Later Communications: 
http://www.readyoulater.net  
https://twitter.com/readyoulater 
https://www.facebook.com/lasheera.lee
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/readyoulater 

 

 



Girl Fridayz Book Club - Buffalo, New York

BPM:  Give us the history on your organization. How many members do you have?
The Girl Fridayz Book Club was conceived in August 2005 out of the founder’s love of reading. She brought together a group of “sisters” who also have a love of reading and on September 30, 2005, the Girl Fridayz Book Club was born. We meet the last Friday of each month with different members hosting the meeting. The founder’s name is Karyn Davis and she and the other members of the book club reside in Buffalo, New York. We currently have ten active members.

BPM:  What is the misson for your organization? Do you host events during the year?
The main purpose of our book club is to strengthen our passion for reading, share our faith, explore quality works by African-American authors, share ideas and opinions and fellowship with like-minded friends. We have supported authors who have come to our city for book signings/workshops (Virginia DeBerry, Kayla Perrin and Beverly Jenkins), as well as other book clubs who host authors. Also, at least once a year, we contribute to a young adult pursuing his/her dreams. This year we contributed to a young athlete so that she would be able to attend the regionals for track and field. Last year, we contributed to a young lady’s fundraising efforts for Jabberwock, an evening of elegance and entertainment that showcases the gifts and talents of the young women participating in the program while advancing the goals and objectives of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s scholarship program.

BPM:  Has there been any books that helped shape your life or gave you inspiration?
Yes, there have been several, The Allure by Jackie King-Scott, Perfect Peace by Daniel Black, The Deal, the Dance and the Devil by Victoria Christopher Murray and Redeeming Waters by Vanessa Davis Griggs. There seemed to be a common factor in these books; that being the character(s) had life-changing decisions to make and the decisions they made had a huge impact on the lives of their loved one. The decisions made by these character(s) resulted in lengthy discussions and caused us to take a hard look at the decisions we make sometimes and how we want to make better decisions for ourselves and our loved ones while always keeping God in the mix.

BPM:  Do you feel as if African Americans are represented in a good light in the novels you read?
Our book club read mostly African-American Christian fiction. Although some of the characters get themselves into situations that are not very Christian-like, they usually find their way out through prayer and a willingness to do what is right. What we feel puts African Americans in a bad light is when characters consciously conduct themselves in a certain way without thought of consequences and repercussions.

BPM:  Do you think digital books will ever replace a printed book? Does the price of eBooks play a big part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
We don’t believe that digital books will ever replace a printed book. We love to be able to turn the pages in the book and most of our members will not purchase a e-book priced more than $5.00 The majority of our members will NEVER stop buying printed books and the only way we could be forced to not buy them is if they stopped selling them.

BPM:  What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?
Our book club would like to leave a legacy of improving literacy in our community. For those watching in the community, we hope they will see us as Christian women who were consistent in trying to teach the community, especially children the importance of reading.

BPM:   How may we find out more about your club? 
Please visit our Facebook, GirlFridayz BookClub. We are currently putting together a website, but in the meantime, if anyone needs more information about our book club or just needs to contact us, please contact Karyn Davis on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/girlfridayz.bookclub

 

 


Book Referees Founder Orsayor L. Simmons 

Orsayor L. Simmons is the founder of Book Referees. Book Referees spotlights/reviews/promote all genres in the literary world. She is the recipient of the 2013 Top 25 Literary Leader Award - 2014 Top 25 Literary Leader Award (presented by Ella Curry) and 2015 AAMBC Blogger of the Year.

BPM: Please tell us about your blog and review team. How did you get started? 
Book Referees was formed by me (Orsayor L. Simmons) - it was formed to get me amd my book loving friends to read/review/and to spread the word out about their favorite book.. but now it seems to take on a life of its own. I'm now spreading the word through my blog - interviewing authors - and getting books in the hands of celebrities. The blog continues to grow so now I have added reviewers to my team. Now when readers log on to my blog they are able to read reviews from different perspectives than it being all about me. Because when it boils down to it - it's about the BOOKS!  Books are the common demoninator to bringing us together.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors?
Book Referees read and reviewed all genres!! We also support self-published authors.

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors?
Yes! Social media has changed how I feel about a few authors, but I have learned over the years that I can't hang on every word an author post on Social Media. Authors like anyone else are entitled to their opinions especially if you friend them on their personal page. When it boils down to it - you have to be able to draw a line in the sand. Are you reading to be liked by an author? or Are you reading for the joy of reading? Life is too short to get caught in the "mess" of Social Media.  On the flip side, I have been introduced to some wonderful authors on Social Media. That's life... There's always a good/bad side to things.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? 
Book Referees is here to serve the literary community by being committed to getting word out about the importance of reading, the importance of reviewing, and importance of supporting authors. Book Referees has added promotional services to our services - with over 19,000 followers on Twitter - we are a 24/7 book alert system.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book blog?
Don't let fear stand in your way! Just do it! You won't know everything when you begin your club or blog - but you will learn many new things along the way. Do not ever compare your club to other groups - every book club or blog has something special to offer to the literary community. 

BPM: Can we invite you to future events and discussions? How can we follow you online?
Yes! I would be honored!
Orsayor L. Simmons Contact Information
On the Web - http://www.bookreferees.org 
On Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Orsayor   
Book Referees on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BookReferees 
On LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mrs-simmons/26/904/754 
On Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/OrsayorSimmons 
Book Referees on FB: http://www.facebook.com/TheBookReferees 

 

 




Black PageTurners Founder King Brooks

BPM: Please tell us about your blog and Black Page Turners. How did you get started?
King Brooks: Black Page Turners was formed by me (Cleavester b.k.a. King Brooks) in 2013. Before Black Page Turners, I hosted an online radio show and various other book magazines and websites. I am a team of one. What inspired me to start Black Page Turners was the closing of Black Issues Book Review. I wanted a place where I could come and find out all about African Americans books, publishing info, writer tools, etc. 

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors?
King Brooks: Yes, I love books by black authors and I support self-publish authors that are properly edited.

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors?
King Brooks: No, I have learned how to separate the work from the person. So I want be disappointed. As long as you write a good book. I have no problem with you; but if the book is not good, then we have a problem. In the words of Don Miguel Ruiz "Don't Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." 

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization?
King Brooks: The purpose of Black Page Turners is to inform readers about books written and about African Americans. 

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book blog?
King Brooks: In the famous words of Nike 'Just Do It.' If you are getting into this business to be about yourself or to be famous. Turn and exit now. Be prepared to invest long hours into your blog and be patient. The followers, authors, and publishers don't come over night. If anyone tells you 'No,' don't take it personal. Just keep moving forward and be very creative. 

BPM: Can we invite you to future events and discussions? How can we follow you online?
King Brooks: You can.

Cleavester 'King' Brooks, Publisher/Editor

Website:   http://www.blackpageturners.com
Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/blackpageturners
Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/bpageturners

 

 

 


Diamond's Literary World Literary Blog

BPM: How did your blog, Diamond's Literary World, get started?
One night, my future husband Darrell ( apparently very tired of hearing me go on and on and on about another fictional character) suggested that I start a literary blog, and after much consideration…Diamond's Literary World was created.

BPM: Is there something in particular that makes your blog different from the others? 
I believe Diamond's Literary World is different, because it is not focused on one particular genre. My posts include books and events from several genres, not limited to, but including Christian Fiction, Romance, Urban/Street Lit, Erotica, Biography, Autobiography, Self-Help, Muslim and Crime Fiction. The name Diamond's Literary World is special to me because my knowledge and love of books over the last 35 years, allows me to be a diamond that stands out from the rest.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book conversation? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?
A good book conversation consists of character development, climactic effect and the meat of the book. The ending also plays a large role (i.e. Did the ending surprise you?) Sometimes, it's hard to stay on topic when you have a room full of people who have various emotions about the same scene. Add a little wine, and there's no telling where the conversation may lead.  I, for one, NEVER use the reading guides, because I develop my own questions along the way.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you use social media?
My book selections are determined by my mood. If I'm in a romantic mood, I'll choose Romance. When I need took feed my spirit, I immediately go to something religious based or Christian Fiction. Feeling a little perturbed, Urban/Street Lit is where I turn to. If I feel inspired, I'll reach for a self-help book. Social media has become my outlet when it comes to sharing my featured books with readers, in hopes that they will pick it up, too.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you borrow books from the library?
I will read a good book by anyone who writes a good story…it doesn't necessarily haves to be a person of color. I believed in supporting self-published authors, because so many of them are people I actually know, she's I believe in supporting someone else's dream. You never know if or when you will need someone to support a dream of yours. I have not borrowed a book from the library in over 15 years, because I always end up buying the book for my personal collection. As a matter of fact, I received a library card 3 days ago. It felt kind of weird! LOL.

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
Key factors that always help a book remain on my mind are strong characters, some type of twist and a powerful message. I love a book that I can immediately pull from my mental Rolodex, years down the road. One such book would be The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley, which I read in the 7th grade, along with my classmates. This book depicts the life of a troubled young man who canned from humble beginnings,become a man that not only changed his life, but stood up and made a difference in the world. It blew my young, impressionable mind and remains there to this day.

BPM: Do you post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews?
My book reviews can be found on Amazon, Facebook, WordPress, Goodreads, Shelfari, and Twitter. If a book is mediocre, I will be honest and hope that the author will take my words and use them to improve their craft.

BPM: Can you share a few 5 star books that have expanded your horizon?
I would happy to share Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray, Strongholds by Vanessa Davis Griggs, The Man in 3B by Carl Weber, Silence of the Nine by T. Styles, and Ghetto Bastard by K'wan. They are many more, but these are the first to come to mind.

BPM: What are you reading now? What books are on your reading schedule?
I am currently reading Mama B: A Time for War by Michelle Stimpson. I found out about this book, which is the fifth installment of the Mama B series, from several posts on Facebook. My next read is Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young…another book I found out about on Facebook. I'm actually pretty excited about this upcoming release!

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events?
I love to attend book signings and literary events, because I get to meet new authors, as well as catch up with some veterans. I would like to see more people come out and support these artists, if not financially, then emotionally. Let them know what you thought of their book(s) and encouraged them to keep perfecting their craft. I really don't have any dislikes about events and I really don't mind whether an author reads from his/her but, but it does intrigued the mind sometime.

BPM: What is your preferred way to find new books?
I prefer to find new books from a friend's recommendation and social media.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer digital books? 
I buy books online and at my local African American owned bookstore. I have no preference of digital or printed books, but somehow, I read the digital ones faster. The price of an e-book does not play a part in my purchase.

BPM: Do you attend Twitter chats or Facebook chats? Have you ever viewed a Google Hangout or Periscope show?
I have only attended Facebook chats and never viewed A Hangout or Periscope show. If given the opportunity, I would love to chat with Vanessa Davis Griggs or John Grisham.

BPM: Can we invite you to future social media events and discussions?  
I would love to be invited you anything literary related. I can be found online at this sites:
Website: diamondsliteraryworld.wordpress.com
Twitter: purplepassion802
Facebook: Diamond's Literary World
Goodreads: Diane Rembert

 

 

 


Indulge Book Club 
Micole Marbury, Coordinator/Founder


BPM: Give us a little history on your organization, Indulge Book Club.  How many members do you have?
Indulge Book Club was started December 2005. We are located in Washington DC. We currently have ten members. Indulge Coordinator/Founder is Micole Marbury, Secretary is Marcia Horton, Activities Coordinator Latarsha Reid, Photographer Chaquita Goode, Indulge little readers facilitator Mailka Watkins

We started Indulge because we love to read and we wanted an outlet from our daily lives and to fellowship with friends. We are a group of individuals who meet every 1st Sunday at various member homes from 4pm to 6pm for book discussions. We are varied in age and are of numerous backgrounds. We are passionate readers who have been reading together for ten years in December, 2015. 

BPM: What is the mission of the group? Tell us about your work in the community. 
The mission of the group is to free our minds from the stresses of life and indulge ourselves in great books, food and conversation. Indulge was not originally establish for community service purposes but in the upcoming years we plan to start promoting the importance of reading.

BPM: What types of monthly activities do you enjoy as a group? Do you travel?
We meet once a month for our book club meetings. We have activities planned for every three months in the year. We have an annual game night, we see movies together, go to dinner together, and for our 5th Anniversary on went on a cruise on the Odyssey. 

BPM: What impact has reading or being in a organized group had on your life? 
As the Organizer/Founder of Indulge Book Club, it has been a great pleasure to know and meet so many amazing people and to hear there thoughts and emotions. The experience helps us grow as individuals. The books are a bonus

BPM: How do you feel about electronic books such as for the Kindle, Nook or iPad, etc?
These devices are good because it helps the reader now have so many books all over the place. But they do not hold the same substance as books.

BPM: How may we find out more about your club? 
You can contact us at www.Facebook.com/Indulgebookclub,  and (website is under construction www.indulgebookclub.com).  Email us for the mailing address to send books for review.


 

 


Mississippi Magnolias Book Club 

BPM: Introduce us to your group. What was the first book you read as a Group?
MMBC: Mississippi Magnolias Book Club was founded November, 5, 2012 in Gulfport, Mississippi by Antionette Gates, President.  MMBC officers are Antionette Gates, President, Ethel Smith, Vice-President, Taironzika Wesley, Secretary, Angela McNair, Treasurer, Photographers, Lisa Ladner and Kimberly Robins. MMBC currently have ten active members. Our first book read was Money Can’t Buy Love by Connie Briscoe.

BPM: Why was the organization created? Donate to charities or provide any services for the community?
MMBC was created from avid readers that also happen o be members of Unity Festival, Incorporated, a non-profit organization. Yes, a few of us post reviews on Amazon. We contribute to all UFI events throughout the community; Thanksgiving baskets to needy families, books or prizes for the Children’s Book Jamboree, and sponsor Angel Tree children, at Christmas. MMBC members also volunteer at the organizations various functions including the neighborhood Unity Festival in March of each calendar year.

BPM: What type of books does your group read? Are there any genres that you will not read? 
MMBC: Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Erotica and Mysteries are group favorites. Some members thoroughly enjoy paranormal books as well. There is no genre that we absolutely will not read. A book excerpt does not help in the book selection.

BPM: Do you prefer to only read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors?  
MMBC: The majority of books read by MMBC are by authors of color, but books have been chosen by authors who aren’t of color. MMBC members definitely support self-published authors. Any support given self-published authors help promote awareness of the book and enlighten other readers about both the author and their books. This action in turn will someday garner a larger following for the self-published author.

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
MMBC: A few key factors are great characters, realistic problems or events, and a fantastic location.

BPM: What authors have been able to capture your imagination and support far beyond the last page?
MMBC: Authors Beverly Jenkins, Francis Ray, Brenda Jackson, Marissa Monteilh, Janet Evanovich, Kimberly Lawson Roby, Eric Jerome Dickey, and the E. Lynn Harris have created characters with strong personalities, endearing qualities and life situations. They make you wonder about the characters and events they will write about next.

BPM: What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?
MMBC: Our goal is to improve our community through literacy and literature. We hope to bring a sense of joy, hope, and adventure associated with the love of reading, and volunteerism to the youth on the coast. It is our goal to further these efforts in future through a youth reading group or book club.

BPM: How may we find out more about your book club?
MMBC: For more information contact us on Facebook at  Mississippi Magnolias Book Club @ www.facebook.com.


 

 

 


Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned

BPM: Give us the history on your club. How many members do you have? Tell us about the members.
My name is Toshona E. Carter and I am the Founder and President of this great group of women called Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned.  My bookclub got started on July 17, 2010 as a request from some sister friends whom loved to read. They knew I had previously been a member in another club. 

The members names are the following:
LaToshia Enoch-Elston
Cassandra Wallace
Tacarla Young
Jayla Davis
Angela Davis
Erica Whitfield
Jennnifer James
Shantwan Vickers
Shereen Watkins

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events during the year?
Our bookclub focuses on community service. We want to promote literacy and help provide a positive atmosphere for children & families. Also to provide a nuturing environment for all women of color. When were not reading and having a book discussion, we are usually participating in some type of community service project. We recently participated in a homeless facility called the Union Rescue Mission where we packed boxes for families for Thanksgiving.  We also donated to the Ronald McDonald House and  took up a cash donation forThe Salvation Army.

BPM:  Have you always liked to read?  What you love most about reading? Favorite authors? 
I have loved reading since I was a small child. I feel that reading opens your mind to so many possiblities. I do believe knowledge is Power.  Some of my favorite authors include Mary Monroe, Adrienne Thompson, Francis Ray, Terry McMillan, Daniel Black, E.Lynn Harris, Rita Williams- Garcia, Zane, Toni Morrison, and Dr. Maya Angelou.

 

 


 


Coffee Beanz N Readz Book Club 

BPM: Welcome!  Please share with us the history of the organization. How did you get started? 
Hi my name is Sheridan Akens founder of  Coffee Beanz N Readz Book Club but you can call me Mz. Coffee Bean. I was born in Los Angeles  CA. and moved to Texas at an early age. I currently reside in Houston, Texas where I’m raising two beautiful daughters. I’ve always had a strong passion for reading, so it was no surprise when I began my search within the city to find a book club to join. But to my surprise I found this task somewhat challenging. So I decided to do the next best thing and start my own club. 

Because of my cheerful spirit and the strong family-oriented values bestowed upon me, I made the choice of this not being just a club but a SISTAHOOD.  The name Coffee Beanz N Readz was created from my thoughts of snuggling up with a good book and having a smooth cup of coffee.  The two together are a great blend and well the ladies are the whip cream on top. The club is a way for each “Bean” to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A place and time where you can sit, relax and savor a great discussion with your “sisters”. 

Coffee Beanz N Readz Book Club  began in April 2010 in Houston, Texas . The motivating factor to start a club came with the network of the book Push by Sapphire to my co-workers on the job. It was then, that I realized there were many people around me that shared my same passion. I asked co-workers, family and friends to join. We were blessed to have our first meeting with a noted author, Brianne Smith.  Her novel, Ms. Onda-Stould became our first book to read. 

Our family consists of 12 members from different walks of life. And like our background differences, each sister has a nickname derived from different flavors, roasts and blends of coffee (i.e. Mz. Richly Brewed, Mz. Columbian Bean, Mz. Frappuccino and Mz. Premium Roast). We meet every third Saturday of each month. We select a different host each month. The host does make the selection for our “Book of the Month”.   Our reads are compiled from different genres, but  all from African-American Literature.  We are also actively involved in community volunteer events (i.e. Methodist Hospital Stride for Stroke Walk, Walk to Cure Diabetes, Susan G. Komen Walk, etc.).   December 2010 we started our own Adopt-A-Family program in which we were able to make a mother of three, holiday season less stressful.

Beanz Cabinet
Chellsi Akens (Miss Vanilla Bean Whipped) – Spirit Leader
Katashia DeWalt (Mz. Frappuccino) – Administrative Assistant
Sheila Henry (Mz. Café Latte) - Treasurer
Antrese Knighten (Mz. Premium Roast) – Photographer

BPM: What is the vision for Coffee Beanz N Readz Book Club?
Our mission is to enhance our member’s passion for reading and inspire others to appreciate the joy of reading. To promote sisterhood by building lifelong friendships.  To support and  network with African-American authors, while purchasing their books and  attending their literary events. To support our community by volunteering in different organizations. 

BPM: Give us a deeper understanding of how important reading is to you.
Reading will open your eyes to a world you’ve never known. It gives you a world of knowledge, power, relaxation, inspiration, travel, courage, hope, love and much more. Reading is the BEST gift a person can give to themselves.

BPM: On your nightstand now:
The Eternal Engagement by Mary B. Morrison

BPM: Favorite book when you were a child:
Freckle Juice by Judy Blume

BPM: Book you've bought for the cover:
Moth To A Flame by Ashley Antoinette. Those eyes read “something serious is going down – turn the pages and follow me now.”

BPM: Book you most want to read AGAIN much slower, to savor:
72 Hour Hold by Bebe Moore Campbell . This book was very emotional and eye-opening to the issues on mental illness. It also showed the unconditional love a mother has for their child(ren).

BPM: Book that should be a movie or play:
The Million Dollar Divorce by R M Johnson

BPM: Name three authors you would like to do a phone chat with this year.
Mary B. Morrison, Allison Hobbs and Kimberla Lawson Roby

Sheridan Akens, President and Founder Coffee Beanz N Readz Book Club
“Enhancing your passion for reading”
Facebook: www.facebook.com/coffeebeanznreadz

 

 

 

 


Fourth Sunday Book Club - Maryland

A Book Club wrote a book about The Journey of a Book Club. The six authors of Fourth Sunday – The Journey Of A Book Club, Francesca Cook, Chyla Evans, Clarita Frazier, Allita Irby, Donna Neale, and Yolanda Yates are members of a book club based in Maryland. They have been featured in various publications, showcasing their decision to write their own novel.  Add Fourth Sunday – The Journey Of A Book Club to your list of books to read!   What happens when a real life book club decides to write their own novel? The result is a fresh, fun story about a group of women who have more in common than just the books they read.

FOURTH SUNDAY written by B.W. Read (aka “Because We Read” ) is the tale of seven women and their journey towards friendship by way of a simple book club.  Over time, their friendship grows beyond books, as their lives, relationships, careers, and families become one. The core group of women—Gwen, Natalie, Allana, Brianna, Camille, Destiny, and Adriane—shares not only their love of books at these monthly meetings but their life experiences as well.  During a two year period, the women undergo a number of trials within their own lives as they confront divorce, illness, romantic highs and lows, sexual experimentation, and career challenges. Throughout the good times and bad times, their book club family provides support, encouragement, laughter, and love.

Written by six women of a real-life book club who no longer wanted to read about characters they could not identify with, FOURTH SUNDAY is the answer for the everyday woman. FOURTH SUNDAY is timeless cosmopolitan literature.   The novel incorporates intellect and riveting facts about medical, political and small business state of affairs while balancing playfulness and sensuality. It is funny, it is sad, it is contemporary, but most of all it is real.


BPM: Give us a little history on the 4th Sunday Book Club
The 4th Sunday Book Club was founded in the 1994 by six professional African-American women from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area . These women shared a desire to read books of quality and substance and formed a loosely structured book club simply referred as “the book club”.  The objective was to read books written by African-American authors. Over time the club diversified to include at least one non-fiction book per year and has grown beyond solely African-American authored works.

The book club, which met on fourth Sundays, soon found that contemporary literature did not reflect them or their lives. Motivated by this realization, the club began writing its own book. The result is Fourth Sunday: A Journey of Book Club, which was written under the pseudonym B.W. Read and published in May 2011 by Strebor Books for Simon and Shuster. In honor of the success of the book, “the book club” was renamed “4th Sunday Book Club.”

The 4th Sunday Book Club has grown in membership and purpose. The club now has 13 active members. However, it remains an unstructured, intimate club where books are our connection and our bond is our strength.

BPM: In your opinion, why is reading important in our lives?
Reading is important because it exposes us to experiences and information we may not otherwise encounter. Reading helps us to become more educated and well rounded. Books, like "A Wrinkle In Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, influence lives at an early stage and have lasting effects.

BPM: What types of books does your group read? How do you select the featured books?
The club reads11 books per year. At least one non-fiction and a book with a romantic theme or undertone are read each year in February. The club meets only once during the summer months of July and August, for a co-ed meeting where spouses or significant others are invited is held. Books are selected at the January meeting and are selected by consensus. 

BPM: What are you reading now as a group? How did you come by this selection? 
This year’s co-ed book is “Before I Forget” by Leonard Pitts.  The club attempts to select co-ed books that are (1) fiction with contemporary stories and themes that may appeal to the male perspective or (2) non-fiction and address contemporary issues and subject matters. 

BPM: What are your all-time favorite book  selections? 
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, everything written by Tananarive Due, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Red Tent by Anita Diamante, and Topping from Below by Laura Reese to name a few.

BPM: Are you satisfied with the legacy books written by African American authors will leave our future generations?
NO and NO. For the past 20 years or more, books written by black authors that are profiled or placed front and center by bookstores and the media are classified as “Urban Literature.” Most often found under this classification are books that reflect the urban hip-hop culture, baby mama drama, hustler, or mad black woman perspectives that feed the majority’s opinion. Contemporary books are capturing the moment, the flavor of the month, sometimes for shock value. Only a few of these books will be classics 20, 30, years from now. 

Books of depth and substance are painted with this broad monolithic “Urban Literature” brush and are too often looked over when books get promoted. They are ultimately lost to the readers and we are left with a legacy of more widely read black books that stereotype us, our lives, and our desires. 

BPM: Is there anything you would love to see more of in books? 
YES. More diversity including, but not limited to mixed race couples, gay characters that aren't caricatures or stereotypes, people doing meaningful things with their lives that make them happy, and people being accountable for the decisions (good and bad) they make without blaming society, lack of money or their parents.

Interview submitted by Allita Irby, Fourth Sunday Book Club


 

 


Our Reading Circle of Friends - Washington, DC

BPM: Give us a little history on your organization. How many members do you have?
Our Reading Circle of Friends (RCOF) was founded in 1995 by sixteen African American women bound by friendship, a love of reading and a commitment to support African American authors. We all live in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Most of us have been friends for more than 20 years and Circle members for at least 10 years. Seven of the current members are founding members of the Circle! 

BPM: What is the mission of the group? Tell us about your work in the community

Our mission is to: 
· encourage African American women to find time for themselves 
· read and promote books penned by African American authors 
· encourage reading as a lifelong hobby 
· inspire others to read by demonstrating our commitment to literacy 
· heighten awareness of social and cultural issues 
· provide a forum where friends share life lessons 
· share our time and talents with our community 
· serve as activists for social justice 

BPM: How does your book club celebrate special occasions? 
In honor of Valentine's Day, the February gathering is open to men. Each member may invite her spouse, significant other or good friend to attend. The book for Men's Night is selected and moderated by a male guest. 

Each November, we have a special pre-Thanksgiving dinner as we discuss that month's book. It serves as a gentle reminder of all the things for which we are grateful; including one another and our beloved RCOF. 

The RCOF provides opportunities for friends to reconnect, read regularly and reflect as we explore literary works together. Our monthly gatherings allow us to etch out some time for "us" as we share our hopes, dreams and concerns through lively discussions. 

BPM: How are book selected? What happens at a RCOF gathering? 
Individual Circle members make book recommendations to the group. Once the recommendation is made, the group commits to read the selected book. Though we prefer that the books be written by African American authors, we do sometimes read books written by non-African American authors. The Circle member who selects a particular book, serves as the moderator for the discussion of that book and helps members make personal connections with the text. Most times, gatherings are hosted in a member's home. The evening consists of dinner and conversations that are sparked by the book. 

BPM: How does your book club make the connection between the book and real life? 
Each year, after we have read his/her book, one author is selected to join the Circle discussion in person. A few of the authors the Circle has hosted include: A'Lelia Bundles, AJ Verdelle, Pearl Cleage, , Lyah LaFlore, Pearl Cleage, Dr. George Jenkins, Pulitzer Prize winner, Edward P. Jones, The Honorable Kweisi Mfume and Pamela Samuels-Young. In some instances we have even been able to introduce our children to these prominent authors and they have welcomed the opportunity to interact with literary giants they never dreamed that they would meet. 

BPM: WHO'S IN THE PICTURE? 
Front row: Melissa Hinkson*, Denise Simmons, and Karen Murrell 
Second row: Stephanie Fulcher, Robin Evans, DeVon Caldwell-Brown, Deborah Crimes*, and Myla Moss* 
Back row: Shebbie R. Rice*, Joy Jackson*, and Yvette Downs 

BPM: WHO'S MISSING FROM THE PICTURE? 
Trisana Cephas, Ronicsa Chambers, Dana Duncan, Kathryn Keys, Laverne McAllister, Aricka Porter*, Robyn Simmons*, Marchetta Powell, Carolyn Tharpe-Robinson*, and Rhonda White 
* Members since 1995 

 

 

 

 


Smooth Essence Book Club - Orlando, Florida

Smooth Essence Book Club "SEBC" has originated in July, 2012 in Orlando, Florida by a young lady name Deborah "Diva Dee" Walker . This organization is fairly new however the group of women are very close. SEBC is a group of women who has monthly chats and craft sessions of books they have select for that particular month.They cater to African American novels from fiction to non-fiction. They are also in the process of doing community events with women who have survived Domestic Violence. They will be donating used books to the shelters in the Downtown Orlando area for the women who love to read. Smooth Essence Book Club is not only a book club but a group of women who grow and bond together as a whole. 

BPM:  Give us the history on your organization. How many members do you have? 
Prior to this book club, actually me and two other member were in an existing book club but i decided to branch out on my own and start my own club. So in July, 2012 SEBC came to life, with only 2 members and now we are at 6 and growing. SEBC member consist of me, Deborah"Diva Dee" Walker- President, Monik Obrin- Vice-President, Marva Rodriguez- Secretary and Carlyn Herard, Barabara Loiseau, Marjorie Valmir. We are located in Orlando, FL.

BPM:  What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events during the year?
The purpose of our organization is to empower each other with love and encouragement. We are more than just a book club. We are here to support each other in every aspect of life. Our mission statement is "The essence of women growing and bonding".  As of right now we haven't hosted any events but we're just getting started and have numerous goals we want to accomplish within our book club.

BPM:  As a loyal reader, what are some of the things you want to see more of in books? Do you read mostly fiction or non-fiction?
We are happy with what we see in African American books. Just keep the drama coming! The books Smooth Essence Book Club read currently are fiction and non-fiction.

BPM: Do you feel as if African Americans are represented in a good light in the books you read?
I do feel African American are represented in good light in our books. Our author are keeping it real by writing about various characters ranging in all degrees and stages in life. Expressing the low and high struggles we as black people go through. 

BPM:  Speak directly to the writers of the world, what advice would you offer them on capturing a reader's attention and keeping it? 
I would say to my writers, keep it real!! never lose your touch, write what's on your heart because a reader can and will notice if the writer is truly sincere on what they are writing. That is what keep us Book Clubs going and purchasing when a writer is real and is true to there story.

BPM:  What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?
The legacy we hope Smooth Essence Book Club leave for those watching n the community is that we together as black women can unite and have meaningful, deep conversation from books to everyday life. We are here to support the people in our community, each other and bring positive atmosphere.

BPM:  How may we find out more about you or your group? 
You can contact Smooth Essence Book Club via Facbook at: www.facebook.com/smoothessencebookclub 

Interview submitted by Dee Dee Walker, President & CEO Smooth Essence Book Club
"The Essence Of Women Growing & Bonding"




 



Literary Ladies Book Club - Rahway, New Jersey

BPM:  Give us the history on your club. Where are you located? How many members do you have? 
In October 2008, the Literary Ladies Book Club was established in Rahway, New Jersey by sisters, Sandi and Maria. As busy career women with little free time to enjoy friends, fellowship, adult conversation and a good “Girl’s Night Out”; the sisters decided to start a book club driven by their love of African American Literature and their shared desire to engage in honest, enthusiastic, enlightening discussions with other individuals that truly enjoy reading. In order to rise to their fullest and purest potential not only as readers but also as women, they encouraged members to empower one another by sharing ideas and materials throughout the month that promote personal growth and enhance awareness within literary, social, spiritual and economic areas. 

In a nutshell, the original eight members gathered with the purpose of creating unity, friendship, and sisterhood amongst positive women of color. Presently, we have 11 active members who are in the process of determining to which organizations this year’s charitable donations will be made as well finalizing the details for our annual bowling party and literary luncheon. 

*  PRESIDENT / FOUNDER - Sandra Randolph
*  VICE PRESIDENT / FOUNDER - Maria Jackson
*  TREASURER - Paola Colon
*  SECRETARY - Deanna Wharton
*  CHAPLAIN - Ayona Hill
*  FACEBOOK ADMIN/PHOTOGRAPHER - Rashonda Jones-Aiken

In addition, our members are busy scheduling authors to participate in future monthly discussions. Currently, approximately 80% percent of our monthly discussions entail author participation either in person or via video or phone conference.

BPM:  What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events during the year or provide services for the community?
The purpose of our group is to gather literary women who enjoy reading. We come together to fellowship and discuss our book of the month along with what is going on in the literary world. We explore many different genres and writing styles. Literary Ladies looks forward to growing the club, possessing a stronger presence in the literary world and to whatever the universe has in store. We host an annual bowling party every August and we recently had our first "Lunch with the Literary Ladies Book Club & Friends” on October 20th.

BPM:  As a loyal reader, what are some of the things you want to see more of or less of in books?
The African American community includes people from all socio-economic levels; so we’d like to see a broader representation of us as a people overall in African American Literature. We would also like to see more books for teenagers. As loyal readers, our biggest pet peeve is poor editing. Often, there are so many typographical and grammatical errors that it becomes necessary to go back and reread a sentence, paragraph or worse yet an entire page in order to understand and follow the storyline. It is very frustrating to say the least.

BPM:  Has there been any books that helped shape your life or gave you inspiration?
*  The Holy Bible
*  Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
*  When Your Past Becomes Your Present by Dr. Henry Cloud
*  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

BPM:  What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?
The Literary Ladies Book Club’s collective purpose is still evolving. Having just hosted our first luncheon which showcased 11 local authors, we hope to continue to showcase authors in a more formal setting allowing veteran author to mentor up and coming writers. We will continue to support local African American authors, host fundraisers and make charitable donations to various charities. We not only gather to fellowship and talk about our monthly book(s) but we also socially conscious.

BPM:  Are you satisfied with the legacy black books will leave our future generations? Do you think the writings of today's authors are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations? If so, who?
We feel that the books written today are speaking of life, the streets and not all have a happy ending. The books of yesterday are more about history, where we come from as a race; they taught you something…made you think. You can't compare history with "entertainment." With writings from authors such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou and Alice Walker just to name a few; the legacy of black books is strong. In our opinion, not enough of today’s authors are building upon this legacy. However, authors’ such as Pamela Samuels-Young, Bernice L. McFadden and Moody Holiday give us hope.

BPM:   Do you feel as if African Americans are represented in a good light in the books you read?
Although negative stereotypes are perpetuated far too often, it really depends on the author and what they are writing about. In some of the books we’ve read African Americans are represented in a positive light; however, in other books we were our non black equals; educated, religious, prosperous, entrepreneurs, executives, valued high in society but still have to struggle to prove ourselves... We feel that African Americans are often represented as we have been socially regarded.

BPM:  Do you think digital books will ever replace a printed book? Does the price of eBooks play a big part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
No, not 100% because you will always have people who like the feel and smell of a new book, but as history has proven electronics are the way of the future. Yes, price does matter, but overall convenience will probably win You have to ask, is it less expensive to download an electronic version that costs $1 more or drive to the store or pay shipping to purchase the hard copy? No, we would never stop purchasing printed books. In fact, we purchase printed books, if the author is in attendance and signing for keepsake purposes.

BPM:  What are some of the changes you have seen in the last 5 years, in publishing, that you dislike?
We have a problem with the overall lack of support given to African American Literature by larger publishing houses. Authors are now forced to self publish their work. The authors lose the value of editing, marketing and distribution when that happens. In addition, it seems that many authors who by chance are able to land a deal with a major publisher are pigeon holed into writing what they (the publishers) think the black audience wants.

BPM:  Speak directly to the writers of the world, what advice would you offer them on capturing a reader's attention and keeping it?
Be creative in your approach. Don't involve too many characters in the plot. Keep the readers interested by feeding them just enough to keep them hungry and thirsting for more. There should not be multiple plots and definitely don’t drag them out. Please, please, please have your books properly edited and also take into consideration how that printed copy will appear when converted to an electronic version. 

BPM:  How may we find out more about you or your group? 
We are on Facebook at: LiteraryLadies Bookclub

Photo credit: Literary Ladies of Central NJ with Bernice L. McFadden

 


 


Girlfriends Book Club -  Dallas Chapter

BPM: Give us a little history on your organization. How many members do you have? 
My name is Shameka Latimer, President of Girlfriends Book Club Dallas Chapter. GBC was founded in 2004 by Tamika Shamberger, CEO in Sacramento, CA. Dallas Chapter Officers are: Shameka Latimer- President/Secretary, Tonya Henderson-Smith-Vice President and LeTanya White-Kennedy- Treasurer. GBC Dallas was founded in July 2009 and is the fifth out of seven chapters. As of now we have a total of eight members.

BPM: What is the mission of the group? 
Our mission is to promote sisterhood and utilize this book club for self, as a stress reliever and a motivational tool. We look forward to working with all local and mainstream authors as much as possible to promote their novels. 

BPM: What type of activities do you enjoy as a group? Do you travel? 
We meet every third Saturday of each month to discuss our featured selection. Each member hosts a meeting either in their home or a surrounding venue. Since we love good food each member brings a dish. We also try to have authors attend our meetings which is always fun. The authors we've featured were the ladies who wrote "MANY PATHS, MANY FEET"  and Brian W. Smith author of  "MAMA LIES, DADDY PAIN."

Our organization has three Annual Events (Family Day, Group Trip, and Holiday Christmas Party). Our chapter does things from movies, to shopping, team building, and etc. 

BPM: How are you celebrating the holidays? Will you have a group party?
We will all celebrate the holidays with family and friends. We also have our holiday party to exchange gifts, talk, eat, awards, and just party and have a great time. 

BPM: What impact has reading had on your life? 
Reading has been a stress reliever for us. It helps to take our mind off of things we may be going through. Reading has opened me up to new author and great discussions.

BPM: What impact has being in a organized group had on your life? 
GBC has been more then just a book club, it has been an outlet for me. All women face challenges, everyday, be it at home or in the work place. When we get together we open up our hearts to each other. This organization has led me to meet some wonderfully encouraging women. It's like having an extended family. 

BPM: What is your favorite genre of books? What are the key factors that make a book remain on your mind long after you read the last page? 
This is a tough question. We enjoy Contemporary, Memoirs, Biography, Self help, Mystery, Romance, and other genres. Since we all have different personalities our taste in books varies. Books that relate to our everyday lives are the ones that remain on our mind long ever the books are closed. 

BPM: How do you feel about electronic books such as downloads for Kindle, Nook or iPad, etc?
As far as electronic book, I think its convenient and great. I think it depends on the person because some people want to collect the books they have read and some don't. 

BPM: Do you think our authors are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations? 
Yes, I do think the authors of today are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations and some are leaving even better ones!

BPM: How may we find out more about your club? 
Corporate website: www.girlfriendsbookclub.com 
Dallas Chapter website: www.gbcdallas.webs.com  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/gbcdallas 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/gbcdallas 

 

 

 


Girlfriends Book Club
Germeko Murray, GBC Atlanta President


BPM: Give us a little history on your organization, Girlfriends Book Club, Atlanta Chapter. 
Our organization name is Girlfriends Book Club and we are the Atlanta Chapter. Our organization was founded in 2004 in Sacramento, CA. by CEO Tamika Shamberger. The Atlanta Chapter was founded in 2008 and we are the fourth of seven chapters. Officers of the Atlanta Chapter are Germeko Murray- President;  Vegletta Cook-Lewis- Vice President, Sherica Tate- Treasurer and Stephanie Jett- Secretary. As of now we have nine members. 

BPM: What is the mission of the group? Tell us about the GBC work in the community. 
In the process of doing what we love which is reading we want to promote sisterhood. We would like to be a national known book club combating the stereotype that African American women can not get along, we would like show that it can be done in a positive way. 

BPM: What type of monthly activities do you enjoy as a group? Do you travel? 
Well, we do have our monthly book meetings, but we also try to get together as often as we can for social events such as: Book Expos, Birthdays and Girls Night Out. We have several annual events Parent/Family Day, Holiday Party and Annual Trip also we do several community services per year. 

BPM: How are you celebrating the holidays? Will your club have a group party? 
All of the members are very family oriented and will be celebrating the holidays with their families but we will most definitely get together for our Annual Holiday Party which will consist of dinner, games, gift exchange, a little partying and most of all enjoying the sisterhood!!! 

BPM: What impact has reading and being in an organized group had on your life? 
Reading is a comfort zone that sometimes takes you out of your element and it gives you a visual of situations and people that you may have never encountered or some you may know. Being in Girlfriends Book Club has allowed me to meet women from different backgrounds and experiences. I have also been able to participate in things that I would have not normally in return it has made me more open minded and appreciate sisterhood more. 

BPM: How may we find out more about your club?
You can find out more about all our organizations chapters at www.girlfriendsbookclub.com  and more about the Atlanta Chapter at www.gbcatlanta.webs.comwww.facebook.com/gbcatl

Submitted by: 
Germeko Murray, GBC ATL President
www.gbcatlanta.webs.com 
www.facebook.com/gbcatl 
www.girlfriendsbookclub.com   

 

 


The Sista Girl Book Club - PA and NJ

BPM: Give us the history on your organization.  How many members do you have? 
Sista Girl:  It was my personal challenge to read at least one book a month that lead me on this literary journey. My name is Michelle and I started “The Sista Girl Book Club” back in September, 2005, with some of my co-workers. It has been an interesting adventure to say the least. If any book club has been together more than a couple of years they can attest to the fact that a positive book club is hard to maintain. We started with five members ,we at one time had eleven members and back down to the four core members and the last three years we had five members. This May we added our sixth member to our club, we will wait another year see how this works out and may consider adding another member and take it a year at a time. We are primarily located in PA with one member from NJ.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events during the year or provide services for the community? 
Sista Girl:  We are a group of ladies whom love to read and get together the last Saturday of each month to break bread, relax and catch up on each others lives in the midst of discussing a common book we have read. Our sole purpose is having a Sista Night Out! We all have busy lives, families, jobs and such and we are taking one night out of our busy months for some Sista time!

BPM: Are you satisfied with the legacy black books will leave our future generations? Do you think the writings of today's authors are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations? If so, who?
Sista Girl: I am so proud to introduce someone to the African American authors that I have come to know. The writings of my people can not be housed in just one category as even I thought when I began my reading journey almost seven years ago. We have authors such as Mary Monroe and then you go all the way to the other side with a Monique D. Mensah and I will throw in a Eric Pete, Lori Johnson, Daniel Black, Tracy Brown and my newest author Victor McGlothin in the middle. What you have here is Good reading for the young and the old.

BPM: Do you feel as if African Americans are represented in a good light in the novels you read?
Sista Girl: This is an internal debate that I have with myself about the books by my people. Do I pick a book just because I want to just support my people or do I pick a book because the author is a good author?   The Sista Girl Book Club has chosen to support whom ever we tell can tell a good story, simple! 

The Urban/Hood books that I read, it’s like the lights are out!  Don’t get me wrong these are some of the best books that I have come to know and authors that I continue to support, but face it we look bad in most of them.   My husband always tells me to stop reading those comic books. Then we have some books that I tend to remove from that Urban category but are by African American authors and these books tell stories that shed better lighting to us as African American people. These books make you think a little harder it seems and they definitely lend to a better discussion.

BPM: Do you think digital books will ever replace a printed book? Does the price of ebooks play a big part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
Sista Girl:  Well what can we say about technology? The price of the e-books definitely caused me to purchase more books than I would have normally. I think the easy access to purchase and read the books right away also lends to why e-books have become more popular. I have noticed that my son reads more than he did with his e-reader than his printed books, not sure why but he does. I have some diehard friends whom swore that they were not going to stray from printed books and where are they getting their books from right now? You guessed it, from the comfort of their homes, work. or wherever they are on their electronic e-readers! I will buy a printed book when necessary or at an event to support an author that I like, so I won’t rule out buying a actual printed book!

BPM: How may we find out more about your club? Please share your FB link and website address. 
Sista Girl: Like us on Facebook as Sista Girl Book Club.  You can check out the Sistas & Sista Happenings on our website:  www.Sistagirlbooks.com  

 

 

 


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

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

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

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


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

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

 

 

 

 


 

BLACK PEARLS MAGAZINE WINS AGAIN!  

2013, 2014 and 2015  BEST LITERARY MAGAZINE AWARD 


Presented by the African American Literary Awards Show

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

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