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Give the Gift of Knowledge 
Join Our Online Book Tour!

EDC Creations, The Sankofa Literary Society and The Black Authors Network are proud to announce the launch of the  2014-2015  "Give the Gift of Knowledge Campaign," bringing readers and authors together to help improve literacy.  You can join the campaign too, go here!   

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

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

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




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We're Celebrating Motherhood!

Paying our most humble tribute to Mothers!

Mothers are everything for us when we are small...our lives revolve around her. For everything that we need we call mother. To protect us from all perceivable dangers we want her around us. To take us out we hold her arms. To kiss away our wounds we run to her. And for a warm hug and love we look for her. She is the focal point of our lives, the greatest human being in the world or should we say divinity on earth. On the special occasion of Mothers Day pay tribute to your mother - the greatest blessing of God on you.   Source. 

“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” 
Oprah Winfrey




ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground 
by Michelle Spady (Author);   Bradford Spady (Illustrator)

Topical New Children’s Book by Mother and Son Team Tackles Bullying in a Surprising Way

Written by Michelle Morgan Spady and illustrated by her son, Bradford O. Spady, ‘ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground’ is an unusual and creative new book about a topic on everyone’s minds: bullying, and what to do about it. 

Sometimes, the road to success is not a simple one – and no one knows that truism better than Michelle Morgan Spady. A former educator, Spady has endured hardships beyond many people’s wildest nightmares – including the death of her firstborn son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, an event that devastated her, and changed her life forever. It was only many years later that the light began to shine once more – when Spady and her husband welcomed their son, the man she now calls “a visual storyteller”.

With the formation of their company, ‘B’Artful’, dedicated to promoting emerging artists and writers and the release of their second book together, the duo are on a roll. Michelle Spady and Bradford O. Spady co-produced the anti-bullying tale, titled: ‘ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground’. 

Written in poem format, the book uses vibrant illustrations, and a good dose of positivity to encourage children to look at bullying from another perspective. ShoozyQ and her “crew” persuade a schoolyard bully to change his behavior without being mean and abusive themselves – something that is often overlooked in books with an anti-bullying message.

“I’ve witnessed many children being bullied over the years,” says Michelle Spady. “Normally, when we discuss this with children, we don’t emphasize how vital being positive is – ShoozyQ doesn’t need to be cruel or ‘tough’ to stop the bully. She also doesn’t just ignore it and hope it will stop. Instead, she uses her powers of persuasion to intercede and change the bully’s mind about his actions. It’s a compelling message of love, gentleness and compassion.”

ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the playground 

Sometimes you can find a bully on the playground. This story about a bully on the playground is written in poem format. It is about a little girl named ShoozyQ and a group of her friends who call themselves the "AB Crew" which stands for anti-bully. They are against bullying and there is one on their playground who has been harassing them and their friends. One day ShoozyQ and her AB Crew walk to the playground to confront the bully. You'll be surprised at the tools that they use to talk to the bully. There is a surprise ending. In the back of the book are activities for parents and teachers to use to talk with students about bullying; vocabulary; role plays, and discussion questions. The colorful drawings and simple, effective language all tie together to make ShoozyQ an exciting read for kids, and a learning tool for parents and teachers.

“We include activities so that educators can get the discussions going with children,” says Michelle Spady. “It’s important to keep the ball rolling after the story is over, and really get to the root of what the kids have learned from ShoozyQ’s experiences.”

After the successful release of their first book, ‘An Artist and His Obsession’, Michelle Spady and Bradford O. Spady are hard at work on their company ‘B’Artful’ and on further projects. “Working with my son is just a joy. He is 100% an artist and a visionary. He’s an inspiration to me, and others and he shows himself through his work.”

Continuing: “Currently, my son and I are working on a comic book and the story is about bullying on another level - hazing at a college. The comic will be titled, ‘7 Days to 2 Tell’. The students will make a moral judgment as to whether they should tell what they saw. Obviously, this subject is close to our hearts and it’s something we feel passionate about communicating to others. If we preached kindness more often, I think it would change the lives of our children.” 

‘ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground’ is available now:  

About the Author 

The author, Michelle Morgan Spady, is a retired child care center owner, and teacher of English and Computer Technology. Ms. Spady loves reading and writing and tells many of her stories from her memories of days in the classroom and on the playground. She says that her writings are enriched by the illustrations provided by her artist son, whose love is in creating characters for her to develop in her stories. They work as a mother and son team. 

Michelle Morgan Spady, Author & Publisher B'Artful, LLC
B'Artful Website: 

ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground
General Education-Picture Book for K-4th grade

Available at, IBooks, Kindle, IngramSparks, CreateSpace & B’ for bulk discount



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Summer Bridge Activities, Grades 1-2 
by Summer Bridge Activities

Designed specifically for preparing Canadian first-grade students for the new year ahead. Reviewed by Canadian teachers and students, this workbook features daily activities in reading, writing, math, and language arts plus a bonus section focusing on character development and healthy lifestyles. The exercises are easy to understand and are presented in a way that allows your child to review familiar skills and then be progressively challenged on more difficult subjects. Give your children the head start they deserve with this fun, easy-to-use, award-winning series, and make learning a yearlong adventure! 160 full-colour perforated pages and an answer key. 

Summer Bridge Activities, Grades 1-2

Age range: 6 - 7 Years
Children - Reference & Study Aids




Summer Bridge Activities, Grades 2 - 3
Bridging Grades Second to Third 
by Summer Bridge Activities

School stops for summer?  Learning never should!  The award-winning Summer Bridge Activities(R) workbook series is aligned to Common Core State Standards and was developed to help parents support their children academically year-round. While there are many other summer workbooks available, Summer Bridge Activities(R) remains the #1 choice recommended by teachers. In only 15 minutes a day, the activities in the Summer Bridge Activities(R) workbook help your second grade child keep skills sharp and feel confident for third grade! --Each workbook is divided into three sections which correspond to the three months of traditional summer vacation.

Sections begin with a goal-setting activity, a word list, and information for parents about the fitness and character development activities located throughout the section. Extension activities also encourage outdoor learning, science experiments, and social studies exercises. With bonus flash cards and a colorful award certificate, Summer Bridge Activities(R) is all you need for learning fun all summer long!

Summer Bridge Activities, Grades 2 - 3
Children - Reference & Study Aids



Summer Study Daily Activity Workbook: Grade 3 
Flash Kids Summer Study
by Flash Kids Editors (Editor)

Summer Skills Daily Activity Workbooks feature 90 alternating math and reading activities--one for every day of the vacation. Skill labels on every page make it simple to track what a child is learning. 

For 60 years, Sterling has been one of the world's leading publishers of non-fiction books. We strive to publish high-quality books that educate, entertain, and enrich the lives of our readers. We have the reach of a major publisher with the passion and creativity of an independent press.  While this is an accurate portrayal, it's just one portion of the overall publishing program that Sterling represents. 

Summer Study Daily Activity Workbook: Grade 3 
Workbook Age Range: 8 years




Things Sasha Learned from Her Dog Winston 
by Marian L. Thomas

Sasha is a beautiful brown-eyed young girl with an amazing dog named, Winston. By watching him over the years, she discovers that there is so much that she can learn from him. From how to overcome fear, deal with bullies, to learning to play with other children and being friendly. Sasha finds out that her best friend is full of valuable lessons!

Editorial Reviews

"The bond between Sasha and Winston will warm the hearts of both parents and children, teaching the latter ones the importance of friendship and the benefits of learning."-Ian Farrell

"Sasha's dog, Winston, is not just an adorable pet but also, a metaphor; Winston proves that one can learn something from the most unexpected of sources, events, or sentient beings."-IPublishinersNews

"This is a book that my granddaughter would really enjoy!" -Renee S, Grandmother, Shelfari Contributor

More About the Author
Clean Fiction novelist,  Marian L. Thomas is a dynamic story-teller with three engaging and dramatic novels to her credit. Her books have been seen on national television stations such as, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Ovation and the A&E Network. She has been featured in print magazines, newspapers and a guest on many broadcast and online radio stations. Her titles, "My Father's Colors" and "Strings of Color", both received the USA Best Book Finalist Award. 

Mrs. Thomas might also be the first African American pioneer of contemporary women's clean fiction. She refuses to lace her work with explicit sexual themes or profanity. Her books are rich with ever-intriguing themes of race, family strife, love, divorce, friendship and abuse. And yet, her tales which seem to pre-stage current tabloid headlines are spelled out in ways that suit the delicate moral tastes of both the Christian Fiction reader and the Clean Fiction book reader. 

You can follow Marian on Twitter @MarianLThomas01 and her blog, theWritersInkSpot. If you enjoyed any of her novels, please write a review and visit her website. She'd love to hear from you!

Things Sasha Learned from Her Dog Winston 
by Marian L. Thomas



The Care and Keeping of You
The Body Book for Younger Girls
by Valorie Schaefer and Josee Masse 

The best-selling body book for girls just got even better! With all-new illustrations and updated content for girls ages 8 and up, it features tips, how-tos, and facts from the experts. You'll find answers to questions about your changing body, from hair care to healthy eating, bad breath to bras, periods to pimples, and everything in between. Once you feel comfortable with what's happening, you'll be ready to move on to the The Care & Keeping of You 2!

This thoughtful advice book will guide you through the next steps of growing up. With illustrations and expert contributors, this book covers new questions about periods, your growing body, peer pressure, personal care, and more! Written by Dr. Cara Natterson for girls 10 and up, The Care & Keeping of You 2 follows up the original bestseller with even more in-depth details about the physical and emotional changes you're going through.

Purchase The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls 
Age Range: 8 and up 
Amazon Link:  


Tia's Journey by Sumayyah

Tia Banks is a ten year old girl who aspires to be an Olympic Equestrian. She practices every day, has fallen numerous times and throughout it all, she kept the faith. Being one of the few African Americans in the sport, she has a hard time getting support from fellow equestrians until she meets a star equestrian named Princess Jackson at a horse show. Princess helps Tia get over her struggles and earned her first Gold medal in the hunter jumper category.

Pre-order your book: 

Book costs $6.99 plus shipping and handling.  Estimated ship date: July 10, 2014

Sumayyah Muhammad is a fun-loving and smart ten year old author. She is slowly becoming a brand to empower the youth to be all they can. Sumayyah is an aspiring Olympic equestrian and published author. Currently, the design is being worked on for the Olympik Equestrian Center in Suffolk, Virginia. Sumayyah hopes the center will be a location for the youth in the local area to learn more about horses, these big but gentle creatures who want and need love. The center will also offer boarding and horseback riding lessons.

Sumayyah loves to play with her friends, go to school, read, write, play and go to Monster Trucks shows (her favorite truck is Gravedigger). Her first love is horses. She hopes to be an Olympic Equestrian and write another book in the next 5 years. She is originally from Pennsylvania. She now lives in Virginia with her parents. She is the youngest of five siblings.



Monkey See, Monkey Do
Picture Reading Book for Young Children 
by Bruce Lansky

This Story is Told in Pictures… so children 3 to 6 can “read” the pictures and enjoy the story.

Ooops!  The zoo keeper accidentally left the door to the monkey cage open. Curious to explore the zoo, Lil’ Monkey sets out to meet some other animals and learn some new tricks. Come along on this delightful adventure in the charming zoo created by illustrator Bill Bolton. In the end, we learn that being yourself is the best thing to be.

Meet the Author

Bruce Lansky
has edited a number of poetry anthologies (including Rolling in the Aisles, Kids Pick the Funniest Poems, If Kids Ruled the School, A Bad Case of the Giggles, Miles of Smiles, and No More Homework! No More Tests!), and 3 silly songbook anthologies. Lansky created the popular website for children and the website for teachers. He also created the Girls to the Rescue series, the New Fangled Fairy Tales series, and the Can You Solve the Mysteries series.

Monkey See, Monkey Do
by Bruce Lansky 





Little Wisdom by Sumayyah

This book of poetry and inspiration is truly a must have for people of all ages!

Little Wisdom is an inspirational book of poems from the mind of a nine year old girl. Some will inspire you and some will make you laugh. Sumayyah's book, Little Wisdom, has been on the bestseller's list since it was first published in August 2013.

Book Review for Little Wisdom by Sumayyah
"Little Wisdom by the very young and talented author, Sumayyah, is a book of sunshine, wisdom, hope, and truth. You can tell that every poem was written straight from her little innocent heart. With clarity and purpose, Sumayyah talks about many aspects of life like having friends, family, happiness, loving yourself and appreciating life. She even touches on the formidable topic of death which demonstrates the strong and courageous spirit that lives inside the mind of this young and motivational writer. It’s always a joy to see children who are driven and excited about life and actually put in the time and hard work to achieve their dreams. Sumayyah is a shining star and I encourage every boy and girl to pick up a copy of her book and get inspired. 5 stars"- Urban Books Authors and Writers of America.

About the Author
Sumayyah Muhammad is a ten year old straight A student who loves to write and read when she is not riding horses or playing with monster trucks. She is originally from Pennsylvania. She now lives in Virginia with her parents. She is the youngest of five siblings. She has an Italian Mastiff named Sharif who is her guard dog.

Sumayyah is slowly becoming a brand to empower the youth to be all they can. Sumayyah is an aspiring Olympic equestrian and published author. Currently, the design is being worked on for the Olympik Equestrian Center in Suffolk, Virginia. Sumayyah hopes the center will be a location for the youth in the local area to learn more about horses, these big but gentle creatures who want and need love. The center will also offer boarding and horseback riding lessons.

Check out Sumayyah's website at: or Facebook page: 



Wash Your Hands 
Adventures of Nurse Nicole-Volume 2 
by Nicole M. Brown

The Adventures of Nurse Nicole  is a wonderfully cleaver and bright series about a nurse with three children who are curious about nursing. The Adventures of Nurse Nicole, “Wash Your Hands” describes the steps to washing your hands and the importance of having clean hands. The first skill nurses learn in nursing school is how to wash their hands. Nurse Nicole teaches her students and her children how to wash their hands. This is a must-have book, because everyone needs to know the basic steps to washing your hands. There are more books to come from The Adventures of Nurse Nicole series.

More About the Author
Nicole Brown, MSN, RN
, is a nurse educator, Doctoral candidate and an Army veteran. She is the proud mother of three and is dedicated to providing positive images of the nursing profession for children and the world.

Series: The Adventures of Nurse Nicole
Wash Your Hands (The Adventures of Nurse Nicole) (Volume 2)
by Nicole M. Brown 
Purchase Link:  





Princess Bria in "The Great I Am!"
by Sonia C. Chess

Princess Bria “The Great I Am” Time for Bed!  is about a funny little girl named Princess Bria who goes through hilarious hoops to avoid going to sleep. Funny, yet smart Princess Bria works hard to convince her parents that she is destined to save the world conveniently just before bedtime. Taking on the role of a super hero Bria is determined to rid the world of all of life’s problems! The first book in the change series Princess Bria delivers the world from hunger, builds houses for the homeless and conjures up cures to make people better miraculous just before she is scheduled to go sleep. Find out Princess Bria’s as she offers a message of hope before dad declares lights out! 

Meet Sonia C. Chess
As a mentor, free lance and ghost writer, speaker, author and coach, Ms. Chess believes strongly in teaching our girls the "Princess Principles". She has mentored countless in overcoming life's challenges and has worked hard to advocate for literacy, change and to help troubled and hurting youth from blazing the trail that she once embraced. The Princess Principles is a powerful workshop that builds upon self-esteem, self-love and most importantly self-acceptance. An expert in writing in various genres both professional and personal, Ms Chess also facilitates writing workshops where the core curriculum is centered on literacy, self esteem and anti-bullying.

Ms. Chess's eloquently conveys a message of hope in her book "Coffee Colored Pain", a simple yet effective approach to dealing with the issues of life, relationships, and each other. This book is not about race but about traveling down a different path other than the one many of us have found ourselves on. The workbook also takes readers on a journey to healing and discovery. 

"The Change Factor" blends the principles of success and healing into a melting pot of hope. As a multi-talented author, Ms. Chess leads her younger audience to the path of greatness as well with "Princess Bria: "The Great I Am" Time for Bed", her first book in the change series. Princess Bria is a inspiring little girl who finds humor and delight in making the world a better place conveniently just before bed time!

Ms Chess is certified in coaching and international trade. She attended Miami Dade Community College, St. Thomas University and PCE. Ms. Chess has also been involved in training, publishing, marketing and communications. She spearheaded the Women's Ministry at Breakthrough Ministries, Inc as well as established the Princess Awards.

The Literacy Rocks Tour is geared toward the promotion of literacy and also serves to promote Ms. Chess' Books in a Basket program. "Books in a Basket" donates books and educational materials to under privileged children, shelters and inmate facilities.

Ms Chess has served on The Domestic Violence Task Force as a past victim of domestic abuse. She is currently working on an anti bullying workbook to assist youth with anger management problems as well as those who have been bullied.

As a former troubled teen and young adult, Ms. Chess attributes her faith, learning self esteem and her ability to tap in her creative side to heal, learn and grow through various stages of life challenges. Along with her passion for literacy, writing and healing, Ms. Chess brings a wealth of experience to dealing with life's unexpected dilemmas. Her keynote series on success, growth, and healing is founded on the belief that change begins with the creative force from within!

Princess Bria in "The Great I Am!" 
by Sonia C. Chess


Win or Lose (The Kicks) 
by Alex Morgan

The Kicks have the league championship within reach—but do they have what it takes to win it? Book three in the fun and empowering New York Times bestselling middle grade series from star soccer player and Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan.

Against all odds, the Kicks have made it to league playoffs. With the championship trophy in sight, it’s time to step into high gear. But the road to victory is littered with challenges. Some of the Kicks think Devin is taking all the credit for their success. Zoe’s upcoming bat mitzvah has taken her head out of the game. Worst of all, Coach Flores has to leave town at the Kicks’s most critical moment—and her replacement is no treat.

Will the Kicks be able to continue their unlikely winning streak all the way to the championship title?

More About the Author
Alex Morgan
became the youngest member of the US women's national soccer team in 2009 and competed in the 2011 FIFA World Cup. She was the first overall pick in the 2011 Women's Professional Soccer daft and landed a spot on the US Olympic Women's Soccer team in 2012. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, held in London, Morgan won her first Olympic medal, a gold, with the American team. The team beat Japan, 2-1, in a match watched by nearly 80,300 people--the largest soccer crowd in Olympic history. THE KICKS: SAVING THE TEAM is Alex's first book for young readers.

Win or Lose (The Kicks) by Alex Morgan
Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7
Series: The Kicks (Book 3)





Matched (Matched Trilogy Series #1) 
by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Meet the Author
Ally Condie
is a former high school English teacher who lives with her husband and three sons outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, running, eating, and listening to her husband play guitar.

Look for the sequel, CROSSED, and the epic series finale, REACHED!

Series: Matched Trilogy Series 
Age range: 14 - 17 Years Teen Fiction

More by this Author

Matched (Matched Trilogy Series #1)
Reached (Matched Trilogy Series #3)
Crossed (Matched Trilogy Series #2)




Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun 
(Emily Windsnap Series #5)
by Liz Kessler 

The New York Times best-selling series continues with the half-mermaid embarking on an icy and perilous journey to the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Strange storms are blowing up from the ocean, caused by the nightmares of Neptune, King of the Sea. Convinced that his dreams herald an approaching threat, Neptune enlists half-mermaids Emily Windsnap and Aaron for a top-secret mission to find and eliminate the source of the trouble. But Emily and Aaron quickly get in over their heads in the frigid waters of the frozen north. Deep within an alpine lake where magical reflections show what could be rather than what is, the two discover a trove of stolen memories and Neptune’s darkest secret. Double-crosses and double-takes abound in Liz Kessler’s fifth magical mermaid adventure.

Meet the Author
Liz Kessler
is the author of the New York Times best-selling series about Emily Windsnap, as well as three adventures about Philippa Fisher and her fairy godsister. She is also the author of the middle-grade novel A Year Without Autumn. Liz Kessler lives in England.

Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun
Age range: 8 - 12 Years
Children - Fiction & Literature

More by this Author
The Tail of Emily Windsnap (Tail of Emily Windsnap #1)
Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun (Emily Windsnap Series #5)
Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep (Emily Windsnap Series #2)
Emily Windsnap and the Siren's Secret (Emily Windsnap Series #4)
Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist (Emily Windsnap Series #3)





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Panic by Sharon M. Draper

This gripping, chillingly realistic novel from New York Times bestselling author Sharon Draper, “by turns pulse-pounding and inspiring” (Kirkus Reviews), shows that all it takes is one bad decision for a dream to become a nightmare.

Diamond knows not to get into a car with a stranger.  But what if the stranger is well-dressed and handsome? On his way to meet his wife and daughter? And casting a movie that very night—a movie in need of a star dancer? What then?

Then Diamond might make the wrong decision.

It’s a nightmare come true: Diamond Landers has been kidnapped. She was at the mall with a friend, alone for only a few brief minutes—and now she’s being held captive, forced to endure horrors beyond what she ever could have dreamed, while her family and friends experience their own torments and wait desperately for any bit of news.

From New York Times bestselling author Sharon Draper, this is a riveting exploration of power: how quickly we can lose it—and how we can take it back.

Purchase Panic by Sharon M. Draper
Amazon Link:



Darkness Before Dawn by Sharon M. Draper 
Hazelwood High Trilogy 

Hope shines in the face of fear in this conclusion to Sharon M. Draper’s award-winning Hazelwood High trilogy, now in trade paperback with a new cover.

In her senior year, things are finally looking a little brighter for Keisha. Still haunted by the suicide of her ex-boyfriend, Andy, she finds comfort in the attentions of the new track coach, twenty-three-year-old Jonathan Hathaway, the principal’s son. How can Keisha not be swept off her feet by a tall, dark, handsome “lemon drop wrapped in licorice” who treats her like a woman, not a girl?

But suddenly this intoxicating relationship takes a frightening turn, and Keisha is once again plunged into the darkness she’s fought so hard to escape. Will Keisha ever be able to find her way back into the light?

Purchase Darkness Before Dawn (Hazelwood High Trilogy)
by Sharon M. Draper
Amazon Link: 

About the Author
Sharon Draper
is a two-time Coretta Scott King Award-winning author, most recently for Copper Sun, and previously for Forged by Fire. She's also the recipient of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Author Award for New Talent for Tears of a Tiger and the Coretta Scott King Author Honor for The Battle of Jericho and November Blues. Her other books include Romiette and Julio, Darkness Before Dawn, and Double Dutch. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years. She's a popular conference speaker, addressing educational and literary groups both nationally and internationally.


Homeroom Diaries 
by James Patterson and Lisa Papademetriou

In James Patterson's first highly illustrated "diary fiction" story for teens, the mega-bestselling author's most endearing and original teen heroine ever proves that everyone can use a helping hand once in a while.

Margaret "Cuckoo" Clarke recently had a brief stay in a mental institution following an emotional breakdown, but she's turning over a new leaf with her "Operation Happiness". She's determined to beat down the bad vibes of the Haters, the Terror Teachers, and all of the trials and tribulations of high school by writing and drawing in her diary. And when life gets really tough, she works through her own moments of uncertainty through imaginary conversations with her favorite literary characters.

Cuckoo's also got a nearly impossible mission: she, along with her misfit band of self-deprecating friends (who call themselves "the Freakshow") decide to bridge the gap between warring cliques and "bring the Nations together". Not everyone is so willing to join hands and get along, but Cuckoo never stops smiling... until one of her closest friends, pushed to desperation by a Hater prank, decides that enough is enough.

Meet the Authors
James Patterson  was selected by kids across America as the Children's Choice Book Awards Author of the Year in 2010. He is the internationally bestselling author of the Middle School series, Treasure Hunters, and the I Funny, Confessions, Maximum Ride, the Witch & Wizard, Daniel X, and Alex Cross series. His books have sold more than 275 million copies worldwide, making him one of the bestselling authors of all time. He lives in Florida.

Lisa Papademetriou  is the author of the Confectionately Yours series and many other novels for young readers. She has also collaborated with James Patterson on Middle School: My Brother Is a Big, Fat Liar. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.

Keino are a British illustration team whose artwork has been featured in books and exhibitions across the UK and Europe. They are currently locked in their remote mountain studio, writing and illustrating their debut young-adult novel.

Homeroom Diaries 

Age range: 12 - 18 Years


The Last Little Blue Envelope 
by Maureen Johnson

Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.

Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

The Last Little Blue Envelope
Age range: 13 - 17 Years





Penny and the Magic Puffballs 
by Alonda Williams

Penny wanted to wear her hair “down” like all of the other girls in her class. She wondered why her friends had long straight hair and she did not. Feeling different made her feel sad. Penny’s mom assured her that her hair is perfect. Just because her hair is different from her friends hair, it didn't mean that it was bad. Penny's mom decides to style her hair in puffballs, magic puffballs. Penny learns though a series of fun adventures, that wonderful and magical things happen when she wears her puffballs. Join Penny as she discovers the magic of her puffballs. 

Message from the author: 
Penny was born out of my love for my daughter, Paris, and my desire for her to feel comfortable, confident and secure in her skin. Paris questioned why her hair was different from all of the other girls’ and wondered why she couldn’t wear her hair like theirs. I wanted her to understand that her hair was different but that different didn’t mean bad. One night, I made up a bedtime story about a little girl named Penny who had magic puffballs in her hair. Both my daughter and my son loved it so much that they wanted to hear about Penny every night. 

To keep it interesting, each night I added a different adventure, and from time to time I introduced additional characters. The kids loved these stories so much that Penny became a staple in our bedtime routine. I ended up with more than 30 stories, and we enjoyed Penny’s adventures for many, many years. 

The idea for a book came to me as I saw little girls throughout my travels with their hair styled in puffballs. I thought it would be great to be able to tell these girls the story of Penny, a little girl like them. Little girls often notice their hair as one of the first areas of difference, and seeing this as bad can lead to a poor self-image. It is my hope that through this book, other girls will see a bit of themselves in Penny and enjoy her magic puffballs.

More About the Author
Alonda Williams
is a wife and mother of two. In her work and public service, she has seen first hand the damaging effects of poor self-esteem and negative self-concept. As a parent, Alonda has worked hard to build strong character in her young children.

Professionally, Alonda is a marketing executive in Education technology for a Fortune 500 company in the Seattle area. She holds an MBA from Rutgers University and has done advanced work at Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and UCLA's Anderson School of Management. 

She currently serves on the board of Hope WA and is a member of Jack and Jill of America and Delta Sigma Theta sorority Inc. She has held previous positions with the Urban League and Big Brother/Big Sister. 

Penny and the Magic Puffballs, Alonda' s first book started as a bedtime story for her children. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, her young daughter was often the only African-American girl in her school. While she had many friends, she often felt singled out because she looked different than all of her friends. Little girls often notice hair as one of the first areas of difference. Seeing this difference as bad can lead to a poor self concept. She used the story as a way to help her young daughter learn to love her hair and to be comfortable in her skin. After seeing how Penny helped her daughter, she wanted to share the stories with other little girls. 

Alonda is thrilled to be able to share the empowering message of Penny and the magic puffballs with girls all over the world. 

Penny and the Magic Puffballs
he Adventures of Penny and the Magic Puffballs
by Alonda Williams 





I Am Mixed by Garcelle Beauvais 
Sebastian A. Jones (Author) and Joshua Cozine (Editor)
James C. Webster (Illustrator)

Jay and Nia are the children of two worlds, and as they will discover, they can enjoy the best of both. From Mommy's jazz beats to Daddy's classical piano, we will dance with the twins through a book that explores what it is to be of mixed ancestry, proving that a child is more than the sum of their parents.  Created to be socially and environmentally conscious, I AM MIXED is printed on 100% recycled paper.

Celebrity Praise for I Am Mixed

"I Am Mixed is an invaluable teaching tool that all children from all races can learn from." 
- HALLE BERRY (from her foreword)

"My son, as well as all of his friends, are mixed and they don't know any different. I don't know who this book is better for, the children of this generation or their parents. This book is a wonderful celebration of the beauty of coming from mixed ethnicities and cultures!" 
- JAIME PRESSLY (My Name is Earl)

"Such a cute book with great illustrations and a sweet message." 
- HEIDI KLUM (America's Got Talent)

"As a mother of a mixed-race child, I hope my daughter grows up to be proud of who she is and what makes her unique. I Am Mixed is a beautiful, sweet story that encourages children to look within themselves and appreciate the distinct heritage that makes each person special. It reminds us that our diverse cultures and traditions are things that should be honored and treasured."

Some of my favorite books as a kid were the Giving Tree and Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain. This is right there with those. Really. No tissue stuffing. It's beautifully illustrated and sincere. Well done Stranger Kids."
 - AFUA RICHARDSON (Top Cow Comics)

I Am Mixed (I Am Book) 
by Garcelle Beauvais





I'm a Pretty Little Black Girl! 
(I'm a Girl! Collection) 
by Betty K. Bynum 

I'm a Pretty Little Black Girl! introduces adorable Mia, who wakes with her hair just-a-going every which-a-ways! With her abundant energy and joy leading the way, readers follow Mia as she plays with her friends who are all shades, shapes and sizes. There’s tall Kia, Keisha the reader, Charlotte her best friend, Dina Rose-Marie the artist, Imani the dancer, Anna who loves sports, Ruby the singer, and honey-haired Tracy. Mia finds that Pretty is within herself and her friends, and being pretty is way beyond what the mirror shows.

About the Author
Betty K. Bynum
is an actress, writer, singer / songwriter and entrepreneur. She wrote I'M A PRETTY LITTLE BLACK GIRL, and has 3 more books ready: I'M A LOVELY LITTLE LATINA (Spring '14); HOORAY!  I'M A GIRL IN THE USA! (Fall '14);  I'M AN AWESOME ASIAN GIRL (Spring '15) in a planned 12 book series. She created apparel for girls and is currently working on a line of Madame Alexander dolls based on the characters.

Her series of books will continue with more books for girls with focus on self-esteem and self-appreciation through her book based brand, THE I'M A GIRL COLLECTION and motto, "Celebrate me....As I am".  Website"

I'm a Pretty Little Black Girl! (I'm a Girl! Collection) by Betty K. Bynum 





My Hair Is So Happy 
by Nik Scott 

Promise, Hope, Grace and Faith appear to be very different, but there's one common thing they share. If you take a closer look, you'll notice they ALL have curly hair!

Hope's hair is blonde and wild, spiraled in beautiful ringlets. While Promise's hair is tightly coiled, she wears puffs and barrettes.

Faith's hair hangs down her back in looser curls and waves. And Grace's hair is much, much curlier, the color of a fiery blaze. Join these curl friends in fun adventures and everyday activities and by the end of this fantastic story, you'll know what makes their hair so HAPPY!

More About the Author

"Being called unique is like being called limited edition. Meaning you're something people don't see that often. Remember that." - Unknown

Nik Scott
is a self-proclaimed ambassador for Christ, wife, mother, artist, author, dreamer and DOER. As a freelance writer, promoting self-confidence within young girls and women has always been a passion for Nik. Because of her innate desire to help women, Nik founded the online Black hair resource Long Hair Don't Care in 2008. Since then, Nik has been able to use social media like YouTube to build solid credibility as an online authority on hair, do-it-yourself projects, style and everything in between! 

In 2012 Nik established LHDC-TV, a life & style social media network which allows her to further inspire, help, encourage and teach. Life Happens. Don't Conform.™, or LHDC as it is popularly known, is a commanding movement derived from Romans 12:2. LHDC was birthed to propel Nik's personal proverb and life slogan into the international spotlight through message, ministry, books and social media.

Nik is the author of "10 Easy Steps To Go Natural Without Cutting Your Hair Off!" (2012) a quick and easy step-by-step guide for women desiring to go natural and "My Hair Is So Happy" (2013) a children's book written to plant seeds of self confidence within young girls with highly textured hair.

My Hair Is So Happy by Nik Scott 




A is for Anacostia 
by Dr. Courtney Davis

A is for Anacostia is a fun, colorful alphabet book for children of all ages. The story highlights the youth and activities in the Anacostia neighborhood, a vibrant community located in the southeastern quadrant of Washington, DC. 

Book Review: A is for Anacostia 

“A is for Anacostia is an interactive and enjoyable book for children of all ages. It’s a great model for engaging youth to take pride in their community.” - Jon West-Bey, Executive Director, American Poetry Museum

About the Author
Dr. Courtney Davis
has been an avid reader since she was a young girl. As the daughter of parents who valued reading, she was surrounded with books, magazines and opportunities to create stories. She has a passion for working with students in urban areas helping them unleash their potential to become change-agents in their communities. Dr. Davis has also been a practitioner and advocate for children with disabilities and their families for more than 15 years. These experiences inspired her to create books that encourage children to read. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Davis now happily resides in Historic Anacostia. This is her first picture book. Visit her online at
Dr. Davis Website:

A is for Anacostia by Dr. Courtney Davis

Genre: Children’s Literature; Children of all ages




I'm Proud to Be Natural Me 
by Marlene Dillon 

It’s time to teach our children, they are beautiful as is.  A child’s confidence begins to erode very early in life so this narrative was written to build your child’s self-confidence with each turn of the pages. As this little girl embraces her beauty, it is my desire that your child will embrace their own.

What we teach our children at this age is truth to them, good or bad. I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! was written to promote healthy self-esteem in your child. 

I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! is the story of a little girl who is teased because of the texture of her hair. Her mom explains to her that her hair is part of her identity, that she is beautiful the way that God created her, and by the end of the story she is saying, “I’ve learned to love what I see. I’m proud to be natural me!” What an awesome story. What an awesome opportunity to teach children that we are ALL beautiful as is.

This amazing picture book utilizes vivid illustrations and a beautiful narrative to teach that we are all beautiful as is. Your child is sure to love this story, and you will, too!

Youtube Video: 

About the Author
Marlene Dillon
is an inspirational blogger and graphic designer with a passion for empowering others. With a master’s in counseling, this mom knows how urgent it is to give children a strong sense of self at an early age.

I'm Proud to Be Natural Me by Marlene Dillon





All I Want by Chanz'e Witcher

Have you ever wished for anything? What if you could have everything you ever wanted?

In All I Want, a little girl wishes for a different name and a pretty lunch box and new shoes. With the help of her mom and a little green book she will discover that she actually does have all she wants.

Purchase All I Want by Chanz'e Witcher

28 pages - paperback
ISBN-10: 1621471926
ISBN-13: 978-1621471929





From Sagging to Success
The Story of Emery Franklin 
by Florence M. Howard

“From Sagging to Success” is a message to urban youth and the adults who want to help them become extraordinary. Young people are unfairly judged because of their appearance and cultural misconceptions. They need to be made aware of the repercussions of sagging. Sagging pants even might be an indication of a sagging mindset or low self-esteem.

A fictionalized character in book illustrations, Derrick goes from sagging to success as he learns about Black history, reads books read and written by successful people and changes the way he thinks. He shares his new knowledge with his parents who also embrace a positive outlook, productive behaviors and principles of success. At the end of the book, Derrick and his parents have successfully transmitted principles of success to the next generation. 

The book is beautifully illustrated and the paintings were created first as a library gallery exhibit. The book educates readers our history and successes, illuminates concepts of success and inspires them to act on what they learn.  Readers are motivated to examine their thinking patterns, to recapture the dreams that they laid aside or never attempted and to accomplish them. They gain the wisdom and tools to become successful and are equipped to share those ideas, concepts and actions with others.

About the Author
Florence M. Howard 
is a freelance writer, researcher, trainer, event coordinator and public relations specialist. The owner of Secret Shop Communicators (SSCOMM, Inc.), she is a graduate of the University of Memphis and holds BA and MA degrees in Journalism. While Director of Community Affairs for WREG-TV, the CBS affiliate in Memphis, she established the station’s Knowledge Bowl academic quiz show and For Kids’ Sake/Kids Count Campaign in 1987. A economic development proponent and community activist, she lives in Memphis, Tennessee. You can visit her website at 

From Sagging to Success: The Story of Emery Franklin
by Florence M Howard 





Catfish by Nina Foxx

Best Friends Dana and Damika share everything about each other, because that's what best friends do, right? But when it comes to relationships, the high schoolers are keeping secrets in cyberspace. After Boy Crazy Dana meets the "perfect" guy, she figures the only way to get close is to tell little white lies. As their relationship flourishes, an inappropriate photo sent for his eyes only...ends up going viral, and threatens Dana's reputation and her future. 

Tech nerd Damika is able to reinvent herself online and she's created a cyber life that no one knows about but her. When she meets Rosheon, she's thrilled at their budding relationship, until she discovers there's a lot more to him than meets the eye because just as she can reinvent can others. As the lies become unmanageable, can Dana and Damika dig themselves out of a web of a mess before it's too late? 

In this page-turning novel, Catfish,  Nina Foxx dives into a world where nothing is as it seems and danger takes on new meaning in cyberspace.

Excerpt from Chapter One


My father was not slick. I tried not to twist my mouth as I listened to him attempting to convince me that what he talking about was a good thing. We have a pretty good relationship since he and my mother got divorced, but sometimes he was just transparent as hell. 

“Dana, you’re gonna love this new church.” He looked at me all starry-eyed and he talked in that voice he used on me when he wanted something. He looked and sounded the same way my boy crazy best friend, Damika did every time she met a new hottie.

I groaned. “Church?” Since when had he found religion? Our time together was limited and we didn’t usually spend it in church. I wasn’t sure he’d even been inside one since before my mother divorced him, and even then, he’d only gone kicking and screaming. 

He wanted me to say something. So, I did. 

“And what’s your new girlfriend’s name?” 

My dad’s mouth dropped open. That probably wasn’t what he was looking for. I might have been sixteen, but I wasn’t born yesterday. The only reason my father would be talking about new churches and religion was behind a woman. I shook my head. He was going to have to text me from hell.

I couldn’t blame him, really. My father was a hot commodity. He’s a single, good-looking black man with a good heart. He owned his own home and paid his child support like clockwork. Plus, he had it going on - for an older man. Even though he had a teenaged daughter, he was still attractive and dressed well. He might not be all swole with underwear model abs, but he was a catch. Back in the day, he was really into fitness and now that he was old, it paid off. He didn’t have a potbelly like other people’s fathers, so I was used to women chasing him. They’d done that before, even when he was married, and it had only gotten worse since.

A lot of kids get messed up when their parent’s spilt up, but me, I was okay with it. It was a relief actually, because when they were together, they’d fought all the time. My mother said they loved hard and they fought hard, too. The problem was, I remember the fighting more than anything. If there was love, I never saw it. A few times I’d have to keep myself from throwing up when I heard the noises in their bedroom, but even I knew that sex and love wasn't the same thing. Toward the end they would yell and scream way into the early hours of the morning. 

“It’s okay. I’ll go if you need me to.” It almost hurt me to say that. I really didn’t feel like going to church, especially one all the way in Brooklyn, but it was easy to see how my words had made him happy. Unlike my mom, he was easy to please. His shoulders relaxed and the nervous look on his face was replaced by a smile. 

“It’s not what you think. I actually used to go here with my mother when I was a kid,” he said.

I folded my arms across my chest and cocked my head to the side. “So, you’re saying that it’ll just be the two of us?” I knew the answer, but I couldn’t resist asking anyway. My father was just too easy sometimes. Clearly, I was the one running game here.

Dad fidgeted a little; similar to the way I did when I was about to tell an un-truth. “No. A friend invited me.”

“Um-huh. I knew it. You can’t put anything over on me, Dad. I’ve only been your daughter for sixteen years.”

He laughed. “You’ll like her. You’ll see.”

That remained to be seen. Lots of kids had hot moms, but having a hot father was another matter. Women threw themselves at him all the time, all kinds of women. They would hear that “boom-chicka-wawa” when he came in and it was all over. My parents fought about that often, like his swagger was something he could control. My mother would get mad and say it was my father’s fault. Now that they were apart, the women threw themselves at him and me, like they had to win me over, too. And they were right, they did.

I had to admit that I was going to miss the last one. She’d been a buyer for Macy’s, and let me tell you, that had its benefits for me. I owed the hot Baby Phat outfit I had on right now to her. She'd hooked me up with clothes regularly, but of course, the gear stopped coming as soon as they'd broken up.

“Dad, what happened to Susan? I liked her.”

“Too high maintenance. Can you go upstairs and put on a dress? If we’re going to get there on time, we gotta get going.”

I was a little upset that we'd be spending what was left of our weekend with someone that was practically a stranger to me, but it was obvious that my father really wanted me to go. I could overlook my disappointment just this once.

We picked up my father’s new girlfriend just a few blocks from the church. My dad was nervous as he introduced us. “Dana,” he said. “I’d like you to meet Wanda. My friend.”

I raised my eyes, but answered her politely as I was taught to do. “Nice to meet you, Ma’am.”

My father looked as nervous as the cat that just got caught with his paw in the fishbowl as she laughed. “You don’t have to call me Ma’am. Aunty Wanda will do.”

As if. My Mom had no sisters. I sat in the back so she could ride with my dad, and she was very polite. We’d been through a few girlfriends by now and I’d learned to watch and wait. If they made it past a few weeks, then maybe the two of us could be friends. Otherwise, there was no reason to get attached too early. One mistake, and poof, she could be gone, just like that. 

If nothing else, this one was well-dressed, even if she was wearing one of those old lady knit suits. Her hair was pulled back into a tight bun, and her makeup was flawless. She looked a little uptight, but was tall and Top Model thin. Her navy suit fit her like a glove, and she smelled good. Two points for the new woman. My dad was into smell. The funny thing was, this one seemed as high-maintenance as Susan had been. Another mom-ism echoed in my head. What was that she’d say? The things that attract you also make you crazy later? It was like my father was attracted to the same woman, over and over. 

I stared out the window of the car and tried to ignore her chattering as we made our way through the streets of Brooklyn. A glimpse into the rearview mirror told me what I already knew. My father had a grin plastered to his face. He liked this one, but then, they always started out good.

“Dana, I’m so glad you were able to join us. Our church has such a great youth program. You’ll be able to meet some nice young people. Young people that are doing things.”

I rolled my eyes and kept looking out the window. There was no need for all the noise. Now, did I look like I needed a “program”? She obviously had things twisted. It wasn’t like I was some kind of problem child. I went to school regularly and got mostly good grades, and I was generally respectful to my parents, wasn’t pregnant and didn’t do drugs. I’d said I would go today, but I wasn’t trying to enjoy it and I made no promises about going again. And I certainly wasn’t trying to hang out with no church kids. I had my own life, in Queens, with all the friends I needed. What could I possible have in common with any of these people? Brooklyn was just too far for anything. I didn’t drive, and taking the bus or train all the way across town was just crazy.

We pulled up in front a huge, white brick building that seemed to take up the entire block. Crowds of people walked toward it. I was speechless as my father maneuvered the car into a space and we got out. I don’t know why I’d pictured a tiny little cute church, in a storefront or something like that. This building was huge, very old on one end, but it got newer as it went down the block. The corner stone said 1902. There was nothing that old in my neighborhood. Across the street, there was a huge parking lot that took up another city block and that looked like it was filling up, too.

Both Dad and Wanda smiled and greeted people and I tagged behind them. Wanda was the only one that looked comfortable, while my father just looked embarrassed. He was about to be on display like Wanda’s new man-candy. All the church ladies were grinning at him while Wanda walked with her head held high and her huge pink bible tucked under her arm, without a care in the world as she showed off her add-water-stir family.

I felt crazy out of place. All of these folks were smiling and laughing and all seemed to know each other. Me, I felt like a vegetarian at a beef convention. The best I could do was put a fake grin on my face. I couldn’t believe I’d let my father talk me into this. Not to mention, I’d dug to the bottom of my closet to find the dress I had on. I hated it and it felt like everyone could tell I wasn’t comfortable with my outfit. I kept tugging at the bottom to keep it from rising up. To make matters worse, just as we entered the church, I bumped into someone so hard, I almost fell back down the church steps. How embarrassed would I be all sprawled out at the bottom of the steps? What a way to make an entrance. I opened my mouth to swear just as a strong hand caught my arm. It was a good thing, too, because the words I was about to say had no business in a church.

“I’m so sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going.” 

I found myself looking up into the most handsome light brown eyes I’d seen in a long time. I couldn’t say a word. Even if I wasn’t between boyfriends I would have been speechless.

“He’s the clumsy twin. You have to forgive him. Are you okay?” Another voice said.

My eyes darted back in forth, from one bag of hotness to the other. Oh. My. God. There were two of them. Two caramel-colored hotties, identical, except one had a small mole under his left eye. They wore identical blue suits, but one had on a white shirt and the other didn’t. So I wasn’t hallucinating. 

I managed to smile and I suddenly regretted that I hadn’t dug deeper in my closet. “No worries.” I brushed imaginary dirt off my dress just as my father called me. 

“I gotta go—“I was barely able to speak, but it didn’t matter, they were already gone, almost as if they weren’t there in the first place. They’d vanished, like a dream. It wasn’t until later that I thought to wonder if I'd flashed everybody when I fallen. I could've kicked myself as I reviewed all of the things I could have said that would have sounded so much better than “I gotta go”. Somehow, I always managed to find the wrong words.

Wanda introduced my father to every other person we met, grinning all the time and holding his arm showing him around like he was the new “it” bag she’d just bought or something. For the most part, people ignored me, and I only halfway said hello if they spoke. 

After what seemed like an eternity, Wanda finally led us to our seats, up in the balcony of the almost completely filled church. I scanned the crowd. There must have been over a thousand people in the building, so there was no way I could even think of spotting the twins. I hadn’t even thought to ask their names. I would surely be kicking myself for days about that. 

“Okay, I’ll see you two later.” Wanda had a wide grin on her face like she was proud of herself for getting us to our places or something.

My mouth dropped open a little. I know she didn’t bring us here to leave us in the middle of this place.

“You aren’t staying?” I asked.

“Of course I am. I have to sit with the choir, remember?” She pointed across the church where the choir was gathering. They were far enough away that I wasn’t able to make out any faces, instead, all I saw was a sea of royal blue robes, interrupted occasionally by a flash of gold.

I blushed with embarrassment. She'd probably told me that she sang in the choir while I wasn’t listening, on the ride over. I nodded.

“Break a leg.” My father still hadn't lost his silly grin.

“Okay. You two come on back to the choir room when it’s over. You remember where that is?”

My father nodded quickly. "How could I forget? I spent hours in there when I was a kid." 

“I knew you sang with that sexy baritone voice of yours. Sing to me sometime?” she said.

My dad didn’t answer, but instead blushed like he’d just been caught doing something he shouldn’t. He looked at me quickly, then looked away. 

Wanda flashed my dad a smile and then turned and made her way through the crowd.

At first, my dad just stood there. I had to tap him in the arm to remind him to breathe. “Dang, Dad. Do you have to be so obvious?” He might as well have drool dripping down his face. It was amazing that he could be so old and still have a woman get his nose wide open like that. 

My dad blushed, but didn't answer me. For a second, I was confused by the church-going, obviously whipped man that was next to me. I could barely recognize my father, but I knew he was in there somewhere.

I daydreamed all through the service. I tried to pay attention but it seemed to go on forever. I was so lost in thought, I almost missed the ending. I perked up when the choir sang, though. They seem to have two or three [A3] choirs and every one sounded like a professional television choir, complete with a very animated choir director and words projected on the wall like we were in a karaoke spot. Between the choir director dancing and one woman who looked like she was about to twerk any minute, they put on quite a show. A very long show.


Purchase Catfish by Nina Foxx






True Colors 
by K.R. Raye

The Colors Trilogy follows three college friend as they strive for their goals. There's:  Naïve, romantic, biracial Melody Wilkins who aims to find true love at college just like her parents. Melody brings the heart and sense of hope to the story. No-nonsense Imani Jordan strives for good grades and a chemical engineering degree. Imani's the common sense, tell-it-like-it-is conscience. Lance Dunn is only serious about two things: football and protecting his girls, Melody and Imani. Lance is practical and fiercely loyal; he keeps them grounded with the male perspective. 

Book 1. The Colors of Friendship:  Three college friends search for true love, NFL fame, and a successful engineering career. Will one friend’s quest for happiness endanger all three of their lives? After the torrents of jealousy, sex, and abuse subside, will their friendship survive…The Colors of Friendship? 

Book 2. The Colors of Love:  After their lives are threatened, three college friends attempt to continue their search for true love, NFL fame, and a successful engineering career. When the dynamics of their relationships change, will their friendship survive…The Colors of Love? 

Book 3. True Colors:  After tragedy strikes, Imani, Melody, and Lance try to rekindle their college friendship. Can they move forward towards happiness or will ghosts from their past haunt them? When life’s challenges arise what are your…True Colors?  

Prologue from True Colors

Cold. Hard. Steel. Pressed against her forehead. Melody closed her eyes and willed the situation away. But when she reopened them, the gun remained lodged between her eyes. 

The setting sun painted a crimson swath across the budding landscape. Crimson red…blood red. Oh God, how did it all lead to this she wondered as the ice cold barrel ironically seemed to sear her skin, like a poker fresh from a stoked fire. Her blood ran cold through her veins and her body began to shake. 

Why? The faster her mind raced, the more she trembled.

Her friends had warned her, but she didn’t want to believe them. If only she had listened to Imani or stayed with Lance, things might have ended differently. 

But then again, what if her friends were wrong? Imani and Lance always meddled in her business. They were too overbearing and judgmental. Really, they had no one to blame but themselves. In fact if they weren’t here butting in now, making the situation worse…

The gun dug further into her forehead, threatening to break skin. Melody realized as cold dread soaked her skin, it didn’t matter whose fault it was; all three of them were going to die here tonight. 

( Continued... )

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

About the Author
K.R. Raye
lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons. She grew up in Kansas City, attended college in New York, and has resided in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and New Zealand. Throughout her diverse career working as a mechanical engineer, adjunct professor, and in sales, she continues to weave her love of marketing, computer information systems, and operations together with her passion for writing. That diverse experience influences her writing style to traverse the contemporary, horror, romance, drama, mystery, and sci-fi genres. 

Purchase books at: The books are available in paperback and digital formats on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and they're coming soon to iBooks.


What Will Your Legacy Be?

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

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

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

I hope you will enjoy the devotional shared below.

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

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

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

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

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

Your Sister in Christ, Rugina


Meet James Burd Brewster & Uncle Rocky, Fireman

James Burd Brewster was raised in Albany, NY, learned to sail on Lake Champlain, navigated a Polar Icebreaker for the US Coast Guard, and married Katie Spivey from Wilmington, NC. They lived in Baltimore, MD when Jim told Ben and Luke the Uncle Rocky, Fireman stories. Their family grew to five (Ben, Luke, Rachel, Andrew, Sam) and they settled in Pomfret, MD outside of Washington, DC where Jim finished up a career in the US Coast Guard. During this time, Katie educated all five children at home which Jim says gave him the motivation to tell the Uncle Rocky, fireman stories to Ben and Luke. Twenty four years later, when Jim and Katie became empty nesters, they took a creative writing course from Dr. Wayne Karlin, which prompted them to consider converting the Uncle Rocky, Fireman stories into illustrated children’s books. 

Through the assistance of Yvonne Medley of the Life Journeys Writers Club and advice from James Mascia (author of High School Heroes) Jim was able to find an illustrator and complete four books. Ben and Luke are no longer 6 and 4. Ben is a Marine, married, the local writers club, and father of four. Luke is an Apple employee in Chicago, IL. Ben now tells Uncle Rocky, Fireman stories to his sons, Levi, Micah, and Judah.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

The short answer is “God’s Timing.” The long answer goes back 25 years to 1990 when I told the Uncle Rocky, Fireman stories to my two oldest boys (Ben and Luke) as I put them to bed at night... They were 6 and 4 at the time. I had a blast telling them the stories and they had a riot acting them out. I especially enjoyed seeing them mimic Uncle Rocky’s arm motion and hearing them say “Glad to do it” at the end of each story. We thought other parents might like the same experience with their kids. As a result, Katie and I always thought they would do well as illustrated children’s stories. 

About 15 years ago, the boys and I sat down and wrote down as a many titles and themes as we could remember and I actually wrote out several episodes as complete stories. Fast forward to the fall of 2012 when Katie and I were officially “Empty Nesters,” as the last of our five children was off to college. To celebrate, we enrolled in a creative writing class taught by Wayne Karlin at the College of Southern Maryland. 

Our writing assignments got me thinking of the Uncle Rocky, Fireman stories and I brought them out of mental and physical storage and actively began to think of a book project. My renewed interest in writing and a Tax refund check made me receptive to a notice I saw on the library bulletin board for the Feb 16, 2013 meeting of the Life Journey’s Writer’s club (LJWC) founded by author Yvonne J. Medley (The Plumb Line). As a note, my stumbling block to starting the Uncle Rocky, Fireman books had been the cost and difficulty of finding an illustrator. I thought the writer’s club might be able to help me, so my daughter Rachel and I attend the meeting. 

Sure enough, at the meeting I meet children’s book author Mr. James Mascia (High School Heroes series) and he told me I could find all the affordable illustrators I would ever need at He was correct. Within 24 hours I had contracted with Dayna Barley-Cohrs to illustrate my books and we had the four books printed and published by June 2013. It changed our lives. 

BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?

My parents were very creative and storytelling is not unique to us. My dad use to tell us the story of “Loldiglocks and the Be Threars,” (Goldilocks and the Three Bears, with word sounds reversed). Katie’s parents and mine also invested lots of time and love in us as kids. As new parents, we copied our successful parents and telling these stories and spending creative time with our kids just mirrored their example.

As devout, practicing Christians our parents (Mine - Episcopalian, Katie’s - Southern Baptist) also taught us to be observant and look out for needs in others that we could help meet (i.e. be the hands and feet of Jesus). Uncle Rocky very clearly models that attitude and it was a model we wanted our boys to copy.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? 

Uncle Rocky, Fireman grew out of the Father-Son time I had with my two oldest boys (Ben and Luke) as I put them to bed at night. They were 6 and 4 at the time and I told story each night. Little boys like fireman, so I created a fireman character who not only was on the Hook and Ladder truck, but also had the neatest job of driving the rear wheels of the truck and operating the ladder. After that is was pretty easy as each night all I had to do was think up a different type of fire to go to. 

Each story had four purposes: 1) Have the station alarm ring so that the Uncle Rocky could run to the fire gear and get dressed (my boys acted this out); 2) Test everything on the truck to make sure they worked before they left for the fire (my boys made ALL the sounds); 3) Go rescue or help someone (be the hero); and 4) say “Glad to do it!” after being praised for being a hero (my boys loved saying “Glad to do it!” along with Uncle Rocky). 

Eventually, I ran out of types of fires to go to so Uncle Rocky was transferred to the EMT unit and he responded to medical emergencies until we ran out of those. Then he joined the fire boat unit and eventually ended up with the Medical Evacuation Helicopter. In addition, Uncle Rocky is friends with Officer Jack (police stories) and their girlfriends are a middle school teacher (Melanie) and emergency room nurse (Jessica). 

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?

Uncle Rocky, Fireman recounts the adventures of Uncle Rocky (new firefighter) and his two nephews (Ben and Luke). They are children’s illustrated story books designed to be read by a parent (preferably Dad) to ages 7 and below. 

Uncle Rocky, Fireman by James Burd Brewster, Illustrated by Dayna Barley-Cohrs, is a series of children's picture books about the adventures of Uncle Rocky (new firefighter) and his two nephews (Ben and Luke). They are children’s illustrated story books designed to be read by a parent (preferably Dad) to ages 7 and below. Apart or together they fight fires, rescue people, and help neighbors. The stories emphasize service to others and devotion to duty with each story ending with the trademark statement, "Glad to do it!

Uncle Rocky, Fireman #1 - Fire! 

New firefighter, Rocky Hill, arriving at his first fire is confronted by a frantic mother shouting, "Save my Baby, Save My Baby." While his partners attack the fire Rocky, his heart pounding with the urgency of the situation, crawls through the upstairs searching for the baby trapped in her crib.

Uncle Rocky, Fireman #2 - Something's Missing

Rocky Hill has been a firefighter for only three weeks but cannot get it out of his head that something is missing at the station. But what is it? His thoughts about this mystery are interrupted by the visit of his two nephews, Ben and Luke. The interruption does not last long however as Luke's insightful question points Rocky in the right direction.

Uncle Rocky, Fireman #3 - Sparky's Rescue

New firefighter, Rocky Hill and his two nephews, Ben and Luke, are on a mission to find a mascot for the fire house. Only a Dalmatian will do, but the City Pound has none and the Pet Store is sold out; strikes one and two. If Valley Kennels is strike three the mission will be a failure and Uncle Rocky's day off wasted. 

Uncle Rocky, Fireman #4 - Sparky Protects

Sparky, the fire station’s new Dalmatian dog, has done well in training, but Rocky Hill knows that Sparky has not been tested by a real fire. When Sparky attacks the hose team as they approach a burning garage, Uncle Rocky fears the worst. Maybe Sparky is not a fire dog after all. 

We have also published a 12 episode chapter book written for a 3rd grade reader titled: The Adventures of Uncle Rocky, Fireman. The books are all available in paperback from or Amazon .com. Electronic books can be purchased at or Kindle 

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?

It is important to note for parent’s sake that all of the characters in the Uncle Rocky, Fireman series are kind, friendly, nice people, who like to help others and there are no bad issues that need to be explained. Uncle Rocky, Ben and Luke act towards and treat others in the same manner that we are teaching our children to act. 

Uncle Rocky is a new firefighter, just graduated from the Fire Academy. Ben and Luke (actually my boy’s names) are his two nephews whom he likes and frequently does thing with. Uncle Rocky is teamed with Bob (Truck Captain) and Big Joe (driver). Their station chief is a seasoned, growly fire veteran whom every just refers to as “Chief.” They all get along, want to fight fires and rescue people, and are interested in each other’s success and well being. 

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

The topics discussed in the book are actually shown through the character’s behavior. They are kind, nice people who believe it is their Christian responsibility or civic duty to be kind to and help others and they live that out in every Uncle Rocky, Fireman episode.

Writing and publishing the Uncle Rocky, Fireman series has driven home to me that NO ONE gets to their end point entirely on their own effort. Everyone is moved along the way by many kind and helpful people who with either provide crucial information (James Mascia with the website info or KR Raye with her referral to Ella Curry) or essential encouragement (Katie who thinks the books are wonderful and Yvonne Medley who created the Life Journals Writers Club).

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I am a “Project Guy,” meaning I like to conceive an idea (the books), think the process through from A to Z, and then see it I can make it work. I am not a writer in that I am compelled to write, as many are. I am driven by a desire to see this project work out.

My next illustrated book projects are:

1) Four more Uncle Rocky Episodes

2) Feast of Memories - A story written by Katie about grandson and Grandma dealing with their impatience in waiting for family to arrive for Thanksgiving

3) The Limerick - Warm story of a family creating a limerick to ease their boredom during a long drive to visit relatives

4) The start - Story about the exciting start to a sail boat race when a seasoned racing skipper tried to challenge a sail boat crewed by USCG Academy Cadets.

5) Stand Easy Adventures - Stories about a family visiting Grandparents at the lake for the summer and the things they do together. Should be about 10-15 episodes.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book? 
I hope the Uncle Rocky, Fireman book series grows to over 100 episodes as I have material and stories from fire fighters to fill over 100 episodes. However, I really hope it grows to over 100 episodes because fathers and son have the same fun we did with Ben and Luke in telling and acting out these stories.

My real desire is for parents and children, after reading Uncle Rocky, Fireman is to follow Uncle Rocky’s example in being “Glad to do it!” to help others.

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? 
Katie and I home taught our five children (Ben, Luke, Rachel, Andrew, Samuel) and my guess is that if we hadn’t been homeschooling, I might not have had the motivation to tell Ben and Luke the Uncle Rocky, Fireman stories. That would have meant the loss of all the great memories we have about Uncle Rocky and “Glad to do it!” For that, I am forever grateful to Katie for learning about and being willing to home school our family.

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

The entire Uncle Rocky, Fireman series and its associated coloring pages (free download) are available at


Author Website: 
Independent Bookstore : 
Facebook Page: 

Sneak Peek From Uncle Rocky, Fireman #1 Fire!

Crawling through the room, he felt the legs of a crib, reached into it, and touched a baby. The baby did not move.

Uncle Rocky picked up the baby, covered her with his arms and held her close to his chest and turnout coat. 

He raced through the hallway and down the stairs to fresh air. Uncle Rocky was worried. The baby still had not moved. 

Outside the young lady ran up to them, but Bob kept her back until Uncle Rocky could examine the baby.

Uncle Rocky opened his arms. He looked at the baby and gave a big sigh of relief. 
He smiled, walked over the mother, and gently placed the baby in her arms. She smiled and started to cry. Her daughter was sound asleep. 

The mother looked up at Uncle Rocky with tears in her eyes and said, "Thank you. Thank you for saving my baby. Thank God you came in time."

Uncle Rocky felt good. He also thanked God. This is why he had become a firefighter. 

He looked into the mother's eyes and said, 

"Glad to do it!

Tomorrow Night: Uncle Rocky, Fireman “Something’s Missing”

( Continued... )

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





Intimate Conversations with Nina Foxx

A Letter for My Mother and Momma: Gone A Personal Story

Nina Foxx is an award-winning filmmaker, playwright, and novelist. She writes as both Nina Foxx and Cynnamon Foster. Her work has appeared on numerous bestseller lists around the country, and her films have won awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, Cannes, and the Rome International Film Festival. 

Originally from Jamaica, New York, she lives with her family near Seattle, Washington, where she works in Human-Computer interaction for a major software company. Nina is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, The Links and Jack & Jill of America. Visit her at or her blog at

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually start writing this book, A Letter for My Mother?
A year or so ago, I got a call that the woman who used to be my mother in law was dying. We hadn't had a good relationship, but I was surprised because the news was very upsetting to me. I was across the country and couldn't go to where she was encouraged by my sister to write a letter to her and tell her what I wanted to say. The idea was that someone who was there with her could share the letter with her.

After I was done, I thought I would blog it or try to have it published in a magazine. My agent suggested that I write this as an anthology instead; so many woman have interesting relationships with their mothers, mother figures and other women in their lives. So I asked my writer and filmmaker friends to contribute to what is now this book. I didn't realize how difficult it would be for so many people. People caled me crying and struggling through. Others just couldn't do it so they refused to be in the project. They weren't ready to face whatever issues they had with their mother-figure. They are people who had things to say but chose to write under pseudonym to conceal their identities. Everyone that participated said the process was cathartic for them and the result are some amazing pieces.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work, A Letter for My Mother.  
A Letter for My Mother is creative non-fiction and essays. It is available where ever books are sold and in all digital formats.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything from writing your book?
Every woman that participated wrote a letter and a short essay, to their mother or mother figure. They had to tell them something that they either never had the chance to, or something they coudlnt' tell them before. My only requirement was that they had to focus on the positive that they had gained from the relationship with this person. My own mother died when I was a child, and I didn't think I felt any way about that anymore. After I helped each person write their piece, I realized I had something to say to my own mother and sister. That is the last letter in the book.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book, A Letter for My Mother? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book?
After reading this, I would hope that readers tell a woman they love something they have given them; thank them for whatever that is. I also have related film project in my head.

Discussing Momma: Gone A Personal Story

BPM: What inspired you to write this book, Momma: Gone A Personal Story?

I started writing this many years ago. I think it is actually the first thing I ever tried to write. I had a memory of going to a bar with my mother and wanted to put it on paper. She died before I was seven, so it was very hazy, but more things unfolded from my memory.

BPM: Is this a true story, Momma: Gone A Personal Story?
Absolutely. This book is based on my childhood. It is embellished, of course. Sweetie (main character) had a story that needed to be told.

BPM: Introduce us to Momma: Gone A Personal Story.
Well, this book is literary fiction. If I'd had more courage, I would have written it as Creative non-fiction. This is a story about family and heartbreak as much as it is about loss and recovery. More truth than not, Momma: Gone is a story of survival, where all the lessons are taught by the child who must eventually lead them through and a classic American story of overcoming life's misfortunes to find the bloom on the other side.

BPM: Tell us about your main characters. What makes them so special?
Sweetie is seven years old when this story begins. She is a precocious child that is very much aware of the things that are going on around her, even though the adults never tell her what is going on. She is aware of her mother's illness and the effect it has on the family.

"Momma set me on the jukebox." So begins the personal story of Denise (Sweetie) Wooten, set between a post-civil rights era New York City and a growing, but stale rural Alabama. We are thrust in the midst of a family longing for normalcy, but instead struggling with illness and all that comes with it; denial, anger and misunderstanding and love. As cultures clash, we see the family through a child's eyes and walk with her as she makes sense of war fought far away, but with effects close to home, and a tragedy that changes her life forever. 

More truth than not, Momma: Gone is a story of survival, where all the lessons are taught by the child who must eventually lead them through and a classic American story of overcoming life s misfortunes to find the bloom on the other side. -Momma: Gone A Personal Story was shortlisted for a Doctorow Award in Innovative Fiction.

BPM: What are your goals for your writing career?
Momma: Gone is my 15th book. I just want to continue to tell good stories and make a few good movies.

BPM: What would you like for readers to do after reading Momma: Gone A Personal Story?
I want people to feel along with the main character as she grows, then go out and tell someone about it. 

Nina's website: 
Like and follow on Twitter: @ninafoxx

A Letter for My Mother by Nina Foxx

Genre: Creative Non-fiction

Momma: Gone A Personal Story 
by Nina Foxx




Intimate Conversation with Dr. Courtney Davis

Dr. Courtney Davis has been an avid reader since she was a young girl. As the daughter of parents who valued reading, she was surrounded with books, magazines and opportunities to create stories. She has a passion for working with students in urban areas helping them unleash their potential to become change-agents in their communities. Dr. Davis has also been a practitioner and advocate for children with disabilities and their families for more than 15 years. These experiences inspired her to create books that encourage children to read. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Davis now happily resides in Historic Anacostia. This is her first picture book. Visit her online at

BPM: What led you to become a children’s book author?
As an educator and resident of Anacostia, I worked in a local elementary school in Ward 8. While working with Pre-K and kindergarten students, I wanted to find a way to connect the class work to our community. I tried to find existing material to use with a younger audience in local libraries however nothing existed. So, like most teachers, I created the material I needed to reach my students. I wanted to ensure that the students that live and play in Ward 8 were highlighted in a positive way.

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
This is my first book and I wanted to proudly represent my neighborhood. So often, negative messages are shared about the residents and community of Anacostia, located in Washington, DC. However, I wanted to share another perspective that highlights the positive behaviors of children and the popular places to visit. There are so many gems in the community and A is for Anacostia can be used as a map of awesome resources including the home of Frederick Douglass and the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum. At the beginning of the school year, I was a tour guide for over 40 teachers and used the book to guide us to many landmarks and popular places easily accessible to children and adults in our community. We had a ball!!

BPM: What drew you to tackle the topics in your book?
I wanted to make sure children in the community had an opportunity to see themselves in a book. Not only can they recognize peers, they are familiar with many places that are just a few steps from their home or school. It is a win-win situation as it increases the self-concept and reinforces the alphabet at the same time!! On top of that, the vibrant illustrations guarantee to bring life to each page! 

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Absolutely! I think Anacostia is the best kept secret in Washington, DC and I want to share it with everyone! There are so many beautiful places to visit and enjoy, including historical landmarks, a Smithsonian museum and Anacostia river. As a resident, I have the opportunity to walk or ride my bike to the same places that I introduce to fellow community members or new visitors. In addition, I have first-hand experience with some of our youngest residents and this book is my attempt to glorify their activities too. 

BPM: How do you go about reaching new readers? 
In the winter of 2013, I initiated a book drive to place a copy of A is for Anacostia in the hand of every Pre-K student at Ketcham Elementary School. The purpose of the book drive was to increase literacy skills and home libraries for our youngest residents. Because book lovers residing in and out of Anacostia made donations to the children, we were able to meet our goal! Copies of A is for Anacostia were signed and supplied to each student and teacher in four Pre-K classrooms. 

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? 
After reading this alphabet book, I want children to be excited about learning and seeing African-American characters that look like themselves. In addition, I want them to adopt an attitude to explore their own neighborhood, and find a new activity. After a book reading, two first grade girls shared a message with me, “I want to visit Anacostia!” I can’t wait to welcome them to the neighborhood again. 

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or entertain? Illuminate a particular subject? Inspire?
Learning and having fun make an awesome combination! As a writer, I try to strike a balance to avoid preaching to kids while connecting new information to their prior knowledge. My goal is to continue to show characters that reflect students that I know and introduce educational concepts. 

BPM: Share with us your latest news. How may our readers follow you online? 
I invite all your readers to visit my website: or the A is for Anacostia Facebook page!  I regularly post upcoming reading events and appearances for both children and adults. In addition, I am excited to share that some of the characters from A is for Anacostia will be visiting a new location. They will travel to Chicago! Stay tuned as the adventure will be released in the Spring!



Intimate Conversation with Nicole M. Brown

Nicole M. Brown, MSN, RN, is a nurse educator, who teaches nursing at a HBCU in Central VA. She has worked as a nurse for over 20 years in various specialties from Emergency Room to long–term care. She is also, a Doctoral candidate with Walden University and an Army veteran, who served in Operation Desert Storm. She is the proud mother of three and happily divorce. She is dedicated to providing positive images of the nursing profession for children and the world through her books.

BPM: Tell us about your journey becoming a successfully published author. Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author?
The Journey to become a successful author is not easy, there are many long hours, no pay and it is very expensive up front. I have always dreamed of becoming an author. To help make this dream come true, I had to make some changes in my life. I have downsized and live with family to afford to publish my work. After publishing, the goal is to be a successful author and tell people about my book via various methods. As a self-published author you have to become an expert or hire experts in social media, blogging and your website. You have to be consistent in your quest to become a successful author. I am in the book business for the long haul and plan to continue for the next 3 to 5 years.

My children have heavily influenced me to become an author. I want to leave my children and grandchildren to come, with wisdom and knowledge of what I have done during my lifetime. I plan to write more books to explain issues to my children in the future. I want to leave a legacy, which will last after, I am gone.

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? What road did you travel? How do you feel about self-publishing?
I was afraid of being rejected, so I pursued self-publishing. I wanted to be in control of my words and pictures in my book. Maybe, one day a large publisher will approach me to do a traditional book.

BPM: What is your definition of success?

I want to be happy with what I have done over my lifetime. Success means setting, implementing and accomplishing lifelong goals. Success feels good.

BPM: Success leaves clues, whose clues did you follow on your journey?
I go by my feelings with my work. I want to feel comfort and calmness in my spirit with my writing. This will mean success to me.

BPM: What books or authors made a difference in your life?
The Millionaire Next Door, it is about how an average person can become a millionaire over a lifetime with some simple basic good decisions.

BPM: How has your writing style evolved over the years?
What stimulated your growth the most? My writing style has shifted to respond to question my children ask me. I wan to leave something in writing to solve issues they may have now or encounter in the future. My children have stimulated my growth the most.

BPM: What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?
I feel now I can do anything, I put my mine to. This has been an amazing and overwhelming experience. I have experienced highs and lows during authorship. Most people support your work and then there are others who do not. 

BPM: What are some of the benefits of being an author that makes it all worthwhile?
I love attending conferences and events focused on authors and book clubs. I feel like a celebrity at times. I have accomplished sometime, many people only dream of.

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Offer to be an intern with an author. Attend and volunteer at book events to understand the business of writing a book. Remember writing a book is a business , so take business classes.

BPM: If you were not a writer, what would you be? What are you passionate about, besides writing books?

I would continue to teach nursing. I have been a nurse for 20 years. Also, I will start my not-for-profit called, “Future Nurse.” I will have a scholarship for books and sponsor international mission trips to Haiti and Africa. In addition, I am weeks away from completing my Doctorate in Nursing. I have to get really to be called. Dr. Nicole Brown!!!

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. Do you have any favorites? What genre is the book? On Kindle or Nook? 

The Adventures of Nurse Nicole-N is for Nurse is my first book. The main characters are myself as Nurse Nicole and my three children Nathaniel, Nicolas and Nicola. No, I do not have any favorites. All of the characters are needs to make the story a success. This is a non-fiction book. Available in paperback on Amzaon and Kindle for ebook. The Adventures of Nurse Nicole –Wash Your Hands is my second book, which will be out soon. The same as above!!

BPM: What compelled or inspired you to write this book? Why now? Ever experience writers block?

I was inspired by my children. My children would ask me, what did I do at work every day? I went to Walmart and Target to find something to explain nursing. Currently, there is nothing on the market that nurses can buy for their children to explain the profession of nursing. What I really wanted was s doll or video to show my kids. During my research, I found out I could not afford to start with a doll or video. So, I began my company with books to explain nursing go children. I thought a book would be affordable and easy to do. Books are a world of their own. I want to write books now that grow with my children. I plan to write a step by step guide on, “How to become a Nurse.” I have not had writers block yet!!

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
Yes, each scene in the book I have experience as a nurse. I worked with the illustrator on each and every picture for my books.

BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message enclosed?
The audience for my books are moms, dads, grandparents, families, nurses and anyone who would like to expose their child to a career for the future.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
They should go to the website sign up for my newsletter and click on my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts to follow me. They should read my next book, “Wash Your Hands, which is coming out soon. I plan to publish my doctoral project and How to Become a Nurse in 2014.

BPM: How do you avoid the temptation of interjecting your own morals or ministry in your writing?
With my writing, I follow the standards of what a nurse would do. I had to educate my illustrator on appropriate issues a nurse can and cannot do. I want my work to be respected and accurate of the nursing profession.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I would like families to start to encourage children of the profession of nursing. Most of my student are second career students and in their forties. I would like to see more young people pursue nursing as the first career.

BPM: Now, let’s talk about the industry. Will the digital age or social media usage change the face of publishing?

Yes, I love my social media forums. I have had my FB author site up and within 32 days had 500 likes. I am so excited. I enjoy receiving the feedback on my FB account.

BPM: How do feel about selling digital books vs. selling in a brick and mortar store? What impact do you think electronic book sales will have on black authors? On indie authors? 

I wish I had started with my ebook first. I enjoy using social media for my books sales. I believe as an author I have to be available for brick and mortar stores. I think people will buy more from the ebooks format overtime.

BPM: What has been your most difficult hurdle to leap? Marketing, promotions or gaining media exposure, etc. How can EDC Creations and our readers help you?

The biggest hurdle is getting website up and starting the social media. Realizing that everyone does not or will not like my book. I have been told my book is not ethnic enough due to AA on the cover. My first 2 books have only AA on the cover. My next 2 children's books will have a diverse cover. I would like your readers to like my sites, promote my book to others and buy my book and add great reviews to the Amazon site. ,

BPM: How much does “word of mouth” has play into the success of your book? What grassroots strategies have you used to spread the word about your book?
I think word of mouth is good. I talk to people about my book all the time. The grass roots strategy is to sell to family and friends. But the social media is better and faster.

BPM: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... ”
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...educating the world through the art and science of nursing.

BPM: Share with us your latest news. How may our readers follow you online? 
They should read my next book, “Wash Your Hands, which is coming out soon. I plan to publish my doctoral project and How to Become a Nurse in 2014. On my website please click on FB, Twitter and Pinterest.




Intimate Conversation with Chanz’e Witcher

Chanz’e Witcher was born in Dallas, Texas. Her favorite subjects in high school were English where writing papers were just natural for her to write. Her passion for writing came early in life when she would read so many books that finally she started to create her own books out of newspaper and bound them with Elmer’s paste. The days of newspaper and glue are long gone as she awaits her first children’s book ALL I WANT to make its way onto the shelves of book stores.

After graduating high school she knew she wanted to become a court reporter and put herself through school at the Court Reporting Institute of Dallas where she soared through this self-efficient program and later became a Stenographer. Chanze left Dallas, Texas and worked in Knoxville, Tennessee where she produced over 300 court proceeding transcripts ranging from depositions, trials, hearings and other litigation cases. She was constantly sought after by lawyers, judges and doctors to take the record for her credibility of being precise and efficient because of her ability to take and transcribe verbatim word by word testimony. This opportunity attributed to her continuously perfecting her writing abilities. She was chosen out of a single-digit percentage of new authors to be signed chosen by Tate Publishing & Enterprises in 2011 to be published as a professional author.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? Success leaves clues, whose clues did you follow on your journey?
I was a rather lonely child growing up and books were my friends. I found comfort reading all day and night. I could just cast all my cares away on the written words and get lost in an unknown world with no worries. As my desire to read progressed, I started going through so many books that I didn’t want my mother to buy me anymore so I turned to writing and making my own books. The more I read books the more I wrote.

BPM: Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author?
My grandmother who passed away in ’09 left a huge imprint on my life because early on as a child she would always tell me, “Baby, one day you are going to reach the people. I would always ask her, “Grandma, what do you mean?” She would just tell me you just have that glow about you that is contagious. I also have to say my mother contributed to me pursuing endeavors of authorship. She also would tell me after she would read what t I had wrote that it was powerful and that I had a true calling that I shouldn’t just sit on. I would often laugh and say, “Mom, everybody can write.” She would laugh and say people may be able to write but not everyone can write and touch people.

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
All I Want is the 1st book in a series of spiritual children books that is symbolic of my life as a child between my mother and me, where she taught me the foundation of knowing who Jesus is. It introduces the youth to scriptures that they can carry on with them throughout life and into their adulthood. What makes this book so special is that it carries weight with what the youth faces today such as maybe not being accepted in society but knowing that you will always be accepted with Jesus. It teaches them that with Jesus you can overcome. 

BPM: What inspired you to write this book? Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
I was inspired to write this book after completing my grandmother’s memoir on her 2-year anniversary night. I prayed asking God what could I do to assist the youth with what they were facing today. When reading the news or even watching it on television the youth are dying earlier and earlier not even living their life. As I went back over my childhood it was revealed to me that I had faced some of the same or similar circumstances in life just in a different time period and it was clear my entire life was a book and that I had to share what I knew with the youth that Jesus is key. It is my ultimate goal to restore the kingdom foundation that was the standard long ago that you have to reach for the most High in everything and he will see you through.

My faith inspires me to write because it is deep and it is real. It leaves you reflecting on life and what is meant by this life that we have. We are all here to serve a purpose and what we do each day has a long lasting effect on the people we come to meet and know. 

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
My goal as a writer is to simply touch people in their soul. I want my readers and supporters to grow with me whether they are a child, young adult or an adult as I have something in store for each genre. I want them to know that when I write it comes from a place deep inside of me that God planted there and that I have them in mind each time I go to write. I want to take a life experience that could destroy an individual and create a memory within where they know that all things we encounter and go through was to serve an ultimate purpose and find joy by it and go on to share their story with another individual so they too can do the same.

BPM: Please share with us a thought or reflection on your journey to this point in writing.
My journey to this point I give God all the credit for. I am nothing without him and I will never be anything without him. I am grateful and thankful for this moment because I have always spoken this moment into existence trusting and believing that God would make a way for me. He has opened doors that I myself could not have opened and made a way for me against all odds, obstacles and challenges. 

BPM: What would you like to accomplish as you continue to write?
One day I hope to have my own publishing company and assist others with writing and sharing their stories.

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. How may our readers follow you online?
What is next for Chanz’e is to just to continue to dig deep within myself and write many more books that will touch all people. I want to be able to assist others with telling their story. I am also working on publication of young adult and adult novels as well. I am currently working on an adult novel Supernatural Stage IV that will leave you speechless; in tears one moment and laughing the next and mouth hanging open the next as the story of one woman’s journey is revealed when she is healed of Stage IV breast cancer supernaturally.

My readers can follow me at: and Twitter. I look forward to meeting my supporters and loving them through the words that are written from within me.

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Intimate Conversation with Florence M. Howard

Florence M. Howard is an accomplished, dynamic and compassionate visionary. She obtained her first library card at the then-recently integrated Main Library on Peabody in Memphis . Director of Community Affairs for WREG-TV, she established and ran the Knowledge Bowl quiz show and Emmy-winning Kids Count campaign for 12 years. She obtained degrees in Journalism from the University of Memphis . Today, she is an author, publicist, event coordinator, and inspirational speaker. She opened her company, Secret Shop Communicators ( in 1999. 

BPM: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of your family.
Throughout my life, I have been supported by good people – trusted teachers, church members and friends. Apparently, they saw something in me that I couldn’t see myself. I am always amazed by the good things that people tell me about myself. Thanks Goodness, I choose to believe them and not my own fears or misgivings. I was also inspired by things that I read. Books have helped me develop my thinking, my attitudes, my hopes and my dreams. They have helped me correct self-defeating behavior and to grow in ways beyond what I knew growing up.

BPM: What does “growth” mean to you?
Growth means changing for the better, personal improvement. I am not the same person that I was two years ago, five years ago and certainly not 20 years ago –emotionally, spiritually, physically or professionally. I once heard a man who was being interviewed on a talk show and applauded for his accomplishments as a scientist, inventor, writer, etc. He answered, “All that is true but I didn’t do it all at the same time.” That said to me that we don’t have to do everything at once to become the person that God has called us to be but we should be working on some aspect of the plan daily. 

BPM: Introduce us to your book, From Sagging to Success and the primary message.
My book, “From Sagging to Success” is a message to urban youth to inspire them to be much more than what people say they are and for the people that want to help them become extraordinary. The primary message of the book is that sagging pants might indicate a sagging mindset and how we think about ourselves influences how we act. Urban youth are often viewed unfairly and stereotyped based on their appearance. They are misjudged due to cultural misperceptions. Young people need to be aware of the repercussions of sagging. 

The book addresses these issues through the fictionalized account of the life of a youth named Derrick and the illustrations of Emery Franklin. The book is beautifully illustrated and the paintings were created first as a library gallery exhibit. This book will change the way you look at young people and, perhaps, inspire you to make your own dreams come true. It also gives you talking points and tools to help other people. Read “From Sagging to Success” and become better informed about Black history, inspired to grow and be more successful. 

BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in your book? 
I was inspired to turn pictures from a Black History month art exhibit into words and motivate young people, about the world, about life in general and about Black life in particular. The first painting in the book is timed after the Emancipation Proclamation, the second painting looks at the Reconstruction Period, another focuses on the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike. That strike is part of my history because my mother and stepfather participated in those marches in 1968. I ran News Channel 3’s Knowledge Bowl competition from 1987-1998 and I saw firsthand how little of our history young African American know. I have seen them drop their heads when slavery is mentioned instead of realizing that they are the descendents of survivors. 

From 2002- 2008, I worked with the local NAACP running the Voter Empowerment Campaign and the Get-Out-To-Vote effort. It is sad to say that our children do not know our history and what they know is not in the context of our experiences. As the author, I gave history and background information to put the paintings, their time and place or subject they illustrated into context from an African American perspective. I bring my perspective to the topics in the book – low self-esteem, the after-affects of mistreatment, voting in local, state and federal elections, changing the way your think, educating yourself, recognizing your own genius, committing yourself to being successful – all of it.

BPM: What are the most important responsibilities of parent or guardian?
I believe the most important responsibilities of a parent or guardian is to love, respect, nurture, correct and train a child. Whether a parent is present or away from the home, children need to know that you care and in the absence of something being said or done to indicate otherwise, children grow to believe they are forgotten and unimportant.

BPM: Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
I am an experienced writer with two degrees in journalism and whatever I write is guided by my faith. I pray over every sentence. I recently meet a fellow author at a mutual book signing that asked me unexpectedly if I believed the Bible is the word of God. I said, “Yes, without a doubt, I believe the Bible is word of God and that it was written by men who were inspired by God in what they wrote.” He laughed at me and said “how do you know?” I answered that my book was written by me and inspired by God. That ended that part of the discussion. My writing is inspired by my faith. Otherwise, it would not be as clear, as insightful or as real.

BPM: How is the book being received by the readers?
The book has been well-received: Readers love the book. It is a must-have for anyone with children and grandchildren and for those who teach or work with them. I am working on some workbooks for students in elementary, middle school and high school.

Here are a few of quotes from readers:

This book is for all ages. ~ Dr. Yvonne Osborne

I got this book at the NBCC and its an amazing history lesson for our children. From Sagging to Success tells an amazing story and the artwork is gorgeous. If you have young boys in your life BUY THIS BOOK... 5 Stars ~ Debra, Amazon post

The Book is Great!! And it will be a bestseller, needs to be standard reading for every child in Memphis and through out the United States ...yes seriously. ~ Rhonda T.

This book is for anyone who has children that need to be motivated to be all they can be in spite of the odds. The art is wonderful!! ~ Pearl, Amazon post

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want my readers to recapture the dreams that they laid aside or never attempted and to accomplish them. I want them to go from a sagging self-concept to an empowered experience and feeling of success. I want everyone to realize that how you think is more important that how you dress. 

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or other life path?
Thanks to self-publication of “From Sagging to Success,” my life-long dream of being a published book author has come true. Writing the book made me examine my own actions and attitudes toward success and to refocus my understanding of what the Bible says – “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Now I challenge every negative thought and loudly and intentionally practice anticipation and thankfulness. I also think of the outcome that I want to see happen so that when God does it, He gets all the credit and the glory. 

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
Everything that I write has its own purpose. The purpose of “From Sagging to Success” is to educate about our history and successes, illuminate concepts of success and inspire readers to act on what they learn. Right now, I am finishing up my family’s genealogy book which is designed to educate older and younger family members about our personal heritage and to help locate others who through marriage, distance and circumstances don’t even know they are part of the group.

BPM: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another. Finish this sentence - “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... ”
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers: the wisdom and tools to become successful and to teach those ideas, concepts and actions to the next generation. Unless we can foster success in the next generation, our legacy is a dead end and not a path that they can follow. Scripture says that “a good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.” Money is not the only thing that can be inherited. The inheritance can be a lifestyle as well as an attitude of success, responsibility, creativity and the ability, talents and skills to make your way in the world. My mother didn’t leave my brothers and sisters a lot of money. She taught us how to appreciate life, to be kind, hardworking and it paved the way for our successes. Her favorite mantra was: “You don’t know whose hands you will fall in.” When she died at the age of 45, we were blessed to hold each other up and to stay close because we had been trained to help each other and to rejoice over each other’s successes.

Contact Florence M. Howard
Twitter: @florencemhoward

From Sagging to Success: The Story of Emery Franklin
Written by Florence M. Howard, Illustrated by Emery Franklin

“From Sagging to Success” is a message to urban youth and the adults who want to help them become extraordinary. Young people are unfairly judged because of their appearance and cultural misperceptions. They need to be made aware of the repercussions of sagging. Sagging pants even might be an indication of a sagging mindset or low self-esteem. A fictionalized character in book illustrations, Derrick goes from sagging to success as he learns about Black history, reads books read and written by successful people and changes the way he thinks. He shares his new knowledge with his parents who also embrace a positive outlook, productive behaviors and principles of success. At the end of the book, Derrick and his parents have successfully transmitted principles of success to the next generation. The book is beautifully illustrated and the paintings were created first as a library gallery exhibit.

The book educates readers our history and successes, illuminates concepts of success and inspires them to act on what they learn. Readers are motivated to examine their thinking patterns, to recapture the dreams that they laid aside or never attempted and to accomplish them. They gain the wisdom and tools to become successful and are equipped to share those ideas, concepts and actions with others. 



Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide
by Pamela Samuels Young

This book will help African-American women with kinky hair learn the true beauty and versatility of their natural hair.

Have you been thinking about transitioning to natural hair, but don't know where to start? Then Kinky Coily: A Natual Hair Resource Guide  is for You! This book is a collection of the best resources to help you begin your natural hair journey. You'll find the books, the bloggers, tools, product and more. You'll learn how to develop a hair care regime, how to determine the tools and products you'll need and how to track your progress. Whether you have a relaxer, press 'n curl or you're already natural, Kinky Coily has something for you. So get ready to experience the true beauty and versatility of your natural hair.

Kinky Coily Excerpt

Transitioning to natural hair will require you to think differently about your hair. You’ll need to believe in the beauty and versatility of your natural hair. While the process will be frustrating at times, it will also be rewarding and fulfilling. If you make the commitment, I guarantee that you’ll end up with an appreciation of your kinky coils as well as greater confidence in yourself and your hair. Before we begin, here are four tips that are crucial to a successful transition.

A Positive Mindset
You’ll need to embrace a whole new mindset about the beauty of your natural hair to have a successful transition. Many of us with kinky hair have been raised to believe that we cannot take care of our own hair because it’s too unruly, difficult and just plain “bad.” That’s bull.

Start your natural hair journey with an open mind. Allow your hair to be all it can be and love it for its beauty and flexibility. How many straight-haired women can sport kinky curls, twists, locs, Bantu knots, micro-braids and cornrows? None I know.

My point is you’re going to have to erase all those negative notions you have about your hair. You have the most fabulous hair in the world. Embrace it!

I’ve heard many women say that going natural takes too much work. Really? I can remember spending three-to-four hours in the beauty shop, and that doesn’t include my two-hour round-trip commute. If I was getting a weave, the entire day and night might be lost.

If rocking your natural hair is important to you, you’ll have to make the decision to investment in yourself. Yes, deep conditioning once or twice a week, moisturizing and sealing your hair on a daily basis and styling your natural hair will take time. But so does anything worth having.

In addition to time, you’re going to need to be committed to the process. There will be times when you are disappointed because your hair isn’t growing fast enough. Transitioning to natural hair is not going to happen overnight. Hair growth takes time. Particularly if you hair is damaged.

You’ll need time to learn your hair and what products respond best to it. You will probably get frustrated and overwhelmed and feel like giving up. Don’t.

Think about the last diet or exercise program you started, but didn’t finish. Somewhere along the line, you just got tired of the bland food and gave up. Now think about the last diet or exercise program you did finish. How proud did you feel after reaching your goal? Transitioning to natural hair is something you’re doing for yourself. You deserve it. So make a commitment to yourself to stick with it no matter what.

This is the most important tool of all! The beautiful natural hair you want isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot of work and patience on your part. Along the way, there will be successes and failures. Products you love. Products you purchase after watching a tutorial on YouTube that end up being a complete waste of your money. It’s all part of the process.

Somewhere along your journey, you’ll find out what works for you and the results will follow. So practice patience! You won’t regret it!


* Be patient. Transitioning takes time and effort.
* Develop a weekly hair care regimen and stick to it.
* Educate yourself about the care of your natural hair.
* Join a natural hair MeetUp group to share resources.
* Keep a hair journal to track your progress.

Purchase Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide
by Pamela Samuels Young


Purchase  Kinky Coily Natural Hair Journal
by Pamela Samuels Young


Purchase signed copies here: 
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Meet the Author
Pamela Samuels Young
is a practicing attorney whose fast-paced legal thrillers tackle law and crime. Pamela’s first non-fiction book, Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide, goes on sale in April, 2014.  A former TV news writer, Pamela currently serves on the Board of Directors of the L.A. Chapter of Sisters in Crime, an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers. To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or event, email Pamela via her website at: 



A Letter for My Mother 
by Nina Foxx

Whether they’re from the US, Caribbean, India, or the UK, all of the contributors to A Letter for My Mother share one thing in common: thoughts that have been left unsaid to their mothers and mother figures—until now. In this moving book, thirty-three women reveal the stories, reflections, confessions, and revelations they’ve kept to themselves for years and have finally put into words. Written through tears and pain, as well as joy and laughter, each offering presents the mother-daughter bond in a different light. 

Heartfelt and deeply meaningful, A Letter for My Mother will inspire you to admire and cherish that special relationship that shapes every woman.

Excerpt from A Letter for My Mother 

My ex-husband’s mother was dying. During the time I was married to him, our relationship had been at best, tenuous. I married her oldest son and she never forgave me for that, or at least it seemed that way in my head. I couldn’t seem to understand some of her ways and she couldn’t understand mine. I was from a different place than she and my life was different than both hers and that of her daughters. At times, she seemed to resent me for that. Some days, she went from insulting me, my family, my upbringing and lifestyle in one sentence to embracing me and trying to nurture me, all in the space of a twelve-hour period. It was infuriating. I retaliated, resisted, rebelled and refused to accept. I’d already had a mother. She’d died when I was six, and no one could replace her. Various female members of my biological family had given me all the mothering I thought I would need so I saw no need to accept any from a stranger.

Over the years, our relationship changed and softened, especially after the children came, but I’ll admit I was never comfortable with her. When I divorced her son, I thought I was walking away from her family too and struggled with the link that lay between us and the desire to do the right thing. I was more compelled to stay in contact with family than my ex-husband was, but didn’t want to overstep my bounds by staying in touch with his family for my children. Divorce was a relationship quagmire I had a hard time negotiating. I wanted my children to know and love their family, all of it, but I didn’t want to be the uncomfortable bridge that made that happen. My mother-in-law didn’t care what I felt. She was always going to be here, and though my last name had changed, she still offered her opinion, advice and whatever else she felt like when we spoke, making me still more uncomfortable.

I knew she was ill, but I still felt as if I’d been knocked off my feet when I received the call that she was dying. Tears and confusion flooded my brain. At first, I couldn’t understand why I was not emotionless. My sister, the main mother figure in my life, explained my reaction to me and encouraged me to tell my mother-in-law what I had to say to her before I no longer could. She assured me that even though I was unwilling to admit it, I was close to this woman and couldn’t avoid being unnerved. We had developed a relationship over the years. My sister encouraged me to write down what I wanted to say to the woman before she died if I was unable to speak the words. The result was the letter that led to this book. 

As I wrote, I realized that although she and I were very different, my mother-in-law had been mothering me all along and didn’t care whether I wanted to accept it or not. Because I had been raised to do the right thing, I started out treating her with respect, and even though my respect was peppered with defiance, it didn’t stop me from loving her. Over time, I treated her with respect not because I was supposed to, but because I had come to respect her. 

I finished my letter and my mother-in-law died three hours later. I was as devastated as if she had given birth to me, but I did feel some relief that I had said to the universe the things I wanted to say but hadn’t been able to for the fifteen years our families had been linked by my marriage to her son. In writing my letter, I discovered that I had been so stressed by our relationship because I wasn’t open to mothering and mother-wisdom of the kind that we receive from the more seasoned members of the female community. I don’t know why this was. Perhaps it was because my own wound from losing my mother so young had not yet healed, some thirty-plus years later. I read my letter over and over, and as I did, it occurred to me that I was not alone. 

As females, we have a way of nurturing others, usually children and men, but we are often reluctant to nurture and share with each other. As young women, we are often mean girls (or the victims of them). We might make a few close friends as young adults, but throughout our lives, many of us are very slow to let new women in. Rather than embrace each other, we push away. We argue with and resent our mothers, and more often than not, fall prey to the idea that our mothers-in-law and stepmothers, all “outside women,” are evil rather than a source of support or knowledge. As we do so, we miss our lessons until finally we only see them in hindsight. 

I invited other women to write a letter to a mother in their lives, someone who guided them when they didn’t want to be guided and perhaps someone they’d never thanked. In the letter, they were to tell them what they wanted them to know. The recipient of the letter needn’t be alive or biologically related, just someone to whom they had things to say to but lacked courage or foresight to be able to say those things, a thank you. Many of the writers I asked to participate agreed to do so right away. What I hadn’t counted on though were those authors that were my friends who would refuse to participate. They had no issue with the concept. 

Instead, their reluctance was based on where they were in their own personal journeys with the mother figures in their lives. Some were not able to say anything positive so chose to say nothing. Others had no idea what they would say or they hadn’t worked through their feelings about that mother-daughter relationship yet and they feared the experience would be too painful for them. There are emotional wounds that only another woman can inflict on you, and theirs had not yet begun to crust over. I received many calls and notes from those who did choose to participate, often filled with apprehension and tears. 

This task I was asking of them was harder than any of us had imagined, yet those who got through it reported experiencing a catharsis they had never counted on. The relationship that was closest to us proved to be the hardest to be honest about and the hardest to resolve. Writing these letters, love letters to our mothers, forced us to let go of the anger that had hung around our necks for years and let it float away from us. We had to give the bad memories to the universe and embrace the good and how that had shaped us into adulthood. 

While I read the submissions, my love and respect for these women grew exponentially. I’d asked them to participate because I respected them and where they were in their craft and professional lives. I challenged them to look beyond the ordinary and find something positive in their relationship with their mothers. This proved to be harder for some than others, but once I was given a glimpse of their journeys and the women that had helped to shape them, they were all much bigger in my eyes. This process was like therapy for many of us, and as we navigated the murkiness of our childhoods, our paths through our womanhoods became that much clearer.

Charlenne T. Greer died on a Friday in May, 2012.  Cigarettes killed her. She was not my mother or even related by blood.  Still, I am thankful for her lessons.

A Letter for My Mother by Nina Foxx
Genre: Creative Non-fiction


Meet the Author
Nina Foxx is an award-winning filmmaker, playwright, and novelist. She writes as both Nina Foxx and Cynnamon Foster. Her work has appeared on numerous bestseller lists around the country, and her films have won awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, Cannes, and the Rome International Film Festival. Originally from Jamaica, New York, she lives with her family near Seattle, Washington, where she works in Human-Computer interaction for a major software company. Nina is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, The Links and Jack & Jill of America. Visit her at or her blog at 


Momma: Gone A Personal Story 
by Nina Foxx

"Momma set me on the jukebox." So begins the personal story of Denise (Sweetie) Wooten, set between a post-civil rights era New York City and a growing, but stale rural Alabama. We are thrust in the midst of a family longing for normalcy, but instead struggling with illness and all that comes with it; denial, anger and misunderstanding and love. 

As cultures clash, we see the family through a child's eyes and walk with her as she makes sense of war fought far away, but with effects close to home, and a tragedy that changes her life forever. 

More truth than not, Momma: Gone is a story of survival, where all the lessons are taught by the child who must eventually lead them through and a classic American story of overcoming life's misfortunes to find the bloom on the other side.  Momma: Gone A Personal Story by Nina Foxx was shortlisted for a Doctorow Award in Innovative Fiction.

Praise for Momma: Gone A Personal Story, by Nina Foxx

A grief laden journey that will tug at your heart. Profoundly moving. 
---Anita Doreen Diggs, author The Other Side of the Game, former editor, Random House

Chapter Excerpt from Momma: Gone


Momma put me up on the jukebox. I could see everything from there, even all the people in the room. 

“Sweetie is my little lady,” she said. She steadied herself with one hand and pushed away from the bar with the other. Her skin was fair and the bluish veins showed through like she was much older than her thirty years. They all turned and looked and smiled at us with that plastered-on, woozy kind of smile. The smell that goes along with men in bars followed their heads as they turned and I could smell it, strong, leaping out at me. I heard Gramma call this “preserved-in-alcohol.” I smiled because I knew I was supposed to, but I was a little scared. Butterflies swam in my stomach. I bounced my legs off the jukebox to help calm them down. 

From where I was sitting, I could see over the top of everyone in the room. Momma and I were the only two ladies here. I guess the other ladies don't need medicine, only men and Momma. Momma says that other ladies take their medicine at home, but Daddy doesn't let her have hers there so we go to get it. Sometimes, just like now, she takes me with her. I really don't understand it all; medicine is supposed to make you better, but Momma seems to get sicker and sicker after she has it. 

Freda Payne is singing “Bring the Boys Home.” 

Everyone has forgotten about me. 

“Turn it up, Jeffrey. Turn it up.” Momma closed her eyes slowly and opened them again. Her head moved to something deeper than just the rhythm of the song. 

“Bring 'em back alive!” Freda said. Whenever I hear this song I wondered who she was talking about. Momma liked it and she played it over and over at home. She played it so much and danced and cried out for June-Bug till Daddy threw the record player in the yard. I was sad when he did that; I couldn't play my Muffin Man song anymore. We tried to make the record player work again, but it was no good trying; it just wouldn't go. Daddy apologized to Momma and when I asked him why he did it, he said because that song made Momma sad and he couldn't stand to see her cry. Maybe that is why I didn't get beat like other kids on our block; I cry as soon as I get in trouble, so Daddy just leaves me alone.

I don't know where June-Bug went but I sure wish he would come back. They said he went someplace to fight folks. Momma and Freda want him back like I do. 

“How come he can fight and I can't?” I asked the same question over and over but I never got an answer. It’s almost like they think I don’t understand how things work, but I do. More than they want to say. 

June-Bug is the best big brother a little sister could have. He buys me ice cream and takes me everywhere he goes, even to see karate movies. He has an Afro and people call him Red because he is the color of the Alabama Red dirt that Auntie calls “bay-bay” dirt. She bakes it in the ovens sometimes and eats it too. I like when she does stuff like this; folks in New York never bake no dirt, but folks in Alabama ain’t ever seen too many folks like June-Bug neither. 

I want an Afro like June-Bug but Momma says no Afro for me. We tried it in secret one time but my hair wouldn't stand up. To tell the truth, his don't stand up either, not really. His 'fro was always sort of flat on one side, but that is okay with me, he still looks cool.

“Elva, can that sweetie pie of yours dance?” 

One man hollers at Momma although he doesn't have to. He was standing right by her and the music ain’t really that loud. The fat man kept wiping the bar and Momma laughed. She put me on the floor at the same time. 


Momma: Gone A Personal Story, by Nina Foxx




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