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Give Books as Gifts 365!

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. 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
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Left for Dead by Ebony Canion

“Victory at all costs…in spite of all terror…however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” - Winston Churchill

Ebony Canion is no stranger to adversity. In fact, her countless traumatic experiences in her childhood and adulthood have molded her to be strong, resilient, and faithful, in short—a survivor.

But on that fateful day, June 30, 2012, her strength was tested more than ever before. Run over, then dragged for over two hundred feet, Ebony Canion was left for dead.  She sustained multiple serious injuries and was in a coma for nearly two months. But keeping with the pattern of her life, Ebony’s spirit of faithfulness was bent but never broken. And it was then, healing in the hospital, that Ebony decided to share her story with the world. 

As an inspiration to all who know her, Ebony’s will to overcome, more importantly to survive, is unparalleled. She started a T-shirt company, Survival Story Tees, which empower others to let their scars tell their story. Ebony wants to show people all over the world that despite your scars—your journey and disappointments—they tell a story. 

Ebony’s scars show that no matter what situation she is confronted with, she will survive. Her book, Left for Dead (Life Changing Books- Jan, 2014), will show that despite her many obstacles, she will never be defeated—she will survive.

Ebony Canion: A True Survivor    (Life Lesson’s #1)
“Every single incident that happens to us, be it good or bad, should be learned from. Unforeseen situations are meant to throw you off guard. If we knew what was to come we would prepare for them taking away from the lesson to be learned! It's the shock factor that teaches the lesson and shows us just how much we don't know! Each lesson is a step that takes us higher in life and closer to our destiny!”

Excerpt from Left for Dead

We were all caught off guard by the argument. Needless to say, we shouted back to the group of girls trespassing on our property. The doors of their car opened quickly, and all five females hopped out. The fuse had been lit. Everyone met in the middle of the street and began taunting each other with words flying back and forth. Suddenly, catching me completely off guard, one of the girls from the car punched me. Out of reflex, I swung back even though I didn’t want any problems. I’d been through enough pain in life already. 

All Hell broke loose.

We were all brawling in the middle of the street. Punches and kicks were being thrown in all directions. Over a bunch of yelling and name calling, the girls headed back to their car. Threats were still being made from both sides but only out of anger. The girls finally climbed back into the car. Seconds later, one of them threw a bottle from their car window, targeted at me. It missed and shattered in the street. 

The moment that followed changed my life and will haunt my dreams until the day I die. It was at that moment that I had realized why my sixth sense had given me such a bad feeling about going out that night.

The engine of the car revved up. A second later, it sped out of the driveway screeching and burning rubber. As it did, the driver purposely jerked the steering wheel in my direction although she had plenty of space to go in any direction she wanted. As the headlights bore down on me, in a split second, I saw the many flashes of pain in my life: the man forcing me to do sexual things to him at a young age, the fists of the man I once loved crashing into my face, the fists of the men my mother loved crashing into hers, the knife going into her chest, the stench of the man who’d raped me in that bathroom at fourteen, the day my father moved out, the day I became a widow with three children to feed, and so much more. 

Each moment blazed by in blinding flashes. The pain of each moment rushed me. I guess it was a defense mechanism though, an act to instantly prepare me for the pain I was about to face.

The car slammed into me. Immediately, the force made me crumple over the hood and crash my hands down on its surface. At that moment…

Darkness. I can’t remember anything about that night from then on. 

From the way the story is now told, my sister India said that car mowed me down like a race car headed to the finish line. One moment I was there, the next I was gone. It was like I had simply vanished. It happened so fast. It happened in an absolute instant. It was so unbelievable and so unimaginable. No one watching could grasp what had happened. She herself at that moment didn’t believe that I had actually been hit. 

Pandemonium broke loose. Everyone began to let out the most ear piercing horrifying screams India had ever heard. She said the scream that affected her most though was that of her nephew. “My auntie!” he screamed. “My auntie’s under the car!”

That was when India’s mind deciphered what had happened. The car had run me over. Along with my family, she ran out into the street to see the car headed up the block. Its engine was revving loudly. Heavy smoke was coming from the hood. The gas pedal was obviously pressed to the floor but the car was moving slower than before. My body underneath was slowing it down.

“Stop!” everyone yelled horrifically. “Stop!”

The driver of the car didn’t stop. She continued to gas the engine and drag me. It was the most horrifying sight my sister had ever seen. Finally the car reached the corner and made a right turn. As it did, my body tore loose from the undercarriage. It flipped and rolled limply over the street top a few times and then came to rest as the car sped off.

My family reached me in a brief second. Although everything had happened so fast, the experience seemed to be going in slow motion. When they reached me, they couldn’t believe what they saw. I was lying on the ground with my arms and legs twisted in unnatural positions. It was obvious my bones were broken. The jagged edges of some were even poking through my flesh. One of my legs was actually touching my back. Patches of hair were ripped from my skull. Portions of my flesh were ripped open. Most of the left side of my face had been torn away. My tongue was ripped from my mouth and dangling, while parts of my dress had been torn away. Blood was spilling from me, not stopping or slowing. A trail of it led from where the car first hit me all the way to where I was now laying. At that moment, as I lay motionless. Everyone had thought the same thing: I had been literally…


( Continued... )

Watch her video journey: 
  © 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Ebony Canion. 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.

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Intimate Conversation with William Fredrick Cooper

William Fredrick Cooper Uplifts The African-American Community With His Novels

William Fredrick Cooper is the author of the critically-acclaimed SIX DAYS IN JANUARY, the Essence/Black Expressions Bestselling novel THERE'S ALWAYS A REASON and the author of ONE SEASON IN PINSTRIPES, a sports memoir chronicling the 2009 championship season of the New York Yankees. A dynamic speaker known for giving enlightening radio interviews, he has edited several award-winning novels and contributed to New York Times bestselling anthologies and national periodicals such as Ebony Magazine. 

His fourth book, UNBREAKABLE (A LOVE BALLAD) is scheduled for publication on March 18, 2014. (All books were published through Strebor Books/Simon and Schuster). A Brooklyn native and the proud father of Maranda Nicole Cooper, stop by Cooper's Facebook page, listen to some great music and say hello. 

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? What road did you travel?
Ella, I traveled the road of self-publishing. Back in 2000, when I received my 72nd and last rejection letter, one that actually said my writing was “too emotional for a black man,” (sigh) I decided to do this on my own. So I went to First Books Library (Currently known as Author House), a print-on-demand company. 

In 2001, I was speaking at the University of Maryland at College Park about the struggles of my literary journey and little did I know God had put someone in that audience that was listening to my every word. After the conference the woman and I put books up for a vendor. She me told her vision then asked me to tag along. At first I rejected her, but she never forgot about me, even as she grew in stature. Through her, I received my first computer (when I wrote the lead story in the book, and the rest is history. I owe her a bit, and love her in my own special way. Thanks, Zane.

BPM: What is your definition of success? Does money play a part in how you gauge success?
My definitions of success are broad and none of them have anything to do with money. That we are contributing pebbles in the vast ocean of African-American Literary History makes us successful. That a person can maximize their potential in any area of light at a high level defines success.

BPM: What books or authors made a difference in your life?
So many books have inspired me. Terry McMillan and “Waiting to Exhale” was one, because it started the current literary phenomenon. The literary works of David Halberstam (Summer of ’49, October of 1964, The Best and the Brightest) have influenced my flow, as I love his intellectual rhythm with words. 

The romance writers (Donna Hill, Rochelle Alers, Brenda Jackson, Cheryl Faye) taught me narrative imagery, James Baldwin’s diversity, Timmothy McCann’s books passion, Eric Jerome Dickey’s usage of commas in paragraphs, Cornel West, Earl Graves and others for social content, and of course, The BIBLE, for faith.

BPM: How many books have you written? How has your writing style evolved over the years? What stimulated your growth the most? 
Ella, I am blessed to have done four books. Three of them novels, and a fourth was a sports book. God has really blessed me with a versatile pen: In my early days, I wrote novels and steamy erotic short stories, but I would always challenge myself in writing short op-ed pieces on diverse issues. That would eventually pay off when I wrote my sports memoir ONE SEASON IN PINSTRIPES. 

Good writers stimulate me. People like Robert Fleming (Cole Riley) influenced me so much as a writer, because they can do anything with a pen. Intellectually stimulating and articulately-driven, I admire his range. I think he’s one of the most underappreciated writers of our generation. GIVE HIM HIS DUE!!!

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?

BPM: Introduce us to your latest book. What genre is the book? On Kindle or Nook? 
My fourth book is entitled UNBREAKABLE (A LOVE BALLAD). The novel is classified as fiction, but I think it’s so much more. Scheduled for release on March 18, 2014, it will be available online as well as in many bookstores, and will be available in paperback, Kindle and Nook.

BPM: What compelled or inspired you to write this book? Why now? Ever experience writers block?
Can I be completely honest? I wrote UNBREAKABLE (A LOVE BALLAD) with a sense of urgency. Sometimes, that mental clock in your brain tells you that you’re running out of time to maximize certain gifts in order to fulfill God’s promise on the life He wants you to have. I felt like the wheels of artistic progression were spinning in place, and something in my spirit told me that this may be my last opportunity at forward progress.

 Additionally speaking, I wanted to write another William McCall story (SIX DAYS IN JANUARY, THERE’S ALWAYS A REASON ) with the hopes that he might find the one thing he has coveted: LOVE.

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
Ella, I wrote UNBREAKABLE (A LOVE BALLAD) as if I were composing a musical score or recording an album. Like an artist given complete creative and production control, my imprints are EVERYWHERE. For starters, the love story pays tribute to the legacy of Michael Jackson, the creative engine of my dreams. And there are transparent statements about my life through original lyrics of Jackson songs. Lastly, there are inspirational pieces with words that I hope might help us all with Love.

BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message enclosed?
UNBREAKABLE (A LOVE BALLAD) has an appeal that might reach both a fiction and romance reader, and strong socially informative messages of that might cause a debate or two amongst intellects. Trumping all that is the book’s primary initiative: LOVE, It can be intense and enduring, but at day’s end it’s just that… LOVE. God’s most precious gift dwells within us all, if we look close enough. And contrary to popular belief, it conquers all.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book? 
I’m praying that it gives readers hope to trust LOVE with their hearts after reading this. If not, then I better give up writing and follow another vision, because that means I didn’t deliver the message God gave me effectively. 

BPM: How do you avoid the temptation of interjecting your own value system in your writing?
I’m gonna challenge that question. While we don’t want to sound preachy, I think all writers sprinkle nuggets of their belief systems into their stories. Christian Fiction writers believe in God, or they wouldn’t write in that genre. (PICTURE IT: A beautiful book of faith written by a salty- mouthed person who’s openly admits that he enjoys sex shops and pornography.- That like a person with no eyebrows looking amazed – LOL!!!) 

As far as other areas of the craft, you have to be careful not to force opinions. If done properly, a well-developed character can’t help but speak not only their value system, but a small portion of the writers as well through a careful gamut of emotions. Unless of course, you’re writing from a character that’s not your gender.

BPM: Share with us a quote brief excerpt from one of the most powerful chapters. 
You really want me to? I mean… are you sure? Well…um, okay… (The author says warily.)

“Darling, don’t we have a black man in the White House?”

Carl answered, “One they attempted to humiliate by offering millions of dollars for his birth certificate and college records? One they have called ‘indecisive’ because of the scenario in Syria? And don’t get me started on the economy. America’s been borrowing millions-a-day for years from other countries, and now that they’re having trouble paying it back, it’s his fault? What a bunch of crap. ”

“You forgot about the Republicans and their fight against the Affordable Care Act. For crying out loud, they shut down government operations for sixteen days.” Keisha added. “Do you see the lengths ignorant people will go to prove a point? It’s like the GOP wanted to see America fail, so they can say ‘We handed The Magic Negro a mess and he made it worse.’ Sometimes I wonder if he was merely a figurehead put in place to keep us in the dark, a neat little trick by Charlie.”

“I’ve wondered that too, Keisha, especially with the way he’s being treated. In so many ways it parallels what Jackie Robinson endured. He absorbed so much hatred being “The First” that he died only sixteen years after his playing days. The abuse took years from his life. Then I look at Barack and worry. I mean, have they blatantly disrespected any other President like this? It’s ‘keep him in his place’ bull**** of the worst kind, and it doesn’t matter that he came from the womb of a white woman.”  ###

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
There are so many messages I’m trying to deliver in UNBREAKABLE, but if I had to pick one, it’s the obvious. LOVE still exists because it’s in us, and we shouldn’t forget this. I just hope people appreciate the story.

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? 
“Word of Mouth” is critical with my books, because I’m not a writer that comes out with a book a year. (It takes me a good 12-16 months to write one.). So far, the hype was been tremendous. Makes me a little nervous.

To promote UNBREAKABLE, I’ve been posting excerpts of the story online, as well as playing a great deal of Michael Jackson on my Facebook page and distributing flyers at major events and functions. As we get closer to the release date, I’ll intensify the buzz by utilizing a marketing team.

BPM:  Finish this sentence- “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... ”
My writing offers an honest, heartfelt attempt to reach greatness with a pen. I owe that to all that came before me, and those who will throw it down on those pages long after I’m gone. Only God knows the final word on my humble contribution, but its sure fun trying to carve a great one out.

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. How may our readers follow you online? 
I’ve begun outlining my next book. That one will probably be ready by March of 2016. And I’m getting ready to tour UNBREAKABLE throughout the country. My new website should be up and running by April, but readers can reach me always on my Facebook page:  I have a Twitter account, but I don’t go there as much as I should. I can also be contacted via email at  or 

BPM: Thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself, your journey and your book with our readers!
God Bless You, Ella.

Unbreakable: A Novel
by William Fredrick Cooper
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
All other books can be purchased on


Intimate Conversation with Shakir Rashaan

Shakir Rashaan currently lives in suburban Atlanta with his wife and two children. Rashaan’s catalog includes the series Chronicles of the Nubian Underworld and the upcoming Kink, P.I., and two novels under the pen name Curtis Alexander Hamilton, titled All I Want…Is You and The Devil’s All-American. Other credits include several anthologies, including the bestselling Zane Presents Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava 3. One of Rashaan’s goals is to educate and titillate while reading his novels. You can see more of Rashaan at

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? 
First, I want to thank Black Pearls Magazine for the opportunity to present my series and my characters to your readers. Now, to give you an idea of what my book and characters are all about. My series, the Chronicles of the Nubian Underworld, is a look inside a world that very few were aware of before the turn of the century and, to some degree, a world that most still don’t have the inside access to: the BDSM/Fetish community, and particularly to my series, the African-American community.

The central characters in this series are a married couple, Kane and Mercedes. In their “vanilla” lives, they are business professionals and parents of three kids, involved in both very much. However, when the kids are put to bed or go to grandma’s house for the weekend, they deal in the “other” side of their lives as a Dominant couple, Ramesses and Neferterri. This power couple is a force to be reckoned with within the Atlanta BDSM/Fetish community, with Neferterri being a co-owner of an adult nightclub and Ramesses helping with the operation of a residence that doubles as ground zero for a lot of the parties that occur in the Atlanta area: the Palace.

I have a special affinity for this couple in particular because they were the first to come from my “NEBU Universe,” which I affectionately termed the creative universe in my mind. You never forget your first, and I have come to love them uniquely for who they are and what they bring to my series: the strength and swagger of the ultimate Alpha Dominant in Ramesses, and the sensuality and quiet power as a complement to her husband in Neferterri.

There are other characters within the series that I’ve come to enjoy and watch grow: the submissives of Ramesses and Neferterri, shamise, Kitana (who would later be referenced by another name, but you will have to read the book to find that out), and Damian, who represents a very misunderstood segment of the BDSM community in the submissive black male. There are also other fringe characters in the series: Dominic (who has a spinoff series in Kink, P.I. coming soon), Amenhotep, who is Ramesses’ mentor and long-time friend, Mistress Sinsual, tiger (another submissive male), there is a large cast of characters that help make this series unlike any other on the market right now.

BPM: Which character or topic in the book can you identify with the most? Why?
Ramesses is easily the character I identify with the most. He and I are like kindred spirits, which gave this book and series such a unique feel. As a lifestyle Dominant myself in the real-time BDSM community, I wanted to give a positive image to those like me. In a literary world that has been bombarded by billionaire Caucasian Alpha males, I wanted to introduce an alternative that readers will fall in love with.

BPM: How do you go about reaching new readers? What would you like for readers to take away from your writing?
Word of mouth has been the best way for me to reach new readers. Because I am an erotica author, especially with the subjects I tackle, I rely on my core readers to help me spread the word. I enjoy interacting with my readers a lot, both on social media and by email because I feel it gives them a personal connection to me and it makes them feel like they’re a part of the “Shakir Experience.” Whether I’m video blogging (something I plan to do a LOT of in the next year), interacting with listeners on my Blog Talk Radio show, The Wine Down w/Sh’moore & Shakir on Wednesday nights at 10:30 p.m. (shameless plug LOL) or doing radio interviews and blog interviews, it gives me new opportunities to find readers who I otherwise would not be able to reach.

As far as what I would like readers to take away from my writing, well, that’s easy: I want readers to walk away from my writing feeling like they’ve experienced something unlike anything else they’ve read before. I want them to feel like I’ve helped them understand things that were once taboo and realize that the people who engage in the taboo are real people, too. Finally, I want them to tell a friend that they’ve found a male author who can actually pen an erotic story that doesn’t feel like pornography. The best compliment I have received from one of my new readers has been the “symphonic” visuals I created while telling the story. She felt she was right there in the action, and it completely engrossed her to the point to where she forgot how much time had passed when she finally put the book down. That is what I hope to make readers feel like every time they pick up a Shakir Rashaan novel…to be engrossed within the “Shakir Experience.”

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or entertain? 
My goal as a writer is to create a cult following. I want readers to feel like they belong to something, a movement, as it were. The books I write detail a sexual awakening that helps people look at these characters and realize that they are not alone in the things that turn them on. Another one of my readers said that when she finished The Awakening, it made her look at the world around her differently, and by that she meant that she took a different look at her neighbors, her friends, her co-workers, and she wondered if they were a part of the “Underworld” also.

My mantras are something that I hold dear to me, and I take them with me every time I put pen to paper. One is, “corrupting minds, one book at a time,” while the other is, “to educate and titillate.” I wondered at one time if I should add the word, “inspire,” to that second mantra, and to a degree, I believe I should because I have inspired a lot of people to take the step to venture out into the real-time Fetish/BDSM world because, as one reader put it at my latest book signing, “Reading your books made that world not seem so scary anymore.” I take pride and I’m humbled every time someone says that because my lifestyle is very personal to me, it is my life, not just something I do on the weekends.

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 opportunity to be open and honest about your sexuality and sensuality. It is my hope that when you pick up my novels, that you will be able to take one step closer to the clichéd statement of “living without boundaries.”

BPM: Share with us your latest news.  How may our readers follow you online? 
Let’s see, there’s so much to tell as of recently, and it’s a blessing to be able to share it with you.

First, I’m enjoying a lot of success with The Awakening, and I’m very grateful and humbled by the support and the wonderful reviews that it has been receiving. The second book in the Nubian Underworld series, Legacy, is slated for release June 10, 2014, and Tempest will be ready to go in December 2014.

I will also have a mystery series coming out sometime in 2015 called the Kink, P.I. series. I have three books in that series that will release, with more to come definitely. I’m also working on a trilogy series with two characters that aren’t exactly getting a lot of publicity: a black female dominant and a black male submissive relationship dynamic. That one is going to be fun to write because it’s a different dynamic than what fans are used to from me.

I have some other stuff upcoming on the anthology front, so definitely be on the lookout for those in the coming months, I have some paranormal erotica coming up, and some cougars are in the mix, too!

Readers can follow me online easily. They can Google Shakir Rashaan or go to my website at and click on the social media buttons at the top of my home page. I’m on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, I have my blog at where I will pick up where I left off in 2014, and I also have my author page at Simon & Schuster, too.

I think that’s about it, at least for now, but with me, you never know what may come up! Thank you again for having me, it has been a pleasure sitting down with you.

Connect with Shakir Rashaan Online
Facebook:  (Timeline)
Facebook:  (Fan Page)

Intimate Conversation with A. Yamina Collins



BPM: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I recall how and where. I was nine-years old, standing in my grandmother's living room when I had a clear epiphany that I was going to be a writer someday. As for the how, I remember reading books like The Bluest Eye, The Turn of the Screw and To Kill a Mockingbird and thinking how stunning it was that those stories could move my soul. That's what I want to be able to do as a writer; to move people with my words.

BPM: What does “challenge” mean to you? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Challenge means not writing the same kind of stories I tend to see in African-American literature; specifically, I decided to write a different sort of black male character, one who had, in my opinion, a real inner life and one who was not a stereotype. I wanted to see a man like Gilead Knightly be a master and king, and I wanted to abandon any concept of black male bashing. This is not to say that Gilead does not have some major character flaws, because he does. But he is not a black male archetype. 

It was also a psychological challenge to write the dark-colored girl as the beautiful love interest. You would think that as a black woman that would have been easy for me to do. Not so. A history of literature had conditioned me to think otherwise - or at least to give her light skin with straight hair. But I abandoned that model altogether because it's been played out and I believe that it harms black women's self-esteem.

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
The Last King is about a line of people who cannot die because their ancestors marched into the
Garden of Eden and ate from the tree of life. God, however, considers this act, and the subsequent immortality that came with it, to be theft. He wants their immortality returned and he deals with their transgression by playing a cosmic sort of chess game with them - each individual Edenite has a Glitch that's meant just for them. 

A Glitch is a human who acts as an agent to retrieve the stolen property of immortality and kill off the Edenite. But all The Edenite has to do in return is kill his or her Glitch, and the game is over. But there is a conflict: and Edenite's Glitch is also their greatest love. Emmy, my female protagonist, is the Glitch for Gilead Knightly, the male protagonist.

But of all the two, is definitely my favorite. I love his complexity; in so many ways he is a torn man - he is in love yet hates that he is in love; he is a protector and as well as the man whom Emmy should fear. He is the antagonist and the protagonist both at the same time. He is, to me, a man of great contradictions, and I love that about him. 

BPM: Why did you choose to write in your particular genre? If you write in more than one genre, how do you balance them? 
The Last King is a science-fiction romance, but its location is rooted here on earth. I chose science fiction and romance because, as far as I am aware, we don't have a lot of African-American books that deal with these two genres in the same breath, let alone separately. The book also has a historical bent to it and I was fascinated by African history. The history of black people - Africans, African-Americans etc. - goes beyond us being slaves in America, entertainers or thugs, and through Gilead I wanted to start exploring those other parts of our heritage. So yes, I write in more than one genre - really four genres (religious, historical, science-fiction and romance). As to how I managed to balance the genres, ha! I am not sure that I have. It will be up to the readers to decide if I've done a good job of balance, I guess. We shall see. 

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or other life path?
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." That's a quote from proverbs 28: 18 in the King James versions. And that's what I think the African-American literature has been suffering from lately - vision of what we can be Caucasian authors let their children dream of being superheroes and princesses and the Harry Potter's of the world. But much of our fiction, while not all bad, nonetheless keeps us confined to baby mama drama, hustlers, players and thugs - tons of stories filled with unending pain. 

But where are the heroes that inspire us? Where are the beautiful black women who get to be the love interest? Where are the kings and queens of old? Can't a black male turn out to be the hero in the end? That's the path I want to be on with my stories: now, don't get me wrong - Gilead in particular is no saint, but he is on a journey to someplace great, I think. And that's what I liked about him.

BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in The Last King?
I, personally, have gotten tired of either reading slave narratives (though they do have their place in our world, so this is not to put them down - we do need them) ghetto lit stories, stories about bad black women and no-account black men. Yeah, I just got exhausted of it. I wanted to see black love written about , but one that jumped outside of the prisms of what we are used to hearing and seeing. And I wanted to address it from a fantasy perspective. I dig the world of fantasy. I think it can be fun and your characters get to be larger than life. And Gilead Knightly is definitely larger than life. I mean, the man keeps panthers with him in his bedroom, for crying out loud!

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
Ha, ha. Okay, I must admit that, as a writer, I dreams of writing The Great American Novel. Yes, I admit it. It's a lofty dream, but it is a dream that inspires to want to be excellent, and not just run of the mill. 

My other goals are to educate and inspire. Like I said in an earlier question, I intentionally created a dark-skinned girl as the love interest to a black man because I wanted to combat the same old-same old notion of what beauty is; and I wanted to combat the increasingly odd assumption that black love is a bad thing, or an unrealistic thing. Yes, I've been wanting to see more of such books. So I thought to myself 'Well, I'll start to be the change I want to see, I guess."







Intimate Conversation with Jasmine Sheffield

Jasmine N.H. Sheffield, a loving mother and wife, is a resident of Virginia. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University where she received a B.S. in Computer Information Systems. She went on to receive her M.S. in Management Information Systems from the University of Illinois Springfield. Freshmen Fifteen is Jasmine’s debut novel. She has also written a self-help book titled Journey after School: A Guide to Starting Your Career and Managing Your Finances. She has enjoyed the writing process and has other books on the horizon. You can visit her website for more information.

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? 
In Freshmen Fifteen, Laila who is graduating from high school has planned to lose her virginity to her boyfriend. But, on graduation night when it is all set to happen her boyfriend is arrested. With her boyfriend away, Laila goes to college a virgin. Throughout the book, Laila meets different girl friends who have had different experiences with losing their virginity. Of her friends, Nicole is my favorite. She’s a free-spirit and not afraid to tell it like it is. 

BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in Freshmen Fifteen?
For many virgins, the details of sex can be daunting especially around topics not covered in sex-ed. In Freshmen Fifteen, Laila transitioning from high school to college is an age range where these topics are most convoluted. To avoid the “Just don’t have sex” vibe many adults try to force into the heads of the youth, I want to provide a glimpse into the reality of sex. 

BPM: Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
I’ve never been a writer, nor wished to publish a novel. It just so happened that my first book, Journey After School: A Guide to Starting Your Career and Managing Your Finances, was an idea suggested by a friend. Then one day, the idea of Freshmen Fifteen popped in my head. I’m a strong believer that God has a plan for us that may be different than the plan we have for ourselves. I’m being obedient and following His path. 

BPM: Why did you choose an HBCU as the setting of the book?
I attended Florida A&M University, and my HBCU experience was amazing. By choosing an HBCU as the setting for Freshmen Fifteen I am able to give a glimpse into that experience. Hopefully, those who have a negative perception of HBCUs will be enlightened.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Losing your virginity is an unforgettable time, hopefully for most it was pleasurable. For my readers who have long lost their virginity, I want them to be reminded of that special time. For my readers who are still virgins, I want them to understand how special their virginity is and understand their are many different outcomes of losing your virginity. 

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
As a writer, I hope to entertain my readers. I’ve always loved reading, but as a teen I found little time to read for pleasure until I read The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah. Reading this book revived my love for books. Like all the great African American authors, I want to provide books that will make our culture fall in love with reading.

Connect with Jasmine N.H. Sheffield
Follow on Twitter:  @ourjourneypub
Author Website:

Download Freshmen Fifteen by Jasmine Sheffield








Intimate Conversation with Lutishia Lovely


Lutishia Lovely is an award-winning author of seventeen novels, six of which are romance titles written under her alter-ego pseudo, Zuri Day. In addition to her wildly popular Hallelujah Love Series, Ms. Lovely has a hot new trilogy called "The Business" about a soul food dynasty where delicious drama and sizzling scandal is always on the menu!

Prior to becoming a full-time author, Lutishia enjoyed many different careers. They all, however, had one thing in common - they all were linked into a "world of words". From administrative assistant to radio personality to actor to managing editor and senior writer for a holistic magazine,words have always been the magic that made Lutishia's world go 'round. Probably one of the spins that would most surprise readers is the fact that Lutishia was a rapper! That's right, for a short stint in the 90s, Lutishia was billed as "The Rhaptress" (a combination of a rapper and an actress), and toured with other singers and musicians throughout southern CA. She's happy now to beat out a rhythm on her keyboard...songs in the key of "writer" that she hopes will inspire and entertain!

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
One day, this amazing story simply began downloading in my head. It was awesome, just like a movie. The woman, now known as lead character Jacqueline Tate, gave me the basic premise, which I immediately fleshed out into an outline and shot over to my editor, Selena James. She loved the idea, as I did, and approved it right away. There were still a couple books due before I’d get the chance to dive into this brave new world but once that happened I was in seventh heaven. Still am, as I am now writing the sequel to The Perfect Affair titled, The Perfect Deception!

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Absolutely. I believe that all of who we are, where we’ve been and what we’ve learned inspires all creative artists, be they writer, actor, singer, painter, etc. That being said, I am also a voyeur with a chameleon-like personality so it is easy for me to relate to and describe a lifestyle or situation very personally and vividly while having no personal experience on the matter. I think my background as an actor helps me in this as well.

BPM: Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when? Do you have a special time to write?
I am blessed and thankful to be a full-time author without a set writing schedule. Most days, I’m writing, editing and/or promoting something and when not doing that handling the business aspects of my company, Lovely Day.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
That’s basically what happens when I send the book off to the publisher for its first edits. When it comes back to me, there have usually been a few months in between and I see the story with new eyes. Inevitably, this leads to positive changes and sometimes whole subplots newly formed.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? 
Ella, they come from the Universe! Sometimes that’s as easy as the character tapping on my shoulder, as Jacqueline Tate did, or through a pow-wow with my editor or literary friends. Other times inspiration comes from hearing a news story, watching something on TV or overhearing a conversation. I’m constantly being inspired which can be both a blessing and a challenge all at once! 

For the most part, my novels are plot-driven by very strongly identified characters.

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?
The Shady Sisters Trilogy is a fascinating new contemporary fiction series about women who find themselves in interesting and precarious romantic situations. In the debut novel, The Perfect Affair, we meet a woman who finds Mr. Right just when she’s about to give up on the game. When she finds out he’s married…oh well. Jacqueline Tate knows this is but a minor inconvenience because she always gets what she wants!

BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
First of all, I must say that I am absolutely in love with these characters and with this book! There are so many layers to both of them; complexities brought about by some of the very things I mentioned earlier that make us who we are: what we know, what we’ve learned, and experiences we’ve had. On one hand, Jacqueline is a woman with whom most of us is familiar – we either know her or someone like her. She’s attractive, smart, with an exciting career. But like so many women, this success doesn’t translate into the relationship department. I believe readers, like her friends in the novel, will want to know why, and will root for her to find this happiness. 


On the other hand, again, like many of us, the problem in Jacqueline’s relationships begins with the relationship with herself. People do things and we judge without understanding; we blame without having all the facts. She’s written to take readers on a reflective journey…and that makes her special to me.

Dr. Randall Atwater was fun to write. First off, it’s the first time I’ve dealt with a scientist which considering how bad I did in chemistry, was a bit intimidating, even fictitiously Ha! But I loved showing this guy who came from a tough background but because someone recognized and showed interest in his passion, was able to rise above his situation and achieve success. He’s special because of his character and integrity, even when situations around him contradict these parts of him.

BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
Absolutely, Ella…I write in real life! J A few include the challenges some single women face in finding a “good” man, honesty and integrity in relationships, the value of sisterhood friendships and the act of giving back.

Dr. Atwater grew up in the Anacostia Projects in Washington, D.C. He knows what it’s like to feel hopeless, to see no way out. He’s also well aware that less than 50% of AA males graduate high school, with more ending up in prison than on a college campus. As a way of giving back, he sets up a program called Atwater’s Achievement Module that tutors junior high and high school students in science and math, and encourages them to look at the world of science as a possible career choice.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
While writing, I tend to go on just as wild a journey as my readers do! Aside from knowledge constantly picked up by research, the characters and situations in this novel reminded me of the inherent power within us all. The same as I mold these characters, so are we molding our very own lives. We hold the pen and we are the story. The beginning, middle, end, how it flows and what genre we’re rocking, a thrilling suspense or hardcore mystery, a vanilla romance or full-on erotic saga….every page, every chapter of our lives is up to us.

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers? 
I want readers to finish this book, and shout, “Oh. My. God. Lutishia Lovely wrote the holy hieroglyphics out of that book!!!” And then I want them to tell everybody they see about it, and encourage them to take the journey, too!

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? 
Success for me as an author is the same as that of me as a person: to be happy, healthy and able to wake up every day doing what I love. Writing as a full-time author allows me to live comfortably, even though being my passion it is something I’d do for free…and have.  

BPM: What is your favorite positive saying? Where do you find your daily inspiration or muse?
Gurllll…never ask a Libra her favorite anything! We can never narrow the choices to just one! But a foundational favorite would be this: I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.

BPM: Were there any challenges in bringing this story to life?
Because of the complexities of the characters and nature of the storyline, this was probably the hardest book I’ve ever written. It is fast-paced, with plots and sub-plots, making it logistically difficult. Thank Spirit for editors is all I can say. It took all of them, me and a few angels to keep everything straight.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released? 
The Perfect Affair will be my first NYT Bestseller, after which I will be approached by several major studios resulting in a bidding war that will reach seven-figures. Everyone will be talking about it, even CNN, causing the rights to the entire trilogy to be snapped up internationally. The books will then be translated into at least 37 languages and place me on the Forbes list. So, not a lot of big expectations, Ella. I try not to aim too high.

BPM: You are just too funny!  What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject?
It is to do all of the above!  Ultimately, I want to present my absolute best work with each release and if I’ve done that, then I will have done all of these things.

BPM: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?
Independently publishing my first novel, was an invaluable school of hard knocks regarding the publishing industry. It forced me to learn all aspects of the business, primarily that at the end of the day that is what this creative endeavor is…BIZ-NESS!!! I will always be grateful for that experience.

That being said, releasing a quality product through self-publishing is not for the faint of heart. It is hard, exhaustive work, forcing you to constantly juggle a dozen hats from a dozen perspectives. The digital revolution has eased this somewhat, but with this convenience has also come a flood of badly written, poorly edited novels. The craft has suffered because some do not take the time to fully hone their craft before selling their wares.

The advantages are that you are your own boss, and can write the story exactly as you want which, in some instances, is the disadvantage as well, along with challenges with distribution, promotion and being recognized by traditional outlets.

BPM: What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you?
I love social media as a marketing addition. It allows me to get up-close-and-personal with Lovely readers; and to interact with them on a regular basis. I’ve networked, promoted, shared, and sold via various forms of social networking. Facebook is the one that I use most often and for that reason alone is the best for me.

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Like my novels, I am a constant work in progress, holding the pen to write the next scene of my life. I am on a journey and am thankful for all of those who come along for the ride. Readers can keep in touch and find out about various rest stops, drive bys and travel destinations by joining my newsletter at:, liking me on Facebook at: authorLutishiaLovely and following me on Twitter at:  lutishialovely.

BPM:  Finish this sentence - “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors... ”
“My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors: to write flawlessly, and live fearlessly.”

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Intimate Conversation with Jamila T. Davis


Jamila T. Davis, author of the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series is a self-help expert, motivational speaker and a women's prison reform activist, who is currently a federal inmate. At age 25, she was a multimillionaire, high-flying real estate investor with ties to the hip-hop world. At age 31, she was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison for her role in a multimillion-dollar bank fraud scheme. While imprisoned, Davis has helped to change the lives of many through her inspirational books and cautionary tales based on her real-life experiences. For more information on Jamila T. Davis and to check out her latest memoir The High Price I Had To Pay visit or

BPM:   Introduce us to your book, She's All Caught Up and tell us what makes it unique. 
Hello, my name is Jamila T. Davis. I am the author of She's All Caught Up, which is a memoir about my childhood. My book is a cautionary tale that exemplifies the early influences in my life, which ultimately swayed my thinking and turned me into a die-hard "money-chaser." Unlike typical urban books that glorify street life through a fictional character, my story is told from a true perspective. And, most importantly, it reveals the severe consequences of living life in the fast lane. 

Here is the official introduction we are using to promote the book:  She's All Caught Up is a real-life cautionary tale that exemplifies the powerful negative influences that affect today's youth and the consequences that arise from poor choices. Young Jamila grew up in a loving middle class home, raised by two hardworking parents, the Davises, in the suburbs of Jamaica Queens, New York. Determined to afford their children with the luxuries that they themselves never had, the Davises provided their children with a good life, hoping to guarantee their children's success. 

At first it seemed as though their formula worked. Young Jamila maintained straight As and became her parents ideal "star child," as she graced the stage of Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in dance recitals and toured the country in a leading role in an off-Broadway play. All was copacetic in the Davis household until high school years when Jamila met her first love Craig- a 16 year old drug dealer from the Southside housing projects of Jamaica Queens. 

As this high school teen rebels, breaking loose from her parents' tight reins, the Davises wage an "all-out" battle to save their only daughter whom they love so desperately. But Jamila is in too deep! Poisoned by the thorn of materialism, she lusts after independence, power and notoriety, and she chooses life in the fast last to claim them.  When this good girl goes bad, it seems there is no turning back!   Follow author Jamila T. Davis (creator of the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series in her blazing memoir, She's All Caught Up! 

BPM:   If you had to describe your book in one word, what would you call it? Why?
I would call my book a mirror, because it was written to cause readers to go within and reflect. At least one experience of Young Jamila will cause readers to relate to her struggles, regardless of their background, color or creed. I didn't hold back any of the truth of the events that occurred. I shared my strengths with my audience, as well as my weaknesses. I exposed the inner turmoil that kept me chasing inner fulfillment. My book reveals my dark secrets and my insecurities. I believe the pureness of my story, and its common similarities to the experiences of other females, will cause readers to reflect and explore their own characteristics, past influences and choices. 

BPM:   Tell us a little about your life and your upbringing. 
I grew up in Jamaica, Queens- New York, in a middle class home. I was raised by both my parents, who were hard workers that migrated from the South. They overcame the barriers of poverty and racism and made a good life for themselves. Because they lacked certain opportunities growing up, they were determined to provide my brother and myself with the opportunities that they didn't have. I guess you could say my mother was like a stage mom. She had me enrolled in every activity you could think of from singing, dancing, and acting, to swimming, judo and tennis. She was determined that her kids would be well-rounded and successful. She raised me to have a ton of drive and ambition, because every day she had something different planned for us to do. 

All was well in my household until high school years when I rebelled. I was introduced to the hood by my first boyfriend, a well known drug dealer, and that was all she wrote! I was hooked into life in the fast lane. I guess you could say, overnight I turned into the ultimate hustler. Instead of pursuing the plans that my parents had established for me, I choose to live a ghetto fabulous lifestyle. That's how I got caught up. 

BPM:    Tell us why many people refer to you as a "get-money" chick? 
I grew up around many of my friends who became successful rappers, music industry executives, and just plain die hard hustlers. During my era street-life was glorified. I was mesmerized by this lifestyle and became determined to get a piece of the pie. I always had a knack for business, so it was easy to jump in the game. When I got my first taste of money and I saw the notoriety that it brought me, I fell in love with money. My passion caused me to quickly flourish, so I did a lot in a short period of time. By the time I was 25 years old, I was a multimillionaire and a lead financial go-to-person in the hip-hop music industry. 

Seeking after the accolades of my peers, I hung out with gangsters, rap stars and professional sports figures. I drove fancy cars, rocked all the latest fashions, and I had a blinged out jewelry collection that would put a seasoned, materialistic, rapper to shame. I became driven by material gain. If a new car came out, I had to be the one amongst all my peers to have it first. I drove a Maybach way before Rick Ross was ever a rapper. When I came through, I made it my business to turn heads. Besides the fact, I was a female doing big things. That was rare, so I stood out. My insatiable drive kept me shooting for the stars. That's how I became referred to as a "get-money" chick. 

BPM:    How did She's All Caught Up come about? 
On July 16, 2008, I was sentenced to 12½ years in federal prison for my role in a 30 million dollar bank fraud scheme. Stripped of my notoriety and the external props that I used to cover my insecurities, I was left depressed and hopeless. With my back up against the wall, I had to do some serious soul searching to find my true "self." The question that kept repeating in my mind was: How did I get here? 

As I examined my life, I begin to write my life story. That's how I started my healing process. Writing down my experiences helped me to pinpoint all the influences that swayed my way of thinking. This process also helped me to remove the mask of fake self-esteem that I hid behind for years, discover the beauty of my true "self," and dethrone the negative thinking patterns that I unconsciously picked up from others. My writing helped me to clearly see that I shared the same dilemmas as many other women. I wanted desperately to be loved and accepted. It was this strong desire that led me on a never ending chase, seeking fulfillment in all the wrong places. The chase caused me to make several poor choices that I would later regret. 

A couple of years ago, I joined this public speaking group called C.H.O.I.C.E.S, at the prison where I am housed at. We go out into the community and speak to "at-risk" youth about the bad choices we made that led to our imprisonment. I recognized the power of my story after seeing the reaction it had on youth in the community. At the end of the engagements, teens would come up to me and tell me how they could relate to my story. They also expressed that they would take heed to my message and deter from crime. Some of them even had tears in their eyes. Watching their expressions enabled me to see that my story had the ability to change lives. This caused me to go back to the drawing table and reframe She's All Caught Up as a cautionary tale, pinpointing the bad choices I made and how they ultimately affected me. 

BPM:   Does your faith or education inspire your writing? 
Yes my faith and my "street" education inspires my writing. After living the high-life and hitting rock bottom, I had to find a place of refuge. I gained inner peace from studying the Bible and spending time with God. Locked behind bars, I quickly realized that all the things I was chasing after weren't all they were cracked up to be. In prison, I was abandoned by many of the very people who I tried so hard to please. 

Through my personal experiences, I got a real serious education, learning life’s lessons about people. With the help of my family and a few friends, I was able to document the road map that that I used to obtain emotional healing and restoration, in prison, and I created the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series. It is a three book, nondenominational, faith-based book series geared to empower incarcerated women to heal, recognize their potential and recapture their dreams ( Imprisoned women across the country have said my books have been essential in helping them heal and develop the faith they need to successfully transition back into society.

The Bible is the main source I utilize to gain wisdom and knowledge. It teaches that all sin comes with consequences, whether immediately or in the future. Ultimately, we reap what we sow. I share this message with my readers in hope that they won’t take the same route that I once took.

I believe God is using me in this season to be a vessel to educate and to enlighten His people to the severe consequences of living life in the fast lane. I pray that my book will be an instrument that empowers others and saves lives. I hope that by reading about my life and the ultimate result of my poor choices- imprisonment, my readers will avoid crime at all costs!  Prison life isn't fun or easy! Although movies and music videos often glorify the life of men in prison, I assure you there is nothing cool about being locked behind bars. What I experience from day-to-day is real and very painful, especially as a woman who is a single mother of two children. It is very important to me to get that point across to my audience! 

BPM:   What legacy does your writing offer to future readers? 
I believe future readers will be enlightened to African American culture during my era. This is very important because it is a part of our history. Through my story, future readers will be able to go back in time and see the customs, practices and influences of the early hip-hop generation. At the same time, they will recognize that even though times have changed life lessons and experiences remain the same. Therefore, I believe future readers will learn the same valuable lessons gained by today's readers in many years to come!


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Intimate Conversation with Bobby Cenoura


Bobby Cenoura is a literary artist born and raised in the Washington DC area. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business and social sciences. Bobby has been an avid storyteller since his early childhood. He is also familiar with black market economics. Bobby’s literature, influenced by experiences and imagination, is called “quasi urban”. In addition to street literature, Bobby also plans on ushering in a genre he calls “Male Angst”, which deals with men’s dating issues. 

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
There are four main characters, Marcus Richardson, Kim Han, Tyrell Jones, and Delonte Harris.  Marcus Richardson is in his early twenties during the main events in the book. He is the primary character that the story revolves around. He is special because he is street smart and book smart—a fisher of men. He adapts to his surroundings, and he knows how to handle himself around people his age and older generations.

Kim Han is also in her early twenties. She is the Korean woman who is the secondary character and Marcus’ love/friendship interest. She is special because she navigates a world between Korean, Korean American, and African American cultures. In addition, her father and mother own Sunbeam market, the liquor store/bodega which is central to the action in the novel.

Tyrell Jones is in his early twenties. He is Marcus’ best friend since childhood. He is a character who complements and foils Marcus—almost like Marcus’ child-like and immature side. He is special because he is unwillingly involved in events that cataclysmically affect Kim and Marcus.

Delonte Harris is a little older than Marcus and Tyrell. He is the neighborhood thug, who like Marcus, is very versatile street wise. He manages himself around people his age and the drug kingpins and older customers. He is the catalyst for conflict in the novel due to his unsavory dealings and disrespectful demeanor.

Those are the main characters, but a couple of my favorites are not the main characters, but auxiliary characters. Carlos Morales, mid 30s and Dominican, and Sobah, mid 40’s and African are two characters whose accents I write out in onomatopoeia. I love writing this way because it opens up my imagination comedy-wise. Example:

1. After P-nutt tackles Delonte to the ground Carlos shouts: “Towche doune! P’no!”   Translated: ‘Touch Down P-nutt’’ (accentuating the vowels)

2. After Delonte swears revenge on Marcus after a fight, Sobah overhears and comes to the aid (tense moment comic relief but serious):  “Don’t wahrry my little kneegas, we are all wahriahs in dis joint. I saw dat little thowg kneegah weet a blowdy mout, wall-kin’ downda street talkin’ sheet ‘bout chu kneegas. Sobah keep his peepo fram dengah, an I see da blowd on ya sheet kneega, so I know you facked daht kneega ahp.”
Translated:  “Don’t worry nephews, we are all warriors. I saw that thug bloodied up, talking about revenge. I got your back. I see blood on your hands [Marcus], so I know you did it.”

BPM: What drew you to tackle the topics in your book?
When I visited my father who lived in DC in the 90s I became intrigued about Asian store owners in predominately Black neighborhoods. Since I lived in a predominately multicultural suburb outside of the city, I was used to seeing Asians, but not against the backdrop of poverty. As a youth, whenever I saw poorness I saw blackness.

More interesting were the ways that the Asians and Blacks interacted--the bulletproof glass and the rotunda. On more than one occasion I noticed that Asians brought their children to work with them at these corner stores. I wondered how they felt and would they interact with people beyond the glass.

Later in life I would hear certain family members talk about Asians selling poison to Blacks because there was a “liquor store on every corner”.  As I got older I learned about the drug trade and black markets, I studied economics and some realities about owning businesses and I realized how the black market is a market, and the mentality of profits were the same regardless if one owned a store or sold contraband.

One day it hit me to combine the things that I learned and experienced into a fiction of sorts and out came Seoul Revelations. It originally was going to be called ‘Seoul Food’ because of how the two main characters got to know each other.

BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
The subject of Asians owning businesses in predominantly Black neighborhoods is still an issue to this day. 
In the past, the Latasha Harlins (where a Korean store owner shot a teenage black girl in the back for ‘stealing’ orange juice) debacle was said to be one of the major contributors to the L.A. riots.

Recently, former DC mayor and council member Marion Barry was reported commenting on the state of various Asian businesses in the District due to his perception of their uncleanliness. His naming ‘Asians’ as the owners was decried because of the use of ‘Asian’ encapsulates all Asians as owners of dirty businesses.  In reality, while all Asians may not purposely have ‘dirty’ shops, sub-optimality is one aspect of living in a lower income area. And the similarity between depictions of Asian store owners in L.A. (like in Menace to Society for example) and my observations in DC’s 1990s Black community were not coincidental.

Chris Rock’s recent documentary “Good Hair”, which addresses Korean ownership in the Black hair care industry, also highlights this phenomena.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject? Inspire?
I have a few more books to put out as an urban fiction writer: A sequel dealing with the fallout from the dramatic events that took place in Seoul Revelations, and a spinoff called “Hustlin’ life”, which focuses on the drug kingpin P-Nutt and his customers, which will educate readers about what goes through the minds of hustlers and customers. Next is a book called “Southsiders”. This book is to illuminate the topic of gang life and race relations in southern California.

I plan to spend a lion’s share of my time ushering in a genre I created called ‘Male Angst’ The Male Angst series will entertain and illuminate people to the types of challenges that some men face with regard to dating and relationships. It includes novels entitled “Who Motivates the Motivator” which discusses the ins and outs of personal training and “FML I Always Get Those Chicks” which talks about the dating life of a lowly guy looking to ‘come up’.

Then I plan to write fantasy/epic novels and more intricate ‘heist’ or ‘thriller’ novels; possibly touching on cybersecurity. Ultimately, I would like to be a movie producer and see my stories come alive on the big screen.

BPM: How do you feel about ebooks? Have they helped your business to grow?
Currently my feelings about ebooks are mixed, most likely because I am new to them. For example I have over 800 downloads of my book but just one review. So I don’t know if people have a habit of downloading books for later. I think ebooks are a great opportunity for an author to get their idea out relatively inexpensively. At this time I cannot say they helped our publishing company’s business grow because our publishing company has had greater success with physical book sales at events than online. That doesn’t mean the potential for growth online is not there.

BPM: Share with us your latest news. How may our readers follow you online?
“FML I Always Get Those Chicks” is coming out in time for Valentine’s Day! My publishing company, Slice of Pain, will be running a dinner and a movie raffle promotion for that as well. In addition “Black People’s Problems” will be coming out sooner than that, more than likely this month. Follow me on Twitter: @BobbyCenoura or Facebook  

Seoul Revelations by Bobby Cenoura







Intimate Conversation with K.R. Raye

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. 

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 
Growing up, I learned to read at three and write little poems by four. For me, writing is a fun way to express feelings and emotions, try things you never considered, or create whole new worlds or alternative universes. When I wrote The Colors Trilogy books, I followed the old adage, "write what you know." To me, there weren't many books that highlighted the college experience from a realistic side with multi-cultural characters and good friends from both sexes. 

BPM: Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when? Do you have a special time to write?
I write part-time, however, I try to write every day for at least 30 minutes, it doesn't matter when or where. Of course there are some days where life gets in the way and my daily word count equals zero, then there are other times when I can write all day and all night to my heart's content. 

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
Yes, you have to let it stew. After you finish writing the book, you need to read it again with fresh eyes and a less passionate perspective to see which areas need improvement and which sections soar. 

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? 
I enjoy writing about what I see in reality (the truth really is stranger than fiction) or crazy worlds I dream about. When writing, I try to keep a nice balance between plot driven and character driven stories. As a writer, your book can have all the action in the world, but if people don't like your characters, they won't connect or care. On the flip side, if you stay too character driven then you can run the risk of having readers say that all your characters did was talk to themselves without taking any action, which can bore your readers. So, I strive for an exciting balance between the two. 

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?
The Colors Trilogy follows three college friends as they search for true love, NFL fame, and a successful engineering career. The books are available in paperback and digital formats on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and they're coming soon to iBooks.

The three novels The Colors of Friendship (Book One, published August 13, 2013), The Colors of Love (Book Two, published November 19, 2013), and True Colors (Book Three, publishing March 25, 2014) fall under the Contemporary, New Adult genres. 

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? 

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? 

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? 

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

BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
One of the main characters gets involved in an abusive relationship. Not trying to date myself, but I sent out a slew of query letters during the Chris Brown/Rihanna saga. It's a topic that continues today with 1 in 4 women experiencing domestic violence in their lifetime. 

BPM: What is your favorite positive saying? Where do you find your daily inspiration or muse?
My favorite saying is "I'm too blessed to be stressed." I find daily inspiration in random acts of kindness, music, and lately on Facebook and Twitter!!!

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject? 
I love the phrase, "edutainment." If I can educate you or make you think while entertaining you at the same time, then I'm delighted. 

BPM: Where do you see publishing going in the future? In your opinion, will ebooks continue to reign? 
Both paper and electronic formats are here to stay for a while. As writers, we need to remain flexible and adaptable enough to adopt new technologies as conduits to communicate our stories to readers. Recently, I've had a number of readers request audio books, so that's yet another option for the future. In addition, the world is global and one day I'd like to translate my work into other languages. 

BPM: What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you?
Social Media is very helpful in building your brand, conversing with your readers, networking with other authors, and lastly marketing your books. If you're not careful, it can become a huge time suck. However, when used well, you can grow your following, share advice, learn from others, and sell books. I've found success on Facebook (, Twitter (, and LinkedIn ( 

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Thank you so much for this opportunity. Readers can view pictures, check out where I'm appearing, and sign up for news and specials on my website, 







Intimate Conversation with Michelle Lindo-Rice

Originally from Jamaica West Indies, Michelle Lindo-Rice calls herself a lifelong learner. She has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, and Teachers College, Columbia University. When she moved to Florida, she enrolled in Argosy University where she completed her Education Specialist degree in Education Leadership. A pastor’s kid, Michelle upholds the faith, preaching, teaching and ministering through praise and worship. Michelle currently works as a Reading Specialist for exceptional student learners, and is the proud mother of two teenaged sons. 

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? How do you feel about self-publishing? 
I broke into the publishing industry when I attended a Faith & Fiction retreat, the inspiration of Tiffany L. Warren hosted in Florida. I learned a lot through the workshop sessions and after prayer and fasting gathered my courage to pitch my work to the featured publishers. I honed my first chapter and worked on a hook so that I could introduce myself and stimulate interest in my work. My manuscript was complete and my characters had specific plots so I was able to answer detailed questions about my manuscript. 

Imagine my shout of praise when I heard the words from Joylynn Jossel-Ross, “Send me the first four chapters.” Then, came the real work of getting my manuscript ready for her perusal. I hired an editor who critiqued my work and I rewrote before submitting it. Joylynn then put on her editing hat and helped me whip my manuscript into shape for publication.

As someone who previously self-published, I feel that it is lucrative for the motivated individual. By motivated I mean someone who is skilled with marketing, product development and with distribution. The work needs to be one of quality, properly editing and the person has to be business-minded. I know it’s something I wouldn’t mind doing again, but I have a lot to learn.

BPM: What is your definition of success? Does money play a part in how you gauge success?
While money is important, it cannot be the sole part in gauging success. I view success as the ability to move my readers and leading them to developing a deeper walk with Christ. If through my work I’m able to inspire someone or touch someone to change their life for the better, than that is a success.

BPM: What books or authors made a difference in your life?
Because I’m an avid reader, my books and author list is expanding. I’ve read all of Victoria Christopher Murray’s work. I love Rhonda McKnight, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, Shana Burton, Tiffany Warren, Pat Simmons, Michele Stimpson, Norma Jarrett, Vanessa Miller, E.N. Joy… the list could go on. I know there are some I didn’t mention. (sorry). The book that has the biggest impact on me this year is I Ain’t Me No More by E.N. Joy. I cannot rave enough about it. I hope to be able to develop the writing chops to delve into a character like that. It was real, gripping, truth.

BPM: How many books have you written? How has your writing style evolved over the years? What stimulated your growth the most? 
I have penned six full-length novels and I have a smattering of to-be-completed work. My writing style has evolved because I’m moving from being a storyteller into being a writer, one who’s devoted on developing a craft. What has stimulated my growth the most is hiring an editor and working with Joylynn Ross. A great editor will make you a better writer. I’m also actively studying recommended books about writing. I’ve learned it is a skill that continuously needs to be developed. Being able to learn from experienced authors is also a huge blessing from God.  My writing is becoming sharper and I’m working on creating memorable scenes that make the book a page-turner.

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. Do you have any favorites? 
Walk A Straight Line is Christian Fiction and is available on Kindle, Nook, and Paperback, and in many independent stores.  In Walk A Straight Line, you’ll meet Colleen Hayworth and Gina Price, best friends for fifteen years. Colleen gets married and rededicates her life to God, which changes the dynamic of their relationship. Gina thinks Colleen is now too holy for her especially since she starts dating a fine man while falling in love with his brother. My favorite character was Gina because she’s feisty and a lot like me. But, then I love Keith because who doesn’t love a strong man who just grabs you and take charge?

BPM: What compelled or inspired you to write this book? Why now? Ever experience writers block?
My inspiration behind this book stems from the fact that I have a lifelong friend and our relationship has had its ups and downs, but our sisterhood is never questioned. I wanted to write a book about friends but explore the intriguing possibilities of truly getting to know yourself based on experiences. Sometimes when we hear another person’s experience we form opinions on what we would or would not do. I wanted to put my main characters, Colleen and Gina in situations that they never imagined they would face to see if they would walk a straight line.

I also wanted to write a romance so intriguing that people will get sucked into the characters lives. There are times when I get stuck. What I do to combat it is re-read, rewrite, work on something else, or plot out more points for my novel. Sometimes, I take a mental break to give my brain time to think. But if it is even 5 words, I make sure my fingers are on the keyboard. To write it requires discipline.

BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message enclosed?
I want to reach people who don’t think they are worthy of a second chance. I want to reach people who’ve made mistakes to see the awesome power of a forgiving God and how He fixes us and heals us. I also want to reach readers who love a good romance, interesting plot but want books with a healthy message and great writing.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book? 
Readers should look at the discussion questions. They cover some intriguing issues. What I hope is some of them will be on their knees seeking God’s face. I’m also hoping that readers will be drawn to recommend it to a friend and be moved to order the next book in the series.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want to gain a pleasurable read with memorable characters that stay with them after they’re done. I want them to relate to the characters and take some of the lessons learned to deal with issues in their own lives.

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 think digital books are great for all authors, particularly those who are self-published, or indie authors. I think we need both. I am pro-technology. I use the kindle app on my iPad to read a lot of books. Its sheer convenience is what makes it such a great tool. However, technology enhances our life, but it will never fully replace our use of pen and paper. I see a society that morphs the two. Many readers who own kindle still prefer paperback if they want an autographed copy. Nothing can replace the power of the pen or seeing things in black and white. I need to hold my Bible in my hand.

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? 
Word of Mouth is becoming my bread and butter. I connect with readers online and I urge them to tell a friend. My friends and family share information about the book on their pages. I ask for reviews, hand out bookmarks, get into blogs, Internet radio. You name it, I try it. I also read and recommend other authors as well. I also use my signature when sending emails as a means to promote myself.

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
My advice for anyone seeking to publish a book is to begin by reading. Read. Read. Read. Read books in the genre you would like to write. My second advice is to attend workshops or take writing lessons. Develop the craft of writing and rewrite. Rewrite. Third, Hire an editor. Don’t take the advice of family and friends alone. You need an unbiased professional opinion. Don’t be afraid of the truth.

BPM:  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. 
God has been good to me. I urge aspiring writers to keep writing. My third novel, My Steps Are Ordered, comes out August 2014. This is the second installment of the “On the Right Path” series. Trust me when I say that after reading Walk A Straight Line, you’ll demand a sequel. I am in the process of writing the third installment, III, as I keep changing the title.

Readers can find me online very easily. I have an amazon author’s page, I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+,  I have a blog  and a website  I love hearing and connecting with readers. They motivate me to keep going!

Walk a Straight Line by Michelle Lindo-Rice 

Her published works are:
Sing a New Song (Feb. 2013)
Walk a Straight Line (Jan. 2014)
My Steps are Ordered (Aug. 2014)



Intimate Conversation with Sabrina Sims McAfee

Sabrina McAfee is your bestselling author of suspense drama. She also writes romantic suspense and mainstream. Originally from Florida, she’s a current resident of Myrtle Beach, SC.  In her leisure she likes spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and watching reality and suspense TV shows.  Sabrina’s goal is to someday produce one of her books into a movie.  As she strives toward her dream, she plans to try her hardest to bring readers great satisfying stories. She thanks all of her readers. Listen to Sabrina on BAN Radio with Ella Curry

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
My book Sinful Seduction is a suspense drama packed with sensual romance that begins with Katilla.  Katilla is a nurse that was recently dumped by her NFL superstar boyfriend. The sudden breakup leaves her scorn and unable to trust. Now that she’s out on the dating market again, she’s determined not to let any man break her heart. Believing that true love is impossible, she meets fine, and handsome Dr. Kenneth Michaels. Because of her past, Katilla only has one thing on her mind, and that’s seducing Kenneth so she can get accepted into medical school.

Kenneth is a leading cardiologist still grieving the death of his wife when he meets Katilla. Feeling as if he’s already had his opportunity at true love, he’s surprised when he begins a steamy love affair with her and begins to fall madly in love. But then suddenly, when he learns of Katilla’s seductive secret to use him so she can get accepted into medical school, and her destructive ex boyfriend returns with a scandal of his own, things become explosive! They’re thrown them into a painful web of lies, deceit, and danger! 

Sinful Seduction  has many twists and turns, ups and downs, and evokes many emotions. However, in the end it demonstrates that true love prevails.  Katilla is special because she’s a dedicated friend, has a good heart, and goes to back for the people she loves. Kenneth is special because when he finally gives love a second chance, he gives it 100 percent and he’s a strong, likeable man.




Intimate Conversation with Monica McKayhan

Monica McKayhan writes adult and young adult fiction and currently has 11 titles in print. The first book in her young adult series, Indigo Summer, was the launch title for Harlequin's imprint, Kimani TRU. Several of her Kimani TRU books have appeared on the American Library Association's Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers for consecutive years and ALA’s 2013 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. Indigo Summer also received a film option. Tropical Fantasy is her first romance title.

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? What road did you travel? How do you feel about self-publishing? 
MM: I was actually a member of a Toastmasters club learning to speak publicly. I knew that I was very close to breaking into the industry and as such needed to sharpen my public speaking skills. In Toastmasters, I met a man who was personal friends with a National Bestselling author. He told her about me, and connected us. She and I started communicating by email. I started sending her examples of my work, and she loved my writing. At the time I was working on my first novel, As Real As It Gets. And she told me that once I was finished, she wanted me to send it to an editor that she knew at BET Books. After I completed the novel, I sent it to the editor at BET and the rest is history. Although self-publishing is not my route, I believe it is a very strong route. I have a lot of respect for self-published authors, and think that most are successful because they understand the business and understand the grind.

BPM: What is your definition of success? Does money play a part in how you gauge success?
MM: My definition of success is achieving the things that are imbedded in my heart, mind and soul. And I don’t base that on what the industry defines as success. It’s a personal journey, and money isn’t the defining factor. It has to do with the things that I love, like writing and family. I write because I love it and I tell any aspiring authors that if you’re in it for the money, you’re in the wrong business. If someone walks away from a book that I’ve written and their life is better, then that’s success for me. And if my children finally get the things that I’ve taught them over the years, that’s success for me.

BPM: What are you most thankful for right now, today?
MM: Right now, I’m most thankful for wisdom. I’m finally in a place where I know exactly what I want and where I want to be in life and my writing career. I know my strengths and weaknesses, and I finally have a game plan.

BPM: What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?
MM: After writing mainstream fiction, young adult fiction and now romance – I realize that I was much more passionate in the beginning. I realize that I have to write the things that are most gratifying to me and that it’s imperative that it reflects in my writing. Writing is a journey and a learning experience, and there should be growth. I’ve grown up, and I know what I must write. I have to maintain that same passion that I had when I wrote my first novel because it reflects in my work. I also know that it’s imperative that authors educate themselves on the business side of the industry, and education is lifelong. 

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. Do you have any favorites? 
MM: Tropical Fantasy is a romance novel about Sasha Winters and Vance Sullivan who meet at a wedding in the Bahamas. Sasha is her sister’s maid of honor, and Vince is the very handsome best man. Sasha’s a workaholic who has been hurt by love in the past, and has put up a shield against anything love related. Vince is determined to break through her hard exterior, and does. You can find Tropical Fantasy in paperback, on Kindle and Nook.

BPM: What compelled or inspired you to write this book? Why now? Ever experience writers block?
MM: Romance is a new genre for me. Tropical Fantasy was the book that sort of challenged me to let go of my inhibitions. After writing mainstream fiction and YA for some time, romance was something that was outside-of-the-box for me. My characters are typically flawed and the story might not always have a happy storyline. However in romance, you have a hero and heroine and the story is supposed to leave the reader with a happy feeling. That has been my greatest challenge. My characters usually experience hardship and have to overcome circumstances, but in romance I have to write from a different perspective. I often experience writers block, and when I do I simply walk away from the project for a little while. Go do something totally different and then come back to it. That works for me. Each author has their own way of conquering writer’s block, but that’s mine.

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
MM: Several of the scenes are borrowed from my own experiences. My family is from the Bahamas and I’ve visited there on many occasions. So I am able to write from experience and also from the heart. I’ve spent many years researching my family history in the Bahamas, so I enjoy writing about the islands. I recently landed a two-book deal for a new romance series that is set in the Eleuthera Islands Bahamas, which is very exciting for me since both of my great-grandparents are from the Eleuthera.

BPM: How do you avoid the temptation of interjecting your own value system or ministry in your writing?
MM: In order to write about flawed, authentic characters, you have to abandon who you are and totally immerse yourself into the lives of your characters. I often joke with my author friends that writers have to be somewhat schizophrenic to be great at what they do. It’s true to some degree. You have to become each character that you create, which might not be an easy task for the average person. And each character has his or her own morals and value system.

BPM: Now, let’s talk about the industry. Will the digital age change the face of publishing?
MM: I believe that the digital age and social media will and has changed the face of publishing. I think that we have to evolve with it. Social media has become an exceptional marketing tool – you’re able reach people that you would never have reached ten years ago. Additionally digital publishing gives the reader more choices. Although I’m an techie-type person, and I often read books on my Kindle – from time to time I still like to pick up a real book and flip through the pages. The key is that I have a choice. 

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.  
I recently signed a two-book deal for a new romance series, The Talbots of Harbour Island. It’s about a Bahamian family and each of the siblings will find love and romance on the beautiful Eleuthera Islands. I’m also writing a new young adult story, which I’m extremely excited about. My YA fans will be thoroughly surprised at this new direction. Readers can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

BPM:  How may our readers follow you online?
Email me at:
Follow me on Twitter:
Visit my website:

Like me on Facebook:
Young Adults:  



Intimate Conversation with Shana Burton

Shana Burton is a college instructor and bestselling author of Suddenly Single, Catt Chasin’, Flaws and All, Flaw Less, Flawfully Wedded Wives and First Comes Love (Kensington Publishing.) Note to Self…The Diary of a Divorcee is her first work of nonfiction. She resides in Georgia with her two sons.

BPM: What is your definition of success? Does money play a part in how you gauge success? 
Of course money plays a part, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. My job as a college program director paid very well, but I wasn’t really fulfilled in that position. Success to me is being able to take of my family while doing something that allows me express myself creatively.

BPM: What books or authors made a difference in your life? 
My all-time favorite book is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Zeale Hurston. It completely changed the way I create characters, develop conflict, and use dialogue in my stories. Contemporary authors have made a difference in my life for a different reason. Today’s authors are truly building a brand instead of just writing books, and it inspires me to take my career to the next level.

BPM: How many books have you written? How has your writing style evolved over the years? What stimulated your growth the most? 
I’ve written seven books. I can safely say that I’m a much stronger writer now than I was when my first novel, Suddenly Single, came out six years ago. Back then, I tried to write what I thought people wanted to read or emulate what other authors were doing. Now I trust my instincts. I write the book that’s in my heart and in my spirit. I’m a bit competitive, so when I read a really good book, a part of me is saying, “Yeah, I’ve got to step my game up if I’m going to compete with this chick!” Striving to be one of the best, if not the best, motivates me to come back harder, stronger, and better with each book.

BPM: What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author? 
I’ve realized that I need to develop a thicker skin to have a presence in this arena. By nature, I’m sort of quiet, and I hate conflict. In the past, I used to be afraid to speak up for myself if I didn’t like a book cover my publisher submitted or I would gave away books and writing sessions that I probably should’ve gotten paid for. Now, I’m about my business. If I don’t like something, I say it. I stick to my guns more, and I demand respect. Being a nice girl has had to take a backseat to being a business woman.

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book? 
Learn everything you can about the craft, then learn everything you can about the publishing business. They go hand-in-hand. It doesn’t matter how great the book is if nobody is reading it or knows it exists. By the same token, all of the marketing and promotion in the world can’t save a book that sucks. 

BPM: Introduce us to your book.  What genre is the book? On Kindle or Nook? 
It’s a memoir, so I’m the main character, and the guys featured in the book are certainly characters themselves. This memoir chronicles my first year of dating following my divorce. I was an absolute mess. I hadn’t dated in over a decade. The rules, the expectations, and the dating pool had changed since I was last on the market. Plus, I was a lot older trying to date. Dating in my 20s was a cake-walk compared to dating in my 30s with two kids! Note to Self…The Diary of a Divorcee is now available on Kindle.

BPM: What compelled or inspired you to write this book? Why now? Ever experience writers block? 
Before she died, my publicist Dee Stewart said she wanted me to start a “Divorced to Dating” blog chronically all of my dating adventures. I kept a journal detailing the dates I had with men, but we never set the blog site up. As it got closer to the year anniversary of her death (October 5, 2012), I wanted to do something to honor her memory. I thought this would be the perfect way since it was her idea for me to start my dating journal. Thankfully, since the majority of the book came directly from my personal journals, writer’s block wasn’t really an issue.





Intimate Conversation with Paulette Harper 

Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008. Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print. 

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I actually started my publishing journey in my mid-forties. It was during a major transition in my life that the passion and desire to write became apparent. I wrote my first non-fiction book in 2007, and it was released in 2008; and I have continued to release a book each year thereafter.

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. 
Living Separate Lives, a Christian Novella, centers around four high school friends, who have not seen each other in years. Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have agreed to come together for a mini retreat in Napa County. A well-planned out weekend of fun, relaxation and a reunion turned into a nightmare. 

BPM: What makes each characters special? 
Each of the characters is dealing with their own personal issues. For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised. Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats. 

BPM: Do you have any favorites in Living Separate Lives? 
I would have to say Tiffany Thomas. She is very successful, opinionated, and knows exactly what she wants. Her strength as a woman is something I truly admire.

BPM: Which character can you identify with the most? Why?
I am able to identify with each of the characters in Living Separate Lives. The book opens up by introducing Candace, who is reflecting on her life, her troubled family and the consequences of the decisions she has made. There are other characters such as Kaylan, who is a giving person and only believes the best in people. She demonstrates the character of Christ. Tiffany is in a league of her own. She’s independent and strong, yet she recognizes her weaknesses. The innocence of Jordan leads her into unfamiliar territory that will rock her faith and cause her to take a step back and evaluate the one person she thought she knew well.




Intimate Conversation with E. N. Joy

BLESSED selling Author E. N. Joy is the writer behind the five book series, “New Day Divas,” the “Still Divas” three book series and the “Always Divas” three book series, which have been coined the “Soap Opera In Print.”

The “New Day Divas” series includes the titles: She Who Finds A Husband, Been There Prayed That, Love Honor or Stray, Trying to Stay Saved and I Can Do Better All By Myself.   The “Still Divas” series includes the titles:  And You Call Yourself a Christian, The Perfect Christian and The Sunday Only Christian. The “Always Divas” series includes the titles I Ain’t Me No More, More Than I Can Bear and You Get What You Pray For. 

Joy writes children’s and young adult titles under the name N. Joy. Her children’s story, The Secret Olivia Told Me, received the American Library Association Coretta Scott King Honor. Book club rights were acquired by Scholastic Books and the book has sold almost 100,000 copies. Elementary and middle school children have fallen in love with reading and creative writing as a result of the readings and workshops Joy performs in schools nationwide.

Currently, Joy is the executive editor for Urban Christian, an imprint of Urban Books in which the titles are distributed by Kensington Publishing Corporation. In addition, Joy is the artistic developer for a young girl group named DJHK Gurls. Joy pens original songs for the group that deal with messages that affect today’s youth, such as bullying. You can visit Joy at

BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in I Ain't Me No More
When I started this book five years ago, at the time, I was so displeased with who I was. The problem was, I didn't want to admit who I was, which was an angry, hurt and bitter person who had internalized and held onto those things, circumstances and situations that had made me that way. Doing so gave me an excuse to be mad. If I held onto what so and so did to me umpteen years ago, it justified the way I could treat so and so today. You can't quit it if you can't admit it. 

So I had to take a for real-for real look at myself in the mirror, tell that reflection staring back at me just what I thought about her, and once I turned away from that mirror, make a conscious decision to leave her behind. I declared that I would do everything in my power to not be that person anymore...because she was disgusting and I hated her. If you go through life hating who you are, displaying love to others (heck, even like for that matter) is next to impossible. I had dealt with so much hurt and pain in my life that it ultimately became my normal. So if you wanted to fit into my normal world, you had to bring the hurt, bring the pain. When I got into church and got saved, I thought I was fixed. I was still broken though. It takes more work than just showing up at church every week and running down to the altar for someone to touch and agree with you or lay hands on you to get fixed. 

The main character in I Ain't Me No More, Helen, is mad, bitter and angry at the hand she was dealt in life. Her problem; does she want to be fixed or is she so comfortable with pain that she wouldn't know how to live without it? Plain and simple: Helen is not that likeable. As a matter of fact, the last book I wrote, The Sunday Only Christian, the main character in that one wasn't so likeable either. So as God kept giving me these unlikable people as main characters, I got scared. As an author there was a fear that if readers didn't like my main character, then they wouldn't like my book. So during prayer I expressed to God my concerns. His reply: "This book is not for people to like the main character. This book is for people like the main character."






Intimate Conversation with Sonja Lewis

Author of The Barrenness, Sonja Lewis has appeared on CNN and The Tom Joyner Morning Show. She has also been featured in Black Enterprise, and in the media in Canada and the United Kingdom. A former reporter for The Albany Herald (Georgia), Sonja has also written for British newspaper The Guardian. Currently, she writes a blog for the Huffington Post, UK. A member of the Society of Authors, Sonja lives in London with her husband, Paul.

BPM: Introduce us to your book, The Blindsided Prophet, and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
The Blindsided Prophet is the story of a modern day prophet who is caught unawares by a tragic event when he is a teenager. This alters his life forever. Fifteen years later, at God’s bidding Isaiah Brown returns to Coffee, GA, to unravel the tragedy, make reparation and prevent an even worse tragedy.

The main character, Isaiah Brown, is probably my favorite because he is original. I don’t know anyone like him. Naturally, he had to come from somewhere so I must have drawn on characteristics of some of the world’s great people, some perhaps renown. In any case, he is unique. He is a modern-day prophet.

Also, I favor Mae Cook as she is so very much like many people I know—well meaning, good to the core, but gets it wrong a lot of times. At middle age, she learns valuable life lessons. Through Mae, we see that it is never too late to grow-up.

BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in The Blindsided Prophet?
My faith, I suppose is the short answer. I remember being called arrogant once by a young preacher when I talked of my own personal relationship with God. I wanted to show that faith is not just about religion, it is about dwelling/residing within yourself if you will. Deep within you meet God as and when you please. You just have to focus. There, you find the answers.




Intimate Conversation with Shaquana Jackson

Shaquana Jackson was born in Lafayette, LA but  currently resides in Abbeville, LA. She has a degree in General Studies with an concentration in Liberal Arts. She began writing at the age of ten when she encountered an accident that changed things in her life from that point on. However, she says it was a blessing because she may have never discovered her talent given from God above.

BPM: Introduce us to your book, Now That the Cover is Removed  and the main characters. 
Now That the Cover is Removed will be released on Tuesday, November 4, 2013. Makeup and laughter is what Justina uses to cover up her beatings and pain that comes from within her very own home. She's living a life that she never thought she would live with her mother and the misery from her past. Along with abuse, Justina has to deal with a long lost sibling who wants her dead and seeks to carry out a wayward dream of becoming Justina. Justina’s past love interests tag along for the thrill of keeping her in despair. The past knows Justina weakness and tests her to see how long it will be before she will break free from all harm. Will she have enough strength and determination to forgive her abusers, find redemption and stare danger in the face to remain alive?

Colleen is a successful counselor who seems to have more problems than her patients. Along with dealing with family issues at home, she puts herself in harm’s way when trying to counsel someone she has a strong connection with. Getting too close to her patients opens doors that no one can seem to close. She begins to lose her ability to keep work, because she becomes too intimate with her client's lives and struggles. This also causes major problems within her marriage. Will Colleen lose what she has spent her life working for as she tries to capture what she lost years ago?

Aalisa's dream of becoming a New York Times bestselling author has come true, but it brings along the unforeseen dangers of becoming famous, which opens her life up for scrutiny. On her rise to the top, Aalisa has to come to grips with the fact she doesn't know how to accept the good along with the bad. A diabolical stalker from the past finds her and refuses to leave her alive this time! Her stalker’s obsession has taken precedence in Aalisa’s life because it now involves the safety of her only child. Aalisa must find a way to destroy her past, so that she can save her child. Will she stop the stalker and continue on with her life, so that she can focus on the romance she so longs for?

To conquer all the drama and heartache the three friends face, they must confide in one another and let their damaging secrets be known, in order to help conquer their situations. Even though it’s a hard pill to swallow, telling each other the shocking secrets they have held in for years might change their lives for the better and even put their past to rest at last.





Anybody’s Daughter 
by Pamela Samuels Young

When 13-year-old Brianna is forced into the horrifying world of human sex trafficking, her Uncle Dre, a former drug dealer, scours the dark corners of L.A. determined to find her. He ultimately comes up with a daring plan, one that puts many lives in danger. But will he find Brianna before it's too late?


Brianna sat cross-legged in the middle of her bed, her thumbs rhythmically tapping the screen of her iPhone. She paused, then hit the Send button, firing off the text message ready?  Her soft hazel eyes lasered into the screen, anticipating—no craving—an instantaneous response. Jaden had told her to text him when she was about to leave the house. So why didn’t he respond?  She hopped off the bed and cracked open the door. A gentle tinkle—probably a spoon clanking against the side of a stainless steel pot—signaled that her mother was busy in the kitchen preparing breakfast. 

Easing the door shut, Brianna leaned against it and closed her eyes. To pull this off, Brianna couldn’t just act calm, she had to be calm. Otherwise, her mother would surely notice. But at only thirteen, she’d become pretty clear after finding ways around mother’s unreasonable rules. She gently shook the phone as if that might make Jaden’s response instantly appear. Brianna was both thrilled and nervous about finally meeting Jaden, her first real boyfriend—a boyfriend she wasn’t supposed to have. Texts and emails had been racing back and forth between them ever since Jaden friended her on Facebook five weeks earlier. 

It still bothered Brianna—but only a little—that Jaden had refused to hook up with her on Skype or FaceTime or even talk to her on the phone. Jaden had explained that he wanted to hear her voice and see her face for the first time in person. When she thought about it, that was kind of romantic. 

If it hadn’t been for her Uncle Dre, Brianna would never have been able to have a secret boyfriend. When her uncle presented her with an iPhone for her birthday two months ago, her mother immediately launched into a tirade about perverts and predators on the Internet. But Uncle Dre had teased her mother for being so uptight and successfully pleaded her case.

Thank God her mother was such a techno-square. Although she’d insisted that they share the same Gmail account and barred her from Facebook, Brianna simply used her iPhone to open a Facebook account using a Yahoo address that her mother knew nothing about. As for her texts, she immediately erased them. 



The Blindsided Prophet 
by Sonja Lewis

1980. Coffee, Georgia. A mass killing in a church claims the lives of twelve people. Isaiah Brown, a fourteen-year-old prophet, fails to predict the massacre, in which his mother and grandfather die. 

After the killings, a blind and traumatized Isaiah flees the scene, disappearing into the woods. 

Fifteen years later, at God's bidding, and able to see again in all senses, Isaiah returns to Coffee, to make reparation and free himself from his past. 

There, he finds the people of Coffee on the brink of an even worse trauma than that experienced in 1980. Can Isaiah discover what was behind the original tragedy, and why he didn't foresee the event? Will he be able to prevent another impending tragedy? Or will he be blindsided by his love for one woman?

The Blindsided Prophet explores man's relationship with God and its effect on daily living. Also, the novel examines beliefs and values at the deepest level, as well as how they shape our thoughts, ideas, and experiences.


The tall man freed himself of his friend’s hand on his shoulder and walked ahead. The shorter one stared at him for a few seconds, his cigar between his lips, and then he followed. Lydia waited until they were on the porch. They lingered there for longer than she wanted them to, both taking off their hats and looking out over the land. She moved back further behind the tree, and held her breath; when she thought they were inside, she shot back towards the woods. In her haste to get out of there, she slammed into a white boy, knocking him to the ground. 

She tried to keep going, but he caught her leg, tripping her to the ground, too. 

"Hey," he said, "who are you? Why are you trespassing on my property?"

She was just trying to free herself, but she noticed that his voice was distinctly southern and more refined than the other two men’s. When she finally stopped struggling and looked back, she was moved by his frightened green eyes in a way she had not been expecting. She seemed to have the same effect on him. He released her. 

"You remind me of somebody," he said. 

"Yeah, right," she said. 

Still he gazed at her until she felt hot and uncomfortable. She lowered her eyes and pushed herself up to her feet. He stood, too, and brushed off his suit. Though he wasn’t even as tall as she was, he was quite handsome, with a head full of hair the color of hers. It was parted to one side. 

"Who are you?" she asked. 

"That's what I want to know about you." 

"I come from the other side of the woods," she said.

“A colored preacher lives on the other side of the creek,” he said, squinting. 




Heat And Chemistry 
by Darvanni Autonomy

Keisha Johnson, a young beautiful woman absconds from her deranged boyfriend Wayne and strives to regain the love and happiness of her life.  But there's one thing Keisha's missing, the man whose spirit ignites the chemistry between them, and who is brave enough to protect her from her stalking, absurd ex-boyfriend Wayne. Traumatized by life's problems, Keisha escapes the madness in Chicago and finds herself in a world of danger. Will she survive and meet her king? And will the heat of her love ever be quenched?

Download Heat and Chemistry by Darvanni Autonomy:  

Excerpt from Heat And Chemistry


Turtle Island, Fiji. Early August, 2008 

The Fiji islands are a paradise on earth during sunset, with clear light blue waves rippling against the island’s shoreline, fresh breezes blowing off the ocean surface now and then, long shadows of tall tropical trees stretching across the sands, all beneath a magnificent dark reddish orange sky. Suddenly, dark gray rain clouds blew in from the east, threatening, Demarcus Good’s perfect evening.

Demarcus and Porsha Smith strolled hand in hand along the ocean front on one of Fiji’s secluded islands. Porsha took a seat in a blue lounge chair as he knelt down on one knee in the white sand. He took her beautiful hands into his own and gazed into her eyes.  Demarcus expressed, “The first day I laid eyes on you, I knew you were special and perfect for me. You brought so much into my life, things I didn’t acknowledge to exist. That’s when an Angel came down to earth and stayed. Your smile brightens up my days.”

Porsha smiled with adoration.

He continued, “You changed my life in so many astonishing ways. Your love touches every part of my life. Your love grew and now my love for you is without end, like the universe. All I want to do is love you forever.”

Porsha’s heart skipped a beat as her eyes batted.

He licked his lips then formulated, “We came along way from home and reached this moment at last. We’re twenty-eight and we’re not getting any younger. Porsha, you complete me . . . you make me-me str-str-onger.” Emotionally tongue tied, he bowed his head and slowly returned his eyes to hers. “Every morning I want to wake up with you by my side . . . I want to share my world with you, grow old with you . . . let’s become one . . . I’m asking you from my soul, from the bottom of my heart.”





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

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

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

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




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