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

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

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

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



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Black Love Day on BAN Radio

Thurs. Night Feb. 13 at 8 pm EST
Call into the radio show at: 646.200.0402 

We are celebrating Black Love Day on BAN Radio at 8pm ESTBlack Love Day, Feb. 13th  is a 24 hour celebration and observance of atonement, reconciliation, Black love, showing 5 Tenets towards:

* Love for the Creator
* Love for Self
* Love for the Family
* Love for the Community
* Love for the Black Race

Have you been married or in a relationship more than 5 years? Tell us about it! Call into the radio show to share your love at: 646.200.0402. Or join the other readers and lovers in the BAN Radio Chatroom, here.  

Michelle Monkou
William Fredrick Cooper
Shakir Rashaan
Zuri Day
Lutishia Lovely
Naleighna Kai
A. Yamina Collins
EN Joy

Read more about Black Love Day here: 





Open Door Marriage 
by Naleighna Kai

“Open Door Marriage is a page-turner from start to finish, uniquely written to explore the emotions of three people who have bonds that seem unbreakable. That is, until they are tested in a relationship that causes their families, religious leaders, and the public to be up in arms. Naleighna Kai has written a provocative novel that is about a relationship that is as complicated as it can get.” –Valarie Prince, author of The Lair of the Python

A chance encounter lands NBA star Dallas Avery back in the arms of the woman of his dreams. A woman he hasn’t seen in years. A woman he soon discovers just so happens to be his fiancée’s aunt! But Dallas’ fiancee, Tori, isn’t ready to give up all that she’s worked for, so she makes him a shocking offer – go through with the wedding and she’ll still allow him to be with the one woman he now can’t seem to do without. Dallas will get a family, something her much older aunt, Alicia can’t give him. Tori will get the lifestyle she clamors. And Alicia will get the love she’s longed for all her life. Everyone will get a little of what they want . . . and maybe a whole lot of what they don’t. 

The details of the trio’s love life play out in the tabloids and on talk shows, making Dallas the center of an NBA scandal. And eventually, the doors slam shut on this open marriage and Dallas is forced to make a choice to end the chaos. But moving on is easier than it looks and by the time all is said and done, secrets will be revealed, passions will be extinguished, and everyone’s lives will be forever changed.

“Open Door Marriage is a page-turner from start to finish, uniquely written to explore the emotions of three people who have bonds that seem unbreakable. That is, until they are tested in a relationship that causes their families, religious leaders, and the public to be up in arms. Naleighna Kai has written a provocative novel that is about a relationship that is as complicated as it can get.” –Valarie Prince, author of Lair of the Python

“While a few books have tackled this subject in different ways, the way Naleighna Kai approaches a difficult situation is sure to be fuel for heated conversations for years to come. Open Door Marriage proves many things, but mostly that the title of my novel holds true.—Janice Pernell, author of There’s No Right Way to do a Wrong Thing.

Excerpt from Chapter 1 


NOVEMBER 22—7:23 P.M.

“You slept with my aunt?” 

The words still didn’t register, even though this had to be Tori’s fifth time saying them. She glared at her fiancé, still desperately trying to come to terms with the information her mother had blasted to everyone at the packed Thanksgiving dinner table. 

“Seriously? How is that even humanly possible when you didn’t know the woman four hours ago?” Tori shouted.

“Tori, l-let me explain,” Dallas stammered.

Twelve pairs of eyes were now focused on the not-quite-blissful couple standing at the bottom of the stairs just off from the dining room. 

“But not here. Let’s go somewhere and talk. It’s not what you think.” 

“What did you do?” Tori snapped, glaring up at Dallas. “Trip over the sheets, and your penis somehow landed in a woman nearly twice my age?” 

The drumstick in Uncle Bill’s hand paused in midair on its journey to his wide mouth. Cousin Tiny’s fleshy hand flew to her overexposed bosom and came to rest somewhere above her heart. Even Tori’s father’s frozen expression of alarm would have been Three Stooges comical if the situation weren’t so tragic. 

Aunt Yoli was the first to recover. “Did they just say what I think they said?”

In unison, everyone nodded.

“Girl, shut the front door and run out the back!”

A few bursts of nervous laughter sprang up around the table, but they were not nearly enough to chase away the unease that had flooded the room when Tori stepped into the house. She’d gone to drop off Aunt Rose’s drunk self at home. Tori hadn’t even been in the house good when her mother, Bernice, blurted out that she’d caught Alicia and Dallas together. Alone. In bed. In the nude. Tori had picked up from there and summed it up in one sweep. “You slept with my aunt ...”

“Nothing happened, Tori,” Dallas said, his voice shaky. “I didn’t sleep with her.”

“So, my mama is lying?” Tori asked. 

Dallas shifted uneasily. 

“Hell naw. I know what I saw,” Bernice snapped. She had moved from the dining room table to the end of the staircase, right next to her daughter, poised as if she was ready to go to battle. “Both of you were in bed butt-ass naked.” She jabbed a finger in her sister-in-law’s direction. Alicia hadn’t moved from her spot at the top of the staircase. Probably, because she knew what was best for her. “She was butt-naked. And he was nut-naked,” Bernice yelled. “Wasn’t an inch of space between them.” She flickered a gaze a Dallas. “Look at him. You can tell he just got dressed!”

Tori closed her eyes and took deep breaths to calm the emotions that warred within her.

“See, I told you Alicia wasn’t worth a damn,” Bernice, crowed with savage satisfaction. “And looks like Mr. NBA ain’t much better. You thought he was all that and a side order of fries.”

Dallas Avery was the NBA’s most valuable player, and a man most women would give their right and left ovary to call their own. But Most Eligible Bachelor or not, he had set Tori’s bitch meter into overdrive. Even with his chiseled, handsome face, towering muscular frame and million dollar bank accounts, he was now worth next to nothing in her eyes. Too bad her aching heart didn’t get that memo.

Tori didn’t know if she was more enraged or hurt that her mother had been all too willing to drive this stake through her own daughter’s heart in order to publicly disgrace Alicia.

“Tori, we need to talk about this,” Dallas repeated before adding, “in private.”

Bernice wore a satisfied smirk as she glared openly up at Alicia, who just kept staring stoically at them from the second floor landing. “The angel of the family has fallen,” Bernice said. 

“Hey, Bernice,” Bill taunted with a hearty chuckle. “Bet you won’t say that when Alicia comes downstairs. You know she’s gonna put a hurting on you.”

“You mean put another hurting on her,” Aunt Yoli added, doubling over with laughter.

Tori wanted to scream. Her life was unraveling in front of her and her family was cracking jokes. 

Instinctively, Bernice inched away from the staircase and back toward the dining room table. Her hands went up to the small scar on her neck, probably remembering that a year ago on this very same holiday, Alicia had ended a vicious blow-for-blow fight with a knife at Bernice’s throat. Almost gave the woman a “Sicilian Smile”—an ear-to-ear slice across the throat. 

Dallas reached for Tori’s hand. “It’s not what it seems.”

She snatched away, parted her lips to give him what was left of her mind, but Cousin Tiny chimed in first. “Alicia had every right to take Bernice to the floor last year for that foul mess she said! I would’ve pulled out my own can of whoop ass behind that one.” 

Tiny’s husband, Thomas nodded his watermelon-sized head. 

The rest of the family finally sprang to life, also chiming in at once to defend Alicia, the one woman everyone could count on in a time of need, to lend an ear when it was called for and to dry a tear when no one else bothered to care. That she would do something as low as sleep with her niece’s soon-to-be husband was unthinkable. So the family sidestepped that issue for as long as they could, finding it more comfortable to speak on the reason no one had expected Alicia home for Thanksgiving—especially since none of them had heard from her for an entire year.

Dallas maneuvered so he was in front of Tori. “Nothing. Happened.”

“If Bernice had said that bull to me,” Bill responded, still trying to tackle the last of the drumstick, “an ass whipping would’ve been the least of her problems.” He beckoned toward the last slice of sweet potato pie at the other end of the table. “That has my name written all over it.” 

“Bernice is lying,” Martha said. “Alicia’s still got looks and all, but that young stud wouldn’t pick her over Tori.” She shot an appreciative glance toward Dallas, then leaned to her right and whispered loudly in Yoli’s direction, “But, girl, he is finer than frog’s hair.” 

Yoli gave him a lusty once-over. “I’d give him some my damn self. He’s the type of man who can make a woman put a for sale sign on one thigh and an open for business sign on the other. Yes, Lawd!”

Tori tried her best to tune out her family. She didn’t have the stamina to deal with them right now. “How could you do this? You’re my fiancé.” 

“You’re Tori’s fiancée?” Alicia finally spoke out. She eased down the stairs, looking first to Tori then to Dallas. Her panic-stricken expression gave Tori pause. Could her aunt really have not known?

Alicia turned back to her niece. “Oh, my, God, Tori. I had no idea. I’m so, so sorry.” She didn’t give Tori time to reply as she brushed past Dallas, slipped into the nearest pair of shoes—her brother’s—and ran out of the front door, oblivious to the fact that she barely had on enough clothing to protect her from the chill in the room, let alone the sub-zero temps of a Chicago winter. 

The whole crowd gasped in disbelief as Dallas grabbed his leather coat from the foyer closet. “She can’t go out there with nothing on,” he said as he stepped into his Timberlands. “I’ll be right back.”

Tori was ready to spit fire. “Are you kidding me?” she screamed as he quickly laced up his shoes, then darted toward the door. “You’re going after my aunt? My aunt!” she yelled, following him. “My heart is bleeding all over the carpet and you’re going after her!” 

The front door slammed and Tori stood frozen, unable to believe what happened in the last ten minutes. Bernice’s voice snapped Tori out of her trance. “Girl, I taught you better than that,” Bernice yelled, gesturing to the door. “You’d better go get your man!”

( Continued... )

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

About Naleighna Kai 
Naleighna Kai
is the national bestselling author of Every Woman Needs a Wife, with a spin-off titled, The Pleasure’s All Mine and Open Door Marriage. She started writing in December of 1999, independently publishing her first two novels before acquiring a book deal with an imprint of Simon & Schuster and most recently a book deal with Brown Girls Publishing--the offspring of mega-successful national bestselling authors—Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. She is a contributing author to a New York Times Bestseller, an award-winning author, the E. Lynn Harris Author of Distinction, and a noted book club favorite on 

Naleighna works for a major international law firm and is the CEO of Macro Marketing & Promotions Group, as well as the marketing consultant to several national bestselling and aspiring writers. She is also the brainchild behind the annual Cavalcade of Authors events which takes place in her hometown of Chicago. Naleighna pens contemporary fiction, erotica, and speculative fiction and is currently working on her next novels:  Was it Good For You Too?,  Rich Woman's Fetish and Slaves of Heaven. 

Naleighna on the web at:  and  Like on Facebook:  or Follow on Twitter:  

Purchase Open Door Marriage by Naleighna Kai
Download Link: 




Making Better Decisions
By Dr. Daryl Green

Can we afford to make the same decisions this year? While politicians and media pundits seize the opportunity of each life-changing event, families seek to make the best of a struggling economy. According to the latest government job report this month, just 74,000 more people were employed in December versus 205,000 expected by USA Today's survey of 37 economists.

Life will become tougher for job seekers as globalization sweeps down on country after country. For some countries, they will become industry leaders while others will fade into the night of obscurity. Many Americans are retreating from the workforce, causing the unemployment rate to fall to 6.7% in December. In fact, only 62.8% of the adult population is participating in the labor market now; participation rates relate to those individuals who have employment or those actively seeking employment. Heidi Shierholz, an Economic Policy Institute economist, explains: "We're going to have a long-term unemployment crisis for a long time." This current low participation in the job market matches the lowest level since 1978.

Sadly, many folks fail to understand the consequences of their decisions. For example, Vanessa Williams was one of these fallen Hollywood icons. In 1983, Williams became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America. However, her immediate success was short-lived due to a scandal. Consequently, Williams was forced to relinquish her title; she probably did not think her youthful deed would come back and wreck her dreams.

Yet, the consequences not only damaged Williams but her family, friends, and millions of her fans. Nobel Prize author Albert Camus once noted, "Life is the sum of all your choices." In spite of all wise counsel, some people seem to have a knack for making poor decisions.

Sadly, many poor decisions have unforeseen impacts. Nancy Cavender and Howard Kahane, authors of Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric, argue for better decision making under this financial crisis: "Now, more than ever, we need to think critically about the world we live in and the decisions we make." They point to the dire consequences of poor decision making. In fact, these circumstances often can be traced back to a root cause. 

The Law of Unintended Consequences relates to any purposeful action that will generate unintended consequences. This law can be categorized into several areas: (a) a positive unexpected benefit called serendipity, (b) a negative effect which is contrary to the original intention, and (c) a potential source of problems which is commonly referred to as Murphy's Law.

Like Murphy's Law, some decisions may appear to afflict some people as if their lives are cursed. Making the right decision is a difficult process. No one will applaud your many good decisions; however, you will probably catch heat over the bad ones. In fact, every person, regardless of their background or social standing, can benefit from good decision-making techniques. In this life, most people make decisions to the best of their abilities. When various things happen, especially bad ones, individuals must be ready to deal with them. Therefore, understanding unintended consequences can assist in helping us make better decisions for the future.

About Daryl Green 
Dr. Daryl Green
has done extensive research on cultural issues impacting today and future leaders. He is an author of several books including Breaking Organizational Ties: How to Have a More Fulfilled Life in Your Current Job. For more information, you can contact him at© 2014 by Daryl D. Green




You'll Sense It First In Your Spirit
God speaks in your spirit, not your flesh!
by Rugina Poellnitz

". . . I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!" 1 Kings 18:41 (NLT)

Are you going through a dry spell? Are you busy encouraging others while your own life seems to be falling apart? 

Have you continually asked God to hear your cries and answer prayers in a certain area? Has He begun to speak promises and hope into your Spirit? Does His message and promises appear to be contradictory to what is happening around you? 

Alternatively, have you ceased believing in the promises that He placed within your spirit due to delayed answers? After He spoke to your heart, did things get increasingly worse and more confusing causing you to doubt His promises? Did you sense a change within your spirit and quelled it because promises were simply too outrageous to become possible?

Maybe your business is floundering, or you're facing some unexpected health concerns or family problems. That's what happened to Elijah; this man who earlier called down fire from heaven suddenly found himself in the middle of a full-blown famine. 

So what did he do?   Listen: '. . . Elijah . . . got down on his knees, with his face to the ground' (1 Kings 18:42 TLB). Elijah chose to: (a) shut out his surroundings for a while; (b) focus only on what God was saying; (c) and he kept praying. And when he did, the Bible says he heard 'a mighty rainstorm coming!' What Elijah sensed inside was completely contrary to what was happening outside. His spirit sensed an 'abundance of rain' - before a single drop fell.

God speaks in your spirit, not your flesh; what He says there, is more real than anything that's happening around you!  But be warned: what you sense in your spirit may go against what you have in the bank, or what's happening on the job, or what's taking place at home, or what's happening in your body. Elijah had to discount all the 'no rain' reports he kept getting. So will you. 

When you know that God's promised you a certain thing, you must tune out all the negativity around you, reject your doubts and keep believing God!

Saints, when God is ready to change seasons or bring about a new beginning - you'll sense it first in your spirit. Although things may appear to be moving in the same direction, the truth is that God has already begun to steer things. 

When God places something new into our spirits, let's lean in closer to determine what He is saying. As we continue to pray, clarity coupled with hope will burst forth. He is orchestrating blessings and maneuvering around mountains while strengthening us to fulfill the assigned tasks. Oftentimes, He will drop promises into our spirits that appear to be contrary to what is happening around or within us. Our minds may have a difficult time grasping the message from God especially when certain situations seem impossible. If we stay the course, our experiences will range from the miraculous to marvelous answered prayers. Without a vision of the completed picture, we may lose sight of where God is ultimately taking us. It would be overly tempting to bail out prematurely. God is faithful to perfect and perform things behind the scenes until our promise is manifested. 

God does the lion's share of the work while our primary task is to believe. We are to trust Him no matter what our eyes see. Obedience is paramount when emotions and naysayers speak against God's promises. The path has already been laid out for us therefore we can humbly yet confidently walk in it until the end result manifests. 

Your Sister in Christ,
Rugina Poellnitz

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

During 2011, Diann Thomas passed away unexpectedly and sadly, Linda Cunningham-Hames passed away on July 24, 2012. I've never met either in person, corresponded with Linda via email, and never corresponded with Diann. We were connected via technology and hearts for God. 

Going forward, I (Rugina Poellnitz) intend to continue to share Morning Teas in their honor (as well as add my Mother, Evelyn Carter-Pete, since she prayed and inspired me (and others) to live faithfully and abundantly prior to her passing in 2007.)


Every Thing Happens for a Reason 
Musing of a Freedom Fighter 
by Darby West

I was born in the Bronx, NY and migrated to Queens to live with my father when I was five years old. The Queens neighborhood I lived in was a melting pot of cultures. We lived in a two family apartment home owned by a Jamaican family - the Andersons. Next door to them was a Puerto Rican family and beneath them was an African American family, though we were known as Negro and Black at that time. We had a pizza parlor, Chinese restaurant, A German get the picture. I went to PS-80 and my school was integrated. If there were any racial problems around me when I was a child I was not aware of them. 

At 10 years old I moved to NC - a small town called Swan Quarter, it was part of Hyde County. Hyde County was one of the poorest counties in the state. Most of its citizens relied on the fishing industry or the farming industry to survive and take care of their families. My grandparents lived there, and my three older siblings. I moved in May and was enrolled in O.A. Peay School. To my surprise the school was segregated. There were two other schools. One was in Swan Quarter called Mattamuskeet School, but it was for white children only. The other school was in another city of Hyde County called Engelhard, it was called Davis School. It too was segregated and was the other Negro school. Both O.A. Peay and Davis School were considered historical landmarks because they were the oldest schools in the county.

In my neighborhood lived my Cousin Dolly, her daughter and son, my aunt Lucy and Uncle Milton, Cousin Andrew, his wife, son, and two granddaughters, down the road was a white family but I didn't see them for at least a year after I moved down south. This was truly a rural area.

There were only a few weeks of school left that year. I hated this place. At school I was teased for being smart. I was teased because of the way I talked. I was teased because of the way I walked. One boy in my class made a joke one day. He asked the group of kids outside for recess if they knew the difference between a city girl and a country girl. "If the wind is blowing a city girl will hold down her hair and a country girl will hold down her dress!" My classmates laughed loudly. I didn't get it! 

My teacher was mean and cruel and would not call on me. She told me that she hated "uppity niggas that try to sound White and make their people look bad!" I had no idea what she was talking about, but those words I remember to this day. Teachers had a paddle and would beat any unruly student with it. The principal also had a paddle - The Board of Education- and he would beat students also. This was unheard of in my school back in Queens. 

I wanted to go back home. I could not wait for school to end. I spent the summer with my grandfather's sister, Aunt Deecie. She kept two of her grandchildren that summer - Cynthia Crudup and her brother Ricky. When school started I dreaded it. Nothing had changed. The kids still hated my guts, and talked about me. The boy who told the joke about the city girl and country girl made my life miserable and so did his friend Gary. Gary had been the smart guy in our class, now he had someone in class that was just as smart and he decided to beat me up every day. The teacher did nothing when this child would attack me for no reason other than being jealous and insecure. To further aggravate matters if I raised my hand she ignored me and if I didn’t raise my hand she would deliberately call on, sometimes catching me off guard. 

I could not imagine going to that school for the next six years. I had to run away! By the end of the school year we were protesting our civil rights. All I knew about it was that the white folks wanted to tear down one of the Negro schools and bus all the Negro students to that one remaining school. No! The Negro citizens determined it was time to integrate the schools. 

I remember my grandfather first trying to reason with my grandmother, trying to talk her into not participating. She was determined that she would and would bring us all along. Then he begged her, to no avail. Finally, he threatened her, "If you fools cause me to lose my job, these kids are going to live with their daddy!" 

That morning of the first march was so exciting. We had been watching on TV how Martin Luther King, Jr. was traveling all over the South, marching and boycotting buses, stores, and other businesses. I knew about Birmingham and Rosa Parks. I was ready and pumped! 

My grandfather worked just a stone’s throw from the church we were going to meet at, Jobs Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. We were all trying to get dressed so we could ride with him. "Y'all ain't riding nowhere with me! If you wanna get there, y'all better walk!" 

We headed out that morning walking the three miles to Jobs Chapel. When we got there a gazillion Negroes were there. I didn't even know that many of us lived in the county! Many of the people there I had never seen before. It was too many people so we had to meet outside. Our leader was Golden Frinks who was a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference or SCLC. We marched in twos, singing freedom songs all the way downtown Swan Quarter. As we passed the homes along the way, people stood on their porches watching nervously. They too had watched the racial drama unfold each night on the news. Martin Luther King, Jr. led non-violent protests and we were going to follow the same pattern.

We were out of school for an entire year protesting and marching for our civil rights. Finally, the schools were integrated and that led to another struggle, but now we were Freedom Fighters! Out of the poorest county in North Carolina rose medical doctors, college professors, school teachers, nurses, authors, journalists, fashion designers and more. 

I do believe that everything happens for a reason and becoming a Freedom Fighter was my reason for being in that small rural community. 

About the Author
Darby West
was born in New York and moved to North Carolina when she was a child. The culture shock of being in the rural south during the 60s was not the place the young girl wanted to be. To escape the pangs of a hurtful and racist society, Darby began writing short stories that she shared with her English teacher. The teacher, Mr. R. S. Spencer encouraged her to continue writing. 

In 1979 Darby began to work on her first novel, Through the Fire. It would take her over twenty years and much encouraging from her co-workers to get it published. By then she had nearly thirty-five manuscripts. 

Darby moved to Winston Salem in 1989, a move she has not once regretted. Since being there she has become active in storytelling, and is a member of the National Association of Black Storytellers and its affiliate, the North Carolina Association of Black Storytellers. 

She has shared her motivational stories from Tampa to New York, from North Carolina to San Diego. Follow Darby on Facebook at: 


Ripples of Assassinations 
by Minnie E. Miller

November 22, 1963. The day was humming with noise of a legal environment. Lawyers were checking their cases, staff typing indictments, orders, and motions on old-fashioned typewriters, and clerks penciling court orders in large, ragged journals. They stood behind a granite countertop half the length of the exceedingly voluminous space. At the end of that space was a glass-enclosed office consisting of one desk, a chair, and one man processing execution documents. My desk was the last in the large clerk’s office and directly in front of his office. I was one of the clerk typists assembling and typing documents being prepared for the execution of human beings.

The Clerk of the Criminal Division of the Court House in Chicago, Illinois, emerged from his sanctuary and announced, “The President of the United States has been shot. The building is closing. Please leave immediately.”

We stood in amazement, our faces frozen. Lawyers accustomed to trying gruesome murders of all types merged with common people for an instant, trying to understand what happened to our President. Law and tradition states that the President must be protected with security of the highest order. I thought, How could this happen?

I admired Senator Kennedy and nearly touched him (until secret service gently moved me further behind the barriers) when he visited Chicago to campaign for the presidency. Orders had come from top political bosses to be prepared to go to the airport. We were to greet the candidate the National Democratic Committee had backed for President of the United States of America. Buses were available at headquarters for those in need of a ride. No excuses accepted!

I was an assistant precinct captain at the time of his arrival, going door-to-door selling the candidate to voters. Nevertheless, it was a fun job for me. My job in the clerk’s office included, among other responsibilities, being a typist among four and the youngest at twenty-seven years old -- my first real job as a Six Ward Young Democrat. Rachel, (a fictitious name, of course), my immediate supervisor and deputy clerk of the criminal division, had taken me into her care. She was also my ride home so I ran when she ran, and followed as best my short legs would allow. Speed-walker best describes Rachel.

Rachel and I knew the workday was going to be short, but not because President Kennedy had been shot. Rachel’s Mother passed two days prior, and she being the oldest daughter had the responsibility of funeral arrangements. My Mom and I worked closely with the family during that stressful time.

The rush was on. Watching Rachel gather her belongings and people rushing by me was clue enough for me to move as well. It was a little past 1:00 p.m. -- lunchtime in the restaurant directly across the street from the Court House. Jimmy owned the restaurant for years. Always a gathering place for lawyers, ‘suspects’ and their families, members of the state attorneys, public defenders, and court stenographers; it seemed most of the criminal division walked across the street to the restaurant filling it to near overflowing.

Note: Some of those present have since moved on to judgeships, state offices and higher. Consequently, I will not name them here.

We all took seats at the selected tables and booths. Of course, all the lawyers were talking about the law, and capital punishment, and what will or should happen to the shooter or shooters. The television blared information from the Texas scene. Nevertheless, the lawyers examined all areas of criminal law in less than an hour.

Suddenly, the loud chatter changed to understated comments in confidential conversations. My mood had been following the crowd, but this shift threw me. Mystified, I mentally wondered what had happened and then followed the eyes of the group at our table. A man who had been on trial as a member of the mafia entered the restaurant with his lawyer leading the way.

Rachel whispered, “Watch me. Move when I move.”

The intrusive guest stood near the tables and announced, “Lunch for everybody,” waving his arms at us. “Jimmy ... steaks on me.”

Persons who knew the defendant uttered indistinctly their thanks, spoke excuses, and left immediately.

Rachel said, “Count me out. Have business to take care of,” and gently pulled me by my sleeve out of the big booth. We rushed to her car as she mumbled something about what the media would do with that stupid impromptu gathering with a member of the mafia.

Talk about unintentional significance!

That week and the following days were chaos for America, Rachel, and me. My Mother stayed close offering Rachel and family condolence even though she had only known Rachel for a short time.

April 4, 1968. Soon the assassination of another great man shook the nation. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was the leader of the modern American Civil Rights Movement. At age 35, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Dr. King died on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, from a killer’s bullet.

June 6, 1968. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles, CA. I was in Los Angeles; my second home and near the hotel on Mariposa Street. At the time, I was working for Governor Pat Brown of California.

These particular events affected my drive to write. I believe my choices are metaphor for life and losses. Please understand, I am still involved in politics, albeit it armchair politics. Working in the background gives one a different view, especially in the case of President Barack Obama. 

I believe history will treat our African American President with dignity and respect, unlike today. 

About the Author
Minnie E. Miller
presently resides in her native state of Illinois in Chicago's Hyde Park community. 

She has traveled to London, Paris, Jamaica, and many United States cities where she met individuals of all persuasions. She was a curious kid, a news junkie even in high school, and has worked in politics since the age of eighteen even though she was not old enough to vote.

Miller spent fifty-three years in the workforce. Her last full time job was in the administration of the former Mayor of San Francisco as special assistant to his press secretary. She co-authored "The San Francisco Mayor's Summit for Women: Summit Report 1998." She retired in 1999, left San Francisco, and sped through Atlanta, Georgia. Still, she worked as a freelancer in Atlanta City Council's Communications Office for a year and a half.

Heeding a whisper from her subconscious, Miller returned to Chicago, Illinois. Unable to sit still as a retiree, she took a part-time job at NBC TV. She finally left the workforce May 2004.

Miller lives alone, devotes her time writing, and all things involving the book industry.

She has written many articles and essays. Books by Minnie E. Miller
* The Seduction of Mr. Bradley - Available for Kindle download
* Whispers From The Mirror - Available in Paperback 
Purchase copies:  

Follow Minnie E. Miller Online
Writer, Essayist & Humanist  

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.

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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by Diane A. Sears

“Who are you? Who or what defines you?” There is no other soul exactly like you existing on this place and space we occupy which we know as Planet Earth. You are unique. No one sees your view of the world in the manner that you do. They cannot. They are not looking at the world through your eyes. The person that you think or know that you are and how you define yourself, to an extent, influences your view of the world, your decisions, your happiness, and your success. It is up to you to determine who you are. It is up to you to decide who or what defines you. You should be relying on yourself and not others to tell you who you are. No one or no thing should be defining you, but Y-O-U!

So, how do you define Y-O-U? We can start by talking about who you are. You are the energy that flows through every cell in your body. You are your soul. You are your spirit.

Now, let’s talk about what you are not. You are not the “things” that you acquire or wish to acquire during your lifetime. “Things” do not define you. The job that you have, the amount of money you earn each week, the size of your bank account, the neighborhood that you live in, the car that you drive, expensive jewelry, and designer clothes are not who you are.

So, how do you determine who or what defines you? We can start by asking questions. Are you creative? Are you brilliant? Are you talented? Are you honest? Are you empathetic? Are you passionate about everything that you do? Do you have a sense of direction? Are you living your life with a sense of purpose? The answers to these questions will help define you who you are.

Your actions define you. The manner in which you treat the souls who walk among us who are erroneously characterized as “the least among us” – the homeless, the poor, the sick, the disabled -- is what defines you. Do you greet them with kindness and respect when your paths cross? Or do you summarily dismiss them, pretend that they are invisible, and greet them with disdain and disrespect? 

Do you create chaos and dissension? Are you a consensus builder? When disputes arise and tempers flare, are you moving the sparring parties to seek common ground? Are you a peace maker or are you escalating a potentially volatile situation? 

Keeping or breaking your promises defines who you are. If you make promises and do not honor them, your actions speak volumes about your trustworthiness. On the other hand, if you deliver on the promises that you make, you are telling the world: “You can trust me. My word is my bond.” 

Your compassion or lack of empathy defines you. Your conduct and your character define you. Your beauty, your youth, your wealth, and your weight do not define who you are. Substance and not superficiality is what really moves the world. And substance is the only thing that you should allow yourself to be moved by. 

You are defined by your courage . . . the courage to step out on faith or to stand in your own truth under the most difficult set of circumstances or when the odds are glaringly stacked against you . . . the courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable. 

Your belief in yourself defines who you are.  So, who are you?

Connect with the Author

D.A. Sears, International Men's Day - United States Coordinator 
Member, International Men's Day Coordination Committee 
Member, University Council for Fatherhood and Men's Studies Program at Akamai University 



Unlock a New Year and a New You!

Annual Resolutions for African American Women 
by author Hazel Mills

Release those Painful and Negative Bags!  “Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering. When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go, then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was for you to drag those burdens around with you. You’ll see that no one else other than you was responsible. The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.” — so says Osho

  When people talk about making resolutions for the new year, it usually involves quitting or losing something or someone. For example, millions of people will resolve to quit smoking and twice as many more will promise to lose weight. Beginning the new year, we will be saturated with television and print ad campaigns for gym memberships, weight loss program and equipment deals as well as products to help with nicotine addiction. Although these changes in lifestyle are great and for some, can mean the difference between life or death, there are so many other things that we, as African American women, can do to make our lives more healthy, positive and meaningful throughout the new year.

What baggage are you leaving behind in last year? I'm leaving behind all doubts, fears, guilt and any unsaid thoughts!  I'm starting ideas, new friends, new projects, new goals, new is what's hot! Here are a few tips to launch a New You: 

1. Resolve to spend more time with God. This should be non-negotiable and always first on everyone's to-do list for the new year. He has created so many beautiful and magnificent things, including you. Resolve to attend church or bible study more often than you do now. Make time in your busy day just to say a quiet "thank you".

2. Resolve to ditch the drama. I can't say enough about this one. The stress of living a drama-filled life can affect your mental and physical health. Find ways to get rid of your own and to avoid getting pulled into the madness of others around you. This is much more challenging to accomplish around the holidays.

3. Resolve to take control of your health. On the morning of January 1 and the rest of the year, ask yourself the following vital questions: What is my HIV status? What are my cholesterol numbers? When was my last pap smear and/or mammogram? When did I last see a dentist? If you can't answer these questions definitively, call your doctor(s) and make an appointment.

4. Resolve not to starve your savings account. Last year was a year of economic hell and we have all cut back on rewarding ourselves with luxuries like new cars and vacations. Some may have dipped into the piggy bank just to make ends meet. In the new year, try to make a point to put a little something away from each paycheck. It doesn't have to be much. Pennies add up to dollars.




Incarcerated Woman Takes A Stand 
Against Recidivism And Pleads For Help
Written by Jamila Davis

More woman are entering the United States Prison System than any other country in the world! According to the Sentencing Project's September 12, 2012 Fact Sheet, the number of incarcerated women in prison in the U.S. increased by 646% between 1980 and 2010, rising from 15,118 to 112,797.  According to this report, more than 205,000 women are now incarcerated in our nation, including in local jails. 

One of the most concerning issues about the the alarming rates of incarcerated women in the U.S. is that most of these women are mothers. What will happen to the future of the children of these women? How will they manage to survive with the absence of their mothers? 

The biggest misconception about this unique population of women is their make-up. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of these women are not armed-robbers, rapist, murderers or violent offenders that are a threat to society, they are non-violent drug offenders. Although many of these women have victimized others through their crimes, most of them are also victims. Studies show 57.2 percent of females report abuse before admission to state prison versus 16.1 percent of males. Additionally, 6 in 10 women in state prison had experienced physical or sexual abuse in the past. (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, published December 1999). 

Law makers and criminal justice advocates have spent many years collecting data and researching the cause behind the dramatically increasing female incarcerated population. There are still many unanswered questions: Why are so many women committing crimes? And, after these women are released from prison, why are so many returning? 

The truth is most women offenders have unique needs that must be addressed, yet the rehabilitation efforts for both male and female offenders are typically treated as one in the same. Too frightened to expose their own vulnerability, very few women actually address their past issues that led to their imprisonment. Instead, life's adversities and their own low-self esteem often keep them bound. As a result, they remain stagnant- a prisoner both emotionally and physically. How do I know? I am one of these women! I am a prisoner. 

On July 16, 2008, I was sentenced to 12½ years in federal prison for bank fraud. I was convicted of being the 25 year old mastermind who devised an elaborate mortgage fraud scheme to victimize the now defunct Lehman Brothers Bank. In my case, time wasn't on my side. Just 59 days after I was sentenced as a mastermind and Lehman's victimizer, Lehman collapsed and was exposed for its nationwide fraudulent lending practices which ultimately caused the company's demise and plummeted the the 2008 worldwide Credit Crisis which nearly destroyed the American economy. 

At the age of 31 years old, I was sent to prison to serve a lengthy sentence, and I was forced to leave my two small children behind. As the prison bars shut behind me, I had no clue how I would manage. I would often close my eyes tightly, wishing I would just die. That didn't work, so I had no choice but to find a way to cope.

Prison life for me was a drastic change. From my three-level luxury condo to a 5 ½ x 9 prison cubicle, I was forced to adjust. I was accustomed to secured living behind the gates of my gated community, but that was no comparison to the barbed-wired fences and the armed guards that surrounded my new home - the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution for women, in Connecticut. At first glance, the women I was surrounded by were very different than myself. Many of them did not share my background, nor have the prestige I experienced as a lead go-to-person in the Hip-Hop Music Industry and multi-millionaire. Yet, as time went by I discovered, for the most part, we were one in the same.

We were women who were plagued by the thorn of materialism and low self-esteem. Our lives became a chase, seeking inner fulfillment. We chased acceptance, notoriety and the esteem of our peers. We utilized material possessions and the esteem of others to define our self-worth. Caught up in the chase, people, places and things became our idols. Many of us abused drugs and alcohol and they also became our gods. Seeking to repress our inner void we were willing to do whatever it took. Desperate, we sought after peace and happiness, yet we chose the wrong avenue to obtain them. Many of us were told from a young age that we would never amount to anything and we would end up in jail, these prophetic daggers ignited and became our reality. 

Others were robbed of their childhood and innocence. Confused on how to obtain emotional healing, we vigorously chased false idols, believing our fulfillment lied within them. Consequently, our new homes are behind the prison walls. As a whole, we aren't bad people and our lives are no different from many others in society who just haven't got caught. We are women who have experienced trying times in life and made bad choices which have altered our futures. Do we deserve to be thrown away or forgotten? You be the judge! 

During my imprisonment I noticed a vicious cycle of women being housed and released, only to return again. I found that there was a lack of programs and resources that fostered true rehabilitation. I desperately wanted to correct my character defects that led to my imprisonment, so I decided to begin a new chase. This time I wisely chased after inner healing and restoration. The first dilemma I encountered was genuinely accepting responsibility for my own actions. 

For me is was easy to blame the crooked bank who reported me as their victim to cover up their own in-house fraud. My ideology was that there should have never been a loss in my case, because the bank's attorney, Jeffrey Greenbaum, colluded to sell the properties to a vested investor in the bank for a 14 million dollar discount, rather than accepting available full price purchase offers. It was hard for me to come to grips with my 12½ year prison sentence based significantly on the fictitious loss created by the bank representatives who profited from the sale of the properties. Therefore, I tolled for many nights in denial of my own unethical behavior. 

After studying the Bible for numerous hours and reading every self-help book I could get my hands on, I gained a new perspective. I realized that my fate was based on my own poor choice to take part in what I knew was unethical behavior, whether I intended to cause anyone harm or not, my choice to participate made me guilty. I also discovered that I didn't love myself enough. 

Caught up in the chase, I failed to care for "self," tap into my potential and discover the beauty of my own inner being. I was too worried about what was happening on the outside, so I neglected to go within. My crisis actually turned out to be a wake-up call and a plea from Heaven to change my way of thinking. This time-out gave me the opportunity to work on my greatest asset- myself. 

I learned the hard way that all shortcuts come with consequences, whether immediate or in the future. I now teach others, you can not cheat the system and expect to get away with it. In a dark place in my life, I discovered my purpose and my ability to write. As I removed the mask of deception that I once hid behind to cover my own vulnerabilities and insecurities, I began to heal and I become spiritually free. I quickly learned that the women around me could also benefit from my findings. Therefore, with the help of family members and friends, I created a nondenominational, faith-based, three book series for incarcerated women, entitled the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series. My books empower women to heal, recognize their potential and recapture their dreams. 

Through my books, I help women pinpoint the character flaws that have caused them to remain stagnated. Through real-life examples that imprisoned women can identify with, I help my readers view their lives and crimes from a different perspective. I speak to women in a candid voice that they can recognize and understand. I provide words of encouragement, and include testimonies of other women who overcame incarceration and excelled in life. These stories stir the hearts of women and inspire them to pursue their dreams. Unlike many of the teaching tools geared to incarcerated individuals, I don't speak down to my readers. I speak face-to-face to them, for we are the same, exposing the truth of our dilemmas. Through my approach, I have discovered as women change their thinking patterns, they are able to change their lives.

In conjunction with my book series, I also created a workbook/journal for each book in the series to assist women in their healing process. I discovered by writing down their answers and journaling, women are able to easily pinpoint their areas of weakness and are able to track their progress. After completing the workbook/journal I thought my mission was complete, but it was difficult to have outsiders implement group sessions without my presence. Therefore, I created a Curriculum Guide that includes detailed lesson plans and handouts. This guide enables group sessions to be set-up anywhere, administered by proctors who need no special training. 

As a novice writer and a prisoner I had many handicaps to overcome. I knew God was using me as a voice, but I had no idea of the ultimate results of my work. I have had no greater professional or personal accomplishment than receiving letters from women prisoners around the country about the effects my books have had on their lives. Instead of chasing money and notoriety, my new passion has become transforming lives. These women's testimonies bring healing to my soul and make me realize there is purpose in my pain. More importantly, the effect my books have had on the lives of imprisoned women demonstrate that there is a solution to combat recidivism amongst our population. We are not garbage that can not be fixed. We are humans who can benefit from the compassion of others. 

Although I am a prisoner, I realize I can still make a difference. It is my goal to have my books placed in prison facilities around the world that house women. My writings are my love letters to women in need. I know how it feels to be lonely and abandoned, so I can easily relate to my audience. Through my books women are able to see that someone just like them cares, and they too can make a difference despite their current circumstances. First hand I've learned, love and compassion have the ability to pierce the heart and cause significant change. 

Therefore, I urge criminal justice practitioners, Judges, Congressional figures and our nation's leaders to lend incarcerated women in our nation a helping hand. Your love, concern and compassion can make a difference and break barriers of bondage. We need you! Please don't view us as a number or just another statistic. We are women of various cultures, creeds, backgrounds and social classes, varying in age. We have numerous skill sets and talents that can be beneficial to others. We are mothers, daughters, lovers and friends of productive members of society, who suffer because of our absence. Please don't forget we are HUMANS, who made some mistakes. 

Please examine the policies that govern our nation's criminal justice system and create viable sentencing alternatives for women that address our unique needs. Don't just throw us in the cages of prison, hoping long periods of incarceration will address our issues. Lengthy sentences for nonviolent offenders don't just hurt us and our loved ones, they cost tax payers substantial dollars. Therefore, I pled to you to create alternatives that allow us to pay our way forward and that benefit society as a whole. Most importantly, please give us the adequate guidance and resources to become a greater "self."  We can change.  I did!

About the Author
Jamila T. Dav
is, 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, her books, projects  and to check out her latest memoir The High Price I Had To Pay  visit   or 


Everything Old, Is New Again 
by A. Yamina Collins

If Amazon's recent Kindle Serials debut back in 2012 is any indication of current publishing trends, then releasing a novel in episodes may be the hottest new thing publishing has seen in a while - even though there is actually nothing new about the serialized format. 

Years ago, it was the print novel that was being serialized rather than digitized works of today, and no less than Charles Dickens helped to establish the format with the release of his first novel, The Pickwick Papers back in 1836. In fact, that book is largely considered to have been the prototype of all serialization and indeed most of Dickens subsequent novels were originally published serially as well - in both weekly and monthly magazines, and often in as many as twenty monthly installments.

And make no mistake - Charles Dickens was not the only famous author to have tried his hand at serialization. French author Alexandre Dumas dolled out his Count of Monte Cristo in eighteen parts in the Journal des Débats, with publication running from August 28, 1844 to January 15, 1846, while Uncle Tom's Cabin, the American classic by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was serialized beginning in June 1851, over a 40-week period in an abolitionist periodical called National Era.

It's true that serialization sputtered in the early to mid-twentieth century and pretty much died. It's also true that now days audiences seem to have the attention span of two-year olds, making it difficult to hold readers interest in books that are dolled out slowly for public consumption. Yet it should not be assumed that there is absolutely no consumers for the serialized format.

In fact, one could make the argument that series books such as Harry Potter, Twilight and the Hunger Games, are themselves episodes told in larger, lump sum quantities (seven novels for Potter and three for Twilight and Hunger Games respectively). 

There have been even success stories of authors actually serializing a single novel in this day and age. In 2011, for example, author Hugh Howey wrote the indie sci-fi book "Wool". The book had been conceived as a stand-alone shorty story, but as its popularity increased, so did Mr. Howey's need to expand on the story, and thus a series was born - and a wildly successful one at that. 



Ms. Clara in 2B
by Debbie Sickler

“You have a lovely garden ma’am. Been meaning to tell you so for quite some time now.” The old woman’s voice startled me as I jabbed my key into the lock of my front door. I had grown accustomed to viewing the silent figure by the door of 2B, as a piece of furniture. Nothing more.

“I beg your pardon?” I pulled Jason’s cap down below his ears and fussed with the collar of Brian’s polo shirt. “I don’t have a garden. The patios here are too small for that. And forgive me for saying so, but if I were to have a garden, how would you know it’s lovely? I always thought you were blind.”

“There are all sorts of gardens ma’am. All sorts.” My neighbor sat rocking slowly in her wooden chair as she spoke her riddles.  “I used to have me a wonderful garden, I did. So beautiful. Shoulda spent me some more time enjoying it while I had it. Drunk driver put an end to it though. Put an end to my eyes too.”

“Well, I’m sorry for your loss. Maybe one day you’ll plant another?” I was running late to get Jay to school and was too short on patience to figure out the ramblings of an eighty-year-old blind woman with imaginary gardens.

“My time for gardening has come and gone. There won’t be any more flowers springing up for this old soul. Just make sure you enjoy yours while it lasts. The blooms fade so quickly sometimes. So quickly.”

“Yes, well, I really must be going.” I tried to scoot the boys past her door and down the hall.

I had almost made it to the elevator when she called out. “The names Clara Johnson. Ms. Clara’s fine. You have a lovely day and take care of that garden now.” She continued rocking and staring off into the distance with eyes as clouded as her thinking seemed. I pushed the down button a few extra times without saying another word.

When we returned that afternoon, I was in a foul mood; Brian’s diaper had leaked all over me. I hardly noticed Ms. Clara with all the scolding I was busy doing.

“Bri, when are you ever going to learn to use the potty?” The overstuffed diaper was creating an awful stench and I couldn’t wait to get inside.

“Sounds as though you’ve got your hands full.” The crackle of her voice matched the creaking of her rocker perfectly. I hardly glanced up as I dug around for my keys, which had managed to settle to the bottom of my purse already.

“Oh. It’s this stupid diaper. It leaked all over my new blouse.”

“You have to expect a little dirt if you want to have a garden.”

“Dirt I wouldn’t mind. It’s this fertilizer that’s getting to me.” I managed a smile at my own cleverness. “If this kid would just stop being so dense and catch on. I think he takes after his father. He wasn’t too bright either.”

“Now how on earth will your buds blossom if you pelt them with pebbles like that?” A wry smile spread across Ms. Cara’s wrinkled face.

I had to stop and think about that one for a minute.



Overcoming Personal Stress with Pending Uncertainty

Do you know what the future holds in 2014 for you? Are you now dreading the new year with more demands on the job, an unconcerned boss about your personal welfare, and new threats of pending layoffs? All of these things create stress and anxiety for working professionals as the new year begins. Many smart buyers do not want to overspend in this economic crisis, creating a situation where the economy recovers even slower. Leadership strategists offer advice to working professionals to reduce stress related to all the uncertainties in 2014.

Sadly, our standard of living is eroding. Families cannot make ends meet despite working multiple jobs. Companies are demanding more. It is no surprise that folks are stressed out. According to the third annual Work Stress Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College, more than eight in 10 employed Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs. Additionally, the study showed poor pay and increased workloads were top sources of concern for many employees (1,019 surveyed by phone). The results produced a significant increase (73% to 83%) from last year's survey, which found that more employees were stressed at work.

Another holiday season has come and gone. After the presents have been given out and the year comes to a close, many people will reminisce about the past year. Sadly, some people's lives will be filled with many defeats, broken relationships, and unfulfilled dreams. These many setbacks may be relatively minor in nature. 

Depression can happen to anyone. Christian Maslach and Michael Leiter, authors of The Truth about Burn-out, explain how stress can burn out people and impact their mental state. In fact, many professionals are succeeding in the corporate environment while failing miserably at their own personal relationships. If you are human, you will experience some disappointments. It does not take a genius to understand how someone can get depressed. Some call it a "Pity Party."



Losing Myself  
by Jan Ackerson

Dan and I married young—we were children, really—but I was charmed by the curls that played at his neck, and by his raspy chuckle. Those were reasons enough to marry, as it turns out. Years later, those same qualities still quicken my breath.

Not long ago, we waved at our darling Lily as she embarked on a new life with her own curly-haired charmer, in a flurry of lace. Dan’s arm tightened around my waist as their car disappeared, and he whispered in my ear. “We’re still young, sweetheart. Time to do something new.”

"Something new" was a spiritual itch that had plagued him for months. Dan wanted to be a missionary—had felt the call and started to research mission fields and financial arrangements while I was occupied with Lily’s wedding. I strained to hear the same voice that had reached my husband’s ears, but God was silent to me. I followed Dan anyway, transported to a distant land by the power of my love for him.

The air in my new country was richer than that of my home, thicker with exotic smells. Colors were more brilliant, the music filled with stranger harmonies. The language, when I learned it, fell softly from my tongue. The children were precious with their quick and dazzling smiles, the women sweetly shy. Yet I resisted falling in love with my new residence. My heart was home with Lily and her husband, with the granddaughter whose growth was chronicled in a well-worn photo album.

A few mornings ago, I awoke realizing that I had dreamed not in English but in my adopted tongue. I felt bemused, as if I was losing myself. The feeling intensified as I shopped for vegetables in the open-air market. Surrounded by the liquid syllables of native speakers, I was startled when an English-speaking tourist grasped my elbow and asked for directions. I blinked at her, uncomprehending, having to translate her words mentally before I could formulate a reply.

And yesterday, I sat in the front row of our cinder-block church, listening to the linguistic dance of Dan and his co-pastor, partners in the Lord. Dan spoke, his partner translated, the congregation laughed at his self-deprecating humor—and I realized that I had not heard Dan’s words at all, but had waited for the translation. I am fading away, I thought. If we stay here, I will disappear.

I spent the afternoon in something more closely resembling whining than prayer. "Your work is flourishing here, Lord. Dan loves it. But I have done nothing for Your kingdom, and I am all alone. Why did You bring me here if only to watch me evaporate? How can I serve You if I don’t know who I am?" My vaulted and chained spirit locked out God’s reply.



by D. A. Sears

There are approximately 2.2 billion children who live and play in the global village we know as Planet Earth. We are connected to each of them. And they are connected to us. They are our children – the heart and soul of our global village. Their melodious laughter, incessant inquisitive banter, and irrepressible enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring. We feel their joy. The village – our global village – would be a desolate place without them. Can you imagine living in a world devoid of laughter, joy, and irrepressible enthusiasm?

Yet, we allow approximately 1 billion children in our global village to live in poverty.  We allow 640 million children in our global village to live without adequate shelter. We allow 400 million children in our global village to live without access to safe water. We allow 270 million children to be denied access to health services. And every year, death silences the melodious laughter, incessant inquisitive banter, and irrepressible enthusiasm of approximately 1.4 million children – our babies -- because they do not have access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation in our global village. 

How will living in poverty and not having access to adequate shelter,  safe drinking water, and adequate sanitation shape these children’s perception of the world outside of their immediate environment and their place in it?  Will they see a world that offers unlimited opportunities? Will growing up in abject poverty without access to adequate shelter, safe drinking water, and adequate sanitation shatter the souls and break the spirits of these children – our babies – and the global village’s Next Generation of Husbands, Wives, Mothers, Fathers, and Leaders?

Then there is the issue of the education of our children – the heart and soul of our global village. 
The number of children throughout our global village who are not attending school is shocking and tragic. At least 67 million primary school-age children are not attending school. Approximately 45% of these “out of school” children live in sub-Saharan Africa and approximately 24% of “out of school” children live in South and West Asia. Forty percent of “out of school” children in South and West Asia were previously enrolled in school but dropped out of school at some point. 



7 Ways to Empty The Cup 
by Talayah G. Stovall

There is a saying, "Empty the cup. Every time you empty it, it comes back twice as full."   

Thanksgiving is a time for expressing gratitude and appreciation for our many blessings. Real wealth begins with giving. Here are several ways that you can make a difference this holiday season by pouring into the lives of others:

1. Give Your Time - Babysit for someone who can't afford to hire a sitter. Take food to someone who is sick. Visit a nursing home. Send a note to brighten someone's day. Volunteer at a local shelter for whatever cause you support - women, children, the homeless, even your favorite animal shelter. 

2. Give Your Talents - What can you do that would make a difference in someone's life? Can you knit? Style hair? Sing? Do you like to clean and organize? Extend yourself this holiday season by using your gifts to help and cheer others.

3. Give Your Blood - Every two seconds someone in America needs blood. Currently, only 3 out of 100 people give. Every pint of blood can save up to three lives. Contact the Red Cross for information.

4. Give Your Organs - Leave a lasting legacy. Register with your state and sign the donor form on your drivers' license. 

5. Give to a Good Cause - There are many organizations that are doing great things to help those who are less fortunate. Rather than recreating the wheel, consider giving to an established organization. I'd suggest:

a. Joyce Meyer's Hand of Hope Ministry is providing shelter, clean water, schools and more in countries all over the world, including India, Pakistan, Haiti, Zimbabwe and more. 

b. To help halt the cholera outbreak in Haiti, the International Preparedness Network provides Lifestraws, that filter drinking water for flood victims for a $5 -10 donation.




Is Stress Damaging Your Marriage?
by Jewell R. Powell

Life is busy. Life is stressful. These are facts of life, but how we handle that busyness and stress makes all the difference in our lives and especially in our marriage. A common scenario for busy couples is for the husband and wife to get wrapped up in their individual projects and issues. Instead of managing the stress together, they may find themselves trying to deal with it all alone, which can actually create space between husband and wife, rather than creating unity. Being able to identify when stress may be damaging your marriage is the first step for taking control, so you and your spouse can work together to focus on protecting and strengthening your relationship. 

The Bible actually addresses stress and anxiety many times and for good reason. Our human side, our flesh has a tendency to give into stress, so we NEED the reminders and promises from God to help us keep our Godly focus and know where to turn when challenging times come. Can you identify certain issues in your life that create the most stress? Whether they are problems within the marriage itself or external stressors, the same promises from God apply. 

Stressors Are To Be Expected

In Isaiah 40: 30,31, we can read,

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." This verse shows us that YES stressors will come, you will grow weary, you will fall, but when you place your trust in the Lord, your strength will be renewed and you will soar.

So don't get down on yourself or your marriage if you and your spouse are experiencing stress. This is normal and to be expected. However, allowing stress to damage your marriage relationship is where you have to draw the line. While we cannot control the stressors we encounter in life, we can control our responses.  Choosing the right responses to stress will minimize or even eliminate problems it can create in marriage.

5 Ways to Deal with Stress as a Couple

Whether you are newly married or have been married for years, learning how to deal with stress as a couple is a learned skill. Rarely is it something that people just know how to do intuitively. Instead, it is a choice that one must make. However, it is never too late in the marriage to begin making good choices and learning new coping skills.

Unfortunately, too many people rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms that do not strengthen the marriage and in most cases do nothing to alleviate stress and may even cause MORE stress. Alcohol, drugs, sex, affairs, gambling, overeating and shopping are some of the activities that may seem to improve stress levels for a moment, but the repercussions can be devastating. 



Motivating Yourself in 5 Easy Steps
By Delaina Miller 

We all struggle to find the energy we need to make our dreams a reality. Yet there are many easy and fun things you can do to motivate yourself into action. In this article I share five ways that I motivate myself and others.

Take the five or ten minutes of your snooze time to do two things. First, think about all of the things you are grateful for in your life. If you wake up feeling a little grumpy and cannot think of anything to be grateful for start with your bed.

Second, envision your day. Start with the tasks you are not excited about, ticking them off of your list quickly, and then envision all of the things you want to accomplish. When that alarm goes off, jump out of bed because you are all fired up to get on with your day.

(The key to both of these assignments is to feel good about your life. As the warm glow begins to rise in your heart, focus on it and how good you feel. )

It is a basic law of physics that a body at rest stays at rest but a body in motion stays in motion. Most people do not like exercise, so don't exercise, play! Allow yourself to feel like a kid again and just play with movement. Dance or invest in a rebounder and jump. Kick your legs out and feel the air rush around your head and play. You will find yourself bouncing, twisting, and doing high leg kicks you didn't know you could do. Before you know it, you will have cleaned out your lymph nodes, worked up a sweat, and all with a big grin on your face.

Because many of us are auditory learners affirmations can be used as personal validation as well as motivation tools. We need to hear good things about ourselves and expecting others to fill this role is unrealistic. It might seem ridiculous the first couple of times you do it but before you know it these positive declarations will become personalize positive feedback.

Mentally affirmations are healthy because they allow us to validate ourselves. As you are telling yourself such things as: "My challenges are opportunities to grow," you are giving yourself positive reinforcement. After all if you are not in your own corner then who will be?




Creating Your Next-Up List

So what's a next-up list? It's the small actions or goals that are up next on your list of things to do and accomplish. Not a major dream or ambition, but something you can do within the next few days to improve the quality of your life. With a pencil in hand and a pad of paper close by, write down your answers to the questions below. When finished, your next-up list will be ready to go!

Your Identity
What one small thing could you do to change or improve your character or personality? Would you like to be a bit more outgoing? Patient? Accepting? When you have it in mind, what step can you take within the next three to five days to put it into action?

Your Health
What one small thing could you do to change or improve your health? Is there particular food you should do without? An extra day of exercise you could throw in the routine? Perhaps you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor for a checkup? Write down your next-up health goal along with the action you'll take.

Your Career
What one small thing could you do to change or improve your career? Is there a project you'd love to get your hands on? Do you need to complete one that is already in the works? Whatever it is, write it down and match it with a specific action you can take within a few days to make it happen.

Your Finances
What one small thing could you do to change or improve your finances? Do you need to balance your checkbook? Schedule a meeting with a financial planner? Create or edit your monthly budget? When you've chosen the direction in which you want to head, write down the first step you'll take to put the plan into action.

Your Relationships
What one small thing could you do to change or improve your relationships? Is there a friend or family member you've been meaning to call but haven't? Someone close to you that needs more of your time and attention? A letter to write that would make someone's day? Add it to your goals and your next-up list is ready for action!

Get hundreds of simple motivation tips, along with your free Motivation123 Welcome Kit, at the website. Visit today.

Rid Yourself of Procrastinating Ways 
by Daryl D. Green

Can you afford the same procrastinating ways in 2014? Why aren’t you pursuing your dreams? At some point, we have all procrastinated, not wanting to move on an action. You say, “Now is not the right time.” Yet, you take no action. People have different motivations for taking action. Taking action means taking risk. Taking risk may cause you fear. This process creates self-doubt. Self-limiting beliefs are doubts that you create about your abilities. They cause you to feel inferior. You feel like you don’t deserve the best. You allow others to set your expectations. When you think like this, there is no way to win. You create negative ideas that you aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough, connected enough, creative enough, or powerful enough. “I can’t” becomes your motto. This article discusses how to overcome procrastination.

The Impending Landslide 
With the current economic situation, people can afford to procrastinate on critical actions. Employment and sheer survival may be at stake. In August of 2011, America posted no job gains. This economic slump is historical since it’s the first time since World War II that the economy has shown precisely zero net job creation for a month. Retail, manufacturing, information services, and construction all lost jobs. With over 15 million people unemployed in America, individuals must be internally motivated. 

Most people want to accomplish something in life. A new year could spark a new beginning; however, it gives most people time to make excuses for unfulfilled dreams. The more you repeat these self-limiting thoughts, the more you become trapped in your ways. Remember the definition of insanity: “doing the same thing that you always do and expecting something different to happen.” That’s a crazy way for anyone to live. Some people get caught up in this vicious circle. For example, look at the vicious cycle of New Year’s resolutions. Are you one of these procrastinators? 



My Uncomfortable Secret to Motivation
A five-letter word is my secret.

As you probably know, routine casts a trance-like power with devastating impact. As a result, it is an absolute necessity to break free of its grasp.  If you can't find a way out of the vicious pattern and into a new set of thoughts, feelings, and actions, you have no hope of changing or improving your life.  Consider this five-letter word my guaranteed release.

Working with remarkable speed, it personally shakes me out of autopilot, delivers an eye-opening wake-up call, and motivates with more force than anything I know. Not bad for a five-letter word.  My hope--and my assumption--is that it will have the same positive effect on you.

The Word, My Release
I know a time will come when I'll no longer be able to act on the things I want, the things I've dreamed about experiencing and things I've always wished to become.  I will have to let them go. I will have to let go of all those exciting ideas I tossed about in my mind, all the goals carefully constructed while daydreaming.  They will have to be put to rest, once and for all. And I will never experience them.


This is a frightening thought for me. It is startling, can be gut-wrenching, and tip-toes toward terrifying.  But it's also something else. And it's here, on the other side of the coin, that I find my secret.

The Flip-Side of the Word
Coming to grips with reality can be scary.

So much so, that most men and women choose the other door. They hide from the truth and tuck their dreams into the fairytale 'someday.'

'I'll do it someday...someday.'

A sigh of relief follows and it's back to the safe and comfy routine. No need to face fears, no need to rise to challenges, no need to take action. That will all happen someday--but not today.  If only this were true. It is not.  Here is the truth: Someday eventually meets the edge of the cliff. Someday eventually runs out.

Someday eventually turns into never.  Frightening? Perhaps. But it's also your way out. It's also your release from the routine that strangles your hopes and dreams.  By focusing intently--and I mean intently-- on 'never,' in regard to your lifelong wishes and wants, you will be shocked out of your pattern of procrastination and jolted into a new mindset.

You'll have the motivation you need to stop hesitating because you know, without question, if you keep it up, you'll never experience the life you've been waiting for all these years.  Without action, talk is only noise. Below is what I do in particular to get the most out of this five-letter word. It's something you can do, anytime and any place, to dismantle procrastination and ignite your inner drive.

Action Steps - Short and Sweet

Think of something you want. Not a lip-service dream, but something you truly desire, something either for yourself or for someone else.  Our results have shown that people imagine themselves experiencing the joys of progress or success when asked to think of a goal.  This time I want you to do the opposite.

I want you to imagine, vividly, that your idea, your chosen dream or goal, cannot happen. No matter what you do, you'll never get it. Never. Never.  If you do it right, you'll feel anxious, like you have to get up out of your seat right now and do something before time runs out. This is the power of 'never.'

Don't hide from the truth. Let it smack you in the face and punch you in the gut. Only then can it snap you out of the routine and drive you into action. Only then can it change your life.   If you don't do something now, you may never do it then.   Never hide, never avoid, never run from 'never.' Use it as a fire to place beneath your greatest ideas and accept it as a truth that can set you free.

Embrace...'never.'  Get hundreds of simple motivation tips, along with your free Motivation123 Welcome Kit, at the website. Visit today.  See the original source.  


A is for Anacostia 
by Dr. Courtney Davis

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

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

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

A is for Anacostia by Dr. Courtney Davis
Genre: Children’s Literature; Children of all ages



The Colors Trilogy 
by K.R. Raye

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

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

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

Book 3. True Colors:  After tragedy strikes, Imani, Melody, and Lance try to rekindle their college friendship. Can they move forward towards happiness or will ghosts from their past haunt them? When life’s challenges arise what are your…True Colors? Coming March 25, 2014!

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

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

The Perfect Affair (The Shady Sisters Trilogy) 
by Lutishia Lovely

In this thrilling new series, acclaimed author Lutishia Lovely dives into the scandalous heart of romantic obsession with a cunning, sexy seductress, and the object of her affections. . .

Freelance writer Jacqueline Tate arrives in Los Angeles and soon meets brilliant, award-winning scientist Randall Atwater, the man she's come to cover at a conference on trends and technology. He is everything she's read about--brainy, witty, handsome, and cool. And after a week spent with the most fascinating man she's ever known, there's no way she can give him up.

There's just one problem: Randall's wife of twenty years. No matter--men like Randall are few and far between. Jacqueline knows that with a few bold moves, she can win the man she loves. But what happens when her love story is not a love story? 

The Perfect Affair (The Shady Sisters Trilogy) 
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
African American  |  Contemporary Women's Fiction
Lutishia Lovely website: 

About the Author
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!



The Last King 
by A. Yamina Collins

Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in---she's six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being an Elf from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore---she just wants her shattered life to be normal again. 

Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George's newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people who marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.

But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings. Indeed, God considers the Edenites' possession of immortality to be theft and for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a "Glitch" ---an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen "property" and kill them off.

When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead's Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead's vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.

Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat---they're also their greatest love.

Excerpt The Last King: Book I - Series 1

Chapter 1

It is doubtful the Master will ever hear of what is about to take place, Markus thinks, standing at the bank of this deserted lake. The branches on the trees around him sway peacefully, and the evening air hums a lullaby.

Markus does not suppose that the Master will hear about this and, really, what difference should it make if he does? It's just an old homeless guy that is going to die: Markus feels no guilt about it, so how could his thoughts give him away? 

In a moment, he removes his hand from the old man's mouth because he knows the poor fool is too stunned to scream anyway---people are always speechless when they first see Markus's wings, stretched out as they are, twenty feet on either side of him, and tonight the old man simple blinks and lets spittle hang from the corners of his lips.

Markus does not know his victim's name, but his victim certainly knows it: Johnnie is what they call him, Johnnie Kubrick, and his very soul seems to have unzipped itself from his body and stepped outside of him. He is not just rigid but catatonic, and he longs for this to be some terrible dream he will soon wake up from. 

But this is no dream, this is reality: there is a man standing before Johnnie who looks human, yet has glass wings on his back that are yellow and whose edges taper off to a thin, razor like end. The wings make a sound like metal crashing against metal as they flap - it is a harsh sound, a cold sound. And yet the wings themselves do not frighten the old man as much as what is attached to the wings do. 

Johnnie's pale lips tremble.

"Wha---what are you?" he finally stutters. He does not mean to ask questions. He means to beg for his life because he does not want to die like this---not in these shabby clothes, near a bed of water where he can easily be disposed. He wants to die in a warm room, with someone who loves him holding his hand; Johnny Kubrick wants to die with dignity, different from the way he lived. 

The old man chokes on his tears, wishing he was important again, the sort of man who would be missed in death, and he tries to recall how he ever became the sort of person other people diverted their gaze from on the streets. How had he become nameless, faceless, and useless to the world? When he was a boy, he never imagined the day his red hair, so straight and neat, would be constantly matted against his head.

Johnnie wants his mother here with him, so he could take in the soapy smell that was always on her, and smile at the sight of her emerald green eyes. If Johnnie's mother were still alive she would shield him from this boogeyman, and sing to him, like she did that Christmas morning when the cold of winter snapped at his bones but he happily cradled a shiny new firetruck in his arms.



by William Fredrick Cooper

Inspired by the song 'Unbreakable' by Michael Jackson... 

From the critically acclaimed author of Six Days in January and There’s Always a Reason, this eagerly anticipated novel follows one man’s emotional journey to find love and triumph over despair.

It’s Valentine’s Day; seven years ago, William McCall lost Linda Woodson—the woman who restored his faith and hope. Still grieving her death, he drowns his sorrows at a local bar in Manhattan, when a new woman enters his life…

Keisha Gray is a Michigan schoolteacher visiting the Big Apple, and when she first meets William, they bond over their shared love for Michael Jackson. Soon they connect over much more and set out on a journey to heal their broken pasts. William is still trying to get over his heartbreak, while Keisha is on a journey to rediscover her self-worth after the double murder of her parents. The couple travels through New York, South Carolina, and Michigan to sort through their pasts and renew their faith in God, life, and love.

Highly emotional and embedded with powerful messages, Unbreakable is a love ballad that explores adversity, human connection, and what it takes to heal a broken heart.

Excerpt from Unbreakable: A Novel 

In 2001, Michael Jackson and Sony Records disagreed over the first commercial single released from the album ‘Invincible’. Vehemently stating his case, ‘The King of Pop’ desperately wanted the song ‘Unbreakable’ to be heard initially; instead, Sony chose to drop ‘You Rock My World’. Because of contractual disputes which killed the promotional push on the album, the dynamic standout was never released as a single. Well, it never got released, but… Delivering a high-voltage jolt to my soul, I am introducng my new book with a statement of transparency with the hopes that it helps someone handle life a little better than I have. Please follow me on this one… 

PICTURE THIS: We’re in Miami, Florida, and the Hit Factory recording studio is rocking a Michael Jackson track produced by hit maker Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. Reeling you in, its piano-driven hook and relentless R&B-meets-gospel sound thumped. 

Stomping out negativity and placing perseverance into your soul, the message in the music was blunt: Do not let anything or anyone steal your joy.

The jam, "Unbreakable", (featuring The Notorious B.I.G. with background vocals by Brandy) was an infectious groove that had everyone in the studio dancing.  Everyone, that is, except Author William Fredrick Cooper.

Somber from news he received hours earlier - a disturbing bulletin that likened him to a used car salesman - the melody was muted by tears in his eyes. 

After everything that’s happened in his life, he was baffled.

Should he allow cemetery dirt to be thrown on him by way of insults and assumptions, or finally respond after years of quiet?

Imagining that the Gloved One and Biggie Smalls were on the other side of the room, he thought of the advice they might offer.

"Say something, but do it with L-O-V-E," the King of Pop stated.

Christopher Wallace agreed, sneering, "Let your haters motivate you to spit something sweet."

Taking a hand towel from his back pocket, the writer blew his nose.

"Man, I made mistakes in life just like anyone else, but people piled onto my errors and took advantage of my honesty. Some of that’s my fault, because I always looked for approval from others instead of relying on my inner strength. Others not used to my deep emotions think I’m a pity-seeking martyr, which is totally off-base.”

Biggie answered, “Tell them where to go, how to get there and make em’ kiss your ass before walking.”

Battling laughter along with everyone in the studio, MJ reiterated his insight.

“That’s not you, William. You have a beautiful heart no one understands. Again, if you say anything do it with love, man.”

Sighing, the perplexed writer said, "I gotta toughen up and remember that they talked about Jesus..."

Suddenly, the light bulb that comes with a breakthrough came on.




Walk a Straight Line 
by Michelle Lindo-Rice

Two friends. Two brothers. Two weddings. Too many secrets. 

Colleen MacGregor rededicated her life to God when she met and married Terence Hayworth. However, her happily-ever-after will have to wait, because she has some serious dragons to slay to sustain her marriage and keep her friendship with Gina Price intact. After fifteen years of friendship, Colleen must now draw the line and stop telling Gina everything.

What did God do to her friend? Gina finds it hard to deal with Colleen's newfound faith. She thinks Colleen has become self-righteous, subjecting Gina to her holy tirades whenever the mood strikes. When Gina begins dating one brother, while simultaneously falling in love with another, boy, does she get an earful! Gina, however, is way too busy trying to sort her way through her own murky feelings to worry about her soul. Her heart wants what it wants.

Michelle Lindo-Rice explores the complicated world of female friendships. Can a friendship survive when one friend becomes saved?

Excerpt from Walk a Straight Line

Next to Gina, Colleen felt gauche, and lingered in her friend’s shadow—or so it seemed to her. She placed the blame on her height of five-ten—from that vantage point, pickings were slim.

Until Terence. He was six-four, and drawn to her. Best of all, she could wear heels without worry.

She dried herself and reached for one of her scented oils.

Once she finished oiling herself down, Colleen chose a pink and white teddy with ruffles and a delicate trim. Slipping into it, she thought about Terence and sizzled. She eased onto the bed and practiced several seductive poses.

She heard the lock click.


Quick, she struck her most tantalizing pose. Her chest heaved with anticipation as she waited. He stopped at the sight of her.


“Come and get it, Big boy.”

Terence hesitated for a split second before beginning to undress.

Not fast enough. Colleen flipped her long, curly hair and beckoned him to her bedside. Terence complied. She held her hands out for him to embrace her, but he paused.

Curious, Colleen asked. “What is it?”

“I feel grungy, you know, from all that sand,” Terence explained.

“Oh.” Embarrassed by her brazenness, she un-posed her body and stretched her legs as they had fallen asleep in that awkward position.

“Let me take a shower. Wash all this grime from me.” He was in the bathroom in seconds.

“Okay, what just happened here?”

Somehow that is not how that scene always played out on the soap operas. However, she clamped her disappointment because she knew how fastidious Terence was. Chilled, Colleen went under the covers and closed her eyes. She’d rest because when he came back, she was going to show him a thing or two. She had a creative mind, and now had the right to use it.

She felt something buzz against her leg, and jumped. It was Terence’s cell phone vibrating. She curved her leg to move it upwards, and grabbed it. She peeked at the number.

Why was Francine calling Terence on their honeymoon? Colleen debated for a second before she pressed the redial button. “Hi, Francine, is everything all right?”




The Awakening: Book One of the Chronicles 
of the Nubian Underworld by Shakir Rashaan

An erotically charged journey inside Atlanta's African-American Fetish/BDSM community. The first in the series revolves around an African-American dominant couple, Ramesses and Neferterri, and their submissives, told in a conversational style.

"What goes on in the Palace, stays in the Palace..."

Life seems well within the "Nubian Underworld" of the ATL, as Ramesses, his wife Neferterri, and their submissives are at the center of what can only be described as "paradise" by those who have seen the debauchery within. Amenhotep, Ramesses' mentor, is on the verge of bringing in his newest slave to reside with him at the Palace, and the entire community has been invited to witness the decadence of the grounds and the libidinous nature of the guests in attendance. 

Unfortunately, life is not always a bed of roses... sometimes the thorns must be felt.

All hell breaks loose when Ramesses and Neferterri begin losing their submissives for a variety of reasons, and Amenhotep gets caught up in a sting operation that makes the local news and threatens to blow the lid off of the Atlanta Fetish community that thrives on the anonymity that is enjoyed by all. Despite it all, everyone in the circle is there for one another, no matter the consequences.

The Awakening: Book One of the Chronicles of the Nubian Underworld is a journey inside Atlanta's African-American Fetish/BDSM community, and the ties that bind the principle players of this exciting new series. With its twists and turns and surprises along the way, it is sure to become an "awakening" for any who dare to journey to the "Dark side."

Excerpt from The Awakening/Book One of the Chronicles of the Nubian Underworld

Being in the Fulton County Jail was a bittersweet moment for me.  Before I turned to professional shutterbug I wanted to be a detective, like my father before me. So, being at the jail wasn’t supposed to give me the butterflies in my stomach I felt. It felt like an eternity walking towards the communication area to speak to Amenhotep, but somehow I managed to get there.

Seeing him on the other side of that window, my heart damn near broke. Here was a man who made me the Dominant I am. Now, here he sat, an accused rapist and kidnapper, eyes completely bloodshot from staying up all night in the holding cell before they moved him to general population. I refused to take pity, though. In my mind he was never guilty in the first place. I was going to move heaven and earth to make sure he comes out of this without much of a scratch on him, mainly because I knew he would do the same for me. Family has to look out for each other.

I picked up the receiver, making eye contact with Him for the first time. He looked human to me, after looking like a god for so long. “How are you holding up?”

“Not good, youngster. I’m not even supposed to be in here,” Amenhotep stated through the receiver. “Ramesses, I didn’t do it. she said awful things, man. Said I raped her…abused her, man.”  I sat there and watch helplessly as he was nearly reduced to tears. The first thing on my mind was whether the other slaves were okay.

“Paka came down as soon as she found out. The cops took the computers…everything in the dungeon that wasn’t bolted down.” Amenhotep repeated what paka told him earlier. “All of the girls gave statements to dispute what Safi told the cops.”

“Why the hell would she say such things? You have a reputation within the community. She’s got to be aware of that.” My anger was boiling and mounting with each passing moment and with each word I spoke.

“Something spooked her. I know it,” Amenhotep regained his composure. “Either that, or she’s pissed about something. But what was it? I treated her like I treat all my girls.”  Yeah, every one of the girls was treated the same way, except for Paka. The green eyed monster was on the loose. Damn.

“I’ve got some tough questions for You, Sir, and I need straight answers,” Ramesses took over inside of me, and it was needed. “How old is Safi?”

“You know better,” Amenhotep didn’t like my tone, but I really didn’t care at that point. We were family, yes, but there was no time to look at things with rose-colored glasses. “I taught You, remember that.”



When Ice Melts 
by AlTonya Washington

Icia Graham’s love affair with Rakim Transou had the makings of a fairy tale romance with the happily ever after ending, until the night of Rakim’s college graduation gathering. For Icia, it was the night her life was forever changed. Sadly, the changes were brought about by a horrific incident causing Icia to close herself off to everyone-especially Rakim. So desperate to escape the memories of being assaulted by Rakim’s two best friends, Icia left school and the man she loved.

Years passed and; in that time, both Rakim and Icia reached goals that carried them to the heights of success. For Rakim it was a powerful advertising agency that brought him a respected and revered name in the business. Icia’s accomplishment was a bit darker, but no less revered. In addition to counseling battered women, she offered her clients a special service-the service of destroying their abusers.

For Icia, her business brought her a satisfaction that could only be topped by seeing her own attackers pay the price for what they’d put her through. At any rate, she had no desire to revisit the past and be tortured by thoughts of love lost with the only man she’d ever wanted.

A series of events however would bring Icia right back to where she swore she’d never return. Once more Rakim Transou was back in her life and Icia was simultaneously overjoyed and distraught. How could she start anew with the man who still meant everything to her, when there were so many secrets between them? When the need for vengeance on two men; who were still very much a part of Rakim’s life, still raged so viciously inside her?


“This is fantastic,” Leontynne McRae whispered, her slanting green stare focused through the magnifying glass. The contact sheet from her photo session of downtown Houston had turned out perfectly. She had been a bundle of nerves waiting on some word from The Transou Agency. The initial interview had gone so well, they called her back for a second meeting. Now, she was at her wits end waiting on a decision about the job. In an attempt to dispel some of her nervous energy, she decided to get out of the hotel and spend the day shooting the city.

A fashion photographer out of California, Leontynne was proud of the landscape shots she’d taken. It was a refreshing change, but Leontynne knew she’d never exchange it for the success and notoriety she’d acquired in fashion.

The phone rang, bringing a halt to the critique of the contact sheets. She rushed over to the maple message desk and uttered a silent prayer before answering.


“Leontynne McRae?”

Leontynne smiled at the deep voice on the line. “This is she.”

Rakim could hear the anxiety tingeing the woman’s voice and chuckled softly. “Ms. McRae, this is Rakim Transou from The Transou Agency.”

Leontynne pulled the phone from her ear and pressed it against her chest. “Yes, Mr. Transou?” She replied, once she’d calmed herself.

“I’m calling about the portfolio you left. It’s very impressive.”

“Thank you,” Leontynne managed, her excitement continuing to mount.

“Ms. McRae, we've been commissioned for several high profile TV spots around the time for the Super Bowl. We’re in the process of choosing a model and lead photographer. We hope to choose them both from the portfolios. We believe this would go further to insure a rapport with the team.”

“I agree.”

Rakim chuckled. “I’m glad, because I think you’re perfect for the job.”

Leontynne let her excitement show. She uttered a piercing scream and jumped up and down with the phone clutched to her ear. “I’m sorry! Mr. Transou. I’m sorry. It’s just that this is-I just didn't think I could do this. I know the competition was something fierce.”

Rakim nodded, leaning back in his chair. “You’re right, but I think we’re going with the right person.”

“Oh, you are. I can’t wait to get started.”

“Glad to hear it,” Rakim said, coming to the second reason for his call. “We’d like to contact one of the models in your portfolio.”

“Which one are you interested in?” Leontynne asked, taking a seat at the desk and opening her laptop.

“Well, that’s the problem. We have the photo, but no follow-up information on it.”

Leontynne frowned. “That’s strange,” she replied, opening the photo program. “Is there a number on the back of the shot? Top left corner?”

“I’m sorry, there’s nothing.”

Leontynne was stumped. “That’s strange. I always save my photos to disc. They should all have a number on the back. Mr. Transou, would you mind describing the picture?”

Rakim’s striking black stare, scanned the photo with probing intensity. It took him a while to respond. “The woman is um, dressed in a white robe. She’s…she’s on her stomach and looks like she’s laying on a bed of roses or tulips, I can’t tell which.”

Suddenly, Leontynne laughed, ending with a sigh of realization. “I’m so sorry. The woman in the photo is one of my best friends. She’s not a model.”

Rakim figured that. “She’s so familiar to me,” he whispered, brushing his fingers across the entrancing face in the weathered picture.

“She did a little something in school, but nothing major,” Leontynne was explaining, as she shut down her laptop. “Now, she’s in business for herself. I’m sorry about this, Mr. Transou.”

“Call me Rakim, please,” he offered, never taking his incredible, deep-set eyes off the photo. “What’s her name, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Icia Graham.”

“Icia,” Rakim whispered, his long heavy lashes fluttering as he closed his eyes.

Leontynne chuckled. “Not a very common name.”

“Not at all,” Rakim massaged the bridge of his nose. “How’d this picture get into your portfolio?”

“I’m so sorry about that. It must’ve gotten trapped in a loose sleeve when I cleaned out the other photos.”

“The two of you live near one another?” Rakim probed, his light tone of voice belying his deep interest.

Leontynne chuckled. “No, Icy lives in Florida. I've been hoping she’d move out to California, but I don’t think it’ll happen.”

Rakim had so many questions, but he resisted the urge to question Leontynne further. “Will you be able to meet me in the morning? Nine a.m.?”

“Oh, I’ll be there.” Leontynne assured him.

“I’ll see you then.”

“Alright, Rakim and thank you.”

Rakim set the phone down and focused his attention on the picture. He kept it on his desk for the rest of the day.


When he returned home later that evening, Rakim kept Icia’s picture propped against a window sill. He didn't take his dark eyes off it as he raised the beer bottle and took a long swallow. He’d never believed in signs, but this had to be some kind of message. At the very least, he had to know what had happened to her. Why she left him…Whatever the case, he had to find answers to questions that had haunted him for too long. It was time to close that part of his life.

( Continued... )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, AlTonya Washington. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. 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.

Meet the Author
AlTonya Washington
has been a published romance novelist for 10 years. In 2013, her Harlequin Kimani novel "His Texas Touch" won the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Series Romance of 2012. She also works as a college Reference Librarian. As T. Onyx, AlTonya released her latest erotica "Ravenous: Ruler of Perfection II" in 2013.  In November she released "A Lover's Debt," the 17th title in the Ramsey Tesano saga.

Connnect with AlTonya Washington 

When Ice Melts by AlTonya Washington
Kindle Link:  


Another Woman's Husband 
by Angel Mechelle

Bree Michaels finally has it all: her dream career, a new fiancé, athlete Eric Newsome, and a beautiful family. Yet she is unhappy. She can’t put her finger on it, but something is not right in paradise. Still haunted by Dre, who she knows is no good for her. But still….. 

When she moves back to Florida, the last thing on her mind is Dre Edwards and all of the drama that comes with him. But elsewhere across the country Dre has still never forgotten about her and when a chance encounter drops the opportunity right in Dre’s lap to connect with Bree, he doesn’t hesitate to go hard in his quest to see her and be her man again. Newly single and practically drama-free, Dre wants a new start…and another chance with Bree.

Will Bree sabotage everything she has worked so hard for to give love with Dre one last try, or will she follow her mind and maintain her comfortable life as she maneuvers through the murky waters of life and love?

Excerpt from Another Woman's Husband 2 

It wasn’t that long ago that Bree was tied up in a crazy love triangle that she couldn’t seem to get out of, no matter how hard she tried. The Dre, Neecy, Chante, and Bree saga had been over for more than one year and she was finally getting past it.

I was trying to find Trina and Nikki amongst the crowd when someone walked up behind me and grabbed my hand.

“Bree,” he asked in his deep ball player voice. I turned to face him and ask him how he knew my name and tell him about grabbing my hand, but when I turned around I was speechless.


“I know who you are. You play for the…”

“Can we talk?” He interrupted.

“I hesitated and then smiled. “Sure"

Recently engaged to professional basketball player Eric Newsome, things seemed to be on the up and up. But even though Bree loved Eric, sometimes she couldn’t help but think of Dre. Sometimes it was the smallest thing Eric did or said that would send Bree flying back to the past and right into those memories of the love and connection she shared with Dre and no one else since. She remembered how she fit perfectly in Dre’s arms back then. That was her spot.

Bree had to admit that Dre’s letter had her curious, especially the part about divorcing Neecy.

‘I’ve changed. Now I’m good…Guess what? I divorced Neecy (Yes I divorced HER) I just couldn’t do it anymore. I finally did it Boo. I am a free man. I took care of everything that you always wanted me to take care of Bree. I did it for you. I have never stopped loving you or wanting to be with you. The pull Dre had on Bree was strong and she had to fight hard to resist the urge to drop everything with Eric and go running back to Dre every time her thoughts wandered to the past. But realistically, she was over the drama. She was over Neecy and definitely didn’t want a repeat of the last few years. The confrontations, fights, and back and forth bullshit was over for her. She recalled the time Neecy pulled up beside her in the car and jumped out and tried to snatch her through the window all while holding onto her shirt and pummeling her face. She remembered the fight in front of Neecy’s house at five o’clock in the morning and shook her head.

Her life had been quite peaceful since moving in with Eric in Orlando. Bree had saved enough royalties from her first book, and with a small loan she was able to put a down payment on a house in Orlando. She and Eric had been living happily as a couple. He was the calm to her crazy. His laid back temperament and casual thinking kept her balanced. A genuinely good guy, Eric was a catch, but he was not Dre and this made Bree question her decision at times. She wasn’t sure if she was in love with Eric or the package he presented. All she wanted was love and she’d found it seemingly with Eric. But sometimes, the picture isn’t so clear.

( Continued... )

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

About the Author
Angel Mechelle
was raised a "military brat." She attended Neu-Ulm High School in Germany and graduated from Southeast High school in Bradenton Florida . She now resides in Virginia with her two children. Armed with an active imagination and a notion for DRAMA, Angel was finally able to share her love for story telling with the world when she accepted as a contributing author in the Shannon Holmes Anthology "Hood2Hood. Mr. Holmes was impressed with her talent and offered to publish her debut novel. The opportunity has opened many doors in the literary industry for Angel. She recently completed two short stories featured in the Anthologies "Flirt" and "Divas, Diamonds and Dollars."

Her love of writing comes from a deep passion for story telling. She loves giving people something to relate to, a situation that allows them to analyze their own situation and sometimes look deep within themselves for the answer.  Angel also loves to entertain. The characters she creates entertain readers, they can laugh at, cry with and hate the characters all at the same time. Sharing her vivid imagination with readers is what drives Angel.She has many characters and plots that run through her mind daily, this keeps her writing. 

Angel is currently working on summer releases which include Another Woman's Husband 2, A Woman's Worth (anthology) and Caught Up a collaboration with National Best Selling Author, Shannon Holmes. Connect with her on Facebook: 

Another Woman's Husband 2 by Angel Mechelle




Smoke In The Citi 
by Joy Avery 

Where there’s smoke…

When Passion Phillips agrees to work elbow to elbow with the man who left her at the altar, flames ignite inside the Citi Café. Flames capable of engulfing her mind and body. She’s made the mistake of loving him once, but won’t make the same mistake again. Burned by his betrayal, she is determined keep him at a distance. If only her heart would listen. 

…there’s fire!

Dasher Howard is not the man he used to be. All he needs now is the opportunity to show Passion that he’s no longer the man she once knew. With a mission to prove to her love can be better the second time around, he’ll do whatever it takes to reclaim her heart. Even if it means manipulating the odds in his favor. 

The only thing hotter than the food inside Citi Café is the blaze igniting between Passion and Dasher. How will he prove to her that he is the only man for her? Especially when she is hell-bent on hating him.

Excerpt from Chapter One 

The idea of showing up at Second Empire restaurant, in full wedding attire, to confront the man who’d jilted her at the altar two months earlier had seemed like a grand idea to Passion Phillips two hours ago; not so much now as she stood in the Pine Room of the restored Dodd-Hinsdale house.

Dasher’s eyes glowed intense as hot embers as he watched her with a hard stare. Those captivating brown eyes had once made her dizzy with desire. Had the setting been different, they probably still could. The reality of the admission caused a knot in her stomach.

The other diners at the table, presumably colleagues, stared at her as if she’d recently been released from a mental institution and still donned the facility-issued wardrobe instead of the Vera Wang gown she wore.

The strapless, natural-waist ballerina gown had cost over six thousand dollars. It’d been much more than she’d ever dreamed of paying for a gown she would only wear once. In awe, she’d marveled at the bottom layers of laser-cut organza with a floral pattern etched in, as well as the detachable bustier top with its sweetheart neckline. It wasn’t long before she’d fallen in love with the pricey garment. And thanks to the man in front of her, it had been a total waste of money.

Standing feet away from Dasher made her realize just how unprepared she was. Unprepared to face the one person who, despite her loathing, still made an inferno burn in the pit of her stomach. That shouldn’t be the case. Especially when he’d shattered her heart just months earlier.

Although distance lay between them, she could feel Dasher’s body heat. It was more likely the heat of rage and fury coursing between them as his lethal eyes penetrated to her core.

Standing in front of the rolling cameras of a local news investigation team a year prior, defending her restaurant against trumped up allegations of food poisoning, was a cakewalk compared to standing inches from the man with whom, up until that fateful day, she’d planned to spend the rest of her life with.

“Good evening, Dasher,” she said, sweeping her veil over a shoulder.

His dark, thick brows bunched. “Passion, what are you doing here?”

Was he that oblivious? Did he really have to ask? “I wanted you to see exactly how I would have looked on our wedding day. You forfeited that opportunity when you left me at the altar.” Simply saying the words made her want to break down in tears, but she took heed not to show any emotion. Why did he need to know how much she was still hurting over his deception? Why did he need to know that her heart was still bleeding over him?

Dasher scanned the table of well-dressed and distinguished men and women. “This is neither the time—nor place for this.”

A condescending laugh escaped her. “Really? And at the church, an hour before our ceremony, was the appropriate time for you to decide you didn’t want to marry me?”

Mr. Thornton said, “Dasher, this would be more effectively resolved outside, don’t you think?”

Passion’s narrow-eyed gaze slid to Dasher’s boss. An overbearing buffoon of a man. His beet red cheeks had to be a sign of his embarrassment. Not to sound like a cliché, but she’d killed two birds with one stone. She’d never cared much for the man.

Dasher’s nostrils flared slightly, indicating his irritation. His hard stare never left her as he said, “Yes, sir, I believe it would.”

A swift motion brought Dasher to his feet. The swirling aromas couldn’t mask the unmistakable scent of his cologne when he came to a full stand. It wasn’t that the fragrance was applied too generously; it was that it called to her like a tracking beacon.

As her eyes climbed his frame, she knew underneath the midnight-blue suit, muscles rippled from his firm legs to his ripped arms. With her eyes steadily rising, she glided past the broad shoulders and settled at his hypnotic lips, a hard, straight line in them. Ignoring that, she trailed past the pronounced flare of his nostrils, only stopping when their eyes reconnected.

A quiver caused her to shift her one hundred and fifty-five pounds from one foot to the other. If her legs gave way, would the man nearest to her catch her five-foot-eight frame? She eyed him. Not likely.

“I don’t need you to placate me, Dasher. You can’t manage me like one of your computer programs. I’m leaving.” Her features softened. “I wanted you to feel just a fraction of the humiliation I felt the day you…” She paused, her breath catching in her throat. “The day you broke my heart.” Tears battled to escape, but she managed to keep them at bay.

How had their relationship gone so wrong? At one point, the two had been inseparable. So in-tune with one another, that either often knew exactly what the other was thinking without asking; could finish each other’s sentences. She’d known the placement of every one of his laugh lines, the location of every imperfection on his body, every spot that turned him on.

( Continued... )

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

About the Author
Joy Avery
is a North Carolina native with a passion for penning contemporary romances. Her stories guide readers along the rutted roads of love, delivering them to a gratifying happily ever after. 

Joy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, cake decorating, pretending to expertly play the piano, driving her husband insane, and playing with her sixteen-pound peek-a-poo and hundred-pound Rottweiler.  Books available at:

Connect with Joy Avery 

Purchase Smoke In The Citi by Joy Avery
Available on in eBook and Print format 


Seoul Revelations 
by Bobby Cenoura

In the late 90s, Washington D.C., affectionately dubbed “Chocolate City”, was recovering from the crack epidemic and the label of “murder capital”. Interaction beyond the bulletproof glass that divides Black customers and Korean merchants is what drives SEOUL REVELATIONS. Race, culture and inner city survival are examined and revealed.

SEOUL REVELATIONS is a story of friendship and betrayal; one that analyzes the challenges of a budding interracial relationship between Marcus Richardson, a young Black community college student and aspiring four-year university enrollee, and Kim Han, a young Korean American college girl whose father runs Sunbeam Market, a liquor store/bodega in Marcus' inner city neighborhood. Marcus, wanting to escape the snares of the inner city, has built a friendship of trust and fresh perspective with Kim. 

Meanwhile his best friend Tyrell deals with issues of depression and self-esteem because he feels that he lives his life in Marcus’ shadow. Neighborhood thug Delonte Harris has no intentions of leaving the ‘hood, in fact, he intends on becoming a major player in the local drug game. He gets an opportunity from a regional kingpin Parnell “P-nutt” Jacobs. 

Worlds collide when Delonte cheats P-Nutt and is given an ultimatum to recover the money plus interest or face execution. Delonte sets his sights on Sunbeam Market as a target for robbery which drastically impacts Marcus’ and Kim’s relationship.

Excerpt from Seoul Revelations 

Ms. Thompson knelt down a little and talked to Marcus. “Honey, I am honored that a handsome young man like you would stand up for a lady like Ms. Thompson. Not many grown men would do such a thing, but what you have to understand, honeychild, is that it is your duty to get your education. I know you are a young man, and you have to stand up for what’s yours. I want you to use your head. Students like Jamal can take you places where you don’t want to go.”

The beef between Marcus and Jamal and had marinated, and the entire 7th grade was buzzing about and wanted to see a barbecue at 3:20 p.m.

After school, Marcus, Tyrell and Delonte walked to the football field. All Marcus was thinking about how he would fight Jamal. Pride drug him to the battlefield, and no matter what he would retain his honor.

It was amazing that at such a young age they have a concept of honor. One could hear about numerous shootings in the city, sometimes because someone stepped on someone’s shoe, or looked at them wrong. Where was the honor in such senseless violence?

In feudal Japan, a man would be killed for stepping over the sword of a samurai. These timeless shoguns, symbols of nobility and martial art, could arguably be the most senseless or the most honorable, depending on how you look at it. In those times, if you wanted to live, or you didn’t want to kill, you would not step over the sword of the samurai. They lived by a code—and people of the street, follow these codes to determine who is who.

The only people talking about “senseless” are those with something to lose. They don’t want to lose their lives, or limbs, or go to jail and lose time, or lose their job, or reputation. There is a fear behind loss.

Everyone cleared a circle for the two fighters as Marcus stood in the middle.

JR said, “Go on,” and hit Jamal on the back. Jamal walked with his fists balled toward Marcus. As he approached, Marcus recalled a story his mother told him about David and Goliath. Marc felt as if he was David and Jamal was Goliath, the giant uncircumcised Philistine. This was the battlefield of the Lord. His fear left him and he walked toward Jamal. They both came to each other’s presence and then Jamal moved in close, face-to-face with Marcus, again.

Since Marcus was shorter, Jamal craned his neck down to talk in his face. “Pop all that junk you was poppin’ earlier.”

Marcus inched down a little, and Delonte saw it and shouted, “Come on, Marc, don’t punk out! Hit him!”

Jamal continued to talk in Marcus’ face as he shrunk lower.

“Come on, you punk, talk that trash again, so I can steal you in your face.”

Marcus crouched a little lower.




Freshmen Fifteen 
by Jasmine N.H. Sheffield

Do you remember your first?

Firsts are almost unforgettable... First day of school, first crush, first kiss, first love. No matter how dreamy or undesirable, you'll always remember your first rumble in the sheets.

Laila had plans of making her first time memorable on her high school graduation night, but those plans were thwarted by her jailed boyfriend. Now she's headed to college, a virgin. Although her top priority is to do well in school, to thoroughly enjoy the college experience, the horny beast inside of her is begging to be released. After all, her hand can only bring her so much pleasure. 

While searching for the right guy to give her virginity to, her natural curiosity leads her to discover the pleasurable, and not so pleasurable, stories of her friends' sexcapades. Finally, she meets Chris, a sexy, senior, frat boy. Is he just a playboy or will he be worthy of taking her virginity?

Amazon Customer Book Review
4.5 out of 5 stars by Diva's Literary World

Laila is now a high school graduate and on this special night, she decides to give her virginity away to her long time drug dealing boyfriend, Travis. She had it all planned out except she wasn't expecting him to get arrested before she could even get to his house to indulge in their special act of love.

Pissed off and over Travis and his situation, Laila decides to embark on a new chapter of her life since she will be going to college in the fall. Once on campus, Laila totally forgets about Travis and has her eyes on a sexy senior named Chris. As her freshman year progresses, Laila develops feelings for Chris and decided to give him her virginity.

Little does she know, one of Chris' exes has plans to get him back. Who will Chris choose? Will Laila lose her virginity in her freshman year of college?

The author does a good job developing Laila and her friend's characters. I think a little bit more could have been given on Chris' background especially since Laila becomes so involved with him. I did enjoy the flow of the story as it gives you a realistic view of college life in regards to the dorms, parties and studying.
*** A complimentary copy was given in exchange for an honest review ***

Freshmen Fifteen Excerpt

My legs begin to shake again. I should have had another drink. I try to calm my nerves. Tonight is going to be everything I have ever dreamed. 

With Tanya singing Kendrick Lamar’s Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe at the top of her lungs, I’m surprised I hear my phone ring. It’s Devon. On my phone? Why would he be calling me? I look over at Tanya as I answer the phone. 

“Hey Devon, what’s up?” The background is really noisy, which is not what I expect if they are preparing the rooms for tonight.

Between Tanya singing and the background noise, I have to strain to hear him.

“Laila, it’s about Travis. He got picked up tonight...” I couldn’t have heard him say Travis got picked up. That can’t possibly be what I just heard.

“Say that again.” As he repeats himself, I drop the phone. I shake my head to fight back the tears that are forming at the sides of my eyes. Throwing my hands in the air, “Not tonight.”

Tanya picks up the phone from the seat. “Devon, what the hell happened? Where are you?”

Travis and Devon aren’t the boyfriends our parents would choose for us. They both dropped out of high school. Devon at least finished the GED program. I’ve tried to convince Travis to finish, but he just isn’t motivated. They are both small-time street pharmacists. Neither of them has been picked up on any serious charges...yet.

Tanya turns the car around and heads in the direction of Travis’ house. Looking out the window, the tears begin to flow. The breeze isn’t keeping me cool anymore, my temperature is rising. Of all the nights to get in trouble, why tonight?

Tanya reaches over and rubs my hand. Unlike the tears flowing from my eyes, the words I want to speak are stuck in my throat like a lump of food. 

Tanya breaks the silence. “Laila, I’m sorry, girl. Devon said it’s serious. He thinks Travis had enough on him for the police to keep him for a while.” 

My mouth finally moves, but the only thing that escapes is a loud scream, startling Tanya. Travis has taken me through ups and downs. I stayed with him after my parents forbade me to see him, after he cheated, after all the lies. I just wanted tonight to be special. He couldn’t even do that. 




I Ain't Me No More 
by E. N. Joy

Helen wasn't just born the devious vixen of New Day Temple of Faith. There had to be something rooted deep within her to make her inflict and feed off of other people's pain.

Perhaps it was her own pain that she had suppressed for so many years-an unimaginable pain-that created an internal prison of which her mind was the only captive. But once the demons within her break free, those around her better beware, as Helen surely becomes the epitome of the saying, "Hurt people, hurt people."

In I Ain't Me No More, Helen has no shame displaying that she hasn't been saved all her life. Will the divas of New Day Temple of Faith think Helen's worth saving? But more importantly, can God save Helen from not only her evil past; can He save her from herself?

First Chapter Excerpt

Man, I hate the cleaning guy! Why does he have to do his job so well? Can’t he ever leave just one spot, smear or smudge on this dang stripper pole? Something so that I don’t have to see myself so painfully visible like this? What makes him think I want to be able to see myself twirling around this pole like some skilled monkey—caught up in the powerful grip of the almighty dollar; a grip known to have choked the life out of many while leaving others gasping for their last breath?

“That’s for you,” Damon spoke out over R. Kelly’s “Your Body’s Calling.” With his chestnut brown, bald head and facial hair that is edged up nice and clean, Damon licks his thumb and uses it to flick a twenty dollar bill off the stack of money he’s palming.

I swivel my body down to the ground the way the vanilla and chocolate swirl ice cream at the DQ makes its way from the machine to the cone. “Baby, you know it takes gas to keep a Cadillac like myself going,” I say to Damon. “As long as you keep filling up the tank, I’ma go-go all night.” I swivel my body back up to a standing position while adding, “In any direction you want me to go.”

Damon’s lips part into that sexy signature smile of his.

“Whatever you want,” Damon said. “It’s your Caddy. I’ll drive, ride, heck, I’ll even be a backseat passenger. Just know that I got you, Ma.” Damon begins to flick off bills like he’s the dealer in a game of spades.

I’m very much content with the hand I’m being dealt. So much so that I want to drop to my knees and begin scooping like a kid standing under a piñata that has just been busted open. But I don’t want to appear too desperate. Resolving to strip in the first place was out of desperation. At the time of making the decision I felt trapped, like Jonah in the belly of the big fish. I was always trying to make ends meet, but neither of my ends were the least bit interested in getting to know one another. Bills were due. I weighed some options on my immoral scale of desperation and stripping was a less load to travel with in my mental carry-on. I mean, at least I’m not selling my whole self --just bartering off a piece of me.

“Go on, Go-Go Girl. You know you wanna bend that thang over and pick up that loot.”



Living Separate Lives 
by Paulette Harper

Four Friends, One Secret and The Weekend That Changed Their Destiny

Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows, but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes. What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse?

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. 

Although they have been friends for years, they thought they knew each other well. But will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn? 

Excerpt: Living Separate Lives by Paulette Harper

“Who cares anyway if I die? I hate my life; I curse the day I was born,” said Candace as she rolled out of her twin bed to face yet another day of sheer disappointments. Her feet landed on the beige, shaggy, dirty carpet that had seen better days. As she sat on the edge of her bed, she looked around the small apartment as though she was expecting to see something different, but nothing had changed. 

“Lord, can I get a break? Can something good happen in my life?” she cried as her head collapsed in her hands. She knew within herself that today would be like all the rest: gloomy, sad, and most of all, lonely. After all she had experienced in life, how could she think today would be any different? 

Candace lived in a small studio apartment off of School Street in the city of Pittsburg, California, a city surrounded by the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Her apartment had enough room for only one dresser and a nightstand, which she got at the neighborhood Goodwill store. 

The walls of her apartment were dirty from years of cigarette smoke that didn’t escape out of the window. Her kitchen table was made of plywood, which she covered with a red tablecloth. The table was encompassed by two chairs, one for her and the other one she had hoped would be occupied by someone who genuinely wanted to be with her. The blue and cream décor in her kitchen came from visiting the neighborhood garage sales. Her neighbors knew her so well because of the frequent visits she made to their sales. Although Candace always had a roof over her head, she did not like the environment in which she lived. After looking intently at her dwelling place, she lay back on her bed and stared at the ceiling. Her thoughts shifted from her disappointing apartment to her anger about the issues she had to deal with, problems that had been with her for years, issues with her family.




From Sagging to Success 
by Florence M. Howard 

From Sagging to Success” is a message to urban youth and the adults who want to help them become extraordinary. Young people are unfairly judged because of their appearance and cultural misperceptions. They need to be made aware of the repercussions of sagging. Sagging pants even might be an indication of a sagging mindset or low self-esteem. A fictionalized character in book illustrations, Derrick goes from sagging to success as he learns about Black history, reads books read and written by successful people and changes the way he thinks. 

He shares his new knowledge with his parents who also embrace a positive outlook, productive behaviors and principles of success. At the end of the book, Derrick and his parents have successfully transmitted principles of success to the next generation. The book is beautifully illustrated and the paintings were created first as a library gallery exhibit.

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

Excerpt from Introduction – From Sagging to Success

Author Note: The book contains 15 paintings by illustrator Emery Franklin. The 14 of the illustrations are from his narrative art series, Crossroads: From Sagging to Success art series, that was on exhibit at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library during February 2011.

Sagging is the fashion style of intentionally wearing your pants so that your underwear shows. This style is much older than the last 15-20 years. The trend can be traced back to urban teenagers of the 1970’s and the popularity of silk underwear. As one friend put it, “We sagged because it was cool and to show our manhood. It was our way of saying, ‘Look! I’m wearing silk, these ain’t cotton.’”  If you’re under the age of 15, ask your mother, grandmother or aunt, if she wore bell-bottoms, platform shoes, halter tops and mini-skirts during her teens. Chances are she did. Fashion trends come and go, and come again.

MTV, BET, YouTube, and DVDs have transformed this 1970’s rite of passage into a universal statement of individuality. It has lasted and lasted and crossed generational lines. Baby boomers in their 50’s and 60’s have been sagging along with their grandchildren. 



Son of a Itch 
by S.D. Skye


On the lam from the FBI, the ICE PHANTOM continues with plans to defect to Moscow but not before seeking revenge on J.J. McCall. Meanwhile, the FBI commences Task Force PHANTOM HUNTER, a team ordered by Director Russell Freeman to track down suspected Russian illegals within the U.S. Intelligence Community—and not a moment too soon. An agent of the Russian Intelligence Services is targeting the nerve center of U.S. national security, taking the lie-detecting FBI Agent and her cohorts’ next mole hunt to the highest echelons of the U.S. government. 

J.J. and her co-case agent lead the motley crew of spy catchers while she struggles to deal with sobriety, conflicting feelings for Tony and Six, and an egotistical Secret Service agent whose jurisdictional stonewalling complicates her every effort to identify the culprit before he gets away—with murder. 

Excerpt from Son of a Itch - J.J. McCall Novel, Book 2 

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller

Monday, November 16th – G.W. University Hospital 

Exactly three moments defined the entire course of J.J.’s being —the day she got “the itch,” the generational curse that sparked random irritating tingles through her body anytime she heard a lie; the day her mother died; and this one, the day in which she grasped the fragility of life and how it could slip away in an instant. 

The ambulance siren blared down Pennsylvania Avenue through the remnants of rush hour traffic as she stared down at his tearful eyes, his face shredded with pain, his body curled with anguish. Slowly, his lids opened to expose a bloodshot blank stare. She saw her mother’s eyes in his, and his last breath whispered in the distance, drawing ever near. 

“I’m here. You’re going to be okay. We’re almost there,” she said as her voice shook. 

George Washington University Hospital was just a few minutes away and had one of the best trauma centers in the D.C. area. 

He placed his trembling hand on hers and struggled to speak. “There…something…you should…kn—” 

“Shhhh. Save your strength,” J.J. shook her head to dissuade him from speaking. She stroked his fingers and tried to maintain a steady front. “You’re gonna be okay. You can tell me everything when you’re better.” 

Her mind whirred as the ambulance zipped into the circular driveway beneath the overhang and masked emergency personnel in blue and green scrubs swarmed the doors. They pulled the gurney out and wheeling him inside, beyond her view. She’d never felt so alone in her life. She had calls to make, people to notify, but her mind was still foggy from the shock. 



15th District Chronicles of the 19124
by Wali Akidele and Andrew Jones

Maurice “Reese” Brown is a man who lives by the code of the streets. The indoctrination was embedded in him throughout his upbringing in the mean streets of North Philadelphia. When Reese is faced with a proposition to break new ground and make more money than he has ever seen. The bright idea all stems from the calculating mind of his old head and mentor Mike, who sets up shop in Frankford fiercely taking the neighborhood by storm.

Accompanied with childhood friend Slim, their movement faces an abrupt stop when Reese suddenly goes to jail for a murder that he didn’t commit. With blood on Mike’s hands and Slim in a fresh grave, Mike put his brain power to work creating a small empire for Reese to return home to.

Upon Reese’s release from prison he has a new alliance and plans to make back what he has lost all while trying to please his baby mother and wifey of twenty years, Kita, and his nearly grown daughter, Monica. Slim is resurrected through his son Rell, who is running with the same crew as his father, stepping into his shoes.

Be prepared to embark on journey of drugs, sex, treachery, friendship, betrayal and murder all diligently existing in the 15th District, Chronicles of the 19124.

Excerpt from the “15th District Chronicles of the 19124”

“Girl them damn men gonna drive us insane,” said Sophia

“Right I don’t know the whereabouts of my man most of the time,” replied Kita

“Shit girl you preaching to the choir. I ain’t talk to Rell all yesterday and now his phone going straight to voicemail.

“Aww I hope everything is ok with them fools. Mike called and said he was looking for Reese and that he was wildin’ out like he was on a wet trip.”

Sophia thoughts in her mind over powered Kita’s voice for a moment thinking of how Reese had bent her over and was slaying her in Kita’s house.

“I’m just glad Monica ain’t tell Kita about me and her father. High head dummy got everybody in a search party looking for him.”

“Hello, hello, this girl done hung up on me,” Kita screamed though the phone interrupting Sophia’s daydream.

“No, no, no I’m here Kita. What’s the weather going to be like today?”

“That’s a good question. I don’t know.

“I’m about to turn on the news.”

“Alright, me too,” Kita said

Kita and Sophia both turned on their televisions to the Fox 29 news. A bold caption that read “Multiple Shootings, Homicides Being Investigated in Frankford,” highlighted the top of their television screens. Kita’s jaw dropped and heart began to pound as she said a silent prayer that Reese was not among the people they had found slain.

“The rampage started just after 8pm in the driveway of the 5200 block of Burton. An African American male in his early to mid twenties was found dead in the driver’s seat of his bullet filled vehicle. Just one hour later another homicide was reported when a young lady went to visit a relative and discovered the bodies of her cousin, Tiffany Justice and her boyfriend identified as Malik Carry inside of Ms. Justice residence on Cheltenham Avenue and Horrock Street. Lastly the body of Maurice Brown was found shot multiple times at Jackson and Kennedy Streets. Currently investigators have no suspects for any of the homicides and are calling for the community to come forth with any information they have. Reporting live from the Frankford section this is Rachel Lane, back to you Mat.”

When Kita heard Reese’s government name her mind grew cloudy and every part of her body became numb. The world was moving in slow motion. Kita dropped the phone and fell to her knees. She wanted and needed to cry but she was too far gone in a state of shock.

“This shit can’t be real,” Kita thought wanting desperately for this whole thing to be a bad dream that she would wake up from at any second.

Sophia was speechless for once as she anxiously waited for the reporter to mention Rell’s name. When she never did Sophia came back to the reality that her best friend whom she was on the phone with had just found out her baby father’s had been murdered.

“Kita! Kita!  I’m on the way!” Sophia shouted through the phone before hanging up in route to Kita’s house.

As Kita sat on the floor she felt the sensation of hot tears slowly rolling down her cheeks. She could hear Sophia‘s voice but couldn’t make out what she had said. The sound of the phone disconnecting came echoing through the receiver. That’s when it hit her that this wasn’t a dream, that it was all a reality. Reese would now and forever be just another story that would be told in the 15th District, Chronicles of the 19124.

15th District Chronicles of the 19124 
by Wali Akidele and Andrew Jones
Genre: Urban Fiction; Coming Feb. 24, 2014
Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Apple iBookstore, and the Vook Store.


Tropical Fantasy 
by Monica McKayhan

Can passion in paradise become a forever love? 

Sasha Winters has it all planned. She'll spend two days - exactly forty-eight hours - in the Bahama's for her sister's wedding. Then it's back to her hectic life as a lawyer on the fast track to partner. But when a storm strands her on an exotic island, Sasha's suddenly giving in to her sensual side and making moonlit magic with Vince Sullivan, a man she barely knows.

The groom's best man, Vince, hasn't given up on finding that special someone. It could be Sasha - if she'd allow herself to feel the full force of their chemistry. Determined to liberate the passionate woman behind the workaholic attorney, Vince storms every one of Sasha's defenses. Yet, can their growing love survive, even as a crisis forces Sasha to choose between her lifelong ambitions and a lifetime of love?

Chapter Excerpt from Tropical Fantasy 

As much as Sasha wanted to play hard to get, she couldn’t. She’d secretly hoped that she would bump into Vince. He’d cluttered her thoughts all day – the intoxicating smell of his cologne, his eyes and that smile had haunted her. She’d wondered how he was spending his day while she was being pampered with the girls. Had he driven his rented Mercedes along the streets of Nassau, sightseeing? Was he a shopper? A fisherman? Did he play golf? Perhaps that was the thing that Vince and her father had in common. She’d found herself wondering these things and couldn’t for the life of her understand why.

Vince helped Sasha climb onto a stool at the poolside bar. 

He asked, “What are you having?” 

“I’m a wine girl,” she said, and then turned to the bartender, 

“Your house Chardonnay please.”

“A black Russian for me, Jake” said Vince, calling the bartender by name.

“What is a black Russian anyway?” Sasha asked.

“Vodka and Kahlua,” Vince explained.

“Is it good?”

“It’s an interesting drink, with many variations,” he raised his glass after Jake set the drink in front of him, “this is a Black Russian. Add cola, and it becomes a Dirty Black Russian. Add ginger ale and you have a Brown Russian. Add a touch of Guinness beer, and you have a Smooth Black Russian,” his voice sultry as those last three words rolled off of his tongue. Smooth Black Russian.







Intimate Conversation with Dr. Courtney Davis


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase books from Dr. Davis Website: 





Intimate Conversation with Naleighna Kai 



Naleighna Kai is the national bestselling author of Every Woman Needs a Wife, with a spin-off titled, The Pleasure’s All Mine and Open Door Marriage.  She independently published her first two novels before acquiring a book deal with Simon & Schuster and most recently a book deal with Brown Girls Publishing—the offspring of mega-successful national bestselling authors—Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. 

Naleighna is a contributing author to a New York Times Bestseller and the E. Lynn Harris Author of Distinction.  Naleighna is also the brainchild behind the annual Cavalcade of Authors events which takes place in her hometown of Chicago.  Find her on the web at  and  

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually start writing your latest book? Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
I’ve had a ring-side seat to an Open Marriage that had, what I felt at that time, to be a horrible beginning and a painful middle. I can’t say end, because as far as I know, it’s still going on. I got off that merry-go-round of pain and grew up enough to realize that the w

I love catchy titles, but I love writing about complicated relationships even more. But why would I write this type of novel? What influenced me to explore the outcome of three unlikely people entering into an open relationship such as the one in this novel?  Because I’ve had a front seat to one that—in my honest opinion—was the most painful intimate relationship that I had ever witnessed in my life. The only person who seemed to benefit was the man—who was not the primary breadwinner.

Actually I never saw him slide in a crumb. The women brought home the bacon, the eggs, the grits, and even the plates, utensils and everything else that landed on the table. It took nearly two decades for me to wise up and realize one basic thing: these folks are grown and you need to mind your business. The women chose to stay for whatever reason, regardless of his inability to maintain them financially; regardless of how unhappy they seemed or how unfair I thought it was. 

When I stopped seeing the legal wife as the “victim” in all of this, it drastically changed, not only how I perceived her, but also our friendship. Not that I didn’t love her, but when I exercised my right to say “no” it was clear that she hadn’t learned that declaration. But what I also learned about myself is: no matter how much I love someone else, I will always love myself more. Hence, I no longer put band-aids on self-inflicted relationship wounds. Am I saying that Open Marriages can’t work? Absolutely not! What I’m saying is, that it should be something that is fair to everyone involved. If you like it, I love it. If you don’t like, then pack your bags, pull up stakes and make another choice. A choice that’s fair to you. Bottom line.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? 
My ideas come from “what if?” Like for Every Woman Needs a Wife, my question was, “what if I caught my husband cheating?” Well, most men think there’s only two options that they’ve given their wives: leave or stay. Well, I put a third option on the table. Stay, and bring the mistress home to earn her keep the honest way: on her feet helping the wife, instead of on her back servicing the husband. Infidelity has been done to death, but that’s what made the novel unique. In  Open Door Marriage, I wanted to explore the concept in a different way than the one that I knew of in real life. What if the man did have money and actually could afford to support more than one woman. Would it work? That’s what drove me to write the novel.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? 
Open Door Marriage, is the first contemporary fiction work to launch mega-powerhouse publisher, Brown Girls Publishing created by national bestselling authors, Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. The story centers around three people caught up in an all too familiar triangle. When the love of Dallas Avery’s life disappeared, she resurfaces years later at the most inopportune time. Oh, he still loves Alicia Mitchell, an older woman who captured his heart, but it’s unfortunate that he’s now engaged to a woman he learns—is her niece. When his fiancée, Tori, lays a proposition on the table, it seems that everyone will get a little of what they want, but maybe a whole lot of what they don’t. The stage is set for them to learn one valuable lesson: There’s no right way to do a wrong thing.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
The reasons why women would choose to be in an open marriage. I learned plenty, mostly that I need to mind my own business!!!  I learned not to judge what three grown adults decide to do--as long as it doesn’t come spilling over in my life--if it’s floating your boat, keep rowing in that ocean. 

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? 
I want them to be taken on an emotional journey. I want them to identify with the characters or even understand their reasoning or motivation. They might not make the same choices in real life, but I want them to put themselves in the character’s mindset. An overall theme in most of my novels, are healing and forgiveness. That too, is something I want them to have a sense of when they read my work.

BPM: What are your ambitions for your writing career after three books?
In the beginning it was national bestselling author. I achieved that. But I found it amazing that I could practice writing those words--national bestselling author--but I couldn’t write New York Times bestselling author until just recently. My mind couldn’t wrap around that and see that level of success. But what had happened was (don’t you love sentences that start that way?), I finally grew up last November and stopped giving my energy to people who were taking, taking and taking and didn’t realize I was giving. THAT’S when all the good things started lining up. And that’s when this new book deal landed on my plate. So now I’m seeing New York Times bestselling author. I would also like to see Pulitzer prize for Slaves of Heaven when it releases. 

BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire your readers? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject? 
My goal as a writer is to evolve. I didn’t grow up and say that I wanted to be an author. I kind of fell into it and it was something I do well. I want to keep learning the craft from people who are much better at it than I am (such as Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley who are mentoring me at this point because I’m now under their publishing umbrella). In that way, I give readers a polished work that has been through their standards of writing honed by years of being edited by a major publishing house. 


Every book I write, I do look for it to be entertaining, but also that the reader can take away some life lesson as well. And it is my hope that my journey from being a self-published author to an author who has landed not only one deal, but yet another with a mega-powerhouse publisher, that it will inspire those who have a story to tell to quit sitting on it and take that chance.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? 
Once, a reader was so moved by my work that she came to Chicago to meet now only me, but the minister/sexual abuse counselor that was mentioned in the book. It sparked her own healing. We’ve been good friends to this day. Success has not been monetary before now, but more spiritual in the opportunities that it has given me to heal; and the wonderful readers and fellow authors I have met along the way. Each person is another brick on my road to releasing pain, anger, and onto healing and forgiveness; because in sharing my stories, they share some connection with me. 


Now, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love to be writing at a level where I can just do that for a living, but when the money is put aside, what else is there?  The people. The experience. The sharing. The healing. That has been very important to me.

BPM: Where do you see publishing going in the future? In your opinion, will ebooks continue to reign?
I’m a die-hard trade paperback woman. But there were two books that made me give in because I didn’t want to wait for them to come via snail or hell mail. I think readers have a problem now that wasn’t around fifteen years ago--they’ve run out of space!!  E-books make a lot of sense. But for me, I still buy it in trade paperback if it’s a book that I’ll read a second or third time. With so many authors flooding the market and readers soaking up good books like they’re biscuits and gravy, yes e-books sales will continue to climb. 

BPM: What can expect from you in the future? How can readers discover more about you and you work? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
Brown Girls Publishing  has picked up some of my other novels. I’m excited to see what will happen with those as they did a phenomenal job with Open Door Marriage. From here on out I believe I’ll be releasing at least two books per year. Readers can connect with me on  or on Facebook and Twitter. The novel is available in all digital formats and in trade paperback as well. I have sample chapters of all of my work on the website. 

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 in that I have used writing as a medium for healing from child abuse and sexual abuse and it, in turned, has helped me to forgive those who have harmed me. It has given me the opportunity to connect with those who also need the kind of healing that I desired, and that they, in some way, can see themselves in my characters, or if they can look at my life and say, “I don’t have to carry the weight of what someone else did to me all of my life. I too, can be free. Yes, I deserve to be free.”

Purchase Open Door Marriage by Naleighna Kai
Download Link: 

Available in Print and on eReaders:  Nook and Kindle 
Primary Topics:  Open Marriage, May-December Romance and Polyamorous relationships






Intimate Conversation with AlTonya Washington



AlTonya Washington has been a published romance novelist for 10 years. In 2013, her Harlequin Kimani novel "His Texas Touch" won the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Series Romance of 2012.  She also works as a college Reference Librarian. As T. Onyx, AlTonya released her latest erotica "Ravenous: Ruler of Perfection II" in 2013.  In November she released "A Lover's Debt," the 17th title in the Ramsey Tesano saga.

BPM: Do you write full-time or part-time?  Do you write every day, five days a week? 
This is a tough question because I write ALL THE TIME- however I do still have “a day job.” A few years ago, I decided that becoming a librarian was something I very much wanted to accomplish. I reached that goal and now work as a college reference librarian. Writing though, is my absolute passion and something that I aspire to one day do full time in every sense of the word. Right now, I write pretty much every day as I’m blessed to have both a traditional and independent writing career. They keep me very busy. I don’t really carve out a special time or place to write (I’m blessed in that I can write pretty much anywhere)- but when crafting a love scene I do try to work on that material late afternoon/early evening at home with a special playlist going.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it? 
I actually used to do that a lot more often when I was just starting out with my writing. There are so many titles that I crafted early in my career and then went back to revise or rework years later after I’d learned more about the techniques that could really make my stories sing.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? 
My ideas come from all over the place- I can watch a movie or TV show, see a person walking in the background of a scene and suddenly be hit with an idea. Sometimes, I’m reading or listening to a book or even a song and some aspect of it sends me off on this wild tangent and I find myself concocting all these scenarios- a few of them have been powerful enough to make it to the rough draft/final draft stage. My books are very much character driven. For me, if I’m not invested in the characters- who they are, where they come from, why they think the way they do…then it’s near impossible for me to care about what else is going on in the story. I craft the stories that I, as a reader, would want to spend my time with and hope that other readers will want to spend their time with them too.

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? 
When Ice Melts is the story of Rakim Transou and Icia Graham. The couple was torn apart when Icia suffered a traumatic event on the eve of Rakim’s college graduation. While the romance between these lost loves is the most prevalent aspect, I would consider it more of a suspense given the intricacies of the plot regarding the secondary characters and the vivid roles they play in story. The book is available in print as well as electronically via Nook and Kindle.  It’s also available in the Apple, Sony and Kobo stores.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
This book deals with a lot of difficult topics, spousal abuse and revenge among them. I think what stood out to me most during the writing of this story related to revenge and how far people will go to see that it is carried out. What’s more, people fulfill their needs for revenge in very different ways. The complexities of characters and how they are motivated to act is a major reason why my stories revolve so heavily around them.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject? 
I think I set out to inspire and entertain mostly. I believe reading is the most enjoyable and limitless way of escaping the pressures of life. I like for my readers to feel immersed in a world totally different and intriguing from their own for however long they are absorbed inside the pages of my work. If the reader is somehow educated by what I have to share, then I’m elated by the fact that they were able to grasp an additional slice of enjoyment.

BPM: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing? 
Well I’d say the main advantage is that it’s all you- it’s all YOUR vision, your words, you control it all. Sadly this advantage can also be a disadvantage as it is ALL YOU.   Every glitch, every typo…these are all on your plate. It’s very necessary for an author to be diligent in seeing to every detail- not only as it relates to the copy, but also the cover art, the publishing platforms used, how the work is marketed. Self-publishing has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, but that reward does not come without a tremendous amount of hard work.

BPM: What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you? 
I think it’s wonderful. For me it’s wonderful in moderation- I’m not on my Facebook and Twitter feeds every day and when I am “socializing” there it’s not always for the purposes of discussing my latest book. 

I’m enjoying social media a little more each day and I’m very happy that I’ve not become addicted to it. I can shut it down. I am; however, happy for the chance to communicate with my readers or followers as a person- one who likes to read, enjoys movies and music, one who watches way too much TV and loves to talk about it, one who from time to time shares a funny story about her crazy kid. I’m pretty long-winded so Facebook works best for me when I really want to share something intense with my reader-friends or have a lot to say about a new book coming out- it allows me to share snippets of work and I prefer it for book chats. I enjoy Twitter very much! 


I mostly use it to go on and on about all those TV shows I watch. I also quickly share with my readers news about my work- new projects, release dates and audio snippets that I tend to record throughout the year.

Connnect with AlTonya Washington 




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.




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. 







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?





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.”



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!







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. 








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.







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.







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.




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.




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 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 Wali Akidele and Andrew Jones



Wali Akindele was born and raised in North Philadelphia's Nicetown/Tioga section where he quickly learned dedication and perseverance. Fast forward to 2011 when he received a yellow envelope from the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, inside was an untitled, unfinished manuscript sent by his close friend and now label mate Andrew Jones, who shortly after received a life imprisonment sentence. Wali believed in this untitled work of art so much that he read the unfinished novel three times. 


Finally mustering up the nerve to put his pen to the paper he completed the manuscript and named it “15th District Chronicles of the 19124.” After receiving accolade for his first attempt at writing he penned two more features, a short story called “Tha Choice is Urs....Memoirs of The Block,” the first edition of “Tha Choice is Urs” series, and “Milligrams A Philadelphia Epidemic.” Out of his love for literature and his new found love for writing Wali Akindele, and his wife Ilene Akindele founded Prolific Concept Productions. Merging his old indoctrination of the hustle, and his entrepreneurial spirit Wali strives to make Prolific Concept Productions the publishing company of the future....

Andrew Jones is a new author from Philadelphia, PA. His awkward style of writing, and rapid pace of storyline left publisher, Wali Akindele, with no alternative other than to extend a deal. With the help of Prolific Concept Productions, Andrew’s first novel “15th District Chronicles of the 19124,” was set to hit stores in February, 2014. Andrew is currently working on his second novel. With an all-star roster of authors he aspires to reach for new heights and embrace deeper lessons. 


Andrew is best described as being humble and truly ambitious. He is not afraid to explore subjects that are considered controversial by most authors. Andrew promises to touch on every subject that crosses your mind: race, love, sickness, brutality, mental health and much more. Persuading more people to wrote and read more is a personal goal of Andrew. He encourages everyone to help fight the war against literacy.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. Do you have any favorite characters?
Thank you for honoring us with this interview, Ella. My name is Olawale (Wali) Akindele and I am the C.E.O. of Prolific Concept Productions LLC. I am also the co-author of “15th District Chronicles of the 19124,” along with Andrew Jones. This novel is our first feature that Prolific Concept Productions will be dropping. I would like to introduce to you Mike, Reese, and Rell. Mike ultimately serves as the subsequent leader of the trio being the most strategic out of the group. His ambition, and hunger for more is equivalently shared by Maurice (Reese) Brown who plays the position of Mike's second in command / enforcer. 


Reese's thirst for the fast life and pretty women are enhanced when he is introduced to the psych medicine Xanex (zannies) which makes things only take a turn for the worst. It is said the tragedy comes in three's first Mike commits a murder putting the crews organizations in limbo, second Reese is apprehended for the murder Mike unjustly committed refusing to flip on his best friend and mentor, and finally third counterpart of the squad Slim who played the role of the teams supporting cast carrying a third of the workload is abruptly killed in a botch robbery gone wrong…

To be honest my favorite character is a split between Mike, Reese, and Rell who is Slim's son because all 3 of the characters are based on real people that I personally know. Mike actually is loosely based around some of my characteristics…

BPM: Which character or topic in the book can you identify with the most? Why?
I think I can personally identify with Reese and Mike the most because first and foremost I am Mike, and Mike is me to a certain degree. I would like to thank Andrew Jones for loosely basing this character around some my personality traits when I was at a particular point in my life. The topic that reenacts a time when the Frankford section of the city was at its worst, during this period Andrew Jones, and I was knee deep in the middle of the mayhem that existed in the 15th District of Philadelphia.

BPM: Does your upbringing of life experiences inspire your writing?
Absolutely! The city of Philadelphia is a rough place well known as the murder capital of America for years to come. To survive in such a harsh environment there is no way that you will not have a story to tell, so yes I definitely use my upbringing in my material.

BPM: How do you go about reaching new readers? What would you like for readers to take away from your writing?
I personally take responsibility to bring forth the gritty reality that looms largely over the city of Philadelphia, shedding light on the ills of the streets with the possibility to effect change. Sometimes all it takes is to pull the wool from over the eyes of 1 individual to effect that transition of change…

BPM: How do you feel about eBooks? Have they helped your business to grow?
I think eBooks are good for business as far as cost sufficiency especially being a new publishing company.
As far as potential growth of course eBooks, it put you on a much larger scale. On a worldwide level in my opinion it creates a conveniences unmatched to anything thing that a bookstore could provide.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or entertain? Illuminate a particular subject? Inspire?
My goal as a writer is not only to entertain, but to educate the consumer of what life is like on the other side of the tracks. The news doesn't always cover the story from the point of view of the people that actually suffer from the negativity that they are forced to live around, and the poverty that makes the people involved except these same negative realities as the norm.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Twitter and Instagram: @ProlificConcept
Prolific Concept:





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 2014!  The Black Pearls Magazine family would like to thank each of you for joining us monthly in celebrating the best in literature and the arts.  Our team of writers, bookclubs and authors are so humbled that you have allowed us entrance into your life. It amazes me each month as I check our subscribers how many of  you deem us worthy of your time and support. 

We appreciate each of you for telling 10 people about the magazine and for driving people to this site. YOU make Black Pearls the magnificent publication that it is, by sharing the Gift of Knowledge!

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

As we 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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