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Our core belief:  We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond.  – Gwendolyn Brooks

EDC Creations, The Sankofa Literary Society and The Black Authors Network are proud to announce the launch of the  2016-2017  "Storytellers Book Tour and Holiday Gift Campaign," bringing readers and authors together to help improve literacy.  You can join the #StorytellersBookTour campaign too, go here!   Please share the Storytellers Book Tour flyer with your friends too:  

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!

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Walking on Thin Ice by Re'Gena Bell-Roberts

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

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

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

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

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

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


By Brenda Bentley Parrrish 

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

By Lionel Mitchell

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

By Verlean Gladney 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We had a whole system," Bell said.

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

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

Roberts was the first in the family to graduate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Thrive!...Affordably by Jennifer Streaks

Life is meant to be enjoyed, but let’s be honest: It’s almost impossible to live a life of abundance when you are drowning in a sea of debt and suffering under the strain of financial struggle. So many people are not free to enjoy life simply because they don’t have control over their finances. As a result, they go through life surviving and not truly living.

Thrive!...Affordably, takes the headache and the guesswork out of financial management. It is a monthly “how-to” designed to help the reader meet financial goals one step at a time. The book offers tips, advice, and basic financial management lessons geared towards helping the reader highlight strengths, identify missteps, and take control over finances. If you are looking for a way to permanently free yourself from debt, this book is for you. Jennifer Streaks takes the mystery out of management, making financial freedom attainable for anyone willing to do the work.

You deserve to live your best life. Don’t just survive...Thrive!

Purchase Thrive! ... Affordably: Your month-to-month guide to living your 
BEST life without breaking the bank by Jennifer Streaks

About the Author

Jennifer Streaks
, an Affordable Lifestyle Expert, started her career working in financial compliance for major banking institutions. In 2005, when the economy started a downward spiral and the housing bubble burst, Jennifer, armed with an MBA, found herself at the center of the storm helping individuals save their homes and pay off their credit card debt.

Jennifer has been on every major TV and radio network (MSNBC, FOX, Fox Business, AlJazeera, CCTV, MarketWatch) and has been published in several national magazines providing practical financial advice that everyone and anyone can immediately put to use to see a change in their financial picture. She has also been called on to report on major financial changes and disruptions such as the foreclosure mess, changes in credit card rules, the increase in prepaid debit card usage and the continued shortage of jobs and the impact on the economy.

Consistently, described as “highly intelligent, witty & easy to work with, Jennifer has earned a law degree from Howard University School of Law and an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business.

Follow Jennifer Streaks, MBA, Financial & Affordable Lifestyle Expert 





Jason's Valentine Gift 
by Janice L. Dennie

Jason Underwood returns home from Afghanistan only to find his girlfriend happily married to another man. To help him get some rest, Jason’s sister, Tisha convinces him to accompany her on a vacation to Napa, California to visit their relatives. Upon arrival, Jason realizes the airlines has misplaced his bag containing his pain medication. He visits the local VA hospital where he is treated by Nurse Amber Carrington, who threatens to crack his icy exterior. But Jason is determined not to allow another woman past his carefully guarded heart. 

Amber Carrington is on a mission to heal as many veterans as possible after losing her ex-boyfriend in Afghanistan. To Amber, Lieutenant Jason Underwood comes off as a bossy, commando type of soldier, used to barking out orders to his subordinates. But she’s accustomed to that kind of behavior from her patients, and sees through Jason’s tough exterior. She sees a man who, like her, suffers from a broken heart. Will Jason allow Amber to heal his wounded leg as well as his wounded heart? Will Amber overcome losing her ex-boyfriend?

Note: Kindle eBook Short Read > African American > Romance 

Download Your Copy Today! 

The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting their families. The matriarch of the family, Henrietta Underwood, has dubbed each one of her five grandchildren with a character trait. As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.” He’s protective of his family and environment, and stays busy running his family’s winery. Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. Justin Underwood is “the strong one.” He’s the hotshot civil rights attorney who carries his family with his strength in the court of law. He fights, in court, to protect the woman he loves. But, Ashley Jacobs, has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series takes place in a romantic setting that enhances love, passion and relationships, and changes personalities forever.

Order the complete Underwood's Of Napa Valley (3 Book Series) 

Embracing Black Love by Janice L. Dennie

What’s the difference between Black love, White love, Asian love, Latino love, Native American love or interracial love? We are all God's creations and we all seek to be loved and nutured! But, today my focus is Black Love and I think it comes down to our unique history and the love of our diverse cultures. In writing this article about Black love, I decided to go back to a time in American history, when it was against the law for African Americans to love, marry or have a family. Even under those harsh circumstances, forced laborers still found a way to express their love. Since church weddings were unlawful, they came up with the idea of jumping the broom to demonstrate their love and commitment to each other. 

One thing we have learned throughout American history is that Black love is strong. It has survived the Jim Crow period—a time plagued with unjust laws and rampant lynching. It survived the Greenwood and Rosewood race riots, and others all over the country. It survived the civil rights era when people died fighting segregation and for the right to vote. Black love has survived under the harshest circumstances imaginable.

Today, in the midst of ratchet reality T.V. shows with it fighting, arguing and high drama designed to increase ratings, Black love may appear to be hiding under a rock. But then it raises its beautiful head in the lives of people like President Obama and Michelle, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, and Ruby and Ossie Davis. Black love also shows up in the souls of the people behind the “Black Lives Matter,” movement. 

Even though Black love had a rough beginning, it is still alive and well today. It manifests itself in a young man, working in a low paying job, yearning to give his beloved a five carat diamond ring but expressing his love with a simple gold band that fits his budget. It lives in the life of a young woman fighting to believe that she needs love, even though, her peers tell her that she does not. 

Like breathing air, all humans need to love and be loved by others in order to survive. Even roughneck, bad boy thug types, need love. Some people become lonely and depressed, and commit terrible crimes against humanity, in the absence of love or belonging. The need for love can overpower the need for relationships basic sustenance like bread and water. 

I enjoy writing about love and relationships, because everyone wants to be in love. In my romance novels, I create stories about handsome heroes and feisty heroines who approach love from different perspectives. But love always conquers whatever obstacles my characters face. 

I’m thinking about blogging about love and relationships on my website  Stop by, when you get a chance and tell me what you think about this article. 

Meet the Author

Romance readers everywhere are enamored of Janice L. Dennie's handsome heroes and feisty heroines as they tumble breathlessly in love among the pages of exciting stories set against the backdrop of California's Napa Valley Wine Country. With a sensual voice and luxuriant style reminiscent of the great romance writers, Ms. Dennie's romances are dishes of luscious ice cream with candy sprinkles that keeps readers coming back for more of her smooth literary desserts! 

Born to a military family that settled in San Francisco, California, where Ms. Dennie attended middle and high school. She later graduated from California State University, and began a career with a federal agency. 

Ms. Dennie wrote and published two novels that launched her into the limelight of the romance industry. She continues to write romance novels that have readers reaching for her books time and again as she delivers love stories featuring beautiful, independent women and tall, dark and dangerous men. 

Determined to enjoy her life as she writes her way to the top of the bestseller lists, Ms. Dennie enjoys watching football with her husband, and visiting her family. She still has time to garden, volunteer in her community, and read her beloved romance novels! 

Stamped with her signature of excellence, Ms. Dennie's latest series, THE UNDERWOODS OF NAPA VALLEY series are heartwarming romances woven into the gorgeous tapestry of the wine industry, its lush vineyards and the elegant men and women who still believe in the power of love! To learn more about Janice L. Dennie and her books, visit and indulge in delicious claret of literary pleasure!

Amazon Author Page: 






Her Perfect Catch (A Novella) 
by K.L. Brady

Sometimes love is in your grasp All you have to do is hold on… 

Nerdy, struggling sports writer Melanie Vincent needs a miracle when her dream of running a nationally recognized blog hits a snag due to low readership. After Mel is gifted a pair of Super Bowl tickets for years of faithful dog sitting, she has a chance encounter with her favorite football player that leads to the inside scoop on the biggest story of her career...and maybe the love of a lifetime.

Excerpt: Her Perfect Catch by K.L. Brady 

"Wow. This place is absolutely amazing. You’d think we landed in Italy...or someplace more exotic than, you know, Houston." 

"Yeah, it's kind of romantic, right?" Mel replied. "Well..." Dylan flashed a thin smile.?"I know, I know. Too bad you're stuck with me and Mack, right?"?

"Small sacrifice for a Super Bowl ticket," he replied with a shrug and chuckle. "Anyway, let's get checked in." 

The lobby was no less elegant than the hotel's exteri- or, draped in luxurious natural-colored decor with reddish accents, Italian marble, and ornate European-styled furniture placed in cozy, conversational arrangements. The desk attendant, an older gray-haired lady with a southern twang, shifted her eyes between them. 

"Well, don’t you two make the cutest couple?" 

"We do, don’t we?" Dylan said, wrapping his arm around Mel's shoulder, grinning as if he’d won the lottery. With one eyebrow up, Mel glanced at his hand and then brushed it off. "Uh, no, no. We're best friends." 

"Oh, I get it. Friends with benefits." She winked.?"No, no. Just buddies."?

"Well, if he's not with you"—she reached between her ample bosom and pulled out a business card—“he can give me a call. I get off in an hour." 

"Uh, ma'am, we'd just like to check in, please. Any additional rooms available?" 

She pursed her lips and gave Mel every bit of her atti- tude. "Afraid not. We're all booked up until Monday. Super Bowl." 

Mel handed the woman her credit card, then waited for her to process it for incidentals and pass her the keycards. “Room 315. Up the elevator to the third floor; your room is on the left at the end of the hall.” As Mel dragged her suitcase and Mack toward the elevator, his carrier handle started to cut into her finger so she swapped him for one of Dylan's bags. Then they pressed ahead through the pristine, marble lobby to catch a ride to their room. 

"Mel, why do you keep doing that?" Dylan asked as they waited for the elevator to alert its arrival. 

"Doing what?" 

"Telling everyone we're not together as if I’m a leper or something." 

"If my memory serves me correctly, denying that we're a couple used to be your role. How many times have you told your potential prey that I'm your little sister?" Mel responded, giving him the side eye. "Guess you taught me well, Obi-Wan." 

He grimaced as the elevator doors opened, motioned her inside, and pressed “3.” 

"Listen, I've wanted to talk to you about Gizelle. She didn't cancel. I did...and there's a reason, something I didn't realize until recently." 

"How many times did I tell you Gizelle was all wrong for you?" 

"About a thousand, but that's not what I'm—" 

She let out a long exasperated sigh. "Dylan, while I just love hearing about your sexual exploits and break- ups," she said facetiously, "how about you hold that thought until after I'm out of a hot shower and into some pajamas." 

"But you don't understand. What I'm trying to say is—" 

Just then the doors opened and Mel stepped off the elevator. It was too late when she heard someone yell, "Go deep!" 

An object collided against her temple, causing a dull aching pain to stretch across her skull and into her neck. Dylan's voice screamed, "Watch out!" before all light and sound faded and the hall went black. 

( Continued... )

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

Her Perfect Catch by K.L. Brady, featured in the Valentines Pets & Kisses Box Set with 14 USA Today bestselling, national bestselling, and award winning authors. Only 99 cents until Valentine's Day. 

Amazon Download Link:




Introducing the Black Bird Detective Series by Sage

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assumptions Abound by Sage

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

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

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

Will her life be the ultimate price?


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

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

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

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

And so it began… 

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Continued... )

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

Assumptions Abound by Sage

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


Seeking Truth by Sage

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

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

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

Order Book 2: Seeking Truth by Sage


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

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

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

Order Book 3: Sweet Revenge 

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

Order The Butterfly by Sage
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 
Book 4 in the Black Bird Detective Series
Amazon Link: 






Second House from the Corner: A Novel
by Sadeqa Johnson

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

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


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

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

Excerpt from Second House from the Corner: A Novel


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

The Witching Hour

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

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

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

“But it’s disgusting,” whines Twyla.

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

“Just eat.”

“I have to go pee pee and poo poo.”

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

“Can we just have dessert?”




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

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

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


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

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

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

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

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

“My stomach hurts.”

Rory puts his fork down. “I’m full.”

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

Rory moans. “That’s my boat.” 

“Dad gave it to me.”

“No, he didn’t.”

Breathe. “Cut it out and get undressed.”

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

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


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

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

“Can we have more bubbles?”


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

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

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

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

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

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

But it is.

“You trust me?”

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

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

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

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

“Not short for anything. Just Liv.”

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

( Continued... )

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

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

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About the Author

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





Earth’s Quiet Chaos: A Novel 
by Tomeekha Pitre

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

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

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

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

Excerpt: Chapter 2

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

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

Rashidah holds the tag on a cute shirt and murmurs 

“Look at these high ass prices!” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re right about that!” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Continued... )

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






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

The Sisterhood: Exploring mental freedom through fiction!

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

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

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

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

Special Message From the Author

I wrote the book I wanted to read about strong yet vulnerable and intelligent black women committed to a great and grand goal—mental freedom and empowerment for all. 

The characters in the book are well-developed women, healthy but plagued at times by guilt and self-doubt even as they put on a strong face to the world –— just like many of us. Some are happily married, and some are single, but most of all their focus is not just on their men (or lack thereof) but on their friendship and common goals.

On the surface, The Sisterhood is an epic action-thriller set in the context of a vast business empire. More deeply, the book is about friendships between women as they fight to protect a dream larger than themselves. Set in the not too distant future, The Sisterhood is Afro-futurism, with high stakes conspiracies, financial battles, deadly car chases, double agents, and martial artistry. 

Action-thrillers tend to address some change in the world while literary fiction often addresses the growth of the individual. I was intrigued by the degree to which the transformation of the individual transforms the world. So the book explores how these women evolve as the pressure mounts, and how their new perspectives help them to fulfill their mission. 

Oprah once asked Bishop Desmond Tutu what was required for peace in the world. He answered in a single sentence… “It is time for the women to revolt.” The women in The Sisterhood challenge the status quo by doing just that. 

Who is a woman of the Sisterhood? She could be you or the woman next door. From businesswomen to teachers to any profession, any smart and talented woman you admire could be a secret member of The Sisterhood. 


Friday, December 5th - 2:00 am

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

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

“Do it,” Tonia ordered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Continued... )

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

Download The Sisterhood: Book One 

Amazon Link:
Afro-futurism, African American Fiction; Mystery; Thriller & Suspense

About the Author

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

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

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






Lies of Blue by Lynne Forde

What is the price for fulfilling your dreams?

Lies of Blue is the story about a young woman who tries to reach her dream by making sacrifices. Somewhere along the line, the wrong sacrifices get made. It’s Training Day meets OZ, with a twist of Set It Off.

When Forde gets tired of her dead end job in the City Courts, she embarks on a career in the belly of the beast. With a degree in hand and a little bit of street sense, she decides to try her hand working in River Edge Jail Complex. From day one at the Academy to her last day at Prison, Forde evolves from your average "rookie" into something other than just a woman. To make matters worse, if you put a sexual being in the midst of some of the city’s most conniving men and women, you are bound to come up with something a little kinky and very destructive. The more dangerous the game became, the more erotic the encounters became. She goes from dfficer, to hustler, to victim, to CEO in a matter of 8 years.

#LiesofBlue is an exposé of what goes on in the depths of prison, through the eyes of one woman. Lies of Blue teaches you that there are so many people you may come across in life, you never know who is real and who is fake, but that the journey can become a battle of life or death. Choose wisely. What is the price for fulfilling your dream?


Made Woman

From January to the end of March, Develin was completely engrossed in school. He was learning about cars and automotive technology. Can you imagine how I felt? Actually, I was so happy to see it happening before my eyes. He was becoming a productive member of society. He wasn’t really earning any money, but he was getting welfare and going to school, and after school, he was home studying and being with me. We would share our stories of what happened at work that day and just grow together. I had my boyfriend back. It was great and I proved to myself that you could help a person change their life. Develin was living proof.

I don’t want you to think that things stopped on the job. I was still bringing stuff in to my peoples and paper was steady, thousands! In fact, they were paying my rent; my bills were getting paid. Yo’ Bigs made sure I didn’t want for anything. Each time the orders would get more and more crazy. Yet I was still the girl making it happen. It was a business within my business. I had a job and once I got to work I had a million other things to take care of besides my normal eight-hour B.S. Mr. Big and I were becoming untouchable, or at least we thought so. He made simple requests and I made them happen. The little things can make a bid a little easier to deal with. He kept me laced and I kept him laced as well. He ate only food from the street now, drank Bacardi 151 with every meal. He held me down and I looked after him as if he was my lover. But he was better than a lover, he was straight business and I was making straight paper.

One night in May, I had a job to do. I went to meet Mr. Big’s peeps uptown in Hightown. I picked a spot near Dev’s family; that way I could wait at Dev’s family's for the call from my connect. When the phone call came through it was almost 8:30 at night. They were downstairs and told me to come to the car on the corner. I told them what I had on, but they already knew all about me—who I was, what I looked like, the whole nine. When I came out of the building, the only car I saw was a brand spanking new Lincoln Town Car, limo style, with tinted windows and the whole nine. The plates weren't livery, so somebody important owned this fly ride. I started walking towards the car and the locks popped open. A guy jumped out of the front and opened the door for me in the back. 

“How you doing?” he asked. 

“Fine,” I responded, as I got in the back of this Signature Series Stinkin’ Lincoln and the guy next to the driver handed me a box. 

“This is what my man needs you to bring to his people. Can you get it to them? See, he wants to make his anniversary special, so he got this for his wife. Can you make sure she gets it, so that she has it on in the visit?” 

Without hesitation, I said, “Yes.” 

“Yo’ anything you need you just let me know and I can do it for you. You're like family to us now. So if anybody hurts you, they hurt us, and we ain’t gonna have that, you understand?” 


“This car is going to take you home or wherever you want to go from here.” He handed me a piece of paper with a phone number scribbled on it. “I’m J.D. and if you need me for anything, money, problems, whatever…get in touch with me.” Before he left the car, he told the driver to take me wherever I wanted to go. Then he gave me five, we shook and he got out of the limo. 

As I sat in the car alone, I thought about what was said to me. I knew the depth of what was being put upon me and I knew that I was now a Made Woman. Death before dishonor! I will not tell! I opened the box to see what it was I needed to get to his wife tomorrow. I wasn't ready for what I saw. I pulled out the black velvet box and opened it up in the back of the dark limo, with tinted windows. My heart stopped as I took a deep breath and held it! I swear to God I had never seen anything like this in my entire life. If there was ever a question of how much dough this boy was working with, this ceased all doubts. It was a set of teardrop pink diamond earrings over fifty carats in diamonds. OH MY FREAKING GOODNESS! I was so stuck I forgot to breathe again. “Where to, ma'am?” the driver continued asking me, but I didn't hear him until about the fourth time he asked. I was in a totally dark car. I pushed down the window so I could get some air, the light from the streetlight above caught the earrings and they turned blue. It lit up the entire back of the car like a disco ball from back in the days at the club. I could have read the newspaper to this light. I was impressed! Oh hell yeah, I was impressed! And now I was in the family! That night Develin hung out and I wasn’t mad. Though things were all gravy between us, there was no need for him to know about this. 

It was time to not tell him so much of what was going on, cause if he ever wanted to tell, he didn’t need to know everything.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Lies of Blue by Lynne Forde
Urban Life; Thrillers & Suspense; Crime Fiction

About the Author

Producer /Filmmaker/ Author/Screenwriter- Lynne Forde

Lynne Forde is currently producing both film and television projects. Saffyre’s debut project “Lies of Blue” is based on the debut novel from author Lynne Forde. This project is being produced as a feature film and will be marketed at the major film festivals including Toronto, Tribeca, and Cannes. She has received critical acclaim for both the screenplay and the novel Lies of Blue, which has just been created as a short film. Ms. Forde was accepted to the Producers Network in 2012 to the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes France. The short film Lies of Blue was also official selection for the AAWIC in 2012 and the San Diego Black Film Festival in 2013. Her documentary “GRINDING” – Lynne Forde’s up close and personal interview with music legends The Poindexters was accepted to San Diego Black Film Festival and won Audience Choice at the Poconos Mountain Film Festival in 2014.

Lynne is the producer and co-writer for the documentary “GRINDING” – Lynne Forde’s up close and personal interview with music legends The Poindexters. She is currently filming the episodic series “The Gray Area”. 

In May 2014, Lynne became the Director of the African American Women in Cinema's Florida Chapter. Whether writing or producing, Lynne is constantly working to move herself and films of color forward to a higher level. Lynne Forde is positioning herself to be an irresistible force in the industry.

Lynne Forde, Saffyre Entertainment Inc.





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Reviews: When a Man Loves a Woman 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Hands Off My Man 
by Monica Lynne Foster

A Chanelle Series Novel – Book 2

Chanelle Slate believes she has it all. Beauty, a six-figure career, love of family, and a ride or die best friend. But the best part of her life is that she’s in love with a man she’d only dreamed about. She knows her marriage proposal is around the corner and she can’t wait to be Mrs. Chanelle Faust. Then she meets her man’s ex, and discovers his ex suffers from a mental illness. Will Chanelle find a way to keep her man without crossing the line and driving his ex over the edge?

Twyla Logan-Faust is used to being a kept woman. But when her boyfriend is sentenced to life without parole and her accountant takes off with her money, her world falls apart. She turns to her ex-husband, Rick, hoping to resume her position as his wife. Rick is the only man who knows about her bipolar condition and he’s the only one she can trust. Even when she discovers he’s moved on, she remains confident that no other woman can replace her. With a little coaxing, she’s positive she’ll be Mrs. Twyla Faust again.

Rick Faust is caught in the middle. His love for Chanelle is undeniable, but he was married to Twyla for years. He knows Twyla’s condition is real and he’s worried about what she might do if he rejects her. It’s impossible to make both women happy and he realizes his decision will change all of their lives forever.

The battle is on! With both women determined to be the new Mrs., who will be able to say… Hands Off My Man!

Hands Off My Man Book Reviews 

I'm telling you, within a year, this is a writer everyone will know. 
– Victoria Christopher Murray, award-winning author of Stand Your Ground

Monica Lynne Foster is an extraordinary new voice in African American fiction whose writing captivates you from beginning to end. The novel is intriguing, loving, suspenseful and well written. 
– Maria D. Williams, Film/TV Producer 

Reading Monica's story was a pleasure. She has created characters that leap off the page, and she has captured the secret formula to crafting a great novel. 
– Richelle Denise, Co-Author of Pay Day

Hands Off My Man captured my attention at page one. This is sign of a great read when you care about the characters! Monica Lynne Foster does that well. 
– Carolyn Barry-Ginyard

This is the first piece of literature I have read by Mrs. Foster and it will not be the last. She keeps her readers on the edge of their seat from page one. It is a must read. 
– Kanika N Payne, Greensboro NC

Using the precision of an expert weaver, Monica has crafted a tale of mystery and intrigue, while also calling attention to the issue of mental illness. This book is definitely a must read! 
– Arnitris L. Strong, Creator of 

Monica has done it again! Reading this book was very enjoyable. I could not tear myself away. This book contains all of the good stuff. It is juicy, has action, emotions, thrills, and chills. 
– Debbie Greggs

I read this book without reading the first book in the series, but I wasn't disappointed! Monica's writing style is easy to read and straight to the point, which made it easy to follow the storyline. Great read! 
– Rochelle Prestage

Excerpt from Hands Off My Man

Chapter 1 – Chanelle Slate

Did my boyfriend’s ex-wife really call and say she was taking him back from me? I looked over at him, sitting on the couch watching television, and my spirit filled with more love than I ever thought was possible. He was everything I’d asked God to bring me. Strong arms that held me when I needed it. Hazel eyes that looked at me with passion, love, and the right amount of lust. Broad shoulders designed just for me to lean on. And deep pockets that allowed him to spoil me. But the best part of my man, was his big heart. A heart that had enough room to love me unconditionally. I could feel my marriage proposal coming and I was excited about starting our life together as one. And then I got that call from that heifer.

Well, actually, it wasn’t me she called. It was him. A week ago today, Rick received a call from Twyla, but I was the one who answered his phone. I thought back to that day…

“Hey, sweetie,” Rick said, meeting me out on the deck where I was grilling salmon and asparagus.

“Hey, babe.” I greeted him with a peck on the lips. “Dinner is almost ready so go wash your hands.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he joked, and set his sunglasses and phone on the table before heading inside.

As he walked out of the sunroom, his phone rang. “Babe, would you grab that?”

Still smiling, I said, “I got it.” I glanced at the caller ID and it said, “Unknown.”


“Who is this?” a female voice asked.

“Who is this?” I responded with my own question.

“This is Rick’s wife. Twyla.”

I was taken aback. “Excuse me, but don’t you mean his ex-wife?” I corrected her.

“Once a wife, always a wife. Now is Rick there?” she demanded. “Because I want to speak with my husband.”

Was she serious? “My man is unavailable at the moment, but I’ll tell him you called. Would you like to leave a message?”

In a tone drenched with sex, she replied, “Humph. Yeah, as a matter of fact I do. You tell him that we’re not over. I’m comin’ back to take what’s mine. He knows the number. Have him call me.” Then she hung up before I had a chance to respond.

“Babe, who was on the phone?” Rick asked, coming up behind me and nuzzling my neck.

I turned to face him. “That was your ex-wife. She said to call her. She wants you back.” I pushed the cell phone into his chest and stormed out of the room.

He was speechless and in an instant, I saw the peace of my life shatter. I had a feeling I would be calling Michele later that evening because I had a problem and she was the only one I trusted to help me fix it.

And I did call Michele, who was my best friend since childhood, and my ride or die when necessary. She’d been married for years and told me that it wasn’t unusual for a woman to occasionally reach out to her ex to test the water. She said I handled it appropriately and not to worry. I was reminded that Rick was in love with me and wasn’t going back to Twyla. But I’d wasted the better part of my twenties and the beginning of my thirties with a man who I discovered was on the down low. Now that I had Rick and the love I wanted, I wasn’t going to let anything steal my future. A future that I’d waited far too long to become my present.

Rick reassured me that he hadn’t loved her in years and I had nothing to fear. But still, I didn’t like the fact that she’d resurfaced after so much time had passed. There was no way any good would come of her return and I was going to nip this, whatever ‘this’ was, in the bud.

( Continued... )

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

Order Hands Off My Man by Monica Lynne Foster
A Chanelle Series Novel – Book 2
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit 





Bad Choices Can Be Deadly 
by Monica Lynne Foster

A Chanelle Series Novel – Book 1

Even beautiful, professional, successful women can have relationship drama. And that's Chanelle Slate. First she catches her boyfriend of 12 years in a compromising position. In their bed. And she makes it clear to him and his new lover how she feels about his betrayal. Then, against heavenly advice, she seeks comfort in the arms of her married colleague... until he decides to work on his marriage and moves out of state with his wife. 

By the time the love she's wanted all of her adult life is finally in front of her, the mistakes, and sins, of her past come back to haunt her. And she quickly learns that it will be impossible for everyone to make it out alive.

Bad Choices Book Review 

Monica Lynne Foster is an excellent writer. Just excellent. In her novel, Bad Choices Can Be Deadly, she had my heart racing, trying to figure out who was stalking. It was well-written, fast-paced, a true page-turner. 
Victoria Christopher Murray, Author of Stand Your Ground

Chapter Excerpt from Bad Choices Can Be Deadly


I dropped the handle of my suitcase. “What are you doing?” I screamed to my boyfriend of 12 years as he scrambled to cover himself and I picked up my emergency baseball bat by the side of my bed.

“Chanelle! Chanelle! I can explain.”

I swung the bat and lucky for him he ducked, because the whack of the bat put a nice size dent in my headboard. “You can’t possibly explain this!” My eyes had to be betraying me. There was no way I’d just come home from a business trip and found the love of my life in our bed with his personal trainer. His male personal trainer.

“Honest to God, Chanelle, this isn’t what it looks like!” He held his arms out in front of him, in a futile attempt to block the inevitable future swing of my get-even tool. 

“Don’t you dare bring God into your sordid mess! It’s exactly what it looks like! How could I have been so stupid to trust you and give you 12 years of my life! 12! Ugh!” I said, as I swung again, missing him, but connecting with my lamp. Then I turned my fury on Rocco. “And you! I welcomed you into my home!”

“It’s not my fault you can’t give him what I can,” the home wrecker taunted me.

“Not now, Rocco,” Michael yelled. 

We’d been together long enough for Michael to know what I was capable of doing, and at this moment, I was thinking I could handle a 20-year bid at the state prison. “Get out! Both of you get out!”

They jumped out of the bed without a stitch of clothing and bent down to pick up their pants. 

“No! You don’t get to put on clothes,” I continued shouting, while brandishing my bat.

“Chanelle, it’s winter and it’s freezing outside,” my now ex pleaded.

“You say that like I care! You have exactly one second to be out of my house or I swear to God, I’m gonna catch a case. Now go!”

I chased them down the steps and out my front door. Watching them run butt naked and barefoot down the snowy street of my posh subdivision was suddenly comical. And I began laughing. I sat on the porch and laughed until I cried. But the tears of humor quickly turned to tears of pain as the betrayal set in. Pain that what I thought was a solid relationship was really a sham. Pain that I’d wasted years of my life with a man who could never be committed to me. Pain that I was now… alone.

Chapter 1

One Month Later

“Michael, what are you doing here?” I said when I opened my door and saw my ex standing on my porch…with his new lover.

“We’re here to give you this,” he said, handing me a piece of paper.

I looked at it trying to make out what I was reading. “What is it?”

“You’ve been served.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me.”

“You’re suing me?”

“He’s not,” his lover chimed in, while holding Michael’s hand. “I am.”

“This must be a joke.”

“It’s no joke, missy. I’ll see you in court,” the man stealer said, whipping his neck around as though he had long hair instead of a bald head.

I turned on Michael. “And you’re just going to stand here and let him do this to me? Like I never meant anything to you?” I screamed, waving the paper that cemented his betrayal.

“Chanelle, you burned all of my stuff. Everything I owned. So yeah, I’m behind Rocco on this.”

I thought about the bonfire I’d had right after his breach of trust. He was right. I set everything he had ablaze. Even got a fine from the city because of the fire. But it was worth it when he showed up with the moving truck the following day and I handed him pictures of ashes. It would make more sense if he was suing me. But Rocco? What did I do to him? 

I watched Rocco and the man I once loved with everything in me walk down my steps and get into their car. Then I groaned and shut the door on a chapter of my life that was closed forever. 

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Bad Choices Can Be Deadly – A Chanelle Series Novel – Book 1







Jacob’s Eyes by Anita Ballard-Jones

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

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

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

Intimate Conversation with Anita Ballard-Jones

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

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? 
I was in my early fifties, not like most writers who say they had been writing for as long as they could remember. My unpublished manuscript, Broken Bond, is a memoir about my young life and relationship with my brother who had special needs. It was completed twenty years ago and it was not written for publication. I just needed a vessel to pour out my soul and to come to terms with the issue of the purpose of life for those individual having serious developmental disabilities. I had lived and worked with special needs children and adults almost all of my life and I was searching for their purpose. By the time I completed this manuscript I was at peace; I felt blessed and had my answers. A few months later, I believed the Lord handed me my gift of writing and I wrote the first one hundred pages of the acclaimed Rehoboth Road in just fourteen hours.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
I love to write, but I don’t have a writing routine. I am retired and I am not looking for a career. My greatest joy is pleasing my readers. Sometimes I’ll write a very short story, and other times that short story could be as long as 7,000 words. I don’t push my writing or write outlines; I wait. I guess you could say I wait on the Lord; He sends me pictures and somehow I know it’s going to be another novel. I only create when I’m inspired by my pictures. 
If I don’t have the inspiration to create, and I want to work, I use the time for refinement and editing. 

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish? 
Yes, after I completed Rehoboth Road, I sent out fifty query letters just to locate an agent and I received fifty rejections. Then, I self-published and sold over three thousand copies. Within that year I signed with a publishing company that never paid my royalties on time, if at all. The one great thing they did was sell my book to Black Expressions Book Club, and I knew I had arrived, even after being contractually cheated on this sale. I found a loophole in the contract and was released from my second book deal and vowed to remain a self-publish author. I told myself that my joy comes from writing and pleasing my fans, and with the proper branding agent and publicist, I could do a very good job marketing myself. 

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
Yes, all of my books stewed with the exception of The Dancing Willow Tree. This book is the sequel to Rehoboth Road. I received hundreds of emails from my readers requesting a sequel; many people made suggestions of what they thought should happen. I was inspired, I had my visual images, my fans suggestions, and a few twist in mind; The Dancing Willow Tree was completed in three months. 

BPM: Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change? 
Without questioning the Lord, I wish I had received my gift when I was younger, but the Lord knows best. I wonder if I would have appreciated it, would I have earn my lifetime experience badge or if I would have had the time to dedicate to the craft? Sometimes I think, if I could have accomplish writing success back in my earlier life I might have been another Alice Walker or Toni Morrison, not for the fortune, but for the pleasure of knowing something I created bought pleasure to so many people.

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner? 
I believe the real hurdle is the process of editing. I have hired a professional editor and have used my edit team and there were still problems. Other than the editing process, researching self-publishing and learning all of the aspects of the process are the hardest. 

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
Be able to respond positively to constructive criticism. A writer should never believe they are so great that they have nothing to learn about their craft. 

BPM: Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on many levels. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
Growing up, I always wanted to be a registered nurse. There were two professions I didn’t want any part of, a medical doctor or a writer. The novels, Little Women, Clarence Darrow and Return of the Native, and the likes, really turned me off during my high school literature classes. I cried through them; I am a pre-baby-boomer who attended George Wingate High School in Brooklyn, New York when the African American student enrollment was only two percent. No one told me about Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, James Baldwin and the others. If you didn’t know about the Harlem Renaissance, you didn’t know to ask and seek it out. I remember standing outside a theater on Manhattan’s Broadway, staring at the marquee and large posters of the play, Porgy and Bess.

 It was hard to believe these were black people like me, doing what white people did. It seems so funny now, but today’s young people believe they have been robbed of opportunity and I wish I could take them back to my early time and shake them. I discovered my worth as an individual early in life, having a very successful career and lifetime experiences. I said I didn’t want to be a doctor, but I became a Treatment Team Leader, whereas I managed an interdisciplinary treatment team which included medical doctors and twenty years of report writing was the precursor to my writing profession in retirement. And now I write.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us?  Introduce us to your characters.
In this dark time in our history, two brothers, Jacob and Jackson shared the same loving father, the same mansion home, but were separated by age and the circumstances of life; Jacob, a mulatto slave and Jackson, the sole heir to their father’s plantation. They were mirror images of each other, both tall and having golden hair, blue eyes and creamy white complexion. Jacob had the soul of a black man and Jackson’s soul was only fed by cruelty, possessions and hatred. Once Jacob was free it wasn’t long before he realized that passing for white was a powerful weapon to be used to free his enslaved family and friends, specially his black pearl, Sula who was pregnant with his child. Nothing could stop him in his quest to reach the safety of Canada before the start of the Civil War, not even murder, assault, thievery or arson. He found great pleasure standing his ground against other white people. 

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

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? 
This is a book of historical fiction, pre-Civil War (1860). With the exception of my memoir, most of the time I write fiction, but I tend to write in different eras from 1950 through 1990. As mentioned earlier, my inspiration comes in the form of pictures. I have my ideas of what I want to write about, but after a few paragraphs my story will take on its own life. Very often this dictates the era, storyline, characters and location. For example, someone once told me my grandfather walked from northern North Carolina to south central Virginia. I was thinking what it must have been like for a black man to walk alone on a country road around 1900. The next thing I knew I was writing Jacobs Eyes. My grandfather was a short, small framed man, with ebony colored skin and nappy hair, and Jacob was tall, well built, blue eyes, golden hair and a white complexion. The only thing they had in common was that they walked on the road. 

BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject? 
I don’t necessary set out to educate, but my goal is to keep my stories socially clean, historically accurate, entertaining and inspiring. I research even the smallest issue. In my book, Rehoboth Road, I wanted one of my characters to purchase a specific type of car. When I researched the car I found out it had not come out for another five years. In Jacob’ Eyes, I had to learn about growing cotton, the railroad lines that were running in 1860, what shipping lines were sailing. How Lincoln was placed on the ballot, and most of all, documents related to the sale and release of slaves and many other issues. To say the least, I was educated and inspired during the writing of this novel and I hope and pray others will learn from it too.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing this book?
Yes, first of all I received a history lesson, and then I learned about herbal tea, juju bags secondary railroad cars, Southern myths and much more. Most of all I learn about myself and to appreciate my gift. I had not worked at writing a novel in some time. My pictures were there for me, but I allowed life and circumstances to pull me away from what I really love doing. I have to say thank you to Jacob’s Eyes for reminding me of my gift and to be grateful to my Lord for it.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book? Why now?
I did give mainstream publishing serious thought, then I remembered my previous experience and I was not willing to lose my literary rights to my work forever. But I am like an abused woman, time will tell.

BPM: What would you like to accomplish after this book is released?
I just want to keep writing and promoting my work. I love public speaking and traveling, so with the release of this book I will be destination bound. 

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
Just enjoy this book for its historical quality and storyline. This is not just another slave book; this is a book where the slaves win. This is a feel good book that will leave the reader saying, “Yes!” Spread the word: ask their local libraries to order it, ask their school board to place it in their high school libraries, introduce it to historically black colleges and universities, suggest it to book clubs, share the book with a young adult and don’t forget to write me and share their thoughts and feeling.

BPM: What are your career goals as a writer? Have you accomplished most of them?
I am retired and I write to please my readers. My goal is to continue writing and sell, sell, sell my work. Nothing makes me happier than to have my fans love my work. My goal is to have a well known name in the industry and I have no accomplished that. 

BPM: What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?
There are people, other than my family, who appreciate what I have to offer. My family loves me unconditionally. My fans love me and my work; that’s why I always want to give them my very best.

BPM: What are some of the benefits of being an author that makes it all worthwhile?
Being an author, actor, singer or whatever, it really does not matter. We are all people first. Even if I were a filthy rich author it wouldn’t make a different to me; being a good person is more important. For me, the only benefits of being an author are my personal satisfaction and knowing I have made other people happy. This is my gift, but Dear Lord, I always prayed to be a great singer, but I guess You know what’s best for me, so thank you Lord.

BPM: What are you the most thankful for now?
I am most thankful for my Lord and Savior, life and good health, family, friends, my gift, fans and a good life. I am truly blessed; I have it all.

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Study and do your research before you decide, and then learn to do as much as you can for yourself.

BPM: Finish this sentence - “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors...”
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors because I try to write unforgettable novels that provide teachable moments without an expiration date.”

BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what's next? 
My long term goal for the next year is to produce my first manuscript, Broken Bond, my memoir, as well as a book of short stories and to continue as a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel monthly news magazine, A Better You,

BPM: How may our readers follow you online? 
All of my novels can be purchased at or, or your favorite online bookstore!
* Rehoboth Road
* The Dancing Willow Tree
* Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down
* Jupiter's Corner
* Jacob's Eyes

Email Anita Ballard Jones:



Barnes & Noble 

Facebook Fanpage 




One Sunday at a Time by E. N. Joy 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You call this helping me?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Continued... )

Meet the Author

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

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

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

You can visit BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy at or email her at

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





Sin and Suffer 
by Beverly Taylor 

Have you ever wondered whether the sins of your ancestors have an effect on your life today? Are generational curses real?

Meet Big Blue. The husband of the pastor's daughter. Big Blue suffers with sexual addiction. His sickness leads to deviant activities and eventually his death. He leaves behind five children, three from his wife and two from his prostitute lover. He passes his lustful spirit to his offspring. Or have he? 

A son of Big Blue is Willie Moss, alias Ba'Bruh, alias, Rev. William Braxton. Ba’Bruh has lead a life of havoc, destruction, deception, wickedness, and everything in between. But it's not all his fault. In the 1960's, at the age of 12, his grandmother, a highly respected pastor of a pentecostal church in the town of Cottonplant, Georgia, forced him to commit murder and then she ran him out of town so that it could not be traced back to her.

Ba'Bruh lives in the streets and in and out of prison for most of his young adulthood before he is sentenced to a lengthy prison term as a result of a corrupted district attorney name Nick Papally. Ba'Bruh became Nick's street informant and Nick sets him up to commit a bank robbery which Ba'Bruh is later identified as the armed robber. When he is released from prison, Nick offers him a life as a well-paid preacher of a large congregation where the two of them become involved in fraudulent ministry.

However, the table turns when Ba'Bruh meets Nick's wife and falls in love with her. Ba'Bruh wrestles with the notion of plotting to interfere in his marriage so that he can have his wife. But when the DNA results came back regarding Nick's stepdaughter's child, it revealed that Nick was the biological father and he is sent to prison for statutory rape, sodomy, and impregnating a minor. While Nick is in prison, the associate pastor finds out that Ba'Bruh is a fraud and she plots to have him removed from the church so that she can resume the senior pastor position that she has long lusted after.

We also meet Big Blue's other children: Vivian, Luther and Paula. These are the children he conceived with his wife. Vivian is a prostitute and Luther is homosexual. Paula seems to be the only child untouched by her father's curse of sexual perversion.

Big Blue's twins, Lil' Gurl and Ba' Bruh, from his extra-marital affair with a prostitute, play a crucial role in all of the family drama. It is interesting to see how the lives of all of these characters play a role in Nick's life in the most unusual and explosive ways.

Many sinister and vile occurrences take place within the story such as adultery, prostitution, murder and deadly violence. The characters are confronted with continuous accounts of sheer madness due to their perfidious and wretched lifestyles, primarily refocusing on Blue’s and Nick’s lifestyle.

Hold on to your seat and your stomach because you are about to embark upon the roller coaster ride of your life! Sin and Suffer has suspense, deception, lust, debauchery, lies, malice, and more! It's mayhem with a message.

Excerpt: Sin and Suffer by Beverly Taylor

At exactly 9:14 a.m., two black men wearing eye masks entered the Wellington National Trust Bank. One of them jumped over the counter waiving a .38 special, blue steel, snubnose pistol with a walnut grain handle, shouting, “Ev’body down. Ev’body hit the flo’ an’ keep yawl head down.”

One of the four customers that were in line had lain on her stomach and tried to take a sneak peek. “Don’t look at me! Don’t yawl freakin’ look at me! I said keep yawl head down,” he yelled mercilessly. The woman quickly tucked her head inside her arm.

His partner pulled the shades down on the doors and front windows and yelled at the two tellers to pull the shade at the drive-thru. The robber standing on the counter looked at the overweight security guard and told his partner to grab his gun. The security guard offered no resistance. He said, “Yawl go ’head, it ain’t my money. Take whatever yawl want, just don’t hurt nobody.” The way he was carrying on, one would think he was in on it too.

One gentleman, probably the branch manager, was standing at a file cabinet in his large window office. He was reviewing papers he’d pulled from a hanging file. If he’d been sitting at his desk, he might’ve had time to press the emergency button underneath it to signal for help.

“C’mon up outta there,” the bank robber standing on the counter yelled at him. “Close that doe and don’t try no funny stuff either. You try to be a super hero and you’ll end up a dead one.” The branch manager was moving in slow motion. “Hurry up, man,” the robber snapped. “Get over there with the rest of ’em.” The robber’s gun followed the professionally dressed supervisor cautiously. The man dropped to his knees and landed face down to join the others.

The bandit standing on the counter was handsome. He had a tree trunk colored complexion, full lips, and beautiful straight teeth. All he needed was a good dental hygienist to clean them. His beard and mustache needed trimming and his hair could stand to be re-braided.

The other thief was clean-shaven. He had a wide nose and thick lips to match. His hair locked into dreads. He looked fresh—styling and profiling in some overpriced, name brand gear called PEEPS. His entire upper grill was solid platinum with a dollar symbol engraved on a front tooth. It appeared as if they’d pulled this gig before in order for him to afford that expensive cheese work.

“Man, hurry up and get the money!” the handsome one snapped at his partner as he alternated pointing his gun at everyone.

“Ain’t no need in me just aimin’ this gun on Barney Fife,” the one with the wide nose said, pointing it at the security guard. “Yawl prob’ly could care less if he got shot—so long as it ain’t yawl—right?” he snickered. “Look like you been eatin’ a lot of Aunt Bee’s apple pies there, Fife.” He laughed at the security guard’s overlapping gut.

“Man, shut up! You talk too doggone much! This ain’t no Showtime at the Appollo. Just handle yo bi’ness,” the handsome one chastised his crime buddy. He was serious, stern, and all about business. “Hurry up, lady! Bofa yawl. Put all of it in the bag.” He continued pointing his gun at them and flashed a hardcore wrestler’s look with his lips. “All of it lady! Hurry up!” he yelled and cussed at the jarred tellers. “Keep yawl hands on top and yawl feet back. Don’t try nut’n stupid. I mean it! ’Cause I’ll pop bofa yawl bahinds.”

He glanced over at a woman who looked to be in her seventies. She was quietly whispering the name, Jesus. Probably somebody’s grandma withdrawing money from her skimpy retirement or meager Social Security account to pay a bail bondsman to get her own grandboy outta jail. She may very well be the reason why no one got hurt.

“I told yawl I don’t wanna hurt nobody. I just want the money and dip.” After having said that, he snatched the two bags from the tellers and jumped off the counter. The robbers put their guns in the back waistbands of their pants, pulled off the masks and tucked them in their pockets. Then they took off like they heard the snap of a cap gun at a racetrack. It took less than five minutes. Ironically, during the holdup, there were no drive thru customers and no one else came in the bank. Most of the money came from out of the opened safe.

It was all planned. The big nose bandit ran north while the handsome one ran south, rushing over to stash the money bags in the hiding place before running down the steps to catch the train. They would meet up somewhere later to split the filthy lucre.

There was a neighborhood police precinct about a mile down the road, but this was the ’hood and the bandits figured it would take the uniform boys long enough to have a cup of coffee and a danish before arriving at the scene of the crime. They were right.

A short, young, black male came from out of nowhere. He had a shaved head that shined like crystal and he looked clean in his plaid shirt and nicely pressed bluejeans. He ignored the train-fare by jumping over the revolving bars to follow the handsome bandit down the stairs. “Hey, man! Ho’lup,” he shouted, sticking his first finger in the air, gesturing the bandit to stop walking so he could catch up to him.

The bandit turned to see who it was.

“Why’d you set that dude back there on fire?” the stranger accused, slightly out of breath.

“What? Wha’chu talkin’ ’bout, punk?”

“You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout. Why’d you set him on fire?”

“Set who on fire?” His fierce eyes roamed the stranger’s physique. “Punk! You’d bett’ get outta my face talkin’ some stupid crap like that!”

“I was ’cross’n duh street tryna hustle dis,” the stranger said, and showed the bandit a box containing an imitation diamond ring. “Dat’s when I saw you set duh bruhvah on fire. I saw you, man. I saw wha’chu did.” His eyes quickly scanned the area to protect the privacy of his conversation. “But look here.” He offered the ring to the bandit. “Here ya go. Just gimmie twennie dollahs and I didn’t see nut’n,” he conned.

The hustler studied the bandit’s expression while waiting for a response. He repeatedly outlined his neatly trimmed goatee with his index finger and thumb, in circular motion.

The bandit thought about sucker punching him, but didn’t want to draw attention.

The train was approaching. The con man tugged on the bandit’s arm attempting to keep his attention. “Cum’on, man. Dis a good deal right ‘ere.”

Aggravated, the bandit pulled out his gun, ready to shoot the con artist.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Sin and Suffer by Beverly Taylor
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Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom 
by Alysia Burton Steele

GLORIA STEINEM - This window into the Mississippi Delta is a labor of love by Alysia Steele -- to bring us the lives of the warrior queens and rescuers known as grandmothers. To meet them is to be rescued and inspired. If they did so much, who are we not to do whatever we can? Buy the book!

Feeling the emotional pull to reconnect to her grandmother’s wisdom and her African-American heritage, award winning photojournalist, Alysia Burton Steele, embarked on a personal mission to interview, photograph, and document Mississippi Delta women of her grandmother’s generation. Their stories and portraits are beautifully captured in Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom. 

Mrs. Tennie S. Self shares her experience of buying a new Cadillac and her right to have “Mrs.” by her name in the telephone book: “I just speak and if I have to die for what I believe in, then so be it.”

Mrs. Lillie B. Jackson, whose husband prepared Emmett Till’s body for his funeral, shares family stories and how she does the best that she can as a mother.

Mrs. Myrlie Evers, widow of Civil Rights leader, Medgar Evers discusses her grandmother and the power of prayer.

Mrs. Lillis M. Roberts expresses pride in her activity in the NAACP, as the first Black citizen in Coffeeville, MS to register to vote.

Each experience is as different as the woman who lived it, yet all of their experiences have a common landscape, the Mississippi Delta. Alysia Burton Steele complements the rich narrative with her poignant photographs illuminating her appreciation of each of the precious Jewels, who have endured inequality, injustice and heart-wrenching tragedy. 

These inspiring portraits reflect the faces of love and triumph that will inspire readers to hold on to their faith and exhibit courage in the most challenging or ordinary circumstances.


LEONARD PITTS, JR. - Delta is a place in memory–a repository of the cotton we picked, the "Whites Only" signs we obeyed, the strange fruit found hanging in the trees and bobbing in the rivers during the long, strange night of Jim Crow's America. Veteran photojournalist Alysia Burton Steele plumbs that place in memory through the words and images of over 50 ordinary mothers who made it through and emerged with tales to tell.  
—Leonard Pitts, Jr., nationally syndicated columnist and author of Freeman

RACHEL ELIZA GRIFFITHS - Alysia Burton Steele’s Delta Jewels presents to us a visual landscape of immeasurable wealth, wisdom, and dignity. We witness truth, history, memory, and the unforgettable legacy of fifty extraordinary women who share their stories and lives with us. Steele’s photographs are hymns, diamonds, work songs, and enduring fields of the South’s strongest flowers. Their faces and voices speak clearly in the bright gospel of Steele’s intimate and spiritual testimony. Here, you will find in the honor of Steele’s portraits, again and again, the triumph of joy and survival in the church of elder women's eyes that shine back at you. 
—Rachel Eliza Griffiths, photographer, author of Mule & Pear, and recipient of the 2012 Inaugural Poetry Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association

SUSAN GLISSON - “It has been said that when an old person dies, a library burns to the ground. Alysia Steele's Delta Jewels prevents the tragedy of such a monumental loss by lovingly documenting and curating the powerful stories of these amazing Mississippi women. They are the stories that our culture most often overlooks, underestimates, or denies, but exactly the ones we most need to hear in our troubled times, if we are to learn of grace and dignity and resilience and liberation.”
—Susan M. Glisson, Executive Director, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. 

Excerpt - Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom

My paternal grandmother, Mrs. Althenia Aiken Burton, died in 1994. Although I’ve taken photos since I was 15 years old, I never thought about taking Gram’s photograph or recording her voice when she was alive. When we’re young, we think we’re going to live forever and just assume our family will, too.

I missed her increasingly over the years. Time didn’t stop my brain from trying to remember, having regrets, wondering what I could have done to preserve every single thing about her, before her ways, her tone, the color of her nail polish, her mannerisms, her looks at me became a shadow of a memory.

Gram was originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina, not too far from Aiken. My great grandma Marie Aiken never talked about her upbringing, but their name, “ Aiken,” and roots made me think they were enslaved. As a Northerner, when I ventured to Mississippi to accept a teaching position in 2012, I saw cotton for the first time and began to wonder about my black family. Gram Larson, my white grandmother, is amazing at family history. That side of my family knows our history from County Meath, Ireland. This photographic journey began because I wanted to connect with my black side, the black women of my grandmother’s generation. How many picked cotton, were treated poorly, and took beatings? 

That’s what I wondered when I saw the rows of cotton growing in the Mississippi Delta and took my first photo of it in 2013. I have severe asthma and allergies, which worsened in Mississippi because all this greenery doesn’t agree with me, but even with allergies, it’s beautiful. It feels just like the cotton balls that I buy in a plastic bag at a drugstore. When I drove past the cotton fields, darn it if I didn’t start thinking about my grandmother and how much I missed her. I wondered what she would think if she saw the cotton.

I had a successful career as a newspaper photojournalist and picture editor for 12 years. I was on the Dallas Morning News photo staff that won a Pulitzer Prize for its Hurricane Katrina photographic coverage. I was a picture editor on staff and called my supervisor before the storm touched down. 

“The storm sounds worse than expected,” I told him.

“I think we should send more staff.” 

“You make a decision,” he told me, and so I started calling the staff to see who would start the trek to New Orleans. 

As I photographed vast fields of snowy flowers, I wondered if Gram would be proud of my accomplishments, what she’d think of me living in the South, if Gram would be proud of me teaching at a university. She never wanted me to be a photographer. She worried I would not find employment and make a decent living. 

“How many black girls from Harrisburg made a living in photography?” she’d ask me. 

I would do anything to hear her voice one more time. How I wish I’d captured her image and voice.

“I could honor her memory by recording stories from other grandmothers of her generation,” I said to myself. 

I began to interview and photograph grandmothers in Mississippi, my new home state. These Delta grandmothers are matriarchs to their families, like my grandmother. They are ordinary women, like Gram, who have lived extraordinary lives under the harshest conditions of the Jim Crow era and were on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. They are church women. I needed help finding the women who would help me find memories of my grandmother and honor her.

“Would you help me find black pastors who might introduce me to their ‘mothers of the church’?” 

I asked Clarksdale mayor Bill Luckett, a white man. Bill e-mailed me five names and churches and told me that Rev. Juan Self pastors the first church where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke outside Atlanta. Going to the church where King spoke gave me chills. Rev. Self is also the architect who renovated the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. (The museum celebrated its reopening in April 2014.) 

Rev. Self sounded young when we talked on the phone, and he asked, “What is this project you are doing? How can I help you?” His youthful voice surprised me and I asked myself if he might be too young to help me find elder women. 

“I’m doing a book to honor my grandmother, the woman who raised me. She passed away 20 years ago, but I want to honor her by interviewing other people’s grandmothers.”

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother's Wisdom 

About the Author
Alysia Burton Steele
is a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi and author of Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom. In 2006, she was a picture editor for The Dallas Morning News photo team that won the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for their Hurricane Katrina coverage. She designed the National Urban League’s 100th commemorative poem booklet written by Maya Angelou. Prior to teaching, Steele was a photojournalist, who later became a photo editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Articles about her book have appeared in The New York Times,, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times and Southern Living.


Photo credits: 
Jacqueline Dace (left), project manager of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, which opens in 2017, Alysia Burton Steele (middle) and Reena Evers-Everette, executive director of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute (right).






Best Friends Forever 
by Kimberla Lawson Rob

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 1: Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Do whatever you want," he said, pulling on his pajama bottoms. "Because that's exactly what I'm doing."

Celine pulled her flowing hair around to her shoulder. "And what is that supposed to mean?"

"It's not like I stuttered. My words were very clear."

"So who exactly are you sleeping with, Keith?" she asked, ignoring his last comment.

"Look, I'm tired, and I have to be at work in three hours. So can I at least get an hour of sleep in peace? Without all these ridiculous questions?"

"You're the one who decided to stay out, so I'll ask any questions I want."

Keith sighed and got in bed, turning his back to her.

"I'm telling you now, I won't put up with this," Celine said. Keith didn't respond.

"Are you listening to me?"  He still didn't say anything.

"Keith!" she yelled, becoming angrier.

He finally turned toward her in a huff and sat up. "What? And why are you screaming at me when you know Kassie is sleeping?"

"Because I want answers, and I want them now."

"I told you months and months ago that I was tired of going to bed at night with no one lying next to me," he said, pointing his finger at her. "I told you how tired I was of you staying in your office until well after midnight. Work, work, and more work. That's all you've cared about for more than a year, and I finally got sick of it. I complained and tried to talk to you about it several different times, but you never took me seriously. You did what you wanted, and now I'm fine with it."

"But you know how hard it is to start your own business. Before I even decided to go forward with it, you and I talked about what it would take. We discussed all the time I'd have to spend to make it work, and you were good with that."

"Yeah, I supported you a hundred percent, but when I started to see how you had no problem talking on the phone to your friend Lauren for sometimes as much as two hours and how you never miss any of your favorite TV shows, that's when I realized how unimportant I was to you. Your priorities are totally in place, but they certainly don't include me. And don't get me started on how little we make love. Sometimes only once a month. And in case you haven't noticed, I stopped asking you to do that a long time ago."

Celine thought about everything Keith was saying, and she couldn't deny that some of his statements were true. She hadn't paid much attention to the time she spent doing other things, but now she had no choice but to acknowledge it. Nonetheless, this still didn't give him the right to break his vows to her. He wouldn't admit that he was having an affair, but no man stayed out as late as Keith had unless there was another woman involved.

( Continued... )


Purchase Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby


About the Author
Kimberla Lawson Roby
is the author of the bestselling works The Ultimate Betrayal, A Christmas Prayer, The Prodigal Son, A House Divided, The Perfect Marriage, The Reverend’s Wife, Secret Obsession, Love, Honor, and Betray, Be Careful What You Pray For, A Deep Dark Secret, The Best of Everything, Sin No More, One in a Million, Love and Lies, Changing Faces, The Best-Kept Secret, Too Much of a Good Thing, A Taste of Reality, It’s a Thin Line, Casting the First Stone, Here and Now and Behind Closed Doors. She lives with her husband in Illinois.  Visit her website at: 





Ellis and The Magic Mirror 

by Cerece Rennie Murphy (Author)  and  Gregory Garay (Illustrator)

Ellis Monroe has always been curious about the world. When his father brings home an ancient mirror with the power to reveal the truth about the people and things around him, Ellis begins to see the world in a whole new way. But things get more than a little strange/even more interesting when Ellis brings the mirror to school. While on the playground with the mirror and his best friend Toro, Ellis discovers that someone or something is hiding out at Harriet Tubman Elementary and trying to stop children from learning. 

Determined to solve the mystery, Ellis, Toro, and his little sister, Freddye go on a secret mission to find out the truth about the mischievous Buddy Cruster and stop whatever he has planned. Join Ellis, Freddye and Toro as their quest leads them deep into the forest and on an adventure you will never forget.

Message from Cerece Rennie Murphy

Besides my immediate family, you are among the FIRST to see the official cover of the upcoming Ellis and The Magic Mirror early reader chapter book. This story has been a labor of love that began about a year ago, when my 6 year old son asked me to write a book for him. 

He told me upfront that sword-fighting, a skateboard and his stuffed penguin "Chirpy" had to be in the story. With my work cut out for me, I began writing, and thanks to the exceptional artistic talents of Gregory Garay of Visual Verbosity, I finally have a story that my son not only approves of, but is excited about. 

The book is intended for readers like my son, who was ready to begin reading chapter books, but was a bit intimidated by "too many words" and too few pictures. Ellis and The Magic Mirror has about as much action and suspense as I could throw into a children's book and still keep it "kid-friendly".  My target reading audience is between 6-10 years old. 

Would you like to read Ellis and The Magic Mirror to a little person who is near and dear to your heart? 
Preview the book Ellis and The Magic Mirror, click here.   This is truly a special moment for me, as a writer and a Mom.  To learn more about the story click here

You can also order your copy on Amazon here: 

Ellis and The Magic Mirror by Cerece Rennie Murphy 
Order Link: 

About the Author

Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with science fiction at the age of seven, watching "Empire Strikes Back" at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., with her sister and mom. It's a love affair that has grown ever since. As an ardent fan of John Donne, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut and Alexander Pope from an early age, Cerece began exploring her own creative writing through poetry. 

She earned her master's degrees in social work and international relations at Boston College and Johns Hopkins School for Advance International Studies, respectively, and built a rewarding 15-year career in program development, management and fundraising in the community and international development arenas - all while appreciating the stories of human connection told in science fiction through works like Octavia Butler's "Wild Seed," Frank Herbert's "Dune" and "The X-Files." In 2011, Cerece experienced her own supernatural event - a vision of her first science fiction story. Shortly after, she began developing and writing what would become the "Order of the Seers" trilogy.

Cerece lives just outside of her hometown of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda.




Real Street Kidz: Good Ideas 
by Quentin Holmes

Q, Jazz, Chase, Ginger, Los, Kawena, and Lucky, are the adventure seeking Real Street Kidz. An extraordinary group of kids who live life in a big way and prove that you’re never too young to make a difference. During the summer the Real Street Kidz Chased Action and mastered the Art of Authenticity, but with the arrival of a new school semester the RSK are in serious need of Good Ideas. The kids are immediately faced with frustrating challenges from a rigid new school’s “Pilot Program,” that includes excessive pop-quizzes, strict dress codes, and a disgusting “healthy choice” menu. 

Things really get worse when their old rival Junior puts the entire school in jeopardy with his “Me First” re-election campaign for school president. Q and Jazz decide to run against him to stop Junior’s reckless campaign from ruining the student body, but that’s when things become even worse! The entire school becomes divided and everyone is desperate for an infusion of Good Ideas to help put things back together again. 

Whose side will the friends choose? Which side would you choose? Making the wrong choice could cost everyone a lot more than just a school election; it could cost everyone a better world!

Select the Real Street Kidz series for your book club meeting and Quentin will join you in person, via webcam or via speaker phone. To schedule Quentin’s visit, email him at  Read more about the Multicultural Children’s Book Series:

Purchase Real Street Kidz: Good Ideas by Quentin Holmes 
Series: Real Street Kidz Multicultural Children’s Books 

About the Author
Author, entrepreneur and brand creator, Quentin “Q” Holmes has dedicated his life to empowering the world’s youth through trendsetting literature, media, and fashion. The son of a hard-working father whose career advancement moved the family to nearly every region of the country, Quentin gained exposure to people from all walks of life. Quentin earned his bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Michigan, further enriching his perspective on social diversity. 

The Real Street Kidz book series, created in 2009, promotes positive life messages to modern day youth. Examples of multiculturalism, along with heightening positive individual differences to achieve success, are a continuous theme across the books of this exceptional series. This type of awareness builds reading patterns of success for kids everywhere. Through reading Chasing Action, Art of Authenticity, and Good Ideas, Quentin hopes that kids will begin thinking “outside the box” and realize that teamwork and individuality are the greatest formula for success. 





Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

King’s voice drew him back. “I want you to sing it like you’ve never sung it before,” he was calling to someone in the parking lot below. “Sing it real pretty.” And Malcolm realized he had missed something, because he had no idea what they were talking about. His attention had been distracted by… what was that?

“It’s getting chilly.” Yet another voice calling to King from below. “I think you’ll need a topcoat.”

“Okay, Jonesy,” King was saying. “You really know how to take good care of me.”

And here, the moment breaks, time fracturing as time sometimes will into its component parts, until an event is no longer composed of things happening in a sequence, but somehow all happens at once. And you can see and touch and live all the smaller moments inside the right now. This is how it is for Malcolm Toussaint now. King is laughing. Malcolm is taking a step toward him. King is straightening. Laughter is echoing from below. King is reaching into a pocket for his cigarettes. He is becoming aware of Malcolm on his left. His head is coming around. There are the bare beginnings of a welcoming smile. And Malcolm knows. Suddenly knows. And Malcolm is leaping, leaping across space, across time itself, becoming airborne—he was sure of it, that detail felt right, even though by this time King is barely six feet away. Malcolm grabbing two hands full of expensive silk, yanking Martin Luther King off balance, yanking him down hard in the same instant they all hear the popping sound like a firecracker, in the same instant he feels the soft-nosed 30.06 bullet whistle past his cheek like a phantom breath, in the same instant he falls awkwardly across King’s chest.

And then…

And then time seems to reel for a crazy breathless moment, as if decid¬ing what to do now. The fulcrum of history teetering, the future hanging, suspended in midair.
Until all at once and with a brutal force, time decides itself and slams back into gear.

A woman shrieked.

Someone yelled, “Somebody is shooting!”

Someone yelled, “Doc, are you OK?”

Someone yelled, “Stay down!”

Malcolm’s breath was ragged in his own ears. His heart hammered like drums. Then from beneath him, he heard a familiar baritone voice say calmly, very calmly, but yet, with a touch of breathless wonder. “Oh my God. Was that a gunshot?”

Their eyes met. Malcolm didn’t speak. Couldn’t speak. “Brother Malcolm,” said Martin Luther King, his voice still suffused with wonder and yet, also, an almost unnatural calm, “I think you just saved my life.”

Malcolm was overwhelmed by the thereness of the man. He was not myth and mist and history. He was not a posterboard image on a wall behind a child dutifully reciting in a child’s thin, sweet tenor, “I have a dream today.” No, he was there, beneath 20-year-old Malcolm Toussaint, who had fallen crosswise on top of him. Malcolm could feel the weight and heft of him, the fall and rise of his chest. He could see his very pores, could smell the tobacco on his breath, the Aramis on his collar. Martin Luther King was there, still alive, beneath him. Malcolm opened his mouth to speak.

And then, he awoke.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
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About the Author

Leonard Pitts, Jr
. is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novels Grant Park (2015) Freeman (Agate Bolden, 2012) and Before I Forget (Agate Bolden, 2009); the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities (Agate Bolden, 2009); and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (Agate Bolden, 2006). 

Pitts’ work has made him an in-demand lecturer. He maintains a rigorous speaking schedule that has taken him to colleges, civic groups and professional associations all over the country. He has also been invited to teach at a number of prestigious institutions of higher learning, including Hampton University, Ohio University, the University of Maryland and Virginia Commonwealth University. In the fall of 2011, he was a visiting professor at Princeton University, teaching a course in writing about race.

Twice each week, millions of Miami Herald newspaper readers around the country seek out his rich and uncommonly resonant voice. In a word, he connects with them. Nowhere was this demonstrated more forcefully than in the response to his initial column on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Pitts' column, "We'll Go Forward From This Moment," an angry and defiant open letter to the terrorists, circulated the globe via the Internet. It generated upwards of 30,000 emails, and has since been set to music, reprinted in poster form, read on television by Regis Philbin and quoted by Congressman Richard Gephardt as part of the Democratic Party's weekly radio address. 

Born and raised in Southern California, Pitts now lives in suburban Washington, D.C., with his wife and children.

Facebook: LeonardPittsJr
Twitter: @LeonardPittsJr1





Hood Secrets: A Ghetto Who-Dun-It 
by Angee Parker

Welcome to a housing project in Chicago. Where sex, drugs and murder pour down onto the community like a thunderstorm.


When convicted sex offender and alleged pimp, Jerome Sanders was found dead in his apartment. The neighborhood was transformed into its own version of the game CLUE. Because everyone wanted to know WHO KILLED JEROME? 

Deceitful and treacherous, Jerome called himself a businessman, but in reality he was a cold-blooded killer. Everyone hated him and a lot of people wanted him dead. The list of suspects was long and constantly growing. But, WHO KILLED JEROME?

There were accusations, finger pointing and speculations. Jerome had done so many terrible things to so many people. Every one of them had a good reason and motive to kill him. No one but the real killer knew for sure WHO KILLED JEROME, and why.

Book Review by Jackie Johnson,

Hood Secrets follows the murder of a neighborhood terrorist named Jerome. He is linked to the destruction of many families throughout the Chicago area turning women into drug addicted prostitutes. Young men who fall prey to his evil ways find themselves dead or selling the very drug that destroyed their family's lives. With a growing investigation of his murder there are more and more possible suspects piling up.

The story jumps right into the drama showing the point of view from those who were affected by Jerome's manipulation. It's raw telling of truth shows how cruel and unforgiving the hood can really be. The author's ability to give you such an up close and personal view into each characters life was outstanding. It's isn't for the faint of heart. Many of the characters like Momma T made me beyond upset and a few times I found myself talking out loud at the book. I gave the story four stars and would highly recommend it readers who are looking for an in your face novel with lots of shock and awe factor.

Book Review by Amazon Customer, Verified Purchase

What a great read! Interesting, realistic not your basic soap opera. Real life experiences everyone can relate to. What a killer ending never would have guessed!! This is a definite must read.... I can't wait for the series!

Graphic & Adult Content Warning.  Excerpt from Hood Secrets



A 45-year-old convicted sex offender and alleged drug dealer Jerome Sanders was found dead in his home last night.
Sanders’ body was discovered by firefighters after they extinguished the 3-alarm fire.  Detectives said they believed the fire had been started in the living room. An accelerant was used on the chair where the body was found, in a possible attempt to conceal the murder.  An autopsy is pending. Police and fire officials are investigating the incident as an arson/homicide.  No suspects have been charged as of yet in connection with the death.


Momma T knew that karma was the wrong bitch to try to mess over. Because once she put you on her shit list, best believe when she came for your ass it was not going to be pretty. Jerome unfortunately had to find that out the hard way. No one was shocked that he was killed. Everyone was just surprised it took so long for someone to finally do it.  Jerome was low down and treacherous and everyone hated him. He called himself a business man but he was just a drug dealer and Internet pimp. He liked to compare himself to Donald Trump. He would say that he ran his stable of young girls like Trump ran his boardroom, with fear. The only difference was Jerome never fired anyone. He killed them.

Momma T met Jerome when he was seventeen years old and just starting out in the pimping game. He was a smooth talker and charmer and it was easy to get caught up in his web of deceit. He had mesmerizing brown eyes and the body of a Greek god. He had a way of making a woman believe that he was the man of her dreams. But he was a nightmare that they could not wake up from. Momma T fought hard all of her life to stay away from men like Jerome. Choosing the wrong man was a skill that she had perfected. She was very good at her trade.

Her first love was her daughter Crystal’s father. They grew up next door to each other. He was her first crush, her first kiss, and her first sexual encounter.  He was also her oldest brother’s best friend, so they had to keep their relationship on the low. Her brother would have killed his friend had he known his twenty-one-year old homie was screwing his thirteen-year-old sister. 

Momma T grew up in a housing project on 63rd and Calumet in Chicago. On her block there was a high-rise building with sixteen floors and two rows of eight connected houses that they called the row houses. The people in the row houses thought that they were better than the people in the high rises. They believed that their living conditions were better, just because they were not stacked on top of each other. But at the end of the day it was all still the ghetto.

As in most project homes, somebody was always there. So to hook up, Momma T and her guy would wait late at night until after everyone had fallen to sleep. Then they would sneak out to the back of the houses. It was pitch dark back there, a perfect spot for secret lovers trying to get their groove on. Their rendezvous ended the moment he found out that Momma T was pregnant. She was devastated. Not only did he deny his baby, he also left her alone and in a horrible situation. She expected the impossible she wanted him to save her from her circumstances. But he could not because his living conditions were just as messed up as hers. Did she expect him to move her from the bedroom she shared with her three sisters, to the bedroom he shared with his two younger brothers?

Momma T felt that their love could conquer all. She needed to believe that he loved her and that he would take care of her. But he was just like all the rest of the sperm donors that populated the projects. After they got what they wanted, they moved on to the next conquest. Once he took her innocence and cheated her out of a halfway decent future, he avoided her. So she set aside her childhood fantasies and joined the rest of her family on that vicious cycle of welfare and poverty.

Momma T had her second child, Diamond, when she was fifteen. She never wanted to sleep with that sperm donor, but he wanted to have her. Because he was bigger and stronger, he took what he wanted. That horrific night was permanently
etched in her mind. The day was like every other summer day in the projects, too hot to be outside and damn near suicide to be inside. The cement blocks that the houses were made out of stayed cold in the winter and hot as hell in the summer.

Momma T sat on the front stoop of her house waiting on the “chokes” truck. During the summer once a day a big brown truck would pull up, filled with government-subsided food to feed all the underprivileged ghetto kids. The people in the neighborhood did not care how the truck ended up there, they were just glad that it came. For most of them that was their only meal of the day. They were given a piece of fruit, a juice box, and two thick slices of bread with a small piece of processed meat in between it. The sandwiches were so thick and dry that if it was not chewed thoroughly you would choke.

The screeching sounds of an ambulance and police cars racing up the block took everyone’s attention off the chokes truck and onto the disturbance down the street. Everyone ran to see what the commotion was all about. Screaming and crying could be heard blocks away. Shock and disbelief shook the crowd once they realized the bloody mass that was splattered on the cement was Nita and her six-month-old baby.  Big-nose Steve, Nita’s boyfriend and the baby’s father, was in the apartment trying to talk his way out of the predicament he found himself in. But no amount of talking was going to get him out of his troubles.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Hood Secrets: A Ghetto Who-Dun-It by Angee Parker




Sister You ARE More Than Your assETS 
by Angelia Vernon Menchan 

Sister You Are More Than Your assETS is a mentor's outreach to young sisters. Angelia Vernon Menchan has penned a timely book sharing her life experiences as a growing and grown woman in overcoming sometimes daunting experiences. It also speaks to the way in which women can love, support and empower other women, sometimes simply by being there. This book is in no way a fix for the ills of society and will not speak to every reader. It is meant for those who can take what's needed and pass on the rest.

Excerpt: Sister You Are More Than Your assETS 

I was thinking about all the things we are not teaching our children, specifically our daughters, and how that lack of teaching is perpetuated throughout generations. Sometimes I look at young girls all dressed up in fake finery, because they have been taught to 'look good', but when I look close there are so many things awry, like basic hygiene not being taught self-care or self-protection. I recall being a young girl and my mother teaching me about lotion for my skin, and becoming a pre-teen and being taught about deodorant and other feminine hygiene issues. I recall being asked by my godmother if I were sexually active. After telling her no, and hearing her sigh of relief, she knew I had listened to them tell me to be careful and discerning. 

I listened as she gave me practical and a bit graphic information. Although I was slightly uncomfortable at the time, I am glad now. I have to wonder what happened to all those conversations between women of the generations. I talk to so many young women who have had sex with a series of guys without the benefit of protection or information, all the while leaving themselves exposed to a plethora of things. 

Is it because mothers, aunts, godmothers and the like are too busy? Or is it because many of them were so young themselves, they do not even know what to impart? I know that telling them things will not insure they follow it to the letter, but I kid you not, having the information leaves them with choices and a feeling that there is somewhere to go to find out. It breaks my heart what these otherwise smart girls do not know. They also need to know how to handle their finances, and to know that while babies are a blessing, they are also entitled to be women and not just mothers. They need to know it is okay to self-care, because for real, they can't take care of anyone else, if they themselves are uncared for. 

As I write this I want to thank the women in my life who taught me and loved me, my mama, Ora Lee Vernon My aunt, Elouise Vernon, My godmother, Eva Mae Jackson, My grandmother, Mary Alice Vernon, I am here to tell you there is nothing like it.  We must learn these things and pass them on to our children, the world's children. 

Book Reviews: 

By Nicole 
If this book was written with the intent to empower women, I would say that the goal was met! In the time of "reality" shows, it may seem that women are silly and living low lives on purpose. When we take into consideration that many women may not know that they are valuable. They may not now that they deserve and should expect to be cherished, respected and loved. Ms. Angelia has penned a valuable tool that is set to introduce to some and remind others that we are beautiful and we are worthy of love and care. We must begin that journey with learning to love and cherish ourselves. 

This book is an excellent tool for teenagers, young adults, and any woman of any name that could use a good boost of wisdom in her life. God bless you Ms. Angelia, thank you for sharing this valuable information with us. 

By Edwina Putney 

This book is a down-to-earth, common sense approach to advising females of all ages how to value their minds, bodies, and souls. But since common sense isn't too common, it is a wonderful move on Mrs. Menchan's part to have penned this valuable book. Not only does she provide advice/mentoring, but also includes snapshots from her own life as a examples of how situations can be handled. It also reveals how some people are destined to impact the lives of others in positive ways. Kudos to Angelia Vernon Menchan for writing this book. I hope many will read and will also buy additional copies to share. 

By Aja 

Love, wisdom, guidance . . . and truth. All of these things are wrapped up in one wonderful gift to give to the women in your life. I found myself enjoying listening to Angelia share her experiences, because that's how I felt, like I was listening to her sound voice. There were a few scenarios that spoke to me personally but I know that all will leave an imprint. What more can I say, outside of, you need to buy this book and give it as a gift to yourself or to another who needs to know they are more than what others sometimes see in you/them. We are more. Bravo, Angelia! 

Order Sister You ARE More Than Your assETS from the author and a free journal is included 
but only if ordered directly from her blog:  

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Jasper's Cafe On The Boulevard 
by Tracey Fagan Danzey

Although the world hasn't carved out a proper identity for Torie Lynn Harper, she is about to present one that will keep them all talking. Torie is an elite cultural “mutt” and social hybrid raised in an affluent suburban community in Connecticut. Following a move to the nearby city, she would learn that being Black, educated and gorgeous would prove insufficient to being heralded into this urban community that doesn't embrace her. While she would find many that may look like her, undoubtedly, none that speak or share like mannerisms. 

Desperate to fit in, Torie quickly becomes a member of a grassroots movement determined to thwart the closing of the iconic “Jasper’s Café” on the boulevard. Torie would soon become the envy of many and enemy to one following a swift climb up the corporate ladder. Millie becomes unable to ignore her concerns as threats to her friend increase. The next 18 months would strip Torie of her family, a fiancé and her identity as she'd known it. Torie must search for herself amid deception, workplace improprieties and a weathered romance. 

For the first time, both old and new friendships will be confronted with cultural differences, opening doors to humorous exchanges, tempered debates and social explorations. It's an unraveling suspense that's moving the story forward amid a group of friends that are sharing the most authentic and underexposed relationships.

Excerpt: Jasper's Cafe On The Boulevard

“Just look at my baby girl!” She blots her ageless cinnamon face that nearly matches her bronze dress, her thin youthful body always made it difficult to pass as anything other than a sister or friend of Simone’s, but certainly not her mother. 

“Mommy, please don’t come in here making me cry . . . I’ve just gotten my makeup done.”

“I knew from the first day that I saw those slanted eyes stealing their first peek of me and this world that you were finding your way.”

“Oh, Mom,” Simone sniffled after seeing her mother’s eyes well up. 

“Oh, no you don’t, Simone Renee Jackson. Don’t you take this moment away from me; I’ve been waiting too long! I certainly knew that you didn’t have a problem in taking the lead and that you were not going to let any man or anyone else stop you when you had your mind made up.” 

“It was very telling that you came on out fast and with little notice while Sinclair stayed put for nearly another two hours even with the doctors prompting his little behind.”

We laughed at the idea of Sinclair ever being little.

“He’s always chosen to approach life the hard way, taking me along with him, always making sure that he’s alright. I often remind him that I sport a permanent scar on my belly for a C-section that didn’t have to be, messing up this temple!”

Mrs. Jackson walked over to the ottoman and picked up her purse and removed a small manila envelope from inside and walked back over to Simone.

“Now I want you to take this and buy as many pieces of furniture that you can for that big house on the Cove. My baby is moving to the Cove!” She proudly hands the unsealed envelope to Simone.

I couldn’t have been happier when both Simone and I revealed a bank check in the amount of $25,000.

“Where did you get this from?” 

“What do you mean, where did I get this from? Baby, haven’t I always had to work more than one job at a time?”

“I know, but why haven’t you used it on you?”

“I have everything that I need. As I said, I knew that my baby girl was smart as a whip and that I had to start saving for school early on, but your little smart behind and Torie knowing all about those grants and scholarships paid your way right on through that school.” 

“Oh. My. God!” Simone says in disbelief. 

“Oh yes, he sure did have a lot to do with it too,” her mother replied and then smiled and winked.

“I figured that I would save it for your wedding, but you and that brilliant soon-to-be son of mine had taken care of everything already. So I thought I’d give you a down payment and you all could find a home. I was too late for that too.”

“Mommy, stop playing!!” 

“Oh, I don’t have time to play. I have a wedding to attend and the bride just happens to be my baby.”

Simone no longer cared about her hair or make up in that moment as she grabbed her mother from behind squeezing her shoulders so tightly nearly pulling them both to the floor. Mrs. Jackson prepares to go and find Tessa so that she could refresh Simone’s face with the few remaining minutes.

Simone turned to me and said, “I still can’t get over the fact that you and Quinn still haven’t seen each other.”

“Sim, you’re the one who had me running around and having me miss the rehearsal. By the time I got to dinner that night, he’d already left.”

“Listen, don’t say anything about this to your brother; I’m going to hang on to his a little while longer. God only knows what I’ll end up letting him use his for,” she mumbled while walking out the door.

“Bail.” Simone thought she’d whispered it, but to our surprise, her mother obviously heard her and responded, “Don’t talk that way about my baby boy; you know I don’t play that!!”

Simone whispered, “Aren’t you glad you stopped creeping with my brother?” I was caught so off guard that I was delayed in responding. “Oh yeah, I knew. We all did. Sinclair can’t keep secrets! Besides, every time Maxwell’s The Hush would play, he’d unknowingly ask, ‘Hey Sim, where’s your girl at?’”

“Whatever,” we continued to laugh until Mrs. Jackson returned with Tessa.

As we entered the candlelit ballroom, each calla lily appears subdued and muted in tone. This was of course a complete contrast to the 200 black-eyed beauty calla lilies gathered in bunches at the end of each row. I remember when Simone first described these flowers. She went on and on about how extraordinary they were! A description I’d never heard her use outside of designer clothing and shoes. “Their stems are the darkest jungle green, and the calla lily itself has this luscious crème yellowish tone with ivory pearl cloaks inside and outside of a classic champagne flute. It opens as a heart shape, but reveals a ruby-black center.” Even with that description, it absolutely paled to what I’m seeing today. 

As we enter the tent for the ceremony, the wooden teak floor is completely infused with an azure glow bouncing off the lighter-colored linens and skipping across the vamps of each of the bridesmaid’s black satin sandals. No longer a rehearsal, it’s the real thing as the vocalist belts out At Last. All the chatter in the majestic tent immediately transforms into “oooohs” as attention is directed onto Simone. She appears at the undisturbed petal-filled aisle escorted by Sinclair, and has finally given us all our first vision of her stunning gown. 

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Jasper's Cafe On The Boulevard by Tracey Fagan Danzey

Meet the Author 
Tracey Fagan Danzey
is an author and occasional blogger who has been described more than once as a natural storyteller. It is her passion for writing that allows her to create an experience, conjure emotions and share vivid views for her readers through her pictorial descriptions. To further pursue her craft and aspirations of becoming a published author, Tracey elevated her commitment by becoming a member of the Westport Writers’ Workshop, critique groups and book clubs. 

“Where Is The Box For Someone Like Me?” is a project that advanced in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and has since developed into Tracey’s debut novel, “Jasper’s Cafe On The Boulevard.”






Her Chance At Love by Nicki Night 

The Barrington Brothers are here! Meet Blake… 

Trust doesn't come easily to senator's daughter Cadence Payne—especially after her disastrous engagement. Dating is no longer at the top of her to-do list, no matter how persistent fellow attorney Blake Barrington may be. Yet the sexy, notorious lawyer makes a very convincing argument. Cadence is almost tempted to give in…until Blake's implicated in a scandal and hires her to defend him! 

Little by little, Blake is getting past Cadence's defenses and giving a whole new meaning to attorney-client privilege. But days and nights spent in close proximity prove dangerously distracting. If Blake loses this case, his career, Cadence's reputation and their romance will all be in jeopardy. Can he convince her to believe in him despite her fears—or is he gambling with his future and her heart?

Praise for Her Chance at Love by Nicki Night 

Reviewed By Amazon Customer 

Her Chance At Love by Nicki Night is an enjoyable read. Cadence and Blake are perfect for each other. Cadence Payne gives arrogant, charismatic, confident lawyer Blake Barrington a run for his money.She finally gives in to her emotions and succumbs to the romantic advances of Mr. Blake Barrington. In the blink of an eye life circumstances happens and Cadence and Blake stand the chance at losing it all. Blake's refusal to give up on Cadence and what they were beginning to have, begins to wear her down. It takes everything in Cadence to keep up that wall to protect her heart. Nicki Night did a wonderful job on her debut novel.  Can't wait to see what else Nicki Night has in store for us with the other Barrington brothers

Reviewed By Shavonna Futrell 

Her Chance At Love By Nicki Night is her debut novel introducing us to the first of the three Barrington Brothers. Night introduces us to Hunter, Blake and Drew, Her Chance At Love focuses on the very handsome middle Barrington brother, Blake who is a lawyer and has no problems getting what he wants when it comes to the ladies, until he meets Cadence Payne who is also an attorney and recently engaged but not married and has decided to put dating on the back burner and focus solely on her career. Blake is determined to get what he wants.

I met this author at a literary event and decided to support this author on her new book, I am glad I picked this up because I would have missed out on a great romance, I really enjoyed Blake and Cadence's love story, the thing I enjoyed most was the dates Blake took Cadence on there was nothing traditional about them and I appreciated that and it gave me some ideas, if you want to read a great romance I highly recommend this book. I really hope Drew Barrington's story is next.

Excerpt: Her Chance At Love by Nicki Night 

"You haven't had sex in how long?" Alana Tate shrieked.

Cadence Payne recoiled as her eyes darted around the bustling coffeehouse and then landed on the shocked wide-eyed expression on her closest friend's face. She couldn't believe how loud she had just said that. "Alana! " she chided, embarrassed for both of them.

"Don't Alana me!" she said, still speaking at the same volume that she had just used to let everyone in proximity know that Cadence hadn't had any in a while. "What are you waiting for? Please don't tell me you're still pining over that loser Kenny. I thought you were over him!" she said, referring to Cadence's ex-fiancé, Kenneth Dalton. "I still can't believe he married that woman so soon after you two broke off the engagement. Jerk."

"Shh!" Cadence waved her hand at Alana, urging her to lower her voice before the entire coffeehouse ended up knowing all her business. "It has nothing to do with Kenny," she found herself whispering, then rolled her eyes and sighed. She knew Alana meant well, but she needed to reel her in before she went too far. Shaking her head, she took a sip of her chai latte. "I just haven't found anyone that I'm interested in dating, let alone sleeping with."

"That's because for the past six months you've dated your job. With the time you've put into working, there's no room for anything else." Alana gave her a pitiful look. "You need to get out more."

"Well, once I make senior counsel, then maybe I'll have time for a date or two." Yeah, right. She hoped her statement would be enough to get Alana off her back—even if she didn't believe it herself. Cadence was hurt when Kenny abruptly ended their engagement. Not only did the breakup severely bruise her ego, but also she didn't know love could hurt so badly. Then Kenny poured salt into her already wounded heart when he married another woman a few short weeks after. Cadence stood, indicating that it was time to go. Grabbing her empty cup, she started for the trash can, and then headed for the door. Cadence wanted to get out of that place and away from their topic as quickly as possible, adding distance between her and the notion of dating anyone. Alana was fast on her heels.

"You're coming with me tonight!" Alana declared.

Cadence suddenly stopped walking, causing Alana to crash into her from behind. Clucking her teeth, she shook her head and started walking again. "Where are you going now?" she asked, digging in her oversize purse in search of her car keys.

"The NYAA mixer."

Cadence spun around with her hands up in protest,


Alana took in a breath and exhaled. "I know you don't like those kinds of gatherings, but you need to get out and meet some new people."

Ignoring Alana, Cadence clicked the car alarm and slid into the driver's seat. Alana sat next to her, on the passenger's side. The last place she wanted to meet someone was at a mixer full of pretentious lawyers. They reminded her of high-profile cattle calls where arrogant men waltzed around in their tailored suits trying to one-up each other with their dossier of accomplishments, while the women shamelessly put their pedigrees and other things on display for all to see. Her last ill-fated relationship was with a lawyer. Needless to say, that was not a match made in anybody's heaven.

Cadence never did fare well at these types of events. A self-proclaimed horrible networker, she shied away from them as much as she could, which is why she never joined the New York Association of Attorneys. She didn't feel comfortable in the presence of these groups. Besides being somewhat of a loner, she was also the daughter of a senator and had experienced more than her share of inauthentic relationships. Now she just tried to avoid them at all costs.

Without another word, Cadence pulled off and headed back toward her home in Garden City.

"Cadence!" Alana yelled, turning toward her in the passenger seat. "I know you hear me talking to you. It will be fun. We don't have to stay long. Besides, I'm on the board of the local chapter, so I have to at least show my face."

"No, Alana! I'm not going."

Alana grunted. "You really should give it a try. I've made so many great connections."

"I have all the connections I need. My dad is a senator, remember?"

"Your own connections…" Frustrated, Alana shook her head. "Besides, it will be good for you to meet some of the members and see how we do things. You really should consider joining. You'd be a great addition."

"I'm doing fine on my own. You know social groups aren't my thing."

"It's a professional organization, not some social club." Alana blew out an irritated breath. "Well, you owe me anyway! Come tonight and we can call it even."

Cadence nearly slammed on the brakes. "Owe you for what?"

"Dragging me to your annoying cousin's party."

"Oh…that." Cadence sighed, casting her eyes sideways. She had to admit, that event was a disaster. She'd felt obligated to attend because it was family but didn't want to go alone, so she'd lugged Alana along with her promising that she'd make it up to her.

"So, yeah. You owe me." Alana smiled, sitting up in her seat as if she'd just won a prize.

Cadence cut her eyes. "I still didn't say I was going." Alana turned toward Cadence and stared.

Cadence's resolve collapsed as she pulled the car to a park in front of Alana's condominium. "Okay. I'll go."

"Yay—" Cadence cut Alana's celebration off with a narrowed eye and a pointed finger. "What?" Alana drew the inquiry out.

"I'm not staying more than an hour. So when I've had enough, you have to leave with me."

"Trust me. You'll have a blast." Alana leaned over and hugged her friend. "I'm driving, so I'll pick you up at six. We have to get to midtown before seven and I want to be sure to get a close parking spot."

Cadence looked at the green digital numbers illuminating the dashboard. "It's five thirty now! I have to get home, shower and find something to wear."

"See you at six," Alana reiterated with a huge smile, ignoring Cadence's alarmed expression as she exited the car. "I have to get there early. Trust me, you won't be disappointed." She slammed the door and then leaned over, gesturing for Cadence to roll down the window. Sticking her head in, she said, "Now that I'm getting you out, the next thing we need to do is get you a man so you can get laid." Alana howled at Cadence's twisted lips. Cadence rolled the window up on her and pulled off, watching Alana continue to laugh through her rearview mirror.

Chapter 2

Blake Barrington looked at his brothers and shook his head. Both Hunter's and Drew's backs were bent as they held their stomachs, roaring at Blake's expense. At first, Blake tried not to be taken in by their antics, but couldn't help himself and eventually folded and let loose his own contained laughter.

That was the third woman in the past fifteen minutes that had practically thrown herself at Blake's feet. He wondered if his brothers were trying to prank him and actually ran his hand across his back as high as he could to make sure they hadn't posted any crazy signs. The last woman was the weirdest of all, approaching him by taking his hand in hers and kissing the back side. When she lifted her eyes to meet his, Blake wasn't sure if the dark shading over her lip was moisture from a drink or a real-life mustache. However, when he looked down at the spirally coils springing from her ample cleavage, he realized his vision wasn't failing him. From the looks of it, this woman had a robust supply of testosterone. Instinctively, his hand went to his chest and he thought about the fact that she had more hair on hers that he did on his.

"Enough already," he chided his brothers, who continued to laugh uncontrollably. Drew's eyes glistened and he fell into a coughing fit. Hunter had to pound him on the back a few times. Blake shook his head and called the waitress over and ordered another round.

When Drew was able to regain his composure, he straightened his back, wiped his tears and breathed deep. "Sorry, bro. I couldn't help myself. Your Sasquatch radar is obviously on the blink. I wish you could have seen your own eyes when they landed on her mustache." Drew fell into another fit of laughter.

"Don't worry, man—" Hunter placed a reassuring hand on Blake's shoulder "—big brother will show you how it's done," he said, picking up the snifter of whiskey the voluptuous barmaid had just placed on the counter. Passing one glass to each brother, he said, "Cheers," and lifted the blend in the air for a toast before throwing back a healthy sip.

They had met at the trendy lounge early enough to share a drink together before the NYAA mixer started. Hunter and Blake had followed their father's example of becoming attorneys. At twenty-nine, Hunter was the oldest with Blake trailing him by eleven months. Drew, the baby of the crew, was two years Blake's junior and the rebel of the family. Despite acquiring his JD, he opted to pursue his passion in the world of motorcycles instead of practicing law. His championship races and award-winning designs graced the pages of the most popular motorcyclingenthusiast magazines.

Taking notice of the growing crowd, Blake looked at his watch. Throwing back his last sip of whiskey, he winced at the favorable burn and placed the glass back down on the bar. "We should get going." Blake led the brothers through the dimly lit lounge down to the lower level, where the mixer was actually taking place.

Nodding at a few familiar faces along the way, Blake narrowed his eyes in search of other members of the board. He had recently been elected as a director on the executive board to replace his predecessor, who had just resigned due to relocating. Their father had always told them to be sure to rub elbows with the right people. It certainly helped him become a judge. After taking in the scene and surveying the women, Blake took a seat next to his brothers at the bar.

"Who's that?" Drew's eyes were stretched wide. Blake's and Hunter's eyes followed his line of sight. When they noticed whom Drew was inquiring about, simultaneously they reared their heads back.

"Stay away from her. Ask Blake," Hunter said.

"Her name is Mandy, and it took me six months to get her to stop randomly showing up at my door with lingerie on under an overcoat."

Drew raised his brow. "You must have really put it on her," he said, smiling and resting his back against the bar.

"Actually, no. I was dating her friend and she had obviously shared a few details with her about our…eh…encounters. Once we stopped dating, that's when Mandy started showing up talking about how much she'd heard about me and wanted to experience a few things for herself." Blake angled his back toward Mandy, who seemed to be walking in their direction.

"Is she a lawyer, too?" Drew asked.

"Yeah, but she just joined the organization," Hunter added.

"Wow. All those brains and she's still crazy. Ha!" Drew slapped his leg at his own remark.

"Yeah. That's why I've sworn off dating other lawyers.

It's not cool sleeping with a woman and the next morning you find yourself sitting on the opposite side of the negotiation table and your clients are at war with each other," Blake said, thinking of a similar encounter with the last attorney he dated.

"That's just awkward," Drew said, raising a brow.

"Yeah. And it's happened more than once," Hunter added.

"Whoa!" Drew raised his fist to his mouth as the brothers joined together in laughter once again.

"Hey, Blake." Alana rose on her toes to give Hunter a friendly hug before turning to his brother. "Hey, Hunter, Drew," she acknowledged, and hugged them, too.

After Alana's greeting, Blake zoned out. Well, it wasn't entirely his fault. It was the goddess who stood immediately behind Alana that had captured his attention and momentarily rendered him deaf and mute.

Alana reached behind herself and pulled the woman to her side. If she hadn't looked so disinterested, Blake would have made his intentions clear right then and there, but, sensing her attitude, he decided he'd let things play out before making his move.

Shaking his head, Blake jumped back into the conversation. He was almost annoyed with himself at how he'd let a single look at this beautiful woman throw him off guard.

"What did you say your name was?" he asked the woman, holding his hand out to shake hers. A bland smile spread across her beautiful heart-shaped lips—one that told him she really wasn't interested in being here. Despite the lack of enthusiasm, she managed to spark a rise in him that he hadn't expected.

"Cadence Payne."

Her soft voice caressed Blake's ear ever so slightly, giving rise to several parts of him, as if she'd teased him with an actual touch. Blake was caught in the sheer femininity of it. It actually took him a moment to respond. "Beautiful name. Pleasure to meet you, Cadence." Blake brought the back of her hand to his lips and kissed it gently and then flashed what he hoped was a winning sexy smile potent enough to put a dent in that attitude of hers.

"Pleasure," she said dryly, and pulled her hand back.

This one had a hard exterior, Blake concluded. He wasn't worried about that. He'd never had a problem breaking through women's exteriors before, no matter how tough they tried to be. Women often melted under the Barrington brothers' influence. The brothers were hot commodities, and had even been featured in a special issue of one of the local magazines as some of the most eligible bachelors in the greater metropolitan area.

"So, how has it been going so far? Has our speaker arrived?" Alana asked, rising to her toes to look over the crowd.

"Not that I know of," Blake responded, still looking at Cadence, who had been trying to avoid his stare.

"Okay. I'll check it out. Be right back." Before Blake or Hunter could reply, Alana was off through the crowd, mingling, smiling and waving at familiar faces in the distance.

Instead of following her, Cadence took a seat at the far end of the bar. Blake took her aloof demeanor as a sign to let her be for just a while, but there was no way he was going to let her leave there without getting her number.

"Are you done?" Drew said as he and Hunter grinned.

"Huh?" Blake said, realizing their eyes were on him awaiting a response. "What?"

"He asked, 'are you done?'" Hunter yelled over the noise of the growing crowd.

"What do you mean?"

"Are you done lapping her up with your eyes, man?" Drew laughed. "She doesn't seem interested."

"What?" Blake grunted. "Not interested in me!" He feigned surprise as if Drew's assessment was completely ridiculous. "Dude, do you know who I am?" he asked, touching his chest in disbelief. "I'm Blake Barrington! You better ask around," he teased. Hunter and Drew dismissed him with waves of their hands.

"Well, she doesn't seem to care," Drew responded. "Seems like she's got a bit of an attitude anyway. Do you know if she's an attorney also?"

"I know she is," Hunter answered.

Blake's head spun in his brother's direction based on his response. "You know her?" He wondered what he may have missed during the introductions when he had been arrested by her pouty lips, nice hips, caramel skin, perfect breasts and long legs.

"You know her, too," Hunter said, holding his finger up at the bartender for another round. He nodded, confirming her acknowledgment before turning his attention back to Blake. "That's Senator Payne's daughter. I've never actually met her up close and personal, but I know that face."

Blake's shoulders slumped in disappointment upon finding out that she was also an attorney. He'd been serious when he'd vowed to stop dating women in the same profession. It never worked out for him. He even wondered how he'd never run into her before. New York City was a crowded metropolis, but many of its circles ran small.

"Hey!" The high-pitched shriek snatched his attention away from his thoughts about Cadence.

Before he could fully turn himself around, he felt the softness of a woman's body pressed up against the back of him. The familiar, sweet essence of lilies wafted from Jasmine Lee's almond skin. He found himself smothered in her arms as she closed them tightly around him.

"What's up, baby?" Jasmine said, turning him around, grabbing him by his cheeks and then pulling him down to her—right into her full, indulgent baby-pink lips.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Her Chance at Love by Nicki Night
Romance Series: The Barrington Brothers 

His Love Lesson by Nicki Night






When All Is Said and Prayed by E N Joy
Book One of the Forever Diva Series 

 It ain’t easy being saved, sanctified, and single. Try being a once divorced, now widowed single mother of two on top of that. Thank God the Lord built Paige Vanderdale to be able to bear all of those titles without becoming weary to the point of giving up. From the outside looking in, that life looks good on her. On the inside, though, Paige is coveting what so many others around her seem to have, which is true love.

In the past, everything that she thought was love was either something far from it, or was taken away from her. Now Paige is afraid to let her hair down and open herself up to love again.

Paige struggles with the decision to reach out to an old flame to rekindle their spark. When the blaze gets too high, will Paige do what she always does, which is grab the nearest fire extinguisher and try to put it out? Or will she utilize her backup plan and run? The decision is abruptly removed from Paige’s hands when something else begins to pull her away—something that just might be the thing that finally breaks her.

Excerpt from When All Is Said and Prayed by E.N. Joy

Chapter 26

When Paige looked out the peephole and saw who it was, her heart rate sped up. She no longer saw the woman standing on her porch as a friend and confidant. Had she known the true identity of this woman, she wasn’t sure she would have ever befriended her in the first place. Paige now knew her as the mother of her psycho ex-husband. She looked out the peephole again. Paige loved this woman. Loved her to life and death. Paige was confused right now, but what she did know was that she could not—she would not— make this woman pay the price for her son’s sins. After all, even if she was the mother of her abusive ex-husband, that meant that she was also her oldest daughter’s grandmother.

Paige unlocked the front door and opened it. She pushed the screen open enough for her uninvited and unexpected guest to enter her home.

The woman looked up at Paige with what looked like regret in her eyes. She then entered.

Paige closed and locked up the door behind them. When Paige turned around, Blake’s mother was just standing there looking at her. Both women seemed to fill up with emotions. Before either one knew it, they had charged toward one another to embrace in a deep, heartfelt hug. Tears were unstoppable as each woman cried.

“I’m so sorry.” Blake’s mother spoke first. 

“You don’t have to apologize,” Paige said.

“I do. I owe you several apologies.”

The women hugged for a few more seconds until they finally separated. Paige went and got them both some tissue to wipe their faces.

“Thank you,” Blake’s mother said, taking the tissue from Paige and then blowing her nose with it.

“You’re welcome.” Paige wiped her tears away. She then looked to the woman. “You said you owed me several apologies. I don’t understand.”

Blake’s mother took a deep breath and then gave off one of those “Here it goes” looks. “First off, let me just say that I honestly had no idea who my boy was. Initially, I didn’t even know if my child was a boy or a girl. I would have never asked you to help me search for him had I known.”

“I know that,” Paige said sincerely. She never thought the god-fearing woman standing before her would have knowingly solicited her assistance in the search for her long lost child.

“Wait. Please let me finish.” Blake’s mother found the courage to continue speaking. “I did know who he was, though, by the time I brought him to meet everyone.”

Paige shook her head with such disappointment.

“I didn’t do it that way to hurt anyone. I just felt it was better that way. I knew if I had told you all in advance, he would have never been allowed to step foot in the house. No one would have ever given him a chance.” She put her head down. “Not that anyone gave him a chance this way either.”

Paige just stood there. She really had no idea what to say about the confession.

“I wasn’t betraying you or trying to trick you,” Blake’s mother offered. “I love you like a daughter. Like you were my own child.” Her eyes spilled with tears. “You truly are the daughter I never had. And to think that once upon a time you really were my daughter, my daughter-in-law…But because of me, my son treated you like a dog on the street.” She keeled over in tears.

“I won’t let you blame yourself for what your son did to me,” Paige said, walking over and putting her hand on the heartbroken woman’s back. “You weren’t the one who raised him to treat women like that.”

The woman gained her composure and stood erect. “Exactly. I wasn’t there for him in the beginning…From the start of his precious life. That’s when I really needed to be there, and I wasn’t. I might not have been the one who raised him to treat women like that, but I wasn’t there to raise him on how, in fact, he is supposed to treat women. When a mother fails her son, she fails all the other women in his life too. And I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Paige. Will you forgive me?” She was crying out hard. “I was such a broken woman when I gave birth to Blake. His father was another woman’s husband at the time. He was born into a broken situation. He was raised broken by a woman who I’m sure was broken as a result of the role I played in tainting her marriage. My boy was then abandoned by yet another woman that at the time he thought was his birth mother. Even though he was a man when he married you, that broken boy was still inside of him. Still controlling his life. He was angry inside. He might have been good at hiding it, but only for so long.”

Paige could almost feel the pain herself that Blake’s mother was in as she cried out apologizing. Tears fell from Paige’s eyes just watching the woman. Paige still didn’t feel as though his mother owed her an apology for what Blake had done to her.

“I’ve apologized to Blake. He’s forgiven me. Now I have to apologize to you,” Blake’s mother said. She took Paige’s face into her hands. “Baby, I’m sorry for what my son did to you. I’m sorry I was the first female in his life to show him that he couldn’t trust women. I left him in the hands of another woman who ended up leaving him too. And I can only imagine what he felt like finding out that the two mothers he had, both abandoned him. We taught him that a woman would hurt him, leave him. I’m sorry that I didn’t nurture him with the love a mother ought to nurture her child with. I’m sorry I didn’t teach him how to love a woman, how a woman loves and how to receive that love. I’m sorry for my role in breaking him. I’m sorry that he broke you. Dear Jesus, I’m sorry,” she cried out.

Paige threw her arms around Blake’s mother. “I forgive you. I forgive you.” Following the obedience of the Holy Spirit, Paige forgave the woman even though at first she didn’t feel as though an apology was owed to her. But hearing Blake’s mother speak and hearing the proverbial chains break and fall with her every word, Paige knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the apology wasn’t for anyone but the woman herself. It was for her own deliverance. Her own freedom. And if Paige could help set that woman free by simply accepting her apology, so be it.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase When All Is Said and Prayed by E N Joy
Link:  (Kindle)






Redeemed by Patricia Haley and Gracie Hill 

Sequel to their edgy #1 Christian Fiction Bestseller - Relentless 

#1 Essence and Christian fiction bestselling author Patricia Haley teams up with national bestselling Gracie Hill in this edgy new drama series. The Redeemed Series is comprised of modern stories, loosely based on the attributes of the Apostle Paul and struggles he encountered with churches in the New Testament. Relentless is the first book in the series.  Redeemed by Patricia Haley-Glass and Gracie Hill, is book two in the series.  Details below.

Everything isn’t as successful as it appears in the life of hard-hitting civil attorney Maxwell Montgomery, who has his own way of tackling demons from the past. His self-appointed crusade to root out corruption in the church has cost him greatly, and the price continues to rise, as his personal life spirals out of control. His former love is engaged to someone else, and his troubles don’t stop there. Maxwell is shouldering an unexpected burden of guilt when he is forced to wonder if his pursuits have landed an innocent man in prison.

Instead of dealing with his conscience, Maxwell shoves the emotions deep within and presses on to the next case. Along the way, he amasses quite a list of enemies, including his former paralegal, who is desperately seeking retribution. With the weight of his mission becoming too heavy to bear, Maxwell doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust.

Despite his high-flying lifestyle, his past finally catches up to him. Maxwell is still unwilling to surrender, however, until an unavoidable set of circumstances forces him to make a life-changing decision. Having fallen so far, his only shot at redemption is through God’s mercy, but will the mighty Maxwell Montgomery forego his pride and accept it?

Redeemed: Chapter 1

Activity inside the Philadelphia law firm, located in the heart of downtown, was often hectic, but today it seemed manageable. 

“Make no mistake about it, he’s a snake, just like the rest of them,” Maxwell Montgomery rattled off as he reared back in his favorite chair, comfortably situated in his private office. 

Garrett, his lead private investigator, didn’t respond immediately.

Maxwell carried on with his tirade. “You know I’m telling the truth.” The infamous civil attorney leapt to his feet and approached Garrett, who was sitting across the room. “Name one honest preacher that you know.” Not allowing Garrett ample time for a response, Maxwell continued. “See? You can’t think of one, not a single one,” he said, pointing at Garrett and bursting into a flurry of laughter. “Not one.”

“Whatever you say, boss.”

“Because you know I’m right,” he said. “A bunch of self-righteous, moneygrubbing, power-hungry hypocrites, every one of them.” Maxwell sailed back to his chair in an animated fashion. “When you think about it, I shouldn’t complain. They’ve all been good to me.”

“How?” Garrett asked, seeming confused.

“Heck, look at this.” He tapped on a stack of files on his desk. “Case after case, they’ve made me a boatload of cash,” he said, rubbing his index finger and thumb together briskly.

Garrett’s head tilted to the side, and his lips tightened. “Can’t deny that.”

“I know you can’t. Man, these cats are a gold mine. Uncovering their sin is as easy as taking candy from a baby. I have more work than I can handle, going after these weasels.” He plopped into his seat. “Some of these cases blow my mind. Remember the priest in Allentown who secretly had three sets of children and wouldn’t agree to pay child support for any of them?”

“I remember. One mother was a nursing student who was struggling to stay in school.”

“Yeah, and he wouldn’t pay her the measly five hundred dollars a month that she needed,” Maxwell said.

Garrett leaned forward and rubbed his head. “I bet if he could do it all over again, he’d gladly pay the five hundred, and probably even five thousand a month.”

“I bet he would too. Once I found out about his other two sets of children he’d conveniently hidden from the archdiocese, paying that skimpy child support was the least of his worries. Staying out of prison for messing around with a seventeen-year-old girl took precedence.”

“And the church wasn’t too happy about the kind of publicity you were threatening to send their way.”

“That’s right.” Maxwell chuckled. “I did put some heat on them.” He spun a little bit in his chair. “I love my job, and what’s great about it is that there are plenty more creeps out there begging for me to come after them. Take Bishop Jones. He practically dared me to bring him down, and that whole cast of characters at Greater Metropolitan.” 

Satisfaction washed over Maxwell. Every single day of his career, Maxwell had dreamed of bringing down the mighty bishop Ellis Jones, the man who’d single-handedly destroyed the Montgomery household. Nearly three decades ago, his parents had been a cog in the mighty preacher’s wheel of deceit. The memory used to be painful and would ignite extreme disdain in Maxwell, but that was before the bishop was sent to prison last year. Now Maxwell reveled in the bishop’s predicament. Jones had lost his church, freedom and, most importantly, his reputation.

Maxwell’s parents suffered a similar fate when they blindly served as loyal church members under the pastor. Little did they know back then that their senior pastor was running a get-rich-quick scheme, which ultimately sucked money from the congregation. Instead of Jones taking responsibility when the scheme was uncovered, he let Deacon Paul Montgomery, Sr., and the church secretary, Ethel Montgomery, take the fall. They paid a high price. Besides losing their house and their money, Maxwell’s parents lost a son. Worst of all, Maxwell and his sister were left orphaned when their parents had to spend time in prison for fraud, while Jones spent every night with his family. Not anymore. 

Maxwell felt vindicated. “They all got exactly what they deserved. They’re locked up in hell.”

Garrett eased to the edge of his seat as his gaze plummeted to the floor. “Everybody, including Deacon Burton?”

Maxwell’s adrenaline careened through his body. He sent a searing stare in Garrett’s direction. “Yes, Deacon Burton too,” he said with a jagged edge that it sliced the air. 

“If you say so.”

Garrett’s reply didn’t give Maxwell the validation that he would have appreciated, but it wasn’t required. He was at peace with the outcome. There were no regrets. Neither Garrett nor a band of church runners was going to change Maxwell’s mind. 

“I can’t waste any more time on Greater Metropolitan. What about Faith Temple and Pastor Renaldo Harris.” 

“He’s not going to be that easy,” Garrett replied.

“Pu-lease!” Maxwell grimaced. “What’s got you spooked?”

“I’m being careful, unlike you, who’s turning this thing into something personal.”

“Personal?” Maxwell responded in an elevated voice. “This is business. Always has been, always will be,” was the lie Maxwell uttered and hurriedly shifted the conversation away from himself. “Usually, you’re on top of your game, but looks like you’re slipping, my man.”

“One of us is slipping,” Garrett said and got up to leave.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Redeemed by Patricia Haley and Gracie Hill 
Book 2 - Redeemed Series 






Lawful Deception 
by Pamela Samuels Young

"Pamela Samuels Young has crafted a page-turner that will keep you engrossed until the very last page. If you’re a fan of smart legal thrillers with brisk pacing, crackling dialogue and edgy, intriguing characters, Lawful Deception is for you.” --Dwayne Alexander Smith, Award-winning Author of Forty Acres.

Once again, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young delivers another captivating legal thriller full of unexpected twists and jaw-dropping moments you never see coming. The beautiful Bliss Fenton won't be winning any awards for Mother of the Year. Truth is, motherhood isn't nearly as important to Bliss as the cottage industry she's created: extorting wealthy men for the hefty child support she can collect.

But Bliss' greed goes too far when she takes on Fletcher McClain. The handsome music industry mogul refuses to accept her conniving conduct lying down. He retains high-profile attorney Vernetta Henderson to sue Bliss for fraud.

Enter Bliss’ unscrupulous attorney, Girlie Cortez, who has a personal score to settle with Vernetta. As the two lawyers once again go head-to-head, their legal battle quickly escalates from merely contentious to downright deadly.


Bliss Fenton took a sip of champagne as she glared across the room at the obnoxiously happy couple. They indeed made a striking pair. Their slim, toned bodies draped in designer wear and expensive jewelry. So trendy. So California chic. Setting her champagne glass on the tray of a passing waiter, Bliss snaked her way through the crowd, hoping to get a better view. As she moved, her blonde curls bounced as if lifted by a cool breeze. At 5’8” and 120 pounds, her delicate frame was all slopes and curves. A body specifically designed for exhibition.

The partygoers were packed like human matchsticks inside the gaudy Hollywood Hills mansion. The home, if you could call it that, was a testament to excess. Just like the couple. Too much of everything. Too many art deco chairs, too much bronze and glass, and so much artwork the walls could barely breathe.

Only a few feet away from the couple now, Bliss found herself shoulder-to-shoulder with a too-tanned man with greasy hair. He winked at her. She sneered back at him and moved on. A devious smile fractured Bliss’ face as she returned her attention to the couple. She imagined the angst they would experience the minute they spotted her among the partygoers. Fletcher’s lips would contort into an ugly grimace, but then coolly transition to a barely perceptible smirk. He was not the kind of man who was easily rankled. That was the reason he was a millionaire several times over. 

Mia, however, would not be able to hide her emotions. Fletcher’s prissy little black princess would toss Bliss a snarl that bellowed, What the hell are you doing here? It was Mia she wanted to punish most. Bliss had pleaded with God to curse her former friend with a pain ten times more intense than her own. She wanted Mia to live it. Breathe it. Curl up in bed with it. Just as she had.  Bliss refused to blame Fletcher for the poor choices he’d made. He was a man. And men, by nature, were weak. Still, he too would pay just the same.  The call of vengeance tugged hard at Bliss’ soul, urging her, daring her, to march right up to the couple and confront them. But she held back. For the moment. Patience had always been her most virtuous trait. 

Fletcher hustled to the front of the room and began singing the praises of the newest songstress to be added to his stable of artists, LaReena Jarreau. Bliss remembered cuddling in bed with Fletcher and listening to him brag about creating her stage name, since Janice Harris had no pizzazz.

“The first time I heard her voice,” Fletcher said, throwing his arm around the bony twenty-something dressed in hooker gear, “I knew she was going to hit the music world by storm. You have to agree that what we heard tonight was—as the youngsters say—off the chain.”

Everyone applauded as the hip, dark-haired CEO of Karma Entertainment grinned, happy to be on show. The only thing Fletcher enjoyed more than being rich was having everyone know it.

Mia remained off to the side, perfecting the look of the coy, supportive fiancée. That had been Bliss’ mistake. Accepting her at face value. While Mia’s visual package was quite alluring—all charm and beauty—on the inside, she was pure evil. Truth be told, Mia wasn’t all that different from her.  Bliss Fenton, not Mia Richardson, should have been on the arm of the music industry mogul tonight. It had never occurred to Bliss that her long-time yoga buddy could walk into a party and take her new guy’s breath away. Literally. 

At the time, Bliss had been dating Fletcher for a short six months. She’d invited Mia to the party at Fletcher’s Beverly Hills home for the sole purpose of showing off her new man to her smart, uppity faux-friend. Bliss could still remember Mia waving as she glided into the party, the crowd parting so effortlessly it almost seemed choreographed.

Seconds before, Fletcher had been talking nonstop about his label’s next release, but the sight of Mia had caused him to lose his train of thought. When Bliss had formally introduced them, the lust in Fletcher’s eyes further telegraphed the gravity of her mistake.

Only days after the party, Bliss’ time with Fletcher began to dwindle, explained away by late night meetings that couldn’t be avoided or last-minute business trips to New York. Mia, too, had started cancelling their after-yoga coffee chats and finally stopped coming to yoga class altogether. 

It was a month later, when Bliss saw Fletcher and Mia pictured together in Billboard, that she first learned of their betrayal. Her subsequent rage-filled calls to both of them had been ignored. And now, Mia was at Fletcher’s side, while Bliss had been pushed right out of his life.

A burst of applause snapped Bliss back to the present. As Fletcher seemed to be wrapping up his speech, Bliss moved closer, stopping inches behind Mia. She leaned in, her lips almost grazing Mia’s right ear. 

“Congratulations on your engagement.”

Mia’s head whipped around, her dark brown skin now ashen gray. “You ... you shouldn’t be here.” 

Bliss spoke in a firm whisper. “Neither should you. You backstabbing bitch.” 

Mia took a step back. “This is not the place to make a scene.”

“Okay, then,” Bliss said, moving into the space Mia had abandoned. “Shall we step outside?”

A second later, Fletcher wedged himself between them. “You walk yourself out of here right now,” he said through clenched teeth, “or I’ll have security carry you out.”

Although no voices had been raised, all heads turned in their direction. Mia didn’t move.

Fletcher, always cognizant of appearances, wore a stiff smile as he spat into Bliss’ face. “If you don’t leave, I swear I’ll have you arrested.”

After three long beats, Bliss winked. “You’ll both be hearing from me.”

Bliss couldn’t help smiling as she sashayed through the buzzing crowd. 

Fletcher and Mia would suffer for their disloyalty. Bliss only wished she could be there to see their stunned faces when they learned what she had done and realized there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.

Chapter 1

I should have shown Fletcher McClain to the door 30 minutes ago, but the words seem to be stuck in my throat. I hate to admit it—even to myself—but I like having him in my space again. 

“So will you take care of this for me, Vernetta?” 

He’s been pacing the length of my office for several minutes now. When he first stormed in and slapped the Petition to Establish Parental Relationship on my desk, he was so wound up I thought he might be on the verge of a stroke.

“I’m not a family law attorney, Fletcher.” 

Employment law and some occasional criminal work are more up my alley.

“I don’t need an expert in family law,” Fletcher insists. “What I need is a good negotiator. Someone who can talk some sense into this nutcase and make her go away. And I’m confident you can do the job.”

The issue isn’t whether I could handle his case, but whether I should. They say a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. Perhaps a lawyer who goes to battle on behalf of an ex-lover is just as foolish. Especially if the old flame hasn’t quite flickered out yet.

According to the petition, Fletcher’s ex-girlfriend Bliss Fenton has named him as the father of her three-month-old daughter, Harmony. Fletcher, however, claims the petition is all lies. Even though he hasn’t taken the court-ordered paternity test yet, he wants me to set up a meeting with Bliss and offer her some “chump change,” as he puts it, to go away. 

“It looks like she filed that petition herself. I need this nonsense over and done with before she gets an attorney involved.”

I take another look at the petition. Bliss has indeed filed it in pro per, which is easy enough to do. The petition is a simple two-page form that requires checking a few boxes. Falling into one of the chairs in front of my desk, Fletcher fixes me with a look so intense I almost shudder. 

“I really need you, Vernetta.” 

His lips angle upward, just slightly, and I feel a warm tingle in a place where my happily married self definitely should not be tingling. I break his gaze and fiddle with my cuticle. Classically handsome, Fletcher has sandy hair, strong cheekbones and wide brown eyes with lashes too long and thick for Mother Nature to have wasted on a guy. He’s still the only white guy who ever stole my heart. 

“Fletcher, you could find a million attorneys to handle this. Why don’t you let me recommend a friend who has expertise in family law?”

“See, that’s what I love about you, Vernetta. I don’t know many lawyers who would turn away a paying client with my kind of dough. You’re the real deal.”

“Unbelievable.” I stare across the desk at him, shaking my head. “You’re still as cocky as you were when we were know-nothing sophomores back at USC. It’s not always about money, Fletcher.”

“It’s always about money, my sweetness.”

Damn him. Hearing his pet name for me after all these years has me tingling again. A quiet chirp interrupts his subtle flirting. He pulls the phone from the inside pocket of his jacket. Glancing at the screen, he frowns and sets it on the corner of my desk.

“How can you be so sure it’s not your kid?” I ask.

“Because we broke up almost a year before that kid was born.”

“Shouldn’t you wait for the results of the paternity test?”

“Don’t need to. It’s not my kid.”

“I’m confused. If it’s not your kid, once you have the results, it’s over. Why pay her anything?”

“You don’t know Bliss Fenton. Even after the results come back, she’ll have something else up her sleeve. I need this thing buttoned up once and for all. Paying her off will accomplish that.”

My gut and years of legal experience tell me there’s more to the story. “You certainly seem awfully stressed over an allegation that has no merit. What’s the real deal?”

Fletcher repositions himself in the chair. 

“I’m getting married in three months and this whole thing has my fiancée climbing the walls. Bliss timed this to embarrass Mia right before our wedding. I need it resolved as soon as possible.”

The news that Fletcher is getting married surprises me. I’ve followed his career for years and figured he was a confirmed bachelor. 

“So what’s Bliss got against Mia?”

“Well ... um ... they used to be friends.” 

I squint. “Oh, so we’re dealing with a woman scorned.” 

It’s one thing to lose your man to another woman. It’s quite another to lose a charming, high roller like Fletcher McClain to someone you considered a friend.

He shrugs. “That’s basically the crux of it.”

“But it still doesn’t make sense. Bliss wouldn’t serve you with a paternity suit if there were no chance you could be the father.”

“You haven’t been listening. This woman is extremely conniving. She probably read that Forbes article and came up with this scheme to shake me down.” He pauses. “Did you happen to see it?”

Fletcher landed the number three spot on Forbes’ list of the top music industry moguls. He’s the only one on the list under 40. His net worth is estimated at $450 million, just behind Clive Davis and JayZ.

“Of course I saw it. Very impressive.”

He points a finger at me. “You haven’t done too bad yourself, counselor. You’ve handled some pretty high-profile cases.” 

Over the years, Fletcher sent me handwritten notes, congratulating me when one of my trials hit the press. Keeping up with his achievements is the only reason I read Billboard.

“So how much do you plan to offer her?”

“A hundred grand should do it. I’m willing to go higher if I have to. Maybe two-fifty. And I want a written agreement with an ironclad confidentiality provision.” 

I’m about to say he’s putting up a lot of cash to get rid of a bogus claim, but for a man with Fletcher’s bank account, we’re talking peanuts. 

“We may have to play dirty to force her into a settlement. I want you to retain a private investigator to dig up some dirt on her in case we need it. And trust me, it’s out there.”

“Are you serious?”

“As a heart attack. Once you meet her, you’ll understand.”

“How’d you even end up with this woman?”

“It’s your fault,” he quips. “After you broke my heart, I was so devastated, I opened up my heart to whoever came along.”

“Yeah, right.” I scan the petition again. “It says here the child was born in January of this year and she’s three months old.” I glance skyward and do the math in my head. “Let’s see ... Assuming a nine-month pregnancy, that would place conception sometime in April of last year.”

“Exactly. The kid can’t be mine. We broke up in February, eleven months before she was born. I remember because it was two weeks before Valentine’s Day.”

“Maybe your timing is off.”

“It’s not.”

“And there were no hookups after that?”

“Nope.” He brushes the lapel of his Canali suit, then raises his right hand. “Scout’s honor.”

“I still don’t understand why you don’t want to wait for the test results before approaching her. You’d be in a much better negotiating position.”

“I’m taking the test tomorrow, but it could be a couple of weeks before I get the results. I want this thing resolved yesterday.” 

His cell phone chirps again. He grunts and picks it up. “Excuse me a second.”  His long fingers awkwardly tap the screen. I assume he’s sending an email or text message. Another minute or so passes before he looks up, his face full of annoyance.

“Uh, that was Mia calling from the lobby.” He scratches his jaw. “She’s on her way up.”

“Hmmm. So it’s your fiancée who’s running this show.”

“Not really. Well, I mean—” 

I’m not used to seeing the smooth-talking Fletcher McClain at a loss for words. He moves to the edge of the chair. The relaxed air we’d been basking in has been sapped from the room. 

“The real deal is Mia wants me to sue Bliss for defamation. She thinks I’m meeting with you to talk about the defamation case. But I think it makes more sense to give Bliss a few dollars to disappear.”

“Okay, now I get it.”

“Let’s keep that under our hat. And, um,” he rubs his chin, “Mia’s a bit on the jealous side. Let’s not mention that we used to be an item, okay?”

Fletcher was never the type of guy who’d let his woman call the shots. This alpha dog has turned into a poodle. 

“No problem. Our conversations are attorney-client privileged.”

Fletcher straightens in his chair. “Oh, so I’m your client? Great!”

I raise both hands, palms out. “I haven’t committed yet. But your fiancée can’t—”

“Just flow with me on this, okay? I’ll handle Mia. You just play along.” His confident charm reminds me of the first time we met over a decade ago. 

I was walking across campus when Fletcher stopped me with a corny pick-up line.

“Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk by again?”

I’d never met a white guy—certainly not one as gorgeous as Fletcher McClain—who had the swagger of a brother. After a bit of prodding, I agreed to meet him for lunch. And here he is still charming me more than a decade later.

My assistant pokes her head in the door. “I have a lady out here who says she—”

The door flies open and a woman bustles past Deena into my office.  A perfectly coiffed, black beauty marches right up to my desk and peers down at me. I have to push my chair back to get her out of my personal space. 

“You better be a barracuda,” she says, firing her words at me. “Because that’s the kind of attorney we need to show that scandalous slut Bliss Fenton that she’s playing with fire.” 

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young
(Vernetta Henderson Series, Book 5)


About Pamela Samuels Young
When attorney Pamela Samuels Young, a NAACP Image Award winner, isn’t fulfilling her duties as legal counsel for a major corporation in Southern California, you can usually find her penning her next legal thriller.

Her acclaimed novel, Anybody’s Daughter, is what garnered Pamela her first NAACP Image Award win in the category of Outstanding Literary Work (Fiction).

Fed up with never seeing people of color, especially women, depicted as savvy, hot-shot attorneys in the legal thrillers she read, the Compton, CA, native decided to create her own. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, Pamela accomplished her ambitious goal by getting up at 4am to write before work, dedicated her weekends to writing and even spent a large portion of her vacations glued to her laptop. In doing so, she discovered her passion for writing.

A graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and a Master’s Degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a diehard member of Sisters in Crime-L.A., an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers.

She lives in Southern California and attends Hope in Christ Community Church. Visit her website to read excerpts from the books, to see the more than 380 bookclubs she has visited and to follow her online: 

Pamela is also a frequent speaker on the topics of writing fiction, discrimination law and pursuing your passion.
Pamela loves to hear from readers, so use one of the avenues listed below to reach out to her.

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Tell the Truth The Devil Won't 
by Colette R. Harrell 

Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t  is the sequel to The Devil Made Me Do It.  Second stand alone book in the Heaven Over Hell Trilogy. The Love Zion members are in the middle of a spiritual tsunami. The flood has them up to their necks, deep in muck and mire, and treading water looking for a life raft. 

The full-figured Esther Redding doesn't realize it, but she desperately needs a change. Her Cinderella tiara is tarnished, and her glass slippers are cracked. 

Briggs Stokes has always had a soft spot for Esther. She was in his blood, and he didn't want a transfusion. When he returns to Detroit, he decides that nothing will keep him from her door. Well, nothing but once reformed bad girl Monica Stokes Custer. She's Briggs's ex, and she wants to be his "give me one more chance again" wife. The tug of war that ensues may be the catalyst that destroys the person they both love the most. 

Don't blink—pray. These shenanigans are too juicy to miss.

Excerpt: Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t

Chapter One

It was dead cold. The air crackled with the sound of ice-covered tree branches crashing onto cement sidewalks; it was an unnatural arctic day, even for Harlem. There were motorists stranded on every major highway as an epic ice storm settled over the length of New York City. And while the air over those highways was filled with road rage, explicit language, and hunger pains, the contrasting hush of the opulent brownstones on 132nd Street was shattered by an eerie scream that filled the bitter air.

Monica Hawthorne, the ex-Mrs. Briggs Stokes, stood shaking uncontrollably. Her beloved, risked-everything she-had-to-have-him husband of one month, Randall, lay in a pool of blood on their imported Brazilian cherry kitchen floor. If Randall could, he would have stood up and told her for the tenth time that ten thousand dollars for a floor was too much, and just because she could buy it didn’t mean she had to. But Randall couldn’t utter a word. She watched horrified as his blood seeped into the natural grooves of the wood, giving credence to the fact that maybe the cost was too much.

Monica blinked, but he wasn’t getting up or giving her advice about her newly acquired wealth, because standing over him was his newly divorced wife, the ex-Mrs. Meredith Hawthorne. This She-Spawn-from-the-Pits, with her six hundred-dollar hairdo mussed, her designer clothes askew, and her chest heaving in spastic breaths, clutched the knife that once protruded from Randall’s chest. Words of explanation weren’t necessary; the vivid picture painted its own morbid story.

Monica was spellbound. She was in her own home. The ordeal of leaving one husband to claim another’s was behind her. The guilt had been laid aside. The shame stamped down, at least temporarily. It was Randall and her against the world. But it had all just changed—drastically. Snapping to, Monica shrieked, “Oh sweet Jesus! What have you done? You crazy—!” Her cries were halted by the demented gleam in the ex-Mrs. Hawthorne’s eyes. The maniac’s focus switched from Randall to her, then back to Randall.

Mrs. Hawthorne had gone mad, crazy, bonkers, cray cray. Monica’s head hurt at the thought that she was still addressing this woman by what was rightfully her new name. It bore psychological study that she could only think of the witch as Mrs. Hawthorne. For over three years the woman had railed it at her, negating Monica’s right to ever wear the title. She’d stood in haughty arrogance and promised in divorce court that she would never relinquish it. At the time, Monica didn’t care; she felt Mrs. Hawthorne could keep the last name, as long as she had the man. Now she felt she had been short-sighted. If in the middle of a bloody rampage, she thought of her that way, then who was she?

The murderous interloper looked on in glee as blood bubbled out of Randall’s mouth. Monica observed her spiteful approval as Randall’s hand feebly stretched over his wound, but failed in mustering the strength to staunch the flow of his river of life. His eyelids fluttered—pausing, fighting to focus as he scanned beyond Mrs. Hawthorne’s face. His eyes settled on Monica’s outstretched hands.

“Randall,” Monica whispered. She swayed in agony. Time was grinding to a stop, like an old-fashioned watch discarded in a moth-eaten hope chest, it would soon end, and Randall would be done. She needed a way to get close to him, but Mrs. Hawthorne stood as she had for the last three years, directly in her path.

Always . . . in my way.

Rage bubbled into a go-for-broke moment. Monica launched forward and charged Mrs. Hawthorne with a Joan of Arc warrior’s roar. The sound of the impact and responding grunt was dulled by the body that crumpled to the floor. Monica gambled . . . and lost. Her body fell inches from Randall’s.  Her hands bloodied, Mrs. Hawthorne rocked in despair. She had meant to take her time with the slut, but her offensive attack had taken her by surprise.

Then . . . Monica moved.

What she was witnessing had Mrs. Hawthorne’s keening wail ricochet throughout the spacious brownstone. She glowered in anguish, howling as Monica’s fingers inched toward Randall’s, and they entwined even in their near-death status. She watched in ghoulish repulsion as the almost loving tableau played out before her. Her eyebrows arched as she made out Monica’s pleading words, “Jesus, help us.”

A rattle of air descended from Randall . . . and then stillness.  In slow motion, Mrs. Hawthorne turned in robotic movements away from the scene. Her steps faltered when she heard Monica’s fading voice, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The prophetic words washed over her as she stood in cold resolution. Shaking it off, she strutted away from the two people who had humiliated her in public and had caused her heart to bleed dry for three unbearable years. Randall had won his freedom, imprisoning her in her own madness in the process.

She had sworn to Randall’s dying mother, there would be no divorce. Tears gathered at the end of her hawkish nose, dribbling onto her twice-a-week, spa-waxed upper lip, then streamed down her cosmetic-tightened neck. She was Mrs. Meredith Hawthorne, of the Hawthornes, and failure was foreign to her.

In agony, she backtracked, and stumbled, tumbling over the bodies. Blindly, Meredith wiped her eyes, reared back, and spit in Monica’s face. Still feeling empty and unfulfilled, she stared, craving the ability to wake Monica and kill her again.  Rising, she noted Randall’s discarded, prized Civil War-era, matching pearl- and jewel-handled knives. She blew a kiss at him, and left the knives there. It was only fitting Randall have ownership of what he demanded in the divorce decree. What better way to deliver his bounty, then to use it as the method of obliteration for both he and his tramp?

Mrs. Hawthorne reached into her purse and pulled out her derringer. Acting as a lover whose desire is close to fulfillment, she caressed it.

Her insides churning, she panted, taking one last glance at the coconspirators to her destruction. She could answer Monica’s final question. God had forsaken Monica because she was a Delilah home wrecker. What Mrs. Hawthorne wanted to know, was why He had forsaken her.

She lay the letters for her children—who never called—on the solid mahogany credenza, then her purse. All she’d had was the facade of a happy life. She’d paid for it in an avalanche of tears as she played dumb blonde to Randall’s neglect and numerous indiscretions over the years, anything to keep him home.

And how had he repaid her? By falling for a nasty, ashy-prone, ghetto rat. The slut’s resulting pregnancy, and his request for a divorce, “so he could be happy” was the Joker’s wild card. How many wrongs was she expected to endure?

She looked around and hiccupped laughter—a great-granddaughter of the Confederacy ending up in a brownstone in Harlem?  Well, rise up every long-buried plantation owner and move over. I’m coming in, and from this gaudy, overpriced slum.  In the middle of her cynical chuckle, she bit her lip. She was stalling and knew it. The gun shook in her hands as she placed the barrel to her temple; lips pressed together, she focused on the brightness of the moon, brilliant against the frigid dark sky.

The trigger was pulled, and the gun clattered to the ground. Once again blood seeped into the Brazilian cherry hardwood floor. It should now have been quiet in the apartment. Instead, after the booming sound of the gunshot, you could hear through the intercom three things: the startled cries of a newborn, a phone ringing, and a feeble whimper. The air was clear and sweet with the aroma of citrus floral and the essence of myrrh. Large winged inhabitants fluttered about on missions of supreme purpose. Above, two hovered in midflight, one apparently holding the other from takeoff.

“Why do you hold me, Zadkiel? I must go. Did you not hear Monica scream? I am hers, and she is mine. Monica thinks that God has forsaken her. I am here,” he bemoaned. What the guardian saw split him in two. He could not linger.

Zadkiel pulled the guardian angel back, his wings clutched, and held him firm through the struggle. “Stand down. She cries out in fear, not faith. We are not charged to react to tears, but we are rewarders of faith. What is occurring is heartbreaking, but you have not been given leave to interfere.”

The guardian wanted to push at Zadkiel’s wings, but that would have been disrespectful. “Oh, why do the humans act this way? Must they torment and cause such pain to each other? They have left a child and though Monica has not been innocent for many years, her screams of pain bring too many hurtful emotions to the forefront. How can you float above it all?”

“I am not above anything, but we must be obedient to our Lord of Hosts. He has not given us permission to intervene; a greater good must be coming.” Zadkiel then telepathically shared with him how he kept the sounds of Randall’s and Monica’s pain in the background of his thoughts. “I am empathetic to your feelings. I have learned that our God knows all and His will is the only way. He did not create this mess, but He will make a way out for the innocent babe. Go sing a song of praise. It will ease your soul.”

Large expansive wings flapped in decisive strokes as a voice of power and beauty soared over majestic heads. As other voices joined in song, the angelic choir trumpeted the holiness and sovereignty of God. Contrary to the chaos, He continued to reign. In another realm, the gates of hell rattled in anticipation of the eventual capture and consumption of the new souls. It was a two-course meal: adulterer and murderer, their favorites.

Purchase Tell the Truth The Devil Won't by Colette R. Harrell
Sequel to topselling novel The Devil Made Me Do It 

About the Author
Colette R. Harrell
, wants you to know that she’s like you, God’s chosen vessel. She has come to be a gift, to be an encourager and a light that reflects God’s goodness.

She’s a wife, mother, author and playwright. A Detroit native, she currently calls Ohio home. She holds a master’s and is a Director of Social Services. Writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”

Her latest novel, Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t will thrill October, 2015. It is filled with wisdom and humor. This adventurous love story goes where Ms. Harrell loves to tread, down an unbeaten path. No millionaires rescuing damsels in distress—although she enjoys these reads herself—but every day people, falling and getting back up. 

The Devil Made Me Do It was her debut novel. It was nominated for The 2015 Phillis Wheatley Book Awards in First Fiction. It has been held as one of Black Pearl Magazine’s, top ten Christian fiction books for 2014. In addition, Read Between The Lines radio show, named it as one of its overall top ten books for 2014.

Make no mistake, her sophomore novel, Tell The Truth, The Devil Won’t will cement her as an author to watch. 

Follow Colette R. Harrell, Author

Book 1:  The Devil Made Me Do It
Book 2:  Tell The Truth, The Devil Won't
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The Lion of Judah 
by Janice L. Dennie

Prince Johannas of Ethiopia is torn apart by the escalating civil war in his country. Knowing a new constitution will end the war, he comes to the United States to finish the precious document. He never expects, however, to meet the woman of his dreams, especially when a deadly accident throws her literally at his feet. 

Shana Zachary has given up on relationships in general, men in specific, and doesn't intend to change her mind...until danger and intrigue force her to choose love.

Purchase The Lion of Judah by Janice L. Dennie

1st Edition Featured in Romantic Times Magazine

About the Author
Romance readers everywhere are enamored of Janice L. Dennie's handsome heroes and feisty heroines as they tumble breathlessly in love among the pages of exciting stories set against the backdrop of California's Napa Valley Wine Country. With a sensual voice and luxuriant style reminiscent of the great romance writers, Ms. Dennie's romances are dishes of luscious ice cream with candy sprinkles that keeps readers coming back for more of her smooth literary desserts! 

Born to a military family that settled in San Francisco, California, where Ms. Dennie attended elementary, middle and high school. She later graduated from California State University, Hayward, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Following college, Ms. Dennie worked for a federal agency until retiring in 2011. 

But her work was far from done. Ms. Dennie wrote and published two novels that launched her into the limelight of the romance industry. Ms. Dennie continues to write romance novels that have readers reaching for her books time and again as she delivers love stories featuring beautiful, independent women and tall, dark and dangerous men. 

Determined to enjoy her life as she writes her way to the top of the bestseller lists, Ms. Dennie enjoys watching football with her husband, Gregory, and fun visits with their three adult children and grandchildren. Yet she still has time to garden, volunteer in her community, and read her beloved romance novels! 

Stamped with her signature of excellence, Ms. Dennie's latest series, THE UNDERWOODS OF NAPA VALLEY are heartwarming romances woven into the gorgeous tapestry of the wine industry, its lush vineyards and the elegant men and women who still believe in the power of love! To learn more about Janice L. Dennie and her books, visit and indulge in delicious claret of literary pleasure!







Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley

Shy, nearsighted caregiver, Gaia Telfair always wondered why her father treated her a little differently than her siblings. She never guessed she couldn't claim his love because of a family secret, her illicit birth. With everything she knows to be true evaporating before her spectacles, can the mulatto passing for white survive being exposed and shunned by the powerful duke who has taken an interest in her?

Ex-warrior, William St. Landon, the Duke of Cheshire, will do anything to protect his mute daughter from his late wife's scandals. With a blackmailer at large, hiding in a small village near the cliffs of Devonshire seems the best option, particularly since he can gain help from the talented Miss Telfair, who has the ability to help children learn to speak. If only he could do a better job at shielding his heart from the young lady whose honest hazel eyes see through his jests as her tender lips challenge his desire to remain a single man.

Unmasked Heart is the first Challenge of the Soul Regency novel. 

Excerpt: Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley

Father moved toward the boxy pianoforte, his spindle legs drifting. "I wasn't aware, but it is of no consequence. The man doesn't look at you that way. Though he's good to his brother's household, I see him going to study in London. That's too far to watch over Timothy."

"I need a chance to convince him. If he could like me, I'm sure he will help in my brother's care."

He leaned on the instrument. "I can't be at peace if all my children are tossed to the streets. You owe this to me, to all the Telfairs."

Owe? "What do you mean, Father?"

"Don't, Mr. Telfair. She doesn't need to know. Gaia can be reasoned with without saying anything more."

The warning sent a chill down Gaia's spine, but she had to know. "Tell me why I owe my flesh and blood."

Father took her hand and pulled it to his pale face. "Do you think it's possible that fair Telfair blood could produce this?"

Her heart stopped, slamming against her ribs. "My mother's Spanish roots have browned my skin. That's what you've always said."

He dropped her palm as his head shook. "It was a lie to cover my first wife's harlotry. You're a Telfair because I claimed you."

Gaia couldn't breathe. She crumbled to the floor. Hot tears drenched her face as she wished for a hole to break open and swallow her. "A mistake. Please, say this is a mistake."

The man whom she'd called father, whom she’d worshipped, shook his head again.

She lifted a hand to grasp his shoe but stopped, missing the black leather.

Was this why she’d always felt as if she could never grasp a hold of his love? Is this why he treated her a little differently from the rest? "Then who am I? Whose am I?"

"Some traveling bard, some African poet who captivated her whilst I travelled. When you came out so close to white, with so little color, the ruse was borne; no scandal would befall my name. I'm just lucky you weren't a boy. Then, Chevron would fall to a mulatto. How would the Telfair line handle that tragedy?"

She waved her fingers, studying the light pigment coloring her skin. Mulatto. All this time she’d blamed her flesh on fate or heritage, not lust. She tugged at her elbows, feeling dirty. Glancing at him between tears, she silently begged for him to say it didn't matter, that he loved her still. "Father?"

With a grimace painting his silent mouth, he buttoned his waistcoat. "I'm going to lie down. Talk to her, Sarah; make her understand."

Desperate, Gaia's hand rose this time, but his back was to her in a blink as he plodded from the room. Her fingers felt cold and numb as they sank onto the thin rug. The breath in her lungs burned. Adultery, not a Telfair by blood – these thoughts smashed against her skull.

Sarah knelt beside her and stroked her back. "I'm so sorry. You should never have known."

Gaia shook her head and pulled away. "No more lies."

"Please, I'm not the enemy."

Rearing up, she caught the woman's beady gaze. "You want me to believe you don't want the almost-bastard to be a servant to Timothy? Would you wish one of your children be given this sentence, to become a governess to their own flesh and blood? Well, at least they can claim to be flesh and blood to Timothy."

Sarah reached again and wiped tears from Gaia's cheek then opened her arms wide. "You are his sister. You love him so. This is no failing of yours."

At first, Gaia fell into the woman's sturdy embrace, then she stiffened and pulled away. She needed to flee, to let her brain make sense of the emotions whipping inside. Her slippers started moving. "I must go."

"Sweetheart, wait!"

Gaia shook her head and backed to the threshold. "Why? Is there something else you have to disclose to steal the rest of my dreams?"

Without a thought for a bonnet or coat, she rushed down the hall and out the front door.

Wham! She slammed into a man in fancy, sky-blue livery. The servant was tall and black. Black, like some part inside of her. Her eyes fixed on his bronze skin and wouldn't let go.

"Miss? I've come from Ontredale. Are you well, miss? You look pale enough to faint."

Not pale enough; never would be. "Sorry." She ducked her eyes and sidestepped him.

"Ma'am, I bear a note—"

"You want a Telfair. They are inside." She started running and kept going until not a cobble of Chevron Manor could be seen. Salty drops stung and blurred each step. She strode forward, deeper into the welcoming woods. A hint of spring blooms stroked her nose, but the streaks lining her wet face obscured them.

A fleeting thought to go to Seren's crossed Gaia's mind, but she couldn't let her friend see her like this. She was even more pitiful than normal. Would Seren even want to be her friend if the truth of her birth became known? "God, I have no hope."

As if her slippers bore a mind of their own, they led Gaia back to her special place. Heather grasses and lousewort danced about her mighty oak, like there were something to celebrate. Her dance card was now filled with pity. Her fortunes forever changed. Nothing good ever changed for Gaia. "God, spin back time. Let me be ignorant again - ignorant and meek and unnoticed. I won't complain this time."

Anything was better than what she was, a secret bastard. If not for the covering lies of the Telfairs, she would be a by-blow. She studied her shaking hands. If she'd been dark like the servant she'd collided with, would she have been tossed away?

Making a fist, she beat against her oak. The snickers of her friends, did they know, too? How many sly remarks were actually hints at her mother's infidelity? The village was small. Gossip burned like a candle's wick, bright and fast.

Did it matter with white and black, all trapped inside her limbs? Her stomach rolled. Nausea flooded her lungs. She lunged away, dropped to her knees, and let her breakfast flow out. Maybe the ugly truth could drain away too.

Wiping her mouth, she crawled back to her oak and set her wrist against a thick tree root. Her skin was light like butter, compared to the bark. The skin was almost like the Telfairs’, just a little tan, a little darker. Not good enough.

She wasn't good enough.

Now she knew she could never be good enough.

Envy of her sisters' fair, pretty skin, had it not always wrestled in her bosom? The English world said the lighter the complexion, the more genteel and the more one would be held in esteem.

But she should have envied their blood instead. They knew with certitude who their father was. Julia, the twins, each had a future that could include love. What did Gaia have?

She stood and wiped her hands against her skirt. The grass stains and dusting of dirt left her palms, but the off-white color of her skin remained. She brushed her hands again and again against the fabric, but the truth wouldn't disappear.

A light wind whipped the boughs of her tree, as if calling her for an embrace. Tripping over the gnarled root, she fell against the rough bark. Arms stretched wide, she held onto the trunk. Moss cushioned her cheek while the rustle of crunching leaves sounded like a hush, as if the oak knew her pain and tried to stop her tears.

More crackling of leaves made her lift her chin, but the strong sun shining through the jade canopy of leaves blinded her. She clutched the scarred bark with trembling fingers, and hoped whoever was near didn't see her. No one should witness her shame.

A white handkerchief waved near her forehead.

Gaia surrendered to the fact that she'd been discovered. Slowly, she stood, smoothed her wrinkled bodice, and turned. Nothing mattered any more, not even the opinion of a stranger. Shame mingling with tears, she took the fine lawn cloth from the man who'd caught her Sunday, praying aloud about Elliott.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley 


The Bargain IV by Vanessa Riley

Time is running out for Port Elizabeth. A missing chief and his daughter, tensions among frightened colonists, and the trembling of a difficult labor, threaten to break the fragile bonds of its survival. 

Precious Jewell will do what is right to protect those she cares for, even for the man she won't admit to needing. 

For Gareth Conroy, death doesn't matter anymore, and he purposes that his spilt blood will bring salvation for the colony, but will he realize too late that no single man of flesh and blood can bring redemption? 

Will the burgeoning hope of two stubborn, wounded souls fray or smolder in this exciting conclusion of The Bargain? 

About The Bargain Series: 

Coming to London has given Precious Jewell a taste of freedom, and she will do anything, bear anything, to keep it. Defying her master is at the top of her mind, and she won’t let his unnerving charm sway her. Yet, will her restored courage lead her to forsake a debt owed to the grave and a child who is as dear to her as her own flesh? 

Gareth Conroy, the third Baron Welling, can neither abandon his upcoming duty to lead the fledgling colony of Port Elizabeth, South Africa nor find the strength to be a good father to his heir. Every look at the boy reminds him of the loss of his wife. Guilt over her death plagues his sleep, particularly when he returns to London. Perhaps the spirit and fine eyes of her lady’s maid, Precious Jewell, might offer the beleaguered baron a new reason to dream. 

The Bargain is a serialized story or soap opera told in episodes. Each episode averages from three to eight chapters, about 15,000 to 30,000 words. Each episode resolves one issue. Emotional cliffhangers may be offered, but the plot, the action of the episode, will be complete in resolving the main issue.  

My promise to you is that the action will be compelling, and I will tell you in the forward the length of the episode. This episode, Episode III, is eleven chapters long, 30,000 words. There are 4 episodes total for Season 1. Enjoy these Regency Tales set in South Africa.  -
Vanessa Riley 

Excerpt: The Bargain IV by Vanessa Riley

Twisting stairs leading to her small chamber below sat in front of her. Forty-five steps and she'd be inside her closet-sized quarters, one shared with a scullery maid. In Charleston, the slave quarters were big but shared by four or five. Maybe the small cellar room was what the lowest of servants of the house could have. Once the master left, how much longer would Mr. Palmers let her stay in it? He didn’t think she deserved anything but a hay bale, to be stabled like an animal.

If he tossed her out, would she become a Blackamoor at a brothel or worse, sold again and returned to South Carolina or Jamaica? Her fingers latched onto the waxed rail for strength. The smooth wood felt good beneath her thumb, cooling the fever of thoughts running rampant.

A memory of Eliza pushing her, encouraging her to slide down the big one at her pa's manor in Charleston, fluttered in her mind's eye. Precious had held her breath, put her bottom on the banister and slipped the length of it. For a few seconds, it felt like flying. It was reckless and heady and would've earned Precious such a beating if Mr. Marsdale had caught her, but sailing free was worth it. Wasn't freedom worth every risk?

Thunder erupted, and the storm pelted the roof in a steady punching manner. Her breath came in spurts as she remembered a backhand to the jaw, the stings of a whip, all endured protecting herself. The freedom to refuse sweaty advances was worth the beating, so complete freedom had to be, too.

Precious unglued her hand, pivoted, and headed for the study. Pausing, she counted the dents in the fretwork trim surrounding the threshold. At ten, she leveled her shoulders and knocked on Lord Welling's study door.

Nothing. No grunt. No deep voice, full of command, answered.

But no turning back either.

She pried open the heavy double doors and slunk inside. The heat of the room stung her cheeks. The stench of liquor and cigar smoke hung in the air, adding a sheen to the measly candlelight in the corner.

A few more steps and she spied her master.

Lord Wellings slumped at the fireplace. His tall formed hunched over the white wood mantle as the huge portrait of Eliza hung over him. The fastidious man had his shirttails exposed beneath a rumpled waistcoat. A cranberry coat lay dumped on the floor. His head, crowned with thick brown hair, sat tucked in one arm. A clear goblet hung from the other.

How drunk was he? Could she reason with him cast to the winds? The first day she saw him, his lean face held a hardy laugh. His wit, Mr. Marsdale said, could dice up a hard turnip. Maybe liquor slowed his brainbox down enough to agree to anything.

"Aw, Eliza's Precious Jewell. My Precious Jewell."

His voice with the stiff accent would be perfect for sermon-making. The authority in the deep tones prickled her skin, made her feel as if she'd been caught being naughty. She nodded. "Yes, sir."

He downed the amber contents of his drink then pounded the mantle. "Isn't—" A hiccup left his pursed lips. "Isn't your job to see that the child sleeps? Madame, aren't you missing a moment to mother him?"

Was he taunting her? Why? It was her responsibility to see about the child. His harsh tone almost sounded jealous. That couldn't be right. Alcohol was an evil thing.

"What does the mouse want?”

She should just say it. Give me papers to keep me free, off slave ships, and out of brothels. Then no man could have the right to touch her. Looking into the baron's red-rimmed eyes, the words stuck in her craw. Courage dropping away, she turned. "Good night."

"So the mouse is running away? Fine. Leave me, too."

She weren't a rat, nothing that low. She fiddled with the pocket of her apron then rotated to face him. "You drink too much drink. There's no reasoning with a bottle."

Like a foaming wave at the ocean, laughter poured out of him. "Tell me something that's not so obvious." He straightened and waved her forward. "You should drink with me too. You know what tonight is?"

Of course she did. Everyone in Firelynn Hall knew. Precious just stared at him.

He grunted hard and eyed her too. "It's the day I let your Miss Eliza die."

Thunder crashed outside, and his hand closed tight about the glass, breaking it. Red poured from his palm. "Augh. Bloody thing."

Precious dashed to his side and drew his hand up in her apron. "Foolhardy man."

He winced, snatched his hand away. "I chose to go to my uncle, to do his bidding. Who knew they'd both die that night?"

She felt for him, remembering the arguments Eliza had had with the master about who he loved more. Sympathy ate at her gut, but it disappeared when Precious spied her pristine apron darkening with growing red spots. "You fool. You’re bleeding to death."

Charging him, she seized his palm, and plucked out two shards of glass. The fire spit at her as she tossed them to the hearth. "You think dying will bring her back? Nothin' will do that."

His deep blue eyes beaded as he yanked his back arm. "That hurts, woman. Leave me. Let me drink to my lady gone."

Droplets trickled onto his waistcoat as he gazed at Eliza's portrait. The eyes formed of paint seemed focused on him, probably disgusted at his drinking.

The proud man would bleed to death and, with the smears on her apron, she'd be blamed. Precious came in here for freedom, not a heap more trouble. She grabbed his hand again and bound it tightly, wrapping it around and around in her poor apron. "You got a boy. Eliza's son needs you."

Lord Welling stopped fidgeting and let her tie a knot. His bloodshot eyes widened and seemed to settle on her face. "Well, as I leave to go defend my uncle's work, it will be you who cares for him."

"He's a good boy, but he'll need his pa to make him a good man."

"How can I show him that? I scarcely remember what that is."

A final knot secured the makeshift bandage. The cuts of the glass had gone deep. "Start by not going to Africa. It's a bad place." She bit her lip, but the words burned too much to be silent. "My grammy talked of how it changed when y'all came."

"Y'all?" His stiff accent, sort of questioning, sort of condescending, grated on her ear. He wiggled his fingers within the wrapping of her ruined apron. "You mean the slave traders, those y'all? The house of Welling never participated in such transactions."

No, they just inherited slaves by marriage. The baron's hands weren't clean. They were wet in the stains of it, like now with his own spilt blood. She swallowed the irksome thoughts and focused on Jonas. That would be a reason for the man to stay. "Your son needs you here. There's nothin' worse than not seeing your pa. Even just a notion or whisper of him in passing, day to day is better than never."

His face scrunched and then tilted up toward Eliza's picture. "She hated it here. Thought the weather too foul. I should've listened and made her last years more pleasant."

That didn't make sense, but that's how guilt worked. She eyed his very lean cheeks, ones missing his laugh dimples, through the lace of her floppy mobcap. He was tall, too tall. "She was very pleased to be a baron's wife."

"Pleased? Was she pleased, waiting for my return from tending to my uncle's affairs? Was she happy waiting for the accoucheur to deliver the babe alone? Was she pleased she never got her title, dying before my uncle? Only a few hours separated them from Heaven's gate. Well, at least she made it in."

Men were dumb about birthin'. "That baby didn't wait. Some women weaken in the process. It takes all they have to give life. The Lord just—" She snapped her mouth shut as a belly full of laughs rolled out of his lips.

"Stop, Jewell." He wobbled over to his sideboard and pried at the glass top of bottled spirits. The makeshift bandage must've prevented him from getting a good grip and popping it open.

She plodded across the thick carpet, coming again within a few feet of him. "You can't need more."

"I surely don't want less." His eyes widened and he drew himself up as if her boldness had suddenly penetrated his drunken brain. "I didn't ask you to be my keeper."

"But you're mine.

A lazy smirk appeared, making his eyes a darker shade of blue.

Such a turbulent river stirred within him, and sometimes it pulled her like undertow, but Precious didn't like swimming or drowning. With a shake of her head, she looked away to the floor. "That's what I came to discuss before you are off to who knows where."

He set down the bottle and rubbed at his neck, shoving his loosed hair to the side. He wore it longer than most, giving him more of a pirate look like in the stories Eliza read. "I was wondering when the mouse would say her piece."

With a tug, he whipped off his rumpled cravat. "You've been skulking about ever since I returned to Firelynn Hall. Something tells me you have an ask. Say it."

He'd noticed her. Had he seen the many times she let her courage slide away? Not again. She planted a hand on her hip. "I need my papers, sir."

His eyes blinked, his forehead riddling with lines. "What papers?"

"My freedom." Her voice sounded horrible, hollow and low. A quick cough and a short breath allowed her to strengthen her tone and appear strong. "I need papers to show, to get my next employment."

"You need no other possibilities. You work for me." He pulled his massive arms together, almost missing the elbows he now cupped. "Why should you work elsewhere?"

"The missus. She gave me my freedom that horrid night. Mr. Palmers was there. He heard it."

The baron took a step backward, planting his foot close to the sideboard, almost falling. "You sly thing. You use the anniversary of her death to coerce me."

"I speak truth." She picked up his brandy container and shook it. "The only things you listen to are these spirits."

He reached for it and, as if swimming in a mud hole, he stumbled forward with arms flying.

She put her hand on his chest to steady him.

He seized her arms, drawing her to his side. One massive arm pinned her against him. The buttons of his onyx waistcoat smashed into her cheek.

His breath was soaked in liquor, blended with the hint of vanilla of his skin, the scent of ash and soot from the roaring fire. "Mouse, give it back."

His words heated the crown of her head and his arms tightened about her. Shocked and shaking, she twisted and pushed to get free, but there was no budging from the baron's death grip. "Let me go."

"Shhh. You're talking too much." With his free hand, he slid his fingers down the length of her back. She could feel his pinkie tracing the eyelets of her corset. Squirming, she tried to shift to keep him from picking at the ribbons of her undergarment. Being fully clothed didn't stop her panic, and she rocked and pressed against his iron-like embrace to be free. Never, ever did it settle into her head that Lord Welling was like the rest; a man who took what he wanted.

( Continued... )

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

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A Heart Not Easily Broken by MJ Kane 
Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs 

What secret would you keep to protect the ones you love?

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn't expect is a blond haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge. 

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

A Heart Not Easily Broken Reviews from Amazon 

"In "A Heart Not Easily Broken" MJ Kane gives us a front row seat in observing the interracial relationship between Ebony and Brian. The story is told from their perspectives, and addresses the challenges, the insecurities and the potential emotional pitfalls that an interracial couple must face as individuals and as a couple. Some of them are common to every couple. Some are unique to interracial couples. Others are uniquely the challenges faced by a white man and black woman who love each other.

And if that dynamic weren't enough, Ms. Kane delivers a shocking incident that threatens to destroy Brian and Ebony's love and relationship. It teaches us that in the end, "race" is not as important as the love and trust between two people, and that secrets kept are cancers that can fester and grow until it becomes fatal to the relationship."
- Christopher L. Bynum- 5- Stars

"I could wax eloquent about this book for hours. I loved it so much, and it instantly became my standard against which I will assess all other IR romances. "Jaded", the second book in the series, was another fantastic read, with richly drawn characters and some twists and turns I didn't expect. The story truly pulled me in."
- portiapm- 5-Stars

" I am a avid reader and this book reached into my soul. I found myself cheering and crying for Brian and Ebony. The author made you feel every emotion they were going thru. Her words and her style of writing brought you close to the relationship of the main characters. It wasn't the type of story of boy meets girl, and they end up in bed... The love story moved slowly and built with each encounter. You hated for each chapter to end, but you couldn't wait for the next one to begin. The relationships with other characters added a balance to the storyline."
- Bookworm1120- 5 Stars

A Heart Not Easily Broken: Chapter One

Chapter 1

“This is the last time I wear this dress.”

“Oh, please, Ebony,” Yasmine, my best friend and roommate, yelled in my ear.

The music pounding out of the nightclub’s speakers made it nearly impossible to hear her.

“Stop fidgeting. You look uncomfortable,” she added, winking at the bartender who handed us our drinks.

No matter how many times I adjusted the hem of my dress, it was impossible to ignore the warm air tickling the backs of my thighs as people pushed past me in the crowded bar. It would take more fabric to keep my shapely derriere from involuntary exposure.

“Thanks.” I slipped money into the bartender’s tip jar, and he rewarded me with a gorgeous smile. “For the record, I am uncomfortable.” I turned to face Yasmine. “Freakum dresses are your thing, not mine.”

Yasmine laughed. “True, true, everyone’s not blessed with a body like mine.” She ran a hand over her hips, striking a pose. “Besides, I love showing mine off.”

I smirked before sipping my margarita. Yasmine’s light-skinned complexion, slender ballet dancer body, long legs, and B-cup breasts suited her personality. There were times I wished my body was more like hers, though. It would make shopping for clothes a lot easier. As it was, I had been blessed with the shapely figure my Nana called ‘bootylicious’. According to her, and her photo albums, I looked just like her when she was my age, with caramel-colored skin, perfectly proportioned hips, a butt that drew major attention, and D-cup breasts, making it hard for a man to look me straight in the eye.

I groaned while making another wardrobe adjustment. The jaw-dropping cleavage of my dress threatened to give my ‘girls’ their own airtime.

“I love my body, too. I’d just rather not show it to everyone.”

Yasmine shook her head while my attention went back to the patrons of the club. A wide variety of men lined the dark walls, standing just out of range of the overhead lights, making it impossible to pick out their faces in the smoky room. No doubt, many were on the hunt, looking for an easy lay. It shouldn’t be hard; one scan of the room revealed potential opportunities in every direction. Nearly every woman in the club wore a dress so tight it appeared to be a spray on, with skirts stopping just below their hips. I cringed. That sounded like my attire. Self-conscious, I tugged on the edges of my dress again.

The next time we go out, Yasmine is not selecting my outfit.

“That dress is going to get you some major action tonight. You’ll be thanking me in the morning…or afternoon.” She laughed.

I rolled my eyes. “I don’t have time to get into a real relationship right now. Finishing this last year of college is my focus. I’ve got to get that veterinarian job at the zoo, I’ve worked too hard to mess up now. Besides, I don’t need a man to take care of me.”

Yasmine smirked.

“Financially,” I clarified. “Having a nice body to lie against is a different story.”

She laughed and held out her hand for a high-five. “That’s my girl. Look around tonight. I bet you’ll find someone.” Her attention went to a dark skinned guy headed in our direction. He glanced over, smiled, and kept walking. “There’s one right there.”

He was attractive all right, but not the physical type I preferred. I was attracted to men who were tall, had thick lips, and eyes that peered into the depths of my soul. A man with the body of a sex machine, yet had no problem working hard for a living and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

One of the first things I noticed about a man was not his shoe size, but his hands. If they were too pretty and soft, the man didn’t believe in hard work. If they were overly calloused with visible dirt under the nails and full of scrapes and bruises, those were signs that a man didn’t take care of the little things, which meant the rest of him would be questionable. Now, a man with hands somewhere in between, calloused from work with no traces of dirt under his nails, those were signs of a hardworking man who could clean up nice. Everywhere.

I shook my head and sipped my drink. “He’s not my type.”

“Stop being picky. It’s only going to be a summer fling.”

“Even so, if I’m going to give a man my body and my time, I should at least be able to hold an intelligent conversation. Everything doesn’t have to happen between the sheets.”

Yasmine shrugged. “Suit yourself.” She resumed drinking her wine.

I scanned the crowd to find my other roommate. “Yaz, have you seen Kaity?”

“What?” Yasmine shouted back.

I leaned closer. “Kaity, have you seen her?” My voice cracked. Clubbing could be fun, but it wore out my vocal cords.

Yasmine pointed to the opposite end of the bar. “She’s over there talking to some guy. Look at Miss Texas.” Yasmine gestured to Kaitlyn with her plastic cup of wine. “She comes to the club to hang with us black girls and the guys go for her first.” She shook her head. “I’m not mad at her, though. You work with what God gave you.”

Kaity’s choice of club attire made her stand out in a sea of women wearing barely-there dresses. Tonight, she’d opted to wear a form fitting dress, which stopped just above her knees. The olive satin fabric matched her green eyes, and she’d pinned her long blond hair away from her face.

Along with her outfit, Kaity’s bubbly laugh and infectious smile attracted men like a magnet. Her large breasts on a slender frame didn’t hurt either. Somehow, her country twang seemed to fascinate the men in southern California.

Yasmine stared at me questioningly. “Why are you still here? This whole night is about you. How are you going to get laid if you just stand there?”

“I’m still looking.”

My gaze centered on a man across the room who appeared to be watching me. A quick appraisal revealed a nice-looking guy with the appropriate build and a cute smile. He fidgeted with his drink more than I did with my dress. Every time our eyes connected, he looked away. Oh, well, if he couldn’t man-up, it would be his loss.

My search resumed just as the music blaring from the speakers ceased. The colorful strobe lights continued to twirl, painting the room with a blue, red, and yellow glow, while the house lights dimmed, cloaking the smoke-filled room in near darkness. Lights now centered on the stage as the club MC came on. After thanking everyone for coming out and making the obligatory remarks about the bar, he introduced the house band, Diverse Nation.

“Javan said his roommate is in this band,” Yasmine informed me.

The club we were at came highly recommended by him, who of course was one of her hook ups. I never understood what she saw in him. The man was too GQ. Besides, he made me uncomfortable every time he came around.

I wondered what category Javan’s roommate would fit.

Only one way to find out.

The band came onto the stage; their name suited them. The different members represented every nationality, it seemed. My attention immediately went to the drummer.

He had dark mahogany skin, but it was impossible to judge his height, since he stood on a stage. His build was exactly what I liked – shoulders the width of a doorframe and muscles bulging through his t-shirt like the Incredible Hulk.

He took his place on stage, tapped his drumsticks together, and proceeded to drum out a rhythm, making the crowd go wild. Impressive. Within minutes, the dance floor filled with gyrating bodies, moved by the music.

I pointed to the drummer. “Is that Javan’s roommate?”

She shrugged. “I’ve never met him.”

“Come on, Yaz, let’s dance,” I said, draining the last of my drink.

“No thanks. Like I said, tonight is about you.” She tipped her cup toward the floor. “Besides, girls in packs don’t get picked up easily. Go shake what your momma gave you.”

“So you’re going to leave me all alone?” My hands were on my hips while I tapped out a rhythm with my heel.

“Hey, my job is done. I picked out the dress, brought you here, and planted the seed of suggestion in your thick head. The rest is up to you, sister.”

I searched the end of the bar, looking for Kaitlyn. Maybe she would join me on the dance floor. Unfortunately, she entertained the same man. I was on my own.

I rose to the challenge and made my way onto the crowded dance floor, through the sea of gyrating bodies – again, adjusting my dress’s hem – with one goal in mind. Meet the drummer.

After securing a spot near the front of the stage, I raised my hands in the air and began to dance. For the first time in months, I forgot about books, the stress of my internship at the zoo, and work at the clinic. I closed my eyes and got lost in the music, letting it guide my body in sensual movements while telegraphing my desire, hoping the drummer would notice my body language.

The song ended, and I opened my eyes to cheer with the rest of the crowd. I was noticed all right. Various men in my immediate vicinity threw out catcalls and whistles, which were flattering, but the drummer paid me no attention. In fact, no one in the band seemed to notice me, except for one man.

One of the guitar players watched me intently. Astonished, I nearly stumbled in my heels. He was attractive but… he was white, not what I was aiming for. My lips tilted in a small smile before I moved out of his line of sight, placing myself in front of dancers who’d moved closer to the stage blocking my view of the drummer.

The next song played, and again, I tried to get lost in the music. My eyes closed, it was impossible to find my groove again without feeling stalked. The hair on the back of my neck stood up, drawing my attention down the length of the stage and to the guitar player, who once again, watched me with a predatory gleam in his eye. When the song ended, I worked my way back to the bar.

Neither Yasmine nor Kaitlyn were there. They must have gone to the bathroom.

“What can I get you, miss?” the bartender asked, interrupting my thoughts.

Music from the loud speakers blasted again, after the MC announced the band was taking a brief intermission.

“Margarita, extra shot of tequila, please.” The bartender nodded and went to fill my order.

“Did you get a load of the blond guitar player? He’s hot!”

My attention turned to a busty brunette who’d taken up temporary residence in the empty seat next to me. I recognized her as being one of the women who’d been dancing next to me. She adjusted her boobs, primping while talking to her friend.

“He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going home with him tonight,” she continued. Her friend giggled.

Good luck. She had a better chance than I did of finding a man tonight.

“Here you go.” The bartender placed a napkin in front of me with my drink.

“I’ve got this,” a deep voice said close to my ear, making me jump. It was incredibly sexy despite the fact it scared me. It also sent a warm tingle down my spine. Intrigued, I turned and found myself face-to-face with the guitar player. The same one my barstool neighbor wanted to go home with.

Any sort of coherent words failed me.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” Two dimples rested on either side of firm lips when he smiled.

Wow. The man looked good from the stage, but up close, his presence demanded my full attention. He was tall, probably a good six-two to my five-foot-five. His build reminded me of a well-built basketball player. The low lights of the club reflected off damp blond hair with dark undertones. His confident smile cocked to the side, revealing pearly white teeth. The blue shirt he wore complimented the color of his eyes, sparkling like waves of the ocean while hinting at mischief. Baggy shorts and a pair of clean black Converse completed his attire.

His attention went to the bartender. “Joe, put her drink on my tab. I’ll have the usual.” The bartender nodded before walking away. The blond focused his gaze back on me, watching before he spoke again. “You’re not going to thank me?”

I raised my eyebrows in annoyance at his comment. “I didn’t ask for you to pay for this.” I couldn’t stand a man who expected me to be ecstatic because he bought me a drink. I was capable of doing that myself.

Humor flashed in his eyes. “Excuse me for being a gentleman. Unfortunately, it’s too late for you to pay. Guess you’re stuck.” He reached for his beer when the bartender returned, twisted off the cap, and took a huge gulp.

Stuck? Is that what he thought? Passing the drink over to the brunette, saying it came from him, then ordering my own sounded like a good idea. But at five dollars a drink, I’d be a fool not to accept a freebie.

Instead of saying thanks, I said, “Don’t let this dress fool you. If you expect me to sleep with you because you bought me a drink, forget it.” My focus left him and resumed searching the crowd for my friends.

I turned back around in time to catch blue eyes exploring the length of my body.

“That was not my intention.” His eyes now focused above the deep cleavage of my dress. “Since we’ve gotten that out of the way, maybe you’ll answer this question.”

I smirked. “What?”

He chuckled. “What’s your name?” He extended a hand. “I’m Brian.”

My attention immediately went to his hand. Large palm, slightly calloused, sporting a deep tan, his nails were a little rough, fingers sporting a few cuts, but they were clean. I glanced back up at his face. This white man was hitting on me. I was flattered knowing he watched me dance, but buying me a drink and asking my name? What did he expect to happen next?

He waited patiently, his hand suspended in midair.

“Ebony.” I accepted his handshake.

“Ebony. That’s a beautiful name.”

The tingle going up my spine from the way it rolled off his tongue, and the sensation of our connected hands, kept my lips from moving. This was unreal. I didn’t expect any kind of spark from him.

I studied his eyes; lust and desire weren’t visible, but there was something else. Something made him hold my hand longer than necessary. I squirmed involuntarily before being the first to turn away.

“Meeting like this is not the best way to get to know someone.” He released my hand before leaning down to talk to me without yelling quite as loud.

My body tingled at the warm caress of his breath near my ear again. The scent of his musky cologne mixed with sweat from standing under the stage lights was alluring, the heat from his body inviting.

Then I looked back at his skin. “You’re kidding right?”

“Why would I be joking?” He took another swig of beer, his gaze steady on mine.

I laughed lightly while raising my hand to break his line of sight, wiggling my fingers.

He studied it briefly. “I don’t see a ring. Are you married or in a relationship?”

He seriously didn’t get it. I glanced over my shoulder for a moment, wondering which corner of the club my roommates were hiding in while laughing at the practical joke they’d sprung on me.

“Are you color blind?”


“The lights in here are low, but you can’t say you didn’t notice. I’m black, that doesn’t bother you?”

A deep line creased Brian’s brow. “Why should it?”

I smirked.

He appraised me for a moment. “Does it bother you?”

“No,” I said a little too forcefully. I’d left myself open for that remark.

“So what’s your point?” He angled himself to look directly in my eyes.

I assessed him again. His cerulean eyes were sharp, studying me as much as I studied him. Sun-bleached hair set off his bronzed skin, a clear sign of time spent surfing, no doubt. Long legs led to a narrow waist and broad shoulders. I could only imagine what he would look like naked. Wait, why did I think that way?

“You’re not my type, and I’m not yours.” I put my cup to my lips and gulped, forgetting about the extra shot of tequila, I nearly choked.

Brian angled his head, apparently musing over my statement. “You have no idea what my type is.”

“What about her?” I nodded at the brunette who sat behind me.

She’d gone quiet the moment Brian came to the bar. I risked a glance over my shoulder and saw her lips were in a tight line as she glared at me. She didn’t bother to look away. If looks could kill, the coroner would have picked me up off the floor a long time ago. Fortunately, the music was too loud for her to hear our conversation.

When I turned back, Brian’s stare continued to be intense. The room felt as if it had shrunk to the size of a shoebox.

“If I wanted her, I wouldn’t be talking to you.”

Disbelief had me laughing. Of all the brothers in the club, none approached me. Yet, this man spied me from the stage and made his way over. I had to admit, he was bold.

“I want to get to know you. We could-” Annoyance flashed on his face when he acknowledged the hand on his shoulder.

I scoffed, nearly spitting out my drink. The drummer, the object of my suggestive dancing-and oh, my God, that body-stood next to Brian. He didn’t give me the time of day.

“Yo, man, the next set starts in five.”

Brian nodded. “Sorry. I want to continue this discussion, but they need me back on stage. Why don’t you meet me in VIP when I’m done? It’s a little less crowded. Plus it’s away from the speakers, so you can hear yourself think.”

As if to prove his point, a waitress caring a large tray full of empty cups bumped into his elbow. He managed to hold his beer without spilling a drop. “Tell security the Bass Man sent you. You’ll get in with no problem.”

“The Bass Man?”

“Yeah, I play bass guitar. You’d be surprised how many women try to get in there.” He nodded to the roped off corner of the room with oversized plush sofas under focused track lights. A few women were already lounging in the area. A man the size of Chewbacca and thankfully, a lot less hairy and dressed in black, stood, his arms crossed while wearing dark shades. He mean mugged the crowd, discouraging them from walking his way. My eyes must have bulged, because Brian chuckled. His laugh was as deep as his voice.

“He won’t bite,” he said with a wickedly charming grin. “’Til then, Ebony.” He toasted me with his bottle, drained the remnants of his beer before disappearing into the crowd, and then reappeared on the stage.

“Who was he?” Yasmine sat on the barstool Brian had left empty.

Well, well, my roommates found their way back. “As if you didn’t know.”

“Uh, no,” Kaitlyn replied in her country twang.

I eyed them suspiciously. “A guy from the band.”

“Really?” Kaitlyn stood on tiptoes to peer over the crowd. “He’s hot.”

That seemed to be the consensus.

“Did you get his number?” Yasmine asked when she finished her own study of his anatomy.

“No, but I did get invited to VIP.”

Two sets of eyebrows rose.

“So, are you going?” Yasmine studied me, no doubt wondering if tonight’s mission had been a success.

I stared at the stage as the music began to play, watching Brian in action. He looked in my direction and smiled.

“I haven’t decided yet.”

( Continued... )

© 2012 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, M.J. Kane. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

***Download for FREE on most major ebook retailers***

Amazon Bestseller in Multicultural Romance, African-American Literature & Fiction, African-American Women’s Fiction, and African-American Romance 

Download A Heart Not Easily Broken by M.J. Kane
Butterfly Memoirs Book 1 - Amazon Bestseller
Now available on Audio book! 

About the Author
M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free. Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history. 

Twitter: @MJKaneBooks 





Glimmer in the Darkness 
by Nicole Hampton

For Shannon Johnson, full-time wife, mom and freelance writer, life as she knew it changed one spring afternoon with the ringing of her doorbell. On the other side stood Vaneetra James, former mistress of Shannon’s husband, Daniel. With two sons, Shannon resisted the urge to leave Daniel in order to keep her family intact. However, she refused to deal with the issues resulting from Daniel’s extramarital affair. 

When Shannon thought her life couldn’t get any worse, a tragic turn of events in Vaneetra’s life turned Shannon’s already fractured world upside down, sending her marriage into an even deeper peril.

Feeling desperate and trapped, Shannon made a series of rash decisions that landed her in the arms of another man, bringing her already fragile world crashing downward. Having to come to grips with the reality that the man she once thought was extraordinary was just ordinary, she had to trudge the road of forgiveness, while learning to love again and accept what she never imagined could ever exist.

Excerpt: Glimmer in the Darkness by Nicole Hampton

Shannon had gotten up to get a drink of water when the doorbell rang. She walked to the front door, thinking that maybe it was the FedEx man delivering the contract for her new writing assignment. Without bothering to look through the peephole, she opened the door, ready to retrieve her package. She was surprised to see an unfamiliar woman standing on her steps with one hand on her hip, the other poised in front of the doorbell. “May I help you?” Shannon’s eyes grazed over the beautiful woman standing in front of her. She took note of the annoyed look on her face, and her defensive posture. 

“I am sure you can’t, but I am here anyway.” Vaneetra looked Shannon up and down, smirking at how clueless she was about the fact that her life was about to change. She gave Shannon the once over, noticing her lean legs covered by black leggings, and how her waist did not indicate she had given birth to children. Nevertheless, Vaneetra knew this pathetic version of a housewife Nicole Hampton 10 could not hold a candle to her, not even under the current circumstances. 

Vaneetra’s condescending attitude rubbed Shannon the wrong way. “Excuse me? Do I know you?” Vaneetra turned as if looking around, and set her focus back on Shannon. “You have a nice house. Daniel has good taste…in homes, that is.” 

“Do you work for my husband? Are you a new assistant at his firm?” An uneasiness about this woman rose from the pit of Shannon’s stomach. She sensed she was trouble and would suggest that Daniel fire her. 

Vaneetra laughed. “I guess you can call me an assistant. For the past several months, I have been assisting Daniel with some pretty important issues—helping him to stay hard and on his game is a better way to put it.” She took step closer to Shannon. 

Fed up with the woman standing at her door, Shannon snapped, “Look, I don’t have time to play word or guessing games with you. You need to get off my property. While you are at it, collect your belongings from my husband’s firm, you won’t be working there anymore.” Shannon turned to close the door, but Vaneetra’s next words stopped her dead in her tracks.

( Continued... )

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

About Nicole Hampton

Nicole is an avid reader, with a passion for understanding people and relationships. Her love for reading is only surpassed by her love for writing and bringing characters to life. Nicole is a member of the North Carolina Writer’s Network. She lives with her husband of fifteen years, six children and family dog in the surrounding area of Raleigh, NC.

Order Glimmer in the Darkness by Nicole Hampton



The Fatal Rose by J.M. Lominy 

Killing had always been sweet for Pierre-André François, the ruthless assassin known as The Little Rose. Wherever he struck, fear closely followed, his victims he left as bloody works of art. The finishing touch on his canvas was a carefully placed rose, a signature on his deadly motif that haunted crime scenes, not to mention the police investigating them.

A man who takes joy in killing should never fear dying, and in fact, The Little Rose embraced death. So finding himself alive—after what he knew should have been a fatal dance with his foe, Millard Le Beast—was disappointing. Not only was the Beast stronger and faster, he slaughtered Pierre-André’s dearest love. 

But now, awakened, fully recovered (in body, anyway), and a fugitive on foreign soil, The Little Rose is forced to carry on. Having lost all desire to laugh, love, and kill, his sole purpose remains to seek revenge. But how can Haiti’s most feared assassin endure with no motivation?  Fortunately, revenge has no shelf life.

The Fatal Rose Video Book Trailer 

Excerpt from Chapter 1

It was Tuesday just past midnight, a time when the bells for mass were already a distant memory. Only by the grace of God would they ring again. The moon and the stars had retired, and the sun was nowhere to be found. An occasional insect wandered about to remind the darkness of the existence of life.

Father Jean-Marie Lumier and the church’s groundskeeper struggled under the weight of the man they carried, who was injured and soaked in blood. They headed down Rue des Miracles, one block away from the National Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The head of the man they carried was wrapped like a mummy’s with seven holes to accommodate his eyes and orifices. The mummy-faced man was not dead, but his condition was poor and deteriorating rapidly.

Dressed in civilian clothes, Father Lumier held on to his patient tightly as the groundskeeper hailed a lone taxi on the deserted streets. Seeing the taxi, they felt Father God was watching over the poor soul whose life teetered on a delicate string. The priest would have gladly paid more than twenty thousand Haitian gourdes, which he did not have, if it would save the man’s life.  The rescuers labored to get the injured man into the cab, but their hands slipped, causing his legs to flop to the ground. The body they struggled with was muscular and as unmoving as a whisker plucked from an alley cat’s face.

The cabbie felt sorry for the two weak fools and came around to help. He took charge and showed them how to get an unconscious man into a car: ass first into a sitting position, and then lay him onto the seat. The interior light of the cab was enough for cursory visibility. Blood was everywhere.

The patient moaned and feebly opened his light brown eyes. A color uncommon among Haitians, they matched his light skin. The cab driver, always aware of every detail he had ever seen from the time he was able to control his bladder, was taking mental notes of this night’s unusual events.

The priest gave hurried directions to a clinic managed by the Catholic Church on Rue Dr. Audin, a short distance from the Sacred Heart Parish. He had already sent the yard boy ahead with a message for his friend Dr. Dennis to meet him at the clinic.  Looking around, Father Lumier searched for a sign from God. All he saw was darkness; then he felt the rumbling of his stomach—a reminder that his last meal had been over twelve hours ago. Used to the habit of fasting for his Lord God, Father Lumier closed his eyes in prayer. Then he went on a spontaneous spiritual journey with God as his coachman. After mumbling his impromptu prayer, he focused on the patient and held on tight.

The cabbie was driving as if being chased by Satan, making the tires squeal with every turn. He maneuvered the old Ford, breaking the speed limit, knowing life was more important than any infraction he could incur. He was well aware most policemen were in whatever lair they went to for their nightly hibernation and the risk of receiving a contravention was minimal.

From the look and condition of the man in his backseat, the cabbie reasoned it would take a miracle or devil’s play to save the sorry sap. He recognized the priest after he got a better look at the pudgy groundskeeper, who often carried messages for the church via this very taxi. The cleric looked different in civilian attire: just an ordinary face, dark skin with inquisitive eyes, and a long chin.

The cabbie learned a long time ago to ask no questions, to simply observe and listen; one learned more with silence, and information was valuable. Port-au-Prince was full of surprises. A man risked a premature death by asking too many questions. Let the gods deal with the mischiefs and miracles.

Father Lumier had the wounded man’s head on his lap and kept his hands on the patient’s wrist, counting the pulse and watching his chest as it labored between breaths. His own slacks and shirt were covered with blood. Aesthetics were his last concern when death was a phantom companion licking at the other man’s heels.

Using the assessment skills he learned while helping at the clinic, Father Lumier was well aware the man’s wounds should not have been bleeding as they were. He had one cut under his armpit and another on the bicep of the same arm—both were deep. Whoever inflicted them was skilled and angled his blade to sever the veins in a way that facilitated rerupture with minimal movement. The priest was anxious to get to the clinic so the wounds could be sutured, and with all the loss of blood, Pierre-Andre´ Franc¸ois would need a blood transfusion.

Father Lumier did not care that Pierre-Andre´ had come to his bedchamber as the Little Rose, the most feared assassin in Haiti, with the intention of murdering him. It would have been the assassin’s final act, satisfying a lifelong vengeance: a thirst for retribution birthed ten years ago on an empty lot turned into a soccer field.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase The Fatal Rose by J.M. Lominy

About the Author 

Life for J.M. Lominy began in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where he spent his first years with his maternal Aunt and Uncle.
At the age of seven, Lominy and his older sister immigrated to the United States in order to reunite with their mother in Brooklyn, New York.

After graduating from James Madison High School, Lominy entered the United States Marine Corps and served during the first Gulf War. At the age of 22, he was honorably discharged and returned home to attend school. He went on to earn his Bachelors of Nursing degree from the City College of New York.

His work, both poetic and determined in voice, places an emphasis on the history of the Haitian experience as witnessed through the life of passionate characters. A husband and father of five boys, Lominy has been writing since 2000 and specializes in historical fiction.

Mr. Lominy currently resides in Georgia with his wife of 15 years and his three younger sons. When he’s not working or taking care of his family he is writing. Lominy states, “I am a writer with a lot of passion and fury.”

Follow J.M. Lominy Online

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Ungolden Silence 
by Lydia E. Brew

Beatrice James and Elaine Wilson work for a marketing firm in Houston, Texas. Life hasn't been easy for Elaine as she copes with her disability, and at the same time manages to function in her everyday life. The two coworkers and friends jump at the opportunity to help run a Disabled Awareness Campaign when Mrs. Stevens, from Washington D.C., calls the ladies up and pitches the idea. Elaine agrees to chair the campaign and Beatrice agrees to be second chair. Both women agree to meet with Mrs. Stevens in Washington to get the campaign set-up and running. All goes well until Thomas Paige enter the scene.

Mrs. Stevens herself is excited to meet, for the first time, the dapper and charming Thomas Paige, who is a well-known community leader. It doesn't take long for the charm to evaporate and Thomas to begin to shed his wool, revealing the wolf underneath the sheep's clothing. Elaine begins to sense that there's something more to Thomas than what he's presenting, but will it be too late when she finds out for certain?

Ungolden Silence will have you peeling off what's underneath a man's exterior, before peeling back the sheets.

Book Reviews for Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew 

Reviewed by Misty Iputi 

Ungolden Silence is one powerful book. It may be a work of fiction, however it has some real issues. The issues are to be addressed in the book. This book does give a look at the strength of Christian faith has in dealing with the problems.  If I could give this more than 5 stars it would be well worth it.

Emotional Read
Reviewed by My Cozie Corner Book Reviews 

"Ungolden Silence" is an easy read, but hard read that is well written and very emotional with a topic that needs more recognition. A recommended read to all women.

Book Like No Other
Reviewed by Mz Tiffany Divine Reviews 

I just finished reviewing Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew and I honestly can say it’s not like no other book I have read before. In Ungolden Silence you will meet Beatrice who will take you on a world wind journey of being raped and how it not only affects her but other’s around her. Lydia brings emotions out that you may never knew existed. I was immediately drawn into the characters and could feel the pain that some of them were going through. Lydia E. Brew does an awesome job with this book and I look forward to reading more by her.

Let the Victim Be Heard
Reviewed by Teresa Beasley 

Ungolden Silence is an informative book about disability, rape with a hint of racism. Ungolden Silence brings out different emotions because it deals with a sensitive topic. Any type of abuse causes a difficult change in the victims’ lives. Rape is a violent act, mainly against women, that leaves a lasting effect on the victims. This was expressed throughout this book and needs to be read by all women young and old.

Powerful, Provoking and Inspiring
Reviewed by Beth Cutwright 

Wow. I just finished reading Ungolden Silence. Usually I take a day or two to mull a book over before I try to write my review. But this book was so compelling, I felt the need to share my thoughts immediately, while they were fresh and burning in my soul. This book was definitely enlightening, powerful, painful and emotional. My emotions were totally invested, probably because the subject of rape is so frightening. If we can learn to discuss this type of material, I think we would all be better for it.

Excerpt from Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew

As the four talked for an hour or so, Mr. Thomas Paige did not take his eyes off Beatrice. He ignored Elaine completely. He would often sit by Beatrice and, after a few minutes, she would move. Elaine could see that Mr. Paige liked Beatrice, but she didn’t return the feeling and was uncomfortable and a bit irritated with his attention. When Mrs. Stevens offered to show Elaine the baby grand piano in her music room, Mr. Paige and Beatrice were left alone. Beatrice decided she needed to get a few things straight.

“Look, you seem to be a nice guy, but I’m not interested. You’re making me very uncomfortable,” Beatrice added. 

Mr. Paige did not seem to hear her. “Alone at last, Miss James,” he said in a soft, gentle voice as he stroked her face.

The second that Beatrice felt his fingers on her face, her anger turned to fear. She did not want to let Mr. Paige know that he frightened her.

“I did not give you permission to touch me! Listen, I’m not interested in you in any way. Please, just leave me alone!” Beatrice said angrily. 

The pleasantness was gone and her teeth were clenched. However, before she finished her statement, Mr. Paige had his hands on her buttocks. In that instance Beatrice remembered when she was sixteen. It was a hot summer day and she was lying on the sofa half asleep. She awakened to her uncle kissing and caressing her face. He did not stop there. He unzipped his pants and began to slide his hand and was pulling down her panties when Judy came into the room. Beatrice’s mind came to the present.

“Oh now, I think that we can have a good time this week,” he said in the same manner as before.

“I said no! Now get your hands off me!” Beatrice snatched her body away from his reach, knocking his shades off. The man’s breath had a faint odor of alcohol. His eyes were glassy red. However, Beatrice did not take notice. She was so shocked from the memory of what her uncle did to her, and the fact that this man was making a move on her was overwhelming. 

Mr. Paige returned to his seat and put his shades back on his face only because he heard Mrs. Stevens and Elaine returning. When Elaine walked in and sat down, she picked up on some strange vibes from Beatrice. There was a strange look in her colleague’s eyes. This troubled Elaine because she knew something was upsetting Beatrice.

This man had just made unwanted sexual advances to Beatrice, but she told Elaine and Mrs. Stevens that she had a headache.

( Continued... )

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

Excerpt from Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew

Shara stepped to the microphone and said, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Attitudes must change if this problem is going to be solved. I went to Washington the second that I heard Beatrice had been raped. The firm had a limo for Elaine and Beatrice so that Elaine could be as independent as possible. When I got to Washington, the rape and the act that a “community leader” was accused of rape was a major story. The limo driver just knew that the lady was a hooker, and he was mad. Again, it was the victim’s fault. This driver did not have the facts. Why didn’t I set him straight? Well, I thought I had to protect Beatrice’s privacy, right?”

“Right,” the crowd answered slowly.

“No, wrong, ladies and gentlemen. This is what we are talking about; wrong because rape is a crime! When it comes to sexual harassment or anything about sexual dysfunction, we don’t listen, we don’t tell. It is personal, private. No! It is a crime and everybody needs to tell the world. Beatrice was not the first female that the man raped; not even close to the first.

“Each case of rape is different. In Beatrice’s case, this man was chasing her all the time that she was in Washington. Am I blaming her? To a degree, yes.”

The audience seemed repulsed.

“People, please understand that what is being said here tonight is known by all people in the firm, especially top team members. I am not saying this to hurt my colleague. This is to make you see and understand what we are saying. The man who raped her stalked her all week. The women who saw the “bad” side of him kept quiet. That enabled him to cause more pain. He used that silence, and his list of victims got longer and longer. The women kept silent because they did not want to face the attitude that we as a society give them; oh, it was nothing. 

“Well, it was something when Mr. Paige touched my colleague inappropriately the second they were alone. She did not want him. We must allow women to say what they do and do not want men to do to their bodies. We must change the attitude about sexual problems, and we must listen when a woman is trying to get a man to stop. When a woman says a man is bothering her, we must hear and make sure the man understands that he must stop.”

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Ungolden Silence 





A Date With Destiny by Lutishia Lovely
(The Hallelujah Series) 

Nathaniel and Destiny Thicke are celebrating their first year anniversary as pastor and first lady of Divine Grace Community Center. After dealing with their share of drama, the couple believes there is only smooth sailing ahead. But when an old nemesis resurfaces, a church deacon becomes obsessed and a best friend's dream life starts to unravel, those observing wonder if a date with destiny is one the Thickes might want to avoid.

Excerpt: A Date With Destiny By Lutishia Lovely

Outwardly, Destiny Noble-Thicke was the epitome of sophisticated calm. Inwardly, she was a bundle of nerves. It had been a year since her infamous husband, Nathaniel “Nate” Thicke, had accepted the position of senior pastor at Divine Grace Christian Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. One would think she’d be used to the scrutiny that came along with being a first lady and sitting next to him on the raised dais. But she wasn’t. The overt stares left her feeling like an object on display and made it way too easy to see women cut her the side eye while ogling her man. On the other hand, the position enabled her to see who was watching her, and much more. A couple observations made her uncomfortable. Very much so.

“Praise him, saints!” Reverend King Brook, the guest speaker for the afternoon’s celebratory service, stood as the last notes of the song he’d requested faded amid shouts and applause. “He’s worthy, isn’t He?” 

“Yes!” Several parishioners responded.

“Amen!” Others shouted.

“Pastor,”—King looked over at Nate—“I believe there are some folk in here who know something about Jesus!”

Nate nodded and stood. King addressed the standing-room only crowd. “Is there anybody in here who knows the Lord?” The din of noise grew louder.

“Somebody here knows him as a doctor. Some know him as a lawyer. Some know him as a friend in need, a friend indeed! Somebody you can trust, when all others forsake you. Oh, I guess I’m all by myself up in here. I guess I’m the only who’s been lied on, mistreated, betrayed, verbally slayed.”

People throughout the congregation rose to verbalize their responses.


“Tell the truth!”

“I’ve got a story too, Preacher!”

“The truth is sometimes I was the liar, the one mistreating and the one betraying. But he picked me up, turned me around, placed my feet on solid ground!” 

Smiles and nods rippled across the congregation as many acknowledged they’d sinned and come short of glory. 

“Look at your neighbor and say ‘Won’t God do it’?” The crowd obeyed.

“If He’s ever done anything for you, big or little, large or small, I want you to stand on your feet and shout ‘God did that thang’!”

The crowd collectively responded, “God did that thang!”

Another round of glorious praise erupted, fanned by the staccato chords of the organist. The rest of the band quickly followed his lead. The choir stood and sang another chorus of the day’s theme song.

“God. Will. God will do it. He’ll bring you through it. Like there’s nothing to it. Yes, God! Bless God! Won’t God do it? Yes, He will!”

Destiny listened, lightly tapping a designer shoe-clad toe as she watched the choir. This understated form of worship was one of many problems some had with her position in their midst. Her slender beauty, stylishly contemporary wardrobe and quiet demeanor—sometimes perceived as uppity snobbishness—were a few other reasons she was disliked . Some people felt two beautiful children and a handsome, successful husband to boot were too many blessings for one woman to enjoy. Some had complained, others had offered unsolicited advice. Many members had left the congregation. Their presence was barely missed as hordes more poured in. Most of them female. Attractive. Hungry. Destiny had handled all of this with an attitude that was cool and unperturbed. They knew her glory, but not her story. Nor did they know the women who’d mentored her in this position, nor how God had prepared her long before anyone in this town knew her name. 

As the song ended and King began his sermon, Destiny turned her attention to the audience and smiled at three of those mentors seated in the front row: her grandmother, mother and the first lady whose popular Sanctity of Sisterhood Conferences helped shaped Destiny’s outlook on womanhood, marriage and ministry. She schooled her features into a pleasant expression as her eyes continued down the row to King Brook’s wife seated at the end. Destiny tried not to judge but when it came to a second wife who helped to ruin it for the first wife, staying neutral was hard to do. Much easier to show compassion for Janet Miller, the woman seated behind the new Mrs. Brook. This kind, selfless woman had been dealt a bad hand, but praised God every Sunday in spite of it. The person who’d dealt Janet most of those bad cards was her husband, Ronald. Their eyes locked. Destiny’s skin crawled. The man’s overt flirting and constant leering literally made her nauseous. He’d been warned about this behavior many times, not just with Destiny but with other women in the church. These antics had lessened but as this moment proved, they had not totally disappeared. Covertly studying the couple, Destiny knew that Ronald’s wandering eye was not the couple’s only problem. And not the worse one, either. If the woman had done as requested and stayed her butt at home, Destiny’s best friend would be sitting where the homewrecker now warmed the pew. 

“Are you all right, baby?”

Only as she felt Nate’s hand on her arm and breath in her ear did she realize the slightest of frowns had marred her face. He was very observant, especially when it came to anything to do with her. That was only one of many things she loved about him.

“I’m fine,” she whispered, catching a whiff of his musky cologne as she leaned toward him.

“No you’re not. And I understand why. But Princess still could have attended.”

The shift was subtle but, by removing her arm and turning her body more fully toward King, she effectively cut off communication with Nate. As intellectual and smart as her husband was, he could sometimes come off sounding as dumb as an ox. If he thought putting her best friend and father’s wife in the same room would go over well, even a room the size of an auditorium adorned with a neon cross, now was one of those “dumb as an ox” times. 
An hour and a half later, Nate and Destiny were whisked through a side door to join the Christian elite who’d been granted access backstage. The VIP room was appropriately appointed and held a who’s who roster from both the Christian and secular worlds. Also present were members of Divine Grace’s ministerial staff. The celebrated first couple was comfortable among them all, standing at the front of the room and enduring an endless parade of congratulatory well-wishers. 
As the line waned, a well-dressed couple approached them, the man’s hand outstretched toward Nate. “Beautiful service, Reverend. And some of the most powerful preaching I’ve heard in a while.”

Nate shook the hand presented. “King Brook is one of the best.”

“First Lady,” the woman asked, her voice quiet, her body language subdued. “Is there anything I can get you? Water? Tea?”

“No, thank you, Bethany. I’m fine.” Destiny looked over the shorter woman’s shoulder and smiled as two of her favorite women approached. “Bethany, meet my mother, Simone Simmons, and her mother, Katherine Noble. Mom, Kat, this is Bethany Miller. Her husband, Roy,” Destiny nodded toward the man chatting with Nate, “is one of our associate ministers.”

The ladies exchanged introductions. “It’s easy to see where Destiny gets her beauty,” Bethany said sincerely. She looked at Katherine. “And you’re her grandmother?”

“Not hardly,” Katherine drawled, attitude dripping along with the sarcasm.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Bethany looked at Destiny. “I thought you said—”

“I did.” Destiny’s eyes shined with humor. “The G-word isn’t one that Kat embraces. Bethany is one of our most faithful members,” she said to Katherine, “and a part of the team of ladies who help me in the ministry. She’s been a member of this congregation for a very long time. Her insight into the church history and ongoing friendship has been invaluable.”

Bethany beamed at the praise. “Thank you.”

“Ladies!” Bethany’s husband, Roy Miller, entered their circle. “The good reverend here is being remiss so I must take it upon myself to meet the sunshine lighting up the room.” He turned to Simone and offered his hand. “My name is Roy Miller. Would you by any chance be related to our beautiful first lady?”

“I would indeed,” Simone responded with a smile. “I’m her mother, Simone Simmons, and this is my mother, Katherine Noble.”

“Ah, yes. Your husband is the former governor of Louisiana.”

“That is correct.”

Roy turned to Katherine but addressed Simone. “And you say this is your sister?”

“My mother.”

“Can’t be.”

“It’s true.”

She shook his hand. He held it and topped it with his other hand. “It is my pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Katherine replied with enough sugary sweetness to bring on diabetes. She deftly removed her hand. “Especially as I stand here next to your lovely wife. She has a beautiful spirit. A true lady.”

“Oh, absolutely,” Roy replied, properly chastened. He placed his arm around his embarrassed wife’s shoulders and tried to clean up his messy behavior. “This is my better half.” He looked at his watch. “What do you say, Rev? About time to wrap this up? It’s been a long day.”

“Yes, it has.”

As if on cue, Nate’s valet approached. “Reverend, are you and the first lady ready to go home? Your dinner reservation is in less than two hours.”

“Absolutely. Let’s go.”

The first couple and their entourage made proper goodbyes and left the room, but not before Destiny pulled Bethany aside. Roy was uncouth but harmless, so the words spoken weren’t about him. They concerned Bethany’s sister-in-law, Janet, and what Destiny believed she saw from the dais, evident even through heavy makeup. Her thoughts also centered on Janet’s husband, Roy Miller ’s brother Ronald, and what she’d seen while King was preaching, and wished she hadn’t. Observations that left her with no appetite for tonight’s dinner, and butterflies about how much of what she’d seen should be shared with her hot-tempered husband. Wrong place, wrong person and Ronald’s lewd actions could land him in jail. But knowing how Nate would react if he she told him Destiny feared that he, and not Ronald, would be the one to catch a case. 

( Continued... )

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

Order today: A Date With Destiny (The Hallelujah Series) 
Contemporary Fiction; Women's Fiction







You Get What You Pray For 
by E.N. Joy

Lorain has been a prisoner of secrets almost all of her life. At the age of thirteen, she'd managed to keep her pregnancy a secret, discarding the infant she'd given birth to and leaving it for dead. She also never revealed the fact that the baby's father was her middle school guidance counselor. Years later, Lorain's mother had finally met the love of her life, and Lorain couldn't find the courage to tell her mother that her new beau was the man who molested Lorain. To complicate matters, Lorain discovered that the baby she'd abandoned all those years ago had survived, and God had placed Lorain in the now adult child's life. It seemed like the legacy of secrets had been passed on, too, as Lorain helped her daughter conceal the true details behind her own pregnancy. 

Lorain has managed to maneuver the secrets and lies like a strategic game of chess, and is now living the lavish fairytale life of a doctor's wife. But even that is a lie. With the rug about to be pulled from underneath Lorain by the woman who raised her abandoned child, all Lorain prays for is that everything will end well. In this cycle of lies, secrets, shame, and guilt, will Lorain get what she prays for?

Praise for You Get What You Pray For

"It was a very good book from the beginning to the end. I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys a good Christian love story."  - Michael Dothard

"In true E. N. Joy fashion, this book presented characters who were crazy, funny, and off the chain enjoyable. This story was filled with enough ups and downs, lies and truths to keep the reader's attention. I loved it!  FIVE STARS!!"  - Tanishia Pearson-Jones

Excerpt: You Get What You Pray For

Lorain closed the door to her last guest, walked into her great room and flopped down on the couch. She took off her shoes and flung them across the room, simultaneously closing her eyes.

“Whoa. I’m glad to see you too.”

Her eyes opened to the medium height, dark skin man. Her sparkling stilettos were at his feet. He stepped over them and walked toward her.

Lorain smiled. “You are exactly what I need right now.”

“Leon is always right on time,” he said, speaking in the third person. “Where’s everybody?”

“The staff is in the kitchen.”

“Your mother and the girls?”

“Next door.” Lorain nodded in the direction of her mother’s house.

“Then it sounds like Leon can take you in his arms.” He walked over to Lorain. “And do things to you that your husband could never dream of doing.”

“Oh, Nicholas can dream, but what Leon does to me is every woman’s fantasy come true.”

“Then why are we wasting time talking, when we—”

“Are all them stuck-up hussies gone?”

Eleanor’s voice came booming from the dining room.

“Looks like Leon will have to take a rain check,” Nicholas said, putting away his alter ego.

Lorain loved it when her husband role-played as Leon. Leave it to Eleanor to spoil the moment.

“Hello, Mother,” Lorain said as Eleanor entered the great room. She looked behind her mother, certain she would have seen two mini figures trailing behind her, but she didn’t. “Where are the girls?”

“In the kitchen eating up those desserts,” Eleanor replied.

“Mom, you can’t let them eat all that sweet stuff,” Lorain said. “You know diabetes runs on my father’s side of the family.”

“It ain’t running that fast,” Eleanor said, “seeing that it ain’t caught up with him and killed him dead. Besides, I don’t see you depriving your size fourteen self of any cupcakes.”

“Twelve,” Lorain said, correcting her.

“Your clothes might be a twelve. That little black thing you wear up under them that cuts off your blood circulation might make you look like a ten, but them hips scream fourteen.”

Lorain was offended. “Well, I never.”

“You never what? Been black before? Because that’s sure how you acting.” Eleanor shook her hand at Lorain. “We black folks . . . that’s what we do . . . eat.”

“And we get high blood pressure and sugar diabetes,” Lorain argued. “I don’t want my girls having to stick a needle in their stomach and prick their fingers all the time.”

“Heck, you married a doctor.” Eleanor rolled her eyes. “Let him do it.” She shooed Lorain. “You worry too much. Let them kids be.” Eleanor pushed Lorain out of the way and headed for the couch. “Now, move before you make me cuss.” She sat down in a huff. “And I ain’t like them ole fake Christians, talking about the cussword slipped out. I cuss on purpose, and you know I know how to string my words together to cut you up so tough, it’ll make ya heart bleed.” She looked up, for the first time acknowledging her son-in-law. “Hey, Nick. How you doing, sweet baby?” Her tone was now as sweet as could be.

“I’m good, Ma.” He walked over and kissed Eleanor on the forehead.

“I don’t know how you stay good.” She pointed at Lorain. “With that one acting like Diahann Carroll, a black woman trapped in a white woman’s body.”

“That is not who Diahann Carroll is,” Lorain said. “That’s just a role she played.”

“My point exactly. You been pretending to be somebody you’re not ever since you got involved with those doctors’ wives.” She shook her head at Nicholas, as if he’d fibbed. “And you good. Tell me anything.” She looked back at her daughter. “But I know you good . . . good at pretending. I watched how you were around them women at that last party thing y’all had here at the house. The all of you fake as a two-dollar bill.”

“Two-dollar bills are real,” Lorain said.

“Then a two-dollar bill’s got one up on you,” Eleanor snapped back.

Nicholas let a chuckle slip out.

Lorain snapped her neck toward Nicholas. “Nick, really?” You’re going to let her talk to your wife like that?”

Nicholas shrugged. “She’s yo’ mama. Besides, if I don’t take her side, she might not make me her famous neck bones and black-eyed peas.”

“Hmm,” Lorain said to Nicholas. “You need to be worried about what you might not get from me.”

“Child, you are forty plus,” Eleanor said. “He ain’t studdin’ none of that vintage vagina.”

“Ahem.” Nicholas cleared his throat. “I’m going to leave you two alone.” He headed off.

“Coward,” Lorrain shot at him, then looked at her mother. “I can’t believe you waste your time going to church Sunday mornings and use that mouth to praise the Lord, when all week long nothing but junk comes out of it. Just sickening.”

“Ain’t church for sick people to go and get better?”

Lorain threw her hands up. “Why do I bother? I can’t beat you.”

“And I thought by now you would’ve stopped trying. But I’m glad you haven’t. Keeps my mind sharp.”

“You mean your tongue?”

As crazy as the stuff that came out of Eleanor’s mouth was, it tended to be on point. Lorain had been trying to cover up her old life because there was too much guilt and shame in acknowledging it. She only needed enough time to pass where she felt comfortable enough to be real . . . with everybody. But time needed to hurry along. If not, one of two things was going to happen. Everyone was going to eventually see right through her phony, plastic self. Or she was going to suffocate underneath it all.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase You Get What You Pray For 

Always Divas Series Book Three
Genre: Christian Fiction 

About the Author

BLESSEDselling Author E.N. Joy is the writer behind the “New Day Divas,” “Still Divas,” “Always Divas,” and “Forever Divas” series, coined soap operas in print. And just like real televised soap operas, these stories are filled with drama, romance, chances, coincidences and fate. But more importantly, they are filled with characters that will make you feel young and restless, bold and beautiful; all as the world turns upside down. These divas will be your guiding light to a literary feast. Don't miss out on the series of a lifetime, because remember, you've only got one life to live. Start living it with the New Day Divas.




Life On Fire 
by Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley

Brooklyn Saunders' life is set ablaze when her ex, Dante Nines, and a newly single friend, Hunter Torres, vie for the number one spot in her heart. Unknowingly, Dante brings trouble to her door causing their personal and professional lives to collide in the worst way. The entanglement unleashes a danger that will have both of the men she loves fighting to keep her safe. Will Brooklyn survive the chaos threatening to destroy her very existence? And if she does, who will she choose?

Excerpt: Life On Fire 

Hunter cleared his throat. Brooklyn and Dante broke apart and she looked up sheepishly at Hunter. "I think it's time for you to call that cab for me."

Dante sat with a smug look, as though he was waiting for her to introduce him. When she didn't, he stated, "Hey, I'm Dante, her ex." He sized Hunter up with his eyes.

"Nice meeting you." Hunter nodded as Brooklyn gave him her S.O.S. signal by pulling her earlobe twice.

"Come on, BK, I need you to sign off on your check before you go. I'll get Carlos to call you a cab." Hunter nodded his head for her to follow him.

Brooklyn nudged Dante to move out of her way and gave an impatient, "Excuse me," when he stayed put.

He turned to her, giving her a big grin. "This conversation's not over," he promised, standing at the edge of the booth to let her out.

Brooklyn had finally reached her drink limit. Downing that last pitcher that fast was probably a bad idea. She didn't know if it was the gin or seeing Dante again that had her legs all wobbly as she eased herself up. Not wanting her unsteadiness to make her look weak and vulnerable, she jutted her chin out and proclaimed in a defiant voice, "I would say it was nice seeing you again, but that would be a lie. Take care of yourself."

As she sashayed over to Hunter, she heard Dante call out, "We're not done by a long shot. I'll see you later."

Hunter slid his arm around her waist and led her through the crowd to his office. Once behind closed doors, he rounded his desk and picked up the phone to have Carlos get her a cab. "I guess we won't be enjoying each other's company tonight, or shall I say this morning," he commented.

"It never seems to be the right time for us," Brooklyn replied. "It's a rare occasion that we're both single at the same time. Now we are, and …"

"And your ex pops up, wanting to reconnect. By the lip lock I found you two engaged in, you're clearly not over him." Hunter leaned onto his desk and pulled her to him.

"As if you're over Sophia," Brooklyn whispered, resting her hands on his chest as he wrapped his arm around her back.

He pulled her closer to him. "I should have pulled you back here and swept the desk when you first came through that door tonight. I don't know how we remained friends so long without crossing the line."

Brooklyn linked her arms around his neck. "I've been waiting for your fine behind to be single, but the line to get to you is always too long."

"Hell, I was planning to spend more time with you tonight, but you were rarely without company. Look what happened when I left to wrap up for the evening so I could." Hunter's cell phone buzzed. He took a quick glance at it. "It looks like your cab has arrived."

Brooklyn tipped forward, kissing him on the cheek. "You're too good to me. You know that?"

"I'm surprised Sophia never spilled a drink on you," Hunter teased as he released her.

"It's only because when you met her, I was with Max. I was absolutely no threat to her." Brooklyn stood straight.

"If you haven't gotten back with your ex by tomorrow, roll through the club and we can decide if the time is right for us to find out if there's any real magic behind our attraction." Hunter stood, walking with her out of the office and to the exit.

"That's if I'm not dead to the world tomorrow night from being out until two-thirty in the morning then trying to make it to work by seven a.m." She yawned as she followed him to the coat check. Hunter helped her put on her coat then walked her out to the waiting cab.

"Hey, make sure you text me and let me know you made it safely home." He pulled her into a quick hug before opening the cab door.

"Yes, sir." Brooklyn slid into the cab. Hunter shut the door and waved as the cab pulled off.

A flash of Dante's face saying they were not done entered Brooklyn's mind. She knew that devious expression too well. As she leaned forward to give the cabbie her address, she thought, Dante Nines. What are you up to?

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Life On Fire by Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley 

Meet the Author

Karen D. Bradley
while being a creative mind, English and Grammar were never her strongest subjects. As life would have it, her weakest link would become her saving grace. It was during college she penned her first suspenseful drama to help her cope with the death of her father, the upheaval of emotions, and her changing family dynamics. Writing fiction soon became one of her favorite pastimes. She has since published a total of five novels. What she enjoys most about being an author are the lively real talk sessions with readers about topics from her books.




Where Do We Go From Here 
by Andrea Clinton

Coming March, 2016

Geeda spends most of her life growing up around the hard streets and ghetto, placing value and working toward a healthy life on the other side of the fence. However, when her husband is away on business longer than normal, Geeda loses it and surounded by the wealthy insane, finds out the hard way that life isn’t greener on the other side. Instead, it’s a different kind of madness and a life she wants nothing more to do with.

Excerpt from Where Do We Go From Here 

Looking ashamed to say where she was from, Geeda stared out and didn't say a word, but then she realized she was speaking to a bum, a woman who literally lived in the streets, "I lived on Bergen Street in Newark, Li’l City in East Orange, then around the corner near Death Valley," pausing, "but," squirming on her hospital bed with chills, "about ten years ago we moved on up like the Jefferson's to Maplewood," pausing, "a few miles from the middleclass section. Poverty is horrible living," Geeda said as she shivered.

"I'm sure it wasn't that bad. I walk the beat in that area sometimes, met a few older guys and gals my age and play chess in the park. Not so bad, at least not until the kids come around and those crack heads of course. Boy I'll tell ya, crack heads will shake anybody down to see what they have, even a bum on the streets."

Pulling her cover over her, trying to warm up, "I hate that place. Nothing but zombies and their eff'd up families there—never going back. It was awful living," Geeda said.

"Now," Paula continued, "how could it have been hard for you when it was your parents who were working to feed and clothe you?" Pauses to no response. "They don't want you to fall back to sleep, might as well talk."

"It's not just growing up there that I hate, it’s hunger, police, fighting, stabbing, shooting; and, some kids, they had a dad or step dad, I had Morris.

"Don't seem like a man with a name like Morris could be mean or as bad as you make him seem. Morris seems like a good guy," she said, noticing Geeda getting more irritated, sickly and wanting to burst her bubble. "I'm sure he had some good qualities. Birthdays?" Geeda cut her off.

'You ever tell anybody, I'll use this razor to cut your throat!' is what Morris use to say to me each time he snuck in my room from my bedroom window. Then he would reach in his pants and empty the contents of his pocket on my nightstand.

'Turn over, don't look at me. It makes me uncomfortable,' he would say. Then, he'd take out a thick piece of a short rubber rope; I always saw him start to tie it around his arm as I slowly turned around to face the other direction. I felt so uncomfortable. I didn't know what he was going to do, even when I saw the dope, needle and spoon he placed on the nightstand by my bed—I was 9, how would I know.

"With all or most of my friends being molested by their mother's boyfriend, neighbor or uncle, who knew what he was capable of? When he came in the window like that, back then, he never touched me. He was focused. I just lay there until he finished shooting his drugs and left out the window again. Those few minutes seemed like forever, and I had to wait through the nodding and waking up, beginning to leave and then nodding again. When he did go out the window, I closed and locked it, then ran in the room with my mother, locked her door and put the dresser in front of it and got in the bed with her in case he came back.

That happened off and on until I was 12-years-old. I'd sleep with my mother a few nights, then, she'd take him back and he'd just sneak in the bathroom to get off on his drugs. Then when they'd argue, because he stole from her, or slapped her for accusing him, she'd put him out and call the cops, well, vice versa. Then, I'd have to worry about him sneaking in my room again. I was smart, I'd always lock the window. But, my mother would often go in the room to vacuum or get my laundry and would leave the window open to, 'Let it air out,' she'd say. That's when he'd catch me off guard again. And just when I thought he'd moved on or heard he found a girlfriend or went back home to Brooklyn with his mom’s or to Philly with his wife, he'd be right back at my window, threatening me. The only time I was sure he wouldn't come in through my window was when he was locked up and that was never for long; a weekend, a month or two, then, he'd be right back out with me fearing his face behind the glass, rapping at my window showing me a knife or gun when it was locked to pump fear in my heart so I'd open or unlock the window."

"Why didn't you tell your mother?" Paula asked

"It never made sense to tell my mother. After he'd go to church for a month, come back holding her hand, giving her rent money and calling her pet names, she'd take him back. I never knew if she really believed in him, or was money hungry or just believed herself when she said, 'For a man to give up all that money when he could've gone and gotten high, he must want to do right. He must—' she'd say. Then, my friends, their mothers and all the women he'd con in between jail and making up with my mother, would laugh at my moms for believing in him and taking him in again.

( Continued... )

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

About the Author

Andrea Clinton is the niece of Rock and Roll Hall of fame’s George Clinton of the funk band Parliament/Funkadelic. She’s an award winning Playwright, winning the Union County, Board of Chosen Freeholders Advancement Community Theatre 2015 grant award for her play, Murphy’s Law: Group Therapy Gone Wild. 

She’s also a Screenwriter/Filmmaker, Novelist and Essayist. Andrea is a Montclair State University Graduate where she achieved a Master’s degree in Theatre Studies, as well as undergraduate degrees in: English, Film and Journalism. 

She’s the founder and CEO of People Helping People, Inc., a non-profit organization, whose mission is to help citizens become independent and self-sufficient.  Publisher:





We’re All Wearing the Racial Lens 
by Lydia E. Brew

It is hard for African Americans to be totally objective when it comes to race United States. It is equally hard for White America huh? We all are wearing the racial lens on our eyes and we can’t see straight.

When thinking of how the United States was founded it was based on freedom, especially freedom of religion. The United States was to be the picture of a beautiful “world” where everybody would free. All men would be equal. However, here we are at the end of 2014 and we’re still not there yet.

I believe some of the Founding Fathers did want everyone to be free, but the slave owners needed their slaves. Believe it or not slavery was about money NOT one’s skin color or the intelligence of the Negro. The Founding Fathers needed the Southern colonies to ratify (approve) the Constitution that would abolish slavery, so the Negro became three-fifths of a person. Perhaps the Founding Fathers thought that eventually all citizens of the United States would be free.

Instead many were told that the Negro was from Africa and that they ware inferior to the White man. Africa is the cradle of humanity.  Native Americans who were here first, and later forced on reservations, when they rebelled, the United States went to war. People were told that Native Americans were not civilized, so they were treated badly.

The list of what people are told about other races goes on and on.  Even after the Civil War, the Emancipation of the slaves, the Civil Rights movement, and even now with an African American president, there is still something we can’t quite get together.

Many White Americans and African Americans can’t seem to understand that there is just one race. We are confusing race with culture. We need to remember the past by trying to let each and every person, black, white, homosexuals, whoever live the American Dream. The racial lens needs to be removed from our eyes. Somehow we have to stop letting the history of racism control our future existence together.

Shortly after President Obama was sworn in, a college professor lost his keys and broke into his own house. The man was an African American professor and the officer who showed up on the scene was White. The professor was under stress and had his racial lens on. The officer was trying to get the facts. He was doing his job – he did not know that the man lived there. The professor did not see that the officer was investigating a crime. All he saw was the racial turmoil history that the United States can’t seem to find a solution for continuous racial problems.

The racial problem is a human condition and it affects everybody in a different way. We need to take off our racial lens and see the problems in society. Ferguson and the “I Can’t Breath” cases are not just about racism, but point to a United States that can’t seems to be the nation that the Founding Fathers envisioned.

About the Author
Lydia E. Brew
was born with cerebral palsy but has not allowed her physical limitations to stand in her way. Her writing provides insights into the world of the physically challenged. She graduated from Texas Southern University where she received The Society of Professional Journalist Sigma Chi Citation for Achievement. She was a member of the drama club and pledged Alpha0 Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Under the leadership of one of her journalism professors, Miss Brew penned her first book Edith, The Story of Edith Irby Jones, M.D. about the first African-American to graduate from The Arkansas School of Medicine. Upon finishing college, Miss Brew worked with the Houston Association of Black Journalists. She is a Christian and attends St. Stevens United Methodist Church.

Miss Brew founded Lydia’s Educational and Charitable Organization (LECO) when she decided to encourage young people to write. LECO did this by sponsoring a yearly contest in which the contestant had to write about positive role models who were alive and from the Houston area. Each student who wrote an eligible essay was given a certificate of participation. Winning writers received cash prizes.

Her second book titled Our Learn Together Book is a book for young readers based on the biography of Dr. Jones. It tells her story in a simplified format on one page and allows the reader to write their own biography on the other. There are activities in the back where younger children can learn developmental skills and older children can learn to do research.

Purchase Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew





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. 

But what are some of the benefits of serializing a book today? For starters, serialized formats can help build up readership for unknown authors, and help create greater interaction between an author and his or her audience (it has been said that for Charles Dickens, this format created greater intimacy between he and his readers). 

Another advantage is that authors can revise the novel even after it is serialized, in preparation for its stand-alone publication. As recent as 1984, Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities, ran in twenty-seven n parts in Rolling Stone magazine for which he was paid $200,000 for and yet, Mr. Wolfe went on to heavily revised the work before it was released in full form. 

Yet another advantage, As Mr. Howey once explained in an interview with, is that stand-alone books might remain invisible in a sea of books, but with a serialized novel one gets the same strange title sprinkled throughout the charts together, and that "sorta build(s) on top of each other like individual ripples growing into a much larger wave." In other words, ten entries of a book title are better for that book's chart hopes then just a single entry.

It is for all of these reasons I am releasing my two-book novel "The Last King" in a serialized format. I want to engage my readers even during the on going writing process; I want have a chance to correct some things I might miss down the road; and I want a chance build up an audience before the full, stand alone novel is released in late 2016.

It's also helpful that with Amazon's Kindle Serials, readers save money. When readers buy a Kindle Serial, they receive all existing episodes on their Kindle immediately, followed by future episodes as they are published at no additional cost. This will prove to be cheaper than buying all eleven episodes at separately.

I can't wait to see how serialization will change and grow throughout the next coming years. It's a totally new way for authors to think about publishing - even though it's also a very old idea.

About the Author
A. Yamina Collins
is the author of the quirky short story collection The Blueberry Miller Files. She has written for publications such as New York Resident magazine, Our Town and the Manhattan Spirit. A graduate of New York University, she lives in Manhattan. The Last King is her first novel. 

The Last King  (Book I, Serial #1) 
Science Fiction, African-American, Romance, Religious
Follow Yamina's Blog for more news: 





by Curtis Anthony Brittingham, Sr.

Coming Winter 2016

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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




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