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Give the Gift of Knowledge

EDC Creations
, The Sankofa Literary Society and BAN Radio are proud to announce the launch of the  2014-2015  "Give the Gift of Knowledge Campaign," bringing readers and authors together to help improve literacy. Each new year, we encourage readers to purchase books to give as gifts 365 days a year. 

Thank you so much for partnering with me on promoting some of the most talented authors in the business!  EDC Creations virtual book tours are geared toward bringing authors and readers together in more intimate settings. The reader will receive great books to review and take a trip inside the world of a published author for a few weeks. Many of you might decide to write your own book before it’s over!

Please consider hosting the authors showcased here for at least one week on your FaceBook page or blog. 
Thousands of people — educators, concerned parents, community leaders, authors, poets and publishers — devote their time and resources to presenting the reader with great books!  However, too many outstanding books do not get the attention and reader support that they deserve. It is our mission to connect readers with these hidden gems and bring them books that will change their lives!  

Ella Curry, President of EDC Creations

Black Pearls Magazine Online-Founder
Black Authors Network Radio-Founder
Social Media Strategist - Internet Publicist - Branding Coach


Only the authors listed in this center section are on tour!
Click the covers to see the e-flyers

Anybody’s Daughter 
by Pamela Samuels Young
The Last King 
by A. Yamina Collins
I Ain't Me No More 
by  E.N. Joy

Listen Here



Listen Here



Listen Here



If You Don't Know Me 
by Mary B. Morrison
The Colors Trilogy 
by K.R. Raye
The Replacement Wife 
by Tiffany L. Warren

Read an Excerpt


Read an Excerpt

Read an Excerpt


When Perfection Fails 
by Tyora Moody
Open Door Marriage 
by Naleighna Kai
Blue Butterfly 
by Marian L. Thomas

Listen Here


Listen Here



Read an Excerpt
Left For Dead 
by Ebony Canion
Sister Betty Says I Do 
by Pat G'Orge Walker
Seoul Revelations
 by Bobby Cenoura

Listen Here


Read an Excerpt


Listen Here


Unbreakable: A Novel 
by William Fredrick Cooper
The High Price 
I Had To Pay 
by Jamila T. Davis

Listen Here


Read Excerpt


Read Articles


Find all featured authors in one place, click here.
The authors in the sidebars are not on this book tour!





How to Participate in the Online Book Tour - in order to join the online book tour,  visit each author's e-flyer and take their promotional material back to your network. Once you have posted the material, email Ella Curry with your list of links. Send all emails to Ella at: 

All of the authors are available for Skype sessions, Twitter chats, radio and blog tours, bookclub meetings, written interviews, book signings, speaking engagements, etc.  To schedule the author, please email requests to Ella Curry at:  Subject Line: EDC Book Tour Author Request.

Join the online book tour by selecting one or more options 

• Hosting a Skype phone session with the author and your friends
• Hosting a TweetChat with the author and your friends
• Hosting a TinyChat video meeting with the author and your friends
• Reposting their book excerpts and interviews on your FaceBook Notes
• Reposting their book news on your daily updates on social media websites
• Sharing the author's bookcover on your walls and status updates frequently

Stay in Contact:  Please email Ella Curry your blog or website address, valid email address and your home mailing address.  ALL participants will receive a book gift from EDC Creations and our publishing partners!  We appreciate each of you for helping us support the authors and uplifting the craft of writing! 

Listed below are a few suggestions on posting the material on your network.

1. Select the authors you are supporting. Visit their e-flyers listed above and read the material. Use this hashtag in ALL postings [ #edcbooktours ] on ALL social networks. Think about what your readers would like to see. Take whatever you see on the e-flyers and share it on your blog or FB pages/notes.

2. Repost links to their audio presentations and e-flyers in your status updates on social media sites at least twice per day on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

3. Take material from the flyers, but you must leave all links and disclaimers in place! Do not alter the text or links in any way.  You may shorten the text or excerpts but leave the bylines and credits in place.

4. Tell your network about the authors and the books. Consider selecting the featured books as your next Book of the Month. Post all future book reviews online. Share the links with Ella Curry.

5. Post the featured books as your Facebook profile picture for 3 days. Post your review of the book on FB, Twitter, Black Expressions and Amazon or other online retailers.

6. Once you finish posting, send Ella Curry a complete list of the posts you created and the sites you used. EDC Creations will track your posts. I will need a list of all of your postings.




If you need help in learning how to host an author online, here are a few great links offering tips and advice for video and phone chats with the authors. If you have any questions, feel free to email Ella Curry.

1. VIDEO:  How to Set Up FaceBook Video Chat - view here.   Instructions: Add the author as your friend on FaceBook. Setup the FaceBook Video App. Invite friends over to join the video chat with the author. Group chat is coming  to FB soon!  More details on FaceBook Video Chats -  

Host a chat session on your actual FaceBook page with an author:

• Invite the author to a FaceBook chat on your profile page or group. Establish a date and time for the FB meet-and-greet. Discuss your plans and a topic for the FB chat.

• Post the bookcover image or the author’s photo with all of the event details in the description. Post the links to the author's media room.

• Promote the Facebook chat session on your status updates daily. Invite friends to join in the conversation. Keep the author updated about the event details.

• Announce the chat session throughout the day and up to 30 minutes before the event. Start the chat on time and plan your questions for the author.

• Start a Facebook thread with your status updates announcing the author and the book. Once the author posts to the thread, chat away!

2. How to use TinyChat for online meetings and conferences
- watch the video on creating a chat session here:  Setup a Tinychat account for free:  Create a special chatroom for your party. Share the link to your chatroom with Ella, the author and your group of friends. Use your webcam or phone cam for the event. 

3. GroupMe Phone Party
- more details here. A great new app from Skype that allows you to bring in your cellphone directory for a group chat.  Awesome for author meet and greets!  GroupMe is the easiest way to chat with people and groups wherever you are from a phone. 

4. Host a Twitter Book Launch Party with TweetChat
- view details here.  
If you need help planning a Twitter Party go here today.   

• How to Host a Great Twitter Chat - view planning tips and advice here

• 5 Keys to Having a Successful Twitter Party  - view tips and advice here.  

Left for Dead by Ebony Canion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from Left for Dead

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

All Hell broke loose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


( Continued... )

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

Purchase copies of Left for Dead

Ebony's Website:  
Follow on Instagram:  
Purchase T-shirts:  
Subscribe to Survival Story: 




The Blindsided Prophet 
by Sonja Lewis 

Author of ‘The Barrenness’ unveils a fascinating tale of prophecy in her eagerly-anticipated second novel; a dark, psychological fiction story. 

“Daughter, you have given birth to a child who will see many things beyond what the rest of us see.’’ 

1980 was the year of an unforgettable tragedy in Coffee, a small town in Georgia, when a mass killing at a church claimed the lives of twelve innocent people. Fourteen-year-old prophet Isaiah Brown, failed to predict the massacre that took the lives of his beloved mother and grandfather. Traumatised and inconsolable, young Isaiah fled the scene, disappearing into a woods close by, where he went blind. Fifteen years later, at God’s bidding, Isaiah must return to Coffee, to repent and free himself from the years of guilt he has endured. God has entrusted him with the knowledge that will save the people of Coffee from an even worse trauma than they encountered in 1980. 

Days before he is due back in the town where he was an outcast for so many years, he experiences a vision from the past; he sees his mother and father’s forbidden love-story and his miraculous birth. He goes ahead with his trip back to Coffee, where he is faced with a town that has been unable to move on from the nightmare of the 1980 devastation. Visions continue to haunt him; not only from his family’s past, but also from the town’s past. Soon he learns the shocking and inconceivable secret that has been hidden from him. Isaiah knows what he has been sent to do but he starts to defy his own nature, whilst falling for the reckless Lucky Lee, and he ultimately begins to question whether he can remain a prophet. 

Will he be blindsided by the discovery about his past and his love for Lucky Lee? Or will he be able to prevent the impending tragedy? 

The Blindsided Prophet explores thinking at the deepest level and whether we have a say in shaping our thoughts, ideas and beliefs, or whether we are at God’s mercy. The idea that we must take responsibility for our thoughts and actions is a powerful theme. The Blindsided Prophet employs science and religion, while not mutually exclusive, to unravel themes of prophecy, incest, pain and love. Sonja Lewis conducted extensive biblical and scientific research while writing the book, and drew inspiration from a number of non-fiction authors including Joseph Murphy and Robert Waggoner as well as the fiction works of Tony Morrison and Gloria Naylor. 

About the author:  Sonja Lewis is a former newspaper journalist for The Albany Herald, in Georgia USA. Now living in Battersea, London, Sonja is a full time writer. She blogs at and also for the Huffington Post sonja-lewis When Lewis moved to London fifteen years ago she set up and managed a successful communications consultancy, where she worked with high profile clients including The Royal National Institute for the Blind. She also freelanced for The Guardian and studied for an MA degree in journalism. 

Lewis was later accepted on to a range of writing courses with the Arvon Foundation where she met her mentor Jacob Ross, who later became heavily involved in the proofreading and editing process of her novels. Lewis’ first novel The Barrenness was incredibly well received, appearing in The Voice, and WM Magazine in the UK, US national media including CNN, Black Enterprise and The Tom Joyner Morning Show along with a host of regional media across Canada and the US. 

The Blindsided Prophet by Sonja Lewis is available now at in paperback and ebook format.  View the book trailer here  



Life In Prison With Lauryn Hill 
Written by Jamila T. Davis

On July 8, 2013 my existence as I have known it for the past 5 years in prison instantly changed. I had been so drained, physically, emotionally and spiritually that I had no idea how oppressed my spiritual being really was. In the midst of my own internal chaos a beautiful, chocolate face with a warm smile and bright spirit spoke life back into my dry bones.  Lauryn Hill has sparked a worldwind of knowledge, faith and courage into my broken spirit. It was a tremendous boost, at a time and place where I least expected it. Through her purity and candidness, she has encouraged me to be myself, with no cut on it, despite the barriers that divide me from the free world. 

At first sight I admired Lauryn's courage, which I quickly found out was contagious. Lauryn Hill reminds me of Angela Davis or Assatta Shakur because of her knowledge and strength. Like a soldier who was trained for war, she jumped right into the prison routine and hasn't missed a beat. Surprisingly, she didn't shed a tear or complain. Instead, she opened up her spirit for God to use her. Almost immediately, she reached out to listen and comfort the many hurting souls at the Danbury Federal Prison Camp. I am one of them. 

I had the pleasure to spend many hours on end just talking to Lauryn about life and her experiences. In such a short period of time I learned so much! I had no clue how intelligent she truly is. I only saw her as a singer, but the truth is she has vast knowledge on so many different levels that it is almost scary. It was shocking to see that we share many things in common, including hardships. In just a few days she became like the sister I had from the same father, but a different mother who I had never met. After 5 years of what seemed like endless pain and disappointments, through Lauryn's company I experienced intense joy, which is a rare experience in prison. 

Some may have mistaken her as eccentric, but the truth is she is POWERFUL!  She possesses spiritual skill sets that few have, so her conversations are life changing. She is definitely a living inspiration. Like many woman in prison, she is a survivor!  People may view her imprisonment as her death, but it is her resurrection. 

Lauryn Hill doesn't just "talk-the-talk."   She "walks-the walk!"  Don't sleep on her! She knows her mission and assignment from God, and she is on it! In a few days her mere presence has changed our weary environment and has given many women hope. To us she is a modern day Harriet Tubman. In my heart, I know she came to set us captives free!

Lauryn Hill, the Grammy Award-winning, former Fugees singer reported to the Danbury Federal Prison Camp in Connecticut on July 8, 2013 to serve a three-month sentence, after pleading guilty to three counts of tax evasion for failing to file returns on earnings from 2005 to 2007 — totaling $1.8 million.  Follow Lauryn on Tumblr to read her side of the story and messages to her fans: 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Intimate Conversation with Jamila T. Davis



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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The High Price I Had To Pay by Jamila T. Davis
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Intimate Conversation with A. Yamina Collins



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

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

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

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
The Last King is about a line of people who cannot die because their ancestors marched into the
Garden of Eden and ate from the tree of life. God, however, considers this act, and the subsequent immortality that came with it, to be theft. He wants their immortality returned and he deals with their transgression by playing a cosmic sort of chess game with them - each individual Edenite has a Glitch that's meant just for them. A Glitch is a human who acts as an agent to retrieve the stolen property of immortality and kill off the Edenite. But all The Edenite has to do in return is kill his or her Glitch, and the game is over. But there is a conflict: and Edenite's Glitch is also their greatest love. Emmy, my female protagonist, is the Glitch for Gilead Knightly, the male protagonist.

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

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

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or other life path?
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." That's a quote from proverbs 28: 18 in the King James versions. And that's what I think the African-American literature has been suffering from lately - vision of what we can be Caucasian authors let their children dream of being superheroes and princesses and the Harry Potter's of the world. But much of our fiction, while not all bad, nonetheless keeps us confined to baby mama drama, hustlers, players and thugs - tons of stories filled with unending pain. But where are the heroes that inspire us? Where are the beautiful black women who get to be the love interest? Where are the kings and queens of old? Can't a black male turn out to be the hero in the end? That's the path I want to be on with my stories: now, don't get me wrong - Gilead in particular is no saint, but he is on a journey to someplace great, I think. And that's what I liked about him.

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

BPM: Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
Absolutely. For example, I intentionally do not have my character's curse or take God's name in vain. I chose not to cross that line even though my main character hates God and is angry with him. I believe, as a Christian, I am not called to do those things, even in literature. So I have had to be real creative in how my characters vent their frustrations. I also could not help but bring God into the story. He is literally the One behind this cosmic chess game that Gilead and Emmy must play with one another. 

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Ultimately, I hope readers get to enjoy a good story. Period. The Last King takes place in this narrow world that Gilead inhabits with his family and Emmy, in a sense, steps into. And I wanted to take readers along for that ride and help them begin to view African-American characters outside of the usual stereotypes we are too often placed into. Please, no more mammies and Sapphires and Jezebels and brutes and minstrels with an updated face. I want readers to dream bigger. 

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

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

BPM: How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books?
I think they are both wonderful. Even as the world begins to discover the ease and accessibility of ebooks, I think print books will never go out of style. There is just something special about holding a print book in your hand and smelling those pages, and it can't be duplicated with an e-book.

BPM: Do you think book sales are the only indicator of your success as a writer?
Ha ha. Books sales are an indicator of whether a writer can quit her day job or not. So who doesn't appreciate book sales? But I also think a larger indicator of success might be how much a writer influences other authors. 

BPM: What are the most important responsibilities of a published author?
I feel, in particular, that for African-American authors we need to do more than just entertain. Our readers need inspiration. They need to know they can be and do great things. I think it's our responsibility to rewrite the images that 400 years of black inferiority/white superiority have fed us.

BPM: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another. Finish this sentence - “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... ”
“My writing offers the following legacy to future readers: flip the script; offer a new story about you that has not been written before. Yes, you can talk about the bad things, but always let the good outshine the bad, so that there will be an abundance of great stories about our people - so that generations down the line can aspire to heights of greatness! I admit I am a bit of dreamer, but what can I say?

BPM: What can we expect to see/read from you during the next stage of your career? Any series or new characters?
The Last King is a two part book series. The first book will come out starting this December in 2013, and subsequent chapters will be released each month until December of next year. Readers can either purchase each release for .99 cents, or join the Amazon kindles series, and for 2.99 they will receive all eleven parts as they are released. After that, I begin work on Book II of The Last King. Yes, I do have other novels in the works - quite fun books they are - but I have to keep quiet on future projects. I am not giving my plots away. 

BPM: Share with us your latest news. How may our readers follow you online? 
Readers can follow me at my blog, or they can purchase my books online at places like Amazon. 

The Last King: Book I - Series 1

Author A. Yamina Collins
Science Fiction, African-American, Romance, Religious
Follow Yamina's Blog for more news: 

The Last King: Book I - Series 1
Author A. Yamina Collins





Intimate Conversation with Pamela Samuels Young

Pamela Samuels Young is an author and practicing attorney who’s taken a brief hiatus from crafting her fast-paced mystery novels to write about her newest passion: natural hair care. In her first non-fiction book, Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide to Going Natural, Pamela chronicles her transition to natural hair. A literal treasure trove of information, Kinky Coily is a roadmap for anyone interested in beginning a natural hair journey. 

A bona fide natural hair enthusiast, Pamela is excited about sharing her new found knowledge in the hope of helping other women learn the beauty and versatility of their kinky coils. You can visit Pamela’s YouTube channel, KinkyCurlyPamela, and her website,, for more hair care tips and videos.

Have you been thinking about transitioning to natural hair, but don’t know where to start?  Then Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide for Going Natural is just the book for you.  You’ll find the best bloggers, the best books and magazines, as well as recommendations on how to select the right hair care tools and products. 

Better yet, you’ll learn how to begin your natural hair journey, how to develop a weekly hair care regime and how to track your progress. Whether you’re transitioning from a relaxer, ready to give up your weave or flat iron, or already rocking your natural locs, Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide for Going Natural will open your eyes to the true beauty and versatility of your naturally kinky coils. 

BPM: Why did you go natural? How did you start the journey from permed hair to natural hair?
I decided to go natural after my hair started falling out from a relaxer. One day I had a head full of hair and only a few months later, I had patches of bald spots. My hair was shedding at an alarming rate every single day and neither I nor the hair stylist I was seeing knew how to stop it. A friend of mind had recently gone natural and introduced me to her natural hair mentor, Deanie. Deanie met me at the beauty supply, told me about sulfates and moisturizing, recommended conditioners and protein treatment, and gave me a list of do’s and don’ts. After the very first treatment, my hair stopped falling out—immediately. That’s when I became a believer and set out on a journey to take charge of my own hair care.

BPM: Did you go for the "big chop" or did you transition to natural hair with braids or a wig?
Initially, I refused to do the big chop. I just didn’t want to sport a teeny weenie after. So I hid my damaged hair underneath a wig. But after about three months, I got tired of putting on a wig every morning and taking it off every night. So I did it. I chopped it all off and I’m so glad I did.

BPM: How did your husband feel about your new hair styles? Was his input a major concern?
My husband does not like my natural hair!  But I do!  He prefers my hair straightened. But I know that once it grows longer, he’ll love it.

BPM: We saw your YouTube videos. Amazing! You are so brave to share your story with millions, what inspired you?
I’ve learned so much about my natural hair. For example, I had no idea my hair had a natural wave pattern. So many people see my hair and say, “My hair would never do that.” I would’ve said the same thing. That’s because we don’t know our hair! I’m on a mission to change that. Your readers can view all of the videos here, go.

BPM: What three tips would you offer women who are thinking about going natural?
My top three tips are:  1) No sulfates! Either wash with a conditioner (co-wash) or find a sulfate free shampoo; 2) stay away from the heat, that means flat irons as well as blow dryers;  and 3) moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Kinky hair needs moisture!  I deep condition at least twice a week and moisturize and seal nightly.

BPM: What products do you use? Share with us your favorite products.
Unfortunately, the same products don’t work for every hair texture. You’ll need to experiment to find out what works best for you. I have kinky, tightly coiled hair. So if you have a looser curl pattern or if your hair isn’t as coarse as mine, the products I love won’t work for you.

That said, my can’t-do-without products are: Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic, Kinky Curly Knot Today conditioner, Organic Roots Stimulator’s Temple Balm and Curl Refresher, and Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner. I love Herbal Essence for co washing. I also love mixing my own oils. My favorites are amla oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil and peppermint oil.

BPM: How long did it take for your hair become more healthy in your opinion?
It took about three months before I noticed my bald spots growing in. Within about six months, I really saw a change. My hair grew back much thicker and healthier.

BPM: How did you wear your hair to work during the transition?
I hid my damaged hair underneath a wig, until I finally broke down and did the big chop. I have to say, though, my Mommy wig was quite cute. I still plan to wear it sometime.

BPM: Do you think our hair has a lot to do with our body Image and self-esteem?
Absolutely! I don’t care what I’m wearing. If my hair isn’t right, I don’t feel good about myself.

BPM: Research helps us learn to embrace our beautiful hair. Did you do a lot of research on hair care?
Tons of research. I recommend that everybody read The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy. That book is an encyclopedia on kinky hair. I learned so much from that book. And I lived on the internet and YouTube. My favorite bloggers are Curly Nikki, Naptural 85, KimmayTube, Mahogany Curls and African Export. I owe those sistas a debt of gratitude for everything they taught me.

BPM: What was the most rewarding part of this experience?
All the compliments I get about my hair. Women always come up to me to ask about the products I use and I’m always glad to share.

BPM: How will your book Kinky Coily motivate women to consider moving toward natural hair care?
I think when they see other women taking charge of their own hair, they will feel free to do the same.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book and your how-to-videos?
I want them to have the confidence to take charge of their own hair care. I’m not trying to put hair stylists out of business. But I want women to know they can remedy their own hair care problems. If I’d known everything I know now when my hair started falling out, I could have stopped my shedding. My hair was damaged from the heat and badly needed moisture. I was also getting touch ups too often. But I didn’t that because I knew nothing about the care of my hair. Now I do!

BPM: What advice would you give a person who wants to tell their hair care story?
Take good notes during your hair care journey. I keep a journal and took pictures every three months. After you finish your book, ask for constructive feedback from family and friends.

BPM: Share with us your latest news or upcoming book releases.
I’m working on a books and beauty showcase called Natural Born Writers. Several fiction authors who just happen to be natural, are going to gather to talk about books and being natural. A popular natural hair blogger will also join us. We hope to hit several cities. So stay tuned!

Connect with Pamela Online




Intimate Conversation with Sonja Lewis

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

BPM: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes, when I was a girl I loved nothing more than to make up stories for my youngest sister, though I didn’t write them down. I named the characters, described them and acted them out. When I think back, I absolutely loved the free thinking, no rules just creativity. My first real writing assignment came with a state-wide contest when I was a tween. What a tree means to me? I won and have been hooked since.

BPM: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of your family.
My church, the Spring Creek Missionary Baptist Church, a small church in Leary, GA. There I gained confidence by writing the church history, speeches, the weekly announcements and very theatrically delivering these pieces. And wonderfully, the people embraced me, encouraged me, said I had something special even when I read in Sunday School.

BPM: What does growth mean to you?
I feel I’ve grown when I learn from a mistake or a challenge and move on, when I am able to take from the past, let it go; and abide in the present and imagine the future positively. That to me is exponential growth.

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

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

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

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

BPM: Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
Yes, my faith does. I think Christianity is misunderstood often but not just in non-Christian countries but right here at home. People are turned off by these people who profess to know this Christ but He doesn’t always show up in our attitudes, in the way we live etc…

With my first book a Christian radio announcer cancelled the interview at the last minute because she found profanity in the book. Sorry but there is profanity in life and I try to create a real picture, if you will. I totally respect that it was not the book for her and her audience, but I didn’t have a lot of time for her assumption that she had inside information with God that I didn’t have, and that she was living more purely than I, if you will. I somehow doubt it. But if she is, good for her but don’t judge.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
A spell bounding read that stays with them for a very long time.

BPM: How do you feel about e-books vs print books?
I prefer print books to touch them, to smell them, to read them and I always will but e-book readers, particularly the Kindle, have a place in our world. I love being able to access endless books and take countless reads on holiday, the train, etc… But if I had to choose, I’d choose print books every time. Now my business sense says that might be the wrong choice, but it is what I think.

BPM: Do you think book sales are the only indicator of your success as a writer?
No, I don’t. I do think sales are a huge indicator, but for example, with my first novel, The Barrenness, I had a campaign that took the lid off a very important social issue—a woman being fulfilled without becoming a mother. One of my goals was to start a worldwide conversation about the topic. I’d like to think that I played a role in all the attention that subsequently came to the subject.

BPM: My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
The legacy of taking responsibility for one’s own thoughts and learning how to find peace within through changes one’s thinking

Connect with Sonja at: or visit her website:





Intimate Conversation with E. N. Joy

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

The “ New Day Divas” series includes the titles: She Who Finds A Husband, Been There Prayed That, Love Honor or Stray, Trying to Stay Saved and I Can Do Better All By Myself. 

The “Still Divas” series includes the titles:  And You Call Yourself a Christian, The Perfect Christian and The Sunday Only Christian. The “Always Divas” series includes the titles I Ain’t Me No More, More Than I Can Bear and You Get What You Pray For. 

Formerly writing secular works 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 and cities across the country as well as instructing literary workshops. 

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

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

BPM: What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? 
That I live breathe, eat and sleep (well, not much sleep) this literary thing. It’s real. It’s not a hobby. It’s not something I do on the side. It’s my life. I take it serious. It’s my craft, my career, my first love and now it’s my ministry. With that being said, readers need to know that when I put something out for them, I’m truly giving them my all. And if I fall short of their expectations, I’ll do everything I can to try to do a better job next time in order to earn and keep their readership.

BPM:  Does your faith or education inspire your writing? 
I went to school for legal assisting and was a paralegal for thirteen years. Not many of my books deal with the legal system, but as far as my faith, my being a Christian, it inspires every word I write. Because I am a Christian who writes Christian fiction for a Christian fiction imprint (Urban Christian), my books absolutely must have Christ in them. 

My walk with Christ has not been easy. I did not dedicate my life to Christ one Sunday morning and then all my problems went away. It just so happens that I was my biggest problem, and since I wasn't going anywhere, I had to begin to deal with myself. This goes for most of my characters I write about as well. Some of them just can't seem to get out of their own way, let go of their issues and past and let God. And just like in real life, some of the characters get it after getting it wrong so many times. Then there are those who just never seem to get it. The latter characters, like some real folks, end up going through life thinking it's a battle of them against the world, never realizing that they are their own worse enemy...and sometimes their only enemy.

BPM: What does “growth” mean to you? 
For me personally, growth is when my best book was my last (latest) book. If you ask an author what was the best book they have written, if they don't call off the last book of theirs that was published, then, Houston, we have a problem. As a writer, you are always learning, progressing, growing and developing more within the craft. If the best book you ever wrote is three books back down the line, then you might want to consider sharpening your tools. It's okay for your favorite book to be somewhere back down the line, but your best book should always be the one that just came off the press.

BPM: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have been writing since the days of elementary school journals and rainy day writings. I started out just writing poems, then graduate to short stories. My first self-published book, Please Tell Me If the Grass Is Greener, was a mixture of poetry and short stories. Well, actually it’s poetic short stories; short stories told in a rhythmic flow. Kind of like a Dr. Seuss book for Grown-ups-LOL. I love La La Land. Growing up, my escape from reality was the La La Land I invented with pen and paper. So, I guess that is truly what drove me to pick up the pen for the first time and begin to take a genuine interest in writing. It was an escape. Some people use drugs, some people use alcohol, some people use sex to escape while other people might use guns. I used a pen and the wonderful English vocabulary. 

I'd always been a reader, as that was another escape of mine. Ramona the Pest, Nancy Drew and those Little House on the Prairie books were my favorites. But then one day I got my hands on one of my auntie's grown up books, which was Little Girl Lost by Donald Goines. It was the first book I'd ever read with main characters that looked like me. With characters that walked, talked and thought like me. I just remember sneaking the book out at night time and reading it while laying in bed. I was so deeply enthralled that I felt like I became that little girl who was lost. I just remember closing that book upon the final chapter and saying to myself, "One day I'm going to write a book that does that to people." I think I've accomplished that.

BPM: How did you get your first publishing deal? 
I started off in the literary industry self-publishing my first book, Please Tell Me If The Grass Is Greener. I also self-published my second book as well, which is a book of poetry titled World On My Shoulders. Eventually I grew out of my fear of thinking I was too short winded to write a full-length novel and I wrote and self-published my first novel, The Root of All Evil, under the name Joylynn M. Jossel. I wrote that manuscript with the intentions of eventually selling it to a major publishing house. 

So, while it was in manuscript form I sent it off (un-agented) to a major publisher for publication consideration. But in the meantime, I eventually sent the manuscript off to a printer as well. I received a rejection letter from the publisher before the books even came off the press. But that didn’t stop me. I simply sold copies from my trunk in hopes of creating a buzz. Well, the buzz was created. I got an agent and the agent submitted the manuscript to a major publishing house that did end up giving me a three book deal. 

Ironically, the same publishing house who sent me my very first rejection letter was the same major publisher who ended up giving me my very first book deal. After having sold 12,500 copies of the self-published edition in a one year, The Root of All Evil was re-released under my first publishing contract. But while it was going through the editing process, I wrote a street lit book titled Dollar Bill for Triple Crown Publications under the name JOY. It turned out to be an Essence Magazine bestseller, appeared in Newsweek and was translated to Japanese.

BPM: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of your family.
Hands down-THE READERS. What I need people to understand is yes, as an author, a part of me wants to write stories that I myself want to read. But the moment an author begins to make it all about themselves and not the reader is when the author needs to rethink their purpose for doing what they do. Ultimately, when a product is created, it is created to please and satisfy the consumer. Well, if you are a writer, your product is your collection of written words and the reader is your consumer. 

Readers are my literary heartbeat. When they send me their testimonies and words of encouragement, it keeps my creative blood flowing to the brain. My readers inspire me to challenge myself. Not all readers reach out to me with praises; some with constructive criticism and then there are those who maybe could have been just a tad more diplomatic in their lashing. When ever I felt as though a certain book might not have reached anyone or that my reach as an author all together just never seemed to stretch far enough, one of my readers would reach out to me and confirm that my writing is not in vain. 

I don't write for myself and I'm absolutely not one of those authors who you will hear say, "If I could just sell one book and reach one person, then I'm happy; I've done my job." No ma'am and no sir. I do not put all that I put into my work-sacrifice all that I do-just to sell one book or reach one person. Did Jesus set out to reach just one person? Did Jesus go through all that He did and die on that cross just to save one person? I think you get my point...

BPM: Introduce us to your latest book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites? 
I Ain't Me No More is book one of my three book "Always Divas" series. The main character, Helen, is not only the newest member of the New Day Temple of Faith Singles Ministry, but she quickly becomes the vixen with all her evil ways and tactics. Helen is not one of those church folk the members love to hate. They just out right hate her!

But is there something more to Helen than the hard, nasty exterior she puts up? Lord knows she hasn't been saved all her life, but was she born evil? Why else would someone set out to intentionally inject turmoil into the lives around her? Well, the women at New Day don't know and most don't care. They believe the antidote to this snake's venom is to throw her out the church on her behind. But when Helen decides to let these New Day divas in on her past skeletons, will that change their minds? 

With the compassion and wisdom of church mother, Mother Doreen, indeed one of my favorite New Day characters, the women just might find that Helen is worth saving. Question is, though; Does Helen want to be saved? Helen is special because she is flawed to the point where you want to close your eyes and say a prayer for her your own self. That's just how realistic this character and her life situations are. Either you know Helen or, which might be even scarier, you are Helen. More power to you if you were Helen but overcame your own self and ways and aren't you any more (the old you ;-). 

While readers are raising eyebrows and shedding tears for some of Helen's choices in life, they are at the same time yearning for her to just get it. Readers will ultimately want Helen to win at this challenge called life. Mother Doreen is a character from my book, The Perfect Christian, who I allow to make a cameo in Helen's story. Mother Doreen is just that, the elder-the church mother-who always seems to say the perfect thing or do the perfect thing to get and keep things in order. Of course once you read The Perfect Christian you realize that with Mother Doreen, in her older years you see all her glory, but go back a few chapters in her life and my God does she have a story!

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

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

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

BPM: Why did you choose to write in a primarily faith-based genre? 
I ultimately turned my pen away from writing street lit, erotica and women's lit filled with sexual tension in order to serve God with my talent. God has always been there keeping, watching over and protecting me, but it wasn’t until I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior did I acknowledge just how much God loves me. Now I live to glorify Him in everything I do, including my writing. So I’m now not only proud to be a Christian, but proud to be a Christian who writes Christian fiction. 

In writing in the Christian fiction genre, I try very hard to keep my mind clear; to make sure I’m in tune with the Holy Spirit when I’m writing. But I’m going to tell the truth and shame the devil; I’m human, so just like in every day life, when it comes to my writing, I do sometimes allow my flesh to rise up and do its own thing. I have written things that I thought the reader might want to read without consulting the true author. Do I get convicted for it? Yes, via readers’ emails and reviews…and some of them, unlike God, have no mercy. So I try my best to stick to ghostwriting…Holy Ghost writing that is. 

When I dedicated my life to Christ, a great deal of things changed for me and in me. I couldn’t do some of the things I used to do. I couldn’t say some of the things I used to say and I couldn’t go some of the places I used to go. Well, I soon found that I couldn’t write some of the things I used to write. That’s what prompted the change in the genres I chose to write in. Joylynn M. Jossel the author is retired for good. 

BPM:  Are the Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY books still available? 
Yes, they are. They can still be found and ordered in bookstores and are on pretty much every online bookstore. My die-hard fans can even still find Joylynn at . That's part of my testimony, my history and foundation as an author.

BPM: How does your book, I Ain't Me No More,  relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or other life path? 
I can honestly say that the main character, Helen's story, is about sixty percent of who I was. Hence the title: I Ain't Me No More. As I look back on the life of Helen, I catch myself cringing, but then rejoicing at the same time. Because just like Helen, in my present situation I might not be where I want to be in life and in my walk with Christ, but I sure ain't where I used to be, and to God be the glory for that one! 

If Jesus had not saved me from my own self, I fear what damage I could have done to those around me. In past years I was a prime example of how hurt people hurt people. I was mad at the world when all the while the only person I should have been mad at was myself-for wasting time on being mad. My misery fed off company. So if you came around me and you weren't already miserable-give me an hour tops and you'd be right there in the valley with me. I can say this now and confess it because-you guessed it-I Ain't Me No More

Not only that, but I can confess it because now I don't have a choice-it's all out there in this stone unturned. Because the book mirrored my life so much (another Hence: the mirror on the cover;-) one might think it was pretty easy to write this book. I mean, after all, it was my story. It should have flowed easily. That was not the case. I started writing this book five years ago. It was very difficult because my flesh kept rearing its ugly head. My flesh wanted to get out all of its hurt, pain, guilt, shame and 'woe is me' crap; you know, a three hundred page pity party that would hopefully make people feel sorry for me (ooops, I mean feel sorry for Helen). All the while God was trying to pull out a testimony, not garner sympathy. The flesh versus spiritual battle was very draining, but in the end I know beyond a doubt that what was achieved was a valid, entertaining, heart wrenching, moving and real story that will become a Divas classic.

BPM:  Under the pen name N. Joy you wrote the children’s book The Secret Olivia Told Me which, received a Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association. Tell us about The Secret Olivia Told Me. Why did you decide to venture into the world of children's books? Is there another children's book in the works? 
The book is a little life lesson for both little people and big people. It’s about secrets and what can happen when a secret is told. I wrote The Secret Olivia Told Me over fifteen years ago. My son, who was around seven years old back then, was my sounding board. He enjoyed the writing process just as much as I did. As a treat to him, on his birthday his teachers would allow me to read it to the class before we had birthday cake. The children would always fall in love with the book and have so many questions about it. But back then it was just something personal that I enjoyed doing for my son. I never imagined children all over the world would one day be so blessed by it. 

Needless to say, I have worked on several other books that I hope to one day pull out of the time capsule and have published as well.  Okay, so that is the answer I give every time I'm interviewed by someone about this book. But right now, I feel like telling the whole truth. I'll try my best to make a long story short. And even though it still might be a little lengthy, I hope this portion of the interview makes it in its entirety:

On Monday, January 14, 2008 I received what I thought was the greatest news in the world. The American Library Association named my children's book, "The Secret Olivia Told Me", as the winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustration Award.  In all of my excitement, I went down to my prayer room to thank God for showing such favor to my book. But immediately, my tears of joy turned to tears of sorrow when God reminded me why he had put the book into my spirit to write in the first place. In the summer of 1986 after my freshmen year of high school, my next door neighbor (who was a couple of years younger than me) told me a secret and I promised her that I would not tell. Ironically, those are the very first lines in the children's book I wrote. Unlike the character in the book, who eventually told the secret (although the actual secret is not revealed in the book, but left up to the child's imagination instead) I didn't tell the secret. I've never told the secret...until now...this very moment as I type these words. 

Anyway, my neighbor had been excited to go visit a friend from her old neighborhood. My neighbor even had a new friend that she was taking with her, so that she could spend that hot summer weekend with both her old and new friend. Well, when she came back from that summer weekend, neither her or her new friend were the same. Her new friend, in casual conversation while we were sitting on my side of the double family house we shared on Linden Avenue in Columbus , OH , told me that over that weekend, the girl of whom they had gone to visit step-father, who was a city bus driver at the time, had coaxed them into having sex with him. He convinced them that if they experienced their first sexual experience with him, then when they found a "real" boyfriend they would already know how to do it and wouldn't be embarrassed. 

Believe it or not, his line worked with both my neighbor and her friend. In a child-like whisper, which is what she was; a child, she swore me to secrecy.  I never told.  Not even three years later when I saw the story on the news and read the news headline on August 12, 1989 (which happened to be my birthday)  that a COTA bus driver named Ronald E. Waugh had plead guilty to raping 14 children, ages 3-15.  At first I thought maybe it was a coincidence, but then they began to tell the story of how he used his step daughter to lure the girls over. The step daughter gave a list of names to the investigators of girls she knew her step father to have raped. My neighbor and her friend were on that list, but when they were questioned, they denied it...they didn't tell. I don't know why I didn't tell. I don't know how many children may not have endured the rapes had I told. 

Eventually someone did tell though. Someone had picked up the phone and telephoned in a tip to a child abuse hot line...and told the secret. But it wasn't me. I didn't tell. To this day I'm baffled at my own actions. When ever I hear of a child being raped, I can never understand why they just won't tell...never once looking back to my own situation. I can't justify why I kept the secret. I mean, I could see if I was in elementary school, but I was in high school...and I still kept the secret. 

Yes, "The Secret Olivia Told Me" has pretty pictures, but the true story behind the book wasn't pretty at all. But what I'm hoping is that the questions that I ask the children at the end of the book regarding keeping secrets; what's a good secret, what's a bad secret, etc... will provoke and give someone the courage to tell. So even though the little rhymes are cute and the pictures are lovely, it's those nine questions in the back of the book that is going to save lives. 

The Secret Olivia Told Me true purpose is for deliverance and salvation and to teach children, and in my case, teenagers, that some secrets you just have to tell.  My hope is that every parent, every teacher, every guardian will use this book as a tool, not to badger lies out of their children, but to get them, on their own free will, to tell. Something I didn't do. 

BPM:  The Sinners anthology series edited by E.N. Joy includes stories by some of today's top Urban writers. How did you become involved in the Sinners Have Souls TOO  project? 
It was a true blessing to be the editor of the "Sinners" series, which includes the titles Even Sinners Have Souls, Even Sinners Have Souls TOO and Even Sinners STILL Have Souls. As a former Urban lit writer, we used to get a lot of flack as far as the art of literature. Because of the type of genre that we chose to pen, we were stigmatized and rumored unable to create writings without glorifying a trigger happy, drug dealing thug, or a burgundy micro braid wearing, gum poppin’, promiscuous gold digger, or a television stealing crack head (in addition to at least two curse words per paragraph). 

I know that writing (great writing) is a God given talent. I wanted to prove the nay-sayers wrong by providing these authors a platform to do just that. These authors, which include Noire, Chunichi, KaShamba Williams with introductions by Nikki Turner, K'Wan and Kiki Swinson, brought out their A game and penned stories that didn’t include explicit language or graphic sex scenes, while at the same time giving honor to the one who gave them their gift in the first place. These respected authorities have all come together for the first time ever, taking a break from penning their norm, to pen a piece of work that truly flowed from their spirits. Each gritty and profound story is told in a raw and real voice, luring the readers in by the poignant storylines, themes and the genuine talents and abilities of each of these prolific authors. 

The characters face the same struggles and tragedies that any other person growing up in the hood might endure, but what makes these stories so phenomenal is the fact that although the characters might be living a dangerous, immoral and unacceptable lifestyle according to society's standards, they are not so far gone that they can't acknowledge the power of a higher being and a life changing moment that could alter their lives forever.

BPM: Do you think book sales are the only indicator of your success as a writer? 
Book sales are not the only indicator of my success as a writer. Once upon a time I used to desire to be a New York Times bestselling author. That motivated me to no end. But then I watched Spike Lee do an interview in which he stated that you can not allow an award or organization to validate who you are in your craft. Talk about a revelation!  I heard his words. I got it. Plain and simple I got it. It was at that moment I knew that my success was not based on sells, awards, titles or anything else. Success is personal. Success is your own criteria and goals that you set for yourself. Have I reached the level of success I desire for myself? Absolutely not. I don't even feel close. Can I take out a pad and pencil and write down what those indicators are. Absolutely not. 

Call me crazy but success for me is going to be that feeling I get when I know "It is finished."  When I know that I have not done just the best that I can do, but that I have done ALL that I can do and feel it in the depths of my soul that God is pleased and that I am pleased with myself. I always say that the greatest "Ah Ha" moment a person can have is when their life begins to make sense. Well none of this makes sense to me yet. 

I went from writing secular works where the royalty checks kept my head above water and the lights on, to writing Christian fiction to where-let's keep it all the way one hunid- it's a challenge to get Christian folks to even buy Christian fiction. It's been such a challenge that on some days I entertain the thought of going back to writing my trashy novels that would allow me to at least buy a named brand hand bag every now and then. Obedience is better than sacrifice though. So I continue to trust God, which means, I continue to write what He instructs me to. Even though those royalty checks aren't what I'd like them to be, somehow the lights are still on!

BPM: What can we expect to see/read from you during the next stage of your career?  Any series or new characters? 
I Ain't Me No More is book one in the three book "Always Divas" series. Next there is More Than I Can Bear and You Get What You Pray For. My next series is the three book "Forever Divas" series. After that I will introduce my readers to a brand new set of characters in my "Husband" series. To date, book one, Operation Get Rid of Mom's New Boyfriend, of my young adult series, is available on ebook. I plan to publish the remaining two books in that series in the near future.

BPM: Share with us your latest news. 
I'm most excited about my October 2013 release, I Ain't Me No More, which is book one of the "Always Divas" series. I'm already putting the finishing touches on book two of the series, which is titled More Than I Can Bear, and that releases May 2014. 

BPM:  How may our readers follow you online? 
I would love for readers to visit  I can be reached out to via email at  I'm on Twitter @enjoywrites, in Instagram as blessedselling_author_enjoy and on Facebook as Author E N Joy. 

And for those who want to keep up with the divas, there is a New Day Divas Fan Page on Facebook as well.

Connect with the author online: 

Instagram: blessedselling_author_enjoy 
Twitter Page: 



Intimate Conversation with William Fredrick Cooper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BPM: How much does “word of mouth” has play into the success of your book? What grassroots strategies have you used to spread the word about your book? 
“Word of Mouth” is critical with my books, because I’m not a writer that comes out with a book a year. (It takes me a good 12-16 months to write one.). So far, the hype was been tremendous. Makes me a little nervous.

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

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

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

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

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



Intimate Conversation with J.M. Lominy

Life began for J.M. Lominy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  As a husband, father, nurse and veteran Lominy has been making room to write since 2000.  Specializing in Historical Fiction, he is the author of the upcoming book, The Deadly Rose, An Assassin’s Tale.  His work, both poetic and determined in voice, places an emphasis on the Haitian experience as witnessed through the life of passionate characters. Mr. Lominy currently resides in Georgia with his wife and his three sons. Visit J.M. Lominy at: 

BPM:  When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I got my first inkling to write during my first year of college.  It was an emotional time and my life was full of turmoil.  After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, my finances were stretched thin, I did not fit in with my peers, and at twenty-two years old I was a husband and father of two.

It was during that time, 1993, poetry came to me as if a flood bursting through a dam.  The enormity of it was so strong I had to put it on paper. I always had stories coming to me even as a child and I had difficulty staying focus with all the colorful stories floating around in my mind but they never made it to paper. This continued into adulthood.
At the age of thirty-two I went to Haiti for the funeral of my maternal uncle, who was like a father to me.  It was at that time, I realized how disconnected I was with my country of birth.  I had limited knowledge of my history.  I started to read books on Haitian history and that stimulated a barrage of story ideas.  From that time on, I attended writer’s conferences, read books on the art of writing and more than anything else, I wrote.

BPM:  Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author?
My wife, has always been that voice to keep me on a straight path.  Telling me to stay focus.  She was my first critic, a harsh one at that.  She also pushed me to pursue what made me happy.

BPM:  Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
In 1957 Haiti was in turmoil.  The former president is in exile and his seat is up for grabs.  A popular Haitian senator is assassinated and the assassin escapes to find himself hunted by an unknown psychopathic killer.
Pierre-André François is twenty-six years old, a handsome star soccer player.  He is pleasant, approachable and adored by thousands of fans.  He is sometimes a jokester with witty intelligence.  He has a secret; he is the vile and feared assassin known as The Little Rose.
Marie-Anne Savoire, is a young energetic and stylish beauty that dates wealthy men or those in position of power.  She has that ability to make a man pause in mid-sentence once she enters a room.  She is a close friend of Pierre-André.

Marcel St. Louis is a twenty-four years old medical student with direct lineage from France.  He is the son of an influential retired army general.  He and Pierre-André have been friends since childhood.  Their friendship has developed into something more than friendship.

Frank Gaston, is one of the three leaders in the largest criminal organizations in Haiti.  He is a ruthless strategist.  He is Pierre-André’s maternal uncle and surrogate father.

My favorite character amongst them all is Marie-Anne.   She is full of life and colorful.  I consider her sweet and sour; just as she starts to taste good in your mouth she drops you from boredom.
BPM:  Which character or topic in the book can you identify with the most? Why?
One of the topics in the book I identify with is family.  My main character, Pierre-André is an efficient killer, but deep down in his mind and spirit, he is family centered; that is his core, his Achilles heel.  I can identify with that, family is important to me.
BPM:  What inspired you to write this book?  Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
The inspiration for this book came from the vestibules of knowledge flowing through my mind.  It just came to me, like many other ideas that will morph into books.  I have a constant flow of thoughts that resonate in my mind while I do my daily activities.  Some of them end up on paper.  It has always been that way with me.
Faith and education does inspire my writing.  It can be found throughout my writing.  It is intertwined within my story as though a dash of spice that you know is there but you could barely taste it.
BPM:  Is this the book you intended on writing or did the story take on a life of its own as you were writing? How do you stay focused?
What I call the book fairies took over the story and it turned out better than I anticipated.  On many occasions I had to take a conscious pause and weight the pros and cons of going with the story in a certain direction.  I kept focus by sequestering myself in my office while listening to jazz. Visualizing my book on the shelves of the big bookstores or the retailer’s was also a motivator.  I arise daily at 4am to write.
BPM:  Share with us a quote  from one of the most powerful chapters.
“If a man muddies his shoe, does he not clean it, or should he buy another.”

BPM:  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want readers to gain knowledge of Haiti, its people and the core that binds us all; family, religion and politics.

BPM:  What are your goals as a writer? Did you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
My goals as a writer is to educate, entertain and illuminate about the Haitian experience.  An experience that is no different than any other human struggle.  What makes it unique is that Haiti is rich with colors.

When you’re in Haiti, the air feels alive the stars twinkle hinting at the secrets they keep.  Haitians smile no matter their condition.  I bring those feelings in my story; a historical fiction that you will want to be true.
BPM:  What would you like to accomplish as you continue to write?
I would like to develop a brand that resonates with readers through laughter, excitement, and gratification.  Overall, I want readers to know that every time they open a J.M. Lominy novel, they will be entertained in a different and unsuspecting kind of way.
BPM:  A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... ”
My writing offers the following legacy, a look into the past that brings clarity to the present.
BPM:  We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what's next?  How may our readers follow you online?
I am writing the sequel to the current book.  In addition, I’m starting another book line under another name and genre.  Readers can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and they can sign up for my newsletter at WWW.JMLOMINY.COM.

The Deadly Rose, An Assassin's Tale by J.M. Lominy, chapter one is available for immediate reading:

J.M. Lominy website: 


The Deadly Rose, An Assassin's Tale 
by J.M. Lominy (Historical fiction)




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