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Out of the Shadows: Love, Lies & Consequences (Book 4) by Natasha D. Frazier

A year after Rico’s death, Chloe is still working to piece her life back together after learning of his betrayal and sickness. Though she wants to be with Shane, she senses that it may be too soon to move on, given that she is broken inside. After recommitting her life to God, she learns to love again, but just when she thinks she’s over the past, Raegan resurfaces.

Rico’s lies initially introduced them to one another, but Chloe’s mother has an even bigger lie that has remained hidden for over thirty years. Can Chloe handle it? Will she allow yet another secret to keep her from experiencing the love that Shane is so willing to give?

If she allows God to mold her heart, out of the shadows of her pain will come love, forgiveness and a sense of peace unlike she’s ever known.

Out of the Shadows: Love, Lies & Consequences (Book 4) by Natasha D. Frazier


Excerpt from Out of the Shadows

“Look at that smile. What did Shane say to you?” Kelly teased.

“Whatever. He just does what he always does.”

“And what’s that?”

Make everything better, Chloe thought to herself as her smile widened, but she said to Kelly, “I think we have more pressing things to deal with.” She recalled the day that she and Shane were outside playing tag the day before they started fourth grade. She must have thought she was part of someone’s stunt team because she jumped over a hedge of bushes trying to catch him and skinned her knee in the process. Shane immediately ran into the house for bandages and alcohol to patch her up. He even prayed and asked God to make it better so that her first day of fourth grade would still be good. She wasn’t sure why that particular thought popped into her head just now, but it was a reminder that he’d always wanted to do whatever he could to make things better for her.

“Maybe. But if Shane can put a smile on your face after that scene you put on in there, I need to talk to him too.”

Out of the Shadows: Love, Lies & Consequences (Book 4) by Natasha D. Frazier. Read an excerpt of Chapters 1-3: https://amzn.to/2lRvXPP


Excerpt from Out of the Shadows

“So here’s this woman who slept with my husband, got pregnant, lost the baby, and I forgave her. I wasn’t supposed to see her again. That was supposed to be the end of it. Now here she is with her perfect little life dancing right back into mine. I never even conceived a child with Rico and here she is with three children! It’s not fair and I want to scream at the top of my lungs. I’m angry, Shane. Angry at her and at my parents. And I feel really helpless but I’m trying to get over it. I had a good talk with God last night, so I’m trusting that He will help me through it.”

Chloe didn’t realize that tears had escaped her eyes in her frustration. Shane slid his chair around next to her and took a napkin to dab at her cheeks. “I’m sorry sweetheart. I’m here for whatever you need. It seems like a lot to take in, but we can get through this together. Can I pray with you?”

Read an excerpt of Chapters 1-3: https://amzn.to/2lRvXPP



Purchase Out of the Shadows: Love, Lies & Consequences (Book 4) by Natasha D. Frazier
https://www.amazon.com/Out-Shadows-Love-Lies-Consequences-ebook/dp/B07VLNMYXP

 
 

The Wolf Queen: The Promise of Aferi (Book II) by Cerece Rennie Murphy

To claim their future, she must avenge her past.

War has come to the Land of Yet and though the wolf has awakened within her, Ameenah Yemini has just begun to understand the legacy behind its magic.

Without the wisdom to wield it, she knows she is no match for the treachery of the Hir, whose lust for absolute power threatens everything she holds dear.

Her only chance – Yet’s only hope – is for its people to band together and fight.

But the Hir’s iron grip reaches deeper than they ever realized and the land that once stood together is more divided than ever. While Ameenah travels to the isolated Province of Harat in search of allies and the remnants of the mythical Amasiti, the man she loves must take a different road, each uncovering terrible secrets, centuries in the making that could unravel their rebellion before it has time to take root.

In a desperate race to rally a force strong enough to defeat the Hir, Ameenah’s quest plunges her into the depths of a cursed land to recover what remains of an age-old promise—but the cost of saving her people just might be her life.

The final chapter of The Wolf Queen adventure is here.

Purchase The Wolf Queen (2 book series) By Cerece Rennie Murphy: https://amzn.to/2kIc4ub

Follow the Seducing the Pen Tour for The Wolf Queen books: https://www.smore.com/zympn

Book Review:
“An imaginative, immersive fantasy [with] beautiful details, exciting action, and a chillingly evil villain.” – Laurie Forest, Author of The Black Witch Chronicles

Prologue Excerpt: The Wolf Queen: The Promise of Aferi (Book II)

Standing beside his guardsman, Nebiri was no longer so sure they could let Fewa go.

Tales of the Amasiti were few and often half-told. Most read like fairytales. Still, Neberi knew every one by heart. As a boy he studied the texts his ancestors had gathered with a passion that very little else in his life inspired. With gold bangles at her feet and wrists and cowry shells and bells twisted into her hair, he had no doubt the woman before him was one of them.

“No!” Nebiri said. His voice was cool and steady. “She will come with us or we will grant her no mercy.”

Fewa smiled despite the sweat on her brow. “Nor will I ask for any.”

Lem shrugged his broad shoulders and charged.

Ready, she swung her arm around and let her dagger loose. It soared through the air like a flash of lightning before burying itself deep into Lem’s left eye. He dropped to the ground in mid-stride. Nebiri looked down at his guard in shock for only a moment, but it was still a moment too long. By the time his eyes returned to her, Fewa had an arrow aimed at his heart.

“Drop your weapon,” she commanded. Nebiri seethed, gripping the skinning knife in his hand. Behind Fewa, the wolf mother’s eyes bore into him, baring her teeth through shallow, labored breaths. This was not a fight he could win. Not today. But I will not forget this, he thought. If Father will not act, I will.

“Forgive me, Mother,” he offered smoothly. The skinning knife dropped from his outstretched hand. “We meant no offense.”

Sheer determination kept Fewa’s arms from trembling as pain and the chill of a new threat coursed through her.

He knows. He wants me to know he knows.

If she hadn’t been in the throes of labor, she might’ve killed him just to keep her secret. The secret of her daughter. But she could not justify killing him without cause.

If he takes one step towards me, I will be within my rights, Fewa thought. She held her bow taut and waited.

A knowing smile slithered across Nebiri’s face. I will not make it that easy for you. He took two steps back before turning and running away. I will be back for you.

Despite the lingering threat in his words, relief flooded her shaking limbs. Fewa knew she could not afford a fight in her condition. As soon as she lost sight of him through the trees, Fewa fell. The pain seized her back so fiercely she had to grit her teeth and dig into the ground to keep from screaming. When it subsided, she closed her eyes and rolled to her side, collapsing into a small puddle of wet sickly liquid. Fewa’s eyes flew open and found a trail of blood before her.

The wolves.

All four pups now lay still just outside their mother’s reach. The mother wolf held Fewa’s gaze as she lifted to reveal a fifth pup hidden beneath her. The pup was weak and wounded, but very much alive. Agony seized Fewa again before she could decipher the reason the wolf had revealed her last remaining child.

But this time the pain was different. In addition to the deep pulling of her womb, there was a burning between her legs. My child is coming! Fear gripped her as Fewa realized that she was too far away for anyone she knew to help her. In the back of her mind, she knew this was all happening too quickly, faster than it should have, but there was nothing she could do to stop it now.

Another contraction took hold before she could catch her breath, bringing more pain. She screamed through the burning in her loins as blood and fluid rushed from her body. She needed to push.

“Help me, Mother!” Fewa gasped. “Please! Spare my daughter!” Shaking uncontrollably, she managed to rock herself onto her back again. Propping herself up on her elbows, she spread her legs wide.

“Amalaki, give me stren –” Fewa’s voice caught in her throat as she watched the mother wolf rise. Just below the wolf’s rib cage a deep wound dripped blood as she hobbled towards the space between Fewa’s legs with the wolf pup, her last living child, dangling from her maw.

Horror struck Fewa. Will she feed her young by devouring mine?

Before Fewa could close her legs, pain gripped her, pulling her open from the inside.

“Please,” she sobbed as the wolf settled down between her legs. Delirious, she bore down. Protect your child, Amalaki. She is your daughter. The last of our line!

The mother wolf ducked her head beneath Fewa’s dress, coarse fur brushing against her calves and thighs.

“No!” she screamed. “No!” Fewa dug her heels into the ground, trying to push her own body away, but it was no use. Halfway through her efforts a new wave of contractions came, and her body responded without her permission, pushing and tearing to bring new life forth.

“Don’t!” Fewa pleaded. “Don’t hurt my child!”

In the haze of silence that followed, the wolf raised its head with Fewa’s daughter wriggling in her jaws.

( Continued… )

© 2019 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Cerece Rennie Murphy. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase The Wolf Queen: The Promise of Aferi (Book II) by Cerece Rennie Murphy:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0998274933/?tag=newsstory-20

 
 

The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi (Book I) by Cerece Rennie Murphy

The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi (Book I) by Cerece Rennie Murphy

Sometimes the Secrets in Your Past Can Unleash the Power of Your Future

Once great and powerful sorcerers, the Amasiti were hunted to the brink of extinction by the Hir and his followers. For four hundred years, their legacy faded from memory waiting for the hope of Aferi to be renewed…

In the Land of Yet
At the edge of the Forbidden Forest
A young woman lives alone.

Forced to fend for herself after the brutal murder of her family, Ameenah Yemini has made a life for herself as a master tanner and farmer, only venturing into the world to earn her living then return to the safety and seclusion of her home.

Until a chance encounter brings her work to the attention of the powerful Hir. And her careful life begins to unravel.

Drawn to the hidden magic that lingers in everything she touches, the new Hir insists on having her for himself, using the people around her to force Ameenah into his grasp.

When she realizes that her greatest enemy may hold the key to a secret she thought lost to her forever, Ameenah is determined to reclaim her stolen past. But, at what cost? As an ancient power waits to be unleashed, Ameenah’s choices will make the difference between awakening a new magic or delivering it into the hands of evil.

Read The Prologue from The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi (Book I) – https://www.cerecerenniemurphy.com/adult-books


Purchase The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi (Book I)
by Cerece Rennie Murphy – https://amzn.to/2LMMpwb

The Wolf Queen (2 book series) By Cerece Rennie Murphy https://amzn.to/2kIc4ub

Follow the Seducing the Pen Tour for The Wolf Queen books: https://www.smore.com/zympn

About the Author
National bestselling and award-winning author Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with writing and science fiction at an early age. It’s a love affair that has grown ever since. In 2012, Mrs. Murphy published the first book in what would become the Order of the Seers sci-fi trilogy. Mrs. Murphy has since published seven books.

In addition to recently publishing her first time-bending romance titled, To Find You, Mrs. Murphy released the 2nd book in the Ellis and The Magic Mirror children’s book series with her son. Mrs. Murphy is currently developing a fantasy adventure, titled The Wolf Queen and a 2-part space opera.

Mrs. Murphy lives and writes in her hometown of Washington, DC with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda. To learn more about the author and her upcoming projects, please visit her website at www.cerecerenniemurphy.com.


The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi (Book I) by Cerece Rennie Murphy
Read an excerpt: https://www.cerecerenniemurphy.com/adult-books

 
 

Failure to Protect by Pamela Samuels Young


Failure to Protect
by Pamela Samuels Young

Coming October, 2019!

The author of the award-winning thriller Anybody’s Daughter is back with an addictive read that tackles bullying and its devastating aftermath.

What Really Goes on Behind School Doors?

When the classroom is no longer a safe space for her child, a grieving mother is determined to seek justice for her bullied daughter. Enter hard-charging attorneys Angela Evans and Jenny Ungerman. From the very start, the two lawyers face more than an uphill battle.

An ambitious school principal is far more concerned about protecting her career than getting to the truth. She flat out denies any knowledge of the bullying and prefers to sweep everything under the rug. But just how low will she go?

As the battle enters the courtroom, the attorneys fight hard to expose the truth. But will a massive coverup hinder their quest for justice?

Excerpt from Failure to Protect by Pamela Samuels Young

Prologue 

Nobody cares about me. Not even God.

Just because I’m a kid, grown-ups think I don’t have problems. They tell me stupid stuff like, Bailey, you have to learn to stand up for yourself. Or Just ignore them and they’ll leave you alone. And the lamest one of all, Just pray about it. God’ll handle it.

I tried that last one about a thousand times. But like I said, God don’t care about me.

Even if I reported Kenya Jackson to my new teacher, it wouldn’t help. Mrs. Phillips is really nice, but all she’s going to do is send me to the principal’s office. Then Kenya will be even meaner to me for getting her in trouble.

That’s what happened when I told on a girl at my old school. After she got in trouble, she waited until there weren’t any adults around and pushed me into a restroom stall and stuffed my book bag in the toilet. I never told anybody about that.

I want to tell my mom what’s going on at my new school, but she’s got enough to worry about. She just got promoted to be the first black marketing manager at her company and now she works even harder than she did before. After she gets home, she still has more work to do on her laptop. The other night, she fell asleep right in the middle of helping me with my science project.

Since we moved to our gigantic house in Baldwin Hills with the dope view and a supposedly better school, she thinks everything’s all good and that makes her happy. I’m glad to see her smiling again. We were both super sad for a long time after my dad died. I guess she hasn’t noticed that I’m not smiling yet.

At my old school in Inglewood, when the principal told her that maybe I’d be “more successful in another environment,” my mom almost lost it. I was ready to lose it too. Anybody would be more successful if they weren’t being  bullied all the time.

I wish my mom could understand what I’m going through. She wants me to be more like her, but I can’t.  Sometimes she says stuff that really hurts my feelings.

I just don’t understand why you can’t make friends.You have to try harder to meet other little girls. When I was nine years old, everybody wanted to be my friend.

Well, nobody wants to be friends with me.

One time, I almost told my mom what was going on at Parker Elementary. But then I got scared that she would say it’s my fault because I don’t know how to make friends. So, I just keep it to myself. Every morning, right before I walk into school, I get the worst stomach ache you could ever have. It feels like a bunch of hot rocks are playing foosball in my stomach.

If my mom knew about Kenya spitting in my face, it would be one hot mess. She’s usually very professional, but if she found out what was really going on, she would turn straight ghetto and go off on everybody at the school. Then she’d end up in jail and I’d have to go into foster care. That’s what happened to my friend Trey in first grade when his mom slapped the cashier at Walmart.

Okay, I wouldn’t really have to go into foster care. I would probably have to go live with my granny in Oakland or my Uncle Marcus in Atlanta.

If I had my choice, though, I’d rather stay with my Uncle Dre. He’s really my godfather, but I pretend like he’s my uncle. One time, when he picked me up from school, I tried to tell him about Kenya always roasting me. I was surprised that he didn’t even know what roasting was. After I explained that it means dissin’ you real hard, he just hugged me and told me I had to toughen up.

You’ll be okay, he said.

But he’s wrong. I’m definitely not going to be okay.

Chapter 1

“Please, Uncle Dre, let me stay home with you today. Maybe you can homeschool me. Please!”

Dre scratched his shaved head and laughed. “Unfortunately, I’m not smart enough to homeschool you or anybody else.”

“I’m serious,” Bailey pleaded, her face twisted in terror. “Please don’t make me go!”

As his Jeep inched along behind the line of cars doing drop-offs in front of Parker Elementary School, Dre looked over his shoulder at the cute little girl sitting in his back seat. Bailey’s stress level was way too high. She’d had a few run-ins with a bully at her old school, but he assumed the transfer to Parker had fixed everything.

“What’s going on? Why don’t you want to go to school?”

Bailey hugged her book bag to her chest as if it was a life raft that might slip away. “I just don’t.”

“C’mon, talk to me. Is somebody bothering you here too?”

After a long beat, Bailey slowly raised her head up and down.

Dre had intentionally used the word bothering, not bullying. He was tired of hearing all the hoopla about bullies. Kids getting picked on was nothing new. It happened in his day and would keep happening until the end of time. Sometimes life is just hard. Kids need to know that sooner rather than later.

Truth be told, today’s kids were just too damn soft. People turned backflips to protect them from the realities of life. Like everybody getting a trophy just for participating. That was the stupidest crap he’d ever heard.

“Please don’t tell my mom,” Bailey begged, her brown eyes glassy with tears. “She’ll fuss at me for not standing up for myself.”

Dre reached back and gave Bailey’s foot a playful squeeze. “No, she won’t. But you do need to learn how to stand up for yourself. If somebody’s being mean to you, you have my permission to be mean right back.”

He wasn’t condoning violence, but if another kid started some mess, the only way to show ‘em you weren’t no punk was to clap back twice as hard. Most bullies were nothing but wimps anyway. Once you stood up to them, they backed off. That’s what he’d taught his son to do and Little Dre had never had a problem. He just had to teach Bailey to do the same.

“You don’t get it,” Bailey huffed, her shoulders drooping. “That won’t help.”

They were almost at the drop-off point, when Dre steered his Jeep out of the line of cars and made a hasty U-turn in the middle of the street.

Bailey sprang forward in her seat. “We’re going home?”

“Nope.” Dre pulled to a stop along the curb across the street. “I’m walking you inside. I want you to show me the kids who’re messing with you.”

Bailey flopped back against the seat, her lips puckering into a stiff pout. “That’ll just make it worse.”

Turning off the engine, Dre hopped out and jogged around to open the back door. “Let’s go.”

He took Bailey’s hand as they stepped into the crosswalk. The closer they got to the school doors, the slower Bailey walked. By the time they reached the entrance, Dre felt like he was tugging a sixty-pound bag of potatoes behind him.

“Please, Uncle Dre,” Bailey whispered in a panic, glancing all around. “Please don’t make me go!” Her tiny hand clutched two of his fingers.

Dre took Bailey off to the side, squatted until they were at eye level, and caressed her shoulders.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s no reason for you to be this stressed out about going to school. If somebody’s messing with you, I need to know about it. What’s the kid’s name?”

Bailey hung her head as a tear slid down her right cheek. For a second, Dre thought she was finally about to come clean.

“It doesn’t matter,” she mumbled, hoisting her book bag higher on her shoulder.

“Yes, it —”

Bailey jerked away from him and dashed inside the school.

He was just about to go after her when a woman took a side step, blocking his path.

“I’m sorry, sir. May I help you?”

Dre flinched at the suspicion in the woman’s caustic voice. He pointed behind her, growing anxious as he lost sight of Bailey. “I was dropping off Bailey. Bailey Lewis.”

Lifting her chin, the woman folded her arms at the waist.  “And you are?”

“I’m Bailey’s”— he paused— “uh, I’m Bailey’s godfather.” He’d started to introduce himself as her uncle to make himself sound more legit.

“Your name?” Her tone conveyed all the warmth of an ice chest.

“Andre Thomas.”

Dre pegged the woman to be in her early-forties. Her straight black hair fell just below her chin in a blunt cut that matched her funky disposition. She was wearing a sleeveless, form-fitting red dress that hugged every inch of her curvy frame. Actually, she was kind of hot. Taraji P. Henson with a bad attitude.

“Bailey’s mother didn’t tell us someone else would be bringing her to school today.”

She looked him up and down like he was some pedophile on the prowl for a new victim.

Dre couldn’t seem to pull his eyes away. Despite an innate seductiveness, the woman still managed to carry herself with the spit-shine polish of a CEO. If professionalism had a smell, she would reek.

“Erika had a meeting in Irvine and asked me to drop her off.”

Dre shifted his weight from one foot to the other. It was rare for someone—especially a female—to make him feel this degree of uneasiness. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”

“I’m Ms. Freeman. The principal.”

He should’ve guessed. A sister with a little power.

“I’ll be dropping Bailey off and picking her up from time to time,” Dre said, anxious for the chick to move out of his way so he could go after Bailey. “Erika just got a big promotion. So her job’s a lot more demanding now.”

“Is that right?”

“Yep, that’s right.” What’s up with this chick?

“Please ask Ms. Lewis to email Bailey’s counselor to verify that you’re authorized to pick her up from school.”

Dre nodded. “Will do.”

He still wanted to go inside, but the woman stayed put like a queen guarding the gates of her castle.

Without saying goodbye, Dre pivoted and headed back across the street. As he opened the door to his Jeep, he made a mental note to have a talk with Erika. She’d been thrilled about getting Bailey into Parker Elementary because of its stellar reputation. But the place might not be any better for Bailey than her old school.

Dre also couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. And not just with Bailey.

( Continued… )

© 2019 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Pamela Samuels Young. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

About the Author
Attorney and award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young writes fast-paced mysteries that tackle important social issues. Her thriller Anybody’s Daughter won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction. A former journalist, Pamela also writes sexy, sassy romantic suspense under the pen name Sassy Sinclair. Visit her website at http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.


ARTICLE:  Black children commit suicide at twice the rate of white kids

Suicide rates for children ages 5 to 12 are roughly twice as high for black children as for white children, according to new data. But for adolescents ages 13 to 17, the pattern flips, with white kids having higher suicide rates, researchers report online May 21 in JAMA Pediatrics.

The new study is based on an analysis of suicide rates among children ages 5 to 17 from 2001 to 2015. Suicide was relatively rare among young children, the scientists found, but rates for both black and white kids in the United States increased with age.

Suicide rates have traditionally been higher among white individuals for all age groups in the country. That trend does hold for older children in the study. From ages 13 to 17, black teens had a roughly 50 percent lower rate of suicide compared with white teens.

Known risk factors for suicide — such as depression, previous suicide attempts, alcohol and substance use and family history of suicide — “are likely to be risk factors across the board,” Bridge says. But little is known about social risk factors that might underlie the racial disparity seen in younger kids, such as feeling unsafe playing outside, having little to no access to health care or having lost an older sibling to violence.

 
 

Unfortunately Francine by Joan Vassar

Unfortunately Francine

(Unfortunate Series Book 1) by Joan Vassar  Georgia, 1995–A gentle push from her sister causes Francine Adams to agree to one date with the handsome, Jalal Dorsey. When his ex-girlfriend makes an appearance, a perfect evening takes a turn for the worse. Blinded by humiliation and desperate to put distance between herself and the drama, Francine flees the upscale eatery. Unfamiliar with Atlanta, she wanders down a dark side street and encounters a series of unfortunate events.


Troy Bryant has spent seven years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Upon his release, he realizes the man he was before prison is gone. Now, he’s everything he was wrongfully accused of. After witnessing a young woman running from a restaurant in the heart of Atlanta, Troy follows her hasty retreat down an unlit side street, forever changing the course of both their lives.


Troy decides to keep her–no matter the cost, and Francine is forced to need the man who stole her from her life. Two souls collide, and a dark romance begins to bloom. Unfortunately Francine spins an erotic tale of anger, love and acceptance.

Celebrate with a passionate indie author: https://conta.cc/2zkkn3a

Share the Unfortunately Francine Kindle ebook preview:  https://amzn.to/33TJKXC

Listen to a reading from Unfortunately Francine:  http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CH1BJWvX


Excerpts from Unfortunately Francine

“Truce is for the man who approaches me from the front not from the back.” ~Troy


“All races commit crimes against their own. People perpetrate corruption where they are most comfortable. Statistically, black on black crime is no higher than any other race. It’s prejudice that keeps a slanted black experience in the forefront of the nightly news.”

“Troy almost laughed out loud as he came to understand that he would have to submit to her–to get her to submit to him.”

“Unfortunately, we live in a society that is unforgiving of the poor and people of color. And often times as black folks, we fall under both categories.”


Reviewed by Ebony Eyecu Evans

Was he a good man who did bad things or was he a bad man who did good things?


Well, let me start by saying….Whatever Troy Bryant is or isn’t, he’s FOR SURE THE MOST INTENSELY ANGRY, CONTROLLING, EROTIC AND SEXIEST VILLAIN I’ve ever encountered. I mean…NEVER HAVE I EVER read such a dark and deliciously disturbing romance that’s kept me riding a wave of conflicting emotions. With captivating character development and meticulous detail, this multilayered twisted plot is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!
Bravo!!! Joan Vassar OUT DID HERSELF with “Unfortunately Francine!” Can’t wait to see what comes next! –Ebony, EyeCU Reading Approved & Highly Recommended


 Intimate Conversation with Joan Vassar

New York native, Joan Vassar is an avid reader and storyteller. Joan graduated from the High School of Graphic Communication Arts in NYC which heightened interest in journalism. She has always had the in-depth ability to astutely relate, interpret and bring words to life.

Joan works as a software analyst by day, but her true passion is storytelling. She enjoys writing narratives that bring to life the African American experience both past and present.


Joan is the author of Introduction to Love and SelfThe Black Series and her latest novel Unfortunately Francine.


“I love to hear from my readers. When a man tells me that my character made him feel a heightened sense of pride, or a woman shares with me that she enjoyed the romance rarely seen between African Americans in literature, I know I’ve done my characters justice.”
Joan currently resides in Georgia and is happily weaving great tales.

BPM: How did you choose the genre you write in? I choose my genre based my love for romance, black love and black family.

BPM: Tell us about your most recent work. Available on Nook and Kindle?Unfortunately Francine is a dark romance based on the black experience. Available on Kindle.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? Troy is the anti-hero; in this novel I explore the villain. What makes Troy special is his need to right the wrongs of the world, while being an unapologetic villain. 

BPM: What was your hardest scene to write, the opening or the close?The ending scenes were difficult, because I want to keep readers hooked.

BPM: Do you write multiple books for a series?I do write multiple books in a series. I am currently working on book 4 in the Black Series. I have also started a new series called the Unfortunate Series.

BPM: Do you try to deliver to readers what they want or let the characters guide your writing?I try to do both, but mainly I try not to be predictable.

BPM: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?Erotic scenes can be very difficult.

BPM: Have you written any other books that are not published?I have two novels written that are not published.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?I’m working on book 4 in the Black Series.

BPM: Share all of your social media links.Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joan.vassar.16Twitter: @jvassar0709 or https://twitter.com/jvassar0709Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joan.vassarBooks by JV: https://www.amazon.com/Joan-Vassar/e/B0193XERMGSTP Tour Page:  https://www.smore.com/9y2c0-unfortunately-francine

Joan Vassar is now an Author on BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/joan-vassar

Purchase Unfortunately Francine on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QBM26ZV 


The Black Series (3 Book Series)https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M5H67VA

The main character, BLACK, is the fictional son of Nat Turner. Nat Turner (October, 1800 – November, 1831) was an enslaved African American who led a rebellion of slaves and free blacks in Southampton County, Virginia. Nat Turner is widely regarded as one of the most complex figures in American history and American literature.
Black shares the appealing tale of a passionate love between a man and a woman bound together to change their destiny.
Elbert: The Uncaged Mind is a passionate story of love and healing despite the ugly backdrop of slavery.
Emancipating James reveals the complicated facets of the human soul exposed against the backdrops of Civil War, slavery, and romance.

Join the blog tour and help spread the word about The Black Series by Joan Vassarhttps://www.smore.com/fe7qv-the-black-series-3-book-series

Joan Vassar is now an Author on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/joan-vassar 


Give the Gift of Knowledge

Please read this Pearl Page and explore the linked material. After you read the news, share it with your social media friends. Every share opens the door for more readers to support the authors featured today. Thank you for being a part of our family! We appreciate you and all that you do for our community of writers, poets and bloggers.

Read more about authors on the Seducing the Pen Tour at:  https://www.smore.com/9yzf-seducing-the-pen-book-tour.  

If you would like to host this author on tour, email Ella D. Curry and request the information at:  edc_dg@yahoo.com.  Use the subject line:  Hosting the STP Book Tour Online



Pearl Page: Audio Postcard for Bookclubs
$79.00 Per Campaign, pay here.


Thank you for listening to this fantastic book preview!   This audio-postcard presentation was created by Ella Curry of  EDC Creations Creations Media Group.  We offer the best in book publishing publicity!Visit the main EDC Creations website today to explore the many services we offer small business owners, event planners, authors and publishers at: http://www.edc-creations.com/publicity.htm  We have several packages that will take your products to the top!    

 
Create a Pearl Page  Like This One in Minutes!   Got a ebook or a new printed book…let us tell the world it’s available!  Reserve your own personal audio book preview page today and your Pearl Page will be ready for syndication in 3-5 days! Let us share your message with our database for the next 3 months. The bookcover (with link to bookseller) is showcased on Black Pearls Magazine front page sidebar for 3 months too.  


Turn your speakers on and click the links.  View samples of  our various types Pearl Pages:

  PP 1,    PP 2,    PP 3,    PP 4    and  PP 5


Pearl Pages are emailed to more than 165,000 readers of the EDC Creations newsletter, played on BAN Radio Show 3 times in 3 months and promoted via our mobile bookclub.  View here.  What a way to share your audio-visual introduction with readers!   Fee: $79.00 for complete webpage and audio. 

Make all payments at the EDC Creations Payment Center,  go here today.  We look forward to sharing your information with our network!  Ella will email instructions within 24-48 hours.

 
 

The Key to My Pain by Antoinette R. Davis

Have you ever shared your deepest darkest pain with someone you love and someone you thought loved you? 

The Key To My Pain takes place in Baltimore City in the early to mid-seventies, when racial tension is still high from the late nineteen sixty’s riots.The family of five are living just enough with Mr. Batchler being a police officer after leaving Vietnam and Mrs. Carolyn Batchler is a loving mother and wife to three aspiring sons.


Mrs. Carolyn Batchler is in love with her husband Rodney Batchler Sr.  He promised to give her the family she never had but always wanted but she didn’t know her dreams of a happy ever after would unlock doors she never dreamed of.

Rodney Batchler Jr. the eldest of the three sons, he wants to be a basketball superstar, Edwin Batchler wants to be an artist and the youngest of the three Corey is just trying to find himself.

Rodney Sr. runs his house like a jail and his family like a warden. Carolyn is forbidden to work because Rodney Sr. wants to keep her subservient and he controls his sons with pure fear.

Verbal, mental and physical abuse happens every single day in the Batchler home. There is not day Carolyn can open her eyes and enjoy the beauty of the sun nor the sound of the rain.  Rodney Sr. has single handedly  put her internal light out with abuse and now her sons are starting to look at their mother as weak, helpless and a fool.  The abuse is not limited to Carolyn, oh no. Rodney Sr. keeps his sons in line with the same mental, physical and emotional abuse he uses for his wife.


Experiencing abuse will and can lead you to the arms of people you think you can trust until the day that person unlocks the pain you gave them the key to. Love, Pain, Forgiveness and Hurt is all wrapped up in this 230 page novel.  Follow the journey of the Batchler family as they discover life through tainted vision.


Message from the Author

I dedicate this novel, The Key To My Painto every person who has ever witnessed domestic violence and to everyone who has shared their pain with a person they trusted and loved only to have them use your deepest darkest pain to hurt you. You can’t trust everyone with the key because they will unlock doors you have closed.


Chapter Excerpt:  The Key to My Pain

The long awaited visit.

Will somebody get the front door,” yells Chetta. The housekeeper is making up the beds and doesn’t hear the door so Chetta walks out of the kitchen to get the front door.

Chetta opens the door, “Hello.”

“Hello my name is Carolyn Batchler and I am…” Before Carolyn can finish introducing herself Chetta cuts her off.

“I know exactly who you are; please come in.” Carolyn walks in and looks around.

“Let me take your coat and have a seat.” Before Carolyn can take her coat off and have a seat Rodney Jr. walks down the staircase and looks right in his mother’s face.

Carolyn remains standing, “Hello son.” Rodney stands at the bottom of the staircase in a stare.

Chetta looks at her husband, “Rodney say something you’re being rude.” Chetta whispers. It’s been twenty three years since they both laid eyes on each other and Carolyn has dreamed of this day.

Carolyn walks over to Rodney, “Hello son.” A cold chill goes up Rodney’s spine and it causes him to shake. Chetta stands next to her husband looking on at the two of them and waiting for Rodney’s response.

“It’s been twenty three years since you walked away from me and I‘ve never stop thinking about you,” tears roll down Carolyn’s cheeks as she breathes easy. “I’ve watched you play basketball all through college and the NBA; I even watched when you went to the Olympics and won a gold medal. I have a photo album full of pictures when you were featured in the newspaper.”

Carolyn looks at Chetta, “You two had a beautiful wedding.”

“Thank you Mrs. Batchler,” says Chetta. Rodney turns to walk away from his mother.

“Do not walk away from me Rodney Jr.”

“Why should I stand here and talk to you?”

“Because like it or not I am your mother.  I am the women who gave life to you,”

“That didn’t seem to matter when you were letting your husband take life from me.”

Chetta steps in, “Excuse me Mrs. Batchler.” Chetta pulls Rodney to the side.  “This is your mother and she has come to talk to you at least hear her out.  Honey this is what you need to get your head in a better space.  You have spent years not living up to your full potential as a father and a husband; now is the time to get your questions answered,” Chetta whispers to him

“Rodney please talk to me,” asks Carolyn.

Rodney raises his voice,“Talk about what, why you let that man beat me, why you stayed married to a psychopath who abused you and mistreated your children while you watched and telling us it will get better and it never did!  You didn’t even come to my high school graduation,” Rodney breaks down in tears. Carolyn walks closer to him and puts her arms around him.

“Get off of me,” Rodney backs away from Carolyn and leans up against the hallway wall.

Rodney’s oldest daughter walks in the house, “Mama whose car is that out front,” asked Carolyn (Rodney’s daughter)

“Carolyn come over here and meet your grandmother; your father’s mother and your name sake,” says Chetta trying to take away the awkwardness in the room.

Rodney’s daughter walks over to her grandmother wearing a big smile, “Hello grandma; I’ve always wanted to meet you.”  The two of them hug.

Carolyn hugs her granddaughter tight and closes her eyes, “I can’t believe this.”

“My name is Carolyn just like yours. My father named me after you.”

Carolyn looks over at her son. Chetta rushes over to her daughter, “Come on with me let’s go upstairs and let your grandmother and your father talk.”

Carolyn (Rodney’s daughter) looks over at her father, “Dad what’s wrong?”

“Come on I’ll explain to you later,” says Chetta as she ushers her daughter upstairs.

Carolyn walks over to her son, “You named your oldest daughter after me; that must mean you don’t hate me.”

“I don’t hate you, I just don’t understand you and all that you put up with from that man.  How could love him more than you love your own flesh and blood?”

“Rodney look at me, it’s time I explained my actions to you. I was in foster care from the time I was three years old. I didn’t have a family my parents died in a car crash and no one wanted me.  I grew up lonely and when I met your father he gave me love and he promised me a good life and a big family.  I didn’t know he had issues at the time and  I didn’t have a place to run to son and I was afraid to live outside of the life he provided.  I’m sorry for not standing up for myself and for my children. I realize that staying with him and tolerating his abuse damaged my children and me.  I know the things that run through your mind because they run through mine too.  Some days it’s all I can think about but I can’t get the years I suffered back. I press my way through and it’s been rough without you and your brothers.” Carolyn starts to cry again.

Rodney finally feels for his mother, he walks over to her and places his arms around her shoulders and they share a moment they both have been dreaming about.

( Continued… )

© 2019 All rights reserved.  Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Antoinette Davis. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase The Key to My Pain by Antoinette R. Davis
https://www.amazon.com/Key-My-Pain-Antoinette-Davis-ebook/dp/B07JMVWM1Y


The Key to My Pain is available as a paperback novel, on audiobook and Kindle Unlimited ebook



Intimate Conversation with Antoinette Davis


Creative, a dreamer, loving and helpful, those are just some of the words used to describe Ms. Antoinette Davis. “Nette” as she is called by her closest friends and family members, has always had a way with drama. She is a dreamer and she encourages others to do the same.

Antoinette attended Baltimore City public schools and went on to Strayer Business College where she majored in Business Management.. Antoinette stepped out on faith in 2009 and started her own business first selling artwork that’s when a friend at the time asked her to write poetry for some of the artwork she was selling and from there the writer in her was re- birthed.

In 2010, Antoinette started writing poetry on book markers, journals, planners and put together her first poetry book that included a CD of poetry to music. Antoinette shocked her family and herself when she completed a CD of spoken word entitled “A Scent Just for Her.” 

All of her writings seemed to gravitate to the spiritual side in her and when asked why she simply replied, “That’s where my heart is now. It’s a pleasure writing with you in mind,” Antoinette loves to be creative and let her mind takes her and the readers places they can only imagine. 

Antoinette’s novels are thought provoking; she discusses issues people want to read such as domestic violence, race and love and she takes pleasure doing so. Her mother speaks to the support of her writings, “I knew my daughter was creative at an early age and I am very proud of her and the love she has for people. You can find her hidden in every novel she creates.”

BPM:  It is such a pleasure to have you join us to discuss, The Key to My Pain. Describe yourself in three words.

Dreamer/funny/loving.

BPM:  What drove you to publish your first book or create your first series? How long have you been writing?

I have been writing 10 years now. I was going through a bad time and I needed to channel my pain into a different direction and writing helped me to do that and once I did that I wanted to help others with my writing. 

BPM:  Describe what you do outside of writing to expand your business or brand.

I promote through social media.I’ve done speaking engagements at centers for women and book signings and I throw parties and invite book clubs and other authors.

BPM:  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your body of work/books?

You need an editor. You cannot edit your own book no matter how careful you are.

BPM:  How did you choose the genre you write in? Have you considered writing in another genre?

I chose fiction because I wanted to take people minds places, exotic places, dark places and I find that you can do that with fiction with a twist of realness.

BPM:  Tell us about your most recent work.  Available on Nook and Kindle?

The Key to My Pain is the title and it deals with depression and abuse in a household.  It gives a story of men dealing with mental abuse from childhood to adulthood.

BPM:  Introduce us to the people in the book! Give us some insight into your main characters.

Okay, Carolyn is a loving submissive wife who is being abused by her husband but she refuses to leave him.  Rodney Jr. is the eldest son who is determined to be a professional basketball player despite his father’s firm stances on him not playing ball but becoming a respected professional.  Rodney hates his mother because she won’t leave the man that is tormenting the family and then there’s Rodney Sr. A big black mean son of a gun.  He’s a womanizing whore, LOL.  He has women all over Baltimore and the babies too.  He even slept with the neighbor and her sister.  When he walks into the house so does the devil and if you don’t talk right or look at him right you’ll catch a right and left hook.

BPM:  What’s so unique about their story-line or voice in the story? What makes each one so special?

The uniqueness is the hurt and pain and then the overwhelming forgiveness.  I would have to say Carolyn holds the voice in the story because she has to get up and find herself and then when she does she has to go back to the thing that hurt her and forgive.

BPM:  Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.

I witnessed my mother be abused and I felt helpless and angry with her for not leaving.  I would lie in bed and wonder why we are here.  I was mad at her.  I vowed never to be that foolish, oh but I was.  Let’s just say I’ve learned to respect the power of love.

BPM:  Are there certain characters you would like to go back to or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Yes, I would love to go back to the next door neighbor, “Ethel” she comes across as the helpful neighbor and friend however, her sister has a baby by Rodney Sr. 

BPM:  Have you ever received a rejection from an agent or a publisher?

No, only because I’ve never sought after one.  I started self-publishing right out of the gate.

BPM:  Do you ever have days when writing is a struggle? Have you ever had to deal with rejection?

Oh goodness yes, but I’ve learned to walk away and wait until it’s time.   Yes, I do struggle with the writing process  in many ways as a new author. In the business yes, I’ve had book stores tell me I was a nobody or I wasn’t good enough as the people who have been around for years.  I’ve had book clubs reject me because I wasn’t perceived as popular as the big name authors.

BPM:  Have you written any other books that are not published?

Yes, about three. I write all the time.

BPM:  What projects are you working on at the present?

Currently, I am working on two, The WAY EYE SEE IT and I CAN’T BLAME YOU.

BPM:  How do you stay connected with others in publishing and your readers?

Through social media, I have a Facebook page just for my readers It’s A Pleasure writing with you in MIND.

BPM:  What legacy do you hope to leave future generations of readers and new writers with your writing?

WOW! I never thought about that because I am to busy thinking of my grandchildren and the legacy I want to leave them. I would say to future readers, just because the genre is fiction it doesn’t mean it’s not real. There’s a twist of realness in every fiction novel, I think.

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

Youtube and Facebook – It’s A Pleasure writing with you in Mind,

Instagram –  #Authorsworkhardtoo.
Pearl Page Reading:  http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/C4rGnBPXAntoinette R. Davis Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/authorsworkhardtoo Antoinette R. Davis Facebook Fanpage:  https://www.facebook.com/IAPis4me


Give the Gift of Knowledge

Please read this Pearl Page and explore the linked material. After you read the news, share it with your social media friends.Every share opens the door for more readers to support the authors featured today. Thank you for being a part of our family! We appreciate you and all that you do for our community of writers, poets and bloggers.

Read more about authors on the Seducing the Pen Tour at:  https://www.smore.com/9yzf-seducing-the-pen-book-tour.  

If you would like to host this author on tour, email Ella D. Curry and request the information at:  edc_dg@yahoo.com.  Use the subject line:  Hosting the STP Book Tour Online. 


Warmest regards,
Ella D. Curry, President of EDC Creations President 

Crown Holders Transmedia Group 

Black Pearls Magazine Online-Founder

Black Authors Network Radio-Founder

Small Business Coach | Digital Marketing Strategist | Brand Developer


Pearl Page: Audio Postcard for Bookclubs
$79.00 Per Campaign, pay here.


Thank you for listening to this fantastic book preview!   This audio-postcard presentation was created by Ella Curry of  EDC Creations Creations Media Group.  We offer the best in book publishing publicity!Visit the main EDC Creations website today to explore the many services we offer small business owners, event planners, authors and publishers at: http://www.edc-creations.com/publicity.htm  We have several packages that will take your products to the top!    

 
Create a Pearl Page  Like This One in Minutes!   Got a ebook or a new printed book…let us tell the world it’s available!  Reserve your own personal audio book preview page today and your Pearl Page will be ready for syndication in 3-5 days! Let us share your message with our database for the next 3 months. The bookcover (with link to bookseller) is showcased on Black Pearls Magazine front page sidebar for 3 months too.  


Turn your speakers on and click the links.  View samples of  our various types Pearl Pages:

  PP 1,    PP 2,    PP 3,    PP 4    and  PP 5


Pearl Pages are emailed to more than 165,000 readers of the EDC Creations newsletter, played on BAN Radio Show 3 times in 3 months and promoted via our mobile bookclub.  View here.  What a way to share your audio-visual introduction with readers!   Fee: $79.00 for complete webpage and audio.  Make all payments at the EDC Creations Payment Center,  go here today.  We look forward to sharing your information with our network!  Ella will email instructions within 24-48 hours.

 
 

Unveiled by La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson

Unveiled by La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson


“Unveiled” promises to become a Book Club Favorite!

Attorney L. Morgan Franklin finds her well-ordered life at a prestigious New Orleans law firm, turned upside down when her half-brother, Winston, dies in their small hometown of L’Ouveture, Louisiana. When it becomes evident that Winston’s death may not be as it appears, Morgan begins a search for answers that lead her to new discoveries about the people she loves the most. The mysteries of family, life and love all converge in this story of one woman’s refusal to accept things as they are.

Purchase copies from Amazon Today!
https://www.amazon.com/Unveiled-Rhonda-Crosby-Johnson-ebook/dp/B07QTP82XB


Crown Holders Interview:  Unveiled by La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson
Listen to the chat with Ella D. Curry and La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson:  http://tobtr.com/s/11164635

Excerpt: Unveiled by La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson

Grief and the sickeningly sweet smell of too many flowers hung heavy in the warm air of the late August afternoon. Morgan felt the weight of tears shed and hearts breaking. She rubbed her hands down her black silk suit when she walked slowly toward the simple wooden coffin that held the body of her beloved baby brother, Winston. “Half-brother.” She could almost imagine her mother, Marie, standing in front of her and uttering the word “half” as if it were some sort of disease. Morgan breathed deeply and pushed Marie’s words from her mind as she exhaled. They had no place here.

Winston’s mask-like, powdered face somehow belied the words “heart attack” that still echoed in her head. Morgan stepped away from the coffin and quickly brushed away her tears. She fled the church and barely heard the words of comfort tossed her way. Outside there would be air she could breathe without inhaling the pain of the mourners.

Morgan moved quickly once outside. Her legs felt somehow lighter than they had only moments before. She breathed deeply for the first time since she had received the news of Winston’s death a week ago and headed for the sanctuary of her car. The tinkling melody of the car alarm signaled her safe haven. She slid onto the butter-soft, caramel-colored leather seat and found comfort in its warmth. She cranked up the car, rolled down the electric windows, and turned on the CD player. The soulful sound of Jill Scott’s voice surrounded her as she watched the family file out of the church and head toward limousines with the words Garrett Bros. painted in gold across the rear doors and windows. Of course, it would be Garrett Bros. They were still the only mortuary in town that “knew how to do colored.” Morgan had heard her maternal grandmother, Essie Baptiste, say that many times while she was growing up. Mama Essie, as everyone lovingly called her, had made everyone in the family vow to take her body to Garrett Bros. when her time came. Although it had been three years since Mama Essie passed, Morgan still felt her presence in this place. This thought alone eased the tension in her neck and removed the large knot that had taken up residence in the pit of her stomach.

Morgan fanned herself slowly with the funeral program, which created a pleasant albeit warm breeze. Winston’s high school graduation picture grabbed her attention as she placed the program on the seat of the car. At eighteen and dressed in his tuxedo, he still had the face of a little boy. Her stomach tightened as she remembered missing his graduation because of a last-minute work assignment.

Things had changed so suddenly, Morgan thought as she eased her car into the funeral procession. Weeks before Winston was to report to Grambling University on a football scholarship, his girlfriend, Tanya, told him she was four months pregnant. Winston stayed in St. Vincent, married Tanya, and took a job driving a delivery truck for a local market. They named their son, William. Winston continued his training after he promised Morgan he would make good on his scholarship “one day.” Now six years later, he laid dead of a heart attack at the age of twenty-four.

The gravesite ceremony was sad; final. Morgan felt goose flesh rise on her arms, despite the wet heat of the afternoon. Her stomach churned as she cast her eyes downward away from the flailing arms of the mourners surrounding the freshly dug grave. Morgan clinched her teeth and willed herself not to cry. She feared if she started she might never stop. Irene, Winston’s mother, had to be carried away by relatives and friends as she kicked, screamed, and threw herself at the coffin to stop it from being lowered into the ground. Family and friends encircled her and tried unsuccessfully to quiet her before getting her seated in the back of the Garrett Bros. limousine. Morgan was drained and suddenly felt the reality of Winston’s death like a weight tied around her heart. She decided to forego the traditional after funeral gathering at Irene’s and instead went straight home after leaving the cemetery.

“Mama! Mama!” Morgan called as she entered the living room of her mother’s home. The hardwood floors and rich mahogany wainscoting gleamed in the shadows of the early evening. The silver tea service shone brilliantly atop the highly polished buffet and was only rivaled by the matching silver candelabras that stood guard on each side. Morgan smiled as she wondered whose house had all the extra dust that was forbidden in Marie’s home. She spied a note leaned against a crystal vase filled with white tulips on the dining room table.

Lisa, I hope you have not exhausted yourself completely with the day’s events. I am giving a

lecture at the university, followed by a reception sponsored by the Deltas. I’ll be late.

Your uncle Raymond wants you to call him.

Mama

Lisa. Here was another reminder that she was no longer in New Orleans. No one there knew the “L” in L. Morgan Franklin stood for Lisa. For that matter, no one there knew much about the Rockhurst District of L’Ouverture, Louisiana.

( Continued… )

© 2019 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson Social Media/Contact Information:
Email: larhondawrites@gmail.com
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/ideatepub
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/larhonda.crosbyjohson.94
Ideate Publishing Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ideatepublishing


Meet Author La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson

La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson is a contributor to the award-winning Life Spices From Seasoned Sistahs anthology series and has also published work in Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write To The New First Lady, Sassy, Savvy and Bold After 50, Jubilee’s Journey an e-book, serial novel, and All The Women In My Family Sing edited by Deborah Santana.La Rhonda is co-founder of Ideate Publishing, LLC. Ideate’s debut project, an anthology of short stories by women writers titled Where’s My Tiara? was released in the fall of 2017. Unveiled, her first novel was released in 2019. Read more:  http://www.ideatepublishing.com

BPM: It is such a pleasure to have you join us to discuss, Unveiled. Describe yourself in three words.
LCJ: Reliable. Honest. Committed.

BPM: What drove you to publish your first book or create your first series? How long have you been writing?
LCJ: Publishing my work is a way to share my love of writing with others. I’ve been writing most of my life.

BPM: Describe what you do outside of writing to expand your business or brand.
LCJ: The business of writing is still fairly new to me. As an author, I look forward to connecting with readers. I plan to use several vehicles to stay in touch with them – social media, blogging, readings/book signings, participation in book festivals and conferences, etc. – and give them a chance to get to know me as a writer and person.

BPM: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your body of work/books?
LCJ: I learned that even when I thought I was finished, there was more work to do. Tina McElroy Ansa told me, while attending the first Sea Island Writers Retreat, hard writing made easy reading. Unveiled has allowed me to understand what Tina told me on an entirely different level.

BPM: How did you choose the genre you write in? Have you considered writing in another genre?
LCJ: I don’t want to limit myself to any one genre. However, I initially saw myself as a fiction writer until my first published work was in an anthology of non-fiction. Since then, I’ve been a contributor to several non-fiction anthologies. It then occurred to me that a writer writes. I plan to continue to write and hopefully publish in both fiction and non-fiction. I recently placed second in a poetry contest, so I may venture into that genre again in the future. I have a friend who is writing afro-surrealism/speculative fiction and I find that very interesting.

BPM: Tell us about your most recent work. Available on Nook and Kindle?
LCJ: My debut novel, Unveiled, was published in 2019. The book will be available in print and e-book: Kindle and Apple Books.

BPM: Introduce us to the people in the book! Give us some insight into your main characters or the speakers.
LCJ: I’ll introduce you to three of the characters: Morgan Franklin, Marie Baptiste Morgan, and Mary Joyce Lyons. Morgan, the main character, at first glance, is your typical overachiever. She’s excelled in school and her career. As the story unfolds, readers will get to see Morgan has as a strong sense of justice and believes her privileged life must be used to help those who don’t have it so easy. Morgan also has a vulnerable side that adds to her strength and resilience.

Morgan’s mother, Marie Baptiste Morgan, can easily be described as having ice water in her veins. Marie believes vulnerability is a weakness and doesn’t extend herself to others without benefitting personally – quid pro quo. There is so much more to Marie. The reader will get an opportunity to see to how she was shaped by her upbringing and experiences. Mary Joyce is Morgan’s younger half-sister who didn’t have the opportunities Morgan had. She finds herself married to a man who would rather drink than work, pregnant, and the mother of three small sons. Mary Joyce has been overwhelmed by her circumstances and has to make some difficult choices. The reader will get to know these and other characters in Unveiled in a way I hope will make them memorable long after the book has been read.

BPM: What’s so unique about their story-line or voice in the story? What makes each one so special?
LCJ: The characters are unique because people are unique. We are all more than we first appear to be and the reader will find this true of the characters in Unveiled. While it will be easy to label some of the characters as “good” or “bad,” you’ll find once you’ve made up your mind, you may have to change it.

BPM: Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
LCJ: Great question. I hadn’t thought about this before. I think the experience of a minor character, Stephanie Arceneaux, speaks to my journey. Stephanie is recreating her life. Many times, I’ve found myself in a place of recreation. Stepping fully into writing is just one example. Morgan’s commitment to the truth and the way she shows up for her family and friends is also a huge part of my journey.

BPM: How do you balance the professional, personal, and spiritual sides of your life, while pursuing your dreams?
LCJ: I don’t even know if balance really exists. Balance seems to indicate there is some parity between the different parts of my life. This just doesn’t ring true for me.

What works better for me is to acknowledge all the parts exist (as a whole) and practice caring and giving each its requisite time. Some days, my professional life takes up more hours (in addition to writing, I’m a life coach and publisher) because on that day it requires it. Some days, I write for hours and other days not at all. My spiritual life is very important to me and supports all the other parts of my life, so it receives daily attention. I have days where I don’t go near my office, computer, or email. I’ve learned REST and PLAY are critical to my well-being, so I make sure to practice them regularly.

BPM: Tell us about a project that forced you to be your most innovative and creative.
LCJ: There have been many. The one that comes to mind quickly is working as a substitute teacher (primarily middle school). Each day called for something that wasn’t written in the lesson plan. Working with people, throughout my career, has required constant innovation to connect on a human level.

BPM: We have to step out of our comfort zone periodically to act on our passions. Have you ever stepped out on faith and combated your worst fears?
LCJ: It seems I do more of this more than I realized. Publishing Unveiled is certainly a leap of faith. Learning the business of writing/publishing is definitely outside of my comfort zone. I started a consulting business (which I still run) in 1994 and that was one of the scariest things I ever did. While I’ve dreamed of being exactly where I am right now, it still brings the need for me to stretch my “faith muscles.”

BPM: What does the phrase ‘Fail Forward’’ mean to you?
LCJ: I am a believer in there being no such thing as failure. This was instilled in me early, and I was taught to use every experience as a lesson to improve for the future. “Fail Forward” means, to me, each “failure” takes you closer to your desired outcome.

BPM: What advice would you give to young people who want to follow in your footsteps?
LCJ: First, I would tell them to forget about my footsteps and make their own. They’ll have so much more success this way. I would tell young people (and not so young people) not to allow themselves or others to put limits on them based on what they see. Everything I’ve ever started in my life didn’t exist before I did it. I would tell them to take a chance on themselves.

BPM: If you could pass on a single piece of advice to authors out there reading this interview, what would it be?
LCJ: To do YOUR best. While inspiration is important, comparison can be detrimental to creativity. Don’t worry about how your work will be judged or received. Tell the best story you can tell.

BPM: Do you ever have days when writing is a struggle? Have you ever had to deal with rejection?
LCJ: YES! And then I stop. I never want writing to feel like a struggle. Now rewriting and rewriting and rewriting is a different thing. Unveiled went through more drafts than I even want to count. I have been very fortunate that as it relates to my writing, I haven’t suffered rejection. The anthologies I submitted to accepted my work.

I attended a workshop at the United California African American Bookclubs (UCAAB) literary conference and heard author Gary Hardwick say, “Do not wait for someone to ‘approve’ your work or say ‘yes’ to you. Write your own acceptance letter.” This drove me to self-publish an e-book serial novel, Jubilee’s Journey, and co-found Ideate Publishing.

BPM: Have you written any other books that are not published?
LCJ: I have at least four that are in various stages of completion that may one day be published. I have folders of other stories that haven’t been fully developed. I also have written stories just for myself that I have no plans to publish.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
LCJ: Unveiled is my number one priority right now and I’m working hard to ensure it has a successful launch. I am also very close to finishing a young adult novella.

BPM: How do you stay connected with others in publishing and your readers?
LCJ: Right now, through social media, book events, and writers’ groups. I am a member of the San Francisco Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association and once Unveiled is published, I will increase connections with readers through book clubs and attending book conferences and conventions.

BPM: What legacy do you hope to leave future generations of readers and new writers with your writing?
LCJ: I heard Maya Angelou tell Oprah Winfrey that you don’t get to say what your legacy will be. I get that. I have no idea what my legacy will be. I would like readers to have an enjoyable experience reading my work. I’d like them to travel to places they never saw themselves and think of things they’d never considered. I’d like writers to be inspired to tell their stories. I’d like for my work to live on after me.

BPM: What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you?
LCJ: Readers can email me at larhondawrites@gmail, LIKE me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/larhonda.crosbyjohnson.94 

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
LCJ: Readers can get more information on Ideate Publishing’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/ideatepublishing, Twitter via @IdeatePub, and my author page on Amazon.

Purchase copies from Amazon Today!
https://www.amazon.com/Unveiled-Rhonda-Crosby-Johnson-ebook/dp/B07QTP82XB

 
 
 
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