Monthly Archives: December 2008

Make The Dream Happen

Make The Dream Happen
by Pamela Samuels Young

Do you ever fantasize about leaving your current career behind and pursuing something totally different? Perhaps you’ve thought seriously about it for a day or a week, but then the fear of leaving the virtual security of your current job floods your head with dozens of sound reasons why you should stay put.

Whether your dream is to write a novel, start your own business or go back to school, you can make it happen. Here are five tips that will help you begin your journey.

1. Find Time To Plan Your Career Move
With the demands of work, family, church and community activities, you may feel you don’t have a spare moment to even think about, much less pursue, your dream career. You’re wrong. It may not be easy, but you can find free time where you least expect it. The next time you’re taking a neighborhood jog or walking on the treadmill, use the time to mull over the plot for that book you’ve been wanting to write or to think about possible locations for the day spa you’ve dreamed of opening. Instead of listening to your favorite CD during your morning and evening commute, use the time to work on the business plan for your catering business. Even if it’s only an hour a week, use it.

2. Don’t Reinvent The Wheel
You may not realize it, but you have a multitude of resources all around you – family, friends, colleagues, church members, sorority sisters, and even strangers. Don’t be afraid to request an informational interview. People love to talk about themselves and many will be flattered to have someone asking them for advice. The Internet is also an invaluable resource.

3. Join Professional Organizations
It’s a good idea to surround yourself with others who share your interests and passion. There are dozens of professional groups whose sole function is to help their members develop their creative talents and realize their business goals. Find the organizations that can be most helpful to you and join them.

4. Understand That It Won’t Happen Overnight
Achieving your goal will take time. I recently read an article in Writer’s Digest about a writer who received more than 400 rejection letters before getting his first book deal. Now that’s what you call perseverance! There will no doubt be disappointments when things don’t happen in accordance with your time schedule. But if you remain faithful and focused on your goal, it will happen.

5. Ignore The Naysayers
We all know people who believe you should find a good job, work as hard as you can for 30 years, then retire and enjoy life. For them, the thought of leaving a secure, well-paying position for the uncertainties of entrepreneurial life is unthinkable. That kind of limited thinking won’t help you realize your dream. You have decide what you want to do and go for it. And don’t be surprised if you turn out to be your biggest obstacle. When that happens, just look your self-doubt squarely in the face and command it to go away.

So don’t just dream your dream, make it happen!

Attorney Pamela Samuels Young is the author of the legal thrillers Murder on the Down Low, In Firm Pursuit and Every Reasonable Doubt. Visit her website at

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles


Friendiligence By Sherryle Kiser Jackson

Friendiligence By Sherryle Kiser Jackson

Friendiligence is one of those Internet buzzwords up for consideration to be added to the upcoming edition of the Merriman Webster Dictionary. Google it. It loosely means the time and energy used to establish and maintain friends and friend requests mainly on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. As an author trying to navigate the vastness of the World Wide Web in order to market and promote my book, friendiligence most surely is an action verb.
It is the type of action that can take the man hours of two full time jobs to complete effectively.

I must admit I haven’t been a very good friend this year, virtual or otherwise, being reprimanded by my oldest and dearest buddy for being aloof and insensitive because I told her about my mom’s surgery in a blanket Reply-All email. I’ve even been guilty of sending condolences in a text message, albeit, a sincere and well written text message. I had to check myself on that one. I would have pressed less characters dialing the ten digit number, speaking the sentiment to a live person and would have registered more sincerity points. I told myself that I can’t be that busy.

Bottom line, the people we interface with everyday in person and those we connect with through the Internet want to be treated like real friends, not spam. It takes due diligence to establish and maintain those connections. As an educator and citizen of the world I’m keenly aware that social skills and a certain amount of tooting your own horn (self-marketing and promotion) is the new literacy. Making connections with people is and will always be the most important skill set for every career path.

My pastor quoted last week that theoretically your less than five people away from getting in contact with anyone. Like six degrees of separation. I contemplated the probability of getting my next novel, The Manual to Oprah’s producers as soon as I get it in galley form. Now, we are talking about people that on any giving day are in between attitude adjustments, reality checks and lattes. There are a lot of variables to take into consideration, but I think we’ve all witnessed a miracle in our own lives when everything aligns, you make that nearly impossible connection and doors open. Even if it only happens about as frequently as a total eclipse.

So there is something to this friendiligence thing. Verizon wireless says your service is only as good as the network your on. I think the key to success is rooted in what you already know about establishing good friendships. You learned it from Grandma. I have compiled a few do’s and don’ts to help you beef up your network.

Choose your friends wisely. Momma didn’t let you just play with anyone. Many of us join these social networks to help build a brand or image. We shop through graphics, 20create slideshows and pimp our profiles to coincide with that image. You can’t accept everyone’s friend request. Do a little investigation to see if the potential friend meshes with your brand, image and values.

Check in. What’s the matter? Did your fingers fall off? You can’t call, email of text a person? I was that person that used my email inbox as a caller id of sorts. I would see that some left me a message on My Space and think to myself, “That’s nice.” Or, screen my messages to see who I wanted to reply to. I figured out that it won’t shave time off my life to comment to a blog post about a new pet or to send out a birthday greetings. Remember it’s about connection. Relationships are reciprocal. I wouldn’t want to be guilty of calling on my friends only when I need something.

Treat others the way you want to be treated. Before you capture gazillion friends or even capture that ma ny email address and inundate them with comments, bulletins and messages like a telemarketer, think about it. Do you like it when you return to your page and find a bulletin the size of Mt. Rushmore on your space (My Space). Similarly, you want other people to get a word in on your wall (Facebook) in between the continuous post of an overzealous cyberfriend. Less is more. Work on a brief constructive response.

Ask for help I admitted my weakness. Friendiligence was kickin’ my butt. A good friend of mine, Ella Curry, internet publicist, and founder and Host of the Black Author’s Network radio show sent me an email this summer that gave me an epiphany. It said that she had some assistants answering her accounts and that she was away from her business for a time and estimated the time she would get back to me. I appreciated the time line. At least I didn’t feel like I was being ignored. I found out later that she had hired some tech savvy teens in her family to help her keep up with emails and requests on her My Space account. I got to thinking about how empowering this was for a young person to be outsourced for certain administrative duties. This wasn’t your typical paper route and lemonade stand gig.

Friendiligence, write it three times and use it in a sentence. I’m sorry, that’s the teacher in me. Social networking sites are not an accidental phenomenon. People are making the necessary contacts to get discovered, to gain exposure, and to stay connected. Friendiligence is not something you can just talk about. You have to be about it.

Sherryle Kiser Jackson is a fresh voice in Christian fiction. Her style reflects an honest commentary on her life with Christ. Soon and Very Soon is her debut novel. She anxiously awaits the publication of her second novel, The Manual, October of this year. Experience her too real to be preachy, Biblically based, out-the-Christian-box fiction at or on MySpace/sherrylejackson.

Sherryle Jackson, Author of Soon and Very Soon
ISBN-13: 978-1-60162-949-4
ISBN-10: 1-60162-949-4
Soon is not just a promised destination, but a journey

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles


The Spirit of Nannie

The Spirit of Nannie
by LaTonya Branham

Women, beautifully dressed in unison with a common theme, mission, and scripture verse, gather annually at their church – many unknowingly, in the spirit of Nannie. This spirit was actually a vision brought to life in the early 1900s by author, educator, businesswoman, lecturer, and religious leader – Nannie Helen Burroughs from Virginia. Totally committed to the development of women – both young and old – Ms. Burroughs took a bold step in 1901 by requesting that the role of women in foreign mission and job training be addressed by the church. She wanted a more significant role for women and was not afraid to present her vision at the National Baptist Convention in Richmond, Virginia.

One of her accomplishments as the founder of Women’s Day – 100 years later – still exit today throughout many churches across the United States and abroad. We can only imagine the faith and fortitude it took for Burroughs to assert her dreams before a convention of leaders who perhaps looked down upon such a request from a woman.

Even though she is credited for advancing the role of women in the church, Ms. Burroughs acknowledged her own mentors, which included Mary Church Terrell and Anna Julia Cooper. Both of these dynamic women committed their lives to education and social change. Cooper, Terrell, and Burroughs are founders of major organizations. The National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls founded in 1909 by Burroughs was later re-named in her honor. She also helped to establish the National Association of Colored Women. Ms. Burroughs’ message was very clear. She set out to establish a school and train young women to become contributors to mission projects, earn their own wages, keep their homes in order, and maintain moral values – while committing themselves to a life of service and development of character for all Christian women.

It is easy to become inspired by Nannie Helen Burroughs because she personifies the kind of woman who rejects excuses for not becoming the best that you can be – then takes a stance by articulating and creating an environment where dreams become reality. Of course, life is filled with challenges that often block our way toward achieving our goals – or even ‘just making it’ day by day. After witnessing how we are increasingly so quick to tear each other down rather than building up one another, it becomes apparent that in this day and age, we could use a dose of Nannie’s spirit – not only for women, but for men and children as well. Our children are learning and displaying adult behavior at an earlier age – oftentimes in a negative way. I believe that we owe our children the opportunity to see and experience a better way of life.

Exercising our faith has become more critical because the challenges are mounting – health issues, financial crises, prison rates, family members at war, a lack of education, and morally bankrupt. It is possible to stop pretending that all is well, or acceptable. In my assessment, the era of “anything goes” should cease. We make it harder on ourselves and society when “anything goes.” Ignoring our own needs and the needs of others is damaging – and in many cases becomes irreparable if the result is death. Life was not meant to be that way. Our conduct, our words, and our actions must flow from love. Love for ourselves, our families, our community, and our environment. A commitment to improving ourselves and the lives of others is truly the essence of Nannie Helen Burroughs’ life.


LaTonya Branham is an author, college administrator, and adjunct professor at Central State University in Ohio. Her latest book released December 2007 is entitled Spirit Seek: Words from Scriptures That Transform Your Life. Visit her web site at E-mail can be sent to Her books can be purchased online and wherever books are sold.

LaTonya Branham, Author
CultureSeek – ISBN 13: 978-0-9787296-0-8
Spirit Seek – ISBN 13: 978-0-9787296-1-5


Founding member of the Soul of the Pen

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles



Niama Leslie Williams, Ph.D.
Copyright March 2008

She is finally getting tired of it, exasperated, dissolving into tears. It has gone past wearing her down; she has begun to wait for the truck that will barrel her down, the semi that will make her a grease river on Main Street. She’d like to flow seamlessly into the little bit of water by Taylor’s on the Olde Mill.

It was the shower that did it. One more morning of wheezing and gasping and groaning in the shower. Cleaning one’s body should not be such exhausting work, but when you have eaten your way to 400 pounds, where can you point the finger? The voices said night before last as she put another dozen in the oven, “cupcakes are not bread,” and you were grateful for that insight, you understood that they were trying to help. You needed that pointed out.

Yes, cupcakes were an improvement over the cakes you had taken to baking once you discovered he liked homemade sweets, sweets period. Then he had to face that the icing was ripping his stomach to shreds, so you stopped buying icing and reverted to plain cupcakes.
You are a gifted cook, so your cupcakes are moist dreams. They melt in your mouth. He laughs about their calling him from the kitchen.

And yes, you were grateful night before last about that bit of vocalized insight, and you resolved to once again bake oat and wheat berry muffins, not cupcakes. Cupcakes for him, but not for you. Because you want this weight off your body and why, for God’s sake, won’t Donna return your calls? If it is a simple matter of Eccoes not wanting to deal with anyone who insists on using their insurance, fine, Donna, say so, but at least have the decency to call and say that. The Health Partners Member Services person insisted that a morbidly obese diabetic who got her doctor to write a knowledgeable letter just might have Eccoes paid for, and I want, I deserve that you and Dr. Feinstein at least try. I deserve at least that the two of you collude and write a decent letter. I am tired of, and cannot do, everything myself.

I balance his checkbook, I spend his money, I pull out all of the stops working at my business the week I have off from substituting, when the money still does not come in I apply for more jobs and more jobs and more jobs.

I am tired of broke. I am tired of no money. I am tired of my locs looking frayed and broken off because I cannot afford regular maintenance visits. I am tired of no lipstick when I want to dress myself up for an interview. Can’t even get together seventeen dollars for one tube of Mac sinful red.

I am tired of wheezing and not being able to reach my crotch and straining and no breath as I try to do the right thing and lotion my body. My poor skin crying out for moisture and I finally treat myself to lotion and get myself to apply it, but this morning, this morning the reaching and the straining and the windedness too much. I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve to be ignored, Donna. If Eccoes doesn’t want me as a patient then just call back or email and say so and I’ll take my miserable ass to …… Byetta. Stupid me wants to believe in diet and exercise. Stupid me wants to believe that a good diet, a good eating plan and regular exercise will do it. That the cushion of massage and chiropractic and psychotherapy would hold my hand as I embraced weight loss, the concept of a Dr. Niama at 250, 150, not 425. That now with the dissertation finished, the Ph.D. done, I can focus on losing weight, something I never placed in the hot seat before.

I’m lazy. Getting to the gym harder, much harder, than working out once there. The ideal would be private yoga instructor a la the one who used to come to my home in California. That woman knew how to work a large woman out and make it fun, change it up so I never got bored, encourage me when I thought a posture impossible. She helped me feel good about myself.

I can’t even successfully pay for one visit from the personal trainer I was going to work with. Can’t even pull my budget together to pay one $43.50.

I am tired, God. Tired.

I would like to come home now.

Because I realize that Jim isn’t coming, ever; oh, I’d like to believe but why, God? Why when the silence is so deafening? He had eighty years without me the time before and I know that was harrowing, but ten years without him, full of the angst and anguish and longing ….. it’s harder on a woman, God. We are tied into the earth, the seasons, every moan and groan of Mother Nature. We feel it more deeply and it rips us to shreds much, much faster.

I would like to come home now.

I would like to come home and wait for him there. He will probably be afraid, ashamed to face me, his reluctance having brought me once again to the brink. It is merely that I am tired of the alone, tired of the ache, of the wanting. If it is to be a love of the spirit then at least let me love from the spiritual plane and not this earthly one that breeds such palpably empty arms.
I would like to come home now. I don’t want to do the job-hunting thing again. I am tired of trying and trying and trying with my company and people not even having the decency or thinking I matter enough to call or write back.

I am sure Wideman will feel only one small moment of regret that he did not get back to me about The Journey, will probably put me down as oversensitive bipolar who made too much of one kindness at a conference. We sensitive ones, we mystics, even when we pick out and lovingly support, with all of our spirituality, the gifted, are frequently ignored by them. I have hungered too much for acknowledgement, for assistance, for a loving glance. Still want that loving glance from a father, a brother, a lover. This incarnation, not to happen. The Massey is the closest I will get.

I hope I can pass from the Massey without too much of a blip. He’s had enough pain, and I hope he can put me aside without grief or anger or too much investment. I just wasn’t strong enough, Papa, but I will remain grateful for the love you did share. It is my fault, my wayward hoary ego wanting more, wanting complete satisfaction. A job that paid me enough, that would allow us to live without worry or juggling, a job that allowed us to buy a home and one for Kim. I follow your daughter in tears only because I have failed, failed miserably, Ph.D. and all. It is the only thing I have accomplished and puts my failure in grand shocking relief. The failures began once that great mission accomplished. Had I not been interested in learning, had the gift of your fatherly love not delayed this transition a moment or two, I would have missed thinking that love was possible. That satisfaction was possible. It was not for me this time, love from a man of my choosing, but that is not why I leave you, Papa. I leave you, I ask to leave you because the weight and the unsatisfactory employment and the ugliness–the not well kept hair, the not keeping the apartment vacuumed and the dishes washed, the slovenliness in my housekeeping when there was plenty of time and not much house …… I have not measured up in so many ways, Papa, and now, now I just tire of trying.

I have revered the color purple when I saw it, Papa, but perhaps the die was cast too early: the grand sweep of The Temple of My Familiar was always my favorite.

I won’t go by my own hand, Papa, I know God has no love for suicides, but I withdraw from here on in, Papa. I ask my God that if He loves me He end my suffering and bring me home. I asked for much too much this incarnation and not even my ego can cash this check.

Let me go, Papa. Close up shop and head to Monroeville to that daughter and granddaughter you love so dearly. I am a lost cause who was touched by your kindness for a moment. But my moment has stretched too long and the elasticity of my sensibilities has frayed beyond usefulness.

Go forth, Papa. I will smile at you from Heaven and beseech God on a regular basis to give you all that you desire.

Love and blessings,
Dr. Niama L. Williams
Norristown, PA

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles


Images in Reflection by Laura Major

I participated in the Grown & Sexy with Ella Curry broadcast of the Black Authors Network Blogtalk Radio. Amidst the sexy titles and erotic explorations came real conversations about definitions of sexuality.

· What makes one homosexual?
· Are you bisexual or just a freak?
· Can a person be “on the down-low” and still be straight?
· Why women who experiment with other women aren’t considered gay and men are?

All those in attendance agreed that healthy sexual interest begins with some level of attraction. What interested me most was what wasn’t being discussed. Everyone assumed that finding attractiveness in others instantly leads to sexual desire. That being said, straight people would only remark positively about specific physical features exhibited by members of the same sex in relation to body characteristics they wish to acquire.
In other words, a straight man would not admire the tight ass or ripped abs of another man for the sake of the taut body part itself. It can only be recognized as an example of how the admiring man would like to fix his own self-perceived flaws. Some women on the panel expressed the same for themselves. That part of the conversation struck a chord with me in that we as people should be able to recognize the beauty in others regardless of gender or orientation without sexual desire or sexual preference coming into play.
I am a heterosexual black woman and, as one panel member remarked, I am an erotic person by nature. I can see the eroticism in another female and not desire her in any way. I can recognize what makes her sexy and have no desire to possess her. I can also see the sexual prowess of a man and not want to go to bed with him.
While nothing makes my panties buzz more than a man’s strong shoulders and a nice broad chest, I take pride in the fact that I can appreciate another woman’s beauty without feeling threatened and without feeling less sexy in my own right. I don’t think I am physically perfect, but I realize that there will always be someone taller, someone with a flatter stomach and longer hair.
Once we can all view beautiful bodies of both genders without it defining our sexuality, we will come closer to understanding why we love who we love.
If only it were that simple. As curious children sneaking peaks at Dad’s girlie magazines and as teenagers practicing intimacy with each other, society teaches us to control our urges instead of being a slave to them. Then with adulthood comes the right to pursue those urges, even be consumed by them. Something that was meant to be so beautiful and pleasurable has become so perverted in the search for instant gratification. So much so, we can’t admire the sexual energy of others without calling our motives into question.
The human body and its sexuality should be viewed like a piece of artwork. It should be admired, expressed and appreciated simply because it exists in its natural state. Sexuality which is as old as humanity itself holds only the connotation we assign to it. For some it’s pure ecstasy while others associate excruciating pain in its power to make one vulnerable.
As long as we are obsessed with sex and its personification, happiness with our bodies and our sexuality will remain outside our comfort zone.

Laura Major

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles


History: Mamie "Peanut" Johnson

Rejection Applies To Only One Opportunity
by author Laura Major

Often rejection seems to be the final answer. In reality, it is just a temporary response. Such was the case in the baseball career of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson. Born in the mid-1930’s South, Johnson developed a love for baseball that prejudice could not extinguish.

At the age of 17, Mamie confronted the obstacles to playing the sport she loved at a time when professional and minor league sports practiced segregation. Since the White Female Baseball League declined Johnson the chance to try out and no Black female equivalent existed, Mamie found her place in the men’s Negro Baseball League. This being the first time Johnson experienced racial ignorance directly, she fondly looks back on its outcome instead of dwelling on the experience itself. She was quoted in an article honoring her contribution to baseball and South Carolina’s Black history, ” If I had played with white girls, I would have been just another player, but now I am somebody who has done something that no other woman has done.”

Johnson’s career lasted from 1953 to 1955, as one of three women who played in the Negro League. She won 33 games and only lost eight. “Peanut” became her nickname when an opponent doubted her pitching abilities because she “…was no bigger than a peanut”. She swiftly struck him out. While her playtime took place shortly after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, Peanut’s career quickly evaporated as females regardless of race were not included in major league play.

Mamie went on to earn a nursing degree from NYU and embarked on a 30-year career of helping others at their weakest. Although her baseball career may have ended after only three short years, Peanut Johnson maintained her link to America’s favorite pastime by managing the Negro Baseball League Memorabilia Shop in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Even though Peanut played ball in an era that did not appreciate her talent on a large scale due to her race and her gender, on June 5th, 2008, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson joined 29 surviving members of the Negro Baseball League in Orlando, Florida where several Major League Baseball teams drafted the former players in an honorary pre-draft ceremony.

Thanks to Dave Winfield and others who respect and appreciate the Negro League’s contribution, rejection was temporary and acceptance is eternal.

Laura Major

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles


To My Mother by Gwynne Forster

To My Mother by Gwynne Forster

I wonder what kind of woman I would be now if I had had a different mother. I thought about that this morning and thanked God for the one I had for most of my life. I say most of my life, because she was an inspiration even in her death.

I was born a middle child and, somehow, I expected less and got more. More, because even in my independent ways, I paid careful attention to what my mother did and said. Early on, I was impressed that what she did and what she said were totally congruous. She lived the life of a Christian and, from her, I received a legacy of faith, integrity and strong moral values. She believed in the work ethic, and taught us that a person who would not work would be capable of theft and dishonesty, that we should do to the best of our abilities whatever we agreed to do and for whatever we were paid. To her, theft meant more that snatching something and getting away with it; you stole if you accepted pay for something that you didn’t do or didn’t do well.

I’ve often said that I wish I was as nice a person as my mother. And that is true. Although a leader in her church and community, a teacher and school principal, this never seemed to impress her. She loved people and met some of her closest long-time friends at the bus stop and at the supermarket. Some of them hadn’t finished high school, but she said they didn’t have her opportunities and had done well with what they had.. In her late seventies, she took “the old folks” as she called them grocery shopping in her car every Wednesday morning. The neighborhood children loved her, and volunteered to run errands for her. Of course, she rewarded them with goodies that she loved to bake.

Her faith in people surpassed any that I’m likely to have. Well into her seventies, one evening in late autumn when darkness had already set in, Muz, as we called her, drove to the supermarket for something, parked in the parking lot and headed toward the entrance. A young man stopped her and said, “Lady give me those car keys.” She looked at the switch blade knife, then at him, threw her arms around him and said, “Son, don’t you have a mother?” The unfortunate young man, wrung himself out of her clutches and said, “Get away from me, Lady.” “But son,” she persisted, “What you’re doing isn’t right.” He ran. My siblings and I begged her never to do such a thing again, but she said. “He has a mother, and he obviously cares about her.”

If I have talent as a writer, I probably inherited it from my mother. She wrote the first fiction that I ever read. At age seven, I found a short story on her desk or some other place that now escapes me. The title, THE DREGS OF THE CUP, intrigued me, and I read it. I wasn’t sure how she’d react to my having done that, but she asked me what I thought of it, and when I said it was too short, she seemed very pleased. One day, I am going to write a novel suitable for that title.

Muz loved to laugh, and my fondest memories of her are of her laughing. I used to come up with all kinds of antics to make her laugh. It was a lovely, musical sound. I remember distinctly times when I told her one joke after another to keep her laughing. Mind you, the jokes were squeaky clean, or I cleaned them up before I told them. One Saturday when I was about seventeen or eighteen, I went with my church club on a picnic, pitched baseball for a few innings and, the following Monday, I was forced to go for therapy to improve my injured shoulder. In all truth, the very next Saturday, Muz went to the same place on a picnic with the choir to which she belonged, pitched nine innings of softball, won the game and never had one pain. Obviously, that made me the butt of family jokes.

I haven’t mentioned my father, because this is about my mother. But given the chance, I could say some wonderful things about him, including his exquisite singing voice, a little bit of which rubbed off on me. Celebrate Mother’s Day 365 days a year!

Gwynne Forster
Author of:
Getting Some Of Her Own
Drive Me Wild

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles


Rewind: Development of Political Controversy

The Development of Political Controversy
By Laura Major

During an election year, a potential candidate’s perceived flaws and strengths are put on display for all to see. The public scrutiny is not limited to the candidate alone, but is broadened to include the people closest to the contenders. It reinforces the meaning of the old proverb, “Birds of a Feather Flock Together.”

Throughout this long election campaign, many are interested in the types of birds that flock with our candidates. Hilary is constantly haunted by the professional and personal misdeeds of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, while Barack was called to justify his friendship and respect for militant preacher Jeremiah Wright until that very friendship was fractured under the pressure.

The search for controversy has no statute of limitations as even the bachelor’s thesis of Michelle Obama, which examines the changing attitudes of middle and upper class blacks in Ivy League white academia toward lower class blacks and the black community during various stages of academic attendance, was a target for ridicule and judgment. Understanding the political climate and the inevitable existence of dirt digging and mud slinging, Michelle attempted to reduce the potential impact of her racial research from 23 years ago. It is not unreasonable to investigate to whom the presidential candidates are coupled and Michelle knew her words could have an impact on her husband’s campaign. It is an example of another old saying, “you are judged by the company you keep”. As a result, it has been reported that she requested her thesis be removed from the Princeton library until after the election in November 2008.

In a respected move, the Obama campaign quickly released the thesis upon request of media outlets. Some judged this act as Obama’s attempt to capitalize on the the controversy surrounding the dated words of his wife, the very words she was trying to keep private for the benefit of his campaign.

Upon reading her thesis firsthand, I had trouble detecting the controversy. It became apparent that the point of contention rested in what the thesis might say instead of what it actually said, which explains why the Obama campaign released it. The speculation is always worse than the reality. Once it was made available, some of the silliest remarks were made regarding its validity and its ability to convey Michelle’s findings. I read comments like, “well there are no white history classes” and “that thesis was full of grammatical errors”. I found humor in these meaningless judgments. My first thought was, there’s no white history classes because nearly all history is white history. It makes sense that at a predominantly white academic institution of the 1980s the majority of classes, clubs, and activities would spotlight white culture, placing all other cultures in the dark.

What Michelle’s thesis really focused on is the attitudes of middle class and upper middle class blacks toward the black community and the white community prior to, during and after attending a predominantly white affluent Ivy League institution like Princeton. The sample was compiled of 400 names of black Princeton alumni collected by choosing every fourth name in a list of 1200 obtained from Princeton’s Alumni office. A survey of 18 questions yielded a 22% response rate or 89 respondents, which consisted of 60% males and 40% females. Ms. Obama delved into the lifestyles and the perceptions of these undergraduate alumni, considering their dating and religious practices, their friendships, as well as their comfort level with whites and other blacks. Their economic and educational backgrounds prior to admission to Princeton was also considered.

She wanted to discover the following:
· Attitudes of black undergraduate alumni and the intentions between blacks and whites.
· The Ivy League Black’s feeling of obligation to help lower class blacks
· Interaction with white students on campus
· How experience at Princeton changed personal values
· How the obligation to give back to the black community was affected by social practices while attending Princeton

Her research revealed that a black alumni’s loyalty to the black community had a lot to do with whether integration and assimilation took place while attending Princeton. Those from lower class families and neighborhoods felt more comfortable with other blacks and were more likely to participate in separatism, thereby not interacting with whites by choice. As far as giving back to the black community, Michelle determined that benefiting a given group had a lot to do with the time invested in getting to know that group. Those who integrated and assimilated into white culture were more likely to give back to the community of whites and blacks as a whole rather than focus on black society specifically.

Other theories such as the need to band together within the black culture before integrating into white society were discussed. In the introduction, Michelle wrote about her experience as being on the fringes of Princeton academic society but not being welcomed to embrace it.
This study analyzed the affects of the white upper middle class academic experience on blacks and how that experience shaped their evolving views of black culture, the black community and their obligation to contribute to that facet of society during various stages of the academic experience. In the end, Ms. Obama had to derive several new hypothesis models that spoke to the general social climate between blacks and whites which were in effect regardless of economic class.

Finally, social research studies such as this are designed to encourage analysis of society, it’s effectiveness and one’s place in the evolving entity that is our environment. As with any research study, Ms. Obama posed a question that spoke to her own experiences and curiosities while attending a upper middle class Ivy League school as a black woman in the 1980’s and determined based on the responses that her hypothesis had to be adjusted as the outcome was not solely based on each person’s social history or economic status. In fact, Michele Obama’s thesis and the social scrutiny of the presidential candidates demonstrates how a person’s character and value go beyond those in their current inner circle by taking into account their past and present social environments.

Cultural loyalty is affected by the overall social climate of the period. Much is the same in our current political climate, as each candidate’s potential to successfully carry the presidency must be analyzed by their intelligence, a commitment to their values and their ability to convey and personify a sincere message of hope for all those involved both within the United States and around the world.

Written by Laura Major






Though a vision tarries it shall speak! The voice of many visionaries is being heard, as well as many authors whose visions have spoken through their literary works. The vehicle being provided for sharing the visions of others is the Write The Vision Radio Show, hosted by Minister Celeste Tolliver-Kelley, Author of The “Sister Girl…” Series. The WTV Radio Show has been selected by Wilkins Communications Network, Inc. for syndication on 1140 AM WBXR, heard in Huntsville, AL and surrounding areas, along with 940 AM WCPC, heard in Tupelo, MS and its surrounding areas. Included in the surrounding areas of both stations are cities in Tennessee and Georgia. Syndication for the WTV Radio Show began on Thursday, October 2, 2008.

Founded in 1989, Wilkins Communications Network, Inc. is a group of Christian radio stations dedicated solely to the Great Commission that states, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15) Through the building of trusted relationships with national ministries and local churches, Wilkins Communications is able to minister to thousands of listeners across America daily. The mission of Wilkins Communications is to serve by utilizing the resources with which the Lord has entrusted us so we may partner with Christian radio ministries to edify fellow believers while reaching out to unbelievers by sharing the salvation message of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Minister Celeste’s platform for the WTV Radio Show was borne from the foundations derived by the second book of The “Sister Girl…” Series, “And The Sisters Said, ‘Amen!'” The mini-book encourages the reader to write their vision as they travel their road of destiny and gives keys in how to live through the obstacles of the vision victoriously, and thus presenting the segments of the show: Victorious Visionaries and the Visions of the Scroll Spotlight for Authors and Poets. Minister Celeste also provides some discussion topics through the “Sister Girl…” Forum segment which addresses various issues that plague women in today’s society. Together, the segments provide a very informative and inspirational radio show that has captured the ears and attention of many. It is Minister Celeste’s desire to be a vessel in sharing the gifts and talents of those appearing on the show in celebration of the blessings being bestowed in their lives, and to provide inspiration to others to realize that their dreams and visions can be obtained, as evidenced through the guests of the show.

The WTV Radio Show began on January 7, 2008 and has been graced with several outstanding visionaries and authors, such as: Best Selling Author and National Speaker, Stephanie L. Jones of “The Enemy Between My Legs, Best Selling Author Kimberley Brooks of “He’s Saved… But Is He For Real?”, Pastor to the stars Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland, Pastor Rudy Rasmus, Author of “Touching Lives”, International Women Success Conference Host, Dr. Stacia Pierce, Minister Cheryl Merchant, Author of “Order My Steps”, as well as sister of the famous R&B group DeBarge, Bunny DeBarge, Author of “The Kept Ones”.

Coming up in its second season is Oprah winner, Singer LaShell Griffin, Singer Sean Simmonds, and Dr. Dorie McKnight, Founder of Cover Girls International, along with other authors, ministers and entreprenuers who will share with their experiences in obtaining the dreams and visions in their lives.

The Write The Vision Radio Show can be heard live on Monday evenings at 5:30 PM (Eastern Standard Time) on 88.1 FM WHPR in Highland Park, Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan with live online simulcast at

Syndicated shows will be heard Thursday afternoons at 1:30 PM (EST) on 1140 AM WBXR and Friday evenings at 5:30 PM (EST) on 940 AM WCPC.


In case you miss any show, tune into the WTV Podcast at For a complete list of WTV Guests, visit

About Minister Celeste
The “Sister Girl…” Series was motivated by the calling that God has on Minister Celeste’s life – to help and encourage women and girls. As her desire to write a book has come to fruition by the grace of God alone, Minister Celeste is committed to carrying out His purpose. The Series is now nationally distributed and Minister Celeste is living her dream in being a blessing to women all over the United States.

As Co-Founder and Co-Director of The S.I.S.T.A.H.S. Ministry (, Assistant to the Pastor at Williams Chapel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, Author, Songwriter and Radio Show Host, Minister Celeste is a woman on a mission for God.

For Booking Information Contact
PraizPR Marketing & Ministry Consulting

Network with Minister Celeste


No One Knows My Name

No One Knows My Name
by Tinisha Nicole Johnson

A little shy girl who grew into a woman with dreams and a voice to be heardAnd no one told me this world was going to be so cold

I am but a spec on the earth from up above, looking down
I am but one,
I am but a person,
I am but another writer, another author, another expression of my serenity
I also recognize I want to get noticed…but no one knows my name

I can hear a mild sound, a distance bump-bump in the night,
It is my heart and it is yearning and sometimes stirring with mixed emotions, not knowing which turns are right

Walking on a line so thin, trying desperately to figure out my pathway
I already tried to be someone else, but I now know I can only be me, and yes… I have a name

Calm, delicate, watching the world pass right in front of me,
I see love and hate – a world filled with so much drama and different attitudes
And I just feel full of energy and take on the world by writing in magnitude
Writing is my comfort, it is my Life – I sometimes find myself hidden behind the words on the pageWords for people to read, enjoy, cry and laugh,

I’ve made my decision, and you will find out it’s affections upon you – generations upon generations

I’m ready to say what’s on my mind, so I need your attention, because this may take you on many elevations . . .

I’ve been chained, banged, whipped and multiplied
And you don’t know my name

I’ve raised many children – some, not my own, and they have carried my values and fed from me
I have slaved the fields and held down an entire generation
And I am everyone’s mother, it seems

I’ve been called the minority because of my gender and my race
I have to fight with words and stand by my man and defend my family
If you only knew what these eyes have witnessed…Go ask you grandmother

The world is changing and things are happening, and if you don’t pay attention…well… you may have already missed it
A new generation, a new time…afro-puffs and hand cuffs, trying to fight for freedom. Black Power!

I now have many roles
I have my struggles, but I move on, cause my kind is strong like that
I can be anyone, the opportunity is there for me to grab
Visions, desires, and new challenges…
I am taking on the world with boldness

And yes, you will remember my name, because I am a Black WomanAn undeniable, evident, special, beautiful, God-fearing, phenomenal Black Woman

Written by:
Tinisha Nicole JohnsonAuthor, Writer, & Poet

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles


Black Nation’s Hope and Promise on His Shoulders

A Black Nation’s Hope and Promise on His Shoulders by Laura Major

As one talented African American man makes history in winning the Democratic nomination, so does another in the realm of African American activism.

On Saturday, June 7th, 2008, 35-year-old Benjamin Todd Jealous became the youngest person elected president of the 99-year old activist organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also referred to as the NAACP.
Jealous is one of the few elected to this high-ranking position without the having a professional background in politics or the ministry.

Having started his activism at the age of 14 with his participation in a voter registration drive, Jealous, a California native, earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s in social policy from Oxford University. Professionally, Jealous continued to support black activism through his role as a community organizer for the NAACP, and an executive director for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which boasts to be the country’s largest community of black newspapers. Most recently, Jealous was president of the Rosenberg Foundation, an institution in the private sector supporting human rights and civil rights advocacy.

As the NAACP nears its centennial, it chose a new direction to regain its fading financial support. It is their hope that Jealous is the answer to many young black critics who accuse the organization of not recognizing the current challenges of young black supporters. With this new appointment, many hope the new leadership will address issues facing younger African Americans that emerged since desegregation.

Just like Obama’s presidential nomination suggests a promise of new hope and fresh ideas, so does the appointment of Benjamin Todd Jealous as President of the NAACP. Both men have a lot to live up to but they each possess the passion and the intelligence to make it happen.
Written Laura Major

Benjamin Todd Jealous grew up believing that there was no higher calling than to further the cause of freedom in this country and in the world. It is a mindset he inherited from of his parents and grandparents. Their drive for community betterment blazed the trail for Jealous’ own deep commitment to social justice, public service and human rights activism. Now, as the 17th President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP, and the youngest person to hold the position in the organization’s nearly 100-year history, Jealous is well positioned to answer the call.

During his career, he has served as president of the Rosenberg Foundation, director of the U.S. Human Rights Program at Amnesty International and Executive Director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 black community newspapers. From his early days of organizing voter registration drives up until his nomination and election as NAACP president, Jealous has been motivated by civic duty and a constant need to improve the lives of America’s underrepresented.

All things considered, Jealous’ leadership roles and active community involvement have well prepared him for his current duties as president of the NAACP. In fact, his path through journalism and the Black Press is not unlike several other former NAACP presidents, including Roy Wilkins, Walter White, Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. Dubois. Read the entire article about Benjamin Todd Jealous here.

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles


Not Straying From Your First Intentions

Not Straying From Your First Intentions
by Michele Cameron

November 4, 2008 history was made as Barack Obama the first African American was elected as president of the United States. I felt a sense of euphoria as I watched citizens of all races throughout the world celebrated this momentous occasion. A renewed spirit filled of hope consumed me as I watched tears of hopefulness cascade down the cheeks of young and old in New York City and Chicago’s Grant Park.

The last couple of years have been rough. I’m a public high school English teacher and I view with gravity the budget cuts that have affected the school system. For the first time in eighteen years, teachers in my county didn’t get a pay increase. I’m also greatly concerned about the obvious change in finances for my students. I’ve seen more students relying on school lunch than ever before and the number of families asking for funds that we have set aside to help needy families has more than tripled.

Teenagers can’t get jobs in fast food restaurants because retirees have been forced back in the workforce. I see the difference in my students’ appearance and lack of supplies, that they need in order to get an education. It was high time for a change.

I’m smart enough to know that this won’t happen overnight. President elect Obama is not a miracle man, but if he can keep my parents who are retired from losing their social security benefits and help decrease the monthly amount of money that they have to pay for health care because my father is a diabetic, then he’s all right with me. As I listened to my future president give his acceptance speech, one thing really struck me. From the time he was old enough to start thinking about his future, he knew that he wanted to make a difference. I take my hat off to him because he’s already done that. More people voted in this past election than ever before. I’ve never seen so many enthusiastic people welcome the changing of the guard in the political arena, and people are in turn paying more attention to things that matter, their country The United States of America. Widgets

I write romance novels. I could never dare suggest that what I do has or will ever have the impact on people that Barack Obama has, but I can still help in my own little way. I can help someone who may be grappling with some internal pain or feel as if it is them against the world and no one understands what they are going through. My books can offer solace. As I watched this hopeful man, I thought about my own goals. Lately, I’ve been thinking that I need to write a different type of novel. Contemporary romance sells, but if you really want to make the big bucks, erotica is the way to go and I had begun to think that maybe I should go that route. Barack Obama changed my mind.

In every novel that I write, social issues that affect the main characters are weaved throughout the plot. In Never Say Never, released January 2, 2008 the heroine Desiree Diamond had been in a long term relationship with a man who was taking her for granted. After being forced out of this relationship when she realized that he had no intention of marrying her, she was thrown together working on a sexual harassment lawsuit with Tyler Montgomery, an attorney at her law firm. Desiree succumbed to his charm, but she kept their relationship hidden from family and friends and almost lost the true love of her life. Never Say Never deals with interracial relationships and sexual harassment in the workplace. It also touches on how people need to be true to themselves in the pursuit of happiness.

My second novel Moments of Clarity… released October 7, 2008 is a sequel to the Diamond family from Never say Never. The heroine, Sasha Diamond is a registered nurse in New York City. She is content to stand by her man Abdul, until she finds out that he doesn’t deserve her love. By chance, she has an encounter with Sexton Johnson an NBA basketball player for the Knicks. Sexton is a product of the foster care and adoption system. He yearns for the loving relationship that was modeled to him by his adoptive parents and feels that he can have that with Sasha. Sasha realizes early in their relationship that he is the one, but is torn between splitting her time with a needy friend, and being supportive to her man. In Moments of Clarity… the social issues being explored are the down low man, destructive relationships, the health care system in America, and how to rise from horrible circumstances in order to be a model and mentor for others.

My third novel When Lightning Strikes will be released through Genesis-Press, Inc. August 2009. The main characters, Grace Foxfire and Jethro Newman were raised in Lake City South Carolina as brother and sister. Tragedy strikes and it deeply affects them as they try to deal with the loss of a loved one. The social issues in When Lightning Strikes touch on the subject of how African Americans need to take back their community to help it prosper. It also demonstrates how one needs to come to terms with death, and prescriptive drug use through family counseling.

My fourth novel Unclear and Present Danger’s heroine is Solange Montgomery who was introduced to readers in When Lightning Strikes. The hero in the novel is an Arab American policeman Ali Marks. Prejudice and ill conceived notions is the theme of the novel. I explore what a citizen of the country is and how the climate for Muslims has changed for the worse since we engaged in war with Iraq. Also, the effects downsizing is having on the workplace because of our looming recession.

I am deeply indebted to Barack Obama because he made me do some critical thinking about the effect words can have on a nation. He set a course and didn’t stray from it not matter what anyone else said or did, and in the end he was triumphant. He is the right person at the right time to remind me of why I wanted to be an author in the first place and how not to let myself be sidetracked and become too competitive with others in my field. I’m happy and proud of all published authors, but now I am also more accepting of my place in the literary world.


Michele Cameron, a native of Bridgeport Connecticut is a graduate of the Danbury High School Connecticut school system.

Cameron is a graduate of North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro with a B.S. degree in professional writing and English Education.

Cameron’s first novel, given a 4 star rating Never Say Never was published in January, 2008 and earned her the prestigious title as being named New Face among African-American writers for the month of January by Romanceincolor.


Christian Workshop Introduction: Under the Juniper Tree

Under the Juniper Tree
“Even Christians Get Depressed”
by Christian fiction author, Shelia E. Lipsey

This is a three part Christian workshop discussing what causes depression and how to manage depression. There are several stories within the workshop sections that may apply to you or someone you know. The goal here is to acknowledge the fact that depression can come into anyone’s life, even a dedicated Christian. Please read the three sections and let’s discuss the material in each section. If you are dealing with depression, let’s talk about it as a community. If you have questions or would like more information, please leave your responses in the comment section below.

Part One and Part Two are also included here. Please take part in all three sessions.

Do Christians get depressed? Think about this question for a moment. Ponder over it before you answer.

If we are grounded and rooted in God and our faith, how then can we say that we become depressed? Isn’t that what having faith is all about – believing and hoping in that which we cannot see? Isn’t that why Jesus is our Savior, our Lord, our Father, our everything? Doesn’t his word say if we abide in Him and he abides in us then we can ask anything and it will be done? Doesn’t he tell us to cast our cares upon him? Or what about the passage of scripture that says, ‘He doesn’t put anymore on us than we can bear?’

If I believe God’s word is true, then why are there times when I feel down and out, troubled, like there is no hope and no where to turn? Why do I cry, moan and groan, as if there is no tomorrow and no one who cares? Why do I close myself off from loved ones, family and friends and seek shelter in the confines of my room? Why do I feel isolated and alone, like no one understands what I am going through and how I feel? The answer I give to you is what I have come to call “under the juniper tree.” In other words, I am going through a period of depression. There, I said it – depression. I said it again. Maybe it’s taboo to some believers, but God is not a good of condemnation. He has made us in his own image, that’s true, but God also placed us in bodies of imperfection, that because of Adam and Eve’s sinful nature, must be subjected to various groaning and ailments – including depression. (Leave your thoughts on these questions below and let’s talk about it.)

Biblical scholars, theologians, Christians, religious folks and non-religious folks alike, have varying opinions when it comes to Christians and depression. I am particularly interested in this subject because I am a Christian who has battled depression most of my life, starting when I was a young child. Being saved at the age of eight did not give me a ticket to bypass the road of depression. Yet, I know beyond a shadow of doubt within my heart, spirit and soul, that I am a child of God.

I often refer to a story in the Bible that some of you may have heard or read about it. It’s the story of Elijah, a prophet of God. Elijah was a strong man who feared God. In 1 Kings Chapter 18, God had commanded Elijah to prophesy to Ahab that it would not rain until he said it would. Ahab, an Israelite King, married Jezebel, a princess from Zidon. Zidon was known for its paganistic, witchcraft and idolatry. Evil was rampant. Jezebel, like the inhabitants of Zidon was an evil, wicked woman, and quite devious which is why the marriage between Ahab and Jezebel was forbidden by the Lord.

Much like Adam who was persuaded to eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, Ahab was persuaded by his wife, Jezebel to introduce the idol god, Baal, and he went so far as to build worship centers for his people to worship Baal. No longer were they able to worship the one true God. Enters the prophet Elijah. Ahab had 450 prophets who were going to compete against Elijah in a contest to see whose God was the true God.

The prophets and Elijah each built an altar and prepared a sacrifice. However, even though it was customary to light the altar, this time things would be different. The contest called for the prophets of Baal to pray to Baal, and Elijah to pray to the Lord. Whichever god responded by setting his sacrifice afire would be judged the true God, and the god losing the contest would be abandoned.

The prophets of Baal went first. They places piles of wood on their altar and prepared their sacrifice. Afterward, they prayed to their god, Baal to light the fire of the altar. They prayed and chanted, screamed and hollered, prayed and prayed from morning to evening without any fire coming forth from Baal. When it was determined that Baal was not going to light the altar that the 450 prophets of Ahab had constructed, Elijah stepped forward.

Elijah’s altar was not extravagant like the altar built for Baal. It was simply built and Elijah prepared his sacrifice. Elijah went so far as to douse his pile of wood with water that was it overflowed into a ditch. At this time, water was a precious commodity because of the lack of rain, so imagine the amazement of everyone who witnessed Elijah’s act.

Unlike the 450 prophets, Elijah did not weep and wail, scream and shout, and have a fit when he prayed. Instead, Elijah simply asked the Lord to reveal himself and show that He was the one true God. Immediately, a fierce bolt hit Elijah’s altar and the sacrifice, the altar and the water was consumed!

Everyone who had gathered to witness the contest between the prophets and Elijah were in awe at what had taken place. Elijah, after the Lord revealed himself in the flames, ordered the 450 prophets to be executed.

I imagine that Ahab hurried home to his wife. He told Jezebel everything that had occurred. Being full of evil, she was so full of rage and hatred that she turned around and ordered that Elijah be killed. Elijah was truly a man of God. He followed God’s commandments without hesitation. He believed in God and in all that the Lord told him. Yet, like so many of us, Elijah seemed to have forgotten all about God when he heard that Jezebel planned on killing him. Instead of standing boldly before her, without worry or fret, Elijah took off. He became fearful and depressed.

We, as Christians, often do the same thing. No matter how good God is to us, no matter how many trials and tribulations he bring us through, no matter how many tough times and tragic events he delivers us from, when trouble hit, we began to worry, become fearful and many of us, like Elijah and myself, enter into a deep depression. We began to have a ‘woe is me’ party. We can’t sleep, we can’t eat. We can barely work. We don’t want to talk or associate with co-workers, friends, families or loved ones. Some of us even think about and/or commit suicide because we believe there is no other way out.
(Readers, do you agree or disagree? Tell us below)

Keep in mind, God had previously commanded Elijah to tell Ahab that there was not going to be any rain until Elijah said so, and there wasn’t. Without rain, there would be very little food because it took rain to make food grow. Elijah had nothing to worry about even in famine and without rain because God had birds of the sky to supply him with food and water. He also had a widow woman to give him a helping hand. You see, God does take care of His own. God does provide for His own. God looks after His own. Then Elijah won the contest between Baal and the Lord. God was ever present in Elijah’s life.

God is ever present in our lives too. He is our father and He will not allow any weapon formed against his children to prosper. He tells us in His word not to worry or fret about what we will eat, or drink or wear. He supplies the birds of the sky with food, so surely he loves us more than the birds in the sky and he will provide for our needs too. Yet, just like Elijah we tend to forget when we are hit with an onslaught or just one thing that we say ‘breaks the camels back.’ And depression sets in. Continue the workshop by visit parts 1 and 2 and leaving your comments and questions at each section. We hope to help each other deal with this issue. Next read the section that continues this message, part 1 here.


Novelist, Shelia E. Lipsey,is a native Memphian. She attended Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, graduating magna cum laude with a BBA degree. Lipsey, a published author, professional copyeditor and inspirational speaker has been actively writing and speaking most of her life. Lipsey has written several short stories and over 200 poems which she has plans of publishing in the near future. Her novels with Urban Books are entitled, Into Each Life (Jan. ’07), Sinsatiable (Aug.’07). Lipsey’s third novel, My Son’s Wife will be released October 1, 2008.
Visit her website today for more details and to read excerpts:

Among Lipsey’s list of literary accomplishments and affiliations, she was awarded Conversations Book Club 2008 Author of the Year (, Dallas Morning News Bestselling Author ’07, Urban Knowledge Memphis Bestselling Author ‘07; Founding president Memphis African American Writers Group (MAAW), president Urban Christian’s UC His Glory Book Club (

Shelia is also the founder of 1st Annual Living Your Dreams Literary Arts Seminar (; founder of The Word According to Shelia Newsletter; Publishing & a contributing writer for Victorious Voice Magazine ( online member of Black Writers Christian Network (, Booknibbler_Christian, Black, Copy Editor (

Lipsey is also acontributing blogger for Sankofa Literary Society(, guest columnist at, as well as several other online literary groups.

Part One and Part Two are also included here. Please take part in all three sessions.

Share this with at least 20 of your friends and follow this blog so that you too can share The Gift of Knowledge. Workshop brought to you by Ella Curry of EDC Creations and author Shelia Lipsey. To follow the blog, go to the top right-hand corner and select ‘follow this blog’–you will be able to keep up with all the comments of Shelia and the other visitors.


Posted by on December 31, 2008 in #StorytellersBookTour


Workshop: Under the Juniper Tree, Part 1

Under the Juniper Tree

“Even Christians Get Depressed”

This is a three part Christian workshop discussing the causes and management of depression. Please read the three sections and let’s discuss the material in each section. If you are dealing with depression, let’s talk about it as a community. If you have questions or would like more information, please leave your responses in the comment section below.
Topics discussed:
Do Christians get depressed? Think about this question for a moment. Ponder over it before you answer. If we are grounded and rooted in God and our faith, how then can we say that we become depressed? Isn’t that what having faith is all about – believing and hoping in that which we cannot see? Isn’t that why Jesus is our Savior, our Lord, our Father, our everything? Doesn’t his word say if we abide in Him and he abides in us then we can ask anything and it will be done? Doesn’t he tell us to cast our cares upon him? Or what about the passage of scripture that says, ‘He doesn’t put anymore on us than we can bear?’

Part One and Part Two are also included here. Please take part in all three sessions.

Part 1 of this 3 part Christian Workshop Online Continues

Let’s continue to see what Elijah did. In 1 Kings Chapter 19 it states: 1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.

Here, in the above passages of scripture, we see that Elijah ran for his life. He was terrified. He believed he was at the end, and that there was no one who would rescue him from the evil, murderous hands of Jezebel. He ran so far and so fast that he left his servant behind in a town called Beersheba. He must have really been running! How many times do we run in every direction but toward God, when trouble comes knocking at our door? How many times do we seek ungodly counsel and advice from everyone except God? How many times do we lay awake at night, depressed and worried and wondering how we’re going to pay the stack of bills piled high on our nightstands? How many times do we worry about the bad report the doctor gave us about ourselves or our loved ones? Well, like Elijah, we run away from God instead of toward God. We become depressed; feel hopeless, sad and despondent.
God, however, does not forsake his children. “All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
Oh, yes, you see. God supplied food and drink and shelter for Elijah. He told Elijah to get up! Rise up, Elijah. Twice he provided for Elijah while he slept and cowered under the juniper tree. The times when he was at his lowest, when he felt like it would be better if he died, God was yet there. God directed his angels to feed Elijah and to give him drink. Not just any old kind of good, but he provided a cake of bread that was good and hot and a jar of water. Elijah gained strength, so much so that he was able to travel for forty days and forty nights!
God is with us, even in the midst of our depression. God is with us, in the midnight hour when we think we are alone. God is with us, caring for us, watching after us, working things out on our behalf behind closed doors. He is our provider, the one true and loving God!
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The story continues in 1 Kings Chapter 19. God instructs Elijah to go back the way he came. He told him what he wanted him to do which was to go to the Desert of Damascus and anoint a man by the name of Hazael to be king over Aram and to anoint Jehu, who was the son of Nimshi, to be king over Israel, and anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat, to succeed Elijah as prophet. The Lord said, 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” 19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat.
There we have the story of Elijah! We see how God yet delivers him out of his state of despondency and depression. God tells him to go back! He tells him what to do along every step of the way. That’s the kind of God we serve. We serve a God who will be with us when we are fearful, when we are afraid. We serve a God who will tell us what to do, where to go and when we get to our destination, God will tell us what to say. While we’re trying to figure it all out, God has already worked it out! God is our present help in time of trouble. When we don’t know where our next dime is coming from, God will open the windows of heaven and blessings will fall upon us. I am a living witness. There are times that I have suffered hardships and defeats, yet God has kept me. I am still here, living and breathing. Whatever the enemy, that old sly one called Lucifer and satan, steals from us, God will restore it and more. God is a God of restoration, even in the midst of depression.
Did you know that Martin Luther and Charles Spurgeon, two great theologians, frequently lived with depression? You can answer below.
There’s a story told about Charles Spurgeon. “On an unforgettable Sunday morning in 1866, the great Charles Spurgeon stunned his five thousand listeners when from the pulpit of London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle he announced, “I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever gets to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to.” Charles Spurgeon is knows as one of the world’s greatest preachers; one of the world’s greatest theologians. Spurgeon was truly a modern day man after God’s own heart, yet. Yes, yet, he suffered from depression. Twenty-one years from the very same pulpit, Spurgeon said the congregation gathered, “Personally I have often passed through the dark valley.”
As for Martin Luther, history states that when he was depressed h e often hid away in darkness, away from everyone, including his family. His family went so far as to make sure Martin Luther did not have the chance to get hold of any knives, scissors or other objects he might be able to use to bring harm to himself.
More than Charles Spurgeon and Martin Luther, there are great men of the Bible who lived with depression. Many of you have heard about Job. Job lost so much and experienced so much suffering in such a short length of time that he became totally depressed to the point that he cursed the day of his birth (Job 3:1). Job was so depressed and miserable that he cried out to God, “My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, the grave is ready for me” (Job 17:1). Then there is Jonah. Jonah had an eye witness view of God’s majesty, power and grace in Ninevah where evilness dwelt. Yet, even after witnessing for himself, the power of God, Jonah still became depressed. Jonah said, in his time of depression, “Death is better to me than life” (Jonah 4:3). What about the great prophet Jeremiah? Jeremiah was so depressed that we questioned his very existence. “Why did I ever come forth from the womb to look on trouble and sorrow?” (Jeremiah 20:18).
Even Moses became so depressed to the point where he wanted to die (Exodus 32:32). So, you see, we are not alone. There are many instances where God’s people suffered from depression. Great people of God! People who had seen with their own eyes the mighty works of God became depressed at the signs of trouble, sickness and turmoil. Just like you and I, they suffered in their flesh and felt as if to die would be better than to stay and face the situations life had them in.
I read somewhere that depression is defined as “the common cold of emotional disorders and it appears to be on the rise. People of both genders get depressed, although women are twice as likely as men to suffer from major depressive disorders.” In another article I read, it describes depression as “a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.
Feeling of isolation and dejection, in other words, depression has touched the lives of not only ordinary people like you and me, but people like Anna Nicole Smith, Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allen Poe, actress Marilyn Monroe, pop singer Britney Spears, news reporter Mike Wallace, famous painter Vincent Van Gogh, actor Owen Wilson. The suicide rate among today’s teens has increased dramatically. It all stems from depression.
While many, literally millions of people everyday, walk around in a state of despondency and depression, there is yet hope. God will not leave us without a way out. God will never leave us or forsake us, even during our bouts of depression and despair. He is able to keep us when we can’t keep ourselves. He is able to hold us and comfort us, when there is no one who we can turn to.
God is the one true and only God. His promises are true. Even in the worst of times. When my fiance’, Roderick was murdered in 1997, the pain and agony seemed too much for me to bear. Yet, God saw me through it all. I don’t remember the times I sobbed and I didn’t see a way out. But I’m still here and God has kept me. God tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:8 (New International Version) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; Psalms 34:17 (KJS) The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. Isaiah 41:10 (KJS) Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Continue reading for the conclusion to this community workshop.
Read part 2 by clicking here.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions below.
Introduction for the workshop, Part One and Part Two are also included here. Please take part in all three sessions.
Novelist, Shelia E. Lipsey, is a native Memphian. She attended Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, graduating magna cum laude with a BBA degree. Lipsey, a published author, professional copyeditor and inspirational speaker has been actively writing and speaking most of her life. Lipsey has written several short stories and over 200 poems which she has plans of publishing in the near future. Her novels with Urban Books are entitled, Into Each Life (Jan. ’07), Sinsatiable (Aug.’07). Lipsey’s third novel, My Son’s Wife will be released October 1, 2008. Visit her website today for more details and to read excerpts:
Among Lipsey’s list of literary accomplishments and affiliations, she was awarded Conversations Book Club 2008 Author of the Year (, Dallas Morning News Bestselling Author ’07, Urban Knowledge Memphis Bestselling Author ‘07; Founding president Memphis African American Writers Group (MAAW), president Urban Christian’s UC His Glory Book Club (
Shelia is also the founder of 1st Annual Living Your Dreams Literary Arts Seminar (; founder of The Word According to Shelia Newsletter; Publishing & a contributing writer for Victorious Voice Magazine ( online member of Black Writers Christian Network (, Booknibbler_Christian, Black, Copy Editor ( Lipsey is also acontributing blogger for Sankofa Literary Society(, guest columnist at, as well as several other online literary groups.
Part One and Part Two are also included here. Please take part in all three sessions.

Share this with at least 20 of your friends and follow this blog so that you too can share The Gift of Knowledge. Worshop brought to you by Ella Curry of EDC Creations and author Shelia Lipsey.


Workshop: Under the Juniper Tree, Part 2

Under the Juniper Tree
“Even Christians Get Depressed”
by Christian fiction author, Shelia E. Lipsey

This is a three part Christian workshop discussing what causes depression and how to manage depression. Please read the three sections and let’s discuss the material in each section. If you are dealing with depression, let’s talk about it as a community. If you have questions or would like more information, please leave your responses in the comment section below.

The Introduction and Part One are also included here. Please take part in all three sessions.

Topics Discussed so far in the Introduction and Part One

Do Christians get depressed? Think about this question for a moment. Ponder over it before you answer.

If we are grounded and rooted in God and our faith, how then can we say that we become depressed? Isn’t that what having faith is all about – believing and hoping in that which we cannot see? Isn’t that why Jesus is our Savior, our Lord, our Father, our everything? Doesn’t his word say if we abide in Him and he abides in us then we can ask anything and it will be done? Doesn’t he tell us to cast our cares upon him? Or what about the passage of scripture that says, ‘He doesn’t put anymore on us than we can bear?’

If I believe God’s word is true, then why are there times when I feel down and out, troubled, like there is no hope and no where to turn? Why do I cry, moan and groan, as if there is no tomorrow and no one who cares? Why do I close myself off from loved ones, family and friends and seek shelter in the confines of my room? Why do I feel isolated and alone, like no one understands what I am going through and how I feel? The answer I give to you is what I have come to call “under the juniper tree.” In other words, I am going through a period of depression. There, I said it – depression. I said it again. Maybe it’s taboo to some believers, but God is not a good of condemnation. He has made us in his own image, that’s true, but God also placed us in bodies of imperfection, that because of Adam and Eve’s sinful nature, must be subjected to various groaning and ailments – including depression. (Leave your thoughts on these questions below and let’s talk about it.)


What Causes Our Depression?
Depression can be brought on by a number of reasons, situations, or feelings of guilt. It can also be due to a mental deficiency and brain dysfunctions. However, the depression focused on in this article has more to do with situations and events that occur in our lives such as”

 Failure in our lives
 The death of a loved one
 Self-condemnation
 Condemnation from others
 Guilt and inadequacy
 Disappointments of life
 Financial problems
 Relationship problems
 Feelings of low self-esteem
 Low self-confidence
 Fear of losing or rejection
 The church

You may think I made a mistake when I listed ‘church’ as a one of the reasons for depression. However, I meant to list it. Sometimes the church (the body of Christ) can be judgmental and condemning. Church people can be condescending, harsh and cruel when others are spotlighted as having committed some sinful act. The reality is that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Secondly, the church has a way of sometimes categorizing sin. We often put sin into categories and list them from bad to worst. A white lie isn’t as bad as outright telling a lie that harms someone else. Or we say that surely murder is worse than someone who commits adultery. But sin is sin and we are not the ones to judge or condemn each other.

The word of God in Romans Chapter 8 verse 1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” We should give messages of hope that set people free and not hold them captive. God’s message should be a message that draws people in, not push them away. We, who are saved, who profess to be children of God, should love all. We must begin to look within ourselves and come to the realization, ‘there but by the grace of God, go I.” We should be about delivering people, not making people feel guilty. The very church that God wants to use to save his people from a life of damnation is the very church that sometimes sentences people to an earthly life of hell and damnation by finger pointing and accusing and outright convicting. We are to love our enemies as Christ loved the church!

There’s a story about a young man named Geraldo. Geraldo was a great guy. He loved to attend church every Sunday and Wednesday night. He had a beautiful wife and three small children. Geraldo also had a great job and a nice home. He lived the all American perfect dream. At least that’s how it appeared to everyone from the outside.

However, things were far different than they appeared. You see, Geraldo in spite of all the good things people saw, was often depressed. He always felt like he wasn’t good enough, that he could never do enough or achieve enough. He thought that other people saw the same thing he saw when he looked at himself in the mirror everyday, a man of defeat. Geraldo was always worried about his life to the point where he looked at himself as a failure. He felt like at the age of 53, that he had let not only his family down, but himself and most importantly, he felt like he had let God down. Geraldo wore a smile on the outside and cried with pain on the inside. How could God love him when he was so messed up? There are many people in your home, your neighborhood and your church who feel just like Geraldo.

The answer for Geraldo and for us must be extracted from the word of God, if we are to experience the good life that God wants for each of us. We must look to God, the author and finisher of our faith. If we don’t we can find ourselves being crippled and held captive by depression to the point that we are at a stalemate in life. Our churches should have more ministries that address depression and teach us how to cope by using the word of God.

But many churches want to push the word depression under the rug as if it does not exist. We should be about doing our father’s business by seeking ways to open our hearts and our doors to those who are suffering from the debilitating grip of depression. We have outreach groups that address issues of grief, drug dependency, alcoholism, family issues, and others. Why not address depression? Reveal the promises of God. Reach out our hands to help someone else. Take the time to listen and look deeply at your neighbor, the church member sitting next to you in Sunday School or worship service.

We must minister to those who are depressed. We must remind them that ‘nothing is too hard for God.’ We must remind them that God is our rock of Gibraltar, a constant friend is He. Let us minister to those who feel sorrowful for the sinful acts they have committed or are committing. We must teach them that the word of God says, “if we confess our sins, that He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We all have regrets over things we’ve done, decisions we’ve made. We’ve done (and probably are still doing) our share of lying, cheating, stealing and hurting other people. We’ve all done things that are still hidden away in our closet full of skeletons. We’ve all done and said things that we are ashamed of. We’ve all made wrong choices in life that produce problems in our lives. All of these things can set us up for depression. But instead of isolating our brothers and sisters, as God’s children we must be willing to open up to them and let them know that they are not alone! Let’s be about ministering to our people!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. It says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” God wants good things for us! God doesn’t want me to be without hope, which means to be depressed. God wants me and you to know that he has plans to give us hope, to give us futures. He wants us to call upon him and pray. He promises to listen to us if we will only seek him with all of our heart.

Another one of my favorite passages is found in Habakkuh Chapter 3 verses 17 -19. Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

What To Do In My Depression
Focus on God. It is difficult sometimes, I know. I have found it almost impossible to turn my focus toward God when I am depressed. But it is what we have to do, what we must do if we are to come out of the black hole of depression. God does love you and me. No matter whether we feel His presence or not, God is yet beside us in the midst of our despair and loneliness. He is the one who is keeping us. Psalms Chapter 42 verse 11 says, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

Hope in God is the road that will lead us out of the village of depression. No matter how hard it is to travel, muster up every bit of energy and resilience and fight the good fight of hope and faith every time depression comes your way. It may be easier said and done, I know it is because I am constantly bombarded with bouts of depression. Yet, God is my refuge, my light, my salvation and my steadfast hope. He will be yours too, if you let him.

Depression will surely visit you, but do not allow it to move in and take up permanent residence in your life. Do not allow it to take root in your life. We can do all things through Christ Jesus is not just another bible verse. It is true and it is true every time.

We will not give up, for we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. We are his children, the sheep of his pasture and he will not allow us to be destroyed.

The next time depression knocks, send God’s hope to the door.


Here are some more Promises of God to read when you find yourself in the valley of depression. Please select a passage and tell us how it applies to your life.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

1 Peter 1:6-9 “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

Psalms 27:1-14 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident. One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek, That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent. He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me. When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.’ Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother have forsaken me, then the Lord will take me up. Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes. Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”

Get from under your juniper tree! God is waiting for you!


Novelist, Shelia E. Lipsey,is a native Memphian. She attended Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, graduating magna cum laude with a BBA degree. Lipsey, a published author, professional copyeditor and inspirational speaker has been actively writing and speaking most of her life. Lipsey has written several short stories and over 200 poems which she has plans of publishing in the near future. Her novels with Urban Books are entitled, Into Each Life (Jan. ’07), Sinsatiable (Aug.’07). Lipsey’s third novel, My Son’s Wife will be released October 1, 2008.
Visit her website today for more details and to read excerpts:

Among Lipsey’s list of literary accomplishments and affiliations, she was awarded Conversations Book Club 2008 Author of the Year (, Dallas Morning News Bestselling Author ’07, Urban Knowledge Memphis Bestselling Author ‘07; Founding president Memphis African American Writers Group (MAAW), president Urban Christian’s UC His Glory Book Club (

Shelia is also the founder of 1st Annual Living Your Dreams Literary Arts Seminar (; founder of The Word According to Shelia Newsletter; Publishing & a contributing writer for Victorious Voice Magazine ( online member of Black Writers Christian Network (, Booknibbler_Christian, Black, Copy Editor (

Lipsey is also acontributing blogger for Sankofa Literary Society(, guest columnist at, as well as several other online literary groups.

Part One and Part Two are also included here. Please take part in all three sessions.

Share this with at least 20 of your friends and follow this blog so that you too can share The Gift of Knowledge. Workshop brought to you by Ella Curry of EDC Creations and author Shelia Lipsey.

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in #StorytellersBookTour


The Death of Black America

The Death of Black America
by Eran Reya

Black America is in a state of crisis: Why are one-third of all abortions performed in America on Black women? Why are 70% of all Black American children born out of wedlock?

Why do Black Americans compose 49% of all Americans living with HIV? Why is Black America in negative population growth? Why is misogyny so prevalent within the Black community? What is the crux of the problem between Black men and Black women?

The Death of Black America explores these questions and more in this call to action urging Black Americans to evaluate their condition and change the thought patterns and behaviors that are destroying them. The Death of Black America acknowledges how both collective and individual plights are intertwined and investigates the immediate and future consequences of ignoring this reality.

Through relevant and insightful text, the compelling analysis draws on a wealth of historical and statistical data to look at the factors that have led black America to its current state. Thought-provoking and candid, The Death of Black America examines the interplay of racial stereotypes and misplaced identity and considers possible solutions. Purchase the book here.

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Book Spotlights


Meet Anita Ballard-Jones

Meet Author and Speaker Anita Ballard-Jones

Thank you Anita Ballard-Jones for joining us today. Black Pearls Magazine and EDC Creations readers, please give our guest author a hand for taking time to visit with us. If you would like for our guest to answer more questions about being a writer, after reading the interview please leave them in the comments section below. If you have read her books, share your reviews with us too.

Ella: Anita, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Answer: I guess I am one of those authors who broke the mold. From my youth until my early fifties, I never though of becoming a writer, except that I wanted to write a memoir about life with my brother who was developmentally disabled. Then, I believe it was the Lord’s will that I write Rehoboth Road. Suddenly I was hooked on writing.

Ella: How long does it take you to write a book?

Answer: I wrote the first 100 pages of Rehoboth Road in one night. Then, I completed the remainder of the novel over several years. I was not a serious writer and only worked on the manuscript sporadically. When I retired, I completed the manuscript in a few months. I completed the first draft of The Dancing Willow Tree in six months, but I worked on it at least eight hours a day. My third unpublished manuscript, Ring Around The Roses, was written in one year.

Ella: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Answer: I’m retired, so I can write anytime I want. Most of the time I write in the evening, but I only write new material when I’m inspired. There are two parts to my work schedule, the creative and the corrective (editing). If I’m not inspired to be creative, I never write. I use this time to review what I have already written and do as much editing as I can.

Ella: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Answer: Working in a noisy environment. I like having the television or radio on. I really don’t like to be interrupted by family, but I like the family to go about their normal business around me. I don’t like to isolate myself in my office either. My family seems to understand when I’m working and they just move around me. I’ll work at the kitchen table or with my laptop in then living room or sunroom. I can tune out all the noise, but can spike to alertness if I’m needed. My creativity is stifled when I’m in a quiet place.

Ella: Anita, how do books get published?
Answer: I could write a book on ‘How to Get Published’. So let’s just speak about getting published. There are two ways to get published. You are lucky or unlucky 🙂 to be picked up by a mainstream publishing company. Unless you are a well known personality, your chances of being offered a lucrative contract are almost non-existent.

Most likely, if you are offered a contract, your advance will be under $2,000 and your royalties on the retail price of your book will be between 6 to 10 %. Your marketing budget will be zero or close to it, but worst of all, you will have signed the rights to your baby away for X period of years. If you think writing your novel was difficult, then get prepared to give up the next year of your life to market your book at your expense, and don’t quit your day job. Unless you are a best selling author, you will cry when you see your royalty check, because you know your book sold in the thousands; those low royalties percentages really hurt your pocket

The other way to get published is self-publishing. You, the author, can do for yourself what the mainstream publishing houses will do for you. Until you make that name for yourself and are willing to sign away the rights to your work, that lucrative contract will not come your way. After the cost of the book production and distribution, you will at least have 25 to 30% profit on the retail price of each book. You will finance your own distribution and marketing expenses, but you will reap the benefits of your promotions and everything is tax deductable.

Except for professional editing, you can cut the cost of producing your novel by learning to do some things for yourself:
-Becoming a license publisher. (Select a name for your company and go down to your local town hall and pay a small fee for a license and you are in business. Open a small business bank account.)
-Obtain ISBN numbers
-Obtain a barcode for each ISBN number when you need to use one.
-Obtaining a copyright
-Register your novel with the Library of Congress and obtain a Library of Congress Control Number
-Design your book cover
-Design your book interior and typeset your novel.
-Once your book is published register it with Bowker’s ‘Books In Print’

There are many books on the market, but I’ve found “SELF-PUBLISHING” by Tom & Marilyn Ross to be the most informative.

I have been mainstream published and self-published, and I prefer to be a self-published author. I would not have been so eager to take this position a few years ago, but the Internet has made it possible for self-published authors to have great success, and book stores are more willing to carry self-published books in their stores.

Ella: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Answer: From life and observation. Sometimes I hear or see a situation and I will make a note. I don’t use outlines. I only write when I’m inspired around a particular theme. Once my characters are developed they seem to take on a life of their own; this is more likely when my novel is inspired by a true life incidents.

Ella: When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Answer: Early fifties. I wrote a memoir titled, BROKEN BOND. I have not published it yet. It’s a personal look into my life and I’m not ready to share it with my reader.

Ella: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Answer: I love to fish; play the computer game, NEED FOR SPEED; go to the movies, and read, but I don’t like to read as much as I did before I became an author. It seems I do more book editing and that slows down my reading.

Ella: What does your family think of your writing?
Answer: They are very supportive and are always telling me about things I should write about.

Ella: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Answer: When I was in high school (back in the late 60s), I remember telling myself there were two things I never wanted to be in life, a doctor and a writer. I was never a doctor, but I was a Treatment Team Leader, whereas I supervised doctors as a hospital administrator, and then I became an author. So I would say the most surprising thing I learned was that I could write. When my fans wrote to tell me how much they enjoyed my novel, I felt authenticated as an author.

Ella: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Answer: I have two published books, REHOBOTH ROAD and THE DANCING WILLOW TREE. I also have three completed manuscripts, BROKEN BOND (my memoir), RING AROUND THE ROSES ( a novel inspired by a true story about six inner city children who raised themselves because their parents were drug addicts), and a series of short stories based on my personal experiences and observations.

REHOBOTH ROAD and THE DANCING WILLOW are currently my favorite, however, as soon as I publish my manuscript, RING AROUND THE ROSES I plan to submit it for consideration for a PULITZER PRIZE. I was more inspired to write this novel than I was when I wrote REHOBOTH ROAD. Ignorance prevented me from submitting REHOBOTH ROAD to the Pulitzer Foundation.

Ella: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
Answer: Be inspired when writing. Be your best critic. Write, re-write, re-write, re-write, re-write, etc. When you are inspired to write, then write. Don’t stop to correct your writing because you will lose your train of thought. When your inspiration is gone, then correct what you have written.

Ella: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Answer: Yes. My readers write me all the time and I love it. Most of the time I receive letters of praise, and there are a few who point out issues. Some of the issues are helpful and constructive. I try to respond to everyone within twenty-four hours.


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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Meet the Author


One G-String Short of Crazy

Book Spotlight: One G-String Short of Crazy

Thank you Desiree Day for joining us today. Black Pearls Magazine and EDC Creations readers, please give our guest author a hand for taking time to visit with us. If you would like for our guest to answer more questions about her books, after reading the interview, please leave them in the comments section below. If you have read her books, share your reveiws with us too.

Desiree Day has worked in the banking, telecommunication, and information technologies industries, as well as in academia. Her fiction has appeared in Woman’s Word magazine and on the Internet. She is a member of the Georgia Romance Writers. She is presently working on her next novel.

Ella: Allow me to introduce you to our spotlight book, One G-String Short of Crazy, and its bold and beautiful characters.
From the author of Cruising and Crazy Love comes an I-can’t-believe-you-really-said-that novel about hot-as-hell twin sisters who share everything except their taste in men, and a fine-ass brother from Chicago.

Felicia and Aisha Goodman need separate places. Aisha can’t settle on any one man, and night after night of loud hot sex in the room next door is driving Felicia crazy. But neither can imagine life without the other. The solution: 1920 Peachtree, owned by their good friend Tarik. The twins can each have an apartment, yet still work together on the accounting firm they own. But for two crazy sistahs like Felicia and Aisha, life is never simple.

Aisha’s eyeing Derrick upstairs, even after his pregnant ex-girlfriend from Chicago turns up. Felicia is having a secret affair that will shock even her sex-crazed sister and her life takes even a crazier turn when she falls in love with her best friend. And they’re both beginning to wonder if the business they started was the right choice.It’s a bumpy ride, but the twins are set to prove that determined women truly can have it all—careers, maybe marriage, and certainly lots of good hot sex. Click to read excerpt

Intimate Conversation with Desiree Day and Ella Curry of EDC Creations

Ella: Desiree, how did you come up with the title: One G-String Short of Crazy?
Since the story is based in Atlanta, GA, the original title was 1920 Peachtree. And if you’ve ever been to Atlanta, you’d know that there are a million streets with Peachtree in it. But my editor decided that the title wasn’t eye catching and had me provide her with a listing of suggested titles. I’m glad that I did, everybody raves about the title.

Ella: Why did you decide to write about twins?
I think twins are intriguing. They are two separate people, but are always seen as an individual. They also have a very complex relationship. I wanted to show the struggle that two extremely close sisters have with trying to create their own mark on the world.

Ella: The sex scenes were quite explicit, were you uncomfortable writing them?
Not at all.

Ella: Why did you have Darla flip when she got to Atlanta?
Hey, Darla’s behavior was understandable. Here she is thinking she had the best man in the world and he dumps her for a new job in another city. And when she meets up with Derrick in Atlanta, she turns his world inside out, ha!

Ella: Felicia and Aisha’s bond was strong, so strong that Felicia took a call from Aisha during sex, do you think she was right in doing that?
Oh hell naw. Felicia was so wrong in taking that call, you don’t do that! But that’s an example of just one thing Felicia and Aisha needed to work on.

Ella: Desiree, Are any of your stories based on your life or people you know?
All my stories are loosely based on me, people I read about, and friends. But I’m not telling what part of the stores are really Desiree.

Ella: You tend to write a lot about couples falling in love. Do you consider yourself a romance writer?
I consider myself a writer who loves happy endings.

List of Desiree Day Books:
One G-String Short of Crazy
Cruising and Crazy Love

For more information on Desiree Day visit here:

Readers, what are your thoughts? Have you read any of the books mentioned today? Share with us below. Desiree Day, thank you for sharing with us today. May all your dreams come true! EDC Creations wishes you the best today and for the rest of your life. Peace and many blessings.

Wishing you awesome success in 2009!

Warmest regards,
Ella Curry, President/CEO EDC Creations
Black Author Network Radio-Founder
Sankofa Literary Society-Founder
Explore EDC Creations Literary Magazine

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Book Spotlights


Meet Author Carla Sarratt

Meet author Carla Sarratt

Thank you Carla Sarratt for joining us today. Black Pearls Magazine and EDC Creations readers, please give our guest author a hand for taking time to visit with us. If you would like for Carla Sarratt to answer more questions about her books, after reading the interview, please leave them in the comments section below. If you have read her books, share your reviews with us too.

Intimate Conversation with Carla Sarratt and Ella Curry of EDC Creations

Ella: Carla, have you always been an avid reader? Did you read alot as a child?
I’ve been reading books for what feels like my entire life. I don’t remember the title of the first book I read, but I do remember being in the first grade reading such captivating tales where I was made to see Dick, Jane, Tom, and a bunch of other kids run and hop. I advanced from their perilous adventures to the highly engaging stories of Curious George, Amelia Bedelia, Ramona and Beezus, Pippi Longstocking, and many other popular books from my childhood.

Books have totally shaped my life. Right now I am taking a break from reading a book to write this stimulating bio. By the way, the book I am reading is TTFN by Lauren Myracle, a book written entirely in instant messaging. Yesterday I read TTYL and TTFN is the sequel. Both books involve a trio of best friends in high school who live in Atlanta and months of IM conversations that chronicle their lives.

Okay, so yes books have shaped my life. And I mean that. I remember liking a boy in the fourth grade who told me that I read too much. I tried to stop reading just to please him in hopes that he would like me in return and be my boyfriend, but I missed books too much. So I outgrew that crush. That was the same year I was a library helper at my elementary school during recess. I got to be alone with books and read to my heart’s content. In fourth grade, I was introduced to Judy Blume by way of an excerpt of Freckle Juice in my textbook.

Then there were the many, many times that I was placed on punishment. My punishment? I was not allowed to read any books except textbooks. Do you know how hard that was to deal with? I could play with my toys, watch TV, go outside, but I could not read. I read my language arts textbooks like they were the most riveting things ever.
(Read Carla’s entire story about reading and her passion for books)

Ella: When did you first start to write?
I first started writing in college outside of the papers that I wrote my English classes. My alma mater’s Black student organization Concerned Black Students had a literary publication called Black Minds that I contributed essays and poems too. After college, I taught a creative writing course for Upward Bound where I wrote a short story and more poems. It wasn’t until 2002 that I tried my hand at writing a book.

Ella: Who are you influenced by?
I was influenced largely by Sharon Draper. Her young adult novel Tears of a Tiger is very popular with students because of the way the story is told through letters, essays, articles, phone calls, etc. I also count Sharon Flake as an influence for my writing.

Ella: What is the best and worst thing about writing?
The best thing is creating a story, exploring your imagination and the thoughts that roam around in your head. I also love researching elements in the story as well as the Black History facts.

The worst thing about writing is actually typing the story out. Sometimes your thoughts are faster than your fingers. I wish I had a voice and thought recorder that could take my words and thoughts and type for me.

Ella: Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love Sharon Draper, Eric Jerome Dickey, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Bebe Moore Campbell, Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, Judy Blume, and so many more authors.

Ella: How do you balance family life and your writing?
It’s pretty easy for me to do since I am single and don’t have any kids. The bigger struggle for me is balancing my love of reading a good book and writing a good book for others.

Ella: What was your major in college?
I majored in psychology and English with a minor in education which allowed me to teach high school English. I wanted to be a child psychologist growing up among many other things. I used my psychology background in the classroom dealing with different personalities and also in my writing with understanding my characters’ personalities.

Readers, what are some of your favorite books? What books do you enjoy? Share with us below.

Carla Sarratt, thank you for sharing with us today. May all your dreams come true! EDC Creations wishes you the best today and for the rest of your life. Peace and many blessings.

You can find out more about Carla at:
Carla Sarratt, author of Freshman Focus and Just Be
Carla on MySpace
The Brown Bookshelf

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Meet the Author



by author and poet Gwynita Leggington

I am a woman of substance. I walk with pride. I have a style of my own. My elegance comes from inside. I hold my head high; not ashamed of my past. I am a real woman; a real woman at last.

No one knows the pain I’ve been through. No one knows how I’ve suffered too. I am a real woman. I can survive this race. I can keep it together, and keep a smile on my face.

A real woman; strong and wise. I ignore the jealousy; I ignore the lies. I’m real and very true from the heart. I’ll let you know this from the start. Surviving the worst, and taking care of my needs. I am a real woman; a real woman indeed. Copyright © 2006 Gwynita Leggington


A real woman is true to herself. She holds her head up high. She doesn’t waddle in pity; or sit back and cry. A real woman is a survivor.

She can stand on her own feet.With God by her side,she can’t be beat.A real woman has courage;she has spunk and grace. Even when she is down,she has a smile upon her face.

A real woman will make it. A real woman will excel. She will keep on striving,whether she wins or fails. Copyright © 2006 Gwynita Leggington

Are you feeling this? Tell us about what A Real Woman means to you.

Gwynita Leggington is a writer on a mission. Her creative writing style speaks for itself. Gwynita is a published author, columnist, editor, freelance writer, poet and researcher. In addition, she is the owner of Infinity Literary Services.

Gwynita has written poetry, short stories and essays since the age of ten, and she has always enjoyed sharing her work with others. Gwynita realized at a very young age that she was destined to become a writer. She published her first essay entitled “America the beautiful,” at the age of ten, which appeared in a weekly television publication.

Throughout the years, her pieces have appeared in newspapers, programs and anthologies. In 1992, her poem “Everlasting Friendship” appeared in A View From the Edge (an anthology published through the International Library of Poetry). In 2006, her poom entitled “Where Is The Light,” appeared in Timeless Voiceless (International Library of Poetry). Gwynita’s articles have appeared in The Panther (PVAMU college newspaper) and in the Waller County News Citizen (weekly newspaper). In addition, her poems are featured on .

Gwynita published her first poetry book entitled “A Walk In My Shoes,” in March of 2007. Her book is composed of a variety of beautiful poems. This soulful and creative collection of poetry was published through Outskirts Press, Inc. Visit her website today:

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles



by: David W. Johnson, Jr.

Just wanted to share another motivational poem and thank all of you who take time to respond and show your support. Please leave your comments below if this topic touches your heart too. Everyone have a great week and God Bless you, one and all.

There are almost no place safe for our children these days
They are not safe playing in parks, rec. centers or churches
If we do not look out for our children properly, everyone pays
Away from our children’s sides adults just marches and marches

Laurel, Maryland a four-year-old child was sexually assaulted
Awful when a mother cannot worship and leave her child alone
PLEASE, everyone pray that this pedophile is quickly apprehended
From our neighborhoods decency and self-respect has all but gone

This horrible tragedy should awaken us to the need for togetherness
P. G. County as well as the State of Maryland sends their support
Time to show our disdain for all this rape, molesting and abusiveness
Citizens, you keep praying until this perpetrator is arrested and in court

Adults, we need to bring back communities that watches over children
This pervert assaulted three other young children before this incident
How we turn our backs or ignore such crimes I cannot comprehend
From adults and communities, children are facing total abandonment

Let this little four year old girl’s tragedy be a wake-up call to all America
You heard about this one but let me assure you there are thousands more
Black Americans behave worse than their ancestors kidnapped from Africa
Obsessed with drugs, numbers and gangs but education matters little anymore

Our World is quickly falling apart around us and we seem virtually unaware
Black teenager in Georgia given 10 year sentence for consensual oral sex
After serving two years, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled it was not fair
The girlfriend happened to be Caucasian, which made her boyfriend a reject

To African Americans, our justice system is mostly blind and so are we
Should it care about people who do not care about others or themselves?”
The positive things we could be doing with our lives, we are too blind to see
Stop waiting for others to save us or our children, UNITE and do it ourselves!

Brothers and Sisters, this is not a game, we are dying mentally and physically
What is happening to us right now we seem to have little or no comprehension
Set around playing numbers, high on drugs or alcohol acting so lackadaisically
For our children’s future adults tell me, “Why Are We Not Paying Attention?”

by: David W. Johnson, Jr.
Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles



by David W. Johnson, Jr.

Readers, please take a moment and read this wonderful piece by David. After reading please leave your comments below. Do you agree or disagree?

Look at you, running around, pants hanging of your behinds
Every other word out of your mouth is words of disrespect
Brothers are there just brains in your heads or empty minds
Your since of what makes a Man has taken a human wreck

Nothing is manly about having two or three women pregnant
Manly is a good education, good jobs or your own businesses
Smarten up and work with Sisters instead of being subservient
Come to things that matters, our Sisters have the aggressiveness

Sisters barely more than children themselves trying to be mothers
Plus side, were it not for them, children would be deserted at birth
Brothers will not give them money to buy children cheeseburgers
Come on my Brothers, be Men, show Sisters you have some worth

Instead of becoming a Tiger Woods or Oscar Joyner, you prefer T.I.
Tell me Brothers, what is it about crime and death you find appealing
For your future and our children’s future, you better give reality a try
Right now in a hearse you are riding or prison yards you are walking

Instead of targets for target practice, local police are now using you
Just another way to leave our Sisters behind raising babies we made
Brothers, give up stupid ways of life and find positive-ness to pursue
Everything our ancestors fought and died for we have nearly betrayed

Brothers, come on, we can turn things around, if we all would unite
Nothing positive we can gain by just killing others and one another
In our children, a desire for an education and success let us insight
Someone with a brain not a gun in their hand I want to call, Brother

Sisters much prefer Real Men driving Fords than thugs driving Benz’s
Would rather go with their men to college than set with them in court
Sisters do not need baby makers but Brothers that are Real Friends
If We Are To Survive “Brothers, Our Sisters Need Love and Support”

Brothers, Women Are In Need Of REAL MEN

Just Sharing. If You Agree, Pass It On
written by David W. Johnson, Jr.
Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved.


Brought to you by the Black Authors Network

Black Authors Network Blog, BAN Community Blog
Black History 365 Blogspot

Black Authors Network Radio Show

Meet us at: 9pm-10pm EST on Monday and Wednesday Nights

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles


Black Authors Network Radio Show

The Black Authors Network Radio Show

Are you one of the countless authors that continue to search for free and/or low cost ways to promote your books? You are not alone, however you have come to the right place. EDC Creations, The Black Authors Network, and the Sankofa Literary Society offers free and low cost promotional opportunities for today’s writers and poets.

The BAN show lineup offers new shows weekly filled with information that is sure to interest booklovers and writers who wish to be published, as well as those who need fresh ideas about how to market their books. Each guest will discuss their books or business 10-15 minutes and the publishing journey as a group chat.

Using author interviews as the theme or each show, book lovers get a first-hand look at “behind the book” news, as the authors and show host, Ella Curry, share the storyline of several new books each week on the BAN Radio Talk Show. New authors who are seeking to publish their first book or seasoned authors seeking to step up their book marketing game, will not be
disappointed. One of the standard questions asked of the author is, “As a writer, what are some of the most important things you use to market your books?” We come to you 3 times a week to entertain, enlighten, and to empower!

We are always looking for new ways to get the word out about great books, join us weekly to share your ideas, comments, and resources! If you would like to be considered for an author or a promotional interview, please contact Ella via email at:

If you would like to donate books to the Black Authors Network Radio Show weekly giveaways, please send books to the following address:

Ella Curry, EDC Creations
PO Box 7794
Langley Park, MD 20787

Black Authors Network Radio show
Meet us at: 9pm-10pm EST Monday and Wednesday nights
Authors dial-in number: (646) 200-0402

Chat live with the guests in our chat room during the show

Warmest regards,
Ella Curry, President/CEO EDC Creations
Black Author Network Radio-Founder
Sankofa Literary Society-Founder

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in EDC Creations


Black History Month Book Fair

Black History Month Online Book Fair

In honor of Black History Month, the Sankofa Literary Society is hosting its 2nd Annual Black History Month online book fair. This very unique online experience will showcase African-Americans in the literary world including authors and publishing leaders. The event will include an online chat and panel discussions broadcast over internet radio. It is focused on bringing back pride in African-American literature. Readers will be treated to weekly promotions, video and audio blogging, author showcases, noon time chats, open forum chat sessions and other fun and entertaining features. All events are free.

The Black History Month On-line Book Fair begins on January 25, 2009 and will continue until March 7, 2009. Each day members of the African American literary community will participate in daily online discussions at the event’s main site. Authors, agents, reporters, publishers, spoken word artists, poets and book store owners, will participate in these daily discussions. They will discuss African-American literacy and the importance of celebrating Black History all year long. At night there will be panel discussions on BAN radio. You can view the themes of the nightly broadcast here.

The event is currently being promoted by an AP wire service press releases, internet radio, 130 RSS feeds, and by public radio stations in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. Each day in February will feature a specific theme related to people of color. Some themes discussed so far include: African-American Pioneers and Legends, Motivating our Communities, African American Firsts, and Ethics of Literary Reviewers and Reporters. Some upcoming themes will be: Bringing Our Pride Back and Black Love.

The main feature of the online book fair is the nightly discussions with African American authors. The Black Authors Network, part of Blog Talk Radio, will host nightly panel discussions for the online Black History Month book fair. Starting at 9 pm EST, featured authors and panelists will call into the internet radio site to discuss the topic of the day and the show will run until 10 pm. Readers will be able to call in and participate in the discussion during the show as well. Readers will be able to participate in an online chat in the Black Authors Network chat room during the show. There will also be an after party at the event’s main blog after each show.

Another component of the online book fair is the Black History 365 Social Network. Readers can blog their experiences at the online book fair on this site. By visiting the site and registering for the newsletter, readers are eligible for free books and prizes. Readers can also support the authors by visiting the SLS Event Bookstore and purchasing their books. On one of the main book fair sites, participants can chat with authors throughout the day in the event chat room which is open 24 hours a day. Daily video blog presentations are also available. In addition, the SLS site features podcasts by African-American authors.

Each week, the website presents a list of 10 participating authors and visitors to the site, readers can click on the name of the author and listen to them present and promote their books. The list of authors changes weekly. There are some fun perks available to those who participate in the book fair. Visa gift cards worth $50 will be given away each week during the event. Free autographed books will also be given away to visitors of the radio show and event blog.

Professional bloggers will have a chance to win prizes if they support the authors during the book fair. This very unique and fun event has numerous things to offer African American book lovers and writers. Ella Curry, the event organizer, also hopes that non-African American readers will take part in the event to explore the fantastic offerings each night. There are 4 main websites associated with this book fair and it is well worth the time to visit them and enjoy this one-of-a kind event.

Related Links:

Black History Book Fair Information
Black History Book Fair Event Website
Black History 365 Social Network

Black Authors Network Radio Show
Meet us at: 9pm-10pm EST
Authors dial-in number: (646) 200-0402

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in EDC Creations


2nd Annual Black History Month Book Fair

2nd Annual Black History Month Book Fair
“Give the Gift of Knowledge”

January 25 – March 7, 2009
Totally Online at Black Authors Network Radio and Blogspot

Please join us for 42 nights of fun, wisdom, fellowship, and book previews, as well as author interviews. EDC Creations and the Sankofa Literary Society will host the annual Black History Month Internet Book Fair to bring together authors, community leaders and concerned citizens.

You can participate nightly from the comforts of your home! The event is held totally online with nightly panel discussions, seminars, live readings from new book releases, community town hall meetings and open mic poetry nights. Chat on our blog site by day and join us on the radio show by night, for 6 straight weeks!

Our theme is “Give the Gift of Knowledge.” We seek to bring together our modern day Griots to share with us the history of our people and to lead us into the future. Are you ready? Do you want to help us prepare an archive of African American legacies for your children? This is an open community forum for all races and cultures. Be the change that you want to see in our global community. Give the Gift of Knowledge.

The Black Authors Network (BAN) is dedicated to providing information to help black business owners and authors gain access to the global consumer and to helping promote the growth of black businesses and literature. The Black Authors Network, is here to bring people together, to create a dialogue, and share valuable resources.

Our goal is to be the most informative networking group, serving the unique needs of African American authors, businesses, organizations, and concerned parents who wish to improve literacy and strengthen the image of the African American community. For more information on nightly themes and promotions, enter here.

Black Authors Network Radio Show
Chat with us:
Weekly Showtime: 9pm-10pm EST
Authors dial-in number: (646) 200-0402

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in EDC Creations


Black Pearl: Melody Parker

EDC Creations’ What Matters the Most Series
Meet book lover Melody Parker

The EDC Creations series, “What Matters Most” gives our fans and magazine readers a chance to be seen too! We want our readers to know we appreciate them and care about “What Matters Most” in their lives. You too can share with us. Visit the Black Pearls Magazine and look for the tab that says, “2009 What Matters Most.” For now, let’s meet today’s spotlight reader…

Ella: Welcome Melody, tell us about you. What are your passions, where are you from, and what matters the most in your life.
MP: Hello my name is Melody Parker. It is a pleasure to meet you all today. I am a 38 yr. old women born and raised in Baltimore MD. with one daughter who was born on Christmas day in 1988. I have two sisters, I am the middle child. I met a guy name Derrick when I was 20 yrs. old who is my soul mate and my first love. I am what you would call a neat and clean freak. I love to cook , bake , clean, and shop in thrift stores . To me shopping, catching sales, along with reading a good book is like therapy. Most importantly I love to read. Reading is my passion. What matters the most to me is my family. I love my family. I know that I have the Lord Jesus Christ and I also know that I have my family no matter what.

Ella: What books have had the greatest impact on your life?
MP: Some of the books that have made an impact on my life would be The Coldest Winter Ever, Junkie, Whore, and Black and Ugly.

Ella: That is an interesting selection of books. What are you reading now and why did you select this book?
MP: Right now I am reading a book called ” The Clique. “A girl on my job gave me the book to read, because I ran out of books to read and needed to get to the book store. The book gets an ‘A’ from me.

Ella: What is your greatest childhood memory? Who helped shape this memory?
MP: My greatest child hood memory is going to my grandmother house on Christmas day. Every Christmas the whole family would go to my grandmother’s house to eat a big meal, exchange gifts and listen to our parents, aunts, and uncle sing Christmas songs. My mother has a beautiful voice. My grandmother helped shape this memory because it was her love and passion for Christmas that rubbed off on to me, until this day every Christmas is celebrated at my house.

Ella: If you could eliminate 2 social ills or threats in society what would they be?
MP: If I could eliminate 2 social ills they would be child abuse and gangs.

Ella: What accomplishments do you wish to achieve in 2009?
MP: I plan to travel more, buy a house, get married in June 2009, upgrade my book club ” Essential Women”, and start my own child care business working from home.

Readers, What Matters the Most in your life? Share with us below. Melody, thank you for sharing with us today. May all your dreams come true! EDC Creations wishes you the best today and for the rest of your life. Peace and many blessings.

Brought to you by:
Ella Curry, President/CEO EDC Creations
Black Author Network Radio-Founder
Sankofa Literary Society-Founder
Explore EDC Creations Black Pearls Magazine

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Featured Articles


Meet author Ebonee Monique

Meet author Ebonee Monique

Welcome to the Black Pearls Magazine, Ebonee. Tell us about you. Your passions and what matters the most in your life.

Well Ella and BPM family, my name is Ebonee Monique authoress of the soon-to-be released novel, “Suicide Diaries”. I am a bubbly, humorous dreamer. I’ve always known that I was a creative person by nature and, with the help of my grandmother, writing became second-nature to me.

I am passionate about perfecting my craft and telling stories that impact and depict real life. God, my family and my close friends are what matter most in my life.

Ella: It is great that you create stories that impact the lives of others. What books have had the greatest impact on your life?

Here are just a few of the books that had an influence on me.
:: The autobiography of Assata Shakur
:: 72 Hour Hold- BeBe Moore Campbell
:: Caught Up in The Rapture- Sheneska Jackson
(it was the first book that made me think I could be a writer too!)

Ella: Ebonee, you mentioned that writing became second-nature for you, tell us about your passion for writing and your journey. What’s new?
I hunger for writing and it, essentially, feeds all the cravings I have. I started out writing just for fun, not thinking it could ever lead to anything profitable or that anyone would buy. I started writing my first book, “One Last Try” (not released), in 2001. I took long breaks and finally finished it in 2005.

Then I started writing short stories, while also working on a full-length book, and submitted one of those short stories for an anthology contest. That anthology, “The Triumph of My Soul”, catapulted me being published. The publisher, Elissa Gabrielle, has been instrumental in my debut novel, “Suicide Diaries”, being published. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in my dorm room writing my very first book and here I am on the verge of my debut novel being released; my how time flies!

Ella: What accomplishments do you wish to achieve in 2009?
To continue to walk in the path that God has set forth for me. Of course I’d love my book to sell beyond my wildest dreams and affect people deeply.

Thank you Ebonee Monique for joining us today. BPM and EDC Creations readers, please give Ebonee a hand for a great interview. If you would like for Ebonee to answer questions about the book, please leave them in the comments section below.

For more information visit the links below:

“Suicide Diaries”- February 2009!

**NEW** Official blog of Ebonee Monique

Brought to you by:
Ella Curry, President/CEO EDC Creations
Black Author Network Radio-Founder
Sankofa Literary Society-Founder

Explore EDC Creations Black Pearls Magazine


Posted by on December 31, 2008 in Meet the Author


Inspirational: Don’t get bitter, get better

Inspirational: Don’t get bitter, get better
by Paulette Harper

Ruth 1:20-22 (Amplified Bible)
And she said to them, Call me not Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, but the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?

If you have never read this story, here we have a woman whose life was drastically changed. First, she and her husband, Elimelech, and their two sons left Bethlehem because of a severe famine. Looking for a better life, they journeyed to Moab. While in Moab, Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, dies, and ten years later, her two sons die, leaving her to care for her two daughters-in-law. Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, but upon returning she has no husband or sons, instead a bitter heart.

I can’t recall how many times I have read this passage of scripture and each time God would speak to my heart. I believe all the scriptures are written to teach us valuable lessons that will be taught through life’s experiences. I had no idea the one day I hade to practice applying this principle to my life.

Just as Naomi did not understand why God had chosen to take her through one of the most challenging experiences in life, I pondered as well. Just like a child growing up in life you have expectation and plans that usually don’t include bruises and bumps in the road. But I found that even when the unexpected things in life do occur, God has a plan and purpose to make something good out of the worse situations.

At 42 years of age I found hope, encouragement and a renewed spirit while going through a divorce. Although my plight was not one in which I welcomed or embraced I had to accept that this part of my life God had already known about before the foundation of the world.

He was taking me through one of the most unpleasant times in my life but I had to trust that the one in which I had given my life to knew exactly what was best for me and there was something about my life that He was going to reveal and what I had faced and conquered was really going to alter my life forever.

I had one choice to make either I was going to allow myself to be bitter with what He had allowed to happen or I was going to let the situation develop and make me into a better person, I decided to use the situation to make me better.

God was using my situation to bring me to a place of maturity, confidence and total dependency on Him. I learned not to look at my current condition although quite hard at times but I had to realize that some day God would show me why He had chosen me to carry this particular cross. A lot of things we go through in life are not for us at all but it’s for someone else, who is in need of encouragement, help and support.

The bigger picture
There was a bigger picture that God had for my life, a picture that was revealed at the beginning of 2007. God wanted me to begin telling people what He had did for me during my ordeal and How He carried me through the rages of life. How would God want me to do that’s? Since I was already a minister and speaking was part of my life how was I going to carry out this mandate from God? God didn’t take long to reveal how He wanted me to accomplish that and it was through writing. He has expanded my ministry to include writing about my own personal experiences. My book “That was then, this is now this broken vessel restored” (Tate Publishing & Enterprises, May 2008) was birth from my pain and no tear was shed in vain.

A 152 page turner, It is my own personal story of deception, heartache and ultimate triumph. In my book That was then, this is now Paulette take’s you on a journey from beginning to end with the stages in which God allowed her to take while going through this painful experience.

In 10 chapters I masterfully uncover the hidden obstacles I faces as the “first lady” and how I eventually broke through those barriers.

So many times I wanted to give up, throw in the towel and quit but something inside me would not let me. Gods’ spirit was constantly bringing comfort to me, guiding me and assuring me that everything was going to work out for my good.

Romans 8:28 (Amplified Bible)
We are assured and know that ]God being a partner in their labor all things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to and for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose.

I encourage you this day. Even when it appears that things don’t always go according to our plans, God plans are better. Choose to let the disappointments in life make you into a better person. Don’t allow your heart to become bitter with was has happened, embrace the changes, embrace the new things, embrace the season of new beginnings.

Written by Paulette Harper. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

What are your thoughts on this article? Leave your questions or comments below.

Thank you,
Ella Curry, EDC Creations


Paulette Harper is an emerging Christian Author making her debut with her first inspirational book “That Was Then, This Is Now, This Broken Vessel Restored”, a compelling story of deception, heart-ache and ultimate victory. In 10 chapters I masterfully uncover the hidden obstacles I faces as the “first lady” and how I eventually broke through those barriers.

A native of Pittsburg, Ca, Paulette travels as an Inspirational speaker teaching people how to overcome life’s unexpected experiences by delivering a strong message of hope.

Beyond her writing ability she has a passion to lead people to a clear and precise understanding of how life challenges can become one’s ultimate source of victory by sharing solid, biblical principles that will enable people to find a way out of every trial so they can reach their God given potential.

Paulette has been featured in EDC Creations’ Black Pearls Magazine, Grace and Mercy Magazine, WOW Magazine and will be featured in Inspired Women, Mentoring Moments and EKG Literary Magazine.

She has been interviewed live on Channel 26, Gospel Search TV, San Francisco Radio Station KPOO, Artistfirst Radio Station, Access TV Channel 29 San Francisco.

Her online articles can be found in, Urban Christian Fiction, Victorious Café, and Christian Women on line.

Paulette resides in Northern California and is a member of NewBirth Church in Pittsburg under the leadership of Pastor Carl Smith.

To schedule Paulette Harper for a book club meeting, interview, book signing, speaking engagement, workshop, seminar, or other appearance, please contact her at

For more information about “That Was Then, This Is Now” visit:


Meet the Women of Character Book Club

Intimate Conversation with the Women of Character Book Club

Welcome Black Authors Network, join me in welcoming Jenelle of the Women of Character Book Club. Please take a moment and read the exciting Intimate Conversation and leave your questions or comments below.

EDC: Tell us how The Women of Character Book Club was developed.
WOC: I was introduced to Christian fiction in 2004 by an angel in disguise, Pamela, who suggested that I read Jamellah Ellis’ book, “That Faith, That Trust, That Love.” This novel was given to me at a time in my life when I was going “THROUGH IT” both spiritually and emotionally! It was as if the Lord spoke directly to me through this novel. Soon after, I began reading so much that it had become like oxygen; I needed it to survive. This divine intervention caused a new-found interest in Christian fiction, which was very empowering and inspirational because I was able to see myself in many of the characters with a spiritual lesson being revealed in each one. I believe that because of the seed that was sown into my life, it is now my ministry to share the word of God by blessing others with the opportunity of experiencing God’s love through Christian fiction.

WOC: The Women of Character Book Club is located in Orlando, Florida and was ‘born’ in 2005, with the makings of eight women. The interest and excitement of the group members sort of fueled a reading frenzy and is continually growing by word of mouth. We are a group of women of all ages from different backgrounds, but share a common bond- we love the Lord and enjoy reading Christian Fiction. The fellowship and new friendships that have been formed have really been a blessing. Our website is:

Our mission
To provide women an arena to fellowship, encourage and empower each other by discussing personal experiences as it relates to the Word of God through Christian Fiction. The “Women of Character Book Club” has a sincere desire to be used as a vessel to enable a passionate discovery of each woman’s destiny, to share the Word of God, and to advocate for women with compassion.
Romans 1:12- “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”

EDC: What format do your meetings take place?
WOC: We currently meet on the 3rd Saturday every other month at a member’s church. We always open up in prayer for the Lord to lead our discussions. When we have women that are visiting, we discuss our mission statement and review the importance of confidentiality. A designated member will open up with an Ice Breaker. This is a time for them to share a word of inspiration, empowerment and sister-building.

EDC: What do you define as Quality Literature?
In speaking to several authors, it is my impression that quality literature is when an author allows the Lord to minister through them onto the pages of a novel. It is through the story lines portrayed in the novels that hit really close to home, which allows an opportunity for self-discovery. Our discussions are based on real-life experiences as it relates to the word of God.

EDC: Who are some authors that your group has featured?
WOC: We have had the opportunity to talk with authors such as Kendra Norman-Bellamy, Stacy Hawkins Adams, Victoria Christopher Murray, Sherri L. Lewis and ReShonda Tate Billingsley via speakerphone. We were blessed to have met Patricia Haley at a book signing for “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.” We have also been blessed to have Tia McCollors visit us to discuss “The Truth about Love.”

We have open membership at this time. For more information, please e-mail Jenelle at

EDC: What are you reading now?

WOC: We are currently reading, “Chosen”, written by Patricia Haley. This novel was sent to me by Patricia’s publicist. I enjoyed it so much that it became one of our selections. The release date is January 6, 2009.

EDC: How does the Women of Character Book Club stand the test of time?
WOC: I feel our book club has lasted as long as it has, mainly because God has always been the center of every decision. In the beginning the majority of us came together with mostly one thing in common, and that was our love of reading. Over time a bond was formed from the discussions and personal testimonies. So over the years it has become about more than reading a book. We are excited to see each other, to encourage and be encouraged in our daily walk. We are a small intimate group that truly love each other.

The W.O.C is also a safe haven, a place where members can share their joys and sorrows, it’s a sisterhood built on faith, bound by our desire to go beyond the boundary of books and see what God is speaking into our hearts and minds. It is for this reason that I think we have been able to maintain and grow. The W.O.C has allowed me to experience sisterly fellowship with women who understand that we are all ‘Water Colored Pearls’ (a novel written by Stacy Hawkins Adams that was our 2007 book of the year).

Thanks for giving the Women of Character an opportunity to share with you why we love our book club. We ask for your prays and your continued support, and when you need a break, grab a good book, kick back, let go, and let God!!

Jenelle, it has been a pleasure speaking with you. The Women of Character Book Club is a wonderful literary group. Thank you for Giving the Gift of Knowledge.

Ella Curry, president EDC Creations


Interview with Real Page Turners Book Review

Intimate Conversation with Real Page Turners Book Review
Meet Monique Bruner (Deltareviewer)

Monique Bruner is an avid reader who reviews books for To her credit, Bruner co-wrote a textbook entitled, Strategies That Empower People for Success in College and Life; co-editor of Delta Girls: Stories of Sisterhood; and contributor to Violets.

She spends family time watching movies, putting together jigsaw puzzles, and watching football with her husband and two daughters.

Known for her quick wit and contagious laughter Monique has dedicated endless amount of time and hard work to support the programs of her beloved sorority, DELTA SIGMA THETA Sorority, Inc. and currently serves the community as President of the Oklahoma City Urban League Young Professionals. Monique’s online name is Deltareviewer and must be reading the page turning novel right now…

Check out then send an email to or via myspace to get your book reviewed.

Tell us a few books that you would define as “Literary Hallmarks.”
Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
Hip Hop Speaks to Children by Nikki Giovanni
Divine Destiny by Gwyneth Bolton

How did your organization develop?
I started reviewing as a suggestion from my husband. At the time, money was short and I was spending all of our extra money on books. I had checked out and read all of the African American books in our small town public library which left me without entertainment during the day. My husband found RAWSISTAZ online and recommended that I email the website about reviewing (hoping I could get books free). Well, I did and Tee said she wasn’t taking on any new reviewers at the time and referred me to Sharon (Loose Leave Reviews). I contacted her and she took me in on her team of 7 reviewers. I’ve been reviewing ever since…that was about 7 years ago.

What is the primary mission of the group?
The primary mission of Real Page Turners is to promote African American authors through publishing book reviews and information about books. I’ve added children’s literature and self-help books to the fold this year as I have many readers email me about those areas. I do this time intense work strictly for the love of reading and sharing.

Do you have outreach programs or events that we can support?
Every year we sponsor book events in the state of Oklahoma …usually in February and June focusing on self-published African American authors. During the events we give autographed copies of books away to encourage literacy. We also sponsor writing events in the area schools by spotlighting African American authors. While in the schools that authors discuss why they started writing, how they got published and the students can get started.

Name 3 authors you would like to have on a phone chat.
Brandon Massey
Colleen Payne

If you could have a book discussion with any author alive or dead, who would it be?
Octavia Butler. Her writing was extraordinary. The descriptions would give me goose bumps and even though it was sci-fi there was always that this could really happen. While reading her books you can get lost in another world and the imagery in her words is like watching a movie but you weren’t.

What advice would you give authors about approaching book clubs to read their work?
Produce an interesting press kit, tell something about yourself and how you came to writing, offer discounts for books, and consider offering PDF’s or ebooks at a reduced price. Book clubs love to read new authors (if you have your stuff together) so make sure you have some good editing.

What projects do you have coming up?
In 2009, we will team with The G.R.I.T.S. and offer book reviews on podcasts. This is the way of the future and as always The G.R.I.T.S. is on the forefront. I’m glad Marlive asked us to come on board.

We will also work with the OKC Urban League Young Professionals on the Celebration of African American Authors 2009. The event will be on February 21, 2009 from 11-3p at Full Circle Book Store in 50 Penn Place Mall located at 1900 NW Expressway #1.

Add all of your contact information and website addresses at the end.
Real Page Turners
PO BOX 13204
Oklahoma City, OK 73113

Interview created by Ella Curry and Monique (Deltareviewer) Bruner
Check out some of my reviews at –


Jesus Loves Me-This I Know by Linda R. Herman

Jesus Loves Me-This I Know by Linda R. Herman

How do I know Jesus loves me?
I know Jesus loves me because despite His busy schedule, He took the time to create me 33 years ago. In creating me, Jesus loved me so much that He gave me the gift of a maternal grandmother who would ultimately play the role of my mother and best friend for thirty years.

His love for me didn’t stop there. He blessed me with a son who has matured into a handsome young man at age 16. And when I thought it wasn’t in the cards for me to have more kids, He gave me the gift of a daughter, thirteen years after the birth of my son. That is love that only Jesus can give.

After years of illness, my grandmother died in January 2006, but I’m still blessed with her memory, spirit, and love. Physically she is no longer here; spiritually, she will never leave me.

I have so many reasons to give Him glory and praise. For all the things I don’t have, He has blessed me abundantly in other areas of life.

I don’t have tons of money but I thank God my kids have good health, shelter, food, and clothes on their backs.

I don’t have a dream job, but the one I have pays the bills and allows me to fulfill some of our wants.

My Father has been good to me, far better than I’ve been to myself, and to Him I give all the praise and glory. I will acknowledge Him in my day-to-day life, in all that I do for I know without Him, there’d be no me.

Yes, Jesus loves me and my mission is to show that I love Him, too!

Linda R. Herman


Meet Bruce George, Co-Founder of Def Poetry Jam

Intimate Conversation with Bruce George, Co-Founder of Def Poetry Jam

“The Bandana Republic , a Literary Anthology by Gang Members and Their Affiliates.” by Bruce George, Founder/Managing Editor, Louis Reyes Rivera, Co-Founder/Editor and Hall of Fame Football Legend/Actor Jim Brown has written the Foreword.

“The Bandana Republic is the most provocative, researched, educational, opinionated piece of work that I’ve ever read . . . In its own provocative way, The Bandana Republic makes you think, reflect, cry. I recommend to all of you, and to all people who purchase this anthology: read it, learn from it, try to draw your own conclusions. What you have in front of you is a reflection of every revolutionary, every victim that ever lived in this country. Color, gender, race, religion . . . it does not matter. Only the individual dealing with correctness, fairness, love and caring, multiplied a billion times, will ever bring about the proper change in human behavior. Read this anthology, and then check yourself.” — The Foreword by Jim Brown

The Bandana Republic is an intergenerational, multi-racial anthology edited by two former gang members turned cultural workers. The Bandana Republic showcases the creative impulse that, along with violence, has always been a part of membership in urban gangs.

Black Authors Network, join host Ella Curry as she has a one-on-one with Bruce George, Co-Founder of Def Poetry Jam. Let’s find out what it’s like to become a famous writer and poet!

Ella: Bruce, where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
Answer: I was born and raised in New York City , and I guess I started writing at the tender age of nine yrs old. My writing was strongly influenced by the fact that I was very much a loner and needed an outlet to express all of those pent up feelings that most if not all young people experience. So my writing was more along the lines of poetry, quotes and short stories of my experience.

Ella: Bruce, tell us about your passion for writing.
Answer: I have always had a passion for expressing myself via poetry, prose, quotes etc… as a result of being raised by a single parent (mother) and not having any siblings around to bounce my feelings off of. In the beginning my writing served more as a therapeutic outlet as opposed to a creative outlet. But as time had passed I started to develop the creative end and thus I was fast forwarded to where I am today.

Ella: Please finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
Answer: “I am Powerful because I’m a child of God and was created in his image. I’m powerful not because of whom I am, but because of whose I am.”

Ella: Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) states, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts. Was there ever a point in your career, when how your life didn’t match the theory? And how did you change the facts?
Answer: I feel everything in life is in divine order and that applies to my career as well. My life has always matched that divine principle. If something does not fit right with my spirit then I discard it and move in another direction. Of course this applies to my career moves as well as my personal life.

Ella: What do you love most about this book?
Answer: My book “The Bandana Republic..” showcases the poetry, prose, short stories and quotes from current/former gangs members. They are the main characters in the book. And what I love about them is that they were courageous enough to express their most inner thoughts which entails letting their guard down and allowing themselves to be an open book (pardon the pun) for others to explore and experience which is a feat for them since they are so aloof by nature.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
Answer: In terms of my book the first thing that people gravitate towards is the colorful bandanas on the cover. The cover has about eight different colored bandanas that are laid out in a beautiful tapestry. Due to the fact that gang violence is on the rise across the country and around the world, I feel that a lot of people are buying the anthology just out of curiosity. People want to know what’s in the mind of a gang member. What drives them? Why do they do what they do?

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Answer: We would love for people to get a better understanding of people in gang culture. We want people to have a wider perspective on them and why they do what they do and who they are. Our hope is that after a person reads the book they will be less biased against anyone whom they see or perceive to be in a gang. We want readers to become more aware of the social conditions that lead to a person joining a gang in the first place.

Ella: What is the one most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
Answer: What I have learned but am not surprised about is the amount of resistance that publishers have towards any literature that challenges the status quo. You would think that since the “Comstock Laws” of the 1950’s was settled by the Supreme Court publishers would be more receptive towards views and opinions that don’t fit the contours of the powers that be.

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
Answer: My most significant achievement as a writer I feel is the connection that readers have to my work. People relate to my words! People feel a strong sense of identification with my way of expressing my train of thought. To have people love your work is very rewarding.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Answer: My advice to any and all writers new and old is to be true to your voice. Also allow yourself to grow by increasing your range. We all know where we need to grow and develop. It’s very important for you to read as much as possible so you can have more to draw from as well as to incorporate into your own work.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
Answer: God willing you can expect many more creative anthologies as well as my own personal book about my life etc… Also you can expect to see my imprint in TV, film and theatre as well. Stay blessed!

Thanks BAN and Ella for having me stop by and chat!

Bruce George, Co-Founder of Def Poetry Jam, Founder of The Bandana Republic

Brought to yo by Ella Curry, president of EDC Creations

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Posted by on December 22, 2008 in Author Interviews


Intimate Conversation with author Rae Lori

Meet author Rae Lori

Author of the new release A Kiss of Ashen Twilight
(To be released February 2nd, 2009)

Rae Lori has written comic book and film related articles throughout her writing career. Writing under various pen names, she has written books, novellas and short stories that run the genre gamut of science fiction, fantasy, short roman noir and paranormal romance and many more waiting to drip onto the page. She has published works with Freya’s Bower, Wild Child Publishing and The Wild Rose Press. Her two series The Ashen Twilight Series and The Awakening Series are set to be released in 2009 from Lyrical Press, Inc. and Linden Bay Romance, respectively.

Intimate Conversation with author Rae Lori and Ella Curry of EDC Creations

Ella: Rae, tell us about your upcoming book, “A Kiss of Ashen Twilight”, which will be released February 2nd, 2009 by Lyrical Press, Inc.

Ella, let me sum it up for you: Will it be love or death when fairy and vampire come together?An attack on her family drives Ariya to seek protection at the Ashen Twilight House. Once there, she encounters only more danger, along with the dark rescuer who haunts her dreams.

Jace Archane is a vampire on the hunt, and distractions like Ariya are the last thing he wants or needs. But their survival might just hinge on one another when a vicious elemental creature threatens the underground world of Nightwalkers, Lycans and Shifter Elves. Caught between a shared enemy and otherworldly love, Jace and Ariya must unite before fear can tear them apart. Read an excerpt now

Ella: Who did you write this book for?
I would classify A Kiss of Ashen Twilight as an urban fantasy romance. I wrote it for fans of paranormal romance and urban fantasy and also fantasy in general. The speculative genre as a whole offers so much opportunity for some great storytelling and exploring different worlds beyond our own. I grew up loving sci-fi and fantasy for this reason and adding some romance as a backdrop invites the reader to follow these characters as they fall in love, fight the baddies and finally end up together in the end.

Ella: Rae, could you image your life without writing today?
No way! *laughs* I love writing too much and I really believe this has been my dream. I always loved telling stories since I can remember and to be able to do it professionally while getting to know different readers and fellow authors is a dream come true.

Ella: Do you feel writing is for those trained to write or for anyone who has a story to tell?
I think anyone who has a story to tell can be a writer. That’s probably what really makes a writer’s works attractive to readers. You can teach the basic mechanics of storytelling and all the techniques but if the passion isn’t there to write a story and its characters, readers can feel that right away and the story will sadly suffer for it. It’s pretty wild but I’ve seen it happen.

Ella: What is the best thing about being a published author?
Probably getting to know the readers of my stories and interacting with my fellow writers. You really come across a lot of different kinds of people and you see how a story has an affect on someone. Readers and book lovers are really passionate people and they put their trust into an author once they know they can deliver a great story after another. So it’s great to see that passion for storytelling in readers and in the authors that pen the stories. It almost seems like a different world.

Ella: When can we expect to see you touring online or on the road?
I’ll be working on the next book in the Ashen Twilight series as well as my Awakening series which focuses on different tribes of shapeshifters and some internal political struggles within the groups. I love writing paranormals because it offers so much in the way of exploring cultures in the speculative context.

I’ll be touring a lot online, doing interviews, group tours, contests for readers and offering lots of promotional material to tie in with my current releases. I’ll also be attending a writer’s symposium on Second Life, for those in-world, and have a few conventions in 2009 that I’m currently working on attending.

You can catch where I’m going to be next on my event calendar on my website. Readers are more than welcome to join my mailing list to keep in the know of my upcoming releases and news. 🙂

Thanks so much for having me, Ella!

Contact info for author Rae Lori
Website –
Blog –

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Posted by on December 22, 2008 in Author Interviews


Free Grant Money


Meet Author Lonnie E Pruitt

Meet Author Lonnie E Pruitt

Lonnie E. Pruitt stirs the Christian heartstrings with the fantastic book Prayer Is Our Power (ISBN: 9781432732691) a satisfying collection of odes touching on what it means to walk with God. The miracle of nature, the delight of surrendering to the Lord, and the joy of spiritual love are just a few of the many themes touched on here. The more than eighty poems chronicle a range of spiritual experiences—from that first introduction to the Bible to the eventual constant veneration of and service to God—with grace and beauty.

Through it all, Pruitt’s moving verse shows an uncanny ability to harness the music and weight of words. Poems like “Making My Way Like Jesus,” “Count on Me,” and “Headed to Heaven” kindle the spiritual drive, reminding readers of the awesome power and love of God.Inspiring, affirming, and uplifting, Prayer Is Our Power is food for the soul of Christians both young and old.

“We all want to believe in something. I’ve found the best place to start is to look deep within your own heart. Prayer is the most powerful way to communicate, connecting your thoughts with God. These poems of prayers and messages,will enable you to see and feel the true beauty of life, and in trouble times, remind you that you’re loved, by a glorious God.

Lonnie E. Pruitt is a veteran of the U.S. Army and Air Force. “I’m a simple and obedient servant.

Ella: Lonnie, where did you grow up?
I was born in a small town, Hempstead, TX and raised in Houston, TX I started writing poems mostly about love, making up, breaking up, and all the ups and down that usually is centered about that word called love.

Ella: Lonnie, tell us about your new book.
The book I have written, Prayer Is Our Power, actually the title explains itself. There is and always be power in prayer, these poems and the messages I have written, are words not only to comfort the heart, they become tools to build that personal relationship with God.

We all want to believe in something, I’ve found to harness any belief; the best place to start is deep within your own heart. Words about my passion for writing are very simple, God has done so much for me, and to show and display my love and thankfulness, it time for all the children to do their part in do His will. Theory is only the moving of thoughts trying to nail down a reality, while facts are either situations or circumstances, being brought the forefront of what is that reality. In my life so many things have came and passed, but the key to life is not just knowing your name, but truly discovering who you are, without that your sense of direction as no chance to evolve in a beautiful or beneficial outcome.

Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
My main characters, the children of God, and the almighty spirit, what I like about them, a very easy answer, the love for all, and their well-being.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
This book Prayer Is Our Power, I truly believe that the words was greatly inspired by God, to not only help me, but the help other, it’s a book that will lift your heart, and the words will nurse your pain, in all it’s a book to hopefully put you in a state of mind to thankful for even the little. Making you realize it blessing just to wake up

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
The most important thing I would love for readers to gain, is know everyone is going through something, and you’re not alone, because the Lord will always be there for you, with a love greater than a mere thought. With God there are know real surprises, just amazement!

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
What I have achieved has a writer is the joy of giving back, with a strong usefulness in my part toward the betterment of humankind.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
My advice to anyone that has the passion for writing, is to write what you feel, whether it be for joy of it, or on a serious note. Your gift may help to put joy in someone’s life or ever bring a smile to their face. There’s not I would change, in times latter years of my life the path, is beautiful and it keeps getting better.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
What you can expect down the road is a constant effort to write and repeat in voice what God has inspired me to do.

Contact author Lonnie E Pruitt
Phone: 281-501-3585

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Posted by on December 22, 2008 in Meet the Author


A Writer’s Orgasm by Marissa Monteilh

A Writer’s Orgasm by Marissa Monteilh

Recently, readers have asked why I decided to write erotica after writing seven mainstream titles. For me, it was a natural transition to write erotica, being that thus far, all of my books have included very steamy scenes and intense sexual connections. I’ve worked hard to make sure that each encounter, whether it involves a threesome or an oral sex scene between two women, is necessary for the evolution of the story and mainly, for purposes of defining those characters. Erotica or not, it’s a story.

I enjoy writing sex scenes, but more importantly, I enjoy writing about the lives of individuals who are either positively or negatively affected by sex. Whether it be swingers or sexaholics, or women who have been sexually repressed and are now ready to breakout and get naughty, sex is a part of all of our lives. After all, the revolution of sex cannot be ignored. I feel that sex can be a character in itself. It can be a villain and it can be a sanctuary. We can choose to go with it, or choose to resist it for religious reasons or ethical reasons or for purposes of detoxification.

One’s response to sex says a lot about their morals and willpower and upbringing. I, for one, am very sexually liberated and have always had a lust for life. It’s important to me that women enjoy themselves and pay close attention to where their ideals about sex came from. We’ve been told early on to keep our legs closed and to save ourselves for our husbands. I don’t believe that boys are not put under the same type of pressure.

Actually, they learn to conquer and pursue and society has this, “boys will be boys” attitude (which should also change), whereas girls are taught that if we don’t keep our vaginas to ourselves, we’ll be labeled as non-virtuous sluts, far from marriage material.

I am a strong advocate of safe sex, though I do think sex is meant to be enjoyable and that women need to love and explore their bodies and learn about what pleases them so that they can express their needs openly, without shame and without judgment. I have a post-chapter in Erotic City called Women Have Wet Dreams, Too, which is written from the point of view of the main character, Milan Kennedy who owns a swingers’ club. She’s very comfortable with her sexuality and enjoys spreading the word about guilt-free sex for women.

When I conducted research for Erotic City, I attended quite a few sex clubs and interviewed many lifestyle members. The common trait I found was that these individuals don’t have as many hang-ups about sex as most people do, though some would argue that swingers are dysfunctional or that they’re sexual deviants. I’ve addressed this controversy in Erotic City, which is one reason why the topic of swinging was so intriguing to me.

I’m enjoying the experience of writing erotica and I hope that you enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy bringing them to you. Whether writing mainstream or erotica, I put a lot of work into the psychology of my characters. It is my intention to make sure that the main characters each have something they want and something they fear. I make a point to remind myself that I’m not writing about what I would do. I’m writing about what the characters would do. It’s their story, not mine. It’s my desire that you enjoy the stories of my characters, and that those characters stay in your head long after the last page because you fall in love with them or worry about them or love to hate them, because you care about their journey. It is my desire, as Pynk, that you are satisfied. That, to me, would be orgasmic.

Copyright © 2008 by Pynk

Pynk is the pseudonym for all erotica titles by author Marissa Monteilh, a former model, television news reporter and commercial actress, who has written six mainstream titles, May December Souls, The Chocolate Ship, Hot Boyz, Make Me Hot, Dr. Feelgood, and Something He Can Feel, as well as a short story called Mariah’s Gotta Have It, which was included in an erotica anthology titled Morning, Noon, and Night: Can’t Get Enough.

Pynk’s first sexy title, Erotic City, drops in November 2008, and is the story of a woman named Milan Kennedy who is the owner of a popular swingers club in Atlanta called Erotic City. The second Pynk title, Sexaholics, stars Miki Summers, and is set to hit the shelves in October 2009. Both titles are from Grand Central Publishing.

Originally from Los Angeles, Pynk now resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

Stay tuned for more news from Pynk regarding other future titles, as well as hot Pynk merchandise as items become available on the shop page, including Pynk’s Hard Candy book thongs, and Pynk’s Y-string underwear. After all, the Y in Pynk stands for Y-trail.

Pynk wants you to live your sexy dreams! (consenting adults 21 and over, no glove no love) Website:

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Posted by on December 22, 2008 in Featured Articles


An Old Lesson Proves True by S. B. Redd

An Old Lesson Proves True by S. B. Redd

Early in a different profession, it was impressed upon me that three things were most important: people, places, and communication.

In the original context that I first heard this, a show producer surmised the formula to the success of the former American Sportsman weekly television series hosted by Curt Gowdy during the 1960s and 1970s was based on the aforementioned elements.

I found that to be true even in my former profession; for that matter, any profession that involved establishing working relationships. Without any of the three, we essentially have nothing and we’re left alone.

· People: It sort of speaks for itself. There is the cliché that no man is an island unto himself. The saying is true. Few people can live lives as a recluse. Those who cannot relate to people have issues that need to be addressed by professional supervision.

I’ve learned as a book author the way that I interact with people is paramount to my success. And in the publishing world, or any other business endeavor, we are not able to remain in existence without the relationships that we’ve established with our readers, customers, or clients. Some times it’s that relationship that makes the difference in our success or failure.

· Places: I remember back in high school a former teacher made note to our inability to get out and interact among people in different places has a strong impact on the way we perceive life. He made reference to a study that was made after the Watts riots of the 1960s in which many of the residents had ventured no farther than 20 square blocks from where they lived.

In this increasingly diverse and interrelated society, we need to be able to interact with people from all sectors of life. Alluding back to my former profession, an instructor of mine once said it is imperative that we have openness about ourselves. Openness means we’re not quick to judge others based on our limited perceptions and attitudes.

· Communication: In its purest definition, it is the process by which one person transmits information to another individual. The person that transmits the information is the sender and the person on the other end is the receiver. These roles reverse in the process.

In other words, we must be able to effectively interact with our readers, clients, and customers. Those who lack in this area have great difficulty of building successful business relationships. Of the two, I find that the receiver is probably the most important party in the communications model. That same instructor who shared with me the importance of openness also said we must be good listeners. How are we able to understand the needs of our clients and customers? How do we sometimes gain a reader, client, or customer? Some times it’s a matter of communication and listening to that person.

About S.B. Redd
S.B. Redd is the author of, which will be released February 11, 2009 through Xpress Yourself Publishing. Visit his network site at or his social network at

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Posted by on December 22, 2008 in Featured Articles


Darkness and the Devil Behind Me

Trailer for Darkness and the Devil Behind Me by Persia Walker

Darkness and the Devil Behind Me
Christmas 1923: Esther Todd is a lovely young pianist, a rising star. One month later, she’s on the Most Wanted List. She has vanished along the snowy streets of a stormy night in Harlem and thieves have hit the home of her society patron, pulling off a million- dollar heist.

Are the disappearance and the robbery coincidence or conspiracy? Somebody knows, but nobody’s talking. Three years later, the puzzles remain unsolved.

As a crime reporter, Lanie Price covered the initial case. Now a frustrated society columnist, she’s ready for a change. It comes in the form of Esther’s sister, Ruth.

Desperate for closure, Ruth begs Lanie to dedicate her Christmas column to the case. Maybe someone, somewhere will remember something.Seeking fresh material, Lanie starts asking hard questions, the dangerous kind, just about guaranteed to get her killed.

Meet Persia Walker: As the author of Harlem Redux, she was a recipient of the Go On Girl! Author of the Year Award. She has worked for The Associated Press in Arkansas; Washington, DC; and New York.

She has also written for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc., (RFE) in Munich, worked as a freelance book editor, and done cultural reporting and voice work for European publications. She has degrees from Swarthmore College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Persia Walker is fluent in German, breathtakingly disorganized, and sporadically inspired to cook. Her perfect Sunday morning includes a lengthy and lazy browse through The New York Times online. For more information, read her blog, Criminal Musings.


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Posted by on December 22, 2008 in Book Spotlights


Intimate Conversation with Ashea Goldson

Intimate Conversation with Ashea Goldson

Author of The Lovechild

The Lovechild
is a riveting ride through the life of Makaeli Lovechild Hunt, a successful fashion designer who struggles with her biracial identity and her spirituality. Born into a dysfunctional family, and enduring many hardships, she eventually becomes estranged from them. She escapes to Italy where she dives into her career and masks her resentment for her family, for God, and for herself. Finally, a family emergency forces her to face her tumultuous past.

In seven life altering days, she discovers what forgiveness really means and amidst crises painful enough to make her turn her back on God forever, she learns what it means to make her turn her back on God forever, she learns what it means to be God’s lovechild.

It is a story of redemption and re-dedication. It’s a story about how God’s overwhelming, unconditional love can lift us from whatever pit we’re in, no matter how it looks, no matter what people say. It’s a story that confirms our victory in Christ Jesus.

Share with us a literary moment with Ashea Goldson and Ella Curry

Ella: Ashea, finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
I am powerful because the joy of The Lord is my strength. I don’t let circumstances overpower me but I believe God’s word, stand on it, and wait for it to come to pass, without wavering or doubting. It’s my faith in Jesus Christ that makes me powerful.

Ella: Albert Einstein stated, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”- Was there ever a point in your career, when how your life didn’t match the theory? And how did you change the facts?
Absolutely. In fact, about six years ago I had an epiphany . I was sitting in my office having a simple conversation with my business partner and closest friend when she mentioned a writer from the newspaper. I don’t remember what the specifics were. All I remember saying is that I was a writer.

And do you know what she said? She said “Really, I never knew that.” That statement cut me to the core, forcing me to take a long hard look at my life. Why would someone who was as close to me as she was not know that I was a writer. It was obvious to me that writing was in my heart . However, it also became obvious to me that no one else knew it because I was not writing.

It was then that I began to examine my life. The facts definitely fit the theory. I had stopped writing, and even recreational reading, two of my once favorite activities. I had been so busy doing life on my own terms that I had gotten totally off track for years. It was then that I began to seek God concerning my purpose, and how to get back to where I needed to be. There was never any doubt that being a writer was it for me so how did I get so far away from that? From the moment God allowed me to have that revelation, I sought after my purpose wholeheartedly. I was determined to turn my life around, to be a writer at all costs, and to dedicate my writing to the Lord.

I began to read and write like a mad-woman, day and night, seeking any writing opportunities that were available to me. I joined writers groups, attended workshops, sought online information, etc. Miraculously, as I sought my God-given destiny, it met me where I was. Doors began to open,favor showed up like never before concerning my writing. This confirmed my destiny and I dove in deeper. God revealed to me the steps to discovering or recapturing my dreams and I wrote the book called Resurrecting Vision:45 Steps To Digging Up Your Destiny and Seeing It Through God’s Eyes.

Since that time I have written several books of poetry, miscellaneous poems, articles, essays, a Christian fiction novel called The Lovechild, and I’ve started my own publishing company as well. Projects and ideas are constantly coming into my spirit now that I have embraced my purpose, not someone elses, but mine. I can’t begin to tell you how much satisfaction it brings to do what God has called me to do.

Ella: How did you start your writing journey?
I am originally from Brooklyn, New York. My writing journey actually began when I was a little girl writing stories and pasting pictures to make books. I am my mother’s only child so therefore I often lacked playmates. As a result of this I developed an extensive imagination. I always loved to read and write stories, and poetry. I wrote for various publications throughout middle, high school and college.

However, my official debut as a published author didn’t actualize until about 2002 when God gave me a revelation about writing being my purpose. At that point I began to see myself differently, as a God ordained writer.Consequently, I began to pursue every writing opportunity available to me.

First I published a collection of poetry and short stories called When Torn Down Is All You Know. Then a few years later I submitted a manuscript to Urban Christian Publishers and the rest is history.

Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
The two main characters are Makaeli Hunt and her sister Lisa . I love Makaeli for her compassion and sensitivity. She cares deeply for her family although their dysfunction have caused great trauma in her life. I admire Lisa for her strength and tenacity. Lisa is determined that nothing will destroy her family or her mother’s reputation and she does everything in her power to preserve that.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
I think that the Lovechild is not your typical story. First of all, it begins with an African American female who is living and owns a business in Italy. The story is not about a man woman/ relationship, a group of girlfriends, or a search to find a man/woman relationship. Although it’s labeled Christian fiction, it’s not preachy. It is about the dynamics of a real family relationship, life’s challenges and the consequences of deception. My characters are flawed but they are real, and although they are African American, their experiences are universal; therefore I think the story will appeal to anyone.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want readers to know that God is real, and that He is unconditional love. I want them to know about his redeeming grace and about forgiveness. No matter what you’ve gone through, no matter how you feel, a real relationship with Jesus Christ can ultimately rescue and restore you.

Ella: What is the one most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
The most surprising thing I learned is about marketing being just as important as writing the book. That is a job in and of itself. I never knew how much promotion must go into selling a book after it is written. Now I understand that there is no point having a quality product if no one ever knows about it.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
I would tell any new writer to write everyday, whether it’s a blog, a journal, poetry, short stories or whatever. I would also tell them to secure a good support system, either online or preferably a local writer’s group where he or she can gain support, information, and possibly critiquing. Finally I would say read everything, articles or blogs about the publishing industry, books in various genres, and most importantly craft books so that you can become the best writer you can be.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
I am also working on my second Christian fiction novel Joy Comes In The Morning which will be released in 2010. I will also be promoting my independent press, GoldWrite Publishing, in 2009. I am actively seeking Christian fiction manuscripts and short stories now. I’d like to also publish children’s books in 2009 as well.

Ashea Goldson, Author of The Lovechild

Available in bookstores everywhere!
Treasurer and Founding member of ACFW, S.E Atlanta Chapter (V.I.P)

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Posted by on December 22, 2008 in Author Interviews


Intimate Conversation with Joy Turner

Meet New Author Joy Turner

Black Authors Network, welcome author Joy Turner to the family! She has a fantastic new book that we need to explore. She is proud to be a part of the JNF Enterprises. Enjoy!

Ella: Joy, tell us about your passion for writing and what your book offers the reader.
My intent was never to become an author, but rather used writing as another outlet for creative expression. In a sense it was therapy and healing for some emotional baggage that I had been carrying around for a long time. I never dreamed of being an author when I was a child, in fact I always thought I would be more involved in music. Music is definitely still a passion of mine but now writing is definitely something I will continue to do as well. I enjoy it and I am very pleased that my writing has inspired others.

Content… Right Where I Am is my very first published literary work and depicts my very own personal journey towards finding a source of contentment. For me, this involved a spiritual awakening and allowed me to tie in the things going on in the natural with the spiritual things of God that have allowed me to see things in a different light.

I also suffered from depression for all of my teenage years and most of my adult life. This alone served as breeding grounds for cultivating discontentment.

I share with my reader a very personal and painful isolated incident that occurred in my life causing major setbacks that spiraled into years of depression, turmoil and utter dissatisfaction with life.

The triumph in being able to find some light at the end of a dark and dismal tunnel is the hope that I wish to share with my readers.

It is my prayer that this book will not entertain but will minister, encourage, reach and touch many lives so that I won’t be the only one who can say “I’m content, right where I am”. In the book there are prayers, activities, opportunity for reflection as well as biblical references that I use as tools to reach my goal as not just an author but as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ella: Joy, finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
I am Powerful because… I acknowledge my weaknesses. The irony in that is truly what encompasses the source of my strength. By my faith in God through Christ, I acknowledge that there is a source much greater and much more powerful than myself. I wouldn’t and couldn’t be powerful all by myself.

Ella: Albert Einstein stated, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” Was there ever a point in your career, when how your life didn’t match the theory? And how did you change the facts?
Absolutely. In fact although this book took every bit of 7 days to write (the main text), it took 5 years to become a published work. I struggled with the very key element of this book; contentment. Even now with things really getting busy since the launch of the book I have had to remind myself of the very words that I feed my readers.

There’s a saying that implies one should “practice what they preach” and I definitely need to be the first partaker of the “sermon” if you will. There was a point in time when I actually felt hypocritical because after I had completed a major portion of the book, I still struggled considerably with finding contentment and fulfillment in my life. Over time I have built a stronger relationship with God and I continue to develop myself in any and all areas that I feel led to improve upon. I have learned to accept my imperfections and basically I made a deliberate decision to think differently than in the past. I focus much more on the positive instead of accentuating the negative.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I am from Baltimore City (East side to be exact but I now live in Anne Arundel County). I grew up in a very musical family. I began playing the piano when I was 4 and went on to sing, play other instruments and write songs. The only experience that I really ever had with writing per say was writing songs. I felt it (writing) was a creative outlet. I was so shy growing up and it helped me to express myself and still does. It was a very natural progression from here to now and it simply was a good fit for me to pursue writing.

Ella: What genre is your book? Tell us about it.
My book is a motivational/inspirational book so I really don’t have main characters so to speak, however I do give my reader a taste of my own personal life and testimony.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
I’ve been told that the title as well as the cover (blue butterfly on the front) actually stand out and compel readers to pick it up. I’ve had people actually purchase the book simply based on the title. I believe my book will stand out because it comes from a very personal and intimate part of me that relates to so many others on many different levels. I think everyone wants to be content and I truly believe that this quest is not unattainable.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want people to be encouraged and to be content. I want people to be uplifted and not focus on the negative things that hinder progress. I want people to motion towards finding their own healing and deliverance. Everyone’s path is different but I definitely want to offer some encouragement. We’re going through some tough times in the world today but there is hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The sun may not shine every day but neither does it rain each and every day.

Ella: What is the one most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
How much work is involved AFTER the book is published! Writing the book is just the very beginning!

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
Getting the book published. I’ve tended to be a huge procrastinator in the past and I am just very happy to be able to say that I am now a published author. This is my first book so that is significant in and of it self. I did it through the strength and grace of God and with the support of my family, friends and a very wonderful network of business associates. My publisher has been a tremendous blessing by walking me through the process and giving me all of the knowledge required to become a published author. I did not choose to self publish this time but I have no regrets. I may choose to do so in the future but I am very pleased with the business relationship I developed with my publisher.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
If you’re a writer, you need to write. As simple as it sounds, I am surprised at how many people tell me that they have this concept or idea for a book and when I ask them more about it they tell me that it isn’t finished or that they haven’t even began to write it down. It’s still in their head or in their heart.

I would advise any new writer to develop your craft, build your network and continue to write. Go to workshops, classes and other events that will help you get to where you need to be. There are tons of opportunities available to those who are willing to invest the time and energy. For anyone working with limited financial resources, there are plenty of inexpensive and creative ways to reach your goal as an author and/or entrepreneur.

The only thing I would change is that I would not have procrastinated for so long.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
Only God can know it! More than likely I’d like to publish many more books, articles and other publications. I’m an editor and writer for my church’s newsletter ministry and I have actually considered launching my own magazine. I’d love to continue doing something in the music realm as well, perhaps writing songs for other aspiring artists. I’ve always been an entrepreneur so I’d like to expand my business and create new ways to serve my community, my family, my friends and supporters.

Contact Joy Turner
Joy Turner – Author of “Content…Right Where I Am”
Phone: 410-336-7019

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Posted by on December 22, 2008 in Author Interviews

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