Monthly Archives: February 2009

Give the Gift of Knowledge Spring 2009 Literary Tour

Give the Gift of Knowledge Spring 2009 Literary Tour

Main book tour site:
Ella Curry, Event Organizer:

View full details about the author on tour and the events taking place Feb. 14-April 1, 2009. By visiting this link often:

Online Presskits for Tour Hosts; Chat room available for group discussions.
Be sure to check out all the pages for interviews, articles and promotional material.

If you would like for the authors to stop by your blog, website or Internet social network, please email Ella Curry at: with your requests.

Authors on Tour:

Patricia A. Bridewell-Electronic Press-kit for the Virtual Book Tour
Book: Reflections of a Quiet Storm
Buy the Book:

Lynne Forde-Electronic Press-kit for the Virtual Book Tour
Book: Lies of Blue
Saffyre Entertainment Inc.
Website: or
Lies of Blue on Sale March 1, 2009

John R. Williams- The Author Electronic Press-kit for the Virtual Book Tour
Book: The Reunion
Buy the Book:

Michael Taylor Electronic Press-kit for the Virtual Book Tour
Book: A New Conversation with Men
Buy the Book:

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Patricia Bridewell, Reflections of a Quiet Storm

Patricia A. Bridewell author of Reflections of a Quiet Storm

ISBN 10-0977939863
ISBN 13-9780977939862

Patricia A. Bridewell is a native of Los Angeles, California. Reading has always had a certain magnetism in her life since childhood. Journaling life experiences as therapy led to her passion for writing. Her notes transcended into the novel, Reflections of a Quiet Storm, to be released by Xpress Yourself Publishing, LLC on March 10, 2009.

Patricia has multi-faceted careers as a registered nurse, adjunct college professor, and CEO of her own company, Bri-John Nursing Services, Inc. She is currently working on her second novel and is a guest writer for two new online magazines-Step Up Sista and

Introduction to Reflections of a Quiet Storm, released March 10, 2009
As CEO and owner of a new nursing registry, Pauline Bridges is striving to reach the height of success, and then unexpectedly tragedy strikes. After a near fatal automobile accident, she climbs from the wreckage unscathed, but shortly thereafter, God begins to reveal her past. Pain, once buried deep within, rises to the surface through memories that are revived as dreams and flashbacks. Chronicled in a series of stories, her life unfolds through a long journey; a pathway that unveils many secrets that not even her children had been told.

Visions of the past invade her days and nights as constant reminders of events from childhood through her adult life replay in her mind. Memories of her mother’s abuse at the hands of her stepfather, a rape during adolescence, her brother’s stormy lifestyle, and the agony of a marriage that was destroyed by her ex-husband, Naman’s infidelity and substance abuse, all drift through her mind. And then there is the shattering memory of the unsolved murder of her former boss, a vice president for a major recording company. All memories that Pauline had chose to forget, but now they’re back.

Pauline’s faith is challenged with not only ravaging dreams and flashbacks, but also with supporting her two adult children through their hardships. The ditch grows much deeper when she learns her friend, Vangie, is having an affair with her best friend, Bethany’s husband, Darryl. Pauline temporarily escapes from revolving chaos by wallowing in her corporate world, with the aim of building a high caliber business, and helping friends and family get through their crises.

Her prayers are answered when Keith Maris steps into her life and opens her heart to feelings and emotions that she didn’t know still existed. As their relationship flourishes, he becomes a main support system through the turmoil, and her dreams and flashbacks begin to diminish. When her friend, Bethany, has a mental breakdown after learning of Darryl’s affair; she sets out with the intent to confront them. While brandishing a gun, it accidentally fires, striking Darryl’s shoulder. Pauline intervenes to prevent what could have become a tragedy. Bethany and Darryl stay married after he ends his relationship with Vangie, Pauline supports her son through his father’s terminal illness and subsequent death, and also finally discovers the reasons for her daughter’s turbulent past relationship with her father.

“A novel that is based on a true life story.”Visit for book chapter reading and preorder information.

Buy the Book:

Patricia A. Bridewell, Author Reflections of a Quiet Storm
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Posted by on February 28, 2009 in Book Spotlights


Meet new author Lynne Forde

Meet author Lynne Forde

What is the true price for fulfilling your dreams? Is it going against your own standard beliefs, becoming something you’re not? Or putting yourself in a position to be “eaten alive” by your enemy or better yet your supposed to be friends and people you thought were on your side. Lynne Forde examines that question in her new novel, Lies of Blue.

Set in New York’s grit and grime, this epic full-length novel tells the story of an aspiring music executive who gets caught up in the world of men, money and drugs. In her attempt to escape the poisonous world of entertainment, Lynne launches a new “career” as a correctional officer in a men’s prison. The trials and tribulations that follow send her spiraling into an even more disastrous world from which she came, eventually putting the young woman up against games that can kill. Join Lynne on her journey as she comes full circle with her mistakes and choices in efforts to finally realize her dream.

As Lynne Forde’s first full-length novel, which is accompanied by a straight to DVD movie version of the work, this multimedia project looks to set a milestone in urban fiction by introducing a new element for the reader. As a phenomenal writer with the ability to fully capture her own experiences in words, Lynne is also writer for the people. Women and those who go against all odds to progress, in particular will be able to explore real life situations in lyric and sound as they journey with Lynne Ford into the Lies of Blue.

The premier author of Saffyre Entertainment, Lynne Ford is making quite a statement. Personifying strength, success, and ambition, the CUNY graduate and New York resident has effectively introduced a new hit to the urban literary market. “Lies of Blue,” which addresses the question, “What is the true price of fulfilling your dreams,” deals with the decisions and consequences of a young woman driven to make something of herself and life. Drawn from personal experiences and occurrences, “Lies of Blue” is a true depiction of the real world and its realms of “good vs. evil”.

An ambitious woman and trailblazer with several other written screenplays, including “Living the Dream” and “Best Kept Secret”, Forde lives with no regrets of the sacrifices she has made to become the woman she is today. Hoping to aid other individuals who are put in between the hard decisions of life, “Lies of Blue” is a compelling novel that will make a difference in many lives. A firm believer in the word ‘sacrifice,’ Forde knows she has more to make, but if she can help others through those sacrifices she has already made, than it all will have been well worth the struggle.

Coming from origins that span into music, production and management, Forde has had the privilege of working with 45 King, the NBA, and some of New York City’s hottest underground artists. Joining forces with Saffyre Entertainment in 1998 has successfully propelled both of the entities to the forefront of the entertainment industry. In addition to staking her place in the world of entertainment Forde is also currently working on a number of community based projects that include the H.O.P.E. Foundation, which will enable men of color to make an easier transition back into the community. This is first of many ways Forde intends to reach out and uplift the community.

With the Ability to combine her street knowledge with business savvy, which allows her to speak to both “the hood” and the boardroom with ease, her life experiences have just begun to show the industry how bright her light can shine. The sky is truly the limit for Forde as she has created a critically acclaimed trailer for her book “Lies of Blue” totally changing the face of urban literature.

Besides steadily gaining fan momentum, Forde has also impressed a number of industry heavyweights including, Warrington Hudlin of BET who is quoted as saying, “The room was electrified and swept away by your story.” Susan Taylor of Essence Magazine quoted the story as “Compelling”, while Oprah’s Oxygen Channel has considered making the story a TV Series. To date Lynne has been successful in promoting “Lies of Blue” on a number of circuits that include the American Black Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival Cinemas, Radio, Mass and Urban Publications, Black owned bookstores and HBCU’s across the country.

Lynne Forde, author
Saffyre Entertainment Inc.

Website: or

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Posted by on February 28, 2009 in Book Spotlights


The Reunion by author John R. Williams

The Reunion by author John R. Williams

ISBN 13: 978-0-9818094- 4-1
ISBN 10: 0-9818094-4- 8

Purchase your copy today:

John R. Williams was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Illinois and is the eldest of three sons. As a product of a
single parent home, John discovered a deep appreciation for the arts at an early age through music, poetry and writing. As a child he was exposed to bittersweet life growing up in the inner city. In 2003, John began writing informally. He wrote in a journal daily trying to perfect his writing style. His goal was to master both comedic and dramatic writing. John received no formal training in literature other than reading urban classics and masses of poetry that he usually found at book fairs and in local libraries.
He studied the works of urban novelists and allowed his ability to be influenced heavily by these cutting edge authors. Over time John developed his own unique style. John used his shortcomings as a child and experiences as a young adult to shape his edgy writing style. The stimulus for his literary aggression is oftentimes revealed in his works. If asked, John would tell you that the goal of his writing is to entertain, educate and assist with the human spirit’s progression. While pursuing a writing career he also maintained a prominent position at a large Telecommunications company. His hard work brought him success as a Sales Executive. John soon learned how to sell ideas. Over time his profession afforded him the means to truly make a go at professional writing.

Message from Author John R. Williams
This is John R Williams-THE AUTHOR and my new novel entitled THE REUNION is finally complete. I am so excited about this book. It brings me great joy to have my publishing company XPRESS YOURSELF PUBLISHING. Although I have written
books in the past, THE REUNION is the 1st one to be released under a major publishing house. XPRESS YOURSELF PUBLISHING is the winner of the 2008 African American Literary award for Independent Publishing House of the Year!

The reunion is focuses on Sean Jiles. He was a popular guy at Kensor High School on Chicago’s Southside. His gifted writing ability, common sense and loyalty gained him lifelong friendships, and a suitable following during his years there. After graduation,Sean moved to Dallas, Texas to attend college and pursue his dream of writing manuscripts and directing stage plays.

While in college, Sean meets Eva Jones, a sassy graduate student working as a junior attorney at a major law firm. They hit it off immediately and start dating. Things start out fine but after a few months, Sean realizes that Eva is a hot mess! She’s insecure, controlling, possessive and insanely jealous. In comparison, she is a far cry from the one true love he had back in high school, almost a decade ago. Jade Brown was his one true love. Not a day passes when Sean does not recollect the past when life was much simpler.

Now Sean is a college graduate and has received a $100,000 advance to produce his first major stage play. Between his career and his problems with Eva, things in his life are absolutely crazy! At the height of his dilemma, Sean receives an invitation in the mail to attend his 10-Year High School Class Reunion. This is great news! Although things are hectic, Sean will attend. The Reunion is sure to be the highlight of his summer. As exciting as it seems, Sean understands that the reunion will rehash tons of mixed emotions and force him to confront his failed love. Sean’s leaving town will also send Eva on one of the most frenzied fits of jealousy ever captured on paper! This book will not disappoint!

Books can be ordered by visiting or via my personal
website which is . At you can find book and event info, photos, audio, and news about my endeavors. This website is the best way to keep up with THE Author! I sincerely appreciate all of the support from my readers.

Thank you dearly for believing in me!

Please support my literary efforts by purchasing books and meeting me in person at signings. Also, please shoot me a line from time to time. I actually do take the time to respond. Thank you again and until the next time we speak…take care

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Posted by on February 28, 2009 in Book Spotlights


A New Conversation with Men Movement

Michael Taylor author of A New Conversation with Men

ISBN-10: 1605635804
ISBN-13: 978-1605635804

Michael Taylor is a self educated entrepreneur, author, personal coach and radio show host. He is President & CEO of Creation Publishing Group, a company that publishes and promotes books and seminars that empower men to reach their full potential. He has been facilitating workshops and seminars for over fifteen years and he has inspired thousands through his books, seminars and radio program. He is a proud father of three grown children, is happily married and resides in Houston, Texas.

“Men hate each other because they fear each other, and they fear each because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they are often separated from each other.” —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Is it possible to: Teach men to become great fathers? Encourage men to become better husbands? Teach men to live with passion and purpose? Get men involved in improving their communities?

Join entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker, and radio-show host Michael Taylor as he shares how creating a new paradigm of masculinity can help heal America. This book is written to inspire men of all ethnicities, ages, socio-economic levels, and religions to come together to redefine manhood and to eradicate the multiplicity of challenges facing America today. Its intention is to remove the separation among men and remove the hatred, fear, and distrust that too many men feel about each other. It is a powerful, inspirational document written to educate, motivate, and inspire all men to reach their full potential. Join the conversation, and become a part of the revolution!

ePostcard Promotional Page

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Posted by on February 28, 2009 in Book Spotlights


Author Spotlight: Claudia Brown Mosley

Intimate Conversation with author Claudia Brown Mosley and Ella Curry of EDC Creations

Ella: Tell us about your passion for writing.
I never had a passion for writing my passion was reading and reading. But one day I sat at the computer and the stories just spilled out unto the pages.

Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
I am Powerful because… God has the power and my power comes from Him.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I’m original from Los Angeles and I currently resides here with my family. My writing journey started out for me as a outlet. At the time I was taking care of my ill mother, God rest her soul. I was totally stressed out and I just sat down at the computer and started to write a story and when I finish that story I wrote another one and I haven’t stop since.

Please view the book video trailer for an insider view of Hiding in the Shadows.

Ella: Introduce us to Hiding In The Shadows.
Tracy is an entrepreneur in the computer industry who didn’t know her new love interest had a deceptive past which would force her to answer that question. When Edmund, a charismatic and prominent attorney swept her off her feet, Tracy was ecstatic about the relationship and a chance to ride love’s train, but she didn’t realize that sometimes, all that glitters is not gold.

Soon scandal and skeletons come creeping out of Edmund’s closet. As he frantically tries to stay one step ahead of the dirty little secrets that haunt his past, Tracey finds herself pondering the reality of whether she really knows the man she loves. She is forced to decide whether Edmund’s past will tear them apart or bring them closer together. As the relationship struggles to blossom against the odds, Tracy prays that love will be enough to conquer all, including what’s Hiding in the Shadows.

In a tantalizing and perplexing mystery, Claudia Brown Mosley lures readers along a path of unraveling the enigma of truth. Hiding in the Shadows is an intriguing and thrilling suspense of obsessive pursuit, destructive lies and the reality that’s buried in between.

Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
Tracy and Edmund is my two main characters that is from two different worlds. What I like about Tracy is her own women with her own business. She came from nothing but made her way up the ladder. She is classy and have great taste in men’s but when it comes to judgment, that goes out the window. Edmund is a powerful attorney that has no limitation to get what he wants and will go to the limit to protect what’s his. I like his scandalous ways that will bring the readers to their knees.

Ella: What makes your book, Hiding in the Shadows, stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
The cover along will make a person pick it up and just the synopsis on the back will make a person look inside to check out the drama. Love’s journey is sometimes traveled with baggage. Is devotion enough to carry the load when it gets heavy or even deadly?

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I would like the readers to gain enjoyment, romance and laughter. I want the readers to be able to walk away and be able have a discussion on all of that. Also look forward to the next installment of anything that my heart spill out.

Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?

The most surprising thing that happen to me as I create my stories the characters actual become so real it become scary. They take on their own lives and help create a great story.

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
Dedication, promoting your book to the fullness and have a sense of humor.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
Hiding In the Shadows is available anywhere books are sold. It’s very first review, by The African-American Literature Review

“Playful by design, Hiding in the Shadows is an upbeat thriller, set in beautiful, sunny Los Angeles that manages to keep things light as the pages turn. In charge of her life and future, a successful entrepreneur named Tracey has her life in order until things begin to strangely begin to unravel due to the company she unknowingly keeps. Full of heartbreak, massive egos and lies as well as deception, this novel is one to read if your looking for an entertaining, easy read.”

Claudia Brown-Mosley CEO, Publisher, Author and Radio Host

Buy Hiding in the Shadows

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Posted by on February 27, 2009 in Author Interviews


Book: Raising Him Alone

Raising Him Alone Book
– Things Black Women Can Do to Raise Boys to be Men

by David Miller and Matthew P. Stevens

Raising Him Alone is a proud provider of valuable resources that support
single mothers raising boys. Please revisit our site soon as we will be offering some
beneficial products for online purchase.

Raising Him Alone is more than just a book. It is a source of inspiration for
the millions of single mothers who struggle daily with the challenges of raising healthy
and productive boys to become responsible men.

The book is based on hundreds of interviews, focus groups and discussions with
single mothers who are raising boys.

Additionally, many fathers were interviewed who desperately want to be
in their sons lives, but are excluded from the process for a myriad of reasons.

Raising Him Alone (book) honors the struggles of single mothers raising boys
through providing daily lessons that range from talking to boys about sex to assisting
mothers with the process of dating.

Many of the statistics on Black men and boys are painful and are often daunting.
For example, the most recent report on graduation rates among African American
males published by the Schott Foundation indicates that in many US cities
African American males are dropping out at rates that exceed 65%. The cities
include but are not limited to Indianapolis, Detroit and Baltimore. With the
lowest graduation rates in the nation among African American males, Indianapolis
and Detroit’s graduation rates can only be viewed as a public health concern.

We rarely hear about the countless numbers of mothers who are successfully
raising boys alone. The book underscores the need for mothers to be more willing
than ever to sacrifice to support positive Black male development. This sacrifice
includes developing a greater understanding of contemporary issues that effect
Black males as well as getting mothers and fathers to be willing to reconcile old wounds.

The book serves as a voice of reason that tells us how important it is to rescue our
boys from failing communities and failing schools.

Finally, we hope that Raising Him Alone (book) compels mothers to band
together to address the challenges of being a single mother. After reading
Raising Him Alone please make sure you pass this book along to other mothers
who can benefit from the lessons and the wisdom of others who have successfully
navigated the world of being a single parent.

Visit the website to order books and for more information:

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Posted by on February 26, 2009 in Book Spotlights


Poem: Learning Time

Learning Time

If you’re not learning
How to be a leader
You are in training
To be a follower

If you’re not learning
How to be a success
You are training
To be a failure

If you’re not learning
How to get ahead
You are training
To sit in the rear

by John D. Evans

The Evans Poetry Collection

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Poem: A Long and Mighty Walk

A Long and Mighty Walk

From the birthplace of humanity
A time when men were free
With nature growing and creatures roaming
A mighty walk I see
The first made by a woman,
First Mother of the Mother Land,
80,000 to 200,000 years ago
In Africa’s Sub-Saharan
I can hear the washing of the shores
And the Kings still roaring
Animals with fancy names
Help me to tell this story

Primitive, yet civil, was the first society
Following Mother’s lead
Mother-Right, this age, did see
From the Great Lakes region
Around 200,000 years ago
Our ancestors, known as the Twa,
Paved the way for others to grow
Up and down the Nile ruled black masters of lands
Creating, trading, and delegating working hands

Ageless is this epic of human migration
Women and men of might and will populated new nations
The journey from Africa to Eurasia
Pre-dates recorded time
As they ventured, every mountain was new
And each forest was a find
I see a rush of Ethiopians darting in my mind
From the Sudan, Egypt, Arabia
Asia, India, and Palestine
Successfully, they sailed the Nile River to Crete
Sustaining old and creating new
Cultures as they deemed be

The Nile Valley was, indeed, the Cradle of Civilization
The ancient Egyptians of Ethiopia thrived
And built a mighty nation
Around 6,000 years ago, the Egyptians ruled
Studied astronomy, music, medicine,
And chemistry in Mystery Schools
In addition to rhetoric, calculus, art, and geometry
All of the world’s religions
Were borne in this spiritual community
From about 6,000 BC until 300 BC,
The Egyptians saw 27 dynasties
Later, overrun by the Persians
This great people were rarely free
The most inquisitive of all creatures

Are we, mortal beings
Ever-seeking the origin of life
And the creator of all things
Over 40,000 years ago, the case was the same
Our forefathers embraced beliefs
Though they were later destroyed or changed
Pyramids reached for the sky
Way before Pythagoras was born
Warriors exercised powers, but
From their prowess, most were torn
Now in this day of special wants and needs
We must stay on our feet until we are free

From the birthplace of humanity
To a time when all are free
With nature growing and creatures roaming
This is the walk I see

by John D. Evans

Inspired by the teachings of Dr. John Henrik Clarke
Courtesy: The John Henrik Clarke Virtual Museum of the DuBois
Learning Center (November, 2005)

The Evans Poetry Collection
P.O. Box 2177
Oak Park, IL 60303877-4

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Intimate Conversation with poet LadyVee DaPoet

Intimate Conversation with poet and author LadyVee DaPoet and Ella Curry of EDC Creations

LadyVee DaPoet is a spoken word artist and published poet originally from Augusta, GA. She is known as “the poet with her own theme music” and her poetry performances include props, music, and the visual expansion of language. Her debut poetry collection is a 50 poem, 5 chapter celebration of out-the-box, unpredictable thought titled ‘Imagination Overload’. ‘Clenched Teeth Smiling’, her second book, is a collaborative poetry collection that includes poems from a male and female perspective. It also includes artwork from Florida and Atlanta sketch artists. Both books are available for purchase via PayPal on

As an advocate for quality, creative expression she is the Co-Organizer of the Quality Poets Society ( group encourages over 170 writers, artists, and musicians in the metro Atlanta area to expand their artistic talents through workshops and exclusive ‘Open Mic’ events. LadyVee is available for spoken word performances, booksignings, copyediting services, and consulting.

Ella: LadyVee, please tell us about your passion for writing and your books.

‘Imagination Overload: The Life Inspired Poetic Verse of LadyVee DaPoet’ is a literary celebration of life, love, heartache, art, and observations and reflections. This book is a 50 poem, 5 chapter collection that takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride adventure that explores all facets of the human experience. I offer the reader an opportunity to relate and examine their emotions through artistic language.

Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
I am powerful because I empower others by helping them realize their creative potential and abilities.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
My hometown is Augusta, GA. I currently reside in north Atlanta (Sandy Springs). I started my writing journey through spoken word poetry. In middle school, poetry was a way for me to express my deepest emotions. I started writing and sharing my work with my peers who encouraged me to perform. By high school, I was writing ‘performance poetry pieces’ and the positive response from my audiences led me to write my books. My books are my gifts to the people that relate to and are enlightened by my poetry.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
My book stands out because of its mystery. LadyVee DaPoet’s front cover picture with her smokey eyes and a teasing finger pointing to the first page entices the reader to walk in footsteps that were previously safeguarded and hidden from view. The format of ‘Imagination Overload’ is highly organized and each poem is of a different style. The reader is lured into the poems thinking they are about LadyVee’s personal world. He/she finds out, however, that these poems reflect the image of the lives we are ALL living.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your books?
I would like readers to gain the knowledge that all human beings are united by the same feelings and emotions. No matter if you are male or female, old or young, and no matter what color your skin is, we all travel through the chapters of this book. In ‘Life‘ we have to create our own unique identity. Eventually, we fall in ‘Love‘ with something or someone who (hopefully) appreciates the unique individual we’ve created. Everyone experiences ‘Heartache‘ and is left to evaluate and improve themselves if necessary. Over time, we are touched by ‘Art‘ and it educates and changes us in a negative or positive way. Finally, we are left with our ‘Observations and Reflections’ of the world around us and those lessons guide us to our destiny. The five chapters of my book give the reader the affirmation that, although different, through our emotions we are all human and thus the same.

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

My most significant achievement as a writer was having my debut poetry collection ‘Imagination Overload’ published in April 2007 and selling over 150 copies by November of the same year. I did it by taking the initiative to market my work at book fairs, Open Mic showcases, through family and friends, and through my internet networking groups. I always have my eyes open for out-the-box opportunity and it’s a joy to me to be able to use my poetry to uplift others in any way possible.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?

I would tell a new writer to write from their own unique experience. Everyone has a voice. Use your imagination to take me to where you’ve been and open my eyes to your world. When you write only what you think people will buy or you write for any other reason than to express your heart, it shows.
I believe my journey is a path that God has placed me on. I wouldn’t change a thing. He’s allowed me to touch people positively with my words. He’s guiding me towards a gift he’s placed within me and I give him all the glory and all the praise.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
The Quality Poets Society ( hosts poetry workshops and poetry showcases monthly at SIP Coffeehouse in Atlanta (Buckhead). My second poetry collection, ‘Clenched Teeth Smiling’ is available via PayPal on I have plans for a 3rd collection of short stories and poems titled ‘Eve of Utopia’ which will include sketch artwork and my debut spoken word CD.

To contact LadyVee:
direct email:

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Author Interviews


Meet Radio Host Marc Medley

Intimate Conversation with community leader Marc A. Medley and Ella Curry president of EDC Creations Media Group

Ella: Welcome Marc! Give us the radio show details.
WP88.7 FM

Ella: Please finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
I am Powerful because I trust God; give thanks in all things; and remain grateful through the good and the bad.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I am from Paterson, New Jersey the oldest industrial city in the United States and the third largest city in the state of New Jersey. I started writing when I was a child, always responding to ads on the back of cereal boxes; Bazooka bubblegum inserts; writing letters to Santa Claus in my local newspaper; letters to the editor; television shows such as Zoom and writing letters to my cousins in Virginia. I took Creative Writing in high school and won several competitions. As I look back I find that I was always reading, writing and public speaking as a child and so it doesn’t surprise me that those three areas are my areas of strength now.

Ella: What makes The Reading Circle/w Marc Medley standout and would entice a listener to tune in?
The Reading Circle w/Marc Medley is a one-of-a-kind radio show on independent radio. It is broadcast live out of William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ and listeners are treated to hearing authors tell about their work including the trials, tribulations and joy of becoming a published author. Listeners have an opportunity to call in and ask the author questions to learn more about the writing process or about the book itself. I believe my very down to earth approach during the interview process is also very inviting to both the guest and the listener.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want listeners to gain from listening to The Reading Circle w/Marc Medley?
The overall purpose of the show is to promote the benefits of being an avid reader. I strive for my listeners to be educated, entertained, inspired, motivated and informed about the literary world.

Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned since hosting The Reading Circle w/Marc Medley?
The most surprising thing to me is that many of my authors never considered themselves to be writers. Some even with published work will still say they are not a writer. The other surprising thing is the willingness to help each other out in the industry and how down to earth many authors are.

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a talk show host?
In my mind, my most significant achievement as a talk show host is my ability to bring people together. The ability to help others manifest their inspired dreams. The ability to have a listening audience hear authors talk about their work and ultimately increase the time spent on reading by the listeners and the number of books sold for the authors.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
The best advice I would give a new writer is to keep writing and to never ever give up. Opportunity favors those who are prepared to take advantage of it.

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author/ talk show host, in your opinion?
Unwavering faith
Willingness to keep learning and honing your craft

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
My ultimate goal is to one day take The Reading Circle w/Marc Medley beyond the independent college radio network onto a major network and become syndicated around the world. The addition of web casting at WP88.7 FM is very encouraging and wonderful experience, so I look to one day be on a major network to reach an even wider audience. I also look to write my own book at some point in time.

Ella: How can the readers find your show to listen?
Tune in by going to and stream on the web.

WP88.7 FM Brave New Radio

Saturdays 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.
Web address:

“To manifest your inspired dreams, help others manifest theirs. We get what we’d love to have in life by helping others get what they’d love to have.”

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Community News


Black Inventors, Crafting Over Two Hundred Years of Success

For Immediate Release

Black Inventors, Crafting Over Two Hundred Years of Success

Brooklyn, NY. Sunday, Feb. 14, 2009 – Black Inventors, Crafting Over 200 years of Success, clearly highlights the work of Black inventors from over seventy countries. The author, Keith C. Holmes, has spent more than twenty years researching information on inventions by Black people from Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, France, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, to name a few. One cannot build any civilization without innovations, inventions, plans, financial resources, labor saving devices, materials and muscle.

This book documents a number of the inventions, patents and labor saving devices conceived by Black Inventors. Africans, before the period of their enslavement, developed: agricultural tools, building materials, medicinal herbs, cloth, and weapons, among many other inventions. Though many black people were brought to Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and the United States in chains and under the yoke of slavery, it is relatively unknown that thousands of them engineered labor saving devices and inventions that spawned companies which generated money and jobs, worldwide.

The focus of this book is to introduce the readers to the facts that inventions by black people both past and present were developed and patented on a global scale. This also means that there are inventors in every culture people whose ideas have been turned into inventions. In the past the focus has been on American and European inventors. The new giants in the patenting process are Brazil, China, India, Japan, Nigeria, South Africa and South Korea.

Black inventors, from the very beginning of their involvement in the invention and patenting process, have had an important and earth shattering impact on the world. This book highlights the work of early Black inventors from almost all fifty states in the U.S. It gives details about the first Black inventor who obtained a patent in both the Caribbean and the United States. In the United States, to date, sixteen African American men have been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Two of these inventors, Jan E, Matzeliger, (Suriname) and Elijah McCoy, (Colchester, Canada) were born outside the United States. Recently, Dr. Patricia Bath was nominated to the National Inventors Hall of Fame; yet, an African American woman has not been inducted into this prestigious organization. Mr. Holmes documents the creativity of Black women inventors from Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and the United States, and provides readers with a comprehensive view of the ground-breaking achievements of Black inventors – both male and female.

This is one of the first books that addresses the diversity of Black inventors and their inventions from a global perspective. The material available in this book is an introduction to the world of Black inventors. It gives the reader, researcher, librarian, student and teacher the materials needed to effectively understand that the Black inventor is not only a national phenomenon, but also a global giant.

This book identifies Black inventors from five continents, over seventy countries, including almost all fifty states in the United States. This book cites a number of Black inventors from 1769 – 2007. It is one of the most comprehensive books on Black Inventors since Henry E. Baker’s research on Black inventors in the early 20th century. We are now listed with

Mr. Holmes is available for lectures and book signings. The book sells for $15.00 US dollars. For more information, please feel free to contact us.

To all of our supporters, we would like to take this time to thank everyone for their interest, support and patience in this monumental project. The book is now available you can place your orders directly through our website.

We can now accept Canadian and International orders.

We will soon offer a service where we can research information on inventors to the public for a fee, if you are interested please contact us by email. Mr. Holmes specializes in research on black and indigenous inventors.

The ISBN number: 978-0-9799573-0-7 and the retail cost is $15.00. Purchase here.

Global Black Inventor Research Projects, Inc.
Tel: 646-610-1485
Fax:: 718-284-8965

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Book Spotlights


Can I Get A Witness by author Lutishia Lovely

Anybody who asked this question Tuesday, November 4th, 2009, regarding Barack Hussein Obama, our nation’s 44th president, already knows the answer. Not only could he get one witness, he got about fifty million of them, and that’s just stateside. Forty million by television, five million by other electronic means such as internet or Ipod, and in the United States capitol of Washington, D.C., about five million more. The streets fairly teemed with united masses, singular in purpose, fulfillment and pride. Everyone was there to participate in history, to bear witness to the truth, that times…they indeed are a’changin’. And I was in the middle of this melodious madness…as a witness.

Even now, I grapple with words adequate enough to express the experience. And then this writer of more than ten novels accepts reality: there are none. No words, adjectives or superlatives that can accurately convey the measure of the moment: the energy, the feeling of Oneness that blanketed our country, and the world. Where for a span of time: whether by choice or accident: all colors, cultures, religions and ethnicities came together, gave a collective amen…and bore witness.

Finally, I realize I don’t have to describe it. Because you were there too. Whether you were on the mall, or on a side street, or in your home, or at a community center’s viewing party, restaurant, church or bar, or even at work, you know how it felt when you witnessed history, when you bore witness to the truth of a page turning to a new chapter in America’s history. We probably felt the same way. Amazed and elated, trying to juxtapose the reality with the surreal…watching the staid, rigid, one-dimensional regime of old make way for the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-dimensional new leadership. Finally, a man leading our country who truly reflects its diversity…on so many levels! Even as we watched our nation’s first Black president saunter up to the podium and spoke of a new day and a new way in America, this “change we can believe in” was hard to believe! But it is here.

My inauguration experience officially began on Monday, when I traveled into the city to pick up my coveted viewing ticket. From the time I stepped out of Union Station, I was enveloped in the magic. Street vendors sold any and everything that boasted either Barack or Michelle’s name or face. Tourists from every part of the globe mingled with the natives, the residents of “Chocolate City,” and we did it with grace, and ease. The first remark I heard upon reaching the street was from a conversation between two Caucasian twenty-somethings who I later learned were from Portland, Oregon. “Wow, it sure is different here.” I turned and smiled. Not only because of their rich, new experience of being the minority in a world of color, but of their awe and joy, instead of fear, at this fact.

That night I attended an inaugural ball where we hoped the Prez and his wife would pay a visit. The closest he got was across the street, where Joe Biden was being honored. But still we were the beautiful people, standing on the shoulders of our ancestors, having arrived in DC by way of lynchings and riots, peaceful protests and affirmative action. Listening to Afro Blue, Howard University’s a cappella chorus, we were joined by the spirits of those who’d witnessed the emancipation proclamation, the underground railroad, the civil rights movement; who’d endured sits ins and shout outs and “no ways tired.” We stood in the shadows of a grandmother’s toil and a father’s sacrifice. And I’m sure I felt their energy and their joy as we kept it real with an exuberant rendition of the electric slide!

The next morning I boarded a chartered bus for D.C., a city that was virtually shut down, inaccessible. There was no transportation from Baltimore, where I was staying, to the Capitol. The Marc train had been sold out for at least a week. Improbable neons signs, with messages like “no parking in D.C.” flashed as our driver barreled down the highway. We joined dozens, if not hundreds of other buses at the RFK stadium, and were herded (a very appropriate description for the thousands in line) on to a very efficient shuttle system, and dropped off near 7th and Frontage Road, about a thirty minute walk to the action, to the coveted Capitol Hill.

We arrived early, seven-thirty, and I was glad. Later I would learn that my arrival to the mall an hour later was just in time. Around nine-thirty, the mall was shut down completely, unable to accommodate the ever-growing mass of people wanting to take their place in history. The official count for attendance at President Obama’s swearing in is 1.8 million, but that is only the number that could get on the mall! I would guess that a million more lined the streets, both outside the initial ceremony and along the parade route. It was a controlled chaos, and patience abounded. We laughed, joked and plodded through the streets in a millions-strong throng, and then waited for more than five hours, our closely assembled bodies providing much needed heat, until the moment when we heard it become official: “I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear…”

I am bursting with memories, could fill a book with them: the seventy-something church mother who abandoned her wheelchair to stand as the oath was administered, the forty-something bishop from Florida who had brought her there, along with thirty other church members, children of all races on the shoulders of their fathers, mothers and daughters holding hands, friends high-fiving, strangers hugging, calls from friends and family wanting a long-distance, real time “play by play”, a plethora of accents and dialects amidst a bouquet of nationalities and genders, spectators breaking through barriers for a closer view, policemen letting us do it, teenagers skating on the frozen pond, tears mingling with laughter as we heard from our president, the human grid that locked retreating pedestrians for moments, even hours, after the ceremony was over.

But the best part, for me, was “the moment”. After the pomp and circumstance of introducing our government, Aretha’s homage to our country, Rick’s inclusive prayer and the roll call of presidents who had served before him…then they came, Mr. & Mrs. Obama, to take their unique and special place inside a selective history. To break from the past and embrace a new present, leading to a more positive future. We are blessed to have been alive in this time, to experience firsthand what others will read about in history books. We were there. When “yes we can” became “yes we did” and is now “yes we will”. Because Tuesday, November 4th, 2009 wasn’t just the end of an era, but the beginning of another one; a more positive America, an expectant, hopeful world. And with the power of our vote, it’s a world we helped create. Can I get a witness?

Lutishia Lovely is a freelance writer, and author of the Hallelujah Love series which features the just released trade paperback, A Preacher’s Passion. Visit her website today at:

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Featured Articles


President Obama’s Dream Team

President Obama’s Posse

Click the image to view 52 Portraits of Barack Obama’s top advisors. Turn on your speakers for the narrative!

Contributed by Minnie Estelle Miller
Marvelously Mature Author and Essayist
The Seduction of Mr. Bradley is still available.

A woman is never old when it comes to the dance she knows. ~ ~ ~ Ibo Proverb

View the posse here in beautiful detail.

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Community News


Intimate Conversation with Sheshena Pledger

Intimate Conversation with author Sheshena Pledger and Ella Curry of EDC Creations Media Group

Sheshena Pledger considers herself to be a military brat, having spent the first seventeen years of her life traveling around the United States and abroad with her active duty parents. Although she attended three different high schools in two different countries, she was still able to graduate from High School in the Top Ten percentile of her graduating class. She went on to obtain both a B.A. in Media Arts and a M.B.A. in Business Administration with academic distinction.

After obtaining her Master’s Degree in 2007 and working as a Revenue Officer for the U.S. Treasury for her first full year, Labor Day rolled around and it was the first September since before preschool that she didn’t have to start new classes for a new school year, so she pursued her lifetime goal: writing a novel. Ms. Pledger started writing Secrets Unveiled that day, which she cites as her greatest achievement. She currently resides on Long Island, New York, where she is actively working on her second novel.

Ella: Hello Sheshena! Introduce us to your book, Secrets Unveiled.
Secrets Unveiled is a thrilling crime noir about a notorious crime family’s ongoing fued with their biggest rival. The story unfolds to reveal how one family’s deepest secrets can become another family’s bait, used to hook their enemy and reel them in for the kill. The novel contemplates the role that family plays in self-discovery, weighing a gained sense of belonging against an individual’s loss of control. Is there always guilt by association? Is our destiny pre-determined? The plot goes on to reveal that it is a slippery slope on which we travel, when one family’s secrets can be another family’s bait.

Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
I am Powerful because… I have a voice.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I’m a military-brat. Both of my parents were in the Army during the first seventeen years of my life, and I did a lot of traveling. So, I guess you could say I’m from a little of everywhere. I was born in El Paso, TX. I spent a few years in other parts of Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Germany, Louisiana, and a year in Kansas. But I’ve been living in New York for the past five years.

I started writing when I was in elementary school. But it was music. Songs. One of my friends and I use to write songs together. And then I eventually began writing on my own. Which led to other interests, such as poetry when I was a teenager. When I got to college, I realized how easy writing was for me after writing paper after paper and being able to go on and on about any given topic with minimal effort. But I didn’t really realize my interests in writing until the first September that rolled around after I’d finished Grad. School, and for the first time since I could remember…I didn’t have to go to school. I had all this free time on my hand, and I needed something to fill it. So on Labor Day, I sat in front of the computer and just started typing. And by the end of the first page, I felt like I had finally found what my life had been missing. So I continued writing. Day after day. Until I finished my first novel, Secrets Unveiled.

Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
The main character of Secrets Unveiled is Nicholas Miller. Nick, as he’s most commonly referred to as, is what could be considered the protagonist of the story. He’s the guy everyone likes. But what I like about him is his laid back nature and personality, his hustle, and the way he analyzes things. He’s the type of guy that almost everyone can identify with in some way. And he has a unique sense of humor that is both relieving and surprising at times. But most of all, I like his heart. He’s not afraid to do whatever needs to be done in any given situation, no matter what the cost.

On the other side of the story is the Harris Family, who may be considered the antagonist of the story. They’re a family that consists of criminal-minded individuals who have a very personal vendetta against Nicholas Miller and his family. A beef that comes to the forefront on the day that Secrets Unveiled takes place. What I like most about the Harris Family is their criminal savvy, ruthless nature, and how they operate. They have certain principles that they abide by, yet they’re also notorious for committing crimes of an extremely offensive nature. But they’re very organized in their operations and keen on how they conduct their business.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader to pick it up?
Secrets Unveiled stands out because it is one story that’s really told two completely different ways, in a sense. From two very distinct voices that basically oppose each other. It’s a novel that takes the reader through both sides of a very unique story. It’s told both in present day and past tense. But the story unfolds within one suspenseful, action-packed, thrilling day. A day that’s filled with events that turn out to be completely surprising, unexpected, and unnerving for everyone involved, including those who set the events into motion to begin with.

Secrets Unveiled is a story that will appeal to readers from sixteen to sixty. There’s a character in there for everyone. And the voices of the characters are unique to each character, so the language of the story is upbeat, vibrant, urban, and explicit enough for young readers while remaining to be compelling and non-offensive to older readers. I think that the thing that would most entice a reader to pick up Secrets Unveiled is it’s unpredictable, suspenseful, roller coaster plot. You never know what you’re going to get or when you’re going to get it. Key parts of the story are scattered throughout the book, so the reader never knows what to expect as they’re reading. And additionally, the chapter titles of Secrets Unveiled are a mixture of titles from movies, shows and songs to quotes from various sources from Nikki Giovanni to Jay-Z, adding an added element of suspense to readers.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
More than anything, I just want readers to enjoy a good story. I want them to read Secrets Unveiled and enjoy it the entire way through. And I want them to feel something from the story. Anything. Whether it be a tickle in the stomach from Nick’s sense of humor or unsettled by the Harris Family’s brutal nature. I just want them to be able to read the story and have some kind of reaction from it.

Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
The most surprising thing I’ve learned from creating books is how many books are out there. There’s a book on everything, and the book industry is swamped with hardbacks and paperbacks on every topic known to man. Thus, it’s a hard industry to really break through.

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer? I’m not sure that I’ve achieved my most significant achievement just yet. So, I’ll have to get back to you.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer? Would you change anything?
I’d tell anyone who’s taking their first steps into the book industry to do it because they like to write or because they like the topic they’re writing about. Don’t do it solely for financial gain or any other reason other than it’s something you enjoy doing. And do adequate research on the book industry, publishing process and the challenges for newcomers and veterans in the industry. And to start this research early on and well before they finish writing their book. Also, read what’s already out there in your genre. Reading good examples of how stories could and should be told is a priceless education on how to write a story yourself.

If I could change anything about my journey as a writer, it would probably be the extent of my research on the industry and the services that are available to authors. Having a better idea of what was available to me early on in the publishing process could’ve saved me a lot of time in the long run. And researching the reputation and qualityof a lot of the services that are readily available could’ve saved me a lot of unnecessary distress.

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
In my opinion, three things it takes to make a successful author are a passion for writing or the subject matter the book is based on, the ability to take all criticism and feedback to one’s advantage, and never-ending persistence.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
You can expect more novels from me in the future. I have a lot of stories in me that are aching to get out, but more so a passion for writing that I cannot ignore.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
Secrets Unveiled II: The True Miss Harris is the next installment of Secrets Unveiled, and it should be out by this Fall. I will also be starting my own blog coming February, which will consist of short stories, poetry, and general blogging about topics of various natures that are of particular interest to me.

Ella: Can we get your contact info?

Author: Sheshena Pledger
Book: Secrerts Unveiled
ISBN: 978-1-4357-1918-7

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Author Interviews


Intimate Conversation with Kimberly Armstrong-Hughes

Intimate Conversation with author and community leader Kimberly Armstrong-Hughes

Kimberly serves as President at Diamond Development and is located in Baltimore, MD. Additionally, Kimberly serves as Executive Director-Founder at Eric R. Villines Advocacy Institute and Chief Officer at Diamond Development Inc.

At present, Kimberly is a member of National Association of Female Executives and Governors Office of Children Appointed Parent Advocate. She serves on the boards of Professional Woman’s Network, Maryland Juvenile Council and Baltimore City DMC Advisory Board. Kimberly’s core expertise includes Workshops and Trainings in Personal & Professional Development, Stress and Anger Management and Juvenile Justice & Violence Issue’s and Youth Development.

Mrs. Armstrong-Hughes is also the co-author of 3 all around self empowering books and has become a sought after dynamic inspirational speaker. She has delivered Inspirational messages with several well known speakers such as Susan Taylor of Essence Magazine and Michael Eric Dyson and Stedman Graham.

In her personal time, Kimberly enjoys hanging out with family & best friend, her Husband, and beautiful daughter, wonderful son and his family. Some of her other hobbies include decorating, arts and craft, dining out and learning new things.

Ella: Welcome Kim! Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
I am Powerful because…I am truly blessed and highly favored I have managed to turn tragedies into triumph and along the way god has allowed my stories be a testimony to empower and encourage others.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I live in Baltimore Maryland. I started my journey in 2005 after a tragic loss, my 16 year old son was murdered in 2004 and I was given the opportunity to co-author in The Christians Woman’s Guide for Personal Success and I wrote a chapter on Dealing with Death and Grief. This was the beginning of my journey to healing.

I have since co-authored 2 more books Woman as Leader-Leadership Skills for Youth, and Raising African American Boys-Enough is Enough Creating Boundaries for our Sons. This book is an anthology and it is a self empowerment book it has 25-co authors. It has several self empowerment chapters with 25 co-authors.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Good information that can be helpful to them and passed on to others. These books have a wealth of information to enhance lives.

Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
You have to be patient.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Be patient and diligent.

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
Research, Esteem and energy!!

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
To see me on OPRAH or to have a TV show that be on the juvenile and criminal justice system.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
In April 2009 Raising African American Males will be released and my chapter is entitled “Enough Is Enough: Creating Boundaries for Our Sons” I am currently on an local book tour Christian Authors On Tour.

In May I will began the Professional Woman’s National Book Tour and Conference I will be one of the Guest Speaker and Presenters in Washington D.C. on July 11, 2009 information and registration will be on my website and blog. I am releasing my own 2 personal books Later this year.

Kimberly Armstrong-Hughes
President of Diamond Development Inc.
Executive Director-Founder of Eric R. Villines Advocacy Institute
Phone: 1-800-485-8214

“Brilliance In Helping Other Help Themselves”
Social-Entrepreneur Consultant, Speaker, and Author

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Author Interviews


He Loves Me He Loves Me Not!

Intimate Conversation Interview author Tracy L. Darity with Ella Curry of EDC Creations

He Loves Me He Loves Me Not! is a fresh new story that chronicles the life of Khadejah Johnson, from a teenager preparing for college, to a grown woman in her 30’s, and single mom of two. The story takes readers on a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. It heightens our senses to just how quickly a life well planned can be detoured by one decision. But not every detour leads to a dead-end and sometimes the back roads provide the best landscape. With determination and a strong supporting cast, Khadejah overcomes the obstacles placed before her and blossoms before the readers’ eyes into a strong, secure woman who does not let her past define her future.

Ella: Tracy, finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
I recognize that God has instilled in me many gifts and talents that can be used to uplift and empower those whose lives I touch and once I acknowledged his omnipotent power I immediately transposed into a radiant force.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I am a native and lifelong resident of St. Petersburg, Florida. As a teenager I began journaling as a way to release frustration and from there I started writing short stories as a means of releasing frustration or dealing with disappointment.

Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
Khadejah is the main character and there are several other characters I could easily give the same title. I will go with Vanisa, her best friend. What I like most about these two characters is that they meet at a transitional time in their lives and form a close friendship. Although their lives go in different directions and Vanisa easily obtains the things they both desire, they maintain a strong and supportive bond that many female relationships lack today.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
My book stand-outs because the situations presented could be any of us. One thing I hear from readers is that they become so connected to the characters and felt vested in the outcome of Khadejah’s story. I believe I present a fresh voice because I am not trying to recreate the hot book released last week but take the readers on a journey that keeps them engaged.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want readers to take from my book a sense of hope that there is no obstacle in life that can’t be overcome. And I want to reinforce the value of a strong support system whether it is family, friends, co-workers, etc. Every person that comes into your life has something to teach you but it is up to you to determine if you need to be present for the lesson.

Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
I have learned that I have a far-reaching, over-active, but vivid imagination, more so, than I ever imagined.

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
My most significant achievement has been actually publishing my book. I had to let go of the disappointment that came with the numerous rejection letters and realize that the people stuffing form letters into an envelop addressed to me, were not the authors of my future.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Write a believable story, develop characters that readers can relate to, write your story and not what’s selling for someone else, know who your intended audience is.

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
My brother sent me an email recently that read, “I can pray for your success but only you can define what it (success) means to you,” The three things that makes me a successful author is 1) releasing a book that I am proud to have my name on; 2) receiving an acknowledgment from a reader that they truly enjoyed my book; 3) having readers say they can’t wait until my next book is released.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
I have several manuscripts I am currently working on. I have a very creative imagination and never want my next novel to any way resemble the one(s) before it. So you can expect diverse and intriguing books in my future.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
Currently, I am still working on the roll-out of “He Loves Me He Loves Me Not!” Readers can keep up with my events, and signings by joining me at It is a social networking page I created for my supporters to share their thoughts and discuss my books. I will also blog from this site. Readers can expect my next release later this year. It is titled “Love…Like Snow In Florida On A Hot Summer Day.”

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Author Interviews


Community Leader Roxanne Johnson-Pugh

Meet Community Leader Roxanne Johnson-Pugh

Roxanne Johnson-Pugh, a native of Washington D.C., is the Assistant Pastor of Disciples International Training and Worship Center, located in Clinton Maryland. She is the CEO of Bawrar Generation, V.O.T.E.Ministries and Destiny Awaken Publications. In addition to her being an entrepreneur she is an author and well sought after motivational speaker. She is no stranger to the media outlets as she has done numerous television and radio interviews.

You will find her to be a very passionate, sincere, genuine, honest, real, “cutting edge” fiery personality representing the Kingdom of God and His people. Roxanne resides in Maryland with her husband and children.

Message from Roxanne Johnson-Pugh
As I travel throughout various places for speaking engagements it amazes me how many people turn their noses up at a person who may be in a physically abusive relationship.

Ironically, the first thing I hear is “the person enduring the abuse is stupid or crazy; why do they stay; well it wouldn’t be me! However, I have learned that more than likely these same people are in abusive relationships themselves.

In my book I discuss mental, verbal, emotional, spiritual/financial (pimps and prostitutes in the church), physical and sexual abuse. I have come to realize that we as people endure far more abuse then we realize. So in my book I open of these areas of “silent abuse” that are rarely talked about. I offer a way of escape, hope, freedom, the power of forgiveness and healing to move forward in life.

Ella: Finish this sentence for me- I am powerful because…
I am powerful because the spirit of Jesus Christ resides on the inside of me. Due to the fact that His spirit lives inside of me, He equips and empowers me to be powerful. This power is what allows me to accomplish and fulfill all of my dreams, purpose and destiny here on earth! There is nothing that I can do by my own strength, might, or ability to be powerful, my power lies in the strength of the Almighty God

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I am a native of WashingtonD.C. I find this question very amusing. Growing up I hated reading because I thought it was the most boring thing in the world to do and I hated writing because my fingers would hurt me so bad. I never saw myself as a writer and could never imagine becoming an author. In fact, if I had to read a book when I was growing up the first thing I wanted to know was how long the book was. Subsequently, as a young adult I was the same way when I was in stores and saw books that caught my attention the first thing I would do was look to see how many pages the book had, and that would determine if I purchased the book or not. Needless to say my experience as an author was truly a journey.

As a public speaker and being in position to interact with lots of people through ministry, on the job, family members or friends, I have the privilege to witness a lot of things; unfortunately some things are not so pleasant. Through the things I experienced in life I have developed a heart for injustice, especially in the area of abuse. I hate to see people used, abused and hurting, especially at the hands of another person. I would see the hurt people would be enduring, which would often trigger the memories of the hurts and pain I had endured in my own life, but also the joy of the triumph of victory I have experienced in overcoming the abuse I have endured in my life.

This developed a burning desire in me to share the message of “you can be victorious no matter what you have endured in life”. So, I would often times get to speak out against the things I had witnessed and shine light to areas of abuse and share my message with hundreds of people. However, it still wasn’t enough so I started looking into joining different organizations to partner with to share my message in the area of abuse; I had made some progress but not enough.

One day I was working on a business plan and I kept hearing a title of a book, well I didn’t know if it was an actual book or what, so I ignored what I was hearing and kept working on the business plan. About two days later I went to a prayer meeting at my church and I was on my way home and here comes this title again and then I realized that I was suppose to write a book. I thought I was dreaming, I immediately started crying as if I had just received the worst news possible. I turned my car around went back to the church and shared my experience with my pastor and asked for prayer, and this is how my writing journey started!

Ella: What makes your book stand out? What would entice a reader to pick it up?
I believe the key has been the detailed exposure of abuse that is revealed in my book, especially areas that are considered to be taboo. Also, I was not afraid to speak the truth concerning the issues of abuse. I don’t sugarcoat the issue. I open up every area of abuse to the best of my ability. I help the readers to understand that abuse is more than just physical and sexual. There is also emotional, mental, verbal, governmental, financial and spiritual abuse. Most often the people who claimed to have never been abused before often find out they have indeed been abused, are being abused, or have done the abusing themselves after having read my book. It is an eye opener to the readers that abuse has many faces and it knows no age, race, color or gender.

The most crucial aspect of the book is that I was not afraid to share myself in the book. I told the ugly, embarrassing truths about the things I endured. I shared the realities of my own challenges and insecurities that caused me to stay in unhealthy situations, and then I offered a way of escape out of that environment. I showed the readers how it is possible to move past your hurts and pains through the powers of forgiveness and healing. I believe the combination of all these aspects are what entices the readers to pick up my book and actually read it.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want your readers to gain from your book?
Ultimately, I want the readers to gain insight on the warning signs of a possibly abusive situation, no matter what the relationship with the other person may be. I want the readers to gain insight into the fact that we were not created just to exist in the earth, but that our lives have meaning and there is a purpose for our having been born and in order to live out that destiny we must be free from the affects of pain to be able to move forward in life and gaining all that was designed for us to have. I want the readers to be able to understand there is hope, and no matter how much despair there seems to be, they can come out of any situation and walk in victory, and not as the victim.

Ella: What would you say has been the most significant achievement as a writer?
The most significant achievement I have experienced as a writer has been the testimonies of how the lives of the readers were changed as a result of reading my book. The decision to come out the abusive situations is ultimately up to the reader, because people have to decide to be free. So, when I know that the right decision has been made and that action has taken place in the life of the reader, I know that the purpose of this book is not if vain!

How was this achievement gain? I accredit the achievement of this project to the Lord Jesus Christ who made it all possible for man to live free from the bondages of abuse!

Ella: Name three things it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
In my opinion to be successful in the writing industry it takes the following three things:

Creativity- You must be creative in the processing of your thoughts as you prepare to convey your message or story to your audience. You want to capture their attention by drawing them into your world. Don’t be afraid to explore your imagination! You want your reader to walk with you from the beginning of your book to the end.

Patience – Take your time in writing your book. The worst thing you can do is rush your process because of the excitement to complete your project by a targeted date. It is important that your work is well thought out, planned, and your story offers substance for its readers.

Audience – Know your audience! I can not express this statement enough. As you carefully plan your writing project choose your audience. Your audience is determined by your experience and the substance of your writings.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
I have recently started my own publishing company, “Destiny Awaken Publications” Please check us out at . I am currently working on my second book entitled “Daddy’s Desperate Little Girl’s”, which is planned to be released by the fall of this year 2009.

Roxanne Johnson-Pugh

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Community News


SAY A PRAYER FOR ME by Stanice Anderson

SAY A PRAYER FOR ME: One Woman’s Life of Faith and Triumph
Stanice Anderson, as seen on 700 Club

Stanice Anderson is an author, inspirational speaker, playwright, and vocalist. Hope-filled Life-Stories delivered with transparency, drama, excitement, and humor are the gifts she brings to the table. “There is power in telling our stories. It’s because people shared their life-stories with me, that I am free from a devastating heroin addiction for over 23 years. Now, living my resurrected dreams, and God’s purposes for my life, I am a living testimony of the power, grace, and love of God.” says Stanice.

So far, she has two published nonfiction books, I SAY A PRAYER FOR ME: One Woman’s Life of Faith and Triumph (Walk Worthy Press/Warner Books) and 12-STEP PROGRAMS: A Resource Guide for Helping Professionals (Learning Publications) and several book proposal being shopped by her agent.

Her books have been featured, reviewed, and ranked in everything from Publisher’s Weekly, Sister2 Sister magazine and to Black Expressions, Gospel Today and Essence magazines. Publishers Weekly called it, “Gripping— with a novelist’s eye for dialogue–” “Maya Angelou’s literary talent and Iyanla Vanzant’s prayerful insights,” says Sonsyrea Tate, Managing Editor, The Washington Informer.

She has also been a guest on various national and local radio and television shows including, The 700 Club, NPR’s Kojo Nnamdi Show, ABC News Radio, The Audrey Chapman Show, The Daily Drum, St. Vincent and the Grenadines TV, The Bev Smith Show, NAACP Minority Report, and University of Maryland’s The Writers Tale. The episode of Stanice’s interview won the show a 2004 International Telly Award and still runs on several university stations and The Research Channel.

Stanice has given hundreds of talks throughout the US and Caribbean at churches, shelters, prisons, schools and corporations, including AOL Headquarters, Catholic Charities, and Oxford House International. She also performs her her one-woman, out-of-the-box experience, WALKIN’ ON WATER WHEN THE GROUND AIN’T ENUF, a potpourri of poetry and spoken word bathed in music, transparently honest and humorous life stories, and songs. An excerpt from her play-in-progress, based on her book, I Say A Prayer For Me, was produced at The Studio Theatre in Washington, DC.

Hope-filled Life-Stories delivered with transparency, drama, excitement, and humor are the gifts she brings to the table. “There is power in telling our stories. Secrets grow in the dark; but die in the light of exposure. It’s because of God and people who shared their life-stories with me, that I am free from heroin addiction for over 23 years, living in my dream, and God’s purpose for my life. As long as there is breath, there is hope.” says Stanice.

Stanice’s talk tour, LET’S GET REAL: Sharing Our Stories-Sharing Our Strengths, co-sponsored by community organizations was wildly received in Charlotte, NC, Washington, DC, and St. Louis, Missouri. She recently added to her repertoire, EVERYBODY HAS A STORY! Writing Worshops and Gatherings.

Since 1999, she has written and distributed via email subscriptions, her inspirational series, FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT which landed her a mega-agent and book deal; and since 2006, FAITH-LIFT WITH STANICE.

Stanice is also the founder of Feast on The Word Gatherings, as well as a member of the Black Women Playwrights’ Group and the African-American Playwrights’ Exchange.

A 4th generation District of Columbian; her mom, son, and 3 grandkids are the wind beneath her wings. To book Stanice Anderson or for info contact 202-904-4955 or email

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Book Spotlights


Intimate Conversation Interview with author Robin “Robbie” Ayele

Robin “Robbie” Ayele is a novelist, poet and publisher. Her first book of poetry, “Chocolate City Chronicles” was released mid summer 2007. Her debut novel, “Broken”, which was published by Chocolate Angel Publications, was released in March 2008. “Broken In 2” will be released in spring 2009. Her literary works have been featured on the TimBookTu, Authors Den and TopCatLive web sites where she has received numerous positive reviews. She has also written articles for various publications including the Baltimore Progress magazine.
She is a long-time member of the Baltimore chapter of the Black Writers Guild of Maryland, the United Black Writers, the Diva Writers, the Mahogany Book Club, TPC Book Lounge, Black Women Poets, the Baltimore Playwrights, Sisters in Crime Writers Group, the Fiction Writers Critique Group and the Sankofa Literary Society. She has studied writing under esteemed author Marita Golden and been recognized by renowned poet Sonia Sanchez and prestigious film director Spike Lee. She has worked at the nationally known and beloved Karibu Book Store, the largest African American independent chain on the East Coast.

A Baltimore native, she has lived in her birth home of the District of Columbia as well as New York, Philadelphia, Nashville and Norfolk. A world traveler, she has visited most of Europe, the UK and Canada. She has also resided in Ethiopia, Africa with her husband Yidnkachew.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Temple University and a Masters of Arts in Urban Planning from Morgan State University. Mrs. Ayele currently works as a Community Development Planner in Wicomico County, Maryland.

Ella: Finish this sentence for me- I am Powerful because
I am Powerful because God has allowed me to overcome and live to talk about it.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start writing journey?
I was born in Washington, DC but raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I became interested in literature at a very young age. Instead of playing outside with other kids, I stayed indoors creating short stories and reading books.

Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
There are three (3) characters in my novel, “Broken”. Autumn, Joy and Cole are friends who become entangled in the madness and mayhem created by a determined avenger among them. Autumn, the saavy businesswoman has the greatest influence in the book. I admire Autumn’s ability to succeed despite all the hell she endured in her past. Joy, Autumn’s closest friend, sees the best in everyone even at her own expense. Cole, the only male character and Autumn’s love interest, is a DC cop who is such a strong, sexy yet caring black man determined to be a positive force in his child’s life.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you readers to gain from your book?
I want my readers to see there are always two ways to deal with a painful past and the decision could affect the rest of a person’s life. Also, I wanted to show that faith can pull people through the worse situation no matter how difficult.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice reader pick it up?
My book is unique because it is a mystery and suspense novel which is not something that you see often in terms of African American fiction these days. “Broken” leaves you guessing and on edge throughout the entire book and some have said it reminds them of watching a thriller movie playing out. It is also different because I infused humor, and drama in the book.

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
I believe that my greatest achievement has been inspiring others. I have encouraged people to follow their dreams and not give up. I hold writer workshops and am always thrilled afterwards when attendees come back and say they were motivated to go home and pick up a pen.

Ella: How may the readers find out more about your books?
For more information on my book, you can check out my website at or

Robin “Robbie” Ayele

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Author Interviews


Meet author Chris Tusa of Dirty Little Angels

Meet author Chris Tusa of Dirty Little Angels

Set in the slums of New Orleans, among clusters of crack houses and abandoned buildings, Dirty Little Angels is the story of sixteen year old Hailey Trosclair. When the Trosclair family suffers a string of financial hardships and a miscarriage, Hailey finds herself looking to God to save her family. When her prayers go unanswered, Hailey puts her faith in Moses Watkins, a failed preacher and ex-con.

Fascinated by Moses’s lopsided view of religion, Hailey, and her brother Cyrus, begin spending time down at an abandoned bank that Moses plans to convert into a drive-through church. Gradually, though, Moses’s twisted religious beliefs become increasingly more violent, and Hailey and Cyrus soon find themselves trapped in a world of danger and fear from which there may be no escape.
» Click here to read a sample chapter
About the Author Chris Tusa

Chris Tusa was born and raised in New Orleans. His work has appeared in Connecticut Review, Texas Review, Prairie Schooner, The New Delta Review, South Dakota Review, Southeast Review, Passages North, Spoon River, New York Quarterly, Louisiana Literature, Tar River, StorySouth, and others.
He has studied under a number of notable writers, including Tim Gautreaux, Sidney Wade, and Debora Gregor. With the help of a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, he was able to complete his first chapbook of poetry, Inventing an End.

His debut collection of poems, Haunted Bones, was published by Louisiana Literature Press in 2006. His debut novel, Dirty Little Angels, will be released by The University of West Alabama this April. He holds a B.A. in English, an M.A in English, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. Aside from teaching in the English Department at LSU, he also acts as Managing Editor for Poetry Southeast.

Visit Chris’ Blog:

Christopher Tusa
Department of English, Louisiana State University
Editor, Poetry Southeast

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Posted by on February 13, 2009 in Meet the Author


Content…Right Where I Am

Content…Right Where I Am by Joy Turner

“Content” is a Christian non-fiction book that offers a personal testimony of the author’s journey towards finding contentment. The book invites the reader to dive deeper in to the root causes behind discontentment and offers a message of hope through personal experiences, scripture references and even activities to cultivate a brighter and more positive outlook on our present state and not being consumed by negative things from our past or factors that we can not change or control. Author – Joy Turner

Joy Turner is an accomplished musician, vocalist, composer and author born and raised in Baltimore, MD. As a published songwriter and writer/editor for her church newsletter, she has embarked upon her first published literary work “Content…Right Where I Am”. Joy’s testimony is one of courage and strength.

While in college, she was date raped and subsequently decided to drop out of school. In addition to varying health issues alongside the stressers of living out of the will of God, she began to feel like a failure and fell into a deep depression. Through her salvation God has restored and healed and has allowed Joy to become a bold witness for Christ while utilizing all of her gifts and talents to his glory. You can read a full bio and learn more about the book at

“Call unto me, and i will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not- Jeremiah 33:3 – Are you dissatisfied with certain areas of your life? Do you often feel incomplete or discontent? Does your mindn tell you that you won’t be cmoplete until you lose the weight? Get a job, have the car, and/or find the right mate? Is there anthing for that matter that hinders you from being content right where you are? If your anser is a resounding “YES” then this book was meant for both you and I.”

Content…Right Where I Am is available for purchase directly through author’s website (, publisher’s site ( and

Joy Turner
Author of “Content…Right Where I Am”

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Posted by on February 13, 2009 in Author Interviews


Intimate Conversations with author Coco LaBon

Intimate Conversations Interview author Coco LaBon

Coco LaBon grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas surrounded by family and various pets. As the youngest of five children, she started writing around the age of eight, and over the years she developed a collection of personal poems, short stories, and other creative works. After many years, she finally realized her dream of publishing a book.

She hopes that children everywhere will enjoy reading this adventure story. She is a great lover of animals and hopes to write more stories in the near future. One of her ultimate dreams is to make a movie out of one of her stories. Of course, she loves everything chocolate!

Ms. LaBon has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio, Television and Film from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She also has a Professional Certificate in 3-D Animation from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Currently, Ms. LaBon lives and works in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Ella: Tell us about your passion for writing.
Writing is probably my first love. I love all types of writing and I have written poetry and prose, haiku, sitcom scripts, full-length movie scripts and the beginnings of a novel. I also have a day job where I do some technical writing and design of marketing materials. As far as I am concerned, any kind of writing is fun for me.

My book offers children the chance to fantasize and to go on a wonderful journey to find the Chocolate River. I think it also gives them inspiration to be creative, and teaches them about the love of family and friends.

Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
I am Powerful because… I am a strong-minded, intelligent and creative woman. I have learned to make decisions for myself, and to live with those decisions. I have been supporting myself for over 20 years and it has not been easy. However, I have definitely learned a lot about mortgage contracts and dealing with contractors, doing my taxes, running a small business, and dealing with difficult work situations and personalities. My personal power comes from learning how to get back up after I fail at something. The ability to get up and to move forward is the key.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I am originally from Little Rock, Arkansas and I began writing when I was about eight years old. I guess I was always carrying around stories in my mind; I was very imaginative and creative. Writing allowed me to create a world of my own. I always loved animals and had a special connection with them. Through writing, I could give my animal characters a voice and a purpose, and that was satisfying.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?

If you are a chocolate lover like me, then you have to get the book. I wrote the book with chocolate lovers in mind and developed a story around it.

This is also an adventure story that takes children on a journey and opens their mind to fantasy and possibilities.

Although it encourages children to follow their dreams, it also teaches them several lessons like: obeying their parents, not wandering too far from home, and that family is important.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer about the industry?
The advice I would give new writers is to be prepared to do a lot of marketing for your book. There are so many books in the marketplace that the competition is very stiff. You also have to be very web-savvy. Do your research; learn the power of Internet marketing techniques and social marketing websites and tools.

As far as my journey; I entered the market as a self-published writer. I would prefer to sign on with a mainstream publisher for my next book. I think it would be very helpful to have that team of professionals behind me, and also to have the advantage of being paid up front for my manuscript. There is also more legitimacy behind the major publishers and they are much more widely accepted by the retail bookstores.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
Expect “The Legend of the Chocolate River” movie! My ultimate goal is to see my book come alive in the form of an animated movie on the big screen. I was a radio, television and film production major, and I also have a professional certificate in 3-D animation. I know what is required to make a movie and I look forward to getting the opportunity to write, produce and direct my animated film soon.

One of the issues I have with modern animated movies is that movies are no longer made for children, they are made for adults with adult themes. Although they are entertaining, I think there should be a return to movies made for children and more from the perspective of a child.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
I will be participating in the “John O. Peterson Library Read-In” at my church, Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA, on February 8, 2009 from 1pm – 3pm. As a volunteer “reader,” I will be reading some books to a group of 18 months – 3-year-old children. I will also be giving away a “Chocolate River” themed basket as one of the door prizes for the two-hour event, and will have some books on hand to autograph and sell. The event will showcase several African American authors who are also members of Alfred Street Baptist Church.

Also, during the month of February, I am joining with a group of African American authors to do a fundraiser called “Books by Us.” This is a project spearheaded by Uncle E of W3 Publishing and will involve several schools in Prince Georges County, MD. Similar to the Scholastic catalog fundraiser, Books by Us will feature African American authors from the Washington, DC metropolitan area and students will go around selling our books from the catalog. I am very excited about this endeavor because it is the first of its kind of which we are aware.

I will have some other events coming up which I will announce on my website (, or via press releases once the details are finalized.

Coco LaBon

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Posted by on February 13, 2009 in Author Interviews


Harvard University Announcement

Harvard University Announcement

Harvard University announced over the weekend that from now on undergraduate students from low-income families will pay no tuition. In making the announcement, Harvard’s president Lawrence H. Summers said, “When only ten percent of the students in elite higher education come from families in the lower half of the income distribution, we are not doing enough. We are not doing enough in bringing elite higher education to the lowerhalf of the income distribution.”

If you know of a family earning less than $60,000 a year with an honor student graduating from high school soon, Harvard University wants to pay the tuition. The prestigious university recently announced that from now on undergraduate students from low-income families can go to Harvard for free… no tuition and no student loans!

To find out more about Harvard offering free tuition for families making less than $60,000 a year, visit Harvard’s financial aid website at: or call the school’s financial aid office at (617) 495-1581.


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Posted by on February 13, 2009 in Community News



For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Lee McDonald, The Renaissance Group (301) 856-8273,


Baltimore, MD, February 9, 2009 — On Saturday, April 18, 2009 from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. the Urban Leadership Institute, Heal Women, Heal a Nation, Residential After School Programs & the Institute for Interactive Instruction along with several community partners will host the Raising Him Alone Campaign Kick Off. The kick off is part of a larger conference focused on empowering women. The Urban Leadership Institute partnered with Heal a Women, Heal a Nation ( joined forces to provide an exciting opportunity for women in Baltimore, MD.

The Raising Him Alone campaign is designed to provide support and advocacy for single mothers raising boys. At a time when so much energy is focused on African American males, it is critical that we do a better job engaging parents around the unique challenges that face boys being raised by single parents. Raising Him Alone ( focuses on creating a safe space for single mothers to discuss parenting strategies, personal development, managing finances on a single income and a variety of other topics determined by single mothers.
The campaign kickoff will be held at Coppin State University, 35 West North Ave Baltimore, MD 21216 featuring a full day of workshops hosted by Heal a Woman, Heal a Nation. Raising Him Alone will host a separate workshop track for single mothers raising boys featuring an exciting panel of celebrity mothers who have raised highly successful sons. Panelist includes: Dr. Brenda Greene, Professor at Medgar Evers College and mother of Talib Kweli, Dr. Mahalia Hines, Retired Chicago Public School Principal and mother of actor/rapper Common and Sheron “Umi’ Smith, mother of Grammy Nominated actor and rapper Mos Def. The panel will be hosted by mother/actress/comedienne Meshelle.

Other featured speakers include: Cassandra Mack, author The Single Mom’s Little Book of Wisdom, Dr. Melva Green, Psychiatrist, Stacie Price, Visionary Financial Strategies, Inc., Darlene Brown, Divine Empowerment, Richard Rowe, African American Male Leadership Institute and Adeyemi Bandale, Men on the Move.

Additionally, the kickoff will feature a resource fair full of organizations dedicated to serving mothers and sons.

For more information on Raising Him Alone and to register for the conference, visit


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Posted by on February 13, 2009 in Community News


Celebration of Love – Gift #5 by Jewell R. Powell

Celebration of Love – Gift #5 by Jewell R. Powell

Submit Biblically
To Submit Biblically is a person who can surrender their will to others and to God. We honor God when we submit to others.

“Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord, …For it is God’s will…; but [live at all times] as servants of God. Show respect for all men [treat them honorably]. Love the brotherhood. Reverence God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:13-17)

Biblical submission is to voluntarily yield in love and a willingness to consider another person’s need more important than our own. I learned that we can honor God (Whom we have not seen) by honoring our brethren (especially our spouses), whom we have seen.

“In the true spirit of humility let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself…Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:4-5)

Honor your spouse over the next 4 days (i.e. consider their needs more important than your own or if they ask you for anything, do it or send them a free ecard)

Rocky Valentine’s Day: How to Revive a Marriage on Cupid Day and Beyond From gifts of flowers and chocolates to candlelight dinners and mushy cards, Valentine’s Day is supposed to be the ultimate love day. However, many married couples may find themselves in a romantic rut, but this cupid-filled holiday, we want to put the spark back into a lifeless marriage so that you can experience romance not only on V-Day but on every day of the year.

Jewell Powell’s new book, written with a Sleeping Beauty twist, Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith shares the ups and downs of marriage and how on the brink of divorce she was able to turn it around by understanding that marriage is not a fairy tale. Her favorite quote comes from Mignon McLaughlin: “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” But how can you fall in love again with the same person? Consider these easy ways to get things moving in the right direction:

1. Learn what makes your spouse feel loved and then do that. You may have to directly ask which behaviors and actions s/he desires from you.

2. Start dating your spouse again. Whether it is in the dining room, your bedroom after the kids are in bed or out at a special restaurant, dress up and smell nice. Make an effort to find creative ways to date your spouse. For example, feeding each other chocolate covered fruit while sitting on the couch and listening to soft music by candlelight.

3. Spend more time with your spouse-find one thing that you can do with your spouse. For example, if your spouse loves to watch football on the weekends and in the past you have been annoyed, try to change your perspective and learn about football and his favorite teams so you can cuddle up on the couch and share a game. Or perhaps your spouse loves musical theatre and you have a tendency to drag your feet. Surprise her with tickets and do your best to enjoy the experience, because you know this will make her happy.

4. Flirt! Remember calling them on the phone and telling them how much you love them, sending them love notes, patting them on the butt and using loving terms such as ‘honey’ or ‘my love’ Do that again! Your spouse may be really surprised at first, but it will inevitably cause him or her to become more playful, thus, kicking up the spice in your relationship a notch. Powell decided to rebuild her marriage based on the lessons she learned. Since she and her husband reconciled their own marriage, the Powells are passionate about helping other couples. They started the “Happily Ever After” Marriage Ministry which equips and empowers couples to overcome their challenges that so often cause marriages to end in divorce.

(c) 2009 by Jewell R. Powell
Jewell R. PowellAuthor, Marriage 101

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Celebration of Love – Gift #6 Jewell R. Powell

Celebration of Love – Gift #6 by Jewell R. Powell

Repent Biblically
To Repent Biblically is a person who changes his or her attitude and behavior
“And saying, Repent (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2 amp).

You cannot continue to say I am sorry Lord while still doing the same things that are not pleasing to Him. True repentance results in a changed life with new or different behavior/thinking and is visible to others.

To repent allows you to remain in right relationship with God and with other people. That is why it is important for husbands and wives to say I’m sorry.

Over the next 3 days repent daily to God and one another about past hurts and offenses.
For a free excerpt from my book, click

Jewell R. Powell, Author of Marriage 101

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Book Donations Desperately Needed

Dear Friend,
My name is Mr. Bertrand Brown and I am a former teacher and the author of The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter and A Woman’s Worth, both novels. Blessed I was taught to always give back once you’ve succeeded. I have therefore founded The Literacy Library, a free tutorial service which focuses on helping those at-risk, disadvantaged teenagers who do not have either the resources or care needed to excel in school.

At present I have thirty-four students, many of whom are quite bright despite not having the foundation to reach their full academic potential. So at present we here at The Literacy Library are doing everything within our willpower to get them and keep them on task.

In the midst of our annual book drive I am only hoping that you can donate some books to keep them reading, focused and on-task.

So, what kinds of books do they like you may ask? And all I can say is that their tastes vary as much as their personalities but if you like it I’m sure that they will as well. So send any and everything. New, used it doesn’t matter. Anything from Danielle Steele to Alice Walker is welcomed and greatly appreciated.

If you feel it easier to send a gift certificate from Barnes & Nobles or Borders feel free. And if it’s your intention to send books you’ll find that by sending them at media or book rate it is very, very cheap.

I thank you for your time, support and caring.

Sincerely yours,

The Literacy Library
c/o Mr. Bertrand E. Brown
1706 Kay Street
Greensboro, N.C. 27405

P.S. Thanks again and please forward this request. Any questions please feel free to contact me at or

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Posted by on February 13, 2009 in Community News


Intimate Conversation with Astro/Numerologist LLoyd

Intimate Conversation with LLoyd, author of Author of Numbers and You (Ballantine Books)

As a kid, LLoyd, had an interest in all things “weird”, “strange” or “interesting” (Or did it have something to do with him being an Aquarius?) Fascinated with the “other world”; the world of astrology and the related sciences, held his time and attention. Despite a background in sales, real estate, insurance, publishing and even music, he seems to have been the happiest if he could figure out a person’s astrological and or numerical chart. After long and intensive years of studying and researching both astrology and numerology, LLoyd emerged as an Astro/Numerologist… perhaps the most renowned authority in this specialized field today! Check out his book Numbers and You: A Numerology Guide for Everyday Living.

LLoyd has written numerous books, news/magazine columns and numerous articles on events of the time. He brings to the radio listener and TV viewer, insight and an informative approach to his very unique world.

Appearing on national TV shows, such as “Oprah Winfrey”, “Geraldo”, “Regis Philbin and Kathy Lee”, “The Montel Williams Show” and “Tony Brown’s Journal”, etc., along with countless radio appearances across the country. LLoyd has always left the audience mesmerized. His refreshing and warm delivery to the subject of astro/numerology is upbeat, positive, sincere and amazingly on target.

LLoyd, as an experienced radio and TV personality seems to have this impact on stations in every major market. Perhaps LLoyd, born, bred and breathing in New York City has something to do with it

Ella: Welcome! Please tell us a little about your and what most in life.
My name is Lloyd Strayhorn and I’m an author and astro-numerologist. My passion of course is numerology and its related branches, i.e., astrology, palmistry, etc. I was born in Harlem , New York and what matters the most in life is the love of helping others to help themselves, or at least encourage them.

Ella: Books can change lives! What books have made created a impact on you?
Some of the books, for there are many, that have had the greatest impact on me was Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”; “The Laws of Success”; “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Alex Haley, etc.

Ella: What was the last book you read? Why did you select that book?
Just finished reading one of my favorite authors, Michael Crichton’s “Andromeda Strain”. The movie version of the book was aired recently on A & E. His book is still better than the movie adaptation.

Ella: Who were the people that shaped your life? What’s your greatest memory?
My parents and relatives shaped so many of my greatest childhood memories, it’s a challenging to say in those terms.

Ella: What 2 social ills would you like to eliminate in the world?
The two social ills I’d like to eliminate would be the moral, social and spiritual indifference we have towards one another. The other is eliminate the piss-poor way we educate our children, along with a more pro-active parental approach to them.

Ella: What do you hope to accomplish in 2009? Share your dreams or projects.
My goal this year is to publish “Lloyd’s Book of Numbers” a Numerology guide for the 21st Century”. . . a more hands-on approach to the subject.

Thank you LLoyd for joining us!

Contact LLoyd Strayhorn- Author of Numbers and You (Ballantine Books)
Check out his book Numbers and You: A Numerology Guide for Everyday Living
My Space

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Posted by on February 13, 2009 in Author Interviews


Some thoughts to guide us…

Some thoughts to guide us during this upcoming year….
(Tell us your thoughts on this inspirational selection)

1. Faith is the ability to not panic.

2. If you worry, you didn’t pray. If you pray, don’t worry.

3. As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home every day.

4. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

5. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.

6. Laugh every day. It’s like inner jogging.

7. The most important things in your home are the people.

8. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open.

9. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.

10. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.

11. We do not remember days, but moments. Life moves too fast, so enjoy your precious moments.

12. Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you’re seeking require courage and risk-taking. Learn from the turtle — it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.

13. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

14. Do the math. Count your blessings.

15. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

16. Dear God: I have a problem. It’s me.

17. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.

— author unknown; this was sent to me in a forward. If you know the source, please share it with me so that I can give them their rightful credit for being awesome!

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Inspirations: Life is Too Short

Life is Too Short

(Lies Lovers Tell by Zuri Day)

The worst thing is holding on to someone who doesn’t want to be held on to.

Don’t fall for someone unless they’re willing to catch you.

The thing about falling in love is that if you do it right, you’ll never hit the ground.

Life is too short to be anything but happy. So kiss slowly, love deeply and forgive quickly.

Take chances and never have regrets.

Forget the past but remember what it taught you.

Sometimes, you just have to smile, pretend everything’s okay, hold back the tears and walk away.

If you want to see the rainbow you must go through the rain. If you want true love you must go through the pain.

Women were made from a man’s rib, not from his head to be superior not from his feet to be walked on, but from his side to be equal, from under the arm to be protected and from next to the heart to be loved.

Author Unknown, but dearly celebrated!

Note: I am not sure of the original title of this piece or the author. If you know of the author or what the original piece contains, please share it with us. I would love to interview the person who wrote it or at least give them the credit due. This is brilliant and needs to be part of a book!

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Poem: A Mighty King

A Mighty King

To a proud family, a mighty King was born
From the hallowed halls of heaven, he was torn
Planted safely in the core of a peach
A place under the sun where Auburn is sweet
A black metropolis back in 1929
On the 15th day of the year, it was his time

In the two-story Victorian home where he lived
He learned to love and he grew to give
Of powerful men, he was the next generation
To bring a message of peace to the entire nation

He would speak God’s word and classic poetry
An upstanding pillar he was and will ever be
Strengthened by a mother and grandmother’s love
Empowered by a divine side, connected from above
Mused by his powers and moved by his beliefs
Challenged by anti-muse, the countless lying thieves

He finished high school at a tender fifteen
Then graduated Morehouse with his first degree
A theology seminary by the name of Crozer
Was his home for three years and brought him closer
To Boston, where he would earn his third degree
And meet the matriarch of his own family
An artistic and intellectual woman I see
With four children proudly standing

A pastor, he became in 1954
A crusader for justice knocked on Jim Crow’s door
He was the shepherd to a flock on Dexter Avenue
Where he preached against hatred and abuse
I can hear the angels sing: the torch was passed
He saw the day when we all would be free at last

I was not there when he was relegated
To the rear of establishments, so segregated
I was not there when the walking began
For 382 days against the unlawful ordinance
I was not there when they bombed his home
But I know that he and his family were never alone

As Jim Crow suffered from a blackened eye
King traveled and spoke over two thousand times
Each message carefully crafted was divine
The marches he led brought sight to the blind
From the Birmingham Jail to Time Magazine
This Nobel Peace Prize winner was a mighty King

by John D. Evans
Copyright 2009. All Rights Reserved.

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(May The Circle Be Unbroken)

My sistah friends,
Our lives are all
As in the marriage ceremony,
When the minister explains the rings
As symbols,
As circles,
Representing a continuum;
Representing the unending
So are we.
That is what we are
You and Me.
I am in You
And You are in Me
We have been pronounced one,
By our common experiences,
By our bloodline,
By our shared history, our shared heritage, our shared hope.
We are a part of the constant ebb and flow Of the universe and the circle of life.
It is proclaimed
“Enter these portals and learn
Depart and give to others”.
“Enter what portals?”, we say.
“Give what to others?”, we ask.
We enter the portals of Life, of Love, of Marriage, Divorce,
Heartbreak, Hardship,Heartaches.
We learn lessons,
Sometimes, very hard lessons.
We must give from those lessons learned
Pour out the elixers
From the wellsprings, the pitchers of knowledge and wisdom
For others to drink
To be filled, refreshed, renewed and revived.
It is our duty to God, to our forefathers, to others and to ourselves.
It is our duty to give back, to share, to assist, to contribute.
As those who have gone on before us,
Who helped us to to navigate the winding paths,
We must teach, inspire, encourage, help and heal.
Like it has been done for each of us
Like it has been given to each of us
We must do the same.
Swaying back and forth on those
Old wooden benches
In that old country church
Our mothers had us in mind
Had our futures in mind
Had this future in mind
As they sang
To us, about us, for us
My Sistahfriends
The Circle of Friends
May The Circle Be Unboken
May The Circle Be Unbroken
By and By Lord
By and By.

Copyright 2009. All Rights Reserved. PATRICIA NEELY-DORSEY author of Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems

“Meet Mississippi Through Poetry, Prose and The Written Word”

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Intimate Conversation with Tiffany Robinson

Intimate Conversation Interview with author Tiffany Robinson and Ella Curry of EDC Creations

T. Nicole has always had a love for writing. As a young child she could be found in her room writing anything from poetry to short stories and graphic novels. Her love for the written word has continued to grow and she now has decided to share her projects with the world. She has experienced much in her short time on this earth and she allows her everyday occurrences to guide her in creating innovative and never to be duplicated works. She takes every moment in her life and uses it as inspiration to do better things.

T. Nicole currently resides in Philadelphia, Pa. where she works as a Social Worker to at risk youth. She enjoys reading the works of others, listening to music, and hanging out with her girlfriends. She takes life as it comes, one second at a time.

Ella: Tell us about your new book, My Own Terms. What can readers expect?

My Own Terms (Kendall Publications; Watch Book Trailer) is one of those novels that deals with the inner turmoil’s of a woman fed up with the life she was living. Being married to someone who didn’t appreciate her worth nor did he really love her. She was more like his possession and not his wife. Her escape was grand and her plans were just as such. Readers will get to see inside a woman who was living the “right” way but was completely miserable while doing so. If readers are looking for something a little different from what they are used to, My Own Terms is the novel for them.

If you want fleating drama, pick up a copy of this book and you won’t be disappointed. Shana, a newly separated woman flees her husband by plane. She skips town on a 757 jet headed straight toward San Diego…a 3000 mile relocation. What will she run into when she gets there? Only time will tell. Read more…

Ella: Finish the sentence: I am powerful because…
I am powerful because I believe in my capabilities to achieve anything I put my mind to.

Ella: Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) stated, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”- Was there ever a point in your career, when how your life or plans didn’t match the theory? And how did you change the facts, to fit the theory?
Throughout my life the facts didn’t match the theory. There are so many instances when facts and theories didn’t match that I can’t pinpoint just once. However, with each instance I followed the same formula – change the theory to fit the facts. Facts are the truths, so for me it became easier to modify the theory to fit the facts of my life.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I can never really answer that question just by saying one city or state. I was born in Philadelphia, Pa., moved to Virginia shortly after, and then to California in the next couple of years. I bounced back and forth between various cities in California and Philadelphia. I was fifteen when I moved permanently to North Carolina, where I stayed for 2 years. Upon graduating high school I returned to Philadelphia and have remained here ever since.
I started my writing journey when I was about seven years old. As an only child, the paper I would write on was my closest friend. The paper withheld all my secrets and never told a soul.

Ella: Introduce us to the plot and your main characters. What do you love most about them?
My two main characters are Shana and DeShawn. What I love about Shana is that she takes nothing from no one. She was not always that way; through her failed marriage and the things she experienced with her husband, she knows she has to take charge of what goes on with her and all around her. DeShawn is the kind of man that has always gotten what he wants. Now that Shana is back in the, he wants her and she doesn’t want any part of it. The way DeShawn acts toward Shana demonstrates what really makes him who he is, and I love that about him.

Leaving Philadelphia could only mean one thing for Shana, a new beginning. She had no choice; she was forced out. Her husband couldn’t accept her leaving him and he made every attempt to make her come back. The stalking of friends and family members was too much for her to handle. She had a way out and it was three thousand miles away. Drastic times call for drastic measures. A drastic move is exactly what she desperately needed. Despite her not knowing anyone but her one friend, she relocated with hopes of building a new life. Even with her making a cross country move, her husband continues to be a major roadblock in her endeavor to start over.

Shana’s love for men will never die, but her willingness to be with just one had. There are too many men out there for her to settle down with just one who would inevitably do her dirty. She’s only been in her new life for a week, and already has three men lusting after her. She only discloses part of her past to these men, conveniently leaving out the part about her being stalked by her husband. No matter how hard she tries to dodge the issue, the truth finds its way to the light. Come what may, she is determined to live her life on her terms…

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
I believe that my book, My Own Terms, stands out because it offers a different take on life as a runaway bride. Read an excerpt here.

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
My most significant achievement as a writer is the fact that I decided to take myself seriously as well as my writing. This allowed me to move forward and publish my work. Ella, one of the most surprising things I have learned through creating this book is how extremely exhausting the whole process can be. However, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Advice I would give a new writer is for them to stick true to themselves because this industry can be very critical.

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
Three things that make a successful author, in my opinion, are:
Confidence in their work
Knowledge of the business, whether you are publishing your own work or not.
The ability to take people’s opinions about your work, whether they are good or bad.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
I plan to continue to write fiction novels, as well as non-fiction self help books.
Everything and anything that I am doing can be found at

T. Nicole Robinson

Author of:
My Own Terms
Scattered Thoughts Of Unpromising Romance, Moments of Clarity

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Posted by on February 13, 2009 in Author Interviews


Intimate Conversation with Sharen Rooks

Intimate Conversation Interview with community leader Sharen Rooks and Ella Curry of EDC Creations Media Group

Sharen Rooks is a true renaissance woman who has learned how to successfully blend her personal pursuits as a loving wife and mother with her professional ventures which includes being an author, singer and founder of The Sharen Rooks Agency.

Her loyalty, attention to detail and results-driven attitude coupled with a passion for helping others succeed is noteworthy in her field of expertise. Yes, if you want it told, she’s the one to tell it. In addition to promoting others, Sharen finds time to have a little fun as an actress, having performed in two local movies, “100 Lives”, directed by Phil Wallace (2008) and “N-Secure”, written by Julius Lewis & Christie Taylor and directed by David Matthews (2009).

The Sharen Rooks Agency is a public relations and community activist firm committed to the total public relations, marketing and booking needs of her clients. Our agency provides promotional needs via E-blast, TV, radio and print item. We help bring the hype about your event or business. Sharen Rooks was featured on Live@ 9, Channel 3 for her book, What Happens When God Moves; I received a prestige award from Memphis Woman Magazine,(2005) “50 Women Who Make A Difference”, featured in two local movies, N-Secure written by Julius Lewis and Christie Taylor (2008) and 100 Lives directed by Phil Wallace (2008).

Sharen is married to her wonderful husband, Minister, Kevin Roosk of 15yrs and they have a 12yr old son. She teaches Sunday School at her local church and also leads Praise and Worship at a local nursing home in Memphis. Her other duties include teaching marketing techniques, inspirational speaking, and business coaching and consulting. Sharen is currently working on the second book with my husband, Minister Rooks, Handling Success with the One You Love. The overview will discuss how the business operates and the importance of making it all balance. The book will include various interviews from successful couples all over the world. (Release Date September 2009)

Ella: Welcome! Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
I am Powerful because…of God’s faith in me and my faith in God first and foremost. My life is a testament to God’s belief that I could become someone powerful for Him and He has allowed me to overcome my life’s adversity and I know that with God, my husband and family’s support I am empowered to succeed in whatever I set my mind and hand to.

Ella: Did your company change the way consumers were previously taught to think?
Yes, believe my company has changed the way people do business now because if you think back many years ago; when people made deals they were made with a simple or firm handshake. Which indicated to me a sign of honest relationship in action. My theory for success in any venture is having great relationships are key indicators as to how, when, what, who business takes place. The Sharen Rooks Agency thrives on true relationships.

Ella: What got you started in publicity business/industry?
I am a natural at networking and promoting other people and their dreams. Even while running a non-profit organization geared toward educating children, I found myself constantly spreading the word about other folk’s events and projects. Someone once joked that, “if you want it told, Sharen’s the one to tell it”; in essence that really helped me refocus my energies and launch the Sharen Rooks Agency.

Ella: How did you start your writing or speaker’s journey?
Actually I’ve been speaking and writing from my youth, yet focus as a speaker came through my teaching parents life-coping skills while my first book came out of a necessity to pen my personal testimony which has been a source of inspiration in couples’ ministry for years.

Ella: What advice would you give someone just starting out in public relations?
My advice to anyone seeking to get into the public relations and marketing industry is to seek an accomplished mentor, do the research of the industry and build great connections in the field of public relations.

Ella: What do you enjoy most about your profession?
What I enjoy most about my profession is being able to do what I have a passion for and that’s “telling it” while getting paid to do that!

Ella: What are 3 things all leaders possess?
The 3 traits “good” leaders possess are great communication skills, personal integrity, and the ability to follow prior to being a leader.

Ella: How may the Black Pearls Readers contact you?

Sharen Rooks
Public Relations & Community Activist Firm

800*743*5659(O)Ext 1

Chase Davis
Crescendo Worldwide Entertainment
800*743*5659(O)Ext 2

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Posted by on February 13, 2009 in Author Interviews


Intimate Conversation with Reader’s Paradise Book Club

Intimate Conversation with Reader’s Paradise Book Club

Ella: Welcome! Missy, tell us about your passions and the club.
Our passion is reading, discussing and collecting books. Outside of that; some of us have published articles on line and off, others enjoy writing reviews. Our community is large and we are afforded the opportunity to network with other book clubs and exchange ideas Not forgetting that as a group we attend author events & the Harlem Book Festival every year.

Currently our website is hosted on MySpace until we can find the graphics needed to move forward with our website. When you visit Reader’s Paradise we offer you our perspective on the books we havee read as well as a little bit about who we are and what we are about.

Ella: Tell us a few books that you would define as “Literary Hallmarks.”
I love the word “hallmark” it’s so classy!

Sugar by Bernice McFadden
Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine by Bebe Moore Campbell
Tumbling by Diane McKinney Whetstone
Sweet Georgia Brown by Cheryl Robinson

Ella: What do you define as Quality Literature?
I would have to say “quality literature” is Diane McKinney Whetstone, Cheryl Robinson and Bernice McFadden. These authors have written timeless books that could’ve been written from an 18th century perspective, but they will still arrest the hearts of 21st century readers. Lastly for Reader’s Paradise a quality piece of literary will drive the message home without a lot of fluff and stuff.

Ella: What is the primary mission of the group?
One of our primary missions is to promote local Chicago authors who are self published.

Ella: What does a typical meeting consist of for the members?
Our book of the month meeting ALWAYS consists of food and a good time. We play “getting to know you” games whenever a new member joins. We also make sure to have a safe space for folks to agree to disagree. Usually we meet anywhere from 2.5 – 3 hours some meetings we have to go over upcoming book club business.

Whoever is hosting it is her job to facilitate the meeting and move the conversation along. Members choose whether or not to come equipped with discussion question but the host don’t have that choice.

Ella: Have you select your books for the year?
In 2008 we chose our book of the month reads in 2007. Since our book club is small we each will take 2 months in 2009 to host and pick our books for those months. The selection is made purely by personal interest. We try to mainly read Chicago self published authors.

This year we are going to pick our books monthly. So once the host decides she is taking that month she also will be responsible for picking the book if that is not a set author month. So far for 2009 we will be meeting with six Chicago land authors and we are excited. We also have one author coming from out of town in May; Derek Vitatoe author of With these hands & Deacon’s Circle.

Ella: What are you reading now?
Our January book of the month is a novel by Delena Lewis “Forgiveness don’t get no better than this”. (Excellent book) Why this book? One of our members met the author during her daily maneuvers and after talking to the author she decided this would be a book for our book club. Quite frankly this is how we have made the choice to read several of our books.

Ella: Who are some of the other authors your group has featured?
The first author who blessed Reader’s Paradise was a dear friend of mine Naleighna Kai whose gift we still have. From there it was Michelle Larks, Brenda Taylor,

DJ McLaurin, Darrin Lowery,Ken E. Lamar, Pat Simmons. In 2009 we have a great line up as well, but our primary focus this year is “paying it forward” we have truly been blessed as a book club and now it’s time we give back..

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want members to gain from your union?
It is our prayer that the Holy Spirit convicts Reader’s Paradise to delve into other genres and develop a desire to want to stay there. With God as our nucleus we would hope that our circle continues to grow strong by each member’s voice.

Ella: What projects do you have coming up?
One of our founding members is getting married in May “go Mel” A trip to New York City for the Harlem Book Festival, Our semi-annual retreat and working with Kreative Readers in the very near future on a project, which is too soon to talk about but you all will hear about it.

Reader’s Paradise
c/o Laverne (Missy) Brown
P.O. Box 508223
Cicero, IL 60804

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Posted by on February 13, 2009 in Bookclub Spotlight


Intimate Conversation with Sisters Sippin’ Tea

Intimate Conversations Interview with Sharon Haynes – Coordinator
of Sisters Sippin’ Tea Literary Group – Tulsa Chapter

Ella: Welcome, Sharon Haynes, coordinator for the Sisters Sippin’ Tea Literary Group – Tulsa Chapter. It is such a pleasure to have you visit with us the chapter.

Ella: Tell us about the mission of the literary group.
The Tulsa chapter of Sisters Sippin’ Tea Literary Group is committed to providing an opportunity for women from all walks of life to come together for a common and primary goal…reading and promoting literacy through our community outreach programs. Our pledge is to transmit our passion for literary pursuits to future generations.

Ella: Sharon, tell us a few books that you would define as “Literary Hallmarks.”
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

Ella: That is a wonderful selection of books! What do you define as Quality Literature?
Quality Literature encompasses style, characters, plot and the ability for the written words to come to life and embrace you in a way that totally consumes you. We know the characters personally and can visualize the settings and after reading the book we’re wishing for more.

Ella: How did your organization develop? How many members are in the group?
There were so many aspects to how we initially started. The African American Resource Center was hosting Roslyn McMillan and extended an invitation for people to read three of her books and we would meet once a month for three months prior to her visit to discuss.

We had an awesome time and wanted the group to continue but because of prior commitments and time constraints the AARC Coordinator could not commit. A couple of us located book clubs but they were not a good fit, they lacked structure and consistency. Several months later I attended a weekend Literary Retreat with two friends at a secluded B & B in Texas hosted by Sistah Circle Book Club. We had an awesome time. I decided then that if we couldn’t find what we were looking for I would get a few ladies together and we would discuss starting our own club. My vision was to form a sisterhood who shared a passion for reading, promoting literacy and making a difference in our community.

We began as Emerging Minds Books and More. After a few months I started investigating national book clubs and brought the idea to the group of becoming affiliated with a national group where we could broaden our literary experiences and connect with other sistah’s from all around the globe. I provided the group information on three national organizations and it was a unanimous decision that we join up with Sisters Sippin’ Tea; it’s been a wonderful journey every since! The Tulsa chapter currently has 11 members.

Ella: Do you have outreach programs or events that we can support?
Yes, each October our main event is our annual Fall Books and Brunch (B&B) where the purpose is two-fold. Our first goal is to give back to our community by enhancing educational opportunities for African American high school students and recent graduates who demonstrate an interest in community and literacy, and our second goal is to discover creative ways to promote literacy.

Sisters Sippin’ Tea is dedicated to promoting literacy in our community. We are actively involved in various activities that are geared towards raising literacy awareness through mentoring, counseling and outreach programs.

In 2007 we established the SST Scholarship Fund which is subsidized by a portion of the B&B proceeds. Additionally the B&B allows us the privilege of showcasing phenomenal authors, introducing them to a Tulsa base of avid readers that are a force to reckon with. We are always looking for authors that motivate and inspire as well as entertain our audience. We happily accept donations for our scholarship fund as well as donations that can be utilized for door prizes, etc.

Each May we co-host the African American author Expo at the local library. This program highlights approximately 15 African American authors by providing a platform for the authors to showcase their written work.

Ella: What does a typical meeting consist of for the members?
We start in prayer. We fellowship while dinning on whatever delicacies the host has prepared. A short business meeting follows and then the book discussion begins. We have a pool of talented fabulous opinionated women so the discussions are pretty lively. We end with each lady providing a rating of the book. We close out in prayer. Our meetings are held the third Saturday of each month in members’ homes or a locale selected by the host. We are together officially for approximately 2 ½ hours.

Ella: Who are some of the other authors your group has featured?
We have been so fortunate to have the caliber of authors who have supported our literary endeavors. To name a few – Terrie Williams, JD Mason, Professor Charles Ogletree, Clifton Taulbert, Dr. Bertice Berry, Lorna Owens, Lee Thomas, LY Marlow, Obrey Hendricks, Travis Hunter, James Guitard, Donna Hill, Whitney LeBlanc, Lisa Teasley, Camika Spencer, Dr. Monique Anderson – the list goes on and on so a name not mentioned is definitely unintentional.

Ella: Name 3 authors you would like to have on a phone chat.
President Barack Obama, Toni Morrison, Bell Hooks.

Ella: What advice would you give authors about approaching book clubs to read their work?
If the book is self published, be sure you’ve gotten it edited to perfection. Poor spelling, bad grammar, limited plotting and characterization – these are the definite no-noes and time wasting turn-offs.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want members to gain from your union?
The true meaning of sisterhood and community. We’d like each meeting to create a virtual retreat where for a few hours each month we share a serene and meaningful diversion as we assemble for the sake of sisterhood and reading.

Ella: How may our readers find out more about you and the group?

Sharon Haynes – Coordinator
Sisters Sippin’ Tea Literary Group – Tulsa Chapter
PO Box 184 , Tulsa Oklahoma 74133
Visit SST online:

Please join in the discussion by leaving comments or congrats below.
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Intimate Conversation with Mike Sanders

Intimate Conversation with new author Mike Sanders and Ella Curry of EDC Creations, founder of Black Pearls

Ella: Welcome Mike! Tell us a little about you and how your writing journey started with Wahida Presents.
I am from Charlotte, North Carolina. My writing journey began in 2001 while I was incarcerated in federal prison for drug conspiracy. I’ve always loved reading African-American literature and when this Street-Lit genre began booming I got addicted to reading about situations I could relate to. The thing that made me want to really start writing was the fact that most of the novels I read at that time were so far-fetched an almost unrealistic. I also knew that those authors who were penning those novels had never really lived the lives they were writing about. So, I decided that no one would be a better street-lit author than a person that was knee-deep in street life!

I started writing and those who read my work loved it and persuaded me to try and get published. I got serious with writing in 2003 and submitted my first novel “Hustlin’ Backwards” to several publishers and subsequently got published with Black Pearl Books in 2004. H.B. was released in December of that year. My second novel “Snitch” was released 18 months later with the same publisher. My new novel which is titled “Thirsty” is slated to be released in March of this year with my new publisher WAHIDA CLARK PRESENTS!

Ella: I love the title of your book, Thristy, introduce to the stars!
My two main character in this new novel are Justice and Monk, a brother and sister team of hustlers. I like the fact that they are so close-knit and nothing can seperate them. When things get rough, they’ve got each other’s backs no matter what. Both characters are unique in their own way but at the same time, they share the same mindset “Let’s get this money”.


Ella: What makes your book stand out for the readers?
Initially, I think my cover makes my book stand out because it’s one of those that leave a lot to the imagination while at the same time it grabs you and makes you want to look inside. It’s sounds a little cliche, but you know people really do tend to judge a book by its cover! When you read the synopsis on the back it kind of leaves you hanging on and wanting to read more. So, yes before a reader sees anything else they will see the cover and want to pick this book up and see what it’s about.

Ella: Mike, what is the overall message you want readers to take away from your book?

I want readers to realize that in most cases when someone is involved in illegal hustling, the end does not justify the means. I try to give the reader a fairly good sense of the reality of what REALLY happens when someone is living that life. I don’t want to give too much of my book away but I will say this, karma is a bitch!

Ella: What is the single most surprising thing you have learned about publishing?

The most surprising thing I’ve learned is that you actually have to become the characters you are writing about. That’s the only way the reader will get a true sense of that character’s existnce. You can’t just sit down and write without going through the emotions your characters are going through because your book will end up being bland.

Ella: Share with us your most significant achievement as a writer and published author.
Without a doubt, I would say my most significant achievement was getting published while incarcerated. Back when I first got published it wasn’t as easy as it is today. It was hard for a person that was NOT incarcerated to get a deal, so you can just imagine how hard it was for inmates. I think that was a big accomplishment.

Ella: Mike, any advice for people just breaking into the business? Share 3 tips to help them stay motivated and on top of their game.
I would tell a new writer to “MAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS IS STRAIGHT!!” This game is just like the music industry, there are snakes and sharks on every corner waiting to take advantage of a naive author. If I had the chance the turn the clock back I would definitely change my choice of publisher. I went through hell with my first publisher and to this day there are still unresolved issues. But I took that as a learning experience and grew from it. New authors, please stay on top of your business and do not jump at the first opportunity to get your book into print. Everything that shines definitely isn’t platinum!!!

First and foremost, patience is key. You must have patience while writing, and when you finish that novel you must exercise patience in getting published. Determination is also important. Nothing happens just as we want them to. Sometimes we have to be persistent and determined to accomplish the task we set out for. One door may shut in your face, but five more may open up for you. Don’t give up. Also, creativity is very important in writing because no matter what idea you come up with, there are 10 more just like it already out there. It’s not always about what story you tell, it’s HOW you tell it!!

Ella: Mike, what’s going on with you in 2009?
Like I mentioned earlier, my new novel Thirsty will be in stores everywhere in March. If you are a fan of my work you will love this one. You can expect more heat from me in the near future. As you already know, I was recently released from prison after serving 11 years and I was not able to do book signings. Now that I’m home I’m looking forward to meeting all of my readers on tour very soon. Venues and dates will be posted as soon as they are verified. THIRSTY coming to a store near you!!!

Ella: How can the readers contact you and find the books?
I can be reached at: ( ( and The books can be purchased online, at all major bookstores and from my publisher’s website. If you don’t see–ask for it!

Please join in the discussion by leaving comments or congrats below.
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Posted by on February 12, 2009 in Author Interviews

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