Monthly Archives: August 2009

Angela Benson Author Spotlight

Intimate Conversation with Angela Benson

Angela Benson’s numerous novels include the Christy Award-nominated Awakening Mercy, the Essence-bestselling The Amen Sisters, and Up Pops The Devil. She’s also the author of nonfiction writing book, Telling the Tale: The African-American Fiction Writer’s Guide. She is currently an associate professor at the University of Alabama.

Ella: Tell us about your passion for writing. What drives you?
I don’t know if I’d use the word passion to describe my writing. I write because I have something to say that I believe will encourage and motivate readers while at the same time entertaining them. My passion is for encouraging. Writing is an avenue for doing it.

Ella: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers… a source of encouragement, motivation and entertainment.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I’m an Alabama native. I started writing when I was in fifth grade. At the time, I had no idea that writing was a career option. I just wrote for my class. It wasn’t until twenty years later that I began to explore writing as a career. I was fortunate in that I sold the first book I wrote. I started writing it in 1992, sold it in 1993 and it was published in 1994.Ella: Please introduce us to your new book, Sins of the Father.

Sins of the Father (ISBN: 9780061468520)- Successful media mogul Abraham Martin has great wealth, an elegant wife, Saralyn, and a rebellious son, Isaac. He also has a secret: a second family that no one knows about. Now, after thirty years—driven by the urging of his long dormant conscience—Abraham is determined to do the right thing by finally bringing his illegitimate children into the light…and into the family fold. Sins of the Father is a powerful story of a house bitterly divided—a rich, multilayered family saga of betrayal and redemption, rage and compassion, faith, forgiveness, and ultimately, of love.

Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
The three adults who drive Sins of the Father were wonderful characters to write. Abraham Martin, the father who is trying to make amends, is likeable because he really does want to do the right thing. His wife, Saralyn, is likeable because her plight and her pain are so realistic. Leah, his old mistress, tugs at your heart as she deals regret for her past decisions and the impact they’ve had on her children.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
Sins of the Father takes a biblical story and asks a different question about it than the one asked in the Bible. That question shows the relevancy of the story today. Even President Obama has addressed the problem of absentee fathers. In Sins of the Father, we see an absentee father trying to make amends with the adult children he abandoned when they were babies, and finding it very difficult. We also see how his choices, past and current, affect both of his families.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want to confirm for readers that making amends for past bad acts is always the right thing to do. Even though you may not be forgiven or received with open arms, you still have to try. More specifically, I hope that the lines of communication between some absentee fathers and their children may open and develop.

Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
I gain as much writing the stories as readers do when reading them. There’s a lesson for me in each story.

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer? Being able to endure fifteen years in this business. My career is not one I’d recommend other writers follow. Since my first book was published in 1994, I’ve written twelve novels in four different genres for five different publishers with contracts negotiated by three different agents. While many the of writers who started writing with me have achieved more writing success, there are many who are no longer being published. I consider myself blessed to still be in the business and writing the books I want to write.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Finish at least one manuscript.
It’s important for new writers to know that they can finish a book. It might not be the best book in the world, but you will have proved to yourself that you can tell a story from beginning to end. That knowledge will make finishing the second book much easier. As you write more books, you’ll find that you develop a rhythm to your writing. You’ll begin to notice how long your chapters are, how many scenes are usually in a chapter, how long it takes you to write a scene or chapter, etc. This knowledge will prove invaluable once you start writing to deadline.

Make time to read at least one book a month. Most writers start as avid readers. Once readers start to write, they sometimes find their lives so busy that reading is neglected. Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t lose your love and appreciation of good stories. In addition to hours of pleasure, reading will keep you up to date on the market.

Rejoice in the success of other writers. Every time a new writer sells a book, a struggling writer should be encouraged. That sale is proof that publishers are still buying new writers. Take time to congratulate that writer and be sure to purchase the book when it hits the shelves. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
A love of reading, a healthy respect for the craft of writing, and a willing to accept constructive criticism.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
My contract with Avon/HarperCollins is up with Sins of the Father. I recently submitted a proposal to them for my next book. I hope to have some good news in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I have a novella in the upcoming Millions of Blessings anthology being published by Dafina in March 2010. Marilynn Griffith and Tia McCollors, two wonderful people and great authors, have novellas in it as well.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
The Sins of the Father Blog Tour continues through Friday, September 4, 2009. I invite each of you to join us. You can find the schedule on my blog at


Murder on the Down Low Interview

Black Pearls Magazine interview with Pamela Samuels Young

Pamela Samuels Young is the Essence bestselling author of Murder on the Down Low, In Firm Pursuit, Every Reasonable Doubt and the forthcoming Buying Time. The former journalist and Compton native is the fiction writing expert for and is on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Ella: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you? What impact do you want your book to make on the readers?
I definitely have a passion for writing. Nothing else could explain my willingness to sit in front of my computer for ten hours a day or my eagerness to rise at four in the morning to write before going to work. I enjoy creating characters and putting them in precarious situations. I want readers to get wrapped up in the mysteries I create, to love, hate and root for my characters, and to close each book and feel as if they got their money’s worth.

Listen to the First Chapter party for Murder on the Down Low

Ella: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence: My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
I want to help destroy the publishing industry’s belief that only African American readers will read stories with African American characters. People who love mysteries want a compelling story. My primary goal is to write entertaining thrillers with diverse characters and a storyline that keeps readers turning the page.

Ella: Pamela, introduce us to your book., In Murder on the Down Low.
In Murder on the Down Low, a string of successful, attractive African-American men are being gunned down on the streets of L.A. and no one knows why? When a shocking revelation connects the baffling murders to a contentious wrongful death lawsuit, the deadly scandal erupts into a tale of lust, lies and vengeance.

Ella: What inspired you to write this story?
I have a crystal clear recollection of exactly when the idea for Murder on the Down Low came to me. I was watching an Oprah show featuring J.L. King, author of On the Down Low. I was completely stunned as I listened to his insider’s account of the mindset of men on the down low, who are guys (many of them married) who profess to be straight but have sex with other men. My emotions during that sixty-minute program went from shock to anger to fear. I was driving to work the next day, still disturbed by the show when a thought came to me. What if a serial killer was targeting some of L.A.’s most prominent family men who weren’t quite what they appeared to be? Within 24 hours, I had sketched out the basic plot for Murder on the Down Low.

Ella: What major issues in today’s society have you addressed in the book?
Murder on the Down Low gave me an opportunity to both entertain and raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. While African-American and Latina women make up only 24% of the female population in the United States, we account for more than 80% of the total AIDS diagnoses for women, according to the latest statistics published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. I wanted to communicate to women that in order to change these disturbing statistics, we must take responsibility for our own bodies.

Ella: How difficult was it to complete the novel?
I still practice law, so it’s always difficult to find time to write, but I found the plot for Murder on the Down Low so compelling that I made the time. Sometimes I got up to write before work and sometimes I wrote late at night. I wrote on weekends when I wasn’t on the road promoting my other novels. Whenever I had vacation time, I used the entire week to barricade myself in my timeshare to write. I’m lucky that my husband is so supportive. When we first got married five years ago, he didn’t know how to cook. He’s now learned to prepare quite a few tasty dishes since I rarely have time to make a home-cooked meal.

Ella: Did you self-publish? How difficult was it to find a publisher to pick up your novel?
While my first two novels, Every Reasonable Doubt and In Firm Pursuit, were published by Harlequin, I was forced to self-publish Murder on the Down Low after my agent wasn’t able to sell it. I really didn’t want to self-publish, but I wasn’t about to sit on the sidelines and accept the publishing industry’s view that there isn’t a large market for the type of book I’m writing. They’re wrong.

Self-publishing Murder on the Down Low was definitely the right decision for me. The book has received tremendous praise from readers, particularly book club members. My decision to self-publish was further validated when Murder on the Down Low was selected as an Editor’s Pick by the Black Expressions Book Club. Just recently, Murder on the Down Low was a finalist for the 2009 African American Literary Awards in the mystery category alongside, two incredibly talented writers I have long admired: Walter Mosley and Tananarive Due.

Ella: Why did you decide to write legal thrillers?
I’m a big fan of legal thrillers, but I got tired of never seeing women or African-Americans depicted as lawyers in the novels that I read. So, I sat down at my computer and started writing the kind of legal thriller that I wanted to read. I wanted a diverse cast of characters and a protagonist who wasn’t always a white male.

Ella: What is your most valuable lesson about the publishing industry?
You need to have faith in your talent to survive in this business. Even the mega-successful writers—e.g., J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer and John Grisham, just to name a few—were rejected by multiple publishers. The writers who survive are those who ignore the rejection and just keep writing.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I’m thrilled that Murder on the Down Low is a finalist for the 2009 African American Literary Awards in the mystery category. I don’t need to win. Just being nominated alongside Walter Mosley and Tananarive Due is honor enough.

I’m extremely excited about the upcoming release of my fourth legal thriller and first stand-alone novel, Buying Time, which goes on sale November 1st. In Buying Time, Waverly Sloan is a down-on-his-luck lawyer who comes to the aid of terminally ill people in desperate need of cash. Waverly finds investors eager to advance his dying clients thousands of dollars—including a hefty broker’s fee for himself—in exchange for rights to their life insurance policies. Once the clients take their last breath, the investors reap a hefty return on their investment. When Waverly’s clients start dying sooner than they should, both Waverly, and a high-powered lawyer who’s bucking to become the next U.S. Attorney General, are unwittingly drawn into a perilous web of greed, blackmail and murder.

Ella: How may the readers contact you and purchase your books.
Author Website:
Author Email address:

MURDER ON THE DOWN LOW Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Publication Date: September 1, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-9815627-0-4
Price: 14.95

Murder on the Down Low by Pamela Samuels Young
Buy Murder on the Down Low at


Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young
Purchase the book.


Sibling Rivalry at its Finest

Sibling Rivalry at its Finest

Got a sister? Got a brother? If so, you probably can testify to a few low-key feuds over the years. And some folk…well maybe a couple of jabs here and there. What about murder? Yes, I said it…Murder! It’s been done before more than you’ll ever know.

Family melt-downs go back to the beginning of time. Think about Cain and Abel, Marsha and Janet Brady, or even Latoya and Janet Jackson. Of course we hear about sibling celebrity feuds nowadays since every Tom, Dick, and Harry wants to be the paparazzi. Let’s take the Olsen twins, Mary Kate and Ashley. They have billions, yet still have that contention and competition amongst themselves. Now one lives on the West coast and the other on the East. The one thing they have over the rest of us…they have billions to fuss over, most of us don’t.

Sibling rivalry is just something that can’t be erased. If you’re human, chances are you have some crazy stories that come to mind. Do you want what he or she has? Jealous about how they look? Didn’t get your Mama’s shape…ended up with your Dad’s instead? What about being pissed because you are the sibling who didn’t go to college, or the sibling who can’t keep a good paying job?

Oh, and what about your love life. Are you the one upset because your brother or sister stole your man? Yep, I said it. This day in time you never know. You gotta watch your mate with both sexes. But let’s focus on sisters for a moment. Sister rifts are torturous; especially in black women. I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying, “Don’t let me take off my earrings”. Well in 2009, we don’t just fight anymore. What about, “I will kill you!”

Well for now, ingest what I’ve just said. Let author, publisher, Azarel take you behind the scenes and finish the rest in Carbon Copy, a new novel exposing Sibling Rivalry at its Finest.

About the author:
Azarel comes to the publishing world as a former teacher and native of North Carolina . She received her BS degree from University of Maryland Eastern Shore , and earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree from Bowie State University in 1999. Her love for writing sparked a career change in 2002. She resigned from her teaching tenure in the Prince George ‘s County public school system to fulfill her dream of becoming an author. After writing her first novel, ‘A Life to Remember,” written in an attempt to help change lives of young men, Azarel launched her own publishing company, Life Changing Books (LCB).

For more on Carbon Copy (• ISBN-10: 1934230677 or • ISBN-13: 978-1934230671) and Azarel visit her website at: You may purchase the book here or at any online book retailer.

Note: You may reprint or republish this article as long as the author’s byline and credit for the article are posted in its entirety.


Carbon Copy by Azarel

Carbon Copy by Azarel, Essence Bestseller

Meet author and publisher Azarel on Ella’s couch! Azarel discusses her new book Carbon Copy and her theme of Sibling Rivalry. Listen in as she introduces us to her new book and characters.

Book spotlight: Carbon Copy by Azarel

Have you ever craved someone so bad…that you’d be willing to do anything? Meet Dominique Lewis, a foul, hard-boiled, go-getter who spends most of her days yearning to be just like her sister, and plotting on taking her man. For her, it’s all about money, sex, and power. Although she possesses the perfect physique and sexy features, her life-long dream is to become wealthy and a house-hold name. By any means necessary, she vows to get what she wants.

As Dominique’s mission unfolds, she manages to get connected to Yuri, a violent replacement for the man she really sought. After realizing she’s partnered with a beast, her world turns upside down. And soon, after the tragic murder of her sister, all hell breaks loose when Dominique’s cover is blown. Armed with revenge on the brain, and a status goal in mind, Dominique soon appoints herself as Rapheal’s woman, the most sought after millionaire in Atlanta. Raphael’s lavish status in town would put her on a new level, right where she always dreamed…the only problem …he never said he wanted her. In an effort to hold on to Rapheal, and all the elaborate material possessions, Dominique sets out on a deadly mission to remove anything that stands in her way.

Check out great articles and more information on Azarel here:


Allison Hobbs: Life and Times of the Published


Allison Hobbs discusses the life of a full time author and her new books. Ella and Allison dish on commuity issues. Author and producer Toniwo shares with Ella the life of a female serial killer! You have to join us! Meet fantastic authors and literary leaders right here on the sofa with Ella Curry, president of EDC Creations Media.

Our Intimate Conversation with Toniwo and Allison Hobbs covered a wide range of subjects such as screenplays, new book releases, the change of the literary landscape and most important-the REAL life of a bestselling author! Tune into the 2nd hour of BAN radio and hear Allison bring it! Toniwo starts us off, the first hour, with an amazing look into the mind of a woman scorned!

Pure Paradise by Allison Hobbs

A deliciously decadent glimpse inside a day salon that also caters to the sexual fantasies of its affluent clientele. Behind closed doors, the Pure Paradise salon secretly offers a more salacious menu of services for its discerning clients. While the company is raking in the dough, its proprietor Milan cultivates her own personal Rolodex of willing men and women who crave to indulge her most voracious desires. It would seem as if Milan has it all, but she wants more.

For Milan, the ultimate catch would be the elusive Hilton Dorsey, an unreasonably handsome, former football player. But her relentless, irrational pursuit of the golden boy has caused Milan to neglect her financial benefactor, jeopardizing her budding empire. Will her obsession with Hilton Dorsey be her ultimate downfall? National bestselling author Allison Hobbs returns with another heart-thumping erotic adventure with Pure Paradise, a thrilling novel that caters to the sensual tastes of a diverse audience that is sure to leave readers begging for more.

Meet the Author
Allison Hobbs burst on the literary scene with the release of her highly successful, debut novel, Pandora’s Box in 2003. Raw! Riveting! Graphic! Edgy! Just a few words that describe the responses to Allison Hobbs’ controversial writing style.

Allison Hobbs is known for her explicit sexual scenarios and memorable characters. She takes erotica to another level but always interjects humor throughout.

Her current novel, Pure Paradise was the featured novel on AOL’S Black Voices in July. Pure Paradise gives readers a glimpse inside an erotic day spa.

Allison’s novel, The Climax was nominated for Best Erotic novel in 2008 for The 4th Annual African American Literary Awards show. This year, her novel, Big Juicy Lips has been nominated for the upcoming 5th Annual African American Literary Awards show in September, 2009.

Allison Hobbs is the author of twelve novels all published by Strebor Books/Simon and Schuster. She considers it fate, destiny, good karma, or maybe just a stroke of good luck, that she met her favorite author, Zane, the New York Times Bestselling author, Co-Executive Producer of Cinemax’s Zane’s Sex Chronicles, and publisher of Strebor Books at the Baltimore Book Festival. Allison was hoping to get Zane to write a review of her then self-published book, but she got so much more. Zane offered her a publishing deal.

When Allison’s sophomore novel, Insatiable dropped in 2004, readers were surprised that the author had pushed the envelope yet again, providing readers and book club members, with hours of heated conversation, as the characters in Insatiable were not easily forgotten.

A prolific writer, Allison penned three novels in 2006: Dangerously In Love, Double Dippin’, and The Enchantress (paranormal/erotica). Dangerously In Love, a portrayal of a male sex addict, continues to top numerous bestseller lists. Double Dippin’, a gritty, steamy, psychological thriller, that chronicles the lives of twin brothers and their relationships with women, was nominated for the 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award.

Released in 2007, A Bona Fide Gold Digger, a sassy tale of a woman consumed by a secret sex life, explores the BDSM scene. A Bona Fide Gold Digger is a top seller in women’s erotica.

2008 brought two more sizzling page turners, The Climax (the sequel to Insatiable) and Big Juicy Lips (a continuation of Double Dippin’). Allison is on fire in 2009 with four releases: One Taste, Disciplined, Pure Paradise and The Sorceress (Release date scheduled for November). With two novels in the works for 2010, Ms. Hobbs will continue to bring the heat to the sheets.

Allison Hobbs, National Bestselling Author
Bringing Heat to the Sheets!

Pure Paradise
Disciplined: An Invitation Erotic Odyssey
One Taste
Big Juicy Lips
The Climax
A Bona Fide Gold Digger
The Enchantress
Double Dippin’
Dangerously In Love
Pandora’s Box

Visit Allison online:


My Sistahz Keeper Needs Our Help

Black Pearls Family, the recession is striking one of our own, My Sistahz Keeper in NJ. This organization works tirelessly to help the community grow. Shirley Chisolm and her sister Kiwan Fitch are the co-founders of that organization, My Sistahz Keeper. Along with their mentor program director Norman Murph they are inspiring a difference in the lives of citizens in Newark and Jersey City.

Let’s reach out and help them succeed. Please read the email below and donate whatever you feel your heart can spare. We love our sisters and we must continue to have each other’s back! If we can pull together and give this group at least 20 donations, we could change a child’s or family’s life!

Ella Curry

Message from Audrey Bell-Kearney
Hi everybody. I got a call this morning from Shirley Chisolm who is one of the founders of My Sistahz Keeper. This organizations help so many people in the Newark and Jersey City area. I’ve seen first hand how they help people. They have a food and clothing pantry. On the third Saturday of the month they serve hot food to the homeless. They help battered women and teenage girls and so many others. This is just a wonderful organization. You don’t have to take my word for it take a look at their web site and you can see video of how they are helping people. A lot of times it is hard to ask for help, so when Shirley called me to ask my advice because the organization is in trouble. I told her just to ask for help. So she did. Please read her email below and if you can help in any way I’m sure it would be greatly appreciated. Also feel free to pass this email to your friends who may able to help My Sistahz Keeper.

Audrey Bell-Kearney
Sister Inc.
Shining The Spotlight On Women In Business


Dear Friends/Supporters,

I come to you in urgent need of your support and help. As most of you know My Sistahz Keeper Association currently is a not funded agency. Our Executive Director, Kiwan Fitch runs the agency solely thru our fundraising efforts, the generosity of others and one small paid contract. As of today we are in desparate need to keep our doors open. Without your help our doors my be shut as of September 1st and it would be a great disservice to the public should this happen. The agency is doing great work helping the citizens in Essex and Hudson County.

It is at this point that humbly ask you for a donation of ANY size to help us remain in our Newark Office. Whether it’s $5, $10 or $20 anything that you can give to support us would be greatly appreciated. We can also provide for you a donation receipts as we are a tax exempt agency. ALSO….please forward this email to anyone whom you feel may support this agency.

To Make a Donation please follow the link to our website and click on the Make A Donation button at the bottom of the page.


Ms. S. Chisolm
Founder, My Sistahz Keeper Association

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 31, 2009 in Community News


Getting the Obama Daughters Ready for School

Getting the Obama Daughters Ready for School
Seven Preparation Tips for Parents

Karen works hard to make ends meet as a divorcee with five kids. She loves her summers because they are less hectic. During the school year, Karen fights a torturing schedule of kids’ activities. Tomorrow will start another school year. Karen wonders how her life will change.

Summer is almost over. It’s time to refocus your child’s summer schedule to the rigidness of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Even the President’s children are no exception to this reality. With an economic downturn dampening their summer, many parents are having a difficult time directing their full attention to their child’s preparation for the new school year. Yet, many experts contribute a child’s success in life to the influences of their parents. Therefore, it is important that parents carefully consider their planning for the year. This article provides insight for overcoming the stresses of managing a hectic school life for working parents.

Obama’s Summer Lesson
The Obama daughters’ summer provided better preparation for the school year. However, this was not due to chance. Sasha and Malia Obama spent a wonderful summer filled with foreign travel, dignitaries, community service, celebrity engagements, and two months of a school-free existence. According to the New York Times newspaper, their summer travels included Moscow, Rome, and Ghana. In fact, the Obama parents viewed the kid’s international experiences as a real-time history lesson. President Barack Obama noted “[his daughters] see the world and then report back to us on what they are seeing.”

Additionally, the daughters participated in community service such as volunteering at Fort McNair (VA). Yet, even the family stationed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue could not escape the discipline of parenting. Michele Obama stated, “The television and the computers are off all day until after dinner and right before bed time.” As summer fun quietens, Sasha and Malia turned their attention to another year at Sidwell Friend School . Like so many other students, their success will be determined by the preparation of their parents for their education.

The School Preparation
Are parents prepared for this school year? Managing family time is an important part of preparation. Many people get overwhelmed with balancing work and family; they can obtain a big dose of “Back-to-School” Blues. According to a survey, one-half of workers reported that they feel a great deal of job stress. Forty-four percent of working moms admitted being preoccupied with work while at home.

Today’s children are so busy that they need their own blackberries to keep up with their schedules. Therefore, parents must exercise discretion in choosing their children’s activities. Parent should make sure that children’s activities enhance and stabilize family relationships. The following are helpful tips for parents with active children to ensure a successful school year:

1. Develop a strategy for dealing with family issues beforehand.
2. Prioritize the important things to your family.
3. Create goals to support your family objectives.
4. Establish a family calendar to better schedule events around your family.
5. Set aside time to listen to your children.
6. Share time with family by setting aside at least one day a week.
7. Limit your personal commitments.

Many parents view the school year as another exercise in patience. Without the proper guidance and direction, some children can have a disappointing school year. Like Sasha and Malia, children need parents to better prepare them for the rigors of school life. Parents can use this new school year to build better relationships. By adequately preparing activities and setting priorities, parents can minimize the pressures of a new school year. It is not too late to establish control.

About the Columnist:
Dr. Daryl D. Green writes on contemporary issues impacting individuals, businesses, and society across the globe. With over 18 years of management experience, Dr. Green’s expertise has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, you can go to or

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